"What did you say?" Vikrant asked him in disbelief
"You heard it right.. I said BACK. OFF."
"You f**king bast'" Vikrant started to say but he never got to finish what he started for Arnav's clutched hand found its target on Vikrant's nose, taking him by surprise.
Everyone else including Kushi gasped at this.
"I don't accept profanity from thugs like you' Back off if you know what is good for you" the cold and calculating voice of Arnav warned Vikrant again as he withdrew his fist from within a inch of Vikrant's face as Vikrant glared at him in scary surprise. "Next time you do that, my fist will make a contact with your nose for sure" Arnav continued menacingly
"Try me" Vikrant growled as he recovered from his shock.
"Oh I would" Arnav told him mockingly said as he stepped back "if you tempt me enough to step out of my Gentlemanliness"
"Gentlemanliness'" Vikrant scoffed "oh is it that putting on act for the ladies sake? For Kushi's sake?"
"May be"came out a nonchalant reply
"Don't even think about impressing her' She is mine' She is destined to be mine"
"Perhaps not anymore"
The exchanges and remarks were sneering from both the parties and the concerned girl stood there in shocked silence. The confidence with which Arnav uttered the last reply not only took Vikrant by surprise but the other bystanders watching the scene too. The sudden hushes around Kushi helped her realize that it was not the affection of the people around her that made them to ignore the gossips in the news column which had been published the previous day but it had merely gone to rest for the time being as the dire situation of her father's demise had demanded it of the locality people. Though she had been thankful for the neighborhood for not asking her questions on that regard to wound her further, she did realize the potential opening of gates for those gossips to get a fresh start again with that remark of Arnav's.
The disgust that she had been harboring towards Vikrant, turned into anger towards Arnav too with that realization and Kushi decided to call halt to the scene before things seemingly got out of control. She decided to eliminate one concern at a time. She pushed Arnav aside who had been shielding her all this while from Vikrant and stepped closer to Vikrant.
"What did you say?" she asked Vikrant jeeringly "you own me? Who says so?"
"Don't play with my Emotions Kushi' You know how much I want you' You know how much I have hurt the ones who come in between us"
"There has never been anything between us in the first place Vikrant- Wake up from your illusion- You were not even friends with me' and I am not any material to be owned up just because you like it"
"Buddy, May be he is the reason she speaks like this'" One of Vikrant's mates told him "He is the same man with whom she was linked up in yesterday's paper"
Vikrant's rage grew bounds with this realization as he elbowed the informant crudely and advanced forward.
"I knew' I knew.. I was thinking that I saw him somewhere' So you married him is it?"
Arnav coolly pulled Kushi who was also enraged at the point out of Vikrant's way
"I don't think we need to tell you if we are married or not' and it is none of your business"
"Oh' Lets see how much I am going to make it my business to lay my hands on her'. I will get you kushi'now that you betrayed me' I don't mind if you belong to any man by law' You will be mine atleast for a night'you cheap wh.."
A sharp blow hit Vikrant as his nose started bleeding
"You didn't take my warnings seriously, I don't stand profanity from any slugs like you! And when comes to my wife, I won't tolerate it from ANYONE. PERIOD"
As Kushi looked at Arnav in Shock, Vikrant's gang got agitated but Vikrant stopped them again.
"This is my meat" he told them spat angrily coming forward to attack Arnav. Nani who had been standing at Kushi's doorstep watching all the exchanges, warned him sharply. But had been prepared all the while for this'
Vikrant jeered at him as he saw Arnav pulling a reluctant Kushi towards his back while Kushi tried to shove him away from clutching her arms.
That was when the police siren started buzzing nearby. Following that, they saw a police car coming to a stop and police men coming out of it enquiring about the commotion
"What is happening here?" a police man heading the three men team approaching them. "Are you Mr. Raizada?" The man asked as he took in his business formals.
"Yes Officer, that's me' I was the one who informed you about the quarrel here'" Arnav told the officer to everyone's surprise and the shock of Vikrant and his gang. They hadn't expected Arnav to inform police when he was standing aside a few mimutes back when Kushi was in strife with Vikrant.
In the meanwhile, Arnav updated the police about the harassment that Kushi had to undergo. The localites reluctantly joined in for witnessing the trouble.
This finally led to the arrest of Vikrant for eve teasing and some of his gang members who didn't manage to escape from the scene in the interim also were arrested. Vikrant's claim that he was the local counselor's son didn't fall on the ears of the police this time, as the witnesses were huge and they knew that the man who had staged the play was also influential and they would be in trouble if they don't comply.
"I will take revenge Kushi' I will see to that your beautiful face is burnt with Acid'I will do it when I come out this evening' " Vikrant threatned Kushi when he was handcuffed and dragged along with his friends to the police vehicle.
"You should come to the station and give us a complaint mam' "The police man told her. Though Kushi was still angry with Arnav, She nodded to the police man.
"I shall bring her over Officer" Arnav told him "Thanks for showing up as soon as possible" the man shook hands with Arnav and left
As soon as the police vehicle left the place, Arnav was appreciated by the neighbors for quick thinking. Kushi stood there looking furiously at him
"Won't you thank me?" Arnav asked her at last
"Thank you for what?" She asked him angrily puzzling him "For calling me your wife when I am not?"
Arnav raised his eyebrows at this and slowly his lips curled into his trademark smirk.
"But I didn't call you my wife" he told her smirking
"But you said'"
"I only said I wouldn't tolerate anyone calling my wife names' I never mentioned it was you"
Kushi gaped at his clever reply
"But but your mention was suggestive" Kushi argued nevertheless
"I can't help it if you or anyone assumes'" Arnav told her. He also noticed the sudden raise of hushing around them and deliberately chose his next words. "How will I call you my wife when we aren't married yet- That was just a gossip and it remains a gossip- Ok now?" he said for everyone's benefit, hoping that the matter would settle for ever.
"That's Better' Yes.. I hope that settles everything" Kushi told him apathetically
"Nope" Arnav said "Not everything is settled' I am not letting you live here when that slug has literally threatened to attack you' You are coming with us" he said as he quickly glanced at his Nani who had come to them. She nodded at him encouragingly though she was greatly amused by her Grandson's behavior for the last few minutes- not to mention intrigued to a large extent
"What?" Kushi asked him "Why should I come with you?"
"You can't stay here' Not with that slug around"
"So?" Kushi asked him "Why should I come with you? I have my neighbors to take care of me and moreover Vikrant has been arrested.. I could sing in joy"
"No kushi bitiya, ofcourse we are all here you know about Vikrant and his father chakravarthy' they will not let you live in peace here' Its better if you go and live where they can't find you" Lalitha Mausi told her
"And Vikrant would do something nasty if he gets out Kushiji' Its better if you don't stay here'"Happy also advised her.
"And haven't you thought of our safety Kushi? If we try to protect ou, tomorrow my children will be in the line of fire'" one of the mean neighbors told her
"They are all right bitiya, it will be unsafe for you to stay here anymore' Not only Vikrant but his gang who are outside can also attack you" Nani also told her
As she kept looking from one person to other, Arnav smirked at her
"So you heard what everyone think, What are you waiting for? Go, packup"
His arrogance kindled the dying fighting spirit in her
"Don't order me" She told him "All this is because of you'"
"What did I do?"
"You were the one who did everything' calling the reporters, spreading the rumor that we are married, instigating Vikrant, calling the police, blowing up the matter'everything"
Arnav gaped at her unbelievably
What do you mean? You would have preferred to keep all the shit that he hands over to you?"
"I would have handled it differently' Havent I handled it all these years? you do all that and then suggest that hide myself from him'."
"I didn't say anything about hiding yourself' I merely asked you come with us for you need protection and there are no one else around with whom you can stay right now" Arnav told her gritting his teeth.
"No one else? How did your majesty decide that?" Kushi asked sarcastically
"Ok Bitiya, if you have any family with which you can stay now' Let us know' we will leave you there" Nani told her as Arnav looked at her with a curious expression which was a mixture of curiosity, Anger and amusement as Kushi stepped forward and pulled out Arnav's iPhone which was holding in his hand and started dialing a number
She kept waiting while the ring on the other side went on and the call went unpicked' She scrunched her eyebrows uncertainly and then tried the number again with the same result.
"Are you trying Madhumatiji's number again Kushiji?" Happy asked as she nodded tensedly
"She is not picking up the calls.. We kept trying yesterday also to reach them to rely about the bad news" Happy reminded her.
Kushi bit her lip again before she dialed another number.
"If you are calling Amanji, he is not in land' his office member told yesterday that he has gone to the sea' we tried his number too yesterday" Happy again reminded her
"No Happyji'I know he is not in land .. I am calling one of his friends" Kushi told distractedly as the ring finally was picked up. Arnav who had been watching this curiously again felt a tinge of un-comfortableness as Aman's name started cropping up again' Who was he?
"Rishi?" Kushi asked into the phone uncertainly "Hi' Yeah Kushi here'. Yeah ' I know Aman has gone into the sea Rishi' But isn't his mom at home?... where?...Oh'.No No its alright' Is there any number where I can reach Aman?... No No nothing' No Rishi' there is no need for a SOS and all that' Yeah' Please if you get to talk to him' please ask him to call me'. Thanks"
She cut the call and looked at the onlookers'
"Madhumatiji has gone on a pilgrimage tour' She will be back only after a month'" She informed Happy as she returned back Arnav's IPhone to him.
"I would ask you to come and live with me if I had my family here Kushiji.. I live in a men's PG" Happy told sadly
"That's Ok Happy ji'" Kushi told understandingly "May be I can go to Aman's place and stay there' His mom will be back in a month" She told slowly
Arnav watched the crowd around' No one was curious about Aman or why Kushi would want to go and stay there so badly'The neighbors knew him then.. may be visited her' maybe very often'Even Happy who got acquainted to her only recently knew about him' these line of thoughts made him to give in to a feeling which he did not recognize so well' before he could think he blurted it out
"Who is Aman?" he asked her, maybe the tone was spiked with a tinge of Jealousy he thought to himself
Kushi looked at him with an expression which probably told "its none of his business"
"May be a relative'" Nani suggested
"NahiJi' Kushi does'nt have any relatives that we know of' Mehtas and Guptas are very old family friends'" one of the neighbors informed them when Kushi didn't answer them
Then Arnav suddenly turned and started walking towards Kushi's house. Kushi who had been glaring at him all the while was taken aback by this behavior. Curiosity getting the better of her, she rushed behind him
"Hey why are you going in there?" she called out as she followed him in'
If she was surprised to see him rushing inside suddenly what he was doing inside took her by baffled her more' She saw him looking here and there for a while before jumping up to pull out a carry bag which was lying in the overhead shaft in the room.
He quickly pulled open the doors of the worn out almirah and started stuffing the dresses which he figured out was hers'
All the while Kushi stood there with her mouth open wide at his audacity and finally when she found her voice to scream at him asking what he was doing, he pulled the zip close, took the bag in his hand and came to her
"We are leaving to my house" he told her. It was not a tone of permission or request. It was a tone of instruction.
"What the hell?" she asked as he gripped her elbow and took her out to the car. The neighbors and Nani started walking towards them as he opened the car door and threw the bag inside.
She looked at him in shock when he spoke in a dangerously glaring tone as held the car door open for her.
"Get in' or I shall throw you in like your bag"
"Who are you to force me like this?" She asked him as she shoved him away "What do you think you are? Why should I come with you?"
"Why don't you understand?" Arnav screamed back at her "You need protection right now' you were threatened' and "
"And what exactly? Why are YOU bothered?"
Both of them glared at eachother for a few seconds before his angered features turned to softer shade
"Because you are Shashi Uncle's daughter" Arnav told her slowly "He has done so much for us' We owe him so much for what he has done' We missed our chance to show our gratitude to him' atleast we could try to pay it this way- by protecting the apple of his eye"
Anything else would have invited a retort from Kushi's side but she had'nt expected this. She realized that Arnav was suffering from the same guilt that she was feeling too. She felt that it was not needed for him to feel guilty nor to feel that she was his responsibility because of that. She told him so
By this time everyone else had reached there and Nani told her that she can probably stay with them for the time being until madhumati ji returned back, if she was not comfortable with staying with them.
With everyone else telling her that was the best possible thing to do, She finally agreed.
She was about to get into the car, when she remembered something suddenly.
"Wait a min, I will be back" she said as she went towards her house again
"I will come with you" Arnav volunteered
"I will manage" she refused curtly as she hurried to her house.
While Nani and Arnav waited in the car, he was growing more worried with her absence. He thought she should go and check if everything was fine, when Happy told he will go and check.
Then she appeared carrying a small box which looked like a faded and worn out jewelry box.
She smiled at them softly, as Arnav let out his breathe that he didn't realize that he was holding'she bid good bye to her friends and neighbors and paused a second before she sighed and got into the car, placing the box on her lap.
She was about to start a new journey in her life now' the one that she did not want but the circumstances had forced her to accept it. She still had mixed feelings about this decision. She was determined however to go to Aman's place as soon as his mother returned back. They are going to be upset that she hadn't reached them at a situation like this' likely Aman is going to be very furious with her for not raising SOS emergency to reach him' But that should be tackled later' for now' Kushi was getting ready for her life at Raizada Mansion.
Topic started by abavi
Last replied by Simifiction