Monday, 27 November 2017

Chapter 32 : I'll Love You Longer Than Forever - AR FF

Riddhima spent the entire day with Armaan, never leaving his side. She tried to tell him again and again that it was fine, that she understood and that she wasn't going anywhere. By some twisted notion that he had in his head, he had formed a warped theory that now she was going to leave him for good because he didn't want to get married right away.
As if she could ever go away, she scoffed.

He had held onto her tightly, begging and pleading with her to not leave him. He had broken down and literally cried for hours.
When the sobs had subsided after sometime, there had been silent tears and promises of doing better and never disappointing her again.
Riddhima had just let him get his feelings all out and held him tightly, murmuring comforting words to him.
She was surprised at the sudden reversal of roles. Usually, it was her who was a blubbering mess with Armaan comforting her. Armaan was always so confident and so self - assured that she never thought that he might have had insecurities of his own. Sure, he had had girlfriends before, but per his own admission, he had never felt so strongly for any of them. So, it was kind of unchartered territory for both of them and not just her. It was only now that she was realizing the fact. She hoped that she could make it better for him as he did for her.
"I love you, Basket," Armaan murmured in his sleep. It was only today that Riddhima found out about him talking in his sleep. She thought it was adorable.
They had been in bed for a long time. After their talk in the fire escape, Riddhima had gotten them back to his apartment, where they had talked for hours. They lay everything out in the open - their doubts, insecurities and their fears. They comforted each other in any way they could, promising to never leave each other. Riddhima aired her own doubts from the very beginning of their relationship when she thought that he was just playing around to when she thought that he didn't love her as much as she loved him and always being scared of what would happen if one of his old flames came back into his life. She was scared that he would leave her for them. She told him at length about their first break up after she found out about Anjali's bet and used she felt. She told him how heartbroken she was when they broke up after Muskaan. She told him how hurt she was and how stupid she felt because of all the misunderstandings due to Pari and she shared her pain on finding about his amnesia.
Armaan was stellar through it all. Though he had been shaking like a leaf only moments prior, still reeling from his confession in the fire escape, when he heard Riddhima's broken and small and unsure voice, his instincts kicked in. He held her tightly to him, kissing every part of her he could reach as he repeatedly told her how much he loved her and how precious she was to him.
After Riddhima had calmed down, he had talked about his own insecurities - about not being good enough for her, how he thought she might actually fall for Rahul, about being afraid that she might leave him if Dr. Shashank didn't want them together, how he thought he'd never have her back after the fight over Muskaan, about being insuffiecient due to his amnesia. His biggest fear though was that Riddhima might have ended up hating him for the rest of her life after what he did to her after the shootout. Granted, it was what he wanted, but still, the fact that Riddhima hated him was too hard for him to digest. And then he told her how afraid he was of losing her in anyway and that he was scared that she didn't love him anymore because he wasn't ready for marriage.
Riddhima held him and told him that she couldn't hate him even if she tried and there was no way in Hell that she couldn't not love him. Armaan's breakdown had been fairly more intense and boisterous than Riddhima's had his body shook with sobs. Riddhima never wavered for a second and spent the entire day showing Armaan just how much she loved him and how she wasn't going anywhere, not even if he ordered her away.
They had retired to his bedroom sometime into the conversation but Riddhima couldn't remember when. They had been talking and neither of tehm realized when they had fallen asleep.
Riddhima had woken up sometime later, and called Rahul. She hadn't been able to go back to sleep then, content just to watch Armaan. He looked so peaceful in his sleep, a smile on his lips and no lines on his forehead. Riddhima smiled and kissed him, loving the feel of his arms tightening around her. She pulled back and somehow Armaan's smile had gotten wider, as though he could feel Riddhima near him. He snuggled closer to her, getting comfortable by resting his head on her chest.
Riddhima sighed when she heard the front door open. They were here. She knew that she would have to go out and talk to their friends soon, but she couldn't leave Armaan's embrace. The way he was holding her, just perfecty, neither too lose nor too tight, the way he was all tangled up in her wasn't something she could let go.
She decided to stay put, after all she had told Rahul not to disturb them and she knew he would understand, even if the others didn't. However, she couldn't do that for long before she heard them. The TV was on and seemed like someone was arguing. God, they were creating such a ruckus! Armaan was going to wake up from all this soon if she didn't stop it. And the boy needed his sleep. So, she reluctantly tried to get out of bed, but to no avail as Armaan tightened his arms around her to resist any movement.
After a lot of maneuvering, she was able to get his arms at his side, which woke him up. "Basket?" He asked, disoriented, his voice thick with sleep.
"Hmmm. Tum so jao, main abhi aa rahi hu."
"Kahaan jaa rahi ho?" He asked, holding her hand, a little too tightly.
"Main bas aayi, Armaan. Bahar sab aa gaye hain," she replied.
She ran her free hand through his fingers, trying to get him to relax. He fell asleep within minutes as she continued her ministrations. She carefully removed her hand from his slackened hold.
"Hey, guys," she greeted them entering the living room.
Anjali and Muskaan pulled her into a hug immediately.
"Kya hua, Ridzy?" Anjali asked.
"Kuch nahi, Di. Armaan aur main bas baat kar rahe the," she replied.
"Toh phir hume aaj raat rukne kyu bulaya?"
Riddhima couldn't answer that.
"Riddhu, kya hua? Please, humse share kar sakti hai. Hum sab tum dono ke liye bohot pareshaan haim. Tere aur Armaan ke beech mein sab theek haina?" Rahul prodded.
"Haan, Rahul. Sab theek hai," she whispered.
Rahul sighed and sat beside her, pulling her into his side.
"Chutki," he sighed, knowing that everything was not fine. Muskaan gasped when she heard Rahul. Atul and Anjali looked at her questioningly, but before she could say anything, she saw Rahul sjake his head out of the corner of her eye.
She sighed and shook her head at Atul and Anjali, knowing it wasn't her story to tell.
"Kya hua? Please bata hume," Rahul pleaded with her.
Riddhima knew there was no getting them off her back until she replied.
"Armaan shaadi nahi karna chaahta," she replied.
"What?!" Her friends roared together.
"Ridzy tu yeh kya keh rahi hai? Zarur koi misunderstanding hui hogi. Hero tujhse shaadi nahi karna chaahta? Impossible," Muskaan said.
"Haan, Ridz. Muskaan sahi keh rahi hai. Armaan toh tujhse kitna pyaar karta hai. Aur uska toh sapna tha tujhse shaadi karne ka," Atul piped in.
"Guys, relax. Armaan shaadi nahi karna chaahta, abhi. Hamesha ke liye nahi," she replied.
"Oh. Tune toh jaan hi nikaal di thi, Ridzy. Toh theek haina, Armaan ko thoda aur time chahiye usse pehle ki woh mere jeeju ban jaaye, toh it's okay," Anjali told her.
Riddhima blushed heavily at the word jeeju.
"Riddhu, kya hua? Sab theek haina? Armaan kyu wait karna chaahta hai?" Rahul asked.
Riddhima sighed.
"Usse lagta hai ki agar hum apni relationship aage badhaane ki koshish kare, toh kuch galat ho jaayega," she replied.
At the confused look on everybody's face, she explained to them what Armaan had said to her about upset fathers, stupid fights, terrible accidents and horrific incidents that had all happened when they decided to take a step forward in their relationship.
"Wow," Anjali muttered when Riddhima was done, "Maine toh aisa kabhi socha hi nahi."
The others murmured in agreement.
"Don't worry, Di. Dheere dheere sab theek ho jaayega," Riddhima replied.
Silence settled in the room as everyone digested the news.
Riddhima took this opportunity to move to the kitchen. She got to cooking as she knew everyone was going to get hungry in sometime, and since she wasn't with Armaan she thought she might as well cook because she wasn't sure if she would be able to leave Armaan once back in the room.
"Hey," Rahul whispered from behind her.
"Hey," she replied.
"Kuch help karadu?" Rahul asked, not giving her an option and taking the vegetable board to his side as he started to chop them.
Riddhima smiled at him and the two of them got to work in silence. She knew it wasn't long before he would want to ask her about she was handling the whole situation.
She was right. A few minutes in, Rahul couldn't resist any longer.
"Tu theek hai na?" He asked her.
Riddhima sighed before nodding. Rahul scoffed disbelievingly at her.
"Nahi, sach mein. Main theek hu. I just wish ki mujhe pehle samajh aa gaya hota ki Armaan kya soch raha hai. Tujhe pata hai, jabse woh waapas aaya hai, mere saath time spend karne pehle se bhi zyada stupid harkatein karta hai, mujhe pehle zyada tight hug karta hai. Maine kabhi socha hi nahi ki woh har baar yeh soch raha tha ki shayad kuch aisa ho jaayega jiski wajah se hum phir alag ho jaayenge."
Rahul pulled her into a hug. "Hey! Kuch nahi hoga. Okay? Tu itni tension mat le. Armaan ko bas thoda time chahiye."
"Jaanti hu. Lekin main bas yeh soch rahi hu ki usse iss sab se itna zyada fark kabse padne laga?"
"Jabse woh poor eek saal tujhse alag raha," Rahul replied.
Riddhima looked at him questioningly. He looked at her as if she was an idiot before replying.
"Dekh, yeh... shootout se pehle, jab bhi tere aur Armaan ke relationship mein koi problems aaye, tumne saath mein solve kiye. As a couple na sahi toh ek doosre ke dost banke hamesha ek doosre ka saath diya, ek doosre ko support kiya. Lekin iss baar, tum dono bilkul alag ho gaye. I think Armaan uss baat se thoda zyada upset hai."
Riddhima nodded. Rahul always knew what to say.
"I hope ki uski yeh insecurity jaldi soor ho jaaye. Main nahi chaahti ki iski wajah se koi aur problems ho," she said.
"Usse bas thoda time chahiye, Riddhu. I'm sure woh jaldi theek ho jaayega. Usse pata hai, ki agar tere haath mein hota, toh usse kabhi chodke nahi jaati. Aur na hi kabhi jaayegi. Usse thoda waqt de sakti haina?"
Riddhima nodded and hugged Rahul in thanks.
He smiled at her and just like that, the conversation was over.
That's the reason Riddhima admired Rahul so much. He never pried and was always happy to help.
"Ridz, khaana ban gaya kya? Mujhe bohot bhook lag rahi hai," Atul called out.
Rahul and Riddhima grinned at each other and quickly finished up.
"Bas 2 minute, Champ!" Rahul replied.
They set the food on the table. Everyone fixed their plates and Riddhima filled her plate with food enough for 2 people.
Anjali looked at her questioningly.
"Woh Armaan so raha hai, toh usse jaga ke, room mein khila dungi," Riddhima replied.
Anjali looked like she wanted to say something, but didn't, merely nodding instead.
Riddhima smiled gratefully at her friends and went inside.
Once inside, she set the plate on the side table and moved to the bed to wake Armaan up.
She sat beside him and shook his shoulder. He didn't move. She shook a little harder with the same result. She knew better than to shout it out in his ears after last time, so she whispered softly, "Armaan." Still no movement.
Not knowing what else to do, she kissed him, square on the mouth. And hard. It didn't take Armaan long to respond back. He pulled Riddhima on top of him and then flipped them so she was pressed into the mattress.
"Mmm, now was that so hard?" He asked her once they broke apart for much needed air.
"Armaan! You JERK! Tum jag rahe the na?" Riddhima asked.
Armaan looked at her and smirked in reply.
She tried to push him off of her but he was too strong for her and just pushed her into the mattress harder.
"Sweetheart," he whined, snuggling closer to her.  
Riddhima sighed and let him snuggle close to her.
After a few minutes, she tried to push him off again.
"Kya?" He asked, annoyed.
"Armaan, khana."
He made a face and moved off of her and fell back on the bed. She smiled at him and pecked his pout before getting up and fetching the plate.
She placed it on the bed and they ate, feeding each other and enjoying each other's company.
After dinner was done, Armaan pulled Riddhima into a tight hug. "Thank you," he whispered into her hair.
"Armaan, ab tum mujhe tumhaare liye khana banana ke liye bhi thank you bologe?" She asked.
"Main uske liye nahi keh raha, Jaan. Main isliye keh raha hu ki tumne meri baat ko samjha aur mujhe support kiya."
Riddhima pulled back from him so he could look at her. She grabbed his face in her hands and made him look directly into her eyes which were taut with determination.
When she spoke, her voice was soft but strong, so he would never ever doubt that her faith in him.
"Armaan, main tumse pyaar karti hu. Tum jaise bhi waise karti hu. Tumhe samajhti hu. Toh tumne kaisa socha ki main yeh nahi sumjhungi?"
Armaan sighed in resignation and pulled her into him again, kissing her fiercely.
"I love you," he whispered.
"I love you, too."
However, their moment was disrupted by a loud bang from the living room.
"Yeh log kabhi nahi sudhrenge," Armaan said.
"Chalo, dekhte hain kya hua," Riddhima replied, tugging on his hand and pulling him outside.
Outside, the gang was in a quarrel over what movie to watch. So predictable.
Armaan and Riddhima looked at each other and smiled before they went to break the fight up. Muskaan would have ended up breaking someone's bones if they hadn't interevened.
The choice of movies was quickly put to a vote and they sat together, enjoying it.
Armaan looked around him. He loved his job. He had a great family. He had the best friends anyone could ever ask for. And, above all, he had his Basket, who was looking at him as if he was the most important thing in her world.
So what if there were some complications? Life was still pretty good, he smiled.

 xxx
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