CHAPTER 2 – THE GENTLEMAN
After the baggage scan, Ahad offered again. “You can keep your bag on my trolley. Yours is broken.”
Strangely, she did not refuse this time. The check-in counter was only a few meters away, anyway. Ahad proceeded to express the check-in counter. Ashwini could not get a boarding pass for him due to a technical glitch on the website. At least she had booked him for express check-in.
“I will just go in that queue,” the trolley snatcher said, pointing to the regular check-in counter.
“I guess It is fine. That is a long queue and we have very little time left,” he said. “Why don’t you proceed with the check-in first?”
With uncertainty, she stepped ahead of him. Her arms brushed with his as she moved in front. A wave of electricity passed through him. You have had a prolonged dry spell, Ahad.
“Hello, ma’am,” the lady airline officer greeted with a plastic smile. “May I have your ticket and identity card, please?”
She handed over the needed documents wordlessly.
“Miss Moomal, from Bhopal to Cochin, right?”
What a pretty name. She is travelling to Cochin; I will have company.
“Would you prefer a window seat or an aisle seat?” Zara, the officer asked.
Ahad leaned over a bit, inevitably sniffing her citrussy hair. Damn! She smells nice but why am I so turned on?
“Could we get seats with more legroom, please?” he asked.
“Certainly, sir,” Zara said.
“Oh, no. I am not paying 300 bucks for the first row,” Moomal interrupted.
“Don’t worry, ma’am. The flight is fully booked, and these are the only seats available. You are in 1A.”
Five minutes later, they were checked in, without additional charges for her first row or his additional baggage.
“The boarding has started at gate 7 on the first floor. Please hurry through the security check.” the officer glanced at her watch. It was 11 AM.
They briskly walked through the security check area. By the time they were finished, the final boarding call was announced. They were the last passengers to board.
They sat in their respective seats and fastened the seat belt. Ahad expected her to thank him, or just chat casually. She seemed disinterested in him. She rested her head on the headrest and closed her eyes.
The pilot announced a delay of fifteen minutes.
“Since when do Indian airlines leave on time?” he wondered aloud.
“I have never taken a flight, I cannot comment,” she replied, her eyes still closed.
“I am Ahad Siddiqui, by the way,” he said.
She opened her eyes. He extended his hand for a handshake and she offered her hand limply, completely reluctant to make any acquaintance with him. But she did pause for a minute to take in the beauty that he was.
At six feet four, he had a lean frame with broad shoulders. His jacket was neatly folded and rested on the empty seat next to him. His long legs were clad in slim-fit denim. His white cotton shirt was slightly damp, showing sweat marks in a couple of spots.
He sweats a lot for winter.
The first three buttons were open, showing a glimpse of curly jet-black hair on his chest. He sported a thick stubble, a moustache, and a bucketload of wavy dark black hair on his head.
He has a lot of hair.
She smiled and introduced herself. “Moomal Khan.”
A runaway girl, a reluctant guy and a compromise for mutual benefit…
Moomal Khan is a data scientist from Bhopal. She holds a job profile that was regarded highly and paid handsomely. But she is forced to leave her job and run away.
Ahad Siddiqui is from Cochin. He is handsome, highly regarded in business circles as a self-made invincible billionaire entrepreneur. But he is forced to get hitched. When his friend suggests hiring a fake girlfriend, he hates the idea but cannot seem to rid of it.
Their paths cross as they wait for their flight to Cochin. He is desperate to get his mother off his case. He tries to woo her, and she tries to shoo him away.
“Once Upon a Contract” is a sweet and saucy romantic comedy based on a contract marriage romance trope.
Book 1 – Once Upon a Crush – Hiba & Ubaid
Book 2 – Once Upon a Stalker – Zoya & Onir
Book 3 – Once Upon a Contract – Moomal and Ahad
Click here to buy on Amazon.in or enter B08S7BGR7P in the search field for other Amazon marketplaces.
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