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Just as Khushi was leaving for RM the next day, Bua-ji stopped her.
"Eh, Titaliya (butterfly), Shyam-ji spoke to me last night over the phone. I'm glad you are doing this for your Babu-ji", she said this while patting her hand head in motherly affection.
"Han, Bua-ji", her decision still didn't sit well with her, but she would do what she could for her Babu-ji. "I'm going to be home a little late today, there are some finishing touches needed for the food for the Raizada's Diwali party today".
"That's fine Khushi, come back safe", Bua-ji happily sent her on her way.
Khushi was cooking up a storm in RM and luckily her job had the added benefit of being therapeutic. She hadn't spoken to Arnav-ji since their last encounter in the kitchen and she missed him. She still felt bad about Lavanya-ji. She hoped her friend would not feel betrayed, if she knew about her feelings for her 'Laad Governor'.
Don't make the food too spicy Khushi. You know he doesn't like that, she told herself. It gave her some comfort that he would eat her food today, if nothing else. It seemed like now that she realised she liked him, he was always absent. She would only catch glimpses of him when she came and went; it was like giving crumbs to a starving person. She knew he was around today, his sister had insisted Akash-ji and he stay home for the festival. But still there was no sight of him.
Khushi was still in full cooking mode, when Om Prakash came into the kitchen.
"Khushi-ji, Payal-ji is here to see you, she's at the front entrance".
"Is anything wrong?" Khushi said, abandoning her cooking without a second thought.
"I'm not sure Khushi-ji" The words hadn't left his mouth and Khushi had already fled the kitchen. She found Payal waiting at the front hall, looking nervously around, as the decorating was going on.
Payal couldn't help but feel anxious, reason being that the last encounter she had had with Akash's mother was still fresh in her mind. But that's what she needed, a reality check and the memory that made her cringe inside was the perfect medicine.
"Jiji, is everything ok?" The question brought Payal back to the present where Khushi stood before her.
"Everything is fine Khushi, I'm just here to bring you Babu-ji's mobile. Bua-ji said if you're going to be late, you should have it on you, just in case". She handed Khushi the phone, looking anxious.
"Jiji are you ok? You look worried." Khushi could tell something was bothering her sister. Payal pulled her sister into a quiet corner.
"Khushi, have you said 'yes' to the proposal? It's only that, Bua-ji seems to think so. You didn't tell me that you had made your decision last night." Khushi had been in a muted, reflective mood when she had come home but it wasn't unusual, especially with what was going on recently.
Payal and Khushi weren't aware that someone had overheard their conversation. Akash had practically flown to the front hall when OP had told him Payal-ji was here. But before he could make his presence known, what he had overheard stumped him. Khushi-ji was getting married?
"Jiji, I" before Khushi could say more she was interrupted.
"Hello hi bye bye'.what is going on here!" Mami-ji seemed to be able to sense whenever her son was near his love interest and zeroed in on the threat like a bull, that had seen red.
"What is this? We already have patti-sari here, what is hurt foot doing here too. Is this a market you can come and go as you please? Lavanya isn't here, so that excuse is out. Is there no limit to your shamelessness?" Mami-ji tore into Payal without a backward glance. Akash felt helpless anger building in him. He had been too late in objecting to his Mother's icy remarks before but this time he would not be.
"Ma, how could you say that?" Before he could utter more his mother cut him off.
"Akash-bitwa, don't you need to help with the preparations? You are helping no one by standing here in the hall". Payal felt doubly shamed, Akash was here for her humiliation. It was like a recurring nightmare. Payal had the urge to flee.
As Khushi was about to give Mam-ji a piece of her mind, Payal stopped her, with a hand on her arm. She knew she would defend her and make the situation worse.
"Khushi, I'm going, I'll talk to you at home".
"Nahi Akash bitwa, your Nani was calling for you. It seemed like it was urgent. You'd better go and see". He couldn't tell if she was telling the truth or not but Akash changed direction towards Nani's room and left. Manorama left soon after aswell, with a satisfied "humph" in Khushi's direction and a mental well done to herself.
Khushi went back into the kitchen, only jalebi's would help now.
Arnav sat in his room at RM, his laptop in front of him, his gaze unfocused as he stared at it. Arnav's impatience had led him to having her followed in the end. He would have done it himself but he had been too busy with a new project at work to deal with. But whenever he had a few moments his thoughts would turn to Khushi. He realised he couldn't pay her too much attention without waving a white flag of surrender. He couldn't hide the fact that he had feelings for her but he didn't want her to know. In this instance, he had not chosen himself and fate had been guiding him instead. The lack of control was driving him crazy.
Just then he heard someone knock on his door.
"Come in", Arnav waited as the door opened to show the man who had sat outside the temple the day before. Dev was a new member on his team but had quickly assured him that he would be up to the task. Arnav was impatient to hear what Dev had to say, but he tried to not let it show on his face.
"ASR I have my report." Arnav nodded for him to go ahead.
"Ms Gupta went straight from RM to the temple yesterday after work. When she was there she bumped into a man. It was obvious she hadn't expected for him to be there from her expression. From the information you have given me, the man wasn't a family member. They prayed together and gave offerings at the temple and left. I followed Khushi-ji home and the man left and went in a different direction. At her home there was no sign of any man other than her father in the house".
When Arnav heard that Khushi had met someone, he couldn't think clearly for a moment. His Khushi with some man? He felt like running downstairs, finding her and giving her the third degree. Who was he? Where were these men coming from? Focus Arnav, Focus. Arnav pulled himself together and looked at Dev, picking up on the last thing he had said.
"The tenant didn't turn up?" Arnav questioned.
"This other man, did you get any pictures of him?" Dev felt himself go cold; he had forgotten to take photos.
"I'm sorry Sir, No." Arnav looked like he would rip the man's head off for the failing. In the last moment he stopped himself, he needed more information. Dev would live, for now.
"N-no, Sir", Dev realised he was walking on egg shells. Even though he was a large, burly man, he still felt the fear of Arnav's wrath. It was like lightenting that could strike him down at any time.
"Than get out and get back to work. If there's any more mistakes, mujhse bura koi nahi hoga, understand?" The suppressed fury in his eyes told Dev all he needed to know.
"Y-yes, Sir". With that Dev made his escape. As he closed the door and heard a fist slam against a table. He felt sorry for anyone who got in ASR's way.
AN - OK guys, Have patience with me. There will definitley be an Arnav and Kushi scene next chapter. Nali out xxx
Joined: 15 April 2011
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