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Joined: 21 January 2010
OK.. Here goes Part 10.. Enjoy
I woke up early in the morning, next to Arnav. He had an arm around my waist. I slowly took his arm and put it on his side, and sat up to look at him. I wondered how could he managed to look so powerful even when he was asleep and still? I stroked his forehead once before I got down and tiptoed as I got ready. I went to the lobby where they had kept a small statue of Devi Maiyya. She was the only one who could help all of us now. After I prayed, I turned and saw the old man there. Again with this irritating smirk on his face. I walked ahead and passed him, but I could see that he was following me. I almost ran to the ward, only to collide into a wall. No not a wall, because the "WALL" held me gently with its arms and put my dupatta properly on my shoulder while asking "Kaha chali gayi thi Khushi?"
It was Arnav. I looked up to him gratefully and pointed my finger backwards. He was confused when he saw that I was frightened of something. He looked over to that old man, and it was like seeing a replay of the first day. He put me behind himself and his body was taut with tension. Mine was the same reaction too. I stood behind, with both of my hands on his biceps, as if that would stop him if he decided to hurt that stranger physically. He ordered in a low, but menacing voice "Get out!!", stressing both words, making it sound very dangerous.
"My, My!! Come now, "CHOTEY". Why this hatred? You know it wasn't my fault!!" the old man sneered.
"Guards! Get him out of here. This minute!" Arnav said in a slightly more audible voice.
The guards were on it by the time he finished his sentence. The old man just shook off the hands of the guards and left on his own. After he left, I came and stood in front of him. I was about to ask him who he was, when Aakash said "Bhai? Aap aagaye? Woh.. London ka kaam kya hua?"
Clearly he was expecting an answer, but Arnav just stood there, fists clenched. So I replied, "The agreement is on for at least 2 more years. He came around 1 a.m in the midnight. Aakashji, aap yahaa ruk sakthe hain? Hum dono khaana khaake aajaayenge." I replied. "Arre haan.. Jaaiyena. I'll be here all day today. So take some rest and come"
I pulled Arnav to the parking lot of the hospital. Arnav had relaxed a little bit. But one thing was for sure, I could kill that old man for getting my Arnav that tensed, old self of his. He took us both to the car and drove off. He had raised the speed, but reduced the speed after looking at me once.
We were on the outskirts of the city now, when he suddenly pulled the car to the side and got out. I followed him. He put his hands on my waist and lifted me off the ground effortlessly and made me sit on the bonnet. Then he hugged me tight. I was still wondering why he had stopped the car when he did all that.
I rested my hands lightly on his shoulders from behind and let him be. He was relaxing by every, passing minute and after a few minutes he took my hand and started playing with my fingers. I held his hand to still him. He still didn't look up. I took his face in my other hand and looked into his eyes. After a few moments' gap, "That old man is my uncle. He killed my parents" he said bluntly. I gasped and stared at him with shock filled eyes. He sighed at this and shook his head before giving me the detailed version. "My father was the eldest in his family and he had a younger brother. They loved each other very much. Or at least that was what everybody had thought. But he was so jealous of my dad because everybody loved and respected him much more than my uncle. On top of that, my grandfather left the whole Mallick business empire to my dad. This irked my uncle even more. But the last straw was when the woman that he loved, married my dad. He still didn't show any hatred on his face and pretended to love me and Di very much. He had expected dad would at least give him a part of the business empire. And frankly, he would have. My uncle just needed to ask. But no. That psychopath just went ahead and killed both of them. I was 10 years old Khushi! I couldn't do anything when he created all witnesses to tell that my parents had killed each other. I hated that I couldn't do anything. That is why I still hate feeling helpless. My mother was my god Khushi. After I lost my parents, me and Di were shifted to Nani's place. We didn't live such a comfortable life then. We all struggled a lot. But... after I lost my mother, I've sat in my garden for long hours,…………. Wondering what I was doing here when my mom wasn't there with me."
At that, she hugged me to herself and said "No Arnav. Aise math kahiye. We've already lost your mother. We don't want to lose each other, do we?" she asked. I couldn't stop myself from crying at that. 'Life without him?! It'd be unimaginable!!' I thought.
After a few moments, he let me go and asked, "Ghar jaake kaafi din hogaye na? Mein tumhe ghar chod deta hu. You take rest today, ok?"
During the drive, after a few minutes of comfortable silence, he said "Khushi... Thank you. For everything."
I just smiled at that.
I realized how much I had missed home when we reached my home. When I thanked him for dropping me, he said "Arre waah!! Bas thank you??!!"
So I asked, "Umm.. Aur kya karein?"
"Andar nahi bulaogi?" he asked.
"Zaroor. Aayiyena..." I replied.
Bauji opened the door and he was pleased to see Arnav. "Bauji.. Hume bhi tho dekhiye. Hum bhi ghar aaye hai" I said with mock anger.
"Tumri tho ghar hai bitiya. Sab log mandir gaye hue hai. Ab tum jao.. Jaake chai banaake lao" he said.
I looked at Arnav once, before going to kitchen.
Me and Bauji sat down on the sofa and I asked him about his health before asking anything about Shyam. He was still very angry at him and told me how he had his doubts. He had even spotted Shyam with Di once, in the temple. But he didn't know that it was my Di and that she was Shyam's wife, as Shyam had lied to him that she was his client. But one thing was for sure. Bauji loved Khushi as if she were his own daughter. And he was damn protective of his daughters!
He thanked me for taking care of his daughter. And when I said there was no need to thank me and that it was my duty, he just looked at me curiously, with a smile on his face. "Achcha hum dekhke aathe hai in logon ko itna waqt kyu lag raha hai. Yahi saamnewala mandir hai. Aap chalenge?" he asked me.
'As if!!' I thought, but said "Ji nahi. Aap chaliye. Main yahi rukta hoon. Khushi se kuch baat karni hai."
Once he left, I went to the kitchen. There she was, pouring tea to a glass. As soon as she felt me, she spilled most of it on the counter. "Am I supposed to lick it off the counter?" I asked with amusement.
"Umm... Galti hogayi. Aap Bauji ke saath baithiye na. Hum phir se banaake laathe hai." she said.
He just stood there, leaning on the doorframe and said "No. Bauji kahi baahar gaye. And I'd much rather stand here... You see, I like to see you move around". He said that last sentence in such a husky tone, that my racing heart skipped a beat.
"Oh..." was all I could manage to utter, but thought 'Yeah. But you see when you're watching, I don't move around. I just keep falling!!' . My hands started to shake as I started preparing tea again. I could feel his footsteps as he came and stood behind me. I practically started to shiver like a leaf in the wind, when he put his hand on mine to steady it...
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