The phone rang in the early hours of the day. Shelly stepped out of her bath, splattering the floor playfully, innocently. She didn’t notice the patterns, which the water created, she just clutched at the towel ends bunched together near her chest, and rushed out. Shelly wasn’t like this on any normal day, you know. Shelly didn’t hurry under any circumstances, but she needed this job. She was almost desperate for it. She was told that she should expect a call before the corporate day starts, thus her rushing across the living room was justified and the wet floor was justified.
She slipped a bit near the sofa, but regained balance.
“Hello” She answered, “Shelly Pereira here.” A man’s voice greeted her a wonderful morning to her from the other end of the line. “Oh its you, hi.” Shelly replied, “Listen, I’m expecting an important call right now, and I am not really perfectly dressed to chat with you.” A giggle escaped her before she heard a polite chat-with-you-later and cradled the receiver.
Post an hour of Shelly’s anticipation; the phone rang again. She was sitting beside the phone for that hour, but she waited for the phone to ring thrice. It doesn’t make you cool if you pick the phone after just a single ring. “Shelly Pereira here,” she finally answered, “Oh no, they didn’t call.” She spoke to the same man who had called her an hour ago. “Yeah dude, I have faith, I know I’m gonna get this job. How are you? Has that bitch of your wife Sakshi left for the office yet?”
Her eyes gleamed at his positive reply, “That’s great, she won’t be back till six isn’t it? Listen, as soon as I’m done talking with these guys, I’ll be there for you. God it feels like an eon since we made it out, I need you so badly… Okay, I’m getting another call, I’ll call you later.” Shelly eased the receiver on the cradle, for brief moment, but never took her fingers off it, before the phone rang again.
“Hi, Shelly Pereira speaking” She answered.
A woman’s voice answered, “Hi, I believe you had applied for the post of a Junior Visualizer?”
“Yes, I had sent in my resume earlier, I hope…”
“Listen,” The woman on the phone interrupted her, and brought frowns on her forehead, “I’ll transfer this call to Mrs. Dixit. Everyone here calls her SD. She’s the Creative Director, she fix an interview with you.”
The irritating music the plays between such phone transfers went on and on for what seemed like hours, but Shelly was used to it. She was used to these interviews and assignment tests. And she was extra patient this time. “Hi, this is SD.” SD’s voice was sweeter and nicer than the woman who spoke with Shelly earlier. “I’ve gone through your resume, when can you come for the interview.”
Three hours later, Shelly was sitting on the sofa of a plush office reception, with an empty coffee cup and her portfolio beside her. Before leaving her house, she dialed a familiar number, thanked the man on the line for calling up earlier, and apologized about not being able to “cuddle-up”, because she had an interview to attend to. She hung up after promising him a good time after the meeting was done with. He wanted to hear her kiss on the phone, and she was glad to oblige.
At the reception, her nervousness was visible, and sitting right across her was the receptionist in a tight, blue, sleeveless salwaar-kameez. Shelly heard her chatting on the phone, sometimes with clients, mostly bitching with her friends, but she liked it. She reminded Shelly of herself. Shelly recognized her voice, she was the same woman whom she had spoken to, before she spoke with SD, earlier that morning.
“SD will see you now.” Said the receptionist.
Shelly made her way through the office, the studio was nice, and the people peeped twice at her. Her eyes, like everyone else’s who walks into a new prospective work place, searched to good looking guys and she spotted a few. She asked her way towards SD’s cabin.
SD was a stunner, her features were sharp and she was exceedingly good looking, with a smiling face dressed in casual jeans and a top, simple, expensive. The ashtray on her table contained two to three cigarette butts. She asked Shelly to take a seat, finished her coffee and asked for another cup on the phone. “Coffee?” she asked Shelly.
“Oh yes please.”
Shelly immediately developed a fond liking for SD. SD was soft spoken, yet so firm in her speech. Every sentence that she spoke reflected ambition. SD liked Shelly’s work, and Shelly herself. She was like Shelly at that age, daring, restless, good at her work. SD found out that Shelly shared her room with another girl, in a housing complex adjacent to her own. “So we can even go home together sometime.”
Shelly was thrilled, “So I got the job?”
“Oh yeah, we were looking for someone like you. Will 15K be okay for a start?”
“That’d be great! Just one question?” Shelly asked, “What does SD mean?”
After about an hour, Shelly was on her way back, but she smiled lesser than anyone with a new job did. She was constantly thinking about the man she was about to visit, but the usual naughty thoughts associated with him were absent. There was confusion… and repent, yes, shit-loads of repent. She repented agreeing for a lift that he offered in his car, traveling with him when he was a stranger, and chatting with him. She repented their first kiss. These thoughts ran in her mind even when she was outside the door to his house. He opened the door after a ring, and smiled, but she just looked on, and said, “I’ve joined the agency where SD’s working.”
“SD?” the man said asked, “What’s SD?”
“SD is short for Sakshi Dixit.” Shelly said, “Aren’t you surprised? Anyways, I just want to tell you that it is over between us.”
“Hey wait,” the man tried to explain, but Shelly just walked off.
He stepped into his house, and tried calling Shelly after a quarter of an hour, “Shelly, he said, “Will you just listen to me?”
“Listen what?” I don’t want to sleep with my boss’s husband. Please don’t call me again”
And he didn’t. Days passed, and shelly really got involved in her work. Late nights weren’t an issue for her, for SD always accompanied her. And during the ride, they talked a lot, though Sakshi never spoke about her husband, and it haunted Shelly. She successfully hid a guilt that played on her mind, all the time.
“So, for how many years are you married?” Shelly asked one night while she was sitting beside the driver’s seat, nervousness crept at her spine.
“Married? Are you mad? I’m not married.” Sakshi replied.
Shelly couldn’t help but show her shock, “You’re not married?”
“Nopes, I have a lot of friends who are men you know,” Sakshi winked.
“Oh, okay,” Shelly giggled, confused as hell! “So in which building do you stay?”
“You know this building here,” Sakshi pointed as they neared their homes. “B-wing, first floor, 104. Oh and BTW, if you want to drop by, make sure you enter the B-wing, because I’ve heard there’s another Sakshi Dixit staying in the A-wing.