“Well, now that we have that mystery all cleared up…” I began, only to be interrupted rudely.
His Idiotness stared at me with one eyebrow raised.
I had practised that move thousands of times in front of the mirror – unsuccessfully. So, it felt a bit unfair that someone I was rapidly coming to consider my enemy could do it so easily. Was there no justice in the world?
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Which mystery are you talking about? The one about Zombie’s name, or the one about how you came to swoon into my arms, or the even more important one about why you deigned to step on to Devgarh soil after five years of shunning us?”
If I kicked him in the shins like I really wanted to, there wouldn’t be any difference between me and this entitled royal brat. So, I gritted my teeth and forced a smile.
“The first two. The answer to the third is classified. If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you. And now that we’ve cleared up all those important questions, would it be possible for me to freshen up before I leave?”
“Leave? You can’t leave now, Nivy. We still have to get through all those boring speeches, beginning with Veer’s. I’ve got popcorn, don’t worry.”
“After the evening I’ve had, popcorn’s not enough, trust me, Jess,” I groaned.
“It is. Especially when you throw it at the speaker,” said Jessie with a wicked grin.
“What?” His Hottiness yelped.
I blinked. Then, I blamed the mental blip on exhaustion and hunger. I had meant His Haughtiness, of course.
I was over Veer. Completely and totally. Even if his arms had felt powerful and strong when they were wrapped around me. I did not subscribe to the popular fantasy of ‘Me Tarzan, You Jane’, but the feel of those arms around me made my legs go wobbly. It was just hunger, I told myself sternly, as I stood up straight and looked down my nose at him. At least, I tried to. It was slightly difficult to pull off when he was almost a head taller than me.
Veer stared down at me, and I could swear I saw his eyes flicker over my lips before he turned to his sister.
“Jessie, if you throw popcorn at anyone at all, Ma is going to bury you in the dungeon. Now, do you want to sneak Nivy up to your room before anyone sees her like this? I’m pretty sure those leaves in her hair aren’t accessories,” he suggested, with a grin.
I stuck my tongue out at him, and I realised that Veer was staring at my mouth again. Hungrily.
I cleared my throat and turned to Jessie. Unfortunately, my best friend was glaring at her phone.
“Ugh! His Deepness is looking for me. Probably wants me to strain his broccoli soup,” she said with a weary sigh.
Her brother frowned at her.
“Jessie, are you sure you like this guy?”
She sighed again.
“The jury is out on that, Veer. Let’s see,” she said with a grimace that had me worried.
I couldn’t imagine my take-no-shit friend allowing anyone to bulldoze her into marrying someone she didn’t like.
“Nivy, do you want to come in with me?”
I shook my head. Where not-so-Deep was, Anika was sure to be.
“Maybe later, Jess.”
She gave me a small smile and walked away. Veer turned to follow her.
I was planning to wait for Aryan to finish his speech and then drag him home. But Veer had barely taken a few steps when I saw Jay Malhotra heading towards us.
I took one look at the determined gleam in his eyes and realised that I needed to do something very drastic to drive him away before my mother hounded me into marrying him. I could think of nothing worse than being married to that vile mouth breather.
So, I did the most outrageous thing that I could think of.
I caught Veer by the hand and pulled him towards me.
“Shh! Just stand still,” I hissed.
Jay was almost in front of us, staring at us in confusion.
“What are you doing?”
“Umm, Veer, would you mind very much if I kissed you?”