Terrorizing the back of her legs with his knees, he nudged them until they separated enough to accommodate his presence. Understanding fully the control he had over her in this position, he trustingly loosened his grip on her hands and threatened sweetly, "Don't move�" It's not like she could even if she wanted to, he had her buttocks cleverly pinned underneath his groin. Combing through her hair with his fingers he neatly assembled it on one side and than began his slow and sweet torturous smooches along her shoulder blades coming to an abrupt stop at the base on the left side. At first she took it as a moment to pace her sporadic breaths but when she felt him shift and lay supine on the mattress next to her she turned to face him. ?
"What's wrong?" she worriedly probed as she covered her breasts with the thin linen and leaned into a semi-upright position. Averting his gaze he closed his eyes trying to bury the feeling of embarrassment that he himself created. She caressed his face, ever so carefully guiding his head towards her.
"Please tell me what happened?" The tears welling up in his eyes as he opened them, told a story of anguish that his words were to shaken up to narrate. Suddenly it dawned on her, the scar on her left shoulder, that's exactly where he stilled. ?
"They say to forgive and forget�I have already forgotten the things that don't need forgiveness�it was a huge misunderstanding. Let it go�"
?"How can you take it so lightly, everything that happened? I caused you so much pain�"?
"Hey! Don't take all the credit for yourself. I gave you hell as well�" she joked trying her best to ease the tension but instead of being amused he responded with the same seriousness in his voice.
"Priya, this is not a joke� I wish I could go back and take away all the pain that I gave you� I would fix---." She silenced him with a quick peck on his lips, making their guts do a somersault with a mere touch. "If you went back and fixed all the mistakes that we made, than perhaps we would not have been here tonight. And if somehow we made it here than I have a feeling that it wouldn't have been as special as it is now."??
Twirling the glass globe that he always kept on his desk, Ram stared straight ahead at the sea of employees gushing into work. The Cartier on his right wrist boldly displayed 6:45, unchanged by the absence of Priya who was ordered to arrive at 6. An evil tinted, victorious smile graced the tycoon's lips as Priya clumsily made her entry into the office.?
Ram: (getting up off his chair Ram straightened his gray suit jacket and declared) it's show time. Priya Sharma, you are making this far to easy for me.?
Priya: (noticing Ram approaching her. She stood up straight and said) Good morning Sir...?
The welcome tone that she had purposely used to hopefully start the day right was shot down immediately by Ram. He stood a few steps away from Priya's desk, which at first made no sense to her but she would soon realize that it was a clever move to ensure her maximum humiliation.?
Ram: (Although deeply enjoying the situation Ram put on an angry face, his gaze glued on Priya) Just shut up! Do you know what time it is? ?
Her face turned a light shade of red with the awareness that everyone on the entire floor had stopped to be spectators of her punishment.?
Priya: S-sir woh Kush wasn't feeling well...?
Ram: Enough!! I know people like you very well, the single mother types who want sympathy from the world. Kaamal hain... When you were off with your so-called lover having the time of your life than there was no problem. But now that you have an illegitimate son you expect him to be everyone's problem? Let me tell you what everyone here already knows; we are running a business, not a charity. So get your shit together�
On the verge of snapping Priya fisted her shawl imagining it to be of some pain to Ram. Her rage was just but she knew that Ram was grossly misguided. Still she felt a bitterness that changed the balance of her common sense and with that disturbance she fired back equally enraged.?
Priya: Now let me tell you something, Mr. Kapoor (she spoke, dipping each word in an attitude of its own)... Just because you have given me a job, doesn't mean that you have done me a favour. (Ram sucked in a quick breath to silence her but she made it clear that she wasn't about to pipe down) Yes, my son is sick and that's why I couldn't make it in for 6am. But Mr. Kapoor how come my shift starts at 6 and everyone else in this entire building starts work at 7? Don't consider this a threat. (She paused) Actually yes, consider this a threat... (Ram glared) I know my rights as an employee of Kapoor Industries and the union here seems really good thanks to uncle-ji... So don't for a second think that I will stay quiet through all your tantrums.?
Ram: (with his hands nestled inside his pant pocket he asked calmly) are you done? (Her silent huffs was answer enough) Go home to your sick son and explain to him that his mother's big mouth is the reason his future won't look so bright...(he paused for effect and than said) You're fired...?
Priya heard murmurs amongst the employees as Ram turned to leave. Almost as if it was planned, he halted momentarily preparing another verbal bomb before he turned to blow to shreds any remaining dignity that Priya had left. ?
Ram: oh and by the way, the union that you are talking about won't do anything in your defense, no matter how much you scream and shout. You see you have to be here for at least 3 months to reap the rewards of this coverage and even after three months, I am still the one who signs their pay slips at the end of the week. (He smirked at her expression; a fusion of shock and disgust) Five minutes. You have five minutes to leave the office or else you will be pushed out the door. (He delivered the final jab)?
Priya beat herself up for blowing a fuse so easily and jeopardizing the plan that barely took a breath to be being breathing it's last, so soon. Than again it wasn't entirely her fault, in the brief time that she knew Ram he always managed to get under her skin. "What do I do now," she thought, scrambling to grab her purse off the desk with Ram's hawk eyes analyzing her every hesitation.?
Ram: (crossing his arms across his chest, he proposed an offer with his own arrogant twist) what's the matter? ?(He asked without a care for an answer) you know what Priya, I am actually a really nice person. It's just that, you're a Sharma� (He paused) But yesterday, because of your son my mother actually came out of her room� It's been so long since she did that so I guess as a Thank You, I can let you keep your job, (Priya's eyebrows knotted in anticipation for the setback in his offer) but of course, nothing in this world is free� So if you want your job back you have to beg like you mean it and (his index finger traced a tiny circle in the air) in front of everyone here. ?
Priya: (she took several mini steps towards him, his smile filled his lips more as she got closer. With an inch of space left between them, her hands came together near her chest and than she paused staring daringly in his cunning eyes) Mr. Kapoor�
Ram: Yes Priya?
Priya: (she continued to look straight him and said loud enough for everyone to hear) Go-To-Hell!?
Stuck in the same stance for a moment Priya finally decided that it was time for her to leave. She didn't know what she would do next and how she would proceed but there was a line and Ram had repeatedly insulted its existence. Kush was not an illegitimate child; he was the heir to the Kapoor's throne. Priya had zero tolerance for anyone who spoke ill of Kush, whether it was her baby brother or world-renowned businessman, Ram Kapoor.
Pursuing the fight further, Ram's ego, which was not one to be bullied, tread a course of its own.?
Ram: (gritting his teeth like he usually did when he was at his highest level of anger) You!! (He pointed to a guy who was peering through his cubicle) call security and tell them to kick Ms. Priya Sharma out of this building.?
Priya: no thanks I will gladly walk out myself.
Ram: I am not giving you an option to choose.?
Following orders in fear of losing his job the guy quickly tapped the security guards number on the company phone and waited for it to connect. Prior to any answer on the other end, the employee heard someone say from behind, "Shaam hang up the call. I will handle this..." Ram and Priya followed the voice of reason both vaguely knowing who it was.?
Shaam: (relieved) Sir aap? (He hung up immediately and greeted his boss the one that they all respected) you are back sir... W-we missed you Sir.?
Amarnath: (nodding his head gracefully) yes I am back now to take control over things in this company. Shaam as you know I have missed close to a year of events and since you keep record of past deals I will need you to fill me in later on today.?
Shaam: No Problem sir.?
Amarnath patted Shaam's shoulder and walked towards a puzzled Ram and thankful Priya. Opening his mouth to complain Ram was interrupted.?
Amarnath: Ram this is not the place. Follow me to my office. Both of you.?
Nothing much had changed in his office besides a few specks of dust collecting on the smooth oak surface of his desk.
Amarnath: (brushing aside the overwhelming sentiments of returning to work, he reclaimed his throne and gestured Ram and Priya to have a seat) Sit...?
Ram and Priya stared at the two leather chairs in front of them.?
Ram: (arrogantly proclaimed) no thanks... I'd rather not sit next to her...?
Amarnath: (shaking his head slightly disappointed) okay well Priya at least you can sit...?
Priya purposely stepped in front of Ram to get to the chair that he was supposed to sit in, stirring his rage some more. Amarnath was spectator to the childish warfare between the two thinking that it was nothing more than a harmless rivalry that would only survive a few days at most. Through her subtle action that set off tidal waves in his ego, Priya had cleverly gotten Ram to sit next to her even though he increased the distance between them by sliding his chair an arms length away from her. His pride projected an attitude that screamed if she could sit and that too in your chair to spite you than why can't you? Amarnath was intrigued by how Priya had essentially manipulated Ram's stubbornness making it seem like he had control over the choice he made.?
Ram: (began listing his petty complaints against Priya) Papa... Today Priya came in late to work by a whole 45 minutes. And when I asked her for a reason (Priya was stunned trying to recall such a polite event) she rudely threatened me with the union speech before she told me to go to hell.?
Priya: (appalled) what? No si- I mean uncle... That's not...entirely true.
Ram: (continuing in an agitated tone) hello he is not your uncle... And for the love of god stop trying to sway him on your side, he is my father...?
Priya: (entrenched in the battle of words) so? So what if he is your father? Unlike you who apparently gives no value to truth, uncle-ji is different.?
Amarnath: (sensing the situation heading astray he yanked the reigns before it became untamable) Enough... (He slammed his palm down on the table startling Ram momentarily before he flashed a victory smile. Amarnath noticed and quickly cleared any misconception) Both of you! (Ram's smile vanished and with great difficulty Priya suppressed a smirk) Are you two in Kindergarten? (They both looked down at the table ashamed) tell me Ram... Are we running an elementary school here or a business? (Ram glanced up with a frown permanently painted on his face) And Priya I always understood you to be calm and collective than what is all this? (She mirrored Ram's expression with the same bitterness) From now onwards I will call the shots, just like I always did... (Examining Priya's choice of attire in comparison to the other female employees Amarnath concluded) There will be no mandatory dress code that limits the wearing of traditional clothing. Ram this is not America... Why fix what's not broken? And Priya you will no longer work here as Ram's secretary... I have called Jenny back (Ram bubbled with Joy watching Priya's face pale at the sound of his ultimate triumph) and she will start at 8 just like she usually does.?
Ram: (gratefully) thank you so much Papa for respecting my decision of letting Priya go. She is not good for this company... Moreover she would rather stay home and pamper her son than...?
Amarnath: (interrupting) It's funny you say that Ram because you were the one who fired Jenny without a reason just so you could hire Priya.?
Ram: Sorry Papa I made a huge mistake.?
Amarnath: Don't worry my son; it's up to me to rectify all your mistakes. After all what are fathers for??
Priya tried excusing herself realizing that everything had crumbled to pieces before her very eyes. She had some faith in Amarnath but he surprised her with a decision that she never saw coming. A side of her now regretted that she had opened her big mouth against Ram; surely she had more sense and definitely more at stake than him. Furthermore, she should've known that blood was always thicker than water and Ram was Amarnath's son at the end of the day. Just as she got up to leave the room Amarnath stated, "Ek second Priya." And than Ram promptly inserted, "you still have to apologize to me and Sheena bhabhi on behalf of your idiot brother, right Papa?" He continued throwing out orders, wisely using the same momentum that his father had set.?
Amarnath: Ram let me handle this...(Ram sat more freely in his chair, fully enjoying the humiliation of Priya Sharma) Priya please sit down... (She could feel Ram's thrilled glare piercing her without even having to look at him) please Priya... (He repeated) sit down... (She assumed her seat; her betrayed mind not allowing her to make eye contact with either men) so like I was saying you will no longer work for this company as Ram's secretary. Honestly you were over-qualified for that position. Besides, you had said that your son was sick and I think that your mind is too occupied with that. So it's better if you go home... (He paused and sighed) but I expect you to be back at work tomorrow at 8am(Priya looked up unsure of how she felt while Ram nearly fell off his chair)?
Ram: (in utter shock) What?? Papa yeh kya...?
Amarnath: (interrupting once more) Ram let me finish... Priya is going to be working for this company as your advisor. In this manner she can learn a few business moves from you and it is always good to have a second opinion when making deals.?
Ram: (stood up forcefully and yelled) IS THIS A WAY TO KEEP AN EYE ON ME? DO YOU NOT TRUST ME PAPA?!?
Amarnath: (standing up also, he walked over to calm him down) Ram relax... Please...?
Ram: (fuming) HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO RELAX WHEN MY OWN FATHER JUST STABBED ME IN THE BACK? YOU KNOW WHAT PAPA? BHABHI IS RIGHT... YOU GUYS WOULD RATHER HAVE ME IN AMERICA BECAUSE AFTERALL I AM NOT SID RIGHT??
Amarnath: (now sensing that he is losing his cool as well) No Ram that is not true. How can you even think like that? I love you my son...?
Ram: (through gritted teeth) whatever dad... Today you proved just how much you really love me... (Slapping his hand against the back rest of his chair he knocked it over giving Priya a deadly threatening look before he left the office)?
Amarnath let him leave thinking that it'd be best for him to get a grip of himself before approaching him on this matter.?
Amarnath: (turning around to face Priya whose eyes wandered from left to right in an attempt to infuse some sense into the whole ordeal) You know Ram is right... (He picked up the chair and sat next to Priya facing her) I dedicated the majority of my life building a business for the sake of my family. But in the process I destroyed the same family that I worked day and night to provide for. When Ram was a little boy he would always compete with Siddhant. Whatever Sid did, Ram had to do. Sid was always a little bit better but he would do just a little bit less so that Ram could beat him. Eventually the age gap between Ram and Sid grew them apart. Sid was busy with his friends and Ram, feeling isolated would act out to get his attention. I failed to see what was actually going on with Ram but Krishna kept telling me to talk to him. I never found the time to do so. Instead as discipline I sent him to boarding school overseas. Ram cried so much begging for another chance to show that he could be a good boy. Krishna begged, Sid begged and even Natasha, who was just 5 years old at that time cried for her brother. But I didn't listen. It was much easier to just send him off for someone else to fix him. After that Ram was different, he had matured in a years time and for me I felt like I had hit the jackpot. As the years passed, Ram showed a keen interest in business and I motivated him to get his MBA. I wanted Ram to move back to India to move this business forward. He flat out refused stating that he belonged in America, that's where he felt home was. That day I saw how indifferent Ram was towards his family and the thing was that Krishna predicted that this day would come and when it came there was no answer. If it weren't for Sid and Natasha, Ram probably would never have came once a year to visit us in Mumbai. Sid is truly his guiding light and now that he is gone Ram has lost sight of himself. (He paused and wiped his moist eyes with the back of his hand) you're probably wondering why I am telling you all this right? In your perspective Ram is the enemy who forced you to work under him by eliminating all other forms of employment�So why am I telling you all this?
Priya's wadded eyebrows now fully relaxed to shelter the newfound sympathy she had in her heart for the man that she wanted to hurt not too long ago. Perhaps Ram's arrogance was nothing more than a shield that a young lonely boy had once put up as an adjustment to being sent away. Maybe there was more to Ram's personality than simply the ruthless business tycoon that he appeared to be.?
Amarnath: (rerouting Priya's focus back to the conversation) Priya??
Amarnath: I am telling you this because it is much harder to hate someone once you get to know them. That's something that your father taught me during our college days and it held up to the test of time... Ram is not a bad person Priya, he is just trying to protect Sheena... He is wondering why his gem of a brother would hurt an innocent woman like Sheena and it doesn't help when Sheena is filling his mind with all kinds of rumours... Ayesha the home wrecker, is the theory that Sheena has packed into Ram's head about why her marriage failed from the moment that he arrived from America to attend Sid's funeral...Hopefully Ram will get to know the truth through you and I pray that his anger will subside when he realizes that I am Sid's real culprit, not Ayesha or your family. (he paused once more) Go home and take care of Kush�When you come in tomorrow, it'll be a new beginning for you and with any luck Ram will have calmed down by then.
Priya halfheartedly smiled, thinking to herself, "Uncle-ji if only you knew the truth�Sure you started this chaos but the nail in the coffin was placed by someone else. I am helpless right now to tell you anything because I am unsure of the strength of the bond that you share with Sheena; but when it all unfolds before your eyes, the guilt will diminish�I promise�And as for Mr. Kapoor, I can handle him. He's not as ruthless as he makes himself out to be.