Joined: 09 May 2010
Joined: 09 May 2010
Wow!! Its Thread 5 already!
Joined: 09 May 2010
Riddhima had driven at top speed to the airport once again.. She had become an expert at that now.. She could probably find her way to the airport even in her sleep.. Throughout the drive she kept rehearsing what she was going to say to him.. This feeling was so different, yet familiar.. Like she was going to confess her love for the first time.. There was so much she wanted to say.. She just wished she'd make it on time.. Deftly making her way through the traffic she finally made it to the airport in a record 15 minutes.. She would have taken a minute and gloated about her superior driving skills to herself had she not been on a time leash.. Most probably Armaan would have checked in by now.. Only an hour was left for his flight to take off.. Her heart sank at that.. But then she kept encouraging herself and praying to God that by some miracle the flight gets delayed or something.. Her heart raced as she raced against a sea of people and luggage to the departure area.. There were so many people here, she couldn't understand where to look for him.. She checked the information display and her heart sank to see that the flight was right on time.. As the hope drained out of her, she looked around frantically scanning faces one after the other hoping it to be that of her life.. Tears started trickling out of her eyes again as she couldn't find him.. Defeated, she looked around to take one last chance that she'd find him.. And then she spotted him in the distance.. He was just about to enter through the departure gate.. She was in no way going to be able to get there so fast.. So she called out his name with all the strength that she could muster, "Armaan!!!!" he turned around and she couldn't believe what she saw.. W*F!!
"Basket?..", she was confused when that voice came from behind her.. She realized what happened when the man at the departure gate, and a lot of other people around, turned around and gave her a are-you-crazy look.. She turned around slowly to see a confused Armaan standing a few feet away in the people that surrounded them.. Her heart beat like it had never before, that adrenaline rush was new to her.. As she felt the blood rush to her head, and the world disappeared around her she rushed forward and almost collided with him.. Armaan didn't understand what hit him, literally, as he almost lost his balance and was about to fall back along with her.. She hugged him tight as she hid her face in his chest, pulling him closer into her, her fingers digging in his back.. And before he could take in the fact that Riddhima was in his arms and crying like a baby, he heard her teary voice, "I love you.." he was left in a daze.. He couldn't believe he heard that.. He crept his hands around her to verify if she was really there.. He was kind of numbed by her tight hold on him.. He didn't know how to react to this.. But he suddenly realized what was going on when he felt her wet lips on his chest and her repeated 'I love you' s.. "Basket.." he tried to pull away and look at her.. He still couldn't believe this was happening.. It felt like he was having an out of body experience.. But Riddhima did not want to let go at all as she hugged him tighter if she could, leading him to step back a few steps before he steadied himself again, holding her to himself now.. And in the process he almost bumped into an old uncle's trolley who glared at him.. That brought to his notice all the people around them who were staring at them.. Some glaring and some just smiling fantastically and some irritated, cursing them that they were creating a scene as they rushed to catch their flight.. When he was lost taking in his surroundings, Riddhima had started placing kisses on his neck, claiming him back to herself, taking in his smell.. She felt like she was finally home.. As his heart beat like crazy feeling her lips on his skin, he shuddered.. "Basket.." , he priced her away from himself.. "Log dekh rahe hai..", he whispered.. But she did not open her eyes and just pulled him closer and hid her face in the crook of his neck, going up on her toes a little, her hands around his neck.. Armaan didn't know what to do as he blushed in embarrassment at the attention they were gathering.. "She.. Uh.. loves me too much..", he chuckled in embarrassment as he explained to an aunty who was staring at them as she pushed her trolley towards the entrance..
"Riddhima.. ", but she kept hugging him ignoring his attempts to knock sense into her.. Maybe if she holds him long enough he would miss his flight..
"Oye.. Kya chal raha hai idhar..", a guard came to shoo them away.. Maybe someone had complained against them for creating a scene..
"Riddhima..", he pulled her away forcefully as he went a deeper red with embarrassment when the guard tapped his shoulder.. "Kucch nahi.. Who.. Jaa rahe hai..", and before they could embarrass themselves more he pulled her to a secluded corner of the departure lounge.. Riddhima didn't care where he was dragging her to.. When he stopped, she just hugged him again.. And that brought a huge smile on Armaan's face.. "Basket.. Tum paagal ho.." he said taking her face in his hands..
She let out a laugh through her tears as she looked back at him and said, "I love you.." and his world stopped as those words reverberated in his ears.. That was the only one and last thing he wanted to hear ever..
And those words automatically left his lips as he said.. "I love you too..", and they looked into each others' eyes, their eyes for once, saying the same thing to each other, and after a long time too.. He couldn't still believe she was saying this.. He had almost given up hope.. It felt like another life altogether.. Or like they travelled forth in time and then back.. Riddhima had completely forgotten what all she had planned to say.. She just remembered those three magical words.. They were indeed magical.. All her pain just vanished in a second, as she uttered them, as she heard him say them to her.. As tears of relief started flowing out her eyes, Armaan wiped them off and leaned in.. Wanting to believe this was true.. Wanting to claim her back to himself.. Both their hearts were racing.. They had completely forgotten where they were.. But they didn't care.. It felt like they had waited for this moment since forever.. Both shut their eyes as they felt each others warm breath on their lips..
"Call for Dr. Armaan Mallik.. Dr. Armaan Mallik please report to the check in desk immediately..", the voice of the announcer brought them out of the trance, breaking their moment..
Realizing where they were, they parted from each other.. Riddhima finally realized what she had been doing and the blush started creeping up her face.. But Armaan was slowly being taken over by a sudden sense of loss.. He had to go.. He had to leave her.. And this was going to be impossible.. But before he left he had to apologize to her.. Thank her for giving him another chance..
"Basket.. I am sorry.. I..", he said, not knowing what to say.. He was in a hurry and there were so many things he had to say.. So many things he wanted to hear.. Riddhima saw the tears forming in his eyes and she understood what he was going through.. She knew he was feeling sorry and guilty and hurt.. And above all he didn't want to leave.. But she wasn't going to make this more difficult than it already was for him.. "Uh.. You'll call me right..", she asked him, making up her mind to support him this time.. He looked up at her in surprise and smiled as he nodded his tears trickling from the corner of his eyes.. She wiped them off taking his face in her hands and said, "I'll wait for you.."
"Did you talk to Dr. Shashank..", he asked her.. He didn't want to, but he hoped he was ok with it.. His heart fell as she shook her head in a no.. Seeing her face fall he said, pressing her palms to his cheeks, "Its ok.. I m sure who maan jayenge.. Will you try.. Please.."
He smiled when he saw her nod reluctantly, not meeting his eye.. "Riddhima.. I am sorry.. For everything.. I promise I'll never ever ever do this again.. I was so so stupid.. I .. Just..", he didn't know what to say.. There was so much he couldn't organize his thoughts.. And he got all frantic when he heard his name being announced again.. But she understood it all.. Like she always did .. And caressing his face once she just said, "I love you..", and that stopped his blabber immediately as he got lost in her eyes again.. He closed his eyes when she placed a soft kiss on his forehead and then let go of him.. He realized it was time to go.. "Bye.. I'll call you.. Take care.. And I love you.."
She couldn't help her tears as she heard him.. She turned away as she couldn't see him leave again.. He walked a few paces and turned as he stopped.. , "I don't want to go Riddhima..", he said his voice shaking a little.. She looked at him immediately.. She couldn't bear the pain in his eyes.. She wished she could kidnap him and keep him with her forever.. "Then don't go Armaan.. ", she wanted to say, but ended up saying, "But you have to.. " her voice also breaking.. She realized she would have to take control here..
"I have to..", he sighed and looked away and slowly dragged his feet to the security check with his bag in tow.. Riddhima watched him walk away.. She couldn't bear to see the sight of his retreating back.. As all her resolve melted away she impulsively called out to him, "Armaan..", he stopped and turned to look at her.. "Can I get a last hug.. Please..", she asked.. He smiled as he heard that and chuckled as he said, "No Basket.. It'll hurt you too much to let go.."
Riddhima laughed as she cried as she heard his response.. And without thinking again she ran into his arms almost tipping him over again, "Basket.. You have to stop doing this.. If we fall I'll be the one who gets hurt.. Tum toh mujh par girogi.." she hit him on his back when he said that.. Armaan grinned.. So his Basket was finally back.. He held her close, this time ignoring the people who were looking at them, taking in every bit of her presence.. Trying to capture her and take her with him as she tried to keep him with her.. "Basket.. Promise me you wont cry.. You know I am with you right.." he said softly..
"Hmm..", was all she said, caressing his back slowly..
"And promise me you'll eat properly.."
"I am on a diet Armaan..", she replied to that only to make him grin.. "And anyway.. You're the one who needs to eat.. Maine tumhe already almost teen baar gira diya.. You look so weak.."
"Hey I do not look weak.. I was on a diet too.. And you cant come colliding into me at bullet speed and expect me to stand straight..", he said indignantly, trying to push her apart so he could fight with her properly.. But she didn't let go.. "Tch.. And I thought you were Superman.. Anyway.. So now I know you aren't"
"I am..", he pouted.. She giggled as she heard that.. And he just pulled her closer as he felt her lips on his neck again.. She parted from him slowly in is hold making him open his eyes as she brought his face close to hers.. But before they could meet, "Last call for Dr. Armaan Mallik.. I repeat Last call for Dr. Armaan Mallik.. Please report for check in immediately.."
"You've gotto be kidding me.. Give me a break..", he cursed out loud trying to look for the speakers, as he heard the announcement.. Riddhima came back to earth and laughed as she saw that scowl on his face blushing at the reason behind it.. But the moment was gone and she was conscious of the eyeballs they had attracted..
"Armaan.. Jaldi jao.. Before I stop you again..", she said looking away from him..
He sighed as she said that, "Bye.. I love you.. " he looked at her long and then making up his mind tore away his gaze from her and hurried to the check in area without turning back.. The tears that stung his blue eyes, rolled down her cheeks as she watched him disappear.. She waited there for long.. Feeling lost again.. She sat at one of the seats in the departure lounge with her face in her hands, hoping against hope that somehow he walks back to her.. She waited, wishing he would not do the right thing for once.. Why did he care so much about right and wrong.. Why couldn't they just run away.. But then she remembered her family.. His family.. This was what life is all about.. She smiled as she pacified herself that he would be back soon enough.. At least now she knew he was going to come back.. And she would wait for him.. Keep his promises like she always did.. When she heard the announcement that the flight to Singapore had taken off, she sighed and got up from the seat.. There was no use of waiting here.. She had to walk out and start her life again.. But with every step she took away from the airport towards the parking her heart sank.. And her tears that she had stopped with so much difficulty came gushing out again.. She couldn't help but feel alone without him.. She sat in her car and put her head down on the steering, defeated by life, when her phone started buzzing.. She saw the unknown number and wondered who was calling her.. She picked up the call and was shocked at what she heard, "What!!", was all she could manage.. And before she could make sense of what she was hearing the phone got cut.. "Hello.. Hello.. Armaan.. Can you hear me.. Damn!!!"
Armaan was at the check in counter, collecting his boarding pass.. "Your passport sir?..", the lady at the counter asked.. She seemed like she was in a hurry.. He was probably the last passenger left to board the plane..
"Dr. Armaan Mallik?.." he heard a man's voice who had come up to him tapping his shoulder.. He turned and looked at his formal clothes and the badge and knew he was the ground staff manager of the airport.. What intrigued him was why he had come to talk to him, "Excuse me sir.. Are you Dr. Armaan Mallik?.." he asked again when he didn't answer..
"Yeah.. That'll be me.." he answered unsure of why he was being asked this..
"Cancel the check in Sheena.. And can I have his passport?.. ", he spoke to the lady at the counter when Armaan had answered him..
"Hey.. What do mean by cancel the check in.. What is going on..", he asked the manager..
The manager took his passport from the lady and checked it to verify his name and identity.. "Dr. Mallik.. I am afraid we cannot issue the boarding pass to you.. Please follow me.. You've been detained.." he said and started walking away with his passport.. Armaan just stood stunned for a moment.. What the..!! When he saw the man walk briskly away with his passport he had no option but to follow him.. "What.. What do you mean I've been detained.. I have to catch this flight and I am late already.." he said catching up with him.. For a man that looked like he was in his mid 50s the manager was quite fast he thought.. And strict too.. He did not even look at him as he answered, "You are not allowed to leave the country Dr. Mallik.. There has been a complaint against you. Please follow me .. Otherwise I'll have to call security.." and he started walking again..
Armaan who didn't understand what was going on just tried to figure out what he had heard.. Someone complained against him!! W*F!!.. "What!.. Listen.. Sir.. Whatever.. I am sure this is a mistake.. " as he ran behind the manager to catch up with him again..
"I am sure you can clear your doubts with the officer here.. ", he said sternly as he stopped outside a room.. Armaan's eyes widened.. Officer?! Was this really happening?.. As he followed the manager in the detainment room he took in the surroundings.. It almost looked like a well furnished interrogation room.. Never in his wildest dream had he ever imagined himself visiting this room. But he was more confused than nervous.. This had to be a mistake..
"Ah.. Dr. Armaan Mallik.. So finally I caught hold of you.. Trying to run away, were we?..", Armaan turned around to look at a man dressed in formals again.. But this one was young and had a smirk on his face.. "What?.. I am sorry I don't understand..", Armaan said as he saw the manager hand him his passport.. "I'll take over from here manager saab.. Thank you for your help.. ", he told the manager..
"You're always welcome sir.. Its my duty to help the police when they need me.."
Police!! Armaan froze.. What the f*ck was going on.. When the manager left them alone he turned to the so called police officer.. "May I please ask what in the world is going on.. ", he was irritated by the way he was being treated.. Why was the police after him.. And why did they think he was running away..
"Awaaz neeche.. ", the officer commanded as he glared at him, "And stop behaving innocent Dr. Mallik.. We know all about you.."
"What!.. What do you know about me.. Please if you could care to tell me.." he said almost challenging the officer in his building anger and confusion..
"Mind your tone with me Dr. Mallik.. I have an arrest warrant against you.. It wont be long before I put you behind bars..", the officer threatened him calmly as he put forward the papers.. But he pulled them out of his hand before Armaan could read them..
Armaan lost it at that.. "What!! What have I done.. "
The officer smirked at him "Such an innocent face doctor.. Aur kaam aise karte ho.. We know all about you organ harvesting and smuggling activities.."
"WHAT!!! Are you crazy!! " Armaan shouted.. He couldn't believe he heard that right.. What sort of a mad joke was this.. He didn't know what to think as he was numbed by the shock..
"Do not Shout doctor.. It wont change the truth..", the officer matched his tone and volume..
Now the panic set in as he saw the officer glaring at him.. But obviously this was wrong.. He had done nothing of this sort.. His head spun as he tried to convince the officer.."Listen.. You've got the wrong guy.. I don't do stuff like that I swear.. I am not the one you are looking for.. " he frantically tried to explain..
And that brought a triumphant smile on the officers face.."Really now!.. You think we police people are fools to go after any random guy like that.. You are Dr. Armaan Mallik right.. Worked in Sanjeevni, internship in Bangalore.. And currently working at Medico in Singapore.. " he listed out his work credentials..
Armaan couldn't understand why this man thought he was some organ smuggling mafia.. This was so wrong.. "Listen.. I am not the guy. " he tried convincing him again, raising his voice this time.. There was surely a mistake.. Either that or someone had purposely got him into this scandal.. But why would anyone do that.. He didn't really have any association with anyone like that..
"Ok.. Did you or did you not operate on Mr. Sharma the day you left for Singapore two weeks back.." the officer asked him, shocking him again.. How does this guy know.. But that was a by-pass surgery.. what had that to do with this.. Now he was sure someone was plotting against him..
"I want a lawyer.. I am not saying another word till I get a lawyer.." he said adamantly looking away from the officer..
"Don't worry doctor.. Sab milega.. Ek baar jail toh chalo sab milega.. " he replied in that sadistically sweet tone of his..
Armaan panicked as he heard jail.. He needed to tell someone he was in trouble.. And the only name that came to his mind was Riddhima.. "I need to make a call.." he told the officer trying to calm down..
"And what makes you think I will allow you to do that.." he smirked at him again..
"Please just let me make a call.. " he requested him..
"Fine just two minutes.." and so Armaan called the only one he could think of when he's in trouble.. "Riddhima!.. Hi.. Listen to me carefully.. I've been detained.. And someone's complained against me.. They have an arrest warrant.. Please.. Help.. Call someone.. Rahul.. Or someone.."
"What!..", she replied, clearly shocked by what he was saying.. But before he could go on further the line got cut.. He realized the officer smirking his sickly smile at him, "Times up sweetheart!"
Armaan could have punched his face right then.. Controlling his anger he asked him, "May I ask who has filed this complaint against me.."
"Sure.. He'll be here in two minutes.. Ah.. Dr. Gupta.. Aayiye.. We have your man here.." and Armaan's world spun as he saw Dr. Shashank walk in through the door and shake hands with the officer..
"That's great.. Has he confessed yet!.." he asked him not sparing Armaan a glance..
The officer chuckled and replied.. "Of course not.. Says we got the wrong guy.."
Dr. Shashank joined in his laugh as he said.. "All of them say that at first.. Don't they.."
Armaan couldn't believe what he was hearing and seeing.. Why would Dr. Shashank complain against him.. "Dr. Shashank.. Yeh sab kya ho raha hai.. I don't understand.." he asked him , very confused and a little worried now..
He came up to him and glared at him.. "You will Dr. Mallik.. Aap ko kya laga.. Mere ghar mein meri insult karenge and I'll let you walk scot free.. I am afraid not.. " he said threateningly in a cold tone..
Armaan was stumped.. This had to be a joke.. "Sir I don't believe this.."
"I don't believe you Dr. Armaan.. And I thought you were one of the brilliant doctors I had.." he said out loud, pretending in front of the officer..
"I have not done anything.. And you cannot prove it.." he almost shouted in exasperation..
Dr. Shashank grinned at that claim of his.. "Oh yes I can.. I have witnesses, evidence, victims.."
"What!!" was all Armaan could say.. Nothing shocked him anymore..
"That's right Armaan.. Mujhe yakeen nahi ho raha tu aisa gira hua kaam karega..", Rahul walked in through the door, making a disgusted face at him.. And before Armaan could spare him a thought, "I swear.. Who would have thought.. Nikki is shattered.." Abhi followed him in shaking his head in disappointment..
Atul's voice followed soon enough.., "I am shattered Abhi.. Maine isse apna bhai samjha aur isne.. Chi chi.."
Armaan got an inkling now.. This had to be a crappy prank. But Dr. Shashank's presence just made him nervous.. And that officer.. He was so confused.. "Guys.. This is not funny.. Do you even know what you are saying.."
Dr. Shashank answered for them.. "They know what they are saying Dr. Armaan.. They have witnessed your crime.. I just wished they would have spoke up before.. "
"What!" that's right.. That's all he could say.. But his attention suddenly got diverted as he heard a voice coming in from just outside the door.. He could recognize that voice from anywhere in the world..
"Di.. Are you sure its this room.. How can they arrest him..", a worried Riddhima was asking Anjali as she dragged her into the room.. She had called her Di for help when Armaan had called, as Rahul and Nikki weren't answering their phones.. she was quite surprised when her sister had gotten there in les than ten minutes.. but she had ignored it coz Armaan's problem was more important..
The officer spoke as he saw the two girls enter.. "There's your evidence Dr. Mallik.. I am sure Dr. Gupta will testify against you.. So Dr. Riddhima Gupta.. Do you agree that Dr. Armaan Mallik has stolen your heart.."
"What?.." Armaan and Riddhima both exclaimed at the same time..
"Yes or no.." he asked again, but snorted.. Rahul and Abhi too burts into fits of laughter, guffawing away to glory as they saw Armaan's expressions.. They had been controlling from a long time.. But it was impossible to hold up now!..
Armaan realized what was going on the minute he saw them laugh. He could not believe he was so naive to fall for this one.. But he couldn't believe these people.. "You guys are lame!!.. Shit sad!.. Man.. So so lame!.. Seriously.. Lame.. Such cheap kameenas.. I don't believe this.. Rahul.. W*F!! Man.." he said grinning as he punched a laughing Rahul on his shoulder..
"Yeah W*F.. You actually fell for it.. 'I am not saying another word till I get a lawyer!'.. That was brilliant.. "Rahul mocked him and continued with his guffaws trying to get away from Armaan.. Abhi Atul and Anjali too were laughing crazily.. So was the officer guy.. Armaan was introduced to Abhi's cousin, Ranbir, aka, officer Smirky!, who was here to attend the reception, from Delhi.. And Armaan didn't spare him either.. Dr. Shashank was grinning at the mad crowd as they hit each other and pointed fingers making fun of each other, laughing like crazy.. The only person who was confused was Riddhima.. She did not know the story at all.. All she knew was that Armaan was there.. Her dad was smiling.. And all her friends were making fun of Armaan..
Armaan however still couldn't stop cursing his friends for pulling such a mean trick on him.. "You guys are so gonna pay for this.. Cheap.. Really.. Get a life.."
"It was my idea Dr. Mallik.. You have any problem with that..", Dr. Shashank's stern voice shut all of them up..
Armaan who was in the middle of fisting Abhi looked up at him and straightened.. "What.. No.. No.. Brilliant plan sir.. You got me..", he stuttered, looking down.. Rahul and Atul couldn't help but snort at Armaan's reply..
Dr. Shashank however, smiled at him.. "Yes I did.. Just in time before you could escape.. You're a doctor.. Aise kaam nahi karne chahiye.. I know you have stolen the hearts of the entire female staff of Sanjeevni.. And uh.. a few male too.." he scratched his head at that.. Armaan just stared at him blankly.. Was this Shanky! "But I could not tolerate it when you took my daughter's heart.. " Shashank concluded softly, looking at Armaan..
"Sir.. I ..", Armaan didn't have the words to reply.. He couldn't believe his ears.. And for a second time tonight he felt like he was having an out of body experience..
Shashank couldn't suppress his smile as he held Armaan by his shoulders.. "Dr. Mallik.. You were right.. Meri beti ko apne jaal mein fasakar aapne bohot badi galti ki.. Kyunki ab aapko meri ziddi beti ke saath mujhe bhi jhelna padega.. Welcome to the family son.." Armaan couldn't take this anymore.. He couldn't believe any of it.. It felt like he was stuck in a mad dream.. As his words started making sense his eyes automatically gave way to tears.. But he didn't know what to say..
"You're better than the best I could have found for Riddhima.. " Armaan smiled through his tears as he heard that.. It was like he had achieved the biggest achievement there was to achieve in life.. He felt so relieved.. That feeling that could not be described in words overwhelmed him as his tears gushed out now.. He didn't know what good he'd done to deserve this.. But he knew he was more than just happy.. He was delighted, ecstatic, over the moon on top of the world.. And he didn't even realize when Dr. Shashank took him in an embrace.. He hugged him tight and let out his tears as everyone watched a father and his son finally reconcile.. Riddhima saw that sight, Armaan and her papa hugging each other, and her tears just flowed out.. But she was too shocked to say or do anything.. Even realize that she was crying for that matter.. Her mind was a blank slate right now, all she could see was the sight in front of her, and a mad rush of emotions making their way out of her eyes..
Dr. Shashank too, shed a few tears on Armaan's shoulder as he finally felt at peace with himself.. He had gone up to Riddhima's room in the afternoon and had overheard most of their conversation.. He had been touched by Armaan's sensitivity and his daughters' pain.. He went to his room and gone back into analysis mode as he went over the entire drama again.. And the only thing he concluded was that his daughter was madly in love with Armaan and nothing could be done about it.. And the only thing that needed to be done was for him to look through his ego.. And when he finally did, he could see no flaw in Dr. Armaan.. He didn't want to admit it.. But that guy had forced him to.. So he had gone and confessed to Padma.. Poured his heart out.. And she had supported him.. She did not snub him this time.. That's how he knew what he was doing was right.. When Anajali came home to help with the party preparations, Padma had told her about this.. So she had called all her friends over and they had hatched this plan.. He was excited to give Dr. Mallik a dose of his own medicine.. Padma had been reluctant, but all were more than eager to prank the ultimate prankster.. And it was indeed satisfying.. But now he had to do what he had actually come to do.. Mustering some courage, he wiped his tired eyes coming out of the embrace.. "I just hope aap dono mujhe maaf kar dein.." and he joined his hands in plea in front of Armaan..
Armaan obviously held his hands as he shook his head, controlling his tears now.. "Sir.. Aap. Please don't.. It wasn't your fault at all.."
Dr. Shashank smiled at him.. He was such a typical Son-in-law.. "No Armaan.. It was my fault.. I should have trusted Riddhima.", he said seriously..
But Armaan was adamant.. "No sir.. We should have told you before.. It was my fault.." he asserted..
But sasurji used his old trick as he raised his voice.. "Dr. Mallik maine kaha galti meri thi toh meri galti thi!!!.. And I am sorry for that.." he almost shouted his apology..
"Yes sir!", Armaan immediately agreed and looked down as he glared him down.. Everyone in the room burst into fits of laughter at that.. Even Riddhima let out a laugh through her tears.. Armaan glared at them to shut up.. And in the process his eyes fell on her.. And he smiled a satisfied smile to see her laugh.. It almost brought tears to his eyes.. He still couldn't believe it.. He had won over her.. Fair and square.. And he could see her confused happy look in her eyes that telling him how much she loves him.. That's when it sunk in.. Dr. Shashank was happy with him.. She loved him.. And she was going to be his forever.. As that realization took over him his feet moved off their own accord.. And before he could stop himself he walked up to her in a rush and engulfed her in his arms, hugging her tight.. Hiding her in himself.. Everyone was a little stunned by his sudden actions, but smiled as she closed her eyes and hugged him back.. "He said I am the best Riddhima.. Did you hear that.. He said..", he was laughing and crying at the same time as he took her face to tell this to her.. Then pulled her back into him, almost knocking the wind out of her.. She didn't have anything to say or do.. She just hugged him back letting him hide her in himself.. And they got lost in that moment, finally finding what they were looking for all along.. "I love you..", he kept repeating as he hid her face in the crook of her neck, nuzzling her neck.. As they were lost in their own world, Rahul decided to censor the show for Dr. Shashank before he changes his mind again.. "Ahem ahem..", he fake coughed as Anjali and Atul snorted at Dr. Shashank's uncomfortable expressions.. He was the girl's father after all.. Rahul's cough brought Riddhima back to the real world as she realized that all their friends and her Papa, were staring at them.. "Armaan.. Papa dekh rahe hai..", she hissed as she tried to pull out.. But Armaan was not back from his world yet.. He had longed for this way to long to give it up so soon.. He just snuggled closer and continued to pull her into him.. "Armaan!..", she stamped on his foot.. "Oww!.." and that brought him back.. He first glared at Riddhima, then looked around at the people staring and looked down sheepishly..
Dr. Shashank brought him out of his daze.. He knew that it was time to get them together.. They were no longer interested in his stupid prank anymore.. "So.. I'll see you in Sanjeevni on monday.." he said as he walked to the door..
"Sir?.." Armaan asked him, surprised as he turned to him..
"What?.. You're flight's taken off already.. And I cant see my princess in tears anymore.. You're right.. She cant be happy without you.. And I cant be happy without her smile.. And she loves you more.." he said with a genuine smile.. He looked at Riddhima hopefully, but she just looked down and didn't say a word..
"No she doesn't..", Armaan defied him again..
"Yes she does..", Shashank retorted.. Her silence said it all..
"No she.." Armaan had started, but Dr. Shashank glared one of his deadliest glares at him again "Yes she does.." Armaan had no choice but to comply.. He smiled and looked down at that letting everyone enjoy his case being taken by his sasurji..
"Don't you Riddhima?.. ", Shashank asked her.. She shook her head in a no as it all finally started to sink in.. Her papa was happy with her and Armaan.. And she couldn't ask for more.. She wanted to tell him that she was sorry for all she did, but the words weren't ready to leave her lips.. "She'll always love you more sir..", Armaan answered for her as he entwined his fingers with her, holding her hand tight.. Riddhima just stood there and looked at the man standing next to her, convincing her father of something even he knew wasn't true.. He was her everything.. And she knew she would always love him more.. More than anyone else in this world..
"Guys hurry up now.. Stop this emotional drama.. Papa jaldi chaliye warna mamma gussa ho jayegi.. We have to get back to the party remember..", Anjali spoke out..
"Yeah we should head back..", Atul said as he moved forward, "Chal Armaan.. Tujhe bhi party mein chalna hai.."
"Haan.. Chalo.. Muskaan must be waiting..", Rahul almost pulled him.. And Riddhima got pulled with him.. Abhi chuckled at Armaan and Riddhima's disappointed expressions.. Obviously they wanted to spend time together.. But they'd have to wait.. This diwali party was way too important at the moment..
Before they left the airport, Dr. Shashank thanked the manager who happened to be one of his influential friend and hence had complied with their request to fool his to-be-son-in-law.. He turned out to be a jolly fellow who hugged Armaan and wished him luck with his sasurji-to-be.. He had started telling him horrifying stories of the torture that was going to follow this move but Shashank cut him out with his glare, making everyone laugh, except Armaan who couldnt help but gulp in fear..
"Armaan!.. Wahan kyun jaa raha hai.. Humaare saath chal na.. ", Atul called him as they saw Shashank drive off in his car..
"Actually I'll come with Basket.. ", he told them.. But before he could get in the car, Anjie got in the drivers' seat and called out, "Ridzi get in.. Jaldi jaana hai.."
Riddhima just looked disappointed at Armaan who was pouting.. This is so unfair.. But she had no choice as she got in the car with her sister leaving him to sulk to himself behind..
Having no choice he got into the car with the boys and they told him of their grand plan and how it almost got ruined when Riddhima came to the airport.. They had feared that Armaan would change his mind about going.. But thankfully he hadn't.. And that brought them to the whole prank.. They teased him to no end about his reactions.. He had to appreciated Abhi's cousin though.. Brilliant acting.. They were themselves going to dress up and try fooling him.. but Armaan knew them too well.. he would have caught them in a second.. plus they wouldnt have been able to hold their grins.. so they had to use Ranbir who had willingly participated in this prank and done a brilliant job at that.. Rahul even went on record to say that he deserved an Oscar to have fooled the Armaan Mallik!.. When they reached the Gupta residence Armaan was surprised to see the well lit place, decorated so beautifully.. It was a complete contrast to what he had left in the afternoon.. It kind of reflected the grand change that had occurred so suddenly in his life.. When he got in, he saw Riddhima already there, being pulled by a dressed up Nikki to her room.. Padma aunty came forward and hugged him, not to mention cried as he engulfed her in a warm embrace.. Naani gave him her blessings and wished him luck with Dr. Shashank as his sasurji.. He gulped as he heard that.. Why was everyone warning him so much.. But then this was Dr. Shashank he was talking about..
"Diwali party hai.. Kucch traditional pehen le..", Atul told him as he pulled him in..
"Mere paas nahi hai yaar kucch bhi traditional.. Mujhe nahi pehen na..", he said exasperated.. He had seen Riddhima come down the stairs.. She had changed into a chudidaar fit for the occasion.. She was looking so beautiful.. And just when he was about to talk to her , Atul decided to pull him away.. Why couldn't they just leave him alone..
"Lekin mere paas hai.. Yeh le.. Jaldi change kar le.." and he handed him a kurta.. Before Armaan could tell him that his clothes are lose for him, he had walked out of the room.. He sighed and changed into the kurta that was surprisingly just right for him..
As Armaan walked out of the room he looked around to look for Riddhima.. He found her talking to her papa and mamma and a few guests.. Tired of this wait he went up to them.. At least he would be able to see her better if nothing else..
"Ah.. Armaan.. Hum aapka hi intezaar kar rahe the..", Dr. Shashank smiled as he patted his shoulder.. Armaan just smiled back and quickly stole a glance at Riddhima.. She blushed as he looked at her wondering when they'll get time together.. They were brought out of their eye lock by Dr. Shashank's voice who called for an announcement.. Rahul, Muskaan, Abhi, Nikki, Atul and Anjali all gathered around Armaan and Riddhima excitedly as they heard him.. All the guests turned their attention to Dr. Shashank as he spoke, "Firstly.. Happy Diwali.. To everyone.. And.. I would also like to take this opportunity to declare my daughter Riddhima and Armaan here, as officially engaged.. Padma.. Rings kahan hai..", Armaan and Riddhima just stared, unable to believe their eyes as they saw Padma aunty put forward a thaali with a diya and two rings on them.. This had to be a freakin dream.. It didnt feel like their life at all.. All their friends and family clapped and hooted as they were nudged forward for the official ring ceremony.. This was much more than they had bargained for.. As they looked at each other, wide-eyed in shock, only one expression was visible on both their faces.. W*F!!
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