"Stay with me..." Arnav whispered once again...
"I don't know what to do...I don't know how I feel about all this..."
His gaze held hers...
Their long stare came to a crashing halt when he pulled her into his arms tight up against his hard body.
Khushi closed her eyes and gave a startled cry, startled at the flurry of emotion that flooded her.
Arnav breathed against her skin...
Khushi shuddered at the clamoring sensations bombarding her.
Arnav leaned down, his beard shadow tantalizingly abrasive against the soft curve of her neck.
With unerring certainty, he sought out the pounding pulse in her throat and ran his tongue over it.
Unsuccessfully trying to stifle her passionate moans, Khushi fought the urge to hold onto him.
As if he knew, his hands skated down over her curvy hips and clutched them fiercely.
With expert fingers, he massaged her tingling skin inching her up closer to him until she was resting against the hard bulge in his pants.
She gasped, stunned at her agonizing need.
Breathing in her enticing fragrance, Arnav’s heart squeezed.
The smell of spicy perfume mingling with her feminine musk made his groin throb.
A possessive rush roared through him.
At that moment, he knew that he’d damn near kill anyone who would dare separate them.
He chided himself.
Damn straight, he answered his unspoken question.
She was clinging to him, her breasts plastered against his chest.
Her soft whispery moans confirmed that she was as aroused as he was.
Pulling her up closer, his voice was a husky growl.
"...come...I'm taking you home..."
Sheltering her with a strong arm, he ushered her past the curious onlookers.
As they approached the car, she stumbled and her hand flew up to his shirt in an attempt to hold on...
He already had a her safely in his arms, and he silently wished that she would be able to trust him to look out for her and keep her safe...
Pausing, he murmured, his voice low, husky, “You hang onto me as tight as you need to...But I was already holding you... I’m not letting you go.”
Not able to smother the wave of heat that washed over her body, she silently relaxed into him.
There had always been something about Arnav’s overwhelming presence, his powerful male body that intoxicated her.
By the time they had arrived home, she was torn with conflicting emotions.
Not able to ignore the intimate throb of her heart...
He held her hand as they ascended the stairs ...
As he reached for the door she pulled her hand back and he turned to face her...
She shook her head..."They...they wanted me to leave...I can't stay where I'm not wanted...I don't even know if I WANT to be here! I don't know...I'm so confused..."
He walked forwards and enveloped her in his arms...
At first she remained motionless, but gradually her hands slid up to his chest and she clung to him as if she would never let him go.
She knew that her insecurity and fear had lowered her defenses, made her even more susceptible to his powerful pull.
She didn’t know what would happen when they got inside.
"Khushi..." his voice was softer than a whisper..."I won't let anyone separate us...when we enter, we are not listening to anyone's opinions or questions...we're going straight to our room..."
Her head shot up at what he said...
The panic in her eyes was evident...
Arnav ran his hands up the length of her arms..."No no...not for that...I just want to talk to you...I want you to relax..." he could see how pale she was from everything..."and I'll get HP to bring some food up for you..."
"I'm not hungry..." khushi mumbled...
Newfound worry over her health began to plague him..."Khushi...you need to..."
The front door swung open...
Khushi was startled but Arnav held her close..."HP..."
"I'm sorry, I didn't know you were here...the family have gone in search of..."
"Have they...." Arnav's voice was laced with distain...
Holding Khushi's hand tight, he pushed past HP and led her upstairs without a word.
Now inside their room, she sat quietly on the bed...her eyes staring into space...
Arnav had vowed to himself on the drive home that he wouldn’t touch her when they got there.
The haunted look in her eyes and her skittishness around him had proven to him that she needed some serious care and concern before he pushed her again...
But he could feel her heat, smell her desire.
"No, dammit!" he reprimanded himself...
He was going to have to be the one who said no.
He approached her slowly and told her to lay back to rest...
Without so much as looking at him, she obeyed without question and as he sat beside her, she drifted to sleep...
It wasn't long before the family figured that they were back at the RM.
There was a gentle knock on the bedroom door...
"Wait..." Arnav said quietly...
Kissing Khushi's hand, he stood up and marched out.
Payal and Anjali immediately began to question him...
"You brought her back here? Why? She would have found some peace..."
"Payal..." Arnav was desperately trying to keep calm..."I know I have hurt your sister, way too many times. But were you, Nani and Di, SO blinded by your own decisions that you couldn't see what Khushi wanted?"
"...I only want her to be happy, and she hasn't been very..."
"She will be..." Arnav looked directly into Payal's eyes..."I will always trust her, and love her..."
Anjali rested her hand on Arnav's arm..."I have always thought you felt for her, but..." her voice drifted off..."But chote, please take things slowly with her..."
Arnav nodded ..."Would you please stay with her. I need to do some urgent business that concerns Khushi."
Arnav watched as his Di entered his room and his eyes were fixed on Khushi until his doors closed...
"That's right. I want to know of every detail. Right from the moment she stepped foot in this prison to the second she left."
"Alright Mr. Raizada...one moment...here are here records...she made her one family phonecall. Lunch break, which she didn't eat anything, shower break, which she refused..."
Tortured thoughts ran though him..."she must have been so scared...so alone..."
"But she did have one visitor Mr. Raizada..."
This, snapped him to attention..."A visitor? Who?!"
The policeman flipped the file around...
Arnav's eyes zoned in on the sign-in name ...
He automatically shuddered, and his heart began to thud hard...
"What? She was here?! Why?"
The officer looked up, "I don't know sir, she asked to be left alone with her. But she didn't stay very long..."
Slamming the folder shut, he glared at the man in front of him..."Was she hurt during her stay here?"
"Yes. But she herself said that she had merely fallen and had grazed herself on the jagged edge of the cot in her cell."
Arnav was livid..."And you didn't inform me! Was she seen by a doctor? Wasn't anyone with her!? Why the FUCK didn't you tell me!?"
"Calm Down Sir! YOU brought her in. YOU said for her to be given no privileges. And YOU told us not to call you. She refused to see a doctor. She asked for a bandage and disinfectant. And we left her to her own devises."
Arnav felt ill.
The extend of inhumanity he'd put her through was making him want to throw up.
"Show me where she hurt herself." he ground out...
The officer led Arnav to the small cubicle where Khushi had stayed.
The bed in the corner had clean sheets, but the sides were jagged, like the man had said.
Still, things didn't sit well with him...
He thought back to the wound on her arm...
Long and straight.
Deep and thin.
"No." Arnav said firmly..."She did NOT hurt herself this way."
His thoughts became shrill..."I know how to react when someone strikes out..."
"No. Someone hurt her. SOMEONE hurt her. Who were the guards who came to see her. I want a full list of their names. I want them questioned. And I want surveillance videos. I WILL find out who hurt her."
When Arnav returned home, he immediately raced to Khushi's side.
He had spend a good two hours at the police station going through videos of her stay.
That was all she did.
It shattered his heart even more deeply.
When he entered their room, he saw her standing beside the couch folding clothes...
Khushi looked up...."he's here...no Khushi...no more tears...you will be strong."
She could feel Arnav approach her...
The heat radiating from his body made her shiver...
She flinched when his hand touched her shoulder, but she didn't retreat...
"Are you cold?" he asked
Khushi made the mistake of looking up at him...
All the pain, all the hurt began to resurface...
"Don't touch me..."
"khushi? I wasn't going to hurt you...I won't EVER hurt you..."
When she turned to face him, the look in her eyes shot him through the heart...
"What left is there to hurt!"
Khushi brought a hand to her head and let out a broken cry..."Oh... GOD! I don't want to feel like this anymore!"
Unable to take anymore, Arnav rushed forwards and gathered her in his arms...
He couldn’t believe his hands were shaking.
Holding this beautiful woman in his arms and knowing that he had done almost everything in his power to hurt her, was killing him.
She was shaking, trembling like a reed in the wind.
And yet he could still feel the stubborness inside her...
He bracketed her face between his hands, trying to look past the pain in her eyes.
"I'm so sorry..." His voice was husky with emotion..."I love you...do you truly and fully belive that?"
When she shook her head and didn’t answer, he scooped her up in his arms and sat down on the couch, he held her on his lap.
He felt her heart begin to race...
It was only right, given that his threatened to hammer a hole in his chest and burst through.
They remained silent, and he held her until he felt her relax ...
Once her heart had settled to a more normal rate and he thought his legs were steady enough, he stood up and gently placed her on the bed.
She looked fragile, vulnerable.
He grimaced at the enormity of the mistake that he’d made.
Looking around, he grasped for a distraction.
“I'll put the clothes away ok?”
He quickly packed everything in the cupboard, and when he turned back, she was staring straight ahead and wouldn’t meet his gaze.
His heart thumped.
Damn, what he would give to pick her up and hold her in his arms.
He resisted the impulse.
He could see her confusion.
Arnav took her hand in his and sat beside her...
"Khushi...I am sorry if I...if I forced you..."
Her face began to flush with color...
She hesitated then said softly, “You didn't...” Her cheeks flamed brighter.
She gnawed on her bottom lip, a habit that never failed to get a physical reaction out of him.
“...but...right now...I can’t, I don’t know how… I don’t think I can…” He held her hand tighter and moved closer...
He gently put his finger against her lips. “Khushi, shhhh... I’m gonna tell you something. You better listen carefully so you won’t forget it.” He leaned in, holding her gaze.
“This message is for the most beautiful woman I know. I won't push you, or force you...when I do make love to you, it will always be about you..."
When she softly gasped, he smiled...”And do you know what? You won’t believe that life can be so good...”
As he searched her eyes, he saw tears them strengthen...
"Khushi...I need to know one thing..."
He swallowed hard...
His fingers moved over her hand and began to run up her arm...
She began to get goosebumps from his gentle touch...
Reaching her bandaged injury, he carefully unwrapped...
He frowned and looked up at her..."You already changed the dressing today?"
As they stared at each other, he said..."I want you to tell me who hurt you..."
She stopped breathing.
Her eyes filled with fright.
"Khushi..." his voice growing harder..."I know that you did NOT do this to yourself...I need to protect you. I need to know who did this to you. I will make sure that they regret ever touching you!"
Her hand gripped his shoulders as she nearly screeched her reply..."NO! NO I don't want you doing anything! NO! Please!"
Completely taken back by her outburst, he slid up till his chest hit hers and and held her face in his hands..."Shhhh...stop...Khushi...shhhhh"
"Please Arnavji...it doesn't matter please..."
Leaning over her, he lay her down..."It does matter Khushi, I need to know who hurt you!"
Writhing beneath him, she became almost delirious with worry..."No...you can't...I can't tell you..."
Planting his hand firmly behind her head, he lifted her torso a few inches off the bed and slammed his mouth to hers...
He felt her body become soft, malleable.
When he felt her acquiescence, he released her mouth and looked down at her...
A heated flush covered her chest and cheeks.
Her hair was tousled from her struggling, and her lips were full, swollen.
When she looked up at him, wide-eyed, the need that was storming his body echoed in her eyes.
She closed her eyes as if to block out the world.
A soft whimper escaped her lips.
The sound did it.
Before he could stop himself, a raging torrent of desire flooded him.
For the moment, he was powerless to stop it.
Holding her tight, he wound his other hand in her hair and lifted her face to his.
His voice was low, a guttural rasp... “When I'm holding you like this, I want you to let go of all your fear...trust me... ”
Her soft moan was his answer.
With his free hand, he tipped her chin back baring her neck to his mouth.
He started at her ear, nipping the tender sensitive skin, then buried his tongue against the throbbing pulse in her throat.
Her gasp and shiver drove him forward.
She began to breathe harder, and her breasts were pushing intermittently against him...
They were high, firm, and full...
He ached to touch them.
Taste her nipples, watch them harden, suckle her.
But he contented himself for the moment with slipping his hand underneath the fabric that covered her and gently grasped her nipple between his fingers...
Her passionate shriek was an electric shock to his nerves...
Murmuring in her ear he whispered, “You are beautiful.”
With an agonized groan, he lifted her fragile body up against his chest.
Khushi felt stunned.
She was helpless against the sensations rioting through her.
His beard rasping against her sensitive skin, his love-filled words in her ear, opened floodgates of emotion she’d spent months denying.
His lips traced a track of flaming heat across her neck.
When he grasped her nipple and rolled it in his fingers, she nearly doubled over with desire.
She was shocked at the sounds coming from her, the moans, whimpers, and pleas.
When he pushed his hard body against her, intoxicating pleasure inflamed her tender flesh.
She rose up and cried out wanting, needing more.
To her surprise, with a hard groan, he released her, pulled away.
He still held her, but at a distance, as if he couldn’t, wouldn’t touch her.
She was bewildered.
What had she done?
Why was he pushing her away?
She… she wanted more.
She wanted him to hold her tight.
And not stop.
She whispered, fighting back a sob... “What’s… what’s wrong? Did I… did I do something wrong?”
Arnav felt his heart break even further.
He desperately didn't want to stop...
Only her response, so passionate, so needy, stopped him.
He reluctantly pulled back, lowered her hands to her sides.
He murmured an agonized plea, “Oh God, Khushi, I can’t… Khushi I can’t do this right now..."
She blinked and fresh tears ran over her cheeks...
"I love you...and I want you so badly right now...but I can't take you this way...I'm through with taking advantage of you..."
Arnav paced the room as he growled into his phone...
"If it weren't the guards that hurt her, then WHO!"
"Sir, the only video you haven't seen is the tape of her visit from..."
Arnav stood up straight, his anger bubbling over..."She wouldn't have hurt Khushi!!!..."
"Then Sir, I can't help you!"
Arnav threw his phone at the wall...