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Saraswatichandra Banner Contest Winner
Joined: 26 February 2008
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Joined: 26 December 2007
Joined: 26 December 2007
As soon as she entered her suite Riddhima Gupta glanced down at her wet dress and gave a frustrated sigh. So much for starting this day on a good note .She needed to look great and presentable….not like a drowned cat. She walked up to the mirror to see her hair sticking to her face…..so much for use the best of the conditioner and shampoo as well she thought grumpily. Not only was her body smelling of chlorine but her hair was in a similar mess as well thanks to her dip in the pool. She shouldn't have taken the short route to the lawn via the pool. She was already running behind schedule. Her director certainly wasn't going to like her coming about an hour and half late for the first briefing on the advertisement they were supposed to be shooting to the next day.
Stripping off the wet clothes she ran to the bathroom meaning to grab a quick shower. As she lathered her hair with the shampoo vigorously again and felt the cool water from the shower trickle down her thoughts wandered to the pool incidents yet again. She hadn't given much thought to the man who supposedly saved her from drowning. Her sole aim in the entire trip from the pool to her hotel suite was to get up here quickly as possible and get out of the messy wet clothes. If her director or her photographer of the shoot had seen her in this mess….she would have become a good laughing stock not to mention butt of a joke. Budding model Riddhima Gupta slips into the pool only to be rescued by the CEO of the company she had been hired to do the advertisement for??
Turning of the shower Riddhima quickly grabbed the bathrobe and matched out. Her meeting with Armaan Hamilton had been as much of a shock as well a nervous encounter. Imagine slipping in to the pool and landing straight into the arms of the CEO of company you're modeling for!!
And to top it all he thought she did not recognize him??? Aditya Sharma?? Riddhima snorted as she pulled out a fresh pair of briefs and a new dress from her wardrobe. Only a total naive idiot wouldn't be able to recognize him. All business, celeb magazines were full of him. Maybe he had lied to her on purpose……for some other motive….whatever had been his motive she wasn't interested Riddhima told her self zipping up her dress.
She returned to her mirror and started applying the base of the makeup. She had to concentrate on looking great, fresh…and not think about her boss. Armaan Hamilton was her boss even though he wouldn't know her. A new model on the block……doing an ad film for his company wasn't going to be known to Armaan Hamilton. Heck he had several such models and actress propagating his company…..maybe like every other man loaded with money to the brink made such women his targets. Oh heck why was she thinking about him again??? Riddhima irritably starred at herself as she carefully traced the lip liner around her already dark pinkish lips coated with gloss……her thoughts returned to the man upsetting her equilibrium. He had invited her out to dinner. Oh yes she new it why….he was clearly interested in pleasuring himself in the company of a woman…and men like him didn't miss out chances……men like Armaan Hamilton were just too lethal.
Armaan Hamilton…..His family ran Hamilton Industries, the parent corporation for the cell phone company doing the ad campaign she was posing for. While Indo-American (which explained the surname Hamilton) his grandfather and father still played an active role in running the business, analysts agreed that Armaan was responsible for most of Hamilton Industries' expansion in the last five years.
He'd gotten them in at ground level with cell phone service to parts of Asia and Europe as well as negotiating investment in other high tech ventures that had paid off hugely for the more than hundred-year-old, multibillion dollar, family controlled company. He wasn't the only member of his generation involved with the company, but thus far, he'd been the most successful.
Riddhima had done her homework, learning what she could about both the company and product she was supposed to be representing……..as she always did for a job. As her mom often said, it never hurt to be prepared. Only she had the distinct feeling that nothing could have equipped her for seeing the billionaire in person for the first time. She'd seen photos, but the pictures accompanying articles in prominent business journals hadn't begun to catch the essence of the man…..who had made millions…... The flat two-dimensional images had in no way alluded to Armaan Hamilton's sheer animal magnetism or overwhelming masculine presence.
Woahhh!!! Riddhima gave an aghast look at herself in the mirror. From when did she start analyzing men??? No way…men were completely out of her picture for now. Her only passion was her career. Her only love was her job. And making her dear mother and herself proud!!
Armaan Hamilton or Aditya Sharma would have to just back off……there was going to be no dinner tonight……she knew she had said yes in a state of nervousness of running into her boss in pool. But now back in her senses there was no way she was entertaining her boss. Deciding so Riddhima clutched her purse and walked out of her room.
Armaan smiled as he closed his eyes resting his head on the back pf his chair in his mini office he had set up in his penthouse. He opened an eye lid and looked at the cluster of papers on his desk. Gosh he had a lot of work to be done as yet. And here he was…..having all irrational thoughts about a woman he barely had met. He didn't even know who she was. Sitting up he frowned. He had better work through the papers to prepare for his meeting. The sole aim of him coming here all the way to Singapore was to attend the conference in place of his father……and to prove to his father that he was a responsible son. Six years of working rigorously for the company…..and still his father doubted his capabilities.
"You still need to grow up son." His father would say every time they talked.
"When I was your age….I managed the entire company with your grandfather…and looked after my wife and our infant son which was you….look at you….still single…with a already built up company. You need to push yourself harder by and think about getting married. Though I doubt you are ready for a wife…we need a heir…your grandfather wants to see his grandchild's face before he goes to the grave."
That was his father Armaan thought grimly. Controlling, dominating and arrogant. He thought he could run the world on his terms. Everyone should talk and walk as he ordered them to. How had his mother survived so many years with a control freak was still a mystery to Armaan. But now he himself was growing weary. He had worked his ass off….in the past six years, taking the company to new heights and still his father expected him to grow up??? And now there was this new issue. Find a suitable Hamilton bride.
"You might not be ready as yet Armaan…but its time…..we need the next generation." His father would say. His mother had already gone steps ahead….under his father's instruction he suspected….had presented him with a list too. Of all suitable brides-to be. All beautiful….classy….mostly with little brains…who would be happy to be his wife…..play the perfect hostess…the perfect Hamilton bride…mother his child. Just like his own mother.
But did anyone care what Armaan wanted?? Apparently no........ Armaan thought picking up and rolling the pen between his fingers aimlessly. Usually his father kept him under his eyes. But this one of those few times he had sent Armaan. And he was going to make most of this time. To loosen up. True he had to overlook the ad campaign of his company and the upcoming conference but he would take this time to sort out himself. Heck he had grown up…unlike what his father believed. And he was ready to share the responsibility too. He might have kept a low head incase of business matters…but heck he wasn't going to allow his father or mother to choose his bride. He would decide who was suitable for him.
Which brought him back to the woman he had met. She was beautiful. It was time he got back to the dating scene. Heck he hadn't even once dated past the entire year. While belonging to a multimillionaire family……the playboy obvious image was attached to his name Armaan begged to differ. He didn't even recollect spending an evening with just a few friends forget a woman.
His cell phone rang and Armaan grimaced as he saw his father's name flash on screen. He braced himself for the usual weekly torturous lecture.
"Hello dad." He greeted on picking up the call.
"You screwed up son." Some way to greet his son Armaan thought gritting his teeth.
"A good afternoon to you dad firstly…..What did
I supposedly screw up this time?'' Armaan asked keeping his tone polite.
"John told me last week you only incorporated three of the special features in into the design of our new model we are launching instead of four. That kind of mistake is unacceptable."
Armaan clung tightly to his anger but kept it secreted away for the moment.
"Actually, old man John changed his mind after the initial design was
complete. And I fixed it while you were off on your little weekend getaway
with the new socialite on the block.'' His father philandering ways well known. Even his mother knew that his father never believed in fidelity…but still she never ever confronted him.
Armaan enjoyed these moments the most, when Vijay Hamilton knew he'd been bested. But as always, his father recovered quickly in order to get in another dig. Today it came in record time.
"You sound like hell, Armaan. Obviously you've been spending a lot of time
bed-hopping with women. That's a distraction you can't afford, especially during this particular project.'' Armaan held back the string of curse words clamoring to climb out of his
"You know something, Dad. What I do in my off time is none of your
business. But for your information, I'm not involved with anyone right now.
If that changes, rest assured you'll be the last to know.''
Armaan could almost imagine his father's jaw going rigid as his frame.
"I'm glad you're not involved with anyone. As we are still finding a suitable bride for you. You need to be wise and careful in choosing her."
Armaan shoved aside the latest issue of a magazine and clamped his hands together on the desk. '"You're right, I'm not ready to settle down. Considering the example I've had, I may never be ready.''
"I can find a wife for myself father when I wish and when I want. You don't need to keep reminding me. I would rather suggest you take so much interest in your own wife of 30 years." Armaan replied back irritably.
"No you cannot. You aren't grown up enough to decide your life partner. And well the very fact you dare talk about my marriage to your mother shows just how immature you are."
There he went again…… Armaan made an exaggerated show of checking his watch before turning his attention back to his father.
"Anything else you'd like to criticize, Dad? I've got a full schedule today. But I could mark off a few hours for you tomorrow. You might want to bring a complete list of my shortcomings.''
"Sarcasm is unbecoming, Armaan."
"You taught me that, too.'"
His father kept quite for a long…… long moment.
"Maybe I have made my share of mistakes, but I deserve more respect considering everything I've done for you since your birth…..''
You owe me, echoed in Armaan's mind, even if those hadn't been his father's exact words. He scrubbed a hand over his jaw.
"Yeah, Dad, I know what you've done for me. You remind me often enough. But it seems to me that's what you do for your kids, help them out. And you shouldn't expect someone to bleed in return."
"I don't expect you to bleed. I do expect you to be grateful for what you
have. And it would be nice if you'd grow up.''
With a palpable arrogance, Vijay Hamilton cut the call leaving Armaan hurt and lonely. Getting up he went to the mini bar and helped himself with a cool glass of water. Gulping down the liquid Armaan stared at the glass. Wasn't it natural for parents to raise their children and mold them? Children aren't expected to payback this way or feel obligated to their parents for raising them. That bond between a father or a mother with his child should be the one of love…compassion. It shouldn't be "I raised you so your turn to pay me" kind of a bond. But maybe it was for his father. he never had that bond with his mother either. She was a meek little mouse…..dominated by her husband.
Oh to hell with everything. He should be looking forward to the evening with this beautiful woman Armaan though putting down the glass. There was knock on the door…….breaking him out of his thoughts. Armaan muttered "Come in" only to find a waiter standing
"Sir there was this note for you left at the reception." He handed him a note left.
Mystified Armaan closed the door and opened it. It read.
"I don't know if you usually address your self as Aditya Sharma or was I the only exception Mr Hamilton. Never the less…..thankyou for saving me today. Though I don't feel dinner is necessary nor am I worth it for you to waste your time. Hope you enjoy your dinner Mr Armaan Hamilton.
Armaan frowned as he read the note again. A smile tugged his lips. So the lady had known who he was. And yet now refusing his dinner proposal??? And that too after she agreed once.
Well Riddhima was an interesting woman then. Did she really intend to play such cat and mouse games with him?? He knew women played them to garner interest from men. So was Riddhima doing so as well??? She knew who he was afterall?? Well then he would jut play along as well…..time to inquire more about Riddhima Gupta he decided picking up the phone again.
"Drop your head a little to the left. That's right. Good, Riddhima, good."
Riddhima Gupta moved to the direction of the photographer, the hot sun baking her skin despite the high factor sunscreen slathered on under her body sheen. She didn't complain, though. The shoot was her first truly big ad campaign as well as her first large international contract.
At twenty-four, she was either on the cusp of making it big in modeling, or sliding into mediocrity. Mediocrity was not an option. She'd been modeling since her early teens and had sacrificed sleep, chocolate and a social life for her chosen career. She was determined to make it big.
It helped always that her mom was on her side. A widow, who had raised Riddhima on her own, Smriti Gupta was an amazing woman. She'd sacrificed herself for Riddhima's career and loved her only daughter enough to remind her when to exercise and when not to eat…too much. Her life was just her and her mom. Her father passed away before Riddhima was born……..her life revolved just around her mother and her career. If her mother had been liberal and supporting enough to allow Riddhima to take up her choice of career…then Riddhima had decided to leave no stone unturned to make her mother proud of herself.
Riddhima had been living on a low-calorie diet so long, she didn't even get hungry anymore. Smriti was careful to make sure that the food Riddhima did eat was bernutritious. She'd even given up her own comforts so that she could afford to hire a personal trainer for Riddhima. Smriti Gupta had provided Riddhima what she needed to tone her body into the perfect form for modeling. Her mom's support of her dream meant everything to Riddhima and she had every intention of repaying it with success.
"Okay…lift the phone like a victory fist and smile."
Riddhima lifted the trim flip phone high in the air and gave her signature smile, one that her agent said promised the world and everything in it.
A whistle sounded from her left…behind somewhere and unexpected tingles traveled up her spine and down her arms. It was as if someone with an electric gaze was watching her. Which was just plain silly. Superman might have X-ray vision, but he was fiction and no real person actually had the ability to touch someone else with a look. Only, she felt touched. Caressed even.
Doing her best to mentally shrug off the odd feeling, she turned up the wattage on her smile and the whistle sounded again. This time low and suggestive. It was all Riddhima could do not to clench her thigh muscles. She never reacted like this.
A swear word hissed out between her perfect teeth even as she maintained the smile for the numerous clicks of the photographer's camera. What was wrong with her?
"Call a break." The voice rang with authority and just the hint of an accent.
The photographer called the break and Riddhima dropped the cell phone she'd been holding onto a nearby table. She went to pull on a gauzy wrap, but two elegant, masculine hands were there before hers.
The wrap was held open waiting for her to slide her arms into it. "Come,sweetheart, you must cover such perfect skin from the heat of the sun."
She allowed him to draw the wrap up her arms, a sense of unreality stifling her. She had not even seen his face yet and felt as if they were intimately acquainted. Impossible. And just slightly terrifying.
"Whose not so brilliant idea was it to work during the hottest part of the day?" he asked in a voice that carried as far as the photographer.
"It is perfect right now, Sir…there is just the right amount of light out here……" the ad campaign manager said in a much less authoritative voice than Riddhima had ever heard from him while she saw the photographer hurry over out of the corner of her eye.
"Are we not civilized? Does not the woman here demand rest, not work during the hottest part of the day?"
"I apologize, Sir. If we had known you wished to oversee the shoot, we would have arranged it for a different time." The man behind Riddhima laughed, the sound warm and rich, like chocolate sauce pouring over French vanilla ice cream. "It is not myself I am concerned about."
That strange urge to clench her thigh muscles hit her again and she had to force herself to step out from under the hands now resting on her shoulders. When had she ever wanted to prolong a man's touch? She could not remember a single instance. Men were business associates or props for photo shoots, nothing more. Ad the way this man was affecting her seemed a bit off balance.....and scary.....dangerous.
She turned to face the man upsetting her equilibrium and got her second glimpse of Armaan Hamilton standing right behind her………
Ok folks part 1 up here. I hope honestly it isn't a it disappointing. Love u all loads and heaps for the wonderful support u all haven given me. thats for all u wonderful people out there!!
what makes me handle all four....seems crazy i know. Anyways talking
abt this one.....pls do give me ur views....u knw they r the only fall
backs for me....else i dont see myself even writing a word. Looking
forward eagerly to ur honest opinion....I cudnt reply to all the
comments...will do so by tomorrow morning. Pls do leave ur views and
yes to al those who read my other ff's....will be updating them all
starting from tomorrow. Love u guys...pls take care!!
PS: Um removing the short word for this ff....errr dunno myself how long this will go...so might as well remove it....and mind u...no laughing and giving me that knowing smile!!! I knw um the laughing stock here :D Love u all loads!! Muahz!!
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