Chapter 2

1.1K 125 23

"Oh no! Oh no!" Avni cried as her fingers tightened automatically on the muscled arm beneath her hand even as she began to hyperventilate. "I can't stay here! We're going to-"

"Stay calm" the man's voice advised firmly. "The emergency light will come on in a-There" he said with satisfaction as a dim red light flickered on over the top of the door throwing a dim, eerie red glow over the interior of the lift. Not in the least reassuring! Avni felt as if the walls of the lift would close in on her any moment. She could feel the panic rising as her heart began to thunder in her chest.

She shut her eyes and began to babble. "I hate lifts. I had to use one this morning because I was late otherwise I always go by the staircase. And I was late because my alarm didn't work. And then I missed my bus. And I had to walk. And then a mountain stepped on my foot. And then I was pushed with an intention to kill. And then you didn't hold the lift for me. And I slid. And my heel got stuck. And my boot's ruined. And-"

"Why are you becoming hysterical?" the man asked warily, no more than a blurred outline in the dim red light. 

The lift had stopped somewhere between the floors, and probably no one even knew they were in here. Because this was the staff lift and everyone else had arrive for work on time instead of late so naturally nobody would know about her whereabouts. 

Avni took a deep breath and tried to steady herself. "No, I'm...I'm fine" Perhaps if she said it out loud a thousand times, it might feel true.

"Good. Because hysteria won't improve our situation" the man said calmly.

Thanks for the lecture! Avni thought angrily even though she knew that what the man was saying was true. But she didn't care about anything right now. She just wanted to come out of the damn lift!

"Isn't there an emergency button or something we can press?" She found her way over to the lift panel where she'd seen it...only to find that the man too had moved into that direction and that her hand was making contact with some part of his body rather than the lift buttons.

"Sorry!" she almost yelled and snatched her hand away as she realized exactly which part of his body she had grabbed!

"Perhaps if you just stood still" his voice was icy now.

Her cheeks blushed heatedly and she obliged. Maybe the man didn't like being stuck in a lift with a complete stranger, Avni  concluded with a self-berating wince. The man must have pressed a button because a bell could be heard ringing somewhere.

"Er-Hi, I'm Avni" she offered, trying to regain her cool and for the first time liking the darkness in the lift because of it the man couldn't see her flaming cheeks.

"Avni" he repeated. His foreign accent made her name sound like Ahvni

"Aarna Mehta" she supplied. Why did he sound so surprised? She could bet her life upon it that he was an Indian than what was the reason to be surprised if he was stuck with an Indian girl in an American lift? It was a small world anyway. Indians could meet Indians anywhere anytime.

"Since how long have you been working here?" the man asked in a curious voice. 

At once, Avni's defences were up. Why was this man asking her this question? Did she look such an idiot that he didn't consider her fit enough to be working at Khanna's? Well, well. He could keep his opinion to himself. She had so far tolerated everything with what she considered an amazing patience and had proved herself as a reliable employee.

"Two months" she replied briskly. "I'm the part of temporary working Christmas staff. I'm a sales girl in...Salesgirl" 

"In?" the man had not missed her missing the department's name.

The awaited prince...| avneilWhere stories live. Discover now