ARSHI FF - HIT WICKET MY HEART 3.0 - Take39-Pg.38(11/1/22) - Page 35

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Posted: 2 months ago

The Shepherd's Pie makes its appearance. A very fitting one.

Posted: 2 months ago

Oh wonderful khushi is child again awesome 

Posted: 1 months ago

Hope you are ok please update 

Posted: 1 months ago

Hellooooo Guysssssssss....

Okay first thing out – How are you all doing?? Hope Great!! Apologies for the pause - I was travelling. I did put up a note on my Wattpad profile...apologies for forgetting to put one up here too about the pause.

So yes – here I am with a brief – precontext/glimpse into the time gone by in the story. We are now taking a Three Months Leap in the Story!


Word Count – Short – 2.2K 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.

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

** If you are reading this work/story on any other platform other than Wattpad/India Forums, especially TRUYEN4U

** If you are reading this work/story on any other platform other than Wattpad/India Forums, especially TRUYEN4U.net/ NovelHD or any other domain with the TruyenKK etc - then you are very likely to be at a risk of a Malware Attack for these sites are Mirror sites - who are reflecting our work through a malware lens. If you wish to read this Story in its Orignal, Safe, form, please go to Wattpad/ India Forums.**

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.

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

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.

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

Pre-Context to Take 36

Pre-Context to Take 36

Time.

It's the one universal element that just goes about doing it's thing – now – doesn't it?

And in its act of ticking and passing by – it often does so much more than what meets the eye.And perhaps – which is why they often say say – that it really is not just about the time lived in our lives – but more about the moments in our lives that define the very context of Our Respective Times.

And perhaps – which is why they often say say – that it really is not just about the time lived in our lives – but more about the moments in our lives that define the very context of Our Respective Times

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

Three Months Later

It's been three months. Three Months/90 days/2160 Hours, have passed – since the time Khushi first took her Abbu home. Three full months since – Alice and Rehaan came face to face – after the aching time of 25 years lost in between of them – on the day of Mid -September in the year 2019.

Only fair that we begin with giving a brief glimpse into all that's been happening for yes – a Lot has happened on several different tangents – in the time gone by.

For Khushi Jones – these last three months have been like an eternal blessing for the inner child in her – Indeed. How could it not be the very same, given that the little girl in her finally got the time to catch up with her father, and fill him in on the days/time in her life – that he'd missed on. How could it not feel like a blessing when she was finally experiencing and living the bond the inner child in her heart had always craved for? The Bond with her Abbu.And it would be apt to say that the wounded part of her heart that had grown up without her Abbu in her life had slowly begun to heal in magical ways.The scars of the ache lived prior obviously remained but the aching emotions around them – were now beginning to convert into sweet memories made in the present day today.Both her parents were now a super active part of her daily life. Alice like she always had been. And Rehaan now – making dedicated efforts in every way that he could to catch up/bond with his little girl.

After spending those first couple of days in London – his father's heart had begun to grow accustomed to the peace within – that even though he was late – Life really was giving him the golden miracle of being a part of his little girl's life. And he would be dammed – if he didn't make the most of it. And so when he left for Lahore then after a couple of days – he left making a promise to his Beti Jaan – that he'd be in close touch with her everyday because he so badly wanted to nurture the bond that had just been born in between the two. And that was exactly what he did.He would be in constant touch with Khushi now – taking out exclusive hours to just spend with his little girl on one on one – video calls everyday in the time away.And in the opportunities he could get to travel to London – in the months gone by – he did make full use of those as well- making sure that he travelled atleast once a month to meet his little girl in person as well.And every time the father -daughter did catch up in real time – it just helped balm both their hearts+ Alice's. For Alice – finally – it felt like she wasn't alone in this journey of parenting Khushi – anymore – trying to fill in for both roles.Because Rehaan had most definitely taken on his father's role with utmost dedication on an emotional level.And it warmed her heart immense to just see the bit that - The inner child in Khushi was blossoming with every passing day under the care/shower of love by her Abbu. Rehaan had wanted to opt in to do so much more for Alice and Khushi as well in terms of financial support. But being the self -made righteous professional that she was – Alice had politely refused to take any help from him on the same and taking a clear stand on this in front of Rehaan – that the only support she wanted from him was that off an emotional one in Khushi's life. Alice was really glad that Khushi had backed her up on this as well in front of her Abbu when the discussion's context came to light in front of her. Khushi had been emotionally vocal to her Abbu that all she needed was the father in him. That's all. And so for now – even though he was quite reluctant about it – Rehaan gave in to the two about the same.

Another significant development was the bit that given that Raahil and Noor had also been equally dedicated as Khushi – towards building, nurturing – the bond between the three as well – Khushi truly felt that she had now become so very close to the two as well. For both Raahil and Khushi had realised – that even though there was so much that was different in their personalities, there was a lot in the core of the two – as half- siblings- that was similar. Raahil was getting significantly emotionally attached – more and more - by the with his Aapa just like Khushi was too – with both him and Noor. Noor and Khushi had also begun to connect and bond on deep levels.And all of this – totally made Khushi feel like that her familial bond with Rehaan, Raahil , Noor – even though had just come to Life not very long ago – it truly had begun to feel like a familial bond that was fulfilling her heart in so many deep ways.

Sometime - In the middle of October – Raahil and Noor had even paid a visit to meet Alice on the weekend. And the fact that Raahil was so respectful and understanding towards her Mum – only warmed Khushi's heart so much more. She had been able to sense that Raahil's warm, honest, respectful ways – had instantly provided another comfort cushion to her Mum's heart amidst her quest of sailing through the aching angst of the past. Khushi and Raahil knew – that both Rehaan and Alice were taking the time in these days to just get reacquainted with one another first in the present and even though they hadn't gotten together in the 'couple' sense yet – the fact that they were beginning to get in touch regularly through Khushi as well apart from some one on one at their personal end gave Khushi+ Raahil the hope that – maybe – time leads them to finding their ways back to one another - eventually.( Everyone in Khushi's close circle – who knew of the development was also praying the same.)

On the personal front in between Arnav and Khushi – things were only getting more rock solid and cemented by the day.Arnav had obviously visited Khushi+ Mrs J initially for the weekend as planned by the end of that week – and infact it was after's Arnav heart to heart talk with Alice that Alice was able to channelise the deep courage that was needed from within to begin addressing the healing towards the wounds of the past with Rehaan.

On the other hand - Khushi had also been honest about the developments at her end with her parents – with Arnav's family – and their thorough and unconditional support towards her and her Mum through it all was also like another cementing factor between them all. For Khushi - Arnav's family also had now begun to truly feel like Family in every way – so much so – that during the Diwali festivities of the year even though Arnav was on the gaming tour – she'd only felt completely at Home with them all - during her short visit to them.(For they had insisted – that given that Arnav was going to be away – they'd love to have her come home at the least – making their hearts feel like that Arnav was there too.)

So how could Khushi not feel Blessed in her heart?? She truly felt that God had bestowed the choicest of his blessings on her given that now – she was experiencing living a close familial bond with not just Arnav's family everyday but also with her Abbu, Raahil and Noor+ her usual familial/close friends that were family - circle?

Plus - Arnav was loving every bit of it. Obviously. To see his Fiore – become a part of his family already just like he was off her's – warmed his heart in extremely deep ways. Just like the knowledge off Khushi's emotional bonding with Rehaan, Raahil and Noor did have the similar affect over his heart. He was the happiest for his Fiore – indeed. He could clearly see the ways in which her heart had begun to blossom and bloom on this accord as well.

And just like they also say – that sometimes – Life comes along with a full-fledged spring season our ways – on all tangents. It truly had been the same way for Arnav and Khushi both – on the professional tangent too.

Arnav had been having an amazing three months game wise as well on the 22 yards. In the games he wouldn't get the turn to bat – he'd take the game away from the opposition with his bowling/taking wickets/killer fielding – in the term of catch outs or run outs – making his presence felt in the centre of it all- nonetheless. His all-round – performance had been peaking to such an extent – that he was continuing to be hailed by both the gaming and media fraternity – as India's one of the greatest all-rounders of all time. He'd also shot up to No 3 – in the ICC – All Rounder Rankings for the year given his stupendous and consistent all-round performance for the year.

And for Khushi – things had also taken a very interesting turn professionally. For even though she had now begun her Masters in Animation by the last week of September – ever since her digital animation comic strips on the theme of Aiding/Chasing/Living/After the Yards – went live online in mid-October(two months ago) - it had managed to create a significant buzz digitally and was only gaining more popularity day by day given it's quirky,fun, animated and yet heart-touching narrative. Everytime one comic strip of the particular scheduled day in the week on the given theme went viral – it instantly ended up stirring up a lot of digital engagement for the sports daily as well – for in flowed numerous comments/feedback – about how much people were enjoying the creative representation of these little tales related to everything behind/on/after the scenes related to both national/domestic cricket units/players scene in England. And given that the themes had received a stupendous reception online -within the first month of its roll out – Khushi's company had insisted her to get on with developing content on the same lines with everything Soccer almost immediately.

And Khushi had dived straight into that as well – ofcourse then- for that involved a lot of backend research all together. And just two weeks ago – ever since the animated digital content with regards to Aiding/Chasing/Living/After the Goals started to Roll out and it also receiving a fantastic response+ gaining momentum and popularity digitally –things started to peak more for Khushi professionally– for now – apart from keeping up with her Master's full time – during the day – she was also super busy with keeping up on researching + back end discussions to and fro with the respective people whose tales she was bring to life animatedly – and then creating the content about the same – related to both National/Domestic scenes of Cricket and Soccer + their respective players in England.( Khushi was glad that she did have support of a couple of team member back at the company who helped her out – with the back end research/discussions/interviews)

And so it would be apt to say – that Arnav's Fiore – was pretty much working round the clock and also pursuing her degree with utmost dedication all this while – and despite both their hectic work schedules at either ends – both Arnav and Khushi had managed to continue nurturing their long distance romance with utmost commitment and dedication too keeping their pact of meeting each other every month without fail – even if it was just for 24 hours!!

Another significant development that did take place in the end – weekend - of November in Khushi's side – was Brian and Sarah's wedding. It had been a close intimate celebratory affair. And, Arnav was obviously super bummed that he couldn't make it for Brian and Sarah's big day because he had left for Australia in the week prior for a 50 day long tour – on national cricketing duties. Brian, Sarah, jack, Maya, Khushi – obviously did their best to get Arnav out of his sulking mode on this – eventually.

So Yup – Here we are Now – Three Months Later – into the Middle of December for the Year. Times passed in these three months quite significantly on so many tangents - and it would be apt to say – that it was Time itself that was now beginning to dish itself some popcorn – as it got ready to witness the next leg of the tale set to unfold further in Arnav and Khushi's+ their near and dear one's Lives.

What did Time have in store for them?

Well – that's the question that only Time will answer – with it's moments to Come.

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

TADAAAAAAAA!

How was That Guysssssssss for a Brief Glimpse/Idea on the days gone by?????????? Just wanted to give a brief idea about it all – as a precontext to the next chapter for that will obviously begin with the scenes of the present day in the Story – here On.

Next Update : Take 36 – should come in Tomorrow.


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

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

Much Love

Always

Prachi

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

Posted: a month ago

The family is making up for lost time. A lot of bonding to do.

Posted: 29 days ago

Awesome welcome back 

Posted: 28 days ago

Hellooooo Guysssssssss....

So yes - here I am with the next update off HW3.0 for this week!

Please note - we have now taken a Three Months Leap. Please read the precontext before this update(if you haven't already) to know all that's passed by - before you dive in to read this Update of the Week.

Word Count - Long in length - 10.7K 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.

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

** If you are reading this work/story on any other platform other than Wattpad/India Forums, especially TRUYEN4U

** If you are reading this work/story on any other platform other than Wattpad/India Forums, especially TRUYEN4U.net/ NovelHD or any other domain with the TruyenKK etc - then you are very likely to be at a risk of a Malware Attack for these sites are Mirror sites - who are reflecting our work through a malware lens. If you wish to read this Story in its Orignal, Safe, form, please go to Wattpad/ India Forums.**

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.

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

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.

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

Take 36 - Hourglass

Take 36 - Hourglass

Take 36 - Hourglass

Three Months Later

Three Months Later

15th December, 2019

Lahore, Pakistan - Khan Mansion

10:30 Pm in the Night

Raahil groans as he looks at his Abbu shooting him another knowing look for help in the moment and when he just saw Rehaan shrug back at him helplessly - he looked straight back at the screen up front as they were both in the middle of a combined video call with Khushi and he says shaking his head over and over again looking back at his Aapa in part disbelief - " nahi...no...you didn't just what you did...Aapa...and the way Abbu just shrugged his head helplessly..gave me the hint that he won't be able to help me much on this...and you probably gave him a headsup on this earlier today...but...Aapa...no...my heart doesn't want to accept this...I can't do this...how can I get married without your presence around us...? How can I go in for my Nikaah...without my Aapa? You really are not going to come? Aapa??for sure?? did you really just say that? the celebrations begin here at our end day after and you did say that you'd try to make it ....I know...you'v been swamped with work and studying off late...but can you really not make it??"

And he see's Khushi sigh on the other end on the screen as she shakes her head apologetically after exchanging a brief look with their Abbu as she says - " forgive me Raahil? I wish I could...I really wish...I could be there on your special day...with both you and Noor..and Abbu...but..,"and Raahil hears her pause as she fights back a knowing sigh.

That makes Raahil look at his Abbu almost instantly as his head connects the dots now and he gapes back at Khushi on screen as he says - " wait...wait...Aapa...the look on Abbu's face right now and your sigh...collectively tells me..that perhaps this is not about you being swamped with work?? Is it now??,"and he sees his Aapa nod with a sigh on screen and Raahil feels his heart get momentarily heavy as he says - " for once...just stop..thinking of the worse Aapa...please?? for once can you not think about what could go wrong if our relation came to light to the public? How about for once...you think...that your brother here...does not have it in his heart to get married without your presence??we haven't been a part of each other's life for so long anyway...and now that we are...how can I not have you around on my big day????,"and he pauses to ask - " wait...up...does...Noor know?,"and as he sees Khushi nod apologetically again he groans in dismay gaping at his Abbu - " great...Abbu..so this means...I was the last one to know about this?? Why?????? How unfair is this Aapa??"

He hears Khushi answer sincerely - " and that's only because I was waiting to talk to you tonight...Raahil...after your last practice sessions before this ten day break that you have...before you leave for the West Indies for your next lined up tour...,"and he hears his Aapa trying to change the topic at that as she gives him a little smile looking at Rehaan - " Abbu...now that you see it...this way...its not cool at all right...I mean..within a week of getting married...our Raahil is jetting off to Indies...on a tour...I have a suggestion..my little bhaijaan...take Noor with you...on the tour.."

Raahil narrows his eyes at his Aapa now as he exclaims - " do not even try that please? Aapa? You are trying to change the topic...and I won't let you..but yes...thank you for the suggestion...I think it is you who probably insisted the same to Noor this morning perhaps?which is why she talked about us planning it out that way..."

That from him makes Khushi grin in glee as she says on reflex - " Wait...wait...so is it final then? is Noor coming with you??"

Raahil shakes his head as he looks at Rehaan and sighs - " there you go...you know what she is upto..don't you Abbu...she clearly wants to get away with this...but yes to answer you Aapa...Noor is coming with me...she'll probably text you about it in a bit..."

"okay...so...will you let me get away with this...my little bhaijaan," he hears Khushi chip in now.

"No...Aapa...you are coming.I am not getting married without you.That's final,"fires back Raahil at his Aapa narrowing his eyes back at her and a little sibling banter continues as Khushi answers back - " oh please...understand...Raahil...Noor does...so does...Abbu..."

"but I don't..and that's probably because I don't want to...in the first place? just how can I get married without you?,"says Raahil.And the banter continues for the next couple of minutes with Raahil admitting that he'd just be royally mad at his Aapa if she didn't come for Real.

That makes Rehaan smile a little through his momentary sigh in the moment as he catches on both his children sticking on firmly to their respective points and he hears Khushi say to him finally with a warm sincere smile - " Abbu...you only talk to him now...I knew he was going to be mad...but..."

And just as Rehaan was about to say something Raahil says to him - " Abbu...no...please..,"and that from Raahil makes Khushi explain on reflex - "Raahil...please....I can't risk being there...around you...not right now...not even under Noor's dear friend pretext...please Raahil...it's way too sensitive...I'd just simply hate to risk 0.001percent of a chance here....Noor is your whole wide world...I will not risk your Nikaah not going through peacefully...at all....it will kill me straight within in here in my heart to have any harm come on you...on the days that should be the happiest in your life....and moreover...I am there in spirit with you anyway...alrighty? Oh ofcourse I am...Abbu said..he will be sharing all the pictures, videos with me as and when he can amidst the celebrations...I will be seeing it all for sure...my little bhaijaan...please don't be mad?please??"

That from Khushi was also like a silent dagger to Rehaan's father's heart. He wanted her to be here as much. If not more than Raahil.But then at the same time - he'd also let Khushi convince him on the same - keeping Raahil's Nikaah in mind.And for a second - he felt like he hated being at the middle of this crossroad. It was killing him within to have one of his children married without the presence of the other.And so he admits again with a sigh now looking at Raahil - " well....not that...my heart is in it...as well...Raahil...beta..,"and he looks back at Khushi and asks again - " are you sure...we both cannot convince you..collectively on this...right now...Khushi..??"

That makes Raahil excited momentarily as he says - " see...there you go Aapa...Abbu's on my side on this...come please? just for a day? for the Nikaah? Everyone here at Noor's end also knows that you'v become such close as friends given that she's made sure..she talks about you...so much in her family circle...anyway...just come as her close friend...please? get Maya...Sarah...with you..,"and he adds himself after - " oh wait...I know...Sarah and Brian are on the honeymoon themselves...get Maya...please? or wait..wait...I think...Abbu..this can also be the right occasion for Aapa..to introduce us to her mystery man..she so deeply loves...what say??get him...too...Aapa...please?"

That makes Rehaan smile a little uncomfortably as a cover up momentarily. In the last three months - both Raahil and him - had nurtured a significant close bond with Khushi - that it was obvious for her to admit to them within a month that she was seeing someone very seriously and was deeply in love with him but given the fact that she did tell them - she would talk to them about who he is with some more time down the line - did worry his father's heart a tad bit little. Did this man really love his little girl as much as she did? His father's heart thought.Did his eyes also shine with so much love and sincerity like Khushi's did at the mere context of him?? Did this man even acknowledge in his heart - what a precious petal his little girl was??? What if he hurt her? How honest were his intentions? Yes. He knew Alice knew him closely and well and she'd often reassured him as well that he didn't have anything to worry about.And Rehaan knew that if Alice was saying this - there had to be a solid reason for the same but yet in his father's heart - he obviously worried.

Raahil caught the look on his Abbu's face almost instantly and he used the moment to exchange another knowing look with Khushi upfront on screen now as he said - " there...you go...you see this look on Abbu's face..don't you Aapa?? He's zoning off in his worry with regards to your mystery man...yet again...I am telling you...Aapa...my Nikaah is the best time to put Abbu's worries at ease..as well...just come...please??"

And he hears Khushi sigh at that as she says with a sincere smile shooting him a look - " sorry...Raahil but please know..your Nikaah is most surely not the time for this...alrighty?,"and he sees his Aapa look at Rehaan as she says reassuringly - "Abbu...relax...please? will you?? you have nothing to worry..at all...Mum tells you the same too right???"

Rehaan sighs - " well yes...she does...beti jaan...but...,"and he hears Khushi say now instantly - " wait...Abbu...and how did this get to this..anyway...I mean..ofcourse I am going to tell you all about who he is...when I see you next like in person...as promised...but..this was about me convincing Raahil on the not making it to the Nikaah bit..right??"

Raahil says now snapping his fingers - " exactly...aapa...thats an answer I want...why can we not see you in person here...in days from now...for my Nikaah??or wwait...don't tell me..that you never plan to come to Lahore now???? like ever?????,"and he asks his heart getting heavy again in intense emotion - " won't you ever...come home??? Aapa? Won't you ever see...whats it like to live with us..here...when you came last...you saw our home from afar...but this...is your home...too...aapa...you know it is..."

That makes Khushi sigh emotionally again as she says now exchanging another look with Rehaan - " I knew it...I knew it ..that ...Is exactly what you would say...which is why I already talked to abbu about my plan...,"and she adds - " go on Abbu...tell him..."

Rehaan does - " your Aapa obviously knows that this is her home as well...Raahil...she knows we are dying to have her visit us and live with us for a while..and she promised she will for sure...once you return from your tour of West Indies...in the end of January..."

Khushi chips in immediately next - " exactly...Raahil...and I promise...I will stay...for a week like minimum...for I would have finished my exams by mid Jan anyway and would be on a break from university...and all my content work...I can just work on from anywhere right??? I promise you...I will make it upto both you and Noor on this...regard...but please support me on this?please don't be stubborn about me coming to your Nikaah for now...please??"

Raahil sighs now reluctantly as he sees the apologetic look on his Aapa's face and he admits fidgeting with his phone next - "am not happy about it Aapa..."

Rehaan admits - " neither am I..."

That makes Khushi add sincerely - " and I know that...just like I also know that in your minds you both know where I am coming from...,"and she chips in further trying to divert the topic yet again - "anyways...so tell me...what did you think off the animated strip on After the yards that went live this morning here at our end on that little tale of one of England's senior cricket legends...after his retirement...,"and they both hear Khushi add next sincerely and emotionally - " Abbu just got to say this again though..even though...you know it...the theme of After the Yards..was like...totally inspired by you in my head and heart...back then..."

That from Khushi obviously gets Rehaan's heart all warmed up as his eyes get all emotional and he admits excited - " it's amazing...beti...you know...I loved it...I messaged you the very second I saw it...didn't I??"

Khushi nods happily.

Raahil adds now grinning because talking about his Aapa's creativity in animation especially in these series connected to cricket always got him excited - " well not just you Abbu...I loved it too...she knows it...I texted her as well...which is why its trending online..as well...we were all talking about it at our end too...after practice..as to how kool the animated representation of it all is coming out to be...and in my heart I so wanted to boast to everyone...that's my Aapa...you all....oh just when will you start creating content on international cricketers apart from England's...Aapa...I am so excited to see you dish out an animated strip on a little tale from Abbu's life..."

Rehaan adds excited - "and I am excited to have her create a little one on your's too...son..."

That makes Khushi smile on reflex as she says - " hopefully soon...Abbu...Raahil...I mean...in the beginning of January...I think I should be good to go..to begin to create content on international behind the teams/units/players etc...and I would love to obviously do bits on you two....just like I'v dished out a couple out on being inspired by Mum here...in the volumes of Aiding the Yards...,"and with that momentarily the topic of discussion shifts back to Khushi's work first and then to Raahil's Nikaah celebrations/preparations yet again - and then Noor - and just like that - Rehaan, Raahil and Khushi continue to talk in the moments which had now become their usual family catch- up - time!!

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

Twenty-Five Minutes Later

London - UK - 7PM in the Evening

Khushi's POV

I smile to myself as I hang up on the video call with Raahil and Abbu - now!

Phewwwwwwwwww!!

Why the Phew????????????

Guys.

I can't tell you how relieved I am over the bit that by the end of this call - I was finally able to convince Raahil &Abbu( the second time around)wholeheartedly - to just go on with the Nikaah preps and celebrations - happily sans my presence. I mean it wasn't easy given that it took me days to get all the emotional built up drilled into Abbu prior before talking to Raahil - but still - to my mind - this felt like the right thing to do.Obviously. Yes - it did pain me a tad bit little in my heart that I wasn't going to be there to bless Noor and Raahil in person but then I also realised that perhaps its my absence in this monumental moment in their life that could be the biggest blessing towards them too? Plus it's not like I wasn't sending our mountains of best wishes and love both their way. They knew I was!!

On that note - I was glad that the point where in I reminded Raahil towards the end that he was technically going to get married in the wedding attire - I'd helped him choose with Abbu(virtually through pictures/video calls) which also meant that it would remind him off my silent presence in there - kind off worked in my favour.

Hmmmm.

Alrighty.

Now that I am done with the usual video call with Abbu/Raahil and Mum's away on the tour(She's touring in England only with the unit as South Africa's here on a current tour) - I think I wana take this little break to dish out a quick supper - before getting back to studying and then working. I do have like lots lined up to do before I sleep today.Plus it's going to be just by myself today given that M and Jack are out on a date night - plus Brian and S are on their honeymoon and Mum's away.

And since a little birdie tells me that you all do have a headsup about all that's been happening for the last three months - I am just going to stick to the present then.

But Yes.

I do have to say one thing though - Nonetheless.

THANK YOU CHRIST.

FOR EVERYTHING.

I mean how can I not feel the gratitude that I feel in my heart right now given the developments both personal/professional in my life in the last three months?????????????????????

I am right on that thought and on my way to the kitchen when my phone beeps.

Its Abbu.

Abbu : Khushi...beti...so...I just forgot to discuss this on call...will you please tell me...the exact course title/code for the masters course that you are pursuing right now???? I know your college....but what is the exact course code?

I sigh as I read that. I think I know what this is about.

Me : why?? Abbu? is it because you wana check out the tuition fees for the year yourself now on my university's portal given that both Mum and me didn't disclose the figure out to you??

Abbu : you figured it out???????

I smile as I take my seat on the stool near the kitchen island.

Me : yes...I figured...Abbu...and please...just like I did mention to you prior...I got my masters tuition fees sorted pretty much myself...prior...by saving up in the years I was working on in my break in between my undergrad and now...I haven't taken much from Mum on this...too...Abbu...I wana do this for myself...it makes me happy that I am able...too....my intention is not to hurt you with this...Abbu...you know that don't you?

Abbu : yes...I know...that...meri beti...but I am your father...it will bring me immense joy...to be able to do something for you...I'v missed out on all your life...already...your Mum's taken exemplary care of you though...but...it will bring me some joy..if I am able to gift you...something...at the least..meri beti...you even refused on my plan...off gifting you the car..for your daily commuting...

I smile.

Me : that's because...I love to use the tubes...for commuting Abbu...plus have you seen the traffic in London city? Like central London?? Ugh. I'd just hate to drive there. But alrighty...given that you just said...you do wana gift me something...I have a fantastic idea...

Abbu : great..finally...meri beti...tell me...just you name it...

I smile.

Me : how about when I am in Lahore next you buy me that delicious Biryani you love from that one place? Remember I told you when I was in Lahore...last...I ate there with my friends...thinking off you...so perhaps? what better gift than that?Abbu?

Abbu : and what if I say I will gift you that obviously plus also cook you some biryani myself once you are here??

I grin.

Me : I'd love that Abbu.You know I would. On a serious note - please stop thinking this please? once again - I wana say this to you. You have already done so much for me emotionally in these last three months...like more than you can even imagine...my scars in here..don't ache as much anymore...Abbu...and that's all because of the love and care you'v been showering on me...its all I need.The father in you.

I tap send. And I can totally imagine him tearing him a little as he reads this.

Abbu : we will miss you terribly beti during the celebrations here. I wish it didn't have to be this way.

Me : I know Abbu....okay..please tell me this...you had your bp meds? The ones you need to before you sleep?

Abbu : done...meri beti...Raahil made sure of that as well.

Me : ofcourse he did. Okay..now don't think of working too late in the night Abbu. It's nearing 11 pm for you soon.Good night Abbu. Speak tomorrow.

Abbu : You too beti.Good Night.Speak tomorrow.

And I finally keep my phone aside - wiping a happy tear outta my eye on reflex.

LIKE WHO KNEW THIS WAS THE MIRACLE THAT WAS AWAITING ME???

YOU GUYS SEE THIS - DON'T YOU???????

ABBU AND ME + RAAHIL , NOOR, AND ME HAVE STARTED TO BOND IN SUCH CLOSE WAYS NOW - THAT IT SURELY DOESN'T FEEL LIKE THAT UNTIL THREE MONTHS (93 days)AGO - THEY HAD NO IDEA ABOUT ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And wait wait wait - just in case you all are wondering why is it that I haven't called up Arnav all emotional already wanting to rant this out to him as well - is because - well he is in Australia right now and we are ten hours behind them which means that it is nearly 5am for him right now and Mi Amore is totally asleep.(I will be leaving him usual texts/voice notes about it all - obviously while I eat and after in between every now and then until I sleep - as usual so that he will catch up on it all first thing in the morning at his end)

Plus - guys - I am also delighted to report that India's been having an amazing start to this Australia tour - for the 3 match ODI series was like a Draw with 1-1 as the last match was a wash out and they won the T20 series - 2-1 clinching the nail biting decider match just two days ago in a thriller! Arnav's been freaking fabulous not just with the ball but in all three departments as usual!He's been so consistent this year - that it kinds of put me into a permanent gaming awe around him off late on another tangent all together. He's now just gearing up in intense training for the 4 Test Match Series of the Border Gavaskar Trophy - as the first test match begins in three days from Now!!

On that note - I am sure you all caught up on the bit that Abbu and Raahil are pretty eager to know who is it that I am this deeply in love with obviously!!!!!!! Even Noor is! And I am freaking dying to tell them as well like Christ only knows how difficult has it been to hold it all in - but that's only because Arnav still thinks it isn't the right time yet. He keeps saying - " Some more time fiore...just give it some more time..." - and that always makes me admit to him that its crazy because he's always been the impatient one out of us right? So??? Then just why does he still want me to wait on this when I have reassured him over and over that he had nothing to worry about with regards to him being any sort of a sensitive bit with regards to Abbu, Raahil and Me.

But then in my heart I also know that - he just wants to be so cautious because of the deep ways in which he loves me?

And I pick up my phone now as I resume to make myself my supper and I head to Whatsapp to begin leaving Mi Amore - some texts and voice notes as usual - side by side - beginning with the one - telling him - how deep and bad I miss him - Obviously.

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

30 More Minutes Later

730PM

Birmingham, UK

In The Hotel

Alice smiles to herself as she hangs up on the call with Khushi. She was glad that her little girl had finished an early supper at her end and was getting set to dive into the rest of her work piled up for the evening.

Seeing Khushi work on her content with such passion and dedication and then her work receiving the amazing reception digitally that it was now - obviously made Alice very proud in her mother's heart.She was also sure that once Khushi completed her master's - she'd be able to implement more of her knowledge into the work that was already quite amazing. She continues to smile to herself now as she continues to browse through the latest strip from Khushi that had gone live earlier today. Her mother's heart continued to beam in pride as she observed the volume off online engagement on the content for the day.

It is right then her phone buzzes with Rehaan's text which reads : Alice, are you headed down for dinner with the team already? If not...Is it a good time to connect? Perhaps? a video call? It saddens me that neither could I convince Khushi to make it here for Raahil's Nikaah.Nor could Raahil. Just like it still saddens me that - you declined coming here as well. I so wish it didn't have to be this way. It shouldn't have to be this way.

Alice sighs as she sits down on the sofa in her room and takes a moment to close her eyes at that.

Three Months.

The last three months had been so monumental for her within personally- emotionally - on several tangents. She'd taken the leap of faith in addressing the angst of the past with Rehaan by reciprocating his regular efforts of keeping in touch in order to get re-acquainted with each other in the present day today. She almost chuckles at herself sadly in the moment as well. Why? For in this very second - she feels like - she should have known then - in that very moment of time that day - that just opening the door to this very bit of having Rehaan become an active part of Khushi's life - was going to become like yet another WhirlWind in her being. The Whirlwind that would soon begin to sweep her heart off it's feet.

She hadn't been able to escape the emotions then or ever. And looks like she wasn't going to be able to escape them in the present - yet again. Yes - he had aged and moved on with time - and yet it seemed like that he was still the same man within she once knew.Twenty Five Years Later - today - in his heart - he was still the same man she had fallen in love with then so deeply . He was still the same man who could make her feel so much in just a subtle exchange of an eyelock. Plus - it wasn't really helping her heart to discover day by day - what an amazing father he was to Khushi(just like he had been to Raahil all this while). For that bit was totally acting like a double edged point - on one side it made her heart glow in glee and it was also nudging her heart to begin falling for the man he was today - and on the other end - the knowledge of the very same did tug on the guilt of the past as she felt that occupied in the paradox of her very own fears - she'd just wronged her daughter deeply by depriving her of Rehaan's presence in her life prior. Maybe - they could have worked out the equation of peacefully/ respectfully co-parenting her even though they weren't together as a couple - earlier???? (Just like they are doing in the present day - today)

She sighs taking a deep breathe clutching the phone in her hand.It beeps again with Rehaan's text.

Rehaan : Alice?? You there??

She takes a deep breathe and replies.

Alice : yes..Rehaan...we can connect for a while...I am to leave for dinner with everyone in fifteen...

Her phone buzzes with his video call almost instantly. She swipes up just brushing her hand casually through her hair to adjust them.

The very second Rehaan's face fills the screen and he smiles at her - she feels her heart warm up on it's own accord. There was still something about the way - his eyes locked with her's even today. Perhaps - she was just destined to stay drowned in the overwhelming emotions with regards to him?

And she hears him say warmly now - " well you look exhausted Dr Jones...it's been a long day already..I am aware how hectic all the backend work is medically...as always specially on an hectic tour..."

Alice asks on reflex with a little smile - " did you just call me Dr Jones?"

She sees him nod as he says - " I just did...Alice...realised in my head..it's got a nice ring to it...so why not try say it out loud?"

Alice smiles at that and nods - " well...I could say the same though...as in...you look pretty tired as well..and it's sleeping time for you...almost...the Nikaah preprations will only kick in - in full swing tomorrow on...you should rest well...,"and as she spots Rehaan sighing at the reference she adds in to explain in a matter of fact tone - " I know...I know..it hurts both you and Raahil that Khushi's made this decision Rehaan...but...it is what it is..you know...everything...do not misunderstand her intentions please??"

She hears Rehaan sigh at that - " I don't...obviously...nor does Raahil...Alice...but this isn't good news to all of us in here...him, Noor...me..."

Alice nods at that - " I am aware..but we are there in thought for sure...so are our blessings for the two...,"and given that she knew it was the best to divert off the topic for a bit so she adds narrowing her eyes at Rehaan - " anyways...so...I just had Khushi telling me that you were worrying about the man she is with...again?"

She sees Rehaan shrug at that honestly - " well...yes to that...Alice...how can I not worry? when all I know about him is that his name starts from A, he is a fan of my game given that she took my autograph for him especially all those months ago??? I mean...I do trust your trust on him....but...."

And Alice says now smiling on reflex thinking of Arnav - " but..what? you wonder if he'd stand by her knowing our sensitive equation perhaps? is that what you'v been wanting to ask me and Khushi for a while now? Rehaan??"

She sees Rehaan smile at that on reflex as their eyes lock making her heart all warm again - " twenty five years later...and I still am as happy as I used to be..when you'd read me...Al.."

Alice feels her eyes well up in emotion on reflex. He'd just called her Al - for the first time after twenty - five years. It was what he used to lovingly address her as in the past.And even though a lot within her heart was tremoring in emotion she whispers on reflex - " don't...please??? don't call me Al? Rehaan.Just don't"

She catches on the surprised gush off angst on his face almost instantly as he asks - " why? Does it make you uncomfortable?"

Alice shakes her head in a - No - on reflex - " no...it doesn't..perhaps the problem's the bit that it doesn't make me uncomfortable...,"and as she pauses at that and see's Rehaan smile a little at that locking his gaze with hers again and she thinks it's the best that she shift the context back to their daughter for now and so she says - " alrighty...so...anyways...to answer you again...you don't have anything to worry about at all...Rehaan...for he knows everything...alright? as is..and to be honest to you...the fact that we are here today at the point we are...has a lot to do with him..he's the one whose..helped Khushi shed so much baggage of her heart with regards to you...in the first place..."

She sees Rehaan's eyes widen on reflex at that as he asks - " really??????? he knows everything??????? Well...now that does earn him some points...in my head...,"And he asks - " tell me again...will you? that you trust him with our daughter...Alice??"

Alice does - " I do...wholeheartedly...and when the time will come...I am sure...so will you...Rehaan...,"and that makes Rehaan answer on reflex - " well...I'll just have to wait to know from Khushi then??"

Alice nods and it is right then her phone beeps with a support team members telling her that they were all set to head down for dinner and she says to Rehaan now - " I gotta leave in a couple of minutes...Rehaan...for dinner......,"and at that they just talk casually for another couple of minutes with everything revolving around Khushi - before they finally hang up - and Alice makes her way down for dinner - with an emotional tear and a puzzled smile up her lips.

Did Rehaan know that - just connecting over and through everything Khushi - with him - was like soothing balm to her soul - the balm that was beginning to mirror so much of emotion of the past from within?

Oh Perhaps he did know. She thinks to herself as she steps out the door. That knowing piercing gaze off his had perhaps already seen it through.

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

The Next Day

Sydney - Australia

5:00 PM in the evening

Arnav's POV

Ved grins as he continues to look into his phone as he says to us all(Raunak, Sammer, Daksh, Cap and Me) - " seriously brother...you gotta tell Khushi on all our behalfs...that this stuff is really kool...I mean..how quirky , short, crisp is the point of narrative in the animated strips...and this one that's come online today...has just been trending online...because well...its with regards to one of the senior England legends...Maahi loves these too...I am sure she already texted the same to Khushi this time around too...convey my msg for me...will you brother?"

My Hearts beaming in immense pride just like it always does as I see My Fiore's work up online or any of my closest friends complimenting her work as well.I grin and wink - " will do..brother..."

So we are all huddled up in the elevator and are on our way up to the rooms after finishing up on quick evening refreshments after an intense day of training and practice sessions for the test match - series here in Australia.(The Border -Gavaskar Trophy)

Raunak chips in grinning next looking into his phone - " it touches the heartstrings as well in a way that's subtle...and yet unavoidable...infact this one..today...has got me thinking...about...hey man..what after...in it's real sense...we all know the day is going to come one day in all our lives...is this what it would feel like?"

Sameer winks at me now taking my case as usual - " I simply don't understand yet... how is it that Khushi is so deeply in love with you again..brother??"

I chuckle now and Daksh nudges me in the arm mischeviously - " well...and aren't we glad...that our man isn't the only one...burning in the flames of Love...I mean...given that we all know...how crazy Khushi is about him..."

I groan at them all playfully - " guys..come on..its been months...just when will you stop taking my case ??"

Cap chuckles and chip in next - " that would be never...Arnav...but I am sure...you know that already...just like we also know you don't surely want us to stop taking your case..ever...we know you love it...atleast on this regard"

I nod happily and We all share a happy chuckle.

Well - my Captain's right!!

The elevator's reached our floor now and as we are all getting out - I say to all now impatient to admit the one personal bit out to them all. It's been something that I got onto this morning first thing as I woke up and after listening to my Fiore's voice notes from last night and reading her texts - I just backed my heart on it. And I do think the only way I can keep this bit in my stomach from her now is if I say it out loud to them all as well instead. Mom, Dad, Akash, Di - they are already aware of the development, obviously - " okay...everyone..in my room ...please? I have an announcement to make..."

Everyone looks at me now in collective puzzlement and it is right then we spot Singh racing down the corridor now towards us all as he says to Daksh, Raunak and Sameer - " Srinath Sir..wants to have a word with you three...he asked if he could see you for ten minutes maybe??"

Srinath Sir is our Strength and Conditioning Coach in the squad.

Raunak, Sameer and Daksh share a quick nod and get going with Singh and I gesture to them silently to join us all in my room after and they nod and leave with Singh - as they begin casual chatter.

I gesture Cap and Ved to step into my room now and once we do - and theyv walked right in - I close the door to my room at the speed of light and walk up in front of them and slump my training backpack on the side and place my hands on my waist and state out loud in a matter of fact to the two upfront - " okay...I will state this out again to Raunak and Sameer and Daksh when they are back...but just gotta get this off my chest for now so......that's it...the decisions been made...I am going down on my knee...I am proposing...I don't think I have it in me to handle this long distance longer...Cap...Ved.....I mean..specially when we have this huge time difference gaps in between of us...across continents...it kills me...it really does...so I v decided...the next I see Khushi...I am proposing...she finishes her degree in May...I am going to marry her soon after...for then she'll be working on her animated content..which she anyway says she can continue from anywhere..given that she'll be stepping more into a freelancer kind off a role that doesn't require her to be like stationed just in London...which means...that way..she can travel with me...mostly...so....I had this thought this morning...I mean...iv been dying to propose her for a while...but then there were somethings I was waiting for to settle down...but hell...god knows...I can't wait anymore...."

The bit I was waiting for was obviously her Abbu's reaction to us but now I just feel like maybe I should just dive right in - propose her first and handle the rest later??? Maybe it would be better to meet her Abbu with the backing - that I am going to marry your daughter - Sir??????????

That from me - obviously made Cap and Ved exchange a happy knowing grin now and Ved asks taking his seat on the bed - " this...is great stuff...brother...so wait...you mean...you will propose in like days from now? you did say Khushi might just come in for two days to ring in New Years with you here???"

Cap grins and reminds as well - " less than two weeks to go then...brother..."

Oh hell.

I groan now. I don't think Mom will be able to send me the ring that I asked her to get working on getting ready this morning - by then???

I admit the same to Ved and Cap - scowling for a bit and then I shrug - " oh well...ill try to ask her to have the jeweller to hurry up..perhaps??anyways...I am so glad I admitted this out loud to you both..now...for now...you two know...everyone at home does..and just makes me feel like I can conceal this from Khushi until the moment and not blurt it to her first thing as I ring her to wake her up in the morning...you know given that she will be up soon...at 730 am her time...,"and I look at the time on my watch.

Damm.

Still thirty mins to go!

I hate this Australia - London time difference.

Period.

Ved chuckles now - " we know we know...you hate the Australia - London time difference..."

Cap gets off the bed now and walks up to congratulate me as he hugs me from the side patting my shoulder - " congratulations Arnav...this does call for a celebration....tonight..."

Ved winks - " given that we all know...Khushi's answer will totally be yes..."

I grin as I hug Cap - " pray that Mum's able to have the ring sent to me here in time by New Years? Or then ill just have to wait until we return from this tour...for that will be the next I see her..."

Ved winks - " lets hope for the same.."

And it is right then Cap says looking back at the door - " okay...given that Raunak and Sameer aren't here yet...looks like I'll have to say this out loud to them again...but then...yes...I think I do want to get this off my chest to you two first...before I convey my final decision to our coaches in a bit from now and then to the BCCI..."

That puzzles both Ved and me collectively now as we look at him and ask pretty much in a puzzled unison - " huh?? What do you mean Cap? what decision???"

Cap sighs and admits in a matter of fact tone - " the decision that I am stepping down from Test Captaincy + the bit that I am retiring from Test Cricket.....for good...its final...and I intend to announce it...in a couple of hours from now...at first I thought...I'd do this...after this series...but then...last night I was thinking...why not do it now? it's the best for the team...the captaincy in all the three formats and playing it all for so many years for over a decade has been taking a massive toll on me...lately...and about time...I make this decision in the best interest of test cricket scene and our country..."

WAIT.

WHAT???????????

That shocks and pales both Ved and me almost instantly. For this means - Ved will take over as Test Captain almost immediately?????? He's been the VC for a while in all formats and even though he does Captain in the games Cap doesn't play - this bit just got like super serious on like a permanent responsibility. I know - he thought he had more time to prepare to step into this kind of responsibility.

Ved asks Cap now in shock still - " Cap...no...you don't mean this...do you??????? are you serious??? You wana step down...now?????? why not after the series?? It will be a huge hit to the morale of everyone in the unit right now...we surely gotta win the Border -Gavaskar trophy this time..."

Cap smiles calmly as he explains - " which is the exact reason why I must do this now...before...the onset of the series...country above all...Ved...I will drop myself if I have too - if I feel like it is me standing in the way off our victories in the whites for India....I'v realised that off late I just haven't been in the mindset to lead in the tests anymore...and I know that you will do a much better job at it....and perhaps Arnav here...will also be fantastic as your deputy in red ball cricket...so what but better time to do this than now...before the onset off one of the most prestigious test tournaments in between us and Australia....you'v both had such a wonderful year..game wise...I am sure...you will do a wonderful job at this..boys..."

WAIT.

WHAT THE????????

WHERE DID THAT COME FROM??????????????

OH HELL.

Perhaps From the bit that at times(on just about five-six occasions over the years) - I have stepped in as VC in the test games - that Ved captains when Cap's not playing a particular game!!.

I can't believe this didn't click my head amidst my momentary worry for Ved and Cap!

Hell.

No.

Stepping in as VC in couple of games is like one offs. I don't think I am ready for like a full-time test Vice captaincy post? I mean - I enjoy playing with the freedom I do - away from the other dynamics.

I brush my hand over my face now totally puzzled on how to react to this Cap just like Ved is - for we both also know that if Cap has come to this decision he surely has after a lot of back-fro thought and we both end up asking him on reflex in unison - " is there anything we can say? Or do? To change your mind...Cap??"

Cap shakes his head - " perhaps..no...brothers...infact I am sure...in your heart you both knew..it was coming..."

Ved sighs - " I just thought I had more time to prepare...to fill into your shoes...feels huge...everytime...Cap...and now..."

Cap walks over to Ved now and sits next to him and wraps an arm around his shoulder - " you will be okay...brother...I am right here...still not going anywhere in terms of white ball cricket...its just for our game if we opt for split captaincy here on...in the formats..."

I sigh and end up asking on reflex looking at the two now - " what if I also feel like I ain't ready yet? To be Vice Captain in Tests as in like regularly like all the time???????for that would mean captaining in the games in the future when Ved doesn't play...no...nope...I ain't ready...for that...I don't like ever want to Captain even if it's a couple of times when Ved's resting...its not my cup of tea....you both know that....I am quite content in the role I play in our team...you both know I am..."

Cap smiles calmly now and as Ved and me exchange a knowing worried look amidst ourselves - he begins to counsel us through our respective moments - as he mostly does also as our very own mentor in the games and in the middle of it all - and I find myself looking at the time again - in an aching wait - for the minutes to pass by and for My Fiore to wake up.

Why? For in this moment right now - it totally felt like - Her voice. Her sight - was exactly what I needed.

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

A short while later - Simultaneously - On the Other Side of the Globe - UK

Khushi's POV

My eyes flutter open on its own accord and I reach out for my phone fighting back a yawn.

It's 7:25 AM.

Greatttt!

I technically woke up - five minutes before - I asked Arnav to buzz me as my wake up call - given that its evening for him in Australia.Which means I get to be the one to call him first thing instead. I just brush my hand sleepily through my hair and I ring him up while continuing to lounge in bed. I buzz him on the voice call first - you know just in case he is with everyone?

He picks up almost instantly and I say instantly into the phone yawning again - " hey...you...baby...goodmorning...looks like my eyes just had an alarm of it's own right now...woke up five mins earlier than I was supposed too...oh wait..i do wonder why am I yawning so much baby..when...I just woke up?? I am yet to see your texts/hear your voice notes though love...I mean...I just sleepily rang you first...so tell me...how was the training? Hectic much?what you up to now..Mi Amore??"

I hear his voice come through in a disturbed whisper almost - " Khushi......"

Wait.

Up.

Something's not right.

I straighten up in bed as I clutch on my phone tight - " baby..whats up?? Whats happened?? Are you okay? I know somethings wrong...just by your tone right now...are you hurt? Did you hurt yourself in practice dammit? answer me...now...Arnav...godammit...please????wait..wait..wait...don't answer me...I am converting this into a video call now...pick up...please???,"And I do not wait for him to say a word further and convert it into a video call.

He picks up almost instantly and the very second the sight of him just hitting his head back on the headrest of the bed as he's lying down in it half way up - meets my eye - and I catch the worried frowning lines up his forhead - I ask on reflex worried the hell out of my mind taking deep breathes to compose my worry - " okay thank christ...you are okay...like physically...you are right???"

He nods.

I ask next on reflex - "why are you frowning this way..baby?"

He sighs brushing a hand nervously through his hair - " damm...I hate to worry you with this first thing in your morning baby..."

I glare at him - " oh shut you up...Arnav...from where did that come from...not fair...out with it now...please?? I can see somethings bothering you immense????????what is it baby? Talk to me...I am right here...for you..always...oh wait..perhaps..that is how I just woke up early here on reflex...like see...even in my sleeping senses...my existence is so freaking atuned to yours..."

He smiles a little now.

Thank Christ - for that.

I gesture him silently to go on now and he sighs and leans back against the headrest - " a very sudden unexpected...development here..at my end...fiore...Cap and Ved just left the room..like two minutes ago...I was just waiting for it to be 730 am at your end...so that I could wake you up anyway...so you have no idea...how relieved I was when I saw your call coming instead...baby...."

I ask in a rush - " what development baby?????? All okay there??"

He sighs - " Cap's decided to step down from test Captaincy +retire from Test Cricket like right very now - both at the same time - he's probably going to announce it through BCCI officials in a couple of hours...I guess...after a combined meeting with everyone before that...and looks like he's been in discussion with our head coach on this for a while now..which means...in some way..the coaches do anyway have a heads up...that Ved will take over...as Test Cap...first thing...and probably suggest me in as deputy in test..you know how I feel about this...baby...I am not ready...this is just not my thing...I love my freedom in my play...you know I feel pretty content with my role..right now..."

Uh-Oh.

Ofcourse I know where he is coming from. And I understand him on this so very well. But then at the same time - I really do think he got this in him to take this through. Like he has the talent+ the potential. His perceptive gaming mind - is like all high on gaming strategy anyway which is how he traps the batsmens in the games for wickets or reads the bowlers when he is batting.

I nod at him now in an instant understanding first and I say softly locking my intense gaze with his - " how about you leave your worries to me for now baby? Talk to me..about everything that's weighing you down??"

He nods and does the same for the next ten mins or so and once I am done hearing him out completely giving the respectful due to his professional feelings - I say now caressing my phone screen tenderly as if I were caressing his face - " I know...baby....I understand...but what if..this time around...I say...that its about time for...you take that leap of faith...my love??? you'v often empowered me on so many instances to do the same too right??? then how about you believe in my conviction in my heart that tells me...that you got this..baby...you can do this....look....I know..this is sudden..you weren't prepped...perhaps? but then from experience now...I guess...such is life...with it's ripple affects??????????right baby????? Just look back on a wonderful year you'v had professionally...and you will know why Caps suggesting this...you know you have the talent+ potential in you ....look why not look at this way...your freedom of play is for you to live in the moment...if you tell yourself this will take away your freedom of play...it will look like an boulder of weight...for real...so how about...you just tell yourself that maybe at times...this just might be about playing test cricket under different spotlights...but it would be the same you...then the same sense off freedom of play will never go away..."

Arnav sighs and brushed his hands on his face again - " you have no idea...how much I miss you right now..Fiore...I really need your arms around me right now...I mean I might prep my head for this eventually...but...its this initial bit that's taking a while to sponge in..."

Oh you say you need me and I'll be there Baby.

For you.Always.

He was priority.

I say on reflex now locking my gaze with his sincerly - " and I will be there on my first flight out then????? I'll come to you straight away..baby....wait...let me...browse...through..the flying out options I have....,"and I begin to do the same and I hear him say now sighing - " no baby...fiore....just the fact that you said that you would fly to me at the drop of the hat has done the magic I guess....I know...you'v been swamped with work...you have so much to do for the content set to go live next week because its gotta be posts on themes of soccer too next week...the final edits of it all...plus...you have your assignments...due for submission in a couple of days....no...I cannot be this selfish..."

I smile lovingly as I reassure him - " I will manage okay? I assure you I will...baby...and remember our deal? We must always be super selfish when it comes to the other.."

He nods and smiles a little - " yeah...baby...but no...Khushi..seriously...I assure you ...I will be okay..this is just a mometary shock...I guess...I mean...I am calling you pretty much fresh after the talk with Cap...so.."

I sigh now and lean back against my headrest - " then please...stop..being so hard on yourself...for being shocked about this in the first place...you are only human too...baby...stop...scolding yourself for taking time to soak this...please???????"

He chuckles now on reflex locking his gaze with mine - "I love you...so much...fiore..."

I smile - " and I love you....Arnav...so did you talk to everyone back at home about this already??,"

He shakes his head - "Nah. Not yet. Mom, Dad, Di are busy in their respective surgeries/opd's - Akash is in the middle of a meeting...I did leave them a message to ring me up when free...so yeah...ill fill them in..."

I smile - " alright..tell me when you have talked to them about it...I will get on a quick call with everyone then..."

We share a loving nod and I say now - " okay...so given that I do have to make it for my morning class only by 9 am...how about we just talk through your moment..baby? just like you always talk me through mine?????? Just imagine I am holding you tight as well...though...probably kissing all your worries away..."

Arnav winks now mischeviously - " well..give me the freedom in my imagination...and you know I'd imagine a lot more...Fiore.."

We share a warm chuckle at that and with that I lovingly gesture him to continue now and he does begin to unload the baggage's that often double up in weight in no time over an international sportsperson's shoulders.

Well.

Well.

Well.

I'd be dammed if I didn't make sure that My Baby felt a lot more sorted in his head to take this development on - by the time - we hung up on our call.

I know him through and through too - don't I?

And it's a blessing indeed - that I do!!

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

Same Day

A ShortWhile Later

New Delhi - India - 2:00 PM in the afternoon(Aus Time - 730PM)

BCCI Headquarter's - The Media &Public Relations Department Work Zone

Radha taps enter on her laptop and grins to herself and looks up sideways at her work partner Nikhil on the work station beside her and finds him looking back at her as well momentarily as he asks - " I reckon the grin says that it's done...you just sent in the email to the sports daily in UK looking out for content collaboration...as asked...by Vikram Sir this morning???"

Radha Raj and Nikhil Kapoor worked as close work associates in the PR and Media team of the BCCI as public relations managers. They did have a couple of more team members as fellow managers and PR executives in the team off 15 amidst them. Vikram Singh was their immediate Boss.The Head of the PR& Media Relations wing at BCCI. In a country where the sport of cricket was no less than a religion, it was obvious that BCCI had an exclusive in house communications team to manage the flow and work load of intricate communications/ media work and press releases.

Radhika nods excited - " exactly...that's what this grin means...I mean...I knew this was coming anyway...given that Vikram Sir has been keeping his eye out on the growing popularity of this online for the last two months...I just hope the sports daily does connect me further to her though...you know I think her idea was so well put together...the very week it started going live...I mean...it aims to cover up the entire circle with regards to 22 yards and everyone attached around it..eventually..."

Nikhil nods grinning - " I am sure they will...they surely know..this could bring massive volume engagement and revenue for their daily..I mean...it's cricket we are talking about...it's the core of sport here in the Asian subcontinent...and everyone knows...how the scene is here...in India...so from where I see it..it should be a win - win...I am sure they wouldn't mind her creating content on tales from the lives of Indian cricketers/supporting units...in a collab...."

Radha nods - " exactly my thoughts..anyways..lets wait to hear from them...fingers crossed...lets hope...I am able to connect to Khushi Jones...soon..given that Vikram sir does want to get this started ASAP..," and she smiles and adds - " to be honest Niks, I am pretty impressed with his work ethics as usual though...I mean...he surely could have suggested that we do something similar on these lines..with our own content creators here...but given that the title theme and the context of the idea is under copyright with Khushi Jones and she has that exclusive contract with the daily she's associated with currently ...he said..it just makes more of a fair deal...if we approach them for collab instead...first...."

Nikhil rolls his eyes at that mischeciously - " for Vikram Sir most surely knows as a master in the field of PR..that if we do something..similar...domestically here...we'd anyway be called out for ripping/ copying off the idea...people will as usual begin to say..where's our individual sense of innovation in content...so...this collaboration was the only feasible route...Radz...stop crushing on the man..will you?? He is your boss," he finishes with a playfully wink.

Radha scoffs at him playfully and whispers a little softly - " and you stop..being..the jealous boyfriend.. Niks..you know I just look upto him as our mentor..its you I got my eyes on..my man.."

That from Radha makes Nikhil chuckle happily as he winks looking at the time and the couple of empty workstations around - " lunch date it is then..my lady...come on..let's grab that quick bite...everyone's already taken the break..I was just waiting for you to finish up..."

They exchange a happy nod at that and are about to get up from their respective workstations when they see one of their work associates - Varun ( he was one off the PR executives and their Junior) rush towards them now hurriedly with work concern etched all over his face as he paused in his tracks in front of them now catching on his breathe and even before they could ask him what was up - Varun says - " radha ma'am...nikhil sir..thank god the two of you are here at the least...Vikram Sir.. has called for an urgent meeting...now...i'v sent out message to all to return from their lunch break in five minutes..."

Nikhil nods and exchanges a look with Radha as he hears her ask on both their behalf - " alright..no worries..we will shift our lunch to later then...but what is it that's so urgent and has got you pale in your face already..with so much tension.. "

Nikhil nods exactly - " yes..dude..your literally sweating on the side of your forhead.."

That makes Varun chuckle a little as he whispers now wiping the beads of work stress of his forhead - " that's probably because I can forsee the volume of excessive work coming our way for the rest of forthcoming week surely..Maam..Sir...news is...that Captain Dev just finished a virtual meeting with the BCCI President and the rest of the officials and coaches...and they just called Vikram Sir to handle the rest...he's stepping down from Test captaincy..and quitting from Test Cricket ..at the same time....the bosses obviously want us to get our press release ready...for Cap..wants this to go through us officially side by side..as he also announces the same on his social media handles...."

That surprises the hell out Radha and Nikhil collectively as they gape at one another in shock - "whattttt???? Are you serious??? I mean we all knew this was coming..but this suddenly..most surely no..and not before the onset of the border - gavaskar trophy...."

Varun nods - " exactly...but Cap is firm in his decision..he won't change it..which means...Ved Khanna a takes over as the official Test Captain active tomorrow on itself..and ASR is going to be announced as the official Vice Captain of the Test team..."

Nikhil nods now as Radha gestures them all to begin walking towards the meeting room as she spotted Vikram Sir enter it all engrossed on his phone in a serious conversation from across and Nikhil adds - " whoaaaa...that's a lot off developments in a couple of hours...you are right..we are going to be bombarded with work now...the numerous press releases..official press conferences to be arranged with the needed.....I guess Sir..is on call with Cap now...probably wanting to know what he'd like to quote from his end in the release..to begin with.....it's what a little over 730 PM in Sydney now????"

They all exchange a knowing nod and head towards the meeting room and Nikhil and Radha exchange a comfort knowing smile which just simply related to one another that they just had to add this another lunch date to the usual make up dates calendar in their List!

For this development at work had just taken the front seat - obviously!!!!

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

45 Minutes Later
245PM
Lahore, Pakistan
@ PCB - Head Office

Rehaan had been busy in a work meeting with his deputy at the cricket board Abrar ( who was also a dear friend). They were in the middle of discussing the final logistics planned of the upcoming tour off the Pakistan team heading to West Indies in 11 days from now.

And now that they had finished overseeing it all and were at the end of work discussion- Abrar says now to his friend - " bete ka Nikaah hai..janab...ab toh do din chutti le lijiye.." ( its Raahils Nikaah in a couple of days..now take some time off work...given that this bit that they needed to finalise and stamp out today had been done)

Rehaan grins at that looking at the time on the wall and just as he is about to answer Abrar - they hear a knock on the cabin door and he says on reflex- " come on in...," and as he spots his assistant enter in a rush he asks- " Imraan..what's the matter??"

Imraan explains hurriedly turning his work tablet to face Rehaan and Abrar - " news of the hour..Sirs...this just went live two minutes ago.. India's Captain Dev has stepped down from Test captaincy and retired from Test Cricket..together.. Ved Khanna takes him over as Test Captain...and India's all arounder ASR has been announced as the official Test vice captain...in this official press release by BCCI .."

That does surprise both Rehaan and Abrar momentarily given the timing and Abrar says - " quite a bold move from them...right before the start of Border Gavaskar trophy for them..especially when the win percentage this series will affect the world Test championships Rankings for the final next summer.."

Pakistan's Test Team was currently in the Top 4 Test team positions on the world Test championship table. NZ was at 1.India at 2.Aus at 3 and Pak at 4. England was in the fifth position and with six months to go before the final..they also knew that..they were still in the race to be in the Top 2.

Rehaan says now after a deep thought - " it's risky move...perhaps? But then...I guess...they are looking at it from the other lens...it will look to the world at large as if there is uncertainty within the Test arena..where as with this move..theyv only solidified certainty about the future instead...we all knew this was coming...it was only a matter of time...Captain Dev would have given up one....and they'v chosen well to be honest...it's a known fact that the passion for test cricket runs deep in Ved...which is going to be significant for test cricket going on - on the whole - and well their all-rounder ASR...he's a powerhouse of cricketing talent as well...in all fields...remember how he took all the wickets of our top order in one of the matches in the Asia Cup..despite our players preparing significantly on how to tackle his combination off spin+speed on the basis of our cricket analysts.....so..perhaps...keeping the future in mind..probably the right call from India..."

Abrar nods now deep in thought as well - " well now that you put it this way...I see your point..," and with that Abrar fondly turns around the Hourglass on Rehaans table and sees it beginning to run again as he says to Rehaan - " Janab...it's just the way it works in the sport/life per say..doesn't it..one leader leaves..another comes..some moments come and some go........but the show must go on..."

Rehaam smiles at that looking at the Hourglass upfront as he acknowledges the same with a nod - " exactly...Abrar....the show must go on..indeed..."

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

TADAAAAAAAA!

How was That Guysssssssss ??? A lot of developments - I know - I know. So once again I'd say - seatbelts on dear readers. Its going to be a rollercoaster of a next leg in the story!

Next Update : should come in tomorrow Night

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

Much Love

Always

Prachi

Posted: 28 days ago

Khushi can not make it to the wedding? How can Rahil have that? she will have to pull off something.


Romance 


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