Malisa and Varun were once married, but through some misunderstanding and family responsibility, they separated and went their own way. Five years later, they meet again. Varun tries to mend his mistakes, but Malisa cannot forgive him or his family. At this crossroads, will they forgive and re-kindle their love or go their separate ways again?
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The Fateful Encounter
Friday did not come quick enough. The two young women were scurrying to dress up for an evening out and were late. Malisa was excited. Her friend Jenny had recently started dating and her new suitor had invited her to a sophisticated, high-end restaurant. He had also requested Jenny bring Malisa for a blind date with one of his old-time friends.
Malisa did not like blind dates, but Jenny’s excitement with her new suitor made her agree to go to make her friend happy. They were late because Jenny had tried on 10 different outfits. Finally, she chose a sleek black dress, and Malisa dressed in a sky-blue flowing dress.
Jenny drove them to the restaurant that Darius had reserved for them. Both women got out and excitedly entered the elegant foyer. For a moment, Malisa was nervous, as Jenny smiled and waved at a handsome young man sitting at a table. He stood up and came forward to greet them.
“Malisa, this is Darius.”
Darius was a young man in his late twenties, dressed in a black suit. He smiled charmingly at her and beckoned them to the table. Another man sat there, with the back of his head facing them.
“I would like you ladies to meet my good friend…,” Darius started as he brought them to the table, and completed, “… Varun.”
The man turned his face to look at them, and the color drained from Malisa’s face. She could not believe who she was looking at. He was the one person she thought she would never see again; the one person she had left behind completely to begin a new life from. A range of emotions passed through her. His face equaled hers in shock.
“This is Jenny, my girlfriend—and her friend, Malisa,” Darius continued to Varun.
Varun quickly recovered from his shock and slowly stood up. Straightening himself, he took Jenny’s hand and shook it—he did not notice her enormous smile when Darius called her his girlfriend. Then his hand went out for hers, and still in shock, Malisa almost did not raise her hand to him. When she did, he slowly took it and held it gently. Her hand shook. As if the touch burned her, Malisa quickly retracted and took a deep breath. She was feeling light-headed, but quickly composed herself as she turned to her friend and forced a smile.
Darius and Jenny did not notice the change in atmosphere, as they stared at each other with twinkling eyes. Darius beckoned them to sit at the table, and Malisa was forced to sit across from Varun. Her face flushed with embarrassment. Could she sit here all night facing this man? Her hands continued to shake as she grabbed her drink and tried to stay calm.
He observed her—her hair was pulled up into an elegant bun, and she had light make-up on with a peach lipstick. She was still as attractive as before…and even more so. He noticed her shaky hands, and he finally chuckled as he thought how nervous she must be.
She glared at him icily, annoyed that he was enjoying himself while she was dreading being here. Why was he here, she wondered? She had moved far away so they would never see each other again like today.
“Varun is visiting here from Bangkok and we hope you can show him around, Malisa,” Darius interrupted her thoughts.
Her mouth almost dropped, and she smiled uncomfortably at Darius.
“I—I am busy these days…I—I don’t think I will have time,” Malisa quickly spoke, stuttering. She quickly grabbed her drink and took a sip as she tried to cover up her anxiety.
Jenny, not understanding her friend, chided her, “Dear, you have the whole evening to show Varun around. Varun has never been here before and will need an excellent guide to the city.”
Varun half-grinned as he observed Malisa’s fidgeting.
“Malisa may have someone in her heart that she may not be comfortable with another man?” he questioned smoothly.
She looked annoyed.
“Malisa is free,” Jenny interrupted gaily. “She has plenty of evenings to spare, plus she needs to go out more. She can give you a tour some evenings, won’t you dear?”
Malisa almost dropped her glass of water. She swallowed uncomfortably and avoided his eyes. She could not bear to look at him, but felt his piercing look. He had changed a lot, she sensed. He did not speak as much, and his eyes looked serious and weary. He seemed to look more mature…almost more attractive… Quickly brushing those thoughts away, she excused herself to go to the bathroom.
She gazed at herself in the mirror. She was no longer the twenty-year-old naïve, gullible Malisa who had fallen in love with him. She is now twenty-eight years old and a woman on her own. She was not afraid of anyone, at least not someone she had let go years ago. It took her awhile to compose herself before she left the bathroom to go back to the table.
“Dear, we were just talking to Varun, and he shared that he was also married once like you,” Jenny remarked lightly to Malisa.
Malisa took a deep breath wondering if the truth was going to come out.
“Jenny says you were married in Bangkok. What was your husband’s name?” Varun remarked with a mock. His hand held the glass cup in front of him, as his fingers played with the exterior. Malisa tightened her lip. She knew he was baiting her.
“I rather not mention his name, as it was not a pleasant marriage,” she icily remarked, stunning him. His eyes searched hers, but she was cold and unwelcoming.
“Well, at least you have something in common,” Darius came in. “Varun also had an unpleasant marriage. I think there is much you both can talk about.”
Malisa almost grunted but covered it up with a sip from her drink. During the entire night, she ignored his eyes and avoided talking to him. When they finished their dinner, and everyone was ready to leave, Malisa was relieved. She did not notice that Darius whispered into Jenny’s ears and took his keys out and handed them to Varun.
“Jenny and I are going driving for the night. Can you take Malisa home?”
Malisa’s mouth dropped as she turned to find her friend winking at her. Jenny came to hold her arm and replied, “Have a talk with Varun, Malisa. You both have many things in common and Varun is a likable man.”
Malisa shook her head in refusal.
“I can take the taxi, Jenny. I don’t want to burden anyone.”
Jenny chided her, “Don’t be silly. Varun will not hurt you. He is Darius’s friend.”
Before Malisa could say more, Darius winked at Varun and left with Jenny out the door. She turned to look at Varun in disbelief. He looked as surprised as she was, but before he could say anything, she rushed out of the restaurant and he pursued her.
“Where are you going?”
Malisa was walking on her heels, but she did not want to be alone with him or reminisce about the past. He quickly caught up to her and grabbed her arm.
“It is dark out. Getting into a taxi alone at this time is not safe, Malisa.”
She faced him angrily. Her name on his lips seemed strange and heartbreaking.
“I am a grown woman and can take care of myself!” she remarked in frustration. She could not understand why this was happening…why did they meet again? She pulled her arm away and continued walking.
“That is not what I remembered before, Malisa!” He took her arm again and turned her around to face him. “Have your heart found another—is that why you are afraid to face me?!”
Annoyed at his words, she flung her arm away from him and turned to walk away again. He rushed after her. “Why are you running from me?! What are you afraid of?!”
This time, Varun pulled her into his arms and held her tightly there, so she would not leave. “Let me go, Varun! We have no business in each other’s life anymore…!” she cried out, trying to push him away.
Angry at her words, he glared at her icy face. Was she the same person he had once loved? Not believing it, his face came down and kissed her. Shocked, she pushed him away, but he pulled her closer. She could not believe this was happening. How could he kiss her so casually? Frustrated, she pushed as hard as she could and got him to release her.
“I am not the twenty–year-old Malisa anymore! How dare you do this to me?!” Malisa quickly wiped her lips, which infuriated him. He grabbed her and shook her.
“You always run away from everything in your life! Even your own marriage!”
Hurt and now reminiscing about the past, she finally slapped him with all the pain in her heart. A tear threatened to come out of her eye. “I am not a stupid woman to leave something of value to me!”
Varun looked angry. Her words shot through his heart and he quickly grabbed her back and kissed her again. Frustrated, she pushed him away and tried to leave, but he enclosed his arms around her.
“You ran from your marriage! You ran from me and your family!”
Malisa tried to pull his hand away from her waist but couldn’t as he held her tightly.
“I gave you your freedom to marry Sallie,” she coldly remarked. “As I remembered, you were the one who wanted me out of your life! So, let me go!”
There was silence, and finally Varun slowly released her. She scurried away and look at him in pain. He returned her stare and wondered how they could have loved each other in the past. Or was that all a dream?
“Leave me alone, Varun,” she finally spoke after a while, “I already signed your divorce paper. I gave you back to your family. There is nothing in that life that I want to return to.”
Malisa felt a pain in her heart with those words. She quickly turned and walked away, leaving Varun to look troubled. The tears finally slipped down her face, but she would not let him see it. His heart was in pain, and he wanted to go after her, but he knew her words were true. He did want her out of his life. So why could he not let her go? Why was he not happy to see her leave him again? Angry at the situation, he watched as she entered a cab and left him standing there alone in the empty night.
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