Disclaimer : I'm a huge KPop fan and you will come across names and photographs of KPop idols in most of my stories. They are my muse and inspiration in so many ways. The incidents and characters are fictional and have no resemblance to any K pop idol in any manner.
Sleep eluded me and Ira didn't want to be alone. So, both of us were huddled together on my bed, trying to comfort each other in silence. I felt awful to see Ira so worried and sad... Her smile, her energy just vanished! I held her close and said," Ira, we have to find this guy... We don't even know who he is and he has turned our lives upside down! This can't carry on like this!" "What makes you so sure it's a guy? It can be a girl for all you know!" Ira's clarity of thought never ceases to amaze me! Of course, it can be! My mind suddenly time travelled to my not so unusual past as we both tried to think if there was any girl or woman I had been nasty to! Well, right now, no one came to mind.... My phone rang. It was Jeon. " There's someone with a similar package going up the stairs. Don't open the door. My men are right behind the suspect. Don't panic or make any sound. I'm sure this is our guy!" He said ,as I looked at Ira asking her to keep quiet. I waited but the bell didn't ring. Jeon called again," Get ready and come to the police station. My driver is waiting downstairs. Get Ira also. I think you are in for a surprise! Prepare yourselves mentally!" Ira and I rushed to Jeon's office. Handcuffed and seated in front of Jeon, we saw an unfamiliar face, hidden by a mask. Confused, Ira and I moved closer for a better look when a lady cop unmasked the stranger. Ira was right. It's a young girl, barely in her teens, I have never seen in my life! A complete stranger! "I don't know her, Jeon. Nor does Ira! Who is she? " I asked, curious. "Look at these photos. We also have videos! This young woman was stalking you both for a while now. I don't know how, but she had videos of you both, nothing indecent though." Jeon said, handing me an envelope. It had pictures of Ira and me at work, eating out, shopping, at home.... I was so confused. I looked at the girl and asked her," What is all this about? Did someone pay you for this? Is it someone I know? Why are you doing this?" The girl looked at me with pure hatred and said," Why? Because you ruined my life!" She sounded like a teenager throwing a tantrum! "I don't even know who you are! How can I ruin your life?" I asked her, annoyed. Jeon spoke finally," She is your next door neighbor, Tanya. She wants to befriend your friend Ira. But you girls neither notice nor need anyone when you are together! Your neighbor wanted to be friends with you and get close to Ira. Innocent Ira has no clue about it and you are too busy with your lives! So, someone wanted your attention so bad that she stalked you both, took pictures and videos, even tried to make her presence felt at times but all in vain! She feels Ira doesn't notice her because of you and that's why you are the cause of her loneliness, pain and suffering." Ira was angry and embarrassed. She looked at the girl and said," This is no way to make someone notice you or like you! Many people are jealous of our friendship but no one understands how deep our bonds are! I don't understand the 'love' you talk of because when you truly love someone and care about them, you would never do anything to hurt them or make them sad....I'm sorry you were hurt and sad because of us... You are still too young to give up like this..." Ira's words probably touched a raw nerve. The girl started crying and apologising to Ira and then to me. She confessed that out of jealousy she tried to scare me. She never thought of the implications of her actions. "I'm so sorry...I was so lonely and I yearned for a friend. When I saw you both, I envied you for having a friend like Ira who takes care of you and supports you always. I thought you didn't deserve Ira and I would be a much better friend than you... I thought if I scared you, you'd leave Ira so she doesn't suffer because of you.. I planned to blackmail you by saying I had some videos of you both which I would upload on the Net if you don't leave Ira. But believe me, neither the photos nor the videos are indecent. I was trying to bluff my way to make you believe me! I'm only 15, please forgive me.... If my parents get to know, it would kill them! They work so hard so I can attend school....I promise I won't do this again...." she was crying and talking at the same time. We really felt bad... While the 3 of us talked, the girl kept crying. Finally, Ira went to her and hugged her tight. "Tanya, stop crying. I'm sure we can be friends! We are way older than you, like your older sisters. If you ever have any problem, tell us. Never think you are alone.... Your whole life is ahead of you.... ," Ira said comforting a crying Tanya. I looked at them and said," Tanya, this time I'm not pressing charges but next time I won't be kind at all! Seeing your age, I give you a chance to become a better person.. Of course, we will always help you....Your parents must be waiting for you; lets go home." I smiled. Ira, Tanya and I got up to leave and Jeon saw us off till the police car. As the other two got in, I shook hands and thanked Jeon for his help. He held my hands in his and said," I'm sorry for that day! I was too shocked to react and when you avoided me, I thought your feelings probably changed. So, now that Tanya has been given a second chance, can I get one too? If you still feel the same , that is...." "I need some time... Please understand." I said and he let my hands go with a sigh. I put my hand in my purse and showed him an old newspaper cutting of his photo when he cleared his UPSC exam. " Is it really what I think it is? You kept it all this time? Can I keep my hopes up then?" He was surprised to see his photo. " Well, you are the only one who made my heart flutter then and apparently, even now.... We both deserve a second chance at 'us'. We have to work it around our busy schedules and demanding jobs! What do you say?" I threw the ball back in his court, smiling. " I am not letting you go this time. I will pick you up tomorrow from your office. Tell Ira not to wait for you for dinner." He winked at me as he opened the door for me. The driver started the car towards our building. Ira nudged me with her elbow and said," Tanya has invited me for dinner tomorrow. So, enjoy your date and don't worry about me!" I tell you this girl knows me inside out! We were all smiles as we reached home and dropped Tanya first. Once inside, Ira hugged me and smiled her trademark smile, saying," Tonight you won't sleep because of other reasons, bestie! Good night!" Whoa! Where's my innocent Ira?!! I wonder! She was right. I couldn't sleep all night!💜