Chapter 01 – All Yours

|| 01. PAIZE 1 ♥ ||

Pacing agitatedly in her office Mohana was managing a conference call, while busily highlighting corrections on an article for the upcoming issue of Sophista. An extensive layout of breakfast offerings sat untouched on her desk, only leaving access to a classic silver boxed device.

On one of the walls of her massively large office loft, live stream of the annual Couture Catwalk fashion show was rolling. With every few steps Mohana stole a glance at the screen before bringing her focus back to the tasks at hand.

With exceptional hard work and persistence, Mohana had carefully shaped each step of her success ladder. Her rigor had not only been recognized and awarded in the industry but had also made her a role model for the masses.

While rare for such a young individual to manage the responsibilities of a brand like Sophista, her appointment to the editor-in-chief had been one of the most lauded news of recent times.

Since taking ownership, Mohana had brought in waves of success to the chic journal, proving the worth of the decision many times over.

Sir Gallaghair, owner of the publishing house, till this day continues to receive endless accolades on his decision from peers and crowds alike.

When asked about his partnership with Mohana, in his famous interview Rael Gallaghair had fondly remarked: Mohana is a ball of fire, her lightening energy will leave you astounded and she showcases that with her relentless work but that’s just the good part, she’s not easily impressed and she makes you work really really hard, I don’t get spared either.

The mighty editor-in-chief has been an amazement to most and Sophista readers are always curious wanting to know more about the woman pulling the strings.

Having traversed through chaos at a tender age, Mohana stands by a single grounding principle which has made her one of the prized and most influential faces in the industry. Despite the tumble of associations and make belief articles, sprouts of news through various venues, Mohana only believes in the inevitable reality: nothing belongs to her, except her own hard work.

With winner announcements being declared on the Couture Catwalk show, Mohana looked up to see a familiar face appear on the screen. A systematic buzz erupted through the classic silver device decorating her desk.

Making a run to it, Mohana managed the heavy apparatus juggling her papers alongside to answer the connection. Almost knowing what she was going to hear, a smile appeared on her lips.

From the other side of the line, her enthusiastic assistant Jojo screamed on top of her lungs “He won! He won! Fourth time! Fourth time in a row, this is so epic! That has never happened in the history of Couture Catwalk!”

Mohana widely smiled with joy in her heart and listening to the exuberance pouring through the line, she wished “Congratulations to you”

“To you too Miss Mohana! He is so handsome! Those hair I tell you, I bet all these women want to run their fingers through them” Jojo gushed

Mohana laughed at her excitement “You could run a campaign in our upcoming issue and we can gather votes”

Wistfully Jojo sighed “Miss Mohana you cannot always think about work!..” she urged her boss “..Look at him on that screen. I left the side wall panel to run the stream for you. Do you see him?”

“Ya” Mohana mumbled shyly without divulging that her eyes had been trained all along on the screen, admiring the handsome man whenever the cameras spotted him

Jojo dreamily claimed “See! All he’s wearing is simple blue jeans and yet he’s looking sooo drool worthy”

At those words, Mohana briefly shut her eyes attempting to rid herself of certain memories. Memories, where all he had been wearing were indeed only jeans.

In an attempt to divert the conversation, she lightly commented to her assistant “And he won an award for being a fashion designer in his jeans?”

Drooling over the handsome man on the screen in her office, Jojo blissfully sighed leaning back on her chair “Yeah! Exactly! And that tshirt, oh goodness look at those biceps, Leya must be going crazy looking at him right now too”

“She’s married” Mohana quipped, realizing full well, in no certain terms it would be feasible to deviate Jojo from admiring the handsome man giving his award speech

Straightening at the remark Jojo exhaled a breath “We all can’t get married to that one hot guy or that one hot chic because real life has to happen but we can be appreciative, Miss Mohana”

“Sure” Mohana mumbled frowning at the logic but her heart twisted at the thought

With stars in her eyes Jojo continued “My heart’s going to give away one of these days working for Sophista! There’s so much candy. But don’t you think he’s the best of the best that our eyes have ever seen?”

“Jojo, you say that about everyone who has appeared on Sophista covers” setting her silver blonde hair to the side Mohana looked away from the screen, peeling her eyes from the dashing man who stood owning the fashion runaway

“Yes! I can’t help if my eyes can detect beauty in people and that’s why I interrupted your conference call. I am going to connect you with his offices directly so we can roll our decision on getting Omar Shaan on the cover right away. They are bound to be very happy to hear from you” Jojo excitedly claimed

Turning the highlighter between her fingers, Mohana suggestively offered “They are at the Fashion Trend, maybe we give them a break? Once his team gets a chance to celebrate we can follow up with a call to discuss details”

Appalled at the suggestion from her boss, Jojo rushed “That can’t happen Miss Mohana! They expect our congratulatory call almost immediately. Our offices have wished Omar Shaan on each victory right after the winning announcements, whether it be Couture Catwalk at Fashion Trend or any of his other engagements and victories. And he keeps winning everything! Oh my heart! But because you’re going to talk to them, there’s no better time and we will definitely get our cover deal secured. Him being on the cover of Sophista will be as prestigious for him as it will be for us”

Tackling various business relationships, Mohana and her efficient team maintained seamless connections. Despite the background noise and ups-and-downs of the industry, Mohana led a superiorly managed publication that emphasized neutrality.

With her having established this smooth model of operation, Sophista requests for an appearance, interview or photo shoots were almost always positively received.

“Sure. Ya. Go ahead” giving in Mohana mumbled her agreement. She ran nervous fingers through her thick blond mane. To convince Shaan Designs for a photo shoot of their owner, while seemed like the most simplest task, it was the said owner himself who made everything complicated.

“Did you have breakfast? Or should I come back and check?” Jojo inquired punching information on her device for making another connection

A small smile appeared on Mohana’s lips “I was multitasking, have to send Salm his article back and am running short on time, I’ll have something in a while”

“Oh goodness, no! You have to eat first! Salm will wait, I’ll manage him. I’ll route you through Shaan Designs in a minute, while you focus on finishing your food, it’s almost getting time for lunch, you also have to eat that!” commanding Mohana to eat, Jojo took her agreement before disconnecting their call to pick another gadget to speak to it.

As promised to Jojo, Mohana reached to pick a melon wedge from the colorful display of items set on the her desk. Knowing Jojo, she gathered the wide spread of the breakfast was intentional.

The maze of food almost blocked all working documents from being reached, encouraging Mohana to primarily go through them before she could consider working.

Instinctively her eyes looked back at the large screen again, but before she could locate anyone, she fidgeted with the control to switch off the stream altogether.

Dismissing the feelings of her heart with a shrug, she convinced herself there was no point for her to see the live show any more. Omar Shaan had won the award and her journal wanted him on the cover.

That was, whatever there was to it.

|| 01. PAIZE 2 ♥ ||

Taking a sip of the chocolate milk, she picked a raspberry danish to nibble onto. Nervous for their paths to cross again, the only hope she hoped, was for heart to not deceive her.

Taking another bite of her treat Mohana tried to look at the document she was editing, waiting for Jojo to connect her with Shaan Designs. Memories she didn’t want to remember threatened to surface.

Mohana had still been wrapping her undergrad when she had encountered the phenomenon of Omar Shaan. He had recently won his first Couture Catwalk, the most prestigious award in the world of fashion. The strange feelings he had ignited in her were unbelievably different, having left Mohana confused to tackle the odd ruckus within.

Shortly after, her appointment to the editor-in-chief for Sophista had Mohana follow the rise in his stardom. Praises continually trailed his achievements on reigning the design world. No matter how much coverage Sophista reported on Omar Shaan through various sections and their other articles, even the mere mention of him made her extremely conscious.

Owing to their socialite status and overlapping engagements in the industry, their paths continued to cross through countless occasions. With each instance Mohana marched in hoping to remain indifferent to the chaos he could induce in her, but always wound up with a roaring turmoil within.

Having already become the ideal star, when Omar landed a second consecutive victory at the famed Couture Catwalk his fan following went amok. Leading the charts with their exclusive coverage, Sophista studios approached Shaan Designs for his focus interview directly with their editor-in-chief of the journal: Mohana

Through their focus interview, Mohana had remained exceedingly aware and conscious of him. His presence like always had left her whipped and some more. Given the independent nature of the interview, which had stretched endless hours Mohana’s feelings had remained in a constant whirl. Regardless, Mohana had tirelessly ascertained to keep the turbulence of her heart at bay to ensure a success for Sophista.

Despite an extensive presence of the uber popular brand Shaan Designs, no publication had been thus far successful to convince Omar Shaan, the star himself for a cover photo shoot.

Leading the charts, Sophista took upon the challenge, much to the flutter of her heart.

Winning at Couture Catwalk was a major accomplishment, triumphant at it for the fourth consecutive year, was altogether a feat that had been declared impossible to achieve. Until today.

The silver device buzzed to deviate her attention from the article opened ahead of her.

Taking another bite of her pastry Mohana answered the connect from her assistant “Ya?”

“Miss Mohana, we are connected, am switching you” she heard Jojo inform

“Yup” giving her an affirmation Mohana took another sip of the chocolate milk

“Hey” listening to the voice from the other side Mohana sprang from the chair

She hastily thrust the glass of chocolate milk on the table. The glass banged against the silver device, making Mohana shut her eyes. She slapped her hand on the device to block any sound. Bewildered she stared at the phone.

Why did people at Shaan Designs also have to sound like Omar Shaan!

Heaving a sigh, she outlined the lip of her chocolate milk glass “Hi, this is Mohana from Sophista. Our team wanted to extend wishes for the triumphant win at Couture Catwalk”

“Express our gratitude to your team, Mohana” the voice from the other side offered

Her throat felt parched listening to the roll of her name. The voice sent a shudder within her. It sounded way too similar than it should.

Taking a shaky sip of the chocolate milk Mohana hoped to calm herself. With the knowledge that Omar Shaan was at the Fashion Trend, he couldn’t be answering the call himself. Why would he. She had seen him live on the stream only minutes ago. He was at the runway!

Holding on to her resolve she spoke on the line: “Definitely, this is a proud moment for all of us. And I don’t want to rush things but this is an exciting time, with his victories lining up and the announcement today with Couture Catwalk all of us are exhilarated and I want him to consider any possibilities to be on the cover of our next issue for December”

There was complete silence, before the voice inquired “Sophista cover?”

That mesmerizing sound made her gulp. She bit on her lower lip, this seemed like some preparation prior to meeting the man himself. For all she knew, their boss would not even remember who she was.

Pushing her thoughts of nervousness away, she cheerily offered “Yes, well ya I am not certain if you follow our journal, we aim to pioneer the trend through our publication. I can send along my portfolio and if it will help your team and boss to consider we can definitely do a round of introductions. I am sure people in the business are swamped with work and must not always remember each other”

“I for sure know who you are Mohana..” her breath hitched at that “..and am guessing by this call you might know who I am too. Unless you have forgotten me being swamped with work?” listening to his words, her heart felt stuck in her throat.

She was on the connection, talking to Omar Shaan. How. He was at the Fashion Trend!

Curling her fingers in her fist, Mohana croaked a whisper “Hi. Congrats”

“All yours” she heard him respond, the drawl further making her heartbeats race

With steel determination, ignoring the quiver running inside her, Mohana threw on her mature facade “I didn’t gather you are taking calls”

“There are times that I do” Omar calmly responded

“Of course ya..ya, well I’ll consider Sophista extremely lucky to have pounced on that chance. My readers would be delighted to know how this all can shape up sometimes. Given that I am able to talk to the superstar directly, I have a request for you, I want you on the cover page for my upcoming December issue” Mohana smoothly delivered her request

“Yeah, gathered that when you didn’t seem to know me” his voice informed her from the other side

“That can’t..” she swallowed, with her cheeks deepening with color she formed her words “..uhm I didn’t think you’ll be available, given that you had just won”

“With any luck were you able to watch the stream?” Omar asked. His words made her nervously pace the office.

She determinedly declared “Of course, the entire team is a fan, not just Fashion Trend but you’ll have Jojo updated on all movement”

“Sure, will it be too much to assume then that you didn’t forget me entirely?” his powerful voice had a hint of laughter

Mohana quivered a sigh. Her heart didn’t know a possibility besides accepting his existence. She offered “I could forget breathing but my readers won’t let me forget you, which is why I have this request”

“What’s in it for me?” he checked coming straight to the point

Mohana lightly shrugged “Nothing at all. I doubt you need the publicity but it’ll make your fans happy”

“And what about you?” his voice inquired from the other side

Biting on her lower lip, her nervous finger drew his name on the large window “I work for Sophista, I’ll make the sales anyways, but I want you on the cover this time”

“Does that mean it will make you happy?” Omar checked making Mohana gulp on the other side of the line

Appreciative of being alone in her office, she nervously ran fingers through her beautiful golden hair. The only thing important was what would make her readers happy.

Pushing her thoughts aside she vehemently declared “Yeah! Of course the entire team at Sophista and the reader base is going to be extremely happy! My work is everything”

“Work is everything indeed. When do you want to meet?” his words staggered her a little. She had been prepared to go back and forth with his offices to convince them on what impact his cover shoot could bring.

His instant agreement took her by surprise. Random feelings she wanted shelved away, made her heart throb wildly.

Mainly nervousness that she had been trying so hard to keep under check, rushed to the surface.

“Jojo! I’ll let her and your studio and uhm mine manage the details and then uh then..there will be the crew and the staff and we’ll see you” Mohana informed, to hear him casually drawl “See you soon”

Disconnecting the line, she haphazardly threw the device on the couch. Covering her face with her palms, she tried to block images of him, but all in vain.

Her heart frolicked at the prospect of meeting him yet remained freaked imagining being in his immaculate presence.

Gathering a breath she smoothed her pink dress then slipping on her heels, walked out of her office.

|| 01. PAIZE 3 ♥ ||

Reaching Jojo’s office, Mohana relayed “Talk to Shaan Designs we are doing the photo shoot for December”

“Yes Miss Mohana! Exciting! This is very exciting! Have you looked at those muscles on his abdomen, every time he wears those tshirts you can see each ripple! Everyone’s going to go so crazy!..” with stars in her eyes Jojo continued “..Omar Shaan! Shirtless! On the cover of Sophista! That will go along so well with his exposé. It would be the highlight for both Sophista and him for years to come” she dreamily exhaled a breath, her cheeks glowing with color.

Images of his handsome shirtless body, wearing only the blue denim jeans ran through Mohana’s mind from their encounter. She inwardly groaned “For the photo shoot, uh maybe not shirtless? It’s December? But yeah talk to the crew and uhm do we have to do the exposé? I was thinking we change things a little, you know just the cover sort of would do his magic, he’s so popular, so we go with that and then convince his team for an exposé interview sometime later? For another issue in a few years?”

Her assistant’s face visibly fell, she looked at Mohana with sad eyes “No exposé? I can understand you’re really busy Miss Mohana, you don’t even get time to eat, but how will we manage the fan mail? They will slaughter us alive! My friends have their own questions for Omar Shaan and our entire women crew is waiting to hear his answers and then Leya has decided he needs to go shirtless, those muscles aren’t worth hiding and she already told me she wants to make her husband jealous so we’re going to the beach for the photo shoot”

“Why are Leya and the entire crew already waiting? How does everybody even know, I just told you his decision” Mohana looked at her assistant puzzled

Jojo gave her the widest smile “Everyone knows your power Miss Mohana! You don’t take no for an answer and upon hearing your name they transferred the line directly to him, he couldn’t have possibly said no to you, which already ensured it was a definite deal”

“My name? His office reads Sophista?” Mohana checked with Jojo who remained ecstatically delighted that their call had been immediately routed to Omar Shaan himself “They must! Who doesn’t know you! I informed them that I am Jojo from the offices of Miss Mohana at Sophista and you would like to talk to them. And before I could even blink, his assistant said they’ll route you to him! Directly! I will have the team clear up your calendar and you can take a break and do the exposé interview with him on the locale itself”

“No! um no I am.. I am not going anywhere. There are tons of things and I can’t push them. If we decide to do the exposé let’s plan for it in my office itself, but get his permission, send his team some samples if he doesn’t want to participate or you know, talk about all the things and whatever..because he will be busy? So we can plan to postpone it” Mohana offered

Jojo nodded her head, scribbling points on her device “Your name will suffice Miss Mohana, but yes I’ll send along samples and I’ll have Leya plan a day trip for the photo shoot to adjust around your schedule”

“It’s not really necessary, Leya knows the game and her husband also needs that whatever..the jealously thing..I won’t be needed, what will I even do there” Mohana frowned wanting to escape the possibility of any such overlap of time with Omar Shaan

Jojo looked at her sincerely informing “But he has never been on a cover photo shoot, who is going to help him?”

“Help?! He is a fashion designer, clothes are his thing” Mohana stated matter-of-factly

Jojo nodded in agreement “But for others. He dresses them, undresses them..” she dreamily sighed before continuing “..but he doesn’t walk the ramp himself, and he signed up for this because you will be there”

“Me? Why will I be there?” Mohana frowned her heart beating rapidly at the mere mention

Showing Mohana the screen, Jojo informed earnestly “Yes! Just as you came here, I received this from his assistant..” looking at the note she read aloud “..Shaan Designs is pleased to accept the opportunity to feature on the December cover of Sophista journal. Mr. Omar Shaan would also like to extend his appreciation to Sophista’s editor-in-chief for her partnership through this photo shoot. Without her agreeing to accompany him through this process, this might not have been an easy decision. You can contact me for discussing the details and our team will help with the scheduling. I am including here some times that he will..”

“Ya. Right. Ok. Ya. But there seems to be some misunderstanding. I don’t do photo shoots, I only approve them” Mohana ran a nervous hand through her blonde tresses

Tapping the pencil on the screen Jojo considered “Yes, Miss Mohana, I am assuming they want you to accompany so that you can guide the team on what you have in mind and approve the shoot right away. He might not be after all very comfortable on the camera”

“He is fashion designer! He and camera are sort of always together” Mohana stated with obviousness ignoring the rattling of her heart

Jojo thoughtfully nodded “Well, in his focus interview series with us, he said he is mostly surrounded by his sketching pad and mainly fabric, there’s no mention where he says he is comfortable on the camera..”

Mohana rolled her eyes at how her assistant remembered the details from their focus interview, while she herself couldn’t overcome the enigma of Omar Shaan it seems no one else could either.

Jojo was still explaining “..and people can be shy, you are so shy, despite of all that you continue to achieve”

Mohana blinked in confusion “Shy?! I don’t think I am shy! I am a journalist, I talk to everybody and I am out there interacting with people. Everyday”

Jojo comfortingly added “Yeah of course but that’s work, it’s no easy feat being an editor-in-chief for something as large as Sophista at any age let alone yours. You manage law school alongside to this, as if this all is as straightforward as it could be. No one would believe you handle such crazy responsibilities if they found you drinking coffee in a cafe but that’s the problem, you don’t sit and drink coffee in a cafe. And one of the reasons is because you are shy. And anyone can be shy, you do your work and yes you do all those exposé with celebrities but you are very shy. We all know that”

“All?! Like here in our team?” Mohana exclaimed her mind in jumble at the odd turn the conversation had taken

Jojo puckered her lips in thought “I don’t think all, as in the entire all. Others only see the surface but mostly everyone with whom you are close to, like Sir Gallaghair definitely knows you’re shy”,

“Sir Gallaghair?!..” Mohana confusedly repeated “..but he’s my boss, he doesn’t think am shy, definitely not”

“Definitely yes, very reserved and timid were his words” Jojo confirmed with emphasis

“Of course not! Timid! I can’t be timid and I am not shy or reserved or anything like that. Not at all. Not even close” Mohana heatedly contradicted. Her cheeks fused with more color, inherently aligning with the conviction Jojo expressed than her own words.

“Sure Miss Mohana, then I will let Shaan Designs know that you’ll accompany Omar Shaan for the shoot and we can do the exposé at the beach itself” Jojo pleasantly smiled, stars in her eyes appearing to return at the mention of the cover shoot

“No! If we plan to do the exposé, we do that here in my office. Because..uhm because my university stuff is all here. What if I have to work on an assignment or anything prior to the meeting..” Mohana struggled to convince herself that she didn’t want to be spending time with that handsome hunk more than what was required “..It has nothing to do with being reserved and for the life of me why would I be shy of a random stranger who designs beautiful things”

“Of course Miss Mohana, I’ll make sure to manage your calendar for the travel plans strictly for the photo shoot and we will come back to do the exposé” Jojo sweetly iterated making notes alongside

“Ya. And he’s all that good looks and everything that you keep telling me so we can approve this whole thing quickly” Mohana emphasized wanting to keep her interactions with this causing-havoc-to-her-heart man to a minimum

“Yes Miss Mohana. I’ll have Leya coordinate all the details and we will run the plan with you before hand. We have to take care of everyone being so shy! Of cameras and people and everything” Jojo added a few more bullets to her digital device

“But?! That..I am not shy! You need to call Roja and ask him to get me everything on bold women, articles, movies, all that they do and I’ll show you the similarities” Mohana stated confidently

“Roja! No, of course not, he won’t know what to send you, he is media archeologist for crying out loud..” hopping to sit on her desk Jojo eagerly informed “..but Leya told me, men like bold women! Her husband really likes when she’s doing all the moves. That’s why she likes making him jealous! And in an interview with Chanceys, Omar Shaan was quoted that he likes his women bold too. You see, it’s all the craze these days. I’ll ask Leya to send you the series though I hardly think you’ll have time to watch all the sections, but she can make a list of all things that she does to be bold”

“Um ok and we can compare then you’ll be convinced and we can tell Sir Gallaghair too and all those people. And uh was there anything else?” Mohana enquired

“She can send you a lot of material, she’s an expert, she has taught me everything I know” Jojo happily informed

“Yes. Yeah. Tell her to send me whatever but I was thinking, that article with Chanceys? And if there was anything else they said?” Mohana checked

Jojo heaved a sigh “Oh Chanceys. Nah Chanceys is Chanceys nothing quality, they had a list of all women whom Omar Shaan has had affairs with”

“Right, yeah. Who cares” Mohana settled her hair consciously, wanting to ignore the pain shooting through her heart

“All those women definitely!..” Jojo wistfully sighed “..But yes, I heard him on the Couture Catwalk earlier where he said very tall heels are making a comeback and so is velvet! Do you think we should all get velvet dresses when he comes here for the exposé? That’ll for sure make him happy and he’ll know that we are always pioneering the trend!”

“Sure yeah. Do that. Coordinate with Salm” Mohana gave her a smile, mentioning their Sophista in house designer

The smile on Jojo’s face expanded with extreme excitement “Awesome! I have never been so thrilled for a photo shoot before! I am getting you a blue dress and I need a red one! I didn’t even talk to him properly the last time he was here for the focus series! He is so tall, like a walking candy that everyone wants to lick..”

“And that definitely needs to wait till you’re home, we’re still at work Jojo” Mohana kindly reminded her assistant

“That’s exactly why I love working here, so many handsome men and their glorious abs! And they are so kind! They have ruined the men beyond the Sophista offices for me. So this time am going to spend a lot of time with Omar Shaan” Jojo declared with all certainty

“Of course, you’re in charge. Take it from here. I’ll be in my office” Mohana informed turning to walk away

Jojo excitedly called “Have fun! Don’t overwork yourself, I’ll get you the list from Leya and we’ll go over it”

“Yes boss, I’ll prove it to you” Mohana confirmed smiling at the order from her assistant

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