I woke up suddenly, jolted from sleep.
The darkness that enveloped the room led me to believe that it wasn't morning yet.
And that annoying sound was making me lose patience.
I buried my head under the pillow. I had no intention of getting out of bed and answering the phone.
The phone continued to ring.
The nerve! I sat up in bed and stretched out my arm to turn the light on. The numbers on the alarm clock glowed ... it was three in the morning! Good heavens, three in the morning!
Natz could not be calling at this hour. So who could it be?
I froze as a dreadful prospect came into my mind…he could not ... oh but he could...
I stayed completely still.
The events of the day passed before my eyes with alarming speed...
Mumbai Bank. Arjun Punj. Boss. Massage. Arohi's impending death.
Who else could call me in the middle of the night? He had often done it before.
Oh no, no, no! There was no doubt that he had discovered that I had planned the trick. What should I do? Answer the phone or let it ring all night and sleep with earplugs?
Damn, I knew that the pathetic excuse that Natz had given to Arjun shortly after my revenge would not hold out for more than two seconds: the woman didn't understand our language well enough... Then an accidental burn on her hand had forced her to leave the massage room furiously.
What kind of inventions?
Oh my God, I was dead! For the second time in less than twelve hours, Natz had put me in a situation with no way out. Arjun Punj would kill me soon, this much was certain.
The phone stopped ringing.
I stayed completely still, holding my breath.
Shit, there it was again!
You are strong. You are strong.
I held the receiver to my ear "He..Hello?"
"Oh finally… You decided to answer," snapped THE voice I'd been hearing inside my head. "Is there a reason why I should bother to call so many times, begging for an answer?"
The terrible feeling of feeling as small and insignificant as a flea returned."I'm sorry..."
"I'm giving you three hours, then I want to see you in my office with the report I requested yesterday." He stopped abruptly, then continued in the same acid tone in which he addresses me every day. "Go to the laundry and pick up the suit that I will wear at the meeting with the CEO of Mehta Society, then call Ms. Salil Mittal and ask for an appointment. Of course ... "He paused for a breath "... Of course if you have not completed the report, do not bother to come to work."
Then he hung up without giving me a chance to reply. Oh my God. This time I would be fired on spot. Even if I worked all night, I wouldn't have the time to complete the report. I was on the verge of panicking as I rushed out of the bedroom to write the damn report.
In the morning.
I was nervously tapping my finger on the desk, my eyes fixed on the clock. It was almost nine. Arjun hadn't arrived at the office yet. The laundry opened at the most ridiculous times: from four in the morning till noon. It seemed as if the world was at Arjun's feet - including me!
I cast another glance at the report to detect any errors that might remain. I started to get up but then I heard the elevator stop at this floor and my heart pounding, I sat back down. Oh, Arjun had arrived!
I sat on the chair and pretended to tidy the folders arranged neatly on the desk. The sound of his shoes on marble preceded his powerful voice. Without hesitating, he walked over to my desk, examining me with his cold green eyes. "Do you have the report? "
Oh, thank you for wishing me a good morning, I slept very well indeed, boss!" I thought sarcastically.
"Er ... yes." With trembling hands, I handed him the report. Arjun started to browse through the pages quickly, his eyes scanning the words, probably intent on detecting even a comma out of place just to find an excuse to humiliate me.
I watched him walking slowly to the other side of the room, his hand resting on his chin. As he turned away I noticed something …OMG… he was wearing jeans. Oh. My. God. My boss was wearing jeans. He always wore a suit.
Arjun suddenly turned around. He frowned and examined me, his head tilted to one side. "Don't you feel well?"
I felt my face flush hotly and tried to compose myself. "No, no, I'm fine."
God, I was definitely wrong.
Suddenly his phone rang and Arjun pulled it out from his back pocket. Talking on the phone, he walked away to his own office.
A few minutes later.
I jumped and hurried off to Arjun's office. I found my boss sitting at his desk, his chin propped up on his hand. His green eyes studied me skillfully and he was holding the envelope in which I'd brought the report. "I should wake you up in the middle of the night more often if this is the result of doing so."
You ugly boss! Now you're being sarcastic?
I bit my tongue to stop myself from retorting and waited until he continued.
"Is the appointment with Salil Mittal confirmed?"
"Er ... yes, he will be here at ten."
Arjun nodded, still holding my gaze. He sighed. "In the meantime, I need you to go pick up the new envelopes with the logo of the Mumbai bank on them. Dhondu has just informed me that he completed the prints. "
"What? Me? Why the hell did I have to go there? "I think this is the storekeeper's job."
"No, this is highly confidential work." Well, that explained it. "The only person who has access to this information is you. I'll see you later. You can go," he concluded.
I turned away and left his office.
Of course, now I had to run errands like this too!" I quickly put on my jacket and hurried to the atrium.
"Ohh…its raining cats and dogs," I blurted out, staring at the gray sky. Fortunately, the umbrella stand was always full…Shit! The umbrella stand was empty today! "Its official: there is a conspiracy against me," I sighed staring at torrents of rain and then left without a cover.
After a one-hour run, which involved walking across half the town in the raging Mumbai storm, I had to wait for two hours at Dhondu's in order to get the envelopes.
I skipped lunch and when I finally obtained the package, I realized that I still had to get back to the office in the never-ending rain. And what did that result in? Standing soaking wet in Arjun Punj's office, while he analyzes the stupid envelopes, that's what. Arjun shifted his green eyes to me.
"What, weren't there any umbrellas?"
So he found it funny?
"Strangely enough, there weren't any umbrellas in the stand. Someone must have them removed them on purpose." I stated.
The corners of his lips imperceptibly turned up, but he didn't smile. "I understand," he whispered softly, pretending to study his stupid envelopes.
Suddenly he let out a sigh and stood up. I watched him stride to the office door and close it. I closed my eyes.
"Arohi," Arjun whispered suddenly, leaning his head against the closed door.
Huh? He called me by my name... Arohi?
Arjun turned, fixing his gaze to my own. "Being the secretary of the bank's CEO has its price." He advanced on me slowly, forcing me to back away.
I didn't like the way he looked at me. I did not like it at all.
The door was closed. The sun had set, bathing the city in its warm glow. Arjun was fearlessly advancing on me. Oh God, what did he want?
I froze when I bumped into the edge of the desk but he continued to approach me. He was crazy.
He stopped a few inches away from me, his expression indecipherable. "Would you do anything for your boss?"
That question sent chills down my spine. He examined me from head to toe, curious and inquisitive. I could almost feel his breath on my face. "Well?" he prodded, staring into my eyes.
I found myself nodding automatically.
He stretched his lips into what definitely couldn't be called a smile. "Well, then I want to see you in my office tomorrow at five in the morning," he ordered, in his regular tone of voice. He opened the door, gesturing for me to leave. "Good evening."
I was exhausted, but I preferred to stay silent once again and I walked back to my office.
Who the hell does he think he is?
What a day's work. If he really believed that I'd be at the office at five, he was horribly mistaken. I was almost at my car when I realized that I'd left my keys in my office. Oh great. Panting, I hurried back to my office and spotted the keys on my desk.
"You should have seen her face," I heard Arjun say on the phone. He was still in his office and for the second time in my life, I detect a smile in his voice. He was laughing too.
"Do you really think she'll do it? You've been saying this for a long time now Nikhil."
"Nikhil?" I thought.
I tiptoed over to his office door and pressed my ear against the door, listening. Arjun was laughing like an idiot and was babbling on and on meaninglessly… or at least that was what it seemed like.
"Perfect, so we disagree. Prepare to lose the bet."
Bet? I ran away when I heard his chair scraping the floor. I didn't even take the elevator, instead opting for the stairs just so that I could escape faster from that hellish day.
I had to find out how Nikhil was involved with Arjun Punj. Damn you both!