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ArHi SS: Berries & Vodka Ch7A Page 25 04/16 (Page 17)

kclovearshi IF-Rockerz

Joined: 09 November 2012
Posts: 7254

Posted: 25 January 2015 at 8:41pm | IP Logged
Lovely story!! Lovely narration style; simple yet powerful.
First time I'm reading Bankelal is after Khushi instead of Shyam; although he is not sinister like him.

Loved Arnav & Khushi's first meeting :)

Looking forward to

Thank you Ms.KKN for the lovely reco :)

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Pages Newbie

Joined: 22 December 2014
Posts: 49

Posted: 26 January 2015 at 3:13am | IP Logged

Chapter 5: Red

He's usually subtle with all his affections, irrespective of the nature of it. So it was unusual to have him go out of the way in this case. The object of his fascination, clad in a red sari that bore striking similarities to the missing piece of his RED from the vintage collection was bound to make his head turn. But one closer glimpse of her and he forgot why he was there. Arnav should have been seething with anger but he wasn't. Instead from this close distance, he noticed things. Things he originally never intended to. Like how the design was no longer simply his, there were now additions to it. Normally that would have infuriated him, except it did not. It was there he noticed more of her, the simple design of her blouse was rather conservative by AR standards, and the inexpensive material was certainly not the deep cut backless choli, which was part of the original ensemble. Her neck was bare save for the smallest of pendants, her lips colored by a barely there light gloss. No surprises thus when those kohl lined eyes stared back at him; he couldn't help but be drawn to them, beautiful. Sometimes you don't need words to state the obvious; the eyes convey what words refuse to frame. 

There was this fragility about her, so young and all alone; and rare to see in the crowd he usually moved about. Add to that a fleeting vulnerability he read when she looked up and noticed him, for the first time. Her eyes held his for a moment longer than he expected, before she averted them. Women have always been drawn to him; with intentions that have not always been the most noble but never had a woman literally run away from him, before today that is. So when she scampered off, it set some alarm bells off inside that head of his. It could be two things he reasoned, either a guilty conscience because of the obvious or because of... the thought lingered on his mind, longer than necessary. He wasn't used to giving things too much thought than they deserved and it was no different. Luckily, it was his ringing cell phone that saved the day. 

"There's always an exception to every rule" he couldn't have spoken truer words even as his eyes followed vanishing lines of the woman in red. Not really up for this conversation now but it was day time in another part of the world, and he wasn't the kind to avoid work related calls, "Make sure he has everything he needs" he spoke swirling around the remaining 5ml drink in the glass, "We can't afford to lose this one" not amused to have had to answer a call at this unearthly hour, "Don't mess this one Mike" Time zones be damned, he needed to fix this first thing Monday morning. His mind should have been worried; Agnelli was a sort of a gamble, an upcoming designer making waves in Milan. Arnav had poached him after the Fashion Week, and this had to work if they wanted to establish outside India. Normally that's the sort of thing at the top of his priority list, except inexplicably it wasn't, not tonight. He looked back at the crowd, but she was gone, he'd lost her, "Damn" he swore, as he motioned for another drink. And ready to slip back into the shadows again, when his Di called out, "Didn't fancy seeing you here?" if she was surprised, she didn't show, neither did her body language give away anything. But she was thrilled alright; she would take this over him brooding away any day. She wasn't planning on questioning what he was doing attending his own party like he was trespassing.

He turned around slowly, "ah..." she was the last person he wanted to meet right now but trust his Di to show up when he did not require her to, and the worst part was not being able to shrug her off. She was too important for that. They stood there for a while looking at the crowd, she did all the talking. His response was limited to mere monosyllables until their eyes fell on her best friend, a source of constant argument between them. He wasn't fond of her and Di knew, "Should have known she'd be here" 

She didn't respond right away, only choosing to speak a little while later, "You know, she's the new President of the Bored House Wives club" nearly causing him to cough out the drink as a result, "They have here too now?" he looked at his sister almost scandalized. The last time he felt that way was when one of the girls he went out with told him her inspiration was a certain Snooki. It made him question his own judgement. Needless to say, that affection didn't last too long.

"Relax Chotte, you don't need to baby sit me" Anjali took the glass from his hand and sniffed it before handing it back to an amused Arnav, "Vodka?" he shrugged.

"You're evading my question" he wasn't going to let her distract him. Upon receiving no response, he prodded further, "You do realize she comes with certain..."

"Reputation?" Anjali questioned back, "I can't believe youuu... of all people saying this" she stared at her brother, "What have they done to my brother?" and sighed dramatically placing a hand over his forehead, "Is everything alright?" she asked, the biggest smile playing on her lips. 

Aware of what she was trying to do, Arnav turned away from her and looked down at the deck now converted to a make shift dance floor, "I still don't get it..." he shook his head, his eyes focused on nothing, "I don't get it, you and her are like poles apart" he took a sip, his eyes still wondering, "Her husband is the biggest sleaze ball there is...oh" he paused, closing his eyes ruefully. He had done it again. He turned to her with big rounded eyes, worried about her reaction.

"See..." Anjali's smile was reassuring as was the confident walk towards him, "What do you know, we have more in common than you think" she was a pro at masking pain, he knew.

"Di" he felt bad. It was not his intention to bring up the sore topic again, Shyam was her past, it still kept popping up in unexpected moments like a recurring nightmare, "I'm sorry" he apologized, "I didn't mean to..." 

"It's ok Chotte" she smiled, "You worry too much"

They stood there silently for a long time both observing the crowd below before Anjali said, "I like the new suits Chotte" she spoke, "the stripes suit you"

"They better, paid a fortune for these" she stared at her brother all grown up, a far cry from the lost boy of a decade ago. He was so put together, successful except, she worried for him. There was one thing he did not want, it was the one thing she wanted for him, "Chottee" May be it was the tone or just the way she spoke, Arnav knew where the conversation was headed, "And my answer is still a no" he loved his sister but there was one thing he didn't do, relationships and by default, marriage was out of the question. The sooner she understood the better it would be, for her.

"You didn't even let me finish..." she complained, she hated how he could read her tone at times. Of late, it felt like he was the elder brother, "I worry about you" her mind taken over by the deluge of articles she'd read the past one year. She knew that most of it was just hogwash, but there were things that had begun to trouble her, "But Chotte, when you are older..."

He swiftly turned to her, his eyes boring into hers; "Marriage does not guarantee happiness" he was dead serious.

She wished things would have been different with her, with her parent's marriage. Sometimes when she put herself in his shoes, things were so clear, it frightened her. Why would he ever want to get married? "Nothing in life guarantees anything Chotte, but..." she paused, "you can't stop living because of one bad experience. You are missing out...On a beautiful aspect of life"

"Who says I'm missing out" he cocked an eyebrow mischievously, it took her a moment to register those words. He wasn't done scandalizing his sister yet, "Beauty just needs the right eye" and he lifted his glass to that. She rolled her eyes fully aware of his brother's reputation, "So says the Bachelor #2" he stopped amused at where this was headed, "There's a whole world out there, rubbing their hands with glee, waiting to change that status, Chotte"

"You believe in that?" his sister still surprised him with her naivet, "It's all a marketing gimmick" he took a sip.

"Don't be so sure to rubbish that" she said, "Lots of people spent their waking hours voting for you"

"Vote?" this was certainly new to him, "They have time for that?" The words stopped on their own when his eyes finally found what they had been searching for, the vision in red. Who was this woman?

An all too familiar chirping sound distracted him much to his displeasure, "You're on twitter?" he felt like he'd just returned from another planet, what the hell was going on here! 

"It's a text from Akash" her were eyes focused on the screen, "I've been summoned" she looked up, her face was positively lit up by this inexplicable excitement, "For?"

"Akash wants me to meet somebody" she said walking away, "Who?" he asked, "Ms. Gupta" she didn't elaborate. He didn't need her to. But he did anyway, "Di" and she stopped, "Are you hiding anything from me?" he walked unto her slowly studying her face closely, "Do you really want to know?"

"If it's important to you; yes, I do" he stated, "I'll tell you when I know more..." 

He hadn't seen this coming, it surprised him. Akash had to be serious, if he was bringing Ms. Gupta to meet the Di. He wasn't going to miss this for the world.

"What the f**k?" he swore as the object of his fascination was suddenly joined by two others, "Ms. Gupta?" That's her? Jealousy was not in his dictionary. But his eyes refused to budge from them. He finished off the drink, his eyes still glued to her face; he didn't miss the smile that did not reach her eyes.


Khushi wished the Earth would open up and swallow her, cursing herself for looking back. She had to know he'd still be there. Damn you! for some reason the need of the moment was suddenly about how quickly she'd be able to flee the lovely but lonely seclusion of the grassy embankments and join the crowd, towards safety! As far away as possible from the mysterious stranger with those soulfully sinful eyes that had captivated her, tempting her to look back even when her mind warned her, "Hey Devi Maiyaa, was he smiling at me just now?" she looked up at the sky worriedly scurrying towards the crowd, as fast as her heels would allow. The whole heels thing was a bad idea, what was she thinking letting Jiji talk her into it? Khushi Kumari Gupta was far too troubled to notice the irony of the situation and in any case, all lingering thoughts were soon drowned out by the loud music.

Arey jumme ki raat hai...

Arey jumme ki raat hai

Chumme ki baat hai

Allah bachaaye mujhe tere waar se

You know when you get hit on the head, and how it dazes you for the next few moments, you keep blinking and trying to soak in the surroundings a little lost till you regain some coherency? Well that was Khushi now. It felt the safest, standing amidst a slightly delirious crowd, swaying to the music, dancing like they were Salman Khan incarnate. The immediate area surrounding the temporary dance floor was shrouded in darkness lit up occasional flashes of bright burbly colors. The artificial layer of mist added another layer of enigma creating a perfect spot where you could basically dance away the night and no one would give a damn. Designed to conceal and Khushi was glad to hide. She stood there soaking in the music, the ambience - finally absorbing the surrounding, everyone was having fun. That's what she needed, fun. 

"I've been miserable for far too long" she muttered her eyes focused on Sheena who was dancing with one of the girls from HR, they were certainly having fun "Everything is getting to me" she breathed in deeply and turned back slightly, tilting her head to get a better look, hoping he was gone and wishing to see him again. He wasn't there. Relieved to be free of this unwanted attention, she got back to the fringes of the dance floor, a dazzling smile lit up her face as she saw Akash get dragged to the middle of it.

"Khushi!" yelled Lavanya from the crowd, "What are you doing there, get in here!" she waved her hands motioning Khushi to join the team. Dancing. Now that was something Khushi Kumari Gupta wasn't going to deny herself. Not anymore. She too could do this fun thing. 

She swayed to the beats along with everyone, humming the tune following the unsynchronized dance moves of Akash. He was not a dancer but it did not matter, within a matter of minutes, everyone was following him. Lesson of the day, it's not necessarily about what you do; it's how you do it. And if you happen to be successful, rich and good looking, that's like an icing on the cake. No matter how unhealthy all that creme is, the world will stand and applaud.

So, picture this, within a few minutes you had most of the AR team on the dance floor dancing to the desi beats with everyone doing their own version of Akash. It was one crowded dance floor, now dimly lit and most definitely the centre of the party, lit partially by streaky disco lights. The darkness was liberating as Khushi realized, no longer feeling judged, it was just her and the music. Finally after days it was just her, there was no room for Bankelal, JiJi, BuaJi or anybody else. Except, but she was quick to brush away the stray thoughts. This was liberating and Khushi Kumari Gupta intended to make full use of it.

Edited by Pages - 26 January 2015 at 4:44am

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sadia98 Senior Member

Joined: 28 August 2014
Posts: 277

Posted: 26 January 2015 at 3:36am | IP Logged
amazing ,loved itSmile

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anjs IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 03 September 2011
Posts: 18825

Posted: 26 January 2015 at 3:42am | IP Logged
nice Arnav is already possessive of khushi...but thinks Akash wants to marry her...wonder when he will know the truth...
it will be lovely to see their real interaction...btw, why is khushi scared of arnav, does she know who he is...i thought no-one knew who ASR is...

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candyjan IF-Rockerz

Joined: 24 November 2013
Posts: 7128

Posted: 26 January 2015 at 3:48am | IP Logged
Lovely one dear...

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urvisaini IF-Rockerz

Joined: 12 April 2009
Posts: 5175

Posted: 26 January 2015 at 4:07am | IP Logged
Nice chapter 
Finally khushi is enjoying herself 

Looking forward to the next chapter 

Continue soon 

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shruti46 IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 27 December 2012
Posts: 11519

Posted: 26 January 2015 at 4:56am | IP Logged
so hereis arnav khushi nd salman khan too ..wonder where is teri meri ;)

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meera_beladiya Senior Member

Joined: 01 December 2012
Posts: 387

Posted: 26 January 2015 at 5:17am | IP Logged
nice one

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