“It’s time for me to prove you wrong, sweetheart,” Aphrodite whispered in Maya’s ear. “Everyone is capable of falling in love. Even you.” She looked at the sleeping form of Maya and smiled with mischief. She rubbed her hand on Maya’s forehead, muttering something only she could understand. The curse was now in place. Maya was about to find out what it feels like to be in love.
“What are your plans for Valentine’s day?” Sameer asked Maya as they both left the office building, walking towards the bus stop.
“The usual.” She walked faster to make it there on time.
“And what’s your usual?” he asked, trying to keep up with her ever-increasing pace, “Hey, slow down a bit, would you?”
“Sorry but I don’t want to miss the bus, the second one won’t arrive until 7 pm,” she said without slowing down. “To answer your question, my usual is, staying at home and enjoying a quiet night.”
“No plans with the boyfriend then?”
“I don’t have a boyfriend.”
“So you aren’t dating anyone right now?” he said as they both reached their stop and found a place to wait for their buses.
“I have never dated,” she said matter-of-factly.
“Never?” He raised his brows.
“Close your mouth,” she said without humor, “it’s not as unbelievable as people make it sound.”
“Actually, it is hard to believe.” He shrugged, “How old are you anyway? Thirty? Thirty-two? How have you never dated in all this time?”
“I don’t know, Sameer, I just haven’t.” As the bus pulled up, she said goodbye. Taking a seat at the end of the bus, Maya sighed in relief for escaping that line of questioning.
“Hello,” Maya said into the phone, as she turned down TV’s volume. She had been lying on her couch, enjoying a movie when her mobile had started ringing. At first, she thought about ignoring it but then decided against it. It could be work-related.
“Hi, it’s me, Sameer.”
“I know. I saw your number before picking up.”
“Oh, right,” he said, and then he was quiet.
“So,” she asked, “Why did you call at this time?”
“Are you free?”
“Depends on why you’re asking.”
“Would you like to go out with me?” She didn’t reply at once, as she considered her response. “Hey, Maya, you still there?” Sameer asked as the silence stretched.
“Yes, I’m. You took me by surprise.”
“So.” For the first time in her adult life, she wanted to say yes to that question. Her feelings baffled her. “I think I’d like that,” she said at last.
“You think?” he asked as if wanting to confirm one more time.
“Yes, I would like to go out with you. Very much so.” As she said it, she realized that she had meant it. Was the ice around her heart finally melting? Just then, she heard the ding of her doorbell. “Wait, someone is outside. Let me call you back.” She hung up and went to answer the door.
Sameer was standing there with flowers in one hand and a box of chocolate in the other. “Happy Valentine’s day,” he said, smiling warmly.
“To you too,” she said, feeling like a fish out of water, “come in.” She gestured for him to enter. “How did you know I’d say yes?” she asked him once they were both settled on the couch. She had placed the flowers and chocolate box on the table in front of them.
“Sameer, what’s happening?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why is my heart beating faster than it ever has?”
“Well,” he said, looking into her eyes, “as far as I know, it can only mean one of two things. Either you’re scared or you too, are in love with me, and I have a feeling that it might be the latter.”
“I think you might be right,” she said, unable to look away. “You have the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen.”
“Not more than yours.” He chuckled, lightly caressing her cheek with one hand while still holding her hand in his other.
“Do you want to stay for dinner?” she asked, suddenly feeling shy.
“I’d love to.”
“Why are you smiling like that?” Hephaestus asked his wife. It had been years since he had seen that smile on Aphrodite’s face, the one of contentment and glee.
“Because a mortal dared to challenge me, and I’ve proven her wrong. Look at their faces,” she showed him the orb, “isn’t it fun to watch people falling in love.”
“But it never lasts,” he said as he limped towards the door.
“Leaving so soon?”
“I can see that you’re otherwise preoccupied.” He pointed to the orb in her hands, showing the smiling faces of both Maya and Sameer.
When she Understood the meaning behind his words, Aphrodite’s smile fell. “You know that’s your problem. You are much like these mortals, thinking that love must last forever. Has anything ever?” She turned her attention back to the orb and said, “today, I won’t let you ruin my mood. These two have started their journey, and I’m going to enjoy it for as long as it lasts.”
© 2020, Fizza Younis. All Rights Reserved.
P.S. Since today is Valentine’s day, I thought I’d try writing a romance story. I have never done it before with any kind of success. I hope you enjoyed this short story. Do let me know your thoughts on it? Can you feel the romance in this or am I way off as usual? Anyhow, thanks for reading. Enjoy your day.