Saturday, 9 September 2017

Chapter 11 :I'll Love You Longer Than Forever - AR FF

                            
Armaan was really happy today. Finally, after a week of separation, his Basket was back home. He was feeling a little clingy towards her because he had gone without seeing her for a full week. So, he would sneak in for some time with her whenever he had the chance, even if it was for 5 minutes. Riddhima was loving all the attention that he was showering on her. He had been giving her flowers -
her favourite lilies, actually, every hour. As each hour passed, she would have someone tapping her shoulder, giving her the lily and then going away. When it was a kid who gave it to her, there would be a complimentary kiss on the cheek, which was courtesy of their favourite Armaan bhaiya.
Also, she had found her favourite chocolates and a teddy bear sitting in her locker when she had opened it after lunch. This man was just too sweet for his own good.
But, now, it was time for her to give him some surprises of her own. She opened his locker and placed a wrapped package in it and then hid in the changing room so she could see his reaction to it. She had already paged him to meet her, so he would be arriving any minute.
Sure enough, a few minutes later, Armaan entered the locker room to find it empty. "Yeh Basket kahaan reh gayi? Milne toh usne yahin kaha tha."
He shrugged thinking she must have gotten busy with some patient and thought that he would also catch up on a case while waiting for her. So he opened his locker, intending to remove the patient's file, but was surprised to see a wrapped packet inside.
Curiously he removed it and shook it a little trying to understand what was in it. When he couldn't understand what it was, he unceremoniously removed the gift wrapper and was pleasantly surprised to see what was inside.
It was actually a Fuzzy Moon Bear' from Archies'. It was sitting and carrying a pillow which read - "While you go out with me?"
Armaan grinned on seeing it. Only Riddhima knew how much he loved those bears. Of course he didn't go around telling people that, because he was a guy and guys don't like such things. Armaan was the same, except when it came to this particular teddy bear.
When he was a little kid, he had many nightmares which left him scared. He was starting to get afraid of sleeping alone. So, Bi had gone out and gotten him a Fuzzy Moon Bear' so that he could cuddle it and sleep. From that day, he had always slept with that bear, no matter where he was till he reached his early teens and no longer needed the bear to sleep at night.
However, even after growing up, the bear was special to him. It had acted like his protector for many years before he grew up. Thus, Armaan loved it. Even after so many years, Bi used to send him one bear for his birthday every year, for sentimental reasons now. He had kept them safely, hidden from the eyes of others and used to go through his collection whenever he missed her.
Now, it was even more significant to him because the only girl in his life had asked him out on a date using the same teddy. He smiled softly and nuzzled the bear, looking around so he could find Riddhima. He was absolutely sure that she was somewhere near, watching his reactions.
Suddenly, he felt two arms encircling his waist and a head resting on his back.
"So, Dr. Mallik, will you go out with me?" she asked.
He grinned and turned around, taking her in his arms. He kissed her forehead and said, "Of course! Yeh bhi koi poochne waali baat hai!"
"Good! Toh phir hum is Sunday ko jaayenge. Be ready."
"Ohho! Sunday ko haan? Par abhi kyu nahi jaa sakte?"
"Kyuki maine subah se lekar raat tak ki planning ki hai. Toh ab sirf Sunday hi jaa paayenge na, kyuki duty hoti hai baaki din!"
"Subah se leke raat tak? Not bad Basket! Ok then, Sunday done."
Riddhima grinned and pecked his lips. "Achcha theek hai, ab mujhe jaana hai. Duty ke liye late ho raha hai. Bye, I love you," she said.
"I love you, too."
The next week seemed to have flown by. Both Armaan & Riddhima were really excited about the date. Armaan had been bugging Riddhima a lot, eating her head off, and trying to guess what they were going to do. He cae up with extremely wild guesses which had Riddhima in absolute splits. Armaan would pout and ask and scream and try to seduce and use the eyes on Riddhima to find out about it, but to his bad luck, she didn't budge.
But, finally it was Sunday - the day of the date.
Riddhima showed up at Armaan's house early that morning. She let herself in from the key that Armaan had given and went in. She searched for him in the hall and kitchen to find them empty. Finally, she made her way to his room. And there he was. On the bed. Still sleeping. He looked like a kid when he was sleeping, she decided. He slept carelessly. A smile on his face, no lines on his forehead. He oozed happiness and innocence. Like he didn't have a care in the world. He must have been dreaming about something good because he looked extremely pleased with himself.
She moved closer for a better look. She blushed on seeing that he was sleeping clutching a photo of theirs. It seemed very childish - and in some cases fangirlish or stalkerish - to do something like that. But seeing him do that warmed Riddhima's heart. To her it meant that he wanted her close to him. And since she couldn't be there, he had settled for the next next thing. Looking at him sleeping so soundly, she didn't have the heart to wake him up which she was going to do initially. Instead, she got in bed with him and snuggled closer.
Sensing that she was there, Armaan turned to face her and his arms automatically wound across her waist. Riddhima smiled. She wrapped her arms around him and rested her head on his chest. Armaan's smile got wider and he buried his face in her neck. It was not long before the feeling of Armaan's rythmic breathing had Riddhima going to sleep as well.
She woke up sometime later to see that Armaan was still sleeping. However, if they were to go on this date of hers, they would have to move now. So she tried to wake him.
"Armaan", she whispered, so as to not startle him. He didn't budge. She tried a few more times to no avail. She tried to tickle him awake, but that too was of no use. She thought that maybe if she moved, he would het disturbed and wake up. So, she tried that. She started to move out of his grip, but he just tightened his arm around her, not letting her move.
Finally, she opted for her last resort. She kissed him, straight on the mouth. He was unresponsive at first, but slowly, she felt him kissing her back. His arms tightened even further around her.
"Good morning", she whispered when they broke apart.
"Subah subah aapko dekh liya, aur kiss bhi mil gayi. Good nahi Best morning hai yeh", he whispered.
They stayed like that for some time, lost in each other's eyes. The love that they felt for each other pouring out of them as they held each other's gaze, talking a mile a minutes without actually talking.
Riddhima's phone began to ring, bringing them out of their little bubble they had created for themselves.
Armaan cursed and snatched the phone out of Riddhima's hand before she could answer it.
He answered it without looking at the ID. "Subah subah koi aur kaam nahi hai? Kyu phone karke pareshaan kar rahe ho?"
"Armaan agar tumhe mera meri beti se baat karna itna bura lagta hai, toh pehle hi bol dete. Main tum dono ko disturb nahi karti", said Padma Mom.
"Mumma?! Sorry, sorry, sorry. Mujhe laga koi aise hi Riddhima ko phone karke usse pareshaan kar raha hai. Isliye maine aise kaha. Main Riddhima ko deta hu, ek minute", he said, apologising quickly and narrowing his eyes at Riddhima who was laughing hysterically.
 "Tu Riddhima ko chod, ye bata kaisa hai tu? Bohot din ho gaye tu ghar bhi nahi aaya hai. Bhool hi gaya hai hume toh."
"Aisa nahi hai, Beautiful. Kya karu? Aap apne husband ko thoda samjhaiye. Kitna kaam deke rakhte hain hospital mein. Aajkal zyada time hi nahi milta."
"Chal, chal. Ab Shashank ko blame mat kar. Seedhe seedhe kyu nahi kehta ki Anjali se darta hai."
"Oh! Please", he said arrogantly,"Main, Anjali se? Armaan Mallik kisise nahi darta hai."
"Achcha? Shashank se bhi nahi?"
He made a face. "Achcha theek hai. Main Dr. Shashank ke alawa kisise nahi darta."
"Theek hai. Baatein mat bana ab zyada. Mujhe toh bas yahi jaanna tha ki tu apna dhyaam rakh raha hai ya nahi? Time pe khaana khata haina? Aur time pe sota hai? Zyada stress toh nahi leta na?"
"Nahi Ma. Main bilkul theek hu. Time pe khaata hu, achche se sota hu. Maina ek kaam karta hu, kal ghar hi aa jaata hu. Khud hi dekh lijiyega aap."
"Haan, yeh achcha rahega. Kal sab tera favourite khaana banake rakhti hu."
"Thanks Ma! I love you."
"I love you, too."
Armaan smiled widely. "Lijiye, Riddhima se baat kar lijiye."
Riddhima smiled and took the phone from him. She talked for a few minutes and then ended the call. In the meantime, Armaan had snuggled into his blankets again.
"Armaan!" Riddhima exclaimed on seeing him,"Tum kya kar rahe ho?"
"Arre so raha hu. Bohot neend aa rahi hai mujhe. Sone do, please."
"Nahi Armaan! Hume jaana hai. Chalo na", she said and grabbed his arm, trying to get him up.
This was the most foolish thing she could have done because when Armaan got the leverage, he pulled her making her loose her footing and fall on top of him.
He wrapped his arms around her, holding her to him. Then he rolled around so that he she was lying on the bed and wrapped himself around her, so she couldn't move.
"Kya kar rahe ho?" she asked, bewildered.
"Arre Jaan! Aaj Sunday hai. Aaj ke din toh mujhe sone do. Aur tum bhi yahin raho mere saath. Mujhe bohot achchi neend aayi aaj."
"Armaan! Dekho 10 baj rahe hai. Please chalte haina. Maine woh new Superman movie ke liye reservation karayi hai."
On hearing this Armaan left her started jumping on the bed like little kid. "Seriously Basket? Tumne Superman ke liye tickets liye hain?"
She nodded. She hadn't bought tickets, but it was what they were going to do.
"I LOVE YOU!" he shouted, placing a smacking kiss on her lips. He hugged her tightly before going to the bathroom to get ready.
Riddhima shook her head at his childishness. She laid the clothes that she had bought for him on the bed and went to the kitchen to fix breakfast.
Armaan came out after his shower and was surprised to see that some clothes were already laid out for him. He hadn't kept them before going for the shower, which he was sure of. Then who was it?
"Armaan! Are you ready?" Riddhima called from the kitchen.
Riddhima. His Basket. Of course it was her! How could he have forgotten that she was here? It had been a very pleasant and welcoming surprise to wake up to her. At first he had thought that he had been dreaming. That the warm body beside his, the head resting on his chest and the arms wrapped around him were his imagination. But then, he felt her lips against his and he knew she was there. She felt perfect and his imagination was never that good.
And then he opened his eyes and saw her. Actually seeing her face first thing in the morning was way better than looking at that photograph of hers. He longed for the day when he could do that daily. When they wouldn't have to part ways at the end of the day and he wouldn't have to wait to see her after he woke up in the morning. Soon, he reminded himself. The plan had already been set in motion. He just had to wait for the right time. And it would come soon.
(Italics are one side of his brain. Bold is another. Normal mein bechaara apna Armaan trying to figure out which side is right!)
Oh, but it is already here, another part of his brain said. NO, dude! It's not, not yet.
Oh? And when is it going to be then? 50 years later? NO! Main Basket ke liye itne saal nahi wait kar sakta! Bas thode mahine. 50 saal nahi.
Par aaj kyu nahi? Dude! Abhi perfect time nahi hai.
Tu uski baat mat sunn! Meri baat sunn. Tu aaj hi karde.
Nahi Armaan. Tu aisa mat karna. Yeh toh paagal hai, iske baat mat sunn. Puraana plan hi best hai.
Nahi. Yeh better idea hai. Ring toh hai hi tere paas. Karde.
 Nahi, woh ring tu usse accident se pehle engagement pe dene waala tha. Ab tujhe new ring khareedni chahiye.
Haan. New ring.
Par puraani ring mein kya buraayi hai?
Woh baat bhi sahi hai. Puraani ring achchi hai aur Basket ne dekhi hui bhi hai. Usse pasand hai. Nayi ring achchi nahi lagi toh?
Sahi. Ab kuch sahi baat kar raha hai. Armaan grinned, proud of himself.
Itna khush kyu ho raha hai? Koi sahi baat nahi ki hai tune jo itna khush ho raha hai. Kya ring pasand nahi aayi toh? Tu kabse aise sochne laga? Apni Basket ko khudse bhi zyada achchi tarah se jaanta hai aur phir aisi ulti seedhi baatein karta hai. Sharam nahi aati?
Sorry! He said, holding his ears.
Tu uski baaton mein mat aa. Woh tujhe confuse karne ki koshish kar raha hai. Tu karde aaj.
Nahi.
Haan.
Nahi.
Haan.
Maine kahaan na! Nahi matlab nahi!
Kyu tu kahi ka Baadshah hai kya? Jo hum teri baat maane? Tu meri baat sunn.
Nahi meri.
Meri.
Meri.
Meri.
Shut up! Dono chup! Jabse se meri baat - meri baat bolke irritate kar rahe ho! Get lost! Main khud soch lunga mujhe kya karna hai. Tumhaari help nahi chahiye. Idiots kahin ke!
"Armaan! Kya hua? Kyu cheekh rahe ho?" RIddhima asked rushing into the room when she heard him shout.
"K-k-ku-kuch nahi, Jaan. Main toh bas aise. Khu-khud se baat kar raha tha. You know how I am", he said, making weird hand gestures.
Riddhima smiled. Yeah, she knew.
"Theek hai. Par chalo jaldi se ready ho jaao", she said.
It was then that she noticed that he was still in his boxers with a towel around his neck. She couldn't help but check him out.
Come on, she was allowed. Her man was HAWT!
She started at his face. His silky, soft hair. She loved running her hands through them. Then, his eyes. Those beautiful, deep blue oceans of love. She could drown in them. They hid so many emotions. They showered so much love. His eyes were probably her favourite feature of his. Not because they were so beautiful, obviously it was a brownie point, but she loved them because those same eyes held so much love for her that she could be blown away with. She could read all his emotions through those deep pools of blue. She then moved to her next favourite feature of hers. His lips. Sigh! They were so soft and full. She loved the feel of them against hers. Then there was this well defined jaw of his. It was so strong. Determined. It gave him a fierce look.
She left his face down to his chest. Those muscled biceps. Hot. His shoulders. They were so broad. Perfect to fit her frame in his body. And then of course, the abs. God, his abs. They were so freaking sexy. Sometimes she felt running her hands across them or lick them. They were so... she had no words. And his tattooed arms. His arms were so perfect. Perfect around her body when he held her close.
She loved every feature of his body.
"Are you like checking me out?" Armaan asked cheekily, bringing her out of her thoughts.
She blushed a deep shade of red on being caught.
"It's okay, baby. Dekh lo. Sab tumhaara hi toh hai."
"Armaan!" She shouted, smacking his chest.
He laughed and pulled her into his arms giving her a tight hug.
"Waise, you're not too bad yourself. Main bhi tumhe dekhta hu na. Jaan! You are so hot and sexy. Seriously", he said, making ber blush even more.
"Armaan!" She smacked him again.
He hugged her tighter, laughing. He was just so happy to be with her, here. His previous nervousness from earlier long forgotten. When Riddhima had come in after his so called civil war with himself, he was afraid that she had heard him. That would have been embarrassing. He had thought about proposing to her, yet again. But this time, he wanted it to be perfect. Planned and properly executed. Not that the spontaneous proposal from last time was bad. It had been amazing. When she had agreed to marry him - that moment had been the most life altering moment of his life. And the happiest. The euphoria and ecstasy he had felt then was indescribable. But he figured that he had tried spontaneity once, so it was time to give her a perfect proposal. The romantic music, the bended knee, the ring, the flowery speech - all the works. And he had been immaculately planning it for sometime now. It would be perfect.
"Kya soch rahe ho, shona?" Riddhima asked him.
"Shona?" He asked.
She blushed. "Tumhe pata hai, bengali mein shona ka matlab hota hai - love. And since you are my love! Toh you are my shona. Samjhe?"
"Kya baat hai, aaj bada pyaar aa raha hai?" Armaan asked. It was really rare that his baby was so vocal about her love. He cherished those moments. It was really nice to hear those words from her.
"Tumhe koi problem hai kya?"
"Nahi! Mujhe kya problem hogi? In fact tum hamesha aise hi raho. No complaints."
"Tum kabhi nahi sudhroge na?" She smiled when she saw him shaking his head. "Actually, tum mujhe hamesha itne nick names dete ho. Tumhaara bhi hona chahiye na?"
"Haan. Baat toh sahi hai."
"Achcha theek hai. Ab tum please ready ho jao."
She pulled him to the bed and handed him his t - shirt. Armaan was surprised to see that it was a special edition Superman t - shirt that he had been eying for some time! How did she know about it?
"Tumhe kaise pata chala?" He asked.
"Armaan! Ab tumhaare baare mein itni choti cheezein bhi nahi pata hogi kya mujhe?" She asked, feeling a little upset that he asked her that. She knew about his likes and dislikes. She was his girlfriend for God's sakes!
"Tum galat samajh rahi ho Jaan. Main toh bas pooch raha tha. Of course you know my likes and dislikes. In fact you toh know me better than I know myself, baby!"
"Good. Yaad rakhna ye baat."
"Haan haan yaad rakhunga! No tension."
He quickly pulled on his tee and his new Armaani Jeans, courtesy of his Jaan of course. She knew him too well. After he was ready, he went in search of her. She had left when he had finally started getting ready. He searched for her in the whole house only to find her in the kitchen. Figures. Of course, she was there. It was her favourite place in his house. Whenever he lost her, he would finally find her there, cooking something for him.
She instructed him to sit as she set the table. But, woh toh Armaan hi haina. Apni heroine ke saath romance karne ka chance kaise miss kare? Toh when she started arranging the plates and glasses, he hugged her from behind. He kissed her hair and her temple, moving to her cheek and earlobes. Riddhima gasped when she felt him tug on her earlobe gently through his teeth. He nuzzled his face in her neck, placing small kisses. Riddhima was quickly loosing herself in the feel of him. He turned her around, loosing himself in the passion and kissed on her lips. They kissed enthusiastically for sometime before Riddhima pulled away for air. Armaan on the other hand was in no mood of stopping and kissed down her throat, pulling and sucking, leaving small marks here and there.
"Armaan", Riddhima said in a breathy voice.
"I love you", he mumbled into her neck.
"I love you, too."
After their romance session was over, they sat for breakfast.
Riddhima had prepared all of Armaan's favourites. He whooped in joy and literally hogged the food, gulping it down quickly.
They made their way to the theatre then. Riddhima gave Armaan directions to the place. They spent the drive talking about everything and nothing.
Between their endless talks, it wasn't long before they reached the theatre. Armaan started to make his way to the ticket counter, but Riddhima stopped him. He looked at her confused. She just shook her head at him and pulled him to the manager's office.
She knocked on the door and entered the cabin, Armaan still in tow and confused as Hell.
"Rehaan?"
The man in question looked up at her and smiled politely.
"Hey, I'm Riddhima, Shreya ki friend", she introduced herself.
"Oh right!" His expression changing from polite friendly ness to absolute delight.
"Sorry, woh pictures mein thodi different dikhti ho. I am so happy to finally meet you, yaar", he said, pulling her into a bear hug, much to the surprise of both Armaan and Riddhima. Armaan scowled at Rehaan, not liking the way he was hugging his girl.
After letting her go, he turned to Armaan. "And you must be Armaan."
Armaan nodded politely. Rehaan smiled at him and pulled him in a one armed man hug.
"Nice to meet you, man."
"And you!" He turned to Riddhima,"Shreya tumhaare baare mein bohot baatein karti hai. Ridzy aisi, Ridzy waisi. I feel like main tumhe bohot achche se jaanta hu."
Riddhima smiled. "How is she? Bohot time ho gaya usse mile. Phone pe toh baat hoti rehti hai but aajkal hospital ke kaam mein itni busy rehti hu..."
"Arre it's okay. You don't have to explain. Tum doctor ho yaar! Peoples lives depend on you. And Shreya is amazing."
Riddhima laughed.
"Chale?" Rehaan asked.
Both Armaan and RIddhima nodded.
He led them to another part of the theatre. Armaan was really getting confused now. What the freaking Hell was going on?
Rehaan led them to the Gold Chambers. "Here you go. Sab ready hai. Show kuch time mein start ho jaayega. Have fun guys!" Saying so he left.
Armaan was really confused now. They were the only two people in the room. How could there be a show for only two people?
"Kya hua? Tum jabse kya soch rahe ho?" Riddhima asked him.
"Jaan, yahaan koi aur kaise nahi hai?"
"Woh isliye, Mr. Buddhu, kyuki yeh private screening hai."
"Oh, private screening. Kiski?"
"Humaari. Aur kiski? Tumhe koi aur nazar aa raha hai yahaan?"
"Wohi toh main keh raha hu jabse, Basket. Yahaan koi aur kaise nahi hai?"
"Actually Armaan, woh Rehaan haina, yahaan ka manager, woh meri college friend Shreya ka husband hai. Toh maine uski help se arrange karaya hai."
Armaan was shocked on hearing this. A private screening, just for the two of them. Wow! It was amazing!
"Thanks, Basket! I love you!" Saying so, he hugged her tightly.
"Ab tum mujhe thanks bologe Shona?" RIddhima asked, feeling a little hurt.
"Ab tum mere liye itna special surprise plan karogi toh thanks bhi na bolu?"
"Tumhe achcha laga?"
"Achcha? Jaan, bohot bohot bohot bohot zyada achcha laga. This is amazing!"
Riddhima smiked widely. "Good."
"I love you, Jaan."
"I love you, too, Shona."
Armaan took RIddhima's hand in his own and tugged her uoward. Meanwhile, a worker broight refreshments for them. "Sir, yeh thode snacks. Agar aapko kuch aur chahiye ho toh please mujhe batayiga."
Armaan nodded and thanked him as he saw another guy come in with pillows and blankets. Armaan took them from him, thanking him.
Armaan sat on one of the chairs, laid the pillow on the seat and then stretched on it, making himself comfortable. Riddhima smiled and moved to the seat beside him and was about to sit when Armaan grabbed her hand and pulled her. She fell on him with a jerk.
"Armaan! Kya kara rahe ho?"
"Arre. Tum wahaan kyu baithogi? Itni badi seat hai, hum dono aaraam se fit jo jaayenge."
"Armaan doosri seat haina!"
"Haan, par mujhe toh apni Jaan ke saath baithna haina."
When he talked like that, Riddhima had no option but to smile and give in. The guy was such a romantic! She was really lucky.
She settled in the same seat with him, wrapping herself around him completely. Armaan smiled and stretched the seat so that they were both lying. He rested his head on the pillow and pulled Riddhima closer. She smiled and snuggled closer to him, resting her head on his chest and wrapping her arms around his waist, tangling their legs together. Armaan grinned and pulled the blanket on top of them.
The movie started and Armaan watched with rapt attention. Of course he did, Superman was his favourite superhero of all time. While he was engrossed in the movie, Riddhima was engrossed in him. (Ab har baar Armaan hi thodi taadega, Riddhima ka bhi haq banta hai yaar! :p) She loved the way his expression changed as the story progressed. His expressions were in perfect sync with the story. He laughed when Clark did something stupid and his hold on Riddhima tightened everytime that Superman was fighting with the villain. Riddhima barely registered the movie. If someone asked her what the story, she was sure she wouldn't be able to say anything. She wasn't really into Superman. Her favourite superhero was Batman. She rarely ever watched Superman, only when Rahul made her watch. But the satisfied expression on Armaan's face once the movie was over was totally worth it.
"I love you," he said, hugging her tight.
He nuzzled his head in her neck and they stayed like that for sometime before Riddhima pulled back and stood up. "Chalein?"
He nodded.
They went to see Rehaan before leaving. "Thanks a lot, Rehaan. This really means a lot!"
"Arre yaar! Ab tum thanks mat bolo. Itna toh kar hi sakta hu main tumhaare liye."
"Chal, dude. Hum nikal rahe hai. Bas tujhe thanks bolne aaye the."
"No worries! By the way, we should do dinner sometime. The four of us. Like a double date or something."
"Done thing, man", saying so Armaan hugged him and bumped fists with him. Riddhima gave him a hug and instructed him to tell his wife to call her and then they left.
"Ab kahaan jaa rahe hai?"

xxx
 Prags,

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