Thankfully Arnav wasn’t in their room when she came in a little while later, as the sun was blazing and it was really hot, she slid the poolside door shut and drew the curtains, instantly the room was dark and cool, she sighed and sank on to the bed and leaned against the headrest, thankful to be able to put up her feet; she again wondered whether she would be able to continue working till the end of her pregnancy and she still hadn’t sorted out how she would manage it all, she fretted. She eased her aching back and slipped into a light doze.
Arnav came back a little while later carrying his belongings which were still in the guest room, he was rather relieved to find her asleep, nahi toh pucca she would have gotten mad if she had spied him carrying his stuff, like waving a red flag to a raging bull; he understood because that is how he would have reacted!
He quietly put away his stuff and then went and sat next to Khushi, she turned uneasily and stretched her legs and sat up screaming with pain, “OUCCCCCHHHHH!OOOOO!”
“Khushi!” Arnav was worried, “Kya hua!”
Without bothering to answer him, she managed to reach out and clutch her left foot which had gone into a severe cramp; Arnav pushed away her hand and rubbed it gently till the cramp eased out, Khushi thrust away his hand, still not speaking to him, “Khushi karne do mujhe,” he put his hand back and asked concerned, “What happened Khushi, doctor ko bulaaoon?”
“Rehne dijiye Arnavji, you can keep your concern to yourself, I can manage by myself, this is not the first time that this has occurred, par aapko isse kya farq padta hai?” Khushi was well settled and comfortable on her high horse. Rather grandly, she swept herself off the bed, only to stumble and trip over her still sore muscle, Arnav gathered her in his arms just in time.
Hot tears pricked Khushi’s eyelids, suddenly she yearned to throw herself off the high horse and into Arnav’s safe comforting arms and sob her heart out, strange, he was the one who cut her to pieces and yet she could find solace only in his arms; Khushi gritted her teeth, bas kar Khushi, apna kartavya mat bhoolna, don’t let his highness Laad Governor off the hook so easily, her shoulders sagged, but she was tired of holding it all in, and at a time when so much was weighing upon her. She pushed him away determinedly and went and sat uncomfortably on the recliner.
Arnav reluctantly let her go, he had sensed her weakening, the way she had clung to him for an instant, just an instant and then the stiffening, he understood her need to make him pay, and pay he would, what he had done was unforgivable, she was having cramps and where was he when she needed him most? She was right, aisa koi karta hai kya no matter how angry he was, he had not right to desert her like this, he stared regretfully at her, his heart went out to her, life had given her a raw deal, took away her parents at a tender age and then her path crossed his and he had given her nothing but anguish and pain; he shook his head and unable to resist, he went over to her, he bent down and lifted her legs and put them on the recliner before she could protest. He got a pillow from the bed; she glared at him and refused to let him put it behind her back.
He sank down besides her, holding her with his eyes, she tore her eyes as she found herself melting, yielding. He put a hand on her chin and gently turned her to him, she shrugged him away, he sighed and put his arm around her stiff body and pulled her towards him and murmured as he slipped the pillow behind her back as a cushion, “Our baby ordered me to get it for you.” She swallowed hard and blinked furiously, she stiffened, it would be so easy to just give into pull of his eyes, the irresistible warm comfort of his arms, the familiar fragrance teased her, enticed her. She bit her lip and crossed her arms over her baby. Et tu?
Arnav shifted lower down away from Khushi and spoke to his child, “Hi there little one, how are you? I am sorry I wasn’t there the whole of last week. Did you know your Amma is mad at me and I don’t know how to make her smile at me, I wish she would just look at me, or even let me hold her in my arms, but she isn’t even talking to me. Why don’t you put in a kind word for your beleaguered dad?” he spoke very softly, so softly that Khushi had to strain her ears to hear him, her heartbeat almost drowned out his last words; Arnav shot her an apprehensive glance and hesitantly bent his head to kiss their baby, “Ouch, what the!” he jerked away, exaggeratedly, he nursed his lips, “Kicking your dad abhi se!!” Arnav spied the ghost of a smile on Khushi’s lips, the iron-clasp over his heart eased, he could finally swallow.
There was a knock at the door; it was HP, “Naniji aap dono ko bula rahe hai.”
Arnav nodded, “Bol do aa rahe hain.”
Khushi hurriedly got up and straightened her clothes, Arnav caught her and said, “Relax, there is no fire.”
She jerked her arm away, swiftly brushed her hair and waddled away haughtily and managed to avoid banging into the door just in time. A rueful smile reluctantly tugged Arnav’s lips, he wanted to crush her in his arms; he sighed and followed her downstairs.
Nani was waiting excitedly downstairs for her friend; Khushi went to the kitchen to see if everything was to her satisfaction. After giving a few last minute instructions she came back and sat next to Nani talking of this and that, rather pointedly ignoring Arnav. He wryly picked up the newspaper and rustled it busily with his ears trained to their conversation. Nani was telling Khushi to take it easy (FINALLY!) and start cutting down on her working hours; Nani was also planning the ‘Godh Bharai’ ceremony in a couple of weeks, Khushi was excited, her parents and Buaji would be coming, as were her jiji and family from Mumbai, yes, she would see Yash after such a long time.
“Chotte!” Nani suddenly addressed him, “Khushi ko godh bharai main kya tohfa de rahe ho?”
Arnav was taken aback, “Gift?” he rustled his newspaper some more, “What can I give her, everything I have is hers.” He fumbled caught by surprise.
Khushi made a face, “Rehne dijiye Naniji, tohfa dene ke liye dil chahiye hota hai…”
The doorbell chimed, their guests had arrived.
Click here for Chapter 137