Arnav was still rooted to the same place, he could not believe what he saw; His di smiled for the first time in 8 years, it wasn't less than a miracle, but what also confused him was the sensual girl of last night; the girl he saw right now was a totally different version of her; his brain was in a tizz, did he just dream up last night's encounter? He actually did not recognize her till she opened her mouth, her lyrical voice was the same from last night, but everything else about her was different, the dress she wore was positively vile and it was a crime to tie that beautiful hair into such a stern bun. Her face still had that magical qualities he saw last night and in fact her eyes shone much more brightly in the morning light. Ms Khushi kumari was a complete mystery to him, and he intended to find out more about her; he did not like mysteries but it seemed like he was surrounded by them now a days! He heard Sharada calling him, but he made a quick call to Aakash and made an excuse of a meeting to skip breakfast. He needed to get his head in the right place.
After breakfast, Khushi had crept silently into her room for a few minutes of peace before she had to leave for school with the twins; she quickly called up her father after talking to Dipti and clearing their days events so that both were on par, Khushi's eyes lit up as soon as her father answered”Papa! I miss u so much..How have you been? Hope your taking care of yourself. Hows mom and everyone else at home?” Shashi gupta had a serene smile on his face, he missed his girl a lot “Hey kiddo, everything's great here. Hows things in Delhi? I've transferred the fees in your account, do pay up in time. Everyone's good here, we all miss you. Dipti is taking good care of you right?” Khushi had an uneasy smile, she hated lying to the father “Yes papa, Dipti and Amit are both taking excellent care of me. My admission is through and courses are starting soon. Hows the Goa project going by the way? Is Sheena handling it ok?” Shashi sighed “Yes, Sheena is handling it fine but i would have loved for you to handle this from the beginning. There's a lot of pressure from competitors and already rumors are rife that one of our competitors, VBR Group of companies will get the project. This was my dream project kiddo. I really wish we can get it” Khushi answered confidently “Don't worry papa, no VBR or whoever will quote lower than us, im sure we will get it. Just make sure to guide Sheena properly. I had given her my final quotes for the tender; they were already approved by the board. Just be positive and im sure this project will be a piece if cake” Khushi smiled and said her good bye to her father. She always felt at peace after taking to him.
After quickly refreshing herself, she started walking down towards the foyer where she was supposed to meet the twins. When she reached there, they were already waiting; “What took you so long? I mean its not like your putting on make-up or something” sniggered Vibha. Khushi took a deep breath “ No dear, i was just talking to someone, should we go now?” the twins started walking towards the car. Khushi sat in the passenger seat in the front, once they started she looked back at them and said “So, i suppose i will be coming to school every day with you guys, then after dropping you i'll again come to pick you up. Though i do want to talk to your teacher about your curriculum and homework; we don't want any complains now do we?” The twins looked at her with a bored expression, Khushi continued “So, anyways i wanted to thank you guys for the welcome gift yesterday, but i don't know how it caught a spark and fell down in the bushes; very sorry. I guess you guys should have just left it on the table or something” again no response from them, but she saw them smirk “ahem...so...what kind of books do you like to read? I was thinking of going to the bookstore to buy some new books?” On this vivaan answered quickly “Don't even think of buying us any book, only Arnav mama reads to us and buys us books. No one else is allowed to “ Khushi looked on confused “Arnav mama? Oh right Shobana deviji's elder grandson, she wondered why he did not come for breakfast. She still had to be introduced to him. Aakash said he left without breakfast, something about an important meeting. She still had to ask them what line of business they were into. She looked at Vivaan and smiled “Ok dear, i'll check with your Arnav mama alright?” Saying this she turned away, she had no idea how to get through to these kids; Dipti was right- she had zero experience with kids.
After about 15 minutes of pin drop silence, the school came into view. As Vibha and Vivaan got down, Vibha looked at Khushi quizically “Well? Aren't you coming in to meet our teacher? Its best you meet her now as she may be very busy in the afternoon” Khushi nodded and tagged alongside them. Once they reached the main stairs, Vibha turned towards her and gestured towards the time “Oh look, i totally forgot to tell you; Its 9am and at this time its difficult to meet the teachers because open period has already started. You may have to wait till recess around 12pm. You can wait in the waiting lounge off there if you want?” Khushi looked around and wondered how long she would have to wait here. “ok, i'll wait here. But please tell your teacher im waiting to meet her” She turned to tell the driver to leave and come back for her at 12.
Sheena hated being talked down to, especially in front of her staff. Her uncle had no rights what so ever to question her work , she looked at him square in the eyes and said “ Tauji (elder uncle in hindi), i think my quotations are better than Khushi's and i have not worked on these alone, Dad was equally involved in this. We felt we should lower the quotes further. The talk was that VBR had quoted the lowest and we had to secure our quotations against it” Shashi looked at his niece, she was smart but rash “Sheena, i understand you have worked on this further. But do you know what the consequences will be of re-issuing the quotes after submitting them? What will you say? That you changed the quotes due to some rumor about your competitor?The last thing i want is any enquiry on why our quotes were changed after Khushi had confirmed them. We want this project true, but not at the expense of our company's reputation. I don't want any complications” Sheena gave a saccharine sweet smile to her uncle “Don't worry Tauji, its not like we are doing anything underhanded are we? Our workings are very clear and if anyone questions us we will have our answers ready” Shashi shook his head and made his way out of Sheena's office. He truly hoped that he did not have to answer anyone for this. Sheena on the other hand had a sly grin as she dialed a number
“Its done, do you have that briefcase of money i sent earlier? I'll meet you to discuss when and who we need to send it to. I have already briefed dad about this turn of events. We can all meet later in a days time to discuss our further plan of action” saying this she cut her call. The person at the other end smiled evilly, he never thought he could have his revenge in this way, but this was just perfect. He had waited for 8 years for this day, Shyam Jha had finally hit the jackpot!
Khushi had been waiting for more than three hours in the waiting room; she was very hungry since she hardly had any breakfast; she waited till the recess bell rung and then headed towards the staff room. When she reached the entrance, the guard stopped her “Who do you want to meet miss?” Khushi quickly replied that she wanted to meet the 3rd standard class teachers, Mrs Ghoshal; the guard looked her up and down and replied “No one can meet the teachers till the day ends, that too you need to take prior appointment. Why have you been waiting? Didn't you know this?” Khushi looked stupidly around where a huge board gave instructions on meeting the teachers. She sighed and went outside to wait for the car; she was beginning to suspect that the twins were doing all this on purpose; even the parcel thing the night before looked rigged now; bottom line 'They did not want her here. Period.' She quietly sat in the car and returned home. She had to go back at 3pm to pick them up.
At the palace, Sharadaji served Khushi her lunch in the twins room while she went over the books, games and other miscellaneous items in the twins room. She found lots of beautifully sketched portraits of their mother stacked in one corner of the room. She wondered which one of them made those.After cleaning their room and tidying her own, she left to pick them up. They were already waiting for her at the pick-up point of the school, as soon as they got it they asked “So, did you meet our teacher?” Khushi had to tread lightly so she acted nonchalant “No, not really. I did not want to wait for that long, so i called the driver and left after a few minutes” the driver smirked at her while she winked at him, the twins looked lost for words. The rest of the trip went silently with both parties working out their next form of attack and counter-attack.
Arnav walked in while taking on his phone to Aman “What the hell man? They are still trying to find out which competitor is after us! I mean what am i paying them for? Cut the damn agency Aman, i've had it with them. I'll do this bloody investigation on my own!” with that he cut his phone and resumed his walk towards his room. As he was walking to his room, he heard laughter in the twins room, he walked across to see what was going on; When he reached there, he saw both of them with heads bent and engrossed in some planning. He knew what was cooking “Ok squirts, whats going on? I know what you two did last night and i am not happy about it! Did you know that she could have fallen and broken her leg or something?” he did not want to add that he was there to save her, God only knows what the silly woman had told them till now. The twins looked on slyly at their mama “Oh come on mama, we had to give her a fitting welcome right? Plus even if she would have fallen, it would have been a small one, there's hardly any height and there are bushes beneath, so chill it was all planned accordingly” Arnav looked at them and marveled at how they came up with these things, he said very sternly “I don't care what you both had planned and if it was foolproof or not, the question is that someone could have gotten seriously hurt. I do not want you playing any more tricks on Ms Kumari, is that understood?” both of them looked a bit frightened for a bit but nodded silently at their mama. Arnav looked around trying to glance at Khushi, but she did not seem to be anywhere near. He sighed and walked to his room for a quick change and jog before evening tea.
Khushi took the twins down for evening tea and snacks. Everyone except Yuvraj and the ever illusive Arnav were already seated at the table. Khushi made the twins sit and went to the kitchen to inquire about their food. Payal had given her a quick tour of the palace and had explained her job duties to her; she was responsible for the twins academics, extra curricular activities and their overall wellbeing. She had taken the challenge with determination, she knew the twins will try and wear her out with their pranks, but Khushi was ready to meet them head on. She returned to the evening dining area with their plates of food and mango milkshake; Vibha made a face at the cheese sandwich and refused to touch it while Vivaan shook his head while looking at the milkshake. Khushi felt all eyes on her, as if testing her to see how she will react and what actions she will take. She straightened her back and removed the plate of sandwiches in front of vibha and the milkshake in front of vivaan; she returned back with a plate of dry toast and plain glass of milk. The twins turned towards her and gave her an irritated look, she calmly said “Since you did not like what was put in front of you, especially when it was made keeping your likes and dislikes in mind, you will now either eat this or leave the table, your next meal will be directly at dinner” The twins eyes became huge as they saw her not falling for their tantrums. They silently shared the plate of sandwich and milkshake which obviously they both loved and looked at each other with a silent understanding of putting their phase two in place. Shobhana devi seemed mighty impressed with the young girl, first she got a reaction out of Anjali and now the kids were obeying her.She nodded her head in approval and smiled.
Khushi was just sitting down on her chair, right opposite the kids when he came in; staring at him she stood up. He was looking hot as ever with this sweatshirt all wet and his hair in a disarray, he looked at her straight in her eyes and gave her a once over, she wondered what he might be thinking about her attire, before he could speak, Khushi pointed at him and blurted “Shobhana deviji, he's the gardner who told me the twins false names, this murli!” Arnav raised his eyebrows and looked quizzically at her “Murli? Who the gardener? Why are you confusing me with the help..don't you know who i am?” He looked at his grandmother “Is she the new governess? Why is calling me Murli?” Khushi looked with disbelief in her eyes, was he trying to make her look like a looney in front of them? Khushi narrowed her eyes “Excuse me, but it was you who i met in the gardens last night, and you were the one who introduced yourself as the gardner and told me wrong name of the twins, who the hell are you?” everyone had a worried look in their eyes, they had never seen anyone talk to ASR like this, there was utter confusion in the room, Arnav gave a snooty look to her and declared “I am Arnav singh Raizada, and you miss are under my employ. Its best you know your limits. I mean how can you teach manners to the kids when you have none yourself” Khushi now nearly had tears in her eyes, she could not believe her eyes. She already got a shock after knowing this true identity but now she was also being made a fool of by Mr Raizada himself and she felt insulted by this, she looked him straight in his eyes “I am sorry mr Raizada, its my fault entirely. I mistook you for someone else. Please accept my apologies” saying this she turned and left the room.
Watching her go with tears in her eyes and all dejected, Arnav felt very uneasy He just wanted to teach her a lesson for the way she acted with him last night but he never knew that by hurting her he would feel this unexplained pain. His grandmother looked at him angrily “Arnav beta, is this the way you treat guests? I know she is the governess but that was no way to talk to her. She had a misunderstanding that you were the gardener, it happens.I am truly disappointed in you today” Arnav turned away from his grandmother having no answer for her words, he looked at the twins who had an amused look on their faces; they wondered why their mama lied when he had himself confessed of seeing her fall, they were sure that he was the gardener ms kumari was talking about. They looked at each other thinking 'Thats interesting'.
In her room, Khushi wiped her tears, her situation was very messed up, she could not tell the truth about last nights fall without getting the twins in trouble and she could not answer back to Mr Raizada knowing he is her boss, she had to let go of her pride and offer an apology when she was not at fault at all. She had no idea what she had done to end up in this mess! But the biggest shocker for her was finding out that Murli was Arnav! The person she had been having restless nights was none other than the master of this palace and the most arrogant and rude person she had ever met! She had to stay away from him, at any cost..