Alex

School had finally started. I hadn't seen Anjali all summer and I was dying to get a glimpse of her. I felt like an alcoholic going through withdrawal. It was like I desperately needed a drink. I bumped into several other parents and we did the meet and greet and ask each other how our summer was. I try to patiently go through the niceties. I dropped off the kids in their classrooms. My kids don't have the same teacher as Anjali's kids so I don't see her in the brief classroom orientation. I impatiently wait for the teacher to stop droning on about the school year. It's not like they are saying anything earth shattering. I want to get out of the classroom and see if I can catch Anjali. After fifteen minutes of non-stop blabbering, the parents are released. I kiss my kids goodbye and I hurry into the hallway. I don't know which classrooms Anjali's kids are in. I rush outside hoping to catch her before she leaves the school.

I walk outside the school and the bright sunlight blinds me. I quickly fumble to reach my sunglasses. Pulling them on quickly, I adjust my eyes. I quickly scan the yard looking for Anjali. I don't see her. I let out a breath and start to walk slowly to my car. Maybe her class let out earlier than mine and she's left. I walk slowly towards my car. I haven't seen her all summer and yet waiting one more day to see her feels like torture.

I reach my car and I'm about to open my door when I faintly hear someone calling my name. I look up and to my surprise I see Anjali waving at me and jogging towards me. I walk away from my car and towards Anjali. She looks beautiful in her white Capri pants and her navy button down blouse. She looks like she's walking off a Ralph Lauren ad in a magazine.

"Hi Alex, I've been trying to get your attention for the last five minutes but you seemed to be in your own world."

"Sorry, I guess I was in my own world, but now you have my attention," I say smiling.

We stop a couple of feet in front of each other. I'm not sure whether to hug her or not. We look happy to see each other but confused as to whether if it's appropriate to hug each other.

I look to the ground not knowing what to do. I want to hug her, but I can't tell if that's appropriate or not.

After, a couple of moments, Anjali moves forward, "It's so good to see you," she says as she awkwardly moves to me and gives me a slight hug.

"It's so good to see you. I've missed seeing you." I confess.

"Do you have time for coffee to catch up or do you have to get back to work?" she asks as she twists the handle on her purse.

"I'd love to have some coffee with you if you haven't brought me any chai," I tease.

"No chai today, coffee will have to do," Anjali says as we start walking to our coffee shop.

As we walk towards the coffee shop I tell her about our summer and trip to California and New Hampshire and she tells me about their trip to Chicago and a vacation they created out of one of Raj's business trips to London.

We order our normal lattes and something to eat and slide into the booth we sat at all last year.

"So what are you volunteering at this year? I was wondering if we could do something together again this year. I really think we work well together you, plus I like procrastinating with you."

"I've already signed up for the annual auction otherwise known as the gala. I got hounded by many of the PTA members that I've never done it in all of the years we've been at the school." Anjali stated while stirring her coffee excessively.

"So you got suckered into it," I chuckled.

Her bright eyes looked up at me, "Yeah something like that. Do you think you'd want to help out? I know it's a crappy job, but you could help me and make it less crappy," Anjali pleaded.

"What does it entail?" I ask knowing fully well I'd agree to do anything with her.

Anjali groaned and took a long sip of her latte and finally put it down, "Well we have to come up with a theme, a location, the menu, find sponsors, get people to donate stuff, an auctioneer, decorations, sell the tickets, and all sorts of other hellish little stuff that will drive me batty."

Anjali put her arms down on the table and then rest her head on her arms and mumbled, "You're never going to sign up for this are you?"

"You can always bribe me and than I'd be willing to help you," I tease.

"Really?" Anjali asked her heading popping back up. "What do I need to bribe you with?" she asked innocently.

"Same thing as usual." I responded casually trying to hide how happy that I would be seeing a lot more of Anjali.

"Chai??"

"Yes, chai, plus can you take me back to the pani puri place? I haven't been back there since you took me. Plus it's no fun eating chaat alone."

"That's it, just chai and chaat?"

"Yup that's it," I smile.

Anjali holds her hand out, "Then it's a deal!"

I grab her hand and shake on it, "A deal it is. We'll be in hell together planning the school auction."

"The bright side is we can try lots of different restaurants so we can get the food right," Anjali smiled.

"And don't forget we'll need to do some wine tasting too," I added.

"We should set a schedule. Can you meet like a couple of times a week?"

"Yeah that should work," I say comforted that I would see Anjali at least twice a week.

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