Joined: 26 June 2007
Arnav was driving home without even thinking about the road he was taking. His grip on the steering wheel tightened and he watched his knuckles whiten as he thought of what he had said to Khushi a while ago. Why he was doing this to her, why was he was doing this to Lavanya, why he was doing this to himself? He did not know. But he had realised that Khushi made him feel things no one else did, and he was very much afraid of that. So he had taken up the only stance he knew. Defense.
Pretending like she didnt care was like pretending like the world didnt care. Why did she affect him so much? The look in her eyes when he had announced his engagement and when he had lied to her afterwards broke his heart into a million little pieces. They were screaming at him to go back, wipe away her tears, tell her that she did mean something, she meant everything. Nothing else but her mattered.
But his pride took over, like it frequently did, and he kept on the road he was driving, without a clue where he was headed.
She could only nod her head in response to her Buaji as she feared her voice would fail her if she spoke up. Did it matter if she said yes or no anymore? He didnt want her so did it really matter who she ended up with. She did not care for Shyam that way, and she didnt think she ever would. What she was sure about, was that she would never feel the same way about anyone else. Through all his rage, anger and pride, she had found something to fall in love with. And she had fallen hard. His words had taken the gravity from around her, blocking her out, blocking her heart out. She wanted so much to believe that he had cared that she felt she had fooled herself. What if he was just as heartless as she had first believed?
The thought made her shiver, and she realised that she needed to sit down and cry her heart out, she needed to get him out of her system, she could not even think straight. So she ran to her room and threw herself on her bed, leaving behind her her worried JiJi, her concerned Amma, her shocked Bua Ji, her heartbroken BabuJi and a slyly smirking Shyam.
Her sister joined her later that night, trying to make sure Khushi was making the right decision. She was angry that Buaji had strained Khushi so much, this was her sister, who she cared about alot. She wasnt going to let a single rash decision ruin her life.
Anjali stood next to her brother worrying the same. Hoping that the pressure of those around him hadnt caused her dear brother to make a decision he would come to regret. But he played it off, like he had done so much with Khushi "Of course". Anjali had decided to believe him for then, he looked too worried to pester more, so she headed out to bed, praying for her brothers happiness as she did.
A few days later found Arnav standing in front of his bathroom mirror, shaking from anger. It had been four days since he had left her crying in front of her home and he hadn't seen her ever since. In person anyway. Because he had spent the last days with the image of her crying playing before his eyes every single second. He had shouted at as many people as possible and dreamt of her every night. All he saw was Khushi standing in a corner, looking tired, drained and upset. And he watched, as though from above, as he also stood in the same large empty room. He had tried shouting at himself to go to her, but his image did not move, it just stood there looking at her with no emotion. Eventually Khushi would start to run, away from her sorrow, away from him and he would watch in desperation as his image just stood there as the walls around them disappeared and Khushi ran away, crying as she did. He tried running after her to find that he could not because he wasnt really there, he was just watching. He had no control and he wanted her back. He woke up sweating every time, whispering her name.
What was he going to do, he thought to himself. It's true that you dont appreciate something un till it is gone. He found himself wandering towards Lavanya's room to catch a glimpse of her, lingering by the poolside where she always seeemd to be and taking unecessary walks to the kitchen because he thought she might be there only to have to remind himself that she wasnt coming back. He had told her that he didnt care.
The thought of her gone forever was too much for Arnav to handle so he grabbed his coat on the way out of the bathroom with the thought of driving over to her home. He would think of an excuse once he got there, he had to see her.
His wish was granted earlier than he had hoped as he rushed down the steps to find Khushi standing next to Anjali near the corridor that lead to their front door. Arnav froze as he took her in. She was beautiful, but when had she not been? But there was something different. She didnt look happy, there was a glint of sadness around her eyes, that seemed to permanantly stick. Arnav found a clump in his throat as he wondered whether he was the cause of that.
He was about to walk when his sisters voice made him freeze.
"Khushi ji what? This is such good news" an enthused Anjali exclaimed.
Khushi just nodded in reply, without a hint of emotion.
"Anjali Ji, I really just wanted to drop the card by, I really should be going" she said, nervously taking a quick look around, for Arnav who she did not spot, she could not face him. She didnt think she had enough heart left for that.
"No don't be silly Khushi ji, I must go tell everyone about this."
"Please Anjali ji, I really have work to get done" her voice bordering pleading now.
"Ok ok, but atleast let me run and tell Lavanya, she has been so happy about her and Arnav's news that she would love to know that you are getting married as well"
Arnavs heart dropped down to his stomach. He stood on the steps, frozen, not believing what his sister had just said. As he caught a flash of purple in the corner of his vision of his Di walking away leaving Khushi standing alone in the middle of the hall he rushed down the steps having to take extra care not to fall. He was too angry to recognise the look of shock as Khushi watched him walk up to her and she quickly turned and began to rush down the corridor.
Arnav grabbed her arm before she had the chance to get too far and dragged her along behind him, up the stairs, through his room and through the doors that let to the pool by his room. Khushi had kept silent the entire way, he had expected her to protest, but she did not show emotion.
"What is this?" he said through a strained voice.
Khushi felt as though he heart was breaking all over again as she watched his pained expression but she reminded herself of all the things he had said and she fought through it. Plastering on the fake smile she had come to perfect in the last few days she rummaged through a bag and took out a cream coloured card, holding it out to Arnav.
"Card, invitation" she said, taking a breath and continuing "for my wedding"
Arnav's fists clenched so he could feel his nails digging into his palms. He could not take this. How dare she?
"What the what?" Khushi threw back at him, he was not getting the right to question this at all. This was all the consequence of the decision he had made. He had thrown her away like she meant nothing, so how dare he?
"What is this wedding nonsense"
"My wedding is not nonsense"
"If you think I am just going to stand around and watch you get married to some oth.."
Khushi couldnt believe what she was hearing. He had no right.
"Thats EXACTLY what I expect you to do" she screamed back at him, all her rage from the heartbreak coming out at once "why would you have to do anything, you don't care? remember? you dont care about me, or anything that had to do with my status and respect, so why would you do anything?"
"Shut up" he said, enraged.
"You shut up" she retaliated "you told me you didn't care, so there" she said, throwing the card at him "I don't care either, that makes us even" she said, turning around to run away from him.
Arnav watched as she turned and began to back away, her voice had broke as she did and he could tell she was crying. Tired, drained and upset. What had he done? He had ruined everything. He watched her take two fast steps and he thought of his dream as she began to ran away. He had ruined it all, for her, for himself and for them. And what for? So that he could say he was still Arnav Singh Raizada. He did not want to be that man without this woman.
He was not going to be that man. That man in the dream that just watched on as the woman that meant the world to him just ran away from his life. He was going to hold on, he was going to hold on and never let go. He reached out to Khushi as he thought of what it would be like if she were to leave and never come back. If she became someone else's right and he could not have her when he wanted to. For someone else to hold.
Khushi felt herself being roughly turned around and she closed her eyes bracing herself for him to shout at how dare she throw something in his face, but it did not come. His voice did not come.
Instead, she felt his arms wrap around her waist, and his soft hair caress the hollow of her neck. His lips were just below her shoulder, she could feel them quivering. She was too afraid to open her eyes because she felt she might lose it. So she just stood still, holding on to the moment she did not want to pass.
When she thought she felt him shake her eyes flew open, the image in front of her was exactly what she had been feeling. Arnav stood, back slightly bent to adjust to her height, with his head buried in her neck as he hugged her tightly. Holding on like she was dear life.
And he was shaking, from fear.
"Don't" he whispered "Please don't"
Khushi could feel her heart breaking all over again.
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