Fan Fictions

   

FF:Back to Newton's Laws...part16

Post Reply New Post

Page 1 of 150

Page 1
Page   of 150
Page 2 Page 150

spln

IF-Sizzlerz

spln

Joined: 06 December 2007

Posts: 11036

Posted: 16 May 2008 at 10:22am | IP Logged
hello friends....thanks a ton for the awsome comments and immense love which i received and am still receiving for my previous FF perfect imperfection:love, um starting a new one (*sigh* finally!!!some cords in my brain got short together and there goes the spark!!!) i was getting countless pm's for this n hope the new ff will do justice to ur hopes as the old one....no character sketch as usual....will let the story unfold....since i havent figured it out to the end myself ....just have a rough picture il work on it as i advance....ummm till then...i will post an intro soon...u will have to bear with the delay for this weekend however since a really old and close friend of mine is visiting me at school this weekend n he has threatened me "NO READING OR WRITING" else hes gona get mad at me....coz when i do either the world around me just evaporates....and hes come all the way from india for a hol so i dont wana get myself killed so young....hope u know what i mean... LOL thats the way with old buddies....but yeh....atleast the teaser il try putting it up really soon....n then hes leaving sunday night....so monday i shud be able to begin....once i start for real i will keep the pace decent if not as fast as last time (atleast one update a day....if i go mad again than more than 1!!!! LOL


p.s. one quick ques, and one quick answer:
ques: everybody is always mad at me...i mean all my frriends.... for using shorthand....i have been trying hard to avoid it in my FF....if there's any issue u ppl have trying to read the stuff i write plz let me know il try harder to make it more comprehensive....

ans: incase ur wondering y the ff is named so, i satiate ur curiosity to the extent of mentioning no doctors in my FF again....of course the word newton rings a bell that theres some physics buff in the story....not all engineering or physics though i dont i ntend killing any of u with prolonged geek talks....but yeh its just my area of expertise n the story i had in mind fit well with some physics so its gons come that way....rest....in the intro soon to come....

plzzz leave comments, suggestions....anything....the space is all urs....n um only too delighted to be sharing it with all u lovely dmgians!!!oh n yeh....have not sent out pm's yet cause i havnet written anything too productive in the thread yet....just the note....um hoping the user name will be good for u all too spot it for now.....so long then.....



~INTRODUCTION~

"every action has an equal n opposite reaction" i said...."thats the third law....the law of attraction" completing i looked up from the book, through my glasses, a bit low on my nose....to see him not taking any notes at all...gosh this guy....such a pain....and to think i had thought i was tutoring the hunk of the school, the basketball stud, the rock star...n how cautious i had been about my clothes for the day, not wanting to make a mockery out of my regular not quite fashionable look....completely redundant effort now i could see...he had irritated me beyond my civil patience limit, the last thing on my mind now was what he thought of my appearencce.....as top of the class, it was part of my mandatory duties to tutor and help one academically weak student in his work, failing which would affect my grades ....n ms.stark, my physics professor had warned me about this guy's level of understanding of the course....and also how crucial it was that i sorted his ambiguities in the course completely, for he was an important student of the school in more than one way despite his academic lack...but nothing she had said was even close to the facts....he was not only the worst possible student they could have assigned me in terms of knowledge but also the worst case in terms of willingness to try....i glared at him.....while he gave me the first keen look in an hour of the peer mentor session saying "really????thats the law????sounds like a new pick up line to me....the law of attraction indeed!!!!" as he grinned at me, that dimpled charming smile which captivated the hottest chicks in our high school, all i could think of was, god when am i escaping from here....how much longer....n maintaining my glare, in fact intensifying it, i retorted "can u think beyond all that???u should if u intend passing the course ever....u know what ,forget it, um going to tell ms. stark that um quitting...they will find u some other mentor who gets flattered with your charm...." interrupting me he said "aahaa!!! the confession at last" while i gave him a quizzical look, he continued "about my endearing inescapable charm of course...." grunting at him n rolling my eyes i got up finishing off with my last strained polite response "good luck! i do hope u will make it to the passing grade at least, though god alone knows how that can ever happen.... if it can....take care" ...with that i walked away....while i intuitively felt his gaze follow me, have no clue why....newton's laws....thats all i could think....they are not even remotely that hard....if only he would put in some voluntary effort....while he interrupted my chain of thoughts calling me from behind, "hey wont that ruin ur perfect A's???" now he had it.....i looked at him with daggers in my eyes...."u worry about ur jinxed F's, il manage my A's......" i said rather rudely..then immediatedly i realized how inappropriate that was, i opened my mouth to correct myself, when he silenced me with his hand and said "i will....u wait n watch..." i stood stunned as he walked past me brushing slightly with that macho body of his, smelling heavenly and...AAAGGHHHH.... c'mon girl....u got tonnes of work...let him go....good riddance!!!!....********
She smiled deeply, as she looked at the half circle arches and the red tile roofs all around her......and that red and white emblem......STANFORD at last she thought.....after years of nothing but dreaming about it here she was....her second time in the united states she mused....and as an epilogue to the incident which had inevitably flashed through her head while remembering her previous experience as an exchange student in chicago during high school she set a tight smile on her face and said "wonder why that came to my mind of all the memories i have of that time" ....then pausing..."AMMY CHRISTOPHER BENZ...wonder if u finally managed to....chuck it ridzi..." then smiling brightly again, cause there was not much which could help her contain her excitement at being in her coveted destination she thought..."oh well...hello stanford....welcome me, ridhima gupta.....here i come.....n not the naive innocent uneasily adjusting high school exchange student anymore.....there's more to the story this time, as you will soon witness....for now....cant say how delighted i am to be here.....

*********

~Part 1~

~three months later~

"hey cleopatra!!!!would u spare this superman a dance while your caesar is away????" n without waiting for her to reply, he swiftly steered her to the dance floor....he had noticed her the moment she had stepped into the party, with her date, dressed as caesar of course....as the party went on he unintentionally but inevitably had watched her mixing with the crowd, from the corner of his eye, not just because she was fairly attractive, something about her, he couldnt pinpoint what, was unsettlingly familiar....he felt like he knew her, which was quite possible...halloween costumes were always effective in masking the real looks of any person although her face was plainly visible, no veils or hats in her costume, she might be some aquaintance for all he knew, and ideally he couldnt have cared less, but...that wasnt it...no he thought....there is more to this than what is obviously visible, but what???not able to hold his curiosity any longer, he had grabbed the very first oppertunity when her caesar had excused himself, offering apparently to fetch her a drink.....now as they danced he looked at her intently, his doubts being reconfirmed....he definitely knew her..BUT WHO WAS SHE????? the DJ, who was doing a great job at keeping the party alive, now changed to the deep purple track apt for describing such confused emotions of many at the costume party....

Can you remember, remember my name
As I flow through your life
A thousand oceans I have flown
And cold spirits of ice
All my life
I am the echo of your past

I am returning the echo of a point in time
Distant faces shine
A thousand warriors I have known
And laughing as the spirits appear
All your life
Shadows of another day

And if you hear me talking on the wind
Youve got to understand
We must remain
Perfect strangers......

the floor was crowded, the party goers mostly drunk, the stranger couple had danced for a few minutes just smiling, n looking around, not talking, since the loud blast of music from the whoofers was not going to make that easy..... and then as an inebriated guy bumped into her she fell into his arms, as he supported her from the push, she stood back up straight, smiling at him to imply a thank you, he thought he just had to ask her..."so ummm, what is your full time role, when u are not enacting the egyptian legendary beauty i mean...." he yelled into her ear even though they were close enough for him to have been audible to her with a bare whisper if it wasnt for the noise racket around....she smiled and yelled back to be heard over the din "i wonder if you really wana know that since my work is way too menial to befit my current get up....for now um enjoying the royal identity...." he smirked, realizing her smart move at not revealing herself to a complete stranger who had just grabbed hold of her onto the dance floor, in a halloween's fret party, which was not unfairly popular for the notoriety of events it annually witnessed....but, he thought, i would assume everybody here would know there homecoming victorious captain for the boys basketball team was dressed at superman tonight....thats was usual anyways....however, he was neither the kinds to be rebuked, nor satisfied with a plain dance when he was looking for answers...he tried again "but um sure u dont stick to that ancient cleopatra name at school....whats your preferred way of being addressed my fair lady????" before she could open her mouth they were both interrupted by a different yell "ridz!!! here goes ur lemon margarita...." then looking at her superman dancing partner he yelled with a grin again "hey captain! congaratulations! the season seems to have gone off your way as usual...the final UCB win was outstanding...." then smiling looking towards her, "mind if i take my lady back, who u very conveniently stole taking advantage of my absence" he finished giving him a friendly punch.... as the superman guy found the mysteriously familiar stranger politely excusing herself he let go of her waist, n saw her walk off with her date while he stood muttering the words he could not even hear himself "ritz???like THE RITZ in NYC???thats her name????guess i would prefer cleopatra if i was her, at least thats a human name even if its way too tacky for the 21st centuary...." scratching his hair he got himself another beer from the bar....the party was on full blast, but he needed to get some fresh air it was suffocating inside now....and this costume...how did superman sport this look....with his underwear over his pants....like c'mon what kinda fashion statement is that???? but his team mates called him that..superman.... n so they had talked him into dressing that way....

*************

as she changed into her night shorts n tee , she smiled thinking of the party she had just returned from....then she slightly smirked thinking of the irony....'egyptian legendary beauty' indeed she mused, remembering the exact compliment..... dressed as the 'commanding queen' in a 'second hand costume' she had bought at a rundown sidestreet store and then fixed for the party...she had not wanted to spend on the expensive brand new costumes up for sale at all leading stores so she had found an alternate when all her friends had insisted that she could not miss the event, considering she had not seen too many halloween bashes back home in India...that was the charm of being an international student in a school like this...the stature, the exposure, the experience was worth the obscenely expensive tuition she was paying them not just academically....she remembered how as an exchange high school student a little less than a decade ago, she had been the all work n no play girl in the same country....but her education during the undergrad as an engineering major had greatly altered her approach to life....she was now a grad student usually submerged neck deep in course work n research, but not forgetting that she had to experience the fun of living in the same life itself.....while maintaining her academic accolades, she had gained another dimension to her personality.....she was now a smart and confident individual with a spark about her that set her apart from most of her lot, who were forever, as she had been in the past, freaked out with work never taking the time to enjoy the process of dwelling in THE STANFY... comfortable with trends and parties, music, dance and nightclubs, she would often be subjected to the standard question "do u ever lose ur cool woman????are u never ever stressed"....of course she was human how could she escape the anxiety of tough moments, but she had just learnt over the years how to take everything coming her way in the same stride....she could now reason herself to peace even during stressful workloads and take appropriate rejuvinating breaks with the gang of people she had eventually managed to claim as dear friends in her few months as a stanford engineering grad student....so much had changed....if she had thought that undergrad had matured her reasonably, then grad school had proved there was never an end to the process of growing up in life....though the initial weeks had been hard, with a sudden surge of work much greater than what she had done in months of her earlier education, and managing the whole house between her and her housemate, and missing being with her family, she had emerged happy and delighted at being in her dream school, her enthusiasm endless....work never ceased to take its toll, but stanfy was a happening place and weekends made up somehow for the packed weeks....as she lay in bed all these thoughts running through her content mind, her phone rang....3AM in the morning????who was it now????she picked the call seeing the name muski flashing...."hey ridzi...u awake????" "why do u even bother asking me that muski....have u ever in the many years of our friendship bothered about indecent hours of calling???? anyways i am awake now i guess....did 'MR.REGGIE' propose???" ridhma said in a teasing tone "why do u think it can be just about him if i call u at 3AM....he did not look out of the circle of the chicks surrounding him even once....n anyways, he is just a crush....a big one, but just that.....but u missy have no reason to jeer at me anymore, i am all out for just a player on the team while u pick the man himself???? i called cause andy mentioned u were dancing with the basketball captain and in case u did not know, reggie's best friend...the great ARMAAN himself????" ridhima frowned a bit, the one thing she had still not quite picked up was the insane sports fanship here....she was the only 'sports illiterate' as her friends had christened her, never quite smitten by the college sports the way all of her gang was....infact all of the nation...it was like a religion....n this was not her first expereince with crazy basketball fanship here in the states....like cricket in india she thought...."hello????u there sweety????i know his mere name must have u in a daze....how was it????gosh cant believe u got to dance with him...." as muskaan's words brought her back she said, "muski, dont be a jerk....u know i dont care about all these sports gods the entire stanford worships....i mean um sure he must be awsome since they are supposed to be nothing less...what did u say the name was????yeh armaan...wait????he's indian???sure did not look like one...but his face was not completely showing and the disc lights were all there was to provide vision so i would not be sure....anyways...i hardly got to interact he just swept me off to the floor....must have been drunk like the whole house....n then andy was back within minutes...end of the story....does that put ur hyped mind to rest????" muskaan heard her tirade of jaded explaination unable to believe how she could take this so casually, aloud she said finding her voice finally "hyped mind????i know you are not the typical stuck-in-the-books engineering girl, but seriously, u need to shed off this ignorance and get a life 'lady physics'....armaan is to stanford basketball what the late mr. newton is to science....n to answer your question, yeh hes half indian...his mother was indian....but his father is an english fellow, some descendent of a chain of english lords or something....and ...." cutting her off ridhima said in a partially sleepy tone "alright thats enough....i am not currently employed by the great english family to pen down a biography for the star basketballer of a son, the heir to the royal heirloom....if thats all, i am off to hit the bed now....gotta report to my advisor early tomorrow....sweet dreams muski!!" with that she yawned cutting off the call before her best friend would start off with another lengthy round of praises for the school's superstar....oopz superman, she corrected herself with a mocking smile on her lips....her man would be a gentleman for real not just a royal bloodline to boast of...chivalrous yet witty, a smart talker...not someone who would assume every girl was dying to be in his arms on the dance floor without waiting for her consent....the sporty macho looks were not gona be impressive, not that she had anything against them....but she had no intentions of being a chick possessed by a popular sports guy amongst his other trophies whom he could show off, a rough egoist to the core but a hunk she could boast of as her guy, who could talk of nothing but his game and fans, insensitive to her eminence as an individual and not just as another babe in his life....not her idea of a love life....she wanted to be special to her guy, in every way....for being herself....anyways she thought....why am i even thinking all this...he just asked me for a dance....not like he's been waiting for a me all his life....must have just been the alcohal or why in the world would he leave all those chicks who go cheerleading for his team and come to me....armaan....the name must be all that is indian about him....um surprised he hasnt changed it into an american homophonic form....switching off these no relevance thoughts, she called it day...

************

"AMMY??!!!" he turned around with a frown as his team mate n buddy rahul grewal, or 'REGGIE' , called him from behind..."its ARMAAN, dude....not AMMY anymore...." rahul sat down beside him taking the empty bottle out of his hand n giving him a new one "yeh armaan it is mate....so what brings u out????lack of oxygen i hope not lack of beauties???" said reggie dropping the topic, he had not gotten used to the change from ammy to armaan in all their years of undergrad together, it would still slip off his tongue, but that was not a discussion where he wanted this night of double celebration to drift off, the halloweens night and the celebration for the homecoming team after their final victory of the season last weekend....since he alone among his friends knew what had caused this transformation....it was the rear end of high school, the last month to be precise, when ammy's mother had passed away from a severe and sudden asthma attack, ending in an inevitable cardiac arrest.....an indian by nationality, she had been a chronic patient for ages but well paid for advanced medical facilities had added to her short life....ammy was a single child, he had a best friend in his dad, and his mother had loved him to bits....but with the lifestyle of a pampered heir, he had never been serious about life, always taking it for granted that things would go his way...he would make them....he knew his mother was not in constant good health, but he had seen the medicines eased her problems and never understood how grave the implications of her medical status was at that age....and so her death had come to him as a complete shock.....that shock, though short lived thanks to his dad's efforts, had left its undeniable mark on him....initially he just renounced everything in his life, but Sr. benz , Mr. Christopher Lawerence Benz had ensured this state was only metastable, and so few months down, he was back, with minor appearing but essential changes....his mother had named him armaan, while the middle name came from his dad, and during his schooling years in chicago, the 'armaan' had found a convenient version of 'ammy', which his mother did not quite take to and mentioned every time he went back to london for his breaks from the boarding school....but the acronym had stuck for good until he lost her, then in his recovery weeks from the shock, he decided he would never be anything other than armaan ever again, as his lifelong tribute to the only lady he truly loved....and so it had been....after months of being with his father in london, post Lady Benz's loss for the family, he had returned to the states for he wanted to live a free life again, without the weight of being a Benz....and joined the music and theatre school at the university of michigan as an undergad....however, he knew his father had expectations out of the Benz heir, which he never spoke aloud, fearing to be an obstacle in armaan's pursuit of his passions- music and basketball....so after undergrad he switched to a completely different discipline....his admission to the stanford graduate business school was a pleasant surprise for his father, and when he asked his son what had eventuated this change of interest, armaan had said "heirs never relinquish upon what is rightfully theirs....music n basketball are mine forever, but um not about to let you down after generations of that family stature father....with a professional degree from Stanford, I will soon be the Benz i am supposed to be...." and without letting his father interrupt he said "and i want to do it, there is no obligation involved dad"....and so it had been....in these last few months at stanford he had indeed done wonders in class, and stolen the show on the game court...."so whats the plan for the thanksgiving week end of next month???another bash just before finals hit us????" asked rahul coming out of his past flashbacks..."actually no....i have to go to india...." seeing the surprise on his friends face he explained, "its clashing with a wedding in mumma's family reggie....dad wants me to go with him....n i said yes....mum would have wanted me to go i know...." hearing that reggie just took a swig from his bottle of wine n said "think i could join u???" armaan smiled at his friend knowing the reason for this request....reg would not let him be alone in a family and a country where he was bound to be flooded with the memories of his mothers last days....he nodded his consent without a word.....draining the last of his drink....

*************

~Part 2~

~a fortnight later~

" wow cant believe, a week more and then we are all set to leave for home....um so excited about the wedding ridzi....imagine anji finally in love.....the whole idea sounds out of the universe...." ridhima looked at muskaan with a tired smile "yeh but i wonder if i will be alive to attend the wedding....getting the professors to take my exams early so i can leave in advance was a bad idea...it is sure playing havoc....wrapping up 3 weeks worth of work in one is no cakewalk....n the time just flies away when u want it to stay still so u can get enough revision done for the test....and..."as her eyes fell on the watch "OMG time....shoot muski....i have the library shift in 10minutes....catch ya later" with that she dumped all her stuff from the desk into her backpack, " hey leave the car keys, i gota pick up some gifts for the wedding..." said muskaan as ridhima ran out of the lab, tossing the keys towards her, shutting the lab door behind ....god please i cant get late another day for the shift in the same week now....she thought crossing her fingers silently....
"ridma, i received your mail mentioning you will be gone from next week for about 3 weeks???will you be back before christmas though, to continue the part time shift????" she heard her boss at the library address her the usual wrong way, as she put forth that question, the moment she entered the locker room to push in her bag..."yes megan, i will be gone for 3 weeks, and be back on christmas eve itself....my sister is getting married so i arranged for the professors to test me early...." she said in a relieved voice, thank god megan had not mentioned how she was barely in time for the shift...."i should get going for my shelving shift....there's alot to be done in the shelves assigned to me and i want to wind up all of that before i leave...." megan nodded and said "sure go ahead....n congratulations for your sister i hope you have a fun break....oh n do one thing leave me a written note for your absence just for my records" with that they each went their own way....

************

As she stood on the step stool trying to arrange the books in call number order on the topmost and last shelf for the day, she cursed her self as usual for being the only not quite tall child of the family....it was so hard to reach the topmost books even with the stool she thought balancing herself on tiptoes, as she took the books, 2 at a time from the shelf to put them onto the cart next to her, so she could sort them out n place them back...."hey excuse me, there's nobody at the help desk n i need a little help here so..." ridhima interrupted without looking at the source of the voice "yeh just give me a minute and il be with you..." saying so she dropped the 2 heavy books in her hand onto what she assumed was the cart only to hear an instantaneous "OUCH" she turned spontaneously to see that the books had hit a guy's head since he had moved the cart to approach her with his question, " oh shoot! um so sorry i did not realize u moved the...." she stopped midway in her sentence as he looked back up after picking the fallen books from the ground and offered them to her...."cart" she finished after that pause, not believing her eyes...."peace, girl...my fault, i moved the cart not realizing the consequences, think u could quickly help me with the book, i need to head for practice soon..." practice?? so it was him she thought....AMMY....for moments she was hesitant to even think the name in her head, such was her state of shock...she was not mistaken in recognizing him at all....SHOOT! WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS HE DOING HERE...AT STANFORD...AND IN A LIBRARY OF ALL THE PLACES????seeing her staring at him, he gave her a 'can we proceed now' smile, he was not exactly unaccustomed to such female attention, but as she kept staring without blinking, while he had been slightly rubbing his head where the books had hit him....he was compelled to look carefully n he realized she looked familiar...just like....before he could think ahead she said, "actually um so sorry but i have only 10minutes of the shift remaining n still need to sort alot but..." speaking a bit louder she spoke to somebody behind armaan "hey mike! can u help someone here with a book look up please", and then getting back to her books without eye contact she said "mike will help u out, i beg your pardon for the inconvenience" finishing in a tone which indicated an end to their conversation...he looked at her a bit startled, his presence often subjected him to completely unexpected reactions from his girl fans...but this had definitely been the weirdest ever...in a hurry right then he just left muttering "girls!!!", giving her a last curious glance, shaking his head...ridhima meanwile heaved a sigh of relief....thank god he had not realized who she was....somehow, she did not know why, but she was not keen about re opening windows in her past, least of all through him, of when she had been the meek dominated girl overlooked by everyone despite her obvious skill and intelligence...she had outgrown the image long ago, and had no intentions of being reminded of that period,definitely not from ammy.....but what could he be doing in stanford???must be here for a game....but then why would he need a book from the library????can he even read????ok now thats too much, of course he can...but....oh well she thought, ample work to get back to ridzi.... he left n did not recognize u....so well...good riddance....she got done with the last of the books on the shelf n then walked back to the lockers to collect her belongings....just before walking out she remembered she had to submit a written leave, hastily she scribbled it out, without thinking much, somehow the encounter had produced a passive effect on her wound up nerves she thought, she moved out towards the main desk where her boss was on the phone simultaneously searching the keys for her car.....as she closed in she looked up only to see....HIM????oh no, not again she thought and was going to turn around when megan held onto her arm n while still talking on the phone indicated her to help him check out the books....ridhima looked at her helplessly, as if she was rooted to the spot, for seconds....WAS THE WHOLE UNIVERSE CONSPIRING AGAINST HER????then getting a 'go on' look from megan she moved towards him, and avoiding eye contact she mumbled almost inaudibly, as if afraid of being identified with her voice, which logically she knew deep inside was not possible, "hello! can i help u with those books?" armaan meanwile, though caught up in his own thoughts, mentally trying to work out a feasible solution to meet his preponed deadlines, had not failed to notice the obvious discomfort the girl before him was undergoing, and not for the life of him could he understand how he had propelled it to happen, for one thing he was sure, he was the cause....handing her the books he had a sudden instinct, and thought that might help him analyze what exactly was happening, so he quipped " yeh mike helped me find them, guess u can help me loan them out atleast....isnt this amounting to an overtime now???" much as he tried he could not make that sound like he was offended, because he was not, he was merely puzzled and somehow thats all his tone indicated, though he had wanted to add a reproaching tone to it....she looked up ever so briefly n then back to the monitor before saying in a soft tone not wanting to attract megan's attention, "i apologize for that....just stressed with work...." he felt an instant guilt pang and said spontaneously "oh um sorry to hear that....ummm...here's my id for checking out the books" as she took it from him nodding slightly to his reply she could not avoid reading the name on it just to reconfirm what she knew now without a speck of doubt was a certain fact....but what she saw now, completely paralyzed her with shock, if a greater extent was even possible after the last stroke in the shelving area....the card clearly said 'ARMAAN CHRISTOPHER BENZ' ....ARMAAN???as in THE ARMAAN she thought....its him AMMY.....the basketball guy....the superman????like the guy who pulled her to the dance floor at the party....OMG she thought....this just cant be happening....the day was turning out to be a pandora's box...and then bingo! here comes the next one she thought looking at the books he wanted her to check out...business and finance related literature????this time she was not even shocked, cause she had already outdone any existing records for display of human reactions in shock over the past few minutes....in complete lack of any synchronism of her thoughts, she blurted out without control over her heightening sense of disbelief with each passing second "business and finance???" then seeing his look with raised eyebrows she said in a more composed voice "i mean...interesting...ummmm interesting subjects to study are they????" he gave her 'funny girl' look and said "yeh i like them sure....prefer math to that newton guy's apple theory n attraction laws any day...."and these last words simply jerked her out of the reverie she had slipped into....was that an intended comment????so he had recognized her then and ....interrupting her thoughts he confirmed her worst fears "by the way i think i finally recognized u....." her heart stopped beating in that moment and she could swear she knew what it must feel like when u die of a cardiac arrest....as she heard him continue in his suave tone "ur cleopatra right?????i mean id love to call u by your real name if you would let me know that of course" she heaved a sigh of relief without realizing and then looking back at him she opened her mouth to put up some spontaneous excuse when megan said coming over, "thanks a lot dear....good luck with the exams....and enjoy the wedding!!!" ridhima shot her a genuine smile, not for the wishes, but for getting her out of the tight spot and without a word she moved at the fastest pace she could, before anything else knocked her out completely this time, she felt faint hearted now, n was sure to not survive another 'surprise' she thought.....

***********

OMG WHAT AN EVENING she thought for the umpteenth time as she unlocked the door to her apartment, noticing muski had probably decided to work in her lab that night since all the lights were put out....ammy was armaan...the jr.benz...the guy she had mentored in high school....who had....well she thought...he had never really bothered her except during that mentoring session when he had been so indifferent that she had just given up....that was the whole issue, she had been so insignificant then that people did not even put efforts to bother her....n now here he was....at stanford....the basket ball champ as could have been expected....but a business school student????she had decided to walk back instead of catching the school bus, as she had felt the need for a walk in the fresh air, no productive work could have been done in her then state of mind....now she was back home but her mind was still not at rest....she decided to make herself a cup of coffee before getting down to her last n most hard take home exam....as the coffee brewed in the pot she stood by it absentmindedly thinking......its fine ridzi....its just him....i mean c'mon woman....then u claim to have changed over the years????why did he have that effect on u???why did u after so many years now lose ur head in a situation, which was not even big deal...he just asked u for a book....n thats ur job....so why did u lose ur nerves....no no no....it was just the way it happened she told herself..."completely caught me off guard thats it....yeh thats what....was stanford the only place left in the world for him to have joined.....well now i know it, so fine...yeh now il be alright....confident n relaxed again" with that she sighed deeply n then spoke again "yeh ur good to go now girl....and anyways" she was interrupted by the doorbell....murmuring "that must be muski" she went to open the door....and there it was...the last final blow of the day....the perfect grand finale to the disastrous evening she thought as she came face to face with him again.....as he said in hesitant voice "hey!" she looked at him, and then as he ran is fingers through his hair, her eyes did not want to believe that it was him....as he stood smiling and started "sorry i know this is abrupt but i tried catching hold of u outside the library itself, just could not spot u anywhere out there and i dont even know ur name so ....." but before he could speak any further, she, deciding it was time to end all this, only then would she regain her confidence and calm, she found her voice, n spoke as sternly as she could manage "look, i apologized for the book thing right????why are u stuck with knowing my name????n for heavens sake stop stalking me at least" as the words slowly dawned upon him, his smile changed to a frown, and then his eyes narrowed, and as she moved to slam the door shut, thinking the message had been conveyed loud n clear, he pulled it back firmly, and she just could not move it anymore...and he said "wait wait wait....hang on.....WHAT DID U JUST SAY????" he literally bellowed into her face now....he felt like all the doubts which had been welling inside him had just displayed themselves as this outburst owing to her last statement....he felt furious beyond the control of his wits....here he was trying to help this girl out of her shyness, and do her a favor, despite the cold shoulder she had given him all the times they had met.....and she?????and as she stood transfixed to the spot hearing him yell, he continued "I, Armaan??? is stalking a girl????OH MY GOD...i dont believe u could even get that thought in ur head....who the hell do u think u r anyways????cleopatra for real????giving me that weird attitude all this time....and u think if um being chivalrous enough to not give it back to u, u can do or say what u want????" as she still stood rooted to the point, he pulled her hand and put a paper into it saying "the lady at the desk said u forgot that in there while checking out my books, so i offered to drive along n get it to u....but no no no....bad idea...." then ruffling his hair in frustration he looked upwards trying to control his anger....and then looking back at her he continued "stalking u???....oh please, get a life...what in the world possessed you to believe that even for a second...." with that he let go of the door.....turned around and walked off, leaving her clutching onto the paper he had thrust in her hands...

************

~Part 3~

As she finally prepared to catch a much procrastinated short sleep at about 5AM, after managing to do a considerable part of her exam somehow, the turmoil of emotions which she had put aside with considerable effort all came back crashing, n this time she just did not have it in her to push it away....so she lay awake tossing in her bed....ammy had changed nothing about himself except his name she thought....he was still the same as he had been....the star student she had detested for his seemingly easily gained popularity....n yet she couldnt help but admire him.....she admitted the latter after overcoming a boulder of opposing emotions....but somewhere inside she knew it was true.....it always had been....as she thought deeply about what it was that had made her react the way she had today on seeing him she knew it was nothing but escapism.....he was not to blame in the least for what had happened.....she had just never thought her past would rebound into her life so soon.....her thoughts wandered back to that archimedes like 'eureka' moment which had changed her life completely, had helped surface the real me in a matter of moments; which had been dormant for all the past years....it was during the second year of her undergrad when using the newton's laws in a project theory, she had remembered what ammy had said to her during the peer mentor session...and it had put her to thinking, for some unknown reason she looked at it in a way she had never done before....she admitted, with much reluctance, that he had not been exactly wrong....n then the irony of comparing a physics law with a pick up line had just made her laugh....for real....n for the first time she realized that he had not been stubborn to learning, he had just thought in a way other than the obvious....n then it struck her, wasnt that the truth beneath all science????to think outside the box????thats exactly what the great sir newton himself had done....thought of gravity from a falling apple, like c'mon, he wasnt the only person in the world who had seen an apple fall was he????somehow....the chain of thoughts that were triggered that eventful night had changed her perceptions in life, and she had concluded that she had always worked diligently for every task she put herself to in order to be what she was ideally supposed to be, but perhaps not quite what she wanted to be....she had figured that being everybody's ideal was not the trick....u had to be yourself...the unique yourself....which was nobody other than you....doing what u wanted to trully do not what u thought was the accepted best....she had realized that all her life she tried to keep everyone around her happy by sacrificing her self identity without realizing because it was so totally a part of her character to redeem evevryone's wishes that after a point she had lost distinction between what she wanted to do and what she did, fulfilling everyones dreams except her own, and so everyone had just taken it for granted that she would do only what was considered right and best....she figured always being the best had sapped the fun of being so.....just being top of class was not what she wanted in life....she wanted to enjoy being so....n that would not be possible if she kept trying to be the ideal person....ideal people, like ideal situations in physics, were only theoretical, and in practical implementation, imperfections and assumptions would creep inevitably...then it was real....not just theoretical....the realization had changed her attitude in life....from there on she had followed her instincts for everything n not the rules set for her....AND HE HAD BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR IT she thought now....

for she had always wanted to be like him, loved , popular, happy being herself....and she had put everything into making that happen, but it had not....until that night when she had realized that you could not make happiness happen....u had to feel it in doing what u did....thats what he had been like....she had never known him as a person, only as a celebrity, but somewhere she knew now this was the real him....he was a big shot, who followed his own head and heart and nothing else.....

and this brought her back to the current moment....as she thought over the entire evening again, she realized her analysis was correct....he had not changed at all....he had followed his instincts again, and thats why he had bothered to come all the way to give her those papers....she admitted somewhat grudgingly, with a pang of regret, that he was right....there would be no reason for him to follow a girl like her, let alone stalk...and it had been her own hype of him, which had biased her interpretation of his sudden visit...n then with guilt, she thought of what she had said to him....she did not think it would matter much to him or that he would even remember this evening again, but within herself she decided she had to apologize somehow when fate would give her the apt chance to do so.....for somewhere she believed and wished, that this wasnt the last of him in her life....she was not smitten by his looks, nor taken by his charms....just some attraction....as she closed her eyes, she opened them almost the same instant and grinned thinking....THE LAW OF ATTRACTION!!!

**************

"ammy this is so boring man.....not even a single chic in sight so far...its almost midnight n still another hour before we board the plane n...." he noticed armaan was busy in a sports magazine.... frowning, as he started to speak with indignation, armaan looked at him and said in a serious tone "first, its armaan not ammy when will u start remembering ...." and then with a sly grin he added as he noticed something looking beyond rahul..."and....there is something interesting for u reg my man...look behind u" as rahul turned around to see in the direction following armaan's gaze he saw...HER???quickly turning back he muttered in a low tone "is that her????omg.....dude u gota save me man.....she just goes into a dream when um talking to her n its so embarrasing.....i mean i love the attention, but not from her man....omg omg...no no no....i have to move out of here before she sees me...." as he made a move armaan held him back "too late for that dude....she has obviously seen u which is why she is walking towards us....n anyways, whats with u????she is beautiful and dotes on u.....and seems like a nice girl and"....he added giving him a slanting smile" she is much better than all those brainless cheerleaders u hang around with....atleast she would help u with the homework!!!!...in fact.." said armaan his grin widening, "um sure u like her too.... ur so totally possessive about her that why u've never let even me meet her...." he completed winking at him.....rahul retorted with clenched teeth "dude, u know i cannot mess with this girl.....anybody else but her......if dad came to know, um dead.....and ..." "hey reggie" hearing her chirpy voice behind him, rahul gave an 'um dead now for sure' expression and then turned around with a forced smile "hey muskaan, what a pleasant surprise ....what are u doing here???" before she could answer armaan quipped "well i guess its a possibility she came here to catch a flight reg, " and stepping ahead, then smiling at muskaan with a twinkle of mischief he said "hey beautiful, um armaan....and ????" muskaan interrupted him with a smile, shaking his extended hand and replied " i know ur armaan, who doesnt....um muskaan...nice to meet u finally, reg never introduces me to u even though i insist for it all the time..... n yeh we are catching a flight to india" armaan looked at her, a bit surprised she had said all of that without any of those artificial flutters which he was used to receiving from girls.....she had been natural....no jitters and a lovable smile....."we???so there is someone else with...." and before armaan could speak further, he heard a voice from behind him which made him stop short his mouth still open as he heard her sing "happy birthday to u, happy birthday to u, happy birthday dearest muskaan happy birthday to u" he turned around while she still continued singing, her face hidden behind a huge teddy, and as she walked past him, her face still hidding, wearing a punjabi red suit, he finally felt a piece fall into place somewhere in the jigsaw of his mind.....it hit him now, the suit, indian, ...omg thought now i know.....when he could not even see her, what had not been evident the couple of times he had been with her face to face....it had been irking him ever since that halloween's night....the faint familiarity, n now, this moment when her face was actually not visible to him he realized who she was.....as she removed the teddy from the front of her face, putting it down, and pulled muskaan into a hug twirling her around, they both came face to face.....his guess confirmed.....and both were for that long moment completely zapped....for different reasons of course........

**************

~Part 4~

As muskaan pulled her out of the hug, ridhima slowly came back from her initial no reaction state, and then almost with a jerk withdrew her gaze from the last face she had expected to see here....as she glanced back at muskaan, who was smiling deeply cause of the surprise she found her voice, but "did u like it???" was all she could utter and before muskaan could answer, armaan who had also finally come out of the shock of realization and now had a different air about him said looking at her "of course she must have, unexpected surprises always make people..... happy," he said the last bit in an intended way, without meaning to...but his reaction was just spontaneous and even he was unable to figure what was causing it....then kicking himself mentally he looked at muskaan and said "so someones birthday girl huh!!!...." then pulling her into a light hug he said, "happy birthday beautiful!!!" and then he let her go, she was brimming with happiness said in an excited voice " omg ridz, this is amazing....i thought u forgot in the excitement of the wedding....n u sly woman, went to the bathroom supposedly huh leaving me to get all that heavy luggage checked in alone....." saying so muskaan hugged ridhima again who smiled, still partially shaken....then hearing rahul clear his throat they let go and rahul moved towards muskaan to give her a hug, then changing his mind just extended his hand and said "happy birthday muskaan" and as the three of them just chattered, while ridhima was completely conscious of the gaze on her......armaan was constantly looking at ridhima hearing and speaking nothing, but his mind racing with thoughts....she had changed a lot, the glasses were gone, to reveal her beautiful light brown eyes, the hair were left open, and......he figured he had not recognized her suddenly today, it had been coming to him n then falling just short of a realization for the previous times they met....perhaps her dress today had finally done the trick ....and observing her top to bottom he realized looks was not the only thing that had changed about her....then he remembered her discomfort in his presence that evening at the library....so u knew all along who i was he thought to himself, and u prefered letting me stay in the dark, preferred no confrontations with ur most worthless student did u lady physics???so what were u avoiding....witnessing a new me....or showing off the transformed u???...slowly a smile crept on his lips, and his eyebrows arched slightly as he thought....hmmmm so someone gained expertise at stuff other than physics....but u did not realize what u were up against i guess.....playing smart here, are we????...alright missy enough of ur hide and seek....i know this game and all its rules....n uv broken enough of them by hiding urself keeping me ignorant about who it was that i had to find....lets play it fair now....u wana run away, lets see how far u go......aloud he said...."well well well, if the happy reunion is over, id say this calls for a substantial treat....ummm reg, buddy....why dont u find the beautiful birthday angel a nice table close to the cafe that side while i go fetch us a cake to occasion this moment...." he did not miss noticing ridhima with a side look as her expression clearly read 'arent u missing someone over here'....letting the pause have its effect he turned towards her n then giving an 'oops! um sorry look' he continued, "i meant i will go get the cake with..." a questioning pause this time, "with her...." then looking back at rahul n muskaan he saw rahul was going to oppose but before he could armaan said "reg, dude ur still standing????Waiting for what man....go on....." rahul gave armaan a murderous look only to get back a naughty smile, and as they made a move, armaan turned towards ridhima and signalled with his arm saying "please....ladies first..." she glared at him, with an underlying helplessness and walked ahead...as he moved to match step with her he said in a slight whisper like hoarse voice "i am sorry..." as she looked up into his eyes all puzzled, he continued with a meaningful glance " armaan....i am sorry armaan....isnt it time u said those words honey???" she frowned at him addressing her that way "huh???"..."yeh...u owe me that id say....wat do u think, about time is it???" she looked at him in irritation now, it was true that she had wanted to apologize to him for the other evening, but this guy, she thought, why was he was always such a pain....speaking stiffly she said "yeh...um sorry....i was rude.... n ....."... "n u arent being too polite apologizing like that....but ur forgiven anyhow...lets say um in good mood....anyways so i guess its time for a formal introduction finally...u already know my name....so that leaves us with....ur name..."he paused keenly observing her conflicting expressions as she, he knew without doubt, was trying to find a way to wriggle out of this yet again....he continued "which i guess i finally know...."as she looked up at him startled he said in a low tone as if saying it aloud might be a bad idea...."i dont mean to embarras u but....well....its a weird name wouldnt u agree????" as her startled look transformed to an indignant one, he spoke again before she could retort "i mean, who likes being addressd by names of hotels....RITZ....how about i continue with cleopatra??it has a definite edge in this case id say"he said all of that with a teasing grin, while ridhima just stared at him puzzled, until she realized what he was thinking....she was relieved for a moment...so he still did not know it was riddhima....he was just saying a wrong version of what muskaan had said.....and making fun of her????then she got all mad at him again....why was he such a bloated ego jerk, aloud she said, "its ridz, with a 'd' not 't'...." with that turned her head jerking her hair hard n walked away towards the only counter with bakery stuff....following her lead, he shook his head still laughing and said to himself "ridz with a 'd'...yeh right ms. 'r' for ridhima....' as she stood deciding the flavor, he said from behind, "could u pack us the strawberry cake???" cringing her nose she said "eeks!!! strawberry thats way tooooo sweet..." looking back she told the guy behind the counter, "pack the coffee cake n could u..." he interrupted "i should have guessed ur choice had to be the bitter coffee against the sweet strawberry, ms. ritz with a 't'....but that lovely friend of urs seems to be an angel.....um sure she prefers sweet stuff..." looking at the guy again he said "strawberry please, its final...." she glared at him without masking it now and said "u know what, do what you want, why do i even care....but pleasssse, just stay away from me, let me live in peace...."saying so she was going to walk off when he said "thats kinda impossible" she stopped curious to hear what he was going to say, but without turning,as he said "cause the harder u keep pushing me away um bound to be pulled closer by the same force, thats how it goes right???by 'the law..... of..... attraction' ???" as she swiveled around instantly by 180 degrees he continued smiling at her a raised eyebrow and said in a softer voice "every action has an EQUAL... and OPPOSITE reaction....i daresay i am entitled to a pass grade this time, ms. ridhima gupta????

now he had completely caught her off guard....bulls eye he thought, thats what u call the rebound shot after missing the real one.....how long did u think u were gona continue winning.....the guy behind the counter broke the stare between the two saying "that would be $40...." armaan turned around to pay while ridhima stepped ahead and putting the cash on the counter....armaan took it away n and handed a card to the guy and offered her the cash back without looking at her....she said "no thanks i dont need u to pay, u can keep it...." he looked at her now and replied "um not doing it for u....its my treat for muskaan" then taking her hand and putting the cash into it "n now if u dont mind, we created enough scene here already...." with that he walked off with an inside smile, leaving her to collect the cake....while she felt it was going to be hard to check her temper much longer why did he always assume things would be done his way...collecting the cake she was going to walk back too when the guy at the counter said, "hey u forgot to collect ur boyfriend's card...here u go...." armaan who had not moved far enough to miss those words stopped in his tracks...and then smirked...aaawwwww ridhima....our mutual ATTRACTION was so visible even to that guy...." saying so he laughed out loud....only to find her standing beside him offering him his card without giving him a glance, and visibly fuming in rage...." omg sweetie...ur the first girlfriend iv had who is ready to give me my card back without overdrawing the account limit!!!" she looked up at him partly startled and partly furious n he winked at her making her go red without her meaning to, and then as she turned and walked away he ran to catch up with her and then said "ok peace....seriously....game is up" as she looked up at him he extended his hand and said "friends???" she just stood a few seconds looking at him trying to read his mind, before giving him her hand and then saying "guess we should get back to them now...." he replied letting go of her hand after holding onto it a momemt too long she felt " sure....so where are u guys headed to in india..." "my sister's getting married in delhi, thats where i will be most of the time and ...." " o wow lady, cant believe how lucky u are, keep going places i go.....u sure its not u who is stalking me now??"...as she looked up at him giving him a nasty look he said grinning "i thought u changed but i guess looks can be deceptive, its still just as easy to irritate u ..." then laughing he continued "alright ...kidding...we both are going to delhi for a wedding as well....wanted to accompany dad"....."who's wedding" she asked...."well its my mother's"....he paused at the word, and then with what appeared to her to be a suddenly altered low voice he resumed "my mother's nephew i think....um not quite sure....just wanted to go with dad, did not check the details well" she gaped at him..."ur going to india all the way for a wedding and ur not even sure who it is????"he just spoke looking anywhere except at her "yeh well.....wedding is not my real purpose".....then turning to face her "anyways, ur sisters wedding huh????u must be excited....is it the usual Indian arranged marriage???" she shook her head and said "no, its the guy she has been dating for a few months now....i have not met him in person but if di fell for him, he must be phenomenal....." with that they had reached the table.....so they both took seats as ridhima put the cake before muskaan, rahul opened it for her while armaan handed her a knife he had picked up at the counter....the moment she saw the cake, muskaan looked up in surprise at ridhima and said "ridz????U GOT A STRAWBERRY CAKE????" before anyone else could speak rahul said "nah it must be ammy.....strawberry is the only flavor he eats....can u beat that???the big shot superbasketballer with a choice that girly" as ridhima giggled both she and rahul hi fived, and armaan just said with a sarcastic smile "yeh whatever...and its armaan, not ammy for heavens sake reg...." then turning to face muskaan he asked "the question is do YOU like it???"...she nodded her head vigorously and said "absoultely armaan...but ridzi never ever gets it....shes just stuck at coffee and i dont mind that either so we compromise on that....but strawberry is my abs fav...." armaan grinned looking at ridhima giving her the 'see-i-told-u-' look and then turning back to muskaan he said "u know what beautiful, um getting a gut feel....we're gona be getting along fantastic....long way to go together i guess!!" he ended winking at her but was slightly disappointed to see that ridhima had not reacted much the way he wanted...no jealousy????just plain indifference....hmmmm he thought....dont worry i always know how to get my way....then followed the usual cake cutting, singing, messing up with the icing and all that, at the end of which they were all laughing and chatting like they had been friends longtime...at one such moment ridhima just couldnt help but stare at armaan, as he laughed in pure glee over some joke he and muskaan had cracked at rahul....and she thought, he doesnt seem so stuck up with that endless attitude when u just see him like that....infact right now he seems so innocently and trully happy....and as he turned to catch her staring at him his smile changed to a curious one, and then a naughty teasing look, and then he slowly whispered close to her ears "spellbound???i have that effect on people!!" and then winking at her got back to his joke with muskaan....while she just shook her head in disgust and regret wondering what had made her think that way about him even for a moment....jerk! she muttered....then as she thought she would get up and get a glass of water he pulled her back holding onto her wrist and said looking at them all...."hang on....u girls must be flying the british airways too if your flight time is same as ours right???" as they both nodded, ridhima did not quite like the smile that started spreading on armaans face as he continued "awsome....where r ur seats???" the moment he said that both rahul and ridhima shot him a really skeptical look now, for their own individual reasons....while muskaan quipped "we r in economy, last block....booked the tickets quite late thats all we could get," she said shrugging..."well muski what r friends for....i have a perfect birthday gift for u."...and looking at rahul he said "reg is always saying he never gets to spend time with friends other than us basketball guys"....then turning back to muski..."and then u both seem to be such close friends....we have our seats in the business class, why dont u go join him there and i can just ...." shooting ridhima a quick sly look before changing it to a sweet innocent smile "join ur friend here... i guess" ....he saw rahul was about to argue so he interrupted "its ok reg i dont mind at all seriously i mean its her birthday she deserves a special time and well dont worry about me," looking back at ridhima again who was also about to protest, "i will manage somehow."...he finished with a sigh.....muskaan meanwile tugged at his sleeve to get his attention " r u serious???its fine....n.."....."no no no muskaan i absolutely insist....its the least i can do..." .and then squeezing her hand with a genuine smile he added..."i mean it..."... as ridhima realized that muskaan really was accepting armaans bait she got horrified....oh no she thought....the whole journey back with him....shoot....no ridzi do something...and so she said..." armaan its really very sweet of u but muski and i have a lot of plans to discuss for the wedding u know and..." ..."o c'mon do u always have to be a spoilsport???u guys are gona be together like all through your visit....let muskaan enjoy her birthday away from u atleast....ok how about we let the birthday girl decide...watsay beautiful???" and he grinned looking at muskaan, as she just shook her head at the two of them...they had not left a single chance to show each other down in the past 45 minutes, n somehow muskaan realized, there was more to these two than she knew...yet....she would have definitely not accepted the idea but for this hunch of hers, cause as far as rahul n she were concerned, she knew it was just a silly crush....but her intuition said she should join in on this plan...whatever it would lead to....and so she spoke aloud, much to the horror of rahul and ridhima, while widening armaans grin "sure dude....um game!!!"

************

~Part 5~


"good morning everybody....we welcome you on behalf of British Airways, to what we hope will be a pleasant journey for all our passengers...We are now ready to have the passengers from flight BA 7456 board the plane...please come to the terminal 3 lounge ....we will begin with the passengers in the business class...thank you...." hearing the announcement armaan made the next move quickly before muskaan could be influenced into a change of mind...."alright two of you leave then...we will see u at the stop over in frankfurt....have fun!!" rahul, giving him a last nasty look, turned to leave and so did muskaan smiling and waving back....then she just turned back n hugging ridhima whispered...."this is ur punishment...i would not have ditched u if u told me urself what u still have to tell me...but for now it waits...till we get home..." with that she broke apart and went ahead with rahul....as armaan stood smiling watching them disappear ridhima cleared her throat to gain his attention, he turned around to find her giving him a sarcastic questioning look, waiting for him to explain..."what???" he said....and before she could speak..."actually, no i dont wana know what....um not upto lectures at this early morning hour much as ud like to give me one um sure....i have a better idea....um gona go grab a book for the flight.....how about u get one too, so u treat us both to some peace n quiet...." she just glared at him, and stomping her foot hard on the ground walked off to the ladies washroom....at least that was one place he would not enter and she could spend some 'armaan free minutes' in peace....as she walked away she cursed muskaan in an undertone for all she was facing, and would have to put up with for the next 22 hours.....


***********


as they found their seats, he put his carry on into the upper storage shack, and offered to do the same for her, but she just stood there tapping her foot, indicating that she was waiting for him to move so she could fix her bag herself....he merely shrugged and sat down taking the window seat.....she fit her bag into the shack, with considerable trouble since she wasnt quite tall, while he just looked at her shaking his head, knowing she would not let him help.....she had decided to not speak at all....that was the only way she thought, of surviving the flight with him by her side...cause nothing she would say could ever extract a normal reply or reaction out of him.....why the heck was he such a pain she asked herself for the infinte time that evening.....as the announcement was made for take off they both made a move to get their seatbelts on, but armaan moved in the wrong direction, not having travelled much on economy class he was used to independent seating...and so their heads collided "ouch!" said ridhima giving him an angry look and rubbing her head while he said "oops um sorry, got the wrong side...." as she said nothing, he looked at her with narrowed eyes, and said "what now???they dont tax u extra for speaking here on the plane missy" as she shot him another furious look, he said "oooohhh now um scared....ok seriously what???that was an accidental collision, n i did not make half that amount of fuss when u dropped those 2 books weighing a ton on my head....i could have suffered from memory loss for all u know....." seeing that she did not even react to his awful joke he figured he would just have to explain....so he said...."fine i give up....u wana know why i sent muskaan with reg????" now ur talking she thought and gave him the first look of interest in the last 20minutes....as he continued "i always thought u were dumb at everything that was not physics n now ur confirming it....." this time she just gave him a tired look, not wanting to argue anymore even with silent expressions, and said "can u ever make the point without digressing into a discussion about how hopeless i am in every possible way??? he grinned at her frustration, it was so much fun to irk her, cause she was such a soft target, then comimg back to the point he said in a more solemn tone "well u make it hard to not comment like that...r u blind to the obvious chemistry between them???look, u probably dont care about ur friend, but i give a dam to reg n his life....he spends too much time with worthless chicks, and iv seen muskaan at all our games....she absolutely dotes on him....n she is a really nice girl....the only one perhaps i would like to see in his life for real....and he will not make any moves with her cause she is a close family friends daughter, he's just not the kind to take a chance on something which involves his family he cares too much about them....but i know him....somewhere he loves the attention he gets from her....if she gets late at the end of a game we have won, i see him searching for her in the crowd unintentionally....he doesnt know this, but i have seen pictures of the two of them from our game celebration bashes hidden away under his clothes in the closet....he just would not realize it, nor give it a chance if something did not make it happen....u know he never even lets me meet her cause he knows um going to bring this up....u still think i should have skipped this golden oppertunity????" as he finished he looked up to find her staring at him with an intent yet unbelieving look.....as he raised his eyebrows in a questioning way she spoke up, in a voice he had not heard from her so far, it was genuine, concerned and reflected her surprise, "armaan this is....i mean....its just that.....gosh!i cant believe ur even capable of thinking this way....i mean...." before she could express herself more he spoke with mock indignation..."although badly put forth it was, il take that as a compliment from u ms gupta, perhaps the first n the last um likely to encounter for myself between the two of us....." ridhima shook her head and trying to explain " no ur right i didnt mean it to sound that way....somehow i just...." n she left it at that not knowing what words to explain in that she never thought he could fit this image so perfectly as well.....the sensitivity he had projected completely yet pleasantly took her by surprise, she had not seen, nor expected to see this face of him.....armaan meanwile figured what was going on in her head....n then remembering that he was not intending to be her angel guy he said with a grin..."alright whatever...u keep thinking...." and getting his book out of the bag "i have more interesting stuff to do than hear u praise me, theres no dearth of girls in my life who do that..." he said the last part giving her an indifferent look, but was keen to observe her reaction....he couldnt see why, but getting attention from her seemed to be affecting his actions....he was coming up with all those gimmicks just to trouble her....n he was intentionally mentioning the female craze over him trying to draw the jealous streak he had never failed to obtain this way from a girl, in fact mostly he had to put no effort into that at all....but somehow, the fact that she did not look too interested in his fanship and stardom did not come to him as an acceptable idea....he was used to being the loved guy, the charmer, the spellbounder, but much though he had teased her in the past couple of hours of how she was attracted to him, he knew she wasnt....at least not the way he was used to witnessing.....now what could be the reason for that he wondered....a voice at that moment broke his chain of thoughts, and he realized with a start, his stare at her, which he thought with relief she had not noticed....he looked up to see an airhostess who said "sir, i am told u exchanged your business class seat with a girl from this section of the plane...could i see ur ticket once again, just a confirmation formality...." "sure why not" he said, flashing her a charming dimpled smile, which had never failed to leave an effect....well not yet, he thought giving a sideway glance to ridhima....he fished into his wallet for the ticket and then finding it he leaned over ridhima, since she was on the outer aisle seat to hand it over to the airhostess.....for that one moment, as he inhaled her jasmine fragrance, he was unable to check his reaction n just closed his eyes in the pleasant effect, but then he lost sensation of her rhythmic warm breath on his neck within a moment, causing him to open his eyes, realizing she had slightly stiffened, n was definitely holding onto her breath...that brought a small smile to his face, which he quickly masked and got back to his seat, while maintaining his intent gaze on ridhima, who, as he had anticipated, had definitely been affected by those short moments of proximity....he grinned looking out of the window...she was a mere mortal after all, nobody could resist the charms of jr, sir benz!!! and then turned back to the airhostess with a normal look, as she returned his ticket saying "thank you sir, that will be all...enjoy the flight!" ridhima meanwile was still recovering from that moment....she kicked herself mentally....whats up with u ridzi....what happened in that moment n...goodness gracious!....thank god he moved away, or i was really gona have done something insane...the urge to just make him stay that way his cologne smelling heavenly was just....NO NO NO....wat crap....no ridzi get a grip girl....thats what he is exceptionally good at....for heavens dont add to his list of target girls he can boast of....he has enough of them for u to adorn his achievemnt list.....with that she faced the other way trying to distract herself with other thoughts....as she saw a mum playing with her little kid, she smilied unknowingly, and seeing her smile armaan followed her gaze.....it made him stiffen, while she found the site so cute that she turned back to find some candy in her purse to give the kid, but she froze to her seat as she saw armaan's expression.....he was looking at the same mother child scene too, except that...huh????his eyes looked like they were getting red, and...no it couldnt be....but yet it seemed like there was a threat of tears????as she spontaneouly placed her hand on his arm, he jerked out of the scene n looked away towards the window....then within seconds as he looked back towards her, trying desperately to say something n break the silence, ridhima said breaking the gaze right away..."what book is that u got????" picking it up, she said "kane and able...oh thats the best archer work iv read...just love it....specially the matthew lester character, though they kill him even before the book is half done...." armaan smiled thankfully, he knew without her saying that she had saved him an explaination which he could in no way offer, and had let go of the situation, which no doubt had given rise to several questions in her mind....but since she had been considerate enough to give him the break, he took her bait and then getting back his naughty grin with a little effort he said "thankx a ton miss know it all....il have that book back, thank you, before u reveal the rest of the plot to me without me starting with page 1....." she looked at him, angry now, here she was helping him out, and look at this guy "aloud she said "dont know why i even bothered to......never mind...." with that she turned her face the other way again, while armaan smiled, knowing what she had stopped herself from saying...and he thought, silly girl....but i guess she isnt that bad....in fact....i guess she is quite sweet after all, if u dont rub onto her wrong side....swiftly he pulled out what he had got for her from his laptop bag and before she knew, he thrust a book right under her chin....she turned around, and he urged her with his eyes to take it, which she did, and read the title 'EXODUS' by leon uris.....as she looked back at him quizzically he explained, "well when i got a book for myself i figured i should buy u one as well....i mean its no match to my company of course, but since i wont be chatting much, i got u something worthwile to spend ur time on as well...." before she could interrupt "and yeh i was going to get u a science fiction, but stopped just in time....i guessed u must have already read them all, so i got this....its miles away from anything scientific....n one of my personal favorites...hope u like it...." she just looked at him, a couple of moments not knowing what to say, this guy was so weird....she would never figure out what he was really like.....but for then she just took the book and said a quiet 'thanks' and opened to read it.......


***********


"oh no....ridz matthew lester just died n u were right he is such a ...." he stopped as his eyes fell on her face....she had dozed off, with her reading glasses on, clutching on to the book.... he had been too engrossed in reading for the past almost couple of hours and had not seen her fall off to sleep.....that was the way he was when he got hooked to a new book....now as he looked at her, he smiled inevitably, her head had fallen off towards the aisle, finding no support, a slight frown on her face due to the uncomfortable position he guessed, but even that had not kept her from sleeping....must have been tired he thought...gently, and cautiously trying not to wake her up he moved her head on the inside, so she could rest it on the seat, but much as he tried it would not stay, so at long last, he just made it rest on his shoulder lowering himself in his seat to match her short height....as he felt her clutch onto his shoulder for further support in her sleep, while a smile formed on her lips as she snuggled into her now comfortable headrest.....removing her glasses he thought...,OMG...shes such an angel...well when she is sleeping that is, he thought with a naughty grin...and got back to reading his book.....


************

~Part 6~




As she opened her eyes, slowly, she remembered where she was.....she must have slept really long she thought and quite like a log, for she was taking so much time getting back to her surroundings, n then with a start she realized where her head was resting, and hastily moved to sit straight in her own seat, armaan meanwile looked up from his book, as he felt the head lift off his shoulder and said "how was the beauty sleep missy???" she looked at him, slightly blushing and said in a lower tone "i ummmm... did not realize....i mean, u could have just woken me up u know....sorry for the trouble" she said a bit awkwardly while armaan still grinning didnt intend to let go of the chance and said "oh c'mon why dont u just admit that was the best sleep of ur life....all girls love to get an oppertunity like that with me...." as he saw a slight frown form on her face, he said further "well personally i dont mind, a beautiful lady resting on my shoulder..."as she looked at him in surprise with a small smile replacing her frown, he continued "except that u r neither....." seeing her look change to an indignant one now, he couldnt help laughing while she just continued staring at him in disgust until he stopped laughing and then gave him a nasty look, in response to which he laughed a bit more and said in betwen giggles "OMG ur hilarious ridz.....they should put u up in an exhibition some place in london ...ur sure to give the master of all expressions Mr. Bean a run for his money i can bet...how do u even do that????i mean the speed with which u alter ur expressions....OMG....just so...."and he burst out laughing again...while she just sighed deeply cursing being stuck with a jerk like him....when he finally stopped she said "u know ur lucky to be a sports star...its probably the only reason girls cling to u the way they do.....or with ur lack of etiquettes , correction, ABSENCE of etiquettes, girls would not spare u a glance or thought....."... "well um sorry to say uv just got an extremely bad taste in that case honey.....theres a lot more than my sports stardom which attracts beautiful ladies, of course now you would not know all that....." and before she could interrupt..."i do wonder though how ur boyfriend ever manages to deal with u????" and with that he looked at her intently, he did not have a reason in the world to give a thought to this issue, but some spontaneous impulse had made him add that last statement, n now he was waiting for her to reply, not sure of what he was hoping to hear from her...ridhima meanwile was taken by shock again, gosh this guy really did talk smart to get his answers she thought....not finding an escape out of his question she said, "excuse me i need to use the washroom..." and got up before he could stop her.....while he muttered to himself "no answer????now how do i interpret that???no boyfriend, or a relation she doesnt want to discuss????" without speaking aloud ahead of that he knew what he hoped the case was....then shaking his head he said "hang on dude....why do u even care....ok yeh u know what, um just plain curious....have not known too many girls like her, kinda curious to know what kind of guys they like and fall for....yeh of course, you should always update ur knowledge base about female issues, never know what comes in handy when....well...guess il have to await another chance to get that answer out of her...." with that he got back to his book again, but somewhere in the back of his head, he was still wondering what her answer would have been......




**********




As they stood next to the conveyor belts, armaan trying to get the bags off one by one, while ridhima trying to call muskaan as she had still not spotted the two of them....in fact they had missed them at frankfurt too, since muskaan had called excitedly to tell her that she n rahul were at a chocolate shop where he was buying her some for her birthday...and ridz thought about what armaan had told her, and decided to give them space, while armaan insisted she should accompany him for something he had to show her....it turned out to be the music store....he took her to the Q jam machine and fixed the headphones on her head n played a track.....as she heard it she wondered why it was so familiar....it was rock, she knew cause muskaan was a die hard rock freak, and always had that stuff playing in the room....ridhima meanwile did not mind it until it got way too harsh....but this was nice....n familiar....she had heard it before she was sure but felt like long ago, "what song is that iv heard it i ...." and before she could speak another word he cupped her mouth, his face showing shock, then he looked at other people around smiling at them apologetically, and looking back at her his hand still covering her mouth as he pulled off her headphones, with the other hand n said in a reproaching whisper..."r u insane??? why did u yell that loud, um not deaf u know...." then as she looked around at the attention she had caught, she started turning red in her face a bit embarresed, and a bit conscious since he had still not let go of her mouth....she realized that he had forgotten to do so, so she slowly pulled it off with her own hands and said in what would have have been an indignant voice had she not been so embarrased at the moment "um sorry, ....but it isnt my fault, i did not realize i was that loud cause u turned the volume of the track so high....n then u know all these rock songs....too much noise n no song....." he looked at her a bit offended, and asked "u thought that track was just a lot of noise????" she nodded her head, then shook it n seeing his confused expression she said "well much as id like to say it was horrid, since apparently u must like it alot to make me hear it, i have to admit u dont have a tragic taste...it was definitely a better one from the lot....i could hear the lyrics, n they actually made sense....music was not bad....in fact i kinda liked the guitar strumming in the background all through i guess...." and she paused as she saw his wide smile....puzzled with what she had said to make him so delighted she gave him a quizzical look, in response to which he put his arm over her shoulder, brought the CD cover in front of her from behind him, holding onto it with his free hand, and then as he moved his finger from the hand around her shoulder towards the cd to point at something, she inevitably got pulled into his hold around her tighter, which made her gasp ever so slightly....omg she thought, not the cologne again....while he, not getting a reaction from her for what he was showing looked to see her eyes lightly shut, and he guessed what was happening....he smiled even more, his dimples digging deeper, and then whispered into her ear slightly, "heylo????um not showing u a horror flick, u can open ur eyes n see its just a CD cover...." she opened her eyes instantaneously now emabarrsed to an extent she could not hide, she knew....but to avoid thinking anymore about it she looked at what he was pointing...it said " Stanfy Rockrz: lead guitarist- Armaan Christopher Benz, ....." she did not read ahead of that, just looked up at him and could not stop herself from saying "omg ur on the band????o yeh i remember, u were a guitarist in high school too right????" as he grinned nodding, she smiled seeing his excitement, so pure n obvious....as he said "yeh thats the new record we brought out a fortnight ago....it was awsome doing these tracks, since it was my first album here in stanfy.....and well the track i just played for u is ....well special...." he went off into a dazed look...which was happy yet solemn...then something brought him back, perhaps her intense gaze upon him....he continued "and apparently we hit the charts quite high and ..." as he rambled on excitedly, her audio senses faded out gradually, cause in his daze he seemed to have tightened his grip around her and now as he lead her out of the store, still chattering excitedly....all she could think of was how comforting his hold was....she was no longer feeling a jitter from his touch....in fact ideally she should have shook his grip off herself, but she felt so relaxed that way, that unconsciously she let it stay, seeing him talk, hearing nothing......

she was brought out of her thoughts as she heard muskaan's voice bellow into her ears from the other side of the phone..."HELLO????RIDZI???" as she answered without further delay "yeh... yeh um here muskaan, y u yelling in my ear....just wanted to ask where u both are....armaan is getting the luggae for us and um looking for u ppl but cant see u" muskaan replied in a normal voice now" well what do u expect me to talk like when u call urself n then dont speak up for almost a minute...where were u lost girl???" ridhima blushed, shoot, she thought she reads me even without looking at me....while muskaan continued "and i just spotted u dont worry we r walking towards u...u help armaan with the luggage poor guy having to get all of that alone, n ur bag is way too humungous" indignantly ridzi quipped "muski???can u stop supproting that jerk he's ..." ...."a wonderful guy im falling in love with" she heard armaan's cheeky voice from behind completeing her sentence not quite the way she was going to....while muskaan did not miss his line either and said still on the phone "oooohhhh i c....interesting....well um putting the call down...this has to be discussed in person i guess..." and with that she cut the call without letting ridhima correct her....so she swerevd around and almost yelled at him in an angry voice " do u ever get serious????what was that all about....muski thought u were talking for real....armaan this is not funny do u understand????" as his look changed from a grin to a quieter expression, she immediately felt guilty....she knew he was just teasing her...but somehow, she just lost her temper....she knew it wasnt cause of what he had said, but cause she was still feeling weird, she really had been so lost in his thoughts that she had not heard muskaan answer her phone for almost a minute....and then muskaan guessing she had been lost.....and then while she was still confused he had come up n said that stuff....n then muskaan teasing her about him.....she was just getting too bogged down by her own confusing thoughts about what she was feeling....and hence her unreasonble irritation at jokes she would normally laugh off....and her confused frustration had just found a vent in him...."um sorry" he muttered realizing something was not right with her, he had teased her all through the journey but though she would get mad at him and scornfully retort, this was the first reaction out of her which really was intense...and he did not want to extend this issue...."i was just joking...dint mean to...." " no its ok....um sorry....duno why i got mad over something that silly" she said and as he looked at her she tried to smile back to reassure him that it was nothing except a wrong moment....and then they both turned as they heard muskaan's chirpy voice...."ARYAN!!!" the moment she saw him ridhima ran towards him with the same excitement, that they had heard in muskaan's voice, and as rahul walked towards armaan, he smiled at him but armaan just turned back to the scene....only to find ridhima jump with joy and hug the stranger hard, and as he hugged her back, armaan felt a strong surge of emotions rise within his chest, he could not define at that moment what, why or how that was happening....but as he continued seeing them hug, his eyes narrowed with an effort as he could not keep the doubt from invading his mind.....was this the answer she had avoided mentioning?????

**********

~Part 7~


"Hmmm more serious than the usual cajoling this time, are we???" armaan almost choked on the beer he was sipping, as he was ripped out of his maze of thoughts by the sudden words, zooming around , he said with a tired yet puzzled sigh, "DAD???whats that supposed to" Chris interrupted "u know what its supposed to mean, but if u want me to put it in words, very well then, thats exactly the precision i will expect in your answer...." as he paused, armaan looked at him, still bemused but not completely unaware of what was likely to hit him next, as he heard his father continue, his doubt was confirmed...."who's the lady in question???" It was not the first time he had faced this question from his father....they had always been close friends, and their bond had only been strengthened further by his mother's sudden demise, and his father's parenting role in that period...but for this once armaan did not know what to say....was it even a lady in a question he wondered????and if yes, was it that particular lady in question.....how silly is that dude, he thought, of course its her....i mean....no no no... this girl....gosh armaan ur losing it...ok hang on.... the point is there's no lady in question here at all....but the lady we are talking about is her....WHAT????...ok lets sort this out... she is the girl dad is asking about but not the lady i am thinking of....oh but wait ...how can that be....dad is asking about the girl i am thinking of so they have to be the same right????but how can they be the same if she is not the lady in question????what the ...."so um not wrong, it is more than a thought worth dismissing....." he heard his father interrupt his chain of thoughts as chris settled on the couch besides the pool...."armaan sat down too, a bit absent mindedly.......and then recollecting his wits somehow, without any idea of what he was going to say he spoke up..."do u really want to know???..." and then after a pause, on a sudden thought he added "promise you wont be jealous???" chris looked at his son, and within that quick look he knew armaan had found an answer to escape the real issue, chris knew neither what this escape route was, nor the issue he wanted to escape....but he decided to play along bidding his time for the appropriate moment anyways and said "oh yeh whatever....there is no woman in the world who would chose you over your father....such are the charms of Sir Christopher Lawerence Benz" armaan chuckled....he knew he had his mother's heart, but instead of being the serene beautiful image like his mom....he had been the gallant enchanter, all of his charming persona was from his dad....aloud he said "well there was one....i mean, there was, is and will be...." pausing he said in a slow voice, which was delibearte yet wistful "mum....", chris looked over at him bowled over for a few seconds that followed, until armaan broke the silence continuing..."was just missing her dad", and he could say that looking straight into his father's eyes, because it wasnt untrue in the least, only not....well he thought thats enough for dad for now for he himself wasnt sure of what more there was to it exactly...while chris was figuring out, um sure that is the truth son....just not the complete truth....aloud he said "well she chose me first too...." to which armaan retorted "that was only until she had not laid her eyes on me....c'mon dad, admit it, the most beautiful, charming lady of the world would have chosen me over you at any given time!!!" as he grinned giving his father a cheesy challenging look, chris said "maybe" he paused, then looking armaan into the eye to not miss even a flicker of reaction he continued...."but i can assure you this apparently reaonably beautiful, charming lady....the lady in question here....not ur mum as we both know....will definitely take to my charms before yours....not every worthy woman makes the same blunder son......" now armaan was dumbfounded, fidgeting with his fingers he mumbled looking at his shoes "there is no lady in question dad....the question here is about a guy " "WHAAAT???" chris could not stop himself from that reaction to his son's words and their obvious implication, while he thought, completely tensed now, how and when could this have happened????armaan had always been.....while armaan realizing how his words had been misinterpreted said quickly to correct any misconeptions "i dont mean it like that dad....gosh how u let your mind run on such insane thoughts...." as chris sighed in relief, armaan chuckled again..."u really thought i....omg dad....ur hilarious...." and armaan fell off the couch onto the floor besides his father laughing....while chris smiled now, thinking what a foolish thought he had entertained even if for a second, and then he remembered what had caused it so he asked again "so then why is a guy on ur mind...who is it first of all...." , "aryan chadda.... i think...." he said in a quiet voice....then resting his head in his father's lap he said "can we skip this talk for now dad....it is not like i want to hide anything....but to be honest, i dont know exactly what it is u want to know n i need to tell.....anyways i dont think it is that considerable a topic of discussion" hearing the finality in armaan's voice chris knew it was a good idea to drop it ....for now he thought at least, because this 'not a considerable topic' as armaan had called it, had visibly been prying on his mind ever since their hug at the airport...considering the father son reunion had happened after quite a few months this time, chris had found armaan had spoken much less being quite engrossed in something which was not obvious....it is considerable son, thought chris, but il let u take ur time before u reveal it to me...n perhaps to yourself, cause something makes me believe u completely when u say ur not sure of what to tell me....aloud he said..." well alright then, come into the house ur grandmom wants u to join everyone for dinner....u know, a half english grandson, stydying at stanford....ur quite a star here son!!!" saying so chris winked at the exasperated look which had appeared on armaan's face hearing him say this, and they both got up to walk back in for dinner...."and yeh," continued chris, "i would not think u would maintain ur star status at quite the same level unless u chuck that beer can away from prying eyes....i know u are not much of a drinker, but the can is not likely to stand by my statement before ur mum's family"....armaan shrugged looking up towards what he assumed was heavens, and dumped the half full can into a bin close by, and the followed his dad inside the sliding doors....



*************


"AAAARRRRGGGGHHH...u jerk mr. underpants... get out of my kitchen if u want to even see dinner tonight" yelled ridz at him, at the same time trying to tend to her almost burnt finger by blowing air onto it rapidly, "yeh right frisco, as if u were even remotely concentrating on whats cooking in those pots, if only u could find spare time from whatever has been cooking in that pea sized brain of yours ever since u got home....say thanks to me for bringing u back to mother earth from whichever cloud 9 u were on...." aryan teased relentlessly with an evil grin... ridhima turning slightly red, retorted trying to defend herself " by burning my finger in the steaming coffee???" " well be glad it was just that, the way ur lost in ur wonderland all off that food would have burnt out...i think ur finger is a preferable victim anytime" he completed, ducking behind the kitchen table as she threw the rolling pin towards him "god frisco...i thought stanford might have atleast turned u into a remote resemblance of a lady, but not in the least, the poor guy u were dreaming of right now....tell me who it is quickly so i can warn him before he falls for ur deceptively innocent looks, you are lethal when ur trully urself" and he ducked yet again as he saw a plate flying towards him this time, catching it swiftly in the air meanwile, and chuckling at her....as she turned her back on him, in a disgruntled way, he knew she had avoided his question....they had been best friends since they were kids....muskaan, ridhima, anjali, and him, aryan....although muskaan had been a great sibling to grow up with, and anjali a perfect classmate and friend as they both decided to opt for medical studies....aryan had found his closest friend in ridhima, and the two of them had been inseperable, and were transparent to each other to the extent of reading the other's mind of thoughts which were yet to occur.....as he saw her get back to the pots on the stove, he walked towards her and sitting on the slab facing her he spoke again....."so whats cooking" she heard his unpoken last words 'in ur head' in his deliberate tone, n knew her supposedly well concealed restlessness had not escaped him even after months of not seeing her.....he never missed her latent and unspoken emotions...avoiding his gaze by walking towards the cabinet on the pretext of getting salt she said..."chicken biryani....did u suddenly get food blind, or lose your power to recognize ur favorite dish when it is being cooked before ur eyes???" he waited for her to come back, knowing she couldnt stay there forever to get salt, and as she walked back he said...."if ur done with that awful attempt at humor....or hiding facts....can i get the real answer???" she looked up to see him looking back at her intently, no smirk or grin, a genuine questioning look, and she knew there was no way to escape it....."aryan it is not...." she started only to be interrupted "ARYAN RIDHIMA...u both do ur reunion talks later or we will never get the biryani u promised us ridz....n aryan bhai...come here fast....u just have to see this...."with this muskaan dragged aryan away, much to ridhima's relief, but not a long lived one, as aryan tuned back giving her a look which she read clearly to say 'thats not the end of our conversation'....but putting it off her head for now she got back to the cooking, both in the pots and inside her head as aryan had accurately said....she still could not understand why she was so uneasy....and so she replayed the events of the last 24hours in her head yet again, she had done so enough times already to have lost count, her quest for a satisfactory answer was all but in vain....thats what aryan, she thought, its not that i dont want to answer u....i just dont know what it is u want to hear n i have to say....she shut her eyes momentarily, wary of the pace at which her mind was racing, only to jerk them open....for that one moment she had smelt his cologne again she was sure....cautiously she turned to look all about her making sure, he wasnt there...then standing back straight up she gave a nervous giggle and said "silly ridzi, how could he be here....girl...ur losing it"....with that she went back to the biryani trying to block out all ambiguous thoughts.....


*************


as he threw his jeans and shirt from the journey into the laundry basket, he heard a small yet audible sound of something metallic fall to the ground....he turned around scanning the floor for what could have resulted in the sound, just as he was going to give up and turn around his eyes stopped at a small shining silver speck....he bent and retreived it and brought it close for inspection, at first he couldnt understand for the life of him what it was, but then it struck him, like a bolt of lightening, and he gave it a closer look narrowing his eyes, undoubtedly it was a broken tiny tinklet from her dangler....as he wondered how that happened to have reached here, he remembered how she had rested her head on his shoulder while sleeping "oh i see, thats how....it must have jerked off the dangler and got stuck to my shirt at that time..." as he gazed at the tiny silver piece, it unknowingly brought a smile to his face and he whispered "i wonder if you are thinking of me too ms. short tempered know it all.....but i have to admit....there is something about u ...which i inevitably seem to miss just so...." and shaking his head slowly as he muttered those last words as if trying to contradict his own obvious thoughts, he wondered why he was feeling so, and then why was he denying the feeling......dropping to the bed, he slowly shut his eyes, trying to shut his mind and heart, as they both all of a sudden yearned to feel her resting her head on his shoulder.....as he smiled with closed eyes, running like a movie the events of the journey, his smile widened until he reached the rear end....their parting scene at the airport......


***************

~Part 8~


"What was that look on his face when we bid adieu???" she asked out aloud the question that had been so heavily on her mind that it had not even let her get involved in the family reunion after several months, and for such a special occasion....standing by herself in the balcony of her room now she gave up on trying to check her dwindling concentration in her own family affairs....all through dinner and post dinner chats she had hardly participated in all that had been discussed amongst her parents, cousins, n other family members, and muskaan n aryan...she had not however been unaware of aryan's constant observation of her lost daze, but she figured she would handle it when it came along, she had to tell him anyways, there was nothing she never told him, the thing was she needed to sort out things in her head first so she knew what to tell him....the journey had been fun, she admitted smiling with reluctance, he had teased her endlessly but she had enjoyed every bit of it without a speck of doubt she knew now, ....n what about those 2 close encounters she wondered blushing, looking back in retrospection.....what was that effect he had on her....it was so intoxicating that she semed to lose sense...he was not the first guy who used cologne n came close ....what???ok silly reason, it obviously has nothing to do with the cologne ridzi....even other than aryan, she had a whole bunch of really close guy friends in her life.....people she had danced within inches of distance, people who hugged her, or for whatever reasons had shared close moments with her as friends...n he too was a friend...perhaps even less, then why did his casual touch make her feel differently....why could she not control her reactions to his touch, his feel, the fragrance she would now associate with him forever, his...whole persona....well thats why they all fall for him i guess, she thought....thats what he is a master at, enchanting girls, who will never be anything in is life except another crazy female fan, he can flaunt each one the way he was all through the conversations we had.....with a streak of jealousy creeping in which she had not even felt when he had actually mentioned them, she argued in her mind like a stubborn kid trying to fight a lost battle....yes thats what he just chrms people....she was not being blind to logic, but then again, had she lost senses while with him??? why had she voluntarily let him keep his grip around her, rather enjoying it...why had she felt so spellbound looking into his hazel eyes each time, why did she have to fight the urge of staying close n not breaking the proximity each time they had been close....wel there was an attraction, she concluded, but it could not be allowed to proliferate and take over her the way it was right now.....cause he obviously did not feel the same way...with a grudging shudder she remebered how all of a sudden he had become cold to her when they said goodbye....he had been so warm n friendly all the time....was that all just a part of his charming pretense which he put up before each girl????it hurt her to admit that it might be just that, but then she thought, why would he bother himself with all that for her, she was not one of his usual damsels.....he had seemed so genuine.....but that cold shoulder just before the parting, pretending to be busy on phone getting mushy with some clinging chick of his she thought disgusted....what could have caused it???could he not have let it go with a normal bye, to match their interaction on the plane????what pinched her most was the fact that this sudden attitude had been directed at her alone...he had been the same warm armaan with muski....oh well she thought he had not spared much warmth to aryan either but that was cause they did not even know each other.....something just provoked that sudden pricey act out of him, and she couldnt think what....with a start she remembered how she had yelled at him post muskaan's call just before aryan appeared on the scene....but as she recalled it all, she decided he had seemed to have taken that fine too accepting her apology.....or so she had felt at that moment....well maybe he did not take it fine ridzi, she thought....he is a superstar, why should he take that yelling n tantrum from a geek like you second time in less than 2 weeks....slowly she slipped to the floor leaning her back against the wall n sat down....still perplexed, but she knew one thing now....without speaking she worded it in her head....she was attracted to him....n missed him....in just the past 24 hours he had her under a spell....but she had to get out of it, n better now since they were in no way meeting for the next 3 weeks till she was in india even if she could not escape his presence in stanford....yes she decided with a strengthening resolve, i have to get out of this fantasy infatuation for something which will never be.... there was nothing plausible in a single sided attraction...a small voice quipped up in her head...there can never be a single sided attraction its a mutual force...he must feel it too....nah... he doesnt or he would be attracted to 90% of the stanford girls....all that balancing out of forces is limited to the physics in the labs she thought sighing, and closing her eyes, tired from the day, its events n her endless puzzling non acceptable thoughts n emotions....

************


he frowned hard, as a whole gush of loud voices entered his ears all at once, opening his eyes reluctantly cursing whoever it was, he saw the whole gang of his girl cousins and maybe their friends standing over him giggling....as his frown deepened, he realized with a start he was just in his boxers n vest, pulling the satin sheet over himself completely except his face he sat up instantly looking at all the intruders, embarrased, puzzled and then quite irritated...while one of them, said " its ok bhai....if u have it u should flaunt it...." and she winked at him in a naughty way.....to which armaan reacted with almost a violent jerk, looking up at her....never in his life had he been embarrased to, as she had said, flaunt his well built body, but at this moment he wished the he could disapparate....."that will be enough minz....take ur gang out of the room, i need to catch a word with armaan bhai...." hearing a new voice, armaan looked towards the door to see atul, the groom and his mother's nephew, and then looking back at the cheeky girl he remembered she was his younger sister, minnie....o boy, he thought....i pity the poor bride, this sister in law will be one mischief maker for her to handle i can foresee....unless of course she has had experience with similar spoilt siblings....as the girls moved outwards grumbling, one of them turned around to give him a flying kiss, which now completely turned him red, while atul came inside grinning at the scene....then getting sober he said "i apologize about that they are all brats....but they have been so excited, about the wedding, and about u and uncle joining us this time....bua always did come for the functions, but we just have never seen enough of u n uncle....n well.....its not just them armaan" said atul looking up staright into his half indian cousin's eyes..."u both are really special to me, since bua was my favorite aunt....u know anjali, the girl i am going to marry, and i were friends in high school too, we only just committed much later....but bua had teased me about her for many years before our confession to each other....i wish she had been here to see this wedding...." as he saw armaan look away he paused his own eyes moistening and then said "it means a lot for me to have her family here...." at which armaan looked back smiling deeply, and hugged atul, who hugged him back....as they parted atul quipped "u know i have to agree with minnie for once....u do have a body to flaunt man....gyming all the time???!!!!" armaan chuckled and said "yeh that, and basketball....not the usually loved and worhipped indian sport cricket though....mum n dad tried putting me to that, but i guess american schooling altered my ideas of what i prefer"... " awww that sucks dude" said atul," cause just that one addition to ur list of activities, with looks like that n u have all the indian maidens u find attractive running after u" armaan's thoughts immediately drifted back to the only indian girl who had occupied his thoughts lately, and he spoke spontaneously, without meaning to "not all perhaps....", while atul looked up with a raised eyebrow and a questioning look...armaan came back and put up his defense guard up almost as soon and said "so what did u want to talk to me about???" atul remembered what he come for and replied forgetting the controversial comment armaan had just made, "oh yeh...good u remind me...well as u can see we have a whole bunch of girl cousins, but hardly any grown up boys other than me and u...and a few more distant cousins, n some of my friends....but u really are the closest male cousin of the groom...me" he said smiling, dreaming about anji, while armaan just chuckled seeing him like that bringing his thoughts back to the room by snapping his fingers before him, as he resumed clearing his throat "so u have to go to anjali's place with what we call the shagun....the parents usually take it, but i insisted that uncle should go for this...as my ummmm....u know i mean i would have wanted bua n uncle to go.....would u..." armaan interrupted "yup il accompany dad dont worry....n reg will join us too if u dont mind????" ,"oh no let him stay back with me...i need some help here too cant survive in an all woman house please....n we seem to be getting along well....he's a fun guy", armaan nodded n continued as an after thought "but u think u could let someone else join us, since we are both not quite 'INDIAN TRADITION LITERATE' people u know" to which atul said, after scratching his head in thought for a few moments..."i guess minnie would be the right person....she knows more traditions than possibly exist anyways..." armaan looked up a bit apprehensively, and atul seeing his look smiled and said "shes a brat i know, and can be awfully naughty....but bua used to narrate quite a lot of ur mischiefs....if u have not lost the touch, how about some competition???!!!!" armaan laughed, hearing how his mum had jeopardized his reputation everywhere....then looking at atul he nodded and said "alright....lets have this settled as to who's boss here before the wedding,....cause after this we have to play as comrades right???i mean mum used to mention a lot of those fun games between the bride's and the groom's side....guess if we both are on one team, nobody can beat us!!!this is going to be fun..." breaking his victory dreams atul snapped "well fun yes, but dont be so sure of winning easy....not until u meet anji's younger sister n her two best friends...they can be quite a team trust me" as armaan looked up with a confident dont worry smile atul resumed "they interviewed me for 6 hours....that too online cause they were not here.... before i could formally propose anji"....armaan grinned and said "well champ...its our turn now....leme go check out the enemies today with minnie, and also their base camp....then leave it to us....what did u call ur fiance again...anji????" as atul nodded, armaan could not remember where he had heard that name....it sounded so familiar, yet not quite....was this his month of unravelling familiar puzzling personalities he wondered, thinking about her again.....


***********


as he stepped out of the car, minnie looking like a angel in her turquoise silver sharara linked her arm into his and said "till they come to know we're cousins, i dont mind everyone thinking i hooked up with the hottest hunk in town!!!" armaan shook his head laughing she had been her upto her chirpy mischief all through the ride, and his initial perception of her had faded into a new one, he decided he like her company, they did make a good team as he had anticipated....she was pretty and witty...beauty with brains - a rare combination he thought, then thinking of ridhima yet again he wondered, or was it a common trait in indian girls....his mum had been one too....as she tugged onto his arm, he smiled at her and said "thanks for the compliment gorgeous.....il be glad to have u around, not quite sure of this indian outfit um wearing who knows when i will need help again, then who better to fix it than u!!!" he winked as she giggled at him, fixing the stole in his neck so it would stay put longer....and with that they followed chris, who was deeply pleased to have seen the bond armaan was building with his cousins...just as his mum would have wanted him to....as they were welcomed into the house by a warm lady, who introduced her self as anji's mom to chris, armaan moved forward n bent to touch her feet, the lady, padma she introduced herself as, was warmly taken aback....atul had called to let her know who was coming with the shagun, and she had not expected him to know the customs being half english....he smiled back at her and said..."i am armaan....dont know what u prefer being called, but dont be too impressed thats the only thing i know from the endless list of indian customs which mum taught me as a kid!!!" smiling back him she blessed him with a happy long life and said "call me PM it will do....." seeing his eyebrows raised in a question she resumed "Padma mom!!" armaan smiled at her showing his pleasure at her gesture, while minnie not losing focus from their aim of getting to know their supposed enemies well, quipped from behind..."aunty where's bhabhi????bhai mentioned she will introduce us to her sister n their gang" to which padma said "oh anji is in her room getting ready, n the rest of them are scattered and running errands...but go meet up with anji she will introduce u to all"...with that armaan and minnie strode towards the stairs, while chris stayed back as shashank had appeared to join padma and him, and they walked in another direction....as they climbed the step, they drew some attention, armaan was not an obviously indian looking boy, and this was his first appearence in this house, all the girls, as minnie had anticipated, were whispering about who it was with her....while she giggled and whispered in his ears..."see what i meant" to which armaan said "yeh i know, isnt the first time girls are fluttering in my presence gorgeous...they always do!!!" minnie looked at him with a look of hurt pride and said "well dont be so sure, they would not have noticed u so had i not been accompanying u....minnie has that effect on people too!!!" to which he merely chuckled and said "no offense intended gorgeous...um sure u do!!!!!!" as they almost reached the door of the bedroom, a girl ran towards minnie and said "hey minz finally ur here come on fast n see bhabhi's dress...." with that minnie gave armaan a quick look to excuse herself and ran inside.....while armaan at the threshold of an obvious girl's domain now wondered which direction to proceed in, just then he heard his cell ringing....and he turned his back to the door, leaning against the edge talked to reg....until......


**********


" oh god muskaan, i told to u get the tika from mum dint i....ok chuck it now, il go bring it, u do di's hair meanwile".....as she rushed out of the bedroom, closing in on the door, she felt it again....oh no she thought, please not that cologne again, ridzi come on girl this is no time or occasion to lose ur head....but as she neared the door, and finally was crossing it, the fragrance was too strong for her, and she shut her eyes momentarily, then opening them again, hearing muskaan's loud chirpy laugh, she she shook her head hard and moved hastily out of the door, only to feel a tug at her neck....n she realized her long shimmery coffee brown n gold dupatta had got stuck in....she turned around to see what...in the wrist watch of a guy standing with his back, talking on the phone oblivious of this fact...."standing and chatting on the cell outside the girls dress room...wow what an idea...."she muttered...n who was this????she had not seen any guy wear the shade she was wearing in the house so far, brown n gold, with a black stole... n somehow....he looked familiar from the back????....anyways she thought and moving closer she tapped him on his shoulder to get her dupatta released, but even before he turned she knew that cologne....she knew why he seemed familiar....."hang on reg" he said turning around and then, they both stared at each other, unbelievably.....


************

here goes part8 folks....extraaaaa looonnnggg coz so many of u complained abt the last one, although it was the same length as always guess due to justa couple of scenes in talk it appeared short....enjoy reading this one!!!


Edited by spln - 05 June 2008 at 8:27am

The following 28 member(s) liked the above post:

asinglameghap90aarushi001madhsarzara.castrafaAnokheesarahehsanmak3mesmileHeAvEnStolij&b84sweet=meArmaansGirlVeiledbeautydmg_soniaGudduluvsHaniyaadesire_20sadz11debby_11arshluver_15baryyogzzPious_KaShharshdb.Dulcetoblivion..

Dear Guest, Being an unregistered member you are missing out on participating in the lively discussions happening on the topic "FF:Back to Newton's Laws...part16" in Fan Fictions forum. In addition you lose out on the fun interactions with fellow members and other member exclusive features that India-Forums has to offer. Join India's most popular discussion portal on Indian Entertainment. It's FREE and registration is effortless so JOIN NOW!

spln

IF-Sizzlerz

spln

Joined: 06 December 2007

Posts: 11036

Posted: 16 May 2008 at 10:22am | IP Logged
~Part 9~

The world of physics claims that in terms of relativity, time can stop if u move with the speed of light.....weird timing for implementing physics, thought ridhima, but this assumption had never made more sense to her than the current moment....it seemed to have come true as they stared at each other frozen in time, while their minds raced at the speed of light....baffled and still trying to let the fact sink in, it turned few moments into an eternity of stillness just for the two of them, until they were interrupted....a cracking sound from armaan's cell brought them both back, as they heard rahul's voice..."ammy ???dude u still alive???? did a tornado hit u????" armaan put the phone back to his ear, slightly blushing at how accurate reggie's statement was....actually he thought, tornado was a definite understatement to describe what had hit him as he spoke into the phone without breaking his gaze on her, his voice a bit unsteady "y-yeh, yeh um here reg...." and before he could speak anymore he felt a a tug on his wrist, and as he glanced downwards he saw the dupatta stuck into the pin....and she was trying to get it free, as he felt her hand brush against his wrist, he smiled coming out of his trance, his dimples deepening....so he was not imagining, she was there for real.....then seeing her frown in concentration he thought, yeh it was her all right, frowning as usual.....and he chuckled, making her look up at him still frowning....while he spoke into the phone "call u back later reg!" cutting the call, he maintained his intense gaze on her, observing her top to bottom....while she conscious of his inspection, had gotten back to working out the dupatta end which was still stuck, not able to bring herself to meet his gaze....there had been no dearth of beauties in his life, but he had never, after his mother, seen such regal aura in simplistic beauty, the sharp features of her face highlighted, to give her a soft entrancing charm....the coffee gold combination matched her fair skin, with a slight natural shade of asian tan.....it made her look breathtaking, he felt like the combination had been nothing more than lifeless colors to him until he saw them adorning her....and then regaining his wits, swiftly he helped her remove her dupatta, feeling her cringe slightly and pull her hand back as his touched hers....she continued her effort of not looking him in the eye, while trying to adjust the pleat of her dupatta so it would fall back in folds as before, he heard her muttering in an undertone, catching only two words 'not real'.....he grinned now, realizing she still thought it wasnt him she was facing.....then he looked around him, before lifting her face with a light upward urging push under her chin, as she met his intent hazel eyes, she felt the spell bind her stronger than ever, it was not his usual look she thought while trying mentally to rid her nerves from it, all in vain, still unsure if she should believe her eyes.....until she heard his voice "so u really are stalking me huh????" she saw him grin, clearly flirting....but the battle of emotions within her was too strong for her to be offended spontaneously as she normally would have....her mind was preoccupied with an ongoing debate to determine her exact emotion ....she would have loved to claim her mind was in peace, and that his presence had initiated no issues, no affect at all.....but even her partially numbed senses protested, much against her rightful thinking, that she was feeling a strong ripple of emotions in the calm waters of her mind....n worse still, they were all happy emotions....to n extent she couldnt handle too long now.....trying to shove this tug-o-war between desired indifference n existing excitement, she repeated what he had just said in her mind...stalking him...."WHAT???" she spoke out finally understanding what she had been accused of, in a voice which held too many emotions in it all at once.....while he just shrugged, smiling inwardly, finally she had spoken he thought....she continued not exactly pacified by his shrug "u are insane....now i know i had no misconceptions u really are insane.....ur standing in my house, at the threshold of my bedroom....n I AM THE STALKER HERE??????? is there a redefined meaning of that word in english i am unaware of????perhaps a special dictionary has been luxuriated for ur highness Jr. Sir Benz????"....she rattled all of that in a single breath before she could get tongue tied again, unsure of what pausing between sentences while looking into those hazel eyes could lead to.....it was armaan's turn...smile faded in to a look of uncertainity...."ur bedroom???" he asked his surprise evident in his tone, to which she nodded her head more vigorously than was necessary as if to emphasize her point, n then realizing that perhaps did not answer his question quite the way he expected she said, her voice more confident now, realizing she had finally managed to get him for a change instead of the usual other way "yes my bedroom.....so i guess its my turn to ask what brings u to my humble abode since ur highness is possibly not capable of stalking mere commoners like me i assume.." she said the last part with intended sarcasm, to avenge herself of his alleged stalking blame....as he continued giving her a puzzled look, trying to figure out the missing link here, they both were interrupted by a shriek, n before he knew what hit him, second time in the last few minutes, muskaan was all over him, hugging him hard, n talking non stop at the same time "gosh armaan what the heck are u doing here....of all the places in the world, i thought the airport was coincidence enough but no, we meet again...." letting him go much to his relief, since he felt short of breath by then, she looked angrily at ridhima n said "u invited him n did not even tell me???" then suddenly she smiled "oh u were trying to surprise me....where's "she looked around then back at armaan and said "where's reg????" as she finally paused they both spoke at once "she invited me???"...."i invited him????" and giving each other a glare, as if accusing the other of stealing words out their mouths, they spoke together again "r u crazy????" as they looked at each other again, this time with less of a glare n more of an exasperated look over the second coincidently same sentence, muskaan said "timeout guys....oki u go first armaan" she said, much to ridhima's displeasure....why did she always support this jerk....armaan meanwile smirked at ridhima, and smiling at muskaan said "well um here with dad n minnie to give anji's shagun...and she for obvious reasons like all girls is stalking me again" armaan completed the last part of his sentence giving ridhima a challenging teaser, while she was fuming with anger and about to retort, they heard a voice from behind..."ridzi beta....is ur sister ready yet or not...." the three of them turned around recognising padma's voice, but as ridhima answered " no mum i was coming to u for the tikka because..." she was interrupted by a loud booming "WHAT" from all three people around her, each for their own reasons,,,armaan quipped before the other two "MUM????" which was completely ignored by muskaan who said "ridzi u still havent got the tikka u hopeless girl, standing here chatting with armaan, dont deserve to be the sister of the bride..." padma nodded in agreement and said "ur right muskaan beta, this girl.....been lost god knows where ever she got back home yesterday....u come with me n get the tikka or anji wont be ready until the wedding next week..." as muskaan n padma left, a baffled armaan, and a slightly embarresed n guilty ridhima behind the two of them stood in silence for a few moments....then breaking the awkward silence both spoke at once yet again "so u..." n both stopped, this third time as they finally looked at each other straight in the eye, n both couldnt help laughing....."alright peace...." said armaan finally and as ridhima too stopped laughing, they both looked at each other again more solemn now, wondering why in the world they had just had that mindless conversation when there was so much more relevant to talk about between the two of them....well not yet, they both thought, not quite yet.....ridhima spoke this time "so u got the shagun for di???how do u know jeej???" to which armaan replied "atul is my mum's nephew....remmeber i said i was attneding a family wedding.....well here i am..." he said bowing slightly "my warmest regards to the beautiful sister of the bride" as he got back to standing straight, his keen eyes did not miss the additional shade of red a clear consequence of his compliment rising in her cheeks to the existing light coat of blush as she said "oh ur jeej n minnie's cousin....what a coincidence" he smiled, n not wanting to let his complement be conveniently ignored he said "coincidence indeed, meant to be so i guess....not the only one though..." as she looked up at him with slightly arched eyebrows he continued "when the lady matches her knight in the shades they wear, it appears nothing short of appropriate for them to walk in the same stride!!!shall we????" he said offering her his arched elbow...n as she rather hesitantly locked her arm into his, he made his grip firm...n indicated with the free hand for her to lead the way.....as they walked down the stairs, ridhima was conscious of the heads their were turning, the attention drwan to them for more than a single obvious reason, but for once she did not care....her head n heart stood by her as she whispered to him "never thought id live to see the day the rockstar n basketballer would walk in this indian avtaar...." as he gave a slight smile looking at her she continued without looking back "but u carry that just as well as the former two.....looking good" his smile widened hearing the words he had not heard for the first time, but he welcomed them right then like he had never before.....


*************


In conversation with shashank, he put, consciously enough but not quite sure why, a teeny weeny bit extra effort to impress him, meanwile not letting ridhima out of his sight by maintaining a side look upon her at all times....she was now with anji .....as someone called shashank armaan rejoiced within and walked towards her, the moment shashank excused himself.....as he closed on the distance he heard her laugh over something anji said, both sisters were so different yet wonderful in their own unique ways....anji was perfect for atul he thought, smart outgoing and n very warm....she had already started treating him like family and he could see why despite the differences she n atul would gell well....they both seemed ready to adjust to the other's needs....n then there was ridhima.... he wondered what it was about her, that warmed his heart the moment he set his eyes on her.....for the past two hours he had come up with every possible excuse in he world, to approach her or be close to where ever she went trying his best to not be noticed....something about her presence he craved for, n just could not seem to get enough....now as her laughter filled his ears, he smiled inevitably, then finally reaching the spot he said "anji...there's something i have for u....." as anjali looked up in anticipation, he said looking from anjali to ridhima, and back to anjali.."well its something priceless for u, what do i get to hand it over????" ridhima did not like the tone and manner of his statement, and knew from the 24 hours she had spent with him less than 24 hours ago, that he was upto something...and she couldnt think of anything good up his sleeve, not for her atleast.....so she braced herself to face something that was not likely to be agreeable....while anjali said "what is it that u want armaan????i prefer hearing it from u straight, instead of all the guess work.....if whatever u have is priceless for me, u must expect a similar return....how do i make up????" armaan grinned, realizing his game was half won, he had guessed anjali would support him, they were so prfectly getting along from the moment they were introduced....and he said "u know anji , atul is a lucky guy....ur not just simply beautiful, but smart up in the head too, which is more than what i can say about other people here...." as he received a weary look from ridhima, who was getting accustomed to being his target no matter what the conversation, he continued with a tilted smile...."i want to visit the taj mahal..." huh????ridhima could not understand where this conversation was headed....now how did he come up with this all of a sudden....taj mahal?????he couldnt care less about architectural wonders, the kind of person he is....what is he getting at....enjoying her apparent confusion he knew she had not yet zeroed in on his master strike, while anjali said "and???" he looked back at her and said "and well before i tell u about that ahead, here u go....atul wanted me to give this to u...." and he handed her a small gift wrapped box.....as she took it from him, he urged her to go ahead n open it, knowing that after seeing it, in her boundless happiness she would deny him no demands....n his was not even unreasonable...as she opened it, she fournd in the box a a heart locket, which opened up n had little pictures of her n atul.....she almost cried with happiness....ridhima pulled anji into a hug....she was really happy for her sister, jeej seemed to be everything she had claimed him to be, even more so.....n armaan just smiled at their cute sisterly moment...then remembering his point he coughed a bit to get back their attention....as they broke apart from the hug, ridhima felt her muscles stiffen ever so slightly, here we go she thought as he spoke up "so taj mahal....its just that...well i really want to see the place....n there is no point going alone....atul or u cant come....dad....ummm" he paused, and for a flickering second ridhima thought she saw a wistful look on his face, but only a fleeting look, if it had been there in the first place "dad well wants to spend time with the family.....minnie cant take a break from her internship for a couple of days now, since shes taking days off next week for thw wedding....so i just cant see how to make the trip happen unless....he glanced at anji with soulful eyes...u have someone in mind who could join me....ridhima finally understood what was going to follow, n her mind started racing fast, to find a way out of this mesh he was trapping her in, but anji had not been any slower at figuring out armaan's indication either....on an instinct she quipped up "how about ridzi???" oh no thought ridhima, just what i neede from u di.... armaan gave a triumphant smile, as he looked up and winked at her, she shook her head in dread....gosh!!! this guy, why was he doing this....why me????but as she continued looking, his expression changed, to a sudden colder one n before she could analyse why she heard the familiar voice "did i hear sightseeing????..." armaan looked at aryan definitely not pleased, n his eyes narrowed as he rested his arm around ridhima's shoulder....while ridhima looking at him as if he were a god sent angel said "yup armaan wants me to take him to agra...taj mahal n all u know....aryan why dont u join us u know the place better than any of us...." looking back at armaan with an intended smile she said "infact maybe i should stay back with di, n help mum at home while u go with armaan and..." but aryan interrupted "no way frisco....we docs have a harder life than u geeks can imagine....how do u think il get any more days off????" hearing his words ridhima's face fell....while, as aryan had expected, armaan's smile widened....he was sure now....it was armaan....thought aryan grinning at armaan who looked back a bit astonished but receiving what seemed to be a warm understanding smile, he just nodded his head in thanks wondering what to make of this guy called aryan.....ridhima meanwile appeared to be deep in thought too........then she spoke again..."but just us???wont it be..." armaan cut her off "oh no i was assuming ud realize um couting muskaan and reg in on the plan...." he smiled mischivously, revealing his trump card, knowing how she had absolutely not seen this coming, so convinced she was of him scheming against....hearing this she looked at him, a bit surprised.....but seeing his genuine smile, she returned it, thinking with a stab of guilt and...well a bit of regret...u really thought he was trying to get a chnace to spend time with u alone....actually ridzi admit it, much as u showed denial, u really were hoping for it to have been so....n then mentally chidding herself she thought...no ridhima gupta, plz...not him....fall for anybody but him.....he is not ur guy....hes from a league above u in every way....just forget it.....with that she shut out her battling thoughts again, while still smiling......


**************


as she put some jalebi n rabri onto her plate she turned around and just saved her self from colliding with him, but not quite since the rabri marked both their dresses....she frowned, and looking up said "armaaaan....what were u doing standing on my back like that????" to which he responded with a sigh "was waiting for u do get done with loading ur plate so i can get some leftover desert too..." she gave him a murderous yet helpless look, and said "did u have to climb on my back for that????now see the mess u made" with that she was about to leave, then turning around she said, anyways whats done is done, come along, il get u some thing to clean up ur sherwani too....pity u ruined that amazing piece" he followed her only too happy to oblidge, and smiled quietly at her indirect compliment number 2...." as they walked out of the room together, amongst the many pairs of eyes that followed the stanford couple in brown n gold, some were more than just keen onlookers.....chris knew he had found the lady in question from the previous night, while aryan thought with a genuine smile and a look of certinity "that is the victim u plan to butcher frisco....well if hes dying at ur hands....guess hes a lucky man..."....while minnie mused "hmmmmm interesting.....this wedding will be more fun than i had anticipated i guess...." n she rubbed her hands in glee!!!!!

***************

As she handed him some wet tissues, she asked "so i was wondering, why this sudden love for taj mahal????i mean getting reg n muskaan to meet up doesnt need a road trip to agra...." he looked up at her with an expression she could not read, then busying himself with wiping off the rabri from his kurta he mumbled "ummmm just curious to see the place...symbol of love and....." his voice trailed off as he remembered his dad's narration a few years back.....he was knocked back from his thoughts as he heard her say "armaan???? r u ok????" he saw the concern in her eyes, n realized his expressions must have given away his emotions.....he looked away, gazing into the thin air, n then like never before something willed him to let it out before her.....he knew if there was ever someone he could speak this out to without having to explain or wondering if he would be understood, it was her.....instinctively he said "dad proposed mum there....just wana see the spot where it all began for them...."

****************

~Part10~


She stared at the moon, in those early hours of the morning when it was still quite dark....not quite looking at it, since her mind was engrossed elsewhere.....she had tried going to bed, after the whole shagun evening had come to an end......but as she lay tossing in her bed, she decided to clear her thoughts in the fresh air and came down to her favorite refuge in the house, her childhood tree swing.....now as she swayed lightly, she felt the chill in the air, but did not seem to mind it, infact it was helping her think with more clarity n focus....she smiled softly, remembering how innocent he had been talking in a daze...."dad had been waiting for the right moment to pop the question, n somehow as they had stood gazing at the taj and its reflection in the still water of the facing pond, dad thought the moment had come....mum was so funny....while dad was proposing on his bent knee waiting for her to reply, this postcard seller came asking them to buy some....silly kid.... and she turned to buy some from him.....while dad waited for her reply nervously in the same position cursing that kid for the interruption!!!" she had laughed imagining the scene as he continued grinning himself "as she turned around she realized the scene they had created seeing father holding the ring up to her....n she quickly tugged onto his shirt urging him to get back from his proposing on the knee posture, embarrased by the attention they were drawing from the people passing by....but dad was adamant and did not get up till she said a yes!!! and as she accepted the ring a side walk photographer clicked their instant picture in that pose with the taj in the background....we have a life size poster of that picture in the master bedroom...u just have to see it ridz....its perfect" she chuckled remembering the boyish excitement on his face as he had narrated the event which she was sure was not something he talked about everyday....why had he chosen her then to share this story so special in his life????it was just the time....the wedding like atmosphere, must have had him revisit old memories n stories n she just happened to be with him in that nostalgic moment so he had talked, she told herself....whatever the reason, the fact that he had shared with her a thought so dear to him, made her feel a warm happiness deep within.....she had never imagined this facet of him, leave alone the idea of witnessing it, the caring, family oriented and deeply emotional loving armaan......and he talked with such sheer happiness that it had almost seeped into her, she had felt his happiness like her own....though it had nothing to do with her....she did not even know him well enough, leave alone his parents....in fact she thought, i only barely made aquaintance with sir benz, and have not even seen his mom yet....she made a mental note to ask him about her and why she had not made it to her nephew's wedding....she suddenly remembered his reaction on the plane when he had seen the mother and the child....he must have been missing her...."mumma's boy", she whispered to herself, smiling.....yeh she had to ask him about this extraordinary lady he was in such complete awe of....perhaps during their drive to agra....the drive she thought, and it just deepened her smile....she could not remember when she had last been so excited about a long drive in the notorious blinding delhi smog, traffic jams, and that not quite fun to drive on delhi-agra national highway....but with him on the drivers wheel, she could not think of a better way she wanted to spend her time.....slowly and steadily, she realized, the attraction was growing on her....she was past the stage where she could simply shrug it off.....getting solemn she wondered why she was not taking control of the situation before it was too late and she fell for him hopelessly, only to be heartbroken....she wanted to tell herself to see reason n check her growing emotions, but as images of him flashed through her head, even the grave gamble she was making, seemed worth it...if it was leading her to doom, the last thing she was succeeding at was stopping it from happening.....


************

he lay on his back on the dew covered grass in the lawn staring at the moon, willing it to relinquish its place in the sky to the mighty sun soon.....there were still over a couple of hours to go before it was time for dawn....n he knew there was a long drive to look forward to tomorrow, and he should catch some rest before that....but much as he tried he had been unable to sleep a wink, ultimately he had decided to come out n get some fresh air....anyways there had been way too much chaos in there, the excitement of the wedding at an all time high...the spirit of the occasion had engulfed the whole house and all its occupants, living n non lining...

"beautiful," he thought now, staring at the moon, not quite looking at it though....the remark was not for the charmer of the night sky, but for the face which smiled in the moon....he just lay there staring at it, his smile widening as he saw her notice him staring at her, blush slightly, and then give him a questioning frown as if asking what was wrong now that made him stare so?????he grinned as he saw her frown deepen n without moving, lying down looking upwards he blew her a kiss, as she blushed crimson red now, he smiled and then pointing from her to himself he said "my crazy cleopatra...." as she lowered her eyes a shy yet coy smile prying upon her lips in response to his comment, he closed his eyes to save that image in his head, when he opened them again rather reluctantly, she was there no more, just the bright shining moon and armaan sighed, scratching his head he sat up and declared to himself, and the nature around him "she is the one i have been waiting for all my life.....ain't she????" as if in response, a sudden gush of breeze blew through his hair n face causing him to close his eyes, and he saw her face again smiling and nodding in affirmation....he opened his eyes almost with a jerk this time, n looking up towards the sky he said, "wow! that was a quick answer dude!!!alright then, between u n me, we know its her....r u going to continue being my partner in crime and show me the way to make her see the same?????" and he winked at whoever he was trying to talk to, the moon, the stars, or the great god himself.....sealing the deal!!!...somehow, that confession, or realization...or whatever it was he thought, put his restless mind at ease, and lying in the grass in the same posture, his back on the grass facing the sky, he was finally cradled into a slumber by his surroundings......


*************

as she handed him a small backpack, he said without looking at her adjusting the other stuff in the boot, "keep that small one with u, there isnt much space in here, gime the big one" she looked at him impatiently n said , "armaaaan???look up before u order me about stuff....thats the only luggage i have...can u fit it in there????" that indeed make him look up..."just that????" he was genuinely surprised as she nodded her head n handed it to him again....of the numerous girlfriends he had gone out with, he had seen none with luggage less than a month's worth if they were going out for a couple of days....n here was this girl....the backpack was smaller than his own....but why was he surprised he thought, hadnt she proved to be a contradiction to all his perceptions about those typical girls so far???? as she snapped her fingers to bring him back he said overcoming his thoughts quickly "listen ridzi" then signalling her to come closer as if wanting to tell her a secret he continued "u look scary enough naturally....dont say u plan to stay without taking a bath or change of clothes for the next couple of days....bad idea ridz i dont think...." moving back disgruntled she interrupted "later armaan....u have enough time in the car to rattle off that endless list of the imperfections of ridhima gupta...can u fit in the bag for now???if we delay anymore we are sure to get stuck in the office hour traffic...." with that she walked off, leaving him scratching his head...fitting her bag he mumbled "the endless list of the imperfections i have fallen head over heels for sweetheart...."....

As they sat in the car, rahul n muskaan in the rear seats, armaan's gaze fell on rahul while adjusting his rearview, and he winked at him, wishing him luck without speaking...i am so happy for u reg he thought....muski is just perfect for u.....armaan had expected rahul to put up an argument when he had proposed the agra trip, but had been pleasantly surprised to find him agree readily....it had lead him to conclude that the flight together, just the 2 of them had worked much the way he had wanted it to n now rahul had shed off his defensive guard with muskaan n was being a natural friend...for now that is he mused, of course friendship is not where things end for u both....n then glancing at ridhima as she hugged anji and atul goodbye, he smiled thinking neither for us.....and as he stared at her, he heard a familiar voice close to his ear saying "hey" he turned around to find aryan grinning.....he still had not figured this guy's character out.....before he could think more aryan said "shes my best friend armaan....n the best thing to happen in ur life i can assure u....i sacrificed this trip for her sake dude.....if u feel for her the same way as i know she does for u even though she wont admit it, then u better return with the news of a confession n commitment from her...." armaan gaped at hearing those words, then slowly his shock gave way to a hearty smile n he said...." u can relax n leave it all to me....just wait n watch....." with that they hi fived n then as she sat in the car, aryan gave him a thumbs up, n went to ridhima's side to give her a hug n spoke in her ear "the name is armaan isnt it frisco???....c'mon about time you face your feelings tigress , anyways just so u know....he's approved!!!!!" as he let her go, ridhima gave him a solemn thankful smile n replied in a low voice, "um not sure aryan....not so soon anyways....we will talk when i get back....but u know what, il never guess how u know me so well....wish u were coming along....bye!" ....with that they drove off....armaan formulating his new plan, ridhima deciding to let things take their own desired course since she could no longer decide what she should want to happen....rahul n muski just bickering over which restaurant they should stop at for lunch break already.....


************

~Part 11~

"ok enough, two of u.....give it a break guys....can we have some peace in here or do we have to desert u somewhere on this highway n drive off by ourselves" ridz said that turning around finally, in a voice much louder than she could usually manage to muster up, after her endless efforts over the past 20minutes of the drive to be heard.....armaan shot her a cute look repeating her last words in a low voice "drive off by ourselves???!!!!" rahul looked down sheepishly, but not muskaan she just retorted back "oye hello????its my car....how can u throw me out of it????" to which ridhima replied with an irritating patience in her voice "correction....not urs, aryan's.....n he would be only too glad to have me throw u out, he hates u messing up his car anyways muski...." muskaan knew that was true n said in a retiring tone "fine have it ur way...ur right, bhai never gona side up with anyone against u.....not even his kid sis....." and with that she sat back with an angry sigh folding her arms across her chest, while ridhima just chuckled knowing her mock tantrums....speaking again she said "chill muski! um only telling u to shut up for a change cause of ...." turning on the radio to their favorite radio mirchi station she finished "this...its time for dev and nikhil's weekly show, remember???n that implies....." she left it at that and both armaan and rahul, puzzled noticed the gleam in the girls' eyes as she turned the volume higher...while muski squealed in delight "oooooohhhh yeh i forgot.....but u never forget this do u ridz" shaking her head and returning muskaan's hi-five she said in an excited voice "NEVER!!!" just as armaan opened his mouth to clarify what in the world was going on, ridz interrupted and said to muskaan again "same guys...lucky ali for me.... n beware today...um winning" as she giggled, armaan frowned hearing the 'lucky ali for me', while muskaan just stuck her tongue out at her and challenged back "NO WAY!!!...my atif aslam wins hands down all the time..."...it was rahul's turn to jerk his head up this time 'MY atif aslam'???? who the hell is he????he mused not quite pleased with the way muski had displayed her possession of him....armaan had had enough....with aryan's supportive statement he had been relaxed but who was this 'lucky ali' now, n why was ridz so excited about him....could he be better than me????no no no dude....aloud he said..."ummm...ladies....u wouldnt mind elaborating that coded talk, would u???" he finished clearly trying to mask his agitation at the this new unknown unexpected competitor....ridhima was going to explain but the voice on the radio station interrupted and so she signalled him to hush for then as she increased the volume..."hellllllllooooo everybody.......its time for dilliiiiii ka dev to rock the mirchi station again...." a weird laughter quipped up "ha hha hha hha ....good joke dev....um the entertainer here...remember boss said ur just supposed to assist me n change the tapes....newaz forget him folks...um ur very own U.L.T.A. - P.U.L.T.A nitin....n without further delay....let the countdown begin.....the first song today was a hit by the famous rockers bombay vikings and...." ridhima lowered the volume hearing that n said "thats zero each for round one muski...." while muskaan smirked n said "n zero it will be for u all through ridzi!!!" as ridhima shot her a fake sugar smile muskaan continued "n the dare this time wont be fun at all....for u that is!!!!" she finished with an evil smile....while armaan n rahul now completely lost with what was going on said at the same time "WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE????" before ridhima could start muskaan said "well its this game ridz n i play....this our fav show on the radio n they play 1 hour of songs from superhit indian albums....and ridhima n i have chosen one favorite singer each, n we count the number of songs played from each guys albums during the show.....and whoever has more songs played from amongst their singers' tracks wins" and then ridhima quipped in " n the loser has to perform a dare given by the winner...." both girls shot each other an intended challenging look as ridhima said this while rahul asked "so who is this atif aslam????" armaan answered before the girls could "him n the lucky guy must be the singers u chose right????" the way he said 'the lucky guy' made muskaan giggle at the sarcasm and she said "yeh the lucky guy unfortunately hardly ever gets ridz lucky....i win 7 out 10 times" to which ridhima responded with a glare at armaan and then looking at muskaan she said "we will see...."...rahul quipped up here "um with u ridz....its going to be the 3 out 10 times day today"....and as muskaan glared at rahul this time, ridhima said "thanx reg....ul see exactly how lucky this guy is, very soon..." while armaan not keen to be left out said "let them bring it on muskaan....we're ready....n armaan doesnt play to lose u know!!!" he said grinning, and winked at a flustered ridhima....who shot back "well there's always a first time....today will be yours...." and before she could speak further muskaan hushed them and moved forward to increase the volume as she heard the track ending....sure enough they heard the familiar RJ's again...."hello everyone, ur listening to me U.L.T.A. - P.U.L.T.A nitin..." " n me dilliiiiiii ka dev" ..."on delhi's beloved radio mirchi 98.3 FM...."the last part completed by both together....while dev continued "the next track is a few years old....but close to my heart, n must be so for many of u....."while nitin added "its a track sure to bring some memories back to each one of u....such is the magic that his coarse yet captivating voice weaves and..." dev interrupted increasing the music volume in the background "and they would rather be listening to the man himself than hear u blabber endlessly nitin....here's for all u dilwalas of dilli...." and as the beats rose in the car ridhima shrieked completely shocking armaan for a moment, while muskaan just slumped into her seat with a "dam u dev...." armaan looked at her as he heard her hum the music...along with the track from the radio.....all excited........he turned to muskaan with a questioning look and she answered in resignation "thats 1 point to her....n guess what... thats her favorite track from him....thats a double bad start....guess its her day....." as he turned back to say something in defense of their team he stopped short....she was now tapping her feet and clicking her fingers completely in accord with the music while turning around to hi five rahul, n give muski a thumbs down....armaan concentrated trying to understand the lyrics...hindi was not his area of expertise but he knew enough to give it a shot....especially if it was her favorite track....more than the singer he heard her as she sang in her unique beautiful n deep voice, ....


"Kabhi aisa lagta hai , dil mein ik raaz hai
Jise kehna chahoon,par main keh paaoo na...."

he stared at her, as he figured what those lines meant....wondering if he was interpreting them right cause the meaning seemed to fit so well for the two of them.......while she finally turned back from muskaan n rahul, to spare him a teasing look, which changed to a conscious one slowly as she faced his intense gaze while singing

"Aankhon hi aankhon mein keh jaati hai jo ye
Khamoshiyon ki ye kaisi zubaan"

breaking the look, she looked out of the window....n turning the song volume higher she stopped singing along for the song was singing the desire of her heart, the desire she did not want to reveal, as she was by singing with that passion.....why this song at this moment she wondered....was it another coincidence meant to be???....as the lyrics flowed

"Maine suna jo na usne kaha ..
Kya aisa hi hota hai pyar
Mere khuda mujhe itna bata
Kya aisa hi hota hai pyar....."

as the music played between the chorus and the para's he looked at her, the words were so apt....wish he could ensure he was not misinterpreting.... n then on a sudden instinct he grinned as if a plan just fell into place and switching to a genuinely innocent look, said..."nice song" as she looked up hearing his intended tone she saw him looking at her deeply, with a small smile....an expression she could not read....cautiously she asked "can u...ummm... understand the lyrics???" he said "yeh...." pausing as she looked up her body tensing slightly, he continued "i could.... if u translated for me????" and she sighed in relief....oh good lord....he cant understand....but wait ...oh shoot...he wants me to explain????no please not this song, cant explain without making my emotions obvious....but how could she say no....there was no plausible excuse...."muskaan does a better job at this translation business why dont u ask her...." she said her tone quite unconvincing no matter how hard she tried to not make it so....he smiled inwardly.....
her hesitance had confirmed the lyrics meant what he thought they did so he persisted "bad idea ridzi....she will yank my hair off for asking her to interpret a song thats making u win the game....guess il put up with ur lame translation....go on...." ridhima thought desperately of how to begin, as they both heard the next lyrics play

"Kaisa ehsaas hai , koi to paas hai     
Ye dooriyan hain phir kaisi yahan
Mehki lage ye saari fiza
Kya aisa hi hota hai pyar
Mere khuda mujhe itna bata   
Kya aisa hi hota hai pyar "

while armaan gave a small smile thinking...lets see u explain that sweetheart, ridhima, resigning to the inescapable situation, strated to explain but they both heard a cell phone ring....armaan realizing it was his slowed the car into the side lane and then getting it out, lowered the volume
of the music as he saw the screen flash, 'dad calling'....bad timing dad he thought n flipped open the phone to answer "dad! um driving fine...not fast, not drunk, and on the left side and.."
chris interrupted "i just wana ask hows it going with the lady sitting by your side.....i know ur not gona drive insane on an impression making day such as today...." armaan blushed slightly,
thanking the fact that she could not hear any of that....stopping the car completely and turning on the park lights he signalled to all three of them to excuse him and getting out the car
he walked a bit away before saying "well u just ruined a perfect moment dad....why did you have to call this very second....and i told u in the morning that you are not supposed to
make these calls while um here ....dad please....u better listen to me or i am never telling u about any more girls in my life....cant believe after i oblidged you by answering that rapid fire
round of yours about ridz just in the morning today before leaving, u still wont let me alone....u always to this dad...." he said grumbling like a little boy who thinks he is way smarter than
his old man...chris said when he finally finshed "well um sorry about spoiling a moment....but there's a correction....there will be no more girls in your life after her is my guess....so
your threat doesnt hold good....but u know what il grant u freedom from calls only if u promise to return with success....armaan grinned...."i will dad...if u interrupt no more....taj
was n will remain the benz confession spot!!!!!" with that he cut the call n went back to the car only to be yanked by a super excited muskaan who squeaked in delight n said...."armaan...thats
pehli nazar...my atif singing....we're 1 each now...." armaan grinned giving her a thumbs up n not missing the envious look on rahul's face as she was going gaga over her singer....getting
into the car ....he started driving again....then he finally looked at her, a sweet smile on her face, n the light breeze blowing her hair, still smelling fresh from the shampoo.....as she
was singing in a lower voice this time with her eyes lightly shut.....he came out of his frenzie as he heard the familiar english language, and then as he heard the words from
her he smiled wistfully.....

"Baby i love u
Oh i love u
I love u
I love u so
Baby i love u

as she mouthed those words lightly along with the song, he found himself wishing desperately for her do the same looking him in the eye.....and he wished at that moment to take hold of
her n confess his feelings too... but unwillingly he looked back at the road ahead of him n decided....not yet....i will wait....for her ready acceptance.... for the right moment...the right
spot.....n he just enjoyed the lyrics as they flowed further....his ears more sensitive to her whispered singing, than the blasting speakers playing the real track.....

" Kar diya Deewana dard-e-Khaas ne
Chain cheena isqh ke ehsaas ne
Bekhayali di hai tere pyaas ne
Chaya suroor hai
Kuch to zaroor hai
Yeh dooriyan
Jeene na de
Hal mera tujhe na pata
O jaan-e-jaan
Dono jahan
Meri bahon mein aa
Bhool Ja aa .."


**************


"ok are u finally going to let the cat out of the bag muski...whats the dare....if u keep it a secret i wont dream of what you want me to do" ridhima said in an agitated tone having lost the game yet again...
to think they had started perfectly...her singer n her fav track....n then that had turned out to be the only lucky ali track they had played...her favorite, yet she could not help smirking
at the irony of that very song being played...it did indeed define her current state of mind with utter perfection....well thankfully armaan had not asked her to translate the song for him
again.....and now, both of them had been endlessly teasing her about her 'LUCKY' ali!!!!as the waiter came to their table she saw muskaan's eyes gleam with mischief, and she knew
she should not expect a pleasant surprise....turning around she saw the waiter hand a whole plate of pani puri to muskaan who shoved it towards ridhima....she looked incredulously at
muskaan...."ur not serious" she blurted out, hoping muskan would tell her to walk all the way to agra as a dare, if only she could escape what was coming....but muskaan confirmed the
worst "i paid for that plate of 24 pieces hun....u cant think um not serious....all of them and u have 10 minutes....." "muskiiii....please....anything else not this...." she pleaded knowing the
rules of the game were always the same, whatever the dare u had to do it....armaan looked from ridz to muski n back n then back again and said "whats the big deal....u just have to eat
those....id say muski ur being way too easy on her...." to which muskaan grinned while ridhima clenched her teeth glaring at him, as muskaan said "oh no u wouldnt say that once u see the
way she eats that stuff....shes such a spectacle!!!!" ridhima's frown turned nasty as she started eating....she had always been clumsy at this....could never get the whole thing in one bite
the way it was meant to be eaten....as usual she tried, and not quite succeeding she bit the thing into half, consequently dropping all its contents the filling and the water into the bowl which
she held close...while muskaan just giggled uncontrollably..."why dont u eat the whole piece in one go ridzi" said rahul siding up with his partner to which muskaan retorted "yeh ridzi tell
him how uv been trying to do that in vain all ur life....hahahahaha!!!" she couldnt stop laughing....while ridhima just swore in an undertone, and cursed the mirchi station for making her
lose today of all the days....as she ate them the same way making a mess, never getting the whole piece, armaan just stared at her....she looked so cute, innocently trying hard to eat it
the right way but never quite managing to....looking like a kid who was being introduced to her first lessons on table manners!!!!as she saw him staring she thought miserably...great....of
all the people he gets to see me do this....ridzi why cant u never manage to eat this silly pani puri, its not exactly rocket science she thought reproachfully...well as an after thought thats much
easier....now this jerk gets yet another point to make fun of me as if there were not enough of them already.....as she was done with half the plate now, her eyes were watering slightly
with the sharp tasting pani puri water.. seeing her, he felt muskaan had been ruthless enough so he said "guess we can let her go beautiful....thats punishment enough dont u think" while
ridhima looked up slightly surprised to see him support her instead of mocking, muskaan said " o no....u dont know this wicked girl....she dint spare me last time with that horrid dare,
um not half as bad....getting me to ride a kids tricycle inside pizza hut singing the dhoom title track...." as she finished both the guys almost fell off their chairs laughing while ridhima remembering
the scene choked on the extremely spicy pani puri water.....as they all finally managed to control their laughter they realized ridhima was still coughing, infact she was red now, having
choked really bad....as armaan offered her water looking concerned muskaan said "oh no not that....ridzi doesnt handle spice levels like most of us indians, lets get her something sweet quick",
n armaan remebered the pack of his favorite fortune teller chocolates in his bag, opening it quickly he pulled out a handful, and handed her one after unwrapping it...he looked at her worried at
her worried as her eyes watered greatly now, and her face turned red from choking, as she slowly sucked onto the chocolate, she regained herself and then when atlast she looked fine
he gave her a glass of water....she took it from him smiling thankfully....as he said "are u ok????" she looked at him again, seeing his genuine concern, she felt touched, she had just choked
n he was.....muskaan interrupted her silent thoughts in a serious voice "ridzi....u fine now???" as she nodded muskaan said grinning "ok fine i let u go at that this time!!!" n then rahul quipped
"hey thats ur fav fortune chocolate pack???the dove thing????pass me one too..." as armaan passed the bag around taking one for himself, rahul gave an exclaimation " my fortune says um headed
an eventful trip!!!!now how accurate is that!!!!" while muskaan said "mine says red will work wonders for me soon....huh????" to which ridhima quipped now being back to normal "ooooohhhh
red huh muski....somebody is in love!!!!" hearing her cheeky statement rahul n muskaan both blushed while armaan read off his wrapper....he smiled as the meaning dawned in its full
implication....instinctively he picked up the wrapper of the chocolate he had given to a choking ridhima, n his smile widened as he grinned while muttering "someone sure is in love!!!"
muskaan meanwile said changing the topic "what about u armaan??? to which he replied in a studied tone which did not escape ridhima "well ridhima n i got the same fortune" he said
pushing the wrapper of her chocolate towards her n as she read it, he said "guess mr. newton wouldnt object if we added this to his laws of attraction, what say ridzi???"as she looked into his intent
gaze it spoke volumes to her n she knew the words of fortune were as true as any law she ever studied in physics....both muskaan n rahul took the wrappers from armaan n ridhima n
read out aloud simultaneously "WHEN TWO HEARTS RACE, THEY BOTH WIN!!!" all four of them looked up at the same time n smiling, got up to leave without speaking a word, everything had been said!!!!!

*************

~Part 12~

As they walked towards the car, while armaan and ridhima moved towards their respective doors, rahul n muskaan went for the same side without realizing since they were still thinking
about the fortune statement...it was only when their hands touched each others, trying to open the same door that they realized what they were doing, while armaan n ridhima already
in the car saw the scene and smiled approvingly at each other, n ridhima ruthlessly added out loud "muski are u planning to sit in reggie's lap??warning reg, she aint as light as she looks
" and as they blushed armaan grinned at her cheek and added "good idea u guys....dont worry ridzi n i are blind from now for the remaining part of the journey!!!" then in an undertone
he added only for the benefit of the girl by his side "cause we have some better stuff to do as well right honey???" before ridhima could say anything he added "you sure need to
get some romantic tips for from muski, she pulling off a much better job..." now ridhima just looked up fluttering her eye lashes in a mock coy way and indicated with her finger calling
him closer, completely taken aback by her reaction, he moved closer to her, rather hesitantly, while she just pulled onto his collar slightly and said in a low whisper into his ear "sure
i will....when i find my knight...worth being romantic for...." as he looked up into her eyes hearing her words his intense gaze and that familiar cologne made her realize how close she
had pulled him, trying to maintain her haughty look she just tossed her head facing the window, this was closer than she could handle....n the last thing she needed was him knowing the
only possible knight in her life worth it at that moment....while armaan had loved her move, and the way it had backfired, getting back to the wheel as he adjusted the rearview he saw
rahul opening the door for muskaan with an apologetic smile still blushing, and then moved to the other door himself.....as he got in to the car playing with the sunglasses in his hand
they slipped out of his hand and as both he and muski bent to pick them up, their heads collided....they looked up slightly rubbing the spots that had been hit, and seeing each other so
close, somehow they got carried away in an eyelock; armaam grinned, then not wanting ridhima to miss the scene he tugged lightly at her shoulder and as she turned around he put
a finger on her lips before she would speak and kill the moment and with his other forefinger pointed towards the couple in the rare seat, who were still stuck in the eyelock....seeing
them ridhima's smile deepened and armaan's eyes fell on her, he realized with a start she had dimples he had never noticed before....as she turned around her smile now having
reached the very corners of her lips she caught armaan staring at her, much the way rahul and muski were at each other, she lowered her eyes and as she was turning back to her only
refuge in the car, her window, armaan said in a low voice "i decided to stop bugging u from now" puzzled by this sudden statement she turned around with a questioning look and he said
in a hoarse whisper "well i thought u looked really cute with a frown" as she blushed taken by his compliment he continued taking his hands close to her face, n as she wondered
what he was going to do, mentally kicking herself to have frozen to her spot when she should move away, he pulled her lips in a smile and said "until i saw that knock out smile...." his
touch so close to her lips made her extremely conscious now, she just couldnt hold herself back anymore so she slowly pulled his hands away, and looking ahead, trying to not sound as
flustered as she was said "i think we should make a move....it will be dark soon" to which he replied cheekily, "oooohhhh what move do u want me to make honey???" as she jerked up at
his intended misinterpretation he spoke louder now "the dark envelope, a long drive, and an angel with a gorgeous smile..." her shock increasing, he continued smirking "what so u think
reg....want ridhima n me to leave u both with that picture perfect scene when u enter the city of love???" while ridhima broke into a relaxed smile, cupid struck couple broke
away from the stare, n she found herself thinking how easily he pulled her out of that conscious and awkward moment....but a small part of her deep inside wished he had
said those last words for themselves, not rahul n muskaan as he had....angel with a gorgeous smile she mused.....n as that widened her smile he glanced at her thinking thats exactly
what u look like right now.....

************

"I have to tell her ammy...i cant keep it in any longer...." as armaan saw his best friend pacing the floor of their hotel room, he grinned resting on the rocking chair and said "so what are
u waiting for, her to fall in love with me???!!!!" rahul shot him a look with daggers in his eyes and said "ammy, dude um trying to be serious here...what if she says no????" before
armaan could reply they heard ridhima quip up "she wont...." as they both looked at her sudden entry she added hastily "sorry i overheard since your door was slightly ajar and i just
came to ask you whats the plan for dinner.....but now i have a better idea...." armaan saw the gleam in her eyes and shook his head slightly, she was such a kid sometimes, all excited,
and looked so adorable....then shaking off these thoughts he said "what????" she turned to him and said "what if you are really tired from the long drive n i get a severe head ache....
they would have to go for dinner alone, and then rahul u can tell her ur feelings....she wont say no, i have known her for ages, and she likes u, i swear on...." armaan chipped in "on the
late mr. newton...." as she glared at him....this jerk AAARRRGGGGHHH...rahul said "cut it out u both....ridzi wouldnt she guess...armaan's tired ok....but why ur sudden headache???" to
which ridhima replied with sarcasm in her voice "well anybody sitting in the passenger seat with him driving, is likely to suffer from serious migrane attacks um just complaining of a plain
headache" rahul chuckled this time as armaan narrowed his eyes at her and said " lets postpone this discussion about who was trully victimized to a later time," and then facing rahul he
said "but shes right reg, much as i hate to admit this....muski does like u....we should follow ridzi's plan for now....u take muskaan out for dinner we both will put up our acts
....well she is the one who has to act, um genuinely tired...." finally rahul agreed with the plan...and ridhima moved back to her room to handle her part while armaan got into bed to put
up his pretense....

**************

after rahul and muski left ridhima smiled happily, hoping for the best, she really wanted the 2 of them to be together....she had acted quite real , it had seemd like u could
see the pain on her face.....as they left, leaving behind the two of them, she glanced at him sideways, wondering how to move on from here...."dinner???" he looked back at her in
a solemn expression, deep in thought and said "huh??? slightly puzzled by what was on his mind she said "dinner, i asked....i mean the act was only for muski's benefit...um not on a diet
for real u know....n anyways there is this wonderful dhaba close from here, we never return from agra without eating there n u just have to eat their..." armaan interrupted "no ridhima
um seriously tired....why dont u go ahead n eat out, um just going to bed early...." with that he turned around to enter his bedroom, while ridhima just stood there, now shocked......
what was with this guy????if he wanted they would have fun....n if she suggested something it was a flat denial....maybe he is worried about something she thought as a consoling
thought trying to justify his sudden change in mood, but not quite convinced...so entering his room after him..."is everything alright????" she asked softly to which he replied,
without looking back at her, in a somewhat distant tone "yeh yeh all fine....id just like to be alone for a while ridhima....good night" she got his indication n moved out silently, but
completely furious with herself....why did she do this....why did she even bother with guys like him....but there he was, being wonderful to her all through the day....was all that just a
facade, an obligation??????was his only concern getting rahul n muskaan together????well u knew this would come did u not, u emotional fool....u knew he was not ur guy....but another
voice inside asked her was he not even a friend????all his actions indicate thats the least we are....friends....but maybe not she thought now....it was not like he was treating her
different, but that was the whole point he behaved like a friend would, teasing, complimenting, bickering, having fun....and then that narration of his mum n dad....she had felt a special
bond in that....but was it all her optimistic imagination????u know all that 'u only see what ur eyes want to see' concept....enetring her room she bolt the door behind her and just
slumped to the floor next to it....holding her head in her hands she cursed herself to have expected so much more than ever could be....this had been coming....all that time she had
let things take their own coarse.....had she not known this was where it would end....why do u put yourself through all this ridzi....cant you ever keep trouble away....but she had
tried had she not....she had literally fought herself to maintain a distance....but oh well she thought, that was all just for his consumption, deep inside she had broken any barriers
there were to bind her emotions, she had left them to grow unchecked...now the price was her's to pay....well in that case, she told herself trying to reason with the unsettling gloom
that was enveloping her steadily, this is perhaps the best time for him to have knocked back some sense into me...thanks armaan, she thought with hurt sarcasm...i needed that....
the attraction is there, and it has been burgeoning all over within me....but um glad u put an end to it while it was still just that....an attraction....as silent tears finally started flowing
down her cheeks she thought, was it really just an attraction....why was she so deeply hurt then...why did it feel like he had snatched away from her something she was begining to get
accustomed to as if it was rightfully hers, and vitally so.....and leave him aside, she thought looking upwards and thought what about you god, why so many coincidences....why he of
all the people was atul's cousin just when i decided to take my time to get over that inkling of attraction....you made it go bigger....where was this headed????then she looked straight
ahead, her vision blurred through the flowing tears and said....no where....absolutely no where....there is nothing, and its headed no where.....i have made enough mess here...no more
ridzi, collect yourself girl, before you become a mockery in your own eyes....making that resolve did not really make her happy, in fact she was quite grim about the whole thing she
thought, but obviously, all unpleasant stuff in life cant be born with a smile....there have to be nasty bits to life, a balance between all positive and negetive for ultimate neutrality....and
as she shut her eyes, she was unable to block out his image so she opened them again, swearing in an undertone...and then she heard a knock......

**************

~Part 13~

As she left his room with a silent exit he turned around just in time to see the last fleeting glimpse of her....slowly he sat on the bed, still preoccupied....he had been fighting this feeling
all day....pushing it behind a facade of having a fun journey....but now he couldnt avoid it from crashing down on him, ....he was in agra finally....so close to the Taj.....and
it just made him feel closer to his mother....he shut his eyes, remembering images of her in his mind, from his childhood....then his teen years....her smile, her voice....he could hear her
call out his name....and he could see his dad hugging her while he stood teasing the two of them.....he could see her tell all the cooks to empty the kitchen and then just him and her
trying to bake his dad's favorite blueberry muffins for his birthday....he could see her surprised look as he uncovered her eyes to show her into her room with a complete makeover done
by him n his dad while she had been away to india for a month....he could feel her kiss him on his forehead.....then slowly armaan's smile transformed to a frown...and then moved to a
painful look.....as he remembered the call his butler answered teling him she was in the ICU,when he had called to tell her about their team winning the high school basketball
championship...he remembered catching the next flight back....he saw her in the ICU...on a ventilator....he saw his father, rigid and hiding all emotions as he,armaan completely broke
down and asked him to get him his mum back when he was asked to accompany him for the funeral service....he saw the scene from the final rites being performed in india....he
remembered the months that followed....he remembered his dad by him all the time...he remembered the hard time he gave him asking persistently to get his mum back
....silent tears now flowed down from armaan's eyes....he opened them slowly....and opened his wallet to retrieve the picture of his mum dad from the proposal....the one with the taj
in the backdrop, i miss u mum, he thought as he smiled through his tears seeing it, it always made him smile, it was so special..he remembered talking about it to ridhima the night
before.....he remembered her completely attentive and smiling face as he had rattled off the whole story to her.....she did make it so easy to talk out, in fact he had felt excited
sharing it with her and.....and then with a start he realized how he had sent her away few minutes ago....oh no he thought.....what had she asked me....oh yeh dinner....shoot dinner
she asked me for dinner n i sent her back....oh god how lame was that dude.....he wiped off his tears and looked at the photograph again...."u would have loved her mum....she is quite
like u.....well not as good, she gets angry way too soon...but thats cause um not quite an english gentleman like dad either"...he chuckled then added...oh but mum what should i do now
i was just....duno what happened when i saw rahul and muskaan go out together, in red...that was the dress code in the restaurant they have gone to.....just the scene...i couldnt help
it...u know how happy i am for them dont u mum...but it just all gripped me then....n ...oh no" he said getting up in a fluster now...."what should i do....dad...yeh he will know what to do
....saying so he speed dialled to chris and even before he could say hello armaan rattled off with his story...after hearing him out chris said "well then firstly give her what she wants..."
"and whats that???" chris shook his head "armaan have u lost it son???? dinner of course...she was hungry i guess if she actually asked u out for it....." armaan scratched his head with
a sheepish look and said "oh yeh, dinner of course....but what if she is mad at me????" chris sighed on the phone "i dont think there is that option of a 'WHAT IF' here son...um sure she
must be mad at you....u couldnt expect any less after acting like an insensitive jerk with her...." to which armaan retorted in a whining tone " but daaad ....i was missing mum....u dont
know how hard...." and he stopped mid sentence, realizing that how inaccurate his words were, if someone knew how hard this was for him, it was his dad, so he said quietly "i mean, ur
right....i am a jerk...so do i just take dinner for her....will she be pacified???" chris smiled, thinking what a transformation this was for his son, so suave with all the ladies who had been
a part of his life....but then he remembered how erratic his own behavior had been with his beloved, so unlike his usual calm and composed self, and realized it was armaan's turn to go
through that phase now....as armaan broke his chain of thoughts with a "dad u there????" he replied "yeh i am...well u take the dinner for her son....and try to explain the whole thing
earnestly to her....she deserves to know, both cause you have wronged her even if not intentionally, n also cause you make me believe she is the girl for u....and you know what armaan
if she is the one....u wont have to put much effort...she will understand.....love does that....it doesnt ask for justifications or rectifications....." armaan smiled and said "thanks dad ur
the best" and he cut off the call leaving chris shaking his head smiling on the other end as he looked up and said..."cant believe our son has finally grown up sweetheart....help him
tonight, he needs u, i really think she is the one for him.....".....

***********

now as he stood outside her door, for the first time in his life, he was hesitant to be facing one from the fairer sex..."buck up dude...ur fine...ul be fine...just...just go on now...." and he
knocked.....hearing no response he knocked louder and then he realized seeing no streak of light penetrating from beneath the door that the lights of the room were turned off.....oh
no he thought....had she gone off to sleep hungry???its all my fault...c'mon sweetie open the door he urged silently knocking yet again....ridhima on the other hand was definitely not
asleep....as she heard the knocking on the door on which she was resting her back, her muscles stiffened slightly, had muskaan already come back she thought, but she dismissed the
idea the very next moment, nah....she never knocks...and she has the key.....who could it be....she waited, still as a statue as the knock was repeated two more times, and
finally when she decided that she would have to open the door and see who it was, she stood up wiping her tears to look a bit more presentable, and was about to unbolt when she froze
hearing his voice "ridhima....please open the door honey....i got us dinner....." she stopped in her tracks....now why was he here again she thought looking up and giving where she
presumed her god was a pleading look.....armaan, who had finally spoken after not hearing a response to his knocks, thought he heard some motion very close to the door just before he
spoke....and so he repeated, following his intuition this time "c'mon ridzi....please open the door....look um really really sorry....i just....nothing...please ridz, i know ur there....open the
door honey...." hearing him address her that way just infuriated ridhima now....and she thought with angry tears flowing down her eyes....what do u want from me armaan....um not
your typical girl....stop doing this to me....you dont care cause um just another girl u can call 'honey' but it matters a lot to me...." then wiping off her tears she tip toed to her bed
and decided to let him do what he pleased until he decided to give up assuming she was indeed sleeping....she would face him tomorrow she decided, with more composure, and a
greater determination...yes, if he thought he was just going to mess around with her, he would have to think again...she was not going to let this happen his way.....armaan meanwile
had a strong feeling of her presence on the other side of the door...but that could be just his imagination....she must be asleep, and then again, everything was so unusually still....was
she even in there...what if she had gone off for dinner by herself as he had told her to???dam, i hope not....its quite late n dark for her to be walking around alone....he gave it a last
desperate shot wishing more than anything for her to open the door even if she would just yell at him...."ridzi...look um woried now....are u ok???c'mon uv gota be hearing me...open
the door honey..."she clenched her fists in an effort to not cry any more in her anger as she heard him mention his 'mock concern'...can you stop it she wanted to yell..but at that
very moment her cell ring made her almost jump out of her skin and as a spontaneous action as she was going to pick it up, she knocked off a vase on the bedside table not visible in
the dark....armaan who had called her, heard first the cell, then something break n knew now that she was inside, and awake, just ignoring him....he said in a relieved voice "ridzi
will u open the door???then in a quieter tone "please honey, look i really am sorry....i know ur hungry n so am i....lets eat dinner i ordered the food....just let me in...." she knew that
there was no point pretending she was asleep but she could not bear to let him see her so weak....so she stayed quiet hoping he would get the message and just let her be....while he
was now losing patience and said "ridhima, can u stop the pretense please????just open the dam door..." then quickly realizing he had no right to be angry he said in a guilty lower
tone "why are you being so stubborn ridz????i know i made a mistake and i said i am sorry honey, will you open the door and let me explain???" ridhima too could take it no more and said
in a clearly hurt yet cold voice "of course not...how can your lordship sir benz make a mistake....n why are you bothered about the insignificant me????just let it go armaan, i no you
dont care, n i am not asking you to, but please stop playing with my feelings, i cant take it anymore....just leave me alone..." hearing her words with her voice breaking towards the end
of her sentence, he stood stunned for a few moments....playing with her feelings????thats what she thought he was doing????for heavens sake what was wrong with the women in his
life what would he have to do to prove how serious he was....first u left me mum, just like that without a warning, n now this girl....i love her to bits....and she thinks I AM PLAYING WITH
HER FEELINGS???just cause i told her i was tired for dinner???feeling helplessly shattered now, his emotions were getting the better of him, and he dint know how much longer he could
face it being steady, he spoke in a defeated voice..."i dont know what makes u feel that way ridhima, but the last thing i intended was to play with your feelings...i know i did not behave
the right way a short wile ago, but i was just....its just...the city and....anyways um leaving the food outside, please eat it i know u are hungry, i am going so u wont get angry anymore,
just have the food please...." and she heard him put what she presumed were the the boxes of the foos he must have ordered, and then as true to his word, she did hear his footsteps
growing faint as he walked away....after lying still for about 10minutes post his departure from the scene, she finally let her muscles relax....then getting out of her bed slowly she made
way to the door...she stood holding the handle of the door for a few more minutes, until she finally decided to open it, and there at the doorstep, as he had said were boxes of food,
she bent to pick them up, somehow could not subdue a guilty pang inside her.....why am i feeling guilty she thought....he is the one who uses me all the time, with me when he wants to
be and then pushes me away when he does not need me....n now just cause he left some food i should feel guilty???but in her head his words resounded...'last thing i intended was to
play with your feelings' and then 'its just the city' and....hang on she thought....the city????slowly it dawned upon her....agra...the Taj...this city was special to him....but should that not
make him happy???i mean it was his parents' special spot...what was the issue then....why had he suddenly seemed lost and then talked to her like a nobody....he loves his mum and his
dad....a city so special to them should have made him happier...but she recalled his tone from his last lines to her before he left the food for her, he had sounded miserable...now what
could eventuate that????as she looked at the boxes of food again she thought, he has not eaten either i guess...i wont let him play anymore games with me, but i cant keep his favors...
should ask him to eat with me as well....as she knocked on his door.......

************
As he rushed back to his room, he shut the door behind him....he couldnt bear this anymore the city had its effect on him in the first place, he felt like the void from the absence of his
mom, had suddenly become as large as it had been in those first few months without her....being here was taking its toll much as he had expected...the void had never trully filled up
and thats what had caused him to make this trip....he had never gotten over it completely and had known he would have to face the country of her final rites once in his life to get
back to being trully himself, with an absolute acceptance of facts, he wanted to perform, what in his opinion were her final rites at the taj itself....n now ridzi....she thought he was
playing around with her???for heavens sake, he had after all those years post his mother's death for the first time dared to dream of another woman he could trully love, who he felt for
as unconditionally as he did for his mother, n she thought he was.....he felt disgusted....he had joked with her n teased her a lot....but never for a second had he thought she would
read that as his schemes to trap her....here he was, dealing with two biggest truths of his life n she thought it was all but a game for him....as he paced his room, his eyes fell on his
guitar, which as usual had travelled with him...picking it up he decided it was time to do what he had come for to this county ,without furher delay...he had to get out of agra at the
earliest...after completing his task........with that he moved out, leaving the door barely shut behind him.....

**************

As she knocked on the door waiting for him to reply, she suddenly realized it was open....turning the knob she walked into the dark room, n after feeling the walls finally found the switch
n turned it on....the room was flooded in light blinding her momentarily since she had been in the dark for a wile now.....the room was vacant..."armaan" she called out somehow finding
her voice...but there was no response....she called out for him a few more times checking evey corner of the room, half expecting half hoping him to jump out of some corner claiming it
was his new joke....but no....he wasnt there....now a new feeling of panic seized him....had she been too harsh....was he alright????where could he be????

****************

~Part 14~

She dropped the boxes of food in complete frenzy now and ran out of the room....her thoughts were a blur....where could he be...."i am going" yeh thats what he had said....but going
where....and....why had he not locked the room behind...maybe he was just in here...like in the hotel just taking a walk....yeh he must be close how could he just leave the room open if
he was not going to be around....she made her way to the reception and asked "hi, would you have any idea where the occupant of room 23 Armaan Christopher Benz might be....i mean
did he leave a message for someone or...." and not knowing exactly what it was she wanted to ask she just looked at the receptioninst, who said "Well i am not sure, its a big hotel to
keep track of eveyrone..." ridhima interrupted "is there a way to know whether he is in the hotal or not????" the receptionist nodded thinking "yes i think we could check that out in the
customer services zone...gime 5minutes..." ridhima nodded nervously, and started pacing the floor....then she slowed down and sat...ok ridzi calm down think....what exactly had he
said....and she ran the whole almost one sided converstaion across the shut door through her mind....until she remembered it again....'its just the city'...for the life of her she could not
understand what he may have implied....it was special to him thats all she knew...just then her thoughts were interrupted by the receptionist who said "excuse me ma'am, " and
ridhima rushed to the desk "did u find him" she shook her head "we dint but his car is not in the park lot....and the parklot incharge said that he, sir benz asked him the directions
to the Taj before driving away...." smiling gratefully ridhima began to make a run to the door then turning back hastily she said..."two more favors, could u arrange me an immediate
ride to the Taj......could i get a paper and a pen????" the receptionist nodded, handing her the paper n pen and making a call for a cab....ridhima meanwile scribbled a note for reg and
muskaan leaving no details except that armaan and she were at the Taj mahal, and would be back soon....well, she thought, atleast i sure hope so....
As she was finally riding the cab to the Taj, her mind felt restless...armaan had told her about the proposal and all that...and so the taj was special to him she guessed...well he had
planned on agra just for that it had sounded like when he had narrated the story to her the previous night...but was that all there was to the thing....she browsed over the events of the
evevning one by one...armaan n ridhima's plan for rahul n muski with rahul in the scheme...its implementation....and then....as they had left the problem had started....he had been cold
n distant all of a sudden....almost like he just wanted to get rid of her at that moment she thought her eyes struggling to stop the hurt tears from welling up again...then suddenly he
had a change of mind n decided perhaps that he did indeed want her to humor him for the evening and had got her dinner...correction, had got them dinner and then....all that he had
spoken from outside the door.....why was he showing all that concern....could he really mean it all....no ridz not again...dont even entertain that thought of him giving a dam about your
existance in his life again.....thats just him....he knows his ways with girls and u start thinking its you....no not again...but he said he was not playing with her feelings...well obviously why
would he say that...in fact he really might be honest about it....all this is perhaps his usual attitude with all girls, he was just being himself not playing with her feelings....but i have to
maintain a distance now....cause i just cant take any of it in the normal stride.....his flirting, his closeness, his compliments, his flattering banter, even his teasing....HIM...yeh...she
was getting addicted to the person he was....the attraction was getting out of control....bad idea....just be usual ridz....he is all that with u as he probably is with all the girls he knows...
n well they were in on a common rahul-muskaan mission now so that had added to their interaction time....that was all it was to him...he was perhaps not intentionally using her,but this
was not normal for her so she would just have to stay on guard as much as she could....then she thought so why am i going to the Taj after him????well cause thats what courtsy
demands right now girl....he just asked for his space and you were unreasonable with him blaming him when the real culprit is your own weakness for him.....n u blamed him for stuff u
were expecting out of him without a base n didnt get...that wasnt his fault.... n he still got u dinner....yes....the least u can do is apologize for ur immature outburst n then be formally
cordial...just that.....n keep distance, n form no more bias against him giving in to ur weak emotions n bias....n then you will be fine...it may take time but its just an attraction... n even
if its more, she admitted reluctantly, its all one sided so just get over it....with these thought she had a grim smile on her face....it was not going to be easy but she had no option, she
had called the shots n the trouble caused was all hers to handle now, and she would......

*************

She gripped her shoulders rubbing them to get warm, n then rubbed her hands together and blew into them trying to get them warm too...she had left in such a hurry,n frantic state
of mind that she had overlooked the fact that it was the month of December and though Indian winters were no where close to American snow laiden winters n the Midewest n east coast
the air was still cold enough if all u were wearing was a pair of jeans with sleeveless cotton top, since she had overlooked picking up her hoodie or a warm shawl....but the cold was only a
feeling in the back corner of her head as she subconsciously tried to keep the cold away by rubbing while her pimary thought was only abut him...where are you, she thought not able to
keep the desperation away despite the formal behavior she had decided to adopt with him....if only once i find him, she justified within as she walked from the 2 Km away non drive
circumference boundry towards the Taj....suddenly a wolf whistle followed by a cat call got her conscious...oh no she thought...not this now....it was not uncommon to face random
eveteasing if she walked alone at this time of the night without even any warm stuff on, but the patterns were different in metros like Delhi n small cities like agra, n she had been away
from all this past few months, this was hardly a moment she wanted to be reintroduced to it....she gathered pace....but she realized they, it seemed to be a couple of random boys
were not likely to call it quits....she broke into a light trot, though it was not the wisest thing to have done...bad idea, just made them think u were scared.....but thats what she was
now, with them on her back, n him no where in sight...WHERE ARE YOU ARMAAN she thought now with more desperation than ever....and her feet followed a spontaneous intuition, without
her actually realizing it, she moved towards the pond view on the front side of the Taj Mahal....as she closed on, she could feel the guys not far behind, there comments having gathered
more momentum with her speeding steps, she crossed her fingers, and then she heard it....the same tune....yeh it the same song alright, the one he had played for her in the music
store in frankfurt waiting lobby....a sigh of relief escaped her as she now heard the singing, the lyrics a bit faint since she was still not within sight of him, but then as she followed the
music she could start to make them out, as she spotted him, sitting on the higher cemented berm of the bond....strumming the guitar....running faster now, much more relieved she
headed in his direction n wanted to call out his name...but as she heard his voice now, it sounded like it did not want to be interrupted...

"If i wanna see you, I just close my eyes.
If i wanna be with you, don't think it's a big surprise.
And I just wanna hold your hand
you're so beautiful, think you should understand.
Cuz this world could come to an end
if i cannot be with you, yeah!!!
I hope that you'll take my hand
We will bring back the feelings that are frozen in my heart...."

She saw his eyes were shut as she got close enough, he sang with much more passion than she had felt in the lead singer's voice when she heard the cd in the store....as she ran the last
few steps....she dropped to his feet, and catching her breath, looked back to see her followers disperse....as the chorus reached her ears she turned around looking at his face...

"You're beauty is unexplainable
You're softness unimaginable
These feelings i can't redeem
Cuz it's only a lucid dream

and she saw a lone tear flow down his eyes.... which were still shut .....

"I wanna make it real
That's the only way i feel.
I'm living in a lucid dream
I can't change the way i feel....."

and her eyes now fell in a side glance on a piece of paper lying by his side, and withdrawing her gaze from his face reluctantly, as he continued strumming the guitar harder than was
perhaps required, she picked it up....and stared at it....it was the photograph he had described to her the night before....the proposal picture....and it looked very old...perhaps it was the
original.....she stared at it, realizing what he had meant saying it was perfect....the two lovers with the Taj behind them....it looked like they were taking the vows of love n life with the
Taj as the soul witness.....she did not blink several seconds....she was just so entranced by the picture....didnt hear a string from the guitar snap.....did not even realize the music had
stopped..."its perfect isnt it???" she finally managed to rip her eyes from the picture, hearing him whisper those words....as she slowly looked up into his intense eyes, she saw in them,
still tears, as they spoke volumes....n for once it was he who broke the eyelock....n gently took the picture out of her hands...."i miss her so much" he said looking up towards the sky
trying to check his tears as a couple more flowed down his face....she spoke slowly not knowing why or what she was saying "why dont u call n talk to her???" armaan jerked back,
staring at her with a look, she could not read, but it made her regret what she had just said, not knowing why....and then he suddenly broke into a sarcastic smile, which slowly turned
into, it seemed to her, a painful one, and she knew she had said something wrong when he opened his mouth to speak but could not....not knowing what to do, she just held his hand in a
tight grip....n shtting his eyes he said, with considerable effort it seemed "cant...." opening his eyes he looked into her eyes n continued "she...ummmm..." he could not bring himself to
say the words...he stood up n turned to face the reflection of the Taj in the pond....slowly, he opened his hand, letting go of the photograph in his hand, n it swayed in the light breeze
before finally falling in the water.....n feeling her surprised questioning look upon him he spoke without looking at her, instead looking at the sky again "she is, as kids say, now a star"
pointing to the sky "up there...." her look transformed to a shocked one....a star....did he mean...."she passed away a during my final year in high school...." he said
finally speaking what he had not once spoken since that day it had happened years ago....he had never been able to say it aloud, thinking that would make it real, but now finally as he
said those words, he realized she had perhaps gained her eternal peace, as he finally let his mother go free.....n then he felt her hand on his shoulder , a grip which had no pity or
sympathy, and he turned to look her in to her emerald eyes, all they promised were support...ridhima slowly made him sit again, n herself sat down on the ground again, close his feet to
be able to see his face completely and said finally breaking her silence "she is not A STAR..." as he looked at her puzzled, she resumed "she is THE BRIGHTEST STAR..."n his face slowly
broke into a smile....she smiled back, holding onto his hands in her own reassuringly....speaking with her eyes n gestures alone...he broke the gaze, a second time, and looking sideways
he said, "ridhima i...." then looking at her again..."i'm sorry...." now she looked up surprised he continued "about the dinner....i was just....so overwhelmed with being here...in the same
city....n....i just...." as he struggled to find words ridhima said "its ok...i'm sorry too....i over reacted...." then trying to change the topic..since she did not want to fall weak with any of
her emotions again she asked in a casual voice "so is that your favorite song????u have a spellbounding voice...." he smiled at her a funny smile and said "mum said that too, exactly
that....its her favorite song from all the ones i wrote before...." he left it there then holding her hands he said in a solemn voice "ridhima, i never meant to play with your feelings....i
apologize trully if any action of mine made it appear so, but i never had any such intentions, not in the least...." feeling her emotions rising at his touch, she slowly pulled her hands away
thinking, there u go ridhim, he means it u know that now....the point is why would u assume he's playing with your feelings...HE IS NOT YOUR LEAGUE RIDZI....not even to play games....
ur just.....she didnt know what she could possibly be in the life of the guy she knew she had fallen for, bigtime....as she got up, indicating they should leave, and turned she froze hearing
his words..."I LOVE YOU RIDHIMA!!!"

************

~Part 15~

She felt stumped...for several long seconds which seemed to last forever she was indeed stumped, then she felt herself shiver....and she dint know if the cold was getting to her again or
the words she had just heard.....supposedly heard, she corrected....i must be hallucinating cause it cant.....she shivered again, this time with his touch, as he gently slid his jacket onto
her shoulders from behind and then wrapped it securely coming forward to face her....lifting her face up from her chin "i love u..." he repeated much more softly this time, denying her
assumption of it being a hallucination...it was real...well as real as the fact that she was ridhima, he was armaan n behind them was the Taj....but how could it be real was the question...
she stood with her face enveloped in a stillness, not knowing what emotion to display, while her heart n mind raced, trying to beat each other....the usual dilemma, now having reached the
peak point in the debate....was it or was it not....and her mind won for now....reminding her of her resolve...she had to stick to it....but c'mon girl get a grip...whats the issue now????he
just confessed dint he....he said he loves u...u are not a nothing in his life.....yeh right quipped her mind again, and those are the words he never uttered before me thats what i should
safely presume???he said he loved me...point 1: how true is that....point 2: him saying he loves me...and me saying i love him, big difference....even as she thought the words 'i love him'
she felt the shiver again.....armaan who could read nothing from her blank look, was trying hard to know what she was thinking, feeling her shiver again, he just pulled her closer gently
rubbling her shoulders and then letting go, he cupped her face with his hands to make her look up....the moment she did he knew she loved him too....but as she slid his hands off her
face and turned around as if to walk away he wondered what was holding her back....but the look in her eyes a moment ago told him not to be dejected or give up.... he ran up again to
face her and asked, with genuine concern "ridzi....what happened....please dont leave just yet...." and slowly he made her move back close to the pond, and not facing any repulsion
made her sit on the berm sitting below himself this time and said "i have been meaning to tell u this.....i...just cant fight this feeling it keeps growing within....i....love u sweetheart...."n
as he looked intently at her face without a moment's lapse she sighed and said in a voice which seemed to reflect the effort she was putting in while speaking "how many times have u
said that before in ur life armaan...." his look changed to puzzled surprise and as he raised his eyebrows she said "how many times have u fallen in love????" as he remained quiet now
completely taken aback by her question she resumed, sighing again "its ok....leave it at that....i dont want to know actually..." then looking away she said "this may sound supremely out
of trend and orthodox to you but i have never said those words...neither been in love before, until"....and she looked back at him his eyes completely on her as if he saw or heard nothing
else at that moment....she was slightly unnerved by his undivided attention but continued anyways clenching her fingers hard in the effort her fingernails digging deep into her palm"until
i met u...." these words softened his expression and her voice as she spoke further "yeh, until i met u...n it has been no rest with an ongoing battle in my head ever since....a battle to
escape u, to escape the feeling, to escape from myself....but no matter how hard my resolve the latter perhaps is impossible....i cant run away any more...." looking into his eyes now
with a sudden determination, having let that out she spoke further "there u go, u have it all....the complete truth.....my complete truth...but we cant overlook the fact that theres two
of us here....a relationship does not run with one....u say u love me, i have no reason to deny ur words, or think them fake....but its just different for the two of us....ur not wrong n um
not right...but armaan....this love...is not new to u, neither the words....my love doesnt become superior cause its for the first time....but i just....dont think we perceive or value it the
same way....u were right, its hard to escape your charms....in fact knowing the kind of girl i am i can say its perhaps not humanly possible, but....my love is not, as u say, n i have been
trying to assume, an attraction....well not just that i mean....its much more....its....deeper...n...i might be saying this in a very bad way but the last thing i am intending is to be condescending
about the feeling you claim...u know what i mean???..." at that moment they were both interrupted by a loud scream, and while ridhima looked up to see the source, armaan turned
around....and they saw the two familiar people in red....ridhima ran to muskaan and hugged her....she needed to break the moment so terribly....and there was no one better than muski
right now, while armaan just sat there in the same position looking at his hands, which had held hers moments ago...rahul said "thank god...u guys had us so worried" as ridhima
broke away from the hug and armaan looked back up at him muskaan said "what did u think u were doing walking out of the hotel like that???" then looking at ridhima she asked concerned
"is everything ok??" as ridhima nodded mukaan was still not convinced so she said "didnt u get the note i left for u guys???everything is fine, we just came here....generally..." and she
looked up at armaan for support, but he gave none, just looked at her, in deep revelation it seemed...muski's next words pulled her eyes off his face "yeh right...n u both did not
bother to lock the rooms behind you????n had food boxes unopened but scattered all over the carpet in the guys room???" ridhima was now trapped....she said quietly..."yeh there was
a problem...." and then looking up she said with quiet finality in her voice which did not escape armaan "but its resolved...c'mon lets go, um really tired now..." as she pulled muski
slightly urging her to move rahul who had walked to armaan in the meanwile held onto his shoulder urging him to make a move too....but armaan did not spare him a look, or a thought...
for then he could just think of her words...and he knew now....completely what she was thinking and feeling, what was holding her back....cause he knew she felt just like him...she did not
however apparently know he felt as deep as her too....he had to clear her misconception....tell her she was the one, the only one....n he knew it was now or never...as she walked away
with muskaan, feeling a load of emotions she couldnt handle too long, she stopped in her tracks hearing him, no music this time except his spellbounding voice....

"Like a dream you can't explain
Love can chase the beating of your heart
Like the sunshine in the rain
Love can make your whole world fall apart"

as both muskaan and rahul stared at armaan... ridhima just stood rooted to the spot her back facing armaan as he carried on...

"But I want it now
I just wanna spend my life with you"

and muskaan now turned to stare at ridhima....who was standing still....armaan paused and went on, his voice becoming deeper emotionally

"Time will show me how
Suddenly everything has turned me inside out
Suddenly love's the thing that I can't live without"

and she finally turned around slowly to face him....he started walking towards her his hands in his pockets, singing on, his eyes and his lyrics competing as to which was speaking
greater volumes...

"You're my dream, my love, my life
I just wanna spend my life with you
You're the one that makes me smile
I just wanna spend my life with you
Got my love somehow
I just wanna spend my life with you"


he faced her as she looked down, then he walked circling around her not taking his eyes off her for a second, while she just stood looking straight ahead....or anywhere else except him...

"You can show me how
Suddenly everything has turned me inside out
Suddenly love's the thing that I can't live without"

now facing her again as she lowered her gaze he bent down on his knees and held her hands in his, gently but in a firm grip....and she finally met his gaze

"You're my dream, my love, my life
I just wanna spend my life with you
You're the one that makes me smile
I just wanna spend my life with you "

she withdrew her hands from his, and he could feel how hard she was fighting herself to do it in her eyes....as she made to walk away, he, still on his knees, held onto her wrist, not letting go
as she put up no struggle, just as he expected....he knew she was giving in to her true feelings....and he continued

"What have you done to me?
Is this how it's meant to be?
Can't control this feeling in my heart

and he got up to face her, this time she did not look away....

"I can see paradise
Glowing inside your eyes
And I know you feel it in your heart"

and he lifted her hand kissing it softly

"But I want it now
I just wanna spend my life with you
Time will show me how
Suddenly everything has turned me inside out
Suddenly love's the thing that I can't live without"

finally as tears threatened to flow out of her eyes armaan cupped her face in his hands...

"You're my dream, my love, my life
I just wanna spend my life with you "

he pulled her lips into a smile with his thumbs, she looked at him, and this time, she did break into a real smile, he smiled back overjoyed,

"You're the one that makes me smile"

and then stepping back again opened his arms calling her into an embrace, singing as if in conclusion....

"I just wanna spend my life with you"...

and she moved into his hug, holding on tight, as he fastened his embrace around her, securely, to never let go.....

after several moments in a still embrace she whispered, "I love u Armaan..." hearing those words, he smiled, deeper and more real than he had in years now, before breaking from the
hug, looked up into the sky, and then at the taj, then loosened his hug....looking at her again, gripping her from both her shoulders he said "i know..." as she shot him a curious look, eye
brows raised, he said in a serious voice " girls always do..." ending with a cheeky smile, while her look changed to a murderous one....was he still joking, how could he....and she struggled
to get out of his grip, which only seemed to get more firm....she looked at him irritated, only to find him grinning, but as soon as she opened her mouth to speak he quietened her with a
"ssshhhh" putting a finger on her lips...."but to answer your question, " he now said not only in a serious voice but with a solemn expression "you are the only girl i ever loved...or ever will..."
and looking back into his intense gaze, she slowly relaxed....her frown easing out, and ultimately she just stared at him....neither of them speaking anymore, nor blinking...."ahem, ahem"
said rahul now, finally recovering from the shock....and that brought muskaan back too as she quipped "if your 'who will blink first' competition is over, i demand an explaination" she
said with pretended anger on her face....ridhima started "ummmm...muski....its...u know..." muskaan interrupted "no i dont know....thats why um asking of course" as she continued
tapping her foot on the ground looking ready to pounce on her as soon as she confessed the obvious, armaan grinned, looking from muskaan to ridhima back to muskaan...and letting go of
ridhima he moved towards muskaan n said in a studied tone, "we will explain muski but before we do..." he said now standing next to her, lifting her left hand " i must say, nice
ring"...it was muskaan's turn to to turn red, while rahul grinned winking at armaan, and ridhima said stepping forward following armaans lead..."OMG muski...a ring???in the ring finger
???? n um the one ur asking for an explaination....???" muskaan now felt cornered, blushing hard....then giving up she just pulled ridima into a hug not speaking while ridhima said eyeing
her red knee length dress after she pulled her out of the hug.... "red finally working the wonders huh???!!!!" muskaan decided she had been a target long enough...and replied " yeh it did
i guess...but um still waiting for my explaination...." to which ridhima replied "there isnt any explaination"...shooting armaan a fake angry look she said "what should i explain???the lordship
is just namesake....i didnt even get a ring..." armaan jerked up now...and then walking towards her he smiled and said in an excited voice..."what are u saying ridhima???is that a yes, even before i
proposed????gosh honey, u really are quick...or just in a hurry to get the namesake ladyship i guess!!!" he finished winking, while she just stuck her tongue out at him and retorted..."yeh
right the big great sir benz....forget the ring....hasnt even gotten me dinner for the evening...." now rahul shot "um with you ridzi...hes such a jerk...no ring...n no dinner...just a song
and hes all set....i think u should reconsider your decision before its too late!!!!" armaan raised his hands in surrender and said "alright fine u hungry monsters....dinner on me...where are
we headed???"...ridhima and muski spoke together "the dhaba of course!!!"....

*************

~Part 16~

As rahul and muskaan took seats in the cramped up place with just a few rickety tables and chairs, armaan stared all around him....then whispered in ridhima's ears "are you sure u wana
eat here ridhima????i can afford better places baby, my assurance u wont have to do their dishes as a payback...." ridhima gave him a sarcastic smile and said "armaan if you dont do something
about your declining sense of humor i really will have to reconsider my decision...." as armaan still stared at the place, she sighed and said..."trust me...you will never have eaten better food.."
to which he muttered with uncertainity "as long as it doesn't kill me...." he looked back at her to see her glaring n said in a whinning protest "WHAT??????u want me to die on the night
of the confession itself???bad idea sweetheart, all those chicks back in stanford will so totally blame u..." as her glare deepened with an added nuance of puzzlement he explained "they
will think i died of shock cause u took my joke seriously and said yes...." he ended chuckling n she punched him hard on his shoulder....as he rubbed his shoulder she pulled him to sit down and
n while the guy serving their table was putting the plates, she stopped him from putting one for armaan...armaan said in a cheeky voice "ooooohhhh i see your plan...u want us to eat from the same
plate...aaawwww thats so thoughtful of u honey" while ridhima fluttering her lashes looked at him and said in a sugarly sweet tone "of course not darling, um just saving u from dying,"
then givivng him an angry look again "NO FOOD FOR YOU..." she said louder than usual...before armaan could protest muskaan came to his rescue..."DARLING????wow ridzi...sounds soooo
romantic....lucky u armaan...." she said winking at him, ridhima blushed....while rahul let out a deep sigh and resting his head on muskaans shoulder, who clearly got
flustered by his sudden action said "wonder when i am gona get lucky...." winking at ridhima to show he was her ally as usual....as the food came arman kept trying to sneak bites from
ridhima's plate but she succeeded in failing all his attempts...."c'mon ridzi um hungry seriously, why dont u let me eat???" while ridhima shot him an innocent look "oh but i thought you
were the one who gave us all reasons to not eat this food....how can we endanger the life of the stanford star his lordship, sir benz...." rahul grinned and got up as muskaan led the way
to where they could wash their hands, while armaan sat folding his arms across his chest like a grumpy kid and said "well the consequences will remain the same if u dont let me eat....
i'll die of hunger instead....." ridhima chuckled and said "aaawww..." as he sat thinking watching her gobble down the food he made a disgusted face, then thought enough now....lets see
how u stop me from eating....aloud he said "fine i give up....if its a choice between dying of no food and bad food, i'd prefer the latter, dont wana die on an empty stomach and ....
OMG whats that????" as ridhima turned to look in the direction he had pointed he swiftly steered ridhima's hand,
which held the next bite she was gona eat, into his own mouth....and looked at her with a victorious and mischievous gleam as she turned back to face him with a glare
....but the look on his face made her smile inevitably and she looked at the plate again making a new bite....while he smiled back lovingly, seeing her dimples and fun filled eyes, and
finishing his bite, bent forward to give her a quick peck on her cheek and said as she turned to look at him, then all around embarresed..."mmmm yummy!!!ur right, i havnt had better
food...but i wonder if its cause of the food or the hand i ate it from...." he grinned, while his eyes had a deep expression, n she couldnt help shaking her head, as she rolled her eyes
heavenwards and muttered..." him n me????what were u thinking god???" which made him grin harder as he steered her hand yet again with the new bite, into his mouth.....

***********

As they moved back towards the car armaan who had been thinking quipped up..."reg, dude why dont u take the car...ridzi wants to take a walk cause she ate like a pig..." as ridhima
turned to face him she was more surprised than irritated by his statement....huh????when did i say that she thought...rahul caught the cue and said "of course dude....muskaan and i
are too tired for a walk now anyways or we would join u..." n before either of the two girls could interrupt, rahul took muskaan's hand and pulled her to the car....as they drove away
armaan moved in front of ridhima's eyes, and bowing down slightly in front of her moved his hand asking for hers by his gesture while looking her in the eye...as she gave it to him after
anticipatory hesitation, he took hold of it and then twirled her round landing his arm around her waist, and she gasped slightly feeling his touch, and glanced up at him he pulled her closer
and without looking at her whispered in her ear...."the lords have their own charming ways...." and looking at her, with a piercing look with raised eyebrows..."shall we???" ridhima looked
back, slightly taken aback and said "are you going to be that formal all the time....n am i expected to respond in kind????" seeing her expression armaan realized it was not a taunt in the
least in fact she was asking him an earnest doubt, he broke out laughing, while ridhima stood innocently puzzled....why was this guy such an enigma....aloud she said "armaaaan um
serious...look um a simple indian girl, i dont know the ways among your royal lot....in fact" she looked up into his eyes, innocently perplexed and continued..."i never thought about it this
way but....i dont even know the first things about u....what u like, what u dont....whats ur favorite food...do u prefer the summer sun or the winter snow...would u pass time watching
a romantic flick or a basketball game....do u prefer blue or pink for girls....would you spend your savings on the latest gadgets or fashionable clothes...."armaan put a finger on her lips....
and said...."hush baby.....slow down...i love homemade food, summer sun without a doubt i like it bright and smiling....basketball for me of course but if u prefer the romantic flicks il put
up with them atleast once every week....leme see what else did u ask....oh yeh pink or blue....hmmmm never thought....but u look breathtaking in brown n gold....n clothes nah not really but not gadgets either
....id rather spend on music...." then pausing, he started to walk at a slow pace taking her along with the hold around her waist and resumed " for your benefit il add...prefer lemonade
to orange juice, cant begin my day without basketball....hate being interrupted when um in the middle of reading a book....sleep with all lights on, headphones plugged into my ears and laptop
running....prefer cycling to swimming, mobikes to cars....strawberry as u already know is my favorite flavor, definitely not coffee" he winked at her saying this and then removing his
arm from around her waist, he held her hand and intertwined his fingers with hers....then continued in a more solemn tone "n um sure i could continue with that list all night and many
more nights perhaps......but none of that defines to u 'the me' i want 'u' to know sweetheart....if i had to introduce the real me....um just a simple guy too....often overshadowed by the facade
of a star, a royal heir.....i have always been mumma's boy....but dad.....hes my best friend.....my family is my world ridhima....."then he looked into her eyes, pausing their stride as she
rest her back leaning against a car in the parking he faced her and slowly
lifting her hand interlocked with his to his lips he kissed it softly and looking at her intensely he said...." n you are a part of it for me now.....ridhima, i know all this lordship stuff can get
anyone worked up....dad says mum was wound up about it too....but i want you to know this honey....i love you....and there's not a thing i would change about you.....although..." he said
with a slight frown forming on his face while she looked back ready to absorb as he sounded like he finally had tips for her, "ur way too short...and ur temper OMG dont get me started....
and i hate physics and ur childhood crush newton...." now a frown was starting to creep into ridhima's face....armaan chuckled a bit and continued coffee cakes will not be allowed in my
house so eat all u want while ur not officially Jr. Lady Benz..." he grinned seeing her trying to camouflage her blush underneath her indignant look....taking the clip off her hair as she got
startled by the sudden action, her tresses let lose fell on her shoulders " hair...not tied pleeeaaassseee," he said with a cheesy grin as she turned a deeper shade of red and tucking
her lose strands behind her ear she lowered her gaze, he smiled with a gleam in his eyes....oh god, i love her so much he thought.....then lifting her face he said " but thats the 'u' which
this 'me' is madly in love with...." as she stared into his hazel eyes, she knew what he meant....she had known this real him for years....the armaan who followed his heart.....n that was
perhaps all she really needed to know....seeing her lost in the moment, he ran the fingers of his free hand through her hair, fixing the stray bangs of hair over her eyes....then pulled her
into a hug....kissed her hair....as she hugged him back he smiled and said in low whisper "by the way ridzi, there's one more thing u should know..as she pulled back n looked at him with
a questioning look he said in a naughty voice " i have to have the left side of the bed always, thats one thing i never compromised with any of my girlfriends" she looked at him, not angry
or jealous, but certainly not feeling good about his past with girls.....as she broke the look, he smiled knowing what she was thinking and said in a cheeky voice " so they always had to
sleep in the guest room...." ridz looked up astonished "huh????u mean...." and she left the obvious at that while he just shrugged his shoulder n said "yeh well none of them was worth
my prized left side of the bed....too bad cause some of them were quite....ummmm...u know like....." n as he chuckled she punched him n said " well i like the left side too...n this time ul
be the one sleeping in the guest room if ur not ready to compromise...."while she said that with with a mock intended look eyes narrowed, he said "ooooohhhh somebodys already dreaming
of......" she shot him a serious look with daggers in her eyes now and he stopped saying "ok ok peace!!!" chuckling again....she spoke " my favorite food is home made too, but i prefer the
snow....i hate cheesy romantic flicks personally so u wont have a hard time with that, but if there is a clash between a cricket game and a basketball game on TV i get to watch cricket
.... black is my absolute favorite....i have to have the latest gadgets in town, as long as u dont stop me from that il leave the music to you....its apple juice for me....
the morning radio show is my wake up alalrm and i prefer an evening jog....ummm....i like to have my room full of pictures....i often sleep working on the laptop with glasses on too....i hate
to be interrupted when cooking in the kitchen....dont know about all other days of the year, but on ur birthday from now il ensure we get a coffee cake..." hearing that armaan slightly yanked
her arm behind her back n gave her a mock warning look while she just reacted with a spontaneous "ouch!..."then looking back with a defiant look continued, "cant stand a messy room
or house....going to have newton n einstein posters on the the walls of the room..." the grinning at his horrified look as he let her lose almost with a 'oh please no' look she grinned and
continued with a thoughtful expression looking in the air "i enjoy staying up on a book all night....lucky ali u might have guessed is my fav indian singer, but i am not stringent about my
music choice as long as it sounds good....dont mind late night outs on weekends as long as no one wakes me up saturday mornings....love to sit beneath the night sky for hours on my
tree swing when...." before she could speak further she found herself in complete shock and then experienced the most wonderful tingling sensation which slowly turned to passion as he
pulled her into a liplock....starting to kiss gently, and then as she responded back, the intensity rose for those blissful never ending moments.....breaking away as she looked sideways
averting his gaze but unable to hide her smile, he brushed his lips close to her cheeks and the close to her ears and said "and u better say ur favorite animated superhero is SUPERMAN....
as she turned back to find him grinning, and remembering their first encounter in stanford, she smiled too...."but cleopatra is likely to fall for a charming pharoh dont u think????" she said
in a teasing tone to which he responded in a suave voice "well its going to be a futile search to find a pharoh whose charms will outdo this english lord smitten by you, my lady...." finishing
with a knightly bow....ridhima giggled and putting her arms around his neck she said "well anyways, you will have to do until my search is over!!!" and gave him a quick peck on his cheek....
ruffling his hair...he pulled her closer, n kissing forehead said in a deep loving voice "all your searches will end at me, as all of mine end at you....love you sweetheart...." while ridhima just
closed her eyes, a content smile on her lips said "hmmmmmm....".....then as he waited, snuggling up to him with several seconds of pause "love u too...."

***************

As chris came and sat besides armaan, by the poolside, he saw the same dazed look on his face, it seemed to have become permanent ever since his return from agra that afternoon...
handing him a can of budwiser, and opening his own he said "so ummmm....we should be having a chat....huh???" armaan said without looking at him "dad i love her....i mean....i love her
is never going to be words enough to say what i feel...." then looking at chris all excited "and she loves me too dad....oh god, dad um so happy....its like....my head n heart wont stay
put anymore....i cant seem to concentrate on anything..." ...."except her" finished chris grinning...."i can see that.....its hard to miss it....ur grandmom asked me 10 times already what
happened to you....."as armaan gave a sheepish look scratching his hair chris continued "actually she tried asking you directly on the dinner table, but apparently you incoming was barred"
now armaan shot him a shocked look and said a bit uncertain "oh no dad....i dont remember that...what did she say...n please say u covered up....." he ended with a pleading look, which
made chris shake with laughter....finally catching back his breath he said " well she asked u how the trip was, u dint respond, then she asked u again to no avail...when she asked u what
happened armaan u kept smiling at ur plate, which was empty ofcourse, and then u got up all of a sudden saying u had eaten too much n needed some sleep, before anybody could ask
what invisible food had filled u up, u walked out...." now armaan shot him a panicked look, "oh no dad.....i did that" slamming his head in his hands he muttered "oh dam..." then shooting up
again "dad please say minnie was not on the table that time...." chris shook his head and said "she was....and she answered on your behalf saying your trip had been an unforgettable
expereince...and grinning like iv never seen her before, n to complete the incident, i told ur grandmum u were like that at times....i told her in a serious tone, trying to cover up,
but i think it backfired, she thinks u might have a mental disorder cause she started muttering prayers like your mum used to when something seemed insanely out of control!!!" armaan
sighed and gave up thinking of the consequences, and then resting his head on his fathers shoulder he said "see what i mean....i love her is not enough to tell u what um feeling..."
as his lips curled into a smile again he whispered "shes amazing dad....cant believe i missed on a girl like her all these years..."

***************


part16 friends thanks for waiting patiently...i tried making it worth the wait....hopefully u will al like it...do leave honest comments....it was a hard part at this time cause i was feeling stressed with my friends trouble....hope i still managed to do somewhat justice to it anyways....enjoy!!!

Edited by spln - 05 June 2008 at 9:53am

The following 13 member(s) liked the above post:

aarushi001fatiya52110mak3mesmilebhoomi_KMahnaz93ArmaansGirlHeAvEnSpinkssdesire_20Gudduluvsdebby_11baryharshdb

spln

IF-Sizzlerz

spln

Joined: 06 December 2007

Posts: 11036

Posted: 16 May 2008 at 10:22am | IP Logged
~reserved~

The following 1 member(s) liked the above post:

Pious_KaSh

spln

IF-Sizzlerz

spln

Joined: 06 December 2007

Posts: 11036

Posted: 16 May 2008 at 10:23am | IP Logged
~reserved~

spln

IF-Sizzlerz

spln

Joined: 06 December 2007

Posts: 11036

Posted: 16 May 2008 at 10:23am | IP Logged
~reserved~

123abc123

IF-Rockerz

123abc123

Joined: 06 November 2007

Posts: 5957

Posted: 16 May 2008 at 10:26am | IP Logged
yaaaaaaaaay
anvr ff
cnt wait 4 dis 2 gt strted
title already sounds very interstin n difernt
cnt wiat 4 da updte
continue sooo nplzzz
luv niz

-Cherry-

IF-Addictz

-Cherry-

Joined: 17 December 2007

Posts: 62786

Posted: 16 May 2008 at 10:27am | IP Logged
amazin start sweeeety
i want to read more

Veiledbeauty

IF-Dazzler

Veiledbeauty

Joined: 04 December 2007

Posts: 3706

Posted: 16 May 2008 at 10:28am | IP Logged
Yayyyy!! Another FF... finally your brain decided to send a spark Embarrassed

Newtons Law... *sigh* I never understood it.. and never will... because I forgot what it is Confused

LOL LOL Anyways.. have fun with your friend.. we'll be waiting (for him to leave, haha.. so you can write, so selfish of me Tongue ) LOL LOL I'm joking Tongue

Can't wait for this FF Embarrassed

LOL
Zuzu

Post Reply New Post

Go to top

Related Topics

  Topics Topic Starter Replies Views Last Post
A LOT LIKE LOVE#2-part 40 pg 128(LAST PART)

2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 149 150

barkha_90 1198 443621 05 May 2012 at 3:10am
By TANVI_SEXY
Realization Of Love (DMG) Completed!

2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 95 96

reemz.malik 765 141364 20 February 2012 at 1:55pm
By HR-DMG4life
may be(mayur ff)part last part-page 27

2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 29 30

adi_gupta 233 74113 06 September 2009 at 5:26am
By Yoshita0411
LOVE - AA ff PART - part 9 updt pg8

2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

*~sneha~* 76 22607 30 August 2008 at 8:34am
By teenorchid
Laksh and Kt FanFic..LAST PART (PART 44)

2 3 4 5 6 7 ... 27 28

zinny.xo 216 25413 06 June 2007 at 3:06pm
By zinny.xo

Forum Quick Jump

Forum Category

Active Forums

Limit search to this Forum only.

 

Disclaimer: All Logos and Pictures of various Channels, Shows, Artistes, Media Houses, Companies, Brands etc. belong to their respective owners, and are used to merely visually identify the Channels, Shows, Companies, Brands, etc. to the viewer. Incase of any issue please contact the webmaster.