She was sitting on the bed , her knees close to her chest and lost in her thought when he opened the door and came in extending his phone towards her.

“Di” he said while giving her his phone, she took the phone and put it to her ears

“hello” she spoke softly into the phone

“Khushi ji…what the hell u were thinking when u left for farm house without telling me’u knw how much I was worried when I did’nt find u and chotay in the house? Do u even know how worried we were” Angali was hell angry on both of them..after scolding her brother it was khushi’s turn.

“Di I am sorry…i was” her voice became heavy after listening Angali’s voice and she could’nt speak further.

“Khushi ji? I am sorry’I did’nt mean it'”Angali became guilty thinking she might be hurt by her scolding.

“No Di’I did’nt mean u’I am fine..i just need some time..i’ll talk to u later'” she said quickly and gave him his phone back.

“Di’…dont worry we’ll be back in 2 or 3 days’please don’t ask any questions’its nothing to worry about’and send khushi’s books and college stuff here with the driver, as she cant miss the college” he said and cut the call.

They sat there for some time silently not finding any word to speak’she was feeling suffocated by this silence so she spoked herself’

“Arnav ji?”

“hmmm” he looked above at her sitting on the sofa infront of the bed.

“Why have u pet those dangerous lizards?” she asked in her thin voice which was now heavy becoz of continues weeping.

He remained silence looking at other side than her eyes.

“I mean…u can pet other animals if u wanted pets’why those cruel creatures?”

“other animals?” he asked a little smirking and slightly frowning, looking into her eyes.

“yeah…other pets u know…some fluffy kittens, or some soft bunnies in the ground back side, or some dogs …even though they bark and bite and I don’t like them but still people pet them, or may be some good colorfull birds tht are innocent enough to make people smile and give company u know'” she said very seriously, telling him about the other type of pets that exist in this worl, like he don’t know them’that was a kind of cute for him though but he looked quite serious from his face.

“Innocent?” he said

“Yeah’?” that was more a question than an answer’he smiled a little painfully

“I don’t keep innocent things around me'” he said looking away

“Buttt? Why is that so?” her voive was too low to hear but he heard it

“Arnav ji?” she called him again for a reply

“Becoz I think I will hurt them” he said looking at her intensly

They were quite for some time, khushi looked at him for some time when he leaned back on the sofa closing his eyes. She get down from the bed and sat down near him on the carpet, keeping her chin on his knee and her hands around the same knee for a support.

“Why?” she asked in a low, innocent and softest ever voice, he shot open his eyes sensing some thing soft touching his knee and looked down at her questioning eyes. he looked at her for some time.

“becoz I am not capable of taking care of innocent things around me, nothing around me is innocent, not my employees, not even frnds, not my relatives, not even those models I have slept around, all of them were cunning and mean, they all are with me becoz they think they can get an advantage of my name attached to their by some reason” he said

“but when u knew they were mean and cunning why did u appoint them in ur office?” her voice carrying the same innocence as before, like a kid listening a story from his grand mother.

“Becoz I feel easy enough to deal with such thing than the innocent ones, the innocent thing in my life is Di’and look what I’ve done with her, I was not able to take care of her, I am responsible for her state today!” he said looking straight into the space infront of him.

She keep sitting the same way, her facial expressions were sad hearing his talks.

“And now u’.” he said looking at her suddenly, and she picked her chin from his knees sensing some seriousness in his voice.

“u r innocent enough for me to keep in my life, thts why I have decided to send u away from me, coz I think I can harm u as I already have” his voice becoming rigid and she looked at him suddenly. Her back straightening sitting on the ground as she looked at him like she is just back from a dream, her expressions changing from soft innocent ones to worried ones.

“but…but why?..” she whinned a little

“becoz I don’t think I can protect u” he said looking away from her eyes

“Why nott????? I am sure u can ‘.i dun wana gooo” She whinned again

“Khushi u have to go..becoz I can protect u from the whole world but not myself’and that’s my final decision” he said rigidly looking at her

“i wana stay here” her voice fainting as he kept looking at her frowning.

“Why? There is no reason for u to stay here’after what I have done with u’why do u wana stay then? U r weird!” he said looking at her a little irritated at her stubbornness.

“Actually… Arnav ji…i…i think…actually payal says…that I love u'” she said looking away from his eyes here and there sitting on the ground infront of him, looking at all the other things in the room than his eyes.

For the time being the way she was speaking he thought she is saying tht “Payal loved him” but when he finally got what she was saying’he was not ready to believe his ears.

“Repeat it” he said looking a kind of furious, like he is angry on his ears for making him hear this and building wrong hopes in his heart.

She became a little afraid seeing his expressions but this was not the time to back off as she has already said those words and she shd held on them’she decided to face anything tht was coming in response as this was the truth of her life and she herself was furious enough on herself for living under this confusion tht she loves him or not’and now when ever thing was clear last night, all the reasons behind all his actions were clear enough infront of her and she forgived him for what ever he did, coz he was also lead by a lie and that was so natural for any person in those circumstances to behave tht way or even worse than that, so as now she knew every thing, she was sure enough tht she loves him. He was her first love..and her first love was a little hard for her to figure out becoz she was having these feelings first time and so she was not capable of getting to the root of them. The constant repeatation of payals words about their love made her realize about it, even though she was unaware of these things but these things cant be kept hidden ever, world can smell them even before the people in love found this them self.

“I said I Love u” she said closing her eyes tight ready for the reaction she was expecting from him.

He was quite for some time’not believing his ears’ remembering her secrete staring in the morning while he get prepared, her jealousy, her need for him to stay with her in her worse time, the way she trusted him with herself in her sickness. May be she was right, but she was too innocent to understand tht weather she was truly in love or was she just believing Payal’s words.

“r u sure” he wanted to confirm she opened her eyes and looked at him seeing his reaction. He looked more confused rather than happy or angry after her confession.

“hun?” she asked innocently and he rolled his eyes

“Look khushi, its not some thing tht ur frnd will tell u and u will believe her, u have to be sure about ur feelings , r u sure what u said some time ago? Be sure coz I am asking u for the first and last time in this life, coz I will not change my decision about u for the rest of ur life even if u got to know tht u made a mistake by saying these words infront of me today’Be sure now’!” he said in a very serious tone, making her uncomfortable, he surely was the man with whom she wanted to spend her whole life, then no matter what ever he decides about her she does’nt cared as far as he was keeping her with himself.

Both of them were silent looking into each other’s eyes confused’then he made it first and looked away to give her some time to think, he turned his head to the other side looking at the wall paintings, she raised on her knees after some time , slowly and hesitantly, looking here and there sheepishly, she brough her closer to his cheeks and kissed him softly and then looked the other way, he suddenly turned his head to her side when she broke the kiss.She was still standing on her knees, close to him, he looked at her for some time intensely, his heart melted on her innocence as she was not matching his eyes with him after the kiss, and he tucked his figure under her chin and make her look at him.

“Look at me…” his voice was authoritative, she looked at him with innocent eyes, thinking he might have not liked tht.

“I still need an answer from ur mouth…r u sure?” he asked she nooded and looked the other way too shy of her own self for doing such an act.

He smiled seeing her shyness. He make her look into his eyes keeping his index figure under her chin but she looked away all the time he made her look him. His smile was making her more shy.

“Keep looking into my eyes” once again his voice was having an authority and she immediately obyed. Looking at him innocently wide eyes.

“u know what’.” He said smirking and her eyes asked questions again.

“What?” she asked

“That u r still too innocent for me'” he said smiling in a slightly flirtious manner as he kept a hand on her nape making her close to his mouth and he locked her lips in a passionate kiss’she struggled by keeping her hands on his chest and arm’s muscles to push him but gave up after some time losing her self in the moment..he nuzzled her nose after peeking on her lips one last time

“I love u too” he said in a horase voice, sitting on the sofa, she sitting on her knees between his legs on the ground and he nuzzling her tiny nose, he grabbed her nape with his right hand, as he leaned on her neck, picking her some more on her knees between his legs ,grabbing her from nape and pulling her to himself to get the greater access of her neck, when he starting kissing her there,as he find it the most attractive place in her body’…long, creamy, smooth, delicate enough to gets marks even with a slight pressure of his sharp teeth. She keep her hands on his tights for support and he pulled her making her stand straight on her knees on the ground while he was sitting on sofa.

“uhh…Arnav ji'” she find it difficult to breath as she find it a little too much for her even if she have confess it does’nt mean tht she has learned all the maturity levels in one go…’

“A…Arnav ji ‘” she said pushing his chest with her small hands as he threw wet kisses on her neck, he moved back a little to see wht was the problem.

“Woo…actually I think the driver has come’ I need to go and check if he has missed any of my college stuff’she said and she did’nt stoped after tht and ran out of the room.

He was kina irritated when she left like’he knew there was no one in the parking area..she just wanted to run. But then soon he calmed himself down understanding that this is not some familiar for her and he should not be too fast. But he himself did’nt knew tht he was out of hisown control when it comes to her.

*********

She was standing near the huge pool of farm house when he came and stood beside her calmly. She looked his way but he was looking straight towards the horses that were running after each other in the near by ground. Suddenly he grabbed her hand without looking at her.

“Come” he said and drag her with himself towards the wire gauze. She looked at him with a “No No” eyes but he ignored her.

“I’I am bare footed and there are stones there Arnav ji..!” she tried to make an excuse’

“No problem” he said and picked her in his arms and she grabbed his coat’s collars at this sudden pick.

“I’I..mean they might not like me Arnav ji’I don’t think I want to go there” she said stating clearly as she can see tht he was near the lake already and she did’nt wanted to face those lizards again, she was still feeling the pain in her legs and her legs still trembled after the last night truma of Alligators and there he was..taking her back to the same scary place she never wanted to come. He did’nt listened anything she was saying and while passing a guard he ask him to bring the gator’s lunch there. They were now standing on the bridge above the lack, he placed her down but she does’nt looked willing to step down on the ground from his arms and he noticed tht. There were some 20 25 gators in the lake and she gasped in fear seeing them, they were laying at the bank of lake where the water was shalow’if she would any idea about the amount last night she would have got a heart attack.

“They won’t harm u as far as I am here and they are feeded”’..so much like this cruel world” his last words were more like a wishper for her to hear. He was right ,and his situation was not less than khushi the day when his parents were dead and this cruel hungry gators in disguise of noble people started harming them, the same people that used to lick their feets when was feeded by their parents.

The guard came back with a bucket of dried meat and he started throwing the meat towards them. One of them looked a naughty one, he moved towards them when he was throwing food, he liked to catch his food from less distance and so he moved towards them, khushi who was already not coming infront and was hiding herself behind him all the while she was landed there, screamed and grabbed him from his waist from behind. The naughty gator return back to water after having his share. And he grabbed khushi’s wrists from his waist and make her come infront forcibly, she looked quite reluctant to come infront. He make her stand infront of him with her back facing him and her face facing the lake, he grabbed her right hand from his from behind and handled her a piece of their lunch in her hand and hold her hand and make her throw the piece towards the gators’.too many of them were out of the lake now and were heading towards them , khushi backed of in fear suddenly, her hand was still in his and she hit his chest with her back without noticing tht he was enjoying her cute feared expressions all the time, admiring her but with a serious face tht was hard to tell that what was going through his mind, the way she was still feeding the gators even after being so much scared of them and making scared faces towards them when they come forward, she started throwing the lunch by herself too quickly making sure every body gets his share. He looked at her until she finished the bucket making sure no one of them remains hungry to follow her like last night and they shd leave the place as soon as possible. He was observing each and every move of hers very keenly. Finally all the gators were in the water back and she sighted in relief keeping her hand on her heart and gulping. He rubbed her right arm up and down for comforting her. She saw his face turning back ‘he was calm enough like he is not standing on a lake of some bloody creatures but a normal chicken farm. Least did she know the reason behind his calmness. he wanted to show her tht life is not about some soft bunnies and colorfull parrots ‘there are also some creatures who take these soft and colorfull things as their lunch. she shd know the reality of this world becoz her innocence can be a danger to her own self some day.

“Arnav ji’shd we leave now” she asked not separating her self from him as she was still touching his front with her back the same way when she collieded with him while backing off few minutes ago.

“hmmm” he said and picked her up to cross the stoney surrounding of lake and landed her on the ground of soft austraillian grass of his farm’s backside quite far from the gator’s lake.

“Arnav ji’I think we shd go home now’I am missing Di” she said escaping her eyes from him as she finally noticed how he has walked away picking her up all this time.

“hmmm OK”was his answer , void of any emotions or expressions.

*********

They were back to shanti van the same evening as Arnav needed to clear the family’s thinking against khushi, he told every one about the profs tht he have found and ask every one to behave normaly with khushi as she is a part of this family as well, Angali was always her frnd and she have already accepted her as a family member, nani however never hurted khushi but she never used to talk to her other than needed, today she apologized from her for her cold behavior and accepted her as her daughter in law from all her heart, the others as well including manorama mami’.with her hello hi bye bye’khushi was happy’and he after so many years he was much more happier than her seeing her jumping around all the house happily, he felt like a huge, very old burden was released from his heart. But still there was a fear in his heart tht she was too innocent for him to get hurt if she remain close to him always.

*********

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