A/N: Hello everyone! Hope you're all well and are keeping fine! I got some free time so I wrote this chapter, So here it is,
Sleep never came easy to him anymore, Dev tried to remember the last time he got this restless. His final year project? Nope, his job interview? Still nope. Sighing, he turned to the other side to meet Pavan's taut arm and closed his eyes forcing himself to fall asleep which after a few more minutes he realized was futile. Groaning, he got up from the bed and checked his phone, 4 am.
"well my mother would be proud" he smiled slightly thinking of his amma and how she used to lull him to sleep whenever he would have nightmares as a child.
After sitting on his bed and looking at a sleeping Pavan, Dev decided he was being a creep watching his best friend sleep and decided to go out after taking a quick leak in the restroom. After his bladder was relieved, he quietly walked into the living room and he saw Naira at the doorstep talking to someone outside. Finding it weird, he listened in, and much to his surprise he heard Kayash.
'Wow, the world does show you miracles' he chuckled to himself.
Naira must've not noticed him as she went to her room without a worry but he found the early morning talk a bit cliché, especially after the word vomit that happened not less than 4 hours ago. He didn't know if it was the sleeplessness, but he honestly didn't find it rosy that Naira and Kayash were becoming friends. Sure, he knows that Kayash is a good person, and yes they both are the ones who initiated this entire thing, him a little more than Kayash, if he had a say, but there was just something about that guy that irked Dev to no end.
Maybe it was the way he carried himself, walking like he owns the world, even tonight, he was having just as much fun as everyone and the dude goes blaming everyone else. Mentally groaning, he decided it was best if he didn't go outside if Kayash was there, and judging by his voice earlier, he was. So, Dev changed his direction towards the kitchen. He remembered Krish and Arjun telling him that they mixed up some stuff and had saved some for him in case he wanted it later and right he really wanted some.
"…Excuse me if I'm trying to have some fun and not looking around for some dead girl…"
Dev could hear Naira's voice from before like it was put replay. Not that he was mad at Naira, he could never be mad at Naira, he loved the girl like his own sister. Even when Pavan told him that he told off Naira, the first thing he did was call Pavan an idiot and smacked him the head telling him how much Naira needs the two of them right now and reminding him how she was before. No, Dev was more concerned about the essence of her word which was somewhat of a question in his own mind. Would they be able to find her?
The little mix those guys made were really good, Dev had to say, Krish does have a good taste of drinks. The alcohol was actually egging his thoughts on, he wondered if drinking first thing in the morning was a good idea but decided that him wondering now after taking two shots was as stupid as well, he couldn't really think of anything. Yup, Krish definitely had good taste.
"wow, so nobody can sleep?" Dev turned in the direction of the voice
"well, yeah it's been pretty much the same after the video," Dev replied to Kayash who was coming in the kitchen with few empty bottles of beer. Great, were he and Naira having beers and getting along. Seriously, first Gaadha now his make do sister, why can't this guy just leave the girls in his life alone?
"dude, it's 5 o clock in the morning!" Kayash pointed to the shot glass ready to be sipped, in Dev's hands.
"Says the guy with 4 beer bottles in his hands" Dev countered back, since when had Kayash begun Pathek begun to talk to people outside of his little realm. God! Dev just wanted to give him a duck in the head and laugh at his face. Yup, Krish's taste was just commendable.
"fair enough" Kayash replied raising both his hands, "anyway", he said walking towards the kitchen door, "I'm going to bed, you should too man, it's been a long night for all of us"
'Oh! look at that! His highness is ordering me around, Bloody friend stealer!' Dev thought and he literally counted back from ten to one to keep himself from seriously smacking the guy. The sober side of Dev knew that he was being unreasonable, in fact, he was the one who wanted to keep their differences aside and try to become friends, but it still didn't mean Kayash had to be friends with Naira or Pavan for that matter. They were his friends. His.
Groaning at his own pathetic self, he decided to go back to bed lest he wanted to wake up with a stupid headache. On his way to bed, he kept thinking back to what naira had said in her fit of anger. Dead girl. Dead!
Was she dead? Could she be dead? Then who was on the video? And who did Appu see today? Was it just a huge stupid mistake coming here? Was Naira right? Why do they not know anything about Gaadha? Why are they looking for someone who they don't know a thing about?
"dude it's only 5 30 why the heck are you awake?" Pavan's voice broke him out of his question reverie.
"I just went out for a drink I'm going back to sleep after a quick leak" Dev replied and Pavan crept back inside the covers, half of which were dangling on the edge of the bed. So, Dev did what he said and laid back on his bed trying to give his running thoughts a rest. But the thing was, he knew they were not merely his thoughts, they were his fears. It felt as if he was reaching out into this dark pitch-black hole. All he was running on, was instinct and his gut feelings, and though they've never failed him somehow his resolve felt weak. He was afraid of something, someone, the consequences. Even if they do find her what would happen? What's it going to be? Kayash saved the day? who would Gaadha thank? Why would she thank anyone? What if she could not thank anyone? What if they never find her?
"…Excuse me if I'm trying to have some fun and not looking around for some dead girl…"
"uuugggghhhhhhhhhhhh!" Dev groaned, grabbing a few of his hair but later regretted it as he saw Pavan slowly opening his eyes to look at him again. He already had too much on his plate, an angry Pavan was not an addition he wanted. But as soon as his eyes opened, it closed and Pavan snored his way to kingdom Sleep.
Taking a few deep breaths to calm his racing thoughts and drinking some water from the side jar, Dev plopped onto the mattress and tried the trick he heard from that youtube video Pavan showed him at the airport to get some sleep.
"GUYYSSSSSS! Jennifer is here"
Dev heard Appu from his shower. He woke up at sometime around ten when Naira came in to talk to Pavan, who had woken up before him. Turns out that video worked, he reminded himself to thank Pavan for that. So, he checked his messages and replied to his mother and father, his colleagues from work, and finally lifted his head to see Naira and Pavan making out in front of him. Of course, Dev teased calling them perverts and Naira coming up to hug him and apologize, to which Dev simply tapped her head calling her an idiot for even thinking that she would ever need to apologize to him. After that Naira had told him off for stinking and how he needs a bath.
"Dude! Jenny is here, you done yet, she's looking out of the world hot" Krish knocked at his door informing him.
"yeah! Just give me a sec" Dev answered back, as he wrapped a towel around his waist and stepped out of the washroom and dressed before stepping out into the common room where everyone was already seated and Jennifer was outside talking to someone on her phone.
"I still don't get why you took a shower! We're going to the beach anyway" Krish asked indecorously.
"because he stank, you do too!" Naira pointed out
"Hey! That's a man's musk lady! Don't insult a man's musk" Krish retorted and Naira rolled her eyes.
"Okay! So, I see you've made yourself comfortable!" Jennifer smiled as she came in, " Sorry that was my friend"
"no problem! Is everything all right with your friend, It looked like she was in a pickle" Dev spoke, 'come on say something, anything just so we can grab on this friend' he thought.
"what! Oh no! no! no pickle or anything!" Jennifer genuinely seemed surprised at Dev asking her such a question, "Just telling me to come over at her place tonight after the performance which reminds me, how was yesterday? I couldn't see you before you left, I heard from the receptionist that you guys asked them for a customer! Looking for someone special?"
"oh no!" Faizal started, "we just thought we saw someone we knew"
"oh! well you know that's the policy" Jennifer reasoned
"Yeah, no sweat, we'll just have to keep our eyes out" Arjun replied winking at her.
"or" Jennifer started, " you could call this person and ask him if he was there"
Busted! Now what? There was nothing else to sat to say to that! this conversation was supposed to slowly bring out info from her, how the heck did she corner them?
"Yeah we did" Naira started, and Dev thanked his lucky stars that she did because it was becoming an awkward silent phase, " but he didn't pick up the phone so we had no choice!"
"oh!" Jennifer nodded understanding, "anyway, since it's almost 11 30 why don't we all go for brunch and then a quick look at the beach markets, and then you can play in the water all afternoon!"
"sounds great? Where do we go? The Goan Cruise opens only at nights, right?" Shyam asked.
"That's right, there's this place near your cottage called Andrew's they have the best chocolate chip pancakes, if you want something like that or if you want Indian well there's Sharma's Coffee place or if you go a little bit further there's a south Indian restaurant," Jennifer answered
"well, I'm in the mood for a chocolate chip pancake," Dhyan said.
"Yeah me too, I've only had regular pancakes" Vijay agreed.
And everyone decided to go to Andrew's to 'get the best pancakes ever!' as Jennifer said. That was another thing Dev found interesting, Jennifer, their tour guide, looked great and seemed well-read and bred, so why was she doing something like this? Maybe this was a part-time job or something, but then again as a guide, you'd have to be with the people the whole day and she was performing at The Goan Cruise in the night. For someone, this good this job seems a bit tacky.
"we're here" Jennifer announced, "now why don't you guys go inside and order?"
"where are you going? Don't you want the chocolate chip pancakes?" Appu looked at her.
"well I had some right before meeting you guys so I'm really not hungry, plus I have something to take care of so, you guys eat okay" Jennifer replied.
Dev wondered what it was that she suddenly had to take care of while sitting and waiting for their order. Turns out Andrew's had a lot more than just pancakes, they had cinnamon rolls, all kinds of toasts, sandwiches anything under the western umbrella. They ordered a little of everything they wanted so that they all could taste everything. Vijay in particular was very keen about the pancakes and cinnamon rolls, he looked like a child who got his favorite candy when the waitress served the food. Speaking of which, Dev remembered, Vijay was getting married. Dev wondered when he would find such a person. Well, his very first crush was a disaster, considering that she went missing, and well everyone else he meets is either too out of his league or too into his league. Not that he was looking for someone, but his mother was, in fact, he remembered his mother teasing him about it. Yeah! His mother sure was a firecracker, he chuckled munching on the last of his pancakes.
"Wow!, I'm full" Appu stated blissfully
"I know right! The cake was so so so fluffy and yet rich in its own way" Naira added.
"Yeah I wish I could have this every day," Vijay said wishfully
"uh-oh better make it quick before your amma teaches Aarathi her secret dosa recipe which you looove!" Faizal commented laughing at Vijay sour face when he heard dosa.
"dude she knows right? That you hate dosa!" Dhyan asked.
"Yeah, I've mentioned it" he replied grumbling
"otherwise just imagine, Vijay waking up after his first night all satiated to see his arch-enemy dosa! Ching ching ching!" Shyam laughed.
"divorce on the first morning" Arjun motioned his hands across all the while laughing.
"haha, very funny, make fun of my marriage, you jerks! Just wait when you guys get married, I'm gonna laugh my ass out" Vijay warned.
"oh! look Jenny's here" Krish pointed and waved at her, "Jenny over here!"
Jenny came over to them, dragged a chair, and sat down.
"so? How's the food?" she asked her eyes gleaming.
"it's great! You seem to have a good eye for places with good food" Arjun complimented her.
"well of course! I'm a guide!" she smiled, "anyway, why don't you guys clean up and come out, I have a surprise for you guys"
"surprise? what surprise?", Faizal smiled clearly amused.
"well, I can't tell you obviously!" she scoffed smiling "come on out okay?, I'll wait," she said as she made her way towards the exit.
So there they were a couple of moments later outside of the restaurant, completely awestruck,
"well?" Jennifer looked at them with her big round brown eyes.
"I don't know what to say" Pavan murmured, standing before them was 6 really cool looking scooters, and they didn't even look very old.
"do you like them?" Jennifer asked.
"are you kidding? This is freaking awesome" Krish exclaimed.
"well I'm glad you like them, I had my friend pick them out for you guys, and the best part is you don't have to pay anything extra" she explained smiling.
"I keep asking you, how the hell do you guys make a profit?" Krish genuinely looked concerned to which Jennifer merely laughed.
"So anyway, I'll lead the way to the markets all right?" she said as she moved to mount herself on her own scooter and started it, "oh and while we're there, stay close to each other okay?"
The ride to the market was fun and breezy, it had been a long time since Dev had ridden, he always took the metro to work or a cab to go places. He had missed this feeling of the wind grazing his hair and his nostrils getting heated. It almost felt collegey. He was riding with and she was telling and pointing out different stuff she saw on the road. It was refreshing and he felt really happy for some reason.
At the market, there was literally anything you want,
Booze? Well, double-check!
And they were all at a reasonable price too. Local to branded every little thing was available. The last time they were at goa, they couldn't check out the markets much mainly because they were a bit late in the schedule, but this time! Man, are they in for a sweep!
Naira and Appu immediately pulled them into all the shops, looking at the jewels and dresses talking prices. Pavan and Dhyan checked out the booze situation, and the rest of them just checked everything out as a whole. Dev asked the girls to help him find something good for his mother. They were going from one shop to another, Dhyan and Pavan were back and so were the other guys. Jenny had told them to call her when they're done and meet her at the exit on the other end. Naira and Appu had bought some stuff for themselves and their family and Dev still hadn't found something for his mother, although he got a cool aviator for his father. They were just about to go to the next shop when he felt someone hit him.
"oh sorry!" he apologized.
"don't sweat it!" came the reply
Dev looked at Kayash, he was just as wide-eyed, he heard it too, that voice, there's no mistaking it.
"uh excuse me!" Dev looked ahead, but she wasn't there. No! he wasn't letting go of her now, no more hide and seek! He ran hoping in the same direction she went in, he looked back to see his friends trying to keep up with him. But as they got more and more into the market the crowd thickened and they gave up.
"Damn it!" Dev cursed.
"Are you sure it was her?" Appu asked trying to catch her breath from all that speed walking.
"It sounded like her" Kayash said.
"It was her, no mistaking it" Dev confirmed, "ugh Damn it I can't believe we missed her again!"
"Dev, calm down!" Dhyan spoke, "dude, are you like a hundred percent sure it was Gaadha?"
"well yeah!" Dev replied, seriously what was wrong with his friends, what only Kayash knows her voice? And didn't the guy just say it was her too?
" then, wouldn't she have recognized you?" Dhyan asked
'oh' Dev's mind was suddenly at a loss for words, his body was a loss for words. But he swore that she sounded just like Gaadha. Why was she always slipping from him?
"What do you mean?" Dev finally managed to speak out.
"well, we didn't see her mate! We just heard her, in fact, you just heard her too" Dhyan said
"well then maybe she didn't see us too, right?" Dev pointed; he was not letting her go this time. He was sure of it. It was her! She must've not seen them!
"she came past us, she'd at least see one of us in the passing" Appu slowly explained, "I'm sorry Dev, I don't think it was her either!"
"unless she didn't want to.." Kayash spoke slowly
" what?" Vijay asked up
"what if she didn't want to?" Kayash spoke up and looked at Dev, "what if she wanted to ignore us?"
Silence followed; nobody spoke a word. It was like the hustle and bustle of the market had been shut off and they were secluded in their own force field, completely cut off from the outside world.
"But why would she do that?" Appu asked
"she wouldn't" Dev cut her off looking straight at Kayash
"you don't know that" Kayash replied
"I do!" Dev answered back.
Sure they didn't know a thing about Gaadha. Sure, she never told them a thing about her. But the Gaadha that Dev knew wouldn't just ignore her friends. Dev knew his brain was asking him about the video and how she looked fine in that and that no one knew. But that still doesn't mean she'd downright ignore her friends when they're near her right?. She wouldn't do that!
Yeah! She wouldn't do that!... right?...
well! honestly not my personal favorite chapter, but I feel like this was important to the plot of the story.
Anyway, tell me what you think in the reviews.