Story 17

He got up from the chair and walked towards the window. The dark sky was changing its colour. A new day was about to begin and he had not been able to finish the earlier day. He had been working overnight in his office. Taking only a few moments rest on the couch.

His girlfriend, with whom he was in a live-in relationship was calling him constantly and he had been ignoring her calls. There was too much on his mind already. He did not want to attend her call and get pulled into the conversation she wanted to have with him and he did not. He was exhausted. He had recently roped in a celebrity, who, he thought would prove beneficial for his PR firm but unfortunately it had turned out to be a disaster. The scandal that sneaked in along with the celebrity had ruined his hard earned reputation. He had signed the contract despite strong opposition from one of his employees. Someone, who actually had some field knowledge. And, it was his ego that was to be blamed. He did not want to take orders from a woman and that too a woman who worked for him. He was the boss. Who was she to tell him that it was wrong to sign the contract?

She was your friend once, a little voice inside his head said.

He turned away from the window and made his way back to the desk. He had insulted her in front of the other team members. He owed her an apology. He looked at his watch. The new day would soon begin in the office. He had to wait until she came to the office, then he could go to her cubicle and apologize in front of everyone. He needed her. She was the only person who could set things straight. 
When he had profiled the celebrity, everything had seemed to be fine. No scandal, nothing. There was no news anywhere about the scandal. Suddenly the wind had changed directions and not only that, it had turned into a storm when he had signed the contract. 
The known celebrity was supposedly accused of molestation of a teenager. How could a news like this remain quiet until now? And, how did she know about it?

He changed his mind and walked to the couch instead of sitting on the chair and reading the contract again to find a loophole. He stretched himself before lying down on the couch. May be she could figure out a way, he convinced himself before drifting into sleep.
He woke up with a jolt when he felt a hand on his arm. How long had he been sleeping? He rubbed his eyes and looked at the face to whom the hand belonged to. It was her. 
“Hey.” She said.
“Hey.” He responded as he stood up and walked towards the washroom.
“You did not go home?” she questioned him as she cleared his desk.
“No. I could not stop thinking about how I had behaved with you. I owe you an apology.” He said coming out of the washroom, wiping his face with a face towel.
“You stayed back in the office only to apologize?” she asked 
“That. And …that” he said waving his hand in the direction of the client file he had been going through the entire night.
“I know I should have listened to you.” He said.
“Yes, you should have.” She said.

He remained silent, not knowing how to continue the conversation. She walked towards him, looked in the eye and said -
“I tried to warn you in advance, not as one of your employees. I tried to warn you as a friend that you once were. A friend whom I cared about. It annoys me a lot that you ignored my request and signed the contract. Had it been anyone else in my shoes, that person would have not stepped into this office again and would have done everything possible to ruin your reputation.”
He tried to read in between the lines. Was she saying that she could ruin things further? 
“How did you know about the scandal even before it hit the press?” he asked.
“Because I am the one who shared it with the press.” She said in a calm voice.
“What? Why would you do something like that?” he yelled at her.
“Because it was the right thing to do.” She replied
“To hell with it. I want you to go to the press and tell them what you said was wrong and baseless.” He said.
“I cannot do that.” She replied calmly but tears started to gather in her eyes.
“And why is that? I thought you were my friend.” He tried the emotional blackmail approach.
“Yes, I am your friend and I tried to warn you; I came here now to help you out of the situation you have stepped into; but sadly you are not my friend - not anymore. If you were the friend you used to be before becoming this person you are now; you would have known the reason why I went to the press and why I filed charges.” She said, tears now flowing over her cheeks.

“You filed charges?” he asked surprised. Everything else she said fell on deaf ears.
“Yes. I did.” She said turning around to go.
“On what basis?” he asked
“The girl he molested. She is my sister.” She said, her firm voice back again. And, she walked out of his office without looking back.

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silent whispers

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