Thursday, 30 November 2017

Chapter 33 : I'll Love You Longer Than Forever - AR FF

The next few days passed by quickly. Slowly, Armaan was coming to realize that Riddhima really was fine with him not wanting to get married right away. He couldn't have been more grateful for the fact.
Riddhima had been absolutely amazing to him the past few weeks. After he had explained to her just why he wanted to wait before they got married, he was sure she was going to laugh in his face at his pathetic excuses. But, she had held him and loved him and reassured him. It made him love her even more.

He was also extremely happy because Su seemed to have backed off in the past few days. He hadn't known the reason for it until just a few days prior but he had been thankful just the same. As it turned out, none of the interns were aware of his and Riddhima's relationship, leading Su to think that he was on the market when he was, in fact, very much off.
He had been surprised when he had walked in the locker room the day after the match and Yuvi had hugged him and congratulated him. At his confused expression, Yuvi had explained that he had just found out about him and Riddhima and he was very happy for them. Yuvi went on to tell him that he thought that Riddhima and he were great together. Armaan had grown really close to Yuvi and Naina in the past few days as they had assisted him on several cases and he had started thinking of them as his friends. He was absolutely delighted to see Yuvi so happy about his and Riddhima's relationship.
Yuvi had also told Naina, who had hugged Armaan and Riddhima so tight the next time she saw them that she had actually tackled them to the ground. Riddhima had laughed and asked her the reason for her sudden exuberance, and Armaan had smiled wiedly because he was fairly certain as to why Naina was so happy. AS it turned out, he was right. Naina had told Riddhima about how Yuvi had told her about the two of them and that she couldn't be happier for them. Naina had always suspected that what they had ran a lot deeper than just friendship and she was ecstatic to know that they were together. She went on babbling about how she thought that they were extremely cute together and that she thought they were the perfect couple' and definitely a match made in Heaven.' That one had made Armaan smile widely. And no one had been able to decipher the reason for his smile or get it off his face for the next several hours.
As it turned out, Su had heard Naina's rant about how she felt about their relationship, causing her to stop flirting with him. Naina had told him over lunch a few days back that she had entered the locker room one day to see Su pacing around and muttering something about how she thought that Riddhima wasn't good for Armaan. Naina had then decided to take matters into her own hands and told Su straight up that she wasn't to interfere in their relationship. Naina had seen first hand just how much in love Armaan and Riddhima were and she was sure that nothing could break them. She had told Su just as much and explained to her that she was only setting herself up for inevitable heartbreak if she decided to pursue Armaan despite of knowing about his relationship. Her exact words to Su had been He literally worships the ground she walks on, Su. He's not going to leave her for anything in the world.'
Naina explained that Su had been decidedly upset about the fact. But, then, she had seen Armaan and Riddhima together one day in the fire escape during one of their breaks. On seeing them together, she had realized just how much they loved each other and immediately ran to Naina and apologized to her for even thinking about doing anything to jeopardize Armaan and Riddhima's relationship. She was definitely sad because she had taken a liking to Armaan, but she had understood that he wasn't going to like her in that way, ever.
Su was a realy good person and she had realized the folly in her ways. She even went to Riddhima to apologize for her behavior towards Armaan. She had apologized to Armaan as well, but he hadn't been able to figure out what had brought the apology on. It was a few days later that he had asked Naina about it at lunch that he had found out about it. Armaan had been extremely grateful to her and thanked her profusely for defending his relationship with Riddhima in front of Su. Naina had just shrugged it off saying that it was what friends did.
"Armaan!" Dr. Shashank called out, breaking him away from his thoughts.
Armaan looked at him questioningly.
"Arre, beta kya soch rahe ho?"
"Kuch nahi, bas aise hi."
Dr. Shashank smiled and got back to his conversation with Rahul and Atul.
Their entire gang plus the interns and Dr. Keerti were at the Guptas for dinner that the night. Apparently, Dr. Shashank had an announcement to make, and he wanted to do it after dinner today.
Armaan smiled as he wondered what this announcement could be. He was extremely happy that things between him and the rest of the Guptas hadn't turned weird after Riddhima had told them about their decision to wait for marriage. He absolutely loved the fact that Riddhima was calling it their decision and not his insecurity. Riddhima had told him that Dr. Shashank had been dropping hints about wanting them to get married for quite sometime now and irritated with the constant onslaught of questions, she had sat her parents down one night and explained to them that they had decided to wait for some more time before they got married. She had told them some part of Armaan's fears and explained that she wanted some time with Armaan to just be, and not worry about anything else.
She had told him that they had been extremely understanding of the situation and Dr. Shashank had been made some comment about being grateful that Armaan loved his daughter so much that he was so afraid to lose her. Yeah, Riddhima's talk with her parents had definitely earned him some brownie points with the in - laws.
Loud squeals from the kitchen got everyone's attention. They went into see Riddhima prancing around like a deer and grinning uncontrollably as she talked on the phone. Everyone was looking at her as if she had lost it, when the loud ringing of Rahul's phone got his attention. He answered the call and a few minutes in he had a grin rivalling Riddhima's. The two of them talked on the phone for some more time before hanging up, together. They looked at each other, and if possible, their grins grew larger.
"He proposed!" Riddhima squealed.
"She said yes!" Rahul shouted before they hugged each other.
"God, I'm so happy!" Riddhima said.
"It's about damn time," Rahul replied.
"Um...guys, what's going on?" Anjali asked.
"Cole proposed to Tessa," Riddhima replied gleefully.
Anjali smiled brightly on hearing this. "That's awesome."
"Yes, it is. And, guess what?"
Anjali looked at her questioningly.
"I'm Maid of Honor!"
"That's great, Ridzy. Lekin tune Tessa se poocha, ki Best Man kaun hai?" Anjali asked.
Riddhima shook her head sheepishly. "Woh main proposal ki news aur yeh jaanke ki main Maid of Honor itni excited ho gayi, ki main poochna hi bhool gayi."
Rahul cleared his throat to get their attention. He smiled smugly before pointing at himself.
"Really?" Riddhima asked.
"AS if Cole would ask someone else?" He snorted.
"Awesome!" Riddhima repled before hugging him.
"Guys! Koi hume explain karega ki sab itne khush kyu hai?" Atul asked.
Rahul grinned before answering.
"Woh actually Cole aur Tessa hamaare friends hai."
"Oh," Atul replied.
"Haan. Actually Tessa bhi doctor hai aur woh humaare saath hi kaam karti hai. Aur Cole uska long time boyfriend hai. Toh wahaan kaam karte waqt hum sab bohot achche friends bann gaye hain," Riddhima explained.
"Oh," Muskaan said.
"Haan. Aur almost 11 saal ke baad, woh dono finally shaadi kar rahe hai," Rahul said.
"11 saal! Woh log 11 saal se ek saath hain, aur ab shaadi kar rahe hain?" Atul asked, surprised.
"Haan, but I think it's the right time now. I mean woh dono tabse saath hain janse woh 17 ke the. Toh ab woh 28 ke hi hain," Rahul explained.
"Wow, that's so good! Us umar mein hi unhe apna life partner mil gaya," Muskaan whispered, amazed. Naina nodded her agreement.
Riddhima smiled as she narrated their story to the rest of the group. How they'd grown up together because their parents were friends and how Cole had always had a crush on Tessa but had been too much of a wimp to actually tell her about it. How he pranked her all the time to get her attention and how she pranked him right back to exact revenge. She told them about how Tessa started having feelings for Cole when they were about 17, and then gaining confidence on seeing Tessa's feelings towards him change, how Cole had grabbed the opportunity and asked him to be his girlfriend. He had still been harboring that crush for almost 10 years then. She told them how they'd been together since, how they had gone to college together and then Cole had given up a career as a pro - footballer in favor of being an engineer. How he had supported Tessa throughout Med School. She told them about how great a couple they were together and how much they loved each other. How they were disgustingly cute in public and how much Cole favored PDA. She told them that no one was allowed to call Tessa Tessie' apart from Cole because it was his nickname for her. But, above all, she told them how she thought that they were perfect together.
Riddhima had always found their relationship similar to hers and Armaan's - all the pranking and Cole falling for Tessa how Armaan had fallen for her and then with time Tessa's feelings changing towards Cole like hers had for Armaan and Cole being the cool - dude and heartbreaking player like Armaan and Tessa being the awkward, shy teenage girl with absolutely no knowledge about relationships like her.
It had been difficult for her to be around them in the beginning, because they reminded her so much of her and Armaan - how they were with each other and that special relationship they shared. But, with time, she had tried to ignore that pain in her chest when she was near them and just enjoy their company. They soon became very good friends and she was pleased with herself for overlooking her heartache because it had given her two amazing friends who cared about her immensely.
"Wow, Ridzy. They sound so great," Muskaan said.
"They are," Riddhima replied.
The excitement died down after sometime when Riddhima, Muskaan and Padma Mom set the table and everyone grabbed at the food like it was their last meal.
After dinner, Dr. Shashank gathered everyone up in the living room.
"So, aap sab soch rahe honge ki main kya announcement karna chaahta hu," he started. The sentence was met with several murmurs of approval.
"Maine aap sabko yeh bataane ke liye bulaya hai, ki kuch hi samay mein humaara yearly Sanjeevani Concert hone waala hai. Aur main chaahta hu ki aap sab usme participate kare," he announced.
Everyone started talking excitedly amongst themselves on hearing about this.
"Yes, I know. Bohot hi exciting hai. Iske liye app sab Dr. Armaan ko thanks keh sakte hain, kyuki yeh unka hi idea tha."
At Armaan's confused look, Dr. Shashank elaborated. "Jo Save Sanjeevani Concert' humne kuch saalo pehle kiya tha, jab Sanjeevani financial crisis mein tha, woh ek bohot hi bada hit tha. Isliye, us saal se, humne decide kiya ki hum yeh concert ab har saal karenge. Isse doctors ko apni duty ke alawa kuch refreshing aur different karne ka mauka milega aur charity ke liye aur Sanjeevani ke funds ke liye bhi paise ikathhe ho jaayenge. Aur, kyuki Save Sanjeevani Concert' ka idea Dr. Armaan ka tha, toh aap sab unhe thank kar sakte hain," Dr. Shashank said.
Armaan looked at him and smiled widely. Shashank returned that smile with a grin of his own. Riddhima looked at them and couldn't help the ecstacy that spread through her. It was great to see them get along after everything that had happened. Seeing them today, she couldn't believe that there was a time when her father loathed the sight of Armaan. He treated Armaan like a son now. And that fact was absolutely heart - warming.
Soon after the announcement was made, everyone started discussing about what they wanted to do for their performance. Dr. Shashank and Padma Mom looked at them and smiled widely on seeing their excitement.
"Armaan, Riddhima," Dr. Shashank called.
The two of them looked at him.
"Zara mere saath chaloge. Mujhe tum dono se kuch important baat karni hai," he explained. They nodded and quickly followed Dr. Shashank to his study.
"Kua hua, Papa? Sab theek haina?" Riddhima asked him.
Dr. Shashank nodded.
"Sabse pehle toh main Armaan se kuch kehna chaahta hu," he said, making Armaan look at him.
"Armaan, Riddhima ne mujhe shaadi ko lekar tumhaare decision ke baare mein bataya," he started.
Armaan was nervous now. He thought that they were okay with waiting. Why was he bringing it up now? Had they decided that they didn't want to wait, afterall? What would he do if that was the case? He respected Dr. Shashank too much to disagree with him and he knew that if he suggested that they get married right away, he would start the preparations, irrespective of how skeptical and afraid he was.
"Beta, main kehna chaahta hu, ki hum mein se koi bhi tum dono ko kisi bhi cheez ke liye pressurize nahi karega. After all, yeh tumhaari zindagi hai, aur tum dono ko poora haq hai apni life ke decisions lene ka. Billy aur Ananya Bhabhi ko bhi lagta hai ki main sahi hu," Dr. Shashank stopped at the confused expression on their faces.
"Meri unse baat hui hai, Armaan. Actually, hum sab chaahte the ki tum dono shaadi ho jaaye ab. Lekin jab us din Riddhima ne mujhse aur Padma se baat ki, aur tumhaara nazariya hamaare saamne rakha, toh hum chaaron ne decide kiya, ki is baat ko lekar agar hum saare decisions tum dono par chode, toh hi better hoga. Jab bhi tumhe lage ki tum dono ab is rishte ko aage badhaane ke liye tayyar ho, hum tabhi hi shaadi ke baare mein baat karenge, okay?"
"Thanks. Thank you...Papa," Arman said, calling Dr. Shashank Papa' for the first time ever. Dr. Shashank smiled widely on hearing Armaan call him that.
"I'm glad ki ab yeh sab kuch clear ho gaya hai," he declared. Armaan and Riddhima nodded in unison.
"Aur ek baat thi, jo mujhe tum dono se karni thi," he said.
"Kya baat hai, Papa?" Armaan asked.
"Main tum dono ko 2 hafton ke liye Paris bhej raha hu," Dr. Shashank replied, shocking the Hell out of Armaan and Riddhima.

xxx
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