A/N: This story was inspired by a song (The song in question features at the end in a heavily altered, translated form) & was written listening to this song repeatedly over a period of 6 hours, with extended coffee and dinner breaks! :)
Please bear with me if the transitions aren't too smooth as its only my 2nd attempt to write anything remotely romantic (as I'm an emotionless ice queen in reality, ha ha ha!!) and I'm horrible at expressing my feelings!
Oh and I apologise from before for any mistakes in grammar or inconsistancies between words spelled the UK way and the US way as towards the end I got tired fighting with my MsWord software to change to my preference for spelling the words!
A Sense of Randomness
She lay in bed, unable to sleep even though it was very late. She turned to lie on her back and look at the beautiful frescos on the ceiling. All the while she kept thinking about what had kept her awake. Juan! Never had she met a man who was so infuriating and attractive at the same time. The first man she'd ever fallen for and he'd left a few hours before and she never knew if she'd see him again.
Choked up with emotion she sat up. What she felt was a mixture of sadness, regret and mostly anger directed at her own self for being unable to say anything to him before he left.
"It's not as if he'd have cared anyway. He was a womanizer through and through, all he did was flirt, with the servants, with female guests, with my mother's friends," she thought angrily, "it was exactly his ploy, to get women hopelessly charmed and to use this for his benefit! Even mother liked him so much, always sheltered him from father when he was up to some mischief."
You weren't as immune to his charms as you believed yourself to be, a voice whispered in her mind.
"I know," she mused ruefully.
She remembered the day Juan had shown up at their household. Her father was a botanist, a professor at a reputed university: a genius and a recluse who didn't like to be disturbed in his work even to the extent of refusing his students any access to him or any assistance in research, apart from teaching them in class. Juan was his student, a graduate determined to get his PhD assisting her father in his research. She didn't know much about her father's work, except that at that time he was on a 4 year leave for research and that he was working on something which would make crops hardier and more plentiful, hence beneficial for farmers.
She remembered the huge fight which had ensued between her father and Juan in the hallway of whether Juan could stay and take part in his research or not, up until Juan had shown a letter to her father from the university's board of directors that if her father refused even a single student from the moment of viewing the letter, he would be suspended from his job for refusing to part knowledge to students. Her father had turned inexplicable shades of red and had finally accepted Juan, albeit grudgingly as his assistant.
It was later she had learnt that the letter had been a fake and Juan had written it after his request to pursue his PhD under her father had been rejected for the umpteenth time.
She smiled nostalgically. Juan was always like that. She got up from bed, switched on the lights and took out her journal from her bedside drawer. She flipped through the pages till she came to the parts which she'd written when Juan was living with them.
How soon two and a half years had passed, she realized with a start as she read one entry in her journal which she'd written after being a buffer between Juan and two girls, one a maid at their house and the other a daughter of a close family friend, when he'd tried dating both of them together without one knowing about the other. And the ensuing mayhem which resulted in both the girls being heartbroken, her family's close friend complaining to her father about his daughter's state, her father being furious, her mother shielding Juan from her father's fury and Juan getting a black eye and swollen nose from being punched by the two girls! She had been very sarcastic and condescending to him while nursing his wounds and he'd given her some very dark Looks.
She laughed out loud when she finished reading the entry.
"Even though he is annoying, it is fun to have him around the house."
The last line of that journal entry, how true it was. "Stop being sentimental," she admonished herself, "he was always bugging you."
She thought of their arguments ranging over a wide variety of topics: politics, religion, economic strife, war, professions, history, art, books…
They never agreed on most of the things and their arguments often ended with Juan making statements which were too shocking to warrant a reply, or with her storming off for being unable to counter him. The only things which they agreed on were music, and dark chocolate, which Juan swore fuelled his 'sinful-side'.
"He loved music as much as me," she thought, "even more so as he loved writing and playing his own songs. I've never been able to compose a single tune. "
She remembered her mother's birthday the year Juan had come to live with them. The band which her mother had arranged for the party had failed to show up and she had requested Juan to play instead. He'd refused and had told her mother that he'd play "only if Nishi would sing." She had been horrified, "I have stage fright" she'd said. She'd begged her mother not to make her sing in front of everyone, she'd been afraid she'd freeze and embarrass herself. But she'd agreed reluctantly as she didn't want to make her mother sad on her birthday. And she had been furious with Juan as she thought he'd done it on purpose to make her uncomfortable.
When she'd been due to sing, she did freeze up and kept cursing Juan for his cruel joke in her mind, till she heard him start the song she was supposed to sing. His voice was mesmerizing. As she'd stood there gaping at him, he'd prodded her in between verses to stop being an 'idiot' and join him in the chorus. Singing with him had been wonderful, she recalled how she'd become confident with every line she sang, till the two of them were singing like pros!
After that day they'd both sung together whenever opportunity arose.
She moved towards the window and looked outside. The moon was full and was shining its slivery light everywhere. Her room overlooked the grounds behind her house, the gardens, orchards and the beautiful marble fountain which stood in the middle of the stone path leading towards them.
She recalled one conversation which had occurred the first summer he'd been with them. He'd said that there was only one thing he'd liked about her house. "And what might that be? Its palatial size, its seclusion from the town or perhaps the beautiful servant girls?" she'd asked him sarcastically. He'd given her a lazy smile, "the servant girls are definitely high on my list, but they technically don't qualify as 'things', so I would say that the 'thing' I love about your house are the gardens and the trees and yes the seclusion of it all does enhance their beauty."
"I'm impressed," she'd said genuinely surprised, "I love the house for the same reasons. But I never expected it from you."
"What? That I'd like trees more than women?" he'd asked slyly, "I'm a botanist pursuing a PhD under a botany professor, so I'd have thought it obvious. You on the other hand…"
"What are you implying?" she'd asked him
"A veterinary student who loves trees more than animals: that's a first!" he'd said laughing.
"I like both" she'd said defensively to which he'd replied that she was in the wrong profession and they had a heated argument over whose profession was better and she'd ended up dumping her glass of soda over him in irritation.
"He always did joke I had my father's temper, my mother's compassion and something not entirely human, and how I argued with him to prove him wrong," she sighed, returning to the present.
She recalled one incident in the previous summer, when in a fit of rage over some inconsequential thing she had stormed out of the house for a ride on her motorcycle during a sudden summer shower. Reckless riding had made her motorcycle skid on the wet ground and she'd had a minor accident. Her worried parents had sent Juan along with some friends and servants to search for her. When she'd been found and was recuperating in the hospital from 'minor injuries' as stated by the doctor, she had been approached by a furious Juan who reprimanded her for being silly when she was lucky to have parents who loved her so much.
When she'd asked him what he'd meant, he'd avoided her look and remained silent for sometime till her incessant prodding made him reply to her shortly that his parents had died a few years ago in an accident and he missed them a lot. After which he'd left abruptly, leaving her alone to her thoughts.
She'd felt really foolish and angry with herself for putting herself in a situation where her parents could have lost her.
"I still haven't been able to control my temper," she thought wistfully.
She leafed through a few pages in her journal till she came to a dried rose. She picked it up and her heart gave a start when she remembered the circumstances of how she'd got it.
It'd been a few weeks after her accident. She'd recovered fully and her attitude towards Juan had become less sarcastic. After she'd come to know about his parents she'd tried being more patient with him but had felt frustrated as Juan seemed to enjoy testing her patience.
And his flirtatious ways continued, which bugged her in a way she'd never felt before and it frustrated her not knowing what it was.
Her mother was a realtor who sometimes asked her clients to stay over at night to enable her to take them around early the next day. One such client, a middle aged woman had taken a fancy for Juan and he'd obliged by flattering her and charming her as best as he could, till the woman was dancing to his tune. What Juan hadn't bargained for was the woman's husband thinking the flirting was something more between his wife and him and wanting to hit him for it. He'd been running away, searching for a hiding place when he'd crashed onto her.
"What's happeni…" before she'd been able to complete her question he'd clamped his hand over her mouth, shushing her and had dragged her into a nearby room and locked the door. She'd struggled to get her mouth free and he'd asked her to keep quiet and had explained the situation he was in. She'd smirked at him and had kept quiet; it was the first time he'd ever been so shaken up. As they'd both strained their ears to hear the commotion outside the room, she'd suddenly been aware of their close proximity to each other. Juan had still been clutching at her arm, his head leaning against the door trying to catch up with the conversation between her harassed mother and her clients. She'd looked closely at his face, as if seeing it for the first time: his dark, full brows overshadowing his unusual green-brown eyes, his sharp nose, high cheekbones and full lips. She'd felt her heart skip a beat when she realized that Juan, though not conventionally handsome was attractive in an inexplicable way. She'd felt annoyed with herself for thinking such things about him, but had been unable to control the temptation of observing him more closely. When he'd come to live in their house he'd worn his dark brown hair short but after a year he'd decided to keep his hair long till slightly below his shoulders. His long, dark hair framed his anxious face as he waited for the final verdict on the other side of the door. She'd let her eyes wander over his body, strong, athletic without being overtly muscular… She'd felt her face blush when he'd looked at her, somewhat strangely and mouthed that everything was okay thanks to her mother's intervention and that they could leave.
That night when she'd come to her room to sleep she'd found a lavender rose on her bed with a small card saying thanks in Juan's writing beside it. She'd smiled to herself and had felt herself blush when she remembered all her thoughts about him earlier in the day.
"That was the first night I realized that I had some feelings for him which definitely we not there before." She mused turning the rose over and over. Finally she kept the rose back in her journal, put her journal on her beside table and flopped on her bed. She recalled how her feelings for him grew into something which she'd initially been afraid to acknowledge. Her indecision was augmented by Juan's lack of any reciprocated feelings.
"He never gave any indication, if he knew what I felt or if he didn't", she thought sadly. There had been many instances after that night she'd been sure there was something in his manner of addressing her, looking knowingly at her, giving casual comments which only she'd pick up on, which showed that he knew or at least guessed what was going through her mind.
And there were times when he acted like he didn't understand a single thing, went on with his old ways of teasing her, making her angry…
She was always baffled at how an intelligent girl like her, knowing how Juan was, could have started falling for him. She kept herself in denial that it was just a passing phase which would go away after he'd leave.
As the time of his internship with her father kept drawing to a close, she knew that instead of blowing over, her feelings for Juan had intensified and she felt choked up every time she thought of him leaving. She loved him, she'd finally acknowledged it.
About a week before he had to leave, she withdrew from him, barely talked with him or anyone in the house. All the while she wrestled with herself whether to confess to him or not but being proud she didn't want rejection especially since she'd be heartbroken and stay behind while he'd go away and live his life.
And while she'd struggled to come to a decision, he'd left them…
"Never to come back…" she thought depressed and then perked herself up, "Oh come on you lived your life before he came and you can do the same now after he's gone."
She tried to recollect her life before Juan's arrival but was unable to find anything positive to adhere to. It was like her mother had said. Juan had brought light-heartedness and fun into their house. Before his arrival, as much as she'd hated to admit at the time, her life had been very dull. Her parents were too busy to pay her proper attention, her father more than her mother. Her odd attitude towards her life, her fierce temper and her father's formidable reputation had always kept away people her age from becoming her friends and to counter this she'd adopted a slightly aloof, cynical attitude to having friends in general. Juan had started as her reluctant companion and had progressed to a friend and something more…
"At least on my part if not his…"she thought.
He'd been the randomness, the chaotic whirlwind which had been so necessary to break the monotony of her life, not to mention the lives of everyone associated with their household.
"It's never dull with Master Juan around the house," their cook had said once, and she'd silently agreed.
As she kept musing, her ears picked up a faint musical strumming which seemed to be coming from outside. She sat up surprised at who it could be at that hour. She got off her bed, switched the lights off, went near the windows and opened them to hear the sound more clearly. For a while she heard nothing. Then what she heard sends shivers down her spine. It was the opening riff of a song Juan had sung on her last birthday.
"He's here," she thought dazed. She put on her robe and ran downstairs, all the while keeping an ear out for the music, and out of the house through the backdoor. The riff stopped abruptly. "Juan!" she called out to the night air. She was barefoot, too much in a hurry to have worn any shoes…
She walked slowly towards the fountain and looked at the water shimmering under the moonlight. As she sat near it, she cursed herself for even hoping he'd been there and that it had all been her imagination. It was then she heard a melodic riff and Juan's voice singing a song:
"I know you'll cry when the day goes by
taking me along with it
As I leave never to come back
Just ask the flowers and trees in your garden
How much you meant to me
How much my heart yearned for you,
How much I loved you.
Today I'm leaving so give me back what is mine
For you have no right to take what is not yours
My heart, my love for you, which you did never believe
My love which you never valued.
As I leave, I curse I never had the courage
To tell you how much you meant to me
How much I loved you.
So thief of hearts, give me back what is mine,
Unless you have something you wish to give me in return?"
He walked towards her, put his guitar down. She stood up, not believing what she'd heard, not believing what she was seeing.
He had such a vulnerable look on his face. He was dressed in a white tee, dark trousers, his dark hair falling wildly around his face, his eyes bright, his favourite sets of beads around his neck…
"You changed your clothes," she blushed and cursed her tongue that it couldn't come up with a better response.
He smiled at her and said slyly, "so you noticed! Your powers of observation are really skilled, I'm not sure about your hearing though."
She blushed further, the tips of her ears and nose felt hot. She tried avoiding his gaze but was prevented by his hand which cupped her chin and held her gaze with his.
"I love you," he said, "I've loved you long before you ever felt anything of that sort for me. I realized it the day you went missing and we found out you had an accident. I was so angry with you that day only because for sometime I thought that I'd lost you, and those moments were agony. I waited and waited when you'd confess that you felt the same way but you didn't even talk to me properly for the last few days…"
She shushed him, putting a finger over his lips.
"You don't have to wait anymore for my answer," she said huskily as she threw her arms around him, "I love you. I love you as I have never loved anyone before."
And she kissed him, sweetly, passionately with all the love she felt for him...