Everybody on the dining table were unnaturally quite. Tension hung in the air of the house. As if something bad had occured last night. Not that the day succeding that horrible night have been normal but today it felt the darkness have made its way to the deep in the house. Nk, who had tried to maintain light atmosphere in this house with his jokes and wrong hindi, was sitting quiet on the table playing with his food. He was not the only who had lost his appetite this morning. It was same with anjali and payal, while others were forcing the morsels of food down their throat.
All were busy in their thoughts but their thought process halted as they listened to the sound that the house have been devoid off from many days.
Every head on the table turned towards the stairs and every pair of eyes froze at what they saw.
They can’t believe their eyes. Khushi was walking very slowly downstairs with arnav supporting her by shoulders.
They heard it again. Nk was the first one to
recover from the shock. Pushing the chair back , he stood up and strode towards the stairs with everyone following behind him except payal. She was too shocked to see her sister like this, that she didn’t want to move or blink lest it comes out to be her hallucination.
Arnav indicated everyone to behave normal with his eyes. He want to make her feel normal in the house like before that nothing has changed, everything is same.
Nk understood what he wants to do, so he stepped forward as they descended down the last step and wore his charming smile one his face and greeted khushi.
“Khushiji ,aayiye aayiye. You know your favourite aaloo puri have been made. I can sniff its delicious smell also. We were waiting for you. I am very hungry, lets go and have breakfast.” he rubbed his hand on his stomach.
Arnav took towards the dining table and sat her down on the chair. Sitting on the chair next to her he was about to make her plate when payal said.”Arnavji..i..i will make her plate.” arnav
nodded as he know how she must be feeling now.
Payal filled her plate all the while holding back her tears and handed it to arnav. Khushi never looked at anyone even for once, her eyes were down all the time but when arnav took her name softly, she looked at him and he started to feed her while she ate silently.
At some point to she didn’t open her mouth to eat. When he thought she wasn’t hungry any more and was about to pick the glass of water for her, she slightly pushed the plate towards him, silently asking him to eat.
His heart filled with joy at same with pain seeing her so concerned about him when he did nothing but to hurt her and.. No! Don’t think about that now. Just think about khushi. She’s slowly coming out , is now becoming normal. Thats what matter the most.
He took a morsel and ate it. Next he feed her and like this they finished their breakfast. He leaned towards Nk and whispered in his ears.”Where is shyam..??”
“He is out of town again. Let khushiji stay down
Only. He will not be here.” Nk whispered back.
Standing up, arnav bent forward sliding his arm around her shoulder he urged her to stand up.”Come. We’ll sit in the living room.” He held her hand, which clutched tightly and stoop up slowly.
She sat on the sofa with payal next to her.
But when arnav tried to leave her she held his wrist tightly not letting him go. He put her hand on his thigh squeezed it slightly, reassuring her that he is not leaving her.
Everybody tried to talk to her but she remained slient, not responding to them. Some hours later her medicine kicked in her system and she slowly rested her head on arnav’s shoulder. He let her be like that until she was deep in sleep.
“I am taking her up in the room. ” he scooped her up in his arms taking care not to disturb her sleep. He proceeded towards the stairs not before signaling NK to follow him.
After settling her on the bed, he moved towards the poolside with NK. He turned towards Nk after closing the door.
He looked straight at Nk Nk and said.”I don’t want Shyam in this house. He should not enter in this house, i cannot let him be near her.”
“Don’t worry it will be done. But till when..?? What you would say to di about his absence. You should tell her nannav. She deserve to know about him.” NK questioned him.
Arnav sighed. He was tired of hiding this from di. As much as he want to tell her everything ,everytime the thought of her unborn child stops him. He couldn’t risk her life.
“I want to Nk. I very badly want to. But di is pregnant NK , i can’t take that risk. It will be too dangerous. She will not be able to take it.” Arnav spoke his helplessness clear on his face.
NK placed his hand on his shoulder and said.”I will say one thing nannav. Don’t take di’s pregnancy as her weakness, but the strength with which she will be able to face the truth and would be able to live her life for her unborn child. Think about it.” Nk left arnav deep in thought.
Arnav stood at the poolside gazing at the ripples of water Forming in the pool by the morning breeze. He couldn’t take any decision. There was too much at risk. Di will not be able handle the truth, then shyam is a dangerous man, if his real face would be exposed than he could do any harm to anyone and he can’t let that happen. Khushi is too vulnerable, if shyam tries to harm her. No! He could never let that happen. There is too much of a risk. Shyam’s game will end but not now. I will end him at right time.
The rest of the day went well, khushi with arnav’s support walked around the house, saw her jiji making food in the kitchen.Nani feeding lakshmi green leaves and hariprakash runnin around the house doing various chores.
Arnav was resting on the chair on the poolside. Leaning his head back ,he closed his eyes, listening to the sound of leaves of the his plants ruffling as the cool night breeze passed by him. He inhaled deeply as the cool breeze carressed his face, making him feel refreshed, letting his mind to stop his thought process For a moment. The peace was broken by khushi’s shriek.
He ran inside the room and saw her sitting on the bed with horror struck eyes as she stared into emptiness, sweting profusely. Rushing towards he hugged her. Trying to normalise her rapid breathing. He rubbed her back sothing her, calming her as he continously murmered in her ears.”Shh i am here.. I am here khushi.” She clung to him tightly, her fingers gripping his shirt from the back.
After sometime her breathing got normal and he pulled back to look at her face. “Khushi what happened..?? Tell me. Why were you so scared. Saw a bad dream..??” he wiped her tears gently and caressed her hairs.
Not saying anything she buried her face in his chest and hugged him tighty.
“Hey its ok. I am here. Don’t be scared. I am here.” he murmered softly and laid down on bed gently and patted her head.
He was to stand up when he saw her breathing deeply but she clutched his wrist stopping him. “Khushi i…”
She tugged his Hand bringing him down on bed beside her. She rested her head on his shoulder, draping an arm over his torso. He hugged her close to him and closed his eyes, not believing that he is holding khushi in his arms as she slept. He soon drifted of to sleep as his heart was finally at piece, holding his love close to his heart.