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Friday, October 5, 2012

Chapter 1 - Deep Impact

She jumped out of bed at the first sound of alarm. Gloria Gaynor's full throated Survival Anthem echoed through the apartment. Khushi complained to no one in particular, as she was wont to do every morning. The week was marked for graveyard shift and she was a trooper who volunteered for it every single time.

"I'll survive!" sang a full throated Gloria and Khushi made a face singing and mocking the lyrics at the same time. She kicked off the thick comforter protecting her from subzero temperatures of a wintry and much windy Chicago.
"Oh! blasted blizzard!" she cussed under her breath and groped for her warm comfy loafers in the dark.
A quick shower and light make up later, Dr. Khushi Kumari Gupta was set to attend E.R. Pulling her long, thermaliner galoshes, she checked her well fitted jeans in the hallway mirror of her apartment. Her beauty did not escape her, bringing a short smirk of satisfaction. Not prone to gloating, she quickly reminded her of dark circles under her eyes - a curse of the grave yard shift.
It was a half a mile jaunt through two inch-thick layer of snow. The pristine, white powdery snow quickly piled on the sidewalk, as her galoshes left footprints behind her. She pushed through the huge automated revolving doors of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and thumped her boots to push the snow off her footwear.

She was home.

+++++

The dark figure followed Khushi from her apartment to the hospital building. The line of ambulances and cop cars outside the hospital stopped the man mid step. He dunked behind a large pillar and observed the girl enter the building

"Its a matter of days, " He took out his phone and made a few notes in them.
"Hasta Manana, Dr. Gupta." and then he left.

+++++

“Hey Michelle, what’s on the menu today?” Khushi asked the attending RN as she donned her scrubs in the locker room.

“A broken nose, two gang-related gun shot wounds, a small boy who swallowed his mother’s gold ring and Mr. Jonah Goldberg is back complaining about skunks in his stomach.” Michelle rolled off the list as comfortably as her grocery list.

“Ugh! Jonah is back, hunh!” Khushi looked stumped.

Michelle gave her a sorry look and added, “Dr Jha is attending the emergencies, he wants you to deal with Jonah who insists on Dr. Gupta because only she knows the cure.” Michelle raised her brows in mock surprise.

Khushi was mad. Shyam Jha had done it again. He assigned her the lesser of the intense tasks and relegated her to lower emergency cases. At this rate, she would never be promoted. Given he was her fiancĂ©, he was over bearing at times and over protective. The E.R. was not a place for niceties but Dr. Jha held it firmly that Khushi be given less intense cases. He’d joke that heavy cases would giver her crows feet.

“We have to talk about my assignments Shyam.” Khushi caught a masked Shyam in one of the rooms, where he was closing on the gunshot wound.

“Not now, Dr. Gupta” he replied in a muffle behind his surgical mask, stressing the word “Doctor”. It was his way of telling her that he was her boss in the professional setting and she’d better back off. Her shoulder slumped and she trudged back to locate Jonah.

“Jonah! What can I do for you today?” Khushi asked the old man perched on the ER bed. He was hooked to an IV and an oxygen tube pumped him fresh air to his nostrils.

“Dr. Goopta” he began exaggerating Khushi’s last name in his Midwestern accent. He lowered his voice and pulled Khushi’s arm. He whispered in a secretive tone, “I got a skunk in my stomach, again” his conspiratorial look amused her but she held a serious look. Jonah took his ailment seriously and she was not about to rock his boat.

“He is creating a havoc. Get him out.” He continued. His stomach rumbled in a gassy turmoil. He gasped, "Did you hear that?"

“Jonah, what did you eat last night?” she whispered back, matching his tone.
“Beans.”
“I don’t think skunks like beans. You should try to avoid beans at night.”

“I see. He does stink a lot.”
“I can imagine. I will give you a few tablets of Gas X. It should eliminate the skunk.”
“Why are you whispering?” the old man asked quizzically, forgetting what had started the conversation.

“Because you are” she replied.
“I want to go home.” He complained looking around, suddenly changing his tone to signal he had had enough of this outing.

Khushi rang the nurse station before the man turned belligerent, as we was wont to do in the past after he lost his train of thought. Jonah was suffering from dementia. He had grown a strong affinity for the delicate and fresh looking Khushi. He always noted that she looked like his dead wife but it escaped Khushi how she could ever resemble a Jewish woman raised in Chicago, when her roots were firmly Indian. Khushi kissed Jonah’s forehead and left instructions with the attending nurse.

This was going to be another long day of minor and irritatingly silly E.R. visits.

+++++

Agent Arnav Singh Raizada, tucked away his .32 caliber into his waist holster away from sight. The night watch was coming to its end, beckoning much needed sleep denied him for three straight weeks. The stubbly, ruggedly handsome face checked the rear view mirror of his car, noting his replacement pull into the curb. He shifted the gears and accelerated out of the vicinity before his boss, Kevin Calhoun had a chance to change his mind.

The Lincoln Park suburban town home was a handsome little perch fit for the bachelor. At 29, ASR, as he was commonly called by colleagues struggling to twist their tongues around unwieldiness of his name, was a sight to behold. Tall, dark, gruff with rugged good looks set on firm jaws, he was a salve to sore eyes. He opened his apartment door and as soon as he was in, he began shedding his clothes, divesting himself of the weariness of the past few weeks.

His athletic body relaxed in the hot shower while his eyes shot blood red due to lack of sleep. He hit the sack, his thick dark hair still wet, and fell asleep instantly, slick, sexy and all muscles.

+++++

Khushi’s feet hurt. Oh for a glass of red and endless loop of Glee. Another half hour and she was to end her 12 hour graveyard shift. She was ready to take the next day off. Shopping at MagMile, catching up with girlfriends, eating a full tub of Garrett’s gooey caramel popcorn. Nothing more, nothing less. She smiled.

She changed out of scrubs and wished her assistants and nurses good bye. Shyam’s text flashed on her phone

Dinner tonite? Nobu. Have reservations for two.

She cringed. She hated how Shyam set the agenda for their dates. She knew it was hard for them to find time to spend with each other due to their grueling schedules. But she was beyond caring, in fact, she was annoyed at him for keeping her duty light tonite. He can’t expect a booty call after what he did today.

Sorry, migraine again. Maybe later in the week? She shoved her phone back into the purse. His answer can wait.

+++++

Khushi clicked the key into her apartment. The door was open.

Strange! I remember locking the door.

She flipped the light on and the space was washed in golden ambient light. It was her only request of the interior designer. Make the lights soft. The hard lights in the ER left her eyes sore and tired all the time. She set her purse and keys on the hallway console and took off her boots, careful not to trudge in snow and dirt.

The muffled sound of a falling object from her room stopped her in her tracks. She felt her hair stand on end.

“Hello? Anyone in there? Is that you Shyam?” she asked, fear dripping through her words. Shyam had spare keys to her apartment but he seldom dropped in without notice.

She inched gingerly to the bedroom. As she pushed open the door, a blunt object hit her on the head. She reeled back in pain, her eyes blacking out at the force. Before she had a chance to recover she was pushed to the wall opposite the bedroom door. She didn’t have time to react, her head hit the wall and she slumped to the floor.

She rubbed her temples and tried to focus. A large ski-masked man loomed over her, holding something in his hands. She couldn’t make out much more, it was all blurry. The man raised the object again, ready to hit her with all his might. She knew she was overpowered. He must be atleast six feet five inches tall and 220lbs. She stood no chance.

The man struck again. Khushi rolled over and missed the blow by the breadth of a hair. Her mind raced mile a minute, her survival instincts and martial arts training kicked into gear. She aimed for his knee and struck it with the brass pot next to her. The man screamed in pain as his knee buckled and he hit the floor.

She scrambled up and struck him in the weak spot between his legs. The man screamed but recovered too fast for her. He dragged her to the floor and pressed her down using his body weight. She remembered her lessons and used her free hand to poke the man's eyes. He yowled in pain and let go of her. She dragged herself away from him, kicking him a few times on his face as he tried to pull her back. She got up and stumbled to the kitchen phone on shaky feet. The man caught up with her and threw himself on her back, landing them both on the kitchen floor. Khushi desperately looked for something to defend her. The masked man fisted his palm and laid a blow to her temple. Khushi could feel her eyes swelling. I’m going to die.

Her free hand frantically searched the kitchen floor to grasp anything that could be used as a weapon. She felt an object on the floor that had fallen along with them. She took hold of the object and pummeled the man with it. He screamed but did not let go of her. She kept pummeling until his screams died and he lay lifeless on her.

She felt crushed under his massive weight but he had stopped screaming or moving. She shook his lifeless body. She checked the object in her right hand. The kitchen knife was covered in blood.

+++++

Arnav was woken up by the loud shrill of his blackberry. He was disoriented and took a few minutes to place himself. He reached his nightstand for the phone and spilled a few items.

He checked the number, it was Kevin.

Fuck! Kevin Calhoun the Raccoon. He muttered as he called his boss back.

“Hey ASR!” came the soft voice from the other side. Arnav rested on the headboard and ruffled his hair to wake himself up.

“What the fuck is your problem, boss? I just got off the watch.” He complained.

“ASR. They are back. I thought you’d want to know…” Kevin's serious voice trailed off. 

ASR was fully alert. He knew it had been a matter of time. He sprang from the bed and was out of the house in minutes.

59 comments:

  1. OH WOW, ABSOLUTELY FUCKING SUPERB CHAPTER!!!!

    Can't believe she is already engaged to Shayam!!

    How I wish I had been a fly (or more) in ASRs apartment as he stripped off & showered......delicious!!!

    I need more & ASAP as you have left me teetering on the edge of a cliff with that ending!!!

    Please update soon, already very hooked!!!

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  2. Damn forgot to say loved the music, just perfect, like your writing!!!

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  3. Hey SJ...
    Just started following this blog, and i must say its way different from TFS...I'v been a huge fan of TFS, loved each and every detail of it...
    This FF is as AMAZING as TFS, but the prologue brought me to the end of curiosity, which I'm sure will be solved in the upcoming chapters...
    Khushi's been attacked :O and Arnav will be handling her case...This stuff is absolutely fantasic, I'm loving each and every detail of it...
    waiting eagerly to read the next chapter now :)
    tc, love
    JIA (Pinkss)

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  4. Whoa! What a chapter! Thriller for sure and outstandingly written! Khushi and Shayam are engaged already....but he sounds like a jerk...is he? I guess we will know more soon. I had my heart in my mouth when I was reading about the attack on Khushi...your writing made me feel like I was watching it all happen SJ! Fab!

    The sexy ASR...I want! Now....I wish I could really watch that! ;)

    Waitingggggg for more :D

    Cheers! :)

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  5. The last coulpe of lines .."ASR. They are back. I thought you’d want to know…” was intriguing as well as creepy ...

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  6. Nice..I like this Khushi, bold and can defend herself. Loved it can't wait for next. I guess they will meet in next chapter.

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  7. What an fast paced update!!! rendered me speechless...

    An overbearing Shyam is engaged to Khushi ...will take a while for it to sink in...and we already have a murder( even if it is in self defense) in the first chapter....wow, now on tenterhooks, trying to decipher what on earth could the last line mean..

    Thank you SJ...it is just coruscating..

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  8. What fun would it be read if there were no cliffhangers, right????
    Absolutely loved the way she defended herself....today's girls need to be self reliant
    So now she has killed someone in self defense and somehow arnav knows who the intruder was
    The need to read more and more is very overpowering....but i ges i'll have to learn to be patient
    Until next update
    Ciao

    Shweta1691

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  9. fantastic update Sj....
    now i desperate to know wat happenes next....


    Huny.thebest

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  10. WOW!! That was amazing! I love Arnav and Khushi in these skins. Can't wait to read more! :)

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  11. just read the prologue and the first chapter... two of my favourite genres are detective and cop stories, and you've combined the two with a dassh of historical intrigue, yippee! loved the whole SS involvement and the stalker... this khushi is feisty and managed to save herself... is she about to meet asr? that would be interesting, especially as he is a dettective and she a doctor... I can already imagine various scenarios where they take care of each other

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  12. Hehe back again sj nice to know that after I read ur filigreed sun I am a fan of urs

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  13. Yes !!!!! That was so freaking intense SJ I loved it

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  14. wow asr in action... did khushi really kill tht guy??

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  15. So excited that you're starting a new story! Absolutely action-packed and brimming with suspense. I read the prologue and the first chapter together and it makes me think that perhaps Khushi is not as Indian as she thinks and perhaps Jonah is not that far off in his assessment? I am absolutely intrigued and looking forward to the next chapter!

    Amrita

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  16. Awesome start SJ! This is completely different than TFS and just as engaging.

    Pallavi (Palz101 on IF)

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  17. I am loving this already and I can't wait for more brilliant start
    KC :)

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  18. This was brilliant.
    Khushi is cool and ASR is worth a drool.
    The words 'gassy turmoil' was very funny.
    Great update,am left in great suspense

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  19. Good lord! you have left us all panting for more - ABSO-BLOODY-LUTELY AMAZING dear :) congrats on the new story. now i will be haunting this space again - not once but many times a day :D

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  20. This looks intriguing...please continue
    N

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  21. I came across this link and have read the prologue and chapter 1.

    Have to say the story seems to have an amazing concept!!
    ALSO I did read read your previous work, The Filigreed Sun at one go. Absolutely fantastic work of art. You should write more often

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  22. Amazing and intriguing.

    You are brilliant! I have so many questions, and I know I'll have to wait to read the answers!!

    But why is she engaged to him if he annoyed her so much!?

    JerryTheMouse
    Sachi.

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  23. Ooh, so may I start guessing who Kevin was referring to, is it the undercover Nazis that survived WWII, & is Khushi the daughter or descendant of the tall man who got the box, that's why Khushi was attacked?!! This is really interesting & unique!! I can't wait :D
    This story is going to have a lot of twists & turns.
    Of course, jha, our nemesis has to come back & haunt Khushi & show her "place." he definitely does not seem the nice Shyam from filigreed sun, that Shyam is probably the best Shyam that can be out there.
    And do I need to mention Khushi & arnav! Their the best & I can't wait for their first meet. thanks for the awesome update :D

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  24. "Hook Line Sinker" thats me......
    i have me hooked already!!!
    I read the prologue and first chapter And i am speechless!!! Fantastic start!! cant wait to read more.....
    Khusi is a doctor, engaged and killed a man in first chapter!! what can be more intriguing than that!!!
    Welcome back SJ!! Been waiting for u for so so long!!!

    Khusiarnav

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  25. Omg!!! That was a thrilling chapter. So different and so intriguing. I'm in love with this story already :) I can't wait till next chapter . Hehe

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  26. Yes a kickass khushi what can i say i am already in love with this ff.

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  27. wow very exciting first chapter..i so hooked to this story

    -Smarties-

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  28. There is so much happening here... Doctors, martial art experts, Arnavji bond style.

    This is going to get hotter, meaner, deeper and full throttle..

    SJ you're out there to kick some butt I say.

    Yes a Gitu judgement - very kickassy FF!

    reading on..

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  29. Arnav sounds really hott!!!! I want to know about his past and what's up with him good job with the update SJ

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  30. wow !!! amazing !! khushi is being tracked n dey r trying to kill her too !!!
    n arnav knws abt dese pple bt why n how?

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  31. Huge fan of urs and have been stalking The filigreed sun. What a kickass chapter 1

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  32. Oh My God!!! What was that!!!
    Go Khushi!!! She killed that guy!!
    Shyam sounds creepy already.....but I'll wait before I pass judgement on him...Khushi and he are already engaged??? Wow...
    Sexy ASR is back!!! :D :D
    I'm hooked onto this now!! :D :D

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  33. Oh wow. That was fabulous. I am so intrigued and curious at the moment. Khushi, a doctor who knows how to defend herself? Love it. Khushi is engaged to Shyam who is an overbearing jerk? Hate it.

    And ASR. <3 I am hooked to this story is all I can say! Brilliantly done, SJ!

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  34. Docs, agents, spies, martial arts--Hayye!

    SJji meri saansein ruk jaayengi. This is awesomeness x Infinity

    I love this.I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this.I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this. I love this.
    Abhi aur kya bolu?

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  35. "Agent Arnav Singh Raizada, tucked away his .32 caliber into his waist holster away from sight"

    A new Avatar for the ruggedly good looking guy :) YAY!!!! And, can I say how happy I am you made Khushi throw in some martial arts skills on the intruder. My mind is racing with various plots and I know I am no where near your awesomeness :) Great Work :)

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  36. Wow just finished chapter 1 and I have a chapter 2 to look forward to.
    This is totally alien territory for me and I am loving the journey.

    Thanks

    A

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  37. So much happened and i ask :D Why Sj ..whyyyy ? Why does there have to a McSnakey around and does Khushi have to be engaged to him :))))))))

    Ummm Arnav's all McDreamy + McSteamy (coz of the shower) in this !
    Awesome, Khushi survived the first attack and Mr Jonah thinks she resembles his Jewish wife- interesting, so Khushi's going to be the link to the prologue!I feel a Dan Brown kind of story coming up!
    ps: Thanks to Glee i know the first song :D

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  38. Very different, & veeery interesting!

    Smita

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  39. Now that's what I call a thriller! The start thoroughly reminded me of my days at the hospital and the daily hustle bustle. Sigh. Loved it.
    Okay so Khushi a doctor, Arnav the sexy agent and the masked man- the gap to fill up the bridge. I'm highly intrigued by the start. Off to read more!

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  40. WOW! just came across this..and sounds amazing doctor khushi and agent arnav!!

    the story seems quite intriguing although feel like i missed something..is there a prologue?

    cant wait to see how this one unfolds.

    also i enjoy the fact that u tend to pair khushi and shyam to begin with haha "migraine"! and endless loops of glee after a longg day/night..havent we all been there?!

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  41. Like someone has commented ... Hook line and sinker ... your story has got us interested well and proper ... hooked on to it already ... ;)
    Gripping ...
    Khushi engaged to the doninating Shyam ... this character will always haunt her ... wonder why she is being spied upon ...
    Arnav's athletic body relaxed in the hot shower ... hits the sack, his thick dark hair still wet, and fell asleep instantly, slick, sexy and all muscles ... the all sexy Arnav ...

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  42. Exciting chapter SJ!! I love it already. That didn't take long hehe!

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  43. I love this Kushi n she is already engaged to Shyam ! Just caught up with this ff I know im already loving it
    Kavita1970

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  44. Interesting!! and BTW I love Garetts too...caramel and cheese together is heaven!!

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  45. Waw..........its superb.

    Action packed ........

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  46. I just caught up with the blog.. courtesy my busy schedule at uni! :@
    Anyways.. this chapter is bloody brilliant! Loved everything! <3 and Shyam is already irritating! :P
    But wonderful work.. and I'm excited to read the others now! :D :)

    The music is fabulous! <3

    -Sharmi [Ishq.Wala.Love(I-F)]

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  47. Hi SJ
    Finally started reading this, and I'm so happy I have 11 awesome chapters to look forward to!
    I love it so far, I'm intrigued..Will probably end up commenting on the next 4-5 chapters together!

    -Expelliarmus

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  48. Just started reading this, and I am mighty intrigued! A a spy? K a doctor resembling a dead Jewish woman? And that too engaged to the [reputedly disgusting] Dr. Jha. Overbearing and over possessive. Typical Indian male, eh?

    She has moves! And there is mystery! I shall continue tomorrow :)

    -New reader [Avi] [dreamyshadows on IF]

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  49. Martial arts?? ohhhh...nice!! She killed him?? Can't wait to find out who is back or who is after Khushi!

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  50. Thrilling update loved it .. N I thoroughly enjoyed I will survive Infact I stopped reading n listened to it two times thanks for uploading that song never heard it before but now will surely download it ...it's always wonderful to hear the music which accompanies your updates ..

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  51. Just started your story Looks amazing . Waiting to read more.

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  52. loved ur story. Looking forward to reading the rest of it.

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  53. Wow the story is fast,gripping and the setting is very very different.Our Arnav and Khushi in an sll new avtaar

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  54. First of all.. thank you Blue for inviting me back here. I saw my own comment on the Prologue, but majal hai keh yaad ho. So I will enjoy this read.
    Now Khushi... she finds the door unlocked when she remembers locking it, she hears a noise in her bedroom... she thinks it might be Shyam but he doesn't answer back... and still she goes to explore... Sigh! She is one of those gung-ho daredevils, isn't she? So it promises some merry encounters with the 'slick, sexy, all muscles' Agent ASR.

    Moving on to the next chapter with great anticipation.

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