Khushi spent the entire day with her aunt at the care home, even Lavanya had come to visit them over there, she promised that she'll keep in touch with her aunt and come and meet her frequently, Khushi's biggest worry was her aunt's health, but after a reassuring talk with the doctor she felt better.
Lavanya was a little bit confused as to which job took khushi all the way to India, to which khushi explained that it was a lesser known Fashion house that manufactured all its fabrics there; they were sending her there to learn the local art and see how it can be used in modern designs, Lavanya wondered why khushi had not sought out the Raizada textiles job but didn't grill her too much.
After a lovely morning and afternoon spent with her two favorite people, she said a teary goodbye to her aunt 'Buaji, i'll miss you a lot! I'll send you my indian number as soon as i get a sim ok, we'll talk everyday..i promise!" she kissed her aunt on both her cheeks "Aye bitiya, don't leave me with a sad face, i've always seen your face smiling, please smile for me? Also have you kept the list of names and addresses i gave you? We don't have much family there but at least you can count on them if needed"
Khushi nodded a yes, her aunt have given a list of at least 5 close relatives they had in India. She had no intention of calling them but just in case she took it along with her. She gave one last hug to both her aunt and Lavanya and left the home.
Khushi reached her halls and signed the hand-over form. She had cleared out everything and cleaned the room. She went and gave the keys and form to the warden before lugging her baggage's in the waiting cab and leaving for the airport. She wanted to get to there early so that she could check-in before ASR, there was no way she would sit next to him on that long flight. If she checked in before him, she would be assured a seat away from him.
Arnav had finished the last of his meetings around lunch time, it was already 5:30pm and his flight left London heathrow at 8pm sharp. He got into the limousine and called her, as soon as he heard her voice he groaned inwardly, there was no way he could bear sitting next to her if just her voice made him loose all his senses.
He took a deep breath and spoke "uh..Katya, hi..ASR here, have you left for the airport?" Khushi smiled as she answered "yes ASR, i'm just on my way. Don't worry we'll both probably reach there together" arnav closed his eyes 'Great' "Ok, so i'll see you there." he kept the phone and called the airline tele-checkin service.
"Hi, this is Arnav singh raizada here, i wanted to do my tele-checkin please?" a pleasant voice was heard from the other end "Certainly sir, we have your preferred 2A seat available, would you like us to book that for you?" arnav smiled "Yes please. Also can you make sure that a Miss Katarina does not sit next to me? Anyone else would do"the assistant seemed disturbed but she knew he was a VIP traveller "Off course sir, i'll make sure that does not happen. We'll see you soon sir" with that she kept the phone. Arnav leaned back in his seat and smiled, 'ah' he thought, '8 hrs of peace with no Katya to disturb him'.
Khushi had already checked-in and was waiting for Arnav in the First class lounge, this was her first and maybe last time in here. She marveled at the beautiful lounge and the amazing variety of food which was being served in there. She was just finishing a cup of coffee when her flight was announced, she looked at the time and saw that it was quite late and arnav had not reached yet. She took her hand bag and left for the boarding gate hoping that he reaches in time.
Arnav was bloody late! They got stuck in horrible traffic and had barely made it to the airport in time. Thank God he had tele-checked! He finished all the formalities and started walking towards the boarding gate. He called khushi "Hi, where are you? Have you already boarded" khushi replied quietly "yes, in fact right now i'm in the plane's loo. Where were you, i thought you ditched me!"
Arnav smiled despite of being annoyed with her tone "I'm just getting inside now, will see you in a bit. Guess we won't be sitting together..what a pity. But i'll come and say a hi" Khushi stuck her tongue out, as if she cared! "Oh yeah thats sad, i didn't think of that" with that she quickly cut her phone. She dabbed on a tiny bit of her perfume, thank God she had found it today morning under the bed! Straightening her dress she stepped out of the loo.
Arnav got to his seat, he looked around but could not see katya anywhere, he wondered where she was sitting. He stuffed his bag in the overhead compartment and sat down on his seat. He once again glanced around but could not find her, 'she's probably still in the loo' he thought. He took the glass of champagne which the air hostess offered and leaned back with his eyes closed. He was just relaxing into his chair when he heard her
"Um..ASR, what are you doing here?" he opened his eyes to find Katya standing in front of him, she looked an absolute vision; her hair was flowing freely around her shoulders, she was wearing a chic cream linen dress which ended at her knees, her arms were bare and her neckline was modest. But even in the simple attire she took his breath away. He straightened up and smiled at her before he did something stupid "Hi, this is my seat..where are you sitting?"
Khushi looked horrified! 'what he was sitting here! But how was possible, she checked-in ages before him and the front seats are usually given off first! She took a deep breath "Well, i'm sitting here too..i..i mean next to you" she pointed at the window seat next to him. It was almost comical to see arnav's shocked face!
'What the!' he thought..he was going to kill the airline people, he had specifically told them not to put him next to her...arrgh. He calmed himself, it may not be that bad..he'll just engross himself in his iPad or a book and not pay any attention to her. He gave her a tight smile and let her slide in. He really wished he was sitting in economy right now, just so that in the constrained space her thighs would have brushed against his knees. He shook himself once again out of his fantasy and picked up a magazine, totally ignoring her.
Khushi was annoyed, not only was he not paying any attention to her instead staring at the exotic butterfly in the magazine, as if he had to give an exam based on the patterns on it but she was also shit scared! This was only her second time flying and she was petrified during take-off. She gulped down her champagne quickly before clutching the armrest very tightly.
Arnav saw her agitation as he glanced at her, the plane had started moving and would take off any minute. He kept his magazine aside and turned towards khushi "Whats wrong? Is this your first time flying?" khushi looked at him with terrified eyes "N..no i had gone to spain a couple years ago with my uni class, so this is my second time" arnav saw how scared she was..he was surprised to know that she had gone to university, he thought of asking her later but right now she needed him. He pushed the armrest between them up and took her tiny delicate hands in his, he looked her straight in the eyes and said softly "Don't worry katya, i'm here with you. Just trust me ok. You'll be fine"
Khushi felt herself drowning in his eyes, she stared right at them and felt secure all of sudden as if nothing else mattered, all that mattered was that he was with her, she was glad that she ended up sitting next to him. They had no idea how long they were staring at each other when the air hostess interrupted them "Excuse me sir? Mam? Can i get you something to drink?"
Arnav looked up to see the air hostess smiling at them, he then looked out to see that they had taken off ages ago and were now at full throttle. He let go of khushi's hand quickly and turned back, he ordered a scotch on the rocks while khushi asked for a Champagne. They sat in utter silence till it was time for their dinner, they ate in silence as khushi downed another two glasses of Champagne, arnav saw that and said "be careful, you don't want to get drunk" she smiled easily at him "Aw..don't worry a little more won't do me any harm" but arnav knew she was already quite high as she leaned back in her chair and fell promptly asleep.
He was staring at her beautiful face when the air hostess came to ask him if he needed anything, she then looked at khushi and said "Would Miss Gupta like anything else? She seems to be asleep. Should we wake you both up for breakfast?" Arnav looked at her funnily "Who? You've got the wrong person..i'm Mr Raizada...and she is Ms..." he just realized he did not know her last name.The air hostess gave him a weird look "I'm so sorry mr raizada, i thought you were both together. I'll check on Ms Gupta later"
Arnav was left seriously confused! Gupta? That's an Indian surname..he called out to the air hostess again "Wait..miss..i'll let her know when she wakes up, can you let me know her name please?" he gave her a sexy smile which would melt stone, she blushed and smiled back at him and checked her pad "Certainly sir, her name is Khushi, Khushi Gupta. Have a good night sir"
It was an hour later and arnav was still trying to figure out everything. So she had three names? Katarina which akshay told him..Katya which she told him...and Khushi? Khushi gupta! What the! Was she Indian? But she did not look it, she was probably half Indian then, there was only one way to find out.
Arnav saw that she was deep asleep,he opened her bag and looked around for her passport, he took a deep breath before opening it; Her photo was quite old, maybe when she was a young teen, she looked cute even then with braces and her hair up in a high pony; he then saw the words next to it which confirmed it for him 'Gupta Khushi' it said. He flipped over to see who the person to contact was when he saw the name 'Shashi Gupta' written with a london postal address. He wondered if he was her father..
Now that the shock had settled down..almost..he was wondering why she did not tell him and why she called herself Spanish, then it hit him! Her Job! It wasn't a respectable one, she probably had a traditional Indian family who would die before seeing their daughter doing this for a life, no wonder she did not want to let him in on her personal life.
My God! Even Akshay did not know this...man this was getting more and more interesting. He looked at her angelic face and wondered what more secrets she was hiding, he'll have to confront her first thing in the morning. With that thought in mind he too leaned in his seat,pulled a blanket over himself and slept.
Arnav woke up to find khushi's arm possessively slung across his abdomen, her head was resting against his chest as she slept peacefully. His own arm was on her shoulders holding her close to his body. He breathed in her scent and was faintly reminded of a similar smell, but he could not remember from where. He moved the wisps of hair which were scattered across her beautiful face and trailed his finger from her forehead to her chin, God she was so beautiful, how wonderful will it be to wake up every day next to this enchantress, just perfect he thought.
He bent down and gave her a feather light kiss on her forehead as he felt her stirring in her sleep. He quickly pretended to be asleep as she yawned and opened her eyes, he heard her slight gasp as she discovered the position they were in. She slowly extracted herself out of his embrace and moved over. 'How the hell did this happen' she thought as arnav smiled inwardly. 'This was going to be fun' he thought, he did not know if he should be angry or not, but it was time to confront her.
Khushi blushed as she thought about them being in this position all night, it felt wonderful in his arms, No Khushi! 'Be professional for God sake!' she quickly got up and left for the loo, she had to freshen up before he woke up. As soon as she got up Arnav stood up and removed the crumpled blanket from the seat; he stretched a little bit and asked the air hostess for some coffee; arnav was lazily sipping it when 'Khushi' came breezily to the seat and plonked down "Good morning, your'e up. I hope you had a good sleep"
Arnav gave her a lazy smile "Yes splendidly, iv'e never slept better. Would you like some coffee?" she nodded as arnav ordered for her. "So tell me khushi, did you feel scared again? You seemed to be quite brave about the rest of the trip" Khushi smiled at him "Oh no, i was all right. I guess the champagne put me right to..wait what did you call me?" arnav wiggled hiss eyebrows "Khushi..isn't that your name? Or wait is it Katya?..nn...no its Katarina...Man its confusing..which one would you prefer Ms Gupta?"
Khushi's eyes were round as saucers and she blushed furiously! How the hell did he know? Did she mumble something in her sleep? Did he check her passport? She looked away from him not really meeting his eyes. It was best she come clean "Ok ASR, I won't lie anymore, My name is Khushi Gupta and Katya is a name that my friends and close family call me..and as you must have guessed i'm half Indian. My mother was English" she said in a wobbly voice.
'That explains her coloring and features..' he thought. He saw her eyes brimming with tears, 'Shit! Hope she doesn't cry' He held her hands "Hey,its fine, I checked your passport so I got to know your name accidentally. Listen I get it..you were only trying to protect your identity. I understand that your family is not happy with your line of work..in fact even Akshay did not know about you. So its ok. No need to cry about it, but you should have told me earlier, anyways you being half Indian will only make my mom happier" he gave her a slight smile.
Khushi was about to tell him the whole truth, but he assumed something on his own; she thought this was not the best of time to come totally clean. She nodded her head and agreed to whatever conclusions he had come to on his own, at least he was not angry and finally at least one of her pretend act would be over. She was surprised that he took this so lightly, but what the hell! She looked out the window and saw the plane descending towards Delhi airport. 'I'm finally here', she thought.
Arnav got down and held her hand to help her, Khushi stepped out of the 7series BMW which had come to pick them up at the airport. They hardly spoke during the ride and both sat staring outside as khushi wondered what arnav was thinking about her real name and identity while arnav wondered how he should react to this news, he was fine with the fact that she was khushi, the name suited her better actually but he was annoyed that she had kept him in the dark for so long. How long was she going to keep this charade up if he had not accidentally known the truth.
Arnav sighed as she saw a nervous Khushi straighten her dress and her hair, she finally looked up at the humongous mansion in front of her; if she was in awe of arnav's london home, she was speechless for this! The huge sprawling house went easily over half an acre, with limestone and marble cladding all throughout, it had blue tiling over the top and the lawn and grounds were perfectly complimenting the sheer elegance of the house.
Khushi felt arnav squeeze her hand and propel her forward to start walking towards the main entrance, as soon as they reached it , the door opened with a bang and Anjali, arnav's sister who Khushi recognized from the photo came running out. She flung her arms around him and hugged him tightly, Khushi's face instantly lit up looking at the brother-sister bond, Arnav hugged her back and pulled her cheek "Hows my girl been?" anjali made a face "Ouch bhai..pls stop pulling my cheeks! I'm 18 for pete's sake not a child and I am absolutely fine now that I've seen you! Oh we all missed you soo much!" she finally stepped out of the embrace and looked curiously at Khushi.
"Well are you going to introduce me to your friend?" she said nudging him playfully. Arnav looked at Khushi and spoke "Khushi, this is my younger sister Anjali and Anjali this is Khushi…my..uh..Fiancee" Anjali's face which was smiling a second ago fell open in a huge 'O', she thought she heard her brother say fiance, but that wasn't possible "Bhai, did you say Fiancee or Financee?" Arnav laughed at her confusion"I said Fiancee my dear..like 'my bride to be''"
Anjali stood aside and looked khushi up and down, she came forward and kept her hand on her shoulders and spoke very seriously "Do you love my brother?" Khushi looked at her straight in the eyes and smiled "Off course I do, what's not to love about him" saying that she leaned into his side and wound her hands around his arm. Anjali saw this and gave a wide smile; she leapt forward and enveloped khushi in a tight hug "Wowiee!! In that case welcome to the family bhabhi, I'm so glad that bhai is finally in a meaningful relationship and engaged, but bhai seriously we need to throw a huge party now with all the works..oh..o..let me organize it!!!"
Arnav was overwhelmed by his sister's response, it was soo simple for her to accept someone who her brother liked, he still felt the Goosebumps when khushi said she loved him and leaned into him with her soft body, but he knew she was acting, obviously she was! He had paid her for it! He watched as anjali started chatting to khushi quite animatedly already discussing what she should wear and how she should style her hair, he shook his head and gently nudged them to go inside the house, he knew he had bigger fishes to fry in there.
As soon as they stepped into the house, anjali screamed on top of her voice," mumma! Dadi! Mama!! Come quick..look who arnav bhai has got with him" within minutes all three of them came out from various corners of the house, dadi came in with a pooja mala chanting something, then he saw his mama who was on the phone came and lastly he saw his mother, Maya Raizada descend from the grand staircase, she was the one who had the most curious look and stern expression on her face. She came and stood at the foot of the stairs.
Arnav looked at khushi who was fidgeting nervously with her dress, her hands were clutching the sides of her dress very tightly, arnav slowly took her delicate hand which was sweaty right now and held it in his own. He pulled her forward gently along with him, he thought it was too funny that both of them were so bothered about his family's approval when it was nothing but a fake engagement. He saw his mama come forward and hug him, he then turned towards khushi and smiled at her, then he winked secretly at arnav and grinned.
He then saw his grandmother observe khushi with a very weird expression "So, is this the girl you want to marry?" arnav and khushi looked at each other in surprise, how the hell did she know! Anjali had not told them anything yet, his grandmother laughed heartily "Don't worry chotey, this is the first time you have got a girl in this house, so confidently that too and she does not look like a work colleague, so I must assume she's your girl friend?" She finished with a sly smile. She then took khushi's hands in her hers and asked her in English "What is your name dear?" khushi smiled at her and replied softly "Khushi" Arnav's dadi clapped her hands and said laughingly "Indeed you are! The name suits you perfectly! Tum Hindustani ho? (Are you Indian?)"
Arnav looked awkwardly at Khushi, he knew she was part Indian, but she definitely did not speak hindi of this he was damn sure, he was just about to interrupt when he heard khushi speak in a lyrical but perfect hindi "Jee haan, mere pitaji Hindustani the lekin meri ma angrez thi, issliye mein sirf aadhi Hindustani hoon (My dad was Indian but my mother was English, so i'm actually half Indian)" his dadi, anjali and mama laughed at that, then dadi took her hands in hers and led her towards the staircase where arnav's mother was waiting.
"So maya, what do you think of your bahu? Good choice huh? Khushi blushed at that and glanced towards arnav who by now had a shocked, angry, confused and lost look all in one! She slowly raised her eyes to look at arnav's mother who still looked very rigid as she studied her very intensely. She then looked at dadi and said "Not bahu yet, to-be bahu…that too we'll see. For now, hariprakash please keep all of Ms Khushi's bags in the guest room" she then looked at khushi and spoke "You should rest for some time, I need to speak to my son and then after your rested I want to speak to you" saying that she turned on her heels and climbed up.
There was an awkward silence once maya left; dadi assured her that maya will come around and asked khushi to take some rest. Mamaji spoke a few words with arnav and went to make another call while anjali went to get ready for college. Only arnav and khushi remained.They were both standing facing each other, both wondering what they should say. Hariprakash came by to take khushi to the guest room when finally arnav spoke "HP, you go and leave her bags in the room, I'll take her there"
Arnav did not understand what he was feeling, there were too many secrets to this girl. He caught her hand tightly and pulled her out into the garden off the living room, once they were away from the doors, he spun her towards him and said in an angry voice "What more are you hiding form me?! You speak impeccable hindi, better than even me probably! What more secrets do you have? Tell me now Khushi"
Khushi was terrified by his demeanor "Listen Mr Raizada! First of all you only assumed that I did not speak Hindi, I never lied about that! Also I told you before I signed the contract that I want to keep my personal life out of this. I am not obliged to tell you anything! But you snooped around and saw my passport. Fine I agree it was wrong of me to hide my identity but I had my reasons all right!? And why does my personal life matter so much to you!" she was breathing hard now.
"You paid me for a job which I will do to a 100% perfection! You want your family to accept me, fine i'll make them love me! You want me to break up with you after a month, i'll do that and bear the brunt of their hatred from that point, after that i'll be out of your life and you out of mine. So why the hell should I tell you anything about me if for you i'm just a commodity you bought and will discard at will! I have nothing to say to you." she had tears in her eyes as she finished.
Khushi could not take it anymore, her real and fake feelings were getting mixed up, she knew she should not have spoken to arnav like that but she could not help it! She hated not telling him the entire truth, but she was afraid after knowing that she deceived him he would throw her out and ask back for all the advance he had paid her, she had already used it up for her buaji, she was trapped! She looked at arnav's shocked face and ran into the house, she found hariprakash coming down the stairs and asked him to show her to her room. She needed some time alone.
'What just happened' arnav thought. He had never seen this side of hers, yes she was impulsive and emotional at times but this was something else, what was it that she wanted to hide from him! It frustrated him that this bothered him so much, she was right it shouldn't matter to him what her personal life and problems were, but it hurt when she laid it out so bare, he hated the fact that she considered herself a commodity, he hated himself for making her feel like that! He thought it best to give her some time, he would speak to her later, they had to get things back on track now. Right now his mother was waiting for him.