The Arrangement

By: P.G. Van

“You’re the best, Mahen. I love you so much,” she blurted and bit her tongue.

What the heck was she saying?

“Good night.” He smiled before closing the door behind him.

Niha was glad he didn’t pay much attention to her words and left closing the door behind him. She lay in bed, smiling like a fool excited about her now-perfect life. She had everything she ever wanted and a shower too.

Silly Niha.

The way Mahen moved in her room, which was now her personal space, excited her. She had been near other men, even closer in some of the intimate scenes in her movies and had interacted on various levels as part of her work and social gatherings but never felt this nervous excitement.

She shook away the raging thoughts and the handsome face with those intense eyes out of her mind and welcomed her state of slumber.

Chapter 6

“Niha, good morning,” Ratnamma said, smiling.

“Good morning, Ratnamma.” Niha yawned, pulling her long hair into a knot.

“Can you please take the coffee to Mahen’s office?” she pleaded.

“Sure, no problem.” Niha smiled and took the steaming mug of coffee upstairs.

Niha watched her step as she carried the coffee mug up the stairs and into his office. Mahen was behind his desk, looking at his computer intently. She knocked on the glass door and entered when he gestured her to come in.

“I brought you coffee.” She smiled, placing the mug on the desk in front of him.

She turned away from him to walk away but stopped when his fingers closed around her wrist. She looked at him, questioning his intent.

“Did you make the coffee for me?”

She smiled, feeling uneasy about him holding her hand, but she did not pull away. The weirdness was gone when he smiled and pulled her closer to him as he sat on the chair.

“Ratnamma made the coffee.”

“When will you make me my favorite dish?”

“I have to learn to make you something and then…”

He didn’t let her finish. “What if you can give me what I want, right now?”

“I can? What do you want?” She scrunched her nose and looked at him as he stood up, still holding her hand in his.

Her eyes widened when he slowly took the back of her hand to his lips. “I want a kiss.”

A sudden heat enveloped her, and she looked at him not knowing what to do. She wanted to feel his lips on hers, but she stared at him, at his lips hoping they would descend on hers.

“Kiss me.” She rolled her eyes shut, letting out a moan against his lips when he swept his lips over hers.

“No,” Niha said and sat up in bed. She looked around her room and realized it was a dream. She swore under her breath and hid her face in her palms, her heartbeats deafening her.

What the heck was that dream?

Niha’s skin continued to tingle as she ran her fingers over her lips as if to confirm they were untouched. “What the heck was that?”

A few minutes later, she stepped out of her room and went toward the kitchen. Naani was at the table in the kitchen talking to Ratnamma.

“Good morning, Naani.” She bent down to wrap her arms around her.

“Good morning, Niha. Would you like something to eat or drink?” she asked, and Niha shook her head.

“Niha, I need your help,” Ratnamma called out to her.

“How can I help?” Niha smiled.

“Could you take coffee to Mahen? He’s in the office in a meeting.”

It was déjà vu for Niha. “What?”

“The coffee on the table is for Mahen,” Ratnamma repeated without looking at Niha.

“Umm… I… I…”

“Niha, there’s nothing to be scared of. Mahen was fine after you talked to him last night, right? He’s a nice boy, just short-tempered sometimes,” Naani said, picking up on the apprehension.

“He’s in a meeting, and he will be disturbed if I go,” she blurted.

“It’s his early morning meeting, and he will be cranky if he doesn’t drink his coffee. Go give him his magic potion.” Naani laughed.

A shudder passed through her at the memory of her dream and dreaded going up to his office. She had been in situations where men had hit on her or made a pass at her, but she was able to handle the situation. She wasn’t sure why she was so worried about a dream and so scared to go up to his office.

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