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Joined: 10 June 2012
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Joined: 23 June 2012
Lights, flashing lights. They blinded him even though his eyes were closed. Someone, something, was touching his bare shoulder. It was like he was on a roller coaster. That feeling in your stomach just as you reach the peak, the anticipation, and then... …. … that WHOOSH as you go down, the butterflies that encompass you. The wind in – wait, there was no wind...was there?
Where was he? He didn't have much sensation. What he was lying on felt rather hard...a piece of rock maybe? Would that make sense?
Alright Atman, he said to himself within the deepest recesses of his mind. Retrace your steps, that's the first thing any good investigator does. Retrace and reassemble to piece together the parts of a puzzle.
He struggled to recall what had happened. It hurt too much.
He was conducting an investigation. A phone call. Then walking to his car. A burst of heat, of pain. His head hitting the ground.
Khushi. His sister. Khushi Singh Raizada.
And then darkness.
So where was this place, that was so filled with light? Light hurt. Light was bad. He preferred the restful dark in which he could forget about the pain, forget about anything and everything, and especially forget about the hauntingly beautiful face of the woman who he had glimpsed for only a minute back when Khushi was in the hospital.
And so he drifted back into that black hole, seeking comfort in it, just going to sleep.
"We're losing him Doctor!" Someone shouted in the ER Room. Two nurses and a doctor were hovered over the body of Agent Atman Kulkarni, trying to keep his heart from crashing.
One of the nurses was pumping his body with electricity, but it was only making his heart rate spike marginally.
"We can't lose him!" Dr. Shah muttered angrily. There was no way that this young man who was generally so healthy, was going to die on his table.
"Nurse D'Souza, add two hundred more Joules! Now!" He barked harshly.
The nurse didn't dare argue with her superior. It broke her heart to see this man who risked his life for their country every day, lying so helplessly on this table...possibly his gurney.
His body arched up before slumping back onto the table.
"Blood pressure dropping, 80 over 30!" The other nurse cried out.
it!" The doctor looked down at his patient who had an annoyingly
serene expression on his face. No! As cruel as it sounded, he needed
his patient to be anything other than peaceful. If this man wanted to
survive, he was going to have to fight.
"Come on my boy! What do you love in life? A brother, sister, mother, father, wife, kids? Answer me damn it! Give me a sign that you're not going to go Atman, give a god damn sign! Fight damn it! FIGHT!"
What did he have to fight for? Atman wondered in his mind. Yes, he could hear what was going on outside, but didn't want to acknowledge it. But when the doctor had asked him that question, it felt necessary to give him an answer.
One face came to his mind.
The face of an eighteen year old girl who he had seen during her days at a university where he was giving a lecture on Criminology. Bright hazel eyes, narrowed and calculative, just like his. He still remembered the way she was hunched over her notebook, eagerly copying down whatever he was saying.
Their eyes had met briefly, and she had given him a slight nod. He had stared at her for another minute, feeling an odd sense of kinship to someone he didn't even know.
It was only at the end of his lecture did he learn that kid's name. Khushi. Khushi Rathod.
It would be two and a half more years until they met formally. Khushi Rathod was assigned to a case that had sparked national attention. He had heard of her of course. She was the daughter of Vivek Rathod, and everyone knew who that man was. But his daughter was said to be nothing like the typical child of rich parents. The evidence she was in this career proved that.
The fact that she had helped solve a case during her student years also improved her credentials.
he had seen her again, she looked older. At least, her eyes did. They
had seen death, seen anything and everything that was wrong in this
Good, he had thought. She was growing up.
His affections for the girl grew as they mingled more and more. Not romantically, but it was a familial feeling. He had lost his family in a gun fight seven years back. His mother, father, older brother, all gone. That's why he had joined the CBI. To avenge and to protect.
People described him as cold and aloof. But that wasn't the case. No one bothered to see what lay underneath, even if that was what they did for a living. No one except that one girl. Khushi.
The girl who had thrown herself into his arms the first time she had taken a life. The girl who had come over his house at two in the morning with hot chai and jalebis to comfort him on the death anniversary of his parents.
the person who had taken him into her life. The person who had made
him laugh again. The person who had made him her older brother. The
person who had given him a mother and father again.
He did have something to live for after all.
Yes, he would live for her, for his sister.
Slowly, the darkness faded, and was replaced by a dull ache that spread everywhere. His head, his chest, his torso, his legs, his arms.
Ouch. It all hurt.
The light fell on him again, but this time, he welcomed it, accepted it.
Like hell he would die!
He still had to keep his promise of making Shyam pay!
And, he had to uphold his promise to Raizada as well.
The one where he said that he would kill him if he ever hurt Khushi...
Ever so slowly, Atman moved his hand, and entered into the light.
He was back, baby.
"Doctor Shah!" The nurse's voice was filled with pure relief. "Agent Kulkarni is stabilizing! His pulse is rising, and heart rate is back up!"
The doctor let out a sigh. It looked like this man had found what he cherished and pulled through in the end.
"Good work. Now, keep him stable and keep him on morphine for a while. While I've stitched his wounds back, make sure when he wakes up, he doesn't move to much."
"Doctor, are you sure he's not unconscious?" One of the nurses asked sceptically.
Dr. Shah let out a rueful laugh. "My lady, I assure you, he is most definitely not unconscious. If you were hit by that blast as he was, I'm sure that you would want to sleep for a while as well. No, his vitals are back up and at a healthy level. Look at his EEG. He's in deep sleep right now." The doctor chuckled again, happy that his patient was up and running...almost.
"I need to go tell the people in the waiting room that their man is alright." He paused at the door. "By the way, who is Agent Kulkarni's next of kin. I'll let them know about him right away."
The nurses shuffled papers until one of them found the name. She gaped for a moment before clearing her throat and answering.
"Khushi Singh Raizada."
A groan escaped the doctor who had a feeling that he was going to have a headache very soon. "I think we're going to need to heighten security even more."
"Why are you still home?" Khushi asked her husband curiously. He was sitting at his desk, typing away on that laptop of his while she lounged on the bed reading a John Grisham novel. Sitting at home was incredibly boring when you had nothing to do and were in the company of people who wanted nothing more than to mollycoddle you.
At least a silent Arnav was better company than a hormonal Anjali who was going into hysterics waiting for Shyam to get home.
He turned around to glance at her briefly before looking at his screen once again. "I told Aman that since you were injured, I would take today off to properly take care of you." Arnav stopped typing at looked back at her, a smirk on his face. His eyes roved over her entire body, remembering how he had seen almost everything. From her perfect breasts to the swell of her bottom, he wanted every inch of her.
"All of you."
Khushi turned the brightest crimson at that last comment. What had happened some time earlier was still fresh in her mind. She had pleaded with him to kiss her, to touch her. His sinful mouth had been all to eager to comply with her weeping body.
And his body? She had seen his body. It was that of a Greek God. There was no denying that he was the one for her, and she for him. They fit together like two pieces of the same puzzle.
Her entire being begged to be joined with Arnav, to finally become one. It was only her physical injury, that stopped her from pinning him down and making him hers.
Trying to ignore his heated gaze, she returned to her novel, finding that she wasn't sure as to what she was reading. Damn you Arnav, for making me lose all my senses!
"Just go back to work." Khushi sighed while putting down her book. God! She was too flustered to read. It was a pity. She loved The Runaway Jury no matter how many times she had read it.
Ring Ring. Ring Ring. Khushi's phone sang to life next to Arnav's desk.
"Pick it up will you?" Khushi asked Arnav from the bed.
He shot her a scowl through the mirror but complied anyway. "Hello?"
The female voice at the other end seemed hesitant. "Is this Mrs. Khushi Raizada's number?"
Arnav detached the phone from his ear and looked at the caller ID. Hm, it was no one that he recognized, but the call was made from Delhi. In the background, Khushi sat upright, listening to what Arnav was going to say. Did the office need something?
"Who's calling?" He demanded rudely.
Shuffling could be heard from the other end of the line. When the other person spoke, Arnav noticed that it was a man this time. "Hello? My name is Dr. Mohan Shah. Is this Mrs. Raizada's phone?"
Khushi gave Arnav a questioning look to which he shook his head to. "This is Arnav Singh Raizada. My wife is -"
The doctor cut him off before he could finish. "Mr. Raizada! Please inform your wife to arrive at Hope Medical Center if she can! One of her friends, Mr. Atman Kulkarni, has been injured in a bomb blast in the CBI parking lot. Rest assured, Agent Kulkarni is fine. If Mrs. Raizada wishes to visit him, she can simply drop by any time."
Arnav nearly dropped the phone at that news. He paled, eyes traveling to Khushi who was staring at him intently, trying to figure out what this conversation was about. She was probably wondering as to why he hadn't given her the phone. Oh Lord! What had happened to Atman?
"Alright Doctor, I'll let her know. Thanks for informing us. We will see him soon." Arnav shut the phone off and walked over to Khushi who was confused at the moment.
With a deep breath, her husband sat down next to her and lovingly stroked her palm, the pain apparent in his eyes. Was everything alright?
He pinched his eyebrows. "Khushi...that was Doctor Shah, do you know him?"
She shook her head.
"Voh, Khushi...how do I tell this to you?" Arnav ran a hand through his hair. "Atman...Agent Kulkarni...he's met with an accident. The hospital wants you there."
The woman didn't need to be told twice. She already had one foot out the door at his declaration. Judging by her stance, Khushi was tense. Tears saturated her eyes, and she felt slightly lightheaded. No! She had to be strong...for Atman.
With a deep breath, Khushi turned at the door and looked at Arnav who was standing there looking like a statue.
"Are you coming or not?"
After a terse 'we're going out' from Arnav, the two had no problems leaving Shantivan. Mama of course, had cornered them, and drew the story out, promising not to tell anyone until Khushi was ready.
In the car ride, Khushi had informed her parents who were on their way to the hospital this very moment.
Khushi was slumped over in her seat, trying hard to not cry. Arnav couldn't do anything but clench the steering wheel a bit harder and not crash into any cars.
It hurt him to see Khushi like this. She shouldn't be this silent! She should be the spitfire that she is! Even yesterday, when everyone had feared the worst for her, she had proved them all wrong and not been the least bit upset that she had just been shot and even arguing with Atman about her injury. Now though, it looked as though someone had sucked the life from her.
He knew that to Khushi, Atman Kulkarni was the equivalent of what Di was to him. An older sibling is precious, and only a younger sibling can understand this. They might give the elder one trouble, but at the end of the day, their love is pure.
Arnav knew all too well what it felt like to see an older sibling hurt. It had happened to him and his Di twelve ago when his mother and father died.
And now this ordeal with Shyam. One blow after another.
The silence in the car was growing more melancholy by the moment. Arnav was going to go mad if he didn't hear her say something.
"You know, yesterday, we were in the same position. Me, your parents, Akaash, Di...everyone. It was you who was in the hospital and us who were so scared." He said quietly. Khushi looked at him once before staring out the window again.
"What's your point?" She asked quietly.
A small smile of triumph flitted across his face before vanishing. "I don't have one. I just wanted you to say something." He replied honestly.
Khushi sat up straighter in her seat. "If your trying to make me feel better, you're not doing a very good job." A frown marred her features.
"Don't do that." Arnav said softly.
"Don't do what?" A confused expression replaced her frown.
"Look so sad." Arnav reached out and grasped her hand, noticing the way her finger automatically tangled with his.
Khushi clutched his hand closer to her. "I...I know Arnav. I know that Bhaiyaa wouldn't want me to feel this way, but I can't help it. I mean, we don't know much about his condition except that he was in a bomb blast in my building's parking lot! I'm sure my team will update me later, but try to understand, it's not just Atman's condition that's weighing on my mind!"
Her eyes conveyed what her words could not...fear. Not for herself, but for the others.
"Yesterday, Joshi was shot in the leg. My other agent was down as well. I got shot. And today Atman. The only non-injured one is Yogesh who is probably wearing a hole in the floor from pacing so much. Including me, three people are injured...and it was all done by the same people!"
Arnav was startled at that. "The same people...you don't think...?"
"I know, Arnav." She stated firmly. "The ones who we met with yesterday are the same ones who are trying to get Atman. He's a liability to them. They're terrorists Nav. If someone bothers them, they take that person out. That's logic to them."
He gulped at her words, unable to stop the spasm of worry that went through his mind. What he had actually meant when he had asked you don't think, was if Shyam was involved in this or not. He had a sinking feeling that he was.
Not one more word was said between the two as they reached the hospital.
To say that security was tight was a huge understatement. It was packed tighter than an Indian Bus.
"Stop!" One guard commanded as the two neared the unit where Atman was placed. "Id's."
Khushi wordlessly pulled out her badge while Arnav did the same with his driver's license. The guard eyed them for a second before nodding and gesturing for them to go on.
As they neared the waiting area, Khushi was bombarded by her subordinates while Arnav was shunted to the side.
"Commander Raizada." One man began with a no nonsense tone.
"Report." She said in the same voice.
"Madam, Agent Kulkarni's car was rigged with an explosive device that activated with the dropping of a pin. Judging by surveillance footage, we can say that the bomb was put there between midnight and two in the morning. Unfortunately, the figure who did this is currently unidentifiable due to the cover of darkness as well as his black clothing. We can say that the man was male, approximately 5''10, and around two hundred pounds."
Khushi nodded. "Continue."
"Forensics Reports are inconclusive. No evidence was left behind, no hairs, no fingerprints, etc. The person who did this was an expert. We can only say that he did not break into the car because he used a key. This key was not Agent Kulkarni's, but most probably a forging. This means that the -"
"That the bombing was planned all along." Khushi muttered furiously, completing the man's sentence for him.
"Exactly Madam. We believe that your tryst with those men yesterday and what happened this morning are related."
"I figured as much. Listen, send me the files on what Bhaiyaa was working on." Khushi let out a breath. She toyed with the hem of her shirt for some time. "Is he alright?" She added tentatively.
"I can answer that question for you, Mrs. Raizada." A middle aged man with a white coat and horn rimmed glasses appeared from behind her. "Mr. Raizada." He acknowledged Arnav who was quietly listening to everything that was going on.
"Dr. Shah, I presume?" Khushi asked, shaking his hand. Arnav came from her side and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, drawing her closer. He pressed a tender kiss to her temple, not caring who was watching. Khushi needed this now, and he knew it. She didn't push him away, choosing to seep in his warmth and comfort.
Dr. Shah inwardly smiled at the couple's display of affection. It touched him to see such love between two people. "Yes. Perhaps we can talk somewhere that's not so crowded?"
Khushi glanced at the waiting area which was filled with ten agents, guns out, looking incredibly menacing. The doctor must not be so comfortable with this. She nodded. "Lead the way sir."
They sat in his office, just a couple doors down from where Atman was. He wasn't in the ICU, she noted with relief.
"Commander Raizada, I'll be frank with you." He looked her in the eye, seeing the trepidation behind them. "We nearly lost him on the table."
Khushi bit back a sob and grasped Arnav's hand.
"But he will make a FULL recovery." The doctor assured her.
"Dr. Shah, I need to know the extent of his injuries." Khushi said in a low voice.
The man intertwined his fingers and sighed. "Aside from the lacerations on his head due to his fall and a concussion, he had shrapnel that was close to his one of the major arteries."
"Femoral?" Khushi guessed.
The doctor looked taken aback but nodded nonetheless. "Yes. We operated on him to get it out, and he will need a brace on his leg for just a week and a half. In that time, we would either keep him at home, or he could stay in the hospital. He can be released in two day."
"He'll be at home." Another voice piped in from behind them. It was Khushi's father, Vivek who had a frantic looking Aparna by his side.
"Who are you, and what are you doing here?" The doctor asked sternly.
Vivek leveled the man with a glare that could rival Arnav's. Well, now they all knew where Arnav had taken his signature look from...
"I, am Agent Kulkarni's father. This," He said, gesturing to his wife, "Is his mother. And she," He pointed to Khushi, "Is his sister. To answer your other questions, Khushi's men and your nurses directed us to your office, Dr. Shah."
The doctor looked chastised as he motioned for the other two to take a seat. Arnav received a firm clamp on the shoulder from Vivek and a ruffle of his hair from Aparna.
"Maa...Papa." Khushi couldn't hide the tear that trickled down her face.
"Oh Beta." Vivek whispered affectionately. "He'll pull through. Trust him." Khushi put her shoulder on her father's head, her hand still in Arnav's.
Arnav tried his best not to stare at his father-in-law, but was failing miserably. He knew that Khushi considered Atman her brother, and that Atman had even called those two Maa and Papa, but to have Vivek Uncle actually announce to this doctor that he was Atman's father...that was something unheard of.
It made him wonder exactly what Atman Kulkarni must have done to be accepted by Vivek Rathod and his family. It also made him wonder as to how people to whom Atman didn't even have any family connections with had become so close to him within the span of half a decade.
"Mr. Rathod," The doctor began tentatively. "Your...ahem...son, will be fine. As I was telling your daughter and her husband, he just needs lots of rest, and no exertion."
"When can we bring him home?" Aparna asked tearfully.
"In two days. We just need to monitor him and make sure that his vitals are normal and stable."
Vivek nodded tersely, making his displeasure at the matter visible through his body language.
"Would you like to see him now?" Dr. Shah asked gently. The party of four seemed weary. Perhaps it would be best if they could see Agent Kulkarni so that it would appease their worries.
"Please." Arnav stood and held Khushi as he did so. She seemed to have regained some of her strength and released herself from Arnav's arms, shooting him a grateful look in the process. He simply nodded, not liking her absence from him.
To his surprise, Aparna Aunty linked her arm with his as they walked to Atman's room. The action was so unfamiliar yet comfortable.
"It's good to have a strong shoulder to lean on Beta." Aparna explained to him softly. "And out of all of us here, you're the strongest... ….no matter what Khushi says."
Arnav simply nodded. He didn't need to do anything else.
Atman lay there on the bed, an IV in his arm, looking utterly serene.
"Doctor, is he unconscious?" Arnav asked.
"No, he's simply sleeping. But, he is heavily sedated, therefore his sleep is heavier than any normal person's. He won't wake if you tell him to."
Khushi crept closer to the bed where he lay and gently placed a palm on Atman's cheek. It was so smooth, just like a baby's. She used to tease him about it as a rookie all the time.
"Bhaiyaa. It looks like our positions are reversed." Khushi gave out a mirthless laugh. "I'm the one who's standing over you this time. But look, you've got Maa, Papa, and Arnav here right with you along with our friends from the office." A little sniffle could be heard through the silent room. "I love you Bhiayaa. So damn much. We may not be related by blood, but you are my brother in every way that counts. Please...please be okay." Leaning down, she pressed a kiss to his forehead. Then she turned around and walked up to Arnav, burrowing herself in his arms.
Her husband was surprised at Khushi, but didn't deny her what she wanted. His arms came around to wrap around Khushi's waist, carefully not touching her bruised area.
"He's going to be fine, Khushi." Arnav reassured her in a surprisingly soft voice.
"I know he is." She mumbled into his sweater. "It's just that I've never seen him so vulnerable before. And that scares me."
"He's a strong man who has a family to come back to. Trust him, trust yourself."
Arnav pulled her back and stroked her cheek. He bent down and placed a lingering kiss on the top of her head, not caring that her tears were seeping through his sweater.
It didn't really shock him when Khushi looked at him with those bright wide eyes of hers. His words and actions must have resonated within her. Well, this was a first.
Arnav Singh Raizada should switch from being a CEO to his real calling: Counseling.
Khushi had a small smile on her face, and Arnav was the reason why. She left Atman's room with peace of mind, and a feeling that the worst of the storm had passed. It was time for recovery.
An hour later, the two of them were back home, having parted ways with Khushi's parents.
"Kya hua, Khushi bitiyaa?" Nani asked concernedly as she gave Khushi some tea. To her, Khushi looked slightly tired.
Khushi gratefully took a sip of the steaming chai, relishing the feel of it going down her throat.
"Nani, voh...Atman Bhaiyaa hospital main hai. He was hurt in a terrible accident this morning." Khushi said.
The older woman gasped while Mami and Anjali just shook their heads.
"He'll be alright, na?" Anjali inquired, tears leaking from her eyes. She angrily wiped them away. Her hormones were making her feel very sad and angst ridden lately.
"Yes, Di, Agent Kulkarni will be fine." Arnav spoke for the first time. His eyes met Khushi's and he gave her a lopsided smile.
"How do you know Agent Kulkarni so well, Chote?" Anjali asked with curiosity. She was surprised when her brother ducked his head and muttered something incoherently.
"I didn't catch that Chote, what did you say?"
Arnav scowled at his sister. "I...I...before our wedding, I promised to him that I would never hurt Khushi after he threatened to kill me if I did. So in a way, I asked for Khushi's hand in marriage from him." Of course, Arnav didn't add that Atman had pulled a gun on him, or that these events had taken place on their real wedding night...in the municipal office.
Anjali burst out into laughter which Mami and Nani joined into.
Khushi couldn't help but smile at the cheerful attitude that was in this room. It took her mind off of other things, like Atman's condition, and everything that had happened in twenty-four hours.
"Khushi, Chote." Anjali beamed, standing up. "I have something to show you. We did it while you two were gone. Come, follow me!"
Arnav shrugged his shoulders at Khushi's inquisitive tilt of the head. He never knew what his sister had planned.
Anjali led them into their room, Khushi couldn't help but gasp.
Pictures upon pictures covered the room. From Arnav and Khushi's
childhood, to their marriage.
They saw pictures from their marriage, like when the garlands were being put on, and when the rounds were being taken. There was one of Khushi knocking the urn of rice down and taking her first steps into the house as a married woman. There was one of their faces after they both picked up the ring in the milk. Arnav couldn't help but note that his eyes held pure joy at that time as he gazed at his wife.
There was one of the two of them smiling at each other from Khurana's party right above their bed. There was one of Arnav holding Khushi's hand, one of Arnav sneaking a glance at Khushi when she wasn't looking, one of the two of them holding mud-caked hands as children. One of them glaring at each other, one of their identical faces of delight while glancing at food.
Khushi recognized the last one from the time she had come to Shantivan after Arnav's invitation. She glanced up at Anjali's smiling face with awe.
"When did you have time to do all this?"
"Would you believe that we started compiling all these pictures since when you two reached a marriageable age?" Anjali replied cheekily. The pleasure she took from their shocked faces felt very good.
"What! Seriously Di?" Arnav asked incredulously. As he gazed at all the pictures on the walls, his eyes rested on one of Khushi dancing in the rain with NK. Her eyes were closed, and she must have been eighteen. The pure joy on her face brought butterflies to his stomach. She looked at peace, at ease. It was the same expression he had seen once when she was in his arms, in the middle of the night.
"Of course Chote! See, we all knew that one day, you two would fall in love, so it was pre-planning! Aunty and Uncle pitched in some photos, and Nani took the others. Her and her camera are very sneaky..." Anjali explained to them. She limped over and placed her hands on their cheeks.
"I still can't believe that Chote loves you, Khushi." Anjali murmured softly, tears gathering in her eyes. "For so many years, he closed himself off to the rest of the world, but you were his constant. The way he talks about you, the way he looks at you," She gestured to the photo of him covertly looking at her, "It just melts my heart." Anjali took a moment to wipe her eyes. "I wish you two all the happiness in the world. You two are a match made in heaven."
With that, Anjali left the room, leaving behind a stunned couple who were not sure what to say each other.
"WHAT!" Shyam screamed into his phone. "He's not dead?"
Him and Hussein were on their way back from Mumbai via car. The botched deal with the weapons had been a let down, but the knowledge that Atman Kulkarni could be killed other ways was comforting. But now, now that Shyam knew that the man who stood between him and twenty crores was still alive, and heavily protected...that was the worst news he could get.
In a fit of rage, Shyam threw the phone against the window, cracking it slightly. The driver looked back to see what had happened and inwardly rolled his eyes. He was used to this madman's mood swings. But still, he would have to pay for the damage to his window.
"It's alright, Shyam." Hussein tried to console the deranged man, but kept his distance as well. He knew what Shyam could do when he went into one of his fits of anger. In reality, he knew that it wasn't alright, and that this was going to lead to something even more disastrous, but he wasn't going to voice that.
Shyam ground his teeth together in rage. That fu***ng man was still alive! And a very big threat to him! Now Khushi would be even more vigilant, and he would have to be even more careful.
Things were not going his way at all!
For the rest of the day, Khushi was stooped over her laptop, and Arnav over his. After Anjali's chat, they were left awkwardly staring at each other, neither denying anything Anjali had said, but not confirming it either.
Arnav was not able to focus on his work as much as he would have liked. Only one word kept nagging him, ringing through his mind. Love. His Di had repeatedly said that she had seen the love that he held for Khushi. But where? Where in those stolen glances, those small moments with her, where was the love present? How could his Di say that? All he saw was himself, looking at his wife with a... a different emotion. But could that be love?
Did he love Khushi? He had said that she was the only one for him, but did he love her? He really had no idea. Every time he looked at her, yes, there was a funny feeling in his stomach and chest. And when he kissed her, he felt as though his head was going to explode from her touch against his. Was that love, or just lust?
He knew what sibling love was, because he loved Di and Akaash. But that was different. Those were his brother and sister, not the woman with whom he would eventually have children with. He needed time to think about this whole love thing. Maybe he did love her, maybe he would love her.
Khushi on the other hand, knew exactly what she felt for her husband. But she knew that telling him that she loved him now would only complicate things in this new relationship. They had finally worked things out between each other, she didn't want to get rid of any of that.
Unless he was ready, she wouldn't tell him that she loved him.
"It's time to change your bandages Khushi!" Arnav announced cheerily sometime after dinner.
Her parents had come over to eat as well, updating her on Atman's condition. Apparently, he had woken up and blinked a couple times before muttering something and falling back asleep. He was healing though, and that was a very good thing. In two days, Vivek and Aparna would take him home where he would spend the next couple weeks recovering.
Khushi groaned slightly but stood anyway. "You don't have to sound so happy over it." She grumbled at him.
His response was to give her a smirk and dangle the gauze cheekily in front of her face. "Do you need help stripping, or should I do the honors?" Arnav's fingers were already slipping up her shirt, and she wasn't stopping him.
Khushi was pulled into Arnav by one of his hands. She placed both of her palms on to his chest to stop herself from crashing into him. His smell hit her like a tidal wave. She couldn't help but lean into him and take a deep breath. She could smell the fading scent of his favorite cologne. It invaded her pores, seeping into her. There was something else there as well. Something that could only be described as Arnav. Musky and masculine. Him.
"Are you sniffing me?" Arnav asked with amusement. He had to clench his fists to stop himself from crying out as he felt her petal soft lips touch his sweater clad chest. He wasn't about to tell her that he had done the same exact thing so many times before.
"No!" Khushi denied vehemently, but the blush in her cheeks gave her away. She pulled away from him and crossed her hands over her chest, pouting adorably. Oh how he wished he could kiss that pout away...
Wait, he was her husband. Of course he could do that! Since when did he have to ask to kiss her?
"Fine!" Her voice interrupted him from that future kiss. "You do it! It'll hurt if I try it." She said, staring into his darkened eyes.
"It would be my pleasure." Arnav pulled her towards him, brushing his lips across her cheek for one agonizing moment. He chuckled against her when he felt her shiver. This would never get old. He pushed up the casual long sleeved shirt she was wearing. He had chosen it for her this morning because it was loose enough to let her bandages breathe, but tight enough so he could see every curve whenever she made the slightest movement.
In other words: the perfect shirt.
The shirt had been pushed up to just below her breasts. His eyes held a mischievous glint in them as they locked with hers. He noted to some degree of satisfaction, that those hazel orbs of her had dilated to an interesting shade of black.
"Arnav, just take the damn thing off, don't do this." Her voice was only slightly breathy, but it was also filled with a tinge of pain.
"Sorry Khushi." He mumbled with some guilt, but mostly with disappointment. He did want to tease her some more, but it would have to wait.
Arnav gently eased her arms out of the shirt, making sure that he didn't stretch her body too much. Of course, once she was out of it, he couldn't help the reaction that his body had to her nearly uncovered upper half.
Her eyes flitted down to his visible bulge and back to him, a smirk on her face. He shifted uncomfortably and tried to ease his tension, but to no avail.
"Sorry." Arnav grunted.
A throaty laugh bubbled from her mouth. God, that just made him stand a little taller. "No need to be sorry husband. That seems to be your favorite word today." Khushi trailed a finger from the top of his chest down to his navel, feeling his muscles tense as she did so.
He closed his eyes at her touch, knowing it was anything but innocent. If she didn't stop, he was going to finish what they had started last night and this morning, injury or not.
Quite mercilessly, he took the bandages off her navel, wincing only slightly when she stepped on his foot...hard. The bruising had changed colors as well. It looked rather nasty and painful, but there was no blood, which was good.
Arnav didn't dare take his eyes off of her stomach as he bandaged it, quite frightened as to what she would do if he looked any higher. He was on his knees now, eye level with her naval. Her hands clutched his shoulder's for support. Arnav patiently bandaged the bruised area, trying incredibly hard not to breathe in the sweet scent of her skin.
"Are you done?" Khushi asked impatiently. His hot breath on her bare skin was creating a war within her stomach.
"Not yet." He murmured, acutely aware that Khushi was growing restless. Arnav wrapped the last part of gauze around her slender waist. "There, all done." He stood quickly causing Khushi to lose her balance and topple onto the bed with a muted Ooph.
He stifled a snigger while she glared at him. "You're supposed to catch me you know."
Arnav quickly brought over her night clothes and dumped them unceremoniously on her. "Oh, and why is that?" He watched in amusement as she pulled on cotton pants and a shirt with some difficulty. Taking clothes off was the problem, putting them on wasn't.
"Honestly Arnav, don't you know that when a girl falls, the guy should always catch her?" She rolled her eyes and settled into the bed, waiting to go to sleep after another exhausting day.
He raised one eyebrow at her before getting into the bed himself. "What movie did you see this in?"
Khushi opened her mouth, trying find a retort, but couldn't. Instead, she just chose to ignore him and close her eyes, hoping to drift off into a comfortable sleep.
Arnav smirked in victory, but was highly annoyed that she was going to fall asleep just like that. Here he was, still aroused, while his lovely wife was planning to sleep.
He was about to make her face him when she turned on her side and very quickly planted her lips on his.
Khushi smirked as she turned back over, only slightly disappointed that Arnav was too shocked to deepen the kiss.
It took Arnav about two seconds to come out of his stupor before he attacked his wife from behind, his lips being the main assault weapons. She squealed like a little girl as his hands drew her closer to him.
From over the horizon, the sun rose but was blocked by the numerous clouds in the sky. It looked as though a storm was approaching.
a storm was approaching. Shyam Jha knew it. Atman Kulkarni knew it.
Khushi Singh Raizada knew it. Even Arnav Singh Raizada knew it.
But although they knew that a storm was coming, no one knew who was going to be affected the worst. Who was going to get flooded? Who was going to get destroyed?
Would life reign after the fall?
Only the end of the storm would tell.
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