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The sunset was an intensely beautiful one. It was cloudy with shades of navy blues and purples lining every other corner the eyes could perceive, the winds were blowing awaiting a sudden burst of shower and the sunlight gorgeously spread over its wide rays along the cloud lines creating an image so powerful that Ridhima stared at it for long. She was lying on the raw sands of the beach, her hands loosely placed above her tummy and her feet interlocking each other. Armaan gazed and wondered if there could be a more beautiful sight. As this thought went past him, he was left with the choice of going to her or resisting it for he doubted if she would want it.
The past two days went in near silence between him and Ridhima. Ridhima was clearly avoiding him but it wasn't just him, it was everything that she found a reason to smile in. Everyone had realized by now that she wanted isolation and Armaan, despite being hurt, respected her decision. The weeks before, he knew she went digging into reasons of her misery and now when everything pounded onto her, she was absolutely numb. He understood it completely unlike others who found it a little too much after the first day. He had undergone it a number of times back in London, when he dreadfully questioned every action and every breath he let out. It was when you became numb about everything else. It was like having a lone you with a thick sheet of black smoke on all sides that spread vast enough to reach infinity. He knew exactly what it felt like. He knew it well.
When she hadn't turned up for two days for coffee and let her phone on switched off mode, he called up Sid and at Sid's narration of the office incident, found himself infuriated. Armaan realized that she was cutting off from world itself. She never let her cool and calm rupture yet she defined desolation. She was practically waiting for a wind to come over and blow her on either side of life.
But now, his protective instincts kicked him harder than ever and his practical understanding underweighted it.
He stared at her ethereal figure in the dawning dusk.
"What are you waiting for, Armaan?" Aditi's soft voice came from behind him. She offered him a drink and he took it.
"I don't know. Will she like it if I intrude? She barely knows me and we met only 3 months back.
"You really think quantity of time is important here?" asked Aditi obviously expecting no answer back, "I have a feeling that the person she needs is you."
"Why?" asked Armaan curiously. Feeling connected to Ridhima had its own shares of joy in him
"Hmmm. Well. Ridhima has always been like that. She is never open to people who are too close to her. You said yourself that she knows you barely. Besides, I believe that you mean to get her out of the shell rather than digging into what's wrong which she happens to be more probable to." Aditi smiled and took his glass before walking away. Armaan took a moment to ponder upon her words and realizing that she was right, he went up to Ridhima. She was lying with her eyes closed. Armaan was pretty sure that she was nowhere close to sleeping and could sense his presence. He sat down beside her with his hands loosely hugging his knees.
"Hey," he said as calmly as possible.
"Hey," she replied, her eyelids still shut.
"That's a first, isn't it?" he said. "What?" asked Ridhima raising an octave. "You aren't surprised." Ridhima grinned much to Armaan's comfort and peace. She lifted herself up and positioned herself in a manner similar to Armaan's. She left her gaze resting upon the horizon that lay subtly and invitingly above the navy blue sea.
"Yeah. I have gotten used to it, I guess," she said with a slight hesitation to be free and open upon remembering the drama at office. She snatched a glimpse at him before restoring her sight to her previous spot.
Silence, when it transpired between the two, brought impatience to Armaan with each passing second. But he contained bringing himself to the conclusion that he must be insanely in love with his woman; enough for him to have a shut mouth considering it was always him who pestered to be top notch with news and suspense.
"Look Armaan, I really don't want to talk," said Ridhima, finally.
Her blunt comment with its silence breaking sharpness caught Armaan off guard. He didn't know what to say.
"I know," he said, little knowing why.
Ridhima bit her lip. He wasn't persistent yet it was exactly that which she found difficult to think on. She had requested Aditi to take her to the beach where she could be alone so she could think freely. But truth was she wanted to blank out and feel life in some magnitude and he made it all the more difficult. Already she was having problems acquainting herself to him and above all, she was beginning to question the nature of the acquaintance itself. He wasn't the usual guy she saw. He didn't fit in her life in much aspect yet by being in it, she found her mind clouding away to different tangents.
"Then why are you here, Armaan?" she said blatantly.
Armaan wasn't quite sure himself, however, he kinda etched onto her breaking whatever she was in into aggressively wounded words. He vaguely remembered a friend of his suggesting him throwing stones into water as hard as he could for anger had a way of sucking other hurtful emotions along with it when it came out.
"To give you company," he replied gently.
Ridhima breathed hard, buying time to think.
"I don't company," she said, meaning much less than what she said, "Not now."
She went off to think something and Armaan suddenly got the vibe that she may begin crying. He had to do something fast for he now knew that Ridhima was having a nervous breakdown; the reasons of which she alone held. He guessed it wasn't just one reason.
"I don't care about that. I am going to sit right here and watch out for you because frankly you look pathetic." Brutal honesty always had its way of assuring victory over women. Always. It took Armaan all the courage to say that but now that he had done it, he felt much more rightful over her. Ridhima looked up shocked and took a full minute to digest that.
"Look. You can choose to keep your stuff to yourself but get this, it's neither going to benefit you or anyone around you." Armaan continued, happy that Ridhima was gripping onto his words.
"You up for a walk?" he asked once again calming his voice.
"Can you give me a minute or two? You go ahead. I will join you," she said, her voice full. Armaan had no clue what was going on in the mind of this woman. However he was sure she was a Geminian for no one else could be so secretive about feelings and extremely extreme is showing them. She even possessed the twin thing for having the incredible ability of masking herself.
Armaan resisted the urge to turn back to her but left her alone and removing his shoes, began walking. True to her word, Ridhima came behind. Her eyes were slightly red and Armaan figured she just had a session of silent tears. Armaan felt uncomfortable for it ached him that he couldn't do anything. He did know that a part of her problems was him, because of Ridhima's ties to him. He did try to keep away but realized that it wasn't going to help anyone. Moreover, he was certain Tamanna's words were merely the exploding trigger. There was more.
They walked in silence with only Ridhima's occasional sniffs breaking it. Armaan stared forward, absolutely aware of it, yet containing the surge to hug her. It, however, surprised him when Ridhima began talking. Talking like she had never talked before.
"I don't know what's wrong, Armaan. All I want to do is just lie down and sob till I am drained of tears. I don't feel like getting over it. I am trying to get it all out it with you. But please don't interrupt and drain me more. I might not be able to take it," she begged. Armaan, though perplexed, nodded.
They reached the cliff now and Armaan handed a palm to her. She took it and they sat by the rocks, with about a 5 inch between them.
"There's Muskaan. I need her. It's not like.. I can't acknowledge she's married and she's happy. But it's not been the same since she's left'''..Then work.. I needed this job badly, Armaan. You probably don't know but this was my 7th interview. All of the others were taken over by people who could bribe to get them. But things aren't changing.. And there is a whole lot of people against. I know this is how the world works but for once, can't I be treated like a normal person. It's not just the incident the other day. It's forever. I have been looked down upon every time, everywhere because I am an orphan. It's like I belong to some low caste. You know, I once worked as a private secretary for an engineer, and all his wife could use to abuse me was to keep making complaints on how my behaviour was'.out of the street. I can't think of one place that I have got passed where I have been treated like an equal. When people ask me where I live and they receive their answer, it's like some kind of force that pushes them away''I can't help but wonder every night.. Would my life be any different if I had someone' any one. I don't care. Just'someone to call mine'" she withered away into sobs and closing in their distance, she chose Armaan's shirt as her comfort. She hugged to it like it was the only source of goodness the whole world could fit into. Armaan was dumbfounded to say the least. She always was the strong woman he knew and to see her break down was killing. He put a hand over her shoulder. He was rising in his regret as well. He now knew that the main person she was referring to in the end was him. It was as though she stabbed a thousand knives. He knew she waited for him; he just didn't know how deeply and now that he figured that out, it was almost suicidal in its results.
If Armaan was guild-ridden, then the words that poured out of Ridhima now vulnerable mind pushed it to saturation point.
"Why does everyone I care about have to run away from me? Why do I have to feel jubilant one day but never find that lasting enough? I am not desperate but I do have dreams, right. I am freaking woman, god-dammit. I can't wait but can I move on. Hell no. I want to love. I want to be loved. It's such a simple thing to ask isn't it? Or do I have to live under the belief that I am perfectly destined to be living a soulless life? " Ridhima's voice was losing life and Armaan's shirt was wet to the core. "Just come back or give me my space to move on. You make it impossible and I don't even know why." Ridhima whispered her voice audible only to him.
Whilst he let her sob softly and without much energy, he found himself drawn by the intensity of her dependence of him. He could almost laugh at the irony of the situation. As someone who crossed her life much before than she realized, she was dependent on him mentally for he was her husband and physically, here she was clutching him for support; the support that she hypothetically expected from her husband. In the impulsiveness of the moment, he thought she should know; she couldn't be left to suffer anymore. Over 2 years was enough for the suffering to be a torture.
But he was helpless just then. Her safety was of high importance to him. Yes, he longed to tell her its all him and have her whole to himself but that came much ahead of keeping her secure. If he told her, he would be too blinded by love. And there was the slightest possibility that if he showed that she was nothing to him, then, perhaps, her hunter might spare her. Armaan had dwelled deep on this one aspect for quite some time but with Nikhil's and Vivek's optimism and his own desire had dismissed the option from his head temporarily. But it was there and if he ever had to do that, then he would tear away from her as a friend rather than watch her live through his absence as a husband. So he kept quiet and allowed her to take off her load in tears. It hurt him, but the power of ebbing away was indeed a great one.
Quarter an hour slowly elapsed and the sunset had fully matured out to invite the blues and purples of night sky. Still, the duo remained in their positions and whilst doing so, found an elated peace. Ridhima's sniffs began faltered and deep breaths took its place. Armaan, though the situation was ecstatic at their physical contact and between him and his mind, was proud that he was the one she opened up to.
"It's late. You need to be heading home," said Armaan, softly, his mouth so close to her earlobe that Ridhima felt her stomach do flips.
She lifted up, a few marks made by Armaan's buttons imprinted on her salty skin. He smiled effortlessly hoping it would make her feel better. Ridhima was embarrassed but returned the smile slowly. "Yeah." She had never known a time when she had let her guard down and to someone who she barely knew. But there was this attraction to wound up to him every time she saw him and she often hated that she was so desperate. Though, after today, she got the idea that what they had was real. She was yet to comprehend if she liked it or she didn't.
"Everyone else left. I should be dropping you," said Armaan. The others had texted him saying so some time back.
Their journey back was a quiet one with Ridhima resting to gaze upon the drizzles and greenery. Only her head was preoccupied by one person, Armaan. Oddly enough, every memory that she held of his replayed itself.
When they reached, Armaan got up to open the door for Ridhima. She looked at him and Armaan wondered why for her eyes revealed nothing. Their vastness lay so immensely beautiful before him. What happened the next few seconds, Armaan couldn't explain; neither to himself nor to anyone it would possibly concern.
Ridhima had placed her lips upon his. Her right palm took over his hair as she ruffled them to her own pleasure. Thoughts were kicked out for those few moments and desires took over. The heat between their chests grew insanely high as compared to the cool of the night. Armaan was slow in his recognition but when the heavenly truth set in, he got himself into kissing the salty yet astoundingly stunning and delicious lips of the woman he so dearly loved. There was no hiding it. He was irrevocably in love with her. He brought her in closer and she lifted herself up as she dug deep into his lips. She took his cheeks and she parted as realization hit her. Ridhima trotted into the Nest quickly without a look behind.
Surely the longest chapter I have ever written. Sorry for all the typos.Title is taken from Sherlock, a TV show I am addicted to. Sherlock Holmes says to Irene Adler that love is a dangerous disadvantage. I thought it blended well with ARs current scenario.
As promised, so far I have been successful in creating a proper chapter back for the next 2 chapters and rough drafts for all others. So literally, I have done my part. Please bear with me if internet is this sick. I am going to get someone to PM all of my readers for me because its impossible for me to do so in this rate. I don't know if you guys will believe it when I say that to merely make a new thread and copy paste this chapter, it took me 45 minutes. Therefore, please know I am doing my best.
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