Monday, 28 August 2017

chapter 7 : I'll Love You Longer Than Forever - AR FF,


The following days of Armaan and Riddhima's life were blissful.
They were entirely too happy to be with each other again and it was painfully obvious to the people around them.
The morning following her amazing date with Armaan, Riddhima had arrived at Sanjeevani with a huge smile on her face, a twinkle in her eye and a skip in her step that she couldn't seem to help.
She was nice and friendly to everyone at the hospital, stopping in the corridors to talk to the various nurses and ward boys, smiling and waving at people that passed by her.
It was definitely a stark contrast to the way that she had been in the past 4 months since she had returned home after her accident.

Everyone had taken her newfound attitude in stride and thanked their lucky stars for the miracle.
Armaan, on the other hand, had not changed at all. He would always find ways to meet Riddhima in between his duty at the hospital and he would pull her into the fire escape for some alone time every now and then.
In addition to that, he had started dropping little notes into Riddhima's locker every now and then, which ranged from him telling her that she looked beautiful to how lucky he was to have her to simply telling her that he loved her.
Riddhima absolutely loved it.
The two of them spent every minute possible together. They had starting having lunch alone in the fire escape to have some precious moments together. The only exceptions were when Atul forced them to eat with him when he got bored of eating alone as Abhi & Nikki were in Delhi for a project.
They always ate dinner together, sometimes at Riddhima's house with Dad, Mom and Naina, sometimes the two of them at Armaan's apartment or at some restaurant when Armaan decided they needed to go out on a date - which happened too often. It seemed to Riddhima that Armaan was trying to make up for 4 years' worth of dates right now, not that she minded.
The only setback in their otherwise happy life was the Modi siblings. Not Abhi - Armaan had made his peace with the fact that his best friend was in love with and married to him and there was nothing he could do about it. No, they were the younger Modi siblings who were at the receiving end of Armaan and Riddhima's ill feelings.
Suvarna had the hugest crush on Armaan, and she never left any opportunity to spend time with him. Luckily for her, she was assisting Armaan in a lot of cases which meant she spent almost the whole day with him. Not that Riddhima was jealous, because she was absolutely not! In the past, the same situation would have caused thousands of insecurities to flood her mind, but not now. She was trying not react negatively to the girls who showered attention on Armaan. Come on, the guy was absolutely handsome. He was no less than a Greek God to the people of Sanjeevani - staff and non staff alike. And girls loved the look of him, obviously. Most of them admired him from afar, not having the courage to approach him as they were highly intimidated by him. But a few more brazen ones had the nerve to walk upto him and flirt. He always waved them off with an offhand comment and a polite smile, a fact that made Riddhima feel uncharacteristically smug. But she couldn't help it, he was always so sweet and gentle, turning them down - never hurting anyone's feelings and at the same time making it clear that he was not interested - it made Riddhima admire him more. She knew he loved her. That was the most important fact. So, she didn't feel threatened by these girls at all - okay, she felt a little threatened, but not the overpowering feeling that used to come over her seeing Armaan talk to a girl she didn't know, before the accident. And that was definitely saying something. Also, it made her appreciate Armaan even more. He could have anyone he wanted, and yet he chose her. She didn't let that fact go in vain. And all the girls flirting with him only solidified the fact that he was a great catch - unfortunately not theirs - and Riddhima was shameful to admit, she got a kick out of it - like a sadistic pleasure out of the fact that that amazing man was hers, only hers.
However, Suvarna was another topic altogether. She wasn't forward in her flirting, always subtle - dropping remarks about how good he looked or that he was smiling too much today (as if he didn't have a perpetual grin on his face these days that absolutely refused to come off, which was because of Riddhima, by the way). And Armaan seemed really impressed with her skills. It wasn't that Riddhima didn't trust Armaan - she trusted him with her life. But, at times Suvarna got on her nerves when she tried to get his attention in various ways, which Armaan was surprisingly clueless to.
So, she took matters in her own hands and explained to Suvarna how stupid and desperate and cheap it would look if she went after her own reporting doctor. The discussion hadn't been one that Riddhima was keen on having, but it had to be done. So, she sat Su down in her cabin and talked her out of the fantasy that was Dr. Armaan Mallik. Thankfully the talk seemed to have worked - for the time being, anyway.
And if Riddhima couldn't tolerate Suvarna, Armaan absolutely wanted to chop Siddhant's head off. Ever since he had found about the blasted photos of him and Riddhima that he had wrongfully clicked and distributed in Sanjeevani to back his disgusting story, Armaan was out on a rampage. If he would have had his way, he would have literally killed Sid the day he resumed duties with Riddhima. He was tempted to, so badly. It took Atul, restraining Armaan with all his might and Riddhima trying to persuade him to let it go to actually stop Armaan from taking any drastic measures.
That, however, didn't stop Armaan from cornering Sid on one of his breaks. He told Sid in clear terms to stay away from Riddhima and to never meddle in his life. He also told him that there would be very grave consequences if he ever tried something like this again, with Riddhima or any other girl. After basically threatening to kill him if he made Riddhima shed as much as a tear, Armaan happily walked away, a huge grin on his face leaving a distraught Sid behind.
With the two thorns in their existence taken care off, Armaan and Riddhima returned to their lovey - dovey schedule. However, they never mentioned about their talks with the siblings to each other, biding their time, waiting for the correct moment. Life was really great for them at the moment and they were enjoying every little second, together.
In the midst of all the happiness and love that surrounded the couple, there was someone who was getting a little envious of them.
That someone was our lovely, cute, stupid song - singing friend, Atul.
Seeing Armaan and Riddhima together, made him miss Anjali even more.
Many people had written off his affections for her as nothing but a stupid crush, seeing as he didn't know that much about her outside of work.
But, Atul felt he knew Anjali more than anyone else. He knew that she wanted to become a very successful doctor like her father and dreamed of taking over Sanjeevani someday, when he contemplated retirement and he admired her for having such great dreams and aspirations.
He saw her with her patients - how professional and straight forward she was. Everybody thought that it was her greatest weakness that she never got to know the patient well and couldn't bring them happiness in their time of need, but he knew that it was just defense mechanism because she did not want to get attached to the patient or their families so they would hate her if something bad happened. And she cared, he knew that. To him it was obvious in the way she spent hours working on every case and devoting long hours to researching their illnesses.
He knew that she felt inferior to Riddhima at times, a fact that no one had been able to comprehend. But at times it felt as though Dr. Shashank favored Riddhima over her. He was awed by how much she loved Riddhima still and how she did everything in her capacity to make Riddhima happy.
He knew that she loved her family more than anything and was willing to do anything for them. She independent, fiercely loyal, kind, caring and beautiful.
She was the most amazing thing in his world. And he loved her more than anything or anyone else in the world.
He wished that someday, he could get his happy ending, like Armaan and Riddhima. He wished that Anjali actually held for him even a teensy bit of his feelings towards her.
Armaan had noticed Atul look disturbed these past few days. He would be glum and his mind would always be miles away.
When Armaan tried to talk to him about it, Atul brushed him off saying it was work. Armaan knew that wasn't the case, but he leave Atul be, figuring that Atul would tell him when he was ready.
Armaan, however did have an inkling as to what it was related. His suspicions were confirmed when he caught Atul looking longingly at a picture of him and Anjali in the locker room.
Armaan knew he had to do something for his friend. He wanted Atul to be happy and in Armaan's eyes, no one deserved happiness more than his Champ. So, he came up with a plan to get Atul an Anjali back together.
"Dr. Suvarna, ye bohot hi zyada important kaam hai. Please kuch gadbad mat kariyega", Armaan instructed Su.
"Of course Dr. Armaan, but kaam kya hai?"
"Aapko is number pe call karna hai" - produced a chit of paper with a number on it - "aur ye kehna hai" - he pointed at the words written below.
Su nodded and read through the page. She was utterly confused.
"Dr. Armaan, mujhe Dr. Anjali se kyu kehna hai ki Dr. Atul ka accident ho gaya hai, who toh bilkul..." Before she continue, Armaan put his hand on her mouth, stopping her from saying anything further.
"Shhh!" he reprimanded her, "ye baat sirf hum dono ke beech hi rehni chahiye. Kisi aur ko nahi pata chalna chahiye, Dr. Siddhant ko bhi nahi."
Su nodded like an obedient kid and got to work.
"Hello, Holy Hills Hospital? Can I talk to Dr. Anjali? Yes sure, I'll hold... Hi Dr. Anjali, this is Dr. Suvarna Modi, main Sanjeevani se baat kar rahi hu... Dr. Riddhima ne mujhe aapko phone karne ke liye kaha hai... woh actually Dr. Atul ka accident ho gaya hai and unki haalat bohot hi critical hai... woh actually mujhe bhi theek se nahi pata but who abhi OT mein hai, Dr. Shashank unka operation kar rahe hai... Dr. Riddhima bohot pareshaan thi... of course, you too, thank you Dr. Anjali... yes, see you soon, bye."
"Ye lijiye, sir. Aapka kaam ho gaya. But mujhe samajh hi nahi aa raha ki aap ye kar kyu rahe hai?" Su asked him.
"Woh aap nahi samjhengi Dr. Suvarna. Bas ye bohot important hai. Anyways, thank you for your help", saying so he left.
Suvarna watched him go and smiled widely. She liked that he had asked her to help when he wanted some. It made her feel special. She kept thinking about he had put his hand on her mouth to stop her from talking. She brought her fingers to her lips and placed them there. Then, she left, her fingers still on her lips, her thoughts still on Armaan.
Now that his plan was in motion, and there was nothing more to do at present, Armaan went in search of - who else, apni heroine, Riddhima.
He found her in the locker room, engrossed in studying a file.
He took a moment to just look at her. She looked absolutely gorgeous in her sauce waala lal' salwar suit. Armaan observed that Riddhima had taken to wearing that color very often these days. He loved it.
Her brows were set in concentration and her nose wrinkled as she went through the file. She looked insanely adorable.
Not being able to control himself any longer, Armaan made his way towards her. She turned towards her locker, surprisingly oblivious to the fact that Armaan was there. She was still engrossed in her file when she felt two strong arms wrap themselves around her and she was pulled back, colliding into a hard body.
She sighed, melting into him. Armaan's arms tightened around her, holding her flush against his body.
"I missed you", he whispered.
"Armaan! Abhi ek ghante pehle toh mile the. How can you miss me?"
Armaan loosened his grip on her body and turned her around to face him.
With a mock hurt look on his face, he said, "Tumhe lagta hai main jhooth bol raha hu?"
"Maine aisa kab kaha. Tum hi keh rahe ho!"
"Kya yaar Ridhima! Tum sach mein kitni unromantic ho! Yahaan main paagal deewana tumse apni dil ki baat kehne aaya hu aur tum mujhe jhootha bulaa rahi ho!"
"Nautanki! Kitna drama karte ho poora din Armaan. Kahaan doctor ban gaye, tumhe toh actor banna chahiye tha!"
"Tumhaare kehne pe toh main ward boy bhi ban jaunga. Actor kya cheez hai!"
"Armaan!" Riddhima yelled exasperatedly, smacking his chest. "Band karo apni ye filmi lines. Tumhe toh kuch nahi karna hai par kuch log abhi bhi yahaan kaam karne aate hai. Timepass karne nahi!"
"Achcha baba, chala jaunga, par badle mein mujhe kya milega?" he asked, pulling her back into his arms.
"Kuch bhi nahi!" she replied indignantly.
"Phir toh main jaunga bhi nahi! Jaane ke liye kuch toh incentive milna chahiye na?"
"Kya chahiye tumhe?" Riddhima asked, already knowing the answer.
Armaan looked longingly at her lips as if asking for permission.
When he saw Riddhima's lips part, it was all the invitation he needed.
He pressed his lips to hers, kissing her softly. Riddhima pulled back quickly, aware of the fact that they were still at the hospital.
"Bas? Mil gaya na jo chahiye tha? Ab jao kaam karo aur mujhe bhi karne do!"
Armaan smiled widely and kissed her cheek. "I love you", he whispered. Riddhima smiled and kissed his forehead repeating the words.
Armaan hugged her before leaving.
That night, Armaan and Riddhima had a quiet dinner by themselves at his apartment. Armaan had something important to talk about.
"Basket..." he started.
"Haan bolo?"
"Woh actually tumse those important baat karni hai."
Riddhima sat up straighter and looked at him, waiting for him to begin.
"Woh actually aaj subah na..." he broke off, not knowing how to say it.
Riddhima knew Armaan was up to something by the tone in his voice.
She waited patiently for him to tell her what new mess he had created.
When he didn't say anything for a few minutes, an impatient Riddhima stood to her feet and in her most authoritative tone demanded Armaan to fess up, "Aaj subah kya? Kya kiya tumne Armaan?"
"MaineAnjalikocallkiya", Armaan said in one breath.
"Kya?"
"Aaj subah, main Anjali ko call kiya tha", he said normally this time.
Riddhima visibly relaxed. That was nothing to be worried about.
"Toh isme itna nervous hone waali kya baat hai? Di naaraaz hai kya tumse? Unhone tumhe kuch ulta seedha toh nahi kaha na?" Riddhima asked, remembering how Anjali had been after she found that Armaan had left her.
"Nahi...nahi, maine Anjali se baat hi nahi ki..."
Riddhima was confused now. Armaan said that he had called Anjali but that he didn't talk to her?
"Armaan tum Di ko blank calls ku kar rahe ho?"
"Mera matlab maine baat nahi ki, who Dr. Suvarna ne ki", he mumbled, knowing he was in for it.
Armaan had discovered that Riddhima disliked Su due to her flirtatious nature, especially towards him. She had made the fact clear to him one day at lunch when Su had tried to get too close and personal with Armaan for her liking. Armaan was bent over the bed checking a patient in the OPD and she was hovering over him, almost hugging him from behind. Riddhima had seen this as she was walking by. She had then walked upto Suvarna and reprimanded sternly, referring to the conversation that they had had a few days ago. Suvarna had backed off immediately then.
At lunch, the topic had come up and Riddhima had spilled the beans - telling Armaan everything from the fact that she didn't like Suvarna flirting with him to the talk that she had had given her about it.
Armaan had been pleasantly surprised by the fact. It had also made him feel ecstatic. The fact that Riddhima was telling off an admirer of his was a possessive gesture and Armaan loved that she was getting so possessive of him as the time passed. When Riddhima told him about Su, he came clean to her about Sid and their little conversation. He left out the part where he had been giving Sid rectal exams for the past couple weeks, he didn't think it needed a mention. At least the boy was safe, and he wasn't plotting his murder in his head - not as often anyway.
"Why did Suvarna talk to Di?" Riddhima asked Armaan, bringing him out of another fantasy of killing Siddhant.
"Ummm... because I asked her to?" he replied uncertainly.
"Why did you ask her?"
"Well...ummm, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. I asked Suvarna to call Anjy and tell her that Atul had was in an accident and was critical. Oh, and I told her to say that it was you who asked her to call Anjy."
"What!!!! Are you out of your mind, Armaan Mallik????? Why would you do that???"
"Basket, 2 minute meri baat toh suno!"
Riddhima glared at him and pointed at her watch indicating that his 2 minutes had started.
"Tumhe pata haina Champ aajkal kitna khoya hua rehta hai?" he asked. Riddhima nodded in response. She had seen how Atul had been for the past few days. She had tried to talk to him about it but he always shied away.
"Haan, maine use baat karne ki bhi koshish ki magar who toh kuch bolta hi nahi", Riddhima replied.
"Isliye toh, isliye maine Anjy ko bulaya hai. Champ aaj kal Anjy ko bohot miss kar raha hai. 2 - 3 din pehle maine use locker room mein Anjy ki photo se baat karte hue suna. Tab mujhe realize hua ki who use kitna miss kar raha hai aaj kal."
"Haan woh toh theek hai, lekin iske liye tumne Di ko jhooth kyu bola, ki Atul ka accident ho gaya hai?"
"Arrreee, Basket! Tum Gupta sisters na, bohot hi heartless ho yaar, isliye."
"Heartless!" she shrieked, amcking him hard.
"Haan aur nahi toh kya! Apna pyaar jatane ke liye kitna tadpati ho. Tumne bhi toh poore 4 mahine lagaaye the, yaad hai" - seeing her nod, he smiled, before continuing - "isliye maine aisa kiya. Anjy Atul ko bohot pasand karti hai. Par shayad use khud bhi ye baat samajh nahi aayi hogi, isliye toh who dono ab tak saath nahi hai. Toh maine socha ki Anjy ko realize karwaate hai, ki she likes Atul."
"Hmmm, waise plan toh achcha hai tumhaara." Armaan pulled his collar up smugly on hearing this.
"But phir Di ne mujhse abhi tak baat kyu nahi ki? Atul ki condition ke bare mein janne?"
"I think ki Dr. Suvarna ke phone ke baad, Anjy ne LA se first flight pakad li hogi yahaan aane. Isliye usne tumse baat nahi ki."
"Armaan, I admit ki Di Atul ko apna bohot achcha friend maanti hain and maybe usse pyaar bhi karti hai, but woh sab kuch chodke aise nahi aayengi.I mean, unka career unki life hai. It is her dream ki who Papa ke baad Sanjeevani ki head bane."
"I know, Basket. But pyaar sabko badal deta hai. Dekho, mujhe aur tumhe bhi toh kitna badal diya. I admit ki Anjy wants to follow in Dr. Shashank's footsteps, but abhi I am sure ki woh India aane koi plane par hai."
"Hmmm...you're very confident about it, haan?" - seeing Armaan nod - "toh kyu na ek bet lagaye? Agar kal subah tak Di yahaan aa gayi toh tum jeete, warna main."
"Done. But prize kya milega?"
"Jo tum chaho woh, agar tum jeete. Nahi toh jo mujhe chahiye woh tumhe karna padega."
"Get ready to lose Basket! Dr. Armaan Mallik kabhi nahi haarta", Armaan said, confidently,
"Woh toh kal hi dekhenge."
"Haan, haan dekh lena."
xxx


Happy Reading!
xoxoxo
Prags!

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