YES I DID”
He replied after a lingering pause with the same command and determination fixed on his steely face. They were just three words but for Khushi it felt like somebody’s death sentence. Her own, perhaps. The pain felt like millions of needles poking in her chest thus making it hard for her to breathe. Tears threatened to fall infront of him, a sign of weakness for her. And her child. The man in front of her was not her Arnavji. It felt like some stranger she knew nothing about. What hurt the most was when she saw there wasn’t an ounce of remorse on his face. Far from that. What she saw was absolutely nothing. At that moment she couldn’t stand him anymore else she knew she wouldn’t be responsible for her actions. She knew he had issues. Issues with children, but what he just accepted was something only a beast can succumb to. She hadn’t imagine he had stooped to that low a level as to physically harm someone he just helped created. NO..she couldn’t take it anymore. She needed to go away from him. Till the time she could think sanely atleast.
“I..I think I should leave”
Blinking back tears that were now blurring her sight and threatening to roll down her cheeks despite her futile attempts, she hastily got up looking everywhere but him and headed towards the door. She wanted to get far away from him at that very moment.
The sudden call of her name forced her to halt in her steps but she couldn’t turn back. No. He would easily read the painful heartbreak written all over her face if she did. Presenting her back to him, she took a moment to gather her wayward heartbeat and released a deep breath.
“Listen to me, will you?”
He stood up and cover the distance between them in long strides.
No she can’t. Not now. She fastened her speed trying to grab the door knob. She knew she was on verge of breaking down but please god, let her just make it to the elevator. Alone.
“LISTEN TO ME DAMMIT”
He slammed the door shut with one of his palm while the other was gripping hers, trapping her within. Their gaze met once before she looked away instantly but even in that one second she couldn’t miss the frown and a hint of anger storming in his eyes. She tried peeling off his fingers that were gripping her arm but to no avail. There was nothing he could say now to calm her down.
“So you are running away without hearing my side?”
His words came laced with a hint of emotions this time, his tone a bit softer, his breathing a bit deeper. She chanced a glance at him. Though his words were softer, his eyes? They were still cold. She shivered under the coldness that was directed towards her and she couldn’t hold his steely gaze any longer. Running away? Yes, that’s what she was doing and he was well aware of that.
“Look at me when I am talking to you”
He ordered her in a stern voice and she couldn’t help feeling powerless in his hold. Raw powerful male energy was emanating from him in waves and she went silently still. Her eyes returned to his and she couldn’t look away this time. Though her heart was still weeping from inside. She looked at him through wet lashes and slightly trembling lips and that was the moment she saw his eyes softening a bit more as he gained his erratic breathing under control.
“Khushi, listen to me carefully. What I said earlier wasn’t a lie. Yes, I asked her to abort. But there was never any child in the first place”
Her eyes widened a bit in shock as she processed what he just said and as his words continued to sink in, the shock paved way to momentary relief before turning to confusion. He leaned forward to cup her face in his palms directed her gaze once more at him and continued.
“She lied to me about her pregnancy. She fooled me into believing she was pregnant with my child so she could get a commitment out of me. That was her ugly trick to trap me. I had always used protection with her so I had no reason to believe she could be pregnant in the first place. I offered her to go for a full blood work done rather than that pregnancy test stick she showed me as proof. She denied and that confirmed my suspicion. Yes I asked her to abort just cause I wanted to see how far she was willing to go with her lies. I told her we would go together to get it done. She panicked, ofcourse. And there she was. Caught and busted”
“Now did she tell you all this?”
He asked while he withdrew his palms and let his hands fall to his sides as she met his scrutinizing gaze and gulped hard. His next words matched his expressions. Raw and painful.
“No. What she did was feed you with her half-truths and you fell for it. You actually believed her”
He shook his head in disbelief and took a step back while rubbing a hand across his face. Khushi felt so small and coward at that moment drowning with an overwhelming sense of regret on doubting him in the first place. He don’t deserve this. Not after everything that happened earlier that day.
It took another minute for her to completely grasp the reality and then she took a step forward, her shoulders drooped leaving the pent up tension and falling on his chest she sagged with relief. Embracing him a tight hug, her tears finally making their presence felt on his crisp white shirt while she hid her face and constantly apologized to him. She felt his arms slowly embracing her after a minute or two and they both stood there, holding each other for god knows how long.
“Lets get going. Your father must be waiting for you..”
He said in the end, after what felt like eternity. Glancing up at him, she watched his face in awe for few minutes before mumbling in a weak voice,
“I am sorry Arnavji..hume maaf kar dijiye “
He just nodded in response not offering anything in return. Dismissing the crazy turn of events with a shake of his head.
Shifting her bag from the car to his own SUV, Arnav buckled her seat belt before taking his place at the driver’s seat and roared the engine to fire.
He stopped the car in front of her house and an awkward silence hung around for what seemed like a while. After he told her the entire truth, if had been a huge relief for Khushi who earlier found herself trapped beneath an enormous burden lingering on her shoulder ever since that day. She had closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, savoring this newly found peace within. She felt so much better now. After those initial shadow of doubts cleared away, she felt light. Lighter than in ages. Arnavji might have issues but not something that time can’t heal with proper support by his side. She scolded herself for even doubting Arnavji like that in the first place.
The actual conversation about her pregnancy could wait for a day but this one thing she just had to ask and she knew she won’t rest peacefully otherwise.
She started hesitatingly still trying to form her words in a careful manner lest she offend him again.
“what would you have done, had she been pregnant. For real..?”
She asked gathering her courage, looking at him through hopeful eyes. Her heart wanting him to answer this in an instant. That he would have supported her had it been real. Accepted her even. But each second he was silent and contemplating on how to answer was silently telling her what her brain was pointing out the entire time. She saw him shifting uncomfortably, a frown appeared between his brows in the same manner when he’s unsure and looking for answers himself. Or maybe it’s her brain that’s playing these tricks with her. Why was she putting meaning to his every actions now? Hadn’t she learned the lesson? But then her heart. How could she control her heart from thinking otherwise. His delay in answering was weakening her own hopes that had piled up after earlier incident in his office. They were still standing at the same place they had started before having this conversation. His stiff posture showed he was not yet there. Not in the frame of mind to answer a question like that.
After what felt like an eternity to Khushi, his shoulders drooped low and vulnerability etched across his face, as he turned to her direction looking visibly exhausted. He breathed deeper and then whooshed out all the air in a go.
“Khushi. Its been a very hard day for me. Lets..lets have this conversation some other time?”
She watched him let out a sigh for a moment as he addressed her and she smiled at him in understanding. Catching hold of his gaze, she looked at him. His eyes? They were not angry anymore, they were pleading silently. This day must have been exceptionally hard on him she realized for he had to revisit his past, had difficult conversation with her, had to tackle his ex and lastly Khushi’s own reactions. He was probably right if he didn’t want any more surprises in store for him. This day was already taking a toll on him.
You actually believed her
She recalled his words along with the masked hint of pain behind it and felt another wave of guilt passing through her. He deserved better. Better than what she was giving. She gave him a small but genuine smile this time, offering him the desired support he was hoping from her and saw him visibly sighing in relief. The light crease that was sitting in between his brows suddenly disappeared and he gave her a relaxed smile before leaning forward and kissing the top of her head.
“When is buaji coming back? “
He asked leaning back a little while his fingers stroked the lock of hair on her face before tucking it carefully behind.
“I’ll pick you then. Evening, kay?”
She smiled and lightly waved before turning around to open the door.
“…and..then we’ll have a talk…if you want”
He said in an unsurely voice as if it was something he hadn’t done before and Khushi felt her smile widening.
She whispered, her voice a little shaky, suddenly choking on her saliva as those silly tears threatened to appear once again and her heart was about to jump right off her chest. This man. Will this man ever stop surprising her? What was she doubting? He was strong enough to weather any storm thrown his way that she was sure of.
Too emotional to respond further, she leaned towards him and kissed him on his jaw, dangerously closer to his mouth, thanking him silently for taking the step, her eyes passing the message without words being spoken.
Yes, communication is the key and as long as they can do it like two mature adults, there’s nothing in the world that they can’t resolve.
Khushi got down from car and waited till he drove off. She felt excited, scared, nervous, alive. All at the same time. Most of all hopeful.
They were going to be fine. Devi maiya has already planned everything.
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