Sunday, 28 October 2012

Chapter 8 - Captured Wings

Bwahaha! So many questions! Who's Angelica? Is Khushi and Diya the same person? Was Khushi married to Shyam? Should I kill you with anticipation or actually answer one of these questions in this chapter? Hmmmm...

P.S. There's a lot of mention of government databases which I've picked up from watching too much Criminal Minds and was influenced by my love for the character of Penelope Garcia in it - she basically forms up Aman's character. I don't know how the system in India works so just assume the system works like that in Criminal Minds ;). 

This is why it hurts the way it hurts. You have too many words in your head. There are too many ways to describe the way you feel. You will never have the luxury of a dull ache. You must suffer through the intricacy of feeling too much . 
- Iain Thomas, I Wrote This For You


He halted in his tracks, his every muscle tensing, his eyes widening, for a second he thought he may not be able to move.

"Please! Please! He can't be. This can't happen!"

He turned around suddenly, taking large steps towards her as she seemed to whimper in her sleep, twisting and turning, her small hands clenched around the sheets.

He felt himself fall to his knees just then, his legs giving way, watching her contorting feature all the while. Everything slowly falling into place. Why he was so drawn to her, her eyes, her actions...

"Nayak," Aman's words, why they had been so familiar. Mahesh Nayak, Chutki's father, that had been Chuki's surname...

He stayed there for a moment, rooted to the spot, his limbs refusing to respond to his brains instructions. The emotions, the dilemma, the heart ache, the unbelievable reality of the situation seemed to crippled him, cripple his every sense. He couldn't understand it, refused to believe it. Chutki, she was here, in front of him, in the flesh. He had known that she was alive, that she was somewhere being taken care of, he had felt it in his every pore. The day they had discovered the bodies and hers wasn't there he had known that she wouldn't have died, that she would have survived but he had refused to go there, to visit a past that he desperately wanted to run away from. But life was such an ordeal, just when you thought you had ran as far away as possible it would flash itself in front of you and take you back down that sodden lane of memories. 

"Chutki," he heard himself whisper, involuntary drops of tears making their way down his cheeks, momentarily blurring his view. His feelings were too tormented, too scattered for him to explain. The dull ache of not knowing her for all these years, the throb of seeing her again after so long, of protecting her without knowing who she was then finally finding out. The guilt of not looking for her when she still called out his name in her sleep. 

"Arnav," her words still rang through his ears, her cries, her tiny little whimpers. And then he felt the pain course through him, the guilt, the desire, the love, the memories, their sorrow, their anguish, their loss, his loss, her loss, their lives all etched into this painful cycle of loosing and finding. 

"I just want to know your name," her timid voice, her adamant gaze; she had known, she had found out that he was her Arnav. He felt himself fall completely onto the floor now, his fingers pulling at strands of his hair. Damn it! So had he! He had known too! The moment he had seen her, wrapped in red, her hazel dazzling eyes robbing him off of his sleep, his hands tight on her arm as he pulled her away, his heart had known all along and he had been so stupid. Never had he been so drawn to anyone, she had a pull on his every nerve, every muscle and he had been left so confused when really his heart had known all along. He leaned over then suddenly, letting his fingers lightly brush against the soft skin of her arm, needing to know that she was real, that this wasn't some sort of distant dream. He noticed then that she had calmed down, her hands clasped together, she had had a nightmare and for once he was glad she had. "Khushi," he whispered this time, that's why he hadn't been able to find her on the few occasions he had tried, because they had finally given her a name. 

He moved his hand away again, his fingers still unwilling to let go, they carried with them the urge to touch her, to never let go, to interlock his fingers through hers and keep them in that embrace forever. He wanted to take her into his arms, kiss away her every worry to listen to her for days on end, watch the features of her face as it changed from word to word, the tiny changing intensities of the light that sparked in her eyes every time she spoke. But for now he had to make sure, although he knew it he had to make sure.



Aman sat up on his bed, feeling around for the light switch, "urghhh!" He groaned into the phone then remembering that he had a lamp hit that instead, throwing his room into brightness. He commenced to blinking several times, the sudden light too bright for his eyes whilst Arnav made faces at the groaning and clattering that seemed to be coming through the speaker. 

"Aman? Are you awake?" He questioned then, making a face.

"Yes I am now!" Aman exclaimed, "and there better be a good enough explanation for waking me up!" He moaned, his voice still laced with sleep. 

"Oh shut up! Can you get to your computer please I need you to search something for me now," he instructed, impatience getting the better of him. 

"Now?" Aman questioned raising an eyebrow, "are you like demented? Is this about this Khushi chick? Listen I know you're nocturnal but I'm not," he continued to moan as he made his way over to the monitors, almost tripping over the clatter that NK had left behind on the floor. 

"Oh god Aman! Just do it! I need this checked whilst it's fresh on my mind!" Arnav exclaimed.

"Fine okay what is it?" He questioned then, tapping the screens on. 

"Okay I want the records for a Chutki Nayak, born on 15th of July 1989, birth certificate, notes, anything that you can find," he instructed as Aman raised an eyebrow in response. 

"Nayak but that's..."

"I know," Arnav cut it, "just do it," he stated sighing loudly. 

"But who's Chutki?" Aman questioned, not at all impressed by blank instructions.

"You'll find out, just check will you?" Arnav stated again, his brows knitting together in annoyance. 

"It's loading! Hold on!" Aman exclaimed, equally annoyed. "Okay it's here, Chutki Nayak, date of birth 15th of July 1989, she has a temporary name," he read through as he scrolled through her details. 

Arnav listened intently, taking a mental note of all the details. 

"Daughter of Mahesh Nayak and Manyati Nayak. Hold on there's a note at the end of it, there was a name change at the age of twelve but no mention of what it was changed too," he then added, his brows scrunching together. "What does that mean? Is that even allowed?" Aman questioned. 

Arnav tried to make sense of that for a few seconds, his features moulding into an equal expression of confusion, "no it isn't. Hold on!" He stopped Aman then, hitting onto another idea, "check if it's blocked off for official use somewhere, like a high security log-in," he instructed then, sure that that would be the case. 

"Wait what like witness protection?" Aman enquired, catching on quickly. 

"Yes exactly that."

"Okay hold on," he said whilst scrolling his way down, "oh wait there it is... Shit Arnav who is this?"

"Why?" Arnav questioned instantly, feeling his heart constrict. 

"No because," Aman gulped not quite sure how to put it, "this girl was believed to be dead at the age of twelve but no remains of her body were found and was therefore declared missing. She is the only witness to the Mallik murders who was assumed to have survived then later was declared dead as they could not find her," he read out, pronouncing each word slowly. "The Mallik murders? The ones in Lucknow?"

"Yes those ones Aman," Arnav attempted to mask his voice which was shrouded in pain at the mere mention, "but is there?"

"Yes there's an official access log-in underneath, but I can't get through and I don't want to hack into that," he mumbled, skeptical about hacking into that sort of government data, the very type he protected. 

Arnav nodded understanding his plight, "okay try my log-in, you might be able to get through," Arnav suggested, he was higher up in rank and therefore had a wider range of access.

"Aah right true but I still don't understand what this deal is and how you know, but anyway," he sighed into the phone quickly typing in Arnav's log-in. "And bam! We're in! Good one boss!" He smiled to himself. 

Arnav rolled his eyes not impressed with his constant use of boss, "alright good. Now what does it say," the impatience was clear in his voice. He listened for a while, unnerved by the silence from the other end. "Aman? Aman? Are you there?"

Aman heard Arnav's voice but he found it difficult to respond, to awaken his voice. His eyes were wide, his fingers frozen on the keyboard, his breathing deep and loud. 

"Aman! Answer god damn it! Are you there?" Arnav screamed, becoming worried now. 

"Uh yeh yeh, I mean oh my god. Shit shit shit shit!" Aman exclaimed. 

"What is it?" Arnav's voice was urgent, fearing a new kind of worse. 

"Arnav how did you. I mean what the? I mean how?" Aman shouted, unable to believe his own eyes.

"Just tell me what the hell is wrong Aman?" Arnav growled through gritted teeth. 

"It's the government protected note," Aman finally began, composing his frantic thoughts for a minute, "Per... Person placed under witness protection, adoptive parents... Shashi Gupta and Garima Gupta... Re-located to Delhi... Person given new identity; new date of birth, 21st of August 1989, new name...Khushi Kumari Gupta," Aman finished off exhaling deeply. Shit had just got real!

Arnav breathed a sigh of relief, letting his eyes close for a moment. He felt his heart beat increase, playing out to an old familiar rhythm, his muscles felt numb, a small tingling sensation climbing up his spine. He had been right, his heart, his senses had been right and for once fate was being nice. It had brought them back in front of each other again. He leaned against the glass door and let his body slowly slide down to the floor, what was he supposed to do now? What would he tell her? That he was the Arnav whose name she called out in her sleep? Her childhood best friend? Who had left her to die whilst he had been saved? That he hadn't properly tried to find her? And what would she think of him? He was a changed man, he was no longer the person she had known. Would she still like him? Would he be able to handle it if she didn't? Damn it! He punched the ground unable to take it anymore, gritting his teeth and letting the fury take over. Why was life so cruel? He felt his whole body shake from the torrent of emotions coursing through him, he let his warm tears slowly graze down his face. For once in so many years he didn't know what to do.

In the end it came to that one question; would he tell her? Could he risk her life like that? And then he remembered, Aman's words echoed through his ears,

"Shyam wants her."

She was already under threat, from Shyam Manohar Jha and he would have to protect her, he couldn't let the man just have his way with Khushi, no not with his Chutki. And then he had to get to the bottom of this Diya fiasco too, which didn't seem to make any sense.

He stood up slowly, his mind made, he needed to tell her, forget about the consequences and just tell her who he was. Above all, he had to protect her. He began to walk towards the room, his thoughts haywire, attempting to form  a coherent sentence, see in his head how it would play out at least when suddenly his phone vibrated in his pocket. He took it out, sighing on seeing Aman's name. He'd ended the call so abruptly, he picked it up, thinking it may be Aman trying to drill him for answers again but what he heard threw him off completely.

"Arnav!" Aman's voice was urgent on the other end. "Arnav! We need you here man!" Aman exclaimed into the phone whilst furiously typing away at the keyboard, bringing up different windows in the monitoring, looking for anything else that he could have missed.

"What? What do you mean you need me there?" Arnav questioned back, not in the least pleased with such instructions without proper explanations.

"Arnav I really don't have the time for long winded explanations," Aman's words were rushed, a clear indication that something serious was definitely going down, "I've put through for a chopper, it should reach you in twenty minutes. I've got everything ready down this end, NK's gathering up the guys and he'll brief them once he's gathered everyone. I'll stay here at your place, looking through things to see if anything new crops up but we ned you here, now!" He finished off finally, taking a deep breath in to calm himself, his fingers halting on the keyboard only for a split second then resuming there frantic ways once more.

Arnav's brows scrunched together and he took a minute to actually process the long speel that Aman had just gone through, a dull throbbing began at the back of his head as a result of it. He closed his eyes for a second, trying to make further sense of it, missing out on some sort of key detail here. Chopper, twenty minutes, briefing?

"Arnav? Arnav?" Aman tried from the other side, moving the mike closer to his mouth whilst Arnav snapped out of his thoughts.

"Yeh I'm here, trying to make sense of the fucking shopping list that you just narrated out to me!" Arnav exclaimed, clearly not impressed. "Aman! Chopper, the guys getting briefed, you need me there, I get that," he stated icily, "but what the fuck is actually going on?" He questioned through gritted teeth.

"Oh shit!" Aman exclaimed as his fingers stopped typing once more and he leaned back in his chair, his hands on his temples, "damn it Arnav, too much coffee and last minute plans," Aman fumed. "Anyway, the crate that you told me to keep a watch on will be at the docks in," he checked his watch, pressing the tiny button at the top corner to see his count down, "exactly 1 hour and 47 minutes."

"What?!" Arnav exclaimed, his eyes blazing with fury, "are you fucking kidding me Aman? You were supposed to keep a tight watch on those things!"

"I know I know, but I gave the job to NK. I had a god awful headache from listening to that asshole Aakash cringe fest with his fiancee Payal. Seriously Arnav! It was puke worthy!" He complained as Arnav nodded to himself, calming down by a fraction.

"Okay fine, twenty minutes, get everything rounded up, get my rifle done. Send me a map of the place, container numbers, the ship number, where it'll anchor, everything." Arnav instructed into the phone, already anticipating his plan of action.

"Alright done!" Aman smiled pressing a button just as it beeped through to Arnav's phone.

"Great, I'll have a look on the ride back, I'll be getting off at the house. I need to erm," Arnav paused for a moment, needing to form his words properly.

"Got it," Aman stated immediately, "Khushi, she's not safe with Shyam roaming about and I'll let you tell me whatever you aren't right now once this is done," Aman warned Arnav as Arnav smirked back, amused by Aman's ability to just know things even amidst all this chaos. "I've asked HP to get a room ready so all sorted ma dear now just get your ass down here before NK busts a vein!" Aman instructed smiling to himself.

"Okay 18 minutes!" And with that Arnav clicked the phone off.


Arnav's steps were slightly hesitant as he approached Khushi, not really wanting to wake her up as she lay peacefully in sleep. He watched her for a few seconds, kneeling down on the floor, the slow rise and fall of her chest, the shadow that her long lashes threw on her cheeks. A tendril of hair bothered her slightly as it floated around in the dull wind and his fingers went out to tuck it back behind her ear when he stopped himself, and closed his eyes momentarily to re-arrange his thoughts.

He placed his hand on her shoulder, shaking her with the gentlest of motions. Her eyes fluttered then opened, instantly forming into squints at the brightness from the lamp. She watched him for a second, not quite sure what was going on then as understanding dawned on her and as she realised exactly where she was and who she was with she immediately sat up, drawing away from his touch. She watched as the slightest wave of hurt flitted across his face only to be replaced by his emotionless mask. He arranged a smile on his face quickly, keeping up his pretence for now, for now was not the time or the right place for him to tell her all that he wanted to.

"We need to get out of here. Something err," his voice was husky and gentle as he attempted to choose his words wisely, not wanting to alarm her. "Something urgent's come up and I need to be somewhere."

He watched her large dove-like eyes as she stared at him completely bewildered, he smiled at her again, trying to put her at ease. "I assure you you'll be safe, safer than you would've been at your buajis or at home in Delhi," he tried again, "I just need to get this done so you'll have to be a bit patient with me," he reassured her then continued to kneel on the floor, taking a note of all the different emotions that flickered across her face.

She nodded finally, giving in and fixed the dupatta around her neck, gulping she nodded again, not sure what was going on but agreeing anyway. She felt she no longer had a choice, a lot of things were happening that she no longer understood but she was no stranger to being left out of the bigger picture. All her life she had been running away from one thing or another, fleeing from that life changing day, running away from lucknow, running away from the people that knew she was alive, running away from her past and now she was running away from unknown men. She looked into his molten chocolate eyes for a few more seconds, those eyes that now invaded her dreams, the eyes of a man that looked too familiar to someone she had known so long ago, the eyes of a man that she wished was the same person that she had known all those years ago. And more than anything looking into them she knew that she could trust him, she saw truth in them and she hoped she was making the right choice.

"Where are we going?" She finally asked, her voice quiet.

This time he wasn't surprised, she had always been brave this way, instead he questioned himself again as to why he hadn't realised earlier.

"My house, the chopper will be here in about five minutes and I've made sure you'll be alright there. Once we get there I'll be off for about an hour or two but I promise to come back and get you," his words were still gentle and that surprised her ever so slightly. Where was the man that had been so harsh to her only a few hours ago?

He stood up and started walking towards the door then turned back around again on hearing the distant sound of whipping blades. "It's here, I'll give you a minute to get ready, we need to go now."


Her hands scrunched the fabric of her dupatta as she watched the large helicopter land, swaying the trees and blowing around leaves in it's wake. What could be this urgent that they would require a helicopter? She didn't understand but she knew asking questions was futile and she didn't want to get on his bad side again. It was unusual for her but every time that thin smile spread across his lips it sent her heart fluttering, his husky voice seemed to awaken her heartbeat and send it soaring and she was afraid to lose that. His hand went around hers and she looked at it suddenly taken aback but he didn't notice as he pulled on her to follow him. She continued to watch him blankly as he helped her into the chopper then got in himself next to her.

"Alright Mohan we're ready to go!" He yelled through the sound of rotating blades.

I've never needed
and never truly wanted
until this moment.
- Tyle Knott Gregson

Okay I've ended a tad bit early, this chapter was supposed to cover more but it's absolutely HUGE! So going to cut it there :P. But next chapter should be up soonish! And look out for a whole lot of action! And a cute Arshi moment? ;) ;) xx

P.S. As you may have noticed already I'm in love with Aman's character. There is a whole lot of him in A Sprinkle of Stardust (for those of you that are familiar with it) but he was always behind the scenes and this time I wanted him in a more important character. I still haven't answered the Diya story but Arnav's realisation took up this chapter. I have however left clues so see if you can guess through them ;). 

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Chapter 7 - Where Waves Collide

In a blink of an eye, something happens by chance - when you least expect it - sets you on a course that you never planned into a future you never imagined. - A Walk to Remember

Khushi slowly moved out of her distant thoughts, her mind whirring through the many possibilities of her current conclusion as the car seemed to slow down. She took in the pitch black surroundings, not really surprised at how quickly the night seemed to take over from the day. She could see the distant silhouettes of trees, the measured street lamps, she turned around in her seat to watch him, his expression seemingly not have changed since they had begun the journey, not really uttering a word to her the whole time. And she suddenly began to have doubts, this man was cold, calculative, shrivel, he didn't seem human what could that mean? Her eyes followed his line of vision to out of the windscreen, the bright head beams, cutting through what seemed like a beaten down forrest path, she squinted slightly, unable to make out much detail.

"We'll have to make a stop here for tonight, the journey back to Delhi will take us way too long and it wouldn't be safe for us to drive any later than this," at first he spoke with his eyes focused on the road. He didn't have the courage to face her, or if he thought about it properly, he wasn't able to face himself. He had a job to do and right now he was risking a lot but with her it was as if this risking came naturally to him. He felt this obligation to protect her, this slight gnawing inside that no harm should ever come to her and it surprised him. It didn't make any logical sense. He turned towards her then to be momentarily taken aback by those mesmerising eyes of hers gazing intently back at him and he felt himself stumble all over again. He had to look away again to allow himself to speak and she felt her eyes following him, as if she was clinging onto his each action, gulping he looked back towards her. "I mean it'll be safe and it's completely up to you. If you don't feel comfortable," he saw the features of her face scrunch up then as she pondered this new idea," if you don't feel comfortable we can just stop for a bit and head off. But it's obviously..."

"No that's fine. We can stay the night, I'm sure with you attempting to take me back to Delhi safely that I can trust you," she mumbled attempting to form a small smile, her eyes slightly twinkling in the dim light. He turned away from her again, nodding to himself absentmindedly, slightly unnerved by her trusting nature. It certainly wouldn't be a good trait to have when the likes of Shyam were after her, which he still failed to understand. Shyam Manohar Jha was a lot of things but women didn't seem to be his thing; the only woman he was close to was Angelica. He brought the car to a slow halt in front of the small cottage and scrunched his eyes shut for a second, his hands tight on the steering wheel. Thoughts of her always put him on edge. Angelica? Yes that's exactly who she was, she was no longer the person he had known, she was different, everyone was, even himself. Things had changed a long time ago, they'd both lost too many things it was better off not to dwell in the past. He repressed his urge to punch the steering wheel, not wanting to scare off Khushi even more and slowly opening his eyes turned around to look at her only to be left completely dazzled. She was staring back at him, her large dove-like eyes wide.

"Are you okay?" She suddenly questioned, her voice soft and he felt himself waver for a minute.

"Erm, yeh, I'm good," he mumbled then looked away and clicked the car door open.


"What do you mean they lost her? Aakash! I told you to find her and bring her to me! I do not want any of the stories about what went on in the transition. I just want her here!" Shyam screamed, his nostrils flaring, his expression murderous as he paced around the room whilst Aakash stood stock still.

"But sir, they don't know where they've gone," Aakash added in finally, his voice timid when compared to Shyam's.

Shyam stopped his pacing suddenly, his eyes widening. "They? Who else is with her?" He questioned, his voice harsh, demanding. Aakash gulped, not sure how to tell him.

"Sir she was seen running away with another man, we don't know who it was," he quickly replied, making sure not to make eye contact.

"ANOTHER MAN?!" Shyam exclaimed suddenly, taking such quick steps towards Aakash that he had to quickly retreat, the fear that Shyam may lash out and do something making the hairs on his body stand.

"Sir well.. uh..." He struggled, looking in all directions but at Shyam.

"Uh what? Who was he and what is she doing with him?" Shyam demanded, his eyes vicious as he observed Aakash as if he was some sort of prey.

"Sir... We... We don't know," he finally uttered out.


"Arnav where are you?" Aman questioned, his voice urgent.

"I'm at the point3 hide out, why? Have you found anything new?" He questioned, quickly sensing he urgency in Aman's voice.

"Is she there?" Aman questioned then, his fingers trembling over the mouse as he zoomed in and out of the pixel-corrected picture.

Arnav looked both ways, making sure that she was still not back then walked out through the glass doors, "no she's in the bathroom. Why?" He questioned, his brows scrunching together, sensing that there was something terribly wrong.

Aman gulped, his breaths coming out faster, his heart beat a little too rapid. "Okay you need to listen carefully to what I have to say and right now none of this is making any sense to me so hopefully it makes sense to you."

"Ok," Arnav replied whilst nodding, his eyes focused into the distance.

"Right," Aman took a deep breath in, bracing himself and fearing the impact it would have on Arnav at the same time. "I managed to take a screen shot of the picture that Shyam has been looking at for so many days and somehow pixel correct it and..."

"And?" Arnav questioned, his impatience getting the better of him, "what is it Aman? And what?"

"And Arnav god this is so messed up,"

Arnav made a face not knowing what the hell was going on and quite frankly wishing that Aman would hurry up and tell him what the hell was up.

"Arnav this Khushi she... She looks exactly like Shyam's wife!"

"WHAT?!" He exclaimed, "Shyam was married?"

"Yes Arnav he was married to this girl named Diya, Diya Nayak. He married her about three years ago and she died a month after their marriage in circumstances that doesn't seem clear and..."

"Hold on hold on!" Arnav stopped him, his brows furrowing together, unlike Aman trying to make clear sense of the situation. "What's her surname again?"

"Nayak, it's Diya Nayak," Aman repeated, not quite sure why Arnav was stuck on the girl's surname.

Arnav however was deep in thought. Where had he heard that name before. Nayak? He knew that surname. "And she died?" He asked then, his mind still trying to locate the surname.

"Yes and that's the weird part. She was in an accident and her body was found in ashes. It just seems that this is too much of a coincidence. Khushi and this Diya, can't they just be the same person? And that's why he wants her?" Aman questioned, zooming in once again into her picture and comparing it to that of Khushis. There were differences but there were more similarities.

"But he always mentioned Khushi as resembling this person, not being her," Arnav added, his voice slightly quieter, his mind sorting everything out.

"Yes and that's what doesn't make sense, if this idea is occurring to us then why not Shyam?"Aman agreed.

"Wait do you have any of Khushi's records?" He questioned suddenly, something clicking at the back of his mind. "And you mentioned there was something weird about them?"

"Yes well there doesn't seem to be a birth certificate in her name, which could well be a consequence of her being adopted. So nothing in the name of Khushi Kumari Gupta. And nothing for a Khushi with that date of birth either. And there doesn't seem to be any adoption records. Just nothing a brick wall!" He finished off, almost exhausted with the narration.

Arnav nodded to himself, attempting to put together the pieces of this puzzle. "But that just doesn't add up, if she was adopted she would have to have been younger than sixteen. She's now 23 which means if she had married Shyam she would've been 20 at the time and then it wouldn't add up," Arnav began, finally sorting through the mess, his mind processing through the information quickly.

"True," Aman agreed.

"And what's her name Payal?"


"Payal is her adoptive sister, who knows about Aakash and Shyam?" Arnav questioned, needing to make sure of that fact before he continued.

"Yeh that's right she appears to know everything, I've listened into their awful conversations," Aman replied, making another face on remembering their conversations.

"Then she would have known if Khushi had married Shyam and it just oh god Aman! This is so difficult to explain! I know what's in my mind makes sense but it's just putting it into words," Arnav struggled, annoyed with himself.

"Okay so what are you trying to say? That you don't think Khushi is Diya and therefore Shyam's dead wife?" Aman questioned, a complete look of confusion taking over his features but understanding Arnav's frustration at the same time.

"Yes I don't think she is. It just doesn't add up," he finished off, still trying to make sense of everything.

"But then how does it add up? It has to, Arnav you need to see this picture they look exactly the same," Aman tried, not at all convinced.

"And that's why we have to get to the bottom of this. No I'll find out. She'll tell me," he stated with confidence, that determination back in his eyes.

Aman breathed a sigh of relief, understanding fully well that Arnav would indeed handle it. "Alright get back to me on what you find," he answered then clicked the phone off.


Khushi watched from the corner of her eyes as he swiftly walked back into the room not sure what to expect next, her hands still on the towel that she had been wiping her hair with and her eyeballs almost jumped out of her eyes as the corner of his mouth turned up into a small smile. He grabbed a small white package then began walking towards her, that tiny smirk still on his face and she instinctively took a few steps back.

He stopped mid-step sensing her fear and quickly extended his arm with the white package towards her.  "This is all I could get, it's not much but I guess you're hungry and it'll do," he offered with a wider smile and she was sure she would faint.

He watched her for a few seconds, almost bemused, he'd taken her completely by surprise. "Hello? Khushi?" He tried, another smirk firmly planting itself on his face.

"Huh?" She finally managed to snap out of her shocked state, "oh yeah thanks," she attempted a smile as she took the package out of his hands. She sat down slowly on the couch she had been standing in front of and attempted to remove the package, her fingers trembling against the paper as she attempted to avoid his gaze which she could feel on her and almost jumped out of her skin as he took a seat next to her on the other couch.

"So are you okay now?" His voice was husky and gentle and she turned her head towards him, looking up at him through the corner of her eyes, her heart beating at a rate too fast for her to comprehend.

"Erm I'm fine, thanks," she mumbled, finally peeling the paper away to reveal the plastic container within.

"That's good," he smiled. "Listen I'm sorry about earlier today, if I sounded harsh, but you know I wasn't in a very good mood so..." He tried to explain, put her at ease, actually meaning his words but not understand why.

She watched him for a few seconds, noticing the genuineness in his eyes, "it's okay," she mumbled finally. "And I'm sorry for shouting at you so suddenly, maybe you weren't following me," she smiled lightly as he watched her and returned the smile. Her thoughts were conflicted, she wasn't sure of what was going on anymore, but she was glad of it. Glad of the relief of him finally talking to her and not feeling completely alone and trapped. "So have you eaten?" She asked him, her voice soft as she raised her eyes ever so slightly to look up at him, needing to continue the conversation that he had started out of the fear that he would shut himself off again.

"Yes I have, I had dinner whilst you were having a shower," he stated, his voice still quiet and soft. "So erm, can I ask if you know why these men are after her?" He questioned then, quietly watching as her features darkened, her fingers on the container stopped midways, her brows scrunched together. She looked up at him suddenly, at the turn in conversation. Not quite sure how to answer. She looked down then, her raw emotions coursing through her again, a certain numbness taking over her mind.

"I don't know," she mumbled, almost as if she was talking to herself.

He watched her for a while, observing the sudden change in her, the fear that seemed to rest within her, how her shoulders had slackened, how her fingers shook against the container. He looked away then, scrunching his eyes shut for the smallest of moments and let his hands clench into fists. One part of his mind was actually willing to take that as an answer. Why wasn't he just able to play nice with her, why where his opposing emotions getting in the way? Why did she seem to effect him on such levels? "Okay never mind," he quickly stated, causing her to look up at him once more. "I'm sure it'll all be okay," he reassured her creating the tiniest of grateful smiles on her face.

She put the first container to the side, not really feeling hungry anymore, the thought of vicious unknown men following her to Lucknow made the hairs on her body stand on edge. She could feel the fear of it crippling every muscle in her body and she suddenly felt weak, as if her body would give way and she would fall. She focused her eyes on the next container, her fingers still shaking on the white cover and slowly opened it and felt her worries subside almost instantly. This was her, this was how she was, from a very young age she had learned to cope with a lot in life and little things still succeeded in making her happy, in allowing her to forget her worries or pain just for a second. She let her fingers touch the sticky surface of the orange swirls, a small spark alighting in her soulful hazel eyes and her lips parted into the largest of smiles. "Jalebis!" She exclaimed, bringing one up to look at it more closely, the smile pasted onto her face.

His head snapped up towards her suddenly, breaking out of his thoughts, he watched her utterly confused, raising his eyebrow. He couldn't believe the sight in front of him, how her features had lightened so abruptly, more pieces in his mind together, his memories automatically making their way up to the surface.

...A little boy ran into the grand interior of the house, his feet hitting off of the floor rhythmically, his muddy shoe prints already creating havoc on the newly polished floor. 

"Chutki! Chutkiii!" He yelled, running into the middle of the large hall, his body soaking wet from being in the rain, his shirt clinging onto his body, his hair a drenched mess. He turned around suddenly, his face banging into someones body and he felt her arms go around him immediately breaking his fall. 

"Chotey? You here? What's wrong? I saw Chutki run in here a couple of minutes ago too, she seemed upset. Is everything okay?" The older woman enquired, crouching down so that she was nearer his height. 

He let his eyes wander around the hall again before he looked towards her, his hand still tight around the little brown paper package. "Did she not tell you aunty?" He asked her then, his voice holding that authority it always did. 

She smiled back at him gently, appreciating his matter-of-fact ways, "no beta, what happened?" She asked then, truly concerned for her daughter. 

"Well aunty a bunch of girls from school were making fun of the way she dresses. They were saying it wasn't fashionable you know with all the colours and that, which to be honest I agree with but anyway," he continued, the distaste for the other girls clear but also his disappointment at Chutkis fashion sense. "And then they began on how she didn't have a proper name because Chutki's not a proper name and she got very upset." She watched him intently as he quickly narrated the story to her, quietly admiring his gentle heart which seemed to be hidden underneath all of the armour which he had already built around himself. "So I tried to intervene," he continued, "I told them that they should mind their own business and that it just meant Chutki was unique unlike the rest of the little clones but that's when Chutki ran away," he finally stated, not dropping eye contact for a second. "I tried to catch her but then I stopped to get these," he brought out the little brown paper package then, "and I was wondering if I could just go give them to her?" He questioned as she smiled down at him. 

"Of course Chotey," she gently patted him on the back, fully knowing what he had brought for her daughter and watched him slowly run up the stairs. 

"Chutki!" He yelled again as he approached the entrance to her room then slowed his pace, his wet shoes squeaking against the floor. She lifted her head slowly, tears still streaking down her face, her eyes slightly swollen from the crying as he walked over and sat on her bed. "Seriously Chutki? How can you let such idiots bother you?" He questioned, annoyed at her for even letting them get to her. 

"Just leave me alone okay," she mumbled through her tears, burying her face back into her knees. 

"Jeez drama queen! Calm down!" He retorted then moved the brown paper bag in front of her, "anyways I brought you something," he tried as she continued to not look at him. 

"God Chutki just stop your drama and look at me already will you?" He exclaimed, angry now as she lifted her head up to see him once more.

"What is it?" She asked, frowning at him. 

"I brought you this," he extended the brown paper bag her way as her fingers gently went around it. She opened the package slowly, still sniffling every second or so, her tears now slowly subsiding but the instant she saw the orange round swirls her face irrupted into a large beaming smile. 

"Oh my ghosh!" She exclaimed, "jalebis!" 

He smiled back at her tenderly, she was so easy to please. He continued to watch her as she munched away at it, savouring the taste of the chasni, pleased with himself for once again driving her out of a bad mood. 

 "I'm just going to go into the living room and make a few calls, till then you can have your dinner then go to sleep," he reassured her with another smile, his eyes distant from the thoughts raging through his mind. "You can sleep on the bed, I'll take the couch," and with that he made to get up.

"No wait!" She stopped him, her arm outstretched. "I'll take the couch, you're already helping me so much," she offered.

"No no don't be silly, take the bed," he reassured her again then walked off.


When Arnav walked back in a few hours later she had made her way over to the bed and was deep in sleep. He crouched down for a few seconds, somewhat mesmerised and watched the soft features of her face, she seemed to smile even in her sleep. A few strands of hair had blown over face and he felt this unusual urge to brush them away. He looked away suddenly, what was wrong with him. And yet he couldn't escape her smiling face...

"Chutki! Chutki! Boy have I got news for you! Chutki!" The little boy screamed then halted in his tracks, his eyes falling on to the little girl that was fast asleep in bed. He wasn't one for waiting, so he ran towards her then came to another abrupt stop, too dazzled by the innocence that seemed to dispel from the face of his best friend. She appeared angelic, the soft contours of her face glistening in the illuminated shade of the moon, the mouth curved up into a smile even in her sleep.  

"Stop it Arnav! Stop it! You can't go back there!" He mumbled to himself quickly standing up and beginning to walk away.


He halted in his tracks, his every muscle tensing, his eyes widening, for a second he thought he may not be able to move.

"Please! Please! He can't be. This can't happen!"

He turned around suddenly, taking large steps towards her as she seemed to whimper in her sleep, twisting and turning, her small hands clenched around the sheets.

He felt himself fall to his knees just then, his legs giving way, watching her contorting feature all the while. Everything slowly falling into place. Why he was so drawn to her, her eyes, her actions...

"Nayak," Aman's words, why they had been so familiar. Mahesh Nayak, Chutki's father, that had been Chuki's surname...

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Chapter 6 - Boarded Up

You're somewhat of a fantasy to me. The deep brown in your eyes, all the peculiar little freckles. It's something like a dream to think about, like a memory from a far off place. - Madeline L'Engle

"Come on! Hurry up!" He shouted as he jumped in then extended his hand out towards her, whilst Khushi could only manage to to stare back at him dumbfounded, actually unable to move from the spot. Everything was happening so fast, too fast and she wasn't able to make sense of any of it. How did he know about this place? The latch under the rug? Even back then, all of those years ago only the owner and the both of them had known about it, so how did he? She gulped back the sudden shock, bits and pieces coming together suddenly. The fresh flowers at the gravestones, the familiar back of a person as they walked away, the familiarity she felt around him, the fact that even though he was a stranger she seemed to feel safe with him around and then his eyes, those melted chocolate eyes. She needed to know who he was. Could he? She dared not think about it, not sure how that would make her feel, not sure what that would mean. She was still lost in thought when he yanked on her arm and she fell in. She closed her eyes, bracing herself for the fall, waited for her body to hit the ground, for the pain to come. But it didn't, she felt someones fingers on her waist, a tight hold around her and slowly opened her eyes, only to be momentarily dazzled by his melted chocolate spheres. She stared at them for a minute, her eyes wide when she noticed the rage in his features. 

He growled at her with his anger reaching it's peak. Who was this girl and what the hell was wrong with her? He put her down then abruptly as she continued to stare at him. "What the hell is wrong with you? Are you out to get yourself killed?!" He screamed through gritted teeth, his nostrils flaring with anger.

She stared at him for a few more seconds, her thoughts haywire. Who was this man? She needed to find out. She took a step towards him then as he continued to stand his ground, glaring at her with distaste all the while. 

"Wh...What's your name?" She mumbled, her voice small and quiet, still lost in that daze that she had entered only minutes before. 

He looked at her confused then, his brows scrunching together. "What?" He questioned, not quite able to understand what she was getting at. 

"What's your name?" She asked again, her voice a little louder this time as she scrutinised his features, her large hazel eyes inquisitive. 

He blinked several times, faltering at the sudden turn in the conversation, then recovered quickly. "I don't think that's important," he mumbled, his eyes flitting through the features of her face all the while. Why did she suddenly want to know his name? His brows scrunched together in confusion as he watched her completely taken aback.

"Yes it is," she whispered to herself and he unconcsciously took a step closer to hear what she had said. She looked up at him suddenly, hazel orbs clashing against melted choclolate spheres once more. "Yes it is!" She stated, her voice a lot louder this time.

"Excuse me?" He questioned, raising an eyebrow, the astonishment clear in his face.

"I need to know your name, I need to know who you are," she stated again, her voice confident as she looked straight into his eyes.

"You're unbelievable!" He exclaimed throwing his arms back and taking a step away from her. "There are men after you! We are hiding in this godforsaken underground storeroom and you are concerned about my name?!" He exclaimed, unable to comprehend what was wrong with her.

And that's when it hit her again suddenly, releasing her of all of the other memories, thoughts coursing through her. Wy she was here exactly. People were after her, people that she did not know and she was to get out of Lucknow? She was to go back to Delhi? Tonight? None of this was making any sense and now here she was with a guy she had only met once before and the mystery surrounding him made even less sense. What wa shis name? And how did he know this please. She held onto her head suddenly, a slow throbbing starting at the back of her head, she thought she felt dizzy and her limbs felt weak.

He leaned forward immediately, catching her arm then drew her in closer. "Hey? Hey? Are you okay?" He questioned, waving a hand in front of her face as she blinked her eyes several times, trying to focus. "Shit!" He mumbled to himself, why couldn't he ever be patient? He led her over to a little stool then, sitting her down and bringing his two fingers over her wrist checked for her pulse. "Are you alright? Are you feeling weak?" He questioned then, his voice gentle.

"I'm fine, I'm fine," she dismissed, her voice still quiet and weak, "I just felt a little light-headed that's all," she reassured him, her mind in a distant place.

"Okay, just lay your head on your knees okay?" His voice was soft as he placed his palm on her head and helped her bend over. "Just slowly breathe in and out, you'll be okay," he reassured her. "Have you eaten?" He asked then to which she shook her head, her face hidden between her knees. He pulled out one of the sweets that he kept with him then, a sugar crusted one that he kept for emergencies. Diabetes was definitely not a plus factor when it came to his field of work so he was always cautious. "Here have this, you'll get something in your system," he said moving it infront of her as she slowly lifted her head and extended her arm. He placed it in her palm gently and could feel the depth at which his heart pounded away in his chest as her fingers curled around his, then quickly drew his hand away from her, looking away.

"We'll wait here for a few more minutes, until they go somewhere else then I'll get you back to Delhi," he reassured her as she watched silently, working her way through what he had offered her.


"Shit shit shit!" Aman shouted to himself then leaned back against the chair, his arms folded behind his head as he watched Shyam on the screen.

"What is it?" NK shouted from behind him, turning away from a stack of ID card copies that he had been going through.

"Nothing. Just Shyam's mind seems to be occupied by other very weird things," Aman mumbled back, almost as if he was talking to himself.

"Like?" NK questioned, sliding over so that he was behind Aman.

"Nothing much man, just shit that Arnav might want to know about," he replied, not particularly wanting to divulge the information to NK, not needing NK to pull Arnav's leg at the wrong moment again.

"Is it about that Angelica bitch again?" He remarked, not really interested anymore.

"Somethig like that," Aman lied.

"What's up with her anyway? She knows what Arnav does and she could do much better with her life. But she chooses to do that?" NK made a face as he wheeled himself back.

"Well people will always be different," Aman blandly offered. "I guess that's her made up her own life and if I was being honest it's in Arnav's best interests not to interfere."

"What so it's alright for her to sleep with the enemy and even that for money, whilst Arnav goes off and nearly gets murdered by the same man?" NK remarked, the distaste clear in his voice.

"No I didn't mean that. But that's the life Angelica's chosen and this is the life Arnav has," Aman tried to reason out. "To be honest NK I think we should just leave it at that. I mean it's none of our business after all," he stated finally then put on the headphones, indicating that their conversation was now over.


Arnav walked over to the far side of the room as Khushi spoke to her buaji.

"What's up?" He asked sliding on his phone.

"Okay, don't get mad," Aman began, causing Arnav to scrunch his brows together in cofusion.


"For prying," Aman stated simply, already ready to face the wrath.

"Prying?" Arnav questioned raising an eyebrow as he moved further away, stuffing his other hand in his pocket.

"Well you know what I do, I like to keep track of things and I know that you've been taking a bit of an interest in this chick called Khushi lately," he spoke quickly, as if he was hoping that Arnav wouldn't catch onto half of the things he was saying.

"What?!" Arnav exclaimed.

Aman made a face then, aware that Arnav would not be too happy, but he'd have to tell him what he had found out. "Yeh so anyway, I've not been keeping tabs or anything, just you know keeping an eye out for you," he continued to explain.

"Aman I am not a child! And I'd appreciate it if you didn't spy on my personal life!" Arnav exclaimed, quite clearly apalled by what Aman had just revealed to him.

Aman cringed away from the phone, not really surprised at Arnav's outburst. "Alright alright! Scream at me later. But I have news," he stated hoping that that would calm Arnav down.

Arnav listened quietly on the other end of the phone, his rage not allowing him to say anything more.

"I assume you are listening so I'll begin. Basically Shyam Jha seems to have some sort of interest in Khushi," Aman began as Arnav furrowed his brows in response. So these were Shyam's men that were after her?

"He wants her. He was looking at that picture I was talking about again this morning. The camera won't allow me to zoom in that far. He was talking about getting someone back, someone from his past. I dunno the man was drunk and didn't really seem like he was making much sense. But anyway," he spoke quickly, in the way he always did when he had something to reveal, for fear that otherwise he would forget the details. "This Khushi chick, she's Aakash's fiancees sister, well adopted sister," Aman corrected himself.

"Adopted?" Arnav quickly questioned, something at the back of his mind clicking into place.

"Yes adopted, which possibly explains her weird history," he added, more to himself than to Arnav.

"Weird history?" Arnav questioned again.

"Yeh, it's weird. Well I'll tell you all of that later. Now for this matter, I thought you might want the information quickly since it seemed sort of urgent."

"I'm listening," Arnav stated calmly, his eyes now distant and calculative as he thought through a dozen different things at the one time.

"So yeh, Shyam has asked Aakash to track Khushi down for him and bring her to him."

"So Shyam wants Khushi?" Arnav questioned then, trying to make sense of the story that was being narrated to him at a 100 miles per hour.

"Yes Arnav Shyam wants Khushi and Aakash has sent his men down to Lucknow, which I assume is where you are at the moment," he continued when Arnav cut in abruptly.

"So those are his men?" He pondered to himself, the situation making much more sense now. And then felt that tingling feeling of unease slowly creep up his spine. If they were Shyam's men Khushi was not safe anywhere.

"Which men are his men? Arnav where are you? Arnav? Arnav!" Arnav snapped out of his thoughts again on hearing Aman's urgent voice.

"I'm in Lucknow, with Khushi, in this underground basement place that I know of. There were a group of men after her and I've sort of brought her here. I was thinking of..."

"Wait wait wait! What? Back up for a second! You are with who and you are doing WHAT?!" Aman exclaimed all of a sudden.

"Did you not here me Aman? Do I really need to repeat myself?!" Arnav yelled back, the annoyance in his tone clear.

"Well this is weird! Maybe I should keep tabs on you," he commented then, "so how did this meeting come about? Like?" There was an edge to Aman's voice now.

"Shut up Aman! This is serious. So is she in any way related to Shyam? Or what he does?" Arnav questioned, attempting to plan an escape route but first needing that assurance. If she was working with Shyam he wouldn't help her no matter how much he seemed drawn to her.

"Well the honest answer to that is I don't know, there's such a mystery surrounding her that I can only dig to a certain depth and then my shovel just hits concrete. So I'll have to try something else. But I don't see the possibility," he was thoughtful as he expressed his theories about her. "First off she doesn't seem to be aware of anything that's going on and the events of that party seems to have shaken her."

"What do you mean?" Arnav cut in again.

"Well Aakash has a bad habit of talking to his fiancee on speaker phone," Aman stated rolling his eyes and making a face at the cringeworthy conversation that he had had to listen to, after getting enough information about Khushi he had passed the headphones to NK and let him drown in their puddle of cringe instead. "Oh god that was scarring," he couldn't help but add.

"Okay okay cringey scarring, now what did you find out?" Arnav questioned, quickly running out of patience as he always did.

"Alright alright jeez! I'll tell you!" He moaned making another face, "yeh basically Khushi was sent to Lucknow to stay with her buaji because she was having nightmares, walking about in a daze, seemed lost etc. etc. after that party, so you know I doubt she's connected to him," he finally finished off.

"And you are sure this isn't a trap? That this isn't a ploy that they are employing?" Arnav asked, his mind always only a step away from suspicion.

"Well I'm pretty sure. It would be sort of idiotic to plan something like this plus this Payal chick has a very clean record and so does her parents. I really doubt it," he finished off.

"Alright! I'll deal with things here. Try and find as much as you can about Shyam's future plans, if he's not too occupied with chasing after Khushi of course and then pass that onto me. We need to get a move on or he needs to get a move on. I am not prepared to shoot from his front," with that Arnav cut the phone off.

"How do you know my name?" Her voice was timid, the tremble in it clearly evident as he heard her from somewhere behind him and Arnav's fingers on his phone stilled instantly, his eyes widening, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. Shit! The silence that enveloped the room then was almost terrifying, the only clear sound that of the distant drip drip of water. His body straightened and he felt his thoughts go haywire, his heart stammering away in his chest as he attempted to plan an answer through his conflicted thoughts.

Gulping down her fears she took another step towards him, she was already in this mess, might as well find out what was happening before things got worse. "How do you know my name?" She questioned again, her voice a little louder, a little more stable this time.


"Sir the crate will arrive in two days. This time the stuff is more clean but was cheaper. But we'll probably have to pay him more the next time," Aakash spoke into the phone confirming the shipment to Shyam.

"Good! I'll meet you at the dock tomorrow, another shipment is coming in but I'll text you the rest of those details," he spoke quietly into the phone, a shrewd smile spreading across his face.

Swivelling around in his chair he cut off the phone then sending his hand underneath the table removed a small square box. Bringing it in front of him he slowly opened it and let his finger run around the edge of the single gold band, the intitals "D" and "S" engraved on the underside of it. Closing it back with a snap he placed it on the desk, his eyes now lingering over the image of Khushi on screen. The similar contours of her face, the large dove-like eyes, rose petal lips, a slow snarl creeped up his face. Years of solitude, of fantasies that had been lost even before they had begun and now he had been offered a chance to live them out and he would whether Khushi liked it or not. Because she looked like the only woman that he had dared to give his heart to and for that he would make her his.


"Listen," she began as she stood looking straight into his eyes, her gaze not wavering for a second, his eyes equally intense, refusing to back down. "I need to know. This is already a mess and I'd rather get caught by those men than not know what the hell is going," she didn't shout, she didn't create a scene, in fact her voice was deadly calm and that scared him more than anything else. He watched her with wide eyes, her every action surprising him. "At least tell me your name," she finally finished off, maybe he had found out through Aakash and was just embarrassed to admit to it.

"Like I said, it's not important," he tried dismissing again turning away, "what's important is..."

"No it is important!" She began shouting then and spun him round, glaring into the depths of his eyes. "It is important! I just want to know your name! It's not a difficult question! Not one that you should not be able to answer!" She screamed, waving her arms about, her frustration hitting an all new level.

He grabbed onto her arms then suddenly and she flinched away from his steely grip, his hands tight enough to grind into bone. "Calm down!" He growled through gritted teeth, his caramel orbs boring into her as she stared back in astonishment, in fear.

"Let go of me! You are hurting me!" She squirmed as she struggled in his grip and felt his fingers loosen on her skin. He pushed her away from him, closing his eyes for a second and looking away.

"I'm sorry," he mumbled walking away then turned around to look at her once more, "and it's Hawk, if it's really that important," then turning around began to walk away once more.

She watched him in silence for a few seconds, slightly taken aback by his sudden reaction. "It can't be," she mumbled to herself then, that wasn't a real name, she wanted his real name. "No! I want your real name!" She shouted, hurriedly marching down towards him when he suddenly turned back round, his face cold and deatached as he glared at her.

"That's all you are getting! Now just leave me the fuck alone and let me think of a way of getting us out of here!" He exclaimed then turning around dialed Aman's number, his face a mask of anger and frustration.


Khushi sat in the passenger side of the car, her thoughts distant, occasionally watching him from the corner of his eyes. She didn't say much out of fear that he would snap at her again and her legs hurt from sitting in the same position for hours but she kept quiet, even within the small period of time she had spent with him having figured out that he had a flaring temper. She let the pieces fall together in her mind and now that she had for the first time in life actually begun to think it through everything was automatically beginning to make sense.

She let her mind wander back to the fresh white flowers, placed on all four gravestones right on the day of their death anniversary. Her mind suddenly flashed back to her first meeting with him; mesmerising pools of melted chocolate brown eyes, familiar, slightly distant, deadly floating over a sea of calm. She stole another glance towards him, he drove with his jaw set, his eyes steely, his grip on the steering wheel a little too tight and she tried to breathe as lightly as possible. Why hadn't she pondered these thoughts before? He was alive she was sure of it; the two missing bodies, the fresh flowers, the familiar back, this could be the only explanation. He was alive and she was possibly sitting next to him...

A few hints have been dropped ;). See if you can figure anything out :P. Next chapter: huge revelation! So comment! And I'll get it up asap ;) xx

Friday, 5 October 2012

Chapter 5 - Unknown Realms

~ But just because you bury something, that doesn’t mean it stops existing. – Jenny Han ~

"Khushi Kumari Gupta right?" Shyam questioned suddenly, his eyes thoughtful, slightly sinister as his mouth twisted up into a snarl. "I want you to bring her here right now," he instructed with finality.

"But sir..." Aakash tried only to be cut off.

"I don't want any buts Aakash! I want that girl here now!" He exclaimed then walked off knowing fully well that his right hand man would once again not fail him. She looked like her and now he wanted her. No she would be his!


Khushi bent down and touched the soft petals, tracing her fingers through the narrow ridges of the long white surface. Lilies; startlingly white against the old grey gravestones and she couldn't stop the tears that welled up in her eyes. Her mind began to jump to all sorts of conclusions and she couldn't understand any of them. No one from her past was left so who would know or care to place flowers there. Was there something that she didn't know? Did someone survive, her eyes widened then. Did he survive? She shook her head, gulping down her tears. No she couldn't afford to think about that now, bring up hopes for a past that she constantly spent running away from, constantly tried to forget. She closed her eyes for a few seconds letting the tears streak down her cheeks as memories, in their dozens flashed through her mind; the laughter of children, their feet hitting off of the ground as they chased each other round, her mother's voice calling out to her,

Khushi! Come for lunch!

His anger that flared quickly and then dissipated just as suddenly, small pink dresses, ribbons, the jingle of familiar bells. She ran her fingers over the cool metal of her anklets, closing her eyes again to see her mothers face, her soothing voice, her comforting gaze, the warmth of her embrace. This had been a wrong decision, she should not have come back. Her eyes snapped wide suddenly, her breath hitching in her throat, the flood of memories seizing momentarily for reality, the present to come to the forefront. Someone had been here, someone that was connected to her past and they could possibly still be here. It was as if her limbs were frozen to the spot, quickly gathering herself she moved away from the gravestones, turning around in a circle to see if there was even so much as a distant shadow but failed to see one. She wiped her tears with the back of her hand and hurried off in the other direction, hoping to god that the person had not left.


He hated coming; the place, the eerie silence brought back too many memories. Brought back the reality of what had happened with full force, but he allowed himself just this day, just this day every year to let his mind wander back and relive it in all its heartbreak because he owed it to all that he had lost and to all that it had helped him become. If he could he would have gone back in time, reversed it all, taken back the childhood that he had so horrifically lost, but he couldn't, so he did the only thing he could; move on with the broken pieces. Today was slighly different though, there seemed to be a change to the winds. It was as if someone else was here, as if he was not alone but he dismissed that thought just as suddenly as it had occurred. Thinking about his past and the many possible outcomes only brought back pain. He felt slightly more at calm today, he let himself wander down to the large oak tree, she hadn't turned up and that allowed him to feel more at peace with himself.

He watched quietly as the large branches of the tree swayed in all it's glory, seemingly unaware to the tragedy that it stood in the midst of. The large cement wall around what it stood on lay in crumbled ruins, only the bottom foundations completely intact and he could vaguely remember that the leaves weren't as bright as they had been. Stuffing his hands inside his pockets he looked down at the ground for a few seconds, letting the thoughts rushing through his mind just continue, letting himself go for just this day, then closing his eyes for a few seconds he took a deep breath in. Like every other year, it was now time for him to leave and forget and move on with the carefully fenced life that he had formed around himself. He didn't attempt a backward glance as he strode out through the old metal gate.


Khushi finally sat down at a table, scraping the chair back as she continued to catch her breath. She fanned herself with her dupatta, almost gulping for air.

"Can I just get a glass of water please, thanks," she requested from the little boy that approached her table. She'd searched left right and center for whoever could have been there, but there had been no traces of them. She'd started running, thinking that she'd just have to catch them before they left and all she had managed to catch a glimpse of was a retreating back. And now she felt even that was some sort of formation of her already overactive imagination. She rolled her eyes as she grabbed the glass of water that was offered and gulped it down in a hurry, it just all felt so silly.

She started looking around the little cafe then, it was midday and so it was busy, a lot of people possibly on their lunch breaks, couples chatting away with each other. A small smile hit her face, she liked it when other people were happy, it made her happy too. She let her eyes wander over each face and suddenly her eyes rounded, it was almost as if she stopped breathing for a few seconds. Narrowing her eyes she attempted a closer look at his side profile; the high jawline, the perfect stubble, it was definitely him. A dozen thoughts began to roam through her mind then, what was he doing here? Lucknow? Why was he in Lucknow out of all the places? Was he following her? That thought scared her; she didn't like the people Aakash hung out with, they seemed dangerous and she knew they were the type that would follow a girl if they took a liking. Enough was enough! He was already haunting her dreams and now when she'd finally packed and came to Lucknow he was here too. She stood up then, bundling her little bag in her hands and stormed over towards him.

Arnav looked up suddenly and his eyes widened instantly. He watched her fuming face for a few seconds, unable to fathom what was going on, not sure how he felt about her being in Lucknow.

"Are you following me?!" She exclaimed suddenly, surprising him all the more, her hazel eyes flaring.

"Excuse me?" He questioned, completely thrown off.

"I asked if you were following me! It's a simple question with a yes or no answer," she continued then just as he stood up, his stance too dominating for her to keep her strength up and she automatically took a few steps back.

"I think there's something wrong with you!" The annoyance was clear in his voice.

"No there's something wrong with you! I don't need this okay! And I'm not interested! So stop following me! Stop trying to save me! God knows you are probably creating situations so that you can save me out of them," she began to ramble on, almost as if she was talking to herself, all of those bottled up feelings, disappointments, anger resurfacing.

He looked around the cafe, people were watching them, watching as this bizarre scene unfolded infront of them, he felt his anger take over then and cutting her mid-sentence he grabbed her arm, tight enough to leave marks and dragged her outside. She first looked at him in surprise, not having expected him to lash out then as the pain finally hit her she struggled within his grasp.

"Let me go! Let me go!" She screamed as his fingers dug into the flesh of her arm even deeper and he finally flung her out of his grip in a corner behind the cafe.

"Shut up!" He shouted just as she opened her mouth to speak again. "I don't know who the hell you are and what the hell you want! But I'm not following you! And nor do I have intention to! And nor am I interested in you! So I suggest you pop that little bubble of yours before it conjures up even more pathetic fantasies!" He exclaimed, his jaw set, his caramel eyes dark and foreboding.

Her lips quivered slightly as she struggled for a response. What was she supposed to say to that? She watched his charred caramel orbs for a moment. The intensity in them somewhat frightening. "I erm... I," she struggled.

"You what?!" He cut in angrily, the annoyance that had brewed up inside him now approaching a point where he thought he would snap.

She tried again when her phone suddenly began to ring, cutting her out of her thoughts. She picked it up hurriedly, thanking Devi Mayya for the saving grace.

"Khushi thithaliya! Don't come home," it was Buaji's voice, a harsh whisper and Khushi felt a shiver run down her spine as she processed this fact.

"But buaji why?" She questioned gulping down her fears.

"Thithaliya there were men here looking for you, scary looking men," she continued to speak in a whisper whilst Khushi felt her whole body begin to shake with fear, her eyes wide open, her lips quivering.

After watching her for a few seconds he had decided on just leaving when he suddenly witnessed the colour drain out of her face, her body almost tremble with fear, causing him automatically to stop in his tracks. He turned to face her completely again then, watching the contours of her face intently as they passed through varying shades of fear.

"M... Men?" She gulped as his eyes widened, "but buaji which men?" Her voice was shaky and she was finding it difficult to breathe.

"I don't know! They didn't tell me! They knew you were here and they searched the whole house and only then did they leave. Khushi you need to get out of here, get out of Lucknow. Go back to Delhi," her Buaji spoke hurriedly into the phone, her eyes flitting back and forth around the room as she watched to see if they were anywhere near.

"L...Leave Lucknow? But... But Buaji, I... I where would I, I mean at this time?" She struggled, unable to comprehend anything that was going on as Arnav took a few seps closer to her, it was almost as if his feet were moving their own accord.


She walked out, the long back of the lehenga sweeping the floor behind her, it's snug fit revealing the curves of her body perfectly, the neck of her blouse cut deep down, her bossoms pushed up. She wore minimal jewellery; it was just not the style these days. Her normally long straight hair was curled and lay loose, the front few strands of it framing her face. She wore loud make-up; on too many occasions in the past when she had not had this position a constant remark that she had always hated was the fact that people thought she looked too innocent. She had gotten rid of that now, the loud red lipstick, the rouge blush, the heavily kohled eyes took that away from her a little. She lifted her hand to brush a strand of hair off of her face, the large kangans on her hand clashing and tinkling against each other. The large payals on her feet chan-channed as she took slow deliberate steps towards him, her bare mehendi'd feet softly hitting the floor.

She smiled seductively, bringing her finger to his face and tracing a line towards his jaw as she moved closer and placed her other hand on his chest.

"Well well Shyam, you've sure took your time," she mumbled as she traced her hand down his arm and clasping his hand in hers started leading him to the back; to her room, already planning in her mind how she would take his fantasies forward tonight. "Oh I have missed you Angelica," he mumbled behind her, his drunken state all too obvious.


"There! Isn't that her!" Arnav's head snapped up as he saw a dark man with a beard and scar under his left eye, watching Khushi with leering eyes and then as another joined him, there steps hurried as they began running there way.

"But buaji, I can't leave at this time," she continued to mutter into the phone when someone suddenly grabbed her hand. She looked up then, completely shaken only for her gaze to clash with orbs of caramel.

"We need to run!" He exclaimed, tightening the grasp on her hand just as she spotted them, reeling her back into her memory all of a sudden, of a night just like this, of another nightmare just like this.

"It's her! It's her! Catch her before she gets away!" They screamed, as her eyes widened in horror; it was as if her legs were refusing to move.

"Come on! You need to hurry! We need to get out of here! NOW!" He shouted, pulling on her as she stood frozen to the ground, shocked to the core.

"Come on!" He shouted again, pulling on her arm harshly when she snapped out of her thoughts momentarily and began to blindly follow him, frightening thoughts flashing through her mind all the while. Scary men that she had never seen in her life were after her and she was now following this other man who seemed to be following her too. She began to loosen her hand in his when his grasp tightened again, his jaw tight with determination as he ran with his gaze focused in front of him.

She watched in silent confusion, in shock as he approached a ramshackle building that was all too familiar from her past. It was broken now, in ruins, it had used to be a shop. Her eyes rounded as he pulled her towards the back of it, moving a piece of rug away with his feet to reveal an entrance to the basement down below and she gulped loudly, not quite sure how he knew about the place as he yanked the door up.

Yes another slightly confusing update ;). But I have now introduced all of the characters barr one so the story literally starts here! And more Arshi in the next chapter? I think so ;).