SS: FIGMENTS UNTIL FRAGMENTS [IF-NC_ENTRY] Chapter 10 Upd(Page 12)

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Posted: 2019-02-24T10:01:17Z
We gotta wait till the next chapterLOL
Posted: 2019-02-24T17:31:26Z
I was thinking we would get more insight on Arnav's backdrop too .., Anjali and Khushi have same face ...? That's surprising... why did Arnav not get confused ? How is it that no one acknowledged it at the party and Anjali's husband faced the mistaken identity case. So Advait, Anjali and Khushi are siblings, Khushi being step and accidental ( if I may say b'cos of error at the hospital)... what's the root cause of Advait's misery? Edited by jyothirockz - 2019-02-24T17:39:12Z
Posted: 2019-03-15T12:20:07Z
Namaste! Read. Enjoy. Leave your thoughts!

I chose Prompt 7!




Chapter 5 [1000]


Advait was pissed off. They haven't progressed any further since the last meeting. He had a deadline to meet, and the team was not progressing anywhere. He made sure he gave enough time but damn, nothing moved. He controlled his rage. He needed answers. He wants them to be answerable to each damn penny he was paying. 

He looked at his assistant and signaled him to come close.

"I want them all out for an hour and arrange a one to one with Sharath," with that he got up and walked to the attached personal room, feeling the rush to smoke.

His life felt miserable. He felt lonely and irritated all the time. It was not like he didn't acknowledge his sister's love. Watching her sister made him feel even more aloof. He didn't realize when things started slipping away from his hands. 


*************************

Khushi watched her head spinning at the speed of light. She was giggling at the tingle and tuck in her stomach. As a challenge, she got onto the ferries wheel with Arnav. He seemed to be calm all through the ride and she looked at him baffled. As they finally got down she looked at him suspiciously and his face lit with an almost what looked like a grin. 

"What?" his calm demeanor intensified her look even more.

"You are sure a human. Aren't you?" he looked at her incredulously 
and shook his head and started walking.

"Some HUMANS are resistant," he stated as a matter of fact. 

She grinned as she jogged behind him to catch up.

"So, what's our next stop," she asked him curiously to which he extended his palm in the forward direction asking her to follow.

Arnav picked Khushi from her apartment and as promised had been a very good tour guide so far. They watched setting sun on the Hudson and went to the amusement park, to her surprise, she had so much fun. They sat down with pizza on a bench and Khushi felt the silence enough to vigor a sense of relief. She felt lively around him, happy to put in an apt category.

Arnav has life in him, the joyous and witty kind. She could call him a nice friend now and laugh at how they met in the first place. How different was the image, the typical three-piece suit to these casual jeans and shirt with a hoodie? She gazed at him closely as he was looking ahead, maybe watching the stars or the innumerable lights the shone in the starry night. She could not put a finger on it. 

"Are you going to keep staring at me like that?" he turned towards her with a lopsided boyish grin making her blush.

"Umm...no...I was estimating the amounts of expression you are processing per minute, cognitive science," she covered.

He chuckled as he placed the slice of his pizza and turned towards her and kept looking at her. She could feel the heat rush into her cheeks again. She tried to cover up the blush and diverted her attention to the nearby lamppost, where the light was blinking. She had had enough of the staring session and turned her gaze towards him, who looked on with an impassive face.

"Okay, fine. Stop, that's creeping me out to no limits,"

"Don't bring cognitive science into this, you like me," he told her, a smile forming his face.

"What?" she felt like a deer caught in a headlight.

"As a friend," she added as if that would cover the damages.

"Guilty," he added as he flicked her nose and she felt an instant shiver down her body.

"Come on, that was not even a proper argument," she whined. 

"For starters, let's establish you like me," he added and before she said anything, he added, "as a friend," almost emulating her. She smiled, a smile she couldn't stop forming her face all through that evening.

"So, how do you know Raghbir?"

"Raghbir?" he asked surprised.

"I mean the MD, Raghbir, you referred me to," she asked him casually, steering the topic. 

"No, I never met that guy, I referred you to Olivia,"

"Olivia?"

"Yes, she is a friend and board member at RA Co." 

"Oh," Khushi started mentally forming images of Olivia, how does she look? Was she married? Was she old or sexy? Damn, she tried to stop the chain of thoughts as Arnav waved a hand in front of her.

"Huh?"

"Where are you lost?" he asked her confused at the way she was daydreaming.

"Nothing. What were you doing at the party then, in Mumbai?" She said the first thing that popped from her head.

"Oh, I was taking up a project with AR. Also, I was tagging along with Olivia to the party. Her date ditched her at the last minute, and she was the one who referred me to Raghbir, he is the brother in law of Mr. Advait, and hey, it was all worth it," he told her with a smirk.

Now she really wanted to see who this Olivia is, maybe she can excuse herself to the restroom somewhere and do an expensive search on the internet. She shunned her thoughts and looked at him. Well, if he was dating Olivia, he wouldn't be here. She convinced herself with that story and eschewed all thoughts of a certain girl that he might be dating and decided to enjoy the evening.

"You know, ever since we met, all we eat is pizza," she told him with a chuckle.

"Oh, yes, let's keep that in mind for the next plan," she was surprised at the level of ease he decided there would be the next time. Well, she could not deny herself, and she would go out with him at the drop of a hat. It turned out to be a very fun night and they decided to meet up soon to go out, strike that, hang out. With that, she retired into a happy slumber.




Edited by coolie001 - 2019-03-15T12:35:44Z
Posted: 2019-03-15T12:20:43Z
Chapter 6 [1301]





Raghbir closed his eyes as he laid on the recliner and could not shun away the morning incident from the elevator. Who was this girl? She had a striking similarity with Anjali. Maybe the fact that there were different people across the world with similar features was true. He quickly pulled his laptop and opened the directory. He typed in Khushi but no results. He shook his head as he recollected her saying she was an intern. It takes some time to update their profile until they were decided on the team. He sighed. He was going bonkers with all the work and was missing Anjali and that's all. He decided that was it and closed his eyes once again, to sleep.

*******************

The distant ringing became more and more evident as she stirred in her sleep. She twisted and turned in her bed till the point that she fell off the bed. Well, if not the ringing, the fall did wake her up. She looked outside through the half-visible blinds on the window and saw that it was too early for whomever to call her at this time. She quickly searched for the phone, which stopped ringing and then started ringing before she looked at the notification and she got a glimpse of the time that it was 4:00 in the morning. It was Lavanya. She cursed under her breath as she picked the call.

"This better be good! Do you know what time it is?" she spoke and felt her voice still groggy. She cleared her throat and waited for the subject of her distress speak.

"You need to know something, it is important," Lavanya spoke. Something in her tone told Khushi that it was not good.

"Is everyone alright?" She was worried and all the sleep went out of her system, just like that. 

"Yes, all are in good health, now listen to me very carefully," 

"I am listening, now tell me," Khushi was almost irritated at the pace of the conversation.

"Payal and Akash are together,"

"What?" Khushi questioned more to herself and when the realization dawned, she almost screeched a "WHAT?" "Yes, I am equally shocked with the information that I thought I cannot wait till tomorrow morning," Khushi gasped for breath. Her sister? Payal? How is that even possible? No, something must be wrong. 

"Lavanya, are you sure? Who told you?"

"Yes, I am as sure as water. Akash messaged me that I proposed to her, and guess what, she said yes,' that's exactly what he said if I recall."

"When did this happen?" Khushi was flabbergasted and felt almost betrayed. How can her sister not tell this to her first? 

"In the evening,"

"Why didn't Akash tell me?"

"He is scared, Khushi and I told him to talk to you, but he is scared," Khushi was shocked with all the information. She needed time to process and only then she was going to speak to her sister, and Akash too. 

"I...I'll talk to you later, Lavanya," she told hesitantly and cut the call.

She sighed, her mind in overrun. She was sure that Akash was way too much into Payal and always thought that it was a crush that will soon vanish. But this was a shocker. She pulled the blanket onto her and laid on the bed and turned on the bedside lamp. As she thought of it, she started feeling bad, almost terrible. 

Her sister could have told her that she liked Akash. She wondered if they were even serious. At that exact point, she felt so out of place. She always felt something amiss and realized however outgoing Payal seemed, she was not really. She sighed and picked the phone to message Payal. If she thought a little more, she would go into an emotional turmoil that she knew for sure was hard to get out and was no use.

'Message me when free, need to talk.' 

With that, she let the thoughts aside and decided to catch up on some sleep, as she was supposed to get up in a couple of hours.  

******************************

Garima looked at her exhilarated daughter and felt there was definitely something wrong. She looked way too happy and was immune to her jabbering. 

Importantly, it was a Saturday and Payal was up before 7 and was all set to go somewhere. She knew there was something going on and she'd rather get the information out before any damage occurred. She looked at her husband, who was busy working on his laptop, she kept the water spray aside and sat beside him. He glanced at her and smiled and reverted his attention to his laptop.

"Shashi?" she almost whispered, making sure that didn't disturb her super excited daughter who was making herself sandwiches.  

"Umm...," he didn't look up yet answered.

"I think there is something going on today," she continued in that low voice.

"what do you mean?" this time he looked up confused.

"I mean, look at Payal. It is Saturday and she is all dressed and behaving oddly," he followed her gaze to see his daughter making sandwiches and was surprised. 

"I'm pleasantly surprised," he told a little too loudly and Payal looked up. She smiled at them and continued by applying butter.

"Shh...," Garima shushed him. 

"There is something going on. We need to know what it is!" she told him almost in a whisper. Shashi shook his head, as he looked at his worried wife and smiled at her. 

"If there is, let her come to us, don't speculate things on the respect of her odd schedules," he pecked her forehead and got back to his work. He was amused that his wife worries so much and read into things. It was definitely not going to help, in any way.

Garima knew he was not going to pay any attention. But her intuition never goes wrong, and she had a strong gut feeling backing her up on that fact. She got up and walked till the dining table and pulled the chair across from where Payal was sitting and smiled. 

"You want some sandwiches, mom?" she shook her head and kept looking on.

"What?"

"What? Is there anything?"

"Nothing," Payal said and continued eating while she flipped through her phone.

Garima thought she would admonish her to keep away the phone while eating but decided not to and picked the juice glass and poured herself some juice.

After a good ten minutes, she sighed. Payal didn't speak a word. 

"Are you going somewhere?"

"To meet my friends,"

"Okay, and who is that?"

"Umm... you know colleagues from office," she told her mom not looking up and 

Garima knew she was lying.

"Do I know him?"

"What?"

"I mean do I know them?"

"Yeah... I mean no, ma, I gotta go, I'll text you and I'll be home soon, love you," with that she hurriedly bid bye to her and Shashi and walked out of the door. 

************************

Shashi watched his wife and his daughter from a distance. Well, Payal had something up her sleeve and that much he knew. But to confront her is not a good option. He only wished that she hung out with the good ones. He never worried about Khushi, she was wise enough to choose her friends but Payal made quick friends and always had some bitter fights.

He kept his laptop aside and walked to his worried wife. 

"You don't have to worry," Garima sighed.

"Shashi, I want her to be safe and that's all," she expressed her concern.

"That she will, don't worry," he pulled her into his warms comforting her. 

Somewhere he knew that it was okay to worry about Payal. But he was not going to say that and worry her some more. 



Edited by coolie001 - 2019-03-15T16:48:30Z
Posted: 2019-03-15T12:21:22Z
Chapter 7 [1118]







Anjali waited patiently at the airport for her husband to pick her up. It had been almost a month since she last saw him, really and not virtually. She picked a coffee and sat down at the cafe. She told him, she could come directly to the office or the apartment, but he denied and said he wanted to come. Now that she was here, he was half an hour late.

"Are you waiting for someone?" she heard his voice from behind and turned around to see her husband, in his glory, waiting to take his wife into his arms. She did almost sprint into his arms and he pulled her close.

"I missed you," he told her as he pecked her on her hair, tightening his hold on her. She felt relief spread through her.

"I missed you too," she smiled as she parted to look at his eyes. He gets more and more handsome every day. His grey and black hair and that light stubble made him even more rugged. 

"You are late!" she didn't ask him but told him.

"Yes, I am but I really want to come to receive you," he told her as moved the fringes of hair behind her ear.

She smiled as they walked hand in hand towards the exit. "It always feels like we are a young couple, doesn't it?" she chuckled as she watched people throwing smiles towards them.

"Oh, you have no idea," he smirked making her laugh.


************************


Khushi walked out to the canteen as his phone rang, and she quivered before picking up. "Hello," 

"Hi, Khushi?" Payal's voice was not chirpy like usual but it was more like nervous. 

"How's everything?" Khushi asked she waited till the actual conversation came into the picture.

"You heard. Didn't you?" Payal sounded relieved. 

"Heard what?"

"About Akash and me?"

"Umm... yes, I came to know," Khushi told her in an urgent voice.

"Why didn't you tell me, Payal?" she asked her sister almost saddened.

"I would have if I knew that myself! Khushi, it was a sudden decision. I mean it is when he proposed did I realize he is the one. I've known him for quite some time, and what's the harm. I'd regret if I hadn't tried. Importantly, I didn't have the heart to hurt him then," Payal told her and Khushi couldn't believe her ears.

"What? WHAT? How could you? I mean did you even think of this thoroughly?"

"I mean, yeah!"

Khushi sighed in disbelief.

"Payal, these are not decisions to be taken in a whim. You gotta think properly and I don't want you both hurt. Also, it is not the right thing, Payal. However hurtful it is, if you are not ready, you are not ready, that's all. Please don't get into a situation which you will regret later."

"Khushi, I know what I am doing," Payal was adamant on this and a teeny-weeny bit pissed off at Khushi for giving her lecture. Khushi could not do anything. 

"Can you at least promise me to take care of yourself?" she ignored Payal's previous sentence. She knew Payal can get bitter at times. 

"Umm...,"

"Bye, I love you and..., before she could continue, Payal cut her call. "take care..." Khushi whispered as she closed her eyes. All she wanted was her sister to be safe and not hurt. She knew Payal more than anyone. She can go to any length to prove herself right, but she wouldn't agree with others even though she is wrong. Khushi thought this habit will fade as they grew up, but little did she know until then that some things never change.

Ron stood by her side, with a coffee cup and an eager face. After her first few meetings with him, she realized he was a huge gossipmonger and she didn't encourage that habit. So, when he walked till her and waited eagerly, she simply smiled and turned to walk to her desk, and he followed. 

"Is it your boyfriend?" Khushi looked at him incredulously and shook her head.

"No, Ron. Let's get back to work. Shall we?"

"Sure, but you have a boyfriend, right?" he was not going to leave at that she knew.

"Yes, in fact, his name is Agvanagvana, he is currently working on spy project, and he cannot speak to anyone for 10 years, and am really sad, and don't want to talk about it," His eyes widened and he was lost in thought trying to recollect the name of her boyfriend, and he didn't notice her slipping away with her lips twitching in a smile.

Later that afternoon, Khushi sat on the table that faced the view outside and started eating her lunch. Today, she wanted to sit alone and have lunch. She looked at the streets and the light drizzle that covered up the city. It was beautiful. 

"Hi," she heard a voice from behind and turned around. She was surprised to see Raghbir, the MD and a woman who looked very familiar. Raghbir was in his suit and the lady was in a long elegant Kurti and leggings. 

"Hi...I mean good afternoon", she wished them both and added "I am sorry, I didn't realize it was for the executives," she nervously chuckled. He shrugged smiling and introduced the lady.

"This is Anjali, my lovely wife, and Anjali this is Khushi. Is that right?" he turned towards her and she nodded extending her hand to Anjali. So, this was Anjali? Did she look like Anjali? She wondered. Maybe, her face looked familiar.

"Nice meeting you, Khushi. Did we meet somewhere?"

"I...I am not sure," she added, trying to recollect if she had met.

"Were you there in the AR season party?" Anjali asked and then it dawned. Oh, yes, this was her. Although the lighting was dim, she could definitely remember her huge hazel eyes and pleasant smile.

"Yes, Oh, that's where I saw you, I was there for my sister, Payal," she recollected the small exchange.

"Right. You look familiar," Anjali chuckled.

"We should meet over a coffee," Anjali told her, and she was appalled. 

"Umm... yes, sure," she was a little taken aback but agreed.

"Are you free tomorrow?" Anjali asked.

She was standing in front of her boss's boss and the boss's wife wants to have a coffee with the intern? Well, however odd that sounded, Khushi couldn't deny. She seems like a pleasant lady and what's the harm in just a coffee.

"Yes, after 5,"

"Alright then, meet you at 6,"

"My wife is quick in her decisions and quite amicable, don't be shocked," Raghbir added, maybe after gazing at her expression. 

Khushi chuckled and tried to compose her expression and exchanged numbers with her.


*************************

Edited by coolie001 - 2019-03-15T17:14:25Z
Posted: 2019-03-15T12:22:07Z
Chapter 8 [1527]







"Khushi?"

"Umm..."

"What's wrong, you have been way too quiet?" Arnav asked her as they sat in his car, driving to Canterbury.

"Nothing serious," she told him in a daze.

"Khushi?"

She looked at his insistent face and sighed. 

"It is my sister, Payal. She took a decision that I am not sure if it is right,"

"Okay," he drawled waiting her to continue.

"I mean, Akash's a friend, and he really likes her but I am not sure if Payal does. I mean it's wrong to take decisions in a whim and then regret," she shook her head in despair.

"Khushi, you said Akash is a friend of hers right, so what's the problem?"

"No, I mean he is my friend, and had been crushing over my sister for quite a long time," she told him exasperated. 

"Oh," Arnav didn't speak for a whole minute and then he told her,

"See, I know, for one thing, there is not one way a person can decide if it is correct or not, they ought to learn and live through their decisions. If Payal thinks she wants to try, maybe you should support her and so should you support Akash. As long as both know what journey and path they are taking up, that should be fine," he told her seriously and she took in his words. He is right. Maybe she should just let them. Maybe she shouldn't push her sister so hard. 

"Umm..." I am just worried for her, you know,
"I know, he said as he smiled.

"So, where are we going?" She asked him, diverting the topic. 

"Well, I am going to tour you through some beautiful architecture, and I hope you love the city," he said.    

"I am going out for coffee tomorrow with someone," she said as a matter of fact and didn't divulge Anjali's name.

"Is that so?" his tone all serious, she watched him grip the steering a little too hard.

"Yes, at 6, I really like the person and I couldn't deny," she told him, watching him almost agitated. She felt a sense of pride pass through her and she tried hard to stop herself from laughing.

"Umm...," Arnav's face turned all stoic and she really wanted to pull his cheek. Was he really jealous? Oh, that means something, definitely! 

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing, Khushi! Why?"

"I am just asking,"

So, the rest of the drive was quite calm and serene for Khushi and agitated and angry for Arnav. Oh, she knew he liked her for a while now, but it was so much fun watching him jealous. As he parked the car, he caught her wrist and stopped her from getting down. 

"Arnav?"

"Who is this guy you are going out on a coffee?" Oh, nice. He was asking her now.

"Umm..." Guy? she didn't want to put him in misery anymore and laughed.

"Are you jealous?"

"If I say yes, will you not go with him?" He was a bold man and didn't beat around the bush, that she realized. She chuckled silently and bent down to kiss his cheek taking him by surprise. It was something that she can coin it as a reflex. Well, indeed it was a surprise for her too.

"Yes, I'll go on the date even if you are jealous," she told him and got down of the car. She leaned in and looked at him "and yes, it's not him, it's Anjali, my boss's wife," He looked at her in disbelief as she laughed. 

A lazy smirk settled on his face, as he got down. 

They walked silently but she broke into fits of laughter after a little while.

"Khushi," he sighed.

"I'm sorry, I've never thought that I could see you jealous,"

"Very funny," he gritted his teeth.

"Okay, ok, no more fun, let's not be Mr. Grumpy," she told him with a dazzling smile.

"Let's go, now. I am not gonna leave you until I tell the history and geography of each wall here," he warned her as they walked inside making her burst into another laugh.


********************** 


How is that possible? Anjali wondered. There were some undeniable similar features with Khushi. Like her eyes, it felt like she was looking at her mother. She proudly used to say, she got her mother's eyes and now looking at a young girl, she can feel that she was looking at her mother. Her cheekbones too. She recollected the events from the morning.

"You know what? I saw a similar looking girl like you, and by mistake, in a daze, I thought it was you. You wouldn't believe, she looked so similar, I mean same height and similar hair, and her eyes, you should meet her," Anjali was surprised.

"Really? Where did you meet her?" she asked him curiously and he quickly filled her with the details.

"She is very young though, I mean at a first glance you can see the similarity but later you can see the differences. You know, like a blur," he told her, amused.

Anjali wanted to meet her personally ever since Raghbir told her and dear god, he was not wrong. The girl looked quite familiar and at a closer observation, she could definitely argue there was so much similarity. 

She watched as she saw Khushi walk inside the caf, in simple jeans and shirt with a coat. She waved at her and Khushi settled in a seat in front of her. 

"How was your day at work?" she asked her.

"It was great. How was yours?" 

"Well, it was good, shall well order?"

"Yes,"

So, they walked to the counter and Anjali asked her to order first. Coffee and chocolate mousse. 

"The same," Anjali said although realizing that Khushi ordered something that his brother generally orders. She didn't want to freak out Khushi.

"Let me pay, Khushi, I asked you for a coffee," Anjali was adamant and didn't let Khushi take her card out.

Khushi argued for a moment but then when Anjali said later, she agreed.

They sat down, and in a few minutes, they chatted like old school friends. There were a lot more things common between them. Anjali was quite baffled when Khushi told her that she loves gardening and her perspective towards people. 

"I love Agatha, I mean she portrays scenarios so well, basically you live in the world," Anjali connected even more with her when Khushi told her that she loved reading books.

"Yes, and what is your opinion on Shakespeare's writings?"

"Well, he is a person, who can mix tragedies with comedies and yet steal our hearts,"

So, after almost three hours, they decided it was time to leave. 

"So, let's catch up soon. I am going to this boutique on Friday, would you be willing to come?"

"Okay, sure," Khushi agreed.


***********************

Khushi was quite happy by the end of that evening. Anjali was a very sweet person and kind hearted. Most importantly, they have striking similarities in tastes too. They enjoyed similar readings and not just that, they have common favorite authors. When Anjali told she loved Sussana Keasely, Khushi couldn't believe her ears. She was the only one she heard had a penchant towards Sussana. Well, it was quite a fun evening and when Anjali asked her if she wants to go to a boutique, she couldn't deny. She agreed readily, not because she likes shopping, but she had so much fun with Anjali.

Khushi called her parents that night and filled them with all the details about Anjali. Her mother was having a bad headache and so she spoke to her father after a while. She called up Arnav to fill in the details who heard to her ramble very eagerly.


***********************


Garima looked appalled and almost lifeless when Khushi told about Anjali. She quickly excused herself telling that she was having a bad headache.

No. This was not supposed to happen. Shashi spoke to Khushi calmly and cut the call and then he sighed.

"What if?" He thought loudly and Garima quickly interrupted. 

"No. Shashi. This is not how it is supposed to be. I'm feeling very helpless," she told him, eyes tearing up with the thoughts.

"Garima, whatever happened, we owed to ourselves that we are not going to share this with Khushi," Shashi told adamantly.

"But," she knew there was more.

"But you want to tell her now?" She asked him. "There is no way I'm letting my daughter hurt in any sense, and I mean it," he told firmly. 

"Shashi...," she sighed. 

"Dear, it is better if she comes to know that she is adopted from us rather than someone, I know we decided not to tell, but there is a high chance of her knowing this from some other source. I don't want that. Do you want that? I mean god forbid if something happens to us, and she comes to know about all this some other way, no," he shook his head. 

"We are telling her, Garima," Shashi said, as a matter of fact, and Garima couldn't deny. That was the wisest thing. 

"Tell what papa?" Garima and Shashi looked struck.


Edited by coolie001 - 2019-03-15T17:49:10Z
Posted: 2019-03-15T12:23:14Z
Chapter 9 [2056]








"I'll be back soon Khushi," Arnav told her, and Khushi was looking at him so longingly and he had no heart to leave her. 

"Okay,"

"Khushi? I'll be back in a week. We can talk over the phone," he told her and she chuckled making him smile. 

"We seem like a married couple. Don't we?" he asked fondly and she giggled agreeing with him.

"Well, have fun, okay? Anyways you have your Anjali now," he teased her and she hit him on his bicep.

"Shut up," she chided him. Whenever he asked her to hang out, she had some plans with Anjali and every now and then, he teased her.

"Okay, now smile and just have fun, bye," he told her as he hugged her close and she tightened her hold.

Arnav was going on a week's trip to Mumbai and she already missed him. They did pass the stage of friends. Didn't they? She pushed that thought aside and pulled out from the hug and smiled at her. 

"You too. Have fun, alright? And eat well," she added.

"I will, bye," with that, he waved at her and bid her bye.

******************

"I can't. I am going out with Khushi to try that saree," she said to her husband and gained he chuckle from him.

"Anjali, you found your soulmate. Didn't you?" he teased her to which she chuckled.

"You are always my soulmate. Don't be jealous! Tut, tut," she shook her head at him in disbelief.

"Alright, I shall pick you from there then, at 8 and we shall go to the dinner."

"Okay," she nodded.

Raghbir knew his wife was quite an amicable person but the bond with Khushi, he could not describe. They became best friends forever in that short time period. In fact, he was having trouble finding his wife for dinners and stuff. So, he made reservations first and told her they were going for dinner. That way she could not deny. He chuckled and dismissed that thought and focused on his work.

*************************

"You look amazing," Khushi told her fascinated. Anjali was trying out a designer saree and Khushi stood there giving reviews, helping her select.

"My hairband, I guess I missed it somewhere," Anjali tried to tie her long silky hair for the umpteenth time. 

"Here, take this, I mean, I can tie my hair in a bun," Khushi pulled her band and handed it to her.

"Do you know Khushi? Raghbir is jealous that we are spending so much time together," Anjali told her and Khushi giggled.

"So is Arnav, Khushi told and immediately regretted when she saw the change of expression on Anjali's face. Khushi told about Arnav every now and then and Anjali never left any chance from teasing her.

"Oh, is that so?" she quipped, a smirk settling on her face.

"So, how far has this reached between you two?" Anjali asked as she looked at Khushi. 

"what do you mean?" Khushi tried to act impassive.

"I mean how far have you reached in making the decision?" she asked her one more time.

"There is nothing like that, I mean I like him and all, so does he, but I don't know if it is more than friends, I mean I know he is a good friend, but I am not sure if he is ready," Khushi told this more to herself.

"Your guy shows all traits of being a good life partner and you both are crazy for each other, talk to him as soon as possible," Anjali told her quite seriously.

"Arnav is a very good guy, I hope I don't mess up, I feel so safe, content and protective with him, plus we goof around a lot," she smiled.

"I'd say don't wait, I mean you gotta do, what you gotta do, you know," Anjali told her as she went to change into her regular clothes.

"You are right, I'm gonna tell how I feel," Khushi declared making Anjali smile.

Anjali looked at the hairband that Khushi gave and her eyes lit. Well, this is the only way to know. She thought. Is that alright? She recollected the previous sentence that she told to Khushi, you gotta do, what you gotta do, you know. Indeed. She thought.
 
***********************

Payal walked into the hall to hear her parents talking very seriously. She slowed her pace, not to interrupt their discussion. She didn't want to eavesdrop until she heard her father speak.

"Dear, it is better if she comes to know that she is adopted from us rather than someone, I know we decided not to tell, but there is a high chance of her knowing this from some other source. I don't want that. Do you want that? I mean god forbid if something happens to us, and she comes to know about all this some other way, no," Payal felt her throat parched and she was thunderstruck. What was her dad talking about?

Moreover, what were they talking about? Who was adopted? Was she adopted? No... She felt her head spin and caught hold off the frame as she took the support of the adjacent wall. Was she adopted? Was this the reason, her mom and dad favored Khushi more? No. This can't be.

She quickly stepped inside, her eyes almost ghastly with the information.

"We are telling her, Garima," her father spoke firmly, and she couldn't stop herself from speaking, acknowledging.

"Tell what papa?

She wanted her parents to speak, now. She decided a few hours back that Akash and she would tell her and his parents about their relationship decision. So, she mustered up all the courage in her as she walked inside. 

Silence encompassed.

"Payal?" her mom was startled not realizing how to say anything at all.

"What are you guys talking about?" she asked almost in a small voice not really wanting to know the truth but at this point, it didn't matter.

"We love you, Payal," her mom came forward. She motioned her to stop and looked at her father.

"Dad? What is going on? Am I adopted?" she was almost on the verge of breaking. 

His father shook his head, denying. He took a deep breathe as he walked towards her. 

"It's not you," he told her, slowly, and Payal gulped down the weight she felt in her throat. 

"What do you mean?"

"I mean it's not you who is adopted, Khushi is...is adopted," her father completed and Payal stood motionless. She felt like the world was spinning fast around her. Her legs felt all dizzy and so was her head.

"Payal," her mom stood by her side, holding her for support.

"Does...does Khushi know about this?" Payal asked, her eyes blurring her vision as they filled with tears.

"No," her mom spoke, as she led her to the couch.

"No, dad. We are not telling her, I won't let you tell her, she is my sister, how can you do this?" Payal broke down, she never imagined that a day like this would come.

You know. You are adopted. Mom and dad brought you from the hospital.
Khushi you don't look like you belong to our family.

No, I hate you. You are not my sister. Mom and dad only favor you.
I know what I am doing.

"Dad... I... NO," she shook her head violently. Her head filled with disgust, all the times she teased her.

"Promise me you won't tell her, she is my little sister, ma, tell papa..." Payal cried.

"Payal," her mom hugged her tight.

"Listen, we need to tell her Payal because this is important. She needs to know, we are always family,"

Shashi gulped looking at his daughter. 

"Khushi met someone there, and... listen Payal, this is important, you need to be supportive," she stood up, kicked the chair, and yelled.

"NO, YOU ARE NOT TELLING HER ANYTHING... NOTHING, with that she ran to her room and shut the door enough to vibrate the whole house.
Shashi looked at Garima as they walked towards Payal's room. 

Shashi knocked on the door and they both called her out.

"Listen to it, Payal, please,

"Payal?" 

No response.

Shashi stopped Garima from saying anything and he spoke, "Please come out when you are calm. We are going to talk about this thing. You need to hear to the whole thing, and then you decided what needs to be done," he calmly led Garima to the couch and they sat in silence. He filled her a glass of water.

"What has happened?" she asked him silently. Shashi smiled, sadly.

"She is mature enough, she will calm down, trust me," he told her.

After ten minutes, Payal opened the door and walked towards them as she sat down on the single sofa across her parents.

"Tell me," She said, not meeting their eyes. Shashi motioned Garima to speak.

"Khushi is my sister Gargi's daughter, Garima sniffed as she cleared her throat, before continuing. Payal was shocked to know this new information. She knew she had an aunt, who died in an accident, but she was too young to even remember.

"Yes, Gargi didn't want to marry and when she was 40, she decided she wanted to have a kid, after a lot of research and checking options, she decided she would go for artificial insemination. All went well and Khushi was born," Garima gulped at the memory. 

"One day, she called saying she wanted to talk to me about something important" and she was going to visit us," Garima let the tears fall. Shashi held her hand and she continued.

"While she was coming to visit us, she met with an accident,"
Payal stood silently, listening and watching her mom break down like this, for the first time. It didn't feel right.

"A few days ago, when we went to Anand Nilayam, your mom found a diary, your aunt's," Shashi told her.

Payal looked surprised. 

"She mentioned that she knew the donor and there was some mistake, she was going to come to tell this, we are not sure if she knew who the donor was, but that is what she mentioned. Now, Khushi met someone named Anjali there and... and she says there are striking similarities in them,"

"WHAT?" Payal looked flabbergasted.

"And you guys think...telling Khushi will help?" she asked surprised.

"Yes, Payal! It is better if she knows this from us than others," he told her.
Payal didn't believe it would work. 

"She would be very hurt. What if...what if she...she distances herself from us?" Payal asked them exasperated.

"We shall not let her know, I mean, let's bring her back home, maybe ask her not to talk to anyone," She got up and paced across the hall. No. This was a bad idea.

"What if she won't be our Khushi? What if she leaves us? What if she finds her father and goes to live with her real family?" Payal tried to point out the possibilities. 

"Payal, Khushi is a sensible person and am sure she wouldn't take this bad," Shashi argued. 

"How can you be sure, dad?" She asked him, feeling frustrated to the core.

"Because, we are her family, Payal! We are not talking about a small kid or rebellious teenager here, it's our Khushi, and I know her," he told her very seriously. "I know her," he repeated.

"I am not so sure, dad!"

"Trust me," he told her and Garima sighed as the tears fell freely.

Payal looked defeated, she didn't know what to do. But she trusts her dad, so, she, for once let her dad take the reins.

******************

Anjali was shocked. "Are you sure, Ram?" she asked, closing her eyes, as she caught hold of the phone with two hands and sat on the futon.

"Yes,"

She cut the call.

Disbelief, that is what she felt. She picked her phone and dialed his number. Anger, frustration, and a lot more feelings clouded her. 

"Hi, come meet me, quickly," Anjali spoke menacingly slow.

"I can't. You know I am busy," he replied. His nonchalance went to deaf ears. Anjali was hell bent and she didn't want no for an answer. 

"I don't care, I want you to meet someone, very important," she told him, in a [7000] voice that shook him.

"Who?" He sounded surprised and was taken aback. 

"Your daughter," [7015]

Edited by coolie001 - 2019-03-15T18:19:36Z
Posted: 2019-03-15T16:13:04Z
Wow... Khushi is Advaith's daughter...SHOCKING...
But how and why did Anjali get to know about the fact ?
I sooo love the progress Arnav and Khushi's relationship made... they are so in sync and awesome together. Loving it.,..
P. S : thanks for th looong update after a looong gap

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