Thread 4 Index:
A few hours later Arnav woke up feeling refreshed after getting some much needed rest. He was the type of person who could recharge his batteries on very little but quality sleep. He stretched his long limbs, savouring the warmth of the blankets in his very cold air-conditioned bedroom. Arnav picked up his phone to check the time; there was a text from Khushi waiting for him.
Hi, Aman-ji and I have to go to AR-Corp HQ for a meeting which is going to end at 6:00pm, so if it's ok with you, can I meet you in the penthouse after the meeting? Khushi
Arnav responded in the affirmative and then debated whether to rest some more or not. Now that he was up, he knew falling asleep again was not likely so he decided to go out for swim as he pulled himself out of bed and headed to the bathroom to change. A few minutes later he emerged; his black swimming trunks riding low on his hips, a towel slung over his shoulder.
Arnav sighed as the warm afternoon sun warmed his bare skin; he savoured its heat after the bitterly cold New York fall weather. He tossed the towel on the recliner by the pool and rotated his head left to right and then flexed his broad shoulders as he loosened his muscles before slicing smoothing into the water, barely making a splash as he swam back and forth almost effortlessly. After about 25 minutes of intense swimming, Arnav rested his arms on the ledge and hoisted himself out of the pool, his muscles rippling under his skin as his did so.
He towel dried himself and lay down on the recliner - the sun was just too good to waste he decided as he closed his eyes. Only another hour and half until he would be seeing her. The sense of anticipation was growing. Surprising he didn't feel nervous about it at all. He cast his mind back to her email and their conversation; something had changed. He couldn't work out what it was but, she sounded different; more relaxed perhaps. As the sun began to dip behind the walls of Shantivaan and air began to get cooler, Arnav decided it was time to get ready.
Arnav showered and changed into a white shirt and black pants. Even though he technically wasn't working today, he always liked to maintain his professional persona whenever he was at AR Corp. He strapped his watch onto his left wrist and splashed some aftershave on his cheeks and slid his arms into a black jacket. No need for a tie he decided. All set.
Nani was pottering around the living room when her Chote came jogging down the stairs. 'Nani, where's everyone?' he asked, 'Manorama and Anjali have gone to a satsang and will stay there tonight, Akash is in Mumbai with your mamaji...Chote,' Nani responded.
Arnav nodded, he was glad to hear that everyone was out. He didn't want Khushi to get overwhelmed when he brought her home. He walked closer to Nani, standing in front of her as he spoke 'Nani, I'm going to AR... to pick Khushi. I'll bring her here a little later, is that ok?' he asked quietly.
Devyani smiled as she cupped his face in her hands 'It's very much ok with me Chote - I've been waiting all day to meet your Khushi,' she said.
You and me both Nani, thought Arnav to himself as he smiled at Nani and bid her goodbye.
It was almost 5:30pm when Arnav pulled into his parking spot at AR Corp. He was initially going to go straight to the penthouse but decided to stop at in at his office first. Various employees greeted him as he walked into the foyer and then to the lift. He was tempted to stop past the boardroom, knowing full well that that's where Khushi's meeting would be taking place. With a smile, he decided not to stop and proceeded straight to the Executive level where he checked and responded to some urgent emails whilst keeping one eye on the clock. At 5:50pm he decided to head up to the penthouse. As he rode the elevator, Arnav noticed a distinctive but gradually rise in his heartbeat. He inhaled deeply and exhaled as he tried to calm his heart rate down. Still another ten minutes before she was due to arrive; get it together Raizada, he told himself as the lift chimed open. He stepped out and walked to the penthouse door, flashing his security card against the reader.
His breath caught. As if in slow motion, he watched her slowly turn around towards the door from her position at the window.
The meeting had ended sooner than planned and Khushi had decided to go straight to Penthouse and wait there. She hadn't been able to concentrate on anything that day; her mind continuously planning different scripts of words of how best to convey those simple yet significant words. She gasped as she heard the lock click - he was early! She spun around.
Their eyes met and locked.
Hearts thudding, pure adrenaline racing through bloodstreams.
Neither moved an inch.
Both afraid to even draw breath.
The moment felt completely surreal; could she have become even more beautiful wondered Arnav as he shamelessly stared at Khushi as she stood in a pool of soft light courtesy of the setting sun making her look more angelic than ever. She took his breath away. The enormity of their separation and just how much he had yearned for her all came flooding back to him.
He took a deep breath. She was here, he was here. This was really happening.
His feet began moving towards her of their own accord, the door slowly sliding shut behind him. Click. The sound magnified by the complete silence in the room.
Khushi felt as though her feet were frozen to the ground, her heart felt like it was going to explode out of her chest. Her throat was completely parched as she swallowed. Her poor dupatta was definitely going to tear today thanks to her nervous hands. She felt her blood pressure rise a notch with his every footstep towards her.
He looked almost lethal thought Khushi as she greedily ran her eyes over him. He must have recently had a shower she thought absentmindedly as she viewed his much shorter, but damp hair. The black pants and jacket with the white shirt, sans a tie, made him look like an assassin on the kill. Devi Maiya... was it wrong to take a moment and admire just how... well just how hot he was, she wondered in a slight daze.
Arnav paused as he placed his keys on the table, his eyes met hers...'Hi' he whispered.
Khushi opened her mouth to speak but no sound appeared. She gulped. Devi Maiya, help!
She stood very still, scarcely daring to breathe.
She didn't want anything to spoil this precious moment.
Today she was going to entrust herself to the man she loved.
She was making a commitment, and there would be no going back.
Khushi cleared her throat, sent another desperate prayer to Devi Maiya asking her to help calm her frazzled nerves. She stepped forward, her eyes darting back and forth as she struggled to maintain eye contact with him.
'Arnav, I need to talk... I mean I need to... I need to tell you something' she began.
Arnav stopped. He nodded. He owed it to her to give her the courtesy to listen to her especially if there was something she wanted to tell him.
'That night we spent together, I realised... I mean' she stopped as she struggled to breath and compile her thoughts. This was not going according to plan!
She cleared her throat, took a breath and started again.
'Arnav, first I need to apologise for my behaviour after... after the night we spent together. I shouldn't have acted so childishly. It's just that I realised that... I realised something that morning and...I should have spoken to you instead of shutting you out... but I guess it scared me, ' she whispered, 'I mean, please don't misunderstand me, I trust you and I want to tell you but.. ' she sighed 'Arnav to tell you the truth, I've been practicing all day and I even knew what I was going to say and it was perfect... but now I...I'm... I've... I don't...I mean I know what I want to tell you, but the words just don't seem to coming out...' her voice trailed off again.
Arnav stared at Khushi, she was really struggling with what she wanted to say. Maybe he should just take the lead and tell her what he wanted to and they could deal with what she wanted to say after that. She wasn't thinking of breaking up with him he wondered as Khushi started again.
'Khushi I'm in love with you...' Arnav said in a quiet, calm and confident voice.
Khushi's eyes shot up to his, she gasped, the air seemed to have escaped from her lungs, it was like she was free-falling...the whirlpool sensation in her stomach increased. Time stopped. The world stopped. Her heart however skipped several beats.
'Wh' What?' she whispered.
'Khushi...' he said as he took another step towards her, 'I said... I'm IN LOVE with YOU... '
Her paralysed brain suddenly decided to kick into the action and she blurted out the first thing that came to her mind...
'But that's what I wanted to say to you!' she said almost indignantly.
His heart soared; did that mean what he thought? His heartbeat began to accelerate again; if he was right then he wanted her to say the words to him.
'Really Khushi... I'm not sure I understand... what did you want to say...' he said huskily as he took another step towards her.
Khushi blushed to the very roots of her hair.
'Arnav...I...You...' she whispered as her voice trailed off into a whisper.
Arnav withheld his smile and suppressed the burning need to pull her into his arms and kiss her senseless.
'Khushi 'I ...You...? That's not a sentence that makes much sense... I think you missed out a word between the 'I' and 'you'...' he whispered as he took yet another step closer to her. He stopped. They were now only an arm's length apart.
Khushi looked up into his eyes, her heart thudding. Suddenly, she felt like she had never been so sure of anything. The nerves vanished; her voice suddenly became calm, confident and composed as she told him the biggest truth of her life.
'I love you Arnav Singh Raizada...'
Arnav let go of breath that he had been holding.
Even though he had been anticipating the words, nothing could have prepared Arnav for the unreserved sense of exhilaration that he now felt.
'Say it again' he ordered.
Khushi smiled. It really hadn't been that difficult once he said it first. Now she wanted to keep repeating it and hearing him saying it back to hear again and again.
'Arnav... I love you...'
Arnav stopped. Stopped trying to speak, stopped thinking, stopped breathing... it was still there. The happiness... yes that's what it was... He was immeasurably HAPPY!!
Khushi watched as a full smile emerged on Arnav's face and he finally sealed the gap between them as he scooped her into his arms, and spun her around. Khushi couldn't stop laughing as she held onto his shoulders. He joined, and she could fell the vibration of his unreserved laughter reverberate through his chest to her as they both savoured the moment, locking it into their hearts forever.
Arnav gradually stopped he let her slide down his body as her feet landed on the ground, Arnav cupped Khushi face in his hands, his nose touching hers as he closed his eyes and whispered 'I love you, Khushi Kumari Gupta...I love you... I never thought I'd say this to anyone...I love you...'
Then finally, he leaned forwards and pressed his body against hers, his arms circling her shoulders.
Pulling her tightly to him, their bodies merged, heart to heart.
With slow ease and practice, Arnav moved his head down, his lips inching towards hers.
When his lips finally brushed against hers, he pulled her even closer sealing every inch of space between their bodies.
It was the tenderest of kisses, a warm, sweet sensation that enfolded her heart.
There was no urgency, no demand in his kiss, only a precious touch, a commitment... a seal of his promise.
It was the kiss of a man in love.
He felt her hands grab his shirt collar and she clung to him, her hands and arms shaking. She was just as overwhelmed. Arnav felting his heart soar with protectiveness, as he gathered her into his arms and pulled her flush against him so she didn't need her strength to hold on to him because he was holding on to her, supporting her weight. An overwhelming desire to always protect and cherish her overcame him again.
When they finally pulled apart, Khushi rested her head against his chest. 'I love you...' she breathed against his neck.
She knew in her heart of hearts that she would never tire of saying it or hearing him say it.
Well as promised yesterday, here's the new thread
I'm dying to know what you guys thought of this chapter - please keep the feedback coming.
Did you like? Did you hate it? Did it meet your expectations?
If you want PMs then you need to buddy me. Also on that note, too many people who want to be PM-ed are silent - you guys need to talk to me otherwise I'm going to go down the road that the other writers are going - i.e. cull the pm list. (please dont make me do this!!).
Edited by warriorprincess - 16 October 2012 at 8:13am