Shalloween had been rearing the thoughts of Anubhav for last many years and had never allowed herself to think about anyone else all these years. After his accident and death, she became extremely vulnerable regarding the topics of love, marriage and boyfriend even though she is well aware of the fact that she can’t live her life like this till the end. Yet, she really doesn’t like discussing it any time. She knows, Anubhav can’t return back to her and she can’t feel his loving touches. She knows his comforting words can’t soothe her anymore yet she has been haunted by his thoughts every time she is emotionally weak or down. It is only her work and the passion to do well at her workplace that had kept her away from those thoughts. But this man, Shekhar Chandra and what all that happened with her for the last two days literally made her unstable, vulnerable and haunted her with Anubhav’s thoughts.
“Shalloween, I feel there’s something which makes you vulnerable and I think if you can talk it out to someone you can trust and feel close to, you’ll feel better.” Shekhar Chandra suggested with a gentle smile on his face.
‘Close? Trust? This man?’ Shalloween thought and scoffed in her heart but suppressed her feelings within herself. This man was seriously getting on her nerves with his creepy and cheesy behaviour. But out of courtesy and thinking about her position in regards to this man, she simply nodded and said, “Sir, I had someone close whom I lost in an accident. And that incident has literally shaken my life. Otherwise, I have nothing else that can make me underperform the tasks assigned to me.”
“You always take things very seriously. I have seen you at work, Shalloween. You never underperform. But are you not underperforming now, being with me for a night out?” Mr. Chandra grinned as he replied to her.
Shalloween smiled gently and politely replied, “Night out? Are you serious? I would prefer night outs with my own friends and family members, Sir.”
“So you don’t consider me as your friend?” He pretended to be upset and then grinned wickedly saying, “But I won’t mind going much ahead of being just your friend, Shalloween. And what’s wrong in this? Are we not both singles?”
That was a big lie and a joke that this man always said to everyone. Even his colleagues were not aware of the fake information which he had provided in his facebook account. He is a man above 50 years and about his marital status no one knew much. But Shalloween still believed that he was single though she didn’t like what he said. She literally got upset though she controlled herself.
“Sir, I respect you as you are a high official and much senior to me. Because of that respect and since it is your birthday, I agreed to keep your invitation. I am a little different from others and I don’t like such complicated statements. Please if we can keep our conversations professional I will be really grateful to you.” She gently and politely placed her feelings in front of Mr. Shekhar Chandra who was still wearing that wicked grin on his face.
“I know Shalloween, you are different. That is the reason why I fell for your charm and intelligence. And I am not shy to express myself“, he responded as he waved his hand towards a waiter to come over to their table.
Shalloween could not believe her ears and what he just had told her. She now started to feel uncomfortable in this man’s presence. She realised she made a terrible mistake by coming to this restaurant keeping his invitation. She took time to gather herself as the waiter came to their table and to her surprise he ordered two glasses of whiskey. She could not take it anymore but said, “Sir, I don’t drink and I won’t like it if you drink in my presence, so please let’s keep this dinner simple or else I will make a move now.”
“Have I not supported you in the office when your own bosses were against your report? And don’t you know, it was because of me, they kept their mouths shut and no one dared to speak a word against you? Why? Because you are a good woman and deserve the best in life. And I can give you the best which no one else can give you… Can’t we be…just… I mean.. Do you understand what I….” Mr. Chandra paused as he bragged about his power and how helpful he was to her while he attempted to get into Shalloween’s inner circle and seat on the throne of her heart which she has kept it empty for years.
“I am very grateful to you, Sir. I will always be grateful to you for your support. But please don’t expect anything in return apart from work assignments. I think, it’s already very late and if you don’t mind, I will take your leave.” She was blunt and polite at the same time when she made that statement as she stood up to walk away from that restaurant.
Mr. Chandra could neither force her nor tried to compel her much, but requested her to finish eating before walking out. He thought he had to find a way to trap her on a later date, not today for sure.
That evening, when Shalloween returned to her flat, she wept holding her pillows thinking about all that she had to go through and how lonely and vulnerable she felt. She regretted accepting the dinner invitation and tried her best to sleep as soon as possible instead of brooding over all that happened that evening.