Episode 6: An Unreasonable Demand

Today, Yuvika came to the office in a Pine Green cotton long Kurta and ankle length Dutch white palazzo. Her big bag contained a lot of papers. Jayendra had already arrived and was working in her office. She came into the office and greeted him. She put the bag on the table and sat on the chair. She switched her computer on and went through some folders. She pulled the papers out of her bag and started noting down something from the computer. Jayendra couldn’t stop noticing it. He observed with curiosity. She didn’t look up for around 20 minutes. Then she finally folded the papers and arranged in the basket placed under her table. She then looked at him if he was also free to start working. He was already seeing her activity.

“What?” she asked, buckling her bag.

“Are you so busy?” asked Jayendra, expecting some obvious reply as he knew that she would not share anything about her office work with him.

“No. Nothing.” As expected. “Should we start plotting the next chapter?”

The work went continuously for 4 hours when it was interrupted by a knock on the door. It was Dev. “Can I see you for a moment?” He had a folder in his hand.

They went to the canteen. Jayendra went to do some phone calls. “So how things are going?” asked Dev.

“Pretty well.”

“Dad was asking if you are enjoying your work.”

“Of course I am.”

“He said that he is happy with the pace the work is progressing.”

“Hm.”

“Are you guys sure you want to name it @ink: The Journey?”

“Yes.”

The precise answers from Yuvika alerted Dev. She was already lost in the void. He wanted to ask what the point was but avoided. He had a slight idea where the discussion would go to; the Dalal’s story.

To change the mood, he asked, “I am sure you will write for yourself one day too.”

Getting back in the moment, Yuvika answered, “Jayendra was also suggesting the same.”

“Oh was he?” asked Dev looking down at the glass of water on the table.

“But I have some other plans,” said Yuvika, her eyes stuck to the greenery outside the window.

“And what are they?” Dev showed a keen interest.

“I have thought about a concept which has both of my favourite flavours; books and coffee,” said Yuvika. This time her voice had enthusiasm and eyes were sparkling.

“What would be that?” Dev snapped his fingers in front of her eyes to gain her attention.

She replied with a slight smile, “It is just a concept. Not even on paper. Things will take shape eventually. Let it take its time.”

“By the way, I am supposed to hand this over to you.” He reached for her hand with the folder. “It contains some basic material for the next big story.”

She took the folder. Before she could look into it and say something, Jayendra came back finishing his phone calls.

*******

One day, around 7 in the evening, Yuvika got a call from Joe.

“Are you in the office?” asked Joe.

“Yes. Are you coming with me?” asked Yuvika.

“Yes. I guess. Let me know when you leave.”

Yuvika was walking toward her car in the basement where he found Joe, leaning on the bonnet of her car. “I supposed you were meeting me on the highway,” said Yuvika as soon as she spotted him.

Joe moved forward and said, “I thought I would catch you up here.”

“Let’s go then.” She reached to the right door of the car. Joe also got into the car. “We are not going home directly. I have somewhere to go. And you need to come with me.”

“Where?” asked Yuvika, holding the steering, surprised.

“Just drive as per my direction.”

They reached the highway from where they went in the opposite direction from their way to home. Joe still hadn’t clarified where they were going.

“Now stop here. And park the car.”

They got down. She looked around, still puzzled. Nothing was familiar or of her use. There was not even a restaurant. Joe started walking in one direction.

“Will you tell me where are we supposed to go?”

“Will you just follow me?”

They were moving ahead in a street which was narrowing. It was dark there. There came a light and it started getting crowded. They could spot mostly youth. Joe turned to his left and stepped one stair to open the big glass door. She looked up at the name glowing with yellow lights. It read ‘Brewing Magic’ with a picture of seven coffee beans dancing with a wide smile.

He got into the shop and held the door open for Yuvika.

“So it is a coffee shop,” she said, declaring.

“Not just a shop. Wait for the magic.”

They went to the table for two near the window through which they could see the road. The hall was filled with people. Though it was crowded, it was not chaotic. Everyone seemed to be enjoying. The interior of this small place was dominated by the yellow bulbs and white lamps of different size. The colour of lighting made the Hall wider than its original size. Not a single wall contained the picture of coffee or any quote.

One helper came. Joe asked for two medium roasted beans. That’s it. Nothing else was required to make the product more specific.

He looked at the confused Yuvika and laughed.

“I had no idea about this place,” said Yuvika with a great disbelief.

“Very few people know about it and those who know are the hardcore coffee lover.”

The coffees came. It was smaller than she had assumed. She inhaled the mesmerising flavour. It was not too hot to take a sip. With one sip, she understood everything; the suspense Joe created, the crowd, the peace despite the crowd and what magic the name was talking about.

“And how do you know about this place? I didn’t know you are this much coffee lover,” demanded Yuvika.

“I am not. But you are.”

“So is it your treat?” asked Yuvika with another sip.

“Yes. Of course.”

“For no good reason?”

Joe brushed his hair with the right hand and said, “Well, there is a purpose.”

She put the mug down on the table and said, “Tell me.”

“I need your favour,” said Joe with a soft voice. “I was planning to open the art gallery.”

She raised her eyebrows out of surprise, “I didn’t see it coming. I thought you were just studying.”

“It is a kind of venture. I am going to be in a partnership with my friend.”

“Well, that’s great news. It surely deserves this heavenly coffee,” she said raising the coffee mug. “How can I be of your help?”

“I want the painting.”

“Joe, I can’t paint,” she chuckled.

“No. The painting in your home, I want to have it in the gallery.”

“There are many.” She put the coffee down, the smile faded away.

“I am talking about your Grandmother’s portrait.”

A few seconds went in silence. Breaking it, Joe said, “Look that is completely alright if you don’t feel like agreeing with the idea. I can totally understand how valuable it is for you..”

“But still you chose it,” she interrupted.

“I beg your pardon,” said Joe.

“You are very well aware of my respect and emotional attachment with the painting, but still you chose to ask for it. Why? Why that and not any other?”

Joe had anticipated such reaction from her, also prepared himself to some extent. But still, he kept quiet. “I assume you must have an explanation. Do you ask people for their possession for no reason?” She was harsh with words.

“You are the first one whom I have ever asked for anything. And the painting is the very first art piece I want to have in my gallery.”

“So I would repeat myself, Why?” She was staring straight into his eyes. Something was holding his words back.

Read the consecutive story here: https://faceoffiction.wordpress.com/consecutive-story/

The story is a complete fiction. Any resemblance to the real world is a pure coincidence. 
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