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But Just Say I Love You - 13

by Jaysree Vijay
(Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India)

Back to Chapter 12

Chapter - 13
Few months passed by. It was one year since Vidyuth met his quietus.

Vijay found a job in a reputed firm. Harini was now busy doing her certification. Arvind, Suresh had found a job too.

It was a casual Sunday evening. Harini had come home for weekend. Harini invited Vijay for dinner. Harini, Vijay and Arvind met in terrace after the dinner.
“Anna”, Harini called Arvind.
“Don’t address Vijay that way. You will feel for it”, Arvind replied sarcastically.
“I am calling you, stupid”, Harini hit Arvind in his arm.

If it had been the same old notorious Arvind, he would hit her hard back. But now he was different. He was still not out of the whammy, Vidyuth’s demise had put on him.
“Tell me”, he cleared his throat.
“Arvind, will you get your sister married to me? We both…”, as Vijay spoke, Arvind gestured Vijay to stop.
“You both are in love since you met on our college tournament.”, finished Arvind.
“You knew it?”, Harini’s jaw dropped.
“I am your brother. I know what is happening with my sister.”, Arvind smiled.
“So, when are we going to announce it formally? Decide on it fast guys. We have loads of things to do”, Arvind continued.
It was Vijay’s turn to drop his jaw.
“Are you ok with it?”, exclaimed Vijay.
“I am fulfilling it, not just because it was my sweet sister’s wish. It is my best friend’s wish. “Arvind looked at Vijay. Vijay hugged him.

Arvind rested his head on Vijay’s shoulders. His eyes were moist. “What would I tell him when he comes to know about it?”, Arvind spoke in his mind. It was terrifying. He thought he shall hide it forever. Guilt overtook him.
Couple of months later, both the families agreed on their children’s wish. Vijay was a completely transformed person now. The Vibrant Vijay was back, Harini’s adorable Vijay too. Vijay called Harini.
“Hello”, Harini smiled as she attended his call.
“My love heaven is just a day away. By this time, tomorrow, you would be my wife. It’s just you who can bring so much happiness and beauty to my life”, Vijay started.
“Enough , my dearest, have something in store after the wedding too.”
“You will not run out of Love and I will not run out of words, describing your love for me.”
“Oh my god. Hey listen, don’t make me blush.”
“Missing those cheeks and the blush”, Vijay sighed.
“Hey Sweets, listen, I am starting from home to wedding hall. See you in the evening. We would have been paired for the family ritual then”, Harini smiled as she cut the call.

As the families reached the wedding hall, the rituals began. Reception was about to commence in an hour. Harini got ready beautifully in her zardosi saree. Vijay was already waiting on the dais. He smiled at Harini as she climbed up. She stood near him. Harini was short by a foot in height. She raised her head looked at Vijay, and then lowered it, trying to obviate the demure woman in her.

The reception ceremony ended on a happy note. Vijay and Harini had dinner together. Vijay had invited Suresh to stay overnight. Bharath had joined them too. Vijay swiftly took two steps at a time and tried reaching the terrace.

Harini signaled him “Where are you going?”.
“Bachelor’s party. Guys are up.”, Vijay pointed his fingers to terrace.” Arvind told he will join later as he had some work”, he continued.
“Are you going to drink?”, Harini’s face shrunk.
“No, never. Just sponsoring the party. I will while my time away with lays Chips and Pepsi”, Vijay smiled.

Harini smiled back. Vijay took a few steps. He suddenly stopped. He was not sure what stopped him. He slowly turned towards Harini. She was still standing for him, smiling. Vijay flashed his broad smile. They never knew it was going to be the last time Vijay would smile at her.
Bharath and Suresh were ready with drinks. They started drinking slowly. As the bottles were emptied, Bharath started losing his mind.

Suresh was better compared to Bharath. Vijay was worried about Bharath’s state. If his parents knew that Vijay’s friends had been boozing, they would be furious.
Vijay shook Bharath.
“Tell me ,da”, Bharath spoke to Suresh. Suresh turned his face hard in Vijay’s direction. “He called you”, Suresh shouted.

It was getting into Vijay’s nerves. “Guys, don’t shout. Do you hear me?”, anger marred his brows.
“Sshhhhh”, Bharath signaled to Suresh.
“Guys, listen. Please, please, do not tell mom or dad about this party. I arranged it exclusively for you guys”, Vijay’s hastened speech startled Suresh.
“No we won’t spill a bean. We are good at keeping secrets.”, Suresh assured.
“Yes”, Bharath spoke as he gulped his last ounce of beer.
“Especially me. You can check with Suresh. It has been one year. I am still keeping the secret about your brother’s murder. I have never told anyone about who pushed your brother off the running bus”, Bharath blurted out. Vijay looked at him in dismay. Suresh was shocked.

Vijay’s fury knew no bound. He started splashing cold water on Bharath’s face to stop him from getting into hangover. The series of cold water splashes, made Bharath regain his conscience.
“What the hell did you tell now?”, Vijay demanded.
“I am sorry”, Bharath apologized.
“Is it true?”, Vijay’s voice raised.
Bharath hung his head. “You idiot”, Suresh raised his voice before Bharath could tell it. “This drunken dog is trying to spoil your wedding. You better do not hear it”, Suresh objected. Vijay’s face turned red. He demanded Suresh to tell him. Suresh was forced to play back the original incident.

“I was also travelling in the same bus. Arvind forced your brother to dance in the moving bus. I stopped him. But he pushed me away. Your brother refused to dance. The bus driver kept warning Arvind that he would complain. Arvind did not care. As Vidyuth kept denying Arvind’s words, Arvind got furious and he walked to your brother. Arvind pushed him forcing him to dance. Your brother lost balance, as the bus was moving. He fell down and the rest is….”, Suresh dragged. Vijay’s eyes were moist. Now everything fell in place for him; Arvind’s sudden increase in concern, his constant saddened mood since Vidyuth’s demise, his immediate approval for Vijay’s love. Everything was just because he had killed my brother, Vijay thought. His rage was at its peak. As he rose to go down, Arvind came up to join them for the party.

He was shocked to see Vijay’s face. He was panting heavily. Arvind sensed something was wrong.
“Vijay”, Arvind called slowly.
“You monster; you killed my brother”, Vijay shouted.

Arvind saw Suresh and Bharath. He could guess it should have been Suresh, who had revealed to Vijay about this.
“I was wrong. I am sorry. I am ready to take any punishment from you. But please don’t punish my sister for this”, Arvind begged.
“Sorry? A single word would suffice, right? It was a meagre loss. You don’t even have to tell a sorry”, Vijay sarcastic voice hardened as he gritted his teeth.

“Please don’t stop the wedding. I cannot answer my parents. Please don’t let my sister know about this.” Arvind pleaded.
“Don’t worry. Stopping the wedding would involve my parents too. I do not want to give them any other major blow in their life. We have had enough. This wedding will happen. Your sister will pay for your folly.”, Vijay spat the words. “I was not concerned about my brother. Probably I took his demise lightly. Hence I did not show interest in investigating further. If though I had, I would have identified what had happened to him, much earlier. I am going to marry and punish myself for my silliness”, Vijay continued as he descended the stairs.

It was only Harini who had been smiling all through her wedding. Through her corner of her eyes, she did not miss to notice Vijay. He was just staring at the consecrated fire that was burning for the wedding ritual. Though he stared at the bright fire, he visualized his life darkening.

To be continued in Chapter 14

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