THE NIGHT to forget
Suddenly the baby woke up fidgeting. Arnav turned his head towards the cot with a smile and just as he turned, Khushi's eyes started twitching as she was gaining consciousness. Arnav got up and stepped near to the cot smiling softly at the baby. He reached out his arms to pick the baby up when suddenly he heard Khushi's voice ''DON'T...'' Arnav turned around and to his surprise Khushi was awake. Arnav's eyes widened in excited relief and he walked towards Khushi and held her hand saying ''Khushi, you're awake!'' He smiled at her gleamfully ''Are you okay??? How are you feeling??'' ''...go near her!'' Arnav was confused ''Khushi...?'' ''Get away from her'' Khushi sounded weak but serious with a hint of anger in her voice. Khushi struggled, getting her hand out from his and silently gave him a cold, hard look of which was slightly impassive. Arnav looked at her letting go from his hold which turned his smile upside down, making him feel quite frightened and insecure. ''Khushi...'' ''Arnav ji i don't want to hear it...just please go'' Arnav looked dissapointed and guilty, he understood Khushi would be upset, infact beyond more than upset. Just then, before he could speak, the family came in altogether, very cautious and quietly, trying their best not to cause any disturbance. Everyone was half excited to see the baby and half worried to see Khushi's condition. Arnav suddenly felt restless and thought to himself ''How will i talk to her now?'' ''The doctor said we can see you now, Khushi ji. How are you?'' NK asked this like a small child, making Khushi sincerely smile ''I'm fine, everyone. Please don't worry'' Khushi reassuringly smiled at them. Anjali then asked ''Oh my gosh is this my niece?'' Khushi looked over to the cot. She painfully but slowly got out of the bed and went over to the cot. Tears automatically fell from her eyes. She was seeing her baby properly for the first time. The baby was looking up staring at Khushi with wide hazel eyes just like Arnav's. Khushi lifted her up for the first time into her arms with awe wanting to never let her go. The baby started to slightly cry making Khushi feel unbalanced. She didn't know what to do or how to calm her down and so she just started to rock the baby up and down ''Shh Shh'' The family looked at Khushi emotionally, admiring her entry to the life of motherhood. Anjali teared up and walked towards Khushi holding out her hands with a smile ''Can I?'' Khushi replied ''Ofcourse Di'' Anjali took the baby in her hands and teared up ''She's so beautiful. She looks just like you Khushi ji, but she has her Dad's eyes-that's for sure'' Anjali grinned and Khushi immediately looked towards Arnav with wide eyes filled with fear; she didn't want to give anything away, although he already knew that he was the father. Khushi thought to herself ''No, he can never know the truth! No'' Then, one by one, everyone took the baby in their hands with tender care. When NK held her he said ''Khushi ji, i know you're going to be an amazing, fun Mum, you know? But Nanav...I can't believe he's a father now. I would've never imagined it'' Arnav looked towards the baby then Khushi apologetically then smiled gently. Khushi's heart tensed and she immediately went to NK and took the baby back in her hold, because at that moment that's all she wanted: her baby in her embrace. The baby was still crying and everybody could tell Khushi was getting restless ''Khushi, don't worry. You're a mother now. You'll learn everything in time'' Saying this Payal giggled, cupping Khushi's cheek. Nani took the baby, trying to calm her down, but nothing worked. She then impulsively handed the baby to Arnav, surprising him ''Here, you try.'' Arnav looked indecisive ''uh...uh''. Khushi twitched with anger seeing this. Arnav suddenly teared up as he embraced the hold of his daughter and unexpectedly the baby quietened in her Father's arms. Khushi's eyes widened and her jaw dropped and everyone was surprised. ''Nanav you made the baby stop crying, wow! You didn't even have to do anything, she must really like you'' Arnav looked up and smiled towards Khushi as he rocked the baby at the same time. Khushi clenched her teeth slightly in jealousy before she slowly, in pain, walked towards Arnav and took the baby in her arms again ''shh, shh''. Arnav looked at Khushi sorrowfully as she took the baby away from him; his brows creased in confusion. The baby began crying again in Khushi's arms and everyone started laughing, making Khushi even more restless on top of angry.
The doctor came in to check on Khushi's blood pressure and vital signs, then the baby. Arnav then asked ''When can we take Khushi and the baby home, doctor?'' ''Well the baby is healthy and Mrs Raizada seems to be doing better, but just to be safe i'd like to keep her under observation over night'' Arnav looked dissappointed then said ''I'll stay with them over night. You should all go home, it's pretty late'' The family agreed and Anjali replied saying ''You take care of Khushi ji and my beautiful niece'' Khushi gave Arnav a sharp look like she didnt want him there, but after the family left she felt awkward with his presense. Khushi put the baby in the cot then went back into the bed and Arnav walked towards her in a gentle calm way making Khushi surprised and nervous. Arnav became serious with an innocent guilt ridden face ''Khushi, because everyone was here i couldn't talk to you...but i really need to tell you something'' Khushi's anger rose, she didn't want to hear anything from him. ''Khushi i'm...'' ''No Arnav ji...not now!'' Khushi was puzzled, she didn't understand why Arnav was suddenly acting sentimental and caring. She thought Arnav would continue to treat her like dirt, especially after giving birth to what he thought was Shyam's baby. Arnav stood up looking broken and apologetic, he cleared his throat and turned around to the cot to see his baby. Khushi's blood boiled and she snapped ''don't touch my baby'' Arnav's eyebrows creased as he turned around in confusion. ''Khushi what are you saying?'' Khushi replied in a broken voice ''I... don't want you near my baby.'' ''Excuse me?'' Arnav mumbled. Arnav's heart was pacing, and he was trembling out of fear at what Khushi was saying. ''Khushi no... Please'' Khushi's heart constricted and her throat tightened ''Arnav ji, just please...'' Tears fell from Khushi's eyes, but this time Arnav wasn't willing to let it continue to happen, especially because of him; so he just left the room to give Khushi the space she needed.
As soon as he left the room, Khushi got up cautiously and picked up the baby ''Shh Shh Shh'' Khushi swayed her from side to side but the baby just weeped. ''I don't understand, why do you start crying in my arms and not... Uh-Will you please quieten for me? Hmm?''
It became late at night, Khushi lay in the bed with the baby beside her. Both of them were sleeping peacefully and Arnav walked in. ''Oh wow'' Arnav was mesmerised. He had a bouquet of roses in his hands and put them in the vars on the table beside Khushi's bed. He turned to the bed ''You render me speechless everytime Khushi...And now you've teamed up with the little one'' Arnav chuckled ''What are you doing to me Khushi? I don't even know how i begun to love you, but i did and... And i'm not scared of that anymore, i'm not. Just know that i never hated you...No matter what i said, i never hated you, never.'' Arnav sat beside the two of them with his arm around them, gazing, almost all night, before he fell asleep with his head resting beside them.
The next morning Khushi woke up smiling as she woke up from a peaceful sleep that she hadn't had for a long time. She suddenly realised the baby was missing from her side. Her heart thumped at a rapid pace and she panicked ''BABY?!''
Khushi looked around the room, still half lying down, when she suddenly saw across the room Arnav stood there with the baby in his hands, rocking her ''Shh Shh Shh'' Arnav looked up seeing a frightened Khushi turning relieved but then angry. ''She was crying and i didn't want to wake you'' Arnav then chuckled ''this little one calms down as soon as i hold her in my arms'' Khushi clenched her teeth and got out of the bed, walking towards Arnav. She then gently took the sleeping baby from his hold and said ''What are you doing?! I told you not to go near her!'' Arnav thought to himself ''She's serious? She doesn't want me near my daughter?'' Arnav's heart broke and he looked across to the baby with need. Khushi could see the pain in his eyes, but she didn't understand why. ''Arnav ji...'' she came close to consoling him before she stopped to realise what she was doing. Khushi thought to herself ''Am i being too harsh?... But i don't trust him. It's his daughter...but i can't trust him to treat her correctly...can i?'' Arnav turned around as tears begun to pool in his eyes. He cleared his throat then walked out. Khushi let out a deep breath in relief as if as though it took her alot of courage to say that to him. She turned to put the sleeping baby in the cot when she saw the big bouquet of roses. Her eyes widened with joy and she walked towards it before she realised where they came from, but it didn't stop her from taking a whiff of the sensual scent. She shut her eyes and was taken aback with the rush of feelings; it brought a tear to her eye ''He just doesn't understand how much he's hurt me. Flowers and a sudden, temporary change in attitude won't change everything. It can't''
It was midday and Arnav came to pick Khushi and the baby up from the hospital. They were sat silently in the car and the baby was asleep in Khushi's arms. The traffic was busy and the silence came to a halt when they were waiting in traffic infront of the same sweet shop they were once waiting infront of when Khushi was pregnant. Arnav hesitantly asked ''Do you...want jalebi's?'' Khushi was exasperated and let out a deep breath. She didn't understand Arnav's behaviour; it wasn't long ago that he couldn't stand the sight of her and now suddenly he was tolerating her? ''No'' ''What do you mean no? You never say no to jalebi's'' ''Arnav ji what are you doing? ...Why are you acting so calm? So casual? What happened to all the hatred?'' Suddenly the baby woke up crying, drifting Arnav's attention to her. The traffic started moving and so Arnav begun to drive but was worried for his baby. He left his right hand on the steering wheel and gently patted his left hand over the baby trying to calm her down. The baby opened her eyes looking towards him and replaced her tears with a smile. Arnav smiled back widely at how quickly the baby settled down; it overwhelmed him with nervous joy. Everything was different and new for him, but the baby seemed to like him immediately which made him feel proud and simply happy. Khushi faced him impassively, to remind Arnav of his limits then thought to herself ''How the hell does he do it?!''
Arnav and Khushi walked through the door with the baby in their hands. Everyone rushed to them welcoming them in; ecstatic to see the baby. Khushi looked exhausted and Anjali took the baby from her hands gushing with excitement ''Oh, i missed you so much!!'' Akash put his hand on Arnav's shoulder saying ''Bhai, she's beautiful'' Arnav smiled, agreeing, before the baby begun to weep again. Khushi saw Arnav improvising to take the baby in his arms so she immediately took the baby into her arms from Anjali's. Arnav looked at Khushi longing for her to give him a chance even though he knew he didn't deserve one. He thought to himself ''Khushi, i need my daughter...i need YOU...what can i do to let you know i'm deeply sorry?'' Khushi took the baby to their room and Arnav, exasperated, shortly followed.
Once in the room, Khushi put the baby down on the bed. ''Khushi, are you going to just leave the baby on the bed like that? I don't think it's safe'' ''Well where else am i going to keep her?'' Arnav shook his head in thought, then left.
Later on that day Khushi came down with the baby. Hari Prakash handed over a bottle of milk to Khushi for the baby and Khushi fed the baby ''So how do you like your new home?...It's quite big, i agree, but don't worry you'll find your way round in no time'' Khushi giggled as the baby was calm without Arnav around ''Yes! I finally did it on my own'' Suddenly Nani, Manoroma, Anjali and Payal came in amused by Khushi. Payal asked half giggling ''Khushi, what are you saying?'' Khushi looked up embarassed ''Uh jiji? Um, i'm just...feeding the baby'' ''You're doing a wonderful job Khushi bhetiya! The baby is in great hands'' Nani smiled ''But Khushi bhetiya, are you planning to give this baby a name? Or just continue calling her 'baby'?'' ''Actually... i've thought of a few names'' ''Really Khushi ji? What about Chote? Has he?'' ''uh..i don't know about him'' ''Well we'll hold the ceremony tommorrow. Be ready by then, hmm?'' ''Yes Nani ji...I'll take the baby upstairs now, she's fallen asleep''
Khushi was walking towards the room when she heard a bang and Arnav scream out ''Ouch!''