JOURNEY HOME: CHAPTER SEVEN
“Let me help you with that” said he, with firm hold, taking her case from her as they alighted down from the bus.
“Thank you” she said.
“Isn’t there someone to accompany you home?” he asked.
“Oh no, but it’s not bother sir, it is not too far, just about 10 minutes away. I am okay” she told him, smiling.
He looked unconvinced.
“All right, then” he said, smiling back at her, “I’d like to pay your home a visit”.
“Oh, yes sir, I’d be delighted” she said hesitantly.
“Please” she said reaching her hand for her suitcase again.
“Miss Brett” he said sharply. “If you already did not have four bags almost drowning you, I would not offer to help, but seeing you as you are, I’d rather not have a fracture on my conscience”.
“Just out of curiosity, what exactly do you have in them” he asked, looking at her mischeviously.
“Nothing” she said quietly.
“Oh it seems you have a lot of nothing” he said grinning at her and she laughed.
“Just my clothes, my ipad, cosmetics, mobile, my laptop....”
“Oh, of course, nothing” he interrupted.
“Oh, stop it. How come you have so little? What could you possibly have in that bag of yours?”
“Just about everything I need” he replied solemnly.
The rain that had almost flooded the place, the night before had made the path quite tricky and slippery indeed. A chill blast of wind made their skin feel sore and burning. She looked at him and saw that his tidily arranged hair had flown all over his face, bristling out, unkempt and could not help sniggering but checked herself immediately, thinking he would be offended.
But he only said, “You don’t look so pretty yourself, my dear”, setting her laughing again.
“Thank you so much” she said warmly pressing his hands with her own when they reached home.
“Won’t you come in?” she asked expectantly, seeing him turning, as if to leave.
“It’s getting quite late. I’ll come some other day” he said in an appeasing way as if to a child.
“Oh please do come in. At least, if only for a minute, you did say you would pay me a visit, didn’t you?” she said, still squeezing his palms tightly, smiling and almost dancing with joy.
He gave her a gentle smile.
“Get in quickly. You’re shivering”.
“You’re shivering too. Let me get you a cup of tea, please sir, please” said she, stubbornly holding on to him.
He gave an exasperated sigh.
“Oh, all right. Here, take these inside” said he, handing her the suitcase.
“You will not go away before I come back will you?” she asked and without knowing that she was doing so, her hands stole over to his shoulders, but he gave a start, moving back.
“Good bye” said he in a gruff, grave voice and turned, starting to walk back but she ran forward and caught his wrist turning him to face her and threw her arms around him in a tight embrace.
She felt him stiffen and draw back, then shaking her off of him, he said darkly, “I... I am shocked at you. I never thought you’d behave like this” he told her sternly.
“But I love you” she replied.
“Love... love me?” he asked, raising his voice, then composing himself, he said, “Ms. Brett” and paused, obviously too disturbed to continue. “I am your teacher” he said sharply.
She could not reply but there was a defiant and hurt glare in her hard set eyes.
“That’s no reason why I should not love you” she said meekly. But with a loud thunderclap, the rain had started to pour down again, and without a word, he started back on his way.
“You are a coward if you can’t even give me an answer” she yelled after him, seeing him walk away unmoved and ran back home, crying bitterly.