Thursday, 28 December 2017

Chapter 44 : I'll Love You Longer Than Forever - AR FF



Previously on...
AR roam around Paris.
So much love! <3333333

Chapter 44

"That feels so good!" Riddhima moaned as the masseuse gave her a massage.
"I can't believe you've never had one before," Emma commented.
Riddhima just shrugged as best as she could.

"Massages can be very good, you know. And in our profession, they are kind of a must. It relaxes you. And with all the pressure and frustration that's a part of our daily job, we need to relax and unwind."
"Hmmm..."
"I must say, that man of yours is a sweetheart! Get us a full day of pampering and all that. Nice."
Riddhima smiled. It was true. Armaan had arranged for the two of them to spend some time together and getting pampered while doing so.
He'd been doing that since morning. She woke up with breakfast in bed, prepared by yours truly, of course. When she was done, a bath was already drawn for her and clothes placed in the bathroom.
When she asked him why he was pampering her so much, he just shrugged, kissed her and told her that he loved her. After, her bath, she was informed that Emma wanted for them to spend some time together, so that's what she would be doing before they had their 'big date' as Armaan referred to it.
They had a spa appointment, first thing, which was where the ladies were at present.
"He's quite amazing, isn't he?" Riddhima asked rhetorically.
"He is," Emma agreed. "I wish Ron would do stuff like this for me at times. Don't get me wrong, Ron is an absolute sweetheart and I love him and he loves me and we're happy, but he's kind of a dork with no means to romance."
Riddhima giggled. "I bet that's what made you fall for him in the first place, isn't it?"
Emma laughed. "Yes, it is."
"He's just amazing. And he does all these little things, you know. He always listens, he knows how to make me laugh and he supports me in everything. And, he's the best father. Seeing him with Rose absolutely melts my heart. She's his world, you know."
Riddhima smiled. "He sounds like a very good husband."
"He is. I don't know what I'd do without him. He's just so put together, you know? He makes me feel safe and protected all the time."
"Yeah? Tell me more about him."
"He's a dork. And a history buff, which is a good thing as he teaches History at the high school in our town. He loves playing chess. And he's absolutely great at it. In all these years that I've known him, he's never lost a game. Like any guy, he's obsessed with soccer. And..." Emma trailed off when she saw Riddhima looking at her.
"What?" She asked.
"What?"
"Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Nothing. Just seeing how in love you are."
Emma blushed.
"Enough about me. Tell me about you guys."
"What's there to tell?" Riddhima asked. "You already know everything."
"Not really. I know that you love each other, a lot. And that you've been through many hardships to get where you are today."
"Armaan and I are like that typical couple from those rom - com movies," Riddhima began.
"Really?"
"Yeah. We started on the wrong foot. Couldn't stand the sight of each other. We fought a lot. Played pranks on each other. Never missed an opportunity to show the other down."
"You and Armaan? Didn't get along? Seems hard to believe."
Riddhima laughed.
"It's the truth. We fought all the damn time. But, somewhere in between those fights, our feelings grew into something totally different, and before we could realize what was happening, we'd fallen in love. It took sometime to realize that the feeling was actually love, even longer to let ourselves believe that it could happen and then longer to actually confess those feelings. But then we did, and we were happy. Armaan was - is - the most amazing person I've ever met. He's smart, handsome, charming, loving and funny. He's loyal to a fault and he's passionate about everything he does. He's just the kind of guy you fantasize about finding. Your one ture love. And I had mine."
"Sounds like a fairytale," Emma commented.
"I wish. Apart from all this, there were just so many complications. So many half - truths and lies and fights. Soemtimes I felt like all of it was dream. That actually having a life with Armaan was not something that could be real. But, Armaan is one stubborn guy. He never gave up on us. Not for a second. Despite of how lost I've gotten, or how confused or ignorant I've been, he's been my rock. Always there. Supporting me. Encouraging me. Making me believe in myself, in him and in the possibility of us."
"It is a fairytale. Armaan loves you a lot, Ridzy. You're really a lucky girl."
"I know. But, enough about me. Tell me about how you met Ron."
"We met in college. It was a blind date, sort of."
"No way! A blind date?"
"Yeah, my room mate was friends with a friend of his. They kind of set us up. We'd both been too involved in school to get out much, but then Evie insisted that go out on the weekends. And on one such Saturday, she barged in and told me that I was going on a date with the guy who she knew was perfect for me."
"What did you say?"
"What do you think I said? I straight up refused. Told her to take her stupid ideas elsewhere because I wasn't interested at all."
"How did you end up going then?"
"One thing you should know about Evie is that she's a manipulative bitch. She's got the talent of getting anything done the way she wants it."
"Oh."
"Yeah. So, I went. And Ron was there. He bought me a bunch of lilies. He was so nervous that night. He ended up dropping the flowers, spilling water all over the floor and dropping food on his clothes," Emma said, laughing.
"Wow!"
"I know, right. So, after the date, I sort of apologized to him."
"Apologized? Why?"
"You know, I figured he must have been forced into it, like I was. And I thought that maybe he was doing stuff purposely so that I'd think it was a bad date and we wouldn't have to see each other again. And I told him that. And then I told him that I understood if that was the case and he didn't need to be so horrible."
"What did he do?"
"He kissed me."
"Seriously?"
Emma nodded. "He just straight up kissed me, square on the mouth. And it was the best kiss of my life."
Riddhima giggled. "And then?"
"He said that I talked entirely too much. And that all that happened wasn't because he didn't want to be there, it was because he thought I was insanely beautiful - those were his exact words - and that he got nervous around beautiful women."
Riddhima couldn't help the Aww' that escaped.
"He asked me to be his girl that night and the rest is history."
"You guys are absolutely cute! I have to meet him and see the two of you together in person."
"Soon, hopefully."
Riddhima nodded.
After the massage, they went for a mani - pedi at the salon followed by a haircut.
After that, Emma decided they absolutely needed to go to that one coffee shop that sold the best coffee in the history of coffees. So, they went.
They were talking and merry making, when Riddhima said, "I want to talk to you about something."
"Yeah, sure. What?"
"It's about Armaan."
"What about him?"
"I want to know about his treatment," she said, her voice resolute.
"Riddhima, I don't think it's a good idea," Emma started.
"Emma, please. I need to know. I've put it off for a long time, but I need to know about it. It's constantly on my head. This feeling of not knowing, of not being there. I want to know. Please."
Emma sighed. "I understand."
"Good, then tell me, please. And Emma, please be truthful with me, okay? I trust you. And I know that ut was really difficult for Armaan to go through with it, but whenever I've tried to talk about it, he just makes a light comment and moves on. But, I want the whole truth. All the gory details, okay? I can take it."
Emma nodded.
"Firstly, you have to understand that this is going to be difficult for you. There's a reason that Armaan thinks that that part of his life is better left unsaid and while I understand his reasons, I believe that you deserve to know the truth. So, I'm going to tell you. Everything."
Riddhima nodded gratefully.
"Thank you."
"When Armaan came to us, his condition wasn't really all that good. He'd been working with a nuerologist from Delhi and we were familiar with the case because Dr. Hooda had contacted us about it and we'd exchanged some notes. When his treatment wasn't effective enough, Dr. Hooda sent Armaan to Canada, to LifeCare. Dr. Silas his case. Soon into the treatment, it became clear that majority of the reason that nothing seemed to work was because Armaan wasn't trying hard enough. It was as if something was holding him back. Like his heart wasn't in it. So, Dr. Silas suggested therapy and asked me to take on his case. When we started, I tried to talk him a lot. But, Armaan, he never said anything. Not a single freakin' word. I tried everything that I could, but he never spoke. We didn't know what to do. When nothing seemed to work, Dr. Silas put Armaan under a ton of medicines, hoping for some results. But, nothing came of it. If anything, his condition seemed to worsen. Though, his nerves were healing, his brain was going into a state of depression. The only effective way to combat it was to get him to talk, but he refused. After a while, any sort of treatment stopped giving any results. So, he insisted on leaving. We tried to stop him, to make him understand that he needed to heal before leaving. But, you know how Armaan is. The stubborn mule that he is, he left. Went to that village, I guess."
"You let him leave?" Riddhima asked, feeling both mad and surprised.
Emma sighed. "It was complicated, Riddhima. We tried as hard as we could. But we can't forcefully retain a patient, especially when the chances of any improvement in his conditions were almost none. So, we let him go. I didn't like it. I didn't like it one bit. But there was only so much Dr. Silad and I could do. We moved on, hoping for the best for him. But, I wasn't able to forget about it completely. I tried to keep tabs on him, but he was difficult to get in touch with. Then, one day he was standing at my door, begging for an appointment. I was so surprised, I didn't know what to do. But, I took him in and called Dr. Silas. He insisted on getting admitted, saying he wanted to try again and this time he'd do it our way. We had him hospitalized immediately and I booked him in the first available slot. That appointment, he didn't really talk again. He spent majority of his time sobbing. I tried to calm him down, to get him to talk to me but he just kept mumbling "Sorry, Basket." Of course, I didn't know about you then, so I was confused as to what he was saying. After the session, I went to Dr. Silas to talk to him and told him I thought that Armaan had started to lose his mind because he was apologizing to a basket. I recommended we put him in the psychiatric ward immediately, but Dr. Silas suggested that we give him some time. He thought that something drastic must have happened for him to come back and willingly comply to all procedures he was so adamant not to go through with just a few months ago. Those first few appointments, he literally spent them crying. It was so heartbreaking, Riddhima. He would try to say something, but nothing ever came out apart from choked sobs. It was enough for me to understand that something really drastic and damaging had happened to him. I'll admit that even I cried sometimes on seeing him. When he'd had a particularly bad day, his sobs would be absolutely gut wrenching. One can only take in so much, you know. It took him some while, but he finally started talking. He told us about how you guys were supposed to get engaged and the shoot out that night. About how you stepped in front of a bullet for him and he left you," Emma sighed. She stopped for a little while, knowing that Riddhima needed sometime to process everything.
"He really feels guilty about that, you know. About how you gave up his life for him. And he left."
"He shouldn't. He was only trying to protect me."
"I know. But, he feels absolutely terrible about it. He feels like absolute shit for leaving you in the time that you needed him the most and he wasn't there. More so, he hates himself for lying to you. For making you feel like he didn't appreciate what you did for him, when in truth he did. He owes his life to you and he's so grateful to have you. But, he felt like a coward, for not moving sooner, for not being able to save you. And he absolutely loathes the fact that you got hurt when you were protecting him. He's said that he really wished to be at the receiving end of that bullet countless times."
Riddhima gasped on hearing this. "He told me that was the reason why he wasn't obeying what we were asking him to do. Because he hated himself and he didn't think he deserved to get better after everything that he'd put you through. He felt like the vilest person for a very long time. The self hatred and guilt literally tore him apart in all those months. I'm pretty sure had it not been for his parents, he would have tried to kill himself just to get rid of the guilt he felt."
Much as she tried, Riddhima couldn't stop the tears that flowed continuously as she heard about Armaan's struggle.
"We talked a lot about you. He told us about how you were the kindest, sweetest, most loving person he'd ever met and how he never felt worthy of you. His eyes brightened whenever he spoke about you and his face glowed. It was the happiest he would be. He told me about how he found you in his cottage and how he came to know that you'd been looking for him. He told me that that was when he decided to come back to finish his treatment. That he had a reason to get better now that he knew you still loved him and that you were waiting for him."
"He wanted to get better for me?" Riddhima asked, amazed.
"You were the only reason he pulled through everything, Riddhima. The thought of getting back to you was what drove Armaan. If it hadn't been for you, he would still be at the hospital, trying."
"I don't know what to say to that."
"Riddhima that boy loves you from the bottom of his heart. He looks at you like you hung the moon and stars. He is completely, madly in love with you and there's nothing he wouldn't do for you."
"I know."
"So getting better isn't all that surprising. We helped as much as we could, but this is all on Armaan. He was determined. While his heart wasn't in it earlier, on coming back, he put all of his heart, mind and body into pressure for healing. It was amazing to watch. The amount of perseverance that he possesses is hard to come by these days. He was strong and he was determined and he achieved what he wanted to. Of course, the road to getting there was incredibly difficult. There were days when his mind would give up. We had many setbacks, a few relapses, but he pulled through. I know that whenever something bad happened, he would chant your name like mantra. All you could hear from his mouth was Basket'. I'm pretty sure he gained strength from that. I think he could imagine your face. Imagine you waiting for him to come back to you, silently praying for it. So, he thought about you, about getting back to you, when it got tough."
Riddhima was sobbing by now. Of course she knew that Armaan loved her. That was no secret. But, the amount of confidence and trust that he placed in her, in their relationship was something she couldn't put into words. (Neither can I for that matter. I can't put it in words.) He had gotten better only for her. So that he could come back to her. And he had felt so much of guilt and fear. She never really thought about it. Come to think of it, had the situations been reversed, she surely would have died of guilt. Was this one of the reasons that Armaan was hesiatating to propose? Because he still felt guilty about everything?
"Riddhima, I know this is difficult, but you wanted to know," Emma whispered, bringing her out of her thoughts.
"I know. It just blew me away, I guess."
Emma nodded.
"You know, just when I think that I've seen it all. Seen how much Armaan loves me, something happens to show me just how wrong I was and that he loves me infinitely more than I thought."
"That's a good thing, I hope."
"It's amazing."
Emma smiled.
"Riddhima, from what Armaan's told me about you, I know that you feel miserable right now, knowing all the pain Armaan was in for those months. But, I need you to understand that that's not on you, okay?"
"I'll try. It's just really hard for me to see him in pain, you know? I just really love him."
"You should show him," Emma suggested.
"What?"
"I know you love him. He knows you love him. But, at times it's necessary to show, not just tell. I think after today, you both need that. Showing each other that you love."
Riddhima contemplated what she'd said for a minute.
"You're right," she finally acknowledged. "I really need him right now."
"Come on, then. You've got to show someone how much you really love him."
Riddhima grinned and nodded. Together, they left the caf.
Riddhima needed to feel Armaan in her arms, tangible proof that he was here, with her and that he wasn't going away. She needed his arms around her when she told him just how much he meant to her and how much she loved him. Because she loved him a whole lot. And he needed to know just how much.

xxx
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