Thursday, 28 February 2013

Heart's A Mess- Chapter Nine Part 1.


Thom Yorke's falsetto sang at him from his trouser pocket, echoing in the empty house. Shoving his hands in every available pocket he frantically searched for his phone. As a fleeting thought, it occurred to him that Thom would probably kill himself if he realised he was ringtone. Iphone in hand he ran down down the steps with soft thuds and whispered...


"Chote? What the hell? Why are you whispering?"

"Khushi's sleeping."

"Ohhhhhh" she said understandingly. A split second later... "Wait...wait! Khushi!" she squealed. "As in Khushi Khushi?"

"No as in dukhi Khushi. Of course Khushi Khushi." Exasperated by his sister's idiotic questions he quickly made his way to the living room resuming a normal pitch.

"Wow! I knew you were boring but this is a new low even for you."

"What crap Di? What are you talking about?"

"You put her to sleep?" she cackled.

Rolling his eyes. "Did you call to pull my leg or is there actually a reason for your inane preamble?"

"Is there ever a reason?"

"You're right. When has there ever been a reason? Please do continue..."

"God...touchy! Accha tell me did you reach safe?"

"Well I'm talking to you so obviously I did."

There was an extended pause. Arnav could almost imagine his sister pursing her lips in frustration. "Must you always be so insufferable?"         

He sighed. "Sorry. I'm just tired."

Anjali felt helpless hearing the weariness in his voice. Arnav never took care of himself. Then a thought crossed her mind. "Khushi's sleeping?"

Arnav almost lost it. What was wrong with his sister today? "Yes Di....for the millionth time Khushi is sleeping. What is wrong with you!?"

"Exactly where is she sleeping Arnav?" Arnav rarely heard his name from Anjali and whenever he did it meant trouble.

"In her bed." he replied warily.

"And where are you?"

"In her living room."

" better NOT be doing what I think you are doing. She is the best thing to happen to you in a long time and I will be DAMNED...."

"DI!" He stopped her before she went further It's nothing like that. She finished her shift at 5.30. We had breakfast together at her place. She fell asleep. I put her in bed. End of the incredibly boring story."

"Hmmm...well good. Keep it boring!"

"Yes Maa." he let slip unintentionally.

There was an awkward silence and Anjali cleared her throat. "Are you taking your medications?"

"Di! I have been taking them since birth. Seriously I think you became a doctor just so you had an official excuse to nag me!"

"You know why I became a doctor." she said quietly.

Arnav felt like a right idiot. "I'm sorry. You know I didn't mean..."

"I know."

"How are you Di?" he said hesitantly, knowing just how much of a toll this was taking on her.

Anjali knew what he was really asking and wasn't prepared to answer. So instead she did what she did best."I'm fine if you are happy." There was a long pause as they processed just how lame her humour really was.  "You know...Khushi? Get it?" she giggled.

"Ok I'm hanging up now!" he said grumpily.

He cut the call abruptly, Anjali's laughter ringing in the background. Shaking his head he looked out the window. It was still raining heavily. Deciding to wait the rain out, he perused through the extensive book collection in Khushi's living room. Rows upon rows of books lined the side wall. Some older, faded, and well loved and some relatively untouched. The topics were random at best description. A gothic romance could find itself sandwiched between a well reputed medical journal and an autobiography of a sports personality. There was no real method to the madness other than the obvious fact that this woman had a thirst for knowledge and loved to read.

Skimming his fingers over the worn out spines, he found himself being drawn to a particular title. Carefully extracting it from its highly compressed position he poured himself the remaining tea. Kicking off his shoes he sat back, making himself comfortable on her couch and began to read, the storm still raging outside.


No. No. No

Khushi groaned as her alarm beeped. In the fogginess of her sleep, she flailed her hand around, hoping to come into contact with the damned device. She had been in the peaceful realms of her dreams, floating upon marshmallowy clouds, her body a weightless entity when that god forsaken sound had sent her crashing back to earth. Every muscle screamed out in protest, begging her not to move from the sanctuary that was her bed. Covering her ears with her pillow she prayed for the gods to have mercy on her. By some miracle, divine or otherwise, the unbearable beeping had stopped but Khushi knew that it was only a matter of time before it would resume once more.

Now wide awake, she huffed in annoyance, collapsing back into her rather plump pillow. Twisting her spine, she revelled in the crisp, freshly laundered linen that engulfed her petite body. Cuddling her duvet, she felt as snug as a bug in a rug. The rain was yet to relent its assault, hammering against the window panes, its howling cacophony surprisingly meditative. Yawning, she pushed herself up and sat up against the headboard. The large wall clock stared back at her.

3.17 pm.

The weather was an open invitation for her to laze about. A smile crept its way on to her face as she realised it was her rostered day off and she was at liberty to do as she pleased. What she wouldn't give for a warm cup of tea and a good book right now.


She spoke the word aloud over and over, letting it roll off her tongue. As if somehow the kinaesthetic process would reveal the broader association of that word. Tea. Th
é. Chai.  She tried saying it in three different languages and still remained none the wiser. What was so important about this particular word? The last time she had...

Khushi froze, sitting up abruptly.


The cogs of her mind, which had slowly been shifting into gear, were now operating at full speed. The last she remembered they had been in the living room. Then how had she gotten to bed? Had he carried her upstairs...tucked her in? Groaning, she hid her face in her palms, embarrassed by her behaviour. It was unlike her to behave so freely with anyone, let alone a man she had met a grand total of three times. Khushi was a fighter. She always had been. Growing up the way she did left her no choice. Life was no fairytale and to harbour any such fantasies was only asking for heartache. She was the type of woman who neither required nor wanted a man to carry her to bed. In short she was no damsel in distress. Yet the idea that Arnav had carried her to bed was not entirely unwelcome, dare she say, it was almost endearing.

If anything Khushi was honest to a fault. It did not take her long to determine that her mind and heart were at odds. This man had managed to turn her very organised and compartmentalised life upside down in a matter of days. Gone was the cynical and cautious Dr. Gupta. In her place was a woman she barely recognised. The chemistry she could quantify, after all physical compatability was no knew phenomena. What terrified her was how she could abandon all her self imposed shackles and allow him to live her secret dreams despite knowing that it would most likely end in heartache. Her tummy rumbled loudly interrupting her self analysis. 

Throwing off the covers she padded downstairs in search of food. Walking past the coat rack she did a double take. His coat still hung next to hers.


Looking at her reflection in the hallway mirror, she frantically rubbed the sleep from her eyes and ran her fingers through her hair. Pausing for a second, she ridiculed the fact that somehow, this man had morphed her into the type of woman she had previously mocked. Rolling her eyes at her behaviour, Khushi made her way to the living room. Upon entering the room it took all her will power not to laugh. Here she was worrying about how she looked and sprawled out on the couch with a book over his chest was Arnav Singh asleep.

Soft snores filtered out into the otherwise silent room and her lips quivered with mirth. Somewhere in between waiting out the rain and reading he had fallen asleep. His head lolled back uncomfortably, partially resting on his shoulder. Coat and vest lay discarded on the floor, his arms hanging limply on either side. Arnav looked as if he hadn't slept in days, dark circles and gaunt cheekbones dominating his otherwise handsome face. Gently lifting the book from his chest, Khushi turned it over to read the title. It was oddly telling; the book a person chose to read from her collection. A character evaluation of sorts. Some chose to impress, some chose to probe, some chose for the sake of choosing but very rarely did anyone choose just to read. Reading the title she couldn't help but smile. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. ...

She had all her answers.

Putting the book down on the coffee table she manouvered him slowly so that he was lying on the couch. Supporting his neck, she gently slid a pillow underneath his head and covered him with her favourite woollen-knit throw rug. Tucking him in, she fondly stroked his cheek, stubbly hair tickling her palm. Leaning down, she gently kissed his cheek, her lips lingering...savouring the feel of his skin. As the gravity of what she had done registered, heat flooded her face, staining her cheeks red. 
Biting down on her lip, Khushi stood up and began to pace up and down, wearing out the carpet of her living room. Every now and then she threw Arnav a furtive glance from the corner of her eye, almost as if he would magically disappear the next time she looked

The presence of another individual in her personal space was a foreign concept. Having lived alone for the major part of her life she was not used to the dynamic of having another person around. Any ordinary movement or sound would make her jump a mile high. She tried reading but was distracted by the noise of his breathing. She wanted to watch a movie but was afraid the noise would wake him. Tip toeing around her own house she felt like an intruder. Huffing at her indecision she narrowed her eyes and glared at him in frustration, deciding the best thing to do was therapeutic baking. 


Blissfully unaware of his host's discomfort, Arnav slept with his face buried into her pillow, lips parted, snoring softly like a child. Slowly he began to stir. Turning on to his back he stretched his arms upward and yawned. With one eye open he tried to place his surroundings. What hotel was he in now? The blurry outline of a tea cup and book caught his attention.  Checking the time on his wrist watch he realised that it was five in the evening. He frowned. That couldn't be right? Surely? Rubbing his eyes, he sat up and yawned again. Faint sounds of clamouring utensils could be heard from the kitchen. 


He had fallen asleep in Gupta's house. A string of choice swear words were muttered under his breath. Looking down he noticed that a blanket had been thrown over him. Arnav tried to recall what had happened. Last he remember he had talked to Di and then sat down to read about....whatever the magic kid's name was. However, at no point in time had there been a blanket. Arnav couldn't help but smile as he realised that Khushi must have tucked him in. Suddenly the thought of falling asleep on her couch didn't seem as disconcerting. 

Smiling like a fool he made his way over to the kitchen. Khushi had her back to him, vigorously mixing large volumes of silky chocolate batter in a large bowl. Music drifted from the speakers at a very low volumes, presumably for his benefit. He watched as she sang in a hushed voice and wiggled her hips, pouring the batter messily into muffin tins. Time slowed and his breath hitched as she bent down to open the oven door, sliding the tray in, giving him a rather ample view of her behind. Humming to herself, she stood up and proceeded to scoop the remaining batter onto her finger, licking the bowl clean.

There was only so much a man could take.

Walking up behind her, he slid his hands on to her waist and whispered in her ear. "You don't plan to do that alone do you?" Well that's what he would have said. The second his hand touched her waist she stomped on his foot and elbowed him in the face.

"Argggh! What the hell Gupta?" he screamed out in agony holding on to his nose. Blood began to seep through his fingers as he doubled over.

"Hey Devi Maiya! I'm sorry! I forgot you were here. " Khushi's eyes widened and she clasped her hand over her mouth. She stood there wringing her hands chewing her bottom lip, fixed to the spot.

"What the? Are you just going to stand there? You're a doctor dammit!"

"Oh...oh...right! Yes. Hang on." she said as if it just dawned on her that she was indeed endowed with medical skills. Guiding him to the basin, she washed his hands and face letting the blood flow freely. Running to the pantry, she grabbed the first aid kit and packed his nose with gauze.

"Just keep applying pressure." she instructed. 

Having thoroughly washed her own hands she made him sit down on a chair. "I need you to let me look at it."

Arnav glowered at her. "I know it hurts but please let me look." Still pissed off at having been attacked for no good reason he refused to talk but did remove his hands so that she could examine him. The gauze was now a stained with his blood, but nonetheless had managed to initiate the clotting process keeping the bleeding at bay. She winced as she saw that the alignment of his nose was no longer straight but askew; the surrounding skin torn and bruised. Thankfully though it seemed to only be a simple fracture.

Looking at him she gulped nervously. "This is going to hurt like a bi**h but it will help with the breathing." Before he had a chance to ask her what she was talking about, she grabbed his nose on either side for traction and in one quick move, realigned the cartilage.

"F***********k you!" he screamed in agony.

Khushi laughed. "You know you want to." She winked and went to the freezer. Using a clean tea towel she packed it with ice and walked toward him. Before applying the ice, she popped two painkillers and handed him some water. Having swallowed the analgesic he looked up at her, still annoyed. His long legs spread out on either side of the chair and she walked in between them gently icing his nose. Looking into his eyes she watched the anger ebb away as his facial muscles relaxed. Very gently she pushed back the lock of hair, irritating his eyes. Skimming her fingers over his forehead she traced the outline of his eyes and caressed his cheek.

"I grew up in a tough neighbourhood." she softly confessed, continuing to stroke his cheek. Arnav watched as her eyes took on a distant quality, his heart beating painfully fast as he reacted to her touch. "I lost my parents when I was young and there was no one to look out for me. As I started growing up I got unwanted attention." Her voice was no louder than a whisper. "I've always been petite so knowing how to protect myself became a priority. Anyway I'm so used to living alone that when you touched me I reacted on instinct. I didn't mean to..."

Arnav put a finger over her lips, silencing her with his eyes. There was no need for her to apologise. 



The conversation continues and Arnav knows how to cook?


I know it short...LOL! I love how I say its short when in fact its probably the length of an average update on India Forums. Anyway the reason is this. Heart's A Mess has consisted of writing that I have been very very proud of. In terms of the fast paced rhythm and flow of the story. It has been written, in my opinion, very concise and snappy. However in my excitement to share Chapter eight with you all I feel I compromised on the second half of the chapter. It was very...'heavy'. Almost laboured in stead of effort less.  There was no sense of flow and I really hate reading over it especially because all the other chapters are so 'flowy.'

I know many of you may disagree but its really been eating away at me. I really regret posting it before it was ready and now I don't know what to do. I am really tempted just to write that bit of the chapter again. Ufff.....I am a perfectionist I know. I cannot tell you how many times I edit and re-edit. Every word is chosen for a particular purpose. It takes a lot of effort for it to seem effortless.

Anyhoo there may be an update of Skyfall tonight if anyone actually cares. It will be on the blog and not on IF.

Love Sasak!

P.S I didn't elaborate on the Harry Potter metaphor because I feel my readers are intelligent enough. None the less it is meant to draw comparisons between two characters who loose everything at a young age only to find themselves excelling and discovering themselves in a world they did not know existed. It's about growing up and doing the right thing. It's about sacrafice and destiny. And lastly its the fact that he felt confident enough to pick up the book and read it not caring about what she might think.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Khushi's House.

Garage and Entrance.

Foyer and Kitchen

Dining and Living

Bedroom and Bathroom

Piano Room and Laundry

Heart's A Mess - Chapter Eight

A/N Before reading this please check out the post about Khushi's house! It will make the update more visual! Thanks.

5.50 a.m.

Arnav had somehow managed to wrangle Khushi into sitting in his car. Supposedly it was safer for him to drive since he had gotten three hours sleep compared to her no hours of sleep.  Grumbling she had agreed simply too exhausted to protest. It was dark out, the sun feeling a little lazy this winters morning. The car glided down the empty street, as people still lay tucked into the comfort of warm beds. Khushi sighed and snuggled deeper into her coat, wishing for the millionth time that she had chosen a more sane profession. Snowflakes swirled down from the grey sky, littering the sidewalks with a thin dusting. Shivering a touch, she turned to her companion in the car grumbling…

So where do you intend to take me to breakfast at six in the morning?

“Oh cheer up Gupta!

Khushi rolled her eyes, cursing the cold.

The farmer’s market down on East Street is open. I thought we could pick up a few things, go back to yours and you could cook me breakfast.”

She laughed. “Good joke!”

“Ummm…I was serious.”

Khushi growled… “You want me to cook you breakfast after a 36 hour shift? Are you mad!”

“Ok relax! I’ll cook it.”

“Don’t be stupid! You’re equally as exhausted. Nobody is cooking!”

“Awww she cares. Fine… we can cook together.”

Khushi opened and closed her mouth, trying to find the words to tell him just how much she didn’t care! But looking at his stupid grin couldn’t help but feel a little happy. “You just don’t give up do you?”

“No.” he said matter of factly.

She shook her head “You have too much energy for the morning.”

“What can I say? I love breakfast!”

He pulled up outside the farmer’s markets. Khushi looked outside the window to see the vendors setting up their stalls. Fresh produce sat in wooden crates, its vivacious colours beckoning passers by to partake in the gustatory delight. The door opened and Arnav offered her his gloved hand…   “Come 
on Gupta! Let’s go eat


6.30 am.

Khushi stood outside her door, jangling the house key’s trying to get in. Arnav stood behind her holding two overflowing brown paper bags.

Gupta hurry up! My balls are freezing and that won’t be good for our future children.”

If Khushi’s hands were shivering before, it was nothing compared to now. Whipping around she snapped…

Would you shut it for just one second!

Arnav leaned in and waggled his eyebrows. “Why? Do I make you nervous?

Huffing she turned back around and violently forced the key into the lock. A loud click gave way and the door creaked open.

Hallelujah!” she heard him exclaim. Why on earth did she find him attractive again?

Stepping into the house, she pointed him toward the kitchen. Shivering from the cold she quickly slammed the door shut and breathed a sigh of relief. Shrugging out of her coat, she placed it on the coat rack and turned to see him coming out from the kitchen sans grocery bags. Damn him! Even after sleeping awkwardly in a chair for the duration of the night he looked perfect in his tweed coat and three-piece suit. Trying to fix her considerably more disheveled appearance, she nervously began to smooth her hair.

Here…I’ve got it.” Arnav brushed away the random snowflakes that had lodged themselves in her long locks. “Nice place you’ve got Gupta.

Uh… thanks.” She muttered awkwardly. “Make yourself comfortable. I’ll have a quick shower and change. Don’t start cooking ok?”

“Hurry up. I’m starving.” He called after Khushi, as she ran up the stairs.

I’ll be down in 10.” She yelled back.


Arnav took the opportunity to survey his surroundings. Her place was big by anyone’s standards. The businessman in him couldn’t help but wonder how she had financed such a place? Perhaps mummy and daddy were rich? But then again Khushi seemed to be a self-reliant sort of a girl. Not the type to live off her parents. Doctors at Cleveland were paid well but not particularly so and she was still a resident. Her yearly income couldn’t be more than fifty thousand. Then how had she afforded it? Not to mention… why would she want to live in such a place alone? There were few pictures up on the wall; one of her graduation, one with an elderly lady and one with her hospital colleagues but nothing other than that. This girl was a mystery.

Taking his coat off, he hung it up next to hers. The foyer was large. White and black-checkered tiles lay across the floor in a tessellating fashion. To his left was an grandoise wooden staircase leading up to what he assumed would be the bedrooms and to his right was the kitchen. The sun was just beginning to peek through the cloud cover, its soft light streaming through the large open windows of the kitchen. Unsure of where exactly she would like the food stuffs to go he settled for putting the kettle on to boil. Stuffing his hands into his trouser pockets he stood facing the window watching two little birds chirp away merrily, welcoming the new day. No sooner had the sun appeared, large clouds drifted across, denying the world warmth once more.

As if in slow motion a drop of rain fell from the grey swirling skies, followed by another and the another. The rain pitter-pattered down from the heavens, at first a light shower, eventually becoming heavy down pour. He watched fascinated, as the droplets eddied against the windowpanes, running in every which direction till they collected in pools on the outside sill. The birds had stopped chirping now and instead he heard the rumbling of the kettle. Tufts of white steam sounded a shrill whistle from the spout, heralding him that its contents were ready.

Grabbing two cups from the cupboard directly above him, he let the tea bags diffuse their rich brown colour into the recently boiled water, waiting a few minutes before adding a dash of milk. Leaning against the counter, he sipped on the tea, relishing the warmth of the cup against his icy cold fingers. True to her word, Khushi appeared but moments later, freshly showered, hair damp, wearing a cashmere sweater and jeans.

He handed her a cup… “Tea? I didn’t know how much sugar you take so I put a teaspoon. ”

“It’s perfect. Thanks.” She said gratefully.

Walking over to the opposite counter, she leaned against it. Curling her fingers around the mug she sipped slowly. Khushi snuck an occasional glance at him, over the top of her cup, hesitant about what they would do now. Not having accounted for him being in her house, she was caught off guard.

So…” he said trying to dispel the uncomfortable silence.

So…” she repeated, trailing off.

“What’s for breakfast?”

Putting her cup in the sink she went to unpack the groceries. “Well I thought we could have scrambled eggs, toast and juice?”

“Sounds good. What do you want me to do?”

“Can you make the egg mixture? I’ll put the oranges in the juicer.”

“Yeah…sure” he said a little hesitantly.

Khushi put a metal bowl in front of him and a carton of eggs. Chopping up several oranges roughly she put them in the juicer and watched the orange nectar trickle out of the machine. Happy with her efforts she threw away the scraps and put the jug in the fridge. Wiping the extra juices on her hand with a tea towel, she turned toward Arnav…

How’s the….” She stopped mid sentence as she watched him look curiously from the bowl to eggs; the bowl still empty. Suddenly it dawned on her.

You have no idea what you’re doing.” It was more an accusation than a statement.

“That’s one way of putting it.”

Khushi’s eye widened as she swatted his back with the tea towel in her hand. “How the hell were you going to cook for me then?”

He shrugged. “I can use a toaster and cut fruit. That’s a pretty good breakfast for most people.” Khushi began to laugh at the defensive look on his face. 

Oh shut up Jamie Oliver!” he grumbled, irritated by her reaction. She began to giggle even harder, grabbing on to his arm for support. Wiping away her non-existent tears she stood up.

But you love food!”

“Yeah so?”

“So a food lover should know how to cook. Come on I’ll teach you.” Slinging the dishcloth over her shoulder she pushed herself up on the counter and began to instruct him.

Ok before you start the eggs, turn the oven on to about 100 centigrade.”


“Just shut up and do as your told.”

Rolling his eyes he followed her instruction. “Then grab the fresh loaf of bread we bought and with the bread knife, slice three or four pieces and chuck it in the oven.”

With that done she continued to bark out instructions. “Crack four eggs into the bowl and add a pinch of salt and a little bit of full cream milk.” As he did what he was told she explained… “ The milk gives it a bit of creaminess and the bread will be nice and toasty when it comes out.”

As he whisked… “Couldn’t you have put the bread in the toaster?

Well it was bakers bread so it would really fit plus the oven gives us time to do everything else and it won’t burn the bread. Now grab the skillet over there and get some butter from the fridge. I would use oil normally but if you want it to taste great then butter is the way to go. You know the main ingredients in French cooking? Butter, Butter and…”

Butter.” He finished off for her, as he turned on the heat and put a generous dollop of the white goodness.

As it simmered he got ready to put in the eggs. “No! You have to wait till it gives off the smell.” She almost screamed.

He jumped and looked at her curiously. “Calm down Godzilla!”

Making a face she mumbled…”You can put it in now. Just let it cook slowly and move it around once in a while.”

As the eggs cooked, Arnav watched her from the corner of his eye, smiling at her offended demeanour. She was obviously just as passionate about food as she was about everything else in her life. A hope sparked somewhere within in…perhaps she would be just as passionate about him someday. Clearing his throat he asked… “So who taught you how to cook?”

Khushi jumped off the bench and walked to the fridge. “No one. I learnt from watching cooking shows, reading books and experimenting a lot.” Returning with olives and feta she took her place once more on the bench. “What about you? Who taught you how not to cook?” she teased.

My Di would be very offended by that. She taught me how to make tea just right.”

“Hmmmm I have to admit for a teabag tea it was quite nice. Who’s Di?”

“Oh my sister, Anjali.”

Khushi felt a little uneasy hearing her name and tried to quash thoughts of the patient file sitting in the hospital data bank. Smiling weakly she offered…”Older or younger?”

“Older and she reminds me of it any chance she gets.” He grimaced. “What about you, any siblings?”

Arnav noticed the light in her eyes fade. “Nope. Only child.” Trying to change the topic she poked him in the shoulder. “The eggs are slightly firm, now add these olives, a little feta and some dried oregano.”

Arnav finished off the eggs as she grabbed the bread from the oven and two plates. About to simply scoop the mass of soft egg on to the plate, he stopped as she gave him a death glare. Putting the skillet down on the stove he stepped back and allowed her to do her thing. Khushi very artistically arranged the toasted slices and egg to look as though it had just come from the pass at a top rated restaurant. Adding a nob of butter on the bread, she poured the juice into two glasses and presented his plate to him.

Voila!” she said with childish enthusiasm.

 He smiled. “You really love cooking don’t you?”

Mhhhmmm. It helps me escape from everything and I get something to eat at the end of it. Win- win. Don’t you think?” she agreed nodding. “Now come on I’m starving.” They walked past the highly stylised dining room to the living. Sinking back into the plush white sofas, they both ate in silence, devouring the food on the plate as fatigue caught up with them.

Having finished his meal before hers he sat back and rubbed his tummy. “That was good!

Her mouth still full, she muffled… “It was all you.” Smiling, he leaned over and kissed her cheek. She paused mid chew, her cheeks puffed out a little with food and her eyes wide. Gently nuzzling her nose with his cheek he whispered. “Better get used to my way of saying thanks Khushi.

She almost chocked as she heard him say her name. His husky voice had a way of caressing her name that made her turn to mush. Gulping down on the juice she squeaked out… “You…you’re welcome.”

Standing up abruptly, she cleared away the plates and walked to the kitchen. Grabbing her black 
Japanese iron teapot she put in on the stove in hopes to calm her frazzled nerves. As the water boiled, she noticed the neglected bouquet of flowers he had bought her. Standing on her tiptoes, she reached for a small vase in the cupboard above her head. The vase was just short of her reach as she jumped up, trying desperately to grab it. Arnav walked in.

Woah! Are you crazy?”

Khushi turned around to see him looking annoyed.

God for a doctor you have no common sense! You’ve got boiling water on the stove and your jumping up and down near it. What are you so desperate to get anyway?”

Khushi looked at the teapot and felt a little stupid. “Ummm there’s a vase up there.”

“Go take the tea outside. I’ll get it.” He said a little tersely.

Feeling like a child who had been reprimanded, she quietly took the tray with the tea outside and sat down. Arnav followed her flowers and vase in hand; the atmosphere tense. Softly he said…

You wanted to put the flowers in here?”

Khushi looked away refusing to answer, still sulking at his outburst.

You worried me. I thought you were going to burn yourself.”

Her body language relaxed a touch and he tried again. “Did you like them?”

She nodded.

You know there is a better way to thank me.” He said mischievously, alluding to his earlier proclamation.

Khushi cheek flushed and she replied stiffly… “I believe I already did.

Arnav sighed, knowing that she would need a little time. “Do you mind if I watch the news?” Khushi shrugged letting him know she didn’t particularly care what she did. Turning the television on he avidly watched the finance report on CNN. After about five minutes of not hearing a word from Khushi, he turned around. Oblivious to the world she was fast asleep, snoring softly, teacup still in hand.

Prying the cup from her hands he scooped her in the cradle of his arms and walked toward the stairs. No matter how light she was it was still an effort and a half to walk up all those stairs with her. Donning a light sheen of sweat he was glad when he finally saw what appeared to be her bedroom. Like the rest of the house it sparsely decorated, shades of white and beige dominating the colour scheme. Gently dropping her on to the mattress, he pulled the duvet from underneath her and tucked her in.

No matter how much she tried to hide behind her tough exterior, Arnav knew that she was just a child, her emotions still raw and yet to be nurtured. Her innocence shone through and removing her hair from her face, he bent down to kiss her forehead. About to get up he was pulled back down, her hand still clutching his shirt. His heart leapt a beat but he reluctantly removed her hand. A flash of pink in the otherwise dull décor caught his attention. It was the flowers he had given her before their last date. She had kept them! That too in her room.

He walked out with renewed confidence. There was still hope for him yet.


Ok so its not the most well written of chapters but this is what you get when I do an update in a day and I'm feeling sick! :( On a positive note however you guys are AMAZING! I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU! I don't think i have received this much love for a story ever! All I can say is that I am humbled. I know this update wasn't particularly romantic but its about a normal couple. This Arnav is going to be like the YLME Arnav. He's going to be more real. A gentleman...but real. 

Love Sasak!

Arnav's Outfit

Khushi's Outfit

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Heart's A Mess - Chapter Seven

Three days. It had been three days since their date and there wasn't a word from him. Not so much as a boo.  Drumming her fingers against the desk, she propped up her chin on her hand, staring blankly at the desktop screen.

"Would you stop that!?"

"Hmmm?" came her absent minded reply

"That incessant drumming. It's diving me up the wall." Continuing to writeup observation charts, Shagun complained.

Khushi sat up. "Oh! Sorry..." her reply was a distant mumble.

It was now 8.00 pm and most of the patients had been settled in for the night. The only staff on call included two nurses, two interns and Khushi. The occasional shrill ring of a phone or beep of a pager disturbed the otherwise quiet ward. It was a good time to catch up with neglected paperwork. Shagun who was attempting to do just that, kept being distracted by the odd forlorn sigh from her friend. Giving up on the charts in front of her she swivelled her chair around to face Khushi.

"You should call him you know." she said fiddling with a pen.


" should call him."

"Why the hell would I do that?" she bit back a little harshly.

Shagun raised her eyebrows. " like him?"

Khushi turned away to face the computer screen again.  "I'm not humiliating myself. He's obviously not interested."

Shagun laughed. "Well at least you didn't deny you liked him."

Khushi turned around with indignation written all over her face, ready to protest.

"Don't bother." she waived her off and continued..."Khushi you know what I've discovered over the years? The terms love and relationship are equally interchangeable with the words humiliation, embarrassment, denial, heart ache and pain... to begin with."

Khushi frowned in confusion.

"What? You thought it was an easy ride? Gaurav and I drive each other nuts."

"But you guys seem perfect. I mean you married him. He couldn't have been that bad."

"He isn't. But he isn't perfect either." Shagun sighed trying to find the right words to explain what she meant. "What I'm trying to say is that no one is perfect. Everyone has to compromise. I married him because what we have together is a good thing. Better than all that other negative stuff. But you have to learn to take the good with the bad. Do you know how many times we have humiliated ourselves in front of one another? But that's what brings you closer. What bonds you."

"Wouldn't he have called he have called if he liked me though?" she asked petulantly.

"Khushi don't irritate me. He bloody chased you. Sent you coffee, flowers, grilled us about your every like and dislike not to mention his outrageous flirting. I mean this is when he is multibillionaire entrepreneur who had no time for anyone. Do you really think he's not interested? Have you ever thought that maybe he's waiting for you? Trying to see if you're interested?"

"That's not how it's supposed to go! Guys are supposed to ask you out...they're the ones that are meant to call."

Shagun stood up abruptly, frustrated by her stubbornness. "Fine! Then live in your damn fairy tale world all alone."


Khushi felt a little blindsided by Shagun's outburst. It was unlike her. Reclining back in to her chair she closed her eyes replaying the scene on a loop.

Arnav stood at the foot of the stairs, kicking up some loose gravel; his jacket folded over his forearm effortlessly. The night had inevitably come to an end and they stood outside her door looking at one other. For the first time that night he smiled a genuine smile. There were no traces of smug confidence or amusement. Just a smile. Khushi gulped unsure of what to do next. 

"So Gupta...I had a nice time tonight."

"Me too." she said softly.

He grinned. "You sound surprised."

"I am.

Climbing up the stairs he now stood directly beside her. "I'm glad." he muttered, brushing away a tiny wisp of her hair, grazing her cheek with the back of his hand. He stood ever so close to her, scanning her eyes, searching for something impalpable. Struggling to control her traitorous body, she pursed her lips as her lids instinctively fluttered shut. It seemed like forever, the tension prickling her skin. 

Unexpectedly she felt her hand enveloped in warmth. She watched as he gently kissed her, his lips lingering, brushing against her knuckles. Even this innocent touch, sent a warmth washing over her. Gently dropping her hand back to her side, he straightened up and looked in her eyes again. 

"Good night Khushi." his voice caressed her. 

Khushi had replayed this scenario in her head god knows how many times. Trying to dissect every detail, every nuance....trying to figure out where it went wrong. She groaned in frustration. What was it about him that turned her into a dithering idiot? Maybe Shagun was right. Perhaps she could call him? It was the 21st century after all. Girls didn't have to wait to be rescued by prince charming.

Picking up her mobile she scrolled down to his last message. She still hadn't saved his number. Chewing down on her bottom lip she pressed dial. The dial tone rang once and she quickly disconnected. Looking around to make sure no one else had witnessed her humiliation she dialled again. This time she managed to get to two rings before hanging up as if her mobile was on fire. Irritated by her own fickleness she decided to concentrate on her own work.

Minimising all the lab reports that had come back from pathology, she opened up the internet browser hoping to read a recent article looking at the efficacy of a bronchial biopsy in determining the chance of rejection for a heart-lung transplant patient. Safari loaded and Google stared back at her, the cursor blinking in the search bar.

God Khushi! This is pathetic! You can't stalk him! Her mind was a tizzy as she battled with her ethics and her curiosity. It's free information! Anyone in the world has access to it! What if I was researching him as a potential endowment? It wouldn't be weird then. Ethics bit back. Yes but that's not why you're doing it. You want to know about him for your own selfish reasons.

Deciding to smother the voice of ethics she quickly typed in Arnav Singh Raizada and hit enter before she could change her mind. A wealth of information arrived at her fingers tips. Scanning the vast volumes written about him she picked up bits of detail that interested her. AR corporations was more an investment firm than an actual manufacturing entity. They held stakes in minerals and resources, high end fashion labels, Formula 1 teams, agricultural technologies and surprisingly medical technology focussed on applied research.

Now that was...interesting.

It was an area which had foreseeable future economic growth but not something she would have necessarily associated with him. Reading on further she came across articles citing his long list of alleged affairs but none with sufficient evidentiary proof to support the claims. Frowning she ignored the snuff pieces and went on to read about his personal life. Apparently Mr. Raizada wasn't the snotty brat she had assumed him to be. Having risen from obscurity he had made a name for himself in the business world rather swiftly; adversaries lauding his work ethic and good instinct.

The only known relative was a sister who went by the name Anjali Raizada- Mathur. She was a cardiologist currently residing in New York with her husband and child. Khushi tried to recall if she had ever heard the name. Perhaps she had referred patients here? Surely as a cardiologist she would have? Quitting out of the browser, Khushi opened the hospital's data bank and typed in her name. The search results took up a couple of pages.

It seemed Dr. Mathur had referred several patients here. As Khushi scanned the names she realised that she was not personally familiar with any of these people. About to log out for the night, one of the results grabbed her attention. She felt herself freeze as she read the name. Anjali Singh Raizada. Her maiden name. Except for she wasn't the referring doctor. She was the patient. 

Her eyes widened. Should she click on the patient file? Her palms began to sweat at the thought. Is this why he had invested in applied research? To find a cure for his sister? People were not patients at Cleveland Clinic unless they were acutely ill. She could feel her heart rate increase as the stress of the decision weighed heavily on her. Should she or should she not? It wouldn't be right. She wasn't her patient and it wasn't any of her business. Yet the search result taunted her, daring her to peruse through the contents.

Her pager went off.

The decision had been made for her. There was an emergency AAA on its way. She had to scrub in as the only resident on call. Looking at the clock she started. It was 11. 07 pm. Where had the time gone? Pushing herself away from the desk she ran as fast as she could to the operating theatre, getting ready to scrub in.


11.45 pm.

Half an hour into the surgery and things were a mess. The aorta had ruptured just as they had opened the patient up, spilling blood all over the surgical gowns and gloves. Despite hanging up now almost the equivalent of his whole body volume of blood, the bleeding was still not under control. Clamping the aorta top and bottom, Khushi managed to get the patient on to by-pass. The surgical team simultaneously sigh in relief, catching their breath for a second.

"He's one lucky son a b**ch"  The anaesthesiologist laughed, slightly in shock .

"That he is." Khushi murmured in agreement. There was about a 50% survival rate for ruptured aorta's and that was when those patients were in the hospital. If it happened to rupture outside a hospital it almost meant certain death. Though how such an aneurysm could have been missed was beyond her. The pulsatile mass should have been palpable and visible to the naked eye. Still, they were only halfway home. The actual repair work would start now.

The phone in the O.R rang and the scrub nurse went to attended the call.

"Dr. Gupta. There is a man waiting for you outside. He says he wants to meet you."

"Oh good. Is it the patient's family?"

"No. Well Linda doesn't seem to think so. She doesn't know who it it but she told him you were in surgery and he asked how long you would be."

"Does he have a name?"

The scrub nurse shrugged, holding her hand over the receiver. "Fine. Tell him I won't be done for another 5 hours or so. Book him in an appointment for tomorrow sometime whenever I'm free. But if he's really desperate he can wait."

She nodded and relayed the message.


5.20 am.

Khushi yawned and twisted her back and rotated her shoulders, trying to work out the knots in her muscles. The patient was stable for now but he had to be monitored to see if the graft would hold. It was home time. Praise the lord! Taking off her pager, she handed it to Linda.

" going home!"

Linda smiled at her. "Not just yet unfortunately. Your visitor's still here."


"Yeah you know the one I called you about?"

"Oh I forgot." she said more to herself than anyone else. Pausing for a second she turned to Linda. "He waited?"

"Mmmmhmmm. He's in the visitor's lounge." 

"Thanks" Grabbing her coat and handbag she went to see the mysterious man. Turning the corner into the lounge, her knees almost gave way. From the shock of seeing him or exhaustion she could not determine. Uncomfortably lying with his feet dangling over the edge of a one seater arm chair was Arnav Singh asleep.

He looked exhausted. Vest and suit jacket lay discarded on the floor next to his small travel suitcase. His shirt sleeves had been rolled up to his elbow and the few top buttons were undone letting a few wiry chest hairs peek through. Khushi slowly made her way toward him, bending down on her knees so he was at eye level.

On closer observation she noticed the dark circles around his eyes and the few day old stubble. An errant lock of hair fell over his forehead painting him with boyish innocence, as he his slightly parted lips pouted noisily inhaling and exhaling. A surge of affection took her by surprise seeing him thus. A bouquet of pink and white frangipani's held loosely in his hand, threatened to fall on the floor.

Gently she tried to pry them out of his hands so as not to wake him.

His eyes fluttered open and his body stiffened as he tried to place his surroundings. Upon seeing her, relaxed back in to the supine position he had earlier occupied.

She smiled, her eyes slightly moist..."Are these for me?"

He nodded, his eyes smiling and huskily asked..."Come closer Gupta."

Khushi leaned forward, and he placed a soft kiss on her cheek. "Good morning."

Unable to help the blush that graced her cheeks she looked down shyly. Getting up from the chair, he stretched and yawned loudly.  Khushi looked at him expectantly, waiting for some sort of an explanation.

Throwing up his hands he looked sheepish. "I know. I know. But I have a good reason."


"Jesus woman! I just waited seven hours for you and didn't even have dinner. Cut me some slack."

Surprisingly both him and herself, she leaned up on her tip toes and very gently kissed his jaw whispering "Thank you."

Arnav smiled so tenderly she felt her heart skip a beat. It was as if she had given him all the happiness in the world. He reached out to hold her hand and gave it a squeeze. "There was a family emergency. I was stuck. I swear otherwise I would have been stalking you the very next day."

Khushi felt slightly nervous as she remembered what she had discovered earlier in the night. Squeezing his hand back she replied..."It's ok." After a second she added. "You could have called or texted at least."

He raised an eyebrow. "You could have as well. Plus texting is really not my style. Don't you prefer flowers?"

Khushi grinned.

"I thought as much. So... will you do me the honour of accompanying me to breakfast or will you keep this diabetic hungry?"

Grabbing her handbag she looked up at him. "Let's go Raizada."


Surprise! Bet you weren't expecting another update so soon! What did you guys think! Hope you liked it!

Love Sasak