The color of passion, seduction, danger and adventure…and she embodied every one of those words that day.
Blood rushed through his veins in anticipation at the sight of her, decked up in his favorite color. Everything about her was mesmerizing…the way her saree hugged her curves, the chime of her bangles as she knotted and unknotted her hands in apprehension, the curve of her smooth neck, her lashes which casted long shadows onto her rosy cheeks, her downturned eyes that kept glancing at him, as if she couldn’t help herself.
But more than any of that, it was the brief glimpse of desire he had caught in her eyes, the one she had tried so valiantly to suppress, which rendered him incapable of walking away for her, as he had originally intended to do.
She glanced up, cursing herself for her lack of control, and took a startled step back when she saw him striding towards her.
She averted her eyes, as her breath hitched at the look in his eyes, that of a predator locked on it’s prey, as she continued to match him step for step in her efforts to escape, only for her plans to be foiled by the wall.
He saw her look up at him, eyes wide at their proximity, but his mind was otherwise occupied, admiring the way the light played with her features, turning her already beautiful countenance ethereal.
He lifted his hand to move a wisp of her hair off of her face, and tucked it behind her ear gently, satisfied with the, now, uninterrupted view of her face.
Her eyes, tiny orbs of liquid gold, looked up at him questioningly, as if his actions had confused her.
A slave to his impulses, he lifted his other hand and cupped her face, making her close her eyes, as he leaned into her, determined to express in actions what he couldn’t in words.
The shrill ring of his phone broke through their trance, making them step away from each other hastily.
Cursing his lack of self-control, or his assistant for the untimely interruption, if he was being honest with himself, he walked away from her, determined to never let her affect him again.
“Ye mat samajhna ki ek amir aadmi tumhare payal ko apne seene se lagake baita tha.”
Khushi shook her head to dispel the memories of the night that had turned her life upside down, the one that had managed to take away from her the one thing that life had never quite managed to…her happiness.
“Mujhe in sab se koi farak nahi padta. It doesn’t mean a thing.”
“I am so sorry, Khushi,” she heard her manager say, and tried to concentrate on the here and now. “I tried my best, but it just isn’t possible to keep you on any longer.”
“Shekar ji, please…I really need this job…I…” she begged, terrified at the prospect of losing the last excuse she had clung on to, to prevent her over-zealous aunt from marrying her off.
“I’m sorry, Khushi,” he replied sadly, before informing her that she could collect her final paycheck from the boss before she left, and that he would provide a glowing recommendation to any enquiring employers.
“Tumhe to laga hoga ki tumhari zindagi ban gayi.”
She packed up her desk into a tiny box, dreading the return home. Her Babuji’s condition was worsening and the only reason Buaji had let up on getting her married off was because she had gotten herself a job that paid well enough to take care of his treatments.
Remembering that she had to collect her paycheck, she walked to her boss’ office.
Knocking, she entered the room, taking care not to close the door completely lest it get stuck, as it had a habit of doing.
“Khushi…” she heard a familiar voice whisper, and turned around, startled.
“Mere liye toh uss baat ki, ya tumhari, koi ehmiyat nahi hain.”
“Khushi, what are….”
“What are you doing here?” she asked, and flinched at the venom she heard in her own voice.
She saw him stiffen at her tone, as the mask of ASR fell into place.
“Watch your tone,” he said menacingly, as he walked towards her.
“I don’t have to listen to this,” she mumbled, turning around, intending to leave, only to realize that she had somehow closed the door completely.
She pulled at the door, desperately wanting to escape his presence.
“Stop,” he said, walking up behind her. “You’re going to break the knob.”
“I need to get out of here,” she said, holding back her tears. Memories assaulted her, and she felt like her heart was breaking all over again.
“Khushi, you….” he started, only to be pushed away.
“Don’t come near me!” she yelled, her eyes clouded with tears. “You…you….just stay away from me.”
“I said…watch your damn….”
“No, Mr. Raizada! You watch your tongue! I am not your employee anymore,” she replied back fiercely. “And neither am I the naive girl who believed…”
“Believed what?” he asked, outwardly calm even as his heart pounded in anticipation.
His calm tone sounded like a challenge to her, grating on her nerves, “Believed that she was in love with you! Believed that you were worthy of love…believed that you could ever deserve anything other than the hate you have shrouded yourself in….”
He pulled her towards himself, stopping her mid rant, as she looked up at him with tortured eyes.
“Khushi, I…” he whispered, wiping away her tears. “I’m….”
Cursing at his inability to articulate his chaotic thoughts, he pulled her face towards his, wanting to show her what he couldn’t put into words.
“Mr. Raizada….” came a knock at the door before it was forced open.
It pulled Khushi out of the trance, making her push him away with all her force, before turning and fleeing through the door.
“Khushi,” he called, watching her walk onto the terrace.
It had been a couple of months since the day in her office, and a lot had changed. Aakash had met Payal and fell head over heels in love with her, making both the families ecstatic. However, it did nothing for his own situation with Khushi. It was as if she had never confessed her feelings. She had given him the cold shoulder, and only spoke with him if one of the family members were around.
He was sick and tired of being treated like a stranger, and he decided that it ends that day, especially because once Aakash and Payal were married, he wouldn’t even have the chance to see her around anymore.
She glanced at him and frowned, before looking around and realizing that she had been tricked.
Glaring at him, she turned to leave, only to be caught by him.
“Let me go!” she said, trying to pull her hand out of his.
“How many times do I have to tell you!?” he yelled, pulling her closer to himself. “Don’t walk away when I am speaking with you!”
“And how many times do I have to tell you,” she replied angrily. “Leave me alone!”
“Stop ignoring me,” he said, frustrated at her stubbornness.
“Why?” she asked, stopping her struggle as she glared at him.
“What do you mean why?” he asked, frowning.
“Why should I stop ignoring you? Why did you notice? Why do you care?” she elaborated, fully intending to anger him enough so that he would walk away.
If there was one thing she could count on, it was Arnav Singh Raizada’s habit of running away from questions that made him uncomfortable.
But she hadn’t taken into consideration the frustration and anger of the past two months, of being treated like a stranger by her.
“Aapko kya farak padta hain!?” she asked again, readying herself for the verbal backlash, and she wasn’t disappointed.
She was, however, surprised, at the content of it.
“Of course I care! Mujhe farak padta hain!” he yelled, letting go of her hand and grabbing a hold of both her shoulders to pull her up against himself.
“Mujhe farak padta hain because I love you, dammit!” he said, making her gasp.
“Because I love you,” he said, more softly this time, searching her eyes for reassurance that he hadn’t screwed it all up completely, that it wasn’t too late to earn her love back.
Warmth filled her gaze at his confession, and unable to help himself, and impatient to wait for her verbal answer, he leaned in to claim her lips instead.
“Nannav mere bhai!” NK called loudly, before walking onto the terrace.
Khushi pushed him away, before putting distance between them hastily.
Arnav glanced at her worriedly, but was relieved to see a small smile adorn her face, as she looked up at him.
“Arnavji, I am so sorry,” Khushi whispered, looking around to make sure that no one was around, before starting to pace.
“No, no. You don’t have to say anything,” she continued. “I came into this fully aware of your ideals and opinions, Arnavji.”
“And it’s not fair to have this sprung on you,” she said emphatically. “Not fair at all.”
“But you must understand, Arnavji,” she said, biting her nails in worry. “I had time to adjust to your opinions…you. Not that we’ll never have this talk, but I know you are still new to all this…”
“…and I completely understand why you feel the way you do,” she reassured him. “My family, however…I’ll just have to explain it to them…that’s it….”
“That’s it, Arnavji,” she said excitedly, having figured out a plan. “I’ll just go down there and…”
Startled, she looked up to see him staring at her, an eyebrow raised in disbelief.
“Come here,” he said gently, wanting to ease the tension he could see on her face.
She walked towards him slowly, and stood a foot away, only to be pulled flush against him in the next second.
She hugged him, drawing comfort from his embrace, and mentally preparing herself to do something she had never done before, fight with her family.
“Khushi,” he called gently, tilting her chin so that he could meet her eyes.
“Wh…Arnavji…what are you…?”
“Marry me,” he said, simply.
“Arnavji, you don’t have to….”
“You’re right…I didn’t care for marriage…I still don’t, I suppose,” he explained. “But Khushi, what I do care about is you. And I already know that you’re it for me, so even though I don’t see the purpose of it all, if it means I get to keep you, I am ready to participate in those ridiculous ceremonies and sign that piece of paper.”
“So…marry me,” he said, a little more demandingly.
“I….Okay,” she replied, her smile lighting up her whole face.
“I might have lied…not all of it is completely ridiculous,” he said, smirking. “Mrs. Arnav Singh Raizada, I like the sound of that.”
She blushed, and watched as the teasing glint in his eyes turn into something more primal.
He pulled her closer still, and she closed her eyes, parting her lips in anticipation.
“Arre O Sanka Devi!” Buaji called, startling her into opening her eyes and stepping away from him in a panic.
Arnav closed his eyes in frustration, as he swore under his breath.
“Arnavji, what are you…?” Khushi whisper yelled, lest someone hear her.
“Khushi?” he asked, as always, uncaring if anyone heard him.
“Yes?” she replied, hoping he would tell her where he was taking her.
“Arnavji, you are…you are such a…Laad Governor!” she exclaimed, in offense.
He made sure to close his room door, before pulling her over to the poolside.
“Arnavji, wh…I mean, why…why are we here?”
“You and I have some unfinished business, Ms. Gupta,” he said, slowly walking towards her until he had her trapped against the wall.
“A…Arnavji…you….” she swallowed and averted her eyes, hoping to gather herself.
“Khushi…” he called, and waited for her to look up, before saying, “I think it’s about time you started calling me Arnav, don’t you?”
She flushed at the implication of their intimacy, making him smirk.
“Now that we got that out of the way,” he said, pulling her flush against him. “There’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while…”
Trailing his hand over her face gently, he tilted her chin up and towards himself, making her close her eyes in anticipation.
He leaned in, closing his own eyes as anticipation made his heart pound.
But just as he was about to take her lips into his, the phone rang, startling Khushi into stepping away.
He cursed, promising to commit murder, as he picked it up.
“Aman, someone better be dying, or I swear to god I’ll….”
“Chotey?” he heard his sister reply timidly, and closed his eyes.
“Di…I…” he started to reply before realizing there really wasn’t a good way to explain his outburst. “Di, did you need something?”
“Well…the bride and groom would be nice,” she replied, giggling. “It’s almost time to exchange rings, Chotey. If you can spare two minutes…”
“Fine, fine. We’ll be there in a minute,” he replied, sighing disappointedly.
Arnav pushed his brothers out the door forcefully, and locked the door.
“Fucking finally,” he said, making Khushi giggle.
“Find it funny, do you Mrs. Raizada?” he said, as he walked towards her purposefully.
“Well…” she pretended to think.
“I’ll show you funny,” he said, pulling her to himself and tickling her, making her squirm and laugh.
“Stop! Arnav, stop!” she yelled, gasping for breath.
Laughing, he pulled her into his arms, making her look up into his eyes, with happiness ripe in her gaze.
“I love you,” he said, his heart warming at the way her entire face lit up at his confession.
“I love you too, Arnav,” she said.
He saw her frown for a brief second, but before he could decipher it, she leaned towards him quickly and pecked his lips.
“Wh…what was that for?” he asked, shocked.
“I wanted to make sure I got my first kissing on my wedding night,” she said, smiling. “Who knows who will decide to interrupt us tonight.”
She saw his warm gaze change to something darker, before he pulled her to him and took her lips into his.
He had to fulfill his wife’s wishes afterall.
AN: I wanted to write a little something on our favorite couple, for the festival that started it all. And since the Diwali kiss was the start of the famous “almost” kisses, this just seemed too good to not take advantage of. For those not familiar with this writing style, it’s called Five Things. If I were to describe this OS, I’d say, the five times they didn’t kiss and the one time they did 🙂 Hope you enjoyed this little Diwali present.
I wrote this pretty late, and proofread it very lightly, so please judge leniently.
Wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Diwali!
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Index : Blooming world