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Recap: Abhimanyu and Niki return ,Ridhhima goes to stay with her parents and it's a total disaster for Armaan who miss her terribly.. Armaan and Abhimanyu meet at a party and tussle starts again...
She quickly got off the car and walked towards the reception desk
" hi, I'm Ridhhima Malik I had a reservation.., "
" yes ma'am, your guest has been waiting for you " the receptionist smiled and asked a waiter to escort her to the table... She followed the man uncertain what the meeting would result in... But at least it would be a try...
" there ma'am " he showed her the table and she could make out from the figure that the person was already there.." thank you " she came up to the table and stood right in front " Niki.. "
Niki looked up and got up smiling " Ridhhima.. " both ladies hugged each other
" thanks for coming Niki.. Mujhe laga shayad tum nahi aa paogi "
" aisa ho hi nahi sakta Ridhhima ki tum bulao aur main naa aaun... Bas wo kal raat ke baad..." Ridhhima kept a hand over hers
" I'm sorry Niki mujhe is baat ka zara bhi andaza nahi tha ki.. " Niki smiled
" it's okay Ridhhima main Abhi aur Armaan dono ko jaanti hun, it was very much expected... Magar raat gayi baat gayi "
" nahi Niki, it's not over yet " both looked at each other, Niki could make out from her face that she was troubled
" kya hua Ridhhima ? Tumne mujhe yahan achanak kyun bulaya ? "
" it's about Armaan and Abhimanyu... " there was no surprise in her eyes ,just question ' what now ? ' " Armaan Abhimanyu se bahut naraz hai... Aur... Aur mujhe lagta hai wo Abhimanyu se itna naraz nahi hai jitna khud se ki wo tumhe usse shaadi karne se rok nahi paaya... Aur kuch tumse bhi.. He thinks you have betrayed him... his friendship " Niki looked sad and disturbed but didn't said anything " Niki.. Aisa kya ho gaya ki tumne Abhimanyu se shaadi kar li... You loved Armaan..." Niki looked up at her
" Ridhhima..." she was unsure what to say, to the wife of the man she once, so called- loved, Ridhhima kept a hand over hers
" it's okay Niki, tum mujhse keh sakti ho... Yeh mat sochna ki main tumhe kisi baat ke liye zimmedar manungi ya apna dushman samjhungi... We too are friends... Hai naa " Niki understood what she wanted to say, she was scared that Ridhhima might take her that she would be the other women in Armaan's life... She was glad that Ridhhima was understanding enough...
" Ridhhima tumhare jaisi dost paa kar mujhe behad khushi hogi " she said relieved...
" to phir mujhe batao Niki, ki aakhir hua kya ? Tum Armaan Abhimanyu dono se judi ho aur shayad ab hamein hi kuch karna hoga warna yeh dono apni dushmani ko aur badhate rahenge..." Niki nodded
She told her how she misunderstood that she's being engaged to Armaan and how he declared that he's going to marry Ridhhima "...mujhe engagement ke baad pata chala ki Armaan aur Abhimanyu rivals hain... Ek dusre ko dekhna tak pasand nahi karte... Magar tab tak bahut daer ho chuki thi... Main Armaan ko batane ki himmat nahi juta paayi aur phir uss din..." she narrated the incident when they met outside the hotel where she and Abhimanyu dined and Armaan came to know that she's marrying Abhimanyu... How he tried to dissuade her ,but she just could not say that she loved him and he didn't...
" magar yeh to koi wajah nahi hui naa shaadi ki Niki.. "
" Dil to tuut hi chuka tha.. To socha ki mera pyaar na sahi kisi aur ka to pura ho jaaye..."
" Aur isliye tumne Abhi se shaadi ke liye haan keh di..." Niki said nothing ,Ridhhima sighed she could perfectly understand her pain... she kept a hand over hers both ladies didn't had to speak to understand each other
" but mujhe apne faisle par koi afsos nahi hai balki jo hua achha hi hua ,Abhi bahut achhe hain Ridhhima, unke saath reh kar maine kabhi akelapan mehsoos nahi kiya. He has become my best ,most understanding friend ever... Aur Armaan ke liye shayad jo meri feelings thi, ab sochti hun to lagta hai ki kahin main apni hi feelings ko le kar confuse to nahi thi Kyunki mujhe jitna laga ki main Armaan ko miss karunki utna kiya nahi... Of course he's my friend but shayad wo duur reh kar jo tadap honi chahiye thi wo kahi missing thi aur is baat ne mujhe ehsaas dilaya ki main jaisa samajh rahi thi waisa hai nahi... And trust me yeh sach hai sirf tumhe kehne ke liye nahi...
Abhi se ek din duur reh kar mujhe bechaini ho jaati hai jo Armaan ke saath nahi thi hi nahi... I ...I Think I have fallen in love with my husband Ridhhima... 'He's' my first love " a smile crept on her lips.. And it infected Ridhhima too bringing a relief...
" Sameer take down all the points I want to clear everything today itself and move on ahead with other things " Sameer nodded, they walked to the conference room " Sameer.." Armaan stopped " isn't that Abhimanyu Modi's Manager ? " he pointed to a man chatting with someone
" yeah he is " Sameer looked at the man
" what's he doing here ? "
" don't know... Do you want to know ? "
" no.. We've better work to do then spy on Modi's manager " he looked at both the men for a while " but he looks like..." he stopped for a moment eying both narrowly, after a moment he shrugged and turned to Sameer again " Neway, just go and check if the delegates are here.." Sameer went away and with a glance in the direction of Abhimanyu's manager he followed Sameer...
The meeting was successful ,Armaan and Sameer came out after the meeting... Armaan looked here and there as if looking for something...
" umm.. Sameer.."
" yes sir "
" you go and call for the car.. I'll be back in a moment, forgot something.. "
" should I bring it ? What is it ? " Sameer offered
" No, It's okay . I'll get it myself " he rushed back inside from the lobby leaving Sameer
As soon as he was out of sight he turned and walked to a steward who pointed him to a direction...,taking quick steps he went to the suiet area... Coming to halt before a room, he opened the door... Two men stood up ,it was clear that they were scared for a moment...
" relax, it's me.."
" let's make it quick, what do you want from me..? " the man said ,he could see that he was scared but pretended to be brave, a bead of sweat that trailed down from his forehead, that too in an airconditioned room, betrayed his show of bravery. he smiled inwardly ,he had the desired effect...
" same thing you have to offer.." the man looked confused " only for double the price and exclusive services... That way we both'll be happy " he sat down on the couch spreading his Arms on either sides ,his feet on the table one over the other, both men were still standing confused ,gaping at him... He explained them what he wanted...
" that's impossible !... That would be cheating ,It can get me into trouble and even more than that..." he trailed off
He sniggered " you are in no less trouble already.." he eyed both the men narrowly " Ab yeh tumhare haath main hain ki tum kaun sa offer lete ho, warna..."
" tum mujhe blakmail kar rahe ho " first man roared
" abhi tak to nahi... Aur aage karunga bhi nahi ,agar tumne majboor nahi kiya to..." he gave a wicked smile, he knew he had made an impact... The men looked at each other, they were trapped and had no choice, the first man sighed and with that he knew he had won.. " good decision, get to work from tomorrow.." with those words he came out of the room quickly, into the lobby
Sameer came back and found Armaan waiting for him " where were you ? "
" just went to take a call, You took quiet long, did you get what you were looking for ? "
" yes, it was right there..." he waved his pen at him, it was the one which Aditya presented him on his birthday.. " let's go, there's lots to do.." he hurried to the car
He came back home whistling, Ridhhima could see that he was happy today and had a satisfied look on his face...
" kya baat hai Armaan, aaj bade khush lag rahe ho.. " she smiled wondering about his cause of happiness
" yess ,I'm very happy today " he loosened his tie " that Modi will soon learn some lesson.."
Ridhhima's smile vanished " Armaan tum phir..."
" please Ridhhima abhi nahi... Main abhi bahut khush hun, our new deal will floor Modi, don't spoil my mood talking about him.. And tell me one thing why do you always take his side huh... I thought you are 'my' friend..." he stood before her with hand on his waist... she could see he wasn't angry ,just mocking... Before she could give any reply he went to change laughing lightly, shaking his head...
" huuuh... Armaan tumse ziddi insaan maine aaj tak nahi dekha... Ab kya karun ? Pata nahi ab kaun si nayi musibat plan ki hai Abhimanyu ke liye..." she wondered what to do and quickly grabbed her phone " hello Niki... Yeah it's me... Hamein jaldi kuch karna padega, things are getting worse..." after a quick chat she put the phone down... maybe this could help...
He was busy going through a file when his phone rang up
" yes "
" sir there's someone to meet you "
" who ? And I didn't had any meeting lined up today "
" um she's on her way to your room sir "
" she ?? But.." the door opened and with that came a big surprise
" hello Mr. Malik, kya aapke paas mere liye thoda time hai ? " she smiled broadly seeing the surprised look at his face...
" Ridhhima ! "
His happiness knew no bounds, he kept stealing glances at her while she looked out of the car. Ridhhima gave him a big surprise ,coming to see him and then asking to go out for lunch ! With him ! Boy it was turning out to be a really goood day... He wondered whose face he saw first in the morning today... He grinned to himself when he remembered it was Ridhhima... He got up instantly cancelling everything lined up for the day... It would be just him and Ridhhima today... All his efforts seem to pay off now... He was further happily surprised when he came to know that she had already made the reservations and everything... For them...
" Ridhhima tumne sab kuch pehle hi kar rakha tha ? "
" haan, didn't wanted to waste time... feeling very hungry you see " she grinned, they were escorted to their table ,the place was very nice and calm with soft slow music at the back ground and people sitting and chatting in a low hum around... From the window they could see the pool side and lawns of the hotel he appreciated her mentally for her choice it really had a soothing effect... But it was her company that did the real magic to his heart...
" so should we order..? " he scanned the menu, when he didn't got the reply he looked up " Ridhhima ?? Main tumse kuch puuch raha hun... Kahan dekh rahi ho tum ? " he looked around
" um nahi... kuch nahi bas aise hi " she too picked up the menu card
" excuse me ,i think this table is reserved... " he turned hearing the voice only to get stunned... Ridhhima too looked up
" Niki ! What a surprise , tum yahan kaise ? Aao naa " she stood up hugging her lightly ,Niki looked at Armaan who had turned his face away without a word, staring at the menu card as if he didn't knew her... Never heard her...
" n..nahi Ridhhima it's okay wo actually main aaj apni friend ke sath lunch ke liye aayi thi..." she looked at Armaan who still refused to look at her " Mujhe bataya ki this is the table reserved "
" this table is reserved for us, aap jaa kar confirm kariye shayad koi galatfehmi hui hai " came the cold words from him
Before she could reply ,the manager came there " we're extreamely sorry madam kuch confusion ki wajah se aapko already reserved table dubara allot ho gayi "
" this is very careless on your part mister, but i'm sure aap inko " Armaan pointed at Niki " bata sakte hain ki we reserved it first, you can make arrangements for her ,i don't have time to waste in any arguments "
The manager apologised profusely for the mistake but told that the restaurant is full at the moment and she had to wait for at least half an hour... He offered her to wait in their executive lounge till the time but Ridhhima stepped in...
" no it's okay, she'll be joining us " Armaan glared at Ridhhima but she was firm and he mutely agreed... Niki sat down with them ,Armaan still pretended to be very interested in the menu card...
" so Niki " Ridhhima tried to start a conversation as Armaan clearly was in no mood " how's life ?... Tum to pehle se bhi zyada sundar lag rahi ho, saree suits you "
" but it suits you better " Armaan thought
" and how's.." Armaan's eyes shot up ,glaring at Ridhhima " work " she stressed on it ,conveying that she wasn't about to ask about Abhimanyu, he went back to menu. She shook her head... Niki looked at Armaan ,it was really hurting to see your once best friend acting like a total stranger to you...
" everything is fine " she forced a smile,
" umm ek kaam kyun nahi karte tum kuch order karo tab tak main zara fresh ho kar aati hun "
" but.. "
" main bas ladies room tak ja rahi hun Armaan, not running away somewhere.." he just sat back, frowning.. Not happy with the idea of sitting alone with Niki
he watched her go " itne naraaz ho mujhse Armaan ? " He looked at her but said nothing " kaise ho Armaan ? " she asked again softly
" why ? does it matter to you ? Why do you bother ? " he replied curtly
Niki kept a hand over his and said softly " I missed you too Armaan... I missed my best friend..."
He looked at her hand over his and slowly pulled it away " what friend ? Jise tumne itne mahino main ek baar bhi yaad karna jaruri nahi samjha... Aur tum mujhe apna sabse achha dost kehti ho ? "
She could clearly feel that he was still hurt and angry... But her initiative had melted him a bit.. She knew he couldn't remain angry with her for long ,he loved her- as a friend- too much to do so...
" oh Armaan ,I really did missed you " Ridhhima watched them from behind the pillar right next to where they sat " bas main thoda darti thi ki kahin tum aur naraz naa ho jao.."
" Kya tumne kabhi koshish kari yeh dekhne ki ,ki main naraz hota hun ya nahi... Tum sab kuch apne aap hi kyun soch leti ho ? "
" tumne bhi to kabhi koshish nahi ki " he shifted a little " kya tumhari dushmani hamari dosti se badi hai Armaan... Tumne to yeh jaanne ki koshish bhi nahi kari ki main hun kahan... Naraz to mujhe hona chahiye tumse, jab mujhe tumhari sabse jyada jarurat thi tab tum the hi nahi... Shaadi ke din main tumhara intezar karti rahi aur phir Rahul ne bataya ki tum nahi aa rahe to meri saari umeed hi tuut gayi... Mujhe laga ki ab hum kabhi nahi milenge "
He didn't speak for a while and kept staring blankly at the glass of water thinking about something " jaanta hun... pehle nahi keh paaya..." he looked up at her " tum apne wedding dress main bahut sundar lag rahi thi.. Us langoor ne zaroor kuch achhe karm kiye honge jo use tum mil gayi "
Niki was stunned and so was Ridhhima " Armaan.. Tum.. Tum aaye the ? "
" itna bhi bura nahi hun Niki " as their eyes met she saw the same old Armaan looking back at her ,and after what seemed like a long time he gave a small smile " kaisi ho Niki ? " with that simple question she felt her eyes welling up with tears
" heyyy no crying plz. " she chuckled at the panic in his voice, he still couldn't handle tears
" theek hun " she wiped her tears, two friends had made up after all
" Is he.. Are you... Okay ? " he fumbled for words and waited anxiously for her reply. She knew what he meant was that if she was happy ,she smiled at him feeling happy that he still cared enough
" haan Armaan main khush hun Abhi mera bahut khayal rakhte hain " he exaled scowling inwardly at the name, happy that she was happy, unhappy that she was happy with Abhimanyu Modi...
" well that's fine... Relief... But still if he's not taking good care of you i know a perfectly good lawyer " her eyebrows shot up " yeah trust me he's good... Ridhhima consults him all the time " he took a sip of water
Niki looked at him uncertain if he was joking or really serious, but then it's Armaan she was talking of so it must be the first case... Unable to control it any longer she laughed out ,he joined her grinning flashing his dimples and with that the ice was somewhat broken... Two friends were kind of back again together... Laughing... Smiling...
Ridhhima wiped her eyes... Emotions filled her heart seeing their pure friendship... But as she turned her eyes fell on someone and her smile froze... Abhimanyu Modi was marching straight to them... before she could manage to come upto them he was already there...
Armaan saw who was standing next to her and his smile got replaced with a murderous look, he stood up looking directly into his eyes... None blinked... Killing looks were exchanged...
Niki froze she didn't knew what to do " Abhi wo.." but he raised a finger and stopped her turning to Armaan
Ridhhima quickly stepped in for the damage control , Abhi''s visit was totally unexpected " sorry mujhe aane main thodi daer ho gayi.." she slipped her arm in his squeezing it gently, ready to hold him if things got out of control
" keep away from my wife Malik, warna..." he took a step
" Abhi please.." Niki held his hand
" warna kya Modi.."
" Armaan.." Ridhhima held his arm pulling him lightly, he turned and looked at her scared face.. Her eyes fell on Niki looked equally worried " i'll see you Modi..."
Maybe Abhimanyu was thinking on the same lines as he too retreated " any time Malik " with a final look at Armaan he held Niki's hand and walked away . Niki turned and looked at them helplessly..
" it's okay Ridhhima, don't worry " he felt that she was still holding his arm tightly, he gave a small smile trying to comfort her... Everytime they met Ridhhima wondered if they could behave in any more threatning manner... The lunch was no fun then and both came out after light snacks deciding to go home straight...
Niki worried as Abhimanyu didn't said a word for a while... He was definitely angry with her...
" Abhi i'm sorry... Wo galti se same table allot ho gayi thi..."
" agar same table allot ho bhi gayi thi Niki to tumhe Armaan ke saath wahan baithne ki kya jarurat thi " he was definitely very angry..
She shrunk seeing him soo angry " wo.. Ridhhima ne... I'm sorry... " her voice quivered as a lump raised in her throat choaking her words and two fat tears rolled down her cheeks...
Abhimanyu quickly stopped the car by the roadside and turned to her she was surprised ,worried that she has further infuriated him " Niki, aaj main tumhe ek baat saaf saaf keh dena chahta hun " he paused looking at her scared face " main kabhi bhi.. And i mean kabhi bhi..." she held her breath " tumhari aankhon main aansoon nahi dekhna chahta " she wondered if she'd heard him correctly ,he smiled sweetly at her and cupped her face in his palms wiping her tears with his thumbs " i'm sorry Niki, i acted like a jerk.. But plz... try to stay away from him... aur agar maine Armaan ki wajah se kabhi bhi tumhe dukhi dekha to... I'll see to it that he pays for it " his face hardened with those words
" Abhi.. Magar Armaan ne kuch nahi kaha... Wo to bas..." he kept a finger on her lips making her go quiet
" no more Armaan please " she shivered with his touch on her lips and they were lost in each others eyes... Abhimanyu broke the trance first, Seeing that she was okay he gave her a smile, which got broader seeing a blush creeping on her cheeks...
On the other hand Ridhhima was quiet while he drove, Niki's words still echoed in her mind... His words broke her chain of thoughts
" Kya hua Niki ke baare main soch rahi ho ?.. Yeh Niki bhi naa.. Bilkul pagal hai.. Kitna mana kiya tha maine magar phir bhi... Apne pyaar ko bhuul kar us ullu ke pathhe se shaadi kar li... Koi hansi mazaak thodi na hai, shaadi hai ! ,puri zindagi ka sawaal hai ,ek galat kadam aur... Aur dekha aaj " He hit the steering wheel in anger and frustration
" Haan lekin hum usko kaise judge kar sakte hain ki usne theek kiya ki nahi..." She gazed at him meaningfully
He took a moment before speaking " Haan..." He didn't look at her probably he understood what she meant... He didn't do anything different with her.. " waise Ridhhima... agar tum uski jagah hoti to kya karti ? " he looked into her eyes briefly
" Main...?? " she went quiet for a moment " Main bhi shayad wahi karti... Apne dukh ki wajah se dusre ki khushi nahi chhenti.. Kya uske paas aur koi chaara tha ?, us adhure pyaar ko yaad kar kar ke rone se achha to yahi tha ki naye sire se zindagi ki shurat ki jaaye "
" Aur isliye tum ek adhure mann se ek naye rishte main bandh jaati, sirf apne dukh ko bhulane ke liye.. Yeh to sirf samjhuta hota naa, kya yeh uske saath nainsaafi nahi hai jo tumhe sachhe dil se chahta hai ? " he looked at her briefly, She was quiet stunned... " aur kya tum us rishte ko sach main dil se apna paati...?? "
" Huuuhh... nahi, shayad nahi magar koshish to ki ja sakti hai naa..."
" Magar kuch baatein hamesha dil main reh jaati hain... hai naa "
" Tuute dil ko samjhana bahut mushkil hota hai Armaan, tum kabhi apne pyaar se juda nahi hue.. tum nahi samjhoge..."
" Chahe dusra uss layak ho ya nahi..." She looked at him confused trying to understand what he wanted to say
" Matlab ? "
" Kuch nahi..." ' nahi Ridhhima tum nahi samjhogi apne pyaar ke paas hote hue bhi uske saath naa hone ka dard.. Har pal use kho dene ka darr...' " He thought as he drove in silence both busy in their thoughts.. he stopped before the house
" hmm "
" Ridhhima... Wo tumse kuch keha tha.." She looked at him waiting, his eyes as if wanted to say thousand things.. When he didn't spoke for a while
" Bolo Armaan.."
" Huuuhhh ,aaj khana tum banogi plz.."
She smiled " bas itni si baat... Tum bhi naa..." She smiled " theek hai sab tumhari favourite cheezein banati hun, theek hai..." He nodded ,she got off the car and went in smiling he saw her going and then rest his head on the steering wheel sighing...
" Kya kahun Ridhhima...? kaise...?? don't want to loose you..."
He was in a meeting with Sameer in the office
" a great deal is coming up government giving out orders to private companies who can finish off the projects before Commenwealth Games... and being quiet profitable bahut saari companies iske liye compete karengi "
" anyone real challenge ? "
" none we can't handle... The biggest of all.. Abhimanyu Modi, will definitely compete for it..."
Armaan gave him a knowing look " but we'll win that isn't it, he isn't a trouble anymore " a wicked smile came to his lips... " Make sure Sameer that we do... Let's prepare heart attacks for Modi..."
Sameer smiled back " sure and after the information we have, we don't have much to do it's all done already " after discussing few more things Sameer left...
Armaan rest back in his chair " huh ! Tum mujhe kya dekhoge Abhimanyu Modi main tumhe dikhata hun ab..." he rolled a paperweight with a satisfied and triumphant feeling...
On the other hand something similar was going on...
" Mr.Khanna this contract is our chance to announce our comeback to everyone- to Maliks, baaki companies main se aisa koi nahi hai jisse hamein challenge ki umeed ho. Is ek contract ke baad baaki ke liye bhi hamare raaste asaan ho jayenge "
" don't worry sir hamare quotes aise honge ki unhe koi challenge hi nahi kar payega, right kapil ," khanna turned to the finance manager
" h..haan, of course " he sat up straight
" everything okay kapil ? You look little lost "
" yeah.. Everything's fine.. Just bit tired that's it... Don't worry we can.. We will get the deal " he shifted his gaze to khanna who gave him an appreciative nod...
Ridhhima came in and found him staring at the file blankly ,lost
" Armaan ?.. " he looked up at her " kya hua kis soch main dube ho ? "
" kuch nahi bas ek nayi deal ke baare main... I'm tired Ridhhima ,i want to sleep.. Good night " he kept his file away ,covering his face with the covers her went off to sleep... She found it bit odd, he was little lost since he'd come back from office she thought she'd talk to him after dinner but now he was fast asleep... Probably he is tired... She sighed
" chalo kal bata dungi..." and she too ca,e to her side
The next morning she was tying his tie with a smile...
" someone's very happy today.." he asked
" haan wo to hai, pata hai kyun ? " he shook his head " kyunki Anjali di aur jiju aa rahe hain " she announced happily
" really ! Anjy aa rahi hai ? " she nodded " wow that's great, it has been a long time.."
" haan wo mom dad ki anniversary hai naa isliye aur phir wo baad main travel nahi kar payengi to..."
" what ?! Mom dad ki anniversary ?! Ridimba tum bhi naa.. Pehle kyun nahi bataya ? "
" Armaaann " she glared at him for calling her Ridimba " main kal hi batane waali thi magar tum shayad thake hue the isliye jaldi so nahi gaye the.." she made him recall
" oh haan, but phir bhi.. Okay ek kaam karte hain... Let's throw a big party for them..."
She felt happy at his enthusiasm " it's okay Armaan wo sab ho gaya hai.. Mom dad pehle hi party plan kar rahe the... Subah ek puja hai aur shaam ko party... Di ke aane ki khushi main aur mom dad dono ke liye... Bas puja thodi jaldi hai to hamein subah jaldi jaana hoga.."
" bass.. No problem, Hum jaroor chalenge.." with that he waved her good bye...
Sameer and Armaan were in the middle of a debate... Sameer looked bit unhappy about something
" it's very unlike you.. I never imagined that you'll think of doing it... I just don't understand... Why ?? What's the need ?? we already have the contract in hand then why to do that ? "
" It's important for me Sameer " he said firmly he relaxed his tone a bit " I don't want to take any chances, this goes way beyond you can understand... Moreover, it will be a win win situation for me anyway "
" But how can..."
He raised a hand stopping him from saying anything further... " it's complicated Sameer.. May be you'll understand some day..."
Sameer gave up, it was useless arguing with him, he sometimes acted really strange, he'd always trusted his decision no matter how weird they sounded, but this time he really didn't wanted to act on what he'd asked him to do... May be something can be done, what he was doing was foolish... He sighed giving up
" thanks Sameer " he winked at him, Sameer rolled his eyes and thinking of something he came out of his room...
The few days went by in a jiffy and before she knew Anjali was here with Atul... She was heartily welcomed by her parents Ridhhima and Armaan... Dropping them off he went off to work promising to join them as soon as possible...
The glow of expecting mother was clear on Anjali's face and she narrated how she was allowed after loads of advices instructions and threats ! That if she didn't follow them she will be called back immediately... Atul agreed to it, he now had become even more loving caring and protective about her since he came to know that he'd be a father soon... All of them sat down together for the initial loong chat session discussing everything and before Ridhhima knew it was evening...
Armaan called her to inform that he would be bit late and she should come home with the driver and guards... Ridhhima though wanted to stay with Anjali knew that it won't be possible... she could sense the discomfort in his voice when she merely hinted to stay over... she gave up the idea knowing that if she did it he would spend a sleepless night and if he gets cranky, others would have no peace ! So for his and other's sake she promised to come tomorrow and went back home...
Abhimanyu was sleeping peacefully when the sound of his cellphone ringing woke him up, he woke up sleepily and took the call
" wake up Abhimanyu Modi "
" kaun ? " he sat up a little
" jaan pehchaan ka time nahi hai hamare paas... Ek kaam ki baat suno... Apni deal ki quotes change kar do "
" what ?! Who the hell are you ? " he looked at sleeping Niki beside him and got off the bed, he came out of the room to talk
" main jo koi bhi hun tumhare liye farishte se kam nahi hun ab meri baat dhyan se suno... Tumhari quotes leak ho chuki hain "
" what ? Wh.. kisne kiya yeh kaam ? Aur tumhe yeh kaise pata ? " he was shocked
" maine in sawaalon ka jawaab dene ke liye tumhe phone nahi kiya hai... Agar contract lena chahte ho to Apni quote 10 rs. Kam kar do "
" kya ?! Tum pagal ho gaye ho ? Main tumhari baat par vishwaas kyun karun ? "
" tumhare paas aur koi chaara nahi hai ,tumhare dushman behad chalaak aur taqatwar hain... aur tumhare paas samay bahut kam hai... Jitni jaldi ho sake yeh kaam kar lo aur haan... Ek baat ka dhyaan rakhna is baat ka kisi ko pata na chale tumhare sabse karibi ko bhi nahi.. Yeh kaam tum khud karna " And with these words the call got disconnected...
Abhimanyu was utterly shocked at what happened few minutes ago.. He tried to call back the number only to hear a message that the number didn't existed ,he gave up calling... He debated over the call all night ' what should he do..? should he just do as the caller has directed or not..?' He pondered over it all night and was busy with it even when he reached office...
He paced up and down in his cabin " Main aakhir uski baat par vishwaas kyun karun ? wo mera koi rival bhi ho sakta hai... Armaan ka koi plan..." He was thinking about it when his manager, Mr. Khanna came in...
" sir main aaj contract quotes submit karwane ja raha hun... Aap ek baar inhe check kar lijiye " he gave him the file, Abhimanyu looked at the file the words of caller echoed in his mind... He picked up his pen... His manager looked at him wondering what he's doing...
He looked at the quoted figure and put his signature " Mr. Khanna ,main bhi aapke saath chalta hun " Khanna looked at him, he never went for any submition or pre contract meeting before... But then he's the boss... As he wish...
" theek hai sir chaliye " he came forward to pick up the files..
Abhimanyu stopped him " aur inhe yahin rehne dijiye aap Shivani ( his secretary ) se kahiye ki wo driver ko ready hone ko kahe.." Khanna nodded and went out... he took up the file again...
When Abhimanyu reached the office of the contract head he found Sameer already there... for a moment both men look at each other, he would have loved to have someone like Sameer Purohit in his company. Sameer turned away his gaze and quickly rushed out...
Abhimanyu saw this " Mr. Khanna jaldi se jaa kar dehikye ki yeh Sameer kahan ja raha hai ,quick " khanna rushed out... moments later When he came back
" sir main uske peeche gaya magar wo jaldi se nikal gaya " Abhimanyu went quiet for a while " kya hua sir ? Sab theek to hai naa ? "
" y..yeah.. sab theek hai "
Ridhhima woke up Armaan bit early than his usual time and hurried to get ready.. The puja would start at seven and they had to be there on time and for that she had to manage the task of making him get ready on time...
Somehow after lot of reminding, requesting and finally resorting to threatning she made him got ready and reached her parents house...
" kya yaar Ridhhima itni jaldi to bhagwaan bhi nahi uthte honge ,aur yeh bhi koi puja ka time hai thoda baad main nahi rakhwa sakte the " he made a face at her, irritated at being woken up so early
She hit him on his arm " chup Armaan, sab tumhare jaise lazy nahi hote, ab chup chaap andar chalo sab wait kar rahe honge puja ki tayari bhi karni hai "
He followed her faking anger rubbing his arm where she'd hit him... He met all warmly and after wishing Shashank and Padma teased Padma heartily... And to everyone's surprise Atul joined his company... Ridhhima grinned ,she knew he had this dangerous abiliity to influence anyone...
As the clock striked 6 he sneaked into the kitchen... He'd woken up very early today and now his stomach was demanding something... Moreover those mouthwatering smell coming from various dishes, left him even more hungry...
He looked here and there and picked up a delicious looking laddoo, just as he was about to put it inside his mouth he stopped hearing his name...
" Aarrmaaan " he turned and saw a very surprised Ridhhima standing with her hands on her waist
" ohohh "
She came up to him " Armaan tum yahan kya kar rahe ho ? "
" wo.. main.. yeh dekhne aaya tha ki sab theek se tayar ho gaya hai ki nahi ? " he smiled foolishly
" Armaan don't try to fool me, yeh bhog ka prasad hai aur ise abhi nahi khana hai, samjhe ! Infact puja se pehle kuch nahi khana... Chalo niklo bahar kitchen se... Chalo " he pouted started to walk out
" Armaaann leave the ladoo " he made a face and reluctantly kept the ladoo back which he was trying to sneak out
" waise agar ek kaha lunga to kya ho jayega ,bhagwaan baaki sab main se kha lenge "
" god Armaan you are impossible ! " she knew he won't give up easily on them " dekho tumhe kasam hai agar tumne kuch khaya to, jab tak main naa kahun kuch nahi khana okay " poor him , he was left with no choice but to obey... To his relief puja started on time and all the couples sat down together...
Two hours passed and the puja was about to finish when he got a call
" Sir ,Sameer this side . Deal aaj 10 baje open honi hai ,you better come quick "
" yeah i'll be there in half an hour " he quickly took leave from all and rushed to the office...
He found Abhimanyu Modi already there with his manager, both stared at each other coldly . He sat down at the assigned table and waited for the result to be declared
Abhimanyu was worried... "Did i do the right thing ? Kya mujhe aisa karna chahiye tha ? Kahin maine koi galti to nahi kar di ? " he was too occupied to give any thought to Armaan who was eying him closely. Soon the wait got over as the officials came over
" ladies and gentleman, we thank you all for your interest and response to this contract... As you all know there will be in all, three contracts of which this is the first... The others will be soon open for your consideration as well... Now coming to the first one... the contract goes to.." there was palpable silence in the room " the contract goes to Mr. Armaan Malik of Malik group of companies " the room became alive with applause. Armaan got up to accept the deal and thew a look in Abhimanyu's direction, Who sat there as if paralysed with shock... Armaan smirked at him, what did he thought he had a chance before him.. No way Modi !
Abhimanyu never in his dreams realised that he could loose the contract the rates were perfect... and then the words of that mysterious caller echoed in his mind, he was furious and wanted nothing more than to punch that pompus Armaan Malik ,right on his face... It was all his doing... He knew it...
Armaan saw Abhimanyu staring at him, wearing a sly smile he came to Abhimanyu...
" so Mr.Abhimanyu Modi, better luck next time "
Abhimanyu's anger surged seeing his smile " lucky to tum rahe Armaan ki tumhe wo mil gaya jisne tumhe quotes batayi " Armaan's smile faltered a little but he quickly gathered himself,
" main tumhari tarah ghatiya game nahi khelta Abhimanyu, yeh contract mujhe apni mehnat se mila hai "
Abhimanyu scoffed at it " main tumhari 'imaandaari' achhi tarah se jaan gaya hun Armaan bas wo aadmi ek baar mujhe mil jaaye phir main tumhe batata hun.."
" jitni khushfehmi paalni hai, paal lo tumhare haath kuch nahi aane waala aur shayad tum bhul rahe ho ki tumhe Bangalore project kaise mila tha.. Isliye tum mujhe sahi galat mat batao " both men looked daggers at each other, he had still not forgiven him for cheating him on that.. soon Armaan was called to complete some formalities and he went away with a scornful glance at Abhimanyu and his managers, Mr. Khanna and Kapil
It took them almost all morning to complete the formalities ,Later as they drove back to their office Sameer spoke up...
" this is unusual ,i haven't seen anything like this before... Main pehle iss baat ko maanna nahi chahta tha magar ab... After all it turned out all fine "
Armaan who was very happy with the outcome said " I told you it's a win-win situation for us..." Sameer nodded ,another reason for him to add in his 'why-I-admire-Armaan Mailk' list... " now just one thing is left " Sameer looked at him now he could understand something what he was trying to do...
Armaan reached Shashank and Padma's house, which was beautifully decorated for the occassion, he sighed it had been a long day and he longed to see Ridhhima again ,wanted to share everything with her... The news of his new success... Since the day she'd come in his life he'd tasted nothing but victory, she was his lady luck... He smiled at the thought and walked in...
Padma welcomed him lovingly and told him that Ridhhima was bit busy with the guests, she would send her to him as soon as she finds her till then he should go and freshen up, she directed him to a room where he found his clothes all kept neatly on the bed... He smiled seeing it ,he knew it was only her who did all this... And then there was a rumbling sound from his stomach which made him even more aware of her absence... He quickly washed and changed, ready to go downstairs in the party...
He found her busy with some guests, a relief spread over him as he watched her smiling ,laughing.. She looked absolutely gorgeous in the saree and he felt his heart skipped a beat as she turned and their eyes met... She smiled at him softly and time seemed to freeze there... He could have stayed there watching her till forever but then Atul seemed to have some other, better plans... He caught him gazing at Ridhhima smiling foolishly and with that he found the oppertunity to get back to Armaan for all his teasing... He pulled him away from there and delibrately didn't let let him meet her... Enjoying his impatience thoughly, Armaan cursed every guest in his heart who delayed his meeting with her with their silly talks and enquiries...
" kyun beta jab meri baari thi ,tab to bada chidata tha huh, ab dekho kaise jal bim machhli ki tarah tadap raha hai... Ab pata chala " Atul whispered in his ear ,knowing perfectly well how impatient he was getting with every passing minute...
Armaan gave up ,he folded his hands " gurudev mujhe shama karein, main aage se aapko is baat ke liye to kabhi pareshan nahi karunga.. aap jitna chahein apni patni se romance kar sakte hai, kya ab main 'apni' dharampatni se mil sakta hun ? " he was fed up as one or the other person kept him surrounded leaving him with no time to talk to her privately , to his relief Atul forgave him benevolently... It was nine and he was dying of hunger he came to Ridhhima and took her to a corner...
" Ridhhima "
" arre Armaan tum aa gaye ? Fursat mil gayi tumhe ? "
" Main to kabka aa gaya tha.. aur tumhe fursat ho tab naa upar se yeh Atul aur yeh stupid guests..." he scowled at them and Ridhhima widened her eyes asking him to lower down his volume " Achha main yeh puch raha tha.." he continued but then someone called her
" offoh..., Armaan abhi nahi, abhi main thoda busy hun tum batao tumne khana kha liya ? "
" Thank god ! tumne puchha to sahi..."
" Matlab ?! " she wondered
" matlab main tumse yahi to puchne waala tha ki main ab khana kha lun ?? " Ridhhima was shocked to hear it..
" matlab.. Tumne kuch khaya nahi ?? "
" Lo tumne hi to mana kiya tha ki jab tak main naa kahun kuch khana nahi... Ab mujhse bhuk bardasht nahi ho rahi..."
" Armaaan tum paagal ho.. Tum.. Tumne subah se kuch khaya nahi ?! " he shook his head, She was shocked " tum aao mere saath " she held his hand and took him away from the crowd to a seperate room... " Yahaan betho main abhi aati hun.." She came out quickly and brought plate full of his favourite food..
" Wao finally..." relieved, He started eating immediately... She sat in front of him ,watching him eat... Her heart melted seeing him so...she repriminded herself for keeping him hungry the whole day..
" Tum aise kyun ho Armaan ?? " He looked up at her mouth still full with spoonful of rice confused he looked down at himself checking himself whether something was wrong.. Then raised his eyebrows asking " kaise??? " She chuckled seeing his innocent confusion... she took a tissue paper and wiped the gravy which was sticking near his mouth...
" Aise... Ek stupid si kasam ki wajah se saare din bhuke rahe..??"
" Ohh.." he smiled but then became serious " Tumhare liye wo chhoti baat hogi... mere liye nahi thi " he looked into her eyes but then quickly became himself again " Aur main to pehle se aisa hi tha tumne mujhe kabhi gaur se dekha nahi kya..? " He said lightheartedly and resumed his eating...
Ridhhima kept looking at him thinking " haan Armaan shayad tum theek keh rahe ho maine tumhe kabhi gaur se dekha hi nahi..."
On the other hand Abhimanyu was still pondering over the day's event... He hadn't told anyone about the caller or the deal... He was lost in his thoughts when the phone rang up...
" why didn't you do as i told you to ? " he knew it was him
" how could I ? I.. I didn't belive you "
The Caller laughed at it " well now do you...? "
" yes..." said Abhi, he had no reason not to..
" Good.. i'll come back when required..." came the reply
" But who are you...?? Aur tum meri madad kyun kar rahe ho..? " There was silence on the other end for a moment...
" Yeh tumhe batana zaruri nahi hai " with that the line went dead...
The party got over and the husbands were shown the door as the daughters and mother sat in their room to start a looong catch up and chat session... Shashank feeling tired retired after a long day took leave from his son-in-laws ,Atul and Armaan too, being tired after a long day bid eachother goodnight... Armaan went to his room but he was too tired .moreover, the place was new to him he could not make himself comfortable... he could not sleep even when he wanted to... After much tossing n turning he stood up irritated.. confused what to do ? his eyes were heavy with sleep but he just could not get comfertable.. Just then Padma passed by and saw him so restless... concerened she came in..
" Armaan, kya hua beta..? "
" huh, Kuch nahi mumma... bas neend nahi aa rahi... Ridhhima kahan hai..? Aap abhi tak soye nahi ?? " he tried to act normal
" Haan wo hum thodi baatein kar rahe the, Anjali itne dino baad aayi hai naa.."
" oh haan theek hai aap jao ,main bhi sone ki koshish karta hun..." Padma nodded and kissed his forehead wishing goodnight.. But as she turned she found him tossing and turning restlessly... Without another word to him she came back to her room and found Ridhhima and Anjali chatting...
" Ridhhi... beta ek baar ja kar Armaan ko dekh aa wo kuch pareshaan sa lag raha hai... Uski tabiyat to theek hai naa...? " Ridhhima was alarmed hearing it..
" Armaan ? kyun kya hua..?? "
" Pata nahi mujhe to kuch kaha nahi... Tu ek baar dekh aa bahut baichain sa lag raha tha.."
Ridhhima immediately got up and went to his room..she found him lying face down twisting his head from side to side...
" Armaan.." He turned and was soo relieved to see her.. " Kya hua ?? Sab theek hai naa..?? "
" Ridhhima agar rukna tha to bata deti naa.. ab dekho yahaan mera pillow bhi nahi hai.. ab main sounga kaise ? " he said irritatedly, Ridhhima knew he was getting cranky as he was feeling sleepy and could not sleep at a new place, she'd decided to stay over and he couldn't say no her sweet request... She sighed smiling a bit, she knew how to calm him down...
" bas itni si baat hai, tumne to dara hi diya tha... Ruko main abhi aati hun " She moved out and came back with three good stuffy, soft pillows. She placed them on the bed in a row... He was bit confused, as in, what she was doing...??
" Chalo leto..."
" Kuch agar magar nahi chalo..." He did as told " ab karwat lo aur apna paer ( leg ) yahan is pillow par rakho " he turned and clutched a pllow near to his chest ... she smiled seeing him snuggling to the pillow... But then he looked up at her...
" hmm "
" tum yahaaan thodi daer ruk jaogi plz..." He pleaded " mujhe akele aise neend nahi aayegi..." She smiled again and sat by his side ,he now faced her as she sat down on the bed next to him
" bas ? ab theek hai.. Ab aaraam se aankhein band karo aur so jao..."
" Tum kahin jaogi to nahi naa... " she was surprised at his question sometimes he acted so scared and insecure for no reason
she gave him an assuring smile and said.." Main kahin nahi ja rahi Armaan, main yahin hun, tum aaraam se so jao..." He sighed snuggling to pillow relieved at her assurance and closed his eyes to sleep.. she picked up a magazine near by to read... it was fifteen minutes when she saw him not stirring at all ,he was sleeping peacefully.. She smiled and quietly got up... But as she tried to stand stright to go back to Padma she fell a pull...
She turned to see what it was.. she found her duppatta firmly clutched in his fist, she wondered when he did it... the sudden movement caused some disturbance and he stirred, frowning.. Ridhhima again sat by his side patting his back like a baby's ,he fell quiet again, frown subsiding... She kept patting him for some time... relieved seeing him quiet calm and sleeping peacefully...
Sudden thoughts flooded her mind... She didn't knew why ,but his uncomfort caused her uncomfort ,his pain caused her pain.. She wondered since when she had started finding his pleasures most important...and why she tried to bring comfert to him... She wondered why was she getting so affected by him ? his presence... Why his happiness was getting important to her ?... but she shrugged it off ,her logical mind started giving reasons...
" Cmmon Ridhhima he's just a friend aur duniya ko dikhane ke liye
jo ek patni ko karna padta hai tum wahi to kar rahi ho..." but then
another question flashed her
" Magar abhi kaun dekh raha hai...?? " There came no reply... as the clock striked 1 her thoughts got interrupted... She found him sleeping peacefully ,she carefully seperated her dupatta from his hand and covered him up properly.. again her thoughts trailed off...
" why did he clutched my dupatta ? the way it was tied around his hand it could not be accident.. was he scared that I will go away ?? But why ?? " She gave him one more look and switching on the night light went back to Padma... There were too many things about him she didn't knew still...
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Ridhhima woke up and busied herself with household chores but try as she might she could not put away what happened yesterday night. She felt as if that was something which went little beyond the definition of friendship, that had put Ridhhima on her guard... she wondered if 'she' was crossing the line of friendship ?!... The thought scared her.. made her very uncomfortable... Was she giving wrong indications ? Was she doing something that made him think that there could be more...? And what the heck ! Why is she raising these questions at all !? Again the part of her brain which always came to Armaan's rescue intervened... " but Ridhhima you know him that much by now.. He often acts so ,why are you getting hyper about it ?? " She exhaled fed up with this pointless, going nowhere debate with herself...
One thing was clear though ,she could not let her heart raise such questions again... What if Vivek was not here and she's married, she and Armaan, both know the truth of their ' marriage '. Moreover she cannot betray Vivek, He must be waiting for her... She wanted so many answers from him... And had faith in him that he will not betray her... He loved her, she was sure of it ,there must be something preventing him to come back to her, he might be in need of help... The thought again made her restless. She looked at Armaan and found him busy doing his favourite work... Pulling leg of whosoever was available.. well, Shashank was an exception to that, but by the look of it, he too was enjoying this session... Armaan seem to remember nothing of yesterday night and clutching of her dupatta may be it 'was' an accident and she's overreacting...
She couldn't have been more wrong because Armaan clearly remembered every detail of her presence with him in the room... She was engrossed in the magazine when he took hold of her dupatta, he was feeling really restless and uncomfortable fearing that she might go away. He childishly tied her dupatta around his hand, thinking it would prevent her from going away, he never wanted her to leave him ... Her sweet fragrance did wonders to soothe his restlessness and when he fell asleep ,he had no idea... But when he recalled his act in the morning ,he felt that she might not take it so easily... He could see that she had again raised her defenses against him... he found her somewhat distant and knew that she would have found him sleeping holding her dupatta. He knew what to do, the best way to make her comfortable was to feign ignorance about the whole thing... if she feel that it was nothing to worry about ,she would be herself again... And he was right, the way she looked at him it was certain that she was looking for the clues if he had any idea what happened at night and was somewhat relaxed to see that she felt that he didn't knew (didn't show) if anything out of ordinary happened between them...
He found her falling for his act, he breathed in, making a mental note not to act in any foolish manner which could risk what he'd managed to build till now... He didn't wanted to loose her to that jerk... And yes, now that he remembers him, he must check out on him, see what he's doing ?... He hadn't given his weekly call to him but Armaan knew he can't be long after all the date was coming near...
He came out in the garden and Checked if he was alone, glancing at his watch which showed 11:35, He took out his cell phone and dialled a number... The phone rang twice before someone picked it up
" Hello " even with a twelve hour time difference the voice sounded as if the the person was wide awake...
" where are you ? " Armaan asked firmly
" like you don't know " came the sarcastic reply
" jitna pucha hai utna jawaab do "
" wahin jahan pehle tha " the sarcasm in the voice got replaced by a
tone with a touch of loathing
" hmm " he was satisfied with the answer
" they're still after me ,I think we had a deal. You promised me something ,I've kept my side of bargain and you haven't fulfilled yours yet " now in even but angry tone
Armaan knew he was getting impatient " have you got what we settled on ? "
There was a pause for a moment " the first, yes. "
" And does anyone know apart from those who already know ? "
Another momentary pause " no "
" then you see I've kept my side till now. Your current status wouldn't have been possible had I decided to do something otherwise "
" I'm not finished yet " Armaan said firmly the listener went quiet " just do as you are told to do. Until I say the work is done it's not done. You'll get a call sometime..." he checked his watch " tomorrow, he'll see to it that you get what you require "
He sighed resignedly " fine... Can I ask you something ? "
" make it quick "
" doesn't she ask about me ? I know Ridhhima well enough to be sure that she won't rest until she finds everything... Me "
This time Armaan went quiet " if everything goes well ,then she won't be bothered with anything "
He gave a small laugh " are you really so naive Armaan to believe that she would rest at whatever you've told her..."
" till now she does "
" How long are you planning it to delay ? you can't stop her forever... I know she still believes me, the meeting would be inevitable "
" That won't be necessary I think.."
" Really ? What are you planning to tell her ? I bet you have made me some kind of devil before her "
" to tell her ? not yet, but you are no less devil already and I have some principles ,unlike you "
He ignored the remark " once she comes to know what you did to me I'll be in good light again.." there was again the hint of triumph in the voice
" Are you sure about it ? " It was his turn to smile " I'm sure there are people there who will be interested to know more about you.."
" Why don't you let it be..." the irritation was back again
" Not until I think it's time..."
" but hadn't she asked about me ? "
" how many times will you ask ? " Armaan was not happy with his question, he didn't want to tell him that she hasn't forgotten him and neither let him forget " No, she's never mentioned you.." he lied
" Haha Mr. Armaan Malik you wouldn't have bothered yourself with me if she hadn't been after you. I too happen to know Ridhhima.. are you trying to say that she'd forgotten me.. Vivek, her love..."
" Bloody... Don't you dare take her name otherwise I'll see to it that you never see the light of the day " Armaan roared his patience was being tested
The effect was instant " Chill, chill man, your faithful here never let me forget it... But let me tell you she won't let it go... She's a stubborn girl and doesn't give up easily... Especially when it's about her love she blindly believes in... tumne theek nahi kiya Armaan she was supposed to be with me, here..."
" She was never yours and you were never hers ,otherwise you wouldn't
have been in this situation... And don't push your luck I'm at my devilish best
when I'm rubbed on the wrong side..." Vivek went quiet " get back to your work "
and with that he cut the call...
Ridhhima had no idea what went on in the garden and Armaan had no intention of telling her that the man she was so badly looking for was just a call away from him... Today he would tell her that they'd found a lead but it will hit a dead end... the man he'd employed already know what to say, no matter when she called him... He felt bad for lying to her but he had no choice...
He was in his office, smiling to himself remembering the touch of her soft hand when she wiped the gravy off his face... when she sat by his side when he couldn't sleep... He sighed lying back on the chair, smiling broadly... They have come far ,hopefully if the progress continues then maybe he won't need to trouble that jerk at all... He was just thinking about it when there was a knock on the door ,coming out of his rosy world of thoughts he looked at the clock. He sat up, he had a meeting with some suppliers in an hour...
" come in " he called hurriedly
Sameer came in " I wanted to ask what should we do about the coming projects..? We can get them easily too.." coming to the point
Armaan got up taking off his coat from back of his chair " we'll follow the same course of action which was decided... But for now I've to go for a meeting . You carry on with the things ,just let me know the final stuff " and he left for the meeting
The lunch meeting was bit boring as he tried hard to concentrate but everytime found himself thinking about Ridhhima... Even the lunch didn't tasted good enough, he wanted something cooked by her, he was getting addicted to her cooking as well. The suppliers mistook his smile for a positive sign for a profitable deal... Somehow he gulped down the food and took notice of some important points of the deal but today he just wanted to go back home and be with Ridhhima. Little did he know that there was a surprise waiting for him right there.
Coming out of the restaurant he was bidding goodbye to the representatives when he heard a familiar voice...
" common yaar, you are looking fine ! " said an exasperated Abhimanyu
" no way Abhi ! I'm not going out like this ! Plz sweetheart, just two minutes " the lady said sweetly and Abhimanyu like all the men in the world couldn't say no to a request like that... The lady smiled broadly and giving a quick kiss on his cheek went away, probably to change
Armaan was shocked to see it, Abhimanyu had done exactly what he had expected but he should observe little more and not jump on conclusions... The lady by the look of it seem to belong to a good family, fair , had long black hair and was not unattractive all together... Okay she was on the beautiful side , BUT nowhere near Niki ! .
" Stop it Armaan ! you are again jumping to conclusions... Look first " his brain, which was shaken badly tried to reason out the logic behind Abhimanyu with another woman. He positioned himself so that he was out of Abhimanyu's sight but within earshot
Abhimanyu took out his cell phone " Hello, Niki... Haan actually aaj ek important meeting hai kuch clients ke saath to aaj main thoda late ho jaunga... Yeah okay bye " he smiled to himself
There was a tap on his shoulder and he turned to see that she was back ,changed now " wow you look gorgeous darling ! "
The girl smiled broadly at the compliment " thanks, waise what about Nikita ? "
" uski fikar mat karo, everything has been taken care of, she thinks I'm in a meeting with some clients " both grinned
" you're wicked "
" thank you, now let's go i can't wait I'm sooo hungry " and they both walked off arm in arm ,unaware that they were being watched
Armaan was disgusted , and was boiling with anger. Abhimanyu was just as he'd thought ,a scoundrel , a cheat... He was cheating on Niki his best friend ! .he won't leave him.
All through his way back the scene and Abhimanyu's words echoed in his mind making his blood boil everytime he thought about him and the girl who was clinging on to him... " bas***d ! "
He stormed into his cabin " Sameer come to my room . Now ! "
Sameer found him pacing up and down in the room " ohohh someone poked the lion... Man , who so ever you are ,you are gone, but may be he want to rush up with things. It's good that I brought the files along " with these thoughts Sameer knocked breaking his chain of thoughts " Sir, here's everything, just as planned... Should we get started with it...? "
Armaan sat down on his chair still fuming " yes.. But there is a slight change now, have a seat we've something to discuss " Sameer could not understand what is it this time but whatever it is ,going by the expressions on his face, was not a good news...
Abhimanyu stormed in the conference room and slammed few files on the table...
" what's the hell is going on Mr. Khanna, problem at site, problem at factory and that too when we have an important contract to bid for ! " he looked at the other managers, who shifted uneasily in their seats thanking god that they were not asked for directly. Abhimanyu slid a file towards him ,it was an emergency board meeting with head of each department . He then eyed Mr. Kapoor
" aur Mr.Kapoor kya aap yeh batayenge ki yeh Gurgaon factory main yeh achanak strike ki naubat kyun aa gayi ? " his even cold voice was even more threatening " and the workers ,how can they demand bonus ?! they were just given that and at present they are not even entitled to it ! "
Mr. Kapoor cleared his throat to speak. He looked at the line of board members sitting opposite him and other managers by his side but nobody intimidated him more than the figure sitting at the top chair of Chairman...
" we know sir and you're absolutely right about it. We have tried to reason it out to their leader but he's a stubborn man and says they were not given the just bonus " Abhimanyu sat down ,he knew that they had done so " the leader has threatened to take the matter to the court if the demand is not met " added Mr.kapoor
" but they don't stand a chance to win in court " An elderly board member interjected
" we know that sir and the thing is 'they' know it too " everybody looked at each other ,there was surprise on everyone's faces except Abhimanyu's who was thinking something . Mr.kapoor continued " when I talked to him ,he clearly said that even when they loose they won't stop... You'll see sir he said 'even when' not 'if'... "
" then what's the logic behind all this ? Can they even afford not coming to work ? " another board member quipped
Abhimanyu looked up at him " yes Mr.Mittal they can ,at least ' the leader ' can " all the eyes were now on Abhimanyu " there's a big reason behind all this, it's all planned... To hold us up for bidding for the next project . If this gets to the deciding committee that we have internal problems which we seem unable to handle and a huge work force ready to go on strike, the authority might not consider us for the bid even when we quote the lowest ,fearing that we might not be able to finish work in the assigned time period and that way we loose even before we bid " everybody seemed convinced of the explanation " and about being able to afford it... Well you just can when you have a billionaire backing you up " there was pin drop silence now " guess who'll be benefiting out of all this the most..."
Mr.Mittal whispered out " Armaan Malik.." all 6 board members and 7 department heads exchanged looks
" bingo ! But unfortunately it can't be traced back on him even when we know " someone shifted lightly on his seat glad that noone can hear his thumping heart or see the sweat trailing down his collar to his back
The meeting was concluded deciding the future course of action ,now only the board members remained in the room " gentlemen One thing i wanted to share only with you people... i think there's a leakage within our company " another ripple of shock passed through everyone
Niki had seen Abhimanyu troubled for quiet many days now, everytime she asked he just said that it's nothing but she knew that he was hiding something from her. He never looked so troubled before something was surely there and he wasn't telling her... He didn't even slept properly these days. She decided to confront him
" Abhi, mujhe tumse kuch baat karni hai "
" abhi nahi Niki, abhi main thoda busy hun " he didn't look up from his file
But today Niki wasn't going to listen to any excuse, she snatched away his file and sat before him " Nikiii ,kya kar rahi ho ?! "
" pehle tum meri baat ka jawab do, aakhir baat kya hai ? And plz yeh mat kehna ki kuch nahi hai. Main bevkoof nahi hun jo yeh nahi dekh sakti ki tum aajkal kuch jyada hi pareshaan ho... Kya mera itna bhi haq nahi hai Abhi ki main tumhari pareshaani share kar saku ? "
This was it, Abhi sighed, he was so happy that she was proclaiming his right on him... And anyway he trusted her more than anyone after all she was his love " huuuhh, it's Armaan "
" what ??! " she was shocked " Armaan ?? Matlab ? "
" Armaan has started troubling us, usne ek factory main strike karwa di hai... Site par bhi problems chal rahi hai... Pehla contract hum haar hi gaye the aur ab dusre main bhi yeh mushkil hai ki mil bhi paayega ki nahi even when we bid the lowest quotes... It is as if he want to wipe me out " Niki was stunned to hear it
" main yeh tumhe isliye nahi batana chahta tha kyunki main jaanta hun ki tum dono dost ho aur shayad yeh baat accept karne main tumhe dikkat hogi... Upar se main un logo ka pata nahi laga paa raha hun jo shayad hamari company main rehkar uske liye kaam kar rahe hain... It's chaos all over ! "
Niki was stunned to hear it ,she lnew Armaan and Abhi were rivals but Armaan would go to such an extent was unbelivable " Abhi are you sure it's Armaan... I mean koi uska naam le kar to.."
Abhi smirked " I knew tum yeh baat accept nahi kar paogi, after all wo 'Armaan' hai, he's flawless hai naa " his temper started rising more so because he could not bear her taking his side
Niki felt offended " nahi Abhi, aisa nahi hai main to bas isliye keh rahi thi ki kyunki sab jaante hai ki tum dono ki aapas main itni banti nahi hai aur kahin koi is baat ka fayeda to nahi utha raha "
" haan hamari nahi banti... I hate Armaan Malik " he shouted out and got up from the couch " aur iss baat ka ek hi insaan fayeda utha raha hai aur wo hai Armaan Malik... Tum jaa kar so jao Niki... I'll take care of everything, if he wants to play dirty then he'll get what he want " he said firmly
Whole night Niki couldn't sleep Abhimanyu's words kept on repeating in her mind like a tape set on loop... Now that she thought of it ,she found that Abhi couldn't be wrong Armaan was the only one she could find had the power, guts and resources to challenge Abhimanyu... And after her marriage the business rivalry had got a personal touch too... But what she couldn't understand was what happened to make the situation worse... There was nothing earlier...
She sat up and looked at Abhimanyu, Sleeping next to her, even in sleep she could see how troubled his face looked... She bent down and caressed his hair gently... He didn't stirred probably was deep in slumber... She then resolved that it's time that she put her foot down. She wanted to know why Armaan is doing this and if this is because she married Abhimanyu then it's high time that he knows what she think about it...
As soon as Abhimanyu went off to work she picked up the phone and dialled a number...
" haan main Niki bol rahi hun... Let's meet today... Yes that would be fine... Okay "
It was about ten minutes and none of them spoke. She'd called him to get things sort out... Armaan kept munching small bits of food and Niki watched him ,planning on how to start, but then decided to come straight to the point
" Tum yeh sab kyun kar rahe ho Armaan... Why ?? "
He had the inkling why she'd called him, that bas***d must have run to her to ask for help... Spineless maggot... He cursed Abhimanyu before answering her " It's for you Niki.. I told you to stay away from him, magar nahi... Tum itni ziddi ho ki kisi ki sunti hi kahan ho "
" Armaan seedhe seedhe bologe ki baat kya hai ? And for God's sake stop blaming Abhi for everything ! Main jaanti hun yeh sab gadbad tumhare alawa koi aur karwa hi nahi sakta "
" yes, you are right, yeh sab maine karwaya hai... And I have a very valid reson for it.. " he paused for a moment debating whether to tell her or not and then decided it's time that she should know " he's lying to you Niki, cheating on you.. usko sabak sikhana jaruri hai "
" Kya ? Cheating on me ?! Abhi ?? " she was totally taken by surprise but she knew one thing was for sure ,this was not true " he's not cheating on me..! You don't know him ,tum kuch nahi jaante uske baare main Armaan... Tumhe jarur kuch galatfehmi hui hai "
" ooh so now he's all goody goody angel and i'm a devil huh.. Wo kaisa hai mujhe achhi tarah se pata hai, and has he become more important to you than me. I'm your best friend, I care for you "
" main jaanti hun Armaan " she took a deep breath she had to calm herself down first " but for god's sake he's my husband ! And I trust him ! " she said with finality..he looked at her incredulous
" ohh then let me tell you something about the 'husband' of yours whom you 'trust' . i found that scoundral with a woman in the Park hotel..." Niki was rooted on the spot ,though she didn't believe it but somewhere felt scared that what if it's all true and Abhimanyu is really cheating on her " He lied to you when he said that he was going on a meeting with a client.. He was with that girl and was 'sooo hungry' I hope I don't have to explain what that means " he was now fuming
Niki sat still " yeh kab hua Armaan ? "
" last week.. Friday, I went there for lunch with some suppliers and ta da what do I see ,Abhimanyu Modi walking away arm in arm with this girl after lying to his wife ! " he slammed at the table
" did you say last friday ? "
" yes... Afternoon to be precise... The girl was of medium height black hair medium built, she looked fine and was clinging on to him " he made a face disgusted
Realization dawned on Niki and relief spread over, she smiled "Armaan.. I was right, Abhimanyu is not cheating on me "
" what ?! " he looked incredulous " you think i'm lying ? "
" no you're not , but neither am i or Abhimanyu.. I know that girl "
" you.. You know that girl ! " she nodded " well then it's good, catch them red handed and divorce that bloody liar "
" I'm not going to divorce him Armaan " she said coolly
" are you crazy Niki ! You know naa what you are saying... Your-husband-is -cheating-on-you.. Do you get it ! "
" cool down Armaan, he's not cheating on me..." she explained him then that girl happened to be his favourite of all cousins... And she's older to him and engaged, she came to meet her fiance who was staying in the hotel for just few hours before he flew off for some meeting abroad... She herself called Abhimanyu to pick her up from the hotel and decided to surprise her " and that was when you found them, so now do you understand that he's not cheating on me "
Armaan had no option but to believe her, it was exactly what happened between that girl and Abhimanyu " but still, I don't find him trust worthy enough "
She rolled her eyes ,he was just impossible but she has to make something clear to him ,Abhimanyu had suffered too much " look Armaan jis tarah tum mere sabse achhe dost ho, mere liye important ho waise hi Abhi bhi mere liye khaas hain.. Aur shayad usse bhi jyada, behtar yahi hoga ki tum is baat ko jitni jaldi ho sake accept kar lo.. Warna.."
" Warna..?! Warna kya Niki ? " he narrowed his eyes
" Warna shayad hum dost bhi nahi reh payenge..." she looked straight into his eyes " You will loose me forever..again..." she was tired of making him understand.. but then soften up a bit " Main ab Abhi se alag nahi hun Armaan, agar tum mujhe apna dost maante ho to tumhe Abhi ko bhi accept karna hoga " A muscle tightened in his jaw ,he kept looking at her trying to read if she meant what she'd said
" I don't believe it.. You have changed Niki and that too for that bl.." She glared at him angrily and he stopped himself.
" Armaan ,I love Abhi Armaan... T.." she was about to say 'tum' but stopped " apne so called pehle pyaar se alag hokar hi mujhe ehsaas hua ki main jise pyaar samajh rahi thi wo to pyaar tha hi nahi... Abhi kab mere liye sabse jaruri ban gaye mujhe pata hi nahi chala, ab wo mere liye sab kuch hai Armaan... Aur agar unhe kisi ne bhi koi bhi takleef dene ki koshish kari to use sabse pehle mera saamna karna hoga... Phir chahe wo koi koi bhi ho... Tum bhi Armaan..."
He kept looking at her... " Tum badal gayi ho Niki.. Bahut.."
She added softly " haan.. Shayad, but it's for good ,trust me . plz don't make me choose between the two people I love the most, please I beg you... Stop punishing him just because he married me... He's not a bad guy Armaan " she tried desperately
He didn't look at her just kept staring at the glass in his hand then suddenly said looking up at her... " Let's go Niki... Tumhe daer ho rahi hai..." He quickly called for the bill and got up to go...
" why does it happen to me...? Why all the stubborn blockheads are kept in my share to deal with...? " She sighed wondering, but one thing she was sure of... Abhi is her everything... " More than Armaan ? " Her heart asked... " Yes.. Yes he is..." Came the firm reply... And she was glad there was no hesitation...
" What are you smiling at..?? " He asked
" Kuch nahi, Something got even clearer today..." She got up too... As they were about to go seperately to their cars she stopped... " Armaan plz... I don't want to loose my best friend again..."
" Niki..." He came closer... " No matter how much I dislike your ' husband ' i'll always be your friend... But don't expect anything more ,some things just don't change... I'm glad that he's not cheating on you " Her car came in meanwhile and driver promptly opened the door for her... " Go home Niki ,it's getting late..." She sat inside feeling she's lost him again... And as the car drove by he stood there watching her go..
Abhimanyu frowned when the shrill voice of his phone disturbed his sleep which was already difficult to find these days... He sleepily looked for his phone...
" h..hello "
" it's amazing that you can still sleep "
He jumped up hearing the voice " kaun ? "
" wrong question , ask how ? "
Abhimanyu didn't wasted time " how ? "
" you learn fast Modi... tell the union leader to either go to the court or ask the workers to be back to work by tomorrow max day after "
" what if he goes to court that'll take a long time which we don't have "
" you can survive but they can't there's already discontentment in the team you'll have no problem he won't dare to go to the court he knows they don't stand a chance. Tell the workers that those who return to work, their pay will not be cut and if we win the case then workers on strike will be fired. Don't worry you can do that."
He took note of it " there's problem on site too, is that by Armaan Malik ? "
" i just give solutions not names, make arrangement for a temporary stay for children and one time food service for workers there will be no problem when workers love you and yes fire away the head of security he's difinitely not in your party ,selling off your material in black " Abhimanyu was shocked ,he didn't knew this." and yes coming to next project the quote is fine don't change it..."
" Magar sun...o " But the line went dead, " damn ! " He wanted to ask about the people who were cheating, working for Armaan... But now he'd to wait till he calls next and he didn't knew when that would be
To Abhimanyu's surprise each and every word of the caller turned out to be true. He caught the security head red handed, the workers were delighted by the news of one time food service and that leader well... As said he dare not go against Abhimanyu's wishes when he found that he was busted , as soon as the workers were back he was nowhere to be seen, thrown away from the post as well as the factory... Abhimanyu tasted some peace after a looong time...
when in peace one tend to forget to keep track of time and before he knew he was sitting for the declaration for the next project. Armaan was there too but behaved as if Abhimanyu didn't existed
" welcome ladies and gentlemen... I know you all are eager to know the result so here it is... The second of three projects goes to Mr..." he opened up an envelope and put on the glasses just like an academy award announcer about to announce the best actor award " Mr.Abhimanyu Modi of Modi group "
Though Abhimanyu was surprised because somewhere he was still doubtful.. he didn't let it come to his face, he instead placed it with a smile... to top it all off he saw Armaan glaring at him, he gave him a smile which was returned with a scowl... Abhimanyu went to the head to sign up the papers ,most of the people had left by the time he came back and found Armaan talking to Sameer who looked sullen for some reason..
" so Armaan surprised !? ,as you can see I won..."
" Don't be over confident Abhimanyu, aisi chooti moti jeet se tum agar yeh sochte ho ki Armaan Malik ko challenge kar sakte ho to yeh tumhari galatfehmi hai... Is baar you just got lucky, but let's see ki tumhara luck kab tak tumhara sath deta hai..." Armaan said coolly
Abhimanyu smiled hearing it " oh you'll see Armaan from now on it always will... You know why ? coz I have got a lucky charm with me, I married her..." He smirked and Amaan was almost ready to kill him but Sameer stopped him Armaan knew he was talking about Niki... It was still difficult for him to digest that he married his best friend, who god knows why, loved him ! Yuck ! the thought made him want to puke, who in the right mind can love Abhimanyu- egoistic-loudmouth- jealous- no brain- Modi !!... But he knew one person who did, she happen to be her best friend ! He gave an award winning scowl to Modi who returned it with a triumphant smile.
He drove back home but his mind was still busy with the thoughts of what happened today. Sameer was not happy at the loss of project though it was hardly a matter of great importance but Sameer was not used to of seeing Armaan loose to anyone. Armaan smiled at it, he was indeed most loyal and got upset on his behalf too... He had been trying to make him understand that this is a win win situation if he had won the contract then he would have got another deal and if he looses it then he get to keep a friend. He would have got into detail but Modi inturrupted them making him angry with his stupid remarks but in the end it turned out that it was all well... Sameer's words rang in his ears
" I hope you know that the way you handle business is not the only thing I admire about you " Armaan looked at him " it's also how you deal your relationships " he got off the car and then he bent down again " and don't let that get into your head. Be normal "
" be normal " Armaan chuckled remembering the words ,yes he's trying his best to be...
The time flew by and it was almost a week since that day of contract announcement . Armaan and Sameer were out for a dinner meeting with the director of their branch in Germany . The director had gone leaving the two and it was then Sameer saw some people settle down at a table not far from theirs... Because of the decor it was hard for those people to see them but Armaan and Sameer could see them easily...
" oh my.. Are they with who I think they are ?! " Sameer exclaimed
" you bet, do you know them ? " Armaan looked at the direction and his brows shot up seeing them
" yeah ,tried their luck with someone back in London and.."
" and ?? "
" got lucky... But here with these ?! Don't they get tired ?! " Surprise clear in his voice
" apparently they don't, you'll be surprised that they tried there luck
with me too and hadn't it been for some lucky coincidence i would have greatly
suffered ,but here, it's completely different..." he looked at the group of four
again " well then, best of luck to them.. it's good that we don't have to do
anything Abhimanyu Modi will meet his doom himself... let the things be, don't
hint anything... Poor Modi he's going to learn in a hard way " he smirked
looking back at them...
Sameer was again left surprised.. ' What is with this guy ! One day he goes right other day goes left ' he shook his head, he had long before stopped trying to figure out how his brain works...
Abhi was busy with a file when Niki gave him his phone, thanking her he took it
" yeah ,who's it ? "he asked as he couldn't recognize the number
" how can you forget me Mr.Modi..." after a while when the caller cut the call Abhimanyu was left sweating...
" bloody hell ! " this was all he could manage to whisper out...
Armaan sat down for the breakfast it was almost a fortnight since the declaration of the contract and he decided to move on with the bid for final contract... planning mentally what to do today he flicked the channels on T.V. He stopped at one of the news channel which showed Abhimanyu's face all over the screen...
He read out the 'breaking news' - ek bade fraud ka parda fash !. He stopped eating ,Ridhhima too looked at what had gripped his attention more than his favourite paranthas... She was surprised to see the matter and sat down, intently listening to the reporter
" Mr. Abhimanyu Modi ne khud is baare main filhaal kuch bhi kehne se manaa kar diya hai magar unke spokesperson ke anusaar unke manager Mr. Khanna Par kaafi samay se shak tha ki wo company ke naam par kuch farzi deal kar rahe hain... Aur ab jis international fraud gang ke saath unhe pakda gaya hai uska network London, Singapore,China aur Korea jaise desho main faila hua hai... Wahaan par bhi yeh log kaye businessmen ko bevkoof banaa kar, unki company ka apni company ke saath merger karwane ke naam par dhoka de chuke the...
Modi group of companies ke chairman ko jab is deal main kuch gadbad hone ka andesha hua to unhone iski chhanbeen shuru ki aur paaya ki unka apna business manager unhe dhoka dene ki firaq main tha... Unhone turant police aur secret angencies ko alert kar diya jinhone ek secret mission ke tehat in frauds ko kal raat giraftaar kar liya.."
" is giraftari se naa kewal kayi cases solve ho gaye, kayi desho main wanted dhokebaaz giraftar ho gaye balki Modi group of companies ko karodo ka nuksaan hone se bach gaya "
Armaan switched off the T.V and looked disappointed at the news " Damn ! ab saara kaam mujhe hi karna padega. Main to soch raha tha... iss Abhimanyu ki kismat achhi thi ki iss baar bach gaya... But then ,he still has to face me " saying so he again got busy in his breakfast
Riddhima didn't like what he said about Abhimanyu but decided to keep quiet ,she knew this stubborn bull well enough now... And anyway she was relieved that Abhimanyu and Niki were safe from such a big trouble... She decided to call her later and get to know everything, in the past few days she found that they'd got even closer than they were before,sharing everything.. Well almost everything. Niki had turned out to be a gem of a person and Abhimanyu wasn't so bad either but it would have been a lot better if husbands were not after each others throat.. Wondering about it all she got ready to go for an inspection to their charitable hospital with Muskaan...
Armaan stirred as he felt thirsty ,sleepily he woke up,eyes still close and walked up to the table it was still dark outside. There was a sound of door opening up quietly and he saw Ridhhima coming in...
" Good morning " she said smiling a bit ,surprised to see him awake
He looked at the watch " Ridhhima tum itni subah..!? kahin gayi thi kya ? " Rubbing his eye still feeling sleepy
" Haan wo.. Actually Muski bhabhi ne kaha tha aaj subah jaldi uthne ke liye.."
" Muski ne ? Kyun ?? " Bit confused he poured himself a glass of water
" Wo... Wo aaj karwa chauth hai naa isliye.." she didn't knew what else to say, His eyes opened wide when he heard it.. Slowly he turned keeping the glass down... " Unhone sargi khane ke liye bulaya tha..." She too now felt bit awkward as in how to explain him..
" It's okay Ridhhima main samajh sakta hun.. Achha hua tum chali gayi nahi to unhe bekar hi shak hota..." He turned to go back to go to sleep... " Waise Ridhhima tumhe yeh vrat rakhne ki koi zarurat nahi hai.. Just treat it as any other day..." He gave her a small smile
Ridhhima stood there unable to decide... She herself didn't wanted to keep this fast at first place and now even he'd asked her not to keep the fast... She should feel happy but she wasn't exactly happy, there are people whose excitement made her feel guilty... But how can she keep the fast she and Armaan were not husband and wife in real sense, She was rather confused... She sighed ,angry with her own confused thoughts... She looked at the watch it was just 4:20 she decided to sleep for some more time and went to bed... Armaan was already snoring lightly, she chuckled today she found out another of his secret. She made a mental note to take this up when he teases her next time... The snoring monkey...!
Inspite of the day being karwa chauth, Ridhhima decided to go to hospital... She could not muster courage to face Muskaan's enthusiasm of doing everything special for her first fast, which she decided she won't keep...
But if she thought that she would save herself from the fast thing by going to hospital then she was proved wrong the moment she stepped in... Everywhere there were ladies ,patients and dostors who looked as if they were trying to prove their love for their husbands by dressing up in various shades of red and whatever they thought would be suitable for going to a party rather than to a hospital... But she had to admit ,it did brought some cheer to the place... Ridhhima felt compared to some she was very modestly dressed ,it was hell lot of effort to dress up normal when your dear sister in law want you to dress up in all the expensive kind of stuff from dress to jewellery emotionally blackmailing you, making you look like a model rather than a doctor going for a surgery...
Only the horror of loosing something in the patient's stomach while operating kept Muskaan from overloading her, still she felt she was overly dressed for the place... She sighed ,this was least she could do to keep her happy ,little did Muskaan knew that she hadn't kept the fast... Armaan seemed least affected by it, he had asked her clearly not to punish herself...
She found Sapna gripped in the fever of the fast. It was her first time too and as if this was not enough Aditi gave a surprise visit though Ridhhima felt that she wasn't her chirpy self but didn't had time to find out. Sapna hugged Aditi as soon as she said that she too had kept the fast for Chirag... And chirag ,well he looked as if he's just won a trophy... He had hugged her lovingly ,she smiled at their pure love.. her thoughts again trailed to Vivek, he too would wrap her in a hug like that... She jumped up when she heard Aditi scream
" Aditiii ! Kya hua ? " Ridhhima asked
" Ridhhima tum abhi paani peene waali thi, tumhara fast toot jaata " Sapna looked at Ridhhima, and she understood
" ohho Aditi wo fast se behosh ho na ho teri cheekh sun kar jaroor ho jaati... Aur agar aap logo ka romance khatam ho gaya ho to duty par chalein ? " and with that she drove them away with her... Ridhhima smiled at Sapna, mutely thanking her...
She was alone and her lunch came as usual to her cabin, she was about to take a bite when suddenly Muskaan's excited happy face came before her eyes... BP's smile and Virendra's loving blessings this morning came before her ,even Rahul bhaiyya was advising her... She smiled to herself thinking about everything ,she sat up stirring a spoon absently... and Armaan... her hand stopped immediately again... Is this right ? They all love her so much, they trust her so much, would she be able to look them in their eyes knowing that whatever she's doing is a lie !... It's okay Ridhhima just think of it as a day of dieting...
She pushed the plate back and called for the wardboy to take away the food.. Another thing worried her now, same stupid thoughts. She wondered why she thought of Armaan and stopped and not of Vivek... Her thoughts trailed down to past. She had the oppertunity of keeping the fast before too but she didn't do it for Vivek... Even Aditi had kept it for Chirag and they aren't married...why..? Don't she love vivek?? She shook herself mentally, why was she troubling herself with unnecessary thoughts ? It was just becuase she didn't felt it necessary at that time and now it's a social obligation... A custom she had to go through... and it's was just to show the family anyway... She thanked god when a nurse came calling her for the surgery...
The day went by, due to her busy schedule she didn't realised that she hadn't taken anything since morning and surprisingly she didn't feel the pangs of hunger and thirst like others... She wondered if that was normal... But then shrugged it off ,there was nothing normal when Armaan was concerned... She was heartily welcomed when she went back home. She couldn't recognise the place at all, it was all decorated with flowers ,lights and a beautiful smell hung in the air... Was it flowers or perfume she didn't knew and didn't bothered...
Muskaan took her along and got her ready for the evening, Armaan didn't pick her up from hospital today as he had some work and she came early. As it was her first karwa chauth there was big arrangement done at home and Muskaan was bursting with excitement... Lots of people including her parents were invited.. This was not that worried her but the thing was that she had to go through all the coustoms before everyone and can't hide anything from anyone...
Armaan was bowled over when he saw her all dressed up in the beautiful saree. She looked like a new bride, he fell head over heels in love with her all over again, he just could not take his eyes away from her . Later when he could no longer get successful in talking to her privately since he'd come back from office he secretly pulled her to a corner when she went to kitchen for some work...
" Armaan ! Kya kar rahe ho ?? "
" shhh.." he looked here and there " wahan sab tumse chipke hue the isliye keh nahi paaya..."
" oh bas itni si baat... Bolo kya kehna hai ? Kuch chahiye tha kya ? "
He looked into her eyes... He wanted to say yes.. Yes, he wanted her to love him... To promise she'll be there, forever, by his side... To hug him and never let go... To kiss him and make every pore of his body feel alive.. He ran his fingers in his hair " bolo Armaan " she asked again when she got no reply
" wo.. Haan, actually main keh raha tha ki aaj tum bahut sundar lag rahi ho... Absolutely gorgeous " she was surprised and before she could understand he took out a small box and put a small black spot near her ear..
" Armaan yeh kya kar rahe ho ? "
" arre tumhe nazar se bacha raha hun... Bahar sab tumhe ghuur ghuur kar dekh rahe hain " he made a face, he didn't like it a single bit when other men stared at her, his thoughts were broken by her laugh
" aur tum yeh kaajal kahan se laaye ? "
" Muski ke room se, maine usko Angel ko lagate hue dekha tha to.. Maine socha..."
" oh Armaann you are soo sweet " she pulled his cheeks ,he flashed his dimpled smile, turning red for a change.. She became bit serious and looked at him " thank you Armaan " there eyes met and he wished that the moment would freeze forever, with both of them there together...
She came out of the eye lock when she heard Maria calling for her " Maria bula rahi hai " suddenly she found the closeness very awkward .she standing there with him dressed as a bride and... What the hell ! did he just put a black mark on her neck ! She could still feel his touch . Sirens started blaring and suddenly she was very conscious of the situation when she found him staring at her " main... Main chalti hun "
" Ridhhima " she stopped and turned " tumne vrat to nahi rakha tha naa... You look pale "
How can he know she never told him " n..nahi Armaan ,tumne hi to kaha tha " there was another call "okay gotta go " Armaan watched her walk away. He exhaled and stood resting by a pillar
" hayee i love her..."
Soon the moon was out and all the ladies performed the rituals... Ridhhima felt awkward but had little choice, she did what was expected of her, unaware of the eyes which had all the love of the world for her... and was glad that soon evrything was over... She felt as if someone was watching her but whenever she turned she found noone in particular, Armaan was as usual busy with other men and she just shrugged it off... Now she started to feel the pangs of hunger before she could put something to eat for herself Martin came calling for her
" maam Armaan sir had called you to the room immediately. He said it's an emergency " Ridhhima rushed to the room hearing it, worried if anything had happened. She went inside and found the sitting area empty, she went to the room and there to her surprise the table was set for two and Armaan stood by it's side with a sweet smile
" welcome madame, you table is reserved " he bowed and gave her his arm
" Armaan yeh ?! " she asked surprised
" you can't lie to me Ridhhima... Tumne subah se kuch nahi khaya naa." she bowed her head " kyun ? Maine mana kiya tha naa "
She looked up at him and to her annoyance she didn't remember any reason now, she had no answer to it ,he could see the confusion on her face and didn't press it further " anyway leave that ,mere paet main to chuhe kuud rahe hai... Let's attack " he pulled out a chair for her like a perfect gentleman and sat opposite her
" magar Armaan neeche sab hamara wait kar rahe honge "
" koi kuch nahi kahega, Muski sab sambhal legi. I've already told her aur tum baaki sabki fikar karna chhodo aur khana khao, kahin behosh ho gayi to main to tumhe utha bhi nahi paunga "
Her mouth fell open in surprise and she threw a napkin at him... That waved off all the awkwardness and they ate their dinner happily together... Laughing ,chatting and teasing... They had another fight when she told him that he snores which he vehemently denied... And the fight went on...
Ridhhima woke up sweating, for a change it was she who saw a nightmare.
She turned and saw him sleeping on his stomach clutching his pillow . She
breathed in running a hand over her face wiping off tiny bead of sweat .she thew
off the covers and drank a glass of water... Everything was okay there was no
fire... She took a deep breath... The dream was scary
she and Armaan were in a place ,somewhere with lots of grass.. she was laughing and running away from him and he followed her... But suddenly when she turned he wasn't there. She started looking for him and then there was a scream... He was calling her name ,there was fire all around him... She couldn't cross it, but tried anyway. She gave him her hand and then... she woke up... She didn't remembered if he held it or not... She breathed again " cmmon Ridhhima it was just a dream, go back to sleep.." She fell back again but this time had to wait a little before sleep visited her again.
She'd thought that the uneasiness would pass away by morning after all she'd seen the nightmare after a long time, and she was right everything seemed normal. She breathed in and hit her head for troubling herself for no reason at all.
She sat by his side on her way to Sanjeevani. For a weird reason the uneasiness was back. She looked at Armaan ,he was busy with his file...
" kya hua ? Kuch kehna hai kya ? " she was surprised she'd no idea he even noticed that she was looking at him. She shifted ,caught redhanded, she merely shook her head... She remembered what he said when she told him about the nightmare
Armaan laughed out " this is what happens when you remain hungry for silly reason..."
" it wasn't silly Armaan " she'd protested, her fast for a day had made so many people happy. Moreover, she just could not bring herself to lie. So ,for her sake rather than anything or anyone else ,she'd kept the fast and how can he say that it was for a silly reason, he didn't went through that non stop debate over it...
Maybe her feelings came to her face and his tone changed " okay, it wasn't silly. but don't worry. it's just a dream. I see nightmares all the time but do they effect me ? nahi naa.. then don't bother..." with that the talk was over and she too felt that she's streaching it. Though she wanted to say she'd seen him waking up from his nightmares ,twisting in sleep.. Only difference is he remembers nothing by the time he wakes up and she does...
A light jerk brought her back from her thoughts ,she got off the car ,he too got off and stood by the door. She started for her car but then stopped to look at him " Armaan... take care "
" don't worry I will " he gave her a thumbs up
She gave him a smile, she didn't know what made her say that " pata nahi Armaan magar kuch theek sa nahi lag raha " She sighed " may be I'm overreacting..." She thought
Armaan found himself smiling broadly. Her words " Armaan ,take care " rang in his mind. He was sooo happy ,her first words for him as typical words of advice from wifey... He grinned and just could not concentrate in the file anymore...
He was now at the new construction site... Checking out for the new development and to see how's everything was going on...
" sir, blasting shuru kar di hai ,ek hafte ke andar andar saara kaam ho jayega " the head engineer informed him
" good " he shouted back ,the place was noisy with big drills and blasts all happening together.. He consulted the blue prints again.. " blasting kis kis point par ho rahi hai ? "
" i'll just check " he called the other engineer " Raman blasting kis kis point par ho rahi hai ? " he repeated the question thrice ,frowning at the noise
" blast.. 5,27,33,9 aur 60 " he replied
" kyaaa ? last main kya tha ? 7 ? (Saat)" he asked in hindi seven
" haan haan 60 (saath) " he replied sixty in hindi
" okay, " he came back to Armaan and gives the number of sites where blasting was going on
" fine let's go to this last site " he pointed a mark in the site map " I think the blasting is done here , I want to check " and along with the head engineer he went for the inspection
Ridhhima was on her way back to her cabin when a nurse came calling..
" Dr.Ridhhima aapke liye phone hai... It's urgent "
" phone ? mere liye ? " she then remembered that she'd switched off her cell before going for the surgery, she quickly came to the reception " hello "
What she heard next left her stunned. She clutched the phone hard, trying to control herself... Her nightmare turned out to be true...
Seeing her ashen face the nurse asked worried " kya hua Dr.Ridhhima ? Sab theek to hai ?? "
" Armaan..." was all she could manage to utter...
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Joined: 06 January 2009
Recap : Armaan calls Vivek, Abhimanyu is seen with a girl, by Armaan, which create some confusion. Armaan starts troubling Abhimanyu. Niki confronts Armaan. Abhimanyu gets call from mystery man again and problems get solved. Abhimanyu's manager gets arrested for fraud and Ridhhima's first karwa chauth... She gets a call later at hospital which leaves her stunned.
Ridhhima dropped the receiver and rushed out... Sameer informed her
that blasting was going-on on the site and Armaan accidently went to the wrong
spot due to some confusion and got into the blast, they took him to the nearby
Max care hospital, though he said not to worry and come as soon as possible yet
it was easier said than done...
She jumped into the car asking the driver to get to the hospital as fast as he can, her heart beating frantically. All sort of bad thoughts clouded her mind, she fought to wave them away, kept assuring herself that he would be fine... She was bit angry too ,why didn't she let him stay at home or stop him from going to the site. the nightmare now came true ,she shuddered recalling it, she should've listened to her heart... Her anger again diverted to him, Why he has to be so careless ? Didn't she told him to take care ,but does he listen !? Ever !
Lost in her thoughts, worrying like hell ,every second seemed to pass like an hour and though they reached the hospital in mere 25 minutes it felt like eternity... She tried calling Shashank on the way but was informed that he was in a surgery, she left the message. BP and Virendra were out of town and would not return until evening and Rahul's number was unreachable.worrying Muskaan seemed useless. She decided to call later. Sameer told her on phone that he was unconscious when they brought him to the hospital... Well that explained it, otherwise Armaan would rather wither in pain than step in the hospital. She remembered that he didn't came even when Angel was born and the tough time he gave her while he himself was in the hospital..
As the car turned into the porch of the hospital she jumped out of it even before it could come to complete stop. Sameer was right there, ready to escort her..
" Sameer, Armaan kahan hai ? " he asked hurriedly
" Chaliye maam, ab unhe hosh aa gaya hai " A wave of relief passed through her
" Is he okay now ? Jyada chot to nahi aayi ? " She kept asking as they hurried to his room
" doctors ne kaha hai ki chot jyada to nahi hai.. aur kuch test karne ke liye kaha hai magar..." He paused
" Magar kya ? " She stopped looking at him questioningly
" Maam sir ne koi bhi test karwane se manaa kar diya hai, infact wo kisi bhi doctor ko apne saamne tak nahi aane de rahe.."
" What ?! "
" Yes maam. yahan tak ki simple blood test bhi nahi, jo nurse test karne aayi thi us par chilla pade, Badi mushkil se hamne abhi unhe roka hai yeh keh kar ki aap yahaan aa rahi hain, warna wo to sirf yahan se jaane ki zid karke baithe hue the.."
" Ohh Armaaann " she groaned. She feared something like this would happen. Doctors here hardly knew anything about his fear of the place or needles.
Sameer stopped outside a room " this is the room ,I'm right here if you need anything.."
" Thanks Sameer " she quietly opened the door and went in, heart beating even more loudly now, but was much relieved seeing him. She thanked God closing her eyes momentarily. There he sat on a big reclining examining chair... A temporary bandage on the forehead which was soaked in blood, probably he hadn't seen it otherwise he would have freaked out. It was a miracle itself that he was still here.
He rested there with eyes closed, looking pale and drained out, pain fear, worry clear on his face. She quietly closed the door but the sound of doorknob probably woke him. He opened his eyes, a hopeful smile came to his face seeing her
" Ridhhima ! " He tried to get up " aah ! ouchh ! " He held his wrist, wincing with pain. She rushed to him
" Armaan !! Utho mat. Relax " Keeping a hand on his shoulder she made him lie back in half sitting position, being a doctor she knew that there was something wrong with the wrist. Deciding not to worry him further she took a deep breath and sat by his side.. " Are you okay ? "
He nodded " yeah " the relief of seeing her clearly showed on his face.
She smiled " waise Armaan, is this your site ? " trying to ease him up a bit...
But as she thought ,the situation was not so light " Ridhhima plz. Take me out of here, they're not letting me go " she could see the mad fear in his eyes, the extreme effort he was making not to show it... But she knew...
She kept a hand on his shoulder " hum ghar chalenge Armaan, magar pehle thodi bandage karni padegi, tumhe chot lagi hai naa " her eyes went to his forehead with a soaking bandage... As Sameer had told ,He hadn't let the doctors touch it...
The door opened " Mrs. Mallik..." she turned to look at the man who peeped in " can I have a word with you.. " it was the doctor ,she nodded
" Armaan, main abhi aayi " she got up but stopped as she felt a tug... turning she found her dupatta in Armaan's hand clutched tightly " Armaan ?! "
" don't leave me Ridhhima...plz " his voice was soft ,pleading... But the way he looked at her it felt the words carried more than just this situation... Or was it just her imagining things...
" Armaaann " she sat down beside him again... Kept a hand over his ,smiling reassuringly " cmmon Armaan, tum bhi naa bilkul bachhe ho... Main just doctor se baat karne ja rahi hun, I'm not running away somewhere ! he's nearly sixty by the look of it " she chuckled and it brought a small smile on his lips too...
" Tum aa jaogi naa.. ? What if you like him ? After all, he's a doctor.. And you prefer doctors " He tried to make it light but was really unable to hide his fear, uncertainty in his words and what was that in his last sentence... I prefer doctors !
" Don't worry.. I prefer someone of my age group too.. Bas do minute main aati hun.. Okay.." He nodded still terrified and reluctant to stay... to let her go... And clearly unable to voice out his worries... She squeezed his hand again and moved towards the door...
Closing the door quietly, she turned to the doctor " hello, I'm Dr.Das " he gave a warm smile
" hello doctor " she shook hands " I'm Ridhhima.. Ridhhima Mallik "
" I'm so glad Mrs.Mallik aap aa gayi, aapke husband behoshi main bas aapka hi naam liye jaa rahe the, aur hosh main aate hi sabse pehle unhone aapko hi puchha "
Unable to decide what to say she just nodded politely, she has something else to worry about right now " so, doctor. How's he ? Plz tell me everything, I'm a doctor too "
" that's a relief, you see Mrs.Mallik he's very fortunate that he escaped any kind of major injuries " she let out a sigh of relief " primal checkup main koi serious baat nahi aayi. Left hand ki wrist displace ho gayi thi, we fixed it while he was unconscious and..."
" and..? "
" and that was pretty much what we could manage .yahan se jaane ke alawa agar aapke husband ne kisi aur ka naam liya hai then that's to see you. Jabse hosh aaya hai kisi bhi doctor ko room main ghusne tak nahi diya hai " he wiped his forehead, it was obvious Armaan gave the old man a tough time
She didn't knew how to react, part of her was worried and another wanted to laugh out seeing old man's condition. No wonder he didn't enter the room. However, she controlled herself " actually doctor, he's not at all comfortable at places like this and he's even more uncomfortable with any doctors or nurses around " she explained
" and, you said you're a doctor ? " he raised an eyebrow
She smiled at his surprised face " long story "
" I'm sure it would be interesting as well, but for now, I'm more concerned about his head injury "
" I hope nothing's serious, you just said..." she asked anxiously. Nothing in her medical practice taught her how to deal when someone close to you is on the receiving end. Treating others was different but when it comes to your dear ones...
Doctor raised a hand calming her down " well as I said ,the hand part was already taken care of but still it needs to be put in cast for another 20 days atleast, what concerns me more is the injury on the head by the time we could take care of it he... Well, you can understand. He hasn't let us touch it and it's still bleeding, that might require some attention and here we need your help..." she knew doctor wasn't wrong, even she was worried about the same. She discussed for sometime with the doctor ,deciding what to do next...
" great, I'll get ready then " he left
" maam aap sir ke saath baithiye, I'm right here jab sir tayaar ho aap mujhe call kar lijiyega "
Nodding at Sameer, she turned and took a deep breath preparing herself for the huge task of making him agree to see the doctor. She came in putting a smile to make him more comfortable
" ab chalein ? " he asked, again trying to get up
She quickly came by his side gently pushing him back " Armaan ! kya tumhe koi flight pakadni hai ? " she sat on a chair by his side " abhi mujhe doctor ne bataya ki tumhare left hand ki wrist displace ho gayi hai aur tumne unhe cast bhi lagane nahi diya "
" nahi.. Wo... Main.. Unhone mujhe bataya hi nahi " he lied
She rolled her eyes knowing perfectly well that he was lieing " agar tum kisi ko andar aane do tab naa aur yeh chot kyun nahi dekhne di aur test bhi nahi karne diye..." he had no answer for it and avoided meeting her gaze " anyway maine doctor se keh diya hai wo abhi aa kar haath par plaster laga denge "
" then can we go ? " he asked hopefully
" tab.. Aur tab, agar tum pehle yeh sar waali chot dekhne do to " pointing at his head
" No way !! " he flatly refused
She knew it wasn't going to be easy " Armaan please ,atleast let them just see it " she pleaded
" No ,I don't want anyone. I just want to go from here. Just take me away from here Ridhhima... Main theek hun ,please " he begged
But she could not agree to his demands. He required some medical attention and she must make him ready for it, for nearly 20 minutes she kept requesting him to let the doctors attend him but he kept refusing saying he didn't believe them... He was all right.. After a long debate she was about to give up when something striked her...
" huhh, achha agar main dekhun to chalega ? Please " hoping frantically that he would agree " tab to koi problem nahi hogi naa ? " he looked at her and she knew he was debating over it some of his stubbornness was fading away as he felt weak and drained, every passing minute increased her worries ,she knew head injuries must be taken care of as soon as possible... Then to her relief came a nod of approval " great ! That's like a good boy "
Quickly getting on to her feet before he could change his mind ,she started taking off the bandage keeping it out of his sight lest he freaks out seeing the blood. The nearby area had started to turn blue and swell. He winced when she took off the bandage. A small gasp escaped from her mouth seeing the cut, it definitely required some stitching up... She could feel him getting restless and losing time would be unwise, she cleaned the wound gently but he cried out even at the slightest touch, she has to call Dr. Das. She took a deep breath, she has to do it...
Coming around she sat by his side " feeling okay ? " he gave a weak smile, she knew he was in pain but was trying to hide it
He raised his hand to touch his forehead but she held it in midway " kya hua ? " he asked
" Armaan ek baat ka sach sach jawaab doge " he nodded bit puzzled " do you trust me ? ,tum mujhe apna sabse achha dost kehte ho naa ,to kya apni is dost par itna vishwaas hai ki wo tumhe koi takleef nahi pahunchne degi " he nodded " to please meri 'ek' baat maan jao " he opened his mouth to say something he knew what she's going to say ,but she held his uninjured hand in hers " please Armaan mere liye.. Please manaa mat karna " she pleaded, holding his hand in both of hers and with that all his defenses crumbled. sighing he gave in
" okay "
" oh great !, trust me it will be over in no time tumhe kuch pata bhi nahi chalega I promise " she got up to call the doctor, relieved
" I can always trust you, but I don't trust him "
" don't worry I'm not going anywhere . Main yahin rahungi tumhare saath .I promise " she said softly assuring him.
Getting the clearance the doctor came in with a warm smile as big as Santa Clause's along with two nurses and another doctor " so, Mr.Mallik ,ready ? Don't worry it'll be over in few minutes "
He scowled at him, and turned to Ridhhima " I trust you " she was momentarily speechless, she squeezed his arm gently nodding. The other doctor and a nurse started working on his cast. Meanwhile Ridhhima told the doctor that she would stay with him, he didn't object to it ,he knew that if he wanted a smooth operation she should be near him. It was as if she was his soothing dose.
He spread a disinfected sheet over his forehead which covered his face leaving only the injured area exposed, Armaan gripped the side of the chair panicking for a moment but then he felt her hand on his shoulder and that brought immediate relief. He let out a small cry of pain as the doctor started cleaning the wound, he shut his eyes tightly wincing, holding her hand
" shh ,bas ho gaya Armaan, thodi dust thi wo clean kari hai... Don't crease the forehead.. Relax, forehead ko dheela chhodo " she tried to soothe him but he started turning his face away " Armaan please face this side " she was standing on his right as the cut was the left ,when he didn't turn his face she placed her hand on his face from under the sheet and gently turned it to her direction. He forgot everything for a moment, she didn't remove her hand from his face and cupped it softly ,the other hand was on his head caressing his hair. She was probably too worried to notice what she's doing. Armaan's face was just centimeteres away from her. They were so close that he could smell her sweet fragrance ,he held her hand tightly which cupped his face
He jerked his head lightly feeling a sharp pain. The doctor injected anesthetic to put on some some sticthes, but he could not move his head as it was securely held in her hands " shh.. Shh.. bas ho gaya, ab pakka kuch nahi hoga " she stroked his face under the sheet calming him down. He never felt such contradicting emotions before, he was scared yet he was not. He wanted to run away yet he wanted to stay here like this, he disliked getting injured but right now he was so happy about it. Damn ! These confusing emotions. On the other hand as the medicine started it's effect he beacme more calm ,Ridhhima kept talking to him .making small talk so that his mind gets diverted from what was going on and by the look of it her plan was working but he never for once loosened his hold on her hand...
11 stitches 1 cast 2 injections 2 hrs. And lot of drama later, particularly for injections for which she literally had to hold him, after begging requesting and threats didn't work, he was allowed to go but the doctor advised to let him get up own his own.
His head spin a little as he sat up, she supported him " feeling okay ? Dard to nahi ho raha ? "
He shook his head " paani.."
" paani.. Main abhi laati hun tum uthna mat okay " coming out of the room she waited as Sameer rushed to bring some water
" ah ! Mrs. Mallik, everything okay ? "
" yes Dr. Das, thank you so much. You were so patient with him "
" oh that's nothing it's my duty. That's what we are here for. " he smiled warmly " but... I agree there was another reason here, when you weren't here the way your husband reacted on finding where he was, quiet surprised me. Trust me in my 35 years of medical career I've seen many people who are not comfortable with the place, doctors or needles but the way he reacted was way... Different. My experince tells me that it's nothing ordinary, there might be some other reason ,some deeper cause " he stopped ,his fatherly smile was now replaced with the look that years of experience brought, Ridhhima knew that he was right at a point even she had felt so but never bothered much and now even the wise guy had pointed it out. She wondered if she should tell him about his nightmares..
" maam.. Paani " Sameer gave her a bottle and a glass,
" thanks Sameer " she again turned to the doctor " thank you again doctor ,I think you're right, but right now as you can see making him stay here any longer is quiet impossible ,even for me "
" I can understand, here's my card. I think I can recommend someone who can be of great help to you "
She took the card " thanks doctor ,I'll keep it in mind and give you a call "
In the car on their way back home he dozed off, but due to bumpy road he could not rest his head properly, shifting slightly to her side with eyes closed looking for perfect position he rested his head on her shoulder. Ridhhima was on phone with BP who told her that all of them were on their way too, it was then she felt his head on her shoulder... She knew he would feel drowsy due to medicines but wasn't expecting this. She hesitated for a moment feeling awkward, but a bump on road troubled him again and she immediately put her hand on his cheek supporting him. He seemed unaware of it, too drowsy and content with a soft 'pillow' to rest his head on... For the rest of the way back she sat like that, with her hand on his cheek and his head on her shoulder...
When they reached back home everyone along with Shashank, Padma , Rajat, Aditya were waiting for them. Virendra rushed to him, he was both angry and worried. Shashank stopped him from saying anything to him at that moment. They took him to the room where he immediately fell half- asleep, it was more due to medicines than anythong else. Padma sat by his side caressing his head and by the look on his face he liked it too, Shashank checked upon him again just to be sure
" well, ghabrane waali to koi baat nahi hai. Bas thodaa sa rest aur thodi dekhbhaal and he will be fit and fine again "
" rest !? Aur Armaan ? Uncle yeh word to iski dictionary main agar yeh khud dhundega to bhi nahi milega " Shashank smiled hearing Muskaan's remark
" well to usko tight rakhne ke liye hamare paas bhi ek raasta hai " BP said " kyun Ridhhima ? "
" absolutely BP ,don't worry main dekh lungi . Har baar Armaan ki zid nahi chalegi " she replied and everyone seemed pleased with it
When Shashank decided to take leave, Padma got up from his side... He shifted his head a little, probably irritated at the sudden stop of his head message... Padma saw it and called Ridhhima softly
" Ridhhi.. Ridhhi, yahan aana beta " Ridhhima came by her side " aap yahan Armaan ke saath baitho aur sar par halke haath ferte rahna, usko aaraam mil raha hai aise " Ridhhima could see the frown on his face. Padma planted a soft kiss on his forehead, then hugging Ridhhima lovingly she took leave... Everyone else too left the room leaving both of them alone
He twisted his head again, she found that the weight of plaster was probably digging into his ribs, disturbing him. She quickly picked up a pillow and gently placed it under his hand. He sighed in his sleep more comfortable now. She sat by his side looking at him, he looked pale, nothing like the Armaan she saw in the morning. A light frown was still there. Hesitating for a moment she started stroking his hair gently. The little frown which was left got vanished...
She smiled to herself seeing him at ease, there was definitely some blood loss but he'd flatly refused any transfusion. Well ,she'll take care of that part, she'll see to it that he takes healthy food to make up for the loss. Sitting by his side she remembered how everybody showered her with love and agreed when Muskaan said that he escaped anything fatal all due to fast that she'd kept for him...
She wondered if it was so but then her thought drifted to the nightmare, it was still so vivid, she'd never seen anything like that in her life. Was it some kind of premonition... An indication ? Was it what Muskaan had said ' a bond ' that went beyond any definition.. Something inexplicable between two people who love each other more than self ... Like husband and wife...
She shook her head " nahi ! ,hum to sirf dost hain, sirf bahut achhe dost.. Aur wo to sirf ek sapna tha "
Another voice spoke somewhere in her mind " yes it was just a dream.. Which almost came true " she had no answer to that...
Seeing that he was sound asleep she came out, thinking of freshing up a little with Martin's coffee and Muski's chat session. While passing through Virendra's room ,she thought of checking upon him as well.. He looked ashen seeing Armaan's condition...
" Papa..." she called softly
He turned quickly hiding something behind " Oh Ridhhima beta tum ? Mujhe laga ki..." he breathed in and kept the thing he was holding, back " Aao naar...Armaan ne jyada pareshan to nahi kiya..? Mujhe to umeed hi nahi thi ki wo hospital ke andar paer bhi rakhega ?? " he smiled
" Bas puchhiye mat papa kitni mushkil se maine bandage hone tak roka hai..." Her eyes fell on the frame, It was Naina's picture " papa.. aap naina mom ko yaad kar rahe the ? "
He smiled sadly... " Main bhula hi kab tha use.. Aaj Armaan ke accident ki baat suni to kuch purani baatein yaad aa gayi.." He went quiet " Us hospital ke haadse ke baad mujhe ummed nahi thi ki wo kabhi us jagah par paer bhi rakhega, but I'm so glad ki tum uske saath thi... Thanks beta.."
" Papa isme thanks ki koi baat hi nahi hai, magar papa aap kaun se haadse ki baat kar rahein hain...jo aaj hua wo..." wondering if he was talking of his bike accident months ago, when she met him for the first time
" Nahi.. jo barso pehle hua, jisne usse uski sabse pyaari cheez chhen li aur us jagah ka darr hamesha ke liye uske mann main bitha diya..."
" Hospital se ?? " he nodded, questions flooded her mind again
" Papa ,aapse ek baat puchhun ? "
" Haan beta, kyun nahi ? "
" Papa pure ghar main Naina mom ki ek bhi tasveer nahi hai. Kyun papa ? Aap jab mom ko itna yaad karte hain phir..."
He looked at her ,pausing momentarily " Armaan ki wajah se..." She must have looked puzzled " tumhe Armaan ne Naina ke baare main kuch nahi bataya...? " he suddenly sounded as if he expected to hear something from her
She hesitated whether to say yes or no... If she says no that would definitely raise questions about their relationship and if she says yes she might never know the reason... She decided to take neutral path " Haan kuch kaha to tha magar jyada kuch nahi..."
He sighed " Mujhe samajh jaana chahiye tha ki wo iss baare main shayad hi kuch kahega...aur kahega bhi tab jab use khud kuch... Waise Kya kaha usne tumse ? "
She didn't had to think about it much she knew very little, all thanks to Martin for stopping Maria that day, and that was not something to forget " Bas itna hi ki ek hadse main Naina mom..."
" Haan.. aur kya usne tumhe yeh bataya ki tab wo bhi Naina ke saath hi tha ?, wo bahut hi bhayanak samay tha... Naina aur Armaan... Mujhe laga ki main dono ko kho dunga..."
" magar papa Naina mom ko hua kya tha ? "
" Naina aur Armaan, dono hospital main the... Naina was in quiet bad shape..." she could see the pain of past on his face " uss haadse ke baad hamne socha ki bura waqt guzar gaya, magar yeh kya pata tha ki abhi sabse bura waqt aana tha...wahan Naina par hamla hua..."
" what ?! " she didn't knew that
" haan, aur... Aur wo shuruat thi hamare sabse bure sapne ki... Maine Naina ko kho diya, Armaan ne apni maa ko..." he paused " Wo kehta nahi magar mujhe nahi lagta ki wo us sadme se abhi tak ubar paaya hai... Main itne saalon main wo din nahi bhula paaya aur Armaan.. wo to..."
" Wo to ? "
" Wo aur Naina..."
" Veeru !, arre yaar tum yahan ho aur main saare ghar main tumhe dhind aaya..." BP entered with his usual booming voice " Chalo zara ek baat clear karni hai Japan se Hamimoto ka call aaya hai... Sorry beta but it's imporatant "
" It's okay BP..." Virendra went away with Sunil... but looking at Naina's pic. that day she felt.. saw... that for some wounds even time didn't had any remedy... She decided now wasn't thr right time to push them for the past... deciding to give them their time she came out...
Two days passed since that terrible day. He was forbidden to leave the house till Ridhhima's approval ,knowing that there was no appeal against this order he agreed. But this was not just it, he have her tough time, let it be food or medicine, he tried his best to avoid both, most of the time it was Muskaan who stuffed it in his mouth or Ridhhima's stern glare which controlled him a bit. She wondered that if this is the situation in just two days ,it will take just another two to make her completely crazy !. But inspite of everything she tried not to be too hard on him, after coming back from hospital he had tough time sleeping with the nightmares . She had spent the whole first night sitting by his side comforting him ,two days later he was better... A little too better...
She was on phone with Padma when he came and stood by her side " Ridhhima.. Ridhhima " She looked at him asking what is it.. " mujhe ice-cream khani hai, tumhare liye laun kya ? "
She looked at him keeping the phone away " ice-cream ? Ab ? Koi ice-cream nahi khani itni raat ko. Kal phir chhinkoge, kal kha lena " saying so she went back to her call
" nahi, I want it now " he demanded
" no Armaan, kaha na abhi nahi. Ab zid mat karo ,don't be a baby "
Padma heard their argument " Ridhhi, agar uska man kar raha hai to khane de naa "
" nahi mumma aapko nahi pata.." seeing that Padma was on his side he shouted out" thanks beautiful ! "
" chup Armaan, aur mumma aap iski zyada side mat lo, aapko nahi pata saari mushkil meri ho jayegi " she glared at him " no ice cream ,jao ja kar rest karo ya kuch kaam kar lo and don't try to be clever ! main abhi Martin ko keh deti hun , no ice cream for you "
He pouted and made a cutest face ever " plleesshh " it took all her self control not to give in. She knew if she melt now he would wake up either having cold or cough or both and she didn't wanted either. The thought made gave her some resisting power and she turned her face away..
Seeing that it didn't work ,he huffed ,coming to his side of bed he lied down clearly showing that he was angry. Ridhhima tried to hide her grin from him " nautanki ".. By the time she finished her call and came to check upon him, he was already asleep. She checked his forehead to see if he was okay ,finding everything fine she too went to sleep.
In the middle of the night his eyes popped open, he turned his head around to see if she was sleeping. With a naughty grin on his face.. He tip-toed to the door and did a small victory dance when he was out... He ran to the kitchen ready to attack the refrigerator.
Opening the fridge ,he took out every flavour ice-cream kept there and with a table spoon sat down right there on the floor relishing all in the light of the fridge... He couldn't risk switching on the kitchen lights, that ' spy ' Martin could land from anywhere...
He took a big spoonful of ice-cream " hehehe, see Ridimba I'm eating ice-cream, come and stop mee " saying in a sing song manner he quickly gulped it down. After finishing about quarter of all 5 flavour buckets he felt contented. Now another challenge awaited him... Going back to the room just the way he came...
Peeping inside the room he found her still on the bed, he breathed in, again tip toe-ing inside he quietly came to his side. Ridhhima was still asleep. he was about to lie down when
* BURP * owww ! *
The Einstein gave out a big burp and while trying to cover it up forgot that the hand he is using is in solid plaster ! The hand straight away landed on his nose, calling for a bigger reaction..!
He quickly turned to see if she was awake and thanked god on finding her still asleep. Taking no further risks he quickly hid himself under covers and went off to sleep. Mission ice-cream was accomplished...
Ridhhima smiled, her eyes closed. She infact knew that he had sneaked out when she felt rustling of the sheets she saw him sneaking into the kitchen... At first she thought of stopping him but then decided otherwise she knew he won't give up until he had what he wanted, probably he needed a lesson. He is such a stubborn blockhead ! But then seeing him relishing the ice cream with all childlike innocence, she just could not bring herself to dampen his mood. Making a mental note to keep a cough and cold medicine ready for tomorrow she came back feigning sleep, smiling when he gave out that loud burp. Armaan never came to know anything.
As she'd predicted the next day he spent more than his usual time sneezing and developed a sore throat with cough. Coughing loudly he looked at her from the corner of his eye, fearing she might say something and was surprised when she didn't said a word, she was busy folding up some of her dresses. Inspite of trying super hard he could not control his coughing, he glanced at her direction and this time found her standing by his side with arms folded across her chest, glaring at him. He grinned sheepishly.
" hehe.. Wo.. * cough * cough * ehem * ehem * wo thoda gala.. dry sa ho gaya hai " she still didn't said a word just smiled sarcastically ,nodding. Then without a word she went out of the room. He breathed in relieved that she hadn't yelled at him... But if he thought he was safe then he was so... Wrong... Within two minutes she stood before him uncapping a bottle..
" yeh kya hai ?! " he made a face seeing it
" tumhari punishment "
" what !? "
" mch ! Cough syrup hai jo tum abhi bina koi behes (argument) kiye peene waale ho "
" haha.. And you think aisa hoga ? "
" bilkul "
" No way ! " he quickly got up from the couch and ran away from there
" Arrrmaaann " she shouted after him
" No Ridimba main yeh bilkul nahi lene waala "
" oh yes, you are ! Maine nahi kaha tha ki raat ko chhup chhup kar ice cream khao " he stopped on his tracks surprised,
" so she knew, clever ! " he thought
" but still you have to catch me first " he threw a cushion at her which straight away landed on her head. That was it ! With that started the cat mouse chase. She cleverly ran to the door locking it, barring him from running anywhere. Threats, challenges, pillows, cushions.. All landed everywhere in the room and within ten minutes it looked as if a tornado had passed from there.
After a good 15 minute running around the room he slowed down getting bit tired ,grabbing the opportunity she cornered him " bas ho gaya ? You loose. Ab chalo muh kholo "
" Nahi main yeh nahi piyunga yeh bahut kadwi hai.." he slumped on the couch, she sat before him on the table pouring a spoonful, making sure that he doesn't run away again
" Armaan, don't be a baby. Abhi yahi hai aur dawai koi khana nahi hai jo taste ke hisab se bane "
" To banni chahiye naa.. Main apne research scientists se kahunga wo ek meethi cough syrup banayenge "
" wo bachho ke liye hota hai, aur jab banegi tab ki tab dekhenge abhi tum chup chap muh kholo " bringing the spoon forward
" Nahi main yeh nahi piyunga "
" Kyyuun..?? " exasperated
" Kyunki mujhe yeh hak hai ki main decide karun ki main dawai lu ya naa lu..."
" Achha ! woh kaise ? "
" Kyunki cough mujhe hai patient main hun " he gave a wise reply
" To doctor main hun " she'd had enough now
" Achha to kya hua main.. Main pati hun " finding nothing else to present in his favour
" Achha ! Wow ! now look Mr. Armaan Mallik, yahaan doctor main hun aur upar se I'm your wife !, to mujhe double hak hai. Ab chup chap muh kholte ho ya nahi..." she threatened him
Armaan was happily surprised to hear those words, he looked at her frowning face " haan tumhe hak hai Ridhhima, pura hak hai " he thought as she brought the spoon near his mouth
" Kuch kaha tumne ? " He shook his head and opened his mouth quietly without any argument... she was surprised at the sudden surrender
As soon as the medicine went in ,He stuck his tongue out making a face " uuaaghh ,rat poison ! "
She laughed melting a little, the medicine was bitter, then she remembered she had a small chocolate with her which she brought for Angel, taking it out of her pocket she handed it to him
" yeh kya hai..? "
" your reward for being a good boy " looking delighted he took it.. Breaking it in two.. He gave her a peice...
" yeh kisliye...? "
" For being a wonderful doctor and.. best friend..." She smiled, sitting side by side they ate the chocolate cheering it like a toast...
They all sat together having family time.." dad, main soch raha tha ki kal se office join kar lun, kaafi din ho gaye bahut saara kaam ruka pada hai "
Virendra kept his tea cup down " well ,yeh to Ridhhima par depend karta hai, agar use lagta hai ki tum office aa sakte ho to theek hai warna.."
Rahul laughed hearing it " welcome to married life bhai.. Ab tu bhi apni biwi ke rehmo karam par hai ,meri tarah "
Muskaan hit on his shoulder " dekha papa ,yeh keh to aise raha hai jaise main Hitler hun " all laughed at their banter
" arre nahi darling, main to use samjha raha tha ki biwi ki baat maanna seekh le wo hamesha sahi hoti hai.. Aur kahan tum, kahan Hitler ! " Muskaan seemed pleased with the answer. Rahul bent towards Ridhhima " bechara Hitler bhi iske saamne kuch nahi hai " Ridhhima hid her laugh in fake cough
" papa main dekh kar batati hun, hopefully ab tak sab theek ho jaana chahiye, plaster to abhi atleast ek week aur lega magar stitches khul jayenge to he can go " he smiled at her ,pleased to know
He rested his head back on the couch a coushion in his arms and to her surprise calm, waiting as she started getting ready to open up his stitches
" bas do minute hmm, pakka bilkul dard nahi hoga " she assured him
" ohho Ridhhima, stop worrying. You look more scared than him " said Rahul
Smiling Armaan turned his head up looking at her " it's okay Ridhhima, I know tum mujhe zara bhi dard nahi hone dogi " she gained her control back with his trusting words
Rahul whistled and got a slap on his arm from Muskaan " helloo, Romeo Juliet, agar vote of confidence pass ho gaya ho to kaam kar lein ? " Ridhhima suddenly felt conscious and tried to focus on the task ahead
It hardly took 15 minutes for her expert hands. She kept her promise ,he never felt a thing. He looked into the mirror, except a thin line no trace of that horrible day remained... Well except the plaster and that too will go away in few days... He was both happy and sad for it... He would miss her feeding him, calling to check upon him, scolding him when he delibrately missed food or medicine. He was getting so used to of her being around that he hated even the thought of being away from her... He enjoyed each and every moment spent with her, this craving never stopped infact it had grown even more...
Armaan's face flustered he was trying to button up his shirt but " damn ! these buttons ! " They were so small that he couldn't put them through the button hole with one hand in plaster...
A pair of hands suddenly took over, he looked up and saw Ridhhima undoing his wrong buttons and then putting them again...
" Sabse sab kaam nahi hote, mujhe bula nahi sakte the ? " not looking at him
" Nahi, wo maine socha..." he trailed off ,how can he explain her that everytime she touched him, no matter how light, he found himself on the verge of loosing himself...
" Haan haan tumne socha ki agar main button band kar dungi to tumhari superman ki image kharab ho jayegi hai naa.." He shook his head in yes and then quickly in no... She laughed " Armaan tum bhi naa.. Bass...lo ho gaya.. Tie kahan hai ? " He pointed to it " dekho don't take much stress okay... I'll bring the lunch and medicine and NO site " she added firmly , he grinned
" Okay governer... Aur kuch ? " She shook her head smiling " bye see you.."
" Bye " she said softly...
She felt relieved after days. It had been quiet a while since she'd worked tension free, especially after Armaan's accident. She decided to have quick cup of coffee with Sapna and Chirag catching up on things before leaving for Armaan's office. She has to keep an eye on him for few more days before she was absolutely sure...
Coming to the cafeteria she sat down at their favourite seat, soon Sapna and Chiraag came there chatting.
" don't worry chirag I'm sure we can do something, aur Armaan hai naa.."
" hey guys " Ridhhima greeted them and their chat session began
" so Ridhhima, ab Armaan kaisa hai ? " Chirag asked
" Armaan, much better.. "
" oh good, mujhe actually tumse kuch baat karni thi.. Itne dino se mauka hi nahi mil paaya "
" haan sach yeh Armaan ke chakkar main naa.. Kya kahun, wo abhi bhi utna hi workaholic hai.." Chirag looked at her quizzically, she continued " bahut laparwah hai, duniya bhar ki baatein yaad rehti hain magar khana khana bhul jaata hai. last time normal logo ki tarah kab soya tha mujhe yaad nahi.. Saara dhyaan mujhe rakhna padta hai.. aur kabhi kabhi to bilkul bachha ban jaata hai ,roz promise karke agle din se phir wohi sab shuru " she chuckled remembering the ice-cream incident but what she missed was Sapna's scanning eyes..
" hey, don't worry, ab to wo theek hai naa . That's more important " Ridhhima nodded " Achha tum kuch keh rahe the naa.." she asked Chirag
But before he could say anything his pager beeped " guys, you carry on, mujhe ek patient ko check karne jaana hai " he said getting up and soon went away
" Sapna.. Is it me ya phir aaj Chiraag kuch chup chup sa.. Pareshan sa lag raha hai "
" ohh ,so you noticed. "
" Kya matlab ?? "
" Matlab yeh ki shayad tum apni baaton main yeh bhul gayi ki wo tumse kuch baat karna chahta tha.."
" Haan maine suna magar beech main uski call aa gayi "
" Yes of course, agar tujhe Armaan ki baaton se fursat milti to shayad tu kuch aur dekhti aur sunti bhi..." Her pager beeped " oh ek baj gaya ! mujhe bhi ek patient ko check karne jaana hai..."
" Ek baj gaya ! God main bhi chalti hun Armaan ko lunch de kar aati hun... Papa aur BP ki to wo sunta hi nahi aur Rahul bhaiyya bhi office main nahi hain " Sapna watched her almost running out, wondering if she realised what was going on...
Armaan came back from office all tired... it had been a hectic week, due to the accident a lot of work piled up... He spent every night of the past week going through uncountable files, presentations, proposals, deals, reports. This was the work he brought home and not to forget the work at office as well. Often he came quiet late, sometimes he would find her waiting for him ,sometimes asleep and then he would sit by her side watching her innocent beauty forgetting all his tiredness. It went on for more than a week until she'd fought with him not to be such a workaholic... But by then the work was back on the track... Almost...
Today he came earlier than his usual late hours, but she could sense his tiredness from his eyes at the dinner too he didn't eat properly and kept shifting in his seat uncomfertably ,these things didn't go unnoticed by her... After dinner Ridhhima got busy in kitchen with Muskaan but when she came back she didn't find Armaan there..
" Arre Armaan kahan gaya main to dessert le kar aayi thi... Uski favourite ice-cream.."
" Beta usne kaha ki uska mann nahi hai shayad bahut thak gaya hai.. Isliye sone chala gaya.." BP said...
Ridhhima felt bit disappointed she wanted him to be around... But then concern took over... ' Is he okay...?' " Papa Main abhi aati hun.." She could not stay there for a minute... As she went to the room she found him lying on the bed on his stomach she called out " Armaan.." No reply... She called again... " Armaaan " .He stirred his head a bit and Ridhhima quickly went up and sat by his side, his face was on other side... " Armaan are you okay ? "
He turned his face to her smiling tiredly... " Hmmm..." She was still not convinced...
" Armaan sach batao kya hua...? "
" Kuch nahi Ridhhima, I'm fine just thoda backache hai... abhi thoda araam karunga to theek ho jayega..." Then he turned and tried to get up but shut his eyes due to pain, his back was really hurting as he could not rest properly for a whole week and then that couch, where he often fell asleep, was not exactly a comfortable bed to sleep...
" Armaan tum kahan ja rahe ho...? "
" Main bas thoda kaam tha socha aaj khatam hi kar duun ,tum so jao main wahaan room main chala jaata hun..." he kept a hand on his neck and rotated it not looking at her...
" Armaan tum yahin leto thodi der main kamar par pain reliever laga deti hun..."
" Nahi pain reliever nahi usse skin main irritation ho jaati hai aur jalta bhi hai..."
" to koi tablet de dun ? "
" No ! No tablet plz. I can't even bear the smell "
Ridhhima thought for a moment... " Achha theek hai main abhi aati hun tum yahaan se hilna mat, kaam itna bhi jaruri nahi hai, wo kal bhi ho sakta hai... Abhi aaram karo.."
He smiled lightly at the order " magar hua kya ? jaa kahaan rahi ho...? "
" Mchh, tum bas aaraam karo main abhi aati hun..."
He watched her go he then took off his t-shirt and threw it away carelessly again falling back, face hidden in the pillow... He was so tired that he kind of fell asleep within minutes... Ridhhima entered the room with a bowl in her hand and saw him lying on the bed.. She quietly went up to him and called softly
" Armaan.." He didn't stirred " Armaan so gaye kya ?? " Again no reply she kept the bowl at the bedside and was in a dilemma for a moment but then made up her mind. Sitting next to him she gently pulled up his vest. His back now bare... he stirred a little but then was silent again a frown was on his face, may be because of backache... She took some hot oil in her palms and rubbing them together started massaging it gently... She poured more oil and continue massaging him...
As she stroked his back his frown subsided and he sighed relieved the massage was doing it's magic..or was it the one who was doing it...
Ridhhima moved her oily hands on his firmly built back, sensations rose in her heart, feelings that were unknown or rather she'd kept hidden even from herself rose in her heart.. Thoughts.. desires... Filled her mind, increasing her heartbeat... She had always admired his muscular body but the touch was so... Sensuous, that she found herself thinking all that she considered forbidden... The day in the pool flashed in her mind ,how dangerously hot he looked and those swimming trunks multiplied his sex appeal thousand times. She had already kicked herself at ogling him like that that day... But she just couldn't resist at times.. Like now...
She jerked her head and tried to divert her mind else where.. He smiled eyes still closed the hands.. those soft fingers and the gentle pressure hmmm... It felt heveanly...
On the other hand seeing him relieved gave her immense satisfaction.. He slowly opened his eyes turning his face towards her... for a moment didn't knew what was going on... He closed his eyes again feeling veerry comfertable but after a moment or two his eyes flashed open... he jumped up..
" Ridhhima tum..?! Tum yeh kya kar rahi ho ?? " Ridhhima felt bit embarresed and shy momentarily
" wo... Main..." but soon overcame it " arre itne hairan kyun ho rahe ho.. Tumhari kamar main dard tha, pain reliever tumne lagwana nahi tha to maine socha goli se achha to yeh hi hai ki main garam tel se thodi si maalish kar dun.. Kyun tumhe aaram nahi mila ?? " Looking at him innocently..
" Nahi.. I mean haan.. Magar.. Tumhe yeh sab karne ki koi jarurat nahi hai Ridhhima.. I'm fine kal tak bilkul theek ho jayega..."
She sighed " Armaan cmmon.. Kya tumhe mujhse sharam aati hai..." Saying in a naughty tone...Armaan was totally surprised hearing it she'd hit him with the same words he used when they were in the pool, he looked at her with mouth open, seeing his expression she burst out laughing.. " Oh cmmon Armaan ek dost hone ke naate main itna to kar hi sakti hun naa.. And don't forget I'm a doctor too.." He still looked at her in wonder.. " Ab aise dekhne ki koi zarurat nahi hai chalo leto main thoda sa tael aur laga deti hun subah tak to tum bhul bhi chuke honge ki kamar dard hota kya hai.." she pushed him back gently...
" Magar Ridhhima.."
" Armaan ,shhh ,chup.. bilkul.. ab aankhein band karo and just relax..." He did as was ordered and as he felt her soft hands on his back again he felt immense relief and comfort under that heveanly touch.
He fought hard with himself to control his desire to grab her, wrap her in his arms and kiss her passionately... And do lot more... her touch was creating havoc in his heart and at the same time it felt so nice... fighting with himself ,groaning inside, he fell into the magic of the wonderful touch and in no time was asleep...
It was more than half an hour before she noticed that he was asleep, smiling she got up from there and went to the other room... she brought his long pillow which she placed under his arm... he immediately snuggled up to it, Ridhhima could not help but think how cute he looked she brought a hand forward to caress his hair, but then hesitating.. pulled it back she stood by his side, eyes still not moving from his face heart reluctant to go from there... But as he stirred a little she came out of her trance.. She then tucked him properly with the blanket. She had some work too, some patients file to go through...
Not wishing to disturb his sleep she switched off the light by his side and went to work on the couch but soon dozed off, Within 20 minutes on that couch she felt restless...
" Hey bhagwaan it's so uncomfortable to sleep here pata nahi Armaan yahan kaise so jaata tha... Tabhi uski kamar main itna dard hai..." she remembered how he would often fall asleep on the couch and she would wake him up at night asking him to sleep on bed... She again felt an unknown tug in her heart ,resting there on the couch she could not sleep a wink not because she was uncomfertable but because she could not take her mind off from Armaan's thoughts... She decided to change the place, seeing that he was sound asleep she went to the other room...
She glanced at the watch... it was 1 o'clock she got up to have a drink of water, she didn't knew why but she just could not concentrate on the file.. Determined to go to sleep after that... pouring herself a glass of water gulping it down she thought
" Zara Armaan ko ek baar dekh aaoun theek se soya hai ya nahi..." She went to the room and saw him all curled up due to cold clutching his pillow and blanket that was suppose to cover him was under him...! She shivered, the room ,it was almost freezing. Another thing she noticed was that he was never satisfied with the auto cooling option in the A.C.. He always fixed it at a temprature ,often to a freezing degree... she wondered what he is... He felt hot at night, almost freezes the room and then in the morning sneezes non stop just by getting on the floor barefoot... She exhaled and picking up the remote adjusted the temprature to a bearable degree.. Thankfully he was deep asleep and didn't even stirred..Ridhhima sighed shaking her head..
" Bhagwaan... yeh ladka bhi naa..dhang se sona bhi nahi aata..." She came up to him and saw that pulling the blanket from underneath him was not possible she went back and brought another blanket... This time tucking it properly so that it does not slips off and lands under him like the other... When she finished tucking she went back thinking to just quickly go through the file ,but this time she kept the door open enough to keep an eye on him...
This was a wise decision, after that she had to get up 10 times to tuck him up... Everytime he turned the blanket slipped off and then he shivered... But even when she had to get up ten times she wasn't irritated, her concern for him was of far greater importance than her comfort... The whole night went by like this, even when she came to sleep by his side she kept an eye on him making sure that he was okay...
Armaan got up with a big smile ,streaching himself.. all cheery and fresh . As he stepped down he was amazed that he didn't had his regular sneezing bout this time ,very happily he looked around to see where Ridhhima was, not finding her there he thought she might have gone for a jog and went to freshen up... Coming out, he still didn't find her, he called her out..
" Ridhhima.. Ridhhima... Rrriiiddhhiimaaa " she came in running
" Armaan ! Kya hua ? Are you okay ? Tum chilla kyun rahe the ?? " worried
" where were you ? Pata hai aaj to kamaal ho kya ! Aaj main ek baar bhi nahi chhinka (sneezed) ! " excited
She huffed " Armaan , tum yeh kehne ke liye itna chilla rahe the " he nodded smiling cutely ,she rolled her eyes trying to fake some anger but was clearly not able to do so. She turned to go away but he held her hand... Surprised, she turned around and saw him looking at her with deep smiling eyes
" hey ,thanks, for yesterday..." slowly he let go of her hand but held her captivated by his eyes... after an awkward moment not knowing what else to say she asked
" waise Armaan tum is couch par thede medhe kaise so jaate the ? Main to 20 minute main hi pareshan ho gayi, it's clearly not meant for sleeping "
" kya ?! Tum yahan soyi thi ? Are you nuts ! Kya tumhe bhi apni kamar main dard karna hai ? kya zarurat thi wahan some ki kya yeh bed chhota hai ?! " he showered her with questions
" Armaan relax. Just kaam karte karte aankh lag gayi thi " she shook her head ,smiling at his silly worry, but somewhere it felt nice that he cared enough
" wo jo kuch bhi ho, magar abse tum couch par nahi sougi okay "
" okay governer " she saluted at his order and both started giggling. Their session got inturrupted when a servant came to tell him that Rahul had called him.
" Armaan tum jao main bhi breakfast banane chalti hun "
He came back humming a song ,glancing at the watch he grabbed his towel and turning on the music to a loud level went in to have a bath...
As soon as he turned to the shower cubicle he freezed, forgetting even to inhale such was the sight before his eyes... She was in the shower... Naked...
His first reaction was to turn around and move out , but this he could only think and not do. His feet refused to obey what mind said... He stood there admiring the marble structure before his eyes... She was humming along the tune of the song, washing her hair... oblivious of his presence, her back towards him... He saw the soap trailing down along her spine to the most perfect backside he'd ever come across... He could feel his heartbeat rising by second.. excitement growing within him... She was still unaware of his presence there ,humming, eyes tightly shut... That explained why she didn't reacted or he was alive... Was he really alive coz this felt like surreal...
He could not stop himself from having another glance at those perfect curves, he ached to caress those mounds, hold them in his hands and... And... Damn ! His mind ran haywire... he turned his face away, heart and mind fought a feirce battle... Heart wanted to reach out to her... make her his, the body shouted out his need and mind fought to be sensible... The feet got jammed and eyes refused to miss even a second of admiring the most beautiful thing ever... He stood there stiff as a board but there was another part of his body which was getting stiff... he knew it was wrong, his fists clentched as he fought for self control... Then the sense started to win... And when she reached out, to take shower handle probably ,he got a glimpse of her milky white ,firm breasts... With that dark puckered skin in the middle contrasting with the milky white...
Damn ! He turned his face away trying to come out of the enchantment... It would be wise to get out now otherwise he feared he would loose all self control .Quietly he started stepping back before she could sense his presence or he did something stupid...
He came out, closing the door again, leaning by the wall he panted as if he'd ran miles, heartbeat erratic... He closed his eyes but that was a bad idea... all he could see was her in the shower, the soap trailing down... Her curves.. The perfection from top to bottom... if she had this effect just by her back then if she'd have turned then he might have really lost all the self control. Banging his head on the wall he repreminded himself... " Armaan, Armaan stop it... Control yourself... Damn... It's soo hard..."
He came out of the room ,probably some fresh air can cool him down... Good idea...
She came out of the shower still in bath robe, thinking no one is there but same time Armaan entered the room ,after gaining back his control, he was stunned to see her fresh from the shower water dripping from her hair and a rosiness on her cheeks and for a moment the shower scene flashed before his eyes. All self control on the verge of going down to drain ,he knew it well.
He looked away from her " sorry wo.. Mujhe pata nahi tha " she too felt bit awkward and conscious but breathed in when he walked out of the room . while getting dressed her thoughts trailed down to him... how he has changed, was this the same Armaan who tried to kiss her the first night and then had almost forced himself later... Look at him now, how understanding he has become a most understanding friend... She smiled at the thought,she was touched by his thoughtfulness and caring nature. Dressing herself in a nice saree she came down for the breakfast..
He breathed deeply blinking softly admiring her... But with Martin clearing of throat came back... That day both were rather quiet on the way to work, both thinking about each other in silence, sitting together yet far away from each other yet together in thoughts ... .
Ridhhima chatted with Sapna after a long day, cathing up on each other. Sapna mostly did the listening part as Ridhhima talked animatedly about Armaan, Rahul... Armaan.. Muskaan, Angel... Armaan... BP, Virendra... Armaan... A faint smile came to her lips she hadn't seen her talking like that about anyone before. She looked more lively, confident... And happy... Armaan really have managed to charm her... But the thing was... Was she aware of it ? And Vivek..?!
" Sapna.. Sapnaa " she shook her lightly
" h..haan "
" kya hua ? Kahan kho gayi ? " Sapna still looked at her " ab aise kya dekh rahi hai ? " she asked
" Badlaav "
" Badlaav ?? matlab ?? "
She exhaled " matlab ki main dekh rahi hun ki kaise Waqt aur haalat insaan ko badal dete hain..." Ridhhima tried to make sense what she was saying " Aur yeh jaruri to nahi ki sab badlaav bure hi ho, shayad insaan ko waqt ke sath badal jaana chahiye, badlaav ko sweekar kar lena chahiye..."
" Sapna tu aakhir kehna kya chahti hai ?? "
" Main yeh keh rahi hun Ridhhima ki kuch baatein hamari aankhon ke saamne hote hue bhi hum dekh nahi paate..." She still looked puzzled " nahi samjhi ? Achha yeh bata teri shaadi ko kitna waqt ho gaya ? "
" chheh (6) mahine hone waale hain "
" aur Vivek ko gaye hue kitna time ho gaya...? " She asked again
" Dus mahine.." Ridhhima said softly after a moment, unable to decide what she wanted to prove
" Hum yahaan do ghante se baithe hain Ridhhima aur tune ek baar bhi Vivek ka naam nahi liya, Armaan ke alawa koi aur baat nahi kari... Uaki har takleef, har shararat bata di magar ek baar bhi yeh nahi kaha ki Vivek kahan hoga ? kaisa hoga...?, yeh batane ke liye ki Vivek ko gaye kitna time ho gaya, tujhe sochna pada.. Ek waqt tha Ridhhima jab tujhe Vivek ki chinta har waqt khaye jaati thi aur ab... Ab tujhe Armaan ke alawa kuch yaad nahi aata. Teri har baat Armaan se shuru ho kar Armaan par khatam ho jaati hai "
" Sapna ! yeh sach nahi hai, aur aakhir in sab baaton ka matlab kya hai ? " She asked bit irritated and angry but somewhere she knew what she meant, snd she was proved right the next moment
" Saaf shabdo kahun to baat yeh hai ki tu Vivek ko bhulti jaa rahi hai..." Ridhhima was shocked no words came out of her mouth.. " Armaan's not a bad guy Ridhhima " Sapna added softly
Horrified at the implication of her words " No way Sapna.." Finally she found her tongue " How can you say that ! I know Armaan's not a bad guy magar wo Vivek nahi hai, aur main.. Main Vivek ko nahi bhuli hun, no I haven't " she added more firmly and got up from the chair bit shaken
Sapna too got up and kept a hand over her shoulder " yes, you haven't. meri baat ka bura mat manna Ridhhi, shayad kabhi tujhe meri baat samajh aa jaye... Aaj nahi to kal "
Sapna started to walk away, " Sapna.." Ridhhima called her, she turned " since when you joined Armaan's camp ? Mujhe lagta tha ki you didn't like him ? "
She smiled a bit... " sirf waqt aur haalat ka farq hai RIdhhima, jaisa maine kaha yeh insaan ko badal dete hain aur yahi dono insaan ki pehchaan bhi karwate hain... Rahi meri baat to I just want to see you happy... Jaise tu ab hai, pehle se kahin jyada..."
Ridhhima stood there puzzled watching Sapna walk away... She was shaken by her words and was confused too.. At one hand she was accusing her of forgetting Vivek and at other she took Armaan's side.. What is it ?? Is she really forgetting Vivek ??
" Kya sach mein main badal gayi hun ?? Kya main Vivek ko dhoka de rahi hun ?? "
She remembered how she was getting more and more carefree around Armaan.. Yes, they have become friends, but then those accidental moments which caused those forbidden thoughts in her mind... And what was that what she felt yesterday while messaging his back ! ' Oh my God I was messaging his back !! ' The thought terrified her ,making her feel immensely guilty.. Probably she was crossing boundaries...even if unknowingly...
She fought to control her tears feeling angry on herself... Sapna was right she was indeed forgetting Vivek... She had hardly taken any pains to look for Vivek herself, how easily she believed Armaan that he will bring him back... had trusted him with everything...
" No Armaan won't lie to me.. And Vivek... I do love him ,I haven't forgotten him..." she walked through the corridor questioning herself... there came no reply which added to her frustration even further. Deep in her thoughts she bumped into someone
" I'm sorry "
" It's okay..." she looked at the person " Aditi !? Tum ? And.. Hey kya hua ? Tumhara chehra itna utra hua kyun hai ? And what's this ? have you been crying ?? " Aditi's eyes were red... She hugged Ridhhima and tears broke out again " hey, hey !it's okay.. cmmon chalo mere cabin main chalte hain... Come " she took her inside her own worries forgotton... " Tum Chirag se milne aayi thi ? " She handed her a glass of water ,Aditi nodded " main use yahin bula leti hun..." She rang the bell and called for the wardboy asking him to call Chirag
" Ab batao kya hua ? " She sat opposite her..
" mere mom dad ne.. Meri shaadi Soham se karne ka faisla kar liya hai " she sobbed
" what ?! "
She nodded " unhone to Chiraag se milne se bhi mana kar diya hai.. Aur bahut jald Soham ke parents ghar aane waale hain sagai ke liye.. Mujhe samajh nahi aa raha main kya karu ? "
She hugged Aditi " magar yeh sab hua kab ? Aur kya tumne uncle aunty ko Soham ke baare main bataya nahi ? "
" bataya ,magar usne apni baaton se mom dad ko pighla liya.. Main jaanti hun wo yeh sab apni zid ke liye kar raha hai ,wo bahut hi jhuta hai... I hate him " she had fire in her eyes " Chiraag mera pehla pyaar hai Ridhhima, usne mere liye kya kya nahi sahaa mere liye.. maa pa ke taane sahe, apne mum dad ko manaya... magar... sab bekaar. Mere mum dad nahi maane... main chaahe jiske saath bhi rahun mera dil to Chiraag ke saath hi rahega "
" Magar Aditi tumhari shaadi hone waali hai.. Ab.. Aur ho sakta hai Soham sahi main badal gaya ho tum " she wanted to say if she could directly talk to Soham about this but Aditi cut her in between thinking she was siding with Soham
" Tum nahi samjhogi Ridhhima tumhe to tumhara pyaar mil gayaa naa, tumhe meri takleef samajh nahi aayegi. Mera pyaari sirf aur sirf Chirag hai, koi aur uski jagah nahi le sakta.. Kabhi nahi ! "
" Nahi Aditi... Meri baat " she tried to explain
" Nahi Ridhhima, tum batao agar tum kisi aur ko chahti aur tumhari shaadi Armaan se zabardasti hui hoti to kya tum apna pehla pyaar bhul jaati.. Kya tum itni jaldi haar maan jaati...?? " Ridhhima was stunned
" Aditi ! " Chiraag's voice spread in the room ,he'd heard everything .Aditi realised that she might have said little too much. She looked at Ridhhima with teary eyes..
" I'm.. I'm sorry Ridhhima.."
She forced a weak smile. In the span of few minutes she was shaken from inside, badly, made to realise that she was indeed changed... And it scared her... Terribly... And now Aditi's words... unknowingly, she had hit her most sore spot... Aditi's situation was so alike her own but at least she had Chirag with her. Her thoughts drifted to Vivek, She had almost forgotton him, not even remembering him for days now... Where was that Ridhhima who was fighting for her love ? now that she think of it she hadn't even mentioned Vivek for past few weeks !... Has she given up...??
She looked at her now crying in Chirag's arms. She got up, no longer able to stand there.. She needed to get out of there, her heart felt heavy
She looked at Chirag consoling Aditi who was crying in his arms... He mouthed sorry, she waved it and gently patting his arm went out of the room... Giving them some time... Taking some time for herself...
She walked through the hospital corridors... wherever she looked she saw Vivek reproaching her for being unfaithful... For forgetting him... She could hear his accusations, she covered her ears to stop them... opening her eyes slowly she saw there was noone around...
Crying unable to hold herself feeling angry, guilty she ran to the car.. Unaware she bumped into someone again. She looked up and found Armaan standing before her ,questioning through his eyes. He must have come to pick her up.
Before he could ask her anything she broke down hugging him, he wrapped his arms around her worried..
" Ridhhima, Raidhhima kya hua ? Kuch bolo ? Tum theek to ho naa ? "
" Mujhe Vivek se milna hai Armaan... I haven't forgotton him... Main use cheat nahi karna chahti... Maine use dhoka nahi diya " still crying in his arms
His face became expressionless, seeing her cry like that wrenched his heart, though her words felt like a big blow but still he controled himself. Gently braking the hug, he wiped off her tears with his thumbs..
" Heyy ,bas itni si baat, pehle ek kaam karo, yeh itne keemti aansoo aise waste karna band karo " he wiped them away gently " aur you remember naa what I promised.. To hum bahut jald usse milenge " She looked up at him with surprise in tear filled eyes " sach ,main keh raha hun naa.. Trust me wo jahaan bhi hoga I will bring him to you... And that too very soon... Happy ?! " he gave a big understanding smile
She nodded with a weak smile and rested her head on his shoulder still sniffing... But was much calmer now..
" aur Ridhhima ek baat kahun kabhi bhi apne mann main yeh khayal mat laana ki tum kisi ko dhoka de rahi ho.. Tumse jyada sachha insaan maine aaj tak nahi dekha, Vivek ne jarur kuch achhe karm kiye honge jo use tum mili.. tumne uske liye jo kiya hai ,jo saha hai wo shayad hi koi aur karta... You are the best thing he could've ever ask for... So never ever blame yourself okay.." Ridhhima's heart lifted up hearing his words and after a while standing there in his arms, feeling secure she thought that he's indeed right. She broke the hug suddenly realising where she was
Armaan gave a friendly smile making sure that she doesn't feel awkward coz of the hug " better now ? Hmm " she nodded " good girl, chalo ghar chalte hain "
They were having dinner in silence unaware that BP and Virendra had their eyes fixed on them... Occasionnaly joined by Rahul and Muskaan all seem to talk secretly to each other...
BP dropped the spoon on the plate " That's it. " all of them looked at him " Armaan, Ridhhima " both looked at BP " mujhe tum dono se saaf saaf ek baat puchhni hai "
" ji BP.. Puchhiye " said Ridhhima, bit surprised hearing BP speaking in such a cold and formal tone for the first time
" kya tum dono ka jhagda hua hai ? " both looked at each other ,BP turned to Ridhhima " Ridhhima, kya Armaan ne phir se tumhari koi baat nahi maani ? " she looked at him then at BP shaking her head unable to understand what he was deriving at. " are you sure ? "
" BP baat kya hai ? " Armaan asked little confused
" main janta hun ki baat kya hai.. Ridhhima kya tum Armaan ko pasand nahi karti ? "
" what !? Nahi, BP wo.." he didn't let him finish
" Armaan kya tumhe Ridhhima pasand nahi ? Aren't you happy with this marriage ? " She was stunned
" BP...?? " Armaan asked shocked
He looked at both of them with penetrating eyes. Ridhhima's throat went dry 'kya BP ko sab pata hai.. Vivek ke baare main...' she looked at Armaan and knew he was thinking on the same line
" yeh sab Armaan ki wajah se hua hai aur ho raha hai, hai naa.. "
" Oh god he definitely know ' she thought " BP wo tab.. Baat yeh hui BP ki..." probably it was time to let everyone know...
BP raised a hand and stopped her from saying anything further " tumhe koi explaination dene ki ya iski side lene ki zarurat nahi hai, main sab jaanta hun "
" nahi BP wo... " she looked at Armaan for some help but he too looked stumpped
" bas bahut ho gaya ab main aur kuch nahi sununga... Tumhe to kuch fikar hai nahi to sab mujhe hi dekhna hoga naa.." She got bit scared she'd never seen BP angry.. She looked at Virendra who looked... Calm !
She was surprised, the usually jovial and fun loving BP was angry today and everyone was calm !... Virendra saw that she was troubled and signalled her to be patient and do as he said... though she was not so convinced as BP being angry meant that it was serious...
" Mujhe ek baat batao, Jab tum dono ek dusre ko itna pasand karte ho... Pyaar karte ho... to how can you be so dull...? " They still were clueless, seeing them clueless he sighed and said aloud " main tumhare honeymoon par jaane ki baat kar raha hun ! " now it dawned on them... Ridhhima breathed in..
" Ohhh " Armaan breathed in with relief " BP aapne to dara hi diya tha..! "
" Armaan tum baat ko taalo mat... Aur Ridhhima iska to main ek baar ko samajh sakta hun, the workaholic idiot..." Armaan opened his mouth but wasn't given a chance to speak " but you ?! log kya kahenge, ki hamne apne bete bahu ko kahin honeymoon par nahi bheja..."
" absolutely papa " Muskaan and Rahul agreedAnother surprise came when Armaan sided with them " well you're right BP, main.. Hum, aaj hi apni galti sudharenge and plan for a holiday " Ridhhima forced a smile on her surprised face, it was not the time or place to say or ask anything.
As soon as they were in the privacy of their room she asked " Armaan yeh sab...?? Honeymoon ?! "
He slowly came and stood before her " Tumhe Vivek se milna tha naa " looking into her eyes, his face unreadable " Pack your bags... it's time..." she looked at him... stunned... totally at loss of words...
The following 8 member(s) liked the above post:
kashish_23, scorpio95, JavzKaJen, Emaani.95, Cytherea, -Prithi-, sweetdesire, sjain,
Joined: 06 January 2009
The following 4 member(s) liked the above post:
kashish_23, scorpio95, -Prithi-, sweetdesire,
Joined: 06 January 2009
Recap : Armaan Ridhhima leave for Australia for their honeymoon, enjoy a lot. Some moments together... Ridhhima gets talli and kisses Armaan... They decide to go for shopping and Armaan gives a call to mysterious someone.____________________________________________________
She quickly got ready and pushed him for a bath... She was surprised
when he suddenly became all lazy and said wasn't in a mood for shopping rather
wanted to go on a beach... But now her mind was all made up, she wanted shopping
and nothing else...
She hit her head seeing it's condition and started gathering up his clothes, all strewn on the bed, floor, couch... Where not !
" yeh Armaan bhi naa. Pata nahi kab bada hoga... Agar main naa dekhun to pata nahi kya hoga " she started folding up his clothes, mumbling to herself, but then slowed down as her words sank in.. " jab main chali jaungi tab... Agar Armaan ne phir pills lena shuru kar diya to ? " suddenly worried " aur wo to raat ko theek se balnket bhi nahi leta... Aur uski raat ko chuup chuup kar ice-cream khane ki aadat.." a smile crept on her lips remembering that night when he sneaked out for ice-cream. Slowly she sat down on the bed. Suddenly leaving became the most difficult task, she never imagined she would feel like this one day, that too for him... she turned to look around, she could feel his presence around her... His clothes.. All scattered about in the room... The shirt she was holding...His shoes.. smiling again when she saw one kept on the chair... And his diary... her head jerked up. His diary !
She got up immediately and went up to the table. There it was. The black leather diary with an AM on it... She hesitated, remembering clearly the last time she was caught with it, he nearly blew off his top... She turned to check, the shower was still on. Though she hesitated yet curiosity got better of her...
Opening a random page she started reading...
" Aaj Ridhhima ka Sanjeevani main pehla din tha, main use wish karne gaya magar usne rose crush kar daala aur card phaad diya, sach kahun to bilkul achha nahi lagaa main bahut saaf mann se use wish kiya tha... main jaanta hun wo ek bahut achha doctor banna chahti hai aur main bhagwaan se yahi dua karta hun ki uska har sapna pura ho magar shayad maine jo kiya uski yaad abhi tak taaza hai... Usne mujhe abhi maaf nahi kiya is rishte ko apnaya nahi..."
Ridhhima clearly remembered the day when this happened, she felt so ashamed of her rude behaviour... She took the rose which was kept there, dried and two pieces of the small card which she tore away that day...
" I'm sorry Armaan. I'm really sorry..." She whispered out, feeling immensely guilty. A sudden gush of air turned few pages. She saw that he had written something on the next page...
" Uski khushi ke liye maine keh to diya ki wo jo chahe kar sakti hai apne pyaar ko paane ke liye magar darta hun... Agar wo jeet gayi to kaise rok paunga main use...? Uski Iss koshish main kahin use hamesha ke liye kho naa baithu aur agar Ridhhima kahin sach main Vivek se mil baithi to..."
The page ended there
" Kahin main Vivek se mil baithi to ?! To kya ? Armaan ko itna darr kis baat ka hai ?? Mujhe khone ka darr ?? kya koi baat hai jo wo mujhse chuupa raha hai ? "
She turned few pages back
" Aaj main Rohan se mila Vivek ke baare main sab kuch bataya... maine kuch socha hai... Hope ki sab plan ke mutabik ho jaaye... Ridhhima ko agar pata chala to use bahut dhakka pahuchega... Magar shayad main iske alawa kuch kar bhi to nahi sakta... I don't want to loose her..."
Ridhhima's jaw tightened after reading it... She was confused too " Plan ??? Kaun sa plan ?? Kahin yeh Vivek ko phasane ke baare main to nahi hai ??? and who's Rohan ?? "
Questions swarmed her mind, but unfortunately the rest of the two three pages were blank... she would have read more but heard the knob turning. Quickly keeping the diary back she came to the bed side. He entered with the towel around his neck, water still dripping from hair... he looked hot ! standing there with his bare chest, his tattoos adding to his magnetic masculine personality... She stood there watching him, lost.
He found her staring at him, unblinkingly... she looked so beautiful, so tempting... Yesterday night rolled before his eyes... The magical kiss, her touch... He longed to feel it again... Feel her again... He stepped towards her. His eyes held hers. Her heart started beating rapidly... He came near... Very near, just few inches away...
" Ridhhima " he said in a husky voice. Her breath got stuck in her throat
" A..Armaan.." she could barely manage to whisper
" Ridhhima, aise mat dekho mujhe " he took a step ahead ,she took a step back " why do you keep testing me ? " she just kept looking at his face, he was looking into her eyes, deeply. There was nothing which could say he was kidding ,her mind started racing with her heart... She wanted to say something but all senses seemed to stop working, his masculine fragrance was creating havoc
Suddenly ,the twinkle in his eyes returned " agar tum aise hi yahan khade ho kar mujhe dekhti rahi to shopping kaun jayega..? Aakhir tumhari wajah se kitne logon ka aaj bhala hone waala hai " saying so he shook his head vigorously, making the tiny droplets of water fall on her face .
" Armmaaannn " she hit his arm and both laughed out. The awkward moment gone. She looked at him as he laughed with his head thrown back. How she longed to keep looking at him like this... Sapna was right, Armaan is not a bad guy... He's a perfect guy and if things would have been different then may be... May be...
She shivered at the thought, scared but now no longer tortured herself with checking herself all the time. She knew she had no control over these thoughts... but all she knew was that the time was now gone... She's now going to meet Vivek... She wondered why she said it in a rather sad voice...
Armaan within three hours of shopping was loaded with shopping bags, but carrying bags for her was least of his worries. He searched the area with anxious eyes, kept checking his cell from time to time while she moved from one shop to other.
" Armaan ! " she tugged his arm " aww what a cute toy, chalo mujhe wo Angel ke liye lena hai " pointing to a window of a toy shop
" Ridhhima, ab aur kitne toys lene hain uske liye ? agar wo roz ek se bhi khelegi to last waale tak aate aate uske bachho ke khelne ka number aa jayega "
She glared at him " Armaan Mallik. Inside the shop. Now ! " that was it, he sighed and she pulled him in the shop.
She next attacked a shop where she got busy looking at some shirts for him. He slipped away from her and was about to check his cell again when it started buzzing. With a beating heart he picked it up instantly.
" yeah "
" He's here. "
" Is he alone ? "
" No, he's got company. "
Ridhhima selected a shirt but when she turned to ask him to put it on,he wasn't there.
" mchh ! Ab yeh Armaan kahan gayab ho gaya ? " she started looking for him " Armaan ? Armaaann ? " she found him standing at some distance busy on phone " huh ! Armaan ,tum yahaan ho aur main tumhe wahan dhund rahi thi " he quickly cut off his call " dekho yeh kaisi hai ? The colour really suits you. Tumhe kaisi lagi ? "
" Tumhe pasand hai naa, to bas le lo " she rolled her eyes shaking her head and went away
Two minutes later he joined her again
" Ridhhima.. Ridhhima, chalo naa please, mujhe bhuuk lag rahi hai "
" kya ? Abhi ? " he nodded " Armaan abhi to thodi daer pehle hamne itna heavy breakfast kiya tha ! "
" ab itne saare bags uthate uthate wo sab digest ho gaya. Ab chalo naa pleeaasseee "
" Okay, Okay " giving in she followed. He took her to a nice restaurant there and asked for a table for two.
" hey ! Baggins ! Ridhhima tum jaa kar baitho main bas do minute main aaya "
She remembered that he was the director or something for one of the offices abroad but didn't bother herself with the details " magar...? "
" Plz. plz. bas do minute. Tum jaa kar baitho main bas abhi aaya " Ridhhima had no choice, before she could say a word he was gone.
" Ma'am..? " the waiter who was still there looked questioningly
" Yeah, plz show me the table " with a look at his direction, where she saw him talking to someone but couldn't see his face. If she had then she'd have known that it wasn't Baggins...
The seating was cubicle kind which gave privacy to diners from others, the waiter stopped at one and smiling turned to her...
" Here you are madam " Ridhhima was about to come when someone spoke up...
" Sorry, it's already taken. "
Ridhhima froze, hearing the voice. She hardly heard the waiter apologising and asking to come to another table. She waved off the waiter, who went away without another word.
" The voice ! Can it be ?! Here ?? " her heart started racing, questions swarmed her mind " after such a long time..." with a beating heart and unsure steps she came forward. A man was there, busy scanning the menu card. Everything stopped. She stood rooted at the small entrance of that cubicle.
Probably he felt someone's presence too, putting the card down he looked up. It was his turn to get stunned.
" Vivek..." she whispered...
Vivek stood up unsteadily, shock, surprise, bewilderment clear on his face. Her eyes never left his face, she wanted to make sure what she was seeing was real... She wasn't dreaming. Slowly she raised her hand to touch him but that hung in mid-air... And words... Where were they ??
Vivek who recovered of the shock first, stepped forward and hugged her instantly...
" Ridhhima ! Oh I can't believe it !it's.. it's you ?! Tum yahan ?? main.. Mujhe samajh nahi aa raha main kya kahun..." he broke the hug, looked at her lovingly, still holding her by her shoulders...
She was still quiet, only the wetness on her cheek made her realise that a tear had rolled down her eye...
" Ridhhima.. Tum yahan kaise ? Tumne aakhir mujhe dhund hi liya. Main to saari umeed hi kho chuka tha ki ab tumhe kabhi dekh bhi paunga ki nahi..."
She nodded smiling now " haan ,mujhe to zara bhi umeed nahi thi ki hum aise achanak mil jayenge " but it faded and pain returned " Tum kahan chale gaye the Vivek ? Kitna dhunda tumhe ? Tumne mujhe bataya kyun nahi ki tum kahan ho ? Tum aaye kyun nahi vivek ? Kahan the tum ab tak ? " she showered him with all the questions that were bothering her till now
" wo.. Main... Main kya karta Ridhhima. Armaan ne mere liye koi aur option hi nahi chhoda tha " suddenly he asked " tum akeli ho kya ? Armaan ? Wo kahan hai ? "
" Nahi main Armaan ke saath hi aayi hun. Infact wo hi mujhe yahan laaya hai, hum tumse hi milne jaa rahe the. Armaan ne kaha tha ki yahan tumhara koi dost hai jisse hamein tumhara pata mil sakta hai... "
Suddenly he became grave but quickly became normal again " oh I see. Chalo yahan se chalte hain "
" Magar.. Kahan ? "
" We need some quiet place to talk. Bahut saari baatein hain jo tumhe batani hain " he grabbed his coat
" Magar hum yahan bhi to baat kar sakte hai naa " she looked around and saw the place wasn't much crowded and the cubicles right next to them were empty
" Nahi. we need to go " he insisted
" Magar Armaan. Wo bas aata hi hoga "
" Koi baat nahi we'll give him a call. I need some time with you " but she was reluctant, her heart again felt torn between two. She looked at the passageway, hoping to see him but he was no where in sight
" Armaan kahan ho tum ? " she thought, but then made up her mind " Nahi Vivek, main tumhare saath chalungi zarur magar Armaan ko bataye bina nahi. Use bura lagega agar main aise hi chali gayi. Plz " she requested
He just looked at her, a confused look on his face, it was so unlike her she'd never said 'No' to him for anything before " Tum mujhse itne dino baad mil rahi ho aur tumhe yeh fikar ho rahi hai ki Armaan ko bura lagega agar tum mere saath chali gayi ?? "
" Nahi main yeh kehna chahti thi ki.." she couldn't complete her sentence. His phone started ringing
He snapped it open " hello... Yeah.. Uh-huh... Oh it's okay... Yeah I'll be fine... Yeah I'll see you later... I've got company here... Yeah fine... Bye " sighing he cut the call and turned to her " Are you sure you want to wait for him ? " he asked. She nodded " fine, let's sit then "
She kept looking at him and then at the passageway, suddenly there was silence between the two. Unlike few minutes before when she wanted to ask so much, tell much more. Now she felt confused where to start from...
Vivek broke the silence " kaisi ho Ridhhima ? "
" Theek hun..." she looked at him, he looked just the same but now he looked bit more... upgraded. Handsome as he was ,now he looked even better, probably it was the place. He always wanted to settle abroad... But the way it happened was beyond the imagination of both of them " tum kahaan the Vivek? Kya itne mahino main tumhe ek baar bhi yeh nahi laga ki koi tumhara intezaar kar raha hai.. Koi tumhare waade par vishwaas kiye baitha hai ,koi har pal yeh rah dekh raha hai ki tum kab aaoge... Kya tum bhul gaye ki tumne kisi se har haal main saath nibhane ka waada kiya hua hai... Bolo vivek... ek baar bhi nahi socha ki meri kya haalat ho rahi hogi.. Tum aane ka waada karke bhuul gaye..."
He kept a hand over hers " Main aana chahta tha Ridhhima, magar mujhe wahaan aane se Armaan ne roka. Tum jaanti ho na wo mujhe blackmail kar raha tha..."
" Haan, jaanti hun magar yeh bhi jaanti hun ki usne mujhse waada kiya tha ki wo tumhe pareshaan nahi karega, balki usne hi mujhe tumse milane ki koshish kari magar tum hospital chhod kar jaa chuke the "
He went quiet... " oh, to shayad yeh wajah thi achanak sabke meherbaan hone ki..." his comment confirmed that Armaan had kept his promise, she felt.. satisfied " Magar tum mera thoda intezaar bhi to kar sakti thi. Maine kaha tha ki don't marry him "
" Main to sagai ke liye bhi tayar nahi thi Vivek, magar tumhare, sirf tumhare kehne par ki tum jald hi aaoge maine haan kar di, aur phir haalaat kuch aise hue ki shaadi ki date prepond ho gayi. Kitni koshish kari maine tumse contact karne ki magar na tum pehle aaye naa tab, yahaan tak ki tum us din bhi nahi aaye jis din ka tumne waada kiya tha.. Kya kehti main maa papa se ki main shaadi ke liye kyun manaa kar rahi hun... Tum to the nahi mere saath.."
" Yahaan haalaat kuch aise ho gaye the ki..." he paused for a moment " Ek emergency ki wajah se mujhe jaana pada... Aur jab waapas aaya to bahut daer ho chuki thi... Tumhari shaadi ho chuki thi.. "
" magar tum jaante the ki iss shaadi ki wajah tum the... tumhara career, tumhari life sab kuch daav par tha... Agar main Armaan se shaadi nahi karti to kya tum nahi jaante ki kya ho sakta tha ? maine tumhari khaatir apni zindagi ka sabse bada kadam uthaya aur tumne ek baar bhi yeh jaanne ki koshish nahi kari ki Ridhhima kaisi hogi ? Kya tumne mujhe bhula diya ? Mera aaj tumhare saamne hona iss baat ka sabse bada saboot hai ki maine tumhe diya vaada nibhaya hai... Kaise bhi haalat ho hum ek dusre ko nahi bhulenge. Kya tum bhuul gaye ? " her eyes again got moist
" Nahi.. Mujhe sab yaad hai Ridhhima . Canada main jo hua uske baad maine wahan se chale jaana hi theek samjha aur yahan aa gaya... Bas yeh nahi jaanta tha ki tumhare paas wapas kaise aaun... Main kuch ban jaana chahta tha, itna ki tumhare papa ke saamne sar utha kar tumhara haath maang saku aur Armaan ne mujhse wo sab cheen lena chaha.. Mera career, meri life, aur tum " he clentched his fist
Pausing for a moment she spoke again " magar wo pehle ki baat thi Vivek. Maana ki usne yeh sab kiya magar jab tum Canada se chale gaye tab to mujhe contact kar sakte the. Main har pal tumhare liye pareshaan hoti rahi "
" Main.. Main darta tha Ridhhima ki kahin tumne aage badhne ka faisla naa kar liya ho... Main yeh bardasht nahi kar paata... I hate Armaan Malik "
Ridhhima felt a twitch in heart when he said that " agar aaj main tumhare saamne baithi hun to wo Armaan ki wajah se Vivek, wo bahut badal chuka hai. Ab haalaat pehle jaise nahi rahe, Armaan ab mera bahut achha dost hai "
He looked incredulous " dost ?! tum use nahi jaanti Ridhhima wo bahut chaalak insaan hai. Canada main usne mera jeena mushkil kar diya aur jaise hi un police officers ne mera peecha chhoda maine wahan se resign kar diya. Armaan ke kehne par hi wo aise mera pechha karte the jaise main koi criminal hun... Wo to mujhe terrorist declare karne ke liye tayar the, aur isliye maine wahan par kisi ko kuch nahi bataya ki main kahan hun, kahan gaya hun. " he sighed deeply and again took her hand in his " magar ab tum aa gayi ho ab sab theek ho jayega... Main bahut jald India aa kar tumhare papa se baat karunga. Ab koi Armaan mujhe tumse milne se ,baat karne se nahi rok sakta... Tum jaanti ho usne mujh par nazar rakhne ke liya har jagah jasoos lagwaye aur shayad tumhe nahi pata magar agar main tumhe call bhi karta to pata nahi mere saath kya hota... Main azaad ho kar bhi azaad nahi tha..." Ridhhima was shocked hearing this. She didn't knew Armaan went to such an extent... " wo aur uska dost.." again she saw a hint of fury in his eyes...
" Dost ?? Kaun sa dost ? Aditya ? Ya Rajat ?? " she started searching for his friends in her mind but didn't knew whom he was talking of there were so many...
He soften up quickly and sighed " jo hua so hua, kuch baatein hamare haath main nahi hoti. Magar achhi baat yeh hai ki ab hum saath hain aur koi Armaan hamare beech nahi aa sakta. Tum meri ho sirf meri, ab mere paas wo sab kuch hai jo main chahta tha. Position, power, paisa.. Ab tumhare papa mujhe kabhi manaa nahi kar sakte " the mad glint of victory was back in his eyes... She didn't knew why but it made her uncomfortable, she looked at the passageway again. Armaan was still nowhere in sight. She turned to him again when she felt a light squeeze of her hand " Ridhhima, tum Armaan ko divorce de do. "
The finality of his words shook her from inside " Divorce..? "
" Haan of course, ab main tumhe uske saath aur rehne nahi de sakta, main bahut jald India aa kar tumhare papa se tumhara haath maang lunga .maana ki unhe is baat se thodi takleef hogi magar yeh tumhari khushi ke liye hai Ridhhima. Aakhir unhe bhi to pata chale ki unka Armaan kaisa hai " she didn't like the sarcastic tone he used for Armaan.. What did he knew about him. He had been a gem of a person, unlike him he was always there for her... But then she thought it was obvious for him to feel so about him after all what he had been through... And divorce... Well that had to happen at some time... But... Something scared her... She just could not tell what caused her the uneasiness, probably it was the sudden turn of events. She should be happy, her love was here right in front of her eyes with a promise of being together... forever. Her eyes again went to the passageway... It was still empty.
" Ridhhima... Kahan kho gayi ? "
" Nahi kuch nahi, bas aise hi... kuch purani baatein yaad aa gayi thi... Kitni baatein hain jo tumse kehni hai ,sunni hain.. bas samajh nahi aa raha ki kahan se shuru karu "
" Ridhhima.. Ek baat puchhun.." she looked at him asking him to go on " tumhari shaadi ke baad... Armaan ne.. Kahin..."
She understood what he meant, for a moment that night when he almost forced himself on her flashed before her, but with that came the memory how he stopped himself, how he took care of her, how he was with her, for her, always. how he made her laugh and that brought a small smile on her lips.
The smile confused him " Ridhhima, kya hua tum muskura kyun rahi ho ? "
" Huh main ? nahi, nahi to.." checking herself " Aur Vivek, Armaan ne maana tumhare saath theek nahi kiya magar wo bura insaan nahi hai ,wo dil ka bahut saaf hai. Uske saath main utni hi hifazat se rahi jitna apne ghar main rehti. Usne kabhi bhi meri taraf galat nazro se nahi dekha.. Aur tum kabhi bhi is baare main koi galat khayal apne mann main mat laana " she said her last words with finality. The look in her eyes made him stop from asking anything further...
" ehem.." he cleared his throat, there was sudden hesitation " Ridhhima ab jab sab baatein saaf ho gayi hain aur hum mil bhi gaye hain... To.. To kuch baat hai jo mujhe..." he waited for him to continue
" Surprise !! Surprise !! " they both were startled at the sudden noise. Ridhhima found a lady standing there carying a balloon in her hand ,smiling broadly at them. Rather him. " here you are ! We found you "
" We.. ? " Ridhhima wondered and then she found that she was carrying a small baby stroller a cute little baby in it. She turned to look at Vivek and was surprised to find him ashen...
" You thought that I'd go away like that ! I was just trying to surprise you... Oh, and.." her attention now diverted to Ridhhima " you are...? "
Vivek got up quickly " um,Cathy, you remember I said I've got company.. Well, meet Ridhhima. She's from India "
" Ridima.." Cathy looked as if she was trying to remember something
" Vivek, yeh kaun hai ??.." unsure
" Ridhhima yeh.. yeh, Catherine hai... And Catherine she is Ridhhima.. Dr.Ridhhima from India my friend and ...and she was my collegue too.."
" Oh, that Ridima ! hi Ridima... I have heard a lot about you and your intern gang. It's a pleasure meeting you. plz sit down. it's indeed a pleasant surprise to meet you here, why don't you join us, if you don't have any other plans..." Catherine was all happy and excited
" I.. I don't think Cathy she can ,she has to leave early " again she was surprised ,just few moments ago he was sitting nicely and was in no rush and now he was saying that 'she's' in a hurry... To where ??
Ridhhima hardly heard what Cathy said, she was way too surprised when Vivek introduced her as friend and collegue and then suddenly said that she had to leave... She just looked at Vivek who wasn't looking at her at all and Cathy took her politeness as a yes and insisted her to stay...
" Oh by the way I forgot to introduce someone.. Ridima, meet our daughter Gabriel... say hi to Ridima pumpkin "
Everything stopped for a moment.. 'did she just said 'our daughter !?' . Vivek closed his eyes momentarily, but that was a blow for Ridhhima... She just looked at the lady, at the baby and Vivek...
It took her a while before she could utter a word " y..your daughter ? " she looked at Vivek with disbelief. Her eyes met his, he looked apologetic... The earth started spinning and stopped at the same time...
" So.. You two.. You both are married ?! "
Cathy who seemed oblivious of the reaction of both, busy fussing with the baby who kicked her legs enthusiastically, now turned to him " oh don't tell me Viv darling you haven't told her yet... Yes, we are married for the past 9 months " A look of disbelief and shock crossed Ridhhimas face, she looked at the baby and then at Catherine and then at Vivek, who seemed to have lost his tongue " And you must be wondering about Gabe here. Well this little angel was in such a hurry to come in daddy's arms that she came before time." she smiled and put an arm in Vivek's " she was just six and a half months old when she was born. I was so scared but Viv here did it all... I'm so lucky to have him as my life partner. He is the best one could ever dream of "
Ridhhima could see the love in Catherine's eyes for him, the way she looked at him ,talked of him and the baby... Well she was mostly after her mother except the dark hair and the same brownish eyes like him... She gulped ,suddenly her throat went dry... He was married. Not only that, he was now a father ! He was married for past 9 months... 9 months !!
She was too stunned to say anything ,her eyes kept moving from Vivek to Catherine to baby. It took all her self control to not to cry, or shake him and ask what's going on ?? Or to just walk away from there... She wondered if she could even stand up ,she could not even feel the land under her feet. Catherine kept saying something but she just waited for Vivek to look into her eyes, but that coward was looking everywhere but her...
Suddenly anger took place of surprise and she decided it's her turn now. Bracing herself she turned to Catherine with a brave smile " so Catherine, I know Vivek won't speak much, he's such a shy guy. He didn't even got time to tell me let alone invite to the wedding. You tell me, did you knew him from before ? How did you two meet ? " Vivek could feel the sting in her tone that was missed by Cathy
" Oh you see Ridima, our marriage was rather a hurried affair and that's why we didn't got enough time to call all our friends, it was just family and some very close friends. You see father was rather unwell and he was so scared that we had to rush with things but thank god that part is over now... When father saw this little angel he was all well again " she smiled
Vivek who looked even more uncomfortable fidgeted with his mobile when it suddenly started ringing, seeing the caller's name he excused himself and went a little away from them
" Hello "
" So, how's everything going ? " came the cool voice
" You cheat . You bas***d !. What are you doing here ? " he said gritting his teeth
" Oh just came for a vacation you see. And watch your mouth you're still not in a position to challenge me "
" Don't try to play innocent Armaan Mallik. Mere kaun se dost se milne aaye the tum yahaan ? You were supposed to bring Ridhhima to Canada not here ! I know what you are trying to play at. You are trying to make me a villian in her eyes "
" But aren't you that already ? " came the cool reply
" Shut up. You'll pay for this Armaan Mallik. You'll pay for this " he roared
" Save your breath Vivek. You wanted to tell her the truth. Didn't you ? Well here she is. Here or there what does it matter, Unless... You have staged something for her to show... Like those people who would convince her how you were right in marrying the poor girl in distress. How you became the saviour by marrying a girl who was pregnant and saving her father who was on the verge of committing suicide for the shame that would cause to a staunch catholic family... Is it so or would you like me to brush up your memory with more..."
" Shut up. I say just shut up. "
" Don't you dare raise your voice at me. You wanted to try. You knew my condition, you have to tell her the truth and don't forget you agreed. You wanted to tell her the truth, I'm giving you the oppertunity . Go . Do what we agreed upon. But remember it will be her decision that would be final... If you manage to convince her that is. Don't forget I've plenty of ways to the truth, just thank your stars that it's not me who is sitting there in front of you. Don't try to lie. Remember ,i'll be watching you " Vivek tried to locate him but could'nt " listening to your every word " frustrated Vivek disconnected the call, he ran his fingers through his hair in anger. He has to do some serious damage control, this wasn't how he thought everything to be...
Putting a calm face, taking a deep breath he came back to them " hey you are back. We were just talking about you " he looked nervously at Ridhhima and with just brief look knew that she was furious
" Really. What ? "
" Oh nothing much, Ridhhima was just telling me about your days back in India " his smile faltered hearing it
" And Catherine was telling about your little love story " he could feel the sarcasm " so Catherine please continue " she faked a smile
" Oh yeah " she smiled excitedly " so you see ours was love at first sight " blow on her heart, Catherine continued " I don't think you remember me, but during that exchange programme about a year back ,I came to India with my father, he's always on the lookout for the young talent for our hospitals you see, but I never got the chance to come to your hospital. But then, I was lucky that father invited him for dinner... That was when I met him for the first time and then he showed me around the city, it was the best time of my life "
Ridhhima remembered the days when he used to be absent from hospital, but he never told that he was escorting Catherine around. Anger started building up ,she felt cheated and like a fool. How easily she trusted him that he was in the meetings with that William Hopkins, Catherine's father and owner of John Hopkins... What a fool she was that she never questioned his absence ,his aloofness... She cursed herself how could she be so blind !
Catherine continued " sometimes I wonder if he's a magician or what, he charmed me at our very first meeting and then for the whole month of my stay in India we were together, it felt as if I knew him for ages. You know, it s hard to explain what I felt " she rested her head on his shoulder ,smiling at him with love in her eyes.
" No, it's not. I can understand what you mean... Sometimes you spend ages with a person yet you can't understand him and sometimes..." she couldn't continue, her throat again felt dry.
" Absolutely, I feel new everyday with him. You know what I like most about him, that he's a perfect husband, a wonderful father, a brilliant doctor and a wonderful human being. I haven't met anyone with such integrity and principles. He has them all. You know most of my suitors were inspired by the money I had rather than love, being a sole heiress can be difficult, but he ! He didn't even knew that I was a single child " she hugged his arm again " now Viv darling don't let that get into your head you are still coming for shopping with me." she turned to Ridhhima again " and with Gabe with us we are now a complete family " Ridhhima looked at the baby who was looking at her. It took the effort of every muscle for her to return something like a polite smile, she didn't knew what to say or do... Her hopes died today.
" I'm sure Catherine, people like him are 'really rare' " she looked directly into his eyes, making him uneasy
She came out of her thoughts when Catherine's cell started ringing...
" yes... Yes father... Yes he's with me and Gabe... Okay, yes I'll be there soon, bye " she cut the call " Viv, it was father, he's getting impatient. He wants to see Gabe. Now " she grinned and turned to Ridhhima " you see Ridhhima he was away and forgot to call me and to compensate it I asked him to join me shopping. I tried tricking him by saying that I can't come as a meeting has come up " she chuckled " I bet he was grateful that he had no shopping to do ,but my planning is all wasted now. Father is getting all impatient to meet this little one." She turned to Vivek " It's your lucky day darling but I won't let you off so easily " she winked at Ridhhima and got ready to leave
" Ridima it was really nice meeting you." she remembered something" Gosh, I'm such a chatterer. I forgot to ask about you. Are you here for work or for vacation ? "
Anger which was collecting for so long now threatened to surface and she felt this is the time " I.."
" She's here with her husband. They are on their honeymoon " Vivek knew what she would have said by the looks on her face and before she could say anything he blurted the first thing that came to his mind
" Oohhh congratulations, so newly married huh ! Where's your husband ? "
" He.. He met a business associate of his. He'll be here in a moment " she looked at Vivek ,with disgust.
" I wish I could meet him now. Lucky guy to get such a pretty wife "
" No, I think I'm the lucky one to get him " she looked at Catherine, knowing perfectly well that Vivek was now eying her
Catherine beamed " I'm sure you are. But plz do join us for dinner someday. Hope you are here for some time. We would love to meet your husband. Isn't it honey "
" Yeah.. Sure, don't worry I'll invite them personally. Now you run along or father will start worrying " Catherine got up and kissed Vivek on lips. Ridhhima just sat there, frozen, looking at both of them
" Say bye to daddy pumpkin " he bent down and kissed the baby lovingly. Catherine went away asking her again to visit them before leaving.
Vivek exhaled a deep breath and slowly sat down before her again.
" I can explain Ridhhima " he said softly
There were tears in Ridhhima's eyes... Words just didn't came out of her mouth...
" Vivek... Yeh.. kya yeh sach hai..." Vivek looked at her...
" I'm sorry Ridhhima... Main majboor tha... Main kya karta haalaat kuch aise the ki..."
" Kya majboori thi Vivek ?... Aisi bhi kya majboori thi ?...tumne mujhse jhooth bola.." Almost shouting now... " Main tumhare liye ... Main tumhere liye intezaar karti rahi aur tum ... Tumne yahaan shaadi kar li aur yeh bachha...?? "
" Ridhhima.. Ridhhima sweetheart believe me. Maine yeh sab tumhare liye kiya... Hamare liye kiya, main tumhe yahi batane waala tha magar yeh sach aise saamne aayega yeh main nahi jaanta tha. Yeh sab Armaan ki wajah se hua hai, he's trying to come between us " Ridhhima looked incredulous, he was blaming Armaan ! For getting married ?? What is he ??. She felt as if she's seeing him for the first time
" look plz let me explain " she didn't spoke a word, he exhaled again " yeh sach hai Ridhhima ki meri shaadi ho chuki hai, magar main ab bhi tumse pyaar karta hun "
" kya tum Catherine se Delhi main mile the ? " she asked
He paused for a moment " haan, main mila tha, aur yeh bhi sach hai ki main uske saath kuch din ghuma bhi tha magar wo sirf uske papa ke kehne par, yahaan tak ki tumhare papa ne bhi mujhe kaha ki mujhe Willam sir ki request ka dhyaan rakhna chahiye " a look of confusion crossed her face " wo sirf order tha jise main pura kar raha tha ,Catherine jab kuch jyada kareeb aane lagi to maine kaam ka bahana bana kar use taal diya "
" Magar tumne mujhe to yeh sab kuch nahi bataya "
" Main batana chahta tha magar phir socha ki tum yeh jaan kar kahin naraaz naa ho jao aur phir jab Catherine chali gayi to mujhe laga ki bekaar ki baat nikaal kar sirf pareshaani hi hogi " there was silence for a moment
" To tumhara selection Catherine ki meherbaani tha "
" Not at all, mera selection sirf meri kabiliyat par hua hai " he said firmly, but soften quickly " jab main Canada aaya to dekha ki Catherine apni hi duniya main mast thi, aur maine chain ki saans li ki wo mujhe pareshaan nahi karegi. Magar kismat ko kuch aur hi manzoor tha... Catherine, wo.. Wo pregnent ho gayi, maine use suicide karne ki koshish karne se roka... Uske papa ek Catholic hain aur wo abortion ke liye kabhi tayaar nahi hote, saari community main wo apne usuulon ke liye jaane jaate hain aise main unki jo badnaami hoti wo alag... Main jab Catherine ko ghar le kar gaya to wo us aadmi ka khoon karne ko tayar dikhe... Haalaat bahut kharab the, wo mere saamne tuut gaye aise main maine unhe sahara diya, wo mujhse pehle se impress the aur aise main apni izzat bachane ke liye unhone mere saamne ek proposal rakha... Ki main unki beti se shaadi kar lun.. aur agar yeh baat bahar jaati to unki badi badnaami ho sakti thi "
" Mere saamne koi chaara nahi tha, isi beech dusri buri khabar aayi ki tumhari shaadi Armaan se fix ho gayi hai... main apni pareshaani se tumhe pareshaan nahi karna chahta tha , mujhe laga ki main William ko samjha lunga magar wo apni zid par adaa hua tha uss par dusri musibat Armaan Mallik... Maine socha ki sagai karke hamein kuch time mil jaayega aur yahaan main Catherine ko shaadi karke kuch time main divorce de dunga, magar Armaan ne beech main taang adaa di usne mujhe ek terrorist group ke member declare karke meri zindagi barbaad karne ki dhamki di aur uske connections pata nahi kahan kahan tak hain, wo William se bhi jyada khatarnaak hai... Mujh par nazar rakhi jaane lagi, enquiry ke naam par kabhi bhi pareshaan kiya jaane laga... Mera passport cheen liya gaya... In sabke baavjood maine kisi tarah William ko family ko manaane ka bahana karke India jaane ki permission le li, usi ne mera passport mujhe dilwaya... Iss beech ek emergency ki wajah se mujhe jaana pada waapas aaya to tumhara message mila... India call kiya to pata chala ki tumhari shaadi ho gayi thi... Main uss din tuut gaya Ridhhima. Laga duniya khatam ho gayi.."
Tears rolled down her eyes memories of past came back to her " phir bhi main wapas aata magar ab Armaan mere peeche pad gaya tha, usne mujhe dhamki di ki agar maine tumhhe call kiya ya India aane ki koshish kari to wo mujhe barbaad kar dega... Main William aur Armaan ke beech phas gaya Ridhhima... aur phir achanak sab shaant ho gaya... maine mauka dekh Canada hospital se resign kar diya aur yahaan aa gaya un buri yaadon se duur..." he kept a hand over hers " ab sab theek hoga Ridhhima ab hum saath honge... Bas mujh par Vishwaas rakho "
Her heart wavered, she knew he wasn't wrong but... He was married now and that child...Taking a deep breath she spoke " main.. Main jaanti hun Vivek tumhe bahut kuch sehna padaa, magar bas ek call, ek letter.. Mujhe nahi to hamare group main se kisi aur ko kar sakte the.. Kyun tumne mujhe kuch nahi bataya "
" Main.. Main chahta tha magar.." he fumbled for words " jo ho gaya so ho gaya magar yeh to dekho in sabse ek baat achhi hui, aaj mere paas wo sab hai jo main chahta tha. William ke retire hone ke baad John Hopkins group of hospitals mere haath main honge, Catherine ko main talaak de dunga aur phir hum saath honge. Tumhare papa mujhe kabhi manaa nahi karenge, aakhir unhe bhi to apne Armaan ki sachhai pata chale " she din't like the tone which he used for Armaan
" Aur wo bachhi Vivek ? Uska kya ? Kya wo apne dad ke saath ke liye tarsegi ? " suddenly remembering the baby
" Oh cmmon Ridhhima " suddenly he was all old Vivek again, probably he saw a hope that she would agree " in logo ke culture main yeh aam baat hai.. Zaruri kya hai ki I retain my position at Hopkins, it's once in a life time opportunity I can't let William turning back on his words tum bas tab tak intezaar kar lo jaise hi main Hopkins ka head banta hun main Cathy ko talaak de dunga aur hum shaadi kar lenge " she was stunned ,she never knew he could be so calculative... So brute
" William's words ?? Kya kaha William ne Vivek " suddenly she found everything odd. He suddenly looked conscious " tell me the truth, tum kisi proposal ki baat kar rahe the naa pehle, jo William ne diya ,kya proposal diya tha William ne. Bolo Vivek ?? "
" okay " he gave up " William ne kaha ki wo mujhe next head banayega agar main uski beti se shaadi kar lun to. bas. "
" Bas ?? Aur tum maan gaye ? "
" To kya karta ? manaa kar deta ? This was the opportunity of a life time, agar main haan nahi karta to wo kisi aur ko zarur dhuund leta. Tum nahi samjhogi Ridhhima tum aakhir shuru se aish-o-araam main rahi ho. Tumhe kya pata struggle kya hoti hai "
His words stung her " Agar tumhe yaad ho Vivek to maine tumse pehle bhi kaha tha ki mujhe paise aur position se kuch pyaar nahi hai. Jab tak tum mere saath ho, agar hamein thode kam main bhi rehna pade to main reh lungi, kya itna kamzor samjha hai tumne mujhe ? "
" Tum reh leti Ridhhima magar main nahi... Mujhe yeh sab haasil karna tha. Aur maine kiya. "
" Kis keemat par Vivek... Dekho aaj hum kahan aa gaye. meri shaadi ho gayi aur jo umeed baaki thi wo tumhari shaadi ne tod di.. Kyun kiya tumne Vivek, kyun kiya yeh sab ? "
" Yeh sab tumhare liye kiya maine Ridhhima. Main tumhe wo sab dena chahta tha jo tumhe aaj tak mila hai aur usse kahin jyada.."
" Just explain me Vivek ki Catherine se shaadi karke use talaak de kar.. ek bachhe se uske baab ko duur karke tum mujhe aisa kaun sa sukh dene waale the...?? Kya tum dekh nahi sakte ki wo tumhe kitna pyaar karti hai ? Aur wo bachhi... Uska kya Vivek ?? " he didn't speak for a while
" I was hoping ki.. Catherine se talaak ke baad we'll keep Gabe with us.." Ridhhima went quiet
" Heyy Viv " a man came there slapping his shoulder " what are you doing here man ? " and his head turned towards Ridhhima " oh-my-god ! Is she.. Is she Ridima ? "
An expression of relief and unconfort both crossed Vivek's face
" y..yes Rob, this is Ridhhima. What are you doing here ? "
" Hey Ridima, have heard so much about you " he shook hands with a surprised Ridhhima " man ,he's waited so much for you "
" Rob.. Rob, I need to talk to her. I'll see you later "
" Yeah man, I can understand." he stood up " Ridima plz. Forgive him for Gabe, it was accidental. Bye. You guys carry on " Vivek clentched his fist, clearly annoyed at the inturruption. Rob went away as he came
" Rob mera dost hai. A very good but stupid friend. " his heart raced, had she understood anything from his words
" Vivek, ab aage kya ? " he breathed in, seeing that she wasn't alarmed " tum Cathy se kya kahoge ? "
" Kuch nahi bas yahi ki main use talaak dena chahta hun. I don't love her "
" Lekin tumne ab tak Cathy se talaak kyun nahi liya ? Ab ek bachhe ki zimmedari bhi tum par hai "
" Pehle kaise le leta Ridhhima. Kuch hi dino main William retire ho jayega and all of this would be mine ,phir main araam se tumhare papa se tumhara haath maang sakta hun. Aur us Armaan ko to main dekh lunga.." again anger started surfacing in her
" Ek minute Vivek kya tumhara maksad sirf Cathy ke papa ki position haasil karna tha ? Mujhe laga ki tum unki madad kar rahe ho "
" Madad ! Haan, unki aur apni bhi " she felt as if she was seeing him for the first time in her life. The madness and pride he had in his eyes... There was greed and cunningness ,where was the love which she longed to see.
" Magar tumhari shaadi ho chuki hai Vivek.."
" Yeh kya shaadi shaadi laga rakha hai Ridhhima " he shouted " maine bataya na ki yeh sab kyun hua. Aur tum mujhe keh rahi ho ki main nahi ruka tum bhi to mana kar sakti thi main aaj nahi to kal aa hi jaata. Magar tum ruki to nahi, Shaadi to tumne bhi kar hi li " there was sarcasm in his voice that hurt her deeply
" To tumhara kehne ka matlab hai ki tum achanak gayab ho jao aur main yahaan baith kar bas yeh dekhti rahu ki tum kab aaoge. Main mom dad se kya kehti Vivek. Kahan the tum ? kya shaadi main apne aap se karti..? Jo tum aaj mujhe bata rahe ho agar tumne mujhe pehle kaha hota to main har ek se lad leti magar yeh kadam kabhi nahi uthati, aur agar uthaya bhi to sirf tumhare liye.. Tumne mujhe sab bataya ki kis tarah Armaan tumhe blackmail kar raha hai magar tum yeh kehna bhuul gaye ki tum bhi shaadi kar chuke ho "
Suddenly a thing striked her,quick calculation made something very clear " Vivek. ek minute. Tumhe gaye hue 10 mahine ho gaye naa " he just looked at her in anticipation " tumhari beti, ek premature baby hai, jo kam se kam ab do mahine ki hogi. Hai naa " he didn't answer ,his heart started hammering " iska matlab... Iska matlab... Jab meri shaadi hui... jab meri sagai hui... Tumhari shaadi usse pehle ho chuki thi " the last part just a whisper
His heart stopped she'd figured out one thing, he cursed Armaan wholeheartedly. She looked into his eyes. He felt uneasy and loosened his tie " Ridhhima, baat kuch bhi nahi badli hai "
" Vivek just tell me. Meri sagai se pehle hi tumhari shaadi ho chuki thi ki nahi ?? Armaan ne.. Armaan ne tumhe jab blackmail kiya tab wo yeh nahi jaanta tha ki tumhari shaadi ho chuki hai aur tumne uska bahana banaya India naa aane ke liye " she was stunned
" Riddhima.. Ridhhima plz listen aisi baat.." he tried to hold her hand but she jerked it away
" Tumhare naa aane ki wajah Armaan nahi, yeh shaadi thi !? "
" Nahi Ridhhima mere naa aane ki wajah sirf Armaan tha main pehle waapas aa kar tumhe sab batana chahta tha magar usne mujhe aane se roka. Aur main yeh dekh raha hun ki tumhare aankhon par Armaan naam ki patti pad chuki hai, tumhe meri baat kyun samajh main aayegi "
She was taken aback at the sarcasm in his voice " apni galti ke liye Armaan ko doshi mat thehrao" she said angrily " Aur yeh shaadi ? Kya tumne kabhi bhi itni takleef karne ki koshish kari ki yeh jaan lo ki jisse tum yeh waada karke aaye ho ki tum waapas aaoge jo sabse lad kar apno ke khilaf jaa kar apne maa baap ki izzat daav par laga kar tumhara saath dene ko tayar hai uska kya hua yeh ek baar jaan lun..?! "
He said nothing... " Tum meri baat samajhne ki koshish karo Ridhhima yeh shaadi mujhe karni padi "
" Karni padi ?? Kya tumhare sar par kisi ne bandook rakhi thi...?? " he tried to say something " Armaan ka naam mat lena..." she said angrily
" Haan. ofcourse, magar shaadi to tumne bhi kar li naa Ridhhima " he fired
" Bas vivek bas... Ek shabd aur nahi ab main achhi tarah se jaan gayi hun ki tum kya ho..? Aaj agar hum yahan achanak nahi milte to shayad yeh sach mere saamne kabhi nahi aata... Main tumhe dhundne ke liye kya kya karti rahi aur tum ??.. Tum sirf ek jhooth ho Vivek. Mujhe nahi laga tha ki tum paise aur position ke liye itna gir jaoge. Main hi paagal thi jo tumhare is dhoke ko pyaar samajh baithi tumhe sirf paise aur position se pyaar hai... Aur mujhe khushi hai ki tumhara asli chehra mere saamne sahi waqt rehte aa gaya..." she was disillusioned now
" Pata hai Vivek hamari itne saalon ki mulakat ke baad aaj pehli baar mujhe yeh soch kar afsoos ho raha hai ki maine tum jaise insaan ko chaaha... Tum culture ki baat karte ho ? unke culture ka to pata nahi magar hamare culture main aaj bhi pati patni ke rishte ko pavitra mana jaana hai... Aur main yeh bardasht nahi kar paungi agar koi mujhe yeh kahe ki meri wajah se kisi ka hasta khelta ghar tuut gaya. Main dusri aurat nahi banna chahti Vivek "
" Ohh I see, ya phir yeh kyun nahi kehti Ridhhima ki tumhe Armaan pasand aa gaya hai.. Aakhir wo itne paise waala hai.. Aur tumhe to handsone bhi laga hoga to ab tumhe meri zarurat kya hai. I'm sure usne tumhari saari 'zaruratein' puri kar hi di hongi.." she gave him a scathing look " Agar main yahaan tha. to tum bhi to wahann... Us Armaan Mallik ke sath thi.., band kamre main kya hua hoga kisko pata hoga Ridhhima " she was disgusted at the implication of his words
No longer able to control her anger she shouted out " Vivek ! "
* S L A P *
" Ridhhima !! " he roared
" khabardaar ! Zabaan sambhaal kar baat karo.. Sab tumhare jaise gire hue nahi hote. Tum.. Tum itni ghatiya baat bhi soch sakte ho mujhe is baat ka zara bhi andaza nahi tha. Shayad main pehli andhi thi ki tumhara yeh roop mujhe dikhayo nahi diya... Tum ek bahut hi gire hue neech insaan ho jise sirf paise aur status ki bhuuk hai aur jo soirf dusro ka istemaal karna jaanta hai, agar Catherine ko yeh pata chalega ko use kaisa lagega Vivek " now he got scared ,would she blurt anything before her or William. No that would ruin everything.
" Ridhhima ! Bas bahut sun li maine tumhari bakwaas. Agar tumne Catherine se ek shabd bhi kaha to " threatning, He raised a hand to hold her but doubled up as he felt a strong punch on his face..
He turned and saw Armaan stood towering before him... " Don't you dare. Don't you dare touch my wife.Apni awaaz neechi rakho aur khabardaar agar ek kadam bhi Ridhhima ki taraf badhaya to "
" Tum ?? " shocked
" Haan main. ek baat kaan khool kar sun lo. Ainda agar Ridhhima ko phone karne ki ya milne ki koshish bhi kari to wo haal karunga ki agli saat pushte yaad rakhengi... Your game is over. Forget about her " Ridhhima stood stunned behind Armaan, speechless, and so was Vivek, who lay there on the seat holding his bleeding cheek.
Keeping a hand on her shoulder protectively he took her away from there, giving him a threatning glare...Vivek stood up and watched them going rooted at the spot looking at them like a total fool...
Ridhhima just followed him, she was numb, her eyes too watery to see anything. She was greatly humiliated today. Her so called love accused her of sleeping around, and see the irony ,it was he who landed up with a baby. She didn't knew what to say... What would she say.. What would she do ?? Is this what she was fearing ?? Is this why her heart had a troubled feeling ?? Was she really that blind to see what he was upto ? If he did this for Catherine's father's position and money can it be that he was merely pretending to be in love with her for her father's position and money ??
All these things kept rolling in her mind, she had no idea when she sat in the car and started off...
" Ridhhima... Ridhhima " Armaan shook her lightly " kya hua Ridhhima kuch to bolo ? Vivek... What happened ? " he hardly needed to ask anything, yet, he knew she needed to speak up to take it all out.
She exhaled deeply, no longer crying " Vivek is married Armaan, uski ek beti bhi hai. Ab wo bahut jald Jhon Hopkins ka owner banne wala hai aur uski life main... Nahi. Meri life main, ab uski koi jagah nahi hai " she spoke everything in a mechanical way. He knew she was deeply hurt but he won't let her feel low any longer, never will he leave her side. He was fearing something of this sort will happen and he was all prepared for it...
" Plz Armaan.. Just.. Just give me some time. I don't want to talk about anything right now " she turned her face away looking out of the window. He was worried ,she spoke in such a cold manner, he backed away ,though he kept stealing glances. He knew she was hurt, her trust was shattered today, she definitely needs some time to recover from it. And somewhere, he was to be blamed for her situation too. But did he had any choice... No. he didn't, neither today nor that day...
There was a knock at the door
" Room service... Your dinner sir " said the voice
Irritated he looked at the watch, it was nine.. He sighed he was not hungry at all.. He got up to say no to his dinner... He didn't wanted to do anything... No matter how hard he tried his thoughts trailed back to Ridhhima ,he wondered what he would do when he'll be back.. How will the parents react... How will he convince them ...
He dragged himself to the door somehow... And opened the door
" Thank you for coming. But plz take it back..." he was about to close the door without looking at the person when a hand stopped it
He looked up and saw a man stood there smiling " Rohan !! " surprised
" Thank you , Albert " passing him a note, the man went away happily " now stop looking at me like that, I'm not a naked girl "
Armaan smiled, he had not changed a bit. Rohan came in and stood before him " Rohan I'm not in a mood to go anywhere. The last place I want to go is a party "
" Who said about going to a party. With a friend like you, I can be sure that there would be no action tonight. We will go to some place where some serious work is done and some serious art loving people would be gracing the place of some new talent "
He was surprised, is he really going to go some place decent ??
" Now stop ogling and go and change. You stink ! "
Armaan rolled his eyes " You won't leave me right ? "
" How intelligent you have become in mere seconds, that's why I told you to stay with me. Hurry up we've to leave "
" Where ? Rohan I told you naa "" Just shut up and change "
Half an hour later they were sitting in a bar: of a Strip Club
" Do you ever think of anything else. Is this your idea of a place where serious art lovers come ?? "
" Absolutely see what an art it is . Have you seen such beauty anywhere before ?? And by not counting me as an art critic you are challenging my testosterone level, my manhood and depriving so many ladies of love they would get only once in a life time ! But I can leave them for a friend who happened to forget me absolutely " Armaan went back to his beer,rolling his eyes
A lady was performing an exotic dance and Rohan was clearly enjoying it... His eyes never left her
" Wow ! check out that babe man she's smoking hot... Boy ,how she moving, umm umm... Oh my god did you see that ? Wow " his eyes widened as the dancer now took off her top and was now dancing topless.
Armaan didn't even look at her and just mumbled something, which didn't even reach his ears let alone ,totally engrossed, Rohan's...
Finally Rohan took a break from the dancer and turned to him " So.. How's everything back there...? How's Rahul and Muski... is she still at you with that jaan-e-mann thing...? "
Armaan smiled a little " Never misses the oppertunity..."
" When is the baby coming...? "
" In few months I guess... She is getting huge..."
" And Rahul..hows he ?? "
" Pretty excited "
" And you ?? "
" I'm also happy.." he said with an expressionless face and sipped on his beer..
Rohan slammed his glass down " Cmmon Ammy whom do you think you are kidding..! Cmmon tell me what is it ? Or should I say who is she ?? "
Armaan looked at him puzzled... " H..how ? "
" Experience my love. Experience. " when Armaan still looked puzzled he sighed " Cmmon yaar itna to main tujhe jaanta hun... Pichle aadhe ghante se tu apne phone ko ghuur raha hai, cmmon now tell me "
" Huuuh, she loves someone else.." he said flatly
" What ?? "
He gave him the phone with the picture... " Mere adhure pyaar se milo.. this is Ridhhima..." His voice soft with a touch of longingness he gave a small smile and emptied his beer glass
" Vivek..?! "
His head suddenly jerked and he looked at Rohan with surprise and unbelievable expression on his face
" Vivek ? You know him ?! "
" Of course.. Isne John Hopkins ke Chairman ki beti se shaadi ki hai... Main khud dad ke sath inki shaadi main gayaa tha..."
" Whatt ?? He's married ?? "
" 1001 %. Why are you asking about him ? Wait a minute. Is it what I think it is ? "
" You bet " but this time, he said it with a renewed energy
Armaan told Rohan all about Vivek. How he was selected for an intern programme and how he met Ridhhima who's in love with Vivek, clueless, that he's married.
" Man ! this man is something. You know there is a buzz in grapevine that there is something else behind this wedding. He's suddenly promoted, not a thing done with new doc's and now he is married to William's daughter. The man is known for being a block- head when it comes to things like religion and stuff.."
" There must be something. I have to meet him to know the exact truth. Does he even loves Ridhhima, she'll be shocked to hear the news "
" No probs. I can arrange for it. He lives in Canada though "
" Let's leave for there... First thing tomorrow "
" We need some preparations too " discussing what to do they cheered emptying the contents
The door bell rang for the second time
" Coming.." he walked to the door wiping his hands with a towel and opened the door " yes ? "
" Mr. Vivek Dhawan ? "
" Yes, that's me. "
" I see that you don't remember me. Well, I came to your wedding " he still looked puzzled " of course you were busy that day. We have something important to discuss with you.. About something.. Rather about someone... in India "
Vivek now turned grave " About who ? "
" Why don't you sit comfortably first " Rohan entered the house and Armaan followed saying nothing. They came two days later to meet him not the next day as planned, collecting maximum information first about Vivek. Some was shocking.
" Mr.Vivek do you know Ridhhima Gupta ? "
He was shocked " R.. Ridhhima ?? How do you know her ? "
" Just answer what is asked Mr. Vivek and this will all go very smoothly " keeping a hand on his shoulder Rohan made him sit
" Who are you people ?? What do you want from me ?? "
" We'll come to that part later just answer me first. Do you love her ? "
" Who ? Ridhhima ? Why do you want to know that ? Who are you to poke your nose in my life ? " he said angrily
Armaan's patience ran out, he grabbed him by his collar and held him face to face " Now stop your bull shit and just answer what we are asking... If you want to live that is "
" Okay okay. Leave me. " he was scared at the sudden attack, seeing that he was out numbered decided to give in " y..yes I know Ridhhima. She was with me during my internship in Sanjeevani "
Rohan smiled " that's good now we are talking. Now Vivek there's something I don't understand. why did you marry Catherine ? "
" That's none of your business "
" Oh yes it's pretty much our business. And it would be in your best intrest if you cooperate with us. Why did you marry Catherine ? "
" Because I love her " and with that came a punch which landed straight on his face, Rohan stood up straight " that will brush up your memory "
" Who the f**k are you people ?! "
" Why are you fooling Ridhhima, When you have already married Catherine. Don't you know she loves you ? why did you betray her ? "
To their surprise ,he smiled. jerking away Armaan's hands he stood up " Now I see. You guys... You must be her guardians or something huh.Isn't it."
" Yes we are. And she's got the right to know that the jerk she loves is already married " said Rohan
" Hah ! Like she'll believe you " they were surprised " Ridhhima are among those who trust themselves more than anyone and the ones they love are gods for them. Whatever you say I'll deny and if you're trying to frame me up then I'm telling you, you won't get far. You don't know whom you're dealing with "
" Neither do you. Now listen and listen me clear Vivek. Leave Ridhhima alone. Tell her the truth that you're married. She's waiting for you there back in India unaware that what you're upto " Armaan said, trying to control his anger
" Why should I ? I do love her. And anyway that's enough of you too. Just get the hell out of my house ! "
" I think he needs the other dose " Rohan took out some papers and threw them at his face " the reports that show that the baby Catherine is carrying is your's and not of some random boyfriend you claimed took advantage of her " Vivek was stunned. How did they know ? Noone knew Catherine was expecting ? He quickly checked the papers, Armaan and Rohan took seats opposite him " there are some pics. too of you and Catherine in the hospital... At the hotel where you met and yes we can call the manager of the hotel where you frequently visited for you know what " Rohan smiled a non amused smile
Vivek was stunned to see it all " but.. But these means nothing. Now I am married to Cathy and this won't hurt me "
" Oh not to you but what about William ? How amused he would be to know that the son in law he worship, his saviour, was the one behind the scenes all the time, marrying his darling daughter for the money. Or rather we should call for Rob, he would vouch how diligently you planned all this "
Vivek was now ashen " what do you want from me ?? Why are you doing this ?? "
" Oh nothing we just want to hear the whole story from your mouth " Vivek looked at both of them and then at the watch, Cathy would be back soon .he needed to get then out soon " okay .okay. I'll tell you everything..."
And he blurted all out... He met Cathy during exchange programme in Sanjeevani and his calculative mind could see that she was an easy target, a ladder to his dreams and success he always wanted.. She was his key to the top. He floored William by his intelligence and charm and was sure that he had zeroed in on him for the selection. And he was right he called him for dinner ,that's where he met cathy and everything came to him. When she complained that she was getting bored and knew nothing about the city he volunteered and William agreed. That did not end there, Cathy was captivated by his charms and William never objected to their meetings, it was just after a week they landed up in Cathy's room, overpowered by emotions and got intimate with each other. The daughter was swept away from her feet and so was father... Just after a week they left he got the confirmation that he was selected for a six month long internship programme. Ridhhima knew nothing of it.
When he met Cathy again ,the fire rekindled and with no Ridhhima to make him feel guilty he felt even more free. They started meeting secretly and the only witness to their relationship was Rob who was a fellow intern, nice but stupid man. Their passionate love making had to result in something and one day Cathy announced that she was pregnant.
That was a big blow, he suggested to abort the baby but she would hear nothing of such sort. He was now in a fix the baby wasn't the part of the plan, he just wanted to get married to her get to a position and divorce her. He wanted to be back to Ridhhima but now that was not to be the case.
Two months passed by and they could decide nothing and meanwhile Cathy's mother came to know that she was Expecting. William was furious ,he was a staunch catholic and Aborting the child was the greatest sin for him. With a gun in his hands he asked for the name of the man responsible. Cathy didnt said a word , but now there was a big question on his family reputation and he was baffled at the present situation. Cathy tried to commit suicide and had he not stopped her she would have killed herself creating another mess for him, then he got an idea ,finding him as culprit William would have surely shot him. He took Rob into confidance and it was he who gave them the idea.
He found William at a bar getting drunk, he supported him and William blurted all out. Seeing the chance he offered himself to marry Cathy. William found his saviour but he was no fool, he clearly stated that if Cathy was to be hurt or if he ever try to Divorce her he will ruin his life forever. She was his only child and no matter what she did she will be his heart and soul. This was a major set back ,but he also offored him the position of next head of Hopkins and now he was torn between his future and love for Ridhhima. Here he decided that he would secure his future first and then see what happens. He agreed to marry Cathy. But still his plans remain the same, Ridhhima was his and he would get her. William promoted him shortening his internship but he informed back in India that his internship is extended for six more months...
" this is what happened " he looked at them
" so you married Cathy to get a step above in your career ?! " Armaan was disgusted
" Brilliant strategy man ! How come you become a doctor ? " Rohan punched his arm, Vivek looked at him confused, rubbing his arm.
" let Ridhhima go. Leave her alone " Armaan said
Vivek now wore a shameless smile and said " hey I can't do that. I plan to marry her.." Armaan felt like punching him again...
Controlling himself he said again " What would you gain out of it...?? What do you want ?? "
Vivek replied shamelessly " see Ridhhima is my love and she is all mine. I'm marrying Cathy merely for career prospects... And I was fool not to take care , but anyway the child is a blessing in disguise ,now I'll own this all and then after I divorce Cathy I'm going to marry Ridhhima "
Armaan could control himself nomore and grabbing him by collar punched him hard again " Come on Vivek, Don't try to fool me. Love is the last emotion you have for Ridhhima. Now tell me... Just quote your price, abhi to pyaar se puuch raha hunn warna yaad rakhna main tumhari pol us chairman aur uski beti ke saamne araam se khol sakta hun phir tumhari haalat aisi hogi ki tum naa ghar ke rahoge na ghat ke..."
Vivek understood that he was kind of caught, he wiped the blood from his lip and smiling shamelessly said " fine, ek baat puchhun main to Ridhhima ke pichhe kyun hun yeh to tumhe pata hai. Magar tum uske liye itna kyun pareshan ho...?? "
Armaan smiled slyly " because I'm going to marry her "
For a moment Vivek didn't reacted, then suddenly laughed out " Aur tumhe lagta hai she is going to marry you ! Ridhhima un logon main se hai jo hamesha wafadar rehte hain, apne stupid emotions se chipke hue, apni khwabon ki duniya main gum...wo tumse kabhi shaadi nahi karegi "
Armaan grabbed him by his collar and made him sit on the couch, spreading his arms around him said firmly... " now Mr.Vivek I have a very profitable business proposal for you... Which you should accept..."
That day he proposed to pay him five million if he does as he says otherwise he will not only loose his reputation, career here but his carreer in India as well and he will send him to jail with so many charges, and he didn't care what they are as long as they fetch him Life sentence or worse, that he will not be able to see the face of the world again... But if agrees he will get everything. Vivek, intimidated, delibrated over it. He reached the conclusion that he is little interested in marrying Ridhhima, for now, and going back to india, plus, the money offered was beyond his wildest dreams he agreed to the proposal. little did he knew that it was all being recorded. a plan by Armaan, just in case how handy it came later.. to make him tell all truth to Ridhhima or he would show her this...
And that was the begining of all . On reaching back to Germany he was all deternined to tell Ridhhima about this fraud guy but then something stopped him. He remembered his words, Ridhhima would be broken... And the way Vivek was insisting that he loved her...
" Nah ! He didn't loved her..." But what about Ridhhima ?? That day he decided he had to take some stern steps ,Ridhhima won't be happy with it but he would make her forget Vivek forever, she didn't need to know about all this..
How wrong he was, it was later that he realised how correct Vivek was about Ridhhima. She never left Vivek... Making her forget him would be toughest challenge he ever came across... Moreover Vivek tried to be clever. He tried to persuade Ridhhima not to marry him. It was then he had to resort to taking the stern steps against him. Rohan arranged a fake link up of Vivek with terrorists, it not only knocked the air out of him but also raised some brows, of William, seeing that he would be risking too much Vivek backed out. But before that he did the damage ,he had already called her and told her about his blackmailing... The day they were getting engaged, he caught her talking to him and had to threaten him right there in front of her..
Not a good thing when you're trying to make your place in someone's heart... The things went on and he forbid him from even calling her. Rohan kept the noose tight on him. He was never let to rest in peace but what surprised him was that he accepted the money they settled upon... It was to be paid in instalments... He would often call him up to keep him in check. He disliked when he would ask about Ridhhima but was helpless, Vivek was somewhat right about her.
The rest of the 5-6 days after that fateful meeting with Vivek at his home went in planning and then he came back to India declaring that he will marry Ridhhima... Something he always wanted but never dreamed he had to do that this way.. Had to fo through so much... Had to fight so much...
When he came here he called Vivek. In the past he said he repented what he did and wanted a chance to prove that he loved Ridhhima, that was a big blow to him. Here Ridhhima never forgot him but by the way he was going he was sure that there were some feelings which had started to develop for him but then suddenly she got all restless ,he could not bear to see tears in her eyes and decided it was time...
Not wishing to be a hurdle in the love of his love he decided to give Vivek a chance only on the condition that he tells her the truth about everything and if she wished to stay with him even then then he would gladly move out of their way.. Even support them in anything they want... Rohan who was his confidante was always there though he and Ridhhima never met personally yet he knew about this more than anyone else...
But vivek was a clever opponent he started creating his support group ,people that would vouch that he loved her. Stupid people like Rob who worshipped him and would do whatever he asked them to do... But Rohan was a step ahead, he kept Armaan all informed about him and that's how he was always a step ahead of Vivek. He was sure that Ridhhima would have come to know about everything when she tried to sneak to Canada but fortunately he got hold of it first. He didn't feared of loosing her to Vivek ,that he was sure that she won't go to him, but somewhere he was scared, what if she did ?? And he was more worried about how she would react to the knowledege that she was cheated upon, whatever the circumstances. Her faith would be completely shaken and she would be left broken.. And that he diidn't wanted... At all... He wanted to keep her away from any pain or worry, but as the time passed he became more and more sure that she won't let it go and then when it was no more possible to keep her away he brought her here. Knowing perfectly well that Vivek was here .
He staged the meeting, but informed Vivek too before coming. Calling him the night he declared that they would be leaving to meet Vivek...
" You are coming ? "
" Yes, I am. with Ridhhima "
" Are you mad ! What would she think of me ? "
" That's your problem "
" Tum mujhse behes karne ki haalat main nahi ho... Jaisa main kehta hu waisa karo warna tum jaante ho main tumhe naa yaahaan ka chodunga na wahaan kaa aur phir tumhari haalat dhobi ke kutte jaise ho jayegi... Na ghar ka na ghaat ka..."
" Yeh to sarasar blackmailing hai.."" Of course akhir tumhe baat samajh aa hi gayi... Wo kahawat to tumne suni hi hogi everything is fair in love and war.. And I want to win this war. ab jaisa kaha hai waisa hi karna samjhe " he disconnected the call ...
What he didn't told him was that he was bringing her to Australia not Canada, where his supportrs were... Rohan feared what the meeting would result in, he wasn't in the country. He had called Armaan the day they arrived, he took the call while he was busy admiring sleeping Ridhhima in her room.
The man, Rohan had kept to keep an eye on Vivek, kept him well informed. He informed Armaan where Vivek would go that day and when he found him going to the restaurant Armaan faked hunger and took Ridhhima to that restaurant. He said he saw Baggins but it was that detective who kept an eye on Vivek. He gave money to the waiter to delibrately take her to the same cubicle where Vivek was...
The element of surprise was most important when it comes to a cunnimg opponent in his own territory the best strategy is to take him by surprise and defenceless... And it had been a successful.. He was caught off guard and rest... Just followed...
A slight jerk brought him back from the land of thoughts, he turned to Ridhhima who sat still
" Ridhhima " he said softly, she turned around with stony eyes " hotel aa gaya Ridhhima " she looked around ,probably amazed at finding herself there. Without a word she got off the car and moved in. He sighed knowing perfectly well that she was really hurt today.
Vivek lay on his bed, Cathy by his side, deep asleep but his mind was somewhere else and sleep... Miles away... He glanced at Cathy and looked blankly at the ceiling. The past started sprouting on him, especially after what happened today.
Cathy was in so many ways like and unlike Ridhhima. Even she was in love wid someone before their marriage but when things didn't worked out as she had thought she decided to forget him and move on... So unlike Ridhhima, who even after her marriage kept the vows alive... She infact married Armaan for his sake... For the first time he felt something like guilt...
He remembered how everything was just a plan first and then he actually started to feel something for her. The way she acted, reacted, she wasn't too modern like the way she dressed, her conventional traditional beliefs, yet there was an aura about her, the confidence, the will, the stubborness, the loyalty for the loved ones... He admired all these qualities in her. Making her fall for him was yet another task, she was oblivious of his advances until he had to starightaway confess his 'love' in the fire escape, she took some time but he was successful. She accepted his love but still there was distance between the two. In their ten months of relationship as a couple- as secret couple- that was her request, they never even kissed. At first she was hesitant and he didnt force her but later when he wanted it he had to refrain. She now didn't wanted it at all. There were times when she amazed him with her simple gestures of selflessness and care and unconditional love, at times like these he forgot all about being selfish , about his aim. At a point he even decided to let it all go and just be Vivek, who's in love with Ridhhima but soon that changed when William landed at the steps of Sanjivani... From that day Ridhhima bacame secondary...
Sighing he changed side. Their marriage was planned and Cathy was a loving wife and a doting mother... yet something was amiss, he agree that he liked her but he didn't felt the same what he used to feel like when he was with Ridhhima... But that has gone now... She won't turn to him... He won't let him come back either...
Belonging to a middle classs family ,he had seen his parents sacrificing a lot, for his and his sister's sake. His education , sister's marriage and many other things never let them live their life freely. Even he felt the pangs when he saw his parents denying, sacrificing their desires for his sake. It hurt him terribly. When he got accepted for internship in Sanjivani he vowed the same day that he would be someone. He would not live the common life of his parents, he would get so much one day that he could get anything for them... For him. He would not suffer. Deeply impressed by Shashank Gupta he dream of becoming like him one day.
And then one day when Atul jokingly asked him to marry Ridhhima , something striked him. It was then he looked at her bit differently and then it changed everything, as if something clicked. He knew exactly what he wanted, Ridhhima could get him all. Only he had to stretch his hand.
He could lay there no further. Feeling restless he got up and unknowingly his legs took him to nursery. The sight of his little princess brought smile on his face, this little one had won everybody's heart. His parents , Cathy's parents and of course... his. It was true that his marriage was nothing but a kind of business deal which he had to keep with a smiling face but the best thing about it was this little bundle of joy. He remembered the first time he held her in his arms, how she held his finger and looked straight into his eyes, he cannot explain that feeling in words. Everything changed that day,it was as if she was silently asking for a promise- to be kept forever- that he won't leave her...
That was the day he felt torn between his two loves... Ridhhima and Gabriel. He discarded the thought of divorcing Cathy. He thought he would think something to have both Ridhhima and Gabe and everything was going well until today...
A gurgling noise broke his chain of thoughts. He gently picked her up,rocking her in his Arms.
" Don't worry pumpkin. Daddy is not going anywhere, he won't leave you for anything in this whole world. Daddy loves you very much sweetheart "
He kissed the baby lovingly on her forehead, promising himself that he will bring every happiness of the world to his angel, his life... No matter what it costs him. Even his love.
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