Khushi looked at herself in the mirror for the 100th time, she was not sure how the dress looked on her...neither did she have any idea how the green dress hugged all the right curves, it was off shouldered and floor length, extremely simple in design but very elegant, it made her look almost ethereal. She took a deep breath and started walking towards her father's study; Once she reached the large oak door, she swung the door open and peeked inside; she never had to take permission or knock where her father was concerned.
Shashi Gupta was a feared man in business but when it came to his darling daughter, he was exactly the opposite. Khushi saw him seated behind the large table and frowning in front of his laptop screen; when he saw her all his worry lines disappeared and he gestured her to come near “Come here Khushi...i need to give you something before the party”, saying this he took our a beautiful velvet box out of his drawer and presented it to her. Khushi took the box and exclaimed with excitement when she saw what was inside “Papa, i love it! Its the most beautiful pair of solitaires ever! How did you know i wanted these?” Shashi gupta chuckled at his beautiful daughter; “I've been meaning to gift these to you for quite some time, put them on, let me see how you look” Khushi put them on at once and went to admire herself in the nearby mirror “Papa these look gorgeous! Thank you soo much, you and ma are the best parents a girl can have” She hugged her father and give him a light kiss on his cheek. Shashi gupta had tears in his eyes “You have no idea how much i will miss you kiddo, our whole life revolves around you, whose going to go for early morning jogs with me? Who's going to share her mars bar with me? Who's going to smuggle junk food for me? And most of all who is going to discuss cricket with me!” Khushi went all pale,” what do you mean papa? Where am i going” she was utterly confused about her father's sudden emotional outburst “ No kiddo, im not taking about today, but one day you will leave us and go to your husband's home; in fact even today there are many eligible men out there vying to get your attention. Your mother and I felt you should mingle with them and let us know if anyone interests you, i suppose its time we start looking for a husband for you” Hearing this Khushi started panicking! 'Oh my God, they are talking about my marriage when i've not even fulfilled my simple dreams, dreams which are not possible with a new family and a husband, what am i gonna do, i can't rebel and act like a brat, but how will i convince them'; “Khushi what are you thinking darling?” Shashi gupta's words jolted her out of her reverie; “ N-nnnothing papa, i was just wondering if all this is necessary so soon, i mean i really wanted to try and explore some different avenues, like try a different line of work in a different city, live by myself for a few months, Ok..don't freak out, its just that even when i was in Princeton, i stayed with Madhu aunty, so i've never really found out how one can live by themselves and be self-sufficient, please papa can i have this one thing before the company responsibility and my marriage falls on me? Please?” Shashi was quite for some time, he understood what his daughter was saying, but her living alone in another city and working somewhere else was just out of the question “No Khushi, i cannot allow you to live alone and work somewhere where we don't know anyone” He saw his darling daughter's face fall, “ Ok, lets do this; since you want some time off, why don't you stay with your friend Dipti in Delhi for a few months, you can take up some art and music courses if you wish, it will keep you occupied and hone your skills in these since you are already soo good at it, but there is no way you will work in some other office or company. I'll have Kishore work out the new project with one of the other managers so that you are free of it. I hope i have made myself clear”. Khushi was utterly disappointed, but nodded her head in agreement; her father gave her a tight hug and led her towards the ballroom. ' I'll have to find some way, maybe i'll talk to Dipti and see if she can help' thinking this she smiled a beautiful smile and stepped on the staircase leading towards the ballroom.
Arnav stepped into his room very late at night, he did not want his family to know about the lavanya incident. He loosened his tie and threw it on his bed along with the rest of his clothes, he stepped into his huge bathroom and stood under the shower careful, not to get his stitches wet. The hot water did wonders to his body as it washed away all his tiredness and irritation. His head still hurt but the pills had started to work on him, he was feeling sleepy by the minute. He turned off the shower and pulled a towel over his waist. As he walked out he saw someone near his pool (Yes this house too has its own private pool in ASR's room) he walked towards the poolside and was shocked to see Yuvraj sitting on the lounge chair “ Bhai did you really think i won't know about this incident? That b***ch did this to you? Let me get my hands on her..i swear i'll tear her to pieces” Arnav's face relaxed like it always did when ever he saw his brother, Yuvraj and Anjali di were who he lived for..his entire life revolved around them. Even though Yuvraj was his step-brother, the day yuvraj came in to their life, he felt an instant connection towards him. Yuvraj was his father's mistresses son, Yes his father the great Mahendra Pratap Singh Raizada, had countless affairs behind his mothers back, but thank fully never bore any more kids beside them and Yuvraj. Their father had bought Yuvraj into their family when his own mother had passed away due to cancer. Arnav never forgave his father as he felt his mother left her will to live as she could not bear his fathers infidelities. She died a slow but torturous death and even though the doctors had assured that she can survive this disease, she just did not want to live anymore. His mother's death was a huge blow to Arnav, but it completely broke down his sister who was already suffering from polio. That day Arnav vowed never to forgive his father, for him only his father was responsible for his mothers death. A year later when Yuvraj was bought to them, Arnav never felt any animosity towards him as he never blamed him for his fathers deeds, he was an innocent pawn like everyone else in his family. Yuvraj was legally adopted by his father and came to live with them. Everyone in the family accepted him except Anjali di, she somehow blamed him for their mothers death along with their father. That hatred was still evident soo many years later. Arnav had tried countless number of times for di to accept Yuvraj, but she never relented. She had made up her mind and especially after their father passed away. Her hatred intensified when her own husband Shyam jijaji was caught with another woman in their own hotel's suite. What ever sanity was left in her vanished and she became emotionally unstable. Her kids , twins Vibha and Vivaan were more close to their grand mother , Yuvraj and arnav than their own mother.
Anjali di's divorce was nearly fatal to her, it was like she had completely blocked herself form the outside world. She neither spoke to anyone nor reacted to anything. She was just a zombie, living her life as if ordered to, she ate, slept and painted; thats all her life was about. This was Arnav's greatest loss, this was what made him turn into ASR. This was the day he vowed never to trust anyone, he knew that when he did not trust, he could not feel the burn of betrayal.
Keeping his thoughts aside, he looked at Yuvraj “ Yuvi, no need to react on such a small thing, she'll get what she deserves, you tell me how have you been? Its been soo long since i last spoke to you, whats been going on in the house?I've been soo caught with this tender and then lavanya's crap!” Yuvraj poured a glass of water for his brother and gave it to him along with his diabetes pills. “Bhai things have been good, Dadi was saying that di has finally started painting bright meadows instead of gloomy storms, i think thats a good sign, what do you think? Arnav felt happy hearing this “ Yes that is good, i've seen a couple of improvements in her, even Dr Maurya felt she was better, and responding positively. How are twins doing? Did they like the new governess?” Yuvraj coughed loudly “Oh yeah...that...umm...i guess they are ok with her...ahem” Arnav gave him his signature side glance “ What? Not again? What did they do this time?” Yuvraj grinned “ They tied her to her bed and drenched her in oil paint” Arnav could not help sniggering thinking how the kids come up with these ideas! Getting serious he asked “ So have you contacted the agency yet?, we need a new governess right away..and make sure she not faint hearted. She should be stern and serious, better if shes in her 40's, it will keep the twins in check”. Yuvraj was just about to tell him that dadiji's friend is sending someone, when Arnav got a call from Aman, he excused himself to take the call. Yuvraj fondly looked on to his older brother, he really was one of the luckiest person alive to find this family. Even though it hurt him that Anjali di could not accept him, he had taken an oath that one day he will make her better and make amends with her, after all who else is there in his life expects these remarkable people.
In suite no 1908, ms Lavanya seth took a leisurely bath and got ready for bed, snuggling under the covers she called him “ Hi, its me..thanks for the new number. Im feeling much better now. I can't thank you enough for helping me out like this” the person on the other side grinned “ No worries darling, i'll come and meet you tomorrow, you checked under your alias name right?” Lavanya smiled indulgently and purred “ Yes sweetheart, the same name we use all the time. I'll see you tomorrow, muah”.