Joined: 02 December 2008
As he crossed the 41st and Granville Street, in front of her parked car at the red light; his luscious, golden ' brown hair swayed from his angelic looking face to the air. The wind was strong today. Supposedly there was to be some gigantic storm arriving from the east end. She stared at him in agony of herself. He was the most gorgeous looking thing she had ever seen! As the light turned green, her father stepped on the gas pedal, and the car began to move. She turned her head around to see him once more, but he had been lost amongst the huge line up at the bus stop. She quickly turned around in her dismay, and sat there silently hoping this day would come to an end.
Once again, as always, it was the time in the week when she saw her psychiatrist. When she was just a mere child, she had witnessed a murder in her back alley, which had traumatized her for life. Every time she would close her eyes, she would regain those images of the shooting, the grin on the murderer's face, the blood flowing down the alley gutter, and of course, the dead body.
These frightening images had made their way into my head, and had made me feel "insecure about myself", as stated by Ms.Keerti, my sweet but extremely talkative physiatrist.
"So how are you feeling today, Riddhima?" Keerti chirped.
"Um'Keerti, I prefer being called Riddhima, and there's nothing wrong with me," we always started these kinds of days like this. She would ask me what was wrong, and I would tell her I have no problem. It had become sort of like a tradition now!
"Oh right'Riddhima. Well then, Ridhima, if there was no problem, then you'd never be sitting in my office! Now, tell me if you had those dreams again from the last time we met to now?"
"Maybe I'm being forced to sit here by my dad! Did that ever occur to you? Maybe I'm completely and utterly normal and perfect! But yah, to answer your question'I did have those visions once, but they didn't come to me as a dream'I just remembered them while watching the news about some two teenagers getting killed in the gang business'"
"Honey, never think of yourself abnormal! You are on the top for the normality rates! Your visions of seeing murder is something ANY ONE would face if he or she saw something so non-vital in their childhood! But you aren't an adult yet'you're only 16 for goodness' sake! And in no time, you won't have to bear me and you can completely close my door and never look in its direction again! That's the goal we've set for ourselves, right?"
She had always wanted that goal. Ever since she saw that murder take place, and then her mother's death a few years ago; it had just added more trauma to her life. She was turning 17 in about six months, and yet she was afraid to look at herself in the mirror. When her father had told her that she looked exactly like her mother'she had completely stopped looking at herself, because she just reminded her of her mother. It was a crazy thing to not look at yourself, but everyday she felt more and more ugly. If it weren't for her maid, Lucinda, then she wouldn't have been wearing her dark brown hair in two French braids that were perfectly done up.
I suppose Keerti noticed that I was looking at one of my braids that ended right before the dark spot of my breast, because she said, "Who always does your hair? I've noticed that every time we see each other, you always have a different hair style, and it's always over perfection!"
"One of my dad's workers, Lucinda'"
"Oh yes! But of course! You're maid'she's a very pleasant woman to be around! Always cheerful and enthusiastic! I wonder how she keeps her mood up 24/7?!?" Keerti and my dad had started dating last year. That was another reason why I didn't like coming here. Because she knew EVERYTHING about me'and I knew NOTHING about her. I didn't mind my dad dating her. She was pretty, athletic, smart, well ' settled, rich, fun to be around, and never optimistic. Yet it did pain me sometimes, to see them both so happy together and laughing. Those moments reminded me of my mother, and made the whole depression mode come back and never leave. Yet, they both were perfect for each other. She completed my dad perfectly, and vice versa. I know that some other girl would feel jealous and annoyed that her single dad was getting re-married. A normal girl would feel like she's getting replaced, or maybe her actual mother's value is diminishing'but I was not a normal girl. I wouldn't let my depression that was killing me, kill others too.
"Did I say something wrong? You've become quiet all of a sudden'"
"No Keerti, I was just thinking about something else." After that, there was a long, awkward, silent pause. The only things I could hear were the cars honking away madly outside her Downtown office.
"Riddhima, dear, are you busy next weekend? Let's say next Saturday?"
That was an unusual question. Of course I was busy on Saturday! I had been busy every, single Saturday of my life, because I always had these stupid appointments with her. Yet, I can't entirely blame her for keeping me busy. I always had the rest of the whole day to myself. Unfortunately I just never made any friends or had any cousins or family around my age to hang out with. It was the summer, no school, and like always, I would spend it sitting at home watering my dad's enormous garden.
"It depends on what you're thinking. I have this meeting in the morning, and if you can bribe me enough with something good, I think I can fit you into my schedule then'" trying to act as if I really had a life.
She laughed her head off at my mafia ' Italian accent and the quieted down. "Well, I was thinking'after our regular appointment'maybe if you wanted, you could come over to my house and we could do something fun together! If you want, you could sleepover and we could have a whole "girl's night out" party together! Your father is coming to my house anyways for dinner" she blushed, but continued, "So after he's done, you could stay with me if you like, or you can leave with you father. That's totally up to you!"
She sounded like a five year old who was excited on receiving the largest lollipop in the world; so I couldn't break her heart. Even though my heart sank a dozen times beneath the Earth's layer when I heard her say that my dad was coming over to her place. At that moment I had a vision of them both naked. I quickly shook my head to get the image out. GROSS.
"Of course I'd love to!" trying to sound as cheerful and cute as her. It didn't really work.
She frowned at me and continued, "Riddhima, you can't hide your emotions from me'I've known you for years! You're upset about that fact that your father is coming over to my place, right?"
Wow, she was dead on, but I wouldn't give in so easily, "Riddhima! Don't ever say anything like that again! If there's anyone happy about you two dating, then that's me! I couldn't be happier at my dad's decision!" That really melted her, and she began to smile and shed a tear or two. I handed her the tissues and she gave me a huge hug.
"Ok'well, if that's all right with you! Well, I wasn't sure if you'd like to spend that kind of time with me, so I also had one other offer set aside for you in case of backup!"
"Hah, ok try me'"
"Well, my friend and her husband are going for their third honeymoon, and their son, who is about your age'I think he might be a year or two older. Anyways, they were leaving him alone in the house for about two weeks. Now, you know teenage boys, I don't think anyone would trust him alone in that house. My friend said that she was sure that he'd rampage the whole furniture with a party or something'So I was wondering if you'd like to stay at that house with him. You're very responsible, and I know that you'd be able to handle any situation that came in front of you!"
I couldn't believe what she was saying! She wanted me to stay at a house for TWO WEEKS with a guy MY AGE by MYSELF without any PARENTALS to make sure he wouldn't throw a party?? Had she gone mad? What if I got raped? Or what if I got pregnant? Shubhankar, my dad, would never agree to this.
"I've talked to Shubhankar about this, and he doesn't seem to have any problem. Actually the Johnsons are clients of his, and he knows them very well. He actually said that you and their son used to play together when you both were younger! But I suppose you don't remember that, because you were only about seven or eight."
SHUBHANKAR HAD AGREED TO THIS? I never saw that one coming. But, I guess this offer was better than going through torture of smiling consistently for Keerti and her whole "girls ' night ' out" party.
"I think I'll take the boy in the house deal then'" she smiled at Keerti, not because she found herself feeling sexually happy, but for the fact that she could lock herself in one of the Johnson's rooms for two weeks and cry in bed without having anyone disturb her. Obviously Keerti thought her smile was a genuine one, and gave her another hug full of "overload happiness".
Now all she had to do was get home, pack her tissues and ring that stupid door bell that awaited her alone time.
Chapter 2 ~ A New Surprise.
Her dad stopped the car and walked around its front to open Keerti's door. She climbed out with her yellow, sunflower summer dress and a golden straw hat. Her blonde hair was hanging loosely on her back from underneath her hat and she had sexy looking black shades on her eyes. While she retrieved her purse from the front passenger seat, my dad opened the door for me and I stepped out. They both turned around and frowned. I was wearing my favorite sweatpants, with my dark navy sweat shirt. My hair was done up by me today in a messy, uncombed bun at the back of my neck, and I was wearing sneakers. Overall, I had tried to hide every part of my body to my best attempt.
Keerti walked over to where I was standing and frowned at me once more. I wouldn't blame her. If I was as happy about life as her, and saw some stupid kid wearing winter clothing in 30 degrees Celsius weather; I would be disappointed too. She quickly took my hood off from my head and pulled my sweatshirt off, revealing a lacy, black tank top that I was planning to sleep in right away once the whole introductions was over and I was locked in my room.
"Hey! Ouch!" I yelled, but she didn't listen. She threw my sweatshirt into the trunk that my dad was standing near. He looked as surprised as I did, with the sudden movement Keerti was showing. She opened my suitcase and took out two new blue, sparkly, expensive looking flip flops.
She made me sit down on the back passenger seat of the red Honda Convertible, and took my sneakers and socks off. "I was planning to give you these later as a surprise, but I think we're going to have to use them now for this emergency case. She slid them onto my feet and smiled at me warmly.
"This is not necessary!"
"Oh yes it is! First impressions mean EVERYTHING!" she smiled broader and then did something I never thought anyone would do except for myself and my future lover. She pulled the elastic of my sweatpants out and peaked at what was underneath. I blushed extremely and pulled myself away.
"What was that for??" I asked, feeling outraged for the violation of my privacy and embarrassment. She helped me climb out of car and then, as I suspected, pulled my sweatpants off. Underneath, thankfully, was a pair of black and white striped shorts that ended just a few inches below my private area. Thank god I shaved my legs.
"What do you think?"Keerti asked Shubankar.
"Hmmm'impressive, but it's still missing something'"
Keerti took off her hot, sexy black shades and placed them before my eyes. She looked at me from different angles, circling me, and then stop and laughed. "And that was your special edition of: TOTAL MAKEOVER!"
Keerti and Shubankar both laughed'and laughed'and laughed'.until water came out of their eyes. This was embarrassing. I picked up my suitcase from the trunk of the car, and started walking towards the huge Iron Gate. I pressed the security button, and a sweet, melodic voice replied, "Yes?"
"Um'hi, this is Riddhima. I'm supposed to be staying at this house with the Johnson's boy for two weeks'" I couldn't think of what else to say. I might have said a better introduction of myself, if it weren't for the annoying distraction of Keerti and Shubankar laughing near the car. Seriously, it wasn't THAT funny, was it?
"Please wait..." the soothing voice replied, "May I have you name again?"
"Full name please?"
"Argh'I'm sorry but I only like to use the name, Riddhima"
"Very well, you may enter." At that exact moment, the gate opened, revealing the biggest mansion Riddhima had seen so far in her life. It was even larger that hers. It was a huge, white house covered with wines of Ivy leaves, which brought out patterns along the walls. There was a gigantic angel statue fountain in the center of the drive that sprinkled different colored water in every direction. The lawn stretched out on either sides revealing a border of trees and flowers. The driveway circled around the angel fountain and ended at these two huge brass doors. Once she stepped onto the driveway, it felt as though she had died and this was God's Heaven.
She walked along the grey paved driveway, carrying her light suitcase. She had only packed a few pieces of clothing and her toiletries. The only heavy objects in her suitcase were her books from school that she enjoyed reading over and over again. She also packed some lingerie that her grandmother, Grandma, had gifted her for her sweet 16. She had told her, while she was opening the gift, that she had had sex at the age of 16, and that now I might need a pair of my own, because "you never know'" My father had then looked at his mother in a disapproving look. But that was just Grandma.
She looked behind her to see the Iron Gates closed. Shubankar and Keerti had probably already left. She could tell that this was their little scheme. She was distracted at a mansion with a boy her age, while Keerti and Shubankar would get some alone time in a bedroom.
She turned around and knocked on the heavy brass doors. When no one answered, she thought of knocking again, when she realized there was a doorbell. She rang it two times and waited once more. Finally the sounds of the unlocking of locks from the other side were heard and the door flew open.
It was him; THE BOY THAT ALWAYS CROSSED THE 41st AND GRANVILLE INTERSECTION ON SATURDAY WHEN SHE WAS GOING TO MEET KEERTI. She stopped in her tracks and realized that she had forgotten how to breathe. She quickly took a deep breath and controlled herself before she fainted.
He was wearing black slacks with white vertical striped lines running down his long legs. His golden ' brown hair was reflecting magnificently against the sun's hot rays. His chest was bare and revealed hours of working out and fitness. If she was mistaken, he even had a six ' pack!
His eyes wandered from her ruby red colored toe nails to her clean shaven pale legs, up her small pelvic area, along her lacy black tank top to her full breasts and right to her face. He liked what he saw, and he tilted his head and smiled through his eyes. He knew that women loved the way he smiled. He had been told several times that girls would do anything for him to just smile at them. He was full of himself, and he was not afraid to admit it. But he had never seen brunette look to sexy and hot at the same time. He had the urge to lean over and touch her perfect body, but he retained himself to look casual.
"If you don't mind me asking, but what's a pretty girl like you, doing at my door step?"
He thought she was pretty. She could not handle anymore. She put her suitcase on the ground and smiled as warmly as she could back at him. "I heard you needed some babysitting, so I came for the money'"
"Looking at your flip flops, I don't think you came here for the money" He lifted one of his eyebrows and stared down at her shows. Those were some pretty expensive flip flops. They were Justin Fabulous Flip Flops; no ordinary woman could just wear those.
Feeling embarrassed she replied, "Oh these? You can borrow them sometime if you like'" It was a stupid comeback, but that was all she could think of. Apparently he found that funny and began to laugh.
"It's ok; I already have a pair of my own'"
"Why am I not surprised? Looking at your mansion, I'd say you have a dozen more."
"I could show you them, if you'd care to step inside, first of all?"
She hadn't realized that she was still standing outside with her suitcase at her side and he in the doorway. She blushed, and removed her sunglasses from her eyes. She placed them on top of her head keeping her bangs from falling on her face.
Her eyes were a striking blue and green mixture of color. She had obtained them from her mother's family through genetics.
One she looked up at him with those eyes, he felt his knees wobble. They were gorgeous. Just like every other part of her. He felt his mouth drop open, but retained it before she could notice. He gulped in a load of saliva and picked up her suitcase. He made room for her to step into the house. As she crossed him, he smelt a tinge of strawberry lotion. It was mesmerizing.
The house was 1000X more heavenly inside than outside; which at that moment seemed impossible after viewing the exteriors. It was basically a combination of yellow, maroon and white. It was skillfully spaced out, in which it looked even larger. There was a spiraling staircase, carpeted in maroon leather which led to the next floor.
"Wow." Is all she could come up with, while feeling hypnotized by its beauty.
"Hah, wow is right," he said smugly, "but it does get lonely once in a while'"
She sensed a bit of agony in his voice, "Lonely? What do you mean?"
"With my parents always out of town, it gets hard to live here by yourself. Especially when you think of watching a scary movie, and then it seems like there's a murderer hiding in every corner!"
She flinched at the word "murderer". She closed her ears, as she remembered the screams of the man who had been killed in her alley. She began getting visions of the scene taking place, and fell to her knees. She probably looked like an idiot, but couldn't stop the screaming from echoing in her ears.
He automatically remembered Keerti telling him about her childhood trauma, and cursed himself inside his head. You Idiot! Help her!
He fell down beside her and tried to pull her hands off her ears. She began to cry and looked up at him in embarrassment. He felt so idiotic for saying such a stupid joke. He had caused her pain. She began to cry and buried her face in her hands.
Without thinking, he quietly wrapped his arms around her and brought her close to his bare chest. For a moment they sat there in silence. The only sound which could be heard was their breathing which had started to act in unison.
His chest was warm like the sun's heat on her head. She buried her face in his chest. She knew this would make things awkward for them after, but she could think of the consequences later. She really wanted to kiss his perfect strong chest; but retained herself from doing so. Quietly she pushed away from him and his beautiful body and wiped away her tears.
"Are you alright?" he asked, feeling stupid for the way he had just messed up things.
"Yes I'm fine now. Sorry you had to see that. I promise it won't happen again."
"No please, you don't have to promise anything. Just let me have a warning next time, so that I can have my pants off too when I hug you again'" he smiled at his naughty joke, not knowing how she would react to it.
"HAH! When you see me taking my clothes off; then consider it as a warning." She winked at him shyly and walked towards an unknown room. Luckily it had turned out to be the kitchen.
He walked right after her. She had made a naughty joke back. Good, now he could be himself without worrying what the other person might think or say. She propped herself up on a high stool around the massive counter and folder her arms upon it.
"I'm hungry. What's on the menu?"
"Well'" he opened the fridge, not knowing himself what was on the menu, "We have eggs, onions, peppers and a bit of cheese left. Other than that, we have a lot of wine!" He smiled and nodded towards the huge cabinet stacked with wine bottles; most likely a collection belonging to his parents. She smiled and nodded in agreement.
"Cheese, onions, peppers and eggs'did you say?" She loved to cook and bake. Ever since her mother died, she always helped Lucinda in the kitchen with making meals.
"Yes, that's exactly right."
"I suppose I can work with that'what do you think about omelette with onion, pepper and cheese stuffing?"
"Perfect, then I'll get right to work'after I take a shower!"
"Oh yes! I'll show you your room!"
They walked upstairs and onto the second floor. It was all wooden themed and cottage ' looking. It didn't even feel like it belonged to the same house! We walked down the hallway full of doors along either side, and then stopped in front of the last two. He signaled for the one on the right and smiled. She opened it and saw his room. It was beautiful with maroon curtains, walls covered with posters, a bed in the center and sports gear everywhere. His closet was covered with sports posters that famous athletes had signed on.
"This is OUR room, my love'" She froze on the spot and looked at him with wide eyes. OUR ROOM? WHAT WAS THIS?
"KIDDING!" he looked shocked to see her frozen expression. "This is my room'and your room is this other one right across from it!" He signaled with his eyes to room on the left'and she let out a sigh.
"Ha'ha'I knew that Romeo!" even though she had taken him seriously. She opened it to find a large room themed with white and yellow colors. It was beautiful because it looked exactly like a $2000/ night hotel room; absolutely magnificent. "I love it." She repeated to herself about a dozen times.
"Good. I knew you'd like it. Who wouldn't right?" he smiled in his cocky way and put her suitcase on the bed.
She rushed to see the attached bathroom, and then couldn't believe what she saw. It was the size of her bedroom at home. All white with a humongous Jacuzzi in the center made out of green marble. She almost wanted to cry. She ran back into the room to hug him and tell him he had made her day, but he was nowhere to be found. Oh well, she would tell him that during dinner then. Just looking at this all felt relaxing. She couldn't wait to lock her new door and stay in this gigantic room for two whole weeks. This all seemed better than a vacation! Now she had something to look forward to! Her very own Jacuzzi! She went to the door and locked it. Then she went to her suitcase and opened it.
OH MY GOD. NO SHE DIDN'T! NOOOO!! Riddhima sat there on her bed feeling betrayed. She should have seen this coming! Why else was there a pair of expensive flip flops in her suitcase, when she never even put them there?! Keerti had totally repacked her suitcase with designer clothing and new accessories for her to wear! The only piece of attire that Keerti had left remaining from her previously packed items was Grandma's birthday present: lingerie. DAMN IT. WHERE IS ALL MY BLACK CLOTHING??? She felt so violated. Even her perfectly durable underwear was replaced by lacy thongs! Wait till Shubankar hears about this, she thought to herself.
For the next hour, she took a relaxing, nice, hot bath in her new Jacuzzi.
HERE'S THE THIRD PART!!! SORRY GUYS I CAN'T PM RIGHT NOW!BUT I'LL START DOING THAT ASAP! THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Chapter 3 ~ Paradise.
After finishing the dinner I had made a few minutes ago, we quietly chose which wine we wanted to try tonight, and drank it in harmony. Finally I wished him goodnight and then went upstairs to my new chamber. He said he was going to watch a bit of television first, and then go to sleep. I quietly nodded and then went upstairs to my room, which was awaiting my good night's sleep.
I undressed in silence and then put on the skin revealing night suits that Keerti had packed for me. Before hiding in my heavy quilt, I put off my pink fluffy robe with my matching pink fluffy slippers. Then, I lay in my bed, trying to get some sleep, but was not able to. The volume at which the TV was playing downstairs was unbearable. I groaned in my fake apathy and then went downstairs to scream my head off at the gorgeous beast that sat underneath.
Once I stepped into the room, his head turned around, and his mouth dropped open. I quickly looked down at my body and noticed I had forgotten to put my robe back on! I stared back him in silence, while he obviously checked my body out. He turned off the TV and got up from the one chair couch. I gulped in some saliva so that my mouth wouldn't go dry on me in case I had to yell, "Help!"
I noticed that his breathing had started going unsteady. Was I dreaming this all? I backed up against the books. There was a large mirror behind him against the wall. That was when I really saw what I was wearing! IT WAS GRANDMA'S BLACK LINGERIE! OH NO. I took in a deep breath?the top was see through, but fortunately there were diamond designs on the areas where my nipples were.
He came closer and smiled. He then quietly pushed his bare chest towards me, enclosing the remaining distance. One of his hands slid down to my hand and he intertwined our fingers. The other hand slid behind my back to my lower waist and pushed me toward his private area. Both of our breaths had become short and quick. I swallowed hard and closed my eyes.
WOW. This was just the FIRST night, and already we were at the stage of sex. This was not good, not good at all. My leg automatically curled around his body, and he pressed himself closer to the spilt of my legs.
"Wait?" I tried to say, but nothing more was coming out of my mouth. He pressed himself closer to me, until my body felt numb and I had no control on myself. NO. I WAS NOT GOING TO LET HIM USE ME LIKE THIS. And with that thought, I pushed myself away from him, gasping for air.
"What's wrong?" he looked bewildered.
"What's wrong? WHAT'S WRONG? We're 16, and we were going to have SEX! THAT'S WHAT'S WRONG!" I heard myself screaming at him, and calmed down instantly. He looked at me confused and came closer.
"What are you saying? Don't you want this?" he was confused. He had thought that she had wanted this all along.
"Then why'd you come downstairs at 1:00am in a sexy, lacy, black lingerie piece?" she hadn't noticed the time before coming downstairs?was it really 1am?
"I JUST FORGOT TO PUT MY ROBE ON, THAT'S ALL! You shouldn't have let your mind go straight to physical activity!"
"I think that any guy, who saw you in that in the middle of the night, would assume that!"
"Well I'm S-O-R-R-Y?but I'm not a slut."
"I never called you one. I just said you look sexy. Not all sluts look sexy, you know" He smirked at his lame comeback and stepped closer towards her. She didn't seem to notice that.
"Well thank you?but I don't think I can believe that statement, coming from a guy who thinks of himself too much." Wow, she had noticed his cockiness. This made him want her even more.
"Hah?so I'm the **** now, huh?"he stepped even closer, again she didn't notice.
"I believe so."
"Do you like cocks?" Gross, that was the naughtiest joke she'd heard him say so far. How was she supposed to reply to that? How was she supposed to say something that made him feel guilty, yet showed to him that she was very much love with him?
"Yah, I like *****, but not yours." Wow, she had done much more of an impressive job than she thought she could have done.
"OH SHIT. You did not just say that!" wow, he took offense!
"And what if I did?" She was not going to let her guard down so easily. He liked her body, and he liked the way she tackled things. He wanted her, but if he could not have her in the way he wanted, he would be willing to accept her as a friend. But no matter what, he needed her to have something with him, either sex or friendship.
"I want you. I need you." WHAT WAS HE SAYING? He had never said those words to anyone! Not even his parents! What was wrong with him?? Now she would surely never even want to look at his face! He regretted saying those six words and then put his head down to show his shame. To his surprise she actually laughed!
"Are you serious?" she couldn't stop laughing. That was the funniest thing she had ever heard! This six foot, gorgeous, football player, genius and sexually attractive guy wanted HER! This was hilarious.
"Why are you laughing?"
"That was funny; I'm not going to lie. Good joke. Anyways, the reason why I came down here was that I need you to turn the volume down a bit, because I'm not being able to sleep."
How he wished that she had actually asked him to join her to sleep, but why would a beautiful, attractive girl like her want to be with him? He had never had a girl like him for who he was. There were some girls that did like him for his personality, but whenever they would find out about his secret, then they would fear him. Usually then he had to hit their head hard enough, so that they would forget everything and never tell anyone about his family's secret. He wondered what she might say if she were to find out. He quieted down his thoughts, and stepped closer to her.
"What if I wasn't joking?" He put on his charm and stepped closer to her. So close, that now there was only a hand's distance between them from touching chests.
He swallowed salvia loudly and bumped back against the wall again. I came closer to her now and placed both my hands onto her waist. This was just what I needed. I needed her to be with me. I could tell this was the one. This was the one that would help me to come back to my normal level again. This one would teach me how to be human again.
She looked into my soul with her piercing green eyes. I stopped breathing right there.
"Why are you doing this?" she asked innocently.
"What do you mean?"
"All this?you don't really want to do this?What are you trying to prove?"
"I don't understand a word you're saying."
"Oh come on! Please don't think I'm that nave or stupid! YOU HAVN'T EVEN TOLD ME YOUR NAME!" he was hoping she wouldn't have noticed that?but unfortunately she did. She was too aware of her surroundings. What name would he make up now? He'd have to tell her the name that Keerti knew him by.
"My name is Peter."?Peter?wow, it sounded heavenly while he said it. She loved it. But she wouldn't let her guard down. It was obvious to her now that all he wanted from her was sex. Now she would not allow for him to take advantage. She still remembered her values. Parents, or no parents, she still had to stick to her self-respect.
"Peter, is it? Great, now that we know each other's names, we can have sex, right?" Was that all she wanted to know in order to have sex, he thought. Wow, in that case, they could have started making love on the second she stepping into the house and he closed the door.
"Well, if you want to, we can." He smiled again, while staring deep into those ocean-colored eyes. She looked away this time, trying to regain her defenses.
"Please stop making this more difficult for me." He replied to her turning away from his face.
"MORE DIFFICULT FOR YOU? What do you mean?!? I'm the one that should be saying that, since I don't agree to this!"
"You don't agree to this?" he was confused now. Did she not want him that way? All the others did.
"NO!" she was outraged. He had assumed her to be sex ? deprived. Maybe that was what he thought when she cried in the hallway earlier?he thought that she was trying to force herself from not sexually harassing him! This was pathetic, did he really think she was THAT desperate?
"Ok?What do you want then?"
"I want you to turn down your TV's volume and let me go to my room so that I can peacefully sleep. Then I want you to never show your face to me again!" She really didn't mean the last request. She actually wanted him to follow her to her room, so that she could jump on top of her handsome body and make it hers to keep. But she was not that selfish. Plus, she still needed to keep a distance.
"Oh." He seemed to have misinterpreted her, "Ok, well, good night then." He let go of her and walked back to the couch and sat down on it like previously. Then he switched the TV back on and began watching it with a lower volume.
So, that was it then. What should she do now? Stupidly turn around and walk back to her room. No, she had hurt his feelings. She was not ready to give him what he wanted. They barely knew each other! But she was willing to give him a kiss! She had always wanted to feel his lips, every time he would cross that street at the intersection on Saturdays. She had always wanted to step out of her car and walk up to him to ask where he was going, or what he was doing. So she took up all the courage she had left in her for that night, and walked over to the television and switched it off.
He stared at her feeling confused. Did she not want to go back to sleep? Was she having second thoughts now about them making love? Finally after they awkwardly starred at each other; he could not stop his eyes from scanning her breasts and her long, soft looking legs. He badly wanted to see what was under that bottom piece of her scandalous night gown.
He quickly focused again at her face and asked, "Was there something I was supposed to do that I forgot? Am I supposed to walk you to your chamber and tuck you good night?" as annoyed he was trying to sound; he was in fact happy that she had enough control to push him away.
"Actually?a tucking in good night doesn't sound so bad?"
She was dead serious. She wanted him to tuck her in good night! He wanted to laugh badly, but stopped himself. This was no time to make fun of her. She was tired and grumpy.
They walked upstairs in silence and then into her bedroom. She sat upon the bed like a china doll and then starred up at him. The white sheets of the bed against her pale skin and black, lacy lingerie looked irresistible to touch. But he retained himself. He came closer to her.
She dropped her from on top of her bed to the ground. He sat down beside her, feeling tired from the whole day's adventure. They sat there in silence. The grandfather clock chimed from downstairs indicating that it had struck 2:00am in the morning.
"Are you not tired?" he asked in curiosity.
"Are YOU not tired?" she actually did not feel tired at all?but she wasn't sure how to answer that to him.
"Ha-ha?not really." He looked up at her and smiled once more.
"How can you NOT be tired? Do you work?"
"Um?well, I don't think you can call it 'work'?but in a sense...yes I do."
She laughed at this, "What do you do? Sell drugs?"
He laughed at her innocence and patted her lap in humor, "Don't we all?"
She felt the sudden rush of erectness run through her pulse when his hand touched her thigh. She backed away slightly, but continued to smile to show as if nothing had happened. She wanted him to touch her again; or for her to touch him. She could not resist any more, she had to tell him.
"You look so fragile and breakable." She had no idea where that came from.
WOW. She thought HE looked fragile and breakable! That was the biggest joke ever! He laughed out loud in her mind, but politely smiled in return to her statement.
"What makes you think that?"
She blushed, but didn't answer the question, "Don't you ever feel cold? I mean you always have your shirt off! I'm freezing! I just took my robe off to sleep comfortably, but when I came downstairs," she paused for a second thinking about their scene downstairs, "?But when I came downstairs to talk to you, I couldn't stop shivering."
He smiled at her gently and then stretched his arms out. When he put his hands back onto the bed, he accidentally placed one on top of hers. They sat there for a moment, until she slipped it out from underneath. Her smile faded and she looked out the window. The moonlight was pouring into the room. He only had about four more hours left, until the city started coming up with more problems.
He leaned in closer towards her. She jerked her head in his direction and they both touched noses. They sat there for a while, and he watched drew his eyes to every curve and shape on her face. She was a beautiful sculpture made alive. The intimacy grew, and the only light in the room came from the white sun. He drew in her smell and concentrated on her eyes. She slowly closed them and waited for him to take action. He followed her order and thought carefully. He only had a few seconds to do something before it was too late.
No, I can't do this. I can't ruin her life because of my selfish needs and desires. She still has so much to learn and live. I can't possibly do this to her. She's so gentle and selfless. No, I can't. He thought about it once more, and then moved his head towards her neck and kissed it.
Her skin was moist from sweat. He loved it. She was wet and wonderful. He kissed her again on the neck. He wanted more. He began to kiss across her neck, taking his lips to the other side where he hadn't gone yet. Then he took his hand and pulled her strap down. He could kiss her anywhere he wanted, just not the lips. He could kill her, if he kissed her there.
He pulled her strap down and stood up on his knees on the bed. She also lifted herself to her knees and placed her free hands into his hair; curling it and soothing it back according to the way their bodies moved.
All of a sudden, Riddhima opened her eyes in shock. WHAT WAS SHE DOING? She had no idea who he was! She let go of him and sat down, cross-legged.
He looked very confused, she would be too if she was in his place, "What's wrong? Did I do something bad?"
"No...it's just me..." he had heard this line before when his previous girlfriend was about to dump him.
"What do you mean?" he looked stern now.
"Nothing...it's just...I think I should go to sleep..." she really wanted to kiss him more, especially on the lips, but for some reason she felt afraid.
"You want to sleep?"
"Um..." what was she saying? Of course she didn't want to sleep! Yet, she didn't want to do what he wanted either. "I'm just confused..." she decided to say how she really felt. He surprisingly hugged her and kissed her forehead. He knew exactly how she felt. He had felt this way many years ago himself. They stayed there, hugging, with his lips rested on her forehead for a while. Secretly, they both wanted this moment to last forever.
HERE'S PART 4!!!
Chapter 4 ~ Needs and Wants.
They continued to sit there for a while in each other's arms...until a random thought occurred to her. She looked up at him with a bewildered expression.
"What's wrong?" his sexy smile disappeared to reveal a disappointed frown.
Then is occurred to her that they hadn't kissed on the lips once! He had gone straight to her chest! What was happening here?!
"Why haven't we kissed lips yet?" she asked.
DAMN IT. He was used to this question. Every time he tried to get close to a girl (in this case only two so far besides her) they would always ask that question. They would always assume that he was only interested in kissing their bodies instead of kissing them directly on their lips, where it counted the most. He did not want to lose this one. She had brought a hope in him. She had reminded him of his careless and stress-free life before the accident that changed his life.
"I thought you wanted to go directly to the point. Isn't that how you like things?" He smiled to cover his hope that she would let the topic slip. He quickly went back to sucking her chest more rapidly so that she could get distracted. It seemed to work.
"That's not the point to my question," she would not let him distract her, even though the sucking had given her an urge to suck his dick. The clock chimed 4am in the morning from the kitchen downstairs.
His hands stopped playing around with her tiny curly hairs and he pushed his lips away from her body. He locked her arms above her head and searched deep within her eyes. She stared right back up at him without shame and searched for an answer.
"Well?" she provoked.
"Well? Nothing. I just wanted to go straight to place where I wanted you the most." That didn't turn out exactly how he wanted it to, because she seemed hurt.
"So does that mean, that you basically wanted my boobs and lower area instead of me, as a person?" he voice became weak as if she were about to cry. She yanked herself away from him and sat up straight.
Oh no, she's assuming what the others did. This is bad. He thought to himself. He quickly took her shoulders and spun her around to face him. "Never again do I want you to say that I only want you for your body. I want you for being Riddhima, not the girl with large boobs. Do you understand?"
"But then why haven't we kissed on the lips yet?"
"God damn it Riddhima. Is that all you can think of?" he shouted at her, but regretted later when she began to cry. She had the god damn right to know everything, while she sat there in front of him shirtless. "I'm sorry babe. I shouldn't have been so harsh?but it's just?it's complicated. You won't be able to understand."
"You'll never know unless you try me?"
"No honey, I know. No one has been able to understand this yet. Not even my parents."
She seemed more confused after that statement. What was he talking about?
"At least give me one chance."
"I don't want to lose you."
She didn't understand what was going on. Last week she was sitting in her cheerful physiatrist's office, telling her about her murder visions. The next week, she's sitting half naked in front of a guy, whose name she learned about three hours ago, having sex with him in his empty house where both of their parents deserted them for two whole weeks! How was she going to wake up tomorrow and look at herself, not as if she already did?
"We barely know each other! I still can't believe we're having sex! It's only the FIRST NIGHT!!!" she couldn't help herself. She had to state the obvious to him.
"Don't you get what that means? WE WERE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER."
"WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!? WE'RE ONLY SIXTEEN!!! WE'RE NOT EVEN OLD ENOUGH TO GET MARRIED!"
"You don't understand my situation!"
"I don't understand a bloody thing you're saying because you're making no f**king sense."
"Riddhima, calm down. If I tell you the truth, you'll never want to look at me again. Living in the same house for another 13 days will be impossible for you!" he looked as if he were about to cry.
"Are you ok?" I just wanted to hear the truth. It couldn't be as bad as having to make your psychiatrist your best friend, because all the other people your age feared you were going crazy. And to top all that off, having your "best friend" become the girl friend of your single dad.
"No. I'm not ok?I can't take it anymore. Why aren't you exhausted yet?"
She could sense that she had disturbed this moment for the both of them. Everything was going along smoothly, until she insisted to find out why he hadn't kissed her lips yet. Wasn't she satisfied enough to know that he felt a bit of attraction towards her? He had just asked her if she was tired. That was a sign that he might want to leave her now. She had to change his mood again, she could not afford for him to leave her, when he had just felt up her vagina.
"I never get tired when it comes to you, Peter." She tried to say his name with a hint of sexiness, but for some odd reason, he looked even more depressed when she said it. She couldn't think of what else to say. She could not bear to see him looking sad, especially when it had been her to cause him pain.
"Maybe you need some sleep. I was an idiot to rush things?" He motioned to get up, but she held onto his hand and yanked him back onto the bed. He stared at her looking confused. She pushed him down, so that he was now lying. She crossed over his legs and sat in the air at his knees. Then she quietly unzipped him jeans, and slid them off his legs and onto the wooden floor. He looked up at her new expression. She tried to make herself look as sexy as possible.
He couldn't believe what was happening. She lightly brushed her fingers starting from his forehead to his nose, lips, Adam's apple, chest, stomach, belly button and to his waist line, where his expensive looking underwear outlined every aspect of his body that she had not seen yet. She placed both of her hands on his hips around the elastic and began to pull them down. He stopped her and in one movement, switched their positions completely. Now she was lying underneath and he was sitting on top. He smiled at her gorgeously and leaned down to kiss her forehead. She tried to push her head up to meet his lips, but gave up when she realized he didn't want this.
She decided she would let him have his space and gave in to his playful gestures.
"Ok fine. You win, happy now?" she wasn't sure, but either in her sleep or just before she drifted to sleep; she thought she heard him laugh.
HERE'S PART 5!!! thank you for helping me improve from my two previous parts!
Chapter 5 ~ At Home Base.
She awoke to find the bed to herself. He was no longer lying beside her. She checked for the time on the clock pinned to the wall. It read 11:00am. She didn't feel guilty for waking up so late. After all, she had gone to sleep last night at about 5 o'clock in the morning! Six hours was still not enough sleep. She got up, to realize that her bottom piece was still on; which meant that she was still purely virgin. Good.
After spending her time in the washroom, she put some clean clothes and headed downstairs for "brunch". To her surprise, he was not downstairs either. Where could he have gone? Work? She made her way to the kitchen took out a bowl, spoon, milk and cereal. As she was about to sit down on her high stool, that she had selflessly claimed at yesterday's meal, she found his note. It was concealed in an envelope, with her name addressed on the cover.
She sat down and opened it:
I hope your bed was comfortable enough to sleep in. I am sorry for keeping you up so late. Being a host, I've not been able to do my job very properly! Please forgive me if I did anything wrong or against your wishes. I promise it will never happen again...
I'd just like to tell you that last night was beautiful in every way possible. I would love to do it again, if your consent is in it as well. Forgive me for my rude departure without your notice. Actually, some business had arrived, so I had to attend it personally. I shall see you later in the evening. Please be ready by 7:00pm tonight, for we will go out to dinner. I hope to see you soon...
That was the most romantic letter she had ever received in her life. Actually, that was the first and most likely only letter she would receive in her life. In both ways, it was absolutely and utterly priceless. She read over the letter about a dozen times more, analyzing its each sentence and thinking of the significance behind such wording. She had developed a crush on him, and she could no longer hold her feelings together. She was becoming a mess. And she was far away from her original plan; to lock herself in her dream ? like room and cry in the bed that she had made semi-love in last night.
Yet, the bigger problem was to see what she would wear for tonight's evening event! Quickly finishing her meal, she rushed upstairs to see if Keerti had packed any dresses for her. She searched through her suitcase and only found two dresses; both casual wear. She was going to have to go shopping.
She had exactly three hours to find a dress, get back to his house, dress up, apply make-up and do her hair. She quickly crossed the busy street in Downtown, to get across to the cheap priced, but good quality dress store.
As she looked around, worrying about her time limit, the sales lady stepped up and began to say her daily words, "Can I help you Miss?"
She was a stubby, Chinese woman dressed in a two piece, professional, black silk suit with pearl earrings. She had wavy black hair to her shoulders and wore very dark, red lipstick which stuck out on her extremely pale skin.
"Actually, I'm looking for something to wear to an evening dinner?" I replied in the quickest way I could to save time.
"Ahh?I see. Is there a specific color you have in mind?"
"Well, I don't really mind, but anything that looks good with my pale skin!"
"Yes I see, you have very pale skin! Paler than mine!" she took my hand and put it against hers to show the difference. Surprisingly, she was right. I was paler than her. That showed how much time I spent outside in the sun.
"Yes very nice, but I need help, and FAST!"
"Ok, ok. Hmmm?well we have a new collection that came today! Would you like to see those?"
"Sure, why not? Show me."
The lady was right. There were dresses in all colors. But I didn't like most of them. Some of them were too long; some had way too much of a deep neck; some were just plain ugly; whereas some were just too expensive.
Finally the Chinese woman brought out a sleeveless, red dress. It was PERFECT. It ended at my knees, and complimented my body nicely. It fitted me extra right with my curves looking sexy in every direction. Even the neck line was splendid; not revealing any boob area. I liked having them covered, even though it didn't really matter to Peter, since he had already seen them without any cloth covering them.
Since the dress was from an old collection which no one wanted to even to see; I got a great deal and red, matching, Prada shoes along with it for 50% off!
As I finished curling my last strand of straight hair, I heard his voice call from downstairs, "Riddhima! Come on, we're getting late for our reservation time!"
I quickly put on my red heels, and grabbed my matching red purse, which once belonged to my mother, along with my diamond earring studs which were from her wedding. I then grabbed my black shawl in one hand and made my way into the hallway of the second floor. I had been extra cautious today when looking the mirror. For the first time in several years, I had looked at myself and cared about how I looked, only for a boy who I didn't even know that well!
As the sound of her expensive looking shoes clacked against the stairs; my heart skipped several beats. She looked like a pure angel. She looked so sexy and hot and beautiful at the same time, that it was too much to handle at one go. His mouth dropped wide open, to a point where it actually began to hurt! But he did not close it, for it was impossible to do so. She looked stunning. Her brown hair was done in curls that bounced off her every movement. Her smile was wicked and gentle at the same time. Even her body seemed to have found a new edge to it. She finally made it to the last step and stood there in front of him. He had a sudden urge to grab her delicate looking body and smash it against his own. But he controlled himself.
"You look beautiful." His mouth still open; he quickly closed it.
"Thank you, you don't look too bad yourself." She smiled, keeping her hands to herself. He was wearing a black tuxedo, with a maroon shirt and tie that matched exactly to the rest of the theme of the house. He looked like an underwear model; Hot and Spicy.
He opened the car door for her, and she sophisticatedly sat in. While they were driving, it occurred to her, that he couldn't possibly be that skilled at driving at this age.
"How old are you Peter?"
"Why this sudden interest?" he couldn't keep his eyes off of her, she was just so damn gorgeous.
"I'm just wondering."
"Old enough for you, that's for sure." He winked with his sexy smile and then became serious as he looked at the road ahead.
"You still didn't answer my question."
"I'm pretty old."
"Tell me the truth."
"About 18; does that mean you're 17 but you're about to be 18, or that you've just recently turned 18?"
"Why is everything with you complicated?"
"No it's not. None of the things you think are complicated at all! Believing someone is going to kill you any second is complicated! Knowing you're pregnant, but not knowing who the father is, is complicated! KNOWING YOUR AGE IS NOT COMPLICATED."
She was testing his tolerance, "RIDDHIMA. IT'S COMPLICATED, OK?"
He was screaming at her now. She quieted down and concentrated on making the evening enjoyable from her side.
"Ok." She said with regret because she was still not mentally satisfied as to why he was keeping so many secrets from her.
HERE'S PART 6 GUYS!!! i've corrected the way i write now...so that it's enjoyable for all age groups enjoy!
Chapter 6 ~ A Dream or Fantasy?
She could not believe her luck. The restaurant was grand and splendor. The exterior was decorated in billions of twinkling, gold lights. Supposedly their dinner had turned out to be a huge party in celebration of one of his father's friends buying a new house. She quickly thanked herself for taking the effort to look pretty and glamorous, because if she had not; then she would look like an idiot beside the other thin, model ? looking women with their extremely expensive clothing and accessories. Her curls bounced against her face as she carefully climbed the stairs to the main entrance where everyone stood, chatting away. As she got to the last step, Peter slid his arm through hers and smiled at her gently. The large golden colored doors opened and they stepped into the lobby, following red carpet, which matched perfectly with her dress. The theme was red carpet; another miraculous coincidence helping with her current situation.
All the eyes of the other guests looked at her one by one. It was as if she was a Goddess; looking at the way people showed admiration towards her. She smiled brilliantly and squeezed his arm tighter. He patted her arm with his free hand, and put it out of their bonding loop. He then placed that hand around her back, guiding her to where they should go. We went towards an elderly couple surrounded by many others. "Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Kapoor!" Peter said to them, while shaking their hands looking very professional in his tie and coat.
"Thank you Charlie! I think you've gotten taller since the last time we met you, right Margret? How's your father, Charlie?" Mr. Kapoor asked.
WAIT. CHARLIE? WHO WAS CHARLIE? I thought he said his name was PETER? Peter looked quickly in my direction when the elderly man said "Charlie" and gave an uneasy smile towards me.
"He's doing great. My mother and father have gone to Las Vegas to close a final deal with the Khannas."
"Now isn't that impressive! And who is this fine, young lady you've brought along as your date for today's evening?" Mrs. Kapoor winked in my direction and kept her smile glued to her face.
"Oh yes! Sorry I always forget my introductions. Mr. and Mrs. Kapoor, this is Riddhima Gupta. Riddhima, this is Mr. and Mrs. Kapoor, good friends of my father." He smiled at me broadly, trying to hide some confusing fear.
"Very nice to meet you both?" I shook their hands and smiled sweetly.
"No, it's our pleasure, dear," said Mrs. Kapoor.
I excused myself politely and then walked to another part in the room, far away from Peter, or Charlie. Why had he lied to me about his name? Was it that hard for him to speak the truth to her?
Inside this hall, the whole color theme was gold, silver and navy blue. Her red dress stuck out vibrantly in the center of the room. She stood there silently, lost in her inner thoughts, until a she was tapped on the shoulder from behind.
It was a dark brown, stylishly wavy haired boy wearing a large smile on his face, revealing two perfect rows of white, bold teeth. His pale skin reflected vibrantly off his dark black dress pants, navy collared shirt, and checkerboard navy/black vest. His tie was crisp and neatly tucked between his shirt and vest. He had broad shoulders and very strong looking arms. His black, polished shoes reflected her smile off of them. It was Rahul, her mother's best friend's son; therefore, her former crush.
When they were younger, their mothers were still alive; they would always play together in his back yard. They would make mud pies and run around the nearby meadows in the rain. After both his parents were killed in a car accident, Rahul had been shifted to live with his aunt in another city. They seldom met after his parents' deaths. Only when it was her birthday or maybe if her mom was free to arrange a play date for us. Yet, when my mother died, those play dates disappeared with her. She had not seen this kid since almost 10 years! Back then he used to be a scrawny looking boy with freckles, glasses, braces and not physically fit in any way, but she still loved him for the way he saw things and the way he showed them to her. He had been her first boyfriend and only boyfriend so far. They would always tell each other when they were younger, that they would get married. It was a childhood dream they both shared, but once certain situations were given to them in such an early stage, those dreams were left behind.
"RAHUL!" she would have literally hugged him to death there, if it weren't for the way people were looking at them smiling at each other. Instead, she pinched his cheek like she always did when they were mere kids.
"Is that really you Rizzy??" he still remembered the pet name he had given her 10 years back.
"I can't believe this! I haven't seen you for ages!"
"I know! You've grown taller and more?prettier!" he blushed at the last word and looked up at the ceiling, then returned his gaze into her eyes.
"Hah. Well, you couldn't possibly believe that I would stay that short. So how are things going?"
"They're good. How about you? What brings you here to this boring, adults' party?"
"Well, I actually came here as someone's date?Peter Johnson? You must definitely know of him! I've been staying at his house since?yesterday, actually?and when I heard there was going to be a party, I just couldn't help myself in coming! How about you? What brings you here?"
He seemed to have flinched at the sound of Peter's last name; but regained his smile in the next split second. "The Johnsons? You don't say, but I thought they had gone to Las Vegas to settle a business deal?" he knew more information that her. She had just learned this fact about 10 minutes ago.
"Yes, but I'm staying with their son. He's a very nice guy. We seemed to have become?um, friends?right away! But you still haven't told me, how come you're here?"
"Ah yes, I'm here because my aunt and Mrs. Kapoor are in the same book club. Besides, my uncle is a client of the Kapoor Family. Mr. Kapoor is his lawyer."
"Wow. That's impressive. Sorry, I still can't believe this is YOU! It's just been so long, and you look so?so?" she couldn't think of the right word to say?
"Hot?" he laughed.
"No, not really?" she teased him along.
"Sexy?" he winked at her with his green eyes.
"Nope." She loved this.
"Spicy?" He pretended to show that he really cared what she thought and began begging with his hands.
"Nada?" Another way she liked to say no.
"Edible?" he smiled with his eyes twinkling from the golden lights surrounding the room.
She laughed at his naughtiness, and then smiled back.
The next hour was spent on Rahul filling her in on how his aunt and uncle had hit a lottery, and that his uncle's business had started to boom at very high points. He told her of the places he visited outside of the country, his life at home, school, work and basically life in general. She was finally beginning to feel at home, when Peter came towards them with an annoyed face and stood beside her with his hand around the back of her waist.
"I see you've met Riddhima?" Peter said directly to Rahul in an annoyed tone. Was he feeling jealous, she thought?
"Rahul, this is Peter. Peter, this is Rahul." I tried to not to laugh, while remembering the last joke Rahul had just finished telling me.
"We've met before. So how are you Peter?" Rahul emphasized on Peter's name while speaking to him, but did not stop looking at Riddhima throughout the conversation.
"I'm fine, Mr. Rahul Grewal. I've never heard you mention his name before," now looking towards Riddhima while asking this type of question. It seemed to her that he was trying to show Rahul, who would not stop looking at her face, that he was very "close" to her, even though they had just met yesterday.
"I can't believe what she might have told you in just a day's notice." Rahul smirked with his eyes.
Looking betrayed, Peter continued, "Ah, but it just takes a moment to know a person, really. Riddhima and I grew onto each other just the second we met." He winked at Riddhima, making her remember last night's drama. Her breasts still hurt a bit from yesterday's session. They had even swelled a bit, making it impossible for her to fit on her "already tight" bra.
"Well stated?.friend?" if she wasn't mistaken, Riddhima could have swore that she thought Rahul had just said "friend" as if it was the biggest joke ever. And surprisingly Peter found this hilarious and couldn't stop laughing until he took his napkin out of his pocket and wiped a few tears away. That had killed it. Riddhima then excused herself to the ladies' room and went to see if her curls had died on her yet or not.
Her luck was with her today; her curls were still in place. She smiled in the mirror to see if any of the appetizers had gotten themselves stuck between her teeth. Fortunately not, otherwise she would have died of embarrassment, since she was smiling mostly all the evening from Rahul's jokes.
When she arrived back into the main hall, the atmosphere had seemed to change. Many people were surrounded around a boy on the floor and Peter sat on the other side of the room, with his blood coming out of his mouth from the side. She rushed quickly towards Peter, but stopped on her way, when she noticed that it was RAHUL who was lying on the floor. Another elderly man was on the phone with the police, and Rahul looked as if he had just received a hard punch in the chest. His breathing was quick, but solid. She rushed down to him, and held his face in her hands. "ARE YOU OK RAHUL? WHAT HAPPENED??" she started to panic.
She noticed that the what the elderly man was saying on the phone to the police, "Yes?we need an ambulance?quick?very serious?yes, they're both here?one is on the floor, almost unconscious and the other one is sitting in a corner, bleeding?yes he's still on the floor?no, we did try to lift him up, but he says he's in pain?ok, we'll make sure the other one is stays put?" They were going to get Peter arrested! She had to get him out of this hall fast.
She noticed she still had Rahul's face in her hands, "Rahul, are you ok? Can you hear me?" Everyone was busy in helping the ambulance come inside. All of a sudden, Rahul smiled at her and his breathing was perfectly fine. She looked at him astonished. What was going on?
"Hey Riddhima," he took a breath, "take your lover boy out of here, I'll stall. But tell him this is not the last time you're seeing me, ok? I'll check up on you soon?" he rested his head back on the ground and began breathing very quickly with loud gasps. Before a nearby woman noticed his obnoxious sighs, he opened his eyes and winked at her.
She stood up, not knowing what was going on. When she saw that everyone was busy in helping Rahul to the stretch bed, she took Peter's arm and pulled him forcefully out of the hall and down the long set of stairs. There, she helped him into the passenger seat and got into the driver seat. When they were both securely fastened and sitting with the car doors locked, and her hands on the wheel, she turned to him. "WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?" she could not control her anger. He had just supposedly hit her best friend. Yet, she didn't feel as mad as she should have.
"I can drive, it's ok."
"PETER JOHNSON. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?"
"Riddhima, I said I can drive. Let me move over so that we can get home quickly."
"WE ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE. NOT UNTIL YOU GIVE ME MY ANSWERS. I AM SO TIRED OF YOUR GAMES AND I NEED TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW."
"What you need to know is how to get back home from here, and only I have that answer."
"NO. YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I NEED TO KNOW. SO EITHER YOU TELL ME WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON?OR I'M GOING TO PACK MY THINGS UP AND LEAVE TOMMOROW MORNING."
He winced at her mention of leaving. He could not even bear that Rahul telling him he thought Riddhima was gorgeous; let alone having her leave. Rahul and he had never liked each other, even though his aunt and uncle were his dad's best clients. They had their own enmity, which no one could understand. And if that reason wasn't enough, then now Rahul liked the same girl who was meant to be with him. HE could not stand that brown haired freak any longer.
"We'll talk about this tomorrow morning, alright?"
"NO," she calmed down, noticing that her continuous shouting was sounding lame now, "I want my answers now. I have all the time in the world. And I'm prepared to listen to every single word you have to say. Speak, now." She never thought she could make herself look so strong and presentable. This feeling was good.
He stared at her for a while, and then finally gave in. Now, she was going to hear the real story...
Chapter 7 ~ A New Face.
"My real name is Armaan. Armaan Malik. I am exactly 17 years old and 38 months. Many years ago, my parents and I had gone to South Africa when I was younger. It was a family vacation, and it was going very smoothly. While my parents were resting in their safe hotel, I had wandered onto the streets with one of the hotel's employee's son, who was about my age. As we played in the muddy fields, where rebels used to look for diamonds once; we found this silvery stone. It was beautiful. At that time, according to my age and IQ, I had assumed it to be a candy, and had swallowed it. Unfortunately, the stone had been some ancient gem that was a religious monument trying to be discovered from the past decades. The stone had come out later on through my digestive system, but its curse and powers remained in my body. As I grew older, I realized I was different than the others. I had more strength, more visibility of objects, more senses that the ordinary man. I began to panic my early teenage years. I did not understand what was going on; until I made friends with this dark haired boy, who occasionally came to my house because his uncle and my father did business deals together. We became closer than brothers; we shared everything. Finally I decided to tell his my secret. I needed him to know, because he always shared everything with me. To my surprise, he helped me learn about this stone. He was always smarter than me, so he knew where to get his information from. We learned that the stone had been some ancient Voodoo gem, which was used to teach people lessons. There was only one stone in this world that could help erase the curse, and that stone had to be made. For countless nights, we gathered ingredients for this savior gem. We would only go out at night, because during the day people would notice our behavior and judge our character. Finally when all the ingredients were collected, we began making the stone. After various tries, we were finally successful and it was complete. Now all I had to do was swallow it, and I would cured. Before I could do so, my father had caught us in my garage with fire to boil the stone, and took me away to bed. Before having to obey my father's command, my friend and I promised to meet each other in his tree house the next morning. He promised he would keep the gem and recipe book safe. The next morning when I went to the tree house, I couldn't find him! I asked my father where he could be, but my dad said that he had left with his family this morning! Last night was his last time with me! I felt betrayed, outraged and frustrated, I had trusted him with my gem that could help me change my life. Yet, he had stolen it from me! All the notes we had taken, the books, the gem?all of it was gone! The scumbag had stolen everything from me for greed. He had envied my powers and strength all this time. I hated him. He had only left one book behind, which basically just talked about general knowledge of what the gem's powers were. I went to the bookstore to return it, but the old woman behind the counter froze in her tracks when she saw the name of the book I was returning. 'Why did you need this?' she asked me, and I simply replied, 'I needed to know how to get rid of the curse'?'Did you find out how?' she had asked. When I had nodded 'no' for an answer, she had laughed at my face and the squinted her eyes, 'Foolish boy. You must find the one true love. When you find her, you will discontinue growing until she is at your age in that time. Once she kisses your lips, you will be free of the curse.' I couldn't believe what she had said! I never knew it was that easy to get rid of this! But before I ran out the store to kiss the girl crossing the street, she stopped me and said, ' Foolish boy, listen closely. This kiss that you ask can only occur once. If that girl is not your true soul mate, then you will never be able to cure yourself again. Do you understand? Be careful of who you choose, for she alone will decide your fate?"
Riddhima couldn't believe what she was hearing. She continued to stare into his eyes throughout his monologue, but it had never seemed once that he was just bullshitting. She swallowed saliva loudly and then looked straight ahead. Everything he had said so far had made complete sense. His odd behavior, his lack of tiredness? Yet there were still a few things she didn't understand?
"Why does each person know your name differently?" that was something that had been bothering her all evening.
"I need to keep a different name for everyone. Only five people in the world know my real name."
"My father, my mother, myself, now you?" he smiled at mentioning her.
"That's only four people, though?the fifth one?"
"I'm afraid I can't tell you that?"
"Don't push your luck?" and she was not planning to ask him that again?
"So is that the reason we did not kiss on the lips last night?"
"Yes, the only reason?otherwise?"
"Yes, yes I know." She smiled in return to his naughty grin.
"Wait. You said you were 17 years old and 38 months?what do you mean by that? Does that mean you've stopped growing?"
"You are very observant?Yes, I've stopped growing?"
She froze, "Does that mean?.that?I'M YOUR SOULMATE?" this was too good to be true.
"I believe so?"
"BUT WE'VE ONLY KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR 2 DAYS!!! THAT HOW CAN IT BE FOR 38 MONTHS?"
"38 months ago, was the first time I saw you in your parked car on a Saturday, waiting for me to cross the road. From that day, I have never grown closer to 18." Wow, and all this time she had assumed that she did not even know he was alive. Yet, here he was confessing that he had always looked at her from the corner of his eye. How embarrassing!
"So, what does this mean?"
"I don't know, Riddhima. For almost three years now, I have been trying to understand how I could just simply stop growing after looking at you! ACTUALLY I DON'T EVEN f**kING BLOODY KNOW IF IT WAS YOU THAT STOPPED ME FROM GROWING!" he was getting mad now. He was beginning to pity himself and his current state of hopelessness.
She sighed in disappointment. And here, she was thinking that her wishes were finally coming true, "So what do you want me to do?"
"You'll kiss me, while I assume that you're the girl that is my soul mate..."
"But what if you're wrong?" she began to panic, "what is I'm not your soul mate? Then this will go all wrong! I can't possibly be your soul mate! I don't even remember where my own SOUL is, I doubt I can be your SOUL mate then!" she wanted to cry in her misery and depression.
"Well?I guess we're going to have to take those chances then?we'll never know unless we try?"he sounded hopeful, but his fear was not hidden.
"I can't be the destroyer of your hope!" now she felt a tear run down her cheek. The waterfall had started and warm tears that burned her cold cheeks ran fast down her neck and onto her dress. He leaned towards her and hushed her, while stroking a tear away from her cheek with his thumb.
"Hey baby, don't cry. These tears are like diamonds, don't let them go to waste! Why are you crying over me for?" he couldn't believe that she was crying for him. Was his life that pathetic that sympathy was all he could get?
"I'm not crying at you in pity, Armaan. Never ever think that again?" wow, she had read his facial expression well! He had not expected this from anyone; especially not her.
Chapter 8 ~ A New Beginning
She awoke with a large headache. Maybe it was from all the wine she had drank last night at the party. She was still in her red dress, but someone had pulled it down to her waist. She looked around for her bra; it was on the floor. She did not even have to guess as to know who it was. She slowly got to her feet and put her bra back on. How had she come here onto her bed from the car last night, without knowing? Had she fallen asleep suddenly? Was last night even real? Or had it been a sleep?
She began to open the door to her washroom, when she saw that he had left a letter pinned to her bathroom door in another envelope, addressed with her name. She opened it and read:
Last night was wonderful. I cannot even start to explain how beautiful you looked. I am sorry that you had to realize the truth this way. It may be hard to believe, but I am sorry for troubling you with my problems. Your breakfast awaits you downstairs in front of your personal high stool! I hope you like eggs and bacon with mashed potatoes. That was the best I could make in my rushed time limit. I am sorry for my rudeness of leaving early once more without informing you?when the time comes, you shall know this secret as well?Take care and be ready for tonight. For tonight, I have yet another surprise for you, my love?
She had not been dreaming. For if she had dreamt last night as a fantasy in her mind; then he would not have addressed himself as "Armaan", but as "Peter". This was all real. If this was a normal girl reading this letter and hearing all this crap, she would cry and then leave this house immediately, thinking that "Armaan" was basically trying to tell her to leave. But Riddhima was no normal girl?she actually enjoyed this excitement. In more than 12 years, nothing had ever been this exciting. As she put on her jean shorts that Keerti had freshly bought for her and packed in her suitcase, and a white tank top; the doorbell rang. Who could that be, she thought; as she rushed down the stairs to peek through the door's hole. It was a boy, her age?with very formal ? looking clothing on. He seemed to be cautiously looking around his surroundings. She opened the door to find Rahul standing there with open arms and smiling broadly at her.
His arms remained gesturing for her to hug him, as she spoke, "Now what's a hunk like you doing at my doorstep?" After she had said her remark, she noticed that these words were very similar to the ones Armaan had first said to her when they met on a day like this.
He put his arms down, but continued to smile. He quickly scanned her body from her head to her toes, and then focused on her eyes, "You tell me. What's a hot and fun girl like you doing indoors?"
She laughed at his snazzy comeback and then fell into his arms, giving him the biggest hug she had ever given anyone; being with Rahul felt like she had regained her childhood that had once been torn away from her in the past. He hugged her back as tightly as he could and said, "I've missed you kid."
"Hey!" she stopped hugging him to face him directly in the face, "First of all, I'm not a kid. Second of all, I'm very happy being indoors. Finally, third of all, I wouldn't mind some company?BUT only if you have time of course?" She tried to act as if he was the only living thing that she cared about. He smiled grew even wider and he winked at her in reply.
"Ok, let's see how the Johnsons are keeping my little babe?" he stepped into the house to examine how everything looked like. He agreed that it was in fact the most beautiful site he had ever seen. It was truly magnificent. They shared the breakfast that Armaan had made for her and then watched a football match on Armaan's plasma TV. Even though she was a girl, she still enjoyed watching manly sports. They had become a part of her childhood; especially football, because her dad was a huge fan.
After watching the game's end, Riddhima forcefully pushed Rahul out of the house and told him to leave or he'd get his ass kicked again by her personal safety guard; Peter Johnson. She still used the name "Peter" around Rahul, because she clearly remembered that Armaan had said that only five people in this world knew his real name. This meant that basically he trusted her to keep his real identity safe, for whatever reason she was not allowed to know of.
"Hey! I only let him kick my ass because I owed him one!"
"Oh yah, Rahul I've been meaning to ask?how do you and Peter know each other?" she was still curious as to how her "soul mate" and her best childhood friend knew each other so well?
"Oh. Us? We've been best friends since we were really young."
"But I've been your best friend since we were young?so when did he become your best friend?"
"When I moved to the city where my aunt lived, I made friends with him?"
"But you guys sure didn't look like you were friends?you look more like?like enemies!" she slowly laughed to see his reaction to her assumption clearly.
He laughed back casually at her joke, "Seriously Riddhima, sometimes you're just the cutest thing alive. I love how you think we're enemies. Riddhima, best friends from childhood can't be enemies!"
"Ok?I guess I believe you there?but last night, Peter had told me that you guys hated each other!"
"He just says that sometimes! It's his mood swings! I've known him since I was a kid?his parents and my aunt and uncle are great friends?he's like that Riddhima. You should stay careful of him?sometimes he just starts acting weird?"
She appreciated his concern for her, but was still confused. One of them was lying to her big time. Either Peter Johnson had just made a bogus story to bore her off to sleep last night?or her best friend who she trusted completely, was not really as reliable as she thought he was?
"Thanks buddy?Well, you better go now, or I'll have to chop off your head and serve it to the dogs I keep underneath this house?" it was a lame joke?but she thought it sounded cool. All of a sudden he became stiff and his eyes searched around the house viciously. "What's wrong?"
"What did you just say?" he looked a bit annoyed; but had full concentration on what I was saying.
"Well?I said: What's wrong?"
"NO, BEFORE THAT!" he was growing more furious by the second.
"Um?underground layer and dogs?"
"YES! WHERE IS IT?"
"I don't know what you're talking about! It was just a joke! There are no captive dogs or an underground layer!" he made a face to my statement and then quietly picked up his coat, put on his black, polish shoes, and left without a single word. She closed the door behind him gently and sat down right behind it.
She curled up into a ball with her head resting on her knees and her arms wrapping around them. She had never seen this side of him?it was mean, vicious, unattractive, frightening, deceiving, different; she wanted him badly.
Chapter 9 ~ Roll The Dice.
She went back into her room and started to open her suitcase. She knew exactly what she would wear tonight. For some reason, she had an odd feeling that maybe the pink and purple sundress that Keerti packed for her was a good choice. The weather was beautiful outside, and for once she thanked Keerti for repacking for her. Ridhima put on the dress and then wore a small flower behind her ear which she picked up on her way back from her pleasant walk she took in the afternoon after Rahul left. As she zipped up her suitcase again; the doorbell rang for the second time today. She rushed downstairs in her flowery dress, knowing exactly who would be on the other side of the door. It was who she expected; Armaan.
She was feeling very happy today, for some odd reason, and gave him a big hug while he stood outside in the hot, moist air of summer. He hugged her back with the same enthusiasm, and then picked her up in his arms. When he carried her into the kitchen; he placed her on the countertop. She swung herself around to fact him, and wrapped her legs around his waist. His hands were at her waist, and her hands were around the back of his neck. They stared at each other for a while perfectly. When had she met him? Just two nights ago! Yet, he had already seen and explored a part of her, which she had not done yet herself. He smiled at her, and then looked around at the kitchen. Suddenly his smile faded, and he began sniffing the air like a dog. His expression grew mad, as if he had just realized something.
Had she left a stove on? She tried to smell anything unusual, but there was nothing that seemed wrong. The only smell she could sense was his cologne and her flower propped beside her head, behind her ear. He let go of her, and pushed himself away.
"What's wrong?" she asked worriedly.
"WHO WAS HERE?" he grew furious all of a sudden.
"What are you talking about? Other than you and I?oh wait," she suddenly remembered Rahul had been here too, "Rahul dropped by earlier?but he left after about three hours?"
"WHAT? THAT c**t WAS HERE?" this made him even angrier.
"YOU MEAN RAHUL? YAH HE WAS HERE!" she felt mad that he had just called her best friend a 'c**t'. No matter how fond she had grown of him; when he insulted her friend, she took it as an insult upon herself.
"HOW DARE HE?" he started to pace back and forth across the room. She hadn't noticed it, but his feet started pacing faster and faster! IT WAS UNBELIEVABLE! He was basically flying wall to wall in front of her eyes! Was this possible?? He was beginning to float into the mid air, and was then quickly FLEW out of the room. She jumped off the counter, and followed him quickly. He flew upstairs and then came back down quickly. Finally he landed on his feet. When he saw her still expression, he smiled?but quickly came back to his anger mode.
"WHAT DID HE SAY?"
"All we talked about was a football game, some jokes and few stories about his past girlfriends?other than that?nothing else?" she had decided she was not going to tell him about Rahul's reaction as to when she had mentioned her stupid joke about an underground layer?she had kept that as information for herself, which she would later use to solve any secrets that they both were hiding from her.
"Are you sure, that's all you talked about? Did he ask for anything?" he had calmed down now.
"Nope, that's all."
He was suddenly calm. They stood there for a while, until his face scrunched up again and he asked, "Did you talk about me?"
"Just a little?mainly about how you were treating me and all?"
"How did you address my name in front of him?" he was afraid that she had used the name "Armaan".
"I addressed you as Peter. I remembered when you told me that's there's only five people in this world who know you of that name?so I figured that maybe you wanted that name to be confidential."
She was smarter than he gave her credit for. He smiled at her warmly and then hugged her close, while he said, "I'm sorry baby that I yelled at you?it's just that these things can get complication sometimes?"
She hugged him back slightly, and then they stopped that action.
He smiled back, and then turned his grin into a sexy look, "So, what did you say when he asked you what you thought about me?" one of his eyebrows lifted up in a hysterical expression.
She liked acting naughty with him, "I told him you really SUCKED."
He laughed continuously for a while and then stopped, with the same sexy grin on his face, "Have I not been a good enough host?"
She pointed at his chest with her index finger, "Well, sometimes you hurt me?here." Pretending that she was talking about her heart, but they both truly knew what she actually was pointing out.
"Well I'm sorry about that honey. How can I make it up to you?"
"You could start off by giving me a massage and then maybe a foot rub wouldn't be that bad?"
"I think I have a better surprise in mind..." he stepped closer to her and then held elbows in his hands, "Have I mentioned to you before that you are one of the prettiest people I have seen?"
"ONE OF THE PRETTIEST PEOPLE? And here I was thinking that you had never seen anyone prettier?"
"You're the prettiest girl I've ever seen?"
"The prettiest girl, did you say? And what about the others?"
"I'm not interested in guys anymore?" he winked at her naughtily.
"ARMAAN! That's not even a joke! That was just plain disgusting!"
He threw his head back in the air and laughed out loud. "Baby, you're the first and only person that I have ever felt this way about," that was a big lie; she was not the first.
"Armaan, I was wondering?" her tone became serious now, "you know how you said that you think stopped growing because of me?and it's sort of odd how we've become so close to each other, even though this is only the third day that we officially know each other?don't you think that's the slightest bit weird?" she paused, waiting for is reply to her question. For someone normal this would have been a dream come true. A normal person would never question God's gift, but she was not normal. Her life so far had been full of nightmares; she had forgotten how to dream. Now that God had sent a dream to her since ages; this was too much to handle.
His hands dropped from her elbows. He stared at her blankly for a while. He really did not give her as much credit as she deserved for her awareness and intelligence. Yet, he could not let her get suspicious. Not at this point in the game, "Let me get this straight. You're basically questioning my love for you, right?" he tried to look angry. Apparently it had worked perfectly, because she seemed to be have taken back.
"NO! I'm just saying that?I'm not used to these kinds of things happening to me!"
"So you think that I don't love you, and that you're just some time pass for me, right?"
"ARMAAN! I NEVER SAID ANYTHING LIKE THAT AT ALL!"
"Or maybe you're trying to say you don't love me anymore?"
"ARMAAN! WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU TODAY?"
"Maybe I should kill myself for you, then you would know how much I love you."
He had just stated for the first time that he loved her. He knees felt weak and she stared at him with new passion. If only she could reach over and kiss his tender lips, but that was not possible. How did she even know that he had spoken the truth yesterday night? Yet, she had just seen him fly around the house about 10 minutes ago?WHAT WAS GOING ON?
"Do not ever say anything about killing yourself AGAIN. If there is anyone who should die, then that is me, because I do not deserve you." She had admitted the realization that she had been thinking of ever since he first hugged her while she cried over the screaming in her ears from the murder recap.
He stared at her blankly. Had he just heard what she said? She thought she was not worthy enough for HIM? Had she gone mad? Was she drunk or something? Maybe that Rahul had drugged her in his absence. He should have never left her alone. Wait, why was he caring for her so much? He had to remember his goal. Her stupid feelings for him could not come in the path that he had set for himself. He hugged her, in an attempt to hide his face from her. She cried onto his chest, while he stood there and planned his next move.
Chapter 10 ~ In the Moon's Shadow.
He stopped the car and they sat there in the dark for a couple of moments. Her hands were in her lap. Throughout the one hour drive, he had so badly wanted to lean over and touch her body. The sun dress that she wore today was perfect for the setting he had brought her to; the beach. Finally he stepped out of the car and then opened her door for her. She came out gracefully and looked around. Then she suddenly took her pink flip flops off and threw them back into the car. She climbed down the rocks from the parking lot and walked onto the beach. He watched her from where he stood. She looked like a Goddess. Her hair was shimmering off the moonlight's reflection on the ocean's surface. She stood still, and then finally turned around and looked up at him.
He flew down to the beach's base. No one was there except them both, so he was carefree of his powers. He landed beside her and held her hand. She stared at him with her piercing eyes and then led him towards the ocean.
"Do you know how to swim?" she asked shyly.
"Do I know how to swim? That's a silly question." He let go of her hand then quickly took off his designer shirt, placed it on a huge, clean rock and then took his pants off and placed them there too. Now he was in his underwear, and felt free. He ran at TURBO speed over the dock and then dove into the cold water.
After a while, he could hear her shouting, "ARMAAN! ARMAAN!" from above. He saw her dive into the water quickly and search for him. When she had to finally go up to the surface for a breath, she continued to call his name frantically, "ARMAAN! WHERE ARE YOU? ARMAAN! ARMAAN!"
He dove out from underneath at full force, and did a loop with his body in the air, as if he were a dolphin. She stared at him with surprised eyes. Finally, after he was finished with showing off his powers, he swam close to her. It took him while to notice that she had been crying, "Hey! What's
"Do'not'ever'do'that'.again." she spoke in between her sobs.
"Oh love! I'm sorry! I didn't know that you would take me so seriously!" he noticed she had her sun dress on. She had rushed into the water thinking that he needed help. She had not even considered taking her dress off, for his life.
"Damn it Armaan. Can't you ever be serious with me?" she cried some more.
They swam back closer to shore in silence, and then he hugged her tightly. They were still in the water, except now their feet could touch the ocean's floor, "Honey, I rushed in like that, because I was trying to show you one of my powers! I don't need to know how to swim, even though I do know how, but I don't need to know because I am able to BREATH UNDER WATER!"
She looked up at him strangely, "Armaan, do not ever leave me like that ever again, do you understand? If you had been a minute late in rising back up to the surface, then you would have found my dead body." He quickly touched her lips with his fingers to hush her quiet. How could she even THINK of killing herself for him? Had she not realized at all, that this might be just a huge joke? If she was about to kill herself because he had played a bad joke on her, then what would she do when she found out that he was simply using her for something she was completely unaware of?
Her eyes drew down to her lips where his fingers rested. He slowly drew around the outline of her lips. He enjoyed seeing her breath quicken and harden with a slight touch of his. She leaned forward to kiss his lips. He was about to kiss her, until he remembered his stupid curse. He quickly cupped her mouth with his hand and nodded "no". She seemed to have remembered the curse then, and let out a deep sigh. He lowly chuckled at her craving for his lips. The ocean's water was cold, but their body heat was enough to keep them both warm.
She turned her back to him, but crushed herself against his chest as hard as she could. He wrapped his arms around her stomach. Finally he backed away slightly, so that she could turn around and face him directly. He stopped and stood straight up.
The dress floated around her. She dove into the water whole and swam a distance away from him. He took his shoes off which were now damp and then he turned around to find her, he saw the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She stood on the ocean's floor in one spot about ten meters away from him. Her hair was wet, and hung over both of her shoulders evenly. Her pale face reflected the moon's radiance. She looked perfect. It seemed that she now possessed the powers, because each part of her was unconsciously drawing him nearer. He walked over to where she stood, exactly still like a God ' made statue, which was worshipped in its beauty.
She quietly whispered his name repeatedly, "Armaan'.Armaan'"
"Don't worry'" he replied, "'I'm here now."
Riddhima stepped out of the taxi in front of the huge, white ' painted, wooden fence. Rahul had told her over the phone this morning about the directions to his house, but he had no mentioned that he lived more far away from the town than Armaan. He had not mentioned that his house was in the middle of no where, surrounded by green fields and large trees which gave shade from the blazing sun's rays.
She pulled out the garbage bag from the back seat and handed the driver a $20 bill, ''Keep the change,'' she said as he broadly smiled at her. She walked up the gravel path to the small footsteps in front of the white door to the small but classy looking yellow house.
Riddhima was about to knock on the door when it suddenly opened and someone from the other side quickly step close to her and gave her a big hug. When the hug was over, the stranger turned out to be Rahul.
''I'm so happy that you could make it!" he said as he reached over to hold her garbage bag full of clothes for her. She felt homeless.
Darkness surrounded Riddhima, wherever she looked. It was if the evil around her was consuming her piece by piece. Then, suddenly a ray of light shone from above the point that Riddhima was standing. The light grew bigger and bigger, it expanded around her, and she let it with joy. Just as the light was finally going to take her in, Riddhima opened her eyes painfully to the bright rays coming through her window, directly upon her. One of the maids had pulled Riddhima's curtain open for her, as a sign for her to get up from bed. Riddhima groaned in discomfort and turned her back to the light. She closed her eyes once again and tried to return to the dream that haunted her every night, but just as every morning, Riddhima was not able to get back to her dream world.
Now aged 26, Riddhima still lived at her dad's house and was still babysat by not one maid, but five now. The maid who symbolized Riddhima's childhood had retired and now lived in an ashram. So, replace her memory in Riddhima's mind, her father had hired five more maids. Increasing the number did not help Riddhima at all, but she appreciated her dad's concern in making sure Riddhima's life was always full with AT LEAST one woman, after her mother's death.
Yet, all that Riddhima wanted now was a male's presence, not a female's. Many things had happened in the past few years. Ever since she had met Armaan, Riddhima had realized the meaning of love. At the age of 16, Riddhima's life had turned in many places. She was introduced to maturity; she found her childhood friend, Rahul; she became dazzled with the word "LOVE"; she received unusual freedom from her father for two weeks, making Riddhima feel responsible; and she met Armaan. Armaan. Armaan. Armaan. How, she missed saying that name. How she missed seeing him every morning, lying beside her on his bed.
Riddhima wiped away a tear from her cheek and got out of bed. After taking a shower, brushing her teeth, dressing up and doing her hair, Riddhima went downstairs to her kitchen, where she was greeted with her dad.
"Good morning, Honey!" her dad said, while sipping his coffee. He set his newspaper down and turned his chair to directly face hers, giving Riddhima his full attention. Riddhima liked that about her dad. She loved how, unlike some parents, her dad always made sure that when they talked; he showed he was listening attentively.
"Good morning, dad," Riddhima replied.
"How are you doing?" these were usually the words he said to her every morning.
"I'm good. I'm late though, for my meeting, but otherwise...my headache is better now. I think it was just the hangover I had from the night before. We really did party hard." She smiled at him warmly, even though inside she hated being present at the party.
The night before, Riddhima's dad had proposed to Keerti for marriage, after more than 10 years of dating. Even though he has specifically asked whether Riddhima was ok with the idea or not; Riddhima still felt saddened with the thought of her mother being replaced in her dad's love life. So when Riddhima had stupidly smiled and agreed to the idea of their marriage, he showed Keerti the ring and she instantly began to cry and nodded her head to a yes. Then, they invited a few friends to a bar, where everyone got free drinks on the house, and Riddhima drank herself out completely in the mourn of their marriage.
Riddhima's dad smiled back, and then turned it upside down, "Riddhima, there's something I've been meaning to talk to you about."
"Well, I've been doing some thinking lately, and I was wondering if there was something troubling you lately?"
Riddhima's stomach did a flip at his accurate assumption, "No, dad, why'd you say that?"
"Well, honey the thing is...is that you've been going to work early in the past few days, and have been working overtime for 5 months now! And you just said that you were late for the office, but in fact Riddhima, if you left now...you'd still be an hour early!!" his voice cracked at the word 'early'.
"Oh. Well, you can't blame me if I'm a 'work-a-holic'!"
"I know, I know. But still! There are always limits to professionalism as well!"
"What are you trying to say, dad?"
"Look under your plate Riddhima." Riddhima gave a confused expression, and then did what she was told to do so. Under her plate, upon which two pancakes were placed, Riddhima found a white envelope. She silently opened it, and inside she found an airplane ticket.
"A TICKET TO GREECE?" she yelled, "FIRST ' CLASS? ME?!?" Riddhima couldn't believe it.
"Yes honey! I've noticed you've been working way too hard for your needs, and I figured you needed a break. Besides, I don't want you to get into any sort of depression! You can consider this your bonus; a vacation!"
"DAD, I DON'T NEED A VACATION!"
"I knew you'd say that dear, so here's the catch. Your agent phoned last week, and said that you have a client in Greece that wants to see some of your dress designs. So, in that case, I thought that I'd buy you the ticket and you could assume it as a birthday gift. Because, there's also supposedly some huge fashion show happening in that area that time, and your birthday is on the same day. So what do you think, a birthday is Greece sounds fun, eh?" he said it so causally, one of the reasons that he was Canada's top listed lawyers. His persuasion skills were beyond arguable.
"What sort of fashion show?" that was all that Riddhima could think of to put up with the argument they had going.
"Some show displayed by some Ritika Dhirmalani..." he said the name as if nothing mattered in life. Ritika froze in her chair. She could not believe it.
"THE Ritika Dhirmalani?!?!? YOU'RE KIDDING RIGHT?" Ritika Dhirmalani was the most well known fashion designer in the world, also known as Riddhima's queen idol. She was something that Riddhima wanted to become and make out of her life.
He dad laughed, "Yes, that person, whoever she is." He smiled, knowing he had won the battle, and then triumphantly put his newspaper under one arm, and victoriously marched out of the kitchen with his coffee in hand.
It was decided. Riddhima was going to Greece...tommorow.
Riddhima quickly finished her orange juice, and phoned the office to cancel all her appointments scheduled for the day. She decided that if she was going to suddenly fly to another continent tomorrow, then she might as well look in style. After hanging up from the phone, Riddhima dialled the digits to her hair dresser, and set up a meeting in three hours to fulfill her girl needs.
When Shubhankar left for work, Riddhima quickly raced up the stairs to her bedroom, to start the ritual of packing her bags. She set out the large, empty travelling bag on her bed, and began to toss her whole wardrobe on the couch near her window. When she had finally emptied her whole closet out, Riddhima sat down onto the floor feeling exhausted and sweaty from the summer's heat.
She stared out the window, looking at the city's grand view displayed in front of her. She had been living this country for 26 years, yet still, she had never stepped out of it alone. Sure, she had gone to many business trips in different continents and vacations, but they had all been trips with either her father, or colleagues.
Outside the window, Riddhima could see a vast garden, belonging to the City Park nearby. It was a beautiful place, and just a few miles away from it was a torn up playground where Riddhima had spent most of her childhood.
Just as Riddhima turned around from the window, she was surprised to find Keerti standing in her bedroom's doorway! Riddhima let out a surprised scream, and then quieted herself immediately in embarrassment.
"Oh, I'm sorry! Did I scare you?" Keerti smiled nervously.
"No, no! It's ok. I was just not expecting anyone in my room except for myself!" Riddhima tried not to show any bitterness in her tone.
"It's just that you looked so angelic standing in front of your window, and it looked like you were lost in deep thought...so I was feeling nervous in disturbing you right away!"
Riddhima laughed at Keerti's thoughtfulness, and then turned back to her packing, "Well, if I plan to finish this packing by tomorrow morning, then I should start now!"
Keerti stepped into the room, and put her hand on Riddhima's shoulder, "Do you need any help?"
Riddhima laughed at her efforts in trying to act like Riddhima's friend, "No, it's ok, I'm fine."
Keerti weakly smiled, and then turned around to walk out of the room. Just before stepping out of the room, she turned around and looked at Riddhima straight in the eye. The piercing stare frightened Riddhima for a second and sent a shiver down her back. Then, suddenly Keerti smiled and said, "If you're thinking that I'll fill your suitcase with lingerie only again, then you're wrong." She slyly laughed at their mutual joke and walked away.
Riddhima wished that Keerti had not reminded her about that time in her life; the time that had brought her footsteps to Armaan's door; the time that had introduced her to the happiness that she had long lost in her past of fearful events.
Riddhima sat down on the floor and stared at the poster on her wall. The poster was a photograph of two children in black and white photography. They were holding hands and were shyly kissing on the lips on a busy street in New York City. Every time Riddhima looked at that poster on her plain, pink wall, she would wish that someone would look at her that way shyly and kiss her that passionately without caring who was watching. Riddhima had been blessed with that desire; it was called Armaan, but she had foolishly let go of it without a care at the moment.
She quickly shook her head to get rid of the past, and began to busily pack her things.
"All passengers boarding Flight A129 to Athens, Greece; your plane will be departing in ten minutes," said the monotone voice over the speakers throughout the airport.
Shubhankar picked up Riddhima's bags and helped her carry them until she was told to go through the tunnelled hallway into her plane. She quickly kissed him good bye on the cheek and waved silently at Keerti, who in return forced a hug upon her, "Take care sweetie!" called her dad, as Riddhima entered her plane and took her seat.
The flight attendant came by and warmly smiled at her. It was a middle aged woman with growing wrinkles under her eyes, showing the lack of sleep. Riddhima placed her purse on the empty seat next to her to take out her IPod and a piece of gum. After the announcement was made that the plane would take flight in exactly three minutes, Riddhima gave up on a passenger filling the seat next to her, and placed her feet on it. Usually Riddhima wanted the company of someone to sit next to her on flights as long as this one, but there was always the comfort of having two seats to yourself. She relaxed her head back, and turned up the volume to the song that she was listening. In no time, Riddhima would be doing the same exact action, but on a beach in Athens, Greece.
Just as she was about to fall asleep, she felt someone tapping her knee. She slowly opened her eyes, to find a tall man smiling straight at her. It took a while for Riddhima to understand what he wanted: the seat on which her feet were perfectly placed. She quickly put them away, and looked away feeling embarrassed. He smiled at her teasingly, and lifted his eyebrows. Riddhima couldn't stand it, she had to say it, "Alright Princess," then she dusted the seat with her hands and motioned to him that it was alright to sit down.
Riddhima guessed for this mystery man to be about her age, he might have been at least two years older. He was tall, slim and very attractive. He had a broad face, and his body was nicely built. He was wearing black formal pants, and a casual red, plain T ' shirt that perfectly outlined his six pack and great masculine features on his arms and chest. Riddhima almost fainted at the site of him, but merely controlled her urge to touch him all over. He quietly took his seat next to hers, but continued to smile her way. She swore that if he didn't stop smiling, she would either have to kill someone else, or kill herself to lessen the anxiety and physical torture that was running through her veins.
Finally, she looked out the window to distract herself, but was saddened to realize the plane hadn't even taken flight yet! That was odd; she thought she had slept for at least half an hour. Before she had even started to feel sleepy, the pilot had said that the plane would fly in three minutes, but what was everyone waiting for?
"Sorry folks, we had to just wait for a late passenger, but we are ready to take flight now. Please fasten your seatbelts, and wait until the sign above your head disappears. Only then, can you go to the bathroom or get up to do any other action. Please not that once the plane is steadily in motion, our well respected flight attendants will be coming around with drinks and snacks for your services. Thank you, and enjoy your flight." It was as if the pilot was reading Riddhima's mind and had answered all her questions. She also thought his voice was very annoying.
"Want to know a secret?" the man next to her said in a husky voice. She looked at him strangely, but then wished she hadn't, because she was mesmerized by his striking blue eyes that pierced right through her!
"Excuse me?" that was all that Riddhima could think of to say in response to his peculiar question.
"If you promise not to kill me, do you want to know a secret?" he repeated his question in a childish tone.
"Um...sure, well that depends really..." she replied.
"You know that passenger we were all waiting for...what would you do, if I were to tell you who it was?" he smiled at her teasingly again. She almost peed in her pants at his perfectly aligned white teeth.
"I would have that person in hand cuffs and would throw him or her out of the plane."
"In that case, I think it's best if I didn't tell you that that bas***d was me..." he stuck his tongue out midway, and then quickly sucked it back in. It was bright pink, and the only word Riddhima could think of while seeing it poke out was 'delicious'.
She laughed nervously, and rolled her eyes, "Well then, aren't you fortunate! Don't worry; I'll only throw you out of the plane when we're really high up in the air!"
He laughed harmoniously and then showed off his white teeth again, "My name's Salmaan. And could I have the honour of knowing yours?"
Salmaan. It wasn't a new name, and definitely not unique. Yet, somehow it perfectly fit his broad face, and she instantly felt as though she was talking to some huge movie star. Just when she was about to give him her name, the flight attendant stopped by and asked, "Can I help you with a drink or a snack, perhaps?"
Salmaan smiled at her warmly. It was evident that the middle aged woman also felt that tightness in the air that Riddhima had felt just previously.
"I'll have a Pepsi, and for my friend...well she'll have an orange juice. Thank you." The flight attendant did exactly as she was told, except that her fingers lingered slowly away when she handed the closed Pepsi can to Salmaan. He smiled genuinely at her, and then gave Riddhima her orange juice.
When the lady left, Riddhima turned fully around to meet this stranger's gaze and asked feeling shocked, "How did you know that I wanted an orange juice? I didn't even mention a word to you about what I wanted."
He didn't seem surprised at all by her sudden question. Instead, he calmly opened his Pepsi can and took a long, slow sip of the drink with his full, juicy looking lips before answering, "Your bubble is orange scented, so I figured you might like to drink orange juice." He said it with so much ease, that Riddhima felt stupid for even asking the confusing question.
Since she couldn't think of how to answer back in a smart way, she just silently turned up the music to her IPod again, and drifted peacefully back into sleep. She was awoken about two hours later, with a tapping on her shoulder.
"The plane will be landing soon, so if I was you, I'd start getting ready," said Salmaan.
"Oh thanks." Riddhima sat up straight and detached her head phones for her ears.
"So, what brings you to Athens?" he asked her, while he tied up his shoe lace. As he bent down, Riddhima could see a bit of his back exposed from the stretching of his T ' shirt. She quickly diverted her eyes to the seat ahead of her, and concentrated on what she was asked.
"It's a matter of business really." She said.
"Business...that's unfortunate...I would imagine a pretty woman like you to be on vacation in a place like Greece."
"Well, I guess you could also call it a vacation. I was planning to stay a few days after the business was done to get a chance to relax from the city life." Riddhima sighed in her depression of returned to her hectic life in Canada.
"That's always good. So how long are you staying for?" he seemed really interested in what she was doing during her stay.
"Well, I'm thinking of staying for at least three weeks, so I guess you could say a month actually."
"Wow, nice. What a coincidence. I am too! But, I'm coming to Athens due to some personal reasons; mainly to see my girlfriend." Riddhima was disappointed at the word to 'girlfriend', yet she was also happy because it gave herself a solid reason to stay away from the man.
"That's very sweet." Was all that Riddhima could think of to say; even though what Riddhima wanted was to express how she wished someone like Salmaan would fly across the world to just meet her.
"Thanks. You know, you still haven't told me your name!" his voice cracked a bit at the word 'name'.
"Oh yes! I'm sorry! How rude of me to ignore that! My name's Riddhima," and they shook hands at her introduction. His hand was huge, like a football player's, and was warm. It wasn't sweaty and warm, or squishy and warm. It was just big and warm. Riddhima had the random fantasy of what his hands on her body would look like, but she immediately shook the idea off and gave him a wary smile.
At that exact moment, the plane's inner lights went on and the pilot's voice allowed the passengers to obtain their stored luggage and exit the plane.
Salmaan helped Riddhima carry her suitcase out of the plane and to the area where they waited for their individual taxis. The air was humid, and people everywhere smiled at her as if they had known her for ages. She tried to return the same facial expression, but failed every time.
When two taxis finally lined up in front of one another, Salmaan placed her bags in the trunk of the rusty, old car and slammed Riddhima's door shut. Riddhima scrolled her side window down, and he bent his body down to rest his crossed arms on the bottom of the window frame.
"Thank you so much for all the help, once again!" Riddhima smiled and laughed shyly, trying her best to put on her charm.
"Oh please, the pleasure was all mine! It's a gentleman's duty to help a damsel in distress!" he laughed and waved his head in a flowed motion that Riddhima usually saw celebrity males do on TV.
"Thank you though. I don't know how I can repay you!"
"Well hopefully we'll bump into each other again soon!" he smiled back and winked his twinkling eye.
The wink made Riddhima melt inside, before she replied, "I'll cross my fingers to that." And then the impatient taxi driver started the car and began to move the vehicle away, while the two waved madly at each other presuming it was the last time, yet hoping there would be another acquaintance...
Chapter 18 ~ Expectations.
Riddhima turned her head to the road in front of her, after seeing the last bit of this new stranger who she had just met.
"A lover?" said the Greek taxi driver suddenly. He must have noticed her expression of sadness of not having a good enough reason or excuse to ride in the same taxi as Salmaan.
She laughed at his presumption, "Oh no. Just a stranger, I barely even knew him!"
"I see. Young love, then?" he smiled at her. The same way Shubhankar often did.
"No no. I don't think I'll ever see him again. Besides, he has a girlfriend."
"Oh no!" his tone surprised Riddhima. It felt like he was more hurt by their departure, that Riddhima herself, "How sad. I hope you see him soon!"
"Thank you, but I think his girlfriend would not like that!" Riddhima laughed at the thought of Salmaan actually wanting to see Riddhima again. She was probably just a pass time for him during the long and boring plane flight. Even though she wasn't much of an entertainer, since all she really did was sleep or eat. Every time he tried to talk, she would quickly end the conversation and look away. Supposedly her mother acted the same way when Shubhankar and she had first met. Thank could possibly be a sign from God.
The taxi driver laughed heartedly and then turned both of their attentions towards a grand hotel which looked like it was a castle taken out of a child's fairy tale book.
"Wow that's beautiful! Is that the 'GRAND PLAZO'? I can't believe it!" Riddhima was shocked.
"It sure is ma'am. One of the best hotels in the city!" he said it as if it was his daily line.
"I already love it." Riddhima couldn't keep her eyes off the magnificent building.
"Well here we are ma'am, and do you need help with carrying out your luggage?"
"No thank you, I'm fine. Here's your tip, and thank you."
"No, thank you Miss." And with the slam of the trunk's lid, the taxi madly drove away into dusty road of the ancient Greek city.
Riddhima turned around and looked at the building in front of her. It was HUGE. In the shape of Athena, the Goddess of Beauty, it looked as if it was a holy place by birth. The sculptures of angels and different faces of the gods and goddesses were engraved in the legs of the large Athena, and the tough looking, yet friendly faced doorman, held the large door open for Riddhima to enter. She smiled at him and walked in.
Once she found the front counter, Riddhima took out her reservations receipt, and showed it to the young, Greek man standing opposite to her.
"Palacaro. Your name, Riddhima, not of what I have heard before! Very beautiful!"
Riddhima blushed, "Thank you, it's an east Indian name..." Riddhima took out her credit card to pay for the room key.
He took it from her hands and then stared down at her fingers for a while, "You have very fragile hands!"
Riddhima couldn't help but continue to blush, "Thank you...my room key please?"
"Oh yes! I am very sorry. I am just so distracted by the beauty that enchants me." He stared at her face for about a minute with a charming smile, and then returned his gaze to his computer where he punched in the numbers on her credit card and then handed it back to her with an even larger smile on his face, "I hope you enjoy your visit here, and if you need any help, I will always be here." He gave her an envelope which most likely contained Riddhima's room key, and then she quickly walked towards the ladder.
This must have been some lucky day for Riddhima, because love seemed to keep on popping up at her face. Maybe it was just the exotic atmosphere of this city, but whatever it was...it made Riddhima feel attractive and feminine.
As she walked down the hall of the fourth floor, towards her room, Riddhima couldn't stop to admire the beautiful sculptures displayed between every room.
Finally, Riddhima found her room number, 129, and began to insert the key in and out, but the door would just not open. She checked to see if it was the right room that she was trying to invade, but to her dismay it was. Riddhima gave up after a few more tries, and then looked around for someone to help her. There was no one in the grand hallway except for herself.
She put the key in one more time, when the door next to hers, opened and a male stepped out. She turned her head and almost wetted herself, seeing it was SALMAAN! Her jaw dropped to the floor, and she felt that her eyes were about to pop out of her sockets.
"Riddhima? I didn't expect to find you here!" he looked down at her useless efforts in opening the door, "and I SURELY didn't expect you to be doing this!"
He grabbed the key from her hand. As their hands touched in the process, Riddhima felt a shock of erection go through her. She had to control herself, before the heat of the situation brought her a downfall. He heart raced, when he smiled at her hungrily, and stepped in front of her to smoothly open the door that she had given all her remaining energy to.
"See, it wasn't too bad, was it?" he smiled and dropped the key into her hands.
"No...um, I mean yes, it wasn't too hard." Riddhima tried to regain her balance and clear her thoughts. Was she so deprived of the feeling of love that she couldn't handle herself with just a mere touch of the hand?
"Good, well hope to see you soon neighbour!" he continued to smile, while he turned his back to her and walked down the hall towards the elevators.
When she could no longer see any part of him, Riddhima slid down to the ground and released a huge sigh. Then she gathered herself up, and walked into her hotel room.
She tossed herself onto the bed, taking in the luxurious hotel room, and closed her eyes. She saw Salmaan's smile replay in her mind over and over again. She opened her eyes and shook her head furiously. She had promised herself long time ago, that after Armaan, she would never fall in love or even have a lust feeling for anyone ever again.
Armaan. She let out another sigh and closed her eyes once more. All the pleasant memories played behind her eyes, and she smiled at some of those treasured moments. Then, her mind reminded her of their last acquaintance. The time, when Riddhima and Armaan had had their last kiss, and she had parted from him forever' leaving behind any remains of him that she could think of. It was just a while after that Riddhima had realized her stupidity. But when she had gone back, there was nothing to return to.
Riddhima quickly wiped away the tears that were running smoothly down her cheeks like a natural waterfall, and sat up straight. It was only 11:13am, and Riddhima still had the WHOLE, ENTIRE day to explore this new place.
She quickly changed her clothes, and put on a summer, plain white dress, with matching sandals and a straw hat that hat a black ribbon around it. As she passed the front counter, the young, Greek boy looked up at her and smiled back with wanting and desire. She quickly turned her head away and blushed till her toes. As she stepped out of the hotel doors, into the bright, shimmering rays of the blinding sun, Riddhima made a new promise to herself; to take an adventure and not back down.
Her first adventure, seemed to be located across the busy street; the arm museum.
Chapter 19 ~ New Acquaintances
Riddhima took her water bottle out of her straw purse, and took a long, slow sip; filling her insides with the refreshing monotone taste of the cold water. The line up in front of the museum was longer than what Riddhima had expected. Apparently there was a huge art exhibition taking place today, and everyone excitedly squirmed in their places, as they got nearer and nearer to the shady, roofed area in front of the ticket counter. Riddhima pulled out her Chanel sunglasses, and put them before her eyes to shade them from the piercing sun rays.
As she got closer to the ticket booth, Riddhima couldn't help but to finish off all the water she had brought along to help her survive through the whole day.
Finally, Riddhima reached inside the art gallery, and put on her headphones that guided her through the exhibition. It seemed to be the work of some famous photographer, Mr. Naamra. As Riddhima stepped in front of the next photograph, she stopped in her tracks, and turned off the guide's voice from the headphones she was given as a tour director.
The photograph was of an old lady, in black and white photography, who was scratching her infant's skin in order to gain sympathy from the wealthy that stood behind her. The motive of the scratching was simple: to influence the rich to give some wealth to this family of two who had nothing but each other. Riddhima almost started to cry, but controlled herself. She continued to stare at the photograph in silence as many people just ignored the epic piece of art and walked by, not to distress themselves.
"It seems as though this photograph has captivated your attention completely..." said a low voice from behind her.
The voice startled Riddhima entirely and she almost jumped through the roof above her. She turned around to face the man who assumed her current disposition. The voice belonged to a tall, slim but attractively muscular man. He wore very expensive looking clothing and a matching top hat to his Armani black suit. Riddhima could smell his lustful cologne from where she was standing, approximately two meters away from him. She looked up at his face. He was wearing dark shades that covered his eyes, and his top hat shaded his entire face, even the darkness of the room they were standing in seemed to help him to hide his face. Even though she could not see his face, it was odd to see the man standing before her flinch when he saw her. She quickly looked over his shoulder at her reflection from one of the glasses on a framed photo. She didn't look too bad, and her hair was nicely tamed today. She could still smell her perfume as well. And it was expensive perfume that Keerti had gifted to her for Christmas last year.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I really enjoy this photograph." She smiled a warm, stranger smile at him and then turned her back to him once more, to give her full attention back to the piece of art that she was so 'captivated' by.
She felt the man's chest bump against her shoulder. For a second it awkwardly stayed there, but then he moved slightly back, "Why does it draw so much of your attention?" he asked.
"Well, I really like how the photographer has captured the reality of the rural life that many people in this era are experiencing. I especially like the fact though, that the artist has shown a truth to the audience that most people usually seem to miss...or just don't wish to stop and process it." Riddhima could have talked about her feelings for this particular photograph all day, but instead she forcefully quieted herself and kept a confined character in front of this odd stranger.
"That's a very deep thought. I'm surprised that someone like your self would get the time to stop and realize such a fact, while others, like most of the people in this room, are just pretending that this section of the wall does not even exist."
Riddhima turned around again to face the man and smile at his compliment, "I'm not as busy as I present myself to be, but thank you for the comment." She could not see his face, but she sensed that he was also smiling at this time as well.
"You know, the photographer of this artwork didn't exactly take this picture to show the reality of life. He actually took it to show how deceitful those in this poverty cycle could be." It almost sounded to Riddhima as if this man was challenging her points of view.
"Really, is that right? Well, I guess there's always a positive and negative side in seeing things around you. The photographer might have seen this moment as a chance to show the other face of the traitor, but his viewers, like me, read this to be an expression of the feelings that one undergoes in order to pertain themselves of the little respect that they might hold in their strive to live a life that many just take for granted." Riddhima couldn't have portrayed her thoughts into better words than what she had just said.
"That's a very insightful and inspiring thought you have there. Interesting...very, very interesting...Well, I would surely like to inform the artist of this fan's views. Thank you." Riddhima blushed and smiled at him, wishing that the low, magical voice would reveal its face. But the man just seemed to do the opposite and turn around to walk in another direction.
"Excuse me Mister!" Riddhima felt like a dumbass calling him again, when he clearly did not wish to converse in any further talk with her.
He turned around elegantly, "Yes?"
Riddhima stared at him blankly for a while, not knowing why she had stupidly called him for no reason. She swore that she even thought that he chuckled for a while looking at her expressionless face. Finally when the silence became extremely awkward, Riddhima began to panic and asked whatever question came to mind, "Um...well, I was just wondering...err...how do you know this particular artist? What I mean to say, is that...I'm a very big fan of his, since...um...childhood, and I just wanted to know if you knew him well enough...to...to introduce him to ME!" Riddhima basically did the worst stage performance of improvising in her life. She stared at him, hoping he would buy her story. He laughed just loud enough for them both to hear, and then grew quiet.
"Well, it must be your lucky day, because your childhood hero stands in front of you," he continued to laugh in his low, stony voice. Riddhima didn't know why, but it felt to her that she had heard this voice before. It reminded her of Rahul...but to the extreme point that she would suspect this man to be him. Even though his body also reminded her of his...but then again, most men were toughly built these days. Looking at this man's muscles, reminded Riddhima of Salmaan. She quickly shook her head to erase all thoughts of him and focused on the man in front of her that proclaimed himself as Mr. Naamra.
"Wow, oh my god. This is such a great honour! THE Mr. Naamra!! I sincerely cannot believe my luck today!" She really couldn't believe her luck today, especially the part that included the various flirts that crossed her path since early morning. She faked her excitement and surprised facial expressions of seeing MR.NAARMA, even though she had never heard this name in her life just until about half an hour ago when it was announced through her headphones.
"No please, the pleasure is all mine. But if you truly do wish to honour me, then accept my offer to lunch date today. You would greatly increase my own luck, if you could find it in your heart to keep this negative thinking artist's pride." He grabbed her hand in his, and held it there.
Riddhima felt an unusual spark go through her body. She couldn't understand who this stranger was, but whoever he was, Riddhima swore that this was not the first time she was meeting him. She had never even met a Mr. Naamra in her life, yet his touch made her think that she knew his man all her life.
Riddhima erased the confused expression off her face and smiled at him, "Of course Mr. Naamra. Do not embarrass me by saying that I would do YOU an honour, when the HONOUR is all MINE!" she couldn't find it in herself to refuse this generous proposal. Plus, Riddhima reminded herself that she had promised to take an adventure on this vacation...and an adventure was what she was ready to risk right at that point! The driver to the long limousine opened the limousine's back door.
She laughed at the thought, and smiled, "Only if you are..." motioned for her to walk up the stony path. She began to ascend the steps into a forest. It was not a scary looking forest, instead it was full of life and gentle squirrels and butterflies that sprang out of bushes and scurried along the ground. Mr. Naamra walked right behind her and told her occasionally which way to turn whenever two paths emerged from their one single guide.
Riddhima kept track of the turns just in case she had to run back this whole path. She was always taught to be aware of her surroundings. Even though she was Mr. Naarma's guest; she knew very well that if he tried to force her into anything, then she would hit him in his sensitive area and run away as fast as she could praying God's name the whole entire way. This type of situation had never occurred in the past, and Riddhima trusted her instincts enough to know she would never have to use that emergency plan in the future...yet, still...
Finally the forest began to disappear and a small clearing was spotted. It was a grassy area on top of a cliff that had an overlook on the whole entire city! It was MAGNIFICENT! Riddhima couldn't believe what she was seeing! If that was not enough of a surprise, Mr. Naamra had already set a picnic in the clearing for two. Riddhima looked at him...well his hat basically that covered his face, and smiled. She let go of his hand, which remained in a black glove all the time, and ran towards the picnic area like a little girl seeing candy.
"This is BEAUTIFUL!" Riddhima almost shrieked.
"So, you like it?" he asked innocently.
"Do I like it? I LOVE IT!" she smiled her biggest smile.
"Good. Well please, sit down. Let's start, because I don't know about you, but I'm STARVING."
Riddhima laughed and sat down, followed by Mr. Naamra taking his spot opposite her position. It was an extremely hot day, yet Mr. Naamra wore a black long coat, with a huge black hat and even black gloves!
"Do you not feel hot Mr. Naamra?" Riddhima couldn't help but to ask. The curiosity was killing her inside.
He laughed quietly and then said in a stern voice, "I do not like to reveal skin. I feel more satisfied with myself when I am completely covered and refined."
Riddhima nodded and then looked down at herself, "Well, I'm afraid that's one thing we do not have in common! I love to show skin, but not to an extent where it becomes over the top, but just to an extent where I feel confident about who I am." Riddhima decided to keep her mouth shut. That was enough attitude for now; she had to save her best lines for later.
He laughed a bit louder this time, "That's very unique Ms....I'm afraid I don't remember your name..."
"My name? Oh yes! You can call me Riddhima..."
"Riddhima...a beautiful name for a beautiful girl."
Riddhima blushed, but then she realized something. Mr. Naamra had just called her a girl...if he was her age, then wouldn't he have called her a woman? This indirectly meant that Mr. Naamra could possibly be her dad's age! Riddhima almost puked at the thought. She couldn't even tell how old he was, because all his skin was covered!
"Um...Mr. Naamra, not to be rude, but I was just wondering...exactly how old are you? I would never have asked this question, but I cannot see your face, so I cannot tell otherwise..."
He didn't laugh this time, "Let's not discuss my age, shall we?"
The rest of the afternoon went by very really quickly. Riddhima discussed her plans in Greece for the next few days and talked about her dad and Keerti getting married. At the end of the day, Riddhima had spent her lunch hours and dinner with Mr. Naamra on the cliff. Finally, it was getting cold and Mr. Naamra dropped Riddhima off in front of her hotel. He kissed her hand in a gesture of departure. His warm lips felt tender and soft next to her clammy hands from the humid temperature, even though it was more towards the freezing scale at the moment. She smiled sweetly at him and headed inside the building. As she waited in front of the elevator door for it to open and take her to her room, she thought about the day's events, especially how her unexpected date had unexpectedly ended. Mr. Naamra had not even said a single word about whether they would meet again or whether he enjoyed her company or her beauty. She felt a bit disoriented, yet the mystery of his silence kept her intrigued in his thoughts.
Finally the elevator door opened, and another unexpected surprise waited on the other side.
CHAPTER 21 – Friends or Lovers...Your choice.
The elevator doors opened and Riddhima stepped in, still completely lost in her thoughts. Just as the doors closed, Riddhima realized that there was a couple kissing madly in the corner. The girl had her hands in the guy's hair and he had his hands in places that Riddhima had once had Armaan's hands on. Riddhima shook her head at the echo of his name inside her head and then felt extremely embarrassed to be invading on their exploration of each other.
Riddhima quickly pressed the "Open Doors" button to exit this particular elevator, but failed in the process when she realized that the elevator was already moving extremely slowly to the top floor on which her hotel room was. Awkwardly, Riddhima pressed herself against the opposite corner from which the couple was furiously kissing in, and looked up at the ceiling to distract herself. She soon got the feeling that the couple had no idea that Riddhima was also standing in the elevator with them. This realization did bring down the level of self awareness that Riddhima was feeling at that moment, but it soon rose high again, when the couple stopped kissing and the girl turned around to face Riddhima unexpectedly.
"Oh my god! Ahhh! Were you here the WHOLE time?" the girl shrieked. She seemed to be around Riddhima's age. She was pale skinned and had blonde hair. She was wearing a formal black dress which ended right above her knees and the neck of her dress rested at her breasts. Riddhima was trying to think of an answer which would make the situation as least awkward as possible, but just as she was about to respond a simple "Yes", Riddhima went speechless. The guy who was kissing this drunk blonde was no one else, but Salmaan. He looked at her for a second and then began to laugh. Obviously, Salmaan was in no better state than this blonde girl. Judging from the way they looked at each other, Riddhima guessed that this tall, model looking woman was the 'girlfriend' that Salmaan had talked about on the plane ride.
"Um...hi Salmaan..." Riddhima smiled weakly and then looked away, indicating to them that she was just here for the elevator ride, and nothing else.
The blonde girl laughed loudly and turned to face Salmaan. She grabbed him seductively by his shirt's collar and laughed while she rested the side of her face on his bare chest.
"How embarrassing!" she continued to laugh.
"Oh don't worry baby, she's a friend of mine! She doesn't care!" Salmaan reached down to kiss the blonde girl's lips and then winked at Riddhima. Riddhima in response rolled her eyes and then continued to look up at the ceiling wondering what would life be like if Riddhima was in the place of the blonde girl's and that girl was in Riddhima's shoes.
Riddhima laughed to herself at the thought of Salmaan holding and kissing her that way. The disturbing couple looked up at her sudden moment of laughter, questioning her sanity. Just when Riddhima was about to die from the torture of confused expressions, the elevator door opened and Riddhima sprinted out of the cage.
Finally, Riddhima reached in front of her hotel room's door and began to insert the key to open it and reach to her heavenly suite which gave a sense of safety and comfort.
After many useless tries of trying to open the door. Riddhima looked up into the hallways to see that Salmaan and his girlfriend were nearing the place where she was standing, while kissing and bumping into things. Riddhima couldn't handle her frustration any longer, "WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THIS GOD DAMN DOOR?!?" she yelled in all her anger and fury.
Salmaan and Blondie stopped kissing and looked at her feeling confused once more. Then, they both began to laugh insanely and stumbled across the hall towards her; another sign of being completely out of your sense and drunk. Salmaan took the key from her hands and in a quick and smooth motion opened the door to Riddhima's hotel room. Riddhima snatched the key from his hand and grunted as loud as she could while she slammed the door at his face.
After a while, Riddhima reconsidered her actions and thought of apologizing to Salmaan for her rude behaviour. She put a chair between her door and its rim so that it would remain open and stepped in front of Salmaan's room. As she was about to knock, she realized the door was slightly open already. Knowing that it was extremely rude, Riddhima still opened the door a little more to see what Salmaan was doing. Not as if she hadn't expected this, but all she could see was a pile of female and male clothing on the floor and the sound of a bed's springs going up and down.
Riddhima quickly closed the door and ran into her own room, where she turned off all the lights, closed all the curtains and buried herself beneath the detergent smelling bed sheets. Beneath the storm of white clouds and on top of the soft, heavenly bed, she wept an ocean that ran down the stony goose bumps of her skin and into the puddle of her heart where they stained over previous stains for every cycle of her heart beat.
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