Thursday, 24 January 2013

Chapter Forty-Nine: Thawing Ice

Hey squirrels. Note about my last 2 FF's at the end so please do read!!!

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After that day at the park, Devayani and Madhu both arranged to a date to meet the panditji for a wedding day, bursting Arnav's plan about getting Khushi to stay a few days longer, but on the other hand he was glad that their wedding plans were under way.

The family, however, seemed to be dividing with Kushal not participating at all. Khushi however made it so everyone would gather together and talk endlessly about nothing. No one minded if Kushal talked or not, what mattered was that he was there as part of the family. The sound of her payal's rushing in from to the room would instantly brighten up everyone with silly antics. Kushal would listen to their conversations filling his ears soothingly, while watching Khushi make everyone smile. Khushi in the corner of her eyes would notice too making her heart warm.

Arnav however watching afar from upstairs could see what Khushi was up to. For the last few days he'd notice when he got back from work, Khushi would be going up with tea for Devayani and Kushal, but he'd know who she really was giving tea to. And when Kushal is looking for something Khushi and Devayani would send Raja in, making him know who was giving it to him. And now from each cheeky grin and each over-exaggerated hand gesture, he's notice her trying to get everyone feel together, with specifically Kushal. He's grip the banister tightly seeing his grandfather not move a single inch from his chair or even talk as everyone did. He hated watching Khushi try to do something which wasn't possible. He knew his grandfather well.

As Arnav slammed a fist to one of the pillars and storm off to his room, Khushi's would lift her eyes watching him leave. She knew she had to try a bit more harder to convince Arnav about Kushal. She needed his support.


~

Later that day, straight after having dinner, Khushi slipped quietly into Arnav's room creeping round in her teal green salwar. With eyes searching for Arnav, she soon found him standing on his balcony with his dark grey waist-coated back to her and hands in his pockets. Khushi smiled seeing his rolled up blue sleeves and strong figure. His handsome sense of style was always one of the things that made her heart flutter when seeing him.

Slowly with tip toe steps, Khushi went up behind Arnav before slipping her hands round his waist and sliding her hands up to his chest. She smiled warmly closing her eyes while rubbing her cheek against his back. Arnav's body had immediately tensed, before turning with a serious questioning expression to face her. Khushi smiled softly at him before pointing at his suit and then her wrist for time.

Arnav roughly: " I'm not in the mood to get changed for bed yet Khushi. Leave me for a while."
Khushi frowned looking down knowing why he was upset. She looked back up at him before stepping forward and touching his forehead lightly with her fingertips.
Arnav annoyed: " I'm not angry Khushi. Stop it. I just...*sighed calming down* I just don't like what you're doing..."
Khushi, determined, made him look up at her. She took his hand to put it against her heart and nodded asking him to believe what she told him the other day about Kushal's guilt and that he did care deeply for her.

Arnav angrily snatched his hand away: " Khushi no. Even if it's true that Dada feels guilty, it gives him no right to treat you like the elephant in the room. He doesn't care about you Khushi. Only about himself. And you're too naive to see the truth."
He stormed into his room, with Khushi following hot on his heels. She desperately held on to his arm trying to make him believe her. She knew anger and frustration was clouding his mind, but why couldn't he just believe her.
Khushi pleading: "Arnav.."
Arnav having enough: "STOP IT KHUSHI!! ENOUGH!"

Khushi taken aback with eyes wide, stepped back from this enraged man before her. Something changed in Arnav's eyes.
Arnav: "Don't you see what he's doing Khushi...he's making us argue to separate us! No wonder! He shows all his bitterness towards you when your not there, and pretends to care for you only in front of you. Dada's going to far...Khushi...too far.."
Khushi a seething Arnav rush out the room leaving her fearing what will happen next.

As Arnav looked upstairs for Kushal, slamming doors open, crying out for him, everyone started to come out gathering in the hall concerned and confused. Arnav shot down the staircase like bull.
Devayani: "Chote? Chote what's wrong?"
Arnav ignored her: " DADA! DADA!"
Anjili appalled: "Chote what's wrong with you!? Your shouting like a mad man. Just tell us what's wrong!"
Arnav just then spotted Kushal walk in calmly with a serious frown on his face. Arnav breathed out fire.

Arnav: " Why Di should I tell you what's wrong. You know! Everyone knows?! The only person who doesn't know is Dada!!"
Kushal stepped forward: " Chote-"
Arnav lifted a hand to stop him rudely, making Devayani and Madhu's eyes widen in shock.
Arnav: "No Dada. Not today. Today I'm going to talk and you are going to listen....Ever since I have come back home, I have always seen you talk bitterly about Khushi behind her back..And more than that without good reason. Even I thought of Khushi as meddlesome too, but it wasn't long til I realized how wrong I was...and how loving, caring and innocent Khushi really is. I fell in love with Khushi a long time ago Dada and when you found out...you sent her away PURPOSELY to keep us separated. YOU did this Dada! And it's only after the damn bomb blast you realized sending Khushi away was wrong...why? Becuase I got hurt!! Not her!! "

Kushal stood still with the same stern numb face, staring back at Arnav. No change in expression, however his silence told all the hurt he was feeling. Devayani couldn't believe Arnav had been building these thoughts up, she rushed to stop him speaking any further, but there was no stopping him.
Arnav: "There's nothing you can do Dada to separate Khushi and Me Dada...Nothing! Your cheap games to get what you want won't work, because if you can be this stubborn...then I can be too and I want to marry her. Khushi says that you feel guilty about Maa dying..."
Kushal and Devayani stared at him in shock as did everyone else.
Arnav firmly: " And that's not true...we ALL know that Dada!! No one blames you, but I will blame you for hurting Khushi. I will blame you Dada for keeping her away from her, from the people who love her most! It's not fair that she suffers so you can looking out for yourself and your own pain-"
Khushi: "ARNAV!"

Everyone, except Kushal, looked up to see Khushi looking down on them from the first floor with eyes staring only at Arnav.  He looked at her shocked as he witnessed the ashamed look in her eyes...the pain that he has just caused her...the look of disgust. The tears from her eyes made his heart break and breath restrict, alerting to him that he had done wrong. Arnav looked back to his Dada to see him look down with a stern expression. Regretting how he expressed his anger, Arnav stepped forward to him, but Kushal turned to head for the staircase.

Khushi seeing how hurt Kushal was ran to the top of the staircase so she could stop him. She watched him starting to climb up towards her, but before she knew it her foot caught on the other. Everyone's eyes widened in horror.
"KHUSHI!!!"

~

It was a few minutes after Khushi fell, she opened her eye lids that were squeezed tight, from fearing the impact of the fall.  She could hear everyone calling her name and Raja barking too. She felt herself get rocked back and forth against a very warm chest. Dadaji? Everyone was crowded round on the stairs as Kushal held Khushi close. Madhu and Devayani were in tears, while Anjili was too shocked to even react. Aman and Chinky were trying their best to look to see if Khushi was fine or not. Arnav was speechless. He felt a cloud of guilt shadow him. 
Kushal in tears: " Khushi Betiya! Khushi Please not you too. I-"
He then felt a light push to his chest, making him loosen his hold. He looked down desperately to see Khushi was looking up at him smiling softly. 
Kushal: "Khushi betiya?"

He frowned checking over her body. She was fine. No blood. No cut. Only a tumble as he had rushed up to stop her from falling the whole staircase. 
Kushal: " You're...You're ok...*grinning* You're ok betiya?"
Khushi nodded with teary eyes and a smile. Kushal smiled brightly as did everyone else. 
Devayani thanking God: " Kushal...you saved her...if you didn't catch her in time then..."
Arnav looked at Devayani feeling worse. All the things he had said about Kushal only caring about himself...

Kushal's smile left him as he realized everyone was watching...and everyone including Arnav. Khushi could see the change and felt him lift her to sit her down on the steps properly, before standing up straight himself.
Kushal: " Stop talking nonsense Devayani. She's fine and that's all that matters. Care for her...I'm...I've got work to do."
He then went up the staircase leaving the others staring at his back. Khushi immediately got up and went to stop him, but she halted knowing he was greatly hurt. A mixture of emotions overcame her then. Tears. Anger. Hurt. Pain. Shock. Disappointment. And only because of one person. Arnav. 

Khushi sharply turned to the others watching her every move and looked a guilty Arnav straight in the eye. Glancing at her hands she rushed down and roughly lifted Arnav's hand. Arnav's heart was shot numb watching her put his Maa's ring into his hand, before rushing down the rest of the stairs heading to her room in tears. Raja shot after her to make sure she wasn't alone.
Devayani: " Betiya!"
Madhu shocked called out to her: " Khushi!"
Everyone went after her, leaving Arnav staring at the ring in his hand. What have I done?

~

Aman: " Khushi open the door. Please. Don't be upset. Come on. "
Chinky put a hand on his shoulder gently telling him it was no use. Khushi wasn't going to come out. Everyone was round Khushi's door wanting her to open the door. Both worried and concerned at Khushi's silence and lack of actions, they could only hear the quiet sobs on the other side of the door. 
Arnav roughly: " Everyone move. "
Arnav squeezed through to get to the door banging on it wildly: " KHUSHI! Khushi open the door now. Please Khushi!"

Khushi was inside on the bed, hugging Raja tightly. Lifting her wet face from Raja's mane, she looked at the door before feeling more upset. She shook her head angrily as she heard Raja whimpering too. No Raja. You weren't there. Arnav was so rude to Dadaji it was unbearable and now...Dadaji will be more far away from me and everyone will be apart from each other too. What point is there to a marriage where no one is happy? With fresh tears arising she put her face back into Raja's mane.

Arnav never felt so furious with himself his whole life. But he needed to fix this now. Right now. 
Arnav: " Khushi!! Please open this door. You can't just do this to me. I know I was wrong, but don't punish me like this. KHUSHI!"
Madhu: " Babwa...Maybe we should all leave her so she can calm down a little."
Arnav shook his head: " No Buaji. I don't want to leave her like this. I can't wait. I need to see her now. *banging on the door again* KHUSHI!"
Anjili: " Chote, Buaji's right. Calm down...maybe-"
Arnav wiped his tears stepping back: " Khushi if you don't open this door I'll bloody break it in. Damn it you know I will Khushi. " 
Anjili and Devayani turned to Arnav shocked: " Chote!?"
Arnav: " One..."
Madhu: " Haire Nandkisore!!"
Arnav louder: "Two..."

There was a few clicks, before the door gently swung open to reveal Khushi and Raja. Arnav sorrily looked at Khushi, whose eyes were all red and slightly puffy from crying. Not giving her even a chance to say his name, Arnav rushed into pull her into a tight hug. He closed his eyes feeling her hug him back just as tightly after a minute, realizing that she had needed him all this time and he didn't give his support. He felt his body shake as she cried making him repeat sorry over and over again. 

Arnav short-breathed: "Don't ever do that to me again Khushi. Ever...I'm sorry..You won't know how much...And I'll do everything you say to make this right again....Just please don't leave me. I love you."
Khushi nodded unable to stay mad.
Arnav pulled back to look into her eyes: " I believe you Khushi...Every word. Just tell me what to do to make it all right. "
Khushi braved a watery smile knowing now Arnav was be her side...and now everything would be alright.

*..........*..........*
Thanks for reading guys and please do comment.

Now this news about my last two FF, Hierarchy and Dark Wolf Eyes (DWE)

Along with this update for VWT, I have also started my ARHI Hierarchy story by putting the first chapter up on blog and also IF. This story will be a very different from VWT, but I hope as loyal readers, you will all have a little peek to see what it's like. I hope I get more people follow this FF on blog and IF than VWT because of it's serious based issue. Based on how much everyone likes it I will say when I will update the 2nd chapter after VWT finishes. 


Now for my last FF DWE, I shall be updating the 1st chapter with chapter 50 of VWT. But after that I will only focus on finishing Hierarchy. I'm only posting up the 1st chapter is becuase I have had many PM's asking it I could start My DWE story for a long time. I really want to get Hierarchy done, before focusing on DWE really, but just as a kind of gift for all my readers I'm posting the first part. I have a blog for DWE if anyone wants to follow it there. ( Please do. ;) ) 

Blog for DWE: http://zarasdarkwolfseyes.blogspot.co.uk/?zx=e04982109aea1863

Remember I always update my blog first then IF. 

General note. If you have any questions about the blogs or about my two last FF's please don't hesitate to PM me. I'll gladly reply to the best of my ability. :)
x

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Chapter Forty-Eight: Vibrant Scales

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It was the next morning when the sun shone through the slit of the curtains in the room Khushi was staying in. Feeling the massaging warmth against her face, Khushi's slumber slower roused awake, stretching her arms and legs in a dinosaur-like fashion. Sitting up in the middle of her bed with messy hair, she rubbed her eye with a hand and felt Raja nuzzling her jaw in a greeting manner. She smiled fondly as her eyes were still closed, refusing to open just yet. Morning Raja. She cracked open her eyes weakly to look at him staring at her with his tongue out happily. What shook her out of her sleep however, was the opening and shutting of her wardrobe. She focused her eyes on who was making that noise. 

Madhu turned to Khushi with a bright grin: " Titaliyaaa!?!? Come. Up now young lady! This is a first for you sleeping in for an extra hour. Hmmm?"
Khushi's eyes widened. What!? She snapped her head to the side to look at the clock on the wall. She had slept in. Khushi sighed leaning her back against the lavish wooden head board of the bed. I must have stayed up too late. After coming back from Kushal and Devayani's room the previous night, Khushi had thought long and hard about how to get Kushal to come to terms with the reality of now, instead of dwelling in the past. She had to also explain to Arnav that his grandfather did approve of her...but is just scared to embrace it.

It was then Khushi frowned actually noticing what Madhu was doing. She was packing her bags.

Khushi removed the covers and got out of bed confused. She walked up to Madhu making her stop to see her expression. 
Madhu smiled: " Oh! *holding Khushi by her forearms* I was thinking that the Raizada's have been very kind letting us stay while you recover Khushi. *touching her cheek* But now that you're all better titaliya...we shouldn't outstay out welcome here."
Madhu went back to packing away clothes leaving Khushi in thought. She looked down remembering that she was only staying here, becuase Devayani had insisted for them to stay.  Even though she was slightly disappointed that they were leaving, she knew her Buaji was right. Madhu noticed the slump expression on her niece's face and smiled shaking her head.
Madhu cheerfully: " Arreee Sanka Devi... Why the frown? *laughs* We live at the cottage not at all far from here silly girl...Anyways it wouldn't be right to stay here like this. "
Arnav firmly: " And it would be very rude of you to leave like this Buaji. "

As Khushi and Madhu looked at the door to see Arnav stood in a dark indigo pullover on a black trousers & shirt, with his sleeves rolled up. Raja barked from the bed happy to see him. Arnav walked in room seriously looking over the bag, now half full. He clenched his jaw before calming himself down, and looking at Madhu sincerely. 
Arnav gently: " Buaji, you and Khushi shouldn't leave. "
Madhu smiled: " Babwa. I know you and Maaji have done a lot for us, however I think it's best we leave."
Arnav gritted: " Did Dada say something?"
Khushi stared at Arnav with a harsh frown. How-...How could he just assume that-
Madhu confused with a smile: " Of course not Babwa. Why? Anyways it's because Khushi is much better now see. And you must understand that we'd be missing our little cottage terribly."
Arnav eagerly: " Isn't this house like home to you both Buaji?"
Madhu looked at Arnav perplexed: " Why are you asking such odd questions Babwa? *laughs* Of course it is, however there is no valid reason in my opinion for Khushi and I to stay."

There was silence in the room for a while with Khushi feeling slightly out of breath seeing the table tennis of questions and answers between the two in front of her. The eerie silence was broken when Arnav turned to her.
Arnav: " Khushi? Why don't you and Raja go and have breakfast. Chinky and Di are in the conservatory. "
Khushi stared at Arnav oddly. Arnav looked back at Khushi and Raja strictly.
Arnav: " Khushiii...go!"
Khushi jumped a bit and rushed off out the room, with Raja following suit, leaving Madhu and Arnav in the bedroom. 

~

Madhu sat on the bed in shock: " In front of everyone?"
Arnav sat beside her nodding.
Madhu continued lost: " You've even given her Muskaan's ring?"
Arnav sighed as Madhu had repeated this now for the third time: " Yes Buaji. I have....I don't want you to think I haven't taken your permiss-"
Madhu shook her head thoughtfully: " No babwa. You have taken my permission that day you took my blessings....but this fast? *teary*"
Arnav turned to her concerned as Madhu continued: " I never knew I'd see the day again that my little titaliya would be getting married to someone who was worthy of her. *looking at Arnav stroking his hair* And you are, Arnav. I could never be more proud of my Khushi's life partner. *pausing her smile* but I'd be lying if i said I still don't worry about-"
Arnav sternly: " I know everything about that day Khushi left this house Buaji. I know Dada did it."

Madhu looked at Arnav with shocked wide eyes. Arnav nodded curtly confirming. 
Arnav: " But I also want you to know Buaji that I will never leave Khushi's side. I don't care if Dada is with me or not for this decision. He can come round later in his own time, however I'm not wasting what I have of now just to wait for him."
Madhu quietly: " Arnav Babwa?...Do you know what you're saying? Your going against your elders-...No one will be happy in this marriage, especially Khus-"
Arnav: " Khushi will be the most happiest woman on earth Buaji. I promise you *holding her hands tightly* Dada will come round with Dadi's help, but please don't stop me from marrying Khushi. Please. "
Madhu looked down at the desperation Arnav was putting across and couldn't help but agree with him. 

Arnav: " Thank you Buaji...but I have one more request. Can you and Khushi please stay-"
Madhu smiled: " You ask now too much. I know you would...like to spend as much time as possible with Khushi, however it's for after marriage young man."

Arnav sighed disappointed, before after a minute he heard Madhu laugh quietly to herself. He looked at her curiously.
Madhu smiled fondly looking at him in awe: " You know...you are just like your father. I had to explain to him too that he couldn't spend lots time with Muskaan after their engagement, as all that comes after marriage. And you know what? His reaction was exactly the same to yours. *laughs*"
Arnav grinned chuckling. He could imagine his father like that and Dada always did say how head over heels in love he was with Maa. Must run in the genes I guess. He decided to push his luck anyways. 
Arnav: " Can you both at least stay til the marriage date fixed?"
Madhu laughed out load while getting up to put Khushi's clothes back: "Ohhh alright. *strictly* But only til then. After the date is fixed, Khushi and I go back to the cottage. Understood? *raising an eyebrow*"
Arnav had no choice but to nod before getting up to leave the room before she changed her mind. What she didn't ask is when I'm going to get the priest in to even fix a date. *sigh* You still got it ASR.

~

Anjili grinned enthusiastically: " We're here!"

After a few days with Khushi and Madhu staying over, upon Arnav's insistence, Anjili, Khushi and Chinky had arranged for a Lunch picnic for everyone, to the quiet lake on the outskirts of the forest nearby. It was a very open area with the most lushest green grass, perfect for the sun rays to lay upon.

The three young ladies made sure everyone was free from work or house chores, so no one had any excuses. Thankfully the skies were a sound blue tone making Khushi smile as she got out the white SUV in a teal blue churidar. Raja zipped out straight after loving the new fresh surrounding. Khushi grinned at her Raja's play and looked back at Anjili and Chinky just coming out the SUV too. The girls wanted it to match in color today. Chinky was wearing a blue light long salwar, while Anjili wore a baby blue sari. They even insisted for Devayani to join in on their color matching antics.

With summer hats and baskets full of food, they three girls went slightly ahead towards the river banks ahead, near the lake. Their eyes searched excitingly to pick the perfect spot to lay out the picnic. Aman grinned, in his white shirt and dark jeans with two fishing rod cases, ran after them. Madhu clambered out muttering 'Haire Nandkisore' every other minute. Devayani smiled watching them go and looked beside her at Kushal who was looking round in a daze. He remembered this place like the back of his hand. He always brought the family here for picnics and outings...before Muskaan died. It was their favorite outing. It was only because of Anjili's stubbornness that Kushal agreed to come along today. He sighed through his nose, before walking with his wife.

It was then Arnav got out the SUV driving seat, watching Khushi run far ahead in the distance. In his chocolaty  maroon shirt and dark blue denim jeans, his lips curved slightly into a smile remembering faintly the times they had come here before. With his hands in his pockets he followed the others in thought of why Khushi had insisted this place when Anjili told her about it. 

~

With everyone sat accordingly in a circle on the white and red checkered blankets, food was soon handed round with everyone tucking in at their own pace. Sat under a shady tree, the cooling winds aided them from the heat in the air. Khushi, feeding Raja, could feel Arnav's warm glances at her from the other side of the circle. Glancing up secretly, Khushi's eyes widened and mouth opened to see Arnav shamelessly wink at her sexily. She quickly flickered her eyes round the circle confirming no one was watching, before shyly looking away. Arnav grinned mischievously before popping another morsel of food into his mouth.

Khushi smiled lightly before noticing Chinky blushing away beside her. Khushi discretely looked across beside Arnav to see Aman was doing the same as Arnav. She rolled her eyes, before nudging Chinky with a raised eyebrow. Chinky immediately felt caught by her friend and blushed hard, making Khushi grin and hug her gently. 

Anjili piping up: " Good thing Khushi thought about this picnic today. Tomorrow Dada and Chote have that meeting tomorrow don't you?"
Arnav hmm-ed under his breath to end the topic. Kushal noticed this. 
Madhu looking around: " It's more beautiful than I have imagined this place. Muskaan used to talk about this place a lot when she used to come round. "
Devayani fondly: " Yes. This place was dear to all of us. I'm glad we came today."
Anjili grinned with her eyes wide: " Dadi?! Do you remember when Maa tried to catch fish here? *laughs* She kept failing at first, but Dada made sure she didn't give up."
Kushal softly: " And then she finally catch one...a great whopper fish too. "
Anjili smiled glad her Dada spoke: " Yeah...we took a picture then. The five of us."
Kushal looked up at Anjili with a slightly smile: " It was the six of us betiya. Your mother always said that every time we took a family photo Abhi would always be there too. However, it was only her who could see him... "

It was oddly quiet for a second as everyone smiled at Kushal's words fondly. Khushi was more than that. She was grinning ear to ear. She wondered what more storied were there through Kushal's eyes. She was so intrigued. Arnav however realized then why Khushi had insisted this place for the picnic. He jaw tightened. Thinking about Kushal's thoughts of Khushi and stood up finishing his lunch and took one of the fishing rods, before storming to the wide river close by. Sitting down on the grass, he whipped his bait and hook in the water and gripped the handle tightly. How dare Khushi do this to make Dada happy!?! It was a few days ago when Khushi tried to convince him that his Dada wasn't in the wrong, but he blocked his ears with cement. Even though she bloody knows what he thinks of her she-...Why does she think she has to make him happy to get accepted!? Why should she!?

Kushal realized his words taking in everyone's expressions and stood up abruptly. Devayani frowned.
Devayani: " You haven't finished your food-"
Kushal roughly taking the other rod, headed towards Arnav's direction muttering: "I'm not hungry."
He sat a long arm's width away from Arnav's sitting spot and flung in his bait and hook too, staring at the water angrily. Devayani and the others watched the two raging men sitting with their backs to them, hurt. She shook her head at her husband's behavior and smiled reassuringly at the others. Khushi however was the most upset by the distance put by Kushal and Arnav. She simply prayed for all to go well today.

~

Everyone else was in the mists of their chitter-chatter on the blankets about Muskaan and Abhi, while Arnav and Kushal remained beside the river. Both not sharing even a word to each other and both still with no sign of a single catch. But suddenly out of the blue...

Arnav frowned feeling a strong tug on his line: "Shit I got one.."
Kushal's amazed as his line had also become tight: "My word...I got one too!"
Both men hung on to their rods and the line was tight, with their heels digging into the ground, each used their tactics to loosen and then tighten the line to reel the fish in, however neither of their fishes weren't going without a fight. Everyone from the blankets noticed the load banter between the two near the river and could see two tug of wars going on. They immediately got up and went over beside them. Devayani smiled to see them both looking like their having a great time.
Aman stared at the water in shock: " Bhai!! I think it's a big one!"
Arnav grinned: " This is definitely a big one Aman!!"
Kushal chuckled struggling with his own: " Keep it on the line boy! Or else you'll lose it!"
Arnav laughed: " You focus on your own one Dada. Or else you'll lose yours!"
Kushal chuckled with a smirk: " Oh-ho!! So you think you can beat your own Dada Chote!? "
Arnav smirked loosening the line again for the fish to run a bit: " Beat you in golf didn't I!?...Why not fishing?"

Anjili rolled her eyes with a smile at the two men continued to talk hot shot, while focusing on reeling in their fish.
Anjili: " Allow it Chote. Dada is the best when it comes to fishing. Come on Dada!!"
Devayani laughed: " Your Dada was once a great fisher, but I think my Chote will have the edge today. "
Kushal sighed loudly with a teasing grin: " My own wife against me! How could you? "
Devayani smiled brightly taking Arnav's side by sitting beside him, as Madhu, Aman and Chinky did to.
Chinky excited: " Bhaiya! Come on Bhaiya!!"
Madhu: " Haire Nandkisore!! Babwa! Be careful!"
Khushi grinned while Raja barked watching the teams battle it out. She went to sit beside Anjili on Kushal's side and clapped her hands as Anjili was for him to win. Raja barked being on Kushal's side with Khushi. There was suddenly a moment where Kushal nearly let go of his rod, becuase of the strength of the fish, but Anjili and Khushi immediately held on to the rod to help him grab better hold of it. Kushal grinned.
Arnav totally concentrating on his bite: " Dada, you are not winning this! I got 4 supports on my side. And you only got three! Plus you taught me everything you know! *grinning*"
Kushal smirked looking at his grandson briefly: " Not everything young man. Or else the headmaster would be called the student too."

The atmosphere of cheering and clapping was uplifting and exhilarating, making Kushal become lost in the times before when he came here with the family. It was then after a few more chanting of the teams on both sides, when Kushal pulled a fast move to finally bring out the humongous fish on the end of the line. Anjili and Khushi clapped, while the others gasped at their victory. Kushal laughed out loudly and reeled the flapping fish in, looked across to his grandson with a raised eyebrow.
Kushal grinning: " Seee! Challenge your old man and you shall lose Chote.* Laughing* And with my two betiya's by my side, of course I would win! Impossible for me not to!"

Arnav's rod went flying in the water causing a huge, noisy splash. Kushal snapped out of the moment and took in the stuck faces on Madhu and Arnav. Everyone else had also faded into quietness staring at Kushal by his choice of words. Khushi felt a relieving sigh rush through her. Devayani in pure happiness was lost for words.

Kushal however felt immediately defensive as he set down the fish to let it go and left his rod by the side. He abruptly stood up tall making the smiles among them fall.
Kushal cleared his throat: " That's..er...enough for today, don't you think...."
He then left leaving mostly everyone wanting him to stay back, but were slightly scared to. Arnav watching Kushal leave, angrily turned to stare at the river. Of course! Too bloody good to be true!! He then got up too, furiously and shot off in the opposite direction for a walk to clear his head.

Slowly everyone got up feeling disappointed, while Khushi still staring at Kushal in the far distance held that soft smile on her face. It seems like everything did turn out for the better...even if it was a tiny step better.

*..........*..........*
x

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Chapter Forty-Seven: Shadows of Trees


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

Kushal was the best father and father-in-law to Muskaan. Especially after Abhi passed away. 

He spent more time away from office and with her to make sure she didn't fall into depression.

He and Devayani together aided her with raising Arnav from a baby to a young little boy.

With each day passing Muskaan would feel hope again, With each year passing she'd also feel whole again. She knew Abhi would have been proud of her...proud of her Babuji looking after her every step of the way. Never did Kushal let Muskaan feel alone in the world. He'd let Muskaan rest her head against his chest, as he hummed a light lullaby, letting her know her Babuji was here. 

As time passed Anjili was becoming a young enthusiastic woman with a crafty talent in arts, Muskaan and Devayani guided her not letting her feel the loss of a father figure. Anjili and Arnav would go to Kushal for help as they knew that at a drop of a hat, he'd come zooming to make sure they had all the encouragement and support Abhi would have given them. 

Kushal had enrolled Arnav to the best of schools, colleges and Universities abroad making Muskaan upset at first, however hearing Devayani's view when she went through the same thing when Abhi was sent abroad, Muskaan gently smiled. She smiled at the thought of Arnav following his fathers footsteps. 

The joys and happiness was maintained and always connected among the Raizada's, with trips and joyous festivities always spent and shared together. People would praise Kushal and Muskaan's relationship as heartfelt. The all knew Kushal didn't have a daughter, but with Muskaan it was as if she was his own. Kushal would had never raised a voice against her or anyone not being in his nature. The household was sound, with soft memories and thoughts of Abhi always lingering in everyone's mind. The Raizada family was bonded strongly by Kushal, Devayani, Muskaan, Anjili and Arnav. 


However it was one day when only Devayani, Kushal and Muskaan was home...Events happened which changed things for everyone.


Kushal angrily: " You should have told us!! Leaving like that without telling anyone is irresponsible!! Do you know how worried we all were!!?"
Muskaan looked down at her hands tearfully: " I didn't know how time flied Babuji. I thought it would only take about 15 mins to go the mandir and back."
Devayani gently: " But you should have told someone shouldn't you? Hmm? You know how your Babuji is-"
Kushal enraged: " Nearly 5 hours!! 5 HOURS DEVAYANI!"
Muskaan knew it was her fault. She did know how Babuji was and he was right to be angry. 
Muskaan: " Babuji I-"
Devayani quietly indicated to Muskaan to remain quiet as she knew her husband's rage. He needed time to cool down. She went up to his side.

Devayani calmly: " Leave it now Kushal. It won't happen again, right betiya?"
Muskaan nodded desperately wanting Kushal to not be angry anymore.
Kushal's mind still fogged with angry muttered: " She's irresponsible. Just like Abhi was! Why do you think he's not with us now..."
Muskaan looked up at Kushal with her heart stabbed.
Kushal continued: "Children these days don't understand when parents get worried. She went off without a word to go to the mandir and he...he sped home to get to Muskaan in hospital. Irresponsible. "
Muskaan felt hot tears fall and held back a sob before rushing out of the room. 

Devayani shook her at Kushal: "Kushal, calm down. You don't mean that."
Muskaan screamed: "BABUJI!!!"

Just as Muskaan was rushing towards the stairs her feet stumbled upon the bottom of her sari, making her fall forward screaming for her Kushal. With that blood curdling scream, Kushal and Devayani rushed out of their  room to see Muskaan roll down the long length of stairs, with each step thunderous. Kushal and Devayani felt their hearts fall, as their eyes couldn't believe and lips screamed only one name. 

"MUSKAAN!"

Kushal broke into a sprint along the corridor and stormed down the stairs missing a few along the way. He head spun slightly seeing each descending step was bloodier than the last. Just before Muskaan hit the bottom floor, Kushal stopped her. 
Kushal hysterical: " MUSKAAN!! Muskaan!!"
He gently turned her so her head rested on his arm. He held her face with the other free hand, tapping her cheeks desperately wanting her to wake. 
Kushal frightened out of his wits: " MUSKAAN!? DEVAYANI CALL AN AMBULANCE DAMMIT!"
He turned back to Muskaan to see her open her eyes weakly at him.
Kushal tried to ignore the blood soaking his arm behind her head and tears started to fall heavily.
Kushal : " Muskaan betiya. Wait Ok. The Ambulance is coming betiya. Just hold on for me."
Muskaan simply stared at him with a gently tearful smile. 

Devayani rushed down to come beside them with tears in her eyes and hands shaking as she stroked her head gently. 
Devayani: " Betiya the ambulance is coming. "
Kushal gently started do make Muskaan sit up against him to help the blood flow stop, but Muskaan shook her head.
Muskaan gasped roughly: " I'm ...so sorry ...Babuji."
Kushal roughly: " Be quiet Muskaan you pagli....You're going to be fine.... Just you watch."
Muskaan feeling weaker: " Babuji...Abhi is calling me."
Kushal never felt more vulnerable hearing those words. He grit his teeth as his eyes blurred with tears, while Devayani was sobbing beside her. Kushal held her close against his chest rocking her lightly, making Muskaan smile again.

Kushal desperately: " No...No....Please no... Betiya you can't...Just wait the ambulance is coming.... He can't be...Please don't go. You can't leave your old Babuji like this. And your children?..."
Muskaan smiled again closing her eyes before whispering one last time: " Babuji..."

~

Devayani staggered forward towards her sobbing husband: " Kushal...how could you say that? .... Everyone knows what happened...It wasn't your fault? How did you kill-"
Kushal shot up and turned to Devayani with fiery eyes: "If it wasn't for me, Muskaan wouldn't have ran!...If it wasn't for me, Muskaan wouldn't have fallen. IF.IT.WASN'T.FOR.MY.GODDAMN ANGER!!!! MUSKAAN WOULD HAVE BEEN ALIVE!!!"

Devayani stared up at her husband who she could see clearly now, haunted by the demons in the shadows,  wrapped in the vines of the past. For once in so many years, Devayani would see her husband again pained with guilt. Suffering silently. 
Devayani sadly: " All these years...and you have been thinking it was your fault. *stepping forward* Kushal...It's not true. If it was, why would Chote look up to you, Why would Anjili betiya be coming here over and over? No one blames you Kushal. It was an accident. And you know it. God always plans and if Muskaan didn't die then, she would have died another way. Everyone has their time."
Kushal shook his head, looking to the floor: " You don't understand what it's like-"
Devayani retorted: "I could blame myself then can't I?"

Kushal looked up at her confused. Devayani continued: " Well I should have gone after Muskaan when she ran out the room."
Kushal angrily: " Stop it. You're not taking this upon yourself-"
Devayani grilled: " Then stop taking this upon yourself!! You're blaming yourself for something that didn't involve your hand. Yes you shouted at Muskaan, but you wasn't wrong to. And I'm not saying it was Muskaan betiya's fault either! It's just *tearily* An unfortunate event. "

Kushal remained silent staring angrily at the floor. Somewhere deep inside of him he could feel Muskaan asking him the same, but he couldn't let go. It pained to let go and it pained to hold on. How could he explain this to anyone. 
Devayani put a hand on his shoulder: " You need to let go Kushal. You're letting this guilt take over your present and it's hurting everyone. Doesn't it hurt that it's distancing yourself from your family...And Chote!? He hasn't said a word to you since last week! You'r losing your grandson. Khushi reminds you of Muskaan is a sign Kushal! God wants this house to be full of joy like before. That innocent girl that you refuse to be a Raizada daughter-in-law, knows that you care for her so much and respects you. I'm scared to think that she'll wonder if it's because of her lack of speech you dislike-"
Kushal: " Devayani! Stop it."
Devayani: " Exactly! See! That's what I mean! You never show that outside!? Why!?"
Kushal sternly: " I can't let Khushi be apart of this family. The closer she gets, the more I care. The more I care, THE MORE SHE'LL GET HURT, JUST LIKE MUSKAAN!"


It was the two taps of knocking on the door making Devayani and Kushal remember the world around them. Kushal looked at the clock muttering about who'd be up now and stormed to the door to blast who ever was on the other side with a good shouting. Devayani followed closely behind, hoping he wouldn't say anything harsh at the person. Whipping open the door however the words and expression of anger was shot down, like a bird from the sky. 

Stood nervously in her teal green salwar night suit, with her dupatta openly draped round her shoulders, was Khushi. A silence set in as Kushal looked down at the neatly folded sari in her arms. It seemed like the one she wore earlier that night.
Devayani spoke up with a smile: " Betiya? You here? Is something wrong?"
Khushi shook her head and held out the sari to her. Devayani looked at it confused. She smiled.
Devayani: " Khushi betiya, this sari is for you to keep. You don't have to return it to me or Anjili. "
Retracting her arms hesitantly to hold the sari to herself again, she looked up at Kushal who was staring sternly at her.
Kushal: " Go you should go back to your room and sleep."
Khushi however stared at Kushal with a concerned, sympathetic look, making him wonder if she had heard even a little bit of what was said inside. 
Devayani smiled: " Go betiya, honestly you don't need to return the sari. *hinting at Kushal* Does she Kushal!? " 
Devayani then went back inside to let Kushal shut the door. Khushi was still hesitating to leave watching Kushal. 
Kushal gently in a low tone: " Betiya. Go to bed. Go." 

With that Khushi started to walk away, looking back time to time to see he was watching her leave. With what Khushi knew now, she was determined to help Kushal out of the past and into the future. But first she had to convince Arnav that all wasn't what it seemed with Kushal. And knowing his stubbornness was just as tough as his grandfather's, this was going to take some planning. 

*..........*..........*
x

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Chapter Forty-Six: Tip of the Thorn


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

The Charity ball was ending with all the guests giving in their last donations. They left with smiles on their faces as Kushal and Devayani bid them goodbye, one by one, at the front door. Arnav, however, took Aman out through to the back garden where the light chatter could still be heard, like a distant birdsong. There wasn't much of a wind swirling in the air tonight, as the garden was lit soundly by the solar lights along the paths. As Arnav and Aman walked calmly in silence along the gravel, past the Open area, they went deeper into the garden. 

After a while Aman couldn't keep his curious mind to rest.
Aman: " Bhai? Why have you brought me out here to tell me something important? Where are we going? Is there something the matter? "
Arnav didn't say anything. He just kept walking, now under the archway to the fountain, knowing Aman would follow. Arnav then stopped suddenly, turning to Aman, finding it hard to put it to words what to say to him. But he knew that he had to as Aman was just staring at him confused.
Arnav : " Maa used to always say to me when I was younger, that everything always happens for a reason. That when a door closes and another opens its a sign."
Aman smiled lightly at Arnav: " She was right. Your mother."
Arnav nodded before continuing: "Khushi told me about the talk you had, when you found out about Khushi and me..."
Aman looked down remembering that day of the engagement. He was genuinely glad that he had figured everything out, or else no one would have been happy.

Arnav eyed him seriously: " You don't still...love Khushi...do you Aman?"
Aman shot his head up to look at him shaking his head and hands: " No! *laughing* Of course not Bhai. Back then I did, but since that day Khushi and I talked I realized that I much rather have Khushi as my close friend. No hard feelings at all Bhai. Believe me. *chuckles*"
Arnav smirked softly: "Good....But what I wanted to talk to you about was that 'Blue Rose', you told Khushi about. "
Aman grinned nodding: " Yeaahh, well Khushi's your blue rose after all. Hmm?"
Arnav smiled: " Yes, but I was just wondering about your blue rose."

Aman frowned confused at Arnav hearing this and watched as he continued walking up the path towards the Fountain. Aman rushed to catch up to him, only to stop behind Arnav as he faced the fountain. 
Aman: " My Blue rose Bhai? What do you mean?"
Arnav then slowly turned around to move to Aman's side, letting Aman have full view of the fountain. Aman's eyes widened a bit seeing Chinky through the smooth water falling from the peak of the fountain. Sitting by herself on the wooden planked bench, she looked like she was waiting for someone. He did mention earlier tonight how pretty she looked in her green dress. Aman smiled softly unknowingly. Arnav watched Aman for a while seeing his reaction before continuing.
Arnav: " You said that you should find a blue rose with your name on it...However, I believe sometimes the  Blue rose to come to find you instead. And...*patting his shoulder encouragingly*  it would be a great tragedy if you missed your blue rose if it in front of you the whole time...don't you think? "

Aman's smile faded into a thoughtful expression, still staring at Chinky, while absorbing Arnav's words. Yes it would be a great tragedy. Arnav smiled but patting his shoulder again.
Arnav: " Anyways I have to go back. Promised Khushi to escort her to her room. *chuckles* So, I'll see you tomorrow Aman."
With that Arnav left Aman's side back the way he came while Aman remained stood there gazing at Chinky. He stepped forward towards her.


Arnav didn't go far and turned to see Aman go up to Chinky. She stood up with a worried expression and stepped forward towards Aman apprehensively. They both were talking. Arnav just then felt a soft yet gripping hand slip into his. He didn't have to look down to know it was Khushi, or to know she was jumping excited on her toes watching what he was watching.
Arnav firmly: " You know I only said a nudge, but this was a push."
He felt her lean her head against his suited bicep , as she was hugging his arm tightly, before nodding.
Arnav raised an eyebrow: " I would never had done this if you hadn't forced me to and on top of that you took the easy part to just send Chinky in. I think it was a rubbish plan telling her that Aman wants to tell her something important and is waiting for her here. She could have-"
Khushi whacked a hand playfully against his hard chest, making him shut up.

They watched quietly as Aman held Chinky's hands and pulled them close to him. Khushi wanted to hear and smooched forward, only to be stopped by Arnav's voice.
Arnav: "Khushi Kumari Gupta. Don't you dare take one more step. You did this plan and now you want to have a listen to their private talk? Give them space Khushi."
Khushi pouted knowing Arnav was right. They were only standing there to make sure there was some sign to tell them that everything was a 'go' for the two in front of them. They suddenly saw a huge grin appear on Chinky's face and before they knew it she had dashed into Aman's arms squeezing him tight as if her life depended on it.

Arnav nodded: " Ok, that's enough. Lets go."
Khushi frowned as she wanted to see further, but he held her tightly by his side, walking them out from the area. Khushi bit her lip, before strained her neck behind her shoulder to just see Aman swoop down to kiss Chinky. Khushi grinned and blushed, before turning her head back forward. Mission accomplished!
Arnav smirked: " Happy?"
Khushi looked up at Arnav and leaned her head against his chest, nodding. Arnav hmm-ed liking the warmth she radiated.
Arnav: " Now how about that escort back to your room, Hmm?"
Khushi pinked slightly and nodded, making Arnav's chest vibrated from the gently chuckle inside him.

~

As the two arrived to Khushi's room, from the quietness from the Hall, they could tell that the guests have all left and everyone else had probably gone to sleep. As Khushi opened the door, she turned to see Arnav with a very mischievous smile playing upon his lips. Arnav went to enter the bedroom too, but Khushi shocked pushed him back.
Arnav huskily: " Come on Khushi...I did do your bidding for you today *winks*."
Khushi looked down with a grin shyly and shook her head at him. Raja barked behind Khushi from the bed, making Arnav raise an eyebrow.
Arnav leaned against the door side: " Ohh I see how it is, Raja's keeping you for himself tonight? *talking a bit loader for Raja* What did we talk about sharing!?"
Raja barked replying back, making the two smile happily at the door. Arnav teased her by trying one last time to enter, but Khushi pushed him back again softly, with a shy smile shaking her head. She went to shut the door, but he pulled her to him, making her gasp with wide eyes.
Arnav smiled handsomely at her, before sensually whispering to her: "I'm letting this go for now but remember that after we're married... you can't stop me then from entering our room. Understand?"
Khushi smiled shyly understanding fully making Arnav grin cheekily.

Kushal was passing by that corridor, heading towards the staircase, when he noticed the two. He paused watching as Arnav stroked Khushi's cheek before kissing her forehead. Kushal sadly watched as Arnav said good night to Khushi, letting her shut the door. Arnav watching her close the door, scratched the back of his head with a smile, before walking to head for the stairs. However, just as Arnav noticed Kushal, tension held time in it's clutches. 

Arnav realizing Kushal was watching, felt embarrassed, which was soon washed out remembering his grandfather's past deeds and thoughts about them. His jaw tightened and ignored his presence  simply walking back him swiftly heading up the stairs. Kushal watched him go wordlessly. He had figured out during the ball that Arnav knew he was the reason Khushi was sent away. He understood his young grandson's silent anger. He sighed however as that pain in his heart resurfaced again, making him squeeze his fists.
Devayani softly: "Kushal?"
Kushal taken aback looked over his shoulder seeing his wife watching him with woeful eyes. He knew what she wanted, but he couldn't. Wouldn't. Sharply, he turned away heading the way Arnav went, however into his own room.

~

As Kushal burst into the bedroom, he halted in the middle of the room looking high up into the sky, through the window. His heart was pumping fast thinking over about how Arnav cared so much about Khushi and how it was too late to stop them from getting close. He felt...fear.

Not hearing the door close gently and light footstep coming up to stop behind him, Kushal bit back a sob.
Devayani put a comforting hand on Kushal's shoulder: " You need to tell me Kushal. Your grandson has got engaged to Khushi betiya now. He's angry..so angry you can see it through his eyes. But all he wants is you to accept Khushi-"
Kushal walked away closer to the window, with a hand resting to the side. He spoke harshly.
Kushal: " I can't Devayani. I can't let Khushi come into our family as a Daughter-in-law. "
Devayani stepped forward: " But WHY?! Why is what I'm asking Kushal? You don't hate her. In fact you care very deeply about her like you did with Muskaan Betiya. Khushi's perfect for Chote-"
Kushal desperately: " You don't understand Devayani. I need to stay away from her..."
Devayani angrily: " Why?! What has she done to you that makes you so distant from her all the time and only when no one's around you let your walls down."
Kushal closed his eyes muttering: "It's not what she has done to me...It's what I may do to her..."
Devayani frowned: " What?! What do you mean!? Your actions are pulling this family apart!! You can't stay quiet anymore. You have to tell me why-"
Kushal turned sharply to Devayani with eyes red with tears: " I KILLED HER!...*desperately*... I killed my...my Muskaan betiya..."
Devayani felt her heart stop hearing him say those words.
Kushal fell to the chair beside him sobbing: "...And ...I don't want to kill Khushi betiya too."

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

I know this part isn't long. But doesn't need to be.
Thanks for waiting to read this. Do comment :)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Chapter Forty-Five: Meadow's Melody

~Maha~

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

It was much later on that night, when Arnav quietly slipped into Khushi's room to find Raja and her fast asleep in bed. He stood at the end of the bed,with his hands in his black jogger bottom pockets, with a stripy jumper on, cutting slightly low on his chest. With a thoughtful stern expression, he stared at Khushi in her white salwar. She was laid right in the middle of the two white pillows with her hair fanned out to the side. The duvet was covering her just up to her bosom line, as her arms were out; one hand laid on her stomach, while the other laid on Raja's head behind his ears.

Arnav felt pain dwelling in his heart knowing now that his grandfather was the reason why Khushi was sent away. It was suffocating to know his Dada had moved her away, as easy as a chess piece, from his life, right under his nose. There was so much running through his mind, shouting at him what to do. Should he confront him? Should he scream and shout? Should he hate his Dada? Or should he just sit and cry? Gazing at Khushi now who was so pure and innocent, all he wanted to do is to stay numb.

A lone tear fell from the corner of his eye as he slowly walked round the bed to the side. He wiped it away quickly, before lifting the duvet to carefully slip in. Still gazing at Khushi's face with wide eyes, Arnav shuffled bit by bit closer to her, not wanting to disturb her slumber. As if by instinct, Khushi started to move sluggishly, making Arnav totally still beside her, waiting to see what she does. With a cute pout on her lips, she turned away from Raja, towards Arnav, as if knowing he was there, and began to snuggle deep into his arms. Arnav sighed lightly and let her rub her cheek against the fabric of his jumper on his chest, breathing him in contently. He complied by putting his arms round her too and glanced at Raja quickly, making sure he hadn't woken up. All Raja did was twitch his ears in his sleep.

Khushi slurring: " Arrnav..."
The tips of Arnav's mouth curved ever so slightly into a small smile, before his arms squeezed her body a bit closer to let her know he was there. Khushi stilled again, letting Arnav absorb disappointingly the silence of the air again. He lent his head back against the pillow fully, looking up at the designed ceiling of swirls. He wondered why Kushal would do something like this, to someone like Khushi. What crime had he done by falling in love with Khushi? There much be a reason why, Arnav thought with a desperate frown. Did Kushal like Khushi, but just not as a daughter-in-law? Had Khushi done something to upset him? Should...Should he understand why Kushal is like this as he would never do something without a valid reason?...Should he?

It was then he felt Khushi's hand trail up on his jumper and stop close to her face, to grip the fabric making it stretch a little. Feeling her heartbeat against his body, Arnav with determined eyes lifted his hand to cover Khushi's hand. He finally decided that he didn't care what the reason was his grandfather was hiding. He wasn't going to leave Khushi for anyone or anything. I love Khushi and it doesn't matter what anyone thinks. Arnav closed his eyes before another tear started to fall. Even if it is Dada.

~

It was the day of the Charity ball at the Raizada's and the hall looked gorgeous with midnight blue drapes and silver bead work decorated. It was just as Anjili wanted as she wanted to do the decoration choice this year.Kushal and Devayani were proud of her choice. Aman and Chinky being told the guests were arriving in pairs for the evening from 8 pm, they helped Madhu with the finishing dishes with the food for the buffet.

It was 4 pm when Khushi exited the shower with a yellow churidar on and a towel on her head, with a slightly damp Raja following behind her. After having a shower herself, Khushi thought she might as well give Raja a wash too with her, instead of having his mischief when giving him a shower.

Now sat in front of the mirror, Khushi stared at herself for a bit. Her bandages were now all removed and her health was nearly fully better. Just as Raja propped up beside her on the huge stool, Khushi wrapped a massive towel round him and rubbed him dry. She grinned seeing his tail wagging and tongue out. She knew this was his favorite part after a shower. After making Raja's fur very fluffy, Khushi got his brush and gently brushed his fur and mane down. Raja tried to distract Khushi by licking her jaw, but she'd know his tricks and gesture him to sit properly. Happy with her work, she put the brush down and nod at Raja, making him bark. He'd leap off the stool and sit quietly on the bed, watching Khushi dry her own hair.

But there was a sudden knock at the door, making them look up to see Devayani and Anjili come in with soft smiles. Khushi grinned in awe to see how beautifully they were dressed for the night ahead. Devayani was wearing a very posh cream sari with heavy a heavy design, while Anjili wore a silver designer sari.
Devayani asked gently: "How are you feeling today betiya?"
Khushi grinned at her perkily making Anjili smile: "Told you Dadi! Khushi is tip top. So come on Khushi get dressed!*giggled*"
Khushi frowned looking at the two, while Raja tilted his head. Dressed?
Anjili went behind Khushi and held her shoulders close: " Don't look so shocked! *giggles* Of course you have to get dressed for tonight don't you. Or else who else will partner Chote at the ball?"
Khushi's eyes widened: "Arnav?"
Anjili turned her round: " Yep that's the one. Now word of warning. Chote takes time to start dancing properly. He forgets every year, but it only takes a minute or two to remember how to dance again. "
Devayani hushed teasingly: " Anjili stop picking on your brother. I heard from Chote, Khushi did dance classes at the hostel she stayed at, so he will have no problem at all."

Khushi gulped and mentally panicked. We only just got to Ball dancing in class. I haven't a clue!! She looked towards Raja with pleading eyes. Raja! Help! Raja got up from the bed and barked bringing all eyes to him.
Anjili smiled: " Raja? What is it?"
He jumped off the bed and went up to the packet in Devayani's hand. Anjili smiled excited and went to the bag to bring out a beautiful sari. She went up to Khushi and held it out to her.
Anjili: " This sari is for you to wear tonight!"
Khushi eyed at Raja looking curiously at her. She shook her head at him. I meant help me, not help them!
Anjili sadly: " Don't you like it?"
Khushi snapped her eyes back to her alarmed and took the sari from her grinning to make Anjili happy.

Anjili clapped her hands happily: " Great! You get ready slowly and come to the hall, ok?!"
Raja barked again, making Anjili laugh: " Ok ok. Raja you can come to. Besides *crouching down to him to pet him* With my husband not here, you can keep me company. Hmm?"
Raja barked happily making Anjili smile. Khushi was busy biting her lip, when Devayani patted her shoulder.
Devayani: " Don't worry betiya. I have told Madhu betiya and she said it's fine that you can go. "
Khushi smiled weakly nodding as Anjili and Devayani left the room. However, as soon as they shut the door, Khushi sighed distressed sitting on the bed with a springing bounce. She bit her lip worried. There's going to be other people there, like Arnav's friends and other business people. Oh no! Didn't Aman say there's going to be the media there too!!?!?! She closed her eyes shaking her head. How many people am I going to embarrass Arnav in front of!? She gasped realizing something else too. What if someone wants to talk to me!? What will I do!?!? No! I'm not going!!

She crossed her arms with an innocent frown on her face. She shook her head over and over convincing herself that she was doing the right thing. But then she heard a little ruffing sound, making her look down in front of her. Raja was looking up at her with wide eyes and whining as he lifted his front paws to lay on the sari on her lap. He then put his head down on it too. Khushi sighed. Raja's right. I can't just leave Arnav waiting for me. He'll feel bad. She stroked the top of Raja's head with a soft smile, before looking at the sari. 'Nervous' was definitely an understatement of what she was feeling right now.

~

Arnav was apprehensively waiting near the corridor of the Hall, in his Armani dark metallic suit and tie. Greeting some of the guests that came in, his eyes kept looking for Khushi. Anjili tapped his shoulder making him jump a bit. He turned to see her teasing smile.
Arnav: "Di?!...Urm was there something you wanted?"
Anjili giggled ignoring his question: "Looking for Khushi Chote?"
Arnav stumped looked around: " Ahh...no. no! Why would I? I mean I know she's coming. So..."
Anjili smiled: " And she IS! Don't worry. Raja's coming, so Khushi will definitely come too. *giggles* But Chote you have to come along soon. Dada and Dadi are waiting for you on stage. "
Arnav confidently: " No Di...I'll wait for her."
Anjili smiled: " Well I guess you don't have to wait for her anymore...She's here."

Arnav turned round fast to see Khushi was standing a few feet in front of him, with anxious eyes and fidgeting fingers. His breath was knocked out of him. The sari looked stunning on her especially with her hair simply straight and out behind her.


Peeping from behind her, was Raja with his fur extra neat with a cute bow tie on. Anjili grinned seeing her partner and patter her legs. Raja came forward and let Anjili pet him, before letting her lead him inside. Arnav walked towards Khushi slowly, with his eyes unable to move from her. Stopping in front of her, Arnav watched as Khushi nervously twitched a smile at him, before glancing her eyes into the hall worried. Arnav smirked and put his hands over hers.
Arnav huskily: " Khushi...You look....*raising an eyebrow*...I'm lost for words really."
Khushi couldn't help but blush, but it didn't last as the worry crept back to her. Arnav noticed and smoothly held out an arm towards her. Khushi smiled hesitantly and took it, letting Arnav lead her in.

As the cameras began to snap, Khushi gripped Arnav's arm tighter. Arnav whispered close to her ear, while walking.
Arnav: " Relax Khushi...It's fine...I'm here aren't I?"
Khushi smiled nodding at him quickly, letting the nerves in front of others slip. However there's still something else that lingered on her mind. The dance!?!? As they stepped up onto stage, Kushal clicked his glass to start his speech.
Kushal smiled grandly: " I thank you all for coming here tonight for this most gracious event. Set up by my...late Daughter-in-law Muskaan, I believe we never fail to disappoint her as we come together to give to charity together through this glamorous function. And I hope we all together raise greatly just like last year for the charity we support each year. It's a great cause and so as you donate generously into the glass boxes at the side, please do also enjoy tonight's dance with your partners. Thank you."
Everyone clapped appreciating Kushal's speech and watched as he and Devayani walked off stage to his circle of associates, shaking their hands.

Arnav again noticed Khushi's lost expression, making him hold her close with an arm. She looked up at him suddenly, lighting a smirk on his lips. He pointed into the crowd discretely, letting Khushi see Aman holding out an arm for Chinky to take. Khushi grinned happy that things were going well for the two. Khushi and Arnav walked off stage to greet them.
Aman noticed Khushi first: "Khushi!! Bhai! Look at you two! Ready for the dance later?"
Khushi's felt her body tense at the word 'dance', instantly catching Arnav's attention.
Chinky grinned: " Of course she is! She's loves dancing. And *whispering* in front of these camera she'll be a pro! *giggles*"
Unfortunately Khushi wasn't able to share their glee and kept mum.
Aman: " Well I'll show Khushi! Remember that night we danced? Why else do you think I am taking part in this dance?! It's Khushi verses me!"
Khushi smiled remembering, but noticed the light in Chinky's smile and eyes dim, feeling outlasted instantly. Khushi rewound Aman's words in her head making her feel awful about what Chinky must be thinking. So does this mean Aman hasn't asked Chinky for a dance out of love?! He wanted to challenge me?! Khushi felt annoyed. Just when I think they're going a step forward, it feels like they're taking 2 steps back!
Aman: "Anyways. See you too later!"
Khushi watched as Aman and Chinky walked away. She was now determined that no matter what happens, tonight was the night Aman would know about Chinky's love. Even is she had to bash it into him.

Arnav's voice snapped her out of her thoughts: " So....You ready for us to dance later?"
Khushi's heart alarmed again at that word. She gulped. Arnav smiled softly definitely understanding now. He turned Khushi to face him, their eyes locked.
Arnav comfortingly: " It's ok Khushi if you don't know how to ball room dance. I'm not a pro either, but I'll lead the way for you."
Khushi's eyes widened, shocked at how he knew. Arnav smiled fondly at her expression wanting to kiss her firmly on the lips, but restrained himself. Khushi looked around then at the camera men nervously.
Arnav breath kissed her cheek: " Nothing will go wrong. Trust me. As long as I'm here nothing will go wrong. And don't be worried about your feet stepping on my feet when you dance."
Khushi looked up at him sorrily.
Arnav grandly: " Becuase I'll do my best to avoid yours."
Khushi shyly smiled at him, making him chuckle.

~

The night was going well, with the hall full with round about 100 guests, all being met and greeted by Kushal and Devayani. Couples went up to Khushi and Arnav instantly seeing Khushi's beauty, with curiosity it they're gleaming eyes. Arnav dashingly covered Khushi for each question, making Khushi feel relieved but also feeling she should try to put the effort in her self. It was went Arnav left Khushi to get them drinks, when she was approached by a couple with beady eyes. The male greeted her as did the woman with a warm "Hi". Khushi smiled, but her eyes however were panicking already, searching for Arnav.
The lady spoke up: " How long have you known Mr.Raizada then?"
Khushi was conflicted. She knew nothing would come out her mouth so she simply stepped back, but bumped into someone else. However, it just went bad to worse.

Kinjal Rathi: " Watch where your-!...Oh not you again! Here to trap someone else with your beauty!? "
The few people looked in, to see what's going on. Kinjal smirked seeing Khushi terrified.
Kinjal: " Ohhh so your scared of being found out are you? *looking round at everyone* This girl is a deception in disguise! She might look pretty but she's a mute! Hmph! And I nearly thought of getting my son married to her. "
Everyone around started to mutter to each other making Khushi feel like a fish out of water. She opened her mouth to try to speak but her heart started to pulsate and head began to rush painfully with pressure. She could sense tears blurring her eyes as she nearly fell back, only to get pulled into Arnav's strong arms.

Arnav's narrow eyes met hers, making Khushi sighed letting her head rest against his chest to catch her breath. Arnav held her close and shot a dark vicious stare at Kinjal.
Arnav: "I should thank you really, becuase if you didn't so no to Khushi, I probably would be able to find have her as mine instead. "
Kinjal frowned at him as did everyone else confused. Arnav grit his teeth, thinking about what insults Khushi and Madhu must have received from this woman.
Arnav: " Khushi is my fiance."
Kinjal and her friends were taken aback, while everyone else looked on.
Kinjal: "But she's damaged-"
Arnav stepped forward with a deathly voice: " Say that again."

Time stopped as the cameras flashed on. Khushi looked up from Arnav's chest shocked how angry he was in front of everyone. Anjili, Devayani and Kushal were shocked to see this situation arise.
Kushal: " How dare that Rathi-"
Kushal went to step forward, but held back by Devayani.
Devayani quietly, but confidently: " Let Chote handle this Kushal."
They watched only as spectators with Aman and Chinky also watching on.

Arnav gravely: " I think it's best you left Mrs Rathi. Our Charity to the disabled children would not find value in your donation. "
Kinjal totally humiliated left with cameras snapping behind her. The silence of the hall was unbearable, til Arnav looked down protectively at Khushi against him.
Arnav roughly: " Come."
Arnav led Khushi to the middle of the Hall, as the music started to play gently. He held Khushi by her hand, before turning to guests and cameras.
Arnav: " Anyone in this hall, who believes that just because an individual has lost their voice, sight, or hearing should not be treated like a human being... should not have the same rights as a human being....should not have a normal life....They can follow Mrs Rathi out. This Charity doesn't need your fake meaningless money. I only expect those who have the best hearts and intentions to join me and Khushi for this first of dances of tonight. Thank you."

Khushi in awe watched Arnav turn to her with loving protective eyes, bow to kiss the back of her hand before pulling her gently close to start the dance. She was too lost to think or even worry about her dancing skills and so simply followed Arnav's lead. She didn't know what she had done in  life to deserve such a man...however she could never be thankful enough.



As Devayani and Anjili grinned proudly at the couple in the middle of the hall dancing, they hugged each other close as one by one from the huge crowd of guests, they walked on to the center floor and started to dance. The cameras quietened down, taking random snaps of the couples joining the dance.With every height of the music, Arnav would twirl his Khushi round, making her hair elegantly fall into place. Her eyes however remained glued to his. He held her close, so their nose to nose, before giving her a intense look.
Arnav quietly: "Why did you try to talk earlier?...To be like them?"
Khushi knew this was coming and looked down guiltily, letting Arnav's jaw brush against the side of her face.
Arnav continued: "I don't want you to be like them Khushi. You don't need to. All you have to be like is Khushi. Because being Khushi is perfect. Speech or no speech. I love you dearly. More than my life. Understand?"
Khushi with teary eyes looked up at his soft smile and impulsively jumped up to hug him, with her arms round his neck. She grinned nodding innocently never wanting the moment to end.

In the distance Kushal watched the two with a warm smile feeling content after a long time. Devayani smiled seeing Kushal looking happy at the Arnav and Khushi together. She couldn't stay upset with her husband long, especially when she really knew his heart was in the right place. It was just his actions that were in question. It was a pleasant shock for all hearing Arnav wanted to marry Khushi , but Devayani couldn't put her finger on Kushal's thoughts at the moment about it. She had been watching him since seeing the wall round his heart fade. However just when she put a hand on his shoulder, the moment snapped. Kushal quickly built his walls again and stormed off angry for being caught.

~

Arnav led Khushi out from the hall and onto the platform near the pool outside. She was staring at Arnav curiously as he had abruptly left the dance all of a sudden, taking her too. She looked through the french windows to see the everyone else still merrily dancing. No one had noticed them go. She suddenly felt the back of Arnav's hand brush against her jaw. She grinned finding it ticklish and turned to look at him admiring her fondly. 
Arnav: "Khushi...The moment has come."
Khushi tilted her head a bit wondering. What moment?
She looked down as where Arnav's eyes laid and saw Muskaan's ring held between his thumb and forefinger. Khushi remembered.

" The next time I give you the ring, will you accept it?" 

She grinned up at Arnav as he held a handsome smile on his face. Just as Arnav went to pick up her hand however, Khushi had a flickering thought. I wonder if- Arnav watched her pause his hand. He frowned looking up at her.
Arnav: " Khushi? What is it?"
Khushi calmly pointed at him before pointing back inside, at what looked like Kushal, Devayani and Anjili. She then pointed at the ring questioningly.
Arnav frowned: " Khushi I don't need their permission to give my mother's ring to you."
Khushi pouted and crossed her arms refusing to wear the ring. Arnav sighed annoyed and continued.
Arnav: " Fine. Dadi and Di know that I'm going to give you Maa's ring, Ok? Does that count?"
He turned her back to him, but Khushi paused him again, before pointing straight at Kushal. Arnav didn't even have to look to know who she was pointing at. His jaw tightened and turned away from Khushi.

Khushi frowned not understanding his silence and annoyance on his face. She gently put hand on Arnav's shoulder.
Khushi cautiously: " Arnav?"
Arnav felt himself break hearing his name through her voice. He took a deep breath before speaking in a harsh tone.
Arnav: " Dada...Dada doesn't want you to be a Raizada's Daughter-in-law, Khushi."
Khushi lifted the hand from his shoulder taken aback from the statement. She looked down to the ground thinking about this. What? Why? Had I done something wrong?....No, if I had he would have shouted at me. 
Arnav continued bitterly: " He hasn't been much fond of you Khushi. He knows that we love each other and so he sent you away Khushi to that Hostel...to separate us."
Khushi shocked looked up then and rushed to stand in front of him. She held his face in her hands so his steel eyes would soften seeing her. With pleading eyes she shook her head at him, trying her best to tell him that wasn't true. Tears filled her eyes, unable to bear Arnav thinking such things of his own Dada. Especially when it was all wrong. Arnav however sadly shook his head.
Arnav: " It's true Khushi. He might have told you something else but what I'm saying it true. He wanted to separate us."

Khushi stepped back angrily. Why doesn't anyone understand!?! Dadaji isn't like that!! She then looked determinedly at Arnav, wiping her tears quickly. She lifted a hand a shook it asking why would he do that. She demanded an explanation  Arnav gazed at his Khushi, seeing how she was denying this. He knew she was too innocent to understand his Dada's stubborn and irrational decisions. He stepped forward to hold her upper arms gently.
Arnav: " I don't know why, Khushi. No one does. Not even Dadi, but this is the truth. Believe me Khushi. I remember before I even knew who you were Dada used to talk bitterly about you whenever you were mentioned. Please Khushi stop."
Khushi stood numbly staring up at Arnav. She didn't know what to say or think. When Madhu used to say this to her too, she'd brush it off as Kushal was never rude to her at all. Just very reserved. But now hearing this from Arnav himself...

Arnav snapped her out of her thoughts by holding her face delicately in his hands: "Khushi...it doesn't change anything. Ok? I still and will always love you. I couldn't care less what Dada thinks. Dadi will make him come round I'm sure, but please...please don't refuse Maa's ring."
Khushi shook her head sadly. If what Arnav was saying was true, she wanted to gain Kushal's acceptance first. Deep in her heart she knew something was amiss, but she wanted to find out. She wanted to- But Arnav wasn't going to take no as an answer.
Arnav pulled her close, slamming her body to his. She gasped looking up into his eyes.
Arnav firmly: "Do you love me Khushi?"
Khushi frowned not believing he'd ask such a question. Arnav knowing the answer continued.
Arnav huskily: " Since when have you been mine, Khushi?....."
Khushi looked up at Arnav with doe eyes. She knew what he was saying. Watching her close her eyes, giving in, Arnav planted a soft kiss on her lips. Pulling away he then lifted Khushi's hand, kissing it before slipping on the band of promise onto her finger. It was a perfect fit.

Arnav still holding Khushi's hand, solemnly looked straight into Khushi's eyes: " Even if Dada doesn't accept you sooner or later...I will marry you Khushi....no matter what."
Khushi stared at Arnav unable to believe he would say something like that. She stayed quiet however, and let him kiss her forehead and head back inside. Khushi watched him go, before looking down at the ring on her finger. It truly was beautiful she thought with a soft smile. However, this sense of incompleteness wouldn't go until she got Kushal's acceptance...or convinced everyone that he does care for her dearly.

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

Sorry for any typo errors. Really rushed at the mo. 
x

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Chapter Forty-Four: Timing of Breezes

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

As days passed, Khushi's health only got better and better, as the weakness slowly seeped away from her. Some of her bandages like on her forehead, was soon removed too, with only a tiny healed cut remained visible. She still had her wrist, upper arms and her upper thigh bandaged as those where the deeper bruises and wounds. With the amount of juice and fruit that Anjili, Devayani and Madhu had been feeding her, Khushi was certain that when they came in separately, they didn't know that she had already been fed someone else in the trio.

Arnav for the first couple of days was very distant mentally, which Khushi couldn't help notice, when he comes in to kiss her secretly and check on her. Khushi had seen his eyes lost in thought sometimes, making her curious, but he'd stop frowning as soon as he'd notice her staring and give her a cheeky wink to put her off track in thought. 

Since she discovered she can stand on her two feet again, when Arnav wasn't looking, she would try to escape from the room, like a jail bird, to go outside to the garden at least. However, it didn't even take 2 minutes before she'd feel Arnav swiftly lift her, be it in his arms or over his shoulder, as take her back into the room. She's sigh heavily each time and narrow her eyes at Raja following them. Raja being her bodyguard knew everywhere she went, even when Arnav wasn't there. She knew that the two cared for her so, but now it was just getting annoying. I want to go out!!!

In the room laying in bed bored, she'd try to read out loud a book she had found randomly in the bedside table drawer. Even though her voice box didn't allow her to utter a single syllable properly, she defiantly gave it a go. She felt angry sometimes when she felt no progress in her voice and so tried even harder. However, after a minute it would lead to dreadful pain in her head and throat. Arnav caught her once doing this and snatched the book from her angrily and chucked it across the room, making Khushi jump. Arnav didn't say a word. Khushi knew he was upset that she had tried to talk, even though the doctor had told her not to force herself. Arnav would immediately calm down and sit beside her, before kissing her forehead ever so gently. He would shake his head at her firmly, not wanting her to do something like this again. Khushi just felt bad that she had upset him when he had done so much for her. She would then smile softly and kiss him on the nose with a smile shining after. Arnav, of course, instantly forgave her. 

~

Arnav shocked: "You made Raja what!?!?"
Khushi grinned proudly and nodded with her arms crossed. Raja barked wagging his tail happily. Arnav couldn't believe the two. Khushi had sent Aman and Chinky to the closet which she knew could only be opened from the outside, and got Raja had to close the door on Aman and Chinky!!
Arnav: " Khushi! I said you could nudge the two in the right direction. Not bloody lock them in a closet together! *sighed and started to get off the bed* That's it I'm-"
But Khushi held on to his arm, pulling him back desperately: "Arnav!"
Arnav staring at Khushi: "What the-"
Khushi gave him the pleading eyes tapping the back of her wrist, asking for a little more time. Arnav shook his head at her and tried to go again, but Khushi pulled him again. She then waved a hand to calm him, before showing a hand gesture to ask Raja to go open the closet door instead. Raja barked before leaving through the slim opening of the door, making Khushi grin at Arnav, but he wasn't convinced. He went to stand again, but this time when Khushi pulled him back by pulling the front of his shirt, it tore, making buttons fly. Her eyes went wide as did Arnav's.

Khushi gasped and put a hand to her mouth, not knowing whether to laugh or to be totally sorry. Arnav lifted his eyes from his tore shirt revealing his chest, to a very still Khushi. He raised his eyebrows at her.
Arnav half annoyed but mostly teasing: " Ohhh I get it now...*smirked devilishly* You wanted us to-"
Khushi realizing the tables turning, shook her head innocently, making Arnav more eager. He started to unbutton the rest of his shirt with predatory eyes on Khushi. She started to shuffle back nervously. What have I got myself into now!?!? If anyone comes through the door what will they thin- Her thoughts were immediately put on hold, as Arnav's lips had already pounced on hers.

~

Aman tried to push on the door again. But it was no use.
Aman sighed: " Nope, someone has to open it from the other side. HELLO!! ANYONE THERE!? OPEN THE DOOR!?"
With the store light slightly dim, Chinky sniffed as she sat on the piled boxes in the corner. 
Chinky: " What a way to die! In a closet, wearing a simple blue churidar. Uffff!"
Aman laughed out load and turned to look at her: " You're not going to die Chinky....And what do you mean just wearing that? Did you prefer dying another way?"
Chinky: " I thought if I die, I'd die really dramatically in a heavy dress or something. You know like the heroines. *sniff*"
Aman smiled fondly at Chinky, and shook his head at her adorable talks: " I don't know about everything else, but you are definitely a heroine Chinky."
Chinky looked at him with cute eyes and smile: "Really?..."
Aman chuckled lightly: " Of course! Remember that day at the mall? You're my heroine Chinky, no doubt. "
Chinky looking down, glad the light was slightly dim, so he couldn't see her red cheeks. Her legs started to involuntarily swing back and forth, but this caused the empty boxes to suddenly brake into itself, not able to support Chinky's weight. She screamed falling back, but felt strong arms go round her, hands supporting her back holding her against the wall, so she didn't fall any further. He hands instinctively grabbed what ever was in front of her too.

She opened her eyes to see Aman very close to her with concerned eyes. Her eyes widened and heart raced a marathon. She never knew that despite the light was dimmed, Aman looked so handsome up this close as well. Even more than afar. Aman gripped on to her tighter.
Aman: " Chinky?!! Chinky are you ok?! Are you hurt?!"
Chinky still staring at him in a lost daze, shook her head. To be honest if she was hurt, she could definitely not tell. 
Chinky smiled lightly: " You saved me Aman..."
Aman grinned widely still looking into her eyes: " Of course I did. *chuckles*"
However Aman started to frown a bit, realizing how pretty Chinky looked. Her playful smile and soft skin...and-
Aman: " You have very round eyes Chinky..."
Chinky blinked at that: " Is that good or bad? "
Aman raised his eyes brows confused at himself: " Good...I guess..."

Their lips were ever so close, when suddenly the was scratching at the door, making Aman put Chinky safely on the floor. Feeling awkward that moment, Aman diverted his attention to the door, realizing Raja was on the other side, opening it. He grinned as the door opened and Raja popped his head in with his tongue out happily. 
Aman came out and bent down to Raja stroking his mane: " Good boy Raja! I knew you'd come to save us."
Raja sat down enjoying the attention as Chinky also crouched down to stroke him too appreciatively. Aman and Chinky glanced at each other with a soft smile before looking back at Raja again, petting him. 
Chinky smiled shyly: " Good boy Raja..."

~

Anjili walked down the corridor, holding a tray with a bandage roll, scissors, a bowl of water, some cotton wool balls and ointment on it. Looking at the time she smiled seeing she was alright for time before tea. She knew that Devayani and Kushal had also called her to the study to discuss about the Charity Ball event being held by them at their Mansion. It was Raizada tradition to do it every year since Muskaan suggested it in her first year of marriage all those years ago and this time would be no different. 
Reaching Khushi's room, Anjili knocked on the door gently: " Khushi?"

Khushi's eyes flung open hearing Anjili's voice and snapped out of the pleasure a certain Arnav Singh Raizada was doing to her lips. With Arnav still in black trousers and pinning Khushi down on the bed, it was difficult for her to push him off. Slipping one of her hands free, she pushed Arnav up making him frown.
Khushi alarmed whispered: " Arnav!!"
He frowned seeing her eyes indicate the door, making him stand up beside the bed to attention. Khushi and Arnav looked at their situation. Arnav with only his trousers on and shirt ripped on the floor, and a fully clothed Khushi, with her lips slightly swollen and hair totally a mess....and Anjili just outside. 

Khushi knew that even if Arnav put the shirt back on, the rip won't repair itself and so, urgently pointed at Arnav and then under the bed, making Arnav understand her idea. Just as the door crept open, Arnav took his shirt and dived under the bed, while Khushi tried to smooth out her hair and the bed a bit. 
Anjili seeing Khushi smiled as she smiled back nervously: " Khushi, it's time to change your bandages."
Khushi nodded hoping Arnav was out of sight, and went to stand on the other side of the bed. Anjili frowned while putting the tray down on the side. 
Anjili: " Khushi, why did you get up yourself? I'm here aren't I?...Anyways we'll do your arms first hmm?"

Khushi smiled and let Anjili unwrap her arm bandages and wrist bandages, before cleaning the wounds and preparing them to be wrapped again. Her eyes flickered down time to time, hoping Arnav couldn't be seen by Anjili. Finishing her arms and wrists neatly, Khushi went to lift her salwar trouser for the thigh bandage. Anjili stopped her. 
Anjili: " Khushi, it would be better if you took them off instead so I can wrap it properly. You'll feel comfortable then. "
Khushi hesitantly smiled and did as Anjili asked as slid off her trousers. Arnav on the other hand was enjoying the sight of Khushi's creamy legs under the bed and tried to be sneaky peering closer to look up. But just then Anjili moved close to start removing the bandage, making him stagger back, hitting his head under the bed. He swore under his breath at the sharp pain. Anjili halted.
Anjili: " Did you hear that?"
Khushi's eyes widened and shook her head at her innocently. Anjili shook her head, brushing the thought off and continued.

5 mins later she was done, and after Khushi wore her trousers again, Anjili helped her tuck into bed. She stroked her head gently.
Anjili: " Now Buaji will be coming soon with your tea. Ok?"
Khushi smiled and nodded thankfully. Anjili headed towards the door, before stopping with a mischievous smile.
Anjili: "Khushi?"
Khushi looked up at her.
Anjili: " If you see Chote, tell him to come to the study soon as Dada and Dadi have called him. We need to talk about arrangements for the Charity event next week...OH and *giggles* tell him that if he needs his buttons sewing up to give the shirt to Chinky. She'd do it for him."
As Anjili smiled secretly and walked off, Khushi's body had tensed realizing that Anjili had known. She looked across to see the 3-4 white buttons of Arnav's shirt scattered on the bed. She closed her eyes and bit her lip annoyed with herself. 

Khushi: " Arnav!!"
Arnav crawled out from under the bed and looked at a very vexed Khushi: " Listen it's not my fault she figured it all out! Cleverness and cheek runs in the family."
As Arnav smirked as Khushi gawped at his shamelessness and lifted a pillow to chuck at him. Arnav however rushed out laughing making her sigh hit the pillow on her face instead, totally embarrassed. It wasn't long though before that pout turned into a shy smile instead. 

~

Kushal stormed out of the Study leaving Anjili shocked and Devayani understandably quiet. Anjili walked up to her Dadi concerned.
Anjili: " Dadi? What's wrong with Dada? He's been like this since Khushi has come back from hospital. What's happened?!"
Devayani sighed before looking at Anjili sadly: " There's no point of hiding it now Anjili betiya."
Anjili frowned: "Hiding what?"
Devayani: " Khushi left only because Kushal told her to. He...*tearily* he found out about Arnav and Khushi's relationship and wanted to put distance between them, so they wouldn't get any closer."
Anjili couldn't believe her Dada could do such a thing. She put a hand on Devayani's shoulder.
Anjili: " But...But why would Dada do that? Khushi-"
Devayani: "It's not because of the way Khushi betiya is. I know that for sure. Your Dada cares for Khushi very much...but no matter how much I want to say it's becuase Khushi is like your mother and he doesn't want to lose her again, I can't help feel it's not just because of that. There's something else. *sighs strictly* But he's too stubborn to tell me, let alone anyone. He just doesn't Khushi betiya to be our daughter-in-law...and I just don't know why."

Anjili hugged Devayani close at they were lost in invisible vines wrapped round with thorns sharp. Arnav however, felt hot tears fall from his eyes with his heart scorn by this fact. The man that he looked up to, idolized, respected...had been the reason his Khushi had left...as the reason why his heart was restless and depressed for those days Khushi was gone. Staggering back against the wall, he closed his eyes feeling immediately conflicted. His mind remembered the time when Kushal spoke harsh words of detest about Khushi when Devayani spoke about the bluebells, but his heart was reminding him of that night where he saw Kushal beside Khushi caring for her. Was it genuine care? Or was it guilt? As his mind was heating in rage for Kushal sending Khushi away, his heart was shouting at him telling him there was more to this problem than met the eye.

*..........*..........*
x