ARSHI FF - HIT WICKET MY HEART 3.0 - Take 44-Pg.51(10.5.22) - Page 34

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Posted: 6 months ago

Will they all chose to hide the relationships from the media for now? It will all have to come out eventually.

Posted: 6 months ago

Rehan gets on the plane to go meet Alice for the first time after so many years.

Posted: 6 months ago

Awesome true better late then never

Posted: 6 months ago

Hellooooo Guysssssssss....

So yes – here I am with the next update for HW3.o this week. 

Also heres wishing you and your family a very happy Diwaliiismiley27


So get ready my dear readers – this one is another helluva emotional roller coaster ride – as Alice and Rehaan finally come face to face after 25 Long Aching Yearsssssssssssss!

Word Count – Long in length –13.3 K Words.✍✍👩‍💻👩‍💻

Taking some hours off to just Write this Out finally has truly been my Respite in taking my Mind Off – Everything Covid! And I truly hope – that you are able to experience some distraction and entertainment through the Story Too🤗❤🙏

Will be Eager to know your feedback on the Same!

Thank you so very much guys* Infinity for all your Support to my Work till now! It truly means so much to me!🤗🤗🤗🤗✍✍✍👩💻👩💻👩💻👩💻

Also, yes this is the First Draft. Please definitely ignore editing/common repition of words errors etc – since I have not proofread.

I shall now let you all dive in without Further Delay.

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Please bring it to my Notice by Messaging me on Wattpad, where in my username is - mysticaltales11111 - if you read this Story on any other platform, apart from Wattpad/ India Forums.

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Disclaimer:

This Story/ Written Series is a work of Fiction.All characters are fictitious.Any resemblance to a person living or dead is purely coincidental. The depiction off fictitious characters through their cross - cultural backgrounds is also a work of pure fiction. I respect all faiths, cultures, communities with its rich diversities, equally.I mean no offence or hurt to anyone's sentiments through my work in any way whatsoever.

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Take 35 – The 'Lost' Rhythms

Take 35 – The 'Lost' Rhythms

The Next Day

London – United Kingdom – 10:30 AM

Khushi's POV

I have walked this road down the block from Home – pretty much a gazillion times – maybe? Walked it down a million times as a child – after we(Mum and me) moved in here.Walked it down even a billion more times – ever since – while growing up – uptil this very moment of time.

I have walked down this road so many freaking times with Mum, Arnav, Brian, Jack, Sarah, Maya, Grandpa, Grams, etc and while I have been consumed with an array of numerous emotions in those respective moments of time - – I can say with great conviction in my being right now – that for the very first time – walking down the block right now to that very familiar curb down the road has never felt this jittery. Yup.But - There is a definite shade off happy exhilaration amidst the jitters though.

How could there not be?

When I am walking down the road for the very first time – knowing in my mind – that when I walk back home – after – in minutes from now – My Abbu is going to be walking back with me?

How can my legs not feel the exhilaration that they are?When the very vibe and rhythm of my feet relay the same to me as I walk up to the curb – Abbu is supposed to pull up at in like five minutes.

Feels freaking so surreal though in my head – guys – to be honest. I mean a part of my heart wonders – just what if I wake up and all of this just turns out to be a dream? Just like I had been wondering the very same – for most of the duration on my flight back?

I mean just some days ago – when I was flying to Dubai for the Asia Cup – who knew then? That this was what I was going to come back with?? A baggage of emotions – completely different from the one I left with in terms of the angle between my parents??????????

I pause in my steps to just pinch myself briefly on my arm.(Just like I have been for all these hours – in order to remind myself that Christ really has blessed me with this blessing for Real.In my Reality.As it all continued to sink in.Over and Over.And a mix of different potent rhythms consumed my heart – yet again.

I mean – at one end – as the daughter in me feels so profoundly content – it's also the very same daughter version of me that's been feeling so jittery with regards to Mum's probable reaction on this.For like I mentioned – she still has no clue about it all but yes one thing's for sure – that I do not have it in my heart – to catch her off guard on this like completely. And as I thought it over on the flight – it's like – I have planned to give her a brief heads up.Only fair. (Arnav – my love totally backed me on this as we got onto our usual chat after I landed. He feels the very same in his heart as well).Also - It's a good thing that she is at home today though as she's taken a couple of days off after ages – and is probably just chilling in her study right now – reading up on some medical journals?papers? while sipping on her hot chocolate/coffee – after breakfast???? I spoke to her as usual obviously.She just thinks I am still in Dubai though and will arrive back tomorrow as per schedule.

Hmmmmmm.

And...with that..I finally pause in my steps..for...I have also reached the exact point...that I was walking towards. Abbu is going to meet me here.( So just a heads up on that as well guys – Abbu obviously reached London like before me in time given that he was like on a private charter and everything from Abu Dhabi but given that my flight departure from Dubai did get delayed by a couple of hours – Abbu then just waited for me to land as he checked into a Hotel in the meanwhile.And once I landed at Heathrow – he called me first thing out and we planned the rest. I'd cabbed it home eventually and Abbu left his Hotel at the same time too + Mum still has no idea that I have already arrived for I basically just reached Home like five minutes ago – and just wheeled in my luggage across the frontal metal gates of home before I stepped out again – in order to wait for Abbu – and then began walking down)

Oh wait.

My phone beeps with Arnav's text.

Him : Fiore...given that I am three hours ahead of you in time here in Dubai right now – I think I do need to be fair enough and admit that even though I am sitting down with the rest of the team for lunch right now, I most surely feel like I am not going to be able to eat anything at all right now.For yup.My appetites totally consumed with the thoughts of what is now/what is going to happen around you in minutes from now. But don't you worry baby...my gut tells me that everything will begin to fall in place even more now once your Abbu and Mrs J have finally met. He there yet? As in your Abbu? Also I know I told you this while we were talking on the phone four minutes ago – but I do just need to say this again love – every bit of my heart is sending out strength to Mrs J.I know she is going to be shook.

I quickly reply looking out the road upfront.

Me : Not yet baby.He should be here in like a couple of minutes at the maximum.And yup.Mum's going to be so shook – baby.But then like you said – its high time – that this quake happens in her being – though? Right?She needs to like talk to Abbu this once at the least – like face to face.Also baby – please? can you not like kill your appetite because of this though? I promised you – I will be on touch with you on text – on and off – for sure.But you please eat – baby? Also yes – another quick update – after we hung up as I reached home – I did get on a quick group call with S, M, Brian and Jack and after that with Raahil and Noor for even they are about to sit down for lunch there in Abu Dabhi right? Raahil was also praying and hoping just like I am + Noor – that Mum and Abbu actually are able to have like a proper conversation and not like stay silently stunned due to the onslaught of emotions? He asked me to keep them both updated – as well obviously. I still can't believe this though baby – that Raahil's actually made this group with himself, Noor and me as participants.Just like it is yet to sink in that Abbu's been in regular touch with me on call/text now – I mean – to be honest – I still can't believe that I will be walking back home – with Abbu – in minutes from now – baby....all of this just ...feels...so profound and surreal...

I tap send.

Him : Sending a Virtual tight hug for you..my fiore...I know baby...I understand...

It is right then my phone beeps with Abbu's text.

Abbu : Khushi...beti..I am just about forty seconds away from the curb? Asked the Cab driver to pull up to the location you sent me.Are you there – already?

I reply to Abbu immediately taking a deep breathe : Yes Abbu. I am here, already.Waiting for you. I think you will be able to spot me in ten seconds

Once I tap send to that – I quickly inform the same to Arnav on text and he lovingly texts me to take a deep breathe and hold onto Faith that everything would be okay. And just as I finish sending him a line of hearts in reply as text – I finally spot a Black Cab slowing up in it's wheels as it approaches me.

Abbu is here.

Finally.

Do I pinch myself again in the moment as my vulnerable daughter's heart begins to go haywire with its cocktail of rhythms?

Oh Yes.

I do.

.............................................................

He smiles on reflex.

Even through the onslaught of a zillion heavy emotions in his heart – Rehaan smiles.How could he not?When he could spot his little girl – smiling and waving at him from upfront across – as he'd just finished settling the cab fare and had stepped out.

The wait time here in London – until Khushi's arrival at Heathrow hadn't been an easy one.Ofcourse.For the one main reason that in his heart – he was feeling like he couldn't wait to see Alice now and at the same time – yet his heart was also consumed in an poignant emotional anticipation like never before? What would he feel when he finally see's Alice after all this while? Would his voicebox even work to dish out the words he had planned to say after extensive thought on the plane ride here? Would his feet be able to hold him standing on his feet – tall? As his eyes finally met Alice's?Or would they give up on him?Would his heart be able to withstand the onslaught of angst and heavy duty emotions – over finally coming face to face with the tide of Love Lost??

He didn't know all of that.

But he knew one thing nonetheless. Now. That one look at his daughter and her precious smile back at him – had that profound serene power to give him the courage in his bruised heart.To walk into Alice's home/their home – and see the moments through – after – in the flow of it all. Her smile was giving him the courage to get on that surfboard of vulnerable poignancy and just ride the tide – through after – no matter what came his way then.

Rehaan is still momentarily statued in his spot as he's gazing at Khushi lovingly upfront from across and he spots her walking upto him now as she asks with a shade of nervousness etched all over her face – "Abbu...you okay?? You'v been frozen in your spot for the last twenty seconds?"

Rehaan nods now finally stepping forward at that towards his daughter as he answers brushing his daughter's hair lovingly in acknowledgement of the same – " yes...I am...okay..Khushi...sorry for my frozen state momentarily – it was totally because my heart was soaking in the sight of you waiting for me here...smiling back at me...in the ways you were...,"and he continues to add lovingly – "anyways...you don't look tired at all beti...even though it has been a long time in transit..."

Khushi smiles at that as she admits to her Abbu her heart soaking in the moment of her Abbu brushing on her hair like an eager toddler – " perhaps..because...no amount of transit here...could have me tired...given that...I know...and most surely feel perhaps...that it is this little walk down this block towards home...that is going to be the hardest bit to take...for you...Abbu??which is why I began with asking...if you okay? I know...that this little walk with me right now into home...is going to be a lot more emotionally exhausting?perhaps?,"and she adds to ask as her face gets engulfed in poignant emotion as she watches Rehaan take a deep breathe at that as he just takes the moment to look around the block/neighbourhood curiously – "so tell me please...first...are you...okay?? Abbu? I know this is...h..ar..d...I know...it is...ve..r..y...hard..."

That from Khushi makes Rehaan look back at her immediately as he admits – " It is hard...yes...my beti jaan it is ha..rd..but your smile gives me courage...Allah knows that it does...and to be honest...I am trying my best to be okay..though...not sure if that's working smoothly for me within....but...never..mind...to that...,"and he pauses and just resoaks the surroundings around (even though it was mostly deserted from any crowd around the block at this time – probably because it was a weekday and everyone was already busy with their usual business)and looks back at Khushi wanting to know more.Wanting to know it all – "so... when?? When did the two of you move here? Did you always live here as a child?after you were born? Or did you move here..into this house after??It's got a cozy feel...Khushi...this neighbourhood...oh wait...on that note...Khushi..tell me..will you? when did your Mum actually move to London permanently from Derby?? I mean...when I last saw her...she was studying here/living in London temporarily....but home was...still Derby...so did she live elsewhere first nearby? And then moved here after with you? or did she like live here all along????"

Khushi nods at that as she gestures to her Abbu to begin walking alongside her now (which he does)– her very own heart going out to him – as his face etched with pain and curiosity at the same time and she begins to answer – " yes...Abbu...ill fill you in on all of that you asked..as we walk back home...but first...I want you to know..that I do plan to give Mum like a brief headsup whilst you wait...in the living room below...k? I mean I am sure – she will be cozied up in her study right now on the first floor...,"and just as she sees her Abbu acknowledge that poignanty with a heartfelt and heart-breaking nod of his head – she begins to fill him on the rest as they walked back – Home.

A walk – if just noticed by any person from afar would just seem like a normal one – with two people walking down the block. And yet – only the two living the moment in their perspectives knew it in their hearts – that there was nothing normal about this walk for it was a walk – that probably just included a thousand steps – every step being taken was heartbreaking(due to time lost), poignant, and yet beautifully profound at the same time.For it's not very often that a daughter walks her father into her home for the very first time – right?

It's often the vice versa.

And as Rehaan was hearing it all – walking alongside Khushi – he could feel his very own heart beat with so much at the same time.How could it not?When he took in the looming in closer sight – of Alice+Khushi's Home?

Just the very sight of the Home – warmed his Heart. It truly did. To know/see that this is where Alice and his little girl lived? – meant so much. To know that these were the very walls that were witness to not only Alice's + his daughter's ache all this while?- meant so much.

And so - once they'd finally reached the main gate and Rehaan see's Khushi open it up as she gestures warmly upfront with heartfelt expressions etched all over her face – " so here...we are...Abbu...this is Home...,"and she walks in and he gets in behind her now as he hears her explain getting set to wheel in her luggage – " so Abbu...I just left my luggage...here..at the front..so that Mum doesn't catch onto me steeping in through the enterance...like..before...."

And just as he sees that bit – his hands act on their own accord as Rehaan asks his daughter holding onto her suitcase for her – "let me help you with that..please?Khushi??I know you probably do this for yourself all the time..but right now...I want too...help you do it...will you let me??"

That from Rehaan surprises Khushi in a happy way as she asks searching his face intently – " you want to help me with my luggage in...Abbu??yes...I have no troubles with you helping me...abbu...but I can do this on my own...you don't really need too...I..I..."

Rehaan nods at that as he admits sincerely with fatherly tears consuming his eyes and explains – " let me...please?will make me feel like as if I were there holding your bag...on your first day of childcare/kindergarten school...it will help me feel as if I was there to take you in to your very first day at school...and on your way back...home...after..with your bag snug on my shoulder...just like it was with Raahil.....Khushi...I know it's a little thing...but I got so much to catch up on...meri beti...I have to find moments in the present today...to make up for time lost with you in the past...you understand what I mean...don't you??"

That from Rehaan leads to Khushi's eyes welling up on reflex as she just nods at her Abbu silently and lets him wheel in her luggage now as she leads the way into their Home in an intense momentary silence. She could sense the pain – he was fighting within.Oh yes – she could.It was that evident in his vibe at the moment and the bit that his face was pretty much a version of heartbreaking mirror of his inner turmoil - moved her immense – poignantly and she could only find her insides get busy in praying profusely for both – her Mum and Abbu in the moment.

Indeed.

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Meanwhile in Alice's Study – Simultaneously

Alice continues to sip on her coffee as she finally puts the phone down – after a brief heartfelt talk with her parents back in Derby. They'd promised they'd visit them here in London – this weekend – post Khushi's return from Dubai. She also bites back her smile as she fondly remembers her Dad trying to set her up on a blind date – still – as he curiously asked her of her schedule/planned date of visit to Derby next on the call.She'd obviously reassured him that even if she did visit Derby soon – she was most surely not going on any blind dates – with any man for that matter.Let Alone the one - much younger to her Dad who he'd recently been training under for Golf lessons.Her Dad had groaned in momentary disappointment ofcourse just like he always did at her usual habbit of shrugging a blind date possibility aside.Her Mum as always had understood her gesture on the video call and had handled the rest to return the jovial smile up her father's face.

Alice sighs. As a daughter – she knew that for her parents – seeing her make the choices she did for her Life had been tough on them emotionally. But nonetheless – they'd both been her pillars of strength. And she knew that she had their eternal support on her decisions, despite her father still hoping on and off – that he'd get his little girl – to atleast begin dating – even today. She'd often remind him then that she wasn't little anymore given that their granddaughter Khushi was now almost 25. And that would just make her father remind her instead – Just like our little lamb(Khushi) will always be a little girl for you in your heart – you will always be our little girl too.

She was right on that thought when Alice thought she heard racing footsteps sounds coming up and towards – her study.Strange.So she thought, getting up from her seat momentarily. She was alone at home? Right??Then what was this sound about – she wondered.

And just as she was about to walk up across her study – she is surprised to spot – Her Baby – Khushi come up and front in the doorway of her study as she smiles at her from across and says immediately – " knew...it..Mum...I knew..it...that you'd be up here...reading your medical journals...,"and she begins to pace up towards her.

The sight of Khushi upfront surprises the hell out of Alice's mind as she says instantly pacing up to her daughter and they both pull each other into a warm hug immediately in the middle of her study as Alice states happily – " hun...what a lovely surprise?? Baby? You are home?? A day early? How?when? why would you cut your time out with Arnav by a day?And wait wait..when we spoke a shortwhile ago?you said you were in Dubai? But now I reckon...you were on your way here?? I mean ..i love that you are back a day early given that I'd anyway taken these two days off keeping in mind that you'd be back tomorrow and we could probably use some good mommy-daughter time off..all day tomorrow....but...it's a given that I need to ask...first...is everything okay though????All okay..Hun??,"and right then as Alice feel's Khushi hug her back harder and her vibe begins to get very nervous – she pulls back and asks cupping her daughter's face – " Hun..what's wrong? Why is your vibe so nervous?answer me please??? Is everything okay with Arnav??? "

Khushi nods at that nervously as she says – " oh yes...Mum..it is..okay..everything okay with Arnav...perfect..as always...don't worry about that...,"and she pauses as nervousness returns to consume her head. Now that she was in the moment she couldn't help but wonder - How to break to the news to her Mum – that the one she'd not seen in the last 25 years – was currently in their living room/kitchen area – below – taking in the sight/feel of their house – with so much poignancy/longing/ache in his vibe – as if he was waiting for the walls of their home to come to Life and begin filling him up – on their days/Life- here – in this House???

Alice searches Khushi's nervous frame now and again and she hears Khushi shoot her a nervous smile as she looks around her study, asking – " Mum...ummm...its great that you were sipping on your coffee?did you finish breakfast? I am sure you did...for this is your routine on days off...you like to chill here and read in your study...at home....but..wait...have you finished your coffee?already? or you are yet too? if it's left...do you want me to make a fresh one for you? you like your drink..hot? or wait...Mum...how about some...hot chocolate?with marshmallows instead? You love it...right????"

And Alice knew it. That something was up here – Indeed.How often had her little girl – used the hot chocolate+marshmallow reference(just like her) – in order to cover up/distract/provide comfort in a moment?? It was a good thing she knew her daughter through and through and so she asks reaching out to hold a nervous Khushi by the arm as she asks again – " alrighty...out with it..now.....hun...what's up?something...is...clearly...you know...I can see through you right now...baby??"

Khushi immediately hugs Alice hard at that.She didn't have it in her heart to beat around the bush much for two reasons.One being – that her Abbu was consumed in a tasunami of poignant ache – in wait – down below -anyway and second – the guilt of keeping this all from her dear Mum had feasted on her being – enough and so she says now in a rush – " Mum...I am sorry...ok? but please?? promise...me...that you will hear me out first?? K? I mean..I didn't want to do this in hiding from you...like at all...but then..it just felt like...I had no other...option...given the situation...for I know you too well...too ..right?? I just really felt this was the only way out..."

That puzzles Alice as she pulls back from the hug immediately her gaze searching Khushi's – " huh?? What do you mean??? hun?what have you done?in hiding from me?and why would you succumb to your mind having you believe this in the first place?? You don't...usually..hide/conceal much from me...ever..."

And Khushi takes a deep breathe as she holds onto her Mum's arm – "I know...Mum...I know...okay...wait... alrighty...I got it...I mean...I got what I wana begin this with...so Mum...remember? How you'd always wondered? If Abbu...I mean...if he ever..had the Shepherd's Pie ever again?? like after you both parted? Given that he'd often say...he loved the one you made for him..so much that he'd only eat it cooked by your hands??"

That from Khushi puzzles the hell out of Alice even more now but she nods amidst the confusion nonetheless – " yeah...baby...like you know...I'v always wondered the same..almost every time...we eat one..but..wait...why are we talking about this right now?From where does this even come in?? why are you referring to him in the middle of this hun???"

Khushi reads her Mum's puzzled face at that as she rushes in to explain rubbing one of her own hands on her face nervously before she locks her gaze back with her Mum's confused one's – "so...I brought this up...for.. what..if..I say...I have an answer to that Mum???"

Alice gapes at Khushi – still puzzled the hell out of her mind – " huh? What do you mean???"

Khushi cups her Mum's face at that as she explains – " yes...Mum...you heard me right...I have an answer to this...I have come here with an answer to the very question you always wondered....which is...as in the answer is...that he never did...as in Abbu never had a Shepherd's Pie ever again in these last 25 years...why?because...he never forgot the words he used to say to you Mum on that accord...and he never forgot you....he remembers...you...he remembers...everything...he's always loved you in his own twisted ways...just like you have..from afar...his Nikaah with Raahil's ammi was an arranged formality that could never result in love in its intense deep sense..they were more like...best of friends...throughout.....oh Mum...he's always loved only one person with all his heart and that is YOU...I know...you'v ached so much on this accord..within silently...just wondering over all this while...that just what if...he forgot you over time...that all of this pent up emotion in you eventually went on to be one sided – so how could I not want to tell this bit to you the very second I found out...that it's just fate that's played a sad game in here...but your...emotions...your feeling for Abbu were never one sided to begin with like ever ..then...or ever after...all this while...for Abbu was always out there remembering you/your memories in his heart/taking solace in the love that was...just like you have been...all this freaking...while...."

THAT FROM KHUSHI – ACT'S LIKE A SUDDEN BULLDOZER ON ALICE'S HEART – SHAKING EVERYTHING – BAD.AND ALL AT ONCE.AS IF A MASSIVE EARTHQUAKE HAD JUST PASSED THROUGH HER HEART.OR TSUNAMI? OR CHRIST – PERHAPS?IT WAS LIKE A VOLATILE NATURAL PHENOMENON THAT WAS LIKE A PRE-Happening to the End of the World?

DID SHE REALLY HEAR WHAT SHE DID?

DID Khushi really just say all that she did?

Rehaan? Remembered?Her? Their Memories? Their Love That was? He never forgot her?

And so as SHE ALSO FEEL'S HERSELF PALE IN HER FACE AND BEING SHE GAPES AT KHUSHI – too shaken at the volatility of the emotions within her heart – that she immediately feels like she needs to hold on to Khushi's arm or her feet would give her away and she asks her voice trembling, quivering, mirroring the intensity of the shake within her – " whattttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt????????????? Just what did you say???????????? Khushi????????? do you know...what you are even saying...hun????and how??? Just how do you even know this????????,"and she continues to gape at her daughter – shaken and shocked to her very core.

Khushi takes in the sight of her Mum's vulnerable frame right now and she holds her by the hand and walks her to the side window and makes her sit on the cozy sitting there as she says getting on her knees upfront – " Mum...sit..first...please?for christ's sake...you look like you will faint...or else...and just hear me out first – k? ill give you the brief highlights about it all...starting from the Top..."

And so Khushi begins....And Alice Listens...with everything within her trembling emotionally – like it hadn't in a long long time.

....................................................................................

Twenty Minutes Later

Nope.

It was not a Stunned Standstill that consumed Alice as she continued to hear all the highlights of everything that had happened in Dubai on this accord - that her daughter – Khushi had been ranting out to her in an emotional rush.She was telling her everything.And as her senses were listening and soaking it all in – Alice Jones totally felt as if all her sense, her bring, mind, heart and soul – had succumbed into those emotional volatile volcanic eruptions all at once which is why she was trembling in emotion outwardly – like never before?

Was she really listening to all that she was?????

Was this all happening for Real? Had it happened for Real????

And as it all sank in her being over and over – as she observed Khushi's emotional frame – she knew that this was not a Dream.This really was happeneing?????

And slowly she felt like – as if she was being swept away in that Familiar Whirlwind – whose Rhythms had been long lost and buried deep inside her being!!!!! For just to hear – that she wasn't the only one who'd never been able to swim out of the emotions of the past – did feel like a double edged revelation.On one end – those deep corners of her heart – instantly felt balmed with the knowledge that the love she'd felt so deep for Rehaan in her being wasn't something one sided – ever – even though it had been lost over time.And on the other end – her heart ached at knowing the very same too.For she had always presumed by seeing pictures of Gazala and Him online that atleast he'd moved on and had been the fortunate one to find that destination of Profound Love in his heart again? She'd always believed that atleast one of them – had been completely happy in the matters of the heart – right?? That was the one bit that would also keep her going the way she was? Right? She'd seeked refuge/solace/contentment in the bit that atleats the one she so deeply loved – was in a better place in the matters of the heart?? And now to know – all of this – had truly – caused a havoc in her being.

And so - Shaken with emotional voltality to her very core – Alice asks Khushi now as tears continued to stream down her cheeks – " what are you saying baby?what are you saying ??? Raahil called you Aapa? He wants you as a sibling in his Life?Noor is as happy about this too?? then your Abbu walked in the scene..and Raahil was there for you...he talked to him?they told him?and they all believed you???? they don't even want DNA testing??? He said that he'd never ask the same for – for it would be like he'd belittle the only woman he'd ever loved with all his heart??? Your abbu was truly happy and shaken with emotion when he found out that you are his daughter too? he asked you to call him Abbu?and You did?????? Oh christ...did you just say all of this...Khushi??,"she asks still – her mind still wheeling around – momentary disbelief.

Khushi kisses her Mum's hands at that as she says – " Yes...Mum...yes...you heard me ..right..yes...you did...,"and she hugs her knees instantly emotionally and she asks – " Mum..forgive me..please? for taking such a big step for us...that could change so much personally...but I just had to...I just had too...for you...I know...you'v lived with so much ache...I'v seen you..and Raahil's ammi told him everything on Abbu's end before she passed..so he's noticed it all himself at his end...ever after..too...."

Alice just hugs onto Khushi hard as she fights for her inner strength to compose her emotions and she whispers rubbing her daughter's hair admitting the heartbreaking thought to her that had just swept her heart – "no...no...I am not angry at you...for this...my baby..no...I am not...but I do have to admit...that yes...I am shaking within...like I haven't in a long time...and there's also everything within me that's feeling so so so torn...Khushi...torn and twisted..in between the volatile intense see-saw of pain and relief at the same time – for I'd be lying if I didn't admit to that...,"and she goes on to explain her feelings to her daughter and a coupel of minutes later she finishes with the bit – " oh baby...a havoc..is shaking my insides...,"And she hears herself ask now on reflex – " so this is the reason you came here? First thing out? Hun?? Because you wanted to tell me all of this??"

Khushi looks up at her mother's tear striken face now and she gulps down her very own emotions.She was yet to admit the bit that her Abbu was right below but she knew she had too and so she says now taking a deep breathe shooting her Mum a guilt look – " I got on the flight first thing out...Mum..oh yes I did..but the added reason for the same...is...that Abbu wanted me too..as in...he couldn't wait to see you...he asked me...to take him to you....he's here...Mum...as in her's arrived with me...he's waiting for you...down below...in our home....i came up first...because I most surely wanted to give you a heads up...I could not...like..not give you a heads up...Mum...."

ALICE FREEZES IN HER SPOT AS SHE HEARS THAT.

TO THE FREEZING POINT OF LIQUID BLOODY NITROGEN.

HER HANDS GO ON TO CLUTCH ON HER HEART EMOTIONALLY – HER FINGER TREMBLING – HER EYES BLOODSHOT AND CRYING as she asks Khushi in a tone that was both painfully numbing and trembling at the same time – " whatttttttttt????? What did you just say?? He's here...???Your Abbu....is...here??already??? he's waiting to see me?? he's come to see me??????"

Khushi nods at that emotionally wiping her own tears before kissing on her mother's numb hands and leaning forward to wipe the tears of her cheeks – " yes...Mum...you heard me...right...he's right here...waiting...below...for you...."

And for a brief second in that moment – Alice feels like she Can't.She can't see Him.Why? Not just because she felt like she didn't have the strength too but also because she feared – another thing.And so she admits trembling to her daughter now – " No...No...I can't..baby...I can't see him..right..now...ask him to ..leave...please?????"

That shakes and surprises the hell out of Khushi now as she gapes at her Mum and says – " Whatttttttttt???no???????Mum??????? what are you saying? He's come all the way?? Why won't you see him? don't you like wana see him?after knowing it all? I know...you want too...your heart wants too...I can see it on your face...it's trembling in so much emotion and ache like I haven't seen like ever...whyyy won't you see him??Mum??"

And Alice buries her face in her hands shaken as she sobs into it and whispers – " just what if I spot hate/accusation in his eyes the very second I see him?Khushi? what if he hates me? already? He must hate me so much for keeping the truth of your existence from him...all this while....I won't be able to stand seeing hate in his eyes for me...Khushi...not after all this...while...I'd...rather...not...see...him...at all...then..."

Khushi's heart breaks for her Mum now but she knew she had to be strong for her in the moment and so she hugs her Mum hard and strong and she kisses her head and says sincerely – " shhh...relax...Mum...relax...what if I say? You will never see Hate in his eyes for you Mum...oh you won't...he understands your reasons...he does...I told him everything...right? I explained it all to him..remember? he's not hating you for this..Mum...he's not...in fact...you might just spot an ache on his face/eyes pretty much like the one that I see in you...right now...Mum...please? you gotta face this...in your emotions...in your heart...I cannot let you run away from this...not anymore...please??? Mum...for my sake????? Running away from this...is not going to emotionally healthy for you...please?????"

That from Khushi does give Alice some refuel off inner strength as she whispers pulling back from the hug and wiping her tears – " I know...I know...what you mean...but...how?? Khushi?? how should I step down to see him? in this moment? What will I say to him? just what will I even say to him??????"

Khushi kisses her Mum's head – " just follow your heart Mum..don't be scared...K? take that leap of faith...I am right here to catch you..if you need me...and as every bit off me within is wanting to come down with you right now...I know in my heart...its not the right thing to do....for this moment has been long due in between just you two....but ill be right up here Mum...you just buzz me...if you need to – or call out to me...and ill be down in a jiffy...but please Mum for christ's sake...just find that courage in you within to dive straight in...you can do this...Mum...you can...,"and she pauses as she hugs her Mum hard again at that and feels her hug her back as hard.

And Alice Jones – wonders? If she really had it in the walls of her heart to find that rhythm/path that once used to make her follow her heart???? If she had it in her being to once again – channelise the courage – within – to face the one – she'd never imagined – she would ever see again in this Life?Right very now.

And as she hears her daughter say emotional, encouraging, words to her over and over in monumental emotional support – she feels like she has an answer to that.

She wouldn't know if her heart had the strength to withstand the onslaught of emotions – until she dived straight into the moment – and dealt with it – upfront.

Perhaps – Diving right in – was now the only option she Had???????????

.......................................................

Meanwhile – in the Living Room below

Rehaan looked at his watch – in an aching wait that was now seeming to be the longest wait of his Life. Khushi had been gone for almost thirty minutes – and he felt like he didn't have it in his heart to wait anymore – even though in his mind he knew – that Alice was probably quite shaken as Khushi filled her in on it all in the vulnerable heart to heart conversation.

He'd taken the time of wait at his end – productively ofcourse.He'd walked around the living area, the kitchen, the opening into the backyard – just soaking in the vibe of the place in his poignant heart over and over. His aching look/gaze at the walls/every corner of the house – were surely perhaps poignant enough – to even make the walls talk back to him emotionally(if they could) – his mind/heart wondered.

He'd spent the time – imagining various scenes of Khushi and Alice living in this space already. He imagined Alice in the kitchen. Lounging in the living room? Strolling around the backyard. And his eyes ached now, just like his heart ached – to get one look at her in the present today. Yes – he'd spotted her on TV on and off in the support dug outs of Engalnd Cricket team – but he hadn't seen her in flesh and blood in reality in front of him – for the last twenty five years.Uptil now – all this while – he'd been running away from knowing the answer that – just what would the one look of Alice after all this while – make him feel? And here he was – in the moment – waiting like a parched deserted being – to know the very same – given the circumstance and the emotional developments?

And for a second – his heart fears. What if – she doesn't come down? What if she refuses to see him? What if she asks Khushi to ask him to leave?? Nooooo.She would come down – wouldn't she? She would see him? Khushi would make sure of that – right??

And just that shakes everything within him again – as he looks around the space poignantly he feels like he finally needs a glass of water to calm the volatile heat within the walls of his heart down.And so he begins to walk – up to the kitchen aisle now (where he spotted a couple of glasses and filled water bottles)– sighing, gulping down his pain – his eyes looking out achingly for the sight of Alice upfront – reaching out for the bottle of water at the same time.

AND.

It is also right very then – that his hands freezes on the bottle – his body statues to it's spot on it's own accord too as a jolt of lightening, along with it's massive thunder – blast's through his heart.

For – he'd spotted Her.

Alice.

She was yet to look up and see him. But that bit only added more fuel to the emotional heat within his heart at the moment as his eyes took in the sight off her from across in reality - today – the open passage view in the living area giving him the clear view.Stunned, shaken, trembling within – Rehaan just looked on at the women he had always loved. The one who had once made him feel so much. The one – whose very sight today – even after 25 years – had the power to jolt up his being with so much emotional current.

Tears.

Only Tears.

Fresh tears pooled up in Rehaan's eyes.

Meanwhile – two minutes ago – Alice had finally gathered the courage within her raging pulsebeats to finally make this walk down towards Rehaan. Every bit within her – was trembling.Which was why she was walking down the stairs – – her hands brushing through her open hair nervously and for a second as she felt her feet trembling majorly she felt like she needed to catch hold off the side railing of the staircase to keep her guard and so she did the very same with trembling hands – keeping her bloodshot eyes glued to her feet as she took deep breathes in channelising the last second strength to instruct herself to look up and front. Once she'd reached beyond the midway staircase landing – she felt her feet come to a pause on their own accord as her being statued right very there?

Why?

Because she thought she felt it. She felt his gaze on her. Rehaan's gaze on her. Even though she hadn't yet looked up. She felt her being jolt with emotional current at the vibe in the crackling air – her senses had picked up on.

And so she looks up.

Finally.

And just as she does – and her bloodshot eyes come face to face with an achingly poignant face of the only man she had ever loved – in Reality today – and their eyes lock from across - Alice's aching poignant gaze meeting Rehaan's familiarly aching poignant one's – time has no other option but to cease it's normal functioning for a second.

Time Freezes not just around the two.But in the Two as well – in their very elemental being. No – it was an emotional standstill within.It was a raging phenomenon of emotions within for both – that indeed resembled that Familiar Whirlwind that used to once consume everything off the Two – in the past.

HOW DO YOU BREAK AN ACHING SILENCE THAT HAS LASTED OVER TWO DECADES+ Five years – IN BETWEEN OF TWO BRUISED HEARTS????THAT HAVE ONLY LOVED ONE ANOTHER IN THEIR OWN TWISTED WAYS??????? DESPITE – LIFE SHAPING FOR THEM THE WAY IT DID AFTER??? DESPITE ALL THAT TIME THAT WAS LOST??

HOW DO YOU BREAK AN ACHING POIGNANT SILENCE IN BETWEEN TWO EMOTIONALLY HEARTBREAKING EYE'S THAT WERE NOW LOOKING /GAZING AT ONE ANOTHER – DROWINING IN NOTHING BUT A WHIRPOOL OF ANGSTY EMOTIONS?? AS EACH OF THEIR HEARTS... ALSO SEEMED TO LIVE THROUGH MEMORIES OF EVERYTHING THAT WAS – IN THOSE FRACTIONS OF SECONDS???????? ALONG WITH ALSO RELIVING – THE OTHER'S SIDE OF THE STORY OF THE LAST 25 YEARS THAT HAD BEEN TOLD TO EACH BY NONE OTHER THAN THE ONE – WHO WAS perhaps the DESTINED One TO HAVE THEIR SOUL'S CONNECTED.Their Daughter.

Not with Words but with poignant heartfelt raw vulnerable – STRAIGHT FROM THE VERY ROOT OF THE SOUL – TEARS? PERHAPS???

For Only fresh pool of tears could engulf and blur both their visions of other's view – from across – in the moment – Indeed. Rehaan couldn't stop the tears from pooling his eyes and flooding them. Alice couldn't stop her very own tears from pooling her eyes and flooding them – as they both stood statued and rooted in their respective spots – her at the staircase lower landing – him at that very point near the kitchen aisle – across - as they continued to just gaze at one another their hearts, shaking and trembling from across.

Alice moved her left hand on reflex first – to wipe the flood of tears so that she could continue looking/holding Rehaan's gaze upfront – and Rehaan moved his right hand on reflex just a second after – to do the same after – in the very moment.

Yes.

It was only tears and a heavy emotional poignant heartbreaking and yet beautiful – aching vibe – that consumed the air in between of the two long lost hearts.

They both felt it. That same, familiar onslaught of hammering intense vulnerability within their soul's - as they gazed at one another in the moment. They both felt pretty much the same – within.And they both also knew it – that they were both more like an heartbreaking mirrored versions of another in the moment. For just looking at another in reality today and breathing the very same air as another from just inches away(rather than the usual distance of the seven sea's in between of them that had lasted for 25 long years) – felt like as if that lost dream of Love had finally come to knock at their door again. It felt as if – the sun had just come around shining again within /after an aching night of darkness of the heart that had lasted over decades. It felt within as if that hibernating ache within the walls of the heart over the love lost – as they'd walked miles and distance ahead in their lives all this lives – had finally found it's way out of hibernation again.

It felt as if that Lost Rhythm of the Heart(that only the other could make the heart feel) – had found it's beat again. It felt as if – each of their hearts – could finally breathe in the gush rhythm and air – that it had long stopped breathing in.

Yes.

That was indeed how emotionally monumental this very moment was for both Rehaan and Alice. For they were now looking at the other – with the acknowledgmenet of what had transpired for the other?right? Not from each other – yes – but from the very mouth of their love child – whom they'd conceived in moments of expereincing deep love with one another. So how could their hearts not ache/and yet come to a familiar rhythm - in the ways they were?

How could their eyes not mirror only that heart-breaking flooded pool of tears to the other????

About seven-ten minutes into this fresh and heavy onslaught of emotions within - Alice feels like she finally needs to get a grip on herself for it seemed like Rehaan was most surely not in a position to do so as he continued to gaze at her from across – with aching tears in his eyes. The fact that she had not spotted any hate/accusation in those familiar orbs – but only the aching mirror of ache – looking back at her – had conveyed a lot to her trembling soul within.

He'd ached as much – without her in his Life.

His heart was still as Bruised – as Hers? Perhaps? If not More??

And just like that in that very nanosecond – she knew.Alice knew how she wanted to break this heavy silence in between of them.

And so she takes a couple of deep breathes now and begins to take small steps towards where a stunned and shaken emotional – Rehaan was still standing – wiping the trail of tears off her cheeks side by side – and once she's come to stand across of him – she instantly reaches out for the other bottle of water on the kitchen aisle and then a glass – as she fills it out for him instantly and then – in the next second – on reflex – Alice reaches out to open the fridge as she reaches for the ice tray and picks up the two cubes of ice in her hands and she finally returns her emotional gaze to lock with Rehaan's as she asks softly her voice trembling still – " still...taking two cubes of ice in your water like you used too? or you want more???"

That from Alice shakes everything within Rehaan's heart yet again as a fresh line of tears leave his eyes which he wipes away instantly.She remembers this minute detail as well? It balmed his aching heart.Immense. And so he finally instructs his voicebox to refunction as he whispers, his voice trembling in immense emotion too, his gaze not leaving her aching ones even for a second – " still...taking...only the two...,"and he pauses as he sees her nod at that and pour in the ice cubes in the glass she had filled out for him – as she then – hands it to him.

He takes it – ofcourse. But doesn't really sip on it just then and instead he keeps the glass on the aisle on the side momentarily as he finally gets his frozen hand on the other water bottle to function and picks up another glass and fills out a glass of water for Alice now and just as he hands it back to her he asks softly locking his gaze back with her's – " and what about you? still drinking only water at room temperature?or warm water? Or has cold water and you finally become friends after all this while???"

And that from Rehaan causes a similar havoc of emotions within Alice's heart as she takes the glass of water that Rehaan had just handed to her and she answers softly – " still...drinking...only water...at room temperature...or warm...nope...apparently..cold...water and me still don't get along..."

And just like that they both nod at one another intensely and begin to sip on their respective waters in order to calm their respective inner storm and once they were done – Alice asks next on reflex surely feeling the need for the comfort off a warm drink in her hands during the rest of this conversation – " Chai? Do you want your Chai? In the way you like?Or my English breakfast tea would do???"

And Rehaan's lips curve into a sad smile on their own accord as he answer's on reflex – " or perhaps? its your good old hot chocolate with marshmallows...that will work better??"

A sad smile curves Alice's lips on its own accord too as she asks now nodding and reaching out to the jar of cocoa powder – " alrighty..then...you still want...just the three marshmallows in your cocoa? Or you prefer more now??"

And Rehaan admits with a gesture of his fingers to No 3 – like he used to – in the past to her – in a familiar moment – " still....just the three...."

Alice nods.

Rehaan nods.

And just like that – as a heavy poignant aching silence fills in the vibe in between of them yet again and fresh tears begin to leave each of their eyes – Rehaan begins to help Alice dish out the good old hot chocolate for them – like she used to in the past – by helping her with pouring of the milk – before she began to heat it.

It was a familiar normal moment from the past.

And yet – this time around – there was only that aching silence in between the two.But this aching silence was doing the very job it was meant too. It along with this very moment – were both now beginning to serve the role of an emotional lifeboat – that both Rehaan's and Alice's hearts needed – in order to come up and afloat from the tsunami of raging emotions within.

A couple of minutes later – once the warm drink was ready – Alice hands Rehaan's cup to him and asks – " couch? As in? isn't it better if we take a seat??

She suggested the same for she most surely felt that she did need to sit – or else her trembling in heart-breaking emotion feet would finally give up under her feet. And Rehaan nods back at her at that – in acknowldgement of the same for her felt pretty much the same.

They walk up side by side – towards the seating area – and Alice ends up pulling one of the backyard chair from the patio upfront against the one side off the glass doorway that opened to the backyard and she watches Rehaan take one from across too and he stations the chair on the other end of the doorway across – so that they both sat upfront – and straight – looking at one another from across and they exchange another silent nod – as they begin to sip on their drinks.

They both knew – they needed a couple of those warm sips+ the pause to just refuel their insides – through.

A couple of minutes later – after taking a fresh warm sip – Alice finally instructs her self to ask the one thing again just for the reconfirmation of her mind – and so her nervous hand begins to play with the handle of her cup as her bloodshot red gaze meet's Rehaan's bloodshot red one's from across and she asks softly – " you...don't...hate...me??? do you? Rehaan?for not telling you about...Khushi??"

And Rehaan feels a gush of emotion eithin again.Just the bit that she was finally saying his name again – was the source of the tremor this time around. He quickly finishes taking a sip of his cocoa that he was in the middle of taking at that as he answers sincerely on reflex shaking his head in a No – " no, I don't....hating you is something I could never come to doing...Alice...not then...not now...I know...you had your reasons...I don't hate you...I never did...I don't...but do you? do you hate me? resent me? for jumping into the pressures of an arranged marriage at home in such a rush...after?"

Alice shakes her sadly in a No to that her very own heart gushing with emotion at hearing her name from Rehaan again – " no...I don't...hate you...Rehaan...never did...I don't now too...looks like...hating you was something...I could never come around to doing...as well.....,"and her eyes well up on reflex as she admits nervously looking down at the half filled cup – " but I'd be lying if I say that it didn't feel like a stab in my heart then – to wake up one fine day to the pictures of your marriage in all the international dailies...but that was then...a long time ago...now that I look back...it doesn't ache anymore...we both made our respective choices then Rehaan...we have only ourselves to blame...strange how sometimes it's the memory of one heated volatile fight/fall out that has the power to overshadow the rest....of what was...the good...the intensity of the passion that was....I mean...to be fair enough to you...I did ask you to never show me your face again....giving you the oath...that if you ever loved me...you wouldn't ever come in front of me...again..."

And just like that – as Alice say's that – both their eyes lock again with another's as the heartbreaking memory of their heated break up argument when the last they saw another – the words said to intentionally hurt the other, the accusations of not having the courage to see the differences through hurling at one another – comes back to haunt the two.And now – in this very moment of time – twenty five years later – that potent volatile moment – seemed to still stir up so much heartbreak within.

Rehaan brushes an aching trembling hand over his face now as he says – " perhaps...you are right?Alice? one often finds it easy to give in to the mind's ways to reconnect the heart with the last memory you have with an associated individual...Allah knows...that I never came in front of you ever...because...I thought it was what you wanted...."

Alice says now with a heavy sigh even though she knew Rehaan knew for she felt like she just needed to say it – " and Christ knows...here I was...thinking...that perhaps...it would be the best...that you'd never know...about your unborn child then? or Khushi after?,"and she admits honestly – " and as Khushi told you...in my mother's hear...I was scared..so scared..that you might take her away from me...if you knew....you had the power too...I know...how much ...you always...wanted...a daughter...right?"

And Rehaan's heart breaks at that as he admits – " perhaps? you are right about that as well...Alice? I surely would...have done everything I could...to have Khushi live with me/us..back in Lahore...instead..."

Alice nods at that gulping down her intense emotions and takes refuge in her hot drink and she is in the middle of sipping it – as she hears Rehaan's trembling voice fall in her ears instantly now – " but...I don't want to get into any of that...now...Alice...I know your reasons...I know every detail...as Khushi told me...just like I know she told you....I want to begin with thanking you...first....you had the courage in you to bring our child to life...despite everything that happened/things ended in between of us...and for that...I'd be forever indebted to you...thank you for...having her...for bringing...our daughter to life....and then...you named her Khushi....i only feel immense gratitude towards you...for the very same...she's beautiful...I'v known her a day...but...in my heart...I know...she's a beautiful human...our daughter..and only because you had the strength, the power and the courage in you to bring her up in the ways you did....I am sure...it must have been difficult initially...with...your Mum and Dad"

Fresh tears ooze out Alice's eyes now as her aching gaze meets Rehaan's that was now filled with shades of gratitude along with the ache and she says sincerely remembering the moment – " not having our baby...was never an option in my head/heart Rehaan...ever...to be honest...the very second – when I found out I was expecting our child – there was only happiness in my heart – our differences seemed so futile and little then – but then yes – a second later – the reality struck – that it perhaps was just too late for us and then my heart found solace in the belief that perhaps – we were just never meant to be...for you were already married to Gazala by then...but No...it wasn't difficult with mum and dad...they stood by me in solid support....by my decisions...then...just like they do so today.....and on that note...I do want to say...I am sorry...about her passing...Gazala's I read it up...online...and did send prayers...her way..."

Rehaan nods at that in acknowledgement of the same and he feels the need to explain as well even though he knew Alice knew – "thank you....Alice.... Gazala was my best friend....we lived most of our lives as that...we most surely had a familial attachment out of friendship/living together – but we both knew – we were not the love of each other's lives.....and god bless...your parents...for everything...all that support...to you....they must hate...me..."

Alice nods at that as she says – " I know...as in...Khushi filled me...up...on it all...and no...Mum and Dad..don't hate you...rehaan...they'v just grown accustomed to accepting what happened as Fate....,"And she pauses and she is right then in the middle of sipping her cocoa again when she hears Rehaan ask softly – " was it a C-section? Or a normal delivery?Khushi's? at the hospital? I did see her birth certificate and everything?she has my blood group...but I think I skipped noticing the procedure name..given that I was so overwhelmed...."

Alice takes a deep breathe as she answer's honestly – "I did go into labour...yes...but Khushi had a chord around the neck..so an emergency C-Section...followed...after..."

And just hearing that bit breaks Rehaan's heart immense as he locks his emotional gaze with Alice's and says – " forgive me?please? Alice? I should have been there...in that very moment of time...by your side...come what may... forgive me...for never looking back...for never once checking up on you...personally...even though...there was so much I was still feeling within...just for you...only for you..."

Alice smiles sadly at that as she says at the same time – "I'v wronged you too...Rehaan...it takes two to clap...we'v both wronged one another...in some ways....so maybe...I should begin with seeking your forgiveness now for hiding the truth about the one divine truth that was always so sensitive to your heart...your daughter...I know...you feel like...you'v sinned Khushi...for being missing all her life...but I gotta be mature about this..and admit...that I take full responisibility for the same...as well...it wasn't just your fault alone....i do at times feel like I have sinned Khushi too – because I only told her about you when she was 18..when I knew it safe in my heart...that she'd chose to be with me/vs ever knowing you – I was selfish perhaps? in my mother's heart...oh yes...I was.....and I know she understands...but that doesn't mean..that I haven't seen her live with that ache/vaccum with reagrds to the father figure in her life...I tried to play the role of both to her...always...Christ knows...I did my best...but still ...I know...it was a bruise to her innocent heart....to look up at you from afar...and across...online...or in Lahore...on that visit...."

And Rehaan nods in silent acknowledgement of the same as the words of curiosity leave his mouth on reflex – " did you join the national team because you were waiting for Khushi to get to a particular age?because of the hectic travelling in the schedule??"

Alice nods at that through her vulnerable tears – " yes...I worked with the local county clubs back in Derby/Nottingham because Khushi was so small...and my parents could help out with her at home easily then right? only when she was seven...I felt like...I could..."

And Rehaan smiles sadly at that yet again as he says – " and there I was back in Lahore...presuming that you only joint the national team...after my retirement from International Cricket..because you just didn't ever want to see me...which is was why you also never came to Lahore...after with the unit??"

Alice admits sincerely wiping a tear from the corner of her eye – " there's a part truth to that latter...Rehaan...as in...I didn't come to Lahore..ever...because I always thought I didn't have it in my heart to see you again..but that was perhaps...moreso...guided by another innate fear...just what if...you'd see right through me if you ever saw me? what if you ignored my presence? Then? what if – reality had me face the bit in present that you'd actually forgotten about my existence over time??????? For you see...I was out here..beleiving...that so much had changed...for you in every sense...right?? Rehaan?"

Rehaan nods at that painfully as he asks – " perhaps..this why they always say...that there is more than what meets the eye...Alice?????"

Alice nods at that as painfully – " yes...perhaps..this is why...they always...say that..."

And Rehaan finds himself asking the next aching question that leaves his lips on reflex – " what...now?? Alice?????"

Alice takes a deep breathe as she asks – " you mean..where do we go from here?? We as in – Us? Personally?"

Rehaan nods.

And Alice says honestly keeping her aching gaze locked with Rehaan's – " I don't know...Rehaan...to be honest...I really just don't know...but what I do know..is that we both need is just time...again...for....there's been a distance of so much time gone past by in between of us....yes...we may have still held onto the emotions of the past for the other in our hearts in our own twisted ways...but now...twenty five years..later...you'v grown into a man I'v not known for the last twenty five years and the very same goes for you too...you'v not known me..the Alice in the present day today...for the last twenty five years...so perhaps..even though we both feel like we'v only truly loved the other...I don't know – if it would be right to say that we are in love with one another in the present day today? As in with the version of us as people today – not the versions of Rehaan and Alice that were....our lives have moved on...so much has happened...we have our children to think about....,"And she pauses as she rubs a nervous hand on her face – " just being honest here...right now...in this very moment of time...I don't have an answer to what now....I need time...ironical...I guess...for perhaps...time is the only thing that has been this wall in between of us all this while...but yet...this is what I feel...."

And Just like that as Rehaan hears Alice say that he once again – feels his heartbeats beat with a familiar rhythm that always respected Alice for being honest and straightforward.And for a second – he did feel like he agreed with her on that as well. If time had been the wound – perhaps it was only Time that could heal through the angst baggage they'd both been carrying in their hearts? The difference being that this time – Time was standing backed with the truth/and not the presumed realities??????

But as he nods to that he asks now his voice shaking – his father's heart trembling – " I get it...I do...but Khushi?? Alice...I don't have it in me to not be a part of her life now...I want to be a part of her life...in every way....I want to know everything that has transpired in her life...every little thing I missed on....her first steps, her first crawl, or what did she first eat?? Her first day at school? At college? She an animation artist right? How did she develop interest in that??? I want to know...everything....please...don't take that away from me..now...it would kill me...instantly...you know..it would..."

And as Alice takes in the aching broken look on Rehaan – the devoted father version of him etched all over his frame now – she clutches her hand on her heart as she says sincerely – " well...we both may need time to settle in to think about the equation with regards to where you and me stand..today...Rehaan...I do have to admit without a doubt...that I most surely don't have it in me to keep you/ask you to be out of Khushi's life...anymore...Rehaan...not after I have seen the happiness on my child's face as she told me what she felt when you asked her to call you Abbu...and when she did...no...I wouldn't do that to her...nor would I do that to you...now...but I'd still insist that we do this undercover..Rehaan...for out there to the world/society at large...the reality is sensitive..."

And just as Rehaan hears Alice say that – he nods back at her in an intense silent moment of profound gratification before fresh emotional tears leave his eyes.

How could they not?

When Alice had just blessed him with the knowledge that – he could now be an active part of his daughter's Life? And just felt like in his heart – that was the first step of many – that he needed to take to get re-acquainted with the one/only woman – he had ever loved.

...................................

...................................

Meanwhile – Upstairs in Alice's Study

All this while – from the very second – Alice had stepped down to meet Rehaan – it was Khushi who was having a hard time keeping up with her nervy anticipation about what was going on – obviously.

As much she knew she needed to give both her parents the space – the idea of doing the very same had started giving her nervy goosebumps – within just five minutes of Alice being gone.

But yet – even through her nerves – Khushi didn't have it in her heart to barge in on her parents vulnerable moment.She knew she had to give them the privacy and wait for her Mum to call her down.

And so she had – waited – with immense difficulty.She had obviously used up the time – to get on calls with Arnav first, then M, S, Brian , Jack, and just about until two minutes ago – she'd been on a quick call with a nervous and waiting in anticipation Raahil and Noor – too! They'd both been as impatient as her in the moment.They'd asked her to text them the minute she knew any bit of what had happened.

But now – as she paced around her Mum's study she felt like her patience meter was running out on her.

She quickly texts Arnav.

Her : Baby, I am shaking here in nerves yet again. Can I just barge in on Mum and Abbu – now at the least? I mean they'v been alone for a while....

Her phone buzzes with Arnav's video call. She quickly takes it and sees him lying down on the bed at his end – amidst his packing spree(For the Indian Unit was scheduled to leave Dubai tonight) and sees the love of her life gives her a reassuring calm smile as he says lovingly – " calm...down...baby? Please? fiore...you know you can't barge in on them...it would be unfair..."

Khushi sighs now as she admits – " I know...I know..all of that..,"And she narrows her eyes at Arnav now lovingly as she asks – " but..wait...love...why don't you tell me first...how is it that you are so freaking patient right now? like this is totally like that your imptaince streak has rubbed on me...alright? and you are being so very calm??"

She sees Arnav chuckle at that as he shrugs lovingly – " well...just for reference again...I go crazy...in impatience when it's on matters related to you fiore...plus...even though this one technically still is...I believe in my gut...that everything would be going smooth...k? just believe...fiore...baby...have faith...k? I mean...yes...I am nervous to know it all too...but...not as much to feel like barging in on their moment...,"and he pauses to add – " smile...please? just a little? Baby?"

Khushi does the very same and it is right then she sees a text notification come up on her screen.It's from her Mum asking her to come down and she instantly gets up from her spot excited as she states the same to Arnav – who just about asks her to head on – but as he spots her freezing in her steps momentarily as fresh tears engulf her eyes – Khushi hears him ask on the video call – " baby?? Whats up? Why did you pause???"

Khushi locks her emotional gaze with Arnav's on screen one's as she says clutching on her heart momentarily – " because...I just realised...how huge this is for me..within...Arnav...baby...as..i..n...I ...am..about...to get to see my parents standing in one frame...in reality...like right in front of the other maybe?? And not...like...in the pages of my scrapbook...with their picture's...stuck ...together...."

And she hears Arnav answer instantly softly – " I know...fiore...I know...come on then...rush down..baby...what are you waiting for?? go on...then?? see the sight...you'v been dreaming for...in those aching corners of the heart for ages now??????"

Khushi nods at that emotionally at Arnav and once he nods back at her lovingly and gives her a flying kiss – she finally hangs up on the video call with him and tucks her phone back in her pockets and rushes down the stairs at the speed of light.

And Just as she reaches the staircase landing below and walks through the living kitchen area – and catches the sight of her parents – walking back to the Kitchen – with two cups in their hands from either sides of the center kitchen island – she freezes in her steps too – her heart wanting to capture/ memorize this moment forever.

For this was the first time – she was seeing both her parents in front of the other – In Real. Yes- - they both looked pained and caught up in the intensity of the moment, their eyes bloodshot – testimony to the fact that perhaps – they'd both just been crying a lot all this while – whilst they talked? But yet – for the inner child in Khushi – this moment was so freaking Divine and Profound. For it instantly felt like a magic balm – all over again – that provided so much relief. Which is why – she could only stand frozen – gaping at both her parents in an intense momentary silence – her eyes crying out her relief to both of them.

Alice had looked up instantly ofcourse.So had Rehaan.As they'd heard Khushi's racing footsteps come below.Where as Alice – in her mother's heart had understood what her daughter's moment was about – Rehaan was shaken and puzzled by it yet again.A tad bit worried too as he instantly walked up to his little girl, his hand reaching out to brush her hair as he asks worried – " Khushi...why are you crying this way right now...meri beti?? Your Mum and I...we were just talking....."

Khushi exchanges a knowing intense look with her Mum from across and even before she could answer her Abbu – she sees her Mum come up from behind to stand upfront and on the other side of her as she explains on her behalf brushing on her arm tenderly – " that's probably because...this is the first time..she's seen us..as in her parents...standing in one frame Rehaan...uptil now..it's only been those sheets of her scrapbook...looking back at here..where in she's stuck the pictures of the younger you and a younger me – side by side...."

The knowledge of the very same – ache's Rehaan's fatherly heart as his gaze now searches Khushi's face as he asks – " you have a scrapbook?where in you'd look in pictures of me and your Mum...Khushi??"

Khushi nods – locking her emotional gaze with her father – before looking at her Mum intensely as if to ask – silently with the gesture of the eye.Mum – what happened in here? What did you two talk?

And Rehaan exchanges a knowing poignant look with Alice as he sees his little girl nod at him at that and he asks brushing her hair tenderly now – " will you show me...Khushi?? I mean...your scrapbook...the one in which you have pictures stuck of me?? over time??"

Khushi exchanges another anticipatory intense look with her Mum first before nodding to that and Alice understands that her baby was waiting for some sort of a signal from her now and so she adds brushing on Khushi's arm – after exchanging a poignant look with Rehaan – " ofcourse she will show you her scrapbook...Rehaan...and not just that...I am sure...Khushi will also love to show you around the rest of our home? Her room? Her study? Her space??,"and she now exchanges an intense eyelock with Khushi now and she adds – " well...hun...your Abbu and I...talked...and even though we need time to figure out the equation in the present today when it comes to him and me...for yes...an angsty distance of 25 long years cannot be crossed over in a second...in the hearts...that have become accustomed to so much burried angst/emotional baggage – letting go of these baggages is going to need time – but yes...none of that is going to affect the bit – that your Abbu wants to be an active part of your life..here on...and I am more than just happy to let him do the same....you'v ached enough due to our differences my baby...you'v ached...enough....but not anymore....you are not going to have to chose, none of us are going to ask you to chose...you can have us both....in your life...here on..."

And just as Khushi hears that from her Mum and sees her Abbu nod at her emotionally at the very same – she just hugs onto her Mum hard – as happy relieved tears leave her eyes.

She couldn't believe it.

She was now going to be living her life – with both her parents in it? As Active particpants?? When did she think – Life would be so kind to her on this own accord??????????????????

Alice hugs Khushi back hard at that as her own eyes dish out a fresh waterfall of tears – as she spots Rehaan look at the two with so much affection and longing in his eyes – as they hugged one another.And so it was only natural that Rehaan felt his own hand act on its accord as it reached out to wipe his fresh tear from the left eye.

And Khushi finally pulls back now from hugging onto her Mum as she whispers cupping her Mum's face – " thank you Mum...for this...thank you...so much...,"And she now looks at her Abbu and says feeling like an excited toddler in her heart yet again – " come on then...Abbu...come...I will take you around...I have so much to show you...tell you....I mean..every corner in my living space as a different story attached to it...oh yes...and then...wait..wait..Mum...can we also show Abbu like those old picture albums you have off me?? of us? He said – he wants to like catch up on every single bit of it..prior??and wait...Abbu...ill show you my sketches...my colours...my paints...my animation...s,,,my creations...oh wai.t...I did tell you that there is this huge project I am currently working on...or did I not?it's all related to cricket...and wait...wait...Abbu...you know...I love books...too..so much...love for reading comes from Mum...but then she says...I was a sucker at writing when I began in kindergarten..and look...I eventually grew up to work in creation of content...crazy right?? Abbu...do you know..I love...love...absolutely love...Candy floss?? And theme parks too...like roller coasters..rides???,"and just like that as Rehaan and Alice watch their love child continue in her adorable emotional rant as she begins to lead her way through up the stairs into the upper living area of their Home – caught up in childlike excitement in her moment – they feel their very own hearts get consumed with so much of parental love for her. For in their hearts they both knew – that as unfortunate as it was – their love child – Khushi had been the one to suffer so much – amidst this crossfire in between of them – right????

And Khushi is so lost in her happy childlike rhythms of the heart with regards to her Abbu – that she turns around from the second step on the stair case looking back at her parents again grinning like a gleeful toddler as she says next in reflex – " wait...wait...wait...and Mum...Abbu...what if...I cook us all...Mum's receipe's of the Shepherd's Pie...for lunch...I mean Abbu...I know you haven't had one in ages...and you love the one Mum makes...but what if I say...I make it just like Mum...she taught me the recipe afterall...will you eat it????"

And Rehaan and Alice exchange another knowing poignant nod at that and Rehaan fights through her fatherly emotions yet again with great difficulty as he says looking at his little girl now – " ofcourse...yes...I will have the Shepherd's Pie you make..meri beti...I haven't had one in decades...but promise..me...you will allow me to help you make it...I used to help your Mum in the little chores and preps that I could...back in the day...ask her...,"and just like that he looks at Alice again and they exchange an intense flashback emotional eyelock with the memory consuming each of their hearts.

And Alice answers now a couple of minutes later – taking a deep breathe – "she knows...the details...Rehaan...everytime we had a Shepherd's Pie here...after we'd spoken openly about you...we both knew...it was my way..of...reliving a memory with you in it..."

Rehaan nods at that and given that Khushi spots the emotional intensity in the moment – she instantly chips in excited holding onto her Abbu's hand – " alrighty..it's done deal then...Abbu...you help me...k? but just a little...come on up..first...please? where should I begin from? Oh wait...I do wana show you my room first...you know..it has this little cozy tunnel..where I often seek refuge in while I doodle...Abbu..."

And Rehaan follows his – little girl up the stairs now – his father's heart basking in the happy relieved vibe of having his daughter in his Life – yet again.

And as Alice follows them both – silently and then minutes later as she takes in the poignant sight of Khushi – showing Rehaan around her room – with that same toddler like excitement and Rehaan watched on , listened on - as if he'd just been blessed with a Divine Miracle – she felt like – that in her heart – she knew it – then and there – in the moment.

She knew what?

That even though in her aching heart she felt like she needed some time to soak things through - to let go of the angsty baggage's that have consumed her/have her heart bloom through the maze of decades of angst – she knew one thing for sure. That the – Lost Rhythm's in her Child's heart with regards to her Abbu – had been Found.

She didn't know yet that how much time it would take her to walk through the miles of time lost in between of Rehaan and her on a personal level – still – but she knew – That the Lost Rhythms – in Rehaan's heart with regards to his daughter – had been found.

And perhaps – that was all she needed to know within her being – at the moment to go on and give in to the flow of where Life took them from here on?

This was that – First Step.Which had been Taken.

And just like that in this poignant vulnerable moment – Alice Jones feels a thought go through her head and heart with great conviction.That there's an actual significant to these bits they always say?

What bit?

That Perhaps – Its always the first step – that's the most difficult one to take?

That Perhaps – At times – It Does Take What's Completely Broken – Becoming – Whole Again!!!

INDEED.

.......................................................................

TADAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

How was that guys???????????????? Emotional much?? Ahh to be honest – I cried – legit – yet again – in so many scenes and moments!!!!!

Next Update : Okay so most surely after like a Gap of a Week/8 days guys. I mean this entire stretch off updates has been so emotional to pen down. I most surely need to give like a Gap.So mostly fag end of next week – like Friday/Saturday – I will update.

So Yup – I will see you soon then – Guys!

Until Then – Please take care and Stay Indoors and Safe guys!!!! 🙏🙏🙏🙏

Thanks, Guys, for all the Support and your Precious Time to my Work!

Much Love

Always

Prachi.

.........................................................

Posted: 6 months ago

What an emotional time for her right now. Her father is coming home.

Posted: 6 months ago

Can't wait for the reaction from Alice when she sees him at her door.

Posted: 6 months ago

Alice is scared to face him. But then how would she have told him about Khushi?

Posted: 6 months ago

Tears all around. Well that was expected. A deeply emotional moment.


Arshi Romance 


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