#31 She wants to protect me
Something crashed and I jerked awake. The familiar surroundings of my room came into my view.
The lights blinded me and my throat felt dry.
What the heck!
Why am I feeling like crap?
I opened my eyes again; I took my phone from the side and looked at the time.
Crap! It’s already 8:30 am. I have missed my morning jog and exercise.
I sat up and drank the water on the cot box greedily. I felt better and things started to come back to me.
I looked around. How did I reach back? The last thing I remember was drinking with Julian and Cinderella.
The sound of something breaking reached me again.
What’s going on?
I heard the all too familiar voice and dashed to the kitchen.
I stilled at the doorway.
Cinderella was standing in the middle of the kitchen in shock, a pan and the food were scattered all around the floor.
She looked at me with wide eyes.
“Are you okay? Are you hurt?” I walked to her side, careful not to step on the scattered food on the floor.
“I...I didn’t mean to drop it, I...was trying to take it to the table side...I accidentally touched it, it was hot and I lost my grip-” she stopped as I took her hand and inspected it. “I am okay.”
I looked at her once I was satisfied that she was okay.
“It slipped out of my hand.”
“I am sure it did,” I am no more surprised at her clumsiness. “But how did you get inside?”
“Jenni gave me her key before she left, she wanted me to check up on you,” she said. “You were drunk yesterday and I was worried, I decided to come here and check up on you.”
I moved closer and closed the distance between us. She gasped as I slide my arm around her waist and brought her near.
“So you decided to visit me when no one is home?” I whispered in her ear.
The first thing I noted when I saw her was her small top. It was fitted to her body and only had strings on either side which exposed a lot of skin. It was also showing her midriff and part of her navel. Her Jeans was skin fit and accentuated her figure.
My hand was on her skin and I was turned on instantly.
“Are you planning to seduce me? Wearing this?”
“No! It has a kaftan shrug on top of this but the sleeve was interfering with the cooking so I took it off to finish cooking-”
She stopped as I buried my face in her neck. She smelt heavenly and I pressed closer. Her delicate figure felt warm and delicious and I had to control myself.
I took another deep breath and took a step back. She looked at me with passion-filled eyes and that didn’t help me even a bit.
“Cinderella, wear a jacket or something immediately if you don’t want me to drag you to the bedroom,” I said, but she looked frozen in her spot. “And wait for me in the hall; don’t ever try to cook anything for me again.”
“I will clean the mess then-”
“Wait for me in the chair now, don’t do anything,” I said sternly. “You can help me when I am back.”
She nodded and walked back to the hall.
“I was just making scrambled eggs; it’s supposed to be the easiest breakfast, according to Nisha.”
“Nisha knew you were coming here alone? What happened? She used to be overprotective.”
“She thinks that I have succeeded to bewitch you,” she giggled. “She thinks I can control you and that you are under my spell.”
Maybe Nisha is right. Since I decided to accept Cinderella, she has been growing on me, to the point that I am starting to do silly, illogical things.
...Like getting into a physical fight at the most important time of my life and worse, not regretting it at all...
I shook my head and walked inside. I freshened up and changed.
I walked back to the hall. Cinderella was already wearing her Kaftan top. Her right-hand side was fully covered by the cloth and the left hand was sleeveless.
“What about your Mama? She let you outside so early?” I asked her as I walked into the kitchen.
“Uncle Jose dropped me in the college and I took an auto here, besides, Mama is not home,” Cinderella looked worried suddenly. “I thought she might be waiting to scold me, but it looks like Mama needs time.” She followed me and started to help me.
“I am sorry; you have to go through-”
“It’s not your fault, Michael, I started to chase you first,” she said. “And Mama should realize that I wouldn’t back down from this matter.”
“You look determined,” I gave her a small smile.
“I am. I thought about it yesterday. You were right, Michael, the sooner we address the problem, the faster we could solve it.” She said. “I don’t want to drag time unnecessarily by hiding our relationship. And if something like yesterday happens again, I will protect you.”
I smiled at her cuteness.
“I am serious Michael. I realised that there’s no use crying and begging if I need to protect you, I need a plan for that.”
“So you have one now?” I asked her.
“Um...It’s kind of in the development phase, but I swear, Michael, I will protect you no matter what!” She said firmly and I smiled.
“I know,” I said as I transferred the omelette to a plate. “Come on, let’s have breakfast.”
We sat on opposite sides, looking at each other.
“How did I reach home yesterday?” I asked her as I spread the peanut butter on a slice of bread.
Ella started to chuckle.
“What’s so funny?” I rose up my eyebrows.
“I have finally found out something you are very bad at,” she giggled. “A couple of glasses and you were drunk! Julian and I had to drag you here.”
“What! That’s not right!”
“It is! Julian even said he is not going to ask you out for drinking ever again!”
“Um...I thought you were drunk before me.”
“I was intoxicated, but I didn’t pass out completely as you did!” she giggled again.
“I am sure that I can hold my drink if I want to,” Michael tried to brush it off and I smiled at his discomfort.
“I am sure of that,” I nodded, hiding my smile.
Michael gave me a look and I burst out laughing, unable to control it.
“Don’t worry, Michael, I promise you that I will protect you if you ever decide to drink again-” I stopped as Michael leaned over and stuffed a piece of bread inside my mouth.
“Let’s meet at the library after your class,” Michael told me as I climbed down from his bike.
Of course, how can I forget our “study date”.
I nodded and waved as he moved to the other side of campus.
Alex and Vipin catch up with me on either side.
“So how is your dating life?” Alex asked me without any preamble.
“Hey, she is blushing!” Vipin said and I placed my palms on both of my cheeks and looked at him through the fingers.
“I am not!” I said. “I will see you guys-”
“Not before you treat us generously,” Both of them guided me directly to the canteen and I sighed.
Soon Shreya and Gokul joined us.
“Hey, It’s 10, I need to go to the class,” I looked at my watch.
“Chill, the tech-fest students are excused for the week. We don’t have to attend any classes.” Shreya said.
“Wait! How come I didn’t hear about this? Did I miss it in the group chat?” I pulled out my phone and Alex chuckled.
“It was not on the group chat because the circular was put on the notice board, Ella,” he said. “Obviously, you were too engrossed in other things,” he winked.
“I was wondering if I should ask you or not, Ella,” Shreya looked at me. “How in the world did you do that!? We are talking about Senior Michael here!”
Everyone laughed at her exclamation, but they did turn to me for an answer.
“Um...100 per cent sincerity, love and dedication?” I said slowly and all of them started to make choking sounds.
“I never thought Senior Michael would date anyone,” Gokul shook his head as if Michael had done something unacceptable and I gave him a look, making Alex and Vipin chuckle.
I had to pay for the entire team before they walked to the library.
I took out my phone to text Michael as I walked to the library.
“I see that you are very happy.”
I didn’t even have to look up to know who it was.
“How can you be so selfish like this? You made Michael get involved in a fight,” Angela said. “I even warned him the last time, but obviously, he doesn’t seem to mind about the problems you would bring him.”
“What my boyfriend would do for me is none of your business, Angela.”
“Your Mama won’t leave him,” she said and I stilled. “You know it better than anyone, you will only bring trouble to him.”
“I will protect him,” I told her firmly and she scoffed.
“The innocent, naive and helpless princess cannot help anyone, you will always follow and obey your mama.”
“As I said, just mind your own damn business, Angela.” I intentionally shoved her out of the way as I proceeded to move forward. Then turned around at a fuming Angela and gave her my best fake smile.
She scowled at me and I turned around and continued on my way.
My phone vibrated and I opened the message from Michael.
“Okay, I will be there once I finish talking with Professor Abraham.”
I was happy that Michael would join me soon in the library. I walked to Alex and Vipin’s table once I was inside.
Angela was completely forgotten from my mind.
I opened the file and looked at the contract.
Salena Adams kept her word, she just sent me the complete contract with her signature placed on it.
“What do you think?” Sara, her PA looked at me. She has been waiting for me when I went through the papers.
“It’s pretty good. She made everything favourable to me, I cannot complain,” I looked at her from the hospital bed.
The Doctor had asked me to go home, but I decided to stay and act like a real victim, now that things are starting to turn into my favour.
“I suggest you go through the terms and conditions,” Sara told me. “You should carefully read it before placing the signature.”
My eyes nearly popped out at the contract termination fee. I guess Salena Adams does not want me to go back on my word, she has practically set me a trap with this.
“If you sign the contract and go back on your word, Madam will see that your company will be destroyed-”
“Don’t worry, I really don’t have any other way to save my company,” I said as I signed the paper.
Sara walked away with the papers and I slumped back to the pillow.
I know Salena Adams well. She didn’t even look at the people beneath her. She was haughty, confident and didn’t bother about others.
So she must be desperate to come here directly to meet me. I know that she would not hesitate to kill me if she ever comes to know about what I have done to her daughter, but I also have the confidence that she would not know about it.
Because I know Michael as well. I am sure that he would not bring Ella any trouble. The guy had gone crazy about her.
He was someone who never got involved in other people’s matters, but I can see that Ella is very different.
For a perfect guy like him to snap and to come after me publicly meant he had no intention of exposing what I had done. Both of us knew that Ella would be judged and destroyed if those photos ever become public.
Knowing Michael, he would have destroyed all the photos and evidence so as not to implicate Ella. He could have filed a complaint against me as he did to Rijo, but he didn’t do that because he wants to protect her. He didn’t want to drag her to this dirty game.
Besides, Salena Adams would never listen to him or give him a chance to talk. And even if he does, I am sure that she wouldn’t believe him.
It’s fine with me. Now that Salena Adams offered me her support, I can take him down easily.
The guy had the audacity to threaten me. A worthless guy like him kicked me outside the campus, but now I want to see what he is going to do about this.
And about my revenge to Salena Adams, she cannot ever break this contract with me.
I looked at my copy of the contract again. The termination fee is a big chunk and she is as trapped in this deal as me.
“So coding is-” I stopped as I felt her head touching my shoulder.
I turned to her slightly.
She has dozed off in the middle of our study session. Both of us were sitting side by side on the floor of the balcony outside the library.
Her body leaned to me while her head rested on my shoulder. The smell of her body mixed with her perfume invaded my senses.
“How can you sleep in a situation like this, Cinderella...” I muttered and placed my laptop to the side. I corrected her posture so that she was more comfortable.
I looked at her sleeping face that was so close to me.
I moved slightly and pressed my lips on her forehead and stayed like that for a moment. The soft breeze caressed us and I closed my eyes and enjoyed the moment.
My heart started to pound and my body started to respond instantly and I moved back.
It seems that I would need good control to be alone with her. I have promised her Mama that I would protect her, so I don’t want to take advantage of her.
I took my laptop and went back to work.
I jerked awake as my phone started to ring.
The phone got disconnected and I looked at Michael.
“Err...so you were telling me about the coding?”
He smiled as he typed away on his laptop.
“I didn’t know that my topic was so boring.”
“It made you sleep for an hour.”
I looked at my watch.
What the heck! He is right.
I felt embarrassed as I looked at him.
“Sorry...I didn’t mean to...um...I didn’t sleep...yesterday, I was thinking of a way to protect you from Mama, the whole night,” I muttered and slowly turned to him. I blinked as I realised that we were too close as he was looking at me.
I cleared my throat, trying to ignore the butterflies in my stomach. “Err...Why didn’t you wake-” it came out as a whisper as he moved closer and captured my lips.
Everything disappeared from my mind instantly as I felt his lips moving against me. His kiss was slow and passionate, so I was left disoriented as he moved back.
“Don’t want to lose the focus at this time,” he muttered.
“I won’t,” I pouted. “I will work hard this time.”
“I am talking about me, Cinderella, I have never been distracted from my works before.”
My heart leapt at his words. I bit my lips, trying not to smile like an idiot.
“Will you stop doing it?” His breath fanned across my face as we were still close.
“What-” I stopped as I realised that he is looking at my lips. My face heated up.
“Let me focus, okay?” He turned back to his laptop.
“Um...But why didn’t you wake me up?”
“You looked tired,” Michael said as he started to type. “And you wanted to stop after this semester.”
“But I want to do better. I want to work hard like everyone on the team.” I said. “I don’t know what I should do after quitting college,” I admitted.
“I have done some researches about good Violin classes, I will send it to you.”
“You did!?” I am impressed now.
“I wanted to find a place where I can work closer to your academy,” he said simply and I was stunned.
The fact that Michael had me in his future plan just overwhelmed me. I am touched that he is actually very thoughtful.
Michael turned towards me as my voice trembled. He looked into my eyes, looking concerned.
“What’s wrong?” He asked me.
I wiped my eyes and looked into his eyes, “I...love you.”
He gazed at me for a moment and a small smile appeared on his face.
He wiped the tear that flow down my cheek and looked at me.
“I love you too, princess.”
We were brought back to the present when my phone started to ring again.
I pulled it out and my eyes widened. I turned to Michael and pressed my index finger against my lips.
“Shh...It’s Mama,” I showed him the phone and he nodded.
“Is your classes over, Ella?” She asked me as soon as I attended.
“I have the project meeting after-”
“Uncle Jose will be waiting for you at 2 o’clock, come home directly.”
And with that, she disconnected the call.
I looked at the phone for a moment. Then I turned to Michael who looked thoughtful.
“Mama wants to talk to me,” I said and he nodded.
“Don’t defend me too much, try not to argue with her.”
“I wish Mama could give us a chance, Michael, I know that she would like you.”
“Sit, Ella,” Mama told me as soon as I see her in the study.
I sit in front of her. She looked at me seriously.
“I have arranged everything for you to go abroad, the formalities will be over within a week-”
“Mama, I don’t want to go anywhere,” I said slowly. “You are here alone, why should I go away?”
Her eyes narrowed at that.
“Are you really worried about me? Or are you thinking of someone else?”
I took a deep breath and clutched both of my hand tightly in my lap.
“The two people I love the most are here in India, I cannot go anywhere else.”
“Ella! You are even starting to talk back to me now?”
“It’s not my intention, Mama,”
She moved back, leaning against the chair.
“I see that you will only learn it in a hard way, Ella,” her voice was harsh.
“Please don’t hurt him...he is really a great guy, Mama, you will like him-”
“I will give you a few days before I take matters to my hands, Ella, decide very carefully.”
“Mama,” I looked into her eyes. “I love Michael, whatever happens, I won’t give up on him. If something happens to him, I will blame myself, and I will go to any extend to protect him,” I said.
Mama stared at me. She didn’t say anything but I could see that she is really angry at me.
I tried not to flinch away. I need to show her that I am indeed serious this time.
The Tech-fest Day
“So are you ready?” Michael looked at us from the podium in the lecture hall.
Everyone nodded. He walked down towards us.
“Then let’s win this tech-fest!” he stretched out his hand and everyone placed their hands on top of it.
“Let’s win the tech-fest!” Everyone chanted and I felt Goosebumps. It’s the first time I am part of a group and I am really touched at this group spirit.
“Okay guys, it’s 9:30 AM, we still have half an hour, but let’s meet at the auditorium in 10 minutes and get familiar with the surroundings, the students from the other colleges would be reaching directly there as well,” Michael said and everyone nodded.
Soon everyone started to walk outside.
I turned to Michael.
“You are not nervous at all?” I looked at him.
“It’s an important competition.”
“It’s not my first time,” he said and I nodded. “And I have never lost the competition any year.”
“Um...you are the legendary unbeatable Michael,” I said and he chuckled at my words.
“Come on, let’s grab something to eat and go to the auditorium directly,” he said and opened the door and I followed him.
We were on our way to the canteen while two middle-aged men stopped in front of us.
“I am afraid that you would have to come with us,” the first man said.
“What is this about?”
“We are the police officers from the city station. We got a complaint registered against you for assault,” the second guy said. “We didn’t want to cause a scene on the campus, so we didn’t wear any uniform.”
“Let’s go quietly,” the first guy said.
My heart started to go overdrive. I turned to look at Michael.
“May I see your ID?” he asked them and the officers looked at each other before taking out their ID card.
“I suppose this cannot be postponed?” Michael asked them again.
“No, let’s go now.”
“But we have an important competition-” I started.
“I will come with you,” Michael said with determination. “But give me two minutes.”
And without even waiting for them to answer, Michael dragged me back to the lecture hall and closed the door behind us.
“What...what’s happening?” I looked at him. My insides were twisting unpleasantly. I feel like there’s a storm coming.
“Tell the group to proceed according to the plan,” he told me and my heartbeat started to accelerate again. I panicked.
“Ask Alex to take over my place, he can lead the team well as he is experienced.”
“Michael!” I am alarmed now. “What about you-”
“Of course, I will come back,” he said and looked into my eyes. “But we should be prepared for the worst scenario, especially you, Cinderella, I want you to be strong.”
“What...what do you mean?” My voice trembled as I looked at him. “Is this...because...of me?”
My vision blurred.
“Cinderella, you said you would protect me, now is the time, be strong, don’t give up.” He said and hugged me tightly. “And don’t ever blame yourself, it’s not because of you,” he whispered in my ears and I blinked back my tears.
He let go of me and took a step back.
“Remember my words, you shouldn’t give up on us, trust me, I will solve this matter.” he started to move back from me.
“Is...Is it Ma...ma?” I tried my best to keep myself from crying.
The door opened and the officers came inside.
“It’s time to go,” the first guy said and I wiped my eyes and looked at him. Michael gave me a look before turning away and walking out with the officers.
I held on to the wall for support.
Is it Mama?
And my question was answered instantly as my phone started to ring.
I looked at the screen.
I had never been so afraid to answer a call ever in my life, but this time, my insides trembled and my eyes filled and flow down.
I swiped it open.
“Let’s make a deal, Ella.”
“Was...was it you?” My voice trembled. “Please...please tell...me that it’s...it’s not you...”
“This is the last chance I am giving you to make a decision. Do you still want me to continue?”
My heartfelt like it has been crushed. I clutched my chest and tried to control the sobs that were threatening to come out.
“I know how important this competition is for Michael. I know how excellent of a student he is, do you really want him to end up in jail like this?”
“Let...let him go...” I said. “He...worked...hard to...”
“If you insist on staying with him, He won’t come out of the custody, nobody can help him.”
Tears started to flow down and I slide down to the floor.
“I will give you five more minutes, Ella, If you want him to be there for the presentation, you should obey me and go away from India.” She said. “You know that you really don’t have a way out of this, Ella, so decide well.” She disconnected the call.
Q: What do you think Ella would do?