I wrote this some years back, thinking I’d elaborate it later. Today, found the slip of paper I had written it on, and decided to post it out here. Would love to know your opinion. Feel free to comment!
She looks around at the sound of laughter and sees her husband tickling a child. Was that really him? The uncaring, unfeeling husband; who had decided long back that they would never have children of their own. Was it him in actuality? She saw him looking at her, smiling as he played with the child, and she smiled back. Her smile though, was a ghost of the smile. She had been of recent accused of being uncaring herself. She had been told, she was insensitive, had lost the art of smile and laughter. She was now a ghost, a mere shadow of her former self. Who was it then, that smiled through her lips just now?
She looked away from her husband of six years and looked around herself. They had come to a society function, on the insistence of her family. It had been long since she had attended any such event. It had been long since she had been together with her family. And yet today, when she was surrounded by familiar faces, she felt like a stranger.
Annoyed with her thoughts, she moved to the canopy where coffee was being served. While she sipped the coffee, her gaze slipped past a horde of faces to get stuck on her husband. He looked happy today. He looked perfectly content to sit there under the sun, playing with the child. Whose child was it? She couldn’t see the mother anywhere, or the child’s father.
As she took the last sip from her cup, the dregs of coffee reached her lips and she grimaced in distaste.
“A bit like your life at this moment, isn’t it?” Said a voice, mocking her. She looked around and saw a man- just a shadow really, with a hat on his head, sitting on a bench in the corner.
“Excuse me?” Said she, outraged that someone dared speak to her that way.
“The last bitter dregs of your coffee are a bit like your life at this moment. Bitterness laces your mouth and brain, with no thoughts of the delight that it gave you before. You’re a bit like that in your life at the moment, aren’t you? Unhappy and unsatisfied with it all, having forgotten what it was like to have fun, to have a good time. You’ve forgotten how good life has been to you.” Said the shadow.
“And what would you know about my life? Who are you?” asked she.
“I know all about it.” Said the shadow. “I have always been your companion, more so since you left my sisters; happiness and contentment behind. I am solitude.”
I wish to thank all my readers who have encouraged me in writing this Fan Fiction based on Arnav and Khushi. Do read the other story NOT based on Arnav and Khushi but a love story nevertheless on my other blog romanceandstories.wordpress.com.
Awaiting your comments. In the meanwhile, do enjoy the chapter and let me know how you like it. 😉 Cheers!
It was almost ten minutes before he had come back to the table, with their orders on a tray. Khushi had been ready with her reply on the tip of her tongue earlier but now she tripped.
“What took you so long? “ Asked Khushi
Arnav wiped his hands on his khakhi pants. The vulnerable look in his eyes was something Khushi was coming to know well. He was nervous. Who’d have thought there’d be a time when the arrogant and “I-am-always-right” Mr Arnav Singh Raizada would show his vulnerability?
“Err- to be honest I was plucking courage to come back. I need to ask you what your decision is going to be before I gulp anything down my throat and choke.” His eyes look on the look of a man who was drowning and looking at his saviour with hope of being saved.
“Khushi, I know I am looking for forgiveness from the woman that I hurt beyond forgiving. I don’t know if you can ever forgive me. I haven’t been able to forgive myself for my stupidity and cruelty! All I know is that since the day I realized my mistake, since the day you left me I ached for you until I knew I would go out of my mind if I didn’t come here to beg you to forgive me, take me back.”
Khushi looked down at her hands, searching for the right words to speak. She knew he was sorry, but she was not sure if he really loved her as much as she loved him. What if he changed his mind? Could she take that risk again? She wanted to very badly say yes and forget about what had happened earlier but a side of her brain that was sensible, kept on pulling her back. She had her decision ready and she knew what she was going to say. She looked up at him and said, “Arnav, I believe you. I believe you when you say you’re sorry. I can’t easily forgive and forget everything that has happened between us in the past. The bitter words were too bitter for me to simply spit out of my mind you know.
I know that there are many things that were against me, starting with your own prejudice that had originated from your own past experiences. You had declared then that you had only ever felt lust for me, not love—even – even when I-I-“ she took a deep breath and continued,” I had known that I loved you. A part of me died the day you told me you didn’t return my feelings. When you told me a few days back that you had lied to me, to yourself; that you were always in love with me, I rejected your statement out of hand.”
Arnav held his breath. He wanted to hold her in his arms, ask her what she thought now about his declaration, what she felt about his love for her. If he could die a thousand deaths for all the pain he gave her, he still wouldn’t forgive himself. She sounded so dejected.
A fear took hold of his heart. Did she still not believe him? She said that she had forgiven him but then, that was Khushi, wasn’t it? She would forgive a murderer if she found a single clue that the guy had some sort of goodness in him. Personally speaking, he didn’t think this lifetime would suffice for what he wished to do to get her forgiveness. But he needed her love; he wanted to love her in return. He wanted to make her happy. His insides were quivering with anxiety but Arnav kept a calm front. He took Khushi’s hand in his and squeezed it gently. Slowly he looked up into her eyes and asked, “And now Khushi? What do you feel now? Do you still don’t believe me?”
Khushi looked up at him, her doe eyes swimming with tears. She put her other hand on his and said, “I’m scared Arnav. I gave you myself completely the last time and you almost shattered me to bits. I trusted you with my life and you simply threw it all away. I recovered the last time with great difficulty.. maybe am still not completely recovered. If you ever break my heart again, I will not be able to make it. What if you don’t trust me again? What if I am unable to trust you again? This is what scares me Arnav. You say you l-love me now—but what if you change your mind again? You had said earlier that you felt you were falling in love with me, you trusted me but then, you changed. What if you d-did that again?”
Arnav closed his eyes as self-loathing and disgust took hold of him. If only he could take back all those things he’d said to her! He opened them again as he felt the pressure of her hands on his own and looked into her eyes.
He groaned, “I will do anything to prove my love for you Khushi. Today was just a small example of how it can be between us once again. I promise you I shall never hurt you again Khushi. You once told me love needs no proof. I can see you love me just as you can see I love you. It is there in our eyes.”
“What about trust, Arnav? Love can’t breathe a single moment of happiness without trust.”
His dark amber eyes were pooled with liquid honey. A tear slowly made its way out of his eye. He took a deep breath and said, “Look at me Khushi. Gone is that Arnav Singh Raizada who was an asshole, who was ruled by his past and his bitterness. You brought light into my life Khushi. I never realized how bitter I had been with my life until you made it better, my love. Gone is that Arnav who simply demanded your love, without knowing its true value.
Today the Arnav that stands before you is the one who has given himself up completely to you. I trust you with my being Khushi. You are a part of my soul, my heart, my life that I can’t dream of living without. I have done great wrong to you and I am aware of it. I told you before and am again saying it today. If you still feel I’m not worthy of your love, of your trust—I- I am ready to let you go. If that is the price I have to pay to see you happy, if you can be happy without me in your life, I – will let you go. If however you give me a chance, I swear to you, Arnav Singh Raizada will leave no stone unturned to keep you happy. Let the next few days prove it.”
Arnav shuddered as he said this, as if a great evil shadow had taken hold of his soul. His eyes grew bleak as he looked at Khushi who had her head down and was mute. He felt dead inside. Pain was a constant raging roar in his head now, his heart beating him for having lost the only thing in life that could have brought him peace. He closed his eyes to absorb his pain within himself and slowly got up.
“I think your silence has answered my question. I-I love you Khushi and I will accept your decision. I only wish for you to be happy. I hope that- that –“he almost broke down but bravely continued, “I- I hope that you will be happy where ever you are, whoever you are with. I will learn to be happy for you and shall not bother you ever again.”
“Why?” Khushi still didn’t look at him. Arnav looked at her, puzzled, “Why what Khushi?”
“Why will you not bother me ever again? Will it give you joy to see me with another man? Will you be happy to see me become some man’s wife, his love?” Khushi asked him as she slowly looked up. Tears were streaming down her face. Arnav groaned and caught her in his arms. She went into them willingly, silently still crying. Sniffing, she asked him again. “Tell me Arnav Singh Raizada. Why would you be happy to see me with someone else if you love me so much? Why?”
“Khushi- I- I-“It was a moment where Arnav found his tongue wouldn’t move. It was stuck and his throat had closed. He tried again, “Khushi, are you telling me-“
Khushi moved away from him with great reluctance and looked around for her bag that had her handkerchief. She hiccupped and said, “I can’t talk here. Let’s take our Cappuccinos and get out of here. Take me somewhere else where we can talk.”
Arnav silently picked up both the paper cups and lead her out, “come with me love. I know just the place.” His voice had started gaining some confidence. His heart was ready to leap out of his chest with joy as his brain had got back into gear, trying to make sense of what Khushi was trying to say. Hope filled his heart to the maximum but he was scared too. Maybe she was only trying to be nice and say something nice, maybe she was not at all saying what he thought she was.
They left Khushi’s Scooty pep in the parking. Arnav led her to his car and opened the door for her to get in. Khushi quietly got in, her face down. Arnav got in and put on their seat belts. Khushi had her face averted from him. He was unable to bear it; he couldn’t see his Khushi crying. Gently, he took hold of both her shoulders and moved her face towards him.
“Khushi, please don’t cry. I respect your decision, even if it means I will have to spend the rest of my life alone, with only your memories surrounding me. I can’t bear to see you cry honey.”
“Damn you, Arnav Singh Raizada! I am giving you my decision NOW!” Khushi spoke vehemently, making Arnav fall back in shock. Khushi sniffed as she continued, “Prove to me in the next couple of days that you will be Arnav that you are right now and won’t turn into the beast that hurt me badly. I-I need this Arnav who is right now sitting beside me, the one that trusts me and loves me; what’s more is, I can see his love for me reflecting in his eyes. Prove to me you won’t change and I’ll be with you all my life, past forgotten.” Khushi looked at him while she said this; hiccupping and her eyes full of tears.
The light of hope that had been flickering until a few seconds ago now burned bright in Arnav’s heart. With her statement, his whole demeanour changed. He was the confident Arnav again; his eyes reflecting his happiness as he looked at her,
Arnav started the car and looked at her, his face beaming with a smile joyful enough to melt Khushi on the spot, “To the place where I hope we will be able to plan the next few days now that you’re giving me a chance to be with you again.”
Khushi wanted to ask more but kept quiet for once. She knew he would need to focus on his driving. They soon reached the house that Arnav had bought for Khushi. Khushi squinted at it in the darkness. “Where are we Arnav? What place is this?”
Arnav’s quiet, “Trust me Khushi.” had her head turning to him.
He honked the horn of the car twice. Suddenly there were lights being switched on in the house and outside. Khushi gasped as she looked around. It was a lovely house from the outside. She turned to look at him, “Who’s house is this Arnav? “
Arnav turned to look at her, his amber eyes all fired up with wariness as he said, “ Ours, if you want us to live here.”
Khushi gaped at him, her mouth open. “O-ours?”
“If at the end of this fortnight, you think you can honour me by becoming my wife, and if you wish to live here, this will be our home.”
A loud gasp escaped her even though she tried to control it. “You are asking me to marry you?”
Arnav bowed his head in acquiescence, a rueful smile on his lips,“again. I know that this time I want to do things properly. We will get engaged when you deem the time to be correct and then get married. I want the happy ever after with you Khushi.”
“Oh Arnav.” Khushi all but threw her arms around him. God she did love this man and nothing, no bitterness, no anger could ever wipe this love she had for him; she was sure. A part of her brain warned her though, if she wanted to stand firm on her ground, she should go slow. So she smiled tenderly and leaned forward to kiss him on the cheek. A mischievous part of her urged her to say, “Thank you for this gesture and the proposal. I shall reply to it when the time is right, as you said.”
Arnav grinned, back in full mode as Arnav Singh Raizada and Khushi felt herself being pulled by the strings of desire. She leaned forward too and kissed her quick on the lips. “To give me the strength to hold back until you finally say yes firmly and unequivocally.” He explained innocently and Khushi burst out laughing. “Let us go and look inside. I want to see what kind of house you have bought for me.” She looked up at him, her heart in her eyes.