CHAPTER 29

As the retreated form of Khushi and Arnav disappeared quickly, Nani looked at the faces of all the people in the living room. Her gaze perplexed, eyes searching, asking questions that her mind is desperately wanting the answers to.

Garima was shattered, with her eyes staying atop of the staircase that khushi disappeared from she continued to stare. Her eyes hoping for this day to be a dream, that she really hasn’t lost her daughter. But nothing changed. Payal was still weeping silently, and her sister in law, for once in her life didn’t have anything to say.

Deathly silence surrounded the room as every occupant tried to come to the terms of what happened here.

Only two of them were worried about the girl who herself cutoff with the ties that she so selflessly have tried to salvage till now, even at the cost her life.

“How?…what?…what happened here?” Nani questioned looking perplexed. “Why Khushi behaved like this? Why did she cut all the ties with her family? What is happening in this house?” Her voice rose looking the mum faces.

Nk thought of stepping forward and letting the family know what they all have done to the girl he had come to see as his baby sister. “Naniji, you should know that the reasons behind Khushi taking her life was not one but many.” He looked at each and every person standing there. “The way all of you treated that girl after her marriage,” His gaze pointed to the gupta and the newly wedded raizada bahu. “The way you were with her before her marriage and the raizada family is also among them naniji. So it hadn’t come as a shock to you garima aunty, did it? “

Garima shook her head, her head bowed down. ” I knew the moment I saw her.” She looked up her eyes filled with tears. ” I knew I am going to lose my daughter today. “

“She was never your daughter auntiji. ” Nk knew his words were harsh but also so very true. “You were her maasi, have been her maasi all along, all the while you raised her, she never got the place in your heart which a daughter has. If it was there for her, no matter what had happened, you would have never disowned your daughter that night.”

“Payal bhabhi please stop crying. Your sister will not come back to you ever. The sooner you come to terms with it the better and naniji, if Khushi didn’t say about her in laws doesn’t mean that she’ll be her true self with you. Don’t expect to see your Khushi in this Khushi because you will not find her, she’ll be just your grandson’s wife to you. Her relation with you will only be because you are related to her husband and not because she gave a piece of her heart to you all. You all destroyed that part of her a long back.”

Aakash fisted his hands in an effort to keep himself jumping on his cousin. For all his life he never thought he could get this angry or could feel the rage like he is feeling on this particular moment. True, what Nk said was true. His wife, his family including himself gave cold shoulder to Khushi after her and bhai’s impromptu wedding. That does not give him to say such harsh words to his wife and her family when one could see how devastated they are with this turn of events.

For all the rage and anger Aakash knew somewhere deep inside his heart that Nk was right. That what stopped him from defending his wife was not his ever calm nature that refuses to make things uglier than what they are. Instead it was the guilt, it was the selfishness that he displayed by quickly abandoning that one girl because of whom he got to marry his love of the life.

Nk felt a headache coming. This was getting uglier and uglier. The step Khushi took by trying taking her life left a domino effect, taking away every peace and calm that ever existed in this house.

His eyes strayed to Anjali. At this moment Nk looked like he had aged ten more years.

Could this family handle the truth? The truth when I’ll do what anjali has asked me to will come to their doorstep. This has happened before and I know that its effect still lingers in Arnav and anjali di’s life.

A tired sigh escaped his lips. But doing this is the right thing. It’s either this or devastation of Arnav’s life. There is no choice to make when it comes to Arnav for him, is it? A wry smile touched his lips. Arnav Singh raizada, you owe me a big, baby brother.

“I’ll just check onto Arnav and Khushi.” Nk walked out not before giving a meaning glance to his di.

Once he was out of earshot, he dialed a number he had wished not to use again.

As soon as the call connected, a heavily accented voice, the accent that have touched his Hindi word, came through and greeting him like an old friend.

“Nk! Buddy! How come you called man? Not that I am complaining. It’s been so long since you talked to this friend of yours. How’s going buddy?”

The man doesn’t know when to shut up.

“Mig, I need a favour.”

The sound on the background got silent and Nk knew this time everybody on the side would have stilled whatever work that they were doing, on one signal of their boss, mig.

“Name it.” Came the response he knew he would be getting. He has always been grateful of the friends he made in his young rogue days. Of Course he knew nobody would want their son to be in their company. But they are the loyal friends he could count on anytime, doesn’t matter what they do for a living.

“I need you in India. It’s big mig. Not a small thing. I would understand if you would want to decline after hearing what I want you to do. Moreover, it would be hell lot of a difficult to do in India, in another country. So whether you do it or not, that would not affect our friendship. You feel me, man?”

“I feel you alright man. Just tell me and it will be done.”

“I want my brother-in-law dead.” Nk finally let out.

“You have a sister?” Came the surprised question.

Of course, thought Nk, leave it to mig, to be surprised by getting to know about me having a sister and not of what I asked him to do.

“Mig, she’s my cousin. Now tell me. Are you going to do it?”

“Of course, my man! Anything for you.”

“You are not even going to ask the reason behind it?”

“I know you well enough Nk, that for you to ask me this, that rascal of a brother in law of yours, deserved what I have stored in for him.”

Nk heaved a sigh of relief. “Come here and I’ll give you the details.”

“Nah uh, you would not be giving me anything. Just tell me about your cousin’s family and I’ll know who I have to kill. Don’t want anyone to trace this back to you my brother.”

“Alright, his name is shyam manohar jha. You can search his name and get his picture. For you to be sure he is the one he’ll be seen either with his wife Anjali jha or Arnav Singh Raizada. Don’t kill the wrong guy here bro. Search whatever you can on him. I can bet on my life that he has bad connections here in Delhi. Use whatever you find, kill that bas***d in a way that exposes all of his dirty work. He should be thrashed in press after his death.” Nk chuckled darkly. “And make sure he suffers.”  

Mig laughed at the other end. “You know me. I know how to make one suffer. You’ll be seeing the good news very soon. Now after this call, if you are in the house get out then dump this phone after splitting your sim into two. No one could make connection to me but better to be safe.”

Nk rolled his eyes. “I know all of this. You don’t have iterated it to me. It was nice talking to you bro. Hope to catch up to you again. Soon”

“Yeah, soon bro.” The ended and Nk swiped his sim, out broke it into two.

****

“Hey, you should eat something. You also have to take your medicines.” Arnav squeezed her hand to bring her back to present. Khushi was continuously staring ahead at nothing in particular. He sat with her holding her hand giving her the support she needs after all the things happened downstairs. He could never understand the pain she’s going through. Even though he has lost his parents but Khushi, she lost them twice. He knew he could never handle that.

“Sweetheart, you have to eat.” He gently turned her face to him. “Come back to me.” He searched her eyes for an emotion. She blinked pulling down the curtain that protected her heart. It was all there, years of pain, anger, confusion, fear, and most of love for him.

Then she said the one thing that tore his heart out. “Please don’t hurt me again. I will die. I wouldn’t be able to live. “

His eyes moistened. “I can never hurt you.” He placed her palms above his heart. “This heart is yours. It beats for you. I hurt you even a little bit and it will give me a hell lot of a pain.”

Her fingers clutched his shirt hard. “Arnav,” her voice trembled, “make love to me.”

“Khushi…”

“No,” Khushi shook her head looking at his eyes directly. “I know what I want. Now, I need you to make this pain go away. It’s eating me inside.” Her hands traveled up his shoulders and cupped his nape.

Arnav didn’t know what to do. Making love to Khushi when she’s vulnerable is not right. On the other hand the pain and agony he saw in her eyes was terrifying to him what it would be doing to her?

Khushi made the decision for him. As soon as her lips touched his, he was not in control of his brain.

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CHAPTER 28

Arnav waited for everyone to leave the kitchen before grabbing Khushi’s hand and taking her up inside their room. As soon as they entered inside Arnav locked the room and took Khushi in his arms. Not a second later he felt her tears socking his shirt as she wept quietly. He closed his eyes and tightened his hold on her, his heat tightening in his chest for every drop of the tear that spills out of her eyes.

“Shh…Khushi…” Arnav tried to stop her crying, whispering in her ears softly. “It has to be done. ” He loosened his arms from her. “Look at me Khushi.” Looking at her face wet from tears split his hear into two. He took her chin in his fingers and made her look up at him. When her wet eyes met his he said, “Khushi, I can’t say that I can understand how you are feeling. How much you must be hurting now, but I know that it must be hurting a lot. I can’t even imagine what you must be going through right now. But Khushi, do you really wanted to have this hurt and anger to be bottled up inside you? Hurting you with every breath you take?”

Khushi looked away from Arnav not allowing him to see the evidence of the truth he had spoken. “Hiding your eyes from me won’t make it any less true than it really is Khushi. The first time you fell into my arms, I saw the sadness lurking behind your eyes. And I have seen it every minute you spent with me after that. But it was smashed into my face when you only responded to me in the hospital Khushi. That day it became clear to me what was really in your heart and that you are tired of making everyone happy at the stake of you happiness.”

“Why can’t they just let me be? Is it my fault that I am an orphan?” It was that Khushi had never asked anyone. Had never thought of speaking out loud.

In a second Khushi was crushed in Arnav’s arms. “No…no! It is not your fault! Do you hear me? ” His own voice was shaking. His own demons of the past trying to take him down into dark place that had always made him terrified after his parents death. He had survived that but there was also a price to pay but he can’t let Khushi go through this. Never! He won’t let that happen!

“Khushi, It was an accident! It could have happened to anyone. If its anyone’s fault, then its of that person who drove carelessly and crashed his car to yours. Its not your fault…not your fault.” Arnav kept whispering in her ears not letting another thought enter her mind.

“But I survived…” Khushi spoke in barely audible voice.

Arnav’s heart lurched painfully. God! All this time…all this bloody time she had survivor guilt!

Holding her close to his chest…painfully close to him, Arnav tried to speak urgently and calmly, both at the same time.”Khushi, you survived because of your parents love. They loved you so much that I am sure they must have prayed to god for you to be safe even if they won’t. They wanted you to grow and have a beautiful life. The life they must have always dreamed of for you. ” Her breathing relaxed and she was intently listening to him. “You talk to them, don’t you? Every night they come to see you, to give you their love. Tell me Khushi, is that bad thing that you survived? That by living and growing up to be a wonderful woman that you are now as they wished is a bad thing?

Khushi shook her against his chest. “They are happy don’t they?”

Arnav smiled down at her, his eyes reassuring and full of love for her, “Why don’t you ask them yourself tonight? And I think its been many days since you’ve talked to them.”

Khushi gave him a wobbly smile. She seems to be composing herself inside. “I will talk to them tonight. Will you be there with me? ” She wanted him with her, she need him with her at that time. It was all in her eyes.

“Of course, I will,” Arnav tugged her to the bed, making her sit on it. “And you have to introduce someone to them,” He kneeled in front of her and took her hand in his.

“Who?”

“Me, Of course!” Arnav gave a surprised look before smiling knowingly, “Or did you talked about me to them already?”

Khushi’s cheek turned pink making Arnav’s eyes go wide. “You have! And is that blush I am seeing on your face?” He slowly grinned but that turned into chuckles as the colour of her cheeks darkened more. “So tell me what did you tell them?” She won’t look at him in the eyes. Her eyes firmly stayed on his collar. “It would be definitely bad, no? That I am a bad monster that wants to eat their sweet little daughter?”

Khushi shook head. That surprised Arnav. Finally, she looked at him. “I first told them your name and that instead of blood arrogance runs through your veins. ” She smiled mischievously at him. The trauma and pain of the past hour seemed to fade away. “Then when we came to Delhi I told them I see past through your exterior, all the arrogance and anger. That I didn’t know if I was right or not but something inside me told me that it was not all of you. That you’ve kept a bigger and important part of you hidden from the world.”

Arnav sat still. He was completely absorbing her words about him. He wants to know the man she sees in him. “And…?”

Khushi seems to understand his sudden need to know about him from her, so she continued. “And then I told them about how you helped me in small things subtly and though you didn’t want me, but still I know that it was you. I told them that you had hurt me whenever you have …”

Arnav cringed at that, “…But I never told them what you did. I just let them know that I was hurt.”

Arnav looked down, “You should have.”

“No. It was my choice not to tell them. It was between them and me and I got to choose what to tell them and not.” Suddenly her voice took a hard edge.

“but…”

“And I told them I am married now..”

When she didn’t say anything, Arnav asked her, “You told them who you are married to? How you were married?”

“No.”

“Why?”

It was clear from her face that she was not liking this conversation now, “I told them that I am married and I married the man I love. And I not talking about this any more.” Her displeased expression turned into peace. “I will introduce you to them tonight. So brace yourself, you will be interrogated tonight.”

Arnav laughed at that. He kept silent about the things he wanted to say to her. How she should have told them all the things about him. How he had forced her to marry him. For six months.But She will not listen to him now. She will not see him look guilty of the things he had to here in the past.

“Have I told you that I love you deeply?”

Khushi shook her head, pouting. There seems to have certain peace around her, like a huge burden had lifted from her shoulder. And it has. She has spoke her heart out. Poured out all the things she has felt and had kept mum about. But it was out from inside of her and she is looking so live and carefree. “You didn’t” She said.

Arnav eyes twinkled, looking at her. “I love you Khushi Singh Raizada. I love you more than anything in this world. I love you with all my heart. I love you more than my life!” Arnav leaned closed and took her lips in his to her how much love he really has for her.

****
Everyone had tried to talk to Payal. But she had been inside her room, the door locked from inside. No amount of coaxing made her reply. She didn’t say anything, all they got from the other side was silence. Akash was pacing outside the doors. Occasionally banging on the door, pleading Payal to just talk to him. But the door never opened. Only one person could answer all their questions. Arnav. He had been in the room with Khushi and NK has efficiently stopped anyone who were even thinking about going to him. They may not understand or were simply ignoring the truth that had been laid before them by Khushi. She has only talked about her family had done wrong with, but everyone here knew that they were nor far from her family in treating her. They knew how he had behaved with Khushi after marriage. They are just running from their conscience, not really accepting they were better than the Guptas.

“Nk bhai, what do you think will happen when Khushiji’s family would be here?” Anjali whispered to him, standing next to him.

Watching Akash and others hovering before his room and their flicking upwards, Nk spoke, “They will have to listen to the hard truth. They will have to face what have done to Khushi all these years. They will have to face their doings. And…they will loose their daughter tonight, if they ever thought of Khushi as theirs.”

As Anjali sighed, the door opened to reveal a distressed Garima and frantic Buaji running inside. Immediately, Anjali guided them towards Payal closed door. Before saying anything, Ajali asked, “What did Payalji told you aunty?”

“She was crying and was mumbling Khushi’s name over and over again. Khushi is fine? She is fine, no? Had something had happened to her? Payal was rambling about us coming over here and Khushi’s name again and again.” Garima looked at front then up the stairs then all over the living room. Her mind already in conflict to which daughter she should go first. “Tell me, had something happened to Khushi?” Her eyes flickering and troubled. Her voice shaking.

“She’s fine aunty.” Anjali saw relief wash through her, before the distress came again. “But then why was Payal crying? ” She took a step towards the room and knocked. “Payal? We are here!”

The room doors burst open a second later revealing a disheveled Payal with swollen eyes and tear stained face. She threw herself in her mother’s arms sobbing, fresh tears leaking out of her eyes. “Maa, Khushi. She…” She couldn’t complete her words, sobbing after each word.

Garima looked everyone silently asking what had happened, when Payal spoke, “Khushi…Maa, Khushi, she broke all relations from us. ” And just like that Garima’s face turned white while buaji’s mouth hung open.

It was buaji who asked the most important question, “But how? She was not responding to anything less talk!”

Anjali stepped forward, “She can talk now buaji. Not only that she can walk smoothly.”
“Why?” Garima whispered.
But said nothing. It was not in her to speak one coherent sentence.

“You should talk to Khushi, Garima aunty. ” Nk said. She nodded, dazed.

“I’ll call her down.” Nk walked upstairs.

“Nannav…??” Nk knocked on the door. “Come in Nk.” Came Arnav’s voice.

NK opened the door slightly. Nannav was sitting on the floor with Khushi on bed, hilding her hands. He can see she’s been crying. “They are here.” He said simply.

Arnav felt Khushi’s hand go still. He tightened his hold in turn, giving her the support she need to go through this.

“We are coming.” Arnav stood up, walked towards the door, Khushi’s hand in his while Nk waited by the door.

They all three walked down the stairs together. Anjali watched as they walked down the stairs, Khushi between Nk and Arnav. In this moment she had all the protection she needed. With her husband and her devar next to her nothing can harm her.

Khushi didn’t even spared a glance at Garima and buaji. She walked straight ahead and sat on the couch.

Garima and buaji came running to her but Payal was behind, her eyes trained on Khushi. Khushi jerked back and slid closer to Arnav who was sitting next to her when Garima tried to take her in embrace, happy to see her healthy.

“Khushi…” Garima stared at her wide eyed and that was when Payal’s words came into her mind.

Khushi…Maa, Khushi, she broke all relations from us.

“Please sit down Garima aunty. We need to talk.” Khushi calmly said all the while she crushed Arnav hand in her.

It was like a blow on her that Garima slumped on the couch behind her. Buaji opened her mouth to say something, but Khushi stopped her. “Please, I have to say something first.” And motioned buaji to take a seat next to Garima.

“First of all I want to thank you for taking care of me all these years. ” Khushi spoke with no emotion in her voice at all. Like she’s making a business deal. At this moment she reminded Arnav of himself. “I was orphan…I am an orphan that you took in care and nurtured me and made me who I am today. And I thank you for that. You also gave me your name and I am very thankful of that but Now I would like to take my name back. I can’t be Gupta anymore. ” Khushi spoke looking straight to Garima. Her voice never wavering, never giving giving the pain she was feeling inside her.

“You both know that I was never Gupta to you. It was just on paper, on my mark sheets, on my certificate. Just in papers. So, now I want to take that burden off you. Now, I am Khushi Singh Raizada. Khushi Mehra Singh Raizada, a wife, a daughter in law, an orphan.” Khushi looked coldly at buaji,.”I don’t have a father, a mother. They died when I eight and i don’t have any sister. ”

Khushi didn’t even flinched when Payal broke into sobs right in front of her. “But I an request. I would like to visit bab… your husband. If you allow, that is.”

Khushi sat waiting for them to say something. But they didn’t. Garima continued to look at Khushi silently urging her to tell that it was all a joke. That never happened. Khushi stared at Garima’s eyes letting her see the truth in her eyes. Arnav held hand through out, his other hand making small circles at the small of her back, comforting her, encouraging her.

Garima hung her head in resignation. She had seen the truth in Khushi’s eyes. Had seen the pain in them which had inflicted by them. She hadn’t said anything but she knew. Looking into her eyes she knew, that she somewhere she has lost her daughter the night she of her marriage, the night she she broke all the ties with her daughter. It was all a facade. The days she spent in their house, smiling. Today she had shed that facade and now she had broken all the ties with them not the other way around. It was all their fault.

Garima looked at Payal, telling her that no amount of crying can bring her sister back. They have lost her. Khushi will only be her jathani, her sister-in-law. Atleat she will get to see her daily.

When Garima remained silent, Khushi stood up. “I think I got my answer. Thank you once again for all the things that you done for me. But I should leave now.”

“Take me upstairs,” Khushi whispered to Arnav . She was breaking down from inside. Arnav was leading her away from them, when suddenly Garima stoped Khushi. “You can come to meet him anytime you want. Our house will always open to you. And I…I have a request…” She hesitated before saying, “Can I hug you.. for the last time?”

Khushi stood silent for a minute then nodded. Garima gingerly wrapped her arms around Khushi before firmly embracing her. “Please Khushi…” Garima whispered brokenly into her ears. Then only Khushi lifted her arms and hugged her.. Khushi abruptly broke the hug. She can’t take it more. She breaking and she is breaking fast.

“I am sorry…I have to go!” And she raced back upstairs with Arnav running after her.

Garima watched Khushi running away from her, the same girl who used to run towards on small feet ten years before. She watched as her daughter left her and becoming a stranger to her. She watched her daughter Payal’s jethani up stairs.

Chapter 27

Arnav felt something on his face disturbing his sleep. Twisting his face a bit he tried shake off whatever it was, but it comes back again and again. Irritated, he at last blinked open his eyes only to look at the hazel eyes of his wife who had her fingers on his cheek staring at him with love. A smile broke into his face looking at her the first thing as he opened his eyes in morning. “Hey…” He whispered as he proceeded to sit up. “How long have you been awake?” He asked looking at her freshly showered form.

“An hour ago.” She said not taking her eyes off him.

What happened to her? Why is she looking at me like that? “Khushi…” He placed his palm over her cheek tenderly. “Are you feeling fine? What happened?”

Instead of answering to him she asked him, “Do you love me?” She looked at him in the eyes, her eyes conveying her doubts.

What?!? From where did that come from? He cupped her face firmly in his hand, having her full attention on him. “I love you khushi!” He spoke with as much as sincerity he could. “Why would you even think like that?”

“Then why didn’t you make love to me yesterday?” Her eyes were full of pain. “You were even regretting that we even went that far.”

What? How could she think like that? I wanted to make love to her yesterday but not when she was in venerable state. It took me everything has to move away from her. “Hey…listen to me. I love you khushi and I wanted to make love to you but I didn’t because you are not properly healed khushi. I know you are physically healthy but not mentally” He searched her eyes desperately for any signs that he was getting through her. “And I want you to first be healthy because I don’t want to hurt you. I won’t be able to bear it.”

He knew that it didn’t work the second she turned her eyes away from him. What happened to her in one night? She was ok yesterday. Fuck! He should have thought that this could come in her mind making her doubt his love for her. She’s emotionally very vulnerable right now. He has to make her believe. He couldn’t lose her now not when they come this far. Not now not ever.

Swinging her down on the bed so that she was under him, he stared at her wide eyes hard. “You want to know how much I want you?”

Khushi just stared at him wide eyes. His eyes they were so intense, that made her slightly nervous. “Arnav…what are you doing?”Her voice trembled slightly.

“Showing you my love…my need for you.” He didn’t waste any second to lean down to capture her lips so passionate that will make her forget even her name. Arnav didn’t hold back anything this time. He poured out all the passion and love he has for her. Khushi was shocked initially but soon her wound around his neck pulling him closer, taking most of his weight on her. Till now the kisses they have shared were soft lacking something but now they were giving themselves to one another fully not holding back anything. He left her to let her breath, moving his lips from her jaw to her neck to the neck line of her top. Peppering kisses to her collar bone he moved to her ear. “Still have any doubts on my love for you?”

Breathing heavily khushi looked at him confused not getting what he just uttered. Her mind still numb from the kiss, the only thing swirling inside her very being is the feel of his lips on her lips, on her skin, burning her up. “Huh??”

Staring straight in her eyes with their lips almost touching he repeated. “Do you doubt my love for you, khushi? Do you khushi?”

Overwhelmed by the raw emotions she can see in his eyes, her voice came out in a low whisper. “No…” Mesmerized by his eyes, the pure love and passion swirling inside them only for her, without any guilt that was ever present in his eyes being a wall between them she touched him with her fingers softy, witnessing the same passion that was there on diwali night. There was just the need, love and desperation to prove his love to her in his eyes, the window to his soul.

Putting her hand away from his face he restrained them beside her head. “Listen to me khushi and listen well. I can handle anything but not you saying that you doubt my love.” He leaned impossibly closer to her. “Get that in your heart, mind and soul that I love you. Have always loved you. Will ALWAYS love you.” He kissed her hard again. “Don’t you dare…don’t you dare to doubt my love for you!”

As soon as he released her hands, she hugged him tight, burying her face in the crook of his neck. “I love you. I will never…ever doubt your love.”

Arnav breathed a sigh of relief. You scared me khushi. I don’t want to lose you. Not the second. I got you back the first time but if I lost you again I will not be alive the next second.

“Let me go downstairs to bring our breakfast. You have to take your medicines also.” Arnav pulled away from the hug, giving her a hand that she took and got down from the bed.

“Arnav…I ”Khushi stopped him from leaving the room. He turned to look at standing near the foot of bed. “What happened?”

“I…I want to make breakfast today…for you.” She said hesitatingly.

He looked at her with a frown. “But you shouldn’t be doing…” But he stopped when what she really was asking get through him. She wants to make breakfast and for that she has to go down to kitchen, where everybody would be present. There will be no other better way to do this. Everybody will be able to see her, after such a long time. They all would be so delighted to khushi so much healthier.  She herself wants go down, I will not be getting such opportunity another time. But I have to be sure that this is what she wants. “Khushi…you want to make breakfast for me?”

Khushi was clearly not comfortable with going downstairs. It was written all over her face. I really want to make him breakfast and for that I have to go down where all the people would be present. I really don’t want to face them, not now, not ever. I have to go down…I can’t stop doing things I want to do just because of them. They are nothing for me. At least Nanheji will be there, the only one I can talk to. “Yes…I really want to cook today for you.”

Arnav took her hands softy in his, gazing in her eyes he tried to show her the love and gratitude he feels for her. “After so many days I would eat the food which you have cooked. I missed you khushi. I missed everything about you. But you have to promise me that you will not tire yourself out, you won’t do everything on your own. You will take Hp’s help.”Knowing there is not much choice for her, khushi agreed, “OK.”

****

“Hariprakash ji! Not like this. See mix it thoroughly.” Khushi was instructing HP in the kitchen, finding very hard to control her urge to do everything herself aware of her husband’s eyes on her from the dining table.

Arnav was waiting for everything to take its place accordingly. He hadn’t told anyone that khushi is in the kitchen. It was a good thing that breakfast was already made and all were at the dining table having their breakfast. He saw confusion in everyone’s eyes as soon as he sat on the chair instead of making plate for khushi as he had been doing from past several weeks. The confusion increased when he decline to eat. It was good that payal was in the kitchen or else he doesn’t know how he would have handled payal knowing khushi’s opinion about her family members.

There…He didn’t react when payal head snapped towards kitchen as soon as she heard khushi’s voice. He sat still when it was clear that everyone on the table were aware of khushi’s presence in the kitchen. He will not do anything. He won’t stop khushi from doing anything she wants. It will be her choice if she wants to talk to payal or not. If she want to let her know whatever she felt for her and think of her. It would be her choice to tell payal that she has lost her sister.

He didn’t follow payal when she strode towards the kitchen. He kept sitting on the chair when one by one everyone followed payal after they got nothing from him. Only anjali and NK were there on the table.

NK was confused. What the hell nannav is doing? Till yesterday he hid the fact that khushi has been talking to him and is walking again. But what happened today. All of a sudden khushiiji is in the kitchen Cleary cooking something and he sat silently without so much so word about khushiji. What is he doing now? “Nannav what the hell is this all about? How come khushiji is in the kitchen? Just say something dam….”

“You will get all your answers Nk, today only. Just wait.” Arnav knew whatever khushi decides he would have to explain everything to NK. Why he didn’t tell them about khushi all along. The reason she kept herself locked in the room, refusing to come down.

“But chotte…”

“KHUSHI TALK TO ME!!!” Payal shouts echoed from the kitchen to the dining hall. NK and anjali ran, with arnav calmly following them. It will be good if khushi just pour everything out she feels for payal and her family. A big weight will be off her shoulders then and she won’t have to act all nice to them. Pretending that didn’t felt hurt from the words they’ve thrown at her, from their actions. She has done all the pretending for a life time. Always have a smile plastered on her face, even when she had been hurting from inside. This should end here, enough of her doing everything to just make everyone happy around her.

Payal was holding khushi’s hand trying to talk to her when they reached inside the kitchen. Khushi had her face away from payal, who was trying very hard to get through her sister. “Khushi why aren’t you talking to me.? Look at me. See it’s me, your jiji.” Payal desperate attempts stopped as khushi jerked her hand away from her roughly. Arnav closed his eyes. As much I want khushi to say everything but it will be very difficult for all of them to handle that.

For the first khushi looked at payal’s eye. Payal’s skin turned cold looking at her sister’s cold eyes. But she’s about get another blow. “I don’t have any sister Mrs. Raizada. If you don’t remember then I will remind you that I am an orphan.” Khushi’s words were cold devoid of the warmth that has been ever present whenever she talked to her jiji.

Payal staggered back like she had received a massive blow on her. Not only she, everybody gaped at khushi in horror and confusion. The girl whose love for her sister they have witnessed is now denying the very relation.

“Khushi…what are you talking about? You are not an orphan. You have amma, babuji and buaji at lakshmi nagar and I am your sister, your jiji.”

Khushi laughed humorlessly. “Who are you talking about? The people who disowned in this very house? The one who not even once forget to remind me that I am not their blood? Not they forgot to remind me that again on my marriage. Amma huh? She’s not my mother Payal singh raizada, She’s your mother not mine. You have buaji, not me. She never was. She never wanted me in that house, but she didn’t leave chance to taunt me, to remind me my place, to remind me that I am not a family member. Whatever I do she has a problem with that even if I am just eating, she won’t allow a single morsel to go down my throat in peace.” Her eyes softened immediately recalling the only person she had with her the entire time. Who was with her all along! Never had he treated her differently. “Babuji… you’re very lucky to have them as a father payal and I will be very grateful to him that he gave me safety when I lost everyone I had, when I was just 8 years old. But I can’t call him babuji, even when I want to, even when i know in my heart that he will always be my babuji. If I do so then I have make relations with all of you. With his wife, his sister and his daughter.”

Arnav saw all the confusion leaving from nk’s face. He understood his actions from the past several days. Payal was devastated; she isn’t coming to the term she has lost her sister.

“I am not your sister Mrs. Raizada, I am Khushi Mehra Singh Raizada. I was never a Gupta.” With that khushi turned and busied herself in her work, ignorant to everyone’s presence in the kitchen.

With one last glance at her sister’s back payal broke into tears and ran out of there not looking back. Arnav knew this is not the end as everyone looked at him with questions. He signaled them that he’ll explain everything later but not now. Now he needs to be with khushi. She must be emotionally drained after all of this. And she has a lot more to come as he knew that payal must have told everything to the guptas and they will be coming to visit her.

Chapter 26

Silence.

Not a word was spoken by anyone present in the living room of Shantivan. Their feet glued to the floor with their eyes stuck on the same place Arnav had carried Khushi from. They were shocked to see Khushi running like this in the house, to witness the joy that radiated from her face. She was no more a walking dead body who needs support to even stand properly, who had the permanent lost look etched on her face. She was Khushi whom they have first met, whom they had lost so many nights ago. They were surprised to see Arnav, known as arrogant ASR to the world chasing his wife without a care, and oblivious to everything around him, he carries his wife back to their room. They, at last, when all this shock and surprise mellowed down, were confused with these changes in Khushi, and why they were not informed about it, from when it was hidden from them?

“Was…was it our khushi bitiya?” Nani broke the silence.

Anjali and Nk looked at each other, their eyes mirroring their confusion. As Nk had said earlier to anjali about Arnav spending his whole time with khushi, arnav was hardly seen by any of them these days. Knowing, how hard he trying to bring his wife back and what the real situation is, Nk and payal had convinced all to not disturb khushi, as what she need the most this time was arnav, and arnav needs to be with khushi every second for himself as well as to take care of her. So all the family members had not seen arnav and khushi for a whole week, including NK who had not disturbed his nannav . But this was…was not expected by any of them. Is it the reason for arnav for not allowing HP to serve his and khushi’s food in their room? Had he not wanted anyone to know about the improvement in khushi? But why? “”

___________________

Kicking the bedroom door open, Arnav carried a slightly red and breathless Khushi inside. Gently placing her on the bed, he hovered above her, hands either side of her head, he stared at her eyes, full of joy, remnants of laughter still lingering in their depth, devoid of the blankness he had seen in them not a so long ago, and just this sight lifted a burden from his chest he had not known, he was carrying with himself, even after they both have confessed their love to each other. He can now breathe freely, without any burden on his chest suffocating him, knowing His Khushi is no more trapped in the black hole which was trying to suck her in, which was taking her away from him.

She was still panting from her earlier run and the adrenalin rush filled in her knowing he was chasing her. Taking deep breaths to calm her racing heart, she looked in his eyes as he just stared at her, not saying anything. “What are you looking at?”

“Nothing.” He uttered, Still mesmerized by the light in her eyes.

Not able to handle his intense stare at her, she tried to divert his attention. “Don’t think you were able to catch me. I deliberately let you win. No one can catch me if I want. ”

His lips curved up, looking her cute side. “Uh-huh! But no matter how fast you run, I will catch you khushi, I will catch you- Always!”

Her heart thudded at his admission. He will not leave her. No matter what.

“I know.” She accepted.

His face got closer to hers. “How?” He asked in his husky voice.

“I just know…” Her eyes closed as her lips parted.

His lips touched hers slowly. His hands roamed over her body as his lips moved over hers gently. Was it because their position or the new found happiness, they don’t know. But whatever it was ignited a long buried fire in them, causing arnav to kiss her with abundant passion for the first time and khushi to pull him closer to her, responding to his passion, roaming her slender fingers in his black soft hairs.

Breathless, he pulled back. It is too soon. There are so many things, they have to talk about. She has just recovered. She has not fully healed.

“S..sorry.” He mumbled, backing away from her.

She opened her eyes and looked at him confused. Soon her confusion vanished looking at his lowered eyes, clenched jaws. He is angry at himself for losing control.

With sigh, she stood up in front him, “Arnavji?”

No response.

“Look at me.”

“Did I stop you?” She asked.

His head snapped up. What.

“Khushi, I am…”  His apology died in his lips as her lips captured his.

“I am not sorry.” With that she went to poolside, showing him his Bluetooth, she still had with her. He smiled in relief. He had not made her uncomfortable.

______________

“I am going upstairs.” A teary eyed payal rushed to go upstairs to meet her sister. A silent understanding passed between NK and Anjali. Nannav had clearly wanted them to know this. There has to some reason for him to hide this big thing from them, especially when he knew how desperately everyone want to see their Khushi healthy and chirpy like before. They cannot let anyone meet Khushi, not until Nk know the reason for Arnav to do this.

“Yes, I am also coming with you.” Nani took steps forward to follow payal.

“Payal babhi, Nani, Stop!”  Hearing Nk’s urgent voice they stopped.

“Nk bhai, why are stopping us?” Payal wiped her tears. “Didn’t you see khushi just now? She is healthy and happy. I want to meet my sister. I am so happy that she is alright now.”

“Payal babhi, I understand and we all want to meet khushiji. But you have to understand, now is not the time to meet her. Didn’t you see how happy she is with nannav. We must not intrude. We should give them time to heal. Both of them. They need it badly. And when they feel right, they will come to down to meet us by themselves. Khushiji is, as she is now, because nannav was with her every second. Only nannav.  We could not just barge into their room. Khushiji’s mental state is fragile, she could get scared or may react badly otherwise. She is happy with nannav now. Let her be comfortable with all the things that had happened. Let them solve their issues. And I am sure nannav will himself tell us to meet khushiji, when she would be comfortable to meet all of you.”  Nk desperately tried to stop all of them to meet khushi. He have feeling inside, if they meet khushi, the consequences will not be good.

“But..”

“NK bhai is right Nani.” Anjali supported NK. “Payalji, please wait for some days. Your khushi will come to meet you. But not now. Her condition is fragile. And we should be happy that our khushiji is back.”

Reluctantly payal took her steps back, her eyes staring up longingly.

I have to talk to Nannav. Now! Thought NK.

“Di, let me take you to the room.” Nk looked at anjali and she understood that he want to talk to Arnav.

Anjali nodded and Nk helped her to climb the stairs.

“I need to talk to him di.”

“I know. Just don’t go in front of khushiji.” Anjali cautioned.

Nk left anjali in her room to go to Arnav. As soon as he stood out of the room, he heard the sound of laughter. Khushi and Arnav’s laughter. He peeked inside the room from the slightly ajar door. He stood rooted on the spot for the second time of the day. There they were, arnav tickling khushi as she tried to save herself from her husband’s tickling hand continuously moving her body from one side to another on the bed. But Arnav didn’t stop. He continued to tickle her till tears escaped her eyes.

“Ar…na…vji S…to…p!” She tried to speak between her laughter.

“NO!” Came the pat reply.

“Please. Ok sorry….i…i..will..never..never!” She squeaked “N..ev..er Tickle you!”

At last Arnav showed mercy on her and stopped. She was still laughing. Smiling at her red face, he kissed her. “I love you.”

“I lo…ve yo…u t..o…too” Arnav laughed at her attempt to say it coherently and pecked her cute nose.

With a smile on his face, Nk left from there. He can talk to nannav later. Now definitely is not the time. Atlast they were happy!

Chapter 25

Nand kishore malhotra is a fun-loving guy – true. But every human being present on earth persist every shade of nature known to the world. It’s in the hands of the people itself, which part inside them  would dominate the rest and ultimately which would define who they are and would make them who they are. Some people are short tempered, some are shy, some are funny, some are serious and some are evil. But that is not the only emotion or nature or trait whatever may one call it, they have. They have every part of nature earth inside them but in less quantity than the traits which defines their respective behavior. As they say that the human beings are made up of the combination of the five elements of universe: Earth or Prithvi; Water or Jal ; Fire or Agni; Air or Vayu and Ether or Akasha.

NK is not just a funny charming guy. He infact, being brought up in Australia, have many friends or contacts which can’t be called as good company. That does not make him bad. Everyone in their lifetime meets or interact with so many different kind people. And NK happens to know people who are – as one can say Bad people.

And now, it’s time to take their help.

To help his family.

___________

“Di?” Shocked, NK could only utter this.

“This is the only way out, NK bhai and moreover this is what I want!”. Came the quick, confident reply without any hesitation that NK was sure he would be able to find, no matter how much Di try to hide it. Instead he found none.

“Do you know what it means? Do you HAVE any idea what you are asking me to do?” Is this some kind of sick joke? He cannot think, cannot even imagine Di asking him to do THIS. “Di, you should rest. You are not in the right state of mind. We will talk later about this.”

“I WAS not in the right state of mind NK bhai. Now… now I AM! Afterall, the blind from my eyes have been dropped. Now I am thinking straight, as a normal human being, who can differ between a truth and a made up lie, as a daughter, who wants to protect her family, as a elder sister, who wants to give his baby brother the happiness, he deserve. I am not out of my mind NK bhai! ” Anjali smiled, a smile of acceptance, a smile of guilt, a smile of determination. “Every time single time you ask me, my answer will be same. My mind will not change, there is nothing to change, no reason to change my decision.”

But why this only? There are many ways to protect themselves, to free this family from shyam. Then, why ONLY this? “Why, this? Is this some kind of revenge DI?” NK eyed anjali with sharp eyes. This is not only about her. He will not help her to take her revenge.

“The other ways does not remove him from our lives for forever. He will come back. You have not lived with him for so many years NK bhai, I have. I know his ways. We can use the money. But he will use his contacts, his clever advocate mind. We should not underestimate him. He is dangerous, NK bhai. I want gone from our live. For forever! I want chote, khushi and me and my baby to live freely without the constant fear of him. That he could return one day again to destroy us. You have seen what he is capable of doing with your own eyes. So, tell me, can you let him free?. So, he can come any day to destroy us?”

There he saw it. The honesty behind her every word. She was not after some kind of revenge. She is just protective and with her experience with that man. There is only one way to throw him out of their life.

Throwing an arm around her, Nk smiled. “Don’t underestimate me Di. I too have my contacts.” He winked at her. He turned serious, “But now is not the time. I know that you won’t change your decision. But for my sake, just think about it for some days. I don’t want you to regret your decision anytime in your life! And this is not easy for you, I know that. That’s why you have to think about it with clear mind.”

Anjali agreed. “So, how is your nannav?”

“Ah! Don’t ask me di! He is with his lady love. He is stuck to her all the time. I think he has glued himself to her with fevicol! He is such a child when anything comes to her. He does not even let hari prakash make the plate of food for khushiji! So much of possessiveness?! For him, we do not even exist! I mean I am his brother! He is mera bhai. He should spend some time with us also!”  Nk pouted, conveying his displeasure.

“NK Bhai! You are crazy!” Anjali could not stop laughing looking at Nk’s expression of a sulky child. “And stop pouting! I know that this is what you wanted. Chote taking care of khushiji or else..” anjali pretended to think something. “What you said to him…yeah! ‘Arnav Singh Raizada, the day you married her, she become my sister and who better than you know the protectiveness a brother feels for his sister.’ ” Anjali mimicked him perfectly.

His pout turned into smile. “Each and every word I said is true Di! Yes, nannav is my brother but when it comes to khushiji, every relation fades away, and I feel only protectiveness towards her. So between nannav and khushiji, khushiji will always win! He is taking good care of his wife and I hope that he would be successful in bringing his wife back to life!”

“He will NK bhai, he will! Don’t you know who he is? Arnav Singh Raizada!” anjali spoke exactly like arnav.

NK laughed out loud.“You should opt mimicking as a career Di! You are very good at it.”

“I’ll think about it for sure!” she said with all the seriousness she could, and broke into a hearty laugh with NK.

___________

 

Where is it? He once again roamed his eyes over his around his room, hoping to his eyes would catch its sight this time. This time also he found nothing. His room was a mess now. He upturned his side of bed sheets; all the drawers and cupboard were open. He had kept it on the top of the file on the table before he entered the washroom. He remembered it clearly. Then where the hell it had disappeared all of a sudden? As his eyes turned to khushi, who sat on her side of the bed, turning the pages of magazine. It’s been one week, but she had refused to go down. Happy being with him in their room. Considering the effect all the past incidents have left on her, and her fragile condition, arnav didn’t persuade her to meet everyone else in the family and he decided not to tell them about the improvement in her condition knowing that they would want to meet her and will be hurt when he’d tell them that their khushi is not ready to meet them.

He noticed her looking at him from the corner of her eyes, her lips twitched slightly upward, proof that she trying very hard to control herself from laughing. His lips automatically curved up, realizing that she is behind the disappearance of his Bluetooth. Schooling his expression to one of frustration, he approached her. “Khushi, did you see my Bluetooth? I had kept it on the top my file, but I couldn’t find it now.

She looked up at with wide eyes, and then shook her head in negative very innocently. He narrowed his eyes at. He was just few steps away from her. “hmm…why am I having this feeling that you have my blue tooth.” Immediately he noticed the change in her posture. She was ready for a run.

“No, arnavji. Why would I take your Bluetooth?” His eyes followed her hand as she placed the magazine on the bed. Arnav Singh Raizada get ready for a long run!

He took a long step towards her just as she ran across the bed towards the bedroom door, showing his Bluetooth to him in her hand. He ran after her, always ready to chase her.

Khushi, in order to not to be caught by arnav, took the stairs leading to the living room where everybody was present. But khushi, who was in her own world, didn’t noticed them or where she was running to, didn’t notice as all of them stood up in shock to see her running down the stairs, as they heard sound of her payal.

All of them stood shocked, and just stared ahead as arnav came running after khushi, as he scooped her up in his arms just as she was at the last step, making her squeal in surprise. Arnav and khushi didn’t notice as each pair of eyes turned moist, looking at the happy faces of them, the smile of arnav’s face or the joy radiating from khushi’s face, as arnav, without any backward glance took her back in their room.

 

Chapter 24

Arnav stared at khushi as lay on his chest, her one hand clutching the lapels of his shirt. His heart was at peace knowing that she loves him but his mind, it was full of questions- things he couldn’t understand and only she could answer all of the questions he has in his mind. But is it the right time to ask, when she has just came out of her shell. He was afraid that she could go back into her shell if he remind her of those days, but he know and know for sure that all those things that he has in his mind were connected.

Why did she refuse to go down?

She was not willing to see even her sister. But why?

He decided, it cannot wait. He has to know this, if he wants her to be normal, to see his old chirpy khushi back.

“Khushi..” he whispered stopping her star staring session. She lifted her questioning gaze to him. Smoothing a hand down her hairs, he spoke, “Can I ask you something?”

Receiving a nod from her, he prepared himself to ask her the thing that was haunting his mind day night from the day she opened her eyes in the hospital. “Khushi..you..i..why you..why you were only looking at me and..and not any of your family members in the hospital and..and in home also your..your eyes were only on me, you didn’t even looked at your sister, payal. Why?”

He could not understand the emotion that flashed across her face at the mention of her sister, but he does not have to wait for long as she opened her mouth to speak and what she spoke left him stunned.

“Because you are the only one that I could call mine arnavji…”

“What..?” He could say nothing else. “Khushi, you have your family, you amma, babuji and payal!”

“They are not my family arnavji. They never have. I have always been an adopted child but for some year, I forgot that reality, and started living in an illusion but an illusion cannot last forever and it break at the night of our marriage. ” Arnav flinched at the mention of that night. He wanted her to stop saying more. He never wanted her to relive those days or that night in particular. But she stopped him.

“Let me speak arnavji. Please, let me take it out of myself.” He tightened his hold on her as she once again started pouring her heart out.

“Arnavji, that night, amma didn’t only slap me, but she made me realize my place. She reminded me that i was and will always an adopted child, the one who was thrown at her when her sister and her husband died. No matter how many things I do for them, no matter how hard i try to make place in their heart, but couldn’t because I will always be an outsider. I can never be their daughter. I will always be her sister’s daughter for amma and an unwanted guest in her house for payal jij-”

She was not crying. Her eyes only held acceptance. “If it would have been payal in my place that night, surely amma would’ve slapped her also but they could never in their lifetime disown her like they disowned me, you know why? Because she is their daughter, no matter what she does. And funny thing is that they reacted as if I have not eloped with you but with some stranger or someone who they hate and not the jethji of their daughter. As if, I haven’t married in the same house as their daughter.” She let out a short hollow laugh at that. “That night I wasn’t slapped once but many times arnavji. Their reactions were hard slaps on my face.” She smiled a sad smile. “But it was a good thing though. They dumped me to reality and it is better to live in reality than in an illusion because when illusion breaks, it hurts more than living in reality.”

“But then why..if..you..then why you agreed to stay with me in this house even after all this for payal?” Arnav voiced out the first question that came in his mind.

“Because you were the only one that I had arnavji. Even if you hated me but at least had your name attached with mine. At least I could call you mine and could say that I belonged to you. I was never here for payal arnavji, not after we came in the house after our marriage.”

Not a able to digest the facts, he could only stare at her, not knowing what to say. What could he say after all this, after knowing how deeply she felt for him even when he was nothing but a beast to her, always hurting her.

“…and then in hospital, your eyes were my only solace in the dark pit in which I have fallen into because even if my mind was forcing to stay in that pit and not come out, my heat only wanted to see you as it knew that you were the only one that I have in this world. I didn’t know that you loved me but even then I considered you mine, because the love that I felt for you was not out of any obligation that I had for my adopted family or the love that I bound to have since my birth for my parents who gave birth to me. My heart felt that love for you without any obligation, it just loved you without any condition.”

Overwhelmed with love for her and guilt at what he had done to her, he crushed her to himself. Peace and content like he had never felt before seeped through him as he felt her arms around him.

How come he has her in his life? An angel?

And for the first time, Arnav Singh Raizada thanked god for giving him an angel in the form of khushi, who loves him so much and promised to love her with all his soul, with his whole being and to her protect from the world.

Chapter 23

As NK entered the room, he was shocked as complete darkness welcomed him.”Di!” he called out carefully making his way inside the room. After a while the silence in room broke as the light burst inside the room.

“I am here NK bhai.” He turned towards the voice and saw anjali on the couch, looking frail physically but as he looked into her eyes, he saw steely determination and a realisation. A sudden terror gripped him. What had happened..?? Did she..?? No! It couldn’t be ! There was no way she could know.

Nk walked towards her. He gently spoke as he sat next to her.”Di hp told me you want to talk to me. Is everything ok..??” he place his on her shoulder giving her support.

Anjali said nothing instead she handed him the papers. Confused, he took the papers and start reading. With every line he read, the fury that was building inside him shocked him for a second as he was never a person who lost control over his temper. As he finished reading it , he heard anjali speak which froze him, making him stare at her in disbelief.

“End him!” the words spoken in calm voice without any emotion rang in his ears.

“wh..what di.. what are you saying..??” NK for the life of him could never believe what he heard and from whom. And for the first time since he entered the room anjali looked at him. He was shocked to see the resolve she had in her eyes. She meant what she said.

“You heard right NK bhai. End him! Its high time that i take up my responsbility towards my family that i do something for my family , and most of all for chote.” Nk opened his mouth to say something but nothing came out of his mouth.

“Don’t look so shocked NK bhai. When you were confronting chote i was there and i heard everything. It took me some time to absorb these cruel reality of my life. That my husband is a cheat , that he was lusting after khushiji , that he is the reason that chote has to kill his love for the only woman he ever loved and forced her to marry him, that he to had choose between me and his love of life.”

Her filled with pain as she spoke.”Chote had done everything to see me happy but it should have been me to look after him, to make him happy. But what i did , because me , he denied his only chance at happiness–Khushiji. All this happened because i was too blind in my so called happy life. But this has to end. Now its my turn to give my chote a happy life, to act what i am–his Di.”

Nk was surprised, amazed and proud to see a strong anjali. This woman is now arnav singh raizada’s sister in true senses.

“I know how protective you are of chote and believe me or not but you have a important place in his life. What you think of him matters a lot to him. He heard what he never wanted to hear, for which he even changed his surname, and that too from you. You compared him to that man whom chote hate from his very being. You don’t know how much hurt he must have felt to hear that from YOU. I am not saying what he had to khushi was justifiable. He deserved every bit of what you said to him but please do not ever compare him to that man.” Anjali requested him.

“I never intended to hurt nannav but as a big brother and moreover as a friend, it was my duty to make him realise that he was in the path of becoming the man he hate the most.” Nk explained anjali what he was trying to do.

Anjali nodded slowly.”I want my chote to have a happy life with khushiji. Will you help me NK bhai, to make our younger brother, our chote happy, to give him the happiness he deserve..?”

Nk placed his hand on her. “Ofcourse di. You don’t have to say it. I will do anything for your chote. But he will always be nannav for me, not chote.” he said making anjali smile a little.

Shyam manohar jha your end is near!

——————————————

Arnav look last time at his work. Yes everything is perfect! Now just one thing is missing. Presence of khushi.

Khushi stood at poolside, thinking about arnav. His confession.

I love you sweetheart..

And then their first kiss. Is it all real..?? She thought. From the time she got know the real reason behind their marriage, she had felt dead. She was dead from inside so what was use of living. So she decided to end herself. She was giving nothing but pain to her loved ones and most of all to arnav.

But he saved her. He love her. This made her feel alive once again. She doesn’t want this feeling to end , she just want him and nothing else.

She yelped in shock as she felt herself lifted up. Clutching his shoulders she said breathlessly.”What are you doing..?? You scared me! Arnavji put me down.”

She looked up to see his smiling face and for a moment she was lost in him, in his eyes which twinkled with child like excitment.

He kissed the tip of nose to bring her back.”You denied to go downstairs, so i am taking you on the terrace. ” As he started walking towards poolside stairs leading to terrace she started to wiggle out of his arms.”Arnavji put me down. I can walk.”

But he tightened hold on her more.”I know but i like to carry my wife around.” that shut her mouth effectively.

My wife..

He had never caller her his wife. She thought and let him carry her where ever he want. When they reached the terrace, she had face buried in the crook of his neck.

Stopping he kissed her cheek and whispered in her ear.”Turn your head khushi.” She first look at him and when he gestured with his eye, she turned and looked head.

Arnav slowly put her down as her arms losened around his neck. Khushi couldn’t believe her eyes. The terrace was lightened up with so many lights. The sun was still visible, just on the verge of going down causing darkness to take over the world. But not here. This place was filled with lights ,so many of them. Darkness can’t even touch her. She turned around and hugged arnav tightly who was watching each and every expression of her.

Immediately his arms wound around her petite form. “Thankyou arnavji.” he heard her mumble against his chest. Dropping a kiss on her head he spoke.”Hey, why are you thanking me. Its nothing khushi. I want to do so much for you.”

He knew her fear of darkness but did he know that the fear had gripped her from the time she had been unconcious in the hospital. He had just reassured her that he would never let darkness anywhere near her. Khushi thought as she hugged him tighter.

“Ok now lets go and sit there.” He spoke breaking the hug and pointing towards the black mattress laid on the floor. He again carried her in his arms and this time she didn’t protest.

He gently lowered her on the mattress and she sat down with her legs stretched in front of her. Arnav brought a tray and placed it front of her. “I thought you would like to have a tea as the air is getting chilly.” he spoke as he made tea for her and khushi just stared at him. She took the cup from him and looked ahead to see sun disappearing and as the stars starts appearing in the dark sky , iilluminating it with their light.

“You know khushi , when i was small i used to love this time of the day. Ma and me used to watch as sun disappears and stars starts shinning in the sky with the slightly cold breeze blowing.”

Khushi looked at his eyes which were happy at the same time had sadness. She gripped his hand and placed it on her lap.”Its beautifull arnavji.” she whisphered and got a smile from him.

Cold breeze touched her skin making her shiver. Arnav felt it and immediately wrapped a blanket around her. After a while she opened her arms silently asking him to come inside the blanket. He lifted her up and setteled in between his legs. Her back touched his front. He wound his arms around her wrapping both of then with blanket.

He felt her stiff for some minutes but as he made soothing circles on her the back of her hand, she put all her weight onto him. As she snuggled more into his chest, he he tightened his hold on her, dropping a kiss on the side of neck he whisphered.”I love you.” Khushi turned and hugged him tightly burying her face in the crook of his neck. “I love you too..” she whisphered against his neck.

Shock, joy and so many emotions ran inside his body. He leaned back to look at her eyes, her face. But she was looking down. He tilted her face up and said his voice filled with many emotions.”Khushi, please say it again. ”

Khushi looked up at him. His eyes were showing how much vulnerable he was feeling right now. She surprised herself as well as him when she leaned forward whisphered against his lips “I love you arnavji” and placed her lips on his , kissing him, reasurring him that she loves him. He pulled her closer till she was sitting on his lap. Khushi encircled her arms around his neck as he pulled her closer to his body, making her feel protected in the warmth of his body, he kissed her, gently and tenderly, not taking anything just giving her, his love .

Wrapped in the warmth of the blanket, they kissed each other under the stars as soft breeze blew around them.