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It started at the eatery “Tantalizer” that’s it – I think. We were seated, having a chit chat, nibbling and seeming to have a good time. In plain sight, it seemed we were having a great time. Chris was looking into the Kaine’s eyes, words spoken and unspoken were exchanged, laughter followed suit and Chris was contented. In his eyes, she was more than he bargained for and he thought himself lucky to have her there.

But Kaine had been there before. From two years back, she remembered the series of event that had led to the final shattering breakup. As the thoughts flashed through her mind in vivid pictures – the same contented laughter, the mooning eyes, and the wide eyed admiration that was rapidly turning into adoration – she knew instantly, at that very moment, that she wasn’t ready for another round of the drama. All she wanted when she had agreed to see him was a little companionship and nothing more.

Returning his gaze with wide, smiling and superficially admiring eyes, her brain suddenly snapped alive. Restraining all budding emotions and raising her defense level to high alert, she began to await the right moment to initiate the attack and beat a hasty retreat back to the status quo she had maintained for two years.

To Chris, he saw the bright glassy eyes and interpreted it to be a reaction to the emotions reflected in his own eyes. He decided to tarry no longer and take the plunge. Stretching across the small two feet table that separated them, he took hold of her left hand, wrapped both his palms around it and pulled towards himself.

“Now that we are friend….” He began tentatively  and her alert senses swooped in to halt the speech.

“Friends” she intoned “who ever said we were that?”

“But are we not” he asked back sharply, a puzzled look etched on his face. All traces of confidence wiped out.

Maybe I am going too fast. Maybe I am using a hammer to nail a fly. I mustn’t hurt in the process averting same from myself, she thought. Quickly switching gear, she asked “how would you define friendship? Is it by us knowing ourselves this two months and occasionally hanging out together? Is that what you would call friendship?”

The puzzled looks on Chris face was now replaced with sheer bewilderment, laughter completely wiped form his eyes.

“So what do you term this two months of our relationship?” Hurt, he threw the question back at her.

“Relationship?” She seemed to visibly flinch at the mention of the word. But the fact that she was perilously close to hurting him made her alter the direction of her attack again.

“Maybe we should consult a dictionary for the meaning of the word” she returned, feigning a smile this time in an attempt to lighten the mood. He didn’t smile back but his stare pierced her as she slowly picked up her mobile phone and consulted the installed Oxford mini dictionary application.

“Friendship is defined here as someone you like and know very well. See” she stretched out the phone towards him.

“So you might believe you like me …..”

“I like you? I very much do!”

“But do you equally believe that you know me that well in two months?” She continued as if uninterrupted.

Then quickly added “because if you say you do, I do not know how that is possible when in 25 years of my life, I cannot claim know myself so well. There are parts of me that still baffle me and so many others I keep discovering by the day. So what part of me are you claiming to like?”

By this time Chris was staring at her completely stupefied.

To be continued . . .

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