Part 13: Drifting Apart

After a very uncomfortable sleep, Arnav got up and was getting ready to school. He had thought of apologizing to Pari when they go to school together. He was already hungry when the bell of his house rang. Opening the door, he saw Lavanya with a box in her hand. It was the same box she had got last night. The box had a swan engraved on the lid. Taking it, he thanked her and sat down to eat. Arnav was a bit disappointed. He expected Pari to come and give him food. May be she is really upset abt yesterday. He thought to himself as he washed the box. Getting ready, he left to the Mansion. But there he learnt that Pari was not well. He felt really guilty. He thought that she was unwell cos of him. He went to her room to see her and found her sleeping. Coming outside he saw Kamya
Madam, wo, what happened to Pari??
She was crying whole night. Was really upset and dint eat so she got sick. Saying she turned and left. Arnav felt horrible. So he decided to apologize to his Pari and make amendments. He dint want to hurt her anymore. Moreover it was not her fault. It might be her father’s but not hers. Thinking he left for school
The day dragged by and Arnav couldn’t stay back for the last class. He wanted to see his Pari and undo his doings. He ran back to the Mansion skipping his last class. He was about to open the door of Kushi’s room when he heard his name
I told you no Guddu will come to see you. See. Kamya told a smiling Kushi
Thank you so very much chachi.
Now he will say sorry and then will beg to be friends with you again.
Really??? That is so very good. Kushi bubbled in excitement. She was not bothered abt his apologizing or begging. She just wanted his friendship.
Arnav was fuming outside the door. He couldn’t believe that his Pari could do something like this. He felt betrayed, cheated and thought he was a fool to trust her.
If you think I’m going to do any of that, then you are mistaken he told her in a very cold tone as he opened the door and entered the room.
I have no intention of being friends with you anymore. I was here to just to see you. I feel only pity for you. Nothing else. For you are and will always be the poor friendless rich girl. Got it. He told her in the same tone and then left the room slamming the door.
On the way out he saw Lavanya and both of them left to his tree house which his dad had made him years ago.

Kushi sat there stunned. She had listen to her chachi as she was desperate. She was scared of losing him and thought this small act would make Guddu talk to her. Tears ran down her eyes as her mind replayed what he had just told her. The poor rich girl. This word always hurt her. But now it had shattered her. But she was also Kushi Gupta and she would not let this be. Getting down the bed she ran out of her room, following her Guddu. She saw him walk to his tree house with Lavanya. This sight hurt her. That was their hide out. A place where they had so many memories. They had made a pact that they would never let anyone into this place. It was theirs and theirs only. But now he was taking Lavanya. She had to stop it. She ran behind them in full force.

Arnav knew that taking Lavanya to the tree house would hurt Pari. But still he took her. He wanted to hurt her as she had hurt him. But somewhere in his heart he felt bad for this. But that dint stop him. He climbed onto the house and hesitated a bit before throwing down the rope ladder for Lavanya. He saw Pari running towards them but ignored her fully. He then worked the pulley, pulling Lavanya up
Stop Guddu yelled Kushi as she ran up to them. But by this time Lavanya was already a bit up.
Just leave me alone Pari. I have a new friend. Meet Lavanya Arnav told her.
Please Guddu. Let me also come she pleaded. But Arnav just kept on pulling Lavanya up. Unable to stop herself, she jumped up and held on to lavanya’s legs, hoping she would also go up but that dint happen. Lavanya let go of the rope by mistake and both of them fell down.
PARI yelled Arnav as he jumped down from the tree house
Are you out of your mind??? Pagal ladki. I told you not to follow me. Go find someone else to bug. He shouted at her. He then helped Lavanya up and looked to see is she was hurt. Satisfied to see her fine he turned and glared at Kushi who was still on the floor holding her elbow.
Dehkho Pari. I’ll tell you one last time just leave me alone. I don’t want you. Never will. I was your friend cos you forced me to. Remember??? So pls for god sake leave me alone. He spoke slicing her already fragile heart.

Kushi dint know what hurt more. The wound on her elbow or his words that pierced her heart. Her innocent heart couldn’t take the sharpness of his words and she bursted into tears. She got up and ran from there.

Arnav saw his Pari cry and run from there. She was running far away from him. That is what he wanted. But somehow the thought of her going away hurt him. He saw her holding her elbow and realized that she was hurt. Majority of him wanted to follow her. See how she was doing. But the small but stronger part of him made him stand still. He kept on looking at her as her image became smaller with distance and the small image disappeared into the mansion.

Sashi Gupta signed as he leaned on his chair. For the past 2 hours, he had be trying to assure this old woman that he was capable of taking care of her grandson. But she was not ready to accept that. Mrs. Raizada was definitely a force to reckon with. People who knew her husband and family knew not to mess with them. They were respected and feared throughout. Opposite to him sat the old Mrs. Raizada and her son. They were a stubborn lot. They had been clear that they would take Arnav today. He dint know how he was going to tell this to him. And worst of all how he was going to explain this to Kushi. He knew his little girl will be heart broken. He rubbed his palm on his face, tired and mentally drained.
So Mr. Gupta, can we meet my grandson? Said Mrs. Raizada
Yes but don’t take him away today itself. Give him and us some time to adjust to this information
Sorry I don’t think so. We have a family in Delhi and have to go back. Said Mohinder Raizada.
Please Mr. Gupta. Don’t force us to take custody of him. You know in the eyes of the law we have the rights to take him with us Mrs. Raizada said as she got up
So please lead the way saying she moved from a chair
Sashi knew he could not do anything anymore. Nodding his head he led the group of 2 towards the waiting hall. He called Ramu to get Arnav.
After 10 min Arnav arrived
Guddu Sashi called him. This is your grandmother. Shakunthala Raizada
And mam, this is Arnav Malik Sashi introduced them.
Arnav stood staring at them. Not knowing what to do. But then his grandma just came forward and hugged him. He felt a sense of calm settling in. He knew he belonged there. May be he would have someone for himself. May be he was not as alone as he had thought. May be… Just may be…