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.
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?
" 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.
Sorry for any typo errors. Really rushed at the mo.