"I think it is high time to tell them about the little incident in UK, I can't keep it hidden," he said in serious tone. He would have kept it hidden but he knew it was meant to come out a day or another and he didn't want his parents to know it from someone else.
She was silenced for a moment, that scene going through her mind, paralyzing her for a moment.
He sensed her trauma, he sensed her pain the silence. He didn't mean to breach the topic to make her smart, no he didn't. He would never want or dream to hurt her on purpose, he even tried to hold back from hurting her unknowingly too.
"Riya, you had fought it then, you have to fight this little hitch now. Stop feeling weak because of that, you are the most strong woman," he said, for barring the motive of the silence.
"I know Arjun and I have you all too, but whenever I remember that moment I feel goosebumps, what if you hadn't arrived at time, what if he..." she sighed, closing her eyes.
"You soul would remain untainted... I am sure then too you will have been the winner. Never forget Riya, you are a strong woman, no matter how much wrong others may do to you, but I am confident you will give them back as good and always emerge out as a winner," he said with conviction, "If you don't want to, I will not tell my parents."
He didn't care if his parents were to find about his injury from someone else, if it hurt Riya, he must remain silent.
"No Arjun, back then you didn't tell them because you were away from them, you didn't want them to worry, but they deserve to know now," she explained him. "I am sure, you are feeling guilty for having hide this from them," she smiled, back to normalcy.
"I just don't want them to find out from someone else, it is better that I tell on my own," he replied.
"Hmm, you are right. If they find it from someone else, they would be hurt," she nodded, understanding him and giving him the green signal.
After dinner, Ashika asked Arjun, "so what did you want to tell us?" She had been really curious the whole day, yet kept the impatience within herself.
Was he going to say he wanted to propose Riya? Or had he already proposed? Or it was already on the brick of getting wedded? Or was he going back to London again?
umpteenth questions resided on her mind and she waited for his answer, with bated breath.
"Mom, when I was in UK, London, there was a man who tried to trouble a woman and I saved her but in that, he hurt me..." he said, without letting out much detail, not wording he had literally died seeing Riya in the miserable state, not expressing that she was badly traumatized.
"Oh God," his mother was at this side, checking his face and other places for any signs of injure. "Are you fine? Why didn't you tell us?" she was agast. She could not decipher how he could have hid that from them? She loved him too much and his injury was the reason of her pain.
"Mama, I am super fine and was taken care off really well," he held her hand, "I didn't tell you because you love and care for me too much. You panic too much and I was fine, it was just a little gash, you would have worried for nothing," he assured her, and kissed her knuckles softly.
"Arjun," she kissed his forehead and hugged him. She loved her son too much as she was sure did other mothers. Arjun was their one and only son and she was more close to him. They were more like friends than sharing the equation of mother and son.
She knew all about her flings, although she guided him but she never shouted on him as she didn't want him distance from her. She believed it was his age to be rebellious, yet she made sure he didn't cross his lines. If she could not save the woman from hurt, at least she would save them from disgrace. She had succeeded in that.
"Arjun, still you should have told us," his father said, looking concerned too.
"So that you both would have flown there?" He teased them. "I really didn't want to worry you," he said earnestly.
"hmm," his father said and stood up. Arjun's breathe hitched, was he going to be slapped? Ravi placed his hand on his shoulder and said, "I am proud of you that you stepped forward to save someone, you are becoming a responsible person " his tone filled with happiness.
"Thank you dad, but it was nothing much, It was my duty," he said nonchalantly yet his heart swelled with happiness from hearing such a praise from his father, who had never much shown praises on him, of course, that was before he went to London. Since the day he came back, he was a changed person, a better person.
"Was she the woman who changed you?" Ravi asked him in a light mood.
Arjun looked at him baffled, did his mother tell him already? but no, he was there when his father came back then how? Was he too obvious that his father had a doubt on him? Everyone knew what was going on with him, he felt exposed.
"Uh well," Arjun flushed.
Ravi chuckled at sat at the chair beside his. "Ashika, I was better than him, no matter how nerdy I was, but I was confident when I told my parents about you," he said humorously.
"That is because, our marriage talks were going on. Don't tease my son," she berated him, hugging Arjun.
"You both side with each other and leave me alone, let his wife come, I am sure she will side with me," he said setting his collar, with full faith.
"I am not letting Riya side with you," Arjun retorted and bit his lip, why could he not keep his tongue in check? He lowered his head embarrassed.
"Riya, nice name," Ravi winked at him. "Already possessive about her, huh?"
"Dad," Arjun hugged him, too shy to face him.
"No matter how much we tease each other but always remember, all of us including your Riya, will on one side," Ravi patted his back. "So, did you both confess?" He asked him.
Arjun was overwhelmed, his parents had accepted Riya and he wanted nothing more. He was delighted. "No, not yet,"
He then went on and told them everything, Their first meeting, their fights, their detention, their friendship, his worry when she was missing, his care at her place, his missing her when he was back at this flat, his realization of love. But before he confessed, he wanted to make something of his love, he wanted to be worthy of her. He shew Riya's photo to his father.
"She has made you a responsible person," Ravi was really jubilant.
"Yes dad, she is awesome," Arjun smiled.
"Stay like this and don't let her go," Ashika patted his cheek.
"I will let her go never," Arjun promised.
He told his current plans to his parents, who were really elated and were in full support of him.
Riya twisted and turned in her bed, Arjun was going to have his interview today, she was excitingly nervous. It was as if it was her interview rather than his. She bit her nails and looked at her mobile's screen, which shew the time. "3AM it must be 7:30 in India, I should see if he is us,"
Mon Amour Riya: Are you up?
Mon Amour Riya: Don't tell me you are not up?
Mon Amour Riya: Wake up lazy man
She kept on messaging the restlessness raising in her heart. She didn't want him to miss the interview. 2 minutes later.
Mon Amour Riya: Arjun you are getting late for interview.
A minute later, tired of sending him messages, she dialed his number. She had to wake him up or he would not be taken even for the interview round. She was huffing at his carelessness.
Tum Hi ho ringtone, exclusively set for her, blazed in his room, waking him up quickly. He sat upright and picked the call, "Are you fine Riya? Is everything alright? Please tell me all is fine, why are you not talking? Riya speak," he bombarded her with question.
"Arjun Suryakant Rawte, if you don't get ready within half an hour, you are not going to be fine," she said warily, not too pleased with him, "How can you be so careless Arjun?"
Oh. He was so looking forward to this morning but like a fool he was sleeping. He had been at a wedding, taking pictures for them, he was already on his mission and thus had come back late at home, which he had conveniently kept a secret from her as of yet. He would tell her as the pictures would be ready and he would get his first income. "Sorry..." He said innocently.
"If you reach at time on your interview without breaking the speed limit, I will accept your sorry," she said seriously.
"I will, I will," he assured her, as he rushed to shower. "You go to sleep, I will message you once I am there,"
"I am not sleeping, keep the call on," she ordered him.
"I am going to take a shower," He said shyly.
"I don't care Arjun, don't cut the call," her tone authoritative. Why would she mind hearing him take a shower? Even watch him, she blushed. Her thoughts were getting naughty day by day. But it was alright, wasn't it? It concerned her man, her Arjun, her future husband.
"Alright," he conceded happily, he already considered her as a part of him, just the confession was needed. And he felt close to her, so special when she ordered him around.
Half an hour later, dressed in professional clothes, his hairs set properly with gel, he was searching for his socks. He sighed as he found them. "I am ready," he said happily.
"Good, now send me a snap," she said happily.
"Riya," he smiled and sent her one.
"Looking handsome. Now, go safely," she smiled.
"Thank you. Ok and you should sleep," he chided her.
"Going, wish you all the best, I know you will succeed, because you give such a touch to photos that people can't resist but see the hidden beauty, I have full faith on your talent," she said encouragingly.
He smiled and they bid adieu. His morning could not have been better with Riya waking him up. Picking his bag, he rushed to the kitchen where his mother had prepared him lunch, he did it hurriedly and rushed out to his car.
One of the most comfortable car, his Audi, but he missed the bus journeys with Riya, he could give up his luxuries to be with Riya. Travelling like a common man just to be with Rdihima, he would do it happily.
The comfort that was his life before now became an option.
He smiled shyly, passing his hand through his hairs, he sat in the car and pulled it on the drive way. Excited, anticipating his interview.
"Why do you think you will be the right candidate for our internship program?" The jury member, Sehgal asked.
"Sir, I love capturing moments and showing them the way I envision the beauty of nature and people around, and being taught by one of the best professional that is you, I am sure it will enhance my talent" Arjun replied confidently.
"Hmm," Sehgal replied in serious tone. A smile curved on his lips and he nodded, "I am ready to take my risk on you, you seem passionate about your work, your picture speaks for yourself, your talent, welcome on board," he shook hand with a thrilled Arjun.
"Thank you sir, I will make sure you will be happy with this decision," Arjun assured him. He was delighted, a step closer to fulfill his dream to propose his Riya, to give her the best.
"From Monday, 9AM," Sehgal said sternly, he didn't want his interns to their internship here for granted.
Arjun was flying in happiness, he was jubilant. Since the day Riya came in his life, he had witnessed success and happiness.
'Got the internship baby' He typed to Riya.
'I knew it you would get, so proud of you,' Riya replied instantly.
'Go to sleep, I don't want a cranky Riya,' he teased her.
'Going, going, take care, bye,'
'You too take care, sweet dreams, bye,'
The week-end had gone in blur, he had treated his parents in a nice restaurant. He made his parents talk to Riya and her family, and he felt delighted. Riyahad informed him in detail about Aman's parents coming, her parents had asked sometime, as they were still not 18 but allowed them to talk to each other within limits. His editing on the wedding pictures was going smoothly in few days, he would be able to handle the pictures to the right hands and get his first check.
Riya had loved talking to him whenever they could, she was so happy for him and she was so happy to know his parents like her and her family as was the case with her. They were becoming like a family, as if a silent acceptance from them for accepting her. She could see vividly that Arjun had told them about her, it made her shy, she felt really overwhelming feelings. Currently, there was a stressing her mind: HER INTERVIEW.
Arjun was working ardently when his alarm rung, he silently sneaked in the washroom. It was his first day but it was Riya's interview day, there was no way he was going to miss it.
'Are you ready?' he messaged her.
'Yes, I am, stressed though. You go back to work,' she replied.
'Yes I will go, don't stress. Trust me if I am good, you are the best.'
'That's sweet of you, now work, I will keep you updated. All the best,'
'Thank you, wish you much more, take care, bye'
With a sigh, he went out and Mr Sehgal stopped him, "I was looking for you, we have a new customer, it is about a big photo-shoot and I want you to assist me, come,"
Arjun thanked his lucky stars that he didn't take much time in the washroom or it would have been his last day for internship. He murmured a prayer for Riya and busied himself in work, still a part of his mind conscious, thinking about Riya's internship.
He knew she deserved the best and he prayed for her to get it.
"Hello Miss Gupta," He shook her hand, "I am Mr Philips, Mr Luke's assistant,"
"Hello sir," she smiled politely at him and got in details about her work to him.
"Nice pictures," he said looking at Arjun's picture.
"Thank you sir," she said acknowledging him.
"Then this will be all for me, you will get the answer in a day by your teacher, since we have ten more candidates and we have to shortlist two," he informed her.
"Sir, thank you very much for having given me the chance to give an interview here and I sincerely hope I will get the chance to present my talent and learn from all of you," she gathered her stuff, flashed a bright smile, "Have a good day, sir, goodbye."
He smiled back courteously and said, "Good day to you too and goodbye Miss Gupta."
'They will give reply in a day,' she quickly messaged him with a pout.
'Don't worry, I am sure you are selected,' came his prompt reply.
'Arjun work, I will wait for you to get free," she ordered him.
'Yes ma'am,' she could imagine him, laughing freely.
"Riya, you are selected for the internship under Mr Devin Luke, he is 30 but an ace at his job, one of the best professional photographer, he loved you work," announced her teacher the next day, Riya was over the moon.
"Oh My God, this is awesome, I am so excited, when can I join?" She said enthusiastically.
"Tomorrow itself, at 9AM," her teacher smiled at her joy.
"Thank you ma'am," she hugged her in happiness and took the details.
Her teacher chuckled at her as she saw her leaving her room. "I am sure, you will go really far and get your name in his field," she had seen the potential in her and was fully confident on her.
'Got the internship,' she typed him mirthfully, her happiness barely controllable.
'I am so happy,' he replied back as he put his mug of coffee away, he was on break time, 'let me call you,' and he called her, they discussed about the job, going to useless talks and laughing happily.
"Hey man, congrats just came from my tour and got to know about your job," his friend Ashok said over the phone later that day.
"How about a party?" Ashok suggested.
A party instead of talking with Riya was a big No but could he refuse them? "I can't,"
There was another moot problem, what if it was the restart of his old ways, he had with really immense determination and courage overcame that and he didn't wish to go back to those alleys.
He was fully aware bad attracted more than good and he was trying himself to control that urge. Controlling desires and urges made a person a human. He would use all his force not to give in to those baseless urges. Just to have a peck of beer or to hang around a pretty woman, no he would not.
Furthermore, Riya trusted he would not, Aliya trusted he would not. Everyone had faith in him more than he could have believed himself. Could he break their trust just to make his friend's happy? just to flaunt stupidly in his circle of friends?
No he could not do that. Not break the faith of his sister Aliya. Not break the faith of his parents who were feeling so proud of him and not of Riya, the woman he loved.
He could not risk to go to parties as the would be the initiations to what was to be followed and then he would not be able to stop all if he didn't now.
His love for Riya was pure, there was no mean intention behind it and he could not let anyone interfere between them, even not his long known friends. He would have to draw a line and that too now itself.
"Why? What happened to you? You no longer join us for parties, I have heard nothing about your new affairs," Ashok was taken aback with the change in his friend, and he was not pleased at all.
"I don't enjoy parties anymore and I hate playing around woman now that I know I was wrong, it had lost all charms for me," Arjun said politely, trying to give hints to his friend too, to get on the right track.
"You have become so weird," Ashok chuckling at the foolish idea of his friend. He was certainly not the Arjun Suryakant Rawte he knew. Arjun would have jumped at the first beautiful woman and go out with her.
Arjun sighed, realizing one could advice but a person could only change when they had will and these people had no sense of wrong-doing, like he had not before he met the right person. It was hard task, he realized.
"Anyways, if you don't want to, let's forget, we don't mean anything to you," his friend used the last trump card. If Arjun hated something and could feel remorse over something was making his friend upset.
Arjun felt bad, he felt guilty for having his friend feel that way. "No, let's have it, I will inform you about the details."
To be continued...
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