“I’m sorry. Could you repeat that?” asked Pia.
“What will you do, if I kissed you?” said Karan.
A flicker of panic flashed across her face.
She kept looking at him quietly for a couple of seconds.
Then, she smiled widely at her best friend.
Grinning, she looked him squarely in the eye.
“I’d reciprocate” she mused.
They kept looking at each other for a few minutes; Pia grinning, Karan poker-faced.
Suddenly, Karan leant forward.
Pia found herself slightly breathless.
He leant in and gently kissed her on the forehead.
Then, he pulled her in for a long hug.
Pia was a little taken aback but, managed to recover soon.
Smiling, she hugged him a little tighter and held on a tad longer.
Their hug was interrupted by the sound of Karan’s ringtone.
It was work.
Karan excused himself and stepped aside to speak on the phone.
While he was on the phone, Pia kept twirling a stray lock of her hair absentmindedly.
A huge battle was going on in her mind.
She wanted to be kissed but was unsure whether to initiate it or not.
She was still debating the idea in her mind when she felt Karan’s hand on hers.
“Listen. I need to leave. Something urgent has come up at work,” said Karan.
“Oh,” said Pia disappointedly. “I wish you didn’t have to leave.”
“We’ll hang out again soon. I promise, Pia.”
“Okay,” said Pia quietly.
Karan stood up, and Pia followed suit.
They walked to the door.
Karan pulled Pia closer for one final hug.
As they held on to each other, Pia kept thinking about the kiss.
She still felt torn over her decision.
Suddenly, she felt Karan pull away.
A second’s hesitation later, she leant in for a quick kiss.
Just as she neared his mouth, panic set in. She changed her mind.
In the end, she ended up giving him a quick peck on the cheek.
Smiling at her, Karan said goodbye.
She waved back at him.
Then, he turned around and left.
Pia stood by the door, watching as he left.
Once he was gone, she sighed loudly and closed the door.
Facepalming herself, she leant against the wooden door for a few seconds.
“Shit! Shit! Shit!” she swore loudly.
“What a missed opportunity!”
“Next time, maybe” she trailed off.