Joined: 29 April 2009
P.S. This ff had previously been called as Random Moments
Musical Companion as suggested by Sookie
This FF continues in the next thread - Pablo's Muse Thread II
Part 26 - On going
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Although he had initially wanted to keep his identity under wraps from her; for some reason, he stopped in his tracks and turned towards her to add, " Since that flight.. there hasn't been a single day.. when I haven't sat down over coffee and wondered about the fate of that" looking at her intently with a somewhat mischievous glint in his eyes, "..poor laptop.." unable to suppress his amusement at the play of differing emotions on her face- he flashed that mesmerizing smile for the first time that afternoon for her as he turned to walk away- catching her completely off guard and leaving her out of words.
Later that evening.
The dimmed lights, loud music- and voices full of laughter and mirth- the occasional sounds of the cue ball striking the break shot or the sounds of beer bottles clung together in a common approval, the ambience was unnmistakable and so was the place; the 1903 Pub was the location where a group of friends had gathered for the night.
Those that knew him- knew he was simply entertaining the crowd, being himself, this was the comic Summit, just his stage persona taking charge- the one that loved making people's impersonation and make people laugh.
"....as I was saying.....what was I saying'?" acting confused and scratching his head as he questioned the audience after regaining his stand. To which one voice replied, "your girlfriend left you....for another man.." as others laughed.
"'which one?" he shot back.
"okay..okay..why am I making an ass of myself up here... before I forget why....lets get this over with so that we can get back to having some fun.....as you know, Armaan recently survived that near crash and this party has been held in his honour.....of..." searching for a suitable word, "..of having survived...here's to life....and that my best bud is here with us all. He's a good man not without his a naughty streak ofcourse....but he's calmed down a lot recently..so all the beautiful young ladies..you know which man to prey upon tonight.." winking to Armaan as he continued, "....umm..we have been friends since medical school, been through a lot...I could stay here and talk through the night ...but for nowI just want to say that I'm thrilled to have him here....now most of you must be wondering why now ..... after months...blame that on him- for the rat got a little nicer and was pre-occupied with some other work that he deemed too important to postpone...but cheers to him for everything including that he agreed to this night finally...''and lastly...I hope we can start working together soon'"
To that Armaan held up his beer bottle with his right hand as if in concurrence to what Summit had just concluded.
Summit added, " Don't delay anymore buddy..the hospital is full of hot docs!....." winking to Armaan as he made his way out of center stage sending the crowd into one more boisterous rapture before the music took over.
Summit joined Armaan at the bar, " Hope you are having fun man!"
"Thanks for doing this Summit, god know I needed to get some air after everything'" Armaan looked straight ahead into nowhere.
Sensing his mood, Summit went on as if looking around the place, " So where's your date for the night?"
" yea...we're done..." changing the subject of discussion, "..besides it's you that's got to tell me more about your new friend- what was her name?." Armaan prodded.
"Which one?" surprising Armaan with his reply.
" why are you keeping her in hiding?..its so unlike you...honestly I was expecting her here tonight"
" Yea so was I....the whole hospital gang was supposed to show up here tonight... don't know what's keeping them back..as per her...she said she was caught up with some work"
"Oh so she's a fellow doc too?...whatever happened to your no dating a co-worker policy?"
"....sometimes you have to break the rules.....but I'm not so sure'you know it was a blind date thing that was set up by another doc- Muskaan..and I had no clue what I was getting myself into...that was until I saw her....."
" You know...Riddhima ...she's the daughter of Dr. Shashank, the one who is in charge right now...so.."
"So..... when do we get to meet her?" Armaan interrupted.
"well.. were there at your exhibit.........didn't I tell you that she was in that flight too?....."
The last words, hit Armaan like a bullet- as the realization struck him causing him to spurt his last sip of alcohol out in an unexpected manner.
" so that was her? .....Riddhima..!" Just as he was about to say more, one of Summit's friends, whom he had enterred the party with came up to him signalling him to join her at the dance floor.
Armaan questioined, " ...but ...I thought you were seeing...."
"'what's the difference?....I.. just need to have a good time..." Armaan could see Summit hadn't changed one bit- and watching him dance intimately with his lady friend, Armaan realised that he was part of the same crowd'but only this time today he was sitting at the other end looking on as opposed to being observed.
Armaan had had an unusual childhood - growing up mainly because of the severed relationship with his dad. Despite being alone most of his life- even while growing up, some how he had learnt to keep himself busy. The burden of being his dad's son- the father that was never there- being labelled a spoilt brat and getting away with most things had made him take everything for granted. When he got off the plane that day ...highly thankful at being able to do so- he seemed to appreciate everything more. The fact that he simply received a call from his father to inqire about his well being wasn't lost on him either; while everyone else seemed to be swarmed by people who loved them no ends- he couldn't escape how he walked out alone only to have his solitidue be broken by the overbearing cry of a young child- who was weeping beside her young mom, who was lying unconsciously on the pavement.
The voice of the bar-tender broke him out of his thoughts, "yes?"
"Sir, your phone has been ringing for a while..." indicating to his cell phone that was on the counter.
He picked it up to see, Dia calling, " I'll be there..."
" So what's up between Riddhima and Summit?" Shashank asked Anjali.
"What about them?"
"Well don't act as if you don't know a thing, your sister has been spending a lot of time with him lately...and I am asking you if you are aware of anything more..?"
" Dad if you are asking me about Summit and Ridzi, then let me tell you something else first. Have you been keeping track of her progress at the hospital so far? She's had more failed surgeries than any new doctor and I still don't understand why Dr. Kirti gives her all the good cases. If you ask my honest opinion, I think she is too soft hearted to be a doctor"
"Anjali!" rather sternly, " I'm not asking you about her professional performance..for god's sake just for once.."
"Dad...I had a rough day..I'm too tired, can we talk about this tomorrow?" saying so she walked off to her room.
Shashank shook his head in obvious disapproval of Anjali's behaviour as he looked towards Padma, who had been standing beside him looking equally disappointed.
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The same evening, in their room
" Why didn't you go to the party Ridz?"
Riddhima was still thinking about the exhibit, her reaction- did she overeact?, Armaan- who despite all his annoying remarks she had to admit was looking really good. But he's such a jerk..a handsome jerk..she reiterrated to herself... this is the second time we have met and each time- he makes it a point to annoy me. I hope for his good, I never see him again.. what's his problem anyways? She was literally talking to herself, when Anjali walked in after her little conversation with Shashank outside. She looked at Riddhima talking to herself and said in a harsh tone, " Looks like you are getting too stressed due to work'you've started talking to yourself again.." breaking Riddhima's chain of thoughts.
"Di....huh?" clearly baffled at her rude disposition.
" Nevermind....Good-night Ridz"
"Good Night di"
" So are you ready? He asked her.
She nodded as she made her way into the room holding his hand, it was a dark room; pitch dark, " why are we here- why did you bring me here?"
Suddenly, out of the blue, she felt his breath on her face, slightly flinching at his proximity- she heard, " so that we can admire.." followed by an un-nerving silence. As her eyes, wide open battled to find a fitting image to this voice emanating from the surrounding darkness; his deep voice however thwarted her futile efforts focussing her attention on his words once more as he spoke, " so that we can...." followed by a moment of silence when his eyes lingered upon hers briefly before continuing, "..admire..the beauty..of this moment.." Sensing her hesistancy, he sqeezed her hand in reassurance as he guided her through the dark room- she was blindly allowing him to lead her. The only thing that she was certain of was how reassuring it was to have him hold her hand and be led- the darkness did not seem to matter- as long as she was holding on to his hand. It was then, at that moment that her desire to see him grew, this stranger's voice was soothing and his touch had a calming influence but what did he look like? She badly wanted to know.
" we're almost there..and now I want you to stand here while I get the lights.." She felt his hands slip away from hers, increasing her already heightened anxiety. What is going on here, why am I here, who is this guy, and why does his voice sound so damn soothing'unable to wait anylonger, she demanded, " where are you..? ..open the lights.."
The instant the light was on, she saw in front of her eyes the beautiful painting 'the Venus of Urbino' an image she had seen years ago in a museum somewhere. As she walked a few more paces towards it, her appreciation turned into utter disbelief; her eyes nearly popped out in horror as the realization struck her- that the nude figure of a woman reclining sensously on a chaise lounge wtih two satiny white pillows supporting her head and shoulders, wasn't Venus but her!
"noooo..." a whimper escaped her lips.
And to add to the absurdity of the entire situation, she felt she heard voices in the back- as if she was standing in the middle of a crowd..who were keenly discussing the art- the colors, the pose, her grace and her boldness- did she hear it right? - her hands were itching to vent out her fury. Right now, all the attention on the painting made her want to disappear into the darkenss- I swear I could dig a hole and bury myself in there, she muttered to herself.
And as if to add salt to her wounds.
" Beautiful isn't it?" She turned around in an instant as his voice loomed over her ears fading every other voice into absolute incoherence.
"YOU?" pointing her finger at the man- who going by the smuggish grin plastered all over his face, was loving every second.
" You..." she was going to hurt him for good today.
"Wake up Ridz.." a concerned Anjali, well aware of Riddhima's nightmares and lack of sleep recently, was trying hard to bring her out of her midnight madness.
Riddhima found herself holding on to Anjie's neck as she regained her sense.
" Di...I had a ..." withdrawing her hands from Anjie's neck.
" A bad dream..I can imagine.." feeling her neck, "..gosh Ridz you nearly killed me..and what are you doing now...are you okay?" looking at Riddhima who was checking herself out as if to reassure herself that she was fully clothed.
"pheww.. thank god..wow!.." as if trying to comprehend her dream, " I saw a painting in my dreams Di" Riddhima spoke with a dazed expression.
"a painting..?" Anjali looked on curiously.
" it was a nude portrait of this woman..the only thing lit up..at the center of an otherwise dark room"
"wow Ridz..your dreams are getting bizzarely fascianting go on.." unable to hide her amusement.
"..umm..I walked towards it..only to realise that it was..." she thought about it for a second and decided to bend the truth a little, " and that's when I woke up.."
"..and that was your bad dream?...I thought it got more interesting.." dismissing the dream, Anjali went back to her bed, "go back so sleep Ridz and let me sleep too, I have a morning shift tomorrow'"
"But Di.." Riddhima stopped as she realised that there was no point taking this forward. This was unlike any dream that she had before. As she lay in bed, she asked herself , " what was that all about?...not him again..although..I wonder how I would really look if I...Do I really look like that good?..."
" I can hear voices Ridz...go back to sleep.." Anjali threw a spare pillow at her.
The next day.
"So did you guys get the news?" Muskaan as she joined the rest of the gang at the cafe.
" yea..about the new entry..I hope he's handsome..we could use some good-looking men here in the hospital.." looking at Rahul who was sitting at the other end of the table engrossed in his magazine, when Muskaan was unable to get his attention- she went on further,, "..I wonder if he's the hero type or the side kick types.." making a face to Rahul, as she sipped her coffee.
" very funny Muskaan..!!..guys I'm heading off, need to get some work done" Rahul excused himself as his pager went off.
"New entry??" Atul and Anjali inquired in unison.
" yea..I overheard..Dr. Shashank talking with Dr. Keerti this morning, he was talking about .. hear this..this is inside news....of some..Dr. Malik joining the hospital. You know he is supposedly the son of the senior Malik, and although no one seems to keen on having him on board-apparently its not upto them.." Muskaan reported anitmatedly eventhough one could sense the hint of disappointment in her voice as Rahul took off.
"But whats the problem with him joining?" Anjali asked curiously.
"..yaar..he hasn't worked for like nearly six months....I think..Dr.Shashank doubts his commitment to the profession or.....but whatever their issues..his coming is confirmed.."
Summit looked around the cafe as he joined the group at the table; it was obvious that he was looking for someone. Not having seen Riddhima there with the rest of them, he asked Anjali, " ...so where is your sister?" unknowingly steering the conversation away from Dr. Malik's entry.
Muskaan butt in teasingly, " What yaar!?..she left for Lonavla this morning..she didn't tell you ? what's up hero...looks like your heroine's not impressed by you.." the trademark Muskaan laugher echoed the cafe after she made her statement.
Surprising everyone, Anjali defened her sister, " Oh please Muskaan, don't exaggerate things that you don't know about"
" ..so you know something else.. that we don't?" Muskaan was quick to reply back, she wasn't the kind to hold back.
"..whatever..I need some fresh air.." Anjali as she made her way out of the cafe.
" Lonavla..?..but she didn't say anything about it yesterday?" A confused Summit added.
" Don't trust everything she says" Atul cleared the air of confusion as he gave Muskaan one of his you'll never give up will you- looks, " Summit, she's here in the hospital somewhere'"
"Good-Afternoon.." adding, ".. beautiful..." as she looked up, Armaan greeted the old lady at the reception, "I have an appointment with Dr.Shashank at two" making her smile, " in which case, you would be..." reading her screen, " Dr.Malik.." looking up at him, ".welcome to Sanjeevani.."
Hey folks, this is my longest part to date so I hope it's long enough this time- personally, I think its too long. I know my experimental ff of sorts, may be boring to those looking for more AR and their romantic interaction since there is very little of that here. Let me warn you in that case, that it may take a while for AR to come together as AR provided ofcourse that this ff makes it that far
In Doctor Keerti's cabin,
" Dr. Riddhima'you don't watch football do you?"
" no was never into it much.." shaking her head as she spoke.
" I thought so.." handing over the case file " I just got a call from reception that he was seen heading towards Dr. Shashank's cabin, I would like you to assist Dr. Shashank in this case..."
"Sure Dr. Keerti", reading the name printed on the file's cover, Arman Khanna. " Arman Khanna, he is he most expensive professional football player in the country right now..it turns out his foot injury is flaring up again this season. Before Dr. Shashank takes over his case, I want you to run these tests..." Dr. Keerti's words kept ringing in her head as she walked towards the Dr. Shashank's cabin located on a different floor. "alright.. Mr. Foozbal..here I come"
It had been nearly twenty minutes since Shashank had left him abruptly asking him to wait for a certain Dr. Gupta, who was going to show him around the hospital. He found it rather strange how Dr. Shashank seemed to rejoice at the chance of going away from his own cabin, " was that a measure of his dislike for me?" Armaan thought ,"..or a measure of the importance of the man who stood waiting at the other end? whatever..this man has got issues.." Armaan thought to himself.
As he sat there, his patience was waning with each passing minute. He recalled how coldly Dr.Shashank had interacted with him throughout their brief meeting. Shashank made it obvious to Armaan how he thought of him- and eventhough nothing had been said explicitely, he understood the underlying emotions- Dr. Gupta didn't like him one bit, whether it be caused by his failure to show up earlier due to which Summit was appointed, or his roots- that he was his father's son- the self-centered Dr.Malik as one news paper had referred to him once. This had irked Armaan about Dr. Shashank, he was the same as everyone else, quick to jump to conclusions and form opinions about people- quick to judge. He knew his stint in this hospital was not going to be an easy one- but there was no way he was going to back out of it this time, he was obliged not only as a doctor but more importantly to upkeep his mother's word- and a promise that he had made to her. The one person in the world who mattered the most to him.
As he looked around the neatly done interiors of the cabin, his attention was drawn to a wall with Dr.Shashank's certificates, he was quick to notice that his father and Dr.Gupta had been products of the same medical school. This wall with a full display of his prowess stood a silent testament to his professional caliber- of which there was no doubt in Armaan's mind now. As he went around the cabin, he noticed family pictures on his desk, a smile escaped his lips as he picked up a frame with pictures of three young children, that were sitting down cross-legged doing the three monkeys pose. The first had her eyes covered while having a cute smile plastered on her lips, the boy at the center had plugged his ears with his hands while the third one, had her mouth coverd by her tiny little hands, while her twinkling big eyes radiating innocence looked on unable to hide the play of amusement that must have been momentairly surpressed during that snap. That she was enoying the moment was more than evident in those expressive eyes that had a mischievious glint. With a small smile on his lips, he stared intently at the cute composition, the children and more specifically the pair of eyes emanating unbound joy and innocence, how can such a cold man have such cute children? his thoughts wandered off while his left hand clutched the picture frame.
"Excuse me, what are you doing?" unable to get the attention of the man she was standing behind, Riddhima spoke louder, " Armaan..?"
The soothing voice at the back jolted him out of his thoughts, quickly placing the frame back on the table he turned around, only to see Riddhima with a questioning experssion on her face? He noted the change of expressions on her face as she realised it was him- the change from a questioning look to the one of slight annoyance as if implying you again! didn't escape his notice. God this woman has an expressive face, he said to himself.
"You?...what are you doing here?" as her mind struggled to put the pieces together, 'Mr. Foozball?...no the smilling assain.....I mean the patient..but he couldn't be...he looks healthy..infact..too healthy to me..look at him..that fit body....that arrogant smile..and last night's dream...sigh..' making her feel violated almost as if he had been part of that dream sequence for real.. her hands instinctively went to feel her lab coats- as if a mental assurance that her clothes were in place '..ok zap out of your thoughts Riddhima...focus-focus on work..'
Finally she spoke, " are you..?" loud enough for him to hear.
"I am waiting for Dr. Gupta" Armaan blurted out instinctively only to realise that Riddhima was lost somewhere else, " ahem..ahemm..clearing his throats'Doctor, I was told to wait for a certain Dr. Gupta who would.."
" I am Dr. Riddhima Gupta..lets get moving" cutting him off before he could finsih properly hoping that it would help hide her embarassing drift off. She couldn't believe that of all the people on earth, she had to deal with him again.
"its about time, I was getting tired of staying in here all alone....what is up with Dr. Shashank anyways, he is such a rude man, ekdum khadoos..how do you guys work under such a boss..so much attitude..! " He replied nonchalantly as he walked out.
" Excuse me? Are you insane? ..." unable to hold back, Riddhima turned around clearly irritated at this man who was making fun of her dad right in front of her.
"well.. they say I am normal ...only in the company of beautfiul women" Armaan replied trying to appear serious.
"what are you implying..?" Holding back, "You clearly think very highly of yourself don't you?" Riddhima shot back.
" Think'?" Armaan gave her a shocked look, "noooo... know I am" winking back.
"whatever.." shaking her head as she paced ahead of him.
They walked silently. Armaan had been more than surprised at Riddhima's silence, some orientation he thought! Riddhima on the other hand was still trying to grapple how this man could do everything, be on that plane, that exhibit, be a star foot ball player and now this injury- not that she cared, but still she felt a little bad for him despite his annoying ways, back injury, multiple fractures in the foot- man this man must have been a riot while growing up. He's such a royal pain!
Armaan finally broke the silence between them, " how many doctors work here?"
"enough to take care of you" as she walked ahead.
" what's up with this woman?" trying again to strike a conversation, " So Dr. Gupta- this must be the Doctor's lounge?" pointing to the obvious signage that impied the same.
"you know.. thought you were going to offer some coffee and muffins..but it seems like you have other ideas?" As they walked past the lounge.
" why just coffee and muffins..something better perhaps?" Riddhima replied.
" something better..?" his eyes lit up in amusement.
"Yes, shall we?" pointing to the entrance to the Orthopedics department.
" Finally..." Armaan said looking around.
She led him to a room, " okay Armaan, you will need to take your shirt off.."
" Why do you look surprised?- now I can't possibly examine your back with your clothes on can I Mr. Khanna?" Riddhima explained.
" Armaan!..Riddhima??" a third voice made them both retreat away from eachother. A visibly confused Summit continued, "..looks like you two have met eachother?" This was not how he hoped to introduce these two.
" I guess it was partly my fault too..." Riddhima replied calmly.
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The doctor's lounge was abuzz around midnight with the constant movement of tired souls seeking a moment's reprieve from the exhaustive work of treating the large number of wounded patients brought in following a bus accident earlier in the day. While some caught up on emails sipping espressos, others merely dozed off in the comfort of the couch. Armaan lugged into the lounge, to see an empty seat next to a sleeping Riddhima. It wasn't the kind of first day he had expected, hectic and tiring- but there was a sense of satisfaction at having helped people in distress that gave him a strange strength to carry on.
Stretching his tired arms over the top of the couch as he settled in, he glanced over at a fast asleep Riddhima. As he looked on, the memories of their first meeting brought a faint smile on his lips inadvertently. And almost instantly in complete contrast - his facial muscles tensed up as he recalled her horror stricken face, pale with shock caused by the near death experience, the forlorn expression that he had noticed as she gazed on lost, with tears tricking down her cheeks and how he couldn't stop himself from feeling a tinge of pain looking at her. To date he had not been able to figure out what those eyes were saying at that instant. The moment, he had captured in his frame- with the picture that still hung in his studio- that image which had become the face of his exhibit- and hence the center piece, in all the three exhibits he had held since then. In all honesty, he had never expected to see her again- let alone find her standing infront of her own pair of eyes! And he had planned so much- in that short while as he had watched her bemused expression as she stared at her own eyes, the sight was endearing to him for some strange reason. He wanted to tell her that it was her- but then things rarely go as planned. She was too presumptuous - and quick to jump to conclusions about him, he was slightly ticked off- and may be it was better that way.
But the story didn't end there- he had to meet her again- and they had to have another face off. The moment he turned around to see her in Dr. Shashank's cabin- there was a sense of ease that spread within him- she brought out this prankster in him- and the odd part was he enjoyed it. He couldn't help but be an annoyance especially seeing how his remarks were affecting her composure. Her reactions to his intentional jabs had awarded him a weird sense of security.That flustered look in her face was priceless. I guess somethings never change, its in a man's nature to be attracted to beautiful maidens. He conceded to himself.
Knowing very well that the vagabond life that he wished to lead left no room for attachments, especially of this kind- he tried to maintain a distance but this woman, whom he barely knew was making him constantly challenge his own assertions- giving rise to this constant battle within him.
Immersed in his inner thoughts, as his voice trailed off while the background voices got slower and lower.. as if being sucked into an invisible pit- he slumped into a sweet slumber himself.
Only to be cut short by Riddhima's distressed voice, who jerked up with frown lines creased above her forehead, her distressed call of help was a clear indication of a bad dream. However, neither of them had bargained for what happened next. It had become a habbit for Riddhima to seek solace in her elder sister's embrace after a disturbing dream- she always had Anjali to turn to, to hug her reassuring that it was a bad dream or in some cases chide her for waking her up because of a weird dream, and so almost naturally, Riddhima latched on to Armaan who was seated next to her hugging him tigthly. He was stunned and as he looked on around the room, slightly flushed at the few other doctor's around the room- his hannds hanging in mid air on either side of Riddhima unable to put it around her, not sure how he should react. Until he heard, one of the doctors say, " oh no..not the flight nightmares again.." his hands almost instinctively went around her in a protective way, patting her back ever so gently, to reassure her that it was ok. It was a good few minutes before he felt her relaxing and that he himself found words to console her-, "its okay Riddhima, it was just a dream..shh.." She jerked up her face almost instantly- a moment of silence before her expressions were replaced by oh I've done it again look. " sorry..I..umm..I thought it was di.." she said in a low voice sounding terribly embarassed while still in his hold with her arms around him.
"It's ok, here have some water.." handing her a glass of water that a third doctor had passed on to him.
"..a bad dream?" he questioned with utmost concern.
" yea..more like a recurring nightmare.." taking a long breath, "i'm fine..thanks Armaan..I really feel bad about this..I'm sorry"
"it's okay..chill.." Riddhima saw his expressions change from that of concern to that of unmistakable mischief, she had seen enough of him to recognise that glint in his eyes, he added, "you know..its okay" winking at her, " I don't mind pretending..to be your di for a little while longer..this isn't such a bad pay off" tightening his hold around her in that pretext.
" You are incorrigible" shaking her head and yet holding on to him unconsciously.
Their little moment was finally interrupted by a un-impressed Anjali's voice, " since I am here...I think we can give the duplicate a rest for now..no Ridz?" looking at Armaan suspiciously.
Anjali's retort shook them out of this comfort zone- finally realising their relative positions, they disentangled themselves in a flash leading to a huge round of laughter from the curious by standers- who so far had managed to stifle their amusement, causing a hint of blush in Riddhima momentarily.
As he got to the door, he turned around to see Anjali and Riddhima talking with eachother, Riddhima looked up to him and flashed a brief smile and mouthed a Thank you. He nodded his head and headed back to work. Even as his mind repeated the words, stay away from her Armaan, he couldn't deny that he hadn't felt so good in ages.
As he walked back to the emmergency ward all recharged, he realised that he had been quick to dismiss this attraction- for it was the strongest he had felt in a long time- and oddly he couldn't quite place a finger on what exactly- rekindling this dual that had been a regular feature in his mind the last few days- the dual between his plans and his deepest subconscious desires. A normal life where he did not want to turn into his father, against his dreams of a free life- living on his terms and helping people, and she was messing it up big time. She was causing some sweet pain, he acknowledged.
The next two weeks went by with little interaction between the doctors. Armaan and Riddhima would meet occasionally, but since both were working different shifts, it was impossible for them to meet up or have any social interaction of sorts. Ofcourse, whenever they met- there were formal plesantaries exchanged and nothing beyond, they never talked about the hug, the exhibit or Mr. Khanna. Meanwhile, Armaan was eagerly awaiting the end to the night shifts so that he could devote sometime to his favorite pastime, painting.He hadn't been able to finish up anything decent for a while which was making him edgy.
Riddhima's life went on, like it had been for a while, to her great joy and dismay; the sequence of nightmares had stopped after that night at the lounge; and dismay since she found herself in a bigger flux. Her dreams were now frequented by one man- it was a total invasion- not that she didn't find the derogative title, Riddhima of Mumbai comparable to Venus of Urbino as she called the maiden in her dreams- amusing nor the images of exotic paintings a better trade off than gruesome images of pain and impending death but surely- this wasn't helping a her one bit. And neither did it help that she had to get up and go to work only to see the same man every day. Especially given his elusive behaviour, one moment he would appear like a long lost accquaintance while 99 times, he'd merely greet her and continue working as if it was the most normal thing to do. was it?
She couldn't figure out what annoyed her more, dreaming about Armaan or the lack of interest shown by Armaan- in the five minutes they would meet every second day or the fact that they would hardly meet at all on certain days. Was it a reaction to her eagerness to get up and go to work everyday- things had certainly changed in that respect. But then nothing much had happened otherwise- given that they had hardly been able to meet up in the past two weeks barring a few moments which were too insignificant to count. Or was it the realisation that he had hardly annoyed her which was another annoyance to her. She was just plain annoyed that he had invaded her peace of mind- this attraction was getting to her.
So to get out of this hopeless rut, she choose to go out and have fun with other friends; her logic to reassure herself was simple, I'm not going to waste time worrying about silly little inconsequnential things anymore. Summit and Muskaan had been ideal distractions offering to go out for coffee with her, and although she initially had reservations about Summit's expectations from her, he never seemed to make such moves that would confirm her inkling, and hence she thought it best not to deal with the awkward situation that would arise when she would bring up the issue to clear the air between them. He was now being a good friend, and she felt comfortable in that knowledge and with having a friendship that was purely platonic, and at every possible instance she had made it obvious to him that she harbored no amorous thoughts about him what-so-ever.
In between their coffee meetings, despite the dire warnings from her innerself, she did occasionally bring up Armaan in their conversations with a desire to know more of him. However, Summit had not been forthcoming with too much information except telling her how big a flirt Armaan had been while growing up- the rich, college play boy fascianted with oil painting and women. Who had almost given up his degree trading it with a life of a free lance photographer. This little insight had made her even more curious, but try as she might, Summit never uttered a word beyond these and she was sensible enough not to push her luck further. Somewhere- she wasn't surprised to hear that he was a college flirt, she had seem ample evidence of that trait- but a playboy?- hadn't seen that coming, perhaps so- with a tinge of jealousy kindling somwhere- she wondered whether he was still single? Not that it mattered to her in her scheme of things according to her.
In terms of dynamics, not much had changed between the other doctors in these two weeks, Muskaan still tried to initiate a conversation with Rahul- who continued to ignore her; Summit too increasingly had tried to get Riddhima's attention but barring a few coffee trips to the nearest coffee outlet and that too with Muskaan's constant company- he wasn't getting the kind of result he had hoped for. The more Riddhima maintained a friendly distance, the more she made her disinterest obvious, his desire to get closer to her grew more- he knew he was playing around, and hadn't shied away from the possibility of him using her as a bait to get in the good books of Dr.Shashank but he too was increasingly growing impatient with the lack of action, as he termed it.
Everyone was now looking forward to the monthly Friday bash that the hospital organised for the doctors- Muskaan wanted to talk to Rahul, Summit was cooking up plans to spend an intimate evening with Riddhima, Armaan had been tricked by Summit and Muskaan to agree on a blind date, Riddhima, in her own admission to herself, agreed to attend the event to enjoy the evening and not because she wanted to see how Armaan's date fared, which she concluded also meant he wasn't currently seeing anyone. He can date whoever he wants for all I care!
The two that seemed the least excited to attend this month's bash were Atul and Anjali; there was no hint of the excitement from them. For some reason, Atul seemed calmer and Anjali seemed far more relaxed than her usual self, but for now everyone was too engaged in theatre of their own dreams- to notice these changes.
Thursday night, before the bash at the entrance lobby.
" Flirt with Riddhima, dinner with Dia and Date with somebody else? What was I thinking? This man is something..but ..why should I care? ...and what were you doing with him Ridz everytime?... I need some sleep" she headed home praying she got a decent night's sleep for a change.
Hey folks-that was a longest part to date..phew
for all those who had asked for a longer part
to those overwhelming majority of silent readers, i hope to hear from you someday
and sugarbuns- here's the part as i promised
I wanna love you'
Is this love - is this love - is this love -
Is this love that Im feelin?
Is this love - is this love - is this love -
Is this love that Im feelin?
Wo-o-o-oah! oh yes, I know; yes, I know - yes, I know now!
Yes, I know; yes, I know - yes, I know now!
She turned the volume down not wanting to hear the word love one more time chosing to evade the haunting question by replacing it with the sweet sound of the monsoon rain instead. She loved rain- had missed it sorely- the fragrance of the soil when the first rain hits the land, while she was in the US busy with her studies. Tonight experiencing the rains after a hiatus ' feeling calmer, she chose to park her car a few blocks away from home- overlooking the turbulent sea- admiring nature- it felt beautiful and she had never felt more at home.
Instead she was happy- and almost ashamed to admit so. Afterall, its not nice to take pleasure out of other people's misery but it wasn't about others- tonight had been, against all expectations about her- and strangely Armaan. Her thoughts wandered back to the events of the evening, the strange dinner with Armaan, Summit and Ria. Her annoyance at seeing Ria get close with Armaan and her retalaiting by getting comfy with Summit in turn- I can't believe I did that, behave like a dumb high school kid who has feelings for the school president! She rolled down her windows partly, sticking her arm out to feel the rain on her palms- jealousy makes you do strange things, jealousy- she splashed some water on her face- jealous? This is so unlike me.
In complete contrast- she recalled how she was more relaxed watching an amused Armaan as he observed Summit and Ria interact. They clearly got along setting the house on fire- sure they hadn't exactly exchanged complimentary words- but even in their little dual- the fire was more than visible. I always thought Summit was the subdued kind- guess life never ceases to surprise you. It had been a little unsettling and surprising to find out Summit's truth considering she had taken him to be a good friend- can't judge a book by its cover.
Can't judge a book by its cover- that brings me back to him- the smiling assasin; now what do I do of him? He seemed so different tonight, not like the rich playboy Summit was talking about and neither the indifferent Armaan I have seen the last few days. This was a night of revelations and did it matter who said anything, sometimes you just have to trust your instincts- increasingly they hinted at something, and it was getting difficult for her to ignore her heart's call. She closed her eyes, as the rain water hit her face through the open glass- Armaan, what is it about him? Suddenly she remembered his insistence about something brewing between Atul and Anjie when they had seen them leave the party as they were sitting on the back steps talking- she smiled. He can be such a kid too, Di and Atul?...never in a million years!.. clearly the doctor needs a lot more practice..at fishing..and started laughing alone- the words fishing had taken an entirely different meaning from this night on. Closing her eyes, as the rain drops fell on her lips..the lips that soon curved into a smile.
Summit sat on the rocks watching the waves hit the shore continuously, he couldn't decide whether it was his heart that ached more or whether it was the the stormy skies and the dark night. As the rain finally broke through, he sat there all soaked - as was his heart- and it was then in that hazy moment that things became clear to him- he had lost it, he had lost her. He didn't know when the tears started but soon they mixed with the raindrops on his face and were streaming down drenching him in a pool of disgust that he felt for himself, and shame at his actions- everything was lost now, and it had taken him the hardest blow to reaslise how wrong he had been all along. As he sat there, all alone drenched on the rocks by the stormy sea-side, it dawned on him that Ria meant more to him than he realised; that explained why he had run after her from the pub leaving behind Riddhima despite his plans . The searing pain he felt in his heart when Ria broke off all ties and walked off, that blow had hurt the most. He lay down on the shore besides the rocks, and took in all the rainfall, hoping it would cleanse him. Images of her hurt face flashed across his eyes, making him feel worse.
Rahul finally broke the silence on the phone, "Thanks Muskaan" how he wished he could hug her at that moment.
After a brief silence, followed by a long sigh- a hint of resignation, Muskaan replied almost apologetically, " no I should be thanking you, I'm sorry once again Rahul- if only I had known- I just hope Ria doesn't get too hurt in all this Rahul..I didn't realise when I started this that I would be putting so many lives at stake'no wonder you were miffed with me.. I deserve every bit of your flak"
He went on, " And to tell you the truthI kind of feel bad for Riddhima too, now that you two have become good friends, I hope she doesn't feel that you used her if she ever finds out.." Rahul looked on through the balcony as the rain innundated his front lawn.
"I didn't know it was the same Summit, I had honest intentions..just that things went wrong but she'll be fine, Rahul don't worry she doesn't think of Summit that way.." Muskaan was quick to reply.
"oh really, how can you be so sure?"
" You know, the other day over coffee, it was obvious that both were on different planes. Infact they were talking more about Armaan than about themselves..- that made me think- you know if Armaan and Riddhima ever got together- they would make the world's cutest babies.." Muskaan knew very well Rahul wouldn't be too pleased to hear this but she just had to get it off her mind.
"Don't be so sure Rahul, my sixth sense is..achoo"
"Muskaan have you been standing in the rain again?" He knew how she loved to get wet in the first monsoon shower.
The two went on talking over a trail of increasing achoos, as the rain fell over the city. Tomorrow morning was going to be beautiful.
" how can you be so sure Anjie?" Atul prodded as he took out his share of ice cream, " I mean..everyone could see how well Summit and Riddhima were getting along there at the table. I think even Armaan and Ria were a little uncomfortable there to begin with. But its funny because Ria was flirting with Armaan so openly that the poor guy was clearly uncomfortable and then Summit- that slimeball with his arms around Riddhima was doing the same. I wonder why Riddhima didn't stop him, on the contrary she seemed to encourage it."
" That's what I am trying to figure out Atul, before Sumit ran off chasing Ria, both Armaan and Ria, Summit and Riddhima were flirting with eachother. Then there was a conversation between Sumit and Ria where Armaan and Riddhima were mere spectators. And then in the end only those two were left.."
" So you think Sumit and Ria have a history..?" Atul
" hmm.. seems like it..I'm just glad that Ridzi knows the truth about Summit..eventhough I always knew she didn't take him that way- now everyone knows the truth about them.." Anjali replied.
" Oh Ridz was fine, I saw her talking with Armaan and if anything they seemed to be having a good time.."
" I don't want to think about that Atul"
"think of me then" Atul winked as Anjie fought to keep his spoon away from the ice cream, he went on rambling with the aim of distracting her as he fought her spoon for supremacy over ice cream "..besides..I'm surprised no one's got a whiff about us yet" Atul smiled victiouriously as he finally managed to steal that spoonful of ice cream. " Hey!! that wasn't fair, you cheated.." Anjali complained.
" Everything's fair in love.." as he took another spoonful and fed her.
As Armaan sat on the rocking chair looking at the rain hit the inclined window in his plush apartment overlooking beautiful night drenched in the first monsoon - the cool air spreading a strange calm around him, almost instilling a stillness in his otherwise turbulent life. What was I implying there ..its not like I had too much to drink either..to be intoxicated..but she just brings it out ..as he sipped the hot tea, brings out something that puts me at ease.He smiled as he recalled her earnest attempts to make him jealous by indulging in a little flirting with Summit as he tweaked her jealousy bud further by pretending to play along to Ria's false advances. She never fails to surprise, why can't I resist making that one last jab at her?and despite my own convictions- I can't seem to stay away from her. His thoughts wandered off to the conversation he had had with Riddhima a while back in the pub after dinner- when she had indirectly asked about him.
"You know there is an impression that people hold of artists..that they love to live in their own worlds, very rarely are social- infact are almost those rare species- who except for one muse that holds his interest does not have too many acquaintances." Riddhima replied as she sipped water.
"Well, a hermit I cannot be- considering I am very much fond of all my muses..but slightly eccentric may be- if you ask each of them.." he let out an amused laughter as replied to her.
" so you do agree on a muse?"
"whoever said a word of just, A SINGLE MUSE- I am a modern wanna be- muses have been the order of the day" looking at her.
" yes ..the order of the day..Armaan and his multiple muses..Ria, Pia..Dia.." Riddhima stopped- holding herself back before she blurted out her angst against another innocent soul whom she barely knew anything about.
Looking at the play of certain emotions on her face, he concluded in a much honest manner, as he took a sip of wine, " ..or may be I haven't been lucky enough.."
"..you know to find THE muse- that I can keep in seclusion- claiming as mine forever..paiting her portraits- etching my name in her heart.."
"Armaan..you are never serious are you?" She replied but was quick to note the mention of his ill luck.
Armaan looked at her glass, and cocking an eyebrow, asked her, " so this doctor gets intoxicated with water- in which case, alcohol would render you..?" shaking hid head, " I knew it, you are the mild types..who never.."
" mild types? What is that supposed to mean?!" emphatically cutting him off, " before you get any ideas in your head- I am not a weirdo- I will admit to have had my share of wild moments- but I prefer my sanity anyday..especially when I am in the company of strange men..like you" Before she could finish, he interrupted her, " ahh..so you're not drinking because you want to be in control of yourself..? I know-I am irrestible!"
"Hey.." pointing a finger at him, " don't get any ideas Armaan- you are not the only good looking man in this club right now" Riddhima stopped mentally cursing herself- this wasn't how this line was supposed to come out, and look at that smirk on his face.
"oohhh..not the only good looking man ehh..?..go on.." Armaan smiled..as he pushed her for an answer, " well'er..you have a few plus points'too.. I guess..." trying desperately to cover up the slip.
" yea..with mine.." Riddhima replied lightly seeminlgy unaware of reaction it had triggered on Armaan.
" Yours?" all of a sudden, the silence was too strong as he awaited her response with an earnest expression.
"Ar..maan...we did come here together so technically..." Riddhima, who let her expressions give her clarification.
" phew.. that's better.. I was getting a little worried that all fishes are leaving the pond..I was thinking since your not too bad looking yourself, and we both have been brought togher by this harsh rejection..and since I'm always eager to help a damsel in distress.." his dimples back on his face.
"Fish..?Damsel in distress?..you have grave misconceptions about yourself doctor..and I can see the eccentric traits very well now.." looking at him suspiciously.
" well..you are alone for the night .." inching closer to her.
Sliding away from him, " don't get any ideas- and be aware doctor- I know karate"
"hahaha..you are really something Riddhima..you know a beautiful girl or a woman.." stopping to look at her baffled expression, " a girl" nodding his head in positive affirmation, as her eyes went wide realising the implication of those words, he went on , " a girl..as beautiful shouldn't be scaring off handsome princes.."
" Handsome princes?.. Armaan..you have clearly overrated yourself?"
" I was talking about Summit...who ran away with my date.."
There was a moment of silence- as they both recalled how Summit had followed Ria out of the pub.
" Some date huh, seriously Riddhima..I think my ego has taken a beating after all that- I mean no one has ever left me from a dinner table for another man like that. Riddhima, do you see any grey hairs in my head" jerking his head towards her face.
"Hey that's not fair.." He protested.
"well doctor...you just need to go find some other fish in the pond in that case" pushing him back.
"hmm that's true..but there isnt much of a pond where I am now..my only option is.." he purposely stopped himself from saying her name but his eyes were implying something that Riddhima could read easily.
" I think its all the house wine that's doing all the talking Armaan..and besides if the pond is out of fish..may be its time to change the pond..or more practice..and I can't believe I'm having this fishy conversation with you..how demeaning.." Before she could complete herself.
" shh.." he silenced her into absolute stillness by placing his fingers upon her lips, slowly he came closer and looking in her eyes, whispered, " has anyone told you that you have the most amazing, deeply beautiful eyes that can drown a million hearts?"
"I've clearly lost my touch.." He shook his head in disappointment as both got up from the steps overlooking the sea. Cleverly steering the conversation away from any unwanted awkwardness.
Riddhima couldn't resist one more jab at him, " clearly that's such a jaded line doctor.. no wonder you can't fish..you need a new bait" Even as they walked in- she could still feel his touch on her and hear his voice that boomed in her head- the rain was a welcome excuse.
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The quiet ambience of the doctor's common room was a complete contrast to the state of his mind. The lines on the paper were mere scribbles, of unconforming lines ' a reflection of his inner thoughts. His mind was still preoccupied with Summit and his confusing statements. Armaan had tried to reach out to his friend despite his obvious shortcommings but Summit hadn't helped himself- he could see him drifting further away into a whirlpool of an imminent emotional mess that he was hell bent on creating. It was obvious that he harbored more than platonic feelings for Ria but then he was still holding on to some weird notions about Riddhima. Summit was trying to float on two boats- and Riddhima being used was something that had infuriated Armaan no ends. He would have helped Summit's reconcilliation with Ria but then his very next statement about Riddhima had him hopping mad. Armaan may have had his share of female company in the past but he was principled and knew where to draw the line but Summit's persistence to patch up with Riddhima while trying to get back with Ria at the same time just did not go well with him, as he failed to understand Summit's insistence.
As he crushed the wasted paper, he realised, at this point he was more concerned with Riddhima's well being than Summit's. He wanted to steer Riddhima out of this mess- but hesitated for a moment, what was in her mind?
His thoughts were broken by approaching voices, as the door opened- the creases on his forehead were instantly wiped off at the sight of a smiling Riddhima, who entered the room with a group of other doctors. Briefly for a moment, there was nothing else relevant in the room - in his mind- it was just her, the voice and her beautiful smile. All his worries seemingly vanished into nothingness- as he stared at her like a lost school kid, noticing her smile, the way her lips curled, how she bent forward a little, and how she moved back the tendrils of hair behind her ears as she moved. Sweet!. He smiled involuntariy as she settled in opposite him at the other end of the room completely unaware that she was being gazed so intently. Replacing the wasted paper, he began to sketch on a fresh piece. His gaze intermittently glanced over to the other end of the room, where a number of other doctors were assembled- his subject of interest being a busy Riddhima chatting away with friends- who for a good part remained unaware of his unfaltering attention, or so he thought.
Riddhima on the other hand had noticed, an engrossed Armaan at the other end of the room, settled comfortably on the couch writing something. She was fully aware of his eyes upon her. If anything, as his furtive glances increased- in rhythm to the movement of his hands on the paper, it heightened her curiosity. The coincidental evening that they had shared had helped her overcome her fears, she felt a lot more at ease with him, infact her comfort with him had surprised herself - as if she had been herself in a long time, no pretence, it felt good. It was a good few minutes, before their eyes met. Unable to keep silent anymore, Riddhima raised her eye-brows twice asking him what he was up to? Armaan's face immediately lit up with a faint smile and his trademark dimples at her acknowledgement, he shook his head as if implying nothing and went back to his sketch. The bedimpled smile floored Riddima in no time- who was left in a trance and had not realised that she had been staring at him for a while- looking at him engrossed in his work. Her daze was broken by the sound of Armaan's pager, noticing her unfaltering gaze, he winked at her as he got up; Riddhima felt the world crash to a screeching halt at that moment, he had noticed her! Why wouldn't he, you idiot, if you stare at him so obviously'Riddhima chided herself.
He left the room after keeping the loose papers inside his worn out leather bound sketch book, keeping it inside his locker. Meanwhile, this brief interaction between the duo hadn't escaped Atul's keen eye- the stolen glances, the silent questions and the slight blush in Riddhima's cheeks had him intrigued- he hadn't seen this coming!
Riddhima waited till everyone left the room, she was going to look inside that leather bound book at any cost. After making sure there was no one in the room, she walked up towards the lockers, opening Armaan's locker she took out his file. But just as she was about to open the book, Rahul walked in, in hurry she put it behind her back and walked out of the room.
Making a quick dash in the corridors, tightly cluthing the leather bound sketch book, Riddhima opened the door of the fire escape- only to find a frenzied Anjali and Atul followed by an awkward moment of silence. The three kept exchanging glances at eachother- till finally Anjali had the presence of mind to speak up- noticing the beautiful leather bound case in tightly clasped in Riddhima's hand- she asked, "Ridz, whats that in your hand? And where are you rushing to?"
" Oh..a patient left this in my desk di'I was trying to find him'" Looking around, she silently hoped this lame excuse would work.
"You were looking for a patient in a fire-escape?" Anjali seemed bemused.
" May be they are playing hide and seek Anjie'." Atul quipped sarcastically.
" Anjie..? Atul since when did Anjali become Anjie?" Riddhima shot back. "And what are you two doing here?" Riddhima finally caught on looking around the fire escape.
" Arrey Ridz, isn't that Armaan's book?" Atul was qucik to notice the sketchbook as he deflected Riddhima's questions. The interaction between Armaan and Riddhima a few minutes back flooding his thoughts, and Riddhima walking around with his sketch book had only heightened his curiosity.
Riddhima didn't see this coming, in an effort to ignore Atul's question, she persisted with her previous querry, " Atul you didn't tell me..since when di you start calling di Anjie?"
" Ridz your patient?" Anjali replied back trying to divert her sister's attention from them. " If its Armaan's, I can give it to him" Extending her hand forward asking for the folder.
Riddhima, "Its ok di, I'll find him" She closed the door behind her. Stayed rooted at the spot- there was something not right about what just happened- Anjali, Atul and the fire-escape?
Back in the firescape, Atul and Anjie let out a relieved sign.
" That was close Atul!"
Atul shook his head, it was obvious he was thinking about something. "Atul!" Anjali hit him in the shoulder, " where are you?"
" In the common room!" Atul replied still in his thoughts.
"huh?" after getting no reaction from Atul Anjali probed him futher, " Atul..!!"
" Anjie..what do you think about Armaan?"
Realising her safe haven would be the usually quiet upper floor, Riddhima decided to go there. Armaan who was standing at the nurse station had noticed Riddhima enter the lift with something in her hand. After having instructed the staff to open up and clean the cabin in the upper floor for a new patient, Armaan decided to go up and have a look himself.
Finding an open cabin, Riddhima went in. She sat on the bed, placing the folder in front of her, untied the leather knots- but just as she was about to flip it open, the door flung open and to her horror it was none other than Armaan! Immediately hiding the open booklet behind her back with her hands she stood up from the bed facing the door. Armaan had seen everything, and could see how a few loose pieces of papers had fallen on the bed behind Riddhima. " Yes Armaan?" Riddhima stuttered nervously backing up towards the bed before finally stopping as she hit the edge of the bed as Armaan slowly walked up towards her.
" Dr. Riddhima, I didn't expect to see you here?"
" Yes..umm..I was busy..checking this room for my patient.." she lied hoping that would keep him away. The last thing she wanted was for him to find out about the sketch book.
" Oh really? I didn't know we were together on this case?"
" yes, Mrs. Sharma, who's going to be admitted to this room in a few minutes" Armaan's words made Riddhima want to hide herself several feet below the ground. She would have gladly crawled into a hole at that moment.
"..oh.." was all she she could get out of herself.
"Riddhima, I didn't know this about you?"
"know what?" how she wished the AC in the room was in full throttle as Armaan neared her.
He came closer, right infront of her, looking at her eyes, said in the most intoxicating voice, " that you'that you have this disorder.."
" I don't have any disorder Armaan.." She didn't like the way, she was losing control of the moment. For someone who wanted to be in control of everything, bring in a secluded room with Armaan intently approaching her was having the opposite effect.
" Riddhima a kleptomaniac..chi chi..who would ever guess that behind this beautiful faade..lies..one.." Looking at her mockingly shaking his head sideways.
"I'm not a kleptomaniac..and I haven't stolen anything!" hitting back at his smugness.
"Behind your hand?" Armaan said indicating with his eyes.
"I haven't stolen anything" she replied trying her best to sound confident.
"oh really?..are you sure?" approaching her.
"..are you sure?" coming even closer.
"yes.." she stuttered slightly, Armaan was getting too close for comfort.
" Lets see.." He slid his hands around her waist to get hold of her hand hilding on to his sketch book. She stayed transfixed to the spot, eyes wide in horror as his touch registered in her mind...no sooner she found him bending even closer, his lips now periliously close to her ears, followed by a whisper, " sure?" after what seemed like an eternity. His physical proximity had a tingling effect on her senses, her mind went blank - he was too close for comfort and she knew she had relinquished the control of the moment. For Armaan, being in this moment with Riddhima- seeing her so vulnerable, eyes closed, their hands clapsed around her back, was priceless. He wanted to steal this moment forever, so he gave her a light kiss on her neck causing her to stir slightly sending Riddhima's already blanked out mind into a frenzy. - her hands at the back had all but relinquished their hold of the folder and had it not been for his- it would have fallen on the bed by now.
Following the light kiss on her neck, Armaan whispered into her ears once again, " Riddhima.. you still sure'" before he could finish his words, the sound of the turning door knob made them jerk away from eachother. As the unsuspecting nurse enterred the room, a slightly frustrated Armaan and a clearly flushed Riddhima nervously stared back and forth hoping she hadn't seen anything. Riddhima almost instantly gave his folder back saying, " Here's your file doctor" He took it from her making sure his hands brushed against hers, heightening her senses even more. Not before egging her on one last time, this time out loud for everyone to hear, " Are you sure Riddhima?"
Riddhima replied instantly, " Armaan'" But before she could complete what she was about to say, Mrs. Sharma who was being wheeled into the room spoke up, " Dr. Armaan' this room is better than the last one, but still not the best" Looking clearly dissatisfied with the room.
" No no Mrs. Sharma, as soon as the best one becomes available- I will move you there" Armaan shifted his attention towards his patient.
The octogenarian Mrs. Sharma was experienced enough to sense the awkwardness in pretty doctor's demure caused by their sudden arrival. She looked at Riddhima from head to toe, and giving her a warm smile, gestured her to come nearer. Bending down on her knees, Riddhima greeted the lady warmly, giving her formal introduction as the new resident in the Hospital. Mrs. Sharma, aaked Riddhima a lot of questions, including her full name, her parents name, where they lived. By the end of which the nurse who was a senior in the hospital, finally spoke up, " Mrs. Sharma, you don't have a grandson do you?" Both of them laughed out heartily after that leaving behind a bewildered Armaan and Riddhima.
Riddhima excused herself from the room at the pretext of tending to other patients, she was feeling mightly relieved to get away from the preying Mrs. Sharma, she had seen enough of her kind- that was the last thing she wanted to think about especially at work. Gathering herself, she walked a few paces towards the door before turning back all of a sudden-noticing the few sketches on the bed, " You know Dr. Armaan..on second thoughts, I am not so sure, I'm thinking I can study this case tonight and .." Before she could complete herself, Armaan gathered up the pieces and replied, " Its ok Riddhima, I'll brief you tomorrow.."
" Are you sure..Dr. Armaan..I can.." Riddhima replied back smiling slightly and extending her hand towards the book.
" YES..I am sure'" clutching on to it tightly.
She left not wanting to create a scene before the patient.
In the corridor outside.
As she, waited for the elevator, she recalled what had transpired between them a few minutes ago- Armaan's advances were anything but subtle, the question was .. what was going on in his head.. As she walked into the elevator, her mind was still reeling from the effects of what had just transpired between them. She couldn't stop herself from touching the spot where Armaan had kissed her. And Annoyed as she was about losing the mini battle of the book- she vowed silently that she would steal it successfully, that too soon.
Later that night. Armaan had his answers.
It needs a dab of red splash- his hands automatically picked up the brush, dipping it in a pool of blood red and like a magician weaving magic by the movement of his wand- he cast his own by the dexterity of his hand- slowy yet rhythmic- the white canvas with its hint of graphite began to come alive. The rains had persisted, right through the next day- and after many days, Armaan had felt passionate enough to explore the inner thoughts of his mind thorugh what he knew best- his art. The temptress that took him away from rest of the world into a place in space that was just him- and the image that he chakled out. His inspiration was his grandfather, someone who always encouraged him and his mother who loved him no ends- his greatest inspiration however was his father's apathy towards his love of art. Tonight everything was being unleashed with renewed vigor and a new found inspiration. Inspiration in the form of a beautiful woman's words- the way her lips curled into a smile, the way her eye brows cocked together when he made her mad- the deeply unnerving eyes that threatned to drown him, the ease that he felt with her when he was himself. How he wished the stolen moment in Mrs. Sharma had not been interrupted when it was! His lips broke into a smile as he recalled how she had stolen his sketchbook, taking it in his hands, he thought- I wonder how she'd react to all this! All of a sudden the images of Riddhima in his studio with a coffee mug watching him draw- the rains outside belts down in the starless night..somehow none of this seemed outrageous.
Breaking out of his reverie, he went back to his drawing where the waltz- the pose, the grace came through and the lifeless figure chalked out in light graphite was slowly coming to life with the colors that he was appying- the red dressed temptress was swirving to music being led on the dance floor by an invisble force- that had yet to be painted. The turning torso- in rhythm with the music and the passion that they had created around themselves was evident for all to see. Intermittently, the brushes went in water- sparkling clean so that it can pick up the next color- the color of lips, the same shade of red that she had on the night before. The blush in her cheeks, as the faceless man spun her around- Armaan strove for the same shade that he had seen a few hours ago in her cheeks.
Armaan stopped for a moment, still in his thoughts, Riddhima was getting to him- it was like playing with fire. Although he had always resolved to keep a safe distance from such fires, he found himself being drawn towards its dazzle more and more.
Hellooo my friends,
so sorry for posting this part so late!!!!!
Things got really busy at the homefront, leaving me in no mood to write..
I've tried to make up for the delay by posting a longer part than usual.
Finally get to catch up on all the ffs that I'v missed so far
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Story Stretches if TRPs increase
Pablo's Muse#2 - AR Part 35(Completed) Sept.1 Pg 51
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~Muse Corner~(updated -02/11)
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