Khushi woke with a smile on her face, stretching languidly on the silky sheets. Looking down at herself she saw her naked long legs begin where the t-shirt had ridden up. Blushing furiously, she tried to cover them, recalling her passionate responses to her husbands touch last night.
Thinking of him, she turned towards his side of the bed, only to find it empty. Looking about the room she still saw no sign of him. With a small frown, she got out of bed and crept towards the bathroom, all the while pulling the t-shit down to cover her exposed legs as she walked.
The bathroom was also empty, though wet, as if he had recently showered. His toothbrush and toiletries all standing in the exact place they had been yesterday – only slightly wet! What a neat and tidy gentleman her husband was, she thought fondly, running her fingers across the bottles and tubes he must have used a short while ago! Her newfound discovery of her feelings was giving her wings – everything looked so beautiful and perfect… She wrapped her arms around herself in a hug feeling the warm softness of his t-shirt envelope her along with its spicy masculine smell. She only wished he had woken her up before leaving, so that she could have seen him off as part of her wifely duties, she thought with a sudden frown.
Glancing at the clock on the wall, she was suddenly galvanized into action, wanting to join the rest of the family downstairs, before her tardiness was noticed.
She should not have bothered, as the smiles and looks she got from jiji, Anjaliji and nani had her embarrassed and blushing furiously the entire day. They all had realised that technically last night was her wedding night, and ribbed her gently about it as they settled into the household chores about the house.
Late afternoon, while they were relaxing after lunch, mami and nani had retired to their rooms for an afternoon siesta, Anjaji received a call from Arnav. He had to leave for Paris tonight for some urgent meetings with the buyers, and he wanted his bags packs accordingly.
Anjali, while winking at Khushi, told him mockingly that he had a wife now to order about, and do his packing. ‘Why can’t Khushi join you,’ she said suddenly, having a brainwave, ‘it will be a nice honeymoon for both of you.’
‘But we can get the passport and all organized in a couple of days …’ she added in answer to something he must have said.
Khushi watched with baited breath, this new turn of events.
‘Theek hain,’ Anjaliji was finishing the conversation in a resigned tone. ‘Hum karva denge…’
Disconnecting the phone, she turned towards where Khushi sat shelling peas on the sofa.
‘Arnav has to travel for work tonight ... Come let me show you how his packing etc is done,’ she smiled encouragingly at Khushi, seeing her crestfallen face.
She had helped Anjaliji packs Arnav’s bags halfheartedly. And now as the time neared for him to return home, Khushi wondered gloomily, if she would even get any time to spend alone with her husband, before he would leave for work.
She was in the kitchen, as usual, when he returned, helping get dinner prepared. But this time instead of going straight up to his room, he walked into the kitchen, ignoring her, and requesting Anjaliji for a cup of tea to be sent up to his room.
Arnav had spent an unusually distracted day at work, snapping at almost everyone. How was he going to spend another night with her in his room without touching her, he groaned out aloud, looking away from his laptop and throwing his head back on his chair. He shut his eyes, and visions of her sprawled in a haze of passion on his bed last night, entered his already throbbing head immediately. What a mess he had created without thinking it through, he cursed himself. She always managed to make him react adversely, he thought angrily. Why hadn’t she stopped him last night? And to cry after that most beautiful experience they had shared … he banged his fist on the table cursing loudly.
When Aakash walked into his office later to discuss the buyers in Paris, Arnav saw his opportunity, and took an immediate decision to go there himself to meet them.
‘Par bhai’, Aakash spoke softly, ‘you don’t need to go… the office can handle it …’
‘No.’ Arnav spoke vehemently. ‘I will travel tonight itself. Just get all the arrangements done Aakash,’ dismissing him neatly by returning to his laptop screen.
Aakash stood for a few seconds, wanting to remind his brother of his newly wedding wife, but decided against it. He knew that there would have been no change in ASR’s plans whatsoever. Leaving the room with a sad shake of his head, he went on to do the needful for his brother’s trip to Paris that night.
With Aakash gone, Arnav got back to his position of resting back on the chair with his eyes closed. Again she entered his thoughts – this time walking towards him as his bride in the mandir, dressed in white and gold. ‘Stop it’ he scolded himself, sitting up and trying to concentrate on the laptop screen again.
This was no use, he thought wearily. He might as well go home and sleep for a couple of hours before his flight. Pushing out the combined disconcerting thoughts of Khushi AND sleeping AND his room, he shoved his papers into his bag hastily, and strode out of the office earlier than usual.
And now here he was at home, standing in the kitchen, trying not to look at the picture of loveliness that his wife was today. Standing shyly behind Payal, she had a beautiful glow about her, as she continued to knead the dough on the counter in front of her. Her pink cheeks had an unusual blush and her lips looked more full and pink than before. Her lightly sequined sari, was tucked into the waistband of her petticoat, exposing her slim waist as she worked quietly, obviously unaware or ignoring his presence, he thought with a sharp stab in his heart. A stray strand of hair had escaped her braid, and Arnav pulled up every vestige of his will power, not to reach out and put his arms around her from behind while she worked. He needed to tuck in that strand of hair behind her ear … he needed to kiss the nape of her neck … he needed to then turn her around and lift her up on the counter … he needed to …
He again shut his eyes against the disturbing mental pictures his mind was conjuring up, and asking Di for a cup of tea instead, walked towards his room without looking back.
Khushi walked up the stairs towards his room an anxious expression on her face, as she tried to balance the tray of tea things that Anjaliji and Payal jiji had both insisted she take up instead of Jaiprakashji.
She had spent the whole day, dreaming and waiting to be with him again, and now when he was here she had an awful premonition of something not being right. He had not even given her a glance in the kitchen, speaking curtly to his sister instead.
She stood outside the closed door for a few seconds feeling like an intruder, not knowing what to do. Then taking the firm decision that it was her room too, she pushed open the doors with the tray she held and walked in muttering a tenuous prayer to devi mayyiya to protect her.
Watching her stand uncertainly at the door with a tray riled the already irritated Arnav. He had been standing near the cupboard and was halfway through pulling out his tee and cotton trousers to change into. Giving her another stern look, he threw his fresh clothes on the bed, and began removing his coat, and then waistcoat, throwing them angrily on the chaise lounge near the pool door.
‘Tea’, she all but stammered, sensing his obvious annoyance. She walked across to the small table near where he had thrown his clothes and set it down, before picking his clothes up and neatly folding them. She needed to do something other than just stand around; she justified her action to herself.
Arnav continued to watch her as he started unbuttoning his shirt starting with the cuffs. He suppressed the pleasure he was getting from watching her fold his clothes and hang them neatly in the cupboard.
‘Hum bana dein …’ she looked towards the tray questioningly, his undressing making her uneasy.
Arnav suddenly enjoying her fluster, nodded, his eyes never leaving her, as he shrugged his shirt off his shoulders, exposing his perfectly tanned rippling abs. He was getting immense pleasure in watching her squirm as she tried not to look towards his half naked body.
‘You want to put this shirt back too, or into the washing,’ he asked tongue-in-cheek, holding out the crumpled shirt towards her.
Khushi looked up from where she was pouring the tea, and turned a perfect shade of red, as he eyes took in his bare torso.
‘Um…’ she was completely speechless… as she gently put the teapot down on the tray lest she drop it all.
‘You did put away the rest,’ he reasoned softly, baiting her to come towards him and take the shirt from his extended hand.
Khushi stood up slowly, as if drawn towards him involuntarily. Surely he was playing with her, she thought alarmed at what she was feeling just by looking at his naked chest. Was he making fun of my naivety, she wondered as she came closer, feeling trapped by those liquid pools of chocolate that had already started undressing her as she walked towards him.
Well, she’d show him, she thought suddenly, her interminable naughtiness getting the better of her. Buaji didn’t call her all those epithets in vain after all. She held his gaze in hers watching his eyes get smoky with fervor, and before he could react she grabbed the shirt from his hands and raced towards the bedroom door.
Two naked arms on either side of her trapped her against the shut door, even before she could touch the handles, and Khushi caught between him and the closed door, waited to gather her wits once again shutting her eyes in prayer. She felt a movement, and opening her eyes followed one muscular hand go up and pull the bolt shut above her head. Taking in a deep breath, she turned towards him slowly, her speech about going to the kitchen to help, already prepared.
Arnav waited patiently, this game was moving exactly where he was taking it. The power he had over her was exhilarating, and Arnav was enjoying every moment of it. Suddenly he was glad he came home early … glad she had come to his … no their room with tea …
She looked up into his eyes, and opened her mouth to ask him to release her. ‘Aren’t you going to give me something I can carry for my trip, Khushi,’ his hoarse whisper stopped whatever she was about to say.
He looked hungrily at her face, still aglow, a little dough near her hairline, where she must have pushed her hair back. He sari still tucked at her waist like it was in the kitchen.
Not breaking eye contact with her, he reached down with his hand and released the palla deliberately from its confines rubbing his hand sensuously against her bare waist in the bargain. Khushi gasped, looking down where he held her at her waist.
When she looked back up again at him, his face had moved closer to her and in the whisper of space between their lips, she could hear their combined heated breathing.
‘Aapki chai…’ Khushi whispered, remembering everyone downstairs and what they must be thinking.
‘I asked you for something, Khushi,’ Arnav ignored her completely, his eyes now frozen on her full lips.
When her tongue came out nervously to wet them, Arnav knew he had lost control of this game that he had started. With a muttered oath, he came forward and took her startled mouth in a hard and deep kiss.
Khushi would have collapsed, had she not been pinned between him and the door. The shirt clutched in her hands fell, forgotten on the floor, as her hands crept up and touched his naked chest responding tentatively to his passion.
Encouraged by her response, Arnav deepened the kiss, his hand moving from her waist up to remove the palla completely from across her shoulder. He then opened the buttons of her blouse with one hand while the other reached behind to unhook her bra, all the while not breaking his kiss.
Khushi clung to him; her short nails digging deep into the flesh of his shoulders, as the intense emotions rushed through her. She forgot the time, the place and every thing else sane …
He felt her nails cut through his flesh as his hand moved up to cup her now naked breasts. He needed her urgently. His self-control was rapidly fading, as all thoughts of this being her first time vanished from his head. He continued to give her small bites and licks down her throat, advancing towards her breasts, while he made short work of removing the rest of her sari, and lifting her petticoat, to get rid of the rest of her underwear.
Khushi was so lost in the novelty of her own reactions and responses to his marauding mouth, to realize when he had unhooked, lifted, removed her clothing to get access to her body, and had unbuckled and unzipped his own trousers. She felt herself being hoisted up and pinned against the door. Her eyes finally flew open in shock when she felt him thrust into her with a passionate force. Her small cry of pain was muffled as he covered her mouth with his kissing her fervently.
As he continued to thrust, Khushi’s head fell back against the door, as the shock soon turned into intense wondrous emotions that were alien to her. If she thought that last night had been a unique experience, she now realized the raw animal force that had overtaken both of them. The force of their combined passion was plummeting her into a world, she did not know even existed. Her body arched against his, giving him access unconsciously, encouraging him to continue.
He felt her body tense against his, and realizing that she was at the peak of her climax, increased his thrusts, while watching her collapse against his now sweating torso, as he too felt his own body shudder in response.
It was after a whole five minutes that Khushi opened her drugged eyes. The first sight she saw, over his shoulder was their reflection in the mirror on the opposite wall. Her eyes widened in awe at the sight they created – her husbands perfectly chiseled back and bottoms exposed by the trousers still pooled around his muscular legs. She blushed as she checked him out in the reflection astonished at the perfection she saw. His body had all but covered hers, his forehead leaning against the door beside her head, as he recovered his breath. She saw with acute embarrassment her disheveled state, with blouse gaping open, her breasts tender and bare. Her sari crumpled on the floor in a small pile with his shirt. Her petticoat ridden up where her slim legs were still around his waist … She squeaked in embarrassment when she saw her most sensual position in the mirror!
Arnav’s mind was in a total mess. He could not have been cursing himself more than he was right now, with her still in his arms, half naked, as he hit his head in anger on to the door behind her. What had he done, his heart ached suddenly… he had taken her innocence in one passionate fury, without a single thought of her. He did not even want to look into her eyes right now, where he was sure there would be tears again. How could he force himself upon her, he groaned. And to not use any protection … Had he no self-control, behaving like a horny teenager at bloody twenty-eight! It was humiliating enough that he had made her cry last night, and now …
It was her small whimper that brought Arnav out of his thoughts, and he slowly put her down on the floor, not looking at her once – afraid to face what he would see in her eyes. He turned sharply, giving her the privacy to gather her clothes, while he pulled up his trousers, zipping them in one violent tug. He then strode across to the bed where his clothes were discarded, and picking them up in one swipe, locked himself in the bathroom.
Khushi stood stunned at the door, unable to fathom his reaction to what they had just shared. She blushed again as the image they had created in the reflection came back to her, and looked down at her flushed body, his finger marks still on the pale sensitive skin of her breast.
Never in all her naïve eighteen years could she have imagined what she had experienced in the last two days of her married life, she wondered. But why was he angry with her, she thought staring at the locked bathroom door. What had she done now? As she put her clothes back in order, Khushi kept stealing glances at the bathroom door, hoping that he would come out and speak with her.
When the door did not open, nor was there any noise from inside, Khushi quietly picked up the forgotten tea tray and walked out of the room, giving one last look as she neared the door, her eyes suddenly filling with tears. He hated her still, she thought, still blamed her for his sister’s woes. And here she had gone and fallen in love with him!
It had been a week since he had left for Paris that Khushi had been moping around the house. Jiji and Anjaji, both assuming that she was missing her husband, continued to rib her, or cajole her as they constantly tried to get her to smile more often.
Even though she as afraid to sleep alone and Anjaji had even offered to be with her, Khushi had refused, preferring to be in his room, surrounded with his things, and unknown to the rest of the family curling up on the bed, with his t shirt and sleeping.
It was nani who finally decided to take matters into her hands as she noticed Khushi getting more and more silent day by day, her face getting paler and paler, the dark circles increasing.
Calling Khushi to her room one afternoon when she was resting, she asked her gently what the matter was.
‘Kuch nahi naniji …’ Khushi started.
‘I know you both married in a rush, and much as I approve of my grandsons choice … you are the perfect partner for him … I also know that as his wife you will need to partner him sometimes for his business also’, she explained gently. ‘I wanted him to take you with him to Paris, to be at his side when he entertains his clients and friends’.
Khushi looked at nani, wondering where this conversation was going. She need not have waited long.
‘I have organized for someone to come in and brush up your English, Khushi bitiya’ she explained. When she saw Khushi open her mouth to say something, shushing her, nani continued, ‘no… agar hum aapko bula sakte hain Lavanya ko train karne to hum apko bhi bana sakte hian Arnav ki pasand,’ she ended intuitively.
‘Harinder is the grandson of a good friend of mine. He is in his final year at college, and it will be good for him to earn some pocket money also. He is going to come in the afternoons and help you with your English, to start with.’
‘You do want to accompany Arnav on his next trip don’t you,’ she asked with an indulgent smile, when she saw Khushi about to protest.
‘Par naniji,’ Khushi managed to get in her opinion, ‘humko badalne ki kya zaroorat hain …’
‘Trust me, my dear,’ nani cut her short again ‘I have enough experience to know what I am doing. You just go along with me, okay.’
And so Khushi met Harinder … Harry, he told her to call him. He would arrive every second day in the afternoon and they would sit at the dining table and go though tapes and conversations together.
His youth and exuberance for life, and the fact that they were more in the similar age group, soon got Khushi out of her misery, and she started enjoying her interactions with him. She played with his laptop, fascinated by surfing the net and getting answers to whatever she asked on Google. He would download dialogues on to his iPod and make her hear them till she started emulating them on her own. He started getting her the classics in abridged form and she started reading about Mr Darcy, a character she found so similar to her husband. This newfound world of discovery was fascinating, and Khushi started enjoying herself, looking forward to seeing Arnav’s reaction to the new her, when he returned.
Harry also introduced her to his girlfriend, Sakshi. Sakshi was completing her fashion designing course at NIIFT. Khushi started joining them for the occasional coffee at their hang outs, as Harry now suggested they move out of the classroom, for her to use her knowledge and gain confidence.
And through Sakshi, Khushi was further introduced to her group of girlfriends. They would constantly rib her about her sexy husband, going into swoons and raptures about his dreamy eyes and other assets. Khushi, embarrassed at first, soon started enjoying the attention, and would shyly go along as they questioned her incessantly about how they met, how he kissed her the first time …
Within the month that Arnav had stayed away, Khushi was slowly transforming, though still managing to retain her innocent wonder at anything new she came across, and also her responsibility as wife of Arnav Singh Raizada, and daughter in law of the Raizada family.
She would share her new experiences excitedly with jiji, while Akash jiju and Anjaliji, who had started asking to be also called ‘Di’ now, looked on indulgently. Thankfully nani always rescued her from mami’s sharp tongue.
And when Arnav returned one fine day, after he could not prolong his most painful, traumatic and lonely stay any longer, he entered a house where his wife was missing.
His flight has been delayed, and a part of him had been glad to be home, glad to be able to see her again. And she was nowhere on sight. He looked around his room as Jaiprakash brought in his bags, and was loathe asking him her whereabouts.
Di walked him with some tea he had requested even at this late hour, asking him how his trip was and volunteering to help him unpack if he liked.
‘Where’s Khushi?’ he demanded ignoring whatever Di was saying. He was sounding like a caveman even to his own ears, but ignored the warnings.
‘Wo …’ Anjali saw his irritation, and mumbled ‘… she has gone out with Sakshi for a ...’
‘Sakshi!’ Arnav stalled in the act of removing his waistcoat, ‘who the hell is Sakshi?’ he faced Di menacingly.
‘Wo… chote …’ Di wondered, why he was getting angry. After all he had not wanted to take his wife with him, and he had also landed back unannounced.
‘Gurgaon…’ Di said instead, ‘She has gone to Guragon for the evening…’
‘Gurgaon!’ Arnav was finding his repeating Di’s words more irritating than her cryptic answers. ‘Where in Gurgaon, you have the address, I hope?’ he was loosing it again, Arnav realized. He had wanted her here when he returned.
There was loud music and cheering coming from inside the closed door, when Arnav raised his hand to ring the doorbell. Someone let him in, and it took a while for his eyes to get accustomed to the darkness inside.
His eyes wandered around the apartment, bare of any furniture and just lit by floor lamps all around. Youngsters clapped and cheered all around the dance floor to the loud strains of ‘chammak challo’.
And then he saw her, standing near the balcony doors, surrounded by a bevy of cheering girls, her eyes wide open with a scandalized expression, her mouth open under her slim hand, on which he noticed twinkled his diamond.
His eyes followed her’s to see what it was that she was looking at and came upon an open area on the dance floor where there were two masculine young men stripped down to their underwear, gyrating to the strains of the music, while all the girls in the room cheered them on loudly.
‘Who the hell had brought her to a stripper’s party,’ his mind thundered, ‘and who had allowed her to come here in the first place.’ He started pushing his way through the excited girls, towards where Khushi still stood, now shutting her eyes from the near naked images of the two strippers.
Her eyes flew open, and she jumped out of her skin, when she felt his familiar deathlike grip on her forearm. Sakshi, standing next to her reacted first on seeing him, starting to introduce herself above the din.
But Arnav continued to stare at Khushi furiously ignoring the collective ‘oooo’s’ of the girls surrounding them as their attention was now on this sexy angry suit-clad man who was holding her severely.
Khushi only had enough time and presence to nod at Sakshi apologetically before she found herself being dragged across the crowded dimy-lit room towards the door, by her visibly angry husband.