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Little something for you .. to make up for my lack of attention.
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'No response?' he goaded, 'I'll you why. No response because up until now you were driving this...this thing between us. You felt confident and powerful because you were calling the shots. But here's a newsflash: I'm ready to play now so let's move this out of the childish kindergarten flirting it's been and do this like adults. So tell me Payal are you game or was all that bravado just that - an act?'
It didn't happen frequently. Hell, it was as rare as a thunderstorm in sub-Saharan Africa. But yes, today it had happened. Speechless. Payal Kumari Gupta was actually speechless.
Flabbergasted by that
uncharacteristic declaration, Payal stared at Akash as he looked to road ahead.
She frowned as her gaze ran over his face and she sat up slightly. There was
something stern yet more masculine about his profile today. Was it the narrowing
of his deep, dark brown eyes behind those glasses she wondered as her eyes
wandered lower and lingered on the strong lines of his jaw which was normally
clean shaven but today wore darkening stubble. Why was there something indecently
handsome about him today?
Payal quickly realised that she had clearly been playing with fire and had completely misread Akash Singh Raizada. And now didn't have a clue what to do next. She took a calming deep breath and gathered her wits as she replayed his words back in her mind. Payal conceded that there was something deeply attractive about the way he had shattered her perception of him. There was a manly man underneath that quiet persona after all and it now begged the question; what else didn't she know about him?
Arnav was cranky. He had spent most
of the day trying to unravel the millions of problems that seem to have developed
and mutated over a twenty four period. Leaning back into back into his leather
chair, Arnav mentally reviewed the past few weeks. Personally, he was on
nothing but a winning streak with his relationship with Khushi and
professionally he was on the verge of closing another major deal. Arnav leaned
back in his chair and frowned in frustration; his senior executives were in a
state of high tension because negotiations in relation to a high stake project were
proving to be particularly challenging this time.
His expression grim, Arnav
stared moodily into his coffee mug, the swirling black liquid reflecting his
turbulent emotions. Arnav's gaze fell on
the piles of paper on his desk. They were all in relation to the land the AR
Corp was trying to purchase. Ordinarily, this would have been a simple process
but not this time. As luck would have it, the land and building were owned by
an elderly Parsi gentleman whose family had owned it for multiple generations
and were now hesitant to let it go. As far as Arnav was concerned it was a
simple process; the man had land and AR Corp wanted that land and was willing
to pay above market rates for it.
After letting out a string of expletives, Arnav pulled out his cell phone from his discarded jacket and hit speed-dial one. More cursing followed when there was no answer on the other side as expected. He then dialed number. He knew he was being irrational, but his frustration level in this case grew by the second and it was a really good thing that his office was empty because the profanities that followed would have put any pirate worth his loot to absolute shame.
A knock on his door alerted him to the presence of his lawyer. One look at his face was enough to advise Arnav that the news was not favourable.
'We have a situation Mr Raizada,' his legal eagle announced, his expression grim.
'Make that we have two situations,' Arnav announced, his voice was thick with barely restrained anger. The normally unflappable lawyer took a slight step back as he watched his boss pick up his cell phone and issue a set of instructions with clinical precision.
Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada exhaled in frustration for the hundredth odd time in the last hour. She muttered an incoherent complaint to Devi Maiya as she leaned her head against the auto's window. The vibration of the motor brought her back to present and forced her gaze out to the Delhi vista zooming by, the slice of heaven on earth that was the sprawling pavements and central divider of the spectacular city she now called home. It wasn't as if Khushi was seeing all this for the first time but in order to distract herself she forced herself to concentrate on the scenery. It didn't work. Not even the breathtaking sights of the lush palms, immaculate lawns and explosions of flowers on the Rajpath with India Gate on the horizon could improve her frustration at having to succumb to this roadblock.
When Khushi finally arrived
back to her office she was confronted by a clearly panicked Hari-Prakashji
waiting in her office. She didn't have a chance to ask him why he was there as
he launched into deploying his rather garbled message in the very instant he
saw her. As she listened, Khushi pulled her phone from her bag. She groaned as
she realized that she had forgotten to deactivate silent mode after her meeting
and as a result there were fourteen missed calls in the last hour; two from her
husband and the remaining twelve from Hari-Prakashji. Great. Could this day get
any worse Devi Maiya, wondered Khushi silently as she picked her bag up and
commenced her journey with a sense of dread in her tummy.
An hour later Khushi arrived at AR Corp just as the last rays of the sun were disappearing from the horizon. She quickly walked to the elevator and soon she heard the chime announcing that she had arrived at the executive floor. The doors slid open to reveal Mrs Jagtiani sitting at her desk furiously typing away. Distracted by the sound of the elevator bell, the older woman looked up and a smile broke out on her face as she saw her young boss's new bride approaching. Returning Mrs J's greeting, Khushi began walking towards Arnav's office.
She paused at the door as her gaze located her husband. Arnav Singh Raizada was perched on the edge of his desk cradling the telephone between his shoulder and his ear as he flipped through stacks of printed reports. He was in the middle of what was clearly a heated exchange.
The perfect white of his rolled-up shirtsleeves contrasted
with the tanned skin of his muscular forearms. Khushi watched as the fluid,
demonstrative gestures he made with his hand indicated his growing frustration
at the direction of the conversation. Khushi paused in the doorway, captivated
by the command in his voice as he issued a string of complex instructions down
the phone. The stern look on his face, the brutal bite of his voice, even the
way he flipped through paper was sharper and Khushi held her breath, she was
clearly in the presence of a grimly focused, fully charged, alpha tycoon, no, alpha
male business tycoon.
And then his eyes lifted and he saw her. 'I'll call
you back,' he said crisply as he replaced the phone down on its cradle cutting
the connection without apology or any visible sign of regret. His eyes were
hard, his expression businesslike as he focused on her. Khushi saw the tousled state
of his hair and knew that that only happened when he kept running his hands
through it in frustration. Or anger.
Arnav narrowed his eyes as he saw his wife appear in his doorway. He was pretty sure his expression wasn't pleasant, but he didn't care. Fury raced through him. It was about bloody time she made an appearance.
One black eyebrow slowly inched upwards and Khushi cringed as Arnav gestured for her to enter his office with a curt 'come in', his voice deep, abrupt and cold. Khushi slowly walked in. Trying not to be discouraged by his businesslike tone, she reminded herself that he hadn't been expecting to see her, and probably still had his mind on his phone call. But truth be told, Khushi had heard the expression 'you could have cut the air with a knife', and while there was no shortage of tense moments between her and him, her skin suddenly felt too tight and it was getting harder to breathe. She knew this was going to get messy.
Clearing her throat, Khushi tried to keep her voice calm and casual, 'You called Arnav? Did you need me for something?' she asked quietly as she came to a stop in the middle of the room.
Arnav's eyes narrowed as he actively tried to quash the acrid burn of anger his in his gut. 'I did call Khushi. But there was no answer. So you can imagine my surprise when I called home only for HP to tell me that Khushi-bhabi has gone out. In a ricksha. Alone.' His voice dropped in pitch. 'This morning you agreed that it would be a good idea for you to work from Shantivan today because of everything that happened yesterday. So tell me Khushi, what emergency occurred that you felt the need to leave the house. Alone. Without telling me. And switching your phone off in the process?' he asked. His voice was supremely controlled when he spoke, but it wasn't fooling Khushi for a second. She could see a muscle twitching in his hard jaw.
Realizing that Mrs J could probably hear every word, Khushi glanced over her shoulder. 'Can we close the door?' she asked.
Like a panther on the prowl, Khushi watched as her husband slowly straightened his six foot plus frame. He then casually strolled along the length of his office and slammed the door shut with the flat of his hand. 'We have privacy,' he announced in a silky tone. 'I am looking forward to hearing what it is that you have to tell me Khushi,' he announced as he walked back to his desk and resumed his position on its edge as he folded his arms across his broad chest. He wanted answers. Now.
'Ok Arnav, I can see that you
are ahh... upset, and I can explain.' Khushi's voice cracked and she took a
deep breath to steady herself. 'I was working from home as we agreed but then I
had a call and I think I've found the perfect place for Jaleebi Junction, so I
decided to go and quickly see it. But I didn't think it would take so long or
be so complicated. And I didn't realise my phone was on silent,' she said
softly as she watched for signs of his anger either dissipating or worsening.
'You didn't think it might be a good idea to let me know that you are going out?'
'Well, things kind of happened quickly and I had to make decision and get there quickly.'
'In a ricksha?'
Khushi raised an eyebrow, 'I always travel in a ricksha.'
Arnav crossed his arms across his chest as his cocked his head to the left. 'No Khushi, you travelled in a ricksha. Now you don't do that anymore,' he said with an edge of finality in his voice.
Khushi instantly saw red and she crossed her arms as she mirrored his stance, 'Arnav, we had this conversation multiple times yesterday. You know I won't do anything silly,' her hands clenched as she visibly struggled to contain her anger, her cheeks were red with the effort as her temper began rising at the implication behind his words and the resentment of being treated like a child. 'And just because I have Singh-Raizada attached to my name doesn't mean that I've given up my right to make my own decisions, and that includes choosing my own mode of transport,' she bit out incredulously as her eyes began flashing.
'No, but it does mean that you now have someone who is interested in your whereabouts. Interested in your safety. It also means that you have access to your own car and driver thereby ensuring that safety. Your independence has never been questioned and you know that,' came a coldly diplomatic answer.
Something in the way he delivered those words increased her tension, and she remembered that one of Arnav's most deadly skills was his ability to think with a cool, clear head even when he was livid with anger.
As she watched his demeanor a realisation hit her. This was not about her going out alone but about something else. He was pulling rank, Khushi recognised, her lips parting to say something then snapping shut again when it suddenly struck her that he was burning for a fight. Taking a deep breath, Khushi knew that she didn't have the skills to remain completely cool and not engage in an argument with him and win. 'You know what Arnav, I'm going to go home and we can finish this conversation when you come home and are thinking more rationally,' she said as she picked her bag and began walking towards the door.
'Damn it Khushi, don't you dare walk out on me!' she heard him thunder behind her as he slammed his open palm against his desk. Clearly the time for keeping the temper in check was now up. Khushi knew that in her current frame of mind words would evade her. She didn't dare to answer for a minute but simply turned and flashed a furious glare in his direction. She took a deep breath as she composed her thoughts and her temper.
'Why Arnav? Why shouldn't I go?
Clearly you are in a mood for an argument and the fact that I've answered your
question and voided that reason - you're mad again. Secondly, you know full
well just how intimidating you get when you get angry and I'm not going to
stand her and become a quivering mess. I'll see you later,' she said calmly as
she placed her hand on the doorknob.
He moved so quickly that she didn't see it coming. One minute he was lounging on his desk at a safe distance and in the next, his dangerously handsome face was close to hers as one arm snaked around her waist and held her captive against him. Khushi stared at Arnav, unable to move, hypnotised by the fury in his eyes. Her heart began pounding as and she struggled against being detained by him. And then simultaneously struggled against an almost irresistible urge to kiss him. She became still and for a moment as he stared down at her in brooding silence, and she wondered whether he was feeling the same inexplicable urge as she was.
She watched as he rolled his
shoulders to ease the tension and despite all her determined resolutions,
Khushi's eyes were drawn to the swell of muscle visible beneath the fabric of
his shirt. Instantly the images of the previous night flashed before her eyes
and her hands itched to touch his incredible body; his powerful body which was
capable of encouraging an unbelievable response from hers.
Arnav caught the look and his eyes darkened. 'Don't,' he warned and his eyes seemed to deepen in colour to a dangerous, stormy shade of intense brown. Khushi narrowed her eyes, 'like what?' she asked. His dark stormy eyes narrowed. He knew instantly what was going through her mind because he was guilty of the same thoughts.
Arnav tried not to stare, he really did, but it was like telling a hungry lion not to stalk its prey. 'Don't look at me like that and don't bring sex into this or so help me I'll...' He broke off, his emotions so close to the surface that he clearly didn't trust himself to finish the sentence. Khushi swallowed. She tried to move away from him, but his powerful arms held her fast. Her body began betraying her. As did his. 'Let me go Arnav,' she said as a low humming began vibrating through. A vibration of intense desire despite conflict. Struggle as she might, Khushi she couldn't tear her gaze free from the burning brown of his deep-set eyes as they devoured her. A tremor rippled through her body as his fingertips grazed the side of her waist. She closed her eyes and shook her head, desperately trying to cling to some semblance of self-control and sanity.
Arnav knew that fighting with the
woman you love and the touching her was a bad idea but for the life of him
right now he couldn't think straight. 'We can't...' His voice cracked and he
cleared his throat. 'I don't think...' struggling to compose a coherent sentence,
he gave up on words and hauled her against his chest. His mouth came down on
hers with determined force and excitement exploded inside her. Khushi felt the
rough slide of his hands into her hair, felt his fingers dig into her scalp as he
held her head to allow himself full access to her mouth. The kiss went on and
on as her hands wander across his chest and then across the wide expanse of his
broad shoulders. Khushi felt as though her world was spinning and her body was
throbbing with desperation. She forgot where they were and why they were arguing
in the first place. Khushi held on just as tightly as Arnav as they feasted on
each other. Then she heard his hoarse groan against her lips as she felt his
hands drop from her head to grasp his hips and pull her closer to him. They
spiralled out of control as his hands eradicated annoying bits of clothing and
positioned her to his satisfaction. Khushi gasped, his touch was so infuriatingly
good that she couldn't hold back a gasp as their mouths remained locked in a fierce
kiss, his body pumped up and hard against hers as they drove each other
frantic. Khushi forgot that they were in
his office and perhaps Mrs J might still be outside. Everything was focused on
the extreme emotion combined with the physical demands of their bodies, and
suddenly Khushi felt a desperate need for satisfaction. Driven by a force
beyond them, they both raced toward a desperately needed release.
Khushi's legs felt like jelly but Arnav anchored her with the weight of his body and continued to kiss her until her world slowly came back into focus. Khushi kept her eyes closed as she felt the intimate place of where his body joined with hers. She had no idea how to behave after such an unexpected tryst with him. Had it affected him the same way she wondered? 'Arnav?' she whispered slowly.
For a moment he didn't respond. His eyes were closed, his thick, black eye lashes rested against his cheeks, his jaw darkened by evening stubble. Finally he slowly lifted his head and controlled his breathing sufficiently to speak 'I was rough.' His voice was low and very male. 'Did I hurt you Khushi?' She felt her stomach shift, 'no' she whispered softly. 'It was... wow.' Amazed at her response Arnav closed his eyes briefly and then opened them. Khushi looked exactly how he felt. Stunned. 'I can't believe we just did that,' he said as they both began replacing their displaced clothing. Khushi watched as Arnav dragged one hand through his hair as he took a deep breath and she cocked her head, 'I can't remember why we were fighting' she muttered. Arnav's head swung up, his eyes clashing with hers, 'me neither,' he whispered huskily. Eyes locked, they stared at each briefly before bursting out with laughter.
Helooo my darlings!
I'm so sorry I couldn't update last week. My boss (the real life CEO) decided to add a major project to my worklist and there was no way I could pull that off along with an update. I know you will understand.
Ok, so the general prognosis was that the Akash-Payal story was largely appreciated but everyone wants regular doses of Arnav-Khushi. Not to worry, our main love-birds will always be the central focus of Masterclass.
I cant wait to read your reactions on this extra-longggg chapter but before I let you go, I had to share this (I have no idea who owns it, but God bless you!!!)
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