The Call of a Lifetime (18+)

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The knowledge


My attorney's words resonate through the phone. "Why would you want to buy a call center of all places, Roger?"

I smirked, taking in a deep cleansing breath before answering. "Take it as an expansion of business.."

He hummed, seemingly unconvinced. But hey, he wasn't being paid to disagree. "Okay. What do they work on? Credit card calling? Or phone company.."

"Night sex calls." The second I answered, I already knew his possible reaction.

"WHAT?" then he cleared his throat, aligning his positioning on a softer tone.

"I said what I said. Please get it done."

He sighed but agreed.

I don't know what this feeling was, how to justify it but I wanted to know about her. Babydoll

She was as professional as they came but something about her always got to me. It was an unspoken, unseen bond like the tentacles of the trees in the forest, crawling up into the sky and around. I had never talked to anyone in my life, whom, with mere conversations into the night, dragged me out of my state of stagnancy.

After Stella, I never really did speak to anyone properly. I opened all my love out there for her and she left me. For a long time I though I wouldn't find anyone and it would be just strings of night stands and dates with woman who were only after my name and money.

But talking to her made me realize, I could open up again. Share my thoughts and my nights, even if it was over a call.

Maybe knowing about her would be the worst mistake I'd commit. Maybe the truth about her being a married woman with kids at home, making a livelihood through calls or a barely legal girl, trying her hand for some extra cash would be the truth to jolt me out of my reverie.

But still I really needed to know.

I had to..


Next morning


Although I woke up at six in the morning on a cold gloomy day, with the grey skies stifling any escaping sunlight, I was still invigorated. The feeling of this day being a bright colorful one, would be the rule and not the exception. Why wouldn't it be?

I had discovered my family roots and even though I lost my job for the better part of the morning, I was redeemed back. Roger seemed desperate on the call. Maybe he realized the repercussions if he didn't have a proper assistant to do his job.

Not that I was talking down about Mrs. Rose or Georgia's work, but mine was different, harder to learn in a day. It also required a fair deal of patience to deal with Roger's constant tantrums.

With my hopes of the future rising up like the sun from the horizon, my feet darted around my matchbox apartment, getting me around with freshening and getting ready.

I still had the whole, take up dad's work offer, lingering at the back of my mind. Once I finished sliding into my boots, I had accepted the notion of working for dad. It would still be a long way before I resign and learn the roots at Oswalds but the very thought of it, of moving forward and staying stagnant seemed to have put the whole Roger issue at a backburner.

Roger was with Stella. I needed a smack on my head to heed to the reality.

Starting today, I would not be drowning in the thoughts of an unattainable man, neither would I be whining about my past as a way to hold up, moving on.

Funny thing determination was. Once you taste it, it would linger on, making you do things which otherwise wouldn't have crossed your mind in a century's span.

Before I entered my office building, I fished my phone and dialed up the phone operator. Selene was a sweet girl who was helpful during my initial days, while I was learning the metaphoric ropes of handling and talking on the call. She was the friend I never saw but always felt bonded to.

As the call rang, pressed into my ears to muffle out the siren calls of the morning buzzle, I felt a spasm in my chest. This job was the first I every undertook, even before working at Murphy's. Moving on for me meant severing certain ties quicker.

"Hey there Arin.." Selene's chirpy voice came across.

"Hey Selene.." I dragged out a sharp breath. "I am serving my two weeks notice Selene."

With her sharp, "What? you are leaving!!" I could hear the confusion in her voice. "Did you get something new?"

"Something like that.."

She squealed, hurting the insides of my ear. "I am so happy for you. Let me just take down the details. You will be serving the calls till then?"

Was I willing to subject myself to more of Roger's calls for two whole weeks? Was I willing to take the chance, one which had a magnetic effect on me in the past. Roger was the force of nature I found hard to resist. Knowing his face, how he reacted in the light of the day, he had ruled my nights, turning into a caring and warm person whose hold still remained strong on me.

"I don't know." I scratched my neck as words refused to escape in the beginning. When I forced them to, it spewed. "You can deduct it from my final pay. I will defiantly call one last time on my last day.."

I couldn't let go without one last bye. After all, this was a part of my life for a whole year.

She stayed silent on the call. No voice, no background sounds. "Selene are you there?"

"Yes yes. I am.. Just that.. I will miss you.."

My heart warmed at her words. She was a good friend and in a way, a mentor. "Aww.. me too." I cooed, suggesting her to take my personal number after two weeks to meet up. I also made a mental note to refer her for a better job where she doesn't have to be a phone operator.

"What about your favorite?" Her voice reemerged, hitting me hard with her question.

A whole year and I had no favorite till he came along.

"He will live." I chuckled, the dryness of my mouth was ignored in the process. Roger definitely will. The brighter side to this conduct was the shift of blame. I wouldn't be the person whom he was cheating on their fiancé with and in turn, my sleepless night trail would finally bend into nights of peace and calm, of true tranquility. "It's for the best Selene."

She wished me loads of luck before disconnecting. After hitting send on the resignation, I felt the heaviness over my shoulders shift. Evaporate like the morning mist once the sunlight streamed in. Although the greyish skies still loomed over, I could feel the warmth of my decision radiate from inside my chest, illuminating me with a strange source of contentment.

Walking in office for the first time in a year since mom's passing away, I felt free. Neither the anchors of rent nor the rocks of student loan lingered beneath me. The shackles which clutched my feet, weighing me into a sea of uncertainty, broke free.

For the first time in a long time, I felt discharged of all my liabilities. For long, in my mind's journal's book, my assets and liabilities matched up, without the liabilities trying to dominate the other.

Tossing my bag in my cubicle, I ran my gaze around an empty office. Pale colored lights lingered over my head into the walled lighting. The silence of the morning, no clicking on mouse or tapping into the keypads. There was no papers crumpling, no calls ringing and most of all, nobody yelled my name, resulting in me to sprint towards them.

The peaceful surrounding called out to me, embracing me in its hold. Yesterday I thought I was fired. My lips curled up at the thought of universe's work. In its highly acclaimed mysterious ways of working, it took me on a roller coaster ride.

"Good morning." A voice emerged from behind me as soon as I finished my half twirl in the chair.

I recognized it immediately. As I turned towards Roger's office, I saw him leaning against his door-frame, watching me act all deranged and smiling at an empty office.

I shoved down the ball of nervousness raising up towards my throat. Questions floated across my mind, worst of the scenarios ran as pictorial display of his wrath.

Was he mad that I lied about my sickness? Did he call me back, just to humiliate me? Why was he just staring?

Speak dammit.

"Good.. Good morning." I looked around before masking my fears and troubles behind a smile and answering. "You wanted something?" Even I was surprised at the sudden display of care and concern.

Not that I should be surprised. After all, the magnetic hold he had over me, it was only a matter of time before I succumbed to its force. In the light of my reaction, my resignation seemed to be the right decision.

Roger smiled and nodded. "Yes. Coffee."

"Okay. Let me get it for you."

"No need. I have already asked for it.." He smiled again before walking back into the darkness of his office.

All he did in the wake of his happy interaction was leave me confused.


Earlier, at 5 A.M.

Roger's office

Still trying to accumulate all the proof that Brandon was a liability for my company, I stayed back in the office again.

Although staying back was never a problem for me ever, it was her, who somehow imbibed in me, the sense of home, sense of longing. It was her voice, her talks which made me want to fall into the comforts of my bed and listen to her drift into sleep, murmuring stuff to herself.

The alarm chime alerted me of the time. 5 a.m.

I had to go home and take a rest. A break was necessary before I start this churn again. Taking an itinerant of all the documents, I placed them on Arin's desk before leaving, when an unusual call halted my steps.

"Good morning." I ran my thumb and index finger over my hammering temples. "I assumed this would be the time when most of your party gets over."

Xavier's laughter resonated through the call. "That was earlier, Roger. Now it's different."

"And why may I ask that?" I got in the car, spreading myself across the backseat, I closed my eyes and tossed the phone to a side on its speaker mode.

Because Xavier had never called me this early, I knew it wouldn't be for something mundane.

"Tell me about Arin," he requested. With his voice flushed over the call, my closed eyes burst open.

I yawned, trying hard to keep a steady voice, devoid of the sleep's inflictions. "Who Arin?"

"Your assistant Arin."

There was no rationale for his behavior or question. Truth be told, most of what Xavier did was beyond the rational realms of human understanding. But asking a question about my assistant was a totally different track of Xavier's modus operandi. I couldn't grasp his suddenly interested in Arin, of all people.

"Why? Is she filing a case against you for harassments? She is a good lawyer, I'll tell you now itself, you will loose the case." It was the revert I decided to state, trying to know his intentions.

"Come on Roger, be serious. I want to know about her." He sighed, continuing. "She is still a mystery to me and I can't ask Charles about her."

My voice intonated with the beatings of confusion taking over. By now, my cruising sleep had long faded behind the drapes of my eyes. "Why would you ask Charles about her?"

I could hear Xavier's deep breaths on the phone. Five in the morning, he decided to think and contemplate his next words. "Stella didn't tell you?"

"What? Stop playing puzzles and answer properly Xavier."

"Arin is an Oswald. Charles's daughter." His words rang my ear as if I got punched.

I croaked, "Charles had a daughter?"

"Yes of course. Her mother never told her and when she came to know she had a father, she contacted him." He sighed, yet again. "And as they say, rest is history."


Present time


All the tiredness in each of my cell and the fatigue hovering over my heavy eyelids from overnight working faded as soon as I heard Xavier's narration. His words were stronger than caffeine and more potent than opium. It rattled off all my lassitude and brought me back, stronger than any focus inducing drug.

My own assistant was an Oswald. An heiress which nobody seemed to be aware of. Arin Rafferty was actually Arin Rafferty Oswald. Suddenly the though of her working at my place was enough to induce guilt.

I had treated her with nothing but disdain whenever she tried to do something. My need for perfection, percolated in actions and showered onto her as acidulous insults. Yet, she stayed. Even after coming to know of her roots, her place of being amongst the residents in the stars and moon, she stayed behind leading her simple life amongst the mortals. The ordinaries.

In a distance, the elevator's chime disturbed the silence of the office. I was keen to check on the entity whose personal life was in the dumper like mine, to have run to work at seven in the morning than the usual time.

Arin stood near her cubicle, drinking the aura of the place with her eyes. A silent office environment soothed me. It was the main reason why I spent most of my time, holed up in this place. Without any staff, the place resembled a shrine. Peace and quite flowed in like cool wind on a summer's day.

Watching Arin through my office window, the only question which kept crawling back was the reason for her not leaving this place. Not leaving her assistant job. What was so special here, that she decided to remain rooted here than branch out and spread herself free?

Although I want to talk to her, I don't know if I should reveal to her, my newfound discovery. Contemplating, I decided it was better to let her stay the way she was. Unaware of my knowledge.

I stood at the door-frame, watching her twirl in her chair. Her features, chestnut colored hair and an oval face with a smile spread across, her figure were highlighted when the artificial light from the wall beamed on her creating a halo around. In this moment, in the silence of the office and unawareness of her surrounding, she seemed ethereal.

"Good Morning." Those words escaped from me unknowingly. I never intended to disturb her view but something inside of me wanted to call out to her. Make her aware of my presence.

She dropped her happy state of existence and we talked in a rather quick and awkward morning tête-à-tête.

I walked back into the office, still trying hard to wrap my head around the notion of her as an Oswald. As Charles's daughter.

In a flash, I was driven with a new motive to work. A new inspiration to get what I wanted. Thanks to Arin, the thought didn't scare me. It forced me to voice my dreams. To achieve what I wanted.

She was my new stepping stone.



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