The Call of a Lifetime (18+)

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The Reveal

Arin

There were certain rules that most people would break - saying no to sugar or caffeine on weekends only to break it every Monday morning. Those rules didn’t harm anyone. Then there were more profound rules. Rules made for a better existence. When those were broken, chaos ensued.

My mind remained preoccupied with the thought of a man who talked to me the whole night. He also became the reason for the dreadful reality that I broke my well-preserved rule - not having phone sex with clients. All it took was one phone call for a stranger to undo what took a whole year to build. One reckless night unraveled everything.

My overthinking only made me assume the worse of worst scenarios. My heart pounded every time our conversation revved up in my mind. The possibilities of him being a serial killer were high; higher being a stalker who now might stalk me for the rest of my life.

Of course, the chances of me landing a call with a brutal murderer or a date rapist was always on the table. With my crappy luck, who else would I end up talking to... someone rich and debonair? Pfft.

“Arin, you seem lost.” Mrs. Rose’s soft voice called me out.

I dragged my attention from my unblinking, non-ringing phone. I wouldn’t utter it aloud but I secretly hoped for some message, of least, from the caller. The fascination to know his identity had increased leaps and bounds since hit with his generous payment.

“Sorry, Mrs. Rose... You wanted something?” Shoving the thoughts of my mystery man and my useless phone aside, I asked.

“No dear, I don’t. But Mr. Murphy has a dictation for you.”

In a flash of a second, I picked up my notepad and trotted to his closed office door. Dragging a deep, rejuvenating breath, I knocked at his door. No reply meant to come in. Something thrown on the door spoke for itself. I had imbibed these little things in my learning since I joined the company.

As nothing landed on the door, I slid in.

“Mr. Murphy... You wanted a dictation?” I addressed his straightened back while he gazed out the window with his hands inside his pockets.

Standing near the large glass shield, one which stretched from the ceiling till the carpet, his eyes remained fixed at the fog-filled city. The cold October morning made the smog remain suspended till the sun’s warmth settled it at noon.

Walking towards my dictation chair, I settled in, awaiting him to dictate. After a couple of silent minutes where I could hear my ears ring up my pulse, I decided to do something. It was unlike Roger to not talk immediately and get done with things.

However, today seemed different. He didn’t speak. He stood still, observing the world outside like a dragon flew past him.

Assuming he had a standing stroke, I tossed a pen on the carpet. The sound was loud enough to lift him out of his state of trance. It also confirmed he wasn’t a victim of a stroke.

Clearing my throat I looked up, knowing he will start his dictation. Instead, rolling his sleeves that hugged his biceps like a second skin, he slid back in his chair. With his eyebrows bridged together, he scanned me with his icy cold eyes.

“You wanted something?”

“I... you...wanted... Rose... dictation,” I fumbled.

“I can’t have a dictation with a steno who’s having a stroke.” A smirk ruled his dewy, trim beard face.

Such an arse!

Moments ago, he was staring down the window like a baby who saw the world for the first time. Now, he dared to call me a stroke victim. I wanted to state this justification to his puréed brain but I loved my job more. Dissing him wouldn’t get me anywhere.

“I’m here for a dictation,” resisting the cringe on my face, I answered. “Mrs. Rose informed you wanted one.”

“So are you fine?” He smirked. “No stroke it seems.”

Mr. Murphy could be a sarcastic, cold-hearted boss if he wanted. Don’t be fooled by his ocean-colored eyes and the smile which arrested people’s hearts as well as their steps. He may be London’s heartthrob but he was also a devil incarnate.

“Yes, I’m fine. Seems so are you,” I rebutted. He needed a wordily jab.

“What do you mean?” his eyebrow hooked up.

“Staring outside the window isn’t a sign of a normal person either, Sir.”

“Who said I’m normal?” His eyes narrowed as he pulled his chair close to his desk.

With his quick wit, he may have won this match but it did nothing to vitiate my determination. One day, when he’d least expected it, I would strike. With words. Or make an error in his letter that would be addressed to someone in the hierarchy. Maybe the Queen.

I stared down my yellow legal pad, pulling in deep breaths and exhaling pent up frustration. I scribbled notes as he dictated in his raspy, sour throated voice, and rushed out to finish typing it.

Before I could make the final draft, Mrs. Rose approached me. “Sweetheart, I need your help.” The diminished smile on her face said she needed one. “I can’t decipher one thing from another of these documents, Roger gave me.”

Mrs. Rose was one of those who was bestowed with the privilege to call the boss monster by his name. I gave a quick scan at the stacks of papers she clutched in her hand. Many of them were tax and legal documents, all outside Mrs. Rose’s area of expertise.

“What is that you want me to do, Mrs. Rose?” I fished it out of her hold, scanning through each of the labelled documents.

“I need to leave early for the day sweetheart. William is taking me on a dinner date. It’s our thirtieth anniversary,” she blushed, evidently at her husband’s romantic gesture.

“Oh My God! Congrats Mrs. Rose.” My arms coiled around her, swaying her to the sides. She reciprocated with soft pats to my head. “William is a lucky man. Any advice for us girls to trap men like him and retain them?”

Not that I currently needed it but the last boyfriend I had was ages ago. With work and the call job, I had no time for even friends, let alone dating. Having tried my hands at dating apps, I had realized the grim reality that was my profession.

Guys who seemed mature enough to handle things would dart off upon being conveyed about my call job. I didn’t blame them though. Had someone told me in college that I’d be a phone sex caller, even I wouldn’t believe them. Heck, I might even smack them across their face. A timid one like me, playing an extrovert on call wasn’t something I’d ever imagined.

“Yes, I do.” Mrs. Rose continued our conversation, pulling me out of my dream world. “I would say that if you ever get a good man, don’t leave him. Kids nowadays break up for anything and everything.” She proudly stated the secret to her successful relationship. “Real relations take time and patience. Do you think I never wanted to kill and bury William?”

I giggled at her words while she picked up the bag and flashed a reassuring signature smile before leaving.

To her retreating figure, I picked up the cardboard box and got to work. Many of the documents were bank statements. My eyes fell off its sockets when I saw the number of zeros again a numerical value in Mr. Murphy’s personal account.

Rich people and their issues - my thoughts mocked. Too much money was also a problem. These documents were the charities Mr. Murphy donated to, evading tax. Well, technically not evade. More like not get taxed, which if you’d ask a person like me - holding onto two jobs - would agree was evasion.

At least some good came from all the money he minted from his whiskey business.

While I shuffled through the papers, I heard Georgia’s heels clacker on the marble floor and her chirpy voice in the background. She was Roger’s personal assistance. Like most of us, Georgia knew the tips and tricks to employ whenever Mr. Murphy threw a temper tantrum. She was the next best thing after Mrs. Rose and the only woman who could calm that wild boar.

“Hello gorgeous,”Georgia approached me with excitement springing in her tone. She tossed her blonde locks off her shoulders and placed her arms around her thick curves.

“Still in office? No dates tonight?” I asked, checking each document and placing them in color-coded folders.

Georgia was the girl whom the entire office wanted to date. Me, on the other hand - if the helper gave a compliment - would blush and die. I wasn’t used to the attention. Compared to Georgia, I was the fish at the end of the barrel.

“Not tonight, Sweets. What are you doing here? She looked at Mr. Murphy’s closed office door and back at me. “Isn’t Murphy gone?”

“No, he’s inside.” I pointed at his upcoming schedule which Mrs. Rose placed on my desk. “Acting deranged like always.” Patting the box kept on my table, I continued, “I had some last-minute things to sort for Mrs. Rose while she enjoys her thirty blissful years of marriage.”

Georgia nodded, releasing a deep huff of air. “When do you think we’ll have our 30 years, Arin? When will we have a man like William?”

“For that, we need to have a marriage first...”

Georgia chuckled at my response. Meeting gorgeous, well off men who wanted to wouldn’t mind being wrapped around her fingers was a stroke of luck for her. The grim reality of a partner-less life was only true for me.

“Lemme give you a hand with that. You punched out very late yesterday too.” She rummaged her manicured fingers through the pages, speaking words of wisdom. “Don’t work so late, Sweets. It’s not like they’ll pay you extra for it.”

Nodding at her words, I finished the box closest to me before helping Georgie with hers. A fluttering paper sound made me look up at her.

She held a translucent sheet in her hand, her brown eyes widening with every second. “Babes! Look at this.”

I went back to the task of reorganizing the documents, ignoring Georgia’s gesture of waving the page at my face.

“If it’s the bank statement then let me tell you, I already saw his richness...” I knew her reaction would have been the same upon seeing those many zeroes.

“Nope, it’s something else,” she squealed, grabbing my elbows and turning me towards the crumpled paper she held in front of her face like some report card. “Read it...”

I peered at the heading - credit card statement dated - yesterday’s transaction. Before I could scroll lower to the bold figures, Georgia, brimming with joy, blurted.

“Our boss made a payment to Naughty Nights Phone play for a 1000 bucks yesterday.”


//

Who all guessed it was Roger? Let me know..

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