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FF: Ordinary Girl in an Extraordinary Affair Flashbacks are in green and italics.

Chapter-9 Try as she might, Khushi could not wipe the touch of his hands, of his lips from herself once she was back home and in the shower. She was crying and cursing as she scrubbed herself again in the last two days. Every part of her tingled and screamed for release that was not going to come. At Negi house, she had laughed and smiled with every one till her face felt like it would crack under pressure. Her eyes darted around in the room, looking for that one person who had made her putty in his hands but she couldnt find him anywhere. NK had cornered her once and asked her if she was okay. He could make out she was distressed, he said. This had put Khushis senses on red alert. If NK could visibly see her distress, so would her grandmother. And the reason will be then asked. What could she say then? No, it was not possible for her to share her feelings with anyone at this time. She had to put on her happy-go-lucky face to fool every one. She bluffed her way out, teased NK on his engagement and thwarted his thoughts successfully. Payal had come up to her once to ask her if all was okay and she had smiled brightly. She was not sure if Payal believed her happy face but hell, she had to do something! Thankfully, Payal had kept quiet and simply asserted that they should leave soon. Mercifully, Mrs. Gupta was of the same opinion and so they had left soon after. Of Arnav there was no sign. Khushi came out of the shower and sat down beside the dressing table. She looked at herself in the mirror. Taking out the lenses and putting the glasses back on, she made a face at herself. She needed to stop eating so much out of stress. Soon she may acquire a double chin if she was not careful. Close to that thought, erupted a giggle that turned into hysterical laughter. She couldnt seem to stop herself from laughing. She laughed hard until tears started in her eyes and then she couldnt seem to stop crying. She lunged onto the bed and buried her face in the pillow while her body was being racked with sobs. When it felt as if there were no more tears left, she got up and drank a glass of water. This would simply not do! She couldnt break down like this for that swine! She lay down on the bed again. Sleep was far off and memories of their time spent together very close. Though she tried hard to shut her thoughts off, her mind and her heart were locked in a battle. How could she forgive Arnav so easily? Now that he knew the truth, he had come forward with remorse and guilt in his heart. She couldnt forgive him for all that he had said to her. How could she? He had not just insulted her character, bruised and shattered her heart that evening, he had torn her soul apart from her body; he had actually told her that hed never even loved her! How could she ever even contemplate

of going back to a man who had never even loved her? His words and his actions kept on reverberating in her mind from their last encounter in Delhi. He had just caught her and Shyam in Khushis room, on her bed. Shyam had been trying to force himself on her and she had been pushing him off. She had pulled his hair, tried to kick him and slap him. Shyam had gone absolutely crazy when she tried to slap him. Next he kept a hand on her mouth that suffocated her and shushed her screams. Her other hand had been cruelly twisted, placed under her own body, rendering her movements futile. Pain had her crying and screaming in agony. He had then spoken, told her in detail how he was planning to defile her being, how he had been obsessed by her since many years and how Arnavs endearing himself to her had cut him to pieces. Knowing he intended to rape her had scared her shitless and made her struggles harder. He had already torn her dupatta off her body and had been trying toKhushis entire body shuddered in disgust as she remembered what she had gone through. It could have been worse had the door suddenly not burst open and had Arnav not dragged Shyam off her. His eyes had spelled murder that evening. He had punched Shyam in the face and rendered him unconscious. Khushi had been frozen by the events. Things couldnt have gone more wrong when she upped and walked away in her frozen state into the bathroom, locking herself in. The confrontation that had followed the next evening had not just broken her engagement but also her heart into a million pieces. I do not want a woman who thinks it is fair to play the field, that I will allow her to sleep with another while Im away. Had you played your cards right, I might have married you since I lust after your delicious body but now I know I dont need to. I can have you without tying myself to you. If he wants you, he can have you AFTER I do. So you only lust after my delicious body as you put it, you dont love me? Khushi spoke with a calm that belied the storm raging inside of her. Love is a word that shouldnt be uttered by a cheap characterless girl like you Khushi. I may not believe in it but I know many who do and respect them for their sentiments. I was fond enough of you. We couldve had a good relationship. We had been madly attracted to each other. We couldve made do with it had you waited for two more months until our wedding. But I guess girls like you cant wait with their huge sexual appetites. His words were full of scorn and hatred. Khushi refused to look at him lest she saw disgust in those eyes she loved. Turning herself away, she walked a little further ahead before, And once youd have tired of it?

What would you have done with me then Arnav? she heard herself ask as if it was a normal conversation, as if they were talking about someone else, not her. Divorce is easy. You would have received as much as you deserved. I would have given you generous alimony and -And kicked me out of your life. Khushi smiled bitterly. A part of her soul faced death with each statement made by Arnav. Her dreams were being ruthlessly trampled upon by the one man she had declared her allegiance to, by that one man whom she had fallen deeply in love with. Her heart froze in her chest and her brain kicked into gear. What would she do now? What would her parents think of her? How will the society react? What about her future? As thoughts crowded in her mind, her anger grew . She heard Aranv speak, I was wrong in thinking I could marry you and possess you. You seem to be an old player in the field of pleasures of the flesh. Her anger erupted at this point, her heart refusing to listen to any more venom that may be spouted by this man. She turned around to face him, her eyes spitting fire. So this is your opinion of me? You think Im promiscuous? First of, Im not a THING to be possessed Arnav Singh Raizada! Im a woman and I have the right to do whatever I want. I will one day marry the man of my choice; a man who will love, trust in me- a man who will not think of me as his possession and will not be just fond of me. Arnav started to say something but Khushi stopped him with the motion of her hand. She continued, After hearing your opinion of me today, I dont want to spend a second longer in your disgusting, sick thinking company. This engagement is off. You shouldve checked your facts before going ahead with your mud-slinging Raizada. So much for being a big tycoon who thinks logical and with his head! There will come a day when you realize the truth and that day I hope to God you suffer as much as I did today, knowing what a prize fool you have been and how unjust! She had thrown the only gift she had ever accepted from him; her engagement ring at his feet and walked off with her head held high. He had stood his ground, not moving an inch, like an ice statue while he watched her walk away. The tears had come when she had walked far enough for him to be not able to see her. The day after the next, she had explained what she could to her shocked parents and left for Nainital. The tears that had stopped a while back fell down her cheeks when she remembered her leaving her parents in a muddled state of mind and coming to Nainital. She had only just started making peace with herself. Why did Arnav have to come now? How could

he think they could take up from where theyd left off and forget everything that had happened in between? Khushi resolutely wiped her tears and shook her head. No. she wouldnt go back to him. She may be able to forgive him once but without love, without the proof that he loved her for real and not just desired her, she would never go back to him. She switched off the light and shut her eyes determinedly.

Chapter 10: A week after the entire incident saw Khushi in a completely different mode. She was deeply immersed in a conversation with some friends. They were sitting in the canteen, planning and making arrangements for the camp. Khushi was an active member of an association that participated in social service activities. Summer was the time of the year when one could see all types of activities happening in and around Nainital for various social causes. Khushi attended the blind kids summer camp every year as a volunteer although very few of her Delhi friends knew that. She acted as mentor to the new volunteers and guided them on how to help children who came to the camp for mental, physical and spiritual enjoyment. It seemed as if the planning was coming to a close as they all got up and shook hands with each other. Khushi smiled at one of the guys and said, Im sure youll be very happy when were back and feel as if youve done something constructive this holiday. As you have already heard from others, it will be our job to ensure that the kids learn about their hidden, undeveloped talents and try to develop it. It is our job to actively help them develop self-confidence. Some of them are weak physically because they dont get out much. We have to develop their physical vigour. You being a certified fitness teacher, Im sure youll do a great job towards the last one. The guy smiled at her, a kind smile though sadness lurked in his eyes, I hope to God I am able to be of help. I wish I had known of this earlier. I may have been able to help- There is no point in looking back George. What if and if only dont help us move on further in our lives. Youve made the right choice by joining the summer camp this year as a volunteer. Youll be amazed by how brave and smart these kids are. Ill see you the day after tomorrow in the morning with 10 children. Be ready! Khushi put a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it lightly. She smiled and started walking. The guy who was standing within the circle, talking to another guy moved forward to walk along with her. So Khushi didi, as usual, Sat tal is the final destination, right? I should speak to Hari and make arrangements for the tents and he stay?

Yes Sayahm, please do. Tell Hari Im looking forward to seeing him again. If you have any questions, call me at home, okay? Im off home. Khushi informed him and waved every one goodbye. Arnav thought about Khushi while he sat in his office in New Delhi. Things had not gone as well as hed expected during his visit to Nainital. Of course, he shouldve known that Khushi being the stubborn creature she was wouldnt forgive him easily but he was ready to do anything to get back in her good books. He knew he would have to work hard towards gaining her trust but first, he would have to work out a plan so that he could spend more time with her. He thrust a hand in his gelled hair, making it untidy as he sighed, loosened his tie and opened the first two buttons of his vest. He was restless and the only thing he wished for was to get back to Nainital; to get back to Khushi. His eyes were blood shot as if he hadnt slept well in the last couple of days, which truthfully he had not. Every time he tried to sleep, there were memories that kept coming back. Memories of how he had first fallen in love with Khushi, the time they had spent together and of the days before and after the engagement. Nightmares of Shyam molesting Khushi while he had stood aside blaming her haunted him. His remorse made his moods black every time he thought about it. How cruel he had been to her and how he had stupidly and carelessly thrown away the only thing in life that he had ever achieved for himself -Khushi and her love for him. He gritted his teeth and banged his hand on the table. He had come back to Delhi the day after Mallikas engagement due to work and meetings pressure. Now that hed cleared his diary for the next fortnight, he had instructed his PA to hold back all the important decision making projects that would need his presence or signature by a month and delegated the semi-important projects to Aakash and the rest of his management team. He was now free to woo his loveKhushi. A smile started at one corner of his mouth and slowly widened when he thought about his plans to stay in Nainital for a month. She wouldnt be able to resist him, no she wont. If he closed his eyes, he could still smell her hair, he could still taste her lips and he opened his eyes and flinched. He could still see her eyes and the tears in them, the hurt that he had put there, the distrust. Pain stabbed at his heart. He had put that distrust, that pain and those tears in her eyes. He could still see the shock and hurt she felt the day he had told her he didnt really love her. Of course, she should have seen it for the lie it was, but then they were riding on emotions that evening. He could forgive her for thinking ill of him when he had behaved like an absolute bastard that he was. He shook his head to dispel these thoughts away. He would win her back; he would win her love back. In fact he was sure she loved him still, just as much as he loved her.

Beneath all the hatred and fights, there was love that bloomed like rose in their hearts. He spoke regularly with Mrs Gupta senior and Payal to get information on how Khushi was faring in the last week. He had already found out that Khushi was going to be away camping for a week. It had come as a surprise to him that in the 9 months that he had known Khushi, he had not known of the volunteer work she carried out for several charities, including the one in Nainital. His Khushi certainly had a heart of gold. The phones insistent ringing broke his thoughts. He picked it up and barked, Yes? Sir, your sister in on the line and insists she must speak to you immediately. His PA informed him. Put her through. Arnav smiled as he thought about his Anjali di. She was another gem of a woman that shone like a beacon of love in his life. Anjali was a double major in English and history and currently engaged to her long-time boyfriend Dean. They both worked together in Royal Holloway, University of London as professors. Anjali taught history while Dean worked with the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures. Chhotte? Anjalis calm voice penetrated Arnavs surroundings while he put it on speaker. A smile lit his face at hearing the voice of his beloved sister. Hi Di. Hows it going? All is well here Chhotte. How are you? You sound exhausted. Di, Im fine. Had a lot of work to finish before I Did you meet Khushi Chhotte? You told me the last time we spoke that you knew of her whereabouts now and planned to meet her. Arnav sighed over the phone, Yeah Di, I did. I met her. And- Do I have to extract it out of you? What happened? Did she speak to you? Did you try to explain your side of the story? Not that shed forgive you that easily but How you do love your pound of flesh! Arnav Singh Raizada, mind your manners! Sorry di, but yes, youre right. She says she cant forgive and forget what happened. She refuses to see me anymore or speak to me anymore Di. Chhotte. Im sorry to hear that. Really. But youre not going to quit persuading her, are you? You you love her Chhotte?

Arnav closed his eyes as he placed his head gently on the table. He couldnt seem to hide his feelings for Khushi from Anjali. Yes Di. I feel very strongly for her. I am not going to let her go. Anjali smiled at the other end. Sacche pyaar ki raah hamesha se mushkil rahi hain Arnav. Uspar chalna sabke bas ki baat nahi hain. (The path to true love is not easy Arnav. Not everyone can walk this path.) You have be willing to leave your ego aside and do whatever it is that your love wants you to do. Are you ready to go through it? Arnav rolled his eyes. Anjali di and her dramatic dialogues! I dont know about all that Di. All I know is that I am not going to let her go. I was a fool to ever have doubted her and Im going to do everything it takes to make things right between us. My blessings are with you my brother. Dean wants to talk to you. Hang on. A mans voice came over the phone. His voice sounded deep and husky as he spoke over the phone to Arnav, Hi Arnie, how are things shaping up in yoga land? Anjali tells me youre trying to convince Khushi to forgive you. Is that right? Dean Winchester was probably the only man on this planet that Arnav was comfortable with. Dean was older to Arnav by five years but they shared an amazing rapport. With Dean he joked, laughed and had even shared some fun times as a playboy. Though Dean was into academics, he was gorgeous and totally fun, not like the stuck up prigs geeks normally were. They were long time friends and when Dean fell in love with Anjali, Arnav was only too happy to accept Dean into his family. Dean could hear the smile in Arnavs voice when he said, Yeah, if shell have me back again. Dean laughed, I owe you the biggest I told you so dude. Arnav laughed too. Too right but Im going to make sure she falls for my charm this time around again. Im not going to lose her Dean. I cant. He picked up the bottle of water kept on his desk and took a gulp. I sure hope youre telling me the truth. I mean if she ever doubts your word, tell her I sent her a message. Tell her I said, Hes really sorry sweetheart and means it when he says sorry. Hes got more conscience any day than I did before Anjali. I mean as a young punk, he felt guilty searching the Internet for porn. Dude! Arnav choked on water, only to hear Dean laugh and say, Heres Anjali again. You take care. Cheers! Anjali came back on the phone. Whats he laughing about? Anyway, we are planning to go out this evening so I need to get ready. You take care, okay? Eat on time and dont moon around. Anjali said while a mans voice in the background asked her to hurry up.

Say Hi to Dean from me di. You guys enjoy the evening. Ill take care of myself. Tomorrow am going to Nainital for a fortnight. Hopefully Ill have something good to tell you the next time. Arnav hung up after exchanging good byes, a smile stuck on his face. He felt refreshed after talking to Dean and his di. He was ready to get, set and go. The evening before Khushi was supposed to leave for the camp in the morning saw her walking Sophie in the garden. The weather had turned especially chilly this evening and Khushi kept on rubbing her hands over her arms to warm herself. She was simply loitering with no agenda of the next morning in her mind. Instead her mind was occupied with the only man who well, the only man who had ever made a place in her thoughts was Arnav. Much as she hated to admit to herself, she couldnt help but remember him. His kiss had brought back memories of their time together, the day when she accidentally bumped into him at the National Gallery of Modern Art on Dr. Zakhir Hussain Road in New Delhi.

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