Arnav let out an exasperated sigh as he looked at the girl sitting in front of him. It had taken all his will power to stop himself from dropping Payal off on the middle of the road and driving away. What was it with these Gupta girls and pushing all of my wrong buttons he thought to himself as he gave her a glare only to get one in return. The moment he dragged her out of his cabin until he stopped his car outside the restaurant, Payal had gone on and on about how she did not want to go to lunch with him. If that wasn't annoying enough, she had gone on to say he should not have talked like that to "Akash ji." Finally having had enough of her nonsense he had firmly told her to shut up, and reminded her that they had plans to make to stop her sisters wedding, and until Akash was concerned he would be fine and that he would give her Akash's number and she could talk to him and comfort him later. If the first bit hadn't made a difference to her, the last bit definitely got her to shut up as she had turned bright red. And now here he was, sitting across from her while she pouted and refused to look at him or acknowledge him for the past 10 minutes.
"Keep this up, and you can forget about me helping you in any way," finally losing his cool, he told an angry Payal. Giving himself a mental pat on the back, he smirked as he saw anger flash in her eyes, followed by annoyance and then finally a look of giving up. Payal - 0 Arnav - 1, he mentally tallied, only to get a response back from a voice in his head. "Leave it to the great ASR to forget the times she told you off in your cabin earlier." Ignoring the voice he looked at Payal and straightened up. "Ok so, first things first, what is this man's name?!" He asked the most obvious question, considering he had no idea who his rival was! Rival...what?! Rolling his eyes mentally at himself, he went on "And how long has he been living at your place and how did you guys get to know him?"
Forgetting all her anger and annoyance, Payal divulged in on all the details that would help them with this new mission...or so she liked to call it. Telling him everything about how after the release of the clip of him and Arnav things went bad for the family. Khushi met Shyam in Lucknow and how he helped save Khushi from the goons. She told him about how once they moved here, he helped Khushi get a job and then how he started living with them as a paying guest. She also told him about how buaji's persuasion was the reason behind Khushi's abrupt engagement. Noticing the anger in his eyes, she also quietly told him about how Khushi has decided to go ahead with this wedding. He looked at her shocked and she explained about their talk the night before and how she wanted to do this for bauji. Not leaving anything out she told him the smallest of the details incase any of it would help them as Arnav listened to her intently.
Finally finishing, she looked at Arnav to see that he looked troubled as he stared at her. "Now I think we have done enough melodrama for the day, so back to what you dragged me here for. I've told you everything about him, now what's the next step?" Arnav looked at her and started thinking until he realized he still did not know this man's name! "You never told me his name."
"Oh right, his name is Shyam."
As soon as he heard the name, Arnav's heart leaped. Shyam? His thoughts went straight to his jijaji who was still out of town. "His name is Shyam?" he asked her quietly with an edge to his voice. Seeing her nod, he was about to question more but decided against it since he would get all the information on him soon anyways, he was about to go on when she interrupted him. "I know Anjali ji's husband's name is Shyam too. Khushi was telling me about how Anjali ji had told her. From what I hear, your jijaji is a saint compared to this man who is living in our house."
Arnav relaxed a bit after hearing her explain, however he still made a mental note to check where his jijaji was and what he was up to lately. He also needed to contact his people to make sure they get all the info on this Shyam who wants to marry Khushi because asking Payal too many questions wouldn't be right. Mentally rebuking himself, he got back to thinking about how to stop this wedding. There was no way in hell he would let Khushi marry such a creep. He had promised her he would help her out and fix everything. So what if she didn't want to fix anything, so what if every thing she said to him was in a moment of weakness, it didn't matter to him. His promise to her was not made as a joke. He meant every word he had said to her. And if she was ready to throw her life away to some jerk, he would make sure that he did everything he possibly could to stop that from happening. And to do that, he first had to make her falter on her decision, because only after that he would be able to get her to think rationally.
Telling Payal about what they had to do first, he told her to use every opportunity she got to try to get Khushi to change her decision about the wedding. Payal rolled her eyes and told him that she already does that and that he needs to think of something better. "Well do it more. Annoy her, taunt her...do whatever you have to do but constantly let her know how you feel about this wedding." He told her while glaring at her.
After about an hour of arguing back and forth both finally came up with a decision, they would first have to convince the parents to postpone the wedding, which would be Payal's job. Then they had to get to know who Shyam really was, because he didn't seem like what he was showing everyone. Arnav hastily took that job, saying he would find out all the information about him. At first Payal had protested, but Arnav being Arnav had put his foot down saying he would do it. Of course he couldn't tell her he already had his people doing this job. They decided that they would get to this first and then go on and plan more depending on how things worked out.
"Ok now that we figured this out, I should get going. I need to go somewhere," Payal told him as she started gathering her things. "Where are you going?" he asked her confused. "Well, i did tell everyone i was out looking for a job, SO I am going to look for a job. I want to be able to help the family now." She told him matter of factly only to get a surprised look for him. She raised her eyebrow at his look. "What?"
"You...i mean...you are gonna work?" Trying to ask her nonchalantly, he smacked himself mentally for making it sound like she wasn't capable of getting a job.
"Why? You think I can't work? Or get a job? You think im not educated enough?!" She bombarded him with questions as her temper flared.
"Relax okay, I didn't mean that." He knew he was at fault, but how could she talk to him like that?! He was ASR after all! And no one talked to him like that! But now was not the time to lose his cool, he was in public and he would not let her make a scene "Calm down, and tell me, how much have you studied and what did you do?"
"And it matters to you because?" Payal retorted, not wanting to have this conversation with him.
Telling himself to ignore her attitude he took a deep breath and went on "well I was thinking, if you have majored in something that could benefit AR then you could join my company." Looking at her, he could tell she clearly saw he didn't really want her to join, but he had to convince her in order to always keep tabs on the Gupta family...and more importantly Khushi. But along with that, somewhere he didn't really mind Payal joining his office. It would be a good way for her and Akash to hang out with each other. But the next minute when she opened her mouth, he regretted his decision.
"You are asking me to work at AR? Really? And you really think I would work there? You do know, khushi is my sister right? And obviously she has told me everything that has happened there?!? Yet you want me to work ther?! Yeah right!!"
"Payal 1- Arnav 1" his inner voice tallied out but only to be ignored by Arnav. That's it im done being Mr nice guy! Arnav forgot all about being civil and gave her a piece of his mind "Listen lady! I was just trying to offer you a job if you were qualified enough! Any other person would die to work in AR, one recommendation from me or any member of my staff and you can get a job anywhere in the world. Working with AR can make you reach such heights that even your short self would feel tall...and I mean literally as well as figuratively! Apart from that however, I thought this would be a good chance for us to work together and plan out our so called mission even more. It would be easier for us to be seen together without being questioned by anyone including your crazy sister " Giving her a last glare, he got up and walked out the restaurant.
"5, 4, 3, 2 ,1" Arnav counted down as he looked at his watch while walking towards his car. As soon as he said one he heard Payal's voice from the back asking him to stop. Giving himself a mental pat on his back, he smirked at his reflection in the window before turning around and pretending to be serious.
"I don't care Aman! You had 24 hours to get all this done, but I haven't received anything! Why am I paying all of you if you can't do one thing right!! I want all the information about the Guptas and that man living with them within an hour, if you don't get it, then make sure you have your resignation letter typed out!" Threatening his right hand man Aman, Arnav hung up the phone as he walked in to his house angry and annoyed. He knew very well he couldn't ever fire Aman, but he knew that Aman was the only man he could vent on who would just hear him out and not bother to pay any heed to his threats. Even though that pissed Arnav off, he didn't mind because Aman was the only man who would keep him sane while driving him crazy and get everything done perfectly and on time.
The entire day had been productive, yes, but annoying as well! Spending a good amount of the day with Payal, was a horrible idea. Yeah the girl was definitely smart and talented, he was actually quite impressed with her credibilitys but along with that came the annoyance! Of course she had accepted his job offer, but not before telling him off about making fun of her height. Clearly that was a touchy subject, and he mentally noted to always use that against her whenever she pushed his buttons the wrong way! After dropping her home he had decided he was going to have her work with Akash because there was no way he could deal with her, and this would also lead to Akash being happy, which meant he would be free to do what he wanted to do without any interruptions.
Murmuring to himself, Arnav walked into his room. He dropped his bag on the sofa while loosening his tie and walked out to the pool area. He needed peace and quiet, and his babies, his plants were the only ones who would give him that peace. Picking up his watering can, he started to water the plants only to stop abruptly as he saw something red flash from the corner of his eyes. "What the hell?!" He turned to his left and walked slowly around the pillar only to be shocked at the sight in front of him. There was a person in a red salwar, on the floor, on all fours, looking for something. Who else except the one and only Khushi Kumari Gupta!
Ignoring the warm feeling that all of a sudden settled in his heart at the sight of her, he sighed quietly and whispered, "Why me?!"
"Khushi what are you doing on the floor?" Arnav asked her awkwardly but softly, knowing very well how she jumped every time she knew he was around. However, it did absolutely nothing, and she still jumped up only to lose her balance.
It had been half an hour since she had started looking for her stupid ring once again. After searching every corner of the Raizada mansion, Khushi finally decided to have a look at the one place she didn't want to go to. Arnav's room and the pool area. But giving herself a pep talk to be strong and that she had to find this ring, she had gone ahead and decided to look quickly before he came home and found her there. She was doing fine, until she felt his presence as her heart beat increased. Before she could bolt out the other door, she heard him call her name only to jump and lose her balance once again. Khushi opened her eyes as she felt herself being held in warm sturdy arms and found herself drowning in beautiful dark brown eyes.
As if her hands had a mind of their own, they went up and rested on his chest as she felt his hands go around her waist and held her tight. Her breath hitched as he pulled her closer to him. He was so near, intoxicating every nerve in her body and mind. She wanted to look away from his intensifying gaze but couldn't tear her eyes away.
Feeling all her soft curves against his sturdy body, Arnav tried hard to not lose control. He was going to let her go as soon as she had been steady, but the moment she opened her eyes and looked at him, it felt like time had stood still. An unknown feeling took over him as he wanted to feel her close to him, and so without thinking he had pulled her close and stared back at her. And now that he had her where he wanted her, he realized it was a bad idea. This was not how its suppose to be. She should not be affecting him like this. The only reason he was helping her was because he knew what was happening with her was wrong. That was it. Nothing else. But then why do you lose all control when you are near her?! The voice in his head questioned him, but he had no answer. He did what he knew best, he gently pushed her away and regretted it the next second as he saw the disappointment in her eyes.
Clearing his throat he asked her why she was here. "What are you looking for Khushi?" He knew exactly what she was looking for and saw she was hesitating to answer him. He knew she felt weird about telling him about the ring, especially since she had told him she wasn't happy with this wedding.
"I um can't find my ring."
"You mean your engagement ring?" He couldn't help but bring the contempt in his voice as he talked about that piece of jewelry and noticed her cringe. "Shouldn't you be happy? The thing that gave you so much pain, is lost."
"It's not about what I feel Arnav ji. This ring means something to someone. There are feelings attached to it. I can't just lose it like that!"
"Oh really?! Feelings for who? I know it definitely isn't you, because you can pretend to forget what happened between the two of us the other day but I can't. I promised you I would stop this wedding and so I will." He didn't know why he was so angry all of a sudden, but the moment she brought up affection for that ring, something snapped in him.
"I was weak. I said all that in a moment of weakness. Whats done is done. This marriage is going to happen, so please forget about what I said. I can't disappoint my family." On the verge of tears, she tried to tell him to let it all be, but she knew it was all in vain as she saw the determination and anger in his eyes.
That was the last straw, losing all his control, he grabbed her shoulders and pulled her close. "So you are going to throw away your entire life, just so your family isn't disappointed? You are going to give up your life to a man you know nothing about? Well guess what Khushi Kumari Gupta, I will not let you! I had promised you that I would stop this wedding, and I will do it no matter what! So you can do whatever the hell you want but just know that Arnav Singh Raizada ALWAYS lives up to his promise!" Venting out all his anger, he gave her a challenging look to try and defy him.
Realizing he was holding onto her too tight, he loosened his grip on her shoulders a little but did not let go. All his anger vanished as he saw her eyes well up. Feeling his heart clench, he cursed at himself for hurting her once again. "Don't cry. I didn't mean to hurt you. Khushi please." But before he could say anything else, she moved back and walked out the door leaving a distraught Arnav behind.
Forgetting all his anger and pain, he went behind her on the pretext of dropping her home. He knew he couldn't end the night this way with her leaving crying. It just wasn't right. Yes it went against his entire nature and principles, but he had to make sure she was okay.
Pacing back and forth in his room, Arnav murmured curses at Akash for ruining his plan. Only if he had came home a few minutes later, then it would have been Arnav dropping Khushi home, not Akash. The man had walked in and announced he would drop Khushi home.
Knowing very well, that Akash was just taking revenge for what had happened in the afternoon when he had taken Payal along with him, there was nothing Arnav could do since the entire family was sitting downstairs. Along with that, he didn't want to show that he actually wanted to spend time with Khushi, cause well not like he did...right?! And so he had no choice but to let Akash go, but only after giving him a wait-until-you-come-home look, which of course, did nothing to Akash who just smirked and winked before walking out the door with Khushi. And now here he was pacing back and forth in his room, wondering how to make amends with Khushi.
Clearly knowing it was because she was upset, but he kept on telling himself, the only reason he wanted to make things okay were because he didn't want any more drama. So caught up in telling himself she made no difference to him, he didn't realize when Anjali came in the room.
"Chote what are you doing? Are you ok?" She asked concerned.
Snapping back to reality, he looked at his di and replied, "I am fine di, just thinking about work." Only to receive a disapproving look from her. "Work, work and work! You really need to stop!! You and your jijaji both need a break from all this business nonsense! You know I should really send you both on a vacation where you won't have any means of communication to your stupid business!" Going on and on, she ignored Arnav's amused expression, who was quite enjoying this conversation. However, thinking about his jijaji, Arnav decided he had to find out what he has been up to. Its been a while since he has been back home.
He snapped out of his thoughts, as he heard his di huff "Fine ignore me! I just came in here to give you this. Aman dropped it off. And before you ask why he didn't come up and give it to you himself, let me tell you that he had to leave because unlike you he has a life!" With that she held out his arm with one hand and placed a big bulky file in it before walking out mumbling to herself about how her brother was a gone case.
Seeing the file in his hand, he decided he would go and pacify his di later. As of now, this was very important. This file would lead him to the man, the jerk, who was trying to tie himself in a relationship with Khushi!
After going through a few pages about the Guptas and their life in Lucknow, Arnav skimmed through the other pages as he decided he would read them later. First he wanted to know about that guy. Turning the page, he felt the blood drain from his face. Reading the name and information once again to make sure he wasn't mistaken, he felt every part of his body freeze as he looked at the file in his hand and what it read. There it was, the name with the picture of the man his sister was married to. His Jijaji. Shyam Jha.