Kaveri Mausi was listening to everything Arnav was speaking over the phone call. Seeing Arnav restless, she came near him and caressed his back gently. Arnav turned and hugged her.
"I don't want her to go away, Kaveri Mausi... I am scared of losing her... For the first time I felt this for a girl, Mausi" he said hugging her like a child.
"I know beta... I know you love her very much" said Kaveri Mausi.
Arnav looked at her and asked, "Mausi, did I say anything wrong?"
"No Arnav... Good that you told her what you feel for her... Give her some time, beta... I know she loves you too" said Kaveri Mausi with a smile.
"You really think so, Mausi?" Arnav wasn't able to hide his excitement.
"Yes!" said Kaveri Mausi laughing at Arnav's innocence. "Now go get ready or else you will be late for the inauguration!"
Khushi stood still at her place as her eyes welled up and tears rolled down her cheeks. Baba was worried now.
"Khushi, what happened?!" he asked. Khushi hugged him silently. She was breathing heavily. She was scared. But why??
Baba comforted her and asked her what had happened. She told him everything. Now Baba too was worried... Worried for his dear Khushi.
"Do you love him, Khushi?" asked Baba.
"I don't know, Baba... Please don't ask this to me!" she said turning away from him.
"Is he not a good person?" asked baba.
"No no..." said Khushi instantly. "Arnav is a very good person. So good that I would happily spend my whole life with him, Baba... He understands me so well, just like you understand me..." she told.
"You love him very much, don't you?" asked Baba gently.
"How can I say that I love him, Baba! How can I say it after all that has happened because of me! I don't want anything to happen to Arnav... I don't want to ruin anyone's life yet again!" Khushi was crying.
"It wasn't you, Khushi... It was fate... You did no wrong, beta" Baba tried to console Khushi.
"But that's what everyone else believes, Baba. And what if it is true? What if they died because of me? My parents and then... then my husband... Not any more, Baba... I don't want anything to happen to Arnav... I just don't..." Khushi began crying again.
"And you believe in all this? You were just five days old when your parents passed away in the accident while bringing you home. You survived luckily. How can an infant be responsible for someone's death?!! And then people began hating you saying there was some stupid "dosh" in your kundali... And you believe in it? Everyone treated you so badly as if you were some kind of a curse. What wrong did you do, Khushi? Tell me! And then a guy, for his selfish reason of getting the his father's land after marriage, agreed to get married to you. He died in an accident a day after your marriage... How are you responsible for all this, Khushi?! Your grandma and I stood up strongly with you, supported you in every way, made you strong... Only to see this day? Only to see that you have lost faith in yourself?!!" asked Baba, disappointed. "Look at me Khushi! Look at me!" he turned Khushi's face towards himself. "Did anything happen to me?" he asked. Khushi was surprised. "Did anything like that happen to your grandma? Stop believing in stupid things that people say. Believe in yourself, Khushi! And believe in the one who loves you so much!"
Khushi had stopped crying. Baba wiped the tears off her cheeks and said, "Live your life, Khushi. Tell him that you love him. He is waiting for you, dear..."
"But Baba, what will happen when he knows my past? Will he still be with me?" asked Khushi.
"He will... If he truly loves you, he will!" said Baba confidently.
This gave Khushi a new hope... She felt good... Good about herself, good about life, good about love... Arnav loved her so much, she felt blessed to have found him.
Khushi tried to call Arnav, but his phone was switched off. Then she remembered that he might be at the inauguration ceremony. She sent him a message saying "I love you too" hoping that he saw it soon. She was excited for his reply... she was excited for her new life...
Khushi felt better now... A lot better... Her mind was clear... There was no confusion at all.
She checked her phone but her message was not yet delivered to Arnav. Khushi decided to stay back at home that night. So she called Arnav to inform him. But his phone was still switched off. So she called Kaveri Mausi and told her that she would be staying back and would be returning to Panchgani next morning.
Khushi woke up early next morning. She checked her phone but there was no reply from Arnav, neither any call. She saw that the message was not yet delivered to him. Khushi tried to call Arnav when she left for Panchgani, but his phone was still switched off. This was strange, thought Khushi. Maybe he had returned home late, and was tired... Khushi just tried to answer her own questions on the way to Panchgani. She was longing to meet Arnav, the love of her life!
Khushi reached Arnav's bungalow in Panchgani. She rang the doorbell waiting in anticipation. Ramu opened the door and Khushi was shocked to see his condition. His face grim, his eyes red and swollen. And as he saw Khushi, tears began flowing through his eyes. Khushi didn't understand what had happened.
"Ramu kaka?!! Kya hua? Is everything alright?" she asked, worried.
"Arnav sahab ka accident ho gaya kal raat ko, Khushi Madam!" told Ramu kaka, crying.
"Accident?!!!" Khushi was shocked. A wave of shiver went across her body. She felt weaker in her knees. She felt as if all her strength was lost. "No! Please, no!! Nothing can happen to Arnav! All this happened because of me!! Oh God!!! Please, save Arnav, please!!"
Khushi hurried to the hospital where Arnav was admitted.
Khushi saw Kaveri Mausi sitting on the bench outside Arnav's room. Kaveri Mausi hugged Khushi and began crying. Khushi didn't know what to say. She herself was shocked. And more than that, she was scared. Scared for being responsible for Arnav's accident. Scared for the bad luck that people said she brought to everyone... She hoped that Arnav was fine and promised herself that she will go away from Arnav forever! She loved him enough to let go...
Doctors came out from Arnav's room. Khushi and Kaveri Mausi stood up instantly, desperate to know what the doctors had to say. Doctors said that Arnav was absolutely fine and that he would be discharged in a couple of days. Khushi heaved a sigh of relief. She was so thankful to God that her eyes welled up. Kaveri Mausi too felt relieved.
Khushi and Kaveri Mausi hurried inside to meet Arnav. The wound on his head was neatly dressed. He was fine except for a few bruises here and there. Kaveri Mausi went forward and gently placed her hand on Arnav's forehead. Arnav opened his eyes. He smiled seeing Kaveri Mausi. And then his eyes caught Khushi.
"Khushi..." he whispered weakly.
Kaveri Mausi moved aside letting Khushi come closer to Arnav. Arnav held Khushi's hand. "I am still waiting for your reply" he said.
Khushi's eyes watered. Her breath was heavy.
"I love you, Khushi" said Arnav holding her hand tightly.
Khushi couldn't see all this any more. She wanted Arnav to live... She wanted him to be happy. And that was possible only when she stayed away from Arnav.
Khushi pulled her hand back with force. "I hate you!!" she cried. "Do you hear that!! I HATE YOU!!!"
Saying so Khushi ran out of there.
Kaveri Mausi was shocked. Arnav was stunned... Those three words had hurt him to the core...