Saturday, 16 December 2017

Part 16 : Remember this (Arsh ff)

Armaan, shilpa and rahul were having an early dinner with muskaan at her place. They sat in the living room eating pizza with coke while armaan, rahul and muskaan were reminiscing about their college days. They paused to eat or drink when shilpa spoke up: whats wrong with me?
Three sets of eyes swung in her direction taking in her frowning face, they looked back at one another at sea as to what made her ask such a question.
Rahul: hey beautiful! Whats wrong? You're not feeling well!
Shilpa shook her head then looked at muskaan: can't you do something!
Muskaan: tell me what's wrong and we'll try and work things out together.
Armaan held shilpa's hand: tell me! what happened today? Did someone say something to you at work.

Shilpa took a deep breath: I feel so stupid saying this!  I remembered ..
Armaan interrupted: you remembered something!
Shilpa dejectedly: don't get so excited. It was of no importance! I remembered the first book I read as a child, I recalled my favorite romatic book when I was in school. I remembered different authors and their books that were my favorite. I remembered how those books ended, I remembered the books I wanted to buy but hadn't so I did now. I remembered all this but it doesn't take me anywhere.
There was a moment's pause as the room still rang with her last words and the frustration she felt was clearly evident. Muskaan looked solemnly at shilpa: shilpa I know you want to remember but the truth is you can't force your brain to remember. The good news is this that you recalled something, fine it was not something concrete that could give us your identity but it tells us something about you. Ok may be not something you were hoping for but its something.
Armaan: it means that under this beautiful head of hair not every thing is lost.
Muskaan knew shilpa was frustrated she couldn't even begin to imagine how it must feel to not know the most basic things about herself. She looked at shilpa sitting there with her hand clasped by armaan and decided to do little probing.
Muskaan: ok lets try something! Shilpa try and clear your mind of everything. Let your mind loose.
Shilpa: ok! But how do you get your mind to be loose.
Armaan: I can help you with that (he grabbed her face and settled his mouth on hers, he kissed her slow and long making shilpa cling to his strong shoulders. He kissed her till he felt her moan at the back of her throat, as he drew back her heart was thundering and for the life of it shilpa couldn't remember what they were talking about)
Muskaan couldn't help but smile at both of them and her eyes moved to rest on the man sitting next to them with a smile very similar to hers on his face. As if sensing her gaze he looked up and their eyes met, muskaan felt those green eyes impact to the sole of her feet and tried to think past that.
Muskaan: are you an only child shilpa?(she asked the question looking intently at shilpa who was still recovering from the kiss armaan had given her and had her eyes closed)
Shilpa without thinking: only child! I use to wish for a brother or sister but …(she trailed off as her eyes flew open and she stared into armaan's face and then looked at muskaan) did I just…
Without giving her a chance  to continue muskaan fired another one: so you were a lonely child!
Shilpa was still reeling from the first revelation: well yes and no! I had some friends!(she stopped again and looked at muskaan) whats happening here?
Muskaan smiled at shilpa: you remembered something about yourself!(she saw shilpa open her mouth to question her and answered beforehand) somethings your mind was willing to let up so when I asked these questions unexpectedly. Voila! It gave us some answers.
Shilpa excitedly: lets do it again! Ask me another question.
Muskaan tried couple of simple questions but this time shilpa was unable to come up with the answers, the harder she tried the worse it became and by the end of it she was left with a headache. Armaan wanted her to stop but shilpa was not listening, he looked imploringly at muskaan. Muskaan took a deep breath: why don't we stop for today shilpa? give yourself some break to absorb all of this!
Looking at shilpa it was obvious that she going to argue but what happened next surprised muskaan. Rahul intervened: why don't you try something different? Instead of completely shutting down try another approach if still nothing we'll call it a day.
Armaan was shooting daggers at rahul while muskaan looked at shilpa who aimed a grateful smile at rahul, who just winked at her and gave her hand a squeeze. Muskaan looked at both of them and decided to go along. Muskaan again told shilpa to relax her mind, close her eyes and try and visualize a calm place. Think of something that makes her feel secure and calm. Shilpa slowly reached a level of calmness all the while holding on to armaan's hand, while armaan continued to brush his his thumb across her knuckles in a soothing caress while his eyes were fixed on her face.
Muskaan: shilpa try and visualize a house one where you would like to live, something you'll feel secure in. take it slowly once you are done let me know.
Shilpa's hand tightened reflexly on armaan's and then relaxed as she took a deep breath. She took her time and then: I see it!
Muskaan: walk me through it!
Shilpa: I don't know where it is! But I see the front door with a brass handle and I feel like I'm home. I want to open the door and walk in.
Muskaan: place your hand on the knob and open the door and tell me what you see.
Shilpa: the door opens into a hall with tiled floor it is leading up to another room that I can see through the arched doorway.
Muskaan: walk through that archway. Tell me whats on the other side!
Shilpa's breathing accelerated: it leads into a lounge. Good color schemes(her lips twitched) stylish yet comfortable. The air smells like roses and as if something wonderful is baking in the kitchen. It feels! It feels!..
Muskaan: it feels what? Say it!
Shilpa her voice trembling: it feels like home!
Muskaan: shilpa relax! (she could feel shilpa tense up) ok now! Stay with me! focus on your breathing! Armaan!
Armaan: come on shilpa! relax! Lets see what happens next. (armaan looked over at rahul who also sat closeby wit his eyes fixed on shilpa's face)
Only after shilpa had calmed down muskaan moved ahead: ok shilpa! turn around do you see another door leading to another room.
Shilpa was quiet: yes! There is a corridor on the left that leads to a door.
Muskaan: ok now! Start walking towards that door. When you are outside that door let me know.
Shilpa: I'm standing outside that door!
Muskaan: what do you feel? Are you alone! Is someone there in the room?
Shilpa gasped: I hear someone! There is someone in the room(armaan's head swung toward muskaan his eyes questioning her, she held up her hand asking him to remain patient)
Muskaan: what do you hear?
Shilpa breathlessly: I hear someone move around in the room(she paused) there are two people I think! I hear them talking.
Muskaan: what are they saying? Can you hear them!
Shilpa face showed strain: no! I can hear the general murmur of voices but can't understand what they are saying. I can't even distinguish whether it's a man or a woman.
Muskaan: shilpa! now place your hand on the knob and open the door.
Shilpa's breathing had become erratic: I can't!
Muskaan gently: shilpa your hand is on the door knob. Twist it slowly and open the door.
Shilpa had sweat broke out on her brow: the knob is not twisting. My hand keeps slipping.
Armaan trying to calm her: sshhh! Its ok! Try again!
Shilpa drew in a shuddering breath: the voices they are becoming fainter!(her face reflected her inner turmoil: anger, fear, hope) the door its not opening!
Muskaan looked at her face: ok! Let it go shilpa! take your hand away from the knob!(slowly she made shilpa retrace her steps) now try and clear your mind, let everything go!
The room was quiet except for shilpa's breathing which she was trying to control. Three pair of eyes were fixed on her face trying to give her space to calm herself, a lone tear escaped from shilpa's lashes and made its way down her cheek. Her breath hitched and another tear made its way down the other cheek.
Armaan couldn't help himself: hey! Don't cry! Its going to be ok!(he wiped the tears and brushed a kiss to her forhead)
Muskaan: why are you crying shilpa?
Shilpa opened her eyes which were swirling with emotions: I don't know if you'll understand!
Rahul somberely: try us!
Shilpa took a shuddering breath: when I stood outside that door and heard those voices, I knew! I knew that those people meant everything to me.
Armaan: then why were you scared to open the door?
Shilpa: b'coz I wanted so desperately to know who they were! but the door wouldn't open and then I could hear them moving away as their voices became fainter, in the end there was no sound coming from the room.
Muskaan: is that the only reason?
Shilpa swallowed and shook her head: I felt completely alone! Standing outside that door. I wanted to scream because I know deep down in my gut(she pressed  a hand to her stomach) that those people were important to me and I wanted…(she stopped trying to choke back the tears and emotions)
Rahul: what?
Shilpa helplessly: I wanted them to meet you all.(looking at armaan) I wanted them to introduce to armaan. This wonderful sexy man, whom I'm in love with and who loves me back but they won't get to know how charming, kind or a wonderful heart you've got. I wanted them to meet you muskaan, someone I respect greatly and love dearly. You are the sister I had always hoped for, I can't remember having a girl friend but with you here I don't need them.(her eyes rested on rahul) I wanted them to meet you rahul because when I look into your green eyes so similar to mine I want them to see the absolutely wonderful soul you have. I want them to know how much I've come to love you also b'coz you are always there to kick my butt when I'm wallowing in self pity.
She took a deep breath: I am crying(as another tear escaped) because I realized while I'm feeling the loss of those people who mattered to me I'm wasting this precious time I have with you guys. The truth is you are my family now and I don't want to lose another precious moment with you guys. And no matter what happens in the future I'll always remember this time and place because of you people.
Muskaan couldn't help herself tears had formed in her eyes also, she got up and quickly enveloped shilpa in a hug: I feel exactly the same way!( she smiled in her hair and then pulled back)
Rahul walked up to shilpa and tugged at her hair making her smile inspite of the tears: if only you were not in love with my best friend
Shilpa slyly: if only! You were not in love with my…(her words ended on a gasp as rahul gave her a bone crushing hug as they drew back armaan ran a hand through her hair making shilpa sigh. She looked up at muskaan) I'm going to use your bathroom to freshen up!( she turned and left the room armaan stood their for a few minutes then followed her leaving muskaan and rahul behind)
Muskaan looked at rahul who was looking in the direction where armaan had followed shilpa and asked: whats going on between you two?
Rahul turned his slowly to look at muskaan and answered thoughtfully: nothing!(when muskaan raised her brows in disbelief) I don't poach on my friends property and she already explained being madly in love with armaan.
Muskaan tilted her head: I don't understand it!
Rahul shrugged his shoulders: I don't understand it myself! But we have a bond! We understand each other. Its enough!
Muskaan: she's right! You do hide yourself behind this mask! What are you afraid off?
Rahul surprising himself and muskaan both by answering: I'm afraid of being alone! I'm afraid of never finding that one person that makes us whole. But what I'm more scared of is that even if I find her, what if I lose her!( looking intently at muskaan)
For the first time as muskaan looked into rahul's eyes she saw his soul: what if you lose her b'coz your scared! Its better to make a move then to stand on side lines and wait for things to happen. Take a chance!
Rahul looking lost: I don't know if I can!
Muskaan looked in his eyes and saw his fears and a lot more and decided: well then ! you are lucky b'coz I love taking chances! (she moved in to rahul fisting a hand in his shirt and closing her mouth on his. At first rahul stood there frozen but as her taste seeped into his system he lost himself in her)
How long they stood there wrapped around each other they didn't know or care, only when the sound of clearing throat made its way to their ears they became conscious but still didn't let go. It was the sound of full throated laughter that finally did the trick, rahul and muskaan drew back and looked at shilpa trying to control her mirth while armaan glared at her.
Rahul keeping an arm around muskaan: what now?
Armaan: I just lost a bet to shilpa!
Muskaan nuzzling rahul's neck: what was the bet?
Armaan: uhh! Well! When we were in the room she said that you two would be making up with each other today !
Muskaan couldn't keep her smile in check: so what are you suppose to do?
Armaan looking at rahul: you are probably going to kill me! well I'm suppose to take all of you out for  dancing!
Rahul groaned and buried his face in muskaan's hair who couldn't help but laugh along with shilpa.


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