Kabir stood at the edge of the terrace, his loose tie fluttering in the wind. Through the smoke of his cigarette, he looked at the cityscape with its twinkling lights, wondering once again if what he had done was right. Staring at the horizon his thoughts travelled back to the fateful rainy day when he almost fell in love with her… Amaya. The name meant immeasurable – that is the much he loved her, until a few hours ago.
“Hey!” a girl knocked on his car window. Kabir, startled at first, rolled it down to see a drenched girl vainly trying to cover her head with her handbag.
“Are you on your way to work too? If you don’t mind may I ride with you? Please?” she asked.
In the puzzled ten seconds Kabir took to reply, she tried to shout over the din of the traffic jam.
“I’m Amaya! We work for the same firm. Do you mind?”
“No… not at all! Sorry, please hop in!” Kabir said, matching her pitch.
“Phew! It’s raining cats and dogs here. I thought my first Mumbai rain would be a tad more romantic. Anyway, thanks for the lift. My cab broke down, I felt doomed until I spotted you. Kabir Arora, right?” she said and smiled at him.
It’s then that he noticed her kohl-rimmed, beautiful hazel brown eyes and the gorgeous dimple on her right cheek. Her shoulder length hair drooped in tight curls, dripping moisture. She looked immensely fetching though he doubted if she had an inkling.
“Yeah. How do you…” he trailed off for a second, staring at the water drop gliding down her neck.
“I met you during my induction, remember?” she said.
“Oh, yes! Now I remember where I had seen you. You report to Sonia Kochhar, right?”
“I work with supply and logistics. So you’re not from here, are you?” Kabir asked.
“No, I’m from Indore actually. I joined the marketing team about three weeks back and have an important presentation to give today.”
He noticed her fidgeting and tapping her foot.
“Do you need me to crank up the heat some more?” he asked.
“What? Oh, no! I’m good. I’m just nervous about my presentation. It’s my first one with the team and getting drenched and crawling through the traffic isn’t helping,” she smiled nervously at him.
“Don’t worry, we are almost there. I’m sure your team will excuse you this time,” he tried to assure her.
“I don’t think Sonia would. She’s very particular about being punctual, maintaining decorum and not coming up with silly excuses like rain and traffic! Her stare makes you wanna dissolve into a puddle. I mean I haven’t had the experience but that is what my teammates say. I hope she’s not already in the conference room, tapping her pen on the table,” she spoke in a single breath. She looked at him and said, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to… I just talk a lot when I’m nervous. Please ignore everything I just said. I’m really sorry.”
Kabir found the drama cute somehow. “Relax. I’m not a fan of Sonia’s. Everyone knows she’s a strict boss, but she has been known to show kindness every now and then. You’re new and you will have plenty of chances to redeem yourself. Just take a deep breath and imagine everyone naked if you must! If the presentation is good she will forgive you for being late,” he said as he parked the car in his spot.
“Well, let’s hope for the best!” she thrust her hand out. He shook it, enjoying the touch of her soft and buttery skin.
“Thanks,” she said, smiling and revealing her dimple again.
Kabir watched her get out of his car and as she walked away, he quickly fished out his phone to record a voice note – “August 14th – Met subject number seven, Amaya. Investigate and know more about her. Tell mom.”
Note: This is my take on the first short story prompt.
To Be Continued…