Forgotten

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Dec 20

Forgotten (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 63 times)

Prologue – The Million Dollar Deal

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“Looking forward to work with you Mr. Raizada” the American client said smiling shaking the man’s hand.

“Same here Mr. Denkins” the man said with his charming smile.

“My PA will forward the details” Mr. Denkins said and looked at the files submitted by the AR group.

“It says that there are two CEOs!” he said surprised, “two CEOs?”

“Yeah” Mr. Raizada said chuckling, “We’re the best mates. We both get along well!”

Mr. Denkins raised an eyebrow and read the names “CEO Mr. Akash Singh Raizada and Ms. Khushi Kumari Gupta. Your girlfriend?”

Akash laughed and said, “Sister-in-law”

“Oh” Denkins said smiling sheepishly.

“She had another meeting to attend and couldn’t be here” Akash said.

Denkins nodded and said, “Ok then Raizada, will see you later!”

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“You better have some good news!” Khushi said threatening the guy as she entered his office.

“Deal pakka! Denkins signed the contract!” Akash said laughing.

Khushi squealed and hugged him, “That’s great man!”

Akash laughed and nodded.

“This calls for a celebration!” she cried, “Let me call everyone. We’ll go out for dinner!” Akash nodded and Khushi dialled Payal’s number.

“Jiji, gather every family member and come to Purple Orchid. We better celebrate because your husband just bagged a splendid deal of worth millions!”

Akash rolled his eyes.

Khushi hung up and said, “Really Akash.....this is great! This deal would do wonders for the company!”

Akash nodded and slumped on the chair. “Honestly Khushi, I never thought that we would maintain AR at the same glory like he did! I had already imagined AR’s doom!”

Khushi scoffed and said, “Why can’t we? You’re speaking as if your brother was god of business!”

“He was” Akash said chuckling, “Although I hate to admit any goodness of him, I’ve no other option but to agree with the fact that ASR is the best businessman of this era!”

“And where is this best businessman of the era now? For a guy who didn’t even have the guts to turn up for his own marriage and left his bride at altar, he doesn’t even deserve a piece of respect in the world!” she said disgustingly.

Akash sighed and looked away.

The phone in Akash’s phone rang and he took it, “Raizada here”

“Sir, it’s a call from Mr. Denkins’ office” the receptionist said.

“Connect him” Akash said and put it on loudspeaker for Khushi to hear.

“Sir, this is Mr. Denkins’ PA from the headquarters of Denkin Fashions, Washington. I got a call from Mr. Denkin stating that I should forward you the details of the company’s stats and employees”

“Oh yes, can I get your name mister” Akash said politely.

“Ivan Borsch sir” the man said, “I’ve sent the email regarding the details to your and also the co-CEO Ms. Gupta’s email id and Mr. Denkins also asked me to inform you that our head designer will be working with your designers for the upcoming fashion show that will declare the merging of the two companies!”

“Ok thank you Ivan” Akash said. And the call was hung.

“Wow” Khushi breathed, “A life time opportunity! Merging with Denkins!”

Akash smiled and said, “Let’s go! The family would’ve reached Purple Orchid!”

“Oh yes” Khushi cried.

 

 

Dec 20

The Head Designer (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 66 times)

The Head Designer

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“Sir, they are here” Priya, Khushi’s PA, knocked the door of Akash’s and Khushi’s combined cabin and said.

Akash and Khushi nodded and walked down the stairs where Vishal, Akash’s PA, was receiving Mr. Denkins.

“Welcome Mr. Denkins” Akash shook hands, “Meet Ms. Khushi Kumari Gupta”

“Hello young lady” Denkins said and shook hands. “Hello, it’s pleasure to meet you sir. And I really apologize for not showing up for the meeting yesterday!”

“Ah it’s fine” Denkins waved it off and turned to the tall lean American boy. “Akash, Khushi, meet Ivan my PA!”

Ivan gave a charming smile and nodded his head bringing all his styled blond hair to his forehead.

“Sir, the conference room is ready” Vishal said to Akash and Akash said to Denkins, “This way sir”

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“So here’s what I’m thinking” Denkins said, “This show is important for me to introduce my company in India and for you to enter the American fashion. So we need a merger. A combination of Indian and American style!”

Akash and Khushi nodded.

Denkins thought for a moment and said, “I have a branch of mine here. Just started a few months ago!”

“Yes sir, we heard about it. In Delhi itself right? Just few minutes from here!” Khushi said.

“Yes, it’s a small branch compared to our headquarters. So this show would help me expand the Indian branch!”

Akash and Khushi nodded rolling their eyes in mind because Denkins just said that, that 48-storeyed posh Indian branch of Denkins fashions is a very small one....well compared to his other branches it might be small!

“My head designer is there in Indian branch. I had transferred him there when we established it! And he’ll be working with you guys. So you needn’t set up his accommodation or transport!”

They nodded and Ivan said, “But he might need a cabin here in AR!”

“Ah yes, it’s all set up!”

“Perfect” Denkins stood up, “I had asked him to come here by 11. He’ll be here soon!”

Right at that moment the door of the conference room knocked. Priya entered and said, “Mr. Denkins your head designer is here!”

“Ah send him in!”

Akash and Khushi looked at the door as it opened revealing a tall sturdy guy who walked in wearing a black shirt and brown pants, a sling bag worn over his shoulder and headphones around his neck. But it was his square face with narrow eyes and lean eyebrows that caught Akash and Khushi off guard.

Denkins stood up and walked to him. The man shook hands with him and then hugged Ivan.

“Akash, Khushi....meet Aman Mathur, our head designer!”

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The meeting ended after an hour and it was decided that Aman would be working with the AR staff from AR office. Ivan asked few men from Denkins’ office to move Aman’s stuff to his new cabin in AR and soon left with Mr. Denkins leaving Aman with Akash and Khushi.

“Sir, should I give you a tour of AR office?” Priya asked politely to Aman.

Aman laughed and said, “I know every nook and corner of this office dear. I used to work here for eight years!”

Priya and Vishal looked at him surprised and looked at Akash and Khushi who sat looking at him without any expression.

Aman chuckled and said, “How things change....just four years back AR just had one brilliant CEO who was the god of business and one perfect assistant who took every single work of AR on his shoulders!”

“Well that god of business was a coward who ran away and the perfect assistant was an egoistic person who chose not to work with his perfect boss’ brother!”Akash said angrily.

Aman scoffed and said leaning back on the chair, “This is gonna be hell!”

“It is” Akash said. Aman looked at Khushi who was silent.

“Nice to meet you bhabhi”

“Khushi” she said hoarsely.

“Sorry....Khushi” Aman said and stood up, “Where is my cabin?”

“Next to our designer” Akash said.

“No. I need my old cabin!” Aman demanded.

“Sorry Mr. Mathur, I think the head designer should work with other designers!” Akash said sternly.

“And I think the two CEOs should give the head designer the cabin he fancies if they want to hold on to the million dollar deal they have with the Denkins fashions!” Aman said smirking.

Akash glared at him and then nodded at Priya and Vishal.

Aman turned to leave when Khushi asked, “You know where he is, don’t you?”

He turned to look at her.

“You left the day after he chose not to show up at the altar. You always knew his whereabouts and you know where he is now! Am I right Mathur?” she asked crossing her arms.

“I was his PA for eight years mam. I know him in and out, may be more that you ever did!” Aman said.

“Good for you. I don’t want to know where he is. Just go tell him that never ever cross his paths with me again!” Khushi said angrily.

“I don’t think he would!” Aman said and walked away.

 

 

Dec 21

Bluebell (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 77 times)

Bluebell

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“What do you mean?” Anjali asked shocked.

Akash sighed and nodded.

“If Aman is here, then Arnav ji isn’t far away” Payal said and looked at Khushi.

“Yes” Anjali said, “Ask him not to show up here!”

“I did” Khushi said.

“If Aman is working in Denkins then Arnav ji might also be.....” Payal was cut off by Khushi, “I don’t know and stop referring him as ji. He doesn’t deserve that respect!”

Anjali sighed and said, “Stop talking about him. Today is a day of celebration!”

“Didn’t we celebrate yesterday?” Akash said groaning.

“That was your deal with Denkins” Anjali said, “Today Payal ji bagged a deal of supplying mid day meal at Silver Hills, the most popular private school of Delhi!”

“What?” Akash and Khushi cried and looked at Payal who smiled.

“Let’s get changed!”Akash said and Khushi nodded.

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“Which is this place?” Anjali asked looking around the hotel as they sat on the tables.

“Bluebell!” Akash said, “It’s a long way from our home but heard that this is the best hotel in Delhi!”

“Yeah it’s literally 45 minutes from Raizada Mansion. My hunger has grown tenfold!” Khushi groaned.

“Let me call ma ji. Hope Ayan is not troubling her” Payal muttered and called her mother-in-law. Akash rolled his eyes and turned to Anjali, “I heard that you went out with a guy! Vishal, my PA, saw you having lunch with him!”

Anjali groaned and said, “That was my colleague and we were just having lunch. Come on yaar!”

Khushi giggled and Akash said, ‘Good because you’re not allowed to date!”

“Shut up” Anjali cried.

“It’s difficult Akash. Considering that the college where di works as economics teacher has fair amount of handsome young male teachers, it’s hard to resist them all!” Khushi said giggling.

“Take that Akash” Anjali said and hi-fived Khushi.

Akash shrugged and asked, “Are you ready to order?”

“Yep. Call the waiter!” Payal said hanging up with Manorama.

Akash pressed the bell for waiter and the ladies buried their heads down to the menu.

“Good evening ladies, sir. Can I have your orders?” a voice said and all four of them froze.

Akash looked up at the waiter and every air in his lungs was knocked out.

Anjali, Khushi and Payal looked up at the smiling man in the uniform with his pen over a notepad. His hair was styled to a quiff and a frameless spectacle adorned his sharp face with stubbles.

“Arnav ji...” Khushi whispered.

“Sorry?” the man asked frowning.

Akash looked at Anjali and then at the man.

“Sir, I need to take down your orders” the man said politely.

“One pizza, three pastas, one vegetable salad and some red wine, please” Payal said and looked at the name tag, “Mr. Aron?”

The man noted it down and said, “Its Aaron mam. Your meal will be here soon. Meanwhile I’ll get you the red wine. Thank you!”

The man walked away and Payal looked at the people on the table who sat frozen.

“Khushi” she whispered as she held her sister’s palm. Khushi turned to her and asked, “Aaron?”

“I read it in his name tag” Payal said and looked at Akash and Anjali who was also in a daze.

“Chotte....” Anjali whispered, “How....Aaron?”

They looked up to find him walking towards them with a bottle of red wine. He opened it and poured it in four glasses and kept the bottle in a chamber of ice cubes at their table. Akash looked at him as he bowed at them and walked away with Aman’s parting words bouncing in his ears.

“Good for you. I don’t want to know where he is. Just go tell him that never ever cross his paths with me again!”

“I don’t think he would!”

 

 

 

Dec 21

My Titali (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 72 times)

Titali

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“Here you go....enjoy your meal” he said smiling as he placed the dishes before his customers.

He walked back to the kitchen and groaned seeing his colleague tasting the dish he was about the serve. “Come on man, you cannot do that! Ethics man, ethics! You’re gonna serve what you tasted mate?”

The guy laughed and shrugged.

He rolled his eyes and walked to the manager, “Sir, my shift is over. Can I go?”

“Yeah” the manager said and handed him his daily wag, “Thanks Aaron. You’re great today! Customers did write a good review about you!”

“Thank you sir” Aaron said smiling.

He walked out of the hotel to his motorcycle when he spotted a man consoling a crying woman. Beside him were two women who were also crying. He frowned. Weren’t these the same people who ordered pastas and pizzas? Ah yes, it’s them!

“Everything okay?” he called out and the four people turned to him startled. “Err.....are you okay mam? Should I get you some tissues or something?” he asked at the crying women.

“We’re okay. Thank you” the man in spectacle said.

He nodded and got on his motorcycle. Giving one last glance to the crying lady dressed in a red sari he zoomed his vehicle out of the hotel premises.

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“He didn’t recognize you?” Mami asked shocked.

Akash nodded no.

“Is he acting?” she asked.

“I don’t know” Akash mumbled, “He asked Khushi whether she is okay? Asked her if she wants some tissue! His face held no emotion or recognition!”

Mami looked at Khushi who was sitting pale with Payal next to her. Anjali was sitting on the couch opposite staring at the wall.

“So he....he forgot us?” Mami asked.

Akash looked at her.

“Akash” Khushi called and Akash looked at her, “When Aman said that he wouldn’t cross his paths with us, did he mean this?”

“We need to ask Aman” Anjali said.

“He said his name is Aaron!” Payal said and everyone looked at her. “I heard someone calling him Aaron. When I went to washroom the cleaners there were talking about Aaron saying how efficient and charming he is!”

“How did Arnav become Aaron? And a waiter??? We need to ask Aman as soon as possible!” Mami mumbled and Akash nodded.

“It’s too late now! I don’t even know where he is staying nor his phone number!” Akash said, “We can only ask him tomorrow!”

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“This marriage will not happen!”

“Arnav ji will come. He promised me that he’ll come!” Khushi said stubbornly.

“Do you think that he will come? Will he live his whole life with the daughter of that woman who ruined his family? Do you think that after everything your mother did, Arnav will come and marry you?”

“Yes....he promised me. And he never breaks his promise!”

“Good for you. intezaar karte karte saari Zindagi nikla jayenge!”

“Woh aayenge” Khushi said and crossed her arms sitting before the fire.

“Let’s go Khushi” Payal said in tears, “He won’t come.”

“Nahi jiji, he will come”

“It’s all my fault” Garima said slumping on the floor, “Everything is my fault!”

Khushi and Payal looked at their mother and ran to her. “No Amma, it’s not your fault! You were cheated! Nothing is your fault!” Payal said hugging her mother.

“Nahi bitiya....” Garima burst into tears. She cupped Payal’s cheek and said, “Khushi is a pure soul. Your little sister! She is your responsibility now beta.....take care of your butterfly!”

“Amma” Payal whispered getting some negative vibes.

“I cannot live further Payal. Knowing that my daughter’s life was destroyed by the mistake which I made years ago, I cannot move forward in life. My sister trusted me with Khushi when she died and I’m trusting you with Khushi...take care of my titali...”

And with that Garima jumped into the fire before anyone could stop or save her.

 

“AMMAAAAAAAAAA” Khushi screamed and sat up on the bed.

The door of her room slammed open and Payal rushed in. “Khushi.....what happened?”

“Jiji” Khushi cried and hugged her sister, wrapping her arms around the elder woman like a koala bear.

“Jiji....amma....our Amma....” Khushi sobbed.

Payal rubbed her sister’s back, just like she had been doing for the past four years when Khushi have nightmares, or flashes, of that night when Garima jumped into the fire killing herself.

After Garima’s death Nani ordered Khushi to move into RM despite the girl’s rejections. Buaji took Shashi to Mumbai where Akash was paying for a good doctor for him. Khushi had been staying in RM since then and continued to live there after Nani’s death a year after!

“Amma.....” Khushi whispered as she fell into sleep on her sister’s shoulder. Payal made her lie on the bed and covered her with the blanket with Garima’s last words ringing in her ears.

Take care of my titali

“I will Amma....” Payal whispered caressing Khushi’s hair, “I’ll never let anything or anyone to harm her! I’ll protect her from all odds, from danger, from the world, from Arnav Singh Raizada”

Dec 23

Ruthless but Not Heartless (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 78 times)

Ruthless but Not Heartless

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“I’m home!”

He sing sang and walked to the kitchen. “Aaron my boy!” he squealed watching his flat-mate and best friend making pasta.

“PASTA!” he cried.

“Go take a bath Aman!” Aaron chided and shoved him. Aman pouted and said, “I wanna eat first!”

“Go take a bath and you’ll get the pasta. Deal?” Aaron said smiling.

Aman looked at him and said smiling, “Deal”

“That’s not fair ASR. My working time is from 9am-7pm. You can’t make me work till 8.30 pm!” Aman shouted, for the first time, before his boss.

ASR looked up from his file surprised at his ever calm PA’s outburst. He sighed and said, “We’re on an important project Aman. I need your presence here!”

“NO” Aman said sternly.

“You stay here till 8.30 for a week and then you’re getting paid leave for a week! Deal?”

Aman looked at him. ASR looked dead serious. He nodded and said, “Deal!”

“Aman!”

Aman jerked and looked at Aaron who stood staring at him. “What are you thinking?” he asked and Aman nodded no, “Nothing!”

“Go take a bath! YOU’RE STINKING” Aaron whined and Aman chuckled.

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“How’s your work going on?” Aaron asked and Aman nodded, “Good. Did I tell you that I’m gonna work in a new office from now on?”

Aaron looked up in surprise. “You got fired from Denkins?”

“No” Aman cried, “Denkins and AR are having a merger. And I, being the head designer, am ordered to work from AR’s headquarters.”

Aaron frowned, “AR?”

“Yeah” Aman said and gulped down pasta.

“Isn’t that the same company where you used to work?” he asked and Aman nodded, “For eight years!”

“Yeah and you left after a row with your boss!”

“Boss’s brother!” Aman looked down.

“And you’re back at the same place?” Aaron asked with wide eyes.

“But this time, as their boss!” Aman said smirking.

“So” Aaron scratched his head, “You’re now your ex-boss’ boss!”

“No....ex-boss’ brother’s boss!” Aman said chuckling.

“Then where is your ex-boss?” Aaron asked frowning.

Aman was silent for a moment and said, “He disappeared!”

“Huh?”

“He disappeared on the day of his marriage. His fiance and his younger brother took hold of the company. His brother disowned him publicly and that caused a fight between me and him. I left the company!” Aman said.

“Oooo” Aaron said, “But where did he go? He left the girl at the altar!”

“No one knows! He loved her a lot. He had promised her that he would come for her!” Aman said slowly and looked down at the pasta.

“Looks like you respected him a lot!” Aaron said sadly looking at his friend.

“I still respect him!” Aman said and looked at him.

Aaron nodded and looked down. Then he said, “He must have died!”

Aman’s head snapped at him and Aaron said, “The man loved her but didn’t turn up. His brother disowned him before public but he didn’t turn up. He must’ve died before he reached the altar!”

Aman said nothing and looked down concentrating on the food.

“You always avoid talking about him!” Aaron commented, “We had this conversation about your past job and you slip away! Is this boss of yours such a great man that you get sad every time you speak about him?”

Aman smiled faintly and looked at his friend. “He was ruthless but not heartless. He was cold and kind at the same time! Not even the employee who gets shouted at the most hated him! Being his assistant had its own perks. I had a tight schedule but I loved working with him! In short, if I was a woman, or gay, I would’ve ended up kissing that man!”

Aaron burst out laughing and Aman chuckled.

“So what is his name?” Aaron asked smiling.

“ASR”

“Huh?”

“Arnav Singh Raizada, owner of AR Fashions!” Aman said proudly.

 

 

Dec 29

The Bosch Brothers (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 82 times)

The Bosch Brothers

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“Aman Mathur reporting on duty madam!” Aman said laughing and plopped on the seat before Khushi who sat in her chairman chair while Akash stood near the glass window sipping his coffee.

“So care to tell me why I’m being summoned?” he asked relaxing on the chair.

Akash turned to him and said, “We went to a restaurant last night. It was great. Good food! Great atmosphere!”

“So? You want me to book you a reservation! I’m not your PA Mr. Raizada!” Aman said chuckling.

“Bluebell restaurant!” Khushi said and Aman paled.

“A guy named Aaron attended us! Topic to be discussed? This guy Aaron shares a striking resemblance to my brother!” Akash said and kept the coffee mug on the table.

“Um....that’s...splendid” Aman said smiling nervously.

Khushi slammed her hands on the desk and the men looked up shocked. “For four years I’ve hated on him for not showing up for our wedding. And now I see him in a waiter’s uniform in the name of Aaron. Explain it to me Mr. Aman Mathur” she said sternly.

Aman sighed and said, “He hit head somewhere and lost his memory. Chances of recovery are very less. That’s what our doctor at Washington said. He may have to live the rest of his life as Aaron Felix Bosch!”

Khushi was about to say something when Aman said, “Let me finish!”

“How I found him? Well I didn’t! Have you met Ivan, Ivan Bosch?” Aman asked and Akash nodded, “Denkins’ PA”

“He was here in Delhi for some work and he saw a guy trapped inside a destroyed car in an isolated area. Took the guy to hospital. He opened his eyes after a week and doctors declared memory loss. So Ivan decided to help. He gave the guy the name of his dead younger brother and took him to Washington with him. He got a new life and Ivan got someone in his lonely life!” he paused and continued, “I didn’t leave AR because I couldn’t work you. My application was already approved by Denkins. Actually I was recommended by ASR but I didn’t want to leave. ASR used to pressurize me to reach beyond the limitations of AR but I never wanted to leave this place. But without ASR, AR didn’t seem the same. And then you had the audacity to disown your brother who always stood for you and the family. So I left. I joined Denkins and the third day of my job....I saw someone similar to ASR picking up Ivan after his day!”

He looked up to find Akash looking down at the desk and Khushi’s cheeks strained with tears.

“Do you know where Ivan found him?” Aman asked and they looked up.

“Bantra Road, just one km away from your damned wedding hall!” Aman said and stood up. Pointing to Khushi he said, “He was coming for you” with that he stormed outside slamming the door shut on his way.

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“Denkins is gonna kills me!” Ivan whined as he pushed the carrier around the hypermarket, following his brother like a puppy. “Listen when I said that I would help in household c****s, this wasn’t exactly what I meant!”

“Shut up!” Aaron cried and threw him a can of yogurts.

“Who goes for grocery shopping at 10 in the morning?” Ivan cried.

“Then why are they open at 10 in the morning?” Aaron raised an eyebrow.

Ivan pouted like a kid and followed him.

“You weren’t home for the past three days. Aman had to do your laundry and I had to wash the dishes yesterday, which was actually your day to wash dishes. So brother, tell me where you were for the past three nights!” Aaron kept the pancake mixture back at the rack and looked at his brother.

Ivan rubbed the back of his neck and smiled sheepishly, “I met someone.....”

“Oh!” Aaron squealed, “What is his name?”

“He?” Ivan blinked, “No no no....it’s definitely a she!”

“Oh how boring!” Aaron said pouting.

“Shut up your pig!” Ivan cried and threw a soda can at him and he ducked it laughing.

“Oh look that’s tea powder!” Aaron squealed and ran away. Ivan sighed and followed him pulling the shopping basket which was already full.

“Oh hi pretty lady! Sorry to say this but I need that last packet of tea powder!” Aaron said smiling and snatched the packet from the woman.

She blinked at him and Aaron said, “Thank you, lovely lady! Mind if I catch your name? Hey....I’ve seen you....where where where where...”

“Aaron!” Ivan sighed.

“Ah!” Aaron threw the packet to Ivan and clapped his hand, “You came to the restaurant yesterday. And you and two women were crying outside....you were....weren’t you the same?”

Ivan looked at the woman who had her long hair open and dressed in a pale pink sari. She was standing in an awkward position and Ivan looked down to find that the woman has a limp. Her eyes were threatening to spill and Ivan looked at Aaron worriedly.

“Are....are you crying? Is it because of the tea powder? Oh ****! You can have it!” Aaron said panicked and looked at Ivan who walked to her and extended the packet.

“No...it’s fine...I don’t need it!” she said and wiped her tears.

“What’s your name?” Aaron asked softly.

“Anjali Raizada” she said and looked at him.

Raizada? “Wait. You said Raizada? AR group?” Ivan asked and Anjali looked at him. She nodded.

“Ah...so you work there as well or....” Aaron asked waving his hand and she said, “I sometimes model for AR!”

“Cool! You’re beautiful!” Aaron said smiling and looked at Ivan, “Isn’t she?”

Ivan looked at him and then at her. “Err....yeah you are!”

“Well we should keep going!” Aaron said cheerfully, “Are you sure that you need that bottle of nutella you’ve on the basket?”

“Aaron” Ivan whispered furiously.

Anjali looked at the nutella and then at Aaron. “Err yes I need it!”

“Well you can always walk back and get one! Right Ivan!” Aaron said laughing and quickly snatched the nutella bottle from her basket. “Good day Anjali! Run Ivan” he called out and ran away while Ivan stood gaping.

“I’m really sorry for that” Ivan cried and ran away dragging the carrier with him.

 

 

 

Dec 31

The Red Sari Woman (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 88 times)

The Red Sari Woman

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“Here you go mam!” Aaron said politely and kept the chocolate shake, fries and burger before the woman. She looked up at him and smiled.

He smiled. Wasn’t she the same woman who had been crying yesterday? The red sari one? Looks like she is okay now. But her eyes seemed sad! Why? He shrugged off and asked, “Anything else mam?”

“No” she said, her voice cracking.

He frowned but nodded and walked away.

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A few minutes later his co-worker chided from the kitchen, “What are you doing Aaron?”

“Me? Nothing!”

“Dork!” the guy shook his head looking at Aaron who was balancing glass plates with his nose.

“Keep the plates there Aaron!”

“Nooooooooo”

“Aaron!”

“Go away. Let me have fun!”

“AARON FELIX BOSCH!” a loud voice boomed and Aaron jumped every single glass plate he was holding crashing to the floor. He turned and gulped seeing the manager.

“Clean it up. NOW” he ordered.

“Yes sir” Aaron said meekly.

“Heights of childishness Aaron!” the manager said angrily. Aaron pouted like a kid and looked at his co-worker for support but the guy looked away chuckling.

The manager walked away and Aaron slumped to the floor. “I was balancing well until he walked in. He shouted my name as if I have asked his wife to go out with me and that took away my concentration. So it’s his fault that the plates fell. So who should clean it? ME OR HIM? Answer me Jeffrey, ME OR HIM!” he shouted at the co-worker.

“WHAT’S GOING ON THERE AARON?” he heard his manager’s shout and Jeffrey chuckled.

“NOTHING SIR” Aaron shouted back and huffed looking at the glass pieces.

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Few minutes later, he walked out to the back of the restaurant to dump the glass pieces.

“What was the need for this Aaron?” he muttered to himself, “If only, if only you had good balance and had withstood the mighty manager you wouldn’t have had to do this cleaning stuff! And it’s also the manager’s fault. He saw that I’m holding it up and knew that calling me would distract me. And he had to shout my name. As if I’m deaf or my instincts are worse that I can’t even respond to my own name unless you shout it! And in spite of that....” he stopped on tracks hearing a sniffle.

“Who is crying? Somebody is sad! Chal Aaron, make them happy!” he mumbled and dumped the sack of glass pieces and walked towards where he heard the voice.

He walked until he reached the car parking of the restaurant. There, near a black audi, was a woman crying. She had her long hair in a loose bun leaving many strands to her beautiful face....wait wait wait....beautiful face? Where did that come from Aaron? Chill man, face...face....

Ah she is the red sari woman! She is crying again?

“Are you okay miss?” he walked towards her. She looked up startled and nodded yes.

“You’re not! You were crying yesterday....and you had company...like two other women were crying with you! I met one of them, Anjali, at the store this morning. She was about to cry then! And now you’re crying! Are you and your friends on a cry mission or something?” he asked smiling.

The next moment she burst out crying and he jumped back.

“Oh ****!”

She slumped on the floor and cupped her face with palm as she completely broke down. He looked around in worry. Thank god they didn’t have much customers at the time and parking lot seemed empty but.....oh no...the security guy is coming....

He bent down and held her arm. “Mam, come with me. Please stop crying...please.....people would think that I did something....please...”

God this woman is so selfish! She is crying more! Aaron, what have you gotten yourself into.

He dragged her to the back of the restaurant and made her sit on seat there. She was looking down and crying hard. Her face was all puffed up and red due to crying.

“Mam I really sorry if I hurt you. I didn’t mean anything....stop crying...” he pleaded.

He sat on his knees before her and held her palms. “What’s the problem mam?”

She looked up to his face and it would be a lie if Aaron said that he didn’t want to kiss her right then and there.

She shook her head and said, “No...nothing is wrong”

He pressed her palm and she looked down to where he was holding. He said softly, “What’s your name?”

“Khushi” she said gulping.

“Arrey” he cried delightfully and she looked up in shock. “Your name is Khushi. You should be khush....always Khushi but why are you dukhi?”

Her lips formed a thin line and she looked away.

“I’m Aaron by the way. I work here...ah you know that. I took your order” he said laughing.

She nodded and smiled faintly.

“I met your friend Anjali at store today morning” he said.

“She is not my friend. She is my......my.....”

Aaron frowned and looked at her who appeared fumbing.

“My sister’s sister-in-law!” she said.

“Okay....so you’re also a Raizada? Oh no, stupid question! Your sister is Raizada!”

She nodded. “What do you do then?” he asked.

“I work with my brother-in-law in Raizada’s fashion business!” she said.

“Ah, AR. My friend Aman works with them now. You know him?” Aaron asked standing up and sitting on the bench near her. She nodded.

“So your sister is AR’s head’s wife. And then...OH MY GOD!”

Khushi frowned and looked at him.

Aaron jumped up from the seat and said, “You’re the girl whom Aman’s boss left at the altar!”

She paled and looked at him.

He bit his lip. “Sorry” he said smiling sheepishly, “I’m....really...”

“Yeah it’s me” she said and looked at him. Tears were welling in her eyes.

Great Aaron! She had stopped crying and now you hurt her again!

“Don’t cry...please don’t cry....” he said and leaned down, “please...”

She bit her lip to control her tears but in vain. She leaned forward and pressed her forehead to his shoulder as he was leaning down to her. Cupping her mouth she sobbed and he bit his lip as she drained his shirt. She gasped her breath and clutched his shoulder. Pressing her face on his neck she wrapped her arms around his shoulder drawing him close, for the first time after four years.

 

Jan 2

Dinner at Raizadas (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 86 times)

Dinner at Raizadas

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She didn’t know how long she held him but soon came to her senses when he held her arms and pushed her from him.

“Mam” he said softly and stepped back, his ear pink. Khushi looked at him in wonder. She never knew that he could blush. Never had she ever seen Arnav ji blushing. It was so cute. His cheeks were getting a pink colour and he looked down. She had to fight her urge to pinch those cheeks.

“Are you okay?” he asked looking up and she nodded. She stood up and said, “You’re Aman’s friend?”

He looked up in surprise, “How do you know?”

“Err....Aman mentioned that his friend, Aaron, is working here as waiter”

“Yeah....we’re best buddies! I came to know him through my brother Ivan. They’re colleagues. You know Ivan?”

“Yeah. Mr. Denkins’ PA! We’ve met!” Khushi said nodding.

“Yeah....umm....I’ve go...my...job. Yeah customers would be waiting!” he said and looked at her. She nodded and said, “Bye”

“Come along when you feel sad” he blurted and hurried to cover up, “err...we have...amazing food here.....it would...help?”

She smiled and nodded. He turned and walked into the restaurant and she walked to her car. As she reached the car, she took out her cell and dialled Aman.

“Tonight you’re coming to RM for dinner with Aaron!”

“Sure. Can I bring Ivan? Poor guy would start whining if don’t!”

“Yeah” she said.

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Closing the door of their apartment behind him Aaron called out, “Yo man why is it that you wanted me to come early?”

“Ah you’re here!” Ivan said appearing in the hallway, all dressed up in a dark blue shirt, black pant and black blazer.

“Where are you going dressed up like that?” Aaron asked surprised.

“Even you’re coming! We’re going out for dinner!” Aman appeared dressed up in a brown shirt and black pants. He looked at Ivan wide eyed. “I don’t get why you have a blazer on!”

“May be I look good in this!” Ivan said lifting his collar.

“Bad idea! Blazer off!” Aman commanded and looked at Aaron, “Go get dressed!”

“What’s wrong with this?” Aaron asked looking down to his blue jeans and blue checked shirt.

“We’re going to Raizadas for dinner. So a bit sophisticated!” Ivan shrugged.

“Raizadas! I’m not coming” Aaron declared and plopped on the couch. Switching on the TV he started changing channels.

“What? WHY?” Aman cried.

“They are rich people! I hate rich snobby flaunting pompous people!” Aaron declared.

“But Akash Singh Raizada, Khushi Gupta and Anjali Raizada does not fit that category!” Ivan said.

“Aaron, go get dressed up! You’re coming with us!” Aman declared.

“But my favourite show starts now!” Aaron whined and pointed to the TV.

“OH **** I COMPLETELY FORGOT!” Ivan cried and jumped to the couch throwing off his blazer.

“Ivan!” Aman cried.

“Aman we’ll go to Raizadas tomorrow” Ivan said and Aaron cried, “Yayy”

“STOP IT!” Aman shouted and both the boys sprang up from the couch.

Aman took the remote and switched off the TV. “GO GET DRESSED AARON! WE’RE LEAVING IN FIVE MINUTES!”

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As Aman drove the car into the premises of Raizada mansion he could still hear Ivan bickering from back seat on how he missed the show and hated Aman for that. But his focus was neither on Ivan nor on the path leading to Raizada porch. His vision was on his friend who was sitting in the front seat next to him and gazing out of the window to the mansion. Aman stopped the car in the porch and saw Raizadas coming out. He turned to Ivan and said, “Now stop it Ivan. You can watch the show later!” Ivan huffed and pouted like a kid and Aman turned his vision to Aaron who was still looking up at the mansion.

“Aaron” he touched his shoulder.

Aaron looked at him and asked “Have we come here before?”

Aman looked at Ivan who had stopped his bickering now. He looked at Aman and then at his brother. “No Aaron, I don’t think we have!”

Aaron nodded and they got off the car. He looked around the compound and said softly, “I’ve come here before! I feel that!”

Although Aman and Ivan clearly heard it, they pretended not to.

“Hello Mr. Raizada” Ivan said shaking hands with Akash and Aman nodded his head.

“Uh this is Aaron” Aman said awkwardly and turned to Aaron who was looking up at the ceiling and walls. “Aaron, this is Akash!”

“Ah your ex-boss’ idiotic brother?” Aaron said laughing but soon bit his lip under Aman’s glare.

“What?” Akash asked shocked.

“Sorry big guy....I’m Aaron” Aaron said cheerfully and hugged him.

“Come in” Akash said and glared at Aman who stuck out his tongue.

“What else did you tell him about me?” Akash hissed slowly.

“About how you disowned ASR publicly!” Aman said and glared at him.

They all walked inside and Aaron and Ivan started fooling around with Laxmi who ran to them.

“Ah a sheep!” Ivan cried and patted Laxmi.

Aaron gaped at him and said, “Ivan that’s a goat!”

“Both are same” Ivan said and huffed.

“Hey cutiepie what’s your name?” Aaron cooed at Laxmi.

“It can’t talk” Ivan chided.

“It can make noises” Aaron countered.

“Stop it both of you! Her name is Laxmi” Aman said.

“Ah! Laxmi!” Aaron and Ivan said.

“Looks like Laxmi loves you!” a voice said and the boys looked up to find an elderly woman coming to them.

“Namaste mami ji” Aman said and mami ji smiled at him. “Umm....Aaron Ivan this is Manorama Singh Raizada, Akash’s mother!”

“Namaste” Aaron said politely and turned to Aman, “And why do you call her mami?”

“Because my boss used to call her that!” Aman said.

“Ah then we’ll call you mami” Aaron said smiling and mami smiled faintly.

It was then Anjali, Payal and Khushi walked downstairs and Aaron’s face lit up.

“Hey ya ladies! Anjali, we’ve met! Khushi, we’ve met! Who’s the third musketeer? Hey I’m Aaron” he said extending hand to Payal.

“Payal Singh Raizada!” Payal said politely and shook hands.

“Ma” a baby voice said shyly from behind Payal and Aaron craned his neck to find a small baby boy hiding behind Payal’s sari.

“Ah look who we have here! Hello champ!” he bend down to his level and extended his palm. Ayan looked at it and slapped his hand as in a hi-five.

“I’m Aaron!”

“Ayan” he said shyly.

“Aww he is so cute! How old is he?” he looked up at Payal who smiled, “Three”

He looked at Ayan who showed him two fingers.

“Ah no” he said and unwrapped one more finger from the boy’s fist and said, “Now that’s three!”

Ayan looked at the three fingers and then at him, “Twee” he squealed.

Everyone chuckled and Anjali said, “Have a seat”

Aaron and Ivan nodded and they all walked to the living room couch. They both sat in one while Aman sat in one opposite to them with Anjali and Ayan on it.

Everyone started talking but Aaron’s vision was on the wall opposite to him when the portrait of an old woman was hung. A garland adorned the pic and he narrowed his eyes at the woman. The kind eyes, the beautiful smile she had, the sari worn in traditional manner over her head, everything seemed familiar.

A boy of five years was running around the room.

“Chotte....stop running around.....drink this milk!”

“Nahi Nani!!!!’

“Chotte....don’t make me run dear....come here!”

“Nani....catch me.....”

“Aaron!” Ivan whispered and he jerked.

What was that? What was that images? Who was the boy? Who was he calling Nani? That voice.....the Nani’s voice was so familiar.....he had heard it earlier...

“What is it?” Ivan whispered and Aaron looked at him. “Nothing” he whispered and looked at Aman who raised his eyebrows questioning him silently. He shrugged and leaned back on the couch.

“Who is that?” he asked casually pointing to the portrait.

“That’s my Nani” Anjali said, “Akash’s dadi!”

Aaron nodded, his eyes never leaving the portrait.

 

 

Jan 2

Hope and Hatred (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 88 times)

Hope and Hatred

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“What are you doing here?”

Aaron jumped under his skin when he heard the voice.

Khushi chuckled and entered the poolside.

“I didn’t pluck the rose. I didn’t! Trust me!” he cried shaking his head. Khushi smiled amused and looked at the rose in his hand.

“Then how did it reach you?” she asked crossing her arms.

“I just touched it and....it came to me....err....everyone loves me you know....err....ok fine! I admit! I plucked the rose! But in my defence, it looked very pretty!” Aaron cried.

Khushi burst out laughing and he looked at her.

“You do know that you’re really cute, don’t you?” she asked in fits of laughing.

“You’re pretty” he whispered.

She stopped laughing and looked at him. He smiled and extended the rose to her. She looked at the rose and then at him.

“You look so beautiful when you’re smiling! Keep smiling!” he said and thrusted the rose in her hand. She smiled at the rose and said softly, “Thank you”

“Whose garden is this?” he asked pointing to the poolside garden.

“Anjali di” she said.

“So this room too?” he asked pointing to the room. Khushi nodded.

“It’s too open!” he said frowning, “I entered through these stairs and it leads to the bedroom! If she doesn’t lock it then....”

“This house is entirely secured!” she said chuckling, “No one can sneak into Anjali di’s bedroom!”

“I was just saying” he said smiling sheepishly.

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Aaron sighed and asked, “You loved him so much huh?”

Both of them were sitting in the poolside, their feet dipped in water. She smiled and nodded.

“You waited for him”

“The whole night! My family pulled me back home. But I stayed awake the whole night thinking that he would knock my window and jump in, just like he used to do!” she said smiling faintly.

“Aman always blabbers about him. ASR this, ASR that....” Aaron said chuckling.

“Aman.....” Khushi groaned, “How much did I curse that poor guy! He always disturbs us during our moments!”

“Does he? How?” Aaron cried, getting interested.

“Arnav ji isn’t a very romantic person. But whenever he gets into the mood Aman calls him and the whole mood goes in drain!”

“Awwww” he cooed, “From what I heard, your man is very serious type, right?”

Khushi hummed.

“He is no fun at all! I can’t imagine a life like his! Office, ghar, office, ghar....boring!” Aaron cried.

Khushi turned to him and asked smiling, “What does life means to you!”

“Life must be full of fun! I strongly believe that the perfect time to enjoy life is NOW. Because every moment that we spent will never come back to us. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever! So instead of making plans, like I’ll go to Hawaii during my retirement life, I would suggest do whatever you feel like without waiting for the right moment! If you wanna go to Hawaii, then you should go NOW! If you want to get drunk, go get drunk instead of planning the moment!” Aaron blabbered.

“So according to your description, my life is boring!”

“It is” Aaron agreed, “You don’t have a masala in your life. All you do is go to office and then come home! The only happiness in this house, I noticed, is Ayan and his antics!”

“Happiness died after he left” she said slowly, “And then a year later Nani ji died! It’s Ayan that lives up the house!”

“Why don’t you get married?” he asked softly.

She snapped at him, “To whom?”

“To....someone....why don’t you try dating someone?” he stammered.

“Not after him!”

“He must’ve died Khushi!” Aaron said softly, “From what I heard, he is a gentleman. He would never leave you. If he didn’t come then he must’ve died!”

“STOP” she cried, “All these years I’ve hated him for leaving me but I strongly believe that he’s somewhere out there living his life. He’s never dead. He can’t die!”

“You’re not accepting it!”

“May be I don’t want to accept it!” she cried and stood up, “Just leave Aaron! Don’t come here again telling me that my Arnav ji is dead!”

“Now it’s MY Arnav ji! Don’t you hate him?” Aaron asked laughing as he stood up.

The next moment he felt his cheeks burning. His face fell due to the impact of slap he received. He looked up to find Khushi who was breathing fire.

She looked at him and said angrily “My hatred for him is none of your concern. No matter how much I hate him, he is still my husband. He left me at the altar but I’ve lived with him for six months and have known him better than anyone else in this world. For me, he is my better half. Yes I hate him for leaving me at the altar but there is a hope that he is out there. Don’t ever tell me that he is dead because he can never die for me! For me, my husband is still alive and one day he’ll be back and I’ll kick his ass for leaving me! This hatred I’m carrying....I have a hope that I would be able to unleash them one day. I’ve hope that one day he would walk into Raizada mansion as the same ASR who walks into AR with looks that would burn everyone, except Aman Mathur! Now get out of my sight, Mr. Aaron Felix Bosch!”

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“Anjali Singh Raizada as AR model? That’s a surprise!” Aman said sipping the juice as he and Anjali stood outside the house in the garden while Akash and Payal were having a conversation with Ivan in the courtyard.

“Aman Mathur not working for ASR? That’s a surprise!” she countered. Aman chuckled.

“How is he?” she asked softly.

“Good! Jolly! Enjoying his life”

“Will his memory ever come back?” she asked.

“Chances are very less!” Aman said.

“Why didn’t you ever inform us?” she cried in an accusatory tone.

“I did” he said calmly.

Anjali looked at him surprised and he turned to her, “I did try to inform Akash but.....he never listened to me! Hung up the phone before I could tell him!”

“Akash never liked you! Even when Chotte was here....he loathed you!” Anjali said chuckling.

“I know! Anyone in his place would hate the guy his brother trusts! He always wanted to be in my place, to be ASR’s right hand, to be ASR’s secret holder!” Aman said chuckling.

“And now that you’re Aaron’s bestie the hatred is gonna increase ten fold!” Anjali said smiling motioning to where Akash was glaring at Aman.

“And people say ASR is egoistic!” Aman said laughing.

“Can’t we tell Aaron that he is actually Arnav?” Anjali asked slowly, “It’s killing me. He is right before me and....and I cannot call him Chotte!”

“I tried to....once I and Ivan told him that he is not actually Ivan’s brother. He knew it! Come on, Ivan is American and Aaron is nothing but American. But the story Ivan told him was that he was adopted! So I told him that he lost his memory! He fainted and doctor warned me that he should not be forced to recollect his memory! The accident was so fatal that the chances are very less! He might have to live his whole life as Aaron!” Aman said and sipped the juice.

“So he knows that he is not Aaron?” Anjali asked.

Aman nodded and said, “He know that Ivan saved him and I’m related to his past life but he is no longer interested in finding who he is. He tried to, for a while, recollect his memory but strained himself. His health deteriorated and he decided not to try anymore. He accepted that he is Aaron and decided to live this life!”

“He never asked you who he is?” she asked her voice cracking.

“He asked me if he has someone waiting for him. I enquired about Raizadas and learnt that Akash and Khushi took over the company. My friend who still works as AR told me how much Khushi hates ASR. I didn’t want a clueless Aaron to come here and experience all the stress and thus said NO. He didn’t ask anything more. He never asked about it again!”

Anjali let out a huge breath and sipped onto the juice. She looked up at him and said softly, “It’s nice to see you again. Back at work!”

Aman looked at her and smirked, “Back at work” he repeated, “Gives me some killer flashbacks Mrs. Jha!”

“Stop calling me that” she hissed.

“That was your name when we....”

“Stop!” she cried and looked around. Fortunately Akash, Payal and Ivan were few feet away.

Aman chuckled and looked away.

“Stop talking about it! It happened years ago and IT WAS A MISTAKE!” she hissed angrily.

Aman turned to her and took a step forward, “It’s not a mistake when it’s repeated, Anjali”

She took a step back and sighed, “You have a good memory. I thought you would have forgotten it by now!”

Aman laughed and said, “Forgotten it? It was the best night of my life!”

She looked at him and he asked, “Why haven’t you forgotten it Anjali?”

She kept mum and looked away.

He chuckled and asked, “I’m free tomorrow. Can I pick you up at 7 in the evening?”

She looked at him incredulously and cried, “I’m not coming to a date with you”

“Why?”

“Why? Aman, we can’t!”

Aman ruffled his hair and said, “The last time we slept together was when your brother was my boss and you were married. Nothing stopped you then Anjali! Now that both of these factors are invalid, what’s stopping you?”

Anjali looked around in panic if anyone heard him. “Stop saying that aloud! I’m so grateful that you never told Chotte about this!”

“Are you crazy? Why would I tell him, my boss and your brother, that I slept with his sister?” Aman asked shocked.

“Whatever, I won’t come for a date with you!” she declared.

“7pm sharp! I’ll be here at RM gates!” he said smiling.

“Aman” she hissed.

“Both you and I know that you’ll be ready by 6.45, Anjali Singh Raizada” he whispered and turned to Aaron who was walking to them.

“Shall we go?” Aaron asked. Aman frowned at his pale face and nodded. He turned and nodded at Ivan.

Giving one last look to Anjali, he walked to Akash and bid him bye.

As the three men walked to the car Aman asked Aaron, “What happened to you?”

“Nothing” Aaron said and sat in the car.

Ivan was checking his phone and Aman drove the car out of RM.

Aaron turned to him and said, “I saw you chatting with Anjali!”

Aman looked at him and then at the road, “We were catching up with a few things!”

“Did your ex-boss know that you’re in love with her?” Aaron asked.

Aman braked the vehicle sending Ivan flying to front. Ivan cursed and rubbed his forehead and Aman looked at Aaron shocked.

“How do you know?” he asked.

“I saw you both. She was blushing like hell! And it was so obvious! Your boss never knew?” Aaron asked surprised.

Aman nodded no.

“Either he knew it and kept mum or he was a complete idiot!” Aaron said and looked outside. Ivan gaped at Aman as he started the engine.

ASR knew it? Aman frowned and looked at Arnav, who was looking out of the window clueless about the fact that he in fact is the boss of the context.

Either he knew it and kept mum or he was a complete idiot

ASR was nothing but an idiot! That man had eyes of an eagle and brain of Sherlock Holmes. He could sense danger like it was his sixth sense. He could read people (except Khushi mam) just by their demeanour.

A chill went down Aman’s spine.

ASR knew about him and Anjali! That’s sure! But he never mentioned it. Did he know it and kept mum? No way, if ASR had the slightest clue then Aman Mathur would’ve been a memory – the efficient PA of ASR who was brutally murdered by the latter for sleeping with his sister! But if it was so obvious, then ASR would’ve definitely read it!

Aman scratched his head in frustration and looked at the only person who knew whether ASR knew about it or not. Alas, the person himself didn’t know that he in fact is the great ASR!

 

Jan 3

Dinner Dates (By Archanasuresh) (Thanked: 88 times)

Dinner Dates

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Hey it’s Khushi. Got your number from Aman. I’m really sorry for what I did earlier. I shouldn’t have spoken like that. And 1000 times sorry for slapping you.

He lied on the bed reading the message. Sighing hard, he dialled the number.

“Hello” her angelic voice greeted him.

“I’m sorry” he said, “I shouldn’t have spoken about him. I was being nosey.”

“It’s okay. I’m sorry too...for slapping you.”

“It’s fine!” he said softly.

A moment of silence prevailed and both of them didn’t know what to speak.

Letting out a breath he said, “You know when you speak about him....and when Aman praises him....I feel like knowing more about this legendary business tycoon!”

She chuckled and he said, “Aman is a person of peculiar perceptions. He never acknowledges anyone’s efforts and that makes him a tough person to work with. I’ve never seen him praising anyone like he talks about ASR.”

“Aman was his right hand. His Friday man! ASR could hide from the world but cannot hide his location updates from Aman Mathur!” she said laughing.

Aaron chuckled and said, “You know I’ve googled about him”

“You did?” she asked surprised.

“Yeah. He is a private person isn’t it? There are no photographs of him! Every picture out has his face blurred. I read somewhere that he pays media to hide his face!”

“If ASR never hid his face, he can never go out for dates with me!” she said in a playful tone and he chuckled.

“You know....” he paused, “sometimes I feel like I’ve met you before. I’ve heard your voice before!”

She said nothing and he said, “Whenever you talk to a new person you feel cautious. But when it comes to you....I don’t feel that. I feel so comfortable just like how I felt talking to Aman, 4 years back when I met him for the first time! So...err...Khushi...have we met before?”

She was mum for a while and then said, “Do you feel like we’ve met before?”

“Yes” he said, “Err.....I had an accident four years back and I’ve kinda lost my memory” he paused waiting for her response. On hearing no voice he cleared his throat.

“Uh yes.....” she said.

“Ivan rescued me that night. I’m staying with him as his brother. And Aman is related to my past life!”

“Why are you telling me this?” she whispered.

“I want to know whether you’re a part of my past life like Aman” he said softly, “I never felt like I should go back. I accepted that I’m Aaron and I love my present life. My past is something I don’t wish to recollect but....now that I’ve seen you....I feel like I belong to you...” he ended it with a whisper.

“We’ve met before. Through Aman” she said curtly.

“We have?”

“Yes. Aaron, I gotta go. It’s late! Good night!”

“Good night Khushi” he said and the call was hung. He stared at the mobile and then at the ceiling.

His mind flew back to the moment when he sat on the Raizada couch and saw the portrait of Anjali’s Nani ji. The flashes of a small boy being chased by someone came to him.

He sat up and clutched his throbbing head. Who was the boy? Who was the lady chasing him? Why couldn’t he see any faces? He reached out to a glass of water and gulped it down.

Slamming his head in a pillow and burying his face in it he switched off the light. Blocking any more thoughts he closed his eyes tight in an attempt to sleep.

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“Enjoy your meal” he said smiling to his regular customer and walked back to the kitchen.

The day was over and he checked time. 6.30 pm. He had woken up late that morning and Ivan and Aman had, by then, left for office. He sighed and took out his cell to dial Ivan.

“Yo brother. What’s up?”

“Where are you?” he asked balancing the cell phone between his ear and shoulder as he threw his sling bag over his shoulder.

“Office. Listen up, I’ll be here tonight till 10. Got loads of work to do!”

“Oh, and Aman?”

“I don’t know man. He said he’s taking a day off to spend time with friends. Must be catching up with his old friends!” Ivan said.

“Hmm.....I’m all alone tonight” he whined.

Ivan laughed and said, “Sorry bro. I promise we’ll go out for clubbing tomorrow!”

Aaron hummed and soon the brothers hung up.

He walked to his motorcycle and pouted. “All night alone! Boring!”

It was then his phone beeped a message.

From: Khushi

There’s a new restaurant opening at XYZ road tonight. Coming?

He smiled widely. Could this night get anymore interesting?

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His watch showed sharp 6.45 when the car door opened and she slipped into the passenger seat.

Aman smirked and said, “Knew that you would be ready by now!”

“Shut up and tell me where we’re going” Anjali snapped as she locked the seat belt.

“Patience babe” he whispered and started the engine. He looked at her black sari and open hair and said, “Looking good”

Anjali smiled and asked, “Just good?”

“Ravishing” he said.

“Pervert” she muttered and slapped his arm.

“What excuse did you make at home?” he asked as he stopped the car at a traffic signal.

“Out to catch up with an old friend!” she said.

“Old friend” he chuckled.

“It’s true” she cried, “We haven’t seen each other for four years!”

Aman looked at her and smirked, “That’s true but the friend part is nothing but truth!”

Anjali chuckled and looked out of the window. “Where are we going?” she asked again.

“Wait and watch” he mumbled and started the car at green signal.

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“Ok so let me get this straight” he said as he sat with Khushi at a table with Akash and Payal at another one, “You called me because Anjali di isn’t here and you didn’t want to third wheel between them!” he pointed to Akash and Payal.

She nodded.

“I’m hurt” he pouted, “I thought that you invited me because I’m your friend!”

“You are! Look I could’ve invited anyone but I called you. Why? Because you’re special to me” she said smiling.

The waiter came to take order and Aaron ordered mixed noodles while she took fried rice.

Khushi started blabbering about how much she loved golgappa while he rested his face on his palm with his elbow supported at the table top and ran his eyes over her beautiful face. How her eyes lit up when she talked about food, her eyes glistening, smile adorning her beautiful face, her red lips moving as she talked! The dim lights at the restaurant wasn’t helping but making her face glow. The shades of light highlighted her cheekbones and red lips. He gripped his other hand on his thigh under the table, fighting an urge to run his fingers over her skin wanting to know how soft they are.

Stop it Aaron! She is a committed woman! Although he isn’t here, she loves ASR so much! You cannot have such thoughts about her! NO! Don’t do this! Don’t tell it! Don’t tell her that she is pretty! Don’t tell her that she is pretty! Don’t tell her....

‘You’re pretty” he blurted out.

She stopped talking and looked at him.

“So beautiful” he said in a daze.

She bit her lip and looked at him. He sat up straight and nodded no “Don’t do that! Don’t bite your lip!” he extended his hand across the table and held her chin. She released her lip from her teeth and sucked a huge breath. His thumb glided over her bottom lip and she gasped, her lips parting.

Suddenly someone cleared his throat and Aaron took his hand back as an instinct. Khushi gulped and he looked at her with his face pale.

“Your order sir, mam” the waiter said placing the food before them and leaving with a smile.

Aaron bit his lip and looked down at the food and Khushi looked at the table before them where Akash and Payal sat. Aaron was facing back towards the table and Akash was facing his back towards their table. Khushi and Payal were facing each other and Khushi could see her sister’s gaze over them which told her that she witnessed what just happened.

The food was really tasty but both of them had lost their appetite.

 

 

 


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