Tuesday, 11 October 2016

part 7: A gypsy's fantacy


If love made me and love made you;
How can I be wrong if you stand true?
Shilpa marked the calendar with a bold, red marker. She drew a thick, uneven circle around the date and gawked at the unclean edges. She'd never been good at drawing circles, even, when she was at school, she couldn't get them straight with a perfectly circular cup, either. She'd always go wrong and rub and redraw, most of the time, tearing the page in the process.
Today it'd been three days since she last saw Armaan. He'd mailed her legal papers. Divorce papers, to be more precise. She should've been happy. That's what exactly what she'd wanted. She'd wanted to be free from this relationship and suffocate herself by plunging into another. Her marriage to Armaan was an accident, her marriage to Abhimanyu would be a sin committed. She was rather very eager to jump into this particular pit before she met Armaan. Before she'd seen those bright azure eyes that glinted hard like diamonds when he directed them at you and that scorched you and seared you. Or those slight smiles; just a minimal tilt of his lips as he suppressed his amusement, or the way he folded his hands behind his back raising those thick and perfectly arched brows. Aristocratic brows to be more precise.

Falling in love really sucked she decided. And falling in love with the man whose brother you'd ended up killing was even worse. Pathetic. What the hell was she thinking?
She scrunched her brows at the calendar and pulled it down, tattering the white pages. To hell with the calendar. He wanted the papers back in a week's time. Well, she'd give him them back today! His abrasiveness knew no limitations. Yes she'd been involved, yes she'd done wrong, yes she should've stood up to the crime, but it wasn't about her only. It was about dad, Muskaan and the family name. It wasn't about her. She pulled the abominable papers out of the drawer and slammed it shut with her foot. Throwing them at the mahogany table placed in the center of the room she plopped herself in the wooden chair and glared at the white pages. The papers suddenly looked like they'd grown beady eyes and every word was staring back at her with a wrinkled brow. She snatched a pen from the holder and tightened her fingers around it, cruelly.
"SAALA KUTTA KAMEENA CHOOHE KI MAA KA CHACHU! POORE DIN BAARISH MEIN KHARE HOKE WAIT KI AUR DIVORCE PAPERS BHI SAALA 200 SAAL PURAANI COURIER SERVICE SE BHIJWAATA HAI! ARMAAN MALIK HARAAMI TERI MAA KI! TEREKO DIVORCE NAHI POORA KA POORA DIVORCE FAMILY TREE DOONGI. SAALE TERE SARR PE PHOROONGI."
She huffed venting out her ramblings and went on.
"WAISE BHI ITNE ARROGANT AADMI KO TAJ MAHAL SE KAM KOI LARKI PASAND HI NAHI AASAKTI!"
"Mumtaz Mahal."
She yelped falling out of her chair seeing Rahul standing right over her, watching her and the papers interestingly.
"You, you chimpanzee! Mere sar pe khare hoke kya karrahe the! Tumhaare chacha ka hanging garden hai yeh!" she rubbed her ass and elbow.
"Mumtaz Mahal naam tha. Not Taj Mahal."
Shilpa wiggled her nose, "Really? But he named it Taj Mahal. Wasn't she Taj Mahal too? Taj tea, taj mahal. It's all the same, no?"
Rahul shook his head and straightened the fallen chair sinking in it, "pata tha mujhe!"
"Kya? Kya pata tha?"
"Tumne history ke paper mein cheating kit hi! I knew it. You were literally failing history the whole year aur aakhir mein jaake 80% my foot! I told Muskaan you'd cheated."
Shilpa coughed stifling her laughter, "what rubbish! I'd studied so hard for history!"
"Really? Tell me the name of one son of Akbar."
Shilpa swiveled her hands in the air and scoffed, "Oh please. Itna asaan sawaal. Jodha!"
Rahul kicked her back to the ground and she yelped again, "JODHA WAS HIS WIFE!"
"Really? No kidding? But isn't that manly name? JO-DH-A. GHO-RR-A. HORSE AND WIFE, well both are loyal." She ducked as he pulled a cushion from the nearby couch and threw at her face.
"Shutup! Do not say another word. Akbar aur Jodha ka aur incest karwa ke unki aatma ko aur torture mat karo."
Shilpa shot him daggers and pulled off the floor. "Whatever. Not like Akbar and Jodha are interested to know what I've to say about them. Yeh achha hai. Marne se pehle bhi mazey urraao aur marne ke baad bhi mazey urraoo. Pehle zamaane mein biwi marti thi toh husband poora ka poora taj mahal banwaata tha, yahaan biwi zinda hai aur divorce papers bhi courier se bhijwata hai saala kameena."
Rahul snorted turning the divorce papers.
"I don't think he's really eager to divorce you."
"Haan, haan! Yeh divorce papers thori haina! Kisine gunpoint pe bechaare ko force kiya aur uske lawyers ko bhi aur 200 saal puraane courier wale ko bhi!" shilpa widened her eyes in enacted sarcasm.
"I'm glad that even after living with insane idiots my sanity is intact. He might've sent you divorce papers, which you have been asking for a long long while and which should be a dream come true for you and let's come on this later because your reactions are completely opposite, but what we really should see is, that even though, he's sent you divorce papers, he hasn't signed them. Not a page."
Rahul gave her his trademark smirk turning the pages over.
Shilpa twisted her lips in a thin line, "Yeah? And that proves? He sent me divorce papers! Period! He wants me to sign them and return them to him so HE CAN SIGN THEM AND FILE THEM!"
Rahul was shaking his head again like he thought Shilpa had a football for a brain. Full of air.
"Down with all your ballyhoo Shilpa. Use your brain. Wait you don't have one. You failed!"
"I did not fail! I got a perfect 80 in MATHS! HA TAKE THAT!"
"And a perfect zero that you deserved in history but still didn't get one!"
"Whatever Rahul. Not my fault that the dean's son was in my class or that he told me his dad was having an affair with our history teacher and I used a little influence."
"Blackmailing you mean."
She rolled her eyes, "WHATEVER!"
"Can't blame him. She had these big watermelon sized boobs, Oh my God!"
Shilpa gawked at him with disgust and huge eyes.
"What? I am just a guy. She was humongous!"
"You pervert! You are married."
"And happily, may I add. I'm not the one at the verge of a divorce."
Shilpa groaned and sank in the other chair.
"It's not like he was Brad Pitt! He was a moody son of a bitch! I'm so glad to be free of him." She tucked her head between her curled up knees and beneath her elbows.
"Shilpa, you know it's not that I don't find you intelligent but how can I find you intelligent you do not own any intelligence, but sometimes you should really try listening to your own words. They contradict your actions forming a whole opposite 180 degrees."
"Rahul Garewal get out of my room!" muffled words jumped out at him from between her knees.
"oomph!" she smacked her head on the table as he pushed her and laughed seeing her eyes roll back in her head.
"You need to stop with your whines and moaning. Where are your balls?"
"I don't have balls you filthy animal!"
"Oh yeah, sorry, that was a guy thing, but anyway, get off this f**king road of melancholy, you buffoon."
"I am so confused. I don't know what to do. He hates me Rahul. I hate myself and it's hurting." She whispered seriously.
Rahul sighed. Shilpa had told him everything a day before. She'd broken down in his arms. He wasn't just Muskaan's husband. He'd been her best friend too. she hadn't told him anything about Muskaan's involvement or what had happened to her. She'd just told him her version of story where she was muddleheaded, and drunk and had hit Atul. Little did she know that Muskaan had told Rahul everything nine years ago, and a day before, too. It was something though, that would remain between Muskaan and Rahul. Muskaan wasn't yet ready to confront Shilpa right now. She wanted desperately to see Armaan and Shilpa together first. They'd decided they won't tell Shilpa about what happened the evening she'd tried saving Muskaan. She didn't need that baggage.
"Shilpa people die. I know it sucks like hell that it was his brother. I know under normal circumstances you should've been behind bars. But it wasn't a normal circumstance. It was an accident. An accident induced by the nature. It was raining hard. You couldn't see a thing. Yes you were drunk, but how many people, who won't have been drunk would've reacted any differently than you? You panicked, there was a truck, you steered left. You didn't even see him coming Shilpa. How on Earth are you responsible for his death?"
"I should've not gotten drunk. I should've never taken the car. I should've been more responsible."
"Yeah? Really? That's what you're going to say? I should've done this and I should've done that? Do you know how many should'ves we all f**king live with? We all think of it again and again and the chain repeats in our mind as we ponder every situation. Should've done this and should've done that. Yeah Shilpa me too. I should've been home and not out on a hillstation when my mother died. I should've never gone. You don't want to know my should'ves Shilpa. You cannot change what happened. It's the intention that counts. You were nothing but young. You didn't get drunk because you wanted to go out and hit someone. It happened Shilpa. Shit happens. His death? It was already written. He had to die then and there. It's the hard truth. Were it not you, somebody else would've been responsible. And If it's should've we are talking about then you should've changed God's plan. Tell me? Could have you?"
Shilpa gripped her hair in frustration, "But he hates me Rahul. He hates me so much. It hurts so much. It has hurt every single day of every single month of every single year for the past nine years. I can't forget what happened. What I did."
"Shilpa listen to me," he crouched low beside her taking her in his arms and rubbing her shoulders, "I can tell you that this pain would go away but that won't be true. It won't Shilpa. It is something that'll forever be in your memory. But that doesn't mean you make it the center point of everything. It hurts you because you give it the power to. You have to make new memories, better memories, you have to let it fade somewhere back in the recess of your mind. And that may not happen until you move on, until you start living your life. You have to stop blaming yourself because it wasn't your fault. How will you convince Armaan if you cannot convince yourself? All of this? All this revelation? It's new for him. Give him some time, Shilpa. You love him, and he? He loves you. Anybody would be a fool not to."
"Rahul, this will always be between us. To wake up in the morning and stare at the person who's responsible for your brother's death? To stare at a family picture and realize that it's because of the new one the old one isn't there anymore. Every time he'll remember his brother would be a time when he'll hate me Rahul and then he'll resent me, not that he already doesn't but even if he looks pass it all right now? What about the long run? He'll come to hate me so much. And I...I cannot bear it Rahul. It will hurt so much."
"Shilpa that's where you're wrong. Do you trust in your love for him and his for you? Love has the power to overcome what even our senses cannot comprehend. All you've to do is trust it Shilpa. Remember? what doesn't kills us makes us stronger. This pain you both feel right now? It'll only make your relationship that much deeper."
Shilpa nodded but knew the truth in her heart. Armaan would always hate her and she couldn't take it.
SHILPA: Today's my engagement. If you want the papers, come get them!
Armaan reread the text four times and his ears turned hot with anger. How dare she invite him to her engagement? Her god damn engagement! To another man! She'd the guts to tell him to come and get the papers. She was the one who should've come to him! That ballsy little spitfire! He cursed under his breath feeling the burn of jealousy singe him.
He'd been going out of his mind for three days with too much pain and confusion at hands. He wanted to bare his soul to her and then he was afraid of doing it. He wanted to take her in his arms and crush her to him until she could never escape and he wanted to see his brother back.
He was in the throes of a horrendous turmoil. The calm in his life was knocked askew by the blows that were delivered without rest.
And the fact, that, he stood in front of a mirror everyday staring at his own disheveled state and looking at eyes with dark hollows forming beneath them and still found no answers to any of his questions, was exasperating.
She wanted him to attend her God damn engagement. He f**king will!
"So what do you think? The plan's going to work?" Muskaan bit her nails nervously.
"Did you send him the text message from Shilpa's phone?"
"Yepp!" she chirped, "did it a while back, but he didn't reply."
"He won't reply. He probably has his hands full of beating the shit out of some poor punching bag."
"I hope he comes. Rahul, I want this all over with. Shilpa deserves more than anyone to be happy."
"And she will be," Rahul took a strong hold of Muskaan's shoulders, "She will be."


Armaan swore under his breath. All his resolves melted and formed a puddle on the ground. He couldn't tear his eyes off her. She looked breathtaking. And that's what she did. Took his breaths away. She was dressed up in a traditional Indian lehenga with intricate and heavy handwork over it. It was salmon pink and violet and it was made for her. He had this strong urge to pull her honey locks free from the tightly secured pins and plunder her hair with his fingers, her mouth with his tongue. He shook his head. He wasn't here for that. All he needed were the God damn papers.
He watched transfixed as she descended the stairs and made her way to the middle of the room where Abhimanyu was waiting for her and looked as mesmerized as Armaan was. Armaan's fists immediately clenched.
That f**king son of a bitch!
Scorching fury scalded him when he placed his hand on her bare waist and pulled her closer for a picture.
Shilpa looked uneasy and the smile she'd downed on her face was a sham. She was still his wife. He'd the f**king right to snatch her from under their noses.
"Armaan." Armaan grunted seeing Rahul offer him a lime.
"No, Thankyou." He breathed out the words through clenched teeth.
"What's got your feathers Malik? You look a little uncomfortable."
"Don't Garewal. I'm not in the mood for your pathetic attempts at humor right now."
"You wounded me. But that's okay; I'm pretty used to it. What you doing her buddy?"
Armaan finally pulled his eyes from Shilpa and glared at Rahul, "Celebrating. Nothing like watching some other asshole take the baggage off your shoulder. Can't tell you how glad I'm to get rid of your insane sister in law."
Rahul guffawed shocking Armaan, "God you two are too much. Watching you both continuously deny your feelings is exhilarating."
"I'm sure you're enjoying the time of your life." Armaan bit off sarcastically.
"Oh don't say. By the way Shilpa is looking good isn't she? I bet Modhi won't be able to keep his hands off her tonight."
Armaan had this strong urge to pull Rahul's tongue out and tie him to a f**king pole with it.
"Listen, Garewal. I don't have time for your stupid, childish observations. Go find your wife and amuse yourself. Leave me alone."
"I'd leave you alone but if you really love her you shan't leave her alone. Because I'm sure Modhi ain't going to." And before Armaan could reply Rahul disappeared in the mass of crowd, all clad in fancy clothes.
Armaan stood against the window at the other end of the hall pretending he didn't notice her.  He pretended not to notice the way her eyes moved around the crowd nervously. And he definitely didn't notice the way she walked around her eyes not for a moment resting until they found something.
He pretended he wasn't noticing a thing.
He was pretending he hated her very presence.
Not days ago he was ecstatic to have her honey brown hair, her charming smiles, her almond eyes in life and now he'd let it all go. Left her. He hated her didn't he?
 He put up an excellent act of showing as if he was indulged in the conversation and didn't care too hoots about her but he could've only stopped himself as much as he could've stopped himself from breathing when he saw her leaving the ball quietly and moving into the shadows at the other end of the hall that led to the exit. He couldn't help it anymore. He gave a small smile, offering his excuses as men stopped him, and followed her. He saw her ambling through the darkness into the stables and quietly followed her.
Shilpa wove her way through the suffocating bodies, half shoving-half pushing and stepped into the fresh air. This entire facade had her lungs burning for the air of freedom. She missed her pets. They listened to her like they owned a piece of her soul. It was funny how sometimes animals did the part better than humans. She pulled her heavily embroidered lehenga bunching it in her fingers and trotted inside the stables. It was dark and there was a chill factor in the wind. It flew, splashing across her face and carrying the smell of grass, mud and everything lively. She made her way across the hay and looked at one of Modhi's white stallions.
She smiled as she made her way to him. He was so beautiful. A Friesian horse. She'd never seen those before coming here. She lay a soft hand on his gleaming black fur and it melted like silk beneath her fingers. Midnight black shone brightly even in the dark tint of moonlight. The stallion bowed his head slightly and Shilpa giggled.
"So who are you?"
"A war horse." A cold strip of air knocked the breath out of her when she felt the languid caress of words slide up her bare arms. Armaan.
Slowly, as if not wanting to see him, she turned around but his eyes were on the stallion.
"Friesians," he nodded toward the horse, "Their ancestors carried knights to battle throughout history. They are robust and agile. They carried the weight of knights in armors on them." He moved closer letting his hand rest on the horse too.
Shilpa immediately back off feeling him invade all her space. Gulp all her air. He did what nobody did. He set her senses afire. Every nerve in her body twitched with blazing awareness.
They both stood there in the midnight air, watching a horse and hearing the crickets sing, smelling the musk of horses and the wet mud. Inhaling each other.
"You love Friesians?" Shilpa was the first one to speak.
Armaan shook his head, smiling slightly. "I like them but no. I love the Arabians." He turned his azure blue eyes to her and and she felt them penetrate her.
He looked straight at her continuing in a lower, sultry voice, "Gorgeous, elegant, wild, untamed, intelligent, fast. A little crazy and hard to control. Always so high spirited. The best breed to race, to ride," he said the last word huskily.
Shilpa bit her lower lip, feeling her lungs burn as she snatched more air into them, feeling her skin go hot and looked away, "I always wanted to have a horse. Never really got much of a chance to."
Armaan's eyes looked at her like he could see through her and inside her and she felt like she needed a distance of miles between them. The silence returned, thick with tension as his gaze didn't leave hers.
Her throat ran dry and she licked her lips and hitched a breath watching his eyes go dark.
"Armaan, what are you doing here?"
"Divorce papers." He took a step toward her.
"huh?"
"I want the divorce papers."
Shilpa's cheeks flamed red with anger and embarrassment. He came to her engagement. Her engagement to ask for divorce papers! How could be so cruel?
"I don't have them right now." She jutted her chin out.
"What kind of joke is this?"
She stared at him a beat, confused. What was he talking about? What did he expect? She'll parade around her engagement party with his divorce papers tugged right close to her heart? They were anyway long enough and wouldn't stuff in her bra even if she decided to.
"What do you mean what kind of joke?" her nostrils flared and she stepped toward him pointing a finger at him, "you think I roam around with your divorce papers pressed to my heart?"
"Your? You mean ours." That stung her and if possible she turned redder jabbing her index finger in his chest.
"Listen you arrogant bas***d! I know what I did is worthy of the severest of punishments. I know it, okay? And I have been suffering. I've been suffering for nine years. Every single minute of my life! Nothing more can hurt me more than I already am. But I didn't kill your brother. It was an accident and I'm responsible but I'm not a murderer! I'm a coward, yes, but not a murderer and you will not treat me as such! You loathe me? Fine. Do it. Do whatever the hell you wanna do, feel whatever the f**k you wanna feel about me. But you won't treat me like dirt and remind me of your high handed supreme authority all the time. To hell with you!"
Armaan stared down at the burning, live spitfire that stood just an inch away from him. She was a ballsy little babe. An Amazon. Her ears turned red and her breathing was heavy as she finished pouring out hot water on him.
"You done yet?" he asked calmly. She opened her mouth to yell again but he cut her to it.
"So while that was a good speech Malhotra, I didn't get a single word of whatever you said. I don't want you to parade around with divorce papers tucked right against your chest, which, if I think of imagining will be quite an erotic visual anyway, but for the record, I didn't say shit which would have you going so upset. You on the other hand? Your childish and appalling behavior today has crossed its limits. You were the one who called me to this mocking duplicity of an engagement and told me to come get the papers. Now that I'm here, an idiocy of mine, truly, I'd like to have the f**king papers you promised me, and leave."
Shilpa's stomach shriveled and adrenaline pumped through her veins. What the hell? This covetous, atrocious lying, deceiving bas***d!
"What?" she shrieked, "You...you arrogant, ignorant, delusional, lying scum! I called you? Why the hell would I do that? Your arrogance Mr. Armaan Malik goes beyond the possibilities of my imagination.  You know what? To hell with you!"
She twirled about her heels but then turned around and threw the water bucket placed right against the side of the horse in Armaan's face.
"Take that too. Additional gifts with divorce. Ek pe ek free!" she flared with blazing anger.
Armaan watched her with horrifying stillness, shocked at what she'd done then pulled out his napkin and calmly wiped his face.
Shilpa watched with terrifying fascination as Armaan's whole profile transformed. His eyes went hard like glinting diamonds and the flecks of green swirled around the dark and intense blue. He inhaled hardly from his nostrils and his jaw line locked too firmly as if he was going to break it. She took a step back, intimidated as he glared at her. Maybe that wasn't such a good idea.
And there in the quiet stable Armaan Malik did something he would've never even considered previously. Armaan Malik, who always presented himself as the epitome of collectivity, civility and elegance, who would've scoffed at the idea of doing something so crazy.
He cursed and pulled her down to the stable floor, the hay cushioning their fall and they rolled and tumbled around. Her dress tangled around him, his limbs tangled around hers. He pinned her to the ground, both of their breathings harsh and slammed both of her wrists above her head, pinning them, too.
"You wanted the divorce didn't you? You've been f**king screaming for it? What went wrong? This should be your dream come true!"
Shilpa squirmed wildly beneath him and spat out her frustration, "OH you've no idea! You've no idea how glad I'm to be rid of you. You the highness of India, I'm f**king celebrating that I'm no more going to be tied to a ferocious beast with the likes of you! And get off me! You smell shit Armaan Malik."
"You know what? I hate you. I've never seen a more uncivilized, audacious, balky, idiotic woman in my life. Actually, it's good you stay with animals. You've totally forgotten the likes of humanity and human behavior. I should extend my influence and talk to one of my sociologist friends and have you admitted somewhere!"
If it were possible, Shilpa went even wild eyed, and flailed madly beneath him, "And what about you? You should be sent to some mental hospital for people who think themselves God or his sent messiah to Earth! Armaan f**king glorious Malik."
"I hate you." He gritted his teeth, breathing harshly.
"I HATE YOU TOO. I hate you more, I..." he slammed his mouth to hers. And then everything happened in a whirlwind.
Her hair were bound around his fist as he pulled her mouth to him and gave her the hardest kiss she'd ever gotten. Like marking territory. Her fingers went frantic pulling him closer. Their mouths sought with a hunger that leaped and laid siege. Too much space, too much need, less air. They gasped and grabbed whatever skin they could. He kissed her with the raw energy that was thrumming through his whole body and she responded with a fervor that was as wild and intense as his. They broke apart for air and she shook her head.
"What are we doing?"
"Don't know. Don't f**king care. You're still my wife." He kissed her again, deeper and slower, caressing each crevice of her mouth, making love to it in a way she'll never forget and yearn for. His fingers freed her from the restraining chords of the blouse and slipped inside touching, touching, branding, torturing, searing, moving everywhere and anywhere, driving her breathless and mindless.
Shilpa pulled at the lapels of his coat but it was stuck somewhere beneath her and she pulled away from his mouth frustrated.
"UGH! Your clothes are as frustrating as you! Get this off!"
Armaan rolled pulling Shilpa over him and she dragged his coat down with urgency. He freed all the chords of her blouse and splayed his palm over her back pulling her back to his mouth.
She pulled frantically at the buttons of his shirt then giggled as his mouth lowered to her neck.
"That tickles."
Armaan pushed her down and tickled her, everywhere.
"Oh My God, what are you doing? Oh my God stop Armaan Malik!" she threw her hands to dart him off but he didn't budge. They were both wrestling and laughing and then breathing hard, their mouths touching each other but not moving.
Slowly the laughter faded and he dipped his tongue back inside her mouth kissing her like he was thirsty and she was oasis, kissing her like he was dying and she was life, kissing her like he was madly, irrevocably, and undeniably in love with her.
Kissing her like he couldn't breathe without her.
A loud tapping on the wooden column broke them apart.
Rahul had his back turned to them and was tapping the column hard with his foot.
"Though I should say how cute and mushy you both look, you both look totally disgusting and gross and I'd tell you both to get a room before this midnight romp gets uploaded on some xyztube.com, but as it appears, it's Shilpa's engagement and everyone's searching for her and not for me someone else would've found you both and well they won't even have considered calling you both cute."
Both of them were breathing heavily and Armaan shielded Shilpa's uncovered body with his, quickly redoing her blouse and clothing. He pulled off her and wanted to cut Rahul's head and feed it to the horses but as he stood there and watched Shilpa pull up sanity returned.
Sanity.
Reality.
Something both of them had lost for a moment.
Both of them stared at each other as the truth of what almost had happened dawned on them, and the truth, that now silently existed between them.
The truth of why they couldn't be.
Shilpa was the first one to avert her gaze. She didn't want to see the guilt Armaan would obviously feel at what'd happened. She didn't want to see him guilty of what happened, guilty of touching her, guilty of...loving her? No, that sounded wrong. How could he love her? He was simply attracted to her. Even when he kissed her like that.
She knew she was red all over and quickly ran out of the stable, storming past Rahul. She couldn't contemplate all of this now. There was too much to, and she still hadn't recovered.
Rahul turned around and stared at Armaan with a smirk.
Armaan pulled back the buttons of his shirt very slowly, as if in deep thought, than smirked at Rahul.
"It was you. Wasn't it? The one who texted me?"
Rahul shook his head pushing his hands in his pants' pockets, "Nope. It was Muskaan. I just planted the germ inside her head."
"Next time Garewal? Don't do it. I won't fall for it."
"I can see," he quirked a brow, amused.
"This thing isn't a game." Armaan gritted his teeth.
"No it's not. But you and Shilpa are still acting like 12 year old immature kids."
"Really? What do you know about what we're going through? What do you know about being stuck at a two way and not knowing which way to go? Or about losing a brother? Or about waiting nine years to know the truth, of missing him every day? Of becoming a man who's shoulders are heavy with duty before his age?"
Armaan marched past him but Rahul's voice stopped him in his tracks.
"You're right I don't. But I do know this. That two way? The left'll take you back to your past and the right's waiting with open arms inviting you to a future of brilliant, beautiful possibilities. I don't know the pain of suffering what you did, but I know being in the vicinity of one. I do know how it feels to watch the people you love cripple away and die a little more inside everyday and I do know had I given up like you and Shilpa I would've lost Muskaan forever to the darkness that resides inside her. People know how to fall in love. But very few know how to fight and survive Malik. And this is something I know but you don't."
He shouldered past Armaan heading back to the party.
Armaan watched his back and then his shadow fade and stood there for a long time, letting his words play and replay in his mind.
He needed to get away from here.
Fast.


Rida

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