Remembering You, Book 2 in the Destination Wedding Series releases on 24th January and it’s my first book of 2020. I hope there will be many more books this year and I thank you all for the support and love.
Until then, here’s a small snippet from the book to tide you over.
The meeting was helmed by Uzair and Kimmy was just there to offer support and it went well. The bride’s parents were particular about many things and Uzair made extensive notes on his iPad. He was good at logistics, something Aditi desperately needed in her business. Aditi planned, and he executed.
Naima excused herself and Kimmy wondered if she could leave too. She was tired and she wanted to have a full night’s sleep before the wedding hungama began in earnest the following day. Uzair nodded in her direction slightly, so she left with Naima. At the elevator, Naima was looking at her uncertainly and Kimmy fidgeted, wondering what the matter was.
‘Uzair was saying that Khalil was your senior in college?’ she asked as the elevator dinged and the doors slid open.
Kimmy looked down to hide her flushed face. Shit. Uzair probably blabbed everything to Naima. But it was her fault for having brought up Khalil with him, like an idiot.
‘Yeah,’ she said, hoping Naima would leave it at that.
‘Hmm?’ Kimmy was still looking down.
‘Is everything okay?’ Naima asked. Kimmy looked up at her. Naima’s beautiful eyes were kind and there was only concern in them. But even then, how could she tell her that she had kissed her fiancé, well, ex- fiancé the day Naima had broken off the wedding?
‘Yeah it’s all good,’ she said. Naima didn’t look like she believed her but thankfully, she let it be as her floor came up. She got down and smiled at her.
‘You can tell me,’ she said softly before the elevator doors closed. Kimmy shut her eyes. Yeah, she could but she shouldn’t. It would make things awkward.
In her room, she enjoyed the feeling of solitude although she missed Anaya too. She removed her shoes, shucked off her jeans and called Anaya who answered immediately.
‘How come you have mom’s phone?’ Kimmy asked.
‘Shirley Ma gave it to me to play a game,’ Anaya replied.
‘Don’t play too many games okay?’ Kimmy said.
‘Okay mama.’ Anaya’s voice sounded small and woebegone, so far away from her. Kimmy felt that tightening in her chest as she spoke to her for some more time before wondering what to do with the rest of the evening. She wasn’t hungry but she wasn’t sleepy either. She decided to soak in the bathtub for a bit even though she felt a little guilty about the water she was wasting. But this was a luxury and she didn’t want to miss out on it, the one chance she got.
The water was deliciously hot and she felt all the tiredness seep away from her body. She lay back and thought of the strange scene that Amay had created when he came to visit them at her mom’s because she was leaving Anaya there while she went to Kolkata. He wanted Anaya to sleep over at his place for the weekend and Kimmy had disagreed. This was not a part of their deal. He only took her out for two or three hours and that itself was weird for her baby because he just took her to a mall and got her ice cream or French fries to eat. What would he do with her for two days?
She thought of how hurt he had looked when both Kimmy and her mother had suggested that he was incapable of looking after Anaya for so long. It seemed genuine but she had learned over the years not to trust him.
Her limbs felt loose and she felt like a new person when she emerged from the bathroom. Her phone was ringing and she went to answer it, a towel still wrapped around her body.
It was an unknown number. She swiped her finger over the screen but because her finger was wet, the screen wouldn’t respond. Annoyed, she wiped her finger over the towel and answered the phone finally.
There was silence for a few seconds and she lifted the phone from her ears and looked at the screen. For the strangest of reasons, her heart started to pound. And then the reason was no longer strange because the voice that replied, was the voice she had been hearing in her dreams, these past few months.
‘Kimmy,’ he said.
She drew in a breath. ‘Khalil,’ she whispered. Her face turned red and she closed her eyes. Just his voice had such a powerful effect on her.
‘How have you been?’ he asked.
‘Good,’ she replied, walking over to the bed and sitting down. She sank into its plush softness, her mouth dry. How had he got her number?
‘What about you?’ she asked him softly.
‘I think about you Kimmy,’ he said and she closed her eyes. Just picturing him saying these words…she took a deep breath.
‘I think about you all the time.’
‘Why?’ she asked. There was silence.
‘Can we meet?’ he asked, instead of replying to her question. This was a bad idea, she told herself. Well, too bad. Her heart had already decided it wanted to meet him.
‘Yes,’ she said. Hearing his voice reminded her of that kiss, the way he had kissed her back, the feel of his skin under her fingertips. Her belly dipped and her breathing became shallow.
He sighed loudly. ‘I have a work conference out of Bangalore this weekend. I’ll come back and call you,’ he said.
‘Okay,’ she told him. She wanted to talk some more but she didn’t know how to prolong their conversation without making it awkward.
‘I wish I didn’t have to go to this conference. I wish we could meet right now,’ he said.
‘Yes, but…I’m also not in Bangalore at the moment. So, we can probably coordinate when both of us are back in Bangalore,’ she said, pushing aside her wet hair from her neck and wincing. Coordinate? Dammit. What was wrong with her? This wasn’t a corporate meeting she was setting up. She hit her forehead lightly with her fingers. Thankfully, Khalil hadn’t noticed.
‘Oh. Will you be gone for long?’ he asked.
‘Five days,’ she replied. ‘That’s too long. I can’t wait to see you Kimmy,’ he said gruffly.
‘You waited all these months,’ she reminded him softly. There was silence at first.
‘I didn't want to. I wanted to reach out to you as soon as I came back to Bangalore. But the scandal and my parents...it was all too much. But I can't wait any more Kimmy. I need to see you,’ he said. She shut her eyes. He had made it clear that he wanted her. Was she going to capitulate? Shouldn’t she think of the long-term ramifications? But what the fuck? They were adults and…her face flamed up when she thought of what this could entail.
‘I know, but I’m here on work,’ she said. ‘I’ll call you when I get back to Bangalore.’
‘Okay,’ he said.
His voice had a rough timbre that made her shiver. She still didn’t want to end the call. ‘What are you doing now?’ she asked him, her voice low. ‘Why?’ his voice lowered too.
‘I…’ she swallowed. Did she have the courage to ask him? ‘I want to picture you in my mind.’ There was silence for a few seconds.
‘I just finished packing for the trip. I’m in bed,’ he said. ‘And you? What are you doing?’
‘I…’ she looked down at herself. Her towel had come undone. ‘I’m in bed too,’ she said, shutting her eyes. She didn’t think she could tell him the truth, that she was hardly wearing anything at the moment. She was tempted to tell him, but it would sexualise their conversation and although she knew where it was headed, she didn’t think she could take that step at this moment.
‘Good night, Kimmy,’ he said. ‘Good night, Khalil,’ she replied. She saved his number on her phone and then immediately refreshed Whatsapp to check his profile photo. There was none. Rolling her eyes, she put her phone beside the bed. She didn’t need to see a profile photo. She had enough photos of him, still saved on her laptop. But there was no way she was going to get any sleep tonight. She was quite sure of that.
If you haven’t read the first book in the Destination Weddings Series, It Was Always You, do get it here. Since Kimmy and Khalil make their first appearance in this book, it’s a good idea to read that book first for context.