Our Secret Romance – Chapter 1
“Did you see him?” My best friend, Meghana, asked me.
“Um… yes. My eyes are glued to him. I cannot look away, even if I want. Oh my God, did you see how he rubbed the towel on his back? Did you see his bulging muscles?”
I saw my hands shaking and knew he was making me crazy and nervous.
“Hard to miss. I think I am going to faint.”
So, it wasn’t just me. He was affecting Meghana just as he was affecting me. Meghana grabbed my arm, and I rubbed the back of her hand that was gripping me.
“No way. You will miss everything if you faint.” I said, shuddered, and continued. “Who showers in the office? And who roams around the cabin in just a towel?”
“Rajat Bhattacharya, of course. He has golden skin. So, the rumors were true. How would it feel to touch it? I am tempted to run my hand over his smooth skin.”
“Not golden. More of a biscuit color. What if Rajat had only one towel? How would he rub his back while hiding his private parts?”
Meghana made a sound like she was choking, and I rubbed her back. She let out a sigh and turned, leaning against the table.
“Hmm… am I drooling?” I asked her as I also turned.
“If you mean, is your saliva on your new shirt? Yes.”
“Yikes.” I wiped the side of my mouth with the back of my hand. This should do. I didn’t have a napkin with me.
After a few seconds of break, we returned to our mission of watching our super boss, Rajat Bhattacharya. He rubbed his towel on his head, his movements vigorous as he dried his hair.
The vision of his wet hair and the drops falling on my face made me gulp a few times. He was my boss. No way in hell I would ever get the droplets from his hair. Someone else would get those diamonds. I would only get the drool.
Our eyes were on our crush as he pressed a button, and an automatic panel opened, and a hidden wardrobe emerged. Our mouths opened in shock as we saw his office wardrobe. This guy was from a different universe.
We hadn’t seen this before. Rajat had an outfit ready for him every day. But today, we got to see his secret wardrobe. Removing a pair, Rajat again pressed a button, and the panel sunk back into the wall.
I should know about this because I helped with the renovations. But I guess they added this in the last two days when I was assigned another project and had to accompany Ritesh outside.
Rajat grabbed the bottoms and turned away, heading to his private bathroom. It was exclusive and only for him because I hadn’t seen a bathroom in the other offices.
We both sighed and sat on our butts.
We were crouched under the desk on the twenty-second floor. This was our daily activity. Our shift started at 9:00 AM, but we came in early at 7:30 AM because Meghana, my friend, had a thing for her boss’s boss. Wait, maybe his boss.
We had no clue, as we were at the bottom of the hierarchy. Sometimes I would just open our company’s hierarchy tree chart, and Rajat Bhattacharya was on the top. Then came Armaan, my boss, but I was nowhere there. Assistants don’t get included in the hierarchy tree.
Argh, forget it.
Meghana had a thing for the CEO of the company. It was just a crush, but we always did things together, and this time it was no different.
Rajat had just taken over last month.
Previously, he handled the overseas business, but now that his dad had retired and he was heir, it was about time he came in and took over his legacy.
How do I know all of this?
I was in London last year with my boss for office work. We met there.
While Meghana drooled over him, he stupefied me in his presence. He paralyzed me the moment I saw him last month, during the surprise party the company had kept. But it wasn’t a party, not really. The company had arranged a party to introduce him to everyone. Mr. Savant Bhattacharya, his dad, was everyone’s favorite, and everyone was eager to know his son.
Rajat made me forget my name, my existence. I was an assistant to the COO of the company—Armaan Ahuja, so I interacted with bigshot people daily. But Rajat stopped my heartbeat the minute he entered the same arena as me.
It wasn’t like this when we were in London. We were cordial there. Rajat was in a crisis when we went to London for a meeting. His assistant went on impromptu leave, and I had to play assistant for him. It was blissful three days of my life.
Of course, while other assistants went out in the evenings, I was stuck in his office until late every night I was in London, but I didn’t mind. We had our private late-night dinners, and I missed those days. I missed the silent comrade we shared.
I should be the one to have a crush on him, but I was playing the victim instead. He had wounded me, no doubt about that.
Meghana knew nothing about it. No one knew. I was too stunned to speak about this to anyone. Meghana knew I had to help him in London but was unaware of the details. No one knew about the parting gift he gave me after ignoring me the entire time I worked for him.
I still used the coffee mug he had given me. It was his coffee mug, but I had my eyes on it the moment I first served him coffee inside it. He saw me ogling the cup, and I didn’t hide my fascination. On my last day, he casually asked me to take the mug, and I didn’t need to be told twice. He saw my grin and shook his head, watching me with a smile.
I cherished it and safeguarded it more than myself. Every morning, I drank my first cup of tea in his cup, but I never got it to the office. People stole cups here, and I would never let that happen to my cup.
“Where have you got lost, Nandini?”
I sighed, returning to the present. I thought we had a connection, but he didn’t even remember me. So, I let Meghana have a crush on me. Anyway, it was superfluous. Rajat Bhattacharya was so out of our league.
“Nothing. Let’s go.” I said, my tone sad.
“You should go and say hello to him. He is, in a way, your boss too. Technically, you have worked for him in London, so a good morning wish won’t hurt.”
“Nope,” I muttered, my tone a little too snappy.
“C’mon, he didn’t recognize you because there were around two thousand employees when he addressed the team. You cannot judge him so harshly for this.”
“Right. But the two thousand employees didn’t play assistant to him. I did. And he moved ahead without recognizing me as if I hadn’t given up my first international trip for him. I didn’t see London because he needed help, Meghana. And the audacity of the guy. He didn’t even remember me.”
“You are right, but give him another chance. I am ready to give him to you. My crush is not on him, but on his body and skin color.”
I gulped, hearing Meghana’s words. Rajat was perfect, but I won’t forgive him so quickly, even though my forgiveness matters little. “Nope. Rajat has lost his credibility in my eyes.”
“Is that so?”
Our heads jerked up at the masculine rumble. Time stopped, but in reality, it didn’t. I heard the clock ticking because Meghana had stopped breathing, and there was complete silence.
Meghana and I were huddled close, crouched under the desk, but our game was over. She grabbed my hand, and I winced. Rajat’s eyes went to my hand where Meghana was gripping me hard. He kept staring without a word.
Three weeks of blissful staring came to an end. I had to do something. Meghana was out of her element, but I had to save the situation.
“Good morning…” I stammered and pressed my palm on the floor to take support and stood. Meghana stood with me, but her grip on me tightened.
“Who has lost credibility in your eyes, Nandini?” Rajat asked, but his tone had a hint of glee as if he was enjoying this.
My mouth hung open. Rajat addressed me by my name.
How was that possible? Did that mean he remembered me?
“You remember my name?” I said, but it came out in the form of a question.
“Of course. You saved me once. Just say the name so I can take care of it. Who do I need to teach a lesson? Or throw out.”
Rajat winked as if throwing someone out was a joking matter. It wasn’t. Being Armaan’s assistant, I had seen people crying when Armaan asked them to pack their bags.
It was never easy for him also to do it, but he had no other choice. He told me it was Rajat’s orders, and he couldn’t do anything but follow his instructions.
Rajat looked over, amused, his lips tugging at the corners. Damn, I missed watching him. I used to do that through the corner of my eyes when I was in the same cabin with him, sitting in my corner.
Rajat worked too much, and while I worked hard, I could juggle.
“You will take care of it?” I asked, eyebrows raised.
Truthfully, I was only stalling. When will I get another chance to talk to him? Never. So, I used this opportunity to spend as much time with him as possible.
“Didn’t I just say that?”
“Hmm… you did. But I don’t believe you.”
That made him smile wider. At least I was amusing to him. And his teeth were perfect, white, and pointy. I shook my head at my train of thought.
“What do I have to do to earn your trust?”
“Remember me the first time you see me. Bye, sir. Have a good day.”
He hadn’t asked us what we were doing while crouched under the desk. I had a lie ready in case he needed it. But he hadn’t asked. Did that mean he knew why we were here on the twenty-second floor?
I took another nervous swallow while his eyes stayed on me. Meghana stood by my side, taking cover behind me as if I could save her. I would. I was a very protective friend.
Nodding once to Rajat, while he didn’t react, I turned.
I took a step and another, and another, my heart caught in my throat, anticipating Rajat stopping me any moment now. He didn’t. But I heard his chuckle and his footsteps which gradually decreased. He was moving away.
Once by the door, I grabbed Meghana’s arm and turned. Grabbing her arm was for support, and turning was because I needed to be up on my game. I needed to know what Mr. Rajat Bhattacharya was up to.
Rajat was about to close his office door but turned as if sensing me watching him. Our eyes met, and something happened, and I fell on my butt.
Damn, what a scene!
My legs bloody gave away. Rajat grinned, shaking his head, and turned. He went behind his desk to his chair while I stayed where I was, on the floor. He sat on his plush chair and stared through the glass walls, his palms intertwined through the fingers, settled under his chin.
Rajat didn’t blink as he watched my every move.
I narrowed my eyes, and he again grinned, showing me he wasn’t the guy everyone thought he was. Everyone was afraid of him.
Meghana helped me stand, but my eyes stayed on him just like his.
My heart stuttered inside my chest as I remembered how sweetly he had taken my name. So, he did remember me.
Did he know we had been doing this for the past three weeks?
“Oh, my God, that was hot. I hope we don’t lose our jobs.”
“We won’t. Rajat could have done that if that’s what he wanted. He didn’t.”
We called for the elevator, and Meghana swiped her card and pressed the fourth-floor button. It was where we worked.
Rajat worked on the twenty-second floor. I couldn’t imagine a guy having the entire floor to himself, but Rajat did. It would be dull to be staying alone because even his assistant worked on the fourth floor.
Paul kept running to the twenty-second floor every ten minutes. We all pitied him because it would have been better to have the boss and assistant on the same floor. But Rajat wanted privacy, or so we heard. Paul had accompanied him from London, but it was just temporary until he found someone reliable here.
I never thought Rajat was uptight, but Paul said otherwise.
Did Rajat go easy on me in London? I shrugged off my thoughts as we stepped out of the elevator.
Thank you for reading the first chapter. You can read the complete book here.
Read the other short stories
A Touch From a Stranger (click to read)
Beautiful book with a wonderful heartfelt story. Loved it