Chapter Two - The Misty Veil

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I turn away
and close my heart--
to the promise of love
that is luring.

For the past has taught
to not be caught
in what is not
worth pursuing--

To never do
the things I've done
that once led
to my undoing.

- Lang Leav (Afraid to Love)

~

Arnav was drained by the time he reached his room.

The knot in his chest had not yet loosened. If anything, it tightened every time his mind flicked back to the girl whose heart he had just left in tatters, the girl who had been a victim of his misjudgement in one of the worst ways—Lavanya.

He racked his hand through his hair and let out a deep breath, remembering her tearful eyes and her rueful smile. She had graciously taken the blow of the fact that her fiancé had never loved her. She had been forgiving and understanding to an extent that Arnav could have never anticipated, especially when she offered to keep their break-up a secret until his brother's engagement so as to preserve the ambiance of festivity. Her kindness had only made him feel worse but as Arnav stood in the middle of the room, feeling guilt and infuriation swirl within him, he waited to feel pained by the fact that they were no longer together. When he didn't, he was sure that he did the right thing by breaking their relationship.

Only, he wished that he hadn't taken things this far to begin with.

"Damn it," he muttered, irked at his own self, at his own decisions that had landed him into this mess. For a man who claimed to write his own destiny, he sure did not expect to stand where he was today—shouldering the weight of a broken engagement that he proposed to begin with and that too, with someone he did not even love.

Love. Arnav felt the word mocking him in the face.

Disgusted, he reached for the files piled near the recliner and sat himself down. Work was a usual distraction, ready to ease him whenever he needed. But today, no facts, no figures, no business prospects were able to help him. He flung the file aside in mere seconds after aimlessly skimming through it, vexed at his unrelenting restlessness.

He knew for sure that separating from Lavanya was the right decision and one that he most wanted, but he was rattled by the realisation of not wanting to commit to someone for whom he didn't feel.

Every single one of his relationships had been without any emotional attachment—this absence was, in fact, crucial. He always believed love to be a nonsensical theory and had been content to engage with those who had the same interests and perspective as him. Lavanya had been one such person--he never loved her, he never felt for her and if he was being honest, he never truly cared for her until today. Their relationship had been of convenience.

But today, today he felt the jarring implication of having to spend the rest of his life with someone like that. That realization had spooked him in ways he couldn't explain and just like that, he had decided that being on the same wavelength was not enough for him to commit to Lavanya. Unwittingly, love—a word he had ridiculed for as long as he could remember—had held a definitive importance for him.

He pressed his elbows on his knees and slumped his head onto his fist, groaning.

Arnav had always pride himself at being the master of control. He had thought of himself as the centre of everything that goes on in his life—he oversees, evaluates, and then approves or disapproves of what he feels and undergoes. His life was but a large-scale corporation and he was seated at the highest power. That was until today, or to be honest yet again, his reign over his own life had started to debilitate for months—a slow destruction he was too proud to acknowledge. It was only when everything had crumbled down that he realised how much he was spiralling out of control.

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