One could say Arnav Singh Raizada was rendered speechless and that would be putting it mildly. He couldn’t single out one particular emotion as he felt himself swirling in the whole plethora itself that he felt his head spinning at lightning fast speed. His blood was pumping fast and heart was pounding faster. He could literally feel the adrenaline rushing through his veins starting from his root to the tips of his fingers. Astonished one second and scared the next, all thanks to the events that just unfolded infront of his eyes.
What in the god’s name he just witnessed?
He couldn’t decide. Couldn’t decide whether he wanted to move closer and look at it without blinking once or to pull back, take a moment for himself and control his sprinting heart first. He was not prepared to deal with all those emotions avalanching with that unnatural intensity, smacking him left, right and center. He could not believe his eyes when he saw the image on screen, the exact place the doctor pointed was his baby. My baby. He felt the word rolling on his tongue in a voiceless whisper. It felt good. Strange good but good nonetheless. It was a life that he helped created. It was a thing of sheer beauty that this tiny sized fetus was already in the process of creating its own existence inside his wife’s womb. He had just about wrapped his mind around this fact when suddenly he heard the thumping beats and it was when it started feeling real. In the truest sense of the word.
The baby’s heart was already beating and competing with his own. Now, it wasn’t just that dreaded P word anymore. This was a tiny human already growing and surviving to order to make it to the real world sometimes later. It was at that moment he realized that it was happening. This thing, this right infront of him on the screen was much more real than the dark lines on those pregnancy test sticks. It wasn’t mere a plastic device but a real baby that he could actually saw and hear right at that moment. The baby that will grow a bit more with each passing day. He deliberated over the fact that this bean shaped creature will be completely dependent on Khushi for its existence for the next eight months or so. He imagined a tiny human entering in this world, their world, with head the size of his palms, body roughly the size of his forearms, wailing to announce its arrival with flailing limbs.
He looked down and glanced at his arms visualizing the scenario alongside. A tiny, innocent, nameless, harmless human entering in this cruel world, to be more specific. Unable to feed itself, innocent enough to understand the worldly matters, helpless enough to protect itself from coming under harm’s way. He imagined a small girl next, a mini version of Khushi with eyes same as hers, flashing her toothless, dimpled smile while taking her first step towards him with open arms. For some reasons, unknown to him, he felt another strange feeling settling in his chest. This was stronger than the previous one and calmed his nerves, soothed his heart and pushed away the fog some more for the light to shine through clearly. It left him yearning for more to say the least. His mind raced on its own accord and next he saw himself in his childhood going through the abuses at the hand of his father and he winced in response.
Somehow the imagination blurred for a moment and cleared the next. The scene was back but it was tampered now. He saw his father with a belt in his hand snarling down at his younger self, only there was no younger Arnav there. He was replaced by that small girl he saw earlier. It happened so fast that it took time for him to grasp what was going on. The more he looked at that picture in his mind, the more he felt helpless, for that girl in the very same way he used to feel in his childhood. One..two..three. He saw the blurred image of his father with that belt in his hand, taking a step towards that girl and something snapped in him. He felt his heart skipped a beat for a moment, only to give way for that sudden uncontrollable rage that had him shivering from top to bottom. The only thought revolving in his mind at that point was to shield and protect that little girl from his father. He had that inexplicable desire to do that for her what nobody did for him when he needed the most.
It was then he felt another truly new and powerful sets of emotions surfacing inside him. His fists closed at his sides as he felt that raw streak of protectiveness seeping into him and settling into his gut comfortably, drip by drip. The newly found possessive streak that he felt for that small innocent girl was so powerful that Arnav Singh Raizada found himself at a loss of words for second time that day. He blinked back to reality all of a sudden and realized that what he saw was just his imagination. His father wasn’t there. That little girl wasn’t there. Yet, he added to himself. Yes, that little girl wasn’t there yet. He glanced at Khushi and dropped his gaze to her stomach. This is real. This is happening. His mind made the decision for him and it felt like suddenly a burden had been removed off him.
That instant urge to protect that life growing inside Khushi’s womb was so overwhelming that all his lingering fears and doubts felt smaller infront of it. It was then he decided the baggage he was carrying from his ugly past, had to go at any cost. His willingness to provide a safe childhood to this unborn baby was rearing its head and fighting bravely with the demons of his past.
He had to erase the slate and start afresh if he wanted to step into a better future. And he wanted to. Willingly. For her. For him. Above all for this tiny life, they both created. A symbol of them. It was a part of him and a part of Khushi. How could he ever felt threatened by something so small, so pure and so innocent? He felt the dark clouds looming over his head slowly vanishing to give way to the new light that was now radiating his inner self with its glow. He heard the lady doctor excusing herself and he couldn’t wait for another second. He’ll make it alright and he was deadly sure about that.
“Khushi You saw that? That was just..I don’t have..I can’t even..Oh goddddd !!!!!!”
Khushi glanced at him from beneath her wet lashes and witnessed the myriads of real emotions crossing his face. His beautiful unguarded face, open as a book. She saw glimpses of astonishment along with a tinge of nerves as he dragged a palm across his face one more time before looking back at the screen. Arnav Singh Raizada who was a pro at giving business speeches was finding it hard to form a coherent sentence and Khushi couldn’t conceal her watery smile herself before nodding at him. It was the first time he was expressing himself since stepping into this room and she could relate to him on everything he was going through at that particular moment. Looking down she felt goosebumps that appeared on her arms and rubbed it slightly before glancing at him again. The air around them was different to say the least. She could see the giant shift in the man in front of her who was looking at the screen with a newly found twinkle in his eyes and wondered what he was thinking. They just witnessed something magical and she wanted to give him the space to absorb it all in without her input. It was his moment and He deserved that all to himself.
“That was just…amazing. I haven’t seen or heard anything as beautiful as that”
He said after a minute with the most amazing smile plastered on his lips, his brown orbs were gleaming with a thin sheen of tears and the honesty in them took her breath away. This man was shedding his layers all for her to witness and Khushi didn’t bother with the fresh set of tears that appeared.
She didn’t miss how his expressions changed suddenly at that as he covered the distance between them the next instant. A bit hesitant at first as he took the final few steps to reach her, he stood in front of her, mere inches away and gently wiped the tear that had trickled down her face with the pad of his thumb before cradling her face in his palms. He opened his mouth to say something and then closed it again all the while staring into her waiting eyes. The wait was killing her. In the end, he closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against hers and filled his nostrils with her smell. He needed to get his fill first. This. This was what was missing. This was heaven. This was sunshine. This was the ray of hope. He needed to have something of hers in him to settle his nerves first.
He opened his eyes, lifted his head a bare minimum to see her properly and her name escaped his lips like it was a prayer. It was all he could manage at first.
“I am so sorry”
He whispered in a voice laced with pain and lathered with honesty as he stared down at her wet brown eyes opened wide on her face, before he continue
“I am so very sorry. I am a fucking idiot who keeps hurting you”
His fingers lightly grazing the skin beneath them while his eyes were doing all the pleading and Khushi couldn’t help but shook her head at him while trying her best to blink back her own tears.
“NO. I am a selfish bastard who don’t deserve you or your forgiveness but I would be damned in hell if I let you go”
“Khushi let me say. you are the best thing to have ever happened to me and I was so blind that I couldn’t see that. I don’t deserve you but please. Give me another chance. Will you please take me back?”
Khushi looked at him too stunned for any answer. She didn’t miss the last part of his sentence either. He wasn’t ordering but requesting her as if he wasn’t sure what her answer would be. It was so unlike him to give up control like this and yet he stood there waiting for her answer with uncertainty in his eyes.
“Will you give me a chance? I promise I will make it up to you..”
He paused as his gaze dropped to her stomach before meeting her orbs back ,
“…to both of you till the last day of my life. Till my last breath. I swear Khushi”
He dropped to his knees the next instant and wrapped his arms around her waist gently leaning his forehead against her stomach. He closed his eyes and that little girl flashed in his mind again and Arnav poured his heart out to her
“Baby, Can you hear me? papa is very sorry for behaving like a fucki..complete jerk. But I promise, I’ll never leave you and your mom again. Never. You will never have to worry about a single thing ever. I’ll protect and care for you both for the rest of my life and the mistake that I have done by not coming sooner, I’ll make it up for that till my least breath. Only, if your mom will give me another chance to fix this”
For what felt like eternity to him but were actually minutes, he felt her fingers lightly brushing his hair and glanced up to see her eyes brimming with tears. She had her lips pressed in a thin line so as to control them from further trembling. He stood up and cradled her tear stained face in his palms
“Shhh Khushi. No. Please don’t”
Wiping her face carefully with the heel of his palm, he exhaled a deep breath and look into her eyes with a fierce determination,
“Khushi, I don’t know if I have it in me to love anyone. I don’t know if I am even capable of loving or not but one thing I am deadly sure of is I can’t lose you two now. I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I want to do this. I want to have this child with you and raise it. I want to relive my childhood and recreate it. I am in all the way..till the very end”
“Am I scared? Very much. I AM FUCKING TERRIFIED. OKAY?”
“Have I gotten rid of my past? No, its still there. It’s a decade worth of suffering. It won’t go overnight. But I am so ready to take the next step with you by my side. I am not going to let it fuck up with my future. I need you to walk, sprint or crawl with me in this journey but I need you to be there, be my silent partner, steer me in right direction. But just be there”
“Will I screw up in future? Probably. No doubt I will make mistakes but I will own them and fix them up too”
“But Am I sure about this? Yes. A thousand times yes. I have never been sure of anything else in my life. Khushi, you complete me. You make me whole. When you are not there, if feels like a part of me is constantly missing. There is a hollowness in me that nothing can fill. Everything is dark and lifeless and the thought of a life without you in it scares me to death”
Khushi took it all in with big eyes without saying a single word and Arnav felt his breath was stuck in his throat. Those were mere seconds but for Arnav it felt like hours.
They stood there staring at each other for god knows how long.
“Arnavji, you said you can’t imagine a life without me..without us?”
She asked him in a gentle voice
He nodded wordlessly.
“You are ready to move on from your past?..for us?”
He nodded again.
“You care for us?”
“MORE THAN MY LIFE KHUSHI”
“You will do anything to protect this child?”
“ANY DAMN THING ON THIS EARTH”
She processed everything and took her time. Her heart was beating rapidly but she needed to do this.
“Arnavji, If I am not ready to forgive you, will you let me go?”
His face fell instantly. The pain too evident for her liking. His adam apple bobbed and she didn’t miss that faint curtain of tears in his eyes. His shoulders drooped low and a loud breath left his body. He dragged a hand across his face before filling his lungs with air and replied after what felt like eternity. Three..two..one…
There was a dead silence in the room looming around them.
“I will respect your decision and let you go, give you space, but I won’t stop convincing you and I will wait for you till the time you come around. However long it takes Khushi. HOWVER. LONG. There is no one else for me, but you. ”
Khushi processed his reply and exhaled a breath before peeking at him from beneath her lashes.
“Arnavji. This is love”
He opened his mouth on a whim, to say something but closed it again processing what she just said and stared at her dumbfounded.
The corners of her lips curled ever so slightly and her eyes sparkled with something that put his anxious heart instantly at ease.
LOVE? He taste the word on his mouth. Rolling it around on his tongue. It felt strange the first time. Again. Then again. By the fourth time if felt almost familiar.
“Don’t let the word scare you. What you are seeking, is already in you”
She added in the gentlest of voice which instantly soothed him like a balm on his chafed skin
What he felt for Khushi is Love? What he was feeling for his child is Love? Is it so simple? Just this? No complexities no drama. Just.this? He questioned himself seeking the answers from within
It felt like he was standing outside a locked door from ages and the key was right inside his pocket, all this time. He never tried searching it within him. Why?
He whispered and Khushi couldn’t help that grin to split across her face as she cupped his face lovingly
“Yes Arnavji. If this is not love, I don’t know what is”
Khushi took a deep breath and closed her eyes for a second, gathering her courage and then meeting his eyes
“I love you Arnavji. I have always loved you. I don’t even remember when that happened but its been a very long time”
When she saw the lingering uncertainty in his eyes, as if he thought he must have heard her incorrectly, Khushi melted. Her heart was filled with warmth and her eyes were shining with the glint as she cupped his face between her palms and repeat those words, with utmost sincerity this time, her heart desperate to wipe off the uncertainty from his eyes and she wanted nothing more than to kiss away all his fears and questions.
“You love me?”
She nodded in reply and wrapped her arms around his neck. Burying her face there in her favorite place, she felt the tension leaving his body slowly as his posture relaxed and he embraced her back. Tighter this time. She felt him dropping a feather light kiss on top of her head and Khushi never felt that safe and secure in her life. This was her personal heaven and how she missed it. He pulled her some more into his chest if that was a possibility and mumbled sweet nothings under his breath that resembled close to his famous what the. She couldn’t help but chuckle at that and inhaled his smell to the fullest.
“If this is what love feels like then I don’t want to live another day without it”
He cupped the back of her head and caressed her back with his other arm.
Leaning back, he held Khushi with his arms on her shoulders, looked straight into her eyes while his own were filled with a new determination and said that L word back, with a definitive meaning behind it for the first time.
“ I. LOVE. YOU. Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada!!!”
This time when Arnav said the word back. He meant it. He meant it with his whole heart and he tried pouring his heart out in each word for her to understand it clearly.
“As long as I live..I will always love you with everything I have got. You got that?”
She swallowed the lump in her throat and tried to speak through all the emotions clogging her that moment. This man owned her heart and there is not an ounce of doubt about it.
Now that Arnav got the hang of it, there was no stopping him, Khushi smiled at that thought and shook her head before glancing back at him lovingly.
She said intertwining their fingers together,
“Arnavji, I couldn’t ask for a better father for our child. You will be the best dad”
She saw hope flickering in his eyes as his lips slowly spread into that charming smile and he released a pent up breath. Her own heart fluttered with the sensation that coursed through her veins and filled her with warmth and love, all over again.
“I couldn’t ask for a better mother for my girl”
He replied with a chiseled grin that was now plastered all over his face.
“How do you know it’s a girl?”
She asked furrowing her brows and scrunched her cute nose looking up at him
Arnav closed his eyes for a second. That little girl flashed in his mind once again, displaying her toothy smile this time, blabbering some incoherent somethings and his heart filled with that glorious warmth all over again. I just do!
“I am hoping”
He shook his head and saved that imagination in the most preserved part of his mind so he could visit it again.
“Now, Khushi Raizada, Will you sign another contract with me? A forever one this time”
She couldn’t help but nodded fervently. A wide smile settled on her lips as another set of tears were about to made their appearance. It indeed was the most beautiful combination of tears and smile happening together.
“Sure. Where do you want me to sign?”
She whispered holding his gaze and a displaying a smile matching his own
He closed the distance between them and planted a kiss on her parted lips with all the love he could pour into it. And then some more. A kiss that was a symbol of their love for each other. A kiss that wiped away any lingering doubts or remnants of darkness. A kiss that filled them both with the warmth all over and they were now shining brightly. A kiss much more than a mere physical contact for it was a direct connection to their soul.
That kiss was a promise.
A promise of better days ahead.
A promise to be with each other every step of the way.
A promise to embrace each other’s flaws and strive them for perfection
They knew things wouldn’t change overnight but they were so ready to take their first step together. In the right direction.
It wasn’t the end but the beginning for them. They weren’t the most perfect couple to have ever born on this planet. They were just the ordinary ones, with flaws of their own. But they were perfect for each other in their own little ways.
Every person in this world comes with a baggage of its own. We just have to find someone who will love us enough to help us unpack and they had found that someone in each other.
That was 3700+ words, 12 pages worth of writing and the last chapter of MYM. I finally did it * Drumrolls please*
This was a very difficult chapter to write and I can only hope I have done justice to the story with this end. Sorry for the delay, at first I wasn’t in the right frame of mind and then I binged read two Mariana Zapata’s book. Go figure. 😛 Aiden and Kulti were my official book boyfriends for last week.
Please drop in a comment and let me know I haven’t failed you with this update. Pretty please. I would love to hear your thoughts about it.
PS: I need to get out of my book hangover. Please drop in a suggestion if you have any. My current fav tropes are enemies to lovers- fake marriage/relationship-sloooooow burn<MZ type burn>
PPS: While I read my third MZ book, you can bribe me to get the epilogue faster.
Happy reading ❤