Joined: 23 June 2010
Hey friends I am back with another OS...but its not like our Hero Arnav Singh Raizada is a business tycoon or Khushi Kumari Gupta is silly and innocent...infact here Arnav and Khushi are a middle class married couple...Arnav is a software engineer, worked at Wipro and Khushi, an MBA, now due to circumstances, as she needs to wor, works at Accenture...they live in a small aparment in Mumbai rather than the lavishing Raizada Mansion! this OS deals with how their life got affected after the Mumbai blasts...I hav posted this one b4 in MJHT forum and with slight changes I am posting it here...hope you ppl gonna like this!
"Hey Arnav….would you mind me helping you to carry ur bags to ur apartment?" Arnav Singh Raizada heard a voice echoed from behind
"Ummm….may I…I mean" Arnav looked amazed as he never interacted with the person before, stil he knew his name…. "Sorry, I'm not able to recall ur name….If u wont mind…"
"Hey dude no worries..I am Armaan…Armaan Malik…living here in the first floor" Armaan said politely n took the trolley from Arnav's hand n caught hold of the wheelchair that Arnav was sitting
"Hey Arnie…I hope you wont mind calling you Arnie"
Arnav found Armaan more than talkative…he found his exact opposite image in Armaan…though Arnav used to be very aggressive and adamant, but he was never been a talkative personality and now he has completely changed…he lost his enthusiasm some where…Ever since the fateful Mumbai attacks happened, his life was shaken completely…he thought of a beautiful life with his wife n his new born baby, Neha…but its shattered now. He hated even to return to the apartment. It made him feel like a visitor in his own home.
"Hey Armaan, wud you please take out the keys from my left pocket? Actually it hurts moving my hand" Arnav was embarrassed asking for help, he never felt so helpless in his life…
Armaan took out the duplicates n opened the door…
"Hey Arnav..Have a nice evening" Armaan bade farewell n Arnav looked at him vanishing…he even dint reciprocated..Some random yet irrational thoughts started ruffling his mind
He entered the room slowly, aware of the fact that Khushi might be comforting Neha to sleep..He observed Khushi carrying their tiny baby n roaming around the room…he never wanted to disrupt this beautiful moment…
Arnav wheeled himself fully inside the apartment and bumped the door closed behind him, taking special care not to let it slam, lest it should disturb Neha and get him into trouble with his wife. He paused just inside the doorway to catch his breath and absorb the familiar sounds and smells of home.
The herby, garlicky scent of dinner cooking in the oven reached him first, but his senses quickly zeroed in on the sound of soft singing coming from their bedroom. His wife's voice was clear and sweet as a nightingale's all the same. The sound of her crooning a lullaby to their baby girl never failed to make his lips curl up into a smile, no matter how tough a day he'd had up until that point.
Carefully manoeuvring himself around the furniture in the living room, he wheeled down the short hallway to the bedroom. The door to Neha's pink and white abode stood ajar, allowing him to observe the scene within without disturbing the peace of mother and child. Khushi, her honey-blonde hair slightly mussed and tucked messily behind her ears, stood bare-foot in the centre of the room, casually dressed in a pink salwar suit that compliments her milky white complexion. Neha was nestled into the crook of her neck as she swayed from side-to-side and sang an intricate tale of mockingbirds and diamond rings in an attempt to lull the restless baby to sleep.
'She's so beautiful,' was Arnav's only thought. The presence of his daughter faded into the background as the exquisite luminescence of his wife as a mother filled every corner of his consciousness. She wasn't just beautiful though, she was an intelligent, sweet-natured and highly resourceful young woman. He was pretty sure he didn't deserve her, and yet somehow – incredibly – she was his. An echo of her voice that afternoon sounded in his head.
'I've gone with the long shot before, Arnav. I ended up with you.'
He'd barely been able to look her in the eye. Not because he was uncomfortable around her, but because she'd touched upon one of his greatest fears – the fear that somewhere downs the line, if his condition didn't improve, she would decide that the long shot wasn't worth it and that she and Neha could do better with someone else. It was a fear that he would never admit to out loud, but one that haunted his nightmares nonetheless.
When they'd married, he'd made her so many promises, vowed that he would be the man that she wanted him to be. Yet now, only a few months later, he was already failing her. She was a first time Mom, and he, as her partner, should be supporting her through that life-changing adjustment. He ought to be helping out more with the night-time feeds, the endless diaper changes, basically sharing equally in the enormous responsibility of caring for the tiny, helpless infant who had turned their lives upside-down.
His left leg gone life less, his significant amount of energy wasted in moving his wheelchair from here to there. Khushi had to do so much for him even though he tried to be as independent as possible. She never complained, but that wasn't really the point. He couldn't be the husband and father that he wanted to be, and she had to carry more than her fair share of the burden of first-time parenthood because of that.
He broke out of his reverie at the quiet murmur of his wife's voice.
She smiled at him in greeting. "Where did you spring from?"
"The guy from 1st floor let me in," he said as he wheeled himself into the room.
"Armaan, you mean."
"Armaan?" he queried.
"The guy from 1st floor," she explained.
Arnav frowned. "How'd you know his name?"
"He's helped me with Neha's stroller a few times, and he asked after you when you were in the hospital. He is a nice guy, lost his grand mother in the Mumbai shoot out."
Arnav nodded. "Should I be worried?" he asked, only half teasing.
"Arnav! He's of your age though, n handsome, kind hearted guy…!" Khushi looked at Arnav teasingly n naughtyness in her eyes
"My age, I'd say. Good-looking too. Obviously on the up seeing as he can afford that apartment all by himself."
"It's fortunate I prefer the poor, if the poor is you?" Khushi replied dryly.
Arnav chuckled at her dispassionate tone, shaking off the uncharacteristic bout of self-doubt. He was sad though for what he said…Khushi was hurt which evident from her eyes
"How'd the appointment go?" Khushi asked, though she was concern but dint show
"I…" It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her, but he decided to wait until later. "Fine."
Khushi nodded, sensing there was more but deciding not to push it – for now at least anyway. She looked down at Neha nestled in her arms.
"Do you want to hold her for a while before I put her down?"
"I might wake her up," he warned, even as he held out his arms for his child.
"Nah, she's sleeping like baby."
Khushi giggled as she bent to place their slumbering daughter in his arms. "She's getting better at it. She'll get the idea eventually." She leaned forward and kissed him square on the lips. "I'm just going to check on dinner. Be back in a minute."
"Okay," he said rather absently, his attention now focused on the infant in his arms.
Cuddling his daughter close, Arnav lightly stroked her chubby cheek with the tip of his finger. She stirred a little at his touch but thankfully her eyes remained closed. She was a warm, comfortable weight in arms and she smelled of baby-powder, sweet milk and her Mom's familiar perfume. He adored her in spite of the sleepless nights and frankly disgusting diapers. He could honestly say that he had never loved anything as unconditionally as he loved this gorgeous baby girl. Khushi had gradually worked her way into his heart over a number of years, but Neha had captured it the instant he first saw her sweet little face in the delivery room.
"I love you, baby girl," he murmured, pressing a soft kiss to the top of her downy head.
Arnav was scared. It was understandable, of course, but the thing was his fear didn't appear to be so much about whether he'd be able to walk again, but more about her reaction if he didn't. It was a startling revelation that had only really been brought home to her that afternoon. It was a definite reversal of their positions. Up until now, she'd been the one who'd harboured the most insecurity about the longevity of their relationship. She wasn't used to being at the other end of the rope in that respect.
If only he knew how grateful she was that he was still with her. She thanked God for that every single day. The frantic ride from the hotel to the hospital after the shooting was one of the most terrifying moments of her life. With lot of innocent people's death still fresh in her mind, she'd held tightly onto Arnav's hand in the back of the ambulance as he drifted in and out of consciousness. Security personnel's reassurances had fallen on deaf ears. All she could hear was the screams of terror and the sound of shattering glass. All she could see was the ever widening pool of blood on the hotel floor and the abject fear in her husband's eyes when he realised he couldn't move his legs. When she'd first discovered she was pregnant with Neha, she'd vowed that she'd go it alone if she had to. But, faced with the very real possibility of doing exactly that, she'd never been more frightened of anything in her life.
She'd sat in the hospital waiting room, surrounded by her friends and colleagues, and could not have felt more alone in the world. The sounds of their voices had blurred together in her ears, all she could hear clearly was the rapid thump-thump of her heart as she waited on tenterhooks for the doctors to come and update her on her husband's condition. When they told her he'd pulled through the surgery and was going to make it, she'd collapsed in utter relief. Sobbing uncontrollably against Anjali's chest, she'd barely listened as the surgeon went on to describe the possible extent of Arnav's injuries. It didn't matter to her; all that mattered was that he was alive and by her side.
Nothing had changed since then. The last few weeks had been tough as she'd juggled work and first-time motherhood with caring for her stricken husband. Most of the time she was exhausted but she remained steadfastly strong in the face of all of that. Arnav was just as stubborn – she knew that he hated being so reliant on her, but that was a good thing as far as she was concerned. His determination to be as independent as possible kept him fighting when the situation could have so easily plunged him into the depths of despair. He had his black moments, sure, but who wouldn't under the circumstances?
On the whole though, she was amazed at how well he'd handled things. If she'd ever needed him to prove his love, he did so every day when he awkwardly manoeuvred himself from their bed into his wheelchair and went about his life in the best way he knew how. Nobody could have blamed him if he wanted to just pull the covers up over his head and shut out the world, but he hadn't done that. She knew he kept on fighting for her and Neha's sake as much as his own, and, because of that, something that could have easily torn their marriage apart was instead bringing them infinitely closer together.
Heading back to their bedroom, she paused in the doorway to take in the sight of her husband and daughter together. Arnav's gaze was riveted on their baby girl's face, his large forefinger enclosed in her tiny, clenched-up fist. In Khushi's mind, the two of them were the epitome of father and child. The connection between man and baby was evident for all to see, and the intimate picture of family they presented was infinitely compelling. Moving quietly into the room, she leaned over the back of her husband's chair and wrapped her arms around his neck in an affectionate embrace.
Arnav leaned back into her in response. "She's so beautiful," he murmured reverently.
Khushi smiled as she looked down into their daughter's round little face. "Yeah," she agreed. "We sure do make cute kids." She turned her head and pressed a warm kiss to his forehead. "Dinner's nearly ready," she told him.
Arnav shifted Neha in his arms. "Does that mean I've gotta give her up?"
"I promise you can have another go at around 2 AM if you want," Khushi offered, as she straightened up and moved round to the front of his chair.
Arnav laughed as he dropped a kiss on his daughter's forehead and relinquished her into her mother's waiting arms.
He watched as Khushi tucked Neha into her cot and set the musical mobile going, and then allowed her to push him down the hall into the apartment's main living space. "Umm Khushi?" he enquired as she left him in the lounge and started towards the kitchen.
She turned back towards him. "Yes?"
"Can you take my shoes and socks off for me?" he asked her diffidently.
Khushi hesitated for a moment. It wasn't that she wasn't willing to help him; it was just that he usually tried to accomplish a task himself before he resorted to asking for her assistance. She'd been concerned that he'd been giving up on her, but she'd believed their conversation that afternoon had rectified that. His mood had seemed different since then, but maybe she'd been wrong, only seeing what she wanted to see.
Her heart heavy in her chest, she knelt on the floor in front of him and pulled off his shoes and socks before setting his bare feet back on the foot-rest. Clutching the arms of his chair, Arnav willed a repeat of what had happened in the doctor's office an hour or so earlier. It was like trying to punch through a lead-lined, concrete wall but eventually he broke through. Khushi gasped as his toes wiggled and he let out his breath noisily from the effort of the simple movement.
"ARNAV???????" Khushi looked up at him, her eyelashes wet with moisture, her big, brown eyes wide and shiny with intense emotion.
He smiled down at her. "You said it might rain."
Arnav laughed when he suddenly found his arms full with his precious gift, his lady love. "Hey, watch it, Khushi!" he warned even as he hugged her back. "I don't know whether this chair is big enough for the two of us."
"Shut up, Arnav," she said as she straddled his lap, cupped his face in her hands and pressed her lips to his.
Overwhelmed, Arnav wrapped his arms around her hips and kissed her back with enthusiasm. He usually avoided this level of intimacy because it only reminded him of what his body refused to allow. Hugs and brief kisses were okay but anything more than that only frustrated him and made him unreasonably angry at his continual physical inability
They'd only just renewed their fractured love-life following the latter stages of Khushi's pregnancy and the first few exhausting weeks after Neha's birth when the hotel shooting had occurred. It was like they'd gotten something back and then had it immediately ripped away from them again. Arnav was more a man of actions than words so the fact that he couldn't demonstrate how much he loved his wife on a physical level was the ultimate frustration for him. The doctor had assured him it wouldn't last and he clung to that hope. For him, being able to make love to Khushi again was more important than being back on two feet. He was afraid, he might lost Khushi, if his ineffectiveness continues
"I love you no matter what," Khushi murmured as she drew back from him.
He grimaced. "I hate that you can read my mind like that."
She touched her forehead tenderly to his. "I can feel the tension in you," she said, lightly caressing the sides of his neck to try to soothe him a little. "You're holding back from me."
"Arnav, you are the person I loved n love to ove forever….you are the one who made my life beautiful, you have given me the most precious gift of my life, our princess, Neha…Arnav, you needn't show ur love by physical intimacy, its evident from ur eyes, I can feel it Arnav, its their in your touch" Khushi kissed Arnav's forehead gently, pressing his head head slighty against her chest
Arnav sighed. He knew she was right and he knew that it was wrong for him to withhold himself. It was about time he stopped being angry over what they didn't have and celebrate what they did. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to," he said, pressing another kiss to her bowed lips.
She stroked her fingers through his hair. "I know you don't so stop worrying about it, 'kay? It's only been a month and there's been a lot for us both to adjust to. We'll work it out."
He nodded. "I just didn't expect it to be like this."
"Didn't expect what to be like this?"
He shrugged. "Marriage, I guess. I made you so many promises on our wedding day. This isn't how I envisaged things unfolding."
"Promises? You mean like 'for better, for worse'? 'In sickness and in health'? 'To love and to cherish'?" Khushi asked pointedly. "I think we're doing ok with those so far, don't you?"
He shook his head with a faint smile. "That's not what I meant."
"I know." Khushi kissed him again. "But those are the most important promises you made to me that day, Arnav, and they're the only ones that truly matter."
She held his gaze for a long moment and the naked emotion in his hazel eyes almost made her want to cry. "One day at a time, huh?" she murmured encouragingly. She brushed the backs of her fingers over his cheekbone and smiled. "And today's a good day, right?"
He smiled. "Yeah, yeah, it is," he agreed before he leaned in for one last heartfelt kiss.
When they broke apart, Khushi shifted off his lap and moved towards the kitchen. "The dinner's gonna burn," she said over her shoulder. "And since I went to all the trouble to make one of your favourites…" She left the statement hanging as she went through into the adjoining room.
Arnav followed in her wake, settling himself and his chair at the small table in the corner of the L-shaped room. "Smells good," he told her as she lifted the square dish out of the oven and set it down on the table between the two place settings.
"Try to sound a little less surprised," she said, playfully smacking him upside the head. "It's probably not like your Di used to make, but I'm not a complete disaster in the kitchen, you know. And it's her recipe so it's got to be pretty damn close to the real thing."
Arnav looked at her, surprised. "She gave you the recipe?"
Khushi nodded as she sat down. "Along with several others. I think she wanted to make sure I fed you properly when you came home from the hospital."
Arnav smiled at his Di's concern, besides he was curious to know how Khushi felt when she came to know, she is carrying their first child
"I don't know, Arnav. I was in complete shock for a couple of days, and then I got super organised – making an appointment with a gyneco, buying some pregnancy books, taking my pre-natal vitamins... I don't think the reality of my situation really hit me until my first appointment at the clinic, and then it was like 'Oh my God, I'm having a baby.'"
"So you never thought…?" Arnav stopped and shook his head. "Forget it, it doesn't matter."
"Did I ever think about not going through with it, you mean?"
Arnav nodded. "You don't have to tell me," he said. "I'd understand whatever."
Khushi regarded him carefully for a moment. "It never really crossed my mind," she said, "Not for any seriously length of time anyway." Her lips curled up into a small smile. "I guess that should have told me something, huh? I wasn't sure I was ready to be a Mom, but I was always going to go through with it - with or without you."
"You honestly believed I wouldn't be there for you?" It hurt now as it had hurt then.
Khushi sighed. "Arnav – things weren't great between us – you know that and I… It was all too much for me to deal with. I needed to get things straight in my own mind before I brought you into it. I never thought you'd turn your back on me completely – that was part of the problem. I knew you'd do the honourable thing – whether you wanted to or not. But the thing was - I lovedyou and I wanted, no, needed you to love me for me and not because the situation meant you had to settle for second best."
Setting his cutlery aside, Arnav reached across the table and curled his fingers around hers. "I never felt like that," he said. "I know I didn't react very well when you first told me – but it was like being hit with a tonne of bricks and I was kind of shell-shocked for a while. I can't say I was anymore ready for parenthood than you were, but I was sure about how I felt about you. I just wasn't sure of myself, of whether I could be what you wanted me to be."
"Arnav, all I ever wanted was for you to commit to this, commit to us. Other than that, I don't need or want you to be anything other than who you are. I know you have your flaws – we all do, I'm hardly perfect either. They'll be good days and they'll be bad days, and they'll probably be some days we both wish we'd never gotten married. But, as long as we get through every one of those days together, I know we can be happy."
Arnav nodded slowly, his face breaking into a relaxed smile. "Yeah, yeah, I reckon we can," he concurred. He squeezed her fingers before releasing them. "I love you, Mrs Raizada."
"I love you too," Khushi replied and then pointed her fork at his plate. "Now eat before it gets cold," she instructed, "And tell me what the doctor said."
"About me moving my toes? He said it was a really good sign…"
"It sounds like there's a but in there somewhere."
Arnav sighed. "He said that I should be prepared for the fact that regaining sensation wasn't necessarily going to be a pleasant experience. Right now, I'm not really feeling any pain from the gunshot wound, but once the nerve synapses start working properly again that's no longer going to be the case."
"They can put you on meds to manage it though, can't they?"
"Yeah, yeah, but I think I'm going to have to endure on some level."
"And that scares you?" Khushi asked.
Arnav shrugged. "A little, I guess, but if it's what I have to go through to walk again then so be it. I'm probably going to be hell to live with though, when the pain gets too bad."
"So, what's new?" Khushi teased.
Arnav laughed in spite of himself. "I'm trying to be serious here," he protested.
Khushi sobered. "I know, I know, I'm sorry. It scares me too," she admitted.
"Just think of it as payback," her husband advised.
Her brow creased in confusion. "Payback for what?"
"The pain of childbirth."
He grinned at her and Khushi laughed. "I thought we were being serious," she said.
Arnav lifted one shoulder in a nonchalant gesture. "Yeah, well, I was getting bored with that," he replied. "You know what I really want right now?"
"No – what?" she asked.
"Just to spend a normal evening at home, relaxing with my wife."
Khushi smiled her wide beautiful smile at him. "I think that can be arranged."
He nodded. "Good," he said before attacking his dinner with an appetite that he hadn't felt in weeks.
The conversation over the rest of their meal was light and laid-back in tone and Khushi felt herself relaxing degree by degree. She hadn't realised how much tension she was holding inside. It was a real effort to stay buoyant when her hormones were still settling down after Neha's birth, and Arnav's moods could swing from dark and brooding to artificially high-spirited in a matter of moments. He was trying so hard to stay positive, but every so often the mask slipped and depression won out. She couldn't blame him, but sometimes it made her want to just curl up in a ball and sob.
It was nice for them to just be for once. After dinner, they watched a couple of comedy shows on the TV, Arnav moving from his wheelchair to the sofa so that she could cuddle up to his side. His fingers played absently in her hair as he held her close and Khushi felt unexpected tears burn the back of her eyelids. It was all so normal. It seemed like they'd been on a rollercoaster ride ever since they'd gotten married. Tonight may only be a temporary respite, but it would sustain them in the difficult weeks to come. Blinking back the salty moisture coating her lashes, she snuggled closer against him, closing her eyes as a wave of exhaustion overwhelmed her. She was so tired. She tried to fight off the need to sSidp but it was a losing battle.
Arnav looked down at her as he felt her body soften against his and heard her breathing lengthen. He reached over to tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear and bent to press a kiss to the crown of her head. "sleep baby," he murmured and then turned his attention back to the TV, lifting the remote to flick through the channels to find something to watch.
He settled on an old movie and the next couple of hours passed quietly until the baby monitor flickered into life and Neha's cries for attention filled the room. Khushi immediately stirred even though she had seemed deep in sleep. Arnav grinned down at her as she lifted her head from his chest and blinked owlishly at him.
"What?" she asked as she sat up and combed her hair back from her face with the tips of her fingers.
"Mommy radar," he replied, "One seriously impressive phenomenon."
Khushi smiled as she rose to her feet and headed for the nursery. She couldn't disagree. At first, she'd been concerned that she wouldn't awaken when Neha needed her, but the sound of her baby's cries generated an almost physical response that both exhilarated and scared her at the same time. She was absolutely certain that she could identify her daughter's distinctive cries in a room full of crying babies such was the depth of the mother/child bond. She'd never experienced anything like it and knew she never would again unless she had more children – a prospect that didn't now seem quite as remote as it had done immediately after she'd endured thirteen long hours of labour.
"Hey, hey, hey – what's all the noise for?" she crooned as she reached into the crib and lifted out her crying three-month old. "You hungry, huh?" she surmised as Neha immediately started rooting for her mother.
She sat down in the rocking chair that Arnav had surprised her with on her return from Lucknow. She'd always wanted one – even before she was pregnant – but she only vaguely remembered telling Arnav about it. It had obviously stuck in his mind though, because when he'd seen the chair in the window of a run-down furniture store, he'd gone in and bought it for her. It was old and well-crafted such that after he'd sanded it down and re-varnished it, it was as good as if not better than new. His Mom had made the cushions to go inside and she knew his father had helped him restore it. She would have loved it no matter what, but the fact that it carried the Raizada family stamp only made it even more special to her.
Pushing up her top, she started feeding her baby and then relaxed back against the cushions, rocking the chair with the heel of her right foot. It wasn't entirely practical for her to keep breast-feeding but she wasn't ready to give up yet. Anjali mostly fed Neha from bottles of breast-milk that she pumped in readiness, but often she comes home to feed her baby.
Arnav reckoned she miscounted the number of bottles required on purpose and, although she denied it, she could privately admit that was true. She wanted to work, but leaving Neha was a wrench and that precious short time with her baby in her arms got her through the day. It helped that Arnav was around at home – because Neha adored her father – but she knew it drove him stir-crazy to be stuck at the apartment all the time, especially as he couldn't take care of his daughter in the way that he wanted and had to rely on Anjali for help.
She lightly stroked the top of Neha's head with her finger. "I never expected to love you so much," she murmured, following up the caress with a gentle kiss.
"You can cut down your hours," Arnav said from the doorway. He wasn't stupid; he knew she was struggling with it. She loved her job, but she loved her baby more, and the balance between work and motherhood had clearly not turned out to be where she'd thought it would be when she'd been pregnant.
"We need the money, Arnav."
He shook his head as he wheeled into the room. "We'll manage. It'll be tough for a while but we're not completely destitute."
Khushi hesitated. They wanted a bigger apartment, maybe their own home, but did that really matter? Neha was a little young to appreciate those things yet. They would have to budget carefully, but Arnav was right, they'd hardly be on the breadline. They'd both come into this marriage with reasonably healthy bank balances – she'd actually been quite surprised by his fiscal responsibility. There were many people with much more serious financial issues to worry about.
She sighed. "Just as long as you're sure," she said as she lifted a drowsy Neha onto her shoulder and rubbed her back to bring her wind up.
"Khushi, if it's what you want, that's all that matters," he told her.
Neha burped noisily in her ear, but she could tell from the heaviness of her tiny body that she'd fallen back to sleep. She tenderly wiped her baby's little mouth clean with the corner of a towel, and then rose to put her back in her crib.
"Sometimes I can't quite believe I'm a Mom," she mused as she gazed down at her sleeping daughter. "It seems so surreal. I still need to work, but I'm more comfortable with motherhood than I thought I'd be."
She turned away from the cot. "We need to work out what we can afford, but if you're ok with it then I would like to reduce my hours some."
Arnav nodded. "We'll do the sums tomorrow," he promised. "Right now though, Khushi, I want you to come to bed with me."
Khushi raised her eyebrows as he wheeled himself from the room. That had sounded more like an invitation than a statement of fact. "I'll go and lock up," she said as she followed him out into the hallway.
By the time she'd checked the deadbolt on the door, tidied up in the living room a little and shut off the lights, Arnav had washed, undressed and manoeuvred himself onto the bed. She bent to retrieve his t-shirt and jeans from the floor without comment, knowing he wasn't able to pick up after himself at the moment.
"Does your dressing need changing?" she asked, referring to the bandage covering the puckered wound low on his back. Every time she looked at it, she got the shivers. It really brought home to her just how close he'd come to being permanently paralysed. The bullet had missed his spine by mere centimetres.
"No," Arnav shook his head as she handed him a glass of water and a handful of pills. "The nurse changed it at the doctor's office earlier."
He swallowed the pills down and handed her back the empty glass, which she set aside while she put his chair where he could easily get to it if he needed to use the bathroom in the night. Once her husband was suitably settled, she headed towards the bathroom to wash up.
"No," Arnav said as she reached out for the long pink night gown that she usually slept in. "Wear that thing I got you after our marriage."
She looked at him, slightly surprised by his request, but then obediently went to the dresser. Searching through the top drawer, she withdrew the mid-thigh length black night gown that Arnav had bought for her and then retreated towards the bathroom. "I'll just be a minute," she said a little shyly.
Propped up against a mound of pillows, Arnav regarded her with an unreadable expression in his grey eyes. "I'll be waiting," he responded.
In the bathroom, Khushi brushed her teeth and carefully removed her make-up before changing. She looked at herself in the mirror and smiled. She invariably looked like the archetypical harried Mom nowadays. It felt good to feel like a sexy woman again and nice to know that her husband still wanted her to dress this way for him despite his current physical limitations. The way his eyes widened in appreciation when she re-entered the bedroom was yet another ego boost for her.
"Damn!" he said, his voice pitched low and seductive.
Khushi giggled as she slid into the bed beside him. "And the fact that your wife is hot has nothing to with it, I suppose?" she asked archly.
"That's just the icing on the cake," he said, as he awkwardly shifted lower down in the bed and reached out with his arms to pull her towards him.
He ran his fingers through her hair as she smoothed her palm over his chest and nuzzled her warm lips against his throat. "I'm not really sure what I'm doing here," he confessed, unable to conceal the nervous tremor in his voice.
"That's okay," Khushi murmured as she curled her hand around the nape of his neck and brought his mouth down to hers. "We'll figure it out."
And they had, Arnav mused as he lay awake in the dark some time later, listening to the sound of the rain on the street outside. His wife lay nestled in his arms, her breathing deep and even, her skin warm and soft against his. He felt like they'd broken down some kind of invisible barrier between them, and it gave him renewed confidence in their ability to get through this. There'd be rough times ahead, but he could see the light at the end of the tunnel now. Today had been a significant step along the road to recovery and tomorrow was a brand new day.
Feeling considerably more optimistic than he had done in a long time, he pressed a tender kiss to Khushi's forehead, then lay his head down on the pillow next to hers and went to sleep…
So how was that!!! I hope you liked it! Please do leave me wid some comments and quite a few likes!!
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