s&k ficverse adventures
SS

Duet

“Sixteen Waltzes, Op. 39” ― Johannes Brahms

One month earlier

She kept her eyes fixed on his face, watched as orbs of ember flare with pain, driving anguish across the harden planes.

Why? The wild bullet ricochets in her head, seeking escape. The tense fingers hovering at her knees locked together. Something about his lonely silhouette had her biting down on her lips until slick copper filled her mouth, drowning the question at the base of her throat.

Their connection had played out on many stages, each act painstakingly revised until a hypnotizing promise of ‘us’ emerged from the ashen solitude of ‘you’ and ‘I’.

On the strength of butterfly wings, she’d begin to weave the red threads of a most tender dream. Of a warm presence beside her, soothing whispers in her ear, gentle lips meeting hers in the dark. A lover, in whose arms would be a small world, a safe haven for secrets and fears, hopes and desires. A home to call her own.

Since childhood far too many hands had captured her spirit, folding and refolding until it matched the appropriate proportions of the social mold. She had been afraid it would morph into something unrecognizable, fragile and tragic. So she’d fought, long uphill battles that yield tiny victories. It was just enough. She was still Khushi.

On the eve she was prepared to lay down her defenses, to offer everything, she’d learned she was wrong. He wasn’t the dream lover she yearned for. No, he was her opponent. And he hated her.

The brilliant blue that had sent rivulets of sunshine dancing along her skin was devoured by streaks of faded hues, coalescing into a heavy blanket of grief. A sharp ache coursed through her as she inhaled, pierced deeper as she exhaled. Exhausted she looked away, glancing up as the sky cracked under the weight.

+

He had been intently cataloging everything he loathed about the woman separated by the glass panel when she broke their eye contact. The sudden loss of her gaze jarred. His knuckles cracked with strain as he fought the urge to storm over and tilt back that stubborn chin. His muscles were screaming from the relentless tension. No part of his body was spared from this wretched throbbing.

The bride amid his garden was rose and thorn. Dream and nightmare. His and not.

Why? Arnav clamped down on the question blistering the edge of his tongue as a kaleidoscope of unwanted images dug into the trenches of his mind without mercy. It fed the disparaging conflict of the desire for truth and deep rooted fear of her confirmation.

Worst, his chief tormentor wasn’t the devil of betrayal; no it was a far crueler mistress – hope. Within a crazed beat of desperation he had allowed it control over his actions, laughable actions. A dramatic elopement that ensured tangible ties between himself and the woman he –

The wolf in his chest snarled as it tore into another piece of flesh. Despite hours of rapacious feasting, the damn organ would not quit. When the beast threatened to devour the last scrap, it would valiantly fend off the attack and rebuild itself. Pulsing and pumping until life poured back inside.

Arnav shut his eyes, forcibly ignoring the warfare at his center. But even here, alone with his thoughts, there was no peace. His mind was a field of jumbled lines of thoughts, running circles of aggravated emotions, each adding to the dark shadows of his cloak of misery.

+

The boom of rainwater thrashing the roof filled his ears just before the scent of heartbreak assaulted him.

Startled, Arnav opened his eyes to violent diagonal sheets tumbling over the quaking lines of her slender form. He was momentarily ensnared by the vision of black rivers flowing across pale slopes before settling into crimson.

Within seconds she was encased in a marble-like pallor, as if life itself had been dispensed from her pores. The congealed fragments that formed the vibrant chaos of Khushi were drowned out by the torrential downpour until she was supplanted by the pristine statue of Venus.

It rattled him. The force of terror, just as impressionable as his animosity, compelled him to act. Cursing at himself, at her, Arnav shoved the sliding patio panel aside. Not knowing what reaction he was about to evoke, his knees hit the muddied puddles as he carefully gathered Khushi into his arms.

Unexpectedly, her head moved to rest pliantly against him, fragile fingers curled into his collar. Relief wrenched his body as her gentle breath fanned his chest, edging out deeper contemplation of his actions.

She belonged here. The thought pulled him into the undertow of wistful. Her lids fluttered open, sending nebulous hazel clashing into imprisoned black. For a moment, the saturation of anguish dimmed.

They stood within a slate of grey above and below. And in between played the cataclysmic duet of heartbeats and heaven’s tears.


… index

137 comments

  1. Beautiful. Your words weave the emotions and make them come alive. Magnificent. The words weave a magic that makes the life of Arnav and khushi come alive in this magnificent tapestry.

  2. You are truly blessed with the power of words.
    Khushi’s pov is universally relevant to every bride , especially those going in for an arranged marriage. Tender dreams built on butterfly wings…..
    wow!!!!!!!!
    how do you come up with such brilliant words & phrases?
    most of the time I struggle to find adequate words to say what I feel. LOL
    Ask me to write a bullet pointed list any day.

    Really looking forward to the next part…….how long is the drought going to be?

  3. Saudade……apt as the title a feeling of longing and nostalgic! Simply beautiful……eagerly waiting for Sonata.

  4. Just started reading Sau-da-de. you are amazing with your words, and your characters express their emotions without uttering one with their expressions. awesome. waiting for the next chapter.
    Swapna

  5. Amazing writting skill… some words are hard for me to understand… bcos i am not well versed in english…. sorry..

    I really went into their mind for sometime… in that rain scene.. arnavs thoughts are beautifully written… its sooo real…

    But y the story is still not completed… waiting for ur update…

  6. How did I miss these last two chapters. Brilliant and gripping. I was reading while holding breath. So it is around time when they did contract marriage. You writing us very powerful and made the story much more intense than the IPKkND originally.

  7. He misunderstood her or a situation?
    and decided to make her pay for a deed she never did…

    No matter how hard he try he will end up in her side.

    looking forward for the next update

  8. Beautifully written…you’ve brought out the angst, the pain, the confusion of feelings of the characters so beautifully through amazing word play…..hope url write more….

  9. What is love without a intensity of being that is so painful yet so ecstatic ,that it makes you powerful yet weak at the same time.
    your Writing once again gives words to this emotions which everyone should feel at leat once in their lifetime

  10. Just read the three parts. Such a beautiful description of emotions . You prove why words and writing can be so powerful. I feel I enjoy the reading more then watching when I read your stories .

  11. Truly a masterpiece!! Your writing brought out the emotions, the pain of Arnav and khushi beautifully! Just loved it !! ship13(IF)

  12. S&K! you simply can’t stop writing. You are too gifted to ignore it. There is magic in your writing – you capture the mood and the feelings without rambling on. Simple as it sounds, not many can do that! Beautifully done….

  13. Two constants on the last three chapters-Arnav on the other side of glass and rain. How well you play with it. Rain hug in last one…and here the downpour she “encased in marble like pallor ” This had me in tears. What has happened to her?

  14. I love arnav redemption. Please promise me that you will make him bleed. The show didn’t do justice to the track… awesome post loved it. The way you wrote “us” instead of “you” & “I” genious

  15. Wonderful story……
    It’s looks like Arnav misunderstand Khushi about something bt both r in pain 😥 looking forward for next update.

  16. Omg when I saw the notification that you posted something new, I just had to click on the link even though I told myself no Arnav and khushi tales til this semester is over but I just couldn’t resist. I think it’s because of how you weave words so beautifully, So you definitely have something special. I’m excited to see how this progresses.

  17. So story started from contract marriage. Beautiful descriptions of their emotions. Ur writing style is so awesome.

  18. The utter desolation that seeps into Arnav when Khushi turns her eyes away from him is made so clear by your words that it is as heart wrenching for the reader as it must be for him.this poem was written for them

    Fireworks – Poem by Amy Lowell

    You hate me and I hate you,
    And we are so polite, we two!

    But whenever I see you, I burst apart
    And scatter the sky with my blazing heart.
    In spits and sparkles in stars and balls,
    Buds into roses— and flares, and falls.

    Scarlet buttons, and pale green disks,
    Silver spirals and asterisks,
    Shoot and tremble in a mist
    Peppered with mauve and amethyst.

    I shine in the window and light up the trees,
    And all because I hate you, if you please.

    And when you meet me, you rend asunder
    And go up in a flaming wonder
    Of saffron cubes, and crimson moons,
    And wheels all amaranths and maroons.

    Golden lozenges and spades,
    Arrows of malachites and jades,
    Patens of copper, azure sheaves.
    As you mount, you flash in the glossy leaves.

    Such fireworks as we make, we two!
    Because you hate me and I hate you.
    Amy Lowell

  19. I always wanted it to rain when Khushi was sleeping on the poolside & Arnav going nuts over it, his hatred forgotten. U have done a great job on it…

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