Literature & Love : Chapter 1 - An Unexpected Call [Unedited First Draft]
Anbu's phone rang relentlessly. He fully recognized the digits though there was no caller name on display. He knew who the caller was. A feeling of bitterness crept in as several regretful events of the past jogged through his mind.
Damn you. I'm not answering this call.
Anbu gaped at the phone in silence with qualm as it continued to ring for a few more seconds. Eventually it came to an end. However the relieve was short-lived as it started ringing again. He was anxious to answer it.
"Boo." A gentle voice pertubed him. He gazed up to catch a bubbly lass staring at him with a puzzling expression. Her large, enticing, honey-brown eyes was fixated at him.
The piggy-nosed girl had a puffy, heart shaped lips. Her hair was midnight-black and flowed over her shoulder. Her joyous personality was evident from the vibrant clothes she wore.
"Are you gonna answer that? Or shall I take it for you?" asked the sweetheart in an authoritative tone while holding out her hand across him.
"It's ok. Not important," replied Anbu while quickly putting his phone into silent mode. He then put the phone away safely into his pant pocket.
Annoyed by his secretive behavior, she gave him a sharp glance and then resumed to savor the charcoal grilled stingray with petai and winged beans. The tantalizing aroma of fresh fish grilled in Portuguese style was mouth watering.
He grew increasingly uneasy by his own behavior and the persistent ringing of the phone. He had never behaved in such a way before with her. Unable to take it much longer, he decided to put an end to it.
"Sorry, I have to take this. Be right back," said Anbu as he stood up from his seat and started walking in the opposite direction. He could hear her calling him out from behind. He just dashed without responding.
It had just started to drizzle and the weather was cold with intermittent breeze. The food court was brimming with people out to pig out on flavorsome hawker cuisines on a cold night. Asia Cafe was well known and preferred by patrons around this city.
The entire cafe was engulfed in the sound of people's chatter and loud music. Once he was sure he had walked a safe distance, he answered the incoming call.
"Hello," he greeted flatly.
"Anbu," echoed a brittle voice on the other end of the line. "Are you free to talk?"
The voice on the other side belonged to a woman. She was clearly speaking in an undertone.
He broke out a cold sweat. It's unmistakable. He would recognize that voice anywhere. It was one voice he vowed to never hear from again. He could sense a trouble brewing.
"Urm. I'm out on a date here. Kinda busy. Anything?" he tried to end the conversation before it even began. He wasn't bothered about exchange of pleasantries. He simply didn't want to entertain her.
"Please...Don't hang up. I have no where to...I ... I... ," the voice cracked and wobbled.
Without warning, the mysterious woman suddenly broke into tears.
Anbu stood speechless.
Why would you call now? Why today?
Unsure of how to handle the situation, exasperated. Never mind if she thought he was being cruel. He didn't want to ask about her personal problems.
The seconds passed like minutes without exchange of words. Anbu was still listening to.
The sobbing came to an end eventually. With a shaky voice the woman on the other side started talking again.
"Sorry," she began by apologizing. "Would you do me a favor, Boo? For old times sake. I know it's too much to ask... Would you?".
"I don't know. What is it?," asked Anbu unwillingly.
"Could you please come and pick me up from TBS? I'm all alone here. I don't know whom else to call."
Are you f*****g kidding me?
"I'm sorry, Ila. I came for dinner outside. I'm have a company with me. I'm afraid I can't help you.-," It was the first time in many years he uttered that name.
Ila was short for Shree Ilakkiya Devi. It was a classical Tamizh name. For official purposes she had it shortened to Ilakkiya. Closer people call her Ila. He once belonged to the latter group.
"Please. Don't say no. I'll wait for you here. Take your time. I don't know who else to call." She begged.
Anbu took a glance at his watch. It was already past 9:30pm. The drizzle became heavier. There's no way he's going to finish up his dinner before the sky starts pouring.
Suddenly the open air environment wasn't appealing anymore. People have already started running towards shelter. He remembered his food was still on the table unattended and lovely lady waiting for him.