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(Many, many thanks and hugs to Mini Di for making this for me! You're incredibly talented and amazing)
"I have asked Khushi to marry me, and she has said yes. We would like to get married as soon as possible."
Ashok drew in a sharp breath. He heard Sakshi let out a soft oh', and felt the weight of her body leaning against his as he gently grasped her elbow, holding her steady.
His gaze flashed to Khushi, who didn't look at them, her fingers interlocked tightly with Arnav, her lashes lowered. He dropped his eyes to their hands, unsettled by the distance between them.
They were standing close, but carefully so, as if this were an act in a play. Arnav's hands grasped Khushi's tightly, but it lacked the tenderness that he had seen in their stolen glances across the dinner table. The blush that adorned Khushi's face around Arnav was gone, a pale pallor in its place.
Ashok felt his stomach drop, the weight settling uncomfortably.
He had borne witness to the fight that had lead to the separation between Arnav and Khushi, and he had seen the devastation that had come from it. While Arnav had worn his heart on his sleeve, snapping at everyone, Khushi had masked it carefully, cheerfully preparing the shagun for her impending engagement... to NK.
Why was she suddenly ready to marry Arnav?
He glanced between the two of them again, his eyes narrowed as he watched them carefully.
"This is all rather sudden, isn't it?"
There was a tense silence that seemed to freeze everything in place, the family oblivious to the sounds of the activity occurring just steps from them. Ashok steadily met Arnav's gaze, but Arnav didn't flinch, staring directly at his father.
"There is no time like the present, is there?"
There was another long silence, the father and son facing each other from opposite sides of the doorway. Khushi glanced around uncomfortably, wondering if anyone else had noticed the tense scene playing out on the doorstep.
"And is this what Khushi wants as well?"
There was no mistaking the sharpness in his voice, pinning Arnav with a keen gaze. Khushi's eyes snapped up to his, her mouth parting slightly. She felt Arnav's grip tighten around her fingers, tense. Her heart lurched, her stomach churning under the pointed gaze.
NK's face swam in front of her eyes. Her heart constricted, and she let out a deep breath.
She felt as if she was betraying him, her promise to wed him ringing in her ears.
She could say no, and it would all be over.
She swallowed tightly, looking away as she blinked away the sheen in her eyes.
There was a poignant pause before she spoke, her voice unwavering. Her mouth opened, ready to form the word no', to put an end to this entire charade.
"Yes, this is what I want."
Her heart paused, stunned by the words that had spilled from her lip. The blood rushed through her veins, her palms clammy as she felt his fingers relax between hers.
Why hadn't she been able to say no?
Her voice was deceptively confident, a faint shadow of a smile on her face. Ashok regarded her for a long moment, studying her face. Khushi held her breath, her heart thudding against her ribcage.
He let out a long, slow breath, nodding curtly, opening the door further to allow them in.
"Very well then. We can discuss this later."
Khushi released the breath she was holding, closing her eyes in a silent thank you. Arnav's fingers tightened around hers, pulling her with him as he walked behind his father. Khushi stared after Sakshi, who slipped into the kitchen without a word, refusing to meet Khushi's gaze.
She tugged her hand out of Arnav's grasp, and he turned around to face her with a glare. She shook her head, gesturing after Sakshi. Arnav glanced at her retreating figure before nodding, and Khushi followed Sakshi, her heart squeezing guiltily.
She stood in the doorway of the kitchen, watching as Sakshi bustled around with nervous energy. It was clear from the lines on her brow that she was disturbed, her hands twisting and untwisting the bun at the nape of her neck as she directed the servant, her eyes flitting about the room distractedly.
Sakshi turned around, a tight smile on her face.
"Khushi? Arey, bitiya, you didn't have to come, she's here today... you should be planning, we have so much to do, hai na? And I can't believe you're-"
Khushi gently interrupted, walking up to her and placing a hand on her shoulder. Sakshi looked up at her, and Khushi could see the sadness reflected in her eyes, barely masked by the wide smile on her face.
"I cannot believe this is happening."
Sakshi said quietly, wiping away the tear at the corner of her eye. Khushi remained silent, allowing her to collect her thoughts as she took a shuddering breath, trying to work the smile back up onto her face.
"I have... I have always wanted you to join the family, but I never thought it would actually..."
She trailed off, falling silent.
"I am happy, Khushi. I just wish... I wish you had told me. Ek baar keh ke toh dekhti ki main..."
Khushi felt the guilt pierce her seeing the hurt in her eyes, knowing she had broken a little piece of the trust Sakshi placed in her. She looked away, feeling the tears prick at her own eyes.
"Ma, I'm so-"
Sakshi shook her head, cupping her cheek gently.
"Please don't do this again. I am glad you at least spoke up before I spoke to the Kumars about NK."
Khushi's heart plummeted at the mention of his name, the smile falling off of her face. She hastily tried to cover up, her breathing suddenly constricted by the pain that twisted her stomach. Khushi was barely paying attention, her mind occupied by thoughts of the friend she had lost. She closed her eyes, the tears clumping her lashes together as she desperately tried to keep them at bay.
Sakshi turned around, glimpsing the way Khushi hastily wiped at her watery eyes. Her heart broke for the younger girl, and she immediately stepped forward, pulling Khushi to her chest. The earlier hurt was forgotten, her mind focused on the daughter in her arms, the hot tears staining her blouse.
She wrapped her arms around Khushi's shaking shoulders, running her hands through the long strands of hair. She murmured reassurances as Khushi sobbed, rocking her back and forth as she cradled her to herself, the tears spilling down her own cheeks.
"I'm sorry, Ma, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to."
Khushi mumbled the words over and over, the hiccups breaking her voice. She buried her face into her arms, letting the pain she had held in break free as Sakshi rubbed her back in slow circles, pressing soft kisses to the top of her head.
She leaned against her, spent from her tears, letting Sakshi brush her hair out of her face. She looked up through teary eyes, and Sakshi's hands gently cupped her cheeks, wiping away the remaining tears.
"Koi baat nahi, bitiya. Your happiness is most important for us."
Khushi drew in a shaky breath, leaning into Sakshi's hands. Sakshi pulled back, looking into her eyes worriedly as she scanned her face.
"This is making you happy?"
Khushi nodded slowly, and Sakshi relaxed, smiling fondly. She pushed a piece of hair behind Khushi's ears, squeezing her shoulder.
"Let bygones be bygones. You are happy, and that is what matters."
She paused, a tender smile on her face.
"I've wanted this for so long... I am glad you're joining the family, Khushi."
Khushi felt the pain ebb away as she met Sakshi's warm gaze, so full of hope.
A sharp burst of self disgust hit her as she realized she had done nothing but mope over her situation. She had agreed to this, and nothing would change it.
Strength bubbled up from inside her stomach, the steely determination sweeping through her as she drew from the hope in Sakshi's eyes
"Ab stop crying, we have a wedding to plan, don't we?"
Ashok stood at the top of the staircase, staring at the back of his son. His lips pulled up in a thoughtful smile, musing at how the situation seemed to echo itself from just a few weeks earlier.
He saw Arnav lift a glass to his lips, taking long sip of the liquid inside before placing it down on the table beside him.
Arnav stiffened, but didn't turn around, only reaching for the glass beside him once more. Arnav's jaw was set tightly, his gaze focused on the rose bushes in the distance as he took another sip.
Ashok stepped up to him, placing a hand on his shoulder. Arnav softened, turning around to meet his gaze. The worry in his father's eyes broke him, with Ashok searching his face, his hand warm on his shoulder.
He turned away, steeling himself.
The silence was overwhelming, heavy with unsaid words. Ashok sighed deeply, realizing that Arnav wasn't going to break the tension.
"Would you like to tell me what is going on?"
Arnav didn't respond for a moment, before raising his glass, his lips curved up in a grim smirk.
"I fell in love."
Arnav chuckled sardonically, swirling the liquid. Ashok watched him with worriedly, letting the words linger in the air for a moment too long.
"Those words hold more truth than you would like me to believe, don't they?"
Arnav's gaze snapped up to his, his mouth parting in a protest that never came. His eyes quickly darted away, and his Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed nervously, his fingers tightening around the glass.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Arnav's voice was barely a whisper, his gaze focused on the swirling liquid. Ashok shook his head mentally, a wry chuckle escaping his lips as he realized that his son still hadn't understood how well his parents knew him.
"A mask can only hide so much, Arnav."
Arnav didn't respond, his fingers playing with the rim of his glass. Ashok saw his vulnerable child, lashing out because he was heartbroken. Ashok reached out to hug him, but Arnav stiffened, shifting away from his father's kindness.
He pushed away the pull in his heart that wanted him to lean into Ashok, to feel his father's warmth. His hand fisted as he forced himself to turn away once more, and watched out of the corner of his eye as his father's hand remained in the air for a moment, before dropping to his side.
"Why are you marrying her?"
"Because I love her."
He repeated mirthlessly, his honesty echoing in the silence. Ashok regarded him quietly, keeping his gaze locked on Arnav as he responded.
"And does she love you?"
Arnav sucked in a sharp breath, his jaw tightening as his fingers curled, pressing against the glass until they became white. He could hear Khushi's trembling voice in his head, defending NK with a sheen of tears in her eyes, her voice breaking over his name despite his betrayal.
His throat felt tight, a storm gathering in his stomach as the jealousy crawled up his skin.
I am ready to marry NK.
Her voice rang in his brain, taunting him. He tried to push away the heartbroken hazel gaze that lingered in his memory, tears streaming down her cheeks for... him.
No. She hadn't loved him. She couldn't have.
Ashok watched as the emotions flitted across his son's face. His heart broke for his son, the uncertainty and fear that she didn't return his love reflected in his eyes. His stomach churned as Arnav struggled to push away the fear, and Ashok automatically reached out, needing to touch him.
"Yes, I do."
He turned around to face the owner of the soft voice, his heart lurching as he met her steady gaze.
What was she doing here?
She didn't look away as she walked up to him, standing close enough so that he could feel her warmth. He drew breath through his teeth, his mind dizzying as her familiar scent washed over him.
Ashok didn't look away, keeping his sharp eyes trained on them. She met his disbelieving gaze, before quietly slipping her fingers through his, a small smile on her face.
"I want to marry him, Papa."
Ashok stared at the pair in front of him. He saw the way Khushi stood, her head held high as she clasped his hand tightly, her jaw set in the way Arnav's had been just hours before. He could see the determination that flickered in her gaze, the confidence with which she spoke the words that she had quietly whispered.
In this odd moment, when he knew he should have put a stop to this entire mess... he didn't.
He glanced at his son, the shock lingering behind the mask he wore. He had snapped his mouth shut just as it had parted in surprise, trying to muster up the facade of bullheaded rage he had worn just minutes before.
His heart swelled with pride for the proud, determined young woman in front of him. The steely glint in her eyes was more than enough to tell him that his son would have a fight on his hands, that Khushi wouldn't bend to his will.
You should be proud of her, Shashi. You've raised her well.
He murmured to his friend, a small smile pulling at his lips as he gave his blessing.
They sat tensely around the dining table, with no one quite looking at each other. The four of them picked at their food, pushing it around the plate. No one wanted to break the fragile silence that hung like a piece of glass teetering on the edge of a table, shattering with a single breath.
Ashok looked over at his wife, who met his gaze worriedly. He reached under the table, squeezing her hand gently in reassurance. He shifted his gaze over to Arnav and Khushi, who were determinedly staring at their own plates.
He cleared his throat, and their gazes snapped up, nervousness mirrored in their eyes. There was a heavy pause as the four of them held their breath, fiddling with their spoons.
"You want to get married as soon as possible?"
Ashok asked, still looking at his plate. Arnav and Khushi glanced at each other before nodding, looking away from each other quickly. There was another long pause before Sakshi spoke, her voice gentle.
"It may be difficult to plan a wedding for next month. It's not nearly enough time."
"Next month? We were hoping we could do this tomorrow."
Sakshi stared at him incredulously, a warning in her expression.
"Arnav, I will not have you and Khushi married off in a legal ceremony."
Arnav scoffed, rolling his eyes. He quieted at the sharp glare from his mother, but his words didn't lose their bite.
"These rituals are a pointless waste of time."
Sakshi opened her mouth to respond, but Khushi beat her to it, her voice quiet but steely.
"Saari reeti rivazon ka koi na koi matlab hota hai."
"There is no need for them. They waste time, and are only for show."
"They have meaning! Every ritual holds a special meaning. Every mantra, every phere has a meaning!"
"They're just words, Khushi, words said around a fire with some grains of rice thrown in, a red powder that symbolizes everything yet has no meaning in the court of law. The signing of the paper is what matters-"
"Not to me! Yeh saari reeti rivazon ka matlab hai, and they're important! Every step around the fire represents the forming of a partnership, the joining of two people, court of law be damned! Everyone recognizes the color of sindoor, the black beads of a mangalsutra-"
Arnav whirled around to face her in his chair, his eyes flashing angrily.
"Kya hai yeh reeti rivaz? Aur hamare feelings se badkar kaise? Humein kya chahiye, uska koi meaning nahi hai?"
Khushi drew in a sharp breath, her eyes wide as she looked up at him. Awareness crept in, spreading through them with a languid warmth. The air thickened, and the two of them found themselves unable to look away from each other.
Khushi was suddenly very aware of the his presence, the feeling of his leg just inches away from hers. The hard lines around Arnav's mouth softened, his gaze lingering on her face as they unwittingly leaned closer to each other.
(continued in the next post)
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Sakshi interrupted, looking between the two of them. Arnav and Khushi hastily turned away from each other, and Ashok leaned back in his chair as his gaze shifted between them speculatively, a faint smile on his face.
It was still there. The feelings, the emotion... it was there.
He could see the pink rising up Khushi's cheeks, her eyes flitting about the room nervously as she twisted her hands, while Arnav's cheeks seemed darker than usual, his gaze focused determinedly ahead.
Ashok turned to Arnav, fixing him with a pointed gaze.
"What is the rush, Arnav?"
There was a long, heavy silence. Khushi's stomach twisted uncomfortably, her sense of dread increasing with every passing second. Arnav didn't even look at him as he answered, keeping his eyes straight ahead.
"I need to get back to England."
Khushi's stomach dropped, the breath leaving her. She stared at him in shock, her throat closing as she stared at him, hoping he was bluffing. She searched his eyes desperately, her heart pounding in her chest as she realized that he was completely serious.
She gritted her teeth, a flood of anger filling her as she continued to look at him.
He hadn't even thought to ask her.
She felt tears of frustration filling her eyes, and blinked rapidly, willing away the tears. Hurt coursed through her, bruising her heart as it pressed against her ribcage, aching and prickling.
She couldn't let them see her cry. She couldn't.
Ashok immediately looked over at Khushi, his heart shattering at the tears in her eyes. He could see her pain, the echoes of their argument ringing in her head.
She was heartbroken that he had done this again.
He wished he could reach out and hug her, tell her that it would be okay. He glanced back at his son, searching for a sign of compassion behind the unforgiving caramel wall, only to find that it was determinedly built up to keep him out.
He heard Sakshi's gasp beside him, could hear the sadness in the breathy sound.
He willed his son to look his way, to see what he was causing.
But Arnav didn't look at them, his voice hard and unrelenting as he spoke.
"Sunday, at the temple. A simple wedding, with just our family. We can have a reception with everyone else later. Otherwise, I elope with her."
Arnav pushed himself off of the chair, stalking out of the room before anyone could protest. He ignored the three gazes on his back, placing one foot forcefully in front of another, trying to push away the hazel eyes that glimmered in the back of his mind.
Ashok walked into their room later that night, closing the door softly behind him. He could see his wife's silhouette at the window, staring out as the moonlight filtered over her greying hair.
He could see the sadness in the slump of her shoulders, the heavy, saddened sigh that left her lips. She stared out at the courtyard, and he watched as she blinked, wiping at the tear that slipped down her cheek.
His heart clenched painfully, and he looked away, swallowing tightly. He had never been particularly good with words, preferring to use them sparingly.
He knew his wife needed his comfort right now, and felt a stab of self doubt. He chuckled to himself wryly, shaking his head.
Even after all this time... she still made him nervous.
He could remember the first time he had seen her, a shy blush filling her face as she had bent down to serve him chai. His mouth unwittingly curved up at the memory, her sparkling dark eyes and gentle smile still making him catch his breath.
A soft sniffle from the window broke him out of his memories, and he turned back to her shadow, walking towards her slowly. She turned at the sound of his shuffling footsteps, scanning his face worriedly.
"Did something happen? Is everything okay?"
He didn't say anything, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her into him, trying to convey what he felt in actions. She stiffened, surprised by the unprecedented gesture of affection. She turned her head up to him, searching his face, and he leaned down, placing a soft kiss on her forehead.
He pulled back, reaching forward and brushing the tear gathering at the corner of her eyes away. She shook her head, pulling herself out of his grasp.
Sakshi's voice caught, and against her will, a few more tears slipped down her cheeks. Ashok's heart tightened, and he pulled her into him, ignoring the weak resistance she put up. She relaxed into him, leaning her head against his chest, her hands pressed against his shirt.
They stood there in the moonlight, simply listening to the sound of their breathing. He rubbed slow circles on her back, noting the way he towered over her, her small frame just barely reaching his shoulders.
"I wish they had told us. I just wish... I felt as if I lost both of them, in that moment."
He heard her soft voice, muffled by his shirt. She paused and then continued, reaching up to wipe away a tear.
"I... I felt so distant from them. Why didn't they tell us? Did they think we would tear them apart? I- we... haven't we shown them that their happiness matters most?"
She looked up at him, bewildered. The moonlight struck the sheen in her eyes, hitting the grey strands in her hair until they turned silver. He felt the heat of her tears wetting his kurta and pressed her closer, his heart breaking at the hurt in her eyes.
"We did, we did, and they know, Sakshi. They're young. We have raised them as well as we could, and now we must support them."
He pressed a kiss to the top of their head, and she snuggled in closer, drawing a shuddering breath. There was a long, poignant silence as they both thought, reflecting.
"Will... will they be okay?"
Her voice was tentative, as if she was stepping out onto thin ice. He could hear the fear in her voice, one that he had seen mirrored in himself today when they had shown up at his doorstep, hand in hand.
He stiffened, thinking of the guarded expression on Khushi's face, the angry determination in Arnav's eyes, the canyon that had formed between the two.
He opened his mouth to respond, but a moment flickered in front of him, Arnav's voice echoing in his head.
"Kya hai yeh reeti rivaz? Aur hamare feelings se badkar kaise? Humein kya chahiye, uska koi meaning nahi hai?"
He paused, realizing by Sakshi's worried gaze that she was waiting for his answer. He looked into her eyes and nodded, hoping that he was right.
"This is what we've always wanted, isn't it?"
Sakshi stiffened for a moment, giving him a questioning gaze. He took a deep breath, a small smile on his face.
"We have always wanted Arnav and Khushi to marry. Khushi will be with us, and we know Arnav will take care of her. This was the ideal solution, but we never expected Arnav would..."
Sakshi relaxed, a smile pulling at the edge of her lips. He could see the glint in her eyes, the sparkle that had come back. She shook her head, smiling more fully.
"This is what we've wanted. It may have not come about as we expected, but..."
She looked up at him, a fond smile on his face as she reached up, tracing the lines on his face.
"They'll be okay. I know they will."
His eyes closed and he leaned forward into her touch, his fingers brushing against the bare skin at her waist. She shivered, a sigh of pleasure escaping her lips. She opened her eyes to find his gaze focused on her lips, her veins thrumming in anticipation.
Their entwined silhouettes were just barely illuminated by the moonlight as he leaned down, his hands slipping around her waist.
Arnav stood at the staircase of the temple on Sunday, pulling at the collar of his sherwani. He growled in frustration, tempted to rip the damned thing off as it rubbed against his neck, closing in. The sweltering heat only made it stick to his skin more, the dark fabric clinging to him.
Arnav groaned, running a hand through his hair. He heard his father chuckle in amusement, and shot him a glare, which Ashok merely entertained with an answering smile. Aman quickly hid his smirk, hiding his laughter beneath a cough.
"These damned sherwanis."
"And your tie, doesn't that close in around your neck as well?"
Arnav ignored his father's comment, resorting to a low growl of frustration. He glanced around, looking for Khushi.
If he had known that a simple wedding would be this much work, he would have married her and then brought her home.
His mind longed to see her, his fingers twitching and antsy. He cursed roundly, gritting his teeth in annoyance.
He hated how he needed her.
His mind unwittingly slipped to the night of Anjali's wedding, the familiar, welcome warmth sweeping through him. He could feel the untutored press of her lips against his, her tongue sliding against his, exploring.
He could feel the desperate clutch of her fingers in the fabric, steadying herself as she opened her eyes, glazed over in desire, her cheeks flushed and lips swollen from his kisses.
His fingernails dug into his skin as he tried to control the fire spreading through him. He looked down at his palm, staring at the crescent moon shaped indentations, sending a sharp pain searing through him.
"I love you."
His mind replayed the image of her turning and walking away over and over again, taunting him with the sheen of tears in her eyes, reddened at the edges, the black line of the kohl wiped away. His gut twisted painfully, and he looked away, his fists curling until he couldn't see the crescent shaped scars.
"I want to marry him, Papa."
He could feel the shadow of her fingers slipping through his, squeezing reassuringly. He could see the glimmer of hope reflected in her gaze, and felt the emotion unfurling in him.
They could make this work.
They had to.
This was... forever.
The word inspired a strange sense of anticipation in him. His heart seemed to hold its breath, an unprecedented sense of excitement flooding him. He felt a smile tugging at his lips and was unable to hold it back, her smile playing back in his mind.
The word sounded nice, he thought. He turned around, looking for her once more, only to realize that she still hadn't come. He shot a glance at Aman, who simply shrugged, giving him an apologetic smile.
He gritted his teeth, his hands aching to touch her, craving the sight of her.
He was about to stalk off and find her himself when he stilled, his irritation vanishing at the sight. He was oblivious to the knowing, amused looks from his father and Aman, his eyes only focused on her.
He couldn't hear anything but his heart pounding in his head, his entire body suddenly aware of her every movement. His breath caught in his throat, the surroundings ceasing to exist.
He wished he could unravel the braid they had put her hair in and let the waves tumble down her shoulders, messy from his fingers running through them. His eyes trailed over the exposed skin over her neck, the desire curling in his stomach until he could hardly breathe, his mind clouded.
He lifted his gaze to hers, the uncertain, nervous hazel eyes meeting his. He heard her quiet gasp, knowing she had seen everything in his face.
Khushi's heart skipped a beat when she met his eyes. She desperately wished she could look away from him, but she couldn't, held captive by the emotions swirling in his eyes.
He looked like Aman had...
As if... he were the luckiest man in the world.
She stopped breathing at the realization, her hands clammy.
She hated herself for believing that, her traitorous heart responding to his reverent gaze. Her body felt as if it was on fire, a slow burn spreading through her as he traced every contour of her body endlessly. She didn't want him to stop, craving the love she saw in him, the feeling as if she was the only person he could see.
And she hated it.
She would have gotten engaged to NK today.
Guilt seared through her, the knife in her gut twisting until she couldn't breathe. Her name on his lips was a screaming echo as the image of him being dragged away swam in front of her eyes, his defeated, pleading brown eyes haunting her.
She closed her eyes, the tears spreading over her lashes, clumping them together. They didn't fall, the salt prickling at the corners, making her lashes feel cool over her cheeks. She drew in a slow, pained breath, her heart clenching until it hurt to breathe.
Her mind screamed, her stomach churning as it warned her to look away. She couldn't let herself believe the raw emotion in his eyes, the fire burning too close.
If she let herself believe him, it would singe her, burning her heart to ashes.
And ashes were harder to put together than shards of glass.
She knew he would hurt her, but she couldn't pull herself away, willingly walking into the flames.
He had come closer to her, stepping all the way up until he was too close, far too close. Khushi's breathing quickened, every nerve aware of his presence. She tried to look away, turning her head, but his hand grasped hers and she was lost, her senses overwhelmed by his touch.
His eyes shifted up to her furrowed brow, the frustration marked in the little wrinkles between her eyebrows. He saw her imperceptible blinks that tried to keep the tears at bay, the tortured swallows that slid down her throat.
He looked away, his stomach rolling.
Was she thinking of... him?
The jealousy coiled, biting at him like a snake as the venom seeped through him, burning him from the inside. He fought to keep his mouth from curving into a twist of disgust, the fury pumping through his veins.
His mind conjured up an image of her laughing with NK, her hands clutching his lapels the way they had once clutched his. He could see the glow on her face, laughter noiseless as her shoulders shook, the adoring look in NK's eyes as he looked down at her.
The image made his stomach turn, his heart pressing painfully against his chest.
Had she wanted to marry NK? Had she loved him?
Was she miserable because she was marrying him instead?
The idea of her in pain made his breath stop, and he looked away from the flames in front of him.
Had he been so selfish that he hadn't realized what she wanted?
His mind responded, telling him what he already knew.
He had gone to every length to get what he wanted.
But he had never asked her what she wanted.
The guilt pierced him, his heart shattering as he realized what he had done. The blood rushed through his veins, guilt seeping into every crevice. His proposals echoed in his ears, swirling together until they were indecipherable.
I love you.
Marry me, Khushi.
They will not, however, believe that the bahu of the Raizadas would commit such an irresponsible mistake.
I love you, Khushi. I'll stay. I'll stay in India for you.
I need to get back to England.
Her stricken expression remained in his mind as he took her hand, pouring his apology into his touch. He saw her eyes flash up to his, sensing that something was different. She searched his face, her eyes softening as she glimpsed the pain in his eyes.
She didn't even realize when Anjali and Ma fell away, leaving Arnav to help her up the stairs, his fingers sliding through hers and holding them tightly. Her lehenga slipped from her fingers and she knew she could stumble, the heavy fabric weighing against her.
But for some reason, she knew he wouldn't let her fall.
Note: And that's where I'll leave you for today! I hope you enjoyed it- please, please let me know what you thought through a like or a comment. I would love to hear your thoughts.
As always, please follow @ipkchotidesi on Twitter or PM me your email for update notifications.
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"And ashes were harder to put together than shards of glass"
So wonderfully put Choti. I could see Ashok and Sakshi here as well. Where one sees the ashes of her trust, the other sees the shards of glass of faith. Faith in their upbringing, faith in what he sees in his children's moments of vulnerability. Him comforting his wife was so poignantly beautiful. Her rock, her family's rock. He'll be there to assuage her hurt. I absolutely love the way you've written them.
You write Arnav's emotions so so well. What he feels always in conflict with what he voices. That constant tussle wonderfully brought out. As was the impatience with which he was waiting for her at the temple. The way you wrote of him being floored when he saw her was totally haayee. Tarasti nigahon ne aapke deedar ka sukoon manga, ye na jaana ki aapke deedar se dil ka sukoon hi chhin jaayega.
As Jigs said, I can understand Khushi feeling guilty. Isn't this an indication of the depth of her character? That she doesn't just move on without a care for what's left behind. Forging new relationships doesn't mean you obliterate the ones formed on the way.
The wordless apology in Arnav's eyes ... I'm so happy it was conveyed to her before they start on this new journey together.
Jigs, our very talented A has every haq to ring as many ears as she likes for this super banner
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