Joined: 25 November 2010
Joined: 25 November 2010
Joined: 25 November 2010
Joined: 25 November 2010
Chapter 9: Kuebiko
Kuebiko. n. a state of exhaustion inspired by acts of horror, which force you to revise your image of what can happen in this world—rebuilding the fences around what's normal, weeding out all unwelcome and invasive truths, cultivating the perennial good that's buried under the surface—propping yourself up like an old scarecrow, who's bursting at the seams but powerless to do anything but stand there and watch.
Long Island, New York City, Present
It's been an exhausting day, hell he'll go as far as saying it was punishing. Lunch was a disaster of course and he still can't quite believe that he said what he did. That he was so awful to Riddhima when she was just trying to be nice and for the life of him he couldn't figure out what had prompted him to snap.
He fumbles for his keys in his pocket and opens the door to his house, planning on doing nothing but showering and sleeping, hoping that maybe tomorrow she'd listen to him.
He stops in surprise and looks around, tensing up. The lights are on in the kitchen and he's alert all of a sudden, clutching his phone tightly when he's shocked to see his mom.
"Ma? What are you doing here?"
She turns around and he feels a familiar twist in his heart. It's been over a year since he's seen her in person and he's missed her. She looks the same as ever, just a little healthier, and he gathers her close squeezing her to him and pulling back, smiling, taking her in.
"Armaan! How are you, bachcha?"
"I'm fine, Ma. I thought you weren't coming for another month yet! It's good to see you."
"I know. I missed home. India was great and it was nice to be back there, but a year is more than enough. I missed this place. And you know how I hate staying away from you!"
"Yeah, I do. How long have you been back?"
"Just a few hours now. Go wash up, I've cooked. You can tell me all about what's bothering you over dinner."
"Nothing's bothering me. I'm fine."
She tweaks his ear affectionately and smiles at him. "I'm your mother, Armaan. And you've never been good at hiding things."
He chuckles, running his fingers through his hair, smiling and feeling lighter than he has all day. "I suppose so. I'll see you in a bit, Ma." And he's off to shower after pecking her on the cheek.
It's a while later when he's finished gushing about his mom's food and asking her all about India when his mother brews some coffee and looks at him expectedly. He's exhausted all his escape tactics now; nothing left but to tell her. He feels ashamed, he supposes. His parents didn't raise him like this, they taught him to respect people regardless of their backgrounds and he'd failed in that today. Quite spectacularly, in fact.
They settle down in the TV room; his mother takes the sofa as he flops himself on the bean bag, squirming till he's comfortable. His coffee is just how he likes it and he takes a sip, smiling appreciatively at his mom.
"Out with it, Armaan."
"It's not that huge, actually. I was, I was kind of an assh- I mean, a jackass, today." He corrects himself hastily on seeing his mother's raised eyebrows.
"I don't see how it's not huge; it's eating you up, beta."
"In my defense, I really was very disrespectful. You remember I told you we were hiring? Yeah well we've hired a couple of people. Young minds, fresh ideas, that kind of thing. Anyway, so there's this architect. Riddhima. Uh, she's frankly one of the best I've seen. So much talent, Ma. Dad would've loved to take her under his wing, trust me. Yeah so, um, she's great. Very smart, funny too and we are, or were friends. Apparently she grew up in an orphanage? So uh, I was stressed because we had that talk about marriage and stuff and I told her as much and she, very nicely tried to reassure me. I then decided to be an idiot and I basically just taunted her that she wouldn't know a thing about family. Yeah. I did that."
He winces at his mother's tone. "Like I said; jackass."
"I assume you've apologized?"
"Well she left, but I did call her and text her. She hasn't replied to either."
"Are you honestly surprised?"
"No. Not really. I feel awful, Ma. I don't know what came over me. I'm never like this!"
"You made a mistake, Armaan. And clearly you're sorry. Don't beat yourself up about it anymore. Just apologize. She seems like a sensible girl, she'll listen. She might not be your friend anymore, though. You definitely botched that up!"
"Tell me 'bout it." He mutters, taking a big gulp of his coffee.
There's a lull in conversation then, until he notices his mother giving him a concerned look and he looks back questioningly.
"Did our talk really stress you out that much? I didn't mean to pressure you, Armaan. I just want to see you settled and happy."
"It's not your fault, Ma." He sighs before continuing, "It's been building up for a while, I guess. Work's been tough lately and I miss architecture. I'm good at running the company but it's not what I want to do all my life, you know? This is my time. If I keep going like this I'll end up being fifty and realizing I never actually pursued my dreams. It's getting to me. And then there was the break up with Brit. I mean I knew somewhere, I guess that I didn't love her but we tried, Ma. And I hoped I could bring myself to love her but that didn't work out either and I was sort of charmed by Riddhima but clearly you can see a pattern here because I managed to mess that up too."
He buries his face in his mother's lap, and smiles into her kurti when she indulges him by running fingers through his hair.
"I'm sorry, Armaan. I can't possibly know how hard this is for you. I'm sorry I went off to India like that. I should've stayed and looked after you after Sanjeev, you know, passed away."
"I was the one who insisted you get out of here, remember? And it did good. You look so much better. Happier too. I don't need looking after, Ma. I'm twenty seven."
"That's true. Maybe you should take a few days off too. Go somewhere with your friends. Or alone. And you're always going to need looking after, beta. Trust me."
"Nah. I can't. Way too much work."
"Armaan you're going to spontaneously combust if you remain so stressed all the time. You have to find a solution to this!"
"I don't understand how dad did it."
"He loved it, beta. Like you love designing. He loved doing this. That's why he made it look so effortless."
"See? I always did tell him he was crazy."
He laughs when his mom taps his head affectionately.
"There has to be a solution to this. Can't you hire someone to do this stuff for you?"
He blinks at his mom owlishly. That's it. She was genius. "My god, Ma! You're a genius!"
"Thank you, but why are you-"
"Don't you see? You just said it! A CEO. I need to hire a CEO, that's what I need to do. The company will still be mine, the decisions will go through me too, but I can skip all the damn financials! Like I said- genius."
"Okay!" she smiles at him, amused at his enthusiasm. "Okay. Now go catch some sleep. You can work the whole CEO thing out tomorrow."
"Sure, Ma. Goodnight!" he pecks her on the cheek and goes up the stairs.
Maybe the day hadn't shaped up that bad after all.
He checks for a reply on his phone. There isn't one. Disappointed, he goes to sleep.
He takes the next day off, seeing that his schedule is nearly empty. He gets one of the interns to deliver his files home, he plans on working out the whole CEO thing as soon as possible. He catches up on sleep too and feels better than he did the previous day.
It's quite in the house and he's just finished going through a whole bunch of paperwork. His mom is upstairs, reading a magazine and he's in the kitchen, brewing coffee for the two of them. With the coffee done, he goes upstairs making a stop at his mom's room to give her the coffee.
"Thank you, beta. Will you sit for a bit?"
"Sure, okay. Did you want to talk about something?"
"Yes. I never did ask you, how are you holding up?"
"What're you talking about? We just talked about this last night?"
"No, I mean about Brittany."
"Oh." There's a pause and he's thinking of what to say and then he sighs, before continuing, "Honestly? I haven't had time to think about it, as bad as that sounds. There is just so much going on. I'm okay though; we were kind of headed there for a while now, so."
"Okay, then. I'll be in my room if you need me."
He has dinner alone, his mother having slept early because of the residue jet lag. Feeling too lazy to cook, he orders Chinese and revels in the spicy, oily food while watching a film.
Dude can you meet me at Tony's tomorrow at six? I need to talk to you about something work related. – Armaan
Sure. Everything okay? – Mike
Yeah it's good, just meet me. You'll like this. – Armaan
Alright then. Tomorrow six at tony's I'll be there. – Mike
Thanks man. - Armaan
The meeting with the Chavez' went well. They loved my design and they've given their okay. We checked out the site and they insisted on lunch at Spago's. I paid for that with the company card let me know if you need me to pay. Thanks for the help. – Riddhima
He's surprised out of his mind when he receives the text. It's brusque and professional, none of that easy familiarity her previous texts had, but he'll take what he gets. He decides not to apologize over text and just do it in person when he sees her.
That's great! No, you don't have to pay, that's exactly the reason we give you company cards. Don't thank me, this was all you. Congratulations! I'll set you up with the others asap. – Armaan
Thanks :) – Riddhima
He doesn't know what to make of their conversation and is unsure of whether he's forgiven. But some communication is better than no communication so he's all smiles.
He's leaving for work the next morning and he's in a hurry, but his mother's insistent on having breakfast so he pushes his annoyance aside and joins her for scrambled eggs with toast and a pot of coffee.
They're having breakfast in silence and he's going through the sports section of the New York Times when his mom apparently decides that till she's going to stay here she's going to have heart to hearts with him. Not that he minds, he's close to her like that but there are still things she manages to surprise him with and he forgets, sometimes how perceptive she is, how easily she can pick up things that no one else gives a second glance. It leaves him a little unsure of his footing, especially now that he's grown so used to not having her around all the time. He feels awful about it but he thinks he'll be glad when she moves back to her flat that was currently being bombarded with a cleaning crew.
One hour ago
He's just gotten back from his jog, and his mother hands him a glass of orange juice. He smiles a thank you and he's about to go up to his room when his mother surprises him by saying what she does.
"Any girl would be lucky to have you, Armaan, you know that don't you?"
"What?" his voice is little more than a squeak and he rights himself, "I mean, what?"
"You told me you keep messing things up in your relationships, I'm just saying, that's not true. You're great."
"Uh, thanks? I think."
"You don't have to get so flustered Armaan, relax." She smiles at him affectionately.
"Um, okay. Thanks Ma. I'm going to my room now, bye."
And he all but runs to his room because what even.
He dives deep. Always. Head first. And sometimes he's not sure if that's a good thing. It's always been like this, he's always been like this. He cares too much, he loves too much and he loves big. He puts his heart and soul into things he does. He doesn't think that maybe this will hurt him later, he's not cautious like that. He doesn't hide behind carefully spoken words or white lies or false insecurities. He throws himself into a relationship like it's a done deal already, thoughts of guarding himself, of fear from opening his heart up to rejection never crossing his mind, not for an instant. And it works for him, it always does. He's no good at hiding anyway.
So he jumps. Headstrong, passionate, sure. And if he gets hurt in the process then that's okay but he never has regrets, ever. He's never had a time after a breakup where he thinks that maybe he should have said this differently, or done that differently, nothing.
He dives deep. Head first.
But he thinks maybe it might be time to change that, because what do you do when you open up, when you put yourself up for rejection and things don't go your way, once, twice, three times. When do you know to stop?
He dives deep. Head first. Headstrong.
But he thinks it might be time to change that, because there's only so many times you can do it before you fall back, stand down and hold yourself back from more heartbreak.
He dives deep. Head first. Headstrong. Passionate.
But he thinks it might be time to change that because how many times would you watch your house of cards crumble before you stop building it? How many times would you see your plans crash before you stop planning?
He parks his Cayenne and heads towards the elevator when Riddhima joins him. He offers her a tentative smile and a good morning and she smiles back although it's small and more than slightly rueful.
He dives deep. Head first. Headstrong. Passionate. Sure.
"So am I," she says with a twist of her lips and he's not sure what to make of it.
"It's okay, Armaan."
"Thank you." He's fervent, sincere. He doesn't know what made her forgive him but he's glad that she did.
She offers him that small smile again and he realizes that he may have been forgiven but she's wary of him. The realization comes with a twist in his gut and he clutches his phone tight as he fights the sickening feeling. He vows to make her smile.
He's diving. Falling. Headstrong. Passionate. Sure. And there's not a parachute in sight.
Joined: 25 November 2010
Joined: 16 April 2012
CONGRATULATIONS!!!!Congo on new thread Aanya. Your work is brilliant with a perfect sense of accuracy and emotions. Your work is neat and i assure you its one of the best FF on AR. The titles are enchanting and catchy with a blend of new words. Armaan - Perfect. I love his character. He is not a typical boring romantic kinda guy. He is just himself who is optimistic and takes life in a positive way. He is a jerk and sometimes really cute. He is a happy go lucky guy who easily adapts himself to the people and surrounding. AWWWIE>333 His maa seems so cuteee. I love how you penned up the conversation between Armaan and his Maa. He is gonna break barriers and enter into Riddhima's heart.
Joined: 20 September 2012
Joined: 01 October 2010
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