Story 33

He turned the key in the lock and entered his apartment where no one was waiting for him. Removing his shoes he walked in and sat on the couch. 
He had heard people talking about him behind his back about how handsome he was and add to it the fact that he was rich; he could get any girl to roll in the sack whenever he wanted. 
The problem was – he did not want any girl. He wanted her, not as much to roll in the sack than to be a part of his life, his lonely life.

Sitting each day inside his posh cabin in his father’s and now his company, he watched her as she worked at her desk at the farthest end of the large working space filled with hundreds of employees who worked for him. She might have been difficult to spot for someone else, for e.g. his friend to whom he had pointed her out as the girl he had crush on since college days; but for him – it was easy for him to watch her every move because when he looked at her others disappeared from his field of vision.

Now, sitting on the couch in his apartment he repented sharing his secret with his friend. His friend had walked straight out of the cabin and towards the girl initiating a conversation that had made her look in his direction with anger-filled gaze.
He should never have trusted his friend with his secret. That asshole had ruined things for him and he surely made it known to him when they had met in the parking lot.
The man who was once his friend would have an ugly scar on his face for the rest of his life. 

He never should have trusted that man; he thought for the umpteenth time as he finally got up from the couch and walked towards the mini-bar. He poured himself a glass of scotch and gulped it down in one go. He filled another and emptied it and filled one more and was about to gulp down the drink when the doorbell rang.
He took a sip from the glass and walked towards the door. 
He was speechless to find her standing outside the door. He took a step back and looked at her. 
“What are you doing here?” he asked in slurred speech
“Your friend said you wanted to meet me!” she replied. She sounded different. He blinked and looked at her again. She looked different. He squinted.
It was her. It had to be her. The girl standing in front of him had the same affect she had on him. 
“Come in” he said and walked back inside the apartment.
The girl walked in and took off her coat. She followed him towards the mini-bar and poured herself a scotch. 

He was drunk but he noticed that this girl was taller than her. He finished his scotch and poured one more. He was about to drink when he felt her hand on his thigh stroking him and the next moment her lips were on his. 
He freed himself from her grip and stepped back.
“Get out” he yelled and the girl looked at him, shock evident in her gaze. She started to cry and made a dash towards the door. 
He sat on the stool and tried to figure out what had just happened. Was it really her or was it someone else or had he just imagined the whole thing?

He walked towards the bedroom and stripped. He walked into the shower and let the hot water run over his body. He tilted his face up and felt the hot water on his face. He had a headache. The hot water increased the throbbing pain. He needed the pain to get rid of the hangover. He needed the pain to get rid of her image in his head; to get rid of what she had done to his body. He needed the pain to forget what had just happened.

He wrapped a towel around his waist and stepped out of the shower. He sat on the edge of the bed and held his head in his hands. 

He had a crush on her since the day he had met her for the first time in college. They had stepped in the classroom together and everyone in the class had laughed looking at them. It was later at the end of the day that he knew why. His classmates told him that the seniors said any guy and gal who walked in together through the door of the classroom were meant to be together forever. He had laughed. Obviously it was a joke, a prank played by seniors.
Another couple who had walked in just like they had were seen making out a few days later. And – as far as their fate was concerned – she never looked at him eye to eye and he developed a crush on her. 

He tried talking to her but whenever he walked towards her she walked away.
It was a curse, he thought, to have walked in together through the door. Had it not been so, he could have perhaps gotten the chance to know her better.

He put on a tracksuit pant and walked out towards the kitchen to fix dinner. He checked the refrigerator and took out a packet of frozen food. He unwrapped the covering and put the content into the microwave. 

She had not spoken a single word with him since the day they had walked in together. He thought he would get a better chance when he learned that she was meant to be his lab partner; he was hurt when she requested a new lab partner.

The other couple did just fine; being lab partners, having lunch together, and making out whenever and wherever they got the chance. If walking in together seemed to be a blessing for them it had turned out to be a curse for him.

On the day of the graduation he finally got the chance to talk to her. He told her how he felt, she stared at him dumbfounded and then began laughing. He was embarrassed. Every neck and face had turned towards them. She left him, standing there, feeling humiliated under the gaze of his classmates, seniors and teachers.
That was the last he saw or heard of her until …

The ringing of his mobile brought him back to the present. He checked the display. It was his mom. He wondered why she had to make an international call everyday just to wish him good morning and goodnight and ask how he was doing. 
He pressed the talk button and spoke in a cheerful voice.
“What’s wrong?” that was the first question his mother shot at him.
“Nothing’s wrong.” He said, slightly irritated but later realized that it made no sense hiding it from his mother. She knew all his secrets.
A moment later he was glad she had called. He had told her about the girl. He now told her about what had happened. He told his mother how much it had hurt him to see the girl he loved dressed and behaving like a whore.
“Never judge someone until you know the whole story.” His mother advised. 
He disconnected the call after talking to her for a few more minutes.

He took out the dish from the microwave and ate his dinner. He made orange juice for himself, all the while thinking about what his mother had said to him. 

After college he joined his father in his work; learning the tricks of the trade. His father was a great teacher and he was a good student. When his father was confident that he was capable of handling the operations of the company his father had left everything under his care and his parents had gone on a vacation they had deserved since a long time. 
She’d stepped into his office for a job interview. He’d found a way to give her the job. He was the boss of her boss and it was not until few weeks later that she had seen him face to face. He had tried to read her expression; to figure out what she thought of him. He had forgiven her for the embarrassing incident; he wondered whether she still remembered it. The way she looked at him he knew that she did. She looked away, trying her best not to laugh out loud and once again he was back in college, back to the graduation day when she had humiliated him.
He’d tried his best since that day to stay out of her way. At times he wondered how it would feel to make her do things she could not say no to just because he was the boss of her boss. Should he remove her from her job? Should he make her his personal secretary? Should he humiliate her the way she had humiliated him? Options were many, but he did not want to consider any.
He had heard people talking about him behind his back about how handsome he was and add to it the fact that he was rich; he could get any girl to roll in the sack whenever he wanted. What sense it made to be what he was if he could not get her to love him? 

Making up his mind, he walked back to the bedroom and got dressed. He picked up the car keys and walked out of the apartment.
“Never judge someone until you know the whole story.” His mother had said.
He wanted to know the whole story.
He did not like stalking in general. Stalking ‘her’ was completely out of question. Even though he had often been tempted he never tried to know more about her outside the office hours. Where she lived, what she did, where she went, whom she met.
Now, he was curious. 
Was she the person he had seen in his apartment tonight? 
What had his friend said to her that had made her come to his house dressed like a prostitute? Was she one?
He drove back to his office and searched the employee files for her address. He drove out of the parking lot and turned towards her address.

He reached an almost dilapidated structure and killed the engine of his car. The entire house was thrown into darkness except the veranda. He stepped out of the car and walked closer to the house, trying to stay out of sight. There she was, sitting on the steps, her knees drawn closer to her chest, her arms encircling the knees and her chin resting on them. She was still wearing the same dress she had worn to his house and she was still crying. Next to her were a pair of high heels, that explained her increased height, he thought.

He had three options – 
One, walk towards her and further embarrass her by taking her on what she had tried to offer. It would serve the purpose of humiliating her and getting her into the sack.
Two, stay hidden from sight and watch her.
Three, walk towards her and comfort her.

He stood in the dark, unable to move; the truth now dawning on him. She was not a prostitute but she had made herself available and offered to be one for some insane reason. 
The very next moment he heard bouts of coughing and she stood up. Wiping her tears she walked back inside the house and he stepped out of the dark and walked towards the house to take a closer look.
He stepped in the house through the open door and tiptoed behind her towards what seemed like a bedroom. She switched on the light and that’s when he saw the insane reason –
A fragile old woman, lying in bed, surrounded by all sorts of tubes. 
He watched as she helped the woman sit straight in bed and hold a towel to her mouth as the woman continued coughing.

In no way he could possibly humiliate her more than she had humiliated herself earlier; offering to have sex for whatever favor she needed from him. 
It seemed even she had heard what people said about him, that he could get any girl to roll in the sack whenever he wanted. 
He realized that she would never be able to look at him beyond that.

He stepped out of the house and into the darkness. He got into his car and took out his mobile. He composed a quick email and hit send. He started the ignition and drove away.

He could never humiliate her further. He knew coming back to the same office and facing him would be the most humiliating thing for her. He knew that she needed a job that paid better. He knew what he had to do and that’s what he had done; transferred her to a sister company, offering her a job that paid better.
He did not know whether he could ever have her in his life, whether she would ever think about him as someone other than a rich and handsome man who could sleep with any girl he wanted. 

What he knew was – 
He did not want any girl. He wanted her, not as much to roll in the sack than to be a part of his life, his lonely life.

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silent whispers

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