A/N: There is a lot of OOC-ness in this story. OOC = Out Of Character 😀
He sighed deeply, his exhaustion evident in the sound. It was all a bit too much. So much to take care of, so many people to please. He didn’t know what he was doing half the time. There wasn’t a moment he’d had to himself since the last three months and he was tired. He sat on the empty (for once) football pitch and closed his eyes. His head felt heavy and he craved for a smoke. His hand reached his back pocket and he took out the half full pack of cigarettes, forgetting for one moment that he was supposed to be on the road to quitting. Smoking helped him relax. It helped him calm down. It helped him forget for those precious five minutes, the fucked up mess that was his life. He wished his parents would stop fighting. Or atleast stop dragging him in the middle. He lit the cigarette and held it in front of his face as the smoke billowed in circles. He watched the smoke dance in front of him and then disappear, drifting away into oblivion. His thoughts were cut short when he heard a soft, “Do you mind?” behind him. He turned around and shook his head, who was he to say no? He heard the grass crunch as she sat down beside him and looked ahead. He waited for the comment; it always came. “Smoking kills you.” “That stuff’s bad, you know.” Et al. Whatever happened to mind your own business? The silence lingered between them and a while later he saw her open a book and start reading. It was almost as if he didn’t exist, like she was in her own bubble. His curiosity got the better of him.
“What are you reading?”
She blushed prettily, embarrassed. He smiled softly, she was so shy. “Umm I’m reading, Chanakya’s Chant, by uh, Ashwin Sanghi. It’s about-”
“Politics, I know. I’ve read it.”
“You’ve read it?” the surprise wasn’t hidden in her tone and he smiled wolfishly. “Don’t think the football captain can read?”
She blushed a furious red, getting more nervous by the second. “Uh, no it’s not that. I just,” she saw his raised eyebrows and sighed in defeat. “Okay, it’s exactly that.” They shared a laugh. He thought she should laugh more often, she was so pretty.
“What’s your name?”
He smiled at her. “How come I haven’t seen you around?”
“I’m not in your department, I’m majoring in genetics.”
So she was smart too. They sat in silence for a while. He saw, from the corner of his eyes as she stole glances at him, debating whether or not to talk. She seemed to have come to a decision.
“What are you reading right now?” she asked him tentatively.
He faced her, glad that she’d decided to continue the conversation. He liked her. “The Rozabal Line, by-”
“Ashwin Sanghi. I know, I’ve read it.” She said, in the same tone as him, smiling. “It’s absolutely brilliant, isn’t it?”
“Yeah. It’s intense though!”
She nodded and they fell into comfortable silence again. He fingered his lit cigarette and thought of offering her one, although she hardly seemed like the type who’d smoke.
“Do you want one?”
“No, thanks. I don’t smoke.” She smiled a half smile at him.
“Umm I uh, I’m asthamatic, I can’t really smoke.”
He didn’t know what to say to that so he just nodded. She asked him for the time and he told her. She smiled apologetically and said she had class, she had to go. He smiled and said, goodbye. She got up and gathered her stuff and walked towards the building.
She turned around, a questioning look on her face. “I’ll see you around, yeah?”
“Yeah.” She grinned; a full blown grin and he couldn’t help but return one.
The next morning Akash nearly choked on his glass of juice when he saw the half full pack of cigarettes in the trashcan. He looked at his sleeping roommate, and smiled.
A/N: Not making a mockery of asthma in any way…I have it 😐
And no offence intended against smokers either.
Read and review! ❤