Sthapan, Orion Hotel, 7.00 p.m.
In the end, it was embarrassing. Embarrassingly stupid.
The ease with which he found himself outside Room 354 with the waiter's cleaner trolley was so impossible that Aaditya was actually scared.
He never really liked it, when things went too easy.
He found himself out of Room 354 and his adrenaline was almost flooding him. This was why he did it – the rush, the thrill...
But then Aaditya's sudden rush was interrupted by something very, very normal – the doorknob.
Aaditya frowned for a few seconds as he looked at the knob. "Kriti, who exactly makes these locks?" The disdain in Aaditya's voice was almost visible as he sneered at the lock."I could pick this if I was drunk." Aaditya sneered angrily as he looked at the door knob again.
"Oh yeah?" Kritika was giggling on the other end and Aaditya had to make sure he did not join her. Aaditya was really bad with drinks.... On one memorable occasion, he had collapsed after two cups and another even more memorable occasion, he had collapsed after three cups and worse on the second occasion Aaditya was kidnapped too....
Besides those were details and very boring as Aaditya opened the door.
He grinned as he was inside the hotel room 354. He looked around and despite the fact that Kritika had told him that there was no one inside the room, Aaditya checked the room thoroughly – he even checked under the bed.
After a few seconds, he found the room completely empty and that was when Aaditya turned his attention to the safe. It was behind a beautiful painting of a vase as Aaditya carefully removed the painting.
It was a number combination safe.
"This is getting embarrassing." Aaditya muttered to himself as he pulled out his stethoscope. First he rotated the combination to ensure that all the wheels of the dial were disengaged, then he wore his stethoscope as he tilted each combination in the dial and heard for the sound.
Five minutes later, he had opened the safe. The number of the safe did surprise him, but he thought nothing about it.
Aaditya could not stop himself and he gasped when he peered inside the safe.
"What?" Kritika asked him as he smiled at the worry in her voice.
"Kriti, you are going to love this. The Queen is even more beautiful than I thought." Aaditya murmured.
"Aaditya!" Kritika's voice in the ear-piece sounded hurried. "Another waiter is coming to your floor. Stay inside the room and don't make a sound."
Aaditya took a deep breath and stayed put. As a rule, he usually worked with the light on – especially in hotel rooms. He had found out that it was only in the dark rooms people outside paid more attention and those were the cases when they paid more attention to any strange sounds. People as a rule did not even bother with well-lit rooms... Something that almost any thief should use – Aaditya was no exception.
Aaditya did absolutely nothing and a few seconds later he heard a waiter pass by the door and obviously the waiter had seen nothing wrong, because Aaditya could hear the footsteps of the waiter continuing after Room 354.
"Aaditya!" Kritika yelled again. "Get out of there now. There are cops in the reception of the hotel. I don't know why they are there. Out now."
"Yes ma'am." Aaditya needed no further encouragement as he pulled out the emerald and put it in his inner coat.
There was a slight problem as to whether his actions had dragged the cops here. But then Aaditya was too smart to believe that that could be the case. If the cops were after Aaditya, they would hardly be enquiring at the reception. They would be outside this room. The question did remain as to why the cops were here but now was not the time to ponder on it.
"The cops are asking the hotel people something and they are calling for the lift. I do not know which lift would come for them." Kritika told him in the ear-piece.
Aaditya hurriedly pushed the trolley out of the room and did not even turn back as he walked slowly towards the lift on the other side of the room. Haste was the one thing which caught people's attention. Doing things normally, hardly ever registered in people's heads. And Aaditya was right. One of the passengers of the hotel who was two doors away from Room 354 came out of her room and she was locking the door. With her slender legs and curvy figure, the lady was a beauty but Aaditya hardly paid any attention to her. He was just trying to make to the lift slowly. The woman for her part did not even acknowledge Aaditya with a look as she hurried towards the lift on the passenger side of the room.
"Aaditya, the cops are coming towards the lift that you are walking to. Be relaxed and keep your head down." Kritika instructed Aaditya.
Aaditya had wanted to check into one more room as a waiter to remove any suspicions from himself when the theft was discovered. But then Aaditya realized that he just did not have the time for it. He just called the lift and waited for it.
The lift door opened.
Aaditya's heart nearly crashed into his mouth as he saw the cops come out of the very lift.
Aaditya willed himself not to make any movements – suspicious or otherwise. Kritika's voice in his ears had died down.
And Aaditya was just trying to see whether the group had the Deputy Commissioner of Police of the city of Sthapan - Charan Meran in it.
Charan and Aaditya had a complicated history. In the world of cops and thieves, it could almost be said that Aaditya and Charan were friends.
The reason for Aaditya's check was obvious. Aaditya genuinely believed that if there was a cop who could make out that the waiter was Aaditya even behind all the makeup – that would be Charan. And Aaditya knew that no matter how much of good friends they really were, if Charan found Aaditya in this hotel with a stolen emerald on him.... Charan would arrest Aaditya. The DCP really would have no choice on that one.
But then Aaditya's fear was completely misplaced.
This bunch of cops – all male – seemed boring and they did not even pay any attention to Aaditya, as they just pushed past him and walked in the corridor.
"Aaditya, keep your head down!" Kritika's voice almost hissed into his ears. "And get in the lift."
"No Kriti," Aaditya muttered. "It would look weird if I don't pay attention. Any normal person would stare. Just look at which room number that the cops are going into."
Aaditya looked blankly at the cops as the shoes of the cops hit uniformly making a lot of noise, dragging even some other passengers from out of their rooms.
Another waiter – presumably the one who had crossed Aaditya came forward as he was looking at the cops. Right now, the other waiter just normally believed that Aaditya was a waiter here too. There was not even a hint of suspicion in the real waiter's voice.
"The cops are here because there has been a murder here!" The other waiter whispered to Aaditya. "Imagine a murder in this very hotel."