Khushi Kumari Gupta was fearless. Everyone knew that.
Growing up as an orphan in the southern suburbs of Chicago had made her thus. Gun crimes, gang warfare, teenage pregnancy, drug abuse and short life expectancy were all part and parcel of life in the tough neighborhoods. Young Khushi had learned quickly that the only way out of the life that she so abhorred, was a good education. Making friends with the local librarian, Mrs. De Silva, she would spend hours consuming the knowledge of tattered books instead of partying with the 'gang.' The hard work had paid off; she was awarded fully funded scholarships to the most prestigious of tertiary institutions.
The decision to pursue a career in the medical field was one that arose from circumstance rather than personal ambition. Khushi and Mrs. De Silva, had been walking home from the grocery store one afternoon when they were caught in the cross fire of a drive by shooting. Two bullets had pierced the librarian's chest; one lodging directly in her left ventricle. By the time the ambulance had come it was too late and Khushi had held her mentor in her arms as she bled out onto the pavement. Never had she felt so helpless and she vowed, never would she again.
In the operating theatre, Dr, Gupta was a force to be reckoned with. No one knew the heart quite like her and some said no one ever would; her thirst for knowledge was insatiable. Her determination and focus, unparalleled. This made her both popular and unpopular with her peers. For those who didn't know Khushi, she would come across as hard hearted and ruthless. In the early part of her tenure many nasty rumors had been circulated about her and the nurses mad no effort to hide their sneers as she walked past. The fact that she was the lone beautiful female, in a profession dominated by men didn't help her cause. What the nurses and doctors didn't know, was that Khushi had dealt with far worse. And so, she kept her head down and let her work speak for her.
Over the years the staff had come to realize that despite not being the most social of people, she was a gem of a human being. As they became kinder toward her, Khushi opened up a bit more toward them. Granted she wasn't the type to discuss how hot the latest celebrity was over a cup of coffee but the nurses became fond of her bubbly personality, her dedication toward her patients and despite her hard life… her naive innocence. Her over competitive peers also valued these traits but as was only natural there would be times when they felt insecure about her brilliance.
Despite all of this, it was a well known secret, around Cleveland Clinic, that Khushi Kumari Gupta was a virgin. At first it had started out as a joke. A peer had casually suggested over work drinks that he wouldn't be surprised if Gupta was a virgin considering all she did was work. Everybody had laughed and that was supposed to be the end of it. Except that Dr. Gupta had turned a bright shade of fuscia, a fact that had not gone unnoticed by her colleagues.
The more they teased her about it, the redder she became. Until finally, no longer able to bare the brunt of all the teasing and under the influence of vast quantities of alcohol she had blurted her sexual status out to the entire bar. The proclamation was met with a deafening silence. A few moments later all of her friends were doubled over in laughter, their reactions exaggerated from the liquor coursing through their blood. Humiliated beyond compare, Khushi had begun to sob very loudly.
Immediately everybody had rushed to console her, hugging her and telling stories about other people they knew in similar situations. Most of the stories only made her feel worse. And that was the day things had changed. The nurses had formed a protective union around Khushi, almost acting as mother hens. They had formed a secret pact among themselves to not let Khushi become a thirty year old virgin. They figured since she was 27, three years would be plenty of time to complete their mission.
Her fellow colleagues, mostly male, had become almost big brotherly, steering any untoward advances away from her. It wasn't that she hadn't had the opportunity; there had been plenty. As a teenager, untoward advances from local thugs had put her off the idea of a sexual relationship completely; after all she knew the fate of most girls at the local high school. Khushi had then decided to take self defense classes to protect herself; skills that had come handy more than a few times in her life.
During medical school she was far too focused on becoming a doctor to be bothered about the headache of having a boyfriend. For the first time in her life she was surrounded by people who had the same ambition and drive as her; it had been a thrilling revelation. Sure she had kissed a few guys but it was more about trying to fit in than anything else; there were no feelings involved. At one stage she thought she might have liked girls; lets just say she found out that she didn't.
And so, Dr. Gupta had never done the deed. One humiliating confession later and Khushi had become the darling of the hospital, the apple of everyone's eyes. It seemed that beautiful, brilliant Khushi Gupta was human after all.
Khushi stood up from her seat rather abruptly startling Arnav.
"What kind of sick joke are you playing at?" she hissed.
Aman walked back into the cabin. "Sir, Jeff says we're good for take off in five." Confirming that his boss got the message he made his way to the front of the jet.
Arnav raised his eyebrows and pushed himself back into his chair.
"Relax woman. It's just a date. I'm not propositioning you. Oh and …" he turned his wrist, pulled up the sleeve of his jacket and scruitised the face of his watch. "…you have 4 minutes to decide." With a smirk he poured himself some more scotch. "You want some?" he asked casually.
Khushi just glared at him. He shrugged his shoulders. "Suit yourself."
She watched as he simply sat and sipped out of his glass, as cool as a cat. It was almost as if he had asked her to pass the box of tissues not go out on a date with him. Huffing in frustration she exclaimed "You're insufferable. And don't call me woman!"
"I've been called much worse. And last time I checked you are a woman…" Khushi clenched her fist tightly wanting desperately to wipe the smug grin off his face. "But if you don't want to be called that then may I suggest you relax.. man?"
"Oh you think you're so funny!"
"No. I know I'm funny and you have 2 minutes left. Yes or no? Up to you." Arnav smiled, he was enjoying riling her up. It was more entertainment then he had had in a long time. As the CEO of Raziada Enterprises no one dare speak to him in such an insolent manner. This girl apparently didn't give a sh*t who he was, even if he claimed to be the President of the United States. He kept tapping his watch and smirking.
Khushi mind was in overdrive. This man was obviously deranged but she really needed his plane. Why the hell did he want to go out on a date with her anyway? Her highly catalogued mind threw that question out as soon as it entered it; there were more pressing matters at hand. She didn't want to go on a date with this filthy rich, obnoxious man but she also needed his plane.
As a doctor, Khushi prided herself on her interpersonal skills and her ability to read people. She had a gut instinct about Mr. Raizada and she wanted to test if it was right. Looking at her watch she realized that there was only an hour and five minutes left for her to get the organs to Cleveland.
With a tight smile she looked at the man sitting in front of her. "Thank you but no thank you."
"Excuse me?" It was Arnav's turn to be surprised as he sat up in his chair.
"You may be an ass but I have a gut instinct you are a good man. So I know you won't let a man with a wife and three kids die."
"You want a bet on that? I'm a cold ruthless business man Ms. Gupta. I only deal in profit and loss."
"Alright then. I guess I'll have to make alternate arrangements. Sorry to have wasted your time." With that she turned on her heel and began to walk out of the cabin; leaving an open mouthed Arnav.
Gritting his teeth he waited for her to turn back; he was sure she would. It was a battle of wills and he wasn't willing to lose. But she kept walking without any hesitation and he became more and more apprehensive. She was doctor damn it! She wouldn't give up on her patient so easily…she had taken a damn oath! But the longer he thought the further away she was went until finally she had left that plane.
He leapt out of his seat and crossed the distance of the cabin in a few easy strides. Sticking his head out of the doorway he watched as she took confident strides away from the plane not looking back once. It seemed like she was crazy enough to let her patient die. All of a sudden she seemed a hell of a lot less attractive and Arnav became angry at her carelessness.
Khushi's heart meanwhile was thundering in her chest. Don't look back Khushi. Don't look back! He'll call you. He will. Just you wait. Nobody is that heartless. The stress was killing her; a few tears leaking onto the mound of her cheek. From the periphery of her eye she watched out for any sign of the stairs being lifted back up to the plane. She would be ready at a moment's notice to run back and accept his stupid date but she wasn't going to accept it unless she absolutely had to.
Khushi kept walking ahead and just as she was about to turn around she heard his voice boom out.
"GUPTA! Get your damn organs and sit on the plane. You have two minutes!"
Khushi looked up to the heavens and sent a prayer of thanks to Devi Maiya. She had come through.
Many interesting things ahead folks! Keep tuned. I may give you another update in a few hours. So I will leave my proper author's note till then. Oh and the more comments and likes there are the more likely I will post it sooner! Mwah xoxo