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Riddhima was the first to wake up in the morning as she wanted to make sure that everything was perfect. She was up for almost two hours, when she realized that Muskaan was still catching up on her beauty sleep.
"Muskaan ki bacchi, get up right now! Do you expect me to do everything alone?"
"Shucks yaar, your timing can't be worse. I was dreaming about such a handsome guy'..hmmpphhh!"
"You can always dream about him some other time, but right now you are needed downstairs."
The day flew by in a jiffy and it was almost evening now. Riddhima and Muskaan were giving final touches to Anjali's makeup, when Padma and Simran (Muskaan's mom) entered the room, followed by a bevy of ladies.
"Bahut sundar lag rahe ho beta, aaj Atul tumhe dekhta hi reh jayega" said Simran to which Anjali smiled shyly. Riddhima was amazed to see her usually confident and straight forward Di blushing.
"I guess that's what they call love" she thought with a sigh.
Her ramblings were cut short when she heard one of the ladies saying to her mom, "Ab Anjali to apne ghar jaa rahi hai, to Riddhima aur Muskaan ke liye bhi sochna shuru kar do. Aaj engagement party me bahut saare ladke ayenge, mauka dekhte hi kisi acche ladke ko pakad lena." Padma and Simran just smiled politely, while Riddhima and Muskaan rolled their eyes in sheer frustration.
"Inko koi aur kaam nahi hai kya" muttered Muskaan under her breath.
Sensing their discomfort, Padma took the "over friendly" ladies out of the room after making some excuse.
"Tum dono bhi jaldi se taiyaar ho jao, guests have already started coming."
A lot of guests had come in by the time Riddhima stepped out of her room. Looking radiant in a blue sari that outlined her fabulous figure, she was the epitome of perfection. She had always been a beautiful girl, but today with the light make up Muskaan forced her to apply, she was simply glowing. Almost every male eye turned to admire her beauty and the gracefulness with which she conducted herself was simply amazing. Padma and Sashank looked on with pride as their beautiful daughter was being admired by everyone. Once she was downstairs, Riddhima assumed the role of the perfect host and went around mingling with guests, making small talk and ensuring that they were comfortable.
Amidst the hustle and bustle, a pair of eyes was intently following every movement of Riddhima. It was evident that the owner of those eyes was simply bewitched by her. Heaving out a small sigh, he said to himself, "Guess I will have to talk to mom soon" and with a smile playing on his lips he went to join his friends again.
Riddhima was talking to a friend when she heard someone exclaim, "Hey beautiful lady, I knew we would meet again, but never in my wildest dreams did I think that it would be so soon."
A smile formed on her lips as soon as the voice reached her ears.
"What a pleasant surprise Rahul! What are you doing here?"
"Hey, this was supposed to be my question'" said Rahul with a cute frown.
Before Riddhima could reply, a vision in pink diverted their attention. Yes, it was Muskaan looking extremely beautiful in a pink sari that complemented her figure and height very well.
"Muski, you are looking so pretty dear" said Riddhima and hugged her affectionately.
"Same goes for you Ridz, but I must admit that you are looking more than pretty, or maybe I should just say breathtaking! "
This complimenting game went on for some time when Rahul said, "Girls, can I also offer a few compliments from my side?"
Muskaan's face simply lit up as soon as she heard that voice.
"Hey! It's so wonderful to see you again. But how come you are here?"
"Since both of you have asked me the same question, let me tell you that my big bro happens to be the groom's best friend. Atul bhaiya has always been like a brother to me, so I couldn't miss his engagement for the world."
"Oh, so that means Lord Snooty is also here" said Muskaan with a giggle which disappeared as soon as she saw Riddhima's angry expression. Suddenly the reality of what she just said dawned upon her and she turned red with embarrassment.
"Hey, that's perfectly fine Muskaan" said Rahul. "He gets this tag everywhere he goes and it really doesn't surprise me. But let me tell you, there is much more to him than his arrogance. Am not saying this because I am his brother, but Armaan is a very nice human being, which many fail to see" he said with a smile.
"However I am yet to know what brings you both here. I hope gate crashing at parties is not a hobby of yours" he said with a wink.
"Sorry to disappoint, but I happen to be the sister of the would-be bride" said Riddhima with a smile.
"My goodness, I have known Anjali for quite some time now, so how come I never got to meet you? Just hold on, you are also known as Ridzy, right? Atul talks about you all the time. But I think its destiny as you never get to meet people until the right time arrives. Anyways, better late than never."
The three continued chatting animatedly till Riddhima was summoned by her mother.
"Beta, can you please get the gifts I gave to you for safekeeping yesterday?"
"Sure Mom, I will just get them."
Riddhima had kept the gifts in a dresser in Anjali's room, so she rushed to get them. After piling up the boxes and balancing them with a little difficulty, she was just about to turn when she felt something tug at her sari's pallu. To her dismay she realized that the drawer accidentally got shut and the delicate material of her pallu got stuck in that process. With the gifts precariously perched on her arms, Riddhima was stuck in a helpless position. She could neither drop the gifts, nor did she want to damage the sari that was gifted to her by Anjali.
"God, what do I do now? Everyone's downstairs, don't think there is anyone who can hear me!"
As if it was an answer to her prayers, Riddhima felt a hand creep from behind her waist and take the gifts from her. Then it slowly proceeded towards the stuck pallu and delicately pulled it out. A strange sensation ran down Riddhima's spine as the hand came in contact with her body, despite the fact that there was nothing sensual about it. As soon as she got free, she turned around abruptly, only to see herself tripping on her heels. However, the same strong pair of hands held her by the waist and kept her from falling. Riddhima looked up and found herself staring into the same pair of eyes that invaded her dreams last night.
Embarrassed at her clumsiness Riddhima freed herself from Armaan's grip and mumbled a sincere apology. The way she apologized would have melted any heart, but not Armaan as he only said, "Guess you should learn to be a little more careful. That would save you and others a lot of trouble."
Riddhima was mortified beyond words and could only look down as she couldn't take the intensity of his gaze. She was just waiting for him to go, so that she could compose herself. However, she was surprised to see him picking up the gift boxes and asking her to lead the way.
"Is he trying to be chivalrous?" Riddhima asked herself, but as soon as she remembered the words he said to her a few minutes back, she shrugged off that thought.
"I know he is simply trying to mock me. He wants to show that I am too clumsy to do anything. The other day I dropped my driver's license and today the gifts. God! Couldn't you have sent someone else to help me?????"
Armaan deposited the gifts at the place indicated by Riddhima and was off before she could even turn towards him, but with his departure, Riddhima's anger began to rise.
"Am I a fool, how could I be so dumb? Muskaan was right, he certainly loves downsizing people and I am one of his latest victims! On top of that he insulted me in my own house, how could I let him do that? By the way, what was he doing in Di's room? I could have asked him that, but no I had to make a fool of myself and I did that very well!"
"Hey sis-in-law, what's up?"
"Bhaiya..oops Jiju, finally you are here! When did you come?"
"I have been here for quite some time, but I guess both my sis-in-laws are too busy to notice me. My best friend and his younger brother are taking up a lot of their attention. Don't try to fool me as I have been noticing both of you for some time now" said Atul with a sly smile.
"Jiju, please spare me! Do you even realize how snooty your friend is? Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the sweet Ammy you always rave about would turn out to be this arrogant person."
"That he is, but dear it takes him a little time to open up. Look at both the brothers, they are so different but yet both of them possess the goodness of heart that is rare to find nowadays. In Rahul's case, it's very obvious, but when it comes to Armaan it will always remain hidden unless you have the eyes to discover it."
With that Atul moved away as Sashank wanted to introduce him to some guests, but Riddhima was left wondering at the meaning of his words.
"Ladies and gentlemen" she could suddenly hear Rahul's voice on the microphone. "Today, my Atul bhaiya is getting engaged to the girl of his dreams. Having known him all my life, I can only say that he is the perfect example of a good human being. I just want to take this opportunity to wish him all the very best for the new journey he is about to embark on. Love you bhai and now please come up on stage as your engagement ceremony is just about to begin."
Soon Atul and Anjali exchanged rings. It was a heart touching moment to see them pledge their lives to each other. Riddhima was speechless as she watched this ceremony taking place. She was extremely overjoyed to see her sister's love finally reaching its fruition. Indeed, she felt blessed to be a witness to this beautiful moment.
Riddhima just closed her eyes and prayed, "God, please give my Di and Jiju all the happiness in the world. Let their bond grow stronger with each passing day."
As Riddhima was lost in her prayers, Armaan's eyes were fixed on her. He didn't know why, but his eyes just couldn't leave her face that was reflecting so many emotions at the same time. He still considered her to be a clumsy girl who should learn to be more responsible, but deep in his heart he felt that there was something different about her. But he dismissed those thoughts and quickly moved to the stage to congratulate Atul and Anjali who were looking like a couple made in heaven.
Later that night, as the world around him was sleeping, Armaan kept twisting and turning in bed. There was something that had changed today, but he still couldn't pinpoint as to what it was. Finally out of sheer exasperation he exclaimed, "Whatever it is, only time will tell." That surprisingly made him feel light and soon he was fast asleep as the moon shone on outside, scattering its silver light over everyone.
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