Simi is a marketeer for a furniture company.
Ranvir is an analyst at a finance start-up.
At BizWorks, a swanky co-working space, their paths aren’t meant to cross. But as circumstances bring them together, again and again, they find it harder to deny the spark between them.
Scroll down for an excerpt from this story of a sweet and delicious romance set in a co-working space in Bangalore.
Champak, made his grand entry— the strap of his satchel bag taut across his chest, his round glasses slipping off his nose, his sharp, hawk eyes darting around to take in everything.
Champak, the all-knowing, overachieving, obsequious, boss’s chamcha, was taken aback by the sight of Simi at work.
‘You’re here already!’ he exclaimed. He made a dash to claim the seat opposite Simi, to her inward groan.
‘Why do you have to sit here?’ Simi frowned. ‘There are so many other seats.’
‘It’s motivating if we can see each other.’ His fake smile grated on her nerves. ‘Healthy competition, you know. . . ’
In their old office, Champak had sat a few cubicles away from Simi, but even then, he had constantly kept an eye on her and anyone who came into her cubicle. He knew everything—how late she came in, how long she took for lunch, how early she left.
He bragged about his skills, always trying to ingratiate himself with the boss and bag the best campaigns. Now, he was right in her face. There was practically no escape! Deepa waltzed in right after him. ‘Hey!’ Deepa twirled around and took in the new place, looking just as much in awe of it as Simi had been.
‘This is wonderful!’ ‘You’re late,’ Champak exclaimed. ‘You?’ She groaned. ‘Couldn’t you find another place to sit?’
If Simi called Champak a prick, Deepa called him a flirt. Deepa was the designer on the team, and Champak was always at her desk with some changes or the other. ‘What better place to see you all the time.’ He grinned at Deepa.
He thought he was flirting with her, but on the contrary, he was irritating the heck out of her. Deepa rolled her eyes.
‘More like see and hear us all the time,’ she muttered under her breath. He was such a pest! ‘Now we can’t even talk in peace,’ Deepa whispered to Simi. Deepa was right. But that didn’t stop their whispered raptures about their window seats and proximity to the break room and restrooms. ‘Girls, does either of you have a red gel pen?’ Champak asked, setting up his laptop, a notebook beside it, and three coloured markers neatly arranged on the side. Ugh! He was so irritating!
The git! Both of them ignored him and got to work. Simi continued to work on her presentation slides, thanking her stars for the charger or she wouldn’t have been able to do anything until now. At 10 a.m., they all got up and headed to one of the small conference rooms for the meeting. She gave her presentation on the new social media campaign for the Pumpkin chair. Champak interrupted her on almost every slide with questions and suggestions for improvement.
‘I think green will look better for that message,’ or ‘A stronger punchline would make a better impact!’
She tried to keep her cool and not get pulled into the black hole of his questions. Every time Champak opened his mouth, she felt a tightness in her belly, as if he was going to expose a mistake that she’d inadvertently made and make her look like a fool in front of everyone. Sometimes their boss, Nandan, picked up on Champak’s suggestions, but today, it looked like even he wasn’t in the mood for interruptions. ‘Let her complete her presentation, Champak!’
Nandan said finally. That made Champak shut up through the rest of the slides.
Sudha Nair won the Amazon KDP Pen to Publish 2017 contest for her debut novel, The Wedding Tamasha—a tale about love, family, values, and traditions.