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Bonjour mes amies! Pourquoi est-ce je parle francais avec vous? Je ne sais pas. I'm feeling Frenchy today. Anyway, here's chapter 23! Enjoy folks. I felt that this chapter needed a title...foreshadowing
Chapter 23 - Confessions
"Don't think I've let you off the hook, Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada." Khushi grumbled, shooting a venomous look at her husband who was bouncing right behind her where he had full view of the lovely and ill concealed marks that he had placed on her.
"Oh don't worry, I know you haven't." Arnav grinned at her behind her back.
"Then stop smiling like a fool." She retorted, not looking at him once.
The grin slid off his face immediately. How did she know? He asked himself.
"Because it's my job to think one step ahead of criminals." This time, Khushi did turn around, a proud smirk on her face. "Admit it, you were thinking, How did she know...right?"
Arnav's eyes narrowed at her, but inwardly, he was berating himself for giving himself away so easily. "What I think or do Mrs. Raizada, is entirely my business. You don't need to concern yourself with them."
One arched eyebrow was the response he received. "Well, Mr. Raizada, your thoughts are entirely my business, especially when they concern me." Khushi raised her nose at him rather imperiously and made to walk away, only to be trapped against the wall by Arnav's hands. Her back was to him, and she could feel his hot breath on the nape of her neck.
Arnav smirked as he saw how she trembled slightly. She looked indecisive to him, like she didn't know if she wanted to lean back, or cower away.
"Trust me Khushi, I would be glad to share all of my thoughts that concern you." Arnav whispered in her ear, nipping it slightly. She gave an adorable yelp from the contact. "In fact, I can show you my thoughts if you would like. And believe me jaan, I think you would love what my mind thinks about you."
He let his lips glide over the back of her neck, knowing that his stubble must be scratching her. Khushi tried to move, but his arms were like a cage around her. She didn't really want to leave this position. It was quite comfortable actually.
"You...you think about me?" She asked hesitantly.
Arnav nodded against her, his lips trailing from her neck to her ear, and repeating. "All the time."
"Did you know that I think about you too?" Khushi murmured so quietly, that Arnav had to strain to hear her.
That piqued Arnav's interest. A lecherous grin filled his face. Could it be that they had the same thoughts? He smirked against the soft skin of her neck. "Oh? And what thoughts are those?"
If Arnav had seen the expression on Khushi's face, he most definitely would not have delved into this territory.
Although Khushi was pinned against the wall and her husband, her mobility wasn't compromised too much. One of her arms reached behind her, an action that caused some pain, and latched on to Arnav's shirt. In one movement, she used the grip on his shirt and twirled herself around so that her eyes were level with his chin.
Hazel met caramel. Khushi gasped as their eyes collided. She had only wanted to tease Arnav and get away from him as fast as possible. Never had she expected to see the raw emotion in his eyes, his now completely dilated eyes.
Those eyes must have superpowers, she decided. Because there was no way normal eyes could make you feel like you were melting. Nor could eyes look as though they were burning. Indeed, Arnav's faze was smoldering her into mere cinders.
"Tell me Khushi." His voice was a deep rumble, the most sensual noise she had ever heard. If she spoke now, she knew that she would sound like a very squeaky bird.
Arnav hadn't anticipated that Khushi would be so submissive under him. … Okay, that came out wrong. He hadn't anticipated that she would be so submissive under his gaze...and possibly him as well. She certainly hadn't complained in the shower...
Ever so slowly, Arnav bent his head down, noticing the way Khushi's pulse at the base of her neck seemed to flutter. His eyes traveled over the numerous red marks that he had left so proudly, and that same pride reared it's regal head. He had marked her...as his...forever.
Her pink lips quivered with anticipation. With a chuckle, Arnav moved closer to her, so that she was flat against the wall, and he was against her. Her eyes were closed, breathing slightly erratic. He angled his mouth right over hers.
Just as he had lowered his lips over hers, barely brushing them together, his Di's voice carried upstairs.
"Chote! Khushi! Come downstairs! I need to talk to you two."
For once, Anjali's voice was not as sweet as it should have sounded. To Arnav, it was the bane of his existence right now, his worst enemy.
Khushi slumped against the wall, feeling more exhausted than she should have been. Still, a rueful smile played on her face. Reaching out, she stroked Arnav's cheek and found it turning rather warm under her touch. Much to her amusement, Arnav was breathing in and out rather heavily, a murderous expression on his face. She wouldn't be surprised if he decided to punch the wall in frustration.
Actually, Khushi was right. Arnav did punch the wall in frustration. It hurt, but it was an excellent way for catharsis. He should do this every time his alone time with Khushi went awry. "Damn it!" He hissed venomously. With great effort, he pulled away from Khushi.
"One of these days." Arnav muttered. "One of these days we are going to settle this," He gestured to the space between them, "Once and for all." He gave Khushi a calculative look. "I hope that you'll be ready on that day." With that, he stormed downstairs, leaving a bemused but expectant Khushi in his wake.
She bounced down the stairs behind him after regaining her bearings, eagerly awaiting the fated day.
As they say, the wait is worth it.
What awaited them downstairs though, was definitely not worth the interruption by Di.
Arnav regretted not waiting for Khushi to come down with him as soon as he saw his jijaji's snake-like face smiling a false smile at them. He was marginally comforted that seconds after he had seen Shyam, Khushi's hand slipped through his.
"Jijaji." Arnav gave the man a rather tight greeting. If Shyam noticed the slight frostiness, he didn't comment upon it. If anything, the man looked a bit out of sorts himself. He nudged Khushi with his hip to convey a silent message. Her response was to grip his hand a bit tighter and move closer to him.
"Jiju. How nice to have you back." Khushi told the man in a semi-flat voice. She had read the reports that Atman had compiled. A case was slowly being made against these terrorists, and it seemed that everything was linked back to one name and one name only: Shyam Manohar Jha.
That fu***ng bas***d . It took everything she had to not race upstairs, grab her gun, and shoot the man where he stood just so she could wipe off that deceptively sweet smile. Somehow, this man had stayed under the radar for nearly a decade. He was good, she would give him that. By changing his name, becoming a lawyer, marrying rich, he had done everything to ensure that he would be legally and financially protected.
What the man hadn't foreseen was that one day, Arnav Singh Raizada would figure out that something was wrong, and essentially blackmail Khushi Rathod into marrying him to take Shyam down. No one except God could have foreseen that.
By God, she loved her husband sometimes.
Shyam sneaked closer to Khushi, a sympathetic look on his face. "Khushi-ji, Rani-Sahiba told me all about your accident. I'm so sorry! Are you alright?"
Khushi, though not as good an actor as Shyam, was an excellent undercover operative. She could lie incredibly well. Even Arnav was surprised at how real her smile looked. "I'm fine Jiju, it's just a bruise. I'll be back on my feet in a week or so." Khushi looked down, and hunched her shoulders over, pretending to be quite morose. "Actually, it's Atman-Bhaiyaa I'm worried about. Di must have told you about him."
Neither Khushi nor Arnav missed the clenching of Shyam's fists at Atman's name. But only Khushi saw the calculative gleam that entered Shyam's eyes. She tensed at that look, but quickly regained herself.
"I heard Khushi-ji. Is your subordinate alright?"
Khushi ground her teeth together at his fake pity. Enough was enough. She had to beat him at his own lying game. "Bhaiyaa...he's not that great. The doctor's aren't sure that he'll stay stable. He might not make it." Khushi pinched Arnav's hand so to make sure that he didn't say a word against her. Di had already gone back to the kitchen, so it was just her, Arnav, and Shyam left.
"Is that so?" Shyam asked with mild curiosity. Interesting. His contact hadn't told him that Kulkarni was near death. Well, this brightened things considerably. His lips twisted upwards ever so slightly.
Khushi just nodded at Shyam, not trusting her mouth to say anything. The man was smirking at her smirking! How dare he! Atman almost died because of him, and he was gloating about it?
Arnav was the only one who noticed Khushi's murderous stare. He was scared that Shyam may have seen this and quickly hid Khushi's face in his chest by hugging her tightly. He felt her struggle for just a moment before relaxing and tentatively hugging him back.
"Sorry jijaji. Khushi's been upset over Atman-Bhaiyaa for a long time now. I don't think she can talk about it any longer." Had he just said Atman-Bhaiyaa? Mentally, Arnav shook his head. Maybe Khushi was rubbing off of him too much. Or maybe, he had actually wanted to identify the man as his brother.
Shyam nodded his head in understanding. "I get it. He's precious to you, it's understandable." Arnav could have sworn that Shyam sent him a dark look. "Has Rani-Sahiba's health been alright? Nothing out of the ordinary?" Shyam seemed almost hopeful that something had gone wrong. The sick man.
"Nope." Khushi said in a chipper voice. "She's as fit as a fiddle."
"That's good." Shyam replied. We'll have to fix that soon. "Alright then, I'm very hungry. I'll see you two later."
Arnav glared at Shyam's retreating back. "I want to kill him." He spat.
"Get in line." Khushi said, cracking her knuckles. "Sometimes I just wish that I could say screw the rules and shoot that son of a bi**h dead. But we're nearly there Arnav, Shyam's going to be gone very soon." She looked into his eyes and saw desperation in them. Khushi wished that there was something she could do to get rid of it.
"I know Khushi." He sounded tired. "It's just...I wish that there was a more permanent way to get rid of him." Like death.
She snorted. "We'll see Arnav. He's a terrorist. He may get the death penalty for all you know." He better die.
Arnav looked at her strangely for a moment before staggering to the nearest pillar for support. Khushi, startled by his behavior, rushed to his side.
"Arnav! Nav! Kya hua? Did you not take your medication? Are you okay?" She frantically rubbed his brow, as if trying to get rid of any pain he may have there.
He looked at her a pained expression. It touched him to see her concern. Gently grabbing her hand, he kissed her fingertips. "No Khushi, I'm not fine. He's a terrorist." The last part was uttered softly. "A bloody terrorist is living under my roof. How can I be okay?"
It was like she had been splashed with a wave of cold water. This was a brutal epiphany. Shyam was a terrorist, someone who wouldn't stop until his ultimate goal had been achieved. Worst of all, he was a domestic terrorist, someone who commits crimes against his own country. Khushi fought back the bile that rose in her throat.
A person like that was living in her breathing space, he was the father of Anjali's unborn child. Why God! Why had misfortune been cast upon the Raizada House? How had the Raizadas angered the being above?
"I'm sorry Arnav." Khushi whispered miserably. "I wish that I could do something to at least get him out of the house..." She trailed off, a scheming glint in her eye. Arnav usually didn't like that look, but today, he loved it. "He'll be out of here by nightfall, Arnav. Trust me." Khushi said confidently.
And he did.
Arnav, most unfortunately, was needed in his office. Anjali had gone out with Nani for shopping. Shyam was God knows where doing God knows what. Khushi had no desire to watch afternoon Soap Operas with Mami.
Now would be the perfect time to visit Atman.
The man himself was awake and functional to a degree. He was currently reading a magazine when he saw Khushi enter the room, a large smile on her face.
"Khushi!" Atman exclaimed joyously. "Sit down, kiddo!"
Khushi mock-pouted, but was very glad that Atman was able to talk properly and remember who she was. There didn't seem to be any cognitive anomalies with him. It was safe to say that his hippocampus was not damaged.
The smile vanished from Khushi's face as she took in the vast amount of bandages on his stomach and leg. She could see some cuts on his face. It reminded her how close she was to losing him.
"Dada." Khushi began. Atman's gaze snapped to her. She had called him Dada, not Bhaiyaa, he noted shrewdly. "Do you know who did this?"
He had expected this from her. They might not be related by blood, but he knew that look in her eyes. She had taken it from him while learning the art of interrogation. It was interesting to see how she would use what he had taught her against him.
"If I say I do, what will you do?" He asked seriously.
Khushi took in his battered form for just a moment before answering him. "Destroy them." There was only conviction in her voice.
A vindictive smile lit his face. "Well then, listen." He made himself comfortable, as he knew that this was going to be a long tale.
Shyam groaned for what seemed like the millionth time. Hussein Ahmed could do nothing right it seemed. The plan to re-kill Atman Kulkarni was backfiring. Shyam thought that Khushi was telling him the truth and that Atman was near death. That's why he thought that the hospital had tightened security. CBI agents along with Commander Raizada herself were patrolling the corridors. The CBI had no doubt been alerted that the plot to kill Agent Kulkarni was done by an independent terrorists organization. They were not going to let one of their top agents die.
The guards were all checking ID and Shyam knew that they had an eye out on him and Ahmed. This meant that Khushi would have some inkling as to what was going on as well. If worst comes to worst, he could always pin the blame on Ahmed. Khushi usually believed anything he said. Just because he was under suspicion didn't mean that she was going to go all "James Bond" on him and take him down when he wasn't looking.
Plan B was to sneak one of their men into Atman's room disguised as a male nurse and replace his IV with a poisonous fluid.
Plan B wasn't going so well.
Still, they had another day before Atman was removed from the hospital. They would think of something in that time.
"I'm waiting Bhaiyaa." Khushi tapped her foot against the ground.
The man in front of her glared for a moment before clearing his throat. "Story telling is an art, dearest sister. It must be cultivated in the mind and -"
"Tell the story or you'll be cultivating something in a part of your body other than that bulbous brain of yours." Khushi growled menacingly.
Atman sighed melodramatically. Oh Khushi. He loved the kid to death, but she was just so impatient sometimes. He pitied the fool who would have to live with her for the rest of his life. In other words: Raizada.
"Alright, don't get your panties in a bunch kiddo. This is what happened. A couple weeks ago, we got an anonymous tip that an arms deal was going to go down. Now, we weren't sure when, but it was going to happen. That's why we put Khan undercover. These people would trust a Muslim more than a Hindu, especially a Muslim who was willing to betray the country in which he was born in.
Khushi nodded, still remembering the reservations she had about sending Khan in. That man was more patriotic than Bhagat Singh and Subash Chandra Bose...combined. She wondered how much of a toll it had taken on the poor man.
"But before this, for the past month, I've been investigating the Islamic Brotherhood, a fundamentalist militant organization that raises money for the Middle East through the dealing of illegal weapons. They're considered a potential threat."
Khushi furrowed her eyebrows. "But how does Shyam factor into this?"
Atman wearily rubbed his eyes, wincing in the process. "That's something I wasn't quite sure of either. Until you married Raizada, I wasn't sure what I was looking for. But after you asked me to run that background on Shyam, I started seeing a couple over-lapses that I didn't like."
She sat up a bit straighter. "Like what? Your reports didn't say much."
"They weren't supposed to...you know, in case they got into the wrong hands. Shyam's firm that he was working for went under for a reason."
Khushi's mind worked furiously at Atman's words. Could he be implying what he was? "The firm's owner..."
Atman had a grim look on his face. "Dead. He was a known accomplice to the Brotherhood. His own guys took him out."
"And by his own guys you mean..."
"Actually, it's not Shyam, but one of the men he works with."
Khushi stared at him in disbelief. "So that entire firm was run by a terrorist who in turn was taken out by terrorists?"
He nodded, amusement on his face. "Shyam must have gotten involved somehow, and that's why, even though the firm's gone, he still receives money."
"Thirty lakhs a month." Khushi muttered. "And now we know how and why." She sighed and looked back at Atman. "So when can we arrest him?"
"Well," Atman scratched his chin. "Soon. I mean, we can get him on being an accomplice to murder. And we have photos that place him outside of the building we found the C-4 in. Plus with Ahmed's fingerprint, we can label him as an accomplice to that as well. Let's not forget the forging of those documents that he gave to Raizada to sign. But in reality, him being the lawyer and snarky git that he is, I'm sure that most of those accusations can be dismissed. Except for the documents, he can get off scot-free."
"That's what I don't want." Khushi groaned. "We can't even prove that he's part of this Islamic group, or that he helped to almost kill you."
"Can we not talk about that?" Atman pouted. "I don't want to relive my almost death."
She grinned at his childish expression. "Honestly Bhai, old men like you shouldn't pout. It's just wrong."
Atman looked genuinely offended. "Old man! And me? I'm in the prime of my youth!" He puffed his chest out proudly.
"Then go enjoy this prime of your youth. You need a girlfriend Bhaiyaa." Khushi laughed, her eyes filled with mirth.
Atman's grin widened. At the mention of a girlfriend, one face came to mind. The same face that he had seen a couple days ago. "Oye, Jalebi."
Khushi grimaced at her nickname. "What?"
"Who was that woman at the hospital. You know, the one in the Sari." Atman knew that Khushi was going to tease him about this forever judging by the glint in her eyes.
"I don't know Bhaiyaa, there were three women in Saris who hovered over my hospital bed."
"The youngest one Khushi, who was she?" Atman sighed in exasperation.
Yes! Khushi's mind exclaimed. Once Shyam is gone, maybe Di would need someone to support her and the baby, and who better to support her than my own brother? "Oh, you mean Di?"
Atman paled...rapidly. "That woman is Shyam's wife?" He growled angrily. "What the f-!"
Khushi cut him off before he cursed. "I know Bhaiyaa, trust me. But why ask? I mean...are you interested?"
The blush on his face negated the shaking of his head. "Nope...not at all. Just asking."
"Right. I totally believe you." The sarcasm was not masked in her voice.
"Rehne do!" Atman tried changing the subject. "SO! How's everything with you?"
Khushi just shook her head and started talking, already planning out how to set up her brother with her sister-in-law.
Arnav had found work to be very distracting when thoughts of Khushi plagued his mind. The second he had entered his office, he swore he could smell her there. The faint scent of roses permeated the room. Then he realized that someone had kept a bouquet of roses on his desk.
At lunch time, he was half expecting her to burst through the doors with food, demanding that he sit and eat. A voice that sounded eerily like Khushi had convinced him that he needed to eat. Akaash had certainly been surprised when Arnav had joined him and Payal to eat. Usually, Arnav kept to himself or forgot to eat.
When Lavanya had come into his office to take notes on a report, he was repulsed by the excess of perfume that she wore. He preferred Khushi's subtle scent. In fact, he couldn't wait to go home and smell his intoxicating wife.
That was when he had decided that he was going mental. No sane person had the urge to smell someone else.
He had tried calling Khushi a couple times, but the phone had gone to voicemail. Finally, after calling Shantivan, he was told that Khushi was spending the day in the hospital with Atman.
Arnav couldn't help the tinge of jealousy that ran through him, not because Khushi was spending time with Atman, but because Atman knew Khushi on a level that Arnav never could reach. Khushi trusted him, but not implicitly. He had seen the shadow of darkness when she had mentioned her days as a junior agent. She still hadn't told him anything about that, and probably wouldn't unless he wrenched it out of her.
Arnav ran a hand through his hair and glanced out the window. Khushi was still at the hospital, it was time for him to go home. Maybe he would pay a visit to his psuedo-brother-in-law and pick up his wife in the process...
The first thing that Arnav noticed as he neared Atman's room was laughter. Deep male laughter. So it seemed that Atman was well enough to talk and laugh. He heard Khushi's voice drift out of the hall and into his eardrums. A smile unwittingly made itself onto his face, scaring some of the staff who knew who he was. It was rumored that Arnav Singh Raizada never smiled, so why was he doing the aforementioned action right now when no one was around.
He entered the room, wrinkling his nose as the typical 'hospital smell' hit it. The two of them didn't notice him, which he found quite amusing. What if he was an enemy? What then? But of course, Atman caught his eye mere seconds later and stopped talking.
"Well well well. Hello Raizada."
Khushi turned around, giving her husband a startled look. "How long have you been there?"
He walked up to Atman's bed. "Not long, I just got here." Arnav shook hands with Atman and took a seat next to Khushi.
"Are you alright, Agent Kulkarni?" Arnav asked seriously. He wouldn't admit it, but seeing the man who had pointed a gun at him without fearing the reprecussions so weak was unnerving.
Atman let out a chuckle. "Come now, Raizada. I think we've reached the point where you can call me Atman. You are after all, the husband of the woman I consider my sister."
Arnav's lips twitched slightly. "Alright then Atman, I expect that you call me Arnav as well. Calling me by my last name is rather...i dunno...Mafia like."
Atman gave the younger man a salute. "Alright then, Arnav, you have yourself a deal."
The two men sized each other up while Khushi watched in exasperation. Men. Idiots...all of them.
"Khushi." Atman said suddenly, not looking at her.
"Would you mind giving me and Arnav here ten minutes? I want to talk to my new brother about some things."
Khushi looked between the two, slightly confused. But she shrugged and walked out, leaving the two males alone.
Arnav recoiled ever so slightly under Atman's scrutiny. He had no idea as to why the older man wanted to talk to him, but perhaps is had to do with everything that had happened over the past couple days...the past month.
"You must be wondering Arnav, as to why I asked Khushi to leave?" Atman inquired seemingly innocently. But Arnav knew better. Khushi had used this same tone countless times. Now he knew where she learned it all from.
"I am curious, yes." Arnav admitted, trying to be cautious around Atman.
It was then that the man's gray eyes turned cold as he sent Arnav a glare that could freeze both Heaven and Hell. When he spoke, his voice was a dark growl. "Why the hell did you marry my sister?"
Arnav refused to submit under the man's icy stare, but he knew that he couldn't lie as well. "What did Khushi tell you about our marriage?"
Atman noted that Arnav wasn't dodging his question, but he wasn't answering it either. "She told me absolutely nothing. I was there when you two married in the Municipal Office. It didn't seem as though you two were in love."
Arnav sighed resignedly and leaned back in his chair. "I married her because I needed her help." He winced at Atman's mirthless laugh.
"If I could stand, you would be a dead man. You married her because you needed her help? Do you understand that you tied a woman down to you because YOU NEEDED HER HELP!" Atman's voice had risen because of his understandable anger, yet his heart rate monitor was showing a steady pace.
"Look." Arnav ground out. "I'm surprised Khushi didn't tell you the real reason we got married so let me. Khushi and I...we've known each other for all of our lives. She was the only one who could help me with Shyam and save my Di." It wasn't an adequate excuse, but it would have to do.
Atman was silent for a moment before a sneer that would make Severus Snape jealous appeared on his face. "Shyam? As in your jijaji, the man who probably tried to kill me? You didn't give my sister a choice did you, Raizada?"
The anger that Arnav had kept quiet in him till now was threatening to show itself. "What the hell do you know? I asked her to marry me for our DI's sake! Not for me, not for anything else. She's the only one who could protect Anjali! I saw her a month ago for the first time after seven months. When she came over my house, she immediately discovered that there was a poisonous chemical in my sister's drinking water!"
Arnav missed the slight glint in Atman's eyes.
"And that makes you want to marry her? You could have asked us to investigate, hired a Private Investigator...but what do you do? You go off and marry her!" Atman retorted. "This isn't any girl we're talking about. This is Khushi Rathod, Commander Raizada."
"Exactly!" Arnav stood up so quickly, his chair clattered to the ground. "She's Commander Raizada, Khushi Singh Raizada, my wife! Don't you think, that if she didn't know what she was getting into, she wouldn't have done it? Khushi never goes into anything without thinking it over fifteen times. If she didn't think marrying me was a good idea, then she wouldn't have bloody done it!" Arnav was failing to keep his voice down and his hands from strangling the already injured man.
Atman had to turn his head to hide the smirk on his face. It took a couple moments before he could regain his composure and speak again. "Tell me this Raizada. Why did you, the man who never believes in marriage...don't give me that look, your views on marriage have been made perfectly clear in the multitudes of magazines you've been in. But tell me, why did you make her marry you, why not let her pretend to be your...oh, I don't know...girlfriend and ask her to stay with you in your house."
Arnav clenched his teeth. "Because she's Khushi. I can't make her do that. First of all, she's not comfortable with that stuff, and second, if our families even agreed to that, which they won't, the next logical step to them would be to get us married."
Atman tapped his chin thoughtfully, nearing the end of this elaborate plan he had concocted. "So, your families wanted you to get married anyway, and you did what they wanted but in your own Raizada manor." He shot Arnav a withering look. "Let's not forget that you lied to your family again and married in front of them...again. Now usually, men like us think getting married once is bad enough, but you actually did it twice. Why?"
Arnav noticed how Atman's previous anger had lessened and figured that the man had calmed down. "It wouldn't be fare to Khushi otherwise. She's always wanted this huge wedding, you know, with pomp and circumstance. And I...I dashed those hopes. This was my way of making it up to her. Sure, our second wedding had no sangeet, or mehndi, or haldi, or whatever other crap weddings have, but we got married in the eyes of her God in front of the people who we love."
Atman sat up straighter in his hospital bed, wincing ever so slightly. "Did you sleep with her?" There was no trace of amusement in the older man's voice.
"WHAT?" Arnav snapped, his eyes flashing dangerously.
"You heard me. Did. You. Sleep. With. Her." Atman replied coldly.
"She's my wife." Arnav growled.
"In name only." Atman scowled, bracing himself for Raizada's reaction.
It seemed as though all the air in the room was sucked out at those words. Arnav's eyes narrowed to mere slits as he stared at Atman. "In name only?" The words came out viciously. "Khushi is my wife. My better half. You...you dare insinuate that I've been taking advantage of her? I would never do anything with her until she wasn't ready!"
"I'll take that as a no then." Atman deadpanned, inwardly pleased by Arnav's response. There was just one more thing to do now.
"Good, so when you divorce her at the end of all of this, her virtue will still be intact and she can go marry the person she loves, not the person who she's in a 'contract marriage' with."
"THAT'S ENOUGH!" Mount Arnav had officially erupted. Like hell Khushi would leave him after Shyam was gone. They had already decided not to! "My wife won't go anywhere! She's mine, and mine only! No one will take her away from me!" Arnav was breathing heavily, sweat gathering on his brow. It was a miracle no one had come into this room yet.
"And why is that?" Atman asked patiently, not fazed by Arnav's rage towards him.
The emotions that he had suppressed finally came bubbling over in Arnav's next statement.
"BECAUSE I LOVE HER DAMN IT!" Arnav's cry echoed through the silent room.
For a moment, all was still. Atman had a smug look on his face, while Arnav was too in shock from his own confession to say anything.
Atman looked down at the crumpled figure of Arnav Singh Raizada who was currently sitting on a hospital floor, looking like he had come out of a war zone.
"Well, that's good to know. I'm glad that my sister has you in her life." Atman said airily, trying his hardest not to laugh.
"I love her?" Arnav asked Atman quite childishly. His eyes were that of a kid who had suddenly discovered where all the candy in the house was hidden.
"Yes." Atman said gravely. "I'm afraid you do."
Arnav stood shakily, still not quite comprehending what had happened. I love her. I love KHUSHI. I love my wife. I love the woman who married me? I love the girl who invaded my life since I was two? I love the girl who took me to eat gol gappas at two in the morning? I love the woman who I have pillow fights with, who I get into the shower naked with, who I kiss?
Those last ones should have been clear indications that he loves her.
Dhak dhak. Dhak dhak. Dhak dhak dhak dhak dhak dhak dhak dhak. Was that his heart pounding so fast?
Atman grinned widely at Arnav's lost expression. Ah, young love. So sweet. So innocent. So much like a Yash Raj film.
The man who was currently contemplating his thoughts of love suddenly straightened his tie and brushed off invisible dust off of his suit jacket. "Right." His voice was quite high pitched. "Well then. I'll be off. Nice chat we had. Bye."
Atman couldn't help but say one last thing just as Arnav was about to leave. "She loves you too you know!"
He didn't even try to hide the laughter that burst out of him when the younger man stumbled into the door and gave him a petrified look.
just leaned back onto his bed and stared at the ceiling. See
that Cupid, that's how you unite two people who are DESTINED for each
Somewhere in Shantivan, Mama sneezed. He looked around the room a couple times before shrugging. For some reason though, it seemed as though he had forgotten to do something very important...like remember his promise to his sister that he would play Cupid to Arnav and Khushi...
Khushi sat in the cafeteria, a satisfied smirk on her face. She had just got off the phone with the Shyam's ex-law firm's sister company. Any minute now, Shyam would be receiving a call saying that he was urgently needed in Mumbai for consultation purposes, and that a plane ticket was waiting for him at the airport. Not only would Shyam be out of the Raizada house, but he would be doing legitimate work as well rather than whatever else he did. She couldn't wait to tell Arnav the good news.
Speaking of her husband, he had just entered the cafeteria. Khushi frowned at the disoriented look on his face as he made his way to her. What had Atman said to him that had his boxers in a twist.
Khushi stood up, placing a hand on his shoulders. "Arnav, are you alright?"
He looked up, startled by her touch and voice. To her, his eyes which had previously been clouded over, cleared and focused on her. Without another word, Arnav took hold of her hand and dragged her into the hall.
"Arnav, what -" Khushi was cut off by one lean finger that was placed on her lips. She glanced up at him, confused by his action.
"Shh Khushi." His voice sounded hoarse to his own ears. Arnav still couldn't believe what he had said to Atman. He loved Khushi, the woman who was standing before him right now. He loved her. The man who had sworn that he would never love had broken his own oath. He hadn't forgotten what Atman had said to him. She loved him too. But how? When? Where? Why? Did Khushi actually love him? The mind that had been cultivated at Harvard didn't have an answer to something as simple as love.
After checking that no one was in the hall, Arnav took her into the nearest bathroom and locked the door. Khushi was seriously frightened. What was going on with him, why had he taken her into the men's bathroom?
"Did Atman say something Arnav?" That was the only explanation for Arnav's behavior.
Did he do something? Arnav thought to himself, looking into Khushi's eyes. Yes, he bloody did something. He made me realize something incredibly important.
"Arnav! Answer me." Khushi shook his shoulders. But he kept on staring at her with an odd expression. It was a cross between longing and wonder.
Without another word, he wrapped his arms around her waist and twirled her around until her back was against a stall. Arnav reveled in her stunned expression. He leaned in and brushed his lips against her forehead, a simple, loving kiss.
She melted at the tender action and placed her arms around his neck, pulling herself closer to him. "Hey," Khushi whispered in his ear. "Tell me what's wrong." She moved her arms down to his waist, resting her head against the hard planes of his chest.
"Nothing's wrong Khushi." She felt his chest vibrate as he spoke. "Everything's fine."
He pushed back some of the hair that had fallen onto her face and tucked it behind her ear. Her wide eyes made him chuckle. She was so strong, yet so soft as well. Firm yet pliant. His. It was like he was looking at her through new eyes. Khushi seemed radiant to him, exuding a golden hue.
"I'm not so sure everything's fine Arnav. There has to be a reason as to why you've locked us inside of a bathroom." Khushi said, biting back a laugh.
At her tone, Arnav had to smile a bit. "Alright, I guess everything's not alright." His smile faded as he pushed Khushi away, his heart twinging at the flash of hurt that flitted across her face. He took a deep breath.
"I've wronged you in this marriage Khushi." Arnav stated somberly.
For a second, Khushi's heart stuttered. What was he saying? "I...I don't understand."
Arnav paced the length of the bathroom, thinking of what he could say. "I married you for selfish purposes. I convinced you to stay married to me. I manipulated you." He dropped his head down. "Can you forgive me?"
She nearly laughed at his hopeful tone. "When there's nothing to forgive, how can I forgive you? Yes, I was mad at our previous arrangements where I would live after Shyam was gone, but you and I both know that it's not possible for me to let you go."
Khushi would have spoken more, but Arnav interjected. "It's not possible for me to let you go either Khushi." He whispered. "And it's not just because our families wouldn't let us."
Arnav took two steps towards her, noting that she did nothing to move away. Her mouth was open, she was gaping at him and didn't seem to realize it.
"Khushi, I have wronged you. Don't deny it. You've been hurt by me through this marriage no matter what you say. I can see it on your face. So I'm going to ask you a very serious question." His shoulders shuddered at the thought of her saying no to his question.
"Do you really want to stay married to me for the rest of our lives?"
Khushi couldn't stop the tears that came to her eyes. "How can you even ask me that question Arnav? Of course I do?" She choked slightly on her words. She clenched her hands in his shirt and pulled him forward so there was barely any distance between them. Her fury was fanned by the smirk on Arnav's face.
Who did he think he was? Was he going to leave her after everything that had happened between them?
He wrapped his arms tightly around her before sinking to his knees in front of her, not caring that he was in a bathroom. His head was level with her navel, her hands in his hair.
"Good. Because I really want to stay married to you for the rest of our lives." Arnav pushed up the material of her shirt and placed a kiss on the unbandaged portion of her stomach causing her to clutch his hair tighter.
He looked up at her, eyes glinting with determination.
"Do you want to know why, Khushi?" Arnav stood once again. He kissed one cheek, smiling as heat rose into it. "Do you Khushi?" He kissed the other cheek, sneaking his tongue out to lick her as well. She recoiled in shock.
Grasping her face in both of his hands, he lowered his mouth closer to hers. "Even if you don't want to know, I'll tell you anyway." He placed a gentle kiss on her lips, pulling away far too quickly. When he looked at her again, he saw how her pupils were dilated and her breathing had quickened. Now would be the perfect time to say what he had wanted to tell her for twenty-five years.
"I want to stay married to my pagal wife. I want to cherish her body. I want her to have my children. I want her to grow old with me. I want her to pamper my grandchildren. Do you know why?"
His voice was the only thing that registered to her. Khushi was away in another land at this point. She could hear herself say 'no', and awaited his answer with trepidation.
Their eyes met, and an unspoken answer went through them causing Khushi to gasp and Arnav to nod. He knew that she knew what he wanted to tell her.
"That's right. I want to stay married to you because I love you. I, Arnav Singh Raizada, love you, Khushi Singh Raizada. And damn it! I'll keep on loving you until the day that I die!"
With that confession made, Arnav Singh Raizada bent down and properly kissed his already dazed wife senseless.
Ha! How was that? Honestly, this drama that's going on in the show has gotten my panties in a twist, and therefore I had to write Arnav's confession in this chapter. My conscience wouldn't let me do anything else.
Hope you enjoyed it! Like/Comment and Buddy me for a PM
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