I am extremely sorry everyone...I wont be able to reply to all of you because of time constraints...really sorry. But I have read each and every comment more than twice and they all mean a lot. Thank you sooo much!
This chapter continues directly from the previous one...as it is the same night.
What is at their cores is what they seek.
There is passion at the core.
Passion and torment to the core.
Riddhima threw her glass of water against the wall and watched it as it smashed into little pieces, spreading all over the floor.
Hot tears sprang into her eyes.
He had left her...Sid had left her to go after her
She was so tired...none of her efforts were working...she had been putting so much effort in the last month to get him to at least talk properly to her.
But it was all in vain.
How had he changed so much?
This was the same man who had put his life down for her...who had done everything he could to keep her happy...the only man who had ever understood her...
Then why was it that that very man couldnt see how much she wanted to be with him?
Yes, she knew she had betrayed him...she also knew he had six years worth of pain and bitterness within him...
But still...she was Riddhima...he was Siddhant.
No matter what, his first priority had always been her.
Even in the past, no matter how upset or angry he had been with her, his concern and love for her had overridden everything.
But not anymore.
Today, she had worked up the nerve to confess her true feelings to him...and just when she had been about to do that, he had walked away.
She gritted her teeth and wiped her tears.
Riddhima hated her with an intensity that was surprising to her own self...Shilpa had always wanted what Riddhima had...she had always wanted to steal away the people Riddhima loved.
It had happened with Armaan...it was happening again now with Sid.
She closed her eyes and remembered the tightening in her gut when Sid had walked away from her today...she had wanted to stop him desperately then but there had been too many people watching them.
She was Shashank Gupta's daughter- the head of Sanjeevani- and it wouldnt have looked good on her part to run behind Sid like that...which is what she had found surprising...that Sid had run behind Shilpa without caring about who was watching him.
Did Shilpa effect him that much?
Did she matter to him so much?
It definitely hinted at the kind of deepness that existed in their relationship...no she wouldnt call it that...friendship was more accurate.
She sat down and fell back against her couch.
Why was fate doing this with her? What mistake had she committed that she was getting punished so much?
Why did fate snatch away happiness every time she came close to finding it?
Standing in his balcony, Armaan was oblivious to the chill that travelled up his arms.
He was oblivious to the unrelenting rain pouring down on him.
He was oblivious to the fact that he was shaking like a leaf.
He was oblivious to everything except the harsh realisations awakening within him.
The last six years of his life flashed before his eyes and for the first time, he felt like he was seeing himself from the outside.Karma had finally caught up to him.
Why was he feeling this way all of a sudden? Where had this sudden guilt and shame come from?
He tried to think about about all the moments he had spent with Riddhima in the last six years to cheer himself up.
He remembered that night when he had cornered her in a tent when she had been on her honeymoon...that was one of the most special memories he had of them together...because that night she had more or less submitted herself to him...confirming his belief that she loved only him...and not her husband.
But now that very same memory didnt bring any fondness.
Because today fate had brought him in the same place where Sid had stood all those years ago...
His mind wandered over to the days when he and Sid had been good friends...he had genuinely liked Sid back then...they had had the makings of a promising friendship until Armaan's jealousy had got in the way.
Even though Armaan had tried to get Sid and Riddhima to work on their marriage, the very sight of them together had been intolerable for him. And once he had realised that Riddhima still loved him, he had left no stone unturned to win her back.
But for what...to see this day?
How had it been so easy for Riddhima to just walk out of their eight year long relationship? How had it been so easy for her today to go into someone else's arms when she knew he was also there watching her...
Armaan folded his hands tight around himself and bent his head in an effort to shut off his brain.
It was simply in vain.
All he could think about was whether Sid had endured the same kind of torture?
All Armaan could see was Sid's pain stricken face when Riddhima had confessed to him about their intimacy that night.
At that time, he had only bothered about himself and Riddhima. Sid had just been an obstacle.
But now suddenly his life had switched places with Sid's...Welcome to Sid's world.
Shilpa's words kept echoing within his mind repeatedly for so long that he thought he would go insane.
He had played around with Shilpa's feelings only to make Riddhima jealous.
He had given Shilpa false hopes only to build castles out of them for Riddhima.
He remembered with surprising clarity the disappointment and desolateness on Shashank's face on the day Sid and Riddhima had gotten a divorce.
Had he really been so selfish?
Had he really been so blind in Riddhima's love that he hadnt bothered to notice how many people he was hurting?
He had he really been so obsessed with Riddhima that he hadnt been able to see the pain the Shilpa and Sid were going through?
He thrust his fingers in his hair and clutched them tightly in an effort to stop his thoughts...he couldnt take it anymore.
He suddenly felt breathless and took deep breaths to calm himself.
Until finally he realized that nothing would work.
This feeling was going to stay within him for a long, long time.
His hands fell limp beside him as the sky continued to rain her wrath upon him.
The raindrops falling on his skin felt like cold, piercing needles.
Tears of regret,shame and guilt finally slid from his eyes and mixed with the drops rolling down his face.
Armaan Malik's conscience had finally woken up.
-----------------------------------------------------------Sanjeevani locker room
All the doctors returned to Sanjeevani before leaving home for the night.
He hadnt seen his friends anywhere neither had he seen Shilpa anywhere after she had walked away from him.
She had most probably gone home.
Things couldnt continue this way between them...he had to talk to her.
They had six years worth of companionship between them...how could he ruin all that just because he felt something more for her...something that defied the boundaries of their friendship.
He stared absent-mindedly at the water flowing continuously from the tap.
He didnt even know how long he had been standing there in the restroom.
Hearing the sound of a door closing,he snapped out of his trance.
Splashing some cold water on his face, he turned off the tap.
"How come we never knew about this?"
Sid's ears perked up at Yuvi's shocked voice reached him form the outer locker room.
"I dont know", he heard Naina say, "I mean she never even gave us a hint that something like this was going on...which is why when she informed me, I was absolutely stunned."
Sid wondered who they were talking about so worriedly.
"You think Sid knows?", Yuvi asked.
"Of course not Yuvi! And I can totally understand why she didnt tell Sid."
Sid frowned and reached for a towel. His curiosity kept increasing by the minute.Who didnt tell him what??
"I mean", Naina continued, "can you imagine Sid's reaction if Shilpa would have told him that Vivek has a past which he is still love with?"
He was about to wipe his face when his hands froze midway.
"I dont even know how she is going to inform him that Vivek's past has returned now and that the engagement is off!"
The towel slipped to the ground from his still fingers.
Shock, confusion and anger rose so quickly inside him that he didnt realize when he left the room and walked out into the locker room startling both Naina and Yuvi.
Looking at his face, they knew he had heard everything.
He stepped closer to Naina.
"What did you just say?", Naina gulped at the temper simmering in his eyes.
"Now Sid ...dont misunderstand anything. I am sure she had her reasons for not telling us anything before...we need to respect that."
"Has she broken off her engagement?", he asked, ignoring her pleading tone.
"I am asking you a simple question Naina...Yes. Or .No?"
Each word was of his was uttered in a low, deadly voice.
Naina's eyes flicked to Yuvi who nodded calmly at her.
"Yes she did...a few days back...but listen to me Sid, please dont...", Naina was cut off mid-sentence as Sid stormed out of the locker room.
She looked back at Yuvi in dismay.
Normally he was a very cautious driver...but not today...not right now.
His car sped crazily through the empty, rain-drenched streets.
Given the kind of news he had just heard from Naina, he would have reacted in a concerned and worried manner.
So why was there so much fury raging within him?
He had an unusual urge to break something.
Reaching her place, he stepped out of the car and banged the door, not even bothering to lock it.
Marching up to her door, he pressed the doorbell.
A few minutes passed and there no answer.
He rang the bell again and waited impatiently.
She turned off the shower and strained her ears.
Did the doorbell just ring? Or was it just her ears ringing?
She shook her head...it must be her imagination.
Who would come to her place at this hour ?
Shaking her head again, she wrapped herself in a light purple bathrobe that was too huge for her.
Considering their non-communication, there was no way that he would come to her place so late at night.
Ignoring the little flare of sadness in her chest, she walked into her bedroom, towards the mirror.
Picking up a brush, she started combing her wet hair.
He stood there waiting for the door to be opened but it didnt.
Then suddenly he remembered something.
He dug through his pockets and removed a small leather case which contained all his important keys... one of them was her house key which she had given to him when she had first moved into it so that he could use it in case of emergencies.
Well, this did classify as an emergency.
Taking it out, he put the key into the keyhole and turned it around.
Done with her brushing, Shilpa turned off the lights and went back into the bathroom to change into some comfortable night clothes to retire for the night. Each muscle in her body was screaming with exhaustion...more than physical, it was mental exhaustion.
She didnt want to think about anything or anyone...all she wanted was a good night's sleep to ease the stress of her mind.
Stepping out of the bathroom, she headed towards her window and peered at the sky which was thick with dark clouds.She heard a distant rumbling from far away.There's definitely a storm coming
, she thought.
Pulling the curtains close, she sat down on her bed and picked up her cell phone from the side table, to she set the alarm for the next day.
Once done, she put her cell phone back and switched on the lamp...she didnt like sleeping in complete darkness.
She took a deep breath and was about to lie down when suddenly her phone started ringing and she saw Sid's name flashing on the tiny blue screen.
Utterly confused, she received the call.
Looking up towards the top of the stairs, he heard her voice on the other end.
"What are you doing right now?", his voice seemed devoid of any emotion.
She rolled her eyes. "I was just about to go sleep Sid...it is almost two", she replied in an tone that indicated he was silly to ask her such a question.
"I wanted to talk to you."
She sighed. "Sid havent we been over this already?"
He didnt answer.
Suddenly, she felt the hair on the back of her neck stand up.
Somebody was watching her.
She turned her head and the cell phone fell from her hands on the soft carpet, as she saw Sid standing in the doorway of her bedroom.
A loud clap of thunder resounded outside and the room was suddenly lit by a flash of lightning.
After the shock wore off, she wondered how he had gotten inside when she had double checked the door.The spare key
, she realised.
She then realised that she had not imagined the doorbell ringing...it had been him.
A million things ran though her mind in a span of a few seconds contemplating the reasons of what Sid was doing at her house so late at night.
Even though the only light in the room was the dim golden glow coming from the lamp beside her , Shilpa could still make out the anger on his face.
He slowly stepped into the room and with each step he took towards her, she could feel her heart beating faster.
He stopped in the middle of the room.Why was he here?
He had let her go when she had told him to leave her alone...so what had brought him to her house?
What had happened in between that had made him so angry...so angry that he had let himself into her house without informing her.
But then she remembered that this was Siddhant Modi...when anger took over his senses, nothing could be reasoned with him. And if he wanted something, he would get to it even if it meant breaking down doors.
She stood up slowly and walked over to where he was standing.
Now that she could him clearly, she noticed another storm brewing in his black eyes.
"Is everything okay Sid?". she asked softly. She wanted to ask him what he doing here but given his current state she figured that wasnt a good idea.
"You tell me Shilpa...is everything okay?"
His voice was surprisingly calm and clear betraying the fury rippling inside him.What has gotten into him
, she wondered.
"Is that what you have come to ask me at this late hour?"
"Well", he raised one brow, "You wont talk to me. What do you expect me to do when I have to find out things about you from other people...things about you that I should have known first."
She frowned. "Things about me? Like what?"
He reached for her left hand and held up her fingers.
Her breath almost stopped as she looked back at him.He knew...he knew about her and Vivek.
"How could you not inform me about something like that?"
She pulled her hand away from his. "You are always busy Sid...you are hardly at home...you are always holed up in that cabin of yours and whenever I try to talk to you, you always excuse yourself giving me some lame reason about how busy you are...how do you expect me to talk to you about anything?"
She was very close to losing her temper now...and Sid could see that.
He knew she was right but there was so much frustration surging within him that he couldnt think right. He couldnt even categorise the reasons he was so enraged.
Was it because he hadnt told him about her broken engagement...or because she hadnt told him about Vivek's past...or maybe, just maybe because deep down he knew the reason why she had let Vivek go.
He just didnt want to admit it...not yet.
"Vivek was in love with someone else...when did you come to know about that?"
She looked away from his scrutinizing gaze. "I have always known about it...Vivek never hid anything from me."
"You knew about it all this time and it didnt cross your mind even once to at least mention it to me?"
Another clap of thunder roared outside followed by a bright flash of lightning.
She had always dreaded this...the day Sid would find about Vivek's past. He had told her once that he was very content that she had found a person who didnt have a complicated past...that way no one could come in between them.
"I knew you wouldnt like it Sid...that's why I didnt tell you."
He simply stared at her, a deep frown marring his forehead.
"And when were you going to tell me that engagement if off?"
"Listen Sid...I dont have to tell you about each and everything. Its not like you share everything with me either!"
She glimpsed a look of hurt passing in his eyes but it was only for a second.
"This is about Riddhima isnt it? Fine I admit I havent exactly been honest with you either. When I approached you earlier today, I wanted to talk to you about that but you told me to go away."
"Then why are you here now Sid?", she asked heatedly. "To talk about Riddhima? Believe me, you are wasting your time because she is the last person I want to talk about."
He was thrown off track by the bitter tone her voice had taken. He had never heard her sound so...jealous
And right then he suddenly understood.
All the webs of doubts and suspicions, clouding his mind since the last few weeks, cleared completely and he found the answer standing in front of him in stark clarity.
He couldnt even play the game of denial now...he had played it long enough.
"Why did you let Vivek go so easily, Shilpa? He was a good man."
She heaved a tired breath. "Because he loves someone else Sid", she said in an obvious tone.
"So? You knew that a year back too but that didnt stop you from getting engaged with him...what's the difference now?"
She stared at him furiously, fed up of his incessant questioning.
"What's gotten into you Siddhant? There is no difference between then and now."
"Really", Sid asked with a sardonic smile and stepped closer to her, "No difference?"
She narrowed her eyes wondering why he was behaving so strangely.
"You didnt think even once about Maasi?", he stepped even closer.
Her heart was doing weird things at his proximity and she found herself unable to focus.
She took two steps backwards and fixed him with a glare.
"Why? You want to know why? ...Fine! I let him go because he deserved to find happiness...even if that is with someone else and not me. There is no point in trying to hold onto to a person who will never love you. You of all people know that Sid."
She realised she was being harsh but she didnt care right now.
"I know that very well Shilpa", he answered in a low voice, "but I am still not convinced. It is something else isnt it?"
Panic rose within her...he couldnt possibly know about...
Before she could think of an appropriate reply, he was near her again completely invading her personal space.
Her limbs froze as she heard his next words.
"Something you are hiding from me?"He knew
...she didnt how but he did.
The room was lit by another flash of lightning.
She wanted to move away from him but his dark eyes had hypnotized her in her spot.
She was seeing something new in them...something she had never, in her wildest dreams, expected to see...at least not for her.
Her breath hitched as she felt his fingers brush against hers.
She remembered that she was angry with him but right now , with him so close to her, that anger was fast melting like butter.
"I...", her voice wavered and she hated herself for it. How did he have the ability to make her so weak?
She kept her eyes fixed on the ground and tried to speak again. "I dont know what you are talking about Sid...I am not hiding anything from you."
Sid decided it was time to get to the point. His mind was warning him to stop right now before things got out of hand but he had already gone past the point of listening.
"Its me... isnt it? The reason you broke your engagement."
Eyes wide, she looked back at him. "What?! Sid have you completely lost it...it has nothing to do with you."
"Oh really? Nothing to do with me?"
"Really...", she shook her head exasperatedly, "What has gotten into you?"
"Nothing", he said, that hard glint in his eyes intensifying, "I am just asking you a simple question but you keep lying."
"Sid why do you think it has anything to do with you?"
"I dont know, you tell me."
"Are you implying that...that I...that I have feelings for you?!", she tried to put in as much disbelief in her voice as possible to make herself sound convincing.
"You dont?", he asked her back.
"What kind of ridiculous things is your mind coming up with? I cant believe you are coming up with such absurd assumptions."
He stared at her hard for a long time and she stared back at him unflinchingly.
It felt like he was searching for something within the depths of her eyes and she suddenly felt the need to look away...his gaze was so deep she thought he would bare her soul any minute now.
"So", he said after a long time, "if you dont have any feelings for me, then its quite obvious that my presence or proximity wont really affect you."
"Of course", she said slowly not sure what he was hinting at.
"So it wouldnt bother you if...", he said and before she could even blink, he was standing near her again, very few inches between them.
Speech eluded her for a few seconds as her mind tried to understand his actions...he had never behaved this way before.
"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 away by him and what he was doing to her.
"No", she answered.
He raised his hand and caressed her cheeks, his eyes tracing the pattern his fingers were making.
"Not even this?", his voice barely a whisper now.
By now she had completely lost the ability to breathe properly even as her heart raced wildly. She prayed he would stop tormenting her but his fingers continued to slide along her jaw to her collarbone, finally stopping at her rapidly beating pulse point.
His eyes mocked at her as his gentle touch danced over her pulse, which had betrayed her words.
She didnt how but she somehow she found the strength to move away from him.
"Stop it Sid!", she managed to say, her voice wavering.
She turned away from and him and took a few steps forward when he caught her hand in a tight grip from behind and stopped her.
She closed her eyes and shook her head.
"Sid, please", she whispered.
Something snapped inside him as he heard her soft request...something feral in nature...
A few quick steps and he was right behind her.
Right behind her...so close but still not touching her.
So close that his warm breath grazed her cheek.
His eyes narrowed, and he loosened his grip on her hand just enough so that the tips of her fingers could resolve to tingle slightly.
"Why Shilpa?", his voice deep with a hint of anger lacing it. "Didnt you just claim that it wouldnt bother you?"
She opened her damp eyes and looked stubbornly ahead.
"Yes...it still doesn't bother me."
Something tightened in his gut...an irrational flare on anger in his chest.
He purposefully relaxed his grip on her hand and she assumed he was finally letting her go.
Until he grabbed her waist and pulled her back towards him, not leaving any space between them.
His hands travelled up her arms, upto her shoulders and rested them there.
His fingers were cold against her skin and yet oddly all she felt was warmth.,
A distinct voice inside his head ordered him to let her go but he was too far gone to stop. It was if something was awakening inside him after a long slumber.
Instead he leaned in to smell her hair , his warm breath at her neck almost paralysing her.
His hands moved down her hands once more but instead of stopping at her wrists, he continued to lace her fingers with his.
He could feel the tension, the fear radiating off her...but along with that something else.
Something he had sensed in her before but had been in too much denial to accept it...desire
A ghost of a smile passed across his lips as her nimble fingers wrapped with his own without thought. He leaned his head so that his mouth was right next to her ear.
"And now?", his low, deep voice washed over like velvet. "Now when we are like this?"
He felt shivers moving through her body...she was trembling because of him.
Dropping his head to her shoulder, he nuzzled her neck .
He heard her sharp intake of breath and placed his lips on the skin behind her ear.
In an agonizingly slow manner, he moved down her neck and kissed her pulse point.
She swayed back towards him and instantly he felt a rush of possessiveness.
Sense tried to prevail through the heavy haze clouding her mind and her eyes widened.What was she doing? Why was she giving into him?
She twisted her wrists to free them from his hold and surprisingly he let her go.
But only to immediately turn her around by the waist and pull her close to him.
The fire in his eyes was too bright ...and she quickly diverted her gaze before he could see the same burning in her eyes too.
He just couldnt know how much he was effecting her...
He then placed his forehead against hers and closed his eyes.
Minutes passed as they stood there simply savoring each other's presence in a way they never had before.
"Since when did you start lying to me Shilpa?", he whispered and her eyes shot open to find him looking at her with such intensity that made her heart stop.
There was no anger in his eyes now...just desire...for her.
She had to be dreaming...for no one had ever looked at her that way before.
He held her face gently and pulled her even closer.
She knew what he was going to do and she also knew she didnt have anymore strength to stop him.
Keeping one hand on her waist, he used his other hand to move her away her hair away from neck.
She closed her eyes in resignation as he placed a gentle kiss there once again.Her breath stopped as his lips moved up from her neck up to her jaw, across her cheeks...finally stopping near her lips.
Each second seemed like an hour to her as his lips paused inches away from her own.
His gaze moved up to her eyes to let her know that he wasnt going to stop...his loosened his grip on her waist to let her have the option of moving away.
But she didnt. The anger was gone from her eyes to be replaced by a melancholic look...and longing...for him
And then he saw something else there...something that shook the very foundations of his being.
Something he had seen before in her eyes but had been too blind to acknowledge it...
Something he had never expected to see in anyone's eyes...especially not for him...
With a jerk, he let her go and moved back.
She was rudely brought back down to earth with his sudden movement.
He was looking at her with his eyes wide,his breath heavy, disbelief written across his face.
"You...you cant...its not possible..."
She finally found her voice. "What is it Sid?...Are you okay?"
He shook his head and looked down, one hand raking through his hair.
And then another realisation made its way into his mind.
How come he hadnt realised what he was doing?
He had the same thing before...with Riddhima
To prove to her that she didnt feel anything for him and that their marriage was nothing but a duty to her that she was trying to fulfill.
And he had been right then. The minute he had tried to kiss her she had moved away.
But Shilpa hadnt.
Her eyes hadnt held the tormented look that Riddhima's had that day...Shilpa's eyes had held something he had always searched for in Riddhima's eyes.Love...
In a flash , he side stepped her and walked out of her room.
"Sid? Sid! ", she ran behind him.
Stopping at the top of the stairs, she watched him go ignoring her pleas.
He went straight to the door, opened it and just before stepping out, he turned and looked back at her.
A certain kind of torment raged in his eyes as they tried to tell her something.
But she couldnt understand what...her mind was till too caught up with all that had happened just now.
Breaking his gaze, he turned and left, shutting the door behind him.
Her legs finally buckled and she dropped to the floor.
Cold surrounded her from the immediate absence of warmth.
Minutes passed as she sat there trying to calm her erratic heartbeat.
How could he evoke such strong emotions within her and walk away the next second?
Finally after a long time, she got up slowly and walked back inside her bedroom, towards her bed and sat down on it.
She didnt know what had happened that made him come to her with such urgency...she didnt know what had possessed him to do...to do...all that
to her...but she did know one thing for certain.
Everything had drastically changed now.
And things would never ever be the same again between her and Sid.
Edited by sidsk - 05 July 2011 at 3:41pm