ArHi OS : Natsukashii

c2zwfmmxgaeldvb-jpg_large

—–

And I’m on my way, I still remember
This old country lanes
When we did not know the answers
And I miss the way you make me feel, it’s real
We watched the sunset over the castle on the hill

—–

He watched the crisp, white flakes cover the ground, hoping that the snow would let up enough for his flight to take off. He had spent years away from the first place he had ever called home, but now that he was on the verge of going back, each second felt like a decade.

“It’s really coming down, huh?” someone said next to him, pulling him out of his thoughts.

He turned to look at the person who had spoken and found a woman in her twenties staring out the airport windows, much like he had been doing a moment ago.

“Yeah, I was just hoping they wouldn’t delay our flights,” he replied.

She turned to him and smiled, “Tell me about it. You’re going to Goa, I presume?” she asked, tilting her head towards the gate number in explanation.

“Yes, and you?” he asked, just to be polite.

“Goa as well,” she replied and let out a happy sigh. “I am meeting up with my husband there for a vacation.”

At her declaration, his eyes drifted over to her ring finger and found her twirling her ring unconsciously.

“Are you off for a vacation as well?” she asked, pulling him out of his thoughts for the second time.

“No…no, I…” he replied, a smile touching his face for the first time that night. “I am off to a wedding.”

“Yours!?” she asked enthusiastically before wincing. “Sorry, I…I am a wedding planner, and I…well, I do love a happily ever after.”

He laughed at her explanation before replying, “No. It’s actually a childhood friend of mine. And you might be happy to know, he is marrying his childhood sweetheart.”

“Aakash…” he called, walking out of the hidden path that led to the beach. They had discovered it a few years ago and the path, as well as the small corner of the beach it led to, had become theirs ever since.

“Aakash, are you…” he started to call, only to find the person he had been looking for sitting on the beach, staring at the ocean. “Dude, what the hell?”

Walking over, Arnav plopped down next to him and glared. His friend continued to stare at the horizon, his expression dazed.

“Do you know how long we have been looking for you, you idiot?” he yelled, only to be ignored. “Anjali Di was ready to send out a search party and you know how well that would have gone.”

When Aakash still failed to respond, Arnav frowned and proceeded to hit his friend over the head.

“Ouch, what the…” Aakash exclaimed, rubbing his head as he turned towards Arnav. “What was that for?”

“What was that…” Arnav repeated in disbelief. “Did you listen to a single thing I just said?”

“I…well, I…no?” Aakash replied, wincing.

Staring at his friends lost expression, Arnav’s protective instincts kicked into gear. No one messes with his friends but him.

“What’s going on? Why are you here? And for god’s sake, why do you have that Devadas expression on your face?” Arnav asked, not pausing long enough to let Aakash answer his questions.

But the goofy smile that spread on his friend’s face did manage to take him by surprise.

“Dude…did you actually, finally lose it?” Arnav asked.

“Maybe,” Aakash answered, sighing happily.

“You do know you look insane right now? Will you tell me what the hell is going on or should I hand you over to Anjali Di?” Arnav threatened.

Normally, the threat of his big sister being involved in any part of his life would have terrified Aakash, but that day his grin only got bigger.

“Payal kissed me,” Aakash whispered reverently, before going back to staring at the water.

“Wait…what?” Arnav asked.

“She kissed me, Arnav. Me,” his friend repeated. “This is the best day of my life.”

Arnav shook his head, “Why am I not surprised that you made her do all the work?”

“Flight 2760, London to Goa is now ready for boarding…” The announcement drew him out of his memories. Wishing his temporary neighbour a safe flight, he headed over to board the flight.

—–

A knock on the partition drew his attention away from the movie he had been watching, hoping to expedite the passing of time, or at the very least, reduce his attention to it.

Removing his headphones, he was greeted by the smiling face of the air hostess.

“Would you like a drink, Sir?” she asked politely, poised with a glass to attend to his wishes.

“Yes, I’ll take a Gin and Tonic, thanks,” he replied.
The air hostess’ smile turned into a grimace before she caught herself and placed it firmly back in place.

“I am so sorry Sir, but we are out of Gin. We do have an array of beers or, if you would prefer, wine?” she asked, handing him a drink menu for his inspection.

He took the menu and scanned the list just to be polite, all the while knowing he would settle for one beer or another. However, an item on the menu caught his attention and with a small smile, he closed the menu and told her, “I’ll take the Merlot.”

He heard a rustle and turned to find Anjali settling down next to him, a blanket wrapped around her to ward off the chill. Without saying a word, he turned his attention back to the view.

Minutes passed without either of them speaking and he sighed.

“I don’t want to talk,” he said finally, hoping she would leave.

“Then it’s a good thing I am not here to talk, isn’t it?” came the reply, and he grit his teeth.

He wasn’t surprised, of course. When had she ever done anything other than exactly what she wanted?

A few more minutes passed in silence before he heard a noise next to him. For a second, he hoped she was doing as he asked, but she dashed his dreams with her next sentence.

“I come bearing gifts,” she said, just before a bottle of wine came into his line of vision.

“What…how?” he asked, turning to look at her in shock.

“Do you want answers or do you want to get drunk?” she shot back.

He looked from her to the bottle she was holding a couple of times before swallowing and saying, “Get drunk.”

“Good choice,” she smirked, and unwrapping herself from the bedsheet burrito she had turned herself into, she revealed a couple of plastic glasses as well.

“What if uncle or auntie notice?” he asked, glancing around nervously to make sure no one was around.

“This is not my first rodeo, Arnav. Relax,” she replied, pouring a glass and handing it over to him. When he still looked terrified, she sighed and said, “Every time I do this Mom thinks Dad had a late night drink, and Dad thinks Mom got a little too excited with her italian cooking…again.”

A small laugh escaped him at that reply, but at her answering smile he sobered immediately.

Looking away, he started to say, “The divorce…I don’t know where I…what I…” but his voice cracked.

Taking a deep breath, he hesitantly took a sip of the drink, hoping it would help, only to immediately make a disgusted face.

“You drink this by choice?” he asked.

“Beggars can’t be choosers,” she shrugged.

They went back to the comfortable silence after that, occasionally refilling their glasses, her more than him.

“I am scared,” he whispered.

“I know,” she replied, placing a hand around his shoulders and pulling him closer.

Blinking back tears, he said, “Thanks, Anjali Di.”

“Anytime, Chotey.”

And if the next day, Anjali’s parents had noticed a missing bottle of wine, or heard the suspicious sound of someone being sick, they never brought it up. For a while back then, Aakash and Anjali’s family had been the rock he had needed.

The thought of seeing them again after so long only made him all the more eager.

—–

Arnav hesitantly entered the house he hadn’t been to in more than a decade. But much to his surprise, far from being awkward, it felt like coming home.

“Arnav?” came a call, and he turned to see NK’s mom walk into the foyer. “It’s been so long!”

“Hi Auntie,” Arnav said as he was pulled into a hug.

“How have you been? It is absolutely unacceptable that you haven’t visited in 12 years, Arnav,” she reprimanded, pulling away from the hug.

“Sorry,” he replied bashfully.

“Well, head to the terrace. That’s where all of them are,” she said, moving away from him, but just as he was about to head up, she said, “And oh Arnav? Try not to kidnap anyone, okay?”

He laughed, remembering the antics he and NK had pulled as kids.

“Did you leave the letter on the kitchen counter?” Arnav asked, pacing the floor of the tiny storage room they had locked themselves into.

“Mmhmhm…” came the reply, and he turned around to find his friend trying to talk through the cloth in his mouth.

He walked over to NK and removed the cloth, hoping for a more intelligible response.

“Yes, also, is this really necessary?” NK asked, looking at his tied hands and legs.

“It is in case they decide to check,” Arnav replied, peering through the tiny slits in the door to see if Auntie had walked into the kitchen yet.

“Then shouldn’t you be tied up too?” NK argued, only for Arnav to shush him.

“I hear something,” Arnav whispered.

When he looked back into the kitchen, he saw NK’s mom pick up the letter and read it.

“She’s reading it,” Arnav said excitedly.

NK mumbled something but Arnav ignored him because at that moment, something unexpected happened. Putting the letter back where she had found it, NK’s mom went about grabbing dishes and ingredients in the kitchen, as if her only son’s life and safety hadn’t just been threatened.

“Does your mom not love you, NK?” Arnav asked, confused.

“Of course she does,” NK said, before frowning and asking, “Why?”

“Because she just completely ignored the letter we left her,” Arnav replied.

“What? Why?” NK asked, shocked.

“Why should I know?”

“What is she doing now?” NK asked, instead of replying.

The answer came in the form of a delicious aroma wafting into the closet.

“Making Pakoras,” they said in unison, and NK’s stomach groaned in interest.

“Do you think…?” NK started to ask, only to have Arnav reply with a resounding “No!”

—–

“These are delicious,” NK said between stuffing pakoras into his mouth.

Arnav glared at him, but his mission to kill NK with his laser vision was interrupted by NK’s mom placing a kiss on his hair, “Aranv beta, the next time you two plan a kidnapping, make sure you don’t use the handwriting of someone whose papers I have been correcting for the past three years?” she said, making NK and Arnav’s eyes widen.

—–

“Look who’s here. The man, the myth, the legend,” Anjali said as soon as Arnav walked onto the terrace.

“Good to see you too Di,” Arnav replied, rolling his eyes and laughing.

Anjali pulled him into a hug, “If I had know it would take my idiot brother getting married to bring you back to India, I would have gotten him hitched long ago.”

“I am overwhelmed by the love,” Aakash said.

“Oh, stop whining,” Anjali replied, pulling away from the hug. “Payal dotes over you enough for all of us.”

Then it was Aakash and NK’s turn to hug their friend.

“NK, what is this I am hearing about a potential other wedding?” Arnav asked, making NK turn an interesting shade of red.

“It’s a wonder he could stop stuttering long enough to talk to a girl, let alone propose,” Anjali said, looking at their friend’s distress. After all, what were friends for if not to make a bad situation worse?

“And you wonder why I haven’t let you meet her yet!” NK replied indignantly.

“What about you, Di? Anything in the works?” Arnav asked, taking pity on NK.

“Oh no!” Anjali replied vehemently. “No, no, no. I am very happy in my singlehood…” she said, and paused for added effect, “…and all the perks that come with it.”

“Di!” came three groans in unison, making her laugh.

What? I was talking about all the free time and freedom you have, you gutter-heads!” she countered, smirking.

“Uh huh,” Aakash said suspiciously.

“Besides, being a wild-life photographer who travels 90% of the time is not conducive to a relationship,” Anjali replied.

With that, the conversation moved on the discussion about the wedding, and more importantly, teasing Aakash about the wedding.

Just as Arnav was starting to look around distractedly, someone walked onto the terrace, halting the catch up session the friends were having.

“Hey, Arnav, you remember Khushi, right?” Akash asked, tilting his head towards his cousin who had stopped next to him.

Arnav’s amused gaze landed on her, and his smile slipped into a smirk without his conscious effort.

“Well,” Khushi asked, her eyes twinkling, after a few moments passed without a reply, “do you?”

“Khushi Kumari Gupta,” he said, in lieu of answering her question directly.

“Is this seat taken?” he asked, walking over to a woman seated at the bar. He had been watching her for a while, trying to gather up enough courage to walk over and start a conversation. And if it hadn’t been for his friend quite literally pushing him off his stool, he might not even have managed it.

“Nope, you can…” she replied, turning to him only to be shocked into silence.

“Hello,” he smiled, his brows knitting in confusion at her widened eyes and surprised expression.

“Arnav…” she whispered, much to his surprise.

“Do I know…?” he started to ask just as a spark of memory lit up his face. “Khushi? Khushi Kumari Gupta?”

By the time he had finished his question, she had recovered from her shock and was smiling widely.

“Well, the Kumari part is up for debate,” she replied, wincing as soon as the last word left her mouth. “Guess I had more to drink than I thought.”

He laughed, watching a blush spread over her cheeks despite her best effort to act nonchalant.

He took the seat next to her and said, “Wow…how long has it been?”

“Ten years?” she guessed, sipping on her drink to cool her rapidly heating skin.

It was shock enough to find a childhood acquaintance in a hole in the wall bar in London, but that childhood friend being the crush she had never forgotten would have made a lesser woman swoon.

“I can’t believe you are all grown up,” he said, knowing it would rile her up. Being called a kid had driven her up the wall when they were little, true as it might have been.

“You were a kid too, Arnav,” she replied, rolling her eyes.

He smiled, happy to know that he could still press her buttons.

“So…Khushi Kumari Gupta,” he started, pausing to see her shaking her head and muttering something under her breath. “What brings you to this part of the world?”

“Studies,” she replied, turning to him. “What’s your excuse? Last I heard, you were going to a university in America.”

“I work for a law firm in London,” he replied, watching her keenly. He had every intention of asking the woman out when he had approached her earlier, and knowing who she was did not change that. If anything, it only made him more eager to get to know her…again.

“How is everyone doing? I speak with the rest of the gang from time to time, but you, Khushi Kumari Gupta, have been elusive,” he said, smirking.

“You will never let me live that down, will you?” she groaned.

“Well…that’s depends on you, Khushi,” he replied. “Take me out on a date and I could be persuaded to forget the first five minutes of our conversation.”

She raised an eyebrow at that, playing it cool, even as her heart did cartwheels in joy, “Glad it didn’t take you another ten years, Arnav Singh Raizada.”

He walked over to her as their friends watched on curiously, and extended his hand, as if going in for a hug but instead, he pulled at the chain she had tucked away and looked at the makeshift locket she had on.

Looking up from the ring she had had tucked away ever since she had returned home, he smiled at her.

Her answering smile lit up her entire face, the one he had fallen madly and deeply in love with, and he could not resist tugging her closer for a kiss.

Amid the gasps and one resounding “Finally!”, they pulled away, chuckling.

“Welcome back,” she whispered, gazing into his eyes before wrapping her hands around him and pulling him in for a long overdue hug.

He smiled. It was good to be home.

—–

—–

AN: Writer’s block is a real bitch. One that demands you struggle through it or die trying. This OS was my attempt to get back into the writing game after being away from a word doc for 2 months. I hope you enjoy this OS, and if you don’t…lie to me.

I have a few people to thank for inspiring this piece of writing.

  1. Ed Sheeran – my bae, obviously. Dude single handedly saved my 2017.
  2. @Bookmarked11 [Jen – Yours] and @Bingalalala [B – Bloom] for writing about childhood love and making me all nostalgic. Seriously, all 0 0f you haven’t read their stories, check them out.
  3. @Mirabell0, for that joke that will always remind me of you. To read more about what I am talking about, go check out her FF, Second Chances.
  4. And finally, to my brilliant beta @DabbaVader for putting up with all my crap with minimal complaining (she only called me a drama queen 3 or 4 times, that’s a record). I would never get out of a writer’s block without you, so thank you.

Love,
Ridz

Advertisements

ArHi OS : Kairos

—–

Kairos (n.) – the perfect, delicate, crucial moment; the fleeting rightness of time and place that creates the opportune atmosphere for action, words, or movement.

—–

“Lavanya, I cannot believe you….ugh,” Khushi groaned, planting her face in the pillow she was holding in her lap.

“Stop being a drama queen, Khushi,” Lavanya replied, putting in her contacts and blinking a couple of times to accustom her eyes to their feel.

“Drama queen? La, how many times did I tell you not to set me up on one of these idiotic blind dates?” Khushi asked, lifting her head up and glaring at her friend.

“They’re not idiotic. Besides, how else are you going to find your soulmate?” Her friend asked, applying the last bit of her makeup before stepping away from the mirror and picking up her books.

“Just because you have a boyfriend doesn’t mean everyone else is looking for their significant other, La,” Khushi replied crossly. “As hard as it is for you to believe, some of us like being single.”

“Oh, hon, that’s a lie single people tell themselves to stop feeling bad,” came the reply.

“I should just start standing up my dates. That will teach you,” Khushi grumbled.

“Thank god you’re too sweet to actually follow through with that threat,” Lavanya replied, and smiling, she bent down to peck Khushi on the cheek. “Okay, I need to leave or I’ll be late to class. Remember! Tonight at seven, he will meet you at the Purple Orchid.”

—–

“This is going to be a disaster,” Khushi muttered to herself as she put her earrings on.

“Stop being such a pessimist, Khushi,” Lavanya replied, curling the last strand of Khushi’s hair before applying setting spray to it. “Varun is NK’s friend. I met him myself, personally, before agreeing to this. Have a little faith in me, would you?”

“La, that’s what you said about the last…how many of these dates have you set up so far?” Khushi asked, meeting her friend’s eyes in the mirror.

“Three, and you wonder why I call you a drama queen?” Lavanya asked, stepping away from her. “Hmm…you’re sure you don’t want me to do your makeup? Just a little?”

“I am quite sure I don’t want to look like a monkey, yes,” Khushi replied, getting up from her seat in front of the mirror and turning to Lavanya. “So?”

“You look beautiful!” Lavanya said, pulling Khushi into a hug. “Varun won’t know what hit him.”

“Let’s hope he at least knows my name, unlike the second one…or was that the first?” Khushi replied cheekily, making Lavanya pull back from the hug and glare at her.

“You’re getting way too smart these days, Khushi Kumari Gupta,” her friend said, handing Khushi her clutch.

“Good. Maybe one of these days, I will figure out how to say no to you, Lavanya Kashyap.”

—–

Khushi walked into the Purple Orchid hurriedly and looked around, cursing Lavanya for fussing over her for so long. When she had complained that she would be late, her friend had replied with “You never go to your first date on time, Khushi. You need to be fashionably late. Make the guy wait for a little bit, let the anticipation build up.”

Well, Khushi was entirely too late, and as much as she hated the idea of being setup on a blind date, it wasn’t the poor guy’s fault.

She found him on her second scan of the room. Dressed in a white button down shirt, he was seated at a window booth and was typing something of his phone.

Walking over to the booth, she said, “Excuse me?”

All of a sudden, Khushi found herself staring at the most mesmerizing pair of eyes she had ever beheld in her life. His hair was in a disarray, in contrast to the rest of him, and even as she watched, he ran his hand through his hair, explaining it’s condition.

Lavanya is right, Khushi. You are a drama queen.

Shaking off her trance, Khushi continued, “I am so sorry I am late. I hope I didn’t keep you waiting long?”

He shook his head in response, and she smiled as she took a seat opposite him.

She waited for him to say something and when a minute passed in silence, she laughed a little as she said, “No matter how many times I do this, it gets no less awkward.”

Great, Khushi. Was it really necessary to mention that?

“I mean…that’s not…I just meant…”

“Hey, it’s okay,” he said, speaking for the first time. “Relax. You’re right. It’s always awkward.”

“Glad we agree,” she said, leaning back into her seat. She hadn’t noticed how wound up she had been. “I am Khushi,” she said, extending her hand.

“I’m…” he paused, taking her hand in his, and she completed his sentence for him. “Varun, I know. Lavanya told me.”

—–

Arnav pulled his hand away from hers and immediately missed the warmth that the fleeting touch had engulfed him in.

It had become clear to him in the first couple of minutes that the woman in front of him had mistook him for someone else, Varun to be precise. He felt an irrational anger at the man he had never met, and shook his head at himself.

“Shall we order?” she asked, picking up the menu that had been on the table. “Do you have any recommendations?”

“I heard the fettucini is quite good,” he said, raising his hand to call the waiter over.

“Mm,” she said as she wrinkled her nose in distaste. “I am not a fan of the white sauce.”

“How about the gnocci with shrimp?” He asked as the waiter walked over to their table.

“I am a vegetarian,” she replied, before looking up at him from the menu and saying, “I am sorry, I don’t mean to be…”

“No need to apologize,” he replied, smiling. “Do you need some more time to decide?”

Shaking her head, she turned to the waiter and said, “I’ll take the Penna alla Vodka,” before handing over the menu to him.

“Vodka sauce…hmm…I’ve never tried that,” he said, turning to the waiter and saying, “I’ll take the same.”

“What? How could you never have had Vodka sauce? It’s the only half decent thing in the western cafeteria,” she asked, shocked.

“I live on the north campus,” he replied, smirking. “Although it’s a pain to trek all the way down for classes, the one good thing about it is that the cafeteria has great food.”

“Hmmm…I need to check it out one of these days,” she said, frowning. “But why would you live…”

He interrupted her before she could go on. He didn’t know where that Varun fellow lived, and he prayed that she didn’t either.

“Maybe we can go there for our next date,” he said, raising his eyebrow.

She blushed in response, before smiling and turning their conversation to a different topic.

—–

She laughed as she picked up her phone from the table. She had flipped it upside down, as was her habit, when she was talking to someone. But the messages kept coming, and there was only one person who would be so persistent.

“One second,” she said apologetically as she unlocked her screen. “It might be something important.”

However, her eyes widened in shock as she read Lavanya’s contrite messages.

I am so so sorry, Khushi.

I honestly thought Varun was the one for you.

NK just told me Varun stood you up. Rest assured, that idiot will hear from me, and NK will get his share of punishment too.

—–

Arnav realized the second she realized he wasn’t who she thought he was.

Shit. Arnav Singh Raizada, you’re dead.

“You…” she started saying, looking at him accusingly.

He cut her off before she could complete her statement. He had been subjected to enough Hindi daily soaps by his mom to know how many different and damning conclusions can be drawn in a situation like this.

“I am sorry for lying to you, or rather, not telling you the truth,” he replied, leaning forward. “It’s just that…I really liked you at first glance, and I enjoyed our conversation very much.”

He took courage from the fact the she didn’t get up and storm out halfway through his explanation, as he said, “From the fact that we weren’t interrupted halfway through our conversation, I am guessing that your date stood you up. All I can say on that is he’s an idiot, and his loss was my gain…or will be, hopefully.”

Taking a deep breath, he said, “Khushi, I am Arnav…Arnav Raizada, a second year pre-med student here, and I would really, really love to take you out on a date, this time, as myself. So…will you? Go out on a date with me, that is?”

—–

She watched him stare anxiously at her, and struggled to keep her face blank.

Truth be told, she was thanking her lucky stars Varun didn’t show up, because no matter how much Lavanya had raved about him, she was sure he wouldn’t have measured up to the person sitting in front of her.

But what was the fun in telling him that right away? After all, he had kept her in the dark for the whole evening. It was only fair that she returned the favor for a few minutes.

But when she saw his eyes lose a tiny bit of their hope, she couldn’t stop herself from finally letting the smile spread across her face, as she said, “Only if you take me to northern cafeteria.”

The answering smile he sent her way made her breath catch.

“Deal,” he replied.

—–

AN: Phew! A happy OS! That too, mushy enough to satisfy the person it is being written for. All I will say is, Chutki, you better like it because this is as sweet as I write them!

Wow. Where do I even start? My day starts with you, ends with you and I…okay, that sounds like way too much like a love proposal, and as much as I love you, I am holding off for a Fawad Khan or a Mahesh Babu, so, sorry, Chutki, you’re out luck. Haha.

On a serious note, I am so very glad you talked me into reading and then shipping Dramione, and that I pestered you into beta-ing for me because it led to one of the best friendships I could ever have hoped for. My life is richer for having you in it.

Wish you a very Happy Birthday, Chutki. 

Love,
Ridz

IPKKND OS : Philophobia

—–

Philophobia – The fear of falling in love or emotional attachment. The risk is usually when a person has confronted any emotional turmoil relating to love in the past but also can be chronic phobia.

—–

Lavanya dropped the file on her desk with a sigh. Resting her head against the back of her chair, she closed her eyes, hoping that it would provide her some relief from the headache that was promising to be a whopper. She knew she was overworked, and was in desperate need of a vacation. She also knew that she was fast approaching the levels of workaholism that would put her ex to shame, and therein lay the problem.

She still thought of her ex.

It wasn’t that she was still heartbroken over Arnav.

She had made her peace with the situation. She even spoke with Khushi on a fairly regular basis and even though her friend was mindful not to reveal too many details about her life with Arnav, Lavanya knew the basics and was even happy for them.

No, it wasn’t her unrequited love that was the issue.

“La?” she heard someone call as they knocked on her door, and was startled out of her thoughts.

“Come in,” she said, shuffling the papers on her desk, trying to look as if she hadn’t just been lost in her thoughts.

“Hey,” she heard Arjun, her co-worker and friend, say. “What are you still doing here?”

“I could ask you the same question,” she replied, smiling at him. This was a running joke between them. Arjun was just as much of a workaholic as her, and they had bonded over shared take out and later night working sessions.

“I had a meeting with our clients in China. What’s your excuse?” he asked, smirking.

“I didn’t realize I needed one,” she quipped back, which made him laugh.

Lavanya felt her own smile deepen at his laughter. She felt her heart skip a beat at how handsome he looked and wondered, for the thousandth time, if she had made a mistake.

When they had first started working together, Arjun had asked her out one night, over Chinese takeout and an argument about their favorite shows.

But she had declined.

She was hurt and insecure after what had transpired in her previous relationship, and was afraid of putting herself out there again.

He had let the matter drop, and went back to their easy banter as if nothing unusual had happened, but the conversation had lingered at the back of her mind.

She knew he was not seeing anyone, and even though she never admitted it to herself, she was secretly glad that he wasn’t.

“I am going to grab dinner before I head home. Wanna join me?” he asked, tilting his head in question.

She shook her head, “No, I think I am going to wrap up here and head home.”

She saw his smile dim a little, before he covered it up with his usual cheerful expression, “Loser. Fine. I will be in my office for another fifteen minutes or so, if you change your mind.”

She nodded in acknowledgement and watched him walk out the door.

Closing her eyes again, she threw her head back in frustration.

If Lavanya was being honest with herself, she would admit that that’s what was actually eating her up inside. The uncertainty and the hesitation, that were so unlike her.

Before she could dwell further in her thoughts, her attention was caught by a ping on her computer, indicating the arrival of a new email.

Gathering her bearings, she clicked on the email, without bothering to see who it was from and received the shock of her life.

—–

Dear Lavanya,

Surprised to hear from me? You aren’t the only one.

A couple of years ago, if someone had told me that I would email an ex, without being forced to at gunpoint, I would have admitted them to an insane asylum.

But that seems to be the theme of things these days. I am not the same person I was a few years ago. Khushi has changed me, for the better, in ways I never could have imagined.

And if it weren’t for you…if you hadn’t figured out what I felt even before I was ready to admit it to myself, I don’t know if I would be here today.

You know I am not a man of many words, so I will make this quick. I wanted to give you the long overdue apology and thank you for stopping me from fucking up three people’s lives.

I am sorry for everything I put you through, Lavanya.

I know you still keep in touch with Khushi, but I was hoping that if I hadn’t fucked things up to the point of no return, I would quite like to have my friend back as well. You were a friend and confidant to me, before anything else, and I miss that.

I hope you can one day find the same happiness you have gifted me, La.

Sincerely,

ASR

—–

She read and re-read the email ten times before she could fully believe what she was seeing. Arnav was right, she was surprised. If someone had told her her would be emailing her and apologizing for everything he did, she would have laughed her head off.

Even as she was shaking her head in disbelief, she felt something ease inside her chest. The anxiety and the doubts that had been a constant companion to her since she had walked out of Raizada Mansion that day, were quiet for the first time.

I hope you can one day find the same happiness you have gifted me, La.

Didn’t she want the same? Then what was holding her back?

Determined, she pushed herself away from the desk and walked out of her office.

Noticing that the lights in her adjacent office were still on, she knocked lightly before entering.

Arjun was busy packing his bag and did not look up when she stepped closer to his desk.

“Change your mind?” he asked, looking up once he was finally done with his task.

Taking a deep breath, she nodded, “On one condition though.”

She saw his eyebrows raise in surprise at her statement, before he nodded, indicating that she go on.

“I will have dinner with you…on the condition that we make it a date.”

He looked shell-shocked for a second before a brilliant smile took over his face.

“I thought you’d never ask, Ms. Kashyap,” he replied, making an answering smile appear on her own.

—–

AN: Just something that has been bouncing around in my head recently. If not for La, our boy ASR could have fucked things up completely. So I thought she deserved a thank you 😉

AnShi OS : Checkmate

Shivaay Singh Oberoi was going to make a murderer out of her. She was quite sure of that fact. What should have scared her, but didn’t, was the fact that she was looking forward to strangling the life out of him.

“Apologize, or else…” he said, leaving the sentence hanging, to strike fear into her heart, she guessed.

If he thought she would retreat in fear, he had another thing coming.

“Or, what?” she asked, raising her chin in defiance.

She saw him raise an eyebrow at her reply, and before she could take her next breath he had grabbed a hold of her arm and pushed her into the pool.

Gasping, she had just managed to close her mouth before she went plunging into the ice cold water.

—–

Rising from the water, she pushed her drenched hair away from her face, trying to make sense of what had just happened.

She saw him step into her line of vision and saw red. She couldn’t remember the last time she had felt rage like this.

She was so angry, she could kill him without feeling an ounce of guilt. Afraid of what she would do or say if she was in his vicinity for even a second longer, she stepped around him and walked away.

Or tried to, at least, until she felt him grab a hold of her arm and halt her.

“Apologize,” he demanded again, and if she wasn’t so angry she could have exploded, she would have laughed at his petulance.

Shaking her head, she tried to move away again, only to be pulled back with such force that she turned around and smacked into his chest.

“Do you want to know…,” he asked, glaring at her. “…what I could do to you, if you don’t apologize?”

When she said nothing, he pulled her closer, much closer, to himself, tightening his hold on her arm.

She bristled.

She was sick and tired of men holding her sexuality over her. Especially Shivaay Oberoi with his chin that seemed to be stuck in its raised position, it was a wonder he didn’t suffer from chronic neck pain, and his perfectly carved eyebrow that would disappear into his hairline if it went any higher.

Taking a subtle breath, she leaned into his hold. She saw his eyes widen slightly at her move, but before he could say or do anything, she closed her eyes and planted her lips on his.

She felt his hold grow slack in shock, and took the opportunity to push him away.

He stumbled back, all the while staring at her in disbelief.

“That?” she asked, raising an eyebrow of her own. “Is that what you can do?”

Without waiting for an answer, she turned around and walked away.

—–

AN: In the spirit of full disclosure, I don’t watch the show. I haven’t watched a single scene except the one above, that too, thanks to my over enthusiastic friends who are all firmly aboard the Ishqbaaaz train. Forgive any OOO-ness.

Like Anika in the OS, I am quite tired of the hero grabbing the heroine and asking “Do you know just what I am capable of?” in every serial, and wanted to write an ending to those scenes that I would much prefer over the originals LOL

If inspiration strikes, I shall see you again. 😉

ArHi OS : Fanaa

—–

Fanaa (n.) – destruction of the self, “destroyed in love”

—–

As an eight year old girl, when her aunt had told her that her parents had gone to be with Devi Mayya, Khushi had innocently pouted and asked why they hadn’t taken her with them, before promptly moving on to discuss Jalebis with her. When her aunt had started crying and pulled her into a hug, she hadn’t understood why.

As a twenty-three year old, she yearned for the same innocence…the same ignorance that had been a shield to her heartbreak all those years ago, as her brother-in-law brokenly informed her of what had happened.

“I am sorry, Khushiji,” he said, and unable to stand her emotionless stare a second longer, turned around and left the room before he broke down in front of her.

She continued staring at the water in the pool, clutching the bangles she had found in the cupboard as she was dressing that morning, the bangles that he had given her.

“Khushi,” he whispered, making her eyes widen in surprise before they filled up with tears. All the anguish, the pain, the fear of past few days came crashing down on her as she heard his voice, soft and calm, like it had once been, a long long time ago.

“Kh…Khushi, please don’t cry,” he pleaded, his voice breaking under the burden of what he had learned.

She cleared her face in an effort to ebb the flow of tears but came up unsuccessful.

“Khushi, please…” he repeated and the torment in his plea made her breath catch.

“Arnavji, what…?”

“I know, Khushi,” he answered her unfinished question, his voice hoarse from not being used. “I…Shyam told me everything.”

“Shy…?” she replied, her tears halting at hearing that unexpected declaration. “Arnavji, why would you…how would he…Arnavji, where are you?”

“I am sorry, Khushi,” she heard him say brokenly, resignedly. “Please…”

She heard footsteps on the other end of the phone and clutched the phone tighter in panic.

“Arnavji…”

She could hear a scuffle and the sound of bone meeting bone made her flinch in fear as tears streamed down her face.

“Khushi, I love…” but before he could finish the sentence, the line went dead, halting her heartbeat for a second before it raced in fear.

“Arnavji?” She called out, panicked. “Arnavji, where are you? Arnavji, please…”

“I don’t accept,” she whispered, as a tear slipped past her eyes. Looking up at the sky, her voice shook as she repeated. “I don’t accept!”

Getting up from her seat on the poolside, she trembled with rage as she yelled, “Do you hear me, Mr. Raizada? I do not accept your apology. I don’t forgive you!”

“How…how dare you think I will forgive you after everything you put me through? After what you are still…”

She broke down sobbing then, crumpling to the floor in exhaustion, as the tears that had refused to flow until then, surged through her.

“I hate you, Arnav Singh Raizada,” she got out between her tormented cries, gasping for breath. “I hate you.”

“Sorry…I’m really sorry.”

“Will you be able to do what I do, Khushi? Lagi sharat?”

“Looks like you observe me very closely, Khushi Kumari Gupta.”

“A? In your name? Oh, really?”

“What if something happened to you? What would I do if….”

“Is it necessary to cry over every little thing?”

“I love…”

“I love you,” she whispered brokenly, as exhaustion lulled her into unconsciousness.

ArHi OS : It Started With A Miss

Miss #1

 

Red.

 

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.

 

Miss #2

 

“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.

 

Miss #3

 

“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.

 

“I…”

 

“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.

 

Miss #4

 

“Arnavji, I am so sorry,” Khushi whispered, looking around to make sure that no one was around, before starting to pace.

 

“Khushi…”

 

“No, no. You don’t have to say anything,” she continued. “I came into this fully aware of your ideals and opinions, Arnavji.”

 

“Khu…”

 

“And it’s not fair to have this sprung on you,” she said emphatically. “Not fair at all.”

 

“Would….”

 

“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…”

 

“Let me…”

 

“…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….”

 

“Khushi….”

 

“That’s it, Arnavji,” she said excitedly, having figured out a plan. “I’ll just go down there and…”

 

“Khushi!”

 

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.

 

“Marry me?”

 

“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.

 

Miss #5

 

“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.

 

“Shut up.”

 

Gasp.

 

“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.

 

Kiss #1

 

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!

Please buddy me for update notifications. Or you can follow me on twitter @ridz_mystique. Or drop me a PM with your email id and I will add you to my email notification list. 

Index : Blooming world

Dramione: Midnight Surprise

“Draco.”

 

“Hmm…”

 

“Draco. Wake up!”

 

“Granger, I am not getting you a mango-pickle ice-cream, or some equally disgusting concoction right now. Go to sleep.”

 

“It’s Malfoy. And I don’t need a fucking ice-cream.”

 

“Then why are you bugging me at this ungodly hour, woman!?”

 

“…..”

 

“…..”

 

“My water broke.”

 

“…..”

 

“…..”

 

“Fuck! Where the fuck is your bag? And why can’t I find the floo powder? That’s it, everyone’s fired! I think I’ve got everything…St. Mungos!”

 

“…..”

 

“…..”

 

“Forget something?”

 

“No time for jokes, Granger. Come on!”

 

—–

 

“Omg. OMG. Oh my god.”

 

“Draco, shut the fuck up.”

 

“Mr. Malfoy, you need to calm down.”

 

“Don’t tell me what to do, you nutter!”

—–

 

“She kicked me out…she actually kicked me out.”

 

“Dammit.”

 

“Did you bet on this, weasel?”

 

“It was clearly a mistake. I thought you would last a little longer.”

 

“…..”

 

“…..”

 

“Never say that again.”

 

“Agreed.”

 

—–

 

“Mr. Malfoy, you can come in now.”

 

“I knew you couldn’t resist my ch…..Oh My Fucking God, we are never having sex again!”

 

“…..”

 

“…..”

 

“…..”

 

“I’ll shut up now.”

 

“Wise choice.”

 

—–

 

“Do you really have to squeeze my hand so hard, or are you just taking revenge for my earlier faux paus?”

 

“…..”

 

“H…how’s magical prosthetics these days?”

 

—–

 

“Would you like to cut the umbilical cord, Mr. Malfoy?”

 

“Sure. Anything to get my hand away from my wife’s….I mean, of course! It would be my pleasure.”

 

“…..”

 

“Wh…What…..”

 

“…..”

 

“For fuck’s sake, Draco. Did you actually faint!?”

 

—–

 

“It’s a boy.”

 

“Isn’t he beautiful?”

 

“Thank you…it was a tough journey, especially hard on my part, but I’m glad…”

 

“Shut up or I’ll name him Harry.”

 

“…..”

 

“…..”

 

“Anything you say, dear.”