The next day, the same day, actually considering she got home well past midnight… she woke up by 5AM and went through the regular motions of preparing breakfast and lunch for her mother and brother. At times whenever she stayed out overnight due to her work… which happened only twice before, Pooja aunty helped with the breakfast.
Today she had to rush to office to complete her pending work kept for her by her manager. Then maybe she would be sent on-site for helping out at any event. That was what she loved doing the most. Not the mundane tasks her manager threw her way. But that was the only way in the pathetic job market to gain work experience and pay the bills.
After giving her mother her medicines she left when the NGO vehicle arrived to pick her up.
Namrata rushed to the office. The entire day passed with her overloaded with work… she even skipped lunch to complete pending business. At about 5PM Smriti called her to her cabin.
“Here’s something for you. We got a sudden work order at a five-star hotel nearby. You know Apsara Regency right?” When Namrata nodded she continued “All the managers are busy today. So I have handed this over to Jatin…’’
Jatin was her manager.
“… He will be coordinating over phone if needed. But on the day before you did a pretty good job at the event. So onsite, you will be managing this all by yourself. Besides, James will accompany you. He will tend the bar there…”
Smriti gave her a quick glance and said in a warning tone “…by the way, the entire money has been paid by this client without any hassle. So I don’t want any complaints. Do you understand?”
Namrata was excited… “Absolutely Smriti ma’am I’ve got this.”
“Namrata…” Smriti called out as she was about to leave. “Your event outfit is kept in the delivery room in a bag with your name on it. Everything is good but your accessories are not in order. Here…” she handed over a small box to Namrata. “…wear these ear studs. They will look good on all outfits. And if we get this client permanently on our list… these are yours.”
Namrata opened the box and beamed… they were beautiful pearl studs adorned by gold and white stones . She loved pearls. She thanked Smriti and left her room.
As she got ready in her company’s ladies room she kept checking her mobile for the umpteenth time. There were no messages from him. Her hope fell. But she didn’t want to ruin this particular evening which would help her career. She made a call home to check on her brother. She also spoke to her mother and told her she would be getting late today as well.
After one last look at herself in the mirror she left for the venue.
Namrata checked her wrist watch. It was 8PM. The five-star hotel Apsara Regency was celebrating a change of ownership. She had often seen this place on her way to work or other event sites. But her keen eyes had never found it fascinating enough to qualify for a five star hotel…
But today it was decorated beautifully. In face the entire place had received a huge makeover. The interiors were stunning… beautiful combinations of pale blue and off white everywhere.
Every time she looked around she felt a sense of déjà vu. Her thoughts went back to his house… a sense of desolation took over.
Her eyes pricked but she couldn’t afford to lose focus. She looked around and saw that things were in order. The party had begun and guests were starting to arrive. The staff she had been entrusted with was doing a good job so far and she felt she could take a little break. She went up to James who was supervising the bar inventory and asked him, to keep a watch while she visited the powder room. The powder room for the hotel staff was a little away from the huge lobby where the party was on.
She entered the powder room and looked around. It was empty. She sighed and stood at the washbasin. She supported herself with her hands and hunched with her head low…
She looked up into the mirror at her reflection. Her eyes were shining with unshed tears. She looked away. She had to get a grip over herself… over her life… her career. She couldn’t afford to fall in love with a cliff-hanger…
She suddenly stood straight and looked into the mirror again. She could see her eyes wide open… in love?
Was she really in love with him? She touched her lips as tears welled up again threatening to spill.
She gave herself a pep talk… she had to focus. She had to build up her career. She had responsibilities. She couldn’t…NO… shouldn’t fall in love. As she said that to herself, she felt a pain in her chest. She took in deep breaths trying to calm her agitated self.
She told herself… she couldn’t trade in her feelings, her attraction… her…love for him…with her responsibilities.
She touched up on her makeup with slight shiver in her hands… and checked her watch. She was already away from her work place for over ten minutes. Before any disaster happened there she had to head back. She inhaled deeply and walked out of the powder room.
There was a long corridor which she had to pass before she could reach the lobby. On either side along the corridor there were store rooms for different kinds of storages. Raw food and meat, beverages, linen etc. were stored in different rooms there as per the room modifications for storage. She was walking through the corridor lost in thought… when a pair of hands pulled her inside one of the rooms and shut the door, latching it. Before she could yell, a strong hand covered her mouth pushing her back to the door.
Namrata was thunderstruck with fear but she immediately smelled… the cologne. Oh My God… was it… who she thought he was?
The room was pitch dark. She couldn’t see anything… only hear their breathing. She stopped wriggling from his grasp and stood still. He removed his hand from her mouth and kept his hands on either side of her head on the door behind. He kept his forehead on hers and sighed. She felt his warm breath on her face and shivered… her hands on their own accord went to his chest as she explored him through his clothes. She heard him catch his breath. He moved and held her hands at the wrist in front of them. He removed his phone and switch on the flashlight. The sudden brightness made her shut her eyes. When she opened them she found him staring at her with a strange look in his beautiful eyes. He kept the phone in his upper pocket so there was still illumination.
She smiled and spoke, “hi… “
“Hi little sparrow” he said his expression not changing.
She looked up at him. In the flashlight she could see his day long stubble and wanted to touch his cheek. She wet her lips to speak… he touched her cheeks with his palms on either side and kissed her… Her breath stopped as his tongue met hers and overpowered all her senses. He finally bit her lower lip and withdrew… She realised she was holding the lapels of his coat tightly… and she released it blushing and looking away…
“Ah… my little sparrow… I missed your sweet taste…” he held her face again on one side and continued. “You look beautiful…I have wanted to kiss you all evening… you are such a temptress.” He said his sensual voice which she loved…
“You were here? All evening? How come I didn’t see you?” She was surprised.
“I chose to be seen only if I want to. Today I didn’t. But that didn’t stop me from seeing you little sparrow” he smiled.
After a little silence where she could only hear their breathing she looked into his eyes.
“Um… you didn’t message… so I thought… you didn’t….” she whispered and looked away tearing up… the day’s pent up emotions coming up to the surface.
“Hey… listen. I am here… aren’t I? Come upstairs once you are done. I am in suite number 209… Working late… But…for you my little sparrow, I will be waiting…
It hit her then; she had to get back to work. She quickly straightened up… she had to visit the powder room again… she turned to the door.
“I will be waiting little sparrow…” he said behind her. She smiled to herself and nodded slightly. She reached the door handle. Before leaving she teased, “I will be late…very late… hope you won’t be tired waiting…”
He held her arm and pulled her back to him… he whispered into her ears, “this giant eagle won’t ever stop because he is tired… he will, only when he is done…”
Then gently biting her earlobe he continued, “… And you little sparrow… with you…I am not done…”
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