Main aa gayi, Cocktail leke. ???
Anyways, just to let you know, Cocktail ki kundli mein dosh ke kaaran, this is going to end in a few more shots. Just kidding, it is reaching its fruitful end. I may give an epilogue to show their married life too, to give a glimpse of how they deal with each other, but yes, COCKTAIL IS ENDING SOON.
Enjoy this part???
I smilingly skipped down the stairs as I recalled last night’s impromptu date with the one and only FFL. That had been rather sweet and later…….stinky. I grimaced as I recalled the number of times I had to soap myself and shampoo my hair to take off the smell.
Only Sanskaar and Swara were sitting at the breakfast table, talking between themselves. Seeing them, my mood darkened and I silently went inside the kitchen to fix a sandwich for myself, not even bothering with the morning pleasantries.
I took my plate and was about to head back to my room when Swara called out behind me, “You think you have done a great thing, haven’t you?”
I frowned and turned back. She was sitting on the table, face clear, except for a few rashes here and there. I raised an eyebrow at her.
“You must be celebrating your win right now, right? Stooping so low to replace me?” Swara sneered.
“You think I did that to you? Do you?” I asked her incredulously. She raised her nose up in the air and nodded. I looked at Sanskaar who was sitting there, uncomfortably silent.
“Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but I have no hand in what happened to you. I am no rival of yours and nor am I cheap. I have class, okay?” I replied snootily as I clutched my plate tighter.
“Class? Yeah sure, I mean, we can see your ‘class’ when you go and cling to that Lakshya Maheshwari!” Sanskaar said sarcastically. I fumed at him.
“Listen Sanskaar, just because you were my best friend, doesn’t mean you give me shit. Lakshya and I have known each other far longer than you and I. And he is definitely more of a gentleman than you, and my best friend. I don’t ‘cling’ to him, I hangout with him. So kindly shut up your crap and let me live in peace!” I said coldly as I stalked off to my room.
As I grumpily ate my sandwich, giving Sanskaar and Swara the worst of all my gaalis, my phone beeped. It was, as usual, FFL.
FFL: Are you awake??
I snorted and replied.
Me: No. I am still in a deep slumber.?
FFL: Rise and Shine sleepyhead, half the town is already dead!???
Me: I just died laughing ???
FFL: Will there be French Fries in your funeral??
Me: Shut up! What did you message me for????
Me: You want all these????. Bikini? Seriously?
FFL: I meant shopping and a beach outing actually?????
Me: Oh!???. Yeah sure. At what time?
FFL: How about an hour from now?
Me: Done. Sharp.
FFL: See you, my non-best friend???
I smiled as I quickly finished off my sandwich and went to the washroom.
Half an hour later, I was ready in a pair of denim shorts, white tank top and a purple, white and black checkered overshirt, wearing black and white converse shoes. I tied my hair in a French braid, sat down and started applying my nail polish. I heard a knock on my door. It was Sanskaar.
“Going somewhere? The others have gone for a movie.” he said as he leaned against my doorframe.
I looked at him cautiously as I blew air on my nails. “I have some plans for the day with Lakshya.” I replied.
Sanskaar sighed. “Rags, are you seriously that dumb?” he asked me. I raised my eyebrows.
“Come on, you think you can be his best friend? His? Lakshya Maheshwari’s? Do you know who he is? He is one of the richest men of the country. I agree, you and I also belong to rich and powerful families, but we aren’t on the same level as him. He is damn powerful and knows it. You think he would want to be best friends with you when he can have so many better connections?”
“What are you trying to say?” I asked him rudely.
“That he is just passing his time with you. People like him need someone with name, which you have, but they aim for better. He was dating that Kavya Kapoor, who is daughter of Kewal Kapoor. Kewal may be in ruins now, but he still has influence. Lakshya reeks of power and influence too. He is a billionaire! Why would he want to be with YOU? Even Swara thinks that maybe he isn’t genuine. Please Rags, stop being so stupid about this!”
I gaped at him as goosebumps crawled on my skin. How in the world can he and his stupid girlfriend come up with such random shit? He….how can he be so…….mean? I ordered him to get the hell out of my room and not show me his ugly face for the rest of the day, unless he wants a painful death. Seeing me genuinely angry, he quickly retreated. But I was far from calm.
He…..he couldn’t be serious right? Like, he was correct when he said that Lakshya was far more powerful than we were. He had more wealth, more name, more fame and more power than us. He belonged to a hereditary rich family while I was the daughter of a self-made man. But, but he is my friend. He himself says so. Has said that on a number of occasions. I am overthinking, damn this Sanskaar!
The sound of a loud horn made me come out of my thoughts as I grabbed my bag and set out. On the way, I met Sanskaar and Swara whom I gave the deadliest glare to. Banging the door behind me, I walked towards Lakshya who was sitting in his swanky car, waving to me.
“How about this?” I asked her as I showed her a T-shirt with the words ‘Main Toh Paida Hi Hot Hui Thi’ printed on it. She smiled slightly and took it. Slyly, I gave her another one which read ‘Main Pagal Nahi Hoon, Mera Dimaag Kharab Hai’. She threw it at me as I chuckled.
“Bad mood, aye PSL?” I asked her as I placed the T-shirt back. She rolled her eyes and nodded. “What happened?” I asked her.
The smile on my face vanished as I saw her sullen face. Sanskaar, that asshole! What did he do NOW?
“Did he say something to you?” I asked her as I followed her towards the trial room.
“Yes. He was being a git, as usual.”
“Care to share?”
“No. I don’t want to spoil my mood even further by discussing him.”
“But how are you planning to lift up your mood right now?”
“If these clothes fit me and you treat me to a pizza, my mood may automatically lift up!”
“Sounds like you! Okay, done. Check them out quick and then we will go to Dominos here.”
She smiled as she entered the trial room. I sat outside, checking my Insta updates.
“This one?” a voice came. I looked up and saw her in a beige jumpsuit. I nodded and showed her a thumbs up. She smiled happily and went inside.
Within a few minutes, she came out wearing a printed kurta with solid palazzo pants. I looked at her from all angles and then gave my nod of approval. Once again, PSL went back satisfied.
Her third dress was a modern sari which had a white shirt as a blouse and gold harem pants as the lower with a cloth of the same material as the harem pants to act as the pallu. It was fashionable like hell and I instantly nodded. As Ragini was about to go back inside, I called out to her. “PSL? Give me the clothes you have already tried.”
“Why? So that you can try them yourself?” she winked back.
“Eeewwww! No way! I wanted to bill them up quickly and save time, you silly woman!”
She laughed full heartedly as I watched in admiration how her smile literally lit up the room. She threw the heap of clothes at me and went in the last time to try out her last piece.
I gave the clothes to a woman who stood there. She smiled as she took the clothes. “Boyfriend?” she asked. I shook my head in reply. “Best friend.” I replied. She smiled in a rather suspicious way. “Everyone says that. But best friends exist only to remind you that you look like a hideous troll!”. With that , she went towards the billing counter, leaving me wondering what she was smiling about.
“Pssshht……pssssss. Oye? FFL?”
I looked up and saw Ragini’s head poking out of the door. I raised an eyebrow.
“I am unable to zip it up from behind. Help me!”
I looked around for female staff but there seemed to be none here at the moment. I looked at Ragini in despair while she narrowed her eyes at me.
“Come inside and zip it up you fool!” Ragini whispered dangerously. I widened my eyes in shock. “M…m…me?” I asked her, unbelievingly. She rolled her eyes.
“No. Ask that man standing behind you to come and do it for me please! He seems nice enough.” she replied. I looked behind me and saw a tall and good looking guy standing near a rack, sifting through clothes. My eyes narrowed at PSL who smirked in reply.
I stood up angrily as I marched my way up to her and inconspicuously entered the trial room. Ragini was in a LBD and looking really scorching. Her entire back was exposed due to the open zip, showing her smooth milky back. My hands trembled as I placed my fingers on the chain and looked at her through the mirror. She was looking at me too, gently encouraging me. I breathed a sigh and saw goosebumps crawl on her back. Clutching the material around the base of the zip with my other hand, I slowly pulled up the zip, watching in reluctant fascination as the zip moved upwards, clothing her smooth and clear skin with it.
Perspiring badly, I looked at PSL who seemed to have her head bowed. As much as I quickly wanted to zip it up, something stopped me from doing so. My fingers had a mind of their own, making this simple task into a complex one, slowly and steadily doing the otherwise mundane job. When finally the zip was closed, I tried to remove my shaking fingers away from her and saw her looking at me through the mirror with a weird expression on her face.
We both stood still, watching each other with inscrutable expressions, my hands still clutching her back and neck while hers were clasped tightly in front of her. The moment seemed to last long enough for both of us to figure out what exactly was going on.
A sharp ring broke our eyelock and I quickly stepped back, away from her strangely attractive aura. I pulled out the source of the ring, i.e my mobile phone and picked up the call.
As Lakshya talked to the person on his phone, I used the time to calm my erratic heartbeat and bring my breathing back in order. I had been fine, until he blew air on my back when he sighed. His warm breath had made me tingle down there as my stomach dropped in a strange way. I could feel the goosebumps on my back and I knew he could see them too. Why was he having that effect on me? Why he, of all people? He had been excruciatingly slow in zipping up the dress, further deepening my nervousness. And then, in the end, when our eyes met, it seemed as if I never wanted the moment to end. It was too……..personal and intimate. Despite the trial room being air conditioned, I was feeling really warm.
“WHAT?! WHO THE HELL DID THIS?” Lakshya roared in anger. I looked back at him in alarm and he was looking at me with disbelief evident in his face. I shrugged to ask him what the matter was and he gestured to wait.
“Fix a meeting in thirty minutes. Sharp. I will be on video conference.” he ordered in a business-like tone. I widened my eyes in shock. Was my pizza treat cancelled?
Lakshya disconnected the call and massages his now-pulsing temples. I gently kept my hand on his shoulder and asked him what had happened.
My eyes narrowed automatically when I heard Mark’s name. He is a disease, a parasite who has no shame in trying to malign anyone’s image to boost his paper’s ratings. What had he done this time?
“My publicist called me up to tell me that he has run a story in his Delhi edition that you and I are having a fling!”
“Dafuq?” was my natural reply. He looked up and smiled at me. “Exactly. In his article, he has claimed that you and I have been seeing each other for months and that we have decided to formally announce our relationship with the magazine photoshoot we did yesterday. Some sources claim that they have often seen us hanging out together, laughing and smiling. These sources also claim that you are the reason I broke up with Kavya. And I know exactly who this source is.”
“But how would she know about our photoshoot?”
“She is definitely being quoted here as the one who claims that my relationship failed because of my interest in you. Because only she could come up with something as ridiculous as this. This photoshoot angle, however, as been added by someone else. Lots of people are behind this sham of an article and I would make sure that they fall at my feet beg for forgiveness. I won’t spare them. No one can mess with Lakshya Maheshwari and live to tell the tale of their glory!” he said menacingly.
For a moment there, I was again reminded of Sanskaar’s words on Lakshya’s influence and power. I felt mild fear rise in my chest. Suddenly, I was cold. I rubbed my arms in order to warm myself.
“Are you feeling cold?” Lakshya asked me. I looked up at him and shook my head. Then, I nodded. He smiled softly. “I am going out. You change quickly and come out. I will get the billing done.”
I nodded and when he left, I quickly locked the door and took a deep breath. As I removed the dress, I tried reasoning with myself that I was thinking too much. Sanskaar is anyways rude and he was being a jerk when he said that. I shouldn’t be taking HIM seriously. Nor FFL. Who takes their best friends seriously, I wonder?
I came out and saw Lakshya standing with all my bags. I smiled slightly as he peeked into a bag curiously, unaware that I was watching him. This bag had been my secret addition to the other bags and no wonder the fool was curious about its contents. My smile turned into full blown laughter as he blushed hard after he realised that it contained……… lingerie.
“Tch, tch, FFL! Weren’t you taught to never look in a woman’s bag?” I said as I walked in front of him. He groaned and I turned to look back at him.
“You don’t expect me to carry these bags, do you?”
I raised an eyebrow questioningly. His shoulders slumped as he nodded.
“Understood PSL. After you!”
I looked at Ragini who was sitting on the passenger side comfortably, eating her slice of pizza. I felt a bit guilty, planning the outing myself and then opting out of it suddenly. Damn that Mark Singh!
“Ghhoorna band kar Maheshwari!” Ragini said as she sprinkled more oregano on her slice.
“I am just wondering how you became so mature PSL. I mean, come on, you didn’t complain even ONCE. Just took us to Dominos, got a large pizza packed with garlic bread and cold drinks and came with me. When did you become so……….”
“Yeah. Understanding. When did you become so understanding?”
“I know you are smart. But this change is a bit creepy.”
“It isn’t. I understand the problem we both are in and frankly, I hate Mark too. I just wanna see how you bang his snooping ass!”
I smirked in reply as she went back to drinking her Coke……..but wait. Didn’t she already finish hers? And where’s mine?”
“I hope you don’t mind. I was feeling thirsty.”
I will show you later baby. Lemme drive now. Wait, did I just call her baby?
“I am still thirsty.”
“Isn’t your tummy full by drinking my blood?”
“Pani ki bottle peeche hai.”
We reached the hotel and I drove towards the service guesthouses. Mine was the last, the biggest of the fourteen and also the most stylish. Beside me, Ragini opened her mouth wide as she looked at the stone building in front of her.
“You live here?”
“Whenever I am in Goa, yes.”
I entered inside where as instructed, my laptop and other necessary requirements for the video conference were already ready in my study. Mira, my housekeeper, welcomed us in.
“Mira, this is Gadodia Uncle’s daughter and my friend Ragini. Please give her something to drink while I do my meeting.” I instructed to her as Ragini looked at me.
“But I also wanna come in the meeting.”
“Not this one, please? I have some other things to do as well.”
Damn. This sly chick knows how to get her way done. She was currently making her best puppy face, eyes pleadingly wide, lips in a cute pout and looking like the most innocent angel in this world. I tried hard to control myself but who can escape the power of Ragini Gadodia?
“Okay. First you go and drink something, get fresh and then join me in my study. Done?”
She nodded enthusiastically and gave me a proper teddy hug before stalking off behind a clearly amused Mira. I took a deep sigh. She will ruin my reputation amongst my staff! What will they all think, the powerful, arrogant and strict boss Lakshya Maheshwari turns into a soft wimp in front of her?
Sighing to myself, I went towards my study, ready to kick some serious ass.
I laughed as I recollected the events of the previous few hours. While Lakshya had been calm and composed, his public relations manager made it seem like he had fallen into a pit of raging crisis. He spoke in a manner reminiscing of those highly dramatic TV reporters who speak as if the world has ended. Throughout the meeting, FFL and I eyed each other now and then. Finally, he gathered his wits around him and told his PR manager to “kindly shut the f**k up and ACT!”
We spent some time talking before I got a call from Kunj that we had planned to go and do bowling. Lakshya wasn’t available, he still had some work to do, so I was forced to leave that loner alone.
Sitting on my bed now, several hours later, I sniggered as I recalled the entire meeting. Lakshya sure knows his staff well, he was well prepared with his sassiest comebacks for each word that came out of their mouths.
My phone beeped and I saw another message from FFL.
FFL: PSL? You there?
Me: Yep. Wassup?
FFL: Ceiling with a fan.???
Me: Your answer just gave me cancer???
FFL: ???. I just tagged you in 18 lit memes. Reply to them ASAP.
Me: Okay. Is that it? Message kyu Kiya?
FFL: I am sorry we had to cut our plans short today. Shall we go for breakfast tomorrow morning? I will make it up to you???
A smile graced my lips as I read the message. Sending my confirmation to him at the drop of a hat, I smiled happily, lying down on my bed with a hump. Tomorrow would be interesting.
“WHAT IS THIS? HAAN? SHEKHAR?” Janki shouted at me as she poked me, shoving the newspaper at my face. I cringed as I looked at her, plucking her hair in frustration. The news on Ragini and Lakshya had been a shock to her. And me. The phones had been ringing nonstop- relatives, friends and reporters had been pestering us, forcing us to switch off our phones.
“Calm down Jaan.”
“Calm down? HOW? MY DAUGHTER’S NAME HAS BEEN MALIGNED. Ridiculous, this is. Ragini is my daughter, she has been grossly used by that ugly hairy toad Mark for his disgusting paper. Don’t you know how society perceives women? Who will marry my daughter………”
“You are overreacting, please. Stop talking like she is an abla naari and this is some old time.”
“Okay fine. Ragini will come out of it, but what about her reputation? She has been toiling hard to make an image in the society, as R-Bazaar’s next owner. This single piece of news will splash water on all her efforts, she will be remembered more for this ‘fling’ than anything else. Shall I let this ruin my daughter’s hardwork?”
She had a point. Ragini had worked her way up to be considered fit enough to step into my shoes. This unnecessary gossip has now become a dark cloud.
Janki closed her fists and opened them again. Damn. She is going to plan something now. Damn. No. Please God.
“Shekhar, call your PA Sambhav and tell him to book a ticket for London. I think it is high time Ragini learns the overseas part of your business now!”
Standing in front of my vanity, dressed in a breezy noodle-strapped knee-length white dress, I set my high ponytail for the hundredth time, pursing my light red lips. My long earrings dangled from my ears as I took a deep breath. It’s just a breakfast. I need to chill. Period.
Half an hour later, I was seated at my reserved place in the outdoor cafe. The weather was pleasant, and the menu, even more. I ordered waffles, pancakes, peanut butter and maple syrup for myself and multigrain toast with scrambled eggs and orange juice for FFL. He had been moaning these days about how he had been gaining weight and had decided to go on a “diet”.
Lakshya joined me as soon as the waiter left after serving the order, dressed up immaculately in his white shirt and trousers with a baby pink blazer. He groaned as he looked at his plate.
“I wasn’t serious about the diet man!” he exclaimed as he picked up a waffle from my plate and placed it in his mouth. Before he could reach out for another one, I stuffed a piece of the toast in his mouth. He choked on it while I smirked in reply.
After eating our respective stuff, we went on to order bread pizza, choco muffins and croissants for ourselves. Lakshya was telling me all about his new project, his new partners and their quirky habits, thus making great conversation.
“PSL, you know what? Kavya called.”
I froze as I heard him. Raising my eyebrows at him, I asked him what work she had now.
“She is coming to Delhi next week and was asking if I want to ‘catch up or something’. I told her I would think about it and reply.”
“But….do you want to meet her?”
“I won’t mind anything. It’s better though if we don’t. I am still not clear about the Mark story and if she turns out to be involved in some way or the other, I don’t want to have anything to do with her.”
“Better. Her arrival may bring negativity too. I don’t know, I am not getting the right vibes at all.”
Lakshya looked up at me, surprise evident in his eyes. “Since when did you start believing in this vibes and all?” he asked.
I opened my mouth then closed it shut. I had no answer. I admit, it is not something I am known for. This was way out of character for me. What induced this?
Swallowing uncomfortably, I replied in a nonchalant manner, “I just said what I felt. I don’t know, she is sort of trouble.”
“That she is. Now that I think if it, she has been trouble. But she was my girlfriend and I cannot disregard my feelings for her. Or the good moments we spent together. And till when will I keep ignoring her? We move in the same circles, we are bound to meet again and I don’t want it to be a public and awkward meeting. I think I need to meet her. I have decided to hang out with her. See if it brings anything. If I still feel weird, maybe it would be the end to our association. But if it isn’t, I don’t want to cut contact like that. As I said before, I am not accustomed to moving on easily.” Lakshya said.
Clutching the napkin in my hand tightly, I smiled in a forced manner. But the turmoil inside me was great. His entire speech was giving me extremely bad vibes, I was feeling things I hadn’t felt before. The incidents yesterday- our close proximity, I had felt fireworks. An inexplicable feeling. And now, with his decision regarding Kavya, I almost felt like I did when Sanskaar hooked up with Swara………………………
OH. MY. GOD. Have I fallen for Lakshya Maheshwari?
Okay, so who all thought that FFL would fall for her or realise it first? Be honest and tell me in the comments below. ???
Aliyahillary, I hope I wasn’t too late this time around. I have taken your suggestion, I will try and post shorter updates from now on. Stay blessed???
Now need I say that to and comment phataphat se??????