Khushi felt lazy, she had slept for another two hours after Arnav had left and was now stretching lazily on her bed, she yawned and reached out for her phone just in case Arnav had left any messages for her. Her hand searched around for her phone on her bedside table, but could not find it. She sat up to look around for it but didn't find it anywhere. She quickly got up and got dressed before walking down to the living room.
As soon as khushi came down, the butler came to her with an awkward face, he held up her phone, very much un-identifiable due to its mangled broken state. She looked in shock as he handed the parts to her “Sorry ms Khushi, but the cleaner found this on the ground floor landing below the balcony, i assume it must have fallen down” Khushi slapped her head and remembered how she must have dropped her phone when arnav surprised her last night. She smiled sweetly at the butler and went to the kitchen.
“Wold you like something to eat Khushiji? Arnav sir told me that you may not be feeling well. Is there anything i can get you?” Khushi politely smiled at Sharada and asked her to give her some fruits only as she wasn't really hungry. She wondered what explanation he may have given for the ice-cream and other ahem..things, she smiled thinking about him. She was missing him already and couldn't wait till he got back in the evening. She took her plate of fruits and went and sat in the dining room. She took her sim card out of the phone and checked if it was damaged. It seemed fine but she had to ask arnav for a temporary phone. She still hadn't called her dad and didn't want them to worry in case they had called her.
Khushi has just finished re-arranging the twins room when she heard a loud noise outside the room, she turned towards the room as the twins came running in. Both hugged her one by one followed by Anjaliji, she smiled widely, Khushi had missed them. She looked at a smiling anjali and asked “How come you all got here so soon? I thought you won't be back till late afternoon”
Anjali sat on the bed while leafing through the sketches the kids had made “Oh that, we wanted to avoid the noon traffic, so we left early. By the way Khushiji, i tried calling you last night around 9:30 and then again in the morning but your phone was switched off. I finally checked with the butler in the morning and he said you were not up yet. Is everything ok, hows your knee now?”
Khushi smiled nervously “Oh yes, everything's great, my knee is much better now! I was just a bit tired so slept late and my phone fell down and broke so i was unavailable”
Anjali got up and took khushi by her arm “Thats unfortunate, come with me i have an extra phone. You can use it till arnav gets you a replacement.” They went to her room and anjali helped her with the new phone.. As soon as Khushi turned it on, it started beeping with unread message, she wondered if they were from arnav and turned away from Anjali to check them, she wanted to avoid any awkwardness in case he had sent an embarrassing msg.
She was still smiling when she read the first sms, it was from Dipti 'Khushi!!! Where the hell are you? Please call me urgently!', next one was similar while the third one gave her the chills “Khushi, i'm trying to get the raizada home number but its unlisted! Pls call now..its about your dad' Khushi felt herself tremble all over. She was too scared to call Dipti in case she gave her some grave news, she ran out of Anjali's room to her room and dialed Dipti's number.
Arnav stood stock still as the photo fell from his hand, it couldn't be. It. Couldn't. Be. He kept repeating it to himself as if hoping the photo will magically change and replace his khushi's face with someone else's.
Aman got worried looking at ASR, he quickly went towards him and picked up the fallen photo, he felt the girl looked very familiar when it hit him, she was the twin's governess! 'What the hell' he thought, were they the same person? She'd been living with ASR under the same roof?! He glanced a look at ASR and backed away wondering what he should do. He motioned to Mr Bagchi to stop his blabbering about how the photos got mixed up and she was Shashi gupta's daughter while the other was Kishore Gupta's. Both men went silent as Arnav shut his eyes tightly as if holding his emotions in.
Arnav did not know how to react. He was in a state of shock but a larger part of him was breaking slowly slowly as the impact of her betrayal stabbed him. He could not believe that she had stayed with them all this time while plotting against him and his company. He had fallen in love with the enemy. How easily she had manipulated him into believing everything. Leaving out the main facts that she was Khushi Gupta and was out to destroy his company for a mere tender. Rage burned hotly in his veins as he remembered all the moments spent with her, loving her, kissing her, holding her. He felt tears well in his eyes as he controlled him self in front of the two men.
He sharply turned towards Mr Bagchi and asked in a chilling voice “Are you 100% sure this is Khushi Gupta? Is there any reason to believe that you may be mistaken” Mr bagchi nodded his head “I am very sure about this sir, her picture was all over mumbai's newspapers when this party took place. Even though the party was sans media, the photo got leaked out. I mean look at her, she looks gorgeous, who knew behind the pretty face lurks a conniving greedy woman” Mr Bagchi sniggered, but was lifted off his legs when Arnav came forward and held him by his collar “You do not talk about her like that. Is it understood!” Mr Bagchi nodded his head and left the room feeling scared. Aman left behind him to try and catch him. He did not understand why ASR reacted that way. But there was time to find out later.
Khushi waited for a few seconds before Dipti picked up her phone “Khushi, dammit! Where the hell have you been? I've been trying you phone since 9 in the morning! Do you have any idea what has happened” Khushi started crying before she even heard Dipti, she stared sobbing very loudly as Dipti heard her form the other end “Khu, what happened? Why are you crying? Shit are you ok?i didn't mean to frighten you but i was worried”
Khushi wiped her tears and sat down on the settee “What's happened to dad Dipu? Please tell me he's ok..i can't bear to hear anything bad about him” Dipti took a deep breath “Khu, your dad is perfectly fine. Its just that the police took him in for questioning and now they are looking for you. My neighbor said they came looking for you at our house, but since both me and Amit were out they left. I tried calling you but since i didn't get through i called aunty”
Khushi was in shock, she was glad that her father was ok but she could not understand why the police took her dad “Dipu, what has happened exactly? What do you mean by the police taking my dad and now looking out for me?” Dipti continued explaining the situation to her best friend “Khu, apparently you and your dad are being questioned about some tender fraud which has happened. Even Aunty had tried calling you but i made up an excuse about study halls and phones being switched off, she told me to tell you this”
Khushi waited with bated breath as Dipti continued “Have you heard of some Mr ASR and VBR Group of companies?” Khushi nodded her head “Off course i have, he's a big shot in the industry and his company has one of the largest hotel chains in India. I have never personally met him but have heard my dad speak fondly about him. What has he or his company got to do with this?”
Dipti felt nervous as she answered “Well, VBR is accusing both of you of paying their employee to get their quote for some tender. Your father is still in custody while the police are out searching for you. Khushi felt sick, how could someone accuse her father and her of such a heinous thing, they both held integrity in business above everything else
“Dipu, you know we haven't done any such thing. I am coming there right away.” Dipti shouted on her phone “No Khu! You cannot come here. At least wait till uncle or aunty call and explain the situation more properly. In the mean time i've checked out that VBR headquarters are in Delhi only. I'll text you the address i got off the internet. This ASR looks like a young chap in his pics, oh yes...there are loads here! Maybe you can go and talk to him and sort this out there itself? Just be careful since he may get you arrested on sight” Khushi nodded her head in determination “yes, that is exactly what i'll do. Text me the address. I'm going there right away.” saying this she quickly got ready and called for a taxi to take her to the VBR office in connaught place. She did not want to alert the raizada's in case something went wrong, the last thing she wanted was to drag them in this;especially arnav. She had to go and meet this Mr ASR and give him a piece of her mind!
Arnav finally let out the tears as soon as both the men left. He sat down on the sofa as if he had no energy left and stared at the opposite wall. There were too many things brimming in his confused mind. He was hurt and angry that Khushi had betrayed him, but as he calmed down he also remembered her concern for the twins that night when she left fearlessly on Delhi roads to retrieve their medicine. He remembered how she always kept his grand mother and Yuvi entertained with her antics and how she won everyone's heart in the family,he remembered the way she helped his sister come out of her comatose state. But to top it all, he remembered how she gave herself to him selflessly, how she let him take her most precious gift of virginity. How can one fake that? The truth he saw in her eyes last night, the trust he saw for him in those eyes the love he felt in her touch and the bond he had with her, how can all that be a lie? All these images were clouding his judgement. He drank a glass of water to calm his nerves as he felt that a larger game was at play here. He got up to call Aman as his desk phone started ringing, as he picked up he saw the door being thrown open by none other than the person who had muddled his brain.
Khushi stood at the entrance to his cabin while his secretary stood right behind her trying to persuade her to leave, she searched the room and stood in utter shock as her eyes met his. He did not know how to react as her shock turned into blazing anger in front of his eyes. He looked her straight in her eyes with equal anger “Ms Khushi Gupta, how nice to formally meet you” he said sarcastically.
Khushi narrowed her eyes and started walking purposefully towards him “You are ASR? Of VBR group of companies?” Arnav looked surprised at her act, off course she knew who he was, he glared at her and replied “Off course i am. Arnav Singh Raizada of Veer Bhadra Raizada group of companies, better known as VBR. Now please stop this act and get to the point”, he was just turning towards his side to pick up his phone when he heard Khushi rasp out “How dare you!” and raised her hand to slap him. Luckily he held both her hands before they could connect with his face. Both stood glaring at each other, both not sure of how things had turned so ugly.
When Aman entered arnav's cabin, he bumped into arnav's secretary, both of them stood quietly staring at them. He coughed loudly to break the glaring session going on between khushi and arnav. Arnav quickly let Khushi's hands go as Khushi came back to her normal self, she held her head high and squared her shoulders while arnav turned away to compose himself, he could not believe he lost his cool with her, he looked back into her eyes and said menacingly “How dare you raise your hand on me? After all that you have done you have the gall to hit me?”
Khushi looked stricken, what the hell was he talking about, she thought “Excuse me mr ASR! I can dare and i shouldn't just hit you but bludgeon you for tarnishing my fathers name! How dare you say that he bought your quotes!? Didn't your big head think for even for a minute that such a senior and respected person of the fraternity would ever do such a demeaning thing, especially when its soo easy for such things to leak out!” Khushi was breathing heavily and her face was getting flushed with her emotions running amok.
Arnav smirked at her “Exactly! I did use my big head and told the police that it must have been his daughter and not shashi gupta who would do such a thing. And for your kind information, it was an ex-employee who accused your father, the same ex-employee who was thrown out of this company for leaking our quotes”
Khushi took some time to digest this, 'So he thinks her father cannot do this, but he thinks I can! When he doesn't even know me..well he does know me intimately...aarrgh, how could he think such things about her!” She went and sat on the chair near his desk. Closed her eyes as tears started welling in them.
Arnav saw her slink down in the chair, she seemed lost and confused as if she could not make out what was happening. He motioned Aman and his sevretary to leave the room; they both scattered out as arnav went and poured a glass of water and brought it to Khushi, he held it out to her as she looked at him with tear filled eyes. She took the water from him and drank it in one go, as if to calm herself down. He went and sat on his chair opposite her. This was getting more and more complicated, she acted as if she had no idea about all this.
“Khushi i'm still trying to work out why you would do all this, why go to this length to win a tender! I mean buying our employee for the quotes, then when that doesn't work out, setting up my company and tarnishing our reputation by making us out to be bribers! And the cherry on the top..living in my house, deceiving all of us just to get more information on the new quotes! I don't know where to stop with the accusations!”
Khushi stood up and placed her palms on his table, she looked him straight in his eyes “Mr Arnav Singh Raizada, i agree that i did deceive you at first by keeping my identity a secret, but i told you everything else about me. It was you who did not want to know more! I trusted you completely, with my heart, my soul and my body. You were the first man i was so intimate with...doesn't that mean anything to you?! Before accusing me of all these things, didn't you stop and think that why would i still be here if i wanted to bribe more people and tarnish your company and that too when the tender is already out! Heck i didn't even know you were ASR of VBR Group of companies, someone who my father holds great regard for. All you had to do was trust me a little bit but maybe thats too much to ask of you. I won't be justifying your behavior towards me by explaining anything to you since you seem to have already made up your mind”
Khushi turned around and wiped the treacherous tears. She looked sideways at arnav who seemed to be struggling with his inner demons “I'll be leaving for mumbai today itself. I need to be with my father who is alone in this situation. Even my uncle and Sheena are not there to help us out. Its best you explain what ever you wish to your family.Good Bye Mr Raizada, i hope never to see you again” Saying this she left swiftly from there before she broke down completely, she had never experienced this pain of heartbreak before, she felt like someone had ripped her open and stabbed her heart with a knife. She had to get to Mumbai as soon as possible.
Arnav saw her leave his office, he waited as the door banged on her way out. He felt like she was taking a part of him with her, he wanted to get up and run behind her, stop her from going away. He wanted to believe that she was innocent, but how could he when everything was pointing in her direction. He went over the first time he met her, her soft pliant body falling in his arms as if the Gods has conspired the entire thing to perfection, the first time he kissed her and felt her respond equally and ardently, the jealously he felt at his own brother when he saw them dancing together, the fear he felt at her disappearance after the party and the relief he felt at her being found, her unwavering trust in him, so much that she gave herself completely to him.
He also remembered that she did try and tell him everything that night, he tried recalling their conversation when he vaguely remembered her telling him her full name but he cut her off before she could finish it, In fact even today she was prepared to tell him everything when sharada's phone one again stopped her. He held his head in his hands in frustration and wondered if he had been wrong in thinking all this time that it was shashi gupta's daughter who was behind all this. He remembered her last line before she left, 'My uncle and Sheena are also not here to help us out', he felt a chill run through his body as a new possibility turned up, he picked up his phone called Mr Bagchi “I need you to check out, when and on which flight did Shashi gupta's brother and his daughter Sheena leave for dubai. Also i need a report on who they have met and what activity they have been doing for the past week. And Mr Bagchi, i need this ASAP, no compromise! Saying this he picked up his coat and flew out of his cabin for the parking lot. He had to get to Khushi before she left the palace.