It must be her. Babydoll. It felt like her. Suddenly all of it made sense. Like missing pieces of a puzzle, everything was falling in place. All this while, right in front of my eyes and yet, I never knew. I never bothered to even look.
How could I have been so stupid? How was I not able to see who she really was?
Does she know who I was? Or was she too unaware about her Master. A part of me longed for her to be unaware, to be in the dark about my identity. I wanted to see her reaction when she would be told. Another part, the one which ached for her longed to talk to her, wanted to hear her sweet soul soothing voice.
Desperate to find the truth about her knowledge on me, I rummaged through the company documents. The folders placed on my desk weren't helping so I had to call for more information. Once her call logs arrived, everything became clear.
It was her. Arin Rafferty. Oswald heiress. She was the one who spoke to me. My phone number reflected against her name was the confirmation that I needed. She resigned when she came to know about her new status. Dates matched. Everything matched. But nothing conveyed if she knew about me.
Maybe not. Ignorance was bliss.
Arin's call center resignation still probed me. The dates yet again served the answer. She might have considered the repercussions on her reputation if the information of what she did leaked. Or maybe she wanted to try something new with her life. Whatever it was, I wanted to find out more. Always assuming the day her identity would be revealed, her hold over me would fade was only a dream. With the knowledge of her name, her hold over me only grew stronger.
I leaned back into my chair, tossing my legs up on the table and dialing the person whose coupe news was too dramatic to be heard before. But with the turn of the night, I guess a little drama wouldn't have hurt.
The ringing stopped and the Xavier answered. "So you are finally free.. huh. What was your meeting?" Xavier enquired. I had lied to him about it to end his call.
"Meeting was cancelled. So tell me what you were saying earlier," From the sounds in his background, it seemed like he fell back into his bed or a chair. Huffed air hit speakers.
"Where do I begin," he said, channeling his usual self centered aura.
"Generally everyone start at the beginning. But I leave it at your discretion.." He chuckled at my words.
My gaze fell on the employee list with Arin's name on it. Still unable to believe it was her, I held it in my hand. Like if this was a mirage, it would fade away. Every doubt of mine remained unanswered, every question still lingering.
Xavier's voice pulled me back. "So I was saying that you would merge with Oswald no matter what. Right?" I hummed my reply and listened to him carefully. He is taking something serious here. In all my time with Xavier, I have never heard him talk so serious. "I was just thinking, what if you could boost your business while being merged."
I didn't understand what he wanted to say; not that I ever did. But this time I genuinely care about his so called plan. Call it my need for distraction but I wanted Xavier to reach his point sooner. But the man choose the wrong time to run around in circles.
Annoyed, I leaned my head back into the headrest and uncreased my furrowed brows. "I am not one of your girlfriends to wait while you go around the world with your topics, Xavier. Please, can you get to the point?"
Xavier was unconcerned about my impatience. I considered myself to be an average when it came to the virtues of patience. But today, one specific name was stuck in my head and drained all my concentration over it. Everything else was just a haze. Only her name shone bright.
Arin Rafferty; the face preoccupied my thoughts and vision.
Some part of me wanted to call her up immediately and verify if she knew about me while the other part wanted to listen to Xavier and his Shakespearean plan which was longer than Hamlet and more complex than Cymbeline.
Then, as if my prayers were answered, his digressing ceased and he dropped to the point. "What would you say if I tell you that more than Stella, you can have Arin as your partner and she would help you get what you want without being a pain in your ass?"
Well I would love that and it was a fiction I would love to dream about but I also knew how Xavier liked to get people to confess their deepest darkest vaulted secrets just so he could toy with them later. I wasn't falling for it anymore.
Placing my foot down, both literally and figuratively, I made my stand. "Okay seems like you really are in a fun mood but I have work to do. So if you'd excuse me, l will go and finish that."
His voice bounced from jovial to serious in the blink of an eye. With a higher pitch, he responded. "I am not joking Roger. Arin can be what you want her to be and she is really going to be the perfect fiancé till you want her to be.."
Getting up from my chair, I stood at the window, watching the night light dancing in the streets. London was mesmerizing at during winters. It was this exact place I stood, the day I first talked to her. Life a circle of life, it was her last day today and I stood, looking out and dreaming about her with open eyes.
The dancing lights or the shimmering skyline never fascinated me before. Then why, all of a sudden was I gushing about it?
Get a grip, man.
Just because I knew my babydoll's identity didn't make my life any easier. Work was still work, lawsuits from Brandon were still pending and I still have no time for anything else but to save the company. Crush could wait.
"Why will she agree to this?" I questioned.
"Because she would also want to get back at Stella badly."
Releasing a sign, I asked. "What has Stella done now?" It wasn't a big news that Stella did something yet again.
"What has she not done?" Another sigh from Xavier and I envisaged a long saga coming up. "She hurt Arin!"
"PHYSICALLY?" Were my words which sprang out of my mouth.
"No no.. But I like the concern you show towards your future fiancé." He mocked. Even I was surprised at my reaction to his statement.
Xavier explained the situation, drawing in examples and probably drawing a picture or two on his wall, I assumed. "Stella was the one who gave her up to the tabloids. And now Arin thinks that her repute is screwed. She was also bullied as a child.."
First thought to run across my mind was Xavier spending too much time with Arin to know all this about her. It even had the power to overtake Stella's wrongdoing. Arin was my assistant for so long and yet, all I knew about her was her love for poetry and London in general. I couldn't take credit even for that. It was the knowledge I possessed during our talks.
But I shouldn't be surprised either. Xavier was a smooth talker. I assumed Arin wasn't his type. When he called me to tell about his fondness for her, I simply thought he wanted to sleep with her.
A rock sat on my chest with that thought. Why was it bothering me, if he indeed did? What was this weird sensation, having her all to myself that was running its course on my body, my insides?
Xavier continued, clearing his throat. "Arin doesn't know that the news made her look good. An heiress who is still working. She doesn't even know that she has fan following now. "
"And you want me to ask her to be my fiancé till the deal is complete? What is in it for you?" I had to steer the topic to the main goal. Someone had to. It was spiraling out of context.
Xavier stayed silent on the call. Only his breath registered his presence. Knowing Xavier, he had rarely stayed silent. I didn't like this change in his behavior. Not did I appreciate his closeness with my babydoll. Sure, he liked her. But she was practically his sister.
"I want Stella to understand that bullying someone is bad and also.." He again went for his uncharacteristic silent streak before whispering. "Arin is nice to me."
Xavier fucking Oswald liked Arin? My babydoll!
Shit. I needed to get a grip before I went down this rabbit hole again.
"Fine I will see what can be done. Let's talk tomorrow."
The moment I ended his call, like a muscle memory, my digits dialed another, hoping and praying that she'd be on the call today. Her last day was already pricking like a throne stuck on my skin, relentless to budge. I waited patiently for the operator to connect.
What would I talk to her? Does she know me?
My palms sweat as if I dipped them in water. I walked around the office, waiting for the call to connect. Then after what felt like ages, I heard her soft and mesmerizing voice.
"Hey there Master!"
I smiled, so did my insides. This time, I knew the face for that voice. I knew who talked to me I knew that pretty girl who sat barely a few feet outside my office. My naughty minx.
"Hey there," I didn't know what else to say. All of a sudden I am at loss of words.
She must have sensed the same. "Master today is my last day..for the calls." Her voice was barely a whisper. She seemed sad, disheartened, saying that. It could also be my assumption. I wanted her to be sad. I wanted her to miss talking to be because god knew, I would.
"I know.." unable to utter much, I decided to tell the truth. "I loved talking to you, babydoll. In this brief time, you had me.." dance at your fingertips and play me like a musical instrument. But some words were better said, unsaid.
Trying to cheer her up I tried some random topics which clearly made no sense. "Hey it's not like this a goodbye forever.."
She hummed. Her smile could be heard over the call, making me realize she wasn't being herself. Was she sad for leaving or because of something else? I wanted to cheer her up. My need to know if she knew me faded into the oblivion.
"Can I ask you something babydoll?"
"Please tell me the truth. Who was your favorite client." I walking around my my office, constantly eying the place she sat at. If only I could conjure up a wish to have her here, right now. "And take this as an unsaid rule from now on, but I would know if you are lying.."
She giggled a lot before talking. "You. It was always you, Master. And I am not trying to impress you or anything. It's the truth."
Her words were the balm on my aching heart. Her soothing tone made me feel elated. My chest rumbled next words like a slot machine and a smile stayed on my face constantly. "Why was I your favorite, babydoll?"
After what seemed to be a silent thought, she answered. "You made me realize what I am. What I am worth."
I didn't understand how I made her feel so but noticing the genuineness of her tone, I knew she was telling the truth. Curious that she too was, she too played it back. "How about you. Is there anything that you liked about me?"
Well Arin, for starters, I loved the way you handled two mind blowing personalities which not many people could. But I couldn't say that, could I?
"I like the way you read people."
She laughed. "Of all the things you could say, you think I am good at reading people."
I ran a hand through my hair. How I wanted to keep praising her, it was the opposite I could do. "Well that and the way you make me feel satisfied.."
I could hear a blush emanating on her face with the huff that was felt on the speaker. She stumbled on her words as if caught off-guard with my statement. "Well then how would you like this night to go, Master? This is your chance to ask for anything.."
I thought a lot about what she said but came up with only the desire of my heart. "How about just talk!"
Although she was clearly surprised that I proposed talking of all the things, she still played along. We talked just like the first time. We laughed like long lost friend, reconnecting. The time when I watched the city lights fading into the morning sunrise, listening to her talk and sleep off over the call.
Never in my life have I watched someone sleep but with her, I wanted to hear it. Hearing her breath while she slept. I wanted to stay on that first call for all eternity. Maybe a part of me, a piece of my soul still remained on that call and never came back. It found its home in her voice, in her breath or her soft chirping laughter. The girl who sat a few feet away from me in the same office.
With the feeling of the first time creeping back in slowly, I contemplated in asking her the truth but she spoke first. "Master its time.."
I realized that with her, time flew faster and when she would end the call today, I would never be able to talk to her like this, ever again. That thought was hurting. It swallowed up the darkness of the night and spewed it all over me. I was suddenly soaked in a state of gloominess from where escape seemed impossible.
Was this the end of our story? Master and babydoll?
Thoughts ran in my mind while I contemplated whether to keep her secret safe or to divulge the truth. One last time, I draw a long deep breath knowing what we shared would always be special and be cherished by me.
Master and baby doll would be the truth, the bond we would share, the strings that would tie us even in our graves. The truth was not necessary. It was merely a statement. And her truth could stay with me, in the warm cozy corner of my heart.
Smiling, she stated her final goodbyes. Reluctantly, so did I, holding the sheet with her name on it.
"Goodnight Rog...Master." She went silent before ending the call.
So finally, the truth is out..
Let me know in the comments, how you felt when you read it.