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Arnav went looking for Madhu after tea, wanting to ask why Raja was here and not with Khushi. He had asked Chinky where Madhu was.
Chinky frowned: "She might be in the kitchen Arnav bhaiya. "
Arnav nodded thanking her shortly, but when leaving he paused. He thought for a minute before turning back on his heel, to ask Chinky another question curiously. He watched her slowly stack the small plates to take them to the away.
Arnav: " Urm...Chinky?..."
Chinky smiled tightly: " Yes Bhaiya."
Arnav stood beside her: " Did Khushi come back, while Dadi and I were gone?"
Chinky paused uncomfortable with the question. She didn't want to break the promise she made to Madhu. Her heart wished she could tell, but she knew how strongly Madhu felt about this. She thought back to what Madhu said when she was asked about Khushi. She recovered with a smile and turned to Arnav. He was watching her carefully.
Chinky quickly: "O..Of course not. Well if she did, I didn't see her. I was mostly in the garden today Bhaiya"
Arnav questioned further: " Then how is Raja here? Khushi left with Raja in the morning with Aman. "
Chinky was stumped. UFFF! How am I supposed to get out of this? Her brain ran in overdrive. She just blurted the first logical thing that came to mind.
Chinky: "He..He came by himself"
Arnav frowned: " What?!"
Chinky smiled nervously: "Y..yes! You know dogs these days know their way home. And our Raja is more clever than any other dog, right bhaiya!? Khushi must have sent him back for some reason. Sorry Bhaiya, but I need to put these away."
She rushed away with her plates leaving Arnav in thought. She looked back with teary eyes, heart ridden with guilt. I'm so sorry Bhaiya I lied, but I promised Buaji. I pray DM will get you to find out some other way.
Arnav sighed shaking his head at the floor. Maybe I'm over-thinking all this. I mean Khushi probably sent Raja back, because the orphanage doesn't allow dogs to stay? I don't know. *sigh*. Arnav smirked. I do worry over Khushi a lot. She'll be back after the day after tomorrow days anyways. He nodded at his thoughts before going back upstairs with his mind at rest, but his heart was defiantly not at peace. Hurry up to come home Khushi. I think my heart is missing you a lot.
It was later at night when the rain started pouring heavily. However, something distressed Aman badly forcing him go up to Devayani and Kushal's room, and also Arnav's room. They all came down immediately very worried.
Devayani worried: " What do you mean he's not moving!?"
Aman concerned: "Come look for yourself Dadi. I've tried everything."
They walked into the conservatoire, where Chinky was staring out the window fearfully. They all did the same and looked out to be heart stricken.
Arnav mind boggled: "What the-"
Outside, beside the pool, was Raja sitting with his head on the floor between his paws. He was totally still, his fur soaked in the rain, not showing any signs of life. Devayani put a hand over her mouth.
Kushal angrily: " Don't just stand there!! Get him inside!! He'll fall sick!!!"
He was about to rush out himself when Aman stopped him: "No Dadaji. I'll try again"
With that Arnav, Devayani, Kushal and Chinky watched Aman go out into the rain again, to Raja's side. They could see him talking to him, trying to even lift him, but Raja simply squirmed himself loose wanting to stay where he was.
Devayani cried: " Why is Raja doing this?! What's wrong with him!?"
Kushal tightened his jaw staring out of the window numbly, knowing exactly why, while Chinky from the corner of her eyes glared at Kushal with tearful eyes, which spilled. Aman rushed back in, making Chinky give him a towel sadly.
Aman frustrated: " He won't listen to me! I can't understand why he's being this stubborn."
Arnav not being able to watch anymore, swiftly went out into the shooting bullets of cold rain. With his black and white stripy jumper soaked through by the time he got to him, Arnav knelt down in front of Raja. He noticed Raja's eyes were low. Defeated-like. He quickly lifted it making Raja whimper slightly.
Arnav asking loudly as the rain dashed noisily against the floor and pool: "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS RAJA!? COME INSIDE RIGHT NOW!"
Arnav frowned seeing water in Raja's eyes, unable to figure if it were his own tears or just the rain. He stroked Raja's head before bending closer.
Arnav firmly: " Please Raja. Let me take you inside... What am I supposed to tell Khushi when she comes back!? That I couldn't look after you for 2-3 days?! "
After a good few minutes, Arnav watched Raja grumble a weak bark from his mouth, making Arnav lifted him to lean against him. Keeping Raja's head against his shoulder, Arnav held him close before standing up straight. Raja was nearly as heavy as an average human, but the wet fur made him slightly heavier. But for Arnav this was a light weight to carry. Arnav, listening to Raja's short whimpers, strode back in with everyone gathering around.
It was the next morning when Arnav woke up. Blinking to let his eyes focus, he looked round. He was sat on the floor in his room, with his back against his plush sofa, beside the fireplace. He yawned before looking down beside his legs to see Raja laying on the floor, with the fire just going out. He moved to stroke the top of Raja's head, before looking at his face. Thankfully he was still asleep, making Arnav sigh.
The night before was dreadful. The rain, the stubbornness, the confusion, the hours of painful howling from Raja. Arnav simply couldn't understand why he was being like this. Was it becuase Khushi hasn't left him here before?
Arnav sighed: "Don't worry Raja. Your queen will be back tomorrow or the day after. "
I couldn't sleep at all last night. Kept tossing and turning in bed. I felt my heart pounding out of my chest. You are alright aren't you? I hope you are Raja. I cried last night missing you. I wish you were here so I could hug you. But dogs aren't allowed here.
I'm sorry that I shut the door on you yesterday, but I had to or else you wouldn't let me leave. I know you too well. I miss you. I miss you more than anything. From the second I left, I kept wondering what you were doing. I told DM to tell you to behave while I'm gone. And don't be sad ok?
Dadaji is doing this for a good reason. He said that he's protecting me from that Indu Thakur, but I still feel there's something more Raja. He looked so sad Raja. I wish I knew the reason, but I trust him. He wouldn't do anything to hurt me. But I don't think Arnav would understand that. Like you, he cares for me too much. I thought he had got rid of Indu, but I think he slipped through the police's fingers for sure. Stupid man. I wonder if Arnav's ok though. I never got the chance to say good-bye. You better look after him and Dadaji.
Oh I nearly forgot. I have met some nice people here. But I also met some people that are not so nice. The security man is extra nice. Do you remember the cartoons we used to watch, and there was that man with a loooong Mustache? He has one just like it!! Ok I'm lying it's not exactly like it, but it is a bit curly on the ends with makes me giggle.
Anyways I have to go now. Buaji is here to visit me. I wonder if she's got some Jalebi's for me..
Talk to you soon Raja. Love you.
P.S. I'll see you very soon. Don't worry.
Aman angrily shook Chinky: "Why didn't you tell me Chinky!!! All this happened yesterday, Why didn't you say anything!?"
Chinky sobbed: " I'm so sorry. I just...I promised Buaji Aman. But last night when I saw Raja in that state, I knew I just had to tell someone. I promised I wouldn't tell Dadiji or Arnav bhaiya, so I knew I could tell you."
Aman sadly: "Forget me Chinky!! If Dadiji, or... OR Arnav Bhaiya knew-!!! They would have-"
Chinky in tears: "I know Aman! I know they would have done something, but she was gone before they returned. Sir said for me not to say anything. I was about to tell Dadiji and Arnav Bhaiya, when they came back from their visit, but then Buaji stopped me. *hiccuped* She made me promise not to tell either of them about Sir making Khushi leave. And for what reason, only DM knows!"
Devayani heartbroken: "What are you saying betiya?!"
Aman and Chinky looked at Devayani shocked by her presence. The look on her face told them that she had heard it all. Devayani in shock was about to fall to the floor, but Aman rushed to her side steadying her.
Aman exclaimed: "Dadiji!"
Devayani shook her head in denial, unable to think her husband could do this to the young innocent girl. She knew he cared for Khushi deeply, but this!? What had happened!?
Chinky sorrily: " Dadiji-"
Devayani looked at her desperately: " Tell me. Aman bitwa! Tell me everything that happened yesterday."
Devayani walked across the corridor, with her hands held together against her stomach. Her eyes were lost in her minds images of Khushi leaving. Of the tears she must have cried. Of the tears Madhu must have cried. Now she knew the reason for Raja's behavior yesterday. Khushi without Raja? How can this be? And Arnav? I must tell him everything. However, just as Devayani was about to walk upstairs to Arnav's room, a string pulled at her heart. No...If I tell Arnav everything...If I tell him his own Dadaji made his Khushi leave....He'd never forgive Kushal, what ever the reason. Knowing Arnav's anger was inherited from Kushal himself, there would be nothing but destruction. The family would rip apart.
Devayani gripped the staircase railing tightly, with her eyes on the tiled floor. She thought about her haunted husband and the reason why he's do this. Such a big step. Something must have surely happened or else Kushal would never do this. She had to find out this reason herself. However, it was very important for Khushi to return to the house. Walking up the steps determined, she headed straight to Arnav's room, where she knew Arnav was caring for Raja. She needed to tell Arnav. Even if it's half the truth.
Arnav opened the door letting Devayani come in to see Raja, who was like a statue out on the balcony. Just staring. At what? It was hard to tell. Devayani sat on at the end of Arnav's bed watching Raja sadly, somehow feeling what he was feeling. An emptiness. It made her heart cry in awe at how close a dog could be to a human. Khushi and Raja's relationship was as unique as a snowflake from the heavens. Arnav sat beside her putting his hand over hers reassuringly.
Arnav huskily: "Did you want something Dadi? "
Devayani turned to Arnav staring at the concerned face that would turn immediately sour when she tells him. His forehead that would frown harshly and eyes that would burn with rage.
Arnav firmly: "Dadi? What's the matter?"
Devayani painfully: " Khushi isn't at the orphanage Chote."
Arnav blinked: " Khushi? What do you mean she's not at the orphanage? *annoyed* Where has she gone now?"
Devayani turned to him fully with tearful eyes: " She came back yesterday from the orphanage visit, but she left again Chote.... with...with her bags packed, but not to the orphanage... "
Arnav felt his breath constricting. His eyes stayed stuck to Devayani holding on to her every word hoping for not to say what his heart was anxious about. His mind was reeling back to yesterday and all the doubts he had at first but later didn't follow them up. They say you should always trust your instincts, but Arnav didn't. No hell no...Please no...
Devayani: " She's gone Chote. And she's not coming back."
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