Khushi looked at Arnav with a anguished expression, “I wish you had trusted me just a little bit, I wish you had talked to me just once; even if it was after the ‘marriage’, but even then, you thought so little of me,” she bit her lip and swallowed hard to dislodge the lump in her throat. It hurt even now to think that he believed her capable of being so ‘characterless’.
Arnav looked at her, deep regret lining his face, “Khushi how I have wished that a thousand times, I wish I could turn back the clock; Sheetal had left me with deeper scars than I realized and when I confronted Shyam, he preyed upon my insecurities and deliberately led me astray; I was again shattered, I could no longer trust my own judgment where people were concerned! I lost confidence in myself, if somebody who had lived with us for 3 years could turn out to be the lowest scum of the earth, how could I trust you? I was torn Khushi, I yielded to my experiences rather than the honesty of your eyes. Forgive me Khushi,” Arnav’s eyes too sparkled with unshed tears.
Khushi wiped her tears and said, “Humne kaha na koi baat nahi, whatever happens, happens for the best, let’s leave it at that.”
Arnav looked at her broodingly, he knew she was still hurting, more so because of his unthinking words he had thrown at her today, “Khushi, I never mean to hurt you, but knowingly and unknowingly I always end up hurting you; woh is liye ki kyonki mujhe kabhi pata hi nahi chalta hai…… par phir jab main realize karta hoon, I really regret it, I really do, bahut bura lagta hai mujhe, but main kuch bhi kabhi jaan kar nahi karta Khushi main bas… main bas shayad main aisa hi hoon.”
Arnav slowly walked up to Khushi and put his hands on her shoulders and squeezed them fiercely, “Whatever emotions may have been at play, I just know one thing, ever since you fell into my arms at the fashion show, you have been mine, finders keepers,” He crushed her to him.
Khushi swallowed her hurt and drew comfort from the warmth of his arms and changed the topic, “Are you Ok with Di’s marriage now?”
Arnav held her tighter and muttered, “Not ok precisely, but yeah more or less resigned.”
Khushi moved back, “Why not Ok? Have doubts about my brother or what?”
Arnav made a wry face, “It is your brother, that is why I am at least resigned, I am still not ok because I don’t want to lose Di; I will miss her so much. I can’t understand why Di is not agreeing to continue to stay here?” Arnav complained rather plaintively. He brightened, “Khushi, why don’t you talk to your brother, see if you can convince him, if he agrees then I am sure Di will also agree,” he looked hopefully at Khushi.
Wise beyond her years, Khushi could anticipate the pitfalls of such an arrangement, yet she knew anything she said could be again misconstrued by Arnav. She sighed, “Arnav, tell me, would you agree to stay at Kshitij’s place, after all it is the same equation?”
Trapped, Arnav looked away. Khushi felt sorry for him.
“Accha toh Anya was right; you were more upset because Di would be leaving RM?” Khushi tried to distract him.
Arnav rolled his eyes, “That Anya is too smart for her own good, just like her bua.”
“Haan woh toh hai,” Khushi smiled fondly.
Arnav could see she was still upset and he didn’t want to let her go in this frame of mind. He racked his brains.
“Khushi,” said Arnav, “woh shart wali baat bhool gayee kya?”
“Kuan si shart?” said Khushi disinterestedly.
“Are you serious Khushi? Tum shart jeet gayee and you forgot about it?” Arnav teased her, but his heart broke, where was his tigress? Damn he had really hurt her, again.
Khushi perked up a bit, “Oh so you agree I won the shart? That something ‘good’ happened?”
“Of course Khushi, I am a fair man, so many ‘good’ things happened, you found your brother, we got Anya, Di found a friend and a daughter, the only ‘bad’ thing is Di is going away,” Arnav was sad.
Khushi melted, just a bit; he looked like such a lost little boy.
Arnav looked back at her, “So since you won, what do you want me to do?” he winked suggestively.
Khushi stiffened, “I am busy now; we will discuss it later,” she turned to leave.
Arnav grabbed her by the arm, “Khushi, how many times do I have to tell you not to go off when I am talking to you?”
Khushi jerked her arm away, “Kyon? Why can’t I do that? You are always doing that; what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” She again turned away, “I won the bet and I will decide what I want and when I want, I am busy,” she said and vanished through the door.
Arnav sighed; it would take some more time and some more effort on his part before she forgave him.
Arnav tried calling her up during the day several times, but she refused to take his calls, even disconnecting a couple of times, sending an SMS ‘in class’
Yeah right, Arnav thought angrily as he plodded through his files and dreary meetings. Aman had a terrible day at the office while Mohan (the driver) got thrown out of his job.
Arnav and Khushi met again at the dinner table where there was not much scope for interaction, especially not with another wedding in the offing; besides, Khushi refused to even look at him. There was much excitement and discussion which continued beyond dinner. Anjali called Arnav so he stayed back to spend a few minutes alone with his sister and by the time he reached their room, Khushi was fast asleep, on the couch.
He sat down on his haunches beside the recliner and gently tucked a stray curl behind her ear. Khushi willed herself to be still.
Will he? Won’t he? Will he? Won’t he?
Poor thing must be fagged out after a long day, Arnav sighed. He stared regretfully at her for a few minutes and then picked her up effortlessly and put her on the bed.
He went to change and get ready for bed. Khushi lay stiffly on her side of the bed. When Arnav returned, then he noticed that she was just pretending to be asleep.
He grinned to himself as the impish devil in him woke; he lay back on middle of the bed and began to snore loudly.
There was no response.
He waited a few minutes, then he started thrashing around the bed, Khushi ishtyle. His arm imprisoned her while his legs pushed her off the bed. Khushi continued to pretend to be asleep, but when his activities became more and more aggressive, she sat up, “Yeh kya kar rahe hai aap?”
Arnav sleepily opened his eyes, “Whaat?”
“Zyaada baniye mat,” Khushi said, “You were so not asleep.”
“And you were?” Arnav asked equally skeptical.
Khushi got up from the bed and went to the couch, Arnav sighed and caught her, “Khushi,” Arnav softened his tone, “Sorry bola na, come on, you won the bet, tell me what do you want?”
Click here for Chapter 42