"Arrgghh" arnav woke up with a banging headache, he looked around and grabbed the jug of water beside his bed, he chugged down the entire jug and laid back in his bed, kneading his fingers on his throbbing forehead. 'Damn' he thought, he had never felt like this since his university days, this was one hell of a hangover. He got up and sat on the edge of his bed, his eyes tried to focus on the wall in front of him as he tried remembering what exactly happened last night. Then it hit him!
He looked at his hand and found the band glinting in the afternoon sunlight, he held his hand up and started at the ring on his finger, 'Khushi's ring' he thought. He felt extremely guilty that he left her all alone with his family while he went on a drinking rampage, but then everyone must have thought that he was too happy so did not question his drinking, in fact even Dadi did not complain, everyone seemed to be in high spirits last night.
He remembered khushi from last night, she looked perfect; that dress, her smiling face..her lilting laughter, if only all this was real he thought with regret; he got up to have a quick shower, he needed to eat so that his headache would decrease. He had just reached his bathroom when he heard a knock on his door, he turned around and opened the door to find a fresh looking khushi standing with a tray in her hands, she was smiling but somehow the smile did not reach her eyes. He held the door open so that she could come in.
"How are you feeling arnav? I got you the perfect hangover drink. Just drink it all in one go and you'll feel much better" khushi said as she kept the tray on his table and held the glass of vicious looking brown liquid. Arnav looked at her warily but did as she told him, anything to get rid of the headache. He gagged as the pungent liquid went down his burning throat. His eyes were watering as he finished drinking it, he looked up to see her now holding a pill and some water up to him.
"Now take this pill, it will help with the headache" she said cheerfully before picking up with tray and making a move to leave. Arnav's headache had increased tenfold now looking at her behavior, he felt irritated that she was pretending like nothing had happened last night, he quickly caught her wrist as she reached his door and turned her around to face him "What the hell khushi, why are you acting as if it's all hunky-dory! What's wrong with you dammit!" arnav said loudly making khushi jump at his voice.
He watched as Khushi narrowed her eyes and pulled her hand out of his grasp, she looked livid as her eyes seemed to spew fire at him, she closed the door before speaking to him in a chilling voice "Excuse me Mr Raizada, you seemed to have amnesia! Wasn't it you who said to me last night that we need to keep up pretenses, oh and that i'm a very good actress! So how dare you question me on my behavior when your behavior last night was unacceptable! Do you know how humiliated you made me feel all night! I know that all this is fake for you, but you should have at least thought about what your family would think!"
Arnav looked at her with a shocked face, he had never seen her this angry before, but at least she was reacting, he watched her open the door and step out before once again looking at him with furious eyes "Lunch in 10 minutes, and you better have a good explanation for your incessant drinking and frolicking, everyone is very upset about it" she banged the door as she hurried down the stairs, her eyes were welling with unshed tears as she tried to gain control over her emotions, What an ass!' she thought cursing arnav singh raizada to hell!
Arnav stared at the closed door which was shut on his face as khushi stormed out, he was still trying to work out why she was acting as if he was the one who asked her to fake it, wasn't it she who had suggested that they remain civil and end this charade as soon as it neared its expiry date of one month! He ran a frustrated hand through his hair as he walked angrily to the bathroom, as he stripped himself of his clothes, something she said kept playing in his head, she had said "I know that all this is fake for you" why did she emphasize on him so much, why not her too? After all it was she who wanted to end this..
Khushi sat silently stabbing her fruit salad as arnav walked in half an hour later, he looked a state with bloodshot eyes and a pained look on his face, her heart leapt looking at him, she wished she could do something to ease the pain, but held her ground after their talk, no fight earlier, why should she be the nice one and the one who always gives in! and anyways he deserved that headache for his behavior last night, no one was happy with the way he acted and all were waiting for him to wake up and explain his actions.
Arnav looked at the five faces staring at him, all had various looks from anger to irritation on them, he took his seat at the table and picked up the roti's and chicken curry, he was starving like anything!, as he bit into his first bite of the succulent chicken maya spoke in a very controlled voice "Arnav, what was the meaning of last night?" he stopped chewing as he looked at his mother's angry face "What!? I just drank..What's wrong with that? Plus I was happy that I'm engaged officially to my sweetheart" he looked at khushi and gave her a smirk.
Maya got up suddenly said loudly "Well if you were so happy about your engagement why the hell were you dancing and sticking to Mr Mishra's daughter? That too when khushi was standing right there? Do you know how embarrassing it was for us! And your'e saying its nothing! I thought I had brought you up better than this arnav. All of us are extremely disappointed with this act of yours!" khushi quickly put her hand on top of maya's and said in a light voice "Ma, its fine..arnav was drunk and these things happen, please don't worry about this. Plus we spoke to each other last night and arnav has already apologized to me.
Maya sat back and calmed down after khushi's words, she looked at her fondly "I know beta, but I just wanted arnav to accept that he acted wrongly yesterday. I know how much you both love each other, God forbid if anything or anyone comes in between you two. I am glad he apologized to you" she kissed khushi on her forehead as she got up from her chair. Slowly one by one everyone got up and left leaving only arnav and mamaji behind, nearly all failed to see the shocked expression on arnav's face, even khushi had ignored him after maya's outburst.
Mahendra smiled inwardly looking at arnav's face, he was 100% sure that arnav had no idea what he did the night before, he felt pity for the boy, he came and sat beside him as arnav turned towards him "Mamaji, please tell me what ever ma said was a lie, how can I not remember doing any of those things! I actually danced with her?! What the! Why would I do that?!" arnav looked at him with a flabbergasted expression on his face, he slunk down in his chair as mamaji nodded his head.
"Yes, it is all true. First of all you just disappeared after the ring ceremony, I tried your phone so many time but you never picked up. When I went around looking for you I found you in your room with a bottle of scotch nearly empty. I made you drink a whole lot of water and brought you down. Everyone was very upset already, especially Khushi, then when you started taking to anamika mishra, things got quite awkward" mamaji took a pregnant pause as he observed arnav's face.
"You danced with her for a while, quite closely before collapsing on the bar after God only knows how many drinks. I had to help you out with rahul and bring you to your room. Well, then you know the rest." He sighed as he continued "It was odd arnav, I know that all this is pretend but it became extremely embarrassing for khushi. But then even she knows that all this will end soon. Poor girl..she seemed to be really getting on well with everyone" he sighed as he continued looking at arnav from the corner of his eye "She did seem sad last night, but then Raghav was wonderful company for her..they seemed to really hit it off!"
Arnav's ears suddenly perked up when he heard another man's name with khushi "What the! Who the hell is Raghav?" mamaji smirked as he had expected this reaction from him "Well, Raghav is Mr Shetty's son..you know the owner of Astro pharma? After you went, khushi seemed very lost, so Raghav struck up a conversation with her, in fact they were nearly inseparable. I also heard Mrs Shetty saying that she wished she had found khushi for her son before you did!" mamaji gave a dramatic sigh as he continued his assault on arnav's nerves "Anyways I guess Khushi is free to pursue any guy after this fake engagement is broken right? And I think Raghav might be the perfect man for her"
Arnav could feel steam coming out of his ears as he heard mamaji rant on about how perfect khushi and that Ass-tro pharma guy were, he had met Raghav shetty couple of times and one could make out he was a sweet charmer for sure..no wonder khushi fell for his talks, he looked at mahendra with angry eyes "How dare she talk to other guys when it was our engagement! How can she be this callous!" mamaji raised his eyebrows at his nephew, he was a total goner! "Arnav, stop being such a pig! She only spoke to the guy..you were all over that girl! So why is she to blame? Plus why does it bother you so much. Its all going to end soon anyways"
Arnav saw as mahendra got up , his words ringing in his ears. He kept looking at his ring finger twisting the ring around it, he hated the fact that someone else was already eyeing khushi, he hated the fact that some other mother was already vying for khushi to become her daughter-in-law. He closed his eyes to blank out the searing pain that had taken permanent residence in his heart. He opened his eyes when mamaii's question came out of the blue
"What are khushi's qualifications by the way? I never asked.." Arnav blinked once before answering robotically "She a fashion designer…you remember that intern I told you about? The one with the chikankari dress? That's her. Please don't ask me anything on that, I'll explain it some other time" arnav said and closed his eyes once again pressing his fingers to his temple, his headache has worsened since morning. Mahendra left him in that state with an amusing look on his face 'So shes a designer..That too a good one. Interesting' He smiled as he walked back to his room, already planning his next move. The first one had hit right on target.
"So bhabhi, I hope you are not upset still about last night? Bhai can be such an ass sometimes!" anjali said as she munched on some chips, khushi was lying on her tummy and resting on anjali's bed. They were both watching Casablanca while stuffing their faces with junk, khushi because she was upset about arnav's behaviors and anjali because of her fight with her boyfriend. Khushi turned on her side and looked at anjali with a smile "nope, like I said we worked it out. He just gets like that sometimes..guess he was too happy huh?"
Anjali slumped down on the bed next to khushi "yeah, he really was very happy..and why wouldn't he be bhabhi! Your'e the best thing that has happened to bhai..ever! trust me when I say, bhai has really changed since you came into his life. I completely agree with what ma said last night, you guys are soulmates!" khushi smiled sadly as she went back to thinking about last night, she was still very upset and hurt when she saw the way arnav was holding that mishra girl. More than embarrassment khushi was extremely jealous. Her hands were itching to go and pull that girls hair off her scalp!
Only she knew how she had remained calm and composed when that s**t was all over arnav. She wondered when he would want to break up now, since their one month was coming to an end in 10 days. She started thinking of all the ways in which he might break-up, maybe he will make her look like an infidel saying that she was having an affair with someone, 'No' she thought, he won't be that cruel. She was feeling very lonely today, she got up to go and call buaji, it had been a while since she spoke to her.
Arnav was standing in the pool since the last half an hour, he came there a while ago to work out this tense muscle and his raging headache which had still not decreased, in fact he felt like his head would burst out any minute. He held on tightly to the slippery edge as he recounted all that mamaji had told him, to say he felt horrible and guilty was an understatement. He should never have drunk that much. He just did not know how he would face Khushi now; to make matters worse she actually stood up for him and lied to his mother. He had definitely not apologized to her, but he knew he had to soon. He could not go on with knowing that he had put her through such embarrassment.
He was still trying to remember what he did last night and the last thing he remembered was leaving the party and going up to his room, he could not bear standing in front of her and not touching her, not being able to hold her and kiss her. All he wanted to do was haul her up on his shoulders and take her away; 'but she pulled away'. He closed his eyes and sighed before coming out of the pool. He put on his robe and walked out of the pool area. He was just walking past the balcony when he heard khushi's voice coming from there. He went towards the door, it was now or never. He had to apologize.
"I miss you too buaji, don't worry i'll be back soon ok. Tell La I miss her too. I'll probably call her later. Love you, muah!" khushi smiled as she ended the call. She had felt miles better after talking to buaji. She twirled around with her eyes cast down and bumped straight into a solid hard chest. He held her wrist to steady her as she looked up in his smoldering eyes, hers startled to find him there "Arnav, what are you doing here?" she said getting all flustered. She gulped when she saw that all he was wearing was a robe, a robe which was moulding the hard panes of his body quite well.
She realized her hands were lying on his chest; she quickly moved them away and stepped back from him. He had an odd expression in his eyes as he regarded her with curious eyes "Who is buaji? And La? Who are they? Are they your family?" he asked her. Khushi's face turned red, how much had he heard she thought "Yes, they are my family. And why were your eavesdropping? This was personal call" she said getting irritated that he was listening to her conversation.
Arnav relaxed when she confirmed that it was her family she was talking to, for a minute he thought she was speaking to someone else. He squared his shoulders as he answered "First of all I was not eavesdropping. I came here to say something and I just happened to overhear you speak, plus you had already finished your call. So don't accuse me of something that I have not done!" khushi looked at him with amused eyes as spoke, what did he want to say she thought...her heart leapt at the possibility, it could be anything from 'Lets break-up' to 'Lets give us a chance' she looked up expectantly at him as he fidgeted with his robe belt.
Arnav did not know how to say it, he knew it was the right thing to do; he had put her through a lot and she deserved an apology from him, he looked up at her to find her watching him with a funny look "What?" he asked in a gruff voice, "Nothing...are you going to tell me or what? Wait, did you come to apologize? Cause its fine..i forgive you" khushi said with a bright smile. Arnav could not believe the gall of this girl! 'There was no way he would apologize now, his ego was hurt.
He gave her a tight smile and said in a clipped voice "No, I do not apologize alright? I never told you to speak on my behalf to my mother, plus what ever happened last night was because I got drunk, I just cant handle alcohol, and why are you complaining? You got to spend good quality time with Mr Ass-rock!" khushi looked at him completely bewildered, what the hell was he talking about. She shook her head and thinned her lips "Well, what more can I expect from you! And I have no idea what the hell your'e on about, so please can you tell me what you came for so that I can leave?"
Arnav racked his brain for a good comeback, what the hell was he going to say now? He looked at her amused face and said the first thing which came to his mind "I needed balm..my head hurts, yes I need balm...can you look for some? I can't seem to find anyone in the house" he saw as khushi's eyes took on a sympathetic look, she nodded her head and went towards her room, she returned with a bottle and took his hand. He was surprised to find her pulling him towards the easy chair in the outside balcony. She made him sit and opened the bottle of balm, before arnav could say anything, he heard her soft voice "Let me, i'll do it"