Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Chapter Thirty: Patches of Warmth

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As suns rose and nights fell from that stressful day, gradual subtly in atmosphere arrived to the Raizada Mansion as everyone was going about happily in their own worlds. The slight chill of the weather crept in making everyone move round a lot more to avoid it. 

It was the day before Muskaan's Death Anniversary as Kushal was first, as always, to make sure that everyone was aware of the requirements for tomorrow. Devayani observed as her husband calmly, but firmly, appointed everyone with jobs to do for tomorrow. He always liked the matter to be just within the family and not outsiders. However, it never stopped surprising her that he'd always imply for her to invite Madhu and Khushi too, to the ritual for Muskaan as Madhu was her best friend. Devayani would grow that bright smile each year hearing his 'excuse' which was always...
" Muskaan betiya would prefer her friend be there. I want Muskaan to be happy. That's all."
Devayani would sigh, wishing Kushal would be the Kushal he was before. The Kushal he had boarded up from the world.

~

Chinky was preparing food for tomorrow with a lost expression on her face. In her peach lenga, she was sat on the floor with Raja beside her, in his basket relaxing. Raja with his head on the floor, watched Chinky mutter to herself quietly, pout angrily, sigh miserably and pause shaking her head. Raja grumbled at the back of his throat making it come out as a light growl to grab her attention. Chinky looked across at him confused why he was growling.
Chinky: "What are you trying to say Raja? *gasps before whispering close to him* Are you upset too? I AM! UFFF! Oh Raja! Why can't we read minds!?!? I wish I knew what Aman thinks about me. I wish I could tell him what I feel about him. UFF! It's just like there's a volcano inside me that want's to burst...but then doesn't want to burst becuase the worry fear in side of me is just...is just eating me up!! "

She looks down at Raja to see a whimpering confused expression. 
Chinky sadly: "You know what I mean right!?"
Raja's loss of reply made Chinky annoyed and turn back to her job at hand: "What would you know Raja. You already have your Rani Khushi's heart ever since you met her. Tell me your secret! "
Raja barked happily. Chinky couldn't help but smile.

Aman walking towards them cheerily: "And what's going on here then!? "
Chinky tried to act normal again and smiled eagerly at him: "Did you find what you wanted from the market?"
Aman sat beside her to help: "Yep. Arnav bhaiya's's suits and all, but I also have found something else."
Chinky curious: "What?"
Aman brought the bag from behind him and handed it to her. Chinky hesitatingly took it with her eyes on Aman who was waggling his eyebrows. Chinky smiled and opened the bag to get the shock of her life.


Chinky: "It's it's...It s the dress!!"
Aman laughed loving her reaction as she looked at the green emerald attire, he had chosen for her when they were at the mall.
Chinky stared at Aman in awe: "But...how did you....this..."
Aman gasped: "I made Chinky speechless!!?!? Now that is a shock! *chuckles* I found it when I was picking up Arnav bhaiya's things from the mall. I remembered that you never had time to buy it becuase of the incident so *he shrugged his shoulders*"
Chinky felt wetness in her eyes before jumping up and putting her arms round Aman's neck for a tight hug. Aman was more than surprised.
Aman laughed: "Woah there!! What's this for!?!!? I only bought you a dress."
Chinky grinned hugging tighter: "It means...It means a lot to me Aman. It really does. Thank you. "
Aman nodded and gently hugged her back having this warm feeling inside. 

~

Kushal was sat on the side of his bed reading and signing off the files Arnav gave to him this morning. They both wanted to complete their office work for tomorrow, so there wasn't any interruptions from work. Kushal closed the last file and felt his wife enter the room. He wore his grey suit jacket before turning to her.
Kushal: "I'm going to AR to have the final checks for tomorrow. I won't be long."
Devayani came to stand in front of him smoothing out his tie and suit. It was a normal gesture between them, which made them both feel better having a slight heart to heart. However, only Devayani knew that after Muskaan's death, Kushal spoke less.

Devayani: "I have called the Pandit to come for 9am. "
Kushal nodded curtly and stiffened as Devayani hugged him, laying her head woefully against his chest. Kushal knew this was coming as it never pained less each time this day arrives every year.
Devayani tearfully: " Do you think she is happy up there Kushal? Does she feel alone?"
Kushal held his breath feeling his wife's pain and hugged her gently back: "She's happy and content Devayani. Abhi is there for her. He would never let Muskaan cry remember. "
He pulled her away and wiped her tears before nodding reassuringly. Devayani stared into his eyes painfully.
Devayani: "Do you really think she's happy, seeing each year how her Babuji has changed so?"
Kushal felt a thorn pricked his his heart hearing that word 'Babuji' after so many years.

 Muskaan laughed waving at him happily: "Baaabujiiiiii! "

Kushal's whole body stiffened again as he stepped back from his wife. His eye's turned dark as coal glaring at her. Without a single word, he turned swiftly to exit the room. Devayani watched in despair but also felt more motivated to see if her assumptions, about his so called 'hatred' for Khushi, was true. 

~

Khushi, in a teal green churidar and her hair open but held back, was helping out Chinky with the laundry. She was carrying some of the neatly folded clothes up the stairs with her. Through out helping her, Khushi noticed Chinky's bright radiant smile didn't budge for even a second making her very curious indeed. At the top to the stairs Khushi paused causing Chinky stop too beside her.
Chinky: "What's wrong?"
Khushi tilted her head and raised an eyebrow at her making Chinky smile nervously: "What is it?!"
Khushi lifted a hand and put it to Chinky's face indicating the smile and rolled her eyes.
Chinky turned away shyly: "It's nothing!! Can't I be happy? What kind of friend are you Khushi!?"
Khushi grinned following her. 

Chinky: "Oh! The clothes you're holding are Arnav bhaiya's, so can you put those away while I put these in Dadiji's room?"
Khushi looked down at the clothes and smiled softly realizing they were Arnav's. Feeling her heart beat race again, she nodded and left Chinky to slowly walk down the corridor to stand outside his bedroom. She had never entered his bedroom after he had arrived to the house, making her feel jittery inside. She bit her lip remembering back to the night when she gave herself to him, making her blush terribly as the butterflies were let loose. To stop herself from indulging any further, she immediately knocked on the bedroom door with her eyes tightly closed.

She waited for about 2 minutes with no reply or sound coming from the other side, before gently opening the door and entering the room cautiously. Helloooo? As entering the room her breath hitched as the aromas of his perfumes and aftershaves was in the air making her smile gently. Her eye's scanned the room for him, taking cute note of how clean his room was and smart in appearance with the royal blues and greys. She then quickly strode to his wardrobe to neatly put in his clothes before turning to leave. Her tracks stopped however, taking in the photo's laid on the bed.

Curiosity getting the better of her, she walked closer to the side of the bed and picked a couple of photo's up to have a closer look. She then smiled recognizing Arnav instantly as a young boy, remembering the photo in the store room. This photo however, was set somewhere else other than home. They're fishing...but we don't have a fishing area in the garden. And the secret garden only have tiny fish. And these are HUGE! She fondly watched the captured moments of happiness, which was shared between Arnav's mother and her children. Khushi tilted her head. That must be...what's her name...Oh yeah! Anjiliji! Buaji mentioned her...Arnavji's Di

She then picked up another photo that held Muskaan, Kushal and Devayani. Their smiles were lovely and oh so happy. But then Khushi frowned thinking how Kushal never smiled like this. Ever. In the photo his smile was lit like a warm rough fire, while Muskaan was leaning against happily. Kushal's eyes were on Muskaan making Khushi smile brighter loving this side of Kushal. But then again she didn't mind the current side of Kushal either. Yes he was always angry, but never lacking in care.


Suddenly, she felt arms wrap round her stomach confidently. She nearly jumped out her skin, but the delicate lips against her cheek made her relax instantly. Arnav.
Arnav deeply chuckled swaying her side to side: "Looking at my photos are you?"
Khushi crimsoned for intruding making Arnav kiss her cheek again: "Stop worrying. I don't mind. "
Khushi sighed letting Arnav hold her from behind dropping nibbles and pecks from her jaw, down her neck. His eyes then fell upon the picture of Muskaan in her hands. Arnav noticed Khushi fondly looking at it, while touching her own hair unconsciously. It made him glow inside.
Arnav quietly: "Maa's beautiful isn't she..."
Khushi glanced at him before nodding enthusiastically: Very.
She envied how beautiful she was. Her hair so rich and long, her body so perfect in the camera, but her eyes...so bright and wide. They were just breathtaking.

It was just them Khushi remembered something. She put down the photos before turning in Arnav's arms and starting to unbutton his blue shirt. She did it quickly making Arnav amused at her actions with a sly smile.
Arnav sexily: "I didn't know you were that eager Khushi..."
Khushi paused turning beetroot and looking up at his. She lowered her eyes shyly and shook her head as that wasn't the reason why she was taking off his shirt. Arnav however knew too well. He obliged and let Khushi check at his bruises for her satisfaction. She smiled seeing that there were all now really faint as she touched them.

Arnav cheekily pulled her close so her chest was against his. Arnav breathed on her lips heatedly, before speaking making Khushi's body shudder.
Arnav: "I love it when you check on me Khushi...but you should know by now that my wounds of course heal by your touch. ..."
Khushi gripped his arms breathing heavily as Arnav's intense eyes locked with hers.
Arnav whispered: "Besides...there are defiantly other places I would sooo rather have you touch..."
Khushi bit her lip before hiding her face in the crook of his neck, unable to handle such seducing words. Arnav deeply chuckled before hugging her close breathing her flowery fragrance in. He opened his eyes to lay them upon the photo's on the bed holding pleasant moments of the past and sighed thinking how he held in his arms the most precious person of his present and future. I love you Maa.

*..........*..........*
Hope you Squirrels liked it. 
Next time dundundahhh the real Kushal. *gasp* lol
x

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Chapter Twenty-Nine: Puddle drops

First of all....Eid Mubarak to all my brothers and sisters of the world. I hope you have had or are having a fabulous Eid and hope Allah blesses you all and your families.

Dedication of this update to my sis coronapsyche 

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It was 4am when Arnav frowned in his sleep. He could feel against his body a shaking motion, making him come to wake. He tiredly opened his eyes, his sight laid upon the top of Khushi's messy hair. Pushing back slightly, Arnav focused on what was going on and started to remember the events earlier that night. He let out a breath of fuzzy air with a smile.

He sighed contently remember how Khushi cared for him, sobbed for him, then gave herself for him. He remembered the one syllable she utter for him making his heart glow. How precious that one little sound meant to him. He would remember it for the rest of his life but also hoped Khushi never strained herself like that ever again.

The sweet, passionate love they made with only the amber heat of the fire against them as they let loose their desires. It felt surreal thinking back to it for Arnav and so endearing, that he wanted that forever. Her by his side.

He was snapped out of these thoughts again by the shiver of Khushi's body as she snuggled deeper into Arnav's side. He sat up on his elbows to see the fire had gone out, with only the crispy remains of glowing ash. He also noticed that the blanket on Khushi had rolled down to her hips. As his eyes's traveled along her curves from her hip to her elegant face, his throat groaned wanting to take Khushi to moon all over again. But thinking about Khushi's current discomfort, he pulled up the blanket to cover her body to her shoulders.

Khushi shivered again and shuffled closer to Arnav's body, rubbing her nose against his upper chest. Arnav sighed with pleasure as Khushi unconsciously moved her hands to run along his abs and ribs to finally whimper not satisfied with her position. Arnav smirked at the cute pout on her lips as she whimpered lightly, before sliding an arm round her waist and lifting her up the bed, so her head fit snugly in the crook of his neck. Arnav chuckled deeply feeling her adjust to the move. He felt himself harden as Khushi lifted her leg to entwine with his legs, accidently brushing his member along the way. He controlled his breathing hoping she'd stop moving, knowing if she didn't, he would have to give her a very early wake up call. Feeling Khushi stop moving with her breath steady, she plant a gentle kiss against his neck making Arnav sigh relaxed.

He pulled up the blanket again to cover them once more, before laying a hand at the top of the back of Khushi's thigh and the other firmly across her back. He grinned breathing her in, smelling a mixture of himself and her in an indulging musk.
Arnav whispered: " I love you Khushi"
Feeling her smile against him, he closed his eyes again for the morning to come.

~

The next time Arnav opened his eyes and blinked at the fresh sun rays peeping through the curtains. Knowing it was just past sunrise, he sighed and turned on his front before suddenly realizing Khushi wasn't in his arms.

He sat up abruptly making the blanket pool round his waist, hands and eyes searching for Khushi. His eyes scanned round the room to find it empty, but also clean. His clothes was dried, pressed and folded on the chair too.
Arnav annoyed: "Khushi?! Khu-"

He stopped as he watched her come out her bathroom bright and fresh, in an creamy anarkili with orange borders. She paused drying her hair and smiled at Arnav softly before moving to sit in front of her dressing table, starting to wear her bangles. She felt her cheeks warm up feeling Arnav's intense gaze on her. She made to only glance up into the mirror only to be left staring, as Arnav's gorgeous eyes captured her with his head tilted playfully. He leaned back with a smile winking at her. Khushi looked straight down again biting her lips. Finishing with her bangles she stood up to get her brush on the bedside table and turned to see Arnav, in his trousers, right up close to her nose to nose with the most handsome of expressions.

Before her breath could even hitch at the sudden movement, Arnav lifted her in his arms heading back to the bed. Khushi's eye's widened knowing his intentions and started to shake her head at Arnav, trying to get down from his arms. But his grip was tight. As he chucked her on the bed making her bounce slightly, she started to get up to protest. Arnav however had other ideas.

Leaning his whole body against her, Khushi's head fell back against the bed breathing heavily as Arnav brushed his nose against hers.
Arnav huskily against her lips in a serious tone: "That was rude you know....Leaving me in bed."
Khushi closed her eyes blissfully feeling the tip of his nose run down her cheek, so he could plant a kiss against her jaw.
Arnav chuckled lowly: "Are you feeling shy now Khushi?...even after last night?"
Khushi bit her lip blushing as her mind spiraled back to her memories. She secretly smile. Arnav noticing also grinned before nuzzling his face against her neck. He could feel her throat vibrate as a quiet giggle was on her lips. She pushed him back slightly so they were eye to eye.
Arnav whispered: "So? Are you shy?"
Khushi looked down to his chest and nodded bashfully making Arnav smirk in response.
Arnav: " Good. I want to ravish you more then"

Diving into her neck again, Khushi nearly squealed with a bright grin and pushed Arnav hard so they rolled over on the bed. She saddled him so he couldn't move and then put her hands on her hips triumphantly. Arnav however was enjoying the view of her on top. He raised an eyebrow high, realizing from Khushi's bright grin, that she didn't even have a clue of the heated thoughts in his mind. He lifted a hand to rest against her cheek. Khushi happily leaned into it making Arnav sigh at how innocent Khushi was. How she really was his angel.

Her smile fell though as she traced the bruises still on his chest, but she had to admit they looked a bit more better then yesterday. She looked up to feel him pulling her head gently lower to his face for a kiss making her smile and oblige. As their lips met passionately, there was a loud barking noise erupting from down stairs making Khushi shoot up. She turned her head towards the door hearing Raja rush up the stairs barking and stop behind her door. The barking was furious and Khushi could recognize the worry in his voice. She jumped off Arnav and fixed her hair back, before unlocking and opening the door.

As soon as she did, Raja rushed into the room barking at Arnav who was just putting on his black night shirt. Furious he growled at barked at him. Arnav chuckled at his immediate reaction to him and crouched down to his level so he had a better look at him.
Arnav reassuringly: "Hey...hey it's me..."
Raja's barks quietened, recognizing it was Arnav and rushed up to him with his tail wagging. Arnav grinned and rubbed Raja's head and fur fondly.
Arnav: " Good boy"
Raja barked and bumped his head against his hand, greeting him. Khushi sighed with relief that Raja had calmed down and smiled at the two. She then walked up to them and crouched to stroke Raja's mane. He barked happily at her making her nod in response.

Arnav then noticed Khushi's face turn worried.
Arnav: " Khushi? What's wrong?"
Khushi looked at Arnav concerned and gestured with her hands about Devayani. Arnav's eyes grew wide remembering.

~

Kushal furious: " WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN!?!??! What was so important for you to go out for the WHOLE night!!? And your phone unreachable?!?! Do you know how worried everyone had been for you and your Dadi!?!? Your Dadi had worried herself SICK becuase of you!! "
Arnav was stood at the entrance of the Raizada Mansion in the clothes he wore yesterday when he went out. He stood quietly taking in his grandfather's shouts knowing that he was completely right...but he also knew he himself wasn't wrong either.

He then noticed Madhumati come from upstairs, as Chinky and Aman come into from down the corridors too. They all looked at him shocked and glad about his return.
Chinky happily: "Arnav Bhaiya?! Your bac-"
Aman held her back from greeting Arnav as he knew Kushal would rip her to shreds. Everyone in the Raizada House knew that if Kushal was in the middle of something, you don't ever interfere. Chinky looked at Aman confused, only to receive the gesture of keeping quiet.

Madhumati however was more concerned about something else.
Madhu angrily: "YOU!!! "
Arnav gulped watching march up to him with eye's furious.
Madhu stopping: "You come with me right now!!! Maaji needs to know you're back safe or else her health's just going to get much worse!!! Come! "
Arnav let Madhu drag him away from Kushal's sharp gaze and noticed Khushi come in from behind Aman and Chinky worried for him. He nodded discretely at her to let her know everything was fine before following Madhu with great urgency.


Madhu gently: "Maaji?...Maaji look...Arnav babwa has come back...Your Chote has come back. Look Maaji."
Devayani was sat up with her head against the headboard tired. Slowly Devayani opened her eyes to see Arnav holding her hand in his, with eye's worried. Her eyes instantly watered at the sight of him safe.
Arnav desperately: "Dadi?...Dadi I'm sorry...I didn't mean for you to get worried sick..I had something to do but I'm sorry I didn't tell anyone before I left...But look I'm back...I'm fine, see. Your Chote is fine. Your don't have to worry anymore. I'm sorry Dadi. Please forgive me. "
Devayani felt tears fall from her eyes and nodded at her grandson, indicating for him to come close. Arnav immediately did and felt her lean forward to hug him close. He felt her relieved tears roll down the back of his shirt and hugged her back.
Devayani happily: "Chote...My Chote...You came back...Why did you go there...why..."
Arnav pulled back and wiped her tears: "You can ask me later but first you food and medicine...Please Dadi."
Devayani nodded happily.

After she had eaten and had her medicine, she turned to Arnav wanting to ask this in front of Madhu so she'd hear.
Devayani sternly: "Why did you go to face that Indu Thakur Chote?"
Madhu with eye's wide stared at Arnav sat opposite her with his eyes turning hard.
Devayani: "And don't lie to me...I know you went to face him... I could feel the bruises on you arms. I have tended your wounds ever since you could walk Chote, so don't tell me it's not true. "
Arnav looked away from his Dadi and nodded curtly as there was no point in hiding the fact.
Arnav firmly: " I did-"
Devayani frowned at him: " And?"
Arnav looked at her straight in the eye with confidence: " We won't ever see him or his men ever again Dadi. The police will deal with them."
She sighed thanking the Gods above for protecting him and returning with good news. She nodded and stroked his cheek proudly.
Devayani sighed: " Go and freshen up Chote. You must be tired."
But just as he was about to stand Devayani held his hand: " Chote...Your Dada will ask you today where you have been and why....Don't mention anything about Indu to your Dada. He'll find out in time. For now tell him you were out the night for some AR work. Is that understood?"
Arnav frowned not completely understanding, but seeing the serious look in her eye's he nodded feeling there was a good reason behind it. As Arnav stood up and left, Devayani felt assured that Kushal wouldn't know yet what Arnav had done...and most importantly for whom. Having a strong belief of knowing why Kushal behaves the way he does towards Khushi, she didn't want to unsettle the peace at the moment of the house. She wanted to make sure she knew so certain that what she was thinking was the case, before going ahead to ask Kushal the question directly. With Muskaan's Death Anniversary coming up, she knew this was the perfect time to confirm her suspicions.

She sighed and looked up to see Madhu stared at the door at which Arnav had just left. Madhu's hands were gripping on to the water jug in her hands making Devayani smile knowing the thoughts of her mind. She started to lay down in the bed.
Devayani: "Madhu betiya...I'm going to rest for a while so you may go for now...I'll call you through Chinky if needs be. "
Madhu smiled shakily and put down the jug before walking out the room.

~

Madhu called out: "Arnav Babwa!"
Arnav stopped just before entering his room and turned to see Madhu walk up to him urgently. He frowned as tears formed in her eyes looking over his form. She gently put her hands on his shoulders and felt for any major injuries. Arnav watched her shake slightly.
Arnav gently: "Buaji..."
Madhu angrily: "Chup!...Why did you go babwa!? What was the need to go to him?!?! Haire Nandkisore!! He could have killed you!!! Why did you go?!! You-"
Arnav strongly: " I heard yesterday...I heard everything"
Madhu stared at Arnav's firm eyes with showed a heart of a lion and a blaze of protectiveness taking her aback. He knew they were planning to leave? So he- She looked down from his eyes thinking about what this meant. 

As Arnav watched her eyes fall away from his, he confidently bent down to touch her feet, hoping for her to give her blessings for what they both knew well. He waited...and waited...and waited...He closed his eyes feeling defeated once more and went to stand, only to feel a hesitant soft pat on the back of his head.
Madhu whispered gently: "Khush raho babwa.."
His eye's watered as he stood up feeling tall...oh so tall. His proud smile spoke of a million words as Madhu, with concerned eyes, stroked his cheek before turning and leaving him to relish the feeling of accomplishment. 

*..........*..........*
Thanks Squirrels for reading! 
x

Friday, 19 October 2012

Chapter Twenty-Eight: Shade of the Small Leaf


~Maha Update~


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

Arnav with sharp eyes and tight jaw stormed downstairs. He headed straight for the doors where the night was just being born. His determined thought to make sure this was the last time Indu Thakur, was interrupted by a confused voice.
Chinky hesitantly from afar: "Arnav Bhaiya?"
Arnav, however, continued his heavy speedy steps, ignoring Chinky. He wanted to get this done without anyone interfering.

She had come from the kitchen to start calling everyone to the dinner table to eat, but seeing Arnav dash down the stairs with urgency, had made her curious. Chinky watched with a frown as Arnav left the house as she saw the deadly look in his eyes and anger coursing through his body with each step he took. She didn't know why, but she felt a storm brewing above. Aman...

~

Devayani was still sat in the position she was when Madhu had told her about her decision. However, her thoughts at the moment was very much attracted to her other half. Ideally sitting, with her eyes lost in a daze. He could of easily said that he didn't want Khushi betiya in this house if he cared so much about our safety. She frowned. Come to think of it...He has never once said for her to leave the residence of the Raizada's. Yes, he has told Madhu betiya for Khushi to keep away from the house, but never leave the cottage... He shows so much anger for her, yet it always seems he's so concerned. Khushi betiya is so gentle, kind and like a summers day, yet Kushal avoids her like... a bad storm.

Devayani sighed shaking her head before closing her eyes. She remembered back to those days when a secret smirk was always playing on his lips. She remembered when Kushal was rational, reasonable...and open. She wanted to cry seeing how Kushal had changed so much since that day when Muskaan died...

Just then Devayani snapped her eyes open dreading the possibility. No...Kushal wouldn't...he couldn't be still- Aman burst in the open door to her room with a worried look on his face. 
Aman: "Dadiji!!"
Devayani stood up immediately seeing the urgency in Aman's body language. Unable to think, her eyes searching his face questioningly. 
Devayani: "Aman beta?! What's wrong?!"


Kushal angrily: "WHERE COULD HE HAVE GONE!?!?!?"
As a furious Kushal paced the living room, Devayani was becoming worried sick. Khushi, hearing the news from Chinky, was terrified hearing that Arnav had gone out in such anger. Aman put a hand on Khushi's shoulder as he could see her fidgeting her hands. Khushi sighed nodding at Aman thankful for his support. With Madhu trying to calm Devayani's numerous of questions, everyone was tensing up.
Devayani: "Where could Chote have gone? Without his phone too!? *sobs*"
Kushal angrily turned to Chinky standing by Aman and Khushi: "WHY DIDN'T YOU STOP HIM!?!?!"
Chinky with tears stuttered: "I ...I ...He looked so angry and...I did call out to him sir, but...he didn't listen...I-"
Kushal growled turning away: "FORGET IT! It's been hours now and no sign of him! What was so important of a job to do right now!?!?"
As tears started to fall from Chinky's eyes she felt a tissue held to her face by Aman. Aman shook his head at her indicating that Kushal was normally like this. Chinky took the tissue and smiled before Devayani started to think why would Arnav leave in such anger. Going through the day in her mind only one thing flagged up. He heard...He heard Madhu betiya saying she was leaving with Khushi... and maybe to stop her he's... he's gone to face...
Thinking the worst Devayani's face paled: "CHOTE!!!"

~

Out of the his black SUV, Arnav stepped on to the rough gravel before slamming the door behind him. The dark sky's wind blowing strong rippled through his shirt as he stepped forward towards the empty train grounds, which had been unused for years. Looking up to see the stars were hidden behind thick clouds, the only light source was from his car's headlights. Suddenly Arnav squinted slightly to see two more cars coming up round the corner ahead. His body immediately tensed watching the cars screech to a stop a few feet in front of him. Indu stepped out the vehicle with 5 more of his men. Arnav sharped his eyes on each of them, as they stood in a group behind Indu. 
Arnav: "I said alone." 
Indu chuckled while walking up to him: "You should consider yourself lucky Raizada. Even after you and your butler beat up my men and got three of them arrested, I have still come over to see what you wanted. *stopping*. So? What's the deal?"
Arnav sternly: "How much?"
Indu shrugged his shoulders innocently: "What?"
Arnav growled: "How much do you want to leave her alone ...forever!?"
Indu crossed his arms with a playing grin on his face: "My my my...arern't we here to play? ey? * clearing his throat* You see Raizada..On a normal day I would take money for anything..Right guys? * the men jeered behind him mockingly* but this is different. I'm just claiming what's mine. "
Arnav's body shook with anger: "She was never bloody yours to claim. He father never agreed-"
Indu interrupted snapping back: "Who fucking cares!?! He was an idiot! My father gave him the opportunity of a life time, to be under the wings of a Thakur!! And. He. Refused."
Arnav roared back: "Only an insane parent would give their daughter to a sick minded man, let ALONE a Thakur.  "

An eerie silence shot through the air like a crackle of a lightning bolt. Even the men behind Indu were apprehensive of Indu's reaction of this grave insult. Indu was very still with his eye glaring at Arnav, while his lips were as tight as a whip. However, this whip broke into a manic smile. 
Indu firmly: "My men are going to take her. Tonight. *grins* From the comfort of her own sweet cottage. While she'll be probably snuggling in her bed, in a sexy-"
Arnav losing it rushed up to him grabbing him by his shirt with a hand: "Khushi means NOTHING to you, you Bastard!!"
Indu staring straight into his eyes: "And she does to you.?.."
Arnav breathed heavily, gritting his teeth at Indu's smug face. He looked back at his men and laughed.
Indu: "Now I get it....You and Khushi have a thing going on...such faithfulness my future wife has. Va!"
Arnav used both his hands to grip his collar this time and whispered to him gravely.
Arnav: "Don't you dare...say her name. "
Indu teasingly started to slowly say Khushi's name over and over, making Arnav's blood boil over. Not able to hold the bulls rage back, Arnav swung at his jaw. Before he could do another Indu's men dragged him back and one by one started to take him on one by one. 

Fists red and adrenaline high, Arnav dodged and punched each of them black and blue. However, one slam of a bar against his back made Arnav yell and nearly fall to him knees. However, this gave the men enough time to hold Arnav by each arm and so his chest was vulnerable for a beating. As the rain started to pour, they kick and punched Arnav's chest and stomach til Indu stopped them. With the men still holding Arnav, Indu started to laugh at him and watched Arnav glare at him disgusted. Wincing from the harsh cold rain and hail against his sore body, he smirked.
Arnav: "I never knew you were a coward Indu Thakur. *chuckled* You can't even fight your own fights. "
Indu stopped with his back towards Arnav and slowly turned to stare at him: "What did you say?"
Arnav grinned: "You heard Thakur. "
Indu turned fully towards him and stood stiff: "let him go.....LET HIM GO!"
The men let go of Arnav immediately and watched as he stood up straight. It looked as if he was building up strength from somewhere. Indu's stone face started to twitched angrily seeing Arnav's amused face. 
Indu impatiently: "Fine...Just you and me...and no one...and I mean NO ONE will interfere no matter what. got it?"
One of the men spoke up hesitantly: "But boss-"
Indu: " I SAID YOU GOT IT??!"
They all nodded taking a step back. The sky's roared with thunder and the hail was hitting harder numbing Arnav's body as Indu slowly walked round. Indu suddenly yelled angrily making Arnav also charge towards him. They both collided and went to grip each other's collars, with eyes locked as tight as their jaws and with their knuckles white as the hidden moon. 

~

As Raja rushed into the cottage, Khushi entered too but turned as Madhu patted her shoulder.
Madhu: "Now you two stay eat something and go to sleep. It's very late now. "
Khushi held Madhu's hand desperate to persuade, but she stayed firm to her word.
Madhu: "No Khushi..It wouldn't be right for you to stay back at the Raizada's. I need to go back Titaliya. Aman and Chinky can't stay up all night by Maaji's side. Didn't you hear what the doctor said. Some has to stay be her side til she wakes. And the two may need my help. "
Khushi looked down helplessly, but Madhu held her chin up: "I'll phone here if Maaji shows any improvement. Hmm? *sigh* All we can do is pray that she wakes soon. *angrily* Where has that foolish boy gone too. * turning concerned* Haire Nandkisore! I hope he isn't in any trouble. *shakes her head before turning to Khushi* Now shut the door now Titaliya. I'm going now ok? *smiles*"
Khushi nods and shut the doors firmly. As soon as she did, dread filled her heart. Where is Arnav?

After giving Raja a shower and taking one herself, Khushi wore her white night salwar and went downstairs to make them both some food. Seeing the rain that started outside she sighed with tears in her eyes as her thoughts were rushing with questions of Arnav's safety and whereabouts. Taking her food to the table, she sat before putting the other plate in her hand on the floor for Raja who was sitting down obediently. Eating, with her eyes on the telephone, she couldn't stopped unable to finish. How can I eat when... She sighed looking up and quickly wiped away the tears that started to fall. However, just then she felt Raja's paw on her thigh making her look down at him. He had his adorable brown eyes staring up at her and whimpering lightly. She knew he could feel the tension in the air too. Nodding, she picked up her plate and his, before taking it to wash and dry. Her heart strained thinking whether he had eaten yet or not.

Not being able to sleep, Khushi decided to stay downstairs with Raja on the sofa, with a blanket. Letting Raja rest his head on her thigh, she slowly stroked the top of his head down into his mane. She looked up to see through the window the hail was hitting harder and harder too, making her body tense up again. Holding her hand to her lips to stop another sob from emerging, she looking down she saw Raja slowly close his eyes. He hadn't been sleeping properly for the last few days so it she was glad he had fallen asleep. Knowing they should be heading upstairs soon, Khushi slowly removed herself from the sofa and placed a pillow under Raja's chin so he didn't notice. She was about to head upstairs to start the light the fireplace in her room so it started warming up, only to stop and look back at the telephone. She stared at it for a while hoping her Buaji or even Arnav to call and say everything is fine. She sighed sadly leaving it and went the wooden steps.

Arriving in her dark room, she could immediately feel the chill that had gathered waiting for someone to come and involuntarily embrace them. Rubbing her bare arms lightly she walked over to the fireplace, crouching down to it to lit the fire. As each log of wood shared the flame to one another, Khushi put her hand up to it before rubbing them together. I hope Arnav isn't in this weather... Feeling the heat of the flames gently dry her slightly wet hair over her shoulder, Khushi looked down closing her eyes, praying for her Arnav to be alright. Praying to give her strength to not break to pieces as she was standing right on the edge of cliff above a dark pit, where hope was totally lost. Praying for him to return soon safely.

Opening her eyes she stood up from the orange glow and was about to walk over to the light switch, to put it on. However, just then she heard a loud thud far behind her making her quickly turn with alertness in her eyes. Hearing the noise from the balcony, the skin crawled heard footsteps coming towards the room itself. Eyes on the balcony doors she could only see the slightly transparent white drapes that flapped slowly. Khushi gasped realizing the doors to the balcony were open. Stepping back slowly, she cursed herself for not shutting the doors earlier. Even though the sound of rain and hail were splashing on the concrete of the balcony floor, she could still hear those footsteps come closer. She waved a hand behind her to grab the candle holder on the small table. Gripping it tight she held it in front of her bravely, hoping that she could fight off whoever the intruder was. The faint silhouette from behind the drapes pushed through to enter into the room. Khushi let out the breath she was holding in shock, while at the same time dropping the candle holder, which clanged on the floor and rolled slightly away from her bare feet.

Soaking wet and dripping was stood Arnav firmly with her eyes hard and breath steady. Khushi took in his state as his clothes were stuck against his body, while his skin looked so pale and eye's slightly red. She felt the feeling of relief from her body seep away into a ball of fury. Arnav watched as she rushed up to him and grabbed him by the open flaps of his shirt. As she angrily shook him, he could see the tears rush down her face and she shook furious. He stayed still, however, taking it in as he would much rather have her grabbing his collar than anyone else. Khushi felt like strangling him, shouting at him for disappearing for so long. She hated that he just stood there with his stern face, but eyes so full of care as they looked into hers.

Khushi's anger died down into sobs as she leaned against him, not caring that she was getting wet. Arnav feeling Khushi's warmth against his body instinctively made him lift his hands to embrace her.
Arnav huskily: "Khushi I-"
Abruptly Khushi pushed him away with her anger spiking again. She pointed at him and then patted her wrist, demanding an explanation. Before Arnav could say anything, she continued by pointing out the balcony  indicating the Raizada house, listing off people on her fingers and then pointed at herself, before pressing her hands on her heart. Arnav looked down knowing that everyone was worried for him, but everything was fine now. The most important thing was Khushi was safe.
Arnav roughly but slowly: "I had to make sure Indu doesn't come after you anymore....You're safe now..."
Khushi stared at him with wide eyes shocked with what he was saying. Her heart beat fast thinking over those words...

Arnav suddenly felt Khushi walk up to him and lift his head gently with her soft hand. He could see the frightful questions in her eyes asking him 'what he had done'. Arnav with his face still stern lifts his hands to hold her angelic face, making her breath hitch with realization of where he had gone...who he had met. Staring into her innocent doll-like eyes, Arnav knew that he had it in him to fight a thousand men just for her. He would do anything to make sure she was safe. He felt the sensation of glowing warmth from her cheeks as she closed her eyes taking in his presence. He is here now. Tears seeped from her eyes knowing Arnav must of fought Indu in some way for her. She shuddered at the possibility of him not returning if things weren't in his favor.

Just then she snapped her eyes open and removed his hands away from her. Arnav frowned, but remained silent, watching her actions. Looking at his arms with frantic eyes, she saw the small cuts and bruises forming, but her eyes catch the dark mark peeking out from the opening of his shirt. With shame not the slightest on her thoughts, she hastily unbutton his shirt to gasp painfully. Arnav followed her eyes as they traveled from his chest down to his abs.

Among the tan colored skin was huge dark angry bruises threatening to bleed through. Khushi stepped back slightly with her hand over her mouth, heavily breathing. Arnav could see she was unable to remove her eyes from the wounds and didn't want her to worry. He slowly came forward towards her hushing her with light whispers as she shook her head in anguish. Reaching her, he cautiously made her look up at his face and away from his marks.
Arnav whispering: " Khushi...Khushi look at me. Khushi? Shhh.....Khushi it's fine...shshshshhhh...That's it.."
He slowly engulfed her into a hug, hoping her piercing tears would stop as they ran down his chest. Khushi could feel him rest his head on top of hers reassuring her that it was fine, when she knew it wasn't. He had gone through so much for me, and ...and.. She remained there with him continuously hushing her down to light hiccups.

Arnav softly: "I'm sorry by the way...for scaring you earlier...I didn't want to wake Buaji so I came through your balcony instead...*pulling away*...Where's Raja?"
Khushi was lightly touching his bruised while indicating that Raja was asleep downstairs. She then showed with her hands that Buaji was at his house.
Arnav frowned: "Why is she there?"
Khushi sadly imitated Devayani with a sari action and put a hand on her forehead before closing her eyes. Arnav cursed under his breath.
Arnav: "Shit! Dadi's ill!? "
Worried, he headed towards the balcony to go out again into the heavy weather, but Khushi stopped him. He stared at her as she angrily pointed at the rain and his injuries.
Arnav: " But Khushi-"
Khushi calmly showed that Devayani is doing fine for now and they both should go when then rain lightens up.

Shutting the balcony doors, she dragged him in front of the blazing fire and lifted a hand telling him to wait. He watched patiently as she ran to the light switches to turn them on but they weren't working. She sighed at it angrily as it must be the heavy hail earlier. Stamping her foot, she rushes to the drawers to bring out the candles.
Arnav: "Khushi-"
Khushi, however, lifted a finger in the air to make him quiet. She lit a candle and place it on the table for a tad more light, before rushing to the old storeroom in the corner of her room. Arnav curiously watched as she brought out a clean shirt and trousers of a black color and put them on the bed with a towel. She indicated for him to take off his wet clothes and wear the clothes she laid out. She then rushed into the bathroom and searched for a while before coming out with a bowl of cold water, a wet towel and a little tube of ointment. Putting it on the table she turned to see Arnav had put the black trousers on, but was about to put on the shirt. Arnav then felt Khushi tentatively stop him from wearing the shirt. He turned to see her gaze at the wounds on his back too. He then remembered the slam of the bar on his back. Taking a deep breath Khushi took his hand to back him sit on the rug in front of the fire.

Arnav looked up to see the bowl of water and the cloth: " Khushi, You don't need to. It's fine."
She didn't listen to him making him shake his head with a playing smirk as she sat behind him. Arnav winced with pain as Khushi first wiped his back gently with the cloth, before lightly massaging in the ointment of the wounds. Arnav closed his eyes absorbing the scent of Khushi's room and the feeling of warmth. He could feel her soft fingers that were so hesitant when tending his injuries, but so attentive to each mark. He ached to lean back into Khushi's body as her touch was felt like the balm.

Disappointed that she stopped, Arnav opened his eyes only to see her sit beside him to see his chest and stomach. He smiled quietly watching Khushi shyly indicate for him to turn slightly towards her abit. He did so, but also leaned back on his hands making Khushi jump slightly. He chuckled at this reaction while she angrily blushed and continued to wipe his front. He could feel his inner frustration grow as Khushi wiped innocently lower and lower to his hip line, he groaned as she stopped making her look at him concerned. Mistaking it for his pain of the wounds she brushed lighter.

Looking upon Arnav's bare skin, which glowed with the fire lightening it, was making Khushi's heart race wildly, but she was sure not to give it away and focus on applying the ointment. As she rubbed in circles, Arnav leaned his head back slightly, tilting it in indescribable pleasure. He hmm-ed as a cat purred, making Khushi smile lightly thinking it was giving him relief from the pain, when actually it was developing a different type of pain much lower. He then gazed at her at work, taking in her beautiful soft smile and thinking how her hair looked so beautiful when down as the feathers at the front emphasized her cheek bones. In admiring her love and care with dark eyes, he lifted a hand to stroke her cheek with the back of his knuckles.

Khushi turned her face away from his touch, still upset that he had gone through so much for her. So much so that he was in this state. She glanced back at him to see that he had that fond look in his eyes. She didn't want to give in and so stood up to bring the towel from the bed. Bringing a stool behind Arnav, Khushi sat on it and started to dry his hair. She smiled secretly as she could feel him lean back so his shoulder blades were against her knees. But hearing him chuckle at her as if knowing she was smiling, made Khushi pout again and start to dry his hair roughly. Arnav smirked and quickly put back a hand to stop her wrist. Pausing she watched him bring her hand forward and kissed it softly making her heart flutter and swoon. However, with her mind getting the better of her, she snatched her hand back and stood up to chuck the black shirt at him. Arnav sighed shaking his head but frowned seeing Khushi leave.
Arnav: "Khushi?"
She turned and motioned a eating gesture before turning back to head out. He looked down at the shirt before putting it on. It was a bit tight so he decided to leave the buttons undone. Facing the fireplace cross legged, Arnav tilted his head back to look round Khushi's room. With the Fireplace and a candle as his only source of light he couldn't see that much detail, but the amber glow created it's shadows making it seem as if he wasn't the only one in the room. He looked up to see the silver chimes beside the window in the corner and smiled seeing fresh flowers in the jar on the window sill. He chuckled remembering that Khushi always gets flowers from the Secret garden and gives them to Devayani. Everyone is always wondering why they have never seen such flowers in the Raizada garden, but Arnav smiled softly knowingly now. He wondered if his mother got those wild flowers from the Secret garden too when she was alive. If was the same case as he remembered Kushal always asking her where she got the flowers from. He frowned knowing that he wanted to ask Madhu's permission for Khushi's hand in marriage soon. He wanted her to be a part of his life officially. He knew that his mother would have searched the world for a wife for him and so would have eventually found Khushi for him. He was just glad he had found her luckily too.

He stared back at the fire as his mind drifted back to Indu's quick escape. He was glad that his plan worked as the police arrived to capture all the men except Indu and two others, using their vehicle to escape. He knew that Indu's ego was too big so he'd bring each one of his men to see him defeat him. Arnav could feel the sting on the outline of his drying eyes as he continued to stare at the harsh fire. He felt his muscles tighten as he remembered the words as he escaped.
" YOU'LL GET YOURS RAIZADA! FUCKING MARK MY WORDS, YOU'LL GET YOURS!!!"

Just then he felt Khushi's hand on his shoulder shaking him. He closed his stinging eyes and rubbed them with a hand. Blinking slowly, he looked up to see Khushi sitting on her legs beside him with concern in her eyes. Arnav shook his head quickly at her, to tell her he was fine, but he knew Khushi knew him too well. Turning to sit facing Khushi, with his side towards the source of heat, he noticed the small tray in her lap. He smiled seeing that she had a glass of water, a steaming bowl of soup, a medium size bowl of sabzi and 2 pieces of parata beside it all. Arnav flicked his eyes up to see her focusing on the food and watched as she torn a piece of parata.
Leaning forward to take the food from her: "Khushi, I can eat mys- *slap*"
He removed his hand that Khushi has just slapped away. She glared with a quick finger on her lips telling him to sit quietly.

Arnav obediently sat, and lingered his eyes on Khushi as she fed him by hand. Feeding him the soup first made Arnav smile but also wonder as she was about to feed him the roti with sabzi.
Arnav deeply: "Have you eaten Khushi?"
Khushi nodded and edged the roti piece closer to his face, but he continued: "Properly?"
She sighed and nodded again making him frown: "You're lying."
Khushi opened her mouth in shock giving him the opportunity to swiftly snatch the piece in her hand and pop it in her mouth. Gasping, she pulled back and munched annoyed at Arnav's actions. She then continued to feed him until the last morsel of food was bitten away from her fingers. Khushi nearly squealed feeling Arnav's lips and tongue suck on her fingers and pouted as he smirked at her satisfied. Khushi couldn't help but break a smile back and playfully push Arnav's shoulder. He winced a bit making Khushi remember his wounds and lean forward to check. Arnav caught her hand and softly smiled at her, nodded that he was fine. However, this didn't rid of the sadness locked now in her eyes.

Arnav frowned as she got up putting the tray on the table, before walking over to the bed side table to get something. Having enough he stood up and walked to stop her beside her bed.
Arnav firmly: "Khushi...stop. Come sit. "
Using his arms to turn her to face him, he made her sit on the bed and crouched down in front of her. Her eyes were on her lap making him sigh defeated.
Arnav: "Khushi look at me. "
As she slowly did he saw those beautiful eyes water, like they were made of glass. Not being able to look away, Khushi trailed her sight down to the marks on his chest, shown through the wide opening of his shirt. Her body shaking wanting to burst, she pointed at his marks and then at herself before bursting into silent tears. Swallowing, Arnav lifted a hand to wipe her tears away and cupped her cheek. With a strong face and tone he told her straight.
Arnav: "Khushi...I know your upset with me but never...Never think that all this is your fault. "
Khushi closed her eyes letting her tears slip down and run along Arnav's hand.
Arnav determinedly came forward: "I needed...to make sure your safe... And that your mine Khushi....I...  love you too much to let someone else even think to taking you away from me. Your mine. "
Khushi's eyes had snapped open with lost wonder when he uttered those three words. She felt them linger in the air making her breathing quicken as if to suck them in til they reached her heart and mind. He had never said those words before to her making her love for him impossibly triple. Yet she frowned as she felt something was incomplete in that air. And she needed to fill it.

Arnav watched carefully as Khushi pulled his hands away and hold them in hers tightly. She licked her lips before looking down at them thinking in deep concentration, her breathing heavy. Arnav suddenly felt slightly uncomfortable as Khushi seemed to be struggling with something...a thought?...a feeling?...what is it? He was about to open his mouth to ask, but she held her fingers to his lips. He remained quiet and could feel her gripping his hand tighter and tighter. Arnav's face turned stern not liking this one bit whatever it was. He released a hand from her grip and held her face as she shook slightly. But then he watched her look at him straight in the eye with teary eyes and open her sweet lips shakily.
Khushi: "...I..."

Arnav didn't let her say anymore. Not a single syllable more. Becuase he knew what she wanted to say...he never needed the words when the fact was always there. She loved him. A lone tear fell from the corner of her closed eyes as Arnav pushed her back on the bed lips still passionately merged with hers. Balancing himself desperately above her he kissed every single emotion that he was feeling right that moment. With his tongue laced tangled with hers, he grunted closer as he felt Khushi's hands run over his shirted back. Pulling back, with their chests heaving for air, he stared down into Khushi's sorry eyes. He held her close and stroked her tear away, while shaking his head furiously.
Arnav angry, but amazed at this woman beneath him: "I never needed you to say anything Khushi. You tell me all the time...with every single thing you do. Be it even a single bright smile. I never want you to force yourself to talk for me Khushi...please.....Your mind will do that when your ready...in your own time...I don't care if it takes my whole life to hear your voice. Or even if I never hear your voice while I live...I won't be able to stop loving you, because your eyes speak loader than anything in this universe...Only I know that. And that's all that matters. Nothing else. Ok?"
Khushi continued to stare up at him in awe, but Arnav shook her slightly wanting to hear an answer.
Arnav: "Ok?!"
Khushi nodded happily and let Arnav lift her up to lay her on the bed properly to sleep. He slipped in the covers holding her close wishing nothing more to protect her from everything that could possibly hurt her.
Khushi stared up at him wondering if he feel more comfortable sleeping alone for the bruises. Arnav glanced at her then before kissing Khushi's forehead. Khushi felt him wrap his arms round her tighter making her sweetly smile up at him. Arnav brushed a piece of hair behind her ear before asking in a deep tone.

Arnav: "I'll be fine Khushi...Trust me.. "
Khushi leaned up to kiss his lips gently before nodding. He then sat up to bring up the thin blanket over them before holding her close again.
Arnav: "You sleep ...I'm here."
Feeling the circles being drawn on her back, Khushi's eyes slowly fell away into a deep sleep. Arnav stared up into the half open canopy of the bed and admired the white drapes of it. He sighed smiling thinking how pure his Khushi was and how he would do anything to protect her. Gazing at the flames in front of him, he slowly seeped into a sleep himself, breathing in the scent of Khushi...his Khushi.

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

x

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Chapter Twenty-Seven: Foxglove


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

Khushi smoothly brushed through Chinky's hair one last time before starting to make a plait, positioned to the side to come over her shoulder. Chinky swung her legs under the chair, making the skirt of her yellow churidar flow. She had already smoothed out Khushi's hair and finish it off with a golden clip at the back. Khushi was wearing a aqua blue anarkili with a soft smile added, as her best jewelry to her features.
Chinky feeling her plait finishing: "I'm so excited Khushi!! *turning towards her* It has been aaages since you and me have gone out to shop at the malls hmm? "
Khushi nodded and watched Raja race in and jump on to the bed to sit beside her.
Chinky laughed: "Ohhh! I get it! As soon as I was about to take your Queen away from you, you come dashing in. Ufff!..But remember today is just my day with her. Your staying here with Buaji remember!"
Raja barked in response making Khushi smile and quickly brush his beautiful caramel mane too. As soon as it was done Chinky grabbed Khushi's wrist and tugged her towards the door, taking their brightly colored strap bags along the way. Raja followed barking all the way.

Just before leaving, the two young ladies received the concerned lecture from Madhu about staying safe.
Chinky smiled: "Ohhh Buaji we'll be fine! I won't leave Khushi's side. Pakka Promise."
Madhu poked the side of Chinky's head and hugged them both. Pulling away Khushi crouched down to meet Raja eye to eye. She smiled reassuringly and before scratching his head fondly. Raja lifted a paw up which Khushi took and kissed the top of. I'll be back soon Raja. Khushi then stood beside her friend and let her lead the way out the doors of the Raizada Mansion, which was curiously noticed by Arnav as he was came downstairs with a navy blue suit and black briefcase.

~

Chinky pointed : "There it is!!"
Khushi looked to see the long building and smiled as Chinky enthusiastically pulled her along towards it. However, just before entering they heard Aman call from behind. They both turned to see him rushing up to them with a grin, wearing a maroon shirt and blue denim jeans.
Aman slowing down to a stop in front of them: "Hey you two? Out and about?"
Khushi surprised poked Aman's chest indicating the same question back at him. She then nudged Chinky, who tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.
Chinky: "Yeah...Khushi's right...What are you doing out?"
Aman smiled: "Nothing much, just was checking out if there's anything super fresh on the stalls today. You two here to do some shopping?"
Chinky chirped: "It has been a long time since we both went out and I thought we both could treat ourselves. What's say Khushi?"
Khushi nodded, but Aman started to walk away: "I'll leave you two to it then."
Chinky piped up: "You can come too!!"
The two turned their heads at Chinky, confused at her eagerness.
Chinky rectified: "If you want...that is..."
Aman scratched the back of head thinking, while Khushi agreed with Chinky and tugged Aman's arm.
Aman chuckled: "Fine fine! You two have twisted my arm."
The girls grinned and dragged Aman into the store, unknown that they had fallen prey to pairs of eyes which sharply watched and followed.


Some people would say it's exciting when sales are on. But you know nothing if you were standing in Khushi's shoes. While she stood there delicately picking the churidars and sari's up one by one in her hand, Chinky was zipping all over the place as if there was a egg hunt on. She was picking up the best ones from the tables and chucking them in front of Khushi as if that was meant it was reserved. Aman stood beside Khushi and stared at this crazy girl rush to and fro, before finishing by sitting on a stool.
Chinky out of breath: "Got...them...all...All the...best...ones..."
All the while Khushi smiled softly knowing well Chinky's nature. Khushi showed Chinky the dress she liked. It was a lovely golden anarkili, simple in design but with dark chocolate borders at the bottom and ends of the long arms. Chinky sighed at her friend and shook her head.
Chinky: "This is nice, but Khushiiii! You should buy one of these. * holding a heavier designed sari* It would look sooo nice on you."
Khushi rolled her eyes and walked to the mirror near-by, to see how it looked against her. Chinky huffed.
Chinky: "Fine! But one day you'll see your future husband will dress you up sooo nicely and you'll won't be able to say no then."
Khushi flashed a smile back at her. Chinky sighed giving up and got down to her own business. She fished through the dresses, sari's, churidars, anarkili s and lengas, she collected. It took her a good few minutes before coming down to two lenga's. One was an emerald green with gold design, while the other was a dark blue with silver design. She picked them up weighing them in her hands.
Chinky spoke to herself with a cute frown: " Green...or Blue?...Green...or...blue?"
Aman had been watching Chinky from beside her as he found her talks very amusing.
Chinky frustrated: "Uff! I can't choose...."
Aman chuckles lightly before leaning forward near her shoulder: "If you ask me..."
Chinky was startled slightly and her breath hitched realizing how close Aman was to her. Her eyes remained glued to the clothes.
Aman whispered: "...pick the green one."
He then walked off to see if Khushi needed any help. Chinky looked up to see him smile back at her. He helped me...pick a dress!?!?  She looked down at the green dress, now the only dress in her hands, and blushed with a secret smile.

Watching, however, from afar were 4 men thinking how to handle this situation. One of them held the phone to his ear with his voice hesitant.
" Boss, but now that servant is there from the Raizada's, so-"
Indu leaned forward away from the prostitute massaging his shoulders. He sighed angrily and rubbed his hand on his eyes in frustration. He clenched his phone a little more tighter.
Indu raising his voice: "A house butler...And a CHIT of a girl is stopping you four...FOUR!! From taking Khushi!?!?! YOU BLOODY IDIOTS! "
The man still worried held his tongue. Indu grit his teeth.
Indu: "You lot WILL bring Khushi to me...or else...."
The man flinched back as Indu cut the line before putting the phone in his pocket. His nodded at the others and they all set off to do the job.

It was when Chinky and Khushi were about to head for the checkout, when they halted in their tracks seeing the men rushing fast towards them. Eye's wide, as they had recognized them, they both stepped back, dropping the clothes in the process.
Chinky stuttered: "Khu-...Khushi?...That's...that's...What are we going to do?"
Khushi breathing paced up trying to seek help with her eyes, but everyone was too busy to even notice. The girls gripped each other's hand tightly as they neared. But suddenly Aman stood in front of the girls protectively. The men slowed their pace to a stop, sizing Aman up. Aman was fit with muscles, however one of the men's height was like a giant. He had to think fast.
Aman muttering for only the girls to hear: "Chinky....take Khushi and leg it deep into the store. Hide. Just don't let them get to Khushi."
Chinky nodded worried for Aman and gripped Khushi's hand. Khushi stepped forward to refuse concerned for Aman, but he shook his head.
Aman roughly: "just go...GO!"

As soon as Chinky and Khushi turned on their heels running, the men shot forward too. Aman stormed forward to right hook one of them in his jaw, sending him to the ground, before grabbing another by the collar. By now everyone in the women's section was gasping with shock at these men's behavior  The other two swooped past him to chase after the girls, making Aman angry and urgent to kick this guy's ass quickly.

Khushi and Chinky stopped catching their breath near a couple of rails and looked back to see two men were pushing people out the way looking for them.
Chinky frightened: "What are we going to do Khushi!?!?"
Khushi panicked and gripped Chinky's hand before dragging her into the changing rooms, without noticing a pair of eyes had just started to follow them.

Aman pushed the man onto a table of open saris. He covered him in a sari before punching him over and over in the sides. However, to stop Aman a few elder ladies came over.
Ladies: "What are you doing beta!?!? Why are you beating him up!? Leave him now!"
Aman turned to see the crowd of women staring at him angrily. An idea popped into his head.
Aman innocently: "This man first tried to peek in the dressing room to look at women changing. I tried to stop him calmly saying *putting on a humble tone* 'Sir, What you are doing isn't right. Those women are another men's future wives. Please come away.' * normal again* But then he starts to touch me up instead!!"
The ladies gasped appalled by this man's actions, while the man under the sari was shaking his head and hands frantically. One of the ladies then pushed Aman away to start hitting the man with her bag, making the other join in too with floppy shoes and sandals.
Ladies: "Haramzadi!!! Picking on women in the store then this young man!! Chee!!! Shame on you!!"
The man yelled and hollered under the sari trying to escape, but the ladies only battered harder. Aman smirking slowly walked away into a sprint to locate the other two men.


The two girls sat huddled behind a curtain, started to hear someone step closer and closer to their changing room. Chinky gripped Khushi's shaking hand and whispered firmly.
Chinky: "Don't worry...I'll go for the eyes ok..."
He stepped closer to stop outside the thin velvety curtain. The girls could see the faint silhouette of the tall man. Just as the curtain was dragged open with a hand, Chinky charged forward only to stop.
Chinky shocked: "ARGHHH-..uh... Arnav Bhaiya?"
Arnav stared at the two concerned, making Chinky embarrassed of her outburst. He stood in his sharp suit staring at them bewildered.
Arnav confused: "What are you two doing? Buaji said you two'd be at this mall so I came here to check if you two are alright, but seeing you both run in this changing room, with no clothes in your hands. What the-"
Khushi unable to wait, rushed forward into his arms hugging him tightly. Arnav loosely hugged her back, now worried about what had gone on. With his jaw set on having an idea, he sternly looks at a very shocked Chinky.
Arnav roughly: "What happened?"
After Chinky explained about the men after them, Arnav gripped Khushi's wrist tightly.
Arnav muttered: "We need to leave."
Khushi pulled back, however, making Arnav look at her confused. She started to point back into the crowds desperately.
Arnav: "Who are we forgetting?"
Chinky rushed out the changing room: "Aman!!"


It wasn't that hard to find Aman as he had decided to hold the biggest man from his back, so it looked like a piggy-back ride. He even looked like he was enjoying it. Khushi and Chinky stared at the scene oddly amused as everyone else was.
Arnav: "What the?!"
Seeing another man with a stool in his hands, coming towards Aman from behind, made Arnav rush into action to stop him and pummel him to the ground. The guy that had received the right hook from Aman earlier, had woken up to reach them. However, seeing the situation his mates were in, decided to leg it, but dropping his phone as he ran out. Aman was still attached to the man, who was running around to rid of him. He slammed his back against the wall, letting Aman receive get the impact. A pole that was stuck out the wall was also jabbing into Aman's arm, causing him to wince in pain. Chinky rushed up to the man and began to slap his face and kick his shins. Khushi was too shocked to move seeing this wild Chinky before her.
Chinky: "YOU GRUMP GIANT!! CAN'T YOU SEE YOUR HURTING AMAN!! YOU BRUTE! TAKE THIS ... AND THAT!"
The man groaned before falling to his knees in pain. Aman now on his feet, punched the side of the guys head on last time to knock him out. Aman gasping for breath looked up from the unconscious man to Chinky checking if the man is really out for the count. He chuckled at Chinky's state before coming forward to hold her hands. Chinky shook startled by his gesture. Aman looked at her hands to see they were a bit red from slapping.
Aman grinned: "Who knew you could be a crazy spitfire, ey?! *turning a bit serious* are you alright?"
Chinky nodded her head furiously as she didn't have words to come out her. Her cheeks tinted slightly red slightly as Khushi ran up to them and held Chinky and Aman, checking their wounds. Aman saw her getting worried about the blood that was now tricking down his arm. The blood seeped through the brown shirt showing up as a dark color. She put her hand to her mouth worried for him.
Aman smiled: "I'm fine Khushi."
Chinky angrily: "Your not fine. Here."
She ripped the side of her dupatta and wrapped it tightly round Aman's arm for the blood to stop wasting.
Aman gave Khushi a sighing look: "Ok fine. I don't want to be on the receiving end of Chinky's slaps. *chuckles until Chinky glares at him*..okok. Sorry."
Khushi smiled at the two before hugging them both. She was just so glad nothing terrible happened to them.

Arnav, on the other hand, picked up the phone that was left behind by one of the men. He stared at it thoughtfully, before feeling a hand rest on his shoulders. He put the phone in his pocket and turned to see Aman.
Aman: "Thanks Bhaiya."
Arnav smiled and nodded. But he noticing Aman's wound and the worried girls staring at it, he knew it needed to get treated.
Arnav: "Come, lets go home. The police will deal with these lot."

~

After arriving home, they were first met by Raja pacing at the door restlessly. Khushi ran forward and let him jump up on his back legs to hug her. He barked over and over and seeing Aman's wound he continued til Madhu and Devayani came rushing.
 Devayani and Madhumati was horrendously shocked by the events Chinky had explained to them. Madhu stroked Aman's cheek, thanking him for protecting the girls. Aman shook his head modestly. She continued to stare at Aman's blooded wound and was worried what if it were 10 times worse. As Devayani hugged Khushi reassuringly, Chinky dragged Aman away to his room to get his arm properly bandaged. Madhu then rushed to Arnav holding his face to check for wounds. Arnav smiled softly.
Arnav: "I'm fine Buaji, it was mostly Aman who took a beating."
Devayani: "Those men really are very dangerous. Thank god they didn't succeed in their plan to take Khushi betiya. "
Madhu then went to Khushi to hug her tightly as Devayani patted Arnav's shoulder proudly. Kushal moved away from the pillar on the first floor and headed towards their room which didn't go unnoticed by his other half. 


Kushal sternly down the phone: "I want them to be punished severely Chief inspector....yes....Be sure to get every ounce of information about this Indu Thakur out of those men. They must know were he stays or where his operations are planned, SOMETHING!...I want him behind bars away from Kh-, each person in my family....Yes...thank you inspector. "
As he cut the phone he sighed as the dwelling pain still lingered in his hearts. He hated gripping on to something that only hurt him ten times more. With his hands clasped behind his back, he looked up at the sun starting to dip down from it's eagle height. He closed his eyes thinking of when-
Devayani confused: "You called the inspector...again? Why?"
Kushal opened his eyes and tightened his jaw: "After today's events I think more protection is needed and investigation to capture this Thakur. "
Devayani narrowed her eyes: "Protection for who exactly Kushal? "
Walking up to him slowly and putting a hand on his shoulder before continuing: "For Khus-"
Kushal turned away angrily: "Because of Khushi my grandson...Arnav was in danger. If Arnav was also hurt today-.....All I know it's because of that girl, so don't ever say I'm protecting her Devayani!"
He storms to the door, but as he swings it open he sees Madhu standing there guiltily. He twitched his lips tightly, before swiftly moving past her. Devayani was also shocked by Madhu's appearance and forced a smile.
Devayani flustered: "Betiya? Come in. * going up to her and leading her to sit on the bed* Did you want anything or-"
Madhu, however, remained silent staring at the floor. Devayani concerned called out her name again softly.
Madhu: "They're not going to stop Maaji...."
Devayani paused and shook her head at her negativity: "Don't say that betiya. You'll see. Everything will back to normal again. "
Madhu continued: "Aman Bitwa has come in this state...What if it were worse Maaji? What if Arnav babwa had been hurt too!?... I would...I would never forgive myself if he got hurt Maaji. What would I say to Muskaan? She would hate me. Sir is right..."
Devayani shook her head desperately trying to make her understand: "We are ALL family here Madhu Betiya. Muskaan would have never-"
Madhu shakes her head: "Right now I can only think about Khushi's safety Maaji. I was thinking...That we should leave...the cottage, this house. "
Devayani felt her heart despair and gripped her hands tightly: "No Betiya you both can't-"
Madhu firmly with tears in her eyes: "We have to. That Thakur and his gang knows we are here which is why they know our every move. They won't stop until they get what they want. We can't stay here any longer. I'm sorry Maaji. "

Outside the door however was Arnav gripping the door handle tightly, unable to imagine Khushi gone. As soon as he heard Madhu say 'we should leave', he felt his heart plummet to the ground. He couldn't let his happen. Eyes watering as Madhu sounded strong on her word, his nose flared in anger. Wanting to smash something or rip something apart, h moved away from the door and strode down the corridor. With his fists tight, he burst into is room, slamming it hard behind him. He breathed heavily going over his thoughts. Khushi...Khushi can't leave. I won't let her. But he knew he couldn't forcibly do so, as Madhu would never accept him then. But he had to do something. He then remembered the phone he picked up from the store. Fishing in his pocket he brought out the old phone which still had a bit of charge left in it. Taking off his jacket and waist coat furiously, revealing his navy shirt, he loosed his tie slightly while scrolling down the list on the phone. Knowing what he had to do, pushed the buttons and held the mobile to his ear, taking matters into his own hands.

*..........*..........*
Thanks for reading Squirrels! Hope you liked it.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Chapter Twenty-Six: Silent Hibernation

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There was a quiet ambiance in the Secret Garden, as only the smallest of leaves played games of shiver and shake. The moon was letting it's reflected light shine down on the huge pond, helping words being read of a time long ago. On the grass in front of the pond, Arnav was sat with his elbows on his knees, holding the diary up eye-level for him to read. With his still lips, in a tight line, his eyes read each word of every sentence that a young 12 year old Khushi wrote about that night she experienced  in the woods when she was 11. 

Khushi was sat close beside him, with an arm round his bicep and the other hand on top of Raja's head. As she rested her head against Arnav's shoulder, Raja was leaning his against her thighs. Raja was staring at Khushi in a weak daze, half asleep and half awake as her soft touches behind his ear lulled him. Khushi, however, was looking across the water with a lost gaze. Her body felt numb slightly, only understanding the sounds of her own breathing and the turning of her diary pages, by Arnav's cautious fingers. Just then Khushi felt his muscle tense beneath her hand, making her close her eyes shut as the night played before her eyes, Just as it played before Raja's eyes too.



Khushi came back from the forest as the sun started to set to see the house on fire. Heart in terror, she stood paralyzed seeing the house she grew up in burn fiercely. 
Khushi gasped: "Amma...Babuji...Buaji?"
She just then caught a glimpse of Garima, patting on the door crying her name. Khushi cried and rushed up to the window feeling helpless. Suddenly, Garima broke the glass from the inside to make a  small hole.
Garima: "THEY'RE BURNING THE HOUSE KHUSHI!!! YOU NEED TO LEAVE KHUSHI!!! RUN!!!!"  
Khushi seeing the fire grow: "AMMA!! The house has caught fire!!! The house!!! Get Out AMMA!!"
She went to come close only for Garima to shake her head furiously and sob. Suddenly, she gasped seeing Thakur's men starting to walk round to that side of the house, with branches of fire and tins of kerosene. 
Garima's face turned angry: "KHUSHI! KHUSHI! LISTEN TO ME!!!"
Khushi's breathing was out of control. She felt like she was going mad or ...or this was a terrible nightmare. 
Khushi sobbed pleadingly: "Amma...please....Babuji.....please get out the house..."
Then Khushi heard the men shout from far behind her too. 
Man: "THAT'S HER!!! GET HER!"
Khushi looked back at her Amma, not knowing what to do...Should she leave, when she wanted to stay.?..Garima banged on the window desperate to hide her little girl away from those thugs.
Garima: "RUN KHUSHI! PLEASE! GO MY BETIYA! GO!"
Khushi cried before feeling her legs start to run. She looked back at her Amma, but also started to see the men follow her. The last words she heard from her Amma were,
Garima screamed: "RUN KHUSHI! DON'T LOOK BACK! RUN!!"

Deeper into the forest she ran she could hear the twigs snapping behind her. She did only the thing last told to her. Run. Khushi panted with frightened tears rolling down. She kept running in her red coat terrified of what she had just seen. She felt her heart pound out of her chest hearing the chaser close behind. He suddenly gripped Khushi's by the arm making her scream into the air, echoing against the trees. 
Khushi: "LET GO OF ME!!!! "
The man tried to grip the 11 year old but Khushi bit his hand making him curse and let her go.
Khushi ran again knowing there was more coming: "AMMA!!!! BABUJII!!!"

After a few more minutes of receiving cuts and bruises from the stray pieces of twigs and branches, Khushi hides quickly behind a tree, trying to catch her breath. She puts her hands over her mouth, hearing the rest of the men come closer. Their running slowed down making Khushi's heart panic. She listened as the booted feet walked along the ground closer and to where she was standing. Khushi, knowing it was only a matter of second before she was caught, closed her eyes tightly. 


But just then a quiet sound of barking came from the distance, far away from Khushi's location, making the men pause and turn to see. Khushi's eyes snapped open. Raja? She then heard the men talking among themselves.
" Come on, the girl might be over there, lets go."
As the men ran away, Khushi thanked God that luck was on her side. But then she paused. What if they hurt Raja? She left her hiding space and stood in the open, watching the men walking away in the far distance.
Khushi worried whispered: "Raja?-"

However before she could step forward, a hand wrapped round her mouth and waist, lifting her. She tried to scream and waved her arms and legs about, but he only gripped lighter with a deep chuckle. She then kicked her heel back into his shin, making him yelp and drop to the ground. Having still a good hold of her, he turned her over on the ground so she laid flat on her back. She was about to scream again, but in vain as his hand stopped her.
Man: "Now now...We don't want the others to hear you now, do we? "
Khushi angrily tried to scratch the man's face, but unsuccessful started to cry under his grip. 
Man grinned manically: "When the boss finds out I have caught you all by myself, I'm so going to get a hefty reward! So it would be good of you to SHUT UP!"
But just as he yelled the last two words, a small dog head-butted him from in front. He yelled, falling on his back with shock and went to open his eyes to see, only to feel bites and claw attacks on his face and neck, making his swear loudly. Khushi turning on her fours, quickly hid behind a tree, watching Raja growl and maul the man's face with dirt from his paws. Unable to see becuase of the dirt in his eyes, he staggered back on to his feet and legged it, bumping into the sides of trees along the way. 

Raja turned to Khushi as she came out of hiding and leaped into her arms, as she crouched down to him, with tears in her eyes. She stroked his fur seeing how muddy it was getting and kissed his head over and over, thankful for his brave rescue.
Khushi whispered crying: "Oh Raja... I was so scared and-*gasp*"
She looked up to see in the distance the men were coming back as they must of heard the scuffle that had happened. She got up with Raja in her arms and started to run away all over again, but as she looked down at Raja whimpering she had got an idea of where to hide.

Arriving quickly to the hollow tree, she glanced back to see the men weren't behind her, but she could hear them coming closer from afar. Lifting Raja into the hollow space of the tree first, she quickly entered herself, scraping her knees along the way in a hurry. Sitting with her back right up against the back of the tree, Raja made space in her lap making her hug him close. She breathed heavily finally finding the place she could feel safer. But it didn't stop the seeds of doubt to plant. What if they saw us enter? What if they will burn this tree down like how they did to- She gasped hearing something outside. Khushi and Raja's eyes stared at the hole with heartbeats running so fast, Khushi worried that the men would be able to hear it.

 They waited...and waited...and waited...until they heard it. They heard the leaves crisp and twigs snap quietly as heavy feet threaded on them, coming closer... and closer...and closer. Khushi feeling herself shake, either becuase of the cold or the fear, held Raja tightly against her body. Raja's ears tweaked hearing the men very close to them. Khushi then started to hear them talk and held her breath hearing they were so so close. Raja and her sat still.

Silent tears fell from her eyes as she heard them speak about her parents. About how they had been wanting to do it for a long time. About the fire they lit happily. She listened as they laughed all the way through and how they enjoyed their work. She listen about herself and how they thought she was an orphan now and would be adopted by their 'boss'. She felt ice travel through her veins and grip her heart painfully...The fear of being so close to the men who killed her parents shook her core and she continued to hold her breath...Eye's still wide and in shock, she sat still like the tree itself. She dared not breath let alone speak in case they heard them...She didn't even realize the men gave up left...and didn't even realize when the sky's turned dark, blacking out the forest completely. Not even acknowledging when the heavy down pour started from the heavens above. As if the world was crying the tears, she felt she couldn't...not anymore. 

Hours passed with her lost in a void, until Khushi's mind blanked with exhaustion...eyes closed. Raja whimpered seeing Khushi's state and unable to wake her up, decided to stay up and alert. He continued to stare out, watching the rain fall,... waiting. 
...
...


As Khushi snapped open her eyes, she took in the surrounding of the still garden and realized that she was safe. That it was finished. That wait. That horrible wait was over and she was now with the people she cared about. She was still wrapped round the man's arm that she loved more than anything. She turned her head to looked down at Raja who now had his head lifted from her thighs, but alert staring at her with eyes full of concern. Khushi let out a breath of relief seeing Raja and smiled at him softly, making him whimper slightly. Khushi frowned and then turned her head to Arnav worried. She sees that her rouge diary wasn't in Arnav's hands anymore, but on the grass, spine upwards, below his tightly clasped hands. Understanding he had finished reading the entry, she hesitantly looked at his face to see he was staring across to the other side of the water, eyes red, jaw clenched, tight lipped. 

Lifting her weight from him slightly, she feared of what he thought from reading her diary. But before she could think any further, Arnav swiftly turned in his position to pull her powerfully into his arms. Gasping from the sudden reaction, she slowly relaxed into him and lifted her hands to slide up his back, gripping the jumper. 
Arnav hoarsely: "Khushi...I...*alone tear*...Oh god Khushi..That's why...that's why you don't spe-...*burying his face deeper into her neck*...Khushi..."
Khushi didn't know when tears started to flow from her own eyes and sobs shuddered through her body, reliving the loss, but also releasing from the pain. It was like a warm blanket wrapping you to protect you from the cold. Arnav just then pulled her away and held her face in his hands firmly.
Arnav shook his head: "No...*wiping her tears*....I swear to you Khushi...I swear that I won't let you feel lost like you did that night....You- *kisses her cheeks*...YOU won't cry anymore over this *another kiss on forehead*...OK? "
Khushi looked down unable to reply. Arnav then lifted her face to kiss her softly on the lips before stroking her cheek.
Arnav asked again gently: "..Ok?..."
Khushi nodded tearfully as Raja came close to rub her side with his face. Khushi smiled at Raja and hugged him kissing his head. Arnav proud of Raja scratched his ears.
Arnav huskily: "Thank-..Thank god  Raja was there for you or else...or else...*sigh*...Good boy Raja."
Raja barked and laid his head on Khushi's lap again, making her smile brightly. She then felt Arnav kiss the side of her neck softly, making her lean into him as he hugged her close.

~

Chinky paced in front of Aman in the kitchen with her hands fiddling and looking out of the kitchen door time to time. Aman was sat on one the kitchen stools, thinking over what had happened today.
Chinky worried: "UFFF! Where is she!!??!? It's already so late!!"
Aman had an idea of who she was with, but where was another question. He stood up to stop her pacing by putting his hands on her shoulders.
Aman smiled: "Calm down you. She's fine. She has probably gone to the cottage. Raja's with her remember."
Chinky sighed and nodded agreeing with Aman, but just then saw Khushi walk in with Arnav and Raja.
Chinky jumped a bit with a bright grin on her face: "KHUSHI!!"
Aman turned to see them and smiled and watched as Chinky ran up to Khushi, hugging her tightly. Arnav feeling slightly out of place walked past them casually to leave, only looking back once at Khushi with a quiet smile. Khushi understanding nodded with the same soft expression as Chinky pulled away from her.
Chinky: "We were worried sick!! Not to mention Buaji! Don't to that again ok! *looked down at Raja* you too mister!"
Khushi nodded feeling still slightly lost in her own thoughts. She felt a hand on her shoulder.
Aman reassuringly: "Hey...don't worry about those men ok-"
Chinky piped up angrily: "Yeah! Those brutes!! UFF! If I had a few more pounds on my arms I'd...I'd-"
Aman finished: "Punch them black and blue?"
Chinky blushed slightly with a silly smile: "Yeah..that's it.*giggles*"
Aman: " but what we're really saying is...As long as we're all here, nothing will happen to you. Ok?"
As Chinky nodded enthusiastically Khushi simply looked at them both before walking up to them to hug them both.
Aman grinned: "Nothing works better than a group hug!!"
Chinky and Khushi grinned while Raja barked happily.

~

Khushi and Raja walked into the living room where Devayani was comforting Madhu. Devayani noticed the young ladies presence first and stood up walking over to them. She smiled at them before stroking Khushi's cheek softly. Understanding that Khushi and Madhu need some time alone, Devayani nodded goodnight and left the room. Khushi looked on at Madhu who was wiping away her tears and sighing at today's events. She knew her Buaji was holding it all in and slowly walked over to her, sitting by her on the sofa. Raja followed too and sat beside Madhu's legs. As soon as Madhu realized that Khushi was present, she immediately hugged her close and cried. Khushi let out the tears of loosing her parents and felt much better as Madhu pulled away to wipe her tears. She smiled watery and shook her head at Khushi. However just as Khushi's eyes met hers again, Khushi put her head against Madhu's chest for a tight warm hug. Madhu laid her head against hers and stroked Khushi's hair, repeating one sentence over and over again.
Madhu softly : "Everything will be alright. "

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

x