Chapter 10

“Arnav ji.” Khushi called him as he again lost himself in thoughts and the siblings were trying to call him out of it too.

Arnav looked at khushi and then taking a deep breath, he started explaining about his parents, about his refusal to this unwanted surname ‘Malik’ and why he hated his father more than others.

“I was 14 and di, she was 18 and was arranged to marry. Our parents were fighting over something but it was a happy fight and then suddenly, as I was running towards papa’s study, I heard the gunshots...”

Arnav shuddered remembering the scene but kept going.

“One after another, they were from papa’s study where they were having their sweet fight and as I reached, I saw it. His hand had his gun and maa, was looking at him frightened and I knew something wasn’t right and ran to save maa but I wasn’t fast. They both laid on ground and Ankush chacha too came after me. But something wasn’t right about that and now I know what. Dadi. She never attended to anything, the funeral was of his son too but she went away leaving me and di after kicking us and chacha out of the house.”

Arnav stopped thinking of all the troubles they went through when Anjali looked at him and continued.

“Then, me, Arnav and chacha came here but when we were coming here, an accident took our chacha too. We were stranded here. But nani found us and then we became Raizada. We accepted it from our hearts. We suddenly got a brother too, a brother more loving then our own siblings.” Arnav’s eyes were red as Anjali continued what he left but his eyes looked at the woman sitting beside him, holding his hand, making sure he is okay. His heart moved and hands wrapped her in himself. Anjali caressed Aakash’s face and looked at her chote. So much pain and regret.

“We started a life here and about my marriage, it was stopped because the groom suddenly understood he will have nothing but a responsibility of a brother and sister. Chacha dying told us to never search for the Malik’s and we kept ourself away from the Malik’s.” Anjali sighed and looked at Arnav while Aakash questioned “what happened, di?” Why suddenly?

Aakash questioned seemingly wanting to say more but his heart couldn’t see his cousins who are more than siblings to him cry over it.

“I saw her today.” Anjali shuddered as a sob broke.

“Your dadi?” Khushi questioned and Arnav nodded as his sister couldn’t bear to speak anymore.

“She was with Shyam. My husband.” Anjali sneered at the name. “And she told him to help her...”

“In?” Aakash squeezed as the wait stretched long.

“In killing me.” Khushi looked shocked at these words of Anjali and held Arnav’s hand tightly and pulled him close to herself who willingly came close to her.

Khushi then moved towards Anjali and pulled her into hug as she calmed her down and Anjali having someone to console her, she too cried and sobbed until there was nothing left in her.

They both held close until Anjali pulled away and kissed Khushi’s forehead. “Khushi, please, always stay with us. Never go away.”

Khushi smiled at Anjali and looked at Arnav saying “I am never leaving.”

Arnav looked at her surprised when a smile made it’s way on his face, his eyes twinkled just how khushi loves it.

Even though she doesn’t know it but she loves it, for it’s her Arnav ji, hers and hers alone.

Aakash too had a sudden urge to hug someone but he held it in himself. His time will come too.

Anjali looked at Arnav and smiled seeing him lost in his wife. She coughed and said “I want divorce from Shyam and also, I want to get dadi arrested.”

Arnav looked at his sister and saw her looking at him with determination and nodded his head. “Even if you won’t want to do anything to dadi, I would have done everything in my power to get her arrested. It’s still okay to do anything with me but if it’s my family, you still haven’t seen the worst yet.”

His eyes burned and khushi looked at him. Laad governor looks good even in anger.

Arnav looked at khushi and beckoned her to him causing every cell in her body to lit up but seeing Aakash ji and di pursing smiles, she blushed and didn’t followed.

Aakash coughed and took his sisters hand pulling her out of the room shouted “bhabhi, bhai is telling you to go to him.” Anjali laughed and swatted him moving away from the room.

Aakash looked at Anjali and said “di, we will do everything in our power to protect you. I promise.”

Anjali smiled and patted his cheeks and said “varna hum aapko rakhi kyu bandhte hai har saal...” (Otherwise, why would I tie rakhi on your hand?) (Rakhi tying is a festival of Indians in which the sister ties a band made of red string and beads which signifies that her brother will always protect her.)

“I thought that was to extort money from me and bhai.” Anjali looked at him and swatted him away but he held her and apologized quickly unless his di throws a tantrum getting him scolded.

“I know di, I’ll always protect you.” Aakash dropped Anjali to her room and as he saw Shyam’s photo there, his veins burst in anger but he held himself and laid his sister moving away to go back to his room.

Arnav looked at the woman lying in his arms and pulled her even more closer making her mumble something.

As he moved to hear her, she pulled a little back saying “Arnav ji, I am not leaving you.” He smiled at her words and whispered back to her “I won’t let you to.”

They both slept holding eachother close and somewhere the previous problems of heartbeat and acidity were forgotten as their relationship has progressed.

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