Khushi rolled her eyes. Uff. A chip off the old block.
“It seems I will have to confess.” Khushi sighed.
Guddu frowned. “Confess? Confess what?”
“That it was my fault that your father was shouting.” Khushi said glibly.
“What do you mean?”
“I signed some documents which I shouldn’t have. And now because of that we incurred some business losses. We may even have to sell off this house…”
“WHAT!” Devansh was horrified. “Sell this house? You can’t do that!”
Khushi shrugged. “Well we don’t want to of course. But then we may have to.”
“How could you Mom? Why didn’t you talk to Dad before signing those papers? I don’t want to leave this house!” Devansh was good and properly mad at Khushi now. “Why Mom why?”
“I didn’t mean to.” Khushi said in a small voice. “I didn’t think,” she cleared her throat, “but don’t worry, your Dad is on the job. He will take care of it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes of course. Relax.”
“Call him up and ask him.” Guddu fidgeted. He couldn’t stomach the thought of leaving home.
“What’s the big deal Guddu? Just a little while ago you were willing to leave home just to teach your father a lesson?”
“That was different. We weren’t going to lose RM. It’s not fair Mom! Oh I am so angry with you! Why did you sign those papers?” Guddu’s anger shook the rafters.
ASR stepped inside the room.
“Dad!” Devansh ran to him. “Did you make it alright? We don’t have to sell the house right?”
ASR looked at Khushi. She gave her head a slight shake.
He knelt down and put his hands on Deva’s shoulders. “Yes everything is fine. Don’t worry.”
“Yay!” Devansh threw his arms around ASR’s neck. “You are the best! Mamma! Did you hear? Dad made it alright.” His eyes were shining.
Khushi crossed her arms. “Yes I heard.” There was a distinct glint in her eyes. She tapped her foot.
Arnav looked sheepish.
“Okay Guddu, now that everything is clear, you can go and finish your homework. Plus you have Math test tomorrow right?”
“Yes Mom.” He shuffled out. He stopped at the doorway. “But Mom, please don’t sign any papers without asking Dad.”
Khushi’s lips firmed. “I won’t.” She said grimly with a pointed look at ASR.
ASR winced. He cleared his throat. “Actually Devansh, it wasn’t as bad as I thought.”
Khushi raised an eyebrow.
Devansh stared at him. “So we aren’t in any danger of losing RM?”
Arnav shook his head.
“Then you just thought we were going to lose RM?” Devansh tried to process the information.
Arnav grimaced. “I overreacted and lost my temper.”
“I am so happy you settled the issue Dad.” Now that the crisis was over, Devansh was feeling generous and kindly disposed towards his father. “But,” he lowered his voice, “don’t let Mom sign any papers.” He dashed off, eager to be out of this emotional roller coaster.
Arnav shifted from one foot to another.
Khushi began clearing up the room.
“Khushi.” His voice was low.
She ignored him.
“Khushi?” He put a hand on her shoulder.
She shrugged him off.
“Khushi.” He insisted.
“What?” she snapped, without looking at him.
“Khushi…” he held her by the arm.
She looked at him challengingly.
“Khushi…” The words stuck in his throat.
“If you have something to say, say it, otherwise let me go.” She was curt. “In any case I am sure you have a lot of work to do.” She wore a closed expression.
“I am sorry Khushi.” He said in a rush.
“Why?” she turned on him in a flash.
ASR dropped her hand. He cleared his throat. “Umm for everything?”
Arnav looked at her warily. “Yes.”
“For meeting me, for marrying me…”
“Then?” Khushi tapped her foot.
Arnav waved his hand. “I meant today.” He said vaguely.
“What about today?” She kept up the pressure.
“It was your fault Khushi,” cornered, ASR flared up, “you shouldn’t have interfered in…” he trailed off unwilling to start another altercation.
“Yes it was my fault.” Khushi took the wind out of his sails.
He stared at her.
Khushi nodded. “Yes I am aware of my culpability. I shouldn’t have agreed to Mrs Bhatia’s request without first checking with you. I didn’t know that she had already tried to manipulate you. I didn’t know so many intricacies and didn’t anticipate the ramifications of my impulsive actions. I am sorry for that. In future I will keep that in mind.”
Arnav was relieved. “It’s okay,” he too could be generous, “Perhaps I should have discussed these underhanded activities of the Bhatias but I didn’t want to unnecessarily disturb you.”
Khushi rolled her eyes. “Better you disturb me a little than…”
“Yes!” Arnav hastily interrupted her, “point taken.”
Khushi went about her chores.
Arnav looked at her back with misgivings. Was everything okay? He couldn’t be very sure but she still seemed mad at him.
“Khushi,” He slid his arm around her waist but she slipped away to the slide the cupboard open. She reached up for a hanger.
“Are you mad at me for something?” He was confused.
Khushi slid the cupboard shut. “You think?”
Arnav scratched his head. “But why? You just agreed it was your fault…”
Khushi narrowed her eyes at him. “I am not mad at you for that.” She bit out.
“Then?” he was all at sea.
“One, for not knowing why I am mad at you, and two, “she ticked off on her finger, “for shouting like crazy. How many times have I told you to keep your volume down? The kids are everywhere and I don’t want them getting upset just because you cannot cope with a little crisis.”
“Little crisis!?” ASR turned purple.
“In comparison to the crisis you evoked in Guddu that is nothing!” Khushi held her ground. “You know how emotional and sensitive he is. Remember yourself at his age?” She rubbed it in.
Khushi instantly felt sorry but she clenched her fists. She had to make this point once and for all. This was happening al too often. First Chotti and Nani and now Guddu – how long could this emotional abuse continue? She was used to it and being his willing captive she could even empathize but the kids? They didn’t deserve it and she wasn’t willing to risk another ASR.
“Do you want him to grow up with your insecurities? Be forced to choose between his parents?”
ASR almost gasped with pain. How could Khushi be so cruel? Didn’t she know how sensitive he was about this? How dare she?
Seeing red, he walked out.
“Arnav!” But he was gone.
Khushi sank down on the couch in despair. Had she gone too far? Did he not trust her still? Could he not understand why she said what she had said? Now he would stomp about the house glowering for the world to see. Guddu was sure to notice and draw his own conclusions. Khushi sighed. Perhaps it was all her fault. She should have kept her mouth shut. Why rake up old wounds?
She stiffened. She hadn’t raised the issue just for fun. It wasn’t about him or her. It was about the kids. Their mental peace and balance. Hey DM please let him see sense. Let him understand the priorities.
Why couldn’t he just listen to her for once?
Dread and despair filled her heart. This was worse than when he was yelling at her. She buried her face in his shirt – Arnav, come back to me Arnav. Please let me try to explain.
“Khushi,” his voice so low, she thought she had imagined it.
She looked up and flew into is arms. “I am sorry Arnav. I really am. I didn’t mean to hurt you, rake up…” she babbled in panic and relief.
“Shhh,” he held her close. “I am sorry. You are right. I need to control my volume.”
Khushi withdrew a bit to look up into his face. “And your temper.” She frowned.
“It was your fault.” He looked grim.
“That’s no excuse for losing your temper.” Khushi burrowed into his shoulder. “I said I was sorry.”
“When will you learn to think before you act Khushi?”
“After you learn to control your temper.” She twinkled at him, relieved that he wasn’t angry anymore.
Not really angry.
Like he could be.
He rolled his eyes. “Very smart.”
“Isn’t that why you married me?”
“Nope.” He shook his head.
She opened her eyes wide. “Then?”
“Because I was a fool.” He paused. “A damn fool in love.”
She melted in his arms.
“They are kissing not fighting.” Chotti’s tone was scathing.
Khushi pushed Arnav and sprang away.
“Mamma, Da said you were fighting and going to divorce?”
“Guddu,” Khushi looked at him reproachfully, “didn’t I explain to you that we were just having a difference of opinion?”
“And you can’t divorce people on difference of opinion can you?” Chotti appealed to her parents.
Arnav slid his arm around Khushi and pulled her resisting form close. “Nope you can’t.”
Chotti stuck out her tongue at Guddu. “See? If Dad can’t divorce Mamma over a difference of opinion, you sure cannot divorce me because I played with your things.” She stalked off with her head held high.
“Okay fine,” Devansh followed her and then overtook her, “I am off to fiddle around with your stuff.”
“No!” Chotti gave a shriek and dashed after him.
Laughing Arnav and Khushi collapsed in each others arms.
So what do you think? Chalega?