Joined: 26 June 2007
She sat on the floor next to the bed where she had been standing so confidently less than a few minutes ago, shaking with fear and shock, choking in large gulps of air. Why did she feel like she was suffocating, she tried to calm her nerves, told herself to breathe, slowly, steadily. It did no good. Her hitched sobs were getting in the way of breathing and breathing required control, that was something she had very little of.
He watched her struggle to breathe, and he realised that he could not stand there and watch her like this. It was messing with his head. It was breaking his heart. He turned with the thought of getting her a glass of water and gave himself a mental punch for being the cause of her pain.
As he walked back he could feel a clot restricting his throat, it was clawing at him, threatening to break his cool and calm demeanour. He rushed back to find the bathroom door to the right shut closed and an empty room.
He deserved this guilt. He had ruined her life and he was going to have to live with that.
The next morning he changed his shirt while watching her sleep, her face still blotchy and swollen from all the hours of crying last night, and still beautiful. He had fallen asleep late yesterday, alone in his bed next to the barrier that separated them, to the sound of her sobs in the bathroom. He would make things better eventually he thought, he had married her after all. But he needed her to think that he did not care for her before he started behaving normally. He needed her to hate him, as much as he needed to hate her. He did not notice when she had crept back into bed, but it must have been much later than him, by the looks of how deeply she slept now.
He looked over at her once more before he left, this was a girl he could see himself falling in love with, and that is what made it all the worse.
Next Chapter 3
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The following evening found Khushi and Anjali sitting in the kitchen playing around with flowers and cards. Nani had just gone upstairs and Anjali sat in an elaborate gold and white sarhi that hugged her figure very well. She looked like the angel that she was.
"Do you know what time he is coming?" Anjali asked Khushi. She had worried about how quiet she had been that day.
"No, he forgot to tell me this morning" she replied back, with no hint of emotion.
"Oh well, I'm sure he will be here soon, you know, he likes to be involved with arranging things for tomorrow, even though he tells people he doesn't care for birthdays, Chote has always been his Di's little boy, he likes to go all out, you know, this one year, before I was married to Shyam ji.." Anjali continued her stories of how much her little brother did for her, birthday or no birthday, not noticing her sister in law cringe at the use of her husband's name.
The thought of him, sending her back to three weeks ago.
Arnav, Khushi and Shyam stood outside the venue in the garden of one of La's extravagant parties, unmoving, unblinking. Despite the hundreds of little bulbs that surrounded them, darkness loomed between them . Arnav could not believe his own ears when Khushi had come running into him the day before with outrageous stories about his brother in law planning to marry her of which she had also recently been enlightened. He had been cheating his sister, his wonderful sister, the sister that meant to world to him. He had shouted at Khushi, because she had been the only thing next to him that day and he had really needed to vent his anger. But now Shyam was here, and Khushi was too. He walked over from where he stood near Khushi to face Shyam, and without thinking twice, landed a punch right at the centre of his face.
"You filthy, son of a.."
Shyam had looked up, clutching his face, at the man speaking to him, Khushi stepped back with fear, and he did it again. And again. And again. Punch after punch, hitting Shyam square in the jaw countless times. He had never felt that way before, a ripple of rage was piercing through him and it blinded him.
Khushi ran up to him, crying, both from fear and pain.
"Stop!, Arnav! Stop, please, thats enough!" she watched for a few seconds longer as he didn't respond and continued throwing punches.
She finally lunged herself at his arm and tugged as hard as she could "Leave him alone, arnav. ARNAV!" her voice finally making him turn.
He noticed then that he was holding a bloody Shyam by the collar, who by the looks of it, hadn't even gotten past the shock of what was happening. Of course, he didn't know that Arnav and Khushi had learnt his secret. He didn't know that they knew he was crazy for her, and would go to any lengths to get her.
"He isn't worth it" she spat at him. The venom in her words clear from her tone.
Shyam finally registered a look of recognition. So they knew.
"You!" Arnav shook the bleeding man he was holding upright "If it wasn't for my sister, I would kill you right now, remember that" he made no attempt to lower his voice"You are a lucky bas***d considering you haven't gotten married to anyone yet"
"Not anyone - Khushi" he chimed. Regretting saying it as soon as he had. The last thing he needed for them to know was that he was in love with her, and her specifically. He did not want anyone else, he did not want to cheat Anjali for the heck of it, he wanted HER.
"WHAT?" Arnav shouted, more than furious that he had dared to speak "What the hell are you saying?"
"I didn't cheat on Rani Sahiba, I didn't mean to, but this girl" he looked over at Khushi whose eyes had flown wide open from disbelief, this was not happening, he could not turn this on her.
Before she knew what she was doing, she stepped forward and backhanded him across the face.
"Don't you dare put this on me" she shook as she spoke, from anger now.
Her hands flew up to cover her mouth a few seconds later as she realised what she had just done. Rage really does blind you she thought, and she was angry enough to regret having stopped Arnav beating the life out of this pathetic man.
"she tricked me, she tried to win me over, its the money she wants, these kind of girls will do anyth" he continued.
Arnav had heard enough, he wanted to kill this man, but could not even imagine what would happen to his sister if she ever found out.
"Shut your mouth" he managed, as Shyam complied and stopped speaking immediately "I am doing this for my sister, because for some crazy reason you make her happy, now you listen to me, this is not a second chance. You have lost that right. If I ever see you so much as speak to another woman other than my sister, I swear to you, I will FINISH you" he let go of Shyams collar at the last words and shoved him to the ground. It was taking all of his strength to not choke him to death. He hoped and prayed to the God he didn't believe in, that he wouldn't regret not having done so.
Khushi was worried that celebrating his sisters birthday would remind him of all the pain she had caused their family. So she excused herself from the kitchen, where they had been making sweets and decorations for the next day to take a quick shower and clean away the guilt she felt. She realised as she soaped her hair that she shouldnt feel that way. She had done nothing wrong, nothing wrong what so ever. Shyam was scum. She had been collateral damage, not the main target. He would have gone for any girl she consoled herself, she just happened to be the one he had set his eyes on.
Arnav arrived not long after, but he hung around the lounge because he knew Khushi would be in their room and he really didn't have the guts to face her after last nights fight. He wasn't one for saying sorry. It hadn't come to him easily about a month ago when he had apologised to Khushi for the first time ever, and he sure as hell knew it would not come easy to him now.
He was so absorbed in thought of her that he did not notice her walk past the lounge towards the kitchen.
"Oi pati sarhi" Mami exclaimed, watching Khushi walk in with her wet hair flying all over the place.
Khushi was surprised to see her there as she thought Anjali would have still been in the kitchen.
"Your husband came home. Where have you been?"
"I..I was just, showe.. I mean, Im sorry, I didn't realise, whats wrong anyway"
"Nothing is wrong, I just had to stay behind and make your husband a cup of chai seeing as Jai Prakas is off from work till tomorrow evening"
Khushi stood, surprised that her Mami, who had never lifted a finger would go to such lengths. Apparently the shock came across her face
"hey, hello hi bye bye, do not look so shocked, I wouldn't raise a single precious finger but what can I do, Anjali and Nani just left to attend the ceremony over at the Delhi hall, and Mama and me are also leaving, bye bye" she finished, walking over to the door where her husband had just appeared.
"Hmmm, Do not know what is wrong with these youths, Nani knows these people so well yet Chote is refusing to go, gives a bad impression you know" she unnecessarily added, not missing the opportunity to talk about someone.
Khushi gave her Mami a small smile which disappeared as soon as she heard the door slam behind them and the car engine start. She walked over to the tray of tea and picked it up, starting towards the lounge where he sat.
On her way over, the door bell rang and she would have gone over had she not have had both hands occupied. She placed the tray on the table behind Arnav who was still lost in thought and had not even noticed her yet. She sighed as she walked back to get an extra teacup and a plate full of jalebi's. She smiled at the thought of a piece of the old Khushi coming back to her and she reminded herself that she was still little old Khushi, no one could change that.
The doorbell rang again. She had filled up her tea from the kitchen and was just starting to climb up the stairs to avoid having to sit next to him in the lounge.
"Are you going to get that? Or just leave whoever is out there to stand there for eternity" she said, loud enough to snap Arnav out of his trance.
He looked over his shoulder to where she was standing, wet hair leaving a trail of droplets behind her as she walked, then at the tray of tea beside him. How had he not noticed that?
Khushi sighed as the doorbell rang again and Arnav watched the tea by his side instead of moving.
She walked the length of the corridor and he kept his eyes on her as she did.
"Yes yes, just a second" she said as she opened the door.
The teacup, tea, plate and jalebi's she had been holding all came crashing down to the ground as Khushi's hands lost focus. No, this could not be happening ...
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