Friday, 1 December 2017

Part 8 : Remember this (Arsh ff)


Shilpa sat in the front seat of the car with armaan and twisted her fingers to ease the tension that built inside her. Armaan glanced at her as he drove and could see her wringing her hand he stretched his hand and clasping her fingers. Her cold fingers latched on to his warm hand, armaan squeezed her fingers reassuringly while he continued to drive: shilpa relax! There is nothing to be nervous about, I'm going to be there with you.
Shilpa looked at his profile and tried to calm the butterflies in her stomach: I'm ok! (she gave a small smile) just a little nervous but I'll be alright once we get there.

Before they knew it they had reached the hospital. Shilpa looked at armaan's face as they entered the hospital hoping to calm herself by looking at his confident face.  They strode down the corridor when armaan quietly clasped shilpa's hand in his and continued walking. Shilpa looked at their joined hands and felt gratitude swell in her heart for this man who without her asking had offered comfort and support. She had wanted to hold his hand but had felt that it might be considered inappropriate  but armaan had known what she needed. She felt like throwing her arms around him and hugging him with all her might but didn't and glanced up to see armaan talking to the administrators.
Armaan looked back at her as if sensing her gaze and smiled, his blue eyes sparking with life and affection. Shilpa shook her head and smiled at armaan who introduced her around as he took her to the children ward. Once there she was being handed over to the nurse incharge who was going to help her get settled. Armaan held her back signaling to the nurse for a moment who gave them some privacy.
Armaan: shilpa! I'm going to report for duty now but you can reach me any time if you need me, ask the reception to page me. ok!(shilpa nodded her head while armaan still held her hand and looked down into her face) whats troubling you?
Shilpa looked into his eyes while the thumb of the hand that clasped hers he kept rubbing the inside of her wrist: I'm nervous!( she chewed on her bottom lip while armaan waited) I don't know if I'm any good with children  or not. What if I do something wrong?
Armaan: shilpa you are here to spend some time with these kids and keep yourself and them entertained not do brain surgery. Plus be yourself and don't worry so much, you'll have fun with them I wish I could stay but duty calls.
Shilpa smiled at armaan feeling better but reluctantly untangled her fingers from his and let go of his hand and immediately felt the loss of his touch. Armaan clenched his hand into a fist fighting against the feeling that bloomed in him as he saw her turn around and walk towards the nurse who was waiting. Armaan stood there and told himself to turn and walk out the ward but didn't, he stood there and saw shilpa going farther away from him and then stopped.
Armaan stood still and felt his heart turn when she turned around and smiled at him then walked off with the nurse. Armaan gave himself a mental shake and  walked off to report for duty. He had a hectic day but without his knowing his mind wandered to shilpa, what was she doing, was she getting along with every one.
Every time his mind turned to her he wanted to go over and wanted to check on her but stopped himself. The not knowing was making him irritable and distracted, finally he had a break and he went to the cafeteria hoping to find her there. He stood at the door scanning the room, he walked in and decided to wait.
Armaan was joined by rahul who sensed his distraction as he talked to him. After trying to make conversation for a while rahul gave up.
Rahul: hey armaan! Where the hell are you man? I've been talking to you for the past 5 minutes and the only response I got from you is a grunt. What the hell are you looking for?
Armaan wrenched his gaze from the doorway to look at rahul's annoyed face: what? I'm listening!
Rahul: yeah sure! Why don't you just tell me what's bothering you so that I can help you….(his voice trailed into silence as shilpa walked in the cafeteria. She was wearing a lime green dress that ended an inch above her knee and left her arms bare. Her long hair were brushed away from her forehead and swung down her back. But what had made rahul stop talking was not what she was wearing but the bounce in her step and the sparkle in her eyes, the color bloomed in her cheeks and she looked alive and vivacious).
She walked directly to armaan and hugged him infront of everyone: I had the most wonderful day!
As she let go of armaan she smiled at him making armaan incapable of any rational thought. Armaan took a quick sip of his cold coffee to buy himself some time, as he looked into her sparkling eyes only managed: I'm glad you are having a good time.
Armaan ordered juice for her while they chatted about her day. All to soon the break was over, shilpa took a final sip and wiped her mouth with the napkin: I have to go back now. Will you be going home with me or later (she asked armaan)
Armaan looked at his watch: I'll be going with you! Come down at the reception when you are done and have me paged if needed.
Two hours later armaan gave up, he had been trying unsuccessfully for the last hour to not think about shilpa. He got up and left his office and made his way to the children ward and stood at the door. Shilpa was telling a story to a boy who was sitting in her lap, his eyes kept drooping as he was about to fall asleep. By the time the story ended the child fell asleep in her lap, she gently picked him up and placed him on the bed.
Armaan stood at the door drinking in at the sight of her and smiled as she moved on to the next child. He was still smiling when he turned and bumped into rahul who stood their with a knowing grin on his face.
Armaan on a defensive: what are you doing here?
Rahul raised his brows: on the last check I still worked here or do you know something I don't.
Armaan stalked off in a huff leaving a grinning rahul behind who looked in the ward at a laughing shilpa and started to whistle.
A week had passed since shilpa had started working at the hospital with kids, both armaan and shilpa had a day off with plans of lounging at home. Apparently the plans were not going to happen, the day had started well enough but by midday a power outage occurred. Four hours had passed and the generator had also given up leaving armaan and shilpa to resort to shedding layers. Both were down to the minimal, armaan was down to a pair of capri's without a shirt leaving his broad well muscled chest bare. Shilpa was wearing a pair of cotton shorts with a white vest and her hair was piled on top her head.
All day they had lazed around the house in companionable  way but as the day had progressed  the heat got better of them. Even though both were trying to act unaffected the proximity was finally becoming a problem and both were trying to avoid one another. Shilpa went into the kitchen to get some candles as it was getting dark, she was looking around in the cupboards but couldn't find them. Shilpa was trying to get the top cupboard open but couldn't reach the handle. She climbed up the counter and on her toes tried opening the cupboard again, at the same moment armaan entered the kitchen and saw her standing in a precarious position.
Armaan without thinking: what the hell are you doing?(startling shilpa who lost her footing and yelled. Armaan saw her loose her balance and slip, he reached in time to break her fall as she dropped into his arm. Armaan braced her body against his as he caught her sliding down his body. Shilpa was braced one second to land with a hard thud on the floor but was totally unprepared for the feel of armaan's bare chest.
Her hands clasped his strong shoulders while the downward trend of her body was stopped by armaan's strong hands as they clasped her back. They stood face to face with shilpa's breast pressed to armaan's chest, one of armaan's hand had tangled into her vest material and was lying in the middle of her back beneath the vest.
Armaan's arm around her back had tightened  in response bringing her body in closer contact with his than before. There was no space between them, armaan could see the perspiration form on her forehead and a bead of sweat leave a trail on the side of her neck. Shilpa felt on fire, heat was pumping off armaan's chest and burning through the thin material of her vest, she felt branded by the hand that lay beneath her vest on her back. Her hands itched to glide against the muscled expanse of his back to his well formed abs.
Armaan tried to remember why it was a bad idea as her breast shuddered with the breath she took making them come in closer contact with his chest. Armaan could feel the control he had on his desires sliding from his fingers and brought shilpa's body in closer contact with his, her soft body molded to his hard contours. Armaan tilted his head towards her bridging the distance between them but stopped as he looked into her eyes. Her eyes showed her inner doubt and that doubt made him ashamed, ashamed that he had betrayed her trust.
He put her away from his body and let her go when she was steady on her feet, shilpa quickly straightened her clothes and didn't know what to say.
Armaan: why don't we get out of here? (making shilpa look up at him) lets go to the beach! It'll be cooler their and we won't have to dress up.
Shilpa readily agreed as it was a good idea to get out of the house. They reached the beach and started to walk on the cool sand. They walked for a while in silence enjoying the evening breeze, armaan bought them ice cream and they sat down on the sand to enjoy their treat. They were half way through their ice creams when armaan spoke: I'm sorry! (shilpa raised her startled gaze to his face but armaan continued looking out at the ocean) I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable, it just happened.
Shilpa again opened her mouth but stopped as armaan's gaze landed on her face and the depth of emotion in his eyes was astounding. He looked embarrassed and guilty, his gaze reflected the inner turmoil he felt and the honor that made him apologize but there was something else too, something that closely resembled desire.
Armaan: I want you to know that it wasn't planned, my touching you! And I don't want you to feel threatened b'coz of what happened.
Shilpa interrupted him: armaan I wasn't exactly calling for help here so stop apologizing. It just happened so stop feeling guilty.
Armaan: I don't want you to feel insecure or unsafe with me.
Shilpa smiled: armaan don't you know you are the only person who makes me feel safe. Plus stop acting as if you are at fault what happened,  happened b'coz of both of us. If you hadn't stopped we might've kissed. Big deal!(armaan smiled at the nonchalant way she said the words but in his eyes an emotion flared unknown to shilpa who continued) I want to ask why did you stop?
Armaan looked at her with an unreadable expression: didn't you want me stop?
Shilpa looked troubled: I don't know!
Armaan: b'coz of that I stopped. I don't want doubts.(he smiled gently at her and then looked out at the sea)
They sat there in silence for some time and then Shilpa spoke: are you ever scared?
Armaan turned his head and looked at shilpa who had a pensive expression on her face: I don't know! What are you scared off?
Shilpa drew in a shaky breath: I'm scared that I can't remember who I am! I'm scared that I'm alone in this world that no one has come to claim me! I'm scared that I might never know who I am! But what I'm scared most of is that if I somehow manage to recall my past what if I don't like myself. What if the truth is uglier than I imagined? How do I live with that?
Armaan looked into her eyes and knew that he could never understand the depth of her fear or pain but leaned forward and grasped her hand: shilpa whoever you are, whatever you did in your past hasn't changed the person you are at core just b'coz you have amnesia. A knock on the head doesn't give you a conscious or make you a better person, you had it in you before.     
Shilpa wanted to believe him but was afraid what if the truth made him hate her she didn't know how she was going to bear it and she didn't have the words to explain it to him. Armaan looked into her eyes and saw the emotions swim with the tears that had bloomed there. He got closer still and cradled her face in his hands: for me you are always going to be shilpa who fought against all odds and survived. For me you are going to be someone who fought back the darkness when it had almost engulfed you and taken you under.
Shilpa shook her head: you are wrong! You saved me armaan!
Armaan tightened his hold making her look up in his eyes: only b'coz you wanted to be saved. Believe me shilpa! believe in me! believe in yourself!
Shilpa raised her hand to his cheek and looked into his eyes thinking how generous and honorable a man he was. After all this time he was still trying to save her and the truth was there was no one else she believed in. She smiled even though her eyes sparkled with unshed tears and her lips trembled: I believe in you armaan! Only you!

Amani

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