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Strings of Fate (Completed!) (Page 3)

desigal90 IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 14 November 2007
Posts: 37748

Posted: 20 May 2008 at 4:19pm | IP Logged
Everyone: Congratulations!

SM Tech was at an uproar. Everyone bustled forward to congratulate Saagar and Rhia as they emerged in the main lobby that day. Even members from Rhia's banking firm were present at the occasion. They came forward and shook Saagar's hand while Rhia wandered around with the employees of SM Tech.

Banker 1: Congratulations sir, that was a huge success!

Saagar: Thank you, couldnt have done it without your excellent banker.

Banker 1: Huh?

Saagar: Rhia Sharma...your banker?

Banker: Oh right, her. Well kudos to you sir, and hope to see more of you in the future!

Saagar was about to retaliate when another member from the firm grasped his attention. Frusterated, he realized that none of the bankers were willing to give Rhia any credit of this sucess. By the time the last banker congratulated him, he had completely lost his patience and barely aknowledged his presence. Instead, he scanned the room full of people for any signs of Rhia. For a second, he panicked. Where could she have gone? Was she upset at this rude behavior? He pushed past the torrents of people and called out her name. He finally spotted her towards the back of the room chatting with some of his colleagues like she had always known them. Feeling relieved, he made his way to the back and waved at his friends.

Saagar: Hey, thanks guys, thank you for all ur warm wishes. Rhia can you come with me for a second, excuse us plz.

He took her by the elbow and drew her to the side. She was about to protest when she noticed the frusteration on his face and followed him wordlessly. When they were out of earshot, she inquired his condition.

Rhia: Saagar, what's wrong?

Saagar: You're asking me? Havent you noticed yourself?

Rhia (thinking): Umm...not really. Notice what?

Saagar (pointing towards the group of bankers): Them! And how unreasonable they're behaving right now. They refuse to aknowledge that you had anything to do with this project. I mean, are they blind? Do they have brains? Or do they just choose not to use them?

He was so furious that his forehead had broken out into a sweat. Touched by his concern, she pulled out a napkin and dabbed at his forehead as he watched helplessly.

Rhia: I know...they've always been like that. It hurts their male ego to realize that I'm doing a better job than they are, and that's their way of dealing with the changes. I dont mind, really. I'm ok Saagar.

Saagar (pushing her hand aside): You may be ok, but I certainly am NOT. I dont think you've noticed, but they're taking you for granted. And you're ok with that?

Rhia: Well...

Saagar: I'm NOT! I have major issues when people take someone for granted. Especially if I happen to care for that someone. These people dont realize how damn lucky they are to have such a talented woman working at their firm, and they're taking you for granted?

Rhia: Saagar, I'm so touched that you care so much for me, but really, there's nothing I can do about it.

Saagar: Yeah there is. Forget about em. Resign from that bank. You dont need to work for them when they're not giving you your dues.

Rhia: Saagar!

Saagar (emotional): I'm serious! You can find another job within a second. Any company would love to work with you. Your work experience alone is so damn impressive and when they interview you, they'll fall in love with you. Trust me Rhia, I know you. You're the kind of woman who is destined for great things. Destined to spread your wings and take flight. But this place...its too narrow. You cant spread your wings here, its cramping your style man!

She laughed at his analogy dabbed at his forehead again, which was speckled with beads of perspiration again.

Rhia (while wiping his forehead): And where do you suppose I'll find work this fast?

Saagar (thinking quick): I dunno, anywhere...just look around and...(he paused suddenly, his eyes caught on the sign of his company) and...the right place may just be staring you right in the face.

Rhia: Huh?

He took her by her shoulders and turned her around till she was facing the large company sign. SM Tech. She gasped softly, the magnitude of what Saagar was saying settling in.

Rhia (in a whisper): Here? You want me to work here?

Saagar (excited): Why not...why not?!? I mean this is great. I have the perfect position for you right here, and its been empty for a few months since one of our most honorably colleagues retired but I think I've found the perfect person to fill in. Rhia, work with me. Side by side, we'll take this company to new heights!

His eyes were shining as he spoke, his hands moving all over as he talked animately, and all Rhia could do was stare at him openmouthed. This all seemed too good to be true. A position with Saagar meant far more prestige than her previous post, and it was far more profitable as well. And to top it all off, rather than working with the sour faced men she had to put up with in the past, she would be working with Saagar.

Rhia (breathless): But I dont even know how to...

Saagar: I'll teach you! Rhia, you are more than qualified. I know youa are, and you know more about this company than some of its own employees by now. Come on yaar, this is the best thing to have happened in so long! Dont refuse and break me heart!

He was still talking to her, convinving her, but she couldnt hear. In all her excitement and happiness, there was one part of her that was holding back, a cautious part, an intuition that seemed to be warning her of some danger to come. And in the deep recesses of her mind, she knew what this warning was all about. Her growing friendship with Saagar was beginning to fill with her with a feeling of dread. She felt so comfortable with him. Too comfortable, too much at home, too safe, too secure, too close. There was silent internal struggle within her, between her heart and mind. She knew she wanted to work with him, more than she had ever wanted to work with anyone. She wanted to have anything to do with Saagar Malhotra, JUST so she could be with him, and this scared her. She felt herself being shaken up, and then she heard his voice again, distinct.

Saagar (shaking her): Rhia! Rhia are you listening? What are you waiting for? What's there to think about?

"A lot of things" she wanted to say, but ofcourse she didnt. What she did do, was smile, and utter the first few words that escaped her mouth.

Rhia: Yes...I'd love to work with you.

After a brief puase in which his eyes had widened, he broke out into a relieved laugh and then pulled her into a tight hug.

Saagar: YES! Thank you! Thank you!

And in her mind, she could hear her subconscience fear clawing at her with a vengeance, and hear herself thinking "what have I done? What HAVE I DONE???"

superstar15 Senior Member

Joined: 30 August 2007
Posts: 803

Posted: 20 May 2008 at 6:06pm | IP Logged
good part
desigal90 IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 14 November 2007
Posts: 37748

Posted: 20 May 2008 at 11:12pm | IP Logged
Thank you guys! This is so encouraging, thank you! Embarrassed
desigal90 IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 14 November 2007
Posts: 37748

Posted: 20 May 2008 at 11:26pm | IP Logged
That very day, she called Ritesh and told him the good news. He was skeptical about this decision at first, but finally gave in and congratulated her. Saagar threw the staff another party for their overall success. Afterwards, while everyone left, he also volunteered to drop Rhia home. They both loaded into the back of his car and he instructed the driver to go towards Rhia's house. On the way, he modified the directions so she could see his house as well. While watching the extravagant house, Saagar was struck by another idea.

Saagar: Rhia, how about I show you inside?

Rhia: What? No no, its ok, some other time.

Saagar: No no, really, come inside, you can have dinner with us as well. Meet my kids!

Rhia: WHAT? No, that's ok Saagar, I'm serious, I dont even feel ready right now. I swear, I'll come by some other time. Your kids probably want to spend some times with you right now.

Saagar: Oh come on, it'll be fun. They dont have company very often. They'll enjoy it.

Rhia: Uhh...are you sure they wont mind?

Saagar: I'm positive!

He finally convinced her to join the family for dinner. She followed him inside the house, her eyes wide with amazement at the beauty of the structure. It felt like a mansion. A grand staircase awaited them in the main room, and that's where Saagar halted and took his jacket off. The entire house was basked in silence, and for a moment, Rhia was confused about the whereabouts of the kids. Then suddenly, she heard a rapid thumping on the stairs, and a childish face peaked out from between the railing. The face, which looked like a younger version of Saagar, broke out into a excited grin, and then a shout.

Aryan: Dad! Neha come down, dad's home!

More thumping followed, and Saagar spread his arms wide as a little boy jumped onto him. Laughter echoed around the vast room as Rhia watched with admiration and a smile.

Saagar (kneeling down in front of Aryan): Hey champ! How've you been?

Aryan: Great! Shanta bai just put a movie on for us!

Right then, a girl around 12 years walked into Saagar's arms and hugged him tightly. It didnt take two guesses to figure out this was Neha. For a few seconds, Saagar was on his knees constantly as they exchanged small talk, and Rhia felt like an intruder in this sweet little family. Suddenly, Neha seemed to notice her for the first time, and sobered up instantly. Aryan also stopped chattering away and fixed his eyes upon her.

Aryan (pointing at Rhia): Who's she?

Saagar: Hey, no pointing, that's rude. This is Rhia, and she's a very good friend of mine.

Neha (coldly): Just how GOOD of a friend is she?

Saagar (strictly): JUST a friend, now be nice.

Saagar turned and and motioned for Rhia to come closer. Feeling vulnerable and somewhat nervous she walked up to his kids with a warm smile.

Rhia: Hey guys, how are you kids doing?

Aryan: How do you know dad?

Rhia (caught off guard): Uhh...well I'm your dad's colleague

Aryan: What's a Co Leeg?

Rhia: Its someone who works with you at your office...kinda like your class mates.

Aryan: Ohh...

All this time, Neha was staring at her with narrowed eyes and complete silence. Rhia turned to her and extended her hand.

Rhia: Hey Neha, your dad talks about you all the time. I cant believe I'm finally meeting you!

Neha eyed her hand suspiciously, and folded her arms, a look of determination upon her face.

Saagar (gasps): Neha! Where are your manners? Is this what I've taught you? (whispers to her) Shake her hand. I said (forcefully) SHAKE HER HAND.

Neha remained tight lipped, but reluctantly shook Neha's hand half heartedly. The atmosphere was thick with awkwardness. It was broken only by Aryan's high pitched chatter.

Aryan: Can we have dinner now dad?

Saagar (soberly): Yea, lets go. Tell the servants to bring the food out, and you two, go wash your hands.

Once the kids had cleared out of the room, he turned to Rhia apologetically ran his hand through his hair.

Saagar: I'm SO sorry. You have no idea how embarrassed I am right now. I dont know what's gotten into her.

Rhia (trying to make him feel better): Its ok, she's just a kid.

Feeling as if she was being watched, Rhia looked up towards the staircase. Neha's face vanished behind the railing right when her gaze fell upon her. Rhia sighed and rubbed her neck. She was starting to wonder if staying for dinner was such a great idea after all.
desigal90 IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 14 November 2007
Posts: 37748

Posted: 21 May 2008 at 8:28pm | IP Logged
The maid came by and placed steaming dishes on the table. Rhia sat rigidly in her seat, feeling two pairs of eyes boring into her. Even when she wasnt looking, she knew the kids were looking at her constantly. Aryan's gaze was more out of amusement than anything else, but Neha stared at her with keen suspicion the entire time. Saagar sat at the head of the table, while the kids were seated to his left. Rhia sat on his right, and therefore, she had the pleasure of being seated right in front of his kids.
By the time the food arrived, even Aryan had stopped chatting, so it was silent affair. Many times, she attempted to engage the kids in a conversation, but to no avail. Aryan still bothered to reply back to her. Neha would just ignore her voice completely. What made it all worse was that she knew that Saagar was feeling guilty. She wanted to tell him that it wasnt his fault, but couldnt find the right time. Everytime she glanced up, they would look right into her eyes in accusation. Saagar caught the cold glances, and cleared his throat, a signal for his kids to behave.
Sensing everyone's discomfort, Rhia tried once more to reach out to them.

Rhia: So, Aryan, what grade are you in now?

Aryan: I'm in first grade.

Rhia: That's nice.

It was times like these when Rhia cursed her lack of experience with kids. However tough this was proving to be, she was determined to get to know Aryan and Neha at all costs.

Rhia: So, you like school?

Aryan: Yup! (shoves spoonful of rice into his mouth)

Rhia: How about you Neha?

Silence greeted her ears while Saagar's face grew increaingly tense. She caught him giving Neha a pleading look and felt rotten for putting so much preasure on him.

Rhia: Umm, you like your friends? Wanna tell me their names?

Neha continued to gobble down her food without any response and began to feel frusterated. What had she done to make them so upset? In a few seconds, she got her answer. Right when Saagar was drowing his glass of water in an attempt to cool himself down, Rhia caught Aryan giving her a very strange look.

Rhia (feeling self conscience): Everything ok Aryan?

Aryan: Are you my dad's girlfriend?

Saagar instantly choked on his drink and went into a coughing fit. Rhia, feeling her cheeks burn, was too stunned to speak at first. The maid rushed in from the kitchen and began to pat Saagar on the back to calm him down.

Aryan: Well are you?

Rhia: No! No no no! (laughs) Not at all. I'm just a friend, really. I'm someone else (adds quickly when she sees Aryan's mouth opening).

Aryan: Lemma see your wedding ring

Saagar (in a choked voice): Aryan, enough!

Unsure of how to react, she put her hand forward and Aryan held her ring finger cautiously in his hands. Satisfied with the ring, he nodded as if understanding, and then turned to his sister.

Aryan: Neha, is this real?

Neha (silently): I dont know. May I plz be excused?

Without waiting for a response, she scooped up her plate and walked out of the room. Aryan remained for a few extra minutes before finally departing as well. The only remaining people were a very uncomfortable Rhia and an embarassed Saagar with his face held in his hands.
desigal90 IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 14 November 2007
Posts: 37748

Posted: 22 May 2008 at 2:08pm | IP Logged
The cool night breeze hit Rhia in the face like a gust from heaven as she walked out of his house. Somehow, the atmosphere inside had began to suffocate her towards the end, and she just couldn't wait to get outside. Saagar followed close behind and shut the door after him. They were both walking in silence towards the front gate without the slightest hint of where to begin talking. The feeling of being intimidated still clung onto her skin, making her throat dry, while Saagar was too ashamed to say anything. He could still hear Aryan's spontaneous questions meant for Rhia and felt his legs grow weak. He was dreading to find out what she must be thinking of him right now. Finally, just when he mustered enough courage to apologize to her, she spoke first.

Rhia: Thanks for the dinner Saagar!

Saagar: Rhia, I have to say this, I'm so sorry for what...

Rhia (cutting him out): Its ok, you dont have to say anything. I understand, its totally cool.

Saagar: I know, but still, back there, how my daughter behaved was just...

Rhia (cutting him again): It's ok Saagar, I didnt mind, trust me.

Saagar: And Aryan, he doesnt know what he's saying. I guess he must be watching too many movies again. I'm just sorry.

Rhia (puting her hand on his shoulder): Saagar, like I said, they're just kids. (smiles)

Saagar (running his hands through his hair): They're really great kids, both of em. So well behaved, I just dont know what got into em today.

Rhia (laughs): I think we both know why they were behaving that way today. They misunderstood our friendship. Do they react that way with every girl you bring home?

Saagar: Haha, you're the first actually. Well, after their mother of course. Like I said, they dont get company very often.

Rhia (surprised): What? But you dated other women after marriage, surely you must've brought some home to meet your kids.

Saagar (uncomfortable): They were not real relationships. More like short flings. I havent been in a real relationship since...well, since the divorce.

Rhia: They werent right?

Saagar: I dunno, they could've been, but it never got that far. I guess, I never really let it get that far. Not far enough to bring any of em home atleast. Its best that I dont get my kids' hopes up, especially when I know that the relationship is only temporary. Its much better just bringing my friends home. I can count on you guys.

They stopped their stroll and waited outside the gates. For the first time, she witnessed Saagar in a whole different light. She saw him as a man who had had his share of pain in the past.

Rhia (sympathetic): Saagar, you're not even willing to give em a chance? How could you know for sure that things wont work out.

Saagar (with a soft smile): Sometimes you just know. You feel a deep connection with the other person.

Rhia: Like you've known them forever.

Saagar: Exactly, and you understand each other. You feel that you want to spend every waking moment by her side.

As they talked, they began to draw ever more closer towards each other without realizing any change.

Rhia: To feel his support behind you. To know he appreciates you

Saagar: And that she loves you

He stopped here, and allowed the seconds to slide by without any notice. He had forgotten where he was, and who he was. He didnt even notice that his hand was trailing down her jawline on its own accord while she looked on helplessly. Deep down, she was aware of the happenings, and she also knew it was wrong. But the lines between wrong and right were already getting blurred, and so her judgment was impaired. She even felt him moving closer, but chose to remain passive. His mouth was inches away from hers, when she gave a soft whimper and pushed at his chest. This was a wake up call, and he instantly moved back.

Saagar (in a hoarse whisper while looking away): Oh god...

She was holding herself, trying to sooth out the shivering that had taken hold of her body. She knew he was besides her, but couldnt bare to look at him.

Saagar: Rhia I...(trails away coz he didnt know what to say)

He tried to reach out for her, but she pulled away. As if by a silent prayer, the driver pulled up in front of the house at that instant, and she began to walk briskly in its direction.

Saagar (feeling horrible): I dont know what came over me. Rhia, listen to me.

He followed her desperately, his heart thumping from fear. He couldnt hear anything properly, only watch her receding figure. He had to catch up to her. She managed to get in the car and shut the door when he signaled for his driver to hold on. He was feeling completely worthless when she pulled down her windows and he caught sight of her pale face.

Rhia (close to tears): Saagar please, just leave me alone for now. I'll...I'll see you at work on Monday.

Saagar (speaking really fast): I swear, I dont know what happened, but its not gonna happen again. Damn it, Rhia, just plz, once more, forget this ever happened? Please, forgive me.

Rhia (confused): I think... I think we should take some times out to cool our minds.

Saagar: Yeah, we should. Its prolly coz we were really tired. I, feel drained (laughs nervously). That's why I think we just kinda...umm...lost it for a moment there. I'll see you later...awright?

She nodded in response and pulled up the window, leaving Saagar feeling somewhat relieved. The car pulled away from the curb and onto the road. Rhia wiped her forehead, which had broken out into a cold sweat, and wrapped her arms around her body, which was still shivering from the episode. She knew that the cause of this reaction didnt have anything to do with fatigue. She was well aware of what was happening, and she KNEW that it was wrong, yet she still didnt do anything until it was almost too late. If she had still remained inactive and allowed his lips to move in even closer...She put her fingers onto her throbbing temples. She was too tired. She couldnt think. She didnt want to think. She just wanted to get home and fall straight into bed.
desigal90 IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 14 November 2007
Posts: 37748

Posted: 22 May 2008 at 10:09pm | IP Logged
That night she instantly called Ritesh as soon as she got home. She still felt tremors raking her body now and then, and sometimes she could almost feel Saagar's hand on her bare flash where he had held her a few hours ago. At first, the bell continued to ring, but Ritesh didnt pick up. She clutched the receiver closer to her ear and prayed that he was there. When she heard his voice, she almost cried from happiness.

Ritesh: Hello?

Rhia: Hey, its me.

Ritesh: Hey Rhia, whats up?

Rhia: Nothing much.

She didnt exactly know why she called, but she felt like she had to. She wanted his voice to pull her back to reality, to remind her who she was again, and to stabilize her beating heart. Guilt raked her mind and soul, and she pulled the pillow up towards her, wanting to feel Ritesh's presence by her side.

Ritesh: Sweetheart, I'm gonna have to call you back later, I'm in the middle of some work.

Rhia (pleading): No wait, just talk a while.

Ritesh (sighs): K, fine, tell me what you wanna talk about.

Rhia (in a small voice): Anything.

Ritesh: Everything ok with you there?

Rhia: Yeah, just keep talking.

Ritesh: Rhia this is really important. We'll talk later, ok? I promise, but now I have to go. Take care of yourself sweety.

Rhia: Ritesh wait!

But it was too late. He had already hung up. She tossed the phone aside and buried her head in the bed covers, feeling another vicious cycle to shivering take over her body once more. She hated not having Ritesh next to her. She hated feeling lonely. But most of all, she hated not being able to get her mind of Saagar. Hated how she could still feel his arousing touch hours after the incident. Frustrated, she pulled the covers up all the way and willed herself to sleep. After a few restless minute, she managed to slip into just as restless a slumber.

desigal90 IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 14 November 2007
Posts: 37748

Posted: 23 May 2008 at 2:01pm | IP Logged
The next day, she anxiously drove to work. The events of last night were still fresh in her mind; all she could think of was how Saagar would behave towards her today. To her relief, the minute she entered his office, she found him immersed in some files. Wearing a black suit and a pair of spectacles perched on his nose, Saagar looked sophisticated and classy. He looked up when she cleared her throat and smiled amiably.

Saagar: Rhia, finally, just the girl I was waiting for. Come, let me show you what you have to do.

And they were off. No awkwardness reflected in his manner, and within a few minutes, Rhia found herself settling down as well. Maybe last night WAS just a case of being delusional. After all, Saagar and her were just good friends, she convinced herself.
Within the first week, they had become completely normal. One day, Saagar put forth a very difficult request. They were seated in the office cafe sipping coffee when he ran his hands through his hair.

Rhia (noticing his gesture): Uh oh, the hand through the hair motion. Something's on your mind. Out with it!

Saagar (laughs): You know me so well. But anyways, umm, I know it sounds crazy but I was wondering if we could wrap up the remaining work tonight after hours, if you don't have to rush home or something.

Rhia: Oh sure, what's there to be so anxious about? You know I would always say yes.

Saagar: Umm, yeah. The files are kinda at home.

Rhia (raises brow): Home home? As in, your house? Well, why don't you get em?

Saagar: I wish, but I don't have time. You know how packed both of us are today, and I'm the only one who knows where the files are.

Rhia (dreading his answer): So what are you trying to say?

Saagar (with a weak smile): Don't look so pale. I know you really don't want to, but we're gonna have to wrap it up at my house for today. (quickly adds) But just for a few minutes!

Rhia (disappointed): Oh, no its not that Saagar, I'd love to come over you know but, umm, are you sure there's no other place?

Saagar: My kids scared you off that badly?

She grinned sheepishly in response and he burst out laughing.

Saagar: Don't worry, I'll keep em in check. Besides, this time they'll WATCH her working, so no more fishy comments.

Rhia: Fine, but this time I'm coming prepared.

Saagar: Prepared?

Rhia (sipping her coffee): Yup! Just keep watching

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