Joined: 22 January 2011
*Mere saath bhaag chalo, Aarti.*
As these 5 words kept ringing in Aarti's mind, a frisson of sensation crept light-footedly along her spine.
She was getting married the following day- in around 15 hours to be more precise and here she was, still thinking about him. No matter how much she tried, she couldn't get him out of her mind. How she wished she could have voiced out her wishes and feelings to bauji earlier, then today she would have been going through the best moments of her life, enjoying with him, all rejoicing for them.
But now, it was too late- was it really, she thought as she again went back to his words.
Aarti had just retired into her room after her so called Sangeet, the night before when she sensed someone's presence in there. She didn't have to switch on the light to know who it was. His fragrance was more than enough for her to recognize him.
Yash, she left out softly as she closed her eyes, with mixed emotions deep inside.
At that time she just wanted to turn around and run into his arms, hugging him tightly. She needed him a lot at that time. What she has been going through during the last few days was really unbearable to her. Only she knew how she forced herself to maintain a straight face with a smile plastered all along the different rituals while her mind and heart kept thinking about him all the time.
But she couldn't bring herself to do so, as at the same time an unknown pain crept along. She had failed to keep up to the promise she had made to him, which they had made to each other. They had promised to be together throughout their lives, yet she was leaving him midway to become someone else's. To fulfill the promise made to her bauji, the one who raised her, though not biological, she was breaking the one made to Yash, the one who brought nothing but immense love in her life.
Aarti was 14 when her dad passed away while her mother was dear to God few days after giving her birth. Having no one to look after her, Mr. SP Scindia took charge of the innocent soul. Since then, Gayatri and him took over the parent figures for Aarti. She was grateful to them for raising her up when no one else was ready to take her charge and maybe that was one reason as to why she could never deny them anything. They gave her all that she needed in her life and never refused her anything, not that she had huge demands but still they made sure she got all that she needed even before she could voice her wish out. Being open-minded people, Aarti was never considered an outsider or worst an orphan by them. Neither they thought of her as a *bojh* who had to be driven away the soonest possible. She was truly like a daughter for them, whom they loved, maybe, more than their own sons, Pankaj, Yash and Prateik.
Though she had taken Pankaj as his elder brother, she could never do the same with Yash. Well, she did suggest it once but the immediate reply was a outright NO from Yash who refused to take her as a *sister*. How could he when the 19-year old had already taken a liking for Aarti.
Since then, Aarti and Yash shared a friendly rapport while Prateik has been the best friend all the while given that they studied in the same class. All were fond of Aarti except for Buaji of course who kept labeling her as an *anaath*. While the others preferred to ignore her knowing her nature, Yash never kept silent to her taunts to Aarti. Once he even told her off, literally asking her to move back to her deceased husband's place since if an orphan had no place in the Scindia Mansion, even a widow didn't have the right to stay there, their house wasn't a *dharamshaala* after all.
Though Bauji scolded him for being this rude, they knew he did this only to stop Buaji's baseless taunts. After few days, almost all forgot the incident except Buaji of course. From then on, her hatred towards Aarti increased ten folds. One chance she would get, she would get her out of the house, was a promise she had made to herself.
As they grew up, even Aarti started feeling something for Yash, something different, like her heart would automatically start beating faster the moment he would be near or she would feel butterflies in her stomach when they would share a skin contact. Finally she concluded that she was indeed falling for Yash. She had started loving her, yes, but least she knew that Yash was already madly in love with her. And then later followed the confession, heart-to-heart conversation and secret meetings. Aarti was 19 at that time, with Yash being 24. So, they decided to wait for some time, rather years on Aarti's behest, before telling everyone. What they didn't know was that Buaji was aware of their secret affair. After all, all she knew was to keep an eye on Aarti. How she wished now that she would have let Yash talk to the family at that time itself, the scenario would have, maybe, been different today…
It had been barely few days after her 20th birthday that Buaji bought a wedding proposal for Aarti while Yash was on a farewell trip with his college mates.
At first all found it a bit weird that the only person who thought ill of Aarti and disliked her to the core had suggested this alliance. Besides, they had never been in a hurry to marry Aarti off. But then Bauji knew the prospective groom's family and the boy as well. He thought that maybe Bua's attitude was gradually changing with her realizing what a gem of a person their Aarti is. That is why she came up with such a good proposal for her. Least did he know that all his sister wanted was to drive Aarti away from the mansion for good.
Maa and Bauji took an immediate liking for Prashanth the moment they talked to him. At a young age, he had managed to carve himself a good image in the b-world. He respected his elders enormously. He was a nice looking guy and to top it all, he promised to take full care of Aarti and give her the due respect and love she deserved. What else could they possibly ask for, for their daughter.
When Bauji asked Aarti for her approval in front of all and wish Yash not in town Aarti could do nothing more than nod her head painfully and run inside. All assumed that she was being shy except Prateek of course who was also aware of everything. Going behind her, he tried his best to make her refuse. But Aarti was adamant as well. She couldn't refuse Bauji, she kept telling him, especially when he asked her with so much hope in his eyes. She can never refuse him anything, not even her life.
The bombshell fell when The Dubeys asked for the wedding to take place within a week. Prashanth would be busy in his projects later on; hence they suggested that the wedding take place the soonest possible. As much as all were surprised, they were happy and willing as well. After so long, a wedding in the house seemed more than pleasant to them. And then they were The Scindias, one week was more than enough to arrange a lavish wedding.
Prateek was not very happy though. He immediately called his brother and narrated him the whole thing and to everyone's surprise, Yash reached home the next day itself, which was actually 3 days before he was supposed to return. As he came, his eyes started looking for Aarti. The moment their eyes met, Yash felt like running to her and take her in his embrace but to his dismay, he couldn't even do so with everyone literally hovering over him.
On the dining table, while Yash sat in front of Aarti and had his questioning gaze over her all the time, the latter kept her gaze fixed on her plate. She couldn't bring herself to meet his eyes. What could she possibly tell him. She knew that he was hell angry on her for giving her approval for this wedding but how could she tell him that she was in no means to refuse Bauji. Being an orphan and raised by the Scindias, Aarti could never refuse them anything. If only Yash would understood that.
Aarti was brought back to present when she felt Yash's strong arms encircling her bare waist.
Placing his face into the crook of her neck, Yash inhaled her scent deeply.
"Yash, chodo mujhe. Someone might come. Please," she literally begged her as she tried to get out of his hold.
But this caused Yash to only increase his grip on her.
"Why are you doing this Aarti? You will simply ruin 3 lives. Neither you want me to talk to Bauji nor do you want to run away with me. You know very well, that I will never be able to live without you. The very thought that you will be someone else's in a matter of few hours makes my blood boil. How am I supposed to stay like this all the time. Please mere saath aisa mat karo. Maa Bauji hum donon se bahut pyaar karte hain. Main baat karunga toh they will understand us for sure. Trust me, at least for once, please?????" Yash pleaded not wanting to get into the sacrificing discussion again. He never believed in the setting your love free saying. When you love someone, you have to make your possible best for you both to be together. And that's why he was there, trying his luck again.
As Aarti turned towards him, she could see the pain being reflected in his eyes. Of course she would know, because she has been going through the same over the past week. She herself didn't know what to do. On one side was her love and on the other the respect of the family which gave her shelter and the love, warmth and care she deserved as a teenager. But she knew that Yash was perfectly right. This wedding would bring nothing but harm not to one but 3 lives. And maybe Maa Bauji will indeed understand them as Yash said. There was no harm in trying, haina? She tried to reason with herself. How she wished she had thought the same a week ago. They wouldn't have been entangled in this mess then. But she still had time, they still had time. Maybe she should listen to Yash, maybe all will be right.
As she wiped Yash's silent tears, he could grasp that she had finally changed her decision as she had a more determined look. Yash's happiness knew no bounds. He didn't care whether all will agree with them or not because he now had her by his side and with her around, he knew things will automatically fall to place and all will be alright.
At that moment, Yash knew no more than to take her in a tight hug. How much he had been missing this over the last few days.
As she rested her head on his chest just above his heart, Aarti sensed the feeling of peace and calmness she had been missing over the week. It would all be fine, she kept reassuring herself. With Yash around, all had to be fine. She knew it and trusted him with her life. All will be ok.
When they broke the hug, Aarti kept looking intently at Yash with questions, fear and hope in her eyes.
One look at her, and he knew he was right in what he had decided for them.
Happy and feeling contented finally, Yash claimed her lips with a deep, passionate kiss that chased all rational thought from her mind. The fears faded, the questions were no more. She gave herself up to the pressure and the minty taste of his tongue as it circled hers and plunged in deeper.
As she angled her head to let him claim her, she placed her hands on his shoulders. His skin was warm and smooth. Muscles rippled as she slid her fingers down his back, then up again.
When the broke the kiss, Yash placed his hand forward waiting for hers.
She knew what she had to do at that time. Placing her hand on top of his, both walked out of the room as Yash tightened his hold on hers. With that, they both walked into the living room, together, hand in hand, a bit unsure of what would happen next while Aarti, silently, kept praying for them. Please God, let it all be okay, please.
Before you yourself tell me, let me say it.
I know Ending Is a bit too opened and maybe abrupt for some.
But frankly enough, I thought that many would not have liked the ending I thought. Thatsy I preferred keeping it like this, open-types, leaving you all free with your imaginations and chose a title which can give away all. I mean, no matter what they will BE together
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