Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chapter 15

Hello everyone!
Sorry for not updating on Sunday.  That's why I am updating today.  I will try to update soon now, maybe tomorrow or Friday.  
Thank you all for your wonderful comments on the last update and your patience with my delays in the updates.

Happy reading! :)

Chapter 15
Please note I retain sole ownership of all the works of fiction on this blog so please do not reproduce or alter my work and claim it as your own.

You brought this gift for me, right Arnav?”
Arnav looked at Khushi and saw her eyes filled with confusion and something else which he was unable to put a finger on.
Khushi....no....I....I mean it was Akash who brought this for you.” He finally said looking away from Khushi.
Oh really? Then look at me in the eye and say it” said Khushi in a firm tone.
Arnav kept his eyes on the road ahead, “I am driving and I am not lying.”
No! You are lying! Don't even try to say otherwise. How can you even do this Arnav? How could you?”
What the! What have I even done? And what difference does it make to you anyways?”
Obviously it makes a difference to me! It would make hell lot of a difference when you give me a gift compared to when Jeejz give it. And how can you even lie, Arnav?”
Khushi! Just stop, will you? What difference is there between me and Akash?”
Arnav waited a few minutes and turned to see Khushi facing away from him, looking outside the window, with an expressionless face, her lips casted downward.
He parked the car to the side of the road and turned toward her, while Khushi continued to ignore him.
Okay. I am sorry. Yes, I did brought that gift for you and yes, I gave it to Akash to give it to you. Happy?”
Khushi still ignored him and looked out the window, her hands formed into tight fists.
Arnav held her chin and made her face him.
Khushi, look at me.”
Khushi continued to look downward, so Arnav held her chin firmly and made her look at him.
Sorry? Please?” said Arnav.
Khushi's eyes got a bit moist as she looked into his eyes filled with honesty and guilt.
It's fine” replied Khushi in a little voice.
Well, you have to be. It's your birthday and I want each moment of your day filled with happiness.”
Khushi's lips lifted in a slight smile as her eyes once again shined in joy.
No! I need that the Khushi smile, not this small one.” Arnav said while faking annoyance to her.
Khushi chucked looking at his face and said, “You know, you are not good at acting, so don't even try it.”
Arnav looked at her and smiled, “Really? So what else do you know about me?”
Hmmm. Let me think. You have anger issues. You are a good elder brother to Jeejz. You have a great taste in choosing gifts. You know how to make me smile.” She answered honestly and innocently, as she tapped her chin and got lost in her world while saying everything.
So you liked my gift?”
Khushi turned to look at him and saw a smirk planted on his face.
Yes, I did. And no need to be so happy. I am still not happy with the way you had it given to me. Hmph!”
Oh cmon Khushi. I just wasn't sure whether I should or not. I didn't want you to feel awkward.”
But why would I feel awkward? We are friends now, and it's absolutely normal for friends to gift each other occasionally.”
Arnav turned to Khushi with a surprised look. “Friends?”
Yeah. We are friends now. Aren't we?”
Erm....yeah, sure....okay.”
Don't you want to be friends with me?”
What? No, I didn't mean that. Why won't I not want to be your friend?”
So we are friends now na? Real friends?”
Arnav shook his head slightly at her innocence and smiled, “Yes, we are friends now, real ones.”
He restarted the car and began to head back on the road.
So does that mean I can call you by any nicknames I choose?” Khushi asked excitedly.
But why nicknames? What's wrong with my name?”
Well, there isn't anything wrong with your nickname. But don't you know all friends call each other by nicknames?”
I never had any friend calling me with nicknames, so no, I wouldn't know.”
Arnu, you are such a reserved person. All your friends must have been trying to appease your majesty.”
What the! Arnu? And what do you mean appease?”
First, yes, Arnu. Now that's your nickname from now on. Secondly, what I mean by appease is that everyone is just so scared of your mood swings, so they all must have been trying to do the 'right' thing in front of you, rather than being themselves and having fun.”
Khushi, you are UNBELIEVABLE!”
What the?!”
What? What did you say?”
I said your pet dialogue. [She giggled.] Just wanted to see how you would react, but yes, I already know I am unbelievable because I am simply everything everyone else is not.”
Ok Ok. Enough of this discussion. Now tell me, how does Khush want to celebrate her day?” He said with a wide grin on his face.
Khush? KHUSH? YOU gave ME a nickname?? Wowwww!”
Weren't you going on and on about how friends should? Then why can't I?”
Well, of course you can. And I love it. Khush. Aaawwww, Arnu and Khush.” She giggled, while Arnav smiled and continued driving.
Payal and Akash reached Plattsburgh City Beach, but there still wasn't any sign of Khushi and Arnav. Akash held Payal's hand and both walked toward the beach.
Payal, I am sorry for not telling you about myself before today.”
It's fine, Akash. I guess you needed time with it.”
No, it wasn't time. Anyways, I only told you about Uncle and Aunt. The reason was that when I moved to US, they were the ones who helped me a lot in settling here. I....I do have parents back in India. It....I guess....it was the need of the time then that made me take such drastic steps........I am sorry but I don't think I am still comfortable in talking about it.”
Payal held Akash's hand firmly in hers and stood in front of him. She caressed his cheek with her other hand.
Akash, if you don't want to, then you don't have to. I am fine with it and I am sure that you must have your reasons.”
Thanks, Payal. [He held her hand on his cheek to his lips and softly kissed it.] Payal, my brother is the only person I look up to. He is my only family, even above my parents.”
He cleared his throat, left her hands, and stepped backward a few steps. He kneeled on his right knee and held his right hand up in the air.
Miss Payal Gupta, would you do me the honor of being my life partner?”
Payal's eyes widened in shock, then filled with tears, as she nodded and smiled. She placed her hand in his, “Yes, yes, I would never desire for anything more than this.”
She made him rise and both hugged tightly. Payal continued to flow her tears of happiness, while Akash looked up at the heavens to convey his gratitude.
Ahumm, ahummm!”
Khushi's voice interrupted their embrace and both let go of each other. They looked around and found Khushi and Arnav standing there, Khushi with a wide grin on her face and Arnav with a soft smile.
Payal and Akash looked nervously at each other, while Khushi rushed to Payal and hugged her.
Congratulations, Jiji! I am so so sooooo happy for you. This is the best gift from both of you!”
Payal smiled fondly at Khushi, looked at Akash, then looked down shyly.
Arnav went to Akash and hugged him lightly.
Congrats, Akash. I wish the best for the two of you.” Arnav said.
Thanks, Bhai.”
Jiji, when do you want to tell at home? Should we tell them today? It's my birthday, they won't refuse me. Yes, we should tell them now. And then we....”
Khushiiii, calm down, I am sure Akashji must have thought of something.” Payal said.
Erm....Payal, I am sure Bhai must have thought of something, right Bhai?”
What the?! Akash? Wh....”
Akash hurriedly held Arnav's arm and led him away from the ladies, while Khushi and Payal continued to stare at them confused.
Bhai, if you remember, then you gave me a task this morning and even asked me for help.”
So? How does that relate to THIS?”
So, Bhai, now if you don't help me, I am going to tell Khushi that....”
You are blackmailing ME?”
Oh no, Bhai. You know, how you would say, I am just doing a deal.”
Without giving any response to Akash, Arnav made his way to Payal, while Akash followed him dumbfoundedly, still deciding whether he has been successful or not.
Khushi stopped teasing Payal as she saw Arnav coming toward them.
Yes, Arnavji?”
You don't have to worry about anything. We'll come soon to ask for your alliance from your parents.” Arnav said with a friendly smile, but trying to think what to do next himself.
Akash's face brightened with happiness, while Payal nodded to Arnav shyly. Khushi continued to stare at Arnav, realizing there is something more to what he's making it seem as.
Akash stood next to Khushi and turned her toward him, “Khushi, now that everything is settled, why don't we actually celebrate both occasions?”
Aawww, Jeejz. You are simply so sweet.”
Before anyone could say anything, Khushi led the three of them toward the waves of the water. While Akash, Payal, and Khushi began to enjoy the cool water after undoing their footwear, Arnav continued to stand away from the water, observing their playful activities with a soft smile.
Khushi jumped around in the water and saw Arnav standing apart from them. She quickly took a handful of water, which was dripping on her clothes, ran and threw the bit left behind on Arnav. Arnav shut his eyes as the cold water tore through the warmth of his suit.
Khushi? What are you....?”
Arnuuu! It's my birthday, how can you not enjoy with us?”
She held his hand and took him toward the water, while Arnav had already lost himself as her soft, cool hand touched his firm, warm one.
Arnu, open your shoe laces. Arnuuuuu! Arnuuuuu! ARNAV!!!!!!”
Huh? What?”
Your shoes! Won't you take off your shoes before entering the water?”
Erm....yeah.” He took off his shoes, but Khushi held his arm and ran to the waters with him before he could even say his “What the!”
Khushi began to play around in the water, while Arnav stood near her, looking at the sweet smile on her face, her face flashing with joy.
Khushi looked at him and realized that he's not playing. She grinned mischievously and threw big splashes of water at him. Arnav looked at her shocked and began to throw water at her as well. They continued their water fight until they were fully wet, from head to toes. Khushi began to laugh looking at Arnav, while he chuckled lightly and shook his head at her crazy antics.
Now, Khush, can we go?” Arnav asked with a sweet, yet enticing smile.
Khushi stood, stunned, with the smile still on her face, as she heard him say Khush for the second time. Something quivered in her heart, something she was unable to comprehend. Arnav smiled softly, as he saw her expressions.
He held his hand toward her as a friendly gesture and said, “Come.”
Khushi took his hand happily and they went toward Payal and Akash, who by now were sitting on the sand, talking silently. They stood up as the other two joined them.
Bhai, Khushi, should we head on home now? The sun is just about to set, and Payal was saying that they needed to head home soon as well.” Akash said.
Yes, Jeejz, even I am tired now” said Khushi.
Yeah, Akash. I need to finish some work as well.” Arnav said.
Work, work, work, always work!” Khushi mummered to herself, as Arnav looked at her from the corner of his eyes.
Everyone headed to their cars and settled to go as they had arrived.

So, how was the update?  Let me know what you think and drop your lovely comments with your IF names below.  
Thank you once again to all for your patience!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chapter 14

Hello everyone!!!!!
My apologizes for the late update.  I was really busy. So, without further delay, here is the next chapter.
Happy Reading!
Enjoy :)

Chapter 14
Please note I retain sole ownership of all the works of fiction on this blog so please do not reproduce or alter my work and claim it as your own.

Akash walked out of New York University after a meeting with the Vice President. Though he worked efficiently regardless of what the situation was, his mind was currently playing multiple memories from olden days. He sat into his car and placed his head on the steering wheel. He replayed Arnav's conversation, wondering why he needed her location suddenly. Though he was thankful that he didn't ask any of the questions he normally would, but then he was surprised, as to why not. Akash had been expecting Arnav's call since the day NK informed of his arrival.
But Bhai did not even mention anything. Maybe he's not going to. I just hope....
His phone rang, marking the call of his elder brother.
Yes, Bhai?”
Akash....erm....Where are you?”
Wh....I....near Greenwich Village. Why Bhai?”
No, I was....Why don't we meet? I am in Greenwich Village as well.”
Now? Oh God Bhai! Are you alright? I s everything okay? Are you....”
AKASH! I.am.FINE! I asked, can we meet?”
Yeah, sure Bhai. Anyways, I was coming to meet someone. Where at, Bhai?”
You tell. Who were you meeting with? Colleague or....?”
Erm....yes, Bhai. I am coming and will message you the place.”
Arnav sat in his car, the black windows hiding him from anyone's view. His eyes were set on the entrance of the Cafe. Khushi was still inside with her sister and Akash on his way here.
Why did Akash have to decide on this very Cafe? I thought he would NOT want me to meet his love interest. How can this man be so down to earth? DAMN IT!
A knock disturbed his venting. Arnav saw Akash standing in front of his door, his eyes looking around and on the window again. Arnav lowered the window, just enough to make his voice across.
The car's unlocked. Get in!”
Arnav quickly closed the window before Akash could argue back.
Akash opened his mouth to argue but closed as the window went up. He walked to the other door, completely clueless of what exactly was wrong with his brother. As soon as he sat, Akash turned toward Arnav with a stumped, yet curious look. However, as soon as he saw Arnav looking at him with an affectionate look, the look he missed all these years.
Though Arnav was caught up in many things, he couldn't help but feel the same brotherly love for his younger brother. He had never shown his emotions to anyone, but he had missed him all these years. He placed his hand on his shoulder, but Akash hugged him tightly, just the way he used to hug him in the younger years. Arnav patted his back lightly, strictly controlling his emotions.
Bhai, I am sorry, Bhai. I know I hurt you a lot, but you know I just couldn't....I was....Bhai....it was....”
I know, I know it all. Do you really think you could have breathed even for a single moment without my knowledge?”
Akash looked at Arnav, his face full of confusion.
Bhai? You knew about....”
Arnav nodded his head in positive.
I still want you to come back, but it will be your decision. My desires won't interfere with your decisions.”
Thank you Bhai, thank you so much! But I am still sorry Bhai. You needed me, but I....”
You had a choice, Akash, and you chose for yourself. I didn't, so I couldn't.”
Bhai....erm....do you still....”
Akash flinched a bit at seeing the same rage in Arnav's eyes. Even if everyone feared Officer Raizada, he would always be afraid of his brother's temper nonetheless.
Sorry, Bhai. I was just....”
Arnav closed his eyes to control his temper and looked at his brother with affection.
Akash, it's....it's no use talking about that now. [He cleared his throat, as he recalled the day's events.] So, who were you meeting here?”
Akash suddenly remembered what happened earlier on and his warm, affectionate look turned into a curious, yet an astute look.
What's going on, Bhai?”
You still didn't answer my question.” Arnav said, avoiding an eye contact with Akash.
Oh....she....I was....erm....”
So, it's a girl? Girlfriend or just a colleague?”
Akash looked sheepishly at his brother, knowing fully well that he could never lie to his elder brother.
I love her, Bhai.”
Arnav noticed the honesty and pride in Akash's eyes as he spoke the words. His lips turned into a smile as well.
Hmm. Who is she, by the way?”
The timidness evaporated from Akash's eyes and a slight smirk made its way on his lips.
Elder sister of the girl you had me track down.”
Arnav ignored Akash's gaze upon him and found the parking meter outside the car much more interesting.
Bhai, you do know that you have to come clear, right?”
Arnav pondered upon his words for few seconds, cleared his throat once again, and finally looked at Akash.
Erm....I need your help.”
Bhai? You....I mean....help??”
Akash, please. You know, if it wasn't important, I wouldn't be asking you at any cost.”
Ok. How exactly do you want me to help you?”
Arnav looked straight into Akash's eyes to convey the seriousness of the matter.
I asked you to find out about Khushi and I just want from you that she should never know of this fact.”
Hmm. No problem. But there's something I need you to do in return.”
What the! Since when have you learned to blackmail?”
Akash chuckled a bit, as Arnav's tense muscles relaxed a bit to know it wouldn't something serious since his brother was laughing.
Bhai, I just want to introduce the person who is the role model of my life to the person who I want to spend my entire life with.”
But Akash, I....”
Bhai, I have never told her anything about....well, anything. You are the only family I have, Bhai. Please?”
You are the only true family I have as well. But Khushi....”
Don't worry. I know her personally as well. I'll handle.”
Though Arnav was not convinced, he nodded to Akash reluctantly.
Akash, there's one more thing.”
What, Bhai?”
Erm....it's Khushi's birthday today. [He picked a gift bag from the backseat and handed it to Akash.] Would you give this to her?”
Akash bit the inside of his cheek to stop himself from smiling.
But why don't you give it to her, Bhai? I assume you also know her personally.”
NO! I mean....I....she....is an intern at IBM where I am heading the internship program. So it's not personal.”
Bhai, you care about her na?”
Akash looked directly into his brother's eyes and smiled.
It's fine, Bhai. I know you. Don't worry, I'll take care of it” said Akash while pointing towards the gift.
Both got out of the car and walked into the Cafe.
Jiji, where is Jeejz now? I am even hungry now.”
He'll be here soon. Maybe got caught with something.”
At the cue, Payal saw Akash coming through the door, along with someone else as well.
Look, here he is!”
Khushi turned around with a wide grin on her face which turned in a shocked expression as her jaw dropped down and her eyes went wide as she saw Arnav walking with Akash. Arnav noticed Khushi's changing expressions but he dared not look her in the eye. Akash, on the other hand, was observing Khushi and Arnav, while winking at Payal. Payal was smiling her cute smile at Akash when she noticed him looking at Khushi and Arnav, so she also looked at the both of them. She though was only slightly surprised at Khushi's state, but found nothing wrong with Arnav since Arnav's face was expressionless. Payal was further astonished as Akash winked at her with an amused expression.
Khushiiii, Khushiiiii, Akashji is talking to you.” Payal tried to get Khushi out of her daze, but Khushi remained statue-like until Payal pinched her on her arm. Akash was smiling seeing her state, while Arnav was looking everywhere but at her.
Ouchhh!” Khushi turned immediately to Payal with an annoyed look.
What was that for Jiji?” whispered Khushi to Payal.
Look in the front and you'll know, Einstein.” Payal turned and smiled warmly to Akash.
Happy Birthday, Khushi.” Akash said and side-hugged Khushi. Khushi hugged him back.
Thanks Jeejz. So you finally remembered me? What took you so long?” [Jeejz = alteration for Jeeju, brother-in-law]
Sorry kiddo. I had a meeting and here, let me introduce you both to my elder brother, Arnav Singh Raizada.”
Khushi looked at Arnav, who was still avoiding her. She opened her mouth, closed it, opened again.
You....you are Jeejz's elder....?” said Khushi, though she was mainly talking to herself.
Khushi, do you know each other already?” asked Payal innocently.
Huh?....Jiji....woh....he....I....he's my....boss” stammered Khushi as she looked away from Arnav.
Oh wow. What a surprise! Akashji, you never told me you had a brother.” Payal said.
Akash and Arnav looked at each other uncomfortably, both aware of the reasons.
Arnav spoke, “Actually, I told him not to. Our family had many contacts, while Akash wanted to build his career on his own merits. Therefore, he established himself without disclosing who his family is.”
Oh, really Akashji? That's so sweet of both you brothers. Now can we all sit and talk?” said Payal with a sincere smile on her face.
All sat down, Payal and Khushi on one side of the table, while Akash and Arnav in front of them. Arnav and Khushi still avoided eye contact with each other, while Payal and Akash noticed the uncomfortable silence between the both. If nothing else, both surely did know that Khushi would not have kept quiet without any reason.
So Khushi, here is our birthday girl's present.” Akash said while giving the gift bag to her.
Jeejz, YOU brought me a gift? Yepppeeeee!” Khushi giggled as she was just about to open the gift when Payal slapped her thigh secretly. Khushi stopped, realizing her manners which were forgotten due to her excitement.
Erm....Happy Birthday Khushi.” Arnav spoke in a firm voice, attempting to hide his hesitancy and looking directly at Khushi now.
Thank you, A....Sir.” Khushi said shyly, ignoring Arnav's gaze on her. Arnav smirked slightly as he realized that Khushi was about to call him by his first name.
Khushi, Bhai just told me that you both worked together. I didn't know. So, I hope you don't mind that.”
Oh, no Jeejz. It's completely fine. Anyways, Sir is very sincere about his work and it's a pleasure working with him.” Khushi said the last sentence shyly, while Arnav's heart swelled with pride and happiness.
Payal was amazed at her sister, but Akash acted as if nothing was happening though his heart was jumping in joy to see his brother like this.
Payalji, since it's Khushi's birthday, why don't we all go out together? I don't have any work for the rest of the day, and I am sure Bhai can manage one day without work. Right, Bhai?”
Sure Akash. As you all see fit.” Arnav said while looking at Khushi from the corner of his eyes.
Yes, Akashji. Khushi will love spending the day with us.” Payal said excitedly as she saw Akash winking at her again.
Payal and Akash got up to leave before Khushi could say otherwise. Arnav and Khushi followed them close behind.
Arnav whispered to Khushi, “Khushi, you do know that you can call me by my name in front of my own brother, right? I only stopped you from that in front of the staff and faculty.”
Khushi looked at him surprised, “Ohh. I was just not sure since I didn't know.”
Well, now you do!” Saying it, Arnav walked away from Khushi and closer to Akash, who turned around just in time.
Bhai, why don't you and Khushi follow our car? I....erm....I had to talk to Payal about something.”
Arnav looked at Khushi's surprised look, smirking inwardly he answered Akash, “Of course Akash. You guys go ahead. Enjoy!”
Payal and Akash went in their car, while Khushi and Arnav followed behind.
Khushi, buckle your seatbelt.” Arnav said to Khushi without looking at her.
Khushi looked toward him as she buckled her seatbelt.
Thanks.” She said in a little voice.
Hmm. Why didn't you tell me of your leave?”
Khushi began playing with her fingers nervously, “I....I told Amanji. You were busy.”
You could have called me or messaged me in the evening.”
Khushi shot him a surprised look. “I forgot. I was busy at home.”
Why didn't you tell me about your birthday?”
Sorry. I forgot.”
Arnav looked at her, a softness in his eyes, “You don't have to be sorry, Khushi. I....I just....never mind.” He looked away, unable to vocalize his feelings.
Khushi looked at Arnav and saw a strange sadness on his face.
Hey Devi Mayyia! What have I done? He must have felt bad because he found out from Jeejz. Stupid, duffer! How idiotic can you be Khushi!
Arnavji, I didn't mean to hurt you. I just forgot. I am sorry. I am really sorry.”
Khushi, you don't have to be sorry. It's fine.” Arnav smiled at Khushi, seeing her distressed at such a simple thing, while understand his unexpressed feelings. Khushi smiled as soon as she saw him smiling.
So, I never thought you would turn out to be Jeejz's brother. He is so different than you.”
Different? Yeah, obviously. Personalities of any two people has to be different. How can we be same, Khushi?”
Arnavji, you are seriously the limit. I wasn't expecting a complete logical explanation for such a general thing.” Khushi rolled her eyes, while Arnav smiled at her.
Oh, but even I didn't realize that your surname is also Raizada. I should have guessed then, but I guess it never came to my mind.” Khushi spoke as she played with the gift bag in her lap. She suddenly realized that she still hasn't opened her gift. She looked at Arnav with a mischievous glint in her eyes.
Arnavji, can I ask something?”
Do you mind if I open my present?”
Arnav looked at her, surprised and timidly. “Erm....no, go ahead.”
Khushi excitedly opened her the bag to find another wrapped gift box inside. She opened it and found a pearl and diamond earrings with a matching necklace. Her eyes opened wide, appreciating the beauty of the present, while her mind blurred with confusion. Arnav noticed her awed expression and looked away, smiling to himself since she liked the gift. Khushi turned to Arnav, only to be more surprised to see a peaceful smile adorning his face. Realization hit her and she looked back at the gift.
You gave this gift, not Jeejz, right?”
Arnav's smile vanished as he looked at Khushi in shock!

Here is the link for Khushi's gift: Earrings & Necklace
So, how was it?  Sorry for not having many Arhi scenes.  
Please leave your beautiful comments with your IF name below.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Chapter 13B

Hello my readers!
Chapter 13B is finally here. The next chapter will be 14, no more parts to this chapter.

Happy reading & enjoy!  

Chapter 13B
Please note I retain sole ownership of all the works of fiction on this blog so please do not reproduce or alter my work and claim it as your own.

Amar, Garima, Bauji, and Payal sneaked into Khushi's room at exactly 11:30pm. They all knew that she will be sleeping deeply right now. They quietly decorated her entire room with fairy lights, stars, and crystal chains. Everyone was being as discrete and quiet as possible, and they had only 2 minutes till the clock strikes twelve. Payal rushed out of the room and brought a black forest small size cake. The clock chimed lightly twelve times to mark midnight.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY KHUSHI!!!!!!” Everyone yelled loudly and Khushi woke up with a jerk. The sudden sound scared her and she sat on her bed, her eyes wide open, and her jaw dropped.
Amar and Garima looked at Bauji, motioning him to go to her. Bauji sat next to Khushi and lightly patted her head.
Happy Birthday my cherub!”
Khushi looked at her Bauji in astonishment. She looked around at everyone with an awestruck expression, and at her room, slowly capturning the stars, the lights, the crystals, and the cake sitting on a table right ahead of her. Even though this was a yearly routine, Khushi was always amazed at how her family did so much for her. Her eyes welled up, as she gave everyone a grateful smile. Everyone came forward and shared a big family hug. Khushi cut the cake and fed it to Bauji first, then Amar, Garima, and Payal. Everyone gave her gifts and blessings. The Gupta household finally drifted into a peaceful sleep.
Khushi woke up at 8:00am, as the sun was shinning in her room and a beautiful smile graced her face. She took her shower and dressed up. She only wore kohl in her eyes and a nude lip-gloss on her lips. She was dressed in the Anarkali Garima gave her yesterday and made her promise to wear today. With the dress, she was wearing the earrings gifted by Payal. (Khushi's dress)
She walked down the stairs to find her family already sitted around the dining table, waiting for her. Her family wished her once again and all began their lavishing breakfast prepared by Garima.
Khushi, Bauji planned the day for you today.” said Amar.
Really? Bauji, what are we going to do first?” said an overly-excited Khushi.
Her Bauji chuckled a bit and said, “First, hand me your phone.”
Khushi innocently gave her phone to her Bauji and waited for him to answer her first question.
Now, I keep the phone and we all are going to be out for the day. So, you will know soon, my Gudiya.” Her Bauji answered.
That's not fair, Bauji. At least tell me one thing we will be doing. Please?” Khushi pouted.
Well, we will be eating out.” Her Bauji laughed as he saw an annoyed expression on Khushi's face, but she also joined him and began laughing.
The family spent the morning shopping in Little Italy, Chinatown, and Soho. As the elders took a break to rest, Khushi insisted and took Payal along with her for a hot-air balloon ride. The family gathered for a lunch at Serendipity, followed by a huge dessert. Khushi ate her dessert, followed by half of Payal's, while the elders only ordered 1 and shared it amongst the three of them.
While Khushi and Payal wanted to watch a movie and shop in Greenwich Village, the elders suggested to go home since Bauji was exhausted.
Then you all go home. Jiji and I'll come back in the evening.” Khushi said to her father.
But dear, how will you two come? We only brought one car.” Amar said with concern in his voice.
Ohho Papa, we'll hire a cab na. Now don't decline this. It's my birthday, so please?” She looked at her father with pleading eyes.
Okay okay. But be home by 7pm. We will be waiting.”
Yes, Papa. Thank you.”
Khushi hugged everyone and waved them bye. Payal and Khushi went to a nearby cinema and watched Monster Inc, a comedy animated movie that Khushi had already watched multiple times but still wanted to watch on her birthday.
It wasn't until they were back to shopping in Greenwich Village that a familiar car attracted Khushi's attention. A white Audi R8 was parked at a nearby parking meter. Since Payal had already entered one of the shops, Khushi went toward the car to check whether it really was the same car or not. She tried to peek inside the car, but no luck due to the black mirrors. She looked around to see whether the owner of the car was nearby, but people seemed to pass by without any interest toward the car. She walked around the car, trying to get some indication to prove her doubts. She went to the front mirror and tried to look inside. Though the view was minimal, it surely was familiar.
Someone placed a hand on her shoulder and she jerked around, scared of being caught. But seeing Payal, she sighed in relief.
Jiji, you scared me!!”
Why are you snooping around someone's car?”
Erm....I.....the car....”
Khushi, what are you doing? What if the owner saw you?”
Then it would have been better. That's what I was doing. Trying to see whether I know who the car belongs to!”
Are you serious, Khushi? Don't tell me that peeking in cars is your new way of celebrating your birthday!”
No, Jiji. Actually, this car is very familiar, that's why I was....”
Payal held Khushi's hand and led her towards the nearby cafe.
Khushi, I don't want either one of us to get into trouble today. And you are just hungry and tired. So, let's eat something, okay?”
Khushi didn't reply back to Payal as she was still looking back at the car, trying to put her finger on where she had seen the car.
What both Khushi and Payal failed to notice was a figure, hiding behind a shop board, observing their each and every move, though the figure was not close enough to hear their conversation. Dressed in a dark maroon three-piece suit, a tall man, with molten eyes which were a shade of chocolate in the sun now. Arnav Singh Raizada.

Before leaving his cabin, ASR had quickly looked through the files he kept in the last drawer of his table. He quickly jotted down something on the notepad, tore the paper and placed it in his coat pocket.  After a quick excuse to Aman, Arnav stormed out of the building.
As soon as he got in his car, he entered the address in the car GPS and drove at an insane speed to his destination. He surely broke the speeding rules, but luckily there were no cops on the roads today. He parked his car, a little before his destination, but near enough to have the full view. He waited in the car, even though his patience was running very low. While waiting, he began to observe his destination. It wasn't a mansion like the KM, but it was beautiful nonetheless. It felt very homely, as if a warmth was radiating from the house itself. Yes, it was very well-maintained and surely, the house gave away the affluence of the owners. (House)
A car entered the driveway of the same house, and two men and a women stepped out. It looked like as if they were all busy in a friendly conversation, while pulling out numerous shopping bags. Arnav finally stepped out of the car, just to make sure whether he missed anyone else exiting the car. But the three people walked in to the house, dismissing Arnav's doubts.
Where is Khushi now?She isn't at her house, then where can she be?
Arnav got in his car and closed the door with a loud bang. He fished out his cell-phone from his pocket and dialed a number. A mere 15 minutes later, his phone rang. Few seconds later, Arnav swerved his car to his next destination. The next destination took a hour to reach, since it was on the other side of the city and the traffic was also high now. Arnav parked his car and began to look in various shops. He searched thoroughly but he still couldn't get a single glimpse of her.
I know she's here. He said it. I....I can feel her. Where are you, Khushi?
Just as Arnav was walking back to his car, the vision in front froze him. The one and only Khushi Kumari Gupta was walking around his car, trying to peek through the black windows. An amused smile formed on his lips as he took in her confused, yet resolute expression. He kept admiring her beauty as she continued her quest.
How can someone look so beautiful without even trying? A fairy sent by heavens. A perfect fairy.
A girl, maybe older than Khushi by few years, approached Khushi. Arnav quickly stood behind a shop board to avoid being seen. He observed them conversing and then leaving.
*Flashback ends*

Arnav followed them into the cafe, while maintaining enough distance from them. As he entered the cafe, he spotted them sitting in one of the far corners, away from others. Khushi's back was toward him, while the girl with her, clearly in his view, was talking to Khushi. He went toward their table, without looking directly at the table. Arnav took a table on their diagonal left, but a pillar helped him in hiding himself from their view. Finally, he was close enough to be able to hear them and look at Khushi without any disruptions.
Jiji, any progress?”
Jiji? She's Khushi's sister?
Nope! I don't think he has enough guts.” A frown appeared on Payal's face.
Oh Jiji, why are you worrying over such a minor thing? Maybe, he is just busy. Being in Special Forces isn't an easy job.”
I know Khushi. I also know how he works. You know we worked together whenever his team needed forensic help. But it's not that!”
Jiji, just calm down. Tell me what the problem is and I'll help my sweet Jiji as much as I can.”
Ugh! Don't girls have any better topics to talk about than such stuff?!!
Khushi, I don't think Akashji will ever take the next step for our relationship. He is a very stern and strict officer, and I respect him for what he does. But when it comes to me, I don't think he'll ever move up a level from here.”
What the! Akash?! It could be someone else as well, right?
But Jiji, he already proposed to you and you accepted. What else is left?”
Well, he just isn't keen on telling his aunt and uncle about me. He doesn't have anybody other than them. It's only because of them that he is at such a good position in his career. But he just doesn't know of their expectations about his personal life, marriage, or even how they will react.”
It surely does sound a lot like him. Are they talking about Akash Akash or some other Akash?
Why don't you ask him to come over right now? I am sure that if we both talk to him, he'll surely understand.”
No, Khushi. He must be busy, and it's your day today, so....”
Exactly! Now if I am saying, then you have to call him here. Please Jiji. I am sure he won't refuse me on my birthday.” Khushi winked at Payal and a wide smile formed her face.
WHAT THE!!!! Birthday? Khushi's? What the! How the! Why don't I know anything? Khushi....
Payal took out her cell and began to dial Akash's number. Khushi's smile decreased a bit, as her heartbeats increased. She felt as if someone just called her. Arnav? No, how can he be here? Amanji must have informed him of my leave. I just hope he's not angry.
Khushi? Khushi?” Payal touched Khushi's hand to get her attention.
Huhh? You said something, Jiji?”
Here I am talking to you and you went off to your Lala land!”
Ohho Jiji. I am here only. Tell me, what did he say?”
He said that he's here nearby for some work. He'll join us in few minutes.”
CRAP!! What am I supposed to do now? What if he's the same Akash? What if he told Khushi that I asked him to find out her whereabouts? DAMN!

Office Raizada speaking.”
Akash? This is Arnav. Arnav Singh Raizada.”
Bhai? (Brother?) How are you, Bhai? NK told me of your arrival, but I have just been too busy. Sorry, Bhai!”
It's fine, Akash. Even I was busy. For now, can you do me a favor?”
Favor? Yes, sure. Anything for you, Bhai!”
I am messaging you a name with her details. I need her current location!”
Her? I mean, of course Bhai.”
Arnav disconnected the call, messaged Akash, and waited for the results. 15 minutes later, his phone rang again.
Yes, Akash?”
Bhai, she's at Greenwich Village in NYC. But Bhai I think I....”
Thanks Akash! I'll talk to you later.”
Arnav cut the call, swerved his car, and sped up toward Greenwich Village.
*Flashback ends*

Arnav looked back at Khushi and Payal. Both were busy in their discussion on a random topic, so he sneaked out from his hiding and went out of the cafe quickly.  

So, how was it?
Let me know what you think about it!  Leave your comments with your IF name below.
I probably won't be updating until Wednesday.  I just have a hectic schedule everyone!
But I hope it gives everyone the time to catch up with the past few updates.  
Thank you! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chapter 13A

Hello everyone!
I am finally back with an update!  I am sorry to those who have been waiting, but it has simply been a very hectic week for me.  
THANK YOU all for the amazing response to the last chapter.  I really appreciate it! Gift for everyone, at the end of this update! :)
I have divided this chapter into two parts due to the lack of space.  I will update the second part to this chapter tomorrow!

Happy reading, everyone! :)

Chapter 13A
Please note I retain sole ownership of all the works of fiction on this blog so please do not reproduce or alter my work and claim it as your own.

As soon as they walked out of the elevator, Aman came up to Arnav and the men went ahead for the meeting, while Khushi went to her cubicle and began to work on her assignments. Khushi finished her assignments just as her phone vibrated in her purse. Since the working hours were technically over, she answered Payal's call.
Hi Jiji. Are you already home?”
Nah, I am still at work. Just a 15-min break.”
Oh, okay then. I was just about to head home. But why did you call?”
Khushi, you don't remember what tomorrow is, do you?”
Khushi mentally smacked herself and placed her hand on her forehead.
Ohh....actually....I....it....I didn't....”
You forgot, right?”
Yeah Jiji. I don't know how I....”
Khushi, you remember every single person's birthday, then how can you forget your birthday every year?”
Even I don't know Jiji. And it's not like I intentionally do it. It just happens. And why would I want to forget it? I just....”
Khushi! My break is about to end. I called to tell you that you are not working tomorrow. No excuses!” Payal said sternly.
But Jiji, I....”
It's Bauji's wish, Khushi.”
Since Khushi had never declined anything her Bauji said, she agreed and disconnected the call. Now, Khushi was more confused on how to talk to Arnav since he was still in his meeting. She packed her bag and held her assignments in her hand to submit. Just then, she saw Aman walking toward ASR's cabin. She quickly rushed to him.
Excuse me, Amanji?”
Oh, Khushiji. Yes, did you need something?”
Giving her assignments, she said, “This is the next set. Actually, I wanted to know how long the meeting will take?”
I don't know, Khushiji. Sir is still in there with some delegates. Can I take a message for him?”
Khushi contemplated on the thought for a second and then smiled.
I wanted to know whether I can take a leave for tomorrow.”
Oh! Well, Sir makes all decisions. But I don't see why not since you have already finished your assignments.”
Thank you, Amanji! Thank you so much. If there is anything that you or Ar....erm....Sir might need me for, just give me a call.”
Of course, Khushiji. Don't worry about it. What reason should I give for the leave to Sir then?”
Actually, tomorrow is....”
Aman's phone went off right at the moment with ASR's name flashing on it.
I have to run now Khushiji. I completely forgot what I came for. Bye!”
Aman quickly ran into the cabin, took the files he needed, and ran back to the Conference Room where Arnav was. Khushi's eyes followed Aman until he disappeared from her view.
Laad Governor! Devi Mayyia, just look at how poor Amanji gets scared of him. Hmph!
Khushi proceeded to take her stuff and move toward the exit, but something caught her eye.
Where's Lavanya? I didn't even apologize to her for leaving without her yesterday. I hope she isn't angry with me. But, where is she now?
After looking around for a few moments, Khushi walked out and drove home. Her evening went by with her family planning for the next day and what all they will do for her. Like every year, this was the only time when Khushi simply sat with everyone, listening to them, instead of talking herself. Even though she was always pampered, her birthday was one day when everyone would go out of their comfort zone and even do crazy stuff to make her day the most memorable each year.
At night, Khushi laid in her bed and a blissful smile adorned her face. The way her life was going, the way everything was turning about, she couldn't have dreamt of anything better. Till now, she had never really needed anyone other than her supportive family, not even friends. In the name of friends, she had Lavanya, who was also their neighbor. On the other hand, she had Payal, with whom she had shared her deepest secrets. Her Bauji always took part in her mischief, and he was always her partner in “crime.” Her parents, a wonderful and loving couple, were her role models. Her life had been perfect.
But now, her heart desired for more. The reason was only one. Arnav! No, it wasn't that she wanted anything from him. But it was more of that she wanted him to have more. Somehow, within her heart, she could see the pain in his eyes. From the first time she saw him, a desire to fill his life with happiness had entered her heart. She knew he looked like a cold-hearted, ruthless man. But she always knew that there was more to him. He still was an “enigma” for her.
Can you call me Arnav?
Those five words had struck the daylights out of her. She had completely forgotten where she was standing, what she was doing there, and the only thing she knew were those five words which were reverberating in her ears. She was replaying the time he had actually said those words, just to make sure that he was actually asking such a thing from her. She wanted to ask him again, but she was just frozen and her voice was stuck in her throat. When she sat in the car and saw that smirk on his face, she knew that he had actually said it. Her heart was dancing with joy and she was trying hard to suppress the urge to dance in front of him in his car!
Khushi smiled widely, remembering the smile on his face when she said his name. She felt as though she had fulfilled the reason for her living. With every passing second, her determination to keep him always smiling was increasing. She knew that she would happily sacrifice everything for his smile. It simply felt right. Simply perfect.


9:10AM @ IBM:
Aman hurriedly placed the phone on the receiver, ran to the cafeteria, made a strong black coffee and ran to ASR's cabin. He stabled himself and knocked like a gentleman.
Though the cup in his hand was shaking, he placed it on the table before he could spill it. He looked at his boss, who was standing with his back to him. Tense shoulders, stiff body, and the only sound was of a terrified breathing and a fast, furious breathing.
Ssirrr....yourr co..coffee.” Aman finally managed to get the words out of his mouth.
I.need.expenditure.reports.NOW.” Arnav gritted through his teeth in a deadly voice as he turned around.
Aman looked away from his, not wanting to die of an heart attack anytime soon. He picked the files from the shelf nearby, his hands shaking, his body slightly shivering, but he finally found the correct file. Aman, without looking, gave the file to ASR, who snatched it from him.
Aman scurried out of the cabin before ASR could breath in and out. He ran to his desk and breathed deeply for a few minutes as he sat down in his chair.
Ammi, if it weren't for the salary, I would have resigned the second day he began to work here. Please God, help me!
Arnav looked at the clock on the wall. 9:42! Where is this girl? She has never been this late! Should I call her? No! What will I say? Should I ask Aman? No. Yes. Why not!
Today, no matter how strong the coffee was, it simply wasn't helping. He picked up the cabin phone and dialed Aman's extension.
Come to my cabin.” A steady, yet frustrated voice left his lips.
Moments later, a visibly terrified Aman entered the room, yet again.
Yessss Sirrrr?”
Where is Khushi?”
What the! With whose permission?”
Aman, say the damn sentence in one go and quit stammering!”
Arnav raised his eyebrows, trying to grasp the gibberish language Aman had just used.
When I said in one go, I meant audibly.”
She wanted to ask you for a leave but you were busy in meeting, so I said yes.”
Yesterday, Sir. At the end of the day.”
I couldn't ask her.”
Why was I not informed?”
I tried to tell you in the evening, Sir, but you were busy with a client call.”
Arnav again raised his eyebrows and gave him a “so-it's-my-mistake-now” look.
I am sorry, Sir. I must have forgotten. Sorry.”
Thank you, Sir. I meannn, yess Sirrr.”
Aman walked in a composed manner to the door but ran to his desk as soon as the door closed.
Arnav got up from his chair and paced up and down in his cabin.
How dare she? How dare she take a day off without telling me? I don't pay anyone to be out whenever they wish to. Doesn't she have any sense of responsibility? What difference does it make if she finished her work already? Couldn't there be an emergency? What if she is needed? DAMN IT!
He picked the desk phone once again.
Call Miss Gupta and tell her to contact me urgently!”
He placed the phone on the receiver without waiting for a reply.
Two minutes later, his phone rang. He looked at the number and picked the phone at the second bell.
Sirrrr, she....”
Audibly, without stammering!”
Sir, she is not picking her phone. I called her three times.”
Arnav placed the phone on the receiver, loudly, and he began pacing once again.
Where the hell in she? She obviously had it planned, so she couldn't be sick. Then, why didn't she tell me in the car yesterday? She can talk a mile a second about random things, but NOT inform me of IMPORTANT things!
Since he only had one meeting planned for the day, which was fortunately at 10:30, he finished his work and stormed out of the building with a simple explanation to Aman: ASR had personal work!

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