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Aspiring Author

The Poor Rich Girl And The Man With The Menacing Grin
-by Aastha Atray

Amrita looked at herself in the mirror and sighed -- if only she was 10 kilos lighter, life would be perfect. The waist on her brand new Chanel LBD seemed too snug and she cringed at the thought of calling the darji up to alter it again, for the 10th time. Why did God have to make her so round, or as they liked to call it these days, “curvy”? She stepped away from the heart -shaped 5-foot long mirror and moved towards her balcony. And that’s when she realized, how silly it all sounded. She looked out at the vast expanse of the Arabian Sea that stretched out in front of her 20th-floor bedroom. Yes, that was only her bedroom. Her father, the businessman Manoj Piramal, was India’s richest man, and she lived in a house known to be the most expensive building in the world. Her closets were full of outfits by designers from all over the world, and her drawers full of diamonds. She never ever needed to ask for anything, because if it was the best, it was in their home. And yet, she was unhappy. If father could just will her thin, she grinned.

Suddenly, she heard the squeaky voice she had got so used to, “Amrita baby, chalo chalo, party ka time ho gaya,” said her maid of 20 years, Mira. Mira had brought her up since her mother passed away and Amrita knew that without her, she would have been incomplete. “But Mira, how can I go out there? I am a fat heiress. How people will laugh?” she laughed out loud, “and all those South Bombay bimbettes who think I have everything without actually deserving it, will have a chance to snub me again.”

“Nobody will snub you,” said Mira lovingly, “You are a princess right, and what makes you even more special is that unlike those bimbettes, Amrita, you have a golden heart. “Amrita sighed, and thought silently, golden hearts didn’t matter in this world -- It mattered if you were thin, if you looked sexy, and if you had a beefy boyfriend. But she knew she had to be on time or else her father wouldn’t be happy. She decided to use her own fashion sense and she slipped off the ill-fitting Chanel and instead grabbed a pale pink cotton dress she had bought from a local boutique the other day. Its empire line flattered her figure and suddenly, she smiled, “maybe, she would knock them dead after all.”

As she got into the red velvet lined elevator from her room and headed towards the ballroom, she felt the knot in her stomach grow bigger. What a fool she was. Obviously things were never going to be different. She was fat, and fat people never fit in, however much money they had. The lift halted and Amrita was surprised as the door started to open. Nobody used her elevator. The man who got in looked surly, and when he looked at her, his expression turned into one of amusement. But even though he looked mean, Amrita’s heart went into a spin. He was the best looking man she had ever seen. Dressed in a black shirt and moss green corduroys, his lean physique was enhanced by his wavy sexy hair that ended just below his ears in soft waves. His 2-day stubble was the only accessory he wore, along with that menacing grin, of course. She stared at him and started to smile, when he barked. “So, are you invited to this shin dig? I have just joined Piramal industries and the first job the boss gives me is to escort his daughter to the party. She must be one bad looker if he has to beg her a date,” he guffawed. She felt sick, and she whipped past him and pressed the open door button on the control panel. As she did so, she felt his hand rest softly on her waist, “Hey, what’s the hurry?” He smelled of Davidoff Cool Water and she almost fainted. “I need to go,” she managed to say and got off. She knew he was watching her storm off, but she needed to talk to her father. She didn’t want him to be arranging dates for her, especially ones with men who looked like this. Who did he think his daughter was? Cleopatra?

Her father sat behind the big mahogany desk in his office as she burst in crying. “Amrita, what happened?” She fell into her father’s arms and felt her tears wet his shirt. “Sorry dad, but I just can’t take it.” “Just can’t take what darling!” he asked gently

“Why are you arranging…” before she could finish, the door opened again and the man with the menacing grin walked in. “Now stop crying and meet Mehtab. He is my new managing director, and I told him I would make him meet the most beautiful girl in the world today, my daughter.” Amrita wished her father would stop talking. Mehtab was looking at her strangely – a mixture of disdain and pity on his face. “We just met in the elevator,” he said, “but she ran away. Amrita, do I look that scary?”

Amrita realized the only way to last the night was to stand up to this mean man. She looked at him defiantly, “No, but you sure didn’t look appealing.”

Her father laughed, “Mehtab, she got you there. I am off to change. Kids, get to the party now. You are the hosts after all.” Her father left and Amrita headed towards the door. But Mehtab was suddenly behind her, holding her waist, “Why didn’t you tell me you were my date?” he said into her neck. “Well, because I am not, Mr too good for the fat girl,” she spat out. He grinned, “So the little cat has claws I see. Well you are mine for the night. Daddy’s orders,” he now said into her ear, and she felt her knees melting. “Fine, then let’s get it over with.”

They walked into the ballroom holding hands, and Amrita could feel the sweat trickle down her spine. This man was making her swoon. He dropped the mean act when he was with the other people. He was charming, gracious and even funny, she noticed. But he wasn’t letting go of her hand. She tried to struggle, but then she saw the dreaded bitch brigade standing in a corner in their tiny dresses and high heels watching her with a look she hadn’t seen ever – they were jealous of her, and it was Mehtab they wanted. Instead, she shocked herself by slowly leaning towards him and taking in the smell of his body. He turned around and at the same time and for a minute they stood facing each other, their bodies almost touching, his eyes focused on her lips and she could almost feel the kiss. But then he said, “So showing off to your skinny friends I see.” Amrita snarled, “You are not a nice man.”

“Well, if you wanted a nice man, go on a matrimonial site,” he came closer and then suddenly dragged her into the dance floor. It was a slow song, and as he pressed u against her, Amrita felt dizzy. “What happened baby doll, never been so close to a man?” “You’re not a man,” she gasped, “You’re an animal.” This time he roared as he laughed, tipping his head back and letting his hair hang. She felt her anger dissolving and she laughed too. “That’s what I wanted you silly girl. Drop the act and smile.” They danced and Amrita ran her fingers through his hair. She was just going to gather all her courage and ask him if she could kiss him, when her arch rival and cousin Mona, cut in. “Amrita darling, quit hogging the only good looking man in the room just because your daddy owns the company.”

Mehtab shrugged and as he turned around to dance with Mona, his hands on that tiny waist, Amrita felt deflated. Did she really think he liked her? He was only being nice to her because her career depended on it. She felt tears well up and she tried to get near the elevator, stumbling over tables as she ran. And then it happened. She felt her dress getting stuck on a table and down came the chocolate fountain. Amrita felt the brown liquid all over her dress and her back, and she could hear the girls giggling. She called out, “Mira”. But it was Mehtab who came to her. He was picking her up, he was holding her tight, and he was saying out loud, “Ladies and gentlemen, this girl is so sweet even chocolate can’t resist her.” People were clapping now, and she felt comforted as he carried her to the lift. In her room, he set her down and slowly licked her neck. It’s not half as sweet as you. Wash it off, so I can see the real you. Amrita felt a strange shiver as she washed her face. There was a man in her room, and he was as dreamy as God made them. Was this real?

She realized she had said it out aloud. “Yes this is real,” said Mehtab as he took her into his arms. He kissed her left shoulder, “I fell for you when I saw you the first time in the elevator. I knew who you were. And that’s why I poked you. “Did you know? How mean,” she barely managed to say as his lips roamed around her collarbone.

He kissed her other shoulder and then slipped off the straps off. “My baby doll. You are perfect the way you are. Those girls showed what they were made of as soon as they laughed at you.”

Amrita was lost among the words and the sweet sensation his kisses were leading to. She arched her neck towards him and before their lips got caught in what lovers do, she purred and said, “Well, this time, the joke’s on them. The fat girl with the golden heart -- Who knew that worked? ”

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