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OS : Poison
"You let me win" she stumbled as if in a trance, mind lost somewhere, before he could walk away, voice collapsing at her last word. She knew if she didn't speak the silence would engulf them both, drowning them in its emptiness.
He stood in front of her, shaking from the intense furrow of emotions running through him, his hand was burning, so he flinched away from where he held her around the waist, leaving a hollow sensation at the loss of touch.
She glanced down nervously looking where he had held her moments before. The lights around them were dim, their ears were still drumming from the blast of music that had just ended, the hum of the audience behind the curtains fell as a soft murmur against everything.
Anjali had announced the scores, Khushi had just bumped the Gupta's up by another 10 points, giving them 24 to counter the Raizada's 23. Why did he help her? She tried to ask that question out loud, but found that she couldn't move. Everytime she tried to order herself to speak, she would get a glimpse of Arnav burying his face into her neck, or running his hands across her waist, and her stomach would jump.
He looked at her struggling to compose herself, never had he felt a desire so strong before in his life. This girl had come into his life and turned it completely upside down. He hadn't intended to dance that way, not so close anyway. But the heat of the moment, the heat of her skin so close had sent his apprehensiveness flying away. All he had wanted was her, and now what? How do you react to something like that.
"Why..did you help me?" she finally managed, eyes glued to his.
Arnav tried to look away, but he couldn't. Her eyes looked a dark green in the darkness against her dress. It was such a beautiful colour he couldn't seem to make himself look away.
"I..." he didn't know what to say, freezing as she looked at him expectantly. Waiting for answers that she hoped would correct her world, everything was different, everything was so strange. How had they landed up here?
He closed his mouth again, unable to share his thoughts, because to be completely honest, he didn't know why he had helped her. He heard Anjali and Shyam approaching them from the edge of the stage and he kept looking at her as they got close.
"You won" he breathed, as the realisation finally dawned on him. He had been so lost in the moment that he had forgotten all about their bet. Shit! What had he just done?
"Khushi ji, congratulations!" Anjali beamed, pulling her into a side hug as Shyam looked on, outraged from what he had just seen between Arnav and Khushi. The chemistry between the two of them had been undeniable, the whole room had heated up, fuelling the fire of his rage.
"Ji? Oh, yes, thank, thank you Anjali ji" Khushi said, trying to get her bearings as she realised she was still at the sangeet.
Arnav took one last look at her and stepped to the side, beginning to walk away, he needed to clear his head. He needed to think of what to say.
"Chote, can you get the murti?" Anjali called out to her retreating brother.
"Whatever" Arnav shot back, before walking away, unable to say much more.
Anjali scowled at her moody brother, she couldn't believe that he had just danced! It had been the most enjoyable thing for her to watch, but she knew it must have been strange for him, so she had decided to lay off the teasing, for now.
Shyam continued to look at Khushi as she shuffled nervously "Uhh, maybe, we should do the award giving later" Khushi thought, thinking about him. She really needed to talk to him, she wanted to ask what had made him dance with her. He could have sat back and just watched her lose. He could have had everything he wanted, her humiliation, his win, her loss.
"Are you sure Khushi ji?" Anjali asked, watching as Khushi nodded and started to walk away.
"Wait Khushiji, could you do me a big favour?" she asked.
Khushi nodded again.
"I think Chote isn't in a great mood, can you please get the murti instead? We can give it to you guys at the end of the night, but it will be convenient to have it near the stage"
"Ji Anjali ji" Khushi said robot like, still consumed by thoughts of Arnav and the way he had felt so close against her, like he wanted her.
Did he really?
Was everything he showed her just a pretence? She wished with all her heart that it was true, that everthing he had said to her was a lie. That he cared about her, and wanted her.
Her chest almost hurt from the magnitude of hope she had, but it was clouded with reality. Telling and reminding her that she couldn't let her hopes get high, because this man was the most unpredictable man she had ever met. She shouldnt expect anything, she couldn't.
It would break her.
She dragged her feet along past Anjali and Shyam, not noticing as Shyam watched her walk away. The girl that encaptured his lust, was in the arms of someone else, and there was nothing he could do about it.
She walked aimlessly until she realised she needed to go get the statue and turned around in the corridor to walk to Anjali's room where it was stored in her cupboard.
Arnav, meanwhile, walked with ambition. He wanted to put as much difference between him and Khushi as possible, so he could breathe again and let his mind think. So he could give himself one solid logical reason why he had just done what he had. He felt the frustration and anger at himself build up with every step, walking towards his room.
He remembered his sisters words just as he was about to throw his door open, how she had asked him to get something. He sighed in irritation as he turned on his heel and headed towards her room to grab the murti. He didn't need the added pressure of everyone asking him why he was so bothered by it all.
Yes, maybe that was it.
Maybe if he pretended like it didn't happen, it would make it disappear. It was the only way he could find the right atmosphere to be able to think, otherwise, if he kept thinking about the scent of her skin and the softness of her long tresses caressing his skin, he knew he would lose his mind.
She walked into the room in a daze, not noticing that Arnav already stood by the cupboard, looking for the murti amongst his sisters things, he froze when he felt her presence behind him.
He turned slowly to find her walking in a haze, she was headed straight for the table in the centre of the room. He waited for a while to watch whether she would notice, but she didn't, she just kept walking, muttering something to herself in a low mumble, about to collide with the small block of wood before he reached out and grabbed her hand.
She shot of her daze like someone had thrown a bucket of cold water on her.
"Huh?" she let out, surprised that he was there.
"Watch where you are going" he said harshly.
His tone surprised her, after what had happened, after everything they had been through, he was back to this? Back to this Arnav Singh Raizada, no, not again, please not again, she thought.
She still persisted with what she wanted, he owed her an explanation.
"I.. I needed to talk to you" she said, as he looked away and walked back to the cupboard.
"I don't have time for this" he said, ruffling through his sisters clothes, pushing aside a small container to look around for what he was trying to find.
"Well then make time!" she ordered, surprised even at her own words.
He froze for a moment, turning around to face her slowly, trying to numb out all the emotions he felt.
"What did you say?" he asked, incredulous.
"I..uh...it's just that, you always avoid my questions when I nee.."
"And you don't avoid mine?" he retaliated, thinking of all the times she had run away from him when he had wanted to talk to her.
"Don't speak to me like that" he ordered, before promptly turning around to continue looking for the statue. He wasn't even paying attention to what he was doing, only keeping himself busy until she walked away, but she had always had the knack of doing exactly what he didn't want her to do.
"Why did you help me?" she asked again, for what seemed like the hundredth time to Arnav. He wanted to turn around and scream, tell her that he didn't know why he had helped her, but he knew he couldn't. Khushi would never accept that, neither would he.
"Shut up, Shut up, Khushi Kumari Gupta, Shut Up!" he barked as she flinched, harshly throwing the clothes in his hand against the cupboard wall, not noticing the small container that had cracked open from the force with which he had hit it.
She stopped herself from walking away. This was not going to be Diwali night all over again. She was not going to let him walk away without being answerable for his actions, she wasn't going to let him treat her like something so unimportant that her questions didn't require answering. She wasn't going to stand by and wait until he felt like it, so he could give her the answers to questions that she didn't want to hear anymore. This wouldn't be like last time, she decided, taking as few determined steps towards him, placing her hand over his as he grabbed at another piece of fabric, pointlessly running through his sisters things when she could see the Murti placed carefully on the shelf above. How had he not noticed? He must have been too preoccupied.
The touch of her hand on his made him freeze, looking up to face her unwavering eyes.
"Why did you do it? Please tell me" she asked again.
Arnav wanted to yank his hand away from under hers. Everytime they touched he could feel a little spark of electricity course from the contact of their skin throughout his body. It told him to pay attention, because she was close. He gave her a dangerous look, but she was not one to back down. Keeping her hand firmly on his she looked at him, hunting through his soul with her fiery eyes, telling him that she would get what she wanted tonight.
He tried again to pull away, but she held him strongly.
"Khushi stop this nonsense"
"Just tell me" she asked in a strong voice, but it was somehow pleading, telling him she was desperate.
Arnav didn't know what to say when she looked at him like that, but he knew if he turned the tables on her, and she just looked away, he could make an escape.
"Why don't you tell me" Khushi looked at him, confused as he spoke "Why you were crying earlier tonight?"
Khushi refused to become a prey of his words "No" she stated at once "I asked first, answer me"
Arnav couldn't take it anymore, he ripped his hand out from under hers, and grabbed her by the shoulder with one hand, shaking her lightly.
"What part of I don't have time for this don't you understand, now get out of here" he raged, shaking from everything he felt. He didn't want to do what he was doing, but she wouldn't go away, he knew her resolve better than to believe that.
A look of hurt flashed across Khushi's eyes, but it was replaced by the sheer determination she felt. She looked away from him, prepared to throw a taunt about him being a coward, running away from his thoughts because he was too weak to face them. She knew that would rile him up enough to have him spitting out what he really felt, and she needed to know. But she saw something black move out of the corner of her eye, towards the hand that Arnav had rested on the shelf.
"If you think that you can just order me to answer a question, and that I will, then you are wrong Khushi Kumari Gupta, you have forgotten who I am, I answer questions when I want, if I ever want and nobody like you is eve..."
For the first time in her life, Khushi was not listening to the words Arnav was speaking, they drowned out in the sudden rapid wave of dread and fear that hit her on making out the shape of the moving object. A scorpion, approaching Arnavs hand with its viscous claws, marking out its prey. She jumped, reaching out for it in a rapid movement and pushing it away from where it was about to sting him, but not before she felt the own scorching heat pulse through her right forearm.
Arnav stopped talking, taken aback at Khushi suddenly flicking at his hand, what was she up to again.
"What are you doing?" he asked, angry.
She held him by the hand and pulled it out of the cupboard, slamming the door shut behind her.
Arnav looked at her disbelieving, as she went about doing something strange all over again.
"What the hell are you doing Khushi?" unable to hide the slight concern in his voice at seeing her suddenly turn into a flittering pool of nerves, gripping her forearm nervously.
She was worried, it had stung her, she had felt it. She held her arm where the sting was so she couldn't see it, but she knew it was there. She felt the burning of her veins as the contents of the scorpion sting made its way through her body. She looked up at Arnav, still in his fit of temper.
"Nothing, I'm not doing anything, I.." she stopped, not knowing what to say, she had gotten herself into a problem now, she didn't want to ruin everything, she refused to come in between her sisters happiness a second time. But she would do it all over again, if it meant saving Arnav.
Arnav rolled his eyes at her and reached out for the cupboard again, when she stopped him again he looked over at her irritated "I need to get the murti, let go"he commanded, unaware of her fear.
"Anjali said to get it later, you can leave it for now" she lied, she didn't want him opening that cupboard, she was pretty sure she had hit the scorpion pretty hard, but her hand was slowly becoming numb, and she knew she couldn't be sure.
Arnav watched her for a second, and bit back the instinct that told him to ask her what was wrong because she suddenly didn't look right, this was his moment, he could escape her inquest.
He retreated from her and was by the door way when he heard her call out to him.
She raked through her mind every second, she knew what she was going to do. She didn't know how quickly the poison was spreading through her, but the grogginess had far reached her shoulder already, she would run and get a rickshaw, and get herself to the hospital, no one had to know. But she feared she wouldn't be able to make it, and above all, there was one thing her mind wanted right now.
"Wait... I won" she called out, as Arnav turned back to her, silently waiting for what she was going to say.
"You have to do whatever I say, remember that bet?" she called out again. Arnav watched her intently, not knowing what she was about to say.
Khushi had plans for this, something that would make him come out of his shell, something that would make him bite back his arrogance, something that might show him he was wrong in thinking money and power was everything in this world. But she might not have a chance for that.
"I want you to tell me, I want you to tell me why you helped me" she said, watching as Arnavs face turned to one of astonishment and a glimmer of fear ran across his eyes.
"And no lying" she warned "I want the truth"
Authors Note : Hahaaha so as you can see, I have been putting off Arnav answering the question because I really have no idea what he would say! But I guess you can't keep running forever ... or maybe :P
Arnav watched her for a second too long, hesitating just long enough to let her know that her hopes would not run dry, he might not be able to say it now, but she knew he felt something. Her heart fluttered with a hope so strong it made her forget about the sliver of pain running along her arm, now reaching her neck.
Arnav watched her and his heart dropped in his chest. He didn't think she would use her leverage this way. She had the opportunity to ask anything of him, was this really that important to her? He thought about saying it out loud, but he knew he couldn't, not because he didn't want to, he just really didn't know how to say it.
He looked up at her furiously, how dare she use this against him.
"I'm not answering that" he stated simply, about to turn around when her outraged gasp reached his ears.
"WHAT?" she almost shrieked "What did you say?"
"You heard me" he said coolly, making her all the more angrier.
She didn't think he wouldn't keep his word "You coward!" she yelled "You promised, you said anything! You stood there, right there in my kitchen, and you said anything, what happened to that? Are you that scared?" she yelled across the room, outraged.
"You are forgetting I helped you win" he said evenly, sending her a disarming sneer before swiftly turning and walking away.
She had made her mind up to scream at him again, who did he think he was? A bet was a bet, and even Arnav Singh Raizada couldn't walk away from that. Before she could get a word out, she felt a striking pain hit her head, rushing from the blood she realised she needed to get herself to a hospital quickly. The numbness had spread through half her body by the time she reached the doorway, she could see him just whip around the corner, disappearing out of sight and her heart plummeted, her chest restricting slowly as the poison found its way to her lungs.
When he was out of sight she whispered to herself "I would never forget" before slumping against the doorframe, taking in short rapid breaths, trying desperately to feed her heart from the lack of oxygen. She couldn't make her lungs expand, her ribs were beginning to collapse in on her, her legs quivered, weakly letting themselves go, her weight dropped on to the floor instead.
She felt the toxin track through all her veins, burning and scorching her insides as it flew along with her blood, contaminating everything with its tainted fluid. She started to cry when she realised she could not call out, her muscles felt paralysed, numb, dead.
She had heard of people getting stung by scorpions before, and they had plenty of time to get themselves to a hospital, this one must have been bad. She wondered how it had ever even gotten into Anjali's things. She had thought she might have been able to make it the hospital, now she knew she would be lucky even if she made it down the corridor.
The last thing she did before letting the pain run all her sanity dry, was thank God that it had stung her and not him.
Arnav was close to his room again, ready to collapse on his chair and let his thoughts consume him into oblivion when he realised he couldn't do that. He couldn't step away from the bet. So what if he was scared of telling her the truth? He had promised anything, and he wouldn't be able to face her knowing that he hadnt kept his word. For the second time that night he slammed his fist on the door of his room in frustration and walked back to his sisters room, where she was, prepared to give her the answers she so desperately wanted.
Arnav walked back slowly, preparing his mind for what he was about to do. Trying his best to formulate some sort of logic, any piece of rational thought that he could string together to offer up an excuse that was plausible.
She had said no lying, and he wouldn't lie, he would just tell her the truth. Bits of it anyway, whatever he could manage, he owed her that much. He had made the decision to go up to her and help with the dance, so he had the responsibility of owing up to the consequences. With that business man persona, he walked confidently back to her, but with ever step he took, he felt his resolve slipping away with the thought of her.
He walked down the corridor, catching a glimpse of dark green flowing out of the door to his sisters room, he inquisitively quickened his pace until he saw what made his heart stop.
Khushi was sprawled on the floor, leaning against the door frame, her eyes dead and misted over, glazed by uncertainty of life and death. She didn't look responsive, he could make out her tiring short breaths that sounded like her body was giving up.
A wave of pure dread and terror hurtled towards him and hit him square in the chest, stealing away all his confidence before he started to shout out her name.
Everything went blurry as his eyes burned from the tears which he furiously wiped away, trying to get a better view of her. He dropped down to his knees beside her flailing form and held her hand in his, tapping her cheek lightly, trying desperately to elicit a response. Her eyes were facing him, they were looking at him, but he had the horrifying impression that she couldn't see him because she didn't react.
"Khushi!" he called again, feeling his mind close up and heart restrict at the image of her.
"What happened Khushi!?" he called to her, starting to shake as she still didn't respond.
He realised something was horribly wrong and he reached across her failing figure to lift her up when he saw blood on her arm. He gently lifted her soft skin, supporting her light arm and looking at what clearly looked like a sting, two holes mimicking pincers punctured through her soft skin, the surrounding skin having turned a painful dark purple.
His mind threw him back to earlier when she had shut the cupboard door and he knew. He had felt the movement of something dark as it scuttered along the side walls, but he had been too absorbed in giving her a piece of his mind that he hadn't bothered to react.
He cursed under his breath in a hectic panic as he heard her breath become shorter, more inhibited.
He tried to control his frozen shaking hands as he lifted her up strongly, placing his hands under her back and knees, walking out as quickly as he could, with his mind racing at a million miles an hour.
He walked past everyone in the hallway, too busy celebrating in festivities, he didn't have time to waste, he couldn't stop and explain to everyone. He knew she would stop breathing any minute, but he pushed that thought aside for fear of breaking down as he rushed towards his car, placing her in the seat and settling himself in the driver's seat.
He watched over her every second of the way to the hospital, and his brain raked with guilt and regret. Why had she not told him? Why did she hide it from him. She was here, a few feet away from him, her life slowly slipping away, all because he had left her there, alone.
Why didn't he make her feel like he cared about her? Did she really think it didn't matter to him whether she lived or not?
His heart throttled, threatening to suffocate him when he remembered all the times he had told her she didn't matter to him, that it didn't make a difference to him if she was there or not, if she existed or not. Had she really believed him? He had said all those things so it was easier for himself to deny what he felt. He had never dreamed that she would think of it to be true.
He slammed his fists against the steering wheel at the thought of how he had handled everything so wrongly. What kind of game was this? To have Khushi snatched away from him just when he was about to tell her for the first time what he really felt.
Why did he never appreciate her when she was there, by his side, healthy and happy. Why did it take something like this to show him how wrong he was. If he could only have a minute with her now, he would tell her what he felt. That is all he asked for, just a minute.
Why he had helped he during the competition seemed like such a small problem to worry about. He wanted her to open her eyes so he could look into them, lose himself in their depths and just tell her, that he did it because he loved her.
Her felt the warm saline droplets against his cheek as he shouted in a rage at the driver in front of him to hurry up, finally overtaking him a rage, not caring that he scraped the side of his SUV powerfully with the next car.
"Khushi!?" he called, worried that he couldn't make out the sounds of her breathing against the noise of everything else.
He held her hand in his, driving with the other, and squeezed her hand lightly, to let her know he was there.
"Don't you dare even think about leaving me Khushi" he warned as he pulled up in front of a large building.
He ran into the hospital, carrying her in his arms, causing an uproar as he shouted for doctors to attend to her, they took her way from him, stealing her away from his protective arms. He felt a low cry escape his throat when she left, not knowing whether she was all right.
He sat on the chair outside where she was, letting the grief consume him, but not letting the hope he had die away.
He prayed, for her. Because he knew that if he really had been in charge of their fate, they never would have ended up where they were right now.
36 hours later
Arnav walked towards her room in a rush, eagerness engulfing his heart with a layer so warm and sticky, he thought it would melt. He held a small opaque pearl in his hand, twirling it around in his fingers like he had been doing the last day and a half, keeping a part of her close to him so that he could still see the light.
He made his way past their family members, all asleep outside her room in the early hours of the morning. He could just see the rays of the days new sunlight creak through the windows in the hospital.
The doctors had just told him she was awake and he could go see her.
Arnav thought of what he had told himself when he had been driving her to the hospital, how if he had even another moment with her, he wouldn't hold back. He would cherish every moment with her, because she deserved it.
He slipped the pearl lightly into his pocket, smiling as he did, and pushed the door open to find Khushi turn towards him from where she lay, smiling right back.
He didn't need it anymore, he had the real thing, right in front of him.
And that is it for this weekend OS miniseries! I have school tomorrow and won't be back before the next episode airs so there really is no point in writing another part, I'm sorry if it sounds really rushed. I hope you all enjoyed the updates and I am not sure how that scorpion is going to find its way to Khushi in the show, but it better! (hahaha, I wrote this a while ago, what a shame...)
Please leave likes and comments and send me an email if you want updates! Love, Hayley