Someone Somewhere Is Made For You

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#33 She is making me worried

Michael.

“Cinderella...” I said softly. “I know that you are going through a difficult time, but please listen to me,” I was standing outside the bathroom that she locked herself in. “I promise, nothing will happen to the team, I will take care of this issue.”

“It’s not your fault, if we really have to blame someone for what happened, it should be me. I was the one who wanted to meet your Mama, so everything happened because of me.”

There was no response from the other side.

“Cinderella, don’t...don’t suffer alone like this, I...I really want to be with you. Please give me a chance to be with you,” I said slowly.

No response.

“Cinderella, I love you,” I took a deep breath. “Please open the door-”

“Senior Michael...”

I turned around to see Nisha at the door.

“Nisha,” Relief flooded me.

“What are you doing inside the girl’s bathroom?” She asked me as she walked inside.

“Cinderella locked herself inside, and it’s the class time so nobody is here,” I said.

“You really think so?” She asked me.

“What?”

“Nothing, you can wait outside, let me convince, Ella.”

“But-”

“Trust me, Ella is my best friend, I will bring her out, please let me talk to her first.”

I took a deep breath and nodded.

“Okay, then I will be outside,” I walked out of there.

As soon as I reached the door, I stilled. Now I understand what Nisha meant, there were at least half a dozen girls whispering outside.

“Um...I am sorry for the inconvenience,” I mumbled and walked away.

Ella.

“He is gone, Ella, you can open now,” Nisha knocked on the door twice and I stretched out my hand and opened the bolt.

I was sitting on the toilet lid, hugging my knees tightly and trying to control my tears.

Nisha opened the door fully.

“Whoa! Look at you girl, you look like a zombie!” She exclaimed, but I didn’t move.

She took a pocket tissue and started to wipe my tears. It made me think about how Michael wiped my tears at the classroom earlier and my eyes started to fill again.

“Ella! What’s wrong?” She asked me. “Other than telling me to come here, you didn’t tell me anything in the message!”

I tried to hold back my tears but it was impossible. So I let it fall freely and started to cry.

“Shh...It’s okay, I am here, okay,” Nisha hugged me and I wrapped my hands around her.

I cried my heart out as Nisha patted me on the head.

“Did...did he hurt you?” Nisha asked me once I calmed down.

I let her go and wiped my eyes.

“Did Michael-”

“No,” I shook my head. “It...It was me...I...ruined him, I ruined everyone,” My eyes started to fill again.

“Then why did you refuse to open the door for him?”

“I...I feel so embarrassed, Nisha, I...I caused him harm, because of me...” I started to cry again.

“Hey, stop it, okay, come on, let me take you back.”

“I don’t want to go home,” I wiped my eyes again.

“But your Mama-”

"Don’t talk to me about her!” I said angrily and Nisha stopped. “I am not going home!”

“Um...then stay with me in the dorm?” She asked and I nodded.

“Thank you, Nisha.”

“Then wash your face and remove the eyeliner flowing down, it’s a good thing that you didn’t open the door for Michael or he would have been scared.”

...............

I heard hushed whispers when Nisha guided me outside. I didn’t bother to listen as I have an idea what it would be about.

As we reached the end of the corridor, Michael stepped out. I froze in my track.

“Cinderella,” he looked worried. He walked to me. “Are you okay now?”

I looked down from his eyes and nodded. I know I cannot possibly ignore him now.

“Mich...ael...” I hated it when my voice trembled. “I am...very ashamed to...face...all of you, I...I am embarrassed...please...give me some time-”

I stopped as he hugged me tightly. I heard Nisha’s gasp of a surprise but I couldn’t even react as I was shocked.

We were in a public place, in full display and Michael didn’t look like he cared about it.

“Hang in there,” he whispered. “I promise you, Cinderella, I will straighten this mess, so don’t blame yourself or don’t listen to others, please trust me on this,” he said and my eyes started to fill again.

He let go of me slowly. “Trust me, okay?” he looked into my eyes and I bit my lips and nodded.

He turned to a stunned Nisha, who was still looking at us in shock.

“Give her something warm and let her rest early,” he said and Nisha nodded her head quickly.

“Then I will see you, Cinderella.”

With that, he walked away from me.

“This...this...this guy just...hugged you in front of...others!” Nisha exclaimed.

I looked at his retreating back. I know that I would bring him more trouble if I stay with him. It looks like what Angela had said was the truth. People involved with me would get hurt because of me.

........................

Michael.

“Thanks for helping me,” I said. “I was able to leave the station because of you.”

Jeeva and I were at the workplace. I wanted to thank him personally.

Jeeva shook his head.

“It’s nothing, the chief wanted you to join our station after we cracked that credit card scam case in record time,” he said. “But it was easier to get you out because of the pressure from above.”

I took a deep breath while Jeeva looked at me as if seeing me for the first time.

“So your girlfriend is the only daughter of Salena Adams; who happens to be the chairwoman of one of the biggest IT companies in India!” he said. “How come you are in good terms with the CEO of Golden security solutions?”

“We were the same members of a cybersecurity club, we are not that close.”

“Then why the heck would he help you?”

“He lost a lot of money due to Roopak’s company, so I had prepared some files for him in advance. I knew I couldn’t trust a guy like Roopak.”

“So when you were arrested, you sent it to him, and he wanted to get you out of there as he wanted all the data on Roopak?” Jeeva asked and I nodded.

“Man! So even if Salena Adam decides to help Roopak with the legal battle, the GSS group will block it,” he gave me an incredulous look. “And you don’t have to get involved!”

“I am not bothered about it,” I looked at Jeeva. “I am worried that Cinderella would get hurt from all of this.”

Jeeva shook his head again.

“You are not worried about two giants fighting head-on? Ha, you should let me see this girlfriend of yours, Mike! I want to see what’s so different about this girl who changed you a 180 degree,” he said. “I had taken you to be the studious nerd when you were hired, but I see that I should be very nice to you,” he chuckled.

“You helped me at the most crucial time, Jeeva. I don’t have a lot of friends, but now I am seeing you as one.”

“I am honoured, Michael, I would rather be ranked in your friend’s list,” he mocked me and I smiled.

“I will get you a coffee-”

I stopped midway as my phone started to ring. I took it out in a hurry as I was waiting to hear from Cinderella.

It was Jenni.

“I will see you, Jeeva,” I looked at him and he nodded.

I attended the call and walked out of the room.

“Hello? Jenni-”

“Mike! Where are you? Don’t go to the house; our neighbour just called me. Apparently, some strange people are waiting for you there,” she sounded worried.

I guess Cinderella’s Mama is not satisfied yet.

“Its okay, Jenni, don’t worry.”

“But what if they harm you? Let me call the police-”

“They haven’t done anything yet,” I said.

“Do you know who they are?” she asked me.

“Yeah. There was a fight in the college, it must be them,” I lied after a pause.

“Then don’t go there!”

“Yeah,” I said. “I will stay with Sam today.”

“Okay, then take care, Mike,” she sounded relieved.

I disconnected the call and started to scroll through my contacts. I reached Salena Adams name and pressed the button. The call was answered instantly.

“Hello,” I said.

“Where’s my daughter!? Where did you hide her?”

I heard her angry shrill voice. I guess she had my contact just like I had hers.

“You see her as your daughter?” I couldn’t help but ask her bitterly. “What you did to her today-”

“You tell me where she is or I am going to destroy your place, I will burn the whole place down!”

This woman hasn’t realised what she is doing yet. She is hurting her daughter again and again!

“Go ahead and destroy it if you are sure that you won’t regret it later. I want to remind you that whatever you do now, you are going to hurt Cinderella more than me,” I said. “You broke her heart today, she was insulted and humiliated in front of the people she considered as friends,” I said. “It would have been better if you had hurt her physically-”

“Everything is because of you; I am going to get you for this. Don’t ever think that I can’t touch you just because you are close with the CEO of Golden solutions!”

“If you want to get me, do it directly, don’t drag Cinderella to this mess and hurt her as you did today,” I said firmly. “Did you ever think of why she didn’t tell you where she is?”

“You hide her from me!”

“I didn’t! She is not with me,” I said firmly. “She hides from you!” I raised my voice slightly and a few people on the sidewalk turned to me. I turned around with the phone. “She told me that you are her only family member, now she’s hurt by the person she loves the most!”

There was a moment’s silence at the other end.

“I love my daughter, what I am doing is for her sake.”

“Then you have a very weird way of showing your love. She worked hard and suffered a lot to be included in the team. She treasures people and she was happy when everyone accepted her, but you pushed her to be an outcast today, you ruined everything she worked for the last 6 months and you made her run away and hide from the world!”

There was silence at the other end.

“I have a request for you. I don’t care that today’s competition was fixed. There is no use talking about it now. But I am trying to arrange another competition to make up for this one. If you truly want Cinderella to not feel guilty or burdened the rest of her life, Please do not ruin it,” I said. “If you ruin it, she won’t be the same person anymore.”

Salena Adams was still silent at the other end. I know that it’s a matter of time before she finds out where Cinderella is.

“Cinderella is staying at the dorms with her friend. Let her stay there and get better, don’t force her against her will, she might really break.”

I disconnected the call with that.

I am really anxious about what’s going on. Cinderella’s phone is switched off. I had to call Nisha to get her. Even then, she did not talk to me properly. Apart from saying “yes” or “no” she was silent the whole time.

She is avoiding me and now I am worried.

I remember what she said in front of everyone; that she is going to quit right away.

I hope she won’t plan to take the blame and disappear. I hope she would be brave and stay with me.

I walked to my bike.

.............

When I reached home, everything was normal. There was no one waiting for me.

I heard a car pulling to the driveway as I opened the main door. I turned around.

“Sam!”

“Jenni called me,” he explained as he walked to me. “How can you come here directly when she told you not to!?” He looked angry. “Especially after what happened today at college.”

“It was nothing,” I said and Sam followed me inside the house.

“How can it be nothing!? Selena Adams wants to harm you, you should be careful!”

“She can’t harm me that easily, Sam,” I said. “After all, we share something common,” I said as I placed the laptop on my table and turned to him.

“What the heck do you have in common with that crazy lady?”

“Cinderella,” I looked at him. “Both of us love her.”

And it is exactly because of that I wanted her to accept our relationship. Because I know Cinderella would want this.

Sam shook his head.

“This whole situation is totally crazy. I really can’t accept it. Roopak morphed the pictures and you kicked him out of the college, then her Mama thought you kicked him out because he was spying on you and offered her support to him. Roopak sued you with her help, but you came out of this scratch-free because you pulled some strings!”

Yes, he came to know the whole situation about the morphed photos today. I had to tell him as he demanded to know what’s going on.

“Keep it to yourself,” I said. “You know how people will react if it gets out.”

“You are doing everything to protect her! And her Mama is siding with the guy who actually harmed her!”

“She doesn’t know the whole situation; she thinks she’s helping Cinderella to get out of a toxic relationship with me.”

“Then tell her! Let’s talk to her Mama about this Roopak.”

“Do you think Salena Adams will hear me out and believe my story?” I looked at him.

Sam looked frustrated.

“Then why did you hide it from the rest of us? If anything, Cinderella should know about this.”

“First of all, I didn’t hide it intentionally. I had thought the matter to be over when I deleted all of that data and kicked him out of the college.” I said. “I didn’t want to cause Cinderella unnecessary worry as she was already tensed about her Mama finding of us.”

“But now you can-”

“Today is not the time, Sam,” I said. “She is really upset about what happened today, I cannot give her anymore shock.”

“Ella is a strong and optimistic person. I know her well,” Sam said. “Don’t worry; she will bounce back in no time.”

I sighed and slumped to the sofa.

“You don’t understand...” I said slowly. “Yes, what you said is right, no matter what happened in her life, she always looked at the positive side of things and recovered quickly. I have seen her getting hurt again and again, but each time she picked herself up and faced it bravely,” I looked at him. “But what happened today is different. Cinderella can face any hardships and pain, but she cannot tolerate it when the other people get hurt because of her,” I said. “Her Mama knows about this weakness, she chose to strike her at the weakest point. Along with feeling guilty for the others, she must be feeling betrayed. She must be in shock that her Mama used her and targeted her intentionally.”

“You...you know her well.”

“I am worried about her. Her Mama is her only family. Salena Adams always decided things for her. She even made her give up her career in music. Whatever she wanted, Cinderella obeyed her. Anyone would go crazy and rebellious in this situation, but no matter how difficult it was, Cinderella always followed everything she was told to do, because she loves her Mama,” I continued, “I might be the only thing that Cinderella fought for. She refused to break-up with me and I guess it must be a shock to her mama. It made her think that I am manipulating her daughter. She must be insecure that I would take Cinderella away from her.”

“An obsessive mother like her would do anything, Michael.”

“I would have thought of another solution if Cinderella didn’t care about her. But I know that I have to face this and get her approval for us to be happy.”

“Do you think her mama will ever give you her approval?”

“I am hoping to convince her,” I said. “Once she has calmed down, I wanted to tell her about Roopak as well.”

“Why would you choose this hard way, Michael?” Sam looked at me in wonder. “You never gave a shit about what other people thought; you had your own plans!”

“Salena Adams is not just any person, Sam. She is Cinderella’s Mama. She brought up Cinderella as a single mother and watched over her,” I looked into his eyes. “Most important of all, she didn’t...abandon her in an orphanage or anywhere else even when...when she was struggling alone...” I tried to keep my voice normal as Sam looked at me in shock. “I have huge respect for her, for not giving up on Cinderella.”

I had endured a lot when I was in the orphanage. I was beaten up and harmed physically and mentally by the families that adopted me. And they abandoned me twice, which caused me to distrust people.

I was lucky to be found by Jenni’s parents. I started to recover slowly. But it was Cinderella who opened my heart. She didn’t give up until I gave in. So I believe this is my turn to give back the love and security I received from her.

“I don’t know what to tell you anymore,” Sam sighed. “What are you planning to do next?”

“I am considering taking up your offer and coming back to the dorm,” I said.

Sam stared at me for a moment.

“Cinderella is staying with Nisha in the dorms, so you want to move closer to her?”

“It’s what I should do,” I shrugged. “I don’t want her to suffer alone.”

....................

Three days later

“How is she?” I asked Nisha as she met me outside her dorm.

“She stopped crying,” she said. “But senior Michael, she is not in a very good condition to meet or talk to anyone.”

Even though I felt pain, I nodded.

“Let her recover, this is for her.” I gave Nisha the casserole and she sighed.

“Senior Michael-”

“Call me Michael,” I said. “You are Cinderella’s best friend.”

“Okay, um...Michael, I told you, you don’t have to spend a lot of time to cook for her, she is not even having her food properly, so please don’t go to so much trouble-”

“It’s no trouble at all, please see that she eats,” I said firmly. “All I want is for her to recover first. I want to let her know that I am here for her, this is the only way I can help her now.”

Nisha took a deep breath and nodded.

“Okay,” she said. “I will make sure that she eats this.”

“I have moved back to the dorm; call me if you need anything. I will be nearby.”

“Yeah, Sam told me everything,” Nisha nodded again. “I will see you tomorrow,” she nodded and turned around.

“Wait,” I said rather hesitantly and Nisha looked at me, waiting for me to say something.

I pulled the small gift box out of my pocket and Nisha looked at it.

“I...I just want to...cheer her up,” I said and Nisha took it from me.

“Um...this is...my first time,” I said slowly and Nisha raised her eyebrows. “I mean, dating someone, loving someone...I don’t know if...if I am doing it right,” I looked at her. “But please help me convey the message, let her know about my sincerity,” I said.

“I believe she can feel it, Senio...um...Michael,” Nisha said, her face softening, “but I will definitely put in some good words for you.”

“Thank you.” I nodded and walked back with a heavy heart.

I hope Cinderella would talk to me tomorrow.

Ella.

I watched as he walked away from the building. My heart felt heavy and my eyes filled.

He had been sending me dinner every day and Nisha told me that he met her and Sam every morning at the bougainvillaea canteen to enquire about me.

All I wanted was to run downstairs and hug him tightly, but I know that once I do that, I cannot take it back.

I had been staying at Nisha’s room 24/7 for the last three days. Her roommate moved to one of the empty rooms and I am grateful for that as I didn’t want anyone to see me moping around.

I heard footsteps from outside and moved back to my bed before Nisha opened the door to come inside.

....................

Day 7

Michael.

Cinderella didn’t contact me for a week and I am nearly out of my mind.

I moved back to my dorm room with Sam to be closer to her but it seems that Cinderella is not even going out of the room.

I went to the police station to give my statement and settled the situation for now. Since the FIR is already filed, they would need to investigate before any further actions are taken.

Our “love story” spread around the campus like wildfire after the way the project ended. Cinderella and I seemed to be the famous couple not only in the CSE department but also across the others.

Abraham sir promised to keep things to himself as he didn’t want to worry Jenni and Andrew.

I had already made him contact few of other professors to talk about arranging the competition once again.

It seems that all the colleges should come together and write a letter to the vice-chancellor of the university explaining everything that happened.

The slightly calmed down Project group members, except Angela and Meera, asked me about Cinderella as they felt uneasy and slightly guilty for what happened.

Alex and Vipin sounded worried as they couldn’t get hold of her. They wanted Cinderella to come back to college.

I met Nisha at the bougainvillaea canteen every day and prepared her dinner every evening.

I was disappointed as I walked back on the seventh day. I don’t know how long I would have to wait for her to be okay.

As I walked into the room, Sam was getting ready. He had even prepared my suit to go out with him.

“Hurry up, my client is waiting,” Sam was literally forcing me to go out with him. Apparently one of his business associates wants me to make his software and I am in no mood to do it.

I changed to the suit and got ready reluctantly.

“Come on! Let’s hurry!” Sam shouted.

“I don’t usually take any works at the end of the semester,” I said

“He is a big cheese! You will regret it if you don’t come.”

I was in no mood to drive 2 hrs away from the city to meet the client, but I guess I have no choice since Sam has already made an appointment.

I also wanted to keep myself busy or I knew that I would go crazy.

.........................

It was not until we were near the resort; I started to notice the place.

“This...this is a resort,” I turned to look at Sam. “What’s going on?”

The road we were taking was very narrow and through the woods. It was one of the rest houses of Navy people.

Sam smiled sheepishly.

“Andrew and Jenni wanted to surprise you; they wanted me to take you here.”

“What’s that supposed to mean? Did they know about what happened?”

Sam nodded.

“I didn’t plan to tell them, but you know Jenni, she sensed something is wrong and called me, I think she tried to contact Ella too, so...” He dragged off.

“You should’ve told me, Sam, What am I supposed to do here in the resort?”

“They wanted you to take a couple of days off and relax your mind,” Sam said.

I sighed.

Jenni is too meddlesome.

“I cannot stay here, Cinderella is at the dorms and I want to take care of-”

“You should learn to appreciate what people are doing for you, Mike,” Sam looked at me. “Jenni was worried about you.”

I sighed again.

It was dark by the time the car finally reached the gate of the resort and we drive inside.

“Wait in the car, let me get the lights on,” Sam opened the door and got out while I took my phone out.

I dialled Jenni.

She answered on the first ring.

“Hello?”

“Jenni, Sam brought me to the resort house,” I said. “I appreciate what you did for me, but you should have told me before arranging something like this.”

“You never told me anything when you went through all that trouble, Mike, I am really angry at you,” Jenni said. “But we will talk about it another day. I don’t want to quarrel with you on this day.”

“I didn’t want to worry you-” I stopped as all the lights were on and I looked at the scene in front of me in surprise.

The stone path that led to the house and the pebbled way through the middle of the lawn were illuminated by golden light on either side.

“What the-”

“All the best brother, I will call you later,” Jenni disconnected the call and I stepped out of the car.

I was surprised as I looked around. I started to walk along the pebbled path that leads to the lawn and I froze as I saw Cinderella waiting for me under the arch of white flowers.

She was wearing a beautiful red dress that was showing off her delicate figure and she looked gorgeous with light makeup and beautifully arranged hair.

I took the few steps that were separating us and stopped in front of her, gazing at her.

My heart was pounding crazily as I watched her slightly filled eyes.

It had been seven days since I saw her and I really wanted to take her in my hands.

“Cinderella...” I looked at her.

“Michael...” she looked nervous as she looked into my eyes.”I love you, I have loved you since the first time I saw you,” she took a deep breath. “I...I know that I have brought you so many troubles, I know that, but I...don’t want to...give up on us.”

She lifted up her hands to me and I saw a jewel box. “Mich...Michael, I might be selfish to do this, but...I...want to...spend my life with you, I want to grow old with you, I...want to be with you forever,” she took another deep breath. “Would...you marry me?” she stopped. Her hands still holding the ring to me. She was looking at me anxiously.

I stared at her. I can’t explain how relieved I am feeling right now.

I had thought that she would try to break up with me. I was thinking of ways to convince her, to make her stay with me.

My hopes were getting crushed every time she refused to meet me or talk to me. I had thought that she had decided to give up on us because of her mama.

“I...I understand if you...want to...think it over, I won’t get angry, I just...want to be with you and I wanted to protect you, so I-” she stopped as I pulled her to me. She couldn’t complete her sentence as I kissed her.

I kissed her deeply and passionately, holding her against my heart. My hand reached around and touched the nape of her neck to hold her in place while I deepened the kiss.

I could hear shouting around us. Snow sprays and party poppers going off and both of us were covered in glittering stars.

I held her back and looked into her dazed eyes.

“I love you too, Cinderella,” I said and she hugged me with a cry. I wrapped my hands around her and closed my eyes for a moment.

The feel of her body soothed me and calmed me down. I feel like I have just obtained something precious that I was searching for a long time.

Sam, Nisha and Julian were still cheering as we moved back.

I kissed her forehead and turned to others.

“Thank you guys,” I said. “But Cinderella, I should be the one preparing all of this for you,” I looked at her smiling face.

“The ring...” They cheered and Cinderella showed me the jewel box with the ring again.

I looked at it in wonder. There were two rings inside. One was the platinum ring I gifted her a few days back to cheer her up and another was a guy’s ring that looked matching to the ring I bought her.

So all of them worked together to trick me!

I took a deep breath and tried to be calm as I took out her ring from the box.

My heart trembled as Cinderella held out her hand to me. She looked happy and her eyes were warm and full of love.

I slipped it on her finger.

Nisha was clicking our pictures while Julian and Sam cheered.

I gazed at her as she put the ring on my finger, her hands trembling and her eyes were filled with tears.

Once we exchanged the ring, both of us hugged each other again without any words.

I was too overwhelmed to say anything as a whirlwind of emotions hit me.

She’s no more my girlfriend, she’s my fiancée now; my wife to be!

—————————————

Q: Do you think Ella is selfish to do this?

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