Monday, 15 January 2018

Chapter 50 : I'll Love You Longer Than Forever - AR FF


Previously on...
Cole and Armaan talk.

Chapter 50

The morning of Cole and Tessa's wedding dawned bright. It was sunny out, the winds were blowing and there was a warmth all around them. It was a perfect day for a wedding, really.

Everybody had been up from the wee hours of morning, making sure that everything was in place and doing last minute inspections. It was going to be an intimate ceremony with just a few close friends and family, so there wasn't much to be done. But, they wanted everything to be perfect for Cole and Tessa on their big day.
Armaan smiled as he surveyed the placing of tables and chairs in the lawn. Riddhima was just a few feet away, looking at the decoration. So, obviously Armaan was concentrating hard on the task at hand - staring at his girl, the arrangements forgotten. It wasn't like it was his fault though. His baby was just so beautiful. He couldn't help it.
He'd been thinking a lot about what Cole had said these past few days. And, it did make a whole lot of sense. Armaan wanted to move on. He didn't want to live in the past. He wanted to be in the present and plan for his future. His future with Riddhima, to be precise. And, it was no use living in the past. Yes, they'd had bad experiences but he needed to get over them. More than anything, he didn't want to have any regrets. Not where Riddhima and their relationship was concerned.
He'd thought long and hard about what Cole had said, especially regretting not proposing sooner. He got where Cole was coming from, really. He couldn't wait for Riddhima to have his name. For her to be his wife. And, he knew deep within that he would regret not asking her sooner. He would regret everyday they spent apart just like he'd done in the past.
It was a huge step, trying to let go of his misgivings and inhibitions, but he had to try. For her. For them. At the rate that he was going, he would probably never gather the courage to ask her. And he couldn't not ask her. He had to. Because, as scared as he was, the prospect of Riddhima not being his wife was even scarier. So, he would just put on his big boy shoes and be a man.
Yes, he would. He was going to propose soon, he decided. Not at the very moment, of course. But, soon. He'd already started planning it in his head last night, finally excited about the whole shenanigan. He didn't want to foil Cole and Tessa's big day and he knew that once they got back, everyone would be busy. Especially Riddhima and him. They would have to catch up on all their cases and being gone away for almost a month, the workload would increase heavily. Plus, they had to plan and practice and execute the Sanjeevani Concert, which in itself was a huge task.
In the middle of all this, they wouldn't get the chance to enjoy their engagement the way they were supposed to. So, he would propose when the Conert was done. And, it would be absolutely perfect because the Concert was coming at such a time, that doing it after would give him plenty of time to plan and give him a date that would make it mean so much more.
"Hey, Armaan!" Anjali called bringing him out of his daydream.
"Haan, Anjy?" He asked.
"Ridzy ko taadna band kar aur kuch kaam bhi karle!" She replied, smirking.
Riddhima who heard this, blushed a deep shade of red. Armaan chuckled and winked at her, blowing her kiss before he turned to the task at hand.
Everybody worked tirelessly through the morning to make sure everything was in place before the girls rushed upstairs to get ready.
Armaan took the opportunity to go find Cole and talk to him.
"Hey, man!" He greeted once he met Cole.
"Hey," Cole replied.
"All good?" Armaan asked.
Cole nodded.
"No cold feet? No nervousness?" Armaan asked, his voice light and teasing.
"Nope, none at all. I just want her to be my wife, you know?" Cole answered.
Armaan nodded. "So, you know how we talked about regretting it a few days back?" He asked Cole, who nodded.
"Did you think about it?" Cole asked.
"Yeah, I did."
"And?" Cole pressed.
"You're right. I have to move on. I can't keep living in the past. It's not fair to me and it's not fair to Riddhima," Armaan replied.
Cole nodded jubilantly. "Yes, you're absolutely right. So what are you going to do about it?"
"Well, I'm going to propose, obviously."
"WOW! When?" Cole asked.
"Not at the moment. We've got a lot on our plate right now with the hospital. But, in the new year, it'll be easier. Our workload will decrease and we'll have more time to ourselves," Armaan explained.
"So, you're going to propose to her then?" Cole questioned.
"Yes, yes I am," Armaan replied, grinning.
"Well, congratulations, man! I'm happy for you!" Cole said, pulling Armaan in for a man hug.
"Thanks! I'm pretty happy for myself too," Armaan replied.
"Hey boys! Let's get this thing on the road, shall we?" Rahul called as he entered Cole's room.
"Oops!" He said, snickering. "Did I ruin your moment?" He asked with a mischievous glint in his eye.
"Haha! You think you're so funny, don't you?" Armaan asked sarcastically.
Rahul shrugged, still grinning.
Things between him and Muskaan had been going really well. Atleast she had started to acknowledge his presence. They had talked to each other a couple of times. Granted, it was just polite conversation, but it was still a step ahead than what Rahul had been prior to this trip.
"Abbe saale, tu itna khush - khsuh kyu rehta hai aajkal?" Armaan asked him.
"Yaar mere best friends ki shaadi hai, ab khush bhi nahi ho sakta kya?" Rahul cross questioned.
"Nahi, nahi. Ho sakta hai, lekin tu aajkal kuch zyada hi khush dikhta hai, right Champ?" Armaan directed the question at Atul who was just entering the room.
Atul nodded thoughtfully. "Baat toh teri sahi hai, Bhai. Yeh Rahul kuch zyada hi khush - khush rehta hai aajkal."
Rahul blushed under the scrutiny of his best friends.
"OHO! Daddu! Tu toh blush kar raha hai, yaar! Sach, sach bata, baat kya hai? Muskaan maan gayi kya?" Armaan asked, excitement dripping his tone.
Rahul shook his head sadly. "Abhi kahaan."
"Toh phir tu itna khush kyu hai?" Atul asked.
Rahul shrugged.
"Will someone please clue me in as to what's going on?" Cole asked, making the boys jump a little.
"We were just teasing Rahul because he's so happy these days," Armaan replied.
Cole nodded thoughtfully. "Yeah, man. I did notice. You are crazy happy these days. What's up with that?"
"Can you guys stop with the third degree?" Rahul asked. "We need to get dressed."
The boys nodded and Rahul sighed in relief.
The rest of the day was a blur as everybody got dressed and assembled in the lawn.
Cole introduced Armaan and Atul to his and Tessie's parents who had arrived earlier in the morning and everyone was glad to meet the boy who loved Riddhima so much.
They spent sometime talking merry making before it was time. Cole stood at the altar with Rahul as his best man and Armaan, Atul, Travis and Alex as his groomsmen.

"Here we go, man! All the best!" Rahul whispered to Cole who nodded his thanks.
First to come out was Beth, followed by Megan and then Anjali and Muskaan. All of them looked really, really pretty.
Their boys were all staring at them in awe, unable to believe that they were all looking so beautiful.

Then, Riddhima entered. And, the wind left Armaan in a whoosh. She looked absolutely ethereal in that red gown she was wearing. He couldn't take his eyes off of her even if he wanted to. She was so beautiful, so gorgeous and so his.

The rest of the ceremony was an absolute blur for Armaan because he didn't hear a word of what was being said. All his attention was solely focused on Riddhima and how beautiful she looked in that dress.
Riddhima was going for impact when she chose the dress and she got it. And, Armaan finally understood why she was being so stubborn about not letting him see the dress before the wedding.
As soon as the ceremony was over, Armaan made a beeline for Riddhima. He pulled her into his arms and kissed her long and deep. Riddhima smiled against his lips before melting into his embrace and kissing him back.
"God, you're gorgeous," Armaan whispered when they broke apart.
Riddhima blushed at his intense scrutiny and hid her face in his chest, hugging him tight. Armaan smiled and kissed the top of her head.
"Ab samajh aaya tum kyu mujhe dikhana nahi chahti thi. Lekin, baby, ek baar warning toh de di hoti. Agar mujhe pata hota tum itni zyada beautiful lagogi, toh main thoda prepare hoke aata na," he teased her.
"ARMAAN!" She smacked his chest, burrowing further into him. Armaan just chuckled and shook his head.
Cole and Tessa left for some alone time after the ceremony while the others attended to the guests before it was time for the reception.
The entire time, Armaan was stuck to Riddhima's side like glue and didn't leave one opportunity to hug or kiss her. He had missed her these past few days. With all the excitement and preparation for the wedding, time alone had been scarce for them. Thankfully, they would be leaving tomorrow evening, so he would have one uninterrupted day with his Basket. And he planned to make complete use of it.
He wasn't even going to leave the room. They could watch some movies, eat junk food and cuddle and talk and kiss. That would be perfect, he thought. A quite morning away from the helter - skelter of their friends.
When he asked what Riddhima thought about that, she gave him a huge smile and a smacking kiss on his cheek which made him grin widely.
When it was time for the reception, Rahul announced the entry of Cole and Tessa and invited them on the floor for their first dance.
Soft music began to play as Cole took Tessa in his arms and they began to sway gently to the music.
"They look so happy," Riddhima commented and Armaan could hear a soft wistfulness in her tone. He knew that Riddhima wouldn't pressure him into anything that he wasn't ready for, but Armaan knew that Riddhima wanted them to get married. He was going to fulfil that wish of hers, and any others she may have in their life together, he vowed silently.
"Not as happy as us," Armaan replied, nuzzling her head with his nose. Riddhima giggled.
"You're the best boyfriend ever, you know that?" Riddhima asked him.
Armaan shrugged.
"Seriously, Armaan. Tum... tum hamesha mera khayal rakhte ho, mere kuch kehne se pehle meri har baat samajh jaate ho aur mere maangne se pehle hi mujhe sab de dete ho."
"Yeh toh mera kaam haina, Basket. Waise bhi mere hote hue meri jaan ko kabhi kisi cheez ki problem nahi hogi," he replied.
Riddhima pecked his lips and hugged him tight.
"Kya baat hai? Aaj bada pyaar aa raha hai," Armaan commented.
"Kuch nahi, bas itne dino se tumse achche mili hi nahi. Aur phir, yeh shaadi ka maahol hi aisa hota haina. Toh bas aaj tumse yeh sab kehna ka bohot mann kar raha tha," she replied.
Armaan smiled.
After Cole and Tessa's first dance was done, the other couples were invited to join them on the dance floor. Armaan wasted no time in pulling Riddhima to the floor. Cole looked at them and winked. Riddhima blushed and Armaan smiled at him before pulling Riddhima close to him.
After some dancing, it was cake cutting time. It was a boisterous affair with Cole and Tessa both spreading cake on each other's face instead of feeding them to each other.
The entire ceremony went off without a hitch. Armaan danced with Tessa and Beth and Megan before he dance with Anjali and Muskaan. But, every few minutes, he would walk away, only to pull Riddhima into his arms for one dance, no matter how short before someone pulled either of them away.
Riddhima smiled at all the attention Armaan was giving her. No matter where they were, she could always feel Armaan's eyes on her. They followed her every moment. And, whenever he was close by, Armaan was increasingly affectionate. He was always touching her somehow. His arm around her waist, his hand on the small of her back, a kiss here and a nuzzle there. It was as if he couldn't tear himself away from her even if he tried. And, she absolutely loved the fact.
When it was time for the bouquet toss, all the single ladies lined up for a shot. Tessa smirked at Riddhima before she turned around and threw the bouquet right into Riddhima's hands. She didn't even have to move. God, Tessa had amazing aim. Riddhima did not know that. She blushed as the crowd cheered.
Then, Cole made a huge show of removing the garter from Tessa's thigh before he threw it at Armaan.
Yeah, they rigged that one alright.
So, Armaan and Riddhima were forced to play along. The crowd cheered as Armaan went down on his knees in front of Riddhima. He gave her a wicked smirk before he bent down and tightened the garter around her thighs, with only his teeth. Was it getting hot in here?
When he was done, he came back up and pulled Riddhima with him. She breathed a sigh of relief that it was over, but Armaan didn't think so as he smacked his lips right on hers. He kissed her hard and deep, ensnaring all her senses.
The crowd cheered as Armaan made a huge show out of it, even dipping her down. When they pulled back for air, mainly due to all the catcalls, Riddhima blushed and hid her face in Armaan's neck. The people cheered and Armaan even bowed in front of them. From the corner of her eye, she saw Cole give Armaan a thumbs up. Boys, she thought before melting into Armaan's embrace, deciding to just f**k it all and enjoy being near her boy.
After the ceremony was done and the guests had left, bidding Cole and Tessa goodbye as they went for their honeymoon, Armaan and Riddhima stumbled into their room, tired yet happy.
They changed quickly and got in bed. Armaan pulled Riddhima close to him, nuzzling and kissing her as he whispered sweet nothings to her before they fell asleep.
The next morning, Riddhima woke Armaan up with kisses all across his face. Armaan smiled widely when she kissed his lips and responded with an intensity that Riddhima wasn't expecting. Taking advantage of her surprise, Armaan kissed her harder, plunging his tongue into her mouth and flipping them so that Riddhima fell back on the bed with him on top of her.
They kissed and kissed and kissed till they were out of breath and then they kissed some more. They spent the morning in bed, kissing and cuddling before they went downstairs for lunch.
The others seemed to have had similar ideas because when Riddhima was making food in the kitchen, one by one everyone sat down at the table. They had lunch together, laughing and swapping stories before they settled in the living room.
They put in a movie and everybody relaxed all afternoon, all cuddled and loved up with their partners.
Of course, when the lights went out, signaling the beginning of the movie, Armaan left no chance of cuddling and kissing Riddhima. He smiled when he felt her shiver due to his ministrations, but didn't stop.
The entire afternoon was pure torture for Riddhima, no thanks to Armaan and all his light caresses. So, when everyone retired to their rooms to rest before they had to leave, she marched past Armaan, straight to their room.
"Basket!" Armaan called after her. "Kya hua? Ab maine kya kiya?" He asked her when she refused to acknowledge his presence.
"Tumne kya kiya?" She asked surprised.
Armaan nodded, indicating he had no clue what was going on.
"Armaan, tum poori dopahar, neeche kya kar rahe the?" She asked.
"Oh! Woh?" Armaan asked, finally catching on. "Kuch nahi. Bas thoda sa romance."
"Armaan! Wahaan neeche sab the. Aisa koi karta hai kya? Agar kisi ko pata chal jaata toh? Tumhe pata hai mujhe kitni embarrassment hoti. Tum na, kahin bhi shuru ho jaate ho. Kamse kam apne aas - pass..." her words were cut off when Armaan pressed his lips to hers.
"Bas Basket! Kitna bolti ho tum," Armaan said against her lips before kissing her again.
"Apne mu se aur bhi interesting cheeze kar sakti ho," he commented in between kisses.
"Armaan!" Riddhima scolded him before pulling away.
"Kya?" Armaan asked cheekily. Not giving her a chance to reply, he kissed her again.
"Hato!" She pulled back. "Mujhe packing karni hai."
Armaan sighed but stepped away. Riddhima turned to their wardrobe and removed their clothes, setting them on the bed before Armaan removed the suitcases and placed them on the bed beside the clothes.
Riddhima got busy, sorting the clothes and packing them. After some time, Armaan who was getting thoroughly bored watching Riddhima pack, wrapped his arms around her waist and nuzzled into her neck.
"Armaan!" She said, giggling. "Kya kar rahe ho?"
"Main apna kaam kar raha hu, tum apna karo," he replied, placing a kiss on her neck.
"Armaan, chalo badmaashi chodo, mujhe kaam hai," she told him.
"Haan toh maine kahaan mana kiya. Tum apna kaam karo," he replied before dipping his head into the curve of her neck.
Riddhima sighed and got to work. It took her twice as long to pack their bags because Armaan wouldn't let go off her, but in the end it was so worth it because she got to bask in Armaan's love for so long.
When it was time for them to leave, Armaan and Riddhima met the gang in the lobby. Hugs and kisses were passed around, before they left for the airport.
Sure, he would miss his friends, Armaan mused as they sat in the car, but he couldn't wait to get home.


xxx

Much love, Prags!

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