Holy Crap..what now?!?
These were the constant thoughts revolving around in Khushi’s mind, making it more of a jumbled mess that it could have been possible. Probably it was some kind of destiny’s cruel joke of testing her in ways more than she deserved given the already messier situation she was stuck in. She wished it all to be nothing but a dream and hoped that things would be normal once she’ll wake up. But then whoever said that reality is way more stranger than fiction or dreams, probably must have been a genius of his own time.
What can she do now?
Khushi was deeply engrossed in her thoughts, barely recognizing the picturesque greenery of the city as the car moved through the streets of Delhi. It came as a shock when she found out that she was carrying a child. She was Pregnant for god’s sake. Pregnant with Arnav Singh Raizada’s child. The same man who in less than an hour back had made it utterly clear without mincing his words as to where he stood on that matter. And how could she blame him for thinking so? Anyone with such traumatic childhood would be scarred for life. It’s a miracle that he turned it around, carved a path for himself and made a mark in this world with his sheer hard work and dedication. But the child in him was still injured and afraid, for the wounds were never healed and were still open and raw. If only he knew about her pregnancy, he wouldn’t dare touch her with a fifty foot pole. Though they had unprotected sex just once, guess it was enough for him to plant his seed. This was Arnav we are talking about. She would have laughed at the above fact, had it been any other circumstance, but what could she probably do when life was laughing down upon her. Arnav Singh Raizada would never father a child given the current scenario. She knew whatever he told her about his past was a much toned down version. She couldn’t imagine the enormity of the pain he had actually gone through all these years. He probably must be hiding the lava of rage and anger coursing through him after going through that painful memory again. The way he sounded so cold and detached afterwards was just the tip of the iceberg. How could she expect that he’ll happily welcome this child without relapsing into his past yet again? He himself needs healing first. Healing from his emotional pain and torcher he had subjected upon himself. But amidst all this, what’s the fault of this innocent life growing inside her. Her eyes watered at the thought as she subconsciously started caressing her flat stomach. Why would it be subjected to all the negativity currently surrounding and polluting their life? Yes, it came as a shocker for her too. She hadn’t really put herself in the role of a mother yet. But then, there’s so much difference between imagining something and facing the exact reality. She knew, it will take a little more time for this to really sink in but the amount of protectiveness she was already feeling for this child left her astonished. Now it wasn’t just him she had to think and care about. This little one will be needing the same too. Probably more.
The prominent question lingering in front of her was what to do with these two revelations. Three infact. Firstly there was this huge issue of Arnav and his past, his fear, his insecurities, his doubts about himself, his reluctance about even imagining him as a father of someone and above all, his straight away denial of even having a conversation about it again. Secondly, her pregnancy, that has now changed all the previous dimensions. Earlier after knowing his past, she sincerely was hoping she won’t be pregnant for a long time. Until he was ready to take that step in the right frame of mind and willing to carry this huge responsibility of fatherhood. But then life has its own way of surprising at oddest of times. Then, third and the most crucial of all being Alyssa’s revelation. She couldn’t for sure believe it blindly, but then she couldn’t flatly ignore it either cause if it has even an iota of truth in it then she had no idea what she would be doing.
But she can’t hide this fact from him. He has the right to know that she is pregnant with his child and that he’s going to be a father. A father who would be zillion times better than his own, she had absolutely no doubt about that. He cared about her immensely, she had seen this with her own eyes. Experienced those little gestures he does for her. Maybe he doesn’t entertain the idea of being in love cause of the insane amount of expectation that comes with the word. It might not be love but nothing short of it too. Love isn’t about a couple living in a fairyland, with stars and flowers, glowing, shining, and shimmering. Everything perfect and rosy aren’t the parameters for judging that someone is in true form of love or not. It’s about being there for your one and only during happier times but even more during the tough ones. And time and again he had proved that. It was an irony that ASR who all this time was making sure he stays away from love had exactly started to follow the similar path, unknowingly.
“Driver, please take me to AR industries..”
She didn’t know whether it was right decision or not. Arnav left for his office citing some important business meeting with a client after that revelation. His way of escaping the present maybe, justifiably so. She would have given him space had it been some other circumstances but she had more pressing things in her mind. She needed some clarity before going to her home and she would hold onto that until she will be back home and they could talk things out in a more sensible or calmer way. This one day apart would do him good to calm him down in just his own company. She was on her way to her home when this thought came to her mind and she reacted instantly. Hoping for the best, she closed her eyes, rested her forehead on the window while praying her goddess to give the enormous amount of strength she must be needing in the upcoming future for her. For her child too.
NO. For all three of them.
Stepping out of the elevator on the executive floor, she nervously made her way to his cabin. The office was completely silent and empty, except for the security guard she had met at the parking lot. His SUV was parked at its reserved spot and that had given her the much needed push as to why she was here. Of course Sunday it was, so the emptiness was justified. But she still felt like Alice in wonderland right at that moment. Alone and lost. What if it didn’t go the way she’s expecting it to be? What would she do then? She decided to push all her doubts to the back of her mind as she reached for his cabin door. Maybe she should wait. She glanced at his PA’s cabin and that was empty too. Maybe she should just enter. No, she should wait here till her nerves were a bit in control and control she needed the most. Slowly opening the door after releasing the pent up breath she didn’t realize she was holding she stepped inside his cabin.
There he was.
And standing right beside him, few feets apart was Alyssa.
Khushi addressed looking at the woman in particular, shock clearly laden in her voice. Of all the scenarios she had imagined, this was the least of them, to find him with his ex. This possibility seemed to have come out of thin air and it felt like a punch to her gut. He said something about a business meeting.,right. ? What kind of meeting was this? He was alone with her in an almost empty office, the same woman who had unashamedly admitted to her that she still desired him. The one he must have had a past affair with. What were they doing, rekindling that romance or what? That nasty thought popped up in her head without invitation and Khushi couldn’t do a thing to push that away. She felt her gut churning at lightning fast speed as the uninvited emotions of hurt and betrayal came crashing down on her. She felt her eyes getting misty as she saw the scene unfolding in front of her eyes. She felt her anger building slowly which became difficult for her to keep in control. She was pregnant with his child and here he was entertaining his ex in his office on a Sunday evening, that too after lying to her about it in the first place. Blame it on pregnancy hormones but Khushi was blindsided by the plethora of emotions swirling through her mind not letting her think straight for a second.
“What is she doing here Arnav Ji..?..”
She addressed him this time, accusation laced in her tone, her voice a notch higher than normal but she didn’t care. His shock was written clearly on his face as she realized how his expressions changed on seeing her standing there. He shifted uncomfortably under her gaze before gathering himself and made a move towards her.
“I very well know who she is”
She refused to get deterred by his small talks, her fists clenching at her side when she saw Alyssa’s face plastered with that evil smirk again. If anything it surged her anger ten times
Arnav’s face hardened instantly at her curt reply as he tried again to handle the situation at best.
“Khushi ,Calm down..its not what you are thinking”
He replied through clenched teeth trying his best to keep his own anger in check, his face now marred with a frown cause of displeasure.
“What else it is then? You l..lied about this, Arnavji..?Are you having an affai..?”
The sane part of her mind was now in shock and those words were out of her mouth even before she could think twice. But out they were and she couldn’t take them back. The last part of her sentence was spoken in an almost broken voice despite her attempt to keep the hurt that she was feeling at bay. She tried calming down her erratic heartbeat to sound normal and sane and not like some jealous and insecure wife, but her brain stopped working the moment she saw that woman in close proximity with him. She blurted it out in a hurry and felt a pang of guilt when he flinched slightly at her accusation and then his jaw hardened again, locked in steel. His eyes narrowed to slits as he tried to linger on to the very thin thread of control that was shredding to pieces. He took a step towards her but stopped midway, his fists clenching and his expressions horrified and for a second he seemed to be at a loss of words.
“Khushi, I am not honoring that bullshit accusation of yours with a reply”
He spoke with a hardened jaw while rubbing a hand through his hair in frustration. His actions stopped her breath for a second as she realized it was Arnav on the verge of losing his cool. His angry eyes met hers locked in a challenge and Khushi realized he was not backing out on this.
“tsk…tsk…tsk…tsk…insecure much, are we?…”
Alyssa’s sarcastic voice caught their attention as it was then they realized they had an audience too.
“ALYSSA YOU NEED TO LEAVE”
He declared turning towards her which she effectively ignored.
“Arnav, don’t tell me, this little wife of yours was spying on you..Great!!..”
“YOU NEED TO SHUT YOUR MOUTH ALYSSA AND LEAVE”
He roared this time, his patience wearing thin with each passing second .
“I could see very well where this perfect marriage of yours is heading Arnav”
She air quoted the word perfect with her perfectly manicured nails in a voice laced with mockery and saw him bubbling with anger in an instant.
“GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE.NOW. BEFORE I CALL THE SECURITY!..”
That wiped the smirk off her face and her eyes turned cold as she shot daggers towards Khushi from over his shoulders. Plastering a blank expression, she picked up her handbag and started marching towards the door.
“If at any time you feel trapped and suffocated in your so called happy marriage, you know where to find me”
Alyssa walked off finally, banging the door much louder on her way out leaving behind her venomous words that were working just fine as for Khushi it felt like she was just stabbed multiple times by those words itself.
“Can you just sit and let me explain. Now”
He directed his piercing gaze back to Khushi who was watching Alyssa’s drama unfolding with a shock written all over her face. She wanted to say so many things to him, ask so many things, yell, and scream but too numb to do so. Her shoulders drooped slightly as she exhaled the breath she didn’t know she was holding. She decided to keep her cool and took the seat without uttering a word.
There was complete silence for the next few minutes except for his pacing across the room in order to keep his own anger in check. Fisting her dupatta, she counted to three with her eyes closed trying to rub away Alyssa’s toxic words about her marriage now playing in her mind and waited for him to say something. Anything. When nothing came as next couple seconds passed, she trained her gaze on him who was now standing in front of that floor to ceiling glass window and looking out towards the city. His tense shoulders and stiff posture clearly depicting his temper. She couldn’t miss the way his hands were clenching in his trousers’ pocket. Maybe it indeed was wrong. Maybe it felt like she was spying on him. Maybe he’ll think she’s like all other clingy, jealous women and that thought itself inflated her already dampened spirits. This is going the totally wrong way. They needed to have that conversation but not like this. But he was meeting with his ex. Her anger was now replaced by hurt. Hurt that maybe he was still in touch with his ex. Maybe he wanted out of this marriage and then another realization dawned upon her. That heavy conversation about his past, about parenting and fatherhood. Was it because of that? Was it because he could now sense that with Khushi this seems to be an unavoidable topic from now onwards. Did he hate this topic so much so that he found solace in the company of his ex-lover given the first chance possible? NO. KHUSHI STOP. STOP OVERTHINKING. But how could she? Her lips quivered as she felt tears threatening to roll down again. Whats with this new obsession with crying? Are these the pregnancy hormones the world talk about.
“Do you..love her?”
She couldn’t help but get that off her chest. As much stupid as it sound, as much clingy as it makes her to be but she needed to know. Her voice was shaking, tone barely above a whisper but that seemed to work in breaking his self-imposed trance.
“WHATT?? ARE YOU SERIOUS?”
“Arnavji, I know she’s your ex”
She replied quietly not meeting his eyes all the while clenching unclenching her palms that were now sweating profusely
“I had guessed so”
He said crossing his arms across his chest while shaking his head in disbelief and releasing a deep frustrated breath.
Covering the distance with quick strides, he dropped on his seat, he took a minute or two in calming his breath and rubbed his face with his palm in a hasty manner when he decided it was time to spill the truth.
“Khushi, yes we were together. But it was just a fling. Like many others that I used to have. It was nothing serious.”
“But she loves you”
She whispered, lifting her lashes nervously and meeting his gaze that was sharp and piercing and for a second she felt like a fool to state the above
“and how is that my problem? Our problem?”
He replied titling his head and arching his brow making her nervous, in a way that only he could.
“so, you don’t love her?”
“Khushi, I don’t do love. You know that”,
His sighed before replying. When he did, it was laced with undertone of honesty and she knew it was genuine, coming from his heart. But for her his answer was sort of a mixture, packed with both relief and disappointment at the same time.
“What was she doing here? There was no meeting with any client?”
Arnav ran a hand through his hair before replying,
“No, there wasn’t any meeting. I didn’t tell you cause I knew you won’t like it. I knew something was wrong since the moment you came back from restroom that day. You were gone for far too long that I was actually coming to get you. That’s when I saw her coming out, just ahead of you. That woman, she spells trouble. That’s how she has always been. I was worried she might have cornered you and fed you her lies. I tried asking you many times if you were fine. You said you were okay, but I knew you weren’t. I know you Khushi. Better than you think I do. You were different, quiet, and aloof since that day and I had to find out the reason why “
His eyes boring into hers and his jaw tightened a bit more and as pissed off as he seemed, he continued after releasing a deep breath
“That’s the reason she was here. I was sure she must have fed you with her filthy lies. I asked her and she said she wanted to meet for one last time. I was warning her to stay away from you when you stepped in . That’s it. That’s all it was. Khushi, You have to trust me when I say we were never serious. “
Khushi believed him. There wasn’t a shadow of doubt in her mind about what he just told her. But she couldn’t get this off the hook without clarifying it completely. She spoke after a minute, as emotions were still running high through her veins.
“Alyssa told me…things”
He tilted his head sideways and arched his brows, in a gesture asking her to continue what she was saying which she did after a moment’s hesitation.
“that…that she was pregnant…with your child…”
She bit her lip trying to inflict some pain while saying that and whispered the last part looking at him. Her eyes now shimmering with unshed tears despite her attempts to keep them at bay
There was complete silence for next few seconds when she heard him again,
His posture was stiff, his features tensed and his eyes were just void of any emotion in case she might tried reading them. He was offering her nothing. Nothing she could derive on her own without spilling the whole truth first.
“and..y..you asked her to abort the child”
She added after a brief pause and broke her gaze again as her heart was now thumping loudly in her chest. There it was. Out in the open. A simple yes from his side will now change everything. He might not remain the same Arnavji for her. She didn’t realize she was holding her breath
He answered after what seems like an eternity. In a voice devoid of any hint of emotions. It was coarse, gruff, curt, determined and even hint of pride was there. But guilt and remorse?
There was none and with that Khushi’s hopeful heart shredded to millions of pieces, there and then. There wasn’t anything that could slice her heart deeper than what she just heard.