Loved the first meet between Arnav and Khushi. Wondering what Arnav, the architect would be of help in the drunk cases. It was funny to see Khushi was so into getting Payal home who was fully drunk never thought of it when Arnav was handing out his card.
Shashi walked outside briskly when Khushi's car pulled into the front gates. His previous apprehensions returning with a jolt, when he couldn't see Payal. He set his eyes on Khushi with the increasing worry that was eating his head. But Khushi didn't look at him, instead opened the backdoor of the car and looked at him apologetically.
He groaned loud enough for Khushi to flinch, before picking Payal and taking her to her room. Once he pulled the quilt and dimmed the lights, he summoned Khushi outside. Folding his arms, he fixated his eyes to Khushi, waiting for her to explain.
Khushi felt uncomfortable under her dad's gaze. She knew her dad would be waiting until they return home safe and sound, no matter what. He wasn't a person who would restrict them from spending some fun time with friends. However, he was invariably aware of their whereabouts, which was the reason he didn't let Payal drive alone to the party.
Payal was not alcoholic. She never got wasted like this ever. Pride to defend her sister propelled as she formulated her thoughts. A habit that she started a few months back after she prattled nonsense in front of a professor. Whenever Khushi felt uncomfortable, she rambled. She didn't want Payal to get in trouble because of her nonsensical habit.
"Dad, she had a couple of cocktails and, her friends called me to pick her up," she lied, there were no friends. She was mad at Payal for not being careful, but then she would confront her personally. Importantly, she didn't want her dad upset. He was a wise man. He knew when and where to be strict and when to leave them to learn the requisite lessons of life. She always admired him for that.
Shashi knew that his daughter was lying. Why else would she stand in front of him bringing excuses? She was protecting her sister. He was heedful enough to notice her defensive nature from the time she stepped out of the car.
"Give her some lemonade, and she will be fine by morning, he said and was about to walk before he stopped and looked at Khushi. She was bothered. He knew her very well.
"I'm sorry, Payal's sorry. She should be more careful. Don't be upset," Khushi spoke worriedly. Shashi laughed, as he walked to her, and took her into his arms. "I know, I'll talk to her. Now, don't stress yourself. Your mom's going to have a fit in the morning, and prepare for that," he chuckled making her smile. Relief spread through her veins. It always bothered her if people don't express their worry. She knows, everyone needs time to come around, and all that, but her mind goes into an overrun. Something that she can't help.
She walked to her sister's room and looked at her sleeping so calmly. She didn't want to disturb, but she needs to have that lemonade. 'It is going to be a long night' Khushi sighed.
Well, she was right. It was not just a long night but a long-drawn morning. As expected, her mom chastised Payal for being reckless. Hence, their morning was quite an ordeal. Khushi and her father stayed mum all the while. The whole conversation was Payal's ineffectual explanation and apologies along with Garima's angry retorts.
Khushi slowly slipped away throwing an apologetic glance towards Payal and hurried byes to her parents. She can sit and talk with Payal later, for now, 8 AM lecture demanded her presence.
The morning classes busied her mind. As soon as she was free, she accompanied Lavanya to the cafe, and picked her phone she dialed Payal's number. Expecting a dizzy voice, she was quite surprised by her sister's chirpiness.
"Are you working today? Khushi asked, confused.
"Yes, milady! I didn't want to stay home, mom's burning rage will turn me into ashes if I sit empty-minded," Payal chuckled.
"Good, but I'm mad at you too,"
"I know, well I was about to call you," Payal told.
"Is it? Why, do you need wisdom? I've got plenty," Khushi imitated her mom, and both laughed.
"No, thanks. A handsome gentleman came by, and asked me, how I was," Payal tittered.
"Wow, nice going big sister," Khushi smirked waiting for the retort but what she heard next kind of surprised her.
"Yes, he asked my well-being but looking like he has a special penchant for my little sister,"
"Uh?" Khushi was surprised.
"Arnav Singh Raizada came in today. Do you have any clue what big shot he is, Khush?"
"Arnav, the architect?" that's when she recollected yesterday's events. With all that happened at home, the guy has taken a back seat.
"Payal, he was quite helpful," Khushi smiled recollecting his amicable stance.
"Oh, god! I'm privileged," Payal couldn't hold her giggle and blurted
"Anyhow, he seems like a nice guy, I gave your number,"
Khushi spilled the sip of chai and coughed vigorously.
"WHAT? Why would you do that? And what weird logic is that Payal. Don't be a wing woman!"
"Talk to him, babes. He has got interesting stuff. Okay, boss alert, bye," with that she cut the call.
Khushi frowned. She was not interested in looking for any relations now. Her sister is hell-bent making her go on dates. Well, not that she expected Arnav would approach her or something. At that moment, her phone buzzed, and she picked up before thinking twice.
"Hello," she said dazedly.
"Hi, Arnav here. Khushi?" the husky voice came from the other end, and she coughed, again. This time Lavanya lightly smacked her shoulder and moved to the other seat.
"Hi, I'm so sorry, excuse me," Khushi said as she drank a glass full of water.
"Hi Arnav," she said again.
"Hi," he drawled, once more in that husky tone. Wow.
"I spoke to Payal, she gave me your number" he came straight to the point, and Khushi was surprised.
"Look, Arnav. I...I am not sure what Payal told you," She weighed her words before adding
"I mean, I'm not interested in dating right now," she almost whispered the last few words. What the hell? It felt embarrassing, but she didn't want to lead him.
"Excuse me?" surprised tone roared from the other end of the phone and next minute she heard laughter.
"Sorry," Khushi apologized waiting for him to say something.
"Payal told me you were looking for internships, and I know my friend has some openings in his company," he completed, his voice still beholding the mirth.
Khushi wanted to vanish into thin air. Shit. What the hell? Why does she have to act like an idiot? "Sorry," she said and went all red with embarrassment. "Well?" he spoke.
"Yeah, I mean yes, I'm looking for internships,"
"Alright, send me your resume, and I'll forward," he said and Khushi felt very intimidated.
"Yes, I have your card, and I'll email," she felt like an idiot.
"Sorry, Arnav," she spoke almost inaudibly.
"That's totally fine," the tease in his tone still evident.
Khushi snarled at her fate. Why? Why me? She quickly opened her laptop and sent him an email. Payal is such a crazy girl. Couldn't she at least mention, but she was to blame herself. Anyways, she is never going to face him again, so, the awkwardness can stay at bay.
Little did she know what is in store.
Akash said he would drop Khushi at her home in the evening when she invited him for tea, he readily accepted. They were sipping in tea when Payal walked in.
"Hello!" She greeted them both.
"Hi," Akash stood up as he smiled dreamily at Payal. Payal and Khushi exchanged looks. Khushi was aware that her friend has been crushing over her sister. If Payal didn't know, she was sure of it now, at least.
"Hey," Payal greeted, taken aback by his unnecessary chivalry.
'Akash,' Khushi pulled the fabric at his elbow to bring him back to his senses. Payal isn't the shy types. She would shamelessly confront and pull his leg. Khushi didn't want any trouble for now.
"So, how's your day!" Khushi asked her sister to break the weird bubble that enchanted.
"Pretty well, how's college?"
"The same old stuff," Akash answered. Khushi facepalmed. Literally.
"Okay," Payal drawled, eyebrows crunched as she picked her diet coke from the fridge before walking to her room.
"Bye Payal. Very nice to see you," Akash shouted from behind. Payal turned and gave a curt smile before vanishing from their sight.
"AKASH!" Khushi thundered, poking her finger into his shoulder.
"Ouch, What was that for?" he rubbed his shoulder.
"Cut it. Stop crushing on my sister,"
"I was trying to be nice," Akash drank the tea in one gulp, not meeting her eyes, and left hurriedly.
Garima looked at Khushi fondly. Khushi got an internship in London, and she knows how much effort Khushi had been putting to secure it. Garima wondered how different it would have been with Gargi around. They decided not to disclose anything regarding the adoption. It was a tough decision to make. However, it was simpler and made things easier.
"First and foremost, thank Arnav," Payal told her, with mouth half filled with the food.
"Don't speak while you eat," Garima berated, but Payal just grinned.
After an eventful dinner, she walked into her room. She texted Arnav, a call would be too much, and she was pretty embarrassed with the previous events.
Khushi: Hi, Arnav! I got the internship. I am thankful to you.
An immediate reply popped.
Arnav: Wow. There's nothing to thank me. You were the one who cleared four rounds, competing with fifteen others. So, congratulations to you.
Khushi was surprised as he knew so much about his friend's company.
Khushi: Haha! Opportunity is important.
Arnav: What's the use of the opportunity, if you aren't talented?
Khushi: Alright, truce. I've got work to do. Bye. TTYL.
Khushi sat on the bed and looked at her phone, smiling to herself. Arnav Singh Raizada. Interesting.
She got up and walked to the window. The day was pleasant, no humidity, no heat. She smelled the fresh breeze that veered through the window. The sky looked particularly amazing, the blends of dusky sky shimmered across miles and miles, spreading a magical aura. She would miss home for sure. Nevertheless, this was a change, an inevitable change that she craved to witness.
She walked to her bookshelf as she picked her journal suddenly wanting to read an old poem that she wrote for the school magazine, she turned the pages until she reached the page she was looking for.
Towards the evening I rise, rise to fall so low Blending with ocean, trees, and eyes Towards the end, I shimmer With the glow of final adieu! It is, I think, the never-ending (3000)thought of a Bye that brings joy before it shatters Into million pieces of memories, all shining in hues Till the end I carry, the sun of heart, the sun of soul waiting for the death bell to ring before I say a Bye It is fascinating, O' yes, it is To try and evaluate the relativity of death Is it me dying or you moving, a question hanging in the still air Never dodging the self-proclaimed hideous 'you' that hides in you, I believe it's me who is dead, and not you As the sun of the sky, I say Bye Never to return or so I thought I am a nomad of a small niche So, I return to say hie, every morning With a due pattern Well, well, who am I to say it all There's a magic cast between the twilight and dusk Before plummeting into darkness
Never forget it's the same sun all along
She would be leaving the next week as soon as she completes her finals. So much to learn and so many experiences to bag with that thought she went to bed, falling into a warm slumber.
PS: The poem is written by me! I am clarifying as to hold on the word count.