Tag Archives: Khushi Kumari Gupta

TWO WORLDS APART- CHAPTER 7

Chapter-7

two worlds apartff

 

Khushi grumbled inwardly while she finished her work that evening. She was quite happy in the shop, talking to other people, doing business- and with quite a bit of profit too- basically happy to be away from the disturbing presence of Arnav Singh Raizada in her house. He was still in there somewhere, talking on the phone via his Bluetooth. It was one habit which irritated her then and did so still. She was still quaking from the aftermath of the effect of his embrace and his words.

“Make no mistake my wife, this time around I’m beside you and you will come home with me, even if I have to resort to other measures to do so.”

They were making her nervous; his words. She knew Arnav to be ruthless in getting what he wanted. She was wary of him and his moves right now. What she couldn’t understand was- and it was mighty frustrating- but she couldn’t understand why he wanted her sons when he had one of his own, with his ex-girlfriend.

As if her continuous thoughts were in sync with him, he came right in front of her and stood by her. She looked up at him and deep in her belly, a fire started burning. He lifted his hand and pushed a strand of hair away from her face, cupping her cheek. Khushi closed her eyes, knowing his intent, cursing her body for being so weak, so pliable in his hands. Her body tingled with anticipation as she felt him bending down. She felt his breath on her lips and then, the touch of his lips on hers. She was lost as he kissed her expertly, his hands molding her body to his.

 

When he let her go, Khushi could hardly stand up by herself. She held on to his the collar of his shirt and slowly opened her eyes. His stare made her gasp. It held well known tenderness and hunger that she remembered from the past. She tried to step away from him but he held her fast by the waist, pulling her closer if that was possible.

 

“I’m glad you haven’t forgotten.” When Khushi’s brows wrinkled in confusion, he smirked and tightened his hold on her waist. “that I love to kiss you senseless when we’re back together at the end of the day.”

 

Slow blush crept over Khushi’s cheeks as she remembered the days when their passion got the better of them once Arnav was back from work. There was no getting out of the bedroom until their hunger would sate a little. Only then would they join the rest of the household.

 

Arnav smirked at the small victory. He knew what she was thinking about- she was thinking about their times together, their evenings when passion ruled. Tender love making came later in the night, when they had had their fill of passion in the evenings. He had missed those evenings with an intensity all these years. Anger at the loss of time was still burning in his heart, but he was clever enough to know that now was not the time to show it.

 

“Where are the children?” He asked, moving away from her deliberately, giving her time to adjust her mind to the conversation.

“Er- they- they would be at Sarita’s place. They come back when I’ve closed shop. Sarita kind of – babysits them for me.” Khushi replied, slapping herself mentally. She should have remembered the children and used it as an escape instead of drowning into his eyes and that kiss!!!

 

“I’m not surprised to see you in a Mishthaan Bhandar and running it successfully. You always did have good business acumen and were a good halwai.”

 

“Well, I am a halwai’s daughter. What do you expect?” Said Khushi.

 

Arnav nodded in understanding and said, “And a businessman’s wife. I expect no less from you sweetheart.“
Before she could retort to that, he said, “I’m going to go upstairs into your room and take a shower. I can’t make do with the small bathroom in the guest room. I’m a little tired after back to back meetings today.” A devil prompted him to say, “You coming? “

 

Khushi glared at him. He simply grinned and said, “No? Alright then. I’ll make it quick and help you out with laying the table for dinner.”

Khushi snapped, “Koi zaroorat nahi hain. Hum khud kar lenge. I’ve been doing it by myself all these years and I can still do it, without your help.”

 

“Tch tch.. you’re angry. But you’re magnificent when you’re angry.” He winked and said, “I’ll be back soon.”  making Khushi’s heart ache as he climbed up the stairs and disappeared into her room. She muttered “Laad Governer kahin ke!”

 

She slapped her forehead with her hand and mentally castigated herself within a few seconds. How could she have forgotten the kids? What if Aarush and Ayush had come back while they were still in each other’s embrace? It was horribly irresponsible of her to – to let Arnav kiss her like that.

 

As if the thought of kids had conjured them up, Aarush and Ayush came running into the house, screaming, “Mommy!!” The bright smile that she reserved for her kids came back on, as she hugged both her children.

Aarush looked around as he hugged her and asked, “Is- has he left?”

 

Khushi hid her pain for her children. They knew just as much as she did that he won’t stay forever, no matter what he said. He had his obligations somewhere else and sooner or later, they will call him. For the moment, it was important that she pacified the kids. She ruffled Aarush’s hair and said softly, “ He’s upstairs. He had a long day and he’s tired.”

 

Ayush’s mouth drooped. “So we can’t talk to him? He won’t play with us? I wanted him to help me with my homework.”

Aarush gave a snort, “Of course he won’t. Why would he? And Ayush, we don’t need him to entertain us either. We have Mommy who plays with us and helps us with our homework.”

 

Khushi couldn’t see Ayush so heart broken. She smiled at him and said, “You can ask him nicely if he will help you today. He’s very intelligent you know. But Aarush is right, and you know that, don’t you?” At Ayush’s reluctant nod, she continued, “We can’t let him stay with us. I had explained it to you guys earlier, had I not? He has other duties that must come before us. We have to understand that and let him go.”

 

“But I want him to be with us. He’s our father!” Ayush burst out, tears appearing in his eyes.

 

“Ayush, my son! I understand that, but you know we can’t – he can’t live with us.” Khushi desperately tried to make him understand.

 

A thought occurred to Khushi, but she hastily wiped it away from her mind. No, it was not possible. She was not the kind of woman to claim her right on him, even if he was her husband. He was first and foremost someone else’s father. That someone who needed Arnav more than anyone else, it was not his fault that he was born out of wedlock. Even if Arnav couldn’t see it, she could and she would never let any injustice happen to that child. She had her sons and they had her. They didn’t need him.

 

Aarush took Ayush by the hand and said, “Do you want to live with him, knowing Mommy will be alone? He will take us away from Mommy. What will we do then if he doesn’t love us ?”

 

Ayush shook his brother’s hand away, “I want a father and mother both, like all other children in my class. That is all I know!” and saying this, he ran into his room, sobbing. Aarush had tears in his eyes too, as he looked at his mother, “I want him too you know, but I will be strong for you.”

 

Khushi took him in her arms and hugged him, her heart breaking into two. She kissed him and said, “Go and change your clothes. I will lay the table for dinner. And help Ayush with changing too, will you?”

 

Aarush nodded and slowly went into his room. Khushi got up from where she had sat down and absently started laying the table in the dining room. Her thoughts were more tormented than ever. She was glad Arnav had not been a party to that scene. She had no clear idea what game he was playing, but she knew she couldn’t allow him to stay. Her sons will grow more attached to him if he stayed any longer than a day. What will she do then if they decided they will go with him and not stay with her? She trembled at the thought of life without her sons. NO! She wouldn’t let that happen.

 

Her hand stilled while she arranged the table mat on the table. Was she being unfair to them? By keeping Arnav away from his sons, was she actually doing injustice all around than just with Arnav and Aparna’s son?

 

She remembered the day she’d found out about Arnav’s son from his ex-girlfriend Aparna. Aparna and she had met quite by chance at a party and developed a slow friendship. Khushi knew that Aparna had a son; Vishal, who was physically disabled, but she had been shocked to hear that Aparna had not married.

 

Aparna had confided that though Vishal’s father was alive, she had no intention of approaching him. She came from a poor background and didn’t consider herself suitable enough for him. Khushi had cried for Aparna when she had been told, that Vishal’s father was a rich tycoon and married. She had tried to make Aparna see reason. Vishal’s increasing sullenness, his emptiness, his constant need for a man’s attention- all those things had upset her. Khushi, who belonged and believed in old ideas thought it unfair on the child to not have a father and tried to reason with Aparna.

 

But Aparna had been adamant- until the day she and Arnav met and Khushi’s world fell apart.

FF: Ordinary Girl in an Extraordinary Affair Chapter 22

ATTENTION READERS! 

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! 

Chapter -22

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.

 

FF: Ordinary Girl in an Extraordinary Affair Chapter 21/C

Posting it today without proofing it. Please ignore typos, if you find any. 🙂 Enjoy the sizzle and don’t forget to like and comment! 🙂

Chapter 21/C

*flashback continues*

Arnav leaned in as Khushi placed her lips on his own. Khushi felt him quiver as he joined in, softly stroking his lips over hers, easing their positions and taking them both into a kiss that was thrilling to say the least. It was pure seduction. She opened her heart and body to the sensations being caused by this kiss, the intoxication of their kiss, the heat that spread to all parts of her body like smooth liqueur. Her mind boggled at the idea; a kiss was causing so much havoc on her senses, his tongue slowly slipping inside her mouth and tasting her. He went slow, as if allowing her the freedom to break off yet kissed her with exquisiteness that was wordless in nature. Khushi felt as if she was dancing, their lips performing to the play of erotic music playing in their hearts.

She opened her mouth wider, answering his need to explore her mouth further while she made an exploration of his mouth on her own, joining this two-step dance. She felt the shivers of desire, sweet and fiery running through her being, making her lift her toes up to reach his mouth properly. Together they shaped their mouths to each other’s, lost in each other.

Arnav lifted his head after what seemed like an eternity and slipped his hands slowly, to caress her shoulders, barely skimming over the breasts and finally settled on the belt of her dressing gown. He groaned when he let the belt of her dressing gown loose.

“You’re not wearing anything underneath! You sleep in the nude?”

Khushi gulped, swallowed, “It was too hot and I wanted cool sheets against my body.”

Arnav laughed softly, “For all your shyness Khushi Kumari Gupta, you don’t realise yet that you’re a sensualist. I’m glad for this since I myself love the foreplay before love making. Our senses need the release much before our body, hmm?”

His amber eyes caught fire as he bit on her ear lobe and whispered in her ear, making goose bumps erupt all over her body, “ I want to see you Khushi. My eyes want to join this feast that the hands and body are enjoying. Will you-?”

In reply, Khushi curled her hand around the sprinkles of hair on his chest and bent down to kiss the area just below his shoulder, making him shudder in response. “Yes.”

Her breath caught in her throat as she felt him slide the dressing gown off her body, his hands still by her waist. The fabric slowly slid down her body, finally pooling at her feet. Khushi was now completely naked in front of him, in the dark, with her heart racing and her pulses galloping. Her legs trembled. Had it not been for Arnav’s hands on her waist, she may have fallen down.

Arnav stroked her cheek with one hand, then slowly traced the path from her cheek to her throat and across her breasts. Khushi let herself go back on his other arm and his hand continued with its exploration. Slowly it crossed over her breasts, skimming on her already tight bud nipples, trailing down her waist and hips, as if on a path to exploration. Then slowly it moved up again, this time cupping one breast, feeling its weight in his hand and brushing his thumb over her light coloured, tight nipple. Khushi moaned his name softly.

He whispered, “You are so beautiful Khushi. I could look at you for ever. I could touch you all the time. Lord, how did I ever control myself around you!”

Khushi’s blood hummed with heat; the heat of arousal. He bent his head and kissed her breasts, first one and then the other, his tongue at first stroking gently and then, lapping up. As if he couldn’t control his hunger any more, he enveloped her nipples one by one into the dark, hot cavern of his mouth and sucked on them hard.

Khushi clutched at his head, his hair as if she’d been electrocuted by live wire. She steadied herself with her hands on his shoulders as he continued his assault on her senses, repeatedly saying her name. He looked up, straight into her eyes and said,
“Are you sure Khushi? I will not be able to stop if we don’t—“

Khushi put a finger on his lips, her eyes smouldering, “I think we should go inside.” She shivered in his arms, “I feel too exposed standing out here, in the cool air.”

Arnav looked into her eyes and straightened up. “You’re right.” Just then cool breeze stirred the lock of his hair that fell across his forehead. Khushi’s hands smoothed the lock. “I’d always wanted to do that.” She said, her eyes alight with laughter.

Arnav laughed softly, “You minx.” He kissed her quickly on her lips once and then lifted her up in his arms. He was so strong! He picked her up as if she weighed nothing. She revelled in the sensations he created in her body, her heart. It caught her close to his chest as if she was his precious cargo and he’d never let her go. Khushi would her arms around his neck, nuzzling it.

“Khushi, behave yourself or I will not be responsible. Right now, I am exerting great control so that we may reach the bedroom at least. I also need to pick something up from my bedroom.”

“What?” Khushi asked as he moved ahead, his strides quick and confident. He went into his bedroom and the drawer of his table, taking out some packets. Khushi coloured as she reached what they were. Condoms.

“We need to be safe, eh?” Arnav looked at her, delighted to see her blushing and kissed her, “I can make love to you right here. Do you mind?”

Khushi looked at him and shyly said, “I want us to go into my bedroom, if that’s alright with you.”

Arnav groaned and said, “Torturing minx! Why not here?”

“-because my room is filled with moonlight Mr Raizada. Take me there.”

He shuddered as she spoke, kissing his mouth impulsively. Khushi loved this power she had over him. She had no idea before of how vulnerable he was to her touch. Was this what they called physical power of attraction over another person? If that was the case, she liked it very much; especially overpowering Arnav and making him need her so much. She grinned and slid her hand down over his chest, his chest hair tickling her palm. Slowly she turned her mouth towards his ear and whispered in it, “I want to see you too Arnav.”

He gave a mock growl in reply that was accompanied by his crooked smile, “As you wish Miss Gupta.”

They reached her bedroom that was filled with moonlight. She had left the curtains of her window open, giving them a view of the dark sea not too far away.

He laid her on the bed and went back to the door, locking it. “No one will disturb us even in the morning if we want now.” He grinned as he turned the key into lock while Khushi raised her eyebrows.

“This is your house, right? What’s the big need to lock the door?”

“Mrs De’Souza comes early to clean the house and make breakfast, so I must ensure we don’t get disturbed. Just in case, you know.”

Khushi grinned as she lay on the bed, one elbow supporting her head as she leaned on it. “SO?”

Arnav became brazen then, his amber eyes on fire, and making Khushi quiver on the bed. She watched nervously now, as he slowly reached to the zipper of his jeans. She turned red as she realised, he wore no shorts, no briefs underneath. He lowered his zipper so slow that Khushi felt she’d explode with desire building up inside her. Looking at her, he took them off and tossed them on the chair by the writing desk. Her mouth went dry as she watched him come to her, naked, all male. He tossed the packets on to the bedside table and reached for her.

She stared at him, her mouth hanging open, her cheeks red and her desire burning on a high flame. She felt naïve and totally unprepared now that he was ready to take things further. Panic flared in her mind even as her body craved fulfilment. It was all right to talk about being bold and moving on with what you want but was she really that brave? It looked as if her shyness had found a way back into her as she wondered what to do next.

Arnav came up to her and then smiled, “Khushi, had you ever seen a naked man before?”

Khushi tried to find her voice but failed. She simply shook her head, acknowledging her innocence and ignorance. Arnav’s eyes grew tender as she sat on the edge of the bed. Slowly he took her hand in his and looked into her eyes, “I am glad.”

Khushi looked at him, her eyes wide, “You are?”

Arnav slowly moved her hair away from her shoulder as he said softly, “Call me old fashioned or a hypocrite but I am glad I’ll be your first lover.”  Feeling her tremble, his voice grew husky, “I want to be your only lover Khushi.”

Khushi closed her eyes as sensations took precedence and all thoughts flew out of the window. She shifted a little to give him more room. He lay down now, turning on her side, drawing her against him. Khushi felt her whole body burn as she felt skin touching skin, his naked body against hers. She nestled her face by his shoulder and breathed in his scent, this closeness intoxicating her senses, giving her a feeling of being drunk. She was drunk- drunk on passion.

“Tell me what you like about this situation, with us together, skin against skin.” Arnav asked her. Khushi blushed fiery red at his question. Arnav raised one eyebrow, “Is this the same girl who can talk nineteen to a dozen about each situation and is yet shying away from talking about her feelings today?” His fingers danced on her skin, moving around her neck and then her back.

“I’m not shy!” Khushi looked up, indignant into his eyes and then dropped her own, “I’m-I-don’t know what you mean by it.”

Arnav caught her chin in his hand and looked at her, a smile evident on his face, “I mean Miss Khushi Kumari Gupta that you’re a girl with vivid imagination. Even if you haven’t been with a man before, you’d sure have imagined it like all other girls who dream of romance. What were your preferences in your imagination, what did you think would please you the most?” He leaned and kissed her on the lips, saying against them, “I want to do everything as you like.”

Khushi looked at him, shedding a bit of her shyness. “Er- I never had to talk about it to anyone before, not even Payal jiji. I j-just don’t know how to talk about it.”

Arnav caressed her hair, moving all of it to one side and kissing her shoulder, “Ah, my darling. I’ll just have to be a little more patient then, isn’t it?” He gave a mock sigh, “Now I will have to wait until you’re ready and know what you want. Damn.”

He made to leave but Khushi caught his hand, surprise plain in her eyes, “You’d –y-you’d leave me now?”

Arnav looked at her, his eyes puzzled, “You don’t know what you want. What if you regret it tomorrow Khushi?”

Khushi could feel frustration mounting in her body. She knew she only knew about love making from books but what the hell! She wanted him to play with her, show her how good it could be. His hands and mouth had already set her body on fire and she was sure she wanted more of it; a lot more. He stroked her body as if it was a guitar, with each touch feeling as if her strings were being pulled, she felt a new song being created in her body. His hands set her on fire, tantalising her. But if he left her now–

 “Oh for the love—come here you!” She pulled him back on the bed as he was half in-half out of it. “I don’t know what pleases me in bed Arnav Singh Raizada! So do what you know that will please me, understand?”

“Yes Miss Gupta.” Arnav said mock-seriously, laughter lurking in his eyes and proceeded to show her in detail exactly how he’d please her.

Khushi loved his muscled body, the hardness of his body a right support for her softness, the way his warm skin smelled, the way he tasted her and encouraged her to taste him. He tasted of hot passion, of things that were prior to this forbidden. She loved to hear the sound of his ragged breathing when she kissed his chest, his soft growl betraying his neediness when she kissed his stomach; his responses to her touch. Her body moved along with his, their breathing laboured as wild abandon took hold of them. The tension between the bodies grew, kisses growing deeper, stronger, more erotic than before. His fingers played with her body, creating exquisite torture until she tugged at his shoulders, raising her hips to him. “Please… oh Arnav please!” she whispered. “I can’t—“She drew a ragged breath as his lips passed her navel and below to breathe on the place that was spitting fire.

She moaned loud when his lips touched her mound and held his head tight when he kissed her there. Her cries of ecstasy grew louder as he mercilessly licked her, kissed her, sucked on the essence of her. His hand came down to caress her along with his mouth. Gently he inserted a finger inside her and Khushi almost jumped off the bed.

“OH MY GOD! ARNAV!” She screamed as she felt her release bursting out of her.

“Yes Khushi, let yourself go. I’ve got you honey, let the control go.” Arnav spoke, his voice rough as he teased her with his mouth and fingers, increasing the tempo. Khushi closed her eyes with pleasure bursting out of her, caught his head tight and felt herself shatter into pieces and fly high.

Arnav kept on with his ministrations, gentle in his manoeuvre while she slowly came back down to earth and opened her eyes. She breathed deeply, “Arnav” as she felt herself stirring again, the fire re-building.

Arnav came up to her, kissing her and giving her a taste of herself. He kissed her deeply, “Khushi, you drive me crazy. I have never—I can’t control it any longer Khushi.”

“Then don’t… I want to feel you inside me Arnav. Please me, make me reach the skies again.” Khushi said as he pinched her nipples and kissed her. He leaned and picked up one of the packets and tore it open, wearing it as Khushi watched on, kissing him randomly. He caught her under him and said,

“Look at me Khushi. I want you to see me as I enter you. I will try not to hurt you but it may hurt just a little.” Arnav’s brow was furrowed as he focused on himself and her. Slowly he entered her. Khushi felt the pinch and twitched. She gasped with pain as he went in further and stopped to ask, “Are you okay Khushi?”

Khushi nodded and raised her hips once she felt the discomfort give way to heat; the need for complete pleasure. “Yes, oh yes!” and he started moving slowly at first and then steadily increasing the tempo of their love making. She wanted, she ached, she needed—she was a primitive woman again, needing only her man. Her desire overwhelmed her, making her arch against him. She gripped his hips as he moved faster, wishing for him to go deeper.
Soon the world ceased to exist for both of them as they were lost in the rhythm of each other’s bodies. The pinnacle of their glorious love-making saw them both shouting, their release blissful as they clung together, spent in each other’s arms. It was perfect.

*flashback ends*

Khushi came to with a start as Arnav spoke her name, his brow furrowed with anxiety. She blushed as she realised where she was and what she had been thinking.

“Are you alright? You seemed red just now and now you’re pale. Is everything okay?” Arnav asked, his voice laced with sincere concern as he sat down and placed the tray with their orders on the table. Khushi didn’t know what to say. Was she alright?

FF: Ordinary Girl in an Extraordinary Affair Chapter 19/C

Chapter 19C: Flashback in Italics

“Aowww damn it!” Khushi swore and despite several lectures to not go there, her brain transported her to the time and the incident when he had taken her to his beach house in Goa for the weekend before he had proposed.

Arnav had been giving her a tour of his beach house, if a 3,000 square feet of elegancy could be called a beach house. It looked more like a picture out of the “House” magazine. The interior of the house was stunning with loads of space, creamy walls, French windows that opened out to the beach, with hardwood floors.

Khushi inspected the house with her hands on her hips, her mouth open at the beauty of the interior and the art pieces that graced the walls and some well known sculptures adoring the living room.

“Huh.. so you call this a beach house? It should be declared an art gallery. Khushi murmured as she gazed at the painting that depicted the ocean trees around it and people dancing around the camp fire. She looked at him with raised eyebrows, “ Memory sketched into painting?”

“Hardly something that I’d leave to adorn the walls of my living room.” Arnav sniggered and then said, “Nah, this is the scene from ‘the night in the Bahamas’ collection.”

Khushi rolled her eyes, “Another display of your wealth Arnav.. same difference. I wonder why do you do that?”

“You know why Khushi and I don’t see anyone else complaining.” Arnav shrugged

“Yes, of course. Who’d dare defy THE Arnav Singh Raizada? There’s also the fact that many cater to the whims of the rich in the society we live in, regardless of whether they like the person or not. Thank God I am reasonably poor as compared to you.” Khushi joined her hands in her usual gesture while praying to her Devi Maiyya.

Arnav looked at her, “How unambitious of you!” then called for Mrs De’Souza while letting Khushi know that she and her husband take care of this house in his absence and keep it ready for him all the year around in case he pops by. Khushi raised her hands to her face, cupping her mouth and her eyes wide, “OMG Arnav! Such extravagance! Wonder how you live with yourself. You could donate the amount you spend to keep this house ready for you or fund an – never mind. Everyone has their eccentricities and this is yours.”

They moved towards the living room area and into the wing of guest rooms that began with a huge hallway.

“This is your room. I hope you like it.” Arnav said, opening the door to reveal a set of rooms painted in apricot and cream. “I’m on the other side of the house. If you need me, just call me through the house intercom.”

As they left the guest wing and entered the living room area, Khushi said, “Why’d I need you Arnav? You brought me here ‘cos you needed me to help you with your project. I won’t need you.”

“You’re so sure you won’t need me?”Arnav raised an eyebrow. At his question, Khushi shrugged. Just because she liked him didn’t mean she will call for him at night, even if the dark scared her. She could always sleep with the lights on. She wanted him to see she was his equal, maybe more than a match for him at work. She absolutely didn’t want to think of him on personal basis. She kept the lid of her emotions closed tight when it came to Arnav Singh Raizada.  There was no way she was going to let the events of the past repeat themselves. She was determined to keep him at an arm’s distance. She smiled sweetly and affirmed, “Very sure. If I think about it, it is you who needs me and not me who needs you.”

Arnav looked at her, his head cocked to one side, “How is it that I need you Khushi?”

Khushi felt this moment called for a bit of a bold statement. He was always the one in control while her emotions raged rampantly everywhere every time they were together. Time to give him the taste of his own medicine.

Khushi smiled, “You, Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada are always looking around for me when you need a file or a document or when you wish to talk to me about Aakash and Payal and how fed up you are of Aakash always lost in his day dreams and not paying attention to what you are saying, etc. You hound me with the help of your mobile and don’t let me sleep.. telling me I’m the only one you think you can talk to. Remember the time in the office where you came after me, annoyed because I had left my mobile phone behind during lunch and you wanted to know where the Singhania folder with contract documents might be? You almost had a nervous breakdown then.”

“That’s a gross exaggeration if I’ve ever heard one.” Arnav said and took a step forward towards her, a glint in his amber eyes indicating he was a little annoyed.

As he stepped forward, Khushi took a step back. She mentally noted that she stepped back every time he came forward. Was she afraid? Nah! An inner devil prompted her to say, “You may not want to own up to it but it’s true. When have I needed you for anything?”

Her question with arched eyebrows met silence from Arnav. His amber eyes held hers and she saw a flicker of emotion there, hot fire that she had come to become wary of. She took another step back, a tiny thrill going down her spine and a surge of adrenaline rushing through her body. Arnav was looking at her with that hot fire in his eyes. Those eyes were going to kill her one day, with the way they looked at her, as if they could look right into her, deep down and reach the basic level of her emotions, the foundation of her being. With heat in his eyes, he leaned in a little closer, tantalizing her nose with the smell of his aftershave. He smelled like deep, dark wood that bound mystery and fantasy into one. He leaned a little more close as she leaned back.

Slowly, deliberately, very deliberately Arnav placed his right hand on the wall next to Khushi’s shoulders and then just as slowly placed his left one on the other side, trapping her between him and the wall. Leaning closer, so close that their bodies nearly touched, he said softly, “You know what i think? I think you’re lying Khushi. I think you have needs too; needs that you need me for.”

His husky voice sent shivers down her spine. His body warmth felt like a live wire, wrapping itself around her body. She felt her tummy tingle and tighten. She stuttered but carried on firmly, “Of c-course I have needs. I need 7 hours of sleep every night, the more the better, I need three full meals a day, snacks in between, challenging work, daily regime of 20 minutes of exercise while I-“

“-lie naked in my bed.”

Khushi’s mouth dropped open in sheer shock, her cheeks going from bright pink to red. Her heart stopped for a second, then re-started and then beat faster. She snapped her mouth closed immediately in panic lest it be taken as an invitation. Her mind scrambled to think of a fitting retort but came up blank. Her mind had gone in deep freeze, it seemed. 

Arnav leaned even closer as his mouth met her ear. He didn’t attempt to kiss her ear, instead whispered sexily in it, “Actually twenty minutes may be too quick. I’d recommend a minimum of forty or even the entire day if possible.” His eyes when he leaned back met hers.. sexual hunger apparent in them.

Khushi was tongue-tied, literally! Still blushing, she tried to speak, urging her brain to wake up an come with a sharp retort. She lifted her chin, her heart beating like jungle drum of one-two dance, making her head spin and her body ultra-alive. “Thanks for the offer but I believe there’s plenty of exercise I can do without troubling you.”

Arnav’s eyes laughed at her, “Really?”

She fought the sudden urge to let her eyes smile back at him. She let her imagination run wild in the other direction so that she could distract herself from the fact that he was too close to her right now. She knew the style of warm-up and the aerobic activity he was talking about- the one that ended in bed and in tears. She recommended a cool-down phase to her body as she said, “ Uhh.. yes. The things I have in mind don’t require me to – they require no nudity at all.”

‘But nudity is good. You’re naked when you bathe.”

“Yes, good logic but I bathe in private. In public, I prefer clothes on my body.”

Arnav’s mouth leaned closer to her ear again, practically grazing her earlobe. She was sensitive there. A zing went through her body at that contact and she almost stopped breathing when he said, “But I can show you how the right activity can motivate you to be…naked” and after a pause “with me.”

Her heart beat at such a frantic speed that she was sure he could hear it out loud. She loved the feel of his lips on her earlobe and the tender skin that he had decided to explore below, oh so slowly. A shiver ran down her as he caught her ear this time between his teeth and held it. He was teasing her, he was tormenting her and he wanted her to melt in his arms. Something that Khushi knew she loved but should definitely avoid.

But how can she ignore this ache inside her, making her feel the driving need to do exactly as he was saying? When she stayed quiet, he whispered again into her ear, “Come on Khushi, admit it. You do like the idea of being naked with me, maybe even skinny dipping in the night in the sea with me.”

Khushi fought hard but a grin surfaced and stuck to her mouth. Arnav sounded as if he was getting a little frustrated that she was silent and not responsive enough. That she was fighting. She decided there was no harm in some fun at his expense. Anyway, she was intrigued about those things he’d said. She deliberately let her eyes go unfocused as if she was thinking, “I – don’t know Arnav. Maybe- once I’m done with all the activities there are to do out here on the beach, all by myself.”

His reply was to kiss her throat and bite the side of it gently as if punishing her for torturing him. The touch of his lips on her throat; a brief touch and the light bite set the fire in her body roaring. He licked the place where he had bitten making he visibly shiver as he asked, “-activities by yourself, eh? What kind of activities?”

Khushi sighed, her voice dropping to a whisper, heat in her body growing my mini-second, “Everything. There’s endless number of activities I can occupy myself with this weekend here.”

“Name ‘everything’. Name a few of them.” Arnav kissed the collarbone, licking the nerve throbbing there. Khushi gasped as his tongue flicked the region of her collarbone. “I’m waiting Khushi.” He added just before sliding his mouth up the neck, to her ear and kissing her ear.

Khushi felt her thoughts becoming a complete muddle in her head at this gesture. She felt as if her brain had decided to take leave and go away from her body. Her skin was on fire everywhere his mouth had touched. She grabbed his shirt front and clung to him, moving closer. She needed contact, more contact of her body to his.

“Khushi?” Arnav prompted. Khushi tried to think, tried hard while he continued touching her, kissing her. Her mouth dried, her belly tied into knots when he reached the neck of her halter top. She wanted him to touch her, wanted his hands down her ribs, playing with her breasts, under her breasts, sliding down the complete length of her. She was trying hard not to think of how his mouth was moving over the line of her tank top when sudden inspiration made her speak up.  “Swimming.”

He was smart and had not lost his senses yet. “That’s one activity. What else?”

“Isn’t that enough?” Khushi was barely able to speak, her voice turning hoarse with desire.

“No, not enough. Tell me more.” Arnav answered, his hands moving to her face, cupping it, titling the head while the side of her neck was exposed. His fingers moved towards her nape and caressed her there. Khushi shuddered. She had no idea this was one of her erogenous spots. His lips followed his hands, kissing an invisible spot on the nape of her neck. At the touch there, Khushi’s chest came out to meet his and a moan dragged from her mouth, “Arnav stop please!”

“Your actions belie your words Khushi.” Arnav chuckled as Khushi gripped his shirt tighter holding him closer to her, pressing herself against him. He had turned devious though. “You said endless number of activities.”

He was touching her, tasting her and literally driving her crazy. How could she think when she was being bombarded by sensations from head to toe? She choked as she said, “jogging.”

“That’s two activities.”

‘jogging” Khushi said, the word turning into a moan as he moved her to face the wall, her back to him. He moved closer, his hands slowly sliding down the exposed back. He kissed her ear again from the back and said, “more Khushi?”

Khushi could only moan and say, “yes!” She heard the chuckle as he said, “so tell me, what more activities do you have in mind?”

Khushi looked back at him, her eyes betraying the fire burning inside her body and she spoke again, “jogging-“

He kissed her again by the ear, “you already said that honey.” Khushi could feel the fire burning, the heat building. This was nothing to be taken lightly and she’d been a fool to have provoked him, she accepted. This was wild- this passion and it was making her wild with need. It was new to her and very strong and she didn’t know how to handle this. She wriggled, helplessly moving backwards until her back touched his chest completely and she could feel the hard stomach and something harder beneath that stomach.  She tried to speak, “snorkelling, sailing in the boat, sailing in the boat-“

“One activity can be counted only once Khushi.” Arnav said, almost losing his control when Khushi moved her hips against his stomach, making him harder than he already was for her. He desired her so intensely that he wanted to run his hands on her bare thighs and put his hands under her short skirt. But he was strong and he could control. He didn’t want to touch her below her waist yet. Not yet. At this moment, he didn’t want to stop this torture and this slow fire that burned their bodies. He waited.

“What about kissing? That’s an activity.” Khushi sighed, turning towards him again. She wanted to touch those lips, she needed them on hers.

He was the ultimate tease though. He didn’t kiss her despite knowing she wanted it. He lifted his head and moved a little away from her, considering her question. It brought a groan of need out of Khushi’s lips as she said, “Please Arnav. I need you to kiss me. Stop this teasing.”

He bent towards her, his elbows bending by the sides so that he was completely leaning onto her, crushing her chest with his and grinding his hips against hers. She responded back in kind and moaned. He still didn’t kiss her.

Suddenly Khushi couldn’t stand it anymore. She reached up to him, winding her arms around his neck and dragging his mouth to meet hers. She slashed his lips with her tongue and kissed him hard. Her lips parted again for him to enter. She wanted to open for him all the way. She couldn’t resist. She wanted to experience him, feel her blood racing across her veins, inside out. The kiss deepened while she grew soft and pliant in his arms. This was the best sensual experience that she’d ever had yet. She wondered what it’d be like if she surrendered totally to her needs.

As if sensing what she was thinking, Arnav lifted his head and took a deep breath. He moved a little away from her now, breaking body contact and then coming back again to press himself harder as he said, “So.. We’ve proved that you do need me, even if it is not naked then at least for a kiss.”

It took some time for the statement to penetrated Khushi’s desire fogged mind but as she did, she pushed him away, horror written plainly over her face at what she’d done, what she’d said to him.  Arnav smiled slightly as she started smoothing her top and straightening her skirt that had ridden a little higher. 

Her lips tingled and her body was still aching for his, the fire of need going strong. Khushi clamped it down by saying briskly, ignoring his statement, “Thanks for the house tour. I’m going to go into my room and- freshen up. I know where everything is now.”

“I do too Khushi.” Arnav’s smile stretched wider, laughter just beneath the warm glint of his amber eyes. Khushi blushed again as the meaning of his sentence seeped in. She gritted her teeth, gave him a blank smile and moved away. She didn’t really look where she was heading to. All she wanted to do was move away from his physical presence and calm herself down. The result of not looking where she was going was that she bumped her nose into the wall and wailed, “oowww!! Bloody hell!”

Immediately Arnav came to her rescue, concern all apparent in his eyes, “Khushi!” He took her hands away from the nose and looked at it. Then tut-tutted, “you’re so careless I swear! Dekh kar nahi chal sakti! Stupid woman. Idhar aao ab! Come with me.” He caught her hand in his and started walking towards the kitchen.

Khushi blushed with embarrassment and outrage. She tried to remove her hand from his, “How dare you call me stupid! You- you… “

“I don’t like you swearing but you just won’t listen to me, would you? So go ahead. You can swear as much as you want. There’s a small scratch on your nose. Just let me clean it and put a Band-Aid there. The first aid box is in the kitchen cabinet.”

He made her sit down on one of the chairs by the kitchen table and took out the first-aid box. Slowly he wiped her nose with a piece of damp cotton.

“I don’t want to put a Band-Aid on my nose. If you’re insisting, just apply some cooling ointment and I’ll be fine.”

Arnav looked at her in exasperation and finally acceded, “Okay. But after this, you go to your room and rest. I don’t want you moving about for at least two hours. Samjhi tum?”

Khushi huffed but stayed still as he applied the cooling antiseptic cream. Inwardly she loved the attention and care he showed for her. He looked so adorable when he was like this- his eyes hard and focused on her nose, at the wound while his hands ever so gentle. She made a hissing sound once and he stopped, his eyes watching her face to catch a glimpse of any pain he may have caused. He said, “sorry” once and then became gentler than before while applying and rubbing the cream on her nose. Khushi felt as if she would melt on the spot and thanked God she was sitting in the chair.

She came out of her memories as she applied the moisturizer on her face, taking extra care to be gentle to the spot on her nose that had turned a little red. A huge sigh left her. If only he’d show that side to her again, convinced her that the gentle side of Arnav Singh Raizada was there to stay, she’d think of opening up to him again.

Checking her reflection once again, she picked up her purse and left the room. It was time to meet Arnav at the Barista parking.

FF: Ordinary Girl in an Extraordinary Affair- Chapter 2

Chapter – 2

Grandma sighed and looked at Payal, “It has been about seven months now since she’s come here. She left you all to stay with me in this quiet part of the world but she finds no peace. She smiles and laughs with everyone but I can’t be fooled. She tries hard to not let it show but sometimes, it just comes out. She has not forgotten that guy Arnav. She is still hurting.”

Payal’s face went from smiling to gloomy. “Arnav has been quite busy lately and in off mood according to Akash. Dadiji has been very concerned about him as well. As such, he’s our cousin and stays in England most of the days with his sister but these days he travels frequently to Delhi for his new project. It was during one of those early visits when Arnav and Khushi had met.”  Payal remembered how Khushi had described Arnav after their first meeting.

*flashback begins*

Payal Gupta and Khushi Gupta were the daughters of a respectable businessman. They lived in the posh Chanakyapuri area of Delhi and were neighbours with Mahinder Singh Raizada and his family. The Raizadas were known to be very affluent and influential in business as well as in politics. Payal and Akash had been school classmates while Khushi was a two years younger to them. After graduation, Akash had left to go the U.K to study further while Payal had gone to Shantiniketan to study Arts. Khushi being smarter had gone ahead and finished her M.B.A. in marketing. Public speaking was her forte. She was witty, smart, outgoing, fun-loving and could chatter nineteen to a dozen. She’d always boasted that she could even turn the Grinch into smiling Santa.

Payal thought about the first time Arnav and Khushi had met. Arnav was Akash’s cousin and had come down to Delhi from the U.K. for the first time since he had some business to deal with. According to Akash, he was admirable since he’d independently made his first million before he turned 30. Akash was in awe of him and talked of him constantly before his arrival. So much so that Khushi had finally declared,

“He must be stuck up then. Those who are money minded are normally pricks with a brick stuck up in the rear. Tell me Akash, this cousin of yours- is he one of those rich, spoilt, Angrez kids who can’t speak Hindi worth knowing and think they’re too high above us? ” She’s been smirking when a voice interrupted, “I assume you’re talking about me.”

Khushi turned around, a shade of beet red. Akash stuttered, “Bhai.. uh.. Welcome! I didn’t realize you’d already arrived! When did ..”

He was tall and well built. The evening light in the background encircled him, giving him a dangerous red halo. As he moved, his walk was lithe as panther’s or was it tiger eyes? His eyes, as he came nearer shown with light and anger. Amber eyes; yes, he had tiger eyes. Brown hair, amber eyes and golden skin along with manly looks were a deadly combination when it came to slaying girls and it looked as if he was well aware of it.

The man didn’t take his eyes off Khushi’s face while he spoke, “I came in about an hour ago. Uncleji picked me up from the airport. I came out looking for you since uncleji wanted to sit down together.”

Akash stammered while he tried to introduce some normality into the situation, “ Ah.. ww-we were just talking and I was telling them about y-you. Payal, this is my cousin from England, Arnav. Arnav, these are our neighbours’ daughters- Payal and Khushi.”

Arnav smiled at Payal and left her dazed with that smile while he moved up to where Khushi was standing. He held out his hand, “ Arnav Singh Raizada, main wahi hoon jiske baare tum baat kar rahi thi abhi.”

At this gesture, Khushi who had been standing with her head low and blushing looked up with a glint of battle in her eyes. “I’m Khushi Kumari Gupta. And if the cap fits……”  *flashback ends*

Payal came back to the present and continued, “The worst part is, when he comes to Delhi on business, he never asks about her! Mum and Dad live next door so if they’re present when he arrives, he politely greets them and goes into the guest room. He’s never said a word of what happened between them and she’s too proud to tell anyone she’s been hurt by whatever happened between them.”

Grandmother clucked her tongue and frowned, “You rarely do, when you love someone very deeply and are hurt. Love can only be hidden by a giant ego that protrudes out to show to the world that you’re unshakeable.  I may be old and may follow traditions but I’m not foolish. I know how the world today works. Though she won’t say anything, I know it went way beyond attraction. I may have not met him but I wish I could. What kind of fool lets a gem like my granddaughter slip out of his hands? Damn fool boy!”

Khushi in the meanwhile was wandering about in the rain. She didn’t mind it; in fact she felt it cleansed her.  She had always loved the rains and now even more so when she knew that it was the only way she could hide her tears. Sophie didn’t mind the rain either since it gave her an opportunity to run around and chase whatever object was flying in the air.

By the time they reached the bridge near Tallital, it had stopped raining. The sun was slowly trying to make its way out. It was June and the sun would stay around a bit longer in this month so she could roam about a little further before she went to the market to buy vegetables on Lalita’s list.

She went to the post office and got some postage stamps. She always did when she was upset and wished to write to her friend in London.  Once that was done, she moved towards the subzi-mandi (the vegetable market) and started buying the vegetables. Bhindi, Aaloo, Gobhi, Palak, Methi and the other vegetables on her list were one by one added to the basket that she always carried around with her  while she chatted with the subzi-wallah. Sophie, she could see was getting restless.

“Sophie! Do stay still. I have yet to buy some more. If you behave I’ll buy you a bone later.” Sophie wagged her tail and stood on her legs, as if to say, “alright, as long as I get that bone.”

The subzi-wallah smiled at Khushi and continued weighing the rest of the vegetables, “That’s one smart dog you’ve got there Khushi, taking after her mistress.”

Khushi laughed at that. “Yeah, grandmother is one smart woman. Now me, I’m practical.” She thought to herself while paying the subzi-wallah, “And practicality dictates that I buy myself a bottle of water from the nearby shop while I get Sophie’s bone.”

“A bottle of water please.”

Khushi froze as she heard the voice. It can’t be! ARNAV! Her heartbeats went galloping and her face turned pale. She put a hand to her heart and tried to calm down. “Calm down Khushi. He can’t be here. How could he be here? He had said he’d never cared, he had said- he’d never come back. You’re just imagining his voice. Get a grip.”

While she was trying to calm herself down, the voice asked, “How much?”

She didn’t wait to hear anything else. Panic grabbed her entire being as she rushed off to run away from there as fast as her legs to take her.

While she ran away causing the subzi-wallah and some others to look at her in astonishment, Arnav stood nearby collecting his bottle of water and thinking to himself, “Running is not going to help this time Khushi. The time has come to pay for what you’ve done to me. The time has come.”

Chapter 3 Precap:

“You have to come to my engagement party Khushi! I’d never forgive you otherwise. You’re the one who made me and NK confess our love. “Mallika stomped off Khushi’s room in annoyance and went to grandmother’s room. “Naniji, I insist! Please tell her that she’s to come to my engagement party along with the rest of you guys. If she doesn’t I’m not getting engaged. Let NK wait forever!”