From the author's desk: Hello everyone, A big shout out for all your comments, views, patience and love I saw some new readers commenting too, So glad to have you here . The year has been busy and I have tried my best to write down this update - and its been going for days... This one is lighter than the ones preceding it, in an attempt to balance out the emotions.
Chapter 16 : Battle ready
Part 2: Gearing up
Anjali got discharged from the hospital the same day. Thankfully, Arnav and Khushi were able to manage without raising any suspicion of the fellow inmates at the Raizada mansion.
Earlier in the day, Abhimanyu and Rajesh spent good amount of time going by the plan that they had sketched for Anjali.
“You dog! You had this all planned well before is it? What if we never agreed to this?” Arnav had asked his friend then
“Then I would have tried hard to convince, would’nt I… I was crossing my fingers that she wouldn’t say no. Thank God, Because of Khushi, I didn’t have to worry much… “
“Oh of course, Anjali wouldn’t have a heart to say no to you… right Anjali?” she asked inviting a dirty look from Anjali
“to me?”Abhimanyu asked bemused.
“I meant the mission” Khushi retorted winking at Anjali
“But why do you want to discuss this now? Right here at the hospital?” Arnav asked his friend
“that’s because you are not ready to reveal this to the family yet and if I come home to discuss this with your sister, this is going to cause some suspicion wouldn’t it? We cannot do this meeting at my office, it would then be like giving it away to Shyam and his gang… even college wouldn’t suit for that matter”
“hmm… Only if the others are going to think that you are discussing about the case right?” Khushi asked
“What else would I and Anjali have to discuss”
Khushi quickly caught Anjali’s eyes and waggled her eyebrows, for which Anjali returned back a glare. The girls were in another realm, the one the girls were privy too and very different from the one the men were discussing about.
“Shutup” Anjali mouthed to Khushi, who smirked at her
But Khushi wasn’t going to back off…
“I have an idea… but if only you both are willing to do it… it would easy to take away the risk of suspicion” Khushi paused as if reluctant
“What is it?” Abhimanyu asked looking expectantly at Khushi. Arnav was also curiously looking at her.
“No… No khushi” Anjali mouthed again to her friend knowing that the men were not facing her.
“May be if you both could pretend to be in a relationship, then you could pass it off as a reason to meet and hang out… because we are just starting this, you may need to meet again and again… and if don’t want to raise suspicion… then” she paused wanting to gauge others reaction.
While Abhi was looking at her as if in horror, Rajesh looked at a little perplexed as he grinned to himself. Anjali was shocked that Khushi suggested that to Abhimanyu and her in front of her brother. Arnav eyed at his sister curiously and then at his friend before his eyes strayed back to Khushi, the gears in his mind reeling quickly together, pondering who among the two was Khushi helping out… She was clearly in one of her infamous mission, wearing the hat of love guru. While Abhi looked like someone hit him with a club on his head, his sister was clearly embarrassed.
“You know, they can speak over phone too… and there is no necessity that they have to meet alone, we are in this together too right?” Arnav asked Khushi
“Yeah right… the other party knows that you hang out with your friend… But why would you drag your sister too to hang out with your friend… that will raise suspicion” said Khushi “What do you say ACP sir?”
“hmm… I..” Abhi hesitated
“I think, it is anyway going to get around… better this way” Khushi encouraged.
“If Dadi comes to know, she will kill me” Anjali was worried.
“Some people have gotten away with 20 girlfriends… you are just opening your account… that too fake one… Don’t worry” Khushi said, making Arnav roll his eyes.
“What do you think?” Abhi asked Arnav
“Devimaiyya! Are you in a relationship with him or what? why do you ask him for everything? Boss, turn around and ask her”
“I have never been this nervous about any case” Abhi confessed laughing to himself.
“You know how difficult this is for me too, don’t you?” Anjali asked Khushi
“Very difficult, I know” Khushi implied shaking her head from left to right and nodding at Anjali...
Anjali looked away, not in distress but to hide her smile that still managed to peek through her rose tinted cheeks.
Arnav was keenly watching his sister… he was wondering if the girls had a secret. Khushi’s disposition was so different from the time he had upset her unintentionally an hour ago. Though he was relieved that she was in a better mood now, her comments seemed like she was pulling Anjali’s leg by the tone of it and Anjali was reacting to it differently too. However, considering the girls were in a lighter mood compared to the situation and he didn’t want to probe any further. But he knew that something was brewing in there. Was his sister interested in his friend? And was Khushi privy to this? When did his little sister grow up?
Abhi looked thoughtful before he told his opinion.
“I know people are going to talk. If we are going to meet or hang out often, it is going to make the other party think too… But I am still doubtful about this plan… For all I know, this may backfire” Abhimanyu told them all
“I too feel differently, Sir.” Rajesh told Abhimanyu “I know it is important to keep them off the suspicion that police is involved. But deliberately showing that you both are in a relationship would it make them wary about continuing with her. They wouldn’t want police involvement… If the girl they are after is in a relationship with a police man who is after them, they may drop those plans”
“Hmm.., then maybe we may have to portray it as a proposal by the family… you are known to the family too… a proposal suggested by Arnav ji”
“Are you suggesting role play or real proposal?”Arnav asked “If I take it to dadi, this cannot be a pretense anymore”
“Oh, if you can get away from marrying Sheetal then she can get away too... I mean if she wants to… Right Anjali?” Khushi asked, inviting another glare from both Arnav and Anjali.
“We shall think about this in a bit, before that, shall we go through the plan once? Anjali ready?” Abhi asked, putting a stopper to Khushi’s plans.
Anjali slowly nodded as she put up her brave face.
They went through the plan as Abhimanyu and Rajesh walked her through the high level strategy. Abhimanyu also walked her through various scenarios and how she should be reacting to those.
Back at home, as Anjali was settling down on her bed for the night, still wondering how she managed to speak so much to Abhimanyu without her tongue sticking to the top of the roof of her mouth or without her stuttering or without her uttering something that made her look stupid.
She heard her door knob move down.
“Hi” Khushi called out with her pillow and a book in her hand. “I was wondering if I can camp at your room tonight”
“Why? What happened to your usual camping room at the other side of the floor?”
“Hello, I don’t camp there”
“Are you sad that you haven’t yet? I am sure, he wouldn’t mind if you ask”
Throwing her pillow at the younger girl who was all laughing at her, Khushi stood there with her hands on both her hips
“Oh, enough about me and your brother, Now, let’s talk about the new love birds in the town”
“Love birds? Who?”
“Madam, you blushed more than you spoke to him.” Khushi said sitting next to Anjali
“I was so scared with the kind of innuendo you were throwing in...We would be so lucky if Arnav hadn’t figured it out already…”
“So what if your brother comes to know?”
“What would Abhimanyu think? he was trying to help and discuss a very serious task and you were there doing that…”
“Don’t even talk about Abhimanyu, if he was any thicker, I could have cut him with butter knife…who would give him a chance like that and he goes Arnav shall I do this? Arnav what do you think?”
“He was being a gentleman…”
“Taking sides already eh? how so love stuck”
“Look at that blush… But I thought given that your brother was standing right there and Abhimanyu being that duty conscious, nothing will kick start… But I have a feeling that this mission is going to put you both on the road to Pyaaar”
“After he knew that I was so stupid to be victimized, you are imagining things”
“You aren’t stupid. And, if you have forgotten, he was the one who came up with the proposal to do this mission… he is not narrow minded Anjali. He better be not”
“He is merely doing his duty… He would have done it if it was anybody else in my place…”
“hmmm…let’s see how the situation is by the end of this mission”
“The mission is to nab that criminal Shyam”
“and the side effect is … Pehla pehla pyaar hai… Pehli pehli baar hai…” Khushi sang bumping on Anjali’s side
“Oh shut up” Anjali rolled her eyes up.
And that was how Arnav found them as he opened Anjali’s room door, wanting to check if she is alright before he went to bed.
“woah oh… What’s happening here?”
“Khushi is entertaining me” Anjali said smiling at him
“Looks like she is sleeping here”
“hmm… yeah she is. Looks like my little adventure has stolen you of your night company bhai”
“Happy to share”
“Hello? Am I a television program?”
“Oh no definitely not! I can mute the television…” Arnav said pulling a chair to face the girls “and I cannot shut you up”
Khushi’s jaw hit the floor with that comment as Anjali broke into laughter.
The three sat watching some funny episodes of Friends on TV and before long, Arnav noticed that both Khushi and Anjali had fallen asleep.
As he got up to switch off the TV and tuck them up with the quilt, Anjali’s held his hand
“and I thought you fell asleep” he whispered to her
“I am trying to sleep, but so far it is elusive”
“do you want to go for a walk?”
Anjali sat up.
“Can we go to Mumma’s garden?”
Arnav nodded surprised. Anjali usually avoided going there. “Ok. Come”
As he switched off the light and closed the door behind them, Anjali followed him to the garden adjacent to his room, deep in thoughts.
“A penny to your thoughts”
She laughed slightly.
“Not worth that much”
“Anjali, are you OK”
“I think so”
“No, I am not feeling scared.” She ascertained. “Did I scare you”
“A lot. If you ever do that again, I will kill you”
“you better be”
Anjali was quiet.
“What worries me more is that you thought we will be ashamed of you”
“I was stupid”
“We love you Anjali, whatever be the circumstances, we are family and we will be with you, whether you decide to fight or let us fight for you”
The siblings stood next to each other overlooking the road. As Anjali laid her head on her brother’s shoulder, he put his hand around her.
“You are ok really?”
“I will be OK bhai” Anjali said “Are you angry with me?”
“Saying yes to Abhi’s idea?”
“No. I think it is so brave of you to accept that challenge”
“You think it will work?”
“I trust Abhi’s capabilities. But nevertheless of whatever is planned, don’t think that I am going to watch this on sidelines. I will be involved and right behind you. “
“I know Bhai that I can count of you”
“of course, why do you ask?”
“Because today I realized that my sister has her own secrets”
“Bhai, I was scared of the entire ordeal. But I realized my mistake.”
“I am not talking about that”
“You like him don’t you?”
Anjali looked at her brother in shock. She knew whom he was referring to.
“you know very well whom I am speaking about”
She swallowed in silence.
He looked at her sharply.
“nothing like that”
“really? I raised you Anjali”
“Just a crush”
“right from the day you brought him home for the first time years ago”
“what?” Arnav asked in taking a good look at her “How come I didn’t notice it?”
“I don’t know, But if you had given a good thought to it, you would have realized. I never used to speak to him like I do to your other friends.”
“Hmm, coming to think of it, Abhi used to say that you are the quietest of our lot- But I and Akash used to laugh over it”
“There have been times when I have stared at him from places that he cannot find out”
“that dog didn’t give me a clue either”
“He doesn’t know”
“except for Khushi”
“yeah except her.”
“How come she gets to know about it in 2 months and you didn’t tell me for years?”
“she found out”
“Do you mind?”
“I have to agree that it feels weird to think about it. But as long as you are happy, I think I will be fine”
“it’s just a crush, you people act as if I am engaged”
Arnav smiled to himself
“Atleast I know of one person who will make sure it goes till there”
“Oh don’t talk about that, the way she was throwing hints today…”
“Now you know how it feels when you do the same to us”
“oh shut up”
When Arnav carried his sleeping sister on his arms to her room an hour later, he found that the room was lit to his surprise.
“hey Khushi, can you help?” he called out
“Just a moment” Khushi said as she put her book down and came forward to hold the door for him.
“You aren’t asleep yet?”
“I had fallen asleep but woke up to find both of you gone”
“She said she wasn’t feeling sleepy, we were having a small chat at Mumma’s garden”
“Yeah, I came to see, found you both there”
“and you didn’t join us?” he asked as he laid Anjali onto her bed.
“Didn’t want to intrude the brother sister talks”
“you wouldn’t be intruding…” he said quickly
Khushi simply smiled at him
“I have been more intruding than not off-late”
“I am glad that you intervened when it was required”
“Really? I thought you thought otherwise”
Arnav paused before he answered her again
“Look, I am sorry that I vented out on you today morning. I didn’t mean to. I know either way she is in danger and fighting back doesn’t change that fact anyway.”
“That’s Ok. I would be worried if you didn’t act that way. The love you share with your sister makes me jealous sometimes…”
“Really?” he asked with a smirk “You don’t have to be jealous, I have more love in me, you know? And I am a generous man when it comes to love”
“I was talking about the sibling love”
Arnav grew quiet in shock that Khushi burst out laughing
“Don’t you dare Khushi, Don’t play that joke on me again”
“I meant, I feel jealous that I don’t have a brother who loves me the way you do your sister” she said still laughing
“Why don’t you go ask Aman, may be he would grant you that wish”
Khushi stopped laughing
“That shut you up!” Arnav said as they both looked at each other, both of them opening their mouths to say or ask something but pursing their lips without saying anymore.
Finally it was Khushi who stood up from the bed.
“I think it is getting late. Good night”
“I shouldn’t have said that”
Khushi knew well what he meant, rather what he felt at that time when he uttered those words.
“That’s ok” she said “You have been awake for more than 24 hours now…Go get some sleep”
“I had a power nap after we came home”
“Good. Get more sleep”
“Khushi, are you cutting me off?”
“No. I am only asking you to get more sleep so that you get your energy back to counter me with words that you don’t feel sorry for” she said smiling at him
He nodded at her
“Ok…” he turned to look at his sister.
“I will take care”
“If you need me anytime, I am only a buzz away”
She watched him go to his room
“Arnav ji” she called out when he was a few steps away
“yeah?” he turned to look at her
“You forgot something”
He quickly checked his pockets for his mobile and looked at her puzzled
“Don’t message me ok?” she said smiling at him, earning his smirk
Meanwhile on the other side of the town, in a quiet mansion, Kher knocked at the door leading to the study.
Kher peeped in. There were two men inside there.
"You asked for Sandy to come and meet you. He is here" Kher told the younger one.
"Let him in" he replied.
"Why did you want to meet him now? at this hour?" the old man asked the younger one
"You will know" came the answer.
"will you ever let us know what goes in that mind of yours?" the old man murmured.
The moment Sandy came in
A slap landed on his face
To be continued
aha, I am done with the update, Do let me know your thoughts as usual... Will bring another one soon!
Stay cheerful until we meet again.
How does Khushi sense that there is something brewing in Anjali's head about Abhi? She turned out to be one smart cookie and managed to make Arnav agree to the plan. The plan of taking friend's proposal to his family for Anjali. Wonderful! Anjali could not extract much though from Khushi about her feelings for Arnav. Brother sister had a heart to heart talk and Arnav almost spilled his heart to Khushi, but she still guarded her secret about Aman.
You said this is a light hearted chapter compared to the ones we are going to read next. We have already seen a glimpse what can be expected in the next chapters. Is Sandy Shyam by any chance?
He looks ruthless.
Waiting for the next chapter already.
Cheers......Edited by Savera84 - 1 months ago
Wow love it......love the khushi so much.....she is awesome frnd......oh god the way she is teasing her....i have smile on my face while reading......love the conversation between arnav and anjali.....Arnav is best brother.......Plz tell me who is Aman......this curiosity is killing me......Thks for update.....
Topic started by abavi
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