“Bring it on Miss Murthy! I don’t fancy easy projects!!”
He laughed it off when she said that she was going to give him a tough time in his office!
‘Like really!! Did she really think she could do that?? Give him a tough time, in his office?? ! Naive girl!!!’ He thought, staring at the small cute mole under her eyebrow.
She was irritated at his confidence. Already she was angry at being forced to leave her training and join HIM!! For what?? An apology??
Was he crazy??!! He was right when he had said that he could do anything and go to ‘any’ extent to get what he wanted! But that didn’t give him any right to disrupt her life and take decisions for her!
She stood at one place, rooted to the ground. She was looking at him when his gaze was fixed on her! She studied him and failed to understand him… How could he be so damn handsome, but dangerous too!! Adorable, yet wicked!! Sexy, and sinister at the same time!!
And why was he looking at her like this?? His eyes had a weird warmth for her, which she couldn’t fathom. His eyes betrayed his words and so did her eyes!! She was looking at him as if he had tied her with an unseen thread, woven all around her, that barred her from moving, from breathing…and even lower her eyes from his…
“Speechless??” He teased her.
Dammnnn!!! She wanted to strangle him!!
“You will regret this!” She replied in a grave tone.
He laughed at that, quite candidly, nodding his head side to side in disbelief. “Goddd!! Has anyone ‘ever’ told you before how cute you look when you try to threaten somebody??!!”
She glared at him!! Did he even listen to what he was speaking?? Here, she was furious and there he was cracking jokes on her, that too…on the other side of comfort!!
“Are you trying to flirt with me??”
He stopped laughing, rotated his tongue inside his mouth, pushing through his cheek. He was still smiling widely when she asked this. With a naughty, mischievous grin on his face, he leaned towards her and on reaching just a few inches away from her pretty, black eyes, he whispered, “Nandini Murthy… I am not trying… I AM flirting with you!!”
She was stunned, for a moment!! His provocative eyes, his deep husky baritone, his measured words and the correct timing!! Ohhh Boyyy… she could bet she had goosebumps on the nape of her neck and with that her entire back stiffened! This was not good!! This was so not good!! What was he doing to her??!!
She stared back at him, a little terrified now!! Was she really trying to mess with the wrong person, this time! But she didn’t do anything!! HE was the one to begin this mess… A little voice in her mind told her that she was not responsible! It was HIM !!! He was the one who was going too far!!
Was he trying to make her weak and nervous by teasing her and making fun of her?? IWas he having a bit of fun on her expense?? If he was, then he didn’t know what he had bargained for!! She was not going to forgive this’… at any cost… at any time!!
But what if….??? What if he was really flirting with her?? What if he really liked her?? As much as she did??
Even the thought made her heart feel a fuzzy flutter of delight!! Was it even possible that he was attracted to her, too?? Could his attention be real, or was he just doing this to trouble her into forgiving him so that he could live guilt-free??!!
Her mind was already reeling with his magnetic effect on her, coupled with the little banter they just exchanged, challenging each other, one on one… and now THIS!! Life couldn’t have thrown more chances to disturb her calm mind!! She remembered Aiyappa!!
The door of room was knocked and when the visitor was asked to come in, it was his pantry-boy who had brought a tray with his breakfast. It looked as if he had left home early today and had to eat in the office. The boy kept the tray on Manik’s table and left.
Nandini threw a glance at the tray. It had a big bowl of fruits, two croissants in a small plate, a tea kettle, a milk dispenser and sugar cubes in a bowl and two empty cups.
“Sit down!” He ordered, going back to his desk.
“No thanks. I’ve had my breakfast!”
“I didn’t ask you about it!” He dismissed her words and almost knew that she was lying! Sitting on his chair, he signaled her to sit before him.
No matter how correct he was that she had not eaten anything after last night… no matter how he didn’t know a subtle way to express care and concern, pretending that it was ‘his’ style of taking care… no matter how hungry she was… Nandini didn’t want to eat!! How she wished he had not ordered her to do so! She hated taking orders, except at professional front! On personal level, she wished to remain the one to take decisions for her!!
She was not a slave to take orders from a rich billionaire! He seriously needed some lessons in humility, politeness, modesty and gentleness!!
His phone rang, fortunately, and it seemed like an important call. He picked it up and went towards the tall French window in his room to talk in peace. But only after telling her, “I’ll be back in a minute. Prepare the tea!”
At first she was irked and she made a face. But when she turned to the tray of breakfast, a wicked smile swam on Nandini’s lips. ‘Sure sir!! How about a few shockers to begin with!!’
Nandini poured the dark tea concoction with some milk in two cups and calmly added sugar in her cup and the entire contents of the salt dispenser in his cup!
He quickly finished the call and returned back to his chair, observing how small and cute she looked, almost swallowed by the huge, plush leather chair in his office. A naughty smirk appeared on his lips and he observed her pretty face which had been a reason for him to lose a good night’s sleep since the day he had met her! She was a complete charmer and he had lost his peace, his sleep, his concentration, his focus and his sanity of mind to those beautiful eyes belonging to a pure soul!!
Well, not so pure, maybe!! He keenly observed her face and wondered why her expressions had turned absolutely different just in a matter of one minute, the time he attended the call. He frowned slightly, unable to understand the cool, content, bliss on her face!! And he kept looking at her!
His gaze shifted to the tea that she had been stirring!! Quite relaxed as compared to before, she offered him the tea cup with a wide smile. He took the cup in his hand, along with the saucer and his eyes searched for a clue on the tray. The salt dispenser was empty. His pantry boy will never ever do that mistake! They knew how particular Manik was about everything. Why would someone bring an empty dispenser?!!
He grinned and made a cute pout, staring at her mischievous face. She shrugged. He nodded. They didn’t speak anything but eyes did the talking part. How they betrayed them!!
He perched at the desk and in a quick move, he exchanged their cups, without giving her any chance to interrupt. She was left gaping at this action. She had underestimated him too!! He was indeed living up to his reputation of the dynamic, intelligent, tough boss… a dark reputation that he had made for himself!!
He sipped from his cup, “Aahh-mazinggg!! Thanks a lot, Murthy!”
She had an irritated smile on her lips.
“Why are you so quiet? You are not eating!” He smirked.
“I’m sorry. I’m not hungry!!” She smiled slightly!
“Have tea, then!!!” He interlocked the fingers of his two hands into each other and placed them on the table, focused on her face and hiding a naughty grin. He knew exactly why she was not having her tea.
“No… thanks… Sir!!” She smiled again and started to get up!
“Ohh…no…no…no!! You are not going anywhere! Sit down and have the tea!”
She was about to speak something when Cabir entered his office, knocking the door but not waiting for the reply. When he stepped inside, a small whistle escaped his lips with a genuine shock on his face. “Nan~di~ni… Hii!! Am I missing something?? What is this tea party for??”
Nandini stood up from her chair to shift it slightly for Cabir to sit on the spare chair next to hers, but before that she hugged him briefly, “Hey Cabir!!”
“Hi Nandini…it’s great to see you again!! I mean… really great to see you ‘here’…”
Manik intervened, “Cabir, Miss Murthy has joined us today as her internship and training has been shifted to Zenith!”
Cabir was surprised, confused and excited. He twisted his lips in appreciation. He knew Manik so well!!
Cabir spoke while he sat down, “Oh that’s pretty awesome! Nandini, I must say that it is huge opportunity and you are going to benefit so much from this company! Loads to learn and damn good exposure you’ll get!!”
Nandini gave him a dry smile, “I’m sure!!!”
Manik could have laughed loudly if he was alone. Nandini was trying hard not to throw things at him. She was already irritated at him and he had no idea why he was enjoying the different expressions she sported from time to time!!
“Cabir, would you like to have tea? Nandini is not having hers… so you can take hers!!” Manik insisted. Nandini shot a nervous glance at Manik and her eyes widened at this!! Truly, a devil!!
Cabir was about to accept but before that Nandini placed her hand at the cup’s handle, “No…no… it’s cold now!!”
“Come on, Miss Murthy, it is still hot!! You just made it a moment back!! Have it Cabir!!” Manik smirked, infuriating Nandini more and making her nervous.
“No Cabir…” She nodded vehemently and stopped him.
“What’s going on, guys??” Cabir was clueless and he looked at both of them , one by one! Nandini was panic stricken and Manik was grinning.
“Don’t drink this tea…” Nandini requested.
“But why??” Cabir shrugged.
“Cabir, it is made by Nandini… and you ‘have’ to taste it!!” Manik was laughing by now and Nandini was glaring at him.
“No…no…no…no!!” Nandini almost stood up, taking the cup away from the table and placed it far away!
“I just don’t understand anything…” Cabir frowned and made a face while Manik was laughing hilariously… looking at Cabir who was looking at him like a confused idiot and Nandini, who was standing before him, frowning and fuming in anger!!
Nandini folded her hands across her front!! “Is it so funny, Manik?? You knew right?? You knew that I had put salt in it?? Then why are you pretending before Cabir??”
Manik was still laughing. Cabir was stunned, “Salt?? Eeewwww!!”
“Yes!! Contents of the entire dispenser!! Nandini Murthy had made tea with so much love for me… alas… I couldn’t have it!!” Manik was not only laughing but teasing her and she was glaring at him.
“I’m so upset!!” She declared.
“Because I didn’t drink that tea?? Or because your plan of making me puke, flopped??” Manik asked with a victorious smile, “It’s my office, Murthy!! I haven’t made that reputation, for nothing! You can’t fool me inside ‘my’ office!!”
“Tch… My bad!! Thanks for telling me… next time, I’ll try somewhere else!!”
She side-hugged Cabir and whispered a ‘see ya later’ to him, before she marched out of his office!
“I’ll be waiting for that ‘somewhere later’… ma’m’…!!”
She heard Manik call out after her, before she walked out of the door. The door handle was in her hand when she opened it. She turned to look at him, one final time, before leaving his room. His eyes for locked with hers for this one moment and for that small duration, the world seemed to stop existing around them.
She could live in those eyes, forever!! And, he could build their heaven around those beautiful magnets!!