Baby, Hold On 9-14

Baby, Hold On by Tina--10/04/2013
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Baby, Hold On By TINA!
Laxmi Nagar is never quite the same again after Khushi Kumari Gupta 'collides with' Mr. Sexy aka Arnav Singh Raizada. He's a writer, poet, and their new paying guest! Khushi is both annoyed with and attracted to him from the first, milk-soaked glance, but there's a pesky engagement to deal with as well her meddlesome Buaji. Will Mr. Sexy show her that a fairytale romance can exist for a perfectly ordinary girl like her or will hindrances come in their way? Can she trust her heart with this handsome stranger?
Baby, Hold On is a fun, light-hearted romcom of the unlikely love story between Mr. Sexy and Sushi. Read on for more of their adventures..

"It's not candy--it's a microphone." Mr. Sexy brushed back my hair, placing it in my ear. "With this, you'll be able to hear me and I'll be able to listen in too."
I smiled, feeling so much better. "You'll be there with me?"
He looked at me as if I'd gone loopy again. "Damn right, Sushi. I'm not letting you go anywhere with that toad alone. I'll be nearby."
My heart warmed to see the concern in his eyes--and dare I say it--something more? "Thank you for coming with me."
He wound his arms around my waist, pulling me flush against him. "You don't need to thank me, baby."
His mouth descended on mine then and I found myself rising up on my tiptoes, my hands diving into his wavy hair. Gosh, he tasted good. And the man sure knew how to kiss.
Our every kiss left me dazed. I could only hold on, gasping as his tongue stroked mine, tasting me just as deeply. Neither of us could get enough.
I moaned in protest when his mouth left mine but he didn't let me go, pressing a string of kisses down my neck. He drew my dupatta off, throwing it somewhere behind him, his lips settling at the crease of my neck.
"Arnav.." I clutched his leather jacket as his teeth nipped my skin, his tongue laving gently. It felt so good.. so so good..
He groaned my name as he kissed me again--harder this time, rougher. I moaned softly, my body feeling unnaturally hot. It was like being engulfed by a volcano--a very sexy, highly attractive volcano.
"Sanka Devi! Shyamji will be here soon!" Buaji called from the living room.
"I should go.." I murmured, though everything in me was screaming the complete opposite. I was glued to him, my mouth refusing to leave his. It was sheer madness!
"I don't want to let you go," Mr. Sexy admitted, kissing me desperately.
That confession had me melting. I gripped him harder, wishing I could stay in his arms forever. "I have to.."
"I don't care.."
He was so stubborn, his mouth going back to my neck and sucking hard.
"Uff.. Arnav, please.. I have to go."
His breathing was harsh and uneven when he finally stepped back--just like mine. My chest heaved as I stared across at him. His lips were reddened, his hair askew. I'd never seen a more handsome man.
All I wanted was to run into his arms. Damn you, Butterball.
"It'll be over soon," I told Mr. Sexy, righting my hair in the mirror. "And you'll be with me every moment."
"Yeah, I guess." His voice was gruff, his gaze undeniably heated as it traced over my reflection. He wrapped his arms around my waist from behind as if he couldn't keep away.
I couldn't help but smile at our reflection. Maybe it was just my crazy imagination, but we looked nice together. Really nice.
"Make sure you take your dupatta with you."
"Of course I will. But why?" It wasn't like I was showing any cleavage or anything.
His hand pushed my hair out of the way. "Because of this."
My mouth dropped open as I saw the bright red mark on the side of my neck. Was that a--
"Hickey," he said. "I couldn't help it."
"But why did you? It looks like a giant bee stung me."
Mr. Sexy chuckled, smirking. "Let's just say it's a guy thing. Trust me, it'll make me feel a hell of a lot better when I have to watch you on a date with that toad."
I sighed, frowning up at him. "It's not a date. It's just phase one of our mission."
"I know." He watched me carefully as I adjusted my dupatta, covering up his mark. "Baby, is it sore?"
I shook my head. The love bite actually felt oddly pleasant, reminding me of our wild kisses, our secret romance.
"I'll make it feel better, later," Raizada promised. He winked at me in that typical way of his--the one that made my toes curl and my heartbeat accelerate.
"See you soon," I said, giving him one last peck.
He smiled against my lips. "Good luck, baby."
I saluted him as I headed out the door. Operation Fry the Toad was on.
Shyamji arrived a few minutes after that, smiling in that weird, Cheshire cat way as usual. As I followed him out, Arnav checked the microphone.
"Can you hear me?" he asked.
"Perfectly, baby."
Shyamji's bellow sounded just then. "ISN'T SHE A BEAUTY?"
Mr. Sexy was out the door in seconds, looking ready to box him. But Shyamji hadn't been talking about me. He was busy making lovesick, puppy-dog faces at his new car.
It was an old-fashioned sedan, and his favorite color: yellow. Of course.
"So that's why he insisted on driving you to the restaurant, even though it's just down the street," Arnav said. "He wanted to show off his butter mobile."
I couldn't help but agree. As Shyamji opened the passenger door for me, I sat inside cautiously.
Mr. Sexy bristled, mumbling something about 'losers'.
I looked out the window at him. He was standing on the veranda, his hands braced on the railing. He did not look the least bit happy. Far from it, actually.
"Raizada, relax," I whispered. "He's just being polite."
His scowl deepened. "You know, most of the time a guy opens the door like that is for two reasons: either the car is new or the girl is new. In this case, it's a bit of both."
Seriously? What the duck was it with men! Glancing at him, I asked softly: "So would you hold the door open for me?"
"Hell, I'd even click on your seat belt, Sushi. It would give me another chance to touch you, and hopefully steal a kiss."
"You're impossible," I murmured, trying not to giggle.
"Impossible?" Butterball looked confused as he finally turned on the car--having checked every dial and the rear-view mirror over a dozen times. "What's impossible?"
I'd forgotten all about him. Adjusting the microphone in my ear, I said, "Oh, I was thinking how impossible it must have been to find such a car in Laxmi Nagar."
Shyamji smiled at me as he reversed. "It truly was. But what's meant to be, will always happen.. just like the two of us."
It took everything in me not to make a face. Mr. Sexy snorted. "In your dreams, toad. Khushi's mine."
"Yours," I murmured, covering my mouth and acting as if I was looking out the window.
Exactly fifty seconds later, we parked in front of a colorful Chinese restaurant. I could see my house in the distance. I could even see Mr. Sexy jogging to catch up. I blew him a kiss ever so slyly.
"Ready, Khushiji?"
Ready as I'll ever be, I almost said. But I caught myself, nodding instead. As I stepped inside the restaurant, all I could think was:Game on.
I'd never been much of a fan of Chinese food, but I had to say it was beautifully decorated inside. Red paper lanterns hung from the ceiling, several hand-painted murals covered the walls, and about twenty round tables were scattered about the dimly lit space.
"Welcome to the Fu King Restaurant," said the sleepy-eyed hostess, dressed in a bright red dress, her hair piled on top of her head in a towering bun. "Table for two?"
We nodded. She led us to a small table right in the center. Perfect.
"Here are your menus."
"Thanks," said Butterball.
"Thanks," I said too. "I've been so looking forward to this F***ing Restaurant!"
Shyamji almost choked. "Khushji! It's the Fu King Restaurant."
"What did I say?" I asked innocently.
The waitress laughed. "No worries, dear. We get that all the time. I'll be back in a few minutes."
I nodded, thankful the lights were low and my rosy cheeks weren't visible. "I can't believe you made me say that," I whispered to Mr. Sexy.
He laughed. "Admit it: it was the perfect start. And you were wonderful, baby. You're extra cute when you swear."
A cool breeze hit me then. My heart picked up speed. And sure enough, my Raizada-tuned antenna was right on target. At that exact moment, Mr. Sexy walked in, winking at me.
"Isn't my new car just lovely?" Shyamji asked. "A true and rare beauty.. just like you.."
I wasn't really listening to him to be honest. My eyes were on Arnav. The hostess didn't look the least bit sleepy anymore. She was wide-awake and smiling, laughing even.
Whatever was he saying to her? I wondered. Couldn't the man keep a lid on his oozing charm?
"Stop flirting," I told him in a clipped voice as he sat in a corner table, directly in my line of vision.
He looked at me with surprise, seeming to enjoy my jealous state. "I was being nice, Sushi. There's only one girl I'm interested in flirting with."
"Keep it that way," I ordered, flashing my eyes at him.
He smirked. "I will, baby. So is the plan working?"
I shook my head just slightly in his direction. "I haven't started."
"Why not?"
"Because of you. Stop talking to me."
I must not have been as quiet as I thought I was being because Shyamji paused mid-sentence, staring across at me. "Did I say something wrong?"
What had he been talking about? I had no clue. "Not really."
"Then why did you tell me to stop talking?"
"Umm.. well.. because.." I grabbed the menu. "Because we should decide what to order."
He laughed. "True, Khushji. You are so intelligent." He said the words with ill-concealed surprise. Like I was dumb or something.
"He's an idiot," Mr. Sexy murmured. "Ignore him, baby. Stick to the plan."
I tried to, though all I wanted to do was whack Butterball over the head with the menu card. The waitress returned before I could though.
"Can I get you both some drinks while you decide?" she asked.
"Hot chocolate with extra butter for me," Shyamji said. "And Khushji, you'll have just water, right?"
I shook my head, gazing up at the waitress. "What's your most alcoholic drink?"
"That would be the Mighty Dragon. It's very strong though."
"Just what I love. I'll have that--on the rocks."
Shyamji finally found his voice, staring at me as if he'd never seen me before. "Alcohol? Khushji, what are you saying?"
I smiled at him with feigned sweetness. "It's something I keep a secret. You won't tell Buaji, will you Shyamji? I can trust you, right?"
He looked completely taken aback, blinking again and again. After a few seconds, he sort of recovered, giving me a not-so-bright smile. "Of course, Khushji, I'll keep your secret.. Do you have more?"
"More what?"
"More such secrets?"
I waved my hand casually. "Oh, just some cigarettes here and there. A few dozen cigars. Clubbing once a week. Nothing much really."
Butterball looked as if he'd melted in his seat. He was marrying me to get a dutiful housewife--someone who would wash his socks and pack his lunches. The trauma must have been a lot.
It was so hard not to laugh, especially when I could see Mr. Sexy grinning, his eyes lit up. I winked at him.
"But you'll stop all this when we're married right?"
I made a face. "Why should I, Shyamji? Marriage will be like vacation for me. How am I ever going to pass my time otherwise?"
"But you'll have so much to do. Keep up the house, take care of me--"
I cut him off right there. "When did I ever say that? We must have at least five or six servants. You said you'd keep me like a princess, right? So I'm not going to be lifting a finger." I reclined back in the chair, smiling extra wide.
"Five or six servants?" I could tell he was doing some serious mental math. "That would be very expensive, Khushji. I'm sure you can do everything on your own, just like you are now."
"That's only because Buaji is getting old. Don't tell her I said that! But once we're married, I'll insist you treat me like a princess. I want massages, shopping trips, jalebis, all meals cooked--every day."
"Every day?" He sounded like he was close to running out the door. His stingy side was coming out now.
I nodded, grinning all the more as the waitress returned. She set a giant mug the size of my face in front of me with the seal of a dragon on it. I gazed up at Arnav and he nodded.
"I switched it, baby. Don't worry, it's just some juice."
I sighed with relief, taking a giant gulp and licking my lips. Shyamji's eyes were truly bulging like a toad's by now.
"Ready to order?" the waitress asked.
No response from Butterball.
"Shyamji.." I cleared my throat, gazing at him over the mug. "She's waiting for you to answer."
"Oh," He shook his head as if to clear it. "I'll have shrimp eggrolls and Special #8: butter noodles--with double the butter. I hope you don't charge extra for that."
 "Don't worry, Shyamji," I told him. "Cholesterol comes free. Right?"
The waitress giggled. "Yes. And you?"
"Number 13," commanded Mr. Sexy in my ear.
"I'll have number 13." My eyes widened as I read the name of the dish. "The.. Pu Pu Platter."
"Wonderful choice."
Shyamji made a face as I took another large sip of the Mighty Dragon. "Khushiji.. I was thinking.."
My gaze was suddenly drawn to his hand on the table. It was creeping toward mine. I shot up from my seat--it was time to annoy him some more.
"Look, Shyamji!" I pointed. I ran toward the other side of the restaurant before he could catch me. A nice looking, Asian man sat there, drinking some soup.
"Sorry to disturb you," I whispered quickly. "I'm actually trying to prank my friend. Will you play along?"
He looked behind me at a hassled looking Butterball, nodding just slightly.
I smiled, bowing at him.
He bowed back, smiling too.
I bowed.
He bowed.
I bowed again.
He bowed again.
I was getting a bit dizzy from all the bowing, but I couldn't stop. Shyamji pulled me back. "What are you doing, Khushji?"
"Shyamji, it's Jackie Chan! We must get his autograph!" I acted all drunk, jumping up and down.
"Sorry, I think she's had too much to drink," he muttered, dragging me back to our table.
I huffed, pouting my lips as we sat. Shyamji looked thoroughly embarrassed. I couldn't help, but smile: Mission Accomplished.
He couldn't possibly think I'd be a suitable wife now. But just to make sure, I waved toward the waitress, ordering another Mighty Dragon. Butterball looked as if he'd swallowed a toad by now.
Our food arrived then. His was a plate full of some boring looking noodles, dripping in oil. It was revolting. Anything had to be better than that.
How wrong I was.
Because just then, the Pu Pu Platter was placed before me.  I blinked down in horror. All I could see were some slimy creatures.
"Are those--" I pointed to the green shells, not able to get the words out.
"Baby turtles," said the waitress. "And that's squid, octopus, and some lobster. Enjoy!"
"Raizada, I can't eat this," I whispered, staring up at him with panic.
Mr. Sexy smiled. "Tell him to switch with you."
I did just that, but Shyamji didn't react as I'd imagined. He was downright mean. "Why did you have to order the most expensive item on the menu then? Do you have any idea how expensive that seafood platter is?"
"It's fine," ground out Shyamji through clenched teeth. "Here, take my noodles."
"You can have both," I replied frostily. "I'm not hungry."
I was sure Mr. Sexy would have seen right through that lie, insisting I eat, but Shyamji just shrugged. "Suit yourself."
He ate as if he was starving, butter dripping down his mouth and onto his polka-dotted shirt. I thought it couldn't get any worse, but then he started with the Pu Pu Platter, taking large mouthfuls of turtle as if he was munching potato chips.
My queasiness must have shown on my face because Mr. Sexy's voice sounded just then: "Put your head between your knees and take some deep breaths. Now."
I acted like I dropped a chopstick on the floor, putting my head under the tablecloth. My eyes closed.
"Breathe in," Arnav instructed. "And out.. In.. and out.."
"You sound like you're coaching me through labor."
I could sense his smirk. "One day, I'll do that too, baby. But for now, how are you feeling? Do you need me to intervene?"
"No, I can handle the toad."
"You're doing amazing, Sushi."
"Don't you dare mention seafood right now!"
"But I love Sushi."
I almost knocked my head on the table. Was he serious or joking? I was a bit afraid to read too much into it. "No, you love duck. Remember, Raizada?"
"I love both--sushi and duck."
I would have replied to his blush-worthy, scandalous remarks but Shyamji called out my name just then: "Khushiji? Did you find your chopstick?"
I straightened quickly. "Got it."
He nodded, staring at me hard and then sighing. "I hope you're not mad at me."
How dumb are you? I wanted to ask. But I couldn't be that mean. "Why would you say that?"
"You just seem different today."
I ignored him, but just then, he did something that had me seeing red. His shoe stroked up and down my calf.
I recoiled, flashing my eyes at him. "Shyamji, get your foot away from me!"
Several people in the restaurant turned to look at us. Butterball reddened several shades at the sudden attention. "Keep your voice down, Khushji."
"First you keep your manners intact then."
"What's going on?" Mr. Sexy suddenly stood between us. I wasn't surprised to see him. He looked on the verge of ripping Butterball's head off.
"ASR? What are you doing here?"
"I was passing by," he said vaguely, " And saw you two arguing. Mind if I join you?"
He was already in the process of sitting down in the middle chair. As he scooted closer to the table, Shyamji suddenly howled with pain. "Oops, my legs are long. Did I hit you hard, Jha?"
Shyamji's eyes were watering, but he insisted in a curt voice: "No. I'm fine."
I could tell Arnav was itching to kick him again. He was literally safeguarding me, keeping Butter-monster from touching me again. His hand caught mine, squeezing. I clasped his hand with both of mine, feeling so much better now that he was here.
It was very awkward and silent after that, none of us really talking. Shyamji tried to make some casual conversation, but Mr. Sexy was least interested. He just glared at the man.
It was time for one last attack on Butterball. So I started talking about the lanterns out of the blue.. how red they were.. how pretty.. And then bam! The chopstick flew out of my hand.
It whipped across the room, collided with the hostess's bun, bounced off a mural and hit a tightly packed shelf of antique vases. Like dominos, the vases toppled, one into the next.
"Oops." I honestly hadn't meant to cause such a huge mess. I'd been aiming for a lantern.
"Khushiji! Do you have any idea how expensive those vases must be! How stupid are you?"
"Is that how you talk to a woman, Jha?" Mr. Sexy growled. "Don't you dare in front of me."
I feared he'd start a brawl right there, but the waitress stepped in between just then, screaming about the vases. Shyamji looked madder than I'd ever seen him as he took the dinner bill from her. He was making faces as he straightened. "Ready to go, Khushiji?"
He pointedly ignored Arnav.
I didn't like that. Not a bit. Tightening my grip on Mr. Sexy's hand under the table, I shook my head. "Not with you. Especially not after what you did."
"Fine then. Get home yourself. I'm done."
We waited till he was out the door before relaxing.
"So long, toad."
I giggled, leaning my head on Mr. Sexy's shoulder.
He high-fived me with the chopsticks. "You rocked, baby."
"So did you. I don't think Butterball will even think of marrying me after that."
Arnav smirked, wrapping his arm around my waist possessively. "No way in hell."
"Would you like some fortune cookies?" The waitress didn't bat an eye to see me with another guy.
"Can we have them to go?"
"Sure, and please come again. That was the most eventful dinner service we've had at the Fu King Restaurant."
"We will," promised Arnav and I. For my ears alone, he added: "We 'Fu King' will." We were still laughing as we headed outside. It was a cool, breezy night.
"Read your fortune cookie," I told him, feeling insanely happy. Being free of butter-monster was such a relief.
"Do I have to? I can't even eat the cookie."
"Aww, poor baby. But please," I said, pouting. "I want to know."
He sighed, tearing open the wrapper. Handing the cookie to me, he read the small note inside. "Flattery will get you far tonight."
"It probably will," I said as I munched, breaking open mine.
"What does it say?" he asked. "You will be hungry in five minutes?"
I hit his leather jacket with my elbow. "No.. it says--" I blushed. "A tub and a rub is what you most need."
His hand tugged on mine. "Let's go back home then. I'll arrange the tub and rub, you just meet me in the bathroom, beautiful."
"You're crazy," I told him, laughing.
He tugged me close, his eyes twinkling. "Crazy for you, Khushi."
Baby, Hold On by TINA!
Part 10: The Blonde
She kissed the side of my neck, the underside of my chin, her breath hot and incredibly pleasurable against me. Leaning back, she met my perplexed gaze, her lips curving slightly.
"You know when you said you're crazy about me?"
I nodded. I'd meant the words. She drove me to it like no other woman before.
"I couldn't say it then," she said, weaving our fingers together. "But I want you to know that I'm crazy about you too, Arnav Singh Raizada."
We were both beaming as she confessed that. I'd known it all along, but to hear her admit it was something else. Her "date" with the toad had been entertaining for sure, but I couldn't handle seeing her with another man--especially that Jha. I'd never felt so possessive before, but I couldn't help it. There was just something about her that made me wildly territorial and overprotective.
Khushi was just so very innocent, so genuinely good. A rare beauty with a golden heart, who did not deserve to be tied to someone like that toad for the rest of her life.
"I'm glad you feel the same, Khushi Kumari Gupta. So damn glad.."
I kissed her hard then, needing her desperately. She met my lips eagerly, making those soft, mewing noises at the back of her throat that always threatened to break my control. We went up in flames like usual, kissing as we always kissed: as if we could not get enough. My hands clenched on her waist to keep from wandering.
I wanted to go slow with her, but Khushi had other ideas. Her hand glided under my shirt, making my breathing ragged as she shyly explored.
"Am I doing it right?" she asked, her hands fluttering over my abs lightly.
I kissed her in answer. "If you did it any better, I don't know what I'd do."
She smiled, touching me with more confidence this time, her nails skimming over my chest.
My hands slipped from her waist, sliding lower. She gasped, her eyes widening as I pulled her flush to me, gripping her curves. We fit perfectly, our bodies molding together as if this was how we were meant to be. Our kisses were wild this time, completely out of control.
"We should go in.." she whispered after several long minutes, her chest heaving against mine.
I pressed more kisses to her swollen mouth. "No, I want you."
She leaned forward, her lips parting. "And I want you."
Our tongues met eagerly, tasting each other deeply. And then she had to ruin it--dammit!
"Buaji," she muttered between kisses.
"Don't you dare mention your aunt right now."
She giggled. "I just did, Raizada."
I couldn't look away as she smiled, looking utterly beautiful in the moonlight. How was I supposed to be annoyed with her? I couldn't even pretend to be.
"Come on," I grumbled, righting her hair and clothes. "Your aunt will probably send out a search party if you don't get home on time."
Khushi laughed, pecking me on the cheek. "You know us Guptas really well, don't you?"
I couldn't deny it. Both niece and aunt drove me crazy, but they had become key fixtures in my life in a matter of weeks. I didn't miss my old bachelor life in Mumbai. It seemed rather bland and boring now and a little too perfect. Life was meant to be crazy and fun--like my Sushi.
Sure enough, Maddy Bua was pacing in the living room when we entered, her braid looped over one shoulder. The moment she spotted us, she flew to Khushi's side.
"Sanka Devi! Finally! Arnav dear, it's so good of you to bring her home. Shyam Babua looked so angry when he left."
"Left?" Both Khushi and I spoke at the same time. Our eyes met, a secret, shared smile on our lips.
Maddy Bua didn't notice it, nodding fervently. "He said he has some work out of town. I don't know when he'll be back. Everything is going wrong today. First, the shower broke and then poor Shyam had to run off."
I was more upset about the shower than the toad. "What happened to the shower?" So there would be no tub and a rub? Dammit--
One look at Khushi and I could tell she was struggling not to giggle, her eyes all lit up as she surveyed my grumpy expression.
"I don't know, dear. This whole house is falling apart. First it was that kitchen sink and now this. Hai Re Nandkishore!"
"Buaji, why don't you rest," suggested Khushi. "I'll handle everything tomorrow."
"Hmph, if you insist. Good night, Arnav dear."
"Good night," I muttered.
As soon as her back turned, I took Khushi's hand in mine, dragging her against me. Her aunt stopped mid-step and Khushi quickly jumped out of my arms, sending me a warning glance.
"Behave," she mouthed.
"No way," I mouthed back.
The corner of Maddy Bua's mouth was corked up as she gazed over her shoulder at us. "Sanka Devi, do you think you could press my feet for a while? I think that pesky arthritis is acting up again."
"Of course, I'll be right there."
As her aunt finally left us alone, I crushed Khushi to me. "Dammit, now we won't get to talk at all. You know she won't let you leave that easily."
Her arms curled around my waist. "I'll see you in the morning, baby. It's late as it is and I think you can survive one night without me."
"Well, then you're totally wrong, Gupta. I need you."
She sighed, rising up on her tiptoes and brushing her lips across mine--once, twice, and thrice. "I know. I'll miss you, Raizada."
"Seriously," I murmured using all my seductive prowess, "Let's make out. It's been so long."
She looked shocked and then she rolled her eyes, looping her arms around my neck. "Yes, it's been so so long.. five.. whole.. minutes!"
I smiled back at her. "That wasn't enough and you know it."
Before she could argue, I dove my hand into her silky hair, angling my mouth over hers. We kissed heatedly and then her aunt's voice bellowed:
"SANKA DEVI! Are you coming now or next year?"
"Dammit," I sighed as Khushi extracted herself. She would have left me there, but I grabbed her wrist, twirling her back into my arms.
"Arnav!" she ground out, looking all wide-eyed. "Let go. Buaji's waiting."
"I don't care. Two minutes make no difference." I nuzzled my face into the side of her neck, dragging off her dupatta so I could kiss that hickey I'd made earlier.
"Arnav.." Her voice sounded breathless.
"I want a date," I said abruptly. "Tomorrow. Only if you agree, will I let you go."
"What?" she sputtered.
"You heard me, Sushi. I had to watch you with that toad today, don't forget. I want one afternoon with you. Come on, baby, agree.."
She looked uncertain, but Buaji hollered again. I held onto her tight, not letting her run off. "Say yes, Khushi."
"I could knee you like how you taught me, you know."
I smirked. "You wouldn't dare."
Not a good move, clearly. She fought like a wildcat in my arms, her eyes sparkling with fire.
"Argh!" We were both breathing hard, our bodies entwined.
"Fine, you stubborn man," she finally said. "Tomorrow, there's a fair going on at Lover's Park. I'll meet you at 4 PM."
She would have darted off but I caught her arm again. "Near that tree we fake-kissed against?"
Khushi's eyes twinkled. "Deal, Raizada."
I kissed her hard and fast, and then finally let her go, missing her already. I'd never felt this way before. Was this love? I quickly shook my head. That four-letter-word had always scared me. I couldn't be falling for her so fast! Could I?
It would a long, lonely, and sleepless night. Sighing, I walked off to my bedroom..
The next day, we hardly saw one another. Khushi was busy with a list of chores and I had a deadline to meet. Jha had not shown his slimy face again and I could only hope that was the last of him and his butter.
I did meet Khushi at lunch, but some of Buaji's friends were over and the way they looked at me, made me a bit uncomfortable. So did their questions about my marital status, my bank account, and job. The way they kept dropping their daughters' names was indication enough of what they were after.
But I didn't have to answer too much. Khushi handled the situation like a pro, shooing me off to my room. My heart warmed to see her overprotective, jealous side. She looked extra cute all angry, spots of color dotting her cheeks.
"How dare they behave like you're all available!" I started to tell her that I technically was, but she covered my mouth, pushing me onto the bed. "Stay here and don't come out till I tell you the coast is clear."
I stole a kiss. "Deal, my tigress. But remember, 4 PM today. You have a date with me."
Khushi smiled, pressing her lips to my cheek. "How can I forget? See you then."
Now, it was 4:30 PM and I felt like an idiot--standing under a tree by myself, my hands stuffed in my pockets. Where was she?
It seemed like all of Delhi had descended upon Lover's Park. A Ferris wheel was spinning in the main square, rides and games were organized everywhere. Around me though, it was not that loud or crowded.
Some school kids were playing tag, others flying kites, and a short distance away, a blonde was looking right in my direction. I stiffened, gazing pointedly aside.
And then the next thing I knew, she was right next to me, her voice oddly husky. "You're hot."
"My girlfriend thinks so too," I replied brusquely, turning away.
That should have been hint enough to back off, but the woman did not. She launched herself onto my back, gripping my leather jacket tightly. My temper snapped as I swerved around.
"Look, lady, I have a girlfriend and trust me, you don't want her after you."
The blonde laughed and for the first time, I looked at her closely, my eyes widening.
She slipped the tinted aviators down her nose, winking at me beneath that mountain of blond hair. "Who else?"
"What are you-- Why are you dressed like this?"
She shrugged, righting the wig and hat. "I wanted us to be free on our date and since butterball's meltdown is not known by everyone yet, I thought a disguise would be best."
My eyes were busy skimming down her body. I'd always seen her in traditional wear, but this suited her too. She looked gorgeous and oh-so-shapely in the cutoffs and plaid shirt. "And the clothes?"
"The jeans are really old, but they still fit, so I trimmed them a bit," she explained. "And the shirt, you probably recognize.."
It took me a few seconds. "That's my shirt!"
Khushi laughed. "I took it from the laundry. I hope you don't mind."
Mind? No way in hell, though I didn't say that out loud, too caught up in her. She was smiling and posing in front of me, her eyes shining with a mesmerizing mix of joy and amusement.
Who was I kidding? I loved this crazy, loveable, gorgeous, endearing woman. I'd fallen for her long back. There was no one like her and I hadn't been able to resist the pull.
I, Arnav Singh Raizada, was in love with Khushi Kumari Gupta.
As that colossal realization crashed into me, Khushi waved her hand over my dazed face.
"Earth to Raizada.. Ready for our date?" Her small hand stretched toward me.
I took a deep breath and then slid my hand across hers, our fingers entwining. "More than ready."  Together, we walked into the sunshine.
Baby, Hold On by Tina!
Part 11: A "Fairy" Tale Date
My heart fluttered at the look in his eyes. What were we talking about here? Food or something much more delicious?
"Very good," I corrected.
He pulled me closer. "I thought so.. You know you moaned when you bit into it."
I swear I turned bright red then. I looked up, my gaze clashing with his.
"I. Did. Not. Moan." I punctuated each word with a poke into his stomach.
He caught my hand, bringing it to his mouth for a swift kiss. "You most definitely did, Sushi." He drew closer, indecently close, though I was too lost to care.
Our chests pressed together as he leaned closer still, his warm breath caressing my ear. "I heard you, just like I can hear your breathing go uneven right now. You want me."
I couldn't believe what this man was telling me in the middle of a public fair! I clamped my hand over his mouth, my eyes darting around us. Thankfully, no one was really paying us any attention.
"Shut up, Raizada."
"Make me--and you better use that delectable mouth of yours."
This time my breathing seemed to suspend. My eyes locked with his as everything else fell away.
His hands tightened on my waist, his gaze falling to my lips. I froze as his head tilted downwards, with such deliberateness that there was no question on my mind what he was after.
I tried to move away, I really did, but my body wouldn't cooperate. Alarm bells were ringing in my head: Step away! What are you doing?
But I found myself snuggling against Raizada's black leather jacket instead, my palms massaging the taut muscles underneath.
Oh, gosh, I knew what he was asking for. Step away! Think of Buaji!
But not even the thought of my aunt--or all of Laxmi Nagar for that matter--seemed to help. I was locked in his embrace. It was only Mr. Sexy that consumed my thoughts--only him. I found myself leaning forward, not caring if anyone saw us.
His mouth just barely grazed my cheek, but I felt the caress down to my toes. His gaze scorched into me: hot and raw.
I swallowed, my eyes falling to the sinful line of his lips. And he more than noticed, his hands rising up to cup my face. I held onto his jacket as he leaned further down, a breath away.
But the kiss never came.
Because someone half my size collided into me just then. "Sorry," muttered the kid, running off after his friends.
I froze, staring at Mr. Sexy with wide eyes. Had I just been about to kiss him? Brazenly and openly in the middle of a fair? Feeling utterly tongue-tied, I pulled out of his arms, my cheeks flaming as I sprinted off.
I could sense the laughter in his voice, but I ran on, having no clue where I was running--some corner of Lover's Park apparently.
I yelped with surprise when strong arms closed around my waist, drawing me backward. It hadn't taken Arnav more than a few seconds to catch up.
"There's no reason to be embarrassed, baby."
I spun in his arms. "I know, but we're in public."
He seemed not to care, but then he noticed my expression, exhaling. "Fine, later then. When we're alone."
I grinned at him, pecking him on the cheek. "Thanks."
"No thanks needed." He drew me against his side. "So, now what?"
I looked around us--there was so much to do. But I was still lost in that near kiss. Against my better judgment, I found myself pointing toward the rollercoaster. "How about that?"
He looked surprised. "Are you sure?"
I couldn't take the words back now. "Yes, Raizada. Come on."
Ten minutes later, we found ourselves at the front of the line. My heart was thumping fast now. I'd always had a small--very small--fear of heights.  But this roller coaster wasn't even full-size. Its few drops didn't look all that daunting.
Stop being a big baby, I told myself. Look, that whole group of kids just got off. You can do this.
I gulped. It was our turn. "Yes." OMG OMG OMG! What are you doing, Khushi Kumari Gupta? It's not too late, stop this craziness now!
I stepped forward instead. The rollercoaster was named "Rub Away" and each car was designed after some bathroom item: a bar of soap, back scrubber, shampoo bottle, etc. Arnav and I squeezed into the one farthest back: a giant bubble.
"You know," Arnav said, "I'm surprised you want to do this. I thought you were scared of heights."
My head whipped toward him "How did you know?"
He saw right through me. "So you are. Dammit, baby, why did you suggest this then?"
I shrugged uneasily. "It's not that scary."
"That's because we haven't moved yet."
Oh. Right. I shook my head, going back to my first question. "But still, how did you know about my fear of heights?"
It was his turn to look a bit sheepish. "I noticed you cleaning the ceiling fans once. You looked.. really jumpy."
What he was nice enough not to mention was that the stool I'd been standing on had been not even a quarter of my height and I'd whispered a prayer when my feet had touched solid ground again.
"I can do this," I said, mostly to reassure myself.
"Yes, you can."
For once, his words didn't make me feel better. My stomach rolled as the cart suddenly lurched forward. My eyes widened in panic.
Raizada must have noted it because his hand caught mine. I found myself squeezing his hand in a death-grip, my heart thundering as the track curved upwards ahead. We were rising up now, going nearly vertical.
I was doing a reasonable job of not freaking out, but then I had to ruin it--of course! My eyes inevitably drifted downwards, the view below shaking me.
"I can't do this! Get me down! Get me down!"
The ten-year-olds in front of us looked back, their eyebrows raised. I tried to ignore their giggles. I was making a mess of our first date, but I couldn't help it.
Arnav set his hands on either side of my face, forcing me to meet his gaze. "Khushi, listen to me: it's okay. I'm with you."
I was beyond all sense. "Why didn't you stop me? Clearly, I can't be trusted."
He smiled, brushing a tendril of hair from my face. "You can do this, baby," he said simply. "I'm with you."
My head twisted and turned in his grasp, my breathing awry as we ascended even higher. Why didn't he understand? "I can't do this. I just can't!"
Arnav frowned seeing the fear and anxiety in my eyes and drew me to him. "Kiss me."
"What?" I hadn't been expecting that!
"Kiss me now, Khushi."
The first drop would come any second. Heart pounding, I closed my eyes and found his mouth with mine.
And as the world fell away, the coaster plummeting with speed and the air whizzing past us, I could only hold on. There was no fear--only him, his mouth latched onto mine, his tongue stroking with persistence. My eyes opened, my heart galloping to find him watching me. We kissed heatedly.
He abruptly broke the kiss and I moaned in protest. I would have pulled him back into my arms, but he shook his head.
"Ride over, baby. I thought you didn't want to kiss in public."
"It's over? So quickly?" I stared in confusion around us. But it was true, we were back to where we'd started. Mr. Sexy helped me out, our hands wound together still.
"That was.." I struggled to find the right words. "Amazing! Beyond anything I could have imagined! I did it!"
Arnav grinned as I spun in a circle. "I knew you would."
I could have kissed him all over again, but I resisted that urge. "Can we do it again?"
"Kiss--yes. The rollercoaster--no. My hand feels numb."
I tried not to laugh and failed. I'd squeezed his hand like a woman in labor. "Sorry," I mumbled, pressing a kiss to his palm.
His gaze smoldered at the fleeting touch and my breathing grew ragged. Hoping not to embarrass myself again, I pulled him toward the carnival games. He didn't seem all that interested, but he humored me. I smiled at everything around us, my eyes drawn to the large stuffed animals. They looked so cute, especially the teddy bears.
Of course my interest caught Raizada's attention. "You want one." It was more a statement than a question.
"No, it's silly. I'm not a child and--" He was already pulling me toward the stall, marching with purpose.
"Be the first to knock down the pins in one attempt and win a prize!" The man at the front was shouting.
Arnav paid for one try and the man's eyes shone doubtfully. "It's a better deal if you buy ten attempts at once. No one's done it in one try."
"One's enough."
"Yeah," I chimed in, hands on my hips. "You don't know my boyfriend."
The stall owner raised an eyebrow at me. "You're clearly not from around here. This game is known to be impossible."
I was at a loss for a moment and about to tell him that I knew Laxmi Nagar better than he ever could, when it hit me.
The disguise. The blonde hair. The poor man probably thought I was from not just a different neighborhood, but a different country!
Still, I wasn't about to back down. I cheered on Arnav like the pros on TV as he raised his arm toward the pins. "Come on, Raizada! Come on!"
The ball flew out of his hand in one quick move, sending all ten pins crashing. I jumped into Arnav's arms, yelping out loud. "You did it, baby! I told you!"
I narrowed my eyes at the stall owner, but the poor man looked more astonished than us, scratching his head.
"Our prize.." I reminded him.
He weakly smiled. "Of course. What would you like: strawberry, vanilla, or blueberry?"
"You won ice cream too?" I whispered to Mr. Sexy.
He chuckled. "I think he's asking you what color stuffed animal you want."
"Oh! But then why not say pink, white, or blue?"
"Beats me too. He must be a foodie like you."
I elbowed Arnav as the stall owner cleared his throat.
"Blue," I decided--mostly because I was craving a blueberry muffin suddenly.
He handed us a very small stuffed animal--not the huge ones hanging above. My mouth dropped open.
"What the! We clearly won!"
"Those are only if you buy ten attempts, I tried to tell you." His eyes flew over me.
Mr. Sexy looked on the verge of getting into a fight so I quickly pulled him away, smiling brightly.
"Baby, it's okay. This cow is cute too."
He sighed. "That's not the point, Khushi. And by the way, that's a hippo--not a cow."
Oh, I saw it now. "Even cuter," I told him, trying to change the subject. "Guess what I'm going to name him?"
"I don't know. What?"
"Arnie." My eyes lit up as his gaze flashed to me.
"I hate when people call me that."
I clapped my hands over the hippo's fuzzy ears. "Don't be mean! And who said it was named after you?"
Raizada smirked. "I'm the only Arnav you know."
"Arnie does not have to be short only for Arnav. It can also be short for.." I struggled to come up with something.. anything.. Mr. Sexy grinned sexily, stalking closer.
"Yeah.. go on.."
It suddenly dawned on me. "Arnold!"
"Yeah.. right, Khushi!" He was laughing as he led me to a small, outdoor cafe. We sat on a round table for four. I made Arnie the hippo sit between us, gazing across at Mr. Sexy.
We ordered dinner and unlike the disastrous date with Butterball, this was everything I'd imagined. We laughed and chatted as we ate, feeding one another from our plates as we talked. I found myself unable to look away from Mr. Sexy, feeling hopelessly and utterly in love.
The thought stopped me cold. Was I really in love with him?
Sure, I was maddeningly attracted to the man and I trusted him completely, but I'd thought I was in the process of falling in love with him. How did you know if you were in love or slipping towards it? I wondered. Why was it all so complicated?
"Khushi? Baby, you okay?"
"Umm, yeah. What were you saying?"
His mouth opened but he didn't get a chance to speak. Because just then an ear-splitting shriek erupted.
It was a tall, pretty woman around my age, dressed in a gorgeous, pale pink summer dress. Beside her, I felt like a manly scarecrow, though I tried not to let it bother me.
"You know her?" I asked.
"What?" Arnav looked taken aback "No.."
I raised an eyebrow, but the woman answered my questions, holding her hand out toward Arnav. "Lavanya Kashyap. I'm your biggest fan, Mr. Raizada! I've read all your books so many times! Look, I even have the newest one in my purse. Could you sign it?"
"Sure." Arnav smiled at her and I couldn't blame him, smiling too. Not that Ms. Supermodel Kashyap noticed. Her eyes were solely on Arnav.
"How are you here?" she asked him. "I thought you lived in Mumbai."
"Things change," he replied vaguely, signing something illegible. I started to tell him to rewrite it, but his fan found the chicken scratch perfect, looking ecstatic. I slumped back in the chair.
She laughed, setting her hand on his shoulder in a way that had me grinding my teeth together. "Yes, things change just like in chapter seventeen of Rise of the Invaders. By the way, ASR, if you're in town for a few days, I'd love to meet you again. My number is.."
As she rattled off her phone number, my mouth dropped open. Did she not see that Mr. Sexy and I were clearly on a date? I seethed not so silently, my eyes flashing at Arnav.
It made me feel slightly better that he was not jotting down her number. He looked truly apologetic as our gazes met. But what if he was memorizing the number? My temper almost snapped at the thought. No one would be able to save him then. I'd be worse than any invading alien in any of his sci-fi books.
Ms. Annoying's eyes finally noticed me. "And you are?"
I broke my gaze off Raizada, my lips pursed. Without batting an eyelash, I lied, "His wife."
Lavanya Kashyap looked gob smacked. I heard Arnav's sharp intake of breath, but I wouldn't let myself look his way. It would give everything away.
"Wife," I said again, as if explaining the concept to a child. "W-I-F-E."
She looked toward Arnav with raised eyebrows. "You're married? I thought you were a bachelor still."
I answered for him. "Clearly, you don't know everything."
She blinked her eyes at me several times. "I guess.. Sorry to disturb you both. Enjoy your dinner and congrats on the wedding."
As her heels tapped away, I froze. OMG, what had I done? I may have been new to dating, but I did know you did not bring up the word "wife" up on your first date. Just like you didn't mention anything about a "ring"--no matter how innocently--till he'd gone down on one knee.
Because anything else was sure to set the guy running off for the hills. And here I'd done much, much worse. I'd gone past all that and announced myself as his wife. I'd truly ruined everything.
Steeling myself, I risked a glance at Mr. Sexy. He was still sitting there, staring across at me.
I released the breath I hadn't realized I was holding. So he hadn't run away at least. That was good.
"W-I-F-E?" he asked.
I shrugged lamely, taking a sip of lemonade. "It sounds better than girlfriend."
He didn't argue. "Agreed. It does carry more of a bite."
He observed me for a breathless moment and then suddenly started laughing, seeming unable to stop.
I glared at him, "Not funny, Raizada." I grabbed Arnie and made a break for it.
"Khushi! Dammit, wait!"
This time it took him a good minute to catch me. He grabbed my arm, pulling me behind some trees. It was a quiet, secluded spot.
"Raizada, let go!"
He yanked me to him, his lips crashing down. We fell to our knees on the grass, mouth entangling as we strove to be closer still. I moaned as his tongue outlined my lips, his hand easing under my--well technically his--shirt.
His touch set me on fire, my heart thundering as he massaged his palm over my navel.
"You taste so good, baby."
I kissed him harder, my hands plunging into his hair. "So do you. Better than jalebis."
He smiled against my lips, kissing me again and again.
All too soon, he drew back, cradling me against him. We lay side by side on the grass, gazing up at the sapphire blue sky for several minutes.
"Want to talk about it now?"
I knew what he was referring to. Hugging him close, I tried to explain all I'd been feeling: "I know I shouldn't have lied, but that woman made me so angry. I don't think you noticed but she was staring at you like how I look at freshly baked chocolate cupcakes."
"Oh, that serious, was it?"
I elbowed him. "Yes, Raizada."
He leaned up on his side, gazing down at me. His fingers stroked over my cheek, and then my lips. "There's no reason to be jealous, Khushi. You're the only woman I have eyes for. The only woman I want."
I started to argue, but stopped myself. Who was I kidding? I had been jealous---not to mention annoyed, angry, and hungry--the latter of which explained everything.
"You want me? But I'm so ordinary."
He shook his head. "Try looking through my eyes. You're extraordinary, baby. Beautiful, smart, funny, and so sweet. I almost punched that stall owner for eyeing you."
I stared at him in shock. "That's why you were so furious then?"
He nodded. "Damn right. What did you think?"
"Because he was cheating with stuffed animals."
As soon as I heard my words aloud, I started laughing, and so did he. "See what I mean. You're so amazing. There's no one like you."
I drew him down on top of me. "No one like you either, Mr. S--"
"Mr. What?"
I cut him off with a kiss. He was sexy, but the man did not need to be reminded of it. We kissed endlessly, lost in one another all over again.
By the time Raizada helped me sneak back into my room, it was past nightfall.
"That was the best date I've ever had," he said, grasping my hands from the other side of the window.
"Mine too. Aren't you coming in?"
"In a little while, baby. You better change before Maddy Bua catches you and thinks you're a blond-haired robber."
I couldn't argue with that logic. "Come soon, Raizada. I'll be waiting."
We kissed again, our lips sliding together with familiar intimacy. I waved to him as he walked away, hugging Arnie the hippo to my chest.
I fell on my--well technically Buaji's--bed with a smile, feeling insanely happy. So it hadn't been exactly a perfect, textbook date, but to me, it was no less than any fairy tale. And it had been in a fair so it could be called "Fairy" for sure.
Changing back into my normal clothes, I slipped into the living room, the smile on my face refusing to go away.
Buaji came out of the kitchen just then. "Oh, there you are! Where have you been? And where did you get that?"
I froze. I hadn't realized I'd brought Arnie with me. "Umm, at the fair."

"You went there too? Guess what my friend told me?"
"What?" I asked absently, smiling down at the blue hippo. It was Mr. Sexy's first gift to me.
"That Arnav--our paying guest Arnav--was spotted in very close contact to a pretty blonde girl. Love is definitely in the air."
She sashayed back into the kitchen, leaving me open-mouthed behind her. I hugged the stuffed animal close. Just great, isn't it, Arnie? Another confusion. Now where is that troublesome, oh-so-sexy man you're named after? He better explain to Buaji that he's not any blonde's or Kashyap's.
He's mine.
Baby Hold On by Tina!
Part 12: AHHH!!!
And then there he was: sleeping soundly, his arms and legs spread-eagled. He looked boyishly handsome, and I could have sworn there was a slight smirk on his chiseled face even in sleep. Just as I'd suspected too, he took up most of the space--exactly like me.
How would we ever share a bed? I wondered, nibbling on my bottom lip. Would I have to sleep on top of him? Would that work or--
I paused mid-sentence, giving myself a mental shake. What the duck! First, I'd called myself his W-I-F-E and now I was planning our wedding night? What was wrong with me?
I didn't get a chance to think it through because just then Raizada rolled in his sleep, kicking off the sheet that covered him.
I didn't know whether to be relieved or not to find him fully clothed, but truthfully, I couldn't help feeling a tad bit disappointed. Couldn't he have at least taken his shirt off? I struggled not to giggle, berating my gutter mind.
All was not lost however. In the dim light, I could still make out some very enticing details. His v-necked, white tee was thin, clinging to his abs and torso in a way that made my heart skip a beat.
His long legs were enveloped in basic black sweats, the muscles bulging through. My cheeks reddened and I forced myself to look away. It was much easier said than done. I could have happily gazed at him all day; all I needed was a comfy chair and a bucket of popcorn on my lap. Ahh bliss..
Meanwhile, Mr. Sexy had no idea what he was doing to me, sleeping on without a care in the world. Rolling my eyes, I poked him with one finger as one would to a great, hibernating grizzly bear.
"Raizada.." I whispered, tapping over his pecs. "Wake up."
No response.
Sighing, I kneeled beside him on the bed, running my hand over his cheek. "Come on, get up."
He rubbed his stubble against my palm, his hand rising to my wrist. A soft murmur escaped him: "Khu.."
"--Shi," I supplied. Was he dreaming of me or did he recognize my touch? Either way, my lips curled. My voice softened. "Baby, wake up please."
Arnav didn't reply, but he did move, turning in the opposite direction. And since my wrist was caught in his grasp, I went with him, unable to pull away.
I landed with a thud on the mattress, my eyes wide with disbelief. Somehow, he'd ended up between my legs in a very intimate position.
"Arnav.." I began, trying to scoot away. "Raizada, wake up. We can't.. Buaji.."
He didn't seem to hear me, nestling closer and covering me with his length. All my struggles ceased, my heart galloping as he buried his face against the side of my neck.
"Khu.." he sighed in his sleep, his lips grazing my skin.
I lay unmoving beneath him, breath suspended. I should have been shaking him awake, but I couldn't seem to. Pressed so close to him, his body fully molded to mine, I felt encased in his warmth. It was startling how good it felt. How good he felt.
"Khushi.." The huskiness of his voice sent more heat shooting through me. I might have ended it then, but his large hands caught my waist, his hips rocking into mine with purpose.
My mouth went dry. Perhaps he wouldn't have done this if awake (actually, I could bet all the jalebis in the world, he wouldn't have) but in his sleep, he was relentless. His hips shifted urgently, his mouth clamping on my neck. It was sure to leave another bruise, but I relished it, the sweep of his tongue and suction of his mouth hard--if not impossible--to resist.
Arnav was moving hard and fast, my name on his lips. "Khushi.." he groaned as he ground himself against the very center of me.
This was beyond anything I could have dreamt up. It was pleasure so intense I could barely hold on, my hands clenching on the bedsheets. I found myself arching upwards, matching Mr. Sexy's every movement.
I shivered, my heartbeat soaring as he trailed kisses across my collarbone, his head lowering with every caress. His tongue stroked over the tops of my breasts as his hips surged again, the friction too much to bear.
"Arnav!" I cried out as passion caught me in its full thrust. "Don't stop.."
I knew the exact moment he came to his senses. He went rigid on top of me, shock-still. I bit my lip to keep from protesting.
"Khushi?" He raised his head, blinking his eyes several times as he stared down at me. "What are you-- How did you get here?"
I shrugged, hoping to hide my awkwardness with a bright smile. "Surprise!"
He did not look all that amused, his gaze wandering down. I blushed as I observed him.
He was positioned between my thighs and my nightgown had ridden up to an indecent level. I tugged it down, my fingers trembling.
Mr. Sexy slid off of me, sitting up and turning on the small lamp on the nightstand. As light spilled over us, his eyes flashed to me, taking in my tangled hair, the rapid rise and fall of my chest, and the length of my legs. A muscle flexed in his jaw and he quickly diverted his gaze back to my face.
I sat up too, adjusting my clothes. It took me a good minute to remember how I'd gotten here. Everything felt hazy in my head, the passion between us still simmering hotly.
"Well.. I was worried and had to talk to you. I tried to wake you up, but you grabbed my hand. And we.. you know what.." I couldn't look at him, feeling so utterly embarrassed. He'd been asleep, but what was my excuse?
"I'm sorry."
My head snapped up. "What?"
"I'm sorry," he said again, his expression uncharacteristically grim. "I thought it was a dream. Dammit, I wanted to go slow with you. I scared you, didn't I?"
I shook my head forcefully. "Of course not. And don't apologize. I.. I wanted that too." There, I'd admitted it!
Mr. Sexy raised an eyebrow doubtfully, curving his palm over my cheek. His thumb brushed across my lips. "You look scared to death."
A blush stole over my cheeks. "I'm not though. It was just so new.. So different, it took me by surprise." I looked at him with awe, hiding nothing. "I didn't know passion could be so powerful."
The sharp lines of his face relaxed, his mouth slanting in a sexy grin. He drew me to him, kissing me firmly and yet with aching tenderness.
"That's just a teaser, baby. We haven't even scratched the surface of true passion."
I tried not to blink at him owlishly. If that was just the teaser, how would I ever survive all of it?
The sound of his chuckle made me realize I'd accidentally asked that question out loud. "We'll make it. Now, what were you worried about?" At my perplexed glance, he murmured, "You said it yourself. You had to see me about something.."
Oh yeah.. I quickly told him about the blonde mix up. He didn't react like me--not at all.
"I'll talk to Maddy Bua tomorrow," Raizada said simply.  "Anything else?"
"What about us? How are we going to tell my aunt? And when?"
He looked thoughtful, catching my hand in his and absently rubbing circles on my palm. It soothed me in ways I couldn't explain.
"We'll tell her when the time comes. Maybe after a few more dates," he said with a wink. "I don't know about you, but I like not having her watch our every move. Think you can live with the secrecy for a couple more weeks?"
I hugged him in answer. "That shouldn't be so hard. I like having you all to myself without Buaji interfering. I love her, but she just won't understand."
Arnav kissed the tip of my nose. "I know. Now go back to bed, if you stay here any longer, there will probably be a replay of the teaser performance."
"I might like that though," I confessed, gazing up at him with an impish twinkle in my eyes.
It took him a moment to recover. He'd been expecting the opposite reaction no doubt. I couldn't help but laugh, rising up and pressing a kiss to his cheek. "Good night, Raizada. Sweet dreams."
I turned at the door, feeling compelled to look at him. He was sitting up, his gaze smoldering. It made me melt, my heartbeat pounding. I blew him a quick kiss, rushing out. If I stayed a second longer, I'd probably jump into his arms, embarrassing myself as usual.
Falling back into bed, I tried to sleep, but--no surprise--it took some time. Not because of Buaji's constant snoring, but because Mr. Sexy's thoughts wouldn't leave me alone. With an utterly silly smile on my face, I hugged Arnie the hippo tight, my eyes finally closing.
As expected, I woke up later than normal, my heart thudding in my chest. I'd had some very naughty dreams--all starring Mr. Sexy of course--but the last one had been a nightmare. Shyamji had been back; he'd been chasing me with rotten, foul-smelling butter dripping off of him.
My eyes blinked open, my mouth opening in a scream as I glimpsed the face above me. It was yellow and oozing.
"BUTTERMONSTER!" I kicked the covers, diving to the other end of the bed, but a large, beefy hand caught mine.
"Sanka Devi! It's me!"
I did a double take. "Buaji? What's that on your face?"
It was hard to read her expression under the thick, yellow caking, but she didn't look too happy. She hid her face hastily with the end of her sari. "I put on a new face mask and it's reacting with my skin. I'm going to Bumble's Beauty Boutique and maybe the doctor's too. I'll be back in a few hours."
"Oh, Buaji. Who told you to do that?"
"This magazine, that's what." She held up the beauty magazine with a scowl. "I should sue them for this!" The fury vanished in the blink of an eye, her hand patting my head none too lightly. "Don't you worry, Sanka Devi. By the way, breakfast is leftovers from last night, so just heat that up. And remember to be careful when you take a shower, the entire bathroom is falling apart."
I wondered if Raizada had spoken to her yet. "And Mr.--I mean our paying guest?"
Her eyebrows scrunched together. "Arnav dear? I haven't seen him this morning. He must be out with some work. So relax, he won't be bothering you. Now get up, it's almost eleven now." She batted me on the head with the rolled-up magazine as she marched out.
I stretched for a few minutes more and then grudgingly got up, heading straight for the bathroom. At the threshold, I paused, blinking at the brightness.
Surprisingly, the lights were on. No doubt Buaji had forgotten to turn them off in her hurry. Shrugging, I carefully locked the door behind me. It took a few tries and a lot of pushing and shoving, but I managed it.
Several minutes later, I was standing before the mirror, making faces at the wild, unruly state of my hair when I heard something. I frowned, but it was gone as quickly as it had come.
I shook my head. The nightmare has gotten into your head, Khushi Kumari Gupta. The house is falling apart, but it isn't haunted by Butterball. Relax.
The pep talk helped. I pulled off my nightgown and instantly shivered. It was extra chilly this morning. The heater must have died again.
Wrapping a towel around myself, I made a mental note to check it after breakfast. I'd just slid the shower curtain out of the way, when my gaze roved downwards and bulged.
Mr. Sexy lay in a bubble bath, his headphones slipping out of his ears as he spotted me. He too looked surprised--though not as much as me.
My shout died on my lips. The wide, bare expanse of his chest left me tongue-tied, those broad shoulders making it difficult for me to remember how to breathe let alone think. Even the fact that I was wearing a towel and nothing else seemed to disappear.
My eyes were glued to Raizada. Bubbles covered his lower half, but as he sat up, a muscular thigh peeked through. The tantalizing sight seemed to press my unmute button.
"RAIZADA!" I shrieked. "What are you doing here? OMG!"
I turned to run, but my feet slipped on the wet tiles. And almost comically, I fell right into the bathtub, the bubbles and water sloshing wildly. It took me a few seconds to register what had happened.
#1--I had landed on Mr. Sexy's lap.
#2--I was barely clothed, my hearts-covered, hot pink towel in very serious danger of coming undone.
#3--He--gulp--had to be naked. Our tub wasn't big enough to be considered a swimming pool by any means so that ruled out swimming trunks.
Taking it together: I was in a towel..on Mr. Sexy's the bathtub.. OMG!!!!!!!!!!!
My eyes flew to him, instantly darting away. What should I say now? What did one say in such circumstances? Sorry for falling all over you, but it's all your fault? I decided on something safe.
"Umm.. hello.."
He grinned, not the least bit embarrassed. I, meanwhile, felt like pulling his hair. How dare he act so unaffected!
"Morning, beautiful. So the fortune cookie comes true after all."
That had me sputtering. "What?"
His grin widened. "A tub and a rub is what you most need," he quoted. "Remember?"
I didn't need reminding, the blush on my face intensifying as I felt that familiar hardness from last night beneath me. "What are you doing here?" I managed, swallowing.
"Making jalebis," he said with a straight face, winking at me. "I'm in a tub, Sushi, what could I be doing? Of course, I'm taking a bath."
I narrowed my eyes at him. "You didn't lock the door."
"It wouldn't lock. It was jammed."
"I locked it."
"Mmm, did you? Perfect." His gaze lazily wandered over me, leaving flames of heat in its wake.
I splashed him with water, trying to move away, but he caught me in his arms, dragging me against him. My hands slipped across his wet chest.
"Do you have any idea what you do to me?" he cut in, sliding his hand through my hair. "How much I want you?"
I swear I could hear my heartbeat thundering in my chest. But I wouldn't let myself back down--not this time. "Not as much as I want you."
Mr. Sexy stilled, water droplets clinging to his eyelashes as he stared at me as if trying to figure me out. "Then why are you running away? Kiss me, dammit."
All the air in my lungs seemed to leave as he whispered that, rivulets of water streaking down from his drenched hair. I ached to hold him, to give in..
"Buaji.." I muttered half-heartedly.
"Is not here." He drew me closer, so close our noses touched. "What matters is what you want, Khushi Kumari Gupta."
Staring into his gorgeous eyes, I tossed all my doubts and nagging worries aside, doing what felt right and unquestionable necessary at this moment. Little by little, I bridged the gap between us, pressing my lips to that mouth I'd dreamed about all night long.
We kissed heatedly, his hands clenching on my towel, though he made no move to remove it. It was all I'd needed, the reassurance that whatever happened, it would be up to me.
I fell head first into his kiss, our tongues entwining.  And then I drew in a shaky breath, my eyes locking with his as I admitted what some crazy part of me had known all along:
"I want you, Arnav Singh Raizada, completely and forever."
Baby, Hold On by Tina!
Part 13: Bubble Bath with Mr. Sexy
Arnav picked up on my anxiety quite well. His gaze softened. "Really, baby. Honestly, I've wanted you since the moment you threw a bucket of milk on me. And now, knowing your every crazy, loveable side, I want you desperately. Madly. Completely and forever--"
I cut him off with a swift kiss, my arms winding around him. He groaned, his tongue slipping between my lips and probing deep. We kissed as if we'd never get enough.
"It was a pitcher," I muttered between kisses, my eyes closed and my breathing erratic.
"What?" Mr. Sexy was busy trailing kisses down my neck. His mouth clamped onto his favorite spot, hot and firm.
"The milk.." I managed as he suckled, doing something downright maddening with his lips, teeth and tongue. I braced myself against his soapy shoulders. "It was--oh!--a pitcher of milk-- not a bucket."
"Was it?" he drawled lazily, easing his hands into my hair and finding my mouth again.
I was lost in his touch, needing to stroke and caress him as if it was the last thing I'd ever do. My tongue glided over his lips impishly.
He groaned my name so hoarsely I barely recognized it. It reminded me of the night before. How he'd said my name again and again in his sleep. How he'd shifted and thrusted his hard and very male body against me, making me long for more.
Mr. Sexy's gaze swerved to mine, his mouth more reddened than normal and his breathing labored. "Yes, what?"
I struggled not to giggle. "Yes, it was a pitcher."
He looked confused, as if he'd forgotten our conversation. "Damn the milk," he ground out. "Come here."
I more than happily surged into his open arms, the splash of the water around us the only noise as our lips met, more urgently this time. This was passion on a much different level. Far beyond our crazy, stolen kisses in the cleaning closet.
My hands clenched on his bare shoulders as he kissed me without holding anything back, his touch hungry and unquestionably demanding. I more than met him halfway, but there was a bit of worry too. This was all so new to me.
Arnav must have noticed me tensing up because he drew back, pressing his lips to my cheek.
"We'll go slow, Khushi." He kissed my other cheek and then my lips, fleetingly this time. "Now turn around."
I stared at him bewildered. "What? Why?"
His chocolaty eyes smoldered. "Just do it, Khushi."
I might have still protested, but there was something irresistibly hot and sexy when he was in his commanding mode. A breathless shiver shot through me as he took matters in his own hands, twisting me on his lap. It took some very careful positioning but we managed it. I ended up sitting between his legs, our bodies pressed indecently close.
One thought refused to leave me: No swimming trunks.. No swimming trunks.. Thank goodness, my back was to him. I had no doubt my face resembled a ripe tomato right about now.
"Stop squirming, Sushi."
"I'm not."
"Trust me, you are. Now relax," he ordered.
"How can I relax? I'm in just a towel and you're.."
His lips pressed to my shoulder and I could feel his smirk against my skin. "Trust me, I'm well aware of that fact too. But come on, baby, relax for me.."
To my surprise, his hands settled on my neck, lightly massaging. I moaned, stretching against him like a pleased cat.
"Are you really a writer?" I wondered out loud.
His hands paused and then continued. "Why do you ask?"
"Because you could easily pass for a masseuse." Seriously, the man had some definite skill. The kind people would line up in droves and more than happily pay for. But lucky for me, Mr. Sexy's massages were solely mine. As I thought about how much and exactly where I wanted him to touch me, my cheeks tinged with renewed color.
Arnav pressed a scorching kiss to the top of my shoulder, making me quiver and burn. "Pass me the shampoo."
I felt like whacking him. It was so hard to pay attention when he touched me like that. "What?"
He sucked on the side of my neck, licking over the same spot. "Just do it, Khushi," he said again, that phrase making my heart pound. Why did I get the feeling he meant something all together different? Something scandalous?
Gulping, I handed him the shampoo bottle. I heard him uncapping it, smelled the familiar flowery scent, and then suddenly his hands were in my hair, washing and working through the tangles.
"Oh!" His gentle touch left me speechless--which was quite a feat.
"Relaxed now, baby?"
I made a mewling sound, reclining back against him. My hands settled on his muscular thighs. A bubble bath with Mr. Sexy was more than anything I'd ever dreamed of.
"No one's ever done this for me before," I confessed. "Well, except for Bumble."
He stiffened and because I was for all purposes plastered to him, I noticed it at once. "Who's Bumble?" Arnav gritted.
Was my hearing failing or did I really detect some jealousy in his voice? The notion was so utterly ridiculous, I had to bite my bottom lip to keep from laughing out loud.
"Khushi.." His tone demanded I explain and at once. Lathering his hands with soap, he rubbed them up and down my arms.
"Oh, just someone with a very soothing touch.." I murmured fondly. "Someone who has years of experience in shampooing my hair."
Mr. Sexy was not so subtly seething now. "Khushi, I'm going to ask you one more time. Who the bloody hell is this Dumble?"
"You already know," I replied.
"The hell I do. I'd remember a name like that."
I glanced over my shoulder to find him scowling. An amused smile lit my face which made him glower all the more.
"Khushi. Answer."
Sighing, I kissed the tip of his nose. "You look extra handsome when you're all jealous. I think I like this. Very much."
His hands curved around my waist, yanking me to him. "And I think I hate it. Actually, I know I do."
Feeling just a teensy weensy sorry for him, I started to explain, but just then a most unexpected shriek erupted.
"SANKA DEVI!" Buaji was knocking on the bathroom door so hard it rattled and shook from its hinges.
I froze, my eyes rounding. A vivid image of the lock breaking apart and my aunt charging inside to find me on Mr. Sexy's lap clogged my senses.
"Sanka Devi! Are you done with your shower?"
Arnav pinched my arm and I automatically slapped his chest. Here I was having a heart attack and the man was up to his usual flirting.
"Answer her," he drawled in my ear, not the least bit affected. His teeth caught my earlobe, making me gasp.
"Khushi?" I could easily picture my aunt standing on the opposite side of the door, her eyebrows bent. She knocked again. "Are you okay in there?"
I finally found my voice, clearing my throat as I batted Arnav back. The man was insatiable, capturing my hand and kissing the pads of my fingers one at a time. My eyes froze on his chiseled face, our gaze locking.
"Khushi? What are you doing in there?"
Having a lovely bubble bath with Mr. Sexy, I almost replied. What did my aunt think I was doing? Skydiving? "I'm fine, Buaji! I'll be out soon."
"Hurry up, Sanka Devi! I'm waiting."
Her footsteps faded away but my panic did not diminish. I knew where my aunt was heading to: her favorite armchair, one that had a direct view of the bathroom door. How ever would we sneak past her?
Mr. Sexy was busy rinsing out the last of the shampoo from my hair. For some reason, his absolute calm had me fuming.
"How are we going to both leave this bathroom with Buaji watching?"
My furious whisper had little effect. He just grinned, pressing an open-mouthed kiss to my cheek. "You worry too much, Sanka Devi."
Narrowing my eyes at him, I splashed him with water. "This is all your fault, Raizada. You shouldn't have been here at the same time as me."
A sleek eyebrow rose. "Maybe you've forgotten but I was here first. You're the one who interrupted my bath."
"Interrupted? Me?" I sputtered with outrage. I was on the verge of shouting and he must have realized it. His mouth descended on mine like a thunderclap. I tried to scoot away, but his hands framed my face, his lips knowing just how to unravel me. I found myself looping my arms around his neck, meeting him stroke for stroke.
"Sanka Devi! I'm waiting!"
"Dammit," Arnav groaned, pulling away.
We were both breathing hard. I stared at him with alarm, my heartbeat pounding. "What are we going to do?"
He smoothed the lines of worry from my forehead. "Relax, baby. I told you to relax, didn't I?"
I motioned to the door. "Relax? In case you missed it, my aunt is sitting just outside the door!"
"Okay, fine I'll admit the situation makes it challenging, but I'm sure you can do it still."
"Do what?"
I clamped my hand over his mouth. "Don't you dare say that word again! Arnav, please be serious."
Kissing my palm, he nodded. "I am dead serious. If you're not relaxed, she's going to know something is up." I made a face as he repeated that dreaded word again, and he defended himself by saying, "It was past tense."
I was torn between wanting to throttle Mr. Writer and kissing him senseless. "How will we both get out of here? Alive?"
The corners of his lips turned up, making me want to forget everything and just kiss him again. "You go first," he said matter-of-factly. "Behave like nothing's wrong. Try to act normal. Distract her and meanwhile I'll sneak back into my room. Simple."
My heartbeat calmed a bit at that, a glint of determination blazing in my eyes. "Perfect."
We kissed one last time and then I finally stood, doing my best not to look down. All the bubbles were gone by now.
My pink towel was soaked, clinging to me like a second skin. I could feel his gaze on me, reminding me of our every heated kiss and caress.
Sliding the shower curtain into place, I changed into my clothes. "Don't look," I warned.
"Are you daring me, Sushi?"
I used one of his lines back at him: "What do you think?"
Mr. Sexy sounded amused but the curtain remained in place. Taking a deep breath, I tiptoed toward the door. "I'll distract her, just get to your room right away. Buaji might want to come in here."
My fingers were shaking as I reached for the doorknob, but the darned thing refused to turn. With mounting horror, I pulled and twisted it, panting.
"Sanka Devi! What are you doing in there? The whole house is shaking!"
"Told you the lock was stuck," drawled Raizada, sweeping the curtain aside.
"Shut up!" I snapped.
"What?" Buaji sounded at a loss for words. "What did you say to me?"
I smacked my hand against my forehead. "Not you, Buaji. I was talking to.." I turned helplessly to Arnav.
"To who?" my aunt demanded, flabbergasted.
Mr. Sexy flapped his arms up and down and it clicked at once.
"To the birds, Buaji. They're so noisy this morning, aren't they?" I was practically wrestling with the doorknob now. Arnav started to rise out of the tub, no doubt to help me, but I stopped him with a wide-eyed glance.
"Don't!" I mouthed.
"You sure?" he whispered.
I nodded. The last thing I needed was for him to emerge out of the tub like some Greek God. Definitely later, but not now when my heart was failing.
"I don't hear any birds, Sanka Devi."
"Coo Coo!" I hollered, ignoring Mr. Sexy's amusement. Why wouldn't the darned door cooperate? Were we truly locked in here? "Coo Coo!"
The lock gave away so suddenly, I flew out the door. Catching myself, I straightened and immediately yelped.
Toad had replaced the butter mask. Buaji had on a bright green face pack now. Under the thick layer of slime, I was pretty sure she was frowning at me.
"Where's your towel, Sanka Devi?" she asked.
My hands whipped to the top of my head. I always wrapped my hair in my pink towel after a shower. But that towel was completely drenched from the bubble bath. I grabbed instead the one on the sink, hurrying to close the door behind me.
Buaji thankfully didn't comment on the switcheroo, though her brow was furrowed still. "Are you all right?"
I managed a nod, chewing on my bottom lip. Just as I'd guessed, my aunt was reclining back in her favorite armchair. I had to get her to move. But how?
"Buaji!" Even to my own ears, my voice sounded unnaturally high-pitched. Buaji jumped off the cushions slightly. "You should sit here, Buaji," I said, whacking the sofa. "It's more comfortable."
She looked at me as if I'd lost my mind again. "Sanka Devi, you know I always sit here and--"
I grabbed her hand, tugging her over to the sofa before she could get another word in. "You must try it once, Buaji. It's better for your back." I pushed her onto the sofa, adjusting the pillows around her.
"Sanka Devi, what is wrong with you today?"
"Wrong?" I sat cross-legged on her armchair, my heartbeat finally slowing down. Now that her back was to the bathroom, Arnav could easily sneak by. But where was he?
My aunt clapped her hands over her ears and I could only assume Mr. Sexy had gotten my message too. Loud and clear. But why wasn't he coming out?
"Sanka Devi!"
"Sorry, Buaji. So how did everything go at Bumble's Beauty Boutique? You were having a skin reaction, right?"
Buaji nodded, settling back again. "Bumble wasn't in the salon, but her assistant was. The sweet girl helped me right away and she applied this apricot facemask to soothe my skin. I feel perfectly peachy now."
"That's good, Buaji." My eyes flashed to the bathroom door. Where was Mr. Sexy? "ANYTIME!" I hollered.
"Uh...I mean anytime you have problems, you should go straight to Bumble."
"That is true." Buaji sighed. "You know Bumble broke her leg yesterday. Poor dear was--"
She paused mid-sentence as I suddenly stood, my hands twisting together.
"Where are you off to now?" she questioned.
"Nowhere.. I think I forgot to drain the tub though. I'll be right back." Before she could stop me, I ran to the bathroom.
My mouth fell open as I looked in. Raizada was just where I'd left him.
"What are you waiting for?" I asked, hands on my hips. "Go to your room--right now."
"Khushi, you--"
"I'm handling everything. Just go!" I instructed urgently. Before he could argue, I ran back to my aunt, settling back on the armchair. She was fiddling with her new phone.
"You drained it?" she asked.
It took me a moment to remember what she was talking about. "Yeah, I did. The tub better be empty now. So what happened to Bumble?"
"I told you, Sanka Devi. She slipped and broke her leg. Horrible, isn't it?"
I nodded, my eyes on the bathroom door. Where the hell was he? Did I have to drag him out?
For once, my aunt didn't seem to notice that my attention was elsewhere. She was busy with her phone. "Khushi, what is that you kids type these days? I can't remember. DOL or POL?"
"LOL." The bathroom door finally cracked open. I smiled automatically. Our plan had worked perfectly! But then I got my first look at Mr. Sexy and everything burst into red-hot flames. Oh My-----
Buaji, of course, had no idea what was happening behind her back. "Right," she said. "LOL. What does it stand for? Lots of love, right?"
I couldn't swallow, much less make out what she was asking. My eyes were glued to Mr. Sexy. He'd come out of the bathroom in all his sexy and manly glory with just a magazine cover pressed to the area between his legs. My mouth went dry. He winked at me and then turned, his backside completely bare.
My eyes bulged. I think I might have fallen to the floor and broken my own leg if not for the armchair.
"Sanka devi?"
"Yeah.." I said, my attention fixed on Raizada's firm muscles, water droplets clinging to every inch of him. My body was trembling; sweat beaded my brow. I must have made some bizarre, gibberish sound because Buaji looked up from her phone. Her eyes narrowed.
"Are you all right?"
I shook my head absently. I'd never be all right now. Mr. Sexy would be the death of me for sure.
"I'll be right back, Buaji."
Before she could argue, I hurried to the hallway and once I saw she was occupied with her phone again, I slipped into Arnav's room.
My chest heaved as I pressed my back to the door, drinking him in. He'd put on some black track pants, but his upper body was blissfully bare, a towel draped over his shoulders. He smiled as he spotted me.
"Hey, beautiful. Miss me already?"
I couldn't breathe. "Why did you... come out like that?" I stammered.
"Like what?"
"With just a magazine covering you," I ground out.
Raizada grinned, stalking toward me with a panther-like attitude and pinning me to the door. His warm breath fanned over my face.
"Because you stole my towel, Sushi."
"What? I did not!" But then I remembered that I had grabbed a different towel than mine and that said towel was currently wrapped around my head. His delay finally made sense. "So that's why you took so long to come out."
Arnav nodded, pressing so close, our noses touched. "I tried to tell you, but you ran out before I could."
I started to laugh and he covered my mouth with his, kissing me thoroughly, wildly. I moaned, my hands diving into his hair as he suckled on my bottom lip.
"Sanka Devi!"
This time, it was me who swore. "Dammit. My aunt is driving me crazy today."
He laughed, kissing me on the nose. "Baby, you better go before she charges in here."
"Hurry up and get dressed. I'm waiting for you, Raizada." I rose up on my tiptoes to kiss him once more and then carefully ventured out.
Buaji didn't ask me where I'd gone, rising up from the sofa and pressing her phone to my face with a wide smile. "Look, I texted."
My eyes rounded as I read her message: "Heard you broke your leg LOL. Get well soon, Bumble LOL."

Baby, Hold On by TINA!
Part 14: A Buttery Nightmare
I froze over her, my eyes blinking open to find her smiling at me, her gaze knowing. Her hand rose to cup my unshaved cheek, the slight featherlight touch calming my nerves. "You can tell me anything, Arnav. You know that, don't you?"
I did know that, but the words felt jammed in my throat. I didn't want to startle her or worse, lose her. Why was it so damn difficult to say it? It was simple enough--three words. I. Love. You.
One of her eyebrows rose at my silence. "Raizada?"
Hell. I knew I couldn't keep her waiting. She deserved to know. I rehearsed the lines in my mind: I love you, Khushi Kumari Gupta. I love you with all my heart and soul.
It sounded a bit cheesy, but it was the truth. And I could come up with nothing fancier. Words seemed to fall short where Sushi was concerned.
Taking a deep breath, I decided to just say it--damn the repercussions. Her gaze softened as I cradled her face in my palms, brushing my lips across hers with solemn gentleness. "Khushi Kumari Gupta, I lo--"
The door banged open then, shattering the moment between us. A furious looking Shyam Manohar Jha barged inside. Swearing, I covered Khushi with my body, tugging down her top. That was meant only for my eyes to see.
"What the hell are you doing here, Jha?"
A muscle leaped near his jaw line. "BUAJI!" he shouted at the top of his voice. "Look what this man is doing behind your back with your innocent niece!"
Behind his polka dotted, butter-stained shirt, Khushi's aunt emerged, her eyes bulging. "Sanka Devi!"
I felt Khushi quiver, but she did not back down. Standing up, she faced the pair head on. Overlooking the toad, she gazed beseechingly at her aunt. "Buaji, I can explain."
I jumped off the bed, not caring if I was shirtless. My teeth gritted together as I watched Khushi try to make amends. Why was everyone behaving as if we'd committed some great crime? Khushi and I were both adults and whatever we did privately was no one's business as far as I was concerned.
My hand caught Khushi's, squeezing reassuringly. "There's nothing left to explain now, baby. I'm sure Maddy Bua will agree that you're with a better man now."
"Better man?" Jha snickered, the noise grating my ears like nails on chalkboard. Swerving away from me, he seized Khushi's free hand, his face reddening. "YOU'RE MINE, KHUSHIJI! MY FIANCE!"
I shoved him backwards. "Don't you ever come near her, Jha. She never wanted you."
"And she wants you? A small-time writer?"
"Yes, I do!" broke in Khushi, her eyes full of fire. "I choose Arnav. Understand?"
The toad ignored her, though his lips twisted in a snarl. I grabbed him by the collar, my teeth gnashing together. "Understand?" I echoed. "She chooses me--not you. And stop deluding yourself: she was neverengaged to you."
Behind my back, there was more chaos. I was aware of Khushi screaming her aunt's name as Maddy Bua swayed on her feet, tumbling to the floor.
I threw Jha out of the room, hurrying to Khushi's side. His voice though stopped me, my blood turning cold as ice and fury blackening all thought as he dared to say: "I will take her away from you, Arnav Singh Raizada. You will lose her to me. And that's not a threat. It's a promise."
I saw red at that, whipping around. At the same moment, inexplicably, an owl hooted outside.
My eyes snapped open, my heartbeat pounding. It took me a few seconds to realize that I was in my bedroom--alone. "Just a dream," I told myself, taking deep breaths. "Just one horrible nightmare."
The first light of dawn was emerging outside and I didn't need to check the clock to know it was ungodly early. But I couldn't fall back asleep. I had to see her--even if that meant risking Buaji's wrath. None of that mattered. Only she did. Khushi.
Wide-awake now, I went straight toward the bedroom she shared with her aunt, but something stopped me midway. My eyes froze on the darkened living room. I blinked several times, but it wasn't my imagination: on the sofa, an indistinct shape was moving.
As the blanket shifted and fell away, I sagged against the wall, sighing with relief. Just as I'd known, she was fine. Perfectly fine.
I kneeled at Khushi's side, my eyes tracing over her still features. She was naturally very beautiful but asleep, there was a fairy-like air about her. She took my breath away.
I couldn't help but say the words I'd been too tongue-tied to say in my dreams. "I love you." I brushed my lips across her forehead. "I love you, baby."
I knew she couldn't hear me, but it felt good to say the words aloud. More than good actually.
Straightening up, I stared at her for a long moment and then grabbed my leather jacket, heading out. I ended up in Lover's Park. It was thankfully empty so early in the morning.
I paused at the tree I'd fake-kissed Khushi against and where later she'd stumped me in her blond-haired getup. A wistful smile curved my lips.
I walked a few more circles, but the realization did not change: I had to tell her. Even though the words didn't seem necessary between us, she needed to know I loved her.
When we'd first collided in Laxmi Nagar's bustling street, I'd never imagined that I'd fall for her. For the longest time, I'd told myself that it was just a case of attraction, a passing infatuation. But time had proven me wrong.
The relationship we shared was for keeps. I hadn't come to Delhi expecting to run into Khushi Kumari Gupta, but now that I had, I couldn't go back to my old bachelor ways in Mumbai. I needed her--her simplicity, her craziness, her love.
I had to tell her how much I loved her. As the sun rose high above Lover's Park, I made up mind to make the confession special for Khushi--and not just blurt it out. She always called herself ordinary even though she was anything but that. I wanted her to feel like a princess.
There were some nagging worries in my mind, but I set them firmly aside. I concentrated entirely on Khushi and what I felt for her. By the time I made it back to the house, the sofa was conspicuously vacant and breakfast was already on the table.
Maddy Bua waved as she spotted me. "Arnav dear! There you are! Sanka Devi and I were wondering where you'd gone. Come and eat."
I craned my neck as I took my usual seat on the dining table, but I couldn't catch a glimpse of Khushi. Maybe she sensed my impatience because she walked out of the kitchen just then, a large tray balanced in her hands. Her hair was slipping out of her ponytail and a light dusting of flour clung to some loose strands.
Her gaze softened as she saw me. I smiled at her and though she smiled back, there was a strange worry in her eyes. Her face was drawn and much paler than normal. My questions must have been apparent on my face because she motioned toward her aunt, mouthing: "Later."
If only we were alone, I lamented as I ate a forkful of paratha. What was troubling her?
"Where were you, Arnav dear?" Maddy Bua asked.
"Out for a walk," I mumbled.
Khushi sat down directly opposite from me. "So early in the morning?"
"I had a nightmare," I admitted. And because her aunt was there, added in a soft tone: "A buttery nightmare."
Her eyes widened and then she smiled, though it did not quite reach her eyes. "It was just a dream."
"Dream?" Maddy Bua laughed, raising an eyebrow. "I think Arnav dear is too shy to tell us his walk must have been with his new friend."
"New friend?" I exchanged a puzzled look with Khushi. She shrugged, taking a large swallow of orange juice.
Her aunt nodded with a wide grin. "Your--ahem--blonde friend. My friends spotted you with her at the fair. They said she was very beautiful and you two made quite the pair."
Khushi choked on the juice and before I could cross to her side, Maddy Bua whacked her on the back so hard she jumped several inches off her chair.
"Are you okay?" I asked as her coughing finally subsided, passing her some water.
She ignored my offered glass, her eyes flashing to mine. "Fine," she said, though her gaze clearly read: Told youNow fix this, Raizada.
I caught her hand under the table, giving it a reassuring squeeze as I turned toward her aunt. "Maddy Bua... there is no blonde girl. Your friends must have gotten confused."
She considered me with hawk-like intensity for a long moment and then laughed. "If you say so, Arnav dear. I'll wait till you're ready to introduce me and Khushi to her."
I sighed, starting to explain again when Khushi suddenly dropped my hand and stood, marching out.
"Sanka Devi! You didn't finish your breakfast!"
She glanced over her shoulder at us with that same glum look. "I'll eat later, Buaji." Her gaze swiveled to me once before quickly darting away. "I'm not hungry."
Not hungry? Dammit, now I knew something was seriously wrong. Khushi was the biggest foodie I knew.
I spent the rest of breakfast trying to end the blonde confusion, but Maddy Bua would not budge. She was convinced I had some secret girlfriend. At one point, I almost blurted out: "Yes, I do. Your niece." But for Khushi's sake, I kept my mouth shut.
We'd reveal our relationship eventually, but right now, it was nice to slip by Maddy Bua's radar and spend time alone together without any interference.
"We'll discuss this later, Arnav dear," Maddy Bua said as she stood.
Great. Just brilliant. "Off for your nap?"
To my surprise, she shook her head. "No, I have to go to Bumble." Her cheeks reddened slightly. "I accidentally sent her a wrong message. So I need to apologize. I'll probably be gone till lunch or so."
"Bumble?" Why did that name sound so familiar? And then I recalled Khushi in the bathtub, telling me as I washed her hair: "No one's ever done this for me before. Well, except for Bumble."
"Yes, Bumble." Her aunt was pointing out the window to a corner shop. "The owner of Bumble's Beauty Boutique. Poor dear broke her leg recently."
Dammit, Khushi had been right after all. I did know that name. I'd seen the signs and walked by that hair salon countless times. Trying to suppress my smile, I walked with her to the main door. "Take care, Buaji. And tell Bumble I hope she gets well soon. I'll let Khushi know you'll be gone for a few hours."
"Bless you, dear."
As soon as she was gone, I hurried after Khushi. It took some time to find her. She wasn't in her usual spots. Her room, the kitchen, and the backyard were all empty. I frowned, hands on my hips.
"In here!"
My eyebrows furrowed as I followed the sound of her voice. Pushing open my bedroom door, I couldn't help but grin. She was sitting on the bed like a child, hugging my pillow to her chest.
"There you are, beautiful."
As she looked up, my smile faded. Tears streaked her cheeks. Her eyes were bright red from crying.
"Khushi!" I was at her side in a flash, lifting her onto my lap. She threw her arms around me, her body trembling.
"Baby, what is it? What happened?"
She shuddered and my panic grew. "Khushi? Baby, tell me. Whatever it is--your aunt, that toad, the blonde confusion--we'll fix it. Just tell me."
"It's not that," she muttered, wiping her cheeks. Little good that did though. The tears kept on coming like a turned on faucet. "I'm not worried about any of that."
I threaded my fingers through her silky hair, forcing her to meet my gaze. "Then what?"
She swallowed, her eyes swimming with fresh tears. "My friend called... Sheena..."
The name did not sound familiar to me. I'd met most of her friends at the dinner party, but couldn't recall any Sheena. "I don't think you've mentioned her to me before."
Khushi leaned her head tiredly against my shoulder, nodding. "I haven't because she's not here in Delhi. She's in Lucknow. Growing up, we were best friends. We were very, very close. We shared the same birthday and used to celebrate together every year. But then... after my parent's accident... I came here to live with Buaji. But we still tried to keep in touch. She's like a sister to me, Arnav."
"Something happen to your friend, baby?" I asked, though I knew the answer was clearly yes. I wanted her to explain, but at her own pace.
More tears rolled down Khushi's cheeks and I frowned as I brushed them away. It hurt to see her like this. I'd never seen her this upset--ever.
Pulling her closer, I murmured gently, "Baby?"
She took a hiccupping breath, holding onto me so tightly it was as if she feared I'd disappear. I wanted to tell her there was no chance of that, but she spoke just then: "The month before you came, Sheena got engaged to her boyfriend of three years. I went to Lucknow for the lavish engagement party and I'd never seen her so happy. She was glowing, Arnav. But this morning..."
Her voice broke and I tightened my grip on her, peppering kisses across her cheeks. "What happened, baby?"
Khushi spoke through her tears, her voice shaky. "She called me this morning, crying terribly. Her fiance broke the engagement. He's getting married to his boss's daughter instead. He told her it would be best for his career."
Khushi nodded miserably. "He broke her trust... her heart and he doesn't even care, Arnav! I hate people who lie. I told Sheena I'd never forgive someone who broke my trust and she agreed. But she's heartbroken, Arnav. I've never seen her so sad."
I just held her for a long moment and then tipped her face up, stroking her soft skin. "And because she's sad, you're sad."
Khushi threw her arms around me. "After she called, I tried to find you, but you weren't home. I missed you so much. I needed you."
I pressed my lips to the side of her face. "I'm sorry, baby. I went for a walk."
A wobbly grin curved her gorgeous mouth. "After your buttery nightmare? Arnav, there's no reason to worry about butterball. He hasn't returned from his business trip and I doubt he will--except to take his things and move out maybe."
I nodded, running a hand through her hair. "You don't need to worry about anything either. What happened to your friend is horrible, but at least she found out now how terrible that man is and not after the wedding."
"I'm thankful for that." Khushi pulled me down on the mattress and framed my face in her hands. "Promise me you'll never leave me," she whispered suddenly.
I understood her anxiousness, covering her lips with mine. "Never."
Our fingers entwined as passion erupted as thick and hot as ever. Groaning, I lifted her top, planting a kiss on her navel as I had in my dream. This time, no Jha interrupted.
The next couple of weeks passed in much the same way. Under her aunt's watchful gaze, we'd have almost every meal together, talk about anything and everything and watch more TV and movies than I had in years. Amid the chaos of my work and her list of chores, we'd regularly manage to sneak off and make out as we ached to. It was getting harder and harder to stop, and I found myself having more cold showers than I could count.
On a sunny Monday morning, I entered the kitchen to find Khushi alone, kneading dough. I grinned, winding my arms around her waist and pressing my lips to the crease of her neck. "Good morning, beautiful."
"Arnav! What are you doing?" She arched against me, her eyes sparkling with fire.
"Kissing you," I drawled lazily, trailing my mouth up and down the side of her neck and across the top of her shoulder.
She batted me away, tossing her hair over one shoulder as she walked to the sink. Her blush intensified as I helped her to wash off the sticky dough, my hands clenching around hers.
"Kiss me," I whispered, my voice husky with desire. "Kiss me, baby."
Her lips parted. "Buaji--"
"--is still sleeping." I slid closer, turning off the faucet and dragging her hard against me. "No excuses will work and you know it. Kiss me. Now."
Her eyes flashed to the doorway and then back to me. "Arnav...But she might come and--"
I drew her flat against my chest, ignoring her gasp of surprise. "Forget about her and just focus on us. Have you even been listening to me?"
She nodded, her breathing growing labored as her arms rose instinctively to loop around my neck. "Yes."
I stared down at her with unconcealed skepticism. "Then what have I been saying? Repeat it: word for word."
Her eyes dilated, flashing to my mouth. "Kiss me. Now."
Smirking, I lowered my head. "If you insist, baby."
Khushi yanked on my hair as our mouths collided, but her lips met mine eagerly. I couldn't get enough of her, feeling like a starving man, but helpless to retract.
"Do you remember," I said between hungry, demanding kisses. "Our first kiss here?"
She giggled. "Yes. You picked up Buaji and I couldn't resist you anymore. I had to kiss you."
I kissed her firmly---once, twice, thrice. "To think that was all I had to do: lift your aunt."
Khushi laughed, snuggling closer. "Raizada?"
She kissed the tip of my nose and started to step away. "Shut up."
I laughed, tugging her back into my arms. "With pleasure," I said, kissing her again.
Khushi made a sound of protest but it soon turned into a pleased moan. I love you, I almost said, catching myself in time.
Weeks had passed and so far, that perfect moment hadn't yet arrived. But I wasn't too worried. I'd zeroed in on a very special day, and it was only four days away.
"Sometimes I feel as if you want to tell me something... Something important for weeks now."
That startled me. It sounded exactly like the dream I'd had--before it had become a buttery nightmare. "You do?"
She nodded, blinking up at me with inquisitive eyes. "You can tell me anything. You know that Arnav, don't you?"
I nodded just as a loud voice boomed: "SANKA DEVI!"
Khushi flew out of my arms faster than you could say "jalebis".
"Yes, Buaji?"
"Have you seen my slippers?" her aunt hollered from the bedroom.
"No, but they're probably under the bed."
"Your aunt's going to give me a heart attack one day," I told her, grabbing an apple and taking a large bite.
Khushi was still waiting for her aunt's response but none came. Maddy Bua must have found her slippers, I guessed. She turned toward me with an adorable pout. "It's not just you. Every time she comes near us these days, I feel I'm going to faint. We have to tell her soon."
"Whenever you want to," I said, heading for the door. "Should I go now?"
She grabbed my arm, making an exasperated face at me. "You're insane, Raizada. We'll tell her next week."
"Why?" I asked, raising the apple to her lips. "Something important happening this week?"
She took a mouthful from where I'd bitten, the corners of her mouth tipping up. "Yes, in four days actually."
"Really, Sushi?"
She winked. "Yes. Remember?"
I could have happily flirted with her all morning, but her aunt's footsteps sounded just then. We sprang apart at once, Khushi moving to the stove and I jumping up on the counter, my legs dangling off the sides.
Maddy Bua was yawning as she entered. "Good morning you two. Sleep well?"
"Good morning," Khushi muttered while I just nodded, taking another bite of the apple. And then my gaze narrowed on her right hand.
"What's that envelope, Maddy Bua? I can mail it for you if you need."
"Thank you, Arnav dear, but that's not necessary. This is for Sanka Devi."
Khushi turned around, looking just as puzzled as me. "For me?"
Her aunt nodded, handing it to her. "Open it."
She broke the seal and read the single paper inside. Her face drained of color.
Maddy Bua didn't notice that though, crushing Khushi in a bear hug. "I know your birthday is four days away but it couldn't wait."
I wondered why Khushi's smile was so strained. "What is it?" I asked, coming to a stand next to them.
"A first-class ticket to Lucknow," Maddy Bua explained with glee. "Khushi can celebrate her birthday with Sheena then. Last year, she couldn't go because of me, but this year I arranged it all." She turned to Khushi with a toothy smile. "You're happy, aren't you, Sanka Devi?"
Khushi hugged her, her eyes clashing with mine. A deep sadness was reflected there. "I'll get to see Sheena. Of course, I'm happy about that. Thank you, Buaji."
Buaji's smile shone. "Come, let's pack. Your train leaves this afternoon."
Khushi glanced at me with concern as her aunt led her out, but I couldn't seem to move. It felt as if I'd been punched in the gut. I'd planned so much for her birthday, pictured over a thousand times how I'd finally say "I love you". But in Delhi--not Lucknow.
I waited till Buaji went off to buy some groceries before entering Khushi's room. She was zipping her suitcase. As she heard my approach, she glanced up and immediately, rushed into my arms.
I held her with all my strength, taking a deep breath. "Khushi... Baby, it'll be okay. I'll come with you to Lucknow, simple."
She looked miserable. "You don't understand. Sheena's mother is very strict. She'll never allow any men to the party. It's only girls."
I wouldn't let that stop me. There had to be some way in. "Where is the party in Lucknow? At their house or at a banquet hall?"
Khushi shook her head. "No, I called Sheena and she said they're arranging it in a farmhouse."
At her nod, I winked at her. "Well then, baby. I promise you that nothing will keep me out of this farmhouse."
She seemed a bit unconvinced so I kissed her. "Trust me."
Her warm breath washed over my mouth as her honey-colored eyes latched with mine. "I do. I trust you completely, Raizada."

Farmhouse coming soon.. ahem ahem :)
Precap BHO by TINA Part 15: Birthday Surprise
From Now On, please Leave all Comments on 'Comments' Page Only


  1. oh Tina, I love it already

    as I've mentioned before, when reading your stories I just keep
    hoping that the chapter I am reading is not going to end

    can't wait for the next part

  2. Oh oh well that was our KKG alright.....this is going to be a fun ride...thank u tina....all the best with this one.....we r in for this ride as well.....

  3. interesting start who is khushs fiance asr ??? Cant wait to read more thx for pm roshaan

  4. Wheeeeeee!!!
    Is ASR her fiance?
    Or some other twist?
    How I loved it!
    Got milk?
    Haha! What will he think? :D

  5. Loved it...
    Waiting for next update

  6. LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Short n quick updates you say, I am all sold...Greek god and ms.KKG...sure...bring it on Tina!


  8. awesome one Tina! Waiting for the next

  9. Wow.. Amazing start... Was laughing badly while reading it.. i dont know y bu i found it damn hillarious...

    IF ID : Swty_arshionly

  10. Awesome! Lighthearted. Just want I needed today!,,

  11. Awesome! Lighthearted. Just want I needed today!,,

  12. love it!! this just ensures that awesome stories from your end will just continue!!

    God Bless!!

  13. This is going to be a funny story, that's for sure. I love that he's a writer, I guess that arrogant rich jerk attitude won't be making an appearance. Them living together is going to cause some serious problems, the poster being one of them already. I wonder how long it'll be before she starts calling him Laad Governor!

  14. hmm something a little fishy
    is Arnav her fiance?

    ahem he was holding her bra?
    what is he going to do next with KKG

  15. awesum update maddy bua hahaha like niece like bua sanka devi how will mr sexy servive or i must say how will khushi after that bra incident hahahaha precap seems funnn roshaan IF

  16. I am thorougly enjoying this story....light-hearted and very funny....and with the two of them living under the same roof, I think the future chapters are going to be hilarious!! Even though a different occupation, the 'ASR attitude' is very much there...eagerly awaiting the updates :) You truly are an amazing writer Tina!!

  17. Super awesome! The last line was the cherry (yes, Scarlett, again) on the icing! ;)

  18. OMg Tina this is toooo funny.... sushi!!!! lollll this is awesome! :D love it.... n arnav as a writer and poet... haiiiiiii.... how amazing is that .... sexy raizada the shayar!!! :D

  19. hahahahaha...this was hilarious....the last bit hogged the lime light i must mind always on alert...
    the way arnav is taking over her room i have a doubt...
    is he by any tiny winny chance her fiancee???? how i wishh....
    update soon...

  20. omg...i forgot the sushi bit....hehehehe...that was the cutest name i hv ever heard for khushi...omg i am getting mad here...
    update REAL soon PLSSSSS...

  21. Wow Tina your an amazing writer!! I love this SS, its hilarious!!

    Thanks for the update!
    Mx (i.f:mayzz)

  22. Maddy Bua? Really?? Didn't see that coming!! Wow this is a really cute story - can't wait to read more!!!

  23. Ha ha.... that was just so hilarious.... knowing she is holding milk, she still aims for the ball and oooopppsss... lands into someone...

    and the new tenant... a poet, a writer, no less!

    Maddy bua! ha... still reeling from the name...

    And eeekkkksss... he had her bra in his hand!!! lol

  24. Seriously girl, how do u do it? One after one of incredible stories and chapters. I dunno which one am looking forward to read now. All of them I guess :D Loved this one too and I hope u churn out the chapters really really fast as this K and A I already love :)

  25. omg.. this is so hilarious... KKG at her best...

  26. ohk arnav singh raizada a writer, a poet and a paying guest!!!!! this seems to be interesting.

  27. God Tins..I have been away for quite some time now..And the first thing I checked when I got back was your blog.I'm sorry about the plagiarisation.But we all are there for your support :-) .And Godddd...What did I see??Fateful Love..DH...SP and now this wonderful SS..Woahhh...Quite a treat.I was afraid you might stop publishing in your blog reading all that plagiarisation issues.But whatever they do..They can't have your talent to write sooo good..We all know that.So keep smiling babes..And yeah..I'm loving you all the more you know ;-) the more I read,The more I love..And I hope you will forgive me for staying away for so long..
    Love and Regards

    1. Aww Aami! Nice to see you back after so long. Glad u liked the updates and this new story. Hope I run into u on the forum! TC!

    2. Oh My Gosh!, Tina its AWESOME, just 3 parts and i am in love with it already, can't wait to read the rest!

  28. wow new story, mindblowing tina... its a fresh, lighthearted & hillariuos story, love their fights.

    i feel fresh after reading this.. superb job..

    waiting fir next..

  29. ASR as a wrter nd a poet!!!!quite interestng....eagerly waitng for future updates...

  30. haha this was amazing... maddy bua
    cant stop laughing.... eagerly waiting for the next update :D

  31. Amazing stuff, naughty Raizada, Maddy Bua,realLy? Funny update.

  32. Hi I've only just discovered this story/blog. Are they updated daily?


    1. No, it's usually every couple of days to a week. Just depends on my schedule.

  33. Forgot to add....your stories are amazing! I look forward to reading more.


  34. was hilarious!! maddy bua??? lol!!!!

    Nice to read a fun, light-hearted story....esp since I was still reeling from the after effects of reading the angsty DH chapter.. :)


  35. was damm is becumin quite hot nw..aahhhhhh cnt resists myself anemore..n yaaayyaayy drr gonna b a love triangle..between Mr.Sexy-Sushi-Butterball

  36. crap I thought Arnav was possibly her fiance but it oily Shyam


  37. Enjoying this thoroughly! just started it and read all parts I n a go. This sounds like a fun Story and I'm looking forward to going forward with you on the journey.

    Love your writing's light where you intend it to be when you do!!! Fab! :)

    Waiting for the next!


  38. I read this update after reading the Fateful Love update....tears and sadness gave way to smiles and the combination of wit and humour, really funny and lighthearted! Poor Khushi, engaged to boring Butterball :( But looks like Mr Sexy has taken a shine to Miss Sushi :)

  39. Awwww....loved the update. ....I was either smiling or laughing reading this update. ..poor khushi. ..have to get married to the butterball...yuck..I can almost imagine him licking butter off his fingers with that sickly smile on his face. ....eeiiiwwwwa
    arnav is so troubling khushi. ..hahaha...his comment about red paint made me laugh...
    and whenever he calls her sushi I just go is so cute. ..I wish arnav in the show called khushi that. would come so sexy from his mouth. ...*sigh
    continue soon

  40. in the show khushi got acidity & here food poision.. very funny... i cant stop laughing.. every parts are mindlowing.. butterball, Mr. Sexy, Sushi u used perfect names for them .. i loved it....

  41. haha she calls shyam butterball :P hilarious... yes i dislike shayam on principle :D
    lovely chapter.... red is the color :P
    n what's with the name sushi?? is it like rhyme...khushi..sushi??

  42. Red was my face while I laughed and fell off my chair!! Love it so much, please continue...

  43. Toooo good gal :D Hilarious and sometimes flirty moments *sigh* And that pic at the end - what are you planning? May it be some really 'goosebumpy' (in the romantic sense) moments ;)

  44. the title of the upcoming chapter is very interesting.

    i cant seem to get enough of this care and baggage free raizada who knows how to have fun.

  45. totally hilarious

    what the!!!! did Arnav just say that she would look raccoon eyed if she had spent the night with him????!!!!!!!

    OMG :-))))

    1. hahaha yes he did :) Naughty Mr. Sexy

  46. Hey Tina...
    Just got to read all updates together....
    Wow...this ROMCOM adds another feather to ur incredible cap as a WRITER....
    AMAZING introduction scene between ARSHI ....
    Khushi's monologue ...AWSOME ....
    Poor Khushi irresistibly attracted to ARNAV... Pathetically helpless regarding SHYAM.... Did I mention I HATE him. ALREADY...

    "BORING TOAD" what an apt phrase to describe him....
    I really feel sorry for Khushi... All her romantic dreams crushed in that helpless engagement with SHYAM... Wish Arnav was there earlier....
    But how is KHUSHI going to keep herself in control her attraction ...ESP with his shameless n dangerous n scandalous flirting...
    Khushi is fully out of control in his presence....
    Can't wait for next update....

    1. Haha glad u liked it. It is different from my normal stuff, but it's a fun change.

  47. Finally caught up with Chapters 2 - 4. Love the banter between the two of them!

  48. Please update soon


  49. did he just said after a night with me....
    OMG what a blush statement it is,,, she of all people got the shyam to get engaged,,, god is she mad or something.

    loved the update

  50. Oho lovin it darling.

    After a night with him??? Wow how is K gonna react to that :D

  51. Last lines i cn never imagine Mr.Sexy..ill tell so early quite bold overall d chp was stomach painin nw..tina ur amazinn gal!!

  52. Mr. Sexy is so bold i must say...
    i loved how their relation is progressing. their fights, talks nok-jhok everything..

    amazing update.

  53. is is arnav something raizada for real!!!! i cant believe it.
    the lip smacking noise while drinking milk lolllll, that whole description was so funny.
    the implication of his last sentence sounded more like a wish to me.

  54. First of all .. Love the concept simply fabulous add on the blended spices of romance from you is amazing..
    The entry of arnav is nice and welcome by khushi gupta is superb... The whole milk splash as our newly innovative virat kohli cum khushi gupta is unable to take catch....
    Bua introduce herself as maddy bua to arnav and khushi is furiously hate arnav for her attraction towards him and other side her butterball fianc shayam is stupid so far..
    Thankxx for pm

  55. Where did you hide this aspect of your writng calibre so far? Khushi is adorable in her thoughts, such a rom-com.....enjoying every bit! A little nonplussed to think that such a Khushi is willing to get married to Shyam.

  56. hey tina, you haven't updated baby hold on for awhile, please update soon :) You are a very talented writer by the way

  57. It was grt.
    Cant stop frm laughing .....
    Loved ur work
    waiting for next part