Published in  
October 12, 2020

The Real Deal | Chapter 1

It was half-past two in the afternoon and I was sitting, quite bored, all by myself in the canteen of my college. I had checked Facebook, Instagram, twitter a zillion times, which meant that there were absolutely no new updates. I was waiting for my ‘friends’ who, for the fifth time in the past week, ditched me. The fact that they did not even bother to tell me, enraged me. They skipped school and casted me off to go to a party. I had my rules, no bunking college was one of them. I sometimes wondered if they really had to attend so many parties or was it an excuse they made up just so that they would not have to hang out with me. Come on, it wasn’t like they were my childhood friends who, I knew could never do something like this. My college life started a month earlier and obviously a months’ time is too small for trusting anyone.
“Hey aren’t you Shurooq Hamid?” A masculine voice called out from behind me, interrupting my thoughts. I turned around to see a boy and panicked. I had studied in all-girls school my entire life which obviously meant that I never had an actual conversation with a boy. I had been taught my entire life to stay away from boys. ‘Boys are dangerous’ is what we were taught in school. I avoided them since. I avoided them like the plague.

“Umm yeah, hi. Do I know you?” I asked bewilderingly.

“No you don’t.  I am Shahid khan. We have some of our classes together. I saw you sitting alone so I decided to join. You see, Miss Shurooq Hamid, I was getting pretty bored, I think it’s better to be bored with someone rather than being bored alone.” He said with a devilish grin and a wink.

“Really? I’m in the same boat then, my friends just abandoned me for a party.” I scoffed. “By the way, are you trying to say that I am boring and that you would still be bored with me?” I continued.

“Well…no. That’s not what I meant. I was just trying to sound smart and friendly. I guess I struck out huh?” Said Shahid sheepishly

I smiled and nodded at him. After a few minutes of an extremely entertaining conversation he glanced at his watch and immediately stood up to leave “Dang it! I am sorry but I have to leave now. I’m already late for a class. See you tomorrow, ok?”

I bid him goodbye and smiled to myself, he seems like a decent albeit funny guy. I reached home around 6-ish and was quite drained. “Hey mom, I’m home.” I called.

“Hi, how was your day?” She asked, like she always does.

“Yeah, it was okay, the usual.” I replied back.

Mom came out from the kitchen wiping her hands with the towel and said, “Ok get freshened up and come down for snacks.”
After having snacks, I was sitting in my room selecting my clothes and arranging my books for tomorrow when I received a text from some unknown number. ‘Hey, it’s Shahid. Wassup?’ The text read.

‘Hey, nothing much. Wassup with you? And how did you get my number? :-P’ I replied.

‘Ah it was on the notice board in the new admission list smarty. :-P’

‘Oh yea LOL, forgot about it. :P’

‘LOL, did you think I was a creep? I am not a stalker, you know.’

‘Yea, I know. I’m sorry. Anyway, listen I g2g my mom is coming, so ttyl?’ I messaged.

‘Sure have fun. Bye. Tc’ he replied back.

The next day I was sitting in my Introduction to Psychology class listening to something about Freud when Shahid entered. He waved at me from one end of the class. I waved back. One of my friends, Sara smirked and said “since when are you friends with a boy?”

“Since you guys ditch me to attend every other party.” I replied. Our conversation halted for a few minutes when the class ended.

“Listen Shurooq you are our friend and all but we can’t all have the same ‘principles’ or whatever, you know? Sara said. Her voice was so loud that almost everyone turned towards us.

“And your point is?” I asked gesturing her to lower her voice.

“We don’t want to hang with you anymore. Especially after the stuff you keep doing behind our backs” she continued.

“Excuse me? What have I done?”

“We all know what kind of a girl you are, Shurooq.  It’s about time that you stop pretending” she said furiously.

This was quite embarrassing for me, and tears flooded my eyes. I just stood up and literally ran out of class. Half way out and I was already sobbing.

“Shurooq, Shurooq” a familiar voice called. It was Shahid.

‘Listen up Shurooq they aren’t worth it. I know it doesn’t make sense but trust me. Please don’t cry for them.” he told me softly

“I didn’t do anything except wait for them.” I said whilst crying

“Shh I know, its okay. Forget about them.” he paused, then continued “listen we are already friends and we could be great friends too, you can trust me. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those guys who turns every friendship into a cry for a relationship. I just genuinely want to be your friend, your best friend. You seem like a fun girl and I would love to hang out with you.” he said soothingly.

“Thank you Shahid, that means a lot. Really” I said feeling a little better.

“Anytime. Come on its time for a treat.” he said cheerfully.

“Treat? For what?” I asked.

“Treat for an everlasting friendship.” he said tossing me the coke bottle.

“Cheers!  To our friendship.” he called out while our bottles clicked against each other.

The next few days were quite rough on me as I had expected, I could see people looking at me when I walked past them and occasionally heard many hurtful rumors, and the only good thing was that Shahid was always with me. He sat with me in all my classes, and during the lunch time. He made me laugh when I was about to cry. On 16th of July I had turned 19, and was casually attending my classes. I stopped celebrating my birthday when I was like 10, I found it too lame but nevertheless I loved gifts. Shahid hadn’t come to college that day. I texted him ‘jerk why didn’t you come? I’m dying here to which he replied ‘sorry dude I wasn’t feeling well.’

‘Ok take care you sick person ;).’

After replying, I kept my cellphone back in my pocket and headed for home. The afternoon classes were canceled as there was some meeting. I knocked at my door and nobody opened the door. I kept knocking for a while but nobody opened. I fished out the spare key from my backpack and opened the door. I walked into my house and looked around. I found a piece of paper stuck on the fridge. ‘Gone out to get some things, will be back a bit late. Happy birthday sweetheart!’ it read. I dropped my bag on the foot of the stairs and went up to my room. I opened the door to my room, and literally screamed. My room was decorated with balloons, glitter papers and a couple of photographs of me as a kid, and the recent pics with Shahid. He yelled ‘SURPRISE’. I was so surprised that I didn’t know what to say. Beside him, was a huge cake and many gifts. Though, apart from him no one else was there. I was elated.

“Thank you Shahid, I don’t know what to say!” I said, beaming with joy.

“Come on, cut the cake” he said pulling my hand.

I took the knife and cut the soft black forest cake which was customized with a picture of Shahid and me with the phrase ‘happy b’day Shurooq’. I unwrapped the gifts which he got for me, there were three of them. One of them contained a photo frame, the other a complete DVD set of Harry potter and last one was a beautiful cashmere shirt.

“Thank you so much Shahid” I said again.

“Anytime” he said with a genuine smile.

I don’t remember the last time I was so happy. Who cares if I couldn’t find a best friend in my girls group? I got a guy best friend. No girls- no drama, right?

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