Joined: 28 June 2011
"Stupid cart! Seetha nahi chal sakti kya?" She kicked it absently and regretted it immediately as pain shot through her foot. "Oww, oww, oww'." Cursing her fate, she dragged her cart to the checkout center.
"Hello, ma'am, how are you doing today?" A young cashier greeted her with a big goofy smile on his face.
"Good Morning." Riddhima replied politely while putting the groceries on the checkout thingie.
"Um, I really think there is something wrong with this cart. It refuses move. I had to practically drag it here." The cashier inspected the cart while scanning the items and looked up at her with an amused smile.
"Uh, the brakes are on."
"What?" Riddhima asked confused.
"The brakes'those little handle things on the wheels...they're on." Sure enough when she looked down, the brakes were recognizable. The little f---, no'no, what's wrong with you Riddhima, stop cussing. Remember your morals, yes, morals. But that meddling little ba'
She was brought out of her thoughts when the cashier handed her the groceries and bid her goodbye with a smile. Smiling back, she adjusted the bags and walked out of the store towards her black Honda Civic'one of her best possessions in life. While she rummaged around in her purse for her keys, she heard rapid footsteps behind her.
"Oh, no." The paparazzi were running towards her like dogs left hungry for too long. Keys, keys , keys'but it was too late.
"What's your name?" "Is it true that you slept with Armaan Malik to get pregnant?" "Are you blackmailing him?" "Are you going to keep the kid?" "Was it good?"
Riddhima felt like she was stuck in her medical professor's rapid fire round once again. But the last question caught her attention. Curiosity got the better of her and she spoke to her own dismay.
"Was what good?" The female reporter blushed surprisingly. Did reporters blush?
"Armaan Malik, of course. Was he good?" Riddhima gasped but refused to answer and continued to look for her keys. Disgusting, Riddhima thought to herself, but felt her cheeks heating as the memories rushed back to her. Taking a deep breath, she managed to make her way to her car and pulled out her cell phone.
"My house'right now!!" She ordered into the phone and drove away from the prowling vampires out for blood.
Riddhima lived in a simple and affordable apartment in Sunnyside, Queens in NY'though her life was anything but sunny right now. She stopped by the apartment to drop off her keys and bag, and then made her way towards her neighbors' apartment with a carton of milk.
She stopped before an apartment across from hers and rang the doorbell. The door opened to reveal an African-American woman in her late 60's to early 70's.
"Oh, darlin', you remembered." The lady stepped aside to invite her in and Riddhima gave her a warm hug before moving towards her kitchen. The lady was Ms. Berry, a bubbly and talkative woman who looked way older compared to the way she behaved and presented herself. For god's sake, she had a better dressing sense than Riddhima ever would.
"Of course I did, Ms. Berry. I've been doing it for the past two years why would today be any different. And'I hope you remembered as well." Riddhima's curious eyes scanned the kitchen and came to rest on a plate covered with a top in the middle of the dining table.
"Good Lord Mercy." Ms. Berry covered her ears as Riddhima let out a scream and leapt at the plate. Hurriedly, she took off the top and voila! She was in love.
"Eee, Oh my Gosh, Ms. Berry you're the best." Giving her a big hug, Riddhima went searching for a plate and a fork.
"Well, I don't want to toot my own horn, but Imma go 'head and do it anyways. I tell you my mama always said, 'The best way to a man's heart is through his stomach.' That's exactly how I found my man. I was eighteen and working at my folk's cafe and he walks in looking like some superstar or somethin'. Then he comes up to me and orders up that apple pie you 'bout to attack right now. After that first bite'"
Ms. Berry was interrupted by Riddhima as she took her first bite. Her eyes were closed as she let out a pleasured moan literally jumping in her seat. Ms. Berry laughed and Riddhima blushed but continued to stuff herself.
"He made that exact sound you just did after that first bite. I'd be d****d if he didn't come back every afternoon until one day." Ms. Berry's sighed as her face lit up.
As per routine Riddhima asked, "What happened after that?"
"Don't talk with your mouth full!"
"Sorry' oops," she gulped down the bite and apologized again and then urged her to continue.
"Well, that was the day he got on his knee and asked for my hand. T'was a wonderful day, magical I tell you. I loved him so much! But the fool, he really only wanted my hand," she shook her head in disgust and her voice got louder, "Two weeks after we got married, I found out he was a drunk, gambler, and a cheater. After blowin' all my hard-earned money, he came home drunk to his nose with a girl hangin' from his arms. But that fool had the nerve to wake up every mornin' and ask me to bake a pie for him. For the first couple days I thought I could set him straight. I behaved as good as gold. But he was a hard, stingy, and stupid man. And as they say 'there is no vaccine against stupidity.' In the third week of the so-called marriage I packed my bags and set out on my own. I wasn't going to go back to my folks to ask for charity. I was ashamed of ever loving such a man. But I made up for all my foolishness. I put in some money and opened my own caf that's going strong till today. Never regretted a single decision in my, not even the one to marry that dunderhead. If it was not for him, I would have never known ambition, success, and above all freedom." Ms. Berry turned towards Riddhima with aged yet dancing eyes.
"My dear, you are truly a gem. A granddaughter I never had but always will."
Riddhima had heard this story every Sunday for two years--slightly different versions here and there'but it was wonderful story that she never got tired of.
Riddhima wiped the tears away from her eyes and took Ms. Berry's hand and replied softly, "And you are the grandmother I never had but always will."
Ms. Berry's face turned into a smile and Riddhima smiled back, "Besides who would feed me this heavenly pie. So I choose my friends very carefully'and you're my bestest friend."
"Oh, really! So what am I?" Both turned towards the source of the voice and their surprise turned into pleasure.
"Nicki! Hi, how are you doing? Thank you so much for coming." Giving her a side hug, she invited her in.
"Hey, Mizz Berry, How you doin?"
"Come here Nicki, haven't seen you around for a while."
All three sat down on the sofas after exchanging pleasantries, and talked about this and that while Nicki joined in on the joy of eating a freshly baked apple pie.
Nicki set down her plate and looked up at Riddhima. "So, what is it? You sounded very rude on the phone, you know."
Riddhima's gaze flickered to Ms. Berry and laughed nervously. "Hehe, its nothing Nicki, I'I forgot." She faked a smile and hoped Nicki would shut up. But, alas, wishes rarely come true; especially, in Riddhima's case.
"Are you sure? Ok, oh well. So you're famous huh?" Riddhima wished there was another piece of pie so she could shut Nicki up.
"Whatever that's supposed to mean." She tried telling Nicki to shut up with her eyes but she saw Ms. Berry watching her curiously so she straightened up.
"Riddhima, have you seen today's paper?" Riddhima looked at Nicki in confusion as Ms. Berry stood up and retrieved the New York Times.
"I just love the front cover news. Its just soo spicy. Those meddling reporters are absolutely evil I tell you. No offence to you Nicki dear." Ms. Berry laughed a merry laugh and settled on the couch by Nicki in front of Riddhima who sat clutching the newspaper, her face turning paler by the second.
"Of couse not Mizz Berry. I take full pride in my evil mind and job. Huh, Riddhima? Riddhima?" Riddhima's face devoid of any color hung open in shock as read the headlines.
NEW YORK TIMES
Armaan Malik, The Most Desirable Player, Has Been Played
All of America knows Giants' quarterback Armaan Malik, the youngster who blew away the whole NFL with the blazing talent and hard ambition; swept the girls off their feet with his charming ways and dazzling, hot looks'
Riddhima skimmed down to'
'Yesterday at the public library, Malik was seen in a heated argument with a woman who claims his baby mama. It is still unknown who the woman is, however, it was reported that she wanted to get with his child. Now, that's taking groupie love to a whole new level. What this woman's motives are is a mystery that remains obscure. Hopefully, someone knows a way out of this as we eagerly await Mr. Malik's response to this'.dilemma. (Story cont. on pg. 10)
Riddhima lowered the paper with hands shaking and mind still in shock. Nicki shook Riddhima but she wouldn't respond.
How could he do this? I hate him, Riddhima thought to herself.
In Malba, Queens, a beautiful villa sat amid the lush garden complete with a basketball court, swimming pool, and, of course, it's equally gorgeous owner.
"Hello, sir, you're back. Mr. Garewal is waiting for you in the game room. How was your morning run, sir?" The butler, Jorge Campos, held the door opened and handed him a Gatorade bottle.
"It was good. Is bro here, too?" Closing the door, Jorge answered, "No, sir. But he will be arriving shortly."
Both made their way through the lavish house towards the game room. Jorge again held the door open while his owner rolled his eyes.
"Jorge, I do have arms you know."
"But, sir, I'd rather you not employ them. You see I've just cleaned every inch of this house and your, pardon me sir, sweaty hands are harmful." The butler replied in monotone, but his owner as usual was amused by his own servant's forwardness.
"Yeah, yeah whatever." He turned his attention to the man dressed smartly in a dark gray fitted suit, shouting obscene words at the TV screen. His stormy eyes were fixed in concentration and his handsome feature contorted in disgust.
"Jesus Christ, are you serious? Take the d*** shotgun and shoot him' Oh my god, we're losing. You idiot, pick up the freaking sniper'Dude, are you always an idiot or am I being enlightened?...You know what man, you can go screw yourself. I'm out, peace." The man turned and whirled the remote control at the wall, where it shattered, and stomped hard on the head piece.
"Whoa, Rahul, man calm down!" The butler, however, remained unconcerned by Rahul's outburst. It was a very common sight whenever Rahul played Halo, Call of Duty, or any other game involving teams of idiots.
Straightening his jacket and clearing his throat, Rahul turned to his amused audience'well, half-amused, since Jorge's expression indicated otherwise. "Sorry, lost my cool. Oh'and I'll pay for the um'damages and other stuff. Why don't we not mention this little incident to Muskaan. Huh, Armaan?"
Armaan laughed at Rahul's worried face. Wives tend to have that effect. "Of course man. And no need to pay for the 'damages'. I keep an emergency set of controllers and headsets'you know, for emergency. That was awesome, Rahul. You should lose your cool more often. It provides for kicka** entertainment." He laughed again and did their little complex handshake ending with a manly hug.
Both took seats on the comfortable gaming chairs while Jorge went outside to organize some snacks.
"I don't know why some people even play games. I mean you know you're a bad gamer when you've managed to run out of infinite lives." He breathed out heavily and composed himself once again.
Armaan had known Rahul since college days and their friendship had only gotten stronger over the years. When Rahul wasn't doing his best-friend services, he was managing the NY Giants team. He was the most calm and cool-headed man Armaan had met. The only time he lost his temper was video games and battling sessions with his beloved wife, Muskaan.
"So, how's life? I mean we won the Super Bowl but I know Dan won't let any of you sit back and relax. He's gonna want you guys to be in shape for the next season."
Armaan wiped his face with a towel and let out a sigh. "I know. I already knew it. That's why I've been working out every day. I haven't talked to any of the guys yet. Most of them are on vacation or in strip clubs. But that's not what concerns me right now. Did you talk to her? Did she agree?" Armaan's voice was tinged with desperation.
"Yeah, about that. It might not be so easy now."
"Why? What happened?"
Obviously, he hasn't watched the news yet, Rahul thought to himself. He picked up the TV remote and flipped it on to Channel 3.
Armaan was surprised to see his own face crowning the TV screen. But that was no surprise, what shocked him was the girl next to him. It was her-Ms. Birthday present.
Rahul looked at Armaan but his features betrayed no emotion. Rahul was used to it. Armaan had always been a master at masking his emotions.
Both watched the news quietly. Rahul switched the TV off and turned to face him, "That's why. The whole world knows now."
"How did they know about all this? I bet she opened her stupid mouth." Armaan was boiling with anger. This was supposed to be a clean process and it was slowly turning into a fiasco. Could it get any worse?
Later, he wished he had kept his mouth shut because at that moment the phone rang.
Rahul stood up and received it, "He'" Rahul winced as the shrill voice screamed in his ear. Armaan groaned and closed his eyes. Great, now it was worse.
He took the phone from Rahul and became the next victim.
"Phone de tuh uss gadhe ko. Main huni oh de nal gal karni hai. Bol vi paa hun kujh'"
"Haan, bolo Muskaan. Main hun, Armaan."
"Main hun, Armaan." She imitated him. "Na ki chan chadaya. Sare channels pe tere hi charche hai."
Armaan listened quietly as she kept scolding him, "Mere baat toh tu kabhi nahi mane ga. Bauji ne kaha hai ki tum aaj raat ko us ladki ke sath ghar aaoge. And no excuses. Yeh bauji ka ailaan hai. Huh!" With that she cut the phone.
I can't believe she did this.I hate her, Armaan thought to himself.
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Joined: 28 June 2011
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wow that was an awesome update
this ff looks so interesting
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