Thursday, 10 July 2014

Chapter 17 - The Very First Time

Sometimes you will never know 
the true value of a moment
until it becomes a memory
- Dr Seuss

He eased the gear stick into second and took the exit to the left.

Khushi's eyes widened suddenly and she nearly jumped out of her seat. She tried to piece together the memories as the wrought iron gates came into full view, the paint slightly peeled, the gate slightly ajar.

She could never mistake the large oak tree in the distance, she had found herself here, drawn to it of her own accord a couple of years ago, when the memories had become too much to bear.

She turned around suddenly, her eyes clashing with his gaze. They were both thinking the same thoughts, their memories had become one, this was the place where they had first become friends.

It was as if her own limbs had a mind of their own, her finger slowly grazed over the handle of the SUV before she clicked it open and quietly stepped out, conjuring up small circles of dirt as her feet slowly hit the ground. She seemed to move in a sort of daze, her surroundings lost to her.

She could still see it all unfolding vividly in front of her eyes. The sun had shone bright high up in the sky that day, it had been warm with a slight breeze, the branches of the large oak tree swaying in tandem with the weightlessness of their hearts.

He sat perched on the brick wall that lined the large oak tree, his chin firmly rested on his cupped hands, his legs too short to meet the ground dangled just above it. His brows were scrunched together, his shoulders hunched down as if he carried the whole worlds problems upon them. 

She wore a pastel pink dress, the edges of it embroidered in a beautiful fashion, her hair was adorned into two little bunches and she seemed to walk with a little skip in her step. 

She'd seen him for the past couple of weeks, outside kicking a ball about, always being mischievous, always in a huff. She didn't think she really liked him, plus her cousins always said that boys were dirty and not to be trusted. But they'd just moved to Lucknow and she had no friends. 

She began to walk up to him slowly, her parents had decided to come over to Delhi for a few days, her dad had some work and consequently so did the other little boys father. She liked his older sister, she always gave her sweets. 

He heard her approach and looked up to see her before he huffed, rolled his eyes then went back into the same position he'd been in only seconds earlier. 

"What do you want?" He muttered, his eyes downcast. 

She stopped in her tracks, maybe she should just turn around and leave him in his misery, but something at the back of her mind nudged her into continue anyway. 

"I'm bored," she admitted, earning a second glance up from him. 

"So what do you want me to do about it?" He questioned abruptly, coming out of his sullen state to fold his arms in front of him. 

She furrowed her brows at him, "you're rude," she chided him. 

"And you're annoying," he retorted. 

"Why are you always in a mood?" She questioned, not seemingly fazed by his hostility. 

"Because I have reasons to be in a mood, why are you always unnecessarily happy?" He questioned back, clearly annoyed. 

She took that as an opportunity to sit next to him, "because Amma says you should never be sad, see for example, I don't have any friends right now," she admitted, "and that makes me sad sometimes, but if I stay sad then I'm never going to find any am I?" She looked at him with those large dove like eyes of hers and he was taken aback for a few seconds. 

"Yeah well," he finally began, "I've just been told I have diabetes, so I'm pretty sure that's a bigger reason for me to be sad about," he stated glumly. 

"What's that?" She questioned quickly, she'd never heard that word in her life. 

He turned around slightly then, "it's when you can't have anything sweet and you have it for your whole entire life. So starting today I can't have sweets," he stated frowning, his hands clasped together, his features glum. 

"Not even jalebis?" She questioned timidly. 

"Especially not jalebis," he answered rolling his eyes then turned away from her. 

She sat their in silence for a few seconds, not quite sure how to respond, surely that was the cruelest thing someone could do to you, she didn't know what she would do if she was never allowed to eat a jalebi again. 

She jumped off the wall suddenly, an idea hitting her. "What if they were sugar-free?" She questioned quickly, her lips making way for a smile once more. 

He lifted an eyebrow in response, curious nonetheless. "Amma makes them for chachi sometimes, she can make anything without sugar in them," she added. 

His face brightened slightly at that, "anything?" He questioned. 

"Yeh," she nodded, eager to make him happy, "laddoo, kheer, halwa, anything!" She repeated, a large smile on her face. 

Finally he too jumped off of the wall then, "you know you're not too bad for a girl," he admitted quietly. 

She grinned at that then began to follow him, attempting to keep up with his quick steps. 

He broke off half of the small piece of chocolate that he'd promised himself would be his last and extended it her way. He turned around, unable to stop her infectious smile from pulling his own turned down lips into a smile. "Friends?" 

She took it from him without so much as a seconds thought, "friends!" She beamed. 

Arnav walked up behind her, the same scene unfolding in front of his eyes. He rarely ever came here, even when he did, he never went into the adjoining house where his nani still stayed. They'd never been apart since that day, always in each others company, always there for each other, until.... until that day of course.

He watched her for a few seconds, the small of her back, the gentle rise and fall of her chest. She was still as he remembered perfect, small and innocent. She had a strong heart and an inquisitive mind and they'd always stood up for each other. Even if he tried he wouldn't be able to put into words how much he'd missed her, yearned for her over the past years. Not a day had passed when she hadn't crossed his thoughts. And now that she was here, alive, in front of his eyes, he didn't know what to say to her, how to explain to her that he was still her Arnav. The Arnav that frowned and huffed and was irked by the smallest of things, but also the Arnav that would not step back from laying down his life for her.

She sensed him behind her then, her memories subsiding to propel forward her fears of reality. She'd agreed to trust him, to follow him. She tried to ignore that distant tug of her heart that forced her to believe him, but she trusted her mind to be more rational than that. Everything she'd seen up till now only proved otherwise, she couldn't ignore the facts. If Arnav wasn't working with the people that were following her then how had he ended up where she was being kept? How had he known they'd kept her there in the first place? There were too many questions and too many answers that pointed towards him in her mind. She didn't know, didn't understand how to make sense of any of it.

He took another step forward, till their shoulders were almost touching, he closed his eyes for a few seconds, taking a deep breath in, bracing himself for what was to come.

She turned around abruptly, moving so close that they were only breaths apart. His melted chocolate eyes widened for a fraction of a second before he managed to compose himself, his heart thudding off of his chest.

"I want answers," she finally spoke, her steely gaze not leaving his for a minute, her small hands clenched into fists. She could feel her body trembling, adrenaline pumping through her veins, it was now or never.

He gulped audibly, taken aback by the abruptness of it all, but then she had always been like that, quick to question. He nodded slowly, shoving his hands into his pockets, "I'll give you them," his words were a low mumble.

Her eyes widened slightly before she managed to rearrange her thoughts. "I just want clear answers okay, so I'll ask the questions and you just... Just give me the answers," she knew she was being stern, but if he was keeping things from her, if he was working with the men that were after her she couldn't take chances. She didn't want the truth masked in lies.

He nodded slowly, "on you go, just clear answers."

She couldn't ignore the sincerity in his eyes, the very same ones that she'd laid down all of her trust in for all of those years, but now was not the time.

She crossed her arms in front of her, almost as if she was resurrecting old walls around herself.

She looked away before she asked her first question, she could feel his eyes boring into the depths of her and somehow whenever this thought entered her mind she couldn't help but feel betrayed.

"When did you find out who I was?"

"I don't know," he admitted truthfully.

She turned back towards him, her brows furrowed together, "you don't know?" She almost shouted.

"I mean, when I first saw you in the red sari... When the chandelier..." He stopped midway, appraising her face, how it still managed to instil fear within her. "Anyway," he continued, "after that I couldn't get you off of my mind and I didn't know why," he admitted honestly, his eyes searching the gentle features of her face.

"And then I kept on encountering you and I was losing control over myself," he admitted, "I didn't know why, what kept on pulling me towards you, but I didn't know how to fight it off."

She watched him her eyes wide, it was as if he had swam to the depths of her heart and was narrating her own feeling to her.

"But I didn't know who you were, well I guess my heart always knew," a small smile adorned his face as he said that, "but I didn't find out till that night just before we took the chopper over to Delhi."

Her mind whirred back to that night, when she'd seen him in a different light, he'd brought her jalebis and for the first time she'd started trusting him.

His eyes fell to the ground when he spoke again, "you shouted my name in your sleep," her eyes widened as understanding finally dawned upon her. "And that was when the pieces finally fell into place, that was when I told Aman to search for you," he finally looked up to meet her gaze, scorching caramel against vivid hazel. "And I wanted to tell you, believe me I did," she couldn't escape the sincerity in his eyes, the soft mumble of his words. "In fact I tried, but... But things just kept coming up," he admitted.

Her mind whirred back to when he'd first ran out of the room then, when she'd first had her suspicion and then Angelica. No, she couldn't think about that right now. She nodded slowly, tears gathering in the crevices of her eyes, she had to muster up the courage to continue.

"What do you do? What's your job? Who do you work for?" She had to get her answers.

"I work for the Indian governement, I'm an agent for the anti-terrorist burea..." He paused before he said his next sentence, taking a deep breath, "I'm currently working undercover with the man that killed our parents," he finally blurted out.

Her eyes widened as she instinctively took a step back, it was as if she could hear her whole life crashing down around her. She was taken back to the screams, the gunshots, the bloodstained walls of that night.

He jumped forward instantly, his hand falling on her shoulder, "are you okay?" The concern was clear in his voice. She looked up at him then, their gazes colliding off of each other. She nodded slowly, although he could still feel the slow trembles of her body against his.

"I'm sorry," he mumbled looking down. "I didn't mean to remind you..." She could hear the last syllables of his words break off. She didn't want to imagine how difficult it would have been for him. She shook her head slowly, "it's okay."

She looked up at him then, realising how close he was, his simple touch sending tingles up her spine. Realising he too took a step back, shoving his hands in his pockets once more, his eyes darting to everywhere but her face.

Suddenly she was lost, she didn't know what else to ask him, she'd expected the worst and somehow he'd surprised her. He was the good guy, he wasn't part of the people that had robbed her off of her childhood but was working against them.

She stepped forward slowly, her limbs moved of their own accord as she lifted her hand and placed it on his stubbled cheek, taking him completely by surprise. Their gazes collided as he watched her first in bewilderment then placed his hand over hers.

Tears gathered in her eyes as she felt him, saw him clearly for the first time. This was her Arnav, the boy that had annoyed and shouted and cared for her all at the same time. And here he was years later, but still deep inside the same person she had always loved.

She opened her mouth to speak, she was never at a loss for words, but today she didn't know what to say so she finally went with "I missed you you know."

A small smile filled his lips as tears glazed over his own eyes, "I missed you to," he admitted, his words a bare audible whisper. He let his fingers slide through the spaces of hers, "I'm sorry I didn't look hard enough for you, I should have...."

"Shhh" she cut him off midway before she sent her arms around him, resting her head on his chest. Tears trailed down her cheeks as she finally felt home in a very long time.

He stood stock still for a couple of seconds, attempting to get his head around what was happening. It had been a very long time since he'd felt someone so closely before, he could feel her every heartbeat, her chest heave against his and he finally let himself go, let his arms run against her back as he cradled in the warmth of her and the love he had never stopped feeling for her.

Maybe home is nothing but two arms holding you tight when you're at your worst. 
- Yara Bashraheel 

Friday, 13 September 2013

Chapter 16 - Of Promises That We'll Keep

Now I know this isn't the most favourite of stories out there and I probably don't have as many readers as I expected for this one. But I've decided to keep on updating it instead of throwing the "either comment or I'll never update this again" line at you guys.

I'm genuinely really really thankful to all of the lovely readers that appreciate it and have stuck with it. I love you guys so much! And thank you for taking the time out to leave your amazing comments (for all of those that do). 

This is probably the only story that I have where the plot came to me from the beginning to the end. Like I've got it all planned and I just don't want to cut it short abruptly and want to write out the whole complete story. 

But I do have a request, if you do read this story and you don't comment then I request that you please do. As much as I want to keep writing this, regularly frequent updates will be difficult if there is decreased interest towards it. So please please comment if you like it. Thanks! xx

We are made to break
but it is in the pieces 
we will find ourselves.
- Tyler Knott Gregson

They both continued to stare at each other, their equally confused gazes battling against each other. Her hazel spheres began to drown in the tears that welled up in her eyes and he had to use every brink of control he owned from preventing himself from kneeling down and wiping them away. 

Khushi watched in shock, unable to draw breath, unable to swallow, her throat felt parched, her words left in a heap somewhere in a dark corner of her mind. All of her thoughts were conflicting, her heart pounded away in her chest, echoing in her ears, drowning out everything else. She didn't know what to make of this anymore, of him, of her, of where she was. Her past and her present were intermingling with each other, confusing her all the more till she wasn't sure of what to think, of what to believe; her heart or her mind. 

There was too much that stood against him, she'd seen too much and yet her heart refused to believe any of it. It was stuck on that Arnav that she'd known all those years ago, the one she had sneaked sugar-free jalebis off to, the one that always protected her and she wasn't ready to let go of that Arnav.

He bent forward quietly, without uttering a word, his face somewhat devoid of expression as he attempted to mask his every feeling and emotion. First he would have to allow her to let it all out, all of her misconceptions and judgements and only then would she be empty and ready enough to hear the truth.

She glared at him, her soft hazel eyes taking on a darker edge, he was playing around with her. It was probably one of those mind games that he had learned through the years and she wasn't going to give into it. She flinched slightly as his hands moved down further, as the cloth over her mouth fell and his fingers reached for the knot at her hands.

"What are you doing?" Her voice was calm, on edge, the fact that she was still confused clear in the tone of her voice, the feel of his body so close to hers sending down shivers down her spine.

"Untying you," he replied quietly, his voice not giving anything away.

"Why?" She questioned again.

He took a deep breath in, then let his eyes meet hers, they were unnervingly calm, on level with his, unflinching.

"Well I can't carry you on a chair, so I thought it'd be easier if I untied you," he stated matter-of-factly, as if it was the most obvious thing.

She blinked several times, unable to fully comprehend him as he kneeled down and undid the knots at her legs. She ignored her instinct to stand up and make a run for it and instead watched him. He was tall and muscular, with a lean frame. He wiped the dust off of his black combats and then his t-shirt.

"What do you want from me?" She finally questioned, she couldn't be bothered playing around the bush, she wanted answers, she wanted him to at least defend himself.

What was happening? Arnav was lost for a little while, where was the Khushi that he had been expecting? The one with fiery eyes and screamed out questions? And who was this woman with a calm demeanour that had replaced her? He was taken aback and lost for words for a few seconds.

He sighed, moving back to watch her eyes once more, inquisitive, large hazel spheres, dark long lashes, she was breathtakingly beautiful. He gulped, trying to think of words to say, he was never good with them and right now if he messed up with so much as one syllable she would surely jump to more of her conclusions.

Finally taking a deep breath in he decided to just go with the first thing that came to his mind. "Trust?" At first it was a question, as if he was actually speaking to himself and he watched as her brows furrowed in confusion to that. "I want you to trust me," he finally stated, his voice a barely audible whisper and she felt herself leaning forward of her own accord.

"I don't... I don't understand," she struggled with her words, completely taken aback.

He sat back a little then, watching her for a while. "I...I don't know if you remember," he swallowed and looked down at his hands as he spoke, "years ago, I made a  promise to you, when you were known as Chutki and we were both really young."

She stared at him with her eyes wide, she didn't know where this was going and she wasn't sure of how to react.

"I promised that I would always protect you," he finally said, his voice almost a whisper, "and I guess, all these years later, I'm finally getting the chance to keep that promise," a slight smile spread across his lips as he spoke those last few words and looked back up again to meet her eyes.

She felt her breath catch in her throat, her thoughts scatter into fragments and she was sure she had forgotten the functioning of her own limbs. She was drowning in those chocolate brown puddles, the ones that she had been so used to. She could still remember the tinkling laughter and the innocence hidden in those words.

She had been getting bullied by a couple of girls at school, they'd ruined her lunch for several days in a row and she'd finally given in and gone ahead and told Arnav.

They sat on the wall that ran around the large tree at one end of Arnav's house, silent tears were trailing down her face as she narrated the story to him, her small floral dress swaying against her knees to the beat of the wind. She kept on clasping then unclasping her small hands, she wasn't a coward but she wasn't much against bullies either. 

She was trying to move away from hiding behind the shield that was Arnav, but she had finally given in. 

She heard him snap another thin twig between his fingers then pick up another one that had been lying at the roots of the tree. She watched him for a few seconds from the corner of her eyes, he looked angry and she wasn't surprised. They'd always had this unspoken agreement, he had always protected her and maybe he felt that she had wronged him in some way by not telling him. 

"I told you so that you could tell them off, not scowl at me," she muttered under her breath and his head snapped around towards her. 

He glared at her for a few seconds before speaking. "You'd agreed when you started school that you'd tell me everything," he said making a face and she understood immediately, that was why he was angry. 

"Okay fine," a small smile adorned her face now, her eyes lit up. She moved her hand over his and let her fingers rest there. "I promise to always tell you when I'm troubled or in trouble, happy?" She smiled as he considered her for a few more minutes. His lips still set on a scowl. 

Sighing he too finally gave in as a corner of his lips lifted, "and I'll promise to always protect you," he stated, the truth of that statement not lost in the sincerity of his eyes. 

"Promise?" She held out her little pinky finger. 

"Promise," he accepted, wrapping his pinky finger around hers. 

She felt slight tears prick her eyes as she considered his words, the very same sincerity in his eyes and she couldn't deny him.

He continued to speak though, he really badly needed her to trust him. "I know that the situation isn't perfect, that you have a lot of questions and I have a lot of answers to give."

She continued to sit there, in that same position, as if he had never untied her, lost in his words and his eyes.

"And I will give you them," he promised, not breaking eye contact for a second, "you just have to know that you can trust me, that there is nothing in this world that I would not forsake to protect you," he didn't even know where his words were coming from but he was glad for them.

She gulped, she hadn't been expecting this, she didn't know what to do.

"Please Khushi, just until I get you out, until you're safe..."

"I trust you," she mumbled quietly cutting him off, tears brimming the edges of her eyes.

"... Until I have you somewhere where..." He stopped mid-sentence, he'd almost missed her words, "what?" He questioned, his voice low.

She nodded slowly, "I trust you," she said it again, her voice a sort of whisper.

"Thank you," he said, a gentle smile spreading across his face, as smile that made Khushi shed the last remaining shrouds of guilt, a smile that she had always been able to recognise.


Inder Jha sat on his armchair, his hands folded together as if in prayer at his lips as he considered the situation and his son's reckless doing. It had been one mistake after another and now clearly he had landed himself in this mess by trying to complete two jobs at the one time.

"Shyam," he finally began to speak, Inder Jha was an old man now and the weight of his age resounded off of his deep voice. He moved slightly forward in his chair, letting their eyes remain level with each other. "I am not sure you understand the importance of these two tasks," he finally stated.

"Of course I do father," Shyam protested, attempting to justify himself but Inder simply waved him off.

"I do not care Shyam, I do not have time for any of your reasons. This is the time, we are reaching a peak, once we get the dice rolling the rest will fall like dominos," he tried to explain.

Shyam's face twitched as he attempted to mask and control his anger. Why did his father not understand that he was trying?

"But father, they are onto us, they know of our every move, what the hell am I supposed to do?!" He demanded, losing all sense of patience.

Inder slammed his hand down on the coffee table suddenly, making the contents of it and the glass rattle. "You are supposed to do one thing at a time!" He exclaimed.

"Forget the girl! The girl is not important right now! What is important are the attacks! Seven weeks, seven days, seven ATTACKS! We have it planned! Your nonsense with that useless girl is getting in the way!" Inder continued to scream till he was almost out of breath.

Shyam ground his teeth together, "if we do not get the girl father, they will have evidence to convict me," he spoke through gritted teeth.

"SHYAM!" Inder was now furious, his son had always been impulsive, dangerous yet over-confident and that would one day lead to his downfall. "You will do as I say! I will deal with the girl!"


Arnav fixed the bluetooth to his ear as Khushi came to stand next to him, "now I want you to trust me and listen and do as I say until we get out. Is that okay?" He asked, not really looking at her for fear that he'd see something he wouldn't want to again.

She nodded slowly, still not quite sure again how she felt about all of it. But she had no other option but to trust him, her heart headed none of her other choices. Those words weren't new to her, she'd heard them many times before and she'd always trusted them, so why not now?

He held his hand out then, his eyes catching her gaze before he dropped his eyes and looked away, waiting for her to take it, to give him permission.

She stared at it for what felt like a long time, the roughened skin, the darkly etched lines of his destiny before she finally placed her tender fingers then her hand over his.

He was sure he stopped breathing for a few seconds, the small weight of her hands causing his heart to race and gallop, but he had to focus on the mission at hand before he lost himself completely.


"We are good to go!" Aman's voice came through the other end. "I've bypassed all of the cameras so unless any of Shyam's fuckers have the brains to detect me and hack me out we're good to go," he stated grinning to himself.

Arnav's fingers went around Khushi's hand of their own accord as her eyes glanced between his face and their intertwined hands, how perfect it looked.

"I've got you down this end," NK's voice came through, "I've got Kamal pretty much out cold for a good few hours so I'll take the tunnel and you take the main exit," he instructed.

"Got it!" Arnav agreed then began to pull at Khushi's hand before coming to a stop again, causing her to collide off of him. She looked up instantly, her eyes wide as she felt him stiffen, an unknown emotion momentarily flicker over his eyes before he regained his composure.

"Er.. Can I have your dupatta?" She stared back, her eyes wide, why did he want her dupatta?

"It'll lead them off of our trail," he said, trying to convince her and without another word she pulled it from around her neck and handed it over to him.

He let his fingers sink into it for a few seconds, the soft material of it, he had one very similar to this with him, he'd always had it, it was the only memory of her that he had.

"NK get me as I come out, I've got Khushi's dupatta, leave it in the tunnel," he instructed.

"Aha! I like it! Arnav you are such an intelligent Romeo," NK smirked as Aman laughed in the background.

"Shut up!" Arnav warned through gritted teeth.

"Okay okay cool down there baby, you're going to scare bhabi jee," NK laughed again.

"NK I'm not going to warn you again!"

He showed the door open nearly slamming it into NK, as NK jumped back just in time.

"Dude! Don't kill me just yet!" NK exclaimed then looking over at the girl behind Arnav, waved to her, grinning like an idiot as Arnav continued to glare at him. He thrust the dupatta into NK's hand, then walked past him, pulling her with him.

NK watched them for a few minutes before he too pulled Kamal out, she was beautiful, her small frame, her large eyes and her quivering lips. No wonder the stone hearted Arnav was so smitten over her.


NK climbed back into his SUV and dialled Arnav's number, still watching the wisps of smoke in the distance.

He picked up on the sixth ring, the fact that his mind was on other things clear from his tone of voice.

"That's it done Arnav, I'm heading back to Shyam's den," he let Arnav know. They both hated killing innocents but it was something that had to be done, it was a part of their job.

Arnav nodded to himself, not at all new to the distance in NK's voice, it was the worst part of the job and somewhere it stabbed him even more that this time he'd done it for his own gain.

"Thanks NK, I owe you one," he said as a slight smell spread over NK's face.

"Usually I would have said no dude don't worry about it but since you don't owe anyone anything usually, I'm going to keep it in mind," he chuckled as Arnav smirked back.

"Right I'll let you go Arnav, you take care of your damsel in distress!" And with that he ended the call.

Arnav looked to Khushi one more time, he'd been stealing glances at her all throughout the journey. There were so many aspects to her that were still the same, her small button nose that always gave her blushing away, her large inquisitive hazel spheres, her small petal lips.

There had been a time when he had known her like his own heartbeat, when fears had been few and their ears had echoed with their own laughter. When she had trusted him without words and he had taken it for granted. But those times were now well in the past, to her he was a stranger, probably no different from the men that had taken their worlds and turned them upside down. But he had to convince her that he was still her Arnav, Chutki's Arnav that had vowed to always protect her, that had always read the qualms in her eyes.

She had to know how much he yearned for her, how much he had regretted not turning back round all those years ago, how much he needed her.

He would have to convince her because to live with her thinking of him as a monster would be a life half lived.

He eased the gear stick into second and took the exit to the left.

Khushi's eyes widened suddenly and she nearly jumped out of her seat. She tried to piece together the memories as the wrought iron gates came into full view, the paint slightly peeled, the gate slightly ajar.

She could never mistake the large oak tree in the distance, she had found herself here, drawn to it of her own accord a couple of years ago, when the memories had become too much to bear.

She turned around suddenly, her eyes clashing with his gaze. They were both thinking the same thoughts, their memories had become one, this was the place where they had first become friends.

It's been a long time 
since someone looked at me that way. 
It's like you knew me, 
and all the things I couldn't say
- Together, The xx


Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Chapter 15 - Change The Tides - Part 2

"What do you mean she's missing?!" Arnav exclaimed into the phone as Aman ran through the house a second time round, slamming doors and windows open in his gait.

"Arnav I don't know how she got out! I was in the den! All the exits were secured! Her door was still locked! I don't fucking know alright?!" He exclaimed back as he frantically searched for a clue, anything to let him know of how exactly she'd escaped.

Arnav was lost for words, he didn't know what to say, what to do, he knew that the task had been impossible but she had been safe damn it! He could have kept her safe. It was all his fault, if he had just told her, if Di hadn't tried to commit suicide, if Aman hadn't brought her to the hospital, if, if, if! He had to grip onto the steering wheel as his mind whirred in and out of control, taming what was the utter chaos that his mind was in.

"Arnav I really..." Aman tried to explain once more, he couldn't understand, how the hell did that tiny little girl manage to escape?

"Shut up Aman!" Arnav growled into his phone, slamming his palm on his forehead then brushing his hair back, the worry and tension clearly etched over every line of his face. He knew it was not Aman's fault, only he was to blame, for pushing her, for putting her in all of the wrong places but at the moment he was finding it difficult to keep his anger at bay.

He suddenly pushed the jeep into gear, slamming his foot on the gas as he pulled the jeep onto the road as NK watched in utter surprise. NK having chosen not to say much with the amount of anger Arnav seemed capable of dispelling just sat rooted to the spot.

"Shit!" Aman's voice suddenly came through the speaker, snapping Arnav's focused eyes off of the road.

"What?" He replied, his jaw set in anger as he continued to drive at a break neck speed, causing NK to hold on for his dear life.

"She escaped out of the false door," Aman finally managed to mumble.

Arnav's fingers tightened further on the steering wheel as his foot loosened on the gas. Khushi had always had a knack for finding hiding places, or in this case an escape route. He had had them built when he had first designed the house, it was a means of making sure that they themselves weren't trapped in the house in the case of an emergency.

He'd forgotten that the room he had given her in fact had one of those too. He slammed his hand off of the steering wheel in exasperation once more.

"NK and I return to Shyam's den," he began speaking back into his bluetooth, his voice even and commanding as Aman waited patiently for his instructions to be passed through. Arnav was not a man that was used to wasting time.


Khushi smelled it before she could even manage to open her eyes, the slight damp smell. It was a smell she was used to, a smell that brought back too many memories.

"Chutki! Chutki! Didn't I tell you never to hide behind stuff in here?!" Arnav's voice reverberated through the small attic as he told her off once more for hiding behind an old wardrobe. He was always protective of her and sometimes it just simply irritated her. 

"Arnav I'm not a child!" She exclaimed pushing him away then perching herself on top of a sack. Solemnly sulking away at his bossy attitude. She let her eyes wander around the dusty little room that they had managed to unearth. It was a store room of sorts and probably hadn't been used in years. 

The corners of the latch door they had entered through had small cracks in it, filtering in sharp beams of light. 

"We need to promise each other that we won't tell anyone about this place," she began to say then, immediately catching Arnav's attention, who although frowned at first, began walking towards her. 

"But what if we end up stuck here?" He questioned quietly, not wanting to upset her. Arnav had always been the more practical one out of the duo. 

Khushi looked away for a second, not wanting to accept the fact that he may be right, because they'd found this place all on their own and she didn't want anyone else to know. 

"Fine," she finally agreed, making a face, "but you can only tell Di. No one else!" She warned, pointing a finge towards him. 

"Fine," he too accepted, his eyes level with hers.

"Pinky swear?" She finally whispered as his small finger slowly intertwined around hers.

"Pinky swear," he smiled. 

Khushi felt her sob become stuck in her throat, her Arnav surely could never change? If only she had given him another chance, maybe things could have been different. She knew that he would never hurt her.

She opened her eyes slowly, there were no bright glares of light to shrink them back shut again, she was shut in complete darkness. But she knew she was being held captive. Her legs were tied below her, her hands tied behind her.

She didn't make an attempt to struggle yet however, she wanted to let her eyes accustom to the darkness, see for herself even the slightest of little glimpses of what was in store for her.

She attempted to stay strong as her heart pounded away in her chest.


Shyam paced around his room, calculating his next moves. He'd have to be careful, one wrong move and everything could flip over. This time the odds were somehow against him. All his ties were turning into loose knots.

He stopped suddenly at his desk then slammed his fist into it, making the contents of it rattle, the frame he had left on top of it nearly slide off but he stopped it in time. 

He slid it back towards him, his hungry eyes appraising every inch, every curve of her face. He needed her now. 

He had to crunch his fingers in several time to calm himself down. This was the first time in several years that their empire had felt so threatened. Every leak in the system had been closed off and now he was blindly feeling around for a way out. Whoever was behind the current mission was as shrewd and calculative as him. That only meant one thing. He'd have to meet his father and he'd have to meet him now. 

"Aakash!" Shyam barked suddenly, snapping Aakash out of his thoughts. 

Shyam was beside him within seconds, his face mere inches away from Aakash's, his eyes boring into the depths of Aakash, whilst Aakash dropped his eyes to the floor, breaking eye contact, gulping audibly. He couldn't hush the rapid pumping of his heart, had to clench his fists and hope to god that the man glaring down at him did not hear.

Shyam appraised him for a further few seconds, this was the only man he trusted, the only man who he knew was on his side.

"Aakash..." His voice as always was a harsh whisper, he did not want to let Aakash onto the panic that his mind was currently in, that would not do anyone any good. "I want you to call my father, fix up a meeting..." He walked back towards his table then, his feet slow against the floor as he let other thoughts ponder through his mind. "I want only my best men to come with me, we are not aware of the problems that I myself could face," he wasn't a man that feared death, but precautions were always a good idea.

He stopped once again in front of Aakash, he would take a different approach this time round, after all this was not a game that he could take lightly. "I want the new two shipments from New York on the job, Hawk and Dave, along with Mahesh and Kamal, they will guard Khushi until I get back."

Aakash slowly raised his eyes, having heard Shyam's exact words loud and clear, Shyam was onto something and so was he.


Arnav skimmed through the video footage once more, it taking him a second look to process the information entirely. He had a choice to make now but he had done all the forsaking he could afford, if he continued maybe just maybe it could cost a life. The life of the person that he was sure he held the dearest.

His fingers fumbled with the clip of the bluetooth and he tried to come to terms with his decision. As an officer bound to protect his country, it was probably wrong. He walked over slowly then, to the large mirror at the end of the room. He brought his eyes up slowly to meet his reflection, his tall, lean, six foot self. He had a faint scar running from his ear to the base of his neck, several on his arms, another small one just below his brow. But what stood out the most were his eyes, the scorching caramel orbs that stared back at him, they held within them so many emotions that he never let float to the surface. Over the years they had seen a lot, but they still remained and reminded him of the little boy he had grown up from, the one that had played football in the mud sloshing rain and made promises to a princess-like little girl with hopeful hazel eyes. And he finally knew... Finally knew that his decision was correct, that more than anything he still had a promise to fulfil, that he still had to protect his Chutki, the girl with the soulful hazel eyes.


Khushi could hear the faint drip-drop of the water.

Drip-drop... Drip-drop... Drip-drop...

The sound felt so tangible and yet it echoed, around the confines of the space she was being held in. She could hear the desperate sounds of her ragged breathing, the odd shuffle of shoes outside.

She had a grip of the knot on her arms between her fingers and she tugged on them tirelessly, attempting not to make much of a sound, gather attention as the rusted metal of her chair continued to scrape against the floor.

She wanted to get out badly, it was like being trapped inside of a dark tunnel, she tried to withold it as beads of sweat fell down from her brows, as her dainty feet slipped off of the ground and she nearly fell over to the side. She managed a choked scream. She tried to calm her breathing, a large gulp of air in, process it slowly, then out again. She tried doing this several times, slowly in, slowly out but it wasn't working, her mind was in a sense of chaos.


He had a slender, skinny face, his cheek bones protruded and the whites of his eyes were an unhealthy yellow. He must not have been over twenty and yet there was a slight tremble to his hands every few seconds.

Arnav's eyes took in every little detail of the youngster standing in front of him, the reasons why he was part of Shyam's personal army, not to mention the majority of them for that matter were all but too clear to him.

Shyam lured young men in through drugs, the majority of them were left with no other option but to join in order to survive the otherwise horrible relapses. By the time the half price drug offers had finished, they were too far in and too poor to afford rehabilitation to turn back.

Arnav let his eyes rest on the young man a while longer before he finally stepped forward, he took a deep breath in and extended his hand.

The young man looked down at first, puzzled.

"Hawk," Arnav finally offered and watched as his hand automatically extended and shook his own.

"Nice to meet you Hawk," Arnav could see straight through the boys exterior calm shield instantly but continued with that cold expression of his intact. After all this was still his enemy, this was yet another barrier that he would have to cross in order to save the person behind the very door he was to guard.

"Call your other man out, it's time to swap duties," Arnav finally stated, keeping his eyes straight, unflinching, he didn't need anymore trouble and as much as he wouldn't hesitate killing the slender young man, he would rather spare him.

NK stepped out from behind him right on queue, "Dave," he offered, "Hawk you take guard inside, I'll take up outside," he offered quickly, already taking control, almost driving the other two away.

He appraised NK and Arnav for a little while longer, then knocked on the door, "Kamal, it's time to swap."


"Okay guys, first we have to calm her down then we escape. No one is in at the moment so all we have to do is get past four more of Shyam's men," Aman's voice came through the bluetooth as Arnav checked his gun one last time.

"Got it bro," NK replied back as Arnav growled at him. "Erm... Got it Aman," he replied again, clearing his throat as Arnav rolled his eyes and looked away.

"Okay NK, like we'd planned, you stand guard, when I say go, we make a run for it. Got it?" Arnav made sure one last time.

"Got it! Let's do this! Mission rescue damsel in distress go!" NK exclaimed, and Arnav had to utilise all of his energy into preventing himself from whacking NK on the head with his gun.

"Right I'm going in," he growled under his breathe and turned the knob.


Khushi flinched slightly as she heard footsteps approach her then had to scrunch her eyes shut as a light above her flickered on.

She could feel the beats of her heart increase in pace and her breathing become shallow as she awaited to be able to see whatever lay in front of her closed eyes.

Her fingers lay frozen over the tangle of ropes that she had managed to loosen half of.

She heard the tap of the persons feet stop in front of her, could feel someones shadow looming over her, feel the slight breeze of their breathing brush over her.

She opened her eyes slowly, battling her way through the sharp burst of light, let her eyes guide their way up to the shadowy figures face and felt her heart stop in her chest, her breath catch in her throat.

Her eyes widened as she drowned once more in scorching caramel orbs and felt her whole world shatter around her once more.

Love is what we were born with.
Fear is what we learned here. 
- Marianne Williamson

Chapter 15 - Change The Tides - Part 1

Hi guys! :P *ducks tomatoes and other rotten vegetables*. I am extremely sorry for such lag in updates but you see I was away most weeks, either back at uni or at this outward bound course thing where, yes it's hard believe, but there was no internet. And then now I am finally back home for summer and I seriously just felt like lying out in the sun doing frick all the whole time, because well it's been a difficult year, lots of personal problems and then uni and this time life just got in the way :P. Living away from home takes its toll on you sometime and you just really wanna sit their in the midst of family and do nothing sometimes. Plus, I need inspiration to write and although it was okay straight after IPK went off, now I have to go search for proper old IPK videos :( *sniffle*. But now that it's back over here, I am going to try and update on a regular basis from now on, let's hope I keep my promise this time round :P. 

Now P.S. This chapter is divided into two parts, the first is the transition into the turning point, it took a lot longer than I had imagine and I didn't want to leave you with no Arshi for another chapter. So next update will therefore will mean an overdose of Arshi to compensate. 
Plus, every chapter is written for a reason, so this whole warehouse sequence holds a huge clue too. I'm going to use a quote from the Hunger Games, "you just remember who the enemy is" ;)

How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on when, in your heart, you begin to understand that there is no going back? There are some things that time cannot mend. 
- J.R.R Tolkein

Khushi wriggled through the last inch of the tiny space, her lungs now heaving for air, the base of her throat burning with desperation. She pushed on the panel at the end with all of her might, almost falling out as it swung open and the sunlight flooded in. She had to scrunch her eyes several times as the glaring rays assaulted her. She felt lost for a second or two before the roller coaster of events that had preceded finally came back to her.

Gulping down air and almost losing herself for a second in the shock of events that engulfed her she crawled her way out, then gripping a tree branch stood up. Her heart was stammering away in her chest, her palms sweaty, her body trembling. She needed to get away. She didn't know where she was and the world was swaying round around her. Her first few steps faltered, her feet slipping against the wet mud as her ankles grazed long weeds of grass. She was surrounded by a forrest, large trees that only looked foreboding, but she had to get away.


The other young men who had already been prepped by NK stood up as soon as Arnav entered the room. His stride was long and powerful, his jaw set in determination. A shipment with such little warning couldn't mean anything good. 

He went straight over to the small table at the very end of the room, making a mental note of the team available with a single sweep of his eyes.

Aman hurried on ahead of him and unfurled the blueprint of the warehouse with the most recent placement of the crates. 

"Right guys I expect NK has already updated you, so let me get straight to the mission at hand," he began, creating an instant hush within the room, his voice holding each and every single one of their attention.

He pointed to the wall behind him as Aman projected the blue print onto the wall, "Varun and I will be positioned here and here," he motioned to two ends of the room on the sheet, circling their spots, "we'll stay put with our rifles and all you have to do is give us aim," he explained. "If we take down the man in charge, his team will become easy targets. We're going to try the disarm and scatter technique this time."

Arnav finally looked up, letting his eyes rest on each and every single one of them as he began to explain to them each of their positions. He was not a man that liked to back down, especially not to Shyam Manohar Jha.


Khushi looked around quickly, as the large foreboding shrubs and trees around her began to thin out, paving their way into flatter ground and then the distant outline of small shacks that she took to be shops. If only she could get to a phone she could contact Payal and find a way out.

She heard the distant hum before she saw it, she was sure of it now, ahead of her was a market place. She looked backwards one final time before she fell into a run, she had to make sure that there was still no one behind her. She tried to put the thought of Arnav, his protective stance and those scorching caramel orbs that in a distant far corner of her mind she still though she recognised aside. He wasn't protecting her, no there could be no way he was protecting her. She'd heard it, seen it in films so many times, how young boys like Arnav had been are taken in by the exact people that ruin them, maybe that was what happened to Arnav.

Khushi's imagination was getting the better of her now, but she was in that vulnerable position where what else did she have left to come up with? Had he really left her any other option. "Okay calm down Khushi," she thought to herself, stopping for a second and taking deep breaths in, maybe she needed to try thinking through everything rationally one more time.

But then, even if for a second she imagined that Arnav was a good guy, what evidence did she have? "Khushi you can't prove even to yourself that he might be on the right side... I mean sure he saved you, sure he shot a man down so that you'd be safe, but he could have just done all of that to gain your trust," she was talking to herself now, battling out the argument between her fragile heart and her determined mind.

"And then he might not have," she finally sighed. "He might have genuinely wanted to save me and why would he kill one of his own men?" Her mind was whirring around in her head and her head was throbbing, she needed to get away and just think. "Devi Mayya now only you can show me the way," she sulked.


"Aman I need you to head back and lead us through all of this alright?" Arnav questioned as he checked his rifle then put on his bulletproof vest.

"Got it dude, don't worry I've got your back," he reassured Arnav, patting his back just as NK walked over, checking his own gun for bullets.

"This Shyam has ruined my sleep guys. What is wrong with him? How the fuck does one man have so much shit?! Like how is it possible to get a shipment in this quickly?" NK began to complain. "I mean look guys, I've even begun to get dark circles under my eyes," he continued to complain.

Arnav smirked, shaking his head whilst Aman trying as much as he could to stifle a laugh burst out into one anyway. "NK you're such a woman! I really wonder how your naasuk haath even manage to hold a gun," he chuckled as Arnav joined in.

"Laugh all you want guys, but I'm telling you, once we get this Shyam asshole, I'm going to be the first to drill holes in him. Like I'm losing sleep over this man," he finally finished off then walked away in another direction.


Khushi quickly jumped onto the pavement as a car raced past her, missing her only by inches. She had to put her hand to her heart as it continued to hammer away, even the slightest of noises putting her on edge. "Hai Devi Mayya! Help me!" She continued to chant as she finally caught sight of what she was looking for. 


"All eyes on target! I repeat all eyes on target," Arnav's voice echoed through all of the men's head sets commanding their absolute attention. 

"I don't want a single mistake, a single man down," he exclaimed into his mouth piece. "We shoot, we destroy and we get the hell out of here, is that understood?" He finished off as the rest of his team nodded silently, taking a final second to take up their positions. 

"Target approaching, I repeat target approaching," Aman's voice came through the ear piece causing Arnav to immediately jump into action. His practiced hands already tightening and aiming the rifle in the man's direction, his eyes immediately widening of their own accord. "Fuck what's happening?" He whispered to himself as Aakash quickly stepped into the premises with a number of Shyam's men obediently in front and behind him.

"What's that Arnav?" NK whispered back as Arnav gulped loudly, something was wrong. "Guys hold your fire, hold your fire," he requested, trying to gain time to think.

"What?" NK questioned back, clearly confused. "Arnav, we're going to run out of time," NK added, looking left and right still trying to decide on the best strategy forward, was Arnav going insane?

Aman however sensed Arnav's apprehension immediately, something was wrong. Zooming through the cameras inside of the warehouse he quickly began to type furiously on his keyboard, attempting to hack into the cameras positioned outside of the warehouse.

Arnav watched, lying on his stomach, his finger still tight on the rifle trigger as Aakash slowly approached the far end doorway, waiting for someone to approach him. He could feel it in his every bone, something was wrong.

"Got it!" Aman exclaimed to himself just as he witnessed what was coming and his heart sank in his chest.


"Please bhaiyya I don't have any money on me, please," Khushi begged the man at the phone box, "I only need a minute, she'll call me back, I'll pay you back," she continued to plead as the burly old man with the gentle face continue to watch her in confusion. She'd been there for near enough 10 minutes now, pleading him to let her talk, for a mere minute with her sister. She said she was in trouble, that she needed help.

He was used to this sort of thing, this was a daily ordeal that he had to deal with but there was something different about this young girl. He tried to find something, anything to hint him of her true motives but could only find sincerity in her eyes so he eventually gave in.

Nodding quickly he stopped her mid-conversation as she continued to blabber on rapidly. "Okay, okay fine, I'll give you five minutes, that's it," he finally told her.

Khushi's eyes widened and it took about a second for his words to actually reach her and she couldn't even stop herself from jumping up for joy. "Thank you! Thank you so much!" She continued to shout as she finally stepped into the phone box, pressing on the one number that was carved into her memory in a second.


Arnav peaked out from behind the large crate he was hiding behind suddenly, quick and subtle enough for only one man to notice, there eyes meeting and the message flitting between in a second. It was like lightening had struck, his whole team was here and he had brought them here. "Damn it!" He cursed to himself, his mind already miles ahead as it tried to process a route out of the godforsaken place.

"Abort mission! Abort mission!" He began to shout then.

"What?!" NK had to stop himself from shouting, he looked towards Arnav in frustration. What the hell was Arnav doing?

"Arnav," Aman's voice finally came through the ear pieces, Arnav's voice having jolted him out of the nightmare that he currently saw on screen.

"It's a trap," Arnav finished off for Aman. "We need to get out of here as quickly and quietly as possible," Arnav finally stated.

"But Arnav..." NK tried to reason but couldn't find the words within him, what exactly did he even mean by trap?

Aman let out a loud sigh, "Arnav this isn't going to be easy... They've... They've got us surrounded," he finally managed to get out as Arnav pinched his brows together. He'd suspected as much.

NK on the other hand took out his other gun, just as another two of the team joined him, "well then guys, we'll just have to fight it," he stated, "it's do or die!"


"Hello?" A tear trickled down Khushi's face, she couldn't even find the words to reply to Payal's hello. How long had it even been since she'd last heard her jiji's voice? Probably only a day or two but it still felt like centuries. So much had happened that she was sure she couldn't even remember the contours of Payal's face properly.

"Jiji..." She finally managed to choke out just before she broke down, the receiver hugged tightly to herself as her sobs loud and unrelenting continued.


"NK are you stupid?!" Arnav demanded, "our whole team is here, we are going to get slaughtered!" He exclaimed, letting his eyes meet NK's equally determined ones.

"Well what are we just going to let them have us without a fight?!" NK demanded back.

"Shut up NK!" Aman's voice came through the headpiece this time. "This isn't time for arguments or for you to come up with your hero wali antics. Everyones head is on the line!"

"You got a better plan then tech boy?" NK retorted back, he was clearly frustrated and if Arnav didn't come up with a better plan soon enough, NK would break off and do his own thing for definite.

"Enough!" Arnav growled finally, "we need to get out, not stupidly go off and try and shoot what could be the double of us, sure some of us would get out alive but not all of us. And the ones that would get out alive would probably end up injured, pushing us and this mission back by days, by which time Shyam will have had the opportunity to do what he had planned in the first place." He was speaking his mind now but it was having the desired effect, it was hitting home and no one could argue with the facts he was laying out in front of him.

"Now Aman, can you check the latest map, are there any other routes in barr the one we came through and the one Shyam's men came through?" Arnav questioned as Aman quickly began to tap away at his keyboard, scrolling his mouse in every direction in hopes of finding something, anything at all.


Shyam's eyes narrowed then widened as a slow wicked grin began to carve its way upon his lips. He clasped his hands together as he finally began to chuckle then grabbing onto the keyboard pounced forward towards his monitor.

"This my darling is what you call killing two birds with one stone," he remarked as he burst into a full throttle manic laugh  then began to trace his finger through the jagged spikes that appeared on his screen. Her voice was like a melody to his ears, exactly the same, maybe even a little bit sweeter than what rang through his ears every waking hour. But he would be complete with her nonetheless.

Not letting his eyes leave the screen even for a split second he dialled Aakash's number. "Aakash, send the men that we have outside to the address that I'll text you. I believe today is the day all of my worries end. And Aakash?"

"Yes sir?" Aakash's voice came back through the speaker, surprisingly devoid of any emotion. "Finish all of them off too. This time I don't want any mistakes."


Aman's head snapped up as soon as he heard Shyam's voice, a slow wave of calm spreading through him as it continued only to be replaced with panic the next second.

"Prioritise Aman, prioritise. What would Arnav want you to do?" He mumbled to himself, besides he didn't really know what was going on in Shyam's head and what problems he was talking about, he had to tackle the problem at hand before he began to brainstorm.

"Arnav, we've got leeway," Aman could hear the silence echoing through his own ears, every member of his team was counting on him.

"The men outside of the warehouse are leaving, if we can find a way to..."

"Why are they leaving?" Arnav cut him off, his curiosity getting the better of him.

"Erm... I don't actually know. I thought I'd..." Aman began to explain.

"Okay, never mind, I guess we'll have time to find out later. In that case we shoot," Arnav cut Aman off once again, taking over. "Varun and I will take lead. Varun you take the two in front, I'll take the two behind," he instructed.

"Affirmative," Varun confirmed from his position.

"NK I want you guys to shoot the remainder but keep Aakash alive," he finished off.

"What Arnav, why would we keep..." NK began, clearly not impressed nor able to comprehend that particular part of Arnav's instructions.

"NK do what I'm telling you for now, I'm sure there will be plenty of time for explanations if we get out alive," Arnav finally warned, already in preparation of assessing his targets.

"Done!" NK finally gave in, clicking his own gun back into the game.

"All teams on three," Aman finally joined back in, "the men outside are as good as gone, so just take these fuckers out," he added, attempting to encourage the team a bit more.

"Right let's do this," NK added, sighing then aiming.


The four men that stood at each side of Aakash seemed to fall all at once to the ground with loud thuds, each echoing through the expanse of the warehouse. He already knew what was going on, that Shyam had made a grave mistake on his part by sending the outside team away. But he didn't waste anytime and before anyone else in his team even had the chance to blink their eyes, he was gone, behind a crate, waiting for the coast to clear off.

What ensued next was less of a battle and more of a shower of bullets, Aakash hadn't gone to the liberty of prepping his team. They were all familiar to the art of killing but slightly on the thick side and so by the time they had time to aim, most of them were already crumpling down to the ground.

"Aakash is gone, the bastard!" NK growled under his breath as a knowing smirk spread over Arnav's face, he let it rest however only for a fraction of a second, regaining control of the situation rapidly.

"Right guys, starting with Varun at the very end position, start making your way out the same way we came in. NK and I will take care of whatever is left here. Good work!" Arnav finished off as he waved them all off. His mind already occupied with how exactly this whole mission failed. But it only made one thing clear, Shyam was onto them as much as they were onto him, it was time to fire up the game.

"Are you going to blow up the place or will I?" NK's voice snapped him out of his thoughts and he had to take a minute before he let himself reply. "It's been a long day, I'll do it, you go on ahead and make sure everyone's alright," he tried to be as subtle as possible and was glad when NK too began to move away without complaint.

With the small grenade already grasped within his hand he dialled the number, "well that went horribly wrong," he said into the phone as he began to put his rifle away.

"Saved by Shyam's idiocy," the man on the other end replied.

"You bring me up to date tomorrow," Arnav warned chuckling back in reply.

"And you and that idiot NK get yours arses back into Shyam's den, before this goes even more fucking wrong," the man on the other end warned back.

"Right I'm heading out... So if you want to err... Head out too?" Arnav hinted as the call ended and he looked to it smiling. Shyam would never be aware of the connections they actually had.


Khushi walked over slowly to an almost deserted Jalebi stand. Jalebis, they hit a chord somewhere. His face appeared before her eyes suddenly, and this time she was fighting very hard to erase his memories as tears began to involuntarily stream down her face. He had still remembered, she could remember that night now, when he had driven her to this secluded house and not hurt her, in fact she hadn't for once felt like he would actually hurt her, so was she doing the right thing?

The bus for Delhi would leave in half an hour and she would then return safely home, never to see him again? What if she actually didn't see him again? Was that what she really wanted. No she felt that thought tear a part of her off inside. How long had she waited to see his face again? Believed that he was still alive?

"Stop it Khushi! You can't go back even if you wanted to now!" She tried to console, explain to herself, because she couldn't. She had no idea where that house he'd kept her in was. And for the first time since leaving she had the very real, unnerving feeling of well and truly being in danger. What if the alternative was actually the truth? What if Arnav was actually trying to save her? Then was she really safe? Anywhere?

She gulped audibly, thinking about that, the very feeling causing the hairs on her arms to raise. And that's when she heard it, the first tell-tale shuffle of footsteps behind her, she didn't have to think twice to know it was for her.


"I don't even understand what the fuck that was," NK began to complain as soon as he was in the jeep, clearly enraged by the events that had just taken place.

"It was Shyam getting back at us," Arnav replied calmly.

NK looked to Arnav cocking up an eyebrow, the serenity in him pulling NK up short, "and what exactly makes you so calm about it? You do understand we could have had our fucking brains blown out in there?" NK exclaimed, clearly not impressed.

Arnav turned his head to meet NK's inquisitive eyes, a small smirk spreading across his lips, "I guess I'm just thankful we weren't," he tried to make it as believable as possible as he turned back to focus on the road.

"Yeh whatever," NK finally replied after watching him for a few seconds, something was not right.

And Arnav truly was thankful but more than anything else, he was so calm because he could tell of the storm that would ensue. That the enemy was onto them as much as they were, and somehow that only excited him more, because for the first time in this war, he felt he held the upper hand.

His phone ringing suddenly snapped him out of his thoughts, he looked to it raising an eyebrow, what the hell was it now?


Her foot slipped on the tarmac, as her next step blew up a cloud of dust, and she blindly began to run away, not even bothering to check back to see who was after her or if anyone was after her at all.

She was panicking, she shouldn't have run away, should have confronted him, she had to scrunch her eyes shut for a second to just force herself to focus.

But she knew she was too late as a rough hand made a grab for her arm, twisting it the next second behind her. She yelped in pain as she began to kick at her pursuer but to no avail as she felt a painful blow to the side of her head, causing her to scream out for help.

She blinked several times, gulping in large bouts of air, trying to stay in control but she was falling to her knees, the world around her quickly swaying and blurring out of view. She could feel the energy drain out of her, her resolve weaken as darkness ebbed into her already distorted view, vicious eyes and yellow corneas were the last things she remembered seeing.


Arnav's vehicle screeched to a halt, his heart pounding away in his chest as he slammed on the breaks. Panic overtook him completely. How did this even happen, she was supposed to be in his house, safe, away from all of this till he could have properly sorted everything out.

"I don't know how it happened, but Khushi is on the way here," the voice on the other end explained as the colour drained off of Arnav's face, his phone slipping from his grasp. This was all going so horribly wrong.

NK watched him in confusion as Arnav slumped back against his seat.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Important Note

Hi guys!

Okay, so firstly I want to apologise for all of the really late updates. Uni has been extremely hectic lately, I'm a med student and we are usually in most days from 9-5 and on top of that I've really been lagging behind with my notes this year.

So *deep breaths* *don't throw chappals and tamatars at me* I am putting all of my FFs on hold till the 27th of April (which is when I finish my exams).

So till then, I'm extremely sorry but as you will all hopefully understand, as much as I would love to continue to update, my mind right now is completely occupied with the amount of work that I have to get through.

Now once I come back, there will be slight changes.

1. Paper Roses will probably be moved to its blog.
The reason for this is, I have recently found out that derogatory language like "f***" and "s***" can only be used once in an update. The language is part of the characters so in order that I not compromise this, it will be taken off and left on its blog.
Don't worry though, as with SOSD I don't make my blogs private so if you don't already have the link, you'll just have to PM me for it.

2. The ASR-KKG Files will have updates again. I've neglected this FF for months now, so yes it'll finally begin to get updates.

3. SOSD is nearing it's end ;). I have it all planned out and it will end in *fingers crossed* exactly 50 chapters.

4.... But no worries, for those of you that have stood by SOSD thank you so much! And for all of the new readers that have found out about it, God knows how :P. Thank you to you too! SOSD is extremely close to my heart so there will be a sequel of sorts to it *does a little dance*. Sequel because Arundathi will be there ;) (Shinja! ;)) but the characters will be darker, or lighter, there will only be two that will be in the middle ;). It will be more intense. So don't worry you won't be left hanging ;) xx

Okay so that's about it I guess. I am going to attempt a WTP update before I stop updating till the 27th... But it's proving extremely difficult so no guarantees!

Thank you for being patient with me and hopefully you guys won't abandon me and will remain my lovely readers when I come back too! :) xxx

Monday, 11 March 2013

Chapter 14 - Captured

So before I start ... This chapter will offer the reason into why Khushi thought Arnav was a monster and also more of a revelation into their past ;). Arnav has given up because he thinks it's for the best.. Remember he didn't want her to be involved with what he does in the first place anyway. 
This will be one hell of a chapter with revelations left right and center... And here comes the bit where I increase the pace yet again ;)

Brace yerselves!

P.S. This is a very very long chapter! It's my way of making up for such a late update! Enjoy! xx

Note: all paragraphs in the chapter in italics are flashbacks ;)

Everytime I close my eyes, 
It's like a dark paradise, 
No one compares to you,
I'm scared that you won't be
waiting on the other side.
- Paradise, Lana Del Rey

"Wait what? Avinaash Mallik was your father?" Aman questioned, skeptical. He took a step closer, almost peering into Arnav's face, "but that means ..."

"That I'm the son of the man that made all of this happen," he cut in, admitting reluctantly to the truth that he wouldn't otherwise dare even whisper in the confines of his own mind.

Aman stared back, his eyes wide, his mouth open, he simply did not know how to react. "Arnav, I just... Oh my God Arnav, I don't know... I don't know what to say. I mean... He was the reason..."

"Khushi's whole family was wiped out, my whole family was wiped out," Arnav finished off for him again, his eyes focused on the distance, his features grim.

"I've heard so much about the Mallik case, about Mr Nayak, all those talks and how he even sacrificed his own family... I oh God Arnav..." Aman was unable to form coherent sentences let alone put his thoughts and feelings into words.

Arnav nodded back, his expression still grim, "and about Avinaash Mallik who betrayed not only his country, but his dearest friend, his whole family, well barr me and Di...I know, it's a lot for anyone to grasp, it was a lot for me to grasp when I finally found out and maybe that's why me and my sister ran away," Arnav stated calmly, not realising that he'd let onto something else that he'd kept hidden for too long.

Aman's head snapped up, "ran away?" He questioned suddenly, "from who?"

Arnav's eyes widened as what he'd said suddenly dawned upon him and he had to blink several times to prepare himself to think straight, but in the end decided to just let it all out, there was no point in hiding anything from Aman.

"From our Nani. Before this all happened my father had told our Nani. She was the one who helped us escape, in the middle of the night, unbeknown to anyone else, without so much as a final farewell... Without so much as a last look at Khushi," Arnav continued to look down at his hands as he spoke, he was ashamed of his cowardly past, of thinking that escaping had been right, of leaving her.

He couldn't stop now, he needed to let everything out and he knew that his words would just continue to flow.

He felt something tapping on his shoulder, no it was someone, he scrunched his eyes further shut, he'd already been awake for so long. Tomorrow is Di's wedding, he thought to himself and quite clearly irritated with the person trying to awake him, tossed around. 

The hand grasped his shoulder then and shook him, his eyes snapped open and he jolted upright, his hand knocking off the small silver glass on the nightstand in his haste to turn the light on. 

A hand grasped his outstretched arm and he opened his mouth to scream only for the other hand to cover his mouth. His eyes widened and his legs thrashed under the cover as he tried to figure out who it was and what was happening. 

"Shhh! Chote it's me, Nani!" He heard his nani's whisper, the jolting beats of his heart slowing immediately as his body slumped back into a relaxed position. 

She watched him for a few minutes, in the darkness only alighted through a thin slit of moonlight that dipped in through the slight parting of the curtains. She removed her hand, but hesitantly, making sure to let it hover in front of his face, in case he began to scream again.

"Na.." He began only for her to place her finger on his lips, "shh," she warned once again. 

"Nani what's going on?" He whispered this time. 

He watched as she took a deep breath in then begin to speak, "I don't have time to tell you much now Chote but we need to leave," she told him as his brows furrowed in return. 

"What now?" He whispered back. 

"Yes now."

"But nani, Di, Di's wedding..." He began, not understanding anything that was being said to him.

"Chote we don't have time to discuss that, your Di's wedding, everything is on a standstill right now. What's important is that I get you and Anjali out of here, right now." She spoke to him with that air of finality of hers and Arnav didn't know what to make of it. 

"But mamma? Pappa? Chutki?" He questioned, skeptical and scared now. 

"Yes, yes of course, but we can't all go at the one time. So I'm taking you two first and your parents and the Nayak's will join us later, she attempted a smile and he accepted those whispered words and his Nani's smile that he did not notice of not reaching her eyes. 


Khushi paced around in her room, she couldn't take this anymore. All of this. Arnav, that woman Angelica, these men that seemed to be after her. Everything.

She fell onto the bed, her head in her hands. She didn't have any tears left or the will to cry anymore, she was exhausted and sick and tired of everything. She tried not to think of it, to put those thoughts out of her mind. She tightened her fingers around her temples, as if squeezing harder would make her forget.

She couldn't believe it, if she hadn't seen it with her own eyes, would never have accepted it, but this was the truth, the unbearable truth. Arnav, her Arnav was a cold-blooded killer, he was not the rescuer of her nightmares. No, he was one of them, he had become them. She brought her knees to her chest, hugging them to her, no wonder he had never attempted to make contact, no wonder he had never attempted to find her.

Her eyes widened as that thought that she'd been stifling for so long finally entered her mind, what if he was in with the men that were after her. She stood up suddenly, adrenaline rushing into her veins as she pondered that thought. It was too much of a coincidence, he had been everywhere that she had been pursued. Sure he had helped her, but for what? Was he working for them? Was he protecting her so that they could finally have her? Was this all a farce?

No! She couldn't believe that. This was her Arnav, her Arnav, the boy that she'd grown up with, the one that had defended her when people had made fun of her, the boy whose feelings she had understood without the need for words. He wouldn't do that to her, would he?

She had to hold onto the lone window in her room for support, her fingers grazing over the smooth cold glass and sliding down to the frame. She tried to take a deep breath in, calm herself but she couldn't. Her memories continued to assault her, pulling and dragging her back into that dark abyss that she badly wanted escape from.

"Chutki! Chutki! Chutki wake up! Wake up!" She heard her mother scream as if from a distance, the severity and loudness of her voice dampened down by sleep. 

She put her hand out and tried to push her mother away, she was exhausted. She had spent the whole day over at the Mallik's, helping them prepare for Di's wedding. "Amma let me sleep," she muttered sleepily, trying to turn over to the other side. 

"Chutki!" Her mother grabbed both her shoulders then and pulled her upright. 

"Amma?!" Khushi questioned in return, quite clearly taken aback, her brows furrowing further as she noticed the tear tracks on her mother's face, "Amma?" She questioned again, placing her small palm on her mother's cheek. 

Manyati ran her hand over her daughters, cupping it in her grasp as she tried to prevent further tears from escaping her, her eyes pooling with unshed tears. "Chutki, I'm going to need you to be strong okay?"

Khushi didn't understand, she got out of her bed and kneeled next to her Amma, trying to grasp the situation but failing miserably. "Amma, I don't understand..." She began to mumble when Manyati suddenly placed her palm over Khushi's mouth, "shhh Chutki," she whispered and turned her head around, it was almost as if she was listening for something else that Khushi just could not figure out through the haze of her confused thoughts. 

Hugging Khushi closer to her body Manyati took a few more deep breaths in then looking both ways let her go. "Chutki I want you to help me push your bed a little," she instructed her daughter. 

"But why?" Khushi questioned suddenly, she didn't want to let on that she and Arnav had both figured out the small chamber underneath her room, hidden under the rug and locked shut. She didn't want to admit to her mother that they had already broken the lock and explored the place. 

"Chutki!" She shouted, then calmed herself down, now was not the time for an outburst. "Chutki, just do as I say, I'll explain later," she tried to reassure her. As much as she didn't want to, she recognised the uneasy desperation in her mothers eyes and sighing stood up to push the large bed over. 


"Nani where are we going? Di why don't you say something?!" Arnav exclaimed as his nani held onto his hand and ran in front of him and his sister held onto his other, following them. 

"Chote, I did! She won't tell me!" She shouted from behind slightly out of breath. 

His half tied shoes tripped over a stone and he stumbled, but even before he could regain his balance his Nani yanked him further forward. Anjali's hands went around him, breaking his fall as Nani looked back for the slightest of seconds. 

"Chote watch out will you! We don't have time!" She screamed then turned back around, attempting to accustom her ageing eyes with the darkness. 

"Nani!" He tried to complain when he felt a soft squeeze on his hand, he looked back quickly, catching the slightest of smiles on his sisters face. 

"It'll be fine Chote, just give it time and we'll figure something out," she attempted to reassure him but he knew that her words were only a mask to hide the fear that she was nurturing inside, the fear that he shared. There was something very wrong and he could feel it in the pits of his heart, flowing through his every vein. Why was Nani taking them away on the night before his Di's wedding? His fingers involuntarily loosened and Devyani had to grip tighter in order to not lose him. Suddenly, he just wanted to break free and run back, he had this unnerving feeling that he would never see any of this again. 

He turned around quickly, to see the high window of Sheeh Mahel looming behind, then in front of it, its ajar, black gate, both inviting, yet foreboding at the same time. He squinted at the small light coming through his parents window; that meant that they were still up and before he could stray his eyes further to the right, to the house that he was all too fond of, he heard the very first gun shot of that night. 


Khushi felt her heart stop for a minute then stutter back into life, she was sure she had heard it. She recognised that sound, her eyes were wide and terrified now, her fingers shaking against the soft skin of her mother's shoulders as Manyati tried to push her into the little chamber. 

Khushi protested against her mothers hold, trying to run away, back out of her room and onto the inner balcony but her mother's hold was too tight. 

"Amma! Amma! What was that? That was a gun!" She screamed, flailing her arms and legs about in her attempts to break free but Manyati was equally as adamant. 

She shook Khushi, grasping her by the shoulders, her fingers burning bruises on her fragile little daughters skin. She shook her until she looked up.

Khushi remembered looking into the depths of those vivid hazel eyes for the last time, they had been the same colour as hers; hazel with tinges of brown. She closed her eyes, trying to block the next memories off but Arnav's actions had given them a new life and she was sure she would not be able to shut them out this time.

"Chutki! Listen to me! You are staying in there! You are to stay in there till someone comes and gets you!" She explained. "Do you understand?"

Khushi furrowed her brows, none of this was making sense and she wasn't able to process her thoughts over the hammering of her heart in her chest, "till someone, but what about you?" She had tears in her throat now, what were her parents doing and who had been shot?

Manyati closed her eyes for a second, gulping down her tears, she brushed her little girls stray hairs back, looking at her innocent face one last time, "Chutki, I want you to know that no matter what happens, what anyone says, your Babuji and I have and will always love you," she murmured, taking a moment to kiss her forehead, let her tears seep into her skin. "Now I need you to be strong, always, never give up and keep fighting, because you are my little fighter." Tears sprang into Khushi's own eyes and she looked on unable to fathom a thing. 

"Now I want you to hide in here, I want you to not come out until someone comes and gets you, please Chutki promise me, tumhein meri kasam."

Khushi nodded slowly, large, wet tears streaming down her face and her large hazel spheres were the last thing Manyati saw before she closed the latch.


Arnav tried to pull away and break free. He had to go back, he had to save his family, save Chutki, from whatever tragedy was occurring right now in his house, he needed to go! Something was wrong, his Chutki was in trouble and he had to save her. 

"No! No! Let me go! Let me go!" He cried, fighting his Nani who now held him, kicking his legs about in an attempt to get back. 

"Chote stop it! Stop it! We must keep going!" His Nani shouted, but he wasn't willing to listen! "Let me go Nani! Otherwise something will happen to Chutki!" He screamed but to no avail.


The blood curdling cry rang through her ears, her head shot up and she clambered up the ladder.

"Promise you won't open this," she didn't have time for promises! She pushed against the wood, her strength not enough to open it completely. She tried to watch through the little slit of an opening, her eyes widening instantly. 

Manyati struggled against the two men as one grabbed her neck and the other her hair. Another man entered then and Khushi tried with all her might to open the latched door. 

"Where are the children?!" The man exclaimed, his voice gruff and hoarse. 

Manyati shook her head, trying to back away from him. 

He took a hold of her neck and brought her face closer to his, "I asked you a question! Where are the children?!" He exclaimed, causing her to wince back in pain. 

"I don't know," she mumbled back almost incoherently. 

He tightened his hold further, "I'm only going to ask you one last time," he warned, "WHERE ARE THE CHILDREN?!" 

"I DON'T KNOW!" She screamed back using up every ounce of courage she had. 

Khushi struggled harder, pushing and shoving against the wood.

The man brought a gun out from his pocket as one of the other men forced Manyati's mouth open. He stuck it inside.

Khushi closed her ears, tears streaming down her face, hiding her face in her lap, she could to this day, still hear that bullet echo in the confines of her mind.


"So let me get this straight, you guys hid? In an underground chamber? For three days?" Aman questioned, jumping down from the table top and walking towards Arnav.

Arnav nodded slowly, "and that's when I figured out that this had all be pre-planned," he looked up, for the first time since he had started and it only took Aman a second to notice his bloodshot eyes. "It may have been planned in a hurry, but it was all ready and clearly evident that Di and I were the only ones supposed to be saved."

"But then... Khushi?" Aman questioned, placing his hand on Arnav's shoulder.

He looked up towards Aman, unshed tears glistening on the brims of his eyes and shook his head slowly, "I don't know, I didn't get a chance to go back there till very later on," he admitted, his voice dry and cracked in places.

Aman watched him for a few seconds longer, he was sure that he did not know how to react. Arnav knew everything about Aman but Aman had never known the true story to Arnav's past and now he knew. His story was haunting and he didn't know how people survived a tragedy like that or even how they got over it, if they ever did.

"Man, I wish I could say I understand..." He began.

Arnav nodded slowly then patted Aman's shoulder, "Aman I don't expect you to understand, in fact even I don't," he concluded finally, standing up then walking away towards the far corner of the room.

"But Arnav..." Aman hated to ask, but he needed to know, he wouldn't be able to help his friend otherwise. "How did all of this happen in the first place... Did you ever find out?"

Arnav turned back around, formulating his thoughts once more when his mobile began to ring, frowning he picked up what seemed to be a blocked number.


"Hawk! We have a situation! Warehouse 22 in twenty minutes!" The voice at the other end was urgent and a wave of panic ran down Arnav's spine.

"What? Now?" He questioned, already checking the cartilage oh his gun and signalling Aman to do the same.

"Yes Hawk, Shyam wants the plan to go ahead as soon as possible. He has an emergency shipment coming in and it will be there in twenty minutes," Arnav couldn't believe his ears.

"Get NK!" He mouthed then went over to collect his rifle.

"How is he getting the supplies in twenty minutes, why was I not made aware?" Arnav demanded, clearly pissed off by this new turn of events.

"I don't know!" The man on the other end exclaimed then quietened his voice again, "just get here before he gets his hands on the stuff and expect a call soon! He's recruiting again," the man at the other end warned then ended the call.

"What guys? What the hell is happening?!" NK exclaimed, sliding into the chamber then reaching for his own guns.

"We have a situation! NK! You and I are heading over to Warehouse 22! Aman get the other guys ready and over ASAP! We have an alpha 1 situation!" He shouted instructions as he collected the things he needed.

Aman rushed over and collected his external hardrive and laptop. "Fuck Arnav! I did not see this coming!" He exclaimed, slightly ashamed that he had not been able to foresee this.

"It doesn't matter! No one saw it coming! Now hurry up we have twenty minutes!" Arnav exclaimed then walked out with NK in tow.

He stopped at the door before leaving, "Hari Prakash, lock the door to Khushi's room and leave it locked until I get back," he instructed then ran out.


Khushi paced her room, she could still remember the splatters of blood on the walls, the erruption of gunshots, some simultaneously, some at different intervals, they all still rang through her, echoed through her mind as if it was still happening. She knocked her back into the wall and felt her back hit something. She turned around suddenly, her eyes wide as she explored the surface of the wall.

Her fingers scratched across the edges, along what seemed to be a thicker coating of paint, she bent down, bringing her eyes level to the paint, noticing the small cracks at the edges. She ran her nail through a crack, then along what seemed to be a ridge, watching the paint flake off onto her fingers.

She scrambled back for a second, surprised, then went and touched the paint again. She ran her nail through the top ridge. It seemed to be large enough to let a person in. She began scratching at the paint then, till a layer of it scraped off, revealing a wooden opening, as if to a cupboard then a little wooden button on the right side; embedded into the wood.

She pushed it, all of her previous thoughts fleeing out of her mind as her mind occupied itself onto the situation on hand. She jumped back suddenly as the door swung open, revealing what looked like a human sized tunnel within it.

We do this because the world we live in is a house on fire and the people we love are buring.
- Sandra Cisneros

I know I know I am evil and the queen of cliff-hangers :P. But till the next update, keep biting those nails :P xx