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I have taken exactly one month to update! Hope you guys understand what took me so long. This story would be continued & finished as per plan, as long as I have readers.
For the first time in many years, Arnav was feeling like humming something – perhaps a feel good song, though he hardly could remember any. This indeed was a good day. As he drove towards AR Headquarter, breathing in the lemony air that felt like the freshest & the safest he had ever breathed, he felt heavily relaxed like he had not felt in a long, long time. The meeting went well. Aman had not bugged him for a single time since morning meaning everything was going fantastic in the AR world. And above all, he was somewhat feeling peaceful after things are sorted with Khushi. Right now, he did not care how he was going to deal with this crazy thing between him & her because he needed her as she had been a part of his life all through the last month. He was happy that his sanity was intact with her around him. For once in many years, he was satisfied living in the moment. Rest – time would say, he decided.
Devi Maiya banged her head. The man who always planned everything, always thought everything ahead of time, was now leaving something for time to decide?
"What the ..," Devi Maiya howled in frustration, "When he really needs to think, he decides to send his brain to vacation mode?"
She wondered how many more times she needed to intervene. These two could be generally termed quite smart but when it came to the matters of the heart – both seemed rather thick-headed.
Arnav was trying hard not to glance at Khushi at all. He was contented that she was by his side but was also rather scared at the strange reactions she instigated in him. He was well aware of his weird behavior around her. 15 minutes more and they would be in AR. He would be busy and would stop thinking about her!
"Yeah, right," Devi Maiya rolled her eyes in amusement.
Of course, Arnav was distracted from his abstinence only in a few minutes. He could hear Khushi talking to herself non-stop. She definitely had improved in lowering her voice after days of constant rebuking but Arnav was not liking it anymore. No matter how hard he tried to ignore, he became restless as he could not infer a single thing she was saying. He had to know what she was saying.
Why do you have to know?
Because it bothers me.
But why does it bother you?
Because.. because it irritates me when she does that.
Then why not ask her to shut up instead?
You shut up!
Arnav decided he needed to do something with this sudden emergence of his inner voice but he had a more important thing to deal with now. He needed to know what was going insider her unbelievable, crazy brains.
"Are you again talking to yourself?"
"I asked if you are again talking to yourself."
"Woh .. haan .. nehi .. matlaab .. nehi to!"
"Shut up! I heard you talking to yourself. What's wrong?"
Arnav turned to face her and glared at her. Though Khushi could not see his glaring eyes hidden beyond the Aviator glasses, she could clearly see his tightening jaws.
"Why did not anyone put some honey in his mouth when he was born," Khushi muttered, "Oh, yes, how could anyone! He is diabetic! Devi Maiya herself has fed him Karela. Kyun, Devi Maiya, Kyun!"
Khushi almost jumped in her seat and swallowed.
" Either shut up. Completely. Or tell me what it is. I have heard a lot from you already. I don't think it can be any weirder."
"Ji Arnavji .. Woh .. Kya hain ki .. woh .. I am hungry."
Arnav looked at her in utter surprise.
"So? I need to eat!"
"I got that! But what was the point of all the drama? It is lunch time .. of course, you can get hungry."
"Nehi .. woh .. I was thinking what you would think if I have my lunch in the car."
"Why would I mind?"
"Why would I?"
Arnav saw Khushi blink and then a big grin spread across her face.
"Thank you, Arnavji. I was sooo hungry. I actually was talking to the mice in my stomach. I was just telling them to wait a bit more and not to run around so much. But how can I even blame them? I have such a tiny stomach .. they don't have many space to run around .."
Arnav shook his head. She was indeed unbelievable. Arnav kept driving not paying attention to her constant blabbering anymore. It was still better than her inaudible self-talk.
".. one time I got so hungry & I ate so much at a Dhaba and then realized I did not have enough money to pay .. guess what I did then! I convinced Sardarji that he reminded me of my brother .. but I don't have any brother ..then .."
Arnav cut in.
"Where do you want me to stop?"
"Ji .. ok .. I won't talk anymore."
Arnav hid a chuckle.
"I meant where you would want me stop for grabbing your lunch."
"Oh! I thought you wanted me to get down of the car."
"If you continue like this, I may."
"Laad Governor," Khushi muttered.
"I heard that," Arnav replied rather nonchalantly.
Khushi swallowed again.
"Woh .. I have brought my lunch. I have it with me. No need to stop anywhere."
Though Arnav's eyes were fixed on the road, he could feel the movements on his left. Only after a few minutes, he again heard her mumbling.
"You are again mumbling! Can't you even eat silently??"
"I am not eating!"
"Why? You need your Devi Maiya's permission for that?"
"Don't make fun of Devi Maiyaan! Anyways .. nothing happens if she does not want."
Khushi made a face.
"Woh .. I was wondering how to ask you to have some. You probably not are used to having cold food. But I can have anything when I am hungry. One time .."
"I am not hungry."
"Accha? But it has been long since you had anything. Besides, I know that diabetic people need to have frequent meals. Did you have something in between? I did not notice .. I was with you all along .. how can you have anything .."
"How do you manage to talk so much?! I will have my lunch when I am at office. And yes, you are right. I don't like cold food."
"Accha? I thought so too. But the food is really good. Amma is the best cook in the world!"
Khushi opened the lid of her tiffin box. The tantalizing aroma of the food instantly hit both Arnav's & Khushi's senses.
"Mmm …," Khushi inhaled with her eyes shut, "Aaalooo puriii …"
Arnav smiled inwardly as he saw some flashes of his wild imagination. Under other circumstances, that moan would have sounded so much more better …
"What the .." Arnav slapped himself mentally for the umpteenth time in the day. This was getting way out of control. It was shocking how his mind was being diverted so much into the forbidden areas. And that too for Khushi Kumari Gupta? Oh Arnav!
"Are you sure you don't want some?" Khushi asked, still moaning.
"No," Arnav had to snap, "Eat!"
"Ok," Khushi rolled her eyes. She happily took a morsel near her mouth but could not take it inside her mouth. She looked at Arnav once and then at the food in her hand and then again at Arnav. Her shoulder dropped and her hand fell on her lap.
"I cant do it."
"Cant do what?"
"I cant eat alone."
"How can I eat alone when you are not eating?"
"Why cant you?"
"We always eat together at home. Besides, how can I eat in front of you when I know you are hungry?"
"I am not hungry, Khushi."
"I am not. I have told you."
"Are you diabetic?"
"Are you going to office?"
"Are you going to have lunch when you are at office?"
"Are you hungry?"
Arnav turned to see Khushi posing a million dollar smile. He had his eyes fixed in the road within seconds. He knew he was supposed to get angry but somewhere he felt different at her pestering. Being forced, did not seem that bad suddenly.
"Look. I don't care if you are eating or not. Just don't bother me, ok?"
"Just have one morsel, Arnavji. I will not bother you anymore."
"Dekhiye Arnaviji! Even the cruelest man cannot let a starving man not eat when he has food in front of him. Please just have one morsel and spare me from the misery."
"Just once, Arnavji! I will eat the rest all by myself. May be the box even ..I am hungry like a monster right now and I can eat .."
Khushi stopped midway as Arnav suddenly braked the car hard. Khushi swallowed. It was her time to get off the car. She looked at Arnav helplessly. It really felt weird to her to eat alone. Especially she could feel Arnav was hungry. She knew Arnav had snacks or juice at around 12. She waited for Arnav to unfasten her seatbelt but he did not move rather he kept looking at her. Khushi eyed the road and realized he braked because of red light. She tried to smile at him.
"Whatever you want me to have. Just give it and eat, Ok?"
Arnav saw Khushi's face again beaming up with a smile. He wondered how such small things could make her so happy all the time. Khushi quickly handed him over the food in her hand. Arnav took it carefully and put it into his mouth. With his eyes fixed on the road, he started chewing the food and realized Khushi was right. The food indeed was delicious even though cold. It must have tasted like heaven when it was fresh & warm.
The green light turned on. Arnav started the car. The car was mostly silent for a few minutes except for the random sounds of munching & savoring, until Khushi again had a new thought.
Arnav remained silent. Now what?
Arnav just glanced at her once sidewise and kept driving.
"Amma says you will be killed drowning in a pond if you have only one morsel."
Arnav sighed in frustration.
"Khushi, let me drive."
"Do drive, naa! When am I stopping you? I am just telling you that you should have another morsel. I don't want you to be killed. And drowning can be painful .. I would not wish that for my enemy even."
"I can swim quite well, Khushi. And I don't believe in these stupid things. So keep eating & let me drive."
"Oh ho! You never know! How about you are senseless when you fall in the water? How can you swim then?"
"Khushi, I am driving!"
"Oh! I am such a fool. Let me help you then .."
Arnav had no idea why he opened his mouth as Khushi suddenly brought a morsel near his mouth. He felt the food being put into his mouth along with some fine, bony yet soft fingers. As he closed his mouth around the fingers, the fingers slowly slipped away from his mouth. Startled at her own action, Khushi took a few seconds to move away her fingers. This was enough for Arnav to suck on the last finger with his lips as the finger fell to his chin first and then was hurriedly moved away.
Arnav kept chewing the food posing an indifferent countenance when his lips were literally burning from the sensation those fingers had created. Khushi on the other hand started fidgeting with her food, utterly embarrassed. It was her time to slap herself.
"There is a limit of impulsion, Khushi," she scolded herself. She felt her fingers had went numb and they were quivering as if she had no control over them.
Devi Maiya laughed mischievously. All she needed to do, she decided, was to keep these two together frequently. The frequency of Rabba-vey was promisingly increasing!
It took only a few more minutes for them to reach AR head office. Arnav leaned a little bit towards Khushi to unfasten her seatbelt as she sat still, holding her breath. He smelt so good .. Khushi closed her eyes. She did not want to smell him; his smell always weakened her knees .. she always felt like she would faint and collapse when he was this near to her.
Arnav glanced at her once and saw her sitting stiff with her eyes closed. Can it be that Khushi Kumari Gupta was also under some impact? His eyes moved to her fingers on her lap. He swallowed as he tried to figure out which finger he had gottent to taste so intently ..which only had left him craving for more.
As Arnav released the seatbelt, Khushi quickly got out of the car. Like always, she waited till Arnav got down and walked away. To her surprise, Arnav walked up to her and removed his sunglass. Khushi looked at him wide-eyed in anticipation.
"Woh .. there is something on your cheek."
"It must be Aloo-puri .. clean it before you walk in."
Khushi quickly brushed her fingers over her face and looked at him questioning if it was ok. Arnav pressed his lips and pointed his finger in circle towards his own mouth. Khushi wiped her mouth clean and looked at him again. Arnav stared at her for a second and then suddenly stepped near her and slowly wiped away something with his right thumb from right above her lips.
Arnav watched red creeping up Khushi's cheek. She was visibly flustered and she gasped. Arnav did not care to hide his smirk this time. Khushi flushed even more as she saw him smirking at her. What was wrong with Laad Governor?
Surprising Khushi even more, Arnav waited till Khushi started walking towards the lift. For the first time, they walked side-by-side and entered the lift together. Khushi suddenly felt the lift was smaller than usual as she wished there were more space between them; on the other hand Arnav was feeling the lift was too big for two. Both decided that the ventilation system of the lift needed to be fixed and took a mental note to report that. As the lift reached the executive floor, they both walked out, side by side and started walking towards Arnav's cabin. Both were in their own world, happy for their very own reasons - peaceful & excited at the same time with a racing yet contented heart.
All good things come to an end, Devi Maiya sighed.
Arnav & Khushi understood it too as they were pulled out from their dreamland in an instant by a hearty afternoon wish. The tall, sleek woman welcomed them with a genuine smile though surprised seeing them together. She wondered where they had gone together –Arnav Singh Raizada never took her PS anywhere.
Khushi turned her face slightly to see Arnav and could see the lines of his face, that she saw softening a while ago for the first time, again getting hardened. Yes, good time was indeed over.
"Welcome back, Simran," Arnav said curtly before entering his cabin, walking past her, leaving Khushi standing alone, not glancing at her once.
Devi Maiya sighed again. She had run out of her plans for today. It was time they helped them themselves.
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