Zoya stood stunned, rooted on the spot. The voice was new to her, but she could still recognize its owner. She spun her head and looked at the man in front of her. The cocktail glass slightly shivered in her hand at the sight of him. She managed to form a small smile on her face as Manjeet walked forward in her direction and stood just some feet away.
“I was praying to get another chance of meeting you; and see how blessed I am.” He smiled warmly at her. Zoya whispered a thank you to him for his compliment, and was about to turn around when he suddenly stepped in her way. She startled and took two steps back.
“Can I join you for a drink?” Manjeet raised his glass to her, asking her permission. All the while Zoya was actively searching for her so-called husband, who had forgotten her, alone in the crowded world of deceitful politicians and businessmen. She had no option but to accompany the man, who was gawking at her like she was a piece of fresh meat.
“Let’s have a seat someplace where it is a little secluded; this place is too rowdy for a lady like you.” Manjeet gestured her towards the candle-lit decorated small tables at the other corner, far from the bar counter.
Zoya wasn’t sure about what she should do now, but she was sure that this man wouldn’t leave her alone. Then her eyes fell on her handsomely suited husband, who was talking with his friends, smiling and almost forgetting about her existence. She let out a heavy sigh and proceeded towards a table with the young Education Minister.
Manjeet pulled out a chair for her like a gentleman. Once Zoya sat on the chair, he took the opposite chair and leaned back.
“So Miss Khan, how- .”
“It’s Mrs., Mr. Singh. I am Mrs. Zoya Khan. Surely you must be aware that a girl is addressed as Mrs. after marriage,” Zoya interrupted him in the middle before he could even start any conversation with her. She had been noticing him since the moment she met him at the entrance. He wasn’t addressing her as a married woman should be addressed.
“Ahan, I know very well, Miss, oops, Mrs. Khan,” Manjeet deliberately mistook her title again. “But I would like to call you ‘Zoya’, if it is okay with you. I honestly feel that your name is so beautiful that it does not need any add-ons with it,” he blurted out flirtatiously. He was making Zoya uneasy by his reckless sudden bluntness. Once again she looked around to find Shahzeb, but he was nowhere in sight. She let out a tired breath and looked up at the man who had pinned his eyes on her. She took her drink and made herself more confident to face the wolf-of-a-man sitting in front of her.
“So Mr. Singh, why did you want to meet me again? As far as I am aware, we don’t even know each other,” Zoya asked courageously.
“Zoya ji, that’s actually the real reason because of which I wanted to converse with you.” Manjeet gulped down his drink. “I want to know you, everything about you. You seem a little mysterious to me; kind of a hidden safe, a treasure.” His gaze was fixed on her, but Zoya didn’t get scared this time. She was perusing him with narrow eyes. Manjeet was young, barely a couple of years older than Shahzeb, but more intimidating. His rough wild beard was making his personality more daunting. She was observing his wicked moves and listening to his over-friendly talks when her eyes caught something. Her gaze caught a glimpse of the man who was also looking in their direction. Zoya’s eyes widened in a blink of a moment, but it took her mind some mere seconds to comprehend and play with the intense situation.
She looked back at the man who was praising her moments ago. “What do you want to know Mr. Singh?” she asked as a small smile crept on her pink tinted lips.
“Tell me about yourself Zoya ji. What do you do apart from appearing like a trophy wife to Mr. Khan in social gatherings,” Manjeet asked Zoya in mock seriousness. Her smile vanished at his comment. She took another gulp of her drink, which felt a little stingy in her choked throat. “I am an intern at the M.G.M.; I completed my PG in Human Psychology.” She looked back at Manjeet Singh in proud combat, as if trying to oppose his earlier comment.
“Oh My God, Zoya ji. I knew it. I knew you couldn’t be ordinary like any other girl. You are special, very special. If you don’t mind, I would like to offer you something.” Manjeet leaned over the table and bore his lustful gaze into Zoya’s confused ones.
“What are you suggesting Mr. Singh? Please come straight to the point. I don’t like playing games,” she told him roughly. She again cast a glance back at the man who was observing her from the far corner.
“I want you to work at my hospital Zoya ji, as a consultant Psychologist.” Manjeet generously offered her a job which could potentially attract any intern in the early stages of her career. Zoya’s mouth was agape; her eyes widened and her drink was held still just inches away from her open lips. She couldn’t believe her ears, what they had just heard.
“Urm.., Mr. Singh, I told you I don’t like playing games, so I would appreciate it if you would be more easy with me.” Zoya was literally tired with people’s mind games; Shahzeb was enough for her innocent mind to play with. She couldn’t allow anyone to play with her feelings now. She was tired of being fooled by men.