Chapter - 11
Leo came out of the
bathroom with a fresh look on his face, only to see Shilpa already
dressed up, running the brush through her hair. He rubbed his eyes, to
check if he was dreaming, but it didn't look if he was dreaming.
Tu itni jaldi kaise tayaar ho gayi? Bathroom mein to apun tha na?", he
slumped on the bed. Shilpa gathered her tresses and caged them in a bun,
leaving no tress outside.
"Shilpu! Baal khule chhod, achhi nahi
lag rahi hai tu, aur ye kya jhalle se kapde pehne hain, apun ko nai
pasand…", Leo started to speak, when Shilpa came to him, and putting a
finger on her lips, indicated him to keep quiet.
hone ke liye saamne wale room ka bathroom use kiya. Aur ye, ye kapde
mujhe kaam per pehen-ne padte hain, no choice buddy", she said, pointing
to her attire. She was dressed up in a royal blue pleated skirt, with a
similar coloured coat that reached her waistline, above a collared
white shirt that was tucked in neatly. Her legs were covered with cream
stockings, that ended with a pair of matching stilettos. Shilpa glanced
at herself, she'd put on a little effort to give herself the
professional touch. Usually, she didn't like such professional attire,
but today, it was the demand of the situation, Armaan had made it so.
After that little prank of his, she didn't want to give him any ideas
about the date. What? Wait! No no no! it ain't a date, tujhe kya ho gaya
hai Shilpa? Why are you getting so hyped up. It isn't a date,
understand. And you are dressed up for him, get it? Blaah! Shilpa cursed
herself again for messing up so badly, when her eyes shifted at Leo who
was looking at her curiously. She realized that he'd been witnessing
her weird expressions that she'd displayed during her thought cycle. She
cleared her throat, and tried to distract him.
"Anyways, wo sab
important nahi hai Leo, jo important hai, wo sun. I am going to office
for work, in the next 5 minutes. Ab tum suno, I have a plan, Bi ko line
pe lane ke liye, sabse pehla plan. Ismein tumhe badi naturally act karna
padega, and I know you can do it. Tu mera bhai hai na, acting naturally
aa jayegi tujhe, samjha?", she said.
"Par Shilpu, aaj apun ke
school ka pehla din hai, tu apun ko chhodne nahi aayegi?", he saddened
as he spoke. Shilpa now realized what she had hurriedly ignored, in
formation of her plan, but she tried to put up a brave smile. She had
also wanted to be a part of his very first thing, Leo's first day to
school, where she would've dropped him, and waited in anticipation at
the gates of the school, and when Leo would come out, the happiness on
his face would've been priceless when he would spot her among all the
eager faces. But she had bigger things to do, for him. It was more
important to get him settled in the family, to give him the place he
"Leo, tujhe nai pata mujhe kitna bura lagega, tere
saath aisa karte huye, par tu jaanta hai na ki hum abhi kuch nahi kar
sakte", Leo nodded at this fact, and she explained the plan to him.
Gathering her things, Shilpa said her byes to Leo as she kissed him.
Ek baat ka dhyaan rakhna, kuch bhi karne se pehle ye yaad rakhna ki ab
tum Leo Malhotra ho, Shilpa Malhotra ke bhai. Ye ek zimmevari hai,
tumhare upar. I always want to be proud of you, and I know tum mujhe
kabhi sharminda nahi karoge. Bas, remember ki I'll always love you", she
flew off at the last words, blinking back the tears that threatened to
fall down. She felt a boulder on her heart, as she parted, leaving Leo
alone, to handle everything himself, praying altogether that her plan
Bi was busy preparing for breakfast, when she
heard someone heard a movement behind her. She turned, only to find Leo
looking at her apprehensively. She turned back to her work, but realized
that he didn't move even after a few minutes. Finally she gave up.
"Kya hua? Kya chahiye tumhe? Aaj to tumhare school ka pehla din hai na, ready nahi hona tumne?", she asked in an edged tone.
"Wo… wo na… Bi…", he stammered
"Aur ye Shilpu kahaan hai? Useh office ke liye late nahi ho rahi kya?", she asked, looking upstairs.
"Shilpu to gayi", his quick reply came.
Shilpu gayi, kahaan gayi, itni jaldi kaise chali gayi? Ab tumhe tayaar
kaun karega?", the frown lines appeared on Bi's face.
kya pata! Apun jab tak bathroom se bahar aaya, Shilpu ja chuki thi. Aur
apun ko pata nahi hai, ki school ke liye kaise tayaar hote hain, isliye
apun aapke pass aa gaya. Par lagta nai ki apun ka kuch hone wala hai.
Chalo apun dekhta hai ki kya karna hai…", saying this, Leo turned on his
heels, with a gloomy expression that covered his face. He'd reached
halfway, when he heard a sound.
"Tum jaake nahao, main tumhe
tayaar kar deti hoon", Bi called behind him, and due to his turned face,
she didn't see the smirk form on Leo's face as he ran off to the
bathroom. After a few minutes, hehad his bath, and came out clad in a
towel. Bi was arranging the toys on the bed in an order. He heard her
"Chalo achha hai Shilpu ne ye khilauno nikale to sahi,
verna mujhe to laga thi ki itni badi ho gayi hai wo, ki uske andar ki
bachi jaane kahaan chali gayi hai"
"Bi! Main naha liya", he came
to her, as Bi made a slight face. She sat on the bed, next to his
clothes, and gestured him to come to her. As she picked up the
undergarments, Leo immediately backed a step off.
Aapko sharam nahi aate, aap ek aadmi ko bina kapdo ke dekhoge? Hawww!",
Leo held on to his towel with one hand, while clapped his other hand at
his mouth. Bi smacked her head at this.
"Yahaan aadmi kahaan hai?", she asked, looking around. Leo's eyes widened at this.
ye kya hai", he ran a hand pointing towards him, from head to toe,
"Apun kya aapko ladki lagta hai?", he asked her in shock.
mujhe to tu ek chhotoo sa ladka lagta hai, jo apne aap ko pata nahi kya
samajhta hai", Bi answered back, and Leo could swear he'd seen a hint of
the naughtiness in her eyes.
"Jo bhi ho bi, apun kapde khud bhi
pehen sakta hai", Bi looked at him with a weird expression, when Leo
recalled his plan, "Uh! Apun ka matlab hai, ki ye shirt aur nikar apun
pehen lega. Baaki apun ko aap tayaar kar dena. Chalo abhi jaldi se udhar
muh karo, apun change karega", he snatched the clothes from her, and
waited for her to look the other side. When Bi didn't turn around for a
few minutes, he pleaded her in all possible ways, and finally rushed off
to the bathroom to change. After he was done, Bi was combing his hair,
when she muttered,
"Shilpu se baat karni padega. Kal se wahi tayaar karegi, apne is sharmeele bhai ko"
Aap khush nai ho, ki Shilpu ko ek bhai mil gaya, aur mujhe Shilpu jaisi
badi behen, aur aap jaisi pyaar karne wali Bi mil gayi?", Leo asked
her, looking at her reflection in the mirror, and saw her straighten up
at his question, and look at him in the mirror. He saw her eyes going
down, and he knew something was fishy.
"Bi!", he called out to her, as he saw her lost in her thoughts.
Haan, chal, tu tayaar ho gaya hai. Tera lunchbox aur bottle neeche
hain. Apna bag le aa, main driver se kehti hoon ki tujhe chhod aayega",
Bi said and went away.
"Bi, kuch to hai, jo aap nahi bata rahe,
but chalo, Shilpu ka plan kaam kar raha hai. Aapne kam se kam mujhe uska
bhai to maana", saying this, he hurried off downstairs. There, he took
all his things, and Bi silently came to escort him to the gate. Now, he
was stuck. He had no guts to ask Bi to drop him to the school, and when
he realized that he would have to go all alone, to that strange new
place, where he doubted if people would like him or not, if he could fit
in with them or not, a sudden despair set in him. He climbed in the
backseat of the car, waving half-heartedly to the household staff who
wished him luck. As soon as the driver started the car, Leo wiped off a
lone tear, when he heard the door of the car open, and Bi climbed in.
sabzi-mandi mein kuch kaam hai. Tumhe school chhod kar main wahaan
chali…", Bi didn't finish her sentence, when Leo hugged her tightly,
grateful at the fact that she was coming. He'd realized Bi was coming
only for him, because one of the staff had already gotten the vegetables
from the market for the day. Bi let him be in her embrace, as she
lightly placed her hands around him, and off they went to school. Bi
didn't step out of the car, but wished him luck in a detached tone. But
the care she had, was not hidden from Leo, as he kissed her on the
cheek, and rushed off.
Shilpa descended the stairs in silence,
and tip toed through the hall, lest Bi saw her leave. As soon as she
reached out of the house, the driver was surprised to see her out all
dressed up, earlier than usual. He was about to speak something, but she
spoke before him.
"Aaj car yehin rakhiye, mere kuch aur plans hain"
driver nodded, but not before giving her a weird look. She came out of
the main gate, and stood there, waiting for Armaan to arrive. The pile
of files in her hand, along with her handbag, made it difficult for her
to even have a single glance at her watch. Nevertheless, she stood
there, a little away from the gate, glancing alternately at the gate,
and in the far away direction, from where she expected Armaan to come.
She heard a little commotion from inside. When she strained her ears,
she was able to hear Bi's voice, who was questioning the staff about
her. Shilpa stiffened at this, as she heard the guard's telling Bi that
she'd left about 5 minutes back. Shilpa doubted if Bi would come out
looking for her, and her heartbeat started raising ten times faster. At
that moment, like a God sent Angel, Armaan's car came whooshing, to stop
right in front of her. Before Armaan had the time to react, Shilpa
somehow managed to climb in the car with the files, and slamming the
door, asked him to hurry up. Armaan did as she had said, and Shilpa gave
a backward glance at her house through the mirror. She heaved a sigh of
relief, when the car had distanced from the house. She shifted her gaze
from the house, to the files in her hand, and her handbag that lay on
top of them. She arranged them a bit properly and leaned in the seat and
closed her eyes. A few water droplets on her face disturbed her peace,
and that was when she realized of the presence of a person aside her.
She opened her eyes and turned her face, only to find her breath stuck
in her throat. Armaan was driving the car with a focused look at the
road, but his attire, gave her jitters. His hair was wet, and messed up,
giving him a deliciously sexy appearance. He looked a bit too fresh for
her to digest, walking right out of the shower. Shilpa imagines a
freshly baked caked, immediately out of the oven, and her throat went
dry as she gulped hard. Realizing the direction of her thoughts, she
shook her head, when Armaan raised one hand to his hair, and ruffled
them, splashing the cold water droplets on her face, once again. She
closed her eyes, to feel the pleasurable water, when his cologne hit her
nostrils, and she was intoxicated. She groaned as she was dazzled by
the sudden euphoria she'd landed into, when his voice broke her trance.
"Thank God! I'd thought that you'll never realize that i'm also here"
She opened her eyes, and turned to look at him, confusion clouding her mind.
she questioned, and he turned his face to look at her. Shilpa's gaze
was already on his face, and when Armaan turned to look at her, he
looked into her eyes, to get the meaning of her question. But he shifted
his eyes within a few seconds, given the fact that he was driving.
Shilpa also turned her face, and placed her hand on her heart, as she
felt her erratic heartbeat. Armaan's glance had been casual, she could
tell it from his expression as she stole quick glances at him from the
corner of her eyes. But his eyes had seemed to pierce into her, and she
felt really uncomfortable, and conscious of herself under his gaze. She
now regretted her choice of clothes. Couldn't she have worn something
more comfortable, like her usual jeans and top. But she had to choose
these formals, of all her wardrobe, so that Armaan didn't take any
notions from her clothing of being on a date. The beauty of the
situation was that she felt suffocated right now, because of the clothes
that kept an account of the perspiration that flowed through her body,
and because of the man who was actually responsible for her
perspiration. She felt the heat inside the car increasing as she wiped a
drop off her forehead. It was the moment that Armaan had chosen to give
her a brief glance again.
"Ouch! Shilpa! Tum theek to hona?
You're sweating, for God's sake, main AC chalata hoon", he moved his
hand towards the button, and Shilpa immediately placed her hand on his,
with the intention to stop him. He looked at her questioningly, and
realizing her folly, she immediately withdrew her hand.
main keh rahi thi ki main sheesha khol leti hoon", she turned her face
as he gave her the confusing looks on her weird behaviour.
"Shilpa! Tum pakka theek ho?", he asked again, and she felt his strong gaze on him, as she kept fiddling with the button.
"Huh! Haan, don't worry, main theek hoon", she relied quickly.
"Are you sure?", he asked worriedly.
Mallik! You focus on driving", she said in an irritated tone, and
sensing the irkness in her tone, he decided to let it be. She finally
managed to pull down the window, and the cool morning breeze entered the
car, giving her a sweet pleasure. After a few seconds, when the swirl
of wind had managed to calm down her raising heartbeat, Shilpa stopped
looking out of the window, and gave Armaan a quick few glances. She
noticed that he was wearing a black suit, complimented by a starking
white shirt to go with it. Because of the freshness that he carried
around him, he looked no less than a Greek God to her. His mere presence
intoxicated her, and her thoughts started moving in a direction she
wanted to avoid badly. Shaking her head to brush off all the thoughts of
Armaan from her mind, she started thinking about Leo and if he reached
school on time or no. If she knew Bi well enough, then Leo would be in
school, studying away to glory. But if even a single thing went wrong,
she didn't want to imagine what she would've put the poor kid through. A
sadness spread through her, as she thought about the latter.
"Don't worry Malhotra! I am sure Leo would be fine"
Shilpa's chain of thoughts was broken by a soft voice, as she turned her face to look at him in a swift glance.
"Yeah! He's a dude, he'll manage the school"
saw Armaan give alternate glances to the road as well as to her. She
was surprised at him. She knew her sadness could've been visible on her
face, but how did he decipher the cause of her sadness. She saw Armaan
look at her questioningly, and turning his gaze for the umpteenth time,
as she gave no reply. Involuntarily, her eyes shifted on the road, and a
thought struck her. The road was quite empty, but still Armaan had his
focus there. She knew there would not be much of a traffic at this time
as she was a regular traveller from the same road. Then why was Armaan
so determined to keep looking at the road? The question kept bugging
her, as the drive continued in a similar manner.
"A penny for your thoughts", Armaan spoke as she caught a glint of mischief in his eyes.
"Huh?", she could speak nothing more.
"Looks like someone's caught your tongue today", he spoke again, and this time Shilpa saw a sadness tower him.
penny is too cheap Mallik. My thoughts are quite expensive. I don't
think you can manage to afford them", Shilpa finally spoke with a slight
smirk that adorned her lips, which Armaan didn't fail to notice. His
eyes rose in a different feeling, and something in Shilpa felt happy
"My bad! Someone does have their tongue after all", Armaan counter answered.
"Of course Mallik! You can't expect me to win my case without that bitc*y tongue of mine, do you?"
now seemed that they both had synched themselves to look at each other
at the same time, alternate to the road, as they fought the verbal date.
"Control woman, go loose will you? I don't think you are one bit bitc*y", he spoke, and she saw the genuineness in his voice.
you don't, because I've been quite lenient with you", Armaan gave a
sarcastic glance to her at this, while she gave him a 'whatever' look.
dont know me Mallik, so you can't exactly be sure, can you? Moreover,
you won't say the same, about me not being a bitc*, when you watch me
live at the hearing", she said in a proud voice, that left Armaan
wondering. She had just claimed to be bitc*y, and yet she was proud of
"Anyways, wo sab chhodo, tell me why did you call me so
early? We could've started late, you know? Or were you really eager for
this date of ours?", Armaan asked?
"Pehle you tell me, is this a dress you usually wear on a date?", Shilpa asked out of nowhere.
"Ahaan! So you do consider it a date?", a smug look adorned his face, as he looked at her trapped in his bait.
Mallik! You did announce that it was gonna be a date, but since you
aren't exactly dressed up for a date, i think we'll have to cancel the
plan. Actually, consider the plan already cancelled", Shilpa gave her
victory smile, as Armaan looked gaping at her. He understood what she'd
done, she had played his trick back at him, letting him a no win
situation. Still, he couldn't let her win that easily, and gave it
"What about you? You came dressed up for a date, like this?", he asked her.
That's what i would wear for any date, when i go on one", she gave him a
sweet smile, as she didn't make any effort to hide her devilish glint.
When you go on one, if you ever will, which i doubt", as soon as the
words left his mouth, he regretted them. He closed his eyes for a second
before opening them, as he cursed himself. In the fury of being
defeated by her verbal comments, he let out the words as an impulsive
reaction. After a few seconds, when he did manage to look at her again,
he saw a smile adorning her lips, as he was left confused.
sooner had Armaan spoken those hurtful words, had Shilpa been thrown
down on earth. The walls that Armaan had managed to crumple down, built
themselves as an immediate reaction. She'd pledged yesterday, to keep
away from him, yet couldn't help being on easy terms with him through
the drive. But the dirty truth had just been thrown on her face, where
he didn't even bother to wrap it up with flowers. She came down right
from the sky, only to be thrown brutally in a patch of thorns, and that
hurt, badly. She wondered why did Armaan's words hurt her so much. But
keeping that aside, she realized that she couldn't let him know that
she'd given him the power to hurt her, in any way. Racking her brains
for the quickest plan to escape the situation, she put on the most
evilest smile that she could manage.
"You keep forgetting one
thing Mallik! You don't know anything about me. I know my dress-up is a
bit too formal, but haven't you seen movies enough, or you just like to
pretend, huh? Most men find that irresistibly sexy, because of its
irregularity. And not to mention the fact that my skills and talents
with them are just an additional...", she was stopped midway as her cell
phone began ringing loudly. She rummaged her handbag, and the phone
immediately jumped into her hand. She knew it was Atul's call, she'd set
this tone for him. Pressing the accept button, she heard Atul's voice
ring through her ear. He'd called up to know her schedule for today. She
told him that she had wanted to start early, and was right now on her
way to the Mallik Empires with Armaan. Atul asked her if she wanted any
help, and she refused, asking him to take care of the firm. He then
questioned her why was she working at such an early time, to which she
promised to explain the reason later. Till this time, they'd reached the
Mallik Empires. Armaan got out carrying his bag, and Shilpa followed
him, still in conversation with Atul. They kept walking as such, when
Rishi came out of nowhere, and scared Shilpa.
"Good Morning Miss Shilpa!", he spoke in a loud voice.
"Aaahhh!", she jumped back, putting her free hand on her heart.
I'll talk to you later... Nai nai, i'm fine... Wo bas Mr Rishi ek dum
se aa gayye, and i was caught unaware, that's it... Haan pakka! I'll
catch you later... Bye!", she cut the call, and glared at Rishi, who
smiled at her widely.
"Mr Rishi, please, aur mazaak nahi. Kal
maine witnesses ke jo statement liye hain, mujhe un par aapke opinion
chahiye, let's get to work", saying this, the two of them headed towards
Armaan's cabin. When they entered, they saw Armaan's laptop bag lying
carelessly on the couch, covered by his coat. He was nowhere in the
cabin, Rishi checked the whole cabin for that purpose. Telling Shilpa
that Armaan might be preparing for his meetings, Rishi got on to work
with her. They started discussing the statements given by people, as the
staff started arriving according to their timing. Shilpa was quite
busy, and didn't realize the amount of time they'd spent working. She
took off her specs, and stretched her arms.
"Miss Shilpa! Specs? Aap specs lagati hain?", Rishi asked in surprise.
"Haan. I normally use them while reading, and working", she told him.
"Par aapne kal to specs nai lagaye they?", he questioned.
Rishi, lens naam ki cheez bhi hoti hai", she shook her head at his
questions, "Anyways, aapke boss kahaan hain? Mujhe unse kuch discuss
karna hai, about the case", she asked.
"Boss subah se nahi dikhe,
matlab wo zaroor upar apne room mein honge", Rishi told her, he
continued when she scrunched her eyebrows in confusion, "Areh Boss kabhi
kabhi wahi baith kar kaam karte hain. You can go there and meet him"
"Tum unhe bula nahi sakte?", she asked unsure of his idea.
That won't be needed. Boss won't mind, i know him. Just take the
opposite stairs, and his is the last room in the corridor. Abhi lunch
break shuru ho gaya hai, and you know, I've got some things to do, nahi
to i would've come with you", the blush on his face told Shilpa what his
'something' was. She let him go, and herself went to look for Armaan.
As she exited the room, she walked through the building which appeared
creepy, as the whole staff was in the canteen for their lunch. She got a
similar spooky feeling in the dimly lit corridor upstairs, as she
walked to the last room. She wondered the reason for the lack of lights,
but putting it off, she walked inside the room. The sudden lights
blazed her eyes, as she covered them with her hand. Slowly, she opened
them, and once again, she was amazed at the beauty of the room. She
could make out that Armaan had designed the room, it was just his touch
all over. The room was brightly lit up, giving a starking contrast to
the darkness outside. The colours used here, were also quite bright. She
looked all around, and then heard a few sounds across a door.
Involuntarily, she opened the door, and was hit by a sudden gush of cool
air. There was nothing but darkness all around. She walked a step
further, and a gasp escaped her lips, as much as she tried to stop it.
Hearing the sound of her own step scare her, she stopped there itself.
But gathering some courage, she walked ahead, moving her stretched arms
aimlessly, for any obstacle.