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Arnav smiled at the memory of Kushi in her original feisty avatar. His smile slowly faded. Where had that spunky girl disappeared? All that was left was a broken soul with only pain & tears. He couldn't remember the last time he had seen her smile since their marriage 6 months back.
"Well Mr Arnav Singh Raizada. You were successful in your original mission. That day you had resolved to make her life miserable but you should be happy that you have way exceeded even your lofty standards."
He clenched his fists. Yes he had battered & broken her spirit. All that was left was a hollow shell of a girl who flitted around his house like a zombie. Listless & Lifeless!
He opened his eyes & started the car. He wanted to get away from her memories though it was like saying that he wanted to stop breathing. The day her memories died inside him would be the day he stops breathing.
2011 Shanthivan Delhi
Kushi got up with a jerk & realized that she was still sitting in the Kitchen. She must have dozed off after Arnav left. She felt exhausted, as if her life energy had been drained. She always felt this way after Arnav left for office. She was amazed that no matter how much he yelled at her, she started missing him just a few minutes after he left. And sometimes when he was working in the office like a manic she used to roam around the house aimlessly just hoping to hear his car on the driveway outside.
How things have changed! There was a time when she used to hate him so much that it was a torture coming to the office everyday & see his face. "RAKSHAS" she used to call him. She smiled when she remembered that name. Oh how he had blown up when he had caught her calling him by this name behind his back.
2010 AR Towers Delhi
Kushi bolted out of the lift, ran at break neck speed & almost tumbled into the huge room.
"How kind of you to find time out to join us Ms Gupta".
Kushi gulped. Hey Devi Maiyya every day in the morning I pray to you that I shouldn't see him or hear him but you never pay heed to my prayers.
"If you have finished talking to yourself will you do us the honour of joining us here on the dais".
God does he ever take a break from his regular hobby of taunting & baiting her. Before he made another cutting remark she blundered across the room & climbed the steps to the dais. As she reached it as was her wont, she stumbled & was thankful that someone held her just in time to break her fall.
She swallowed her thanks the moment she realized who was holding her. She could recognize his touch. He was uncomfortably close & she could feel her cheeks rub his jacket & she could even smell his after shave. Strangely she found his closeness, his smell, everything about him intoxicating. She pulled herself away and shook her head like a dog clearing water off its ears. Why the hell did he affect her like this? She cursed the day she landed in this godforsaken place & clashed with him. Welcome to Hell she had been told on her 1st day. This was even worse than HELL. Only compensation being that here the devil was dangerously handsome & delicious looking, especially those chocolate brown eyes. Hey Devi Maiyya. What are you doing to me? Did she actually call him delicious in her mind? She shook her head again. She was letting him get under her skin. He affected her way too much.
He was staring at her with a mixture of exasperation & amusement. This girl drove him up the wall with her eccentric antics. But strangely enough every day he entered the office his eyes involuntarily sought her. She was a bundle of nervous energy always stumbling along in a frantic manner. If she dint stumble down at least 5-6 times in a day then he considered her going through a lean patch that day since 5-6 falls was her daily average & her record till now was 11.
Shit! Did he actually count the number of times she fell every day. Somehow she seemed to stumble more when he was around making him suspect that his presence made her nervous. He smirked. Serves her right! She should have known better before clashing with him. He decided to torment her more.
"Ms Gupta, please get me those latest designs on that table".
"Hey Devi Maiyya now he will keep hovering near me & drive me crazy".
"MISS KUSHI KUMARI GUPTA I am talking to you. I don't pay you to moon around & day dream the whole day. Get me those designs DAMMIT."
When he called by her full name it meant she was deep in soup. Hell just got hotter!
She jumped as if scalded, grabbed the designs & hurried to him. Just as she neared him, one of the simpering bimbo assistants of Lavanya stuck her leg out & she fell on him like a ton load of coal tumbling down the funnel of a steam turbine. The designs fell all round them like confetti.
She had actually landed on his lap. Her hands had automatically gone around his neck as a reflex action to regain balance & she found herself staring into those chocolate eyes. She saw an unfathomable expression flit across his face & its intensity made her shiver. He jerked her off his lap, clenched his fists & closed his eyes.
In this few weeks in his office she had come to realize that this action of his meant that he was undergoing some inner emotional turmoil. She gulped. Now she was in serious trouble.
He was shaken. The effect that her touch had on him was too stunning beyond words. It was electric & soothing all at the same time. Her scent reminded him of strawberries with a dappling of chocolate. He had a mad urge to caress her cheeks, kiss her quivering lips & bury his head in her long, flowing hair. With a mighty effort he pulled himself together. He took a long deep breath & turned to her. Her face was pale & ashen. She was scared. This riled him. Why the heck was she terrified of him as if he were a monster about to devour her.
"Don't waste your middle class charms on me. Try it on some other rich guy with whom you can play this trip-fall-catch routine". Satisfied by the look of hurt on her face, he left to make an important call to one of his client.
Kushi was furious. Dint he see that nitwit Pat trip her. And what the hell did he mean by that rich guy remark. Even earlier she had caught him make such derogatory remark making her out as a scarlet woman, a shameless gold-digger.
"You did that on purpose" she yelled at Pam. Pam gave her a scornful look. "Oh Ms Gupta do I look like I care."
Kushi was now shaking with anger. "Because of you I had to listen to all that abuse from that RAKSHAS. What the hell does that RAKSHAS think of himself."
"RAKSHAS" the name reverberated in his ears. Did she just call him a monster? In some strange way it hurt him that she found him a monster. Was he really that bad? Blind rage radiated from him.
"What did you just call me".
Kushi jumped a few feet when she heard that menacing voice. GOD she had just dug herself a deep grave & had jumped head first into it.
She looked with horror when he grabbed her hand in an iron grip & dragged her out. For one mad second she thought he was going to throw her out of the building but then realized that he was actually dragging her towards his cabin.
He flung her in, slammed the door shut & took a long deep breath. Kushi dint dare breath lest he explodes. He turned slowly & looked at her. He was looking murderous & Kushi involuntarily started backing away. For each step she took backwards he stepped towards her & finally she found herself against the wall & he was literally breathing down on her face.
She gulped several times & then tried to move away only to find his hands block her on both sides. "What did you just call me. So I am a RAKSHAS is it? I think I ve been too kind to you. Guess it's time I showed you what a RAKSHAS is capable of doing".
Tears escaped her eyes. She had really invited trouble & she was so terrified to even speak.
He saw the tears roll down her cheeks & stood rooted. Her tears had a weird effect on him. He felt as if something was gnawing him from inside. He wanted to hold her tight in his arms & comfort her. He wanted to fall on his knees & beg her not to cry. He was scared at the impact that her tears were having on him. This girl was too dangerous. Somehow she had got under his skin & was tugging at his heart. She was awakening sensations that he thought were long since dead in him.
He moved away, closed his eyes & clenched his fists.
"OUT! GET OUT" He said in a barely audible whisper.
Kushi was too stunned to react. As if she was under some invisible force, she moved towards him & extended her hand.
"Sir are you ok".
Her voice soaking with concern & warmth raked his soul.
"OUT! GET OUT" He screamed!
Scared out of her wits, Kushi scampered from the place. He slumped in his chair & stared at the ceiling in a dazed manner. He was in trouble, deep trouble.
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