Thursday, July 25, 2019

Night Adventures and Unexpected Twists(A lot can happen over a coffee : Chapter 4)

"Okay, then come over to my house," Karthik's invitation held a genuine warmth.

"You're kidding, aren't you?" Deepika's uncertainty tinged her words.

"No, I'm serious," 

"What kind of guy are you? We just met this morning, and it's a bit forward of you to ask something like this," Deepika's surprise was evident in her tone.

"Deepika, let's not react so strongly, and there's no need to overanalyze it," Karthik's interruption carried a soothing undertone, gently addressing the whirlwind of emotions in Deepika's mind.

Karthik's hands fumbled nervously, as he awaited Deepika's response. To his astonishment, Deepika's silence lingered before she abruptly ended the call. Doubts flooded his mind – had he inadvertently misspoken or caused offense? A short while later, Deepika stormed back into his view, a storm of anger on her face. One of her eyebrows arched challengingly, daring him to echo the words he had uttered before.

"Ma'am, just chill. My sole concern is to ensure your safety, that's all."

The moment he met Deepika, a profound realization struck him – he had found his soulmate. Every shared moment became a cherished treasure, affirming his belief that she was the perfect partner with whom he could wholeheartedly embrace life's highs and lows. Despite Deepika's marriage dilemma, he clung to unwavering optimism, confident that their journey would conclude with positivity. 

This certainty fueled his unhesitant invitation to his home; to him, it was a gesture of inviting his future wife. As she strolled, the trees' gentle rustled a cooling breeze that tenderly caressed her faces, leaving her refreshed.

"My friend, do not entertain those wild midnight. It's 11:55, not exactly the prime time for making life-altering decisions!" Karthik chimed in with a chuckle. "And trust me, the word 'yes' is not mandatory here."

"But if you're feeling a bit shaky about it, no worries at all. I can totally be your chauffeur to your friend's place," he added, playfully raising an eyebrow.

Feeling a wave of relief, Deepika's fingers gravitated towards her mobile, contemplating her friends' availability. She hesitated though, wary of the late hour and not wanting to stir up anyone's sleep. An alternative strategy formed in her mind – a quick check of their "Last Seen" status on WhatsApp. Her intention was to reach out only if their online status or "Last Seen" fell within the last 20 minutes.

Karthik understood her intention and secretly wished that her friends shouldn't be available. It turned out that his wish came true, thanks to a bit of luck.

"Alright then, if you really want me around, I can totally moonlight as a night security guard and camp out by your place," he teased, playfully pointing towards the road.

"Fair point," Deepika replied, her tone light. She paced back and forth, her steps leading her back to him. "Or...we could do something a bit more adventurous and spend the night together. Just throwing it out there."

Karthik raised an eyebrow, a mischievous grin breaking out. "Oh really? And how do you propose we do that?"

Deepika thought for a moment before revealing her master plan with a confident nod. "Well, I've heard whispers about this magical spot called Bistro Cafe on Mysore Road. It only comes alive in the dead of night, but it's supposedly safe, quiet, and perfect for some outdoor dining. What do you think?"

Karthik's smile widened. "An hour's drive for a midnight adventure? Count me in."

With that, the decision was made. They piled into the car, ready to embark on their escapade.

 ☕❤ ☕
Bistro Cafe, nestled on the outskirts of Bangalore as Deepika had mentioned, was situated over an hour's journey away from her home. While spending the entire night out wasn't the most practical notion, for Karthik, it stood as a preferable option when compared to leaving Deepika alone or at a friend's place. He harbored an unwavering commitment to her safety, deeming the lengthy drive worthwhile in exchange for extended moments in her company.

As they navigated the path to Bistro Cafe, Karthik couldn't resist stealing occasional glances at Deepika. Her hair swayed gently in the night breeze, her face bathed in the moon's ethereal glow. Lost in contemplation, he pondered the uncertain course of their shared journey. Would their paths converge, or would destiny pull them apart?

The sound of Deepika's voice brought him back to the present. "We've arrived!" she exclaimed.

Karthik parked the car, and together they ventured towards the cafe. Surprisingly vibrant for the late hour, the place buzzed with activity. They managed to secure a table tucked in a quiet nook, offering refuge from the bustling crowd. Their conversation meandered through their past adventure experiences, tales involving friends and family members.Words flowed naturally, and Karthik found himself captivated by Deepika's infectious zest and fervor.

A surge of contentment enveloped Karthik. She had carved herself a place as someone exceptional in his life, and he wasn't going to let her slip away without putting up a fight.

"What would you like to have?" Karthik inquired, his gaze fixed on the menu.

"I'm sorry, but I don't eat anything after 10 p.m. Snacking late at night can lead to health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and kidney failure....," Deepika responded

With a chuckle, Karthik interjected, a playful grin on his face, "Hold on, don't keep going with your scary list of horrors. It's just one night, we will survive." 

Deepika laughed, rolling her eyes in mock exasperation. "Alright, alright, I'll trust your judgement this time."

"Well, thank you, Ms. Cautious," Karthik quipped, his eyes sparkling mischievously.

As they bantered, the waitress arrived to take their orders. After some contemplation, Karthik decided, "I'll have the chicken pasta, please."

Deepika followed suit, "I'll go with the veg salad."

As the waitress left to place their orders, Karthik leaned back in his chair. "So, tell me, what's your favorite childhood memory?"

Deepika's face lit up. "Oh, that's a tough one. But I think it has to be the time spent with my family. Every Saturday night, we used to share stories and sleep under the stars."

"That sounds amazing," Karthik replied, genuinely interested."I've always wanted to try that. Let's continue after our marriage," Karthik suggested with a grin.

She gave him an earnest look, a reminder that their current status was that of friends and that marriage was a long journey ahead. 

"Well," she began thoughtfully, "If you're marrying someone like ABC, and I'm marrying someone like XYZ, we could all become one big family of friends. What do you think?" her tone a mix of dark comedy and playful sarcasm.

"Ah, yes! The ABCs and XYZs of our future family sitcom," Karthik quipped with a wink.

As their conversation flowed, the hours seemed to melt away, replaced by shared stories, laughter, and the promise of a connection that was growing stronger with every passing moment.

When they found themselves immersed in the night, cocooned within each other's presence. Suddenly, the serenity was broken by the sound of approaching footsteps. Karthik's head turned, and recognition painted his face – it was Naresh and his girlfriend Vidya, strolling towards them. 

Excitement and surprise swirled within Karthik as he swiftly rose from his seat, wearing a wide grin and extending a warm welcome to his friends. Greetings and playful taunts filled the air for the next couple of minutes, creating a spirited atmosphere that Deepika observed with interest. 

With a smile, Karthik introduced Deepika to his friends, while Deepika navigated through her momentary embarrassment to offer her greetings.

"Deepika, Oh... your secret's safe with us," Vidya teased, casting a knowing glance at Naresh. 

"Karthik, Deepika – Nice combination!" Naresh playfully teased, seamlessly joining in the lighthearted banter.

As the night unfolded, the quartet reveled in each other's company. Tales and laughter flowed, and a sense of ease enveloped Deepika in the presence of her newfound friends. Their warmth was a welcome embrace in the unfamiliar territory.

When the clock struck 4, and the cafe's closing time neared, Karthik excused himself, promising to settle the bill. However, it was Naresh who intervened, revealing that the tab had already been taken care of. He orchestrated a plan – Karthik would drop Vidya home while escorting Deepika back to her place.

As the night unfolded, the quartet reveled in each other's company. Tales and laughter flowed, and a sense of ease enveloped Deepika in the presence of her newfound friends. Their warmth was a welcome embrace in the unfamiliar territory.

When the clock struck 4, and the cafe's closing time neared, Karthik excused himself, promising to settle the bill. However, it was Naresh who intervened, revealing that it had already been taken care of. He orchestrated a plan – Karthik would drop Vidya home while escorting Deepika back to her place.

Naresh couldn't help but sport a grin as he observed the surprise on Karthik's face. After a brief pause that hung with a touch of awkwardness, Naresh broke the silence, his voice laden with amusement, "You both came in a car, right?" Naresh grinned mischievously. "Take Vidya with you and drop her at her place"

Vidya giggled, catching onto the banter. "Well, it's a brilliant plan."

Karthik's eyebrows shot up in surprise, and he exchanged a quick glance with Naresh. "Wait, what?"

"Don't worry, guys. I was just joking," Naresh chuckled, his eyes twinkling mischievously. "We don't want to ruin your date. I'll drop Vidya off, and you two can enjoy the rest of the night... sorry, morning."

Vidya added, "You two can keep each other company on the way back."

Karthik laughed, shaking his head. "Oh come on, Naresh. You're not ruining anything. We're just hanging out."

Deepika chimed in, playfully adding, "Yeah, and besides, we're all friends here, right?"

Vidya joined in the teasing, raising an eyebrow. "Oh, just friends? Karthik, you didn't mention that part."

Karthik's cheeks reddened slightly, and he shot a mock glare at Vidya. "Alright, alright, friendly hangout buddies, then."

The group shared a hearty laugh. Deepika was taken aback by Naresh's use of the word "date," but she decided not to make a big deal out of it. Naresh hugged Karthik, wishing him all the happiness in the world. 

Once Naresh and Vidya left, Deepika and Karthik walked to the car. Karthik whispered, "I'm sorry about all the teasing. They're just happy for us."

Deepika looked at him with a smile. "No need to apologize. It's all in good fun."

As they settled into the car, Karthik pondered for a moment before asking, "So, what's the next move?"

"I think my keys might be at the office," Deepika said, her voice pondering. "I usually go to my yoga class at 5:30 AM, so you can drop me off there and then I can take a cab to the office once my class is over."

Karthik raised an eyebrow, his expression a mix of disbelief and amusement. "Yoga? At 5:30 AM after a night out?"

Deepika gave a determined nod, a playful glint in her eyes. "Yep, I'm all about that healthy lifestyle. Don't worry, I've got this. And the key situation? I'll handle it."

Karthik let out an exasperated sigh, shaking his head in mock surrender. "Alright, you're the boss. But what if the keys are nowhere to be found?"

A confident grin played on Deepika's lips. "Oh, I will pull out my detective skills. No key can escape me."

Karthik chuckled, clearly charmed by her spirit. "Well, Ms. detective Deepika, I wish you luck."

As they continued driving, Deepika suddenly broke into a smile. "You know, I never thought my night would end up like this."

Karthik smirked, teasingly replying, "Life's full of surprises, isn't it?"

Deepika gave him a playful shove, "Oh, stop being all philosophical."

Karthik laughed heartily, "Alright, alright. I'll stick to being your driver."

Deepika's laughter joined his, filling the car with a light-hearted energy that seemed to encapsulate the entire night.

 ☕❤ ☕

Entering the yoga studio, Deepika could sense the positive aura enveloping her. Despite the fatigue, she was glad she had chosen this path. The yoga class infused her with revitalizing energy. As she checked her phone afterward, a message from Karthik illuminated the screen.

**Karthik:** Thanks for your time  I had a great time; it's one of the best ones.😊

**Deepika:** I'm really glad to hear that! I had a fantastic time too..😊

With renewed enthusiasm, she booked a cab and headed to the office to retrieve her keys. Walking into the familiar surroundings, her keys were exactly where she had hoped – resting on her desk. A smile danced on her lips, a fitting ending to the night's escapade.

Driving back home, the quietude of the night allowed her thoughts to drift toward Karthik. Their unexpected connection surprised her, yet she couldn't deny the enjoyment she had experienced in his company. Perhaps, just perhaps, this was the beginning of something unique, something worth exploring.

At home, as she prepared to retire for the night, her phone emitted a soft chime. Karthik's message brightened the screen.

**Karthik:** Can't wait to see you again. Miss you... Take care. 😊

**Deepika:** Aww, that's sweet! Miss you too. Have a great day!

**Karthik:** You too! Take care and have an amazing day ahead.

**Deepika:** Thanks, Karthik! Catch up soon!

**Karthik:** Definitely! Counting down already. 😄

**Deepika:** Haha, same here! Bye for now!

With a content heart, she closed her eyes, reflecting on the wonderful connection she shared with Karthik. Their conversations were always a highlight of her day, and the thought of him brought a smile to her face. She cherished the anticipation of their next meeting, the chance to dive deeper into their growing bond.

As she lay in bed, her thoughts drifted between the memories they had already created and the possibilities that lay ahead. She imagined their laughter echoing through cozy coffee shops, their hands intertwined on leisurely strolls, and the countless conversations that would weave the fabric of their unique story.

In the midst of these daydreams, a sense of gratitude enveloped her. She was thankful for Karthik's presence in her life, for the way he had shown her new perspectives and shared his own. She felt a warmth deep within her, an acknowledgment that love was indeed taking root in her heart.

However, as the night deepened and silence settled in, a restlessness stirred within her. She recognized that her feelings for Karthik were evolving beyond friendship, and that realization unnerved her.

Her attempts to calm her racing thoughts with a book or a cup of tea proved futile. The more she tried to suppress her emotions, the more they surged to the surface. It was as if her heart had taken on a life of its own, beating in rhythm with the unspoken words that hung in the air between her and Karthik.

In a decisive moment, she reached for her journal and pen. With each stroke of ink on paper, her emotions found a voice. She allowed herself to express the myriad of feelings that had blossomed within her—joy, uncertainty, hope, and the undeniable pull of attraction. As the words flowed, she realized that her emotions were a testament to the depth of their connection.

As the final sentences formed on the pages of her journal, a sense of clarity washed over her. She had acknowledged her feelings for Karthik, embracing the beauty of their unfolding love story. And while the future remained uncertain, she was determined to embrace each moment, allowing their relationship to evolve naturally.

With a serene smile, she closed her journal and set it aside. The restlessness that had kept her awake had transformed into a sense of peace, a tranquil acceptance of the emotions that had taken root in her heart. As she closed her eyes, she felt a comforting certainty that whatever lay ahead, her love for Karthik would continue to grow, intertwining their lives in unexpected and beautiful ways.

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