Arnav stretched his arms and relaxed his back as he got up from the makeshift bed; he had hardly slept all night. He felt guilty about what he put khushi through last night, but he had no other option. He was prepared for the wrath and screams as soon as she saw him. He sat on the bed and moved his neck from side to side to get rid of the stiffness. He was just getting up when the door to the bedroom opened and khushi walked out.
"Good Morning! I'm so excited for today…can't wait for the fashion show to begin!" she went on excitedly. Arnav looked at her with shocked eyes as she sauntered around the small kitchenette. She switched on the water heater and plopped a tea bag in a mug. She looked up and gave him a radiant smile "So, when did you get back? Sorry I didn't wait up..i was just so tired! Hope your dinner meeting went well" she poured the hot water in the mug and added a sugar packet to it "Uh..sorry, would you like a cup a tea? Or coffee?" she asked sweetly stirring hers.
Arnav kept staring at her while she sipped on her hot tea, she looked so fresh and chirpy..'What the!' he thought. Here he was feeling guilty all night about last night and khushi did not even seem to care. Did he just imagine the cup crashing and her gasp? Was he just in an imaginative world where her feelings ran deep? He shook his head and looked back at her sweet smiling face, she was wearing a pale yellow sundress, perfect for the sultry weather outside. He slim smooth shoulders seemed to gleam and her cheeks had a slight twinge of pink on them. Why did she seem so happy!
"Uh..Khushi…why are you happy all of a sudden? Did I miss something?" arnav asked her uncertainly, still trying to understand her jubilant mood when he had thought she would be wallowing for him. He saw her make him a cup of strong black coffee just how he liked it. She brought it over to him and sat down on the single seater next to the bed "Oh, I don't know…I just woke up feeling fresh and happy I guess…plus the excitement for my first professional fashion show has made me really giddy!" she giggled as she got up and kept her mug in the little sink.
'She giggled' arnav thought, she never giggles! What the hell is going on, he observed her as she kept everything away and went to the bedroom, she came out a few second later with her bag and a sun-hat. She fished out her large sunglasses and put them on, she looked adorable arnav thought and his lips lifted in a slight smile at the fetching picture she made, but he came back to his senses quickly. He saw her coming towards him and he suddenly sat up straight "You know Arnav, I don't think I've thanked you for letting me have this opportunity. It really means a lot to me" She said sincerely and squeezed his shoulder.
"I'm going to the workshop now, have tons of work to do and things to finish before the big night! I'll probably see you directly at the venue since I'll be dressing up there only. Let me know if you need me for anything" she blushed as she finished her sentence..Realizing too late what her last words implied. She once again plastered a huge smile on her face and walked out of the room leaving a thoroughly confused arnav behind.
Khushi was munching on her ceaser salad, it was lunch time and the entire crew, stylists, designers all were on a lunch break. She saw as a couple crossed in front of her and sat down on the opposite table, they were a striking duo and looked so much in love. She felt the woman looked familiar but could not put her finger on it. Khushi watched smiling as the man produced a single red rose and gave it to the woman, she smiled shyly at him as he bent forward and kissed her sensuously on her hand. Khushi sighed as they both bent their heads together, their foreheads touching..life just seemed so perfect for them.
Khushi turned her head and looked down into her half eaten salad as fresh tears made way into her tired eyes, the morning's drama had really taken a toll on her. Only she knew how she kept up her pretense, when she had come out and looked at arnav looking all disheveled and sleepy she wanted to whack him hard, and give him a mouthful about last night. But all night she had thought that she should not look bothered.
It wasn't like he knew she had seen him, she also gave him a chance to tell her about his meeting with that woman when she asked him about his meeting, but he remained mum. Only she knew how her heart broke into a thousand pieces last night, how she kept checking if he had returned, but eventually she had fallen asleep waiting up for him. God only knows when he came back and after doing what with that girl. She knew he only wanted one thing from her. Only she could be so dumb and nave to think that he wanted more.
She kept her fork down and gulped down some water before getting up. She checked her phone again to see if arnav had texted, but was disappointed again to see that he had not. In fact she had not seen or spoken to him since morning. She quickly stuffed her phone in her bag and started walking towards the door of the restaurant when the woman from the opposite table looked up and smiled at her. Khushi stopped in her tracks.
It was her, the woman from last night. The same woman arnav was having dinner with. Then why was she sitting her canoodling with this man! God she thought, this woman was two-timing as well! Well she is perfect for arnav, khushi thought menacingly. Wait! Arnav is not two-timing. She is not in a relationship with him, so he is free to do whatever he wants! She again felt tears threatening her and she more or less ran the rest of the way to the workshop.
Arnav sat with aman going over the last minute last minute details. The show was going to be a huge thing for them, plus it was the first under their new flagship brand 'Joie'! He smiled as he remembered how he named the brand after Khushi; He wished he was with her right now. But one can't get everything they wish for. He wanted to go and meet her for lunch or at the workshop but he didn't know how he will react since he was still very confused after today morning. He felt it was best to meet her during the event itself.
It was already 5pm and the show was starting at sharp 6. He got up from the conference table and asked everyone to get ready and meet up at the show venue. They had finalized the outdoor area overlooking the vast hills around the palace. It was the perfect place for the kind of indo-western look they had planned for the fashion show. He wondered what Khushi was going to wear, but then she looked ravishing in anything, she could wear a potato sack for all he cared and she'll still look adorable. He walked towards his room with that image in his mind, his lips slowly turning up in a lazy smile.
Khushi was just putting finishing touches to her makeup when she heard a knock on the green room door. She assumed it was mihika, one of the younger designers who khushi had taken an instant like towards, She was going to come and dress up here with khushi. She unlocked the door and asked her to come in, she turned towards the mirror to apply one last coat of lip gloss. Then she turned around and her smile froze.
Arnav stood rooted to the ground, she was wearing the Red Marchesa dress, the same red dress he had bought her all those weeks ago at Harrods, the same dress which had made him lose his mind that day and was making him do something similar now. It was as if he had no control over his body as his legs travelled on their own accord towards her. She stepped back as he came and stood right in front of her, hardly a distance of a foot between them. He placed his hands on her delicate shoulders and looked into her eyes as she stilled, her breath coming in short gasps.
Khushi was absolutely shocked to find him in her room, she thought it was mihika. She saw a wild look cross his eyes as they traveled all over her body. She knew she should not have worn this dress, she remembered their encounter at harrods when she had worn this dress. She stepped back as he stepped towards her. When he stood right in front of her, she found it hard to breath. When his hands touched her skin, she felt that same stirring of desire run thought her. She looked at him steadily, waiting to see what he did next.
Arnav gently turned her towards the mirror, her back now facing him. She looked at him through the mirror with confused eyes, he could see her desire was as strong as his, but this was just a prelude. He snaked one arm around her collarbone and rested it against her beating pulse, he saw her open her mouth to speak but he shook his head and gestured her to keep mum, he kept staring at her through the mirror as his other hand started undoing her zipper on the back. Khushi gasped and held her bodice tightly to avoid it from falling away.
"What are you doing arnav" she said in a throaty voice, she was finding it difficult to even talk as she felt his fingers trailing her now naked back. She sucked in a breath and moaned as she felt his lips press against her neck and then slowly trail long her shoulders. He finally looked up to her and smirked "No one can zip up this dress except me, not even you" he then slowly zipped the dress back up. He saw her eyes widen as he stepped back from her "one more thing, I don't like you hair up" saying that he undid her hair clip and watched as her thick black hair cascaded down her back.
He then turned away and walked out the door without giving her a backward glance, Khushi kept staring at the door through the mirror. 'What has gotten into him' she thought, why does he keep playing these games with me, she thought miserably. This was it, she had enough of all this. Once this event was done, she was going to tell him that the deal was off, she'll repay him every penny, even if she has to work 24 hrs in day. But she could not step back and watch him destroy her heart, her senses, her sanity over and over again. She took her clutch and walked out of the room towards the stage.
Khushi watched as all the models got ready, this was the first time she was meeting them. Suddenly she felt a tap on her shoulder and she turned around to find herself face to face with the same woman from today lunch, the same woman who was dining with arnav last night "Hi, i'm Lisel...the show stopper...you are Khushi right?" khushi nodded slowly and gave her a tight smile, 'what is she trying to do? Rub it in further that she slept with my fiance?' khushi thought angrily.
"I just love your design...its absolutely marvelous, such details! Ok I need to go and change. See you later, we'll catch up during the after party" Lisel said excitedly as she rushed back towards the changing room. Khushi looked at her strangely wondering what design she was talking about, she had not designed any of the dresses, so...she probably had her confused with someone else. Plus she had seen the show stopper outfit, it was designed by Wickram B, one of the senior designers. She straightened her dress and stepped out into the crowd, she went and stood quietly at the back, away from everyone. Her eyes on two things, the stage and Arnav singh raizada.
Arnav watched as the show started with a bang, one by one the models came out wearing the latest fashion which his designers had designed. He was very proud of all of them and he was especially proud of Khushi for taking care of the entire show. Aman had told him how she had co-ordinated everything and all the glitches and problems were solved very efficiently by her. He kept glancing at the pillar far away opposite him as she stood there watching the show with excited eyes. He wanted her seated next to him but felt he should give her the space she needed, after all she was up for a huge surprise.
Khushi felt arnav's stare on her, she gave him a sideways glance and then looked straight back at the ramp, all the dresses looked so gorgeous, they were all made with indian fabrics and traditional indian motifs and design but all the dresses were western. It made such a contrast that the entire audience, press included were in awe of the dresses. Finally the lights were all dimmed and white laser rays started shooting from the side, the tempo of the music changed to a fast wild beat as the show stopper walked out to the ramp.The entire audience went silent as a focus light came right on top of her. Khushi had to hold onto the smooth pillar as she saw the dress lisel wore.
Arnav felt the entire place go quite and then loudly erupt in a loud applause, people were standing up as lisel walked out on the ramp, perfectly showing the beautiful ivory dress but arnav's eyes were focused only on the one person who mattered, the person who had designed this dress, the person who had stolen his heart, the person who meant everything to him. He saw her look straight at him, her eyes conveying confusion, anger and even some gratitude, but overall she just stood there stunned as he was ushered back stage by aman for the final walk.
The applause died down as one by one all the models came back with their respective designers. Lastly when Lisel walked out, Arnav followed her on stage, the clapping increased and the camera's flashed wildly. Arnav took a mike and gestured everyone to quite down, all looked at him as he spoke "Thank you everyone for gracing this show with your presence, As you all saw, we had a mix of various designers young and old who work for Raizada fashion. But there is one designer who was not up here with her design"
Arnav looked at khushi directly who seemed to have gone into a permanent shock "Ms Khushi gupta everyone,graduate of Visguine Institute of Fashion, London, my fiancee' and the designer of the lovely dress which our beautiful showstopper, Lisel wore'" arnav pointed directly at her.
Khushi felt someone drag her to the stage, it was as if her body was on auto-pilot, she was still trying to figure out how her dress reached this ramp and that too on the show stopper! She could hear the mind numbing applause which ensued once arnav finished his little speech, she finally found herself standing right next to him on the ramp. The next moment she felt him pull her towards him and hold her tightly by her waist. She looked up to see the camera's flash at them, suddenly arnav pulled her closer and kissed her right on her mouth.
Khushi was too shocked to respond, it was a quick kiss but it was enough to pull the earth right from beneath her feet, she felt someone hand arnav an instant photo of their kiss; Arnav smiled at her lovingly and gave her the photo, she saw it and then looked back at him. He had a tender look in his eyes. She struggled to get out of his hold, all this was too much. What did all this mean? She saw as the media rushed forward to get his interviews and bytes, she took that opportunity to turn away quickly and walk our from the place before anyone could approach her. She needed air, away from all this.
Arnav saw her walk into the palace indoor, he excused himself and promised the press that he will give his byte and interview at the after party. He rushed inside to see Khushi walk briskly towards the verandah area, he walked behind her and closed the door as he stepped out into the quite breezy nook, away from the crowd, overlooking the hills. He saw Khushi stiffen as she felt his presence, she held on more tightly to the photograph as he slowly walked towards her and placed his hands on her shoulders, she spoked slowly in her ears "Khushi...what I did.."
Khushi pushed him away roughly and stepped back from him before he could complete his sentence, she had tears running down her beautiful face but the anger, hurt and confusion was clearly visible in her eyes, she spoke in a steady voice as she looked directly at arnav "Enough arnav...i've had enough! Of all of this" she spoke as she held the photograph up. "I am tired to trying to figure you out..i am exhausted playing this drama...i want to go back to being Katya, I cannot act anymore" arnav felt his chest tighten as he heard her soft words.
"I don't know what you want of me arnav, I know that I don't mean anything to you...like how last night you lied to me about your dinner...i know you were with Lisel...i just don't get you. I am tired of wondering if is it just a physical thing for you...i want out arnav. I'll pay your every penny back, but please just let me go. I can't act anymore" she cried as she held on to the railing.
Khushi then wiped her tears and said in a whisper "But then I wonder arnav...i wonder why you do such wonderful things for me...like getting my dress all the way here for this show, I can't even express what that meant to me, you have made me feel special so many times arnav...why? Why do all this for me when all of this will end?" she asked in a broken voice.
Arnav came towards her as she asked her question, he looked into the sooty depths of her beautiful eyes, her anguish, her pain he could feel all of it inside himself, he had pained her enough, he now knew what she felt for him, it was evident on her face. He cupped her face and looked her straigh in the eyes, and that was when she saw it, the emotion which both of them were hiding so perfectly for so long, felt a shiver run up her spine as he said in the softest whisper ever "because I love you Khushi".