First day of college. Sana was wondering what to wear. “What the hell!”, she thought. “People continue writing shitty stories on love. How much would it take to write a book on “Dos and Don’ts on the first day of college”?”

At last, she settled on a pair of jeans and a top that she thought was appropriate enough. After getting ready, she laughed at herself for being so silly.

Getting into St. Stephen’s was no easy thing. She’d always wanted to get into DU. There was just something about it, something so nice. She couldn’t explain it, but she knew St. Stephen’s was the beginning of something wonderful. If only she knew what she was getting into.

There was a lot of hustle-bustle in the campus. Everybody was busy introducing themselves- busy making friends and acquaintances. As she walked by the corridor, something caught her eye. Someone caught her eye. She only saw the back, but she knew who it was. “No,” She thought, “It can’t be. Of course it can’t be. He can’t be here.” She dismissed her thoughts, but the way she was feeling, the way her stomach rolled up into knots, she knew it was him. But it couldn’t be. Ishaan couldn’t possibly be here. But the connection, it was too strong. Scolding herself, she turned around and made her way to class.

Someone tapped her shoulder. She turned around…to see Ishaan. No. No. No. It couldn’t be. Her throat tightened. She felt she was going to cry. A year and a half. What were the odds? Yet here they were, standing right next to each other. She kept mumbling no. Oh god, was she dreaming? Unable to think, she turned her around and started walking ahead.

Ishaan came beside her and said, ‘What, you can’t even say hi?’

‘Is this really you?’ She asked.

He looked at her, and for a moment it felt like they were back in the car that night. ‘Yes.’ He said.

She took a deep breath. And slapped him. He rolled his eyes and winced at the pain. Everybody stared.

She smiled and walked ahead.

‘Okay. I guess I deserved that.’ He said. ‘Are we even now?’

She couldn’t believe he just said that. ‘Can you even hear yourself? No, Ishaan Malhotra. We can never be even. Lets just leave it at that.’

‘Sana…’

She wanted to ignore him, but more than that, she wanted answers to her questions. She wanted to know why. This was so crazy.

‘Why’re you even here? You hated DU. You hate everything mainstream. What’re you doing here?’

‘Can’t a guy change his mind?’ Ishaan smirked.

She raised her hands in defeat. ‘You. I don’t know you. You’re not the guy I remember. Go away.’

‘Sana. Listen to me. I know you’re angry…’

‘Angry?’ She burst out. ‘Angry? You left, Ishaan. You left me. Right when I needed you the most. Right when I needed you to tell me that you loved me. You left me. And I didn’t see you for a year and a half. And believe me when I say this, the last year and a half was torture. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know what to feel. I was upset, I was hurt, I was lonely, I was alone- but more than anything else, I was betrayed. So unless you can bring back the last 548 days of my life, I suggest you get lost.’

He groaned. ‘You think it was easy for me?’

She smiled. ‘Looks like it was.’

He grabbed her hand. ‘Well, looks can be deceiving. Listen to me. Please.’

She freed her hand from his. ‘Don’t touch me.’ She snapped.

‘Just hear me out, Sana. For everything that we were. Please.’

‘I don’t need your excuses, Ishaan. You can go and give them to somebody who’s interested. It was nice seeing you. Have a good life.’ She managed a weak smile and started walking ahead, when he grabbed her hand and took her to a secluded area. He put his finger on her lips.

‘It was nice seeing me? That’s all you’ve got? After everything that we’ve been through, it was nice seeing me?’

‘Everything that we’ve been through turned to nothing the day you left and never came back.’ She managed a straight face. If she was feeling anything, she didn’t show it.

‘Sana. If you think, even for a moment, that it didn’t kill me every second that I was away from you, you’re wrong.’

He ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. ‘Don’t you even want to know why I left?’

‘Because you didn’t want me anymore? Because by the time the doctors told you that my chances of survival were next to nil, you didn’t care anymore?’

‘Are you mad?’ He growled. ‘Every minute that you were in that ICU, I was there right beside you, holding your hand, telling you that you would be fine. I never would have left, Sana. I had to.’

She softened. ‘Why did you?’

Ishaan’s voice was hard. His face froze. ‘That night, it wasn’t an accident, Sana. Someone tried to kill us.’

To be continued…

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