Khushi came out of the shower rubbing her wet hair, the hot shower had done wonders to her frazzled nerves; she sat down on the window seat and looked out at the mid-night sky. So many things had happened today that she had not got a minute to reflect on them. She sighed as she remembered the earth-shattering kiss she had shared with arnav earlier; she felt like a teenager experiencing her first kiss and her heart was still beating erratically thinking about it.
She cringed remembering Anjali's announcement of their impending engagement, it was one thing lying about something which had never happened, but pretending about something while it happens in reality was something else, plus what if the news went all the way to UK! She and arnav were both shocked with the development, but arnav assured her that he will talk to his mother in the morning and sort everything out; she had left then without saying a word to him. She could not bear standing near him without touching him or reaching out to him.
She moisturized herself with her almond cream and left her hair to dry naturally, she opened her wardrobe to get her night suit out when her eyes fell on the lingerie stuffed in one of the drawers, she felt like wearing it tonight, just for herself; she pulled out a cream colored satiny one piece nightly, it did not look very revealing but the sheer fabric clung to her curves. She was just preparing to sleep when she heard a knock on her door. She froze wondering who was knocking at this time when she heard a soft female voice.
"Khushi! Oops sorry Bhabhi.., can you open the door, need to speak to you" khushi smiled at anjali's excited voice, she had liked anjali in their first meeting, she had never had any sister though Lavanya came pretty close to one, she pulled on the matching robe and loosely tied it around her waist before opening the door for her. Anjali came bounding in the room, khushi felt relaxed around her exuberant energy.
"Khushi bhabhi, we need to go shopping soon ! the party is mostly being planned for the coming weekend, so we have tons of work to do. I am soo excited! Never thought I'll get to see bhai married and that too to such a wonderful girl like you" with that she flung her arms around khushi and gave her a tight hug. Khushi felt tears threaten her eyes, she felt horrible that they were deceiving such a lovely young girl, but she hugged her back, anjali left mumbling to herself about all the preparations which needed to be taken care of.
Khushi was just locking the door behind her when she once again heard a knock, she opened it slightly to see anjali peering in"Sorry bhabhi forgot to tell you, Ma wants to meet you tomorrow morning first thing, guess she has some work cut out for you. Don't worry shes a sweetheart and I think she really likes you! Good night see you tomorrow" khushi nodded and wished her a good night.
Khushi was just about to lock the door when she saw her phone blinking, she remembered she had not called buaji, she wondered who had texted her, she left the door partially open and went to her phone; as she was checking it, she heard another knock 'Anjali!' she thought "Come in darling" she lilted as she turned to face anjali's excited form but the phone fell from her hands as she saw arnav standing inside her room.
'What the!' arnav thought, 'did she just call me darling?' he stood still trying to catch his breath since he was finding it difficult to breathe, he started at the nymph in front of him, the satiny material clung like a second skin to her luscious curves, the robe was open at the front, giving him a tantalizing view of her generous breasts which stood proud with their taut tips visible from the sheer material. The short nightie stopped at her upper thighs providing ample view of her creamy long legs. He had no idea till how long he stood staring at her and she at him, but khushi finally realized her state of dress. She quickly tied the robe tightly around her and folded her hands at the front.
Arnav came out of the trance as khushi covered herself up, he gave a disappointed groan when she turned away from him and went near the window "Are you trying to kill me khushi" arnav said in a tired voice. He did not realize that he had spoken his thoughts aloud when he heard khushi reply "Excuse me, you came to my room uninvited. Don't you have any shame!" arnav looked taken aback "really? I thought you were the one who invited me in, calling me wait..what was that? 'darling'! did you expect someone else?"
Khushi looked horrified, she had thought he was anjali "Yes I thought you were someone else!" arnav got alarmed and completely pissed off, what the hell did she mean? Was she waiting for someone else at this time?! He came swiftly towards her and pulled her to him, he imprisoned her in his arms and looked at her with deadly eyes.
Khushi was terrified but strangely excited to be in his arms, his hard body was pressed against hers which bought about strange sensations between her legs, she came back to her senses "What the hell are you doing? Leave me at once!" arnav was annoyed beyond reason "Why? Oh wait your lover might come huh? Who is it?! Who is that scum in my house, messing with my woman! Who is it? Tell me now! Is it HP?"
Khushi looked at him with incredulous eyes "Hari prakash! Seriously? Have you lost your mind! And who the hell said I'm your woman! And for your kind information, I thought you were anjali, since she came twice to my room before you did. So please take your mind out of the gutter Mr raizada and leave me right now!"
Arnav thought about his stupidity! What the hell was wrong with him, he actually said HP! Well off course, there was no other man in this house except HP, mamaji and himself, plus why did he feel so possessive about her. He let her go of her at once and stepped back, embarrassed to find himself in this situation though she felt wonderful in his arms, he just wanted to pull her back and kiss her senseless but he had come here to talk about the earlier kiss, not to complicate things further.
"Did you get my text? I was wondering why you did not reply to it so I came to talk to you." Khushi looked at her phone now lying on the floor "Don't bother. I texted saying that what happened today was perfectly natural. We were both acting for the sake of my friends. So don't get all innocent and worried about it. Anyways its nothing new for you is it! With soo many client's that you have served" arnav could have cut his tongue for saying that, he saw her face fall, he had no idea what provoked him to say it "Sorry khushi, I did no.."
Khushi cut him off before he could finish "Just leave Mr raizada, like you said , we need to be professional! and you are right all this is part of my profession right so its fine. Just go now, please" Khushi tried to stay strong, she was crushed when he said those words to her, but how could she blame him; she had never bothered to clear his misunderstanding, this was bound to happen. For him she was just a paid escort, pretending to be his fiance. She saw as arnav turned and left her room. She locked the door after him and went to sleep, silent tears clearing her eyes of the faade she had let build over the last few days.
The morning came too late for arnav, he did not sleep a wink, the guilt of his words pricking him all night; he quickly got ready and came down to the breakfast area, he had an early morning meeting and had to be in office by sharp 10 am, plus he wanted to be as far away from khushi as possible, he could not bear to face her after last night. He sat at his usual place while HP served him his breakfast.
"Wow! The spread looks amazing today! Yumm…aloo paratha, suji halva and my favorite eggy cheesy quiche! Now this is a breakfast!" anjali exclaimed as she sat down and started piling her plate with the food, arnav had to admit that the food was outstanding, he wondered if the chef had changed, he tasted everything and went in for seconds, anjali exclaimed "Wah bhai! Usually you don't eat more than a toast, just because bhabhi has made all this you are taking seconds huh?!"
Arnav's hand stilled as he heard anjali speak, he thought she was pulling his leg, khushi had made all this! 'what the'! how many more secrets were there to unravel, he saw his mother and dadi coming towards the table with khushi right behind them, she was wearing a simple plaid top with jeans, still she managed to look amazing, she was smiling at anjali as they came to the breakfast table "I'm glad you liked it anji, dadiji told me that quiche was your favorite"
Anjali smiled cheekily "Bhabhi, this is amazing, better than any five star restaurant, now I can give you a list of my fav foods! Oh and I'm sure dadi told you about bhai's favorite suji halva and aloo paratha!" khushi blushed a pretty pink as she glanced towards arnav "So chotey, what do you think of khushi's cooking?" arnav smiled at his dadi "Yeah, it's pretty good" he still did not look up at khushi's hopeful face. "Well, she has passed with flying colors on this one! khushi the second test will be tonight. I hope you are a God fearing person?" arnav's mom interjected.
Khushi who was disappointed by arnav's cold approval of her food suddenly came to attention hearing his mothers words "Umm..yes, I believe in God if that's what you mean" arnav's mother gave her a sweet smile "Off course you do dear, don't worry you'll know tonight. I'll send a sari for you, in case you don't know how to drape it, i'll ask rupa to help you out" with that she bid a goodbye to everyone and left in a flare. Soon afterwards arnav left , once again without looking at Khushi.
Khushi felt like crying, why the hell was he ignoring her! Was it because of last night?! And now this sari business and then some thing to do with God, she just hoped Mr Raizada was not planning on some extremely difficult task like reciting the 'geeta' or something. 'Oh God' khushi thought, 'where have you sent me!" she excused herself and went to her room, she had to call her buaji and lavanya, they would be mighty worried for her.
Arnav could not relax the entire day, yes he felt guilty about saying those word to her last night, but she seemed to be ok in the morning, he should have felt relieved and at least complimented her properly on her cooking skills, she really had a lot of layers, his khushi 'Wait a minute! His Khushi! No no...arnav singh raizada, stop it! She is not your khushi!" he looked up to see what aman was saying "ASR, did you hear me? Have you chosen the name of the new line of boutiques?" arnav relied automatically "Khushi"
Aman thought he heard wrong "Uh..ASR, I don't think khushi was part of the list, plus its couture, we had given lots of french names?" arnav looked at aman, did he just say her name out loud! "Wait...what is khushi in french?" aman looked at him quizzically, what was wrong with him "I think it is bonheur or Joie" Arnav's eyes went wide "Yes, 'Joie'! That's what we'll call them" he dismissed the meeting after that. He had to go home and apologize to her, he had to tell her how wonderful her cooking was, he just had to.
Khushi was struggling a little bit with the sari, it was a dark red color with a simple gold border, the blouse had cap sleeves and a deep cut square at the back and front, though the front was a bit demure, but hugged her perfect curves. Overall she looked very elegant and understatedly sexy. She wore her hair long, with just eyeliner to enhance her eyes, she wore a bindi today and red bangles on her hands. Overall she looked very exotic, she gave herself a quick glance and went down to the hall.
Anjali had told her that maya had organized a shanti pooja at their house and she wanted khushi to be part of it, what she did not know was she was being introduced as the new raizada bahu. As Khushi walked down, she saw a hell of a lot of women staring at her, there were many whispers as she reached the pooja area, she quietly went and sat next to anjali. Maya was sitting at the front with dadiji and were in deep conversation with the panditji.
"Don't worry bhabhi, you look gorgeous! Sari really does suit you, you know! Bhai will be a total goner today!" khushi nervously smiled at her, she looked around trying to find arnav in the crowd, but there were only women of various shapes and sizes all looking at her intensely. Finally after a few more minutes, dadiji came and called anjali and khushi forward. They went ahead and helped dadiji with the initial rites of the pooja, khushi was aware of all this as her buaji was very pious and often did such pooja's at home.
"So Maya, is you bahu english? She seems to understand the pooja rites, how much did you train her?" one of the women sitting in the front row exclaimed, maya raizada looked calmly at her "She is half english, but she is as Indian as me and you. So kindly treat her with respect and there is nothing wrong with being english anyway is there?" khushi felt her heart clench as she heard arnav's mother stand by her, she smiled gratefully at her.
Arnav had just walked in that minute to hear what was being said, he could hear the women whisper amongst themselves about khushi, he felt like screaming at them hearing what they were saying about her, they felt she was not really worthy of being a raizada bahu, 'How dare they!' thats when he heard his mother stand up for Khushi, he felt a smile creep up his face as he saw khushi relax, she looked amazing! The sari and the Indian get-up looked so exotic on her, he felt himself being drawn to her.
"Oh ho Maya, we are just saying..since this is a shanti pooja, and there will be devotional singing; why doesn't you very Indian bahu sing one? If she is an Indian as you say, she must be knowing how to sing one" another woman said snidely, maya was really fed up now, she turned around angrily to respond to that comment when khushi held her hand "I'll sing Mrs Raizada, don't worry, if this is a way to prove my worth, i'll do it" saying that she went to the other end of the hall where a sitar and tabla was kept for later.
Arnav watched in awe as khushi went and sat down, she took the sitar in her lap and prayed before it, she then started strumming the most beautiful music from it before lending her gorgeous voice to a very well known devotional song, she sang with all her heart and soul and as she finished the entire room fell in a hush, arnav himself could not take his eyes off her; he had stopped wondering about her secrets long ago! She was but an enigma for him now. He went towards her and knelt down next to her.
Khushi felt exhilarated, she loved singing this song and her buaji had taught her how to pay the sitar to it, she was glad that it came handy today, she looked up to see a sea of shocked faces including arnav's family, then she saw him; He came towards her staring at her with a stange look in his eyes, finally he came and knelt down beside her, her heartbeat started beating wildly "That was beautiful khushi, just like you" he said it so softly that for a moment khushi thought she imagined it. She smiled shyly as the entire room erupted in applause.
Anjali and maya came with dadiji and hugged her for the performance "Khushi beta, I think I have taken enough tests, you are perfect for this house. You are perfect for my son. You are perfect. Welcome to the family" saying this she slid off two bangles from her hands and made khushi wear them. Khushi was still in a daze wondering what just happened. She saw the happy faces in front of her and looked up at arnav who was equally shocked himself.