Secluded Island


SECLUDED ISLAND--05/19/2013
**NO COPYING, SHARING, OR POSTING ELSEWHERE ALLOWED. COPYRIGHT 2013 BY TINA.**
SS: Secluded Island by TINA! *COMPLETE*
Can their Love be Rekindled?

Hi bloggers:)
So I had no intention of starting a new SS, but this began as my submission for a OS contest going on IF. I tried really really really hard to stick to the word limit of 1000 but you guys know I love to write endlesslyEmbarrassed So when I checked it midway through it was already over 3000 words lolShockedROFL
So instead of deleting it, I'm gonna skip the contest and just post this as a SS and develop it a bit moreWink. Will only be 5 parts.
This story has been in my head ever since I saw this siggy:
I'm on it Barun Sobti!Approve  Mission Accepted. Will do my best to make this island story special. It'll include a bit of everything: romance, drama, comedy, emotions and of course some of my regular passionate doses thrown in Embarrassed


~Teaser~
Secluded Island by TINA!
Five years have passed since we last saw Arnav and Khushi and things have changed at Raizada Mansion.
Payal, Akash, and 'Hello Hi Bye Bye' have settled in Australia.
Anjali, now happily remarried, has finally left her Chote’s side.
And yet, the house is more lively than ever before.
Arnav and Khushi are no longer the two stubborn souls who fought and resisted their love for so long.
They are the CEO of AR Designs and the head of KKGSR Catering respectively.
They are the ideal support for their loved ones, the perfect caretakers of an aging Buaji and Nani, and most importantly: they are Daddy and Mummy.
But where are Arnav and Khushi? The husband and wife who love each other so passionately? Where are the rabba ves?
Can a mishap rekindle their intense love?
To find out, read Secluded Island.. 
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Secluded Island by TINA!
Chapter 1: The Invitation
Raizada Mansion, Delhi
Arnav Singh Raizada stood near the poolside, pruning his ever-growing collection of plants. A warm breeze wafted over him, ruffling his wavy hair. He worked silently, snipping with calm, finely tuned control.
As he turned to his right, squatting by some blooming roses, one of his earplugs popped out. Straight away, loud music enveloped him, followed by the squeals of laughter.
He frowned at the closed, glass-paneled doors, pushing the earplug back in. Once more, there was blissful silence.
And yet his eyebrows remained furrowed. He was reminded again of his conversation with Nani a few days ago:
"Chote... I've noticed something."
He kneeled before her rocking chair, his eyes concerned as he met her gaze. "What Nani? Is everything okay?"
She nodded hesitantly. "The house is filled with more happiness and light than I could have ever hoped for. Anjali is now happily married in Lucknow and even Akash and Payal have settled in Australia."
Arnav nodded. He missed his sister and cousin more than he could say, not to mention his 'hello hi, bye bye' mami.
"But something is bothering you still? I don't understand, Nani. Khushi and I try so hard but I guess we're missing something."
She sighed. "That's just it, Chote. You and Khushi bitiya work too hard. You look after me and Madhumatiji, take care of your businesses, and are the most wonderful parents. But don't you see? You two hardly spend any time together anymore. Khushi is always busy with the kids or the catering and you've been gone to so many meetings and conferences lately. Is everything all right between the two of you?"
Arnav had nodded, reassuring her but now as he stood alone, he was struck by how long it had been since he'd spent some time with Khushi. It seemed like life had gotten so hectic lately.
Most days, he saw her at breakfast, scurrying around the table as she made sure everyone ate properly and then not again till dinnertime. Afternoons were taken over by the kids' activities--ballet, painting and horseback riding--and his office work. By the time, he met Khushi in their poolside bedroom, one or both would be already asleep, exhausted by the day's busy schedule.
He hadn't noticed the pattern till Nani had pointed it out. But now... he couldn't help but agree.
He missed Khushi. Missed spending time with his wife. Missed the red-hot passion they'd not too long ago shared so frequently, insatiable as two teenagers.
As the music suddenly spiked in volume, Arnav pocketed his earplugs and marched inside. What the heck was going on? What were the kids up to now?
He opened the playroom door, his eyes widening as he looked in.
"What the--"
Music blared from the speakers as the kids jumped up and down on the bed, laughing and giggling as they munched on chocolates. And in the middle of all the madness, was his wife: Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada--jumping and dancing like another kid herself. A memory of her dancing just like this years ago came to him:
They'd loathed each other back then. And yet there had been something between them. She'd been dancing in the same carefree manner then, but it had been Lavanya at her side, not a gaggle of laughing kids--their children.
Arnav found himself smiling, staring at his small family. His son, Arhaan, was four years old and looked like the perfect mix of Khushi and him.  Next to him was his best friend, Rohan, Aman's son. Holding onto his wife's hands was their daughter, Khushboo, who had just turned two. In her small, voluminous yellow dress, she was the spitting image of Khushi. Her favorite hobby, in fact, was to dress up exactly like her Mummy.
And Khushi... she was no longer the too thin, pom-pom adorned Lucknowi girl she'd once been. Motherhood had brought subtle changes. Her figure was still slim, but distinctly curvy. As her waist-long hair swayed to the beat, he was drawn to her ever-smiling face: her cheeks were rosy, her eyes twinkling as she laughed with the kids.
She was easily the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. That feeling had only intensified with time.
"Why is the music so loud?" he interrupted smoothly.
Four shocked faces turned to him almost comically. He tried his best not to smile.
"Daddy!"
"Arnavji!" His wife's foot slipped on the mattress, her eyes scrunching close as she felt herself topple.
The kids screamed, "Mummy!"
But the fall never came. With seasoned practice, Arnav caught her in his arms. The children clapped, smiling toothily.
Khushi gulped as she stared up at her husband. How was it that the years had made him even more handsome? She'd gained a bit of weight and here he was, as fit and toned as ever!
As always, she was lost in those chocolaty brown eyes, her heart thumping as if this was the first time he held her so close.
They were both reminded of the first time they'd met--her fall into his arms in almost the same exact manner.
"Rub away..."
Both Arnav and Khushi turned toward their son so fast, their heads collided.
"What did you say, Arhaan?" asked Khushi incredulously, rubbing Arnav's temple with her left hand. Rabba ve?
"Rub away... can you rub away this chocolate, Mummy?" He pointed to the growing stain on his T-shirt.
Khushi laughed. "Of course. Come on, let's get you cleaned up." She pushed against her husband's hard chest, flashing her eyes at him.
"What?" he murmured teasingly.
Her eyes widened. "The kids are watching... What are you doing? Put me down, Arnavji."
He smirked as he lowered her. "Fine, but later I won't," he promised, whispering into her ear.
As she led their son out, with Rohan trailing after them, Arnav reached for his youngest child.
"Aaj mausam hai suhana, chocolates and Daddy ka hai zamana," sang Khushboo, seamlessly changing the lines of her favorite lullaby.
Arnav and Khushi exchanged a shared smile. He winked at his wife as he picked up his daughter into his arms. "Come here, boo."
"Later," he mouthed to his wife.
She rolled her eyes, blushing as she followed after the boys.
*****
That night, Arnav forced himself to stay awake. He had to speak to Khushi, had to make her see that they were working too hard these days. When was the last time they'd taken a real break? He couldn't even remember.
His wife strolled in just then, looking worn out as usual, though the energetic smile was in place.
"Arnavji!" she said with marked surprise. "I thought you would come in late tonight."
"I cancelled some meetings. Khushi, actually I wanted to talk to you about..." His voice trailed off as she changed out of her simple sari, grabbing a silky nightgown.
"Two minutes, please," she requested, pouting cutely at him. "Let me just shower first."
He nodded, fighting to ignore how his body reacted to her close proximity. Even after all these years, Khushi still had no idea what she did to him.
In the never-ending minutes that followed, he shifted uncomfortably, eyeing the bathroom door. Was it just him or was she taking forever? Knocking once on the door, he walked right in, his eyebrows shooting up as he spotted her.
She was sound asleep in the bathtub, her mouth half-parted as she softly snored. Grinning, Arnav lifted her in his arms, taking her to their bed.
He wanted to wake her, to kiss every inch of her, but the tiredness lining her face stopped him. His wife looked exhausted.
Brushing a kiss to her forehead, he carefully slid in beside her, reaching for his laptop. He'd check his emails first and then sleep, he decided.
Of course his estimated ten minutes became over an hour as he lost himself in pending work. His eyelids were drooping when he finally came to the last unopened email. It was from a business client in the Maldives:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Raizada,
You are cordially invited to our 10th annual fashion gala. We would like to extend to you a complimentary weeklong stay at our luxurious resort. Please see the enclosed details. We look forward to working with you again in the near future.
Arnav read the message twice more and then glanced back at his sleeping wife. Maybe this was just what they needed...
Turning off the computer, he pulled Khushi to him, snuggling against her softness.
*****
Khushi woke first the next morning. Her mind instantly went to the long list of activities looming ahead: there was a new catering order to supervise and the children had play dates arranged as well.
But she froze as she raised herself up, staring at her husband. He appeared to be sleeping, his hand wrapped around her bare waist.What? Bare? Khushi's eyes widened as she stared down at herself.
"Morning, beautiful."
Her gaze flew back to him. "Arnavji! I knew you were up! What did you do with my clothes?"
"You fell asleep in the tub. And besides--" He smirked, kissing her shoulder. "--I like you this way."
She whacked his chest. "There's so much to do and you're--"
Arnav set his finger on her lips, silencing her at once. "Khushi... it's been so long since we just laid like this. Don't you miss it?"
Her eyebrows rose with confusion but a knock sounded just then.
"Chote!" called Nani. "It's Anjali on the phone, hurry!"
Arnav grumbled as he rose out of the warm bed. It seemed his sister had a long-distance antenna that detected his rabba ve time. "This isn't finished, Mrs. Raizada," he told his smiling wife. "I have something important to discuss with you."
"What?" asked Khushi, wrapping herself in the blankets.
Arnav glanced over his shoulder, gazing at her with unconcealed warmth and affection. "Let's just say you need to buy some bikinis..."
And with that, he left her, as confused as ever. Bikinis?
*****
"Maldives?" repeated Khushi as he cornered her in their bedroom later that morning.
He nodded, showing her a print out of the invitation.  "It'll be amazing, love. Just imagine: us alone on the beach... relaxing finally."
She yelped with excitement, her eyes sparkling. "Wait till I tell the kids! They'll be so excited to come along."
Arnav grabbed her arm before she could sprint out.
"Khushi, no. Only the two of us will be going," he explained. "Nani and NK will take care of the kids. It's just for a week."
And to his horror, tears sprang up in her eyes followed by righteous anger. "WHAT! Well, I'm not leaving them behind! You can just go by yourself to this beach!" She stormed away with a toss of her hair.
"Khushi! Khushi, dammit just listen once!"
As she shot him a furious glare, Arnav reached for his phone. He dialed quickly, his lips curving in a grin. It was time for some reinforcement.
"Hello... Buaji?"
Secluded Island by TINA!
Chapter 2: Goodbyes
Khushi wrinkled her nose at her husband as he took his customary seat at the dining table. He appeared almost serene, a slight smile on his face as he ruffled Arhaan's hair. She had expected him to come after her as he used to, coaxing her until she had no choice but to agree.
But of course that hadn't happened. Her husband looked practically peachy as he sat there. As if the argument over the Maldives trip had never even happened.
Was this a new trick of his? she wondered. To confuse her or something? Whatever it was, Khushi hated to admit that it was working.
"Daddy!"
Their daughter climbed onto Arnav's lap, leaning up to whisper something into his ear amidst a bout of giggles.
"Really, Boo?"
Their son didn't even try to keep his voice down. "Yeah, Mummy is so mad at you, Dad."
"What did you do?" asked Khushboo seriously.
A warmth of affection surged inside Khushi as she observed the wavy-haired trio. But she shook her head. She was mad at him! How could she forget?
"I am not angry," she insisted otherwise, smiling at the kids while flashing her eyes at their father.
The insufferable man had the gall to wink at her.
"Yes, you are," Arhaan insisted, waving his spoon at her and breaking the slight trance she'd fallen into. "See, look at the jalebis!"
As everyone turned toward the mountain of jalebis, Khushi not so silently berated herself. Maybe she'd gone a bit overboard. Nani patted her hand affectionately.
"Mummy is not angry," broke in Arnav, a teasing smile on his lips. "She's just a bit... stubborn."
Khushi's mouth dropped open. Her fiery gaze narrowed at him.
As lunch finished, she whispered furiously to him: "I am not going with you to any beach. So forget all about the bikinis."
Arnav didn't look the slightest bit perturbed by that declaration. "Yes, you will, Mrs. Raizada. Start packing."
And then before she could argue, as if on cue, the doorbell rang.
ZP opened the door and Buaji burst forth, barreling toward her as if in a great rush.
"What the--" muttered Khushi, taken aback completely.
Arnav kissed her on the cheek, chuckling under his breath. "See you later, love."
Khushi stared with disbelief as he left her there, sauntering off to their room. How could he just wander off like that? What about their marriage vows? He'd promised to never let her face any problem alone.
And judging by the look on Buaji's face, something more than a minor problem had risen--perhaps an international crisis.
"Sanka Devi! What is this that I'm hearing? You won't go with Arnav bitwa?"
Khushi glanced at her with astonishment. How did she possibly know about the invitation to the Maldives?
"Thank goodness for Arnav bitwa!" answered her aunt. "He called me at once, like a good boy, and told me everything. Khushi, he will be receiving an important award over there for work. He needs his wife by his side. How could you refuse?"
Internally fuming at her husband, Khushi patted Buaji's hand, laughing awkwardly. "Buaji, please understand. I can't leave the kids behind. I've never left them alone a single day since they were born."
If possible, her aunt's face turned a brighter shade of red. "Are you saying you don't think me and Arnav's Naniji can look after those two angels for one week? Let me remind you, Sanka Devi, that I have helped raise you, as well as Payal."
"Buaji, please! You know it's not like that. No one can take care of them better, but--"
"Can I try, Buaji?" murmured a quiet voice behind them.
It was Lavanya. Her long-time boyfriend, NK, had his arm curled around her waist.
Buaji snorted. "See if she listens to you. Come along, Nand Kishore, we need to report back to Arnav bitwa."
NK looked a bit peaky as he hurried after her. "Just agree, Khushiji," he bid, folding his hands as he followed after Buaji's stomping gait. "Please!"
Khushi didn't know why everyone was suddenly after her so much. What happened in her married life was no national emergency, being telecast worldwide. Arnav and she had a small disagreement, but there was a simple, very obvious solution. She'd make him realize that it was best to take the kids along, she vowed.
"Khushi? Are you even listening?" asked Lavanya, waving a hand over her dazed face.
"Huh?"
Her friend sighed with exasperation. "I didn't want to say this, Khushi, but you're leaving me no choice. You need to acknowledge that your marriage requires some of your attention too. You and Arnav need time alone... to spice up things..."
"Lavanya, what are you saying?" A blush tinged her cheeks. How had this become a point of conversation? "Everything is just fine between me and Arnav. We love each other very much."
"Still, you both need some time away from all this responsibility. You both work so hard. You need to relax and just be with each other. Look at me and NK, we go on vacations and dates all the time."
Khushi grew thoughtful. "Maybe you're right... I don't know. I have been a bit tired lately. But I don't understand why the kids can't come along too? Why is Arnavji being so stubborn?"
"Arhaan and Khushboo will be just fine. There's a whole house full of people here for them. In fact, they'll love the extra attention. Why can't you think of this as a second honeymoon?"
Second honeymoon? "Well actually we never had a first honeymoon."
"See!" pointed out Lavanya. "Even more reason for it. Not to mention that now you're in the danger time period."
Khushi's head snapped up. "Danger time?"
Lavanya nodded seriously. "I read it in a magazine. The years 5 to 15 years after marriage are the most difficult. Even the good husbands may stray, marriages can fall apart."
It sounded like Khushi's version of doomsday. She shivered. "But Arnavji loves me. He would never--" She couldn't finish the sentence.
"I know," said Lavanya quietly. "But don't forget, your husband works in the number one danger zone."
Hai Devi Maiya! There was a danger time and zone! How had she missed this? "What's the danger zone?"
"Fashion, silly! Gorgeous models surround him all the time. Don't think someone's not out there trying to snatch him from you even as we speak."
Khushi's heart thumped with fear. And then a masculine, knowing voice sounded from upstairs. "Well, Khushi? Ready to pack?"
Arnav looked utterly relaxed and carefree as he stood at the railing, staring down at her.
Lavanya pushed her toward the stairs. Buaji and NK appeared behind Arnav, nodding their heads furiously. Even Nani peeked from the kitchen, smiling indulgently beside an ever-expressionless ZP.
"Umm..."
Her husband's mouth curved down at her. It was very rare for Khushi to be so tongue-tied.
Sighing with exasperation, she finally nodded, mock saluting him. "Aye, aye, Captain."
Cheers from the whole household greeted that response. Arnav just winked. "Come and pack then."
*****
As everyone stood on the doorway watching, Khushi bent low, hugging her four-year-old son to her chest.
"I'm going to miss you so much," she crooned.
"Mummy, you're choking me!" whined Arhaan, his voice muffled against her.
She loosened her grip just a tad, laying a kiss on his forehead. "You'll be a good boy, won't you?"
He nodded, patting her cheek with his small palm. "Promise, Mummy. Don't worry."
She swallowed the lump in her throat, gazing at her husband. Arnav was holding their two-year-old close just scant footsteps away, pressing a gentle kiss to her cheek.
"Sanka Devi..." Buaji appeared half-torn as she patted her on the shoulder. "It's time. You two will be late for your flight if you don't leave now."
Tears came to her eyes as she exchanged kids with Arnav, kissing Boo with the same loving adoration.  She was sniffling as Nani and Buaji took each child in their arms, waving at them from the doorway.
"Enjoy your vacation, Nanav!"
"And don't worry about anything, bitiya."
"Bye Mummy! Bye Daddy!"
By the time Arnav reversed the ivory SUV and they pulled away from Raizada Mansion, Khushi was bawling outright. Arnav handed her his handkerchief, his own eyes pain-filled.
"Let's just forget it," he suddenly declared less than two minutes later. "Let's go back home."
It was Khushi's most fervent wish, but she found herself shaking her head. "No, Arnavji. It's not just a vacation, your business partners will be expecting us. They're even throwing you a party, remember? We have to go."
They both sighed, their hands entwining as they headed to the airport.
*****
The flight to the Maldives was quite short by most standards. Arnav and Khushi slept through it all, not even realizing when they had neared the island nation.
As the announcement sounded overhead to fasten their seatbelts, both groggily opened their eyes, disoriented for a second. Somehow in the process, their heads crashed together.
"Ow!"
"I guess we could use a break," admitted Khushi, stifling a yawn as she rubbed her husband's forehead.
He kissed hers, nodding. "It's just seven days, love. We'll call the kids as soon as we land."
Khushi's face brightened at once. And then she gazed past him, her eyes flying to the small, oval window. An ocean of crystal blue water shimmered below, almost too picturesque to be real. She'd never seen anything like it.
Arnav caught her hand with his, weaving their fingers together. "Ready to swim later?"
"You know I don't know how to swim."
He brushed a kiss across her knuckles. "I'm with you, Khushi. You'll be in my arms every second. It'll be fun."
She hesitated. "I don't know..."
His eyes shone at her. "Do you trust me, Mrs. Raizada?"
She couldn't help but agree with that. "You know I do."
He squeezed her hand. "Then let yourself enjoy this week, love. You deserve it. We deserve it."
She snuggled against his side, her head resting on his shoulder as the plane began its downward approach.
*****
A cool, welcoming breeze greeted them as they stepped outside, carrying with it the fine mist of the ocean. The weather was perfect: balmy with not a hint of clouds overhead. Even the people around them seemed to be all smiling. Khushi instantly liked this happy place.
"We have to bring Arhaan and Boo one day," she commented, gazing about wide-eyed.
Arnav nodded, keeping an arm around her waist as they ambled out of the airport and into the waiting limousine.
As they drove through the island, Khushi sat pressed to the car door, staring out the window with fascination. The honeymoon in "Bali" Mamiji had once organized with Anjali had not really prepared her for this astonishing beauty.
Their hotel was even more startling.  Rather than one of the modern, well-lit huts that dotted the beaches, the driver took them to a sleek building, its paneling edged in silver and blue.
"I don't understand," she murmured as she walked beside Arnav into the main lobby. "Why aren't we staying in one of those nice huts?"
"Just wait, love," he whispered into her ear. "This is better."
Khushi looked doubtful, but she didn't argue. The pair joined a small group of sunscreen-covered tourists near the elevators, bags in hand.
"How about later we--"
Arnav's voice broke off as the elevator door slid open, a ringing noise announcing its arrival. A few kids shrieked.  Even he paused for a second, baffled.
The elevator was designed like a cage, metal bars placed strategically in front of a giant picture of a shark.
It was Khushi who walked in first, staring at her husband with confusion as he did not immediately follow her.
"Arnavji?"
"Coming." He shouldered past the others, going to her side.
Khushi smiled, looping her arm through his and petting the shark poster with one hand. "Cute fish."
Arnav smiled as he hugged her to him. His Khushi saw the good in everything--even sharks. As the elevator descended, he couldn't look away from her.
Time for some romance... finally...
*****
"Oh my..." Khushi clutched Arnav's arm as they walked into their hotel room, locking the door behind them.
The room reminded her of an aquarium she'd once taken the children too. One entire wall was entirely made of glass. Colorful coral and schools of fish were on the opposite side, bathed in the bright blue of the water.
"Do you like it?" asked Arnav, coming behind her and circling her waist with his arms.
She covered his hands with hers, nodding excitedly. "It's beautiful. I can stare at this view all day."
He smiled, a hint of naughtiness bursting forth. "We have lots of other plans. Remember?" And then, without warning, he swung her up into his arms, laying her carefully on the bed.
She began to draw him to her, but the sudden passionate glint in his eyes caught her by surprise.
"Arnavji?"
He kissed her in answer, his teeth nipping her bottom lip. She inhaled sharply, her hands fisting in his wavy hair as the kiss quickly turned into something hot and demanding.
His hand swept between them, brushing aside her sari with marked impatience. Khushi's eyes closed as his lips trailed down her neck and then along the top of her blouse, his tongue skimming across her softness.
"Arnav!"
"Khushi." She could sense his smile against her stomach as he worked his way down. He unsnapped her blouse, his hand curving over the lacy pink bra she was wearing.
Khushi was a bit embarrassed, as she noted how she no longer fit entirely in his palm anymore. Two pregnancies had changed her body considerably.
Her eyes blinked open as he kissed the lace, working his tongue and teeth across the silkiness.
She began to pull him closer, but something made her pause. "Arnavji... Arnavji, stop."
He seemed to not hear her, kissing her heatedly.
Khushi gritted her teeth as she pushed him away. "Arnav, please... I can't."
He cursed as he raised himself on his forearms, his lips in a thin, straight line as he stared down at her. "Why the hell not? I can feel how much you want me, Khushi. I can taste it, dammit!" His hands tightened on her.
Her body quivered beneath his, but she forced herself to meet his irritated gaze. "Because... everyone is watching us."
He froze with surprise. "Khushi, there's no one here but us."
She shook her head, pointing to the glass wall behind him. "The fish... I can't with all those eyes on us. I feel like I'm in a zoo."
"The fish?" repeated Arnav with bewilderment. "We can't make love because of some fish? Is that really what you're trying to tell me?"
She nodded, fidgeting nervously. "I can't... please understand."
He groaned under his breath as he got off her, reaching for the phone.
"Who are you calling?" she asked.
"The front desk. I'm changing rooms. Maybe they have some hut available."
Khushi smiled him with relief, hugging him to her. "Thank you."
*****
As it turned out, there was an overwater bungalow open for them. Khushi yelped with glee as she glimpsed its dome-shaped roof and the long pier that led to its main door.
"Arnavji, just look at it! Come on, race you there!"
He grabbed her arm, his eyes darkening even as a slight smirk spread across his face. "I never lose, Mrs. Raizada."
"And neither do I, Mr. Raizada." She shoved him lightly to the side and ran down the planks, laughing.
He caught her at the door, swinging her up by the waist into his arms.
"Arnavji! You cheated!"
"Did not!"
"Did too!"
He kissed her to stop the argument, his smiling mouth settling over hers. She moaned as they walked inside, landed with a thud on the sofa.
"No fish here, love. Is it okay now?"
She jerked him down on her in response, arching up for kiss after kiss. Hungry mouths and eager hands fought for more. Khushi could not stop touching him. Her hands wandered inside in his shirt, drawing it over his head. He helped her, not seeming to care as the shirt flew to some corner.
Wrapping her arms and legs around him, Khushi could do nothing but hold on, swept away by a wave of crashing passion.
And then, out of the blue, there was a knock on the door.
Arnav stilled above her, and the knock sounded again. "You have got to be kidding me! Seriously?"
He stomped to the main door shirtless, his expression turning to livid anger. Khushi adjusted her sari, her fingers trembling as they went to her reddened lips.
"What do you want?" he snapped.
The reed-thin man standing on the doorway swallowed nervously. "Mr. Raizada? I came to remind you of the party in thirty minutes. Your limo is waiting for you."
Arnav swore under his breath. "It's time for that already? Fine, we'll be out in a few minutes."
He slammed the door shut, going back to his wife. She was lying on the sofa still, her eyes fluttered close and a soft, serene smile on her lips. It was an unbelievably sexy sight and it took everything in him to not take her into his arms again.
"Khushi, we need to get dressed. It's time for that damn party."
She frowned at his grumpy tone, watching with puzzlement as he marched away.
They had a week here. More than enough time to be alone later. What could possibly go wrong?
Secluded Island by TINA!
Chapter 3: Mishap
The party was in full swing. The beach had been decorated with a fine eye to detail: there were roughly a dozen candle-lit, round tables on the white sands, and flower petals had been scattered everywhere in an array of bright, tropical colors. Torches blazed, the light casting a warm glow on the guests as a large banner, hung from two ribbon-adorned pillars, fluttered in the breeze, proudly proclaiming: 'Welcome to Maldives, Mr. and Mrs. Raizada.'
Khushi though was fighting the urge to fall asleep. The flight had tired her and Mrs. Singhania's incessant chatter about her new mansion was not helping. Even the ebb and flow of the waves was beginning to sound like a lullaby.
Her eyes flew to her husband and narrowed.
Arnav, on the other hand, was having a gala time by the looks of it. He was talking with Aman and some business associates, a glass of wine in his hand. But more than that, it was the slim figure to his right that grated Khushi's fraying nerves.
The woman was young, no more than twenty-five years old or so. Dressed in a dark violet, too short dress with her glossy, curly hair left open, she made a pretty picture. She was someone who could have easily picked any man of her choosing. But she was clearly eyeing Arnav.
Khushi's lips thinned. He was her husband, dammit! The father of her two kids!
True, they'd been a bit distant lately, mostly talking about the kids, dinner plans and nap schedules, but they loved each other just as vehemently as before. How could they forget the first time she'd fallen into his arms in Lucknow? All their office fights? Their dance to Teri Meri? Those heartfelt confessions of love?
The man in question though seemed totally oblivious. Lavanya's warnings about the danger time zones buzzed in Khushi's head with such vividness, it was as if she were standing beside her now, gossiping away. Her hands fisted in her lap.
Arnav's gaze suddenly found hers from across the beach. Khushi scowled at him, not hiding her displeasure. He tipped his chin up in question. Her frown deepened in answer.
And then, the young woman beside him did something that made Khushi see red--raging, blazing red: she laid her hand on Arnav's jacket, her palm splaying across his chest with blatant intimacy.
"Mr. ASR? How about a dance?"
Arnav looked startled as she grabbed hold of his hand, pulling him toward the dancing couples.
He opened his mouth to refuse. There was only one woman he was interested in dancing with--the one who had a beguiling mix of love and spunk in her eyes, and whose smile changed his very heartbeats.
But Khushi beat him to it. "I think not!"
Arnav bit back a smile as his spitfire stepped between him and the girl. It was as if she was trying to shield him from an impending attack.
"And you are?"
Khushi's teeth gnashed together. "Mr. ASR's wife--Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada. The mother of his children--present and future."
The girl looked taken aback, her head snapping toward Arnav. Khushi rose on her tiptoes to block her view.
"Oh! I'm Naina, Mr. and Mrs. Singhania's daughter. My parents own this hotel. It's so nice to meet you, Mrs. Raizada."
"Wish I could say the same." She smiled so sweetly, Naina appeared perplexed.
"Sorry?"
Arnav bit back a laugh, his hand going to the curve of his wife's exposed waist. "Baby, what are you doing?" His soft voice nuzzled against the side of her neck.
But Khushi's gaze was focused on more pressing matters. Why the nerve of this Naina! She was ten times worse than her gloating mother.
"Never mind," she told her. "You won't understand."
Naina wasn't even paying any attention to her. Instead, she was batting her eyelashes at Arnav, smiling coyly. "Now will you dance, Mr. ASR? I'm sure your wife won't mind, will you?"
A furious fire glinted in Khushi's gaze. Arnav had to hold her back from marching forward in a manner that would have made Buaji proud. 
"I only dance with my wife. It's a deal we made a long time ago."
Khushi relaxed a bit at that, but the girl's open admiration for Arnav was becoming more than unbearable.
"Baby." She swerved away from Naina, staring up her husband with a too sweet smile. "Let's go. I think you've gotten some dirt on your jacket."
Her fingers brushed at the spot the other woman had dared to touch. Leaving her open-mouthed behind them, Khushi led her husband toward the gardens that bordered the beach. They were blissfully empty.
Her body was rigid with tension. "How dare she! Why that spoiled, little witch!"
Arnav sighed. "Khushi, love, calm down and--"
She stabbed a finger into his jacket. "Don't you dare tell me to calm down, Arnav Singh Raizada! I'm your wife!" She poked him harder, her eyes flashing dangerously. "How am I supposed to behave if some other woman openly flirts with you? In front of me! Am I supposed to politely smile and ignore it? Because if you believe that, you are completely and totally wrong and--"
Her words cut off abruptly as his mouth crashed down on hers, hot and urgent.
She began to pull away but he deepened the kiss, his tongue plunging deep and coaxing hers.
And just like that, Khushi could no longer stay away. With a moan, she curled her arms around his neck, rising on her tiptoes as one kiss bled into the next.
It was as if they couldn't get close enough. He turned her against a pillar, his lips never leaving hers as he pulled her tight against him, pressing his aching flesh against her blue sari.
"Arnav!" His name escaped her as he laid open-mouthed kisses down her neck.
Her hands dove into his hair to hold him close even as she protested, "We're outside. We shouldn't be..."
"I don't care." His mouth slanted over hers again, ceasing all argument. Khushi quivered as she felt his free hand slip between them, going under her sari to her heaving chest. Their mouths clashed hungrily, almost desperately trying to get closer.
"Khushi, you're the only woman I'll ever want..." He pushed against her, his hold possessive. "Don't you ever forget that."
She looked pensive as she forced herself to move away. Their gazes locked and he stepped forward, brushing back a wayward tendril of hair from her temple.
"Arnavji... can we leave? I don't want to go back to that party."
He rubbed his thumb over her reddened lips. "Love, you don't need to ask. Come on." His hand slid into hers, their fingers lacing as they headed back toward the overwater bungalow.
And then Arnav laughed, unable to stop it this time.
"What's so funny?" she asked him, her eyebrow rising.
He was grinning as he wrapped his hand low around her hips. "Just remembering you standing in front of me like a bodyguard. My tigress..."
Khushi winked at him, circling his waist. "Always."
*****
As they arrived at their luxurious hut, smiling and laughing, Arnav hesitated.
Khushi brushed back her flying hair, staring up at him with an adorable look of puzzlement. "Arnavji? What is it?"
He stared at her: easily the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen, draped in midnight blue, her body willowy against the backdrop of palm trees and ocean waves.
His heart galloped as his eyes traced over her. He wished this night would never end. "How about we go out on the boat--it comes with the bungalow. We can have dinner out on the water."
Khushi smiled, nodding her head excitedly. "That sounds wonderful. Let me get the food."
Arnav though blocked her. "I'll get everything. You head to the boat, Mrs. Raizada."
Her eyes narrowed. "What are you planning?"
"You'll know soon enough." Kissing her softly, he headed inside.
Grabbing a black duffle bag, Arnav went first to the refrigerator, piling in whatever looked good. Stopping at their suitcases, he found his trunks and then tossed in several skimpy bikinis he'd kept hidden from Khushi. Perhaps tonight, she'd finally wear one. A lopsided grin crossed his face at the thought of it.
*****
That night, under the glow of the moon, they raised their water bottles, toasting.
"To you Khushi..." said Arnav. "My beautiful wife, and the best mother any two kids could ever ask for. I love you."
Tears came to her eyes and she knelt before him, cupping his bristly cheek. "And to you... the man I've always loved, and always will love."
They kissed tenderly, taking turns feeding each other. It felt like a date between them from days long past--when they'd been newlyweds.
"I've missed this," admitted Khushi between bites. "I've missed you."
He knew exactly what she meant. "Me too... more than you'll know.  Aren't you glad we came here?"
She cuddled against him, trailing a hand in the ocean current. "I suppose."
"You suppose?" His fingers tickled her mercilessly.
"Arnavji! Baby, stop! Okay, okay! I'm glad--so very glad."
A raindrop fell just then, landing on the tip of her nose. Arnav flicked it aside, staring up at the sky. They hadn't noticed, but the wind was picking up, and the sky was darkening.
"We should head back," he murmured, straightening up carefully and edging toward the opposite end of the boat. Khushi shivered, her eyes on him as he fiddled with the motor.
"What's wrong?" Her voice was loud over the falling rain. She clutched the sides of the boat as the floor beneath her feet swung dangerously.
"The damn motor's dead!"
"What? But we're still so far from the shore."
Arnav swung around, his face grim. "Khushi, there's a tarp under there, stay covered."
As the rain pounded down, he pulled at the rope with all his strength, cursing.  The storm had sprung up suddenly, within a handful of minutes, and the sky was practically pitch black now.
"We'll have to just wait it out," said Arnav as he returned to her, holding her against his side. "Are you okay?"
Khushi began to nod, but then she noticed the water gathering inside the boat. It was inching higher with every second. The boat was sinking, she realized with dawning horror.
"Arnav! The boat's leaking! You need to leave. Now! Before this rain gets any worse. I don't know how to swim, but you do. You can make it back."
"What? Are you out of your mind? I'm not leaving you!"
She cupped his dear face in her hands. "You have to! I'll wait here, but you have to go."
Arnav appeared furious with her, his face half in the shadows. "Did you not hear me? I'm not leaving you behind!"
"You must!" she cried. "Think about Arhaan and Khushboo. You need to go! I'll be okay."
Swearing, he went to the motor again, this time pulling with animalistic strength. He would never leave her. No way in hell.
A scream hit his ears. He turned toward his wife, diving toward her even as she pointed above them, to a rising wave--black and angry as it neared, threatening to throw them overboard.
Neither knew what happened after that. As the wave hit the small boat, Arnav and Khushi's heads collided much as they had during their flight to the Maldives. They fell, arms wound around each other as the storm raged on, drenching them to the skin.
Before her eyes drifted close, Khushi vaguely heard Arnav murmur her name. And then there was only blackness...
*****
The sound of lapping water woke Arnav the next morning. He pulled himself up, lifting a hand to his throbbing temple. As his eyes adjusted to the bright light, he shot up with mind-numbing shock.
"What the--"
The sun shone brightly in the blue sky above with no indication of any storm now. Surrounding them was a charming, sandy beach, tall palm trees bordering the shallow bay.
"Hai Devi Maiya, what dream is this?"
He swerved toward his wife. She was lounging in their crashed boat, her eyes dazed and bewildered.
"Khushi! Are you okay?"
She appeared to not hear him, closing her eyes and pinching herself hard as she mumbled under her breath: "Wake up, Khushi. Wake up!"
Gently, he shook her shoulders. "Love?"
At his touch, her eyes flew open, rounding all the more. "Arnav! This is... this is real?" Her voice wavered.
He nodded grimly, pulling her out of the boat and onto dry land. There was no hint of civilization here. They were alone, just as they had once been in the forests of Nainital.
The island, as it turned out, was quite small. It took them just thirty minutes to walk its complete perimeter, finding nothing useful.
Eventually, they ended up sitting on the beach, watching the ebb and flow of the ocean waves as their eyes searched the horizon for sails.
"Will help come?" whispered Khushi.
He gripped her hand in his, squeezing. "Of course it will."
"What do you think the kids are doing right now?"
"Sleeping. They'll be just fine, Khushi."
"But Arnav, what if they need us? How will we get to them? We're shipwrecked on this island!"
He was as practical as always. "The hotel will notice the boat missing. And actually, I'm betting that Aman will discover us first--he has an uncanny way of finding me always." He raised her hand to his lips. "There's no reason to worry."
"No reason! We have no food and--"
Arnav held up the black duffle bag. "We have enough for a couple of days at least. Can't we just enjoy this beach? It's beautiful."
Her mouth fell open. "Enjoy? We need to make some type of flag or bonfire--like in movies. Otherwise, no one will spot us here."
He stared right back at her, cocking an eyebrow. "Fine. Then take the sari off."
"What!"
Arnav smirked. "Do you see any other flag material around here?"
Khushi frowned at him, crossing her arms across her chest. "And just what am I supposed to wear then?"
He reached inside the bag, holding up a skimpy two-piece. "This."
Her eyes bulged. "I can't wear that!"
"Not even for the kids?"
Flashing her eyes at him, she weighed the options and then with a sigh, grabbed the bikini. "Turn around."
It was his turn to be utterly dumbfounded. "Khushi, I'm your husband, dammit!"
She pouted at him. "Please? It's already bad enough with those birds watching me."
Swearing, he turned so his back was to her, taking off his own clothes with angry swipes.
Khushi had just taken off the sopping wet sari and was reaching for the bikini when she noticed him standing with his back to her as she'd requested, with one glaring change. He was completely bare.
"Arnavji!"
He swung around. "What?"
Khushi covered her exposed chest with her arms, a blush tingeing her cheekbones. It was so strange being outside with the sun shining down on them with not a stitch of clothing on.
"Your clothes..." Her voice trailed off as she noted the searing look of fire in his eyes. Her knees felt weak.
Arnav dove his hand into her hair, pressing his mouth against hers. "We don't need them. Now, come with me.." The bikini slipped from Khushi's fingers, falling with a dull thud on the sand.
He took her to the waves, standing behind her as she dipped her feet in the warm water. "Why won't you let yourself enjoy this? I know the circumstances are less than ideal, but help will come. Instead of worrying, can't we accept that?" Before she could say a word, he continued, "I love you Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada. You, with your daily bouts of craziness, are the only woman I have ever loved and will ever love."
Her heart warmed at those gruff words, but she focused on one, jabbing him in the chest with her finger. "Crazy? You're the temperamental one! Who else could love you as much as I do? And--"
He hushed her with a firm kiss, capturing her softness. "No more talk of anything else. This beach is a whole lot better than that party. Join me?"
She looped her arms around his neck, following him down onto the sands. "Always," she vowed.
As the waves swept under her back and sand clung to her hair and skin, their mouths meshed together, their hands hungrily fighting for control.
Khushi moaned as her husband made her his, her legs wrapping around his waist as she arched upwards.
"I love you!" she screamed, finally giving in to everything.
Secluded Island by TINA!
Chapter 4: Insecurities & Bikinis
The air felt warm and balmy as Khushi stretched out on the palm fronds, sipping coconut water. Her eyes wandered to the surf and the horizon beyond. There had been no signs of any ships or planes so far. As the sun set overhead, turning the sky into a flowing tapestry of tawny gold and crimson, her thoughts turned once more to Arhaan and Boo. She knew they were likely having a great time being pampered by their great-grandmother and great-aunt, but she couldn't help but worry.
A tall, familiar shape wandered up from the beach, shaking his head as he neared her.
"I couldn't find any food, Khushi," admitted Arnav ruefully. "I searched the whole damn island."
She however smiled up at her husband, throwing a coconut his way. It was only his quick reflexes that prevented the fruit from hitting him square in the chest.
"Sorry," said Khushi. "You're okay, love?"
But he seemed to ignore the near miss, staring at the coconut with an expression of disbelief.
"Where did you get this?" he asked, glancing down at his wife with furrowed brows.
She simply pointed toward the palms towering over their heads. "There's plenty of water and juice in that black pack of yours too. We're okay for tonight."
Nodding, he sat cross-legged beside her. Leave it to Khushi to find food, even in the middle of nowhere.
It was silent for a few minutes as they sat there eating, observing the setting sun. Arnav though could hardly look away from his wife: the creases on her forehead worried him.
Between mouthfuls of fresh coconut, he reached for her hand, bringing it to his lips. "Khushi... Love, everything will be okay."
She wanted to believe him, but anxiety was gnawing in her gut. Their children's thoughts never once left her.
"But the kids... What if we're never found? This island is so secluded."
Arnav could understand her concerns. "I know, love. But like I told you, Aman will find us. That man will not sit calmly once our absence is noted. I know how he is. So you see the question is how soon will he arrive with helicopters and ships--not if he will. And to tell you the truth..." His voice broke off, uncertain.
Khushi rose to kneel beside him, cupping his cheek. "What is it, laad governor?"
A small smile emerged at that name. He turned to kiss her palm, grinning at her. "Truth is that I'm enjoying the privacy of this island. This is what I wanted all along--just some time alone with you."
She trembled as his mouth caressed her hand. "Really? You missed me so much?"
He nodded fervently, taking her into his lap with one swoop and nuzzling his face against her nape. "Lately, we hardly get any time to just be together. Haven't you noticed?"
She had been aware of the growing distance between them, and this trip to Maldives had proven as much. They were both so desperate to be together--to be just Arnav and Khushi, without the mountain of responsibilities and the countless worries that naturally followed.
Wordlessly, she turned in his arms, sliding her hands around his neck. Her mouth was soft and pliant as it met his, knowing just how to enflame her husband.
"Tonight though," she murmured against his lips, "We are together... let's make the most of this, love."
It was what Arnav had wanted all along. As his wife drew him down on the fronds, their kisses growing increasingly intense, he could only hope that Aman would get somehow delayed in his rescue. He wanted to lose himself in Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada... his wife... his soul...
*****
As the bright light of the morning sun dawned over the array of beachside bungalows, Arnav's long-time assistant was finding it increasingly difficult to maintain his cool. He'd tried to get in touch with his boss, but with no success. And now, the Raizadas' hut had been discovered to be empty--just as he'd feared. Coupled with the missing boat at the dock and the recent storm, his current state was unsurprising.
Put simply, Aman was panicking. Badly.
But his controlled outer demeanor revealed very little of the extent of his inner turmoil.
"I want the helicopters ready now! Do you have any idea how upset Mr. ASR must be? And Mrs. Raizada? They must be out of their minds with worry! We have to find them. ASAP."
As he strode down the pier, in a far different corner of the Maldives, Arnav was laughing. He waded into the waves, purposely swaying side to side.
His wife shrieked, pulling at his hair. "Stop that!"
Khushi was sitting on top of his shoulders, wearing a bright red bikini he'd selected for her. She clutched his head as he walked into deeper water.
"Love, you need to move your hands from my eyes. I can't see." Arnav tightened his grip on her legs, the innocent touch burning into her.
"Sorry," she replied, shifting her hands aside. Her thighs tautened reflexively.
Her husband groaned. "Baby, stop that."
"Stop what?" she asked impishly.
"You know what."
The waves were crashing against Arnav's chest now. He stopped, tilting his face upwards. "See, it's nice out here, isn't it?"
It was more than nice. With the sun shining and her husband gazing at her as if he couldn't look away, it seemed a perfect morning. If only Khushboo and Arhaan could be here too.
But she'd give one day more before panicking outright. Her heart told her help would be arriving soon.
And till then, this paradise felt like a fantasy... a brilliant, hot fantasy. Her face burned as she recalled the previous night.
"What are you thinking about?" inquired Arnav, biting back a smile at the color flooding his wife's cheeks. It was amazing that even after five years of marriage and two kids later, she still blushed around him. It was endearing and so characteristic of his Khushi, all fire and innocence combined.
"Are you thinking about last night?" He smirked up at her. "How you kissed my--"
She clapped a hand over his mouth, staring at him with wide, scandalized eyes. "Arnav!"
He was laughing as he kissed her palm. "What? It's not my fault you were a bit...out of control."
"Me?" She pulled at his hair again. "Who was it demanding more and more?"
He shrugged. "That's just the beginning, Mrs. Raizada. The day has just begun."
Her heartbeat quickened. "Oh really? What do you have planned?"
Arnav casually waded into shallower water before abruptly swinging her off of his shoulders. "This!" he yelled, seconds before he dropped her.
Her mouth opened to scream as she felt his hold on her slip. Instinctively, her eyes closed, expecting to plunge any second into the shimmery depths.
But he caught her mid-way, pulling her flat against him.
Spluttering with outrage, she smacked his bare chest. "ARNAV!"
Even as she scolded him, her arms wound around him, holding in an unyielding grip. Her legs wrapped around his waist, interlocking.
"Try to drop me now," she dared.
He cupped her through the skimpy bikini, his mouth soft on hers. "Do you really think I'll let you get hurt? That'll never happen, baby."
She vaguely recalled falling from his office cabin years ago, his hand unwinding from hers. Even then, when he'd claimed to hate her, he'd made sure that she'd fallen on cardboard boxes.
The heady love in those same dark eyes now stunned her even now. Her heart pounded as she remembered all that they had shared.
"What are you thinking about?" he asked, wondering what had caused that serious look to appear on her angelic face. "Not going to pull my hair or hit me some more?"
Khushi shook her head, laughing. "Later, I promise. Right now..."
"Yes?"
She curled her arms around his neck, pressing closer. The rock-hard solidness of him made her mouth go dry.
"Right now what?" he demanded, dragging her more firmly against him.
She shuddered, wetting her lips. "Kiss me..."
Arnav was smiling as he bent toward her. But at the last moment, he drew back, his eyes twinkling.
Khushi frowned, yanking on his hair none too gently. "Arnav..."
"Do you trust me?" he asked, catching her by surprise.
The words tumbled from her, ringing with the utmost truth. "Of course, I trust you. I love you--only you."
It was all the confirmation he needed. "Me too," he admitted against her lips, before letting go of her completely.
As Khushi plummeted, her heart thundering wildly, old fears of drowning came instantly to mind. But just then she noticed a familiar shape underwater.
Arnav was grinning as he grasped her hips, bringing her toward him for a deep kiss.
As they emerged seconds later, inhaling the salty, ocean air, Khushi hugged her husband to her.
"That was..." She felt tongue-tied as she stared at him, her eyes locked on the hard lines of his mouth. "Can you... right now?"
He grinned at her gibberish. "Right now what?"
"Right now do that again?" she finished breathlessly.
As they both dunked underwater, this time there was no fear. She tugged her Arnav into her arms, her mouth finding his.
*****
Lunch was bananas and more coconuts. More than anything though, Khushi enjoyed simply sitting next to her husband, listening to his soothing voice over the sound of crashing waves. They talked about the kids... about his work... about her catering business.
"We've gotten lost somewhere," realized Khushi.
Arnav's gaze was loving as it traced over her. "We have, even though neither of us meant to. I don't want it to happen again, Khushi. I can't take you off to an island every time."
Her mind was already coming up with a slew of strategies to tackle just that problem. "We'll have to make time for each other. Lessen our workload and maybe we can go on dates again. Remember... like we used to before the kids?"
He remembered every moment he'd spent with her. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he nodded. "It's a deal, Mrs. Raizada."
Leaning toward Khushi, Arnav slanted his mouth across hers. She yelped slightly. "What are you doing? We just--"
"Sealing the deal," he explained, grinning at her wide-eyed look.
Khushi looped her arms around his neck, shaking her head. "Is that how you make deals nowadays?"
"Only with my wife." A mischievous smirk curved his lips as he turned toward the beach. "Actually..."
Before she could question him, he picked her up in his arms, striding toward the waves. Setting her down on the wet sand, he covered her body with his. She trembled beneath him as their fingers entwined.
"Arnav..."
"Love, this is actually how I seal a deal with you."
His mouth was hot and demanding as he kissed her, taking off the bikini with a few quick tugs. As his hands curved over her, Khushi recalled her insecurities.
"I don't look the same anymore, do I?"
He looked up from her stomach, frowning. "What do you mean?"
Khushi hesitated for a moment, but she could hold back the doubts anymore. "Look at me. I'm not the lanky, slim girl who fell into your arms. I've changed."
"Yes, you have," Arnav agreed.
She stiffened beneath him, glancing away. But his hand fell on her chin, making her meet his warm gaze.
"Khushi, you have changed... you're even more beautiful now."
She lay stunned, convinced she must have heard him wrong. But he shook his head, his hands skimming across her.
"When I met you, you were a girl... but now, you're a woman in all ways: a wife, a mother. Your body is a bit curvier now, your hips and breasts more full, but don't you see, love? Those are all signs of our love... of our children."
Tears came to her eyes at the earnestness of his tone. "Really?"
"Yes, really... In fact, I prefer you pregnant. You're the most beautiful then... with our baby growing inside of you."
She grinned, hugging him to her. "I wanted to believe that, but I've been so self-conscious lately. And then Lavanya spoke of danger zones and times, and all those doubts only grew stronger."
"Danger what?"
Laughing, Khushi explained to him the warnings. He listened patiently, and then leaned forward, dropping kisses all over her upturned face. "Don't you ever think that way, Khushi. Our love is true... and beyond any limits. You need to trust that love."
"I always have." Khushi brushed back his wet hair, smiling up at him. The waves were crashing against them, the movement cooling and rhythmic.  "I think I just needed to hear the words from you."
Arnav kissed her softly. "Then you'll hear the words from me more often from now on. You're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen, Khushi Kumari Gupta Singh Raizada. I love you."
Her heart pounded as she drew him down. "And I love you, dammit."
He smiled at that old confession, his mouth curving up. "So, I think we should work on something now."
"Work?" Khushi frowned. She'd been so lost in his caresses, and he had work on his mind. Would the laad governor ever change?
"Yes," he insisted, kissing her on the nose. "Very important work: baby number three."
Khushi choked almost, her hands spearing into his hair so she could meet his gaze. "Baby? You really want another baby?"
He kissed her heatedly. "More than anything..."
"Me too," she confessed. "For the longest time now. I love being pregnant, you know."
Arnav chuckled. "I know. Then you can have all the jalebis you could ever want and no one has the heart to stop you."
She blushed, shaking her head as she rolled him over so she lay on top. "I want another mini-Arnav."
"I want another mini-Khushi... like Boo..."
Khushi laughed. "Are you fighting with me, Mr. Raizada?"
"Of course, it's what we do best, right? Right from that first encounter in Lucknow till now."
She trailed kisses down his neck and chest, her touch firm and branding. "I hope we never stop fighting. How else would we make up like we do then?"
They were both laughing as their mouths crashed together, murmuring words of love and affection as passion joined them once more.
*****
A long time later, they left the beach to relax and nap on the shaded fronds once more. Arnav was asleep instantly, his arm curved around Khushi's supple waist. She yawned too, snuggling against him.
A smile was on her lips as sleep overtook both of them. It was hard to explain but she had a feeling that their third child was well on his or her way.
When next she woke, it seemed like late afternoon. The sky was darkening and a cool mist swept off from the ocean waves.
But Khushi didn't seem to see any of it. Her eyes were half-closed as she leaned up from her husband's embrace, blindly searching for the black pack. Her mouth felt extremely dry, as if she'd swallowed sand.
Without looking, she grabbed a bottle inside, slurping down the contents. It tasted a bit unusual, but whatever it was, Khushi quite liked it. She drank two more small bottles rather quickly.
Arnav woke to the sound of his wife giggling. He smiled as he blinked open one eye.
"Khushi?"
"Arnavji! Love, you have to try this juice. It's amazing!"
"What juice?" From what he recalled, he hadn't packed any juice. Only some water bottles and some--
His eyes widened as he drew his wife to him, wide awake now. "What did you drink?"
She held up the mini wine bottles. "This juice. I told you, baby."
He groaned as he took the three empty bottles. "Khushi, this is wine. Not juice."
But she wasn't listening, rising to stand. She swayed slightly on her feet and he hurried to catch her.
"Khushi! Dammit, be careful."
She didn't answer, reaching instead for the strings of her bikini. Arnav's eyes widened even more as she slipped out of the matching bottoms.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm hot; it's burning, isn't it? Let's go for a swim."
Before he could stop her, she was darting out of reach.
"Khushi!" With a curse, he was up, chasing after his tipsy wife.
The beach was empty as he drew near. Panic hit him for a second. "KHUSHI!"
There was no reply and as he began to shout her name again, a banana hit him directly on the back of his head.
Arnav swerved around, taken aback as he noticed Khushi atop a small tree. How the hell had she managed to climb so quickly, he wondered?
"Khushi! Love, get down!"
She stuck her tongue out at him. "You promise you'll swim with me? And kiss me after? And make love to me again?"
He bit back a smile, nodding. "Yes, we'll do that all. Just get down from there."
Giving him her best angry expression, she climbed down, surprisingly agile.
He met her halfway, catching her in his arms as soon as he could reach her. She was mumbling to herself about inconsiderate husbands' as they plopped onto the sands.
In a move that surprised him, she straddled him, drawing off his trunks.
"Khushi," he drawled. "What are you doing?"
"You promised!" she pouted.
Arnav couldn't hold back his smile any longer. "Come on, then."
She was beaming too as he lifted her into his arms, taking her to the darkening beach.
Secluded Island by TINA!
Chapter 5: Finale
Khushi was biting her bottom lip, hard enough to almost hurt. Her body clenched as her husband slid lower, his mouth hot and branding on her stomach.
"Baby, you can shout," drawled her husband. "We're not at the house."
And that was true, knew Khushi. They were further from Raizada Mansion than either one of them could have imagined.
The rush of the water pelting against her side, the grainy feel of the sands beneath her, and her Arnavji--his face glowing, his wet hair waving in the breeze was all startlingly different.
Desire pulsed between them, heady and strong.
It was just past dawn and though they'd stayed up late the night before, both were wide-awake as Arnav stretched on top of her now, his lips grazing hers.
Khushi made a sound of displeasure, plunging her hands into his hair and drawing him down for a much deeper and more thorough kiss.
He smiled against her lips, gripping her by the waist tightly. "I'm surprised you're not still sleeping," he murmured.
It took Khushi a moment to respond. Her eyes fluttered close as he slowly trailed kisses down her neck. "Why?"
His palm settled on her softness, his thumb smoothing over the peak. "Because you were drunk last night."
He was on a mission to kill her, decided Khushi. There was no question of it now. His every teasing caress was unraveling her control.
"I was not," she pouted.
"Yes, you definitely were, Mrs. Raizada," said Arnav. "The things you made me do last night... lift you down from a tree, make love on the beach, kiss your--"
She yanked on his hair before he could say another word, a rosy blush staining her cheeks.
"Ow! Khushi!"
"Sorry, Mr. Raizada, but you deserved that."
He glared at her but there was a playful lightness in his gaze. A smirk played on his mouth.
"And you deserve this." His mouth closed over her, warm and scorching. Khushi gasped, arching upward.
Her hands pushed his head closer, and Arnav eagerly bent over her, ravenous as ever. His pace never changed though. He was taking his time with her, torturing her with every sensual assault on her senses.
Khushi's nails dug into his back, urging him on, but he was resolute, his kiss seeming to slow even more.
"Arnav..."
"What?"
"You know what!"
His hand swept over her, just brushing her softness.
Khushi could take no more. Five years of marriage had changed things between them considerably, but one thing remained the same--she would always go toe-to-toe with him.
And so, she pushed against his chest, rolling him over. Straddling his waist, she wasted no time, her hands touching him with possessiveness.
He made a sound that was half-growl, half-groan. And then as his hands settled on her hips and passion took over, neither could stay in control.
And neither was complaining. This was pure and passionate.
"I love you, Khushi," whispered Arnav as he drew her down for a thorough kiss.
Khushi never stopped moving, her hands sliding across his smooth chest and settling over his heart. "And I love you, Laad Governor."
*****
It felt as if a few hours had passed the next time Khushi woke, blinking at the bright glare of the sun overhead.
Arnav was half draped over her, his face pressed to the side of her neck as he slept on.
She smiled as she turned to observe him, her heart turning over. He looked so peaceful and utterly carefree like this, and sinfully attractive. Khushi silently vowed to make sure that from now on, they both took time for themselves too.
She almost laughed as she looked away from his face, her eyes trailing lower. How had they fallen asleep right on the beach, their bodies entwined, she wondered?
Scooting closer, she ran her hands down the length of his bare back, just barely stroking his skin.
But he sensed her touch even in his sleep. Surprising her completely, he rolled back on top of her, his lips drifting across her. "Morning."
"Good morning," she replied, her legs locking around his waist.
They'd just been about to kiss when a loud noise erupted above them.
The waves shifted too, crashing into them with suddenly more intensity.
As Khushi spotted a black helicopter hovering above them, her eyes widened. A scream escaped her throat.
She was hideously aware that she and Arnav lay unclothed, visible to anyone who glimpsed below. Her second shout was twice as loud.
"KHUSHI!"
It was peculiar but she heard Arnav's voice as if from a distance. And then hands shook her awake.
"Love, you're dreaming, wake up!"
As her eyes blinked open and she stared up at her husband, a confused look on his face as he peered down at her flailing body, she still could not believe it. It was only the empty sky above them that slowed her heartbeat.
Breathing a sigh of relief, she shot up, tugging Arnav with her.
"Khushi! What now?"
"I had this dream that there was a helicopter above us. We need to put on some clothes. It's all your fault, Raizada."
"Mine? Really? Who was it demanding we make love on the beach?"
Khushi blushed, shooting him a warning glance as she led him back to the fronds.
Arnav leaned lazily against a palm tree, casually observing her as she rummaged through the black duffle bag as if in some great hurry.
"Where's my sari? And Arnav, what are you doing? Get dressed too!"
He smirked as he picked up his screeching wife, kissing her heatedly. "But I like you without the sari."
She slapped his chest lightly, but couldn't help but fall into his embrace.
His every knowing caress and fervent kiss seemed to smother her every protest. For the second time that morning, nothing but their passion reigned.
*****
It was a long time later that they both finally managed to dress.
Arnav had just tied Khushi's blouse and shrugged into his own shirt when the sound of a horn sounded.
A ship was heading to them, a familiar figure waving from the railing.
Arnav slipped his arms around his wife, hardly surprised. "And here comes Aman. Always ruining our romantic moments."
"This time I'm glad to see him though. Very glad," said Khushi, waving back enthusiastically.
Arnav kissed the side of her neck. "Me too."
They were both were smiling as they gathered everything, throwing all the bikinis and wine bottles into the black bag.
As they wandered hand in hand toward the waves, Khushi tugged on her husband's hand.
"Can we do this again?" she murmured, blushing hotly.
He smiled, brushing aside some of her windswept curls and kissing her forehead. "Sure... and next time, we'll bring the kids along. They can make sandcastles or nap as usual while we--"
She clamped her hand over his mouth, scandalized. He kissed her palm, his eyes twinkling. As they climbed onboard, Arnav wound his free arm around Khushi's waist, neither wanting to ever let go.
Once Aman had finally calmed down and the Maldivian authorities had officially called off the search, Arnav and Khushi stood at the ship's railing, leaving behind the secluded island.
"I'm going to miss it, but I can't wait to go back home either," admitted Arnav. "We've never been gone for so long from Boo and Arhaan."
Surprised, Khushi turned in his arms, looping her arms around his neck. "But it's been just four-five days. And you wanted a whole week alone, didn't you?"
Arnav kissed her on the nose. "I want to see them--to pick them up in my arms and hold them close. And you know that."
"So we're leaving early?" Her smile widened.
He nodded. "Tomorrow. Today we'll enjoy that beachside bungalow, we never did use the swimming pool or even the bed for that matter."
Khushi giggled. "Deal."
His lips curved, his gaze sizzled into hers. "You remember how I seal deals with you, don't you?"
Khushi rose on her tiptoes to kiss that smirk. "Of course, I do. I want baby number three too."
Arnav swept her into his arms, this woman who'd fallen into his embrace long ago and changed his world in ways he still could not fathom. To think that such happiness was theirs.
"Then it's a deal, Mrs. Raizada."
*****
Three years later...
The day was sunny, and the beach empty except for one lone family. Arnav and Khushi sat holding hands as they watched their kids build sandcastles.
True to their deal, during the past three years they'd taken several more mini vacations, as well found more time for themselves in their busy lives.
But this was the first time that they'd returned to the Maldives--along with all three kids in tow.
Arhaan was showing his younger sisters how to build the perfect fortress. Khushboo was adding colorful flowers she'd found beneath the palm trees, carefully arranging them.
Their youngest child was enjoying knocking down the towers more than making them, a chubby hand raised high.
Khushi smiled as Arnav drew Kashi into his lap, kissing the top of her head. She leaned into his side, cuddling close.
This was bliss. Their kids laughing and playing; Arnav's hand in hers.
"Happy?" he murmured, his free hand warm and possessive on her waist.
She grinned up at him. "More happy than I ever imagined... Thank you."
His eyebrows furrowed. "For what, love?"
"For everything... For catching me that day, all those years ago in Lucknow. I never thanked you, did I?"
"I should be thanking you then," Arnav corrected. "For falling into my colorless life and making me see how wrong I was. I would have missed so much if not for you." His gaze flew to her and then to the kids.
Khushi kissed his stubbled cheek. "I love you."
His gaze burned into her. "And I love you."
Plucking Kashi into her arms, Khushi shifted closer to his side. A naughty glint came into her eyes. "So what have you planned for tonight?"
Arnav winked at her. "Midnight swim and then you-know-what."
Khushi flushed, beaming at him. "Again?"
"Of course."
Their children demanded their attention then, and Khushi and Arnav happily stood, walking to the beach, hand in hand with each child.
Together, they admired the brilliant sunset over the horizon, the ocean breeze wafting over the group.
And then Boo quipped: "Mummy? Daddy? Why is there sand in your hair?"
****

Well, Secluded Island is complete, but if you're interested, I've started a new SS.

Fateful Love (on Arhi of courseWink). Click on its tab to read. Thanks to those who made banners <3
Leave your comments on the 'Comments' Page!













97 comments:

  1. Looking forward to this... just like all your other works....

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  2. oh I cant wait for you to post chapter one

    I usually stalk your blog for updates

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  3. sounds interesting. just like all ur previous work. cannot wait. hurry up. but do not forget about your other stories.
    love
    ak

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  4. hhmm......lookng yammy.
    cant wait 2 read more.

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  5. yup.....totally,,,,,,they needed time for eachother way from the work, family, responsibilities and what not.......

    waiitng for an update.........

    Neag
    (india-forums)

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  6. wow........waitg...dear...:)
    shamlin(IF)

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  7. oo i'm loving this, start writing it quickly!! hehe

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  8. Wow this will be soo interesting to read
    Cause they've it all marriage,success,kids,family...jus that their rabbaves are missing

    Amazinggg teaser!!!

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  9. wow amazing waiting 4 the 1st chapter eagerly.

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  10. Interesting story concept and teaser
    Can't wait to read it!!!
    Pls update soon

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  11. hi looking forward to this.... like i always wait for ur other updates.

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  12. This is interesting...,waiting to read more!

    Mrignayani

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  13. yaaay Tina's writing another one! :DD cant wait to read it!

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  14. loved the teaser

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  15. ooo new story..new concept! cant wait to read more :)

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  16. u knw tina whts special about and yor work, which ever story update we read its that story update we want next to be as well because each update weave such a magic tht we or at least i forget about your other work and have to compel myself to thing of the other story be it a DH update or a SP update with each update of either i completely forget abt the other and now this to joins the list. .

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  17. Lovely concept. Very nicely written. Love the picture of love and laughter in this family that you paint.

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  18. awwie...this is sweet...so they are going to an island resort...cute...waiting for more...i love this starved arnav, he definetly needs some relaxing time...
    yush

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  19. Please carry on.....love them away from the family

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  20. this is interesting.....

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  21. tooooooo coooool !!! ;)

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  22. Interesting story, want to know how Arnav and Khushi will rekindle their love.

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  23. Enjoyed this thoroughly...very different from what you have been writing...but just as, if not more interesting!

    Waiting for the next!

    Cheers
    Rayolight

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  24. loved it! i hope khushi says yes to this trip please continue soon thanks so much!

    IF ID:- IPKKNDbigfan

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  25. Awesome update
    Pls update the next chapter soon!!!

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  26. Hi again - I really liked it. You have accurately displayed what happens to couples after years of marriage and kids and lives just unintentionally drifting them apart. You can see that the love and commitment is still there, just missing that spark. Hopefully Maldives will help rekindle that. I am digging the toned down Arnav...

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  27. Oh wow..looks amazing..
    CAUTION - PASSION FILLED WEEK AHEAD hehe
    Barun-myladdu

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  28. Love the concept....can't wait to read more..

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  29. Ahaaaa....such parallels in life. It's amazing how deeply you get entrenched in the daily routine, even the most committed lovers get tangles in the weeds of daily roles and responsibilities. I am glad you are writing a piece to highlight that married life is not only about love and responsibility only, one needs to carve out time for passion too!!!

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  30. Looking forward to reading this new storyline...you always do a fab job!

    Mrignayani

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  31. I loved the first chapter!

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  32. fabulous ,fantastic one..continue soon

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  33. Another brilliant concept Tina! Ive fallen in love with your style of writing and your portrayal of cute romantic moments!

    You really are very talented, and I hope you go far with your work!

    Please update soon, eagerly waiting to see how this story will shape up

    M x (I.F: mayzz)

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  34. Intriguing! The new concept is great and I am looking forward to reading!

    Can't wait for the next! Cheers!

    Rayolight
    IF

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  35. Loving the story (includin all ur other work :) ) cannot w8 for da next chapter!!

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  36. Its wonderful to read something that is calm and serene!! I mean with all the effects you give with the props!

    So Arnav was full planned and not just Buaji but even NK and La were apart of the plan!

    Lol desperate are we here? :p sad man but its fun to read :D

    Now next chap is the entry of the island is it titled Mishap! Nish nish looking forward to it!

    Now off to DH

    Cheers

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  37. lol so desperate these poor souls.
    yeah well khushi is right i guess, i feel so :).
    cant wait for the mishap to happen. its the first time i am so looking fwd to a mishap.

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  38. haha... awesome chapter :)... waiting to see what happens next?? cant make love coz of the fish hihahahahaha :P tht was the best :D

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  39. hahah khushi stopped making love because of some fish
    shes so funny
    Arnav the desperate soul lol

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  40. Wow beautiful update.Poor love birds distracted
    Eagerly waiting wat next as ur teaser sounds again distracting

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  41. Wonderful update
    Arnav is being desperate

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  42. hahahahahahaha that was so funny "the fish r looking" omg i cant stop laughing that was an amazing update i loved it please continue soon thanks so much!


    IF ID :- IPKKNDbigfan

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  43. even after marriage and kids they are being interrupted

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  44. Love everything you write!

    Mrignayani

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  45. Aaaaaaaaaaaaeeeee T!!! It was frustrating to read the last bits where they were being disturbed again n again HOW DID THEY MANAGE TO CONTROL THEMSELVESS....... Arghgh Please don't make us n THEM wait long!!! They must!! In the nxt Ch!!!
    Beautiful suite n the hut!!! LOVED!

    sahada

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  46. wait whats the mishap that happens
    unless they get strnaded someplace or the other
    with just the two of them
    man they couldnt catch a break could they when all he wanted to do was spend some time with his wife
    that was wonderful idea of them going here
    and what he did to get her here
    blooming heck what do i do with them
    and am loving whats been happening so far
    and its just the beginning of it all
    cheers for pm
    wow what a room though right
    both were just fantastic man
    ahhh she objected to being made love in the room cause the fish were watching
    is she for real or what
    this is gonna be fun for sure

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  47. waiting 4 this 2 like 4 all ur other works.. luvd it..

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  48. Just read this story... very nice. Oops they are not able to spend some quality time with each other :-)... waiting for next chapter and how they get stranded in a secluded island.

    IF Id: Pinkly

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    Replies
    1. Hey, one more thing... very beautiful pictures... hotel, hut and all looked very nice

      Pinkly

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  49. Loved the concept... cant wait to read more...!

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  50. Didn't think I was going to enjoy this story, but I am! You managed to reel me in!

    Am eager to see how their honeymoon continues..

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  51. i was very curious to knw how will the mishap happen.
    i had imagined a kaho na pyaar hai type scenario but this one was more interesting.
    oh arnav is pursuing her to enjoy this time and she is worried abt kids :) how typical of a mother.

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  52. oooooooooooooooooooooo tinaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa its toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo hottttttttttttttttttttttttttt...loved it

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  53. That was a great chapter!! Loooving it so far!! The concept is fab and I can't wait to read more and more :D

    Cheers!
    Rayolight

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  54. Hey it workd thank u tina, yes jst an romantic lovly update. boat scend was damn scared first i thought smtyn major disastr going to hapn but no it didnt. an awsm update dear. ;)

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  55. watnnnnggggg...:(

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  56. watnnnnggggg...:(

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  57. The pictures are superb. Match with the situation. Loved it.

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  58. OMG. I love your work so so much. Every detail, so perfectly defined. Every emotion, so real! <3
    Are you on IF? I want to buddy you right away. :D
    You know, I write too but hey, its nothing compared to your work! Honestly speaking you are my inspiration to write. :)
    Cheers. :)

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  59. very uninhibited Arnav and Khushi

    glad they got this time to themselves

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  60. Fab update! Everything seems magical and perfect! Feels like a much deserved time for them together. Waiting for the next as always....and now off to read SP....have not managed to catch up on that one...

    Cheers!!
    Rayolight

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  61. fab update loved it



    IPKKNDbigfan

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  62. wow the pics were awesome.
    the heart to heart chat they had was indeed needed.

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  63. Woo...that was smouldering hot! Loved the pictures

    Mrignayani

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  64. Yaaayy please update soon I cant wait for mind games vol III after This ends plz Tinaji update soon

    ..XYasmina06

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  65. Love the concept.... Tis is such a natural progression in life.... Fall in love ...get married.... Have kids....then life revolves around every other thing but the people who fell in love !!! (Personal experience :)) .... Had a big smile on my face 'rub away' as in rabba vey!!!!
    Lovely story please update soon
    Poonam

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  66. Very interesting read....their happily ever after......thanks!!

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  67. and awww its ends :(
    sad for it ending but happy for a wonderful journey i had through this ss.

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  68. wow what an amazing ending and they stay true to their deal and thats amazing

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  69. loved the end...it was actually perfect....arnav and khushi found even deeper depths of love on this secluded island...i guess its true for every husband and wife...they need some time alone to keep the love flowing...
    lovely pic in the end...arnav and khushi and their 3 kids...its like a dream which we never got to see in the show....but i m glad that i am reading fics like these that help us to dream forever....
    waiting for the new SS now..
    hehe

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  70. Loved the picture in the ending..what journey it has been..short but sexy, just like a bikini ;)

    Mrignayani

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  71. amazing ss started reading your stories loved them aloooot..!!!<3 this ss was really cute and hot!!;)just started reading mind games will comment after reading

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  72. Read all the chapters again... Although marriage produces more responsibilities, with work, home and kids... it is always so important to keep your relationship working.

    Thanks for a beautiful story on 'Secluded Island'.

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  73. wow its great to be back again in the thick of actions i really missed ur ff during my toughest period of life its great to be back fit and healthy lovely ss secluded island loved the atmosphere u have created and those mind blowing pics u have added for better imagination along wid ur beautifully descriptive writing i have always adored u for ur beautiful sense of clarity of ur environment wid perfect setting ......loved the way arnie and khush found time for themselves a reality based situatuin where lovers wid there added responsibility cannot finf time for themselves u have portrayed it pretty well......aman way of finding asr was awesome .......love u tk care.....
    Keep smilin.....
    God bless.....
    Pehchan kaun a friend from IF but not on ur buddy list as i have decided to quit if but i m back as healthy as ever and the first thing i did was to see ur blog and i really loved secluded island and would be reading fateful love and i m sure would love it........

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  74. wow its great to be back again in the thick of actions i really missed ur ff during my toughest period of life its great to be back fit and healthy lovely ss secluded island loved the atmosphere u have created and those mind blowing pics u have added for better imagination along wid ur beautifully descriptive writing i have always adored u for ur beautiful sense of clarity of ur environment wid perfect setting ......loved the way arnie and khush found time for themselves a reality based situatuin where lovers wid there added responsibility cannot finf time for themselves u have portrayed it pretty well......aman way of finding asr was awesome .......love u tk care.....
    Keep smilin.....
    God bless.....
    Pehchan kaun a friend from IF but not on ur buddy list as i have decided to quit if but i m back as healthy as ever and the first thing i did was to see ur blog and i really loved secluded island and would be reading fateful love and i m sure would love it........

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  75. just completed the secluded island.... well our Arhi in secluded island!!! i loved it... moreover what was best in this--- it was not having adult content leaving ample scope for imagination... i liked the fact that u starter this ss after a lapse of 5 years of the marriage and rekindled their love.... thanks for giving us a wonderful Arhi journey in their secluded island!!!

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  76. super awesome story yaar

    love, passion ka perfect blend!

    take a bow

    keep writing n keep smiling :)

    Shree.Nanda [IF]

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  77. woww!!!!!!!! it was a gr8 story bt no surprise there as u always write a gr8.one.. loved the kids and the concept..

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  78. Aww that was a fabulous short story! Enjoyed reading it!

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  79. Awsum...
    Simply mindblowing........
    Their love is eternal and will always be.....

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  80. our sneaky Arnav & Khushi and off course you Doc never ceases to amaze me

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