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Anjali after much delay knocked on Ridhima's dorm room. They were to leave in two weeks and Anjali just did not know how to explain it. Almost instantly Ridhima opened the door. "Hey, what a nice surprise Anjali. What are you doing here?" Ridhima asked. She was just about to head out for lunch with her friends when she had heard the knock on the door.
"I…um…can I come in?" Anjali asked.
"Sure. Is every thing okay?" Ridhima could see that something was deeply disturbing Anjali. Her sister had not called her in weeks and when Ridhma had called Anjali, either Armaan or Lorelei would pick up saying that their mom did not feel well or she was busy.
"I need to tell you something…." Anjali said unsure how to put the word right. She knew Ridhima would be angry with her for not telling her the truth about Karan fifteen years ago and now demanding that Ridhima come with her. Ridhima closed her dorm room door and Anjali began to talk again after looking around to check that Ridhima's roommate was no where in sight.
"…Karan, isn't who you think he is" Anjali thought it would be the easiest way to start the converstation, but apparently it wasn't.
"That BIGEST, Ugh he will pay big for cheating on you!" Was the first thing that came out of Ridhima's mouth when Anjali stated that Karan wasn't the man that Ridhima knew. This got Anjali to laugh a nervous laugh and continued to talk "no its nothing like that, it's just…When I married Karan I had told you that his name was Karan Chopra. His real name is Karan Malik." Ridhima just started at Anjali not understanding the significance of the change of last name. Big deal a lot of people changed their last names, whether it is for their driver's licenses or their birth certificates. Besides Ridhiam was sure Malik wasn't that much of a distinctive last name.
"So…" was all Ridhima said still not understanding the significance of the last name.
Anjali continued on so Ridhima would understand "why do you think Karan named his first son Armaan?" Anjali asked Ridhima hopeing that she would not have to spell it out for her.
"because he liked the name. Anjali your not making any sense. Karan's last name was Malik and he named his first son Armaan Chopra instead of Armaan Malik…" As soon as Ridhima said Armaan Malik it made complete sense what Anjali was talking about. First Ridhima's eyes got big in surprise then her hands went over her mouth as she talked "oh my goodness you married Karan Malik!"
Ridhima couldn't believe it. There was a human population of six billion and out of all the people that she could have married, she married Karan Malik! "so you just found out about this?" Ridhima asked curious.
"Actually I've know about this for fifteen years, he had told me a few months before we got married" When Anjali said said this Ridhima became angry. "And you thought it was not important to tell him until now!" Ridhima said unable to believe that her own sister would keep such a big secret from her.
"I never thought that it would be important…until today" Anjali said
"Not important! You didn't think it would be important to tell me that you married a prince who gave up the thrown to live a regular life?" Ridhiam asked. The popularity of Prince Karan and Prince Armaan Malik of Alvendor was like Prince Williams and Prince Harry of Britain.
"yeah…about that…" Anjali paused a little to speak but soon realized her best bet would be to tell Ridhima strait up what was really going on.
"Karan had never given up the thrown to be a king. He was adopted at birth when his adopted mother Karin found out that she could not have children. When Karan had turned fifteen and raised to be king one day, Armaan was born. A blessing came to the Malik family but so did terror. Karin and Karan's father Anvil wanted royal blood to run their country, and Karan wasn't their real blood. When Karan was about to turn twenty five his parent told him of their whishes to have their younger son be king. The problem was that Armaan and Karan was best of brothers. Armaan always thought of Karan as a king and when Karan had sign himself out of the royal family Armaan always thought that his older brother had betrayed him. Until today. Armaan has asked Karan to come back to help him run the country. Armaan is soon going to turn twenty five which will make Armaan king. We are leaving for Alvendor in two weeks, and I want you to come with me" Ridhima understood every part of what Anjali was talking about until she said I want you to come with me.
"You mean come with you to Alvendor for a couple of days and come back right?" Ridhima said in a scared voice as she saw Anjali's head shake in a no. "There's no way! There's no way I'm going to come with you to some country where it is legal for men to steal unmarried women off the streets." When Ridhima said that, Anjali rolled her eyes.
"It's Alvendor's traditions The country does have some barbarian traditions, but that does not mean that someone is going to kidnap you and there will be no consequences. You will be under the protection of the law. No will in Alvendor will touch you." Anjali said. It was true that Alvendor was know for its barbaric traditions. The country was a well developed country which was know for handsome nobles and beautiful women. The country had its laws that where based on social levels such as unmarried women were open for grabs by any man who desired the lady. The country was well civilized but on some levels of its traditions, it wasn't exactly civilized in the Armerican perspective.
"what about my school?" Ridhima asked folding her arms across her chest.
"That will be provided for you"
"I'm old enough to take care of my self here" Ridhima said next
"I could use my sister's support in a foreign country with a much different cultural background." Anjali said, knowing whether Ridhima liked it or not she was going to make Ridhima come with her.
"This isn't fair and you know it. I have no purpose in Alvendor. They may be a rich country with beautiful landscapes, but in the end there is no way I'm going to a country where women have no rights and the men are in power." Ridhima was complete feminist and there was no way she was going to a small powerful country in which men decided a woman's fait.
"Ridhima it's not like that. The men of that country do not force the women to be dependent on them. It's just how Alvendorain tradition has gone and has continued to be. The women there like being house wives, they like attending behind their husbands. The women there like being stolen away by men because usually when a man forces a woman's hand to his bed, he has already decided to marry the girl. They do not steal a woman unless that woman wants to be taken. The people there are respectful to other cultures and races, and maybe if you go there you may end up liking the country."
"Your gonna make me go whether I want to or not, aren't you?" Ridhima asked, pretty sure that her sister was going to get to that part of the detail out sooner or later.
"yes" Anjali said with no regrets to her words.
"I'll start packing" Ridhima said in a bitter voice. If Ridhima had the choice she would never leave. She loved collage life and her independent life, but Ridhima also knew that Anjali could never live without her. Even after Anjali had gotten married they were like best of friends, they were sisters after all. They called each other up at least once a week and went out to eat and catch up at least once a month. Anjali going to a different country like Alvandor with out Ridhima would never happen.
"You highness, the letter from your brother" Armaan's assistant placed Karan's letter on the desk and left. Armaan was sitting in his chair with his eyes closed for a few minuets. As soon as his assistant had left, he grabbed the letter and almost ripped the letter in his impatience in hearing from his brother. Armaan had thought that Karan would not even reply to his letter, but sure enough he got a reply.
He was really hoping that Karan would agree to come to Alvandor to help him run the country, but a large part of Armaan's logical brain said that it would be impossible for Karan to shift his entire self built life back to the very country he had left.
Armaan unfolded the letter. He was expecting the letter to have a long explanation as to why Karan could not make it to Alvandor but the letter only consisted of three words.
My dearest younger brother
We are coming
Karan and family
Armaan would have jumped up with joy if it hadn't been for his killer head ace. He was under a lot of pressure to be king in the coming months. There was so much to do. In the past five years since the day his parents had passed away, Armaan had been placed with immense responsibility. The world was getting smaller and it had become Armaan's responsibility to show the world that his country, his people where not barbarians. They were well civilized people with their own share of traditions. The country never had one woman complain of her life in Alvendor, yet foreigners pointed figures to his country to be suppressing women's right.
There was no law in Alvendor that stated that women could not be independent from men. All women in Alvendor had the right to vote for parliament just like men. All women had the right of speech. All women had the right to divorce their husbands. All women had the right to obtain higher education and most women did obtain education, shoot most women in Alvendor had a higher education then men. All women had the right to work even if they choose to be house wives over independent. It was just how tradition went and the women in Alvendor liked the tradition. Armaan was sure that one day the women would want to live like those women in London, United States, Canada and he was sure that the men in Alvendor would accept such roles of women.
Armaan had not slept in over three days and his body physically was starting to feel its affects. People always assumed that being royalty would be the easy life. Little did people know. Sure he had the good life with a large palace and people to follow his demands, but at the same time he had the pressure to keep his people happy. He was soon to be a dictator and his people liked him as a prince and sure enough they would like him as a king, but Armaan had the responsibility of every life that lived in Alvendor as an Alvendorian citizen. He was responsible for everyone. Every day he had people come to him with legal problems, personal problems, he received letters of gratitude, and other days he would receive treating letters. Each and every day was a day of the unknown, stress, work, and very little sleep. To make matters worse, Armaan was expected to keep a smile to his face everyday he walked out of his palace to the commoners.
Ridhima was sitting in the private plane with folded arms with a dark scrawl to her face. The twins were three years old and the most annoying pest in the world. She loved her nephews and niece a lot but she was in no mood to hear two four year old boys ask her constantly why her hair was black or why she wore makeup or why they were moving to Alvendor. Alexander and Andrew where the cutest looking boys, but when they were together, they were the most annoying, and most aggravating of the two.
She just didn't know how Anjali put up with four kids. Ridhima liked Lorelei and Armaan the most. Armaan was thirteen, and was going through the 'I'm too cool to talk to you' phase and most times didn't bother Ridhima. Armaan was very respectful to her. Every one in the family called Armaan Ar, pronounced like the letter R ever since Lorelei had been born and could not pronounce Armaan's real name. Armaan did not mind the nick name all that much but it used to bother Karan a lot when everyone would call his eldest son Ar when his name was Armaan. It was a good thing that over time even Karan warmed up to the nick name and started calling his son Ar. Ridhima had a feeling that the twins probably didn't even know that their brother's real name was Armaan instead of Ar.
"We will be arriving in Alvandor in a half hour" the hostess announced when coming out from the pilot's cabin.
Ridhima had never been in a private plan until today and she had to admit it was much better flying in a private plane then a commercial one. The place was more roomy, there was couches to sleep on. Much better food. A bigger and much cleaner bathroom. Ridhima honestly did not know much about Alvendor except what she had heard on the news, but then again the news wasn't always that accurate when it came to informing information.
Armaan was waiting out at the back of the palace runway for the private plane to land. He had sent his fastest plane he had to pick up his brother and his family. He had actually gotten a good nights rest and was actually quite fresh and a lot more stress free than the day before.
Soon enough the plan was visible and his stern face turned to a grin. Unfortunately his grin lasted for a few seconds before he realized that he was grinning and quickly changed his face to a serious one.
The jet hit land and Armaan wanted to run to the plane, but he stood his ground and waited where he stood next to the head of parliament, and the army general. Although Alvendor was a peaceful country internally and externally the country still had and army for the show and protection. The Army was not a regular army. If Alvendor ever did happen to go to war, the country would have to start drafting men.
Armaan noticed from where he stood saw his brother Karan step out of the plane next. Behind him was a young teenage boy. Behind the boy was a younger looking girl, behind the girl was a woman holding two twin boys and behind the twin boys was an angel.
Armaan was hoping, no begging that the girl, who ever she maybe, was not Karan's wife. She was beautiful in her blue jeans and t-shirt. A simple outfit but perfect for her.
Karan and his family approached Armann who was still standing next to the head of parliament and army general. "Karan" Armaan said with a hug. His elder brother's embrace was the same as it had been fifteen years ago, warm and inviting.
Karan and Armaan stepped away from their embrace as Karan introduced everyone. "Armaan, this is my eldest son Ar, my only daughter Lorelei, my two twin boys…" Karan pointed out to the boys whom were in a bickering fight with each other as Anjali tried to control them, handing Alexander to Ridhima " …Andrew and Alexander, that is my wife he said pointing to his wife, and lastly that is Ridhima my sister-in-law." Armaan school hands with Ar with a firm hand. He then when up to Lorelei and kissed both her cheeks as a traditional greeting to a child who was not of age to be married away. Armaan then when up to Anjali and kissed both of her cheeks as it was tradition to greet a married woman in such a way. He made his way to the twin boys whom were no longer fighting with each other and shook their hands. Lastly he went up to Ridhima and kissed her strait on the mouth. It was a full kiss to the mouth and immedatily Ridhima backed away pushing Armaan away "what the hell do you think your doing!" Ridhima spit out in anger.
Karan knew this would happen. It was the very thing he was afraid of. Armaan was a man of conservative tradition and Ridhima was as liberal as it gets. "I'm greeting you in our traditional ways" Armaan said with a grin. He knew the American way to greet an unmarried woman of age was not by a kiss to the mouth, but he could not help himself.
"Why the hell did you kiss me the way you did then?" Ridhima retorted in anger.
"Because that's how we greet young unmarried women who are of age to marry." Armaan said with a smile, not at all offended at Ridhima's blunt questioning
"No! you do not touch me or kiss me at all in anyway possible ever!" Ridhima remarked bitterly.
All the while Karan and Anjali were keeping Alexander and Andrew away from each other as they already were in a bickering quarrel again. Lorelei didn't really care much for what exactly was being talked of between Armaan and Ridhima, as she was in aw with the enormity of the palace. Ar was the only one really paying attention to his aunt and Prince Armaan Malik. None of the children knew why they were in Alvendor or why their parents had forced them to move to a country with such a different cultural background from what they were used to.
"My apologies, it wont happen again" Armaan said in a serious face.
Armaan really wished that Ridhima would have been open minded about the idea of him stealing kisses with the lady, but she seemed to be an independent girl. It would be pointless to try to change her point of view.
"Can we go inside? It's freezing out" Ar asked. He looked so much like Karan. He had his fathers light brown hair and light blue eyes. He was tall for his age and very, very intelligent too. Ar didn't see intelligent with his quite nature and lack of care, but he was an observer. He was a strong boy and Armaan noticed this quality in his nephew almost right away.
"Sure thing" Armaan said leading the family into the palace. Right away Ridhima was awed by the stunning beauty of the place. The place had old swords, statues. Tapestries, brick walls, some painted all. It was very fancy. She was struck to how large the house looked from the inside. From the outside the palace looked large enough to host a hundred people, but from the inside the house looked at if it could host five hundred guest.
Karan had a frown to his face as he talked "you guys never remodeled?"
"Never had time" Armaan replied.
Ar looked up at his father in surprised "you've been here before?"
"I grew up in this home" Karan said, he knew now would be the best time to tell his kids that he was a Prince, but he just did not know how to put the words. He had giving Ar and Lorelei the best education that could be found it the United States. He was setting up an education for Alexander and Andrew but never got a chance as Armaan's letter had come to him.
"You grew up here! How come you said that you grew up in Canada then" Ar asked. Lorelei did not say anything. She was a beautiful young girl. She had a good education and made strait A's but in truth she was not as intelligent as Ar was. Her interest was more with music. She was an excellent pianist. Her talents in the fine art were equivalent to have of an adult with many years of pratice. She was at a young age of ten and already held the a promising future.
"I never said anything because…" Karan did not know what to say. He was not proud for his actions fifteen years ago. He had decided to leave after his adopted parents requested it from him. He didn't have to leave. He could have just announced to refuse the crown, but for his the betterment of his younger brother he had left, so Armaan to grow up to be a king. So Armaan could grow up to walk, talk, breath to be a king.
Armaan just tapped Anjali's shoulder with his hand to come with him. He also motioned Ridhima, Lorelei, and the twins to follow. Armaan knew that Karan was going to tell Ar the truth and he certainly would not be able to do that with his entire family waiting for a reply.
Armaan lead the five new guest up stairs. Each wooden stair step had a beautiful carving that told a story of Alvendor's history. Once upstairs Armaan first showed the children to their rooms. Armaan had giving Lorelei a room with a grand piano inside of it. Upon seeing the piano she instantly smiled. The room was built for her. There was a large queen sized bed with iron frames. The walls were all of rich wood that corresponded with the piano. "I love this room!" Lorelei exclaimed running strait for the bed. The twins were about to run in after her but Armaan grabbed them from the black.
Armaan was a playful fellow when it came to children. When ever he saw children his heart would melt to mush. "you two little rascals get the best room out there" Armaan said as he carried both boys in his arms fairly easily out of Lorelei's room. Anjali decided to stay behind in Lorelei's room to explain their real reason for coming to Alvendor.
Both Anjali and Karan had decided it was best that the children did not have a say in the move, but she and Karan both knew that it would be unfair to Ar and Lorelei to not know the truth behind the move to a foreign country with a foreign language.
Anjali and Karan did not worry much about Alexander and Andrew as they were both pretty young and probably did not understand much of what was going on as it was.
Armaan took the boy in his arms to their room as Ridhima continued to follow behind Armaan. She would have stayed with Anjali but she understood that her sister needed to talk to Lorelei alone and her being there would only make things more akward when Anjali and Lorelei were having a heart to heart.
Ridhima did not want to follow Armaan after their greeting. Her first thought was to slap the man for even touching her. She was not a touchy feeling type of person in any way. Then again she couldn't help but notice how well the man carried himself. Even with two four year old boys in his arms he was able to walk with a strait back. Ridhima couldn't believe she never noticed that about Karan before either. She had never thought about it but now that she did, it made sense. Karan had grown up to one day be king and even Karan walked tall and strait, just as Armaan was.
Karan kept his hair perfect, but Ridhima saw that Armaan's hair was a little unkempt but still very put to place then most average people. She saw how Armaan was wearing a suit, and remembered how even Karan wore a suit everyday out of habit. Ridhima started to slowly process and actually sink in that she was walking behind an actual Prince! Her sister had married into a family of royalty.
Although Ridhima did not want to be in Alvendor she could not help but think how lucky her sister was to marry a man who was so loving, carrying, filthy rich, and to top it all off was a prince.
At the end of the hall came the twins room's Armaan had made sure that the youngest were in a room together, right next to their parents room just incase. The Palace was a large place where anyone could get lost if they did not know their way around it very well. Sometimes when Armaan would be working late in his office, even he sometimes would forget his way back to his room. Armaan opened the door to the twins rooms and inside was like a child's dream room.
There were town beds that were shaped in a racecar style. In side was like a little maze like structure that could be used as an indoors child's playground. When looking at the joy in the two kid's eyes Ridhima could not help but think of her own childhood. She had grown up in a middle class family with her sister and one mother who was deathly sick most of the times. She and her sisters never had such facilities when growing up. When she wanted to play she would have to go to the public playground for a bit of fun that would only last for a few hours. On the other hand Alexander and Andrew were much lucky to have a room that had a set of fun that would never end.
"now I want you two to listen to me very carefully…" Armaan started to say before the two boys could run off to play "…this place is very easy to get lost in, and you two are not to leave this room unless a grown up is with you, do you understand" Armaan said in a strict voice to get the boys attention. Both Alexander and Andrew nodded understandingly with a little bit of fear from the strict town of Armaan's voice.
"We understand" Both boys said with the cutest voice at the same time that had Armaan's heart to melt for the boys. These were the moments in life where he wished he had his own children.
After Armaan closed the door to the twin's room He lead Ridhima back down stairs. He did not speak a word to her but sliently lead her. As they came down the same stiars that they had gone up with Armaan noticed that Karan and Ar were no longer down stairs. Armaan had a pretty good idea that Karan had taken Ar to cruze the town's a villages. It used to be a daily habit of Karan's back when he had lived in Alvendor. It hurt Armaan's feeling to thinking that his older brother who had wanted to be king gave up the crown just because his parents wanted him to be king instead. Armaan never understood the unfairness to their decision, but as Armaan got older he understood how much of a problem it would have caused politically if word got out of the palace that Karan Malik was not the true blood line of the royal family.
Out side of the bedroom door Armaan stopped before opening the door. "you are to stay in my room" Armaan said with a dashing smile. It was not a mocking grin, just a decent well meaning smile.
Ridhima took his words offensively. Ridhima understood that when Armaan had said you are to say in my room, he did not mean that there was a shortage of rooms and she would stay in his room while he took the couch. His words were crystal clear; he wanted her to stay in the same room as him.
"I don't think so" Ridhima snapped
"are you married?" He asked
"Are you in love?"
"no" Ridhima said as sharply as anger was starting to boil up inside of her. The man was treating her as if she was below him and he could just boss her around to his liking.
"Then what could be your objection" Armaan asked. Armaan was well aware of American customs. He knew how Americans loved to waste their time portraying months of affection to a woman before she would agree to share a room with a man, but Armaan saw that as a waste of time. Why would someone court a woman when they could flat out tell the lady of their intensions and get on with their desiring frustrations?
"I object, because I do not know you well enough to share such intimacy with a man like you" Ridhima was close to yelling.
"A man like me? I'm giving you an opportunity to get to know me very well by sharing my room" Armaan replied in a dignified manor as he folded his arms across his broad chest, letting the side of his shoulder rest against the closed door to his room.
"It's never going to happen! So show me to my room before I punch you in the face" Ridhima said yelling maybe even screaming.
Armaan was not shaken on his ground. He wanted Ridhima. She as absolutely beautiful and he wanted only her.
"Go ahead, try and punch me" Armaan said fully composed. Armaan never had a woman refuse him before. If he had offered any other woman what he was offering Ridhima, they would jump in joy. Just because Ridhima refused his offer, Armaan was more determined to have Ridhima stay in his room.
Ridhima didn't try to punch Armaan, but she wished she had. "now, listen to my offer. I like you, and I want you…" Armaan said flat out "…my bed and room is to your disposal. You can either agree to my offer now to share my room, or I'll make your life a living hell until you agree to my offer. Either way I'm going to win." As Armaan talked, Ridhima was so surprised as to how the man could be such a pig! He had no morals what so ever. He actually thought it was okay to share a life like a married couple without marriage.
"Karan would never allow you to behave around me in such a way!" Ridhima retorted.
"This country is mine. He may object to my ways, but there is nothing he can do to stop me from stealing an unmarried woman." Armaan leaned in towards Ridhima grabbing her t-shirt and pulling her towards him. Ridhima started to move back but Armaan just pulled harder on her t-shit forcing her to come closer towards him.
Ridhima's entire body nearly slammed into Armaan's bringing shivers down to her toes. She was breathless instantly. Armaan could feel the effects he was having against Ridhima. "you sure you want to refuse such an offer" Armaan placed a strong hold to Ridhim's back to keep her entire body pressed to his.
For a split second Ridhima actually considered taking up Armaans offer! He was so perfect that she actually considered going aginst her morals for his! She was going insane she just knew it. "…No!" She said after a few seconds of mental debate.
"you hesitated in your answer" Armaan said in a devilish grin.
"so?" Ridhima asked. What was the big deal in that? For a split second she was caught off guard that meant nothing.
"You were debating whether to take up my offer. You want me too" Armaan drew out his own conclusion.
Ridhima was shocked as to how Armaan was able to read her thoughts. He had right away guessed her thoughts as if he knew what she was thinking. "I was caught off guard…" Ridhima said in defense. "…LET GO OF ME!" Ridhima yelled as her senses and common sense started to kick in.
Armaan knew that he could just force her to stay in his room, but he didn't want that. Ridhima was a challenge to him and for that reason he let her go. He wanted her to admit to wanting him. It would make his victory over her even more worthy. "fine then you can have the room next to mine. It will make things easier for us to move when you decide you want to stay in my room with me." By saying that, Armaan just walked over a door and opened it for Ridhima leaving her in her own room shocked at the audacity of the man.
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