Khushi was busy cursing her stars as the helicopter descended onto the waiting tarmac around the vast expanse of Neemrana fort palace, Khushi forgot about her misery for a few seconds as she gazed upon the breathtaking view that the palace made against the early evening sky. The entire palace was lit up with tiny twinkling lights and the old world charm of it gave it a mysterious and romantic look. Khushi held onto the arm rest of her seat as the helicopter touched down and parked on the helipad.
|Neemrana Fort Palace, Jaipur|
Arnav smiled as he saw the pleasure and awe which had lit up khushi's face when she saw the palace, he was glad that they had chosen this place for the fashion show. He still could not believe that she was with him here, the stars must be aligned in the right formation for his mamaji to suggest her joining him for the show. He had thanked his mamaji a million times in his mind for his brilliant suggestion. This was the perfect opportunity for him to find out exactly what she felt for him.
Khushi was successfully ignoring arnav from the time they had left his house till their landing here. She remembered how she wanted to hold his hand during the helicopter ride since she was very nervous about her first time, but she resisted, and instead held on to the hard arm rests of her seat for the entire short journey. She knew that he kept looking at her the entire time but she made sure that she had not glanced his way even once! She wanted to keep up her side of the plan to keep their distance. But it was getting more and more difficult when she was pressed so closely to him in the current situation.
Arnav smirked as he saw her stiffen her back when he pulled her close against him, they were being greeted by his staff and they had to act as the newly engaged couple. He was really annoyed by the fact that she had ignored him completely since they left Delhi, but he knew her game-plan. He had kept his side of her wish as well since he did not force himself on her in anyway, but when the situation demanded her could not do anything. He thought he'll play along her game for now because he knew that by the end of this small trip, she will be the one begging for his touch willingly.
Arnav led her to the huge reception area where a beautiful girl in a gorgeous chiffon sari greeted them. She kept two keys on top of the counter for them and since they were VIP guests all the formalities were already done.Arnav took one key while Khushi snatched the other key from the desk and walked away towards the room no marked on the key. She asked one of the porters for directions leaving arnav in the lobby not giving him a backward glance. Luckily no one was there to see the exchange of angry and amused looks between the two.
Arnav smiled as he turned around and started walking towards the other end of the lobby, before going to his room he had to go and meet the designers in the makeshift workshop to see that everything was up to the mark, he called aman and asked him to make private dinner arrangements in one of the rooftop restaurants in the palace. He smiled as he entered the workshop where all his people where waiting for him.
Khushi entered the huge room and sighed as the cool AC blast hit her heated body. Jaipur was very hot at this time of year and the cooling interiors of her room was a welcome respite. She wondered how long it will take the porter to bring in her luggage, she was sweating due to the sultry weather and wanted to shower as soon as possible. She explored the huge suite and admired the beautiful inlay work on the walls and ceilings.
She opened the main gallery curtains and gasped at the beautiful sight in front of her, her room seemed to be on the topmost area of the palace giving her a gorgeous view of the hills below. There was a small private dinning area right below her overlooking the hills, perfect for lovers she thought with a smile. She stretched her arms above her head and leaned against the balcony, she stayed that way for some more time before going back into the room and calling up the reception; her bags had still not arrived. She was told that since the entire hotel is booked for the show, the porters had a lot of luggage to deliver, she assured her that her baggages should be up in some time.
Khushi kept the phone down and looked inside the bathroom, two bathrobes hung inside, she shrugged her shoulders as she entered the bathroom and closed it behind her, She might as finish her shower till the bags gets here; she'll wear the robe till then. She also had to go and meet the designers as well so there was no point delaying it any further. She stripped herself of all her clothes and stepped inside the huge shower cubicle, though she really wanted to relax in the bathtub next to it, she thought she could always do that later and started showering under the blast of hot water.
Arnav had totally forgotten to check with reception which room they had allotted Khushi, though if it was up to him he would have booked the same room for them but he knew that mamaji was more conservative plus he knew that khushi was not really his fiancee', he finally came to his room and saw the porter knocking softly on the door "What are you doing? This is my room..have you got my bags?" arnav asked gruffly.
The porter nodded and stepped aside for arnav to open the door, he stepped inside after him and kept the bags on the luggage stand, then he took arnav's leave who handed him a crisp Rs1000 note and closed the door behind him. Arnav took his jacket, vest and tie off and dropped them on the chair, he looked around the living room and found something was not right, he walked slowly into the bedroom and saw khushi's purse sitting on the bed while her heels lay at the foot of it.
He walked inside and stood next to the bathroom as the sound of running water caught his interest, he then realized what mamaji had done, the sly man had booked the same suite for them, arnav's face lit up like a christmas tree as a lazy smile graced his lips. He moved her bag aside and plonked himself on the bed, he rolled his sleeves up and opened some of his top buttons. He put on the TV on a low volume and leaned against the headboard and waited patiently for khushi to come out, his smile getting wider and wider as he heard the water stop.
Khushi dried herself quickly before putting on the smaller of the two robes, she stepped out of the steamy bathroom rubbing her damp hair while humming her favorite song, the first thing which hit her was that the TV was on, and that too on mute. She wondered how it got switched on when her eyes fell on the man sitting comfortably on the huge king-size bed concentrating on his phone while typing away something furiously. For a moment khushi thought that she was hallucinating but when arnav looked up at her smiled she was shocked "What the hell are you doing in my room mr arnav singh raizada!"
Arnav's smile became larger as he saw her staring at him with narrowed annoyed eyes "Oh, hi khushi..God! How long do you take in the shower! I've been waiting since a really long time" he said nonchalantly as he got up from the bed and walked towards her "Do they have any good toiletries in there, or should i just use mine" he said as he smelled her. Khushi moved back trying to make sense of this situation, she pursed her lips and asked again in a clipped tone "I don't think you heard me the first time! What are you doing in my room? And stop smelling me!"
Arnav grinned at her and moved back "Well Ms Gupta, in case you did not know...this is our room. And Before you start screaming and bring the roof down let me tell you that i did not do this booking, mamaji did. If you would like to move to another room feel free, but i am not moving out of here. Now if you don't mind i need to use the bathroom and you should get ready soon, the designers are waiting to meet you in the workshop" arnav said lightly as he started unbuttoning his shirt and walked into the bathroom, leaving a fuming khushi behind.
Khushi let out an unladylike growl as she saw him close the bathroom door, she marched over to the phone and called the reception "Hi, this is Khushi Gupta, there has been a terrible misunderstanding and i've been put in the same room as Mr raizada, Can you please give me another room and send someone to take my luggage there" she asked in the sweetest voice, but her face fell as she heard the person at the reception speak "I'm very sorry madam, but the king's suit was booked for you and Mr raizada. I'm afraid there are no rooms available since we are running on full booking owing to the show."
Khushi took a deep breath and asked again "Can you please check once again? If not is there another hotel nearby where i can shift?" the receptionist replied nervously "Umm..no madam, there really is no other room available. Also the next nearest hotel is in Jaipur city which is an hour or so away. I don't think it is advisable to go there since you are part of the fashion show. Do let me know what you decide madam, we are always here to help you out." with that the receptionist kept the phone leaving a sad khushi once again cursing not only her starts but mamaji as well!
She took a deep breath and walked towards her bag, she opened it and pulled out a soft summery tube dress, it left her shoulders bare and the long dress ended at her ankles, she walked into the huge dressing room and locked it as she slid into the dress, she left her damp hair open and applied lip-gloss and smoky eyeliner to enhance her eyes. She was already quite late and had to go and meet the designers, she would deal with the room issue later.
Khushi had just walked out when arnav came out of the bathroom, her mouth went dry as she started at the wide expanse if his magnificent chest and taut abs to the rippling muscles on his arms, he had only wrapped a towel low on his hips and her eyes traveled all the way down and back again to his face to see him watching her with an amused expression "Like what you see Ms Gupta?" he asked with a wink.
Khushi's cheeks went red as she looked away from him, she pressed her lips together and spoke in an irritated tone "Listen arnav, this is not going to work. We just cannot live in the same room. I checked with reception and there are no room available, but i'm sure that i can probably shift into one of the hotels in the city. I'll go and see what can be done on my way back from meeting the designers. You can enjoy this room on your own" she watched as arnav's expression turned annoyed, she knew that he will try and persuade her to stay back
"You are more than welcome to leave my dear, but remember you came here to help out with the fashion show. And you will not stay in any other hotel! you are my responsibility and i don't want to be worried and running around you when i have an important show to look after, So i hope you will stop being selfish and let go of you silly ideas. Since it is so unbearable staying with me in one room, i'll sleep in the living room while you can enjoy the bed. Now if you will excuse me, i need to get ready." with that he snatched one of suits and went to the dressing room leaving a stunned khushi behind.
Khushi could not believe the words which came out of his mouth, she was not being selfish but only wanted to keep that distance between them, but she understood that she was his responsibility and she did not want to add more stress that he already had for the fashion show, she looked at the closed dressing room before sighing and putting on her sandals, she took her purse and key and left quietly to meet the designers. She thought she'll talk to him later during dinner to sort out all this mess. With that thought in mind she smiled as she walked briskly to the workshop.
Arnav had just finished getting ready, he was spritzing himself with his perfume when he saw a small greenish yellow bottle of perfume on the table, he unscrewed it and smelled it he recognized it as khushi's scent, this was her perfume. He noted down the name of the perfume and kept it back on the table. He closed his eyes and remembered their earlier interaction, he went hard just remembering her gorgeous body encased in that flimsy robe, her beautiful hair sticking so enticingly on her cheeks as she rubbed them, he wanted to pull her towards him there and then and devour her completely.
The way she looked in that flowing dress, her milky white delicate shoulders on display while her hair lay curled on them, only God knows how he kept his control in place. He sighed as he kept repeating his mantra over and over again 'Patience, Arnav patience' he knew if he played his cards right, she will fall right in his trap. This was the only way to judge how she felt about him, if she really did feel the same he felt for her. He straightened up quickly as he glanced at himself one last time, he smirked as he thought to himself. 'let the show begin'
Khushi had the most amazing time talking to all the designers, some of them were fresh graduates like her while others were much more experienced, The dresses which would go on ramp tomorrow night were amazing, she felt so inspired after seeing all this that she wanted to take a sketchpad and start designing right away!But right now she was hungry, she winced as she heard her tummy rumble loudly, she wondered how much longer arnav will take.
She had just removed her phone to text him when she saw a her phone blinking with a message, she clicked on it to see that it was an sms from arnav, he heart sank as she read it 'Hi, Aman will meet you for dinner in some time, i have an important meeting and won't be able to join you.'as if on cue a lanky man came running towards her. He introduced himself as aman and proceeded to take her to the large dinning area of the hotel, khushi looked around but felt that her hunger had suddenly left her.
"I really don't feel like eating, thanks for accompanying me but i think i'll take a raincheck" she said sadly as she looked at Aman, he seemed to be very nervous and to bring him to ease, she told him that she will order something in the room if she felt hungry. He nodded and wished her a good night as she walked slowly to her room, exploring the hotel a bit more. When she finally reached her room, she was surprised to see a waiter waiting outside her room with a trolley laden with food, she understood that arnav must have sent it over, She felt her heart skip a beat at his thoughtfulness and she asked the waiter to leave the food in the living room.
The wonderful aroma of the rich food bought back her hunger pangs as she could not resist taking a bite of the soft hot naan and yummy curries, she piled the food on a plate and ate to her hearts content. She cleaned up before taking a steaming cup of hot coffee to the balcony area, she thought she'll wait up for arnav to return. She had just sat down when she saw some movement in the alcove below her, she looked down to see two people engrossed in each other as they sipped some wine, while enjoying the view. She smiled as she took in the lovers closeness; how she wished it were her and arnav.
She had just leaned back up when something about the guy made her look back, she strained her neck to get a better view, she gasped as her coffee cup fell from her hands and crashed on the balcony floor. She she recognized the guy to be no one other than arnav, her arnav...with some woman, gorgeous woman...sipping wine...in a lovers private dining area. She felt tears prick her eyes and she took in their body language, he sat relaxed in his chair while her arm was stretched over the table slowly caressing his arm. She walked back from the balcony and pulled the curtains together.
She stood shivering from the shock of seeing arnav with someone else, how many times did she have to go through this, she could not bear seeing him with someone else. He was hers, only hers! 'No Khushi!' he is not yours, he never was...you pushed him away, she reminded herself. She went to her bedroom and locked the door behind her, she got into her cotton nightdress and slipped under the blanket. She had to stop this, it was never meant to be. He does not belong to her, he is free to do whatever he wants now that she distanced herself from him, Then why was it hurting so much! Silent tears flowed down her dewy cheeks as she willed sleep to come to her.
Arnav had heard the distinct gasp and crashing of a glass or cup from above him, he knew she had spotted them. He looked at Lisel and thanked her for her time, she was a dear friend and their show stopper, her husband being the choreographer of the show. He had booked this place for the two of them so that they could enjoy a cosy dinner before the mad show day tomorrow, but when he had explained his situation to them, Lisel had given this brilliant idea to him, and it would work perfectly since their table was right below his and khushi's room.
He knew that khushi would eventually come to the balcony area and if she did not he had another plan up his sleeve, Aman. In fact only after Aman had told him about khushi going up to the room had arnav quickly ordered the staff to send food to her, he knew that she would not order anything on her own. He had waited for the precise moment when the curtains were pulled from their room and had sat in andre's chair when khushi looked out. As soon as she closed the curtains he had gotten up and left the area thanking his friends.
Arnav knew that this was probably the best way to see how she reacts in the morning, he had to keep acting aloof till she starts breaking. He hated doing this to her but he just could not go and ask her straightway about how she felt for him. He hated seeing tears in her eyes but he had no other option, especially when she had herself asked him to keep distance. He had to see of this affected her or not. He worked in the workshop till 5 in the morning before returning back to his room, he checked to see if khushi was ok but the bedroom door was locked. He stripped himself down to his boxers before adjusting the couch and promptly falling asleep.