I had participated in an OS contest before going on a break... and this is the entry that I had participated with. Thought it would be the best way to comeback into the world of IF with. Hope you enjoy this romantic one-shot!
Banner Credit: Preet.Kc
Arhi OS : Love is...
The stage was set for the biggest fashion show of the year. AR Designs was launching four new brands in the Indian market and one new line would be for the international market. 'The Grand Hotel' in Vasant Kunj, Delhi, was experiencing a flurry of activity. Models, designers and the who's who of the fashion world were present. Bollywood celebrities, top industrialists and even a few international designers were expected to grace the event.
Amidst all this excitement, Arnav Singh Raizada, the 28-year old owner of AR Designs, was busy greeting people. This frivolity did not appeal to him...even though it was an absolute must in his line of work - a necessary 'evil', according to him. Arnav Singh Raizada was known to be short-tempered, arrogant and broody in the industry, yet, it was his astute, sharp mind and his meticulous efficiency, that made him a force to be reckoned with. He was a shrewd businessman with an uncanny knack for spotting talent. He had given an opportunity to many young Indian designers, to showcase their creativity.
Arnav had been quite reserved since childhood, although he had always been popular for his Greek-God looks and his mysterious nature. People wished to get closer to him to know more about him. His being the son of a rich industrialist was an added inducement. However, Arnav was indifferent to people that showered him with attention... especially, to the women who loved to cling to him. He had never dated the same girl for more than a year and all of them had been warned not to expect a long-time commitment from him. He neither had the time for it, nor the inclination to get tied down to a single woman, for a lifetime. What he did not know however, was that his beliefs were going to change... forever.
The show had been going on smoothly so far. Arnav was seated in the front row, reveling in the applause of the audience. The Indian brands were launched with Bollywood celebrities as show-stoppers. However, for the international line, he had not seen the models or even had a chance to look at their portfolios. NK, his cousin, was good at that task and he had completely relied on him. As the models made their way on the ramp, the audience 'oohed' and 'aahed' their admiration for the innovativeness and creativity, that the designers had unleashed. Arnav knew that this line was extremely important to open new avenues globally, and right now, the appreciation for it seemed phenomenal.
The moment the lights dimmed and the music reached its crescendo, Arnav almost stopped breathing. The show-stopper walked onto the ramp, dressed in an elegant red gown enhanced with delicate work in shimmering gold. Her stunning beauty, elegance and poise took his breath away. She was a vision to behold and the red of the gown, complemented her milky-white skin. His eyes moved over her perfect body... the slit in the gown giving an ample view of a long toned leg. Her graceful walk had stunned the audience into pin-drop silence as she took her position on the front stage.
She walked back again onto the stage, hand-in-hand with the designers, amidst a loud cheer. However, all that Arnav saw was a blur of movement. His sole focus was on her mesmerizing face and a pair of soulful hazel eyes. As he was invited on stage, he went up to her and she bent forward to air-kiss him. Her fragrance, the feel of her soft cheek against his and her luminous face, captivated his heart...and soul. He did not recollect how he managed to give the concluding speech or how he managed to converse and accept the congratulatory wishes or how he survived the endless after-event party. All he remembered were those sparkling hazel eyes, which had awoken a bittersweet memory from a long time ago.
10 Years Ago...
Khushi Kumari Gupta was excited. It was Friendship Day at St. Stephen's College and Khushi was excited at the prospect of tying friendship bands to her entire batch. She had always been a very friendly and warm person and had easily managed to make friends in college. She had got a scholarship this year, and hence had been able to convince her parents to let her stay in Delhi by herself, while they stayed back in Lucknow. They had been initially reluctant to send their only daughter all alone to a city like Delhi. Thankfully, her Buaji stayed here, and she had persuaded them with her help.
Junior college was meant for fun and most of her gang were loitering across the campus, tying bands...even to strangers. However, Khushi had only one focus - Arnav Singh Raizada's friendship. There was no more denying the fact that she had a huge crush on him...since the last one year. Khushi knew that Arnav barely spoke to anyone in their class, other than his group of four friends. However, he was a brilliant student, excelling in academics and sports. His arrogance and reserve added to his charm and she was drawn to him like a magnet...although, what really drew her to him were his molten brown eyes...mysterious and intriguing. Sometimes, the way he looked at her...she felt she would combust into flames. Today, she was finally going to muster some courage and try to break the ice with him.
Khushi knew that it was not going to be easy. Arnav's girlfriend, Lavanya, never lost an opportunity to demean Khushi about her financial status. Arnav's group comprised of rich and spoilt brats. Unfortunately for her, her poor innocent heart had fallen for him...hard. She knew that he had indirectly helped her get away several times, from the snide remarks thrown her way. He had even yelled at Lavanya a few times for doing so. His behaviour, so at odds with that of his friends, confused her. She was going crazy trying to uncover the mysterious moods of this man.
Knowing that Lavanya and Arnav were together, all she wanted was to be friends with Arnav and get to know him a little better. Maybe, then she would be able to get over him? Today was going to be the day she took her first step in this direction. She saw Arnav standing alone, outside the library and took the opportunity to approach him...a friendship band clutched tightly in her hand, her steps a little shaky and a heart that thudded dangerously. Even before she could call out to him, he turned around and her hazel eyes clashed with his brown ones. Lost she was, in the depths of those captivating eyes...
After a long while, she managed to break the spell and fumbled with words, "Hey, Arnav! Happy Friendship Day... Hmmm... ummm...I just...I just wanted to tie this friendship band to you." She saw his eyes change colour and darken at her words. She saw his gaze linger on her face and then move up her entire form. She shivered at his smoldering gaze. He took a couple of steps towards her, but before he could say anything, Lavanya had managed to come and stand between them.
Then...began that unforgettable humiliation...Khushi's character, her class, her clothes, her "behenji" looks, her financial status...all were thrown in her face by Lavanya. Khushi had tried to defend herself, but Lavanya had been uncontrollable and had used every foul word and then some, to degrade her. A crowd had gathered around them, and all Khushi could see, were her own feet, where the friendship band had unceremoniously fallen from her hand. She heard Arnav trying to stop Lavanya a few times. She had had enough of this humiliation and finally looked up at Arnav. The sheen of tears, made it impossible for her to gauge his expression, and before he could say another word, she had turned around and walked away.
The next few weeks were the toughest ones for her, preparing for the mid-term exams and trying to ignore Arnav. He had tried to talk to her several times, but not once had she responded. Coincidentally, her father was getting transferred to Mumbai after the term-end and her family had decided to shift Khushi to a college there. Things had moved at a fast pace...the exams were over and there was a complete change in her life. Mumbai had brought along with it, new hopes and new dreams. She had joined a modeling institute suggested by a friend, to earn some extra money for her family...but what it had done for her, was to open doors to a completely new world.
After completing college and doing a few ramp shows in Mumbai, she had been shortlisted by a French brand, to model for them. Her shift to Paris had been welcomed by her parents, and thus, a girl from a small town had become an A-List model for French couture. The six years she spent in Paris had been the most memorable ones of her life. She'd dated a few men on and off, but nothing could erase the memory of those brown eyes from her mind...her soul...however hard she tried. She had met NK casually at a party, and that had led to a fashion show in a city, she hated. However, once she knew who the owner was, the anticipation of meeting the man with the most mesmerizing eyes, was too tempting to resist. And so...here she was, at the AR Designs' party.
The last time Arnav had looked into those hazel eyes, they had been filled with tears of hurt. That was a memory he had tried to forget for years, but had never quite succeeded. He had broken off with Lavanya, that day itself, and then had tried to speak to Khushi for weeks afterwards. However, she had refused to even look at him. He knew she was badly hurt, and somehow he had to make it up to her... otherwise, he would be damned forever! The mid-term exams had whizzed by in a blur and he had made up his mind to speak to her after Diwali. What he did not know then, was that he would never get to see Khushi again. She had vanished, and after asking a few of her friends, he had found out that she had shifted to Mumbai. His heart had ached then and had been aching since...to get just one glimpse of her... He needed one chance to apologize; to tell her what he had wanted to say that day. That old ache had re-surfaced quickly, in his heart a while ago, when he had seen her walk on that ramp.
Arnav was busy in conversation with various people, but his mind was attuned to Khushi, who stood at a distance, chatting cheerfully with some models. He could not believe how drastically she had changed. He had always thought her to be beautiful... her simplicity and innocence being her special attributes. Right now, she looked absolutely celestial. He wondered if she would leave the past behind and talk to him. The only way to know for sure, would be to go and speak to her. There was no point in just staring at her for hours... like he had been doing all evening.
"Hey Khushi, I hope you remember me." Khushi turned around, hearing that husky voice, which had always unnerved her. The moment she looked into the molten brown eyes...she went back in time...it was as if nothing had changed in all these years... as if, she was still the same Khushi from ten years ago, who had been crazy about a boy... it was as if nothing mattered...not the past... not the future... all that mattered was, this moment...what she felt for him. She still felt that old hurt... but what she could not ignore, was the strong pull, that she felt towards him. Composing herself with difficulty, she managed to say, "Hey Arnav, of course, I remember you. I thought you would be the one to forget me."
He sensed the hurt in her voice and decided at that very moment... that he would do anything to make it up to her. He spent the rest of the evening by her side, not caring about the paparazzi, or that he was the host, who should be attending to the other guests as well. Arnav knew just one thing, that he had to apologize to her and tell her his side of the story and atleast try to initiate a friendship...a friendship that had never quite begun, all those years ago. He had to make up for all that lost time, and now that destiny had given him an opportunity, Arnav Singh Raizada was not one to back out.
The evening had ended exceptionally well for Khushi, as Arnav dropped her home. She was finally able to let go of a hurtful memory and they had decided to catch up soon for dinner. Her heart felt lighter for the first time in years. She had not expected an apology from the ruthless Raizada, but she had got that and so much more. She had been right about him...there was much more to the reserve and arrogance he portrayed. She finally was getting an opportunity to know him better. AR Designs had offered to sign an exclusive contract with her, and it had nothing to do with her equation with him. She could not wait for her stay to begin, back again in India.
If Arnav had to put it in one word, the next four months were simply 'magical'. Khushi and he had initially, gone out for friendly dinners and outings. They had talked about college, the last ten years and about their previous relationships. Both of them were extremely comfortable with each other, like two pieces of a puzzle, that were meant to fit. They were aware of the intense physical attraction they felt, and now they had started bonding emotionally too. He had realized that the last ten years had done nothing to reduce the innocence of this child-woman, who seemed to bring out the best in him. He had never felt so alive in his life and she was soon becoming his necessity. Inspite of living in two separate cities, they managed to find time to spend with each other.
Khushi was on cloud nine. She was back with her parents, had big work projects and was happy in her relationship with Arnav. Over the past few months, she had become very close to Arnav and had discovered the warm, caring and loving person he was. She realized that probably, that time...all those years ago, was not meant to be... Although, today surely was and she knew how hard she was falling for him. He had introduced her to his family, and she already felt like a part of them. The only thing remaining was to acknowledge their relationship...finally. She had made up her mind to tell him what she felt about him... tonight.
Tonight! Arnav was going to propose. He had been mustering the courage to tell Khushi, his deep feelings for her, and to take their relationship to the next level. He had asked Khushi out to dinner, and had a perfect plan in place. He waited at the venue, an open garden, beautifully decorated...like a college classroom. The wooden dinner table, had two tiny benches placed opposite each other. There was a blackboard in the corner, with a quote on love written by Shakespeare. There were candles and fairy-lights all around the garden, dotting the trees and shrubs. He always knew, when she was around, even before she entered. And there she stood, looking enchanting in a beautiful white dress.
Khushi was stunned to see the venue. She had been wondering why Arnav had invited her for dinner to a garden, instead of a restaurant. The moment she felt her heartbeats escalate, she knew he was there. After taking a few more steps, she saw him, dressed in a sleek black suit and a white shirt, looking as gorgeous as ever. She walked towards him and asked him,"What is all this, Arnav? A college bench...a black board? Why are we back in college?" She giggled like a school girl, making Arnav's heart almost leap out of his chest. He held out his hand and bent down on one knee, while she easily placed her hand in his. Her alluring hazel eyes, sparkled brightly with anticipation, making him anxious to share his feelings.
"Khushi... I wish I could go back ten years ago, and change what happened that day, but let's just leave that behind us. Today I want to tell you, what I had wanted to say then... yes, I had wanted to be friends with you, Khushi Kumari Gupta... but not anymore." He saw her scrunching up her face nervously. Suppressing the urge to chuckle, he continued, "I want to tell you that I have fallen head-over-heels in love with you. I want to be bound to you for eternity, Khushi."
Khushi saw him delve his hand into his pocket to remove a box. When she looked at what it held, she could not stop the tears flooding her eyes. A lone tattered friendship band lay in it. The same band that she had dropped at her feet... years ago.
"Will you do me the honor of marrying me, Khushi?" She nodded eagerly, tears rolling down, and dropped to her knees, hugging him, kissing him. Almost reverently, he tied the band around her slim wrist and slipped a ring onto her finger. Time stood still...the two lovers engulfed in a vortex of love and emotions so strong, that the two seemed one.
And that IS what LOVE IS... isn't it? One word... to describe the purest connection that lies between two beautiful souls.
Index to my other stories
Edited by mints23 - 5 years ago
Topic started by mints23
Last replied by Annasabu