Saturday, 17 March 2012

A Valentine's Day Gift

This was a Valentine's Day gift from me to Janet - to cheer both of us from the 'vahiyaat' episodes that we were thankfully spared - as we decided not to watch them  ;)

His breathing labored, Arnav swallowed uncomfortably as he stared spellbound at the vision in red descending from the stairs on to the living room. She stood out amid the living room, now decorated with marigolds and roses, twinkling fairy lights and floating candles, for the wedding.

His caramel coloured eyes softly moved from her gold heel-clad feet up the brilliant red sequined lehnga that she held slightly aloft to walk down the stairs carefully. He took in the way the flared skirt hugged her slim hips leaving her slim waist bare. He clenched his fists involuntarily as the urge to span her bare skin with his hand rose within him. The blouse, barely visible under the diaphanous net dupatta, hugged her curves, revealing a low neckline, where twinkled a slim gold necklace resting comfortably within the delicious curve of her neck.

He smiled as he saw her hands, which held her skirt aloft on either side, adorned with the bangles he had bought her last night. Was it just last night, that he had felt his world fall apart when on that deserted highway, he had actually chased an ambulance fearing for her life, Arnav wondered.

Shaking the fuzzy warm feeling that was invading his chest at the sight of those bangles, he turned his attention back to Khushi, who stood uncertainly looking around the room, as small frown marred her forehead. How many times had he wanted to lean close and tuck that wayward strand of hair behind her delectable ears, he mused. She seemed to be looking for someone, Arnav realized. She had swept up her long hair in a soft braid, like that fateful day of the fashion show, leaving her slim neck bare and visible. He frowned; he liked her hair to be open, the errant tresses framing her face. Why had she tied it up like that? She has been leaving them open for the past few days, after all.

As if making up his mind, he store purposefully towards where she stood, deep in thought. The guests had started arriving, and the room had already started filling up with the hustle bustle of the wedding. In a short while, she would be escorting Payal down to the mandap for the ceremonies.

‘Looking for someone’, his quiet silky voice, broke into Khushi’s thoughts. She jumped slightly as she looked up to find him uncomfortably close to her. Still standing on the last step, she found herself face to face with him, and nowhere to back up to, as was her usual custom.

Arnav watched the play of light and shadows on her face. Before today, he had never taken the time to notice the creamy perfection of her skin. He watched in fascination her frown disappear and her pupils dilate as her eyes met his. She blushed prettily as she felt his warm gaze travel down to the fullness of her lips that parted to mutter something incoherently.

‘Khushi …’ he said wickedly, as if enjoying the sound of her name on his lips. ‘Were you looking for someone?’

She nodded because speaking was more than she could manage right now. His sudden appearance right next to her had her more flustered than she would have liked to believe.

Vo…’, she started, unable to look away from his penetrating gaze. Who was she looking for, Khushi wondered, as she continued to blush prettily, looking more and more flustered at his satisfied expression.
Amma…’, she tried to start again, gathering her thoughts, her frown returning as she tried to remember what she was looking for. Biting her lower lip pensively, she once again looked up with a start when she felt Arnav pull in a sharp breath.

Vo hum …,’ Khushi looked into his eyes, embarrassed at her state of agitation that he now seemed to be enjoying.

His raised eyebrow, and cynical smile, as if he knew exactly what was going on in that hammering heart of hers, finally rubbed Khushi the wrong way, and she muttered angrily ‘amma ko dhoond rahe hain hum…’ turning away from that magnetic gaze to look around the room.

Hatiye aap…’ she raised her slim hands to push against his chest, so as to walk into the room herself. Jiji was in a state of nervous tension, and Khushi needed amma to calm her down, as nothing she herself was telling Payal was working. And on top of that this Laad Governor was causing her own heart beat to go out of control.

What did he want? Khushi asked herself for the nth time since last night. The way he had accosted her on the highway, then tended to her wound … and bought her those bangles from God knows where in the middle of the night. She pushed back the warm feelings that were rising at the thoughts, angrily. He had been acting very strange since the sangeet night when he had walked up the stage and partnered her in the dance.

The visit to the room … opening her hair … and that kiss at the pool side … Khushi felt her blush deepen, as she realized that she was still standing there in front of him her hands on his chest.

Pushing him away suddenly, she stepped aside and walked towards where she could see amma standing with buaji and talking to some of their relatives.

Arnav watched her leaning languidly against a decorated pillar as she got into an animated conversation with her mother, her hand gesturing towards the room upstairs again and again. He watched them separate, and while her mother went off towards the room that Payal was in, Khushi hurried towards the kitchen.


Khushi rushed to the kitchen to get a cup of tea as instructed by amma. There was hardly any time for the pheras to begin, and jiji was having a panic attack. They needed to get her calm and composed, before they brought her down and Khushi finding no one else in the kitchen, got down to making the tea herself. The unfamiliar surroundings of the kitchen added to her already disconcerted state, as she tried to find the stuff that she needed.

Shakkar … shakkar … shakkar,’ she muttered as she looked about her for the jar. Spying it on one of the shelves behind her, she tried to reach up on her toes, her arm spread up, trying to reach the jar. It seemed to be out of reach and she was about to turn around to find herself a stool to climb on, when she felt a warm presence behind her and an arm reach out along hers towards the jar of sugar.

Khushi shut her eyes momentarily as his proximity once again had her heart beating aloud. Regaining some composure, she turned ready to give him a piece of her mind, and again came face to face with him standing inches away from her. Trapped between him and the kitchen counter, Khushi forgot what it was that she was about to say, and looked into his amused eyes, as he caught the jar of sugar and placed it on the counter behind her.

Shakkar,’ he murmured as he looked pointedly at the jar behind her, and then back at her.

Shakkar?’ Khushi repeated hesitatingly as she felt herself getting lost in his eyes.

‘Tum dhoond rahi thee na,’ Anrav said softly, enjoying this control he seemed to have on her.

Kya dhoond…’ Khushi repeated, her foggy mind, only concentrating on her beating heart and the fact that it was probably loud enough for him to hear too.

The sizzle of the water overflowing in the pan, shook her out of her trance, and her eyes widened in shock as she tried to push past him and go towards the stove where the tea was boiling over. When he refused to budge, and blocked her way, Khushi again looked up at him quizzically, her eyes mirroring her apprehension at his act.  

Arnav watched her panic as he continued to hold her between himself and the counter. Reaching out behind her, he pulled off the brocade ribbon that was holding together her braid, and watched with satisfaction as her hair tumbled free about her.

Khushi felt herself stumble as the shock of what he had just done overtook her. She reached out instinctively and clutched his arm to balance herself, and felt his muscle flex at her touch.

Looking towards his face, that was now uncomfortably close, she whispered, ‘Arnavji…’

‘Hmmmm…’ he answered, slowly closing in into her upturned face.

Her breath caught, and before she could speak, he lowered his head and kissed her.

Khushi could not believe it. Arnav was kissing her.

His warm tender lips teased hers with a sensual gentleness that made her want to melt against him. He tilted his head slightly, and brushed her lower lip with his tongue, urging her lips to part for him.

Instinctively, she allowed him access as her lips parted for him.

Pushing her against the counter, he claimed her passionately. There was no mistaking his need, or his desire. He wanted her. All the games that he had been playing with her for the last few days were over, as a raw need overtook him.


The faint chatter of the crowd gathered in the living room, sank through Arnav’s befuddled brain, and he slowly broke away from her lips, softly kissing her cheekbone and reaching her ear. He realized that they could be interrupted anytime.

‘Khushi…’ he whispered close to her delicate earlobe.

‘Hmmm...’ she murmured, lost in the feelings that he was arousing in her.

Tumhari chai…’ he finished softly, not wanting to leave her, but realizing that it was what he should do.
Chai…’ he heard her repeat shakily, and smiled at her husky voice. He was enjoying the power he seemed to have over her suddenly. She was not immune to him as he was finding out about himself too. This was going to be a good evening after all, he mused, as he willed himself to leave her and walk away to look after his guests.

Haan … chai …’ he whispered, now completely under control, ‘shyaad payal ke liye…’ he added quietly waiting for Khushi to jump as she realized it herself.

Aur ek baat …’ he continued, before she could come to her senses, ‘yeh rang tumpe bahut accha la raha hain…

Before he could complete his sentence, she had pushed him away from her and rushed towards where the tea was now reduced to nearly half in the pan. Mumbling about it being his fault under her breath Khushi tried to salvage whatever she could into a cup to take up to jiji.

It was when she felt a familiar prickle at the back of her neck, did she slowly turn towards the kitchen door, when he looked into Arnav’s eyes, as he stood there giving her a last look.

‘And don’t tie your hair,’ he pointed out, before turning and walking away.
Standing in the living room later, he watched from afar as she all but ran out of the kitchen, the tea cup in her shaking hands, up the small flight of stairs, disappearing upstairs in a flurry of red.


It was only when amma chided her for taking so long and took the cup of tea for a now calm jiji, that Khushi caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror on the wall. Her open hair was now billowing all about her face, which was flushed red. Fascinated at what she saw, Khushi slowly reached up and touched her swollen lips tentatively as memories of what just happened in the kitchen flashed before her eyes.

‘Khushi’, Amma’s irritated voice shook her out of her thoughts once again, and she turned to help jiji downstairs, her mind still numb with what had just transpired a few minutes ago.

Chalo jiji,’ Khushi turned towards Payal, helping her gather up her maroon bridal lehnga, that now seemed to be weighing down her slight frame, and pale face. Khushi prayed for her sister’s happiness once again as they walked down together into the bedecked living room.

Surrounded by the family, Khushi held on to Payal as she was escorted towards a makeshift stage where Aakash waited with a garland in his hand. Her skin prickled with the awareness of being watched, but she refused to look up and seek him out in the crowd.

The shock of feeling a calloused palm on her exposed waist made Khushi jump; her heart first stalling and then accelerating. No one else could send her pulse into such a panic. What was he doing now, she thought in alarm, as everyone around them clapped for the jaimala that was happening on the stage in front.

He was standing close behind her; she held back a gasp, as his hand moved slowly towards her stomach, pulling her gently back into him. Suddenly, Khushi was grateful for the bevy of relatives surrounding them, though she looked around nervously to check no one was looking at them. Thankfully all eyes were on Payal and Akash, and before she could heave a sigh of relief, he had pulled her roughly against him, his warm breath on her ear, ‘Tumse baat karni hain, Khushi,’ he whispered huskily, as his stubble grazed the sensitive skin near her ear.

Khushi froze. Was it not for his hand holding her against himself, she would have surely collapsed. Could he hear her heart beating loudly, Khushi wondered, because she certainly could. She was sure, the entire living room could.

Arnav pulled her warm body into an embrace, and drew in a ragged breath. This ‘game’, though enjoyable, was turning out to be tougher than he had imagined. He had watched her walk down with Payal, his eyes not leaving her for a moment. Her flushed face, tousled hair and swollen lips, all reminding him of their shared passion in the kitchen a short while ago. It was then that he had decided that it was time they had a talk.

And now with her pliant in his arms, her breathing labored, he was having serious doubts about having any control of the situation. Resisting an urge to turn her around and claim her lips again, he leaned closer to her ear and whispered again, ‘tumne suna, maine kya kaha…’.

Khushi stiffened, and broke away from his embrace, moving slightly apart. Without turning around she started moving towards the stage, where everyone was now congratulating the couple. She could feel the burning imprint of his hand on her waist, and his gaze burning into her back, as she fought to control her heartbeat.

He wanted to talk… she thought hysterically … HE wanted to talk to her… ‘Khushi bitiya’, Amma suddenly appeared in front of her, startling her.

She wanted Payal’s shawl fetched from upstairs, as the couple were now settling down to be congratulated and go through the usual photo sessions with the family.

Nodding distractedly, Khushi moved towards the room upstairs, unaware of a pair of eyes following her and them moving in the same direction purposefully.

Arnav stood at the doorway silently, watching Khushi standing in the middle of the room, a lost expression on her pretty face. She seemed miles away, deep in thought, her breathing labored, and her hand clutching her heart fiercely.

‘Khushi?’ he questioned softly, ‘Tum theek ho?’

She all but stumbled backwards at the sound of his voice, her hands immediately falling down to her sides. Arnav bit back a smile at the tinkle of the bangles.

Ji… vo … hum...’ she muttered, looking around the room frantically for a way to escape. ‘Shawl…’ she stammered … as she spied it lying on the bed. She moved towards the bed, to reach out and pick it up. Only to find him there, next to her, reaching out for it to.

She looked up into his face as they both bent towards the bed, his sudden proximity ruffling her. ‘Aap…’ she began angrily, losing her balance, and clutching at him to save herself, tumbled headlong onto the bed.

Arnav felt winded, as he fell on the soft bed on his back, and had Khushi land on top of him with a soft thud. Her hand, clutching the shawl was now stuck under him.

His hands holding her by her waist, her face buried in his neck, he relished the feel of her against him, before her annoyed voice broke the silence. ‘Kya kar rahen hain aaphum lene aaye they na … shawl…’ Khushi said heatedly, embarrassed at finding herself yet again in such a vulnerable position. She fidgeted restlessly trying to free herself from his grip, causing Arnav to pull in a ragged breath.

Chodiye hume...’ Khushi said hoarsely, her body already reacting to his solid one under her, only to fall back against his chest and find her lips touching his jawline softly. His breath felt warm against her flushed cheek, as he fought to control his wayward thoughts and reactions.

‘Ek minute’, he said gruffly, her fidgeting making him uncomfortable. Holding her waist on either side, he gently lifted her and rolled over pinning her under him instead.

Khushi found her hand clutching the shawl, now free, but the rest of her pinned between him and the bed under her.

She stared into his face, looming close over hers, lost in his intense gaze, forgetting the shawl, amma waiting downstairs … her eyes moved to his lips that were moving, but she could not hear what he was saying … he was saying something … Khushi shook herself out of her stupor to focus on his deep baritone, that was once again asking her if she was ok. What was he thinking… playing with her like this and then asking if she was ok! Her temper flared, and she used both her hands to shove him off her, angrier at not being able to budge his now smiling self.

‘I said, I wanna speak with you Khushi,’ she heard the exasperation in his voice now. He always switched to speaking to her in English when he was irritated or angry.

Looking at him indignantly … ‘aur humne kaha chodiye hume,’ she reminded him pointedly. When he did not move and continued to stare at her as if he could be here the whole night, Khushi pursed her lips and then ground out, ‘haan toh … boliye… kya bola hain aapko,’ looking away from his penetrating gaze.

The sound of their breathing was the only noise, as Khushi waited with bated breath for him to speak, her heart pounding at the thought of what he may have to say to her.

Arnav stared at her turned face, avoiding his gaze, enthralled at her radiance. She had not tamed her hair, after he had opened it in the kitchen earlier. It was now spread under her; a few wayward tresses on her forehead, her small gold tika askew and her face flushed a pretty pink. His eyes travelled to her pink lips, and he stiffened, as she bit into her lower lip nervously.

He swiftly reached down and gave her a kiss on her turned cheek, delighting in her loud gasp.

Abhi nahi…’ he whispered cheekily, rising swiftly in one fluid move and walking towards the door.

At the door, he turned back to see her sitting up, still dazed. She looked towards the door, thrown off balance, and met his mischievous eyes.

Khushi started visibly, when he winked wickedly at her, and walked out.


Arnav sensed her even before he had turned around, to see her rush to where her mother was standing, handing her the shawl that had been requested.

He sauntered across to where the family had gathered for the family photographs to be taken with the bride and groom. Khushi was standing with her back to him engrossed in a conversation with her aunt. He watched with pleasure her back tense, as she too sensed him nearing her. Her hands amid animated gestures, stalled mid air, and he saw Bua look at her curiously, asking what happened.

Biting back a smile, he turned towards Di who was gesturing to him to come across for the photograph.


Khushi shifted uncomfortably when she was asked to come in closer to the rest of the family standing around Payal and Akash. Why was it that Devi Mayyiya was not helping her today, she groaned as she found herself standing next to Arnav. She could feel the warmth from him burning into her back as she fidgeted about nervously, hoping that this photograph would get over as soon as possible. Tucking her hands behind her, she tried valiantly to smile for the camera, all the time aware of his presence behind her.
Her audible gasp had amma turn around and give her a glare, as Arnav reached behind her and clutched her hand in his suddenly. Giving Amma a sheepish grin, she tried to wangle her hand free from his steely grip. Unmindful of her struggling, he easily intertwined his fingers in hers pulling her gently back towards him. Khushi felt an electric shock run through her as she felt his strong warm hand engulf her now cold soft one. What was he doing … she panicked, and amid their entire family.

Arnav held on to her hand firmly, relishing her struggling and the warning looks that she was getting from her mother, standing in front. He noticed that her hand was cold though soft to touch.

Photo kharab ho jayegi, Khushi,’ he warned mock seriously, ‘seedhi khadi raho.’ Khushi pursed her lips in irritation, at his sense of humor, stopping her struggling, as it was futile. It would be over soon enough, and then he would have to let her go.

‘One more,’ the photographer chanted, as they all started to move away. Arnav who had not let go of her hand, pulled her back with a tug, as she started to rush away. Khushi struggled to smile normally all the time aware that his hand was now caressing her wrist and palm softly. She felt her breathing become heavy and smile falter, as he continued to play with her hand behind her back.

What was just a few minutes, seemed like ages to Khushi, as the electric shocks coursed up her hand straight to her beating heart. She remained standing where she was even though the photograph was over and everyone was now milling around the couple.

‘Khushi?’ he whispered behind her, making her jump.

‘Huh?’ she turned towards him, still in a daze.

Chalen?’ he looked pointedly at the rest of the family who had already moved off the stage.

Giving him a glare, Khushi turned and flounced off towards where Payal and Akash were seated, his warm chuckle ringing in her ears as she moved away.


Her younger cousins were all giggling huddled together when Khushi neared the couple. She noticed that they were all peeping from behind the chair trying to locate Akash’s jooties. As was customary, the sisters hid the groom’s shoes, only to be given gifts in return. Khushi gave a gleeful laugh and joined in the conspiracy that they were hatching behind Akash’s back. The plan was to pick up the shoes as soon as Akash took them off to sit at the mandap. Then they worked out this whole ‘passing the baton’ system where one would hand over the shoes to the others so that the boy’s side would not know where the shoes went. Or whom they were with. The last one, obviously keeping them safe somewhere, till their ‘demands were met’.

Hearing Buaji call out her name, Khushi left the youngsters and went to assist jiji to the mandap, winking at them conspiratorially.

Once jiji was seated comfortably and Khushi had distracted everyone, so that the jooties could be removed quietly, she joined the youngsters nonchalantly finding herself the final recipient of the shoes, with the task of hiding them.

She needed to do this fast, so that she could be back in time to attend the wedding ceremony, Khushi thought looking around for a place to hide them. Rushing to the one place she knew no one would look, she found herself at the poolside.

From across the pool, Arnav, mid sentence on a call, watched her standing there, deep in thought, Akash’s jooties clutched in her hand. She was obviously looking for a place to hide them, he gathered. Cutting Aman short at the other end, he crept quietly across to where she was.

Before Khushi could realize what had happened he had smoothly taken the jooties out of her hands.
She spun around in shock, nearly banging into him. Her eyes widened as she took in his lazy amused expression, his eyes daring her to take the shoes back from him.


  1. Please Please continue this one!!

  2. Heeeey. This os was literally giving me goosebumps. It is soo GOOOOOD! :D <3
    Please please continuee this os. Prettyyy pleeease. ^_^
    ^sukaina :)