Archu From The Archive, Fictional

Short Story: Room Service

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RoomServiceI stood paralyzed on the spot. I was absolutely awestruck and honestly helpless in front of the Greek God disguised as a mortal man. If virtues can be shaped, there they were, courage, compassion and kindness, carefully chiseled into his intricately carved features. If handsomeness can be quantified, there stood six whole feet of raw handsomeness in an arm’s length from me. I could stretch my hands and touch him. Only, I couldn’t raise so much as a finger. I let my eyes do the entire job of absorbing the beauty of the heart-throbbing superstar of Indian cinema, my one and only hero since childhood, Mr. Rakesh Khan, as he stood framed by the doorway of his hotel suite.

“Yes, Miss. How may I help you?” He looked at me and asked with a politeness that only one pair of lips in the whole world can utter.

Help? Him? Me? I was amused and grinned sheepishly. When he waited for another moment with his head tilted slightly, I realized that he was actually expecting a reply.

“I… err… hmmm… house… housekeeping sir”. I muttered out what I thought were meaningful words.

“Oh, I see. Please hold on. I’ll be out in a minute.” He walked into his suite, neither closing the door behind me, nor shutting it on my face. I was transfixed on the doorway as an inanimate piece of object that held the door ajar for him.

He tossed on an overcoat, ran a comb into his sexily gelled hair and sprayed some cologne. All done with a casual sense of ease and elegance that before I could realize, my mouth had opened two inches wide.

“There you go. The room is all yours.” He winked at me mischievously and stepped out of the room, brushing me with his intoxicating smell that could either be cologne or body scent or a wicked combination of both.

“Thank you, thank you, sir!” I was suddenly too thankful to do the duty that I was doing every day. A duty that I damned as too dumb for my intelligence, but put up with for the sake of the paycheck, surprisingly felt like an honour.

“I’ll be dining at the restaurant and will be back in a couple of minutes. I hope you will be done by then, won’t you? Please make it fast. I need to rest a bit before the shoot.”

A couple of minutes in his suite is definitely not enough. A couple of hours or days or months can never be enough to soak up in the air that had surrounded him inside the room.

“Of course, sir. Of course!” I agreed too eagerly.

He nodded his head and glided gracefully towards the elevator. I observed him carefully as he walked to the door. I knew that time was running out but suppressed the urge to check my watch. I took a deep breath and started counting in reverse under my breath. “Ten, nine, eight, seven…”

Before the elevator could complete its descent to the ground floor, I rushed into his suite and locked the door tight.

The room is all yours. He had said. All mine. Mine and mine only for the next couple of minutes. After everything that I had to do to be there right then, there was my moment.

From the day that I came to know that Rakesh Khan was shooting for his film in my hometown, I was thrilled.  Mine is a small town and the hotel that I work for as a janitor is the only building decent enough to house a superstar during his week’s stay. I knew it. I knew he would walk down the corridors that I moped. I knew he would sleep on the bed that I made. I knew he would use the towels that I laid out for him. I just had to make sure that I got assigned to service his room for the week.

“But, you work on the second floor, cleaning the regular rooms and complaining enough as it is. Deluxe rooms on the tenth floor are for VIPs and they need extra care and super services. Why do you want to switch now?” The inconsiderate manager of the housekeeping staff wasn’t very accommodating to my request.

 “Sir, I want to grow in my career. How can I prove my worth and get a promotion without taking on some additional responsibility?”

“You mean, you want to prove your worth by wiping the toilet seats of VIPs?”

I kept quiet while he continued his drawl.

“Look here lady, I know what you are up to. You want to service Mr. Rakesh Khan’s suite, right?” He asked.

“Sir. I am a huge fan. Please, please do assign me to his room and I’ll do double duty the week after without the slightest grumbling.” I begged him, literally, almost on my knees.

“Double duty? What’s in it for me? Every maid working in this hotel is a huge fan and everyone has offered more than that? Why should I grant you the favor? Raise your stakes, madam.” The manager threw his obnoxious lewd smile at me, a smile that met me approximately fifteen inches below my eyes.

Men! Manager, Chef, Valet, every man who works in this hotel wants to sleep with me. Agreed, I have a voluptuous figure and an uptight personality that is too much of a contrast to resist. But to assume that I would yield in to blackmail is sheer foolishness on their part. I have the brains to resort to blackmail, myself.

“Sir, you want to spend some alone time with me?” I asked innocently.

“Now you are talking. Talk some more.”

“A night together in the deluxe room due for Mr. Rakesh Khan, perhaps?”

“Wow! That would be lovely! I didn’t think you would give in so easily. The boys sounded as though you were impossible to get. Every maid comes with a price. Yours is Rakesh Khan’s suite.” He talked and giggled at the same time.

I bowed my head and looked down at my feet. My cheeks were red with anger and fortunately for me, the manager mistook it as a coy blush.

“Oh lady, look at you. You have the markings of a fine woman. Your bad luck that you are a janitor. My good luck that I am your manager. Meet me in the suite at 10 O’clock tonight, alright?”

 I met him at 10 O’clock in the suite. I met him with his wife and a witness beside me. Need I say more? He cried, pleaded, apologized and in return for me not filing a harassment complaint against him, he agreed to assign me to whichever floor, whichever suite I wished. I wished for Rakesh Khan’s.

The room was all mine.

I took a moment and looked around, taking in the luxury that sprawled and seeped on every surface. This was his shrine and I was his servant, even if only for a week.

My eyes started its trace to the messy bed. The sheets were strewn and the quilt was crumpled. A lone unfinished glass of wine was perched precariously on the corner of the night-stand. Only one glass of wine which meant that he probably didn’t have company the previous night. I was glad. What would I not do to give him company? What would I not give to lie nestled beside him, inside those sheets? My manager is a scum, so below my worth to sleep with. But Rakesh Khan is different.

I’ve watched all of Rakesh Khan’s movies and know his every move. He stands towering over the villains, fighting with vagabonds and rescuing women. He is rich and powerful but uses his wealth for the welfare of the poor. He marries girls for their virtues and treat them like queens. Well, one girl in each movie.  He is truly a hero in every sense and his movies are my only respite from the dreadful dysfunctional family that I was born into. I, the illiterate village girl grew up and grew out of my everyday struggle. From a domestic servant to a janitor in a five-star hotel, I am the only successful one in the family and I intend to go places. I deserve a hero. I deserve Rakesh Khan. Oh, what will I not give to sleep with him?

I raised the wine glass to my lips and tasted the rim, searching for the spot that Rakesh Khan sipped on. I buried my head in his pillow, felt the fabric of his bedspread on my body and planted kisses over the bed.  Then, I began going about my duty, dusting and cleaning the room, erasing all proofs of the sensuality that I just experienced.

The telephone rang unnervingly, shaking me off my make-believe land and forcing me to reality. A housekeeping staff had no right to answer celebrity phone calls. I allowed the answering machine to pick it up, but only after turning on the speaker for my benefit.

“Hi Rakesh! This is your manager, Sundar from Mumbai. I am sorry about last night. I tried my best to talk the heroine into giving you company, but she simply refused. I couldn’t find anyone to replace her at short notice. Besides, you really have to be careful with your women, you know. Your wife called yesterday and she seems a little concerned and suspicious. Sleeping with the charming and popular ladies will get you in trouble with your wife soon and any scandal before your upcoming release will be fatal to the movie. Why don’t you play it low for a while? Why don’t you pick some random slut and be done with it? A sexy maid from the hotel you stay, maybe? Come on, street food is sometimes tastier than a gourmet buffet. Any woman will throw herself to you. Just manage for a week and by the time you get back to Mumbai, I’ll have your heroine convinced. See you then.”

The beep from the answering machine indicted the end of message and I stood rooted on the spot. Before I could fully process the message that I just heard, I heard the click of the doorknob and Rakesh Khan walked in.

“I thought you would be done by now”, he moaned childishly.

“I am done”, I said. “Let me just finish up cleaning the bathroom fittings and will be out of your way.”, I struggled.

“Alright, make it quick.”

Rakesh Khan saw the red light beeping on the phone and lifted the receiver to take his message. I rushed to the bathroom and closed the door. I badly needed a moment to compose myself. So, my hero wasn’t a hero after all. So, he cheated on his wife and slept with other women. Why should that bother me? Why should I care? But the fact was, I did care. I cared enough to understand an opportunity when it presented itself, a one in a lifetime opportunity.

I gathered myself and walked out of the bathroom, swinging my hips sleazily. Rakesh Khan had to pick me. He so had to pick me for that night.

“Err…hello you…” Rakesh Khan stopped me.

I turned around and gave a knowing smile. “Yes, sir.”

His eyes assessed my figure, scrutinizing my body’s worthiness as his one night sleeping partner. I stood still, unrelenting, enticing and very inviting.

“Hey…you, what’s your name? Would you like to have dinner with me in my room tonight?”, He asked.

I knew where it was leading to and didn’t have the patience for drama. I cut the chase and asked him directly.

“Sir, would you like to sleep with me tonight?”

Rakesh Khan was shocked, but I must say, equally impressed. I could see it in the widening of his grin and the hardening of his groin.

“Very clever, woman. I like it. Name your price and so it shall be. Meet me in the suite at 10 O’clock tonight, alright?

I nodded and walked out of the room.

SUPER HERO SLEEPS WITH A HOTEL MAID. ACTOR TAKES ADVANTAGE. The news tabloid screamed the next morning. The headlines had a larger than usual font-size and a slightly inappropriate picture of me with Rakesh, gleaming on the cover page. A simple phone call to a local magazine was all it took to bring an army of press people into the hotel room at 10 O’clock, eager to lap up details of celebrity scandal like hungry dogs.

For keeping my dream alive for years, I gave Rakesh Khan my body. For killing it, I made him pay with his reputation. As for me, I’ve moved on from a janitor at a five-star hotel to a celebrity interest icon, soon to wade my way into the cinema circle myself. Who is to say what I can or cannot do? I am successful and I intend to go places. I deserve it.

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