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~ "It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures."
' Ally Condie ~
Shyam was still quite shaken when he woke up on the chair he had been sitting on the night before, still not able to comprehend much. Her face kept on flashing across his mind, those large bright hazel eyes, and yet there was something different in them. No it couldn't be her, it couldn't be! That would not be possible, or would it? He could feel it, his fate, it was beginning to play another wild game with him, but he wouldn't let it. No he wouldn't! Shyam Manohar Jha always beat his fate, he had lost only once and that wouldn't happen again. Rubbing his fingers through his eyes and stretching slightly he got off of the chair and walked out, grabbing his towel he entered his bathroom then suddenly stopped. That was it! He'd go through the security footage, find out who she had come in with.
Arnav finally sat himself down in a couch at the far side of his room, Shyam Manohar Jha, he thought to himself smirking lightly, you had to give it to him, he did treat his so called gangsters well. He thumbed his phone for a while, re-considering this dilemma that he was now facing. He had never felt this way before, she seemed to have captured his whole mind and soul, all he could see were those mesmerising eyes. "Stop it!" He muttered under his breath, wasn't she part of the enemy? Yes she was, so he had to stop before something worse could happen. Exhaling loudly he finally brought his phone to life then dialled Aman's number.
"Chuck?" He used Aman's codename as he was still inside, "what have you got?"
"I've got the list you asked for and I had to dig through a whole pile of shit to find the real identities of some of these pricks," he chuckled.
Arnav rolled his eyes, it all seemed to be amusing for Aman.
"And that's it sent there so go through it and see, I've attached ID cards with them so you know what they look like," he added in.
"That's great! Thanks. We need a meet up today so connect Dave," Arnav stated then, his mind working through a number of different plans.
"And that's Dave on," Aman said as a beeping sound entered the connection.
"What's up dudes?!" NK's jovial voice could be heard instantly, "I'm so bored man! This shithole has nothing to do, nothing to eat," he started off.
"Dave shut the f**k up please will you!" Arnav growled cutting him off before he could begin yet another one of his rants.
"Alright alright Hawk, no need to have a bitch fit. I was just saying," NK moaned back as Aman laughed in the background. Arnav sighed heavily, not in the mood for any of NK's banter.
"Right so here's the plan, Tutankhamun? In the middle plus 1?" He spoke in code, one recognised only by Aman and NK, all of the code words obviously invented by NK and his oh so genius mind. Tutankhamun was the centre from which Aman worked, hidden in the basement of Arnav's house. And "the middle" was always mid-day, they would always add or take away a number to get to the desired time from there.
"Done boss!" Aman stated smiling to himself as he entered the date into the log.
"Seriously Chuck?" Arnav questioned then, annoyed, raising an eyebrow as he fingered through a file in front of him.
"Oh oops sorry dude! Just slipped my tongue," he apologised making a face to himself.
"What guys? What's happening?" NK questioned confused, scrunching his brows together.
"Nothing nothing, Dave I want you to work with Chuck and find out anything else that we might have missed. We've got an outside job to do today," he added, just in case one of Shyam's men were listening then cut the call off. As they were hired from outside, they weren't bound to a contract with Shyam and therefore were allowed to conduct outside contracts. This gave them leeway and allowed them to meet up and discuss strategies outside of the lodgings, which would work well for the team.
He reached over and opened his laptop, entered his secure masked log-in and clicked open the file that Aman had sent. His fingers already sliding the screen down to an already familiar face. He couldn't seem to escape her no matter how much he tried. Maybe just maybe he could dig in to this a little bit more, find out at least a little about her.
"KHUSHIII!!" Payal screamed as she ran after Khushi, her feet against the pavement kicking up tiny floats of dust. "KHUSHI!" She shouted again her hand outstretched as she tried to catch Khushi before it drove off. "Urgh Khushi!" She exclaimed in exasperation, she had reached too late, the rickshaw had left. Payal bent down, resting her hands on her knees, catching her breath. Khushi hadn't even had breakfast in the morning and she'd forgotten the address of the place where she had a job interview. Something was wrong, Khushi had been too distant in the morning, her eyes missing that tiny little twinkle and Payal was sure it would be something to do with incident the night before. Aakash had promised that his life would not touch any of her family members and yet here she was, it was true, you could only ever run from the truth for so long.
He was taking a detour, through the busy streets of Delhi, Arnav could easily mingle in with the crowd then head off in the direction of his car and drive to his house without being noticed by anyone who could potentially be following him, although he was sure no one was today. Having worked in the field for several years now his research on Shyam Manohar Jha was extensive, so much so that he probably knew the man more than the man himself. He scrunched his brows together as he pushed through two men, keeping his head low and thought through the events of the night before. Shyam's actions were unusual, why did there seem to be no investigation into how the event had transpired, being a man that masked everything under glamour why did there seem to be such an absence of revenge from his end towards the people who had dared to ruin his night. Arnav's thoughts were a mess, a complete muddle and he didn't seem to be in a position to think straight. He'd need to go home and go over the footage tapes one more time. This time not allow her image to cloud his mind and thoughts completely. He felt himself stop then suddenly, it surprised him, the extent to which he could recognise her features, it was as if she, the person resided inside him. He began shoving people out of the way suddenly, "move! MOVE! GET OUT OF MY WAY!" He shouted as he grabbed a mans shoulder and pushed him out of the way, his eyes trained on the profile of the girl slowly walking towards a speeding car, her movements almost slug-like, as if she was sleepwalking, her eyes distant, those haunting hazel orbs. "GET OUT!" He screamed like a demented man, his arm out-stretched towards her, he skidded to a halt on the final few steps, letting his fingers dig into the soft skin of her arm as he grabbed and pulled her back, letting her body knock off of his as her eyes widened and she began to stare at him for a few seconds, her large dove-like yes unblinking. He felt anger flare through him, take over his whole being, his fingers tightened around her arm as his other hand dug into her other shoulder, his nostrils flaring as he stared at her unable to comprehend what she had been about to do.
She came back to her senses then, gasping as she realised who the man was that was holding on to her and she took a slight step back and scrunched her eye shut, wincing back in pain from his vice like grip on her shoulder.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" He exclaimed through gritted teeth, pulling her towards him and shaking her fragile body, "can't you watch where the hell you are going?! What if you had got run over?!" He screamed, his hot breath on her face as she continued to stare at him in complete utter disbelief, unable to form words.
What had just happened? The only thing to make her feel that this was reality was the painful grip he had on her.
He watched her for a few seconds as she refused to respond, those hazel orbs that evaded his dreams now boring into him, confused, surprised? He almost couldn't place it. He looked around then, a crowd had gathered, his eyes rounded then the pointed fingers made him look down and he instantly took a step back, his fingers on her skin loosening. "I'm sorry," he mumbled but she wouldn't respond. "Hello?" He tried then, waving a hand in front of her face. "Are you okay?" He questioned, his voice slightly more gentle, "are you okay?" He asked again, placing his palm on her cheek when her eyes widened and she snapped out of the sort of trance she'd fallen into.
"Hun?" She mumbled then noticing his palm against her skin, the warmth of it scorching through her, she threw it back, taking a step away from him.
He looked down then, not quite sure what had compelled him to do what he had done. Dropping his gaze to the ground he spun around suddenly, shocking her even more and began to walk away, his actions having left him stunned.
Khushi let her eyes wander around for a few seconds, all that had happened coming to her a bit too late; his anger, his grip, his blazing caramel orbs and finally his perfectly erect body, the back of him, walking away and she started running behind him, her feet moving forward of their own accord. "Stop! Stop!" She started screaming, her arm outstretched to reach him as he came to an abrupt halt. She placed her hand on his shoulder as he stilled beneath her touch, not daring to look back round. "I'm... I'm sorry," she mumbled, attempting to turn him around. "I just got ... I mean... I," she attempted, not really able to find the right thing to say, her mind too frazzled by the weird turn her life was suddenly taking. "I mean..."
"I don't care!" He cut her off sourly, turning back around rapidly to hold her by the shoulders once more as she stared back at him completely shocked, confused, almost frightened of the anger he seemed to be capable of. "I don't f**king care about whatever the hell was going on your mind!" He continued to shout. "You know what? If you can't walk out on the road like a normal person then you should just stay at home!" He screamed, viscously shaking her.
She stared at him dumbfounded for a moment, his furious behaviour making the hairs on her body stand on edge. She opened her mouth to speak but she didn't know what to say. She had apologised hasn't she? He didn't need to be so rude. She'd wanted to know his name, get some insight into the mystery around him but she wasn't too sure anymore. He felt like yet another one of the men Aakash seemed to hang out with, obviously with a bit more decency, but these days who could tell.
He watched her confused expression, those large hazel spheres doing nothing to calm his mind. They seemed distant as she thought through something but he had to stop himself. He had already gone too far! He had a job to do, responsibilities, what was wrong with him. He let go of her shoulders then, pushing her away from him and just as her eyes met his again he dropped his gaze to the floor and turning back around stormed off without so much as a backward glance.
Payal was beginning to become extremely worried for her younger sister, she seemed to have shut herself off in a shell. She was too distant, she watched her from a corner of the room then quietly walked out not really sure she could face yet another outburst.
"Maybe we should send her back to Lucknow for a bit," Garima interrupted Payal's thought process, breaking her out of the worry that seemed to engulf her. "You know maybe she's just down because none of the jobs have been working out for her lately," Garima attempted a smile whilst she watched Khushi, the concern evident in her face. "Don't you think bitiya?" Garima asked turning towards Payal as Payal quickly recovered herself and nodded back. She knew the exact reason for Khushi's distance but maybe Lucknow would help she thought to herself.
"Yes Amma I think that would be a good idea," she stated in agreement.
"Chuck, switchboard please," he spoke pressing the little bluetooth in his ear, requesting Aman to change the camera screen to one of him just sitting and walking around in the room idly. During the meeting they had managed to hack into the camera footage of all of the rooms and recording the ones of Arnav in the room previously they had decided on using that to mask any of his activities, especially what he was about to do at this moment. He needed to know what was hatching in Shyam's mind, something was off and he had to get to the bottom of it.
"Done," Aman replied as he clicked through several screens, entered codes and finally changed the camera shots, that victorious Aman smile of his firmly planted on his face.
"Thanks," Arnav smiled, a glint in his eyes then cut off the connection. There was a vent at the far end of the room, he grabbed a pouch of tools that were stuck under the bed, and climbed onto the chair. Unscrewing the vent door open he placed his fingertips on the edge of the vent and hoisted himself up, the muscles of his arms tensing as he crawled into the space. He clicked on the bluetooth, this time to NK. "NK I need you to stay in touch with Aman, make sure no one approaches my room and if they do head as back up."
"Got it," NK quickly replied.
"I should be about 20 minutes," with that he cut off the connection, crawling his way through the narrow vent. He would have to hurry, the oxygen in the narrow space didn't seem to be adequate. He turned the bluetooth on again, connecting to Aman, "Aman I need directions, left or right," Aman nodded, tracing the red dot indicating Arnav's position on his screen, "take a right Arnav," he guided him as Arnav squeezed and slid to the right, the damp air make him feel almost claustrophobic. The metal surface was cold against his skin and he could feel nails and shards of metal scratch over the surface of his skin, possibly creating marks but he kept going, his mind too busy working through the plan at hand. He took a pen torch out of his pocket, shining it through the dark interior of the vent, "right or left?" He asked again.
"Left," came back Aman's instruction.
"Here?" Arnav questioned.
"Yep there," came Aman's final direction.
"Right stay with me till I get this done." Arnav unscrewed the vent below him open and gently lowered himself into the basement space then bringing his gun out of the back of his pants moved behind a wall. "How many men?" He whispered into the earpiece.
"Can I get through without harming them?"
"They are on some sort of tea break, stupid f**ks. I mean seriously? Tea break? What a waste of f**king space," Aman began to ramble on suddenly, his disgust for the men clear.
"Aman focus please," Arnav warned, sighing loudly.
"Yes Arnav sorry man," he apologised, getting back to the work at hand and scrolled through the rest of the cameras. "No one else is approaching so I'll crack one of the normal cameras and distract them. You should be able to get a clear shot of jags," he stated, already entering a code to blank out a screen.
"Okay, on three," Arnav took out the little tranquilliser gun from his pocket, turning it on and ebbing to the edge of the wall aimed it at one of the men.
"Go!" Aman instructed just as one of the camera screens went blank and the two men quickly jumped up, one of them began to press at keys as the other moved the screen about. Arnav aimed just on que and fired, letting the jag pierce into the thigh of one man. He groaned in pain and rubbed at his skin then fell to the floor with a thud. The other man turned around just then to watch his colleague fall but Arnav was too quick, he fired another which hit the other man on the arm, his eyes rounded but just as quickly he too fell to the ground.
Arnav ran then quickly, keeping track of the time ticking away.
"Just plug in the USB and I'll take care of the rest," Aman instructed as Arnav turned the socket compartment around and taking out a USB stick from his pocket stuck into the side just as a downloading bar appeared on the screen.
"25 seconds... Right done!"
Arnav put on his hoodie, drops of water falling onto his back from his still wet hair, he took a deep breath in as he sat himself down on the bed. Things didn't seem to be as fast as he had planned, he couldn't see himself shooting unknown men for a terrorist, he'd have to make sure that the pace increased. He closed his eyes and laid back on the bed when her eyes flashed through his mind suddenly, hazel orbs, then that beautiful tinkling voice. He pinched the space between his eyebrows with his fingers as he slowly opened his eyes back up. Why couldn't he escape her, she reminded him so much of her. He sat up then, unable to take the pressure of memories, he couldn't go back there, to happier times, they weren't a part of him anymore. Reaching under his bed he pulled out his black bag and unzipping it sent his hand to the depths of it, until he arrived upon the frame wrapped in cloth, he pulled it out. It was still wrapped in a tiny scarf, the only memory he had of her. He unwrapped it slowly, taking care not to put pressure on even a single thread, opening it out to a small frame, silver with small ridges cut into it and let his eyes fall onto the girl in the middle. She looked like a doll, her features gentle, kind, that large bright smile, those beautiful generous eyes. The picture made him think fondly of her, of a time when she had been different, it made him think back to a time when he could have laid his head on her lap and let rest all of his nightmares and fears but things had changed. Leaving the frame on his lap he took the scarf, the material of it still soft, the small netting of the woven thread visible, it was a collection of different hues, of vibrant colours just like he remembered her, just like their lives had been before that fateful day. He took the frame and hugged it to his chest and let his fingers sink into the scarf as a lone tear traced down his cheek, keeping close the memories of two people that had filled his life with love and happiness, of two people that he would never see or know again.
He looked up at the sky then, filled with little twinkling stars.
When people die they become stars
He remembered her small tinkling voice, how she had pointed at the night sky and how he had laughed at her stupidity. But now he tried to imagine that, he closed his eyes and imagined his mother watching over him, imagined that someway or the other he could make her proud.
Khushi gazed out at the bright night sky, a crescent moon shone brightly at the side as dozens of stars surrounded it. She watched the brightest one of them, the one she imagined were her parents and wished that they give her strength, wished that she could get the strangers face off of her mind.
Erm yeh so I know you must all be confused but wait and see ;).
So ya know what to do now. Please do comment, it really motivates me to update quicker.
& yeh buddy me for PMs xx
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