Monday, 6 February 2012

OS: Cheques, Poolside, Love

OS: Cheques, Poolside, Love
Rating: 18+

Khushi had the cheque ready in her bag, the money that she owed him from the hospital. She also had the bundles of money that Arnav had thrown at her when he came to her house to get her back into RM for Anjali's sake. She had never used it and had been waiting to return it on her last day of work. Last day or not, it seemed right that after what happened, well, almost happened between them last night, she should return every one of his things to him before her engagement. That included the mannat ki chaabi that she kept carefully inside the envelope containing the cheque.

Khushi had been trying to get out of her house the whole day. She was hoping to give everything to Anjali while Arnav was at work. However, getting out of the house seemed more difficult than she imagine. Buaji had a million chores for her, not to mention the constant nagging about her impending engagement. Finally, at 6 in the evening, when Buaji had gone for a shower, she told Amma that she urgently needed to go to RM for a bit.

"Kya keh rahi ho Khushi? Itni der ho gayi hai. Lagta hai baarish bhi hogi. Kal subah chali jaana."

"Nahi Amma, hume aaj hi jaana hoga. Kal toh Panditji aayenge sagai ki taareekh nikalvane. Uske pehle hume ye kaam khatam karna hi hai."

"Khushi zidd mat karo beta. Andhera ho raha hai aur baarish bhi.."

"Nahi Amma. Hum jaldi se aa jaayenge. Jaana toh hume aaj hi hoga."

Amma sighed and said "Achcha theek hai. Phone le jaana aur baarish shuru ho jaaye toh andhere mei akele vaapis mat aana."

"Ji Amma. Hum jaldi aa jaayenge."

It had started pouring by the time Khushi left. Thanks to the traffic and the rains, it was past 8 when Khushi reached RM. Just as she was going to ring the bell, her phone rang. Amma wanted to know why she hadn't reached home. She explained that the traffic and the rain was really bad and she had just reached. Amma was adamant that she should not come back alone since it would be late by the time she finished. Amma suggested that she stay back in RM with Lavanya. To get Amma to hang up and to ensure that she didn't worry, Khushi agreed that she'll stay back. As she rang the bell, she thought she would quickly hand over everything to Anjali and get out as soon as she could and go back home without letting her Amma know until she reached.

Omprakash looked mighty relieved to see her when he opened the door. Letting her in, he stepped out and said "Bhagwan ka lakh shukar hai ki aap gayi Khushiji. Aap zara ye darwaaza lock kardijiye. Hume ghar jaane ke liye bahut der ho rahi hai aur Arnav bhaiyya ko neeche aake darwaaza band karne ko bolne ki himmat nahi ho rahi thi. Woh upar apne kamre mei hai, aap darwaaza band karke jaake mil lijiye. Chalte hai"

By the time Khushi processed half of what he said, Omprakash was gone. She locked the door and turned around, swallowing. Did that mean there was no one except Arnav at home? How is that possible? It's past 8, where will everyone go at this time? Was she now supposed to go to Arnav's room and give him everything? So much for avoiding a meeting with him, she thought wryly.

She was standing near the stairs considering her options. Even if she decided to turn around and leave, she could not leave the door open. Sighing, she started climbing the stairs, when she heard Arnav calling out "Omprakash, thoda paani le aao upar." Thinking of ignoring him, she climbed another stair before deciding to get him some water in case it's for his medicine or something.

Khushi felt the familiar thudding in her heart as she stood with a bottle and knocked on Arnav's door. "Haan yahaa le aao" he called out faintly. Stepping in tentatively, she saw that he wasn't in his room. Walking in, she stopped dead in her tracks when she saw him near the pool, leaning against the very wall where he almost kissed her around 24 hours ago. Closing her eyes briefly against a barrage of emotions, she walked outside the room and placed the bottle on the table near the pool.

Hearing the sound, Arnav turned his head only to have his heart skip a beat as he saw Khushi standing there. If he had not felt her presence as always a few moments ago, he would've thought that she was a figment of his imagination, conjured by all the dreams and thoughts haunting his mind in the past day.

They stared at each other for a few moments before Khushi cleared her throat and began to talk "Woh.. Omprakashji abhi abhi ghar chale gaye. Unhe der ho rahi thi aur woh aapko bulaana nahi chahte the darwaaza band karne ke liye. Hum.. hum itni raat ko nahi aana chahte the par.. matlab hum ghar se do ghante pehle nikle the par traffic aur baarish ki vaje se.. woh hume Anjaliji se milna tha ... woh kab tak.." In spite of constantly telling herself that she will not let herself be affected by him, she could not take his intense gaze anymore as she trailed off and looked away.

"Di aur baaki sab subah tak aayenge ... Kisi puja mei gaye hai jo raat bhar chalegi" he said almost huskily. She had filled every single second of his thoughts and dreams after he left her at her doorstep the previous night. His disturbed sleep was filled with images of him holding her, touching her. Images of what would've happened if his phone hadn't started ringing at that moment. Several times during the day, he had to physically stop himself from going and catching a glimpse of her. He was thinking of the whole day and now when she was standing in front of him, he was just drinking her in.

He seems to have no problem looking at me like always, she thought. Like he needed to make a sketch of me later from his memory. Like he had a right to. But, he doesn't. She held her head high again, and looking into his eyes said "Oh achcha. Milna toh hume unse hi tha par koi baat nahi. Aakhir aap hi ki cheezei lautaani thi toh achcha hai ki aap hi mil gaye." She took out the two envelopes and kept it on the table "Ye aapki kuch cheezei hai. Bas yahi lautaana tha aapko."

Without breaking eye contact, Arnav started walking towards her, as if in a trance. Fleetingly, she wondered if this was deja vu. Just like he walked towards her yesterday. Not this time though, she thought bravely as she fought with her senses to stand her ground and not walk back as he came to stop a feet away from her. Bending down, he picked up the envelopes and said "Kya hai issme?"

He looked at the bundles of money in one and raised an eyebrow at her. She looked at him and said "Ye woh paise hai jo aapne humaare muh par pheka tha uss din jab aap ghar aaye the hume Anjali ji ke liye manaane. Humne sambhaal ke rakhe thi aapko kabhi vaapis karne ke liye. Lekin pichle kuch dino mei itna kuch ho ki hum bhool hi gaye the." She saw something flash in his eyes before he looked at the other envelope. "Ye un paiso ka cheque hai jo aapne hospital mei hume diya they." Again, he looked at her before frowning and looking into the envelope as he felt some metal.

He looked up at her disbelievingly when he saw his mannat ki chaabi inside the envelope. "Ye mannat ki chaabi? All those months ago? From the dargah? Tumne abhi tak sambhaalke rakhi hai?" he said incredulously. Then, stepping closer, he said softly "Kyu?"

Refusing to step back, she looked him in the eye and said "Ussi vaje se jiss vaje se aapne humaari payal sambhaalke rakhi thi. Matlab koi vaje hi nahi hai. Aapko bhi apni cheezei yahaa wahaa chodne ki aadat hai. Lekin hum bhi isse seene se lagaake nahi baithe the."

She felt some satisfaction when she saw his jaws clench. Past caring now, she continued, "Aur sahi kahaa aapne. Hume bhi koi farak nahi padta. Uss baat ki ya aapki humaare liye bhi koi ehmiyat nahi hai. Aur achcha hai ki nahi hai. Vaise bhi humaari sagai tai ho gayi hai. Aur kal taareekh bhi pakki ho jaayegi. Hum bhi chaahte the ki usse pehle aapki har cheez hum aapko lauta de taaki aap bhi ye na samjhe ki hum usko seene se lagaake baithe hai. Samjhe aap!"

She saw him freeze the moment she spoke about her engagement. But, she had gone on, wanting to twist the knife, just like he did last night. Now, as she felt the sadistic pleasure, she wanted to leave before the tears started. She turned around to leave only to have him grab her elbow and whirl her around. "Hume haath mat lagaayiye" she shouted before pushing at his chest with all her might. Not expecting it, Arnav stumbled back and felt himself step on air as he fell into the pool. He saw Khushi's eyes widen as she gasped and lunged forward to grab his arms to prevent the fall, but it was too late and he was too heavy for her strength as she got pulled onto him. He wrapped his arms around her just as his back hit the water, and the cold dark depths engulfed them.

They spluttered up to the surface within seconds, the cold water numbing them completely. Inches away from her drenched face Arnav started at her completely enthralled, as he felt his sane thoughts vanish completely. His eyes took on a dreamy look, as he watched her quivering lips, and shivering body that clung to his shoulders while her still held her around her slim waist. He knew her pearly skin would be soft under his touch, and he had an urge to find out for himself.

Khushi started back watching the play of emotions on his face, as he stared intently at her lips. She watched in fascination, cold forgotten, as he slowly bent towards her and closed the distance between them, touching her lips with his in a soft tentative kiss. Her body stiffened, her nails biting into his shoulder, as she felt him deepen the kiss. He continued to devour her pliant lips, coaxing them apart, and she relaxed as any thought of resisting him was destroyed, the second his tongue entered her mouth.

His mouth was hot and sweet. She heard herself moaning deep in the back of her throat. He wrapped his fingers in her hair to hold her mouth in place, as if she could possibly think of going anywhere.

The sudden pitter-patter of rain broke into their kiss and he slowly lifted his mouth from hers. She felt him untangle his fingers from her hair and realized that any attempt to pretend she hadn’t been affected by his kiss would be futile, because she had been affected and had a feeling he knew it.

Before she could react to anything, he had dumped her out on the edge, out of the water, leaping out himself in one fluid motion. She drew an unsteady breath as she watched the clothes clinging to his muscular torso, and held back her hands that were itching to reach out and touch him.

Within seconds he had lifted her effortlessly and carried her drenched body through the now pouring rain, into his room.

Setting her down, on the tiled bathroom floor, he reached out behind her to pick up towel. His eyes met hers as she looked and she hoped he didn’t detect the desire that was running inside her; however, judging by the dark, hot look in his eyes, he did.

A determined smile tilted the corners of his, and for the second time that day she didn’t resist him when he smoothly pulled her into his arms and took her mouth with the ease and experience of a man who knew what he wanted. And he wanted her. He wanted her now.

Khushi was helpless to do anything but follow his lead, especially when her body was singing a song of its own.

He thoroughly explored her mouth with his tongue, making her weak with desire and her body consumed with need. She gasped audibly as she felt his hands touch her bottom, bringing her even closer to him. Passion, the likes of which she had never felt took over, sending her mind reeling and her body burning.

When one of his hands left her bottom to cup her breast, teasing the tip with his thumb, she moaned deep within her throat.

Arnav’s tongue was in control, and Khushi went where he led, seeking, devouring, eating away at her with a hunger that made her knees weaken and her heart race. She wrapped her arms around him, feeling the hardness of him.

His fingers slipped back towards the dori of her kurta, opening it in one deft motion, while unzipping the back. Pulling it down off her shoulders, where it pooled around her waist, his mouth began devouring her breasts. He seemed to be staking a claim, reaffirming what had always been his. When his mouth moved back to hers, demanding her response, it robbed her of any conscious thought other than how he was making her feel.

Arnav marveled at how warm and smooth her skin was, as he played with her full soft breasts, enjoying the look in her passion-drugged eyes.

He heard her whimper, with a smile of his face, as he broke away from the kiss, to pick her up and carry her out into his room … onto the waiting bed.

Khushi was lost in a whirlpool of emotions, and watched as he slowly undressed her, touching each part he exposed with a soft sensual kiss. He admired each curve, fullness, and lushness that he discovered as he stroked her everywhere, beginning with her breasts before moving lower between her legs.

There his hand found the treasure he sought. She was hot to his fingers, exceedingly wet. He began stroking her while whispering just what he wanted to do to her, and watched as she writhed under his ministrations. He wanted to teach her everything tonight, to show her his love.

He knelt on the bed, driven to taste her all over and began spreading kisses all over her body, paying special homage to her breasts, flicking his tongue over the swollen nipples. And when he heard her soft, throaty breath catch, he was determined to take her with him, to heights they had never been before.

Holding her hips firmly in his hand he lowered his mouth past her navel and felt her body clench in surprise, then heard the sounds of shocked pleasure that erupted from deep in her throat when his tongue delved into the very essence of her, loving it, cherishing it.

He heard her call out his name when his tongue began stroking her in a way it had never done before. Taking his hand he gently widened her legs, determined to get everything he wanted. With the heat of his mouth he showed her just what she meant to him.

Her nails clawed his back, and when he felt her body tense, he swiftly moved in place over her. Their gazes met the moment his body entered hers as his hand grabbed her hips and lifted her to go deeper.

"Ahh." He released a long sigh and a deep shuddering breath when her inner muscles tightened around him. Her small cry of pain stopped him for a second; he just remained still in that position, savoring the feel of being inside of her, connected to her, one with her.

‘Don’t stop.’

Her words destroyed the very last vestige of his control and restraint, opening a floodgate of desire. He began moving and the strokes increased. His thrusts became extensive. His mind began spinning out of control. His body followed, and when he felt her body let go as an orgasm shook her, he screamed her name and pushed deeper inside as an orgasm tore through him as well.

Lowering his head, he consumed her lips, her mouth, and her tongue. She was back in his arms, and he was back inside her body, and there was no way he was ever going to let her go.


Rating: 18+ 

Khushi was in a daze. It vaguely registered that it started to rain by the time she reached near the gate of the temple. She didn't have an umbrella and either way, she thought it will calm her mind if she sits in front of Devi Maiyya at the temple for a while. She ran back into the temple and sat at a corner. She just closed her eyes. There were no tears. Yet. Did she just say goodbye to Arnav? To never meet him again? Is that why she was finding it difficult to breathe? Is this what love brought? She hugged her knees and rested her forehead on top of them. She didn't realize the time flying as every single moment she ever spent with Arnav flashed through her mind.

Arnav was speeding like a maniac. Why shouldn't I? Khushi isn't with me. Damn! He said to himself. Everything doesn't have to be about her. His head was reeling as he realized that he would never see her again. He had just said goodbye. How is this possible? How is it possible that he will never see those wide, innocent eyes again? Or those quivering lips? Or that pretty nose stud that suited her so well? Will he never hear her non-stop annoying chatter? He slammed on the brakes and closed his eyes, leaning back. He had never been too much of a sucker for happiness for himself. But, now that the happiness was sucked away, he realized that he had been happy these past weeks when Khushi was around him. Sighing, he opened his eyes to look at his watch. He had been driving around aimlessly in the heavy rain for 5 hours. It was 11. He looked at his phone and saw a bunch of missed calls from Akash and Di. She must be worried, he thought. Swearing under his breath, he drove back home.

Walking into his house, he didn't want to even talk to his Di although he knew she was going to shout at him. As expected, she looked worried sick as she rushed towards him, but he was completely taken aback when her first question was "Chote, Khushiji ke baare mei kuch pata chala?"

"Khushi ke baare mei? Kya hua usko?" Arnav tried to swallow his panic as he asked the question.

"Oh. Hume laga tumhe Akash ne bataya aur tum unhe dhoond rahe the issliye phone nahi uthaaya. Khushiji ab tak ghar nahi pahunchi hai Chote."

Arnav felt like the ground was slipping from under his feet. "Ghar nahi pahunchi matlab?! 11 baj gaye Di! Ghar kaise nahi pahunchi?!"

"Wahi toh Chote. Aur itni zor ki baarish ho rahi hai. Ye bhi abhi thodi der pehle ghar pahunche aur keh rahe the ki baarish ki vaje se raaste band hai."

"Haan Bhai. Maine abhi abhi Payalji se baat ki hai, abhi tak unhe kuch pata nahi chala" said Akash, who just walked in from outside, drenched. "Mai bhi unhe dhoond raha tha. Aap phone nahi utha rahe the toh ghar aa gaya to check if there's any news."

"I'll find her" said Arnav, walking out "Call me if you hear anything."

"Chote.." started Anjali, but he was already out of the door.

The panditji had shaken Khushi out of her stupor at 10 to let her know that everyone was leaving the temple. He advised her to hurry as the rains were really bad and he heard that some roads were closing. Panicking at the late hour, Khushi rushed out in the heavy rain. She walked for a bit hoping to find an auto, but to her dismay, the roads were empty. It was dark and the rain was rather merciless. Wondering if she should be walking alone in such an hour, Khushi tried waiting under a tree so that no one from the road could see her and she was mostly sheltered from the rain. After waiting for about an hour, she decided she had to walk. There really was no other option as she hadn't seen a single vehicle on the highway in the one hour that she stood there. The rain was in no mood to lessen either. She started walking as fast as she could.

Arnav barely remembered the drive to the temple. The roads were empty as several roads were blocked due to the heavy rains. There was not a soul anywhere. He couldn't remember the last time he felt so helpless and panicked. The temple was empty. He rushed back into his car and sped towards the highway that lead to Khushi's house.

When he slammed on the brakes next to Khushi, for a moment, he thought he was hallucinating. Then, when he saw her jerk away and almost fall off the road in fear, he realized it really was her. For a few seconds, Khushi thought the car had hit her. The noise of the breaks and the sudden light disoriented her. As she turned in shock, she recognized the pearl white SUV.

The next thing she knew, she was in Arnav's arms. He was crushing her to himself. The relief of finding someone in this situation and the satisfaction of it being Arnav poured into her as she hugged back with all her strength. Suddenly she felt herself being jerked away from him as he held her shoulders, a few inches away from himself.

"What the hell is wrong with you, Khushi?!" he shouted "Tum paagal ho gayi ho? Itni baarish mei iss waqt tum akele iss road pe ghoom rahi ho? Dimaag kharab ho gaya hai tumhaara? Tumhaare gharwaale kitna pareshaan hai! Di bhi ro rahi hai! Aur mai kitna dar.." They stared at each other for a few moments as the rain crashed down on them and the unsaid words filled the silence.

Then, shaking himself, Arnav opened the door and pushed her in. Then walking over, he got in himself. After taking a deep breath, he called her home. Khushi's Amma picked on the first ring saying "Khushi?" in a broken voice. Arnav tried to put in as much assurance as he could into his voice as he said "Mai Arnav. Khushi mil gayi hai. Mere saath hai. Aap chinta mat kijiye, mai khud usse chodne aaunga. Time lagega kyunki raaste band hai. Aap usse baat kijiye" After Khushi assured her mother that she was fine and that once the roads are clear, she'll be home, Arnav let his Di and Akash know as well and then put the phone away, leaning back against his seat, closing his eyes.

He tried to block out how he felt in those moments between finding out she was missing and then actually finding her. The relief that poured into his veins when she was finally in his arms was something he would never forget.

He shook his head fiercely, NO. He had to forget … He had just told her in no uncertain terms that he was the maker of his own destiny.

And here he was within a few hours of making that statement, back with Khushi Kumari Gupta in his car. Worried sick, and completely irrational, after telling her that he wanted her out of his life.

DAMMIT, he banged his fist on the steering wheel in frustration, stepping on the accelerator automatically.

The car sped through the deserted dark highway, and Khushi clutched her seat belt tightly as the same familiar feeling of dread crept through her. What did he want? She had lost count of the number of times she had asked herself that. He knew of her fear of speeding, and yet …

‘Gaadi rokiye’, she mustered up the courage and said sharply. On getting no response from him, she said it louder, ‘humne kaha gaadi rokiye’.

The car came to a sudden halt and she felt herself being flung into the dashboard with the force. Un clipping her seat belt in one swift motion, she opened the door before he could react and stepped out onto the cold wet street.

‘Hume appki zindagi mein aur aapki gaadi mein aane ka koi shauk nahi hain, Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada. Hum ghar apne app chalen jayenge’, she shot at him angrily, before slamming the door on his stunned face.

FINE, he said under his breath and sped off seeing her drenched, forlorn figure in the rear view mirror, staring after him, and then around at her surroundings.

For the fourth time that evening he slammed his foot on the brakes and reversed the car towards where she still stood uncertainly. Stopping beside her, he lowered the window and asked her to get in.

‘Humne aapse kaha na…’ Khushi began saying, all ready to give him a piece of her mind.

Before she could finish, he was out of the car and looming in front of her. Khushi took a few tentative steps back, as he stared at her and told her to get into the car through gritted teeth.

Khushi continued to stare at him defiantly.

It was a sudden cloudburst that shook them out of their intense eye lock, and Arnav gathered her swiftly in his arms. Opening the door closest to him, he shoved her into the back seat, and getting in himself, shut the doors.
The sudden silence of the enclosed cabin enveloped them, as the hammering of the torrential rain could be heard on the roof of the car.

Khushi looked around her uneasily, and suppressed a shiver, realizing that she was thoroughly drenched. She swiftly opened out her hair, shaking it dry. Droplets flew all around and Arnav blinked in a state of bewilderment as some even landed on his face. Now taking a corner of her dupatta, she tried unsuccessfully to wipe the wetness of her face and neck.

The sudden prickling behind her neck, made her look up towards Arnav and she shifted uncomfortably in her seat as she watched him looking at her in fascination. He had the same glazed look in his eyes that she had seen at the poolside on Diwali at the Raizada Mansion. Khushi felt a shiver go down her spine, and knew it had nothing to do with her feeling cold, this time.

Arnav stared spell bound at the drops of water that clung to her translucent skin. Her wet hair framed her face and tiny droplets of water still fell from them. She tried to wipe them with her already drenched dupatta and was only succeeding in making herself more wet. He swallowed painfully as he felt himself being drawn towards her.

Slowly he reached up and stalled her hand from touching her face again. He gently removed the dupatta from her clutched fingers, all the while staring into her panic filled innocent eyes.

Khushi was immobilized as she watched his face come closer to hers slowly. She could not remember when he had reached out and cupped her face in his hands holding her steady for him.

He groaned when their mouths made contact. If he had not held her against him, Khushi would have surely collapsed as she felt a surge of desire overtake her entire being. Arnav feasted on her mouth, and as he felt her lips part in a gasp, his tongue entered and came in contact with hers, he saw her eyes fly open in shock.

She started into his passion drugged eyes, as he continued to devour her pliant lips. The more he played with her lips, the more her body began overflowing with desire. Reaching out Khushi captured the hard muscles of his shoulders beneath her fingers and reveled in the feel of his mouth working magic on hers.

His mouth never leaving hers, he shrugged off his coat and flung it aside, and pushed her back into the seat as he moved over her comfortably. Lifting his face to look at her, he reached out and stroked his thumb across her bottom lip, a lip still tingling from their kiss. Fighting the heat erupting in her stomach, Khushi licked her lips as if relishing in the taste of him. She watched his pupils dilate at her sight of her tongue, and for the second him he groaned and smothered her with her fierce kiss.

Her hands that were clutching his shoulders moved tentatively towards his face, feeling his jaw line and moving up to wind themselves in his short crop of hair.

Arnav had already removed her dupatta and she now felt the cold rush of air on her exposed back, as he removed her kurta off her shoulders. He left her mouth to place small kisses along her neck towards her shoulder, while his hands unhooked her bra, taking the straps down with his mouth.

With her kurta pooled at her waist, Khushi resisted the urge to cover herself, as he moved away a to take in her pert breast, that seemed to be beckoning him to touch them.

She threw her head back in longing as she felt his rough hands on the soft skin of her breasts. And when his mouth joined his hands in his explorations, she bit her lip painfully, biting back the urge to call out his name.

She did not know when her hands had moved to his shirtfront, where they had unbuttoned and moved in to feel the tanned muscles of his chest.

Feeling his cool hands on his burning skin, Arnav lifted his head from her breasts and looked deeply into her eyes. His questioning gaze, asking if she was willing to go all the way, as there would be no turning back now.

Khushi met his gaze steadily, understanding each word that was reflected in them. Yes, she wanted this. She needed this, to get through the life that she would now lead without him. She needed this one last memory of them together, which would be just hers. After this she would agree to everything that her family wanted her to do. But just this night was hers. She wanted to give herself over to him completely.

She nodded shyly, lowering her eyes form the intensity of his gaze, to look at her hands on his masculine chest.

With a triumphant growl, he claimed her lips in a forceful kiss, his hands reaching down and removing the rest of her clothes.

‘Beautiful…’, he whispered hoarsely, as he watched her slim naked form. His hands slid over her legs and hips, palming her stomach, then cupping her breasts. His hands felt like liquid heat on her skin, making her shiver as they skimmed her body.

She curled shyly into him and dragged the tip of her tongue around the soft swirl of his ear. Her arms wrapped around him and she held him to her. He rolled his body on top of her and kissed her again. She twined her arms around his neck and kissed him back with renewed passion. He kissed her eyes and around to her ear.

Easing himself off her he reached down and unzipped his trousers, his eyes never leaving her’s. Khushi watched enthralled as he very easily removed them and reached out to gather her to him again. Kneeling in front of her, he drew her legs around his sides and slid inside her slowly, all the time taking in her reactions.

‘Khushi,’ he murmured, in a low, sexy drawl, his tone asking is she was all right. She could sense his entire body was tensed, wired, filled with desire.

Her soft moan was all the encouragement he needed as he began moving inside her and the strokes increased, slowly and deliberately. Her breathing came in short gasps. Her thighs quaked with tremors while she gripped him tighter with each stroke. She filled his ears with her moan. Those noises she made sounded like the most erotic music to him. It pushed him over the edge.

He began moving inside her, setting a rhythm and igniting their passion. He felt her body clench and her eyes fly open to stare at him wondrously as she felt herself reach a climax. He had never seen a more beautiful expression on her face ever, Arnav wondered as he called out her name, and his whole body clenched and tightened and gushed in one bodily orgasm.

OS: Get Out

OS: Get Out
(Version of the post-Nainital 'get out' scene.) 

Like every other time, one minute into the drive, Arnav slammed on the brakes. What is it with her, he thought? Why does every single damn emotion of mine get multiplied into unimaginable volumes when it comes to her? Anger, hatred, stubbornness, guilt, happiness, laughter, love.. OK stop, he chided himself, closing his eyes. Again, he had acted like an irrational jerk. Why does she do this to me? Why am I so incapable of curbing or even controlling my emotions when it comes to her? After all, I've had a lifetime of practice. And here she is, walking into my life and shattering all that practice so effortlessly and making me rise up to react on every single occasion. She is sick, now has a wound on her head, is dressed in a bridal gown, has no money on her, has never been to this part of the world and I just stranded her there. Guilt and concern washed over him as he punched the steering wheel, saying "damn it!" Inevitably, he reversed and turned the car.

In the meanwhile, Khushi stared incredulously at the back of the car as Arnav drove away and disappeared at a turning. She couldn't believe it. Phir se? she thought. She tried to ignore the feeling of hurt that was bubbling up in her throat. He acted like an absolute jerk, and all she felt was hurt that he didn't care about leaving her alone in the middle of nowhere. Why the hell should he care about me anyway? Will I ever be able to understand that man? She could still hear the concern laced in his voice as he had seen her in the pit and asked "Khushi, tumhe chot toh nahi lagi?" and the desperation in his voice as he said "Paagalo ki tarah tumhe dhoondh raha tha." On one hand, when she thought he would've tried to murder her when he found out that she was responsible for this mess, he didn't really even raise his voice at her. Then, after telling her to get the hell out of the dhaba before he woke up, the next thing she knew was him nursing her. She shivered lightly remembering the way he thrashed the guy for having pushed her lightly. "Haan maar daalunga. Isski himmat kaise huyi tumhe haath lagaane ke?" he had said dangerously. And now, when she didn't even really understand what the hell she had done, he asked her to get out of his car. She was still weak from the fever and lightheaded from the injury. She knew nothing of this place and had no money on her. To top it all, she was still dressed in her bridal finery. And he knew all of this, she thought bitterly. Yet, he let his anger over-ride everything and left me here. Fine, I don't need him either, she thought, starting to walk in the direction they came from.

Arnav saw her walking in the opposite direction. He screeched the car to a halt next to her. She jerked away and looked at the car. She could see Arnav sitting at the wheel staring straight ahead. She just moved away from the car and kept walking, increasing her pace. Arnav brought the car forward and jerked it to a stop next to her again and rolled down the window.

Still looking ahead, he said in a controlled voice "Khushi, andar baitho."

Khushi, without even looking at him or the car, increased the pace. Hitting the steering wheel with his hand, Arnav got out of the car and slammed the door shut. He strode to Khushi and grabbed her elbow, turning her around roughly. Khushi wheeled around and grabbed his other upper arm to stall the motion.

"Maine tumse kuch kaha. Get in the damn car, Khushi" he ground out and pulled her towards the car.

Khushi stopped and pushed at his chest with all her strength. He stumbled back a foot at the unexpected force. He looked at her in disbelief. Deja vu, was the fleeting thought that was running through both their minds at that time.

"Aap samajhte kya hai apne aap ko? Aapka jab mann ho tab aap hume nikaal denge aur jab mann ho vaapis bulaayenge? Jab aapka mann hua aap badtameezi karenge aur jab mann hua baat karenge?" Khushi didn't even notice her eyes tearing up as she shouted at Arnav.

Arnav couldn't believe her gall as closed his eyes briefly, trying to control the temper that he felt rising. He ground out "Mai tumse keh chuka hu ki maine abhi tak koi badtameezi ki hi nahi hai. Tumhe yaad hona chahiye ki hum iss waqt yahaa tumhaari vaje se hai. Ek toh tumhaari vaje se meri gaadi band ho gayi. Upar se mai jab nikalne ki koshish kar raha tha toh apne ghatiya naatak se tumne mujhe rok lia. Iss sabke baavjood mai tumhe lene vaapis aa gaya aur.."

Khushi was past caring as she shouted "Vaapis lene aaye! Bahut bada ehsaan kar rahe hai? Humne nahi bulaaya aapko vaapis! Kyunki aap humpe yahi ilzaam baar baar laga chuke hai, hum aapko bata de ki humne aapki gaadi se petrol nikaala toh woh apne liye nahi aapki khushi ke liya tha! Taaki aap Lavanya ji ke saath thoda waqt bita sake! Aur kal bhi humne kyu roka aapko? Subah hi aapki tabeeyat kharab thi aur aap khaana bhi nahi khaa rahe the, bina phone ke kahi aapko kuch ho jaata toh kisko pata chalta? Ye humne apne faayde ke liye kiya? Ya issliye ki hume aapki fikar thi?"

Arnav took a step forward as he said "Maine kahaa tha tumse meri fikar na karne ko"

"Sahi kahaa aapne! Nahi karenge hum aapki fikar. Aapko jo karna hai kariye, jaha jaana hai jaayiye, nahi khaana hai toh mat khaiye, hume koi fikar nahi aapki. Aur aap bhi humaari fikar mat kijiye. Hume jo karna hai hum kar lenge aur khud hi chale jayenge!"

Arnav balled his fists as he said "Bina paiso ke kahaa jaaogi tum? Nautanki karna band karo aur chupchaap gaadi mei baith jaao. Don't test my patience, Khushi."

"Aapko isse kya? Aur hum kyu baithe aapki gaadi mei? Taaki jab aapko fir se paagalpan ka dohra pade toh aap hume fir se nikaal de? Filhaal toh kam se kam sadak par hai, kya pata agli baar jangal ke beech utaar de humko?! Aur vaise ek aur baat aapko bataa de. Hum aapki biwi nahi hai jo aap har baar har cheez ka gussa hum par nikaalte rahe aur baad mei ye soche ki hum aapki baat maanenge"

Arnav grabbed her shoulders to pull her closer as he hissed into her face "Kya kaha tumne?"

Khushi's fists too balled into his shirt on his shoulders as she said "Wahi jo aapne suna. Aur ye bhi sun lijiye. Hum paidal chale jaayenge, kisi aur se madad maang lenge, waapis dhabe mei jaayenge, kuch bhi karenge." She paused to look into his eyes clearly and said "Ya phir yahi pade pade mar jaayenge. Lekin aapke saath nahi aayenge"

They stood like that, faces inches apart, breathing heavily against each others' faces, holding each other tightly for a few moments.

Khushi saw something change in Arnav's eyes as he said softly "Achcha? I don't think so. Tum bilkul chalogi. Kyunki mai tumhe leke jaa raha hu."

Before she could react, he picked her up in a swift motion, and dumped her into the passenger seat. Her breath hitched as he fixed her seat belt, his eyes flitting between her eyes and her lips inches away from her own. By the time she pulled herself together, he was in the drivers' seat, having secured the central lock, and they were already speeding away.

They spent the next few minutes in complete silence, each trying to calm their emotions - anger, guilt, concern, care, and then something that they didn't want to name or face.

"Har baar aapki hi manmaani chalegi na?" said Khushi, breaking the silence.

"Haan" he replied "Jaise gaadi kharaab karna. Phir dhaabewaalo ko apne aapko tumhaara pati bataana aur phir wahi ruk jaana. Har baar meri hi manmaani."

"Humne kahaa naa aapse, woh humne issliye kiya kyunki hume aapki.." she trailed off realizing what she was saying. She was mortified as she realized that she had already said it once when emotions were running high. Now that they were back to normal, she wished she could crawl under the seat before admitting how much she cared about him.

"Tumhe meri kya?" said Arnav softly.

"Kuch nahi" she said looking outside the window.

As Arnav Singh Raizada's lips curled into a small smile, he mused that that was something he had been doing often when around Khushi Kumari Gupta.

OS: Kangan

OS: Kangan

Although Arnav didn't admit it even to himself, now that Khushi was no longer in the house, he wanted to stay out of it as much as he could. That explained his having appeared in his office so early in the morning. He entered his cabin and looked around. After that day when Khushi had barged into his office to convince him to stop Lavanya from leaving, he had not come back to his cabin. He only came to the office once briefly and that too just for a meeting and so didn't even go into his cabin. Now, looking at the various plants perched all over his cabin, he cursed himself for thinking of Khushi.

When did every single thing in his life start getting associated with Khushi? When he woke up, he recalled how she filled his dreams in the night. When he pulled out his clothes, he thought of her sitting in his cupboard. When he pulled on his shoes, he thought of her filling them with orange juice. When he picked up his laptop, he thought of him accusing her of breaking his laptop. When he walked out, he always remembered her walking into the house. The poolside, the kitchen, his room, his garden, everything was filled with memories of her. Now, when he finally walked into his one haven, his cabin, did that have to remind him of her too?

He left his laptop on the table, and went down for a meeting. On the way, he called out to a peon and said "Woh jo Lavanya ne plants rakhe hai, unhe mere ghar bhijva dena."

"Lavanya madam ne? Sir unhone toh koi plants nahi bheje."

"Toh kya tumne rakhe the woh plants mere cabin mei?" said Arnav irritably.

"Oh woh? Woh toh uss din Khushi madam ne rakhvaye the, sir."

"Kya?" said Arnav, taken back. Shrugging, he said "haan wahi. Usko mere ghar bhijva do" and walked off.

"Why the hell did she have to get Khushi to do it? Everyone in my life is thrusting her into my face all the time." thought Arnav, annoyed. He flipped out his phone to tell Lavanya to have the plants put in his garden. When she picked, he said curtly "Lavanya mai woh plants ghar bhej raha hu.."


Rolling his eyes, he said "Wahi jo tumne mere office mei rakhe the."

Lavanya panicked wondering who had dared to touch Arnav's plants "Maine?! Maine koi plants nahi rakhe ASR!"

"Uss din jab tum ghar chodke gayi thi, tumne plants nahi bhijavaye the kya?! Wahi.." Arnav was getting irritated by now.

"No ASR! You know that I stay away from plants and mud and everything. And anyway, what do I know about plants to send you anything and annoy you?!"

Arnav just disconnected the call and stopped walking. She didn't send the plants? She didn't even know about the plants? He turned around and went back into his cabin. He thought of the note. "Pahaadi se kuud jaaungi.." he recalled. How could he have missed that? Who else but Khushi would write something like that? He remembered how he was only thinking of her tears then and so didn't pay attention to the note or the plants as he thought those were from Lavanya.

He sat on his chair and leaned back, closing his eyes. This was Khushi's idea. Now, it was so obvious that it seemed almost ridiculous that he hadn't guessed. Who else knew how to melt him? Who else knew what to do or say to get him to do something? Now, he recalled overhearing her tell Lavanya with conviction "Arnavji zaroor aayenge." She knew just what to do to move him. To get through to him. She always did.

Opening his eyes, he looked at the plants fondly. He walked around the room touching each and every one of them. Suddenly, it struck him that they were all very exquisite and so very expensive plants. But, Lavanya didn't even know about them, so she could not have paid. Did that crazy girl actually pay such a big bomb to buy plants for him? How could she even afford them?

He looked carefully at the plants and realized immediately that only one nursery in Delhi had such variety and quality of plants - the one where he picked up plants from frequently. He dialled the owner's number.

"Good morning ASR" came the greeting.

"Morning, I needed some information. Did you guys do a delivery to AR recently?"

"Oh yes we did. I did intend to call you about it, but then got busy. I wasn't around myself, but you know the duty manager Rakesh. He was telling me that a girl came and picked up a bunch of the most exclusive plants and tried to give her gold bangle as payment. Obviously, we cannot accept such payments, but the girl was so distraught and adamant that the cashier checked with Rakesh. He directed her to the pawnbrokers next door and I think she must've either pawned or sold the bangle. Either way, she came back with the money and purchased the plants. Rakesh remembered to tell me about this specifically coz he was shocked when she requested the plants to be delivered to the AR office. I thought it must be someone you've helped or something, but I meant to call you about it coz this seemed a particularly expensive gift anyway. Is there a problem with the plants, ASR?"

Arnav was speechless. When he heard the question repeated, he just said "No, I'll call you later" and hung up. He was stunned. Khushi sold her gold bangle? To buy plants? For him? He remembered her rushing into his office desperately telling him that Lavanya's leaving. She thought he loved Lavanya. She thought his happiness was with her. When she couldn't stop Lavanya, she came to him. To tell him to stop her. So that he's happy. To ensure that he doesn't let go of his happiness because of his ego and temper, she sold her bangle.

Arnav clenched his fists when he remembered the number of times he accused her of doing everything for money. In the midst of financial problems, she sold her gold bangle. For his happiness. For him. He felt the familiar surge of warmth envelope him. Ever since he had taken up the responsibility of the family, he had been caring about everyone. Making sure everyone's fine. Making sure everyone gets what they want. But, ever since Khushi came into his life, he had experienced these moments of feeling like he was being unconditionally cared for, unconditionally loved. In the dhaba when she didn't let him go, at home when he was unwell, when he was coughing, when she cried after burning him unintentionally, when she made sugar free sweets, it went on.

While he always threw his money on her face, she hadn't even let a single person know what she had done for him. Arnav walked to the glass window from where he had dropped Khushi months ago. He closed his eyes and thought that they had come such a long way. Now, if she were to fall through that window, he would jump with her to break her fall. When had she seeped into his skin like this?

Hiding behind the ASR mask to keep his own feelings at bay was torturous enough. The realization of her reciprocating his feelings made everything so much more difficult. Staring into space, Arnav wondered how much longer he could go on. How much longer can he deny that he cares? How much longer can he stay away from her? How much longer can he pretend that he doesn't think of her every waking minute of his life?

He opened his eyes slowly and sighed. Di, you win this one, he thought. He had skillfully avoided feelings and emotions throughout his life, only to go and fall irrevocably in love.

OS: Heartbreaks

OS: Heartbreaks (for Chicky)

Khushi had made her decision. She agreed to the engagement. Really, there was no other option at that point. What with everyone howling, Babuji choking, Buaji going hysterical, it was the only way to end it all. She agreed. But, now, lying on her bed, staring at the stars she hung around it, she felt more at peace, she felt like she was closer to her parents. She could think clearly. She did not want her marriage to be a reaction to the hurt and insult hurled at her by Arnav Singh Raizada. She closed her eyes and remembered how Arnav's words washed over her a second before she agreed to the engagement. She opened her eyes again. No, this wasn't how it was supposed to be. This was all wrong.

Now that Buaji was in bed, Khushi could finally hear herself think. And every thought ended in the knowledge that everyone was being hasty and illogical. Babuji hadn't once spoken to her about Shyam or marriage. Not once even hinted that he would like Shyam to marry her. She knew for a fact that Babuji wanted Jiji to get married first. So, where did all this come from? Babuji is paralyzed and they were thinking of her marriage? What sense did all this make? She thought of the time when she confided in Babuji that she couldn't marry Shyam. She did not find any disappointment in his eyes. The thought of having this or any conversation with Buaji made her head reel. Increasingly, stuffing cotton in hear ears had been very tempting every time Buaji spoke.

Khushi made her decision. She was going to go through the engagement and then buy time until marriage. By then, she would figure out a way to converse with her Babuji and see if this is in fact what he even wanted. She would make everyone happy by agreeing to the engagement and then convince everyone that now that her job at Raizada house was over, she'll find another job. She'll find some financial stability for her family by working for a bit. Also, she'll convince everyone that she'll stay engaged, but get married only along with Payal, after finding a groom for her. Yes, that's what she'll do. For now, she'll just let everyone have their way with the engagement and then figure things out slowly.

Well, the time spent with Arnav surely taught her to be calculating, she thought bitterly. She wished she could physically erase the hurt and his words from her heart. He had been cold last night. He was ASR. She had been spending so much time with Arnav lately that she had completely forgotten ASR. Serves me right, she thought.

Next morning, she got ready and went to the kitchen to let her Amma and Buaji know that she had to run a couple of errands and had to visit Raizada house once. She went to the bank and got a cheque made for thirty thousand in Arnav's name and went to Raizada house. Fleetingly, she had considered calling and figuring out a time when he won't be home, but decided against it. His words echoed in her head. "Tumhaari koi ahmiyat nahi hai mere liye." Well, that makes two of us, she thought. She did not want to care enough to make an attempt to even avoid him. If he's there, so be it. Irrespective, she had nothing to say to him. She will speak to Anjali ji, say goodbye to everyone else and come back. She did not care enough anymore to even pretend like things are normal. Taking a deep breath, she rang the bell.

The previous night, Arnav had marched straight into his room, thrown his waistcoat and keys on the chair and stood near the window, closing his eyes. He opened his eyes only to see the spot where he had almost kissed Khushi just a few hours ago. He could still see her confused, innocent eyes looking at him, her nervous breath on his face, her soft face against his palms. Increasingly, the ASR in him was taking a backseat and Arnav was coming forward. He knew she was responsible. Increasingly, he was becoming aware the power she unknowingly had on him. She made him cry, laugh, dream, fantasize, desire, and a lot of other things that he didn't want to do. She made him lose the control that he was so proud of. Tonight, however, was the last straw. He lost control to the extent of not knowing what he was doing. He almost kissed her. The knowledge shook him. It's not possible that another person had so much control over him. The realization made him run and hide behind his ASR exterior, hide behind his pathetic excuse of a marriage announcement.

He felt sadistic pleasure when he saw the pain in her eyes as he made the announcement. Then, reality took over and as always, he felt her pain. Her tears burned in his heart. Every passing second made him realize the gravity of his mistake. He was unable to pretend to look even pleasant, leave alone happy. And there she was, smiling again at everyone and moving around. In the car, when she continued her facade, he couldn't take it anymore. He needed her to react.He threw caution to the wind and brought up what had happened between them. He goaded her into responding, but she didn't. Forgetting even about her fear of speed, he raced the car and asked her to get the hell out of his car. It had brought him momentary satisfaction to see her breaking as she tried to free her pallu that was holding her from leaving. If he believed in fate, he would've believed that every time they moved away from each other, fate tried to stop them. Sometimes physically and sometimes otherwise. He looked up to see her run into her house, her teary eyes burning right into his soul when she turned to look at him for a moment.

As he was driving back, the desire and need to go back and wipe her tears was so overwhelming that momentarily he wondered if he would be able to stop himself from doing just that. He had jumped at the excuse to return her purse. He could go see her, make sure she was fine. As he stepped out of her house, he was panicking. She was going to kill ASR completely and revive Arnav. He just folded his hands and wished her father. He just wished everyone in that house like a respectful, polite young man. She did this to him. He needed to kill Arnav and bring the ASR back. Somehow. He was almost rushing out when she stopped him. He turned around and lashed out. He didn't plan to do it, but it's what he did the best. Lashing out at her to hide his own feelings. Hurting her to ignore his own hurt. He felt a chill seeping into his heart when he noted the hurt and despair in her eyes when she looked at him like she didn't know him. That should teach her to stay away from me, he thought.

Now, climbing into his bed and staring at the ceiling, he wished his money could him erase the image of her eyes from his mind. Having fallen into a disturbed slumber in the early hours of morning, he woke up rather late. He walked around the house to catch a glimpse of her. It was past 11, she should have been here long back. Reminding himself that he was not supposed to think of her, he went back to his room. Work, he thought. His one shield. He hoped to spend at least half an hour at stretch without thinking about her even once. As he got ready, he heard the door bell. As he his head jerked up, he realized how much looked forward that sound early mornings, knowing it would be her. Remembering that he was late today and that Khushi hadn't come today, he went back to getting ready.

"Namaste Omprakashji" said Khushi as he opened the door and let her in. "Anjali ji hain?" Omprakash nodded and gestured her into the living room.

"Namaste Anjaliji" said Khushi as Anjali stood up and beamed at her.

Seeing Khushi look around, Anjali said "Lavanyaji Naani ke kamre mei hai, Khushiji. Aaj der ho gayi aapko? Sab theek toh hai? Aap pareshaan lag rahi hai"

As they sat down, Khushi said "Nahi Anjali ji, sab theek hai. Der nahi huyi thi. Hum kaam pe nahi aaye hai. Humaara kaam toh khal khatam ho gaya tha na. Hum darasal Arnav ji ki kuch cheezei lautaane aaye hai"

Anjali looked confused as she said "Chote ki cheezei? Aapke paas? Achcha, hum Chote ko bulaate hai."

Khushi's eyes widened as she said "Woh ghar pe hai?" When Anjali nodded before turning around, starting to call out, Khushi continued hastily "Nahi nahi Anjali ji. Unhe bulaane ki zarurat nahi hai. Aap bas ye unko de dijiyega." Khushi took out the cheque and Arnav's mannat ki chaabi and held them out.

"Cheque? Ye toh aapki salary thi na? Ye kyu lauta rahi hai aap?"

"Nahi Anjali ji. Uss din jab tak humne cheque bank mei de diya, Arnav ji ne hume paise diye the hospital bill ke liye. Bas wahi lautana tha."

"Aur ye?"

"Ye.. er.. ye chaabi er.. Anjaliji.. aap bas unko de dijiyega" said Khushi and slipped it into the envelope containing the cheque.

Anjali looked at her quizzically, but didn't say anything. Khushi got up and said "Hume chalna chaahiye"

"Khushi ji, iss mahine ki salary toh le jaayiye na. Hum jaante hai ki mahina puura nahi hua hai, lekin kaam toh kiya hi hai aapne itne dino tak."

"Nahi Anjali ji, iss mahine hum kuch hi din toh aaye. Aur phir Lavanya ji humaari dost bhi hai. Aur sabse badi baat, Nani ji ne unhe apnaa liya hai. Hum iss mahine ki salary nahi le sakte. Hum chalte hai."

"Arre theek hai Khushiji, par thodi der rukiye naa. Naani aur Lavanya ji se toh miliye. Itni kya jaldi hai."

"Nahi Anjali ji hume jaana hoga. Woh kya hai ki humaari sagai tai ho gayi hai toh Buaji ghar pe intezaar kar rahi hongi."

"Kya?" said Anjali "Aapki sagai tai ho gayi? Ye toh bahut khushi ki baat hai! Aap hume nyota nahi dengi?"

"Anjali ji woh kal raat ko yahaa se jaane ke baad hi tai huyi thi. Iss hafte ya agle hafte hogi. Tareekh nahi pata humei. Buaji hi batayengi. Aur koi function nahi hai. Bas ghar pe hi hogi Amma, Babuji, Jiji aur Buaji ke saath."

"Aap.." Anjali hesitated "Maaf kijiye Khushiji, aap khush toh hai na? Humaara matlab hai ki.."

"Anjali ji hume sachmei der ho rahi hai" said Khushi hastily as she suddenly felt Arnav's presence nearby. "Aap bas Naaniji aur baaki sabko bata dijiyega. Hum chalte hai"

Arnav reached the end of the stairs just in time to see a flash of green slipping out of the door. Green, he thought. The color of her dupatta. The one she was wearing when she fell on him into his arms on the rangoli. Shaking himself, he walked towards the living room wondering why he had felt her presence when he walked towards the stairs.

"Di, mai office jaa raha. Late ho gaya aaj toh raat ko der se aaunga" Arnav said to Anjali and was going to turn when she said "Achcha ye Khushi ji ne diya hai tumhe dene ke liye. Hum tumhaare kamre mei rakh denge"

Arnav froze. When he saw Anjali turning around, he said "Khushi aayi hai?"

Anjali turned and said "Aayi thi. Abhi abhi nikal gayi."

Arnav tried to ignore the anger at the thought that she didn't come and see him as he said "Kya hai ye" gesturing at Anjali's hand.

"Tumhaara cheque" she said giving him the envelope.

He took out the cheque and stared at him remembering how he had hoped that she would forget about the money he paid at the hospital. She probably did until you called her a gold digger, a voice reminded him. He closed his eyes briefly as Anjali said "Oh aur uske andar ek chaabi bhi hai Chote"

He looked inside the envelope in disbelief as he saw his mannat ki chaabi inside it. She kept it with her all these months? His mannat ki chaabi? He tried to close his heart in vain against an intense emotion surging through him. Stuffing the envelope into his laptop bag, he said harshly "Woh chali kyu gayi? Ek toh itni der se aayi aur chali bhi gayi?"

"Chote woh ab yahaa kaam nahi karti. Kyunki Naani ne Lavanyaji ko accept kar liya hai, woh keh rahi thi ki unka kaam kal khatam ho chuka hai. Iss mahine jitne din unhone kaam kiya uski salary lene se bhi mana kar diya ye kehke ki Lavanya ji ab unki dost bhi hai."

"Gold digger? I called her a gold digger? Not that I believed or meant it for a moment, but I said it nevertheless?" he thought.

"Aur vaise bhi woh aaj jaldi mei thi" continued Anjali "Unki sagai tai ho gayi hai. Bol rahi thi ki iss hafte ya agle haft hogi. Toh unke ghar pe sab intezaar.." Anjali stopped at the sound of Arnav's laptop bag falling down.

"Arre Chote.." she said walking forward to pick it up. She looked up to see Arnav staring at her incredulously.

"Kya hua Chote?" she said holding the bag in one hand and keeping the other on his shoulder.

Jerking away from her, he said "Kya kaha aapne? Uski sagai tai ho gayi? Kya bakwaas hai Di! Uski koi nayi naatak hogi. Kal raat hi toh thi yahaa pe aur kisiko kuch nahi kaha. Aise kaise itni jaldi.."

"Wahi toh Chote. Woh keh rahi thi ki kal raat ko yahaa se jaane ke baad hi tai hua. Hume lagta hai jaldi mei tai hua hoga. Pata nahi kyu hume laga ki woh khush nahi hai. I hope ki unke gharwaale unhe force karke toh.. hum abhi aate hai" she trailed off as she heard Naani calling out for her. Placing his bag on the floor, she walked away.

Arnav stood rooted to the spot. Khushi was getting engaged. He felt a cold, numb despair clutch at his heart. He felt like he would never be happy again, like things would never be fine again. Fleetingly, he wondered if his face mirrored the expression on Khushi's face last night when he announced his wedding. He wondered if this feeling is what he put her through last night by announcing his wedding. Her hurt and pain stricken eyes flashed in his mind as he shut his own eyes. Yes, he thought. This is what she felt last night. Heartbreak. That is the word. He knew what it looked like - he had seen it on her face and in her eyes last night. Hours later, right now, he knew what it felt like in the very core of his soul.

OS: Sikha Paogi?

OS: Sikha Paogi? (Happy budday, Chicky)

Khushi walked into the room to see Lavanya punching into her phone, her face a reflection of annoyance and irritation.

"Kya hua Lavanya ji? Aap itni pareshaan kyu lag rahi hai?" said Khushi sitting next to her, placing her hand on her shoulder.

Lavanya got up and started pacing. "Oh God Chamkili pucho mat. Ye ASR ka gussa na. Mai khush thi ki aaj subah se woh mere saath time spend kar rahe hai, mujhse baat kar rahe hai. Yahaa tak ki shopping ke liye bhi baahar aaye, aur ghar pe bhi jewellery khareedne ke time pe the. Isiliye toh mai unke paas gayi thi angoothi ke baare mei puuchne ke liye. Itna gussa kia aur chillaye. Pata nahi kya ho jata hai. He's so scary."

Khushi sighed, painfully realizing why he behaved the way he did all day. She got up to stand next to Lavanya, and placed her hand on shoulder.

Arnav was on his way towards the door when he stopped by to catch a glimpse of Khushi, having avoided her after the fiasco in the clothes shop. He saw her put her hand on Lavanya's shoulder.

"Lavanyaji" she started "Aap pareshaan mat hoyiye. Humaari baat suniye. Aap Arnavji ke gusse pe mat jaayiye. Aapko toh pata hona chahiye ki woh har waqt gussa karte rehte hai. Lekin ye toh sirf unke baat karne ka tareeka hai na."

Arnav went still listening to her talk about him.

"No Chamkili, har waqt gusse mei hi rehte hai" said Lavanya irritably turning away.

"Nahi Lavanyaji" said Khushi turning around to face the window. She didn't see Lavanya walk out in annoyance pulling her phone to her ear. She didn't see Arnav walk in to stand behind her, watching her. "Hum ye nahi keh rahe ki unhe gussa nahi aata. Zaroor aata hai, aur ye humse zyaada kaun jaanta hai. Lekin jo har waqt woh gussa dikhaate hai woh bas issliye ki woh kisiko apne paas aane hi nahi dena chaahte hai. Woh sabse duur rehna chahte hai, isiliye toh gussa karte hai taaki sab darke unse duur rahe."

Arnav walked closer to her, his heart thudding against his chest as he heard her stand up for him.

She went closer to the window and continued "Ab aapki shaadi honewaali hai unse. Unke gusse ko samajhna hoga aapko. Unke gusse ke peeche chupe pyaar ko samajhkar unhe sambhaalna hoga aapko. Gusse mei woh apna dimaag hi nahi lagaate. Kuch bhi bolte hai aur kuch bhi karte hai. Issliye aap hi ko unhe sambhaalna hai. Ye samajhna hai ki gusse mei jo bhi woh bolte hai, woh sochke nahi bolte. Gusse mei woh apne aap ko bhi takleef pahunchaate hai. Aap hi ko unhe rokna hai."

Arnav felt his eyes well up as he wondered if she was reading off his mom's letter. Fleetingly, he wondered if his mom knew she was writing that letter to Khushi when she wrote it.

Khushi felt her eyes tear up as she said "Woh apne andar ke pyaar ko aur achchaayi ko dikhaana hi nahi chaahte. Kyunki woh usse apni kamzori samajhte hai. Aapko apne pyaar se hi unhe ye yakeen dilaana hai ki woh pyaar unki kamzori nahi unki sabse badi taakat hai."

Suddenly realizing that she may have spoken too much, she turned around saying "Dekhiye Lavanyaji.." and her words died on her lips as she looked into Arnav's intense eyes just a foot away. She could see a hint of moistness in his passionate eyes. She gulped as she realized that he must've heard her pouring her heart out. Her heart, which seemed to be now mostly filled with him.

Arnav closed the gap between them to back her up against the window, their bodies almost touching, and looking into her welled up eyes, whispered quietly "Itna sab kuch jo sirf tum jaanti ho mere baare mei, sikha paaogi kisi aur ko?"

Khushi felt a tear roll down her eyes as she swallowed. She knew she didn't have it in her to fight this moment. If he said anything else, she knew she would break down in his arms, just like in the hospital. So, she couldn't have been more glad to hear Anjali walk into the room saying "Khushi ji woh.."

Anjali stopped in her tracks as she saw Arnav standing almost touching Khushi against the window. Khushi side stepped Arnav and hurried past Anjali saying "Hum abhi aate hai Anjali ji" and Arnav continued to stand at the window staring ahead. Anjali saw Khushi's tear-stained cheek as she hurried past.

"Chote tumne kya kaha Khushi ji se?" started Anjali, but Arnav just turned and walked off into his room almost whispering "Not now, Di."

OS: Pakoras, Chai, Truths

Chicky's idea. Janet's words.

OS: Pakoras, Chai, Truths
- Chicky & Janet

Lavanya walked in with a tray full of pakoras and kept it in front of Arnav and Anjali.

"ASR, your favorite" she grinned.

Without looking up, Arnav picked up a pakora and went back to reading his file. After biting into it, he looked up at Lavanya in surprise and said "These are real good. Almost like ma.." he broke off as he met Anjali's eyes and looked back into his file. Lavanya didn't seem to hear him as she was looking for Khushi.

Anjali smiled at Arnav as she took a pakora. "Lavanya ji ye toh sachme bohot achche bane hai. Hume nahi pata tha ki aap.."

"Arre Di" interrupted Lavanya. "Obviously, achche honge. Chamkeeli ne jo banaye hai. Naniji nahi hai toh I don't have to pretend ki maine banaye hai. Vaise ab woh mujhe pasand karti hai par maine Chamkeeli ko kaha ki agar mai ASR ke pasand ka kuch chai ke saath serve karungi toh aur impress ho jayengi. Toh bas, usne kaha ki woh pakore bana dengi kyunki ASR ko pasand hai. I just brought it out" Lavanya looked quite pleased with herself and Khushi.

Arnav just stared past her at Khushi who was just stepping out of the kitchen holding a tray. She walked in and placed the tray on the table. Without looking at him, she wordlessly picked one of the cups and left it near his side of the table. Straightening up, still refusing to meet his eye, she was walking out when Anjali said "Arre Khushiji aap bhi toh humaare saath chai peejiye."

"Nahi Anjaliji hum.."

"Oh come on Chamkeeli" said Lavanya. "Jaldi kaam khatam karke jaake apne fiance se milna hai kya?" Arnav's face hardened as he turned his attention back to his newspaper and put a half eaten pakora on his tea saucer, refusing to touch either.

Lavanya pulled Khushi to sit next to her. "Achcha ye batao, tumhaare fiance ka favorite snack kya hai?"

Khushi looked very uncomfortable as she said "Hume nahi pata Lavanya ji."

"Arre.. OK fine, hobby? Favorite hobby?"

"Hum.. hum nahi jaante"

"What?!" Lavanya giggled and continued "Seriously, tumhe uske saath time spend karna chahiye Chamkeeli. Itna bhaav khaana band karo aur uske saath bahar jaao! Ye sab baatei toh ASR ke baare mei bhi tum mujhe bataati ho aur tumhe apne hi mangetar ke baare mei nahi pata?!"

Arnav and Khushi looked up at the same moment to meet each others' gaze. Khushi looked away immediately, unable to take the intensity and almost satisfaction that flashed in his eyes.

"Lavanyaji aisa kuch nahi.." she started when Mamiji's loud voiced called out for Lavanya and she excused herself hurriedly.

Anjali, having observed Khushi's discomfort for a while, got up and came to Khushi saying "Humaare saath chaliye Khushi ji, hume kuch kaam hai."

Gratefully, Khushi got up and walked away into the kitchen with Anjali, all the while aware of Arnav's eyes on her.

Arnav wasn't sure why he felt such a stab of pleasure when he heard that Khushi knew what he liked and actually made it for him. And an even more prominent stab of satisfaction when he realized how she knew these things only about him. How she didn't care enough to find these things out about her.. that guy. How she didn't spend time with that guy. Feeling rather pleased, he picked up and stuffed his pakora into his mouth, savoring the taste even more.

Suddenly, he wanted to see her. He knew his Di was with her in the kitchen. Not caring, he picked up his tea and started walking, deciding vaguely that he will ask for the tea to be heated some more. He froze near the kitchen as he heard his Di say "..aisa toh nahi hai ki aapko woh.. Shyam ji.. pasand hi nahi hai?"

Arnav almost held his breath as he waited to hear Khushi's response. After a few moments, he realized he needed to hear what Khushi had to say. Walking closer, swallowing the feeling of being an eavesdropper, he flipped open his phone, put it on silent and put it to his ear, and hovered near the kitchen.

Inside, after a few more moments of silence, Khushi looked at Anjali and said "Anjali ji woh.."

"Khushi ji" she interrupted "Humne aapse kaha hai ki hum jaante hai ki hum aapse ek bohot hi personal savaal kar rahe hai lekin.."

"Nahi Anjali ji" said Khushi. "Aapne sahi hi kaha tha. Aap bhi toh humaare liye humaari Jiji ki tarah hai. Aapse kyu hum kuch chupaayenge. Woh kya hai ki ghar pe itna sab kuch ho raha hai. Babuji abhi bhi bimaar hai. Iss sabke beech shaadi.. hum kuch theek hi nahi laga. Humne Shyamji se kahaa bhi ki hum unse shaadi nahi kar paayenge. Lekin phir Buaji ne zor diya aur.. aur phir woh sahi hi toh keh rahi hai.. Babuji ne aur Amma ne humaare liye itna kuch kia hai Anjali ji.. agar unki khushi issimei hai toh hum kaise inkaar kar sakte hai?"

"Khushi ji" said Anjali softly "Aapke Babuji aur Amma aapse bohot pyaar karte hai. Woh kabhi.. "

"Aur hum bhi unse bohot pyaar karte hai Anjali ji" said Khushi "Hum Buaji ki baat samajhte hai. Itna toh hum kar hi sakte hai unke liye.

Khushi turned around slowly as she continued "Aap uss din pooch rahi thi na ki humne sagai ke baare mei kyu kuch nahi kahaa. Aapko pata hai, humaari sagai Diwali ke agle din huyi thi. Jab hum uss din subah yahaa aaye the aap sabse milne, tab hume pata bhi nahi tha ki raat tak humaari sagai ho jayegi. Ghar gaye toh pata chala Buaji panditji ke paas gayi thi aur unhone 6 baje ka mahurat nikaala tha. 6 baje ko toh hum mandir mei the toh mahurat beet gaya. Lekin raat ko achaanak Babuji ki tabeeyat kharab ho gayi aur Shyamji ne kaha ki unhono Babuji se kaha ki sagai aaj nahi huyi aur issiliye unki tabeeyat kharab ho gayi. Isiliye Buaji ne tabhi ke tabhi angoothi nikaali aur Babuji ke saamne hi sagai karvaayi."

Her eyes now welled up, she turned to face Anjali. "Aap hi bataayiye, aise huyi sagai ke baare mei aapko bataaye bhi toh kya bataaye? Hum apne aapko yahi kehke samjhaate hai ki hum ye apne parivaar ke liye kar rahe. Unki khushiya humaari zimmedaari hai aur hume apni zimmedaari nibhaani hai bas" finished Khushi, trying to sound strong even as her voice broke.

Anjali held out her arms like she did on the day of the barsi and unthinkingly Khushi rushed to hug her tightly, sobbing her heart out into Anjali's shoulder as Anjali patted her back softly, biting back her own tears at Khushi's helplessness.

Outside, Arnav clenched his fists in an attempt to stop himself from barging in and gathering her into his own arms, subconsciously knowing that she found strength and support in his arms. The pain that her tears always caused him made his own eyes well up lightly. As he heard people approaching the kitchen, he quickly walked towards his room.

"Aapko apne alaava aur koi dikhta hi nahi hai" her words resounded in his ears as he realized that even in the midst of her tears, his heart found some peace in knowing that she didn't want to be with anyone.. else. He wondered if he was being selfish in feeling that way. But, her tears always seared through his heart in a way that left no doubts as to how much he suffered her pain.

He wasn't sure what all of this meant. But, as he gazed into the starless evening sky from his room, he felt a calmness enveloping him. Almost as if someone was whispering into his heart that just like the million other times that he and Khushi thought they had parted, only to be with each other again, this time around too, the same forces would plot to ensure that, in the end, they are together.

OS: Juice (Chicky & Janet)

Our version of how the episode would have played out after Arnav drinks the juice that Khushi had tampered with.

OS: Juice
- Chicky & Janet

Arnav stared in horror at his laptop screen. Images of Khushi running into his room in his absence flashed before him. He stifled another cough, as he watched her kneeling near his table and adding something to his juice before running to hide behind the curtain.

'What the…' he wondered, his temper rising at her foolish antics. Why the hell did she not leave his personal things alone, he muttered angrily. What was this juvenile behavior that drove her to these tricks … that always somehow or the other ruined his official work.

A timid knock on the door, diverted his attention, and he saw her faint shadow through the glass pane, his anger rising at her nerve. After all that, she had the guts to come back to his room … for what … to enjoy his discomfiture …

Getting up suddenly, he stormed towards the door, wanting to give her a piece of his mind. She had gone too far this time. As it is, he was forced to work from home because of the sentimental blackmailing of Di; added to that a continuous circus that was going on in his house in the name of a festival and now this … ruining his important conference call by juvenile tricks.

He watched her peep in nervously through the opening door.

'Vo … hume aapse kuch …' she started softly, standing timidly, a glass in her hand.

'SHHH...' Grabbing her hand he pulled her towards his laptop that lay on the table. With a furious expression, he watched her take in the recorded images of herself on the screen, spiking his juice and then running to hide behind the curtain. As she watching the recordings, her hand flew in horror to her mouth, and she turned her wide, anxious eyes towards him, taking in his furious expression, and clenched jaw. Devi mayyiya was most certainly annoyed with her these days, it seemed, Khushi thought, her mind searching frantically for an answer to that cold stare. Would he believe her if she told him the truth … told him that she had come up again to apologize for what she had done? That she had only done it in a reaction to seeing him …

'I told you to leave my things alone, didn't I,' he ground out, not giving her a chance to speak, his hand still firm on her wrist, biting into her soft skin.
Khushi stared at him, speechless, as she registered the cold soft voice that she had not heard for some time now. Ever since his visit to the hospital that day, she had been exposed to a side of him that she did not know existed. The awkward solace he had offered her the day she had gone to clear the hospital bills, the way he had taken the blame of the broken vase on himself … the way he had untangled the lights from her …

'I'm speaking to you Khushi Kumari Gupta …' he hissed through clenched teeth, tugging her wrist painfully, bringing her thoughts back to the present. 'How many times have I told you …'

"Arnav ji" she said urgently, turning to face him completely, pulling her wrist out of his hand before starting to ramble. "Arnav ji hume maaf kijiye.. hume pata nahi tha ki vo neembu mirchi Anjali ji ne aapko diya thaa.. aap vo ped pe baandh rahe the aur hume dekhka aise mantra bhi bol rahe the naa toh hume laga ... matlab buaji ne bhi kaale jaadu ke baare mei hume bataaya tha…"

Arnav, forgetting his anger, looked at her quizzically. What was she going on about now, he wondered as he watched in awe, her continuing without even stopping to breathe "Hume laga ye dhak dhak aur acidity ki vaje yahi hai toh hum bas aapko woh mantra bolne se rokna chahte the... hume sachmei nahi pata tha ki aapka meeting tha aur ye toh bilkul nahi pata tha ki Anjali ji ne aapko ye diya tha... isiliye Anjai ji se aapka kaadha leke hum aaye the... aapko yahi bataane aaye the aur maafi maangne aaye the..." she stopped, seeing the perplexed look that he was now giving her.

Arnav blinked trying to decipher at least a quarter of what she had said, and heard her add softly "hum jaante hai ki humse galti huyi hai aur hume iski sazaa bhi milni chahiye."

His expression hardened again as he her heard her apologize. "Sazaa?" he asked coldly, wondering what on earth she was saying now. "Kaisi sazaa?"

He watched as her eyes darted around nervously. A cough racked him again as he saw her rush around the table. Looking back, half expecting to see her run out of the room, he saw her pick up his half empty juice glass and drink the contents. Realizing in horror what she was doing, he rushed to stop her, closing his hand over hers on the glass just as she finished its entire contents.

They stared at each other wide-eyed for a few seconds, Arnav still holding Khushi's hand over the glass. He started "paagal ho gayi ho tum?.." just as she was also attacked with a bout of coughs.

The sound of her coughing made Arnav jerk out of his thoughts and he gently took the empty glass from her, placing it on the table instead. He looked around for water and saw the dark brown liquid filled glass that she was holding in her other trembling hand. Taking it from her he brought it to her lips saying "ye kaadha hai na? Piyo jaldi se..."

Between her coughs, she shook her head stubbornly, ignoring his disbelieving 'What the!'

'Maine kahaa piyo isse!" he reiterated roughly, as she continued to cough. Shaking her head repeatedly she managed to say "Ye... ye... aap-aapke liye hai"
Shaking his head in disbelief, with a muttered 'unbelievable', he took the glass to her lips again only to have her push it away, still coughing.
'Khushi, I'm better now, tumhe iski zarurat hai…' he started then closing his eyes for a second, continued "Fine, tum thoda peelo phir mai pi loonga".

She looked at him for a second before taking a few tentative sips of the sweet sticky liquid that immediately soothed her irritated throat. As her coughing subsided a bit, she looked up at him in anticipation. Shaking his head ruefully at her stubbornness, he took two large gulps and brought it back to her lips saying in his husky voice, 'Now finish it.'

When he was sure she had finished the remaining liquid he returned the empty glass to the table. He heard her clear her throat again as he rose from his task. Must have been the concentrated powder at the bottom of the juice that she had finished, he realized, that was still having its effect on her. Instinctively, he moved in behind her and reached out to pat her on her back.

Her exposed skin under the deep neckline felt cool against his warm hand, and she shivered as soon as she felt his touch. He felt her go still as his hand stopped its rough patting motion, to remain lightly where it was against her back. The trinkets attached to the dori trying her kurta together, gently bounced against his hand, as he moved it tentatively to feel her soft skin. His hand seemed to have a mind of its own, as it continued to explore her silky back moving up towards her shoulders.

Khushi shut her eyes, as a million sensations rushed through her at his touch. Her body stiffened, then relaxed. Any thought of resisting him was destroyed as she felt her body respond and rejoice at being touched by a man it seemed to have an affinity with.

'Khushi,' he murmured, in a low, sexy drawl, recapturing her attention. She drew in an unsteady breath as heat poured through her. His fingers were on the dori of her kurta now, removing the obstacle that was stalling in his explorations.

She shuddered as she felt the strings come apart under his deft fingers, her mind under the spell of his warm tingling touch. Somewhere, a voice was calling out to her … but Khushi wanted to stay where she was, within his embrace.

Arnav felt her reel under his touch and reached up and steadied her by placing his other hand on her waist.

'Chote? … Khushiji?' … Anjali's questioning voice, from outside the room, broke into their befuddled minds.

Coming to his senses, Arnav swiftly pushed Khushi behind himself, covering her with his own body, as he stood to face Di who entered his room, seconds later.

'Kaadha pee liya?' she asked walking towards Arnav.

Not realizing why Arnav had pushed her behind him, Khushi stepped forward, trying to speak, but ending up coughing and clearing her throat. As Anjali looked at her concerned saying 'aap bhi khaas rahi hai Khushi ji?', Arnav stepped between them again and said 'Haan Di lekin she's fine, kaadha pi liya issne.' Damn, her dori was still open, and she had not even realized it, he tried anxiously to keep her behind himself.

"Oh toh tumhaare liye duusra bhejti hu," said Anjali continued innocently, unaware of the tension in the room.

'Nahi Di maine bhi pi liya' he blurted out unthinkingly, his attempts to keep Khushi's open dori turned away from Anjali, uppermost in his mind.

Anjali stopped and looked between Arnav and Khushi.

"Vo er … Di ... mai pi hi raha tha aur issko bhi khaasi aa gayi aur paani bhi nahi tha kamre mei toh kaadha hi de diya ..." he muttered as he noticed her quizzical expression. 'I don't know why I pay people, mere kamre mei ek glass paani bhi nahi rakha hai Omprakash ne', he mumbled, trying to change the topic.

'Bas bas, Chote koi baat nahi.. Achcha hi hua ki dono ne pi liya,' said Anjali smiling. 'Vaise bhi jootha peene se pyaar badta hai,' she added naughtily.

Both Arnav and Khushi stared at Anjali, stunned. 'Humaara matlab hai ki aap dono toh ladte hi rehte ho na.' said Anjali 'toh iss vaje se humne kahaa ki achcha hua dono ne kaadha pee liya. Neeche chale, Khushi ji?'
Khushi had been looking everywhere except at Arnav and had been relentlessly playing with her dupatta. She needed to get out of his presence somehow as she willed herself to not think of what happened before Anjali came, or worse, what would've happened if she hadn't come.

Jumping at the chance, Khushi rushed forward saying 'Ji Anjali ji, chaliye'.
Arnav grabbed her elbow to pull her right back and told Anjali, 'Di aap chaliye, issne mere kamre mei mitti daali hai, saaf karke neeche aa jaayegi'
'Arre Chote, Omprakash kar dega, tum...' Di suggested taking in Khushi's frantic expression.
'Nahi Di, issne galti ki hai toh issko hi saaf karna padega, aap chaliye.' He stated firmly, dismissing her.
Anjali shook her head and gave a helpless glance to Khushi before stepping out.
The silence and tension returned to the room as soon as Anjali stepped out. Khushi turned towards him accusingly and snatched her elbow out of his grip. 'Aap kya kar …' she said furiously.
Arnav reached up and placed his finger on her lips, whispering 'shhh.'
Khushi's eyes widened in horror, her parted lips tingling where the soft pad of his finger lay.
Arnav started as if enthralled at her pink lips. The soft trembling under his finger was enough to make him forget where they were, and what he had stopped her for. As if on its own accord, he reached out and stroked his thumb across her bottom lip, all the while staring into her wide passion-darkening eyes. Her lips parted helplessly, as he continued to rub his fingers across, mesmerized by the expressions flitting across her face. Khushi stared into his eyes, her mind telling her to move away, but her body unwilling to do so.
Taking all of his will power, Arnav slowly left her lips, to take her by the shoulders and turn her around, her back to him.
It was when she felt his warm fingers on her bare back that she remembered with a start the undone strings. A soft blush stole over her and she lowered her head, as she recalled him hiding her from Anjali again and again a short while ago.
So lost was she in her own thoughts, that she did not notice his trembling fingers as he retied the strings clumsily, staring at her bent head all the while. He smiled as he heard her indrawn breath, when his fingers touched her back repeatedly while finishing their job.
A determined smile tilted the corners of his mouth, as he watched her run out without looking back at him. She was not immune to his touch, after all. Next time, he'd make sure they were not disturbed, he vowed.

OS: Anklet (Chicky & Janet)

This is a one shot that Chicky and Janet wrote together while we were waiting for the inimitable Diwali episode. We're conservatively marking this 18+.

OS: Anklet 
- Chicky & Janet 

As the day of Diwali progressed, Arnav was getting more and more restless. He had decided to go to work today and convinced himself that it had nothing to do with Khushi probably being off on Diwali. Having waited until lunch to ensure that she wasn't coming, he got dressed and went downstairs to find everyone engrossed in the preparation for the puja in the evening. Seeing him in his work clothes, Anjali walked up to him.
"Diwali ke din koi aise kapde pehenta hai, Chote?"
"Di mai office jaa rahaa hu. Sab chutti par hai aur thoda zaruri kaam hai. Pataako ki aawaaz se ghar pe koi kaam nahi hoga dopahar see. Office would be better."
"Chote tum.."
"Di please. Mai raat ke puja tak aa jaunga."
Anjali was just about to say something with Omprakash came with the anklets that she had bought for Khushi. He handed it over to her saying "Ye wahaa neeche pada that Anjali Didi." Anjali took it from him saying "Oh, shukriya."
Arnav looked at the anklets and was reminded of Khushi's anklet lying in his cupboard. Anjali looked at the anklets thoughtfully and said rather quietly "Ye hum Khushiji ke liye laaye the Diwali ke liye."
Thinking she was upset that she wouldn't be able to give it to her today, Arnav said "Koi baat nahi Di, woh kal aayegi toh de dena usse"
"Nahi Chote, aayengi toh woh aaj bhi, par.."
"Kya?! Khushi aaj aa rahi hai?" said Arnav suddenly. "Er.. mera matlab hai ki.. mujhe laga woh aaj chutti pe hai.. usne chutti bhi nahi li aur itni der tak aayi bhi nahi?"
"Offo Chote, Diwali ke din thodi kaam pe aayengi. Woh abhi thodi der mei mithai leke aayengi humaare liye. Aur puja ke liye bhi rukengi"
"Oh achcha" said Arnav trying not to sound too interested. To cover up, he continued "Toh phir kya problem hai? Aap aaj hi de dena paayal usko"
"Hum toh kal hi denewaale the. Par unhone liya hi nahi. Pata hai Chote, jo payal woh pehenti hai naa, woh unke Amma ki hai toh woh usse apne aap se kabhi alag hi nahi hone deti. Isiliye woh koi aur payal pehengi hi nahi. Unke Amma ki sirf wahi nishaani hai unke paas. Hum samajh sakte hai" said Anjali thoughtfully.
Arnav just stared at her trying to collect his thoughts. He remembered the anklet falling off near the pool. He remembered picking it up and staring at it for a long time, reliving his moments with her. He remembered how the anklet continued to be a part of his ever-increasing collection of Khushi's belongings.
"Chote?" said Anjali, bringing him out of his thoughts "Abhi tumse behas nahi karna chaahte hum. Toh jaldi jaao aur jaldi vaapis aao office se"
"Er" started Arnav "Di mai bhi aapse behas nahi karna chaahta toh mai soch raha hu yahi se kaam khatam karne ki koshish karu. I mean, varna kitne dino tak aap bolengi ki Diwali ke din bhi mai office gaya. Toh' er'  mai upar jaata hu"
Anjali stared after him as he quickly went back upstairs. She shook her head at yet another example of his recent randomness.
Arnav paced his room. He was torn between the elation of getting to see Khushi and the confusion of how to return her anklet to her. The moment Di told him about the value of the anklet for Khushi, he knew he had to return it to her somehow. Now, when he reached his room and had the time to think, he wasn't sure how to do it. What possible explanation can he give to her for his having had it in his possession for such a long time. What explanation did he have for having it with him at all in the first place?
He tried coming up with some explanations. "Jaiprakash found it and gave it to me. Yeah, of all the people in this house, he gave me an anklet that he found." Arnav felt like rolling his eyes at himself "Well, I found it and forgot to give it to her." He sighed. "Right. ASR found an anklet and picked it up and kept it with himself. Right." Shaking his head, he realized that his ASR personality killed all the explanations.
Then, he stopped pacing and realized that that was just the solution. He was ASR. He owed no one any explanations. Normally, no one would dare ask him for any explanations. But, Khushi wasn't normal and so would obviously question him like always. A glare or two and a walkout should do the trick, he told himself.
Arnav walked to his cupboard and took the anklet out. He ran his fingers over it and closed his eyes reliving some moments with her. Pocketing it, he realized he felt oddly unhappy at the prospect of having to part with it.
He just opened his laptop when he heard the door bell. Curbing the urge to run down to open the door, he got up and tentatively stepped out of his room. By the time he could see the door, there was no one there. He could hear Anjali complimenting Khushi on how beautiful she looked in the red saari. Red? Saari? He needed to see her. He balled his fists to stop himself from going downstairs as he reminded himself that he needed to give her the anklet and he couldn't do that downstairs.
Suddenly, he saw Omprakash walking out of the front door, closing it behind him. He waited for a minute and then called out loudly "Omprakash! Meri davai zara leke aana. Aur ek glass juice bhi." He knew that Khushi was not going to let his Di climb up with the glass and the medicines.
"Arre Omprakash ko toh humne baahar bhej diya" said Anjali "Ye Chote bhi na, apni davai kaise bhool jaate hai. Hum hi leke dete hai."
"Hum leke de denge Anjali ji" said Khushi when she saw Anjali start to get up from where she was sitting on the floor near the puja area. "Thank you Khushi ji" smiled Anjali. She pointed to a packet on the table near by and said "Uss packet mei se hi davai deni hai"
Khushi nodded and went to get a glass of juice from the kitchen. She picked up the packet and headed to Arnav's room. "Devi Maiyya, aap bhi naa. Omprakashji ko isi waqt bahar bhejna tha aapko? Ab Anjali ji ko toh hum ye sab leke upar aane nahi de sakte the na?" she muttered on her way up.
"Arnav ji?" she called out from outside his room as her hands weren't free to knock. Not hearing a response, she tried pushing the door with her shoulders and it opened. Stepping inside cautiously, she called out again "Arnav ji?" But, the room was empty. She looked around and saw him standing near the pool, his back facing her.
She considered leaving the juice and the medicines on the table and leaving. Suddenly remembering him fainting the other day, she decided that she needed to make sure he took his medicines. She stepped out of the room towards the pool side at the same moment that Arnav turned around from the other end of the pool.
Arnav swallowed deeply, and knew he was in deep trouble the moment he set eyes on her. Khushi was beautiful. He knew that. She always looked beautiful. Having been blown away once seeing her in a red saari during the photo shoot, he was expecting her to look particularly beautiful tonight as well, especially after hearing his Di's comments. But, nothing had prepared him for the kind of emotions that surged through him as he saw her walk towards him slowly in the gorgeous red saari, which, he was sure was so gorgeous only because she was wearing it.
Just like every other time he was enthralled by her, he forgot his surroundings and the fact that he was staring unabashedly at her. Khushi stopped walking as she felt his gaze on her. Her heart thudded in her chest as she saw the way his eyes were devouring her. She struggled to hold on to the glass and the medicines as she felt her hands tremble. His eyes scorched their way up right from her toes, pausing a bit at her bare waist, then at her neck, on her lips, before they finally met her eyes.
She always got flustered when he looked at her like that. Like he had a right to. Like only he had a right to. Pushing the thought aside, Khushi took a deep breath and continued to walk towards him. She stopped a couple of feet away from him and said "Arnav ji" His only reaction was to look at her lips as they uttered his name and then look back into her eyes. Flustered, Khushi said a bit more loudly "Arnav ji?"
Arnav blinked as if coming out of a stupor and cleared his throat before saying "Tum yahaa kya kar rahi ho?"
"Woh Omprakashji bahar gaye huye hai toh hum aapki davai leke aaye hai," said Khushi holding out the medicine packet.
His mind suddenly went back to the temple on Teej when he had seen her stumbling up the stairs with a plate in her hands. He had not been able to take his eyes off her, and from the first moment he had seen her, he had been drawn to her like a moth to a flame.
Sighing deeply, he tried to compose himself when he finally came to a stop directly in front of her. He greeted her in a low husky voice that he almost didn't recognize as his own ' 'Khushi'' Without taking his eyes off her face, Arnav took a step closer to her and brought out the anklet from his pocket holding it out to her.
Khushi stared at him and then slowly down at his extended hand, in which her lost anklet twinkled in the candlelight. 'Yeh toh humari '' she whispered startled.
The air between them fairly crackled. In spite of his repeated decisions, in spite of knowing now that his only hope for self-preservation was to get away from her, his body was the traitor. It had started behaving as if it had a mind of its own.
Seeing her hesitate and look down again at her own hands holding out the medicine and glass of juice, Arnav placed the anklet back into his trouser pocket and reaching out to gently hold her by her shoulders. It was as though an electric shock jolted everything alive inside her. She looked up into his eyes and knew that she was lost.
'Aap '' she said breathlessly, meeting his intense gaze with one of her own.
'Shhh'' he whispered, his eyes never leaving hers, as he gently pushed her onto one of the deck chair that surrounded the pool. Lowering her on to the chair he quietly took the glass and packet from her nervous hands, placing them carefully on the table beside.
Khushi watched in wide-eyed fascination as he slowly pulled out her silver anklet from his pocket and knelt in front of her on one knee.
Arnav could not take his eyes of her radiance. He longed to taste the soft skin of her nape exposed above the neckline of her blouse. Feather his lips across her collarbone. Feel the weight of her against him, uninhibited by clothing' He swallowed, and shut his eyes for a second, controlling his wayward thoughts. Ever since the day she had tangled herself in the diwali lights, he had felt the attraction that in some dangerous way was more than physical. What had started out as an innocent untangling of the lights from around her, had turned into something neither of them could control. He had watched, fascinated, as she had shut her desire filled eyes, whenever his hand brushed her skin. This attraction was different from any attraction he'd ever had for any other woman. What was it? He asked himself repeatedly.
Khushi watched tongue tied as he shut his eyes and opening them suddenly, reach down slowly to slip her foot out of the confines of the gold sandals. He then gently placed her foot on his extended knee, and chained the anklet on her bare ankle. She shuddered against the power he held over her from just looking at her and was tempted to close her eyes to shut him out, but couldn't.
Task complete, both of them watched the anklet glitter and nestle against the satin skin of her slim ankle.
Khushi, in a daze as to what had just happened, drew an unsteady breath, as she watched him again reach out to hold her ankle, as if drawn to it unwittingly. Her startled gaze followed his warm fingers as they drew gentle circles on the shapely contours of her foot. Her body stiffened, then relaxed as any thought of resisting him was destroyed, and she felt herself give in to the intoxicating feelings that his touch was arousing in her. Her head fell back against the sloping backrest of the chair, and she shut her eyes as unfamiliar sensations took over.
Khushi didn't know what happened next. One moment she was staring at him playing with her foot, and the next moment she felt his warm mouth devouring her sensitive toe.
Her eyes flew open in shock, as she watched his tongue explore the perfectly shaped toe, making her weak with desire and her body consumed with need she had never experienced before.
As he continued to suck her toe, a throaty moan escaped her lips, 'Arnav'' she groaned, not realizing if it was a plea for him to stop or to continue.
His name on her lips, and the throaty sounds she was making sent shivers of excitement racing down his spine. If he were truly honest with himself, he'd admit to his growing desire to take her into his arms ... to gaze deep into her eyes ... to kiss her lush mouth. To find out if he could ever claim her heart.
His name said aloud, brought him back to his senses. She had never called him by his name, he mused. Chiding himself, for losing control as he had just done, he released her foot placing it back on his thigh. He watched, her also realize the enormity of what had just happened. Her innocent mind shocked at her own wantonness.
Sliding her foot off his thigh slowly, she stood abruptly, lowering her gaze in embarrassment. What was she thinking' was this also a sign from devi mayyiya that she had been looking for. Her body had responded of its own accord to his ' his'  Khushi blushed and looked towards him distraught.
Seeing her discomfiture Arnav gently reached out and cupped her cheek in his palm, brushing his thumb across her soft skin. Again Khushi felt herself move closer and closer to total surrender.
Sensing her dazed state, Arnav held on to her face for a few moments, till she gained composure, then whispered, "Happy Diwali."