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Chapter 3: Becoming His Assistant
"Babaji, let everything go well today," Geet muttered to the sky, holding her hands together in prayer. "Maan Singh Khurana won't be here today, so that's good," she murmured to herself, putting her hands down to her side. She stopped for a moment. "Why am I always saying Maan Singh Khurana? Why does his first name have to be attached to his middle and last names? Why? Maan. There, I can say it. Maan won't be here today," she nodded semi-confidently. "Maan. Maan. No," she said, shaking her head at the awkwardness that engendered. "If I called him that, he'd probably kill me. I can't call him Maan to his face. Maan Sir."
Her thoughts turned to how her parents had reacted to her news.
"Why didn't you tell us that you had lost your job, beta?" Papa Ji asked.
"Because I didn't want to burden you anymore than I already have," Geet responded.
"You could never be a burden for us," Maa interrupted, smiling lovingly at her. "You're our precious daughter. If we don't take care of you, then who would we take care of?"
"Your mother's right, beta," Papa Ji said, coming over to pass a loving hand over Geet's hair. "You're our wealth. Nothing else matters. If you need money for your tuition, we want to help you. Don't work anymore."
"Papa Ji, I've already promised Maan Singh Khurana that I would come! I can't break my promise. And how would Adi Jeeja ji look if I just backed out? I just hope that everything goes okay."
"Everything will be fine," Papa Ji said smilingly, patting her head once more. "Children always love you."
"Everything will be fine," she repeated, staring at the imposing doors in front of her. Reaching out a clenched fist, she almost banged on the door before catching herself. What was she doing? Stiffly pulling out a reluctant index finger, she rang the bell. "Why am I so nervous?" she asked herself. "This is just like any other job. I shouldn't be this nervous. Rahul will like me. We'll get along. I'll make my money, and be on my way back to school in a few months. Right. Think about the money, Geet. Think about the salary."
She jumped slightly when the door opened in front of her.
"Miss Geet, you're here early," Nakul stated, opening the door wider. He gestured her inside and closed the door.
"Well, Savitri Devi said that it was my job to wake up Rahul," Geet murmured in response, moving down the hallway.
"Oh, Geet beta, you're here already," a warm voice called from the living room. Geet hesitantly stepped into the room and smiled at the older woman sitting on a sofa.
"Namaste," she murmured. She moved closer. "I didn't find out what time Rahul gets up," she explained. "So, I thought that I would come a bit earlier and get to know our routine before he awakened."
"I don't know what you must have thought when I was telling you your duties last night," Savitri Devi stated musingly. "When Maan beta told me that you thought you had been interviewing for a position as his secretary, I couldn't help but laugh at the image of you waking him up and picking out his clothes. It made him really angry," she murmured confidingly to the young lady in front of her. She didn't know why she felt such an affinity for this child, but a part of her trusted her in some way. "I know that you won't tell anyone else about that."
"Well, I don't think that Maan Sir's temper will be much of a surprise to his employees," Geet muttered in a low tone.
Savitri Devi began to laugh once more. "I just know that it will be a pleasure to have you working for us," she commented, wiping at the corners of her eyes. "But Geet, Rahul is already awake."
Geet glanced at her questioningly, her brow wrinkling in worry. "Should I be coming even earlier than this?" she asked.
"Oh, no, of course not," the other woman responded. "Rahul's schedule is just a bit out of sync with the rest of us. You can fix that over time. Why don't you take this hot chocolate and go meet him right now," she suggested, nodding at the drink in Nakul's hands. "He's playing in his room."
Geet nodded smilingly, and took the warm glass in her hands. She turned to go, but then quickly turned back. "Where is his room again?" she asked.
"I'll have Nakul take you," Savitri Devi responded.
"And M-Maan Sir has left for his business trip?" Geet asked in worry. "I still can't believe that I was trying to get him to drink milk last night."
eyes widened at that revelation. "Really? Maan beta didn't say anything about
that." She began to chuckle at the image that revelation brought to her mind.
"He's gone?" Geet pressed, needing to know.
"Don't worry. He will be gone for a week. You can get to know Rahul in the meantime."
'In the meantime?' Geet thought to herself, as she turned to follow Nakul. 'What did she mean by that?'
Knock. Knock. Knock.
"Rahul? Are you in there?" There was no response.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
"Rahul? Are you in here?" Geet called out again, wondering why there was no answer. Opening the door, she stuck her head inside. Her eyes moved around the room before landing on the lump in the middle of the huge bed. It was bed too large for a child, making the child in it seem too small and vulnerable.
"What's this?" she asked the lump, moving into the room. "Savitri Devi said that Rahul was awake. I guess Rahul wants me to wake him up on my first day," she said smilingly, moving over to the bed.
The lump moved around, and she saw two eyes suddenly gazing at her. "No I don't!" the little boy shouted, glaring at her balefully. The blankets lowered some more, revealing a frown on the handsome face. "I don't like you! Go away! I don't need a nanny! I can take care of myself!" He was back under the covers before the last words had left his mouth.
Geet gingerly set the hot chocolate on the bedside table, before turning to sit down beside the tiny lump. It moved over, not wanting to be near her. "Hmm. What can we do about you not liking me?" Geet wondered out loud. "You haven't even given me a chance."
"I'm never going to like you," he said with a pout, pulling the blanket down once more. "And don't sit on my bed without my permission. I didn't give you permission." Saying that, he pulled the blanket up once more. Geet sat back, a little shocked by his words. But then again, wasn't there a saying about the apple not falling far from the tree? Gently tugging at the blanket, she pulled it down to gaze at the child's face. He was a beautiful child. But the petulance in his features detracted from that beauty.
"I can take care of myself, you know," he said after a while. He pulled out his arm and held it up, and Geet saw the cast around it. "Just because I broke my arm, doesn't mean that I can't take care of myself. Besides, daddy said that this would only be on for a little while. I'll be fine soon."
Geet remained silent, gazing at him.
"Well? Aren't you going to say anything?" he demanded, a tad apprehensive.
"Wouldn't you like to properly meet me first?" she finally asked. "I don't think it's fair of you to not give me a chance."
"Unfair?" he asked doubtfully, sitting up slowly. Geet quickly helped me, when she saw the trouble he was having with his arm. "I don't want to be unfair. Daddy says you can never cheat anybody. It's wrong. Am I cheating you?" he asked hesitantly.
"I think it's not fair," Geet repeated, trying out a small pout of her own.
"My name is Rahul Khurana," he said grudgingly, holding out his small hand.
Geet shook it gently. "My name is Geet Handa. And I'm not here to be your nanny," she told him.
"You're not?" There was a moment of silence as the child tried to digest this. His brow wrinkled once more. "You are too! Dadi said that you were coming here to take care of me. A nanny does that."
"Dadi? But isn't Savitri Devi you'" Geet began to ask, sidetracked for a moment.
"Daddy calls her Dadi," Rahul cut in. "So, I call her Dadi."
"You do everything your daddy does?" Geet asked with a smile, a dimple flashing.
The child smiled back hesitantly, as if unable to help himself. Geet's charm had begun to work on him. "Of course," he replied. "I want to be just like daddy, so I have to do everything he does."
"Right, of course," Geet said, nodding in understanding. "But, as I was saying, I'm not your nanny. I'm going to be your personal assistant."
Rahul's eyes widened at that. "My assistant?"
"Tell me. You know Jeeja ji, right?"
"Sorry, I mean, Adi. You know Adi, right? Your father's employee?"
"Adi uncle?" Rahul asked. "Of course. He's always here. He's really nice to me. He brings me candy. And then Dadi gets kind of annoyed because she says I get hyp'hyp'jumpy. But she doesn't really get angry. She loves me," the boy rambled on while Geet watched him smilingly. "Only, he has difficulty talking when he's around my dad," Rahul revealed, returning to the original subject. "I think he's afraid of daddy. One time, I saw him hiding from daddy, but when I asked him what he was doing, he picked up a toy and said that daddy had been asking for it." Rahul giggled slightly, a naughty gleam in his eyes.
"You're not supposed to laugh at other people," Geet gently admonished him, reaching out a hand to brush away the hair that had fallen over his forehead. "But, as I was saying. Adi takes care of many things for your father. He makes appointments for him. He buys his airline tickets. He figures out the budget for your daddy's projects."
"He has to do that. Daddy pays him," Rahul protested.
"And does that mean that your father can't pick up the phone? Or that he can't buy his own tickets? Or that your daddy doesn't know how to do math?"
"No! My daddy knows how to do everything," Rahul protested hotly.
"Then, that means that your daddy chooses to let other people help him. He chooses to let other people assist him," Geet concluded. "You want to be like your daddy, right? Then, you have to let me be your assistant so I can help you. Rahul Khurana should have at least one assistant," she said, tugging gently at the collar of his night shirt.
Rahul nodded thoughtfully, buying into that argument. "I'm your boss, right? You'll do whatever I want?" he asked slyly, gazing at Geet with his chocolate brown eyes.
"Within reason," she promptly replied, seeing the pitfalls in her argument. "Adi doesn't do everything for your father, right? Only what's in his job description."
"Hmm," Rahul said, a little disappointed. Tapping a finger against his chin, he thought about what his first order of the day would be. "Give me my hot chocolate."
Geet sat there, gazing at him.
"I told you to get me my drink," he ordered, frowning at her.
"You didn't say the magic word," she replied.
"What do you mean?"
"You have to say please and thank you," Geet reminded him gently.
"No, I don't," he quickly replied. "Daddy doesn't say any of that. He only nods his head and says 'hmph'," Rahul said, mimicking his father, to the point of crossing his arms over his small chest.
"But you're younger," Geet reminded him. "Your daddy '" she thought frantically. "Your daddy learned all of his manners, and now that he's bigger he can forget them because he's rich. You can do that too. But first you have to learn them," she murmured.
"Please give me my hot chocolate," Rahul said, after a moment's thought. "Thank you," he said, after Geet had handed him the drink. He sipped it quietly for a moment, holding it one tiny hand. Geet reached out and helped him, holding the glass. He shyly smiled at her over the rim, before taking another swallow. "Are you sure that I can act like daddy when I grow up?" he asked.
"I promise," Geet murmured, her heart touched by the yearning she saw in his eyes. Leaning down, she planted a kiss on his forehead.
"Why did you do that?" he asked, shocked by the display of affection. In his young life, he had only known such affection from his Dadi. Daddy would hug him sometimes, but it wasn't often. "You kissed me," he pointed out, touching the spot her lips had caressed.
"That's in my job description," Geet replied promptly, flashing him a smile. "I have to give you a kiss once a day." Rahul accepted that explanation, turning his attention to finishing his hot chocolate. Geet took the empty glass away and then carefully wiped away the milk mustache above his tiny mouth.
"Now, what would you like to do?" she asked, smiling down at the little boy. Looking at the brown eyes staring openly at her once more, she felt her heart clench with new emotions. She'd only known this child for half an hour, but he'd found a place in her heart. She tapped at it lightly, warning it to not be too emotional. This was just a job.
"Can we play?" he asked hesitantly. "Is that in your job des--description?"
"Your nanny didn't play with you?" she asked in surprise.
"No, she was too busy," Rahul said, with a frown.
"Doing what?" Geet demanded, appalled at the thought of this child being ignored.
Rahul shrugged impatiently. "I don't know. Can't we just play?"
"Not only is it in my job description," Geet said, helping him out of bed, "But we have to play together for at least three hours a day."
Rahul smiled at that, gazing up at his new assistant. "What do I call you?"
Geet thought about it for a moment. "Well, your daddy calls Adi by his name, but that would only be okay between us when you're older. How about you call me Geet Didi or Ms. Geet?"
"I've never had a didi before," Rahul said musingly. "But I'll call you both. It'll depend on if I'm happy with you or mad at you."
Geet chuckled at that frank statement.
"Now, let's play hide and go seek!" he suggested excitedly. "I'm going to hide and you have to find me!" he shouted over a small shoulder, running out the door.
"Wait, Rahul!" Geet called frantically. "We haven't even changed your clothes!"
"Rahul, where are you?" Geet demanded, moving around gingerly, her hands held out in front of her. She had been working for a week in the Khurana house, and she had loved it. Not only had she become closer to Rahul and they were best buds, but she had also grown closer to Savitri Devi, who she now called Dadi Ma, at her own insistence.
"Rahul?" She tilted her head slightly, hearing a soft giggle to the side of the room. They were playing blindman's buff; she had the corner of her dupatta wrapped around her eyes, as she moved around hesitantly, searching for her little charge.
"Where are you, you little monster?" she demanded, hearing him laugh even louder. She smiled in response, moving around the furniture that she knew was in the room. He loved it when they played together. Feeling a change in the breeze to the side and the soft patter of feet, she realized that Rahul had left the room. She slowly followed him outside. Entering the hallway, she followed the soft sounds until she felt something brush against her hand. Rahul's hair! Dropping down, she grabbed the little figure. "Got you!" she squealed in triumph, hugging him close.
Only ' it wasn't the small figure of a child in her arms. She had just plastered herself against a hard, male back. And the scent ' his clean, woodsy scent was so familiar. She inhaled deeply, and then quickly shook her head at what she was doing. She fell back, putting distance between herself and this strange male.
Quickly pulling off the blindfold, her eyes widened in shock at the figure now standing in front of her. Her gaze moved from the expensive shoes, to the business clothes, up to face that had captivated her from the first moment she had seen it, to meet the eyes glaring down at her. She quickly wrapped her dupatta around herself, her heart beating furiously in her chest.
"Geet Didi, why were you hugging daddy?"
Hey everybody, thank you so much for all of your comments! I hope to read a lot more from you. Also, for new readers, if you guys want PMs, please send me a buddy request at
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