Chapter 15 - Details
They sat glued to the TV screen for two hours. The programme being aired was a repeat telecast of a business meet that had happened a day earlier in Delhi. Khushi rested her head on her palm as the event went on and on. Arnav was tapping his foot on the floor, eyes never leaving the TV. Whatever had happened a few hours earlier- the teleportation, the kiss was all forgotten.
As the programme ended and the credits rolled by Arnav let out a cuss word. "I didn't see her again," there was a tone of mounting anger in his voice. "They showed her in the earlier part, which you missed. A reporter asked her a question when she was going inside the conference hall."
"Damn it!" he snapped and banged his fist on the centre table, with much more ferocity than an average human.
"Hey! Careful with the furniture," Khushi reprimanded him.
He gave her an incredulous look and rose from the couch. "That's what you're worried about? A fricking table!" He started pacing restlessly in front of the TV. "After so many months, I finally, finally grasped something about my past life but now, it's lost."
Khushi sighed and stretched her arms, "This event was the Global Business Summit 2018. We can easily re-watch it online. I can use my office laptop."
A wave of relief flashed across Arnav's face. "Let's go then!" he yelled, excitedly.
"It's 5 in the morning," she reminded him, "My office opens at 9. I'll try and get some sleep before that."
Arnav didn't protest. She could feel the impatience and nervousness on his face.
"We'll find her," she spoke gently before heading to her room, "I promise."
Khushi yawned continuously through the entire commute to her office. She got a couple of hours of sleep and despite a cold shower and 2 cups of coffee, she was not awake. All she craved for at the moment was her small bed and her soft pillow.
Arnav fidgeted nervously in the cab, beside her. Khushi placed her hand on his, without looking at him and gave a reassuring squeeze. She didn't speak with him, lest the driver of the cab hear her talk to herself.
They reached her workplace in a few minutes. Her cubicle was a small one at the far end of the congested office room. It was a small publishing house. A big hall was separated into a few small cabins for the editors and the remaining employees had a makeshift cubicle - tables divided with transparent glass on each side.
Her colleagues were too pre-occupied with work and workday morning blues (which Khushi realised were not just restricted to Mondays only) to engage in any chitchat. She greeted some of them with a good morning, while making her way to her cubicle, with Arnav in tow.
She hung her bag on her chair, turning her laptop on, as she sat. Arnav stood beside her. Her already tiny cubicle was jam-packed only by the presence of 1 person. He looked around the small space, filled with books, notes and loads of paper. He scrunched his nose at her messiness.
"I don't get enough time to settle the things," she huffed, providing him an explanation.
"I didn't say anything," he smirked as she narrowed her eyes at him, before turning to the laptop, which was still starting. The progress bar was hung at 45%.
"What this?" Arnav pointed to some oddly shaped and differently colored paper balls stuffed behind her laptop.
"My boss's kids' homework," she replied and kept the small paper balls in a drawer. "They have to submit a model of the solar system for their science project. My boss asked me to help them."
"Is that a part of your job?" he asked, already aware of her answer.
She shook her head. The progress bar was now at 95%.
"That is why you have no time. Decline your boss the next time he asks you to do any irrelevant job." Arnav grumbled.
"And risk losing my job? No, thank you!"
"He is not going to fire you for declining work which you are not supposed to be doing at the first place," Arnav crossed his arms across his chest.
"I am a fresher, I have 0 experience and worse, no connections, in a market with more jobseekers than number of jobs," Khushi reasoned, "I will just have to suck it up and do whatever crap is dealt my way. I need this job. Real bad."
"Okay," he put an end to the topic of the conversation.
Khushi logged in using her employee id and password. She opened a browser and searched for the Business Summit. She sat back as the results were displayed one by one. She clicked on a youtube video by the news channel, which had broadcasted the meet last night.
The event started playing. "Tell me when you spot her. I'll pause the video."
Arnav nodded and bent forward, closer to the laptop. Khushi's body stiffened at the sudden closeness. He placed one hand on the table and the other at the back of her chair, interlocking her. His face was just above her head, and she could feel the coldness emitting from him on the exposed part of her neck and shoulder.
It reminded her of their kiss. If she turned and craned her head slightly, they would be as close as they were last night. Her heartbeat rose at the thought.
In her peripheral vision, she could see him focused on the event playing on the laptop. She wondered if he had thought about the kiss again.
"Your mind is elsewhere," he stated, abruptly.
She didn't look at him, lest he see the rising color of her cheeks. "What?" she questioned feebly.
"I can feel a change in you, around you," he explained, "I told you I can sense the aura of a person. What is it?"
Khushi was nervous now. He couldn't read her mind, thank God for that, but what if he could estimate that she was thinking about their kiss last night? That would be quite embarrassing.
"Focus on the video," she diverted the topic, thanking her stars that it worked. Arnav went back to watching the programme, without another word.
The video played for around 20 minutes when he yelled, pointing at the screen, "That's her!"
She hit pause immediately. The young woman on the screen looked a few years older than Khushi. She had a slender face and a sharp nose. She was dressed in a plain but clearly expensive cream-colored saree. There was a hint of softness in her eyes though everything about her exuded confidence.
Khushi read the name below the face- Anjali Singh Raizada.
She opened a new tab on the browser and typed the name in a search engine, hitting enter. A horde of links popped up. Khushi clicked on the first link. It was the website of the Raizada Group. They were one of the richest business families in India who mainly dealt in real estate, with some investment in pharmaceuticals and software services.
Khushi opened the next link, which was a news article. Her breath caught in her throat. "Arnav," she managed to utter, "It's about you." There was a picture of him below the headline.
Raizada Group's heir and second-in-command killed in a car accident
Arnav felt dizzy reading the headline. He was so anxious to find the truth about his life that he never stopped to wonder what if the thing he uncovered was horrifying? He was dead, that meant something must have happened which ended his life short. Being able to see why was a different experience.
"Are you okay?" Khushi asked, in a trembling voice. "Let's do this somewhere else."
Without waiting for his answer, she shut the laptop, unplugged it from the charging point and beckoned him to follow her. She took him to a small room and closed the door behind her. It was much better maintained than the rest of the office.
"This is where we hold our meetings with authors," she explained, "We don't have anything planned for today, so no one should disturb us.""
She reopened the laptop and took a deep breath before clicking on the expand button below the headline. The news was from 7 months back, November of last year.
Raizada Group's heir and second-in-command killed in a car accident
Arnav Singh Raizada, the heir apparent of Real Estate giant, Raizada group, was found dead on the wee hours of Thursday morning near his home in Chattarpur Farms, in South Delhi. The coroner's office has confirmed that the 28-year-old died of severe wounds sustained on his head due to the crash. The police report states the cause of accident as Arnav's vehicle colliding with a parked truck. No other casualty has been reported. The autopsy report denies driving under influence as a factor.
After the recent passing away of his father, Sunil Singh Raizada, in, coincidentally, another road accident, Arnav was in line to inherit the business conglomerate. The baton will now be passed on to his stepsister and current CEO, Anjali Singh Raizada.
In an exclusive interview with News24, Anjali expressed her grief; "It's a horrible tragedy to lose my father and stepbrother within months in the same year. Arnav, may his soul rest in peace, was a very valuable asset to the company. His life revolved around the company. We are quite taken aback by the news of his accident.
On being asked about the future of the Company, she firmly stated, "My father's life work will not be in vain. I personally assure all our stakeholders, board of directors, clients and customers that the company is in good hands and despite of the adversity, the work will not suffer. We, the family, hope you all will be supportive and respectful of our misfortune and will let us mourn in peace.
Arnav reread the article and went through many others- a car accident. That's how he had ended his life- because of an accident- something that he could have avoided if he had been more careful.
He felt weak in his knees and lightheaded. He found Khushi's arms grasping him and making him sit on a vacant chair.
"Arnav," she spoke, worried "are you all right?"
It took him some time to respond. She had taken one of his hands between hers and was rubbing it gently.
"I know I am dead... but... reading about it... it's..." he mumbled, slowly regaining his composure. "It's something else... it's surreal..."
"Are you in pain?"
"No," he shook his head, "I am not in any pain. It's just a shock. I have been desperately waiting for so many months to know who I am, where I came from and now that it's all in front of me... I just don't know what to... how to..."
"You need time to process all this," she tried to console him, "Do you want to go back home? I can make an excuse at work-."
"No," he shook his head. She had been absent for far too long from office. He knew she would leave all the work and stay with him but he didn't want to put her in a spot. Her job was important and skirting any more of it might lead to trouble.
"I am fine," he partly lied. As the truth sunk more and more, he started regaining his composure but it was still a lot to wrap his mind around. "Go back to your cubicle. I will be here or around, as far as I can go." He alluded to their inexplicable bond, which let him be where ever she was.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I am. I need some time alone."
"Of course," she nodded. She sounded less worried now that she knew he was fine.
She asked, "Does this jog your memory? Do you remember anything else?"
"No," he responded. "It's the same flashes. I see her, my... stepsister, standing over me, calling my name. Now the other flashes makes sense- the ringing of phones, the feeling of flying, the noise and all. The woman... my stepsister said that my life was all about my work. Maybe that's why those are the only things I remember."
"I am sorry," she spoke earnestly, her eyes glistening.
His hand was still between hers. "I am dead Khushi, and my death will be tragic. I should have been better prepared. What else could I expect? I am fine now. Truly. The initial shock has now worn off."
"Are you sure?" she repeated, timidly.
Arnav nodded. "Yes. You should get back to your desk. I'll wait for you here." He concluded what would have been a repeat of their recent conversation.
Khushi stood up, and hesitated for a moment. She bent down to where he was sitting and wrapped her arms around his neck, holding him tightly. Arnav reciprocated by standing up, her arms dangling around his neck. He enclosed his hands on her slender waist. He shut his eyes and buried his face in her hair.
They stood there for a long time; none ready to let go.
"Arnav," Khushi whispered, her face pressed in his chest. "It's... going to be fine. I am here for you."
Arnav let out a weak smile, "I know."
Topic started by ErisedWitch45
Last replied by Eccentrica