As Arnav neared the area for the police rendezvous, a soft grin spread across his face...
"What a night..." he murmered...
The height of sexual activity that they had risen to had thouroughly knocked them both out...
When Arnav woke up, Khushi was still fast asleep.
He kissed her softly on the cheek as he was leaving and she slowly opened her eyes..."I...I'm sorry I overslept..."
"Not to worry, I'll quickly go to this meeting...and I'll be back...order room service...don't leave the room okay?"
Khushi nodded, still sleepy...
Arnav clenched his teeth and kissed her full on the mouth..."Damn you're divine when you're all tired..."
She smiled and slowly drifted back to sleep...
But now that Arnav was out and about, he wanted nothing more than to fix this mess, so that he never had to leave her in the morning like that again...
"WHO bailed him out!?" Arnav yelled…
Arnav became furious, and the officer stepped back a step incase he needed to subdue him.
"I'm not idiot enough to lash out at you!" Arnav growled at his friend…
"I didn't think so, but I can see how livid you are…"
Arnav's fists were paling rapidly from the ferocity of his grip…"Livid…." he scoffed…"I have had ENOUGH!"
"Look, Arnav, she only bailed him out. Her reason being that your sister is not coping...she couldn't find YOU, and so the only way to calm Mrs. Jha was to bring her husband home."
"Home?" Arnav stood perfectly still…"He back in my HOME!?"
"Well, where did you expect them to go?"
Arnav shook his head, feeling his thoughts begin to explode…"I don't know WHAT I thought...I didn't expect Nani to rebuff MY decision and bring him back into my house."
"Well, your sister is planning for the arrival of her baby, and has home deliveries arriving tomorrow morning...we have undercover officers going in as delivery men and they will set up surveillance of the inside."
Letting out a long sigh, Arnav nodded…"I guess that's all we can do right now...until we find out who has threatened Khushi…"
"Ah…" the officer pulled out papers from his folio…"We ran tracking on your email IP address, and have found the emails that were sent from your account."
Arnav snatched the papers and began to read…
"Shit. She could have thought it was ME!"
Shifting his stance, the policeman spoke…"I highly doubt it...She loves you, and I'm SURE she was more afraid for you than herself."
Roughly passing the papers back, Arnav growled…"Find this person."
"We will. And did you still want video surveillance in the hotel?"
Arnav chuckled…"Hell yes! My wife is a flight risk, no matter what she says, if some stupid threat is posed again, I know she will try and fix it herself."
"She's very headstrong."
Arnav smiled…"I love it. But also hate it. It's a tough combination."
Nani and Anjali were leaving the Mandir late in the afternoon...
Anjali, who seemed calmer, carefully seated herself in the car, running her hands over her swelling stomach...
While Nani walked around to her side of the car, her body got cold as a shadow passed by...
Turning around, she saw who the shadow belonged to...
Even though he was walking away, he looked exactly like...
The man continued walking…
Nani blinked twice and stepped away from the car to follow him…"Chote!?"
The shadowy figure rounded a corner, and as Nani looked around, she saw he had disappeared…
Nervously walking back to the car, she climbed into the back seat beside Anjali.
"Where did you walk off too?" Anjali asked
"I...I thought I saw someone I knew...but it wasn't…"
As the car pulled out, Nani turned around and looked out the back window…
In the far distance, she saw a man standing in the shadows…
Arm hanging strongly by his sides.
His expression dark and angry…
"Chote?" Nani wondered, finally feeling her control of the situation begin to wane…
"Can we go out? Pllleeeeassseee?"
Arnav rolled his eyes…
Half in annoyance, and half in humor…
She drove him crazy to no end, but her whining always sounded cute rather than annoying.
"I thought we agreed, one night out, one night in…"
"I know…" Khushi walked towards him, resting her hands lightly on his chest…"But it's so hot and stuffy in here!"
He lifted a brow…"Then I'll put the air conditioning back on…"
She scrunched up her face…"Ugh...that fake air…"
Arnav was already on the verge of giving in…
"Please...please I just can't stand being cooped up in here!"
"It's only been one day Khushi…"
"But it was ALL day! YOU got to go out and meet with the police, while I was here! And I checked…" she moved closer…"You locked the door! What you didn't trust me!?"
Arnav smiled…"I locked the door as an extra assurance...and get your shoes on…"
"Extra assurance!? I have said many times that I...what?"
"Shoes on...we're going out for dinner…"
Khushi's face flooded with a bright smile as she squealed in delight…"thankyou!!!!!"
Spinning away, she slipped on her flat shoes and rushed back to Arnav, grabbing his hand.
Arnav was itching to grab her as they waited for the elevator…
Finally it arrived, and as the elevator doors closed, he pulled her into his arms and kissed her.
Actually swooned, her eyes rolling back—and catching sight of the camera high in the corner.
She put her hands on his shoulders, pulling him forwards into her body.
“There’s a camera...in the corner...”
He held her tighter and went for her neck, nuzzling and nipping...“shhh….it's just a hotel security camera...plus the police are surveying them too...”
“oh...I'm...I guess I'm nervous...” She said on an exhale.
Arnav continued to suck on her neck…
"Wait! Does that mean that others can see what we're doing!?"
Khushi felt him smile against her skin…
“okay...here...” He put his arm around her waist and stood with her directly facing the doors.
He caressed her hip, then dropped lower along her flank until he was fingering the back hem of her dress.
His hand slid past the slit to her bare thigh.
“Arnavji” she said, staying as still as she could...
Too aware of the camera recording them, even if it was just from the front...and even though an onlooker wouldn't be the wiser…
“What?” His voice was all innocence.
His fingers, however—they were making wicked, wicked forays.
He’d reached her bottom and was tracing its curve with his fingertips. “I’m only checking to see if you’re wearing panties this time.”
He squeezed a cheek. “Aha...I see you haven't had time to put any on...”
She was stunned, frozen.
One finger slid along the crease of her cheeks, and around her hips to her mound, following to the juncture of her thighs.
He rubbed her there, boldly, and she sucked in a sharp breath, but before she could speak, the elevator chimed and the doors parted.
Arnav growled in disappointment, but Khushi was relieved…
As they wandered out, Arnav saw the conceierge motion towards him and he pulled Khushi along behind him…
The man handed Arnav a note and as he read it, his eyes were flashing with intensity…
"I need to make a call…"
Khushi nodded and stayed close…
Arnav was on the phone for almost 20 minutes.
Khushi had begun to tap her foot.
Her stomach was growling.
Her patience was waning thin.
Quickly reaching over towards the desk, she scribbled a note…
Going to the restaurant next door. Need to eat. Please don't worry. I love you.
Arnav was visibly trying to withhold his anger as Khushi quietly crept away…
She knew that he would probably get the message and rush to her all angry and furious, but it was only a mere 15 seconds away…
The mildly busy district was flooded with street lights…
A gust of wind brought her back to the moment as she quickly raced towards the café...
Just as she was to pass a small side street, someone grabbed her arm and she was instantly staring into the eyes of a group of men.
Khushi instinctively wrapped her sweater close, suddenly filling with dread…
Khushi'’s palms began to sweat...
“Hey, what’s your hurry?” Two men strolled from the shadows of a dark alley, blocked her path even more, forcing a gasp to choke in her throat.
One delivered a lazy smile distorted by the flicker of the lamp overhead.
His white shirt was rolled to reveal muscular arms, his thumbs hooked through his belt loops...
Smoke furled from the cigarette glowing red between his teeth.
“Well, look here Ratul , this girl is all by herself. Do you need some company?”
Khushi faltered back, the cigarette smoke making her as nauseous as the man before her.
Her gaze darted down the empty street, and her throat went dry.
A stone’s throw from the hotel, she knew that anyone would hear her cry, but she also knew that her strength wouldn't outweigh a group of men.
Her throat convulsed as she cinched her sweater tight…"Uh . . . no, thank you, I...I am staying at the hotel...just...just there…" she pointed…
The man called Ratul sidled close to drape an arm over her shoulders. “Well, is that an invitation? I can promise that you’ll have fun with Haamid and me... What’s your name?”
Fear crawled up her windpipe to steal her air. “P-please, let me go.”
She twisted free, but Haamid jerked her back, his calloused hand smothering her cry.
Eyelids flickering, she grew faint as he casually forced her toward the end of the alley.
“Come on, baby,” he whispered, “I'm sure you're looking for a little fun.”
He attempted to grind his wet mouth against hers, and she dropped her purse, lashing her head to the side to avoid his lips.
Her stomach curdled at the stench of liquor on his breath, and when she thrashed and tried to scream again, only a small cry came from her throat...
Haamid pinned her arms behind her back... “Whoo-ee, a regular wildcat, aren't you?”
“LET HER GO. . .NOW!” A warning bit into the night, as deadly as the lash of a whip.
Haamid spun around, muscled arm looped to Khushi’s waist as he squinted into the dark where a shadow emerged, not 5 feet away.
Khushi cried out when Haamid jerked her close, his fingers gouging her side. “Yeah? Says who?”
The man’s face was obscured by the night, but the dominance of his tone left no room for rebuttal.
“Says her husband.”
In slow, deliberate motion, he stepped forwards and light covered his face.
"Arnav…" she whispered…
But he didn't so much as look at her.
“Let her go—now.”
A guttural laugh iced Khushi’s skin when the man called Ratul ambled forward, fingers sliding along the back of his waistband.
With a faint swish, a blade shot forth from a knife in his hand, and Haamid laughed as another scream wrenched from Khushi’s throat.
“So what if you're her husband! You haven't got authority over us!”
“I have all the authority I need...” he growled frighteningly as he pulled something black and shiny from the inside of his jacket…
The lightning click of the revolver in his hand sounded faster than the hitch of Khushi’s breath.
“I've had one shitty day, so I’m just itching for a reason to vent. I suggest you let her go, and drop that knife real slow.”
Ratul hesitated for several seconds before hurling the knife down, his surly look as sharp as the blade that clattered to the sidewalk.
Two-fisting the gun, Arnav eased toward Haamid, arms extended and aim level... “Not going to tell you again...You fucking let her go...”
With a muttered curse, Haamid shoved her away.
Khushi stumbled to the side and fell to the pavement...
Arnav stepped in front of her, but kept his steady aim on the two men...
His voice was as steely as the gun in his hand... “If I find you anywhere near her again, I won't think twice, I'll just shoot.“
"Didn’t mean her no harm...” Haamid said quickly, his tone apologetic even if Ratul’s menacing look was not.
“Just thought Little Miss might need some company, that’s all. Come on, Ratul...let get out of here...”
The men backed away, their glares prickling Khushi’s skin until they disappeared down the alley.
The air rushed from her lungs, body quivering…..
She peeked up at her husband, her savior, studying his broad back as he stood tall and protective before her as he watched the men slink away.
Khushi exhaled loudly when he kicked the knife into a drain, and uncocked the gun, pushing it into the waistband of his trousers…
Finally feeling safe, she tried to speak…"Thanky--"
Arnav hauled her to her feet…
The streetlight illuminating his dark eyes, singed her to the spot.
“What the fuck were you thinking!”
She blinked, shocked as much by his handsome face as his sullen look.
"I...I only went to…"
He shook her, making her wince…"You KNOW you have to stay with me! It's pitch black out here! How DARE you do this!!!"
Khushi began to shiver, partly from the cold, partly from fear…"s...ssorrry…"
Arnav took a brisk step forwards, making her gasp…"Damn right you're gonna be sorry!"
And not saying one word more, he grabbed her wrist and began to drag her back to their building.
As they bolstered into the hotel, only a few people were inside the lobby....
Not bothering to wait for the elevator, he all but threw her into a small dark room behind the conceirge's desk.
Arnav slammed the door and turned on a small light.
Khushi was now backing away, "Arnavji...I...I'm sorry...I'm so so sorry…"
Beyond clear thought, Arnav's anger almost instantly evaporated, and turned into fierce terror at what could have happened had he not shown up…
Time stood still and so did he, stone cold for literally a second.
Then, in a harsh catch of her breath, he pressed her to the wall so abruptly, the shock forced all air from her lungs.
Kissing her hard, the dominance of his mouth unleashed a throb of heat that sucked a soft moan from her throat.
Her hands flew to his biceps when he jerked her close, the hard, cold steel of the gun cutting into her side.
His lips were urgent and rough, heating her body till she was near limp in his arms.
“God...I could have lost you..” he whispered urgently, hot and hoarse as he nipped at her ear.
His hands slipped inside her cardigan to explore with a brush of her hips, a slide of her waist, and suddenly, his grip tightened…
"HOW COULD YOU BE SO STUPID!"
Her heart seized in her chest…"I'm...I'm NOT! I said sorry!”
Her rib cage heaved when she tried to push him away.
Cringing against the wall, her voice was a painful stutter as tears stung her eyes. “I’m n-not stupid...”
He jerked her chin up with a hard grip, the fire in his gaze smoldering while a dangerous tic pulsed in his jaw.
“Then don’t act like it,” he hissed, his tone as cold and blunt as the hard wall's surface behind her back.
After nearly a whole day, locked in a stuffy room, without her husband...and now fear, threat, and anger...Khushi finally broke down.