Time stood still as their gazes remain locked with each other.
Neither Arnav, nor khushi took any chance to even blink their lashes..afraid that it might break that magical moment created between them.
She stood there, still..her breath hitched in her throat, her heart racing profusely inside her chest, legs slowly losing their strength n turning to jelly and her gaze locked with his, capturing n savoring him inside them.
Watching Arnav Singh Raizada in some business daily was one thing n watching him in real,standing in front, in flesh n blood doing full justice to the adjectives that were used in the paper to describe him, was another matter altogether. A matter that was so out of her hand n her control..she realized vaguely.
If she had thought that she had learned enough to mask her feelings well within past few days..she just got a thorough reality check.
If she had thought that after the separation of 10 days, she would be able to face him strongly n in the way that’s required, she just realized she so underestimated her emotions for him.
If she had thought that she would be able to hate him..even if its just an ounce,she realized that she was nothing but fooling herself on that matter.
Her eyes kept lingering on his face, with certainly a mind of their own. Her greedy gaze drinking in his oh-so-perfect features as if its the first n last time she’s witnessing him n now want to imprint him on her memory-wall for eternity.
She carefully noticed those eyes that could talk millions even at times when that face was guarded with a corporate mask,those blacker than black hair that were just perfect as if ready for pose..not even an errant strand out of its place,that sharp nose which was making him all the way more b’ful, that 5’o clock stubble on his chiseled jaw giving him that rough n to-die-for look, that scar under his left eye..every, just everything was etched in her memory to its perfection n yet she couldnt avert her eyes from staring at them for some more.
She then vaguely realized that though the picture in the newspaper she was reading moments ago was downright handsome but it was no where doing full justice to him altogether..‘This man that is the epitome of perfection,grace n beauty is now taken and off the bachelor field few months ago‘, the words from the article suddenly flashed in her mind n she couldnt help but feeling a lil bit smug n proud on the above line. Just his presence at the doorstep was enough to blur her line of sight focusing merely on him n nothing else.. plus the effect of his colonge was enough to send her senses to heaven. she dint realised that her breath was coming in short gasps n that it was becoming all the way more difficult for her to balance on her feets.
All these were NOT how khushi kumari Gupta Singh Raizada would have reacted, if given other circumstances..but mix it with the case that she hadnt seen him from past few days..hell, she hadnt even listened to his voice either..so,that was the natural reaction that came to her n left her surprised by its intensity.
Her eyes softened a bit when she realized that he has came here..at her babuji’s home..Now the fact that made it all the way more special was that it was the Very first time he was visiting this house since their marriage.
Yes, she remembered all those times when she had made excuses on his behalf citing some out of the town conferences, or urgent business meetings, to her babuji. Every time she came here, it was either akash dropped her or it was with their driver. Never once, he offered her to come along, neither she expected him to do that.
It was kindof mutual consent among them. but every time, she saw her babuji’s face, she felt a tinge of guilt n at times she wished how he would react if hisdamaad would some day visit this home..even if its just for a span of few minutes. It would definitely make the old man happy beyond anything.
His eyes were boring into hers..and gradually she saw something shifting in him bit by bit. exposing him...raw..whole..full. The one, he carefully managed to hide from the rest of the world. She could clearly read him, all through his eyes and that was when not even a word was spoken among themselves. Her pulse raced on realizing the fact that,
He was letting his guard down !
For her to see..for her sake..it was a rarest than rare moment when Arnav Singh Raizada dropped his famous mask and she felt an overwhelming urge to throw her hands around his neck n nestled herself into the protection of those arms..to embrace him for eternity.
“arrey damaad ji…aap?? “
With that sentence the reality came crashing down on him and at that moment he realized that, the magical moment was indeed over..whatever it was between them few moments ago. He looked into her eyes for any sort of confirmation that it was something he was not imagining all by himself but what he saw now just forced him to have second thoughts about it.
Was that even real?
He thought momentarily, but couldnt reached a conclusion cuz her orbs were now devoid of any kind of emotions..just plain hollow..that was so not khushi.
Arnav Singh Raizada dint knew why he was even here in the first place. Ofcourse, it was just a moment of impulsiveness that came upon him when he couldnt take it any longer. In the past he had expertly avoided this place. infact, the very first time, khushi was packing her clothes to go, he was having no opinion as to he wanted to go or not..as it wasnt mentioned anywhere in the contract,so he wasnt obliged to do such things..but since they were faking the much-in-love couple,he knew somewhere,it was expected for him to play his part well. So, He did not offered himself but decided that if she asked him, he’ll go.
and to his relief, she dint. From that day onwards, he dint bothered about that un-important topic again.
Though he always made sure to call his father in law once in a while, expressing his apologies about not making it everytime., citing the same reasons, asking about buaji’s health n other ‘mandatory‘ stuff that u have to ask while calling your in laws..all in autopilot mode. Playing the part, they say.
Few moments ago,Arnav Singh Raizada was so unsure of his actions, standing right in front of her door, a mental fight going on inside his head..arguing as to turn back or to move forward.. Silently cursing himself for acting on impulse..n definitely not prepared as to what he’ll say. Not that ASR ever needed a speech in written while addressing his employees..but this was just not his territory.
However, all his doubts laid to rest the moment he saw her. She was dressed in a blue anaarkali, her hair in a loose bun settled around the column of her neck, her face devoid of any makeup yet glowing with its natural shine. He remembered how her eyes got widened n her lips parted when she opened the door n greeted him with a serene smile plastered on her lips..For one moment it felt like that smile was for him ,but when her expressions suddenly took an U turn, he realized he was not expected there. Ofcourse, she was as shocked seeing him there, as he himself was. Her brows furrowed slightly, the way she does while thinking and her chest was rising n falling rapidly.
however the initial shock subsided within few seconds n another emotion took its place.NOT that he was master in decoding expressions but its was something that certainly lifted a small burden off him. She was looking at him with a hint of longing n what he could termed as hopefulness..She was as mesmerized as him and her reaction just gave him the assurance that coming here was not the wrong choice at all. At that moment all thoughts of earlier as to what he’ll say, what excuse he’ll make etcetera etcetera about his visit escaped his mind n he just reveled in the fact that poked in his head that he certainly wanted to be there on his own will..whatever the reasons.
He initially started forming words to say something, but failed. tried again n failed again. ofcourse, what can a man possibly say in this scenario..Hi, helllo, you look good, the whether is awesome was not something ASR would say when his mind was bugging him with more important matters at hand. Rather, he let his eyes do the talking. He was sure, something softened in her eyes n that strengthen his resolve to move further on the path that he was treading very carefully..an unspoken sense of understanding embraced both of them at that moment n he knew that whatever unsorted mess of things he had created in his mind, she could pick up the things he couldnt say verbally..May be she could read him..? hell, yes! she can..she always does that.
He let his guard down, dropped his mask..for her to see..a first positive that he had done in a week n he felt light, not exposed. It was a huge step for him, who numerous times was termed as ‘A man of few words’. A small part of him was wishing her to see through him, to see through everything. Everything that he had done to her..or said to her in the past. A small part of him was eager to wipe out every ill memory from her head..to make a new start..if not a progress.
He was very well aware of the Sword of the Contract that was still dangling in the air between them..and it certainly will be there for the next few months also. But that doesnt mean they have to live like this for that whole time span. He knew that he had screwed up the things a bit by reacting irresponsibly..but that doesnt mean it couldnt be reverted back to normal. He knew he could have handled it a lot better than that. But he just wasnt aware uptill den that he was knee deep in this shit. After that night’s incident he had accepted that he was somewhere attracted to her..courtesy the last 10 days when he had all the time in the world to think. He had finally decoded the problem bugging him from past few days. His ‘attraction‘ towards her..but he was still unaware of the exact level of this new found attraction.
At first it came to him as a shocker but then its was not some kinda rocket science for him to decode its cause too. Ofcourse, Aint it extremely normal..? It definitely would have been abnormal if above wasnt the case. for one, he is a male. That too a healthy male with an extremely healthy sexual appetite. Second, A celibate male from past 2 months. Not that it was in the contract that he’ll have to maintain celibacy for the entire duration of their fake marriage. He had his shares of flings in the past..a very long list in that case. all courtesy his no-strings-attached-no-commitment rule he had followed through out his life. It always had took him a mere seconds to toss women who started clinging onto him..expecting more than they deserve..and that was one thing why media was hell crazy poking their heads in his personal life, splashing it all over the tabloids, gossip sites, blogs..ofcourse adding juicy tit bits of their own. He was glad that his business was doing extremely good but that was not what the press was interested in, in the first place. Papparazies followed him everywhere just to get a glimpse of the new trophy girl in his arms or his new flavour of the week as they often termed it. It goes without saying that all this stuff kept his PR team on their toes all the time, but even with all the power n wealth, he knew he couldnt control all the wagging tounges.Though his business was still soaring high profits, the monthly progress reports were a proof of his excellent business skills and he personally dint care a dime as to what media thinks about him,but then somewhere it had started attracting negative publicity..and where his company was concerned, he dint wanted any shit and the above stuff had started to irk him. He wanted to be known for his work n not how hot n insatiable he is in the bedroom.
Isnt that the MAIN reason why this marriage happened in the first place?
To keep their mouth shut for the time being and he was glad when that actually happened. With that sudden marriage, he was definitely in the news for that whole month with the press going gaga over one glimpse of the woman who had swept the great womanizer-cum-playboy’ off his feets. The most eligible bachelor was taken off the field resulting in heartbreaks across the country. The positive thing that had came outta this whole situation was that within few months he got converted from the playboy to the loverboy, and was often seen more in the business section of the tabloids than the entertainment one.
wasnt that what he wanted?
And as expected, media shifted its attention from his personal life to another juicy breakup of a very famous filmstar, within a week after his marriage.
so, all in all it went as per planned. Where his sexual life was concerned,he took a break from it temporarily. Sex with khushi was not the option..it was one of her only condition that she had added in their ‘contract’ n he was okay with it. He knew his ‘options’ will be available to him at his beck n call..anytime, anywhere he wish, but after thinking over it thoroughly, he dropped that option too for the time being. Yes, he was indeed very active sexually but with other ways of releasing the excess energy, he knew it was nothing he couldnt control. Another reason being that he certainly dint wanted to add the tag of unfaithful husband to his list. Later on, as the days progressed n he became familiar with her..unwantedly though, he doesnt felt like hooking up for the one-night stands. Not that their marriage was real n he couldnt do that but its just he dint felt right. afterall, he wasnt exactly the hardcore womanizer that media always termed him as..he wanted to prove that accusation wrong..bot ofcouse, it was just the proxy excuse his mind had created on its own.
So now, adding these things together, it all made sense to him why he was attracted to her. Hell, he was sure any male in his place would be attracted to any female they were sharing their bedroom n part of their life with.
Now that his previous questions were answered, the new question that was poking its head was Can he live with this attraction for the rest of the months. He guess, he can if he could just subside it at this level only which seemed to be an impossible task to him rightnow. but one thing was sure, he just couldnt hurt her in this process. He had done damage in the past but who says they cant make a fresh start. Atleast this way they both can live peacefully in future. He certainly was not prepared for that restlessness n anxiety all over again.They could be like friends or roommates with no ill feelings.
Now he just had to make sure how to execute this thing, but before that he has to make amends for his previous deed.
And Finally when he had made up his mind n had raised his hand a slight bit to move forward towards her, the amused male voice that had erupted from one corner of the room, effectively broke the silence created in the room, from god knows how long. .alongside his trance.
Next he know, a male figure of his father in law embraced him in a warmly hug..expressing happiness n thanking him repeatedly at the same time in a shaky n cracked voice..he could clearly make out from the voice that the old man was overwhelmed with his simple gesture and he relaxed instantly..hugging him in return. He dint know his simple visit here, could make her babuji so happy n he wondered why he hadnt done it earlier.
He looked at her over the shoulder of her babuji, who was now at a distance..obviously giving the two men their private time n was looking dreamily at her babuji’s figure, still hugging him tightly. She was trying very hard to blink back the tears but that action couldnt escape from his hawk eyes that were just keeping track of her lil reaction.
“Dammad ji aapka bahut bahut shukriya..”
His father in law replied in a happy tone, caressing his head, giving him blessings n then turning his attention back to her,
“beta, khadi kyu hai..aaj damaad ji pehli baar ghar aayen hain..aaj toh achi khaatirdaari honi chahiye..ja inke liye chai naashte ka intejaam kar”
He looked at her again, trying to catch her gaze again which she kept averted from him expertly. She nodded at him flashing a small smile n quickly made her way to the kitchen.
At that moment, arnav wanted nothing more than to confront her to say something, anything to make the situation filled with tension, better.
Hell with this chai naashta..what they say about rectifying the mistakes?
and Arnav Singh Raizada was just about ready to take that chance.