Before I get into the story, let me introduce myself. My name is Vidhya and I've been a silent reader of this forum for a while now. I've been watching the show lately, and I really enjoy ArHi's chemistry. Like many of you, I too find Arnav's recent behavior singularly annoying. Anyway, I decided to write an FF in which I changed Khushi's personality 100%, so she could give it back to him like she never does in the show
! Do let me know what you guys think. Oh, and my story is set 7 years in the future. The whole Shyam fiasco has played itself out years back. Arnav is angry (no surprise there!), embittered (ho-hum!) and feels guilty as hell. Khushi, on the other hand makes something of herself, and returns triumphantly after 7 years to face her nemesis, Arnav Singh Raizada. Here is the first installment
Scroll down to the end of Ch1 for links to other Chapters.
Chapter 1: Enter Ms.Gupta, K.
Arnav walked into the Banquet Hall at The Leela. He sighed mentally. These parties were an ordeal at best. But, unfortunately, they were necessary. To succeed, in business, making a show of one's successes is as just as important as the actual success. Business School 101. And tonight was important. He was launching a new project in collaboration with a famous UK-based design house. It was a coup of sorts, since the lead designer at that house, Freddy Meek, was notoriously picky and ill-tempered. That he'd agreed to design clothes for the urban, Indian working woman that would be sold exclusively by AR was huge. ASR had done it again. The Wunderkind had a Midas touch of sorts. Everything he touched, turned to Gold. In business. In his personal life, everything he touched, burned to nothingness. He gave himself a tiny mental shake. "C'mon ASR. Get with the program. Get in there, Mingle. Kiss Freddy Meek's ass a little. Throw back a glass or 2 of Champagne. Make nice. Take pictures with pretty actress for tomorrow's Page 3 article. Leave. Easy-peasy."
He'd barely stepped into the hall when Aadit walked up to him and wrung his hand.
"ASR! Good to see you."
"Aadit. Same!" said ASR. He liked Aadit. Aadit Murthy was his counterpart at Rising Star, the Fashion house he had signed the collaboration with. Aadit was efficient, reliable, and honest. He'd been upfront about Freddy Meek's "difficult" personality. And equally frank about his genius. He was also a shrewd businessman, and ASR had enjoyed talking with him. He was about 7 years younger than ASR's 36, and he reminded Arnav of himself a little at that age. He had the same drive to succeed. The same energy. Also, the same ruthlessness. Arnav had seen glimpses of it when they haggled over the finer points of the deal. He pushed himself hard and slept about 5 hours a night, putting in 15 hour work days regularly. Yep. He had the discipline that Arnav had always had. There the similarities ended, Where ASR had hard edges, Aadit had smooth corners. Always a kind word for his people, who loved working for him. He smiled on a regular basis, and he smiled with his eyes, not just his lips. He was a ladies man too. An incorrigible flirt who loved women, and enjoyed their company. He was like the Beta version of ASR. ASR 2.0, if you will.
"How are you Aadit? Flight OK? Not jet-lagged, I hope."
"All well ASR. As for jet-lag..I never sleep enough to feel jet-lagged. Too much nervous energy. Drink?" He motioned a waiter toward them.
"Yes. Thanks." Arnav grabbed a glass of Red wine from the tray held out to him. "Freddy here too?"
"Freddy is having a temper tantrum. He forgot his lucky shirt in London and seemed to think no other would do for tonight's party. He wanted me to postpone the launch till tomorrow night, so someone could courier his lucky shirt to him in the meantime." Aadit grimaced as he spoke.
"What! So, what's happening then? Should I go talk to him? We can't cancel the launch, the press is here, as are half of India's socialite types who we want to sell these clothes to. What's so lucky about a stupid shirt anyway? How can he be so illogical? Let me speak with him." Said Arnav working himself upto a fine ASR level rage now.
"Relax ASR. Relax. Its under control. The launch is happening tonight. I have a team of professionals led by an incredibly talented young lady to deal with Freddy's quirks. They go where he goes. And Ms.Gupta is a genius. Not only did she convince him that the shirt was not all that lucky, but she also told him it made him look fat. And Freddy can't bear anyone to notice his non-existent paunch. She had him purring like a kitten in 5. She then proceeded to give him a shirt she bought off Fashion Street in Bandra, and told him it made him look esoteric. I don't think Freddy knows what esoteric means. But it feeds his ego to wear a shirt bought off the roadside, because Freddy Meek knows that he IS fashion. Tomorrow, that poor Fashion Street hawker won't know what hit him. Because everyone from Saif Ali Khan to Salman Khan (well maybe not him, he doesn't wear shirts!) will be vying for that 450Rs. Tye die Tee shirt that says "Om" on it in florid Pink. It's a little blinding. But he is a happy bunny now. Which is all I really care about." Said Aadit candidly.
"Hmph." ASR grunted in reply. "I should meet your Freddy Meek "damage control" team lead and congratulate her on a job well done." Said Arnav.
"Oh. I call them the "Lifesavers." Without them, and without Minnie Gupta we would have gone under a long time ago." Said Aadit easily. "Oh, there's Minnie. I've been wanting to introduce her to you. She's fantastic, you'll like her." Aadit waved to a someone behind ASR. ASR heard the clicking of high heels approaching him. He turned his head slightly, and his eyes widened. He found himself looking into the very familiar eyes that haunted his dreams at night. Khushi Kumari Gupta stared back at him unblinkingly. He shook his head, as if to clear the cobwebs in his brains. And continued to stare at her. She looked back fearlessly.
"Minnie, this is ASR, Arnav Singh Raizada, CEO of AR who we're designing for, here in Mumbai. ASR, this is Minnie Gupta, she leads the "Lifesavers" department I told you about and we simply couldn't do without her, could we Min?" grinned Aadit.
Khushi smiled at Aadit, then extended a hand to Arnav. "Pleased to meet you Mr.Raizada." He shook her hand slowly, almost in a trance. "Khushi" he whispered.
"That's Ms.Gupta to you Mr.Raizada. Only my family calls me Khushi."
"You two know each other?" asked Aadit puzzled at the usually effervescent Khushi's cold demeanor.
"Oh. We go back a long way. But we didn't really know each other all that well. Just a slight acquaintance." Said Khushi casually. "How do I look?" she asked Aadit, changing the subject quickly.
"Hmm. Turn around. Lets see. Lets see." Said Aadit pretending to consider.
"Hmm. Herve Leger black ombre sheath dress. Jimmy Choo pumps. A very cool McQueen clutch. I'd say you look gorgeous. Except, darling Minnie, why won't you ever wear your hair down?" he asked in a pleading tone. It was true. She looked stunning. The dress hit just above the knee and clung to her figure like a second skin. The neckline was cut low, but not daringly so. She wore a single string of pearls around her neck. Her heels were at least 3 inches high. Her hair was pulled back in a severe French knot. No loose tendrils escaped her thorough pinned back look. Her lips were deep red. She looked beautiful. Severe, lovely, and absolutely untouchable. And as unlike a pom-pom wearing, dupatta clutching, Khushi Kumari Gupta who's arrival was always announced by her tinkling anklets as chalk from cheese, thought ASR.
"Thanks darling." Said Khushi, leaning to peck Aadit on his cheek. "And you know I never wear my hair down at work parties."
"Yes. You literally never let your hair down!" said Aadit, only semi-joking. Khushi groaned at his pun.
ASR, who's bile had already begun to rise seeing their easy familiarity, was outraged when she kissed his cheek. He clutched her hand and made to drag her away. "We need to talk, Khushi."
She coolly pulled her hand away, pinching him hard to make him let her go. He yelped a little with pain. A cold voice spoke,"I said, call me Ms.Gupta. And the next time you touch me, I won't just pinch your hand, I'll kick you in the balls. I'm not 18, penniless, desperate for work and gullible anymore." Arnav was shocked into silence. Aadit cleared his throat loudly. Clearly these two had a history.
"Dance with me?" Khushi asked Aadit.
"Me? Yeah. OK." Said Aadit, still slightly lost in his thoughts. "I mean, I'd love to." He said regaining his composure a little. He led her onto the dance floor where the band was playing an old '80s love song. She pulled him close. "Hold me Aadit. Hold me. I need to be held tonight." She whispered into his ears. He put his arms around her waist and she linked hers round his neck. She buried her face in his broad chest for several seconds, before looking up into his face. "I'll tell you when I'm ready, OK?"
"OK." Said Aadit.
ASR stared at them dancing. His mind was in a whirl. She was here, She was back. She was alive. Healthy. Doing well in her career. She spoke flawless English. And she'd thrown his intimidation back in his face. After 7 years, Khushi Kumari Gupta was back. And this time, he had no intentions of letting her go.
Tell me what you think, people
Chapter 2: http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=1947524&PID=48624464�
Chapter 3: http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=1947524&PID=48642309�
Chapter 4: http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=1947524&PID=48676543�
Chapter 5: http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=1947524&PID=48739049�
Edited by madmaxine - 10 December 2011 at 10:08am