Monday, 23 December 2013

Whispers of Spring......Chapter 16



Chapter 16



Raj felt Naina make a choking sound and withdraw. He tightened his hold a fraction to prevent her from moving away, and absorbed within him the tremor that coursed her body. As he drew her inexorably closer to him, Naina froze, sucked in a maelstrom of fear, abject agony, and sheer hopelessness along with a yearning so profound and powerful that she thought she would happily drown in it. Raj loved her…Raj loved her….the words resonated in her mind. Her heart rejoiced…and danced…and then a shudder rippled through her as the reality pierced through, causing her to stumble back. It couldn’t be. It could never be. What was she doing?

Naina found her hands gripped in Raj’s as she looked at him in misery and confusion, “Raj, please…don’t joke about this.”

“I am not joking, Naina,” his deep voice was as honest as his eyes were, “I love y…”

“NO! You don’t. Don’t say it. You just…you just are so mistaken.” In desperation, she tried to brush it off, her eyes pools of grief, “Raj, I am your friend…the only friend here. Obviously you are fond of me. But don’t misjudge those feelings as something else. You…”

Raj clasped her shoulders and halted her rant, bidding her to look at him, “Naina, stop. I know what I am saying, and how I feel about you. I love you…in every manner a man can love a woman. When I came to Palampur, I had no idea I could ever trust a woman, leave alone love her…but you entered my heart and my life so fast that before I realized you had become a part of my soul.” There was a calmness about him that belied the turbulence that was raging inside Naina.

“Please Raj. Be rational. You don’t know all about me.” She was pleading now.

“Then tell me Naina. Trust me with yourself. I don’t know how you need me to help you, but I want you to know that I am not going anywhere. I am not asking you to love me back sweetheart. I will wait as long as it takes.” He stepped closer as Naina stood numb and said gently, “Don’t you get it?”
“What?” She whispered.

He cradled her beautiful face in his hands and rested his forehead against hers, “Making you happy, seeing you smile, and keeping you safe has become a matter of self-preservation. I don’t want anything else...at least not right now. You are stuck with me, my love. I am not letting you go…ever.”

“Why me Raj? I am not good enough for you. How do you know you are right?”

“Shhssh!! Sometimes when something feels right, you just know. And I knew that night when we met that I was a goner. It’s as if my life began anew in that very moment. There’s not a moment in the day when you are not in my mind.”

“But Raj…I don’t love you. I can never love you.” Lying through her teeth, she moved to the window, praying for something…anything…that would make him change his mind. He was an honorable man, heir to a legacy that was looked upon with admiration and respect. People held his family in high esteem. Ranima was revered and adored by everyone here. Naina looked at her hands, as if looking for some hidden smears. Her tainted self could only bring disgrace to them.

“That’s because you are scared Naina. You are scared to move on.” She was brought back from her self-castigation by his soft voice. She turned as he neared, the limp hardly visible, yet there. She stared at him and then turned her back again. “Dear God, forgive me for this?” She fisted her hands tightly in a bid to gain strength for what she was going to do.

Taking a deep breath, Naina turned and looked at Raj with a cold resolve, “No Raj. I am not scared of love. But I do have my dream of a man….a physically perfect man. You see, the man I married had a physical imperfection. After him, I promised myself that I will never get involved with…with a di..disabled man. Sorry Raj. It’s not personal. You are my friend and very dear to me. I respect you, but I cannot bring myself to love you the way you want me to…I just cannot.”

“Hmm! So you cannot love me because I am a cripple and not a whole man.” Naina flinched visibly when he put it so bluntly

“Yes.” She lowered her head and whispered, her eyes shut tight in shame and pain. At that moment she hated herself to the core. She had targeted him where it hurt the most, and by doing that she had surely killed all that connected them.

Lost in her melancholy, Naina felt his fingers cup her chin and lift her face, “Look at me Naina.”
She shook her head and tried to pull away.
“Naina!”

Fearfully, she opened her eyes, bracing herself to look into his accusing and wounded eyes. Her eyes widened a little when she saw his eyes twinkle with amusement and love, “Raj?”

“Nice try, my love. But you don’t fool me…not one bit. You might keep a part of your past from me and a few others might know more about what happened all those years back. But I wager that I know you better than you know yourself…heart and soul. I know you inside out Naina. I have told you I am letting myself in, even if you won’t let me. So quit trying to push me away. Shall I tell you a secret of yours?”

“What secret?” In spite of herself she couldn’t resist asking. She was completely taken aback by his nonchalance. Anybody else would have taken offence at her cruel words. She didn’t know whether to kiss him or shake him for his foolish tenacity for trusting her so much.
“Oh, just that you love me too.” He smiled and moved to the door.

“No, I don’t.”

“Yeah…yeah. Keep denying to yourself if you have to, but I see the truth in your eyes. Plus there is the other matter as well.” He paused with his hand on the door.

“What matter?” Now she was parroting his words.

He leaned against the door and kept a hand on his chest, “The fact that it’s not possible that I feel such deep love and you don’t feel the same…It’s just not possible.”
Naina staggered, her breathing fast and shallow. He had voiced her exact thoughts. It’s as if she saw her soul accusing her from his eyes. Oh dear God! She was in trouble…deep trouble.
****************************************

Raj straightened up to leave, because if he didn’t, he would go across, grab her in his arms, and kiss her till she gives in to her heart. His stubborn Naina…fighter to the last. For some strong reason, she was fighting this…and he will find out why.

“Raj?” Her voice quivered with apprehension, stopping him.
“Yes Naina?”
“I am sorry. I shouldn’t have…. I mean I didn’t…”
“Forget it Naina. I know you didn’t mean to. I also know how much it must have pained you to say something like that.”
“Are we still friends?” She voiced her misgiving, something so forlorn and naked reflecting in her eyes that he wanted to hold her and hide her within himself. But he needed to restrain. Naina was not ready yet.

He took a couple of steps and stopped, “Of course, we are! Look Naina. I didn’t mean to rattle you with disclosure of my feelings. It just happened. You are my forever…it’s that simple. There’s nothing that I won’t do for you. Having said that, I assure you that nothing will affect what we already share. OK?”

She nodded, “Thank you. That means a lot to me Raj. I don’t want to lose my friend.”

“You won’t. I promise.” He smiled gravely, “Naina, we both have scars from our past. The only difference is I bear them on my body and yours are etched on your heart. You taught me not to be ashamed of my disfigurement. Now I ask you not to be ashamed of yours. Neither of us is perfect my love, but together we are exactly that….perfect. Have faith. Believe in my love. I am not going anywhere.”

Raj inched closer. His hand lifted to caress her face, his fingers lovingly stroking her brows down to her flushed cheeks over her slightly parted lips, along her delicate jaw line to her nape. Naina closed her eyes and savored his touch, a part of the coldness in her heart diminishing like winter snow in spring thaw. Her eyes flew open when he withdrew his hand and stepped back. A deep sense of loss engulfed her.
Raj didn’t take his eyes of hers. His chest tightened as he saw her soulful eyes staring at him swirled with pain and sorrow, the stress of repressed emotions clearly visible. “Naina, you need to rest awhile. I’ll be down in the living room working on my laptop and making some calls. We’ll talk about Adi’s and your security after you have napped. I’ll take you to the mahal later. Nanisa wanted you to take out some silverware from the store for the party. She says you know about them as you had packed them after they were used the last time. Pack an overnight bag for Adi and beeji also. I’ll feel better if you all stay the night there.”

“OK.” She murmured, and then, “Raj!”
“Yes Naina.”
“You won’t leave without me.”
“Never.”

Raj checked on her after twenty minutes to see her fast asleep clutching her family’s picture. He knelt beside her bed and whispered, “You will soon have a family of your own Naina. I promise. The four of us will make new memories.”
**************************************

In the next few days Raj increased the security around beeji’s house and in the school as well. He assigned a car with a driver and bodyguard for Adi to commute to school. He had wanted all three of them to shift to the mahal indefinitely, but Naina refused. “I am not going to be driven out of my home once again Raj. Don’t worry. I’ll be careful. As long as we keep Adi’s identity from them, we are fine. They cannot do anything to me here, away from their fiefdom.”

On Saturday morning Raj waited for Naina in the library. She was due to arrive to oversee the final d├ęcor for the party that night after her appointment with Dr. Sujata Sinha, the psychiatrist with whom Naina had already had a few sessions. She had refused to divulge anything about the sessions to anyone, not even beeji, and they respected her privacy on the matter. Raj was worried and edgy, but he had to let Naina know about Manmeet. He had asked his friends in the Intelligence to make inquiries regarding her husband and in-laws. Early morning there was a call that Manmeet had taken a flight to Delhi last night. They were still trying to find out where he went after he landed. Raj had called up the Palampur police and told them to be on alert. They had promised they would look into all the buses, taxis, and private cars that entered Palampur. He had mailed them Manmeet’s picture that he had taken from Naina’s phone.

He got up to move outside to check the lawn arrangements when his phone rang. It was Adi.
“Uncle!”
“Adi, hasn’t mumma come to pick you up yet from the academy?”
“She will come at 11. I called her. But her phone is switched off.” Raj looked at his watch. Ten minutes to go. He heard a shuffle over the phone and then a soft “ouch.”
“Adi! What happened? You OK?”
“I am fine. Just got scratched by a thorn,” Adi was whispering now, “Uncle, that man is here again. He is peeping through the gates.”
“Where are you?
“Behind the bush next to the gate.”
“Where is the watchman?”
“I saw him go to the canteen, probably for tea. Uncle, I am sure the man is waiting for mumma. Should I throw a stone at him?”
“No Adi. Don’t do anything. You did right by calling me. Now go inside. Pronto. I am on my way. I’ll reach before mumma does. Don’t worry.”

Raj was already pulling out of the driveway as he made a call to the police station. Next he tried Naina. But her phone was still switched off. Obviously she hadn’t remembered to switch it on after her session.

Raj took the turn toward the academy and saw Naina get down from her jeep. And then he saw a tall, hefty man with the body of a wrestler cross over the road toward her. Raj stepped on the accelerator in a bid to cover the last couple of hundred meters as fast as possible. He parked the car and jumped out with a run, as he saw the man say a few words to Naina before reaching for her arm.

“STOP! Don’t you dare touch her.” Raj shouted.

The man looked surprised and then he smirked as he looked who it was. He looked at Naina with a sneer, “Look who is here. Your cripple lover trying to play the hero and coming to save the damsel in distress.”

Naina stared right back and scoffed, “You got the Hero part right. I suggest you make a run for it.”

“You have quite an acid tongue for a woman. Thakur sahib will enjoy cutting it off when you come back to the village.”

“I told you not to touch her.” Raj had reached and was looking pointedly at where the man had gripped Naina.
“Why? What will you do? Break my hand.”
“Don’t tempt me.”
“Big words mister. Let’s see what a langda can do.” He left Naina and pushed Raj with both hands. Raj took a step back. Before Naina could shout “Raj” she saw a whirl of lightening moves and the man was down on his back, holding his wrist and moaning, with Raj’s prosthetic foot pressed on the crook of his neck.
As the man squirmed below holding his broken wrist, Raj said calmly, “Stay still. It’s for your good health. You stand to lose your voice if you move even a little.” The police siren sounded as Raj looked at 
Naina, who was leaning against her jeep for support, “You OK Naina?”

Naina felt a wave of emotions sweep over her as she saw Raj’s angry eyes turn to concern and love the instant he looked at her. She hadn’t felt so protected in a long time. She nodded with a tremulous half smile.

The police reached them the next moment and took over, requesting Raj and Naina to come to the station later to lodge a formal complaint. As he was being handcuffed, the man turned to Naina, “You did not heed my warning. Now be prepared for the consequences.”
*********************************

As the police dragged the man away, Raj took Naina in his arms, rubbing her tensed back. Slowly, her arms circled his waist and held him. After a long silence when they let their heartbeats comfort each other, she mumbled against his chest, “Thank you.”

Raj spoke against her hair, “I would have never forgiven myself if….”

Naina’s arms tightened instinctively as she interjected to alleviate his tension, “I am fine Raj. The man was all words…empty words. They don’t scare me.” She raised her head and leaned back, “I have an idea.”
Raj released her but kept a hand on the small of her back as they walked toward the gate of the cricket academy, “What idea?”

“I think I should go to the village and confront them…have a closure you know.”
“NO! Absolutely not.” Raj stopped midstride and turned, “Promise me you won’t do any such thing Naina.”
“But Raj, I cannot live in a limbo like this. I realize I’ll have to take precautions. In fact I can approach the law and get a restraining order or something.”
“Naina…No. For once, don’t argue. Apart from roadside harassment and phone messages, there isn’t enough to apply for a restraining order. Also, what if they trap you there and make it look like an accident? You yourself said how they are the law there. Who will believe you or anyone who accompanies you? No Naina, we can tackle Manmeet better on our turf…here. We will have to wait for him to make a mistake.”
“Manmeet?” Naina clutched Raj’s shirt, “What are you not telling me Raj?”
Raj took her hands and kissed her knuckles, “Naina, I was going to tell you when you got home, but….”
“Tell me what?” She whispered, somehow knowing what he was going to say.
He told her about Manmeet’s recent traveling, and concluded by voicing his apprehension, “Naina, I believe Manmeet is on his way here.”
“Oh my God! Adi! Raj, that man should not get to meet Adi at all.”
Naina jerked her head as she heard a loud “mumma” and saw her son running toward her.
*******************************
*langda = lame; cripple


To be continued……………..

30 comments:

  1. this chapter was marvellous di............just spectacular in away i loved loved loved felt the confession part ............i so loved it that how raj took charge of everything related to naina that was amazing di and raj conveyed his love in an amazing way ...........nothing can be better than this at that particular point of time...........i m surprised when naina chossed hurtful words to hurt raj and keep him away from her at a safe distance ......and i was really scared to see the rajs reaction for a moment ........but i forgot that it was raj and naina cant fool him really ..........their love was pure and divine with no expectations only they know how to protect each other and love each other i m bowled over by their love for each other ..........
    i hate those people who made naiana to suffer to this extent ........and what else she is hiding with in her ....i m scared now very scared .....u know di when she looked at her hands to find the traces of smears i suspected something i dont know my suspicion is right or not but i m really scared now........

    the best part of the update is the words raj said to naina di ......where he said both r not perfect individually but they r perfect together that was the bestest line di i felt it .........nothing is hurtful in this update i still i found myself having tears in my eyes through out the read ......

    bestest update so far me emotionally...........kudos to u for this

    and the last part who is that guy who dared to cay crap and scare naina and also say crap about raj i want to kill him right then i liked the way raj choosen to punish him

    eagerly waiting for the next update di very eagerly
    this was a fantastic fantabulous part di going to read it again

    love u di
    rosey

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    1. Oh my! I am completely floored Rosey. I loved your write-up. And huge thanks for the sweet compliments.

      Naina thinks she is so tainted that she is no longer good enough for Raj. So when he declares his love for her, her instinct is to push him away, hence the cooked-up insult. At the same time she is scared that he will hate her and she will lose the only friend she who understood her. She is thus relieved that Raj has no mind to cease being friends , but is frustrated at the same time that he refuses to let his feelings be.

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  2. Indu I love it dear. Once again you made me lost in your writings. I waited for this update. At last you gave a brilliant update. The words that Raj said to Naina were really touching. They love each other so deeply that they could feel each other and their pain. For them each other is so important, Naina said she doesn't love Raj just to make sure he does not get hurt and Raj too understood her intention and is in with her troubles how much she tries to push away as she held an importance in his life.
    I love Adi too. I imagine Ansh there. I can't help it. He;s doing his job perfectly. As Rosey said I too can say this is the bestest update for me too emotionally. I really felt each and every emotion. Hats off t you Indu for this brilliant update.
    Kate

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    1. Thanks Kate. I am touched by what you have to say. *Hand on heart* :)

      You got it right: Raj and Naina are in love and would do anything for each other. Naina refuses to move toward him, and Raj refuses to back off. She needs time and he is willing to give her that. That kind of trust will get through to her soon enough.

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  3. Indu what have you done.....that was such a beautiful update....omg. I loved every bit of it especially Raj's confession with Naina trying her best to fins ways to push him away but he refuses to budge making her fall for him even more. The dialogues between them this section were perfect. Also love the way Raj has taken over providing them with the protection they need through body guards, security and keeping up to date with Manmeet's movements. Loved how he arrived in the nick of time and protected Naina and Adi from getting into any trouble. Fantastic job and well worth the wait. Looking forward to what is in store next.

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  4. Now this is a wonderful early Christmas present from you Pal :)

    I just loved how Raj knew that Naina was lying when she tried to push him away by insulting him...God that was so hard for her to do but she did anyways just to spare him of loving a damage girl like her but what she failed to see is that nothings wasn't gonna change Raj's mind coz the man was a goner like he said from the first time he met her ;):)

    Love how Adi called Raj and the latter did everything to make sure that his lady love and her son are alright with him by their side no harm won't come to them...Now it's up to Raj and Naina to fight together now that the danger is heading there way and the enemy doesn't know what 's awaiting him :D

    Fantastic job my Dear friend.....Merry Christmas to you and yours *muuaahhhh*

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    1. Lots of kisses and hugs back to you my friend.

      Thank you so much for your appreciation, for being there for me, and for being there for you. You keep me motivated with your constant support. :)

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  5. WOW! Their love for each other is indescribable. Each love the other in their own way. One by refusing to acknowledge the love and the other by accepting that love.

    Raj knows Naina quiet well. He knew that she was lying and also the fact that it her more to tell that lie.
    I have already said once that Adi is a smart boy and he proved it once again.

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    1. Thanks pal.

      Naina has her reasons as to why she is so adamant in keeping those walls up. She genuinely believes that the ugliness of her past will contaminate Raj's present and future if he gets involved with her romantically.

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  6. Enjoyed reading this chapter a lot. Simply fantastic Indu.....how well Raj knows his stubborn Naina that inspite of her harsh words he knew that were forced to keep him at distance...the conversation here...between the two were just fab.and loved our little smart Adi ....who knows when to alert....am so looking forward for your next update.

    Indu - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year in advance to U and family....May the gift of love, health, peace and joy stay with u and family forever. Take care !

    .....Chitra

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    1. Aww, thanks Chitra. Yes, Raj reads Naina too well. Let's see how he finally gets through her.

      Thanks for the good wishes. I am touched. I wish you the same.

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  7. OMGG!! What an update Indu..Speechless!! Incredible!! What an understanding between these two. Raj without any doubt knows why Naina wants to push him away by using his physical disability. Wow! She loves him just as much as he does but doesn't want to complicate his life knowing her past baggage.

    It was so smart of Adi to call Raj and inform him about the man. I love that part with his change of expression from looking at the man with anger to an instant change of a look full of love and concern to Naina. Love this chapter a lot Indu! Hugs to u! Eagerly waiting for more...

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    1. Thanks a ton Abie. Your comments are always so invigorating...helps me going and makes me think I may be doing OK with the story thus far.

      Lots of hugs back to you. Take care. :)

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  8. Wonderful update!
    Eagerly waiting for next part

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  9. Omg!!! beautiful update Indu ,,loved every bit of it
    Loved the way u show their understanding,,,Raj knew that Naina is lying
    Adi is so smart ,,he called Raj at the right time
    Raj is so protective towards Naina,,wow
    Love this chapter Dear,,,waiting for the next part

    Merry Christmas to u n ur family ,,,Rachna

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  10. Thanks Rachna.

    My good wishes are with you. Have a great 2014.:)

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  11. A riveting, pulse pounding, mesmerizing saga of Raj and Naina continues. Anticipating a thrilling sequel filled with intriguing twists that will cause my heart to beat triple time culminating in a resolution, sending me soaring from the abyssal zone, high over the water to the bottom of a picturesque gorge.. Have a Happy and Prosperous New Year 2014 Indu!

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    1. Thanks Surish. That lovely comment was the much-required stimulant for the first chapter of this new year. :)

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  12. sorry for late reply.. had read it a while back.. but was on the go when i read it and could not reply.. awesome awesome part.. the understanding that raj has about naina is amazing.. for a second i was worried about the reaction from raj on the hurtful words that naina spoke about his handicap.. but he knew.. he knew she was lying.. also love that adi knew to call raj.. this is heading in such a wonderful direction.. i cant wait to read the next chapter.. hope you had a safe and happy new year.. have a great 2014! :)

    Take care
    Ruchi (princess4120)

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    1. Thanks Ruchi.

      Hey...no apologies needed. I am glad you took time to read the chapter. :)

      Naina tried, but couldn't shrug off Raj. These are two mature people, who have seen the world at their worst. So they can segregate good from the bad even if they are shown an illusion. Raj saw through Naina straightaway.

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  13. Happy New Year!

    Just loved this update!
    Finally, Raj got the courage to spill the bean!
    "I love you", The sweetest word you'll ever hear from someone u love..
    I can feel it and so is Naina (for sure)!
    Am glad Raj sensed Naina's plan of keeping him away from her..
    I loved the smart Adi too!!

    That's all I can say for now sorry for another late response..
    Caught with so many events in real life..

    Miss U dear! :)

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    1. Miss you back Barbie. How have you been? Settled?
      Thanks for your words...they are very special to me.

      Take care. Love you.

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  14. ch 16
    Well just have skimmed ch15 to get where I left
    alas I can raj said those word to sooth her to gain authority in all her pains which she may not going to share buried deep inside and absorb her in his embrace so that no one can touch her endanger her not even her thoughts just him and her in his warmth of love care and concern.
    Omg that’s shocking one for Naina and in this state its more difficult for her digests that her unwisphered wish come true
    well but raj words I hope bring her senses and let her surrender but alas she is fighter she won’t give up and tried her best way to hurt him his male ego but I guess love make people divine and she don’t know herself hurt more by saying that then Raj
    A song suddenly I heard long time back coming in mind will posy below for you too Di
    Raj has really blow me way with his maturity and calm actions and her fear of losing him even in the name of precious friendship they hold love within ., his lil assurance and his confession make her trust him beyond as sometimes it good me vocal so that feelings can grow stronger.
    He quoted and I interpret... DI the essence always makes me love you and admire you more
    “Love is beyond all imperfection and scars of past to lighten present and move towards glorious future together
    Omg a total suspense is building up and adi call really scared me with Naina phone switch off
    but glad anxiety got over you told she forgot to switch on after session and ahaan he thot a bully will mess with army officer mind it he got it more than imagine I love this langda hero of yours di
    N alas raj told her about manmeet well I m glad that being a lawful person raj did not ignore the villager own set of rules and their dominance at their own place can fail them brutally

    Regard...Riya

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    1. Oh Ria...everytime you do this I feel my heart fill with such warmth. Your feelings transferred into words always move me. It feels so special to share this story with you, because you feel it the way I do when I write it. Thank you so much for this wonderful review.

      Take care. Love you.

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  15. Don't leave me in all this pain
    Don't leave me out in the rain
    Come back and bring back my smile
    Come and take these tears away
    I need your arms to hold me now
    The nights are so unkind
    Bring back those nights when I held you beside me

    Un-break my heart
    Say you'll love me again
    Undo this hurt you caused
    When you walked out the door
    And walked out of my life
    Un-cry these tears
    I cried so many nights
    Un-break my heart
    My heart

    Take back that sad word good-bye
    Bring back the joy to my life
    Don't leave me here with these tears
    Come and kiss this pain away
    I can't forget the day you left
    Time is so unkind
    And life is so cruel without you here beside me

    Un-break my heart
    Say you'll love me again
    Undo this hurt you caused
    When you walked out the door
    And walked out of my life
    Un-cry these tears
    I cried so many nights
    Un-break my heart
    My heart

    Don't leave me in all this pain
    Don't leave me out in the rain
    Bring back the nights when I held you beside me

    Un-break my heart
    Say you'll love me again
    Undo this hurt you caused
    When you walked out the door
    And walked out of my life
    Un-cry this tears
    I cried so many, many nights
    Un-break my

    Un-break my heart oh baby
    Come back and say you love me
    Un-break my heart
    Sweet darlin'
    Without you I just can't go on
    Can't go on....


    tc di...:ove you always..Riya

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    1. Beautiful...simply beautiful, Ria...and so apt. Thank you for sharing. You are a darling.

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  16. Hi Indu,
    This is just a test comment (you know the reason why)
    I'll comment properly after you reply on this one.

    Love

    Nikki (with a biggest hug to you)

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    1. Hi Nikki! Welcome to my blog. **Tight hugs** and lots of love back to you. So glad you got the hang of this. :)

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