Arjun’s Jenny: Billionaire Possessive Alpha Male Age-Gap Romance (Unscripted Love Series Book 1)
Check the blurb.
The area buzzed with the excitement of the beginning of the new college year.
Non-stop chatter vibrated the walls. I overheard students gibbering about the latest movies, recent outings, and various accomplishments gained throughout the summer vacation.
Disbelief and astonishment marred their faces as they heard the tales of the thrilling escapades. The exhilaration and enthusiasm of students electrified the air. It was a sight to behold, and I cherished every moment.
I strolled the canteen searching for my friends, coming across Ramjibhai’s counter.
Students hovered around to get his world-famous Vada Pav, the cheapest but the tastiest. His garlic paste was spicy enough to make eyes water with a runny nose, yet we always insisted on extras. He bristled and begrudged at our demands but gave in in the end. His tough exterior had a kind heart.
I had forgotten the count of the free plates he gave away when students had forgotten to bring money or couldn’t afford it. He waved off apologies, knowing very well that the money was saved for buying video games, gifts for girlfriends, or arranging extravaganza dates.
I ordered myself a plate as I hadn’t eaten any breakfast.
Mom had called, taking away all my morning time. I smiled at the conversation I had with her an hour back.
“I miss you. Why you wanted to come here, I don’t understand.” She complained.
“Mom, I was with you for the last two months. And this college offers the best arts program.”
“Hmm, but staying away from your mom, that’s a good option for you?”
“No, it’s not. But I have to do this. And I asked you to come and stay with me here. You would also have a chance to experience Mumbai’s lifestyle, travel in local trains, and eat delicious food, not to forget the famous Pav Bhaji.”
“Let’s see if we can come for a few days. Only if your dad takes some time off from work. But he won’t.”
“Mom, I am getting late. And my battery is also low. Because we have been talking continuously for the last hour, I haven’t been able to charge my phone.”
“Yes, blame everything on your poor mom. We are the source of all your troubles. If Somesh wouldn’t come here, then you wouldn’t have got this wild idea.”
“Chill, mom, one year has already passed. Now only two years left. But I am preparing you, from now only. I would like to go for further studies here and also get some valuable work experience before coming home.”
“Huh, okay. I cry for you, but that doesn’t change anything for you kids nowadays.”
“Beta, I just miss you. We two are left alone here. You and Somesh, both in Mumbai, we feel all alone.”
“I understand, but what do you want me to do?”
“Nothing, you take care. And call me daily.”
“Never break our trust, Jen baby. Bye.”
Mom never thought I would go somewhere without her, but Bhai being here, I didn’t feel alone. He was my big brother who would always spoil me rotten.
Ambling ahead while eating the spicy Indian burger, I thought about my two days camping trip. Staying in a tent, hearing the roars of wild animals at night, and enduring below-zero degrees with Maggi and a hot cup of coffee were a few snippets of my excursion.
Being pampered for the rest of my vacation at home had lasting effects on my body, and the blame was on the oil and ghee-led meals that mom daily forced down my throat.
I got late as I had to dig into my old pair of jeans with a larger waistline as the current ones won’t fit.
My mind started drawing up a diet plan, but packed oily snacks and sweets from home–courtesy of my mother wavered my determination.
This was our ritual.
Whenever I visited, I came back with at least two bags of food. I rechecked my purse to confirm the Tupperware box filled with different varieties of snacks for my gals. They greedily awaited their share.
I readjusted the strap of my heavy bag, growing impatient to share my stories and meet them after such a long break. It was rare for me to take on adventure trips.
Generally, my vacations were always relaxing at beaches or hill stations, enjoying pleasant weather with unlimited food.
It was a penance, finding them in this overcrowded mess.
Our college was famous for having one of the most spacious canteens all over Mumbai, but at present, it seemed insignificant. Like us, everyone had planned to meet early, not leaving a single table empty. All of the hundred tables were occupied, voices mixing and creating chaos.
I couldn’t even call them as my phone sat in my purse, dead. I waved, noticing a few of my classmates. Sara and her group of girls were sitting at the corner table.
I marched towards them, optimistic, but stopped at the sight in front of me.
Sara was busy smearing multiple coats of blood-red lipstick. It sickened me to even watch.
Was she going to finish it all?
I narrowed my eyes in concentration but mentally kicked myself a second later for caring about this insanity.
“Hey Sara, how was your break?” I tried small talk.
Sara paused, saving the stick from its untimely death. She should thank me, having something left for tomorrow. As she was fair-skinned, red looked striking and flashy on her. A bold choice, but she wasn’t afraid. She looked like a sleek model. With her five-eight height and silky locks, she didn’t have to try hard. Yet her face was unrecognizable.
A thick patch of concealer along with a pink blush, eyeliner, and red lipstick coated her face, taking away her natural beauty. In a way, I admired her need for perfection as it took a dedicated amount of time to maintain a flawless look.
“Ah, see who has given us their precious time today?” She taunted.
Why was she showing an attitude?
I couldn’t remember ever crossing paths with her. We only interacted during the competition. Being part of the same team, we shared the first prize.
Sara’s sole contribution was being part of the winning squad. She can roll in hell with her attitude. I wasn’t interested, anyway. I just thought she might have seen my friends and will help me know their whereabouts.
“Did you see Claire or Priti?” I asked, strictly business.
I patted myself for not getting intimidated, achieving a new milestone. Her friends were silent, enjoying the show.
I had a few positive interactions with them when Sara wasn’t around. But in her presence, they lost their identity, following her like flocks.
Tapping her fingers on the table, she showed her red-clad long nails, pointed and perfect. The stark difference between us amazed me. I never cared about my looks, only ever had a compact, a present from Claire. She had gifted me a M.A.C powder last birthday, hoping I tried, but it still occupied a place in my purse, unused and in pristine condition.
I had merely removed the packing to appease and get Claire off my back. My well-shaped eyebrows were my only achievement right now.
My friends booked appointments with a parlor every month, so I looked in their words, presentable.
“No, I haven’t seen them. Do you want to sit with us?” Everyone stared, stunned.
Sara, who hated me for no valid reason, saw me with disdain and was inviting me to join them. Superb. The manipulative sly.
“Thanks but no. The lecture will start shortly.” I politely declined.
“Come on, the year has just started. Bunk.” She pouted.
Had she applied an outer line?
Her lips were actually not so full. Oh God, why do I care?
I dismissed the invitation and turned. There was a fuss. Jumbled words flowed everywhere, difficult to understand. What was everybody so thrilled about? I ignored them and returned to my current turmoil.
I walked a full circle but couldn’t find them. I cursed, checking the time, and rushed out. I couldn’t believe I had wasted all my free time searching for my friends. Punctuality was the mantra of this college.
Professors ensured we learned the value of time by reprimanding us before everyone for tardiness and marking us absent.
I strode at full speed toward the first class and ignored the notice board, part of my daily duty.
Claire didn’t care enough to check the notice board, or anything related to her studies. Priti and I both managed it. She gathered notes from professors or students, and I kept them up to date about any recent activities or notices.
I usually walked slowly, admiring the enormous campus.
Surrounded by trees at various corners, the area maintained its natural look.
We sat under the trees during examinations. Studying in the open but under the shadows of the towering trees was heaven.
The college recently bought more land, dividing the campus into two parts. One part was the old architecture of red brick buildings. Sturdy. The recent construction had a slick look of concrete material.
I passed a vast playground crowded with students practicing. Our college took part in many inter-college sports competitions, providing rigorous training to selected candidates.
I looked over my surroundings, still astounded to be part of this college. It was an honor, and I was proud of getting accepted.
My friends back home ranted on the phone about missing the fun. They felt jealous of seeing my photos and posts on Facebook.
Life in Mumbai had its charm. With the beaches, nightlife, and demanding working life, this city had it all.
I turned right towards the art section but stopped when I heard someone shouting my name. I spun to find my two best friends bent, trying to breathe.
Where were they? Were they waiting for me in the canteen? I should have found them. I wasted so long searching for them.
“Where were you two?” I asked, sprinting towards them.
“We were running behind you. You don’t even have headphones in your ears. Still, you didn’t hear us. I was screeching.” Claire snapped.
“I… I guess I didn’t hear. I checked every corner of the canteen but couldn’t find you.” I whispered, staring at my shoes.
I was a nervous wreck when someone raised their voice. Mom forced me to drama class years back, hoping it will help me to speak with ease. But I rebelled and stopped attending. That was my only victory.
“Jen, sorry. I didn’t mean to snap at you. She got caught by a professor, and we couldn’t avoid him.” Priti showed me the notes she had to compile for the professor.
“He gave me all of his work. If he couldn’t manage, he should have the decency to distribute it. But no, he assigned me everything. That lazy lad.” She ranted with disdain.
“Don’t worry, I will help. We can work on this after college today.”
I enjoyed reading, and Priti had always been supportive. I met her at the induction session, a day I could never forget. I could still replay it in my head as if it was yesterday. Not the first one to approach, I stood nervously at a side while other students were introducing themselves and already making groups. I felt crushed and broken by standing alone without friends.
Being shy had its drawbacks, and I was paying a heavy price for it, but later, Priti came along with Claire. She smiled, and I instantly felt at ease. Since then, we have been best friends.
“Oh, darling, you are the best. Crap, we are getting late. Let’s move.” Priti took my hand, dragging me.
“Wait, the classroom is this way.” I pointed and continued. “Did they change our building?” I asked, surprised.
We had pleaded for an upgrade. The building allotted to the second year’s art section was ancient and rusty.
They assigned new constructions with high-end technology to the postgraduate curriculum. It had air-conditioning and whiteboards. Here, we had old fans working like politicians, no work, only talk. Also, our hands and clothes were regularly covered with chalk dust particles due to writing on a blackboard.
Once during maintenance, we got the chance to attend sessions for a few days in modern classrooms. It was bliss, sitting in cold air, the latest style cushioned chairs, and using marker pens. We marched to the Principal’s office, demanding they give arts as much importance as other streams.
Quickly, the demand changed to pleading and later proceeding to beg. But it didn’t work. They ushered us back, disappointed.
“That dream will never come true. Forget it.” Claire piped in.
“Why is she dragging me in the opposite direction?” I asked, confused.
“We are not attending the lecture. Didn’t you hear the buzz? Everyone is talking about it.” I overheard the students nattering about something but couldn’t catch on to the words. I assumed they were excited to meet after a long break. I should have tried harder, but my focus was on searching for my friends. An utter failure.
“I met Sara, but she didn’t say much.” I grimaced, recollecting her red lipstick.
“Sara is a bitch. We are attending a seminar on business planning.”
Claire said in her best bookish tone as if she every day attended such events. We were art students, nowhere connected with commerce. Also, Claire loathed seminars and saw them as inadequate and useless.
Once as I forcefully took her, she whined every second to shut up only when I promised her a dinner treat.
“Why? You hate them.” I frowned. I looked at Priti for clarity, but she just shook her head.
“Because a hottie billionaire is conducting it. There are posters all around, his hard broody close-up face watching us, challenging us to come.”
Claire extracted one from her bag. Only she could remove a poster from a wall and take it. She unfolded the parchment, and I felt a sudden jerk, an instant pull towards the man staring unabashedly. He was rude and scowling in the picture.
Was he real?
A creepy photo on the walls. Was he trying to intimidate everyone?
Well, it was working. The college must have somehow pushed him for this. The longer I stared, an invisible rope pulled me to him.
Why was I attracted?
Yes, he looked handsome. His face passed all the checks for a bad guy. But an unfamiliar sensation crept inside, and the desire to touch him intensified. I held my hands to myself, not to appear foolish.
“See, he has hooked you in his trance.” Claire grinned.
I pulled my eyes off him to glance at her. She was right. There was something in his eyes that lured me toward him.
Was it longing? What did a billionaire crave?
Terrified but transfixed, I resumed gawking. If he was so grim, angry, perfect, and unbreakable in a photo, I was dying to see him in person.
“I hope we can get front-row seats. I want to have a closer look.” She drooled, her eyes dreamy and excited as we rushed towards the auditorium.
“Closer view, of what, the projector or his angry face? It will be a dull session.” I whined, avoiding the tingling sensation in my stomach.
“We have a pact, remember? Next three years, we do everything together. Bunk lectures, night outs, hopping pubs, all together.” She responded cheerily.
“Jen baby, Arjun Rajput is leading the seminar, and we have to attend. I have read all the magazines and newspaper articles which are already very scarce. He never gives interviews. No one has got a word out of him, and the reporters sometimes just write and gossip about him. Building everything from scratch, he is one of the youngest billionaires in our country. Not to forget also the hottest and most eligible bachelor. Never seen with any woman, the paper says, he doesn’t have time for this nonsense, or maybe he is gay.” Priti stated the facts.
I rolled my eyes. Now that I wasn’t gaping at the picture like a maniac, I deliberated rationally. He will not come personally, choose to send a representative, and I will miss the chance to see him.
A sudden uneasy feeling invaded. Loss and despair overwhelmed me as if my life would cease to exist if I missed the golden opportunity of his presence.
He will be there. He has to.
“How did he get the time? How did our college make him sign?” I tried to sound impassive, not wanting to look desperate.
“Don’t know, don’t care. Now walk fast.” We ran the entire way. The auditorium was on the other end. Among us, many students were marching and whispering in hushed tones. I heard a few snippets of their conversation.
Once he sees me, he will lose his stiff attitude and fall for me.
They will select my project.
Sponsorship is in my hands. Sponsorship? What’s that about?
I smiled at the euphoria he had created.
Everyone was talking, some smiling, some looked dazed, while others laughed at the private jokes cracked at his expense. But I was quiet. I had seen my share of drool-worthy guys, having grown up with Bhai’s friends without losing my shit. They didn’t attract me. It was a different story that they called me their baby sister, a greeting I secretly hated. Yet they were handsome and charming, as called by my school friends who would go insane seeing them.
They joked around me, trying to make me comfortable. But Arjun seemed to be in a different league. He was… intense and somehow forbidden for us, the humans.
My eyes bulged out as I met a queue of almost a hundred students.
We hadn’t even reached the curve where the auditorium was located. The line stretched, extending to the other lane and crowding everywhere.
Great, now we will have to wait under the sun. The heat was unbearable. But as I saw and overheard my surroundings, I heard his name on repeat mode, along with the shy and flirtatious smile from the girls and excited, hopeful expressions on the boys.
The burning sun above didn’t kill the spirits of anyone gathered here.
The excitement for a topic like business and eco was surprising as it was boring and yawn-worthy. Everyone was here to see Arjun Rajput. Interact with him, and get the best they can from him. My T-shirt was sticking to my body, the result of my previous excursion. I searched for any unoccupied area under the trees but failed.
The lane was packed, especially the corners, students cramped under the shadows of the giant trees.
“Shit, the line is so long, we will never find seats.” Claire cried.
“Wait, are they checking the IDs?” Priti pointed towards the entrance.
The guy who was scanning the IDs seemed familiar. But I couldn’t recall.
“Jen, he is the guy who has a crush on you. The entire last year, he has been stalking you.” Claire gushed, excitement shining in her eyes, her mind popping with crazy ideas.
As evil, as she was, I was convinced they won’t be appropriate. She had a devil’s mind, but we adored her as she bought vivacity to our small group.
“Oh, yes, I remember.”
They kept teasing me. He never came forward, content with staring from an adjacent table. We had a fixed place at the canteen, and this guy sat nearby and stared. Mostly, he was alone, glancing a few times while working on some papers.
I had forced out a promise from Claire to not create a scene. She was a thunder, always ready to strike, and I feared the repercussions.
“Go speak to him. We need to know why he is checking the IDs. We will hold your place here.” Claire pushed me towards him, ever impatient.
“Absolutely not. I am not starting the conversation. Let this session fly to hell.” I hissed, stomping my feet for effect. It’s okay. I will miss seeing him in person. Not a big deal.
“Jen, please. Don’t you want to see Arjun? He consistently has security tagging along, and no one can get near him. He is never coming back to this corner of the world. Move, he is going to answer you. He likes you. Take advantage of that.” She quipped.
I stared. Her pleading eyes were as fake as the very reason she wanted to attend the session. Her wheat-colored skin shined in the sunlight while her wild curly hair had a life of its own. She had sharp features, and her confident personality did wonders for her. The thick liner made her eyes attractive, but the nude gloss gave her a decent look. I sighed and said the next words, which I would regret forever.
Priti also threw an encouraging smile as she was also excited to attend the seminar. I would get marked absent on my first day because of Arjun Rajput, but I somehow didn’t feel guilty about it. Damn, the attraction had its own life and forced us to do things that we never imagined in our wildest dreams or even worst nightmares.
“The guy, whose name is also a mystery to us,” I uttered, trotting towards him.
No point in debating when I know Claire invariably wins. She always blackmailed me, aware of my non-arguing personality. A year back, I couldn’t imagine talking to a guy or starting a conversation. My friends had grown on me, making me a better person. Forcing me, helping me, fighting for me. The list was endless.
“Hi,” I mumbled as I reached the entry gate where he was sitting.
The guy didn’t look up, busy with his work. Unquestionably, I had spoken far too low for him to hear me. Clearing my throat, I was about to speak louder but stopped as he looked up, hearing the garbled voice.
“Hi,” I repeated, smiling a little while I bit my lip. My nervous habit of curbing my anxiety never escaped.
“Hey,” he smiled back but avoided eye contact.
Was he also anxious? His black eyes moved around while his hair fell on his face. He ran his fingers and tucked them behind his ears. He wore a modest white tee with blue jeans having holes all over. He was working most of the time, but if not, I had seen him playing football. I was sure he was trying to get on the team.
“What are you checking? We want to attend the seminar. It will help with planning for the future and…” I babbled, getting stuck at the end. I was so not used to this.
“But you are not a business major, right?” he asked, gesturing to someone to enter.
“No, still in the second year,” I whispered, knowing we had lost the chance.
“Oh, right, I forgot. This seminar is only for third years and students doing masters with a major in business economics.” He stated dutifully.
“Oh, my friends and I wanted to attend.” I pressed.
The guy looked over and saw Claire waving frantically. Sighing, he gave a timid one back. I saw the longing in his eyes.
Oh my God, he liked Claire and not me. She being so crass and loud, he must have never got the guts to talk to her. But his eyes softened at the sight of her, and I knew our entrance was a sure thing now.
“I can try to get you three inside. I assume you are best friends.” He spoke while staring at Claire, who was oblivious and chatting with a guy behind her.
“Great, thanks. Yes, we are.” I bit my lip before continuing, “Claire wanted good seats.” I said, hoping for the magic to run again. I felt horrible for using him.
“Yes, sure. We have set aside the first three rows for the participants. You can take that. Why don’t you call your friends, so I can let you inside? Please do this quietly. I don’t want anyone to create chaos. I could lose my job.” He said, apprehension clear on his face.
“Um, sure.” I turned, feeling guilty and awkward about getting the seats that someone else deserved. I didn’t even know his name.
Had I ever been more selfish?
I contemplated going back to ask his name, but a loud thud stopped me. We all looked at the source of the ear-splitting noise.
The auditorium door was shut too vehemently. Seconds later, a voice reverberated through the surroundings, someone yelling on the phone.
He undeniably matched the image Claire showed me.
Arjun Rajput. I recited his full name.
I stared, unable to unglue my eyes from him. He was tall, about six-two, and lean with broad shoulders. He had worn a white shirt, perfectly fitted, exposing his well-toned muscular arms with black trousers. His face was fierce, carrying a no-nonsense attitude, a leader whose command was ultimate.
I assumed he always got his way. Life never said no to him. I desired to unravel the emotions behind his stony orbs. But he was busy shouting down some poor soul, not caring for terrifying us.
“Follow my orders, or you are fired. Understood?” He barked, finishing the conversation without waiting for a reply.
Suddenly realizing he was in a public place, he glanced around the waiting crowd. His gaze moved lazily, captivating everyone.
The complete silence in the atmosphere was frightening compared to the chaos minutes before. I wished to move and join my friends, but my legs felt paralyzed.
My eyes waited, impatient for their turn, following his every move. His hands were casually tucked in his pockets like he owned the place.
His irises were brown, big, and round.
An electric shock passed through me when his eyes met mine.
Was he getting soft?
His cold eyes eased but stared straight into mine. Quickly replaced by hardness, but I undoubtedly saw the surprise in his eyes. His icy glare held mine.
Was he angry at me?
My body went still, and my eyes widened at his aloofness. I was trembling all over.
Was I terrified? No, it was something different.
My cheeks felt hot, a foreign sensation spreading, causing my knees to wobble. I grab hold of a pillar in time, saving myself from stumbling, but I still stared.
It was eons before his eyes moved, breaking the connection. I felt empty. Why did he look away? I wanted to cry at his rejection. Taking deep breaths, I looked down as if the floor held all my answers. But as I glanced back, his eyes were on me again, watching me.
My heart skipped a beat, and a silent scream left my lungs. He gestured, shocking me.
I frowned. Was he calling me? He nodded, answering my thoughts. He turned, walking back, not waiting to check if I followed.
I turned to look at my friends but met their shocked faces.
Priti ran her hands through her long hair while she gave me strength. Her large eyes popped out as she imagined my plight. I half-smiled because I had absolutely no idea what else to do.