ups and down is a part of every love story 02

please read the first part before this ,if you are new

This is an awkward situation – but tempting and exciting. Unlike my usual, business-like self, I’m confused and struggle to make a decision.
What if Gaurav exposes my “secret” at work? What is best to do right now?
It’s so much easier to make decisions at work, where I am in control. This situation is not under my control. Not completely.
While I’m used to trusting my team to do their work – and do it well – this is different. Dangerously so.
But my life has taught me to take chances and rely on my own abilities. So I put on a brave face and offer for Gaurav to stay in one of my several spare bedrooms for the night. There are three, in fact, used by the girls when they stay over at the weekends.
Gaurav accepts the offer, with warm gratitude. I show him his room for the night.
“Would you like some chicken for dinner?” I ask.
“Oh, yes, please,” he says. “But I need some dry clothes first, if you have?”
I find him some spare clothes that Romita’s husband left the last time he was here – just shorts and a T-shirt. That will have to do.
“Are these your boyfriend’s clothes?” he asks, with a nervous smile.
“No!” I laugh. “My sister’s husband!”
We finally have a friendly – maybe slightly romantic – dinner, with lots of small talk but no more difficult questions.
At the end, exhausted, I say goodnight to Gaurav and sigh when I get back to the privacy of my own bedroom.

My bedroom is sacred. Violet and pink are the dominant colours, surrounding and complementing a similarly toned, heart-shape queen-size bed.
One wall is completely a set of French windows framed with pink and vanilla curtains that offer a wonderful, 16-floor view of the city below. The opposite wall is a huge bookcase with TV and music systems taking up part of it.
I look around this room which is so precious to me, with all its possessions both practical and sentimental.
And I panic.
This thing with Gaurav – wherever it leads – can lead to destruction.
If it goes wrong, I can lose my job and all my property – car, flat, everything.
I sit gazing out the French windows and cry quietly.
What I didn’t know was that Gaurav was also having restless thoughts.
As for Gaurav’s thoughts..?
He can’t believe what he has just seen. He thinks to himself about how girly and beautiful I am – although he knew me first as a guy. Now, he realises that I am not a guy at all. I am the beautiful girl he sees. He can’t sleep with all these whirling thoughts.
He tries to do some work. Gets thirsty. Heads off for the kitchen to see what’s in the fridge.
Passing my room, he hears me crying, faintly. He sees the door is not closed.
He walks in carefully and quietly.
I don’t hear him or see him at first. He sees me sitting and crying, framed in silhouette by the diamond lights of the city below.
I suddenly realise he is with me.
Then he sits facing me, not saying a word.
“Please don’t say anything about me…” is all I can say. I’m crying. Like a waterfall.
“Your secret is safe with me,” Gaurav says quietly and firmly. “And you look beautiful, despite the tears.”
I cry more and close my eyes to compose myself.
I feel his lips on mine, gentle and sweet. Something in me explodes. Or melts. Or both. I’ve kissed before but nothing like this. Every cell in me is trembling and yielding.
I’m still trying to cope with this wave of emotion as Gaurav suddenly leaves the room. I then hear my front door open and close.
Is that it?
I’m still panicking – and crying – I certainly cannot sleep. I put on some soft Moroccan music. Soothing. Distracting.
And Gaurav?
He walks along the road.
His mind is spinning with questions.
All about Rohit – Ronita. He knows the right name but old habits continue.
Questions about his own sexuality – does this mean he is gay? No – can’t be. He’s 6’2” and a member of a cricket team. He was always popular with girls. Good with girls.
Then why did he kiss her? Bisexual?
At this time of night, it’s a long wait before he finds a cab to get home.
An hour of questions that he can’t yet answer.
He hardly realises it when the cab gets to his place. Lost in thought.
At home, he sits on his bed. Typical bachelor apartment – mess everywhere. Untidy. Like his thoughts. He tries to find answers online – this is a new world to him. After several hours and nearly a packet of Marlboro, he grabs some sleep and the alarm goes off too soon.
For Gaurav, it’s a new day – in every possible sense of the expression.
Ronita wakes up with the sun shining. It’s a beautiful morning but then I remember all that happened last night. I’m panicking again. But I follow my usual schedule, my usual routine – and get to the office still trembling. Nervous.
This is like my job interview three years ago.
The surprise is huge. There is a huge bouquet of lilies on my desk. I call June and ask what’s going on?
“It’s that nice Mr Krishnan from marketing – he sent them,” says June. “He also sent you a message.”
I check my messages. How could I forget that? I always do that first. But not today.
The message tells me it’s great to work with such a wonderful person – and can we carry on with the project later?
I’m still nervous but I ask June to set up a meeting in an hour’s time.
I’m drifting – not focusing on work. There are messages from Romita – she’s going to the flat and has a key to get in. Also from Misti – she will pick up Aditi and Sharmila and be at the flat by 7pm.
Suddenly June calls to say that Gaurav is here for the meeting. An hour has passed as if it were a minute!
“Send Mr Krishnan in, June,” I manage to say.
“Good morning,” he smiles.
“Good morning, Mr Krishnan,” I reply quietly.
“I hope this is good news,” he begins. “Late last night, I worked out that we can speed up the backup system – and cut some costs in the process.”
“I… didn’t know you are a software engineer,” I say, surprised.
“Actually, I went from a BTech in software development on to an MBA in marketing. Marketing offered better opportunities, so I stayed with that but still have a developer background.”
“OK, show me…” I say.
Gaurav pulls his chair up close to me. We’re working on the software but all I can notice is his aftershave and his charm. I can see he sees me as Ronita – not Rohit Sengupta. I’m flattered and still nervous.
“This code looks very helpful,” I say. “I’ll tweak it and send it through to the test team. I’m impressed!”
Gaurav smiles and gets ready to leave.
But then he turns and speaks.
“Sorry…” he says.
“For what, Mr Krishnan?” I ask.
“Yesterday, I came back to your home without warning or polite prior notice.”
“That’s OK…” I smile.
“And, by the way, you are safe with me – no disclosure will happen.”
Instead of direct reply, I change the topic slightly.
“Thank you for the flowers, Mr Krishnan – they are beautiful!”
“Nor more than you, m’am…” he says and then leaves.
Those last words struck me dumb. I would not be able to reply, had he stayed. He called me “ma’m”!
Luckily, I don’t have much other work today – just following up on older development projects. This is really lucky. I’m lost. Can’t focus. Why can’t I concentrate on work?
Before I realise it, it’s lunch time. June calls and asks what she can order to have sent to my office.
“I think I’ll go to the canteen today,” I reply.
“Is everything alright?” June asks, obviously concerned.
“I’m fine…” I answer, but not really meaning it.
I’ve never done this before in three years here. Going to the canteen by myself. It’s not that I don’t like sitting with juniors and other people. It’s my natural caution – I always worry that I might let the act slip and people might start guessing.
But today, I need some air – and I’m becoming fearless. Last night, I was crying because the sky might fall. Today, I’m calm and content – but still nervous about where I’m going with Gaurav.
I order a coffee and grilled chicken sandwich, find a quiet corner seat. Around me, staff are sitting together – boys and girls. Nobody joins me but that’s because I’m one of the five company directors. Fear or respect? Who knows? It’s not important.
I’m only looking for one person and suddenly he is there – tall and handsome, gym fit, serious but magnetic expression. Could this be turning into something real? I know the stigma and the danger of office scandals. But everything is telling me the risk is worth it.
It’s not that I’m innocent or some sort of wallflower.
I’ve had many liaisons over the last few years – all from socialising at pubs and clubs with my dearest friends. I’m lost in thought when suddenly he is standing next to me and asking if he can join me.
“Of course,” I reply. There is no issue with a junior joining a director if they are working together on a project – it’s a working lunch, after all.
“Sorry to disturb you,” he says, smiling slightly. “You usually sit alone?”
“It’s nothing – I’m used to loneliness…”
“But maybe it’s not enjoyable?” he asks.
“Oh, I have spent most of my life alone – it seems normal,” I answer.
“May I ask a candid question?” he ventures. I nod approval.
“Are you a boy or a girl?” he blurts out quietly.
“What do you think?” I ask in return. I think he sees the sadness in my eyes.
“After last night…” he begins. “It’s hard to tell. I see you as a girl. Please answer my question?”
“I think you know – I am a girl. But born as a guy.”
I nod agreement.
“I’d… like to know more about you,” he says, hesitantly. “Would you join me for a drink after work?”
“That sounds nice,” I reply.
“Today, I mean,” he adds.
“Oh I can’t do it today – it’s the weekend,” I say.
“Are… you trying to avoid me?”
“No. Not at all. But after a week of work and living a fake personality, my weekends are a special time for me – to be me!”
“May we make it a date, instead?”
“Not during the weekend. My sister and my friends will be coming over. They know the real me. It will have to be Monday.” He looks sad.
“OK, but, if you like, you can join us?”
He has a huge smile. “I can be there by 7pm,” he happily answers.
“Now let’s get back to work,” I say.
“OK, ma’m.” he smiles back.
“By the way, please don’t call me that here at work,” I blush as I ask.
“OK,” he agrees, with a hint of a twinkle in his eye.

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