Thursday, 17 January 2013

Chapter 13 - To See His Soul

I'm extremely sorry for this very very late update.. Life has been hectic :( xx


~
I spend my time watching, the spaces that had grown between us.
- Keep Your Head Up, Ben Howard
~

He paced around his room for what felt like the millionth time that morning. He wanted desperately to go to Khushi's room and ask her more, to thank her for deciding to stay, to tell her all that he felt, to ask for her forgiveness, to make amends. He scrunched his eyes shut then fell onto the recliner, leaning his head back on the velvet fabric of it. He brought his fingers to his temples and rubbed at them, attempting to escape from the throbbing, the dull ache of too many questions and too little words, the tangle of emotions that he couldn't escape.

It felt like a dream, so unreal in its essence, she'd said she would stay and he didn't even know for how long and he didn't want to ask for fear that there would be a limit, for fear that it would all break and disintegrate in a few more seconds and he'd be left once again with the broken off pieces.

He remembered his confession, for the second time in the wrong way. Why couldn't he just be gentle with her? Why couldn't things ever be right with them, flow in perfect sync and hit high notes? Why were they always reduced to misunderstandings and petty words and feelings that would forever be caged in the confines of them?

But he would have to fix things he finally decided, he would have to for Arshia. He couldn't take from her the perfect family, maybe he was asking too much, expecting too much of her but he couldn't not try, his half formed words and his rash decisions had driven her away once and he couldn't risk it a second time.

****

Khushi looked up from Arshia as she sucked on her little milk bottle to the knock on the door. She tried to smile back on seeing Anjali's smiling face but it did not quite reach her eyes, she was still bitter and a small part of her still blamed Anjali but she would have to move on from it. She had decided to stay after all.

"Khushiji?" She smiled walking in, it did not escape Anjali the momentary distaste that flickered through Khushi's features but she ignored it. It wasn't in her to make amends for what had happened because that wasn't her place, she knew that Khushi probably still held her responsible even if to a small extent to what had happened and she didn't blame her. Such was Arnav's nature and Khushi would realise in her own time that Arnav had forced her to marry him not to protect his di but because he had thought that she had been cheating on him.

"Khushiji woh... I just wanted to ask if you'd like your breakfast up here or downstairs since you didn't come down yesterday," she finally spoke and waited for a reply, admiring the instant bond that had been created between the mother and daughter.

Khushi gulped, things were moving more rapidly than she had imagine and suddenly she felt herself loosing pace, she took a deep breath in. For a while now she had only known to plow forward, forget and keep going because memories held you back. But the day Arnav had returned that had seized and she knew in that moment that she would have to go back to that. She had made a decision and she wanted to stick to it, she wanted to be there for Arshia, watch her through her milestone, admire her in ways only a mother could do and for that she would have to keep at it, to ignore and forget. Blinking several times she finally replied, "yes Di I'll come down," she smiled another smile that did not quite reach her eyes, only letting her gaze meet with Anjali's for a split second, "you go ahead I'll join you."

Nodding back Anjali finally walked out of the room, she saw the void that lay between the two, she knew of the regret in Arnav and the determination in Khushi's eyes and she knew that she would have to be the one to bring them together just like she had been the reason for them to have torn apart.

****

She fell into the second chair from the top, pulling it in then regretted it the next second, she had to close her eyes to stop those memories from assaulting her. Her fingers tightened on the edges of the chair, almost clawing away at the fabric, how was she to start anew in a place that was so familiar, in a place that had brought to her only pain?

Then as if remembering something she snapped her eyes open, letting her gaze travel to all corners of the room as she brought her hands up and fidgeted with them till the food was served, her eyes only for him.

Anjali quickly took in Khushi's torn features, the tears that remained on the brink of falling then her searching eyes. A slight smile spread across her lips then; it wasn't difficult to understand the feelings that Khushi still held for Arnav.

 Not wanting to upset her further and wanting to involve her as much as possible in Arshia's life Anjali finally decided to kick-start her plan.

"Om Prakash," she called out finally, she wanted to calm Khushi down, she knew Khushi was wondering as to where Arnav was but her brother had stopped coming to the dining table a long time ago, it was as if he no longer took part in anything that took him out of the confines of the bubble he had created for himself and Arshia. "Om Prakash did you send food up for Chotey? Has he eaten?" She questioned even taking Om Prakash by surprise. Food was always sent upto Arnav's room and Anjali was all but too aware that he only had breakfast on the rare occasions. But it had awakened the desired response in Khushi. Her head snapped up instantly and she wasn't sure of how she felt about that.

"Ji I sent it up but as usual he only had an apple and told me to take the rest back," Om Prakash quickly replied then rushed off.

Khushi let her gaze fall, she was slowly piecing parts of his life together and she didn't know what to think of what he was doing to himself. He looked older than his years and he didn't seem to sleep much and now she understood that he didn't have much breakfast. Why was he doing this to himself?

Because I love you damn it

Why couldn't she escape his words even if they had been screamed out in anger? Always his temper, his rash decisions, why couldn't he just change?

Realising Khushi's restlessness Anjali spoke again, "Khushiji, Arshia has an appointment today," she began as their gazes met once more, Khushi's eyes widened and worry etched in the features of her face.

Anjali shook her head slowly, blinking several times, "no no there's nothing wrong, it's just a regular monthly check-up, since she was pre-term they continue them for a bit longer," she reassured Khushi, watching the blood drain back into her face as she breathed a sigh of relief.

"I think," she attempted to correct herself before she continued, pursing her lips and thinking of the best way to put it forward, "I'm sorry I don't mean to interfere," she added in for caution, "but maybe you could go with Chotey and get a glimpse into her history... I mean," she struggled with her words.

Nodding Khushi finally cut in, "yes Di I'll go with him," she finally smiled, she didn't miss out on the fact that Anjali was trying to make amends and maybe she could forgive her... Someday.

****

"Yes Aman that's fine, just get the reports ready and send them over, I'll have a look."

He was in deep conversation when she finally arrived at his door and she felt herself falling back into the dark abyss of her memories again.

"I won't be attending today... No... Arshia... Yes... Okay Aman," he sensed her at the door, he would never not recognise the reckless increase in the beats of his heart, how he could just feel her presence even now. He turned his head around slowly, caramel orbs clashing against soft hazel for a fraction of a second before she lowered her eyes. "Aman I'll call you later," he quickly muttered then began to walk towards her.

She couldn't help but look up towards him once more, since when had he began to prioritise her?

I'm trying to fix things

She closed her eyes, she couldn't do this, maybe she shouldn't have stayed.

He was sure he could read the discomfort in her actions and he immediately retreated a step back, he didn't want her to feel that way, he feared that she would leave him again, that he would lose her again.

He waited for her to open her eyes, not even questioning why she had turned up at his door, his patience at another level that he only now seemed to reserve for Khushi and Arshia as he fiddled with his phone.

She opened her eyes slowly, having them immediately clash with his melted chocolate ones, it was still unnerving, the fact that they were able to converse, look eye to eye, she couldn't place the last time they had had this familiarity before she had packed up and left. Taking a deep breath in she finally began, it was still difficult for her to have a conversation with him, it was almost as if this was all new to her and in a way it wasn't even right.

"Erm... Actually... Anjali di said Arshia had an erm appointment today," she spoke with her eyes downcast there was just something in his gaze that seemed to penetrate to the core of her soul and she didn't want that, for fear that that would give too much away.

The smallest of smiles tugged at his lips as he nodded slowly, "yeh I was actually going to come ask you if you wanted to come after I was done," he stated, he wanted to say more but didn't know what to say. They both stood there for a few seconds, not really saying much, both their hearts pounding away to reckless rhythms. His eyes flickered left right and center as he racked his mind for words and she kept her gaze to the floor, her breaths heavy as she waited for him to continue.

"Erm so ..." He finally began again as her eyes came up to meet his, "if you want to get ready I'll get Arshia ready?" He posed it as a question, he wanted her to always feel like she was an integral part of Arshia's life.

She nodded slowly, smiling ever so slightly then slowly turned around and walked out.

He watched her back, the grace in her step, the small swish of her hair as she moved. Somehow even in the midst of all the awkwardness, the anguish, the realisation that he may never have a normal relationship with her he felt weightless. He felt as if this large heavy cloud that had hung over his head for so long had floated away. But more than anything he feared that it would resurface, that he would open his eyes one day and it will have all disappeared.

Your love's a gathered storm I chased across the sky
A moment in your arms became the reason why
And you're still the only light that fills the emptiness
The only one I need until my dying breath
And I would give you everything just to 
feel your open arms
And I'm not sure I believe anything I feel

And now, now that you're near
There's nothing more without you
Without you here

****

"Roy I'm not sure you understand," Shyam spoke through gritted teeth, his every syllable uttered with menace. "It is not an option! This is my command! I want out of here! Now, tomorrow... By the end of this week! I want out! Otherwise I will employ other means and things will turn ugly!" He finally threatened, aiming a pointed finger at Roy.

Arnav Singh Raizada didn't even have a clue of what was going to hit him and this time Shyam would make sure that the man would be left with only emptiness and self-loathing in his life.

Roy gulped, sure he could almost taste the impending doom as anger flared in Shyam's dark ebony eyes.

****

She finally fell into a cool metal chair, even missing the otherwise discomfort to it as she leaned her head back against the wall, slowly closing her eyes. Khushi felt emotionally and physically drained, as if she had returned from running a marathon. She couldn't remember the last time she had been this tired, this spent. Her shoulders felt heavy, burdened with too many truths and transparent lies, chocolate brown eyes and giggles in the night, incomprehensible apologies and the glimpses of a man she may have once known. She didn't know what she wanted anymore; to escape or to stay, there was a sodden beauty in her messed up present and she couldn't prevent that nagging thought of hers from coming through to the forefront, that all may not be lost that there was still hope. But she wasn't sure if she wanted that hope.

He quietly sat near her just as a loud sigh escaped her. As much as he wanted to touch her, to feel her soft skin underneath his fingers, feel her hazel orbs search his eyes with something other than pain and anger, to know her again, know that she loved him again he kept his distance.

She sensed him as soon as he had arrived, her erratic heartbeats always giving him away and she didn't know whether to open her eyes and acknowledge him or to keep them shut and shun him away. She couldn't help but realise that he may just have changed back into the man that she had fallen for all of those years ago; the man that understood, that listened, that cared. Amidst the anger, the hatred, the pain, she had forgotten who he had at first been, she had forgotten that he had been capable of love.

She remembered his pathetic jokes, his crooked smile, his signature smirk, how his eyes would alight in different shades of brown with his varying emotions. She remembered their first kiss, bathed in drizzled rain, his warm lips against her own, the blaze of fingers as they ran through her hair. She remembered soft spoken whispers, lips brushing against her ears, a man who had waited for too many years for a woman that had left him without a word and she didn't know what to make of him anymore.

Her fingers tightened on the edges of the metal chair, it's cold surface soothing in a sense. Her mind whirred in and out of further situations that she could not comprehend.

He could have decided upon so many things that would have changed their fate, Arshia's fate in so many different ways but he hadn't. He could have not saved Arshia, not brought her up alone, not come looking for Khushi, not told her of Arshia but he hadn't and she didn't know whether to be grateful or further angry. It was difficult to distinguish between the ruthless man that she had left and the guilt filled one that now existed, she was drowning in the midst of the battle that existed between her own mind and heart.

He waited for a few minutes, not too sure of how to calm the storm that continued to rage through his mind, sure that his own insecurities will once again soon get the better of him. He scrunched his eyes shut for a fraction of a second then giving up with the idea of attempting a conversation, carefully placed the coffee he had brought on the chair next to her and stood up to leave.

She sensed him get up immediately and her eyes flew open, she didn't want him to leave, it was as if her next actions required no thought, it was impulsive and automatic and maybe somewhere deep inside she was happy about that.

"Arnav," her voice came out quiet but she noticed how he stilled in response.

He felt his breath hitch in his throat, his every muscle tense in reaction as he came to an abrupt halt.

Taking a deep breath in she began, she didn't know what had kicked it off but she felt she had an obligation to continue what she had started. Standing up slowly she waited for a few seconds, expecting him to turn around but he didn't.

"Erm... Will Arshia... Be alright?" Her voice was timid, almost muffled underneath her stifling emotions. There that sounded normal didn't it? She was asking about Arshia, nothing more. She hoped he didn't catch onto the feelings that were resurfacing within her for him.

He turned around and strode over to her, a sudden urgency to his steps as he finally came and stood in front of her, his brows furrowed together in worry. He wanted to place his hand on her shoulder, push her chin up with his other hand, look into her eyes and promise her that everything would be okay, that everything already was but he resisted that urge. Clenching his hands into fists at his sides, he kept his gaze on her searching eyes, "of course Khushi, she's fine, it's just a routine check. Some premature children are like that, they take their time to catch up with normal growth intervals," he reassured her gently.

She nodded back, her eyes fixed on his gaze equally as intently. She looked down then suddenly, her bickering emotions clashing against each other, somehow she felt that she wanted to unload her fears, lessen the burden that seemed to rest upon her. She didn't know what was happening to her but for the first time in years she just wanted to share her pain. "I feel as if I'm disconnected to everything that happens in Arshia's life," she finally mumbled, her voice breaking in places then fell back down onto the chair.

He watched her downcast features for a second, then hurriedly sat down next to her, it was as if suddenly they had engulfed themselves in this bubble where the previous pains were letting go for revelations of their futures. "That's not true Khushi, you've only gotten here, you'll know her in no time. And there's not much to Arshia, she's like you in every way," he finally mumbled, as she turned around to look at him in disbelief. She watched him for a few seconds, his eyes were focused on the distance, the smallest of smiles pulling at his lips and she couldn't help but recognise the sincerity with which he had said that.

"Like me?" The question just flowed out from her as a gentle unknown smile tugged at her own lips.

He looked towards her again, appraising her gentle features, the tiny sparks in her eyes, the softness with which she had enquired.

A corner of his mouth lifted as he smiled, his chocolate brown orbs softening, "yes just like you," he began then, "she likes to talk to herself and giggle randomly," there was a beautiful melancholy in the way he simply compared their daughter to Khushi and she couldn't help but watch his face in wonderment. "She likes the varying phases of weather, each one giving her as much joy as the previous; she likes the cool drizzle of warm summer days, the scorching rays of sunshine that bathes her skin, she likes the taste of jalebis, the company of happiness, to find love in everything she does," he finally looked towards her again, "and she likes to watch the soft sparkle of stars in the dark night sky, the way her Mamma likes to watch her parents shine bright every night," he finally finished off.

She felt lost for words, her emotions in a knot. It hurt to think of how fondly he still thought of her and suddenly a painful past began to feel a bit too surreal.

He dropped his gaze then, her questioning eyes causing him to stop, maybe he had gone too far, maybe he shouldn't overwhelm her with his own tortured thoughts. He gently placed his hand over hers as her eyes travelled with it and stopped on his hand, not sure how to feel of this sudden contact.

"She'll be okay, she has you again, nothing can harm her now," he finally stated, his gaze boring into the depths of hers then leaving a small squeeze of his fingers against hers, stood up and walked away.

And I'm trying to believe
In things that I don't know
The turning of the world
The colour of your soul
That love could kill your pain
Truth is never vain
It turns strangers into lovers
And enemies to brothers
Just say you understand
I never had this planned

And now, now that you're near
There's nothing more without you
Without you here

****

She heard the doorbell as it went off but she continued to sit there, lost in her own thoughts, a situation that felt both like the most crippling of nightmares and yet the most colourful of dreams. She felt lost in this tangled thread of a world where neither lies nor the truth could fix her, where her own heart battled with itself and she still could not decide which part of it she would let win.

She looked up suddenly as he strode down the stairs, the stamina in his every step. She still loved him, she now knew, as equally and irrevocably as she always had, always because she had never stopped loving him. She felt a weird sort of calm, for once in so many years completely at ease with her every feeling and for once she was not afraid to admit that even a droplet of love from him would be enough to erase her every pain.


My head lies to my heart
And my heart it believes
It seems the ones who love us are the ones
That we deceive
But you're changing everything
You're changing everything in me

And now, now that you're near
There's nothing more without you
Without you here


"WHAT?!"

Her head snapped up suddenly as he bellowed at the man that stood in front of him. Sure their journey after their conversation had passed quietly but was he angry again? And was he throwing his anger at her towards someone else as he always had? She stood up suddenly, trying to wipe away that unnerving sensation at the back of her mind.


Arnav took a threatening step towards the police officer that stood in front of him, his nostrils flaring, his eyes ablaze with fury. How dare he? "On what grounds exactly do you think I would let you take my wife with you?" He exclaimed, demanding an answer with his furious gaze as even the police man crouched away from him.

The full impact of those words along with the khaki uniformed officer came back to her a little later than the words that first began to echo in her mind. He had referred to her as his wife.

"Sir we have an arrest warrant against her," the other policeman calmly stated, thrusting a folded piece of paper into his hand.

Khushi came to a halt next to him, her face pale as her blood turned cold. An arrest warrant for her.

He looked from her to the police officers, quickly unfurling the sheet that he had been handed, his fingers shaking against the flimsy paper as he tried to focus his eyes on the writing.

Arrest warrant in the name of Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada on suspicion of accessory to kidnap.

The paper slipped out of his fingers as he went completely still. She watched the colour drain out of Arnav's face then felt the harsh grasp of a woman's hand as it pulled at her frozen body. 


~
Gone is the pale hand of winter
Here is the first flush of may
And soon I will discover whether birds of the summer
Fly in circles of just fly away
- Bird of the Summer, A Fine Frenzy
~











Saturday, 5 January 2013

Chapter 12 - Our Pasts Laced In Pain


~
I promise you 
I will try harder
to be better.
I
have battled with things
inside me
for longer than you know;
I do not know
what they are
or why they are there,
I only know
that they feel
manageable,
defeatable,
when I
am around
You.
- Tyler Knott Gregson
~


She stumbled back a few steps, watching him leave, her fingers tightened on the roll of paper involuntarily and she felt herself fall onto the couch at the far end of the room with a thud, her eyes still glued to the doorway. She somehow couldn’t peel them away from his trail, she didn’t understand, she never had understood. Over the years she had thought about it so many times, about her, about him, how they’d met, what had happened and not for the first time it occurred to her that maybe they were never made for each other. Maybe they were both two different people that were created to live separately and alone for their entire lives and through some twisted route of fate they had met. But now it was different, somewhere down that twisted path they’d forgotten the rules of the game and now neither of them could turn back. She didn’t even try to wipe the tears that fell down her cheeks this time, there was no point, it was as if she was forever destined to cry. Her fingers shook against the bundle of papers in her hands and she wasn’t sure if she wanted to look at them.

Why was none of this making sense? Why couldn’t he just tell her whatever it is that he wanted to say and get it all over with? Did he want her to take Arshia with her or not? What sort of sick messed up game was this that he was playing? Hadn’t she paid enough and that too for a mistake that she hadn’t even committed?

Wiping her cheek with the back of her hand she finally brought the papers in front of her. Police reports? Why was he giving her police reports? She unfurled the sheets slowly, folding over a corner with her thumb then straightening it back up again. She didn’t know why but her heartbeat started increasing, echoing in her ears. Swallowing she brought it closer to her face, her eyes already scanning through the small print.

Her eyes widened suddenly, she felt her breath hitch in her throat and she had to re-read it to make sure she was not mistaken.

Mr Shyam Manohar Jha taken into custody on the charges of kidnap.

Victim: Baby Raizada”

She sat their, stock still, frozen to the spot for a few seconds, her mind whirring out of control with feelings that even she herself could not comprehend. She felt her heart double in speed in her chest, it was as if she had suddenly been struck by lightening.

She looked up, her eyes large, her gaze stuck in the distance, not focusing on anything in particular. Large drops of tears must have fallen down her face and fallen onto the fabric of her trousers but she didn’t notice. She was lost, numb, empty. She closed her eyes slowly, letting the tears that had brimmed fall down her cheeks. She didn’t know what to do, what to say, how to make things better, if she could make things better. Her hand went to the base of her neck, soothing the pain that irrupted up her throat, swallowing hard, attempting to bring moisture to her dry throat. Her fingers tightened on the paper, almost crinkling the paper in her efforts to hold on and keep sane. She didn’t read on, she didn’t think she could.

****

“Khushi Kumari Gupta?” The judge questioned, raising an eyebrow and peering over his specs at Mr Roy, quietly scrutinizing his shuffling form, the way he licked his lips then looked in all directions but at the judge. Making a rough mental note of the lawyer’s erratic behavior, the judge flicked through a few more pages. He read through the text slowly, then looked up towards Roy once more. “I understand that Mrs Khushi Kumari Gupta was the victims mother,” he closed the file over once more, clasping his hands together, this time looking straight towards Roy, “would you care to explain to me Mr Roy how in the world that makes sense?” His voice was more abrupt this time, it was clear that he was done with any games that were being played.

Roy gulped, slowly anticipating his impending doom. Licking his parched lips once more he quickly reached for the glass of water in front of him, his fingers almost slipping off of the glass. He took in the water through several loud gulps then looked back up at the judge again. “You see me lord,” he began his voice at first slightly unsteady. “The mother of the child was in a relationship with my client.”

The judge watched him with knitted eyebrows, trying to make sense of the story that was being put towards him.

“As you are aware my client is married to Mrs Anjali Manohar Jha,” Roy’s words were clearer this time, his voice louder as he began to slowly narrate the story Shyam had created for him, every word memorized.

The judge nodded slowly, re-opening the file and reading through another paragraph for his confirmation. “Yes Roy I am aware and how does that relate?” The judge questioned quickly, not prepared to waste time.

Roy swallowed hard, trying to diffuse the nervousness that wouldn’t seize to creep up his spine. “Well whilst he was married to Mrs Anjali Manohar Jha he was in a relationship with Ms Khushi Kumari Gupta.”

“You mean Mr Shyam Manohar Jha and Mrs Khushi Singh Raizada were in an extra-marital affair?” The judge questioned, re-phrasing Roy’s words and getting to the point.”

Roy shook his head quickly then leaned forward on his chair, “no no Ms Khushi Kumari Gupta was not married to Mr Arnav Singh Raizada at the time.” Roy stated then, explaining the situation clearly.

The judge nodded, quickly scribbling down a note on that, “okay continue.”

“Me lord when Mr Arnav Singh Raizada found out about the affair without warning his sister; Mrs Anjali Manohar Jha, he took matters into his own hands and forced Ms Khushi Kumari Gupta to marry him.”

The judges eyes widened for a fraction of a second before he returned to his straight, apathetic face, “I see,” he began to write more in the pad of paper that lay in front of him, his slanted handwriting rapid on the lined paper. “So Mr Raizada forced Ms Gupta to marry him?” He questioned again, re-confirming this fact.

“Yes me lord,” Roy answered nodding quickly.

“Okay continue,” the judge allowed once more.

He gulped, willing his mind to bring forth the right words, “as you can imagine me lord, Ms Gupta was not happy with this fact and wanted revenge. Therefore on finding out that she was pregnant she left Mr Raizada’s house and continued her pregnancy elsewhere. At the end of the term my client and Ms Gupta acted out this farce of loosing the child in order to obtain money from Mr Raizada,” his throat was dry by the time he finished.

The judge looked up at him, frowning, “but Mr Roy  it was Mr Jha that contacted Mr Raizada, he was caught red handed, arrested on the spot.” He stated the facts, trying to gain a straight story.

“Yes me lord, Ms Gupta obviously suspected that things where going wrong and fled the country before anything more could be found out about her involvement.

The judge nodded slowly, making more notes, “and do you have any evidence to prove this?” He finally questioned.

Roy swallowed hard, “yes me lord.”

****

Her steps where slow, she walked as if in a daze, her feet stopping in front of his room almost automatically, closing her eyes, her chest heaving with every breath, tears streaking down her cheeks and her heart pounding away in her chest she slowly walked in, the bundle of sheets still enclosed in her grip.

Arnav stood with his back to her, looking out at the sky outside which had darkened with grey clouds, edging closer as it rapidly covered the piercing rays of the sun, making way for the rain to fall in all its glory. He wanted escape, to run away, to forget, to not think, to live but he knew he would have none of those things. He wished she would understand, that he would have another chance but that too he had lost hope for. He wished he could tell her how much he loved her, how much he wanted to make up for all of his wrong, how much he needed her but knew he wouldn’t. He was never good with words and now when he thought about it he didn’t know what he would say, how he would say it because in the end they would just be mere words, words in exchange for all the pain that he had caused her and they would never be enough; not for what he had put her through. And he knew he was not worthy of her forgiveness, knew how little faith she had in him, her thinking that he was the one to tell her that he child was dead was enough proof to him of what she still thought of him. He attempted to prevent himself from breaking down once more because the tears were too little in front of the torment he had to live with each and every day. If only she knew how much it had hurt him to hurt her, how his heart had cracked with every word he had uttered against her. Maybe this was his penance - her misjudgment, living the rest of his life devoid of her forgiveness.

He didn’t notice her, didn’t hear her come till she was right behind him. He turned around slowly as he heard her feet shuffle behind him.

She looked up at him, unable to let the incoherent sentences that formed in her mind escape, she didn’t know what to ask him, what to say, where to begin.

He let his eyes hover over her face for a few seconds, she looked so timid, so lost, he just wanted to grab her, let her rest her head against his chest as he soothed her out of this nightmare that they were living, but he couldn’t so he chose the only words he could form.

And I’d give up forever to touch you
Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You’re the closets to heaven that I’ll ever be
And I don’t want to go home right now

And all I can taste is this moment
And all I can breathe is your life
Cause sooner or later it’s over
I just don’t want to miss you tonight

He faced away from her, turning back around towards the glass doors then out at the rapidly darkening sky. He couldn’t face her, didn’t think he could watch sorrow cross her beautiful face.

And I don’t want the world to see me
Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

He didn’t want to relive it ever again, let those thoughts, those crippling moments cross his mind but he had no other option, she had to know the truth.

“I was getting ready for work when I first got the phone call,” his voice was low and constricted as he began. “I wasn’t expecting anything and at first I didn’t even understand what was being said to me,” he continued, putting it exactly the way it had been. “I remember being told that my child had been kidnapped, that I wouldn’t get her back unless I paid a ransom and I just didn’t understand.” He stuffed his hands into his pockets, facing completely away from her, watching single raindrops as they began to fall one by one.

“I was so lost Khushi,” she could hear his voice breaking as he continued, her body frozen to the spot, she didn’t think she could move. “I didn’t know that I had a child,” he turned around then to face her, his gaze meeting hers, “I didn’t know that you had been pregnant,” his voice was almost inaudible and her tear-glazed eyes widened at his words, maybe she should have told him.

Gulping back the tears that choked his throat he looked away from her to continue, fighting against tears that threatened to fall. “I remember adding up the months in my head, it didn’t make any sense, it hadn’t been 9 months since you’d left but I took the chance anyway. I agreed to pay the ransom then contacted the police,” he finally mumbled looking back at her.

“I… She… Arshia was 7 months premature,” she stuttered out, cutting in, she felt that she needed to explain.

He nodded slowly before she could continue, “I know,” he mumbled, his words somehow felt gentle and she was surprised that for once he hadn’t jumped to another assumption.

His eyes flickered over the wavering emotions of her face before a wry smile tugged at his lips, “you’re surprised right? That I didn’t think anything else of it?” He asked and she looked up at him surprised, she hadn’t expected him to pick up on that.

He continued on, letting his gaze flicker away from her large eyes, “I knew that I’d made a mistake Khushi, I wasn’t going to do the same thing a second time round,” the regret was clear in his voice.

And you can’t fight the tears that ain’t coming
Or the moment of truth in your lies
When everything feels like the movies
Yeah you bleed just to know you’re alive

And I don’t want the world to see me
Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am

She finally managed to awaken her voice again, her gaze falling onto the empty edges of the pool, where his pots of plants had once stood, then back to him again, his fallen face, his haggard features. She closed her eyes for a moment; let her questions come through to the forefront. She didn’t want to imagine that pain again, of thinking that she had lost everything, of being left with nothing and she couldn’t bring herself to relate to his pain, to being told that a child that he had never known existed was suddenly in danger, she couldn’t tell how that would have felt like.

“Why didn’t you…” She began only to be cut off by him.

He looked to her for a second, “at first it was chaos I didn’t have the time to search for you,” he looked away again, continuing as he stared on to an empty corner of the wall. “When we found her she was weak, they’d fed her but she hadn’t received the proper care she needed as a premature baby,” his voice sounded lost somewhere, guarded and devoid of emotions as if he was shielding away from impending pain.

She couldn’t stop the tears that had gathered in her eyes from falling, from covering her mouth with her hands to stop the ragged sobs from escaping, she didn’t want to imagine her little angel going through that, didn’t want to see what he had seen.

He closed his eyes for a second, attempting to keep his assaulting emotions at bay, his expression filled with pain. “I had to keep her in care for two weeks, under observation for another week, she had to be given a ventilator, be incubated, I… I couldn’t,” his voice began to break, his words faltering as he tried to hold himself together, “I didn’t know what to do, how to save her and I didn’t know what I would do if I didn’t.”

She could hear the tears that choked his voice, feel his raw emotions, she tried to escape the images that began to haunt her, not imagine that her child had been put through so much pain.

“I wanted to find you, call you, tell you that Arshia was with me, that she was fine, know why you’d left her in the first place but I didn’t know where to start, what to say.”

She watched him in shock, she could see his walls breaking and she didn’t know how to react, not this time round.

He looked down to the floor as he continued, “I knew that somewhere along the line this was all my fault, that if I hadn’t…” He closed his eyes in pain, clenching his fists at his side.

She looked to him in disbelief; she hadn’t expected him to be sorry for his mistakes, not like this.

He looked to her once more, holding her gaze, “I tried to look for you a few months later,” he mumbled taking a step towards her, “I did try Khushi but maybe I didn’t try hard enough,” he admitted solemnly, letting his gaze fall to the ground once more, “I knew you’d take her from me if you found out and I didn’t think I could afford to lose her too, so maybe I stopped every time I got close to finding you.”

She didn’t know what to say, she hadn’t expected for him to open upto her, to tell her the truth and now that he had she didn’t know what to say or do.

He looked up towards her once more, his gaze colliding once more with her wide eyes as they flitted through his featured.

“And I’m sorry for keeping her from you, for not trying harder to find you, I’m sorry Khushi,” his voice was barely above a whisper, broken in places.

She took a step back, her eyes tracing over his downcast features, she was stumbling over her own emotions, she hadn’t expected any of this, and she hadn’t expected his apology.

And I don’t want the world to see me
Cause I don’t think that they’d understand
When everything’s made to be broken
I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am
I just want you to know who I am…

 She walked backwards, she was breaking down, and she couldn’t prevent the ragged sobs that escaped her. His arm outstretched towards her, to stop her, but she didn’t have the strength to listen to anymore, she couldn’t accept his apology so she ran.

****

“Hello?” Anjali frowned as she answered the phone, she didn’t usually answer unknown numbers but this had been coming through for quite a few days.

“Rani Sahiba?”

Her eyes widened in horror, her fingers trembling as her phone slid out of her grasp and fell to the floor. She took a step back as it broke into pieces. She could recognize that gruff voice no matter where she heard it.

****

He continued to type away at his laptop furiously, his thoughts were haywire, his mind restless. He had to find out if she was okay, he hadn’t meant to hurt her, he’d just wanted her to know the truth.

Exhaling loudly he finally stood up then stomped out of his room.

She looked up slowly on hearing his steps approach her, sniffing and wiping away the tears that had flown down her cheeks. She stood up off of the couch as he stood watching her from the door.

She walked towards him; her steps slow then let her gaze meet his. He had to clench his fists at his side; he was always the one to put tears in her eyes.

He let his gaze hover over her, then let it drop suddenly catching onto the lone packed back at the side. He’d been to Arshia’s room earlier, Khushi had unpacked the stuff that she had packed for her and left it to a side of the room. She was leaving and this time she was leaving without Arshia.

“Khushi,” he began, his voice soft, letting his gaze fall upon her once more.

She couldn’t take it, couldn’t hold in her tears any longer. Her body began to shake with the force of her tears as loud sobs escaped her, her hands clasped together as she sobbed against them.

His hands went out to her immediately, all of his inhibitions forgotten, he gripped her by the shoulders and brought her closer to himself, supporting her. “Khushi,” he tried again.

“I can’t do this anymore Arnav,” she spoke through her sobs, “I just can’t! And now more than anything I don’t know what to do!” She wanted to lean into him, let his strong arms go around her but she didn’t let herself fall weak once more, she didn’t want to let him in for him to walk away all over again.

He held onto her, his fingers tight against her skin, he didn’t know what to say, how to make her feel better.

“I’m not taking Arshia Arnav,” she looked up towards him, her hazel orbs drowning in her tears, “I can’t take her away from you. At first it was different,” she found it difficult to talk through the tears that choked her throat, “and now I know that you didn’t do any of this so how can I break away the beautiful bond you have with her and attempt to form a new one Arnav?”

Arnav closed his eyes for a second, the words not coming to him, what was he supposed to say? “Khushi, I…”

“No Arnav,” she cut him off, “my mind is made, I’m leaving tomorrow and I’m not taking Arshia with me,” she wiped further tears that edged down her cheeks then quickly walked off leaving him to drown in his own miserable thoughts.

****

Khushi stirred in her sleep, her closed eyes scrunching together as she let her hand guide out to her little angel that lay wrapped up against her. Her eyes snapped open suddenly, her hands landing on empty space. She fumbled, panic rising in her throat, her fingers going out and feeling for the switch. She pressed down on it quickly, throwing the room into brightness, her eyes widening as mind numbing fear engulfed her. Where was Arshia?

She threw the covers off, her feet quickly landing on the floor. Standing up she ran out of the room, every muscle in her body tensed with the fear that overtook her.

She stopped suddenly in front of his room, the pumping of her heart echoing in her ears, almost drowning out the low splash of water then happy giggles that floated out from within. She felt herself become drawn, her feet lead her of their own accord. Her eyes widened further, her breath hitching in her throat as she finally witnessed what lay before.

Through the enchanting blue gleam of the moonlight she witnessed for what wasn’t the first time the immense love that floated between them, the laugh lines in his face, his childish laugh that she had only known for brief glimpses of time, mirroring her angel, her tiny little giggles as she splashed water on his face.

She wasn’t aware of the smile that pulled at her lips, how her eyes lighted up and she walked further into the room, wishing that she too one day be part of that bubble, the bubble of love that he would forever keep her cradled in.

She couldn’t help the gentle prick of tears that threatened to clog her eyes; all those years of thinking so bitterly of him had almost rendered her incapable of thinking that he was able to express such love. She swallowed hard, she knew she had made the right decision, she couldn’t break Arshia away from him and force her to replace that tie with her, she would never be a good mother if she did that.

She watched the distant moon, shimmer and disappear in the glaze of her tears, she closed her eyes shut then, letting the tears that had gathered trail down her face. What was she supposed to do? Every time she was close to fixing things, to moving, to letting go fate would intervene, play its hideous games then leave her to clear up a mess that she hadn’t been responsible for in the first place. She wanted to let go, forget where she was and just slide down to the floor, let the tears flow, let herself cry till there were no more tears left, till she was exhausted and could finally fall into deep sleep. She wished she could turn back time, that things had worked out better.

She almost missed the gentle tug of fingers around the tip of her own fingers that snapped her out of the dark abyss she had been falling into.

“Mamma! Mamma!” The soft voice of her daughter caused her to slowly open her eyes, her gaze clashing momentarily with his then falling again. She sat down then, letting herself sit level with her daughter, her eyes only focused on the soft dazzling orbs of her little angel as she grinned back at Khushi.

"Mamma! Wook water!" She giggled, clapping her little chubby hands together then running her hand around Khushi's finger began to drag her over towards the pool. She felt the past come back to her in visions then, her broken life, his scattered pieces of a loved soul, shards of glass on the floor, that final night. She scrunched her eyes shut trying to shun the images away as more tears gathered and grazed down her cheeks.

She felt Arshia's grip tighten on her finger then the tiniest of tugs but she didn't want to open her eyes, she didn't want to return to the present that echoed so much of her past.

"Mamma! Mamma!" She exclaimed, pulling at her finger till Khushi finally opened her eyes, the glimmers of the brightly lit pool coming through to her as one large blurry image. "Mamma!" Arshia pulled again, her tiny brows furrowing together at the lack of response and Khushi felt herself drop down to the floor and sit next to her of her own accord. She couldn't stop it anymore, couldn't prevent her tormenting thoughts, the pain that constricted her heart, the ache that throbbed through her every bone.

She finally broke down, her chest heaving with the sobs that racked through her as she sent her arms around her little baby hugging her to her, cocooning her tiny body to herself, feeling the soft living flesh. This was what loss felt like, this was what helplessness felt like. The tears fell down in torrents as her arms continued to tighten around her, she felt little fingers cling to her body, little fingers that she would never feel again.

"Mamma... Mamma are woo okay?" The gentle tinkling voice of her child that she would never be bestowed the treasure of hearing again. She burrowed her head in the softness of her little angels skin, as ragged sobs continued to escape her.

He felt a piece of his heart break off with her every cry, her every tear adding to the scorching trail of fire that burned through him. He closed his eyes in pain for a second, his hands clenching into fists at his side but he couldn't escape it, couldn't bring himself to walk away from her sobs that would forever echo through his ears. His feet moved towards her of their own accord, till he was kneeling down behind her, till he could almost feel the trembles that shook through her.

"Khushi," his voice was a ragged whisper as he placed his hand on her shoulder, feeling her still at his touch, her sobs subsiding for a second.

And in that split second that reverberated with the quietness that surrounded them all she could hear was the pounding of her heart in her chest and the blood rush through her ears.

"Khushi, please take her with you... Please Khushi I can live without her... For the pain that you've been through... You can have her," he finally struggled through words that had ceased to flow out earlier, he couldn't bare this any longer. He didn't want her to go through the same thing over and over again because of him; his cycle of mistakes assaulting her with every turn.

She heard his words, the plea hidden in his stuttered sentence and she felt herself go numb, unsure of whether to cry or to laugh at the cruel turns of her life, whether to agree or not despite knowing the sadness in his life.

"Please Khushi..." He had given up hoping for a better future, for a family, all he wanted was to see her happy even if that happiness would not include him.

She turned around then, her little angel still cradled in her arms, her gaze clashing with his blazing caramel orbs, glazed over with tears that he too was on the brink of shedding. She couldn't help but fall for the helplessness in his eyes, understand a man that was now truly broken. This was not the Arnav Singh Raizada she had married, this was not the man that pushed and hurt and yelled, this was not the man that was used to having his way with everything, with her. No this was the Arnav she had known so many years ago, the man whose heart she had recognised even through the walls, the man who had sat on a bench in the pouring rain and narrated to her a past that had left his life the scarred remains he now lived. And what was she supposed to do infront of that man now? How was she supposed to reply to him, how was she supposed to hurt him?

She looked down then, averting her eyes, taking a deep breath in she finally replied, "I can't Arnav... I... I can barely survive on my own and I can't possibly make her go through that too. And Arnav I can't live a life with the guilt that I broke her ties off from you, that I left her without a father," she finally mumbled, not meeting his gaze that she could feel burning through her then rapidly standing up walked away from him, to the other end of the room, her baby snuggled in the confines of her arms.

He went and stood behind her, he was adamant with his decision, "Khushi why don't you understand that I can't do this either, I can't leave her without a mother... I can't let my mistakes hover over her too," his voice was hoarse as he fought to prevent himself from breaking down further.

She heard the desperation in his voice but chose to ignore it, "then get married again Arnav," she muttered with a stone over her heart, she just needed to get away, "Arshia's still small, she won't understand..."

He put his hand on her shoulder and swung her around suddenly and she flinched from the anger that was evident in his features. "What the hell is wrong with you Khushi?!" He screamed through gritted teeth. "Get married again? Lie to Arshia? Are you fucking insane?"

"What's so wrong with that? Why can't you do it?" She screamed back, refusing to back down, she had made her decision and if he wanted to change that then he'd have to give into the words that he always hid from her. Why couldn't he just tell her to stay? If only he'd ask once she would.

He didn't know what took over him then, he took a step forward, grabbing her by both of her shoulders, her face only inches away from his, her large bewildered eyes clashing against his, "BECAUSE I LOVE YOU DAMN IT! Because I still want to fix things! Because I still have hope for us! Because I still regret every word I've said to you!" He shook her as he exclaimed out the feelings that he had hidden within him for so long. He moved away from her finally, letting go of his grip on her, his gaze averted to the floor, not even noticing the tears that trailed down her cheeks.

"What sort of monster do you think I am Khushi?" His voice was broken, heavy with the tears that he still held intact.

"Arnav," she didn't know why she uttered his name, her voice filled with tears, "I..."

"Because I love you damn it!" His words still reverberating in her ears.

He looked up towards her once more, "I'm not asking for forgiveness Khushi and I wish I didn't have to ask you for anything because I know it's unfair," he cut her off, his voice low and almost inaudible. "But I don't know if I have any other option, I don't know how to make things right," he was finally voicing his feelings, his fears and she didn't know how to reply to that, how to take back what she had said.

"I just wish you'd stay," he finally muttered, and she felt herself become lost in his deep chocolate brown orbs once more. Their eyes meeting to speak the words that had been left unfinished for so long and she did not know of any other reply than the one that left her lips, "I think I will."

~
I wonder if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night. 
- The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini
~




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BeyondTheStars
I have too many stories in my head and sometimes I just need to put them out there for people to read. Fanfic writing was an idea that I hadn't considered at all until coming across some really good ones on India-Forums so my writing is an affect of too much IF trolling on lazy revision days. I get bored easily from studying (which I do too much of) and writing helps me relax. My life involves a whole load of drama so the twists and turns in my stories will show the effect of that. Anyway hope you enjoy the Arshi fanfics I send your way :).
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Got four fanfic on the go plus the random OS's that I'll be writing. So check em out too!

http://beyondthestarsindex.blogspot.co.uk/