Friday, March 1, 2013

Precap to Chapter 17

Hello Everyone!

Thank you for your wonderful comments and appreciation.  It means a lot to me.  I know I don't reply to anyone specifically, but please know this that I always read each of the comments.  Your comments delight me greatly and motivate me to keep writing and to write as soon as possible.

So here you go, with the sneak-peek into the next chapter.  

Happy Reading!

:)

Precap to Chapter 17

Please note I retain sole ownership of all the works of fiction on this blog so please do not reproduce or alter my work and claim it as your own.


"Akash, get out of the car RIGHT.NOW!"
"Bhai, just few minutes, Bhai. Please?"
"They can see us through the window! GET.OUT.NOW!" Arnav muttered in annoyance and anger, trying not to speak in a loud voice.
Akash opened the door and took one step out, but still could not muster enough courage to step out.  He closed his eyes and fisted his hands.  With a big sigh, he opened his eyes and walked out of the car.
Yes, Akash, you can do it! Cmon, you have solved so many cases till now, dealt with so many criminals.  You can do this.  Yes, you can!



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chapter 16

Hello Everyone!

I am finally back with an update!  

Chapter 16 is updated, so I won't make a long note.  Just enjoy and leave me comments.  

Please remember to include your IF names in your comments.

Enjoy and Happy Reading!

:)

Chapter 16

Please note I retain sole ownership of all the works of fiction on this blog so please do not reproduce or alter my work and claim it as your own.


“If you need any help, you know na, you can always ask me.”
“What?  Why would I need help?”
“No....nothing! I just meant that....”
“To the point, Khushi!”
“How are you going to talk to my parents about Jiji?”
“Erm....I'll think of something?”
“Are you telling me or questioning yourself, Arnu?”
“I am telling you.  Anyway, there is absolutely nothing Arnav Singh Raizada cannot sort out.”
“Ok then. Let me listen to your master strategic plan!”
Arnav finally turned to look at Khushi, who simply wiggled her eyebrows in amusement.
“Looking at me won't help you find any answers, Arnu!”
Arnav looked away and said, “Khush, I....I'll bring Akash with me in a couple of days and talk of their alliance. Good enough for you?”
“And what will you say is the reason for this alliance?”
“Reason? What do you mean reason?”
“Well, you cannot talk about love in my house because my parents' minds are still traditionally set, so they won't even hear of love marriage.”
“What the!  Erm....So what? I'll think of something else.”
“So, Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada cannot sort this out?”
“Come on Khush!  Stop kidding.  At least give me some time to think of a solution to this.”
“Is 5 minutes good enough, Mr. Raizada?”
“5 minutes? With you, in this car, on this road? Are you serious?”
“Oh yes I am. And what do you mean with me and here? What's wrong in being with me?”
“Khushhh!” Arnav looked sternly at Khushi, who was grinning openly at him, looking at his annoyed face.
“Ok, fine! Then, you find me a solution within the very same 5 minutes.”
“Done!”
“What?!!!”
Khushi looked at him, and she noticed how his body language has changed from before.  Arnav looked at Khushi, uncomfortable with her silence, and saw her looking at him with a strange look in her eyes.

Arnav looked away from her, avoiding her stare as memories of the past once again plagued his mind.  No matter how hard he tried, those things always had a way to come back to him.
“Arnu?”
“Erm....yeah?”
Khushi noticed the stiffness of his body, along with the tense tone of his voice. She, though, didn't protrude the matter since she knew that their friendship wasn't as strong enough to share everything.  However, she did realize that there was something that bothered Arnav deeply.  She silently closed her eyes and opened them again with a happy glint to them.
“So, now my dear friend Arnu ji, would you like to listen to my plan?”
“You have a plan?”
“Yes!” Khushi said, as her eyes brightened in excitement.

~*~

Arnav sat in his cabin, working on the computer, as he “hmmm”ed to Khushi’s constant talking, without paying any attention actually.
“Aaaa….Ouchhh…..Khushhhh!  What’s wrong with you?” Arnav said, as he struggled to free his left ear from Khushi’s hold.
“What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with YOU? Here, I am telling all the details to you, and you are just drooling over that computer of yours! Huhhh!”
Arnav looked at Khushi, an amused look adoring his face, as he took in her annoyed look.  He held her hand and made her stand in front of him, with her back to his table.
“How about I tell you exactly what you were telling me?”
“Hmph! As if you know!”
“You manipulated your family into looking for alliances for Payal, they are excited for Payal, and you even showed the fake matrimonial profile you created of Akash.  And now, we just have to schedule the meeting, right?”
“But I-”
“Khush!  You already told me all of that last night in the chat.  Why are repeating everything now?”
“Because it’s different, talking to you here face-to-face than typing all of it at night. I….”
“I know, but don’t you have to head home now?  It’s getting late and everyone already left.”
“But I think you are still here.  And you don’t even allow me to say a single word the entire day just because someone might think in the wrong way. Now what’s wrong with me being here when no one else is here?”
“Won’t your family be worried? I don’t want you getting in trouble because of me.”
“I can always say that my CRUEL supervisor made me overwork.” Khushi said, as a twinkle made her eyes glows.
“Oh, so now I am CRUEL to you?”
“Of course you are.  You don’t let me talk to you all day.  Then you are always shoo-ing me away in the evenings when others leave.  And over the top, you only text chat at night.  Can’t you even Skype then?”
“Khush, we are together the entire day, why do you even need to Skype at night?”
“Becozzzz it’s easier to look and talk.”
“Weren’t you saying just last night that it’s easier to talk without looking since then you can just say whatever is on your mind, without thinking how it will impact others. Although, there has never been such a moment yet.”
“Haaaa! Arnuuuu!” Khushi pouted, while playfully hitting Arnav’s chest, and Arnav simply smiled at her expressions.
“Do you even know how cute all your antics are?”
“I know!  After all, I am Khushi Kumari Gupta!”
Khushi went back to talking about her plan for the Gupta family's meeting with the Raizada brothers, while Arnav continued to look at her, trying to analyze her in his business-mind.

How can someone be so na├»ve, innocent, and yet mischevious? How can someone enter his life and turn it upside down in a matter of just a few days?  How can someone be so open and frank with him?  He had learned to build a solid wall around himself, preventing anyone and everyone from entering his personal life.  Since the past few years, he had never had a personal conversation with anyone, not even Akash.  He had avoided every single instance that may lead to something like that.  Why was it then, that whenever Khushi was near him, he forgot all about his outer-image?  The image he himself created, to blind the world into believing that he was a ruthless, heartless person, so no one can dare to come near him and hurt him.  He had never allowed anyone to affect him at a personal level since she left.  Why was this girl making such a huge impact on him all of a sudden?

“Oye mister, do you plan on sitting here all night?”
Khushi snapped her fingers in front of him, making him snap out of his thought-frenzy.
“Huh? What?”
Khushi quickly check his forehead to see whether his temperature was normal or not.
“What are you doing, Khushi?”
“Nothing, I am just checking whether you are fine or not.  Or whether you have simply sworn to ignore me today?”
“I am listening to you right now, aren’t I?”
“Oh really, how about telling me what I was saying before that, Mr. I-Know-It-All?”
“I think, Miss I-Surely-Know-It-All, it’s time for both of us to head out since I am getting hungry now.  How about we both go out to dinner?”
“Dinner? No, Jiji messaged a while back that everyone would be waiting for dinner. Sorryyyy! Some other time?”
Arnav looked at the sad face Khushi was making, and his heart soar up at that angelic face.
“Anytime you want to.  Now, let’s go. Come on!”
Khushi happily picked all her stuff and both left to their respective abodes.

~*~

The day finally arrived.  The Gupta household had been very busy with all the preparations.  All the decorations were kept to a minimum since this was just a meeting of the respective alliance.  But the food arrangements were made to be elegant, yet simple.  All the family members were in their best attire.
Garima, Payal and Khushi’s mother, wore an elegant Banarasi sari, as she rushed to make final touches to all the arrangements.  Shashi and Bauji dressed in their regular formal wear.  Khushi was in Payal’s room, dressing her up, while she got ready early in the morning so she can help everyone else. 
“Jiji, you look sooooo pretty!  Jeejz is going to faint, just by looking at you.”
“Oye Khushi, what are you saying? If he faints, how will he talk about the alliance with everyone?”
“Ohhhhh, so my Jiji is already getting desperate for Jeejz, huh?”
“Khushiiiiii,” Payal pouted, “are you sure everything will be fine?”
“Of course Jiji!  Everything will be perfectly fine.  I am here na?”
Both sisters hugged each other for assurance, while Khushi was nervous herself, but she managed to convince Payal otherwise.

~*~

“Arnav, when are you guys coming?”
“Just 5 minutes away!  Are you okay?  You sound a bit edgy, hmm?” Arnav said, feeling a little relaxed hearing her voice.
“I am just nervous, even more than Jiji, though I managed her somehow.  And how come you guys are so early?  Weren’t you supposed to be coming a bit later? I mean, it’s not really the time yet, is it?”
“Khushi!!!!  First of all, I am driving, so you can answer your question yourself.  Secondly, stop getting so nervous. Everything is going to be just fine.  Lastly, talk to Akash because I CANNOT HANDLE TWO SUCH THINGS SIMULATENOUSLY!” And all of the relaxation and soothing time ended as soon as it began.
“How can YOU…”
“Hello, Khushi. What’s wrong?”
“Oh, hi Jeejz.  Everything is perfectly fine.  Didn’t you just hear your LOUD and OBNOXIOUS brother?”
“Oh, yes, yes, of course. Who couldn’t have heard that? You know what, let’s talk when we all meet, since we all need to CALM DOWN.  And you know, what’s funny in this? I AM THE ONE WHO’S COMING THERE FOR MY ALLIANCE! SO BOTH OF YOU, STOP FIGHTING!!!!”
Khushi pushed the phone away from her ear since Akash’s voice obviously traveled freely out her earpiece.
“See you, Jeejz!” Khushi quickly spoke into the phone and ended the call.
“I guess someone is more nervous than all of us combined!” Khushi said, as she ran to the living room to wait at the window for the Raizada brothers to arrive.

~*~

"Akash, for the hundredth time, we are only few feet away the house.  You need to pull yourself together." Arnav said, with as much as patience as he could, while trying to control his temper from leashing at Akash.
"Bhai, but I..."
"Listen, if there is anything wrong, you just signal me, call me, message me, anything!  Just don't freak out.  Do you understand that?"
"Yes, Bhai.  Yes, I am fine, as long as you are with me.  Let's do it, Bhai!" Akash said, with a smile on his face, though his eyes still gave up his nervousness which he was trying hard to suppress. 
“Just remember, you still have to answer few of the questions coming your way.” Arnav said, as he visibly begin to relax.
“Yeah, but only few out of the thousands!” Akash gave a bright and victorious smile, as he looked at himself in the mirror.
Arnav turned away from Akash, veryyy annoyed, let out a big sigh, and ran his hand through his hair. "This is going to be one longgggg day!"

Links to Alliance Day attires:
Garima
Akash
Payal
Khushi
Arnav


So, How was it?
I will try to post the next update in a couple of weeks, at the most.  I am trying really hard to write and post as much as I can.  Also, sorry for the long delay in the update. 
Remember to include your IF names in your comments.  Thank you!
~Mannat <3

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Precap to Chapter 16

First of all, please accept my apologies for not updating sooner!  
Sorryyyyy EVERYONE!!!!!
I just a lot of stuff going on, and I simply couldn't update.  

I am posting a precap to the next update for Chapter 16.  I will try to update the complete chapter soon.

ENJOY!!!!!!


Precap to Chapter 16

Please note I retain sole ownership of all the works of fiction on this blog so please do not reproduce or alter my work and claim it as your own.

So, Mr. Arnav Singh Raizada cannot sort this out?”
Come on Khush! Stop kidding. At least give me some time to think of a solution to this.”
Is 5 minutes good enough, Mr. Raizada?”
5 minutes? With you, in this car, on this road? Are you serious?”
Oh yes I am. And what do you mean with me and here? What's wrong in being with me?”
Khushhh!” Arnav looked sternly at Khushi, who was grinning openly at him, looking at his annoyed face.
Ok, fine! Then, you, Miss Khushi Kumari Gupta, find me a solution within the very same 5 minutes.”
Done!”
What?!!!”




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chapter 15

Hello everyone!
Sorry for not updating on Sunday.  That's why I am updating today.  I will try to update soon now, maybe tomorrow or Friday.  
Thank you all for your wonderful comments on the last update and your patience with my delays in the updates.

Happy reading! :)

Chapter 15
Please note I retain sole ownership of all the works of fiction on this blog so please do not reproduce or alter my work and claim it as your own.

You brought this gift for me, right Arnav?”
Arnav looked at Khushi and saw her eyes filled with confusion and something else which he was unable to put a finger on.
Khushi....no....I....I mean it was Akash who brought this for you.” He finally said looking away from Khushi.
Oh really? Then look at me in the eye and say it” said Khushi in a firm tone.
Arnav kept his eyes on the road ahead, “I am driving and I am not lying.”
No! You are lying! Don't even try to say otherwise. How can you even do this Arnav? How could you?”
What the! What have I even done? And what difference does it make to you anyways?”
Obviously it makes a difference to me! It would make hell lot of a difference when you give me a gift compared to when Jeejz give it. And how can you even lie, Arnav?”
Khushi! Just stop, will you? What difference is there between me and Akash?”
Silence.
Arnav waited a few minutes and turned to see Khushi facing away from him, looking outside the window, with an expressionless face, her lips casted downward.
He parked the car to the side of the road and turned toward her, while Khushi continued to ignore him.
Okay. I am sorry. Yes, I did brought that gift for you and yes, I gave it to Akash to give it to you. Happy?”
Khushi still ignored him and looked out the window, her hands formed into tight fists.
Khushi?”
Arnav held her chin and made her face him.
Khushi, look at me.”
Khushi continued to look downward, so Arnav held her chin firmly and made her look at him.
Sorry? Please?” said Arnav.
Khushi's eyes got a bit moist as she looked into his eyes filled with honesty and guilt.
It's fine” replied Khushi in a little voice.
Well, you have to be. It's your birthday and I want each moment of your day filled with happiness.”
Khushi's lips lifted in a slight smile as her eyes once again shined in joy.
No! I need that the Khushi smile, not this small one.” Arnav said while faking annoyance to her.
Khushi chucked looking at his face and said, “You know, you are not good at acting, so don't even try it.”
Arnav looked at her and smiled, “Really? So what else do you know about me?”
Hmmm. Let me think. You have anger issues. You are a good elder brother to Jeejz. You have a great taste in choosing gifts. You know how to make me smile.” She answered honestly and innocently, as she tapped her chin and got lost in her world while saying everything.
So you liked my gift?”
Khushi turned to look at him and saw a smirk planted on his face.
Yes, I did. And no need to be so happy. I am still not happy with the way you had it given to me. Hmph!”
Oh cmon Khushi. I just wasn't sure whether I should or not. I didn't want you to feel awkward.”
But why would I feel awkward? We are friends now, and it's absolutely normal for friends to gift each other occasionally.”
Arnav turned to Khushi with a surprised look. “Friends?”
Yeah. We are friends now. Aren't we?”
Erm....yeah, sure....okay.”
Don't you want to be friends with me?”
What? No, I didn't mean that. Why won't I not want to be your friend?”
So we are friends now na? Real friends?”
Arnav shook his head slightly at her innocence and smiled, “Yes, we are friends now, real ones.”
He restarted the car and began to head back on the road.
So does that mean I can call you by any nicknames I choose?” Khushi asked excitedly.
But why nicknames? What's wrong with my name?”
Well, there isn't anything wrong with your nickname. But don't you know all friends call each other by nicknames?”
I never had any friend calling me with nicknames, so no, I wouldn't know.”
Arnu, you are such a reserved person. All your friends must have been trying to appease your majesty.”
What the! Arnu? And what do you mean appease?”
First, yes, Arnu. Now that's your nickname from now on. Secondly, what I mean by appease is that everyone is just so scared of your mood swings, so they all must have been trying to do the 'right' thing in front of you, rather than being themselves and having fun.”
Khushi, you are UNBELIEVABLE!”
What the?!”
What? What did you say?”
I said your pet dialogue. [She giggled.] Just wanted to see how you would react, but yes, I already know I am unbelievable because I am simply everything everyone else is not.”
Ok Ok. Enough of this discussion. Now tell me, how does Khush want to celebrate her day?” He said with a wide grin on his face.
Khush? KHUSH? YOU gave ME a nickname?? Wowwww!”
Weren't you going on and on about how friends should? Then why can't I?”
Well, of course you can. And I love it. Khush. Aaawwww, Arnu and Khush.” She giggled, while Arnav smiled and continued driving.
~*~
Payal and Akash reached Plattsburgh City Beach, but there still wasn't any sign of Khushi and Arnav. Akash held Payal's hand and both walked toward the beach.
Payal, I am sorry for not telling you about myself before today.”
It's fine, Akash. I guess you needed time with it.”
No, it wasn't time. Anyways, I only told you about Uncle and Aunt. The reason was that when I moved to US, they were the ones who helped me a lot in settling here. I....I do have parents back in India. It....I guess....it was the need of the time then that made me take such drastic steps........I am sorry but I don't think I am still comfortable in talking about it.”
Payal held Akash's hand firmly in hers and stood in front of him. She caressed his cheek with her other hand.
Akash, if you don't want to, then you don't have to. I am fine with it and I am sure that you must have your reasons.”
Thanks, Payal. [He held her hand on his cheek to his lips and softly kissed it.] Payal, my brother is the only person I look up to. He is my only family, even above my parents.”
He cleared his throat, left her hands, and stepped backward a few steps. He kneeled on his right knee and held his right hand up in the air.
Miss Payal Gupta, would you do me the honor of being my life partner?”
Payal's eyes widened in shock, then filled with tears, as she nodded and smiled. She placed her hand in his, “Yes, yes, I would never desire for anything more than this.”
She made him rise and both hugged tightly. Payal continued to flow her tears of happiness, while Akash looked up at the heavens to convey his gratitude.
Ahumm, ahummm!”
Khushi's voice interrupted their embrace and both let go of each other. They looked around and found Khushi and Arnav standing there, Khushi with a wide grin on her face and Arnav with a soft smile.
Payal and Akash looked nervously at each other, while Khushi rushed to Payal and hugged her.
Congratulations, Jiji! I am so so sooooo happy for you. This is the best gift from both of you!”
Payal smiled fondly at Khushi, looked at Akash, then looked down shyly.
Arnav went to Akash and hugged him lightly.
Congrats, Akash. I wish the best for the two of you.” Arnav said.
Thanks, Bhai.”
Jiji, when do you want to tell at home? Should we tell them today? It's my birthday, they won't refuse me. Yes, we should tell them now. And then we....”
Khushiiii, calm down, I am sure Akashji must have thought of something.” Payal said.
Erm....Payal, I am sure Bhai must have thought of something, right Bhai?”
What the?! Akash? Wh....”
Akash hurriedly held Arnav's arm and led him away from the ladies, while Khushi and Payal continued to stare at them confused.
Bhai, if you remember, then you gave me a task this morning and even asked me for help.”
So? How does that relate to THIS?”
So, Bhai, now if you don't help me, I am going to tell Khushi that....”
You are blackmailing ME?”
Oh no, Bhai. You know, how you would say, I am just doing a deal.”
Unbelievable!”
Without giving any response to Akash, Arnav made his way to Payal, while Akash followed him dumbfoundedly, still deciding whether he has been successful or not.
Khushi stopped teasing Payal as she saw Arnav coming toward them.
Payal?”
Yes, Arnavji?”
You don't have to worry about anything. We'll come soon to ask for your alliance from your parents.” Arnav said with a friendly smile, but trying to think what to do next himself.
Akash's face brightened with happiness, while Payal nodded to Arnav shyly. Khushi continued to stare at Arnav, realizing there is something more to what he's making it seem as.
Akash stood next to Khushi and turned her toward him, “Khushi, now that everything is settled, why don't we actually celebrate both occasions?”
Aawww, Jeejz. You are simply so sweet.”
Before anyone could say anything, Khushi led the three of them toward the waves of the water. While Akash, Payal, and Khushi began to enjoy the cool water after undoing their footwear, Arnav continued to stand away from the water, observing their playful activities with a soft smile.
Khushi jumped around in the water and saw Arnav standing apart from them. She quickly took a handful of water, which was dripping on her clothes, ran and threw the bit left behind on Arnav. Arnav shut his eyes as the cold water tore through the warmth of his suit.
Khushi? What are you....?”
Arnuuu! It's my birthday, how can you not enjoy with us?”
She held his hand and took him toward the water, while Arnav had already lost himself as her soft, cool hand touched his firm, warm one.
Arnu, open your shoe laces. Arnuuuuu! Arnuuuuu! ARNAV!!!!!!”
Huh? What?”
Your shoes! Won't you take off your shoes before entering the water?”
Erm....yeah.” He took off his shoes, but Khushi held his arm and ran to the waters with him before he could even say his “What the!”
Khushi began to play around in the water, while Arnav stood near her, looking at the sweet smile on her face, her face flashing with joy.
Khushi looked at him and realized that he's not playing. She grinned mischievously and threw big splashes of water at him. Arnav looked at her shocked and began to throw water at her as well. They continued their water fight until they were fully wet, from head to toes. Khushi began to laugh looking at Arnav, while he chuckled lightly and shook his head at her crazy antics.
Now, Khush, can we go?” Arnav asked with a sweet, yet enticing smile.
Khushi stood, stunned, with the smile still on her face, as she heard him say Khush for the second time. Something quivered in her heart, something she was unable to comprehend. Arnav smiled softly, as he saw her expressions.
He held his hand toward her as a friendly gesture and said, “Come.”
Khushi took his hand happily and they went toward Payal and Akash, who by now were sitting on the sand, talking silently. They stood up as the other two joined them.
Bhai, Khushi, should we head on home now? The sun is just about to set, and Payal was saying that they needed to head home soon as well.” Akash said.
Yes, Jeejz, even I am tired now” said Khushi.
Yeah, Akash. I need to finish some work as well.” Arnav said.
Work, work, work, always work!” Khushi mummered to herself, as Arnav looked at her from the corner of his eyes.
Everyone headed to their cars and settled to go as they had arrived.

So, how was the update?  Let me know what you think and drop your lovely comments with your IF names below.  
Thank you once again to all for your patience!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chapter 14

Hello everyone!!!!!
My apologizes for the late update.  I was really busy. So, without further delay, here is the next chapter.
Happy Reading!
Enjoy :)

Chapter 14
Please note I retain sole ownership of all the works of fiction on this blog so please do not reproduce or alter my work and claim it as your own.


Akash walked out of New York University after a meeting with the Vice President. Though he worked efficiently regardless of what the situation was, his mind was currently playing multiple memories from olden days. He sat into his car and placed his head on the steering wheel. He replayed Arnav's conversation, wondering why he needed her location suddenly. Though he was thankful that he didn't ask any of the questions he normally would, but then he was surprised, as to why not. Akash had been expecting Arnav's call since the day NK informed of his arrival.
But Bhai did not even mention anything. Maybe he's not going to. I just hope....
His phone rang, marking the call of his elder brother.
Yes, Bhai?”
Akash....erm....Where are you?”
Wh....I....near Greenwich Village. Why Bhai?”
No, I was....Why don't we meet? I am in Greenwich Village as well.”
Now? Oh God Bhai! Are you alright? I s everything okay? Are you....”
AKASH! I.am.FINE! I asked, can we meet?”
Yeah, sure Bhai. Anyways, I was coming to meet someone. Where at, Bhai?”
You tell. Who were you meeting with? Colleague or....?”
Erm....yes, Bhai. I am coming and will message you the place.”
Okay!”
~*~
Arnav sat in his car, the black windows hiding him from anyone's view. His eyes were set on the entrance of the Cafe. Khushi was still inside with her sister and Akash on his way here.
Why did Akash have to decide on this very Cafe? I thought he would NOT want me to meet his love interest. How can this man be so down to earth? DAMN IT!
A knock disturbed his venting. Arnav saw Akash standing in front of his door, his eyes looking around and on the window again. Arnav lowered the window, just enough to make his voice across.
The car's unlocked. Get in!”
Arnav quickly closed the window before Akash could argue back.
Akash opened his mouth to argue but closed as the window went up. He walked to the other door, completely clueless of what exactly was wrong with his brother. As soon as he sat, Akash turned toward Arnav with a stumped, yet curious look. However, as soon as he saw Arnav looking at him with an affectionate look, the look he missed all these years.
Though Arnav was caught up in many things, he couldn't help but feel the same brotherly love for his younger brother. He had never shown his emotions to anyone, but he had missed him all these years. He placed his hand on his shoulder, but Akash hugged him tightly, just the way he used to hug him in the younger years. Arnav patted his back lightly, strictly controlling his emotions.
Bhai, I am sorry, Bhai. I know I hurt you a lot, but you know I just couldn't....I was....Bhai....it was....”
I know, I know it all. Do you really think you could have breathed even for a single moment without my knowledge?”
Akash looked at Arnav, his face full of confusion.
Bhai? You knew about....”
Arnav nodded his head in positive.
I still want you to come back, but it will be your decision. My desires won't interfere with your decisions.”
Thank you Bhai, thank you so much! But I am still sorry Bhai. You needed me, but I....”
You had a choice, Akash, and you chose for yourself. I didn't, so I couldn't.”
Bhai....erm....do you still....”
NO!”
Akash flinched a bit at seeing the same rage in Arnav's eyes. Even if everyone feared Officer Raizada, he would always be afraid of his brother's temper nonetheless.
Sorry, Bhai. I was just....”
Arnav closed his eyes to control his temper and looked at his brother with affection.
Akash, it's....it's no use talking about that now. [He cleared his throat, as he recalled the day's events.] So, who were you meeting here?”
Akash suddenly remembered what happened earlier on and his warm, affectionate look turned into a curious, yet an astute look.
What's going on, Bhai?”
You still didn't answer my question.” Arnav said, avoiding an eye contact with Akash.
Oh....she....I was....erm....”
So, it's a girl? Girlfriend or just a colleague?”
Akash looked sheepishly at his brother, knowing fully well that he could never lie to his elder brother.
I love her, Bhai.”
Arnav noticed the honesty and pride in Akash's eyes as he spoke the words. His lips turned into a smile as well.
Hmm. Who is she, by the way?”
The timidness evaporated from Akash's eyes and a slight smirk made its way on his lips.
Elder sister of the girl you had me track down.”
Arnav ignored Akash's gaze upon him and found the parking meter outside the car much more interesting.
Bhai, you do know that you have to come clear, right?”
Arnav pondered upon his words for few seconds, cleared his throat once again, and finally looked at Akash.
Erm....I need your help.”
Bhai? You....I mean....help??”
Akash, please. You know, if it wasn't important, I wouldn't be asking you at any cost.”
Ok. How exactly do you want me to help you?”
Arnav looked straight into Akash's eyes to convey the seriousness of the matter.
I asked you to find out about Khushi and I just want from you that she should never know of this fact.”
Hmm. No problem. But there's something I need you to do in return.”
What the! Since when have you learned to blackmail?”
Akash chuckled a bit, as Arnav's tense muscles relaxed a bit to know it wouldn't something serious since his brother was laughing.
Bhai, I just want to introduce the person who is the role model of my life to the person who I want to spend my entire life with.”
But Akash, I....”
Bhai, I have never told her anything about....well, anything. You are the only family I have, Bhai. Please?”
You are the only true family I have as well. But Khushi....”
Don't worry. I know her personally as well. I'll handle.”
Though Arnav was not convinced, he nodded to Akash reluctantly.
Akash, there's one more thing.”
What, Bhai?”
Erm....it's Khushi's birthday today. [He picked a gift bag from the backseat and handed it to Akash.] Would you give this to her?”
Akash bit the inside of his cheek to stop himself from smiling.
But why don't you give it to her, Bhai? I assume you also know her personally.”
NO! I mean....I....she....is an intern at IBM where I am heading the internship program. So it's not personal.”
Bhai, you care about her na?”
Akash looked directly into his brother's eyes and smiled.
It's fine, Bhai. I know you. Don't worry, I'll take care of it” said Akash while pointing towards the gift.
Both got out of the car and walked into the Cafe.
~*~
Jiji, where is Jeejz now? I am even hungry now.”
He'll be here soon. Maybe got caught with something.”
At the cue, Payal saw Akash coming through the door, along with someone else as well.
Look, here he is!”
Khushi turned around with a wide grin on her face which turned in a shocked expression as her jaw dropped down and her eyes went wide as she saw Arnav walking with Akash. Arnav noticed Khushi's changing expressions but he dared not look her in the eye. Akash, on the other hand, was observing Khushi and Arnav, while winking at Payal. Payal was smiling her cute smile at Akash when she noticed him looking at Khushi and Arnav, so she also looked at the both of them. She though was only slightly surprised at Khushi's state, but found nothing wrong with Arnav since Arnav's face was expressionless. Payal was further astonished as Akash winked at her with an amused expression.
~*~
Khushiiii, Khushiiiii, Akashji is talking to you.” Payal tried to get Khushi out of her daze, but Khushi remained statue-like until Payal pinched her on her arm. Akash was smiling seeing her state, while Arnav was looking everywhere but at her.
Ouchhh!” Khushi turned immediately to Payal with an annoyed look.
What was that for Jiji?” whispered Khushi to Payal.
Look in the front and you'll know, Einstein.” Payal turned and smiled warmly to Akash.
Happy Birthday, Khushi.” Akash said and side-hugged Khushi. Khushi hugged him back.
Thanks Jeejz. So you finally remembered me? What took you so long?” [Jeejz = alteration for Jeeju, brother-in-law]
Sorry kiddo. I had a meeting and here, let me introduce you both to my elder brother, Arnav Singh Raizada.”
Khushi looked at Arnav, who was still avoiding her. She opened her mouth, closed it, opened again.
You....you are Jeejz's elder....?” said Khushi, though she was mainly talking to herself.
Khushi, do you know each other already?” asked Payal innocently.
Huh?....Jiji....woh....he....I....he's my....boss” stammered Khushi as she looked away from Arnav.
Oh wow. What a surprise! Akashji, you never told me you had a brother.” Payal said.
Akash and Arnav looked at each other uncomfortably, both aware of the reasons.
Arnav spoke, “Actually, I told him not to. Our family had many contacts, while Akash wanted to build his career on his own merits. Therefore, he established himself without disclosing who his family is.”
Oh, really Akashji? That's so sweet of both you brothers. Now can we all sit and talk?” said Payal with a sincere smile on her face.
All sat down, Payal and Khushi on one side of the table, while Akash and Arnav in front of them. Arnav and Khushi still avoided eye contact with each other, while Payal and Akash noticed the uncomfortable silence between the both. If nothing else, both surely did know that Khushi would not have kept quiet without any reason.
So Khushi, here is our birthday girl's present.” Akash said while giving the gift bag to her.
Jeejz, YOU brought me a gift? Yepppeeeee!” Khushi giggled as she was just about to open the gift when Payal slapped her thigh secretly. Khushi stopped, realizing her manners which were forgotten due to her excitement.
Erm....Happy Birthday Khushi.” Arnav spoke in a firm voice, attempting to hide his hesitancy and looking directly at Khushi now.
Thank you, A....Sir.” Khushi said shyly, ignoring Arnav's gaze on her. Arnav smirked slightly as he realized that Khushi was about to call him by his first name.
Khushi, Bhai just told me that you both worked together. I didn't know. So, I hope you don't mind that.”
Oh, no Jeejz. It's completely fine. Anyways, Sir is very sincere about his work and it's a pleasure working with him.” Khushi said the last sentence shyly, while Arnav's heart swelled with pride and happiness.
Payal was amazed at her sister, but Akash acted as if nothing was happening though his heart was jumping in joy to see his brother like this.
Payalji, since it's Khushi's birthday, why don't we all go out together? I don't have any work for the rest of the day, and I am sure Bhai can manage one day without work. Right, Bhai?”
Sure Akash. As you all see fit.” Arnav said while looking at Khushi from the corner of his eyes.
Yes, Akashji. Khushi will love spending the day with us.” Payal said excitedly as she saw Akash winking at her again.
Payal and Akash got up to leave before Khushi could say otherwise. Arnav and Khushi followed them close behind.
Arnav whispered to Khushi, “Khushi, you do know that you can call me by my name in front of my own brother, right? I only stopped you from that in front of the staff and faculty.”
Khushi looked at him surprised, “Ohh. I was just not sure since I didn't know.”
Well, now you do!” Saying it, Arnav walked away from Khushi and closer to Akash, who turned around just in time.
Bhai, why don't you and Khushi follow our car? I....erm....I had to talk to Payal about something.”
Arnav looked at Khushi's surprised look, smirking inwardly he answered Akash, “Of course Akash. You guys go ahead. Enjoy!”
Payal and Akash went in their car, while Khushi and Arnav followed behind.
~*~
Khushi, buckle your seatbelt.” Arnav said to Khushi without looking at her.
Khushi looked toward him as she buckled her seatbelt.
Thanks.” She said in a little voice.
Hmm. Why didn't you tell me of your leave?”
Khushi began playing with her fingers nervously, “I....I told Amanji. You were busy.”
You could have called me or messaged me in the evening.”
Khushi shot him a surprised look. “I forgot. I was busy at home.”
Why didn't you tell me about your birthday?”
Sorry. I forgot.”
Arnav looked at her, a softness in his eyes, “You don't have to be sorry, Khushi. I....I just....never mind.” He looked away, unable to vocalize his feelings.
Khushi looked at Arnav and saw a strange sadness on his face.
Hey Devi Mayyia! What have I done? He must have felt bad because he found out from Jeejz. Stupid, duffer! How idiotic can you be Khushi!
Arnavji, I didn't mean to hurt you. I just forgot. I am sorry. I am really sorry.”
Khushi, you don't have to be sorry. It's fine.” Arnav smiled at Khushi, seeing her distressed at such a simple thing, while understand his unexpressed feelings. Khushi smiled as soon as she saw him smiling.
So, I never thought you would turn out to be Jeejz's brother. He is so different than you.”
Different? Yeah, obviously. Personalities of any two people has to be different. How can we be same, Khushi?”
Arnavji, you are seriously the limit. I wasn't expecting a complete logical explanation for such a general thing.” Khushi rolled her eyes, while Arnav smiled at her.
Oh, but even I didn't realize that your surname is also Raizada. I should have guessed then, but I guess it never came to my mind.” Khushi spoke as she played with the gift bag in her lap. She suddenly realized that she still hasn't opened her gift. She looked at Arnav with a mischievous glint in her eyes.
Arnavji, can I ask something?”
Hmm.”
Do you mind if I open my present?”
Arnav looked at her, surprised and timidly. “Erm....no, go ahead.”
Khushi excitedly opened her the bag to find another wrapped gift box inside. She opened it and found a pearl and diamond earrings with a matching necklace. Her eyes opened wide, appreciating the beauty of the present, while her mind blurred with confusion. Arnav noticed her awed expression and looked away, smiling to himself since she liked the gift. Khushi turned to Arnav, only to be more surprised to see a peaceful smile adorning his face. Realization hit her and she looked back at the gift.
You gave this gift, not Jeejz, right?”
Arnav's smile vanished as he looked at Khushi in shock!

Here is the link for Khushi's gift: Earrings & Necklace
So, how was it?  Sorry for not having many Arhi scenes.  
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