At the wedding, Khushi laughed and joked brightly with all their acquaintances and friends, especially Anjali and Khsitij, completely ignoring Arnav. Thankfully, because it was such a mad crush, nobody really noticed anything amiss.
And taking advantage of her preoccupation, Arnav drank his fill of his beautiful wife who was looking absolutely stunning; he just couldn’t tear his eyes away (just as Poo had predicted). Anjali nudged Khsitij and giggled happily; when there was a lull in the conversation, she said teasingly, “Kya baat hai Chotte, pehle Khushi ko kabhi dekha nahi kya?”
Khushi turned around in surprise, “Waise Chotte, Khushi bahut sundar lag rahi hai na?”
Arnav caught Khushi’s triumphant superior glance, he shrugged nonchalantly, “Nahi Di, nothing extraordinary.”
Khushi stiffened while Anjali attacked, “Jhooth mat bolo Chotte! I saw you staring at her completely besotted, hain na Khsitij?”
Khushi wore a self-satisfied smirk.
Arnav stuck to his guns, “Nahi Di, aapko galatfehmi ho rahi hai, true, I was looking at her, but I was just wondering if she had put on too much make-up, you know her cheeks are so red,” he paused, “Aur naak bhi!”
Khushi eyes promised just retribution while she determinedly hung on to the sad RV and her dignity; but dil hai ki manta nahi, the peppy track of IPKKND began trilling and the happy RV slyly edged the sad RV aside and her heart went dhak dhak, bas kar Khushi, zara sa ghas kya daala aise melt ho gayi ki bas poocho mat, she gritted her teeth and looked away, Laad Governor kahin ke she sniffed angrily.
Anjali suddenly nudged her and grinned mischievously, Khushi looked confused and then a smile dawned on her face, she laughed with Di as they both remembered, the song ooh la la ooh lala was playing, “Kitna mazaa ayaa tha na us din hai na Khushi?”
Khushi nodded her head, smiling at Di, unable to resist she shot a darkling look at Arnav, he was still staring at her unabashedly, ‘roothi hoon main, tujhse roothi hoon, mana lena o jaane jaan! Chedenge hum tujhko…, Khushi hastily looked away hastily in case he got the impression she was asking him to manaofy her, hmmphh fat chance!
Arnav smirked and saw other things as well.
Arnav noticed the droop in her shoulders, the occasional hand she put on her back, the tiny grimaces, the way she shuffled from one foot to another, his face became grimmer and grimmer, “Let’s go,” he barked suddenly.
Khushi turned around in surprise, she was actually very tired and her feet were killing her, but give in to the Laad Governor’s dictates! Never, she swore and smiled sweetly at him, “Kya Arnav, aap bhi na, abhi toh khana bhi nahi khaya, pehle khana toh kha lene do!” she nodded to Di, “Bhook lagi hai na Di? Chalo jaa kar khana lekar aate hain,” Anjali smiled and agreed.
Arnav rolled his eyes, “Di aap beitho, I will send the waiter to you,” he helped Di to a convenient table nearby, leaving Khushi no choice but to follow them. Actually she was relieved, she didn’t even want to eat, all she wanted was to put up her feet and rest. She struggled to pull the heavy chair, Arnav sighed and turned towards her but just then Khsitij came forward to help Khushi.
Arnav heaved a sigh of relief, she would have pucca objected, hum kar sakte hain all that; a smile tugged his lips, she looked so cute when she behaved like this, all in control and standoffish but then sooner or later asli rang toh nikal hi aata hai!
He turned away hastily before his expression slipped.
Khushi sank down on the chair in relief; she wouldn’t have been able to stand another minute and to think she was thinking of serving herself at the food counters! Thankfully Arnav had preempted that.
Humare liye thodi kiya, she scoffed, jo kiya Di ke liye kiya, she reminded herself. But in some corner of her heart knew she was doing Arnav an injustice.
She melted; the tiniest bit.
Dinner over, Arnav helped Anjali, leaving Khsitij to accompany Khushi. Khsitij walked on ahead talking on the phone while Khushi lagged behind, Arnav slowed his steps. Khushi stiffened her shoulders and brushed past him; in her hurry to catch up with her brother, she would have tripped on the heavy saree and heels but for Arnav who seemed to have a sixth sense where his wife’s tendency to trip and fall was concerned.
His arm shot out and held her warmly against him. She was just a bit shaken as she looked into Arnav’s eyes, it seemed as if it were after a long time, “Sh..shukriya,” she gulped as she hurriedly straightened herself and began walking, Arnav, pursed his lips and clamped his arm around her waist, she struggled a bit but it was rather a vice like grip, she gave up and accepted the much needed support, reluctantly.
The moment she entered the car, she gave a huge sigh and took off her heels, I shouldn’t have worn them, she thought to herself, not that they were very high or anything but still her feet and back were aching, possibly the saree too was very heavy and the blouse was rather tight, her bulky poky earrings, everything was making her uncomfortable; she couldn’t wait to change into something more comfortable.
They were soon home, Khushi bent down to put on her footwear and gave a squeak of alarm as Arnav opened the door and swung her into his arms; she clutched Arnav’s coat for support, torn between insisting that he put her down and relief at not having to walk up the stairs; she settled for inaction and cold silence, as if it were below her dignity to argue with him.
He set her gently down in their room, she sank down in front of the dressing table and began taking off her jewelry. Arnav went to the washroom to change. Khushi glared at the closed door, pehle chale gaye! Hume jaana tha! Laad Governor kahin ke ! She muttered irritably to herself, her expression cleared, she hurriedly unwound her saree and decorously draped a dupatta over her petticoat and blouse and sighed in relief; let him make what he will out of that! She sniffed to herself, another strong message that she was annoyed with him; she gritted her teeth, lagta hai koi bhi message nahi mila ab tak.
As soon as Arnav emerged from the washroom all changed and ready for bed, she gathered up her night clothes and swished past him with a flourish. He rolled his eyes and got into bed and switched on his laptop to check his mail.
He worked peacefully for a while. The washroom door swung open forcefully, he looked up startled and stared at Khushi amazed.
Nonchalantly Khushi dumped her clothes on the recliner and got into bed.
“What the!” Arnav blinked first and burst out, unable to control himself.
Khushi settled down on the bed unconcernedly, yawned theatrically and closed her eyes.
“Yeh kya naya natak hai Khushi?” said an astounded and all at sea Arnav.
She refused to even look at him; actually she was trying to conceal her furiously red face in her pillow.
“Khushi,” he shook her, “Kya hua? You will sleep like this or what?”
“Aapko kya faraq padta hai?” Khushi huffed.
“Don’t flatter yourself Khushi, mujhe koi faraq nahi padta! I am just worried about my baby,” he shot back.
Click here for Chapter 216