Finally I am back with a chapter................so,so sorry for the delay.I havent been well the past few days. also There were too many things happening all at once and I wasnt getting time...and what little time I did get I found myself completely unable to write.......it's like I had totally forgotten how to write......I had totally forgotten what I had planned to write for this chapter..totally blockage.
A big, big thank you to Nish who helped me so much with her encouragement.........she actually reminded me what I had forgotten......thank you!
But am still not happy with this chapter. I dont think I have done justice here........Sorry it is so short....next one will be a long chapter - promise.
Riddhima stared at the tiny bubbles in her wine glass, her mood as dark as the wine.
Her fingers tightened around the stem of the glass as her mind tortured her over and over again with images of what she had just witnessed.How...how does she manage to lure every single person who is important to me?
First Armaan.....now Sid.But you dont love Sid....you love Armaan. So why does Sids's closeness to Shilpa bother you so much?
She wished she knew......
She wished she could understand why.....why it troubled her so much to see them together?
If he was moving on in his life, then she should be happy for him. And she would have been if only it had been anyone else other than Shilpa.
Riddhima sighed and closed her eyes.Sid holding Shilpa...
Sid and Shilpa dancing in perfect sync with each other....
Sid pulling Shilpa closer.........
The intensity in his gaze as he had looked into Shilpa's eyes.......
There had been a time when that intensity had sparked only for Riddhima..........when he only had eyes for her.
No matter where they had been or who had been around them , she had always found him watching her.
Her eyelids shot open and a vicious anger rose within her.No it just was not possible
, Riddhima told herself. He couldnt love anyone else as he had loved her.Deep down he still loves me...I know it.
No one could ever take her place......no one.
Suddenly she spotted her father talking to Shilpa.
He was smiling so happily at her as he shook her hand.
All these years, Riddhima had desperately waited for him to smile at her like that....to see that unconditional love for her shining in his eyes.
And finally she did see it today......but not for her...for Shilpa
Shilpa has no right...........no right to take away all that was important to her.
And she would never let that happen.
Riddhima narrowed her eyes at her "sister".Never
Sid stepped outside the crowded hall and inhaled some much needed fresh air.
It was too suffocating inside............random people kept coming up and praising him for the waltz and he couldnt concentrate on a word they were saying.
Too jarred by the intense emotions the dance had induced within him, he wanted to get away from the crowd for some peace and quiet.
He walked a little further towards the mini garden opposite him reveling in the scent of fresh flowers.
For a strange reason, he felt very irritated with himself.
It was just a dance........a simple dance.Not some life altering process
.......even though it certainly felt like that.
An old memory slowly seeped into his mind reminding of another time when he had felt like this.He was at his farmhouse and workers were running around him busy in the wedding preparations.
He was waiting for Riddhima and her family.
His friends stood around him teasing him about he had managed to tame the Hitler known as Riddhima Gupta into marrying him.
If only they knew the truth, he thought.
This had to be the most weird wedding ever......neither the groom nor the bride wanted this marriage.
He was only doing it to save Riddhima's reputation...........his actions were making him question himself.
Why was he taking the burden of her troubles on his shoulders when really she was still a stranger to him?
Why did her pain affect him so much?
And then in the midst of so many people, he felt......actually felt Riddhima's presence around him
He turned towards the door even before she entered.
It was the most strangest yet pleasant feeling....this urge to simply see her.
She finally appeared at the door looking around at the decorations being done.
Her eyes found him, a sad look in them as she stared at him.
As she walked towards him,his heart thumped loudly and he felt his whole world was changing, as if he was changing.............he felt as if he had finally found his destination.
But he had realized later that she had never been his destination....she was never meant to last long in his life.......
He zapped back to the present.
He had undergone that exact same feeling today.
When Shilpa had descended the stairs towards him, he had been overwhelmed by that indescribable euphoria again.
Afraid of what that could possibly mean, he shook his head at himself, pinching the bridge of his nose.........there was no need to treat all these things differently.
It wasnt unusual for friends....good friends
......to enjoy a dance together.
It wasnt unheard of.
And it had been ages since he had danced with a woman.....yes that was it.
That probably explained why he had experienced an odd tightening in his chest the whole time he was holding Shilpa in his arms.
Satisfied with his explanation, he walked further into the garden looking for a quiet place to sit.
Couples and some loners too were scattered here and there.
Turning a corner, his feet automatically stopped as he spotted a beautiful vision ahead.
She sat on a fountain ledge, a wrap around her shoulders, her dress accentuated by the fountain lights, her fingers skimming over the surface of the water.
She seemed unaware of the world around her, her gaze moving over the tiny ripples her fingers were creating.
There was that bizarre flaring in his chest again as he observed the serenity etched across her face.
He stopped himself.
He was not going to go down that road again.
He debated whether to go to her or walk away.
No wanting to disturb her peace, he was about to walk away when she turned towards him as if she had sensed him.
Unknown to him, she had sensed his presence long back.
Knowing he wouldnt be able to walk away, he quietly went and sat next to her.
But he kept his eyes diverted..........just in case they decided to go all moony on him again.
Too much had happened since Shilpa had returned from her vacation............ too many things were still unsaid between regarding the aftermath of the almost fatal accident........and as they sat here now next to each other, all that unresolved tension seemed to loom forlornly between them.
Finally Sid decided to speak up.
"You should have won", he said, his voice low.
She smiled and looked back at the fountain.
"No.....Giselle deserved to win. I wasnt really bothered about winning anyway....I had only participated for Naina's sake."
He nodded quietly and for some time there was complete silence except for the soft gushing of water.
After what seemed like a long time, she said, "Thank you Sid."
He finally turned and found her looking at him tenderly."For what?"
"For saving me........."
She didnt have to explain what exactly she was thanking him for.........he knew she meant saving her life that day and saving her pride today.
It amazed him how words were never needed between them to understand each other..........and it had always been like that even they hadnt been such close friends.
The smile on her face slowly faded away as he caught a glimpse of sadness seeping into her brown eyes.
"Sid....I.....", he saw that she was struggling with whatever she was going to say next, "That day........she
was there too.......I mean Riddhima......", she looked down and shook her head.
He stiffened hearing that name but remained silent wondering what was troubling Shilpa.
"But you came to me....maybe...maybe you should have............".
She stopped unable to complete the sentence but Sid understood the unspoken words hanging in the air.Maybe you should have saved her instead of me..................
And just in that moment, he realized what his silence since the last two days had resulted in.
Deep regret filled him.........she thought he was feeling guilty that he hadnt saved Riddhima.What had he done?
Of its own accord, his hand reached for hers."Maybe I should have saved her? Is that what you are trying to say?"
She nodded still not looking at him.
"You're right....maybe I should
I have", her heart sank as she heard the words she had been dreading," But I could
not............I saved the person I wanted
to save and I dont have any regrets over it."
The heaviness in his chest, that he had been carrying all these days, seemed to slowly drift away.
She looked up at him, her face perplexed, her ears not believing what they had just heard.
He wondered why.........didnt she know how important she was to him?
Maybe she didnt.........but he knew that he would never be able to express that to her.
Her lips curved into a soft smile and she squeezed his hands, letting him know just how much his words meant to her.
And all the tension, that had been straining their friendship, seemed to disappear slowly.
Sid felt too relieved.........he could actually feel that old comfort return between them .................and that meant all the uncanny emotions he had been feeling for her would probably go away too.
Normalcy had finally returned.
All of a sudden, mischief sparked within him and he felt the old prankster in him,which he had presumed long gone, return after a very long time.
This was too good an opportunity to pass.
For a few minutes, he made a show of trailing his fingers in the water and when he was sure she wasnt paying attention to him, he splashed water on her.
Since that was the last thing she had been expecting, it took her a few seconds to actually realize what had happened.
Her eyes wide, her mouth open in shock, she looked down at herself and then raised her head towards him.
"Wha....what did you......Sid!!"
And before he knew it, the upper part of his white shirt had turned wet.
He stared back at her in disbelief........he hadnt even seen her raise her hand.
And with that they continued splashing each other till it turned into a complete chase around the fountain.
The sounds of their carefree laughter filled the air.
"Stop it Sid!.......Naina is going to kill me if this dress gets ruined", Shilpa squealed running around the fountain trying to escape him.
"Nope I am not yet done with you Malhotra!"
They lost track of the time as they, especially Sid, let go of the tight leash they always held on their emotions.
heart was constricting by the second.
She felt a painful tightening in her chest as she watched them run around like kids so freely and without a care in the world.Why didnt she have that?
........why didnt she have that peaceful carefree nature in her relationship with Armaan?
She finally asked herself that one question that she had always avoided........that one question which was always present in her father's eyes?Why had ever let Sid go from her life?
She noticed how Sid's eyes were actually shining ............the last time she had looked into those eyes, she had only seen an endless darkness.
Was it Shilpa who brought that twinkle back into his eyes?No
!..............she remembered the resolve she had made earlier.
Sid only loved her.........it lay somewhere deep within him she knew.
Unknown to her, a few feet away a hurt pair of eyes were looking at her.......watching her watch them.
He felt a bad sense of foreboding seeing that look in Riddhima's eyes.......that same insecure look he used to see in her whenever he was with Shilpa.
But now that insecurity wasnt for him......it was for another man.
The common link between both the situations being Shilpa.
He suddenly felt as if his worst fears had been confirmed.........something he had dreaded and doubted all these years.
Armaan understood now that Riddhima didnt love him anymore....................and the reason for that was her ex-husband.
Edited by sidsk - 23 March 2011 at 12:34am