Alright u guys, finally an update from me...sorry about that ...again. This time no promises for updates as you guys see i am terrible at keeping them :D Anyways this part is long so despite my absence i think i would like a good response please
So some parts might be boring, some might be okay, and others might be good but i really need feedback you guys. Appreciate it a lot. Thanks to all the readers and i read all you guys comments i just dont have time to comment...sowwie :(
One more thing, im putting my other ffs on hold for a little bit cuz i need to get this one up and running. So here it goes...
Part 3 The Art of Telling the Truth with Lies
Riddhima lay on the sofa—massaging her head as waves of excruciating pain pierced her whole being. She groaned and buried her face in the pillow. She had been sleeping and it had happened again. The nightmares weren't new. As far as her memory would go, she had always had them. But the migraines (for those who don't know, migraines are extremelypainful, not speaking from personal experience but my cousin who had them in college described it as if someone had put nails in her head and shook it really hard…you get the point) were new each time—bringing fresh agony and another painful memory that left Riddhima drained. She remembered when she had her first migraine. At six years of age, she had been in the third grade drawing a tinker bell apart from the rest of the class (she might be smart but she was still a kid). After she had colored her page, she went up to the substitute teacher to get acknowledged for her hard work. The teacher knowing the ego of a six year old held up her hands in mock surprise.
"Oh, darling, it's beautiful. Ah…you gave her a tiara…She's a princess now!" Riddhima green eyes lit up in genuine gratitude.
"Thank you, Ms. Ross. You know Tinker Bell is my favorite." She spoke with a sophistication not found in any six years old.
The teacher smiled and took a closer look at the drawing, "Where did you learn to draw like this, dear? It's very good."
Without a moment's hesitation, Riddhima replied, "My dad taught it to me."
"Oh, really? Mr. Richmond? I had no idea that—" The teacher went on but Riddhima's mind was elsewhere. As young as she was, she knew she was an orphan. So where had that come from? Her dad? Riddhima looked back at the drawing and suddenly there was a flurry of motion in her head. The classroom slowly faded. Instead, Riddhima found herself in an elegant and spacious, white sitting room.
The sound of laughter drew her to the floor by the sofa. There she saw a little girl—dressed in a floral orange dress—with a man she didn't know yet felt she should. The girl giggled again as the man said something. Then the girl picked up a piece of paper and held it up for the man to see. The room melted into darkness as the contents of the paper became clear—Tinker Bell with a tiara, just like hers. Then red flashed before her eyes and she was dead to the world.
Her foster parents had told her later that she had fainted in her classroom along with the fact they she cost them a five hundred dollar bill for the paramedics. They assumed it was a headache due to poor health. This was followed by a long lecture on the importance of healthy diet and plentiful sleep. Only after she had retreated to her room had she realized that the girl with the man had been her. From then on each night was filled with dreams of commotion, screams, and blood which always ended with that same man crying out her name. That immediately earned her a first class ticket to island crazy-o run by adult people in white coats who always poked her with needles and asked her questions over and over again. After four months of psychotherapy, Riddhima became normal again—at least on the surface. She had learned to say what the psychiatrists wanted to hear and knew that would get her out. She also knew that they didn't believe her—it was written on their faces as they nodded, blinked, and mm-hmmed with extra care. They believed she was just going through a "phase" and trying to "fit in" with the rest of the children due to her "special" skills. This was followed by shifting to a new foster home as the others didn't want her to influence their children. Then another new home, new city, new schools and this happened five times from the age of six to twelve for one reason or another. It hurt the first time…it hurt a lot. To know that no one wanted her…or loved her…or cared for her. Finally she was in a foster home from the age of twelve to sixteen after which she had found a real family…not her own…but a family nonetheless—Nicki's family. Furthermore, she learned to conceal her emotions and desires because she knew dreams weren't worth it and you should always set your expectations low so that you won't be disappointed. This philosophical belief of Riddhima gave way to her extremely independent nature and introvert lifestyle.
Till today Riddhima adored Tinker Bell—evident by her nightwear—though, why? She had no idea. Her foster parents had not allowed her to watch much TV much less Disney yet she could recite each dialogue in Peter Pan by heart. She sprung out of her stupor as the doorbell chimed. With a groan, she forced herself to put one foot in front of the other and reach the door successfully.
"Hey!" greeted a cheerful Olivia equipped with a laptop, some really big books and a super size bag of M&M's. Riddhima managed a greeting and waited for an explanation for her not so pleasant visit.
Sensing Riddhima's confusion Olivia says, "You offered to help me study…this afternoon…in your office."
"Oh, yeah. Sorry, come on in." She stepped aside to let her in. But Olivia looked at her a little hesitant, "Are you sure? I mean I can come back some other time…You kinda look terrible right now…but nice shorts."
Riddhima took the compliment, ignoring the insult, "Thanks. That's fine. Just a headache…Come on in." Smothering a yawn, she closed the door and trotted behind Olivia who surveyed her surroundings.
"Wow, cool place. Did you do the interior designing?" She turned back to Riddhima who was trying to tackle her unruly hair.
"Um…no. My best friend did. She loves doing that type of stuff but she isn't a professional. She's actually a—"
"Did you buy those?" Cutting off Riddhima, Olivia pointed to the paintings hanging on the wall.
Fine, no extra info for Miss-I-can-talk-whenever-I-want-to, Riddhima said to herself. She pressed her lips together. "Uh…um no. I didn't buy them."
"No, they're not gifts."
"Well, where did you find them?"
Exasperated, "I didn't find them anywhere! "
"Did you steal them?"
"No! I painted them." Riddhima finally snapped but Olivia remained unfazed.
"Really! That's so cool. I mean I've always wanted to be multi-talented but I haven't even found my first talent yet." Riddhima rolled her eyes and led Olivia to her living room.
"Oh my God! What is this?" Olivia stood rooted in her spot while her eyes drank in the phenomenon on the walls.
Riddhima wanted to kick herself for bringing her here, "This is a mural."
"Of hot, naked dudes! This is officially my favorite place in the world now...screw Venice."
Riddhima gritted her teeth, "They're not naked!"
"Yeah, yeah details." Olivia waved her away and went to take a closer look at the…um…walls. "Are those the Backstreet boys…naked?...I think I'm gonna faint, is that Ian, oh baby I missed your last episode…Helloo, Captain America, you sexy beast you…" She continued to drool and ooh and aah while Riddhima surveyed her badly chipped nails.
Suddenly she felt Olivia clasp her hands, "Can you do one in my room? Please…pretty please with a cherry on top."
"No," Riddhima answered abruptly, "I thought you wanted to study."
Ignoring that last reminder, Olivia frowned, "But you did this one. I'll pay you don't worry."
Riddhima threw up her arms in frustration, "It's not that. This was a onetime thing. It was my best friend's twenty third birthday present when she was jittery with sex hormones…She begged be to do it and she doesn't live here anymore. So I ended up inheriting half naked Greek gods on my walls."
"Well, why do you sound so depressed? This would be the best birthday present…like ever. My thirtieth birthday's coming up…can you gift me a mural? And you can't say no because I'll be thirty and old with crow's feet and nobody to comfort me except these darlings." Olivia pulled on her best puppy-dog face.
"We'll see." Olivia suddenly jumped up and clapped her hands. "Can we get back to business now?" Both girls receded to the plush sofas and Riddhima began tutoring Olivia. After two hours of hardcore reading and M&M devouring, Olivia stood up and stretched.
"I've never learned anything in my life so fast. You're an amazing teacher and the way you explain things makes me wonder why I didn't get it in the first place. Thank you…Thank you so very much." Riddhima looked at Olivia with sincere gratitude displayed on her face and felt a bit guilty for her cheekiness.
"No need. I did what anyone else would have done in my place. Plus, you were a great student to teach."
She watched Olivia gather her belongings and thought of a great chance to make up for her behavior, "Hey Olivia, since it's already a bit late…why don't you have dinner here?"
"Actually," Olivia glanced at the clock and accepted with a smile, "I would love that."
"Let me get the stuff ready." Riddhima headed to the kitchen and saw Olivia right behind her.
Riddhima raised her brow at her, "I was just curious if you would have any extra surprises in your house. But I see that it's just a normal kitchen. So…I'll just help you."
Riddhima grinned, "Right."
She went to work chopping, mixing, frying, and cooking the needed ingredients for the dinner. (sorry guys not much of a cook so can't explain the process) While Riddhima did so, Olivia inspected the counters when her eyes came to rest on a box.
"Hey, you eat Lucky Charms (it's my fav)?" Riddhima saw Olivia holding her box of cereal.
"Uh…Yeah." Riddhima resorted to answering in monosyllables again.
"Me too," Olivia opened the box and popped some marshmallows in her mouth, "Their sales have shot up like rockets. It's because of the contest. Have you heard about the contest they are doing?"
Riddhima shook her head, "No."
Putting the box down, Olivia pushed herself atop the counter and began to explain. "Wow, you really need to watch more TV. So, the Giants quarterback's birthday is in a week and they decided to do something special. Two of the millions of Lucky Charms boxes have two season tickets and one of them have two passes to his private party. So some lucky b*****d gets to meet him personally. Like they get to touch him and everything. Can you believe that? I can't believe it. So far I've bought fifty boxes in the past month but no luck. I guess my lucky charms lost their charm."
She sighed heavily in defeat while Riddhima put the knife down as she remembered something from earlier that morning. "Are the tickets red and blue by any chance?"
"Oh, well. This morning there was something like that in the box but I threw it in the garbage—" She didn't get to finish as Olivia had launched herself off the counter with a scream. Now she was looking around wildly, "WHERE IS IT?"
"Where is what?" Riddhima said nonplussed.
Olivia spat out, "The garbage!!!"
"Oh its right there in that corner…Wait, what are doing? Aww, you spilled cheese on my floor. Quit that!" Despite Riddhima's protests, Olivia dumped out the garbage on the floor and began hunting through the pile. Finally, she emerged victorious with two red and blue tickets covered in cheese.
Riddhima grimaced and covered her ears as Olivia shrieked excitedly, waving the tickets in the air and doing the happy dance.
"Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh!," With one last squeal, her eyes came to rest on Riddhima.
In the next second, Olivia was holding Riddhima's hands and pleading, "Can I go with you to the party? Please please pleeease!!!" Riddhima removed her hands from Olivia with a hesitant don't-touch-me smile and said, "I don't really care. I wasn't gonna go anyways. The tickets are all yours." She ended with a smile and went back to the dinner while Olivia stood frozen.
"Really? Are you serious? I mean you're not joking right? You can't be joking." Riddhima shook her head, "No, seriously. You can have them. Anyways, I don't even know anything about football or this guy. Heck, I don't even know his name."
"Thank you so so so much! You are the bestest friend ever." Riddhima laughed at her childishness. She had never understood the craze for sports especially those that resorted to attacking each other like bulls but hey its Americans we're talking about (btw I love sports, go Celtics :p).
Olivia announced that she would get ready at Riddhima's place along with Ashleah. The rest of the conversation included Olivia rambling on about what she would wear…what she would say to him…whether she'll get kicked out if she kissed him…Riddhima listened quietly as it was what she did best and offered suggestions when appropriate. Thus the end to the delicious Mexican dinner was announced and the girls bid goodbye to each other till the next meeting.
Next Meeting- D-day
"Sonovab***h, what the hell are you doing Ash?" Olivia pressed her hand to her burning ear.
A sheepish Ashleah replied, "Hehe, oops, my bad. I didn't know it would get hot that fast." Olivia glared at her and took an icepack out of the fridge.
By then Riddhima had stalked into the room, "Here you go Ashleah. These are all I have."
She handed Ashleah some waxing strips who thanked her and went back to Olivia.
"Hey, Olive, do my pits please." She held the strips out to her but the other girl shrank away in disgust. "Eww, no! Do it youself! And don't call me that. It's so unattractive"
Riddhima looked at her living room which resembled a tossed salad of all things girly. Clothes, shoes, jewelry were strewn across the furniture and a glitter volcano had blown in the room but the main focus were the two barbies.
Ashleah whined, "I cant. It hurts less when someone else does it."
While curling her hair Olivia replied, "Why don't you just shave them then?"
"No, it leaves theses stubbles and they are not attractive. Can you just do it? Please."
"Ask Riddhima." Ashleah turned towards Riddhima and asked, "Could you—"
"No" came the abrupt answer. Ashleah went back to bugging Olivia until she gave in. After two hours, the girls were finally ready to depart.
"We're gonna be late. Come on Olive!" Ashleah stood in the doorway clad in a mid-thigh sweetheart metallic dress that did its best to enhance her assets. Olivia on the other hand, tall and blond, looked striking in a black body-hugging lace dress that highlighted her curves. Riddhima felt a pang of jealousy as she looked down at her own black and boring work clothes which did nothing for her. But that's okay. This was how she liked it—comfortable….and hidden.
"Don't call me that!" Olivia snapped while putting on her heels, "Thank you so much Riddhima again. For everything."
Riddhima smiled, "No problem. Just make sure study just as hard after partying."
"You betcha. Can't fail my teacher. Okay gotta go now. Good night!" Riddhima closed the door behind them and leaned against it. Letting out a sigh, she looked around her house. She thought to clean up before changing and set to work.
About thirty minutes later the phone rang just as Riddhima was about to go change. Releasing her hair from the deathly French braid, she picked up the phone, "Hello"
A familiar, panicked voice came through, "Oh, thank god you're awake." Olivia.
Running a hand through her locks, Riddhima asked a bit concerned, "What happened Olivia? Are you guys okay? Is everything fine?"
"Yeah, yeah we're fine but we forgot the passes at your house!!"
"Yeah, they won't let us in. Could you please bring them here? Please."
Riddhima closed her eyes—her back was killing her and she could feel a migraine firing up—yet she said, "Yeah, of course. Just tell me address." She noted the address in her blackberry and picked up her car keys.
"We're standing right by the entrance so just bring them there okay?"
"Got it. Be there in a few." She hung up and walked out of her apartment.
After spending fifteen minutes trying to find a parking spot, she finally came to a stop in front of a posh club. She could spot a number of famous figures on the red carpet. Wow was the only word that came out of her mouth. This guy is big, she thought to herself as the cameras clicked non-stop. She looked around for the entrance for the normal folks and found it tucked away in a corner with a HUGE line consisting mainly of the XX sex. A big and muscular and tattooed Caucasian male stood near the ticked collector staring down anyone and everyone. Next to them stood, two flustered girls to whom Riddhima made her way.
"Hi, guys!" Relief washed over Olivia and Ashleah who hugged her instantly.
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much." Olivia smiled and took the tickets from her and handed them to the guy.
"You guys I really have to use the bathroom. Where is it?" Olivia posed the question to the guard who answered briskly, "Inside."
Right. "Well, can I use it?" Riddhima asked a bit irritated. In the next second, a beefy finger loomed in front of her face, "Listen, punk***," Riddhima gulped, "Who you tryin' to play? You…you think I'm stupid. You try to pull somethin' funny under my presence…I'm going to take that pretty little neck of yours and twist it until your eyeballs pop out of your head. Andthen I'm gonna—"
"I just wanted to use the little girl's room." Riddhima said it all under one breath. She had listened wide-eyed along with everyone else to the extremely violent description.
Surpisingly, the guard became normal and even smiled, "Well, why didn't you just say so in the first place. Silly girl!" He then proceeded to pat her as she passed by him with an incredulous expression on her face. Multiple personality disorder, Riddhima concluded.
Riddhima called out behind her, "Alright then, enjoy you guys!"
She came out of the bathroom more relaxed than she had been in the whole day. While rushing to the bathroom, she hadn't noticed her surrounding but now saw that it was a dimly lit lounge. Weird but comfortable. She fixed her jacket and smoothed down the skirt when she saw people staring at her apparel.
"Should've changed first!" She mumbled to herself though later she would wish that she had.
Her gaze stopped at two figures standing right in front of her staring at her—whispering to each other in a hushed yet urgent tone. Not feeling comfortable under their gaze, she quickly rushed out of the club towards the parking lot. What she didn't know was that she had company.
Riddhima plopped down in the driver seat and turned the key in the ignition. The car sputtered, sneezed, coughed and then choked; finally, it settled on silence.
"What!" Riddhima whined, "No, no come on you can do it." She turned the key again but got no response. Slamming the door shut, she opened the bonnet and closed it. She didn't understand car language so there was no point. As she took her cell phone out of the car, she felt a hand press upon her shoulder. Turning around she came face to face with the two guys from the lounge. Without thinking, she flung her phone in their direction. The first guy ducked swiftly but the second wasn't that lucky as Riddhima heard a stream of curses come out of his mouth as he clutched his nose. Not wasting another second, she brought her knee up to kick the astonished guy in front of her. But he acted too fast and had her arms behind her back in less than two seconds.
"Down girl, down!" He whispered next to her ear. Riddhima filled her lungs with air to break the record for the loudest scream when she felt something blocking its escape. She realized it was a tie. Her heart beat raced and tears sprang to her eyes as painful memories of the past came again. She struggled against his hold but his hands only tightened on her wrists. Then she just froze as her body accepted defeat.
"What is wrong with you lady?" She heard the other guy shout out to her. Closing her eyes in anticipation of the worst, she was surprised when her captor laughed a big hearty laugh.
"Man, she ****** your nose worse than Boyd."
The crude reply came fast enough but it only made her captor laugh even harder.
"You hella tight, baby. Okay, I need to know now. If I let you go now will I still be able to have kids in the future?" Riddhima couldn't understand what was happening. Who were these people?
The guy whom Riddhima had assaulted stood in front of her. "She looks terrified. What's wrong, sugar? You almost took my eye out." Riddhima stared at him blankly until she focused on the red welt on his nose. She looked into his eyes and found no anger or hunger instead there was concern written all over his face.
"Miles, let go of her. She probably thought we were psychotic rapers or something." He opened the tie while the one named Miles released his hold and came to stand in front of her. She pressed herself against the car and assessed both figures. They were both big, blond, and handsome though with a bit of a rugged look. Twins. Despite their physical similarities, anyone could tell they were complete opposites. Miles had a lopsided smile which indicated all things naughty while the other was calmer and, it seemed, more matured. Riddhima relaxed a bit but kept her guard up.
The serious one smacked Miles on his head, "Oww, what was that for Eli?"
Eli smothered a grin and pointed to Riddhima's wrists, "You hurt the lady and now we have to pay extra." Miles looked away with a pout while Eli apologized on his behalf.
"Sorry, sugar. My brother here doesn't know his own strength. I hope we won't be punished too harshly." He ended with a charming smile but Riddhima was now more confused than ever. Pay extra? Punishment? What was going on here? Just as she was about to ask Eli, she saw them whispering to each other.
"What is she doing here anyways? Didn't she get the address? Eli, didn't you e-mail all the info to the company?"
Eli shook his head, "Naw, man I sent it all right. They must've messed up and sent her to the club instead of his house." Miles nodded in agreement. Turning their attention back to Riddhima who stood with her brows creased and hands clasped.
"Come on. We'll give you a ride." Eli indicated to her to follow him as they started towards their car. Riddhima waited for a few seconds but quickly caught up with them. They were safe.
"To where?" Riddhima asked while trying to keep up with their pace.
"The house. Where else?" Miles answered that.
Getting more confused, "My house?"
"Sure. Your house…for tonight…don't get used to it though. It's only a once in a lifetime thing." Riddhima smiled and thanked them. They were right, no one else would have offered to drive her home and she lived far from here.
She climbed into the black hummer's backseat as Eli took the driver seat and Miles took shotgun. She relaxed into the plush seats and took the water bottle offered by Miles. Not realized how thirsty she was, she downed almost half of the bottle. Miles turned back to her and assessed her, "You'll do good." Riddhima raised her brow but let it go as she had had enough confusion for one night. After that she was engrossed into hilarious and wild stories of the twins' childhood. They were so nice, Riddhima thought to herself, and absolute gentlemen.
"…My mom whupped Eli so bad that day that my bro never played another prank until he was in college. He might look innocent but in that twisted little brain of him something's always churning inside—planning, plotting. Last year, we went to Malik's family campground and it was my birthday. This guy pulled the worst prank on me. There are a lot of people there so couple of the guys had to share room. So me and Eli ended up sharing one. It was four o'clock in the morning and I was sleeping on a mattress. Him and Malik dragged my mattress out of the cabin and it was December by the way. They have this lake river thing there," Miles paused as Eli began laughing and Riddhima knew what was coming, "And these ******* dragged my mattress into the river and when I woke up a later…I was in the middle of the ******* lake…floating on the mattress…in my boxers. If that wasn't enough I heard them laughing and I jumped up and the damn mattress flipped. That water was so cold I could have frozen my—"
Riddhima stopped him there as she clutched her stomach laughing. Eli was shaking in laughter was well while Miles had a smile on his face too. "That was worse than taking any hit from Boyd. That river is cursed I swear. It doesn't matter what season it is, the water is always below 0 degrees."
"Yeah right! It was just your lucky day Miles." Riddhima stopped laughing as the Eli pulled up the car in front of an elegant driveway. All Riddhima could think was—That's not my house!
Before she could say anything, the twins had jumped out of the car and were headed up the driveway. Miles called out to her to come out. Riddhima got out and looked around. Despite the dark, the house was lit up and showed off the amount of money spent in constructing this beauty. She followed the twins reluctantly but knew that they wouldn't hurt her.
"Its okay Riddhima," she assured herself, "kuch nahi hoga. It's probably their house and they stopped to get something." Her hopes rose as she saw them enter the house without ringing the bell.
"Yeah, it must be their house. If they had wanted to do something they would have already done it." She quickened her pace and entered the house which was just as dark as it was bright outside. Suddenly fearful, she prepared to call out when she felt something over her eyes. Before she could scream she heard Miles laugh.
"Sorry, babe, we knew this wasn't part of the deal but we gotta get you ready right. I sure you won't mind."
In a shaky voice she questioned, "Whe-Where are we? Is this your house?"
She heard Eli answer to her right and take hold of her hand, "Of course this isn't our house. It's his house. This is where you were supposed to come but you were misinformed sugar."
Riddhima sensed her panic level increasing. This isn't their house…why did he blindfold me?...where are they taking me? All these questions swam in her mind as her breathing got shallower and she gathered enough courage to ask. But she was interrupted yet again.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU…HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU"
Birthday? Why were Miles and Eli singing a birthday song? She raised her hands to take the blindfold off but found that both her hands were in their grasp.
She began softly, "Guys, what is going—" But another voice overtook hers yet again.
"What the hell you guys? I told you guys I don't want anything for my birthday." Riddhima stood with the words still in her voice as she heard the newest addition to the situation. His voice was deep and husky with a tinge of irritation and maybe a bit tipsy too. Only one thing became clear so far, it was this guys' birthday but he didn't sound too happy about it.
Finally having enough Riddhima asked, "Guys what is going on here? Can I have my hands back please?" The annoyance was clear in her voice yet the twins couldn't understand the reason for its presence. Maybe she didn't like being blindfolded, Miles thought to himself.
The guy spoke up again, his voice airing his curiosity, "Who's that with you guys?"
Eli answered, "Your birthday present!!" Miles let out a big whoop and Eli laughed and nudged Riddhima suggestively. The one thing that came to both Riddhima and the guys' mind was "Birthday Present??." Though the former said it with confusion while the latter said as if he was testing the words.
Miles left her hand and Riddhima heard his voice further from herself, "What else man! You didn't think your buddies would let you sulk on your birthday. This is our present to you."
"Yeah before we get on with this…Can we turn the lights on? It's kind of annoying squinting."
Eli released her hand ad she could hear his footsteps retreating. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Riddhima pulled of the blindfold just as the light filled the room. She rubbed her eyes and her contacts settled down in her eyes. The first thing she saw when she looked up was…skin. Lots of muscled, tanned, and toned skin topped by a six-pack. Faded blue jeans hung low…very low, on his waist. Riddhima blushed and averted her gaze. She tucked her hair behind her ear and tried again to ask the current update on the situation.
Surprise, surprise, she was interrupted yet again.
His husky voice drew goosebumps on her skin as if he were not standing five feet away from her but right next to her whispering in her ear, "Well, well, well…what do we have here?"
First off she was mad at herself for not being able to stop staring and secondly the constant interruptions were getting on her nerves—so she finally blew her top.
"WILL SOMEONE F-ING TELL ME WHAT THE F IS GOING ON HERE AND WHY IS THIS GUY NOT WEARING A SHIRT?" There was a pin drop silence after that outburst which left Riddhima satisfied but embarrassed and blushing the next moment when she saw the twins staring at her. Had she actually asked why he wasn't wearing a shirt? Oh, god, can I be any more obvious?
"Like what you see." The lazy drawl drew her eyes to his face which left her rooted in her spot.