The ambient white light bounced gently off the soft contours of Disha’s shoulders as she walked across the room. The dark hair of the long-legged vision in a blue sari meandered behind her as she quickened her pace to reach where Vikram was standing.
“Hi Vikram, how are you?” She asked in a mellowed tone.
He swallowed hard, mesmerized by her voice. It was rich and soft, yet strangely compelling, as were her eyes. Fathomless amber. Eyes that seemed able to look into him and through him at the same time. Five years ago they had cut through all pretence and put the cuffs on him in the space of a breath. They were just as striking now. Maybe even more.
“Couldn’t stop thinking about you, I’m afraid.” His larynx rang with deep ardour.
A slow pallor spread beneath her warmly glowing skin. Now there was a refinement to him, a purpose in his stance, and the teasing spark in his eyes had been replaced by a determined gleam.
“Missed me?” His voice jolted her from her thoughts.
Disha felt the colour rush back to her face. His eyes were bright, but she knew they held pain. He couldn't hide that, no matter how much he tried.
"Did you?" he asked, his tone insistent.
She felt a well of emotion, emotion that had lain in slumber for years. Her heart started pounding like that of a pup writhing in the jaws of a wolf.
"Yes,” she replied as she avoided his searching gaze. “More than you can imagine."
“I thought you wouldn’t show up for the reunion.” He moved his fingers back to her ear, pushing them through the long strands of her hair as a painter’s brush would stroke his canvas.
“And miss meeting with you?” She wore a hurt expression. “Highly unlikely.”
He had helped her tide over her darkest times. He had sensitivity without an inclination to judge. He was someone who had stayed up nights to wipe away her tears. Her gratefulness to him was instinctive.
Her hair was now falling in expressive waves down her back; she was quite the loveliest thing he had ever seen. He took a step forward, his hand reaching to touch a smooth, peach-coloured cheek.As his palms cupped her face, he felt a special warmth steal through him, awakening senses from dormancy like the dawning of a new sun. He saw her cheeks flushed with the heat. He saw her lips parting. He watched a blush stain her cheeks.
He inched closer and she closed her eyes. She wanted to savour the feather touch of his fingers on her face. It was one light touch after another, each kind but enchanting, but none lasting long enough to provide any deep satisfaction.
His fingers smoothed her lips, seeking the contours, the edges. Her face was so close she could see each individual, dark, curling lash around her marvellous big eyes. He could stand here like this all night, and never tire of her tenderness.
She opened her eyes to find that his breath had become unsteady. Even then, he waited. She sensed he was giving her a chance to turn and run, but that was the last thing she wanted to do.
His mind raced back. To a time when her arms used to find his neck and coil beyond, drawing her slender body firmly against his heavier, harder one. Her hands used to play over the back of his head, caressing every inch from crown to nape with the devastating touch of those long nailed fingers.
And he used to be snagged in the web they spun, neither able nor willing to move away.
But that was then.
He straightened. “We’re setting a bad example.”
“Last thing on my mind,” she whispered and her eyelids fluttered closed again. Beneath his fingertips, the pulse at her throat throbbed, her heart racing to beat with his.
“Your husband is watching,” he said, starting to pull himself away.
“What?” A tinge of panic flashed in her honey filled eyes.
“Kidding,” he chuckled. “But he’s in the room, looking for you.”
Her blood thrummed in her veins. Her breath caught and staggered. With a violent effort which seemed to yank her heart from its hinges, she slowly moved away.
“Time to pretend we’re just friends, isn’t it?” A tight-lipped smile tugged at the corners of his lips. “By the way, your eyes look different today. Very different.”
“They’re just the same.” She looked down at the floor.
“No, tonight they’re thick and sweet. Like a warming ginger ale mixed with smooth honey. Golden brown, big and a million miles away. You have the most stirring eyes, did you know that?”