It was the fall again, they had gone for a stroll outside the university campus into the beautiful park where snowy trees surrounded the white spread and there were very few passers-by due to the freezing chill.
The two of them hovered around enjoying the beauty carpeted around them. Maureen had already gone down, working her gloved hands into the snowy layers. She started rolling a huge ice ball with a grin on her pink face. Steve looked at her dazed by the tinkle of her eyes and the jingle that her laughter spread in his heart. The moist wind ruffled her blond hair, some of which fell onto her face like a wave onto the shores.
Steve just stood there with his hands folded, his lips curved into a mesmerizing smile and his eyebrows were arched in sheer amazement of what was happening to him that moment. He felt like he was falling deep into a pleasant dream. He could see roses on the snowy plains, a rainbow on the showering sky and beauty everywhere. He could see all this only in his mind, for his eyes were fixed upon the lady of his future.
She glanced up to him to find him looking at her with an amusing smile. Her heart bloomed with spellbound happiness and her cheeks blushed red when her lips returned back the smile. She wondered to herself ‘Is this the moment?’ Maureen nodded to herself and went back to balling the snow.
As Steve leaned next to her, she threw the ball right at his face making him gawk in surprise and laughed at his weird reactions. He hurriedly ice-balled her, but due to bad aim, it made only her hair. They played like kids in the snow for a while and Maureen started to get restless as the time passed by. At last, she mouthed “Steve, I’ll have to really go! I’ll meet you at class tomorrow.” She mouthed with guilt seeping into her tone. “But why! You told me you’ll spend today with me!” Steve exclaimed with disappointment.
“I did, but I remembered that I have an assignment tomorrow. I’m really sorry, Steve.” She said. The snowballing ceased and Steve waded through the snow in disappointment and anger.
As Maureen was worrying over her mismanagement and loss, the phone rang again. She peered into the display to find her boss frowning at her. She attended the call to hear her boss’ stern voice commanding her to appear in office at once as he had laid out some important duty to be accomplished by her.
Maureen had to be the genie in fear of losing her job, the only stable thing in her life for now. She washed the tears off her face and got ready to get back to office. She drove down the lane towards Larson & Co and trudged up the flight of stairs as fast as she could just to vent out her rage towards herself and Larson.
Larson frowned as soon as she reached his cabin. “You told me you were sick! Now you are as fit as a fiddle!?” he asked his frown getting horrific every moment. Maureen shivered at his voice and feebly said that she is still suffering from a severe headache. She was extremely surprised to find Larson’s face cracking up into a slight smile which was voiced out as a laugh. Larson cleared his throat as if he had something extremely important to voice out and Maureen turned her complete attention towards him as she could understand him by his body language. This time she had guessed clearly that he had something pleasant to say to her.
She was half-expecting him to leave for an official trip to Mauritius where Larson & Co had located their major factory thereby she could take a week-long vacation. “Maureen, I have been watching you for over 2 years now. You have been a diligent and loyal secretary to me and the company has seen a very prosperous couple of years due to your thoughtfulness and hard-work. It is time I recognize your ability and give you what you deserve!” he exclaimed with a smile wide across his face.
Maureen was ecstatic at the unexpected surprise that her boss had astounded her with and she felt happy that her skills had been recognized at last after 2 years of toil and under-recognition. But Larson had sworn her into secrecy about the promotion until he announces it officially among her colleagues. Maureen had no other go but to be subdued off her excitement and act as if nothing had happened.
Maureen walked back home in the freezing cold disappointed with herself. It was after all, the magical moment of their lives for their relationship to bloom into a special one and she had collapsed each moment of it like the snowballs that she had thrown on him. She was furious with herself for doing so and was embarrassed to even see him again. She abstained from meeting him over coffee for the next day due to sheer embarrassment, but Steve could not make it without meeting her even for a single day. The whole of his thoughts were on her, her naughty smile when she smacked snowballs at him, her ever lingering gaze on him and her long blonde hair that fell to the desk whenever she leaned over.
It was like he was in a smoldering dream without the pain of her absence exposed in his face, but he was burning inside. Every moment in her absence felt like a world in which there was no happiness and he felt as if he was looking at her in every place he visited that day. He broke his anger and punched her mobile number into his with his hands trembling in excitement.
The phone rang and after a brief period of time, there was a yawn followed by a feeble ‘Hello’. But the voice sounded very different, so in order to check he called her name. “Maureen… Is that you?” he asked. “ye…yes. Can I please talk to you in person?” she answered with her voice as feeble as ever. He realized that she had been crying for a long time. “What happened Maureen? Why are you crying?” he asked his voice brimming with concern and her tears broke up all the more and trudged down her cheeks. She started crying pitifully and wasn’t able to answer him properly.
“Maureen…Shhh… Don’t cry… Please! Please come over to wing’s café bar. We’ll talk. Please don’t cry dear.” He said with panic and concern raising in his tone.
READ Chapter 4
READ Chapter 4