ASR barged into Sherry’s office with Khushi closely following on his heels.
Sherry looked up startled and then stiffened on recognizing his uninvited guests; he languidly got to his feet and murmured facetiously, “Ahh the might ASR himself, welcome to my humble office,” he paused, “And to what do I owe this honor?”
“How dare you?” burst out an aagbaboola ASR while Khushi tried to calm him down.
Sherry reached for the intercom, “Stuti would you order some refreshments for my ‘guests’? Thank you; by the way, you and the rest of staff can take the rest of the day off – yes I am sure thank you, and tell the guard that for today no official visits, only personal visits, no Stuti I am not joking, that will be all, thank you,” he disconnected the phone and looked at a furious ASR, his lips twisted; Sherry waved ASR to a chair and pulled out one for Khushi, “Please sit Mam,” most courteously, before turning to ASR, “How dare I what?” he asked reasonably, politely.
“You know damn well you scoundrel,” ASR was spitting fire.
Sherry’s lips tightened but he kept his cool, and shrugged gracefully, “oh well possibly, but the problem is I’ve done so many things… err so not very sure what exactly you are referring to,” he excused himself.
Khushi looked at him with sudden interest and something akin to admiration, the boy was cool she admitted and that too in the face of an infuriated ASR! No mean feat as she very well knew, “Arnav” she hissed, “calm down and let’s discuss this like adults,” she sighed with not much hope of convincing ASR (but try karna uska farz banta tha), “waise I dont really see the point in talking to Sherry, for one I am sure Anya wont like it and secondly, it is Anya who is insisting that she loves him,” as expected, Khushi’s exhortations fell on deaf ears.
Sherry accordingly maintained his silence and apparent ignorance of Khushi’s very carrying whisper, especially the latter half.
Arnav glared at Sherry; he leaned into his face and bit out, “How dare you play around with the sentiments of my niece, I will have your skin for this, you rascal, leave her alone, she is just a baby, dont you have any shame?”
When Sherry didn’t respond, Arnav was even more annoyed, “Oh I know all about men like you.” Arnav erupted and Sherry let him; apart from a tick in his jaw, there was no indication that he was offended or even heard what was being thrown at him and Sherry just stood there as if carved in stone.
Arnav continued in this vein for quite some time, frustrated and thwarted at the lack of response, he finally stopped to take a breath, “Well what have you to say for yourself?”
“Nothing,” Sherry waved his hand and shrugged, “you just said it all,” he shook his head, “nothing I didn’t know,” he squarely met Arnav’s eyes, “my only question is how do you know so much about about men like me?” he raised his eyebrow and exaggeratedly scratched his head, “err – perhaps a case of been there done that?” he said softly, very softly, his face still carved in stone, his lips barely moving.
Arnav turned a beetroot red and Khushi put a restraining hand on Arnav’s shoulder; she looked at the boy in surprise – he seemed to be determined to provoke ASR and his behavior was almost suicidal.
“Please Sharath,” Khushi reprimanded him, “don’t worsen the situation, why are you bent upon making this worse?” she asked reasonably.
Sherry’s shoulders sagged and all the fight seemed to go out of him as he looked at Khushi – he swallowed hard the resemblance was indeed very stark.
Sherry sighed and as if coming to a decision, came out from behind the table twirling a pencil between his fingers, “And for your information, I have already left,” his voice faltered just the tiniest bit (Khushi caught it), “your niece, so I don’t see what you are complaining about?”
Arnav was frustrated and thwarted he wanted to murder Sherry – he could see Di all hunched up and sobbing hysterically in her wedding finery over their parents dead bodies, her broken marriage, their lives destroyed; Di’s betrayal by her beloved husband and its consequences not only for Di but also for Khushi; his Khushi who had to bear the brunt of his torn bitter past – he could still clearly see Khushi’s devastated expression of betrayal as he had declared ‘Main Lavanya se shaadi karoonga’ – and now Anya – who next – Chotti?
Nahi woh aisa hone nahi dega.
“You think you are so smart don’t you?” ASR bit out, “If you didn’t have any intentions of marrying Anya why did you play with the feelings of an innocent girl half your age? What did you intend to achieve? Blackmail ASR for money? Is that what it is?” he sneered contemptuously.
The door burst open, “Chotte!” Arnav turned around in surprise – both Khsitij and a near hysterical Anjali had arrived; ASR glared at Khushi who looked away guiltily, “Inko bulane ki kya zaroorat thi?” he snarled.
Khushi stood her ground, “Zaroorat thi,” she said firmly, “Aap bhool rahein hain, Anya is their daughter.”
Arnav sneered dismissively, “Oh really and where were they when Anya needed them the most? They sent her off to a different city and left her to fend for herself alone, kuch din aur der se jaata na toh I would have found her dead body,” ASR didn’t mince his words and was in fact quite brutal; Anjali burst into tears, Kshitij held her in his arms and attempted to console her.
A waiter stood at the door with the refreshments, sensing something amiss he had the good sense to dump his load on a convenient table and make himself scarce.
Sherry watchfully observing this by-play stiffened and paled; he swallowed and looked at Khushi uneasily, “Anya theek hai?” he asked abruptly as if the words were wrung out of him; his heart in his mouth – Muniya had no doubt told him she was unwell but to this extent? Was ASR exaggerating – he hoped so; when Khushi didn’t answer him, “Maam?” he said almost pleadingly; Khushi looked at him consideringly measuringly – why oh why did he look so familiar – like an old forgotten song or a fragrance, “She was very very ill,” Khushi was determined not to let him off the hook so easily, “Kyon tumhe kya faraq padta hai?” she sniffed dismissively.
Sherry looked at Khushi worry clearly written on his face, “Kya hua hai Anya ko? Anything serious?” his voice was urgent – all pretense at bored disinterest vanishing in an instant – his eyes bored into Khushi as if willing her to say no, no everything was all right, Anya theek hai, “You have no business asking about Anya you ****,” yelled ASR.
Strangely he didn’t react to the insult; he in fact ignored ASR (or could be that his heart had stood still and he never even registered what ASR said – all he heard was that Anya was seriously unwell) he focused on Khushi (perhaps he felt a connect with her due to her resemblance to Anya – of course Anjali was unlikely to be of any help for she was busy wetting her husband’s shirt), desperate for some news “Anya kaisi hai?” he repeated hungry for news of her; ever since she had left Bengaluru his source of Anya updates had dried up and he had convinced himself that once with her family, she would be fine, “Please Maam?”
“Khushi is rascal ko kuch batane ki zaroorat nahi hai,” ordered ASR, “Ek toh he drives her to the edge of death and then he asks how is she?” ASR snorted derisively; Khushi ignored him – dal main kuch kala hai, her instincts were screaming – kahin kuch toh was not as it seemed; clearly this was more than a simple case of a one-sided love; she looked at Sherry critically – he looked taller no leaner than when she had met him last time – his face was expressionless, but barely. He seemed to be holding on to his emotions with great difficulty. Coming to a decision, Khushi said abruptly, tonelessly all the while observing his face, “Anya was has been very unwell, she has tuberculosis.”
“Tuberculosis!” Sherry almost staggered; he gripped the back to the chair for support, his knuckles turning white; his face too was white and his lips pale, “Is…is she be…better?” he looked ready to collapse, guilt and regret visible to anyone who cared to see.
A sense of déjà vu engulfed Khushi. So she was right, Khushi thought in grim satisfaction, this was no case of one-sided love, taking pity on Sharath, she nodded reassuringly, “Yes, don’t worry, she is much better now.”
“And no thanks to you,” growled ASR, “Sab tumhari galati hai, all because of you and your cheap underhanded and uncalled for betrayal, Anya ki yeh halat hai,” Sherry fell into the chair, placed his elbows on the table and buried his face in his hands, “Ab kya munh chhupa rahe ho?” sneered ASR controlling himself from strangling the overconfident rotten upstart, mostly because Khushi was hanging on to his arm rather like a limpet to a rock, “Main tujhe dekh loonga,” he swore, “I will destroy you and kahin bhi munh dikhane layak nahi rahoge,” he vowed.
Sherry raised his head, his eyes bleak, the hollows in his face standing out starkly, “Be my guest,” he said rather wearily, “And don’t hesitate to tell me if you need any help – destruction would possibly be more bearable than this…this pointless, barren endless existence,” Sherry’s words reflected his distressed mental state; even ASR registered it.
“Kya matlab hai tumhara?” Khushi asked softly.
Sherry looked at her, his face a mass of torn conflicted emotions; Ma was right after all, there was no point in beating about the bush, maybe the truth would help Anya face their destiny, accept that they were not meant to be; her family would help her – clearly his plan of making her forget him, hate him had not worked, “Aapko kya lagta hai that I don’t love Anya, that I led her on, had my ‘fun’ and then dumped her?” he gave a hollow humorless laugh, “I have loved her since she was 14 and have been waiting for almost a decade for Anya to grow up,” he revealed to his stunned audience even as he shook his head at his own folly.
“Phir problem kya hai?” Khushi echoed everyone’s thoughts.
Sherry sighed and tiredly rubbed his eyes, “The problem lies in my past, in my antecedents,” he looked straight into Khushi’s eyes, “I didn’t know of it till six months ago but the moment I knew,” he bowed his head as if holding in an immense pain; he looked up and continued in the same even tone, “I knew that Anya and I can never be together…”
“Par aisi kya baat hai?” Khushi burst in her heart beating frantically with trepidation; oh no not the past again! Hey DM raksha karna, “How does the past matter in this age in this era, what our parents did or did not do, kya faraq padta hai?” Khushi couldn’t bear the thought of a devastated Anya, first betrayal and now the truth of the past and the boy? He was barely holding on to his emotions, clearly devastated and completely broken by whatever truth that had been revealed to him.
Sherry’s lips twisted, “Exactly what I said to Ma…”
“Enough!” thundered ASR, “bahut ho gaya yeh nautanki,” he snapped, “Let’s have the truth and be on our way,” he shook his finger threateningly in Sherry’s face, “Make no mistake, Anya ko kuch nahi hoga, main hone nahi doonga, in any case I wouldn’t dream of giving her hand to a nobody like you,” he looked scathingly and dismissively at Sherry.
Sherry bowed his head, but instantly snapped back as he too shook his finger aggressively into ASR’s face, “I will hold you to that, agar Anya ko kuch hua toh I will hold you responsible.”
Arre wah yeh toh ulta chor kotwal ko daante.
“Ok ok, you have both had your say,” finally Kshitij spoke up rather wearily, “Can we have the truth of your past, please, really this has gone on long enough.”
Sherry squared his shoulders and took a deep breath, “My mother separated from my father when I was about a year old due to,” he coughed, “some differences in opinion.”
“Haan toh?” barked an impatient ASR as foreboding filled him, nahi this couldn’t be possible would it? He was suddenly on high alert; Khushi too was on high alert, the resemblance was pretty clear, strange how she hadn’t cottoned on immediately…
“Well it may shock you to know that my father name is Sha…”
“You ****!” roared ASR as he dived for Sherry’s throat.
Since aap logon ko kaafi paka liye an extra bonus Chapter 330