Link to Chapter 5 : Here
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(Manik’s POV) Two weeks of travel and no rest yet. I am back at the Murthys’ place for their youngest daughter’s engagement. Engagements are supposed to be quiet affairs. Only marriages need to be blown up. People live together for the sake of society and when they can no longer bear being ignored, they divorce. They say they are in love, but are they really, with the show they put on? It is better to have a relationship where there is no commitment and enjoy yourself whenever you want and bid your byes as you like. Satisfy your infatuation, lust, whatever it is called.
When I entered, VM greeted me. I tried to be as polite as possible seeing that I was the only one from my family here. Dhruv, my youngest brother, said that he would be late but it is his excuse for not showing up. Later, he would say, he was held up in work. But everyone of us in our family know how talented he is and how fast he can work. Yet, none of us has cared to question him. He is not a social person. As I went inside the hall, I saw all the Murthys together. Navya was there and I went up greeted her and directly headed to where the drinks are. I better not talk to Navya. Not being able to sleep for more than two days straight has gotten me on the edges. One push of my temper and I will lose it. After some drinks, I finally thought of searching for my fiancée when I spotted Madhyam, a long time friend of mine among the crowd.
He noticed me and came to talk.
(Madhyam) “Oh what a pleasure to see you, “the great” Manik Malhotra here. You never show your face in parties. What brings you all the way here?” He seemed in a mood to be mocking.
(Manik) “I am the fiancé of Ms. Nandini Murthy.” almost sounded with spite, I said, hoping that it would give him sufficient reasons.
(Madhyam) “Seriously? When did you catch her? I thought both of you refused to accept your mutual attraction.”
(Manik’s POV) Sigh. In a moment, my anger drained out and tiredness conquered me. He was one of those who saw her at the Christmas party where Nandini and I first met and they have been going on and on about it.
(Manik) “I didn’t. It’s for business.” He didn’t seem to expect this answer.
(Madhyam) “Oh! That’s rare. I would have expected Manik but not you to accept it.”
(Manik) “You think I even knew about all this? It was done behind my back.” Not really. Its just that I don’t care.
(Madhyam with a smirk) “Nevertheless, you still get to have things your way with the girl you are attracted to.”
(Manik’s POV) I have had enough warnings from Navya and the amount of travel I have been into the past few days and weeks to come, I am not really thrilled by the fact that I stubbornly took up a project that involves me to go around everywhere.
(Manik in anger) “One more word and I will punch your lights out. I am frustrated enough, I don’t need you to enhance it. Besides, Navya will go berserk if I played with her cousin.”
(Madhyam chuckled) “You listen to Navya? Why? You never cared before.”
(Manik) “Like I said, her precious cousin.”
(Madhyam) “Then, I can have my chance with Nandini, right? Unlike you, I am not a womaniser.” I am not any such. I just get tired of similar girls around me.
(Manik angered) “Just try. I doubt you will get anywhere. Don’t talk too much. I am having a headache because of lack of sleep for the past two days. One more thing though you try flirting with her any wrong move towards her you are so dead Madhyam” First time that I had done such a thing. Why are there employees if I have to do such job?
(Madhyam) “Manik! Is something wrong with you? Waiter, one Dry Martini please. Take this. Get back to your usual self, cruel self. Whatever you are telling right now, you would never even think of doing! You didn’t sleep at all and still didn’t make a pass at the girl?”
(Manik) “Tell it to Father. Two weeks of continuous travel, negotiations of disputes, less sleep, I am in a more irritable state than ever. I would love to find amusement to make me feel better.” Really, I am not even able to think of any sarcastic remarks now. I can’t wait to have something to lighten up my mood from the disputes.
(Madhyam) “Because you are irritable, girls are not coming close to you but enjoying you from afar. Oh! Manik you! Amusement is coming your way; just like when you first met her at the Christmas party.”
I looked up. Nandini was walking towards me, her hair, completely crimson and brown now, pushed to one side, in bottle green off shoulder gown with translucent scarf around her shoulders, showing of her curveous body, looking completely sensual and classy, she had dawned her classy dress along with the earrings that I gave her which made her look out of the world, walked straight up to me. Madhyam eyed me. How I wish I was in a mood for it instead of feeling tired!
(Nandu) “Hello, Manik. I was wondering where you went after you greeted Papa.” She nodded her head to Madhyam and smiled at him, which he reciprocated as she sat beside me.
(Madhyam) “I will be leaving then.”
(Manik’s POV) Madhyam got up from his place and mixed with the crowd. Looked like he had no intention of even looking at her. Who would! After all, girls are lining up to talk to him.
(Manik) “I want a drink, would you also like to have.”
(Manik’s POV) Suddenly, a few ladies walked up to us. This doesn’t usually happen. It only happens when I leave the girl I am with alone.
(Girl 1) “Ms. Murthy. It was a surprise when we got the news of Nisha’s engagement. It was very rude of her to try getting married before you.” Nandini beamed at them.
(Nandini) “Not at all. You see, my fiancé and I are busy with work and would like to have some more time before getting married. It would be bad to restrict a younger sister’s freedom because of the elder’s stubbornness. Isn’t that right?” Nice answer! I could barely control my snicker.
(Girl 2) “Oh dear! Please don’t misunderstand. We asked out of concern. Where is your fiancé, Mr. Manik Malhotra? Is he not here yet because of company of someone else?”
(Manik’s POV) Now, I snapped. I am sitting right beside her and people don’t even recognize me! I do change my girlfriends often but I don’t cheat on them. Nandini tried to control
her giggles. I swept her to her feet with my arms still around her.
(Manik) “Honey, if you don’t mind, I would love to have a dance. Shall we?”
(Nandu) “Sure thing, Manik.” She beamed at him as she took his hand and walked away.
Manik and Nandini walked up to the centre where couples were dancing. Navya and Cabir were also dancing. We came on the dance floor and we started dancing. The music in the background was very romantic. It was the song “Love Me Like You Do”.
In between the song
“The Nerve Of People! If you don’t recognise someone, then don’t talk as if you know them.” Manik complained as we danced. Thankfully, he took me out before it turned into a word battle.
(Nandu)“This is rare. You are grumbling.”
(Manik) “That is because, right now, I am not in my best gentleman mode.”
(Nandu PoV) Gentleman, he dares to describe himself to be. He looked like he had a headache, but since he didn’t tell anything, I shouldn’t care.
(Nandu) “That is also rare.” But the song was also amazing.. Nandu flowed in the song and was thinking about Manik. Manik frowned. Dancing with him feels like floating.
You’re the light, you’re the night
You’re the color of my blood
You’re the cure, you’re the pain
You’re the only thing I wanna touch
Never knew that it could mean so much, so much
(Tall man, I fit exactly into his arms, strong and firm. It felt perfect.)
You’re the fear, I don’t care
Cause I’ve never been so high
Follow me to the dark
Let me take you past our satellites
You can see the world you brought to life, to life
(No mistakes, we flowed like the water on the floor. The mutual attraction between us was never hidden.)
So love me like you do, la-la-love me like you do
Love me like you do, la-la-love me like you do
Touch me like you do, ta-ta-touch me like you do
What are you waiting for?
(Nandu’s POV) Then the song changed to Saibo.. All the songs back to back were something which I felt but I knew Manik would leave me.. So I didn’t want to confess.. we continued dancing and Saibo also got over. We departed from the dance floor
(Manik) “You will experience my troubles when the operations start.”
(Nandu) “Why are you part of the operations? Aren’t you busy? Aren’t you one of the tops in your company? Do you have time to oversee such a small operation?”
He smirked. I have to calm down. I shouldn’t get ruffled just because he is the one I am going to be coordinating with.
(Manik) “I think I can manage one more project to my table. The problem is the location that is far away from any city. But with my fiancée there, I don’t think I would be having any problems, will I?”
(Nandu) “I am sure you can find some other person. I signed up for a project, not for your personal use.”
(Manik) “That is true. I can always find someone else. I do hope you don’t mind it?”
(Nandu POv) I split away from him while he wanted to continue talking. Why does he always do this? Does he think women are his toys or is it just that I am like his toy?
(Nandu before leaving) “I do not. You can do what you like. Even now, you can have your pick back to the hotel.” I walked off. If he intends to humiliate me, I am not going to give in, to him or to the so-called society. Suddenly, he grabbed my arm.
(Manik) “Here, I will not. At least for today. But from day after tomorrow, when the factory starts, don’t come complaining about my behaviour.” Trying to control my anger, I smiled widely.
(Nandu with a stern voice) “Oh, I don’t care. You are not my first fiancé to behave this way and very well not my last. Hope you like the party, Mr. Malhotra. I am sorry for not being able to keep you company further.”
(Nandu POV) What does he take me for! Just because I am his engaged, it doesn’t mean I am hooker at his disposal. Just when I thought he maybe a normal person, he went back to being an a*s. The party went on and on. By the time I went back to sleep it, was already dawn.
Today, I need to start to the new factory. Cooped up in the research room for next six months, no parties, no shopping, no fun. Buck up! I started packing my bags. Someone knocked on my door.
(Nandu) “Come in.” Papa came in.
(VM) “Are you ready, Nandini?”
(VM) “You know, you can drop out of this project anytime you want.”
(Nandu) “And never have a chance to do practice. No way!”
(VM) “Nandini” He looked serious. “Navya is not that hopeful about Manik. She says its better if you drop out. I don’t want you to experience” I hugged him before he continued.
(Nandu) “Papa, Rishabh just gave me a lecture before and now you. I can take care of myself. You know that I will never marry. It is because of the same reason, I let you engage me to anyone you wish. You don’t have to worry too much. I promise you that I will take care of myself. Now that packing is over, any other advice you would like to give?”
(VM) “Enjoy yourself, dear.” He kissed her on her forehead.
(Nandu) “Bye, Papa. I am taking my Porsche with me.”
(VM) “All the way?” I grinned.
(Nandu) “Yes. No driver please. James! Get my bags from my room to the Porsche.” I went to say bye to mom.
(Renuka) “Nandini, do you need to go?”
(Nandu) “Mom, don’t act silly. Its not like this is my first time. I will be back after the research is approved. With me there, who knows, maybe a year’s work will become two months’ due.” She smiled at me.
(Renuka) “That is true. Come back soon, honey.” After kissing her, I went to my car when James finished loading my bags.
(James) “Have a safe trip, Ms. Nandini.”
(Nandu) “Thank you, James. See you soon.” I bolted off to the factory site.
(Nandu POV) It was evening by the time I reached the site. The construction was in progress almost over. The view was awesome. Completely empty, no house or even a shed at sight except the factory quarters and the factory itself. The security informed the manager of my arrival. He came to the entrance to welcome me. I am happy to be at the receiving end than the giving end. It gives people a sense of silly happiness.
(Manager) “Welcome Ms. Murthy. It is an honour to have you here.” A tall, thin man, typical office goer, came to pick me up.
(Nandu) “Thank you. I hope that the research has started here after moving from the city. If it still hasn’t, I would love to stay in civilisation till I am needed here.”
He replied overconfidently,
(Manager) “It has started, mam. From the reports, I believe it needs your approval to move to the next stage.” He is sure of himself.
(Nandu) “I see. Send me over the reports by tonight. I will visit the factory day after. I hope there isn’t any problem with it? How about my room?” He didn’t seem to like to answer me
from his attitude. Another stuck up jerk to deal with.
(Manager)“No, mam. Your quarters may not be to a level of five star hotel’s but it is habitable.”
Why the sudden cynical remark? Really, who put him in charge? Does he not know that he will be jobless with one word from me?
(Nandu) “I would love it if you can keep your sarcasm to yourself. Only your opinions and expertise are solicited when asked for. Also, has Mr. Malhotra reached?”
(Manager) “Mr. Malhotra confirmed that he would be here tonight.” Now, he seemed to be respectful when Mr. Manik Malhotra is involved in the talk. Such a gender biased world!
(Nandu) “Thank you, Mr. Robert Malcolm. You are dismissed.”
He left. Just because their superior is a woman, it doesn’t give the right to act haughty. These people need to learn who is in-charge. I doubt I am going to have any effect if Manik is going to act on his own and ignore me. I resolve that I am not going to lose my calm when it is anything concerning him.
I left to my room and freshened up. I was waiting for the reports to come.
Precap : Getting to know the working atmosphere