The whole day passed in a kind of laziness that was bought out by everyone waking up very early in the morning...save for Arnav who had gone straight ahead to his room to work and had only come for a few minutes to have his lunch; he had said that he had a sudden inspiration and had to write up his thoughts and structure his chapters as soon as possible
Khushi had even knocked at his door around early afternoon to call him for some coffee but he had declined saying he will have it later, not sparing a glance at Khushi...her curiosity in knowing about his work increased as she saw him religiously type away on his laptop, not caring about anything else around him.
She had left him after that for the rest of the day as she herself got busy with getting the house ready for the external painting...the painters had come in the afternoon to fill up the cracks and do the preliminary work so that they could start painting from the day after once everything dries up...Khushi was busy going over the color chart for the external walls, when she heard a car honking continuously at the gate
She got up and went to the front door to see who it was that was destroying their peace with his incessant honking...after quickly putting on her slippers, she walked out to the gate and squealed in delight as she saw a man in his early thirties get out of a swanky SUV, now parked right in front of her gate.
"Oh My God!!! Vinod!!!" Khushi shouted in joy as she enthusiastically opened the gate and let the man come in before hugging him hard...she laughed as he hugged her back leaned back to look at her face "I can't believe i'm seeing you after soo long!!" he said as Khushi nodded and chuckled "5 years to be exact!" she said as they remained in close proximity to each other with pure joy reflected on their faces, it was only when a loud 'Ahem' sounded behind them that they turned around towards the house.
Khushi's eyes widened as she saw Arnav standing stiffly on the first step of the house staring at Vinod and her...she quickly stepped away from him before calling Vinod inside the house as he looked on in amusement between Khushi and Arnav... "Your husband?" he asked her as Khushi quickly colored up before shaking her head vigorously "No!" she said loudly as Arnav glared at her before walking towards them
"It doesn't matter who I am...but whoever you are, please stop honking your car...apart from creating noise pollution it completely kills the tranquility I had paid for in this house!" he said scathingly as Khushi looked at him in horror and anger ...'what was wrong with him!' she thought as Vinod put his hands up while Khushi came to stand in front of him "Arnav? Vinod only honked a few times...I apologize if you were disturbed...you won't be anymore" she said as she caught hold of Vinod's hand and dragged him inside while Arnav looked on in mute anger...
He knew he over-reacted, but watching khushi throw herself in that man's arms and hearing her laugh with him had made him red hot jealous...true he had no rights on her...but...what could he have done when after an entire day's tiring work, he had finally found some time to have that cup of coffee with Khushi only to find her ensconced in someone else's arms...he head heard the honking as he had walked out of him room and had followed Khushi out to see the entire scene that played out...who was this guy?
He walked in sullenly to find them in the kitchen as Khushi made filter coffee for him...the same one that he liked...he pretended to look for something in the living room as his eyes wandered towards the opening that looked over into the kitchen, to find both of them engrossed in something funny as Khushi's body shook in mirth...he saw the guy walk closer to her as she held out a coffee mug to him...that was it!
Arnav took quick steps into the kitchen as both Khushi and Vinod stopped talking...ignoring both of them, he went to the refrigerator and took out a bottle of water before chugging it down...he was just capping it back on when Khushi broke the awkward silence "Come Vinod...we can go and chat in my room...there is soo much we need to catch up on...plus i'm gonna call amma...she will be delighted to talk to you" Khushi said as Vinod nodded mutely and followed her out...he would have probably burned to ashes if he would have looked into Arnav's eyes
Khushi took a deep breath as she led Vinod inside her room...she was extremely annoyed with Arnav for the way he behaved and was also a little bit bewildered at his behavior...he was never the kind of person to lose his cool on someone like that...except for that time with the gardener...but Vinod was...she shook her head and turned back to resume her conversation with vinod who seemed to be a little bit vary about her tenant...after reassuring him that everything was ok, khushi went back to chatting with him...with a part of her brain still hell bent on analyzing Arnav'e behavior.
"Sir? Its nearly dinner time...are you still very busy?" VK asked as he stepped inside Arnav's room who looked up tiredly from him laptop...since the time he had seen that Vinod with Khushi, all his focus on the book had vanished, making him restless about both of them together...the only thing keeping him from doing something stupid was that khushi had kept the door to her room slightly ajar, making him relax a little bit...but not much
It had been nearly two hours now since that incident outside and Arnav was no where near to getting over it...he looked at VK and nodded "Yeah, i'll come in 5 minutes..." he said before asking him another question "Uh...are Khushi and her friend here for dinner? I mean...did he leave? That...uh...Vinod?" he asked VK who smiled at him "Khushi babyji and Vinod baba have gone out for dinner...its only you sir" VK said before slowly closing the door
Arnav did not seem to understand why he suddenly had this dull ache in his chest...he tried to take deep breaths but the thought of Khushi being with someone else...someone who she seemed to be knowing very well...was eating up at him...his irrational behavior from earlier was owing to his growing fondness for khushi...for her company...her smile...her madness...her stupid sleuthing abilities...her kindness...he could not bear the thought of her with someone else...but he also knew he had to control his feelings...after the morning agreement on starting over again...he had no right to feel this way...
Khushi reached home very late after Vinod dropped her off...she had actually had a lot of fun discussing their childhood and everyone else in the family...lots of new and old gossips had kept them in splits for most of the evening...how she missed them all!...she smiled as she opened the door only to come face to face with Arnav who was just about to step out
Her face fell as he tried to catch her eye but she avoided him completely as she made her way past him into the house... "Khushi?" he called out as she reached the inner part of the living room...she stopped and turned around to find him walk towards her with slow steady steps, just as he was about to say something, VK walked out from the kitchen and asked her enthusiastically "Did Vinod baba go home? You must have had a great time with him na babyji?" he asked her, completely unaware of a pair of smoldering eyes trained on him
Before Khushi could say anything to him, she saw Arnav turn briskly and walk out the door making her look up in shock...'what was wrong with this man and his mood swings! Was he PMS'ing!' she thought as she answered VK and went to her room...she had enough of Arnav's weird behavior to last her a week...now all she wanted was to sleep...let him be damned! She thought as she kicked her door close
Arnav got back half an hour later, a little bit tired in body but pretty controlled in mind...he had once again behaved irrationally after giving himself the pep-talk about apologizing to her...yes he was seething...the familiarity with which even VK had spoken of this vinod guy had left him further stunned...he seemed to be someone very close to all of them, and he will be damned if he doesn't know more about him...he could hardly eat let alone work as these questions had plagued him throughout the day.
He got into the house and went to the kitchen to find everything closed off...it was very late and obviously VK had gone to sleep...he walked out and saw a thin sliver of light coming from Khushi's bedroom...it took him less than a second to make up his mind as he went and knocked on her door...if she could question him about having a wife, he too could question her about having a...whatever that Vinod was.
He waited impatiently as Khushi finally opened her door...he saw her shocked face but hardly gave her a second to react before letting himself inside her room and closing the door...she stepped a few paces back as he stood in front of her now closed door and looked accusingly at her
"Who was he? That guy? Was he your boyfriend? Or an ex maybe? Or maybe he is your to-be something?...or maybe" he asked her as her face went from shock to bewilderment to amusement to anger..."Enough Arnav!" she said as Arnav stopped taking and looked at her pointedly
"If you are talking about Vinod? He is my cousin...my mom's sister's son who lives in Bangalore...he came to visit me since he came to know I was here for a few days...his 'Wife' is from coorg and he is staying here for a few days as she is pregnant and at her parents...I went there to meet them for dinner..." she said as Arnav felt shocked at the revelations...never had he even thought for a second that he could be a relative...he took a deep breath as he saw khushi's lips tremble in anger and annoyance at him...he knew he had hurt her a lot
"Khushi...i'm sorry..." he said finally as she looked at him...she saw him lower his eyes guiltily and knew what he must have gone through when he must have thought that Vinod and she were romantically inclined...she could relate to that since she had herself felt that emotion recently...so she did not hold it against him...she nodded slowly and turned away from him and went towards her window as he kept standing at the same spot
After a few more seconds of silence, she heard Arnav speak " I was jealous Khushi...very jealous when I saw you with that man...I...I didn't know what happened to me as I lashed out at him...this...this thing between us is making me restless and I don't know what to do...I could not even work anymore as I kept thinking about you with him...and it irked me that you were laughing and hugging him...I want...shit! I don't know what the hell I want!" he said exasperated as khushi suddenly turned towards him and spoke softly "I know Arnav...I know" she said as she made her way solely towards him
She knew exactly what he meant...why was everything so complicated...why couldn't they just switch off this attraction and need they felt towards each other...why couldn't they just let go of whatever existed between them and pretend like it was never there...that their hearts did not beat erratically when the other was in proximity...that the thought of seeing each other did not make them restless and feel more alive...that life was not a better with the other in it...why? Why couldn't they stop falling for each other? More and more...deeper and deeper...every single day!
She felt tears prick her eyes as she walked slowly but purposefully towards him...her body trembled while his stiffened at her approach...she stood at a feet's distance from him before placing her warm palms on his face bringing it closer to hers as she touched her forehead to his...she felt rather than heard the sharp breath that he took at the contact...as both closed their eyes with arnav's arm's going familiarly around her tiny waist, khushi whispered "I wish I knew what to do Arnav...I wish I knew"