The roads were deserted, which was quite obvious since the hour was so late. The winds hustling through the trees provided for a ghostly ambience. But, none of this seemed to matter to Raghu who was lost in a world of his own, pondering over the events which had taken place in the day.
It was a usual day at the office for Shivani who had come ten minutes earlier than the stipulated time and got started with her work. After spending hours in understanding the entries of the accounts register, she got a call from Karan asking her to come to his cabin. She got up from her chair and started moving towards his cabin. This did not go unnoticed by Raghu whose eyes were constantly on Shivani until she went inside. Half an hour passed away and Raghu felt as if he had not seen her since ages. Time seemed to be moving at turtle's speed. He was growing restless. He wanted to know what was happening inside. He decided to go inside on the pretext of giving a file to Karan.
Meanwhile, as soon as she entered inside, she was surprised to see the whole cabin decorated with flowers. "Karan, what is all this?", she asked. "Surprise, for you", he smiled at her. He then led her to the main table where he had kept loads of teddy bears for her and had even ordered her favourite pizza. "Today, I thought of having lunch with my to be wife", he gestured to her to sit down. Meanwhile, Shivani was feeling extremely uncomfortable. All the arrangements had been done keeping in mind her liking, but still all this seemed so empty without him.
She ate the pizza and pretended to be enjoying it as she did not want to hurt her best friend, but her heart was lost somewhere else. Then, as she started to move for going back to her chair, Karan held her hand from the back. She was taken aback."Karan, what are you doing?", she was getting nervous. "I always wanted to say something to you, but could never gather courage for the same. I love you, Shivani and have always done so". He went down on his knees,"Will you marry me?" Alas,she always wanted to hear this, but when she finally did, it was not from the man whom she loved more than her life. Coming back to her senses she replied,"Karan, we are already getting married. So, what is the use of all this?". "No, I want to hear it from you. Yes or No?". It was getting really difficult for her, but she decided to say "Yes" and get it done with as soon as possible. Karan was delighted, he got up and wrapped her in an embrace. Shivani was shocked. She was about to say something when she heard a roar from behind. The voice sounded familiar. It was Raghu standing at the door, fuming like a raging bull.
He dropped the file, came up to Karan and grabbed his collar."What do you think of yourself? What were trying to do with her?" Both, Shivani and Karan were shocked beyond belief seeing this side of Raghu. Karan tried to say something, but got a punch straight across his face. His nose started bleeding. He was about to punch him again when Shivani came in front of him."What the hell do you think of yourself?", she shouted at him. "Who gave you the right to determine how I should live my life? You wanted me to go away from your life and marry Karan, I am doing that. So, what is the problem now? Why are you getting enraged if he is coming near to me? He is my to be husband and you are just my servant. So, it will be better if you stay within your limits and concentrate on your own marriage. Just go away from here and don't show me your face again."
Shivani's words had pierced his heart like a dagger. However, he regained his composure, picked up the file and came out of the cabin.
"How could she shout at me and that too for that Karan? Did she forget what all I had done for her? She claimed to love me. How come all the love got vanished so soon?", he was asking all these questions to himself. But, then he thought that this was what he wanted. He did that fake marriage with Sumitra just to fulfill her condition so that she would agree to marry Karan. Now, when everything was happening as he had wished, then why was he so restless? Why was he not able to see her with someone else? His inner conscience gave him the answer but his mind was not ready to accept it. Shivani's words kept resounding in his ears. He saw a liquor shop nearby and decided to get himself drowned in alcohol to forget everything.
Meanwhile, the Saheriya family was really worried since Raghu hadn't come home yet. Next morning, Bela decided to call Shivani and Karan to inquire about Raghu's whereabouts. Shivani got shocked to hear about Raghu's absence. They rushed to his house where Shivani told about her confrontation with Raghu that had taken place the previous day. Sensing this as another opportunity to humiliate her, Sumitra got started with her taunts about how Shivani was responsible for all this mess. Everybody else also joined in, except Bela. Shivani was crying and pleading for her innocence. Karan tried to comfort her by putting an arm around her shoulder. Just then, Raghu entered and was further enraged to see Karan holding her. Karan was quick to put his arm down. All the family members came to greet him and he was bombarded with questions. But, his eyes were on her. Ignoring everybody, he went to her. "Why are you here?", he asked. Shivani saw his dishevelled state and was quick to infer that he had been drinking the previous night. "Are you drunk?" she asked. "What I do in my personal life is none of your business..!!", he shot back at her and held her tightly by the shoulders. "You are hurting me", she cried. "Oh...so you got hurt because I held you tightly and what about the hurt that you caused me through your words yesterday?" he tightened his grip on her. Karan tried to intervene but Raghu was in no mood to listen to him. Shivani signalled him to stay away, freed herself from Raghu's grasp and then looked at him straight into his eyes. "You know what is your biggest problem? That you yourself don't know what you want. When I came to you professing my love, you rejected me and forced me to go away from you. Now, when I have accepted your decision, you are finding it difficult to see me with someone else. What do you want me to do? That you can marry someone else and move forward, but I should not do the same? Now, listen to me carefully, I have decided to marry Karan and this is my final decision. It would be better if we stay as far away from each other as possible", she said with a determined face. Raghu was appalled to hear this, but, he moved away from her and then went upstairs.
Shivani and Karan came out and were standing in front of the Saheriya house. "Are you alright?", Karan asked. She answered in the affirmative. "Let me drop you home", he said. Shivani politely declined his offer saying that she would go by herself. "Okay, but get ready, I have a surprise planned for you tonight. Mandore Garden, 8 o' clock." She was about to protest when Karan said," I would not take no for an answer". Finally, she had to say yes, although she was not at all interested. What both of them were unaware of was that somebody else was listening to their conversation.
Shivani reached there on time but was surprised to find the entire place in complete darkness. Suddenly, someone caught hold of her hand and pulled her towards the wall. She was about to shout when a hand covered her mouth. She tried to adjust her sight to the darkness and see the person in front of her. She touched his face. The stubble seemed familiar. She then went up and touched his hair. "Why have you come here?", she asked. Raghu was shocked to know that she was able to recognise him just by feeling him close to her. He left her hand. He could see the outline of her face through the moonlight. "I can't believe I am saying this and that too to you, of all the girls, whom I had always thought of as someone to protect and not to achieve. But, the last fifteen days have been really tough for me. I am tired of fighting this battle with myself. I have always held you in high regard and you always had a special place in my heart, even before you fell in love with me. But, I was scared to accept this because I used to think of this as a sin. I was too much entangled in social prejudices. But, these fifteen days away from you have made me realize that it is impossible for me to live without you. I can't see anyone else coming close to you. If this is love, then I will love you till the end of my life. Will you be mine, Shivani?" Tears welled up in her eyes and she was not in a state to say anything. Raghu moved forward, cupped her cheeks and bent forward to kiss her. But, she moved her face away. "This is not right, you are a married man now", she said. "That was all a farce. We never got married. I did that just to convince you to marry Karan". She was shocked."How could you do that?", she grabbed his collar,"Do you even have an idea of how much pain you have caused me with this false wedding of yours?" "Sorry", he responded," but when it comes to your well being, I don't think of anything else". Shivani was getting shocks one after the other, first this unexpected love confession and then the truth of his wedding with Sumitra. "And what about Karan? I have promised to marry him and all because of you", she said. Karan, who had been standing at a distance all this while and listening to their conversation, came to the forefront. Both, Raghu and Shivani felt a little embarrassed. But, Karan gave them an assuring smile. "Shivani, you are my best friend and I know that you love Raghu more than your life. So, how can I come in between both of you? I am happy for both of you". Raghu apologised to him for his behaviour the other day, Karan wished them all the best and then left from there.
Raghu turned to her. "So, now all the problems have got sorted. Now, shall I complete the pending work?", he asked her with a mischievous smile. Shivani blushed. He came close to her. She tried to move away, but Raghu was in no mood to listen to her defences. He bent forward and kissed her. It was magical. Both of them were lost in a world of their own. Shivani broke the kiss to regain her breath and then gave him a bone crushing hug. He too hugged her back. "This is the happiest moment of my life. I have waited so long for this. I love you.", she said with a shaking voice. " I love you too", he kissed her on her forehead.
But the problems had not ended yet. Raghu had to deal with Sumitra at home and convincing all his family members would be a herculean task. But, now that he had Shivani by his side and his mind and heart finally at peace with each other, he could take on the world and emerge victorious.
Edited by alpha_057 - 18 August 2014 at 3:05pm