This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Something was forcing my reluctant eyes to open. They didn’t want to because they knew it would mean starting another day which was a cruel repetition of events that weren’t exactly, well, very pleasant.
I groaned. Not a ladylike groan. It sounded more like a howl which came out of a wolf’s poorly developed larynx with an abnormal case of tonsils perhaps.
I started to feel very hot, not that human of opposite sex materialized me as ‘hot’ because I wasn’t. I was breathing, walking, blabbering and getting myself into awkward situations kind of woman .When I lifted my hand to swipe away the stands of my dark brown hair which were clinging to my forehead I was met with moist perspiration.
I don’t understand. My flat had been installed with that machine. The one that blows very cold air and helps me survive Dubai’s heat. Was it not working?
Oh and that force trying to pull open my eyelids was seemingly stronger than my will to sleep. What could be stronger than my sleep?
Your desire to put everything edible down your stomach?
The little voice at the back of my head said which according to my imagination was a woman with bright red lipstick, hand on her hips snarling at me; occasionally complimenting but usually complaining about my not so commendable social capabilities.
A sudden realization dawned upon my half asleep brain. It could be the very hot ball of fire which was really far away from Earth but still very close to Dubai. What was its name?
Fireball? Sounds like a spicy cheeseball. My stomach grumbled expressing a mixed feeling of hunger and puke I wasn’t intoxicated with alcohol last night, was I? That couldn’t be possible since I don’t drink on weekdays when I barely have time to do anything.
Right! It was the sun- a star which didn’t exactly suit the definition of diamond in the sky.
Windows of my two room apartment were not shielded by the very dainty curtains my mother had insisted on getting.
Probably because you are too lazy to complete such a complicated task.
The little voice mocked me. Wasn’t she so very nice and not sarcastic at all?
Pushing the duvet away, eyes stubbornly shut and breathe too fetid for my liking I forced myself up.
What was the time? I wondered.
Did you know you actually have to open your eyelids to check the time?
Ugh! Stop being so rude right in the morning. Can you? My brain replied back to my brain. There is something very wrong with my words. How can brain reply to ......
My eyes were not just open now; they were trying to pop out of my eye socket.
Lucky for me they were tied down by all those nerves.
Stop blabbering nonsense will you?
“Right. The time is 8:48 a.m. which means I am quite late which means I am going to panic” I actually spoke out loud.
I ran towards my bathroom to uhm Powder my nose and do other necessary things.
You need to stop reading those historical English books.
‘SHE’ vocalized her thoughts in an authentic British drawl this time.
The clock was ticking and I had no time to squander. Not at that figment of my own imagination. To appear a woman working as a writer hoping to permanently settle down her derrière at the seat of the editor I had to actually get out of my current state of looking homeless in my own home and I could probably spend my time doing just that.
I barged out of the building I had built my very comfortable nest in where I could be unsocial and not scold my conscience for being such a baby.
My office was quite far away from where I lived and it was therefore essential that I guided the wheels of the cheapish little machine that worked on petroleum towards the place I went five days a week for some uncounted hours .The routes were so familiar now that I could probably sleepwalk there. I wouldn’t do it obviously because I’d be too lazy to walk .My subconscious could never send inaccurate signals of any sort of movement to my limbs.
I am exaggerating a bit. I move. I am not obese either. I was just a size fourteen avoiding any form of exercise whatsoever and enjoying the explosions of different tastes my tongue was capable of tasting because well why would’ve God made it that way.Huh?
Doesn’t mean you put down all the junk you can.
Alright, stop banging your head against the wall.
I tried to get out but the very little place between my tiny machine and somebody’s very expensive giant one left me trapped. But that wasn’t such a big obstacle I faced that day.
Getting on the barren elevator my heart picked up its race. It wasn’t supposed to be so empty.
Darlin’ aren’t you forgetting somethin′? You are not exactly at the time most normal working human come at!
Agh, darn you!
Anxiously I turned to look at this young woman. She looked a mess; dark circles surrounded her tired blood shot brown eyes, her lips thin and pale and hair; oh her hair looked as if they had never felt a comb run through them. Her shirt positively crumpled and her flier open.
That was me since the lift was supposed to be empty and I am sure a ghost couldn’t resemble me so much.
Hurriedly, I closed my flier; combed through my hair so it resembled to something decent and made some attempts to iron the stubborn crumpled piece of cloth which covered my upper body. It was difficult to find my exact fit as my breast weren’t too shy; their presence was noted by most men.
I was there. Turning towards my left, my eyes read the bold shiny silver text written on a dirty yellow colored wall.
The Forbes Middle East.
My brain went on an endless cycle of awful things which were to happen to me followed by optimistic thoughts I tried very hard to think of.
I barged into the lobby only to be miserably greeted by the decently dressed woman.
“Morning Vera” She said as a perfunctory receptionist.
Okay, now think of some reason for showing up this late. Begging my brain to use its creativity when it was desperately required never actually worked.
My non existing pet died in the morning. That reminds me I absolutely need to adopt a dog. They are so terribly cute and cuddly and understanding and...
My brain began imagining the happy times I would spend if I’d actually adopt a dog.
Oh stop it you!
Walking towards the not so very comfortable chair, my brain was swarmed with the possibilities of excuses I could use to shield myself from the torment I’d have to face in the not so distant future.
Sudden morning sickness, death of an imaginative uncle, burning down of my house.. That would be a little too fake.
I would say the repeatedly used excuse.
Traffic. A lot of it. Possibly an awful accident. The driver is terribly critical actually. The broken pieces of the machine shattered everywhere on the road. Blocked everything.
Yes. That’ will have to work.
Gaining some confidence, my legs increased their pace.
I raced to my little work space which would very likely be cluttered with stacks of rejected write ups ,not very useful stationery as most probably I’d borrow it from my next cubicle neighbor, Leah and the wrappers covering the content that would satisfy my ‘always growling with hunger’ stomach.
Not that I didn’t try to keep it organized but at the end of the day I’d be too bushwhacked for completing the decent humanly act.
It was simply impossible that I would start working without organizing the disaster or otherwise there won’t be any essays written and I’d likely just give up on this life and join the Buddhist in the Himalayas.
Yes, I was too emotionally reactive. A cancerian trait.
Stop blaming the crab for your stupidity
Fine. Just read it somewhere.
And were you required to mention an unnecessary fact when you should be getting on with the day, well, whatever is left of it?
She drawled, meanness oozing in every word uttered by her now bright pink lips as she manicured her sleek blue painted nails.
As I was discarding the wrappers of my favorite salted chips, my eyes fell on the translucent door to his office which was ajar.
Oh crap! His door was open which meant he was out of his throne room which meant he would see me not doing anything resourceful which meant I’d be scrutinized and fired within the next 79.8 seconds.
Immediately I forced my workstation to switch on and save my life but as the screen was displaying the starting of windows, a voice, manly enough to cover my skin in goose bumps declared his presence.
He was just my boss. A department dedicated to the success of women was headed by a man.Fair enough.
His tall frame suddenly crouched and I was startled, my mouth agape.
What on this big giant universe was he doing? Was he going to scold me?
My questions were answered when he picked up the wrapper and held it in front of my eyes.
Holy bullocks! The cleanliness freak found the wrapper decreasing the appeal of the very immaculate carpeted floor.
“We have dustbins for a reason Ms. Henderson”
“uh..y-yes..of course..I-uhm..I had thrown it just there. Must’ve not landed in”
Why are your communicating skills so dreadful?
Since you have failed to assess the situation and the man scowling at me, I am going to ask you to stitch up your mouth.
“Well, improve your aim then. I am here for the article on Fatima Al Jaber which was assigned to you”
So he doesn’t know I wasn’t exactly on time.
You were purely and completely late.
Alright, but the good part is he isn’t going to fire me. I won’t lose my job and I can adopt a dog. My parents wouldn’t have to be involved in my life. Oh good god! This weekend my lonely home will be welcoming a cute little beast and then I can happily..
“Vera! The article. Is it done? Email it to me after you return from your Wonderland.”
“Oh yes! Most certainly Harrison, I am sure you’ll quite like it as I..”
He left me talking to myself. How polite.
Harrison Faucher was...well, very British and had a charm which made me secretly swoon over him, not that I would admit it to another soul. He wasn’t the picture perfect guy the girl falls in love with in the cheesiest of romantic movies. He was an entire package of charm, sexiness with his intent grey eyes encircled by dark circles from working late, the way his coat would stretch over his broad shoulders, his steady, lazy smile almost perfect and his hoarse deep voice that would send shivers all over my body.
I didn’t stand a chance with him. Not a 0.00000897% chance and that was just..uh..reality.
Not that I wasn’t notice worthy. According to the positive body quotes I read every day, I was supposed to stop undermining and appreciate myself as who I am .It was a bit hard to do it because I was worried I might become one of those self-obsessed not so pretty women who were harshly gossiped about in the ladies loo.
I was still learning, but to be able to love yourself when you fit in no beauty standards and feel judged all the time had a slim chance of happening for me.
As soon as the god damn machine which was meant to make my life easier started, I was met with a blow of emails. It could be dramatized with my hair blowing and a rock song playing behind but that’s not how real life works, sadly.
By lunch, I had read and replied to all necessary mails and sent my hard worked on article after proof reading it a dozen times to Harrison.
I was still very much worried if it will be approved by his over analytical correction.
So I did exactly what I wasn’t supposed to-eat.
You literally just had your lunch.
In case you have forgotten, my memory game is too strong to forget the continuous act of chewing and swallowing edible items I could find. Also, since you don’t seem to be better at memory than me, I have always won the memory game among my friends for which once I had gotten a box of cheap random chocolates. I had spit it out as fast as I had put it in my mouth. The feelings experienced, however, were wide apart from each other.
“Vera, darling, Harrison has asked for you immediately.” Harrison’s newly appointed personal assistant informed me in her almost American with a hint of Indian touch accent.
“Oh yes, right.”
“He also said uhm..ch..uh..chuvvy up or something” she spoke with confusion written in bold on her face.
“Must’ve meant ‘chivvy up’ .British slang for hurry up.”
“Oh god, will have to learn all these expressions. I almost assumed that all my knowledge in English was equivalent to nothing after hearing him talk”
“You’ll get used to it.”
Smiling at the twenty something woman having brown skin, spectacular eyes and the darkest jet black hair I went towards another beautiful creation of nature.
What if his heart isn’t as beautiful as his sculpted face is and he will just heartlessly ask me to do anything but writing in the future.
They didn’t give such problems to solve in the probability chapter I was forced to study at school.
I think I am supposed to apply all that here, right now.
Okay, so, the chances are pretty damn high because neither am I a first-rate writer nor do I think I have the possession of nubile characteristics.
Oh god what’s with my low self-esteem issues?
“May I come in?”
Sounds like an innocent elementary school girl asking teachers permission to enter the classroom after her little adventure to the washroom.
No, it sounded like a well-mannered woman educated in one of the most reputed boarding school of England.
During this internal word war which now frequently occurred in my brain, Harrison had motioned me to come in.
The man didn’t want to waste his breath and seconds uttering two very simple English words “Come in.“He certainly had not been educated very well in his manners.
“Vera, I have read your article and..”
Oh my, the way my name rolls of his tongue; ” V-E-R-A” .Sends a shiver down my spine and where not. I hear myself giving a sigh of pure bliss.
Okay, get up, enough of your ecstatic thoughts. You are getting yourself fired if you don’t listen to whatever; it is that he is speaking. Vera! Ver...
“Vera?! Did you zonk out?
The way he was eyeing me confirmed that I had gotten myself stuck into his trap and no, it wasn’t the love trap. It was the “I’ll be watching you until you make another stupid mistake and I can save the salary being paid to you “trap.
What could he have asked? I thought he said something about understand.
My heart starting hammering against my ribs hastily as if it couldn’t take these frequent orders from the brain to pump more blood even during such small petty tasks be it ordering food or facing a beautiful man who has his eyes set on you.
His eyes are set on you because he considers you nothing short of an idiot.
“V-E-R-A , were you asked to write a biography on Fatima-Al Jabar ?”
“Nope” I said popping the P shortly before realizing how teenager-ish that is.
“Then why is this article which was meant to be an article about one-“he turned the pages as to count the clatter of words I had written “and a half pages?”
A disappointing sigh was recognized by my ears. Well, at least they didn’t stop working like my brain. That’s because I got it cleaned last week. Can someone not clean my brain of all the negativity? It might work better.
Well done, you have successfully yet again, not failed to disappoint people and to blabber at the most inappropriate times.
Don’t breakdown now. Don’t cry about how you can’t take all the disappointing faces as your sole memory.
Gathering some shred of my dignity, I tried to vacuum the mess pooling and surrounding me; it didn’t work. I was a duff, dull, gormless about the real world and just zonked out.
Oh right! That’s what he said earlier.
“Vera, this simply can’t be happening. Its highly unprofessional and I don’t approve of it.”
Time to get fired.
Don’t sing it like a nursery rhyme, will you?
“No, you can’t smoke pot or whatever during work or the night before.”
Relief rushed throughout my body. He wasn’t firing me, just making assumptions that my drooling over him was related to some illegal drug-
What’d he say?
“Harrison, Oh god NO, I don’t smoke pot or weed or tobacco or anything during work .I haven’t even tried it. Do you get it here? I thought all these things were highly illegal. But how can the government see to all the illegal things. I wonder how it makes a person feel. I have heard, they feel-”
“Vera! Alright, that’s enough; I really don’t care what you do. All I need is my article which is really a bloody article and by tomorrow. Take your day off and don’t be late tomorrow”.
His voice indicated pure frustration with the presence of despondency.
“I can stay and complete the article which needs to be an article” I was hopelessly trying to endeavor.
“No, you’ll make yourself barmy. Anyway, it’s not a relaxing, recreating, finding yourself leave, I need the article tomorrow morning at 8 max.” Picking a manila folder, he made himself busy.
Move it woman, he is done with you.
What if he wants to give me some inspirational article written by some failure who eventually gained success so I won’t lose all the faith I ever had on myself which I am loosing and so I can write a blinding article which will sooner or later lead to my successful life. I might even find an equally successful and cracking husband and then we can have two beautiful children or I don’t mind three but labor pains are quite awful-
“We were done a long time back, if you need something, please be so very kind to vocalize your thoughts as I haven’t yet mastered the skills of mind reading.”
His sarcastic remark brought me back to earth and I couldn’t have been more daced.
“Yes, I mean No, I have nothing to say and yes I am leaving now. Thank you very much. “I stammered giving a restrained smile.
Did he just roll his eyes?
I’d roll my eyes too if I was on the other side of myself. In fact, it’d be too hard to have a conversation with myself as I’d be rolling my eyes constantly or choking on laughing at me.
Dashing out of the office and holding the now spilling tears, I drove the wheeled vehicle back to my snug and happy place.
I wasn’t fired but I had not been upto the level of perfect human I have aspired to be since my childhood. I have constantly been brainwashed that “no one is perfect” and “you’ve got to be the best to be successful which then leads to your ultimate happiness and then you’d have justified your existence.”
I’d buy both the packet of crisps because I couldn’t choose. I could be swayed by anyone and everyone because I never had an individual stand, a choice. It lead to frustration and seeking advices. I have never listened to what I really want and on trying I fail to make everyone happy which leads to the presence of an acute cloud of sadness. It’s a bloody endless cycle that has gradually found its place in my life.
I couldn’t choose if I wanted to be perfect or happy. So, I kept floating in hopes that one day I will know what I really desire, I still am. What I fear the most is that like very mediocre who has forgotten the skill of tearing through the waves , going against the flow, who has accepted floating as their way of life, I might too become one among them. Dead.
Slept.Ate.Wasted hours on a repeat show.
Was I forgetting to do something? I had done everything a normal individual does on a regular basis.
Hmm..didn’t think about James McAvoy or Dave Franco or henry Cavill or Harrison-
My goofy grin was wiped off my face as soon as I realized that I have an article to submit to the very same Harrison I was drooling over a second ago.
Getting my machine of artificial intelligence which worked on my command, I began hitting letters on the keyboard fanatically. The clock said 11:24 p.m.
A part of my brain, the lazy one said just cut the unnecessary sentences and be done with it. That part of my brain was empowered by the perfectionist part of the brain and so I began.
Stretching my hand, yawning and convinced that the article did justice to the woman who was the chief operating officer of the United Arab Emirates’-based Al Jaber Group, I got up with an aching body and tired watering eyes only to add up to my misery, the time was 3:09 a.m which meant I will be sleep deprived and late again.Groaning, I commanded my brain to sleep and not start erupting the anxiety feeling all over my body.
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263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...
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