Someone Somewhere Is Made For You

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#36 He puts me on the spot

Roopak.

“Hello?” I attended the call groggily. I was still half asleep.

“Did you offend Salena Adams?” Dad’s angry voice made me open my eyes.

“What?” I asked through the phone.

“Did you offend Salena Adams?” he shrieked this time. “You ungrateful, good for nothing fool, Do you know what you have done? I am going to lose everything because of you!”

I was dumbfounded. I had no idea what was going on.

“Dad, I was just helping the company, Salena Adams agreed to help us out of our difficult situation-”

“You moron! You just ruined everything! The company’s financial situation is leaked out to the public! All the investors are calling me to withdraw their money. GS Group is suing us for fraud and on top of that, Salena Adams just sent me a legal notice asking compensation for plagiarising her technology!”

I was fully awake now.

What the heck is going on!?

“Let me contact-”

“You listen to me well, boy,” Dad said in a final tone. “I am moving out of India before I get arrested. You should take your mom and hide in our country house until I find a way to get you out of India. I forbid you to come out publicly or do anything that might put the family’s life at risk.”

With that, he disconnected the call. I sat there, feeling numb.

Adams technology and Golden security group are rivals! Why are they attacking us together!?

The door opened and my right-hand man rushed inside.

“Sir there is breaking news going on, they targeted us intentionally-”

“Get me the contract I signed with Salena Adams!” I looked at him. I grabbed my phone as soon as he was out.

My phone started to ring even before I dialled her.

“Salena Adams,” I gritted my teeth and attended the call. “Why?”

“Did you really think you can get away with what you did?” She asked back. “How dare you!”

It was obvious from her tone what she was talking about.

Michael gave me away!

“I am innocent! Michael is slandering me!”

“Really?” She sounded eerily calm. “Do you think you can deceive me?”

“So you choose to believe that homeless beggar over me!?”

“Should I believe a criminal like you over a guy with a clean record? I have Rijo’s statement on what you did and all other details on your drug cases; you are never going to get away.”

Michael! Bloody bastard! I am going to get you for this!

I knew I couldn’t hide from Salena for long, but I was waiting for my company to be stable first.

“Salena Adams, I still have the contract you signed with me, you will lose a couple of millions if I sue you!”

“Then sue me,” she said simply. “I would like to see who would win this lawsuit, that is if you could afford to go against me at all,” her voice dripped off arrogance and I fisted my palm.

“I won’t let go of this matter!”

“Don’t get so worked up, Roopak, I am just starting with you,” Salena’s voice reached me again. “I guess your father must be trying to flee the country, I promise you that he wouldn’t get away. I will have him arrested within 24 hours,” she said. “And if you think you can evade the investigation and go into hiding, I will stop you. I will drag you to the jail with the evidence I have, I will make sure that all your properties are sealed and that your cash flow is cut off.” She continued, “I am going to finish you here.”

“If you touch my family, I am going to touch yours,” I said in a whisper. “I will destroy the most precious thing to you; I will kill your daughter!”

“A toothless tiger like you won’t even get to see her shadow, Roopak.” She said. “Worry about saving yourself when you still have the time.”

She disconnected the call.

I was seething with anger. I was just insulted and stomped upon by her.

I won’t let go of this. I will destroy both of them- Michael; who caused all of this, and Ella; the most precious person to both of my enemies; Michael and Salena.

I will make sure they regret this forever.

Michael.

“Why did you ask us to assemble here?” Shreya asked me as I entered the seminar hall.

“I have good news,” I smiled and held up a paper. “Our tech-fest is rescheduled,” I said. “It’s going to be within a week, just before the semester exams.”

The room erupted with loud cheers and claps.

“That was fast!” Gokul looked excited. “Will it be like the first time? Angela and I will present with you?”

I nodded.

“If the rules are the same, we will do that. But you have seen what happened the last time, so I suggest everyone be prepared.”

“But you spoke up for us then,” one of the guys said.

“I did that because I was sure that the competition was fixed. But if it was a fair competition and the judges decided to change the people for presentation, we cannot do anything about it,” I looked around and everyone nodded.

“What about Ella?” Vipin asked. “She left the Whatsapp group and we couldn’t contact her,” he said.

“Who wanted her to be back again?” Angela scoffed. “I believe everyone learnt their lesson from the last time.”

I took a sheet of paper and turned it around to the class. “This is the members listed for the program and Cinderella is part of our team.” I looked at them. “I suggest you all convince her if you don’t want to get penalty points.”

“What bad luck!” Meera said.

Her words reminded me of what Cinderella told me about her being bad luck and got me angry instantly.

“I think bullying her the last time was enough,” Alex turned to her sharply. “Ella must be really hurt or she would never stop her classes abruptly like this. Everyone in this room is responsible for what happened that day.”

“You talk as if it was us who asked her to stop,” Angela said. ”she was the one who said that.”

“And we were the ones who pushed her,” Shreya said. “I felt bad about it afterwards. It’s true that she too was a victim, if anything, she suffered more because they targeted her and asked her to present the topic.”

Everyone nodded.

“We were...um...a bit rude to her,” Gokul said. “I too don’t want her to discontinue like this.”

“Great!” Angela muttered. “Why is it that every time she makes trouble, people always forget it and take her side?”

“True and she finally ends up as the victim,” Meera added.

“Do you know why our request for another competition was processed quickly?” I turned to the class. “The judge who fixed the competition wrote a letter to the Vice-chancellor admitting his mistake. He’s debarred for three years. If he hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have another chance to conduct this for the investigation and administrative works would be longer then,” I said. “And this happened because Cinderella convinced her mama.” I looked at Angela and Meera.

“From now on, I suggest that everyone stop this blame game,” I looked at the class. “You know it’s not fair.”

Everyone nodded except Angela and Meera, but they didn’t deny it either.

“Well, I think the best person who could convince Ella would be you, Senior Michael,” Alex looked at me with a smile.

“I have tried my best, but she’s concerned about the promise she made to you guys, so it’s your duty now,” I said.

“Then help us meet her,” Vipin said. “I never saw her in the college or morning classes,” he said. “And she didn’t reply to any of our texts.”

“I will think about it,” I nodded. “That’s all for today, you can leave.”

Everyone started to move out.

“Angela,” I said and she turned around. “I want to have a word,” I said and she stayed back.

When everyone was outside, I walked to her side.

“This must be about Ella,” she said.

“This is about the two of you,” I corrected her. “I understand that you two don’t have a good relationship. I don’t want to interfere or I cannot ask you to stop fighting, but I want you to carefully consider your words,” I looked at her seriously. “Be it Cinderella or anyone else, nobody deserves to go through abusive words. Fighting each other is one thing, but using abusive words that might hurt someone mentally is totally another thing.”

“She must have come running to you, complaining about me,” Angela scoffed.

“You know her better than that, Angela, Cinderella never complained to me about you,” I said. “Nisha once told me about what happened during your high school and how your friendship was ruined,” I looked at her shocked face. “And Cinderella is now starting to get influenced by your words; she has started to believe that she might bring bad luck to the people close to her.”

“Well, because of her mama-”

“You must remember Cinderella and her mama are two different people. You said you were depressed and stressed because of what her mama did to you, but what you are doing to Cinderella is the same thing-”

“It’s not the same! I am not like her mama!” she looked insulted. “That woman tortured me mentally until I had to take some extreme steps to get back at her!” Angela said. “Do you think I wanted to frame Cinderella for stealing my work? No! But her mama pushed me to do it! She caused me to be like this!”

“You are a smart person, you know better than to blame someone for what you did, Angela,” I looked at her. “The way I see it, you are more obsessed and bothered with Cinderella than she is with you. Do you feel guilty for what you did? It’s like you wanted to assure yourself that Cinderella is a bad person, do you want to console yourself that?”

Angela looked at a loss of words and stared at me. She is obviously shocked.

“Think about it well, Angela,” I said. “When you betrayed and framed her, she was hurt, but she moved away from it, but it looks like you are still stuck there.” I looked at her. “It’s not Cinderella who is holding you there; it’s your own mind-”

“Stop...” Angela whispered. “I don’t feel guilty. Ella...she deserved what I did to her...”

“Don’t be hard on yourself, Angela. How long are you going to convince yourself that? Are you going to tell yourself that over and over again?” I looked at her. “Talk to her if you feel guilty, or forget the whole incident altogether. I don’t want to see you or Cinderella traumatised by it.” I picked up my phone from the desk. “Angela, think about what I said. If you feel there is any truth in it, set yourself free.”

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

The next morning

Ella.

I whistled as I walked out of the room and my phone started to buzz. I switched it off before even looking at it and I walked back to the room and took my inhaler from the other bag.

I was in a good mood when I descended the stairs.

“-he was stopped and arrested by the police on the way to the port, it seems he planned to escape through the waterway,” Sara was reporting to mama while she had tea.

“Now that his father is in the trap, we need to get the son too. They will try everything to get out of this, make sure they can’t slip away easily,” Mama said.

“Yeah, our team are closely monitoring the situation. I have already booked an appointment to meet the sitting MLA of the region.”

“Good.”

“Good morning, Mama,” I didn’t think much of their conversation and walked to the table. I bend down and kissed her cheek.

“Ella,” she turned to me seriously. “Why didn’t you tell me about Roopak and the videos earlier? How am I going to protect you if you start to keep things from me?”

“I didn’t know it was Roopak, mama,” I said truthfully. “The first two videos were uploaded anonymously and Michael used his connections with the cybersecurity station to know who was behind the video. Even I didn’t know this.”

“Why didn’t he tell you?”

“He said he didn’t want me to worry unnecessarily as he had already dealt with it.”

“Dealt with it?”

“Yeah, he went to meet Roopak and asked him to stop and stay away from me and apparently, Roopak agreed,”

“Then why did he attack Roopak that day?”

“When he recovered the data from Rijo’s laptop, he came to know the content of the clip and...” I dragged off.

Mama looked thoughtful.

“Michael is never violent, he always believed in solving the problems without violence,” I said quickly, afraid that she might judge him.

“Yeah, he didn’t have any previous records,” Sara, who had been listening, said to my surprise.

Mama turned to me, “Roopak’s dad is arrested. Roopak will do anything to get out of this crisis; I want you to be careful.”

For some reason, her words just reminded me of someone and made me smile.

“Ella,” Mama looked at me.

“Don’t worry mama,” I looked at her. “Michael said the same exact thing to me!” I couldn’t help but add.

Mama gave me a sour look but I just smiled.

I have thought about it and planned it well. I am going to let mama get familiar with Michael so that the coldness would disappear from the air around them...hopefully!

After breakfast, Uncle Jose was waiting for me to take me to the “college”. I haven’t told anyone that I am not attending the classes, or mama won’t allow me outside.

When I entered the restaurant across the campus, it was 9:15 am. Michael would meet me here; I have enough time to spend with him.

I was in a good mood as I go through our engagement photos that were sent by Nisha.

“One caramel macchiato,” I heard a familiar voice.

“And a chocolate doughnut,”

Alex and Vipin! What are they doing here?

I rose up the menu card in an attempt to hide my face. I hadn’t replied to their messages or talked to them after that incident. So I feel kind of awkward-

“Here, this is for you,” I heard Alex’s voice before he took the seat on my right.

“Have you developed a special ability to read the menu upside down?” Vipin took the seat on my left.

I groaned mentally and slowly put the menu card down. I see that I cannot run away as they were conveniently blocking me on either side.

“Hi...” I tried to smile pleasantly.

“Why are you not coming for the classes, Ella?” Alex asked me.

“This is for you,” Vipin said as he moved the doughnut towards me on the table. “Let’s forget about what happened at the tech-fest, it was not even your fault.”

They wanted to bribe me with this coffee and doughnut?

“Um...it’s not about the tech-fest; I was planning to drop out after this semester-”

“Here you are!” I nearly groaned as Shreya waved at me enthusiastically and walked towards me.

“How did you know-” I stopped again as other team members started to come. And before I knew it, I was surrounded by them.

Michael! You traitor! You told them I am here!?

“Ella, I am really sorry about what happened at the tech-fest,” Gokul really looked apologetic as he looked at me. “I knew it was not your fault, but I was really upset as I was supposed to present the project and all of a sudden you were arranged to have my spot.” he put a vanilla waffle on the table that already had more than half a dozen snacks.

“Ella, the tech-fest will be conducted within a week and all the members should be present,” Another guy explained. “We are counting on you this time.”

“Everyone is here?”

The new, commanding voice made everyone else split in two directions and Michael walked to our gathering.

“Are you bribing her with the snacks?” he walked around the table and looked at Vipin, who got to his feet and offered Michael the seat beside me.

“Senior Michael!” Shreya said. “You should convince Ella to attend our competition,”

“From what I know about the past incident, the team owe her an apology for what happened at the tech-fest that day.”

“Michael!” I exclaimed. “I don’t want anyone’s apology!”

“He is right,” Alex said. “we owe you an apology. Here, accept our treat and forgive us okay?” he said.

“Right,” Vipin followed. “And join back in the team, Ella,” he added.

“Right, join back,” Everyone else echoed.

“Guys, it’s not because of what happened-”

“Join back, Ella, we need all our team members to go there again,” Shreya insisted.

I gave Michael a look. He just put me on the spot!

“I...I will think about it,” I nodded slowly.

“If Ella says she will think about it, it’s a “yes”!” someone clapped and everyone followed.

Michael took a sip of his coffee and I could see that he is trying to hide his laughter.

I guess someone is enjoying this whole thing!

“Alright, now help me finish this stuff, I can’t have it alone!” I said and they cheered.

Soon everyone settled around and started to eat. The snacks started to disappear one by one.

I turned to Michael as soon as we were left alone. “Why did you tell them that I am here!? I was not prepared!”

“I didn’t tell them that you are here,” he said innocently. “I just said that I wanted to meet someone here in the morning,” he shrugged.

“Michael, you...you intentionally slipped it...You just gave me away!”

Michael just chuckled and looked around. “Don’t hold back, guys, the treat is on me today,” he announced and a big cheer followed it.

It was impossible to be angry with him as he was in a good mood.

Soon everyone left for college and I walked along with Michael.

“Why did you make them apologise to me? You didn’t have to do it-”

“You deserved the apology, don’t let anyone take you as granted,” Michael said firmly. “Nobody stopped Angela from attacking you that day, the witnesses for the violence is as guilty-”

“But they were all shocked! They didn’t know what was going on.”

“That doesn’t give them the right to single out someone to bully him or her,” he said. “I too believe that my team members are not that heartless, that’s why I gave them a chance to make it right,”

I guess it’s one of his principles.

“What about Angela?” I looked at them. “Does she want me back in the team?”

“She knows that we would be penalised if you are not present,” he said. “And I cannot make someone apologise if they don’t mean it.”

“I don’t want her apology!” I said quickly. “I...I actually understand her,” I shrugged.

“Don’t think about anything unnecessarily and attend your classes,” he said.

I nodded.

That’s right. If I stop with this Semester, I only have a few days to attend the classes.

“Okay,” I nodded slowly.

“I am glad that you could schedule the tech-fest again.”

“Thank your mama for that,” he said and I looked at him in surprise. “I believe that everything went smooth because she made the judge confess. The guy is debarred for three years, but it helped to re-schedule our competition faster,” he said and I nodded.

“So how about joining back in the team?” He looked at me.

“I cannot let them have penalty points because of me.”

Actually, he could have just told me that, he knew I would be willing to do anything to re-schedule the competition, but he made everyone apologize to me and have them request me to join back. I could see how much he values me and respects me as a person.

“Thank you, Michael,” I said he turned to me in question.

“For...just everything,” I said and he smiled.

“I will be in the library, final years don’t have classes anymore,” he said.

“Um...I am going to attend my class then, my things are still in the locker.”

“Good luck,” he smiled, looking relieved. “Ring me when your classes are over.”

I waved at him and walked to my block. I was in a good mood until I met Angela outside our class.

She passed me without a glance and I was surprised.

“Angela,” I said and she stopped. “I know I promised you to leave this college-”

“Cinderella Adams,” she turned to me. I could see that her stance is completely different. She was not hostile, but she was not friendly either. “I regret meeting you. From this day onwards, let’s not get involved with each other.” she looked at me. “I cannot apologise to you, and I don’t want you to forgive me either.”

“What...what’s wrong?” I am now shocked at her attitude.

She looked at me.

“I just realised that I should not waste my time on you. I will take it as I never met you, Cinderella. For me, you don’t exist anymore. I don’t want to cross paths with you anymore, so make sure that you disappear from my sight.”

Angela walked away and I was surprised to feel a slight pain inside me. It was like whatever bond we shared during our childhood has vanished. There was nothing left between us anymore.

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

Salena Adams.

“Ella started to attend her classes,” Sara informed me.

Yes, I was aware of the fact that she had been skipping the last few days. I knew it had something to do with the tech-fest competition and I was worried about her.

“How did it happen?”

“According to our information, her team members requested her to join back.”

“They wanted her back after what happened the last time?”

“Um...this guy, Michael made sure that her name is included in the list of participants that was sent to the vice-chancellor,” Sara said.

He is making me more and more surprised each day. It looks like he knows her well.

“Michael wants Ella to continue the classes, no matter what,” I said and Sara nodded.

“And I did another check on him.”

“Did you find out anything?”

“He is recognised internationally as an IT legend as he won every competition he attended. Even though he is still a student, he has freelanced with many companies to solve their technological issues.” Sara looked at me cautiously. “His charges are no joke. He once charged a client a 7 digit figure. When he partners with companies, he gets a percentage of their total earnings or he gets remuneration according to the popularity and use of the apps he creates for them,” Sara stopped.

“Why do I feel that you are rather impressed?”

“I didn’t expect it, so I am kind of surprised,” she admitted slowly. “But I want to tell you that...someone like him would definitely climb up with no time.”

I understand what she meant. I promised Michael that I would consider their relationship when he has a secure job and house of his own.

If Sara is right, he won’t have any difficult time achieving this.

I remember the confidence and firmness in his voice when he talked to me about his career.

“Let’s wait till Ella finish her college term before we make a move,” I said.

Since her tech-fest is within a week, I don’t want to distract her. I could see that this is something she really wanted.
................

Tech-Fest Day

Michael.

I looked around the room at my nervous team members.

“Guys, so this is it, are you ready?” I tried to cheer them and they nodded.

“Why do you look nervous?” I asked them. “Do you really think we could lose after the way I trained you?” I asked them and a few of them chuckled.

“That’s right, let’s do this!” Alex clapped his hands twice. “Let’s get the championship this time!” he added and everyone cheered.

“Let’s win this tech-fest!” Alex said and everyone echoed after him.

“Don’t worry guys, a few of the staffs from each college is allowed inside this time, don’t worry,” I looked at my watch. “Let’s meet in the auditorium in 10 minutes, don’t be late,” I said and everyone started to move out.

“Are you okay?” I looked at Cinderella and she gave me a weak smile.

“I told you it will be fine this time,” I reassured her and took her hand which was ice-cold.

“So, Can I get a good luck kiss?” I asked her and her eyes snapped to me in surprise.

“What?”

Instead of answering, I started to lean down towards her and she put her hand on my chest.

“The CCTV!” she exclaimed.

I lifted her up to the small stage in front of us so that we were of the same height.

“It was not working, and even if it is, I don’t care,” I said before I closed the space between us.

Cinderella didn’t push me away. She closed her eyes and moved towards me like a magnet. Our bodies touched and I felt happy and complete.

Once we were apart, I took her hand and looked into her eyes.

“I love you,” I said and she smiled back.

“I love you too,” she said.

“Then let’s go, our ten minutes is almost over,” I said. I was relieved that her hands were no longer cold.

“Um...but Michael, are you sure that the CCTV is not working?”

“No.”

“What! Then what if it’s working!?” She looked cute and I kissed her on her forehead.

“Michael!”

“If it’s working, I guess we will just have to hack it,”

“Michael!”

“I am kidding,” I laughed at her shocked face and pulled her out of the seminar hall.

---------------------------

Q: Will they win the tech-fest?

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