Saturday, 29 September 2012

Chapter Twenty-Four: Cactus Flower

Hey Squirrels! Now this is a post which I would like to dedicate to a very special friend of mine who has so fondly made a Banner for this FF. Even though I can't use it (the blog is not accepting the URL for the banner ARGHH!) But I can still show it to you on the IF thankfully. I have to share this with everyone to see and please do comment on it as its just so special to me. 
Thanks so much Sandy1. You're the best sis!!

To my Squirrels who read my blog! Heres the link to the IF to have a look at it ( as it's not showing up on the blog)
http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=3213139&PID=66232145&#66232145

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The weather was perfect as the sun shone down into the Secret Garden, making the leaves play shadows and the petals of each different flower shimmer with radiance. The grass glowed it's color to it's brightest, making it a desirable place to lay back and bask. The wind waves played tag, weaving between the blades of grass, reaching the bare toes of Khushi Kumari Gupta.

She grinned, sitting down with her back against the base of a huge tree, wearing a long churidar petaled with colors of gold and green. She chucked the tennis balls as far as she could again for her Raja, who happily barked and chased after it. Feeling the tiny vibrations of the birds singing above, Khushi leaned her head back and closed her eyes. Her hand lifted to softly massage and play with the head of hair, resting firmly in her lap. Arnav leaned into Khushi's touch with a low moan of satisfaction, as he continued to flick through his files, held up by his hands. He was laid on his back in a light blue shirt with black trousers. Snuggling the back of his head against Khushi's thighs, he savored this sweet moment, like a cat in the sun. The branches above were long and strong, creating a circle of shade for the two, who were simply relaxing in each other's presence.

As Arnav flicked the next page of his file, he sighed before looking up at Khushi with her hair brought to one side, revealing her long creamy neck. He smiled before staring into Khushi's eyes which were already smiling at him with a tender fondness. He couldn't explain how possessive he was of those eyes and lips which he wanted to reserve only for himself. He smirked as Khushi gave his forehead a soft kiss, which calmed his senses for his work at hand. Raja came again with the ball in his mouth desperate for Khushi to throw once again. She grinned at her best friend and threw the ball again.
Arnav softly: "Khushi...Can't we stay like this forever? In this position. Right here right now..."
Khushi tilted her head at Arnav as if he was silly and shook her head, kissing the tip of his nose lovingly.
Arnav's lips turned into a fine line. He shut his file and laid it on his chest: "Why?"
Khushi frowned at Arnav's question and stroked his thick hair once more, before pointing upwards into the trees. Arnav traveled his eyesight up to look at the leaves above, colored in different shades of red and orange. He then looked at Khushi again who smiled at him and pointed at her wrist, like a watch.
Arnav sighed understanding: "Time....Time changes everything..."
Khushi nodded stroking his light stubbly jaw. She pepper kissed his forehead again and leaning her head back against the tree, watching Raja from afar rush back to them with the ball. Arnav's eyes traveled down slightly to see each breath taken by her making her chest rise up and down. Desire filled his eyes and heart wanting to put it into action. However just then Raja came to sit by Khushi's side. She rubbed the back of his ear making him bark enjoying the loving attention. She then kissed his nose before rubbing her nose with his.

Suddenly Arnav sat up and turned to take the ball from Khushi to chuck it away further than before. Khushi couldn't believe Arnav chucked it that far and doubted Raja could even find it. Raja, however, loved a challenge and shot straight off to attain to the ball. Khushi shocked stood up on her knees and watched as Raja ran, but soon felt Arnav tug her body to the ground so she was flat on her back.
Arnav smirked: "That will keep him a bit busy."
Khushi shook her head appalled of Arnav and whacked his arm. He chuckled in response before lying on his side beside Khushi. He stroked the side of her face brushing strands of hair away.
Arnav whispered: "It's so it gives me enough time to enjoy this."
He laid his lips against Khushi's stimulating a passionate kiss. She closed her eyes in pleasure and lifted her hands to grip his head close rubbing his hair, while the other slithered to hold his back. Arnav teased her lips open for him to have full access to her taste buds.

However, just before things could get interesting there was a soldiering bark from the side making Arnav immediately look up.
Arnav: "What the-"
Raja was sat watching them with a stern stare and the ball a few centimeters behind him, totally forgotten. His dark eyes were concerned seeing Khushi on the ground. Khushi held back a giggle. Arnav couldn't tell if the time passed quickly while kissing, or if Raja was just very fast at getting the ball this time round. Either way he sighed and backed off to lean against the tree, watching Raja come up to Khushi. Raja sniffed her neck and cheek affirming she was alight, before nuzzling her jaw. Khushi grinned and hugged Raja tightly understanding his adorable care. She sat up with Raja in her lap and flickered her round eyes to Arnav trying to act firm by going through his file again. She knew, however, he was having a little sulk, making her heart glow in response. She then quietly crawled on her knees to Arnav's side and planted a feather kiss against his cheek, before sitting back again with Raja in her lap. Arnav smirked behind his file.


~


Madhumati was helping Chinky finish off ironing the rest of the clothes. 
Chinky: "Sorry Buaji. I'll get faster-"
Madhu smiled: "Think nothing of it. It happens sometimes. But now it's done. See. No worries. "
Chinky started to fold the clothes, while Madhu put away the iron. Devayani just then came into the room and smiled to see the two ladies. 
Devayani: "Chinky betiya.."
Chinky chirped: "Yes Dadi?"
Devayani: " I just saw the new order on vegetable come in for Aman. Could you go and give him a hand?..."
Chinky's smile glowed that much brighter, but held it steady: "urm...Buaji? Is that ok-"
Madhu nodded: "It's fine. I can do this. Go. Go help Aman babwa." 
Chinky smiled brightly and rushed off leaving Madhu sitting on the bed folding the rest of the saris. Devayani composed herself before sitting down beside Madhu. Madhu watched the thoughtful expression on Devayani's face. 
Madhu: "Maaji?.. Is something on your mind? "
Devayani sighed building the inner courage: "I wanted to talk to you about a rishta for Khushi." 
Madhu paused: "Khushi? ...*curious* ...who?"
Devayani turned to Madhu with a gleam in her eyes and a soft smile. She held her hand.
Devayani: "He's a strapping young man and...and he'll love Khushi so very much Betiya and...d-"
Madhu delighted, asked again: "Who Maaji?!"
Devayani remained gazing at Madhu desperately, heart worried of her reaction.
Devayani softly: " Chote."

Madhu's smile slipped away slowly, while her eyes turned hard and full of pain. She lowered her gaze and started to fold the rest of the clothes quickly. Devayani apprehensively watched.
Madhu stood up: "No Maaji. Not Arnav babwa. I'm..sorry."
She walked up the wardrobe hastily making Devayani flustered and rush to her side.
Devayani enquiringly : "but...but why Betiya?..Cho..Chote understands, cares and loves Khushi very much-..."
Madhu wasn't listening, so Devayani desperately held her hand still.
Devayani: "What does my grandson lack betiya that you-"
Madhu faced Devayani with tears in her eyes quietly: "It's not what your grandson lacks...it's what my niece lacks. "
Devayani was taken aback appalled that she would say such a comment: "What are you saying betiya..."
Madhu turned to face her with firmness in her voice: "How long Maaji? How long will Arnav 'understand', 'care' and 'love' my Titaliya, when he faces situations like the media's comments, guests comments and most importantly his own Dadaji's comments? Will he stick by her?...Support her?...Will he not ever think he's made a mistake?-"
Devayani shook her head: "no...No!! Of course not betiya!...I have seen with my own eyes Chote's love for Khushi-"
Madhu turned away with a sigh: "Maaji...forgive me...however you know as much as I do...Seen as much as I have, of the comments Khushi gets already from people of higher class and even Arnav's dadaji who despised her so! I don't want to send my innocent titaliya into a future that will only make her cry and hate herself ...a future facing Sir's taunts...a future that will make her think she isn't worth Arnav babwa. It is an inevitable situation and I...I don't want it for her. I'm sorry Maaji."

Devayani stood paralyzed, unable to respond to her plea for a happy future for her niece. She didn't know how to convince her that...that Arnav would never regret Khushi. He would never allow a single thorn of society reach her. She was and is his world.
Madhu wiped her tears and closed the wardrobe finished.
She then continued with a certain voice: "And...I have spoken to Arnav babwa anyway about this matter and he has agreed to keep his distance from Khushi....So I would hope we would never have this conversation again Maaji. "

With that she left the room, leaving Devayani to her lost thoughts. A lone tear ran down her cheek which was wiped quickly. Devayani controlled herself and was determined to piece together the reason for her husband's reluctance towards Khushi.

~


It was the next day when the sun was burning heatedly for the whole day. Arnav, making the last phone call at the office, sighed as his work was done for the day. In a dark purple shirt and black trousers and waist coat, he jogged down stairs to see whether Khushi was in the Raizada house. Meekly looking around, he had no luck. He looked at his watch to see it was just about to strike 4 in the afternoon. Arnav smirked knowing exactly were she was. 


Climbing up the steps to the Secret garden, Arnav could hear a faint noise in the distance which sounded like splashing. Frowning, he quickened his steps to quietly open and shut the gate. Curious of what Khushi was doing, he walked slowly into the garden to look towards the large round pond in the middle. With the light shining down on the silky waves, Arnav leaned against a tree watching Khushi happily swimming right in the center. With her dupatta and shoes dry by the side of the water, Arnav smirked at Khushi's nymph-like behavior only making him desire her more and more.  She seemed lost in her own world with a soft smile and her eyes closed. She was wearing what seemed like a dark blue salwar, with the dori and sleeves having small bells on them. With her hair soaked and slicked back, she looked heavenly in Arnav's eyes. As he watched her spin with the water up to her collar bone, Arnav couldn't believe that the pond was that deep. This garden really is full of surprises

Just then Khushi's back was facing Arnav, he watched her pause before her dive down into the water, totally disappearing from sight. As time ticked by, Arnav's smile deceased. What was mere seconds, felt like minutes to him. But still no Khushi.
Arnav frowned: "Khushi?"
He ran worried to the edge of the pond, crouching down to on to his fours. His eyes scanned agitated trying to see anything, but the sun's reflection was making it difficult. His heart plummeted fearing the worst.
Arnav terrified: "shit....KHUSHI!!!"
Taking off his shoes, he immediately jumped into the water hands and eyes desperate to seek Khushi. Feeling her arm, Arnav gripped it tight and pulled Khushi up to the surface. Gasping for air they both splashed through with Arnav angrily holding Khushi close in his arms. Khushi was totally shocked seeing his presence and clenched her hands against his hard chest.
Arnav with fury: "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU PLAYING AT KHUSHI!?!? WHAT WERE YOU DOING?!?! DIDN'T YOU THINK TO COME UP FOR AIR QUICKER HUH!??! I WAS GOING THROUGH HELL!!"
Khushi's round bewildered eyes locked to his, stared at the darkness of his eyes which burned. She shook her head furiously, lifting a hand to hold the side of his face gently. She then showed him what was in her other hand. She held it up between them for him to see. Her ring.
Arnav still breathless: "Your ring fell?"
Khushi nodded with a embarrassed smile, making him close his eyes and lean his forehead against hers with a relived sigh. Khushi continued to stare at his face, totally dumbstruck by Arnav's concern. Her heart beat that much faster.
Arnav whispered: " Don't do that ever again...Ok? You don't know what I was going through..."
Khushi stroked his cheek making him open his eyes and look into her apologetic ones. He hugged her tightly never wanting to let go.

There a while of silence between them as they parted, yet still holding each other close, nose to nose. They stared into each other's eyes, listening only hear to the chirp of birds in the distance, the waves of the water around their shoulders and their shallow breathes mingling with each other. Tightening one hand round her waist, Arnav slowly lifted a hand to tuck Khushi's hair behind her ear and watched as the water droplets trickled down her creamy face with awed eyes. Closer to Arnav, Khushi lowered her gaze away from his staring at the purple shirt, now stuck to Arnav's broad chest and shoulders like a second skin. Her breath hitched seeing the two buttons open at the top of his shirt and closed her eyes feeling a blush overcome her. Arnav smirked at her reaction and lifted the hand on her waist higher to the bare skin under her dori to pull her even more closer. Khushi felt his lips graze against hers teasingly, before lowering down her jaw and neck to nibble on her shoulder.
Arnav huskily: "Khushi..."
Khushi bit her lip feeling her legs shamelessly wrap round Arnav, to feel even closer to him. She felt her hands instinctively slide under his arms to grip his shoulders, unable to bear this sensual assault. With her breasts rubbing against his chest, with only clothing between them, Arnav groaned before heading back to her plump lips for a deep kiss. Gradually Arnav felt Khushi's lips turn into a smile against his lips, making him grin too as they gasped for breath.

All of a sudden Khushi pushed him away from her and started to splash him.
Arnav shocked: "Khus-...Khushi!...Khushi Stop!-"
But Khushi grinned and continued to splash. However, as Khushi stopped she realized Arnav wasn't there at all. She frowned, looking down to the water. Where's Arnav? Khushi then nearly squealed, feeling Arnav grab her behind her thighs and lift her as he came out the water. Khushi leaned forward to hold him by the shoulders for balance, making his chuckle against her stomach. Arnav wagged his eyebrows at her and spun her round letting her slide down into his arms and wrap hers round his neck happily.

~

As the sun was setting, later that day, Khushi in fresh clothes and Raja left the cottage to get Madhu's herbs from the Green House. With a jump in their step, they quickly got the herbs and headed back racing back to the Cottage. Madhu watched them standing by the door and shook her head at the two. Raja was beating Khushi with an advantage, as she had to carry the basket. Reaching Madhu first Raja jumped and wagged his tail happily. Madhu looked down at Raja and stroked is fur laughing, but when she looked back up her smile shattered. 

Khushi was running towards them from the distance with a smile shining but behind her rushing up quickly,  were three rugged tall men who were fingers away from grabbing her. 

Raja barked and sprinted forward while Madhu stood static. Her darkest nightmares became reality... "KHUSHI!!!"
*..........*..........*

Please do tell me your thoughts, criticisms, guesses etc. Appreciate them all very much! :D

x

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Chapter Twenty-Three: Shivering Leaves

Hey squirrels!! Thank you all again who comment for kindly with your supportive thoughts. If your a new reader, I hug you warmly and hope you can be part of this crazy squirrel crew too, lol. 
Love you all!

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Dear Raja, 
I know what your thinking... but no. I'm not forgiving him. How could he do that and laugh as if it were a joke. I didn't like it one bit. We were suppose to have a nice evening at the Mandir praying for my parents and he- Ok fine. I don't mind him not coming in to pray with me, because I just prayed on his behalf too, but he could of just stayed put!!! Hiding and then scaring me isn't a funny joke! I was really worried that he had gone and left...It was like...I don't have to say it do I? You know very well.

Khushi looked across to Raja, who had his head under his paws, peeking through them to look sorrily at her.  She in response hmm-phed and went back to writing.

You can't join his side, so stop feeling sorry for him. I did the right thing by ignored him all the way back home. You should have stayed by my side, instead of staying back to walk beside him. Who's best friend are you anyways!? But then I guess this is boys siding with boys right? But I'm not falling for it. 

Night night Raja.
P.s I'm sorry for being a bit moody with you. I love you really. 


~

             *Slap* "I told you! If boss doesn't hear from us soon, our heads will be on the chopping block. "

" I'm...I'm.. sorry sir, but we can't find her anywhere. Without a picture either...we don't know what she looks like!"

            "Listen, I don't want to hear problems. I want solutions. If Boss wants this girl, then we're going to get her. Any information would do the job to get the Thakur's off our backs."

" We questioned the houses that lived near, but they all say she's moved with that aunt of hers. but-"

            " BUT WHERE GOD DAMN IT!?!? WHERE?!? After those folks burned to a crisp, where could they have bloody gone!?"

" Sir...I was about to say...Apparently she sometimes visits the Markets to certain stalls as they know her."

           " Name."

" Mukesh, sir"

~

It was bright and early the next day when the Raizada's were round the table. Aman, Khushi and Chinky were also stood beside Devayani as she had called them. Kushal kept to his own business, while Arnav sneaked glances at a worried Khushi, to get her attention.
Aman concerned: "Is everything ok Dadiji? Why have you called Khushi and Chinky here?"
Devayani laughed and shook her head: "I have called you all here for a little treat.""
Chinky confused: "Treat? What treat?"
Devayani brought up the bag beside her and took out the brand new clothes for the three of them. For Aman was a designer black leather jacket, for Chinky was a lovely green churidar, while Khushi had a Sea blue one. The three were surprised by the gifts and were reluctant to take them.
Devayani shook a finger: "I don't care. If you call me Dadiji, then you have to take my gifts."
As each of them took their gift, they also took Devayani's blessings. 
Aman teasingly: "I will still ask Dadiji...Why did you call these two here for?"
Chinky and Khushi gasped at Aman and hit his arm playfully making Devayani smile. Arnav, however, was trying to get his eyes to meet Khushi, but she just wouldn't look his way. 

Just then Khushi glanced at Arnav who tried to smile at her sorrily, only to receive the cold shoulder. Khushi and Chinky left to get on with their chores arm in arm, leaving Arnav a very frustrated young man. Kushal on the other hand noticed the two's eyes to eye conversation, but only understood half. His heart sighed with relief. He was glad that Arnav wasn't advancing Khushi anymore and even more glad that Khushi was ignoring Arnav completely. With that he smirked and ate his breakfast in peace that everything was back to normal.

~

Chinky and Khushi were completing the work in the Green House that day. Wearing the new clothes that Devayani gave them, they worked together happily planting the new seeds to the fresh soil in the vegetable area. Khushi was more than glad for the extra help, but loved that it was a friend of hers as it made the tasks finish quicker. Finishing the job Chinky noticed two massive green bags near the doors of the green house.
Chinky frowned: "Khushi?"
Khushi patted her hands together before standing up to wash her hands, with the water pump at the side. She looked at Chinky, who had put her hands on her hips confused.
Chinky: "Didn't you say the fertilizer bags come in today?"
Khushi smiled nodding.
Chinky pointed at the bags: " Is it them?"

The two girls looked at the bags. Khushi grinned and started to walk towards them. She pointed at them, then to the shelves where they are kept. Chinky smiled understanding.
Chinky running forward to Khushi: "Come lets finish them off then we can- OUCH!!"
Khushi turned immediately to see Chinky sat on the floor, holding her ankle in sheer pain. Terrified, she ran to her friend and crouched down to see what was wrong.
Chinky cried: "UFFF!! That stupid bucket!! ...OWW! It really hurts Khushi!!"
Khushi carefully removed Chinky's hand from her leg, to see her ankle turning red with a bruise forming slowly. She knew Chinky wouldn't be able to move without making it worse, so she had to think fast. Khushi stood up to look for one of the clean cloths and went over to the water pump to make it soaked with cold water. She came back to Chinky, who was sniffing and wincing at the pain. She reassured her friend with a smile before laying the cloth on the bruise and took Chinky's hand to put it on top, for her to hold it there. Feeling the freeze calmed Chinky's senses, but left her bewildered as Khushi rushed out of the Green house.
Chinky confused: "OI!!! Khushi where do you think your going!?! *gasped* You better not call anyone!! I'm fine!!! I can-....Ohhhh UFFFF!"


After 3 mins Khushi had zipped back along with help. Chinky was still sat where she was, with a pout on her lips and her arms crossed.
Chinky mumbled: "I told you Khushi! Why did you call-Ouch!"
Chinky looked up to see Khushi poke the back of her head to shut her up. Aman chuckled and sat in front of Chinky to check her knee.
Aman: Khushi's right Chinky." It's only me."
Chinky grumbled:" Still!...help is help"
Chinky glared at Khushi, who sat beside Aman, sticking her tongue at her. Khushi then tapped Aman's shoulder to ask how Chinky was.
Aman sighed: "You need this to rest and I got a balm that you could use too. Come."
The two stood either side of Chinky to help her up, but she couldn't even put a tiny bit of weight on it without wincing.
Aman shook his head: "This won't do...But this will."

Before anyone could blink, Aman swooped down and lifted Chinky up. Chinky was beyond shocked, while Khushi just smiled knowing Aman always had a solution for everything.
Aman teased: " Khushi Shush..can you hear that?"
Khushi frowned and tilted her ear to listen. She then shook her head, not able to hear anything that wasn't normal.
Aman: "Exactly Khushi...Chinky is speechless. *chuckles*"
Khushi grinned holding back a laugh, while Chinky blushed red. Aman chuckled taking Chinky away to the Raizada's house. Khushi watched as he walked away and grinned, seeing Chinky look over his shoulder to wave a punishment hand at her with a solid glare. Khushi teased her more by waving enthusiastically at her instead. She knew the last thing Chinky wants, when she's hurt, is ask for help, but with her ankle in that mess, she couldn't just sit and do nothing. With her hands on her hips she turned to see the two bags still sitting there on the floor as if mocking her. The smile disappeared into an annoyed pout. Great!


She pulled. She pushed. Even tried to drag, but nothing was going to move it. Khushi sighed with exhaustion after trying for the nth time to pick up one of the fertilizer bags, but it wasn't shoving one bit. Usually she would have some help doing this, but on her own...it was quite difficult. With her dupatta tied round her waist, Khushi tried pulling the flimsy handle of the bags once more. She gripped it tighter, squeezed her eyes together and her lips, as if would convince the bags to move. Suddenly, Khushi heard a cough making her nearly squeak out of shock. She immediately let go of the handle and whipped her head back to see Arnav leaning against the door of the green house, with his arms folded. He was wearing dark brown trousers with sneakers, and a dashing white shirt with sleeves rolled up. Her cheeks crimsoned wondering how long he had been watching her squirm and work hard in moving a bag. Her fingers consciously played with her dupatta before looking down and remembering she was supposed to be angry with him.

Arnav smiled: "Hey..."
Khushi turned away and went back to work, not caring that he was watching anymore. Arnav raised an eyebrow watching Khushi trying to move the bags by herself hopelessly. It was amusing to watch, but he didn't want her to hurt herself in the process either. He slowly walked up to Khushi and held her hands to stop her erratic movements. Khushi sighed with a defeated huff and looked up at Arnav's calm eyes. He smiled softly as she let go of the bag and dropped her hands to her side.

Khushi then watched as Arnav crouched down low, to grip the bag from the base. Eyes wide, she shook her hands furiously worried that he would break his back doing this approach. Arnav chuckled seeing Khushi's concerned features and winked at her before lifting the bag effortlessly. She, however, was left with her mouth open wide. Like a robot, she watched him put the first bag way on the concrete shelf and then stand in front of her to close her mouth.
Arnav charmingly: "We don't want flies to pop in to that pretty mouth now do we Khushi?"
Khushi shook herself awake and looked away, making Arnav smile tilting his head. He eyed the other bag.
Arnav teasing: "Do you want me to do the other bag too?"
Khushi looked down and nodded innocently. Arnav grinned and went off to pick up the last bag. As he was doing so, Khushi couldn't help but glance at Arnav in action. She watched as his muscles contracted while picking the bag up. She noticed the shirt tighten round his biceps and how his broad shoulders straightened strong, making her secretly smile with a shy fondness in her eyes. As Arnav put the bag away, he chuckled clapping his hand to brush away the dust.
Arnav: "See something you like Khushi?"
Khushi blushed hard and turned away with round eyes. She shook her head vigorously denying,which only made Arnav's heart glow fiercely within. He casually stood in front of Khushi fiddling with her dupatta embarrassed. Looking at the floor, her heart pounded a bit faster seeing him step closer, only making her step back. This casual advance continued until the back of Khushi's legs bumped into one of the small fountains. Arnav lowering his lips to brush against her cheek. It was soft and gentle.
Arnav whispered: "I'm sorry about yesterday..."

Khushi turned her head slightly to look into his honest eyes. They locked in understanding as Arnav realized what he made Khushi recall, hiding from her. He should of thought before, but now with Khushi smiling softly at him, Arnav that much better. Khushi just then, out of nowhere, planted a sweet kiss on the corner of his lips, making Arnav Singh Raizada look down for once with a gleam in his eyes. If this is what I get for apologizing, then I'd apologize every second for no reason at all.
Arnav huskily: "I...er ..I better go. Got work to do...Ok?"
Khushi shyly nodded with a faint smile and watched Arnav leave.

Heading towards the Raizada house, Arnav saw Raja rushing past him to go to Khushi. A few seconds later he heard Khushi wolf whistle making him not smile, but grin devilishly. Because he knew this time, that whistle wasn't for Raja at all. Khushi shyly hid in Raja's fur with sparkling smile knowing that Arnav knew.

~

"Boss we have got found the location of the girl you wanted"

He hmm-ed with satisfaction at last and brushed away the stripper in his lap : "Where?"

" She lives with the Aunt in a cottage at the Raizada Residence."

He lifted an eyebrow with a challenging smile: "Interesting... Well...How is she? Healthy?"

"Well...actually...the boys say she is quite some catch sir...Skin so fair..eyes ...beautiful sir...but-"

His lips turned tight with a snarl: "But what?! ... ... SPIT IT OUT THEN!!"

"She can't... speak Boss"

The rugged man leaned back in his chair and snatched the drink brought by his men. Swallowing it in one sweep he sighed." Picture"

The frightened right-hand man handed him a photo. Slithering his eyes down the photo, Indu Thakur grinned widely.

Indu: "Doesn't matter"

"Boss?"

Indu shrugged his shoulders: "Her looks make up for the lack of speech, but you never know..When I have my way with her... I could make her scream my name out loud...then she'd be speaking ey?"

The men laughed at their boss's dark humor, while Indu licked his lips and stroked the photo with rough fingers.

Indu: "Khushi...Kumari...Gupta...We'll be together again *sigh* as we should be. Hmmm? *chuckles*"

*..........*..........*

Please do leave your thoughts.
x

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Chapter Twenty-Two: Bird's Nest

Hey Squirrels! ( I have decided to get my fab VWT readers a name,lol) 
Now here is a note about Buaji's position now finding out that Khushi and Arnav are having a secret relationship. 

I understand that at the end of 'A Blue Rose'  many got very confused on whether Buaji is hiding another secret ( apart from the secrets already pointed out, like what really happened in the forest with khushi and Why Kushal is acting like this etc). And also everyone's worried on whether Buaji will be causing more Misunderstanding or a hurdle for Khushi/Arnav. 

Now I'll explain. Buaji's worry is nothing to do with the past, more of the present.  Think about what Buaji knows and sees everyday. Buaji always sees Kushal's annoyance and anger towards Khushi ( even though she doesn't know why). Buaji also knows very well that Arnav is very obedient to his grandfather and has never backed down his word. Therefore she is worried that sooner or later Kushal will make Arnav see his way about Khushi, which will leave her very heartbroken. Bottom line, Buaji doesn't have that much belief in the strength of Arnav's love towards Khushi. 

Now about Buaji being a possible barrier for the couple. Madhumati's character isn't as sneaky as Kushal to actually DO something about it, but she is very quiet and inner thinking when it comes to problems and fears, so she won't blast them both. She's keep the fear and worry to herself. However this won't stop her from warning with gentle words. So just becuase she disapproves of their relationship, she won't be a solid hurdle for Khushi and Arnav, but instead a flag of  worry for them both . 

Hope that helps. :)

*..........*..........*

As the days past Khushi's health went back to tiptop shape. With Chinky's and Aman's pillow fights, Khushi didn't have no choice but to get better in order to show them who was queen of the game. Devayani didn't mind of the laughter and joy that had returned to the house, she was overjoyed that everything was back to normal. 

It was a warm day when Chinky and Khushi were out in the Open Area under the hut, sitting on the steps. After completing their morning chores, they picked some henna leaves to grind to a smooth paste. Khushi was wearing a dark pink long salwar, while Chinky wore a paler pink short salwar. Khushi added the leaves to the plate for Chinky to grind with a flat rock. 
Chinky: "Do you remember when we met Khushi? In the forest picking leaves!? *giggles*"
Khushi smiled and nodded earnestly before spreading her arms to make a huge imaginary ball. She even held her breath to puff her cheeks for the full effect, making Chinky laugh out load. 
Chinky nodding: "Yes yes I remember! That big fat old man that shouted at us loads saying * deep voice* Children these days!?!?! Think they own the forest!! You can't pick these henna leaves from here."
Khushi lent back against the pillar of the hut grinning so much it hurt. Chinky then shook her head.
Chinky: "You know Khushi that man was just...UFFFF!"
Khushi rolled her eyes with a bright smile. Chinky, being the same age as Khushi but only a few months older, was just as bubbly as Khushi, but she says all her feelings through words. The only thing she couldn't put into words was her frustration. It only ended up in an 'Ufff'.

It was just then when Raja rushed towards then from the Raizada Mansion, with the wind brushing through his wild mane. The two girls greeted him with a pleasant smiles, while finishing the last of the henna leaves. Raja seemed to be trying to sniff Khushi's fingers making Chinky laugh.
Chinky warned: "Raja! You best not touch this. Or else you'll get color on your lovely fur. Right Khushi?"
Khushi nodded indicating Raja to sit down beside her, however Raja kept nudging her hands. She frowned and squinted to realize that he had a small chit of paper in his mouth. Arnav. She glanced at Chinky, making sure she wasn't watching, before putting her hand out for Raja. He dropped it in her hand, before sitting down obediently as Khushi had told him. Khushi discretely opened the chit to read what was inside.

You should of worn red today...it would of matched the Mendhi on your finger tips.
~A 

Khushi grinned shaking her head. She hid away the note and lifted a hand to see the red color that had appeared from the Henna leaves and paste being made. Rubbing her fingers with a soft smile, her round eyes flickered up to the balcony of the Raizada mansion to see Arnav's cheeky wink and smirk. before he swiftly walked inside. Khushi blushed at the thought of Arnav watching her for so long. Then again, he had been doing that for the last few days. While she was recovering with Aman and Chinky by her side, she could feel Arnav's gaze on her from afar, making her smile shyly trying to be seem less self-conscious. She knew that he was chuckling at her each time and would sure enough send a small note to her through Raja, which made her smile without fail. 

Chinky: "Oi Khushi!? "
Khushi startled at Chinky, who looked a bit annoyed.
Chinky: "I have been calling you for ages to say the Mendhi's done...Gone off to lala land again? *giggles* Buaji really does call you Titaliya for a reason, hmm? Now come on."
Khushi grinned and shook her silly head ad stood up with Chinky to head off to the kitchen.


~


Days would pass as Arnav and Khushi would meet quietly in the Secret Garden to spend time together. Other times, notes would be sent between the two fond hearts. Arnav would always insist that he should get a mobile for her, but she had no interest at all in the matter and liked her pieces of papers just fine. To always draw away the matter she would always hug Arnav tightly, making him forget sense and lose himself with her too. Her leaving the cottage more often has not gone unnoticed by Madhumati, who could tell who Khushi was going to meet by only seeing the happiness that glowed on her face.


One day Raja and Khushi were in her room, getting ready to go for a trip to the mandir near her old home. She goes every other month, with Raja, to visit her old home but also to pray at the Mandir for God, to make heaven that much comfy for her parents.
This time round she had convinced Arnav to come along too for more company's sake. Arnav was reluctant becuase he didn't believe that much in God, but he couldn't refuse Khushi plea. He had arrived to the cottage wearing a black suit with maroon shirt. Knocking on the door, he waited for Khushi to open, only to see Madhu open the door instead. Arnav's mind frowned slightly as she didn't look that pleased to see him. She looked worried.
Arnav huskily: "Buaji? Is Khushi ready? Khushi said she wanted to go to the mandir so-"
Madhu hesitated before speaking: "I know Babwa. Urm I wanted to...ask something from you."
Arnav nodded wanting to hear.
Madhu looked down before building the courage to say it: " I know that you and Khushi have been getting along well as...friends."
Arnav hmm-ed, not 100% confirming the word 'friends'.
Madhu smiled tightly: "But I would like to ask if you could...not become too close with her. "
Arnav frowned: "But Buaji-"
Madhu lifted her hand to stop him: "I know, I know, however I am Khushi's only guardian Babwa and I would like to keep Khushi's friends close, but not this close..."
Arnav stiffly stood watching Madhu gripping the door tightly, with her body tensed. She must be figuring out that Khushi and I... Arnav looked down trying to think how to respond. He knew he couldn't stay away from Khushi. He needed her like a plant needs it's sun, however he couldn't set a bad impression in front of Khushi's Buaji. Buaji wasn't just Khushi's aunt but also his mother's best friend. Madhu was the last person Arnav wants to upset. He glanced up at her, wondering what was different between him and Aman, that Buaji is acting so tensely towards him. Is it becuase I haven't spent as much time with Khushi as Aman has? What do I lack in Buaji's eyes? Is it trust? With these questions in his mind, however, he replied.
Arnav nods curtly: " I understand. "

As Buaji smiled and nodded thankfully blessing Arnav from her heart. She knew it was none of his fault as children are so innocent when it comes to the matter of love, that sometimes they forget the consequences. Just then Khushi rushed out in a red short salwar, with Raja close behind. Madhu watched as Khushi hugged her a goodbye and walked by Arnav's side out the gate towards the forest. She waved back at Madhu who sighed and shut the door, hoping Arnav meant what he said. Becuase if he didn't, she dreaded the coming storm ahead.

As soon as Madhu shut the door, Khushi immediately linked arms with Arnav, making him shake his head with her silly antics. Arnav then noticed Raja walking ahead, was heading to deeper towards the forest.
Arnav : "Khushi, We could just take the car. It would take ages for us to your old house wouldn't it?"
Khushi giggled raising an eyebrow at him. Arnav tensed his muscles.
Arnav: "What? You think I can't walk it? "
Khushi teasingly looked away rolling her eyes making Arnav glare at her.
Arnav tight-lipped: Fine. "We'll walk. "
Khushi grinned and hugged Arnav's arm, before rushing ahead to catch up to Raja. Arnav just put his hands in his pockets and smiled, enjoying the scene of the two ahead of him.

~

It was a good half hour since the three started to walk and the sun was at it's high, shining down through the holes of the leaves and branches above, creating a misty glow through the path of the forest. The air was warm, but not too damp as the shadows created from above provided the shade. The atmosphere felt enchanting, as if they were treading through a mystical lair of fairies and shy wildlife. 

Khushi and Raja were now way ahead of Arnav, but not that far as Khushi kept looking back now and again to make sure he was following. Turning back to look ahead, Khushi's grin turned into a smile, and then that smile turned into a line. Her footsteps upon the dry leafy ground slowed to stop beside Raja, who staring at her with a deep expression. Side by side they both stood to gaze at the tree, a few steps in front of them. It was a very tall and old tree with a mouse hole at the side, big enough for a young teenager to enter. It was the hollow tree. The same hollow tree. 


Khushi picking up the young puppy in her arms: "Look!! That's were you can live!! Well for the time being! "
The young girl stepped forward to the hollow tree and carefully put the puppy inside. She grinned, seeing the space inside the tree had loads of room for the puppy. The little puppy barked and wagged his tail happily making Khushi smile. But her smile didn't last long as she noticed the little pieces of wood sticking up from the ground inside. 
Khushi: "This would hurt you accidently! And we don't want you to get hurt now, do we?"
Khushi stood back and put a hand on her chin to think hard. It didn't take long before she snapped her fingers with an idea.
Khushi rushed forwards leaning inside the hole: "You stay right here. Ok?! I'll be right back. "
With that Khushi ran quickly back home, leaving the fluffy dog poke his head out to watch and wait. 

After a couple of minutes the puppy lifted his ears hearing rushing footsteps approached again. It was Khushi with a small bag clutched in her fist. She had a bright smile full of excitement. Arrived to the hole, she lent against the tree first catching her breath before plopping the bag on the floor. Getting to work, Khushi lifted the dog again, taking him out of the hole and on the floor. She then took, what looked like a huge old brown salwar, and laid it inside the hole.
Khushi lifting the puppy and putting him inside: "Now, You won't get hurt! It's like carpet for you! *giggles* "
The puppy curiously rubbed is feet on the cotton fabric before sniffing at it. Khushi smiled.
Khushi: " Don't worry it's clean! It's Buaji's old salwar. I took one as she never wears then anymore. I know she won't realize, so she won't mind you borrowing it. *remembering* and Oh!! Nearly forgot."
Taking out the rest of whats in the bag, which was half a water melon, a small bowl and a bottle of water. She set everything out for Raja. Raja dived right in with the melon making Khushi laugh.
Khushi: "I didn't know what dogs eat other than biscuits and we haven't got any left, so I brought this instead. I'm glad your enjoying it. *giggles*"
The little pup barked in response. 

With that everyday Khushi would visit with food for Raja and play with him all day. She'd rush home after school have her food quickly before heading out to the forest again. Sunny days would be spent playing hide and seek or jumping leaves, and rainy days would be spent with Khushi sitting in the hollow tree, cross-legged, with Raja on her lap, so he wouldn't feel lonely. 

After 2 weeks, Khushi told Payal, her best friend at school, about Raja. The three of them would play and support each other when the parents try to question them about playing in the forest. However, few more weeks passed revealing the news that Payal was moving away to a whole new city...


Khushi walked closer to the tree, lowering to her knees to brush her fingertips along the rough rim of the hollow tree entrance. Her eyes were soft with remembrance as she felt Raja's feathery tail brush her leg for comfort. And then after Payal left...then...then it all shattered, didn't it Raja... Everything...turned to nothing. Her eyes diluted, breath gasped and fingers gripped the broken wood, remembering back to the day where she kept running...and running...and-
Arnav concerned: "Khushi?"
Khushi blinked startled and looked to the side to see Arnav crouched down beside her, with a hand on her shoulder and another on her hand which was gripping the wood tightly. Khushi's eyes widened and lifted her hand off the tree to look at it. She say the sharp dents in it, realizing if she gripped any harder she would of bled. She watched as Arnav held that hand against and rubbed the dents gently, to get the flow of the blood back.
Arnav roughly: "Are you ok?!"
Khushi nodded timidly before smiling gently at Arnav's stern yet warm concern. She then looked down to see Raja's head was resting woefully on her lap. His eyes were on her making her shake her head reassuringly and stroked the top of his head and behind his ears. Arnav's voice spoke again, but softer.
Arnav: "Are you ok?"
Khushi looked into his molten eyes realizing what he meant. Arnav didn't know why Khushi was so emotional over this tree, but reading her eyes he could tell it meant a lot to her. She simply smiled and let him lift her to stand up. Stepping back, Khushi looked up high the the branches of the leaves and sighed quietly. As it's leaves change every season naturally, life changes too naturally.

With Arnav holding her hand and Raja rubbing the side of his face against Khushi's thigh, her eyes smiled, mentally hugging those happy playful memories spent here. She has come so far from that 11 year old girl that maybe with Arnav's hand in hers and Raja by her side as always, she can dare to take that further height to forget that frightful day.
*..........*..........*

Please do like and comment :)
x

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Chapter Twenty-One: A Blue Rose

~Maha Chapter~

*..........*.........*

Kushal looked down at his watch noting it was quarter to seven and huffed, before looking up at the last few workers finishing the catering and decorators. He wanted to make sure everything was perfect for when the guests start arriving in an hour or so. Proud of the blue and silver color scheme, Kushal smiled to himself. He turned to see Devayani looking at him with a very confused and questioning gaze. Feeling caught, Kushal's expression turned sour again and walked past her to check the hall once more. In his strides he thought back to the conversation, which took place between Aman and himself in the study.


Kushal had smiled at Aman warmly: "It's about Khushi betiya."
Aman paused trying to figure out what Khushi had to do with this: "Khushi?"
Kushal continued sitting opposite him, before turning serious in tone and body.
Kushal clasped his hands together: "How's your family Aman? Your father?"
Aman still a bit lost: "Babuji is fine. The harvest season's coming round the corner so he's quite busy. but he's fine. but-"
Kushal: "What do you think about Khushi?"
Aman was taken aback: "Sir? What is that-"
Kushal firmly: "Answer the question. Do you think she is lacking in anyway becuase of her vo-"
Aman annoyed stood up: "Sir! I don't think like that at all about her! Just becuase Khushi doesn't speak doesn't mean she's lacking in anything! I understand you might have different views but I won't tolera-"
Kushal staring at the floor, murmured enough for Aman to hear: "I don't have different views at all..."
Aman calming down a bit: "excuse me...Sir?"
Kushal's eyes flickered up to his, nodding to indicate Aman to sit down. He smiled as Aman obeyed.
Kushal : "I see you really do care for Khushi betiya."
Aman hesitated slightly unsure what Kushal was trying to mean. The elder man laughed out loud at Aman and nodded satisfied.
Kushal gently: "When are you planning to propose to her?"
Aman breath caught: "Sir?"
Kushal shaking his finger: " Now don't tell me you and Khushi don't harbor feelings for each other."
Aman flustered knowing where his heart lied but was unsure about Khushi. She thinks of us as friends only...right?
Kushal: "Why don't you propose to Khushi then? You know her Buaji is pining for a rishtha for her niece. Then why don't you do anything? *angrily* Unless you only wish to play with Khushi-"
Aman honestly: "No sir. I do like Khushi...A lot! *smiles sweetly*...quite a lot... but...I can't."
Kushal quietly: "Why? Is it money for the wedding? Is it-"
Aman looked down in deep thought: "What if she thinks I'm asking her out of sympathy......What if we loose the friendship that we have...I can't lose her like that."
Kushal understanding: "I'm sure it won't hurt to ask. What if you lose her before you even try?"
Aman looked up at Kushal worried.

Kushal continued: "Life is about living every day without regrets...I know exactly what it feels to when you look back and think...I wish things were different.. I wish I had-...*coughs* But the main point is... You shouldn't shy away from proposing Khushi becuase your afraid. You should ask her and take life as it comes..."
He and Aman sat in silence for a while clocking over what had been said.
Aman stood up deciding: "I'll ask her tonight."
Kushal smiled and stood up too to hug Aman tightly. Aman, shocked, waited for a second before slowly hugging him back.
Kushal pulled back immediately turning very strict: "I expect you to fulfill every wish of happiness that girl holds dearest to her and never ...and I mean Never...ever let tears come to her eyes. I hope I make myself Very clear."
Aman nodded furiously as if receiving permission from Khushi's father: "Of course...sir."
Kushal getting to business: "So....Shall we have the wedding the day after tomorrow?"
Aman flabbergasted: "What?!!?!? ....I mean...Isn't that a 'tad' too soon?"
Kushal grumbled under his breath for a while before settling: "Engagement then?"
Aman shook his head: "Sir...Khushi hasn't even said yes yet and that's still too soon, I-"
Kushal put a hand on his shoulder: "First of all Khushi will say yes. An honest, clear hearted boy that no girl will say no to, And why is it too soon? *realizing his flapped his hand at him* Don't you dare worry about arrangements and guests. I will organize it for you both. You both will have it right here in the Raizada mansion. Nowhere else."
Aman bewildered at the demand and the generous offer: "Sir...I ...we couldn't...I-"
Kushal gently: "I know I have always set a strict and irrational tone towards you and Khushi, even though she is unaware of it, However deep down you both are at the end of the day our sons and daughters."
Aman still unsure made Kushal hold him arms, staring at him reassuringly.
Kushal quietly: "Let me do this Aman... for Khushi betiya...and you."


Kushal suddenly stopped in his tracks seeing Arnav stride in with his jacket in his arm and suitcase in the other hand. He didn't miss the look of confusion in his grandson's eyes at the decoration and workers in the hall which slowed his footsteps, dragging to a halt in the middle of the hall. Kushal's body tensed and walked up to Arnav.
Kushal smiled tightly: "Chote? You're back early! I thought you said you'd be coming back tomorrow."
Arnav simply hmm-ed still ticking over what was going on the Raizada house.
Kushal noticed this, but also noticed something else: "Chote? ...Where's Lavanya?"
Arnav was too lost in his surrounding to even listen: "What's going on here Dada?"
Kushal sharped his gaze on Arnav and repeated his question firmly. Arnav then looked down quickly before sighing and turning back to Kushal.
Arnav calmly: "We have had a mutual break-up."

Kushal frowned not understanding. His silence made Arnav elaborate: "Over the time we have been away, Lavanya and I have talked a lot of things over and realized that we don't really love each other enough to be in a relationship, let alone get married to each other. She then decided to live her life in the UK for a while and headed off there yesterday. Plus I don't think I have found the right girl yet Dada....soo...yeah."
Kushal glared at Arnav at his casual reply and looked away slightly worried that Arnav will pursue Khushi again on a fling basis. However, thinking back to Khushi's approval to Aman's proposal calmed his soul, knowing Khushi wasn't the type of girl to leave one man for another. Kushal's body relaxed slightly and nodded at Arnav deciding to deal with this matter later.
Arnav curiously asked again: "What are the decorations for Dada?"
Before Kushal could speak Madhumati came over with a basket of fruits with a grin on her face.
Madhu: " Arnav Bitwa!? Your here!?!? Good now you can join in with this celebration too."
Arnav smiled at Madhu but was still confused. Madhu took this in and gasped with a hand on her forehead.
Madhu: "Haire Nandkisore!!!!!! I forgot to tell you didn't I!? Well with all this being short notice, how could I hmm!? Arnav bitwa!! A rishta has come for my Titaliya!!!"
Arnav frowned as if he didn't hear properly.
Madhu smiled: "And not just any old rista!!! Our own Aman bitwa asked for my Khushi's hand!! Isn't that brilliant!?!?"

Arnav. saw. red.

His fists were clenched tightly and scanned the room again in terrible shock. If the decorations are going up...it means Khushi must of said yes....but...but WHY?! Arnav's jaw tightened and teeth grit at the thought of Khushi and Aman together. He felt like a he was about to overflow with anger, however seeing Madhu's happiness ebbed his feeling down to heartbreaking sadness over coming him. Kushal tried to take in Arnav's emotions and smirked thinking Arnav won't be able to play with women from now. Madhu on the other hand was curiously suspicious of Kushal's 'kind' generosity to Khushi after all these days of his bitter remarks. She still didn't trust his intentions.
Kushal: "Chote...You have come from a long journey. I suggest you don't attend this function and stay in your-"
Arnav holding his raging anger back with a smile:" Of course not Dada. An engagement in our House and me not there?...I wouldn't want to miss it."
Madhu then rushed off mumbling whether Khushi was ready or not yet.

~

Khushi sat in front of her dressing table mirror, dressed in a gorgeous simple blue choli with white skirt and navy blue blouse. She looked divine with minimal make up and her hair pinned back revealing her elegant long neck. Fixing her dupatta numbly she looked across to Raja sitting on the floor beside her long stool. Khushi watched as Raja stared at her sorrowfully as if understanding the conflict inside her. Khushi smiled at her beautiful friend and patted the space beside her on the stool. Raja with no hesitation jumped up to sat on the stool, facing Khushi. She lifted Raja's brush and gently stroked through his velvety mane which glowed like a lions. Tears came to her eyes linking how life had taken her to this point and wished it was a easy as it was before.

Khushi tugged hard with her little hands on the tight vine. She was wearing the converses, but this time a green salwar with pretty bows on it. With her hair in a plait, she tugged hard digging her shoes into the muddy ground surrounded by leaves, as the little puppy tugged on the other end of the rope. They both had been playing this game for hours, since Khushi came for her routine visit to play and feed the little dog. Each time teeth would win over the hands, making it more and more frustrating for Khushi. Just then Khushi let go of the rope once again, resulting her falling on her bum with a whoosh and watching the little puppy run round the trees and Khushi happily. 
Khushi pouted: "You staying here has made you think you own the place too!"
The dog still cheery slowly came to a stop and sat beside her. Khushi determined picks up the vine again only to drop it as a sharp thorn pricked her in the middle of her palm. 
Khushi cried out: "Owwie!!!"
Cradling her hand close to her seeing the dot, that was now turning a bit sore with redness, watched as Raja walked close to lick her wounds. Khushi giggled.
Khushi: "That tickles!!!"
Feeling much better, she forgot about her wound and hugged her best friend tight. Stroking his short creamy fur, Khushi gasped with shock as lightning struck to her mind. She grinned with eyes wide and pulled the puppy back to look at him.
Khushi: "Raja!! Why didn't I think of this before!? Your name can be Raja!! King of the forests and protector of the *dramatically* damsel in distress Khushi Kumari Gupta. *grinning* how's that?!"
Raja barked happy with his new name making a little Khushi rub her nose against his with a bright smile.

A tear fell from Khushi's eyes making Raja whimper upset. She stroked the brush one last time into his fur before putting it down on the table. Khushi then turned to Raja who had laid his head upon her netted dress. She stroked the top of his head lost in thought. I wish you could set everything right Raja like you did before. I wish you were my King this time round too. 
The downstairs phone rang making Khushi stand up quickly and run to pick up the phone, only to find it was her Buaji asking her to come now as the guests would be arriving soon. Khushi numbly agreed and called down Raja as they left the cottage quietly.

~

As Khushi and Raja entered the Raizada House through the Kitchen door and started to travel up the corridor, they could hear the light chatter-chatter arousing from guests who have started to enter in the hall ahead. Walking in their direction was Madhu wearing a light blue sari. She rushed to Khushi hugging her tightly before pulling back to have a good look at her appearance. Khushi watched with a gentle smile as her Buaji's eyes watered with happiness and gave her blessings. 
Madhu: "You look so beautiful Titaliya..."
Just then another person skipped towards Buaji with another basket and grinned with surprise at Khushi. Khushi couldn't believe her eyes and rushed to meet her.
Chinky: "Khushi!?!??!? You look amazing!!!! and Raja!! *crouching to hug him too* missed you tooo!"
Khushi still not understanding why Chinky was here. Madhu laughed and blessed the two friends.
Madhu: "You remember I said Titaliya that we needed more people to help round the house? *khushi nodded* Well coincidentally-"
Chinky chirped up: "I was looking for a job!!! *giggles before glaring up with a fist pumped* I hate that Rathi family! Kinjal mam is soooo....UFFF!"
Khushi smiled at her friend's craziness. Chinky then pouted and pointed at her.
Chinky: "Buaji told me that your getting engaged today. WHY WASN'T I TOLD?!?!"
Khushi's smile faded to a silent expression, while Madhu replied: "It was short notice betiya. Now! *looking back towards the hall*...Go now, Aman is already there waiting for you. Go Go. *laughs* And you Raja come with me...I might need some help with those Meetai boxes. Come. "
Raja obeyed and followed Madhu back to the kitchen, leaving Khushi to continue on towards the hall. 

A few steps towards the hall, however caused a grip to catch her wrist, pulling her to the side of the corridor. Khushi, with eyes wide, felt her back hit against the rich wood as a body cornered her. A pair of furious, raging eyes glared down into hers making her eyes water with shock realizing who it was. 
Arnav huskily: "How. dare. you...."
Khushi trembled at the sight of Arnav's state of fury and powerful stance.
Arnav darkly: "How could you give yourself away to someone else, when you know....You bloody know how I feel about you....How we feel about each other...why?....WHY DAMMIT!?"
Khushi closed her eyes letting the tears fall and bit her lip to hold back the sob. Arnav refused to take that as an answer and held her arms, pulling her to his body. Khushi opened her eyes at the sudden movement and looked at his desperate eyes.
Arnav whispered: "Why did you do it?...Why.."
Khushi's eyes softened and lifted her delicate hands to place one on Arnav's heart and the other on hers. Arnav watched as Khushi shook her head in despair, only making him more agitated.
Arnav: "But...But why? Don't you...don't you feel anything for me Khushi... Khu-"
Khushi embarrassed kept her eyes on the floor and lifted a hand to cover her neck. Arnav's eyes shot to her face with disbelief.
Arnav appealed:" Khushi...please tell me you don't think...* holding her face in his hands* Oh...oh Khushi, no...I...*firmly* I have Never...ever, thought of you ..lacking anything Khushi..never..Don't think for one second that I was marrying Lavanya because of-....What were you thinking Khushi!!?"
Khushi let her self go and swiftly jumped into Arnav's arms, burying her face into his white shirt. Arnav closed his eyes, hugging her back just as tightly, cursing himself for not realizing this earlier, not sorting this confusion out before. It was his fault.

Arnav hushed: "I'm so sorry Khushi...I ...I never wanted you to feel that way. Believe me."
Khushi only snuggled closer before opening her eyes to realize, that this was the way it had to be. She pulled abruptly away from Arnav striking him confused. Arnav brushed it off and held her hand.
Arnav: "Come. We have to stop this engag-"
He was lost for words however when Khushi shook her head and took her hand out from his.
Arnav: "..Khushi?"
Khushi looked up slowly into his eyes with eyes that explained that... she simply couldn't. Not to Buaji, Not to Devayani, Not to Kushal, and especially not to Aman. She promised she'd stay by his side, not leave. Arnav stared at Khushi numbly not able to accept the fact that she was actually going to go through with this engagement.

Khushi then looked down defeated and walked away towards the hall, wiping her tears furiously. Arnav's fist clenched tightly as did his jaw and turned to pursue Khushi, only to halt in his tracks. Khushi had just then bumped into Aman, making him hold her steady.
Aman smiled: "Khushi? I was just about to come and get you. You-"
He noticed Khushi's damp face and frowned. Aman made her look up at him.
Aman softly: "Hey...hey.. what's wrong? Why are you crying?"
Khushi shook her head and tried to smile only to look away from his concerned gaze. Aman's eyes then fell back behind her to see Arnav stood in the corridor tensely with stern eyes. Aman could see he was upset about something too. Arnav then stormed past the two to join the guests as Aman watched on. He focused back to Khushi and smiled back at her before putting an arm round her leading her to the hall.


~


Everyone clapped cheerfully as Kushal introduced the couple onto the stage. Aman's small group of friend and family had arrived as well as their friend and family too. The hall wasn't packed but it was enough. Khushi looked at Arnav beside Devayani with a deathly expression upon his face. Her heart plummeted. Arnav...how could I forget him...I can't, can I... As Aman and Khushi stood side by side as Madhu brought the rings on a plate of flower petals. Khushi however felt her heart race with fear as questions were spinning round her head making it feel heavy. What am I doing? Isn't this wrong for me to be engaged to someone when I don't want to be with him? Madhu grinning handed Khushi a ring which she numbly and hesitatingly put on Aman. Aman didn't miss this point at all and watched her flickering eyes and mellow face. Khushi seemed like she was in another world. What if Aman feels later I'm not loving him enough...then he thinks that he lacks something!? I can't do this. The room felt heated as Khushi slowly felt the floor melt beneath her feet. I can't...I can't....I.......

All she heard was Madhu, Chinky, Devayani, Kushal, Aman and Arnav scream her name, before falling to Aman's supportive arms.

~


Everyone waited outside the guest room, as the doctor was inside with Khushi. Kushal stood beside Devayani both equally concerned, while Chinky held Madhu close as she was crying, with Raja sat by her side. The wait was agonizing for some, but used as time for thought by others. Aman's eyes stayed glued to Arnav, who was pacing frantically beside Devayani. He thought back to a few minutes ago when Khushi fainted into his arms. What he couldn't shake off was the look of concern that alarmed from Arnav. He even at one point try to take Khushi off him, but Aman stood quickly with Khushi leading her down the corridor. Aman thoughtfully looked down.

The doctor exited the room stimulating everyone to come closer with questioning eyes. Raja's ears stood up to attention.
Madhu terribly worried: " My Titaliya...What happened to her doctor? Is she going to be ok?!"
The doctor smiled softly to calm her down: "Everything is fine. She had fainted due to tiredness and stress. This is normal when a occasion like this happens however please do keep her health in mind. A few hours rest and proper eating will do her good. She came to consciousness a minute ago."
Kushal shook the doctor's hand before he and Devayani led him to the door. Arnav and Madhu was about to enter the room when Aman spoke up.
Aman: "I want to talk to Khushi alone for a bit Buaji....If that's ok?"
Madhu frowned at his question, but nodded. Aman walked forth to open the door and gave one glance at Arnav's frustrated expression, before going in shutting the door behind him.


Aman walked further into the room to see Khushi sat up in the maroon sheets, with her hair brought to one side, over her shoulder. Her eyes were distant and lowered while her fingers fidgeted. Aman keeping a tight expression laid down beside her on top of the sheets, but shoulder to shoulder. Khushi watched carefully as Aman put his hands casually behind his head, staring up to the ceiling. It was silent between them before Aman glanced at her making her eyes scurry away to her hands again. Aman then sighed looking down.
Aman: "Why didn't you say no Khushi?"
Khushi gasped quietly, turning her head to look at him. He looked up at her with a comforting smile before continuing.
Aman gently: "I figured it out....but don't worry...your secret's safe with me Gupta."
Khushi stared at him unable to think, but to her heart's relief immediately laid closer to Aman and hugged him tightly crying quietly. Aman grinned at his silly friend and put his arms round her.
Aman: " I'm not that weak you know Khushi...If you had only told me beforehand, because you know that your happiness means more than anything to me, and if that's with someone else...then- *Khushi held Aman tighter still sobbing making Aman laugh* ...You really are a Sanka Devi Khushi."
They stayed there for awhile til Khushi calmed down. Aman made her sit up with himself. He held her hands softly.

Aman chuckled: "Your like a blue rose Khushi...just so rare... but I guess this blue rose had someone else's name on it..."
Khushi looked at Aman feeling sad for him, but Aman grinned.
Aman winked: "I just hope I can find another blue rose, but with my name on it. Hmm?"
Khushi sobbed quietly again grateful and pulled Aman close to hug him tight. Aman grinned hugging her back with full force.
Aman: "I wish you all the happiness in the world, but promise me you won't forget me as your friend. "
She nodded making Aman sigh with relief. Khushi hugged him tighter praying that he'd find his own Blue rose too someday.

~


Aman walked out the room with a smile, while everyone was still worried. Kushal and Devayani were now there too. Madhu worried went up to him asking him what's wrong.
Aman honestly: "Buaji...Khushi and I have talked over a couple of things and have decided that....We are not going to get engaged, let alone get married. "
Everyone was taken aback with shock with Madhu devastated. Aman, however, anticipated this and held her hands.
Aman gently: "Buaji..We have decided this because...*half lying* we don't actually love each other."
Madhu confused: "What are you saying babwa? Then why-"
Aman: "I thought that to make everyone happy, Khushi, you....I thought marriage would solve everything. I would never lose my best friend. But I thought Khushi loved me too, * glancing at Arnav discretely* til today. She wanted to do this for your happiness too. We love each other as friends Buaji...nothing more. That's why she had been stressed so much. So we have both decided to cancel everything and just have things as they were before. *putting his hands together* Please forgive us for our immaturity if it had hurt you in any-"
Madhu stopped him with a watery smile: "No Aman bitwa. Your right. I would never want this if it were only for our happiness. I understand now why Khushi had been so restless for the past few days. *stroking Aman's head* Thank you so much. I'll always pray for You to also find your perfect bride as well, as a husband for my Khushi. "
Aman grinned taking her blessings: "That would be the best gift ever Buaji."
Madhu smiled brightly as Chinky and Devayani joined her side. 

Aman then hesitantly looked across to Kushal who stood stiffly, eyes lowered. Aman walked up to him and put his hands together.
Aman: "Sir...I know that you have done so much for this engagement to happen for us.. and I'm sorry for this to happen.... but I'm willing to pay you back every penny-"
Kushal, however, grunted curtly before walking of down the corridor to explain to the guests. Aman felt dejected for hurting Kushal's feeling, but Devayani put a hand on his shoulder.
Devayani smile: "That's his way of saying, it's fine, don't do this mistake again, and you don't have to pay him back. "
Aman insisted: "but-"
Devayani: "No beta. trust me."
Madhu nodded: "Aman bitwa..you should go rest now hmm?, Chinky and I will take care of Khushi for tonight. ok? Chinky betiya can you bring a glass of juice and a bowl of fruits for Khushi."
Chinky nodded and was about to leave before turning back: " But Buaji... I don't know wear anything is in the kitchen."
Madhu gasped realizing: "Yes, of course your right betiya. Come I'll get them then. I'll show you to your new room alone the way hmm? Come Raja."
Chinky nodded and followed Madhu to the kitchen. Aman left too, bidding Arnav and Devayani goodnight. 

Devayani looked at Arnav who was standing oddly beside the bedroom door. 
Devayani frowned: "What are you waiting for Chote? To get caught?! Go inside then!"
Arnav smiled before going inside making her smile and leave the two to talk it out themselves. 

~

As Arnav crept in, he smirked to see Khushi drifting to sleep. He gently sat by her side and watched her subtle breathing for a minute or two, before lifting a hand to brush away a strand of hair against her cheek. He smiled to see her eye's flicker open to the warm touch and move to lay her sight on him. A soft smile grew on her lips which made his heart sigh with content. With the room dark except the bedside table lamp, Arnav leaned in to whisper huskily.
Arnav teasingly: "I'll ask you once more Khushi...You do feel the same for me... as I feel for you. Right?  "
Khushi lowered her gaze from his confidence and turned her head away blushing. She suddenly felt Arnav's lips against against her ear.
Arnav: "You have always been mine Khushi. Always will be."
Khushi stared at Arnav in shock while watching him sit back with a secret smile upon his lips, just for her. Arnav lifted her hand in his planting a soft kiss upon her knuckles making Khushi smile back in peace.

Madhu watched Khushi and Arnav's small encounter from the crack of the open door with the Juice and sliced fruit trembling in her hands. She felt a tear roll down her cheek at Khushi's innocent choice. She was putting it on a line that had no future. Only anger and hatred from Kushal and then soon from Arnav himself. She knew that she had to gently wake her niece up from a dream that would lead to heart cutting nightmares. 

*..........*..........*

New words to translate

Maha: Mega

x

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Chapter Twenty: Late Harvest

Dedication to Shraddska for figuring out first what Lavanya's secret is. Detective brains there.

*..........*..........*

Arnav whispered against her ear: "You have always been mine Khushi. Always will be."

Khushi sat up in her bed with a startle. Her breathing was heavy with helplessness, as her body felt clammy with embarrassment. She frantically looked round to see Raja beside her sleeping peacefully making her sigh. She closed her eyes with frustration. It was the same dream she had been having since Aman had proposed to her early last night. Khushi had suppressed her dreams of Arnav down before, but this time it hit her full force. Tears ran down her face feeling ashamed of herself. Despite accepting to Aman's sweet proposal, her heart remained unfaithful for a man betrothed to someone else. To think that her engagement was tomorrow evening and she's still in this state. She wiped her tears away furiously and tried to smile. I should be glad that even Dadaji is helping by letting us get engaged in the Raizada mansion. And Aman...He's someone that any girl would be happy forever with. But I still feel so upset...I just wish Arnav...I mean...I wish...I wish things were different....


~


Arnav sighed when sitting down on the bed in a 5 star hotel with the signed files. After arriving yesterday in Delhi there was just rushing and rushing for both of Arnav and Lavanya meeting their facts and presentation straight for the conference that afternoon. The meeting went well, but stopped to be continued this morning for discussion for future deals and contracts. Lavanya was helpful with her quick persuasions and comparisons with other companies. Arnav smiled thinking back to old times when she and him were study buddies in Harvard. Arnav looked down remembering also when Lavanya told him a secret about herself...which was also a reason why they were in a 'relationship' now. 


Arnav rushed after a very upset Lavanya as she left the business party. Arnav did see a class mate of his Yash advance her but in a nice way, but after an uncomfortable dance Lavanya left in tears making Arnav very worried. He knew Yash was a good guy from the halls but couldn't understand why Lavanya was like this...and this wasn't the only time this has happened. It happened every time a guy asks Lavanya out or other girls ask her why she doesn't have a boyfriend. 
Arnav held her arm: "La?! Stop. ?"
Lavanya lowered her eyes and sniffed letting Arnav hold her arms trying to figure her out. 
Arnav looking round to see they're alone: " Lavanya...What's wrong this time!? Did Yash say-"
Lavanya immediately shook her head and looked away. Arnav sighed having enough and leaned down a bit to make sure Lavanya didn't avoid him.
Arnav: " Tell me what's wrong Lavanya? ...It's all the time....Do you have a boyfriend already..or...is it...*sigh* ...I'm your friend remember Lavanya..You know you can tell me ...right?"
Lavanya looked at Arnav who was desperate to help her...understand her. She then gathering some courage looked around before stepping close to whisper into his ear, afraid the walls would have ears. 

Arnav's first reaction was just shock...He couldn't believe at first that a girl like her would be...different like this...But then again all the pieces fit. Avoiding the really girly girly crowd, ignoring and rejecting boys hands down. 
Lavanya looked down ashamed: "See! I'm really weird aren't I! All the guys are really nice..but I just can't...A And I think I like someone who is also like me too, but...And How will I tell Mum and Dad?!!? They'd kill me!!! And...and She's in the same situation that I am too!! We both can't tell anyone! ...*gasps*...You think I'm a freak now too don't you?!"
Arnav's face remained straight watching her start to cry again.
Arnav firmly: "No. I don't."
There was a moment of silence between them before Lavanya looked at Arnav confused. Arnav smiled lightly slowly which grew upon Lavanya's face too. Gratefully Lavanya jumped into Arnav's arms making his hug her to reassure her everything will be alright.


Arnav smiled thinking how they both were 'perfect' for each other...well in front of the media that is. He didn't want to get married and Lavanya loved someone else and couldn't love him back. Lavanya had helped him a lot through troubles like when the media was asking him in his mid 20's questions like why wasn't he returning home or why he wasn't interested in marriage. He helped her by making sure her secret remained a secret, especially from the Media in India. They decided when he was 25 that they would pretend to be in a relationship so everyone would stop asking questions. It was recently when Lavanya's real love had finally 'come out' in the UK and Lavanya was dying to join her over there without anyone noticing. Arnav sighed thinking about his own heart. He hoped he could finish this all soon so he could head back to Khushi. There was just final signings to be done tomorrow before planning to head back the next day. 

Just then Lavanya burst into Arnav's room with a bright grin on her face. 
Lavanya: "It's done!!!"
Arnav stood up alarmed: "What's done?"
Lavanya walked up to Arnav and jumped up and down: "The papers for the Visa to go to UK!!! It's all accepted and ready for me to pick up and go!!!"
Arnav couldn't help but smile brightly for her friend as she hugged him tightly. She then whipped back determined.
Lavanya whispered: "I'm leaving tonight. Now."
Arnav's eyes boggled: "What!? Now!? You've-"
Lavnay laughed: "Yep! Got the tickets the passport, the clothes, the visa!! I'm off! I'm not waiting any longer ASR. * calming down abit* But I need to ask a big big favor!!!"
Arnav shook his head: "Anything."
Lavanya grinned: " Could you do all the paper work for my transfer to UK work-wise?"
Arnav smirked and nodded: "It'll be done by morning. "
Lavanya squealed with excitement and hugged Arnav again. They stayed in that hug for a while as it brought back all the memories of their struggled together against the media. It was all going to be over.
Arnav softly: " I'll miss you La."
Lavanya smiled against his shoulder: "No you won't...Especially with Khushi around."
Arnav pulled back immediatly from Lavanya to see her wag her eyebrows at him with a knowing smile. 
Arnav: "What the-...You-"
Lavanya: "Come ooooon! Even a blind person can tell your dying inside for her! JEEEZ ASR! And your motto was *in an ASR voice* There will never be a girl I like because Maa isn't here. "
Arnav looked down.
Lavanya: "But youuuu Looooovveeee herrrr! Ummmmmhmmmm! *giggles before turning serious* You know ASR...Khushi is very fit and sexy and I was thinking maybe-"
Arnav eyes widened: "No way Lavanya."
Lavanya put her hands up surrendering: "Ok Ok...no need to get possessive Captain. *laughs*"
Arnav rolls his eyes and smirked : "When's your flight anyways!? "
Lavanya: "Trying to get me off subject. Fine. * heading towards the door* It's in just over an hour. Anyways have you told her about us. If not You better call her right now!!!"
Arnav looked at the clock which stuck 2am and sighed:  " Everyone in the cottage are defiantly asleep. I'll call her tomorrow. "
Lavanya before leaving: " Snooze you loose ASR! And I''ll call before I board my flight to say bye bye. Hear you then. Bye for now!"
Arnav nodded watching Lavanya leave to chase her life in the UK and couldn't feel more happy for her.

~

'''
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'''
The phone kept ringing in the cottage, while Arnav held on the other line waiting for someone to pick up. He had just woken up and was desperate to talk to Khushi. He frowned as this was the third time he was ringing and no one was picking up. Maybe they're all at the house. He looked down at his blackberry and dialed for home. The phone rang twice before someone picked up. 
Devayani: "Hello?"
Arnav smiled: "Dadi, It's me."
Devayani's fake smile fell into despair, not knowing how to tell Arnav what had been going on since he had gone. It all happened so fast, she shook her head with a heavy heart thinking back to it. She found out the news from Madhumati, who was happily expressing how Aman came to the house and asked for Khushi's hand. Devayani was speechless. She had thought Khushi loved Arnav too, but realized that as Arnav hadn't told Khushi about the truth...it was Khushi's right to move on. Devayani stared numbly at Madhu's tears of happiness of finally a rishta that seemed perfect. Devayani didn't have the heart to tell her about Arnav's side of love. Arnav smile fell slightly hearing movement in the background.
Arnav curious: "Dadi?...Is something going on there? It sounds really busy. "
Devayani watching the extra workers decorate the hall with quick hands. 
Devayani sighed with sorrow: "Why...Why didn't you just tell her Chote?"
Arnav taken aback: "Huh?...Dadi? that's why I have called-"
Devayani wasn't listening anymore as she watched Khushi about to walk past her. Determined, she firmly held Khushi by her wrist and put the cordless phone in her hand. Khushi was totally bewildered with Devayani's sudden action and watched as she patted her cheek before leaving her. Confused, Khushi looked to the phone in her hand and curiously held it to her ear to listen. Her eyes widened to hear the voice on the other end.

Arnav: "Hello? Dadi? I just wanted to ask...could you quietly give Khushi the phone? Dadi!?"
Khushi gasped lightly hearing this which froze Arnav, realizing who it was.
Arnav prodding: "Khushi?...Is that you?"
He could hear her breathing quicken slightly on the other side, making him smile to know she was listening. This smile, however, turned tight as he knew it was now he needed to say everything.
Arnav seriously spoke: "I know Khushi that I have hurt you a lot with not telling you about this...engagement between Lavanya and I...I wanted to tell you...I need to tell you something about me and Lavanya..."
Khushi held the phone tight nervously hearing out what Arnav had to say. A tear ran down her cheek thinking of the time Arnav and Lavanya were spending. She closed her eyes tightly. What more is there left to say Arnav
Arnav: "Khushi, I wanted to tell you that in reality there is no relation between Lavanya and I, except...except that fact she is my best friend. Nothing else. "

Khushi's eyes flung wide open and her voice whispered a tragic gasp. Arnav and Lavanya...Are just friends? But...But...

Arnav could sense her confusion making him grip the phone, angry at himself for telling her this so late. 
Arnav: "Trust me Khushi. We are only friends. We have never loved or looked at each other in any way that ..that I have looked with you. "

Khushi staggered back against the pillar hiding from anyone's sight, gripping the clay with disbelief. But then...why did they go through the engag-
Arnav sighed trying to calm down: "We agreed to get married infront of Dada and Dadi so the truth wouldn't be revealed about Lavanya. We had to wait for her Visa to be confirmed and arrive."
She didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Khushi took this all in numbly and stared at the decorations being put up by her Buaji from afar. Her heart clenched.
Arnav continued cautiously: "Lavanya is different from you and I, Khushi...She...She wanted to marry someone else which is why she has left last night to another country where....where her love is. I'm coming home tomorrow. So- "
Arnav paused hearing her hold back what sounded like a sob. Little did he know that Khushi was crying at her fate. She shook her head hopelessly and took the phone away from her ear and dragged it down to her heaving chest. It's too late Arnav...You have spoken too late...My engagement to Aman is this evening and I can't just...How would I face Buaji...or Aman at that....Why...Why?! 
Arnav frowned: "Khushi?...Khu-"
The line cut making Arnav worried and try dialing again...but it was no use. Arnav stared at his blackberry trying to make sense of what's wrong. The way Khushi was crying seemed as if something was really wrong...After a few more seconds Arnav's mind settled. He shot up to get changed and got straight to work to finish the signings right at the moment. He would leave today itself at the earliest. He'd make sure of it. 

*..........*..........*

x