Joined: 05 February 2013
Joined: 06 February 2013
Joined: 14 September 2010
Joined: 07 February 2013
Joined: 14 October 2012
Joined: 13 October 2010
Joined: 30 September 2011
Chapter 18 - Resurgence
Anjali broke away from the hug first, noticing the stiffness coming from Khushi's side. She followed her gaze and realized that Arnav was probably making her uncomfortable.
"Woh...the other car was taken so I asked Chotey to drive me here" Anjali said uncomfortably.
"Hi Arnav" Khushi breathed.
"Hey." He nodded.
"I'll help get your luggage." Anjali offered, breaking the silence. She towed the bags and moved in front of both Khushi and Arnav, giving them some space.
"How have you been?" Khushi asked.
"Good. And yourself?"
"Better. Much better." She smiled slightly.
"I heard about the slight downfall of your company. But I'm glad to see you back on track." Arnav said.
"Yes, it was horrible. My fault really, I wasn't giving work my full attention. But my cousin came in the picture and he's decided to work with me."
"Yes, Siddharth Gupta. I have heard many good things about him."
"You have? Well that's great, he would be so happy to hear that," Khushi smiled. "He's actually a fan of yours, you're practically his idol."
"That's quite flattering. But I hope I'm his idol in business only. There is nothing else that he could possibly look up to me for."
Khushi looked down sadly. But she was at least glad that they had managed to keep a conversation going for a couple of minutes. She saw improvement in their...relationship. And she decided that she would genuinely try to make things work now. She would make a fresh start, with everyone. She would take each day as it came, and use whatever that was given to her. And the decision she had so recently come to terms with in her mind...
It was not because of the letters.
It was not because NK had cheated on her.
It was not because she was seeing him after so long.
Merely because it was Arnav. The man who she had loved since she was a little girl. How was she stupid enough to think that she could possibly be with another? Whether she decided to forgive Arnav, or not, was not the issue here at the moment. Whether she wanted a relationship with Arnav or not, did not matter right now either. All that mattered was that she was in love with Arnav, and could not be with anyone else.
Of course she loved NK. Perhaps not in the same way, but she did. She needed him in her life, it was true. How could she forget their precious time with one another? Three long years of being together, healing, and getting to know each other. He fixed her, and if she lost him she would fall apart again. But...she was not in love with NK.
She knew Devi Maiya did things for a reason. So was the fact that NK had cheated on her, for a reason? Despite the questions at hand, she knew the answer finally. Whether or not the incident had taken place, her perfect relationship with NK would not have lasted.
Anjali may have been walking in front of the two, but she was not deaf. She had managed to listen to the entire conversation, and she sighed a breath of relief. It had only been minutes since Khushi got home, yet she could already see a change. When was the last time she had heard her little brother say more than two words? Maybe three? And here he was, speaking effortlessly.
She could only hope that Khushi would bring out a change in NK as well. She knew it was selfish of her to put so much pressure on a single person to help her family, but she was more than desperate.
Khushi had leased her apartment in New York for rent when she had left two months ago, and because she came back on such short notice, the people living there were not able to move out in time. They needed another week, so she had booked a hotel instead. But heavens knew that her best friend would never let her stay there, and so Khushi was stuck staying with the family instead. She was hesitant at first, mostly because it would look bad in the eyes of the elders. An unmarried girl, staying in the house of her...boyfriend? Wasn't it ex-boyfriend? Well in the eyes of most people, NK and Khushi were still a happy couple...
Anjali asked her to think of it as staying with her best friend, after all, it was the only relationship that was still intact in that house. The rest of the family had all but willingly agreed as well.
Would it be awkward? Khushi imagined so. But being away for a couple of months had given her leverage, she would no longer be that weak girl who relied on others. She had taken Sid's words into account and she was starting things anew...kind of. So she would be taking the guestroom for a week until her apartment was ready.
Arnav Singh Raizada felt the joy radiating from within. He almost wanted to do some sort of happy dance. His Khushi was home after two long restless months.
Except...he was on a mission. So was there a real reason for being happy?
Well if Khushi was happy, so was Arnav.
As they continued to walk side by side, seeping through the crowd at the airport, brief uncontrollable gestures were exchanged by the two - hearts were beating fast, lips were curving in small smiles and hands were brushing lightly together as they moved along.
NK stood in front of his mirror, examining himself. How was he supposed to handle things? What if Khushi didn't listen to Arnav? What if she had moved on?
Whatever the outcome would be, at least Khushi would be near him.
He glanced at the bottle he held in his own hands. And effortlessly, he poured the remnants of the alcohol down the drain, pouring out his own indecent thoughts out as well.
His phone rang for the second time that day, as he let it ring continuously.
He already knew who it was, but he chose to look just in case. And of course, his intuition was right - Lavanya calling.
He let it ring, and headed over to his window as he saw the car pull up in the driveway.
She was here.
"HP, take Khushi's things inside" Arnav said as HP carried her baggage inside.
"I'm going to go prepare dinner! Khush, you must be hungry?" Anjali smiled.
"Yes, the food on airplanes is rarely any good" she said sheepishly.
"Of course not. Go freshen up and I'll call you down when the food is ready!" and with that, Anjali made her way inside, leaving Arnav and Khushi standing alone.
"Let's go inside, the family must be waiting for you" Arnav said softly.
Khushi nodded and followed him inside.
She was greeted by an eager and excited Devyani and Manorama. Arnav and Khushi both sat in the living room for some time, as Khushi caught up with the family.
"Khushi bitiya, how is your Buaji doing now?" asked Devyani.
"She's doing well, thank you for asking"
"Did you bring anything back for me from Canada?" asked Manorama expectantly.
Khushi chuckled and nodded. "Of course. Buaji prepared your favourite laddoos and I also bought you something myself Manorama Aunty. I found it in a downtown boutique, I'm sure you will love it"
Manorama grinned "Khushi bitiya, when will you stop calling me Aunty? Call me Ma, won't you?"
Khushi stiffened instantly. How could she call her Ma after all this time? Despite everything that had happened, she now had no right to call her that. How much had Khushi longed to call someone her Ma? And now she lost her chance. So instead, Khushi nodded and smiled as she held back the tears that threatened to escape.
Arnav noticed the awkwardness, and decided to help.
"Mami, Nani...Khushi must be very tired after her flight. I think we should let her go freshen up. Come Khushi, I will show you to your room" Arnav said as the elders smiled apologetically.
Khushi took the lead and made her way up the stairs with Arnav on her heel. When she turned into her room, she realized that Arnav had entered as well and locked the door behind him.
"We need to talk Khushi."
"Yes...we do. I need to tell you something important."
"How about I go first?"
Khushi nodded encouragingly.
"I want you and NK to get back together."
She felt the blood drain from her face. He wanted...what? But, how? Not when she had just made up her mind! Not when she finally realized what she wanted.
"You both love each other. You need each other. The only thing in your way is me. I have caused nothing but heartbreak for both of you, and so it's my responsibility to fix things. Would you please talk to him and sort things out?" Arnav pleaded.
The only words that popped into Khushi's mind at the moment were how could he?
"So you ruined everything. And your solution is getting me and NK back together?" Khushi asked aghast.
"Yes. Think about it, everyone will be happy at the end of the day. Nani, Mami, Mama...they're all waiting on the two of you to get married. And yes, NK made a huge mistake but you can understand why he did it. He felt betrayed. You know how crazy he is for you Khushi" Arnav said as calmly as he could manage.
"I know Arnav. But I didn't know that you were crazy too"
"Yes, you're crazy. Absolutely ridiculous." She stated blatantly.
"Khushi, I'm just trying to -"
"What the hell is wrong with you? What, do you think you own my life?! Look at you, telling me what I should do! What about what I want Arnav?"
"Khushi, this is what you want! You have always wanted NK because he is good for you. You love him. That's what you had once told me yourself!"
"Well things change, people change! After everything that has happened, wouldn't it be wise to ask me what I wanted once, just once!? Quit making decisions for me!"
"Khushi, NK is good for you. He will make you happy. You can take as much time as you need, but just give him a second chance"
"Thanks for the advice Mr. Raizada! I didn't know that relationship advice was one of your fortes along with making decisions and breaking hearts" she let out a bitter laugh.
"You know that's not -"
"What about everything you told me 2 months ago? Were those all lies Arnav? That you love me, you always have and you always will? What about that? Or maybe you were just messing with me like you did when we were younger too." She spat out.
As much as Arnav tried to control himself, he couldn't avoid the boiling of his blood at her words. He didn't even realize when he had grabbed her arms forcefully.
"How can you even think that?! You know nothing about how I feel. You don't know what it's like, living everyday with guilt. Having to sleep every night knowing that you have sinned! Having it eat its way into you. You have no idea Khushi, you wouldn't understand" he rasped, his breath fanning across her face.
"Then make me understand Arnav. Don't push me away and make my decisions for me" she whispered, her eyes still glued to his.
"It doesn't matter anymore. I promised him Khushi. I promised that I would help get you guys back together. Do you even know what your departure has done to him? He's resorted to alcohol." He said helplessly.
"What?" Khushi asked astonished.
"Only you can help him now Khushi, don't you understand that?"
She took a minute to register the fact that NK, the man who was always happy, was now leading some sort of sad and pitiful life. What was he doing to himself? "Okay. I promise to help him overcome this to the best of my ability. But does that necessarily mean that I need to be in a relationship with him? He...shouldn't have done what he did. I forgave him for it Arnav, but that doesn't mean that it wasn't wrong."
"I know. But NK only wants you."
"And what if I want you?" she blurted out.
Had Khushi said this at an earlier time, in another place, he would have never let go of her. He would have smiled that boyish grin that he hadn't dared to show in quite a while. He would have jumped for joy. He would have been happy.
But this was the present, and it wasn't right. And so, he let go of her and turned away, not wanting to her the hurt look on his face.
"Khushi please...don't do this right now." He pleaded.
"Then when should I do this? When it's too late? Arnav...I found your letters. The ones Buaji kept from me. I'm sorry...I wish I had found out earlier."
He froze in place, remembering his letters. She had finally gotten them...
"Why does it even matter Khushi? It's not like those letters make a difference now."
He turned to face her, for once not caring that the scorching need for her was evident in his eyes. His feet moved on their own accord as he advanced towards her.
"Well, maybe they would have made a difference...back then" she mumbled.
She started to back up, her eyes never leaving his. What felt like many moments later, she was pressed up against the wall, Arnav's eyes searching hers. Why was everything so difficult between them? Why couldn't he just hold her like he wanted to? Why couldn't he comfort her?
He loved her. This was his Khushi. He had been waiting years to see her face. He had been waiting to feel her touch. He had been waiting to hear those words. He had been waiting for her.
And slowly, his hand went up to cup her face, as his head lowered. Her eyes which had been wide and shocked up until now, closed and her lips parted. Their faces were less than inches away, when he abruptly stopped upon hearing a knock at the door.
Ok guys, lately I've been feeling a bit demotivated. I have been facing writer's block with this story. So, please be patient with this story, that is all I ask. Things will work out for the better, and very soon, I promise :) Hit the like button if you enjoyed it, and leave any comments or thoughts - they always make me feel better. And, if you would like to receive PM's for this, add me as a buddy!
Joined: 21 April 2006
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