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The leap can be seen as many different things. It can stand for a makeover, a makeover of any kind - from your personality, to your wardrobe. It can stand for a high jump, one between two opposite ends of your belief system.
The most significant leap however, is the one that leads you up to a crossroad - a crossroad of choices, a crossroad of decisions, and a crossroad of paths not treaded upon yet...
"'so, they're thinking of sketching out a quick advertising plan for the exhibit, because the show will only be a success when there are more viewers. We need to attract as many people from Cali as well, but other than real art lovers, I doubt anyone's going to fly miles to another country an-" Armaan rambled on whilst chopping the onions.
"You could use my magazine for that purpose!" I jumped, suddenly excited. "Well, not my magazine, I haven't even got a regular column yet, but still! You could definitely advertize in Smart, its so popular!" I shrugged.
"That's actually not a bad idea!" Armaan mumbled thoughtfully. "But that stupid boss of your's hates me, I doubt he'll let you do it!" He muttered the next minute.
"Why would Will hate you? I bet he's forgotten your very polite behavior the one time he came home! Doubt he cares!" I shrugged, rolling my eyes. "I'll talk to him, and oh, maybe I could do a whole column on you and your breath-taking captures, which gives the world a whole new perspective!" I muttered dreamily, my eyes foggy.
"Ms. Poet'" I heard him whisper in my ear, his arms encircling my waist, his chin on my shoulder. "There are two other colleagues of mine who have chanced this opportunity!" He teased, kissing my ear. I frowned, scrunching my nose.
"Well, then I'll write about your breath-taking captures, which gives the world a whole new perspective, and those other two tag-alongs, who are pretty good too!" I shrugged.
"I can imagine what a nice, unbiased article that would make!" He chuckled.
"Yea, yea, we can think of that later, but c'mon, think about it! I'll at least have fun at work if I'm promoting you, looking at Mindy's face everyday doesn't exactly scream 'yahoo' does it!" I rolled my eyes.
"Tell you what, you talk to that stupid boss of your's, and I talk to John, see if it works out!" He pecked my lips and set off to set the table.
"Yea, we could do that'" Will murmured. I frowned at his smug expression. Clearly, he hadn't forgotten Armaan's hospitality. "..but there's already so much going on, someone would need to administer it all!" He shrugged. "..so can't say.." he smiled.
"I'll do it! I'll administer everything!" I said at once.
"Yea, but I need all hands that I can have, and you need to put your head into your career, not your fiance's!" He grimaced, and I muttered curses under my breath.
"Its just a publicity campaign I'm suggesting.." I smiled, trying once more.
"Well, Smart has nothing to gain from it'" Will shrugged, and although I hated to admit, he had a point.
"Well, with the commissions we get from UCLA, we could extend our own publicity strategies, we could come up with better marketing and sales benefits, and all sorts of things.. It is big money we're talking here!" I bit my lip.
"That is a point.." Will sighed. "But I meant it when I said there is no one to work on this. Until you call your pretty boyfriend here himself to work on it!" He scoffed. "But I'm sure he already has a lot on his mind-"
"He'll do it! In fact, all the three participants will contribute." I cut in.
"I'm not paying temporary employees, not right now, Ms. Gupta, we need to cut back on over-riding expenses." Will argued.
"They'll work for free then! C'mon, Will, its pros on both sides, those minor setbacks are not enough to decline this!" I said exasperated. He gave me a hard look, but I stared back determined. Had to try, I thought.
"Get me the Head of their Department on phone, I'll talk to them, see if its worth it, then we'll decide!" He said finally.
"Thank you!" I said excitedly. "I'll make the call!" I said, nodding at him.
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"You're actually pretty good at what you do, Munchkin.." I heard him say, and turned my chair to glare at him.
"I love how you show so much confidence in me!" I said sarcastically, thumping him hard on the head with an old issue of the magazine.
"No, just saying. I mean, I knew you were good at writing, but doing layouts and designing and stuff? That's something'" He mumbled thoughtfully.
"Do me a favor and let me concentrate!" I muttered, rolling my eyes at his ramble.
Three weeks into the campaigning for Armaan and his colleagues' exhibits, I found myself scanning through their portfolios (spending a lot more time on Armaan's capture-clicks of my face), and mining out the best photography samples to campaign with, along with penning down 9 whole pages of the issue dedicated solely to the exhibit opportunists. If that wasn't enough already, Will had appointed me the head of the campaign, resulting in I deciding everything - from the design to the layout - of the those 9 important pages, obviously much to the dismay of all those calling me the office-s**t.
However, the whole situation became a lot more comical when Armaan and his two counter-parts: Jake and Adam - joined the team just for the campaign. Although a lot more tiring, work suddenly became a lot more fun.
"Munchkin, you look tired.." Armaan whispered in my ear.
"I am.. And I'm starving!" I whined softly, glancing at Jake and Adam who were busy with skimming through their own portfolios.
"Take a break, I'll handle it 'til then.. My part's almost done anyway.." He planted a kiss near my ear and smiled.
"Almost? Armaan, I've just done 2 pages, and it took 2 hours!" I groaned.
"Its alright, at least go and grab a coffee for that headache!" He protested. "..and get me some coke as well, please!"
"I love how you always know I have a headache!" I laughed. "Thanks, and I will!" I pecked his lips and smiled gratefully.
Excited at the prospect of coffee, I raced towards the food bar, and cursed my luck when I saw two other people already present there - one of whom hated me from the very core of her heart; but then again, the feeling was pretty mutual. She better not have finished all the coffee in that machine this time, I thought. Frowning, I went and stood behind them, waiting for them to finish, when they turned, looking at me in surprise.
If looks could kill, I would have been toast, I wondered, scowling at Mindy's murderous glares. But then again, she didn't know I had killed her in my mind about five-thousand and twenty one times.
Sighing I ignored her and began filling my cup with steaming hot coffee, when I heard them sniggering from the back. Rolling my eyes, I ignored them like always.
"'as if she herself wasn't enough, she bought her annoying boyfriend here. Wonder how she tackles so many men at once though, he seems so smitten by her, like Will wasn't enough to feed her ego.." My grip around the steaming hot cup tightened. Ignore her, ignore her, ignore her, I chanted.
"Nah, he's a complete eye-candy, I can't get past his eyes to notice anything else!" Her friend sighed dreamily, as jealousy reached a whole new level for me. My eye candy, he's my eye candy, you bimbo! I noticed the cup in my hand was long filled over to the brim, and my hands were burning because of my grasp on the cup. Not wanting to turn, I placed my cup on the table, and began filling Armaan's coke.
"Still, it makes you think what he sees in her.." came Mindy's snide remark. "Although, they seem meant for each other the way they use people. She tweaks and flirts around with her boss to get work, and he continues his playboy act to get his worthless creativity published in our magazine! They are talentless, but definitely not dumb, don't you-" She didn't get to complete what she said, as the next minute I had splashed the coke in my hand on her coffee-brown skirt.
"Oops, sorry!" I said in a monotone, not sorry at all. "I don't think anyone will notice though, in fact, I think it brings out the color of your cold, black eyes, don't you think?" I said in a sugar-coated voice, as I stared at her shocked face, her mouth wide open.
However, as I walked past her victorious I felt something grasp my neck and pin me down to the floor. Screaming, I tried shaking Mindy off my back but unsuccessful, while her mate just stood there staring at us in shock.
"Let go off me!" I screamed, kicking her. "Mindy have you lost it, let go off me!" I managed to whimper out as she continued her assaults.
"You spoilt my skirt!" She muttered breathlessly.
"You're mental; let go off me!" I screamed again, but the next minute, threw in all my strength and punched her. Turning I pinned her below me and tried choking her instead. "You deserved what you got, no one talks sour of my fiance!" I growled loudly.
"Riddhima!" I heard Armaan say, and by the loud voices surrounding us, I knew we had attracted a crowd.
"No one, calls my fiance talentless, you bitch!" I cried, punching her, while she pulled my hair with one hand and hitting my head with another. "Ow!"
"Riddhima, get off from her, come on!" I heard Armaan yelling from the back, and I knew he was angry.
"No, leave me alone!" I cried, continuing our cat fight.
The next minute I felt my body hanging in mid-air, and Armaan's arms around my waist holding me back.
"Let go off me!" I yelled.
"No, you have to calm down. Now." I heard him say sternly and struggled to get out of his hold. "Riddhima!" He seethed in his no-nonsense tone and I calmed down at once, suddenly afraid of him. I stopped struggling, but he didn't withdraw his arms from around me, and for that I was grateful.
I looked at Mindy whimpering on the floor as she sat up, supported by an amused Will who was staring at both of us thunderstruck.
"What is going on here, may I ask?" He asked blankly.
"I don't know! She just pounced on me out of nowhere!" She muttered dramatically as I stared at her shocked.
"What?! Liar! You pounced on me!" I cried defensively.
"Ladies, please stop, this is not kindergarten, as much as I feel like it is." Will sighed.
I looked around at the entire staff of the magazine gathered around us, and looked down at the floor, embarrassed. Turning in his hold, I hugged Armaan at once, trying to find solace, as silent tears began to flow down my cheeks.
"We'll head home, I think.." I heard Armaan say awkwardly, probably unsure of who he was supposed to be talking to. "Um, sorry about the mess.." He mumbled, and the next thing I knew, I was being led to the parking lot towards his car.
As we drove back, I stared out of the car, then back at his expressionless face, time and again, unsure of what he was thinking.
"Do you need first aid?" He sighed, lifting my face as he sat me on the couch on reaching home.
"No.." I mumbled blankly.
"So you're not hurt?" He asked again and I shook my head, afraid of what was coming next.
"You can laugh, its okay, I'm not hurt.." I sighed, and predictably, I heard his loud guffaws fill the room.
"I'm sorry, but that was funny.. Not to mention arousing!" He smirked once he was done, as I glared at him.
"I'm so embarrassed!" I cried and hid my face in my hands, whilst Armaan laughed again.
"Well, whoever told you to pounce on her that way?" He shrugged, handing me a glass of water.
"I didn't pounce on her! She did!" I yelled.
"Eh.." He tutted disbelievingly.
"But after I threw coke on her.." I grumbled.
"There we go!" Armaan said.
"Its still not my fault though.. She insulted you!" I scowled.
"Since when did her opinions begin to matter to you? You've never cared about what she says about you, and I know why she talking about me makes you angry, but honestly, you knew better than to let her get to you Munchkin. You're normally mature when it comes to stuff like this, never mind your otherwise usual immature behavior. It was your choice to start a fight, because the way I see it, you intended on picking a fight with her.. I know you very well Munchkin, what with your stints with Andrea while I was with her.." Armaan rambled, and as much as I hated it, he was right.
"Shut up, Armaan, that was different!" I argued.
"How? According to you, both hate you, both are bitches, and both deserved to not exist at all. How is it any different Munchkin?" He asked smirking, as my ears began to feel hot.
"Oh, get lost, you!" I snapped, as he laughed and hugged me.
"Now tomorrow, just go to work, and ignore what everyone says, ignore what she says. Just let it pass okay?" He murmured in my ears as I nodded, sighing.
"You'll be there, I'll be okay.." I mumbled.
"And, uh, the party tomorrow?" He asked uncertainly, as my eyes widened.
"Shit the party tomorrow!" I cried, suddenly reminded of the staff party I had to attend the next day. "And you're not even coming!" I glared at him.
"I wish I could Munchkin, but you know I have to work, we're a week away from my first exhibit.. I am juggling too many things at the moment! Plus, isn't it a masquerade party? You should be okay!" He sighed.
"That doesn't matter! You promised to be with me in good times and bad, in sickness and in health until death do us part. And this is death for me." I whined.
"Uh, we're not married yet." He rolled his eyes.
"SO?" I argued back. "So is it only after we get married do these promises become valid? Would you not die for me tomorrow? If it was my life at stake?" I asked dramatically. Armaan merely stared at me blankly. "Too much?" I asked uncertainly and he nodded. "Fine. But still, please come, Armaan. Please, please, please! Pretty please! You're my aankhon ka taara, my budhape ka sahara!" I grinned at him as he looked at me amused. "Fine, fine, stop staring at me like I'm crazy, I'll stop now.." I sighed. "But I'm not going tomorrow." I frowned.
"Munchkin, you have to go. The last thing you want to do is hide.. It'll just make things worse!" He sighed.
"I can't go without you Armaan, I won't have anyone to talk to.." I murmured softly.
"What about that stupid boss of your's?" He smirked.
"Can you please get a life?" I sighed.
"Munchkin, it'll be okay.. And when the party's over, you'll always have me to come back to.. I'm not going anywhere!" He murmured, kissing my hair.
"Promise?" I asked.
"Promise." He smiled. Smiling back, I poked his dimples, then pulled his cheeks tight.
"NOT THE CHEEKS, MUNCHKIN!"
Following Armaan's advice, I ignored everyone's comments and stares at work. Whoever said High School was over?
As I stepped into the party however, minus Armaan, I drew in a breath of anticipation as all faces turned. Rolling my eyes, I concentrated on stepping into the party and making as quick an escape as possible.
Sighing I scanned the crowd for Casey and found her chatting to another colleague.
"Hey there Wonderwoman!" She winked at me as I approached her.
"Shut up! Not you too!" I sighed.
"Do you blame me?" She chuckled. "But fine, I'll cut you some slack."
"How quickly can I just leave this hostile environment?" I asked anxiously as I spotted Mindy in the crowd. She caught my eye at that precise moment but looked away before it could prolong.
"You just came! You'll have to be here a while. Why didn't Armaan come along? He knows it was one plus invites right? Or did you come with another date?" She winked.
"I wish. No, he had to work.. Made me come anyway." I sighed.
"Won't be that bad, don't worry." She muttered reassuringly. "And here, wear your mask, then you're as good as not here!" She grinned handing me a beautiful pink mask.
"It doesn't match my dress!" I rolled my eyes.
"What does it matter? You want to hide!" She shrugged
"Uh, too late to hide now! Look who's coming!" I whined as I saw Mindy approaching me. I determinedly avoided her gaze, and looked for a way to escape.
"Riddhima, can I have a word?" She asked; I cocked an eyebrow in response. Casey excused herself, leaving me all alone.
"Mindy, can we just forget the whole thing? I mean, you don't like me, so its okay, its cool, we can just..stay away. I've embarrassed the two of us enough!" I sighed.
"No, I just.. I wanted to say that I'm sorry, actually.." Mindy smiled slightly as I raised both my eyebrows this time, surprised.
"Okay.." I mumbled.
"Look..what happened yesterday.."
"..that was my fault, but honestly prior to that, I have no idea why-"
"'because I was jealous.." I stopped rambling on hearing her.
"Heh?" I asked shocked.
"You're not talentless, nor is Armaan, and I know it wasn't your fault that Will chose you over me.." She mumbled.
"Then do you just enjoy being hostile to innocent people?" I thought aloud, but then reprimanded myself for being rude. "Sorry, that was out of line.." I mumbled.
"No, you're right.. I was being really stupid.." She muttered, and all of a sudden I felt bad for her.
"Why would you be jealous of me, though? That's insane!" I laughed.
"You have the perfect life.. At first it was only because of Will.. Its no secret how I feel about him.. But he always preferred you. And when he gave you my column, that was the last straw.." She sighed.
"I'm sorry about that.. I just didn't think of it that way.." I muttered.
"I know, you wouldn't.. But yea, it wasn't your fault..All mine. I was being really stupid.. And I don't blame you for what happened yesterday either. I brought it on me, in a way!"
"Yea, I just get defensive when it comes to Armaan, sorry. I hope that coke didn't leave a stain!" I chuckled nervously.
"No its cool, sorry about that. I felt worse when I saw how happy you were with him, because I'm nowhere close to having that with anyone.." She said wistfully, and I knew she was throwing a glance at Will when she looked behind me.
"It'll be okay.. Things always have a way of falling into place when you least expect them to.. Trust me!" I smiled.
"Thanks!" She smiled back. "So, we're cool, right?" She asked nervously.
"Yea, we will be.." I mumbled.
She nodded at me and giving another nervous smile, she walked away.
"Wow!" I sighed blankly. Taking a deep breath, I walked and stood at the drinks bar, bored. I noticed couples dancing elegantly around the room, and wished I could be there with Armaan too. But the next second, I felt a smile whip up on my face. Looking at Mindy, I realized how much I could relate to what she felt. I remembered every single tear I wasted over a stupid crush, or over having no friends to rely on. Throughout everything right and wrong, good and bad, I had been wishing for that one person who could hold me together and be my best friend at all times. And in these past 4 years, I had had him with me all along. It was funny how I could now differentiate my life with Armaan in it from the one without him. After sending a another quick thank you to God, I prayed Mindy would find her Armaan soon too. I'm such a nice person, I thought.
"May I have this dance, my fair lady?" A hoarse voice spoke behind me.
Turning I saw the pair of eyes I always crave to see at all times and smiled. His face hidden beneath a black and gold mask, and his hand stretched out, he still looked gorgeous.
"Where in the world did you find a tux?" I laughed, straightening the bow on his collar.
"Rented it!" He grinned happily.
"And whatever happened to your oh-so-much-work-in-so-little-time?" I asked raising an eyebrow.
"Got done with it quickly so I could escort my fair lady to the dance floor. Now may I?" He said holding out his arm; grinning I slipped my arm from under his and walked with him. "You look gorgeous by the way!" He murmured in my ears as he held me close.
"Why, thank you, sir!" I bowed slightly and laughed. "But I want nothing more than to get out of here!" I sighed.
"Why, rumor has it that you and Madam Mindy finally broke the ice!" He smirked.
"How'd you know that?" I asked bewildered. "You were eavesdropping?" I narrowed my eyes.
"Yea well, I came and Casey told me you were having a very nice conversation with Mindy. I was just scared I would witness another catfight, but there you were being such a charming lady!" He teased. "Since when are you so forgiving Munchkin?"
"Shut up! I was just being polite. When someone says sorry, its polite to forgive them." I rambled.
"And what makes me an exception? I say sorry and you still lecture me on how and where I was wrong." He muttered exasperated.
"You're not counted. Its my rights as your fiance to be mad at you at all times. It's a tactic to be pampered forever!" I grinned.
"Sure, sure!" He laughed, pecking my nose.
"Do I look okay?" I sighed nervously at the entrance.
"Munchkin, people are here to look at my exhibit, not you!" Armaan sighed exasperated.
A week after my showdown with Mindy, I found myself on a flight to London, along with Armaan, his parents and Rhea. Maybe it was the fact that my mood was in bright and sunny spirits, that London, the normal ice-paradise, was now under the rule of the smiling sun.
"I'm the inspiration! People might say that my face is all Photo-shopped, and not real, if they don't find me as beautiful in person!" I explained.
"You really do have a high opinion of yourself, don't you?" Armaan grinned amused.
"You're the one who constantly feeds my ego, baby!" I cooed chirpily, plastering a smile on my face as I walked in with my arm surrounding Armaan's, whilst Mumma, Papa and Rhea walked in behind us.
"So she's the inspiration, now?" A deep voice spoke, and I smiled embarrassed.
"Riddhima, John; John, Riddhima. And these are my parents, and my sister, Rhea!" Armaan grinned.
"Hey!" I smiled as John took my hand and kissed it. Although I had been in constant touch with him through phone and mails for the campaign, it was the first time I had met him in person.
"Isn't she beautiful!" John chuckled.
"Thank you!" I grinned.
"Why, it's a very good looking family you have Armaan, no wonder you're so inspired!" John said good-naturedly.
"Yea, well.." Armaan smiled. "Are Jake and Adam here yet?" He asked.
"Yep, just waiting for you, so we can get started!" John led us to the main hall, and I looked around me at the chambers. Each and every frame in the hall was covered with a white curtain, probably would be raised once the exhibit officially started.
"Armaan you're last in the introductory speech!" John informed, as Armaan nodded, and I could tell he was nervous. Clasping my hand firmly in his, I squeezed it, and he gave me a grateful smile.
As we heard Jake and Adam give formal introductions to themselves and their exhibits, I could feel Armaan's tight grasp on my hand get firmer by the minute.
"It'll be okay.." I whispered and saw him nod.
"I just never imagined myself being here.." He muttered.
"I know.. I have faith in you.." I smiled, and leaned my head against his shoulder, only to hear Rhea's teasing coughs from the back.
"You both start anywhere don't you'll. I'll remember that the next time I'm with Nikhil!" Rhea muttered in my ear, as I grinned and Armaan scowled.
"I'll smash his face into a pulp at the end of it!" Armaan muttered and I turned around just in time to see Rhea roll her eyes at her brother's hypocrisy.
"Enough both of you!" I sighed. "You ready?" I asked, suddenly nervous myself. I could feel the butterflies swarming in my tummy, and I knew I was just as nervous as he was.
"Yea.." He mumbled, suddenly sounding confident.
"All the best!" I whispered, and forgetting that there was a crowd around me including my in-laws, I leaned and gave him a soft kiss on the lips. "That should keep you going!" I grinned, and felt him smile across my lips. I left his hand as he walked off towards the stage.
"Uh, first, I would just want to thank everyone for being here.." Armaan started the second he took the mike in his hand. I threw a small thumbs-up in his way and saw a flicker of a smile pass his gorgeous face. "Most people have a fair idea of what they want to do in life, when they grow up.. I had ideas as well. But none of those ideas included I being here tonight.. I never, ever imagined I would be here, and the one person who's made tonight possible: she's the one who's the inspiration behind my very first exhibit'" He grinned and looked down at me, as I felt ears growing hotter by the second. "That inspiration, is standing right over there, my fiance - Riddhima Gupta.." He introduced, and I felt all eyes rest upon me, as I smiled nervously. "There are a few other people, who encouraged me to be inspired in life, and those people are my parents and my sister who never lost confidence in me, for even a second.. And for that, I'm thankful. My exhibit tonight, is a symbol of all this put together, of all the love I have received, and I only hope that it symbolizes something as significant and pure to you, as it does to me.. I hope you all connect to it the way I do.." He grinned widely, and a loud applause filled the room. I looked to my right and saw Mumma sobbing happily, her head leaning on Papa's shoulder, who looked on with pride. I felt Rhea lean her head on my shoulder as I looked at Armaan with all the love I could muster - he definitely was one in a million; and funnily enough - for him, I was one in a million too - that's what tonight depicted for me anyway!
"Hey!" I smiled at the reflection of his gorgeous face in the mirror, as I undid my neck-piece and kept it on the table. Grinning, I quickly ran up to him and took him in a deep kiss.
"I've never been this proud of you!" I mumbled breathlessly, leaning my forehead against his.
"Was I good?" He mumbled, his arms surrounding my waist. I grinned and nodded with my eyes shut.
"You were brilliant, baby.." I whispered. "You were absolutely brilliant.. And I've never, ever been this sure of you all this time we've been together.. You're definitely for keeps!" I winked, as he pulled me into him, hard, and kissed me again. Pulling out, my breathing heavy, I straightened the collar of his now untidy white-shirt and muttered, "You should get some rest, its been a long day.. Plus, we have flight to catch in the afternoon!" I murmured, nuzzling my nose against his.
"I have other plans, actually!" He grinned cheekily, and in a swift moment, he had held me up in arms, and my arms automatically went around his neck.
"What kind of plans, they don't really sound innocent." I grinned down at him.
"You'll know soon!" He winked at me, as he lay me down on the bed. I felt my heart start beating at an alarmingly fast rate.
"Armaan, jokes aside, Mum and Papa are just in the next room.." I breathed out, grasping the end of my pillow as I felt his lips on my neck.
"They're fast asleep.." He murmured.
"Armaan, we're still in the same suite!" I laughed. But I wasn't lying, we had been given a family suite, consisting of 3 big rooms, split between Mumma-Papa, Rhea and I, while Armaan was made to sleep on the couch for the 2 nights we were going to be staying there.
"They won't hear anything.." He ignored my protests, and I felt my breath hitch as his own warm breath trailed further down.
"Rhea-" I started.
"Is completely knocked out, Munchkin, and it happens every time she has champagne.." He chuckled. My eyes widened as I felt his hand lightly brush against my thighs. I immediately groped for his hair and pulled his face up to mine.
"I think the champagne's done more wonders here than there!" I teased, pointing at his brain.
"No, its not the champagne talking tonight.." He whispered softly, kissing my nose. "I love you.." He murmured, bringing his hand up to my caress my face.
"I love you too.." I replied softly.
"Then can we just give this night the perfect ending?" He leaned in to kiss me, but suddenly extremely aware of what he wanted, I stopped him.
"Armaan'" I mumbled, guiltily. "I'm sorry, I can't'" I revealed, and saw his eyes portray deject and anger.
"Fine.." He muttered in an audible whisper, and before I knew it, he had reached for my room's door.
"Don't be mad at me!" I groaned.
"Well, you were the one who said that you've never been this sure of me before today. And you said that just five minutes ago, Riddhima, so honestly, I find it hard to not be mad!" He seethed. "After almost a year of being with the love of my life, she doesn't trust me enough with this, so I'm sorry, but I can't not be mad!" He finished.
"Its not that I don't trust you, Armaan. You know that's not it!" I mumbled, struggling to keep my voice soft and even.
"Well, then what is it?" He asked exasperated. "I'm sorry, but that's the only conclusion I can draw from this!"
"I'm just not ready! I think that explanation should be enough, without you questioning my love and faith in you!" I retorted back.
"Well its not enough. Because the way I see it, I don't think you're gonna be ready at all. Not until we get married. I bet that if I married you tomorrow, we won't be having this conversation ever again!" He argued back, his tone cold.
"Do you hear yourself?" I shook my head disbelievingly. "I'm just not ready, Armaan, its got nothing to do with whether we're married or not!" I muttered, trying not to lose my head.
"That is just it! It's the fact that we're not married. Seriously Riddhima, India's come a very long way in all this, but you still seem to be living in the 1950's where it was considered a big sin to-"
"That's so out of line! So now you're gonna pin the blame on my so-called Indian mentality? Honestly? What are you then? African? Because you are behaving like an animal who just escaped a forest!" I threw back. "And what about your mentality? That's all you guys think of? Sex?"
"No I think of making love to the woman I love beyond anything in this world, but obviously that's a big crime right?" He retorted. "You know what, forget it, tell me when you are ready, because I don't want to have this conversation with you ever again!" He muttered indignantly, and walking out of the room, he slammed the door shut in my face.
Exhausted and sad at the course this night had taken, I snuggled into bed even without changing my clothes.
Was this really troubling him to that extent, I wondered. I always thought we had a mutual understanding about this issue, but it was now apparent that we didn't. Armaan was never ones to force me into anything, of that I was sure, and I knew he wasn't aware of half the things he had said right now, to even comprehend them. But to think his frustration came out that way, especially on a day that had been perfectly brilliant. A part of me just wanted to go to him right now and sort this whole mess, but the next minute I realized there was nothing to sort. It was simply an issue where we had a difference of opinion, and this was one situation where a compromise could not be reached.
I sighed and stared up at the ceiling, hoping and praying that the morning would bring with it the understanding I was looking for. Closing my eyes, I felt my body give in to an uneasy sleep..
"Honey, I'm home!" I heard him chirp, and turned to look at him, my eyebrows raised.
"Seriously?" I asked, grinning at the use of the cliched phrase. "Don't ever 'honey' me again, please!" I smiled sardonically.
"Eh, worth a try!" He shrugged. Chuckling, I walked to give him a soft kiss.
"How was work?" I smiled, dragging him to the table and plating up his food.
"Tiring! Just can't wait for this last exhibit to get over!" He sighed. "Another 2 weeks! I swear I'm going to be toast by the end of it!" He groaned.
"Just another 2 weeks, Armaan, relax!" I rolled my eyes. "Besides, it's the last one, I seriously am going to miss my trips to London every few months!" I grinned.
"Oh, really? Well, maybe we can have your dream house there!" He winked.
"Really?!" I exclaimed excitedly as he rolled his eyes. "Don't play with my feelings!" I whined.
He merely smiled, and by the way he glanced at me for a whole 15 seconds, I knew he had something to say.
"What?" I asked nervously. "Something's up, I know that look.." I probed. "And I know you're supposed to give your partner space when it comes to stuff like this, but we just never do that with us, because when we tend to take space, we normally end up getting spaced out from each other, and the last time that that happened-"
"I can talk if you let me, Munchkin!" He cut across.
"Well, I was just trying to break the ice!" I grinned, winking. "Now tell me what's up!" I kissed his cheek. He continued looking at me, this time nervously. "Armaan, baby what's wrong, you can tell me.. Its been 23 years of knowing me, 9 plus another 5 years of being my best friend and over 2 years of being in a relationship with me and living with me. I think that makes me the most trustworthy person in your life!" I held his hand tight in mine and smiled.
"You would have been that irrespective.." He grinned. "I got an offer'" He mumbled.
"Offer?" I asked curiously.
"From two of the best photography recruiters, Studio Canvas and PhotoInc." He finished.
"WHAT?!" I exclaimed. "Armaan that's brilliant!" I clapped happily. But then noticing his half-hearted smile, I sat down next to him. "Why are you so..not happy, then?" I asked.
"Because I'm not sure if I want do it.." He admitted, and without another word, he had stood up and marched off towards the bedroom.
Wow, I wondered. Sighing, I wondered what he meant when he said he was unsure if he wanted to do it. Did it mean the job, or photography as a whole. My eyes widened as I realized his implications. He couldn't be looking to quit..not after coming this far in the game?!
Deciding to give him some space after all, I cleared up the table and finished off all work before I stepped into the room to see him lying face down into the bed.
"What is it? Talk to me!" I murmured in his ear, brushing my lips against his cheek. He turned around and shifted his head into my lap. Stroking his hair, I whispered his name again, urging him to continue.
"When did you first realize that you wanted write?" He asked.
"I..I never really..It never came like a bolt of lightening for me.. It was just something I wanted to do..I never had to think twice before I chose it over everything else'It was kind of like you..Never had to think twice once I knew I was in love with you!" I smiled down at him. "And writing was something I always loved.."
"You never doubted it.. Not once, not ever?"
"I did actually..Once..But that's a whole other story, we'll save it for some time else.. Why are you asking all of this?" I probed.
"Because the mere fact that I'm doubting this whole opportunity that I'm getting, is making me feel like I don't want to do photography.." He confessed.
"What? But..that's..that's insane.. I thought it was your passion, so..are you not liking it now?" I asked shocked. "I mean..The whole exhibit and everything as well.. I mean, your last exhibit is in two weeks, and the previous ones have gone on so nicely, you've been getting the most amazing feedback, and you get paid big bucks for it! And you just got offers from, what I presume, are the best job sites for photography?" I wondered aloud.
"I know..but the fact is, I'm not happy still. I mean, I was, all this time.. But now, I have to make a choice..between starting residency or continuing photography, and I can't carry on doing both like I am now.. This just hit me right now.." He murmured, burying his head further into the crook of waist. Dragging myself down, I lay down next to him, and he settled his head on my chest instead.
"So, you're bummed out, because'you have to give up medicine for photography?" I clarified and felt him nod. "You're such a child!" I kissed his head, brushing my fingers in his hair. "Would you be as bummed out if you bumped off photography for medicine?" I asked.
"No.." He mumbled.
"Well, then, problem solved.. Right? I mean, you want to do medicine..So what's the problem? Why're you still upset?" I asked uncertainly.
"Will I be doing the right thing?" He raised his head up slightly to look at me.
"There's no right or wrong in this, babe. Its simply what makes you happy!" I smiled.
"You won't be mad, right?" He asked, as I raised my eyebrows surprised.
"Why would I be..mad? I mean, just as far as you don't make me do medicine, I'm cool!" I laughed. That was when it struck me, what was troubling him. "You think it'll make me mad if you choose medicine, because I was the one who pushed you into pursuing photography?" I asked.
"That's not the only thing!" He sighed. I laughed at his absurdness, and waited for him to continue. "Munchkin, I-I love you, so much, and I love you for making me do photography, because in a way, if I hadn't done it, I would have always thought along the lines of 'ifs' and 'buts'. Now I know that I had two options, and..I know I'm not giving up on anything without even trying.. Does that make sense?" He asked.
"Weirdly, in some stupid-ass way..it does.. If you hadn't done photography, you would have always felt like, maybe you could have done something different. But now that you've done it, you know for sure that..you don't want to do anything different. You want to do medicine? You want to be a doctor..right?" I asked, caressing his face.
"Yea.." He smiled, his dimples digging into his cheeks.
"You're sure?" I asked again.
"Yea.. I mean, in a way, even I thought I was just fulfilling Dad's dream.. I just never realized when and how it became my dream too..I didn't realize when I actually fell in love with it.."
"Well.. Now you know.." I murmured softly.
"Now I know.." He nodded. "Am I right? I mean, people would definitely call me stupid.." He laughed nervously.
"You gave it a try. That's important. You gave it a try, to see what suits you best. And just the fact that you're so clear in your head of you what you want to do, it somehow makes sense. This was why things happened the way they did. To bring you to this moment of clarity.." I smiled widely. "So this exhibit..Last one?" I asked sadly.
"Don't be upset.. You're still always going to be my number one inspiration, baby!" He chuckled, taking me in a deep kiss. "And yea..last one..at least for a while..Maybe later on, I can take it up again, only, it'll be as a hobby.." He shrugged.
"Well, that doesn't sound that bad!" I murmured happily. "I'm happy if you are..Always.." I said softly. "Just talk to Mum and Dad once'"
"Going to tell them tomorrow actually. You'll be there." He stated.
"Like always!" I grinned.
"Like always!" He kissed my forehead, my nose, and finally my lips, before settling down and resting his head on my chest. I heard his steady breathing, and I knew he had fallen into a deep, dreamless sleep. Sighing, I continued running my fingers in his hair.
I smiled at how life took leaps all the time. Big or small. In some way or the other, they all changed your life, or the lives of the ones you love. And somewhere, each leap, each jump, leads you to the place where you're meant to be, your happy place, your moment of peace. And that, after all, is where we all want to be at the end of the day!
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Rhea's comment :)
9th Thread!! Yayyy!!
And i'm so sorry for sending in my comment so late! Have been busy.. Damn busy actually..
Anyway, I'm FINALLY here to give my comment!
I personally LOVED the whole idea.. The Leap, The Decision.. And oh wait! The CAT FIGHT! Hahaha!! I couldn't stop laughing!!!
And well, I just felt that they've actually matured.. They've come a long way.. and the whole Armaan yelling over her on that issue and Riddhima trying to prove her point.. I kinda agree with her but then if I think from his point of view, he isn't wrong either.. I mean he's a guy and well.. guys do need to feel needed and loved.. And i guess thats the only way they do feel so!
The whole Riddhima fighting with Mindy over Armaan was HILARIOUS!
Gosh! And I found it amusing as well Mr. Peanuts!
And then Mindy and Riddhima's patchup actually made me smile :)
Guess it was time they did! :P
And Armaan's decision is right i guess.. He could obviously take up Medicine and keep Photography as his hobby (says she who herself is confused between Medicine and Music )
But I truly LOVED the whole thing and I'm looking forward to the next chapters.. Can't believe AWOTB's almost done.. *sigh!*
I just want you to know that I LOVE this FF and I'm sure you know that by now
And I really miss Munchkin-Peanuts close moments.. So please do put some in the next update! :)
Please please please update soon! :D
Loads of love,
Saumya's comment :)
^Appreciate it. Bahut mehnat se likha hai.
AWOTB#9 :O I can't believe the story's been up for such a long while and yet there's still the same excitement whenever I see a new chapter (which happens once in a blue moon though) I don't think I need to tell you how much I adore this story <3 You probably know it by now… And in case you're still clueless, go check the last few pages of AWOTB#8. I spammed so many pages, with Rhea's help off-course!
Your writing is so amazing… I've actually lost count of the number of times I've read this FF. And mind you, never have I been bored of it. Munchkin & Peanuts- I might have told you this before, but I haven't ever associated them with Armaan&Riddhima. They are a whole, separate entity, at least for me. Adorable to the T, I'm in love with them <3 The whole best-friends turning into lovers thing always fantasized me, but never had I heard of something as amazing until I came across AWOTB. You have presented this whole idea in such an awesome way, I wonder if anyone else can do justice to the story, the way you did.
And just so as you know, people might not be responding to this story as much as they did earlier… This story has been one of the most loved AR fic till date. And I'm sure, you'll agree to that. So don't let less comments bother you. Kay?! Keep writing, cuz there still are people who adore this story and will continue doing so <3
So moving on to the part from your oh-so-amazing writing skills The chapter was amazing. Obvious? And when I read the title- I was like there must have something major happened. And then I held my breath until I read the whole chapter and at last, I was like- This Is It? No, but seriously I'm glad you've kept the realism aspect of the story still intact :P
The change was pretty evident. And I loved how you divided all the moments in different parts showing the transformation their relationship has witnessed. Their relationship has come through a long way and both of them have become matured. Their understanding level has reached a whole new different height <3 And Riddhima and Mindy's cat-fight… That was so Munchkin-ish But I understand where's she coming from. Anyone insulting Armaan would garner the same kind of response from Riddhima. But that bit of the update made me LOL
Regarding the getting intimate issue, when I first read I was like Munchkin's right (Typical feminist) but later when I reflected upon it, I understood Armaan's point too. This is a real complicated situation. So, I really don't know what to say. Armaan's isn't wrong here nor is Riddhima.
And the last bit, I love how they both understand each other so well <3 Their love is of different kind
Great job, Shru on the chapter. Waiting for the next one. And since, I've commented I shall get back to demanding updates now.
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Joined: 27 September 2010
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Mina420's Page tutorials - Video uploading p13 06.04.15
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