Beyond words

When eyes and souls connect

Chapter 32: Smooth moves

on May 20, 2013


Khushi traced her fingers along her cheeks and smiled. Payal walked in to find Khushi twirling a strand of hair with a smile playing on her face. Her eyes looked distant and Payal’s presence was not yet felt.

Gently laying a hand on her sister, Payal brought her back to the present.

“Thinking of whom Khushi? You have a far away look on your face.”

Khushi came to with a start and blushed a bright red and started fiddling with the bag Payal had brought in. She slid her feet off the bed and felt unsteady. Payal gave her a hand and in an hour both sisters were ready to leave. They found at the billing department that their bills were paid for and a car was waiting to take them home. The driver handed a note to Khushi.

“Sorry I had to rush for a meeting. Stay safe and look right and left before you cross the road. – Arnav ji”

Khushi raised an eyebrow as she folded the note and put it away even as Payal gave her a piercing look. She had a great many questions for her sister but it could wait a couple of days. What was Khushi doing at the temple and why was Arnav ji there? NK had asked Arnav ji yesterday but Arnav ji had not answered his questions.

Was her sister in love with Arnav ji? Confusion reigned in Payal’s heart. Perhaps Akash ji would know if his Bhai was looking as lost as Khushi was these days? And what was it with NK bhai showing up with fishy reasons at their house? He had a bunch of red roses he was forced to give Buaji. Payal smiled at the thought and turned her attention to Khushi.

Khushi had nodded off and Payal turned her attention to the road.

Arnav wrapped up his meeting with clients and felt a rush of euphoria go through him. This was what had been the driving force in his life. The thrill and exhilaration that came from pulling business away from competitors noses. This deal would mean more trips to Lucknow. Perhaps Akash could set base in Lucknow for a bit after the wedding and handle things from their end? He would have to talk to him.

Making mental notes, he picked up his coat and whistled wordlessly to himself as he walked out of the AR building. Lavanya watched him leave and smiled to herself. Khushi certainly seemed to be good for ASR. He seemed to actually smile at people and stopped to make small talk. The office certainly was buzzing with curiosity on the boss’s behavior.

Lavanya’s phone buzzed. A text from Payal confirmed Khushi was back home. Another hour and she would leave too. Khushi’s accident had seemed to be the catalyst that broke the ice after she had left the Raizada house more than a year back. She had continued working for AR but had maintained a cool distance from Arnav never venturing anything personal. Arnav had been grateful and reciprocated in kind. After Anjali Di’s marriage had crumbled whatever trace of softness had been there in his countenance had died and he had thrown himself into work maniacally. Meeting Di, Arnav and NK at the hospital had thawed that ice and she felt herself hugging and catching up with Anjali. NK came across as a nice guy and had made her laugh after a long time. She had enjoyed his company that she thought nothing about it when he had asked her if she could show him around Delhi.

Now that it was actually time to meet him at the cafe, she was not sure it was a good idea at all. She pulled the compact from her bag and looked at her face critically. A touch up and she would be good to go.

Anjali sat in the living room with Nani, Mami and Mama. They were looking at the invitation samples and picking out one for the wedding. Mami had a tough time staying away from all the cheer and reluctantly gave in. She was vociferous in what she wanted for HER son’s wedding. Anjali smiled and realized Mami would grow to like Payal over time.

Arnav got into his car with every intention of going home till the surprise on Khushi’s face as he strode away after caressing her cheek flashed in front of his eyes. He would stop by to check in on her and go home. Before that he had a few calls to make.

The doorbell rang. Sure that it was Bua returning from her errand, Payal opened the door to see Arnav ji at the door. Before she could ask him anything, the phone rang. Motioning him to take a seat, she ran to get the phone. Khushi walked in limping a bit but otherwise looking all too well for someone who had been in an accident recently. Getting up to help her to the couch, Arnav put his hand over her shoulder and a mild heady mix of citrus and jasmine wafted up. Positioning her on the couch, he turned to take a seat when Payal announced she had to step out for a bit. Would Khushi be OK? Could she get Arnav ji something to drink?

Khushi looked at her sister. This was so not her.

“Who was it on the phone Jiji? Where is Bua? Where are you going?”

Payal blushed a furious red and said Akash ji had just called. He was waiting outside. He wanted to surprise her with something and had promised it would not take more than an hour. Would she please not tell Bua ji?

Happy that her Jiji was being courted, Khushi nodded happily letting her know she would be fine. Arnav smiled contentedly knowing his plan was working.

“Khushi, Are you OK? How are feeling now?”

She detected something other than concern in his voice. Wary, she looked up.

“Get well soon” he said simply as he extended a small box and a red rose to her. Reaching out for it, she thanked him and smelt the rose before setting it on her lap. Opening the box, she found six tiny jalebis. Sheer joy overcame her and she looked up at Arnav who was taking in every little transformation on her face. Popping one in her mouth, she extended the box to him and on second thoughts retracted her hand.

Even as she relished the juicy crumbs in her mouth, she saw him lean over, pull her hand to his lips and press a small kiss on it.

“I miss you Khushi.”

He said it without preamble. Like it was the most natural thing to say.

Her face flushed and she was very aware of his hand over hers. Of his lips on her skin. Of the bristle of the five o clock shadow as her hands grazed his chin. Suddenly everything in the room seemed loud. The minute hand ticking across the clock. The sway of the curtains against the wind. The sounds of children playing outside. The evening sun seemed too bright and everything stood out in extra relief.

Stilling her thudding heart, she quietly removed her hand from his and looked up. He looked sure of himself and his place in her life. His eyes followed hers never leaving her face.

“Arnav ji. Thank you. I am not sure…”

Even as she spoke, Bua ji entered the house and stopped at the sight of Arnav in the house. Acknowledging him quickly, she looked around, her eyes searching for Payal. Arnav stood up and addressed her.

“Buaji, I just stopped by to drop of sample invitation cards for the wedding. Di and Khushi were working on them before the accident so Di wanted her to take a look at the ones she had selected.”

Bua looked relieved and turned to go to into the kitchen. Khushi watched the exchange with an open mouth and even as she turned, Arnav gave her a broad wink, dropped a bunch of invites on her lap and walked out.

No one had ever accused Arnav of not being prepared.

3 responses to “Chapter 32: Smooth moves

  1. asr he is so bad loved that he was flirting with her and the next moment he had an escape plan wicked awesome

  2. sankadevi_lg says:

    Just awesome… well prepared… well done Mr. Raizada.

  3. fijiankudi says:

    Now Arnav’s brilliant Brain is in the play. Poor Khushi has got stumped again by lover boy..

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