#43 She is very Special to me
The room was slightly dark as all the windows were closed and the lights were off.
I slowly registered that the hall was empty.
"No one is here...it's just me," I said slowly.
The lights in the room came back, and I blinked.
"That's right, no one is here, it's just you and me."
I whirled around at the voice. My heart felt like it will explode at any moment.
I just stared at Michael, who was standing in front of the door, his hands folded across his chest, and his gaze never leaving me.
"I...I..." I stuttered while my eyes roamed around the room. He was standing in front of my only escape route.
"Where are you avoiding me?" He unfolded his hands and walked towards me. My heart raced as he advanced closer.
I gasped as I felt myself being pushed to the wall and before I could even react; his lips came down on me.
The kiss was deep and demanding; it was hot and urgent; it was making me weak and trembling.
"Michael-" I pushed him back, but stopped once again as he came back to me with double the speed. I was prepared this time but froze as his lips pressed against the lower jaw, then slide down my neck while his hands held my waist, holding me against the wall as he kissed my skin.
Goosebumps erupted all over me; I could no longer stay sane. My hands wound around his neck on their own, and I welcomed it when he kissed me again. I liked the way he was pressed to me, and his unique scent invaded my senses.
I opened my eyes slowly to see the dark, desire filled eyes of his.
"I love you, princess..."
My heart lept, and I opened my eyes forcefully. My entire body felt like it was in a trance while my limbs were trembling as if I had been on a marathon.
I took deep breaths and recognized the outline of my room in the semi-darkness.
It was just a dream? How could it feel so real?
I touched my lips; it felt warm, as if I had been kissed deeply and passionately.
I shook my head.
How could I dream about my business partner in such vivid details?
It's his fault because he kissed me the first time I met him...and the words as well, it was those exact words he told me when I first met him at the pool.
I love you, princess...
The words seemed to echo around me, and I shook my head again.
I must've been too tired yesterday to have this kind of dream!
I had to stay up with my team yesterday as we had to find a Plan B in case our new project didn't go as planned, all thanks to CIO Michael!
Looks like I had been thinking about the project and the guy too much to have this kind of dream!
My limbs were still trembling as I got up from the bed and sat there.
Once I stopped trembling, I got up slowly and walked my way to the kitchen side of the apartment.
The apartment was originally my mama's, but she registered it under my name on the last birthday. I stay here whenever mama is on business trips or I have to do overtime as it's nearby the company in the city's heart. On the other days, I spend my days with her at home.
I took my cup to start the day with my daily dose of caffeine.
Five minutes later, I walked to the settee with my coffee. I opened my phone and smiled at Nisha's message.
"I swear! Sam has gone crazy! After reading about gestational diabetics, he is not allowing me to have anything sweet! but the baby is craving for chocolates."
Nisha is 8 months pregnant and often a drama queen nowadays. Sam is trying his best to take care of his wife, but it doesn't look like it's going well.
Sam and Nisha bad been married right after her graduation. I had been sceptical about their relationship and felt it was very sudden when Sam proposed to her.
I couldn't remember him when I woke up and couldn't figure out why my best friend was so much in love with him enough to get married to him as soon as she graduated. Well, I am glad that her decision was right. Sam and she were good together, and both of them were there for me whenever I needed them.
"Don't worry girl, you have me."
I typed my reply and added the superwoman emoji at the end before sending it to her.
"I heard things are a bit rough there?" Amanda asked me. "What are you planning to do now?"
I looked at the laptop screen while she talked about the current project.
"I can take care of it."
"I think you are wasting your time there," Amanda continued, "The R&D team has it difficult here."
"I am sure that David can manage it well there."
"But he has to travel from Dubai to Singapore multiple times. It would be better if you are back."
"I am sorry," I looked at her. "From the very first day we joined hands, I told you I will come back to India,"
"I know you wanted to expand to India, but right now, the Dubai project is more important."
"I know it's important. We have a whole talented group working there, so don't worry. David has been contacting me as well."
"Since the Adams group is reluctant to work together, it's best to end the current contract with them. It wouldn't be hard for us to collaborate with other people."
"Adam's group has a large market cap and benefits us the best. Even though I have my reasons to join them, you know that they are our best choice now."
She was silent for a moment.
"Okay," she said after a pause. "But once there are trust issues between the two companies, it would be difficult to work together, I hope you will figure out a way soon."
"Don't worry, I know what I am doing. I will solve the situation here as soon as possible," I said and disconnected the video call.
I lifted the big chocolate box as soon as Nisha opened the door.
"You are late." She gave me a disapproving look.
"Sorry..." I gave her my best puppy dog face, entered inside and tried to wrap my arms around her.
"Gosh! The baby has grown again, I can't wrap my hands around you,"
"I am due the next month," Nisha rolled her eyes and opened the chocolate box.
"Sam isn't here yet? How can he leave you alone here!"
"My mom visited me in the morning and left now as something came up at home. I thought you bailed out on me and just called him. He is on his way here." She turned to me, "tell me why you have been so busy to even attend my call?"
"It's a long story," I said.
"Looks like you would like something to drink."
"Something very strong!" I winked.
So five minutes later, we were on her balcony overlooking the city. This is our favourite spot whenever I visited her.
"Mama opposed the senior directors at the meeting today about collaborating with a foreign company, and it was a total mess," I said. "But I don't know why she would be this adamant about it, I mean...I understand that she doesn't like the team, but they are very best professionally," I looked at her. "I had never seen her doing something like this before. Maybe she finds it difficult to get along with their CIO."
I filled her about what happened in the last few days.
"...And this guy, he had the nerve to steal my first kiss, And he didn't apologize!" I exclaimed and Nisha stared at me, her half-eaten chocolate forgotten for a moment.
"I have never met such an arrogant guy before. I risked everything to meet him, but he just told me he won't discuss business over dinner. Can you believe that?!" I took a sip of my red wine.
"It looks like this guy just left a strong impression on your mind, Ella," she looked rather sad as she said that.
"I am just angry at him for being so bossy, I mean, I get that he is the boss of his group, but I am the MD of my firm, he should have treated me accordingly."
"I thought it was you, who sneaked there to visit him?" Nisha looked at me.
I gave her a glare, "What kind of friend are you, Nisha?"
"The kind of friend who always tried to knock some sense to you, Ella," she said.
"Anyway, I am in a fix now, Mama wants another team to take over this project, but the other party is unwilling to work with anyone else. They wanted the same people who contacted them."
"Sounds reasonable," Nisha said.
"Yeah, but mama is adamant. It looks like he and mama faced off each other in the past and mama lost to him, so she is prejudiced as well," I folded my legs and sighed.
"Ha, I can't even imagine who would possibly dare to have a face-off with your mama. It's no wonder she's not happy with your project."
The doorbell rang and Nisha looked at her phone.
"Sam is here," she said.
"I will get the door," I got up and walked to the door.
"And what have you decided? Are you going to take it or drop it?" I heard Nisha's voice.
I opened the door and turned around slightly, "I will never drop this project! But I just need to find a way to persuade this guy."
"Sam-" I stopped midway. Even before I turned around, my body had sub-consciously became aware of him.
It stunned me to see him in the doorway.
"You said he is rude, arrogant and bossy," Nisha called out from inside to my utter horror. "What are you going to do if he refuses to cooperate?"
We were still staring at each other in shock. Nisha's words seemed to hang around us, echoing again and again, and I was mortified.
"Um...CIO Michael...what? Here?" I dragged off. My brain couldn't process full sentences. And I took him in. He was wearing casual clothes and looked damn good in it.
My stupid heart seemed to get excited with no reason and beat wildly.
"Rude, Arrogant and bossy?" he broke the silence at last.
"Um...err...I...I was not talking about you."
Oh shit! I didn't just say that!
"I thought so," he looked at me, his gaze held me there and I couldn't seem to move for a moment.
Silence filled the room again, and I looked away from his face. I noted the paper bags and gift wraps in his hand.
Is he here to visit Nisha? But how do they know each other?
My eyes came back to his face, and I caught him staring at me from head to toe, causing my traitor heart to jump again in excitement.
"What are you doing here?" both of us asked each other simultaneously.
"I was planning to hang out with you outside, but since Nisha was alone-" Sam stopped on the doorway, looking shocked. "Ella! You were here?" he looked as if he has seen a ghost.
"I...was visiting Nisha," I said. "How do you know CIO Michael?" I asked him, but he seemed to be stupefied at the entrance.
"What's taking you so long-" Nisha too stilled as she reached us. "Michael!" she exclaimed.
Her tone surprised me. It looked like she's well acquainted with him.
"I...you...we can celebrate from outside, I didn't know Nisha had a guest," Sam turned to Michael immediately.
"Ri...Right!" Nisha stammered as she took my hand. "I need you to do something for me, Come on," she yanked my hand and tried to pull me back.
"But how do you know CIO Michael?" I asked, and the room slipped back to silence again.
"You...you know him?" Sam looked at me.
"Relax everyone," CIO Michael seemed to be the only one who is calm and composed. "Cinderella is the MD of Adam's industries. We know each other," he said.
It took a few more seconds for Sam and Nisha to recover while Cinderella looked confused to see me there. She turned to me again.
"Sir-Michael," she corrected at my pointed stare. Apparently, she got the meaning quickly, and I smiled. "Why are you here?"
"Sam is my best friend. We are from the same university."
"You attended the same university with Sam and Nisha!?" she exclaimed and he nodded.
"Let's move inside first," I said before she started again. I don't want anyone here to slip anything out accidentally.
I still don't know if it's okay for her to remember me. Even if it makes me suffer, I am very glad that I could at least appear beside her now.
Soon we were sitting around the small table and sipping the red wine. I could see Cinderella stealing gazes at me now and then as if she couldn't believe that I am there.
The dinner was awkward, as Sam and Nisha seemed to be uneasy. But I was somewhat happy to have a chance to meet him again.
"Um...so Michael," I looked at him over the wineglass. "So did you think about the proposal I wanted to-"
"I don't discuss business in my personal time," he cut across me firmly. "I believe I already told you that when you sneaked inside my apartment that night."
Nisha's eyes flashed at me, and I looked at Michael.
Does he have to put it that way?
"You sneaked inside his apartment?" Sam turned to me.
"It's not that," I said quickly. "I wanted to have an appointment and-"
"At the middle of the night?" Nisha turned to me. "So you were talking about him earlier?"
Oops! I didn't know they knew each other and spilt the beans unknowingly.
"It's okay. I was happy to...to have company. I enjoyed the time with you," Michael looked into my eyes and my heart jumped.
The image of him kissing me appeared on my mind and I remembered the dream I had this morning
Are you crazy, Ella! Why would you think of it now!?
I was rather horrified at myself for remembering and feeling something this way and tried to block it instantly.
I reached for the wine bottle and was startled as I accidentally placed my hand on top of him as he too had reached for it and he was faster than me.
A jolt of electric wave passed along my hand, and I withdraw my hand in shock.
I knew I was overreacting, but our gazes collided once again and my heartbeat accelerated.
"Ella, you look flushed, stop drinking or you will get drunk," Nisha turned to me and said, unaware of what happened just now.
I noticed a small smile on his face.
Oh shit! Did he think that I am affected by him?
"Nice ring you have got there," I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind. "Are you married?"
I just wanted to let him know that I am not interested in him.
The entire table was slipped into silence with my question.
"Ella," Nisha gave me a look that meant that I should stop; that I am being rude.
"Private time is for talking about private matters, right?" I asked innocently, turning around his sentence.
"It's an engagement ring," Michael said to my surprise.
"Oh, congratulations," I said. "May I know who the lucky girl is?"
There was another silence at the table.
"Uh, you don't have to answer it if it's difficult. I just heard some rumours you are waiting for your fiancee for the last four years," The alcohol was making me talk without holding back.
"It has been four years, three months and 17 days."
"Whoa! It's quite a long time," I said. "Do you think someone who left for that long will come back?"
"Yes, I do," he looked into my eyes.
"Why?" I couldn't help but ask him that.
"Because I believe in destiny," he said.
"What?" I am incredulous now.
"I believe someone somewhere is made for you," he said slowly. "And I believe she's the one for me."
"It's been four years already? And with no contact!"
"This is nothing. She was once ready to wait for 10, 20 years or a lifetime."
I stared at the guy now. He must be naïve than I thought to believe something like that.
"She sounds...um...unique, I wish you luck."
"She is unique...very special to me."
"Michael, you need to understand that she is not coming back," Sam turned to him and reproached. "It's better for everyone to move on with your lives."
It rather surprised me.
"You guys know his fiancee?" I looked from Sam to Nisha. They seem to be closer than I think.
"Yeah, we met each other at the college," Michael said.
"Then...did I know her?" I asked slowly. "I studied with Nisha in the same college for a brief time. If you were close with Sam and Nisha, you would have met me," I asked.
"Ella, I think we should stop-"
"I have met you with Nisha," Michael said.
"Then I would have met your fiancee too-"
"Ella, he lost her in an accident. Never bring up this matter again," Sam turned to me seriously, and I was stunned.
"You...you lost her?"
Now I feel like crap about bringing up the topic.
"I...I am sorry, I didn't know..."
"That's okay," Michael nodded. "I believe that she has not disappeared completely," he said.
This guy is wearing the ring of his dead fiancee? And what does he mean by he is waiting for her?
He's not over her yet, obviously!
"I am sorry to be insensitive, I sincerely apologise," I said and downed my glass in one go.
"Ella, you had enough drink," Nisha reminded me, and I just waved her handoff.
"It's okay, don't worry about me..." I said while pouring myself another drink.
"When are you moving to your new house?" Sam looked at Michael.
"I haven't decided yet," he looked at me for a moment.
"You have a house here?" I asked him. "so you will stay here for long?"
"I have an apartment in Singapore and Dubai as well. It's easier for me to work this way instead of staying at hotels every time," he shrugged.
I pursed my lips.
So he might really go back?
"Have you worked with my mama...I mean...with Salena Adams before?" I looked at him again.
The alcohol was making it difficult for me to hold my tongue, and I asked him whatever that came to my mind.
Michael put down his glass and turned to me.
"Are you interested in me?" he asked back.
"Michael!" Sam gave him a look.
"What!?" I ignored Sam and looked at Michael. "Why would you think that?"
"You look very curious about me," he smiled.
I am indeed curious about why Mama doesn't like him to work with him when he is successful in his professional life. But I can't let him know that.
His eyes captivated me for a moment, so I shifted my eyes back to my glass and took another sip before answering him.
"I...I am...just wondering what kind of person I am...working with! You...uh...misunderstood me..." I avoided eye contact and said.
"I don't mind even if you are interested in me," he said, and I looked back to his eyes.
"Ahem...I am sure everyone is hungry. Should we order takeout?" Sam interjected, but we were still looking at each other and it was like no one else was there except the two of us.
"I am not kidding," Michael told me, and I was taken aback at his attitude.
"Yeah, you are not kidding, but you are flirting with my best friend right now," Nisha placed her orange juice back on the table and looked at Michael pointedly.
"Your friend is quite charming," Michael said while still looking at me. "I enjoyed spending time with her," he added.
What the heck is wrong with this guy!
My body felt feverish. I don't know why this guy seemed to have this effect on me. I downed the rest of the drink in one go.
"Stop drinking, Ella. Let me get you something to sober you up," Nisha told me and got up.
"I...I will help you," I followed her out.
I watched her following Nisha out of the room.
"What was that, Michael? I thought you didn't even know how to flirt with girls, you shocked me just now," Sam said.
"She is not just another girl, Sam. She's my fiancee...what's wrong with me approaching her?"
"Fiancee!? Don't deceive yourself, she couldn't even recognise you."
I felt a pang when I heard him.
"I know it's hard, but I think it's better this way. I am worried about both of you."
"I will never give up on her," I said firmly.
"Then can you live with it if something happens to her because of your memories? What if she gets another life-threatening seizure?"
"Then I will approach her as a new person. I am willing to start from the first step."
"I don't want you guys to suffer anymore. Do you know how scared I was to find both of you lying unconscious in that warehouse? You were covered in blood and she had stopped breathing. I still get nightmares from that...I don't want both of you to go through it again,"
"I won't let anything happen to her again!" I stressed.
"What if your presence causes her to have a recurrence? If she remembers that it was she who shot Roopak, would she be okay?"
"Cinderella is stronger than you think. The only thing that can cause her to break is the thought of something happening to her loved ones. She had a seizure because she thought I was going to die..." I turned to Sam. "Cinderella shot Roopak to protect me and he would have been alive if he had stayed back to get treatment instead of trying to escape."
Roopak's minions had tried to flee and had a shootout with the police, causing his death.
"I too want you two to be together, it's just that...I know that if something happens to her, you will be more affected than her. Ella is your weakness, Mike, I am scared that your love can break you..."
"My life has never been the same since I met her-"
"Since Ella gave her everything to this relationship, it's only right that Michael tries his best."
Sam and I turned towards the door to see Nisha standing there. She turned around and closed the door slightly before coming towards us.
"Where is she-"
"She is drunk, let her rest," Nisha sits opposite to us and looked at me.
"I am her best friend. I know her well. If you can win over her, I will support you," she said.
"Thank you," warmth spread through me at her words.
"But-" Sam started.
"I know why you are worried," Nisha turned to him. "You nearly went out of your mind when you found them in the warehouse, but after everything Ella did for him, I don't want her to marry the wrong guy," she said. "I really can't stand it when her Mama is trying to deceive her again. She let Ella believe that the person in her dream and the person she loved was Julian-"
"The person in her dreams?" I asked her. "What do you mean?"
"Ella often gets flashes of the past, especially the incident at the warehouse," Nisha explained. "She couldn't stop it even with the therapies and treatments, so I am pretty sure that her memories will come back one day... And when that happens, I don't want her to feel stuck with the wrong guy. I want to protect her."
My heart trembled at the thought of her having nightmares of that day.
"But Nisha, she doesn't even recognise Michael now. Who are we to decide for her?" Sam asked. "And what if she falls in love with Julian?"
My heart trembled at Sam's question.
"It's been four years, Sam, did you ever see her falling for him?" Nisha said sharply. "She feels grateful towards him. And she feels guilty when she thinks that he puts his life on danger for her...she felt nothing more than friendship towards him," she added. "When I met Julian after that accident, he said he was doing it because he wanted her to be safe and I couldn't do anything about it then."
"I will win her over...I can't let him deceive her forever." I said.
"But you should give her some time and space to accept you. Don't catch her off guard like you did today," Nisha told me.
"She literally stalked me and forced her way to me in the past. Why can't I pursue her like that?"
"Then she will get scared and run away," Nisha said.
"I won't force her to do anything she doesn't like," I promised her.
I couldn't even think about the last four years...I don't know how I held on...
Now that I met her, there is no freaking way I could stay away from her!
The Next Morning
My muscles quivered under the heavyweight, and my body glistened with the sweat.
I took deep breaths and pushed myself to hold the weight longer.
The scars across my body looked evident and glaring in the mirror across me. It was imprinted on my body as if a punishment, reminding me of what happened in the past.
I still get nightmares from that incident where I am tied up while Roopak tries to force upon Cinderella in front of me. And no matter how stronger and physically fit I was now, I could only feel helpless and despair.
Then comes the regret; If I had been strong enough to protect her...If I had dealt with Roopak differently...if I had not left her alone in front of the party hall that day...
So when I came to know about Cinderella having nightmares about the night, I feel a heaviness inside me.
How I wish she could forget about that night and remember only the good things-
The gym floor was deserted except for me, so it surprised me to see the GM of the hotel standing in front of the door.
I lowered the weight and turned around.
"I knocked twice and didn't get any response. Sorry to interrupt you, sir," Jyothika said, her eyes lingering on my scars for a moment.
"I guess it's something important this time?" I asked as I wrapped the robe around me.
She nodded, "The chairperson of Adams technology is here to meet you."
I froze mid-action and looked at her.
"Salena Adams is here?" I asked her and she nodded. "She wants to have a private meeting with you."
Q: Why do you think Salena Adams is there to meet him?
I know I am a terrible person, I didn't update for a long time, I am soooooooooo sorry!
I had something going on and rushed this. I felt guilty and tried to write faster each time I read your messages. Thank you so much for waiting for my update.