“Why are you
being nice to me?”
Khushi and Arnav….. in the kitchen … in close proximity... Arnav’s hands on her either side on the wall…Khushi’s eyes closed as Arnav’s lips get closer to her cheek…….’ As Shyam’s eyes opened, he realized that it was the middle of night….he was perspiring… Anjali was fast asleep. He started thinking… “How is this possible? What I saw.. is just not possible! This must be some new trick of Arnav!.. Otherwise I know well that he does not trust Khushi ji at all! … He must have threatened her…. that’s why she must have been playing along.... I must get to the bottom of this! Arnav cannot control everything! I will show him what I am made up of!” Shyam smiled cunningly to himself and started thinking about his next move.
As he turned on his side, he looked at Anjali, sleeping peacefully next to him…he said to himself, “Hail, Rani Sahiba! I could not have asked for a better wife… continues to worship me! …” he shook his head as he smiled sarcastically and
went back to bed..
Arnav felt Khushi's gentle touch enclosing on his face, her eyes full of love gazing into his own...It just felt so good that Arnav's whole mind and body got immersed in the soft sense of belonging...swirling into an ocean of happiness, giddiness...Then came the words rolling out of her tender pink lips, "Aisa kyon hota hai, Arnav ji? Jab hum aapke paas aate hai toh hamare dil ki dhadkan humari sassoan se bhi tej ho jaati hai..." “Why does this happen, Arnav ji? Whenever I come close to you.. my heart starts racing… my breaths get faster and heavier…”
Arnav found himself sitting bolt upright on the chaise...It was a dream...It was a beautiful dream...He closed his eyes and tried to feel for those moments once again. Then he realized, it was already morning and he had slept on the chaise. He looked around; Khushi was peacefully asleep on the bed. Her angelic face looked innocent as ever and peaceful... a sight that he could treasure for ever. The morning sun had come up on the horizon. Auburn aura of early morning made the poolside a serene spot with Arnav's garden blooming on one side and the blue water of pool shimmering in the early morning sunshine on the other side. The birds were chirping and everything felt just right.
Arnav was surprised at the thought of feeling peaceful as he had spent last two nights rolling and restless on the chaise and had not gotten much of sleep. After Khushi mumbled the same question the other night, as he saw in his dream this morning, she had fallen asleep right away. Arnav stayed up afraid that she would say something more. Night after night he had waited for her to say something again in her sleep to no avail. “Why, Khushi, why? Why don’t you remember anything? Then why do you keep asking the same question over and over in your sleep? … It has taken my sleep away… I cannot rest easy… that one question of yours….. it has taken my peace away!”
Arnav looked at the clock and realized that he better start getting ready as once Khushi took over the bathroom, he would not get a chance to get to the office on time. He smiled at the very thought of Khushi's silly arguments to be able to use the bathroom when he wanted to use it earlier in these six months.
Arnav’s face saddened as he thought to himself, “What has happened to your mischief, Khushi? What has happened to you? Where has your smile disappeared?” His mind was lost in deep thoughts… One mind said to him,”You are responsible for the disappearance of smile from Khushi’s face!” Other mind asked,”Me? … What have I done? She can do whatever she wants!” “No! .. You have crushed her heart into millions of pieces… you have snatched the beautiful smile away from her face… You have shattered all her dreams, ASR!” Arnav became restless.. He looked at Khushi... his heart reflected in his eyes as he vowed, “If I am responsible for all of this then promise you, Khushi, I will bring back your smile!” A determination appeared in his eyes and on his face as he walked towards the bathroom...
When he was about to leave for breakfast… all ready for office, he realized that Khushi had slept longer today. Well, 'let her sleep' he thought... but got worried, he came back from the door, placed his hand gently on Khushi’s forehead, “No fever!” he curled his lips as in, ‘Whatever” and turned around. He opened the door to go downstairs when he heard, 'Uhhnnn...ahnnn... .’ He turned around to find Khushi squirming in the bed trying to cover her face from the sunshine, her eyes still closed. Arnav walked over and pulled the curtains on the poolside door. Just then Anjali walked up to the room's door and knocked. Seeing the door open so she stepped inside. Arnav came over hurriedly and said, "Di, Khushi is still asleep. Let her sleep in. I am coming downstairs for breakfast and then I will leave for office…"
"No, Chhotey! I cam to give this....Nani sent this saree for Khushi ji..." Anjali handed Arnav a beautiful light magenta saree with green embroidered border. "Di, this one.." "Yes, Chhotey!" Anjali interrupted with a mischievous smile, "Exactly, Chhotey! This is the same saree that you helped Khushi ji select on the phone at the time of Aakash’s wedding…!" Arnav turned his face, embarrassed, he said, “Was it necessary to remind me, Di?"
Anjali noticed that Khushi was still asleep in the bed. She said with affectionate look in her eyes, "How innocent Khushi ji looks in her sleep! Just like an angel!" She kept the saree on the dressing table, came over to Arnav and placed her hand on Arnav’s shoulder, “Chhotey, you don’t know this but by marrying Khushi ji, you have given me the best gift of my life!” Arnav smiled with affectionate eyes and left with Anjali to go downstairs..
Arnav was about to finish his breakfast when he noticed that Khushi descend down the stairs. She looked stunning in that light magenta saree with delicate green embroidered border, adorned with delicate jewelry and her hair flowing loose as he liked.
Mesmerized Arnav kept staring at Khushi unaware of his surroundings. Khushi looked up as she came closer to Arnav's chair… her gaze met with his… there was something in Arnav’s eyes that just pulled her towards him…She could not move her gaze away. Unaware of their surroundings Arnav and Khushi kept gazing into each others eyes. Rabba Ve….
Anjali and Aakash exchanged happy, mischievous glances with each other. Only other person at the table was Shyam… he could not take Arnav and Khushi being lost into each others eyes that long… He cleared his throat loudly. Arnav and Khushi's spell broke and hurriedly they looked the other way. Anjali kept suppressing her strong urge to tease them. Instead, she said, "Khushi ji, you look so beautiful in this saree! Right, Chhotey?"
Khushi’s gaze went to Arnav… His eyes were on her…. Shy, she lowered her gaze and sat down on the chair next to him.
As HP started pouring tea for Khushi, Khushi broke into a fit of sneezes.
Anjali said, “What’s this, Khushiji? Are you not well? Every morning you have this fit of sneezes…. Why don’t you take something?” Then she looked at Arnav and said, “Chhotey, why don’t you take her to the doctor?”
Khushi immediately jumped in defense, “No, Di! I am alright! It’s just that the window by poolside was open the whole night...”
Irritated to the degree of getting angry, Shyam was not going to let this opportunity pass by to bring up the secret he had discovered! He remembered finding the pillow by poolside just the other day as he peeped through the wooden latticed partition…. In an evil tone Shyam said, "Rani Sahiba, I don’t think this is because of the poolside window staying open …. I smell something different…!”
Surprised at his statement, Arnav and Khushi looked at Shyam as they wondered about what he might say further. Arnav looked at Khushi who looked at Arnav in turn with question mark in her gaze. Then they both looked at Shyam again. He gave a shrewd smile to Arnav after giving Khushi a challenging look.
"I think, Rani Sahiba, Saale Sahab and Khushiji spend whole night by the poolside...! Right, Saale Sahab?”
Khushi could not believe what she just heard... "Does Shyam ji know that I used to sleep by poolside?.. If yes, how does he know…" She wondered…She remembered Arnav getting angry with her for leaving pillows outside… ‘Did he see that?’ Her got mind lost in thoughts!
Arnav met with the piercing look in Shyam's eye with confidence and a shrewd smile appeared on his face as he said, "Jijaji, does not matter how long we stay by poolside and talk… but we spend rest of the night inside the room! Right, Khushi?"
Khushi was stunned at Arnav's response. She blushed, briefly met Arnav's playful gaze and then looked down. 'Hey, Devi Maiyya! Why is Arnav ji talking like this in front of everyone?' she wondered as she bashfully looked down at her plate.
Anjali smiled at Khushi's response and found her Chhotey adorable. Anjali looked at Shyam and said, "You.. You are just too much! They are newly married…. And you…. How can you tease them like this! Look at Khushi ji.. She is so shy… By the way, just for your information… I myself woke her up from her bed this morning! “
'K…Y…A..?..W…h…a..t?' Shyam’s eyes went wide.. He wanted to scream.. “Khushi ji and….Saale Sahab… together…. In the bed…!”
"Nooooooooo" His mind cried inside… then he realized that Arnav was staring at him with a winning look in his eyes... Shyam gave him a frustrated look and started to get up...
Arnav immediately jumped to his feet, gently grabbed Khushi's hand, looked her into the eye and said with a sweet smile, "Khushi, come with me! I need to talk to you!"
Khushi looked at him wide eyed, but knew better, she lowered her gaze and followed Arnav.
Khushi and Arnav left the table hand in hand. She held his hand even tighter to Arnav's amazement as both of them started climbing up the stairs looking at Shyam...
As Karan and Lovely walked in, Lovely announced, “I am going to spend the whole day today with Khushi!”
Karan mimicked her, “Then I will spend my day with my sweetheart!”
“Where are you, sweetheart?”… He took off looking for Anjali.
As Arnav and Khushi entered the room holding each others’ hand, Khushi started getting restless. Arnav closed the door behind them, still holding Khushi’s hand... Khushi tried to pull away from his grip... he initially let go… When Khushi thought that she was free, she tried to move away. All of a sudden she felt a jerk. Before she realized, Arnav grabbed her hand, swirled her around swiftly and pulled her extremely close to him, just like old times… Khushi’s eyes spread wide with questions...
Her eyes filled with rage… a twinkle appeared in her eyes, she opened her mouth to ask him, “How dare you… ….”
Arnav pulled her closer, and immediately put his finger on her lips…”shshshhhhhh...” brought his face very close to hers... looked at her with those intense eyes; passion filled his eyes…… Rabba ve…
Arnav took his finger away as Khushi felt like she was drowning in his eyes… she wanted to let go… and go with the flow... but she had this tremendous urge… she had to do this… She held his hand as he moved the finger away, his other arm still holding her snug to his body; she looked deep in his eye and said in a whisper, “Arnav ji….”
“Hmmm...” Arnav was lost in those eyes… his senses getting blunt...
“Arnav ji, since your return… you have been very different… Why are you being so nice to me all of a sudden?” She thought for a moment before saying, “I have not been able to bring the truth out yet!”
A tear trickled down her eyes… rolled down her face...
Arnav’s eyes turned soft… his jaw muscles relaxed… gaze turned gentler… as he looked at her tears, his heart went out to her…
Khushi had to push further, “May I know why you are being so nice to me?”