Chapter 8

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"Good morning!" an annoyingly cheerful voice broke into Avni's  sleep-numbed brain. Oh no, please, not again. She was dreaming again, and again..."Come on Avni", no it wasn't a dream. "It's a beautiful morning. You won't want to waste it in sleeping. Get up."

Avni groaned as daylight fell directly on her face because nNeil had pulled back her bedroom curtains. She heard his chuckle.

"Avni" the voice was tender now. Oops! "You have to get up and look outside" he insisted. Did she smell coffee?

"No, I don't" she muttered, eyes still tightly closed. Maybe if she didn't look at him he would just go away. Because now she was sure, this wasn't a dream!

He seemed to have gotten over his bad mood of last night. A person could be cheerful in the morning only if he had had a good night's sleep. Whoa! It meant that he had slept well on her too-short sofa. Well, then he had certainly had a better night than hers. Because she hadn't slept at all! She had tossed and turned till dawn and had heard the church bells ringing for a long time before finally drifting off into a restless sleep. Why? Just because Neil had been sleeping in the sitting room, only a feet away from her!

But why was he so cheerful? Had he liked the movie too? Because somewhere last night in the middle of the movie, the awkward silence between them had become almost, companionable. When he had said goodnight to her it had been less curt. That was when it had hit her that he was really sleeping on the couch. Neil Khanna  was actually going to spend a night in her flat.

However, she could say that he hadn't gone through her ordeal. He must have had a sound sleep, not disturbed by her thoughts and the fact that she was sleeping in the next room.

Now she knew very well how it felt to be frustrated by desire! The memory of the kisses they had shared had haunted her the whole night and had made her realize that she was desperate for him. She wanted him. God, how she wanted him! She ached for him. She had lost count of the number of times she had stopped herself from going and joining him on the couch. Madness! Sheer madness!

"Sleepyhead" he whispered softly. Why was his voice so near? She felt a hand ruffle through her hair. She tensed at once. "It's really beautiful outside, Avni" he added huskily. "You have to see it."

"Oh, alright" she grumbled and opened her eyes irritably. Her breath got caught in her throat when she found Neil's  face mere inches from hers. He was bent over her. "Would you please move?" Nervousness made her tone slightly sharp.

Neil continued to look at her for several seconds, then he stood up. "Starting your day with a bad mood? Not a good idea" he said softly.

What did he know? She was tired from lack of sleep, frustrated with desire for this man, confused by the new unknown emotions so naturally she was bound to have a bad mood! Which was a little ungrateful on her part when Neil had left last night's tussle behind and had even brought her coffee... another side of a perfect gentleman!

"Sorry" she murmured, sitting up to push the tangle of hair from her face. "It's just that... Oh no! It's eight-thirty!" she wailed in dismay after a glance at her wall clock. She looked at her alarm. Why hadn't it rung? Battery dead! Perfect! And she hadn't even noticed it last night! "I'm going to be late for work" she groaned as she threw back the sheet and literally sprung to the floor.

Neil grinned at her. "Your boss's boss's boss's boss's boss's order, Avni. You aren't going to work today. In fact, neither of us is. Take a look outside" he added when she opened her mouth to argue with him. "It's a great morning." Avni frowned at him as she went to the window. She was glad she had worn pajamas last night instead of the sweatshirt she normally wore. Otherwise, well, she doubted she would have gotten up from bed in the presence of Neil.

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