Khushi paced around her bedroom, as she held onto her phone in one hand with her finger hovering over his name; since yesterday morning, her mind was in a conflict of whether she should call him or not...she fondly caressed his picture, that she had stored in his contact details, the same one they had clicked during their small trip Bylakuppe...she smiled remembering how she had pestered arnav to send her the photos, which he had, as soon as they had gotten back home
That day had been so perfect...but then, everything had fallen apart...and she now knew that it was because of her stupidity and rash decision that it had...if only she had listened patiently to what Arnav wanted to say...if only she had stopped and heard his explanation...she was deeply hurt that he was probably using her for his book..but then she also could never deny the feelings his eyes had so openly displayed for her...
What made it worse, was when he declared himself to be Crispin Pike...at that moment, she had thought he had completely lost his mind and in order to pacify her was once again starting a new string of lies...but now as looked at the creased newspaper on her bed, she wondered if he was indeed, Crispin Pike...and something in her heart said that yes...he was.
But her mind...her mind that always ruled her, denied it...her mind kept reminding her, that even if she would have forgiven him for using her, she could never forgive him for getting engaged to someone else and thus bringing their story to an end...so even if she was madly in love with him...and he just might be her favorite author , she will not go the launch and make a fool of herself...no she will not.
And so, five minutes later, Khushi Gupta was found rummaging through her wardrobe, trying to find something good to wear...she had to be at the venue at sharp 6 pm, and there was hardly any time left.
"I can't believe they gave you the presidential suite...won't the staff suspect that you might be the high profile mystery writer" Manav asked as Arnav opened the door for him...he whistled as he took in the large suite, reeking of luxury as Arnav rolled his eyes and went back to unpacking his luggage "I didn't ask them for it...but I suppose since I have been such an un-demanding client for them, they thought of indulging me...and what does it matter anyways, the whole world will know the real me in a couple hours" Arnav said as he closed the now empty bag and stowed it away
"True that...but then, I can only imagine what kind of surprise your PR people have planned along with their Marketing team...didn't you say, they will cut the lights and then bring you in?...you know, all that Jazz!" Manav said with a snigger as Arnav snorted "Something like that...though I had asked for a simple...'hey! Its me Arnav...aka CP'..but no..this was too exciting for them to not make a big show out of it" he said as he went to put on the kettle
"Hmm...all that aside...you haven't told me how you feel about all this? I mean Arnav...your stuck up family will get the shock of their life...those snooty relatives will eat their words and Khushi...how do you plan on getting her here? I suppose that was why you wanted to keep this here, in the capital right?" Manav asked him as he nodded his head while glancing at his phone
"I don't really give a damn about how my family will react...because frankly, I don't care for them...but Khushi...she'll come...I know she will..." he said as Manav grinned at him "Oh...dil ki awaz and all huh? Is that why you have been watching your phone like a hawk since yesterday...hoping she'll call you huh?" he said as he winked at Arnav who smiled back "something like that...and from what I know of her, she will be here to see who her favorite author is..." he said as he felt his heart beat in excitement at the thought of meeting her after so long...
"Shit...damn...f**k" Khushi swore as she walked in her high heels to her small car, only to find it blocked by a bigger one, making it impossible for her to drive it out...she looked around to find the society watchman and nearly ran to him "Bahadur...who's car is that? And why is it parked like that? What the hell are you paid for huh? How could you just let someone park like that..." she screamed as the man looked on in bewilderment at the place where Khushi's car was usually parked
"I don't know memsaab, I only just got back...had gone to get my mobile top-up" he said as Khushi looked on angrily "You...what...damn it! Go and find out whose car it is...I have to leave urgently" she shouted at him as he trembled under khushi's angry gaze "I'll just do that memsaab...but it will take time...I have to go to every flat and check with them" he said as she cursed a few more time before making her way out of her building
She stood fidgeting with her dress as she tried to hail a taxi or rickshaw on the main road, a few blocks away from her building in Vasant kunj...after waiting for another 15 minutes, she started walking towards the other end of the road, hoping to get a better chance there...but to her bad luck, none of the taxi's stopped for her while the rickshaw's just ignored her... "Dammit!" she screamed in frustration as a car honked behind her
She turned around to see Mehta uncle, one of their neighbor's in his car calling out to her "Where do you want to go beta?" he asked her as she smiled at him hoping he could probably give her a lift "Uncle, I have to go to the Hyatt regency hotel...but can't seem to find any taxi's...where are you headed to?' she asked him as he nodded "Oh...I am going to pick up buchiya from chattarpur metro station...why don't you take the yellow line to Green park station from there? I think the hyatt is just a few minutes away" he said as Khushi smiled and got in...at present, that seemed like the best idea
She thanked Mehta uncle profusely before making her way to the ticket counter...her feet were paining from walking on her high heels and she wished she had not dressed up like this...if she knew she would be taking public transport, she would have worn her casuals instead of this green flowy dress where she had to keep on holding on to the hem from flying about...she bought her ticket quickly and made her way to the platform, but as soon as she reached it, the metro left leaving her glaring at its retreating back
She stomped her feet and checked that the next one was due in 8 minutes...she tried to find an empty bench to rest her tired legs , but her eyes fell on a small makeshift bookstore just a few feet away and the shiny green book kept on the top stand which seemed to beckon her...she quickly made her way towards it as her eyes looked on at the title of the book and the authors name below it 'The Twisted Pendulum'...by Crispin Pike
She smiled widely as she quickly bought the book and turned to read the synopsis at the back, but just then the shrill ringing of the approaching metro alerted her. Stashing the book in her large bag, she ran towards the closest door and got it just in time, only to find herself squished between two hefty aunties...this just wasn't her day! she sighed as she looked at the station map to check that her stop was the fourth one.
"Now you look like a hot-shot writer" Manav said as Arnav and he made their way down to the smaller meeting room where Arnav was supposed to meet his publisher's team and some media heads, before making his dramatic entrance into the main ballroom where the media and his readers would be present...he smiled as he glanced down at his formal attire...he hated wearing ties and had made a point not to, keeping the top button of his white shirt open over his black suit jacket
He was nervous as hell thinking how he will face everyone...he had never contemplated that this day would come, that too so soon...but it had and now, he just had to gather the courage to do this...he only wished that Khushi were here with him right now...being with her would have alleviated all his fears and doubts... "What are you thinking about?" Manav asked him as he shook his head and smiled
"Nothing...just wondering how this book will be received" he said as Manav placed his hand on his shoulder in assurance "You don't have to worry on that point Arnav...you know what your'e manager said right? The critics are raving about it...and the response from first day sales are overwhelming...I'm sure some might have already finished it..." he said chuckling, as Arnav sighed in relief...he knew that this book was his best work till date...now he had only two things worrying him...first was him revealing himself to his readers and second was Khushi...she will come right?
Khushi was very damn near to tearing her hair out...she had been throughly unsuccessful in once again, finding a taxi, as no one wanted to come the short distance from the metro to the hotel, the same was the case with the rickshaw's..which side of the bed had she woken up on today!! after waiting for another few minutes, she started making her way along the road, towards the hotel...there was no point in waiting anymore, when she was losing precious time
It would probably taker her a max of 15 minutes if she walked it, but the pain in her feet from the damn heels was making things too difficult for her...on any other day she would have welcomed the walk, but today in her quest to look good, she had worn the darn pencil heels...wincing in pain she finally took her heels off and started walking bare foot on the seemingly clean footpath along the main road...she ignored the looks people around her were giving her and made her way briskly towards the hotel...she just hoped she was taking the right way
After walking for a bit, she could just see the tall stylish building of the Hyatt Regency ahead of her...sighing in relief, she quickened her pace as she glanced at her watch...the event must have started a few minutes ago, but going by the Indian standard time, it would probably get delayed..when she finally reached the main entrance of the hotel, she could see a lot of TV vans parked outside and a large crowd gathered near the main ballroom whose entrance was from outside
Donning her heels on her aching feet, she walked gingerly towards the crowd, only to find, that they were not letting anyone else inside since the ballroom was filled to its capacity...with a dejected face and a disappointed heart, she tried to talk to one of the security guys who simple shook his head at her saying that it was impossible to get anyone else inside
As khushi gave him an irritated look back, she started walking towards the hotel lobby entrance...after getting inside she made her way to the stairs leading to the ballroom from inside the hotel...she had herself conducted a couple of wedding here in the hotel and knew that there was a smaller room that connected the ballroom via a common washroom..she just hoped that it wasn't locked
Taking a deep breath, she made her way past the hoards of media, fans and hotel staff that was standing outside the ballroom entrance...she darted a look around before quickly slipping into the smaller room that usually served as green room for the bridal party...finding the room empty with only one dim light on, she stepped inside...then she walked to the little washroom that was right at the end of the room and got inside it...she could hear the clear voice of the announcer telling everyone to be ready with their copies of the new book as the author will be signing them shortly
As she closed the door of the washroom, the automated lights came on and made khushi stare at herself in horror in front of the large mirror on the wall...she looked like a walking-talking disaster...her hair was sticking out at odd angles and looked like she had not run a comb through it since ages...her armpits were soaked with sweat and so was the area beneath her chest and back...her face looked like a child had run a batch of crayons on her face
Widening her eyes, she quickly started taking her cosmetics and comb out of her large bag...she reapplied her make-up and settled her hair before spraying herself with her perfume...once she was sure that she looked presentable enough, she dumped everything in her bag, as her eyes fell on the book she had just bought earlier...taking it out, she zipped up her bag and took a deep breath
This is it...the moment, she will finally know if the man she loved was also the man she loved to read...and if he was, boy did he have a lot of questions to answer...her trembling hand went to open the other door of the washroom that led into the back area of the ballroom...she took a deep breath as her eyes closed in anticipation and excitement.
PS: I know some of you might be wondering how the book is out before the launch...but from what I know, the book is usually out for sale in the morning on the day of the launch where the author himself comes and reads from it at a PR event followed by the book signing...this is something like that :) x