A prickly feeling that she was being stared at woke Khushi up from her deep satisfied slumber. Lying on her side, she opened her eyes slowly to look straight into a pair of dark chocolate coloured eyes, that were staring at her intently, a surprisingly mischievous gleam in them.
Khushi blushed furiously, wondering how long he had been watching her sleeping. Her blush deepened when she realized that they were completely entwined in each other with not a stitch of clothing on them! She eyed him hungrily, his bare tanned chest tapering down to his lean hips covered with the sheet … She shut her eyes, as a wave of shyness swept through her. Thoughts of last night flooded through her and she felt a lightning shock that bolted through her body. The delicious things that he had done to her when they had finally made it to the bed; her own fevered responses to his touch had kept them awake most of the night.
‘Morning’, he whispered from very close to her, and her eyes flew open again, at his husky voice. She noted with some mortification, that he was looking very pleased with himself, as he watched her first check him out and then squirm trying to pull the covers up to her chin.
Arnav had been watching her for some time now, curled up on her side, her bare body warm against his own bare one. She had had one arm flung over his chest holding him, snugly. It was a weight he had been enjoying, till he had this urge to watch her, and had turned on to his side, waiting for her to wake up. She had looked even more beautiful when she was asleep, her peaceful face and a slight smile on her still passion-swollen lips. He felt himself stir, a part of him wanting to wake her up. It was the tender gush of love that seared through him, as he continued to take in her sleeping form that stopped him from doing so. It was just perfect to be waking up next to her … he could easily get used to this. Heck, he was already used to this he chided himself, shifting uncomfortably, and wishing she would awaken.
‘Don’t,’ he now leaned forward, stalling her hands that were trying to cover herself futilely. Raising himself a little, and ran his tongue up the side of her neck to the crook of her ear. Her breath hitched in her throat as she stifled a moan.
‘Hum…’ she began as thoughts of the time and getting back home, riddled her brain. They must be so worried, when she had not returned last night, and she had not even informed jiji, so caught up had she been with … a blush stole over her again, as the vivid pictures replaced her concern.
Meanwhile his hands were sliding up her waist to cup her breasts and she couldn’t hold back her moan. His breath blew hot over her ear, sending prickles down her arms. Muscled arms enfolded her.
Thoughts about working on his marriage and learning about his wife was giving Aranv’s heart palpitations. He had got her where he wanted her, and he had all intentions of not leaving her this time. He would show her just how much he loved her …
The sharp ring of his mobile phone broke the moment, as he removed his arm from around her and reached over to the bedside table where it lay buzzing. Seizing the opportunity to escape Khushi pulled the covers about her, and started to get out of the bed on the other side. Like lightening, his other hand reached out and held her wrist stalling her flight.
He turned slightly towards her, amused to watch her struggle against his steely grip and try unsuccessfully to hold the sheet over her chest with her other hand.
‘Yes, we are at the farmhouse, Di,’ he was speaking on the phone now, explaining to Di how they got very late last night and the traffic jam, and had decided to stay at the farmhouse itself. His eyes never leaving his wife’s blushing struggling that was only ensuring the sheet slipping periodically, much to her chagrin.
‘Yes, we’ll be home for lunch,’ he concluded, casting a quick look at the clock on the bedstead. Yes, he thought, with a small smile, they did have enough time, before they had to reach for lunch, as he disconnected the phone, and turned towards the now still Khushi.
‘Choddiye …’, Khushi whispered, wanting to curl up and hide somewhere. This was an Arnav she was not used to. He was safer to be with when they were fighting or hurling insults, she thought. She had gotten used to always sparring with him. But this intensely male and passionate man, who was now her husband, was someone she knew she would discover and get used to slowly.
‘I don’t think you want me to.’ He leaned forward breaking into her thoughts and lunging for her, pulled her closer. ‘I think you liked that. Your eyes tell me you did.’ He added roguishly, enjoying every minute of her discomfiture.
The tension he radiated made her senses bristle. Please let him kiss me again… Khushi eyes flew open wide, at the way her thoughts were going. ‘Aap…’ she started instead…
He didn’t listen to any of her stammering. Pulling her aloft between his legs, her chest even with his eyes, he nestled his face in between her breasts. She put her hands on his shoulders and tried to shove him away.
His hands held fast to her hips, unyielding, the muscles in his forearms flexing. He tongued the cleavage between her full breasts and ran his open calloused hands up her ribs, catching her under the arms.
She moaned and flinging her head back. With a soft, knowing chuckle, Arnav proceeded to devour his sensuously agreeable wife, making the most of the time they finally had alone with each other, and no one to disturb them.
As intense and naughty as their recent lovemaking had been, he now took things much more slowly. He wanted her to know, by his actions how much he cherished her.
Later when he did finally release her, Khushi watched him walk into the shower, comfortable under her scrutiny. Alone in the room, she heard him turn on the shower, once again going red as she remember them starting out under there only last night.
‘You need to stop blushing and move that sexy …’ She, shaken out of her daydream, turned to watch him walk out of the bathroom, wrapped in nothing but a towel, droplets of water, still shining on his bare torso. ‘Unless you want me to call Di and tell her, we won’t be in for lunch after all…’ he laughed out loud as he saw her scurry out of the bed in a flurry of sheets that she tried to hold about her, as she ran into the bathroom.
Thankfully he had had the presence of mind to spread out her clothes on the shower curtain sometime the night before, or she would not have had anything to wear. Smiling and shaking her head at his neat organized behaviour, Khushi started getting dressed, a part of her loathe to leave this solitude.
Most of their drive back home was in a comfortable silence – Khushi thoroughly embarrassed and Arnav mostly busy with office on his phone. He did indulge himself by turning towards her occasionally, making her all the more self-conscious under his mischievous smirk, while he continued speaking on the phone as if completely unaffected by her presence.
She hurried into her room to change as soon as they reached, excusing herself and leaving him to explain their absence last night to the rest of the family gathered there. She could not have faced all their enquiring or knowing stares, adding further to her discomfort.
Once in the refuge of her room, she quickly showered and changed into her regular simple pink crepe sari, folding away the clothes Shakshi had made her buy when they were out sharing a coffee in one of the malls. Reminding herself, that she was to call her today, Khushi turned to rush down, to help in the kitchen with the lunch preparations.
Only to run into Arnav barring the door.
Arnav had stood quietly at the door, watching his wife fold and put away her clothes, her mind obviously far away. She was so completely lost in her thoughts and unaware that he had come up himself, and had been standing at the door for the last ten minutes.
As she neared him, she looked down shyly, unable to meet his penetrating gaze. ‘Hume neeche …’ she stammered, about to request him to move out of her way, half expecting him to shut the door behind them and … No… she shook away the wayward thoughts looking at him defiantly instead to move out of her way.
He watched her fumble with the hem of her palla, obviously wondering what he would do next. As she neared him, he quietly moved aside to let her pass, enjoying the expression of surprise and then disappointment flitter across her face. So she would have liked me to stop her, he thought pleased, as he turned and watched her escape down the stairs, but not before pausing and turning to gaze back at him questioningly.
After lunch, as was customary, all the women of the household gathered in the living room, discussing dinner and other mundane household chores. The main discussion today seemed to be the festival of Karva Chauth that was tomorrow. Nani had pulled out gift-wrapped saris and jewellery that she was handing out to all of them, amid much oo’s and aah’s from mamiji. Mamiji grudgingly also handed over the ritual gifts and sargi to jiji, who was her own daughter-in-law.
It being their first Karva Chauth, there was to be a big puja in the house later in the day, and both jiji and Khushi were given new clothes to wear, jiji a red bridal sari and Khushi a red lehnga, to wear for the festival. As nani explained the rituals to be followed, Khushi looked sheepishly at jiji wondering how on earth she was going to manage being without food and water for one whole day. Teej had been bad enough, she remembered, recalling also how Arnav had broken her fast and how they had performed the aarti together, little realizing that one day all of it would be coming true.
Jiji gave Khushi a knowing reassuring look, that all will be well, and silently asked her to keep quiet right now. Khushi pursed her lips, dreading tomorrow when she would be expected to go without food! And that too for a husband, who could not stand her. Except for the passion they shared in their bedroom … er … and other places, she was silently reminded … there was little else they shared, only ever arguing and fighting.
When Arnav returned home in the evening, he found everyone collected in Di’s room, where apparently she had had a memory flash and after reacting adversely was now asleep. Getting angry at nani for not informing him immediately, he rushed to her bedside kneeling and taking her prone hand in his. Khushi, seated on the bed beside a sleeping Di, watched as he tenderly looked at his sister, worry written all over his face. She instinctively reached out and placed her own hand over his, that was holding Di’s, giving it a firm warm press.
Arnav felt a surge of relief at her being there next to Di. If he had trusted anyone to look after her, other than himself, he would have named Khushi. Her warm hand over his brought a rush of affection to him, and a warm feeling that he was not alone.
‘Has anyone called Dr. Oberoi,’ he asked curtly instead, his eyes not leaving Di’s now serene face.
Nani explained patiently that they had, and that he was on his way. And that as usual, it was Khushi’s presence that had calmed Anjali finally, when none of them had been able to handle her fit.
Jaiprakash ushered Dr. Oberoi into the room, as the rest of the family members exited, leaving them alone. Arnav and Khushi stood, to let him sit and check Anjali. Nani again explained to Dr Oberoi what had happened, and it was decided that Khushi spend the night with Anjali incase she woke up later disoriented. Khushi felt Arnav stiffen beside her, and blushed involuntarily, while listening to the doctor’s instructions carefully.
Alone in his room, Arnav paced up and down, missing her presence with him. He had thought of her the whole day in office, his mind only on returning home to his wife in the evening. And now this, he grunted, as he guilty realized that Di also needed attention. But he needed to see her, dammit; he cussed and sat down at the edge of his bed. All evening there had only been frenzy over Di and even during dinner, he had not been able to catch her eye or have a word.
A timid knock on the door shook him out of his thoughts and his irritated ‘come in’ came out louder than he anticipated. She entered apprehensively, wondering what he was angry about now. Arnav watched her enter awkwardly, as there was mehndi applied on both her hands, which she was holding away from her clothes.
‘I needed to take my clothes…’ she began apologetically, assuming he was irritated at being disturbed.
‘And how are you going to do that with all that,’ his eyes gestured towards her out-stretched hands an impish grin on his face. Someone up there, had obviously listened to him, Arnav thought gleefully.
‘Er ... Hum …’ she said, a little thrown off at his now apparent good mood. ‘Its dry,’ she finished instead, walking towards the cupboard where her clothes where lying. Standing in front of the sliding doors, she tried to move the glass doors with the tips of her fingers, a part of her wanting to escape into Di room for the night. There was that other part, of course that had a riotous mind of its own, that wanted to stay here and spend another night in his arms, discovering … No, no, Khushi shook her head as if to hush that part into silence. Nani had told them that were to get up at 4 in the morning to have the ‘sargi’ and also prepared their water etc for the day. It would not be right to have them coming in and waking her in a state of complete undress, or worse … she again blushed.
‘Need help?’ a husky voice spoke behind her, his breath warm on the nape of her neck. She started, hands falling to her sides, as she watched his hands rise on either side of her towards the cupboard door. Her skin prickled at his proximity, and she stood and waited, wide-eyed at his muscular forearms that were now on the slider handle, but not actually moving the doors.
Instead he reached forward and placed a warm kiss on her shoulder that was exposed where her blouse neckline ended. She fell back against his chest, her eyes closing as the familiar tingling sensations devoured her.
As Arnav’s mouth traveled up from her shoulder towards her soft earlobe, his hand left the door to hold her by the exposed waist against him. Reaching her ear, he softly took her small gold jhumka within his teeth and tugged it off, throwing it on the floor somewhere. As his tongue traced the contours of her delicate ear, Khushi felt herself loose her balance as giddy tremors made her unstable. Had it not been for his hands holding her steady during his assault, she would have definitely fallen to the floor.
His mouth now left her tingling ear and moved to her nape, where it made short work of removing her necklace. Khushi felt its heaviness fall between her now taut breasts. He nibbled across and moved to removing her other earring similarly, giving equal attention to her other ear.
Reaching down, back to her left shoulder he next nudged off her palla, which fell in a soft heap at their feet. His nibbling kisses ran riot over her shoulders and ears, as she moaned out his name huskily.
‘Hmmm…,’ he murmured, his hands now moving up from her waist to the exposed blouse front, where her breasts were all but begging to be touched.
‘KHUSHI’ jiji knocked on the door stalling them. ‘Kya kar rahi ho, sab intezaar kar rahen hain…’ she whispered urgently against the door, so as not to be heard downstairs.
‘Tell her you’ll be out in ten minutes ... you are changing,’ Arnav whispered passionately in her ear.
‘Aate hain, jiji…’ she croaked out instead, trying to dislodge herself from his firm embrace. ‘aap chaliye …’
‘Not so fast, my lovely wife…’ he held her struggling body tight, as he turned her around to face him, pressing her into the cupboard behind her.
A visibly flustered and pink Khushi rushed into Di’s room a short while later, to relieve jiji from her duty. She blushed further, under jiji’s pointed look, as she settled down beside Anjali for the night, her mind and body still aroused by his passionate lovemaking. If last night he had showed her a world of tenderness and sensitivity tonight she learned of the urgency and burning desire also.
Giving her flushed and damp skin another pointed look, and whispering that she would be back to wake her up early in the morning jiji left Khushi to curl up beside Anjali for what was left of the night.