Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Chapter 49 : I'll Love You Longer Than Forever - AR FF


Previously on...
Armaan and Riddhima fluff! <3

Chapter 49

The next day saw the girls leaving again for one of their excursions. Armaan was getting really pissed at this, not that he was allowed to say anything. He'd whined and cribbed about it for almost an hour in the morning as Riddhima got ready to leave, but she was having none of that.

"Armaan, hum yahaan isliye aaye hain kyuki humaare friends ki shaadi hai. Toh isliye, yeh important hai ki hum unke saath time spend karein, right? Aur waise bhi, maine Tessa ko bohot miss kiya hai. Toh main uske saath time spend karna chahti hu," she'd told him in no uncertain terms. He wasn't allowed to whine because they weren't getting much time together. But, their little trip to Paris has spoiled Armaan more than he cared to admit and he wasn't ready to start sharing Riddhima just yet.
No matter how much he whined or pouted, Riddhima didn't give in, even if all she wanted was to spend time with him because she knew that she had to be the responsible one in the scenario. Plus, she'd missed her friends and really wanted to spend some more time with them. The fact that the guys seemed to ease up on Armaan the more time they spent together was just an added bonus.
So, the next couple of days saw Armaan and Riddhima hanging out separately through the day, only catching each other for a few minutes before Tessa needed Riddhima to help her decide the color pattern or Cole needed Armaan to come beat Travis' ass at some stupid game before they went out for dinner as the girls had a night in.
Though Armaan hated being away from Riddhima for extended periods of time, he did quite enjoy his time with the boys. They were a bunch of great people and the more time he spent with them the more he realized why Riddhima was so fond of them. They were all really great. And, he did see Riddhima at night. They slept in the same room, after all. Everyday, Armaan would keep a bath ready for Riddhima. She'd soak in and relax, as she told Armaan about her day who would be sitting on the platform in the bathroom. They'd had quite a few water fights which Armaan absolutely loved. Then, they'd cuddle for sometime which would eventually lead to kissing and things would get pretty heated. More than once, Riddhima had pouted at the fact that Armaan wasn't ready to take things further, but he would always stop things before it went too far and spend sometime explaining to Riddhima why he believed it was best. He knew that Riddhima understood and that it was just the heat of the moment that was causing her to react that way. Also, it was great to know that Riddhima wasn't shying away from him and that she wanted him as much as he wanted her.
So, all in all, life was great for one Armaan Mallik and he couldn't have been happier. Actually, he could have been. If only he could muck up the courage to ask his girl to be his wife. All the wedding festivities were certainly not helping his mood and Riddhima had had to pacify him several times assuring him that it was okay if he didn't want to get married. But, he wasn't taking no for an answer and he decided to ask Cole for advice on how to go about things. Sure, Rahul listened to him and tried to make him understand it was going to be okay, but he didn't really understand Armaans fear. But, Cole might. So, he thought it would be a good idea to ask him for advice.
The next day when the girls left - for a spa day, no more shopping, thankfully - the boys got up to their usual stuff which included hogging on tons of pizza and burgers, drinking any and all alcohol that was made available to them and playing video games which they took a break from to watch some movies. Armaan believed they'd been very productive. They'd managed to watch all the Die Hard and Rocky movies, a couple of the superhero ones, including but not limited to X Men, Batman and of course, Superman. Armaan had been the loudest spectator of all Superman movies, naturally. So, everyone was surprised when he said that he was going to sit the movie out but they could carry on if they wanted to and asked Cole to step outside with him for a minute.
Rahul looked at Armaan, worried. Armaan reassured him with a blink of his eye that it wasn't anything serious. To the rest of the group, he joked, "Seriously, guys. I just want to have a talk with my boy here and I don't want any of you nosy gits to listen to our business. So get it on!"
Cole laughed and got off the couch, directing Armaan to the balcony. They sat down on the luxurious chairs and popped a beer each. Then, Cole sat patiently waiting for Armaan to say what he needed to.
"I want to propose!" Armaan blurted out before he could think better of it.
Cole laughed. "That's great, man! I'd say it's about damn time! But somehow, I don't think I'm the right person to have this conversation with!"
Armaan sighed. "Will you let me complete?" He asked.
Cole nodded and made an exaggerated gesture of zipping his mouth up and throwing the key away.
"I want to propose to her, I want to start our life together. But, I'm scared."
"Of what?" Cole asked. "You guys have a strong relationship, Ammy. I doubt she's going to wake up tomorrow and decide that she doesn't want to be with you."
"That's not it," Armaan replied. "I'm not afraid of her leaving me. If she wanted to, she could have done that so many times in the past. God knows I muck up a lot and some of the things I've done are pretty unforgivable but she's forgiven me and wants me all the same. So, no, I'm not worried about her leaving me or it ending badly for us or that we might fall out of love."
"So, then what are you afraid of?" Cole asked, confused. If he wasn't unsure of their relationship, why hadn't he asked her already? If Cole's opinion was to be taken into account, he thought that Armaan was perfect for Riddhima. Sure, he had been skeptical in the beginning and he wasn't really a huge of fan of Armaan, but in the past few days, as he got to know Armaan, he had realized that Armaan was truly an amazing person. He loved Riddhima without bounds. He could literally live and die for her. He cared immensely for her and was always doing things to make Riddhima happy or so that she would be more comfortable. If all that wasn't enough, he brought out a side of Riddhima that Cole hadn't seen before. Of course, Riddhima was a great person and was kind and loving and caring and went out of her way to help others out. But, Armaan made her uninhibited and wild.
"This is going to sound incredibly stupid, but at the risk of sounding like a complete tool, I'll tell you anyway. See, the thing is that we've been together for almost five years now, give or take. And whenever, we try to take a step ahead in our relationship, everything goes to shit."
"What?" Cole asked, confused. "What do you mean?"
"Okay, let me tell you in a little detail. When I confessed my love to Riddhima, she actually became weirded out by me, which is understandable given our history. Then, she realized she loved me as well, and I was literally, the happiest man alive. Then, when we tried to tell our friends, all it resulted in was us fighting over different kinds of stuff. When we decided to tell her father about us, he found out under extremely difficult circumstances and Riddhima was forbidden from seeing me. When her dad finally came around and gave us his blessing to get married, I went and got amnesia. When we were able to recover from that and when I finally proposed to her, she ended up in a wheelchair and I ended up at an asylum and we didn't see each other for almost a year. So, you see? Going forward in this relationship always causes us pain. And I can't have that. Not now. Not ever."
Cole sighed. He understood where Armaan was coming from all too well. It reminded him of the summer before college after Tessa had finally forgiven him and they'd started again. He was so afraid and cautious that time and everytime since that he didn't realize what he was missing out on.
"Ammy, I understand where you're coming from, really, I do. And I can tell you that dwelling on the past can't change anything for you. So, you shouldn't let your past affect your future decisions," Cole replied.
"I'm not sure how to do that," Armaan said.
Cole sighed. "I'm going to tell you a story. It's about Tessa and I and about how I lost years and years of her love."
"What are you talking about? You're together, here. So happy and so in love and you're getting married! What could be wrong in your lives?" Armaan asked.
"A whole lot. Let me start from the beginning, okay. I met Tessa in kindergarten and immediately fell in love. But, I was just a stupid kid who didn't know what to do to get her attention. One time, I ran into her while playing and knocked her down into the ground. That was the first time she talked to me even if it was to scream at me. So, the next day, I did it on purpose. And the next and the day after and after that. It went on and on till we were about fourteen. I didn't know how to get her attention, so I'd play pranks on her, I'd push her on the ground, I'd steal her homework, I'd make jokes about her in front of the entire school. It was humiliating, literally. But, she always gave me the attention I wanted from her when I did that. But, it was also due to all of this that she started hating me. And started liking my step brother, Jay. Jay," Cole scoffed, "the guy who didn't even know she existed. She pined and pined after him and he wrote her off, dating her best friend, shoving it in her face. It was around then that I left for military school. But, when I came back, I decided that I was going all in and telling Tessie how I really felt about her. How I'd felt about her since the beginning."
"Wow, I didn't know that," Armaan whispered.
"That's not all," Cole replied.
"What then?'
"Well, I came back during senior year and apologized. WE became friends and started dating soon after. It was all great, but somewhere in the back of my mind I thought that she still hadfeelings for Jay and we got in fights because of this. Then, one weekend, I took her to our farmhouse. You know, to unwind. And a family friend, Erica happened to be there. Tessie didn't like her. She thought that Erica had feelings for me. I tried to assure her that that wasn't the case and Erica was just a friend but she wouldn't listen. In the heat of the arfument I made some comment about how not every relationship between a guy and girl had to be like her and Jay's. It was a low blow and I regretted it the moment I said it, but the damage had already been done. She got mad and left. Erica and I spent the evening drinking away and the next morning I woke up in bed with Erica, half naked," Cole told him.
"NO! WHAT THE f**k, COLE! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT?" Armaan asked, outraged. He held Cole by his collar and was about punch him in the face when Rahul and Travis got there.
"HEY! What's going on?" Travis asked.
"What's going on is that your brother - in - law is a cheating f**k rag!" Armman said.
"Oh," Rahul and Travis said, taken aback.
"I was just telling him about Erica," Cole replied.
Understanding dawned in their eyes and they nodded.
"Armaan, jaisa tu soch raha hai, waisa kuch nahi hai, okay? Trust me," Rahul said. "Tue k baar uski baat sunle, theek hai?"
Armaan looked at Rahul, shock written all over his face.
"Armaan, relax! Really, it's not what you think," Travis cut in. "We know it sounds bad, but it isn't. Plus, Cole and Tessa have moved on from all of that."
Armaan nodded reluctantly. "We'll leave you guys to it, but Armaan, hands to yourself," Rahul warned before leaving with Travis.
"It's good to know you care about Tessie enough to punch me over her," Cole said.
"Yeah, whatever," Armaan replied.
"Look Armaan, I get what you're feeling, because that's how I felt. A thousand times worse, in fact. I knew that Tessie wouldn't forgive me for this, and I had essentially thrown away my chance after fourteen years but I didn't know what to do. So, I went to Tessie and told her everything. She broke up with me, obviously. And we stayed broken up for the rest of the school year. That was a really tough time for me. On graduation, I got really, really drunk. Like, I was on the verge of alcohol poisoning. Tessie found me and brought me home and was there till I woke up. I'd been drinking a lot then and everyone in my family was worried. So, I told her that if she wanted me to get sober, she would have to give our relationship another shot. She agreed, reluctantly. We'd both been utter messes during our time apart and there was definitely a lot of hurt that had been inflicted on her. So, it took us some time, but we got back. It was during that time that we found out that Erica had lied. I had been drinking that night, too, you know. And nothing ever happened between us, but when I woke up the next morning, she told me it did and I believed her."
"WHAT? ARE YOU INSANE!" Armaan yelled again.
Cole shrugged. "I know that this stuff seems like it's out of a soap opera but it's true."
"Oh, I know all about those, trust me. My life is like one as well."
"Yeah, you see. But, that's not the point. The point is that after Tessie agreed to give me another chance, I was scared. I was really, really scared of f**king it up because I knew that if I lost her then, then I'd lose her for good and I couldn't bear the thought of not having her in my life. So, I tiptoed around her. Behaved like a complete gentleman, didn't crack any jokes, never initiated any contact between us. It was a nightmare, really. Because I didn't know what do with myself. And, Tessie, being the gril she is, assumed that it was because she'd done something wrong, not the other way round. But, we sat down and had a long talk about it and she said that she didn't want the past to dictate our relationship anymore. It was difficult to come to terms with, but I did it. For her. And you should too. For Ridzy," Cole said.
"Maybe I can't stop living in the past like you did," Armaan replied.
"Armaan, if you don't do something about this, you'll regret it. Tessie and I have been together for more than a decade now. And everyday, I regret not asking her sooner. I regret everyday that I missed out on calling her my wife, everyday she was Tessa O'Connel and not Tessie Stone. I regret it. Each and every second. Because now that we're finally getting married, the only thing I can think off is how she could have been my wife all along but I was too stubborn to let go of my mistakes."
Armaan looked at Cole, surprised. Yes, he wanted to call Riddhima his wife. Yes, he wanted her to be Riddhima Mallik. But for that to happen, he had to do something.
"Look, I know it's a tough decision, okay. But I want you to think about it. Really, think about it."
Armaan nodded.
"Thanks, man!" He said.
Cole smiled. "Good talk."
They gave each other one of those man hugs and then proceeded to the hall where everyone else was busy eating.
Yes, Cole had given Armaan a lot to think about. But, he'd also given him insight of would could be if he let go off of his fears and that was too tempting an offer to refuse. He would have to let it go. And soon.

xxx
Prags

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