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PART 11 : LAST PART
"Khushi?", he asked her, his voice laced with concern as she stared into the fine lines of the table, "Are you with me?"
"Hmpf?", she replied, not looking away. Her hands fidgeted with her pallu below the table; creasing the cotton.
Arnav sighed. "Talk to me, Khushi…"
She looked up at him, his anxiety getting registered in her mind. "Arnav, I –"
"You what?", he said, wanting his answers desperately, "How could you leave me? Didn't you even think once before you left? That what would I do if I lost you forever?"
"What Arnav?", he lashed back; his mind taking over his heart, "You leave me behind with a letter; a bloody stupid letter with no explanation of any sort – telling me – no, ordering me not to search for you? Were you out of your mind Khushi Kumari Gupta? What do you think of yourself? You say you love me, and leave me on the same day, damn it!!! You disappeared without a trace – and me? I was searching you day-and-night every damned place possible in every damned way… And you don't even care about it, do you?"
He got up from his chair with a jerk, throwing back the chair with his hand. The chair fell down on the floor. Khushi followed him movements as closed the distance between them and stood on his knees in front of her. He gently cupped her shoulders and held it firm. Khushi stared into those ocean-deep eyes full of love, panic, relief, hate, anger, frustration, satisfaction… A strange combination of feelings that she had never seen before in his eyes…
"I hate you…", she said simply.
"What?", he exclaimed; not believing what he just heard. He was throwing questions at her; one after the other; demanding answers – and all he was getting in reply was – I hate you? Of course he knew that she hated him; and how well she fared in her hatred towards him…
"I said I hate you…", she repeated.
"Excuse me?", he asked, raising his eye-brows, "Khushi, stop being funny!"
"Who said I was being funny? I am everything except funny, Mr Raizada…", she said with a challengable seriousness on her face.
"Arnav…", he said, "The name is Arnav…", he fussed. No no no no no, no way that he was still a certain 'Mr Raizada' for her… And he was not buying that name from her – whatever or however the situation would be…
Khushi looked like the child-like innocence on his face – exactly how she would see a five-year old harassing his mother for ice-cream in winter. She tried hard to keep a straight face.
"Stop Fussing, Arnav!", she said, trying to imitate his tone when he had said this to her long back; before she broke out laughing…
Next several days saw pinnacle of patience and planning and ups-and-downs in Arnav and Khushi's lives. Arnav further polished all the evidences that Khushi had gathered against Shyam. He hadn't seen Shyam at Raizada Mansion in ages – since Khushi spent her entire day there. Khushi and hesat for hours in him room; discussing the strategies they should employ to expose Shyam – while causing minimal damage to Anjali and the rest of the family. Shyam had done excellent work in gaining trust from everyone – with his sugary talks…
The damage was done… And it was time for repair… It was a difficult task… And both of them were determined to complete…
And finally, the day came; when Arnav and Khushi were ready with a plan on their hands. No; it wasn't fool-proof as they would have liked it; much to their dismay, but the extent of mutilation had penetrated so deep in their lives – that they were left with no other option… Someone had to sacrifice themselves…
Khushi was ready for this. But Arnav thought against it. They argued over this topic countless times… Strangely though, this was one and the only instant when Arnav lost debates and arguments. They always ended in one question from her – tilting the weight her side. It wasn't like he minded losing to her – sometimes he couldn't help but to wish that he could win… Just so that he would suffer in the end and not her… But there was simply no solution to her question to him – Fine! Then tell me, Arnav, do you have a better plan?
"Whatever Khushi", he said – as they found themselves arguing again, "I am not calling him jijaji any more…"
Khushi shook her head in disagreement. "I'm not sure how much he must have already figured out about us. He is smart, Arnav, give him that much!
"What's this got to do with me not calling him jijaji?", he asked her, unable to get her point.
"The bottomline is, buddhu, that you can't call him by his name! He doesn't know that I know that you know than we know about what he did…"
Arnav stared at her in disbelief. Did she just cal him 'buddhu'? Oh how dare she! And what the hell was I-know-you-know-he-knows all about?
"What the –", he paused for a moment, "Really Khushi, I was under the impression all this time that you already had a brain-transplant done when you were fighting and winning cases as Kasturi. How wrong I was? Who ate your brain, huh?"
Khushi clenched her fists in fake frustration. "ARNAV! Just do what I say – we don't have time to waste! This is the only way to make him get here… And to do anything about him – we need him here so that Anjali ji can see his real avatar... He is after your money and my body; why the hell are you waiting for?"
Arnav sighed and took out his phone from his pocket and sifted through his contacts. He looked up at her. "Khushi, this will be the first and the last time I am saying anything against my company… Keep that in mind!"
He heard the bell ringing as he held the phone near his ears…
The dice was thrown… Now it was time for the pawn to fall for the trap… And it did. Shyam came running to Raizada Mansion minutes after Arnav had made his little call to him; telling him that the shares of AR Group were at an all-time low and he was in throat-deep debt.
"But Saale-sahab, how did you let this happen?", Shyam asked him; his voice panicky.
Arnav unwillingly looked at him. "I don't know, ji- jija- jijaji… Everything was running butter-smooth a couple of weeks back…"
Arnav felt the fumes coming from Shyam's nostrils. "It's all because of that Khushi girl. You shouldn't have let her stay in this house for long. I have been telling Rani Sahiba for ages to throw that girl out of here. She is the one causing all this trouble…"
Arnav clenched his fists in anger. "I don't understand how Khushi is responsible for any of it", he told him blankly, "In fact, I feel that you are accountable for this horrible loss to my life... Forget about the company..."
"Me, and how is that?", Shyam replied promptly.
"I will tell you how, Shyam ji…", Khushi entered Arnav's room from pool-side; with Anjali by her side…
"Toh akhir Chotey shaadi ke liye maan hi gaye…", Nani sighed, "Devi Maiyya ki hi kripa rahi… Jaisan bhi ho, Chotey shaadi karat hai, wahi badi baat hai, hai na Anjali bitiya?"
Nani was sitting outside a Registrar's office in a Family Court. She was highly disappointed with the way this wedding was happening – she had always wanted a grand wedding for her grandson and grand-daughter-in-law. She had tried her best in demanding a traditional marriage; but Arnav had refused her straightaway. She had tried asking Khushi to convince Arnav as well; but that didn't go well either – since Khushi had made her mind not to do anything against Arnav's will…
Nani, Anjali, Akash, Garima, Payal and Buaji signed the register as witnesses. The resistrar declared Arnav and Khushi as man and wife and a small smile broke through Anjali's face.
"Chotey –", she called him.
Anjali bit her lip. "If I ask you one thing today, would you do it for me?"
Arnav frowned. "Di, why do you need to ask? You know I would do it any way…"
Anjali winked at Nani. Payal; who was standing beside Garima, smiled as she walked out of the room and came back with a large thaal with garlands and a few other things.
"Nani wanted this, Arnav… I couldn't say no…"
Arnav made a face and Khushi giggled. "Yeah yeah, I know how you can't refuse Nani…", he said through gritted teeth.
"Oh come on Chotey, don't you wanna make Khushi ji officially yours?", Anjali teased.
Officially yours… her words echoed in his brain… Yes, Khushi was officially mine… For forever…
THE END…! AALL IZ WELL!
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