Nia sat cross-legged in Aarav’s room next to a steaming cup of Cuppa Maggi, chin in her hand as she watched Aarav pacing around back and forth as if he were measuring the dimensions of the room and man, if he was, he’d probably done it more than the required amount.
“They’re going to know, I can feel it, they’re going to know about us…” He muttered, restlessly fidgeting with the phone in his hands as he paced.
“Aarav, chill, there’s nothing to know,” said Nia, deciding to focus on her noodles instead of Aarav’s panic attack. So his parents are coming to see him and know how he’s doing in college and he shares a flat with a girl. It wasn’t a big deal for Nia because she had no parents but turns out, for someone who has parents, which is Aarav, it was a bigger deal than most things.
“What? there’s nothing to know? Are you serious right now?” Aarav whined, “Nia, we’re in college and we’re practically living together and that’s a huge deal for them!”
“What’s wrong with sharing a flat with a girl? We have different rooms,” She reminded him.
“Oh yes we do, but do we ever use them separately? They’re going to sense it.” Aarav finally sat down next to her and grabbed her cup and starting chomping on the Maggi she’d cooked for herself. And by ‘cooked’ we mean poured hot water in. It’s a big deal, shut up.
“So fine, I’ll shift at Nicky’s until they go back,” She suggested, snatching her food back from him.
“Nia, my father is a psychologist, he’s going to know even before he enters this flat,” He reminded her, “And besides, my room smells like some kind of candy, thank you.”
“It’s not a candy it’s lavender,” She clarified, rolling her eyes so hard it almost hit her brain.
“Whatever, you moving out for a few days is not going to help, Nia.”
“So let them know, dammit, how does it matter?” Nia said out of pure frustration.
Silence fell like a heavy rock on them, but what would he tell them? That she’s his girlfriend? He could, his parents were that open minded but only they weren’t a thing. They were friends who slept together; friends with benefits if you may. But Aarav had told her, a few weeks ago that he loved her and she hadn’t said a word back. That had scared him, he thought he’d lose her, so he never said it again.
And now he saw it in her eyes; emptiness. He almost convinced himself that she only ever liked him but for love, she was hollow. But-but-but, he knew she loved him back, she just wouldn’t say it. For everything, she loved disappeared and saying it was a big deal for her. He knew all of that, so he never said goodbye. But he couldn’t do this anymore, it was time she said what he wanted to know.
“Tell them what Nia? What are we?” He asked her, she opened her mouth to tell him that they were ‘friends who slept together’ or something along that, but the words got lost in her mouth. She knew he’d disagree. She knew they were more.
“I don’t know,” she ended up saying.
“Nia, it’s been so long, it’s been long enough. I’ve told you how I feel and I need to know if you feel the same or not…” He said, taking the cup from her and setting it down.
“Aarav…Why?” She muttered, clearly struggling with her speech.
“Just say it,” He said, he wanted to be done with it. He wanted to be done with it now.
“Aarav!” she said in disbelief.
“I’m not asking for any commitments, Nia. I just to know, okay?”
“Fine!” She yelled, “Fine, I love you, Idiot. But this was hella childish and I hate that you just made me do it,” She dragged her butt across the floor until she was a breath away and then she grabbed him by the face, “I love you so don’t keep worrying about it. You knew I would say it sooner than later. You know me, I can’t keep secrets…and one this obvious? Hell no.” She told him. He nodded, smiling at her before she placed a warm kiss on the corner of his mouth.
“So are you going to tell them now?” She asked him.
“Hell no,” He replied with a wide grin. Nia gasped.
“Fuck you!” She said, grabbing the cup of Maggi and dousing his head with whatever soup was left inside of it. Even though it was done out of anger she felt it was really funny how he’d find noodles in his hair for a very long time now so she giggled. And the rest of the evening was spent in a chase and a food fight that had them scrubbing the ceiling and floors for the whole weekend.