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"I will kill myself if you come any closer." Though Arnav was perceptive enough to recognize the truth behind those calmly uttered words, Shyam Manohar Jha was not. Or perhaps he just didn't know Khushi well enough, to comprehend her every word and action like her love-struck husband did. That would explain a lot about Shyam. He was in denial, completely convinced Khushi loved him. And absolutely certain he loved her. But Shyam Manohar Jha did not understand the meaning of love. What he felt for Khushi was not love, as he liked to believe. It was pure, unadulterated lust. He wanted Khushi at any cost and if that cost happened to be the destruction of not one, but two families, then so be it. The emotion raging within Shyam was an ugly, cruel beast. There was no trace of sacrifice there. There was only selfish desire. The emotion called love was alien to Shyam, though he did not realize it. Love is a complex, convoluted mass of feelings and emotions. Love causes extreme reactions, misunderstandings, and more pain than perhaps it is worth. But to love and to be loved in return is a gift beyond any other. The emotion that Shyam was currently mistaking for love is much easier than that raw, visceral emotion so few people actually encounter. There are no complications in lust. There is only a goal and a path towards that goal.
Shyam Manohar Jha was clear in his path now, as he focused intently on his goal: Khushi Kumari Gupta. Or maybe he was just deranged. Insane. Unhinged. Any one of those words would suffice to characterize Shyam Manohar Jha. But in that moment, the best word to describe Shyam would have been stupid. He embodied stupidity, as he stepped closer to Khushi, not heeding the clear warning flashing in her doe-shaped eyes.
Arnav could have told Shyam that Khushi was serious, that she would carry out her threat with no hesitation. Arnav could have told Shyam how stupid he was, if he hadn't been frozen, locked in his own personal hell, in a torrent of all the emotions he had denied for thirteen years. Arnav was frozen and so he did nothing as Shyam deliberately closed the distance between himself and Khushi. He did nothing as Khushi pressed the glass shard she had been clutching into her delicate, porcelain skin. A few clumsy swipes of the jagged glass were enough for the blood to begin gushing out, forming a puddle around her.
If there had ever been a doubt, it was clear in that instant that Shyam Manohar Jha had never loved Khushi Kumari Gupta. He backed away from her now as the pool of blood became wider, disgust in his eyes. "I wanted you when you were beautiful Khushiji. That glass will leave scars on your skin. Ugly scars. That is why I was never attracted to Rani Saheba. She limps, like an old woman. How could I ever love that? And now you.. you are tarnished as well. Damaged. I have no desire for you anymore."
He did not desire her anymore. She had been waiting for exactly that. What had he said? He did not love her anymore. Because of the scars. But what if the scars faded? Would he come back? NO. She couldn't allow that. The scars must never fade. Delirious with pain, Khushi raised the glass shard again, bracing herself for the sting. But it never came. She opened her eyes and looked down, confused. There was another hand there. A large, tanned hand, which now had a deep gash in the middle of its palm, the blood coming out in sharp spurts. She looked at the wrist connected to that hand and then traced the arm up to the shoulder. Then it was only a small jump from the shoulder to the face. And it was only when she cradled the face, bloodying it, did Khushi realize who had taken the stab for her.
Arnav Singh Raizada had thrown himself across the floor towards his wife when he saw her raise her weapon again. As if once had not been enough. He had been frozen in a whirlwind of guilt and sorrow. But at the sight of Khushi trying to injure herself yet again, he had hurtled towards her, placing his own hand above her wrist, taking the pain for her. He stared into her eyes now, remorse in his own, promising her that he would never let her get hurt again. She stared back at him, uncertainty clouding her gaze.
"Arnavji? When did you come?"
"I never left Khushi."
He had seen. He knew now. It was over. Finally. She sighed with relief, letting go of the stress and fear, which were all that had been keeping her conscious. She no longer had to worry and she collapsed into a heap, right into her husband's waiting arms, her blood soaking his pristine, white shirt.
Arnav panicked. There was no other word to define the emotion wracking through his powerful frame in that moment, other than wild, uncontrollable panic. "KHUSHI! KHUSHI! Please wake up Khushi! I'm sorry, please, just look at me. I'm telling you to look at me dammit! Wake up! Khushi, didn't you hear me?? I said wake up dammit!" When the demands did not work, the pleas began. And when those had no effect either, Arnav Singh Raizada succumbed to the tears he had not allowed himself to cry ever since that fateful day thirteen years ago. He didn't notice as Shyam silently slipped out. His sole focus was on the slight figure in his arms, as he continued to cry, whispering his apology to the woman he loved over and over again. And that was how his family found him: a hunched figure cradling his wife's oddly still form, her blood seeping through his formerly elegant clothes, tears ravaging the proud, handsome face.
*THIS CREATION IS OF MY OWN WORK. PLEASE DO NOT COPY OR REPRODUCE.*
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