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CHAPTER 5: The Trip
"My God," Nandini was flabbergasted, her eyes widened in shock as she came across her room, it was filled with gifts, loads of gifts. When did she last receive so many gifts? Never.
"Mom so many gifts?" Nandini asked her mother, before she entered in her room.
"Courier boys has been dispatching all this from morning," she said wearily.
"So many gifts," she mumbled and entered in her room, closing the door behind.
She opened the first gift, it was a collection of her favorite Salman Khan's movies, even the movies that were not available at her local Bollywood video shop, she was awed. "Who sent me this? Akash?" she wondered but he never sent her so many gifts before, it was always a single gift with loads of wishes and love.
This year he didn't even send him a gift. It was she who had sent him a message, complaining about it and he had sent him a birthday wish available on internet,making her feel even worse. How could he, Akash do it, her suspicion arising.
Pushing away the thought she opened the next gift, it was a red color saree, beautiful piece of art. It looked familiar, she scrunched her eyes... Of course, she had been admiring this when the new catalog had been presented to the workers of the company, Manik had distributed himself the catalog of the year. He had noticed her gazing that dress, she blushed.
It was Manik who had sent this, the realization dawned upon her. So all these was by him? her heart fluttered.
Excited, she opened all the gifts, it had from bangles to sandals, from earrings to a clutch, from flower bouquets to a cake box, where a note was stuck, 'Happy Birthday Princess, I wish I could have given you these gifts in person but let's keep it simple. May God bless you with happiness." She smiled widely.
'No one ever made me feel so special, Thank you.' She was overwhelmed.
'Anything for you princess.' Came the prompt reply.
'You are in a meeting are you not?' She asked him, confounded. He was multimillionaire and was a workaholic but he was replying to her, being in an important meeting. She was aghast.
'Yes I am.' He replied within a minute.
She smiled. He replied her even when in meeting but then she bit her lip. "Even Akash used to reply me all the time as we confessed. I am sure, if ever Manik was given a chance, he would stop giving prompt replies too," she nodded with relief. There was nothing to feel special about this or was there? Of course, there was. The gifts. It made her feel special at his innuendo of feelings.
"Nandini, we are going to India for a meeting with suppliers, you will be able to meet Akash too," Manik informed her as he saw her.
"Really?" Her eyes shone. She felt it was high time she met Akash face to face, it was over a year she met Akash.
He paused, his heart paining and nodded, "Yes. Inform your family. Jennifer, Aman and NK will be going along us. We are leaving in two days for a week," he informed her.
She nodded enthusiastically and zipped her purse. She was excited, she was going to meet Akash.
Going home, she rested in her room, till her father arrived, she wanted to announce the news to both of them together. Her mother was still not on speaking term with her but she didn't taunt her too. Nandini was thankful of that.
As her father arrived at home, she hugged him, "Good evening dad,"
"Good evening sweetheart,"
Over the dinner, she announced them, "Dad, I have to go to India for my job."
He nodded understanding that this was a part of her job description but he was worried too. "Will you be safe there?"
"Yes dad, Jennifer is going too and there would be other colleagues too along Manik sir," she said with a smile.
"Alright if you want to, anyways it is a part of the job," he agreed.
"Are you crazy? Letting her go so far with that rude man?" Garima questioned pallid.
"He is her boss and she would be under his responsibility," he said sternly, not giving her any scope to argue further. He loved her a lot but lately her obsession with her friend's son was getting over the head.
Garima made a face, not please at all, but she knew when to stop herself. She didn't want to have her husband angry on her.
"Thank you dad, love you," she hugged him and went to start her packing.
In the process, she called Akash, "Hey Akash, I am coming to India,"
Manik and Nandini got the seat together and it had nothing to do with Manik's with, it was Aman who booked the seats. "Aman Mathur, why didn't you ask me about seat arrangements?" Manik gritted his teeth.
"I didn't book the seat, they were auto-generated by their computer.
"How the hell could you be so careless?" Manik fumed, he was about to utter for the umpteenth time 'you are fired' but stopped because of his word to Nandini.
"I am sorry," Aman said embarrassed but amused at the same time that Manik hadn't fired him since the last six months.
"You are smiling," Manik gaped at his audacity.
"I am finding the situation amusing," Aman smirked, he was not really afraid of Manik as they were friend since college, Aman had seen his bad phase, he had gone through his anger but they were good friends.
"Amusing, you can't be serious," Manik breathed fire.
"Manik calm down," Nandini held his hand, who relaxed and looked at Aman, "why do you find this situation amusing?" She creased her brow.
"He has not fired me in the last six months," he said cheekily.
"Which means?" Nandini was confused.
"You see my friend, Manik, has fired me 108th time from my post, of course hiring me again within the next two minutes," he chuckled, while Nandini joined him. She didn't know about that.
Manik liked her laughing. "God. you utter non-sense, get out before I fire you," Manik said as he placed Nandini's luggage in the head compartment.
"See that is what I was saying, I assume he changed his behavior for you," Aman winked, Nandini blushed and Manik looked at him shocked.
"Get out AMAN MATHUR," Manik spat.
"Going man," Aman giggled and left happily.
Manik looked at her and said, "I will change the seat with Jennifer."
"You don't need to. I know you won't hurt me," she said warmly.
"Thanks," he said as he sat down, fastening his belt.
"Why?" She rose her brow.
"For allowing me to seat near you, and trusting me," he smiled.
Six months and he had craved for her, but had learned to control himself. He loved her a lot and everything about her mattered to him, yet he loved her enough to let her go. Sure, it did pain him that once in India, she would meet her boyfriend but if that is what she wanted her would let her go. His love was not shallow.
"Have you forgiven me Nandini, for the outrageous sin I have committed?" his tone hopeful.
"I had forgiven you the minute you told me to go away or you would kiss me. The fact that you didn't act on your desire proved me that you were genuine," she smiled.
He felt elated, the guilt lessening as he got to know he was forgiven. This meant to much to him.
"Tell me about yourself, I don't know much," she started as they had a long journey ahead.
"Well I am Manik Malhotra, 32 years old. I have been born and brought up in France. My parents died in a accident when I was 18 and I had taken over Malhotra Entreprises from then on, Aman has always been with me," she squeezed his hand.
She didn't want to use sympathy words on him, he didn't merit them, he had made a life of his own but she was sure, he needed some support and she would give that.
"Girlfriends?" She tried to change the topic.
"Not really. I had one or two before 18 and then I didn't have time to get into all that," he said honestly.
She was quite shocked, he was so handsome and he had no relation since the last 14 years, she was really baffled. "Why me after 14 years?"
"Your eyes, they speak volumes," he smiled his ever so sexy twitch of lips.
"What if I can't see someday," she made a face.
"I hope such day never comes, although it would prove my loves depth, I love you beyond the word itself," his eyes telling the truth, speaking volumes.
She flushed. "Hobbies?" She asked him, just dwelling in him.
"I love to tend plants and I love to play basketball, what about you?" He asked her softly, starting at her tenderly, she blushed under his gaze.
"I love to take photos and play piano," she replied.
"I want you to play piano sometime for me and how about a photo-shoot of me?" He asked her.
"Will you model for me?" She was surprised, her jaw dropped.
"Anytime, now don't give me this look," he took a deep intake of breath. She closed her mouth immediately, her eyes rounded instead and she noticed his Adam's apple moving, creating an adrenaline rush in her, she was shocked. "Not even this, if you don't want me to... Oh God," he unbuckled his belt and went to the washroom.
She could not stifle the chuckle at his hurry. He really needed sometime off her, to keep his hands away from her.
He was so unlike their first meet, the only time he imposed something on her but after that day he had only showered love on her, protected her from others and his own self.
"Here we are," he said as they arrived in the hotel. Nandini got a room to share with Jennifer, it had two single beds, Aman was to share with NK, while Manik got one for himself, not used to share with any male. If it had been Nandini, it would have been another story.
He sighed. He had to prepare himself for losing her soon but damn, it pained him.
"Manik, can you show me Mumbai in free time?" She requested him as he was about to enter in his room.
"I thought Akash would be giving you the tour," he said, his heart fluttering.
"He is out of town," she said averting her eyes, "I will meet him the day before we leave," she smiled. "A tour only if you want to," she added hastily, she didn't want to impose anything on her.
"Anything for you princess," he replied with a smile. At least, he would have something to cherish when she left him. "After meetings, we will go out," he promised her. "Take some rest now, you must be tired."
She nodded and left.
Manik summoned Aman in his room, "I want full background check on Akash Kapoor, a model," something he should have done a lot before.
"By tomorrow 10 AM," he added.
"Manik you can't be this mean, I need sleep to recuperate my sleep," Aman retorted.
Manik sighed and said, "I don't care, hire your best man and you can sleep,"
"God. you will always be arrogant, "Aman complained.
"Whatever," Manik simpered as Aman left. "Arrogant for the world not for my Nandini."
Alright so that's the chapter 5, Are you liking it? ;)
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