Interlude #2

Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York

Arnav’s face was impassive as he waited with NK for Robbie to come to the door, but inwardly he was swearing viciously.

Despite the urgency, he hadn’t missed the graffiti covered walls; the ‘Out of Order’ sign in front of the elevator that looked like it had been hanging there for months, nor the poorly lit staircases that had more broken bulbs than working ones. The damn building was a fire hazard. And that wasn’t the worst of it.

No, the worst was the fucking door to their apartment. Jesus, one decent kick and the cheap prehung would fly off the hinges.

No security. Zero protection. One more strike against him.

He had been so caught up in her, he hadn’t given a single thought to her safety. Predators were bred in such dark corners. The hairs on his neck rose as his mind supplied him with an endless reel of horrific scenarios in high definition. How two women who looked like Khushi and Robbie managed to live here without incident was a fucking miracle.

She was not coming back here. In fact, their damn landlord would be hearing from the head of the city’s Buildings Department tomorrow morning.

His attention snapped back as the door jerked open.

“What’s he doing here?” Robbie exclaimed as her eyes narrowed on Arnav.

“It’s around 30 degrees out here, Dollface. You can give him the third degree once I’m warm, okay?”

Robbie wasn’t in the mood to be gracious, particularly towards the man responsible for her current state of anger and fear, but concern for Khushi overrode the rest. With grudging reluctance, she moved aside for the men to enter.

Arnav shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his overcoat as he leaned against the wall nearest to the door. He knew his presence was an intrusion, yet of their own volition, his eyes swept the interior of the space Khushi had called home for two years, hungry for something that held a piece of her.

Robbie spun on her heels, prepared to blast the man she’d directed hundreds of curses at over the last four days, but the words halted in her throat as she fully took him in.

Arnav’s face was a revelation. The proud features bore the marks of suffering, the raw pain in his eyes were emphasized by the harsh shadows of exhaustion.

She turned silently to NK, who had already made himself comfortable on the couch.

“Told you,” he mouthed.

Damn. No woman of flesh and blood could disregard such a disquieting display of unguarded male pain. Her heart yielded even as her frustration mounted. No wonder there were no best friend in the fairy tales, second hand romance was exhausting.

“Tell us what happened,” NK urged.

“We were planning to go job hunting today, but I got a call to come in for an early morning re-shoot. I came back just before noon. No Khushi. Just a note saying she needed to clear her head and she’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Robbie, that’s hardly something to be alarmed over,” NK replied, puzzled.

“You don’t understand, other than him,” she tilted her head to indicate Arnav, “Khushi’s never spent the night away.”

“Have you tried calling her? Is there a friend or colleague she might go see?” NK asked.

Robbie shook her head.

“The calls are going straight to voicemail. She’s friendly with co-workers, but keeps a distance. I checked our emergency stash and she took out a hundred. That hardly covers anything!” her voice cracked with tension as she finished, revealing the alarm rioting along her nerves.

“How could you leave her like that?” Arnav interrupted, jolting both NK and Robbie with the gravel hardness of his voice.

“Because we have bills to pay asshole! And thanks to you, Khushi was let go without a job reference. You may not think much of it, but having this roof over our head is preferable to the streets!” Robbie threw back at him.

Arnav winced. Regret was a sharp knife tearing through the flesh.

“How was she?” he asked, unable to stop the words.

Robbie gave him a scathing look. “What do you care?”

“Of course I care dammit!” he roared, a muscle jerking in his cheek.

“That’s rich coming from the guy who hadn’t made any contact in four freaking days after a royal fuck up!”

Arnav reeled as he processed Robbie’s meaning. “Was Khushi waiting to hear from me?”

Robbie gaped at him. “Unbelievable! I’m beginning to think all those women in the tabloids were photoshopped in with you,” she muttered.

NK smirked, “It wouldn’t be too far from the truth.”

“Since you clearly don’t speak relationship, let me explain in your native tongue. During an acquisition do you give up just because the other party disagrees on a key point? No, you negotiate until you reach a mutually satisfactory agreement. To answer you, of course you were expected to call! With apologies in the form of words, flowers, and gifts. Even those occupying the bottom most rung of your sex recognizes the well-established methods of opening up the line of communication. But you! Radio silence for four days!”

“I thought…” Arnav trailed off. He had assumed she would be hurting and angry. The thought that she might have been waiting to hear from him was startling. But of course, she was Khushi. She had an innate sense of fairness that would allow him a fair trial even when he hadn’t extended the same courtesy. When will he be able to keep up with her?

Robbie gave him a suspicious look. “Ohmigod! How massive is your ego? Did you think she’s been holed up here crying her heart out over you?”

Arnav wisely kept silent, crossing his arm in a defensive gesture.

“This is Sex in the City, not Romeo and Juliet. When the guy fucks up? She’ll cry with her girls, get drunk, curse the bastard, and then move on.”

“She’s not moving on,” Arnav clipped.

“With your current scoreboard Raizada, I wouldn’t be too confident,” Robbie fired back.

Arnav fought the urge to grab the blond and shake her, but at the same time he felt a grudging respect. Other than NK and Aman, few dared stand up to him. Robbie’s unfiltered honesty was uncomfortably astute, but in her anger, she had inadvertently revealed something crucial that eased some of the tension that had coiled tightly around his body ever since he’d let Khushi walk away. She hadn’t given up on him.

He needed to see her. To start making amends. To just fucking hold her. “Start over. When you were planning to head out today, did she mention any particular place?”

“No, but I just remembered something. Last night she got a phone call.”

“Who?”

“It was male. I thought you finally got your head out of your ass so I went to the kitchen to give her some privacy. She was strangely quiet after that, but I knew she’ll share when she’s ready, so I didn’t press.”

Arnav tensed. He had a good idea just who would call her. Fuck.

“Oh shit, it’s that wimp isn’t it?” Robbie groaned.

“Would she go meet him?” NK asked.

Robbie turned the full impact of a glare onto NK.

“No,” Arnav interjected before she formed a response. “She wouldn’t- not voluntarily. NK find out where Matthews is. Robbie, you need to give us a list of places she might go.”

She gave him an arched look, “When did you suddenly become reasonable?”

“You don’t pull your punches do you? Good.” Arnav jerked his chin towards NK, “He likes to toe the line. It’ll be pleasant not to carry the burden of reining him in all the time.”

“Asshole,” NK tossed at Arnav with a lip twitch.

“You’re not off the hook you know.”

Arnav’s expression grew somber, “I know, but I don’t like the idea of Khushi out there by herself either. Help me find her and I’ll pay my dues.”

“You read her file,” Robbie stated quietly as she searched his face.

“Yes,” Arnav responded, meeting her eyes without a trace of remorse.

“As much as I hate the infringement on her privacy… I’m glad,” she surprised him by saying, “She was made to feel a burden and she doesn’t trust easily. You being you makes it that much harder. But she’s the prize, Arnav. If you fail to take care, I guarantee firsthand experience of Indiana retaliation when you fuck with one of our girls.”

“What does Indiana retaliation involve?” NK asked mildly.

“A field, a rifle, and a marker.” Robbie responded coolly.

Arnav felt his body go solid. His eyes met NK’s, and upon seeing the mirrored understanding in them, both men roared with laughter.

“How can you laugh,” Robbie cried, “I’m being serious!”

“I know, Doll, that’s why it’s fucking funny.” NK came up behind her, placed an arm over her shoulders and grinned into her eyes.

Arnav watched the telling action with a raised brow.

Hell. Three for three. What were the odds?

Anjali. Khushi. Robbie. It was a diabolical day in the universe when the twisted hand of fate sent these women into their path. Dream women. Better, because they were real.

On an impulse, Arnav moved into the room until he was standing in front of Robbie, “Thank you.”

She gave him a wary look, “For what?”

“For finding Khushi and safeguarding her until I could enter her life,” Arnav responded sincerely, “For that I will make you a promise. I will do everything to make sure I never strike out in your book.”

Robbie blinked. Her mind blanked in shock. Had those words just come out from the mouth of Arnav Singh Raizada?

He gave her all of four seconds to digest before pressing forward. “Stay here and keep trying her cell. Text NK a list of places she might be, and we’ll get patrols out. We’ll be back after paying Matthews a visit.”

Khushi hadn’t exaggerated, the man was bossy. A wave of relief swept through Robbie. Breakthrough. She wasn’t sure what the catalyst was, but somehow, the ice fortress had been penetrated. And it wasn’t Prince Charming who emerged.

Just a man. A man in love.

A wish come true. Finally.

✧✧✧

“Should’ve gotten those security details on Khushi sooner,” Arnav clipped under his breath as he and NK settled into the limo.

NK had been busy hitting buttons on his phone, at Arnav’s words his head jerked up. “She actually agreed?”

“She was … amendable to it before Saturday blew up,” Arnav responded, “What I can’t fucking believe is why you haven’t brought up the condition of their apartment building?”

“Better watch yourself mate, you’re still on a lot of shit lists, mine included,” NK retorted, as his brows snapped together. “You think I would ignore their safety? I saw that it didn’t escape your notice I also got a woman in there.”

“Then what-”

NK cut him off. “Your problem Raizada, is that when it comes to shit that actually matters, you allow words to leave your mouth before that brain kicks in. There is an Italian proverb we need to mount in your office, ‘Don’t let your tongue say what your head may pay for.’”

At Arnav’s hard stare, NK smirked. “Look, their building is shit, but the neighborhood isn’t a bad one. The landlord is just a cheap bastard. He’ll be paid a visit. If he doesn’t see things our way by the end of the week, he’ll be dealing with AR’s legal team and a list of code violations longer than Fifth. Besides, I’ve had patrol here every night.”

Two thoughts came to Arnav at once. First, he had to regain his equilibrium before he faced off with Matthews. Second, he needed to stop pissing off the one person who always had his back. Damn. “Robbie know?”

“Of course not, she’ll bust my balls. Though after this, I’m going to make it 24/7 surveillance.”

“Khushi is not coming back here, NK.”

“Arnav, not shitting you, but the only reason you walked out of that apartment without a taste of Indiana justice is because Robbie is more concerned about Khushi’s safety. Once she’s found, you will have a lot to answer for. Me? I’ll focus on the art of groveling instead of pipe dreams.”

Arnav grimaced as he leaned back against the headrest. “Why the hell do you make so much sense?”

“Always been the voice of reason mate, you just haven’t been listening.”

“Where are we headed?”

“The Peninsula. Room 414.”

As soon as the limo pulled up to the curb of the hotel, Arnav turned to NK.

“Stay here. I’ll be back in twenty.”

“That’s fifteen minutes longer than necessary to ask a few questions,” NK noted.

“I have a score to settle.”

Understanding lit the other man’s eyes, “Just don’t do anything that will require body bags and lawyers.”

“Twenty minutes,” Arnav repeated as he ducked out of the car, “If I go beyond that- we’ll require lawyers.”

Before he walked inside, NK rolled down the window and called out, “After the face clock, go with jab-cross-left uppercut-cross. ”

Arnav jerked his chin in acknowledgment. He turned away grinning, definitely needed to stop pissing off the man with boxing combos on the mind.

✧✧✧

If Trent Matthews was surprised to see a cold eyed Arnav Singh Raizada standing outside the door of his hotel room, he hid it well.

For long moments, neither men spoke as they faced off in the empty hallway. When Arnav’s lip curled at the corners after perusing him with unnerving intensity, Trent had the sense he had been measured, and found wanting.

“What do you want, Raizada?”

“What the fuck did you say to her?” Arnav demanded abruptly, disregarding even the veneer of civility.

“That’s between us,” Trent returned coolly. Something had gone awry with Khushi, he decided when a muscle jumped in Arnav’s jaw.

“She left you,” he stated when the other man gave nothing. “Worried she’s in here with me?”

His teeth ground together when Arnav laughed outright. “You’re the last man on earth she would run to. Now do you want this out here or in there? Decide because I don’t give one fuck if there’s an audience.”

“Your Board of Directors would disagree.”

Arnav’s smile was edged with ice. “Unlike others, I control my Board.”

Reining in his antagonism, Trent deliberately turned his back, leaving the door open.

Moving to the stocked minibar, he poured the bottle of gin he’d been deliberating over into a pair of tumblers. Hearing the solid click of the door, he turned, silently handing Arnav a glass before moving back against the opposite wall to nurse his drink.

The cold tone married with the ruthless personality no doubt made Raizada a formidable opponent across any boardroom.

Trent Matthews was a man of limited ability. It should be noted that he was well aware of his own shortcomings. Despite the limitation of his arsenal, they encompassed an uncanny ability to hone in on weaknesses. It was a skill that served him well.

He studied the man before him, searching for something, some expression that would give a clue to the inner man.

It was so minuscule, had he blinked he would have missed it. But when Arnav starred at the drink in his hand, unmistakable torment flashed in those shuttered eyes. He looked, Trent thought with satisfaction, like a man who had just suffered a major setback and was forcing himself to come to grips with it.

“You know about me.”

“Yes.” Arnav confirmed.

“What do you think you know?” Trent asked with genuine curiosity.

Arnav threw back the gin before he launched into a detached recitation of private knowledge that sent an unnerving chill along the spine of the man before him.

“You’re the oldest son in a family of three. Good upper middle class family from Chicago’s South Loop. When the auto industry went bust, you family made the decision to start over in Bronx. Steady real estate investments got you and your brothers into one of the state’s best private high schools, where rich little girls were ripe for the picking. Didn’t take you long to choose. Payal Gupta, pretty enough you won’t have to close your eyes when doing your duty, but more importantly, she’s the heiress to Gupta & Co. Then came Khushi,” at that Arnav’s eyes hardened, “should I continue?”

“By all means go ahead,” Trent replied coolly, trapped somewhere between amused incredulity and outright anger.

“You either developed a backbone or decided to act out a streak of rebellion, but after graduating from high school you dropped Payal. Got through college on your own, tried your hands at the stock market. However, all that came crashing down when NASDAQ nosedived. I suppose marriage to a shrew was preferable to facing financial ruin. You’re turning twenty-six in four months, stuck in a job you hate and a marriage you want free of, but it’s hard to let go, since both allows you to indulge in your penchant for fast cars and a certain lifestyle.”

Arnav paused, “Did I leave anything out?”

Trent lifted his drink in a mock toast, “Yes, what do I want now?”

Arnav looked him straight in the eye. “My woman.”

“I had her first.”

Deafening silence ensued in wake of the blatant red flag.

Trent knew he was baiting a dangerous animal, but the jealous acid that had been eating at him since he saw the photo of Khushi in this man’s arm demanded restitution. Sensing blood, he went for the kill. “A woman doesn’t forget her first love, especially when it’s the same man she gave her virginity to,” Trent drawled insolently.

“You son of a bitch!” Arnav hissed, tossing the glass without care to the floor. Before it shattered, his long fingers were curled into tight fists. He charged with purpose towards Trent, pinning the slighter man by the throat against the wall before drawing back his arm to deliver a relentless series of punishing blows to his ribs.

Trent grunted with each brutal impact, until he managed to break free from the hold. Crouching he charged at Arnav, sending their bodies crashing to the opposite wall.

Drawing back his arm, Trent aimed a punch at Arnav. In a move he had practiced many times with NK, Arnav linked his hands and hammered the other man’s back. Pressing the advantage he lashed out with a kick, followed by a sequence of jab, cross, and a strong uppercut that held enough impact to snap Trent’s head back for him to end the fight with a right hand finish that sent the bastard sprawling onto the shard covered floor.

“Motherfucker!” Trent spat as the tiny glass cut into the hands he’d thrown out to break his fall.

“I suggest you stay down there, Matthews.” Arnav said as he stared down at Trent.

Trent looked down at the blood dripping from the back of his hand with a derisive laugh. “They have no clue do they? Underneath the suit and polish, you’re barely a step up from a fucking mongrel. Khushi wants a gentleman. When she see the real you? She’ll run. I’ll bet she already has.”

“A gentleman, is that how you see yourself? Was it an act of a gentleman to lie and steal a girl’s virginity? Because that’s what it was. She didn’t give you shit, you stole that from her.”

“It kills you doesn’t it, to know that you’re not her first.”

“It does kill me. Not because I have some hang up about a fucking membrane, but because you aren’t worthy.”

“You’re a cocksure bastard aren’t you? Say what you want, but it wasn’t me who made her cry on Saturday.”

“You’re right. I did that,” Arnav admitted readily, “But at least I’m not waiting six fucking years to fix what I broke.”

“I’m getting a divorce.”

Laughter broke from disbelief, “What do you expect to happen? Do you actually believe Khushi would run into your arms, the past forgotten, your marriage to her sister overlooked?”

“She has a legacy at Gupta & Co-”

“Jesus,” Arnav bit out, “Do you plan to bribe her with something that rightfully belongs to her? That is low, even for you.”

Arnav shook his head, “To think, I considered you competition.”

“Don’t stand there and give me moral lessons Raizada,” Trent spat as his face contorted, “We want the same thing.”

“You’re wrong, Matthews. You may want Khushi, but you only want a piece of her. Her body, maybe her heart. That’s not enough for me. I want to possess every fucking inch of her. Every beat of her heart, every thought, every dream, every scar, every damn thing that makes her Khushi. I want everything she has to offer and I’m prepared to wage a war for it,” Arnav eyes locked on Trent as he finished, “You had a chance because you got there before I did. Unfortunately for you and lucky for me, you didn’t take care of it. Now it’s too damn late.”

“If you really believed that you wouldn’t have come here tonight. Besides, I don’t give a shit what you want Raizada,” Trent jeered, “Khushi knows where I stand now; she knows she has a choice.”

Arnav paused as it occurred to him that the frustration currently coursing through him must be a familiar feeling for NK and Aman. The sudden clarity effectively doused his anger.

Of course. How had he allowed himself to be so blind? This isn’t about him or Matthews, it’s about her. “Have you heard of Indiana retaliation, Matthews?”

“What?” Trent asked, staring in confusion at the abrupt change in topic and mannerism.

“It involves a field, a rifle, and a marker. I suggest you familiarize yourself with it,” Arnav replied on a smirk. “And Khushi already made her choice. She choose a friend whose loyalty is fiercer than that of a blood sibling, she took a lover who is capable of protecting her. She is no longer the helpless girl you knew. She has surrounded herself with people who give a damn. My advice to you? Spend your time consulting with a lawyer and your wife because we plan to collect on everything she’s owed.”

 ✧✧✧

“He breathing?” NK asked as Arnav slid into the back seat of the limo.

“For now,” Arnav responded easily.

“You look pretty fucking satisfied with yourself.”

“Your boxing combo was put to good use.”

“Good,” NK replied with feeling. “Now let’s go find your woman.”

“You always had a way with words.”

“Like that is it?” NK asked on a grin.

“Yeah,” Arnav replied, “Just like that.”

“About fucking time, mate. About fucking time.”

✧✧✧

Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York

“Fuck, if I was walking up these stairs every day I’ll have a fine ass.” NK muttered.

“Your Robbie is working herself into a state of panic, so better haul it.” Arnav and NK looked up to see Aman lounging casually against the railing. Despite the humor in his voice, there was a trace of perturbed uneasiness on the lean face.

“A word, Arnav?”

“I’ll go see to the girls,” NK said easily as he jogged up the remaining steps.

Arnav silently followed Aman’s lead down the hallway.

“Out with it, Aman, what’s eating you?”

Aman gave him a half smile. “I think I’ve passed the age where I can run to you with every little problem, big brother.”

“Never stopped you before,” Arnav rejoined, “Nani?”

“Yeah…. Jesus, Arnav. You sort that shit out in your head?”

“No, I figured once she told you we could knock a few back and work it out together.”

Arnav held back a grin as Aman gaped at him. “You’re not angry with her for keeping it from us?”

“I think I’ve passed the age where I can just recklessly point the finger of blame, little brother.”

“Never stopped you before,” Aman answered with feeling as he expelled the breath he’d been holding. “Fucking hell, Arnav, I’ve been operating under severe stress since Nani stopped by!”

“You’re a lawyer, that’s normal.”

“It’s different when it’s other people’s problem. Besides, I get paid for the tension.”

“You’re a good kid you know that? When the hell did you grow up, Aman?”

“A while back, you were just too busy empire building to notice.”

Arnav looked at him thoughtfully before nodding. “I haven’t been fair to you have I?”

“Who the hell are you and what did you do to my brother?” Aman demanded.

“I think that’s a question you should direct towards the women in our lives,” Arnav replied with a wry twist of his lips.

“I will never bet against our Dragon Lady. What else did she say to you?”

Arnav rested his arms on the railing, his eyes on the constant flow of city traffic. “I think I’d been staring at the same scene for too damn long, Aman. There’s something to be said about a new perspective.”

“Not a moment too soon. NK and I thought we were going to be cleaning up the blood spill for weeks.”

“I wouldn’t discount that just yet,” Arnav sobered as he turned his gaze down the hallway.

“The world is like a mirror, Arnav. If you spit and curse at it, it will not hesitate to spit and curse back at you. If you laugh, the world will follow and laugh with you, too.”*

“That you or Anjali?”

“Too melo?”

“A touch. I just hope like hell you’re right.”

✧✧✧

NK paused at the doorway as his eyes ran down the lithe form of the woman currently wearing a hole into her already too thin carpet.

He hadn’t been surprised by the instant lust she’d inspired. She was gorgeous, even now in her overwrought state, she glowed with vitality. He’s had gorgeous, often enough to know it usually came packaged with a wide streak of vanity, petty jealousies and surprising insecurities.

He was a man with relatively simple taste. If beautiful came with a shit attitude and complications, he was willing to ditch it in favor of plain and sweet. Robbie Sinclair was all attitude and complications. And yet, he was beginning to believe she would be worth the effort.

A woman who banks on her looks yet treated it with careless detachment. There was too much impatience under those golden curls for pettiness, and whatever insecurities she struggled with, they paled in face of the fierce loyalty that shone from her like a fucking beacon. She would be a challenge for any man. It was a good thing he thrived on challenges.

“Robbie, come here.”

Startled, she turned, upon seeing NK she immediately resumed her pacing. “I’m going to kill her, NK! Fifteen missed calls! Even if it was someone I loathed, I would have picked up on the fifteenth call!”

“Robbie-”

“And I’ve change my mind.”

“About what?” NK asked as he moved towards her.

“I left Indiana because it wasn’t exciting enough. I told my mother I wanted to find something that would burn the lips and engulf the soul. Now I know why she shook her head at me. She knew it was crazy talk!”

“What do you think you want now?”

“Normal. Steady. Lukewarm is good. It’s consumable. And you know what else? Maybe Shakespeare was right to caution us with Romeo and Juliet. A pair of star-crossed lovers would have set the world on fire!”

NK laughed, quietly at first, then with more feeling. “I’ll be damned,” he murmured as he captured her fluttering hands in his, curling his fingers over hers to steady them.

“We’re going to find, Khushi. I promise.”

Robbie exhaled deeply, “Arnav was right. I shouldn’t have left her alone.”

“Robbie, your concern for Khushi? It’s beautiful, but she’s a grown woman. You can’t spend your life hovering over her and allowing guilt to eat at you when something goes wrong. We pulled in a favor with NYPD’s Chief, he’s got patrols searching every corner of the city for her.”

“NK, I can’t just sit here and wait. I’m going to go crazy with all these bad thoughts.”

“Then let me give you something else to think about,” NK said as he yanked her towards him. “First, lukewarm anything? Shit. You, Robbie girl, got a spark inside you so damn bright, it’s impossible to ignore. And I’m going to take you to bed and light you up.”

“First, timing! And that’s a very big assumption there, Handsome.”

He let go of her hand, moving his own up to cup her jaw, stroking it lightly with the rough pad of his thumb. “I’m not a man who sits on what I want, Doll. There are just too many possibilities for regret when you wait. Laying it out for you. I want you. I want that body in my bed, all that hair on my pillow. But it isn’t all I want. How much, how deep? Balls in your court.”

“I can’t believe this.”

“What?”

“My girl goes missing, I threatened one of the richest man in New York City, and right now I’m turned on as hell by what is essentially caveman speak.”

“Turned on enough to stop playing bullshit games and take a chance?”

“What am I taking a chance on?” she asked cautiously.

“That I might be the guy who can give you that something that’ll burn your lips and engulf your soul.”

Robbie closed her eyes as shock and something fluttery stirred inside her.

“Please be real,” she whispered.

NK’s face softened, “You’re standing in my arms, Robbie.”

She drew in a deep breath, focused on the flutter as she slowly opened her eyes, watching in wonder as his face broke out into a grin. That smile fed a hunger she’d ignored for a long time. Words weren’t necessarily, he’d read the answer in her eyes.

Before NK could do anything about it, he caught the sound of footsteps.

“I think we can call off the hunt,” Anjali announced as she came out of the bedroom, just as Aman and Arnav walked through the door.

She looked down at the red umbrella in her hands. “I know where Khushi went.”

✧✧✧

Bronx, New York

Khushi winced as she starred at the blank screen of her cellphone. She had been so distracted after the phone call last night; she’d forgotten to charge it. She bit her lips, the convenience of technology also meant she had never made a conscious attempt to remember her friends phone number. Shit! Robbie was going to kill her, first for going off alone, second for being unreachable.

Slipping the device and her chapped hands into the pocket of her coat, Khushi glanced up at the dusty grey of the afternoon. If she hurried, she’ll make the one and half mile walk to and from the cemetery in time to catch the evening metro home.

As she headed past the station, a spray of cream-colored blossoms sitting in isolated loneliness in a bucket caught her attention. Pausing by the floral street vendor she eyed the white tulips. Against the vibrant blooms of roses and carnations, they looked both noble and sad.

“The flowers of forgiveness,” said the older woman as she followed Khushi’s gaze, “Nothing more sincere when you need to apologize.”

“How much?”

“Who have you wronged?”

“The most important woman in my life.”

A knowing smile eased over the vendor’s face as she handed the flowers to Khushi, “A mother’s heart is a deep abyss of which you will always find forgiveness, child.”*

“Please, I can’t just take it,” Khushi said as she tried to press a ten dollar bill into the woman’s hand.

She shook her head, tilting her head to indicate the flowers behind her. “You see those bouquet of roses? They’ll be gone by this evening because men in the throes of passion are willing to pay for the pleasure. Those tulips? They will likely end up in that bin six feet from where you’re standing because pride prevents most of us from offering up a sincere apology. Take them to your mother.”

“Thank you.”

“There’s a heavy chill in the air, hurry home.”

When she left the apartment this morning, it had been snowing lightly. During her train ride the temperature had dropped noticeably but Khushi was only semi-aware of the treacherous weather as she headed down the snow covered sidewalk, the flowers tucked close, her thoughts directed inward.

The last four days had been among the most complicated, confusing ones she could remember. Arnav’s words to Lavanya had played on an endless loop in her head. When the tears stopped, she had been too exhausted to think with any clarity, yet a niggling heaviness persisted in the back of her mind.

It wasn’t until a voice from the past paid her a visit last night, that she was finally able to read her Book of Revelation. Thoughts buried so deep, she had hidden them even from herself.

Her strong reaction to Arnav’s words, the subsequent clawing pain they brought as her mind drenched in them, revealed something more complicated than a sense of rejection. It wasn’t his rejection she feared the most. While she couldn’t deny it hurt coming from him, he had been a mere catalyst in bringing out something far worst.

Holding the phone up to her ear, hearing shockingly intimate words delivered with earnest passion from the wrong man, she finally woke up from her inertia.

As Trent spoke of divorce and legacies, she hadn’t registered any of it, simply because he didn’t matter. In the course of mere days, Arnav had completely wiped out the poison the other man had left in her system. His words were inconsequential, coming six years and one man too late.

Because she’d already fallen. Head over heels. In love with Arnav Singh Raizada.

His words had pierced because he mattered and they had ripped the veil from her hidden secret.

Shame. She was ashamed. Of herself. Of what her existence represented.

Of the woman who had given birth to that existence. Her mother.

By the time Khushi passed the gates of Woodlawn Cemetery her body felt half frozen. In the spring the grounds would be lush with greens and well cared for blooms. In the midst of winter however, the trees were denuded of leaves, the bare branches rattling against the brisk wind, while a heavy blanket of white covered most of the gravestones.

She made the familiar trek to the quiet corner on the east lot, brushing the snow from the graves until she could clearly see the engravings. Reaching out, her finger traced over the ‘Laramie’ as love and regret filled her. Bringing the tulips up to her lips, she gave them a tender kiss before laying them over the stone.

She had woken compelled to come here, relieved when Robbie had been called away. She needed to confess, to seek forgiveness. Easing herself onto the ground, she looked at the graves. Her family. She’d given up much for them to be buried here, side by side, but today she was fiercely glad for the sacrifice.

You know don’t you, Mama? My secret?

I’m sorry. So sorry.

You forgive me right?

For thinking so badly of you?

For looking at you with the same eyes as the rest of the world?

I understand now.

Do you know that my heart isn’t my own anymore?

I hurt, Mama.

You told me love was beautiful, but how can something beautiful hurt so much?

Where did you find the strength to love so fearlessly?

Do you know what a burden you have given me in naming me Khushi Lacene?

It is so hard to find a smile, when all I want to do is cry.

… and Papa, you sent him to me didn’t you?

What made you send a man who sees the world in black and white, when I’m born from the gray he doesn’t acknowledge?

He’s bossy, cynical, stubborn-

…. but he makes me feel alive

… happy.

Is that why?

Why you risked everything for each other?

Was your love worth it?

Worth the pain you suffered?

Worth the pain you …caused?

Is love worth it?

Khushi rested her head against the cold stone as silence answered her. A furious blast of wind threw snow into her face, sending a wracking chill over her body. She knew she should get up. The cold was seeping through her clothes. Yet she felt too exhausted to move.

He hadn’t come for me, Mama.

Robbie said he would.

But it’s been so many days.

I’m tired, so tired.

Let me sleep here.

Just for a little while?

Huddling closer, her eyes fluttered closed.

✧✧✧

“Khushi!”

“How big is this fucking place?”

“Khushi!… Khushi!!!”

“Khu- oh fuck!”

“What?”

“Guys over here!”

Khushi wake up. He’s here for you darling, wake up!

“Fuck me! She’s unconscious.”

“Call for an ambulance. Now!”

“Khushi….”

She heard them, familiar voices rumbling in the distance, yet her eyes refused to open.

“Give her to me.”

Him. Upon hearing his voice, her heart thrummed in her chest.

Dhak. Dhak. Could he hear it?

She was plucked none too gently from the ground, why was it shaking? The question lost significance as she felt familiar arms close around her, a hand shifted through her hair as the other tightened around her waist to the point of pain.

Arnav swore under his breath as he cradled Khushi’s trembling form possessively against his chest. Jesus, she was ice cold. Her clothing was no barrier to the extreme chill. Anger exploded.

“I’m going to tie you to the goddamn bed after this,” Arnav muttered.

“Save your new kink for later, we need to warm her up as much as possible until the ambulance gets here,” Aman interjected.

“They said to check her head for signs of injury in case there was a fall before moving her,” NK added. “The roads are icy, thank fuck the nearest hospital is only ten minutes out.”

“Here, let me,” Robbie said as she moved to Arnav’s other side.

A hundred scenarios passed through Arnav’s brain as Robbie gingerly ran her fingers through Khushi’s scalp, checking for bumps or signs of injury. Had Anjali not made the connection, another hour in the snow would have meant…

It was enough to cause his heart to constrict with outright terror. He hadn’t realized how much of his inner turmoil was being broadcasted until Robbie laid a hand over his clenched fist. Arnav’s eyes flew up and met with understanding blues.

“We found her, Arnav. She’s going to be okay.”

Something began to happen— a gentle bonding of two completely opposite beings as they acknowledge that they each had something very special to offer the other.

Arnav gave Robbie a nod before tightening his hold on Khushi, focusing on the feel of her in his arms, lending the heat of his body to warm her cold skin. Anger diffused as he anchored himself with his precious cargo within the protective circle of their friends.

Anjali watched the tableau with a soft smile. Slipping her hands into Aman’s she leaned up to whisper into his ears. “You did good, Aman.”

He gave her an answering grin. “You too, baby.”

Aman turned back towards his brother, “If there’s no head injury, we need to get her into the car and as warm as possible as we wait.”

Khushi tried to force her eyes to open. She could sense his tension, but her lids refused to heed her command. She briefly felt the wind against her back as she was lifted. There was some jostling, followed by the sounds of car doors opening and slamming shut.

Something thick and heavy was placed over her chest. Then another and another, until her body was completely covered. At first she was confused, until the unique scents reached her. She could feel his heat at her back, cocooned by jackets and scarves, Khushi felt the warmth penetrate.

Family. It didn’t always require blood.

Giving into the sense of safety, she drifted back into slumber.

In the distance the sound of sirens wailed.

✧✧✧

“The staff is giving us the eye,” Robbie whispered to NK.

“They’re going to need to give him a sedative if someone doesn’t come out with good news. And soon,” NK responded with a grimace.

Robbie was in agreement. It’s been nearly an hour since Khushi’s been admitted into ER. An hour punctured minutely by Arnav’s pacing. If they didn’t hear anything soon, the man was likely to come out of his skin.

Adjusting herself in the uncomfortable waiting room chair, Robbie recalled the expression she had witnessed on Arnav’s face when Aman had called out in the cemetery.

The stark terror that lined his features wouldn’t be leaving her memory anytime soon. Any lingering animosity she had harbored had found instant death in that moment. She had a feeling she would be very much Team Arnav moving forth. Damn.

The ticking of the damn clock was going to drive him mad. His eyes lid to the door, but he didn’t see it. The vision of Khushi lying frozen in the snow was burned into his sockets. Before Khushi he didn’t think of himself as particularly imaginative, but his current state of mind could compete with the best of Hollywood’s horror screenwriters.

“Arnav, you’re starting to look deranged. Sit your ass down before one of those nurses call security. The one starring at you looks trigger happy,” Aman called out in a loud whisper.

“What the hell is taking them so long?” Arnav bit out.

“Could Khushi be pregnant?” Four pairs of eyes turned to Anjali. She flushed as she met Aman’s amused eyes.

Robbie turned her gaze to Arnav. “Well?” she demanded.

“Well what?”

“Is it a possibility?”

“Jesus. We are not having this conversation right now.”

“Condoms do break you know” NK drawled.

“Especially from usage errors,” Aman added helpfully.

“She’s not fucking pregnant!” Arnav snapped, loud enough to capture the attention of the entire ER waiting room.

Anjali looked at Arnav apologetically. “Sorry, that just … slipped.”

Aman wrapped an arm over her shoulders, “If you’re curious baby, all you need to do is ask the expert.”

“That comment just placed you on a slippery slope, baby.” Anjali replied with the smallest of emphasis.

Robbie fought a grin. She had wondered how someone as sweet and gentle as Anjali was able to handle Aman. Now she knew, sweet and gentle didn’t equate with naïve nor pushover.

Aman cleared his throat, “An expert from research not practice, love.”

They immediately sobered when the ER door opened for a man in scrubs to walk through.

He scanned the room and asked, “Khushi Khumari?”

✧✧✧

Arnav walked into the room as the doctor’s words echoed disjointedly in his head.

Distressed. Hypothermia. Critical. Malnourished. Shock.

They were only allowing one visitor at a time. He knew it cost her, but Robbie had graciously nodded when he’d turned to her, eyes imploring. They moved now towards the bed. Seeing the slight form attached to an IV drip and monitors, he felt something rip through him. Relief and dread fought for supremacy.

She looked like an angel against the sterile white. He hated the image. He wanted the woman, flushed with life, not the glowing paleness that threatened his hold on her.

The chair squeaked as he pulled it closer to her bedside. He reached out, cupping her face with his palm, needing to touch her even in so small a way.

“I didn’t know, Khushi. I didn’t know,” Arnav whispered, as he lightly traced her brow, “Let me make it up to you. Give me the chance. I don’t deserve it, but I promise you, I won’t treat you so carelessly this time.”

Bothered by her stillness, needing confirmation, Arnav got up from the chair. Careful not to disturb the IV, he eased onto the bed, gathering her close. He slid a hand down her arm until he reached hers. He traced over the oval nails, skimming the knuckles before running his thumb over the delicate veins of her wrist. There his fingers stayed until he could feel the steady pulse. For the first time in days, Arnav took a real breath.

Bending his frame he kissed her softly on the forehead, before burrowing his face into the side of her neck and closing his eyes.

You came for me?

I’ll always come for you.

I missed you.

Do not ever leave me like that again.

Arnav…

What?

You let me go.

So what? Promise me.

Bossy…. I promise.

Good. Now go to sleep, Khushi. Your body needs to recover.

You won’t leave?

Not even if you tell me to.

I love you, Arnav.

I love you, Khushi.

✧✧✧

Somewhere in New York

Text from HP Daniels:

Found what we were looking for. Coming back to New York on the next flight. When can we meet?

✧✧✧✧✧

So… watcha think?

New Readers – Welcome aboard the FWN train.

If you’ve enjoyed the update, please let us know below. Your questions and comments helps us shape the story and also improve as writers. Thank you!

Sorry we couldn’t resist. Safe sex is definitely not a joking matter. Please be responsible. However, that little jab was at every other Mills and Boon in existence. If you ever picked up one you KNOW the heroine would be pregnant at this point 😛

*adapted from Cruel City by Yoo Seong-yeol

*adapated from Honore de Balzac

299 thoughts on “Interlude #2

    1. Robbie is true friend of khusi,i think she went to Mattews to give him piece of mind n also a closure so he should know that she has moved on n thre is no chance for him.

    2. Beneath all that fire, she really is a softy. She wants happily ever after for her best friend, but it must be with a man who will treat her like a queen. What more can you ask for in a friend right?

  1. At last Arnav gets his act together. ….well with his battalion of friends nothing is impossible. …
    Does Trent have Kushi or is Payal out with her games……i wonder how they managed to erase kushi out earlier definitely with help i wonder whose…..you have us all winded up for more drama n action

    1. They really are a battalion aren’t they? 😀 I want my own dammit!

      Still running with the kidnapping angle? Fair enough.
      We still have 9 more acts to go for this Interlude, so let’s see…. 😉

      If any of our updates ever bore, you have my consent to bash us over the head… figuratively of course 😛

  2. Woohoo!!! I’ve been religiously checking for the update all day, thank you ladies. 🙂 Off I go to read it now… 😀

    1. Huma girl! Lovely to see you here. I have actual guilt pangs for making you gals wait for our updates. lol Although, by now everyone must be use to our erratic posting schedule 😛

      1. I am actually reading this in between watching the cricket world sem-final #1, and a very interesting semi at that! That is how intriguing this night is turning out to be girls! 😍 I’ve said this before, what I love about FWN is how raw and human all the characters turn out to be. This night update is being one such. Thank you for keeping it so girls. It’s tough to keep the balance and that is exactly what you have done with FWN ever since its inception. Even with the angst, for if you know me, you’d know that I cannot stomach much of angst and yet I found the previous two nights indulging and just apt with the angst. 😄

        By the way, I am absolutely in head over the heels with NK, especially with the way this night has been unfolding, but Robbie takes the cake so far hands down! 😃 I can relate to Robbie, I am blessed with a couple of my own Robbie darlings. Sisterhood yey!!! But more importantly, sticking up for friendships. That is what I love reading FWN for, it has become much much much more than Arnav-Khushi for me. 😊 Eagerly awaiting for the rest of the night to unfold and wondering how exactly Raizada the epitome of big headedness seeks forgiveness from his Khushi. 😜 Afterall, the fun lies in How… 😃😃😃

        1. I totally heart you Huma! 😀

          A cricket fan huh? Cheering for any particular team?

          Thank you, thank you for the words of encouragement. This is why it’s 1:40 AM. and we are still pounding away at the keys. Muah!
          (Got your email, will answer over the weekend, because I have a wordy one to share!)

          Lucky, lucky you to be blessed with Robbies in your life. Every girl needs to have such an awesome person by their side. A resounding cheer to sisterhood!

          I think we have allowed Aman and NK their moment of shininess, time for our hero to step up and bring his game! But the reception to our duo is an endless source of delight!

          I do hope you’ll enjoy our How … we’re still bickering it out, but the general premise is.. promising. 😛

          1. I heart you too, S. I heart you too. 🙂

            O! I am certain I’ll love your How… FWN so far proves it so. 🙂 Last night I was cheering for NZ in NZ vs SA and they did win the semis. Now awaiting Ind vs Aus, where I’ll be cheering for India, but of course. 😀

            I look forward to your email, but no pressure. 🙂

        2. I’m so happy to see you in the peanut gallery Huma! ^^

          Hahaha, someone was cribbing to us nonstop about the angst. =p
          It’s no secret that I personally thrive on it, but thank you for indulging us… well okay mostly me since S was heading towards the state of heightened frustration. HEE.

          Our men are yummy aren’t they? We plan to make you gals choose between the Trio by the end 😀

          Oh the ‘how’…. ahem. Like S mentioned… it’s promising 😉

  3. S, that paper of yours sound very interesting – I am sure the southern belles were very intrigued by the physiques of their slaves. Funny how it is always the exploit of the female slaves by their masters that are always portrayed in movies because I am sure these dames used their powers just as much as their husbands did. I hope all the midnight oil burning is well rewarded by your professor.

    Love this update and Robbie for giving it to ASR for being a dumbass and ignoring the girl for 4 days. Especially love the Indiana Retaliation – you go girl! Thank god, he has come to his senses and his ASR’s dimaag is working. Can’t wait for NK and ASR to confront little wimpy Trent. His face was smashed by the Indiana lassie, now let his bones be broken by the matey and the mogul. Somehow, I am thinking he may be the one in the emergency room after these 2 are done with him. Let the operation Saving Kushi start . . .

    1. Less southern belles, more southern ….milfs 😉 I may complain, but it was fascinating research.

      This topic makes Americans VERY uncomfortable, considering the white maleness of Hollywood, I doubt we’ll ever see a cinematic portrayal of this. The idea that white women viewed black men as an object of sexual desire was the height of taboo. It doesn’t sit well with Southern ideals of womanhood and “purity”. But holy crap it was much more common than one would assume. I’ll find out in two weeks if the effort pass muster with the prof 😀

      Hahahaha, so we have matey and mogul… what do you have for Raizada junior?

      I definitely smell blood in the water 😛

  4. thanks for the wonderfull update…..finally arnav is set to win his khushi….robie is aweeesome the way she reply-ed to arnav ….waiting continuee soon..:)

  5. What the hell! I stalk all day yesterday, no result. I leave my post for an hour and you updated?! This is not a complaint, just me cribbing. 😀

    I have to say I was very surprised by the tone of this update. Your teaser had me thinking in a completely different direction, but I’m so glad to be wrong! As wonderful as Night 8 was, this is signature FWN.

    Humor undercutting the tension, delightful retorts from one sassy Robbie, and the unbreakable bonds of friendship that underlies every action. In an alternate universe I would ship Robbie and Aman, just so she’ll be Arnav’s sister-in-law and bust his balls when needed.

    “This is Sex in the City, not Romeo and Juliet. When the guy fucks up? She’ll cry with her girls, get drunk, curse the bastard, and then move on.”

    Lol, this sums up K & S’s view on modern relationship doesn’t it?

    I’m eager to get a peek into our heroine’s state of mind, but before that ….. the Arnav v. Trent confrontation please!

    1. I don’t even remember the last time we posted a timely update lol You should know better 😛

      That’s what the teasers are for! But yes, we got our two chapters of angst to fulfill K’s desire to play with that. Now, it’s time to bring back the banter and sexy times 😉

      Ok, I’ll share. When we first drew out the character relationship chart we considered Robbie for Aman. But NK came about and the Aussie just took over.

      You KNOW how I feel about that. Although K keeps me in check when the feminism veers towards overwhelming lol

      Yes, yes. It’s the confrontation that gave us so much headache over the weekend. Balance is the key. Coming soon!

  6. Robbie all ready to go ballistic but one look at Arnav’s face she tones down….
    Arnav gets the threat from Robbie’s and he is taking it mutely …
    NK and Arnav are glad to have come across three women in their and Aman’s life… who are beauties and endowed with brains and good heart… Three different personalities but holding their fortresses in their own terms…
    Now enters Mathew….
    So he is the one at 414….
    Interesting S & K

    1. Can you imagine running into the 6 of them at a restaurant? Too many good-looking people 😀
      Thankfully there are flaws, otherwise I would be suffering a serious case of envy.

  7. I loved this one. Wow! Robbie is the best. Love her spunk and unfailing loyalty towards Khushi. The Wimp doesn’t know what is coming his way. When Arnav and NK are done with him, he will need someone to carry him to hospital.
    How soon canwe get the next chapter?

    1. Yup, still 9 more parts to go on this update. Which means we have absolute no control when it comes to writing. This will definitely be another long chapter. 😀

      Heh heh, did the peanut gallery collectively decided on The Wimp for Trent?

    1. We’ll work on making it head over heels 😉

      Ah a fair complaint. We scraped a lot of what we wrote earlier during the weekend writing session. Finally found our flow last night and the tone we want to establish. So… hopefully the rest won’t take us two decades 😀

  8. I loved how Robbie stood up to Arnav and loved it more when Arnav thanked her. It was amazing.
    I wonder why would Khushi go out to meet Matthews? Or was it Payal? Payal obviously wants a pay back from Khushi and Raizadas so won’t stop at anything to hurt them both. I just hope that Khushi is safe.
    And if she has gone to meet Matthew then I’m sure she has gone to give him a piece of her mind.

    1. With an army of protectors, I think our girl will be okay…. ultimately 😉
      Our Robbie is a fierce lioness, I’m glad she’s appreciated as such ^^

      We’re not quite ready for a Khushi v. Trent confrontation, but I hope you enjoy our Arnav v. Trent one!

  9. God!It was too good. I know you need time to fix the next chapter, but I am just too impatient.

    1. An interesting screen name you have there tessy. 🙂
      Welcome to FWN!

      Thank you for the compliment adn the impatience! 😀
      K & I try… our schedule is tight and we just don’t like posting until we feel it’s a notch up from mediocre. I have a fear of flying tomatoes!

    2. Welcome aboard FWN tessyranigeorge!
      Glad to have you joining us on this journey.
      Do share what you like or dislike about each update with us, we love hearing from readers! ^^

  10. Awesome update… Go robbie…. Haha loved her a true friend… Finally arnav is going to pay his dues after all this is settled… So where is khushi… She took 100 dollars n is going to be away for the night???

  11. I just came across your work and I’m hooked. This is first that the supporting cast is adored more than the lead characters.

    1. Hi Pray! Welcome to FWN!
      I appreciate the company and compliment 😀
      It is a great thrill to us that the supporting cast are more than static characters to our readers. Really. It’s an amazing feeling.
      Don’t be a stranger, and do share your thoughts with us moving forth!

    2. A warm welcome to FWN Pray! ^^
      I saw your comment on Night 6 as well… HEE.
      A fan of the Aussie are we? 😀 Do make yourself comfortable in the peanut gallery!

  12. Well well…..Trent is no spineless fool……i wonder what makes him tick….and if Arnav can get trent to talk??????

    No boredom girls you makes updates exciting and leave us waiting for more…

    1. Awww… thank you Mayuri. ^^ We like to keep you gals at that edge 😉
      Oh Trent…. good thing for everyone Arnav totally has his number 😀

  13. Loved the confrontation… Hmmm trent wat does he want?? Does he really want khushi … He repents his past deeds for sure but is he here just for forgiveness .. Guess more to come??? Waiting for next

  14. Matey has the exact sparring combo I use in my kick boxing routine – now I love him even more for that. Wonder if he uses those long legs of his as well to kick some ass. Glad to see Mr. Raizada realizing the value of his sidekick and the extent of ass kissing he has to do once the damsel is saved. I love that you chose a man to man confontration. I am impressed that little weasel Matthews did not run – well I guess there is nowhere he can run to. So I take it that Matthews was involved in Payal getting rid of Kushi from Sashi’s estate and somehow he also knows how to get her back her share of course once she comes back to him first. I am pretty sure she has told him to take a flying hike already so he is playing games with Arnav in the hope of sending him away from Kushi. But where is Mrs. Matthews while all this is happening? Do they not share a room? I hope she is no where close to Kushi please. And please make the next update include the jab, cross, left upper cut, cross and also a knee kick you know where.

    1. Mrs. Matthews is busy cooking up mischief. Even she is tired of her wimp of a husband.

      This really shows how sexual frustration can lead to poor decisions. Our FWN residents needs to get themselves laid. 😉

      What say ladies? Have cucumber earned a front seat showing of black lace?

    2. Separate lives, separate beds. It baffles me how many couples have this kind of existence and persist in staying together “for the kids” or “for appearances”

      Life if much too short for that kind of half existence.

      1. No passion, no heat in bed then you may as well be dead no? This is why there are so many pissed off people in life – because they are not getting their release. Life is too short to not be lived to the fullest.

  15. Indiana retaliation…. I like!!!! too bad it would require body bags and lawyers 😀
    FOUR DAYS…How clueless can a man be? But it does reiterate the fact that Arnav has never been in a “normal relationship”. I just loved Robbie’s Sex in the City retort.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Robbie is an AWESOME friend and I absolutely love NK’s equation with Arnav. Arnav really NEEDS NK to stay grounded.

    1. Too bad indeed. 😀
      Although…. Aman is a damn good lawyer and NK knows how to make certain undesirables disappear. 😉 Just saying!

      I really love the response to FWN’s friendship. We spend a lot of time developing their bond, so it’s a joy to hear how they come across to you gals. ^^

    2. Alright, another Sex in the City fan! 😀
      Hahaha, I swear, Khushi needs to pay more attention to her man. The NK and Arnav equation is getting way more love in the peanut gallery 😛

  16. The face-off, it’s going to be a thriller, I somehow always thought trent to be a coward, he is a coward but a shrewd coward, let’s see how he deflects arnav

  17. Holy crap, you gals are on a roll. I did not realize there was another piece added last night. Not complaining, just smiling like the Cheshire cat. I love the dishum dishum! About time someone shows that little p**** how disgusting the trick Payal and him played in a naive teenager was. I knew he was going to use the Gupta shares as his bait the little weasel. This shows how little he knows Kushi. I really wished Our boxing mogul had kicked him where it hurts most. Did I tell you how much I enjoyed Arnav’s all of her statement? So glad he realized his mistake in times and threw the Indiana retaliation at Matthews. Let him shake in his boots for a while. I guess Kushi had to hear what Matthews had to say to put closure to that episode in her life. I now she has the brains to see this ass for who he is. Now I understand why she goes to visit her mother’s grave. I hope she finds the solace she is looking for. Off you go Raizada to find her and tell her exactly how sorry you are and what she means to you.

    1. Ha! Well… we wanted to reserve that special kick for someone else 😉

      We wanted to deliver more dishum, but what we did manage tapped out our male fighting lexicon =p

      Mr. Raizada finally brought his game yes? Let’s see how he’ll fare where it matters most!

  18. That was one hell of a confrontation! Everything I wanted and more. Take a bow ladies, because once again you two outdid yourselves.

    I can’t believe the idiot actually taunted Arnav with Khushi’s virginity!
    What a self serving moron. I absolutely loved how our hero retaliated, Trent is expected to be varying shades of black and blue tomorrow.

    This line – “It does kill me. Not because I have some hang up about a fucking membrane, but because you aren’t worthy.”
    Perfection. Tonight Arnav showed himself to be the better man. The hotness level went through the roof! lol But what took the cake was his realization that their we included all their friends as well. We all knew FWN is more than a love story, now Arnav knows as well.

    Trent and Payal’s days are numbered, because the combined power of Arnav, Khushi, NK, Robbie, Aman and Anjali? They don’t stand a chance in hell.

    I’m dying to know Khushi’s thoughts on all this. On to our damsel, please!

    1. Very dark shades of black and blue 😉
      Hahaha, for some reason I have the Avengers on the mind…
      Does that make Payal or Trent Loki? =p

      This update is really tiring to write, so we’re doing it in small doses, but yes, we’ll be turning our pen to our main lady shortly!

  19. That was simply a fabulous confrontation…:)
    You have shown Arnav has the upperhand but along with it he has knowledge of his drawbacks… Thats what has set him way higher up in the rung in his confrontation with Trent… Trent just has not understood yet the implications I guess… He thinks Khushi will still make a choice between them… The difference is Arnav is sure that Khushi’s choice will not be Trent at any cost and come what may… But Trent thinks he has fifty-fifty! Actually the choice in front of Khushi is just two… With Arnav or without… There is no harm for Trent himself to have his head buried in the sand just like an ostrich until the axe befalls on him… Either Payal or Arnav are bound to take their pound of flesh… Guess its Arnav and Khushi who would do it as Payal would be frantically trying to save her own skin…

    Why is it that I keep falling in love more with NK everytime I read… He has been keeping an eye on Robbie and Khushi silently… Loved the update…

    1. Trent is a spoiled brat who lost his favorite toy and is still pouting over it. But our Arnav didn’t do too shabby a job eh? 😀

      Your ostrich analogy is most apt! Oh, but so many people wants that pound of flesh…

      You’ve made our Aussie very happy, although careful…. Robbie girl is a little… trigger happy 😉

    2. Let’s hope this ostrich’s been working out. This pursuer are rather bloodythirty 😀

      I delight in the response to NK, who really started out as a meta character for jokes and laugh. Somewhere along the way he demanded his rights and a woman of his own 😉

  20. A much awaited confrontation. This Trent is such a shrewd bas****! You did grant the wish of the united fandom…….to break some his ribs. Trent must be too naive or overconfident to think that Khushi will come back to him when he gets a divorce from Payel.
    Our hero’s brain is back in action as he made peace with his heart. I am not done with Trent hope the remaining job of rib racking is taken care by his beloved wife. Desperately looking forward how a certain Raizada wins back his lady love and a peek in Payel’s thinking system!

  21. Dude, just like that, nk and Robbie, are in sync, it doesn’t really need too much other than truth and passion, rt? 🙂
    Anjali the forever sweetheart is in the fray now, hope she is right, I am really really missing khushi

    1. Relationships would be a hell of a lot simpler, not to mention more FUN – if we were all more truthful and passionate 😀

      Good, you are suppose to! lol Next up is our main girl, so hang in there.

  22. Was busy entertaining and checking for updates last night and I read the first part with the bros’ conversation while replenishing supplies. Oh Aman! God why did Anjali get to him first? Why are you making me be so unfaithful to Arnav with matey and now this out of this world hotshot lawyer with a heart of gold? Arnav, I am so glad you realized the importance of the whole cast around you and not just being selfish anymore because as much as you having sacrificed for little brother, he has gone way overboard to ensure happiness comes to your life.
    Robbie girl you have too much Fire inside to be craving normalcy. Her love for Kushi is clearly visible as she worries about her whereabouts. I love NK’s tactics to try and calm her down by talking dirty. Matey’s hotness and dirty talks worked in getting her mind temporarily off Kushj. Love how he lays it all on the line for her and now it is her call. What was sweeter to me was when she whispered , please be real – there are too many a******s in this world that it makes the modern girl to be afraid to let go when the real deal is here. I know she can see through him and is convinced of his sincerity.

    Anjali is always the voice of wisdom in this story, quiet but strong. Leave it to her to figure out where our girl is. Now let’s go get her before she freezes to death.

    Can u tell I am really enjoying this interlude? Keep it coming plz

    1. It’s not us. NK and Aman felt it was unfair that women have been wasting away on Arnav. They know what a sod he is and how it’ll always be a girl named Happiness for him, so… game on 😀

      You know what all this dirty talk and honesty is leading to right? I recommend keeping a very close eye on the next teaser 😉

      Anjali is the only one who isn’t grappling with hormones-overdrive, it allows for clear thinking! 😛

      We turn to our girl next. I can’t wait for your final thoughts on this interlude. Really great company raila – thank you!

  23. If I was ten years younger, I would be fighting these girls for NK and Aman. Reading FWN is like watching a well orchestrated cable drama. Truly, how do you always find the perfect visuals?! I love their conversations, how they are underlined with tension, with sly humor, and flirty banter. Not to mention the sprinkling of culture references, both pop and literary.

    I think I finally caught on as to why our heroine’s been missing for so long. We are suppose to miss her as Arnav does aren’t we? But now with the team fully in sync, please allow Mr. Raizada to find his woman and commence with the art of groveling! 🙂

    1. Since when does age stop you? 😛
      I’m so not in charge of visuals, how K always manage it is magic that I have come to accept without question. We had a long chat about those references… I don’t think everyone catches them, but eh. Writing should be multilayer for different readers right? 😉

      Yes, madam! It’s a technique I came across ages ago. Really loved how the writer steered the readers to empathize with the lead, we did it in a very small way, but I enjoyed the attempt.

      Not sure how you’re going to react to Arnav’s idea of groveling… lol. It’s …. a bit literal, rather unconventional and very ASRish 😀

    2. With a little help from our friends 😉
      I need to introduce you and ZZ. She lives on tumblr though, so one of these days you’ll have to buckle up and join us there!

  24. Fantastic update. Brilliantly written. Thoroughly enjoyed it. So khushi is missing and finally Arnav has realized that he loves and needs khushi. Loved Arnav and trent’s showdown when Arnav clearly states that he wants to posess khushi !! Wonder where did khushi go and why is she not answering Robbie’s calls. Also, what does Anjali know about her dissapearance. Eagerly looking forward to the next update. 🙂

    1. Writing the Trent and Arnav confrontation was such a nail bitter! The expectations from you gals were high… we couldn’t disappoint!

  25. This one was very painful because I am reminded of my mother who I just lost at the end of last summer. The scene at the cemetery was too vivid for me. I will come back in a bit. Sorry . . .

      1. Sorry for being MIA for a long time but the flu hit my house and while nursing my own flu, I had to take care of my 2 dolls and the biggest baby in my house, my husband. The chapter where you described Kushi at her mom’s grave was so well done that it translated into real life for me personally as this was her first winter buried under all the snow we got. My mom is an island girl just like me and I just cannot reconcile that image of her in the icy cold cemetery with all her warmth when she was alive. Anyway, it was really good writing that brought me to tears. That update was really beautiful, and how appropriate is it that it took her falling in love to realize her mistake. I am so glad that she got to ask for forgiveness and a mum being a mum even if she is dead, will forgive whole heartedly. That was simply a great scene girls. I love it.

        As far as the last update, I can tell you it is easy to get lost in a cemetery easily. I spent quite a few times in there when I went to visit my mom and got lost a few times. You can easily die without anyone knowing because it is so huge. So I am really glad that they found her when they did. Love the part when her mom tried to communicate with her by saying he came for her, when she realized his warmth while lost in her foggiest, when Robbie saw the desperate looking mogul on his knees at her friend’s state, when Robbie tried to assure him as she knows that Kushi is in good hands with ASR and how can none not love the banding of the friends to ensure Kushi is taken care of properly. She is indeed one lucky girl. I bet you Arnav could have drilled a hole in the hospital floor with all the pacing he was doing. I have been there outside ER when my mum was in surgery and the not knowing feeling truly eats away at you. Your mind cannot focus on anything or anyone else at that time, just the ticking of the clock and the thought of when the doors will open so you can have some news. Got to love Anjali for injecting some humour during this time with the pregnancy comment. I am with you about the M & B shit as I read those during my earlier years until you realize that real life is no M & B. Anyway, I love the ending of this interlude, him sliding in next to her with the promise of love and of always being there for her. Her mom did not get that from the man she loved.

        1. Oh no! After my illness from hell this year, I’m feel a kinship when I hear the word ‘flu’. I hope mama, darling dolls and man baby are back to full health! 🙂

          Raila, thank you for sharing. Grief was something I struggled with for the longest time when I lost my grandmother to hepatitis. Even after eleven years, there are moments when I feel scrubbed raw. How to reconcile putting someone vibrant with life in that cold hole in ground? It’s damn hard, but I do hope you find comfort in your man and the precious darlings that are an equally strong reminder of the importance of cherishing memories while moving forth.

          Our group have come a long way haven’t they? I think so many relationships fail because people do no seriously consider the roles of family and friends. Our Arshi lucked out!

          Hee, M & B… I’ll leave that particular commentary to S 😀

        2. As long as she’s cherished in such a loving heart, your mother will always be warm Raila. Truly sorry for your loss and thank you for plowing through this update when it must have been emotionally stressful.

          I love how clearly you and Pyre interpret our characters. There are no need to explanations or defense, you just get it. A serious boon to my frustrated mind 😛

          OH M & B…. where the hell to start with you. Deluding young women since 1908. To be fair, the romance genre would not be the same, nor so prolific without it. Ever since News Corp took over they have been adapting to meet the modern woman’s appetite, although the emphasis on pure escapism is still a valid critique. At the very least, the wide eyed virgin isn’t the only heroine anymore 😀

  26. Now Aman has finally caught on! His brother is a changed man! No resemblance to the former self and is not spitting fire at the Dragon Lady who admitted to lying by omission!…
    NK has put forth his intentions before Robbie and it has made her analyse her thoughts and feelings…
    Now the lover boy Arnav… He is now sure of what he wants and whom he wants in his life… He is sure that there is enough space in his hearth and home for both Khushi and Lavanya along with the rest… What more… he intends to give them their due and respect…
    Well Khushi is one good girl who has acknowledged that she needs to apologise to her mom for having a passing thought questioning her mother’s judgement… She has realized the power of love though unrequited as she thinks it to be as of now…
    So Khushi is the one who will be rushed to ER for hypothermia…. Arnav is the one who assures her that he will set things right and he is there for her as per your clues…
    Lovely parts S & K

    1. I think it’s safe to say that Arnav had a shift in emotional intelligence however that brain is still very much his own and works accordingly! 😀

      I do not know why, but I adore the word – lover boy ^^

  27. What do I say about Matthews that hasn’t already been said? That he is a spineless asshole is an already known fact. And now we know that the scum doesn’t even own an iota of brains and can’t even pull a punch successfully. Because all that legacy and virginity bullshit? That was low even for him. Atleast his soon-to-be-ex wife makes a decent opponent. I am glad our hero so effectively made it clear just how undeserving he is of any girl.

    You girls do realize that you have created such fine heroes that they are present only in the world of fiction and not in reality? It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune and a kind, loving heart must a rare species 😛 This fandom has completely ruined all men for me. As it is I didn’t have much expectations to begin with. Now I am going to be stuck dating fictional characters in my head all my life. And I blame the romance genre. *Sigh*

    Gotta go….more later 🙂

    1. Mr. Raizada doesn’t pull his punches… whether he’s right or wrong 😀

      Virginity bullshit – YES! If a guy ever had the balls to say that to a woman, I wish with everything I am for her to give a Robbie-esque clip to the jaw!

      That is why you have to find them BEFORE they make their fortune 😉
      Kidding…. ?
      While FWN is a romantic fantasy, there are men like this in the world. The best advice on relationship ever given to me was from my grandmother – Set your standards, set them high, and don’t ever compromise.

      It’s been my guiding principal in how I approach dating and life as a whole. Today I’m lucky enough to share my life with a truly wonderful man. It’s because I refused to settle on what I wanted in a partner. As yummy as these fictional men are, I promise you, the real thing is way better. It’s not perfect, you have to work at it constantly, but it can be one of the most beautiful journey you ever embark on.

      Figure out what you want, then go search for it! (because the Disney Prince Charmings that come out magically on the white horsie? Those definitely don’t exist =p)

      1. Are you trying to make me jealous? 😀
        Your grandma sounds like such a wonderful lady K. Lucky you to have such a wonderful role model. I adore both of mine, but I can’t imagine bringing up the topic of dating with them!
        After my last dating experience I think I’ll chuck the Prince and take off into the sunset with the horse 😀

    2. When is this later? 😀

      That may be, just depends on your idea of Mr. Right. Agreed. The romance genre as a whole should be held responsible for raising a girl’s expectation, only for the woman’s heart to be crushed when faced with the reality of princely beasts … or just outright beasties lol

      My best friend’s solution? We need to get guys reading romance novels so they know what’s expected of them! 😛

  28. Great update. 🙂 Looks like the meeting with Arnav finally made her look at her mom with new eyes and made her want to seek her mom’s forgiveness. Really want Arnav to apologize to khushi for acting like a jerk.

  29. What a terrific interlude!!! Robbie—what a great friend to have in your life. Always there to protect Khushi. She put Arnav in his place too, but backed down a bit when she saw his pain and anguish for Khushi. NK is amazing. The calm thinker…always one step ahead of what ends to be done.

    Trent/Arnav confrontation – Trent is such a *rick. What a pathetic guy. He thinks if he flaunts Khushi’s legacy that her father left to her she would come running back to him. LOOOSEEER!!! He has no idea what she is about. Khushi knows that in these 9 days she has fallen in love with everything about Arnav…all of him for all of her.
    Glad Arnav decked him and told him off that he could care less about not being Khushi’s first, but he definitely plans on staying her last. He he he

    I am happy that Khushi isn’t running away. Trent cleared that doubt in her mind :-). Visiting her mom to ask for forgiveness. First step to letting go…to err is human to forgive is divine. Her mother was only in love.

    Arnav get to her soon…you have a lot to make up for. Let the groveling begin. She has been waiting for you!!!!

    Look forward to the next update.

    1. Men who prize virginity are forever on my shit list. It’s a membrane, GET OVER IT.
      I do think a woman’s first time is important, since it will influence how she views her sexuality and self. The physical aspect however has truly been distorted by pop culture and outdated gender views. >.<

      Perfectly said ak! To err is human. But the act of seeking forgiveness and granting it, sets us apart.

    2. Hahaha I really do love the reaction to Trent. Makes me curious to know how it would be if the shoe was on the other foot 😀

  30. Sorry I haven’t commented in a while, but I have been reading every update, teaser and interlude and it’s always such a wonderful read. The story has really picked up speed…nani’s confession, Khushi’s reveal, nk-Robbie romance and most importantly our man in love, finally! loved it when he openly accepts Khushi as his woman… I was wishing for the body bags n lawyers to be brought to room 414, lol, but Arnav gave him good! Now waiting for “them” to collect! Robbie and NK’s characters just keep getting better and better, I love them. Of all ppl wasn’t expecting Anjali to be the one to find Khushi, and the location was a surprise too, u gals are too too good! Khushi’s graveside apology/talk was heart wrenching…pls let Arnav find her soon, looking forward to happy days 🙂

    1. Well I’m glad you decided to hop back in the peanut gallery. We understand that you gals have other obligations, but it’s always lovely to have company here. ^^

      Body bags and lawyers were given serious consideration. However we have a PG-16 label to worry over… not to mention it would be far to tempting to turn it into a thriller after the fact 😀

      Really? We actually gave the foreshadowing in Night #5. If one reads carefully enough, all the answers to FWN’s mysteries are nestled within earlier chapters 😉

    2. And why not Miss Scott? We enjoy your company, don’t be a stranger! 😀
      I wouldn’t discount body bags and lawyers just yet lol

      Our characters must earn their keep by serving a purpose, Anajli was definitely up for bat 😉

  31. Not disappearing.. But getting better at patiently waiting for the updates (just kidding, I still check the site so many times every single day for new updates hahaha ;P ) .. Actually because I’m getting pretty busy with schoolwork and studying, so I come here less often =(

    Yeah that’s right! Don’t mess with Robbie! She’s not gonna give a crap that Arnav is the richest man in NYC, or that seeing Arnav in a state of pain and suffering, Robbie will stand up for Khushi until the end. Robbie is such a great friend to Khushi, she’ll protect Khushi no matter what happens.

    The interaction between Arnva and Trent was brilliant. Trent is too over confident with himself that he’s the man that Khushi will come back to. What a fcking bastard Trent is, and good on Arnav to use those boxing combos. You gotta punch some sense into Trent. Khushi’s not gonna come back to you just because you were her first love, or that she gave you her virginity, or that you’ll be getting a divorce, or that you still love her.

    Khushi is going to be unconscious at her mother’s grave when Arnav finds her. He’s going to be there to protect her and assure her that he’ll be there for her forever, and that she’ll be forever in his life.

    1. How you flatter us ^^
      Focus on school, we don’t want to be held liable for poor performance!

      It’s funny, but when we initially drafted Robbie, we had some abstract ideas to make her Arnav’s ex. 😀 But then a certain Aussie came about, and the rest as they say, is history.

      Careful, your romantic heart is showing there Erica 😉
      But I’m with you, the girl’s been hurt enough, time for the woman to get her heart’s desire.

    2. How many times a day? 😀
      Be a good girl and focus on school, but it doesn’t hurt to hop in here for breaks!

      In my next one shot, I’m going to make Arnav dirt poor. It’s a dynamic I’m just itching to play with! btw do check out our one shots when you get the chance. I think you may like 😉

      Robbie is totally the shit isnt’ she?

      All the comments in the peanut gallery regarding Trent has left me undecided on how to end things for him.

      K – I just can’t make up my mind either. We may end up doing a coin toss 😛

  32. Wonderful update .You know how to play with human emotions. Your characters are not just black and white. All are just complicated.

  33. At last they found Khushi and it was Anjali’s clue and Aman’s hawkeye that found Khushi…
    Good to see both Anjali and Robbie living up to my expectation…
    Robbie is one matured person when to give up retaliation and join forces for a greater cause…
    Haha… By the time HP Daniels comes out with the hidden skeleton… Arnav would have openly acknowledged Lavanya as his half sister… Shyam and Payal and whoever else is behind it along with HP Daniels will be eating crow!

    Lovely update S & K

    1. Robbie wants happiness for her girl, now that she sees just how much Arnav cares… she’s not going to jeopardize it with pettiness. How lovely if all members of the sisterhood is as genuine yeah?

      Ah ha! Such confidence in Mr. Raizada and his abilities. Will he live up to it I wonder…. 😉

  34. Omg, this one was extremely high on intensity and drama, and last para, frankly it took away the attention directly to next update,
    But but but, the silent talk between Khushi and arnav so simple and so sweet, things are really that simple rt? We unnecessarily make them convoluted and confusing
    Bravo to you gals, s and k, well done

    1. Thank you for the company throughout this update savvz! 🙂
      Our writing sessions for this one left me exhausted, weaving in and out of so many characters is a rather interesting experience.

      Ah, a very good observation about life. However… we like the convoluted – gives us an open playground to indulge in =p That conversation as Mel so aptly labels it, is more ‘soul-talk’ than real. It’s our nod to the dream sequence in IPK. Our Arnav has a while to go yet 😀

    2. Thank you savvz!
      That’s the goal. We want you keep those brains churning and the anticipation building! 😀

  35. I read this on a recommendation from Ruchi and Di- and it was definitely worth the ride! They were right- this is a fantastic story. It’s just the right combination of intrigue and fun and naughty. You had me hook, line and sinker with your Arnav- there is something incredibly sexy about him. Also, can I tell you that you guys have fantastic taste? I generally don’t like pictures with stories, but in this one- it just adds to the ambiance. This was such a great read, and the perfect alternative to doing my math homework. I loved it! And I can’t wait for the next chapter.

    Love always,
    Choti.

    P.S.: I’m also damn impressed by the way you guys respond to every comment- that takes hella dedication, and I am seriously amazed.

    1. A warm welcome to FWN Choti! ^^
      We are lucky to have so many wonderful readers recommending the story.
      Glad you decided to plunge down this particular rabbit hole… although careful, as we don’t provide an exit 😀

      The photos do add a bit of oomph yeah? =p

      It would be a chore if we didn’t enjoy it, but as we take immense delight in the peanut gallery, it has become an essential part of our writing experience. Don’t be a stranger!

    2. Welcome to FWN Choti!
      Careful… hook, line and sinker may lead to drowning 😀
      … although drowning in Mr. Raizada wouldn’t be such a terrible thing right?

      Nice to know in a competition with math homework, we win! 😉

      … my fingers certainly hate me after an answering marathon lol, but it’s enjoyable to engage with such a range of minds. There is definitely reward in it.

  36. That was such an exceptional update. I fall short of words to describe how much incredible writers you two are. To name one character i love in the story would be unjustness to others. Roller coster, it’s the word to relate the emotions of your story. If Khushi asking her mother for forgiveness had me in tears than Aman proclaiming himself expert on certain matter made me burst into peals of laughter. I’m sorry but my schedule is too jam packed to make me give a detailed comment, as my A levels are fast approaching. And by the way last part of the update had me mulling about how many more mysteries you girls have in your bag?

    1. Thank you Pray ^^
      While FWN is ultimately fantasy, we do like to keep it grounded in realism. I’m glad you enjoyed the gamut of emotions we flew through in this update!

      Good luck on your A levels and join us when you can 🙂

      As for our bag of tricks…… how well do you know Mary Poppins? 😉

    2. No worries, spend enough time with us, you’ll start accumulating an Oxford dictionary’s worth of words 😀

      Good luck on the A levels…. don’t mull on the mysteries until after you study for them!

  37. S & K…. Here is a message from Shree 10 ( Ms. Kitty)
    “I have been on vacation till next week and don’t have my login details on WordPress. So can’t comment on fwn.”

    1. Too cute! Thanks rulama for playing messenger 😀
      Please tell her to enjoy said vacation, but I expect a lengthy love note upon her return! ^^

    2. Please relay my message to Ms. Kitty –

      1. Have a blast!
      2. Too damn adorable!
      3. She’ll be missed.
      4. I expect a postcard in lieu of a comment! 😀

  38. Amazing update as always ladies!! Robbie is such a spitfire!!…….love the way she goes against Arnav for hurting Khushi…….a true friend indeed. NK is so in tune with Arnav…..really knows and understands him very well!! Wat makes Trent think at Khushi will want him cos he is getting a divorce? Like seriously he needs to think again n if dat doesn’t wrk den he needs to bash is head against the wall! Finally Arnav realises Khushi is like the very breath he needs to survive…..loved it!!

    1. Ha! You gals really have it out for Trent =p
      Maybe he reads too much Cosmo? I swear that magazine doles out the worst relationship advice, and yet it’s still in circulation!

      I’m glad you enjoyed Arnav’s journey to that essential realization! 😉

  39. Nice update.Poor Arnav.

    ২০১৫-০৩-২২ ১৫:৫৯ GMT -০৭:০০, S&K’s Arshi FF Adventures

  40. The conclusion of this Interlude left me speechless, and you both know I’m rarely speechless. Although prepare yourselves because after sitting on it over the weekend I’ve found a lot of words. 😀

    Khushi’s graveside visit was unexpected, but how I love it. I’m so glad she wasn’t running away, but our poor girl! It must have been tough to grow up knowing your father had another family, then to actually live with that family ….no doubt they were verbal about their hate.

    It’s understandable that she harbors some resentment and much confusion towards her mother. I’m glad that once she understood her own heart, her instinct was to go visit her parents. Her apology and conversation with them were so sequentially Khushi…. loving and mature yet tinged with a sweet innocence. This is why Robbie is so protective of her and how she managed to break through Arnav’s ice.

    “Anger diffused as he anchored himself with his precious cargo within the protective circle of their friends.”

    Hands down my favorite line as it completely embodies what makes FWN… FWN. You have Arshi at the center, but surrounded by a rich circle of friendship, family ties and connections.

    And that bonding moment between Arnav and Robbie! I’m really looking forward to their future interactions. May we please, please have a scene where they gang up on Khushi?

    lol… Anjali’s comment almost gave me a heart attack! Funny enough my first thought was M&B. You two…

    And finally…. I think this chapter belongs to Arnav. He totally stepped up for his ‘She’ Slaying her demons with some kickass boxing moves, giving her best friend his reassurance, and placing her safety above his anger.

    That silent exchange… simple and beautiful, but how crafty of you two to pay tribute to the show while screwing with us, because I’m 99% sure that conversation was completely imagined!

    Thank you for this fantastic read…. now hurry up and give us the next night before I leap out of my skin from impatience!

    1. Well …. you did find your words =p
      Hahaha, I told S you were going to request such a scene! 😀 You know how it is, no promises, but we’ll consider. The remaining updates are pretty tightly packed since we are at the end stretch…. but that’s why we have an epilogue 😉

      Careful, your Arnav bias is flashing neon.
      Right you are about the end. You know it can’t be that easy, we would be facing slaughter! From our conscious first, with the peanut gallery close behind!

      Yes, yes. Will endeavor to keep your skin in place!

    2. I think you’re taking on my habit of word vomit 😀
      Trust you to immediately make such a request. lol Well… I wouldn’t rule it out… We really need more chapters to round things out…. gigantic updates it will be.

      I thought that whole dream sequence in the show was weird. K had to talk me into it, but once she outlined how she wanted to tie in the thoughts starting from Khushi’s conversation with her parents at the cemetery I was totally on board. Now you can safely add the last 1% to it! 😛

      Scroll up a bit, I think you’ll enjoy my comments on M & B to Raila.

  41. Wow…words do fall short with us ..when you girls weave a beautiful web of them around us…..
    Kushi facing her demons t seeking forgiveness…..
    Now we cant be anything but happy that she has her love and true friends with her to hold her from falling apart ever again…..Circle of Life with friends and love..both she and Arnav have come together….
    Robbie so is fully ready to join hands with the true love of Brotherhood for she knows and sees happiness there for all….
    Aman has truly found the” One ” for all

    What more you did end it on a much awaited HP Daniels…so he is now going to open up the Pandoras Box publicly ?????

    1. Awww… thank you sweetheart ^^ How you do indulge us!

      ‘Now we cant be anything but happy that she has her love and true friends with her to hold her from falling apart ever again’
      —– ahem… well… we do have 5 updates to go… 😉

      VERY publicly. 😀

    2. Life is not nearly as daunting when you are amongst friends 😀
      After everything Khushi suffered, she deserves to find a family of her own choosing.

      We should give Aman a medal… or at the very least a steamy uninterrupted honeymoon of his own 😉

  42. Wow! Was waiting for the drama that would follow after finding Khushi. Loved the overly worried, terrified Arnav, wouldn’t mind if he remains in a somewhat similar state in the next couple of updates😜, ofcoz only where his khushi is concerned! Robbie is team Arnav, hurray!!! I so want them to team up and go around collecting, how abt that Indiana retaliation, starting with P Gupta?
    I like how u lightened up the ER scene with Anjali’s question n the comments that followed, poor Aman, lol! The ending was so sweet, Arnav reassuring himself of Khushi’s presence, and the soul-talk.

    1. Hmmmm…. I really like ‘soul-talk’ ^^
      Good to see you here Mel!

      Ha! You and S are of the same school of thought. She loves Arnav being a first class bastard to everyone, but treats his Khushi like a queen. A Mr. Darcy complex? 😀

      FWN operates in a world of fantasy, but we like it to be as realistic as possible… does that make sense? I’m so glad you mentioned the ER scene! We love shifting being moods and tones, but do worry about reader whiplash =p

      P. Gupta clearly needs to watch her back! We’ve planned her ending… although… not sure how it’ll be received by you gals. HEE. Stay tune!

    2. Yeeessss!!!!! I totally have a Mr. Darcy obsession and damn proud of it thank you very much. 😛

      I love it when you guys nail it with the right words. Love soul-talk!

  43. The update is final here!!

    The overwhelming theme for me here is Khushi. In both a figurative and literal sense

    The unity the protagonists show here in helping one woman is truly beautiful. Its honesty and love in all of its silent, unquestioning hues.

    Arnav’s search for his happiness and the journey towards her and it, is brilliantly heartening. I must admit, that NK’s unfailing support for Arnav and Robbie, really made him a silent hero of sorts in this update for me and I love him for that I really do.

    The moments you carve out for NK and Robbie are beautifully honest, heartfelt and real. They are truly en-route towards their own happiness with each other at the end of this, and it is a wonderfully written realisation of their relationship and binds of friendship which brought them together.

    Arnav’s interaction with Trent was everything you eluded to and more. I usually believe myself to be quite a harmonious woman, but boy did that man deserve all he was gifted with the hands of Arnav and more! It was poignant to leave that man hunched over on the floor at the end of his interaction with Arnav, but his vengeance will be a sight to see as he too chases Khushi.

    Nani’s efforts to keep her family protected and happy are wonderfully shown here with the small interaction between the Raizada brothers. Although I am sure it was a mere groundwork for something bigger later, the promises you bring with your words leave me excited for more on that front.

    And to finally find his Khushi as he did, ignited an overwhelming sense of relief in my heart too. Both for finding that beautiful woman and its glorious sensations. Khushi has been so awfully betrayed by life, that I hope Arnav’s embrace at the end of the update is symbolic of all that is wonderful to come into her world.

    Apologies that this isn’t as comprehensive as I would like as the real world is keeping me awfully busy, but your updates are a gift of respite they truly are!

    Beautiful work as ever ladies! Xx

    1. Its honesty and love in all of its silent, unquestioning hues. —- I love this line, Manreet! So very very apt in summing up the thread that connects our kindred spirits. 🙂

      Trent keeps me up at night. I feel we haven’t properly tapped into him. I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling. But that confrontation was so much fun to write! I actually read it out loud after we finished and was laughing like a crazy lady =p

      NK will get his due in the next update. It has been earned many times over! 😉

      I think next to S and myself you truly connect with the Khushi we are trying to portray. She is a beautiful soul isn’t she?

      1. I completely agree and understand your perspective on Trent. Honestly speaking: I find him a spineless man who has realised too late in life what he wants from it. He doesn’t strike me as a bad man, but a good man trapped in bad circumstances. Admittedly they are a by-product of his own doing, but sometimes the greed of something better tomorrow makes you forget the gems of today.

        NK does, doesn’t he? He’s certainly an unpolished diamond, but even the rough edges hold a certain untainted beauty.

        It is so easy to connect to Khushi. She is a haunted soul but by no means a kindred spirit. She is wonderfully fragile but by no means vulnerable. She loves with everything she has to give without compromising on who she is. Khushi is a woman. Beautiful, honest and simple. If I could summarise in one line; she just wishes to love and be loved equally in return. By that same breath; don’t we all? Therefore, it really is very easy to connect to happiness. Xxxx

        1. Ooooo me like. How many of us are guilty of the same? That promising/taunting/elusive tomorrow….

          And to think he came about as a meta joke 😀

          FWN definitely TRIES to explore what it means to a woman in modern times, especially in regards to relationships. I’m not sure how much of that comes across, but it is part of the larger conversation S and I have together. You know it’s surprising what ideologies come out when you write. I truly didn’t realize how high I prize emotional equality in a relationship…. nor what a sappy romantic I am =p

          1. Hehe even after all these months, I’m surprised that my thoughts are still able to surprise you! And being a sappy romantic is underrated, welcome to the club 😀 xx

    2. Whenever I read one of your lovely notes I feel guilty I haven’t hied myself over to your corner of the ficverse. Swear, it is on my to-do as soon as I actually start reading ffs again. 🙂 Really looking forward to a certain collab that SOMEBODY needs to get to *cough, cough, chokes*

      A harmonious woman huh? I feel doubly complimented then! 😀

      K if you would just bloody agree with me on Trent, you wouldn’t be up at night. 😛 Although to be fair, I’m hounded by Mr. Jha Why the hell did we draft so many damn characters?!!!!

      I’m glad you enjoy our matriarch, I think Night #9 in particular will be a fruitful one for our Dragon Lady 😉

      No complaints about the comments Manreet. AD comes first, no matter how much we would wish otherwise! Your company is such a joy, but please don’t feel obligated.

      1. To share something with you: I’ve been editing and re-writing some of my stories and I’ve seriously been cringing throughout the process. Why people are kind enough to indulge my amateur ramblings I do not know, but I am incredibly thankful of the same. Saying that however: please don’t feel guilty. If anything I feel awful for inflicting my crap out there!!!

        As for this collab: I think AD and human limitations are sadly affecting us both 😛

        And I look forward to the treasure of secrets to be revealed by the Dragon Woman’s fair fingers 😀 xxxx

  44. Oh finally they found her …. Y is she apologizing to her parents?? Robbie approves of arnav now yay … Means no indiana jones 😛
    Awesome update… Anjali is amazing… Awesome update… Trent ur time is upp n so is payals

    1. Was it somehow unclear? She states it pretty plainly… Arnav’s words to Lavanya hits her hard because it’s actually a verbalization of her own secret thoughts. She harbors shame about being an illegitimate child, and unconsciously blamed her mother for it.

      Haha Indiana Jones, huh? Wonder if our NK should be worried 😉

        1. Understandable. ^^ Honestly, I know many readers juggle 10+ stories at a time and I’m floored by it. How do you keep the story lines separate?!

          1. I really don’t knw … 🙂 i do have to read a chap multiple times if I forget or dont get it but its fun the writers like u all write so beautifully

          2. Thanks sweetie! I actually really miss reading FFs. Since I started writing, there’s been very little time for it. I mostly dig through one shots these days.

            I’ll tell you a secret… I have a habit of reading first chapters, a random middle chapter and last chapters only. S think I’m strange… she’s probably right. =p

  45. I have no words to write hw awesome ur story is.. everything is der… romance passion anger suspense revenge love each n every emotions. Hw on earth I missed ds story. Thanks once again manreet_gill. If u didn’t say I would have not read one of d most awesome story til nw.. Thanks guys. Keep writing. Love..

    1. We have an angel in our mist! 😉 Welcome to FWN!
      And of course thank you to Manreet for sending unsuspecting souls down our rabbit hole =p

      Thank you for the compliments. Heh, we don’t do much advertising for the story, so unless you heard it down the grapevine….

      Enjoy and do share your thoughts with us!

  46. Arnav’s heart is at peace with his ”precious cargo “breathing right in front of him.
    Khushi being Khushi confessed her mistake to her parents as soon as she understood how your heart works when it finds true love.
    Robbie seems to see the real Arnav hidden under the ASR image. It is not far away that we can count her with Aman and NK.
    Anjali’s comment in the ER cracked me up with NK’s “condoms do break” reply…….God I have never enjoyed the supporting caste so much. You gals r really amazing! All is well now in ARSHI’S world…….watch out Mr and Mrs Trent!

    1. Ah Rani, thank you ^^ How are you doing by the way. Things have lightened up I hope. 🙂
      Robbie has a soft core despite that hard shell. She’s actually very much like someone we know and adore. 😉

      All is well in Arshi’s world…. is it? 😛

    2. Isn’t that life? We often pass judgement on things simply because we haven’t experienced it.

      Robbie is always first and foremost Team Khushi. However, when the right guy comes along, she’s going to make sure her girl gets that forever. If all members of the sisterhood had such a mentality we would be ruling the world now.

      Thanks for the good company and I’m glad we’re providing you with some laughs – tis good for the soul! 🙂

  47. This story is awesome, written superbly.
    Ever emotion came alive while reading this story
    Words were so vivid that i could actually feel every emotion of each character that u wanted to convey.

    1. What’s in a compliment?! Thanks sweetsaakhi for the kind words. We are true amateurs, and feel very lucky by the reception we’ve been receiving from everyone. 🙂

  48. read all in one go….simply amazing…

    it was serendipity that they found each other,
    and have now found solace in each other…

    u hv penned such complex characters n yet they demand the simplest of the things….simply astounding…. speechless…….

    1. In one go? I’m… impressed and concerned 😛

      A very astute observation there cathy. I look forward to your company in our future updates!

  49. Stumbled upon this story yesterday….and I’m hooked….
    It’s 7am Sunday in India…..never in my life had I waken up so early on a Sunday morning… just for reading the story I woke up at 6 😀
    Awesome story…the romance,the passion, emotions and the dialogues are simply amazing…..
    The characters are just tooo good….

    Keep up the good work….looking fwd for the next chapter….

    1. A warm welcome to FWN milii 🙂
      Wow! Up at 6 just for us? I’m honored. 😀
      Do share your thoughts on the story with us. We like knowing which aspects of the romance, passion and dialogues you applauded or wish to throw a tomato or two at us 😛

  50. This update was amazing, probably my favorite of them all. I think my most favorite part of all of this is the way you guys write and develop the different relationships in the story. Robbie-Khushi, NK-Robbie, NK-Arnav, Arnav-Aman, Aman-Anjali, Anjali-Khushi, and most importantly Arnav-Khushi. The silent convo at the end was beautiful. Arnav holding Khushi to him at the cemetary was beautiful. I’m eagerly waiting for the part when they confess and clear all misunderstandings/doubts between them. Imperfect as they both are, they complete each other and that’s what makes me so happy. (Seriously though, the way you guys write these characters makes them seem real, it’s crazy.) Khushi is, I’d have to say, my favorite character, and I’m very interested in seeing how she reacts to whatever it is Arnav does next.
    Also, the [fight] scene between Arnav and Trent was great, I was cheering on Arnav in my head while reading 😀

    1. I don’t know why, but the Interludes are my personal favorites as well 😀
      Thank you so much for such a compliment Sheethal! It means a lot to us, truly. Although, you left out our uber important bromantic pair! Aman-NK 😉

      Hahaha I think I heard a collective hell yeah from the peanut gallery during our Arnav v. Trent trussle 😛

    2. Aww thank you so much Sheethal! It delights me to no end that our other pairings get so much love from the peanut gallery. It was one thing we really stressed over when we started FWN.

      Khushi is why I fell in love with IPK in the first place. Her spirit, her love of life, her honesty. It killed me when the show stripped her of all those wonderful qualities. 🙁

      Ha! Arnav totally stepped up yeah?

  51. Trent deserved all those punches and more.
    NK still has time before he gets that black lacy action 😉
    Arnav has changed, in 9 days and then in past 4 days he has changed a lot. He is beginning to see a new perspective which he never thought he will but he is walking on the path of love.
    It was right. Trent came too late. Now it’s impossible for him to get Khushi. Neither Khushi wants him now nor Arnav would allow that to happen after realising his love for Khushi.
    Glad that Anjali was there to let them know where Khushi would be otherwise God knows what would have happened to her. I hope that this time Arnav won’t let Khushi go and will stop behaving like a jerk. Because if that happens I don’t know about Robbie I ,for sure , am going to kick Arnav really hard.

    1. I feel an urgent need to defend my ASR 😀
      He’s arrogant, rude, assuming and stubborn. However, he isn’t unreasonable nor unfeeling. Considering the weight of responsibilities he had to shoulder at such a young age, not to mention a lot of misguided assumption about his parents, he turned out alright. And lucky him (and us) there’s an NK and a Aman to keep him in check. 😉

      1. I’m not saying that he is unfeeling. But at the moment I am feeling bad for Khushi too.
        Also I said that I’ll kick him if he falters, I’m sure he won’t now. 😉

    2. You cant kick Arnav just like that, GAL! 😐 Call him any names kicking, Na ji Na… Waise bhi he’s adorable when he screws up! 😛 😉

  52. Finally.. back. Missed this blog and peanut gallery soooooooooo much. had no access to my laptop and couldnt login from my phone.. 🙁 will be back later. Hope you girls are doing well.
    Lots of catching up to do..

    1. Welcome back shree!!! I totally missed seeing that kitty icon 😉
      How was your vacation? I hope you’re well rested for our next marathon session of FWN 😛

    2. And we’ve missed your company Miss Shree! ^^
      Go play catch up and join us in the next night soon!
      And thank you for sending through a message even while on vacation – precious!

    1. We are very erratic and undisciplined with updates. No amount of nagging, demands, threats, or bribes will work… although you’re welcome to try 😀

  53. wow… a newfriendship made.. arnav n robbie.. what a pair,.. now am assured tht she will help arnav to learn crawling:-)
    he is so deeply buried in his lust n love and insecurities , he didnt bother to check where n how she has been living…. good tht he didnt comment much on her apartment in front of Robbie, else am sure she wud have kicked him then n there..
    and tht Matthews shud start counting his days, he dared to mess with arnavs love… and we shud give some credit to talk back to arnav wen he is in his ASR mode…
    also thanks to him for callin khushi n makin her realise how much she lov her mom… poor girl
    and thanks to Anji for her presence of mind…
    the scene from the time arnav see her fainted till he holds her pulse in the hospital is simply superb…
    guessing tht msg from daniels is to payal… she seems more evil than she appears to be…
    another stupid doubt… wen khushi said her mother died during labour,,,does tht mean she hav a sibling?? and sashi being the father?

    1. He’s not being a snob, he’s genuinely concerned about the girls safety. In large urban cities, this is a very legitimate concern.
      No doubts are stupid, we welcome your thoughts and insights. It gives us much food for thought and often remind us of loose threads to the story we need to return to and address. So do keep them coming!

  54. Oh arnav..u are such a sweetheart…a bossy one…
    the ending telepathic convo between arshi…hayyeeee…its just perfect…
    enjoyed reading every bit of this interesting update….
    so Trent Mathews, in his own way, has helped arshi to sought out their feelings for each other…hope will not create problems for khushi in future…
    amazing writing dearies…

  55. Great update!
    I’m happy Arnav beated Trent up!
    I was very sentimental when reading Khushi’s p.o.v. The manner in which she spoke to her parents had me wiping tears 🙁
    I am starting to love the change in Arnav, lets hope he stays this way.
    Hopefully HP Daniels does not mess our new equilibrium.
    Wonderful update girls 🙂

  56. Sorry girls, am super late in reading this chapter but let me tell you have thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Loved it when you girls say ‘hungry for something that held a piece of her’. Beautifully written, captures the essence so well. You girls made me fall in love with Arnav all over again (still not a fan of Robbie/Aman). Oh I miss sex and the city, thanks for the reference. The cemetery scene gave me goose bumps. Khushi’s conversation was so emotional, it may be gulp a little. Team Arnav it is then!!!! Will be another few days before I get to the next chapter, exams in the corner keeping me away 🙁

    1. I think you’ve made a smart choice to stay one chapter behind us 😀
      Sweetie, you don’t have to be a fan of Robbie and Aman. Heh, heh. We are happy with the overall reception to our supporting cast, so it’s nice to get different reactions and thoughts.

      Me too! There’s nothing on TV that rivals the awesomeness of SATC. I miss those crazy awesome outfits and our foursome.

      Good luck on the exams!

  57. I’m am so so sorry for not being here for so long! I had exams and these weeks have been very long for me but I am back! 😀 And I loved this part so much! It touched me like every other part but I do love this:
    Trent: “What are you here for?”
    Arnav: “My woman”
    It brought a huge smile to my face. Thank you 😀

    1. One thing I forgot to mention… I loved the conversation Arnav and Khushi’s minds had with each other near the end <3

  58. Yes Arnav did more than drop Trent from a height, gave him the old one two and a bit more! Lovely. It brought tears yo my eyes reading khushis conversation eith her mother. So Shashi is buried eoth her mother, in death they were together. So shee did that by giving up her inheritance. Gosg Garima a Payal… the spple doesnt fall far from the tree. Im glad that the conversation with trent meant nothing to her. Truely a fabulous story

  59. Ok… I have no original words or thoughts… I keep coming back to how intense all characters are even those who are laid back ( but entirely superficially ). I really am unable to pick a favorite character at this point. Arnav, maybe, well because he is Arnav, but the entire supporting cast has had me with “Hello”. And guess what I just connected… HP Daniels… HP. I am too slow. Love this story.

  60. Reading about the actual living conditions of these two precious women from Arnav’s POV was scary to say the least. I reiterate that it really was a miracle that they stayed safe for so long.

    Ah Robbie, how I wish I could be like her! And say such outrageous stuff out loud to people 😛 God the way she explained the situation in business terminology to Arnav had me wooting and clapping! What awesomeness! And LOL about the photoshop comment and NK’s response to that!

    “Dream women. Better, because they were real.” Word!!! Cue applause

    Arnav thanking Robbie for finding and safeguarding Khushi until he entered her life was just awwwwwwwwwwww.

    NK is really gonna end up being MY psychiatrist/psychologist (I always get confused between them). Kya gyaan deta hai yaar wo! And again a wonderful proverb “Don’t let your tongue say what your head may pay for.” Such gems you guys have used in your work! I gotta make a list man! So that they are handy whenever I need ’em.
    LOL NK even has boxing combos on his mind! That dude is one in a billion! Can I order one NK please? Just as a friend will also do!

    Uh-oh the faceoff begins. Gotta give it to Trent though, he held himself up well (meaning I expected him to be more of a wimp) That convo had my blood boiling. What a grade A jackass. Goooooooooooooooooooooo Arnav! Beat the crap outta that disgusting monster.

    If only we could make more men aware of this in India who are hung up on having “virgin” brides > ““It does kill me. Not because I have some hang up about a fucking membrane, but because you aren’t worthy.””

    NK’s zingers always make me ROFL! And there go the three dudes with their howlarious yet serious dialogues!

    NK & Robbie’s dirty talk and innuendos are just the right amount of spice and naughty! Their chemistry is getting to nuke level now!

    The words of the flower lady about pride and forgiveness were deep maaaan. Such amazing lines you two have put here, that I’ll end up making a really long quotes list from your chapters.

    Khushi’s talk with her mother was very touching. I was moved with all that she bared. “What made you send a man who sees the world in black and white, when I’m born from the gray he doesn’t acknowledge?” I wish there was an applause wala emoticon here. Heck instead of typing anything in my comment would have just used that over and over and over again.

    Even in tense situations, you two put in words that make me grin! How I am supposed to be serious you guys, if you keep on doing this? LOL Aman n NK!!!! Sigh “sweet n gentle yet not naive and a pushover”, I wish the Anjali in the show had the last two qualities as well. That image of Sanaya! Perfection!

    PS. I have had enough with Trent and Payal, so this Daniels person is gonna be at the receiving end of ALL of my wrath. Damnit, let the people be in peace yo. *shakes fist*

  61. There’s something about absence making the heart grow fonder…well in Anav’s case it’s more like accepting that it’s already happened. I love that Khushi is not wallowing in her sorrows and instead acting on making herself stronger by facing the past demons.

    Trent is an ASS.. Not sure how else to describe how I feel about him….and he and Payal deserve each other.

    Continuing on to the next part…love this story!!!

  62. I just don’t like such updates. Where I’ll be so restless to know what’s going to happen. Will he or wont he questions are so damn frustrating but honestly I enjoyed it here 🙂 From beginning to end.

    On this update I wanna confess two things.. First is that I knew someone had set up Khushi deliberately on Aman’s engagement when I read the part where Arnav couldn’t take his eyes off her. That is the first chapter, but didn’t know who. And secondly I knew Arnav’s first investor or whatever Shashi was , was Khushi’s father. But never in my wildest thoughts did i think she might be illegitimate. Goodness Lord!

    So applauds for me for guessing them right… Hihi 😛

    Trent, my dear Khushi is going to be proud of Arnav’s martial arts. And you are a loser and late lateef. Humph! Get back to your abyss with Payal. Good. Luck!

    NK and Robbie… Adorable little brats.. Hahaha… And Robbie Sinclair your green signal gave me such relief. Phew! Thank you girl 😉

    Anjali as much as I love you for finding Khushi I do hate you for taking Aman away. 😐

    Anyway it was such a treat to read this part and now what’s this Daniels up to *narrows eyes … Who is behind this? Shyaam? Payal?

  63. This chapter reminded me of Arnav’s desperation in the show when he thought she had been in an accident, and it had just as much of an impact here, I see. It takes almost losing someone we love to realize that love.

    So glad Arnav kicked Trent’s ass. Now it’s Khushi’s turn. Please have her punch him at least once before this is through.

    NK & Robbie. Hell yeah! These two might be (and don’t kill me for it) my favorite couple of all. That’s the story I would wish for myself. As fun as it is to read about a drama filled, high intensity, love story, I’m too lazy. I like this better 😛

    Daniels…screw you. I hope Arnav buries your career.

  64. Tulips are beautiful flowers and i hate that theyre not much appreciated. That little conversation between Khushi and the vendor is what held my heart in the entire chapter. Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave. A heart melting story, definitely my new favorite. 😀

  65. So perfectly executed. My fav part, the non-conversation between Arnav and Khushi in the hospital room. But the entire interlude was… darn it where is that thesaurus when I need it?…. for lack of another more original word…INTENSE!

  66. Gosh girls!! You are beyond amazing!!!

    But firstly, hang on while I kick myself for not checking this out earlier, what with me being a huge fan of your other blog ficverse, knew about its existence long before. Very high recommendation from two of my friends brought me here and boy am I glad! 🙂

    I knew I have to be an active reader to gain access to the forbidden areas but still this is my first comment on the story so far. And it’s not because I didn’t have any thoughts to share. I did.. But I just couldn’t. And I blame you for that..,for making it so unputdownable. Plus it was near impossible for me to stop and write a few lines when the next update is staring at me with those delectable pictures for banners. Darn those pictures!! Those tantalizing black and white pictures! Often times, I couldn’t look past them. There, I said it. 😀

    Now when I’m nearing the last leg of the story, I foooorced myself to stop and comment because of the bubbling excitement on the verge of bursting inside me and also because I could earn some brownie points so that you give me the chance to taste the premium stuff. 😉

    Now to the main part.. What an intricately woven tale this is with such fine story telling! And I’m in love with your writing. The characters, the setting, the conversations, everything is so real and perfectly etched that it’s hard to think of it as fiction. When I think of the story, it’s like I’m thinking of someone I know in my life than a fictional character. Man you’ve got me so hooked that I’m using literally every free minute to read this and when I’m not, I’m thinking of it.

    Every character is interesting and has its role to play. It does not happen often that I’m interested in any other character than the protagonists, you know. But I’m as curious to know more about NK and Robbie as I am about Arnav and Khushi if not more. NK and Robbie… how bratty-ly cute are they! When are we going to know what NK stands for, I wonder! 😉
    I even want to know more about Aman and Anjali.. Polar opposites they are, aren’t they?

    Arnav and Khushi.. Bliss..Contentment..Ecstasy. The emotions I went through while reading about their relationship. Would you believe me if I say that my heart was racing at jet speed while reading most of their parts?
    I’ve always believed that love takes time..that it can’t happen in a short span of time. But seeing these two here is making me want to believe otherwise.

    I was wondering whatever happened to HP who left to Lucknow while reading this update and lo, he made an appearance at the end. I guess it’s about Lavanya that he found out. But I guess Arnav wouldn’t be as perturbed by it as he would have been a few days ago. And who knows, he might even be accepting of her. Let me go find out. 😀

    Lastly, for something that’s named winter nights, they sure are making my days and nights hotter. 😉 😀

    Great great greeeaaat job,girls! See ya soon 🙂

  67. This chapter was brilliance overloaded. I really want to read the next chapter now. Damn the promise my made.. I can’t really wait to see what happened next. You know it is pure hell, when you have the chapter and you can’t read it because of some bloody self imposed rule!!! This chapter was too interesting and made my heart pulse in response. Oh interesting way of connecting dots, I applaud Anjali for thoughtfulness. Touche, I am glad she was found.

    Her conversation with her mother warmed my heart and bloody assh*le Trent deserves that and more.. definitely more, please! What bloody self confidence he has.. what is he trying to play? I hope he doesn’t have to nurse too many broken moments..

    Khushi and Arnav’s silent, lack of words conversation made me smile and cheer for them.. So Robbie has approved of Arnav.. ain’t it a relief for me too? When will Robbie pour the black lace? 😉

    Next night, here I come,
    Sadh!

  68. Loved how Arnav beat up Trent Guy. Muaah!! to Anjali for coming up to know where Khushi will be. Loved the update. Robbie you come here girl! A warm big hug from all of us Rob fans. What a great friend to have. Love this whole family. Yes sometimes you don’t need the same blood running in you to be a family.
    Arnav and Khushi never needed words to express themselves to each other and how beautifully you have sketched that scene. Sheer magic!! Beautifully painted.

    Now off to read the next chapter. Waiting to know what HP is going to reveal. I think he is too late. Arnav is not going to give a shit to him.

  69. hi finally came to this week after almost 2 weeks..what an update,,the best part arnav & robbie getting closer at different level, loved the way he thanked robbie..thank god anjali guessed it where they could find khushi,,,I also liked how khushi seek forgiveness from her mom, her conversation to her parents…the flower lady is kind…This trent is unbelievable,,,wow got to see arnav’s pain and desperation,,,it reminded me of the scene where khushi did not pick up his phone when she went to mandir and then other scene from payash havan night..where is he running after the ambulance,,,,loved this awesome group of 6 buddies…

    thankyou…

  70. This Update was very stressful but at some point I guessed Kushi will be at the cemetery and my guess was right.
    Also Robbie shifting from team Kushi to team Arnav was so sweet.
    The last conversation between Arnav and Kushi was so beautiful!

  71. Nice update…in the last few updates, Robbie, NK and Aman have been stealing most of the thunder. I love how you created such wonderful and strong characters. I even loved Anjali in this update.

  72. Glad for the bond between Arnav & Robbie.. looks like they have to whether another storm in the name of Daniel.. I guess he had either Payal or Shyam’s backing ..

  73. Oh i loved anjali presence of mind..she joined the dots and found Khushi.
    I like the new bond bwteen Arnav and Robbie.
    Gals you r amzing writers.

  74. This interlude reminded me of one thing and only that, “What if I had lost you, damn it!” It made me sigh just as dreamily as when I watched that episode.

    You both write extremely beautifully, I have said it many times, you girls are probably tired of hearing that but its true. Especially the scene where she takes the flowers to her mother’s grave and the inner monologue, broke my heart damn it. You made me cry.

  75. Another fantastic chapter- it’s 2.30pm when I’m reading this, husbands kicked me out of the bedroom a while back.
    wondering if I should go sleep or continue.

    ah well, sleep it is – the kids won’t let me sleep in and I’ll have this to look forward to for tomorrow – it’ll make my Saturday awesome

  76. What is daniels problem. sometimes i really dont understand why people like interfering in others life so much. finally when everything was beginning to settle down we have daniels coming up. :/

  77. Thank God khushi is ok,like finally someone punched the living daylight out of that Trent like finally and I’m soo glad it was arnav 😘😘,Robbie and arnav are Gona be the best buddies soon,thanjk u Anjali for knowing were khushi is u saved her life and arnav’s life took 😘😘😘
    Totally loved the update guys 👏👏👏

  78. Since I ended up reading the interlude and night 9 together, my reaction to this chapter is rather calm at the moment!
    But I swear on god, I was so running out of patience! You guys took the whole chapter to reveal where she went and I was close to crying!

    Thank the stars for Anjali! She really came to our rescue when we needed her the most!

    Robbie girl is such a favourite of mine! She’s such a perfect combination of sass and heart! All that anger towards Arnav was justified to an extent, ofcourse! And I’m so glad it all came out in perfect amounts! She knew where to stop and where to push through him! The girls got her mind straight and I love love love that about her!

    NK has been such a calming factor of the interlude! He was just the perfect balance between Arnav and Robbie! And ofcourse the conversation between Aman and Arnav was heartwarming! Such perfect brothers they are to each other sometimes!

    Khushi went to see her parents! Why did that never occur to me? Ofcourse thats where she went! That little apology to her mother brought me to tears!

    Hah! TRENT FUCKING MATTHEWS! I WILL FIND YOU AND I WILL KILL YOU! You little bitch. I will not spare the guy if he ever comes in my nightmares!

    Arnav really did stand out to me in this chapter! All those raging emotions. That moment when he saw Khushi lying on the frozen floor and screamed that he would tie her up to a bed. It was all those little things and more that really made all the difference. His love was so out there for a change. No secrets. No inhibitions. Just him and her.

  79. This is one of my favourite parts in the story. Trent deserved all the punches that he got!
    I loved how two opposite personalities united to search for the person they cared for the most. Arnav and Robbie’s conversations were the best. Arnav’s respect for Robbie grew and Robbie realised that Arnav is equally concerned Arnav is about Khushi.
    It is also very interesting how each and everyone played a part in finding Khushi and saving her. Thank God Anjali guessed where Khushi could have gone. I shudder at the thought of anything otherwise.

  80. A few highlights of the chapter for me. Pardon if its long but if you write such an amazing story, I am obliged to comment more than two sentences lol.

    Yes – Arrogant Singh Raizada is back! Arnav’s thoughts on Khushi’s apartment building cracked me up lol. I love this Arnav – strong, focussed, unintentionally funny, a man in love and finally discovering that there are people who love him beyond what he thought.

    Robbie was BRILLIANT. One of the most iconic BFFs I have read. Whoohoo! Robbie has joined the dark side, aka Team Arnav lol.

    NK is my kinda friend! “Just don’t do anything that will require body bags and lawyers”. Lol, on a number of occasions I have told my BFF “I have a shovel in my boot and know some good places to bury a body”. So I can totally relate hehe.

    TG for Anjali remembering that chance meeting with Khushi years ago. Anjali is such a fanastic character. She is the perfect foil for flmaboyant suave Aman. Her outward sweetness hides such wit and passion and SNARKINESS. Aman is lucky to have found her. I would love to read their backstory of how playboy Aman fell for grieving conservative Princess Jha.

    The cemetary: isnt it funny or ironic really that when we start running and then when we stop (for whatever reason), we’re at the same place we started running? We just see it with different eyes.

    Khushi – our beautiful damaged girl. She has nothing to be ashamed of. The same belongs to Shashi and Laramie and the selfishness of their love that didnt care enough about the cost of it to precious innocent who didnt have any choices in the story they wrote – their child. I despise the self-centeredness of such love.

    HP Daniels – I am so not worried. All the characters have survived worse that the release of an old scandal.

    Most memorable line of the chapter: I’m beginning to think all those women in the tabloids were photoshopped in with you *rofl*

  81. There were so many ROFL moments 😀
    Loved the entire night ! One of my fav now <3
    Arnav won me over when he confessed he was ready to wage war for his wonan 😉
    Robbie was fantastic esp with the Indiana part !
    Aman and NK were too good bas !

  82. Is it Payal or Jha behind that.creepy journalist

    Khushi and her talks😓 I hope Arnav compensates for all these days of hurt

    Robbie Anjali are goals

  83. What an impact on each other and what a difference it makes with your loved ones..intensely painful and written so well. Adding humor in between and what a great friendship of the trio pairs it will be!!!

  84. The highlights from the start of Interlude#2 -for me

    Robbie’s Indaina justice :))

    NK advice to Arnav re Trent “Go for jab cross -left uppercut cross” after the face clock

    NK wanting to “burn your lips and engulf your soul” in other words fulfill her dreams

    Isnt there a sying that there is a reason why a particular person crosses your path ,had Anjali not met Khushi at the cemetery years back ,the latter would surely have frozen to death on this day

    Arnav initially is almost back to being bossy self – his views on the aparment but concedes to Robbie
    my favourite part of the reunion is when he clims into the hospital bed with Khusi

    My favourites still are AMAN and NK WANT MORE OF THEM & THEIR LOVE STORIES

  85. Arnav, finally saw where she lives and his thoughts about it were funny
    Robbie is my hero!
    HP needs to go BASS!

  86. Thank god anjali knew where khushi was.

    Trent is such a disillusioned melt.

    HP daniels is going to open a bloody can of worms isnt he. With payal about aswell i hope they can sort these 2 out.

  87. God bless Anjali.
    They were on time.
    Now as things were falling in place, HP has to make an appearance.
    Thank u for keeping me glued to my seat.
    Thank u , u people r marvelous

  88. Such a wholesome chapter. It has a everything drama, emotions, humour, love, bromance andso much more. A masterclass in the art of story writing!

  89. Wow, the tulips on the head stone, the fragile girl on the ice…arnav lifting his precious person..the family who is standing so strong..

    It’s awesome, you are pulling be into a dream land.thank you..i appreciate ur kind heart to share this marvel with me

  90. a pang rung deep in chest when they found khushi lying in the snow. my heart hurt with what arnav must have felt. how robbie must have felt. I must say I love how each character has a vital role to play in this tale. they hold meaning rather than just being around to serve as fillers. I’m actually interested how their lives progress instead of just focusing on the development of the main characters. that is a real feat, one that warrants the highest of commendation which you both are so deserving of.

  91. I so love it when arnav is ASR. Trent jerk deserved each punch. Reading the bonding of all the friends job wanna have the same ki d if trust and friendship in your life. Very well written.

  92. This is brilliant work . Excellent .

    Anjali… A God sent .. on time
    Family with no blood relations.. just wow.
    How many are blessed for having such friends .

    Trust is so very important in relationships.

    Now he have HP …. Was that Payal or Trent or Shyam he was reporting to … Or someone else….

    Getting exciting .

  93. Very well written. Loved the bonding between the three couples. Trent was a looser. He still think of high of himself. Well deserved punches delivered to him.
    Now what is this HP up to?

  94. Awesome writing! True Family! Beautifully written scene in the graveyard…A holding K being surrounded by family of friends…loved it

  95. Khushi went to seek parden from her mother.She wanted to be with her mother and spent nught on her grave. Thank god Anjali knew where she would be and they found her .
    Whatever Daniels has found out is not going to worry Arnav and his family.

  96. I knew it she went to the cemetery … Yass! !!
    HP brings bad news ….. I can feel it

  97. Awesome is the only word to describe this update. On second thoughts fantastagomorphic and fabulous might also do.
    It’s always the mightiest who fall the hardest and I loved Arnav’s fall to normal behaviour. So looking forward to the remaining story.

  98. Khushi wanted to forget and ask forgiveness from her mother for thinking so low about her.Her mother was not a mistress. she was Shashi’s only love.Khushi waited for Arnav to come to her .She loves him. But she went to her mother to ask for forgiveness and lay down to rest.Anjali realised where Khushi could be and they found her by her parents’ graves ,unconcious.
    Thank you .It is raining ice this morning with a few snowflakes floating just like the ones in your pictures. Take care .

  99. This was wonderful. I love that Kushi went to ask forgiveness from her mother for being ashamed of her.The circle of family around her was what i loved mostly about the interlude and also that arnav’s emotions are open here. Mathews had it coming.Thank you for the heart touching writing.

  100. This was amazingggggg!!! I’m so glad Arnav’s trying to makeup. So glad Trent got punched ahh. Can’t wait to read ahead. Love that Robbies got a backbone. I also love Anjali omg shes the smartest out of all. Please post soon!!!!!

  101. Okay this update was legit a rollercoaster ride like way too much happening all at once.
    But I think loyalty as a theme wins big the way Robbie and Khushi and then Arnav and NK. It’s so close knit that they have each other’s back despite all the sass.
    And maybe I’m turning into Team Arnav but one never knows what you have next waiting to unfold.

  102. Finally they found Khushi!!!
    hope she recovers soon… Robbie n Arnav are truely khushi’s saviours, trent deserved what they both have given him 👊 ;p

    N Daniels have found something terrible about Arnav’s past…

    Eagerly waiting for next chapter

  103. Damn! What an awesome chapter that I had to read it thrice! Finally, Arnav realised vital and important Khushi is in his life… glad that he knows it now and admitted his love for her. It takes Nani and Robbie – these two wonderful women – to make the great Arnav Singh Raizada realise his true love and his heart, which is Khushi. Besides Arnav-Khushi, Robbie-NK are my 2nd absolute fave couple! I genuinely love these two! Robbie for her fierce protectiveness and loyalty to Khushi and NK for his direct and brutal honesty to Arnav… two absolutely freaking awesome people these Robbie and NK.

    And for Khushi – my most fave character in this story – she’s such a real sweetheart with a pure soul. It was heartwrenching reading on the part of her silent conversation with her mama… coz that’s what I do too whenever I visit and pay my respects to my late mum; having a quiet conversation and telling her how things are with me. I definitely can relate to that part of this chapter. With awesome friends like Robbie, NK, Aman, Anjali and her love – Arnav – Khushi is definitely and will be protected by this circle of protective & loyal people after what happened. And she should be protected from the vile and manipulative Payal and Trent, who I’m sure have their evil eyes on Khushi especially the evil Payal. As for that Trent, he truly deserved that punch by Arnav; he’s delusional if he thinks that he can lure and get Khushi again.

    I’m curious of what’s gonna be in the coming chapter, especially with that cliffhanger from HP Daniels’ text. One thing for sure, I’m hoping for Arshi’s mushy and lovey-dovey reunion/make-up 😉 Am so looking forward to reading the next chapter. 🙂

    1. Sorry to hear about your late mum, Rosie. I’m the same way about my grandmother. She may be gone, but I talk to her all the time. Those dear to our hearts with always be a part of our lives. 🙂

  104. Amazing chapter. The emotions were so point on. Arnav realised Khushis importance in his life. Robbie is just the girl Khushi needs in her life. Nk and Robbie are too awesome. I Love their bonding. Tarent got his much needed punishment. The nerve of him, he still thinks khushi will come back to him. How I wish Khushi gives him some treatment as Robbie.The graveyard scene was so good. Khushi understood the feeling of true love and apologized to her mother for misjudging her. Glad that Anjali connected the dots and they got their on time. The chapter was so full of emotions. Still the little banter in the hospital was very nice to read. And will love to see Arnav and Robbies bonding. Will love to know what Daniels has found.

  105. Hi ShipperK…what an awesome update…love your Robbie…If Kushi is pure and innocent then Robbie is strong and so protective…what a beautiful friendship..Though they are not connected by blood they are more than sisters…Anjali is the smartest of all to connect the dots…Arnav is lucky to have NK as his friend and Aman as his brother…Now Arnav realised he can’t live or breathe without Kushi by his side…what a lovely story….it’s simply awesome and mind blowing…Eagerly waiting for the next one…Take care and be safe

  106. “Family. It didn’t always require blood.” — such a wholesome, strong sentence !

    Arnav, Aman, NK, Anjali, Robbie and Khushi have made such a beautiful family for themselves, with bonds of trust, love, support and unconditional understanding. With such a support system, even a thousand Trents and Payals cannot harm a single fibre on Khushi’s back !

    Love is also quite a leveler that way – with Khushi now being able to understand her own parents’ plight, their pain and their sacrifices.

    I am so excited to see Trent and Payal get owned by this gang !!!

  107. Kushi having a new perspective of her parents relationship …mathwe …😡😡😡
    Finally found kushi …..and even in hospital under pressure aman rocks
    P.S :Unavailable the liking button don’t know why

  108. Loved the ASR-Trent confrontation and those well deserved punches.

    Thank god for Anjali – Khushi is finally found. Looking forward to her recovery and her talk with arnav.

    Love the new found understanding b/n Arnav n Robbie 🙂

    Daniel’s text to whom? Are there more secrets or is it just about Lavanya?

  109. Thanks to anjali they were able to find her and her disappearance made arnav realise his love for her and the importance she had in his life it is not necessary that there is only family bond the bond they share is pure this was simply mind blowing

  110. Wow amazing chapter Arnav and Trent face off .Khushi went to cemetery to seek forgiveness from her Mom.Glad they found Khushi on time.

  111. The exchange of words between Robbie and Arnav was very much needed! Robbie is just something isnt she!!! Love LOVE her character 🙂

    Boy is Trent delusional or what!!! Pleased would be an understatement when Arnav delivered his blows. Some required facial surgery would have been nice 😏

    I’m so happy Robbie found her partner and who better then the all rounded NK ❤

    Khushi went from no family to Robbie and now to 4 additional people that care for her and will do what they can to keep her safe and protected always <3

    Anjali comes to the rescue again 🙂 She may not be a loud or out going character as the others but her presence is felt and important nonetheless.

    Arnav and Robbie have come a long way and all beuase of the women that means the most to them.

    Last and most important, my babies acknowledge they are in love ❤😭

  112. Oh the highlight has to be that uppercut and Trent getting what he deserved. Arnav spoke words to Trent that made me deeply respect him as a man. He’s truly worthy of Khushi. I loved it when he said he wants her everything. I was always Team Arnav, but I am strongly reminded why I am in this chapter!

    Robbie finally gets Arnav. Their subtle bonding scene in the hospital took my heart. The coats they put on Khushi in the car to warm her up, took my heart. All of them, together caring for each other…its just awe-inspiring. This friendship and love is rare.

    Was that a love confession in the dream? Can’t wait for what’s next!!

  113. I have no words with the bond that has formed between Robbie and Arnav. I love his declaration to her to help her understand where he stands. Gosh your characters have made me fall in love with the story and the way they’re intertwined and formed a family is even more touching. Trent is an idiot and I look forward to the possible smack down with him and khushi or him and Arnav. Can’t wait to read the next night!!

  114. They way Arnav and Khushi reunited was heartbreaking and beautiful.

    I hope they never have to face this again.

    Trent Arnav confrontation was wonderful. The way Arnav responded shows he he has become a better and rational person.

    No idea what that journalist is up to though. Intresting cliffhanger.

  115. Family doesn’t always equate to blood… I love how everyone’s there for Khushi… After all her struggles, she deserves this family… I already don’t like HP Daniels.. But I do love Aman!! And Anjali is amazing here, for figuring out where Khushi could go

  116. Awesome chapter. I loved the bonding between Robbie and NK. And Robbie and Arnav. And the Indiana retaliation is truly something to admire and shows just how strong is the bond of Robbie and Khushi.
    I am glad that Khushi realized that she had been ashamed of her mother, it will be interesting to see how she moves forward with this issue.

  117. Hello K a new reader here a forever Arshi fan and huge fan of stories like this … luckily stumbled across ficverse and ur story. This one is hell beautiful and intriguing held me captive love the way u portrayed all characters including Arshi, Aman Nk and robbie..
    Would like to read it whole could you please approve my request for epilog thanks 😊

  118. Trent Mathews is a scumbag…. It was a hell of a confrontation… His audacity to think that khushi will make a choice between him and Arnav… Like Really you fool…. And he thought that he can make her come because of the shares…. Ofcourse he will obviously think like that because that’s Wat really made him date payal…. Then break up with her after he got success then when again he was on verge of losing everything he run back to her like a lost puppy…. He didn’t realize that everyone is not like him…. And khushi is right… She doesn’t felt anything when he was talking because he doesnt matter… We only get hurt by the words of loved ones… That’s why she was shattered hearing the words of Arnav…..
    Robbie…. She is a fairy….. And it’s the perfect example of blood doesn’t matter…. She had protected khushi more than anyone had done.. And Arnav is right. Both Robbie and Arnav is hell of a team who would do anything for khushi…….. Finally Arnav found khushi…. Yes Anjali knew it..where she would have gone…. God perfectly binded these 6 people together…. To give them Wat they deserves… That is family with full of harmony

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