Hi dear where are you its been 10days since you updated the last chapter i hope everything is fine.
Arnav was flipping through a novel he had found tucked beneath Khushi's office bag. It was a manuscript for a yet to be published novel. He figured it was from her office and decided to read it tonight. It had been a long day for him with the outing, the rain, Khushi's outpour and their conversation. There was nothing interesting on the TV. This book seemed like a good time-pass.
He looked at the wall clock. It was close to 3 am. Khushi had retired to her room somewhere at 1 am. She had put on an additional sweater underneath the shawl. It was a funny sight - her covered in woollen in the mid of Delhi's summer. He was a bit worried at first but she had assured him in her own chirpy voice that she was fine.
An hour into the book, which was about a murder mystery, as the masked killer was about to murder his next victim; Arnav heard a moan from the bedroom. He shut the book and directed his sensitive hearing towards her room. Khushi moaned again in her sleep.
In a few quick strides he reached the doorway. She didn't close her door nowadays. He peered inside the dark room and saw her silhouette stir in the partial moonlight, entering through an open window.
He called out in a low voice more so to check if she was awake, "Khushi?"
She didn't respond, instead she turned to her side. He tapped his foot at the entrance before deciding to enter. She had tucked herself in a blanket.
He stood near her, next to bed and observed her. There were frown lines on her forehead and she made a small whimper again. He called out her name again, in a soft whisper. Her response was a similar whimper. There was a disturbance in her aura.
He raised his hand and gently placed his palm on her forehead. She was burning underneath his touch. He was almost about to conclude that she was down with fever when he remembered that her skin would always burn to him. Yet, there was something different about her body temperature today.
He went with his instinct and gently shook her shoulder. She half-opened her eyes in response and muttered in a low voice, "Arnav? I don't feel well."
She did have a fever, he reckoned. To be sure, he took a thermometer from the cabinet drawer where she kept medicines.
He sat on the edge of the bed near her pillow and spoke in a gentle voice, "Khushi? Lets check your temperature."
She was half in sleep and half conscious. Without resisting, she opened her mouth as he placed the cold silver end of the device beneath her tongue. A minute later, he checked the reading. Her temperature was up by a couple of degrees. She definitely had a fever. Arnav fidgeted in the med box and found some over the counter meds for fever.
"You have to take it," he told her and held a glass of water in one hand and a small white pill in another. Khushi stirred again and opened her eyes slowly. She gave him a weak smile before gulping the pill with a mouthful of water.
Arnav stood near her bed as she went back to sleep again, clutching the blanket tightly. He looked at the small alarm clock kept on a side table. It showed 4:40am. Her alarm would ring in 3 hours. Taking a quick decision, he turned off her alarm. She needed rest after over-exhaustion and fever. If she got angry with him in the morning, he would deal with it. Tonight she needed to sleep.
The sunlight was harsh today. And the birds... they did chirp but there were other noises as well - of people and vehicles...
Khushi slowly opened her eyelids and flinched as direct sunlight hit her eyes. She turned her head to the small clock. It was 11 am.
"What!" she yelped as she tried to sit up. A sharp pain immediately hit her head at the sudden reaction. She rubbed her temples, wondering why her alarm didn't ring. She was late for office. Someone had turned the alarm to off' position. And she knew which someone' had done that.
The sharp pain receded but she was left with a lingering headache. She propped her self on her elbows and closed her eyes, trying to focus and gain some strength.
"You're up! How are you feeling?"
Her eyes fluttered open and she saw Arnav standing near her bed. Without waiting for an answer he held up the thermometer. "We need to check your temperature."
She eyed the thermometer and then him, the blurry events from last night - something like him standing near her bed, giving her medicine, came to focus. A little anger bubbled in her about the alarm situation but she didn't find the strength in herself to talk about it. Without protesting she took the device.
"It's lower than last night but still high," he observed the reading once she had given him the device back. "You need rest and food. Should I call Payal?"
"No," Khushi declined his suggestion, "It's just a fever. I don't want to bother her. It's just been a few weeks since the whole Shyam episode. I wouldn't want to burden her again."
"Okay," Arnav replied.
She sensed he had something to add. She arched an eyebrow at him.
"I... er..." he sounded nervous, "I... thought you would need something to eat so I... made breakfast for you."
"You," she spoke, baffled and amused simultaneously, "made breakfast?"
He nodded, awkwardly.
He looked at the floor, only slightly raising his eyes before speaking, "It's your regular porridge that you make everyday. It may not be good."
Khushi pursed her lips and tried not to laugh. He looked so shy. It made for a cute sight.
Clearing her throat she replied, "Thank you. I'll just freshen up and then we can, I mean, I can eat."
This time she got up slowly from the bed. Her temperature may have gone down but she felt feverish. She gradually made her way to the bathroom. From the corner of her eye, she saw Arnav, waiting but alert, to help her, instantly if needed. Despite of her weak state, the thought of him wanting to be with her, to help her, made her stomach flutter.
Arnav, as a caretaker was even more annoying than as a resident ghost, Khushi deduced. The guy knew no moderation. She would barely move a muscle when he would come running to her room with a barrage of questions for her - if she was fine, if she needed anything.
"Stop fussing over me like this," she finally protested later that afternoon, "It's just a fever. This is very normal." She was sitting up on the bed, leaning against the wall, blanket drawn up to her chest.
His lips pursed in a straight line and he looked somewhere between sad and hurt, "Sorry." He muttered, "Didn't mean to trouble you."
His gaze fell on the bedside table where the bowl of the barely touched soup, which she had ordered from a Chinese restaurant, lay. Arnav's eyebrows bumped together in a scowl and her mouth twitched as she braced herself for the incoming-
"You didn't eat your lunch!" Arnav was back to his scolding spree, even before she could finish the thought in her head. "You are supposed to eat. Else you'll be weak and the medicines wont work."
She cursed herself at the lack of effort she put in hiding the soup. "I am not very hungry. And it doesn't taste good." She gave a weak protest.
Arnav put his hands on his waist and huffed. "Finish that soup, right now."
Khushi grumbled but knew any resistance from her side would only make him more adamant. Begrudgingly she took the bowl of (now) lukewarm soup in her hands and under the watchful eyes of the ghost, finished the content in a few minutes.
He handed her the medicine when she was done. Ingesting it with a sip of water, she eyed the ghost, "There. All done now."
Satisfied, he informed, "I'll be right outside. In case you need anything."
"You can sit here, if you want to," she pointed at a chair near her bed. "You anyway keep checking on me every minute. It'll save you the walk and that way you'll stop startling me every time you barge in my room." She teased him.
"I don't barge in you room," the ghost sounded hurt which made her chuckle, "I always ask for permission."
"Did you ask for permission before turning off my alarm?"
A shadow of guilt passed on his face as he looked down at his shoes. Khushi stifled a laugh. He could sometimes be the most annoying person ever and the next instant, so endearing.
"I am just pulling your leg," she spoke after a couple of minutes, immediately noticing how his face relaxed. "Now, just sit there and..." she paused before continuing, "do what ever it was you were doing."
He nodded, pulling up the chair close to her bed. His knees were touching the side frame of the bed. Khushi lied on the bed and pulled up the blanket to her chest. The medicine was making her groggy and in under a few minutes, she was fast asleep.
It was dark outside when Khushi woke up. She opened her eyes slowly, taking in the dim yellow light of the bulb. She slightly turned her head to her left and saw Arnav, sitting on the chair near her bed, intently reading something. He was so engrossed in the book that he didn't even notice her.
Khushi didn't move at all. She didn't want to make a sound or movement and draw his attention away. The light of the bulb had put an almost golden glow on his generally pale skin. But it was his eyes that had beheld her. Dark pupils moving from left to right, as he flipped a page in the book.
There was something about his eyes, an intensity, which somehow she had not noted before. Or she had but maybe never thought of it. Her gaze travelled to his lips, which parted slightly, reacting to some unraveling in the book, she assumed.
A funny feeling crawled up her stomach. She had never paid much attention before but Arnav was quite attractive. The intensity of his gaze, the way he sometimes ran his fingers through her hair, the deep booming sound he would make when he laughed (on those rare occasions), the way his lips would curl when he smiled...
How had she never thought about him in that light, she wondered?
Her gaze went back from his lips to his eyes when their eyes met.
She quickly looked away. Oh Crap! How long was she staring at his lips? And how long was he noticing her? Maybe he just looked and maybe he didn't know that she had been staring at him for more than the prescribed time limit of normal.'
"Are you fine?" he asked in a worried voice. "Do you need something?"
"Erm..." she slowly looked at him and managed a smile, "No, nothing. Just woke up." She emphasized on the last line. He accepted her answer.
So he hadn't noticed, Khushi thanked the higher powers for preventing what could have been a slightly embarrassing talk.
Arnav knew Khushi had been up earlier than she was letting on. He had heard her turn slightly on the bed, in his direction. When he looked away from the book, to her, he had noticed that her gaze was fixed on him, on what he imagined were his lips.
But that couldn't have been right? He wondered. Maybe she was just absent-mindedly looking ahead like people do when they think about something else. But then she got all flustered. He would have thought more of it but now was not the time.
He placed the back of his hand on her head to check her temperature, before realization hit him a second time that day - at the futility of the gesture. He drew away his hand, which had barely made contact with her forehead skin and picked up the thermometer. Khushi gave him a quizzical look.
"To me, you are always hot," he explained taking the thermometer out of the casing.
Her lips twitched into a smile, "Is that supposed to be a compliment?"
He furrowed his eyebrows in confusion and then it hit him. "I didn't mean hot in that way," he clarified immediately, "I meant that I am cold and you are not, so you'll always be warmer than me. I wasn't referring to your looks"
"So," she quirked an eyebrow and made an exaggerated pouty face, "I am not hot?"
"You are!" the words came tumbling out of his mouth. He could feel his cheeks go warm and he was sure they were turning pink.
She pressed her lips and then her laughter rang in his ears. He smiled and shook his head, "You really enjoy this, don't you? Making me nervous, pulling my leg."
"Think of it as payback," She chortled, her eyes twinkling, "for all those time you haunted me."
Topic started by ErisedWitch45
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