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The dawn had finally arrived after a long sleepless night for Arnav and Khushi. As their watch beeped six, Arnav rushed out of bed hoping Khushi would be asleep. He quickly made his way towards Nani's room but stopped for a brief moment at Dadi's door. The moment of pure wrath came flooding back to him but he pushed forward, ignoring it. He had more important things to deal with. He had Khushi and her life to deal with.
Nani was getting ready for her usual morning puja when she heard an impatient knock at her door. Not expecting a company so early in the morning, she wondered who could be up so early. Thinking it to be Subhadra, she got up patiently to open the door only to hasten up on hearing the relentless knocks again. "Arnav Bitwa?" she asked bewildered. "Ap inte jaldi uth gaye? Kya hua? Sab theek to haina?" (You woke up so early? Are you ok? Is everything alright?)
The look on his face scared her but she tried her best not to show it. Something was wrong, bitterly wrong, his eyes screamed out to her. "Nani" he said as he walked in and turned around to close the door behind him. Arnav took her by her hand and walked her to her recliner and asked her to sit down as he bent down to take a seat on the bed, right beside her. "Kya hua ,Chottay?" (What happened?) she asked as her fear grew with every passing moment. "Nani, apse bohut zaroori baat karna hai" he muttered and with that he started unravelling last night's incident to her. He told her about their conversation, their realization and her reactions and watched as Nani's eyes flashed fear, horror and terror, all at one go.
"Ye kya ho gaya? Ye kaise ho sakta." She asked, all exasperated, to Arnav. "Itna bada sanyog? Nehi Chottey, zaroor kuch galat fehmi hui hai" (Such a big coincidence? It's not possible, Chottey. There must've been a misunderstanding). "Nehi Nani, koi galat fehmi nehi hai." (There's no misunderstanding, Nani) He answered with regret and confidence in his voice at the same time. Nani started shaking her head in denial. She rested her head on her palms as Arnav continued further. There was no time to waste. He hated losing control of any situation and that was exactly what was happening right then. "'but Nani, I haven't told her the entire truth. I didn't know if she could handle it" he stated. Nani looked up with a jolt and with utter confusion written all over face. "Kya matlab hai apka ki apne poora sach nehi bataya?" (What do you mean by the fact that you haven't told her everything?)
"Before I could tell her about the blackmail, she figured we were talking about her father and broke down. How could I possibly go on further? How could I possibly tell her that my father had asked HER Babuji (Jitendra Ji) for his wife for a night? How on earth could I tell her that my father had blackmailed him into staying by saying that he might lose his family forever?" he questioned Nani, looking away from her. "She knows my mother has been killed. I couldn't bring myself to tell her that she committed suicide because she had seen her husband with another woman, her mother. I know she (Khushi's mother) was there that night to get back at my father that for the games he played, the bets he laid and to protect her family and ultimately how her plan backfired but'" his voice cracked and he couldn't go on. "What do I do now? Kya karoo kuch samajh may nehi aa raha hain" (I can't figure out my next step) he croaked throatily.
After few fleeting moments, he felt a soft touch on his shoulder and looked up to find Nani staring at him but a comforting look in her eyes. She nodded her head, gesturing a 'No' as spoke up "Nahi Arnav Bitwa, yeh baat Khushi Bitiya ko abhi batana sahi nehi hoga. Woh bechari toot jaygi." She paused for sometime before she went on thoughtfully, "Par baad may kabhi main usay samjhake puri kahaani bata doongi. Saach chupana bhi sahi baat nahi. Baad may kisi aur se pata chalega to kya beetaygi uspar?" (No, Arnav. It's better to keep this from her for now. She'll have a mental breakdown if she comes to know about this. I'll tell her when things get a little light. If she comes to know about this from somewhere else, it wouldn't be really be nice. Let's be fair to her ). Arnav looked up, gradually absorbing every word she said. She was right, Arnav thought. Khushi wouldn't be able to handle this.
None of them said a word after it and the flashbacks came flooding back to them. Dadi was a witness to all this turmoil. She had seen her son with another woman, a woman she referred to till date and considered to be the sole reason for the downfall of her family. She never accepted the fact that it was her beloved son who was at fault and lived her life in sheer denial but Arnav could never give in to that. When his father had figured that he had been tricked, he had been framed by the Gupta couple in a way so as that his wife and mother would walk in on him during his sin, he lost it completely and decided to put an end to their life once and for all. He was ashamed of his father to the core.
Weeks passed by and Arnav noticed Khushi slowly starting to redeem herself from the cocoon she had built around her. She had started smiling again to his mischief again and was gradually opening up all over again. The sight of her trying to bring her life back in pace started making Arnav feel human again. He was there by her like a shadow even though she never knew about it but that is how Arnav's love worked anyway. He watched her build her relationship again, hoping never having to rebuild it again.
Arnav came back from office early in the afternoon one day to find Khushi standing by the poolside, lost in some deep thought. He had planned to tell her the latter half of the story himself that day. He couldn't handle the guilt gnawing away at the back of his mind anymore. They spoke up simultaneously "Khushi" "Arnav Ji". "Bolo" Arnav ushered her to continue. He had to let her go first else he would never really come to know what she finally had to say to him after all this time.
"Arnav Ji" she started "It's about the past." Arnav's heart skipped a beat but he quickly masked his fear from her. He had to know where she stood in this situation and thus listened silently as she went on "I know we haven't spoken about it since that night but I needed time to settle the thoughts in my mind." She paused briefly before she finally gave her verdict. "I could've never guessed our lives could be intertwined like this. It wouldn't be fair to say that I'm absolutely comfortable with the truth but I guess I had to get my priorities right and you are the first one in my list. For all I know, you are nowhere to blamed in this ruckus and I find no reason as to why our relationship should suffer because of that." She said confidently, looking straight into her lover's eyes. "We never had anything to do with it and that is what counts. Let bygones be bygones". Saying that she rushed forward, right into Arnav's arm, and nestled her head against his chest. "I love you and that is all that matters. No past should ever come between us." she concluded.
Arnav had gone pale after hearing her say. He couldn't expose it to her anymore. He could let nothing touch her from now on, he vowed as the dam of guilt came crashing down in his chest. "So this is what Khushi felt when she had to hide the facts about Shyam." He realized miserably. He could now slowly figure out what made Khushi do that selfless deed and how badly he had misunderstood her. The feeling with which Khushi had to live with for uncountable days now wound around him like a cold iron chain. Khushi had gone through all the misery just to keep his world intact and it was now Arnav's turn to return the favour. He now had to keep her world from crumbling down to dust and he was willing to pay any price to do that. Arnav wound his hands around her waist, comforting her as he looked up and closed his eyes. He silently sent up a solemn prayer to his mother, asking for the strength to keep them united even after death does them apart.
I know, I know... but I couldn't help it. I found this ending irresistible. I didn't want to lose out on Arnav's character by making him get down to his knees, apologising. Hope you guys enjoyed it.
DONT FORGET TO LEAVE A COMMENT
Here are links of few of my other works. DO CHECK THEM OUT
1)SS: Inspiration(Mature)-about remarriage:http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=3119031
2)SS: Will I be forgotten? (Arnav as a father):http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=3123824
3)OS: Frosted Teardrops (Proposal): http://www.india-forums.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=3121262
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