A/N: as always, early apology for the errors, I literally typed this up in the dead of the night. so I'm sorry if the sentences are a bit shagged, anyway
Kayash had turned just like the rest of them, only to have his jaw dropped. Clad in a pair of denim shorts and a red and brown plaid shirt stood before them the hottest girl, he had ever seen in his life, literally! He stole a glance at his friends only to see them gawking at her too!
"Dhyan Prakash?" she repeated.
"oh yeah! That'd be me!" Dhyan stepped forward, taking her hands as she stretched them for a handshake.
"Nice to meet you, Mr Prakash", she smiled at him, taking a once over at him like she was analyzing him, "ohkay, so I presume you know my name already?"
"uhh about that, they did tell me, but I forgot, sorry!" Dhyan said scratching the back of his head, smiling like an idiot and Kayash mentally facepalmed. His friend was a genius, seriously the guy could solve any circuit issues in a jiffy but when it came to stuff like this, he was a total goof!
"ouch!" she replied poking her chest smiling, "well then I better introduce myself , my name is Jennifer and I'll be your guide? Yeahh I'll be your "guide""
"sorry about that, this is Kayash" Dhyan pointed and Jennifer reached out to shake his hands and turned to repeat it with the rest of them as Dhyan continued introducing them, "that's Pavan, Naira, Faizal, Vijay, Shyam, Arjun, Apoorva, Krish and Dev"
"Well I must say this is the first time I'm guiding people at my age, its usually families, or you know older people" She looked at them smiling showing her deep dimples "but I hope we have a great time"
"yeah with a guide like you I'm pretty sure we will" Arjun winked at her and Kayash couldn't help but smile at his not so subtle flirting, to which she laughed whole heartedly, no doubt she got this all the time.
"well anyway, usually in our company, each guide is made to prepare a tentative itinerary for their group", she started maintaining eye contact with each of them, "but since your booking was on short notice and well….. they literally called me up on my day off, I haven't really prepared one"
Kayash looked at everyone, they were all nodding at her, faintly mumbling stuff like, "that's no issue" or "don't worry about it" or "naah that's totally fine", to which he too agreed. The girl was here to take them around on her day off, she must be cursing them underneath her breath with every word.
" ohkayy so for now, I'm taking you to where you'll stay, and we'll discuss everything else there, yeah?" she looked at them and all of them nodded.
"so uhh how are we going?" Naira asked grabbing her luggage as she followed behind Jennifer.
"well I came by my ride, but for you I've arranged our cars so.." she replied looking back at Naira.
"oh so you won't be joining us?" Faizal looked at her puppy dog eyes.
"no I'll see you straight at the cottage" she told him before, she bent over and told the driver the directions,
"ohkayy see you guys there!" Jennifer waved as their car took off.
Jennifer had got them two very impressive SUV's, needless to say this was going to cost them a lot, but then you only live once right? The ride to their cottage was uneventful, everybody seemed to be tired, they all had loads of work to finish before they left for Goa. Well, except for Vijay, but he seemed to be tired too. Apparently, he had been missing quite a number of dates, and his fiancé didn't seem to be letting him off the hook either. She had been particularly pissed about him "gallivanting with his friends", as she put it, in Goa, leading her to not pick his calls.
It wasn't that Kayash didn't like Aarathi, she was a fine girl, good to talk to, well mannered, perfect for Vijay! But the marriage, it felt like they were rushing him, his mom, his girlfriend and her family. Although all of them including Faizal's Abbu told him that he was rushing and that he was still too young, he paid no heed and nodded his head for marriage. But Kayash couldn't really notice him being sad or anything, he was still the same old Vijay, simple and sensitive and if the dude thought he was ready, then he must be ready.
The journey from the airport to their beach cottage took about forty five minutes. The sun was beginning to set and moonlight slowly gushing its way in, giving the sky a dramatic flair. It all seemed to give a good vintage vibe. Kayash had always been one for imagination, be it the clouds or the sky or sometimes just shadows, he loved to make up stuff about them, a hobby that never sat well with his father. Thinking about it now gave him a faint nostalgia, the gentle sea breeze caressing his face only adding to the effect,
"it's beautiful isn't it?" Kayash heard Dev standing beside him.
"yeah, brings back memories" he smiled
"hey you two.. come on we have an entire week to stare at sea!", they heard Appu shouting from inside the cottage.
"yeahh we're coming!", Dev shouted back and turned to look at him, "we'll find her, right?"
Kayash was a bit taken aback, Dev was the last person he'd expect to ask for such a confirmation, that too from him. For all he knew, this guy was the source of positivity and confidence. but Kayash had to admit, the question had him bugging him since they decided this trip, would they find her? What if this idea was stupid after all?
"ummm… I hope we do" Kayash stared at the sky again
"oh! honestly you two! Come on, Jennifer is going to say something and don't expect any of us to repeat it" Naira Susan of all people had come to collect them, and what was with the look she was giving them like she had an effect him or anything. That tone may work with Dev the sweet heart, but if she was going to be like that to him, well she had another thing coming.
"yeah we're coming", Dev replied before Kayash burned Naira with his eyes, "come on Kayash"
"yeah right behind you" he replied and followed them inside.
The cottage was huge, with a large common room and fine bedrooms each with attached washrooms, he briefly wondered how much each of them would have to chip in by the end of the trip before reminding himself again 'you only live once!'
"Allrighty since everyone's here, I'll brief you about everything" Jennifer clapped her hands beckoning everybody to the common room, "right! So like I said earlier I don't have an itinerary planned and its already past six plus you guys must be tired too, so I'd say going to a restaurant and having a full warm dish would be the most ideal thing to do today, what about you guys?"
Seeing all of them agreeing, Jennifer continued,
"ohkay! So we have a theme-restaurant nearby, and not to brag, but the food is delicious, and it's one of Goa's main beachy attraction nowadays"
"Theme restaurant?" Shyam clarified, "as in stuff like cosplay and things?"
"yeah, each day we have a new theme, we don't open in the mornings it's a completely night restaurant, so that you know we can get the place ready, anyway that's not the important part" she looked at them, her smile reaching her eyes, Kayash couldn't help internally laughing, this girl was certainly something, one moment she was this sexy tour guide and the next she was a cute teenager excited at the smallest stuff.
"what is the most important part?" Dev asked seeming to be equally amused by her
"Well, you get free service there till the end of your trip" she stretched her hands to both sides like a magician who just did his most fantastic trick.
"wait a minute" Dhyan started, "what do you mean free service?"
"I mean you could eat at our restaurant till your trip ends for free" she explained, " well not free exactly, remember that initial 15k you paid in advance, yeah it all comes in that moreover we have a payment order too, you need only pay according to how much you are satisfied by our services"
"payment order?" Vijay repeated
"That's right, we have highly satisfied, satisfied and not satisfied, the not satisfied need only pay the advance from which the restaurant bill if not used, will be reimbursed, satisfied and highly satisfied have their respective scales too" Jennifer finished
"so you mean to say that we could just rob you blind?" Krish asked somewhat impressed at which Jennifer shrugged her shoulders, "dude! You guys must have some sick Business strategy"
"well we've never had a single unsatisfied customer, we tend to our clients very seriously", Jennifer replied proudly, "anyway about tonight, can I confirm that you'll be coming?" she added
Kayash himself was extremely curious about the whole theme restaurant and he hoped the rest of them will be too, which by the looks in everyone's faces were true,
"sure! Count us in" Appu replied excitedly
"great! Ohkayy so I'll send a car by say, eight?" she looked at everyone, and confirmed her decision, after everyone agreed, "ohkay next, I want to know what your interests are, I mean do you want to take a look around the usual places, or do you want to just stick to beaches and clubs and you know…."
"well, we want more fun stuff, but we don't want to leave anything out" Pavan said
"oh-kay!" Jennifer seemed to make a mental note and nodded, "okay now anything else?"
"oh, do you know a good place we can rent two-wheelers, one that wouldn't rip us off?" Krish asked
"do you not want to ride in cars?" Kayash swore he could see her surprised for a moment
"not really!" Kayash added, he didn't find the idea of being in a car all that free, besides for what they actually came her for, two wheelers are preferable.
"well! I'll try to arrange them for you, how many would you want? Would 6 vehicles do?"" she looked at them counting them mentally.
"yeahh, that would be more than enough" Faizal flashed his signature smile and Kayash understood it all too well. He looked at Dhyan who seemed to have noticed it too, yup! Faizal Farukhi was smitten by the sexy guide. Even she seemed to get it too, giving him another dimpled smile.
"ohkay, so at eight your ride will be here and oh! I almost forgot, the theme today is Gothic something… like that," she said, "not that you have to dress up or anything, but don't be late, I'm singing"
"wow! you sing?" if Pavan was interested before he was on the edge of the curiosity bridge now, "I play in a band myself you see"
"Get out of town!, for real?" Jennifer exclaimed.
"yeah nothing big or anything, just small gigs here and there" Pavan laughed nervously scratching the back of his head.
"he's just being modest, they're really good and they've been getting some really good calls recently" Naira spoke, pride emanating from each word.
"that's so cool…anyway I'll leave you guys to rest and freshen up, don't forget eight!" she spoke as she walked towards the main door and exited shutting the door behind her.
Few silent moments passed, all of their eyes fixated on the door as if somehow, it'll tun into Jennifer and talk to them again. Clearly, she left a good lasting impression on them and it was sure that they were going to have a discussion about it, all they needed was a start.
"she's really pretty, ain't she?" Arjun started,
'aand there it is', Kayash internally chuckled
"I don't think pretty even starts to define her" Shyam added
"I know, did you see her ass, it's like so perfect!" Naira shook her head, as if she had the most obvious thing in the world
"I know right!" Appu joined
"how rude! Speaking about an innocent girl like that" Pavan admonished, "and you women blame us for not respecting your body"
"coming from the guy, who was mentally stripping her" Naira countered, scoffing. Now as much as Kayash hated Naira, he had to give it to her, the girl knew how to talk like a boss.
"yeah, mentally!" Pavan retorted as he emphasized the last word to which Naira stuck her tongue out.
"ohkay! Why don't you guys be kissy-kissy in your own room while the rest of us get freshened up" Dhyan interrupted whatever was about to happen and ushered each of them into their respective rooms.
The cottage had a total of five rooms, the girls decided they would share a room, which admittedly surprised Kayash, as he expected Naira would want to snuggle next to her boyfriend. The rest of the rooms were divided among guys. Afterall, all that mattered was they got a bed to put their head.
It was already 7 and Appu had come to check on them earlier to give them a mouthful about not getting freshened up yet. Appu was cool, he liked her. If he were to put it, he'd say she was loose and flexible but not too loose to become a pushover, he wondered why Appu and Gaadha were not as close as Princess Naira was to her. But then he had to admit Naira didn't seem to be as annoying as she was back in college and yet a part of him didn't want to like her, wanted to find something wrong in her. He briefly wondered what Gaadha would say if she knew about his ill feelings towards Naira.
Kayash chucked to himself, they literally had no idea how to start. Sure! with enough time maybe they could ask Jennifer about her, but it wasn't like they could do it right off the bat. As filmy as it sounded, they needed to keep their little search as quiet as possible, if Gaadha was in some sort of a pinch, drawing attention to her would only mean more trouble. Yup! definitely starting to get all filmy, when he thought about it another sense, it sounded ridiculous and totally crazy, something very Gaadha.
"alright I'm out," Dhyan announced as he came out of the bathroom with a towel tied around his waist. Faizal whistled at the sight telling him to change into his pants soon unless he wants Appu to walk in on him changing and have a nosebleed at the sight of his peepee.
Their car arrived at their cottage at 8 pm on the dot, with the driver informing them of his arrival. Most of them had gotten ready, of course the girls had been ready for an hour but "guys will be guys," Kayash recalled Arjun pacifying Naira, seething at Dev and Krish for playing around. By 8 10 they all had gotten in and left for the restaurant.
The Goan Cruise wasn't like anything they expected, their sheer arrangement and the whole atmosphere put most European hotels to shame. True enough the way the staff had dressed and the decorations screamed Gothic. Even the way they spoke was nailed down to a T! Prior to leaving, Jennifer had sent Dhyan a message saying that she had already checked them in and all they needed to do would be to notify the reception when they arrive and they would show them to their seats.
As they sat, Kayash took in his surroundings, they were seated upstairs on a long table facing the stage so that everyone could watch, without somebody's head blocking the view. The waiters came to take their orders, of course speaking with 'thee and thou' having everyone turn to Appu for translation much to her chagrin with Kayash grimacing at the thought of reading books of the old.
As they were waiting for the food, the lights dimmed and Jennifer became visible on the stage, wearing a wine-red gown. She reached for the mic, introducing herself, the orchestra and the theme for the day, all the while adorning a smile. Jennifer started with the Bollywood song, Muskaan jhoothi hai from Talaash.
If they thought Jennifer was a great guide, then it was nothing compared to how great of a performer she was. She held the stage and even kept her grace while moving around in the audience swaying her hips with the music. Before they knew it, the song had ended and food arrived having them practically drool at its smell.
As they started munching down, Kayash spotted a guy in a white button up shirt inserted in jeans slowly making his way towards the table nearest to the stage, followed by a girl dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt with its hoodie covering her head. The guy had reached the table first and had waited for his hooded companion, A date? No, it didn't look like a date to Kayash, the interaction, it seemed too automatic, besides a hooded date at a restaurant like this seemed way off. He looked at them again and they were talking, it looked like he was berating her, probably for wearing a hoodie, 'aah so siblings!' Kayash chuckled at his own assessment.
"hey check it out", Shyam called as he swallowed "the girl on the table nearest to the stage, she must be the talk of every table right about now"
"well I don't know about that, but that guy bleeds pheromones" Appu remarked.
When Kayash looked again, he saw Jennifer approaching the guy, kissing him on the cheek and seating herself on one of the spare chairs. So, Jennifer's boyfriend and his sister? Or maybe that's how they said hello, well whatever it was, Kayash noticed that the hooded girl seemed to be paying no heed.
"do you think she's going to take off the hood when she eats?" Vijay asked him
"I don't know!" Kayash replied, adding a dark edge to his voice, "Maybe she doesn't want to show her face, maybe if she shows her face, the one looking at it would turn to into stone"
"oh dark!" Vijay chuckled
"no… its Gothic!" Kayash replied in his most English tone
"aaahhh! You mean thee tha tho?" Vijay winked laughing with Kayash
"oh look she's changed seats, someone's joined their table" Naira pointed, bringing their attention back to the table of the hooded girl. She had shifted to the chair adjacent to her brother's as an older lady had joined the table. By now the lights had dimmed again and Jennifer had started her next song. Kayash and his gang left the hooded girl alone and munched on their dinner enjoying the extravaganza playing out before them.
After finishing up their dinner and listening to two more songs, they decided to call it a night and head back to the cottage. Before they left, Dev suggested that they take pictures and everyone started posing around all the interesting stuff they could find. Now Kayash didn't mind being in pictures but if he were to choose, he'd rather be the one taking the picture. After a few clicks, Appu said that she needed to use the restroom and excused herself while Vijay attended a call from Aarathi muttering multiple I love you's and sorry's along with explaining himself and the rest of them still on a quest to take Instagram by a storm with all the gothic-ness around. Although he found it stupid, Kayash had to admit, he was having a pretty good time, until they saw Appu running towards the exit.
"yo! We're over here" Krish called to her
Upon hearing his voice, Appu slowly turned, a stricken look across her face, her breathing shallow and somehow Kayash already knew,
"I think I sa…. I think I saw Gaadha"
oohhhhhhh, that was quite a long chapter, anyway tell me what you think in reviews!
till next time!