'Complicated equations...deal with patience'
By the time khushi stepped back into her room after arnav had instructed maggie to bring her some of payal's clothes, she had already gone over innumerable reason's as to why she felt this urge to simply jump him...Ok, that was putting it too boldly...but she had to stop herself from drooling over him every time he offered a small smile or concerned look...she liked him better when he was rude and mean...that she could handle.
She sighed as got out of her wet clothes and went into the bathroom for a much needed hot shower. After the whole emotional roller coaster ride with arnav, she felt completely drained..and she could just imagine what he must have actually gone through, reliving all those painful memories. She closed her eyes and prayed that she could find a way to get through his insecurities...because till the time he does not stop blaming himself..there was no way he could do full justice to mending his ways with anaya.
Khushi turned off the shower and toweled herself dry. She quickly donned a fluffy pink robe and walked out of the bathroom to wait for maggie. She was just combing out her wet hair when there was a rap on the door, assuming it to be maggie she smiled widely as she opened her bedroom door only to have her mouth involuntarily turn into an 'o' at the person who stood outside.
Arnav was just walking downstairs when maggie came bounding up with clothes for khushi. When she saw arnav, she asked him to give it to khushi since she had to go back down for some work. Arnav sighed as he took the satin nightgown and walked towards the guest room. He just wanted to quickly give it to her and leave before he made a fool of himself by saying or doing something odd.
But obviously, where sabrina was concerned..his mind and tongue never connected on the right words or actions...as he saw her standing there with her wet hair clinging to her cheeks, while her delicate body was ensconced in a pink robe that fell just short off her knees, his mind just stopped working. Yes it did. He saw her gorgeous mouth transform from a sunny smile to a shocked 'o'...only for her to quickly grab the wispy cloth from his hand, her fingers brushing slightly against his palm.
"Thanks.." khushi said, relived that words werefinally forming and coming out of her suddenly dry mouth. She blinked as he quickly stepped away from her as if her touch had burned his hand. He looked sideways as khushi realized she was standing in front of him in only a robe...she moved back with a hand on the door, ready to close it
when he suddenly spoke "Uh...do you want some coffee?..." he said as if in a daze to which khushi wanted to politely deny and bid good-night when her own vice sounded like some alien had taken over "Sure..sounds great..." she said while she mentally slapped herself for accepting.
She looked up to see his shocked face, as if he could not believe that she accepted "Great...i'll see you in the kitchen..." he said as he turned to leave "Uh...hope the clothes fit you...um..you should change" he said in a strange voice as he quickly walked away leaving her slightly confused with a slight fluttering in her stomach about seeing him again...
Arnav had just finished frothing the milk as his thoughts ran back to the earlier incident...why did he ask her for coffee? He was about to say a good night to her when he blurted out something completely irrelevant! He didn't even drink coffee at night! He stirred the dark liquid as he felt a kind of elation at the fact that she accepted his offer. He was still deep in thought when the object of his thoughts walked in, in a swirl of cream satin.
He looked on mesmerized as khushi nervously sat across him on the kitchen table as he poured in the frothy milk and prepared their coffee "Uh...arnav..i think the froth is.." khushi said as she pointed towards the coffee mug which had froth spilling over the rim "Oh shit!" arnav said as he came back to the present and wiped the spilt milk with the kitchen towel. He apologized to khushi who simply smiled at him and took the offered mug.
"Umm...this coffee is amazing! Wow!, you make a mean coffee Mr Raizada" she said as she sipped on the hot milky concoction, arnav picked up his own mug and gestured her to step out with him into the lounge ares of the living room. He looked on as she walked in front of him, her perfect body swaying as cream satin nightdress caressing her soft curves, the dress was very decent and logical for nightwear, with modest sleeves, high neck and hemline that fell to her ankles, but on her, it made her look like a seductress. Arnav wondered how long he could take this torture.
Khushi sat down on the settee in the lounge while arnav sat on the easy chair. Arnav looked up slowly to see khushi enjoying her coffee, blowing at the hot liquid'he gulped as he saw some froth sticking to her upper lip and had this mad urge to go and lick it off her but stopped himself from doing anything evenly remotely stupid like that. He cleared his throat and gestured khushi to clean her lip so that the distracting image would stop him from his wayward thoughts.
Khushi awkwardly wiped the back of her hand over her lip as arnav once again cleared his throat "So'" he said as khushi looked up expectantly'she was glad he had broken the odd silence "Uh'tell me about yourself khushi'I..I mean'now that you know so much about me'its fair I should know a little bit about you'" he said trying to make small talk but innately curious about her personal life.
Khushi felt uneasy at arnav's question, but she smiled hesitatingly at his curious look'hardly anyone knew about her past except for shilpa di and some close friend; it wasn't as tragic as arnav's but she did have her set of tragedies. Today she was proud of what she had become, the struggle making her a strong and independent woman.
She kept her empty mug down and looked up slowly, giving him a watery smile as she wondered where to start "Well'there's not much to my life'I'm originally from Delhi'did my schooling there. I shifted to Mumbai when I got into Mumbai university for doing my graduation..I proceeded to do my post-grad after which I worked for a year before starting on my PhD'currently I'm finishing that too and and working as a part-time teacher since two years to pay for my tuition'rest is as you see me.." she said with a smile while arnav looked at her with a bewildered expression.
"Whoa! That can't be your life'c'mon, who's in your family? Where do they stay? How many siblings do you have..you haven't told me anything personal..while I blurted out my entire life to you" arnav said with a pout to which khushi gave him a small smile.
"There's no one in my family arnav'except for my buaji and my best friend Shilpa" she said sadly as arnav looked on "Oh..i'm sorry khushi'I didn't mean to pry..." he said assuming he had saddened her, khushi looked at his concerned face and spoke in a light tone "No arnav'its fine..i didn't really know my parents'I mean, my mother passed away in childbirth giving birth to me and..and my father'" she said as her voice caught.
Arnav felt his heart clenching as he heard her speak, he was shocked to know that khushi was motherless since birth..he looked at her pale face and went and sat next to her'holding her hand as she took a deep breath "What about your father khushi?" he asked her gently as stroked his finger over her baby soft skin.
"My father left me at the hospital after my birth'he did not want to see me, because according to him I was responsible for his wife's death'I...I never saw him..never met him" she said as a tear escaped her eye, arnav pulled her closer to him as she wiped her tear and continued "Buaji told me that no one from my family wanted to take my responsibility, not there there were many of them'so the hospital handed me over to the local orphanage.." she sighed remembering the day when buaji had told her all this.
"But then'who is your buaji? She's your father's sister right?" he asked her perplexed, khushi shook her head as she continued "No..buaji is not related to me by blood'she was my father's neighbors daughter, she considered my father as a brother...she was the only one who insisted on adopting me but since she was single and did not earn enough, the legal system did not find her eligible"khushi sighed as her eyes welled up again.
"Buaji is my only family today...her parents had also passed away when she was barely 22, but she held her own...she was with me all throughout my life and visited me at the orphanage daily. I don't know why she never got married but she always considered me as her own daughter, legal system or not!" khushi smiled remembering her eccentric buaji.
"Arnav...i spent the first 15 years of my life at the orphanage, but i never felt lonely...i had my buaji and all the girls who grew up with me. Once i finished my schooling..me and some of the other girls were shifted to a young girls hostel for further schooling..but we also worked at themahila griha udyog*; the money we earned there helped us remain independent and self-sustainable.." she sighed as she remembered all her friends who were all well settled now.
"As i finished my college, i earned a scholarship in mumbai for studying psychology...by that time i was 18 and could live freely as an adult. Buaji wanted me to stay with her..but i wanted to do something on my own and take care of buaji who is now pretty old, what with her aching back and ailing knees" khushi laughed as she reminisced about her buaji's constant complaints.
Arnav smiled seeing her smile, his respect for her had grown to another level...she really was something else "So, you continued your studies here...i'm guessing earning more scholarships and rest as you say is in front of me...or is there more?" he asked her skeptically as she looked up suddenly into his eyes "Hmm...do you think there's more? Like another complicated relationship...a psycho possessive boyfriend...or worse?" khushi asked him wryly to which he smiled uncertainly.
"Nah, you are right...life got pretty routine after my post-grad. I started working for an internship and earned pretty well to rent out a decent flat in a good locality of mumbai..that's where i met Shilpa di...she's my closest friend today and she is also my neighbor...i share absolutely everything with her...she's more like the big sis i never had...and we do spend a lot of time together since her husband's a shippy...and only gets home for a coupla weeks every few months..." she smiled warmly as arnav's respect and some other feeling grew for this woman.
Khushi casually turned towards arnav who was watching her very intently...as if questioning her about something..she felt her breath hitch again at the close proximity they sat...all throughout the time she was narrating her life story to him...she did not realize that he was still holding her close with his thighs pressed firmly against hers, in fact she was nearly in his lap. She quickly freed herself and shifted away from him but arnav kept looking at her.
"what? Do i have something on my nose?" she asked him only to find him getting up suddenly. She looked on confused as he flashed a quick smile to her and said in a very slow husky voice "Khushi...you never clarified about the complicated relationship and psycho possessive boyfriend..." he said as she looked on blushing at him
"And if there is no truth in both of them...i'll pick you up tomorrow at 7:30pm for the gala...the theme is red and black..Good night.." he said as he gave her one last glance before sauntering off to his room...leaving a shocked and goose-pimply khushi behind.