I caught him staring at me from the corner of the bar. For the fifth time. I was amused and irritated at the same time. He wouldn't look away even when he met my eye. Instead he smiled. My friends were busy with their gossip and I was dutifully nodding along sipping my Cosmopolitan. The guy was distracting me though. For reasons unknown, my attention kept going back to him twice a minute. This time I observed him clearly. He was tall and well built and I could almost see his abs through his black snug shirt. His denims were patchy and torn at the knee and his shoes shone in the dim light of the setting. His hair was neatly gelled and he had a day old stubble. It somehow gave a chiseled look to his face. His smile revealed a dimple and I found myself smiling back at him.
"Anya, what do you say? Do you agree?" My friend Neeta interrupts my fantastic moment with a stranger.
The music suddenly went loud and soon almost everyone gathered on the dance floor. I turn to look at him, but he seemed to be lost in the hyper active crowd.
"Anya? Are you with us?" Neeta pinches my arm.
"Ouch." I react in shock.
"Whom are you searching for? Or do you want another drink from the bar?" Rita asks.
Rita was the most talkative girl I had ever met and she talked non-stop without pausing between sentences. Rita, Neeta, Saira and I, were close friends since college. We all had just joined our respective work places and had come in here for a party with our first salaries. It was Saira's idea to dress in black. Yes, all of us. We had diligently obeyed her orders as she always was the fashion queen of our group and our college. I had finally decided on a mid length single piece dress that shyed away at my knees. It had a steep neckline at the back and I had to scrub my back thrice before I was confident enough to wear it. Finally with a touch of bronzing lotion, I was done. I decided to go for kitten heels as we had planned on dancing. Struggling with stilettos while dancing was a big no for me. By the time all four of us were done, we looked like a bunch of divas.
"Tell na, stupid girl." Rita asked again.
"Oh yeah, I need another drink." I say as my eyes search for him in the crowd.
"Fine, I'll get it. Who else is in for another round?" She asks and she disappears to the bar when all agree on another.
She is soon back with a tray of drinks and some nibbles. I was just about to take my first sip of my second drink when I hear a voice behind me. I turn around and find him standing there with that dimpled smile.
"Hello.." His voice is rough and deep.
"Hi...." I say softly.
"Would you like to dance with me?" He stretches out his hand.
I am surprised by his direct approach and turn to look at my friends. They all are staring at him now with their mouths open. Even Rita could not find words to say.
"Hmm... not now." I hesitate.
"Just one dance, please." He makes puppy eyes.
"No, I don't......" I'm cut off before I could complete.
"Goooooooo." My friends yell in unison. I'm embarrassed and angry. I turn to give them all a stern look.
"See, you better listen to them." He says with a wink.
I laugh and place my left hand on his. I can hear my friends hooting as I walk with him to the dance floor. The music is splendid with mild beats and trance coming together. It automatically made me groove.
"Great, you dance really well." He says coming close to my ear.
I smell his cologne and feel transported to another place. The musk was intoxicating and I was more drawn to him now. The music was already playing with my mind and now he was. I did not want to give in easily.
"You tell that to every girl I'm sure." I say laughing in my head as I realize how cliched it sounded.
"Some. Not everyone." He teased.
"What's your name?" I ask.
"Subramanian Rajashekar." He says proudly.
I slip at the right minute and stand frozen.
"Hahaha... All okay?" He gives a wicked look.
"That's really your name? Its longer than the Bandra sealink." I say, still trying to come to terms with it.
"No. I'm Abhay. But, what's in a name, right?" He smiles as he displays his dancing skills.
I'm amazed and slowly try matching his steps.
"You are? Now don't say Subhalakshmi or something." He laughs.
"Anya. I believe a lot lies in the name." I say, meaning it.
He nods and pulls me closer for the soft trance. I wanted to reprimand him for getting too close, but my body language said otherwise. He held my waist, as I raised my left arm to reach his shoulder. He slipped his left hand into my right and looked right into my eyes.
"You know, I think I'm in love with you." He says with a straight face.
I laugh out loud.
"Try something less cheesier." I say.
"I mean it, Anya. It was love at first sight!" He explains.
"Oh come on, we hardly know each other!" I was getting worked up.
"Why do you think we met here? It was God plans." He gets philosophical.
"No, it was my plan along with Rita, Saira and Neeta." I point out to my excited friends who are still watching us intently.
"You know, everything happens for a reason. This did too." He waves out to them.
Rita almost jumps off her seat and starts waving frantically. The others are busy trying to get her seated.
"I know that. But...." He doesn't let me finish.
"Believe me my lady, five years later, we will be dancing together. Right here." His confidence shone in his eyes.
"Yeah yeah, dream on." I put my tongue out.
The music stopped and a balloon burst above us, showering us with confetti. Our friends gathered around us.
"Happy Anniversary!" They all yelled.
Abhay and me looked at the clock, 12 am. He pulled me closer and kissed me.
"Didn't I tell you?" He winked.
I smile and kiss him back, holding him tight. We had managed to recreate the scene, when we met for the first time, after five years. On our first wedding anniversary.
He was right, it all happens for a reason. I believed him then, I believe him now.