She licked her bottom lip nervously as she adjusted the pleats of her saree that were already set to perfection and tried picking up the invisible lint from it. She darted a glance at her husband who just got off from behind the wheel and was approaching her after handing over the car keys to the valet for parking.
His face embellished with that small beautiful smile directed towards her inadvertently set her heart racing faster than normal. This was slowly and steadily becoming a common scenario with khushi and as much as she tried denying it,it was something she started observing more & more since past few days. She didn’t failed to notice how that stubble was further emphasizing his squarely cut jaw, making it appear like an artist’s creation. The way she felt sudden tremors down her body as he closed the remaining distance and glanced down at her. This feeling was something new, and completely raw. something she hadn’t experienced before. Something that left her terrified and giddy at the same time. Something she wanted to explore and hide from at the same time. She realized she was treading on dangerous water here and the funny thing was she didn’t know how to swim.
Plus the fact that she was here with Arnav to attend this major Business gala had her reduced into nothing more than a bundle of nerves. And the stark realization that she was a complete misfit in this rich & luxurious dinner event attended by who’s who of Fashion and corporate world was mocking her since they left for this event an hour back. Her own fear that she might disappoint Arnav with her inexperience tonight was enough to knot her body uptight in tension.
He showered her with an reassuring smile before swiftly taking her hand in his and making way towards the entrance. An unusual sence of relief and dread filled her and while experiencing this khushi realized that the giddiness kicked started itself somewhere down the line. She tossed away all those nervous thoughts and chose to admire the man now holding her hand and leading the way,effectively hiding her from the continuous clicks of the camera and frenzy cum over the top excited reporters fighting their way to have the byte from the guests. Though Raizada’s bodyguards were doing a good enough job of keeping the journalists at bay but the way he stopped before sliding his arms around khushi and making sure she’s at a safe distance from the crowd was what left her with this strange adrenaline rush throughout her body.
A sense of admiration for him filled her and in that moment everything fades off. The lights, the camera, the crowd.Her own fears. Everything! The world seems to be moving around in blur as she focused solely on the man currently holding her safe in his grip. She refrained from giving this emotion a name yet. How could she when she herself dont know. She could just hope and give it time to explore itself.
She had thought she would either trip over her saree or left alone in the crowd. Or in worst case say something that would eventually disclose how blatantly she is from another world but thankfully nothing of that sort happened and khushi was extremely happy for that. She felt those sensations back when Arnav had gladly introduced her as his wife to his business associates and counterparts. She had felt her heart swelling with a tinge of pride at that which she had earlier assumed to be the toughest part of the evening. They had welcomed her and she was gracefully showered with various compliments throughout the evening. Some even went ahead to describe her beauty as innocent and pure, her smile as charismatic and appreciated her Indian attire she had carried with elegance and grace. She was sure it must be out of courtesy or cause of Arnav’s presence there. Nobody would actually point how she was among the minority wearing a saree where as rest of ladies were dressed in elegant branded gowns. Now would they? No,right. But the fact that she had mingled with the crowd like one of them as they made rounds moving from a group to the another. Arnav has made sure to involve her in his conversation even though she was sure she didn’t have anything to offer was what had made her comfortable in the evening and she found herself admiring for the same.
The way he had gently placed his hand on the small of her back while guiding her ahead had made it difficult for her to focus on anything except his touch. She was so very conscious of it throughout the evening. She was also aware of the effect her husband was sub consciously having on others. The males were glancing and greeting him with this sense of admiration and respect and accepted the fact that his mere presence overshadowed everything else in the crowd while the members from the opposite sex didnt masked their over enthusiasm as they were gifted with his attention, even if it was for tiniest of minute and she realized this night was popping out some new sets of contrasting emotions from within her.
Where as she was feeling proud of the way he was dominating the audience with just his presence, she felt some threads of insecurity tugging loose from within and the fact that their marriage was actually a result of his failed love affair didn’t helped her case either. But the fact that even after starting on a wrong foot, they managed to rectify it and were now working towards knowing each other did soothed her to a greater extent. The thought indeed felt like a ray of sunshine in a cloudy and foggy day. They might not be in love, actually far from it at this point of time but they have this newly found respect, understanding and mutual trust for each other and she was sure these are more than enough she could’ve asked for to sustain in the long run.
and just like that the dark clouds looming over her faded away instantly.
It wasn’t just khushi who actually got to face with some hard facts that night as even Arnav was dealing with same sets of emotions himself and this night proved crucial for realization to slowly sink within him during its course.
He couldn’t deny that sudden bout of protectiveness that reared its head head inside him as they were about to make their entrance. The reporters with the mikes and cameras in their hand trying their best to get their attention and bypassing the security guards was what set him instantly on alert. The fact that khushi was naive in this world was what made him want to securely place her away from harms way. The way he felt relived as he slide his arms around her, effectively embracing her short form from the strangers leaning above, his own reaction came as a surprize to him. He had never felt that way for someone other than his family. Never wanted to protect someone this badly. Never wanted to comfort someone with assurances. This wasnt how he used to act and behave. This wasnt how he had ever reacted. Maybe they have grown comfortable with each other since their marriage and this might be the reason behind that, he countered.
But then he couldn’t actually answer as to why he felt that sudden streak of jealousy when other males were observing her and following her with their gazes. She might be oblivious to the effect she was having but Raizada wasn’t. He was a male himself and he knew the look that he had seen in numerous eyes tonight along with the thought that must have crossed their mind as they greeted khushi. The fact that introducing her as his wife somewhat soothed him and helped him overpowering those disturbing thoughts but for majority of the evening it had left him with gritted teeths and clenched fists. Ofcourse Raizada was in the game longer than most to know how to mask the expressions but then this sudden difference in his own personality had left him with more questions than he had arrived here with. The fact that she was graciously carrying the saree, looking like an angel straight out of heaven didn’t helped his case either. The others might have dressed up in Dior or Gucci and revealing more than they should but her simplicity combined with the tinge of innocence was way ahead of their stylists could have pulled off for themselves. The fact that he was acutely aware of the skin contact they made as he had placed his palm on the small of her back for the majority of the evening had him tempted like a teenager. That small patch of pale clear skin left bared between her saree and blowse was more appealing than the other ladies revealing enormous amount of cleavage and for someone like Raizada who belongs to such an industry where he had seen it all, it felt like a teen laying his hands on first ever copy of playboy. It had left him highly confused so much so that even after the party ended as they made their way back to their home, Raizada had absolutely no valid answers to any of the above. He pondered over the questions striking in his mind as he drove towards their home with khushi on the passenger seat staring out of the window. A comfortable silence looming over them.
If only he knew he wasn’t the only one that need some answers. That too fast!