Arnav was thoroughly frustrated, not only did he not get to meet Khushi all day but his mamaji and dadi were hell bent on making him wear the traditional sherwani for the engagement. It was already past 5pm and guests would be arriving in another two hours . He smiled remembering his early morning activity, he just felt so much at peace when he was with khushi that he was now allowing himself to welcome those feelings she aroused in him.
He quickly made an excuse to make an urgent call and left the room, leaving a muttering dadiji behind. He walked straight to the other side of the house where khushi's room was located. She had already called him twice and texted him saying that she wanted to talk to him; God only knows what was so important that she had to speak to him so urgently, but he had to go and meet her, maybe she was having cold feet but he knew she was fine with this engagement as long as it did not get into media; for this he had made sure that no media was invited for this and a couple of calls to the commissioner had solved his problem.
He sighed in relief when the coast was completely clear, no one was near her door, he just hoped she was alone inside. He turned the knob and walked inside slowly, closing the door behind him, he looked around the room trying to spot her but was disappointed to not find her anywhere; he was just about to turn back when the bathroom door opened and out walked khushi in all her finery, arnav literally had to hold the chair to steady himself, she looked breathtakingly beautiful.
Her red brocade lehenga sashayed as she moved while her black choli moulded her curves to its best advantage, her satin smooth back looked very inviting and arnav's hand itched to open the dori marring the perfect expanse of creamy skin. Her long hair was left open in curls and she wore a red maang tika on her parting, her eyes were made up with dark kohl giving her a mysterious alluring look while the delicate ring she wore in her nose looked picture perfect.
Arnav watched as she picked up the colorful dupatta from the bed and held it against herself, thinking how to drape it. She had still not seen arnav, but something made her look directly in his direction through the mirror. Khushi gasped when she saw arnav standing near the door starting at her, he looked breathtakingly handsome in his Indian ensemble, she blushed as she immediately turned around to face him "Arnav...what are you doing here? Someone might come.."
Arnav gave her a lazy smile as he drawled "Why ms Gupta? Are you worried someone might catch us doing something naughty?" he started walking slowly towards her and enjoyed the way a blush crept up her neck making her look all the more delectable, "Or are you hoping for a repeat performance of today morning's..uh..how do I put it..exercise maybe?" now her blush had fully taken over her face.
Khushi moved back as arnav came towards her, she was feeling hot all of a sudden, her body had just cooled down after the morning 'exercise' as arnav put it and now was now once again awake with all those forbidden feelings, she finally stopped when her back hit the solid wall behind her, arnav was standing a feet or so away from her, but the gleam in his eyes spoke of the desire that lurked so blatantly in them.
Arnav closed the small gap between them and lightly held her hands which he then raised above her head and held onto tightly on the wall "So..you did not answer me...a repeat performance maybe?..umm...you smell dinive" arnav drawled as his lips lightly kissed her right ear, his tongue tracing the delicate lobe, then they moved very lightly over her face as he kissed her maang tika, followed by her closed eyes one by one, then he pecked her slightly on her nose ring and finally her left ear, his teeth now grazing her ear lobe there.
Khushi moaned as she felt arnav's lips travel all over her face, she wanted to bury her fingers in his hair and pull him close for a mind numbing kiss but he wouldn't let her hands go and instead he held them more tightly now, he finally stopped what he was doing and spoke in a whisper "So...what was it you wanted to talk to me about?" he grinned inwardly as a totally dazed khushi looked into his eyes "Huh?...talk...?...what did I...?" khushi mumbled as her brain worked to make sense.
Arnav looked on as realization suddenly dawned on her and she started struggling to move her hands, he let go of her wrists immediately and moved back as she looked with mild irritation at him, somehow he loved it when she got all all flustered and irritated, he waited for her to continue as she walked sideways and away from him, she went and stood next to the bed, her eyes suddenly became serious and she gave a determined look to arnav as she looked him straight in the eye.
"Arnav, there is something about me that you don't know...i've not been honest with you and I think I need to clear everything before its too late" arnav raised one eyebrow as he saw her looking all serious and businesslike, he wondered what she wanted to speak about, then thought that maybe finally she would tell him something about her personal life, maybe finally she'll let him in, he hoped that she felt at least a little bit of what her felt for her. He looked at her and saw her eyes nervously move about, he waited.
"Ok, so this might come as shock to you..no wait...it will be a shock to you...i mean it is quite shocking..." khushi began not understanding how to start when arnav cut her off "Khushi just tell me instead of giving me a lecture of shocks! What is it? Is everything ok?" he looked at her beautiful face. Khushi looked down at her feet and started her long await speech "Well, the truth is, I am not K..." she stopped midway as the door opened with a bang and maya walked in.
"What is going on here? Arnav way are you not ready yet? And what are you doing in Khushi's room? The guests might will be arriving soon kids! C'mon chop chop...arnav to your room now, mahinder had been looking all over for you. And Khushi you look beautiful my dear, now lets drape that dupatta over you." Maya walked towards Khushi as arnav helplessly looked at her, he gestured her that they speak later and walked out giving her one last look while Khushi stood there with maya fussing over her.
Arnav came back to his room to finish getting ready, He was already wearing a dark blue Bandhgala instead of an entire sherwani and was just finishing up while by spritzing some perfume, when suddenly he remembered where he had smelled khushi's perfume, that amazing citrusy smell was from that girl in starbucks cafe that day, the one with whom his coffee had been exchanged, he also remembered the same fragrance from somewhere else; he shook his head as he realized that it must be a very well known perfume since he had smelled it in so many other places, but he decided he liked it best on Khushi, it suited her.
He was just putting on his watch when he glanced at his blinking phone, he wondered if it was Khushi again, when he checked he saw that it was indeed a text from her, he clicked on it to check when dadiji came and started pulling him towards the door.
"Chotey, we are getting late, there are many rituals to do before the actual ring ceremony, come now" Arnav took the phone along with him but in his haste did not check khushi's text, he slipped the phone in his jacket pocket and he walked out towards the main living room. He was truly impressed with the decorations and arrangements which were done and smiled as he saw his sister approach him, she looked beautiful in a baby pink lehenga "You look all grown up Anji, I'll have to shield you all night from roaming eyes" arnav said as anjali hugged him.
"Oh trust me, it's not me you'll have to worry about, let me see what you do when Khushi bhabhi walks in! Bhai she looks divine today, ma did the 'Nazar' ritual three times already!" Anjali said laughing; she wondered if there was a better looking couple than her brother and his bride, she saw as arnav went into a daze and said in a slow voice "Yeah I saw...she always looks divine" anjali shook him and pulled his ears "Earth to Arnav!" arnav looked at her irritated and was glad when his phone started ringing, he had to get away from her otherwise she was sure to continue teasing him.
He walked past the screaming event organizers and household help who were finishing the last few touches, he smiled as he opened the verandah door and stepped out into the balmy evening air, he saw the international number which was calling him and picked it up "Arnav! Dude..Where have you been man! I've been trying to call you since two days but your number was switched off, I finally got through to Aman who gave me this other number.." Arnav recognized Akshay's voice, he smiled as he answered "Akshay my man! Long time..you back from Brazil?"
"Yeah man, I got back three days ago, sorry it didn't work out with Katarina, but then I met her as soon as I was back and convinced her for it, that's why I've been calling" Akshay said excitedly as arnav's face lost some pallor, he continued in his ranting "So then when I call Aman, he says that you are bloody getting engaged! So who did you find? Or this for real you dog! I didn't get my invite" Arnav's face had gone completely pale now, he took a deep breath and spoke "So Akshay, you met Katarina right? The same Katarina who was supposed to meet me that night?"
Arnav knew the answer before akshay said anything; he grabbed the banister hard as he heard him reply "Duh! That's what I said, I texted you that night and told you that she said no, so why the confusion?! Anyways man I gotta let you go, guess you have loads of stuff to get busy with, lets catch up soon buddy, bye!" arnav was still holding the phone to his ear as he heard his phone click as akshay cut the call, he kept standing with one hand holding the banister and the other clutching the phone tightly, his back ramrod straight while many emotions from hurt to anger flitted across his face. He turned around before walking towards khushi's room.
Khushi sighed as she finished texting arnav, she just had to get this weight off her chest before she went down for the engagement; she just hoped to God that he'll get to read the message before she meets him, there was still another hour left before the guests arrived and after a lot of persuasion she had succeeded in sending maya and anjali down, they had insisted on staying with her, but there were some small rituals for arnav which they had to finish before the ceremony.
Khushi sat calmly by the seat near her window and looked down at the vast garden in front of her, it was such a beautiful sight! All the trees were lit up with twinkling fairy lights, there were beautiful lavender colored tents set up on the lawns where food will be served to the guests, even though the actual ceremony will take place inside the party and dance was kept outside in the cool lawns, she looked as anjali walked out speaking on the phone, a worried expression on her face, 'she probably had an argument with her boyfriend' khushi thought.
She kept glancing at her phone and at the door as she waited for either a text from arnav or a visit from him after reading her message; she knew it was a confusing text but how much could she explain on a small sms! She had to meet him face to face, and the only option was for him to come to her since she definitely could not run around the house in her heavy dress, that too with the whole family watching her like a hawk.
She heard a slight knock on her door, she wondered if it was arnav, she got up and slowly opened the door to find him standing outside, his back was to her, but as she opened the door and mumbled his name, he turned; Khushi was shocked to see him furiously stare at her, his eyes held an accusatory gleam in them and she moved back scared as he swiftly walked in with a rigid stance and closed the door before locking it.
"Who the hell are you?!" Arnav said in an angry tone, he was frustrated beyond reason! In the few minutes between finishing akshay's calls and walking to Khushi's room, arnav had gone thorough innumerable reasons and explanation for khushi being here, he had no idea who she was or what she wanted..he had never felt so cheated in his life. His brain was completely bogged down while his mind was totally confused, who was she and what did she want!
"Who sent you to me? Was it my competitor? Was it that bloody Jha!" Arnav shouted at her, he started at her as khushi's eyes showed disbelief and then anger as he continued "Tell me now dammit! How much did they pay you for this? What all information have you leaked till now?" he came forward and held her roughly by her shoulders, he looked directly into her eyes, daring her to deny anything he said, Khushi was breathing heavily as she pressed her lips together and pushed him away with all her might.
"What the hell is wrong with you!? What are you talking about? Did you not read my text? It was self explanatory..though I thought i'll tell you the details when we talk, calmly. Why are you shouting at me as if I am some petty criminal! Khushi looked at him with eyes spitting fire, she had no idea what rubbish he was taking about but she had not committed some heinous crime for him to talk to her this way "I know i've been wrong in my ways but my intention was never to hurt anyone. I needed the money you offered and when I did not get the internship I took up this job."
Arnav looked at her as if she had lost her mind, what text was she talking about? And internship? What the hell was going on here..he looked at her furious face and wondered if he was mistaken about her intentions, he remembered that she had sent him a text, he took his phone and checked the unread message "Arnav, wht I wntd 2 tel u is tht I'm nt Katarina da escort, I'm a fashion student n I took up ths job under false pretense cause I needed da money, n ths was da only way when my internship @ AR was offered 2 my colleague. Can v talk pls? Gimme a chance 2 xplain"
Arnav raised confused eyes towards her as khushi suddenly felt drained and exhausted, as if she had just battled an enormous war, she looked at arnav with hurt eyes and said in a sad voice "How could you accuse me of spying arnav...i guess you did not read my message, but from wherever you came to know about me, you actually thought that I was capable of this? I..." her voice stopped on a sob.
Khushi was finding it very hard to speak further, she knew she should have told him the truth long time back and she was fully to blame for arnav's mistrust, but she had trusted him enough to give herself to him, but all this while all she was to him was probably just an escort, she was just a temporary fiancee who will be discarded in a few more days, how did she forget that! She closed her eyes and took a deep breath as she spoke.
"I am Khushi Gupta, just graduated from Visuigene Institute of Fashion with a distinction, I designed the winning dress at my institute's final year show, I was also told that I will be getting an Internship at AR since you seemed to like my dress a lot." She stopped to see that arnav was now sitting on the easy chair listening to every word carefully, so she continued "When I called your assistant, he asked me to meet you at the restaurant to discuss it further. I was in a financial situation and was wondering if I could get a paid internship"
Arnav let all this sink in as flashes of that day went through his head, no wonder she kept asking about her dress, he saw as khushi continued in a monotone, her face devoid of all expressions "You assumed me to be the escort Katarina and even though I wanted to clear the confusion then I was scared that you would not like me knowing about such a personal thing and I may get into trouble. I left that day thinking that i'll never see you again"
Khushi went and sat on her bed, she never knew this would be so hard to explain "Next day I came back to AR for the internship since my financial situation had gotten worse, but when I came to know that the internship was already offered to my colleague tony, I went back dejected, but then you called and offered me this job for 30K, so I took it"
Arnav sighed as khushi narrated the story to him, he could not believe that all this time he had thought of her as an escort, he should have known from her innocence and purity that she was not capable of such a job, she must have really been in a financial rut for someone like her to even consider this job, she had great caliber he thought remembering her dress now, he was just wondering what to say to her when her next words stuck him hard.
"Don't worry Mr Raizada, i'll go through with this job if you still want me to continue it, but if you want your money back, I wont be able to repay it right away. But I swear on my parents grave that I will return every penny back to you. If I am to continue with this, it will be best for us to remain civil with each other and anyways you plan to break this up soon so you only have to bear me for a few days more" khushi said with absolute resolve, she saw as arnav's soft eyes turned hard suddenly; she wondered why.