Author's note :- Hello everyone.

The idea of writing this one-shot occurred to me when I actually witnessed the kittens' scene described below.


The First Step

"Meow…."

"Mew," "Mew"

Ah, it had started again. I stood in the veranda of my house that faced to that of our neighbors. I watched as the mother cat kept mewing to her kittens. They were inside the enclosed veranda of our neighbors' house, trapped. They wouldn't escape even when the door was opened for them.

And then, this happened every day. Each day, at the same time, the mother cat would come to call her children, and they kept mewing at each other. This was the time I came back from school. I would go in the veranda immediately to watch them. Apparently, the mother was asking the kids to jump down from their place in the veranda, but they were too scared to jump.

"Mew…" one of the two kittens took a step forward, taking her almost above her mother. I sharpened my vision, hoping she would jump. But the kitten withdrew quickly. She didn't jump again…

Both the kittens repeated the same thing alternately, no one being able to take the jump. It went on for a long time, like usual. I sighed, as the mother gave in as well. She climbed to get to her children. Another day and the same thing. At least they managed to take one step further…

I came back to my room. What were they doing? Why wouldn't they just jump already? Just taking one step further and they would be free. Did it scare them that much? Why couldn't they build up the confidence?

:-

"Good morning." I wished Sakshi, who looked like she certainly didn't have a good morning.

"Had mom shout cause I got up late." She told me, and I smiled.

The day went by as usual. Our class had been given an abnormally late lunch time this year, and everyone ate hungrily when it came.

"Hey, what do you say?" I heard one of the boys of our class talk. They would do this usually. Eat up their lunch, and sit there talking loudly in the classroom. It wasn't a bother though, as we would join in the laugh at their jokes.

"About what?" He said. Yes, he. This was the guy I liked. Well, I had long back planned that it would be the top secret, which I would keep to myself, and only myself. I had even tried to deny when Sakshi had asked me about it, but she pressed me and I had finally accepted. So finally, we two were the only ones who knew… and cared.

"Well you see, we are planning to get you a girlfriend." One of the other boys said.

It wasn't wise to do so, but Sakshi snapped at me when she heard it. Why was she getting worried, they were just joking.

"Yeah, I mean, we hate to see you lonely like this." Another one said.

"Please get me a good one then." He smirked. Yeah, I knew they were just joking. He was a good guy, a very good guy. But somehow this joke didn't seem good for me.

"You have to tell him." Sakshi whispered. What? Was she serious? This was just a joke…

"It's a joke for now, but he can actually get a girlfriend you know." She said.

"No, he won't." I said. I didn't know why, but I felt confident. I had never even thought that he could get a girlfriend.

"You can't decide that!" Sakshi said. It scared me, she was right. I always took it for granted, and believed that he would always be there.

"You've liked him for two years now." Sakshi went on. "What are you waiting for now? Go now."

The thing she was saying was unrelated to what was going on in the class. And I knew, somewhere she was right.

"Yeah" I replied.

I walked over to the group of boys. They stopped talking when they noticed me, and waited for me to speak.

"I…" I started. This was weird. Going to confess suddenly like this… they would think I was weird. But yes, he wouldn't. He had always been considerate, taking others' feelings into view. Smiling at me, he patiently waited for me to speak.

"I…" I said again. Yes, it wasn't weird. Someone liking him. It wasn't weird at all. I knew I could do it. I had to. It was now or never! I felt better now, like I could say it…

"I…" I said. "…want my notes back."

"Yeah" He looked a little surprised, but I didn't care anymore. "I have finished copying." He told me with a smile, but I wasn't looking. This was the first time I wasn't looking at his smile, the smile that I loved…

I came and sat back in my place, all my senses dead for a while. I think Sakshi didn't say anything to me till the end of the day. She accompanied me to my bus.

Our school was far off, so there were school buses. Today, our bus took quite late to start. This kept happening though.

"You can't be afraid forever." Sakshi told me before saying bye and leaving.

Ah, I was so useless. I was a coward. Even though I had tried to give up many times, I had failed. I knew I had to confess sooner or later… if I didn't, I would regret it forever. I knew it, but still…. Why couldn't I gather up the courage to? Why couldn't I just build up the confidence and say it? Hadn't I just gotten the best chance to?

Yes, holidays were near. I remembered what had happened to me last holidays. It was horrible not seeing him for so long. We weren't even good friends, just hi-bye ones. There was no way I could talk to him, or even hear of him. Now, I would feel worse. I knew I had just lost the opportunity that would have changed my life.

I was never afraid of being rejected. I didn't want to be his girlfriend in the first place. Just being friends, just being near him was fine for me. But only if I could get my feelings through to him…

My stop arrived; it was pretty crowded. There was me, him and some of his friends, and two siblings. He got down before me, standing right in front of the door when I was getting down.

"Rahul…" I called out to him. He turned to me with a smile that was already there. He was already quite away from the bus, allowing me the space to get down.

"Yes?" he asked me, when I stayed silent for a long time. The bus was still beside us, the students being very slow at getting down.

"I like you…"

"What?" one of Rahul's friends voiced out my thoughts. I and Rahul kept staring at each other, both shocked at what I had said. Well, I was shocked; he was surprised.

But the shock was not of fear, it was of joy. Finally, I had said what was in my heart for so long. Finally, I had confessed my feelings to the person I liked. Finally, I had taken that one step I was afraid to until now…

A smile naturally spread over my face. I felt proud, proud that I fell in love with Rahul.

I looked at him, in a way I had always wanted to. My eyes filled with emotion, reflecting all of my love for him. I was no longer the coward. The wall that kept me away from him was no longer there. Whatever happened now, I knew I would get closer to him. There was nothing to fear anymore...

"Oooooo, Wow!" the bus beside us cheered, as we noticed it was still there. The siblings had stopped midway while climbing down, so it was waiting for them to proceed.

Rahul looked a bit troubled by the cheering party. I wanted to worry as well, but nothing else came in my mind when I was looking at him.

"You know, we hardly know each other…" He said. I knew…

"And, I don't like you…" He said. I knew…

"But," he said. "Looking at you now, I just get the feeling it would turn out well."

What?

"So, what do you think?" He asked.

What?!

Yes, I knew he knew me at least good enough to know I wasn't interested in a relationship. So, he was asking me if…?

WHAT?!

"YEAahh!" The students in the bus cheered as the bus drove off.

The muscles in my neck, that had frozen before, warmed up again and I nodded my head. My hands clutched the sides of my skirt, and my stiff body warmed up slowly. My heart beat increased, and I nodded once again.

There was a spark in my head. I remembered something, something important…

"I am sorry." I said as I turned on my heels. My home was nearby so I walked there from my stop usually.

"What?" Rahul asked, surprised.

"Sorry." I said over my shoulder as I ran back to my house. Not entering the house, I made my way from beside as I went to the back side.

Panting, I stood there, staring at the neighbor's veranda.

:-

They weren't there. I knew I was pretty late today, but they would usually continue till now. They weren't there anymore…

"Hey…" I heard behind me, and turned to see Rahul.

"They did it." I said to him. "The finally took that one step… they finally jumped!"

He didn't get what I was saying, but didn't ask.

"They are out now," I kept going on, turning back to the neighbor's veranda. He followed my gaze. "They will go places with their mother. They would learn to earn a living, to earn food."

What was I saying, even though they were stray…?

"They won't be afraid anymore." I said.

"Just because they gathered the courage to…"

I was in tears now… I didn't know what I was doing anymore, but I could feel the warm hands that comforted me.

"… It changed their world."


A/N: Please review. I will be looking forward to reading your thoughts about it! :D