Joined: 31 July 2012
A/N: I am grateful to you all for reading this epilogue , even after the forum has been archived and most of you are not active there anymore.This update is for Nonasi, whose encyclopedic knowledge of IPK is only rivaled by the random wittiness of her comments.
Hope you all have a very happy new year!Epilogue-Part 3, Episode-1The past ..."A..aap?""Haan,M..main. Of course it's me. Who else would it be?"What are you doing here at this time?""I live here, remember?And I was looking for you.Which was a lucky coincidence, considering the heartfelt confession I just heard!""What?! How much did you hear?""Everything.Not that it was a surprise to me.""It wasn't?!""Of course not.Haven't you learned in all these years that nothing that happens in Shantivan escapes my notice?""What?!"
"But I don't even know if he..And he's known to be a..."
Kashish stopped , embarrassed that she had been about to spill her deepest secret.
Now that she knew what she wanted,and whom she wanted it with, her biggest fear was that he wouldn't want her anymore.
And her feelings were confused too. Did she really want to be with a man who had blackmailed her? Could she forgive him? And what about the fact that he wasn't exactly known for long-term relationships?
And all these muddled thoughts weren't something she could share with her Dad!
As always , her mother read her mind, and raised her hand to caress her cheek lightly .
"It never hurts to try , Kashish. Not when it comes to something this important .And everyone deserves a second chance, don't you think?But there's plenty of time to think about that. For now, how about some jalebis?"
Khushi smiled as she watched her daughter's face transform at the mention of the sweet treat.
The almost childlike enthusiasm reminded her of a simple fact that tended to escape her notice :Even though Kashish was a prodigy,she was still a girl at heart .
Her own heart felt like it would burst with the love she felt for the two people sitting here .
And as always, her thoughts went straight to the one person missing right now.
"Are you sure you want to choose this career?"
"Yes,Dad, I'm sure."
Khushi had been proud and reluctant all at once , and had spoken out in a choked voice .
"But is it necessary to go across the world for this ?"
"Mom. I know you will miss me. Just like I will miss you guys. But trust me, in the end , it will be worth it."
As she came back to the present , she realized that her thoughts had made her teary-eyed, and both Arnav and Kashish were staring at her in alarm .
She wiped her eyes hastily, and summoned a weak smile .
"How about those jalebis ,then?"
One week later...
Kashish knew all eyes were on her as she descended the central staircase at Shantivan, dressed in a silver colored designer evening gown , complemented by a string of diamonds around her neck.
Her eyes , however, searched for just one person.
She knew he would be here , he had accepted the invitation to her parent's twenty -fifth anniversary party,hadn't he?
But when she didn't find him immediately , she panicked .
Most of the guests had already arrived , and she knew she should be able to spot him among them
Before she could look around some more, she heard her father's voice.
"Kashish , would you come here please?"
When she turned to find her father, she received a shock when she saw him.
Standing right beside her father.
Summoning all her courage , she smiled at her father, and walked up to him.
Disappointment at herself for being unable to gift her father with the completed deal on this occasion ruled her mind,and she wondered if there was anything she could have done to make it happen.
But she had tried everything she could think of, hadn't she?
Except for agreeing to his irrational condition, that is.
And she didn't regret that.
Before she could say a word, her father spoke, his words shocking her like nothing else could .
"I think you two know each other ,right ?No need for introductions here! Kashish,thank you for this gift, it's truly the best one I've ever received.I'm proud of you!"
"Yes ! I know you probably wanted to tell me yourself , but young Rathore here just spilled the beans ! This is a milestone for A.R, and you've managed to accomplish something I've wanted for years,and you've done it in such a short time! The overseas expansion of A.R, in collaboration with the prestigious Rathore group , it's the best anniversary gift ever. Wait till I tell your mother !
PS: Please scroll down for the continuation.
And I have replied to some of your comments on the previous page.
Joined: 31 July 2012
Joined: 31 July 2012
As the party wound down,Kashish thought about the look in her parent's eyes,and the thoughts that had been forming in her mind ever since she had spoken to her mother earlier, now coalesced into a blinding certainty.Her mother had been right.There was nothing more important than this.She had seen it, and felt it for years, and now she wanted it for herself.She would do this.
For the first time in days, Kashish Raizada felt light and carefree, just like a twenty-three year old should.She would reach out for her one chance at happiness.And hope that she would be met halfway by him..The moment the resolve formed in her mind, her eyes automatically went to Viraf.But this time, he wasn't looking at her.And this hurt her, even though she knew she had brought this upon herself..But she wouldn't think of all that.She would move forward, and hope that they could start anew.But what could she do now?Would he even respond to anything she did?She wished she had some clue about what he felt now..what if he wanted nothing to do with her?Could she withstand a public rejection?She looked around, and her eyes fell on the uniformed waiter approaching him with a tray of drinks.She saw Viraf frown at the tray, and then he made his choice, and picked up one of the glasses.As she saw this,a slow smile curved her lips.
Viraf stared at the note, and then looked up at the waiter who had delivered it to him."Uh..thank you, you can go now.."He looked down at the small piece of paper again, with just five words written on it.Meet me on the terrace.-KHis first instinct was to crumple up the note and throw it away.Did she think that all she had to do was snap her fingers at him, and he would go running up to her like a faithful dog?He still hadn't forgotten the anger and disappointment he had struggled with ever since she had left his apartment.And now that she knew about the contract, he guessed that she probably wanted to apologize.Well, he wasn't going to listen.He had had enough.She could wait forever on the terrace if she wanted.He didn't care.
A few moments later, he found himself on the stairs leading up to the terrace, cursing his weakness all the way.When he opened the door and saw her, all his irritation vanished as if it had never been there in the first place.
The moonlight glinted off the silver of her dress, and her long hair shone with the vitality he always associated with her.She turned to face him immediately, and he wondered how she knew he was there, even though he hadn't made a sound."Thank you for coming."He noticed that she seemed unusually nervous, her slender fingers fidgeting with her bangles as she spoke.He wouldn't allow himself to feel any sympathy for her.He had suffered enough, wasn't it her turn now?"Why did you write that note?""I..wanted to talk to you.""About what? I think we've said all we needed to. You have your contract, and the deal went through in time for me to let your father know about it on his wedding anniversary. That was what you wanted, wasn't it?""Thank you for that.But this isn't about the deal. Or business. Although I do want to know why you went ahead with the deal, even after I refused..""Because I discovered that I wasn't a heartless b*****d after all. No matter what you think of me. And I thought business was the only thing on your mind, always.""No it isn't. This is about..us.""I thought there isn't an us.""Will you at least listen to what I have to say?""Did you ever listen to what I had to say?""Look, I'm not here to fight with you.""Well that's a first."He saw her take a deep breath, and then she looked away from him.And he didn't like that.
He sighed as he realised the truth.It didn't matter what she did, or how many times she ran from him.He would always come back to her.Always.
He sighed again, and went up to her, turning her around gently to face him.And received the shock of his life when he saw the unshed tears in her eyes.The indomitable Kashish Raizada, crying?He lost it, then.Drawing her into his arms, he smoothed his hands along her back, trying to soothe her with his touch."Sshh. Why are you crying?"She tried to pull out of his arms, but he didn't let her, only loosening his grip a little so he could look into her face."B..Because you don't understand!""Why don't you try to make me understand? I'm tired of this,Kashish. I'm tired of the chase, the games, and the arguments. I think it's time to be honest with each other here. Tell me, what exactly do you want?""You."Kashish didn't know where she found the courage to say what she did, but she was glad she had done so when she saw the look in his eyes now.Tenderness replaced the frustration that had been apparent earlier, and she knew that she had made the right choice in opening up to him.
His lips curved into a smile as he spoke."Are you sure? I can be..too much to handle,at times."Her eyes widened at the innuendo, and then she laughed through her tears."You're incorrigible, aren't you?""Among other things. Although I did make the tears stop, didn't I ? But seriously,are you sure about this? I don't think I'm up for another round of manipulating deals and mergers, just so I can get close to you. Although I never did understand why you pushed me away, why you weren't ready to explore what's between us. After all, you did have your parent's example,didn't you?"She looked into his eyes, and knew that her own were full of the unknown emotion she always felt when he was near.
"I'm sure. I know what I want.I want to give this a chance, and see where it goes..But I think you need to know, I don't know if I'm going to be good at this.Until now,my sole focus has been A.R, and I really don't know if I have it in me to give my all to a relationship..And you are right, I have seen the perfection that is my parent's relationship,but that just scared me. I didn't know if I wanted that kind of intensity in my life..I thought that it would overpower everything, and not allow me to dedicate myself to A.R like I wanted to..But then you came along, and I didn't know what to do. In some ways, I still don't. This is all very new to me, do you understand?""This is new to me, too. I've never been so serious about a woman before. We can learn together, don't you think? And since you have been so honest with me, let me tell you why I signed that deal. Because I knew how much it meant to you, and I couldn't bear to hurt you..do you understand?"She nodded, and then buried her face in his shirt."All I know is..I just can't walk away, Viraf.""I can't, either. Not even when you push me away."She smiled a secret smile."I know. I saw the orange juice."He pulled away slightly."Orange juice?""When the waiter offered you a choice earlier, you rejected the wine, and chose the orange juice...""That was only because I'm driving myself home.""Really."'Yes.""Then why did you come up on the terrace?"He smirked, and pulled her closer."For this, of course."He leaned down towards her. his eyes not leaving hers until the last moment.As their lips met, she closed her eyes, all her senses consumed by the touch, scent and feel of him.He kissed her softly, and then drew back.She kept her eyes closed, and he leaned back towards her.This time, his kiss was more passionate, and he exulted when it was returned wholeheartedly.
A moment later, she drew back, and spoke in a hushed , breathless whisper ..
"Viraf,wait ! We need to talk,this isn't going to be easy, you know.."
"We are going to have to figure out how to stop our business and personal lives from interfering with each other .."
"Does that mean I can't make love to you on that conference table?"
"Viraf! I'm trying to be serious here!"
He didn't reply , leaning down again to kiss her neck this time .
She trembled under his touch, but still continued to speak .
"There are going to be many arguments .."
He still didn't respond, moving her hair aside in order to give him better access to her neck.
" We are going to fight a lot .."
When he continued to be silent, she finally lost patience.
"Are you even listening to a word I've said ?"
He raised his head to look into her eyes.
"Not really . I've been listening to something else. Something that I only seem to hear when you're near."
"What?! It's completely silent here! How can you hear anything? Wait , are you drunk after all ?"
He threw his head back and laughed.
"No,I'm not drunk. I told you I've given it up, and I always keep my word ."
"Then what are you talking about ?"
"It's a distant melody that I seem to hear only around you .."
"Are you serious?!"
"Yes..lets see if you can hear it too.."
"Me? Don't be ridiculous !"
"Just give it a try . For me?"
She closed her eyes , unable to believe that Viraf Rathore, CEO of a multimillion dollar company , actually believed that he could hear a tune that no one else could.
She decided to play along for the moment, just so that she could prove how wrong he was.
"All right. Tell me what I should do ."
"Nothing . Just forget everything but me , and just feel.."
She sighed , and tried to do as he said.
It wasn't very difficult, when he was near , she lost sight of everything else anyway.
He kissed her again, and the feel of his lips was familiar this time, and her own lips molded to his effortlessly.
She shivered as his tongue traced the seam of her lips, and opened her mouth to his caress.
The new sensations overwhelmed her with their intensity, and for the first time in a while, she felt feminine, and cherished.
She felt like a woman .
And he had done that to her .
The thought had barely crossed her mind when she heard it.
Sudden, distant,but unmistakable .
She gasped , and opened her eyes.
"What...what was that?"
He smiled .
"You heard it too, didn't you?"
She nodded,the power of speech having deserted her at that moment .
They stared at each other, acknowledging that this thing between them was deeper than they had first imagined .
This was real.
This was magic.
This was forever .
As the melody that only they could hear continued to play, Kashish Raizada and Viraf Rathore realized the truth that they had hidden from for so long.
This was love.
Nothing more, nothing less.
And so it began.
The next day, Harvard Medical School, Boston.
He couldn't believe his luck .
As a first year medical student, he was used to facing hardships on a daily basis .
But now, as if the rigors of his pre-clinical courses wasn't enough, his test preparation threatened to be destroyed in front of his eyes.
He knew he had left this revision for the last minute, but he had been distracted by the news of the family event taking place back home, and the photos of that celebration hadn't helped, either .
Nostalgia and a sudden bout of homesickness had disrupted his study schedule, which was why he hadn't borrowed this book from the library until now.
The librarian had informed him that there was only one copy left, and had pointed him in the direction of the bookshelf where it was supposed to be.
He went there immediately, only to find that someone had beaten him to it .
A ladder was propped against the tall shelf, and the slim figure of a black-haired girl stood on top, reaching for the very book he had come here for .
He didn't know what to do .
That book was essential for tomorrow's test, and losing it to someone wasn't even an option if he intended to get a good grade.
He had to do well on this test.
He had to prove that he made the right choice in choosing this path.
He had to make his parents proud.
Which meant that he had to get that book, no matter what.
Why did she have to be here ?
An irrational anger swept through him , and he spoke before he even realized what he was saying.
"Hey! You can't have that!"
The loud voice in which he had inadvertently spoken startled the girl, and she turned with an abrupt movement to face him.
He watched with a kind of detached horror as the ladder shook under her feet, and without further thought , he moved to catch her as she fell .
He closed his arms around her even as he stumbled backwards, trying all the while not to drop her to the ground .
"Let me go, you loud-mouthed fool!"
At those words , his blood boiled .
No one spoke to him like that, and got away with it.
No one !
He opened his mouth to deliver a scathing retort , but the words never left his lips .
He finally got a good look at her face, and every other thought flew from his mind .
Jet black hair framed a pale oval face, her undeniable Indian ancestry visible in the dark, thickly lashed eyes and even darker hair.
His gaze was then drawn to her lips , and the breath left his body as of he was the one who had fallen.
Pink,bow-shaped, and very kissable, was the first thought that came to mind.
He forgot all about the impending test, the book, and even his family as he continued to stare.
Until he realized that she was doing the same.
He raised his eyes to hers, and saw the surprise evident there.
He knew then that she felt it too, whatever it was.
This unnamed, unprecedented emotion that swept through him was mirrored in her eyes.
Time stood still as they gazed at each other.
A girl he had just met, whose name he didn't know.
A boy she had just met, whose arms had just saved her.
They didn't know it yet.. But history was about to repeat itself..
This time , with Aarav Singh Raizada.
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