A loud thunderclap and I almost jump out of my skin. The story I am editing now is a paranormal thriller where a ghost has been haunting a girl he once loved. What a cliche. Being a story editor, you cannot choose which story to edit. But I have to admit, this thriller is far better than those stupid romantic stories where male leads are obnoxious enough to beat their chest and claim the females as mine. Dude! We, women, love love. Love us unconditionally and we will happily say Yours always.
NEW AGE PUBLICATIONS. The publication house I work in is a great place to work. Good environment. Good colleagues. No office politics. Our boss, Mrs Rachel Smith is the one who reads and decides which story the publication house is going to publish. She reads the manuscripts, and trust me, almost hundreds per day. How that old lady who is in her early sixties manages to read that much in a day, I have no idea. Not to forget those romantic stories, in which most female leads manage to achieve orgasm more than ten times during so-called hot sex scenes. My submission date is tomorrow. And Mrs Smith herself reads those edited manuscripts again. So she reads those sex scenes again.
The girl wanted to scream. She was sure she saw someone was standing there just a minute ago. But now that she turned to look, there was no one, as if . . .
A piercing whistle shrills through the night air and I gasp. That's my phone. I look at it with a frown. How come the ring tone is . . . Oh my! Of course! Gogol, my nephew, he was playing with my phone in the evening. He must have done his engineering.
I bend from the couch to pick up the phone from the table. Mrs Smith, at this time?
"Ridhima! I am sorry, I called you so late." She says in her typical RP English.
"It's okay Rachel," I say, tilting my head, to keep the phone in between my ear and shoulder. She sighs again. Mrs Smith is one of those people who never care about the world; always happy and smiling. But right now the way she sounds, I had to ask, "Are you, okay?"
She sighs again, "Yes I am fine." She pauses for a minute, "Actually I was thinking if you could come to my house tomorrow with the edited manuscripts."
"Oh, I am not well so I won't be able to meet you at the office. I have asked Robert too, he is coming tomorrow with his work at 5 PM." She says. And I almost laugh out loud, she has this weird habit of saying AM or PM. Once she said it helps people to understand better rather than saying in the morning or in the evening. And I still have not understood why and how!
"But I have some prior commitments at 5 . . . I mean is it okay if I come there after 7 in the evening?"
"I have no problem with that. Please do come. I'll be waiting then." She sighs again.
What's with so much sighing! "Rachel, are you sure you are okay? I mean can I help you with something that's bothering you?"
"No Ridhima, I am fine." She laughs, "Anyway thank you for asking."
Goodness! I am standing in front of a huge gate, with securities all around. Now I understand why my colleagues say they are actually super-rich. I look down at my attire. A bright yellow cardigan and brown leggings, which totally mismatch. Excellent.
One of the security people asks me about my name, while I stand there awkwardly. Nodding into the phone, he asks me to go inside. The house err . . . The mansion itself is bigger than any three-star hotel, suddenly it looks like I shouldn't have been here. Shrugging off the feeling, I go inside, the main door is open. Of course. You don't need to close it, with all those securities around.
"Ridhima. Why are you standing there?" Rachel smiles at me. She truly looks tired. "Come sit here."
I go inside, noticing two pairs of flip flops beside the door, one is clearly a bit bigger, surely for men, I put off my shoes to slip into the smaller one. "My son is a bit . . ." She laughs, "not a bit, he is a cleanliness freak so . . . But I am impressed, you are the first one to notice, mostly I have to point it out."
I smile, "It's a good habit."
To which her smile broadens, "He has moved out a long ago, but the habit stayed with us. And moreover he makes sure to come at the dinner every night. So, " she shrugs.
For the next two hours we continue talking about the stories, Rachel goes through part by part, "So far the story looks good, what say, Ridhima?"
"It is. Better than those possessive, manipulative, primitive men pretending to be ultra-modern around females." I roll my eyes, "And here for a change the boy is not a Greek god." I air quote the words Greek God.
Her eyes twinkle, "You don't like possessive men it seems."
"What's there to like? If you can't let a girl breathe, yet you claim to love her; that itself is very hypocritical."
She nods, "But don't you think there has to be a little sprinkle of jealousy, then only love looks good."
I scrunch my nose involuntarily, a sprinkle of jealousy! who says that! "If I am confident enough, then I would know, no matter what, my love is never going to leave me." I smile.
"Really?!" She suddenly comes forward, placing her hand on the table, "Suppose, you see the man you love with another girl - talking, laughing, what would you do? Won't you react? Won't you ask?"
I look at her carefully, it looks like she is asking all these things as if she has an agenda. "There's a way, Rachel. If talking and laughing mean holding hands and being too friendly for one's comfort zone then I'll definitely ask. But if he is just talking or smiling or holding hands normally then why would I ask? If I cannot trust him just because he is talking to a girl other than I, then I have no right to say that I love him."