“There’s nothing we can do, Mrs. Jha,” Mr. Aman Mathur informed her. “His lawyer is twisting the facts and making it seem like you are the one who was unfaithful in the relationship.”
“It’s Malik,” Anjali replied, staring at the window absent-mindedly.
They were in one of the conference rooms at Shaw L.L.P, an up and coming law firm that had, despite their young and amateur lawyers, gained a reputation of being a force to be reckoned with. However, that was not the case when it came to Anjali Jha nee Malik’s case. The bright green walls of the room and the tastefully placed accessories seem to be mocking Anjali at the moment. Her life has been anything but bright and put-together for the past couple of years.
Anjali was a cheerful girl, who despite the obstacles life had thrown at her, always had the ability to look at the bright side of a situation. But that was not the case anymore. She scoffed at the irony when she remembered how happy she had been, two years ago, to this day, when Shyam Jha had proposed to her. She had thought that this was her moment, the gift life had given her, for having a never say die attitude despite the hardships she faced in life. Oh, how wrong she had been. Her life up until the point she met Shyam had seemed like a cake-walk compared to what he put her through.
“What do you mean you cannot do anything?” Khushi said, enraged on her friend’s behalf.
“Ms. Gupta, we have tried attacking them from all angles,” Aman replied. “He simply is wealthier and has a better network which works in his favor. Not to mention that he has Arnav Singh Raizada representing him, the best divorce attorney money can buy in this country.”
Shyam’s company had taken off after Anjali married him. He owned a computer security firm which was hired by other companies to test the security of their networks, and to strengthen their firewalls. Shyam’s company had found a major vulnerability in the encryption software of one of the companies it was hired to test. The vulnerability affected the encryption software of more than 17% of the internet’s web servers that were well trusted up until that point. Since Shyam’s company was the first to discover it, they had a head start on the bug fix, which was delivered to all the affected servers. The incident had catapulted Shyam’s company into the international market.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Mathur. I thought we hired you to represent Anjali, not sing praises about Shyam and his bloody lawyer,” Khushi said, irritated.
“Khushi,” Anjali admonished. “I’m sorry, Mr. Mathur. She’s just irritated on my behalf.”
Khushi and Anjali had been best-friends since childhood. Both of them had lost their parents to tragic accidents and were placed in the same orphanage. Khushi was younger to Anjali by two years, and was the happiest person in the world, when Anjali had finally found a home with Shyam. However, that also meant that she was the one who felt most betrayed after Anjali, when Shyam turned out to be a total scumbag. She had come to see Shyam as an elder brother, and was heartbroken when Anjali told him that he marriage was not all it appeared to be.
“I completely understand, Ms. Malik,” Aman said.
“So what do we do now?” Anjali asked, leaning forward onto the table. “I don’t care if he doesn’t give me a penny in alimony, if that’s what’s holding us back.”
Aman fidgeted in his seat, “It’s not…exactly about the alimony.”
“Then what?” Anjali asked, frustrated. “What does he want from me!?”
“He wants…you,” Aman said. “He wants to stay married to you. He is not agreeing to a divorce.”
“What!?” Khushi screeched. “Oh, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me!”
“Khushi!” Anjali yelled, horried, but Khushi was beyond caring.
Giving Aman a dirty look, she stomped out of there.
“I am here to meet Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada,” Khushi said, tapping her foot impatiently.
“Let me take a look,” the receptionist said, typing into her computer. Lavanya Kashyap, read the nametag on her desk. She was a pretty girl with eyes that were painted to perfection. If only the girl learned how to smile, she would be a heart-breaker.
Khushi wondered if this elusive Mr. Raizada was also as uptight as his secretary seemed to be, and realized that whatever he was or was not, he must be a certified jerk to have taken over Shyam’s case.
“You can wait in his room,” Lavanya said, pointing to a door on her right. “He’ll be back in a minute from his meeting.”
Khushi thanked Lavanya and walked into the room she had pointed to, opening the door hesitantly.
The room looked like it was conjured straight from a catalogue. It was a vast space filled with minimalistic furniture that despite its simplicity had a classy elegance to it. One of the walls was made entirely of glass interrupted only by thin metal that held them together. The room was painted a dark brown, but the wall of windows and the light colored furniture made the room look inviting and bright.
Khushi walked over to the windows and gasped at the uninterrupted view of the ocean.
“Astonishing, isn’t it?” said a voice behind her, making her turn around, startled.
If she had thought the view of the ocean was beautiful, it was nothing compared to the specimen standing in front of her. His six-foot figure was clad in a three piece black suit, accentuating his lean figure. His hair looked like it had been coiffed to perfection, despite the fact that he was currently running his long, lean fingers through it absentmindedly. His eyes, the color of melted caramel, staring straight at her, sent a thrill through her spine. A smirk played on his lips, sending her heart aflutter.
“Yes,” she breathed, not knowing if she was reacting to him or his office view.
Arnav Singh Raizada was invincible.
That’s what everyone said about him, that’s what he said about himself.
For the first time in his life, he was defeated. The girl in front of him had felled him without even having uttered a word.
She was arrayed in a red dress that accentuated the creaminess of her skin. Her long, black tresses were left undone, framing her face in the most beautiful way possible. Her bangles chimed as she lifted her arms to tuck a wayward strand behind her ear. Her hazel eyes stared at him with open curiosity, but the innocence in them was what attracted him to her. She wet her lips in anticipation of speaking, drawing her eyes to their plumpness.
Damn, that’s one good-looking woman.
He was pulled out of his daze by her response to his question, the one he had forgotten the second he had laid eyes on her.
“Yes,” she whispered, staring straight at him.
The intensity of her response sent a jolt through him.
“Ms. Gupta, I presume?” he asked, extending his hand out, eager for a touch.
“Yes,” she replied, placing her hand in his. The jolt he had felt before intensified, and he pulled back his hand before he could make a fool out of himself.
“I understand you are looking for the services of a divorce attorney?” he asked, remembering why she was here, and pointing at a seat, as he walked around to his chair. He surreptitiously glanced at her neck and ring finger, only to find them both empty.
“I was looking for your services specifically,” she said, taking the seat he had pointed at.
He raised an eyebrow at that. She was direct, and he liked that.
“And what can I help you with?” he asked.
“It’s actually what I can do for you,” she said, ignoring his surprised expression. “I am about to save you the trouble of representing a scumbag.”
Had he thought her an innocent?
“I lied about my purpose when I got the appointment,” she said, stating the obvious. “I wasn’t sure if you would agree to speak with me if you knew why I was really here.”
“And that would be why, exactly?” he asked, glad that she didn’t need a divorce. This would make what he had in mind all the easier.
“Shyam Manohar Jha,” she said, without beating around the bush. “He’s lying to you, and I wanted you to know the truth before you went ahead and ruined Anjali’s life.”
He felt his playful demeanor slip away, as the lawyer took his spot.
“I can’t discuss this with you,” he said brusquely. “There’s this little thing called Attorney-Client privilege, you see.”
“I understand, Mr. Raizada,” Khushi said, equally bluntly. “You don’t have to discuss anything with me. In fact, you don’t even have to speak. You just have to listen to what I have to say, and then you can decide what to do with that ass-hole.”
Arnav felt a smile creep up on his face, but stopped it in its tracks.
Innocent, my foot.
“Are you listening?” she said, snapping her fingers in front of his face, bringing him out of his thoughts.
She had worked herself up with her little rant, the one he had failed to listen to because he was lost in his thoughts about how beautiful she looked. Her hair was flowing in the breeze coming through his windows, and her cheeks were red with anger. She clearly hated his client, and he was interested to know why, for sure. But he had something more important in mind first, and before he could control his brain, he blurted out…
“Go out with me.”
Her fingers stopped mid snap as she stared at him in shock. Her eyes became round, to the point where he was anxious that they might pop out. Her mouth formed an ‘o’ in shock, that made her look even more adorable, and him want to kiss her even more than before.
In for a penny, in for a pound.
“Go out with me. Dinner. Tonight,” he said, matter-of-factly, as if it was a normal occurrence.
If looks could kill…
She stood up from her chair abruptly, sending him a nasty glare before turning around and walking out the door, but not before she muttered, “I came to talk to one jerk about another!”
AN: This Two (or Three!) Shot is dedicated to all the people who made my birthday all the more special. This gift is nothing compared to what you lot have given me, but since stories are what brought us all together, I thought it would be a fitting thank you gift. Love you all!
Ruchi, a special mention to you because, like I said, I love you dammit!
This TS was inspired by the following Humans of New York post…
“How’d you meet?”
“He was representing my best friend’s ex-husband in a trial, and I marched into his office to inform him that his client was a lying scumbag.”
“And so what were you thinking while she was yelling at you?”
“That’s a good looking woman.'”
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Index : Blooming world