Hey this is the second and last update of the old year... will update again after coming from bangalore... till then... take care and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year...
At precisely six o clock Mohinder handa opened the massive front door of the Handa mansion. " Mr. khurana, I am please dthat you could make it." he offered his hand with a hearty grin.
Maan shook his hand, lifting an eyebrow as he entered. " Did you doubt I'd come? I did arrange the meeting."
" Quite right. I just meant-" Mr. handa cleared his throat and gestured down a long hallway. " I think you will find the library a convinient place to discuss business. Plenty of room. We can get comfortable and answer any questions you may have about Limelight International." Taking the lead, he thrust open the first door they came to.
Maan entered the room and glanced around. As Mr. Handa had indicated, the library had been designed for comfort while offering absolute business efficiency. An impressive array of books lined the walls while an imposing oak desk dominated one end of the room. The Handas utilised the other half as a sitting area. Discreet lighting illuminated plush chairs, a couch, an extra wide coffee table and a wet bar. The liquor cabinet stood open, glasses and bottles at the ready.
The hard sell would be accomplished there, Maan realised with a touch of cynicism. As though to acknowledge the fact Mr. Handa's son and youngest daughter hovered on either side of each couch, waiting for him to join them. Once seated in he would be neatly hemmed in by the Handas. His eyes narrowed in displeasure. Only one component was missing. A very small, very important component.
Maan turned to confront Mr. Handa. " Your entire family is not here."
" Er, no, I expect Geet will show up any moment now," Mr. handa edged closer to the sitting area. " in the meantime, why don't we-"
" We'll wait."
With that Maan strolled to the bookcase and began an intent study of the contents. A wishpered, distinctly agitated conversation ensued from the general direction of the sitting area. No doubt they were arguing over who would go and fetch Geet. Before they reached their decision, a sudden flurry of activity sounded behind him. He turned in time to see geet breeze into the room and her family start en masse towards her. they stopped in their tracks the instant they realised how their actions may be interpreted- or misinterpreted.
" Sorry, I am late," Geet announced casually, oblivious to the undercurrents swirling around her.
Her gaze fastened on Maan and remained there. She studied him with the same direct intensity that he often gave his own pursuits. It filled him with an absolute certainty, an instinctive knowledege that the others in the room no longer existed for her. For this brief moment in time, he had become the center of her universe. His eyes narrowed as he assesed his reaction. As someone who worked hard to avoiid attracting unnecessary attention, he'd never been the center of anybody's universe. To his utter amazement, he discovered that he relished this feeling- relished it far more than wisdon dictated.
" We haven't been introduced," he stated.
A delicious smile tilted her mouth. " NO we have'nt" she had piled her wealth of curls on top of her head instead of confining them at the nape of her neck. As she approached, a multitude of escaped ringlets bounced in joyous abandonment about her slender neck and angled cheekbones. She held out her hands, saying simply," I am Geet."
He captured her hand in his. " Maan Singh Khurana."
She had strange eyes, the colour quite unusual. One moment the irises appeared sharply brown and gold before exploding with brilliant green and grey highlights. It was as though her every thought had its own unique colour combination. Fascinating. Quite Fascinating.
" Okay, I am here," she announced. " Just out of curiosity... Would you care to tell me why you asked me to come??"
He stilted, wondering if his expression revealed his surprie at the directness of her question. Damn. He hoped not. " I wanted to meet you," he answered just as directly.
" Geet, for crying out loud," Mr. Handa interupted with a groan. " Could we atleast sit down and have a drink before you start in on the man."
" You will have to excuse my daughter, Mr. Khurana." He dropped a restraining hand on geet's shoulder. For all their slender elegance, his fingers threatened to crush the fragile bones trapped withing his grasp. " She's not renowned for the tact."
For the first time in more years than he cared to remember, Maan acted without thinking. He snatched Geet from her father's hold into his own sphere of influence." Excuse us for just a minute. I'd like to speak with your daughter," he said, his voice taking on an unmistakable edge. When Mr. hnad continued to stand there, Maan added pointedly. " Allone, if you don't mind."
" i didn't realise- i didn't mean-" Wiht a muttered excuse, Mr. handa crossd the sitting area, exchanging confused galnces with Brij and Rajji.
" Are you alright?" Maan asked in an undertone,brushing a gentle hand across her shoulders.
" Dad, didn't mean anything be it." Geet said just as quietly, fixing him witha speculative look.
He understood that look. It asked why he'd interfered, why he'd reacted like a protective lover, instead of being the total stranger that he happened to be. And the only response he could come up with was... damned if he knew. " Your father doesn't know his own stength."
She shook her head. " He'd never deliberatly harm me. But he is under pressure tonight. And when that happens he sometimes forges that i am not built aloong the same proportions as Brij and Rajji."
" It's time he remembered."
Inquisitiveness gave her eyes a misty grey hint. " Is that way you're here? To remind him??"
" No." he relaxed his guard enough to smile. " Would you believe that I came to meet you?"
" Me??" She shook her head, laughing softly. It was a husky, full-bodied laugh, and as with everything else about her, it held irresistable appeal. " I find that hard to believe though as a line it definitely has potential."
" I'll work on it." He had himself back under the control- a very tenous control, true. But it should be enough to get him through this meeting. " shall we join the others???"
She peeked around him towards the sitting area. " They are looking rather frayed around the edges," she murmered. I hope you are planning to put them out of their misery."
" i will be quick. i promise."
He walked with her to the couch, blocking access to the chair the Hadas had left vacant for Geet. " Shall we get started?" Maan said. " i have a dinner engagement at seven."
" have a seat Mr. Khurana," Mr. Hnada said with forced heartiness." What can I get you to drink??"
" Nothing thanks. I won't be staying."
Rajji stirred. " Mr. Khurana, perhaps you'd tell us why you arranged this meeting. Are you interested in using Limelight's services?"
Maan hesitated for a fraction of second. Until this morning, he'd have been lying if he siad that he was in need of a PR firm. Fortunately, he'd been approaced by a man who fit the bill. He'd most likely have turned the request down too if it hadn't provided him with the perfect excuse to approach Limelight. " i am interested in giving Limelight a trial run." he announced.
" we're listening." Mr. hnada said all business.
" I have a client who's starting up an investment company and needs the sort of creative publicity only a top notch PR firm can provide. Fair warning, he is a rather particular client."
" Particular as in difficult?" Brij asked with his father's frankness.
" Let's just say that he needs special attention," Maan replied, not in the least offended by Brij's candour. " If you are successful, I'll know your firm has the skill to handle my other business requrements." He lifted an eyebrow. " Are you interested?"
" We are interested." Mr. handa responded. " When do we get started?"
" I will fax you the details the first thing in the morning." he spared a quick galnce at his watch. " And now, if you will excuse me, I have to go. Geet, I'd appreciate if if you'd see me out."
He could see the protest dawning in Mr. Handa's expresssion. Before it could find voice, Maan snagged Geet's elbow and walked to the door.
" We're leaving?" she asked amused.
" We're leaving."
She didn't say anything until they reached the front door. he found that intriguing. Most women would have demanded an explanation. But not Geet. Instead she walked beside him, her gait light and easy, her expression curious yet patient. She glanced up at him and smiled. It wqas an open, appealing smile, filled with an electrifying vitality.
How the hell had Mohinder Handa fathered such a changeling?? he could not help but wonder.
At the front door, she hesitated. " Considering what i know of you personality- which I admit, is not much- I have to assume you had a reason for asking me to show you out."
She tilted ger head to one side. " Care to clue me in?"
" Would you have dinner with me?"
She blinked in astonishment. " Dinner?"
" That's the meal you consume at the end of the day." he explained gravely. " Sometimes two people share it. Are you familiar with the custom?"
Humour flickered within her gaze. " Somewhat. When do you have in mind?"
" But you told my father-" Comprehension dawned and she laughed. " Sorry to be so slow. You caught me off guard.
It would be easy to get used to the sound of her laughter, he decided. All too easy. " You haven't answered my question. Will you have dinner with me?"
She took a minute to consider, studying him with a disconcering intensity. " Is this a business dinner or personal?"
" i imagine it could go either way," he answered honestly. " Which would you prefer?"
" I am not sure." A new array of colours sparkeled within her eyes, shaded Maan had begun to associate with the more mischevious aspects of her personality . As though to confirm his suspicion, she pulled open the door and caught his arms in hers. " Why dont we find out?"
" Well, I'll be the son of a-" Mr. Handa allowed the heavy drape to fall closed. " Seems you were right Rajji."
She smiled dispassionately. " Of course i was right."
" Walked off with the girl like he owned her." mr. Hnada's brows drew together as he analysed the possible ramifications. " So now we know wht the wants. But whta about her?? Never could figure out Geet's thinking on anything.."
" She went with him, didn't she?" Brij inserted. " She wouldn't do that unless she wanted to."
" Unfortunaltely, we can't count on that lasting." Rajji said. " You know Geet."
The three of them fell into an unhappy silence, recognising Rajji's remarks as a indisputable fact.
" So what now?" Brij asked.
" Now we treat Geet the same way we would an uncooperative business associate." mr. Hnada replied grimly.
Rajji's expression cooled. She didn't like the sound of it one bit. " You can't be suggesting blackmailing??"
Her father winced. " You always were far too blunt, Rajji. I prefer to think of it as... persuation. Gentle persuation, if possible. We will find a way to convince herto go along with her plans. Explain the advantages to her."
Brij snorted. " Yeah right. Knowing Geet, i am sure that they wll work."
Mr. Handa acknowledged his son's sarcasm with a chilly smile. " Oh, it will work."
" How?" Rajji demanded. " If we tell her to turn left she will choose every direction except left. She's totally unpredictable. She doesn't even do the oppositye of what we ask. She just does somehing different."
" There's no point in trying to secong guess her." Mr. hnad agreed. " There's only one way to deal with Geet..."
" Which is?" Rajji asked apprehensively.
" We find the right angle."
" What do you mean, 'the right angle'?"
Annoyance falshed in Mr. hnada's dark eyes. " Don't be obtuse. You know whta I mean. Everyone has a weakness. We just need to find Geet's"
" then you are talking about blackmail."
" Fine." Mr. Hnada snapped, slamming his fist on the liquor cabinet. The bottles and glasses clattered discordinantly.
" I'm talking about balckmail. I am talking about finding out what she's been upto for the past three and a half years. Brij, do the background check."
" Rajji, I want to know her strenghts and weaknesses. Her vulnerablities. I want anything we can use to make her see the advantages of continuing a relationship with Maan."
" I don't want to hear it." Mr. Handa interrupted coldly. " I don't like forcing her hand, any better than you do. But then we don't have a choice. Do I have to remind you how much is at stake???"
" No, but-"
Mr. Handa cut her off again. " You're worrying about nothing Rajji. Geet wouldn't have gone with maan if she wasn't interessted. All, I am asking is that she stay interested long enough for us to strike the deal with the man." his tone turned aggrieved. " Is that soi much to ask?"
" For some." Rajji turned away, wrapping her arms around her waist. " For some, it is like asking the impossible."
Well, this was it for this year... meet you next year...