Bullet pierced Anu's chest and blood poured out. Her eyes widened in shock and she slumped down as the goon holding her left her.
"ANU!!!!!!!" Arpi shouted waking up from her nightmare.
Arpita looked at her surrounding hoping that some miracle would have changed it. But no she was in the same huge but stifling bedroom in the Pal's Mansion. They had arrived there four hours ago. Arpita had kept herself conscious just for the sake of her mother and bhabhi. She had begged with Siddarth to save Anu but with no avail. The last site Arpita had of her dear friend,as she was being dragged out of the house, was Anu lying in a pool of blood.
Tears started flowing from her beautiful eyes. She didn't know how her mother or bhabhi was faring. It was only minimal relief that she had seen her brother alive when she reached this mansion.
She didn't know if her dear friend was alive or…
"No Anu can't go…she ca..ca can't" Arpita choked drawing her knees close to her torso.
Avdesh would go bersek with grief and anger and RV…he will be shattered.
"Avdesh please save us….Avdesh we need you…..I need you my love" Arpita whispered hoping it would reach Avi.
City Hospital, Mumbai….
RV was pacing to and fro outside the operation theatre. He was sure that he would never forget the scene he had seen two hours ago in Arpi's house. His heart had nearly stopped beating. He couldn't fathom how he had brought Anu to the hospital in his mental state. Her father had arrived completely ashen faced. He was sitting on a chair silently praying to God to save his baby.
RV felt despair creeping into his thoughts.
No!!!! nothing will happen to her.
She can't go just like that.
She has to hear me….Anu you have to come back.
Doctor came out of the theatre with a somber face.
RV rushed towards him.
"That young lady is really lucky….the bullet missed her heart by inches….she is still critical though…lots of blood loss….she will be under observation for 24 hours…..pray to God young man" doctor said patting RV's shoulder and giving a smile.
Anu was transferred to the ICU. The men were allowed to visit for a few minutes. RV let Prashant go first. He came out and squeezed RV's shoulder gently.
RV went in. He sat beside his unconscious love and took her hand gently. A tear drop slid down his eye.
"This was a nice little surprise my dear jhalli….but I did rather prefer you kill me at once than do it like this slowly…..know this Anu with every breath you loose my heart is breaking…..if you cease to exist…I will refuse to live….I will be breathing and living….but I won't be alive"
He squeezed her hand gently and kissed her forehead and eyes.
He moved out. He went and sat besides Prashant.
"You didn't tell Avdesh na?" Prashant asked in a hollow tone.
"I had to….Arpita is missing as is her whole family…..Arpita will never do this to Anu….which means something has definitely happened to her and for all we know she might be in danger….Avdesh is needed here…whoever is behind this will have hell to pay once he comes" RV said. His eyes shone with rage and fists clenched.
Thakur Haveli, Lallanpur….
Avdesh was pacing like a mad bull in the sitting hall. His eyes were filled with untamed rage.
Bauji was watching him with interest. This mood of Avdesh always awakened the lust in her. Her eyes shone with the suppressed desire.
"Babuaji aap aisan pareshan ho kar ka fayda….Chulbul awenge aap idhar betiyen" Bauji said casually.
"Humaari behen par kisine war kiya….humaari dosth ka kuch patah nahi…aur aap kahath hain ki hum aaram se bete" Avdesh looked at her furiously.
For a split second Bauji was frightened by the fury. The moment passed soon.
"I am sorry Bauji….its just that both the girls mean a lot to me…..I can't see them in trouble ever" Avdesh said and his face softened into concern for Arpita and Anu.
He hadn't disclosed Arpita's true identity to his Bauji. This wasn't the right time. He had some personal issues with some newcomers in town who were ruthlessly beating up villagers who refused to let go of their lands.
These new comers hadn't showed their faces yet. But he had dealt with their men in a way that showed who was the real boss.
RV's phone call had been a complete shock to his system. He could clearly hear his friends heart ache. When RV told his doubts regarding Arpita's whereabouts Avdesh nearly lost his breath.
Arpita his life, his love, his existence was in danger. Where was she? How was she?
Avdesh had sworn then and there that he wouldn't spare the devils who did this. He had told RV briefly that he was coming. He prayed and begged to God to keep his sister alive. He already had tasted the grief the loss of a sibling would bring.
Bauji stood up and placed a hand on Avdesh's shoulder.
"Babuaji aap shaanth rahiye…..ek baar Ananya ko teek ho jaane do….phir hum un darindho ko dikhayenge Takur khandhan ki bachi par war karne ka ka anjaam hoga" she said reassuringly.
Avdesh looked into Bauji's reassuring eyes and smiled. Bauji enjoyed the moment of closeness she shared with Avdesh.
Chulbul came rushing in.
"Bhaiyyaji ee raha aapka ticket….chaar gande mein flight hain…..dho gante lagenge humein airport thak pahoonchne ma….jaldi nikalte hain" he said while catching his breath.
"Abhi nikalthe hain chulbul…..Bauji I will be back once I get over with the problems in Mumbai…until then I am sure you will handle the problems here" he said taking her hand.
Bauji patted his cheek to reassure him. Avdesh went to his room to get his bag and then went to his mothers room.
"Ammaji I am going to Mumbai…….I already told you about Ananya and Arpita right" Avi asked benting to sit beside his handicapped mother.
Avdesh had told her about who Arpita really was to him. She had understood it from the shine in his eyes.
"Haan beta sab teek tho hain na" Ammaji asked in her half clear voice. She could see a rage storming in her beloved son's eyes.
"Ammaji kisi ne humaare behen par humla kiya hain aur Arpita ka koi patah nahin….aap apni bhagwaan se kah dijiye ki humaari jaan ko hum se na cheen le aur humaari behen ko agar cheenenge tho hum unse root jayenge." Avdesh said a single drop of tear falling from his eye.
"Don't worry my dear….everything will be fine" Ammaji stroked his head affectionately.
Avdesh took her blessing and headed out.
Outside the house he took Bauji's blessing and started towards the airport with Pehalwaan.
He switched on his phone to see if he got any calls from Arpita. There was none. He stared for a long time at his background picture for a long time.
A photo of the four of them together.