Chapter 236: Damage Control

Khushi went off to AKC early the next morning without exchanging even a word with Arnav. She was so upset that she hardly spent a few moments with Devansh, she was afraid he would cotton on to her mood and worse, she would burst into tears.

Unable to focus on her work either, and afraid that her customers would either be served with either a sweet sabzi or a salty dessert, she sat fiddling with her account books wondering how best to dig herself (and Arnav too, if he was right) out of the hole she had put herself in. Finally, coming to a sudden decision, with no clear plan in her head, Khushi rushed off to Mrs Mehta’s boutique.

When she entered the boutique and greeted Mrs Mehta, her heart sank, for Mrs Mehta, normally a very talkative and warm person, gave a perfunctory nod to her and busied herself in straightening some dresses at the same time she began giving a loud dressing down to her assistant.

Khushi winced; she felt as if she were the one being pulled up, which was probably the case. Khushi rifled through the collection dully, her heart sinking, she had actually done Arnav a disfavor!

She hadn’t really believed Arnav that her negative response could backfire on his business. She had thought he was overreacting and hurt had overwhelmed any other rational thought. But, to her dismay, Mrs Mehta was clearly as petty and egoistic as Arnav predicted her to be; clearly he knew these people better than she.

Dikhne main toh aise nahi lagti, she weakly defended herself, in fact she had come here to allay her fears and confirm that Mrs Mehta bore no hard feelings and Arnav’s concern about this having any backlash on his business was unfounded. Ab hum kya karein she wondered worriedly. Humari wajah se unko nuksaan ho yeh hum bardasht nahi kar sakte.

She blindly selected two loose dresses to cover her expanding waistline and slowly walked to the payment counter. Mrs Mehta ignored her and continued working on her computer for a few moments before grudgingly holding out her hand; Khushi gave her a tentative smile. Mrs Mehta looked coldly at her before venturing a tiny stiff nod at her, “Namaste,” Khushi said brightly, “Such a great new collection you have, such lovely bright colors, couldn’t resist picking up two,” she gushed, Mrs Mehta ignored her olive branch and concentrated on drawing up the bill.

Khushi sent up a brief but heartfelt prayer to DM and plodded on, “Actually I wanted to talk to you, I…I made a mistake the other day,” Mrs Mehta looked up and finally met her eyes, “In my preoccupation and confusion with something else, I misunderstood you,” she said glibly, “It was only when I went home that I realized my error,” Mrs Mehta was beginning to thaw, “I thought you wanted me to arrange for the job for your cousin at AKC, only later did I realize that you wanted me to talk to Arnav,” she gave a high-pitched laugh and smacked her head, “But don’t worry, I have talked to Arnav, here,” she dug out her card from a bag and scribbled something behind it, “ here give this to your cousin and he can meet Arnav after fixing an appointment with Aman, here this is Aman’s number, tell him I sent him, theek hai?”

Mrs Mehta graciously accepted the card and thawed completely, “Arre why are you standing? Come sit, pregnancy is so difficult isn’t it, specially the summer months, Chottu, a glass of water for madam, jaldi!” she turned to Khushi, “Chai coffee?” Khushi shook her head, smiling in relief, phew that seemed to have worked!

“Aur how many months are you? You hardly seem to have put on any weight! Has the baby started moving?” Mrs Mehta seemed to have found her tongue, Khushi grimaced, “That is what is of concern, the baby seems to be not growing too well,” she made a face, “Though the baby did appear to have started moving since a couple of days, I am very worried as it is not very strong and vigorous like the first time,” she swallowed.

“Oho,” Mrs Mehta was all solicitous concern, “Tabhi that day you were got confused about what I was saying!” she excused Khushi, “I told my husband, ‘Khushi toh aisi nahi hai, zaroor kuch aur baat hogi’ but my husband…,” she shook her head, “Anyway, I should have understood, pregnancy can drive anyone crazy, if we don’t understand, who will! Never mind have faith in God, sab theek ho jayega!” she said comfortingly as she pressed a cold drink into Khushi’s hands.

Khushi smiled and gratefully seized the lifeline, “Haan, that must be why I misunderstood the situation and I apologize once again for the mix up and if I hurt…”

“Nahi nahi, aap toh hume sharminda kar rahein hain,” Mrs Mehta was all smiles as she waved away Khushi’s apologies; “Arre kya dress choose kar liya! Pata chal raha hai, ki aap pareshaan hain! This wont suit you at all, let me suggest,” she got up from her seat and brought another dress, “Look, this one would look gorgeous on you, ummm, ahh yes this one, come on go try them on, let me see!” she insisted on Khushi trying the dresses and even offered to get them a bit altered and went so far as to promise to send them to her AKC when they were done; chattering away Mrs Mehta drew up the bill and insisted on giving a discount as well.

Khushi went back to AKC with a lighter heart and dashed off an email to Arnav at the first opportunity, “Cleared it up with Mrs Mehta, she will be sending her cousin Mr Navin Ahuja to meet you in a couple of days; have given him a card of mine with her name written on the back; please do as needed.”

She heaved a sigh of relief as a huge burden seemed to have lifted from her shoulders, ‘par dil hai ki manta nahi.

Even though she wasn’t feeling hot and cold, with guilt any more, the lump in her throat seemed to have taken up permanent residence. She pushed the dull ache firmly to the back and attacked the tricky new dish she was planning to introduce in the lunch box.

It was late when an exhausted and morose Khushi entered RM; she vaguely nodded in the direction of Nani who was standing there talking to Arnav. She avoided meeting Arnav’s eyes, she had no idea if he had read her mail or not whether he had forgiven her or not, whether she could look him the eye and not burst into tears, or even whether she had forgiven him or not, best to just avoid any sort of confrontation in this…“Booo” out jumped two excited boys from behind the sofa, Khushi squeaked in alarm and her bag went flying; Khushi stumbled and would have fallen…yeah you guessed it…but for Arnav. And great timing too, for she would have surely hurt herself real bad and probably the baby as well. The shock of it had Khushi gasping and it took a few moments before she could get her bearings, in Arnav’s arms.

***

Click here for Chapter 237

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