"Uncouth," Maddy grumbled inwardly as he again noticed her Turquoise suit, "Why ASR punished me with her?"
Maddy was particularly not very happy to have Khushi assigned to him. Of course, he could not do anything when the big boss wanted him to have her on board. It was him who actually called her "Chamkili" for the first time. The first time he noticed her in the canteen, she was glittering from top to toe in some colorful rainbow salwar suit. Her dowdy clothes made him shocked - who could appoint her in a fashion house? Since then, whenever she was mentioned in any discussion, everyone would refer to her as Chamkili. He was not sure if Khushi was aware of it but she did not seem to have any issues with him as she kept following his instructions most obediently.
It has been two hours since Khushi was working with Maddy. He briefed her first on the show a bit and then started assigning her with different tasks. Most tasks were menial - nothing significant in terms of learning. She was mostly running between the storerooms - carrying this or that. She could feel Maddy & his team was not very happy that she joined. She did not mind. She was rather determined to deliver well & she knew only this can shut them up. Above all, she did not want to disappoint Arnav.
No matter how hard she tried, Khushi could not keep Arnav aside. His thought was hovering over her even when she was giving full attention to Maddy as he instructed her. She did not know when things turned this way but it was fact - Arnav Singh Raizada made her heartbeat faster. She could not believe herself but she could not deny how much attention she craved from this arrogant brat. Aranv Singh Raizada was so not her type. She knew she herself could not be his type either. But there was this little thing in the corner of her mind that kept telling her - what if her racing heart meant something .. what if his stares & touches meant something. From morning till noon - till they arrived office today, Arnav Singh Raizada had made her feel precious. She did not dare to dream .. or even hope but she could not restrain herself from that little thought fluttering in her head. What if .. ?
Khushi quickly wiped out the sudden teardrop from her cheek as she carefully arranged the materials in the storeroom. She did not know what she was expecting but Arnav's nonchalance to the news of her wedding made her feel broken. "Stupid fool," Khushi scolded herself mentally. Of course, those dizzying stares, lingering touches .. and that meaningful smirk meant nothing. He was just being a little comfortable around her .. he was perhaps like this with Simran-ji too. She read all wrong. All wrong.
It was 5 already in the clock. Khushi wished she could leave early today. She could really use a warm bath and some jalebi right now. She decided to talk to Maddy and leave.
Khushi: Madhavan-ji. I would like to leave if ..
Maddy: Maddy!! It is Maddy!!
Khushi: Oh .. sorry, Maddy-ji. Can I leave ..
Maddy: I need you to help me with something very important, Khussshi. All the models will be here in 30 minutes and I cannot handle them alone. Ok? So I need you here. Just be around till they are here. You can go through the show details with Pam if you want. Ok? Just don't bother me till the models are here.
Even before Khushi could open her mouth Maddy walked away. He smiled smugly as he reviewed his evil plan. If that Chamkili was to be with him, she has to learn to be a part of his team.
Three hours have passed. Arnav still could not focus rightly on the business case that Akash, his cousin & business partner, had sent to him. He was experiencing different kinds of emotions simultaneously and his otherwise steady mind could not deal with it. He was contented for now that she would be around. But his brain was giving away every time he remembered what she said. Marriage! Why they have to find someone for her? Was not she happy in her life? What was with everyone & marriage?
More than everything else, Aranv was flustered with his own reaction. Why the hell was he even bothered with this? Amid all these thoughts, he kept wondering what Khushi had been doing with Maddy. He was well aware Maddy can be quite a pain in the a*s, no matter how talented he was. And going by his snobbish nature, he might not think very high of Khushi going by her appearance.
The restlessness did not allow Arnav to sit in his desk for long. The figures were not making sense to him any way. He decided to leave for home. And before that, he wanted see how Khushi was gelling with the Designer team.
As the elevator opened in the Designer floor, Arnav could feel the sudden silence that took over the place. He was well aware how a glimpse of him hushed everything up in the office. Not paying much attention but a reluctant nod to the sweet smiles of some female employees, he went straight to Maddy's cabin. He could not find Maddy anywhere. As he was about to leave Maddy's cabin, his eyes fell on the floor below through the glass wall. The Designer floor was basically in a duplex setup combining two floors. The top floor accommodated the cabins & the meeting rooms in a circular fashion and the rest was basically open with a view to the floor below which was open & used for models & trials mostly.
What he saw not only instigated a raging, spontaneous "What the .." from his mouth but also boiled his blood instantly. Twelve male models were standing in a line in all their manly glory, only in a pair of skimpy boxers hanging almost from their groin. Khushi was measuring one of them with a measuring tape - a pen stuck above her left ear and a small notepad between her teeth. Even from so far Arnav could read the hesitation & uneasiness from the lines of her face. He could see her hands slightly shaking. To make things even worse, he saw Khushi bending to measure the leg of the model and he did not miss where the eyes of the model and the ones beside him went.
Arnav had no idea how he landed himself beside Khushi - whether he took the stairs or just jumped off.
Arnav: What the hell is going on in here?
The barking voice of Arnav from behind shook the core of Khushi. The notebook fell from her mouth. She could feel the irritation in his voice but still she felt relieved. He was here. As she tried to stand up properly in haste, she tripped and in self-defense, she landed herself with her hands on the bare chest of the model. Even before she could compose herself and move away, she felt a strong arm across her waist. On the next instant, she was roughly pulled away from the model and crushed on a hard, male form on her back. She felt warm breathe on her neck and she could feel the arm around her waist tightening. What was Arnav doing? As she started to wiggle slightly, she felt the arm loosening its hold. She quickly freed herself and moved away. As she turned to see Arnav, she could see many pairs of inquisitive eyes boring into them. And then the sight of Arnav made her gulp. Big time.
Anyone could tell from Arnav's face that he was infuriated. But Khushi could fathom the depth of the fury better. The intensity she saw in his eyes shook her. "Devi Maiya raksha karna," Khushi murmured hoping he did not unleash it all.
Arnav: Where is Maddy? Maddy!!!! Maddy!!!!!
Maddy suddenly appeared in the scene and his face lost color as he saw Aranv's face.
Maddy: ASR! Why didn't you call me? I mean why did you take the trouble ..
Arnav: What is happening here?
Maddy: Wha.. what? Where, I mean?
Arnav: Why is Khushi doing this?
Maddy: Oh .. ASR, you told me you wanted Khushi to learn how things are run here .. about the fashion show ..
Arnav: That does not mean you will make her take their measurement!
Maddy: I thought this would give her an idea ..
Arnav: Idea? Idea of male anatomy?
Khushi saw Maddy visibly gulp. She felt bad for the poor guy but she could not hide her chuckle well. She saw others staring at them all panicked. How come no one got the fun of it?
Maddy: No, no .. ASR. I meant .. I thought ..
Arnav: You have thought enough. I don't want to see her .. or in fact any ladies near the men. You got that?
Maddy: This is nothing unusual ASR. Girls always do this ..
Arnav: From now on, they won't. Get the men in your team do this.
Arnav felt relieved that he managed to control his rage well; else someone would have lied down injured today. No one clearly understood the extra bit of possessiveness he was feeling towards Khushi. If it looked so gross with Khushi doing that, he convinced himself, it must have looked the same with other ladies doing that too. It was .. it was just gross. Khushi just managed to affect him more, he could not deny this much. Assigning her to Maddy was a mistake, Arnav had to admit.
Arnav: Khushi. Come with me.
Khushi stared at him wide-eyed. What was Arnav doing again?
Arnav: We need to talk on what to assign you next.
Maddy: ASR ..
Arnav: Shut up, Maddy!
Khushi quickly followed Aranv as he strode towards the elevator. She did not miss to handover the measuring tape to Maddy before she left. "Excuse me, Maddy-ji," she whispered innocently before she passed him by, "I had fun working with you but can't disappoint the boss, Can I?"
In a few minutes, they reached Arnav's car in the parking lot. Both have been quiet all this while. The elevator ride particularly had been very awkward with Arnav silently fuming while staring at nothing and Khushi stealing glances at him with her sequined bag clutched against her chest tightly.
Arnav: Get in the car.
Arnav: I said get in the car, Khushi.
Arnav glared at her.
Khushi: Whatever we have to discuss, we can discuss here. I will go home then.
Arnav: Just get in the car, dammit!
Khushi jumped as he banged his fist on the bonnet. "Rakhsash Laad Governor is back," Khushi murmured inwardly.
Khushi: Dekhiye Arnavji, whatever you want to say ..
Arnav: Do you have any problem going home with me?
Arnav: Do you have any problem going home with me? Why do you make me repeat everything?
Khushi: Woh .. nehi .. matlab .. haan .. par ..
Arnav: Do you have any problem going home with me, Khushi?
Khushi: Nehi par ..
Arnav: Then get in the car.
Khushi got in the car obediently without negating further. What was the point anyway? Since when, Arnav Singh Raizada did not get things his way?
"Since you came into his life," Devi Maiya laughed.
The car ride was utterly awkward as well with complete silence prevailing all through. Arnav did not say a word and his eyes were strictly fixed on the road. Khushi kept stealing glances at him & her fingers were busy fidgeting with whatever she got hold of. Khushi opened her mouth quite a few times but could not bring herself to start a conversation. Arnav Singh Raizada was the biggest mystery of her life. First, he poses indifference to her getting married - leaving her sad (well, she was not sure though why he would react in any other way to that news). Then, he comes and rescues her from the evil Maddy - making her all happy. And now, he seems seething in anger, God knows at whom, not talking a word to her - causing her, the chatterbox Khushi Kumari gupta, to be totally speechless. "Ye Laad Governor humein pagaal karke hi chodenge," she muttered.
Arnav braked the car sharply beside Khushi's house in Laxmi Nagar. Khushi waited for him to unlatch the seatbelt but he did not move. Khushi waited for a minute not knowing what to do. Then she tried to unlatch it herself but of course it did not work.
Devi Maiya chuckled. She has done all she needed to do - to keep them together somehow. The rest, as it seemed now, they could manage.
Khushi: Arnavji .. woh ..
Khushi: Arnav-ji! Are you listening? Are you ok? I, I cannot unlatch the seatbelt. I need to get down of the car.
Arnav suddenly turned and unlatched the seatbelt very roughly causing it to hit Khushi on her face. Khushi could not control letting out a shriek of pain. She looked up to see Arnav's face with tear-filled eyes but Arnav was not looking at her. This man was introducing her to new levels of hurt. Khushi quickly unlocked the door and got out of the car, not willing to shed a single tear in front of him. She was only a few steps away from the car when she heard the car door being banged with a thud and in a few more seconds, she was pulled and turned roughly to face a seething Arnav. His coffee eyes were blazing in anger. His perfect lips were slightly shivering in an effort to suppress his burning rage. Only a few inches away from his face, in his tight, painful hold by the shoulder, Khushi watched in amazement his handsome face showcasing a panorama of emotions. It was not only rage. What were the other things there, Khushi wondered.
Her trance was broken by a sudden jerk.
Arnav: What the hell do you think you were doing?
Khushi: Huh? Matlab?
Arnav: Don't you have any shame?
Khushi: What are you saying?
Arnav: How could you .. how could you put your hands on those men?
Khushi: Wha .. oh! That's what you are talking about? Excuse me .. but I did not put my hands on them. I was measuring them. Something I was assigned to do because YOU assigned me to work there.
Arnav: Don't you have any self-respect? Why did you have to do anything you were told to? Would you have also done happily if they asked you to .. if they asked you to ..
Khushi: Asked me what?
Arnav, by now, was calmed down a bit after the initial outburst and he realized he was going out of the line.
Arnav: That's .. that's not the point. I don't want you to do something like that anytime from now on. Samjhi tum?
Khushi: Then you first decide where you want to assign me. Samjhe aap?
Arnav looked at her in amazement. She was no less than a tigress. She was the only one who managed to face him always with equal confidence. Yes, she was different.
Arnav: You don't have to tell me what I need to do. Just do as I said.
Khushi: Aap ..
Arnav: I am assigning you to the event team. I will brief you myself tomorrow and also will align Aman.
Khushi: Ji, Dhannyabad. Will you please let me go now? You are hurting me.
Arnav felt utterly flustered as he realized how firmly he was holding her by her shoulder. He quickly let her go. He embarrassedly watched Khushi massaging her left arm. The slight discomfort on her face did not go unnoticed too.
Arnav: Woh .. Tum theek ho?
Khushi looked up. Their eyes met.
Khushi: Yes, I am fine Arnav-ji. Thanks for dropping me home. I will go now.
Arnav watched Khushi walking away after giving him a small smile. He was only done venting out one part of the frustration. The rest, the biggest .. could be saved for later.
Khushi turned and saw Arnav walking towards her. He stopped very close to her and looked straight into her eyes. He watched mesmerized as her eyes slowly widened in anticipation. His eyes travelled to her slightly parted, slightly quivering lips and then travelled back to her doe eyes.
Khushi could feel his fingers softly touching her forehead and then brush against her skin. What was he doing? She then felt his fingers moving slowly towards her left ear and his thumb dipped firmer as he stopped almost on her ear. What was he doing?? She felt his thumb then slowly going up, tucking her hair beyond her ear and pulling something out. What was he doing???
Khushi's heartbeat was faster than ever before now. Dhak-dhak .. dhak-dhak .. the whole world went silent as she felt his soft touches drowning in the whirlpool of steaming coffee in his eyes. When Khushi thought her knees were about to give in, she saw him bringing his hand between their faces holding something.
Arnav: Go home, Khushi.
Arnav: Take it & go home, Khushi.
Why was he sounding so .. mm .. so .. knee-melting?
Khushi: Take what?
Khushi watched a slight smirk appearing in the corner of his mouth.
Arnav: This Khushi.
Finally, Khushi noticed what he was holding as he swayed it in front of her face.
Khushi could feel all the blood in her body rush in a nano second to her face. She felt her face went warmer than ever, her ears almost on fire.
Khushi: Oh! I .. I forgot.
Arnav continued smirking.
Arnav: See you tomorrow morning, Khusi Kumari Gupta. Don't make me wait at the crossroad.
Khushi watched him walk away from him, get into his car and drive away after smirking at her one last time. She kept rooted to her place even when the car disappeared from her vision.
Devi Maiya could not but clap her hands in glee as she watched a flustered Khushi stand with the pen in her one hand and the other hand clutching the end of her dress.
The saga of Rabba-ve apparently continued even without her help.