"Shyam, I can't accept this..please try to understand" Khushi said getting irritated with him, Shyam looked at her with angry eyes, raking his fingers through his long hair "Katya..c'mon. How long are you going to deny this thing between us...please take this necklace, i got it made specially for you" He pushed the bag into her hands and stepped closer, but khushi had already moved away from him. She kept the bag on the floor and looked directly at him.
"let me tell you for the last time Shyam...there is nothing between us, i consider you a friend and that is all you are to me. This will never go to any other level. Please try and understand..i don't feel anything more for you and i never will" Khushi said getting exasperated. She always felt emotionally and physically tired every time they met nowadays. After three months of knowing each from that day in the park, Khushi had really come to like his easy ways and respectful friendship but lately he had started imposing on her too much.
She saw his eyes turn dark as he leapt forward and held her tightly by her upper arms "No Katya...you are denying it! I know you have deeper feelings for me but for some reason you keep on saying no to yourself. Don't you see how perfect we are for each other? I will always keep you happy, you will never have to work another day..I am too rich for my own good. I'll keep you like a princess" he pleaded, khushi squirmed against his hold "You are hurting me Shyam" she said as she eased his hands off her arms.
"You cannot force me to feel something i don't! Why are you not understanding this?" khushi said getting seriously agitated "And its not about money or how happy you can keep me, Shyam I simply don't love you..we can never be together..just...just leave me alone" she said loudly as she ran to the main door of her halls of residence, she quickly opened the door and closed it not caring that Shyam had run right behind her and the door had closed right on his face.
Shyam gulped down the last of his vodka letting the fiery liquid burn his throat, he leaned back on the easy chair in his lounge and looked at the dogeared photo of a smiling girl in a bright red coat. He had taken this photo of her's without her noticing on his phone. He had many more which he had taken this way but this was his favorite.
He then got up slowly and went to his bedroom; he switched on the lights and looked around the huge room whose each and every available wall was covered with various photos of the same girl "I lost you once Katya...not again" he said slowly as got into bed staring at the wall in front of him, a life-size same picture of the girl in the red coat plastered on it.
"Khushi?" Arnav knocked softly on her door. He had seen his mother out and about the house as soon as he had come back from his jog, so he felt it was safe to go and visit Khushi. When there was no response from her room he opened the door and stepped in. At first he thought she was still sleeping but then saw the quilt lying haphazardly on the bed.
He checked the bathroom and the balcony wondering where she had gone. He started worrying that she may have been too upset and must have gone somewhere on her own. He quickly ran down to meet his mother downstairs "Ma! Where is Khushi? I checked but she is not in her room" he said quickly. Maya smiled at him "Arre baba, she went with Anjali just a few minutes ago..actually anji needed her help to choose some fabrics for her project so she took Khushi along. They've gone to your office only".
Arnav looked at her skeptically "This early in the morning? Are you serious? They could have just waited to go with me" he said getting irritated. Why did anji had to take Khushi along? That too this early? "Well she probably wanted to finish her work before everyone else arrives, if you go early you may get to meet them there" she said pinching his cheek and smiling. Arnav grimaced and ran up the stairs..he had to make it in time to meet them in the office. He decided to call khushi and tell her to wait for him.
"So bhabhi..what do you think? Does this fuchsia color go with this pattern? Maybe i can weave some dull gold thread along this...i think it will make a wonderful fabric for the dress na?" Anjali said getting excited. Khushi looked at her and nodded, she did have a point. The fabric will actually look stunning if she gets it right. "You know anji, you can also team this up with some light zardosi work..just along the borders, it will look classically chic" khushi smiled at her as anjali drew some indian patterns on her sketchbook.
"Yes bhabhi, you are right! This will look fab! Your'e a genius...why don't you join us here?"anjali said coming towards khushi and grabbing her hands. "Because unlike you, she wants to stand up on her own two feet princess!" a deep voice spoke from the doorway to the fabric room. Both khushi and Anjali looked up to find arnav grinning at them, his body leaning on the frame. Khushi felt her heart soar as he smiled at her. She had missed him terribly from last night.
Arnav saw the play of emotions on khushi's face, he knew she was still upset because her voice had sounded quite dull when he had called her an hour ago. He went directly towards her and pulled her into a tight hug "You ok babe?" he whispered in her ears, he felt her head go up and down as she nodded "yes, i'm ok now" she whispered back as they pulled away to look into each other's eyes.
"Ahem! Young innocent sister alert! You two should get a room!" anjali giggled as arnav and khushi broke their stare to look at her, khushi blushing prettily "Oh and by the way big brother, according to bhabhi here i am an amazing designer...so let me just say that i'm doing you a favor by offering to work in this company...i mean i really don't want to see you grovel and beg when i become a famous designer!" anjali squealed as arnav picked her up and transported her to the door.
"Bhai! Thats so mean...you are actually throwing me out!" she said with a fake hurt face, arnav saw the mischief behind those huge eyes "yes i am, because you just so kindly reminded us that we need to get a room, so we are getting one...this one!" he said as anjali stuck her tongue out "Fine! I'll be with Aman, but i need bhabhi in some time ok? This was supposed to be my time with her!" she gave him a cheeky smile and a thumbs-up to khushi as she ran down the corridor giggling all the way.
Arnav locked the door after anjali left and turned to look at khushi. She was leaning against the work table, her flowery yellow summer dress blowing slightly at her knees due to a light breeze from the open french window. She gave him a small smile as he came and stood in front of her "Hi" he said huskily circling his arms around her waist, he pulled her between his legs "I missed you" he said as his nose nuzzled her neck.
Khushi sighed contently in arnav's arms, she snaked her arms around his neck and pressed herself to him "I missed you too" she said as closed her eyes enjoying the assault his lips were carrying out on various parts of her face, she smiled as she felt him kiss her eye-lid, followed by her nose and finally they brushed against her lips.
Arnav skimmed his lips over hers, lightly kissing her on the corner of her mouth, he wanted to kiss her slowly, building it up with all the love he felt for her. His tongue darted to taste her bottom lip as she parted her lips to invite him in. She whimpered as he slowly entered her mouth, tasting her sweet taste leisurely, khushi's unique taste he thought as his grip on her waist tightened, he heard her moan into his mouth as her own tongue thrust into it. She grabbed his hair as she deepened the kiss, wanting to feel more, needing his touch, his skin against hers.
Arnav could feel her desperation, but he also knew how upset she was and even though his body was straining to be one with hers, this was not the right time so he pulled away. He saw her confused eyes and felt her body stiffen at the sudden loss of contact. She moved back as he caught her face in his hands "Sweetheart, are you all right?" he asked suddenly. She pushed his hands away and went to stand by the window "I'm fine...i told you i'm better now" she said softly as she folded her hands across her chest.
Arnav went and held her by her waist, his front pressing into her back "I know your'e not ok babe, trust me when i say that i want you so so desperately..but we need to talk. You need to let me in...tell me who Lavanya was taking about yesterday." he said softly into her hair. He felt her body go cold as soon as he brought it up. He knew that she would try and withdraw again, but he had to get through to her.
He tightened his grip on her "Please Khushi, don't you trust me? I won't force you, but you have to let me in sometime." he said as he loosened his hold and stepped back. He was just turning to leave when khushi held his hand firmly "Don't go" she said with moist eyes. He quickly pulled her into a hug as tears flew down her shiny cheeks wetting arnav's white shirt.
"What is it babe? Tell me..is it really that bad? Did he do something to you?" arnav said getting charged, he would kill the person who had hurt her so much that she could not even speak about it. He held her close till she cried herself out, he then took her to the couch and got her a bottle of water from the fridge. He sat down next to her and pulled her into him. She leaned into his chest as she drank some water before looking into his eyes and started speaking solemnly.
"I met him during my first year at uni, he was this fun-loving easy going kind of guy" she felt arnav stiffening, she looked up at him and gave him a small smile "It isn't what you think arnav, let me finish first" she sighed as she felt him relax against her "He was a guest lecturer at my university and we had a couple of classes with him. At first i thought he was interested in Lavanya cause she certainly showed interest in him, but after meeting him a couple of times sometimes for coffee, sometimes for movie or a night out with our friends...i realized he liked me instead" arnav saw her getting paler. He held her tightly and urged her to continue.
"At first i tried to ignore the obvious signs he showed, thinking he'll give up in sometime, but then he started getting unnecessarily close to me, he bought me expensive gifts and texted me at odd timings saying he missed me and what not. I made it clear to him that i was not interested in him and did not feel anything for him but he kept insisting that i was denying it" She adjusted herself against him to face him instead.
"I asked him to leave me alone and he did...for some time. But then one day he came drunk to my halls and started shouting my name. The warden tried to control him but he hit him pretty hard and started breaking the door downstairs, luckily someone had had informed the police and he was taken away. He was given a warning due to his act and he did not show up for a few days after that incident" she shuddered as she remembered that night, the fear she felt thinking that he may just scale the building and reach her. Arnav breathed deeply into her hair as his face turned red in anger.
"What is his name Khushi? Tell me now.." arnav said getting agitated, he wanted to get his hands on the bas***d and tear him to pieces. He felt khushi's cold hand sliding over his. "Arnav, don't ask me for his name... Please its in the past and if you don't relax and listen then i won't tell you anything more" he looked at her sad eyes and nodded his head. He had to control his anger.
"He did try to contact me a few times after that, but i usually kept to myself in the halls, only stepping out when required. I had turned into a kind of recluse because of him. So one day Lavanya insisted that we all go for a night out..it had been days since anyone had heard from him and he seemed to have disappeared...in fact once the university had come to know about the way he acted they terminated his classes. But how wrong i was" khushi said softly..her eyes misting up.
"That night in the club..we were all having a good time, in fact i felt relaxed after nearly two months and it felt good being amongst friends. What i did not know was that he was present at the same club that night. He was observing me the entire time..arnav he..he" khushi sobbed as she remembered that dreadful night, her innards twisting up as the images flashed in her mind. Arnav quickly hugged her tight and said softly "Shh...shh..khushi its ok, you can tell me" he said in a trembling voice, dreading what she was going to say.
"Arnav he..he cornered me when i went to the restroom..he locked the door behind him and tried to get physical with me...he..he hit me when i didn't respond to him...i was ss..so scared arnav...he would have raped me that night if Lavanya had not reached there in time.." she cried as arnav's entire body went numb, his pupils had dilated in sheer anger for that bas***d who had even attempted to touch her, let alone rape her..he could never imagine that his khushi had gone through such an ordeal..he was going to find out his name and kill him, with his bare hands.
Arnav got up abruptly and took his phone out from his pocket "Khushi, tell me his name. Don't expect me to do nothing after knowing the truth...i will kill that asshole...i don't care if i have to spend the rest of my life in prison but he will die a horrific death at my hands" he saw khushi get up with frightened eyes. She held his hands tightly "No arnav...please understand..that was my past..you are my today, my future. I only told you all this because i wanted you to know..but if i knew you would react this way i never would have told you." she said as arnav's body boiled in rage.
"Please, listen to me...i does not matter anymore" she hugged him tightly, urging his body to cool down..forcing his mind to calm down. Arnav saw her small petite figure shivering in his arms, he hugged her back burying his face in her fragrant hair "I love you Khushi...more that anything...how can i sit around when that man is free..he should be punished for his deeds" khushi felt him get a little bit calmer.
"After that incident in the club we reported him to the police...he got sentenced for 6 months in prison followed by a restraining order and finally deportation. I never set my eyes on him again. I never left the country fearing that he may try to meet me again somewhere...but its been too long now. He will never bother me again love, i'm not going to let my past shadow my future with you." she said softly as she snuggled further into his embrace.
"Where was he from?" arnav asked her stroking her back, she looked up suddenly..a kind of wary look in her eyes. She turned back from him as he caught her hands "He's from India isn't he? Thats what Lavanya told you yesterday?" he cursed loudly as she nodded her head in an affirmative. "God Khushi, why did you not tell me this before? We are all over the news..dammit! Its ok..i'm going to hire bodyguards for you right away and you are not to leave the house without me or them..understood?" he said with a determined look.
"No arnav, don't do this...i can't live like that, I can't be in fear of something which is not there..its been too long arnav. He won't trouble me anymore...please try and understand" she pleaded him as he stood his ground. Hey eyes welled up as arnav paced the room "Fine so tell me his name, i'll kill him once and for all...then we can live happily ever after! choose one of the two" arnav faced her as khushi looked at him in shock.
'Stp callin me!' anjali texted furiously as she sipped her 3rd cup of coffee. What happened to the amazing morning she was having with bhabhi! First bhai comes and spoils their work...then she had to sit for two hours with that boring aman, who spoke monotonously in his irritating nasal voice explaining her about the benefits of moth balls! God! And now shyam was calling her continuously! What does a girl have to do to get some peace!
She had just finished sketching the final outfit when her phone buzzed again, she saw that shyam had texted her 'Please Anji..just meet me once. I swear i won't bother you after that. For old time's sake?' she sighed as she read his message. Maybe he was regretting she thought forlornly. It won't be all that bad meeting him once..after all it may be perfect for her to stop this once and for all, completer closure! she pressed the reply button ad texted 'Fine, jst once. Bt il let ya knw whn n whr'