Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any incident or any person living or dead is purely coincidental.
Caution: Please don’t read this story if you’re looking for a happy ending or just an ending for that matter.
[Prequel to Always at Your Service]
He enters the cafeteria with a dramatic but imaginary background music in his head. He knows the area she prefers for the afternoon tea. And she was there.
As he reaches towards them, all her friends in the table divine something very interesting. They drop their discussion, which was more or less useless for them anyway, and wait for him. And when he is finally there, everyone looks at him, except for her who was looking at her empty cup, and except for him who was looking at her after waving his hands with a soundless ‘Hi’ to everyone.
He: I seem to have lost my phone number. Can I have yours?
>> Everyone in the table tries hard to control laughter.
She: (Smiling) No.
He: Okay. I understand.
>> He pulls in a chair for himself and continues
He: You must be very tired.
She: No. Why?
He: Because you’ve running in my mind all day.
>> By that time, everyone on the table was laughing out loud. And as they all plan to leave the couple alone, one of the friends in the table asks him: “Where did you find these stuff bro?”
He: Just Google for “Pick up lines” boss.
She: Done yet? Or do you have more of these stupid pick up lines to show off?
He: I do have more, but I think I’ll use them later.
She: Use them later or on someone else?
He: Someone else? No way!
She: And why are you in office today? Didn’t the doctors advise you to take rest?
He: It’s our one week anniversary today you know.
She: Am I the girl in our relationship or am I wrong?
He: I think I don’t have a backup pick up line for this situation.
She: Okay, I’ve to get back to my desk now. We’ll talk later. You should really go back to home. Let me call aunty.
>> She gets up to leave
He: (Holding her hand) Hey, wait! I have something very important to tell you.
He: Please sit. It won’t take more than a minute.
She: And you wasted so many on your pick up lines. Again, you already have my number and I’m not tired.
He: (Smiling) That’s my girl!
She: Now tell me what you wanted to tell. I really have to get back to my desk.
He: Please take the day off.
>> His reflex starts betraying him; the ever smiling face turns into a pale one in a matter of seconds, as if it was an abrupt transition to a different scene in a play. He could always handle the pain, but the fear of future or the absence of that, was unfathomable.
She: What happened? Someone is very moody today, huh!
He: Can you?
She: Of course dear. Now tell me what happened.
He: My medical reports came.
She: And? Everything is fine right?
>> Her heartbeats were louder than her words as she was trying very hard to put on a smile, as if she knew that at least one of them needed to smile
He: I’m sorry!
>> His voice breaks down
She: Hey. Let’s get out of here.
>> They both leave for his home and that’s the day Shruti finds out that Aakash may not be able to come to office anymore. Eventually that was her last day in that office too.