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"Ouch... Sorry, I..."
The words disappeared from the tip of her tongue as she looked up in pools of coffee brown. She blinked, surprised, her heart beating erratically.
"I wasn't watching either," he replied rather huskily. Or was her mind playing games with her?
She looked down shyly. Since when was Khushi Kumaari Gupta shy?
"So you're going-"
Damn her family! They always were there to interrupt, and he could not even speak to her properly for even five seconds without one of them calling her.
"Aayi Buaji!" (Coming Buaji!)
She scurried away past him, downstairs, where they were waiting for her. She gave him a nervous smile, though, before leaving. So she was going with the group for shopping...
And he regretted for refusing to accompany the rest of them now. Ulka had just been near to begging to him to come along, even if he hated shopping. It would be fun to go out, everybody together and all. But he had cleanly declined under the pretext that he had a lot of work pending. And now, seeing Khushi going, he wanted to change his decision. Was this feeling justified?
Arnav Singh Raizada had never changed his decision. Not a single one. For absolutely nobody. Then why this urge to do this for a girl he barely knew? He hesitated on the steps. Which path to take? Would he go to his room and bore himself out in there until everyone had left so that he could later go in the garden and busy himself with a few plants? Or would he go downstairs and tell Ulka that he had changed his mind so that he could follow and watch the eighth wonder of the world?
The second idea was appealing. More that the first one. Who cares about plants when you had a beautiful rose, changing colour every second by changing her mood? At times a child herself among children, at others an epitome of purity and wisdom; at times as naughty and mischievous as a cunning prankster, at others even more innocent than a hardly opened rosebud. Arnav grinned. Truly, she was a wonder. And she would be his eighth wonder.
What would he do now? He desperately wanted to go with them. With her. But what about him? What would they think of him? His cousin? His parents? His sisters? They knew him so well that they would understand there was something wrong with him. They would try to find it out. And if, by any chance, they learnt his 'problem' was linked to Miss Khushi Kumaari Gupta, he would be finished. Arnav knew his family too, as well as they knew him. They would rush things up, get overexcited, overreact, and start arranging a wedding.
But Arnav did not want to get in a relationship, did he? Especially a marriage. He was not ready for that. In fact he had enough of them. Better play it safe. Even if that meant staying away from the object if his attention. His hand fisted itself and it hit it on the banister.
"Dammit!" he said in a loud whisper, before he stormed in his room and locked himself inside.
Khushi smiled as she dragged her heavy shopping bags to her room. It had been a marvellous day for her; she had spent them shopping, her favourite activity. She had tried on several outfits and had actually wanted to buy almost everything. She would have if Payal had not been there. Payal was a sterner version of Anji. She had learnt about Khushi's shopaholism a few years back when she had met Khushi's best friend on a trip to London and she took charge of Khushi whenever they were out together, just as Anjali did. Except Payal was more strict.
Anji would have been easily bent in her resolution once she had realised how lovely Khushi's choice was. But not Payal. She had only allowed her cousin the strict minimum possible. Nevertheless, Khushi had been able of finding nice things to wear for the wedding. The following night was the Sangeet, she remembered suddenly. She needed to practise!
Of course she had to perform, it was her brother's wedding after all! He Devi Maiyya! She dropped the bags in the middle of the room and took off. She had to find a number as quick as possible and get ready before tomorrow evening. Crap! How could she forget such a thing?
Arnav wiped his brow with his fore arm. He badly needed a shower. It had been hours since he had been working on a plot of land planted with roses. He had not even realised how much time had really passed but the sun was setting already and he guessed the others had returned from their shopping trip. He smiled at his soiled hands. He always felt better after gardening and it kept his mind off disturbing matters.
But it had not stopped him from thinking of Miss Gupta, though. He smirked. He was only walking back to the main building when he stopped in his track. What was that? Music? Arnav scanned the grounds, a slight frown settling on his face. Who the hell was playing music? At this time? He followed the sound to a small one-room building found near the eastern walls of the hotel grounds. It had not been used since a quite long time but when he was a child, this had been his 'playhouse', where he had kept all of his toys, spent his rainy days, spent the days when the storms had raged inside his own home and he could not bear it.
"What the-?" he muttered as he neared the building.
To tell the truth, he knew nothing about songs, let alone Indian ones because he never had time to watch movies or even listen to music, but he did recognise that it was an Indian song playing. But who would play that here? He peered inside through the window and what he saw shocked him.
His eighth wonder was dancing. Right there, in the room where he had spent a majority of his childhood. She twirled about, moving her hands gracefully, her black dupatta tied in the same way as he had seen her that blue churidaar. This time, she wore a Anarkali; the top section and borders of a velvety burnt orange cloth, the skirts of a silky charcoal black. Her brow was knitted in concentration, her lips adorably pursed as she rehearsed.
A smiled started to form on his lips but it evaporated soon as she suddenly stopped dead in front of the window, facing him. Her eyes widened in surprise and she blushed deeply. Then she put on a flustered expression before shutting the windows with a little frown. Arnav opened his mouth to say something harsh but it closed without any output. It was useless. And anyways he was too tired for and argument. Maybe he'd deal with Miss Gupta later.
He huffed and walked away.
As soon as she had closed the carved wooden windows, she regretted. She pressed her back against the cool varnished surface, breathing heavily; from her dancing or from the nervosity which had pricked her on seeing him? Her heart was also galloping. Why? She brushed away all the bizarre thoughts and questions running in her mind.
"Stop, Khushi, and concentrate now. You need to practise for tomorrow night!"
She danced the evening away, nearly skipping dinner. He was there too, and he appeared quite irritated. She knew somewhere it was because of her. Why did she close that window on his nose? It was so rude of her; what would he be thinking of her?
"Just avoid him, Khushi!" she said to herself.
Mr Arnav Singh Raizada was such a Laad Governor! And such a nosy person too! Why did he have to spy on her? It was not as if she was disturbing him or doing something blasphemous, was it? Khushi grimaced at him while he turned away and no one looked, sticking her small tongue out at his back.
Whatever! What was he to her? Nothing but a perfect stranger. She did not need to care about what he thought.
Nostrils flared, she got up and left for her room to continue with her practice.
The same music he had heard in the gardens greeted him as he walked to his suite. He stopped listening to it, seeing her dance in his mind. So, her room was in the same block as his, on the same floor too. He smirked momentarily before remembering she had closed the window right on his face.
He frowned at the door to her room. How dare she? Did she realised who she was messing with? Did she realised this place belonged to his family, and that gave him the right to go wherever he wished to, without anybody stooping him? How could she just shut him out? And that too, from his own playhouse?
Just wait, Khushi Kumaari Gupta. Just wait, and you'll pay for it. Very soon. This is Arnav Singh Raizada's promise...
Joined: 29 March 2012
Joined: 02 April 2012
Joined: 25 April 2012
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