Chapter 9

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Avni could only stare at Malcolm as he increased his speed, not knowing what to say, how to react.

What was her ex-boss doing here? What could possibly be so urgent that he had driven all the way here to see her in this kind of weather? If he had come to insult her once again for messing up his life then he could just... but he wouldn't make so much effort to come here for that, would he?

Malcolm stopped in front of her, slightly out of breath. "Hello Avni" he said carefully. Maybe he hadn't come here to insult her after all. "I called at khanna's and they told me you didn't arrive for work today, but this couldn't wait so I drove to see you. I hope you don't mind?" He looked uncertainly at neil, then back at her.

Well, that depended on what he had to say. Because when she had seen the last of him, the things he had said to her before firing her, she didn't want a repeat of that conversation in front of anybody, especially neil.

She looked at him and tensed. Something had changed. Neil was watching Malcolm through narrowed lids, his face unreadable. She could feel the temperature between them had gotten several degrees cooler than the temperature around them.

"Avni, I just need your few minutes, please?" Malcolm requested.

She turned back to him with a frown. She wished he wasn't here. Their last conversation had told her that she would be too happy if she never saw him again. Besides, Neil  was here too. Not a good idea! She shook her head. "Malcolm, I don't think-"

"Please, Avni" Malcolm urged. "Just five minutes."

Avni looked at him carefully. At forty years of age, Malcolm Hawkins was tall, athletic, smart and looked thirty years old. He was a nice man, easygoing and pleasant, before the last scene in his office when he had shown a completely different side of his. But today, right now, with that sincere look, he again looked like a man for whom she had enjoyed working for three years. Maybe she should listen to him.

"Okay" she agreed reluctantly. "But you'll have to wait while we've taken these things upstairs-"

"I think I should go Avni" neil said coolly. "Malcolm managed to get here, it means the roads have become passable. I'll go back to work." With that, he thrust the Christmas tree in Malcolm's arms. "Perhaps you would like to help avni inside with this" he continued coolly, then he turned to her. "Do not attempt to come to work until the weather clears." Avni simply looked at him. "I'll make sure that this jumper is returned to you" he added harshly.

He turned on his heels and walked over to his car, got inside and drove off, slowly because of the ice, but didn't give her a second glance, leaving her dazed and confused where she couldn't decide whether she should scream or shout... or just cry!

True, she had known from the beginning that if she had any relationship with neil then it would have no future. But that didn't mean that she had wanted things to end between them like this. If not anything else, at least they could have parted amicably.

She didn't know what neil thought of her. But she did know that he had misunderstood the situation completely. Partly, it was her fault. She hadn't explained him anything despite his questions. But didn't he trust her even a bit?

Now, she was left with a Christmas tree and its decorations which she was in no mood to put up because neil wasn't going to be there to share it with her.

And of course, she was left with Malcolm Hawkins too!

"Hey, I didn't mean to mess things up for you" Malcolm grimaced in apology as she turned to him accusingly.

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