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Chapter 11 - Aftermath
Khushi couldn't sleep a wink after she came back from the park. Lying on the bed, she shut her eyes tightly - she had kissed him on his cheek. What made her?
Now that she thought about it, it made her blush. That had been quite an unusual act on her part. Why did she do that? Simply to say thanks or was it more than she was letting on.
The fact that he had saved her life meant a lot to her. Growing up, she hardly had anyone looking out for her, baring her absentee aunt and her aunt's husband. The fact that someone helped here, in the most unexpected way, made her feel special. And it was not just anyone. It was a ghost, a spirit - one which was trapped - who broke out of his shackles - for her.
This was huge - this was the first time someone stood up for her, the first time, in so long someone took care of her.
On finding out their unusual connection, that they were tied together in some fateful way, swirled her insides. Before she knew it, she had gone ahead and done the deed.
And now she couldn't help but blush. She rolled over and pressed her face in the pillow.
It would be so embarrassing to face him in the morning. At least she was going back to work tomorrow. That way she could escape the any awkward situations.
Till when though?
Sooner or later she'd have to be in his company - after all his space of escape was limited.
She didn't know anything about him. He could be old - though he didn't sound old and hadn't he mentioned once that he was maybe a few years older than her? Or was that only in her mind?
What if he was married? He did say his last memory was of a woman calling his name. But it could have been his mother, or sister, or any relative, she tried to reason.
Khushi stopped her train of thoughts - it didn't matter if he was old or married -what mattered was he was not alive. He was dead. He was a ghost!
Why was she feeling something for a ghost - something other than gratitude and compassion?
Sleep did come to her, later at night. In the morning, she woke up groggily to the sound of her alarm. Slipping out of the bed, she tied her hair into a messy bun and yawned. Her medical leaves were over and it was time to rejoin work.
She picked up her towel and her work clothes and made her way to the drawing room. Her feet came to a halt and her heartbeat increased. There was a stranger sitting on her couch!
Her eyes widened and she shrieked. Her scream, made the man's head spin around. He stood up with a start.
Without wasting a second, she picked the object nearest to her - a vase and threw it at him.
The vase went right through the man, like he was made of air, and smashed on the wall behind him.
"What the-!" Khushi muttered before realization dawned on her. "Arnav?"
The man's mouth was agape in surprise. He looked behind at the shattered vase and then at her equally flabbergasted face, "O my God!"
"I... can see... you," Khushi muttered in a soft voice. She could feel the floor beneath her feet sway. Or was she swaying?
She held the wall for support as her knees went weak. Arnav rushed immediately to her. He raised his hand to help her, but hesitated, maybe watching her pale face.
She slowly caught her breath and could feel her body return to normalcy. She made her way to the couch and sat on the edge.
Arnav stood across the center table, facing her. "Are you fine?"
Khushi watched the man standing on the other side of the table. This was Arnav, her ghost. She had assumed correctly that he was young - maybe a few years older than her. He was quite tall, seemed well-built, had a sharp face with angular features, deep brown eyes and black hair. He was wearing a grey shirt and a pair of blue jeans with white sneakers. He looked like a regular guy. There was nothing ghost-like about him.
"You... look so normal, so human," she found her voice.
A smirk tugged at his lips, but he resisted, "What were you expecting? Something scary like in those horror movies of yours?"
Khushi's face lightened up a bit, slowly absorbing the shock of seeing Arnav. She shrugged her shoulders and gave a weak smile. "I know I should be used to all this... unusual things," she stated, "but every time something new happens, it freaks me out."
Arnav nodded in agreement, "I understand."
"I can see you now. Why do you think that is?"
Khushi bit her lip the moment she asked the question. They had had a detailed discussion last night about 'why.'' The more they bonded, the more they started developing sentiments for one another, the deeper would their connection be.
And last night, when she kissed his cheek, she had felt a very different emotion -something that she had never experienced before - something more than compassion, more than affection. She couldn't name the feeling but it was very unique.
And he must have too! She realized, as she looked at him. This bond that they had wasn't only because of her, it was because of them - maybe more on him than her. He was the one who had initiated the bond.
When she met his eyes, his face seemed to redden. Was he blushing? Could ghosts blush?
Given the weird things that had been happening to her, a blushing ghost was quite low on the abnormality scale, she reasoned.
"Any way," she pursed her lips, trying to rid the awkwardness that seemed to have settled between them, "I can see you now. So is it something you can control? Can you become invisible again to me?"
Arnav paused for a minute, "I can't." It seemed like he had tried to test her question. "I guess it's like my voice. Once you hear me you can't un-hear me. So once you see me, you can't un-see me."
Khushi nodded, "Well, I have to go... to office. Maybe we can pick this up in the evening?"
"Yeah," he agreed, "Sure."
Khushi stooped on the floor and picked up the towel and clothes she had dropped. She hurried into the bathroom. Closing the door, she pressed her back on it.
When he was just a voice in the air, just a presence around her - it was easy to forget that she was sharing her house with someone. Now that he was visible - it felt like a completely different ball game. Now she'll be actively aware of him - all the time.
It was going to be awkward.
It was going to be awkward, Arnav realized, standing in a corner of the drawing room. She could see him all the time now. Earlier, when he found himself tongue-tied in front of her, he was invisible. She couldn't see his face go crimson. But now, there was no escape.
Nevertheless he was more glad than worried. She could see him! It was the second happiest moment of his life, the life as a spirit. The first was the time she had heard him. He'd have been more expressive with joy but he could see that Khushi needed some time to process all this.
It would hardly be courteous if he were jumping with joy while she was apprehensive. She would come around though, he knew. She always did. That was one of the things he admired about her - her strength... and her optimism, and her perseverance... the way her face lit up when she smiled, the way she would hum a song while cooking... Arnav beamed as he thought of her, before jolting out from his dreams.
His train of thoughts would invariably find a way to her. He grinned and shook his head at his silliness.
The bathroom door opened and Khushi came out fully dressed, ready to leave for office. She picked a fruit from the basket and the set of house-keys. Usually she would shout a bye' from the door before heading out.
Today, there was something different in her look. Was she shy?
"Umm... I'll... see you later," she uttered and rushed out before he could respond.
She came back late that night, clearly taking time to wrap her mind around everything that had transpired. She was almost back to her normal, chirpy self as she entered the house.
She paused for a bit when she saw him standing near the door of the balcony, then resumed her normal stature.
"Do you just keep standing the entire day?" she asked putting her office bag on the table.
"More or less," Arnav answered, "I watch the TV sometimes."
"Must be boring," she remarked, washing her hands and grabbing a packet of chips.
"I told you earlier time moves differently for me than it does for you. I don't feel bored. Though I do miss you-," the words had slipped out before he could stop himself. Khushi's eyes rose to meet his. "-Your company, I mean, like a general human company. Not yours specifically." He babbled.
The more he spoke, the sillier he felt. If he was trying to hide his true feeling, blabbering like that only made it more obvious. The earlier him was so calm and composed. And now, he couldn't even speak a coherent sentence.
"I thought you hated humans," Khushi arched an eyebrow, the faint hint of a smile playing on her lips.
"I did," he was quick to reply, "I do."
He wished if the ground would swallow him up. Situations like these were so much simpler when he was just invisible.
Khushi munched on a chip, drawing out the awkwardness of the situation. Arnav realized she was enjoying this. Earlier she was the one who had to talk her way out. The tables had reversed and she loved each moment of this.
"But," she drawled out the word, as she picked another chip from the packet, "You just said you missed human company."
Arnav chuckled and shook his head, regaining his composure. He slowly took a few steps till he was a couple of feet away from her. On seeing him approach, her demeanor had changed. The faint smile on her lips had vanished as she looked at him, getting closer with each step.
Her lips parted and she let out a small breath; her head titled above to meet his eyes. He gazed at her lips, wanting to run his thumb across them, ever so lightly. He wanted to let his touch linger on her cheeks, which were turning redder by the second. He wondered how it would feel.
Sensing the heavy silence between them, Khushi cleared her throat, "Lets," she managed to speak, "Let's go out this weekend. It'll be fun."
Arnav nodded, and stepped back, "Sounds great."
Edited by ErisedWitch45 - 2 years ago
Topic started by ErisedWitch45
Last replied by Eccentrica