Monday (Over the phone)
“Hey, Akash! Long time.”, said Nitin.
“Yes. Two years at the front and then the training. It felt like Twenty.”
“Why don’t we meet for lunch on Friday?”
“Sure. Friday it is. A new Chinese restaurant has come up around the corner. You still like Chinese food, don’t you?”
“Yes. See you then.”
Friday. At the restaurant table.
Akash: “So, Dipti tells me that you were of a lot of help while I was away.”
Nitin: “Yes. What are friends for?”
Akash: “They can’t stop talking about you. Especially Sania.”
Nitin: “Yeah, she is a cute kid. Quick learner. Err…Why don’t we order? What will you have?”
Akash: “Oh. I have already ordered for us. It should be on its way. By the way, Sania told me how you helped her study for her exams.”
Nitin: “That’s just sweet of them to praise me like that.”
Akash: “Hmm…Dipti even tells me that you dropped and picked her up from office.”
Nitin: “My office is quite close to hers. You know that.”
Akash: “Yeah. You told me your bank transferred you when I called you a year ago.”
Nitin: “So, tell me something. Are you here for long? Or have to go back?”
Akash: “It’s call of duty. They can summon me anytime. But I don’t need to worry now as you are there to take care of my house.”
Nitin: “Don’t be sarcastic Akash. I asked casually.”
Akash: “I know. It’s just that you have been too kind to even run our daily errands. So, how are things between you and Kriti”
Nitin:”The stalemate continues. She stays with her parents. It’s been four years now.”
Akash pulled up his semi-automatic 9 mm and keeps it on the table.
Akash: “Just getting comfortable. Food should be coming anytime now. So, where did you go every evening after dropping Sania to her music classes?”
“Huh…?!” A disillusioned Nitin looked away and started to fiddle with his phone.
A momentary silence followed.
Waiter: “Here are your fortune cookies sir.”
Akash: “Why don’t you start? The main course should be coming over soon.” He racked his gun and gazed into Nitin’s eyes.
Nitin opened his fortune cookie and read the message in it: “Your life is at risk. You should run away immediately. Do not utter a word to anyone and never return. Repeat: Do not utter a word and never return.”