New York - December 2008
'have a wonderful baby shower, and we'll see you tomorrow,' abhimanyu said, moving across the hall to the front door of the apartment.
'it won't be the same without you, but i do understand your reasons for fleeing,' i said laughing.
he laughed with me. 'sixteen women in this apartment is a bit too much even for me to cope with.' he picked up Trixy's lead and his canvas bag and opened the front door. 'come on kids, let's get this show on the road. it'll be teatime before we get into Modi Villa, if we dont leave soon.'
'coming dad,' Sam said, buttoning his quilted, down-filled jacket, but getting the butoons in the wrong holes. i bent down to elp him do it correctly, and them kissed him on the cheek. he looked at me through solemn eyes and asked, 'is it our baby shower, mom?'
i shook my head. 'no, Muskaan Garewal's. She's the one having the baby, honey.' 'oh' he said and his little face fell. 'any new of our baby, mom? have you made it yet?' he asked, fixing me with his bright blue eyed, a hopeful look flashing across his face. 'not yet' i answered, standing up. i glanced at abhimanyu and we exchanged amused looks, and he winked at me.
jiah said, 'dont forget to feed swellen, mom, will you?' 'no, i wont darling, i promise.' i hunkered down on my haunches and kissed her. she put her little arms around my neck and showered me with fluttery kisses on my cheek.
'butterfly kisses for you, mommy, like daddy gives me,' she said and thrn holding her head on one side in thst old-fashioned way she had, she continued, 'did you tell Santa to bring me the big baby doll?' 'yes. well at least daddy told him.' 'will santa know where to come?' she asked, suddenly sounding anxious.. her expression was worried when she added, will he find nanna's house in yorkshire?'
'of course. daddy gave santa her address.' she beamed at me and i buttoned her coat, pulled on her blue wollen cap that exactly matched her eyes. 'there! you look beautiful! you're my beautiful little girl, the most beautiful girl inthe whole wide world. now put your gloves on. both of you,' i said glancing at Sam. 'and i dont want either of you running outside to play without your coats when you're in the country.its far too cold. and dont give trixy any titbits from the table.'
'no mom' they said in unison.
i walked with them to the front door and stood in the outside foyer waiting for the lift to come. abhimanyu hugged me and kissed me on the cheek, then asked, 'did you put the list in the canvas bag? the list of things you want me to bring back tomorrow?'
'yes i did. and there's not much really, just a few items for the twins and our shearling coats, yours and mine, to take with us to Yorkshire.'
'ok, no problem, darling. he kissed me again and ushered the kids and the puppy into the the lift. 'see you'.
'drive carefully,' i said just as the door started to close. 'i will, he called back. and i'll ring you when we get there, riddhima.'
it was snowing again, as it had yesterday. but tonight the snwflakes were light, and as i glanced out of the window i noticed that they were melting the moment they hit the pavement. so it couldnt be the weather which was making abhimanyu late getting home.
nikita swung around when she heard me come in. 'ive turned off the water for the spaghetti. no point boiling it yet. i'll make everything at the last minute, once abhimanyu and the twins twins arrive.'
i nodded, and automatically my eyes went to the kitchen clock. it was ten past eight. 'i cant imagine where he is, why he's not home yet, nikki,' i said.
'anything could be holding him up, maybe its snowing down in connecticut and it could be slwoing abhimanyu down, and everyone else who's coming back to the city on sunday night.' nikki answered.
'thats true yes,' i said seizing on this possibility, wanting to ease my worry. but the fact was, abhimanyu was rarly, if ever, late and that was what troubled me now.
the doorbell rang several times.
nikki and i looked at each other, and we both broke into happy smioles.
'there he is! and wouldn't you know, he doesnt have his keys!' i exclaimed, laughing with relief as i hurried into the entrance hall.
as i unlocked the front door and pulled it open, i cried, 'and where have all of you be-' the rest of my sentence remained unsiad. it was not my husband and children who stood there, as i had expected, but two men in damp overcoats.
'yes?' i stood there staring at them blankly, and even before they told me who they were, i knew they were cops. as a new yorker i recognised them immediately, recognised the unmistakabe look. they were plain-clothes police officers from NYPD, i just knew it. my chest tightened.
'are you Mrs Riddhima Abhimanyu Modi? the older of the two cops asked.
'yes i am, is there something wrong?' i naged to say, my eyes flying nervously from him to his partner. i dreaded the answer; my hert began to clatter.
'can we come in? Detective Siddhanth said. 'i think it would be better if we spoke inside'.
'tell me' my voice quavered as i spoke and a dreadful trembling took hold of me.
'we found your husband's mercedes on park avenue at 119th street. your husband was hurt-'
'OH MY GOD! is he badly injured? where is e? oh god, my children. are they all right? where are they? where's my husband?' my heart was racing and filled with a mixture of panic and dread, i moved forward, grasped hold of Detective Atul's arm.
urgently, i said 'why didnt you bring my children home? which hospitl is my husband in? the twins must be frightened. take me to them, please-' gasping, fighting my tears, i swung to nikki and cried.
Detective Siddhanth said, 'no mrs modi. your husband, your children and your dog were all fatally shot this afternoon. we're very sorry.'
'NO! NO! NOT ABHIMANYU! NOT THE TWINS! NOT SAM AND JIAH! its not possible, it cant be true' i cried, gaping at Atul uncomprehending. i began to shake.
when i regained consciousness i was lying on one of the sofas in the living room. as i opened my eyes it was nikki's face i saw. she sat in a chair next to me.
'ridz' she whispered, reaching out taking hold of my hand. 'oh ridz, darling' he voice broke and tears welled in her dark, compassionate eyes. i saw the pain on her face. i grasped her hand tightly, pinning her her with an intense gaze. 'tell me its not ture, nikki' i pleaded tearfully. 'telly me its not. they're all right, arent they?'
'i simply cant absorb it ridz' his mother began, and shook her head. 'cant believe theyre...gone. abhimanyu, sam and jiah. my son and grandchildren, cut down like that... so senselessly, so cruelly.'
'they didnt suffer,' i managed to say in tight voice. i was so choked up it took a moment for me to continue and added' i asked the medical examiners if they had and one of them assured me they hadnt, that death had been instantaneous.'
Modi Villa - July 2009
i was alone.
my husband was dead
my children were dead
my littlepet trixy was dead
i should be dead too
' i thought id feel better after the sentencing, but i dont, i really dont, daddy.' my father was silent for a moment and then he said, 'i know what you mean. its a bit of a let-down in a way, anti-climactic.' 'i wanted my family avenged, but even consecutive twenty-five year sentences dont seem to be enough, not to me!' i exclaimed. 'incarcerated they might be, but they still see the sunlight. abhimanyu, jiah and sam are dead and those b*****ds ought to be dead to. he bible got it right.'
'an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth', my father murmured.
september - 2009
the night i met Armaan i was quite certain it was nikki he was interested in, and not me. but within few weekd of knowing him he had made it absolutely clear he was drawn to me and not her. he liked her as a personb, he said and found her delightful, in fact but that was as far as it went.
i was taken aback, when i found myself stuttering that she was going to be hurt and upset. armaan assured me otherwise' he pointed out that she had no interest in him either.
when i asked nikki about rmaan, she admitted he was not her type. 'a nice man, too nice, ridz,' were her words.
once i recovered from my surprise, i found myself agreeing to go on seeing hom. but i did so cautiously. i realised it would take a long time for me to allow him into my life. i had been alone for a year and i saw no reason to change my situation.
december - 2009
when he left for paris, armaan had said he would be gone for ten days.
but in fact he had been away for almost the entire month. he had been scrupulous about calling me, and in a way i had been grateful to hear, to know that he was all right. but at the same time i felt i was being put on the spot. whenever he phoned me from paris i became self-conscious, almost tongue-tied, certain that he was expecting an answer to the proposal he had made before he left.
i could not give him an answer.
i was still ambivalent about my feelings for him. i liked him, cared for him, in fact. afterall, he was a good man and in the couple of months i had know him he had proved to me that he was a good friend. then again, we were compatible, had common interests and enjoyed being together. yet to me that was not enough for marriage, or even trial marriage, as he had suggested.
i am afraid...afraid of committment, attachement, bonding, intimacy on a daily basis. and ultimately im afraid of LOVE. what if i fell in love with armaan and then he left me? or died> or was killed doing his job? where would i be then? i couldnt bear to suffer the loss of a man again.
and if i did marry him, as he wanted me to, and did so without loving him, there was still the possibility, no probability, of children. how could i ever have other children? jiah and sam had been so...perfect.
armaan was still standing near the gallery door. whats the matter?' i asked.
shaking his head, he hurried over to me. 'nothing the matter, i just wondered...' he stopped. 'do you have an aswer for me Riddhima?'
i didnt say anything at first, having no wish to hurt him. then i murmured slowly, quietly, 'no armaan, i dont.'
he stood staring at me.
'i cant marry you, armaan. i cant im sorry.'
i shook my head, biting my lip. he looked so crestfallen, i could hardly bear it.
armaan said, 'you know, ridz, i fell in love with you the first moment i saw you. and i dont mean the night couple of months ago, when i came to dinner, that i helped nikki change her tyre. i mean when i first saw you, th first time i came to Modi Villa. you were unaware of me, we never met. you jut bowled me over. i wanted to be introduced to you, but one of my friends in Saron said you were.... off limits.'
'oh' i said, surprised.
'finally meeting you, getting to know you, being eith you all these months has been the bet thing thats ever happened to me. i love you, riddhima.'
i stood there looking at him, silent.
'dont you care for me at all?' he asked in a low voice.
'of course i do armaan! i was worried when you were in paris, worried abou the bombs and you getting killed.'
'then why cant you take a chance with me?'
'i...just...cant...im sorry.' i turned away.
i looked aqt him out of the corner of my eyes, saw the tight set of his clenched jaw, the muscle beating on his temple and something inside me crumbled. me resistance to him fell away. my heart went out to him in his misery. and i knew then that i did truly care for him. i had worried about him.
'abhimanyu wouldnt want me to be alone' i muttered.
armaan made no comment.
'abhimanyu woulnt want me to be alone, would he? again i spoke.
'no i dont think he would,' armaan said.
i took a deep breath. 'im not sure about marriage, not yet. it scares me. but... well, maybe we could tru living together. i slipped my hand into his. 'here at modi villa.'
he stopped dead in his tracks. and so did i.
taking hold of my shoulders, he turned me to face him.
'ridz, do you really mean it?'
'yes', i said in a low voice almost audible.
he leaned into me and kissed me lightly on the lips, then he said ' i know you're very fragile, that pieces of you are breakable. i promise to be careful.'
'and theres something else', he began and stopped.
'i understand that youve had a terrible loss. but you have EVERYTHING TO GAIN with me...'
'i know that', i said.
as we went into the house together he drew me closer to him, his hand firm on my shoulder. for the first time abhimanyu's death i felt safe. and i knew that everything was going to be all right.
*phew* finally finished.
hey guys, how are you all doing??? heres another AR oneshot... i wasnt gona make this a oneshot but in fact a fan-fic, but thought, it might not be possible as of yet, so crammed everything into this oneshot
hope you all like it!!!
ps: honest comments please....
Edited by *armaania* - 01 October 2009 at 5:56am