#30 He wants a chance
My limps trembled as I walked along with Michael. The glass door opened automatically for us to enter inside and we entered the large, white marbled lobby.
I hesitated a bit, but Michael walked to the reception side and I had no choice but to follow him.
“How may I help you, Sir?”
“I would like to meet Madam Salena Adams.”
“Do you have an appointment today- Ella?” The receptionist’s eyes fell on me and she looked surprised.
I cleared my dry throat and smiled weakly at her. “Please tell Mama that I am here with my friend.”
Her eyes immediately turned to Michael who was watching me. Her eyes were curious and I noticed her taking him in.
“Amrita,” I said rather annoyed at her ogling and Michael looked surprised at my tone. He turned back to the receptionist who took hold of the receiver quickly.
“Let’s wait here,” I said and walked to the mahogany sofa set on the side.
“You sounded angry there,” Michael said as he took the nearby settee seat from me.
“Did I?” I acted ignorant.
I am surprised at myself for feeling jealous in this situation.
It was not even been 10 minutes when someone called my name.
“Sara?” I got up slowly. “Why are you here?”
Instead of answering me, her eyes stopped on Michael, she didn’t look much welcoming.
“Your Mama asked me to escort you and...your friend immediately,” she said.
“Thank you,” Michael said. He didn’t look bothered at the cold vibes from her.
The elevator ride felt like forever and I jumped as I felt Michael holding my hand.
He gave me a look that clearly meant “Calm down” and I tried to do exactly that. Before I could get hold of myself, the elevator stopped and I wet my dry lips and looked at Michael, who gave me an encouraging nod before he followed Sara. I followed them weakly.
Everything went blank as Sara opened the door and we walked inside Mama’s office.
We entered the huge room which I presumed to be Salena Adam’s office. Everything in her office was immaculately designed, everything screamed of luxury and wealth but I couldn’t help but feel so empty there. The deathly cold vibe hit me even before I spotted her.
She was sitting there on the main settee on the right-hand side of the room. Her legs crossed over and her eyes staring at me coldly.
“Madam Salena Adams,” I nodded my head in acknowledgement. She didn’t move and just stared at me.
I hadn’t felt uneasy or discomfort even when I had to present my projects on the international platforms, but for the first time in my life, I could feel so much power and superiority from someone.
“Mama-” Cinderella stopped as her mother raised her hand; her eyes were still on me.
“I believe I warned you well, Michael.” her voice was very low, but it echoed around the otherwise silent room. “I clearly told you to stay away from my daughter.”
“I love her,” I said and Cinderella turned to me in shock. Even the expressionless lady who escorted us inside looked at me like I have gone mad. “I love Cinderella. Whatever happens, I cannot give up on her.”
Something flashed across Salena Adam’s eyes.
“The last time we met, you clearly said you had no feelings for her.”
“I didn’t have then. And it’s one of the reasons I am here today. I wanted to make it clear, I don’t want to lie.”
“So you started this despite my warnings?”
“The feelings I have for Cinderella is genuine, I couldn’t stop it.”
“If you as much as come near my daughter, I will kill you,” the lady looked firm as she said it as if she really meant it. “I will destroy everyone around you and I will kill you-”
“Mama!” Cinderella looked shocked at her Mama’s expression. “It...It was me, I...loved him first, and I...kept on following him firs-”
“Not only did you brainwash my daughter, but also you have the audacity to come here and meet me like this! I underestimated you,” Salena Adams continued as if Cinderella hadn’t said anything. “If it’s money you want-
“I am not after your money,” I said firmly. “Even if you give me everything you have, I still don’t want it,” I added and took Cinderella’s hand, who gasped at my action. Even the lady at the side looked shocked as I faced a furious Salena Adams, “Cinderella is the only person I want to spend my life with. I cannot give up on her.”
Salena Adams shoots up from her chair. “Don’t lay your filthy hand on her! Leave my daughter at once!”
“Mama, Michael and I...we are dating...” Cinderella’s hand trembled in mine as she looked at her Mama. “I love him, Mama...”
Her Mama’s eyes finally fell on her. Cinderella visibly flinched and her face turned pale.
“I love him, Mama. Please allow me to be with him. I have always obeyed you and accepted your wishes, but please allow me this one thing...” her voice trembled slightly. “I swear, Mama, I won’t ask you for anything else,” she added bravely.
“You are going to pick him over me!?” she looked at Cinderella incredulously.
“I love you, Mama, I will always do. I love Michael too...I want to be with him.”
“I cannot give up on him,” Cinderella wiped her eyes and looked at her determinedly. “Both of you are important to me.”
I am actually surprised at her. Her voice faltered and her hands were trembling as if it’s causing her physical difficulty to talk back to her Mama, but she was speaking up for us.
“I will not allow it. I won’t allow you to be with someone who doesn’t have anything!”
“I don’t wish for anything Mama, I just want to be with him, I really...love him.” her whole body was shaking and I fisted my hands tightly.
I don’t wish to see her suffer between us.
“Give me a chance...” I found myself saying. “I promise you, I will earn your approval.”
Salena Adam’s rage-filled eyes stopped on me as if it was all my fault.
Neither Salena Adams nor I moved, we were still staring at each other, both of us trying to convey the message that we won’t budge from our stand.
“Sara, take Ella out of here and send the bodyguards inside.” she no longer looked calm.
“No!” Cinderella shouted.
“You cannot change my mind on this matter,” I refused to back down.
“Let’s see if you will still say it when I destroy you!”
“Mama! You cannot hurt him! It was me! I followed him until-”
“Sara!” Salena Adams raised her voice slightly and the lady on the side jumped as if electrocuted. “Call the bodyguards now.”
“Yes Ma’am, right away,” She walked to the side and took the receiver.
“Mama, please...” Cinderella pulled her hand from mine and walked towards her. “Please don’t hurt him.”
“Take Ella out of here,” Salena Adam’s order came again.
“No!” Cinderella said again as I stood my ground and looked at her Mama.
“If you want to prove that I would change my mind, go ahead, I am ready to face it.”
“Michael, no!” Cinderella looked terrified. Her eyes were filling and flowing down.
“Ella, come on,” Sara walked to her but Cinderella shook her off and faced her Mama with a pleading look.
“Mama, You cannot hurt him, please don’t, he didn’t do anything wrong, it was me-” she stopped as the door opened and another guy entered inside.
“Auntie Salena,” He looked grave as he spoke. “I want to talk to you-”
“Not now, Julian, you are dismissed.”
“Let me talk to Ella, I will convince her,” Julian said quickly. “We don’t want to make this issue any bigger and affect her future.”
“You knew about this all along!? Why didn’t you tell me then? What made you come here today?”
“I didn’t know Ella was this serious when she talked to me about her crush!” Julian exclaimed. “My dad wanted to pass you some confidential data and I heard from the reception that...Ella brought a friend to meet you.”
Salena Adams hesitated. Obviously, not trusting him fully.
“I will talk to Michael too,” Julian said and my eyes snapped to him in surprise. He hadn’t met me even once. “I will settle this issue, I promise.”
The room filled with silence once again.
“The bodyguards are here,” Sara said in a low voice.
“Michael is a college student, you know how dirty it will get if we touch a student, we don’t want to provoke the whole college,” Julian insisted. “I believe that we can talk to Ella and make her understand the situation clearly.”
There was a short pause.
“All I want is for you to give us a chance,” I said slowly. “I am aware of your concerns, but I want you to know that I have no ill intention towards you or Cinderella,” I said to a slightly calm Salena. “I know how precious Cinderella is to you, she is as precious to me, if not more. You said you raised her like a princess, I promise you that I will treat her like a princess,” I continued as nobody interrupted me.
“If you are worried about my financial status, Give me time until I graduate, I promise you that I will not disappoint you...” I looked at her. “I am willing to do anything you want me to as long as it is reasonable and logical.”
“Mama...” Cinderella wiped her eyes and sniffed. “You have really misunderstood Michael, he is a good person, please give us a chance...” her voice was still trembling.
Julian turned to us.
“Sara, Can you escort Ella and Michael outside?-”
“No, I cannot allow them to be together,” Salena Adams said adamantly.
“I know,” Julian turned back to her, “please hear me out before taking any hast decision, please...” he said and she didn’t move.
“Sara, please let them go, we don’t have to make this situation messier than it already is,” Julian insisted again.
Salena Adams took a deep breath.
“Fine...” she looked at me with her cold gaze. “Let him go. Ella will stay in the waiting room while I talk to Julian,” she said and turned away from me, apparently, she is not even ready to see me a second more. I knew I had been dismissed and that she won’t hear anything more.
Okay, it’s enough for today...
“I will see you then,” I said politely, and gave Cinderella a reassuring look and followed Sara outside.
As she escorted me to the elevator, I passed the four bodyguards waiting for the order, just outside the room.
“Do you realise how lucky you are?” Sara said suddenly that it surprised me. She turned to me as the elevator started to go down. “Stay away from Ella if you really want a normal life,” She warned me. “Madam Salena won’t spare you if you ever come here again.”
“Then I hope I will be as lucky the next time I visit her,” I shrugged and she gave me a glare, now realising that I won’t give up.
“Thank you for escorting me back, this will do, I can find my way back,” I said as she started to follow me out.
I took out my phone to text Cinderella when my phone beeped. I opened the message from her.
“Wait for me.”
I walked to the private room inside the luxury club. I had no idea why Cinderella would ask me to come here.
Cinderella dashed across the room and hugged me tightly.
“Are you...okay?” I patted her shoulder gently as she tightened her grip around me.
“Okay, that’s enough PDA; there are other single people in this room.”
I heard the voice and turned to see the guy, Julian, coming towards us.
Cinderella slowly let go of me and took a step back. She wiped her eyes and turned to me.
“Michael, this is-”
“Julian,” I completed her sentence. “Cinderella’s childhood friend.” I stressed the word “Friend” and stretched out my hand. “I am her boyfriend, Michael.”
Julian looked at me for a moment, and then he took my hand with a chuckle.
“It’s finally good to put a face to the name, Michael. Our first meeting was rather eventful.”
Of course, he met me when I was talking to Salena Adams.
“I should thank you for helping us out there,” Cinderella said and I looked at him rather doubtfully, I am not yet convinced that he was on our side.
“Don’t thank me yet, Ella,” he said. “I was simply playing the middleman,” he said. “I didn’t know what type of guy this Michael was and I wanted time as well.”
“So you wanted me to get your approval?” I asked him.
“Of course,” he gave me another smile. “I could really be a pain in the ass if I don’t like you, you must’ve seen how Auntie Salena treated me,” he smiled again. “She considers my opinion.”
Even if the guy was all smiling and cheerful, I could clearly see the seriousness in his words.
“Julian, don’t play around,” Ella scolded him and turned to me. “Come and sit first, we need to discuss what we are going to do next,” She dragged me to a settee side.
Julian followed us and the three of us took the seat.
“Auntie Salena wouldn’t allow you to be together,” Julian said as he poured the drink for us. “She would never even give you a chance.”
“I reckoned as much,” I said. “But what I want to know is what you told her after we were outside.”
“I just convinced her that hurting you physically or going after your family won’t do any good to either party.”
“How did you convince her that?” Ella asked him.
“It’s because of you, of course,” Julian said. “What else could sway your Mama?” Julian looked at her. “I just told her that you might turn rebellious if something happened to Michael and that the whole college students might get involved too,” he offered me a drink.
“No, thank you, I have to work after-” I stopped as he moved the glass closer to me.
“Remember, you cannot offend me,” he looked at me. “Maybe I would like you more if you drink with me.”
“He is busy, Julian, don’t get him drunk-” Cinderella stopped as I took a sip of my drink and looked at Julian.
“I don’t know why drinking with you would earn me brownie points, but I have done a lot of senseless and illogical things after meeting Cinderella.” I shrugged.
“One of it being barging into her Mama’s company.”
“It was the most logical thing to do,” I said.
“Do you still think so? You saw how she treated you!”
“I never expected her to accept me in the first place,” I took another sip. “The goal was to convey the message that we are in a relationship, so I would consider it a success.”
Julian laughed out loud at that. He turned to a surprised Cinderella.
“I thought he was a silent nerd, Ella, I was quite wrong! I am now rather impressed with your choice!” He turned to look at me. “Michael, no normal sane person would have preferred to confront Selena Adams head-on as you did, I don’t know if I should praise you or call you stupid.”
“I am very serious about Cinderella, if I am even scared to face her Mama, what else could I do in the future?” I said firmly.
“I have asked her to take a step back for now,” Julian said slowly. “When you said you will do anything to earn her approval, I asked Auntie Salena to set her conditions very high for you so that you might eventually fail, Michael... that’s what I asked her to do to calm her down,” Julian looked at me.
“Why did you do that!? What if she put some impossible task for him to do?”
“What else was I supposed to do to stop her from attacking him? That was the only thing I could think of,” Julian said. “You know what? She was not even ready for that, in her eyes, Michael is her enemy who caused her only daughter to turn against her, she won’t let go of this, Michael, watch your back.”
I finished my glass and looked at an anxious Cinderella.
“I just hope Cinderella won’t get hurt...” I said.
“I can deal with it as long as we will be together,” Cinderella said. “I mean, we are doing this to get my Mama’s approval, you decided to do this for me, Michael, I at least have to hold on...” she said.
“What a lovely couple!” Julian said dryly. “Now, apart from confessing your love for each other in front of me, do you guys have a plan to proceed?” He looked at either of us. “Ella’s Mama is not a person with a lot of patience.”
“Does it mean that you are giving me your approval?” I mocked him.
“I admit that I haven’t seen a guy who would be reckless to go against Salena Adams about her most precious daughter, so I kind of believe your feelings for Ella are true, but it would be a lot different if you hurt her, Michael, I won’t spare you.”
“Michael won’t hurt me!” Cinderella said instantly.
“How can I believe you, Julian? What if you are a double agent sent by her Mama?”
“Julian won’t stab me in the back, Michael, I believe him,” Cinderella said.
“It seems like you have trust issues, Michael,” he said. “As for your question, the answer is simple; both Ella and I grew up in a similar situation, I know that kind of life.” He looked at me. “I moved out of my house as soon as I was old enough, but Ella is truly trapped in a golden cage,” he said slowly. “I really wish that she could fly freely without being restricted the rest of her life,” he said. “I want her to pursue her own happiness.”
Cinderella looked touched at his words. She seemed to trust him as well.
“Thank you, Julian,” she said slowly.
“Don’t thank me, Ella, it’s not over yet.” Julian reminded her again, his voice serious. “Your Mama will not let go of this matter.”
“I won’t let her hurt him,” Cinderella swore, making me smile. “I will protect him.”
“And how are you planning to do it?” Julian didn’t bother to hide the disbelief from his voice.
“I have my ways; I just hope I don’t have to go against my Mama like that.”
“I don’t want you to fight with your Mama because of me, since she is very angry at me, let me be the bad guy, don’t defend me too much and make her angry at you.”
“Both of you are important to me, Michael. I cannot let her hurt you. I will protect you,” Cinderella said and emptied her glass in a gulp.
“This is my word to you.” She stressed after putting her glass down.
“Looks like she is drunk,” Julian shook his head. “Such a lightweight she is-” Either he stopped midway or I couldn’t hear him as I was already down on the table.
“You wanted me to file a complaint against Michael for assault?” The guy, Roopak, looked at me in surprise and tried to sit up straighter on the hospital bed. He was looking battered. His eyes and lips were swollen, his right hand was plastered.
It was only 7:30 in the morning and I visited him as I couldn’t wait any longer.
I came to know about this guy through Sara. Apparently, she had contacted him before for information and it was Roopak who had given her details about Michael and Ella.
I had been thinking of a way to get rid of Michael quietly ever since Julian warned me yesterday.
Julian was right; I should not be impulsive while dealing with a guy like Michael. I should think of a way to make him admit defeat and back away by himself.
I nearly went crazy while trying to find out any flaw about Michael.
So it was a golden chance for me when Sara reported to me about the fight that happened in the college. Out of Michael’s 25 years of life, that was the only stain I could find.
So I decided to take the chance and get rid of him with it.
According to Sara, Roopak had been very guarded when we approached him; Roopak had refused to meet me first, claiming that Michael had attacked him because he helped Sara to spy on Ella and him.
He agreed to meet me after Sara assured him that we don’t mean any harm.
Now I know why Michael had come out to meet me and expressed his feelings for Ella, obviously, he knew that he cannot keep it a secret anymore!
“Yes. I obtained a video of him attacking you. He was clearly violent and over the top,” I looked at him. “I don’t understand why you dropped out of college while he is walking freely.”
“You hate Michael because he is dating your daughter,” Roopak said. “And you want my help.”
It was a statement I couldn’t deny.
“Let’s keep it as a win-win situation, Roopak. Sara said that Michael attacked you because you gave us his information, then let me pay back the favour. I am acquainted with your parents and I know that your company is going through a tough time, maybe I can help you to stabilize the situation.” I said.
Roopak looked rather shocked at my offer. He was clearly greedy to take up my offer, but I could see a slight hesitation.
Something was stopping him from joining hands with me.
“I am not going to lie to you, Michael has dirt on Me.” he looked at me. “I cannot go against him, he will expose it and I will be done for.”
“What does he have on you?”
Roopak didn’t answer, he just looked at me.
“Look, I really don’t care what issues you had with the guy, I want him out of my daughter’s life and this is my only way. I will deal with whatever he has on you.”
Roopak looked thoughtful for a moment, then he turned to me.
“You don’t know him,” he said. “Don’t underestimate him because of his background. He digs up crap on me just because I gave you information on Ella and him. He threatened me and kicked me out of the college.”
“I don’t underestimate him at all, that’s why I am here. Assault is a serious crime, with the video clip of him assaulting you and your medical reports; I can get him locked up for good.” I looked at Roopak. “I will also make the evidence against you proved to be fabricated; I have the best legal team with me.”
Roopak considered my offer for a moment.
“Then I want us to sign a contract about reviving my company and we have a deal,” he said. “I will file an FIR as soon as I obtain the contract.”
“I will draw up the contract today itself and send it to you,” I said. “But don’t file the FIR until I tell you.”
Roopak raised his eyebrows at that.
“Getting him for assault alone won’t break him. I will make sure that he will admit defeat and begs me.”
...And I will destroy him completely and make sure that he won’t ever recover from this blow.
Michael is going to regret even meeting Ella for the rest of his life.
Q: Salena is joining hands with Roopak without knowing his true colours, what do you think?