“Really?, said Khushi, a smile perched daintily on her lips, fluttering like a butterfly. He raised his head and nodded, meeting her eyes in the mirror, his eyes as warm as summer.
He turned her around and drew her close, sighing as she slipped her arms around his neck. Drawing her even closer, he swooped his head to claim her lips, parting her legs and raising her up in single seamless movement to place her on the gleaming granite vanity.
Even as their kiss deepened, the shrill ring of his phone froze them into inaction. With a frustrated expletive, Arnav took it out from his back pocket to glance at the screen. It was from Mr. Qazi, his lawyer, calling from Srinagar and Arnav knew it was a call he couldn’t possibly ignore since he was working on getting all the paperwork ready before their impromptu nuptials in Srinagar.
Even as he received the call, Khushi pulled her robe back on and slid off of the counter to get ready. Mr. Qazi had called to provide him with a list of documents, whose notarized copies were needed to solemnize a marriage under the Hindu Marriage Act.
Even as he listened carefully to his long winded legal discourse, he extended his arm and pulled her into a side hug. Khushi smiled up at him, her smile widening as his eloquent eyes and pursed lips conveyed his utter frustration to her.
“Tomorrow”, she mouthed consolingly, standing on her tiptoes to kiss him on the cheek.
About at hour later, Arnav, Khushi and Anita sat at ‘Dastarkhwan‘,one of Hyatt Regency’s onsite restaurants, their travel weary minds and bodies relaxing over exquisite Mughal cuisine, wine and effortless camaraderie.
Sitting next to Anu, Khushi drank in her softly lit surroundings, letting the ambience seep in to leave an indelible print on her mind. Dark paneled walls, rich fabrics, tables with inlaid marble tops and collages of miniatures prints on the walls.
“Wow”, said Anita, breaking off a piece of soft, fresh-from-the-oven-naan and using it to scoop Butter Chicken from her plate, “You guys had an eventful morning. From taking care of all those cancellations to rebooking flights to talking to the parents to trying to arrange an impromptu marriage, boy, you’ve certainly been busy”.
Putting the flavorful morsel in her mouth, Anita sighed. It was clear that she belonged to the category of women whose appetite increased drastically after a heartbreak.
Khushi rested her fork on her plate, leaned back against her chair and looked at Anu. Her soft, hazel eyes swirled with longing.
“I wish, at least you were present, Anu”.
“I do too”, cried Anita, “How about I cancel my ticket?
“No”, Khushi said at once, her big sister instinct kicking in, “Your uni starts in 3 days…and anyway”, she smiled reassuringly,”Arnav and I are planning on having a big reception in the States on returning”.
“Are we?, interjected Arnav with mild sarcasm, his eyes relaxed and indulgent.
“Yes, we are”, Khushi beamed at him, “A big fat Indian reception”.
Arnav smiled over his wine glass in response, his caressing eyes communicating his commitment to her happiness, his eloquent silence filling her heart with warm music.
“You’d always wanted a beach wedding”, said Anita with a smile as memories of a late night conversation, giggles and silliness came to her, “How about a beach reception at Caladesi Island?, she added excitedly.
“Maybe”, Arnav said hurriedly on meeting Khushi’s eyes, “We can discuss that later. Let’s take one thing at a time”.
With Khushi’s eyes twinkling in understanding, she turned toward Anita again. There was an ache in her heart as she said, “It doesn’t really matter where as long as all of you – you, Dad and…Mom are present and…happy”.
An uncomfortable silence fell between the two sisters at the mention of their mother. Much as they were concerned and even a little angry by her long silence and aloofness, they both believed in their heart of hearts that it was love and extreme protectiveness that was perversely causing her to hurt Khushi like that.
After lingering over dessert and coffee, they reached their hotel room late in the afternoon with Khushi looking at Anita’s worn out face and suggesting a nap. With both their flights being in the wee hours of the night, they’d decided to head for the airport at the same around midnight.
Even as Anita rested her head on the pillow, Khushi tucked the covers snugly around her.
“My baby sister”, she thought, her heart softening with insurmountable feelings at her courage in dealing with her first heartbreak.
Although there was a lot she wanted to say to her by way of consolation, she didn’t want to upset the delicate inner balance Anita had built and functioned on. Especially just before a long journey.
She limited herself to kissing her on her forehead and murmuring, “Get some rest, Chutki”.
“I’m fine, Di”, said Anita sleepily, accurately reading her mood, and pulling the comforter over half her face.
While Anita slept, Khushi walked into the living room, settling beside Arnav on the couch, tucking her legs under her. She rested her head on his shoulder, eyes fixed drowsily on the TV screen in front. It took her only a few moments to figure that her fianc was a compulsive channel flipper, alternately watching news and football from several different channels at the same time.
“And that is a battle I’m going to save for the future”, she thought with a smile. It wasn’t long before her eyes flickered shut or before she stretched on the couch, her head resting on his lap.
It was past midnight when they reached the airport, which was expectedly a hub of activity and energy even at that ungodly hour.
Disembarking from their taxi in front of the international departures terminal, hauling their luggage onto the ubiquitous carts, they were soon standing on the outskirts of a crowd that milled around a guarded entry and pulsated with the angst of goodbyes and separation.
Anita and Khushi turned toward each other. A thin film of moisture glinting in their eyes was the only indication of the emotions held tightly reined within their hearts.
“We’ll have a wedding in the States”, Khushi said and paused to swallow.
“See you soon”, nodded Anita with the prospect of traveling alone having never seemed so daunting to her.
As they embraced, Khushi couldn’t stop herself from saying softly, “Some things are not meant to be, Anu, because what lies ahead is better”.
Anita just nodded in response and took a few seconds to compose herself.
After a while, she turned toward Arnav.
When did this person become a brother she’d always wanted growing up, she wondered in a rare maudlin state of heart.
Touched by what he saw in her eyes, Arnav pulled her in a hug, ruffling her hair and saying humorously, “These airport goodbyes just mess with your brain, don’t they?
After a second’s hesitation, he added, “And I second what Khushi just said”.
As Anita stiffened in surprise at what she presumed was Khushi having shared her secret with Arnav, he added with an understanding smile, “No, Khushi didn’t tell me anything. I’m just speaking in general. And I know you’ll do just fine”.
Anita just smiled in thanks, blinking once or twice to ward away tears. She decided to turn and leave before the tenuous threads straining around her composure snapped.
After watching her enter through the guarded sliding doors, Arnav and Khushi walked up to the domestic departure entrance, checking in their luggage, going through security and whiling away another three-four hours at the airport before boarding their flight to Jammu at an ungodly hour.
As their plane took off and soared higher, the dusty trees, the houses and cars, the yellow glow and shadows on the streets and roads swayed beneath them. They had soon receded, first into a meshwork of lights, and then into nothingness…
It was a short flight and although dead tired, they were both high on caffeine and unable to close eyes for even a moment.
Resting weary heads against their seats, they faced each other with sleepy eyes, talking softly about the journey so far, the journey to come and what awaited them at it’s destination.
They reached Jammu at the crack of dawn to be greeted by a streak of light cleaving across the dark horizon. It was that time of the day when the air is crisp, sounds of aartis blend seamlessly with azaan and dark wings are silhouetted against the unfurling day.
Khushi took a deep breath before shooting a sideways glance at Arnav, who was impatiently scanning the crowds looking for Mr. Bhat.
She took a moment to appreciate her fiance’s appearance in a morning stubble, dark jeans and a thin black pullover over a blue and white small checked shirt. And as always it was his indescribable aura of depth and intensity that tugged at her heart and soul. Despite her voice being a little hoarse with tiredness, her eyes sparkled with an odd mix of humor and earnestness as she said out of the blue, “If souls had nationalities, I know mine would be Indian”.
Arnav pulled his increasingly antsy gaze away from the crowds and directed them toward her.
With his humorous eyes lingering on her face, he replied somberly, “In that case, my soul would be standing…or floating..in a long line in New Delhi waiting to be naturalized too”.
They grinned at each other, both feeling a little dazed by the events of the last few days and the prospect of the events to follow. Who could have imagined that a chance encounter at an airport would turn into a journey of a life time?
Who could have imagined that two ships passing in the night would one day find their paths converged and leading to the same common destination.
They were soon received by a profusely apologetic Mr. Bhat who had been held up at a railroad crossing. He greeted them with a warm, avuncular benevolence, politely enquiring in turns about his mother and their journey thus far.
Perhaps it was a testimony to his character that he kept his instinctive judgements under control and curiosity at what he probably perceived as the irregularly of their situation effectively hidden.
Settling in the familiar backseat of their white Range Rover Evoque, they’d soon left the airport behind to navigate through deserted Jammu lanes, watching shutters thundering open, lights flickering on- a city slowly rousing itself from slumber.
By the time they hit the famously picturesque Jammu-Srinagar highway, the sun was creeping up higher and the earlier streak on the horizon unfurling into a sublime canvas of colors, mist tendrils and silhouettes of wings.
“It’s my wedding day today”, Khushi mused with a strange sensation of being trapped in a dream. Her life seemed to be thundering ahead with twists, turns and occurrences completely out of line with what she’d previously imagined or dreamed about. However, her heart was at peace hearing the familiar cadence of his voice, feeling his warm presence beside her and listening to him discussing the day’s plans with Mr. Bhat.
Their conversation brought several pertinent details of the day to light and set Khushi’s heart fluttering with excitement.They were to marry at a famous temple near Srinagar which not only offered same day nuptials if provided with the requisite documents but also an unforgettable locale, a memorable ambience for the religious ceremony.
She also learnt that their appointment was for five in the evening with the proceedings expected to run into twilight.
Khushi sighed as their car maneuvered another hair pin bend on it’s ascent to Srinagar. Her eyes feasted on the azure skies, the lush greenery, the majestic mountains and kept themselves strictly averted from the steep drop to their side.
Her lips widened into a grin when Arnav laughed at a funny road sign and read it out loud.
Darling I love you but not so fast.
Even as Mr. Bhat and Mohan joined in the merriment, Arnav turned to look at her. Their gazes dissolved and blended into a contiguous warmth. Mirth slowly melted into a simmering awareness of the present moment, a gentle savoring of their togetherness. A warm breeze to chase the last vestiges of winter away from their souls.
“Is that what love does to you?, Arnav wondered even as the SUV braked to a halt to allow a flock of sheep to pass in front of it. Mohan rolled the window down.Thin mountain air wafted in, clean and invigorating, tinged with sunshine, and at the moment rife with plaintive bleating and shepherding cries.
Despite the soulful sceneries and the panoramic vistas offered, it was still an arduous eight hour drive which seemed longer due to residual weariness from the previous two days and their longing to be…home.
They made good time though, stopping only when absolutely necessary at a small town nestled high up in the mountains. It was when they were passing through the Pir Panjal range and only an hour away from Jawahar Tunnel, a tunnel bored through mountains to provide an easier gateway to the Kashmir valley.
While their companions ate lunch at a famed eatery for travelers, Arnav and Khushi, both facing mild gastrointestinal issues, prudently decided on skipping lunch.
Getting small earthen cups of kahwa, they crossed the dusty road to peer at the valley below. Basking in the warmth of their beverage in their palms and the sun on their backs, they stood together, hands on the metal railing, eyes following a river meandering through a green haze- a distant, sunlit valley dappled by shadows of white clouds and mountains.
Khushi smiled amusedly remembering Arnav’s parting words to Mr. Bhat uttered in his characteristic somber tongue in cheek manner that made it difficult at times to decide if he was serious or joking.
Standing with his back against their car, sun glinting in his aviators, he’d said, “Please don’t take too long, Uncle, I don’t want to miss my own wedding”.
Mr. Bhat had laughed in response, his fair complexion flushing with amusement, before assuring that he would never allow that to happen.
Khushi took a sip of the fragrant, golden brew, her hazel eyes following the trajectory of a bird of prey hovering over the valley. After a while she looked down at herself. She was dressed in a khaki, straight leg chino and a lightweight navy sweater with soft ruffles bottom.
“What will I wear?, she worried, her mind already going over possible choices one by one.
Arnav was cursorily checking his phone. He had a sudden, rare urge to tap the FB app.
Coming across a post on his newsfeed, he stiffened and then exhaled a long drawn out breath. He turned to look at Khushi with his eyes tender.What he was about to share with her, he realized instinctively, would release her happiness from the last shackles holding it back. And just because she was the person she was, it would make her happiness more complete.
“Khushi, look at this”, he said casually, holding his phone in front of her.
Slowly taking the phone from him, she stared at the picture with dazed eyes, it’s unexpectedness throwing her off temporarily.
Her eyes flicked from Lavanya’s smiling eyes to dimples before ascertaining twice that it was a recent picture.Then they darted sideways to her companion. A young man with his eyes crinkled at the edges with sun and laughter.
“Lavanya Kashyap with Neville Mallick in Dublin, Ireland“, the caption read.
They looked at the picture together, their eyes glowing with satisfaction, their hearts expanding with benevolence.
After a while Arnav put the phone back in his pocket and turned to look at her. Their eyes met and rippled with smiles, communicating an ocean load of meaning in a single, delicate moment.
A thought crossed Khushi’s mind but she decided to save it for a later day…
They entered Srinagar around two in the afternoon to a city thrumming with late afternoon buzz and a heart pulsating with the exhilaration of homecoming.
It was the beginning of of an early fall and the mighty chinar trees, although still adorned in green, were slowly getting seduced by the fall wind. If one looked closely, a certain unrest, a prelude to migration, could be discerned among the birds.
The way to Shantivan was achingly familiar and with a surge of emotion that blurred her vision, Khushi reacquainted herself with the views, the landmarks, the structures she’d fallen in love with a year ago.
Their SUV turned and she experienced once again the first breathtaking glimpse of the Dal Lake.
Nothing had changed..
The brightly colored shikaras still floated serenely on the surface of shimmering blue waters
The ancient cantilevered bridges, the quaysides with arrays of houseboats still looked the same.
With a contented sigh, she sought out her favorite things. The willow trees. The way their hanging branches swayed and skimmed the lake surface. The flower filled shikaras. The way they slowly emerged from under a brick bridge.
And most of all, the jagged snow peaks. The way the Himalayas loomed steadfastly in the background and had been doing so since the beginning of time.
Soon their SUV was entering through familiar wrought iron double gates and sliding down a curved driveway to halt in the spacious portico of Shantivan.
Arnav picked Khushi’s hand from her lap and pressed his lips against it’s knuckles.
“Welcome home, Khushi”, he said huskily, his eyes conveying the implicit import of his words.
While their luggage was being hauled out of the trunk, they went up three steps to reach the imposing carved walnut front door. Mr. Bhat, who also took care of Shantivan in their absence, turned the key in the lock and opened the door.
The house smelled fresh and clean and while Mr. Bhat headed to the library to get all paperwork ready for their wedding, Arnav pulled Khushi into an embrace.
They stood in the foyer beside the curved staircase and even as she folded her arms around his shoulders, the pressure of his arms indicated how badly and for how long he’d been wanting to do that.
“Are you tired?, she asked softly, her fingers sifting through the short hair at the nape of his neck.
He grunted noncommittally in response and raised his head after a while to look at her.
“You look tired too”, he said, tucking an errant strand of hair beneath her ear, “Try to get some rest before getting ready”.
Hearing Mohan at the door with their luggage, they drew apart and while Arnav went to the library to join Mr. Bhat, Khushi climbed upstairs to her room.
Hearing the soft, welcome rustle of the chinar tree, she walked up to the window, her heart overfilling with nostalgia at the sight of the quay and the lake beyond.
The soft chime of an antique wall clock tugged her mind back to present.
“My wedding day”, she said out loud and grappled with a sudden, inexplicable panic for a second. Taking a deep breath, she took the red sari she’d worn at Isha’s wedding out of her suitcase and carefully placing it on the bed, headed toward the bathroom.
An hour later, she sat in front of the dressing table wearing a black and bronze, brocade blouse and a red chiffon sari, with a Swarovski crystals and bronze on black velvet border. She allowed it’s anchal to pool on the floor while applying finishing touches to her face with a soft brush. Light from antique sconces on each side of the carved mirror slanted on her face and placing the brush back on the table after a while, she stared at her reflection. She’d paired a bronze smokey eye look with glossy nude lips and the combination seemed work well with her red sari. She’d left her hair loose with a hair dryer, round brush and light gel making it frame her face and cascade down her back in soft waves.
Getting up, she was adjusting the anchal on her shoulder when she heard a soft knock on the door.
“Come in”, she smiled at her reflection. The door opened and watching him approach, showered, shaved and rocking a dark gray suit and tie, her hands stilled against her shoulder causing her anchal to fall to the floor again. Her heart pounded furiously against the rib cage.
His hand held a jewelry case which he proceeded to place on the table before coming to stand close behind her.
As their eyes met in the mirror and gelled into a smile, she asked , “How do I look?
His lips quirked as he allowed his roving eyes to flare with an exaggerated predatory desire. “Do you even need to ask? he said with a laugh, his hands restrained, albeit with difficulty, as they traced the bare curve of her waist, eliciting a tingle down the length of her spine.
The next moment his eyes turned serious. They surveyed her face with a quiet intensity before getting distracted by an object on the mirror.
With a smile, he extended an arm to retrieve it. It was a red bindi which had been earlier stuck to the mirror as a reminder to prevent her from overlooking to put it on before leaving.
He turned her around with a hand on each shoulder. With a smile, he placed the small, red bindi on her forehead, then arched his head to survey the results.
“It looks beautiful on you”, he said softly, his eyes glistening in the lamp light.
With a surge of emotions closing up her throat, Khushi decimated the small sliver of intervening distance to rest her head on his chest. With her fingers curving into his white dress shirt, she struggled with all her might to keep tears at bay.
Feeling her shuddering breaths, Arnav folded his arms around her.
“I’m sure you never imagined your wedding day to be like this”, he said, stroking her hair.
“It’s more beautiful than my wildest dreams”, she whispered to reassure him, burying her hurt at her mother’s behavior, her hope of receiving a call before the wedding, in a deep recess of her heart.
Arnav had all but forgotten about the jewelry case, his mother’s wedding gift to Khushi which he’d just collected from their bank as per instructions. It was only when they were about to leave that he remembered about it.
It was a diamond chandelier set by Tiffany & Co. and Khushi stared bemusedly as Arnav held the necklace against her neck before proceeding to fasten the clasp at the nape of her neck.
Wrapping his arms around her from behind, he smiled at their reflection and asked, “It’s from Ma. Do you like it?
“Like it?, her eyes sparkled like diamonds themselves, “I love it”.
More than the set itself, Khushi’s heart was grateful for the sentiments she fathomed behind the glittering stones. With renewed vigor, her heart yearned for her, her parents’ and Anita’s presence but was soon able to convince itself of the futility of this exercise.
She was determined to not let anything or anyone cast a shadow on their special day.
It was still light when their SUV swerved around a corner to reach the meticulously maintained premise of the famed temple. Nothing she’d heard or read could have prepared her for the magnificence in front of her. It was truly awe inspiring in terms of both it’s white marble architecture and picturesque location. Built by a wealthy disciple of Swami Dayanand in the late 1940s, it was situated atop a hill and overlooked a sublime vista of snow clad peaks and valleys.
After depositing their shoes at the entrance, they slowly ascended up a long flight of cold, marble steps, beckoned by the sounds of the temple bells wafting down to them. Arnav caught hold of her free hand even as she hitched her sari up with the other.
A breeze ruffled their hair. It smelled of incense, camphor, flowers and serenity.
They were led through cloisters to a pillared terrace, one of many in the temple, which had a carved canopy and parapets on three sides. A fire crackled on a raised platform and late afternoon sunlight slanted across it.
While Khushi gazed at the surrounding snow peaks with dreamy eyes, Arnav was brisk and business like in his demeanor as they took seat, as instructed by the pandit, next to each other.
The ever faithful Mr. Bhat, their family lawyer Mr. Qazi were already present there as witnesses along with a couple of temple officials in charge of issuing marriage certificates.
The wedding rituals started with ancient Vedic chants, their sound and inflection seeming to blend seamlessly with the surrounding nature and all it’s elements.
Khushi’s head was covered and bowed as she kept her eyes fixed on the fire, it’s glow accentuating the silent, deep emotions that played on her face.
And Arnav kept his gaze on her, unable to veer it away, a million unadorned vows and promises erupting from the depth of his soul.
They went through the motions of the various rites and rituals while the sun crept close to the mountains and the breeze became increasingly chilly. When the sun was half hidden behind the mountains and the snow peaks a riot of dusk colors, the first twilight stars pierced through the firmament and they rose together for taking the seven vows- the saath pheres by the holy fire.
After the vows, they sat back together to face each other and as instructed by the pandit, Arnav took a pinch, a liberal pinch, of vermillion, and filled her hair-parting with it.
Reminded of his mother’s memorable words about blue ink and vermillion, his mouth quirked with humor. However, when he met Khushi’s eyes and saw them swimming with tears, he realized the depth of meaning this simple moment held for her. It was with tender eyes that he performed the last rite. With both drenched in the gold of dusk and their eyes lambent with a sublime sheen, he clasped the mangalsutra around her neck with gentle fingers.
The night was still young when they reached Shantivan, their car sliding down the driveway under a dark, velvety sky studded with stars. They were welcomed by Om Prakash’s beaming face at the front door. After extending his shy but heartfelt wishes to bhaiya and didi as he addressed them, he informed that their dinner awaited them on the dining table.
He took his leave after that and as soon as Khushi shut the door after him and turned around, Arnav stepped up to take her in his arms, laughingly lifting her off the floor.
“I know what I’m having for dessert tonight”, he said in a mock roguish voice causing Khushi to burst into laughter.
“If you don’t get eaten first that is”, she giggled. He put her back on the floor and pressed a hot, moist kiss on her neck. His voice was husky as he nipped her satin skin and said,
“I would love to be eaten by you any day”.
Raising his head, he swooped to claim her lips, devouring them with an almost insane hunger that was matched by hers.
His hands ran down her almost bare back, caressing her skin, feeling her flesh, before cupping her derrire and tugging her toward him.
She gasped feeling his hard arousal and he raised his head to look at her. His caramel eyes were shot with vodka again and his voice tinged with humor as he said, “I know what you need to say to me right now”.
“What?, asked Khushi, nuzzling against his jaw, taking his earlobe between her teeth.
“Darling I know you love me but not so fast”, he chuckled, alluding to one of the road signs they’d encountered on the highway.
Remembering, Khushi laughed with him, holding onto his coat lapels, her eyes watering with mirth.
When you’re young and drunk on love, finding reasons to smile or laugh doesn’t require much effort.
“Or I’m curvaceous, be slow”, she said wiping a tear, to which Arnav deadpanned, “Oh baby, you have no idea about the things going on in my mind right now”.
“But let’s have dinner first”, Arnav added seriously, “You haven’t checked your blood sugar all day today”.
After partaking an excellent dinner comprising of home cooked traditional Kashmir dishes in the formal dining room of the old mansion, they decided to go for a short walk, both equally eager to visit the quay where it had all started…almost a year ago.
It was surreal standing at the edge of the quay again, letting the same wind ruffle their hair and watching the same sea of floating lights glimmering in front of them . It was almost as if they’d been standing there all along, as if they’d never left at all.
Yet so much had changed..
Arnav turned toward her and gathered her in his embrace. Khushi looked up at him. Her eyes caught the starlight and mirrored the emotions his eyes were lambent with.
“Shall we go in, Mrs. Raizada?
The impatience in his voice made her lips curve in a slow, contented smile.
Soon they’d turned to face Shantivan which stood tall and graceful, lights winking welcomingly from it’s windows.
Through the patio door, they entered the family room and it was clear by the way he pinned her against a wall and kissed her that his patience had long reached the end of it’s tether.
Standing on her tiptoes, she kissed him back, reciprocating his passion in equal measure.
With desire thundering through his veins like a potent drug, his mouth emblazoned a trail of moist kisses and nips against her neck and cleavage with his hand tugged impatiently at her aanchal.
Khushi unpinned it and even as it slithered to the floor, Arnav took his coat and tie off, tossed it on a nearby chair and swooped her in his arms.
The wind rushed around the old mansion as he carried her effortlessly up the spiral staircase, her sari trailing on the steps behind with a whispering sound.
Their eyes smiled as she tightened her arms around his neck and whispered, “I love you, baby”.
“I love you too”, he replied, kissing her nose and nudging the door to his bedroom open.
That it was a much spacious room compared to hers was the thought that crossed Khushi’s mind as her eyes fell on a king sized, four poster bed in the centre of the room. Besides the bed, the room was filled with an array of antique furniture – dresser, armoire and a small desk against a window overlooking the lake. A black velvet sky studded with stars and half a moon peeked in, shedding a patch of light on the rug beside the bed.
The bed was covered with white satin sheets and dotted with red rose petals and on the wall to the right of the window was a small fireplace ablaze with flames.
She was laid gently on the gleaming satin sheets, the red of vermillion,bindi, bangles and sari striking a startling contrast against it’s pristine white. She raised her hand to touch the parting in her hair. He had been liberal, she smiled,much too liberal in filling it with the red powder.
The mattress dipped as he sat down beside her and buried his face in her bosom. With a sigh she hugged him close, her long fingers sifting through the short hair at the back of his head, her entire being- mind, body, and soul yearning to merge, mingle, be one with him in every way possible..
Arching herself closer, she untucked his shirt from the belted waistband and slipped her hands under it. Slowly caressing his warm skin, she left a trail of her love and desire, loving when his muscles clenched in response.
He raised his head and their lips joined, drinking off of each other, trying to quench an insatiable thirst, each soul trying to extract the other’s essence and mingle it with it’s own.
“Let me take my earrings off”
“Let me help you”.
With shaking fingers prolonging the proceedings slightly, Arnav helped her take her necklace and earrings off and walked across the room to put them on the top of the dresser.
Across the room, in the flickering firelight, he turned to look at her. There was something indescribably erotic in the way, he unbuttoned his shirt, firmly holding her gaze, his head slightly tilted.His surrounding air was potent with purposely held back sexual energy and it made Khushi’s skin tingle with anticipation.
Divesting himself of his shirt, belt and shoes on the way, he had soon joined her on the bed, his well toned athletic built a striking foil for her lissome beauty.
“God, Khushi”, he said, straddling her but taking care to not crush her with his weight, “I love you so much”.
With his arms resting on her either side, he kissed her again and again with all the frenzy of an hopeless addict, unable to get enough the nectar of her mouth or the elixir of her soul.
Even as she kissed her back, she took off her bangles against his back, dropping them carelessly on the side.
After a while, Arnav flipped her on her stomach, drawing her hair on one side and sucking the crook of her neck on the other. Even as Khushi rested on her elbows clutching handfuls of satin and rose petals, Arnav tried to untie her dori, impatiently ripping it off the blouse on one end.
Unhooking it’s thin band at the bottom, he nuzzled down the length of the curvature of her back, and lightly caressed the sides of her breasts with both hands.
Khushi cried his name, feeling molten shafts of desire in the pit of her stomach and helped him slip the blouse off of her arms.
He cupped her full breasts from behind, sucking her earlobe before leaving a trail of passionate nips on the side of her neck and the curve of her shoulder.
Khushi moaned as his fingers played with her nubs, arousing them into hardened peaks.
She turned around to face him, her face flushed and her lips slightly parted. She cupped his neck with both hands and dragged his face down for a kiss.
She kissed him passionately, nipping his lip and with a groan, Arnav cupped the curves of her bare waist, sliding his hands down to tug at the waist of her sari.
Khushi dropped kisses down the length of his neck column, raising her head from the pillow to nuzzle and kiss his chest, caressing it’s fine sprinkling of hair with her soft hands.
With their passions spiraling, Arnav caught her shoulders to pin her roughly against the pillow, and bending his head to ravish her breasts. He began by taking an aching peak in her mouth, circling it with the tip of tongue before sucking it in earnest. He grunted in satisfaction as she writhed against the satin sheets in almost unbearable ecstasy.
Gearing toward climax, they soon got rid of the last items of clothing. The sari, a pre-pleated belted kind was easily removed like a wrap around skirt and funnily, Arnav was a little disappointed because he’d spent quite a few nights fantasizing about removing it off of her inch by inch.
Divesting himself off of his pants and boxers too, he rejoined her on the bed to part her legs. His breaths were ragged and hot on her skin as his face caressed the inside of her thighs, slowly nuzzling them one by one. His fingers played with her most sensitive part for a while and even as she arched her body, they probed her core to check for moistness.
“Are you ready, love?”, he asked, smiling with satisfaction at her impatient response.
With a series of thrusts, he was inside her, her warm receptacle closing around his manhood, their eyes closing simultaneously in pleasure.
Overcome by a frenetic desire to reach the finale, Arnav slid his hands under her derrire to raise her even as his powerful thrusts rocked both their bodies and the antique bed.
Falling off of the edge together, their bodies shuddered with aftershocks of pleasure waves while a million iridescent fireworks went off in their inner firmament.
In the aftermath, Arnav dropped his damp forehead on her bosom, loving the feel of soft fingers in his hair and wondering if death were to come to him like this, he would perhaps not mind it at all.
His eyelids were starting to get heavy when Khushi said, “Arnav, I think it’s a good time to call the parents now”.
“Sure”, murmured Arnav sleepily, extending his arm to the nightstand to get to his phone.