A/N: Last Chapter of my Arnav-Khushi story, hope you like it!
Thank you for reading my work!
Iss Pyaar Ko Kya Naam Doon?
Khushi followed Payal outside, her heart in her throat.
Nervousness made her stumble, but she caught herself in time.
Payal turned to her.
"This is it, Khushi. If you want to change your mind, this is the time to do it. Once you step through that door, there's no going back."
"I'm not going to change my mind, Jiji. I'm going to do this, no matter what."
Payal put her arms round her in a comforting hug, then drew back quickly.
"I'm proud of you, Khushi."
Khushi tried to smile, but her face felt frozen.
Her heart was racing, and her skin was cold and clammy.
She took a deep breath.
When they had arrived in Paris a week ago, she had never thought that she would be able to do this.
He hadn't listened to anything she'd said, and insisted that she should go through with it.
He told her that this was what he wanted.
And his happiness was her first priority now, just like it had always been.
Which was why she had agreed, even though the very thought had scared her..
And now, it was time.
She had to conquer her fears and make him proud.
She knew he was out there, and that's what she would focus on.
With his name on her lips, Khushi took a step forward..
And walked out onto the ramp of the opening show of Paris Fashion week.
For a moment she was blinded by the bright lights, but then she blinked her eyes and took a step forward..
She was aware of the numerous eyes on her.
As the showstopper for the AR Indian princess collection, she was bound to attract attention.
The very thought of the the media out there, ready to pounce on any mistake she made, terrified her..
She stopped herself from thinking about that, and reminded herself once more of why she was doing this..
"This would mean the world to me. It is the first time that AR has been invited to show our creations in the prestigious Paris fashion week, and I would love to have my wife wear the most beautiful dress of the collection.."
"But Arnav, I have absolutely no experience in modelling, or anything like that! What if I make a fool of myself on that ramp? The media would have a field day, and AR's image would be ruined forever!"
"I will get someone to train you for the event. I won't let anything go wrong, trust me. Say yes, Khushi. I really want you to do this. It would make me very happy.."
He hadn't needed to say anything else.
She would do anything for his happiness.
Even if it meant facing her worst fears.
She suddenly remembered that she was supposed to stop after one step, and pose for the cameras.
As she did that, her eyes searched the crowd for him.
But the lights were shining right into her eyes, obscuring her vision.
She knew he was there somewhere, watching her.
She could feel his eyes on her, even if she couldn't actually see him.
She could feel his presence, as always.
She waited for the cameras to stop flashing, then took another step, and smiled.
Arnav stared at her, mesmerized by her beauty once again.
He had thought that she was the most beautiful bride ever when they had gotten married, but seeing her now had proved him wrong.
She looked stunning, and he knew he had made the right decision by insisting on making her their showstopper.
He had lied to her a little about his motives, and he didn't feel good about that, but it had to be done.
He had told her that doing this would make him happy, but the truth was that he wanted her to have this experience.
He wanted her to acknowledge her own beauty.
He wanted her to believe in herself, and gain the confidence that she could do anything she wanted.
He wanted her to know that she was not a failure.
And now, as her saw her smile,he knew he had succeeded.
Bringing that smile back had taken time, and effort, but it had been worth it.
The past six months hadn't been easy, but they were together now, and that's all that mattered.
He remembered that horrible night, when he had cried, tears of loss, tears of a pain greater than anything he had ever imagined.
He looked up at the idol, tears still streaming down his face even as he tried to stop them.
She would never pray here again.
This house would never hear her cheerful voice..
He would never be able to touch her, hold her...
His life would be empty, and meaningless without her.
He straightened up as the full truth hit him.
She was never coming back.
What had he done?
He panicked now, unable to believe that he had sent her away.
What had he been thinking?
How could he do this to her..to them?
He must have been mad.
He tried to remember why he had done this.
He had sent her away because he thought she couldn't be happy with him.
But had he ever paused to consider if she could be happy without him?
Had he ever tried to think of what she must be going through?
Why hadn't he remembered that Khushi couldn't live without him, just as he couldn't live without her?
Why hadn't he tried to find a solution to the problem?
His reasoning sounded foolish now.
The only truth was that they completed each other.
No one else could take their place.
They needed to be with each other, there was no doubt about that.
He wondered why he hadn't thought of this sooner.
The answer was simple.
Her tears had blinded him to logic, and reason.
They always had that power over him.
He had made a rash decision, one he would probably regret for the rest of his life.
He had sent her away.
With no hope of getting her back.
This was the end of it all.
Or was it?
He stood up slowly, seeing her face again in his mind's eye.
She had looked absolutely shattered when he told her to leave.
He couldn't do that to her.
He had to go to her.
He gave himself no time to think.
Turning around, he ran up the stairs to his room, intent on finding his car keys.
The stars on the ground caught his eye, and he bent down to pick one up.
He touched it's cool surface for a moment, then reached over and picked up his keys.
Moments later, he was driving at an insane speed along the road that led to Laxminagar.
He barely saw the road, the images of her tearful face obscuring everything else.
He swiped his hand over his eyes, just as he registered the white car coming towards him.
It was directly ahead, and he barely had time to react.
He braked hard, and jerked his steering wheel to one side as he tried to avoid the imminent collision.
His car screeched to a stop, and his head whipped backwards.
When he finally raised his head, he realized he had been mistaken.
There had never been any chance of an accident.
The white car had stopped a few feet away, and the driver's side door now opened.
He suddenly realized that he recognized this vehicle.
Uncaring about the pain in his head, he opened his door and jumped out, coming face to face with her almost immediately.
She stopped walking, and stared at him.
She wasn't crying anymore.
Her face was calm, and determination shone in those beautiful hazel eyes.
Before he could say a word, she took a step forward and raised a hand towards him..
"Aap theek ho?"
Speechless, he could only stare.
He had hurt her, insulted her, and thrown her out of his life.
And yet, here she was, asking if he was allright.
He nodded, and watched as she dropped her hand back to her side.
He wondered where she had been going at this time of night..
"Where were you going, Khushi?"
"I was about to ask you the same question."
"Where do you think I was going?"
"This isn't the time to play games, Arnav."
She was right, of course.
"I was on my way to your house."
She smiled, startling him with her amused expression.
"And I was on my way to yours. I can't believe we were doing this again."
He knew she was remembering the many occasions during which they had done the same thing, but he couldn't smile in response.
Guilt,uncertainty and pain stopped him from doing so.
"Why, Khushi? Why were you coming to me? Even after everything that I did, and said, why were you returning to Shantivan?"
"Did you think that was all it would take to drive me away for good?"
"What do you mean? You left immediately, without saying a word! You even took down the stars! What else was I supposed to think?"
"Why did you tell me to leave in the first place?"
"You heard me. I want to know why you forced me to leave you. And don't give me those lies about my status and character again, I won't fall for that this time."
"Khushi, I thought..I.."
"Did you think I believed all that? Well maybe I did, at first. I was hurt, and angry, and I didn't stop to think. Getting away was the only thing on my mind. But now I want to know. Why did you send me away? The real reason, Arnav!"
Arnav knew it was time to tell her the truth.
But would she understand?
"I heard what you said to Devi Maiyya, Khushi. You wanted this child for my sake, because you believed that would make me happy..And then I realized that you were willing to put yourself through hell in order to see me happy.And I couldn't bear that..I couldn't see you in pain..and so I decided to set you free.."
"You decided that?"
He watched as she took a step forward until she was directly in front of him.
When he looked into her eyes, he was taken aback by what he saw there.
She was furious.
"YOU DECIDED THAT?!"
She put her hands on his chest and pushed him back.
He stumbled, but regained his balance quickly.
"Shut up! Who gave you the right to decide that, Mr.Raizada? Did you even once stop to think how your decision would affect me?"
She shoved him again.
"Did you even ask me what I wanted?"
"I didn't need to ask, I could see how unhappy you were.."
She shoved him a third time.
"And you decided that I would suddenly become happy again if you let me go? How could you do that? How could anyone do that to the one they love?"
She tried to push him again, but he caught her hands this time.
Pulling her towards him, he pushed her up against the SUV.
"Don't you ever doubt my love for you! Do you know how I felt after you left?"
"Then you shouldn't have asked me to leave in the first place!"
"How could I not, Khushi? You were putting yourself through all that torture! I couldn't take it anymore!"
All the fight went out of her and she leaned against him.
He moved his hands from her shoulder to her back and pulled her close.
A soft whisper broke the uneasy silence.
"I'm sorry, Arnav.."
She raised her head to look at him.
"When I left Shantivan today, I realized that I was wrong...wrong to 'obsess over something that caused a rift between us..I lost sight of what was really important.."
Her eyes filled with tears, and he raised one hand to wipe them away.
She turned her head and kissed his hand.
"You, and our marriage..I realized I couldn't live without you.."
He laughed brokenly.
"I realized that years ago, Khushi."
"I did too..but somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that..until tonight..When I was faced with the reality of living without you, I just knew."
"I knew that I could probably live without a child who didn't even exist yet,even though I would be unhappy...but I couldn't live without you..without the real, tangible love between us.."
Arnav pulled her into a firm embrace.
"Khushi, I know that...that's why I was coming back to you.."
He pulled away and raised her chin.
"I'm sorry I did that to you..I'm sorry I tried to push you away.."
He kissed her lightly on her lips.
"We will put this behind us, Khushi. We will deal with this together, just like everything else.."
"Arnav, do you think we'll ever.."
"Have a child?I hope we do, but I don't know for sure, Khushi.But I do know one thing.."
"Whatever happens, we will always be together. And for now, that's all I need to know."
He watched as she searched his eyes for a long moment, and then her face cleared.
"That's all I need, too."
As they kissed again, he suddenly remembered something.
He pulled away and reached into his pocket.
When he showed her the star in his hand, her eyes filled with tears again.
She took it from him, and put her arms around him once more.
"I love you."
"Are you ever going to answer me the right way when I say that?"
He smiled,and kissed her again.
Arnav came back to the present as he saw Khushi begin her walk down the ramp.
Yes, it had been hard, but they were past it now.
Their love had brought them here.
Khushi was still nervous, and the thought of the walk down the long ramp was't helping.
But then, she suddenly remembered the man waiting at the end of that ramp.
The reason she was doing this.
With that thought, she started her walk, and as she continued down the runway, her confidence grew.
She now realized why he had forced her into doing this.
It was the same reason why he had been doing everything for the past six months.
He was trying to give her back her confidence, and her belief in herself.
He was trying to give her back the part of herself that she had lost over the past year.
They had spent the last six months trying to get their relationship back to where it had been earlier.
They had started by going away to the same hotel where they had escaped after their wedding. Two weeks there had worked wonders, and she had returned to Shantivan with her zest for life partly restored.
Over the next few months,his constant support and love had helped bring her back to the person she used to be.
On her part, she had tried not to obsess over her inability to bear a child. Whenever thoses thoughts had overwhelmed her, she hadn't tried to hide them from him.
Instead, she had run to him, wherever he was.
A moment or two in his arms would give her solace, and she had learned to move on.
Always, for him.
She realized that she had now reached the end of the runway, and paused there just as she had been instructed.
Cameras flashed, and she raised one hand to hold her dupatta, while the other rested lightly on her exposed waist.
Her thoughts went back to this morning..
"Khushi, what is it? Why are you crying, sweetheart?"
Unable to speak, she took his hand and placed it on her stomach, hoping he understood what she was trying to say.
He looked down at her, then back up again, his eyes widening in shock and the beginnings of wonder.
"Are you sure?"
She nodded, tears falling freely now.
He didn't say a word.
Just pulled her into an embrace, and kissed her hair.
When he drew back, there were tears in his eyes as well.
"I love you, Khushi."
His words echoed in her ears now as she tried to find him in the audience.
But the cameras were blinding her, and she couldn't see him.
She knew he would understand, though.
Out of all the people in this crowd, only one man would know the significance of the hand on her waist.
A new life , the symbol of their love.
Arnav smiled as he saw where her hand now rested.
A glint of silver caught his eye, and he looked down at the silver charm bracelet he had given her years ago.
She had never taken it off since then.
He watched now as she turned around and walked a few steps before turning to pose for the cameras once again.
It was almost over now, all that was left was the walk back down the ramp.
But as always, she surprised him.
Instead of going back the way she had come, she turned to the side of the runway, facing the same direction where he was now seated.
He didn't question how she knew where he was.
He watched in amazement as she turned and walked to the side of the runway, stopping at the edge.
She looked straight at him, her eyes filled with tenderness.
He stood up slowly, unsure about what was happening.
He took a step towards her, but stopped abruptly as she went down on her knees.
He walked quickly towards the ramp, but his concern vanished when he saw her smile.
What was she doing?
She raised a hand towards him, and suddenly he understood.
A ramp, where it had all started..
A fall, a chance meeting..
Destiny had brought them together then..
The past swirled between them as memories rushed back.
A new future beckoned, bright with promise.
He went up to the ramp, and lifted her off the runway into his arms.
She placed her arms around his neck and smiled up at him.
There was shocked silence for a moment, and then the crowd broke into applause.
The city of Paris had just proved that it was indeed the city of romance.
Cameras flashed, and the applause grew in intensity.
But Arnav and Khushi heard none of it.
They were lost in each other, as they acknowledged the truth.
The first time this had happened, hatred had pulled them apart.
But this time, love wouldn't let them part.
Their eyes met, and held.
Time stood still.
Arnav and Khushi fell in love all over again.
Iss Pyaar ko kya naam doon?