"How can you ask me to choose arnav?" khushi said getting agitated, she could not believe how unreasonable and absolutely pig-headed he was being. She probably should not have told him anything. "Khushi, just tell me his name...can't you understand that i cannot be at peace unless i know who he is" arnav said as he pulled her roughly by her arms.
Khushi looked at the troubled look in his eyes..she hated not telling him Shyam's name but she really did not want him to take matters in his hands, besides it had been soo many years that it really did not matter anymore. "Arnav, please try and understand, the reason i am not telling you his name is because he was part of my past, a part which i never want to remember or think about, a part which should not shadow my present or future with you" she said as her eyes became moist.
Arnav left her as he saw her tremble with sorrow, he could never see her tears, he cursed himself for acting like such a brute "I don't want you going to jail for doing something to him..i won't be able to live without you and if i have to spend my every minute with bodyguards then he has already succeeded in keeping himself alive every second in my thoughts..please arnav try to understand..let the past be in the past...he won't try to do anything to me. If he wanted to he would have tried to contact me some way or the other in these last few years" khushi sighed as she went and sat on the couch.
Arnav saw her sitting dejectedly, she sighed softly as she gazed out the window..he knew he should listen to her but somehow he would not settle without knowing about that b*****d. He thought it was best to agree with her and investigate about this guy in his own way...he made a mental note to check with Aman for an agency in the UK.
He walked towards khushi and put his arms around her small form "Fine khushi, i won't probe into this anymore. If you don't want to talk about him and if you are confident that he will not trouble you, i won't bring it up anymore. Lets just forget about all this ok?" arnav consoled her as he felt her body relax into his.
Khushi looked up and smiled at arnav, she knew that he was only agreeing with her because he was probably thinking of finding shyam's name out himself, all this time she was with him she had come to know him very well. She knew she could not stop him from doing that but she just hoped that he would not do anything foolish. She leaned back into him as his arms came around her shoulders holding her tight.
"Thank you arnav...lets just forget this conversation ok? We have bigger things to worry about...like telling your family the truth." she said closing her eyes, she felt that problems were just not leaving them. Arnav grinned into her hair "That you leave to me...i'm going to sit with mamaji and work out a strategy to make dadi,ma and brat listen to me...they need to know that you were my fake fiancee when you first came to India...though i think i should skip the part of me thinking you were an escort" he said as a loud crash got them out of their reverie.
"WHAT! Your his fake fiancee? And wait..bhai...what were you saying about escorts?" a throughly confused and befuddled anjali asked from the doorway..her portfolio laying scattered on the hardwood floor. Arnav and khushi jumped at once as they say her staring at them waiting for one of them to speak up. Khushi looked at arnav who seemed lost for words. She stepped forward and gently pulled anjali into the room and made her sit on the couch.
"Anji...this was not the way we wanted you to find out" khushi started as arnav looked everywhere but at them, she shook her head as she went and sat next to anjali "God,i don't know how to start this but...we did meet in the UK...and arnav wanted a fake fiancee for a month...ask him the reason why.." she said pointing at arnav who was still not looking at them.
Khushi sighed as she took anjali's hand in hers, the poor girl looked like she was in shock "Yes, we came to India with an intention to keep up the pretense and then break up after a month...once again please ask your brother for his reasons" khushi said giving arnav an angry look...she could not believe she was explaining all this to his sister by herself...'Mr..i will take care of everything and strategize!' Balls...khushi thought smiling to herself.
"So anyhow...after a while, we both realized that we love each other..and thought of giving this thing a real go..." she finished uncertainly as anjali looked up and caught her hands tight "I just want to know if you will be my bhabhi or not...i don't care how you both met or why my idiot brother thought of a fake engagement...i just don't want to lose you...your'e the best bhabhi any girl can have...please tell me your not leaving me..please!" she pleaded as khushi's eyes filled up.
"Off course i'm not leaving silly girl...i love your brother and he loves me and we both love you...i'm very lucky to have you as my sister...i'll never leave...trust me when i say that i may leave arnav one day but i'll never leave you" she said as anjali pulled her into a tight hug...khushi hugged her back as arnav suddenly spoke up "Jeez! Do you both want a room now? What the hell do you mean by saying that you may leave me one day!"
Anjali and khushi both pulled apart and regarded arnav's angry red face with amusement "So now he speaks...i thought you have taken up a temporary vow of silence" khushi sniggered as anjali heartily laughed "See bhai..this just shows how much bhabhi loves me...wayyy more than you!" anjali said as she spread her hands to show the vastness...arnav quickly stepped towards the couch "Anji ki bacchi..." he said loudly as anjali squealed "I'll always tease you with this" as she ran out of the room.
It was later afternoon when arnav, khushi and anjali reached the house. Arnav had already spoken to mamaji and explained to him that they needed to talk about him and khushi. He had not told him a lot over the phone but only that they had to tell the entire truth to the family. Mamaji had calmly told arnav to come home immediately so that they could work out a way to break the news.
Khushi walked in holding Anjali's hand, the house seemed to be empty with only mamaji pacing the huge foyer waiting for them. As soon as he saw the three of them he went straight to arnav, "So, have you thought of anything Arnav?" mamaji said anxiously. Arnav looked at him with a quizzical expression "Uh..mamaji, i told you we need to figure this out. You know for a fact that ma and dadi will not take this lightly"
Mamaji looked at anjali and asked her in a serious tone "Anji beta, was it difficult for you to accept the truth? You know about their fake engagement and all? Since you know now...how do you feel about it?" anjali gave him a dazzling smile "Aww...c'mon mamaji...i don't care how this all started...the only thing that matters is that they love each other and are perfect for each other...so who cares!"
Arnav rolled his eyes "Mamaji really? Your'e asking her for an opinion? She's from a generation that gets inspiration from Glee and twilight! Off course she's ok with this...but ma and dadi come from a generation that still muses about sunday morning mahabharat! So their opinion on this matter will be completely different and i feel not so pleasant! So lets not waste time here...please think about how to tell them the truth" he said getting exasperated
Khushi saw how tense arnav was, she walked up to him and started pressing his shoulders "Arnav, lets just forget about all this strategy and other nonsense! Lets just tell them the truth as it is..there is no need for a plan...i know we started wrong but what really matters is that we want things to be righted and i know for a fact that ma and dadiji will understand us" she said softly.
"Understand what?" Maya said as she descended down the stairs with dadiji in front of her. They came and stood in front of the other four looking curiously at them "What are you taking about Khushi beta? Is there something you want to tell us?" Maya said helping dadiji sit on her armchair as she herself sat on the plush leather couch.
Khushi looked nervously at her and started stammering "N..n..no ma...n...nothing sig..significant...just something s...small" she looked up to find arnav suddenly busy with his phone. He quickly looked up and obviously pretended to get a call "Uh...excuse me...aman is calling" he said as he turned around to sprint.
Khusi narrowed her eyes at his back 'Oh no you don't mr raizada!" she thought as she went forward and snatched his phone from him. Arnav was too stunned to react to Khushi's obvious displeasure. She looked at his screen to check if he had really receive any call from aman, she smiled as she saw the number being dialed "Pizza hut? Really? Did aman change his job?" she said sarcastically at a guilty looking arnav.
"Arnav, i think we have pretended enough...its time to tell them the entire truth, they should know" khushi said looking directly at arnav. He nodded his head and came forward to hold her hand. They both turned towards maya and dadiji. Arnav squeezed Khushi's hand as he spoke in an even tone "There is something you both should know...something that we have kept hidden from you" he looked at khushi to see her give him an encouraging smile, but maya's voice made both their faces freeze.
"You mean the truth about your fake engagement? How you both pretended to be engaged when you first came here?" maya said smiling broadly at them. Even dadiji started laughing at the identical bewildered expression on both their faces "Yes Khushi bitiya, we knew about all that before you both even walked into the house on that day!" dadiji said as both arnav and khushi looked at mamaji, who was now holding his hands up.
"Ok...ok...don't look at me with murder in your eyes...i did not intend to tell them you know...they just kind of overheard me speaking to you that day...you know when we were planning a fake fiance for you" mamaji said cowering behind anjali who was equally annoyed that no one had included her in their secrets.
"I can't believe you guys did not tell me! How could you? I'm sure that if had not overheard bhai and bhabi's conversation today i would never have known!" anjali huffed looking at her family with mild annoyance reflecting on her face. Maya came and placed a palm on anajli's cheek "Anji, if i had told you then the whole world would have come to know the next second.." she said teasingly.
Maya then turned to khushi and arnav who still had varied expressions running on their faces "Ok kids, come out of the shock now...stop giving murderous look to mahendra" she said in an amused tone as she gently took khushi's hand and guided her to sit with her on the couch. She then motioned arnav to take the chair opposite to them.
"I knew all this the day mahendra and arnav spoke about it...arnav you do seem to forget that i am your mama's elder sister...if he is sly then i'm slyer! I knew he was going to call you since we took his phone...in fact we were relying on it. I also knew that only he would give you such a harebrained idea! I know my brother too well" she grinned as she saw an embarrassed and red-faced mahendra glaring at her.
"So, we made him speak..he told us about your plan and we threatened him not to let this on to you. And then we waited..." she said looking directly at arnav "We wanted to see who you bring in as my bahu and your to be wife" maya then turned towards khushi "I must say beta, i was really surprised to see you..such a pretty and innocent looking girl had agreed for this? That was what i first thought" maya took khushi's hands in her and smiled at her.
"I am sorry if i spoke rudely to you beta, and put you through so many unnecessary tasks..but i was very sure that you had already fallen for my son when we spoke in my study that day. I just knew that you were the girl for him...i started observing both of you very closely and was very happy to see how love blossomed between the two of you...i guess all of us could see it clearly but you both were too stubborn to realize it" she said smiling openly at them.
"Lets just say...we acted as necessary cupids to make you both realize that love and are we glad that the Neemrana thing worked out wonderfully..." Maya looked at Khushi's shocked face "Yes, it was all my idea..but i had to execute it through Mahendra..." maya looked at arnav who was looking at a smirking mamaji "What! You think he could think of something so brilliant?" Maya laughed as khushi and arnav both relaxed
"So Ma, you knew this all along? And dadi too? You guys planned this entire thing? And what did khushi say in the study?" Arnav asked incredulously looking at his mother "That you can ask khushi later" maya said winking at khushi "And, yes we did plan everything...but i must say that you really were the sore thumb in our plan...while khushi fell perfectly in sync, you always tended to mess things up...i mean the spectacle you put up during your engagement night! That was too much, poor khushi...we had to even drag in poor Raghav's name to make you jealous! So much stress you gave us!" maya said dramatically
"What! So the Raghav thing was a lie? I can't believe you guys! God only knows how many scenarios i had thought of to finish off the poor chap...i'm sure he has an ulcerated tongue by now, thanks to the myriad of swearing i have done with him in my mind." he said chuckling to himself, he then turned to Maya and dadiji "So since you guys had planned for us getting together...i guess we have your blessing?"
"Hmm...off course you do...and speaking of blessings...Khushi there is a surprise for you upstairs...wait let me tell Hari prakash to get it for you" Maya said gesturing to HP "What surprise ma? Are there any more surprises and secrets left? I think we have all exhausted the lot for the next two generations!" khushi said laughing, but her mouth froze in an 'O' as she felt instant tears prick her eyes.
Coming down the stairs, dressed in an off white sari was the one person who was most dearest to her...the one person for whom she had done all this, she stood up shivering from the excitement of seeing her in person after so many days and started walking slowly towards the stairs, she reached her as the other woman held her hands, her eyes mirroring the joy and moistness in her nieces eyes "Buaji" khushi croaked before being pulled in her aunt's loving embrace.