Thanks for the birthday wishes everyone.
Malose : Thank you! I am glad you liked it.
Guys I mentioned before that a major confrontation is coming up between SidShi...well I have sort of postponed it...actually I have divided it into parts...one is coming up the next chapter and the other one later...
As always, please excuse any mistakes I made.
The Way We Were
After exchanging a brief greeting with Shashank and talking for a few minutes with Naina and Yuvi, Sid proceeded to find himself a quiet area to settle down for the evening.
He was in no mood to converse with anyone...all he wanted to do was find a cosy spot where he could sit alone in peace all evening.
But even loneliness eluded him as he found himself in the company of the same portly man he had conversed with at the annual gathering two weeks back.
He felt grateful...at least he was engaged in a serious conversation about multiple sclerosis. Otherwise Sid's mind would have continuously wondered why Armaan was throwing him cold, murderous looks ...or he would have mused about the wounded looks Riddhima was giving him or the hard, cold fact that except for an accidental exchange of glances, Shilpa had not once looked his way.
But what he was actually trying to do was keep himself far away from her...so that he wouldnt notice how utterly ethereal she looked in her simple white cocktail dress that stopped just beneath her knees.
A black sash around her waist accentuated her figure perfectly.
And this way he could also ignore how the man, that she was speaking to, was trying his level best to flirt with her...Sid could ignore how that man was standing a little too close to her for comfort.
Sid could also suppress the strong urge within him to go punch that man.
Yes...the portly man, Mr. Mackenzie, was his best option right now.
An hour passed and Sid found himself enjoying the elder man's company.
When suddenly, it happened.
He was listening to Mr Mackenzie recount his medical experiences, when all of a sudden Sid's composure was thrown in a complete disarray and his limbs froze.
Even though he was still looking at Mr. Mackenzie, his attention was completely arrested by the new presence standing at their table.
He didnt have to raise his head...he knew who it was.
He watched as Mr. Mackenzie suddenly noticed her standing at their table and greeted her with a cheery smile.
He then did exactly what Sid did not want him to do...he asked her to join him.
And she did.
He didnt know what exactly shocked him...the fact that she had approached him even after his cold words to her in the cafeteria...or that she had approached him in full view of everyone.
had approached him...Siddhant Modi
in front of so many people who knew them well.
Slowly,he dug one nail of his into his skin to check whether this was all an absurd dream.
Nope...the slight redness on his skin proved that it definitely wasnt.
He still hadnt acknowledged her and Mr Mackenzie was looking at him inquisitively...of course he would. He didnt know anything about their history.
And so, to avoid any further discomfort, he looked at her and mumbled a small "Hello".
Wide eyes, mouth slightly open, Naina patted her husband's arm.
"What was in my drink Yuvi? I am beginning to have some scary hallucinations."
"No Naina...an orange breezer doesnt cause hallucinations", Yuvi muttered in his signature drawl tone.
"Well then how do you explain what I am seeing right now??"
When there was no answer, she turned to look at her husband whose forehead was wrinkled in a deep frown.
And then immediately, his eyes widened as a look of recognition sparked in his eyes.
"Now I get it!", Yuvi exclaimed.
"The reason why Sid and Shilpa are so distant with each other."
Naina looked towards Sid. "Riddhima?"
"But Yuvi this is happening just now...why would...", she was cut off by Yuvi.
"A few days back I spotted Sid with a woman in a supermarket but I couldnt recognize her as her back was facing me but even then she seemed familiar. I spotted them again in a cafeteria and they looked involved in a serious conversation but again I had not been able to see her face. But I realise now who it was...Riddhima."
Yuvi paused for a few seconds. "And Sid didnt mention a word about this ...no wonder he was so edgy."
"Oh! ", Naina exclaimed."That means Sid didnt tell Shilpa...ohhh!"
Yuvi nodded. "Exactly."
Shashank was in the middle of heading towards an old friend of his that he had spotted, when he almost tripped on his feet...almost.
Was that...was that his daughter sitting with Siddhant?
Shilpa loosened the grip on her wine glass lest it would break and resolutely kept her gaze diverted away from them
She smiled absent mindedly at Kapil, the man she had been conversing with, and tried to keep her head clear.
This wasnt her home where she could let her emotions take over her...she had to be calm.
She looked everywhere...except in that direction.
In that effort, her eyes spotted a lone figure standing at the bar...Armaan
In a span of two minutes he downed two drinks, his eyes fixed on them
As if he had sensed her gaze on him, he suddenly turned and met her eyes.
Unknowingly, not to mention very strangely, a look of understanding passed between them.
She looked away from him, trying to fight the utter despair that was claiming her insides.
But like the proverbial train wreck, she couldnt help but look back at them
...and what she saw transpiring there almost killed her soul.
His eyes fixedly staring at the empty, pristine white china plate in front of him, he was only half listening to the conversation between Riddhima and Mr Mackenzie.
If only he could exchange places with that plate...or the spoon, or the knife...anything or anyone.
At least he wouldnt be in this crazy situation right now.
He knew that Armaan was shooting daggers from his eyes at him.
He could easily guess the conversation occurring between Naina and Yuvi right now.
He could totally imagine the look of pure shock on Shashank's face.
He knew Shilpa was looking around the whole room...anywhere but them...he knew everything and yet he did not dare to raise his head.
The best thing now would be to excuse himself...and run away.
No, not run...Modis never ran away from anything...they cleverly escaped in a dignified manner.
And just as he was about to escape with dignity, the lights of the hall dimmed and he heard soft strains of music fill the hall as a few couples moved towards the dance floor.
He stood up and Mr Mackenzie turned his attention towards him.
"Where are you going Sid?"
"I... I have to go Mr Mackenzie..."
"Nonsense Sid! The music is just starting."
"In my times, we wouldnt miss any chance to sneak a dance with such a lovely girl like Riddhima here."Uh-oh.
Mr Mackenzie sighed. "I miss those golden days. Sid I would advise you to enjoy your life a little...you are always about work. Now lighten up and ask this lovely young lady for a dance."
Sid stared for a few seconds unblinkingly at Mr Mackenzie not believing what he had just suggested.
"No Mr Mackenzie...you see...I am not really good at all this...I really..."
"Nonsense!", the older man stood up . "I am sure you can manage quite well."
Sid glanced towards Riddhima who was looking at him expectantly. She didnt look uncomfortable like he felt.
He realised that she probably wanted this all along.But why?
Ad what happened next completely threw him off his balance.
Taking a hold of Riddhima's arm, Mr Mackenzie held Sid's arm with his other hand.
Holding both of them, he led them forcibly towards the dance floor.
He smiled at both of them. "Please enjoy yourselves...you both make such a fine pair!"
Sid watched him walk away unable to believe that this was actually happening.
He turned back to Riddhima who was looking shyly at him with a small smile on her face.
He could walk away...he could easily do that.
He didnt have to do this...and he was surprised to find that he truly didnt want to.
Years back, he would have jumped at the chance to dance with Riddhima...to have her in his arms and sway with her endlessly on such songs.
But for some reason...he didnt feel like that anymore.
All he felt was this irresistible urge to simply run away.
But he also knew that if he did that Riddhima would be horribly embarrassed...because he could see that many people's eyes were now on them.
No, he wouldnt do that.
Not because it was Riddhima...but because he wouldnt do that to any woman.
And so, with his heart pounding in his chest, he held out a stiff hand to her.
She put her hand in his and stepped closer to him.
Armaan banged his glass of whiskey on the table making the bartender look at him with a frown.How...how could she do this?
She had left him...for Sid
He had known that already but to see it so brutally confirmed before his eyes, made him want to kill something.
There were so many people here...so many friends...her parents. And yet she had made this bold move in front of everyone...as if she was making a statement.
He could feel a few curious glances from people around him. He could almost hear what they were thinking.Wasnt she with Armaan?Have they broken up now?Is she back with her ex-husband?
She knew he was here...she had seen him...didnt she care at all about his feelings?
About how hurt he would feel seeing them together?
Didnt the last eight years mean anything to her?
In all that blinding pain, he noticed the look on his Sid's face.
Armaan had assumed he would be ecstatic...he was finally getting what he wanted.His
But Sid's face looked like it was carved out of stone...his eyes looked blank and he could see that he holding Riddhima rather stiffly.
Why? Wasnt he happy that fate was on his side now?
Sid didnt look anything close to that.
Suddenly he heard Shilpa's words ringing in his ear.Welcome to Sid's world.
Armaan's eyes widened as a horrible realisation hit him.
The room spun suddenly and he felt like a thousand bricks had rammed into him.This is how Sid had felt
...this is what he had gone through when Riddhima had left him...
Armaan wanted to shut his mind but his thoughts were unstoppable now.
"Oh my God! Yuvi!", Naina whispered with her eyes closed."Please tell me this isnt happening."
"I wish I could say that", Yuvi said disappointedly.
Shashank felt absolutely bewildered at what he was seeing. His eyes moved from Sid and Riddhima to Armaan.Were they not together anymore?
He never spoke to Riddhima regarding anything else except work so he wouldnt know.
But he did somehow know that this wasnt right.
Yes, there had been a time when he had thought that Sid was the best man for his daughter.
He still held that opinion strongly but he also knew that Riddhima wasnt the best girl for Siddhant.
Regardless of how much Sid loved her, Shashank knew she wasnt capable of keeping him happy.
Sid deserved happiness more than anyone else...he deserved someone who could love him unconditionally even if he didnt love them back, someone who would keep no expectations from him and yet give him everything...and according to Shashank, there was only one girl who could do that.
He turned and looked at the dark haired girl standing alone a few feet away from him.
Sid tried to sort out the various emotions churning within him...but he couldnt.
It all felt too surreal...ike he was standing outside his body and watching a long lost dream.
Riddhima was here...in his arms...after what seemed like a whole lifetime...this was the moment he had been yearning for all these years.
When she had taken his hand and stepped closer to him, her familiar honey scent had washed over him, triggering a thousand old memories that had been locked up deep inside him.
Even today, she fit perfectly in his arms as if she had been made just for him.
Her eyes held the same demure look that had always appeared whenever he used to be too close to her.
It felt as if he had been sucked back into the past.
But that feeling lasted only for a few seconds.
Despite everything, a distinct feeling claimed him...telling him that something wasnt right.
He couldnt feel that magic
.He didnt experience that heady rush of passion that had always arisen within him by simply being near her.
All he had felt was a deep ache somewhere in the middle of his chest...a sense of loss...like he had lost something precious and he knew with a certainity that he wouldnt find it.
Breaking out of his reverie, he found that their faces had somehow come close to each other ...too close.
He moved back a little but didnt let go of her.
"How are you Sid?"
"I have been better ", he mumbled.
"Do you remember that day Sid?...The first time we had danced each other..."
He remembered it...he remembered it all too well...
Bathed in dim lights, it might have seemed to the people around them that they were involved in an intimate conversation considering the intense looks on their faces but that was not the case.
"Sid I ...I need to tell you something..."
"We dont have anything left to say to each other Riddhima..."
"No Sid", she tightened her hand on his, "You have to listen to me...you might not have anything to say to me but I do... "
He remained silent to let her speak.
"What you told me the other day...each and every word of yours was true...nothing I do will erase that pain within you ...but you have to let me try...please."
"Why Riddhima? Why is this so important for you now when so much time has passed?"
Riddhima simply looked at him unwaveringly.
"It just is."
"And what about Armaan?", he asked.
"Armaan and I arent together anymore."
Whatever he had been expecting her to say, it was definitely not that.
He was shocked but surprisingly he didnt feel happy...he didnt feel any sort of vengeful satisfaction that he would have expected from himself on hearing such news.
He let go of her and looked at her with his eyes narrowed.
All of a sudden he understood now why she wanted to come back into his life.Did she have feelings for h...no!
It wasnt possbible...not after so many years.
It was too late.
He raised his head and glanced around the room.
Yuvi, Naina and Shashank were looking at him with identical looks of curiosity.But where was Shilpa?
Suddenly he saw a flash of white near the door of the hall and spotted her long hair swaying behind her as she quickly walked out of the hall.
But just before she left, she paused and turned to look at him.
What was probably just a few seconds seemed like hours as he stared into her eyes.
And then suddenly, she was gone.
Without caring about anything or anyone, he ran behind her.
Hurrying through the dark hallways, he searched for her desperately but she was nowhere to be seen. Where had she disappeared?
As he walked further , he tried to rationalize about why he had come behind her when he had been doing a good job keeping himself away from her.Why are you messing it all up?
He knew it because of what he had seen in her eyes when she had turned back and looked at him.
The hurt there had almost blinded him.
Finally, he saw a lone silhouette from the corner of his eyes and quickly turned to see her standing a few feet away from him.
Dim golden lights illuminated the area where she was standing holding on tightly to a wooden banister, her breath heavy , her eyes looking down absent mindedly at the long flight of stairs.
He approached her slowly but she seemed unaware of his presence.
It was only when he reached her and took her name softly, that she started and swivelled around.
A hint of redness in her eyes, the corners of which were damp with unshed tears and tell tale marks of smudged mascara beneath them.And yet still so beautiful
, he thought.
He vaguely realized that all the time Riddhima had danced, he had not once did he feel bewitched by her beauty like he always did.
And now standing here with Shilpa, he had a strange urge to simply keep looking at her for a long time.
She turned away from him and tried to dab her eyes to get rid of the tears...
Those unshed tears meant something...something important.
But he would dwell on that later...for now he just wanted to absorb the peace running in his body from finally being so close to her after so long.
Once satisfied that her eyes were dry, she turned back to him and tried to put on a neutral face. He noticed that she was still avoiding looking at him directly.
"Yes Sid...do you want something?"
That hurt...he wouldnt deny it.
The aloofness in her tone, the way she didnt bother with any pleasantries and got straight to the point...but he knew all that was his fault.
"How are you?", he asked.
And only then did she raise her head and look into his eyes.
A sardonic smile came onto her face. "Why thanks for asking...I have never been better."
He jammed his hands into the pockets of his black trousers. "Look Shilpa I know I have been distant..."
"I am not asking for any explanations ..."
He shook his head. "I am sorry Shilpa..."
"Again Sid...did I ask you for any explanations or apologies?"
Her eyes shined with indignation and he realised that never before had she been so angry with him...in fact he couldnt even remember her ever being angry with him.
And now looking at the torment in her eyes, he felt like kicking himself.
He deserved every bit of her anger.
"Will you please listen to me Shilpa?"
She sighed and looked away. "No Sid I dont want to hear anything right now."
His heart sank.
"I am really sorry but I dont want to talk about anything right now...I just...I just want to be alone."
The distress in her voice disturbed him. What had he done?
She side stepped him and started to walk away.
She had only taken a few steps when her feet stopped suddenly as her mind registered the cold fingers encircling her wrists, freezing her in her place.
Closing her eyes, she tried to calm herself, and prayed with all her might that he wouldnt turn her around...she didnt have the strength to face him right now.
There was just too much pain raging within her at this moment and she didnt trust herself to control her emotions.
There was a certain restlessness within her...a unusual rage that wanted to let itself out.
"Please?", she heard him whisper softly and her heart broke. They were very rare occasions when his voice took on a tone like that...and it meant he was deeply troubled.
But she couldnt do anything today...she couldn't ease away his troubles away like she always did.
"Sid", she whispered back, "Please...please just let me go."
Maybe it was softly spoken request...maybe it was because he had finally had enough of them running around in circles with each other...or maybe it was just her and what he had started feeling for he...he didnt know what it was but he felt something primitive spark within him.
He didnt want to let her go...he wanted to turn her around, hold her arms tight, pull her close and make her listen to him.
But he couldnt do that...he just couldnt.
She could feel his eyes boring into her back and she stubbornly fought the urge to shiver.
After what seemed like a long time but was just a few minutes, he slowly let go her hand...his fingers brushing hers.
She released the breath she had been holding the entire time and resolutely fixed her eyes ahead of her.
Without turning around, she started walking away from him again.
He watched her move away and looked away only when she had disappeared from his sight. His ears though could still make out the soft receding sounds of her shoes clicking in the empty hallway.
It was then that he asked himself.
Why did he feel this desperate need to explain himself to her?
He knew very well that if he told her that Riddima wanted to come back into his life, Shilpa would smile at him and give him a happy hug.
He knew anything that made him happt would make her happy.
But why was it that what he felt like doing was just the opposite?
He felt like going and clarifying to her that there was nothing going on between him and Riddhima...that the dance meant nothing to him...Since when did you start giving explanations to anyone about yourself and Riddhima?
This is Shilpa...
So she had to know that I had no intention of dancing with Riddhima. It just...
Why is it so important for Shilpa to know? There is nothing going on between you two.
No there isnt.
He gritted his teeth and told his conscience to shut up.
******************************Precap for the next chapter:
"No Sid", she tried to keep her voice steady, "it wouldnt bother me."
He then trailed his fingers gently up her arm, leaving a trail of goosebumps in their wake.
"Not even if I do this?, he asked in a dangerously soft voice.
Her hands fisted and she dug her nails deep into her skin so that she could focus on the pain and not be swept by him and what he was doing to her.
"No", she answered.
He caressed her cheeks, his eyes tracing the pattern his fingers were making.
"Not even this?", his voice was barely a whisper now.
--------------------------------------------------------The next chapter is almost done except for a little editing..so that should be up soon.
Edited by sidsk - 02 July 2011 at 3:14am