As the school got closer, people started getting off and familiar faces started to board the bus. One of them belonged to my friend Arpit. I waved at him as he got on.
We couldn’t have been more different. Where I was more inclined towards sports and athletics, he was studious and geeky. My life revolved around food and gossip and his around books and computer games but somehow, we had clicked.
“Hey you! Today’s the big day huh?” He said, dumping his bag onto my lap.
“Yeah, I really hope I get selected.” I was referring to the try outs happening in school today. I wasn’t too good or too bad, just plain addicted.
Arpit scoffed, “Even you can’t goof that up.”
“Some friend you are.” I made a face at him.
Arpit laughed, “Come on, lets go, School’s here.”
“Hey, I didn’t tell you what happened in the bus today!” I exclaimed as I got off the bus.
“What, something interesting?” We walked past the school gate mingling with piles of other students.
“Ummm,” I thought about it, “No, not really.. Just that I met someone..” I paused to get the right word.
Arpit turned towards me, “Cute? Rich? Good looking? Interesting?”
“Lame.” I finished. “No, literally.” I laughed as I saw the confused look on Arpit’s face.
“You did what?!!” Arpit laughed as I recounted the story. “St. Peter’s huh? Must be super smart.”
“Yeah, I guess.” For a moment, both of us didn’t say anything. It was our dream college. Getting into it, was almost like a dream for the both of us. I didn’t, for a second, doubt Arpit would have any problems.
I wasn’t so sure about myself though.
“Wow.” Arpit was still dreaming about St. Peter’s.
I smiled at him, “Come on, we’re going to be late for assembly.”
“This for all students who are participating in the try outs today. Please assemble at 4 PM in the sports ground.”
I turned back to look at Arpit. He was busy staring into oblivion. Clearly, not his type of announcement. I grinned as I caught his eye and turned back.
I ran upto Arpit as we were walking back to the class.
“Will you wait up? After school?” I asked. “I have to stay back, we‘ll grab an ice-cream or something?”
“Oh, did you want me to?” He scrunched up his face, as though he had done something wrong.
“You can’t?” I was disappointed. I had wanted him to be there, someone to be there. You know, in case I didn‘t make the team.
“Well,” He looked at his feet, “I could cancel my plans. You know, if you want.”
Suspicious. Very very suspicious behavior.
“What’s going on Arpit?” I asked as we got inside the class.
“What? I have plans. I’m allowed to have plans you know.” He said defensively as he sat at his seat.
“Yeah, but whats with the secrecy?” I sat down next to him.
“I’ve got a pfff..” He mumbled as the teacher came in.
“You’ve got a what?” I whispered.
“A date?????” I exclaimed.
“Hushhh!” He hit my hand.
“Sorry!” Date?Arpit? Date? Who? Where? How? WHO!!
“Naina, Arpit, is there anything you want to share with the class?” The teacher was staring at us through her glasses. The rest of the conversation had to wait.
So who is she? I passed Arpit a note.
Stop it, we’re going to get caught!
Just tell me.. Is it Rhea?
I glared at him.
Who could it be? Arpit had never kept a secret from me before.
I looked at him from the corner of my eye.
I hadn’t noticed. He had brushed his hair a different way, ironed his shirt for a change and he smelt pretty darn good too.
He caught me staring at him and raised his eyebrows.
I flashed a quick smile at him, whoever she was, he had gone through a lot of effort to impress her. She was important to him.
She was important to me.