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AR l From Midnight to Morning lPrt 13/Pg 59: 14/03

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U-No-Poo

IF-Sizzlerz

U-No-Poo

Joined: 15 June 2007

Posts: 23471

Posted: 05 November 2008 at 8:14pm | IP Logged
 
 
This FF is about Ridhima, who became a con artist under hard circumstances, she faced a lot of hardships in life and knows what it is like to be on the roads. She is witty, intelligent, smart and very beautiful.  
 
It is also about Armaan, who is also a con artist......but in his case, he was forced to take up this profession.   There was no-one who could challenge Ridhima when it came to cons, the FBI, police and varoius other institutions were puzzled..............until she met Armaan. He was the only one who could challenge her wits, her intelligence, and thus begins a story of two people who strive to outdo eachother, and somewhere along the way, fall in love.................Travelling from midnight to morning..............  
 
This is one will be updated at a slightly slower rate becasue of it's concept, because I will need to think of good cons, which will take some time. I find this concept very exciting and gripping, so i couldn't resist penning this down.  
 
Please tell me whether I should continue or not.  
 
(P.S- Do Tell me how many of want to be PM'ed by me)  
 
 
 
l INDEX l

Part 1 l Page 5
Part 2 l Page 8
Part 3 l Page 13
Part 4 l Page 17
Part 5 l Page 21
Part 6 l Page 27
Part 7 l Page 32
Part 8 l Page 39
Part 9 l Page 42
Part 10 l Page 46
Part 11 l Page 51
Part 12 l Page 55
Part 13 l Page 59

 
 
 
MY PM LIST l
 
arluver15
spln
angullgrl91
Princess.. 
jia..
prernawaghray
perfectpiscean
ashluvdmg
saridena  
Prasanthi
missypatel
nidha1983
Veiledbeauty
yogithasingh
saridena
 


NOTE:  For all of you who are wondering why the title is "From midnight to morning", well that's because both the main protagonists would be facing alot of hardships in this FF, so the time they spend struggling symbolises "Midnight" and then they become con artists and slowly and steadily have alot of wealth, this part of their lives symbolises "morning".  
 
Thanks
Neeta Big smile


Edited by CZ.. - 13 March 2010 at 3:27pm

The following 22 member(s) liked the above post:

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arshluver_15

IF-Rockerz

arshluver_15

Joined: 16 April 2008

Posts: 5875

Posted: 05 November 2008 at 8:25pm | IP Logged
WOW first one to coment
intersting very very interesting
i like it............i....like......it
its realy gud consept
plz PM me when u updat
luv
nruti

spln

IF-Sizzlerz

spln

Joined: 06 December 2007

Posts: 11036

Posted: 05 November 2008 at 8:27pm | IP Logged
wow...con artists....great concept hun...this like u said will take some doing indeed but i cant wait to read wat u have in mind...sounds like a def unique pick...kudos!

Richa1234

IF-Dazzler

Richa1234

Joined: 09 May 2008

Posts: 3243

Posted: 05 November 2008 at 8:40pm | IP Logged
Interesting concept Liza, I would definitely like to read more about the story. Take your time with coming up with the cons, I am sure the wait would be worth it.

And, I like the title of your ff, it is a catchy one.

Cheers
Richa



Edited by Richa1234 - 05 November 2008 at 8:43pm

sharvi123

Groupbie

sharvi123

Joined: 11 August 2008

Posts: 106

Posted: 05 November 2008 at 9:02pm | IP Logged
damn interesting concept...contimue soon

angullgrl91

IF-Rockerz

angullgrl91

Joined: 23 August 2006

Posts: 5361

Posted: 05 November 2008 at 9:08pm | IP Logged
oohh..sounds interesting.cant wait to read it!
can u pm me when u cont? thanks :)

U-No-Poo

IF-Sizzlerz

U-No-Poo

Joined: 15 June 2007

Posts: 23471

Posted: 05 November 2008 at 9:28pm | IP Logged
PART 5-B
 
 

 

Ridhima and the so-named Rahul stood in front of the huge house, staring at it for a long moment. Ridhima took a deep breath and said, "It's time…."

 

 

The house was huge, The main hall was so big that it could accommodate 2000 people at once. It was beautifully decorated and furnished.

The event had already started and the guests were pouring in, the hall was full of guests and they could be seen chatting in a corner or simply admiring Sameer's Art Collection. Everyone was amazed at his vast collection of paintings, but the best ones were kept in a separate room, and only Sameer knew the password to that room.

Suddenly Sameer's voice attracted everyone's attention, He was standing on the stage with a mike in his hand, "I welcome you all to my annual charity meet, And like always, the event will last for 2 days. I want you all to be extremely comfortable in these 2 days and I hope that you all will enjoy your visit. I would like to thank all of you for donating the huge amount of money for charity. We will make sure that all of it goes to the trust…."

What a liar…..Thought Ridhima, as she stood listening to him. She was wearing the same wig she wore to the restaurant. She looked at Rahul, and thought, I made the right choice…..He is perfect for this job………..And he was. The best thing about him was that he was a Master in breaking locks, Within a span of a few seconds, he could break the code of any lock.

"So Ladies & Gentlemen, I hope you all have a good time, Thank you once again for taking out a few moments from your precious time to attend this event"

The hall erupted into a huge round of applause as he walked down the stage.

 

Ridhima was observing him closely, He sure knows how to be deceptive…..So many people are under the delusion that all their money will go for a good cause….well, the reality is something different altogether…….what a waste…. She was wearing the same wig that she wore to the restaurant.

Rahul nudged her to bring her back to reality, "What next?"

"Wait….He will come to us on his own"

 

Sameer had noticed Tanya in the crowd when he was giving his speech, and He felt himself getting attracted to her even more…..she looked ravishing in a black dress, which fell up to her knees, her hair was tied tightly in a bun, with a few strands of hair falling on her shoulders.

 
He noticed another man standing right next to her, must be the friend she was talking about…, He walked upto her and said, "Hi….Really good to see you here"
 

"Oh..Hello Mr. Dhanraj….I'm honoured to be here…Great Speech by the way, It was short but impressive"

He smiled, "Thankyou…" and then he looked at Rahul, "And you are…."

"Oh, I am so sorry…..Mr. Dhanraj, This is Rahul…….Rahul, Meet Mr. Dhanraj" Said Ridhima

After introducing both of them, they talked for a little while, when Sameer said, "By the way, Tanya…you told me that you were extremely fond of paintings, why don't you have a look at my collection?"

"I did, Mr. Dhanraj, all of them are lovely….but I couldn't spot the Picasso you were talking about"

"Oh, that one is in a separate room….It's one of the most valuable paintings that I have, So it has to be kept in complete security…But I can specially show you that room if you want…."

"That would be lovely Mr. Dhanraj!" Tanya said, excitedly, "I've always held a special significance for Picasso's art…..I think his work is simply magnificent!"

Sameer grinned, "No problem Tanya……We'll go there tonight, after the feast is over.." Then he added tentatively, "Err…Will Mr. Rahul join us too?....."

"Ofcourse! He is a great art lover too…."

Sameer's face broke into a fake smile, "Sure…" This Rahul is going to s***w everything..

 

……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

At night, when Ridhima was in her room, someone knocked on her door; she took her robe and wrapped it around herself, and wore her wig. She walked to the door, "Yes?"

"Good Evening, Ms. Tanya….Mr.Dhanraj has sent this note for you" He handed her a note.

"Umm….Thanks…"

She closed the door behind her and unfolded the note,

Dear Tanya,

Come downstairs in 5 minutes, we're going to see the gallery

Thankyou,

Sameer

She slowly folded the note back and again and took a deep breath……The game begins….

 

 

She slowly walked upto Rahul's room and told him about the note, she asked him to get ready quickly and meet her downstairs. They both knew that the plan had to be made after this visit, so everything had to be done very carefully.

Within a few mintues, Rahul and Ridhima were standing downstairs with Sameer Dhanraj,

"Shall we go?"

"Sure…I can't wait…"

 

The room in which the special paintings were kept was a little far from the main building. It had a dome like structure, and was built in a very ancient way. There was only one path leading to it, and was built in a secluded area surrounded by trees.

They reached the gate and Sameer punched a code in a machine fixed on the right side of the gate, the gate opened instantly while Rahul & Ridhima observed. Sameer entered another code in a different machine which was fixed on the left side of the gate,

"What is this code for?...." Ridhima began

"This is to de-activate the infrared beams inside the room…."

"Oh…"

They entered the room and Sameer flickered on the lights, And as soon as the light filled the entire room, Ridhima was amazed at its breathtaking beauty…It was done in the simplest way possible, but it was the most elegant room Ridhima had ever seen in her life. All painting hung proudly in their frames on the wall. The frames were all distinct from each other, but all of them had their own beauty.

Ridhima was looking around, amazed; when her eyes fell on the Picasso….This is what I need…This is my key…. She slowly walked towards the painting and touched the glass cover with her right hand, It seemed perfect to her, and there was not even a scratch on the painting…… "This is Beautiful…."

Meanwhile Rahul was looking around the room, pretending to be amazed by the paintings….but was actually observing the security system. He saw that there were 2 CCTV cameras in the room, both opposite each other, Infrared beams, Room was secured by a code,

"This place must be having a lot of security…." Ridhima spoke up, still looking at the paintings.

"Oh yes…..alot of it, As you already know, Infrared beams criss-cross this room, and there are 2 CCTV cameras," He raised his hands towards them, "Both opposite each other, and they scan the entire room with a span of 10 seconds, all these paintings have been hung in such a way, that If someone tried to remove them the alarm would go off immediately…."

Ridhima nodded, impressed, "That really relieves me…" and then later added, "What if, by chance if left the room open?"

Sameer laughed, "Although that would never happen in my case Tanya, but just to be pre-cautious, Two guards would come running to guard this place within 7 minutes of my departure….A robbery here is Impossible"

Well, you're in for a surprise Mr. Dhanraj…..Thought Ridhima.

 

When they had looked around enough, they decided to go back, when they came outside, Sameer excused Ridhima for a minute and said, "Tanya, Can we meet somewhere….alone?" He said in a husky voice…

Ridhima nodded and took his hands, "I want to see this place once again before I leave, I would love to come here tomorrow morning with you….alone..."

Sameer smiled back and squeezed her hands…..They walked back to the main building and bid their goodnights…

 

At night, when everyone was asleep, Ridhima crept upto Sameer's bedroom and knocked, He opened the door and looked at her groggily, "Tanya….you at this time of night?"

Ridhima slowly walked inside the room and said slowly, "Mr. Dhanraj, I want to thank you for inviting me to you event; this has to be the best day of my life…"

"Hey No problem….you're a very special friend…..and beautiful…"

Ridhima wasn't listening, she was looking around the room to find his locker….She finally spotted it and observed it closely, She tried her best to show that she was listening to him, so that he doesn't get suspicious.

Meanwhile, Sameer was busy checking Tanya out, She looked absolutely welcoming in her thin robe which clung to her like a second skin, He was beginning to get excited by simply looking at her creamy white skin….

He was broken out of his trance by Tanya's voice, "Goodnight Mr.Dhanraj….Thankyou for everything…." She gave a light kiss on his cheek and walked out of the room.

………………………………………..

 

Next Morning, Ridhima and Sameer were again standing infront of the huge gate of the dome. He punched the same code again and the gate opened, since there was not even a single window in the room, lights always had to be turned on.

Ridhima again walked around the room, trying to capture the image of each and every painting in her mind…and once again stopped in front of the Picasso…….. "Mr. Dhanraj, If you don't mind, Can I hold the painting in my hands, Please?"

Sameer looked at her for a long moment and said, "Sure Tanya…."

He walked upto the painting and pressed another code in a small machine next to the painting, "This code de-activates the alarm…"

Taking the painting off the wall was a difficult task, It was very firmly fixed to the wall and it took a lot of time to take it off, after a few minutes Sameer took the painting off and handed it to Ridhima.

Ridhima held the painting carefully in her hands, staring at its breathtaking beauty. Sameer slowly came behind her and whispered in her ear, "You know Tanya, This painting is nothing compared to…"

And before he could complete his sentence, and ear-deafening sound pierced their ears, Ridhima instantly put the painting down against the wall and covered her ears with her hands, "What's sound??" She shouted, trying to make her voice audible over the loud noise.

Sameer realised that it was the alarm from his bedroom,  that means someone is trying to steal my money….He made a run for the door, shouting, "Come! Fast! Someone has broken into my room!"

Ridhima ran behind him, leaving the painting on the floor and the gate open.

They finally reached his bedroom and Sameer ran to check his locker, he opened it with trembling hands only to find his money & jewellery intact. He heaved a sigh of relief and sat down heavily on his bed. Ridhima was breathing hard and by now, many people had gathered in his room.

"Thank God, the money is safe….." Said, Ridhima

"Ya….Must have been a false alarm..." Sameer replied

………………………………………………………………………

 

The event got over the same morning and Sameer called Ridhima before she could leave, to his room,

"Tanya, I am really sorry that you had to face all this…..I mean the false alarm and all…."

Ridhima cut him off, "There is no need to apologise Mr. Dhanra-"

"Sameer…..Please call me Sameer, I guess we are more than acquainted now…"

"Ok, Sameer…..Thanks a lot for everything, I loved this event…."

"Will I meet you again?"

"Ofcourse, Sameer……We will definitely meet again"

"Great..Give me your number, I'll give you a call…."

"No need, honey……I'll give you a call……"

………………………………………………………………

Ridhima and Rahul walked out of the Dhanraj Mansion with a painting worth 2 crore rupees.

 

PART 6-A
 

 

Ridhima and Rahul entered Ridhima's flat, with the painting safely kept in Rahul's bag. They went and sat down on Ridhima's bed and took out the painting very carefully. Ridhima was holding the painting as if it was glass and might break at any moment. She gently placed it on the bed, gazing at it with sparkling eyes. Her hands shivered as she touched the painting. They sat there, staring at the painting for a long time, still not being able to believe that they had pulled off the con.

 

Simultaneously, they both looked up at each other. Ridhima's face curved into a smile and so did Rahul's…..and then into a grin……and then into an even bigger one. A moment later they both were laughing and crying at the same time.

 

Ridhima felt happy in the actual sense after a long….long time, She was experiencing a rush of emotions….a sense of fulfilment, satisfaction, relief that they pulled if off without getting caught, proud of her achievement…..Also the fact that she enjoyed outwitting a beaurocrat, added to her happiness. She laughed out loud as she recalled the way they had planned the con out………

 

 

Ridhima & Rahul were standing in the Dhanraj Mansion, listening to his never-ending speech. It would be an understatement to say that Ridhima was nervous, she was hell nervous and her knees did not cease to shake, but she kept her strength because she had to pull this off. After Sameer's speech, he walked over to them, with a smile on his face. He was pretty glad to see her, and why not? Ridhima could already the sense his motives. The first step was to somehow persuade Sameer to show them the Picasso, and they somehow managed to do that, thanks to the fact that Sameer was extremely infatuated with Ridhima.

 

They were finally standing in front of the Dome, where the painting was very proudly hanging. Ridhima's nervousness had increased 10 fold, but she dare not show it on her face. They had to make their plan after this step, so whatever information they could collect & observe about the dome, had to be done within the small time period.

 

Rahul was carefully examining the security system, he was an expert at breaking security locks, alarms etc. The main part of the plan had to be executed by him, but the right situation had to be created by Ridhima.

 

When Sameer was explaining the security system of the dome, Ridhima & rahul listened very carefully. The security was actually very tight, so there was no way a robbery could happen if the Dome had to be opened by the thief…….there had to be a situation where the door would already be open. One thing caught Ridhima's eye, the paintings were not simply hanging to the wall, they were fixed in such a way that removing them would be a huge task, she noticed this when she went closer to the Picasso.  She saw a little machine right next to the painting and immediately understood that it must be there to de-activate the alarm, which means that each painting had a security alarm attached to it. Also the size & the weight of the frames made it impossible for a person to remove it easily.

 

When they were done looking around the dome and Ridhima was satisfied the amount of knowledge they had, they went out of the dome. When Sameer asked her if he could meet her alone sometime, she realized that she could use this situation to her advantage, she anyway had to come to the dome once more…..so she herself asked him to bring her to the dome once again next morning.

 

Ridhima first went to her room and when Sameer had left, quietly crept upto Rahul's room. They sat on his bed, trying to formulate a full-proof plan, keeping the fact in mind that Ridhima had to go the dome again next morning, as their base. They came up with hundreds of plans but ended up trashing them because of too many loop holes. After 2 hours, they finally decided upon a plan, and were quite satisfied with it.

 

Putting the first step of the plan into action, Ridhima quietly went to Sameer's room at midnight because she wanted to observe his locker. She deliberately wore a thin night gown to keep Sameer distracted the whole time she observed his locker, and that is exactly what happened. When she looked at his locker closely, she realized that her hunch was right. The same kind of machine was attached to the wall right next to the locker, which means that it had the same kind of alarm the paintings did. The locker was old-fashioned, the kinds in which instead of punching the code, the small wheel has be rotated to open it. Ridhima deduced that it would not be difficult for Rahul to open this. She kissed Sameer's cheek and exited his room. She again went to Rahul's room and explained to him what she had observed; she left it to Rahul to decide how he was to break the locker.

 

 

Next morning, Ridhima and Sameer went to the dome while Rahul, with a bag on his back, quietly went and stood under the window of Sameer's bedroom. It was open. Rahul knew it…..A man like Sameer, who was so confident about his security system, would never bother to close his windows or doors. Rahul concluded this fact from the previous night's conversation in the dome………

 

Ridhima nodded, impressed, "That really relieves me…" and then later added, "What if, by chance you left the room open?"

 

 

Sameer laughed, "Although that would never happen in my case Tanya, but just to be pre-cautious, Two guards would come running to guard this place within 7 minutes of my departure….A robbery here is Impossible"

 

 

 

Rahul saw a ladder placed against the huge wall of his room. He went and picked it up and put it in an upright position against his room's wall in such a way that it reached up to his window. He looked around to see if anyone was nearby, although the chance was negligible because the window faced the back side of the mansion, which was largely surrounded by trees. But the guards roamed around everywhere, so Rahul did not want to take a chance. When he was satisfied that no one was around, he quietly started climbing the ladder, he reached Sameer's window and jumped inside. He took put the gloves from his bag and wore them, and wore a clean pair of shoes to prevent leaving footprints behind. She slowly walked over to his locker and looked at the lock. Like Ridhima had said, it was old fashioned and it would not be difficult for him to break it. He quickly went to work and the locker was open in no time.

 

 

But the real task was not opening the locker, it was to set off the alarm, and Rahul knew that the alarm would go off as soon as he tried to move anything from his locker.

 

 

As soon as Rahul picked up a stack of notes, an ear-deafening alarm sounded, Rahul had never heard such a loud alarm before in his life, he gritted his teeth as it pierced his ears…..He quickly dropped the stack of notes on the floor and ran towards the window. He hurriedly climbed down the ladder and put it back in the same place. He took off his gloves and quickly walked towards the front side of the mansion, where he saw all the people rushing towards the direction from where the sound was coming. He quietly slipped into the crowd to avoid being noticed and walked in the opposite direction of the crowd. The people were so curious to know as to what had set the alarm off that they did not notice him walking away from the noise. By the time he came out of the crowd, he knew that Sameer and Ridhima would already be running towards his room, so his way to the dome was now clear.

 

But he had only 7 minutes to do what he wanted……..

 

 

 

Sameer laughed, "Although that would never happen in my case Tanya, but just to be pre-cautious, two guards would come running to guard this place within 7 minutes of my departure….

 

 
 
PART 6-B
 
Ok Guys, Part 6-B......It has Armaan's entry!! I hope u all like it & please do leave comments!!!
 
 
 

He reached the dome and as Ridhima had promised, he found the door open, with the infrared beams de-activated, and the painting placed against the wall. He once again took out his gloves and wore them, and thoroughly cleaned his shoes on the grass to get rid of all the mud. He looked up to see the CCTV cameras covering the entire room, they took 10 seconds to do so, but both turned in the opposite direction. He took out the small scissor from his bag and entered the dome with his back tightly against the wall, to prevent coming in focus of the camera. He quickly reached the first CCTV camera, and cut off its wire, it stopped where it was, then he ran towards the opposite CCTV camera, and stood just next to it with his back against the wall, he quickly cut off the wire of that camera too and it stopped in its position.

 

 

 

He went to the painting and bent down to take it out of the frame. He looked at his watched…..3 minutes left……..The frame was huge and it took him a long time to open it. Rahul was beginning to get frustrated and drops of sweat started forming on his forehead, the seconds were passing by and there was very little time left, His hands were shaking and he felt his heartbeat quicken. Finally the frame opened and he carefully took the painting out of it. He rolled it and placed it safely in his bag. Only 1 minute was left. He stood up and ran out of the dome as fast as he could. When he finally reached the main building, he stopped running as he felt the nervousness drain out of him. He took a deep breath as he felt relief washing over him. He looked around and saw that everything had turned back to normal and the alarm had been stopped. He quickly went to his room, trying to look as normal as possible……But now they had to get out of here as soon as possible. The guards must have already reached the dome and noticed that the painting was missing…….

 

 

 

 

The two guards hurried towards the dome as they got Sameer's message. They were not allowed to stand with a radius of 200 meters of the dome, so it took them exactly 7 minutes to reach there at their max speed. When they finally reached the dome, and went inside, they were shocked to find the Picasso missing………It was the most cherished painting by Sameer…….The guards hurried towards Sameer's room to inform him about the robbery, but when they reached his room, they found it closed with a "do not disturb" sign attached to it. They could here faint voices coming from inside……

 

 

"Tanya, I am really sorry that you had to face all this…..I mean the false alarm and all…."

 

 

"Ok, Sameer…..Thanks a lot for everything, I loved this event…."

 

 

"No need, honey……I'll give you a call……"

 

 

 

Suddenly the door opened and a lady came outside, she looked at both the guards and walked away…

 

 

 

………………………………………….............................................

 

 

Ridhima hurried towards Rahul's room. She knocked at it and it opened instantly.

 

 

 

"Do you have it?" asked Ridhima

 

 

"Yes………Let's get out of here now……"

 

 

 

Ridhima smiled and put a hand on Rahul's shoulder, he nodded and they both quickly walked towards the exit gate.

 

 

 

 

The guard stopped them, but Ridhima said, "Mr. Dhanraj has given me the permission to leave without a security check, my name is Tanya…….he must have sent you a message too, Please check it…."

 

 

 

 

The guard turned and switched on the computer, and indeed there was a message by Mr. Dhanraj to let go of a girl named Tanya without a security check…..a photo was attached to the message.

 

 

 

He turned towards Ridhima and nodded, "You can leave….."

………………………………………………………………………

 

 

 

 

The guards entered Sameer's room…….

 

 

 

"Sir, there's a big problem…….the Picasso has been stolen…."

 

 

 

Sameer thought he hadn't heard correctly, "Don't joke with me….What's the matter??"

 

 

 

"Sir, it's not a joke….it has actually been stolen….."

 

 

 

Sameer expression turned into a horrified one as he jumped up from his bed and walked towards them, "BUT HOW??? WHAT WERE YOU TWO FOOLS DOING??"

 

 

 

 

He dashed towards the door without wearing his slippers and ran towards the dome, with the two guards following him….It couldn't have been stolen…No…It's not possible………He reached the dome and froze at his spot as he saw the painting missing from the frame.  He felt himself losing his temper; he turned back to the two guards and shouted at the top of his lungs, "HOW THE HELL DID ANYONE MANAGE TO STEAL THE PAINTING???" He slapped a guard tightly across his face, and he simply stood there with a hand covering his cheek.

 

 

 

 

"Check the entire mansion…..each and every inch of this place…..Conduct a strict security check on each person leaving this mansion….DO IT!"

 

 

 

 

The guards quickly turned and ran away to follow his instructions…….Sameer ran a hand through his hair and kicked a stone hard, "DAMNIT!"

 

 

 

 

Little did he know that he had given the clean chit to the thief himself…………

 

 

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

 

 

After that, Ridhima moved ahead like an unstoppable force, she learned new tricks and new ways to cheat everyday……This phase of her life was her actual education. She took on to harder challenges with each passing con…..her cons had started to become famous, and the police and CBI had started noticing the increasing number of cons.

 

 

 

 

Ridhima was always careful never to use her real identity…..no matter which con she pulled, she changed her entire look. He learned various languages and how to incorporate different accents into English. She always managed to look different from each look, and was amazed herself. New ideas kept popping up in her head everyday and she kept formulating new plans.

 

 

 

 

The sweet and innocent Ridhima who once planned to get married and settle down, was lost somewhere……..never to be found, and a new Ridhima was born. She was fearless, strong, courageous….and a con artist.

 

 

 

………………………………………………………………………..

 

 

 

 

Ridhima was sitting in a pub, after pulling off a con on a rich NRI successfully. She decided that she needed to celebrate her achievement…..her victory, and the best way is to get drunk.

 

 

 

 

As she was sipping on to her beer, a grumpy looking man stomped his way to the seat next to her and sat down, "Get me a vodka please…..strong" He ordered the bartender. When the bartender got his drink, his gulped it down in one go and slammed the glass down,

 

 

 

 

"B*****s" He muttered under his breath.

 

 

 

 

Ridhima turned to him, "What?"

 

 

 

 

He turned towards her and started speaking, "What the hell do they think of themselves?? The B****y government rats….." His voice was full of anger.

 

 

 

 

"I'm sorry, but I don't under-"

 

 

 

 

But he cut her off, "Just because I don't have the friggin Money…..They won't let me conduct a research!!"

 

 

 

 

"Umm…..What research?"

 

 

 

 

 

He looked around and leaned closer, and spoke in a hushed tone, "My name is Arun…….and you are?....." Ridhima quickly added, "Ridhima…." He nodded and continued, "I'm a scientist, alright….and…." he looked around once more, "Would you believe me if I told you something?" Ridhima nodded, he continued, "I was walking on a beach a few days back, when a stone caught my eye…..I picked it up and observed that it looked slightly different from other stones. I took it to my Lab and examined it and……" his voice became even softer, "I found out that it was a small meteoroid…"

 

 

 

 

 

Ridhima's eyes widened in surprise as Arun continued, "This meteoroid is different from the others that I have seen……and I believe that if a research is conducted, then a lot of things about space can be discovered…..Imagine what would happen to our country if we make a huge discovery…." then his expression changed to a spiteful one, "But the government won't let me keep it for research…..you see, I'm in private practice, so I don't have that much money……but I can arrange for it if given time…..but our government does not wish to give me any time and has claimed it under "National Property"……And you know how our government works…once it goes into their hands, then only god knows when a research will be conducted…….It will be such a waste…."

 

 

 

 

He turned back towards the bartender and ordered another drink. Meanwhile, Ridhima processed all the information in her mind, and after thinking deeply for a moment said, "How much money do you need immediately?"

 

 

 

 

He looked at her and said, "8 lakhs…." Then continued after pausing, "But why do you want to know?"

 

 

 

 

 

"I can help you out……Look, I can arrange for 8 Lakh rupees immediatedly…..only if you agree to show me that meteoroid and your lab…."

 

 

 

 

 

Arun looked at her for a long moment and said, "No….I don't know you, just because I spilled the beans does not means that you will give me such a huge amount of money…."

 

 

 

 

 

"Hey, you only said that it would do wonders for our country if a new discovery is made…..So I'm spending for a good cause….."

 

 

 

 

 

"Are you sure?.....I mean….8 lakhs is a big sum…"

 

 

 

 

 

"I know that…but I'm doing it by my will, anyway first you will have to show me your lab and your meteoroid……"

 

 

 

 

 

He was thoughtful for a moment and then said, "Ok…if you want to….Let's meet tomorrow morning, I'll show you the Lab and the meteoroid….."

 

 

 

 

She nodded, "Great…Give me your number…."

 

 

……………………………………………………………………..

 

 

 

 

He saw her retreating figure and smirked to himself, That was pretty easy.....

 

Suddenly his phone started ringing....he saw the name "boss" flashing on it & smiled. He picked it up and said ," Ya Boss....."

 

The voice from the other side said, "Is she in?"

 

Armaan smirked again and said, "She's in....and why wouldn't she be?......afterall I'm Armaan Mallik"

PART 7

Recap: He saw her retreating figure and smirked to himself, That was pretty easy.....

 

Suddenly his phone started ringing....he saw the name "boss" flashing on it & smiled. He picked it up and said ," Ya Boss....."

 

The voice from the other side said, "Is she in?"

 

Armaan smirked again and said, "She's in....and why wouldn't she be?......afterall I'm Armaan Mallik"

~~~~~~~~~~~
 

Next day, Ridhima went to Arun's lab as promised. She had spoken to him on the phone and had taken the address in the morning. She pushed open the door and found herself standing in a medium sized room, crammed with different types of instruments, and everything placed in a haphazard way. She wondered how anyone could conduct a research in a place like this…I guess that's how scientists are…eccentric…She was brought back to reality by Arun's voice, "Hi…I thought you would never come…Come on in.." He said with a smile plastered on his face.

 

 

 

"Why wouldn't I?, I never break promises Mr. Arun..." She replied back.

 

"Let's just make it Arun & Ridhima, Can we?" He asked, grinning.

 

Ridhima smiled, "Sure.."

 

 

He showed her the entire lab, and how he conducted a research on various things. He also gave her an insight into his ongoing projects. Ridhima was fascinated at what science was capable of.  She now did not look at the lab as if it were an untidy godown, it was now a place of new inventions and a different world of science to her.

 

 

 

Finally they came to the meteoroid. It was placed securely in a glass box filled with inert gases to prevent the elements present in the meteoroid from reacting with oxygen present in the air. The glass was strong and sturdy, something that was not easy to break. She looked down at it carefully and realized that it indeed did look different from other stones. It had a different cross-section and the colour was blackish.

 

 

Arun started explaining as to how he found the meteoroid when he was walking on the beach, and how useful it can be if a research is conducted. "Even now, humans know very little about space, and as we all know universe is yet incomprehensible by human mind, If I conduct a research on this meteoroid, then we maybe we will be able to increase our knowledge about space, even if it is 0.001%" he said, his gaze focused on the meteoroid.

 

 

 

Ridhima listened to him carefully, and when he had finished, she had made her decision.

 

 

 

Arun stopped explaining and looked at her, "So…What do you think?

 

Ridhima smiled, "Money will be arranged by tomorrow morning, you just have to pick it up"

 

Arun smiled widely, and it reached his eyes, "Oh, Thankyou so much! You have no idea what you have just done……This lab, my research, science…all of this is my life, I don't know what I would have done if the government claimed this meteoroid…"

 

 

 

He rambled on endlessly without knowing what he was speaking, He was interrupted by Ridhima, "It's Ok Arun, It's not a favour, I am just trying to do something right…It's Ok"

 

 

Arun stopped as he heard her voice, He smiled sheepishly, "I am sorry, I guess I went crazy because I never expected something like this to happen.."

 

"No problem…Just come to my hotel tomorrow morning, I'll have your cash ready by then"

 

 

He looked at her, confused "Ok…but, why cash? I mean 8 lakhs is a huge sum, don't you think a cheque will be a safer option?"

 

 

Ridhima stared at him; "No….your cash will be ready" She said in a firm voice ….No banks…

 

 

There was finality in her voice that made Arun not question her any more. He nodded and walked her to the door, "I really have no idea how to thank-"

 

 

Ridhima raised her hand gently, "You don't have to..." She took out a card from her purse and handed it to him, "This is my hotel address, and you already have my number, I'll be waiting in the hotel lobby"

 

 

They said byes and Ridhima turned back and left, she had no idea that she had walked into a trap…

 

 

…………………………………………………….

 

 

 

Next Morning, Ridhima was waiting for Arun in the lobby, she looked at her wristwatch, 8:45…15 minutes to go….She pulled out a magazine from a nearby rack and started flipping through it uneasily. She kept stealing glances at the briefcase kept beside her. Even though she was a con artist, handling money still made her uneasy.

 

 

 

Finally she saw Arun walk in through the hotel gate. She stood up as he approached her, they shook hands and she picked up the briefcase from the sofa. He opened it slightly and peered through the small gap….he saw stacks of green money kept inside safely. He shut the lid of the briefcase and smiled at her, "All fine….I'm sure I don't need to count it.."

 

 

Ridhima smiled, "You don't Arun….It's exactly 8 Lakhs.."

 

 

 

Ridhima walked Arun to the Hotel gate, "It was nice meeting you Arun, I hope that your research is successful…" she said in a genuine voice.

 

 

"Thanks a lot Ridhima, You'll be the first to know when my research is successful.."

 

 

 

 

They did a final handshake and Arun walked out of the gate. Ridhima turned around and started walking towards her room, she felt happy and satisfied, she had done something good after a long time. After all, it is very rare of a thief to donate money. She had genuinely wanted to help this man after hearing his story. She smiled to herself.

 

 

 

After Ridhima had conned Sameer Dhanraj, she and Rahul had decided not to continue as partners in crime, Rahul finally found a petty job in a nearby shop as a cashier, so he anyway could not continue as a con artist. But Ridhima maintained a tradition of telling Rahul about each of her cons, she trusted him enough to keep it as secret. For a change, I'll be telling Rahul about the good that I did….she thought as she dug her handbag for her mobile phone, but it wasn't there, she looked inside it and found it was missing. "Shit!...Where could I have…" then it struck her that she had left it on the sofa when she was waiting for Arun.

 

 

 

 

 

She frantically ran back to the Lobby and then to the sofa where she had been sitting a few minutes back. She heaved a sigh of relief when she saw her phone sitting on the sofa. She went and picked it up, and was about to turn back when she saw someone standing outside the hotel gate, speaking to someone into his phone, his back facing her. There was something familiar about him, she looked more carefully…..It's Arun!...but what is he still doing here? Didn't he leave when I left him??....

 

 

 

She walked towards the gate and heard faint voices coming through the glass gate. She went closer, till she was standing right next to the gate and could hear everything perfectly…

 

 

"Yes, Boss…I have the money….No…she didn't suspect….Don't worry…Boss…Just relax…Armaan Mallik never goes wrong…"

 

 

Ridhima stood there, dumbfounded. She was staring at his back with her mouth agape. She couldn't believe that she had been conned! The events of the last two days came rushing back to her….Pub…meteoroid….Lab….money…It was a perfect set up ! She suddenly felt foolish…This is the oldest con in the history of cons, and she fell for it! There was no meteoroid, no Lab, no scientist….She saw as Armaan hailed a taxi, sat in it and went.

 

 

Ridhima's brain was suddenly working furiously, she just couldn't let this man get away with her money…she observed the Cab number as it drove away….

 

 

She rushed back to her hotel room to pick up her emergency briefcase. Ridhima always kept a briefcase full of counterfeit money with her to avoid any risks. She banged open the door, picked up the briefcase and scurried down the staircase as the lift was taking too much time. She walked out of the hotel gate and hailed a taxi. She gave the driver the Cab number and asked him to follow it.

 

 

After driving for a few minutes, Armaan's cab came into view. Ridhima jumped up in recognition, "That one! That black cab…Follow it!" They drove after his cab for an eternity as the car did not seem to have any destination. Finally the cab stopped in front of a huge worn out building. She saw as Armaan came out of the cab and paid the cabdriver. At that moment Ridhima too stepped out and paid the driver, "Keep the change"

 

 

Armaan was about to walk away when he heard Ridhima's voice, "Arun..."

 

 

She turned back and was surprised to see her standing there. Suddenly a fear made its way to his brain…Had she found out…No….then she wouldn't call me Arun…then why would she follow me ….He forced a smile and said, "Ridhima…you here?"

 

 

Ridhima smiled and walked towards him, "Actually Arun, I gave you the wrong briefcase….I was supposed to give you this one..." She held up the briefcase with counterfeit money, " But I guess I confused it with the one you have….That one has less money in it, I have to donate it to some charitable event…I'm so sorry, It's all my fault…"

 

 

Armaan stared at her, what should I do?....Is she playing along? That's not possible Armaan…She couldn't have planned everything in such a less time span….maybe she genuinely confused it with some other briefcase….He was jolted back to reality as Ridhima snapped her fingers in front of his face, "Arun…what's wrong? Here, take this briefcase…" Ridhima said as she extended the briefcase.

 

 

Armaan gave a fake smile and took hold of the briefcase, He obviously couldn't open a briefcase full of money standing on a footpath, with so many people passing by, neither could he refuse Ridhima's offer, because if she was genuinely confused, she might suspect him. He was in a confused state of mind. He looked up at Ridhima smiling at him and then looked around at the people passing by. He slowly opened the briefcase slightly, and peered through the small slit. He saw that it was full of money…He heaved a sigh of relief, Maybe she was genuinely confused.

 

 

"All fine?" Ridhima asked, "All fine" He replied back…He handed her the previous briefcase, still unsure about this woman. Ridhima grinned and almost snatched the briefcase from his hands, "Thanks Arun…I'm really sorry about this…"

 

 

"No problem….You realized just in time….Bye..." He turned around & left. Ridhima smirked as she saw him walking away, No one cheats Ridhima Gupta….No one…

 

 

………………………………………..

 

Armaan knocked on the door. A man opened it and Armaan hurried inside, "Boss…Here is the money…" His boss, basically someone who informed Armaan about his marks (person to be conned) was a short and plump man, with intelligent grey eyes, Mr. Rohit Kapoor.

 

 

"Good Armaan, I always knew I could count on you…" Rohit said. Armaan placed the briefcase on his table and opened the lid. Both of them stared at the stacks of money and smiled widely. Armaan picked up a stack of notes, with sparkling eyes.

 

 

Sunlight coming through the window curtains fell on the notes and suddenly Armaan noticed something. He quickly held up one note against the sunlight and observed closely. He then realized that the watermark was missing….which means that the money was counterfeit.

 

 

Armaan went numb as the note fell out of his grasp on the ground. Rohit's smiled died as he looked at Armaan's expression, "Armaan…What's wrong?"

 

Armaan replied in a toneless voice, "Boss, we've been cheated…this money is counterfeit…"

 

 

…………………………………………………..

 

 

Ridhima smiled to herself, while sitting in the cab on her way back to the hotel, she laughed out loud at what might have happened if her mobile hadn't gone missing….Well, It's not so easy to con Ridhima Gupta, is it Mr. Malik ?

PART 8
 
 
 
Ridhima drew the curtains apart gently and stared at the looming city. Paris was beautiful. There was something about each and every building of that city that made you marvel it's beauty and artistry. It was the city of love, and surely, Ridhima could almost feel the vibes between a couple herself whenever she spotted one. She was absorbed in the alluring ambience of Paris the moment she stepped foot in it.
 

But she wasn't here to appreciate the beauty of Paris, she was here for something far more important - The precious African diamond, placed for the purpose of exhibition in the Paris Le Bourget Exhibition Centre. It was one of the rare diamonds, 0.59 RAD FIP Argyle. It was a 0.59 Carat Radiant cut fancy Intense pink Argyle diamond. Ridhima had come to know about the exhibition through the newspaper when she was in India. The worth of the diamond was beyond anyone's imagination.

 
The moment Ridhima read about the diamond in the newspaper, excitement had begun to bubble in her like a volcano about to erupt. Her brain worked furiously day and night. She bought herself an exclusive map of the Le Bourget exhibition centre to memorize all the entrances and exits. She noticed that the diamond was placed right in the middle of the hall, which meant that it was equidistant from all exit points. She visited the centre herself quite a few times to observe the behaviour of the security. That was the problem - The security.
 

The security around that diamond and the centre was so tight that it was impossible to steal the diamond. The hall ( where the diamond was placed ) was criss-crossed with infrared beams, producing a complex web which gave no space for anyone to enter. The pedestal upon which the diamond was placed had an internal alarm system which went off the moment anyone tried to remove the diamond from it's position. Apart from that, the general security was extemely strong aswell. No person was allowed to enter without a proper security check. All electronic gadgets were prohibitted.

 
Ridhima was in a daze. She had no idea how she was going to smuggle that diamond out of the hall. She was beginning to get frustrated because she had never taken so much time to formulate a plan. Ridhima Gupta had always been quick. Plus the diamond would be shipped out of France back to Africa within few more days. She was running out of time.
 

'Damn !' She sweared as she paced around her room. I need something substantial & I need it now  she said to herself as multiple ideas and thoughts swirled in her mind. I can't let this get out of my hands...This is a once-in-a-lifetime oppurtunity.

 
With a number of ideas still churning in her brain, she switched off the light and fell asleep. Perhaps a night's sleep in the glorious Hotel Ritz will help me form a plan.

 

 

Next day, she went to a nearby cafe called Caf Reale for breakfast, and particularly to get herself in action.
 

She sat down in a chair next to the window, now extremely panicky and nervous due to the shortage of time and lack of a full proof plan. The diamond would be removed from the hall and tranported back to Africa within 3 days - And Ridhima Gupta had not even formed the base of her plan.

 
 
Her hands shook slightly as she picked up her glass of water and sipped nervously, Stay calm...there has to be a solution....there always is...And with that, she took a deep breath, cleared her mind of all thoughts, and tried to formulate a plan right from the beginning.
 

 
The security is too tight, there is no way anyone can steal the diamond, there has to be a way to con the authorities - But how ? I don't know any of the offcials personally to be able to play on their weakness, and there isn't enough time left for me to befriend any of them...Maybe a disgui - Her thoughts were interrupted by the sound of someone flopping down into the chair across her. She looked up and instantly recognised the person, and frowned deeply.
 

 
"What are you doing here - Mr. Mallik ?" She asked him, with an expression of deepest loathing on her face. Even though she was annoyed to see him here, she wasn't surprised. Afterall he was a con artist too, and inevitably he would try to steal a precious diamond such as the one now proudly sitting in the Exhibition centre. So even before he could answer, she already knew it.
 

 
Armaan smirked and replied "Isn't it obvious ? - I'm here for the same reason as yours - To steal the African Diamond, which currently resides in the Exhibition Centre"
 

 
Ridhima sighed, "Well, I thought that maybe your previous defeat would have crushed your ambition to compete with me again, I see I was quite wrong"
 

 
Armaan sensed the sarcasm in her voice and said, "Tables can turn Ms Gupta, and I can assure you that they will this time - This diamond is mine" He ended with a firm conviction in his voice.
 
 

Ridhima nodded, seemingly impressed, "Good for you then. You concentrate on turning the tables, and I am pretty sure you will - But not this time....Mr. Mallik" She did not let her nervousness show on her face, Armaan was a smart guy, He would deduce in no time that she did not have a plan and was simply throwing blank threats at him. She kept her cool and tried to appear as calm as possible.
 

 
"We'll see that....Ms. Gupta - Good Luck'"And with that, he got up, winked at her and strode out of the cafe'.
 

 
Ridhima let out the long held breath and felt the panic re-surface - I have to formulate a plan at any cost now, There is no way I will lose to Armaan - Absolutely no way.
 
 
And while her mind was still oscillating between cursing Armaan and focusing on the diamond, something clicked. Ridhima stopped all her thought processes and mused over the new found idea for a moment, Yes ! It all fits. It's the perfect plan...All the pieces slowly began to fall in place as Ridhima finally found a loophole. Her eyes twinkled as she mentally gave herself a pat on the back.
 
 
 
Time to get in action Ridhima...And with this thought, Ridhima got up and walked out of the cafe.
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Police Commissioner of Delhi was frustrated. A series of unexplainable crimes had struck the country. And the police had not yet been able to figure out the culprit behind it. The case had been transferred to the CBI for sometime, and they were as unsuccessful as the police department. There was never any trace that the thief left behind, and there seemed to be no connection between the robberies. Preasure was building up on the Police department and the commissioner was sick of facing the media wherever he went. People had begun to question his credibility.
 
 
He gave a frustrated sigh and called in his secretary. A short and plump man with bored eyes entered the room. "Ajeet, I need the record of all robberies that occured in the past 1 year. Official and unofficial. Both"
commanded the commissioner the moment Ajeet entered his cabin. Ajeet nodded and walked out.
 
 
After 10 minutes, Ajeet returned with a file with 'confidential' stamped on it. The commissioner opened the file and began scanning it from the beginning...Bank robbery, Painting stolen, Missing necklace, Vault broken...He suddenly stopped and went back a few pages. Something odd struck him. The culprit behind the very first robbery had been identified, and none had been identified after that. He surfed through the records with the help of his finger and finally found it. Right on top of the page. Robbery at the National Bank of India. Action had never been taken against the culprit because the bank did not wish to delve into the matter, but the incident was recorded under the 'unofficial' records.
 
 
Ridhima Gupta....
 
 
 
 
 
 
It was 10 pm at night, Exhibition Centre Le Bourget had closed for the day. People were returning back to their homes, quietly discussing the alluring features of the African diamond.
 
 
A french woman, of medium height and a rather slim figure, walked towards the colossal building of the Exhibition centre. She wore a grey pleated skirt and a black cashmere top. She reached the first entrance of the centre where two security guards were stationed on both sides of the entrance.
 
 
"M'excuser monsieur, I need to get eenside the hall" She spoke in a heavy french accent.
 
 
One of the security guards looked at her and replied, "I'm sorry ma'am. The centre has now closed. Please come tomorrow before 9:30 pm"
 
 
The woman smiled and slightly shook her head, "Non Non, I'm not a veesiter, I'm Adle Fitzroy. I'm a professional gemologist. I'm here to study the diamond as a part of my project" She flashed her indentification to them.
 
 
The guards looked at each other and shrugged. One of them said, "Le regard, Madame, We cannot allow you inside unless you show us the letter of consent signed by our head of security"
 
 
Adele smiled once again and said, "Aaah..ne pas inquiter monsieur, I have eet right here with me"
 
 
Adele zipped open her handbag and looked for the letter. A bewildered expression formed on her face when she didn't find it. She began to feel her shirt pockets in order to find the letter. Meanwhile, the security guard gawked at her, she's hot. His eyed travelled from her legs to her face, ogling, That's what I like about french woman, they're hot. She finally found the letter, consequently jarring the guard's brief visit to the fantasy land.
 
 
She fished out the letter and handed it to the guard. He held it up and saw the security emblem printed right on top of the letter. Before he could start reading, his cell phone rang. Annoyed, he pulled it out from his pocket and flipped it open, "Oui ?"
 
 
Adele waited for one minute before she spoke again, "monsieur, I'm getting late. Can I pleeze go eenside ?" she asked impatiently, not caring that the guard was still speaking into his phone. He indicated her to give him a minute. Adele sighed exasperatedly and crossed her arms across her chest. The guard had now started getting angry on whoever was on the other line. Adele interrupted once again, "regard, I don't have too much time, Bien ?! I need to go eenside now" she said, in an annoyed voice.
 
 
He gave her an irritated look before he mumbled something like, "pendre sur" into his phone, and gestured the other guard ( who was junior to the him ) to check her thoroughly before letting her in, and continued to talk into his phone.
 
 
Adele smiled and gestured towards the letter, which was being angrily fluttered by the guard who now seemed to have lost his temper. He absent-mindedly handed the letter back to her and continued to yell into his phone. Adele grinned and walked past the yelling man.
 
 
"Vous fermer la femme stupide ! Je suis occup, ne pas me dranger ! ...."
 
 
 
She was checked thoroughly before the guard led her inside. A woman guard checked all the stuff that she carried - A lipstick, few books, a comb, few envelopes and a diamond, quite similar to the one kept inside. She looked at Adele with a curious expression, visibly there was a question mark on her face. Adele recognised her confusion and said, "Aah..Madame, it has been gifted to me by my husband. Vous voyez, since I cannot get the real theeng, I decided to have a fake one atleast" she giggled stupidly as she finshed. The woman guard rolled her eyes at her and put all the contents back in her bag.
 
 
She had been given an Id card, which had been attached her shirt pocket. It said, "Special Visitor". The guard pulled out his walkie-talkie phone and ordered the Techno-security people to de-activate the infrared beams. Meanwhile, Adele looked around the hall in fascination, "Hou l, ce lieu est beau"
 
 
They finally reached the centre of the hall, i.e where the african diamond was placed. The moment her eyes caught the sight of the shining diamond, her heart skipped a beat and felt the same excitement re-surface within her. She slowly walked towards the guarded area, the shine of the diamond being reflected in her eyes. She stared at it for a while and then turned towards the guard who accompanied her, "monsieur, Can you pleez get reed of these security chains so I can enter ?"
 
 
The gaurd sighed and nodded, Women, "Sure ma'am. He took out a key from his pocket and opened the lock, making way for Adele to enter. She excitedly took out her glasses from her bag and stepped inside the guarded area. While she was examining the diamond, the guard took his time to check her out, The only good thing about the situation is, He smirked to himself, that the last few hours of my duty our being spent checking out a hot french.
 
 
Suddenly, from the corner of his eye, he thought he saw a someone walk past the glass pane right across the hall. He walked across the room towards the glass pane, and looked through the glass to observe some movement. His eyes travelled from one end to the other, brows furrowing in confusion. The moment he thought that he had probably imagined it, he heard a shuffling noise from the bushes. All his senses now alert, he inspected the entire area through the glass pane to find out where the noise had come from.
 
 
The area beyond the glass pane was restricted area. No one except the guards were allowed to go there, that too after informing all guards on duty. He heard the noise again, and without wasting much time, he shot towards the exit nearest to that area.
 
 
"Madame, You wait here !" he yelled to Adele as he sped towards the exit.
 
 
 
 
 
Ridhima observed him running out of the hall, when he was completely out of sight, she quickly delved into action and pulled out her safety gloves from her hand bag. She carefully lifted the glass lid covering the diamond. "Wow.." She whispered to herself, "This is awesome" she smirked. The diamond was perfect. She held the fake diamond she had brought along with her in her left hand.
 
 
She cautiously extended her right hand towards the diamond, Now is the moment Ridhima. This has to be quick. In a swift motion, she scooped the real diamond up and placed it safely in her hand bag. The alarm sounded the moment she lifted it up.
 
 
Within seconds, the guard came scurrying inside, "What the hell is happening here ?!" he yelled. His eyes darted towards Ridhima. He saw the diamond in her left hand and came running towards her, "Madame, may I know what you are doing ?" His voice sounded faint above the excruciatingly loud alarm noise.
 
 
Adele looked at him sheepishly and said in an apologetic voice, "oh je suis dsol, forgeev me monsieur, I didn't know that we were not suppozed to leeft the diamond up. I'm really apologetic"
 
 
The guard looked infuriated beyond limits, "Madame, You should have asked me before opening that lid ! We're responsible around this place !" he bellowed as his temper refused to cool down. Adele, who was highly embarressed now, said, "I'm sorry monsieur, eet waz my meestake, Can you pleez turn the alarm off now ? it eez tearing apart my ears"
 
 
The Guard, who seemed to be annoyed by the alarm noise aswell, nodded and went towards the pedestal to turn the alarm off. After the noise had died down, He lifted the diamond up from Adele's hand and safely placed it back in the glass box. He turned towards her and said, "I hope your research is complete madame."
 
 
Ridhima sensed that he was still pissed off with her and hence it was a dissmissal. She put on an innocent expression, "Oui, monsieur. Thankyou very for allowing me in" she said while taking her gloves off and stuffing them back in her bag.
 
 
The guard nodded and led her out through the exit. She thanked him once again and walked out of the centre, bloody women. All of them are dumb. Good for nothing, the guard thought to himself as his headache shot upto another level.
 
 
 
 
 
Ridhima laughed out loud as she walked towards her car. She had never had so much fun in her life. She could still feel the goosebumps on her arms, this was damn close...I was almost busted...she thought to herself, grinning. I must thank my partner in crime, his share is due on me.
 
 
She turned around to face the gigantic centre, "Remercie des gens ! Thanks alot !" and she continued to laugh all the way to her car. She opened the gate of her car and leaned on it. Sighing, she took out the diamond from her hand bag and stared at the object she had just taken over. It was hers. The diamond was actually hers. She let out in involuntary squeal as reality settled in.
 
 
She was about to put the diamond back into her bag, when she heard faint voices coming from next car. Something about the man's voice caught her attention. It seemed familiar. She moved closer to the car and realized that there were two men in that car. As she probed further, she realized that one of them was...Armaan !
 
 
She was surprised and confused, what was he doing here ?. She moved closer to hear what they were saying.
 
 
"Well done Armaan, you're a genius. How did you do it ?" asked a voice that was deep, heavy and loud.
 
 
"I couldn't have done it without your help, sir. Thanks alot" came Armaan's reply.
 
 
"Aaah..No problem young man. But I hope you haven't forgotten my share"
 
 
"Not at all sir. I'm going to sell this diamond to an Arabian diamond merchant tomorrow. He's giving me a good price for it. I will personally come and hand over your share to you"
 
 
The other man laughed, "Thankyou Armaan. By the way, what about your rival ? What did you say her name was ?...Yeah, Ridhima gupta. What happened to her ?"
 
 
Armaan grinned inwardly and replied, "Well, let's just say that I was quicker. Poor woman went through so much trouble only to grab a fake diamond"
 
 
 
 
Ridhima stood there, dumbfounded. Armaan had outwitted her. She couldn't believe she had lost. She had lost. To Armaan. The diamond she had was fake. He had reached there before her.
 
 
The tables had truly turned.

 
PART 9
 
 
 
Recap -
 
Ridhima stood there, dumbfounded. Armaan had outwitted her. She couldn't believe she had lost. She had lost. To Armaan. The diamond she had was fake. He had reached there before her.
 
 
The tables had truly turned.
 
***************************************************
 
Armaan watched her slowly retreat back to her car, shoulders slumped in dissappointment, anger, confusion and sadness. Armaan loved that sight. The sight of a broken Ridhima. It gave him a feeling of triumph, a feeling of victory. Although the real victory was yet to be attained.
 
 
 
Time for retribution, thought Armaan as Ridhima's sat into her car and started the engine. He withdrew a 50 Euro note from the right pocket of his jeans and held it up for the old man sitting next to him, "Buzz off" he said to him without looking at him. The old man gladly took the note and within seconds he was on his way back to the restuarant where he served as a waiter.
 
 
 
Armaan too, started his engine and began following Ridhima's car. Halfway through, she turned right towards what seemed like an isolated street. There were hardly any humans to be seen except for a few people who seemed to be taking night-walks. The only source of luminescence was the faint orangish yellow light of the street lights.
 
 
 
Suddenly, Ridhima stopped her car near a large tree and turned the engine off. She got out of the car and kicked the bark of the tree hard, " DAMN !" She swore loudly and ran an agitated hand through her hair, "What the hell ?! she shouted loudly, "I went through so much shit to get myself a bloody fake diamond ? And to be outwitted by whom ? Someone like Armaan !"
 
 
 
"Did I just hear my name ?" enquired an apparently calm voice from behind her. Ridhima swung around in surprise as his voice caught her off-guard. She didn't know she was being watched. But this time, she wasn't surprised or shocked to see him, as he seemed to be wherever she went nowadays, more like a shadow, thought Ridhima sarcastically.
 
 
 
"So now you're eavesdropping on me ?" she asked, her voice shaking with rage, "What..Now I am not even allowed to crib in private ?"
 
 
 
Armaan simply smiled at her and said, "Oh no...you just seemed upset about your defeat. I just came to see whether your defeat crunched your ambition to compete with me again or not" He repeated the exact same words that she had said to him in the cafe, except that now each word exuded 10 times more sarcasm that it did when it was said originally.
 
 
 
Ridhima seemed in no mood to have a verbal tiff with him, "Just cut the crap, will you ? If you're here to simply harrass me about the so called 'defeat', then you might aswell can buzz off" she spat at him and turned around, placing her hands on her waist.
 
 
 
Armaan shrugged in a 'I-could-care-less' manner and said, "Ok..If that's what you wish" He turned around to leave and then stopped midway, "By the way" He started, turning to face her back once again, "I liked your french attire, you actually looked hot. It's a shame that all of it went waste into stealing a fake diamond"
 
 
 
He started to walk away, when Ridhima's voice stopped him once again, "How did you do it ?"
 
 
 
"What ?" Armaan turned around to find her standing face to face with him. She took a few steps closer and asked, "I asked, how did you do it ? How did you steal the diamond ?"
 
 
 
Armaan's lips curved into a half smile and he looked at her with an arched eye-brow, "You really don't think I'm gonna tell you that, do you ?"
 
 
 
Ridhima sighed in final defeat, "No, I don't". She walked towards her car and pulled out the handbag in which the fake diamond was kept. She extracted it out of her bag was walked back to Armaan, "Here..Keep your fake diamond to yourself" she said in a low voice and dumped it in Armaan's hands.
 
 
 
He gave her a crooked grin and said, "So that it doesn't remind you of your defeat ?"
 
 
 
She gave him a menacing glare and through clenched teeth, uttered, "Get lost"
 
 
 
Armaan winked at her and finally walked back to his car, with the fake diamond in his hand. Ridhima looked at his departing figure and sighed, Better luck next time Ridhima, she thought and slowly walked to her car, feeling completely drained of her energy after the day's events.
 
 
 
*****************************************
 
 
Armaan saw the car fading out of view. Real victory has been attained, his thought-process coming back into action, this was fun. Poor woman didn't even realize that she just let go of her most prized posession, He sighed, I should do this more often, where others do all the work and I get the returns.  
 
 
 
He thought of how foolish Ridhima had been to believe him so easily. He knew she would eavesdrop on his conversation with the waiter from a restaurant, whom he had made to look like some professor who had helped him in his mission. And she had fallen for it. She had actually believed that the diamond she had was fake, while it was the real diamond all along. She didn't realize that Armaan had never stolen the diamond before her, he was simply waiting for her to appear in the parking lot so that he could start his drama. 
 
 
 
He let out a loud laugh as he thought of the things Ridhima had to go through to finally get the diamond, and then lose it within a matter of minutes. It is true...One's mind is capable of producing and solving a complex web, but when it comes to a simple web, we melt into a pile of goo, he thought, the wide smirk still lingering on his face.
 
 
 
But something told him that this wasn't the last time that he crossed paths with Ridhima, he knew that he had just confirmed the rivalry between them, which otherwise was subtle. Now it was out in the open. And he was enjoying every minute of it. He had finally found out a real rival. He just hoped that she would read his small love letter.  
 
 
***************************************
 
 
Ridhima banged her car door shut and started walking towards her flat when her eyes caught something. A letter was lying on the passenger seat of her car, What's this ? why hadn't I noticed this before ? She thought as she opened the door to retrieve it, Perhaps I was too flipped to notice it, she whispered to herself as she began to it, confusion clearly visible on her face.
 
 
 
Dear Ridhima,
 
Thanks for the diamond. I must say I liked the story that you put together. Alas, the climax turned out to be a little warped. I shall fulfill your desire to get the right amount for this diamond, except that you won't get your share.
 
Lots of love
Armaan.
 


Edited by -Neetz- - 17 July 2009 at 5:53am

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Robin_M

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Posted: 05 November 2008 at 9:33pm | IP Logged
haha wow armaan and ridz as cons?!? very catchy concept! do continue!

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