SHORT STORIESPOEMSGUEST POSTSTRAVELOGUESMIDNIGHT MUSINGYOUR STORYMORNING MOTIVATION

The Elevator Ride

By Dee Kay & Roy

( Follow Dee on Instagram , Follow Roy on Instagram )


“I don’t know.” Adya said as we stood in silence on the rooftop of our office building. The pounding heart began to mellow down a bit as the soothing evening breeze brushed against our faces. The busy city streets looked peaceful even though the chaotic noise tried to break the Zen of our secret hideout.

“Say something.” She said in her concern-induced voice as I continued staring at the never-ending horizon.

I could feel her eyes noting the slightest of movement of my face as if decoding the unbreakable code to see into that mind of mine. I turned to look at her, only to forget what I was about to say as the pureness emitted by her face made me its prisoner. Those deeply concerned eyes peering through the defenses of the invisible wall I have put around me. I don’t know why but I could sense her look beyond the usual me that everyone else saw. Just then, the phone vibrated and broke my silent admiration of her persistent self.

“They are waiting for us.” I spoke for the first time in the last 10 minutes. She gave a nod even though I could see numerous questions in her eyes. She didn’t say another word and led the way to the elevator. I quietly followed her into the elevator. The control panel displayed ‘R’ on the screen as she pressed the floor 9th button. The harmonious elevator music began to play we descend towards the office. Unknowingly, my sight was fixed at the control panel screen as it read,

‘30’

“Excuse me. Can you tell me the way to the drama class?” I heard a sweet voice as I turned around to inspect. It was a new girl so I arrogantly decided to play a prank and send her towards the old boy’s washroom.

‘29’

“Dude, there is this newbie who was sent into the old washroom of ours.” I heard a guy share the story from last week. I still couldn’t stop laughing.

“Adya from drama class, right?” He said as they laughed at my mischievousness.

“So here name is Adya.” I thought to myself while continuing smiling about the incident.

‘28’

“Adya Sharma” The principal announced the name for the best achiever of the college.

“Isn’t she the one whom you sent to the old washroom last year?” A classmate enquired as I proudly gave him a nod.

“Aye washroom queen.” Someone shouted from behind as the whole auditorium was taken over by a fit of laughter.

‘27’

‘Karan Malhotra’ the principle called out for me as I had won the best player award at the college sports meet.

‘Go KM’ a friend of mine screamed from the back as I walked towards the stage. Slowly the hooting gained momentum and fed to my ego as I walked past Adya without even noticing her but I felt her eyes on me, glaring.

‘26’

“See how many marks I got.” I asked a friend as he checked the results for our final semester.

“Pass”, he screamed back as I smiled while high fiving everyone.

“You’re first in the class, Adya.” I overheard someone say as I turned only to end up making eye contact with Adya. She didn’t flinch but I felt embarrassed for some odd reason so I turned back. I felt her eyes on me which made me uncomfortable so I walked away.

‘25’

“Remember that girl… the one whom you sent to the washroom…”, my friend tried to remember her name when someone else blurts out.

“Washroom queen”, everyone laughed so did I but then I felt some unease as I remembered her name and those eyes.

“She was on the cover of that fashion magazine’s latest edition”, He said. I felt happy for her and ashamed of myself. It’s been more than 3 years since I passed out of college and I faded her out of my memories.

‘24’

“You would be handling this new project.”, the head of the department told me as she continued.

‘I need you to find me a new face. A girl that has pureness on her face but her eyes should be piercing as she can look within you.’, She concluded as her last sentence immediately reminded me of Adya. I wonder if I should even approach her.

‘23’

“The model is here.”, the receptionist spoke over the phone. There was a sudden urge to escape but also an anticipation of what was about to unfold. I took a deep breath and replied.

“Send her to the conference room.”

‘22’

Adya sat opposite the team from the marketing department and me as we began the casting process. She handed over her portfolio file as I ignored making eye contact with her. I went through her photographs and with each photo that I saw; I was convinced that she would be perfect for the job. I passed the file to the team and muttered the courage to speak.

“It’s Adya, right?”, I immediately regretted asking the question as I could see on her face that she remembers me and here I was pretending not to know her.

‘21’

“Karan, you finalize the whole schedule with her and then we can discuss the dates for the shoot.”, the marketing department gave me their green light. They walked out and what followed was an awkward long silence as it finally hit me that there were just two of us in the room and I would need to talk to her after the earlier debacle.

“You… You are… You are okay working with this brand?”, I spoke.

“It would be an extreme privilege for me.”, she replied in no time. I wasn’t expecting this level of professionalism but I think that is how it is so I rolled with it.

‘20’

“Thanks, Karan for referring that new model. She was just amazing.”, the head of the marketing company said.

“I am glad we hired you for casting.”, his voice began to fade away as the word ‘NEW’ kept repeating on a loop in my head. The new model. The new girl. The washroom queen. Adya Sharma.

‘19’

“Adya!”, I nervously said.

“Yes, Mr. Malhotra.”, her cold tone made me even more anxious.

“Can we meet?”

“I will be there in your office tomorrow… by 1 in the afternoon…”, she spoke without even giving me the time to think.

“I won’t be in the office at the time so can you meet me at the NYC rooftop restaurant?” I blurted out.

“Okay.”

‘18’

The clock was running slower than usual or maybe I was just thinking too much about the outcome of this unprofessional meetup. I had arrived at the restaurant 15 minutes before the scheduled encounter with Adya. The waiter has already served with a couple of glasses of water. Just then, I noticed her approaching me from the entrance. She was 5 minutes early. I need to apologize for the college thing. I really need to get that burden off the rest.

“Hello, Mr. Malhotra.” She said with a slight smile. I reciprocated but her voice intimidated me from speaking my mind so I spoke about her shoot and how glad the client was with her work for the extent of the lunch.

’17’

“I should really get going Mr. Malhotra. I have another meeting to discuss the next Ad campaign.” She said standing up from her chair. I gave her a nod as we exchanged pleasantries as she prepared to leave. Just as she was about to walk away, she turned around and said,

“They told me how you convinced them for choosing me so thank you.” Her voice was a little less cold this time. I smiled back as she walked away.

‘16’

It’s been more than a month since my dinner with Adya and I haven’t heard from her. I don’t even know why am I even expecting her to message or call me but a part of me just does. I have stopped myself from messaging her on numerous occasions, as I never could find a good reason to message. I just sat in the office looking at portfolios of models but unable to focus when the phone buzzed. It was a message from Adya,

‘Meet me at the same place tomorrow? Say around 4…’

I don’t know why but my fingers typed ‘Okay’ and hit send without letting the mind comprehend it completely.

‘15’

I reached the restaurant 5 minutes early to find her sitting at the same spot as last time. There was that same anxiousness that I felt on the prior meet up as I walked towards her. The way she was looking at me was much more warmer than the way we met at the office. After the customary hellos and small talk, she took the moment to express her gratitude. I had started to enjoy her company more as the anxiousness slowly began to fade away.

‘14’

The phone began to ring continuously, as I had to excuse myself to attend a call from work. It was then that I realized we have spent more than 2 hours and I wondered how time just flew. I returned to her after the call.

“Sorry about that. It was work. So whatever we talking about” I asked foolishly even though I remembered exactly what we were talking about.

“You remember college?” She said and immediately the uncomfortable feelings returned. I was about to lie to her that I don’t remember much about the college but then I decided to address the issue head-on.

‘13’

“I wanted… to say this.. for a long time…” I spoke softly as her attentive eyes focused on me.

“I am sorry for what I did to you.” At last, I spoke the truth.

“For what?” Came her instant reply, which only made me more confused. Does she even remember what I did or is she just testing whether I remember it or not?

“I gave you the direction to male washroom instead of the drama class.” I could sense the shame in my voice. She just sat there in silence as those seconds felt like minutes.

‘12’

“I know… How the whole college teased for it even after I left so I am genuinely sorry.” I spoke as I saw a tear roll down her beautiful face. She took her time before she could manage to speak.

“It was… a rough time… for me… but honestly, it helped me more than it hurt me.” Her words came as a surprise to me. She continued.

“What you did gave me a reason to hate you… but…” I could feel the pain in her voice and the hate made me feel ashamed of the person I was during that time.

“But it also distracted me from the pain of losing my father.” She covered her face as sobbed. All I could do was sorry for my action and watch her tear up as a result of it.

‘11’

I need to own up to my actions from the past, as I couldn’t watch her cry because of it, anymore. Therefore, I walked to her side and went on my knees while consoling her. She raised her drenched face but had a smile on her face.

“Thank you for helping me realizes the strength I had in me.” She spoke as her hand wiped the tear off my face. I had not even felt the tear escaping my eyes. I held onto her hand and murmured an inaudible sorry. She shook her head as I felt a big burden off my soul. We talked for a couple of more hours as I canceled all my appointments for the day.

‘10’

It’s been more than 6 months since I told her that I was sorry and ever since we have been in touch. We speak every day on either calls or messages and plan weekly lunch or dinners. She even jokes about being the queen even if it is just of the washrooms only to make me feel embarrassed. I don’t know why but I look forward to talking to her at the end of the day. She would talk about her day in acute detail and even help me open up about mine. I have developed feelings for her and I need to confess so I messaged her.

‘Meet me at my office rooftop at 10 PM’

The message was delivered and I realized the seriousness of what I was about to do so the old anxiousness returned. I check the clock and it was already past 8 and now I panicked.

‘See you there.’

Her reply came, which only added fuel to the fire.

‘9’

I was standing near the roof railing when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I knew it was she so I took a deep breath and turned around. She was looking a bit nervous too. I was about to start talking when she said,

“I need to talk to you.”

“I am listening…” The heat began to pound so hard that I thought I was having a heart attack.

“You have been a really good friend of mine for the past 6 months and it feels like a blessing. I don’t want to lose you as a friend so…” She paused. I could see her breathing pattern change from short to deep inhales.

“So please don’t take this in a wrong way.” She continued.

“I hope you understand.” I guess I know where this is going. She never asked me to develop feelings for her nor did she ever indicated that she was interested in me other than my friendship. So here, I was standing at the rooftop of my office and preparing to be friend-zoned.

“I have feelings for you.” She said and I stood there motionless. I wasn’t expecting it while my mind was still preparing for a rejection from her but her reply just put it on overload as I lost my ability to even think. I turned and began to look at the city.

“I really don’t know.” Adya said as we stood in silence.

“Say something.” She said in her concern-induced voice as I continued staring at the never-ending horizon.

I could feel her eyes noting the slightest of movement of my face as if decoding the unbreakable code to see into that mind of mine. I turned to look at her, only to forget what I was about to say as the pureness emitted by her face made me its prisoner. Those deeply concerned eyes peering through the defenses of the invisible wall I have put around me. I don’t know why but I could sense her look beyond the usual me that everyone else saw. Just then, the phone vibrated and broke my silent admiration of her persistent self.

“They are waiting for us.”

*** ***

I stepped out of the elevator and she followed me with her head held low. I turned and I held her face in my hands.

“I love you…” I spoke my true feelings as I planted a kiss on her lips.


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