I stormed into his office, he was sitting on his office chair, behind his desk, his laptop in front of him.
"How could you? I thought you were a professional, I never imagined you could bring our feud into this", I thundered.
He was looking at me extremely calmly, his grey eyes fixed on me as if he was expecting this, it made me angrier than I was.
" I am talking to you", I said as I furrowed my brow in anger.
"Take a seat Ms. Shahab", He said in a cold tone, his deep voice making it more intimidating.
I felt like someone poured a bucket of ice water on me, my anger vanished and I felt puzzled. I had expected him to yell back at me, but right now he was playing the cold sexy CEO.
I pursed my lips into a tight line and sat across him. I wanted to listen to what he had to say in his defense. He had criticized me in front of the whole team and had just given two days to come up with a new design for the villa, which was not impossible but extremely difficult.
We stared at each other for a few minutes, and I was determined to not be the one to break the stare down. He took a deep breath and diverted his gaze to the laptop.
" Ms.Shahab, I am sorry, if I gave you the impression that my criticism was based on the personal feud between us. But I can assure you it was just a professional remark", Waleed said looking into my eyes again.
I gave out the breath I was holding for long, I didn't want to believe but he sounded sincere and honest.
"Ms. Shahab, I believe in breaking the stereotype. I don't want to be the exception, I want to be an exception.
You can disagree with my views, but as long as this project is concerned you will have to synchronize yourself with my way of working.
I know it's not easy, and I might be making an already challenging project much harder than it is. I can't describe to you, the feeling of contentment and satisfaction when your hard work pays off", He was saying and I was concentrating on the warmth in his voice.
It was like he was opening up himself to me, he could have just ordered me out without any explanation because he had the power to do it, instead, he shared with me a part of himself.
I agree he was making the project more difficult than it already was by setting his standard so high that an average person can never think of.
But I was not an average individual, I was Rameen Shahab, and I loved challenges. I can prove to Waleed Kamal no matter how awry I can be sometimes, I was one of the best architects in the city.
And I will make him admit it, I will change the misconceptions he had regarding me, Daani had told me that Waleed thought I was not good enough for the project, because of the one mistake of mine of not turning my cell silent.
I admit, it was carelessness on my part, but that doesn't mean I was not good enough at my job.
" Ms. Shahab, are you listening?" He asked me, I had zoned out on him.
"Yes, I am, Mr. Kamal", I lied.
In truth, I had missed the last sentence he had said to me.
" Okay, I will call Mr. Khan to help you out", He continued.
"Ohh no, please. I think I will manage by myself", I replied in a hurry, afraid he might call his head architect.
I wanted to surprise him, by doing it all by myself and was not ready to share the credit with anyone.
I might need to spend two sleepless nights, but I was ready for the challenge.
" Are you sure Ms. Shahab, you just have two days, it will be a lot easier for you if you let Khan help you", He looked uncertain, maybe he didn't think I was up to the challenge?
And I was going to prove him wrong, you might have just witnessed the wild side of me, Waleed Kamal. Trust me the professional side of me is going to blow away your mind.
"I have never been more sure of anything else, in my life before", I replied with a broad smile.
I have heard in my professional circles how Waleed Kamal was different from others, but I have never believed it.
But now, I do.
I had spent the next two days on the plan of the duplex villa, sleeping merely for two hours each night. I had never pushed myself, to this extent to prove myself to anyone before, but I wanted to prove Waleed wrong. I wanted to show him I have it in me to be the best.
Mom and aunt were not very pleased with my efforts to please the arrogant CEO, they were concerned I was ruining my beauty by skipping meals and sleep.
Aunt went to the extent of dragging me in front of the mirror and pointing out my dark circles. In the morning the meeting was scheduled to be held when I was getting ready for office.
They were worried about the fact my wedding was in two weeks and if I kept overworking myself I would be the most awful bride. Umair went to the extent to tease me that I might look like a zombie bride.
I ignored their remarks as I gulped down toast with tea, and left when I heard the horn of my office Van.
Daani had told me to come directly to the office of KKC so that he and Waleed could go through my design before they presented it to the clients.
Waleed's secretary ushered me to his office directly where Waleed and Daniyal were waiting for me. Daniyal gave me a curious smile as I turned on my laptop, while Waleed was sitting with a blank expression.
I won't lie but I was feeling nervous, I know my design is very good, but Waleed had a very different way of doing things and I was worried if he would reject it.
They looked at my laptop screen with anticipation as I turned and showed them my work, Daniyal's eyes lit up instantly as I started demonstrating each detail. I could feel how proud he was of me, and I was glad I didn't disappoint him.
Waleed was looking at the screen with a serious expression and when I paused after completing my presentation he sighed as if he gave out a breath he had been holding for long.
" Excellent, Ms. Shahab. Honestly, I was not expecting you might pull this off in two days without any help", Finally, he said.
And I felt a way of excitement travel through my body, I never expected him to praise me with such honesty. He looked impressed with my work, never had I felt this way before when anyone had complimented my work.
But coming from the mouth of this arrogant and control freak CEO, it was really special. It was as if I had gained recognition for my work in the eyes of the whole world.
"I am so proud of you Mia, I knew you would never disappoint me", Daani said tapping my shoulder.
I was sure I was grinning like an idiot, Waleed was looking at me with an amused expression.
" Thanks, I am really glad you both approve of my work", I replied gratefully.
" I am trying to wrap my head around it, great job", Waleed said smiling.
"I am sure you will come out of the shock soon", I said, teasing.
" Believe me, I am trying hard", He replied.
Daniyal passed both of us a glance, I sensed he was surprised with the ease in which we were speaking to each other.
And I was surprised too, I had never thought we could ever warm up to each other. I still believe he is an arrogant asshole but at least he was trying to be civil and I appreciated his effort.
I congratulated our team for their hard work, Shah and his partners had just left the conference room and they looked impressed with our plan for the resort.
The hard work of all the architects had paid off, and everyone looked relaxed as if a great burden had been lifted from their bodies.
"But let's not forget, we still have a lot of things to work on, I would like you guys to start working on the elevations of the buildings", I couldn't help it, I was a control freak and perfectionist and I wanted everything to be of the highest standards.
" Yes, boss", My firm employees replied in unison, while Daniyal and his team nodded in agreement.
"I did like to make an announcement", Mia said as she stood up.
" Yes", I looked at her in surprise.
"I am getting married a fortnight from today and I would like you all to bless my wedding with your presence", She said enthusiastically.
She was overflowing with joy and emotions, and I don't know why I felt a little distressed. I knew she was engaged and was getting married, really soon from Saad still I didn't expect it to be so soon.
We had started to warm up to each other and there was a chance we could get along well in the future, but I didn't like the idea of seeing her with any other man.
She had surprised me earlier today with her work, honestly, I was not expecting that she might complete it within such a limited time. I had asked Khan to design the villa in case she was not able to complete it, which I thought was quite obvious due to her reckless attitude.
But she had blown away my mind, she just had not completed it, but it was better than what Khan had designed and shown me before Daniyal arrived.
Khan was considered to be one of the top three architects in the city and with an experience of nearly two decades, I was sure Mia would be no match for his expertise and here she proved me wrong.
I had felt a sudden urge in my heart to get to know her better, and I had planned to do that but now listening to her announcing her wedding I was grim.
" And this is going to be my last week with you all before I officially take the title of Mrs. Imaad Hassan", She added mischievously.
She pulled out her wedding invitations from her bag and started handing out to each of the team members personally.
Everyone had surrounded her and started congratulating her for the upcoming event. I felt like storming out of the conference room. But I had to put a facade of joy in front of everyone.
Everyone started leaving the room one by one until just Daniyal and Mia were left along with me. She approached me, where I was standing near the Screen and handed me out an invitation card, and said.
"I would be glad if you would come",
I took the card from her with a polite thank you and was about to leave when Daniyal got a call and excused himself.
I was dying to say something to her to make her feel miserable and scratch away the smile playing on her lips from the inner joy.
" Ms. Shahab, you should have not taken up this project, if you were planning to get married. It's highly unprofessional to take a long leave of absence for more than a month when we are expected to complete this project on the given deadline", I saw the change of expression on her face.
She was looking at me in shock like she couldn't register the words I had just spoken.
She opened her mouth to say something, I wanted to hear what she had to say. The joy had vanished from her eyes and had been replaced by hurt and resentment. She kept looking at me with contempt and then turned and walked out of the room.
I hated myself for hurting her, but I couldn't help it. I was completely oblivious to why I was feeling like this and what made me act in such a way.
Shah had arranged lunch on the site in celebration for keeping the foundation stone of the resort on Friday. He had invited all the employees from our firm who were part of this project.
It was a grand event, the decorations and catering were the best, what else can you expect from a Five Star Hotels and Resorts chain owner.
I reached the gathering later than the mentioned time because of the last moment meeting with another client. All guests had already arrived before me, so I greeted Shah who had come along with his wife. His partners were also accompanied by their spouses.
I looked around and to my astonishment, everyone was present in pairs, I cursed myself for forgetting to bring a date along with me.
Daniyal approached me with his wife Reema, she was an elegant lady. They greeted me and Daniyal asked me why I didn't have a date with me.
"I totally forgot, it had been a busy week as you know", I told him and he nodded in agreement.
" Mia is also alone, her fiance couldn't make it due to some business. I am sure you both can give each other company", Reema said pointing to her right side.
My eyes followed the direction in which she pointed and I found Mia, standing there with Ben and a girl, who most probably was Ben's date.
My breath caught up in my lungs, she was wearing a dark pink lace dress and beige colored shoes. She had set her hairs in a French roll, with natural makeup and pink lipstick she was enough to tempt a saint, and I was just a hot-blooded male.
I was ogling her when I heard someone clearing their throat beside me, it was Daniyal. Fuck, he had caught me staring at Mia, I really felt embarrassed to have got carried away like that.
"I wonder who Ben's date doesn't look like from my firm", I said looking in their direction.
Daniyal just shrugged his shoulders and walked away. Dammit, he must be mad at me, I followed Daniyal and pulled his arm and stopped him.
" I am sorry, I didn't mean to. I don't know what happened to me", I apologized.
Daniyal kept looking at me for some moments and then said.
"She is about to get married, and I would advise you to stay away from her".
I just nodded in agreement, I wanted to go to Mia, sort her out and speak to her and apologize for being such a dick in our last meeting, but I realized it won't go down well with Daniyal. Mia was avoiding me, probably because of the way I behaved the last time. l kept myself engaged with Shah and his partners.
Food was arranged in a buffet, I noticed Mia sitting lonely, at a table in the last row near the beach. I looked around for Daniyal, he was busy chatting with his wife, I planned to approach her and then turned and went to the table where Daniyal and his wife were sitting.
Daniyal was back to normal again, we started discussing a project when his wife got a call and her expression changed to panic.
" Daani, dad had had a heart attack. He has been taken to the hospital", She said panicked.
And before I could realize they both left apologizing to Shah and his wife. I finished lunch and just strolled to the spot where the columns were finished digging and the first column had been filled with concrete by Shah.
I stood there for nearly half an hour without any reason and went back when one of my employees told me the partners were looking for me.
People had started getting dispersed, everyone was going towards their vehicles, I bid them goodbye and went to the cabin. It was empty, I sat there sulking about what happened earlier and all of a sudden, I remembered Mia was still here, she hadn't left with Daniyal.
I came out of the cabin and looked around for her, mostly everyone had left barring the employees of the company that arranged the lunch.
There was an engineer from my firm, walking towards the parking. I strolled towards him and asked if he had seen Mia leave with anyone. He replied he didn't know if she had left or not. I looked around but there were no women around, maybe she left with some of her colleagues.
I went back to the cabin and just laid on the couch, I was upset with myself, for the last five days for mistreating Mia. She looked so happy when she invited me and I being an asshole, had killed her happiness.
I heard some voices from outside the cabin, it was a female voice and I could recognize it from a million other voices, I rushed outside and there she was standing completely panicked speaking with a man who was rounding up the chairs.
"Mia", I called out.
She turned and looked towards me, and I saw the instant relief that spread on her face. I noticed she was barefoot and was holding her shoes in one hand and her clutch in another.
" What are you doing here?" I asked as she walked towards me.
I was afraid to think about what she would have done if I had left along with everyone.
"I went to the beach for a walk and lost the count of time and when I returned everyone was gone. I just can't believe Daani left me behind", She replied.
No matter how mad I was at her for being so reckless, I kept a calm composure. I didn't want to start an argument with her when this could turn out to be our last meeting before I see her again after her wedding.
"Reema's father had a heart attack, they left in a hurry", I informed her.
" Ohh, I see" "My other colleagues have also left, I don't know how I will go back", She looked worried.
" I will drop you", I replied.
She looked at me with gratification, there was no need for it. I would have done this no matter who the girl was. I couldn't leave her there in the middle of nowhere.
"Thanks", She replied.
" I need to use the restroom if you don't mind", She said.
I went back inside the cabin and she followed me, I gave her directions for the restroom and sat on the couch waiting for her.