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Arohi woke up feeling totally disorientated, her heart beating like the wings of a frightened bird,as she sat up on the big bed. She put a hand on her throat trying to control her pulsating emotions as the happenings of the last night came to haunt her once again. Fresh tears swelled in her eyes...'tears of joy, tears of sorrow. The realisation that she still loved him made her happy but his refusal had broken all her illusion about him loving her. She dragged herself off the bed and stumbled into the en-suite bathroom. Seeing her reflection was like looking at an another version of herself...'. a sense of self-pity engulfed her. How could she have been so insensible to give away to a moment of sheer lust...'a transient state of sheer sexual desire. If it wasn't for Arjun they would have indulged into an act meant to be regretted forever. "But you love him" a little voice reminded her of her true feelings. She knew in her heart of hearts that she had always loved him and will continue to do so forever but what about his feeling. She was willing to spend her entire life loving him but love making to her had always been the conversation between two souls in love. She sighed as she looked at her dazed reflection...'..certain things never chance. He still had control, as he has always done. Nothing had changed except the depth she could get hurt all over once again and the irony was this time she didn't care...'..
As she came downstairs Anna informed her that Arjun had left to attend some business meeting and would be back later that evening. She handed her a letter. Seeing Arjun's distinctive handwriting her heart stopped for a moment. It read " Need to discuss arrangement about the marriage'...'I will be waiting for you tonight at 9 o clock in the study" No salutations or endings...'.the powerful strokes of the wording reminded her of his aura of command and control. Thanking her politely, Arohi went out to the sunny terrace overlooking the gardens. Aayan was playing in the garden with Spiros. His little happy voice echoing loudly everywhere. Despite of all her apprehension Aayan had settled in very well. Arjun had been a super dad for him...'.he might not have loved her but he had definitely accepted Aayan without any inhibitions. A momentary spark of hapiness appeared on her face as she thought about the life she could have had if Arjun had loved her the way he loves Aayan. But as reality struck her it was quickly replaced by a hollow lifeless look.
"What s the matter Arohi" Gloria Aunty's voice penetrated through her moment of reflection.
"Nothing" Arohi tried to dismiss the elderly lady. She just wished she could dismiss Arjun's though from her heart and mind that easily. But she was wrong about the other woman tenacity.
"I am not a fool Arohi. If you don't want to talk about it but my dear don't give up your chance of happiness over a silly argument. You and Arjun are perfect match for each other I have seen him going to your room last night and then leaving within minutes. Whatever he's done forget it, grab him with both hands, encircle him with your undying love. Or you will regret it for the rest of your life" Her voice unwavering as it met Arohi's tearful gaze.
"I am so confused ...'..I dn't seem to know him any more. I tried last night but he just pushed me away from him'...may be he has found somebody else" tears streaming down her cheeks
"I don't believe you. If he has done that there must be a big reason behind that. Arjun has never run after a woman in his life except you. I know my boy. He is a one woman man"
Arohi's eyes sparkled humouresly " You must be kidding!! I hate to tell you this aunty but Arjun is a womaniser. He has had countless women in his life."
"May be but he has only ever loved one" Gloria aunty responded seriously "and that is you Arohi...'only you and ever since he has realised that he has never even looked at any other woman"
Arohi almost chocked on the elderly lady's assumption. She raised her started eyes "What on earth gave you that idea ? You couldn't be more worng! He has never loved me"
"Trust me Arohi he loves you a lot" Gloria Aunty assured her. And " you love him too my dear. You love shines through your eyes" Then diverting the conversation she continued as if talking to herself " I remember the time when he first met you in India you were only a little girl but all his letters to me were only full of you...'.your achievements, your talks, your attempts. His face lightening up every time he used to mention you. I still remember once he came back in a foul mood after visiting you. Apparently you have been reading about his womanising ways from the tabloids and have teased him. The poor man was mortified. He always wanted to be his Arohi's prince in shining armour and you had discovered that he was human. He was so angry at himself for being reckless"
Arohi felt a flush rise in her cheeks and with it a tiny seed of hope found its root in her heart. " we were good friends" she said softly. Arjun had always been her childhood hero. Eight years older than her she had literally grown up basking in his thoughts. She had Arjun written over her mind and heart since she had known the meaning of love. He has always ruled her very own being; her Greek God that she has grown up to adore, to cherish, to love.
" And now you are lovers...'.I have seen the way he looks at you'...the love, the desire" the elderly woman said outloud leaving Arohi speechless. " don't bother to deny it. I have never fell for his explanation of a pretend marriage for the benefit of the press. He wanted to marry you three years back and still does. Aayan is just a reason Arohi and you should know that."
The longer Gloria Aunty spoke , the convincing she sounded to Arohi.
"I admit I love him but whatever you say he is a womaniser, I know. He can't change his philandering way" She argued not still prepared to believe that Arjun was capable of being faithful. There was too much evidence to the contrary. Gauri's face surged up again in her subconscious mind.
"Look Arohi" the elderly lady said with some exasperation as she leaned towards her and placed a firm hand on her arm. "Arjun is a very handsome, wealthy and attractive man. There will always be women chasing after him and I do admit that he has made some mistakes in the past. Whatever the press say since he had confessed his love for you he had never even looked at a woman since. Believe me I know for a fact that he was devastated when you gave him his ring back. I had never seen his that distressed, that heart broken. It took him months to recover from the grief of loosing you. It seemed that he had lost the urge to live. That vacant look, that disinterest in life...'it nearly killed him. But you know despite of all that he would never let anybody say a single word against you or his love for you. His love for you the only hope that kept him going...'.his only guiding star." she leaned back and continued to unfold the story of the past without realising how important it was for Arohi to know.
"Do you remember Gauri...'..the girl who came with Natasha from US" Gloria Aunty's sudden question made Arhi jump.
" Yes I remember her vaguely'.why do you ask that" Arohi could hear her heart beating loudly.
" Well dear...'.she was Arjun's ex-girlfriend. I remember the day before you left she made a great play for Arjun. That night you had a migraine attack and we were all in the living room. They had a little fling and she was hoping to catch him on the rebound. She tried to con him into thinking that she was having his baby. She even accused Arjun of marrying you for your property. But when she said that Arjun didn't love you he just lost his temper. He almost thrashed her out of the house. I have never seen him this angry with a woman before. It was only for Natasha and Kumud that she was allowed to stay here for that night. "
Arohi who had been listening to all this but not really believing until then, suddenly gave Gloria aunty all her attention.
" Although Arjun threw her out of the villa the next day but you wont believe the lengths she went to. She approached every other newspaper in Paphos and even forged Arjun signature on the consent form for an abortion. Thanks to Rudra's connection that the matter was hushed up without much publicity. She finally gave up when he took her to a maternity clinic and got her checked. There was no baby. She had made a complete fool of herself"
Slumped back in her chair, Arohi tried to take it all in. She had been wrong about Gauri!!. What else had she been wrong about??? For years she had believed in the half conversation that she had overheard...'for years she had tried to deny her love for Arjun, convinced that he was a man unworthy of her love. But it was all her fault...' if only she had waited for a bit longer she could have got a better picture of the scenario. Arjun was right. She didn't deserve his love. In her immature insecurity she had thrown away the most important thing in her life .Suddenly as if paraprashing Aunty Glori's account she got stuck at the word "migraine".
"Aunty, you said I had a migraine attack that night...'.who told you that?"
"Let me think'...It was Natasha I think...'.no hang on...'it was definitely Natasha. After the argument when Arjun was going out to look for you it was Natasha who told him that you had a migraine attack and you have specifically asked not to be disturbed...'..why do you ask dear?"
"Nothing Aunty ...'just wanted to know" Arohi answered softly.
" Since you ask dear...'.dont mention anything to Arjun...'.I have never liked that girl...'..I am sure it was her plan to bring Gauri along with her for your engagement'..she hates Arjun like anything but my poor boy always panders to her whims and fancies''..she was ever so happy when your engagement broke...'I can bet she can go to any extent to take away all the happiness from Arjun's life..."
Arohi's lips twitched as her
mind slotted the pieces of missing puzzles. No wonder Natasha had lied to her
when she had called to ask about Arjun's whereabouts. An unknown anger surged
through her that she had fallen into her trap. She had been an absolute fool in believing the entire world
other than the man who had truly loved her. The man who had been by her side
whenever she needed him. She had seen Arjun the way she wanted him to be,
overlooking all his goodness.Tears of happines, tears of glory streamed down as she realised the man she has had loved through out her life has loved her back with the same intensity.
"Now tell me girl '...Do you really think any other man can make you happy and satisfied " she winked at Arohi like a teenager.
"You are incorrigible Aunty Gloria. Physical relationship isn't everything in life. Arohi equipped.
"You can say that because you haven't had to do without the physical intimacy for the last ten years ! Believe me dear being in the embrace of the man you love is the most wonderful experience one can ever have"
There was no answer to that and Arohi didn't even try to give one.
The elderly lady paused, her green eyes studying Arohi's flushed face "Joking apart" she said in a serious tone" you and Arjun are meant for each other. Give him another chance and I am sure you will never regret it. I have said my last word on the subject. Now it is up to you. But don't take too long. You might loose him before you even realise it"
It was time for her to face Arjun'...'to open her heart out to him. To seek his forgiveness for not trusting him or his love. She kept on seeing Arjun in her mind's eye looking at her accusing lips The pain etched on his face made her heart curl in agony. His words " I have always loved you and it is a pity that I could never make you love me" kept on haunting her. She sincerely hoped that the time hasn't gone by...'.that she hasn't really lost him forever...''
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