"Arnav singh raizada, is this a joke?" Maya asked in a serious voice as soon as arnav walked into the study. He looked up to see his mother sitting behind the huge mahogany desk tapping a pen on the smooth wooden surface, he felt annoyed "Do you really think I'll joke about this ma? Don't you know me at all?" he feigned innocence as he looked at his mother's stern face.
Maya sighed, she could see that he was not joking "Well if you are telling the truth, then I must say that I'm terribly disappointed in you. I wish you would have at least told us something, everyone else might be happy and excited about this but I need to judge the girl if she is the right one for you. I won't just accept any foreigner as your wife."
Arnav felt irritated at his mother's words, he knew she was looking out for him but sometimes it was too much "First of all, her name is khushi and she is not just 'any foreigner', in case you did not hear she is half Indian and a very smart and kind girl who I happen to love, so please spare me your lecture on the 'perfect wife and daughter-in-law' for this house. In case you have forgotten, your son was never going to marry, so be thankful that I have finally chosen someone."
Maya was impressed by the depth of feeling she could see in arnav, but something about khushi was not settling in her mind; she knew why the others were so taken by her, she seemed to exude a kind of positive energy and from what she had seen, she carried a grace and elegance only few girls her age could, but she had to gauge her feelings for arnav, she just had to for both their sake, all this was too hurried; maya wondered if arnav had come to know about their plan.
"Chotey, are you hiding something from me? I don't know why but this hasty engagement seems fishy to me. I wasn't born yesterday you know." maya saw as arnav looked a bit worried for a second before he replied "No ma, i know it sounds cliched, but it was like love at first sight, i just knew she was the right girl for me. Please ma just give her a chance..for me"
Maya smiled a little bit "Fine, like i said i need to understand her a little bit more..no don't worry i won't do a spanish inquisition on her, i just need to talk to her once" arnav relaxed "fine ma, i'll bring her in. You can have a chat with but let her go early cause we need to get ready for rohan's dinner party" saying this arnav turned to leave.
"Hold on a minute. Don't you think your PR person needs to float this out first? Its a huge deal you getting engaged, you can't just make a public appearance with her, she'll be eaten alive by the media!"
Arnav smirked "Don't worry ma, we don't want to go public so soon, it's a small dinner party at rohan's house, just a couple of us. I won't push her in the media glare so soon, she needs to be prepared first" maya nodded her head as arnav left to bring Khushi in.
"Who the hell does he think he is! Arrghh...that man drives me nuts! I swear to God, if i have to spend one more minute with him, i'll go insane!" khushi was pacing her bedroom floor muttering to herself, she had unpacked her bags with roopa's help, one of the maids, she was a pleasant girl who chatted a lot! But khushi liked her immediately.
She looked around the huge four poster bed in an antiquely furnished room, there was such a charm to this room that khushi kept staring at it for the first 15 minutes, the upholstery was matched stylishly to the curtains and walls, the beautiful armoire and dressing table were intricately carved while the bathroom had a huge jacuzzi, khushi could not wait to get in it!
She was still muttering when she heard a knock on her door, she padded across the plush carpeted floor and opened it "Good your dressed, mother wants to meet you. Lets go" arnav declared looking her straight in the eyes.
Khushi's eyes narrowed, how the hell can he boss her around like this "No, i will not go. I need some time alone, i'm not equipped to run like a robot!" she started closing the door when arnav put his foot in between to stop her from closing it.
"Khushi, listen...i know i shouldn't have probed into your personal life and i'm sorry for that, but i listened to you patiently and did not say anything though i do not appreciate what you said to me. So lets just pretend it did not happen, right now you need to go and talk to my mother. She's waiting in the study" arnav said with a slightly worried face.
Khushi sighed "Fine, i'll come. Your'e paying me for this anyway right.." she stepped out as arnav suddenly grabbed her wrist and pulled her forward, khushi stared at him shocked as their bodies collided with the force "Don't say that again, do you understand? i do not think of you as a commodity. Whatever you think of me, i'm not that cruel. Now lets go" he pulled her alongside him as he led them to the study.
Arnav was fuming, why did she keep cheapening herself, why did she demean herself so much, he let go of her hand and opened the study door for her before he whispered against her ears "What ever you say, don't give too many details. We discussed about our first meeting right? If she asks anything just tell her that." saying this he gently pushed her inside.
Khushi was still quite shocked by what arnav had said to realize that she was thrown into the lion's den, well in this case 'Lioness' and a hungry one at that, khushi was terrified looking into maya raizada's brown eyes, so much like her sons. She stepped forward and came and stood in front of the desk, she gave an awkward smile and said a quick hello as maya gestured her to sit in one of the chairs.
"So Khushi, is it? How long do you know my son from?" maya asked with a poker face, khushi squirmed in her seat 'that was a direct question', but she remember what arnav had told her before they came here "Umm..we met a month ago at a common friend's party in London. That was the first time we saw each other and..." she saw maya raise a perfectly shaped eyebrow.
"And what? You decided you'll rope yourself a rich husband? All your dreams will come true blah blah.." khushi was shocked to hear this, it was the last thing she expected, she quickly got up from her seat in hurt fury "Mrs Raizada, I respect my elders and will never think of answering them back, but what you just said is horrible. I would never do that! I will never give importance to money over love. When i met your son, i did not know he was rich. We felt an instant connection, i can't explain it but it just happened"
Maya grinned at her answer, this girl had spunk for sure, but she had to make absolutely sure that she really loved arnav "That my girl is not love, attraction yes but not love..but since you are so convinced of your feelings for him, tell me what you love about him, is it his looks, his fame, his name? Money you said no...so what else? Do tell"
Khushi went to the open window and stood leaning against the side wall, she forgot for a moment that she was answering maya's questions, she closed her eyes and remembered all their meetings from the first time they met till now "I love his eyes...its like they speak volumes about his feelings, i know he's not someone who expresses well verbally, but his eyes they carry a depth of emotion...i love that about him..."
"I love his smile, he rarely smiles i know but when he does i feel like the sun has just come out of the clouds, when he laughs so carefree its like the whole world stops...i just can't stop myself from sharing in his laughter..."
"His anger...i know its sad, but i love his anger...it brings out a vulnerable side to him, its like he uses anger to protect himself from getting hurt or feeling too much...i love his kindness and patience, it surprises me how someone so powerful can have such a kind heart, he'll wait for hours till i finish my work without complaining about it..."
"I also like silly annoying things about him like how he sniffs everything he drinks or eats before taking a first sip or bite, the way he keeps looking at his watch every few minutes, just out of habit i guess, the way he gets annoyed and scrunches his nose when i cut him while he is speaking..."
"There are soo many facets to him...i may not know a lot about him, but i keep wondering about him every second of the day...i can't stop thinking about him...i'm happy and nervous when i meet him...i'm sad and relaxed when i don't...its soo confusing being with him sometime but then there are times when i feel this is where i belong, with him...alongside him...it just feels so right..."
khushi realized after a while that she was saying all this to his mother, she quickly put a hand on her mouth as she turned toward maya raizada, she was mortified that she said soo many things to her, she had no idea where all this came from...he said a quick sorry before running out of the room. She ran and ran till she reached her room. She got in and shut the door before leaning against it and slinking to the floor 'Damn! What have i done..i can't believe it said all that!'. She closed her eyes and leaned against the door.
Maya raizada was pleasantly surprised, she was still in a state of mild shock as she saw khushi leave the room in hurry. In all her 55 years, she had never seen a more honest confession of love from anyone, she was convinced that Khushi loved her son, and that was enough, but she still wanted to test her a little bit. Tomorrow she'll start her 'mission raizada bahu'...and she truly hoped that khushi passes it, because she was sure that arnav would not find a more perfect girl for him who loved him for himself, not for who he was or what he could give, just plain arnav...she finally allowed herself a huge smile of satisfaction.
Arnav did not get a chance to see khushi during tea time, roopa said she was sleeping and did not want to be disturbed. He wondered what had transpired between his mother and her, his mother had also gone out after that so he did not get a chance to talk to her.
It was already 6:30pm and they had to leave for Rohan's house in an hour at the most. He called on the intercom to khushi's room, she picked up on the first ring "Khushi, hi..arnav here. Are you still sleeping?"
Khushi blushed when she remembered what she had said to maya earlier, she seriously hoped that maya had not said anything to arnav.."Umm...no i'm awake now. Whats up?" khushi mentally slapped herself 'What's up! She sounds like a teenager...she might have as well said 'Whaddup dude!'. She came back to her senses when she heard arnav speak again "So, how did it go with my mother?"
Khushi breathed a sigh of relief, so maya had not said anything to him yet "Oh..yeah it went all right i guess, we did not speak much. I suppose she'll want to talk to me again..soon" arnav nodded "Ok, well she hasn't said anything to me yet nor has she put up a tantrum cum drama yet, so maybe things are fine. Anyways i had called to tell you that we need to leave for rohan's house in an hour"
Khushi looked confused "Rohan? Who's that? And weren't we supposed to be all hush hush about this?" arnav remembered he had not told her about rohan yet "Rohan is a very dear friend, he and his wife are my closest school friends, my other best friend jyotsna and her husband samir are also coming..anjali kind of told rohan about us and they want to meet you...listen it'll be cool ok...they are all really nice people and i'm sure they'll love you. Can you meet me in the foyer in half an hour? You can wear anything you like, its just an informal dinner at his house"
Khushi said a quick ok and kept the phone, she was annoyed that she had to act again with more people, frankly she was tired of it but somehow being called arnav's fiancee felt good, she pinched herself hard "Focus khushi! Be professional...this is a one month contract!..jeez' she thought to herself as she went in for a quick shower. She just had to fake smile all night and be the perfect fiancee and try and stay away from arnav, she could not bear any more proximity to him!