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They did not know how long they had stood there like that. It could have been hours it could have been mere seconds. There was no way to tell. Because the minute both were in each other's arms all else was lost. Time came to a complete standstill. All that they were aware of was each other's presence only.
Suddenly Khushi realised where she was and what was happening. She finally managed to muster enough courage and yank herself away from Arnav's embrace; her safe haven. She knew she could not get comfortable with him again because who knew when the hands of time would change and force her to leave again. So to try and protect her already battered and bruised heart she decided that she had to try and not get close to Arnav because the closer and the more attached you get to someone the harder it is to leave them. And she was only her for one purpose that was her sister. She was only here to nurse her sister back to her old self again and then she would leave and never come back again. Arnav had made it clear to her time and time again how he could not endure to be in the same room as her so she was going to try and make this as easy as possible for him.
'Kya hua?' he asked. 'Nahin voh aapneh he kaha ta keh hamareh saath aap pata nahee kaiseh cheh maheeneh bardash karengeh. Toh abh humhain phir she iss ghaar main ana para leking iss baar jeeji ke liyeh. Toh hum voh poolside par jarahee teh taki apko ek baar phir she koyi takleaf nah ho. And with that Khushi turned around with her back to Arnav and turned towards the poolside.
Arnav felt a pain coarse through him. He had said that to her three almost four years ago. Not even that he had said that due to anger and because he was under a misunderstanding. He had misunderstood her and subjected her to a fate that she should have endured in the first place. Whenever he had treated her in a harsh manner she had always reciprocated with love and nothing but love. And today she had touched his feet. She had given him the position of God in her life. How could this girl do that? Give him the position of God in her life? God was perfect. God made no mistakes. But he had made mistakes. He was not perfect he was far from it. But he had realised long ago that Khushi had forgiven him for everything that he had done wrong. Because when you love someone you see no flaws in them. In your eyes they were and always will be perfect. He had long ago realised that she had forgiven him. But one thing that she had not been able to do was forget. She had not been able to forget what he had done. But she could not be blamed for that. How could you forget the price you were made to pay for something that was never your fault in the first place?
His heart went out to this delicate angel who had been exposed to so much pain from such a tender age. He could not erase what he had done but he could change the future. He would now give Khushi so many happy and good memories that she would have no room left within her and would have no choice but that horrible six month period of her life. She would have no space for those memories.
And with that he grabbed a hold of Khushi's hand just as she was about to proceed towards the French doors. Khushi stopped abruptly. She turned. She found Arnav's smouldering eyes looking into her. He felt his penetrating gaze look right into her eyes, straight through them and into her soul. And she knew that though her actions showed one thing, he had the ability to look into her eyes and see what she really felt.
He kept staring at her not letting go of her wrist. She stood there for a few minutes. But then she could not help it the river that she had suppressed inside her for so long released and with that she threw her arms around him and held onto him tight. Arnav was startled at this sudden open display of affection. He knew Khushi would normally never openly show affection towards Arnav because it would make her open to hurt. But for the last few days she had been slipping. Like earlier on today when she had held his arms to her waist when he was about to answer a phone call. He knew that to do these things was a huge step for her.
Because of this Arnav decided that he would follow her step by step. He would let her call the shots. For once in his life he would be a follower and not a leader. He had already once made the mistake of not lending her the support she needed when her father had been admitted into the hospital. Back then he had been too startled to support her but this time he would do no such thing. He wrapped one arm around her waist tightly and he took the other hand and caressed her hair with it.
He could feel her tears slightly dampening his clothes but he did not care. Appearance was not something that mattered to him right now. Not when his Khushi was in pain. He held her tight and let her find solace in his arms if that was possible. He could not understand how despite everything that Khushi had been through because of him how could she still find solace in his arms?
That's what love is he thought. Completely illogical and crazy. After a while he found that Khushi's sobs had subsided but her iron like grip had not loosened. He then pulled her away from his embrace and took her to their bed. He then made her sit on the bed and he sat on the floor looking up at her. Taking her hand in his and holding close to his heart he said 'Khushi tumhain main kitnee baar bataneh paregee keh voh saab ek galtee tee. Tum kyun bahar soowogee? Agar tum mujhe takleaf nahee denachahteh ho to mujha phir chorkar maar jao'. And with that Arnav's eyes started to well up and the tears began to fall. He buried his head in Khushi's lap and hid his face in her stomach.
Khushi seeing him in pain too began to cry. She then started to stroke his head. Arnav feeling her starting to do this wrapped his hands around her waist and continued to cry.
Khushi had never seen Arnav openly cry to her before. For any man to cry in front of a woman was a big thing. Because it made the woman see past the tough exterior and realise that men were just as sensitive and scared as women. And for Arnav to cry in front of Khushi meant that he was letting her know that he too had fears and his worst fear was the fear of losing her. He could not lose her again. That's why he had begged Khushi to not leave him again.
Khushi then picked up Arnav's face and cupped it in her hands. She then slowly began to wipe the tears from his face. After wiping his tears she continued to just look at his face. She had one hand still cupped around his check. But with the other hand she began to touch his face with a feathery touch. She traced each and every contour of his face as if memorising them, as making up for lost time. Arnav did absolutely nothing, just closed his eyes and tried to imprint this memory into his deepest core.
After what seemed like forever Arnav slowly opened his eyes again to see that Khushi was now once again holding his face in her hands. He looked up at that lost face and realised that she should not force her. He could not force her to sleep on the same bed as him. She had to willing and ready to do that. So he got up of the floor and moved her to the bed. He helped her lay on the bed. Once she was comfortable he pulled the duvet up and around her. He then moved towards the lounger but a tug on his hand made him halt.
He turned around to see that Khushi was holding on to his hand with a death like grip almost as if she would drop and fall to her own death if she let go. 'Maat jayeh' she said with that same pleading tone and that same forlorn face that she had on the day that he had gotten kidnapped. He had made one of the biggest mistakes of his life by not listening to her when she had said that last time. Never was he going to make that mistake again.
And with that with her hand still in his he headed to the bed and laid down next to her. He sat there dead still and watched as Khushi immediately moved closer and snuggled in, right into him not leaving a single airspace between them. She then took his hand which was still in her own and rested her check upon it. And feeling content she finally closed her eyes with a smile on her face.
Arnav said nothing, nor did he move a muscle. He just watched as she closed her eyes with a smile upon her face. He then leaned in and kissed her forehead. As he moved away after doing so he saw the smile on Khushi's face stretch even wider. His heart soared in triumph because he was responsible for that smile on Khushi's face. And with that he closed his eyes in pure ecstasy and let sleep over come in pure content.
So here was chapter 24. PM's will be sent for this together with my other two FF's sometime later on this week.
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