“I just thought, dude I have to get this girl something, man.”

At the sight of the now plain steel of the pendant, and the hole where there once had been a glittering stone, her lips twisted into a grin. With a laugh that was half a scoff, she tossed the old chain into the ever-expanding ‘junk’ pile and spared it only a passing glance more.

Natasha continued sorting through her vastly engorged closet, occasionally adding an old or outgrown piece of clothing or a now-useless trinket to the junk pile. Soon- very soon- the junk pile had grown much larger than the ‘keep’ pile, and what had once been a neat (subjectively speaking) room now resembled a field of battle that had but recently seen terrible carnage.

With a despondent huff, she flopped down, not particularly caring where she sat. Therefore, it was only to be expected that such carelessness would be punished.


She jumped, messily trying to manoeuvre into a position that did not involve something small and hard digging into the tender part of her ankle. Finally successful, she groped around under her for the offending object.

When she had successfully disentangled it from the trailing ends of an old stole, she wished she could safely throw it hard into some corner of the room. Inadvisable, since the cheeky little bugger was likely to find some other more painful way of gaining her attention though what else an innocuous chain with an equally innocuous pendant could do, she could not imagine. Still, better safe than sorry, as the old adage went.

“Stupid Arnav.” She grumbled. “Still annoying me after god knows how long… still manages to find a way to piss me off…” In a lacklustre sort of way, she held the little chain around her neck and looked in the mirror.

A real grin bloomed on her lips. “Such a cheap piece of shit he is.” She murmured fondly, nostalgically. She turned this way and that, as though admiring the way the cheap steel piece looked on her dark skin.

A quiet laugh escaped her lips as she pulled it away. Then her expression became thoughtful as she studied the necklace in her hand.

“I’ve got something for you.” His perennially amused face appeared beside her. The expression, as always, made her long to smack him for no particular reason, but she restrained herself. 

For me? Why on earth would you have anything for me?” She asked, tilting her head and looking at him in utter confusion. They weren’t anything special to one another, after all, even as friends.

“No dude, it’s like, I have to give you something, just like that.” Well. Weird all right, but who was she to decline gifts? Although she remained a little wary.

“It better not be a bath in Slime Pond or something like that, or I will kill you.” She threatened, only half-joking. His grin widened. “No, come on man, it’s nothing like that. Don’t you trust me?”

Nope, not at all.” She replied cheerfully. “But jaldiiii, I have to goooo.” She tapped her watch emphatically. He only gave her that very-very annoying grin in return, which she returned with an unimpressed look, and reached into his pocket to extract, with great flourish

“A necklace?” She stated the obvious with a raised eyebrow, looking from Arnav to the object in question. Jewellery, however inexpensive, is not Arnav’s area of expertise. 

He dropped the grin, looking slightly sheepish. “My bhabi (sister in law) helped me choose it and all- I didn’t know what you’d like- and I thought, like, she might like a knife but then she might stab me with it-“

That surprised a laugh out of her. “Both true, how well you know me, Arnie.” She held out her hand and he dropped the necklace into it. “That’s so sweet of you, and I do like it. I like red.”

He cocked his head to the side, scrutinising her. “You’re not just saying that to make me feel good, na? Like, you actually like it, right?”

She snorted. “I wouldn’t spare your feelings. Trust me, I do like it. Now I really have to go to class, so… move.” She sidestepped him before he could, anyway, and walked off. “Thanks for the chain, dude!”

She wore it after about a month, winking at him over the dinner table when he noticed. It was a cheap necklace, and its crimson colour would, over time, wear off, but that would still take a while. For now, she appreciated the thought. ‘It’s the thought that counts.’ She told herself , even when she saw the silver shine of the steel begin to poke through the fading red.

She sat there for a few seconds, remembering. She was still kind of-sort of in touch with him, and he’d hardly changed in essentials since their school days. Apart from the thinning hair and the slight bulge in the middle- a common object for her jibes- the six years seemed to have passed him by.

Her fingers closed around the now-completely faded, forlorn-looking metal pendant. An amused quirk rising to her lips, she put it carefully into her ‘keep’ trinkets pile. After all, she didn’t want to lose the damn thing again, did she?



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