Thursday, 25 January 2018

Chapter 52: I'll Love You Longer Than Forever - AR FF

Riddhima spent a better part of the evening at Nikki's. The girls caught up on all that they'd missed in each other's lives. Riddhima told Nikki about Anjali coming back and then Rahul and finally Muskaan. She told her about Muskaan's engagement fiasco and how they were working on a plan to bring Rahul and Muskaan back together. RK & Madhu were in a bliss. Riddhima had called him after getting back from Paris and they'd had a long talk. Apparently Madhu had been planning to talk to
RK about everything anyway, but meeting Armaan and Riddhima had made her do it sooner. Once they sat down, everything came tumbling out and RK had apologized continuously till Madhu had forgiven him. He'd then told Madhu about his arrangement with Muskaan and how she was his best friend and about her issues with Rahul. Madhu had been overjoyed to know that he wasn't in an actual relationship and had suggested that they give their relationship another chance after she apologized for jumping to conclusions.
Riddhima couldn't have been happier for them and she just wished that Muskaan and Rahul sorted their differences out quickly. She told Nikki about their plans to bring Rahul and Muskaan closer and Nikki wholeheartedly jumped on the bandwagon, telling Riddhima that she would be there for whatever they needed. Riddhima smiled at Nikki, happy that she was so eager to help. It was about time that all of them move forward in life with the people they loved. Since Armaan and Riddhima were the only ones who were together, they had taken it upon themselves to make sure that Rahul and Muskaan and Atul and Anjali ended up together. It was clear to anyone with a 20 - 20 vision that they belonged together. And now, Riddhima was sure that Nikki and Abhi would help them as well.
Finally, when it was getting really late, Abhi dropped Riddhima home.
"Thank you, Riddhima," he told her after Riddhima got down from the car.
"Abhi! Please ab itni si baat ke liye thanks mat kaho," Riddhima replied.
"Riddhima main..." he started.
"Nahi," Riddhima cut him off. "Agar main aur Armaan hote, toh kya tum humein help nahi karte?" She asked.
"Tumhaari help? Bilkul," Abhi answered. "Armaan ke baare mein itna sure nahi hu," he said, his voice light and teasing.
"ABHI!" Riddhima rebuked, hitting him playfully.
"Achcha baba. Nahi bolta thanks," he said.
"Good," Riddhima replied, giving him a hug.
"Kal milte hain, okay? Tum thoda jaldi aa jaana, please," Abhi told her. Riddhima nodded before leaving.
Once, Riddhima got to her room, she wasn't surprised to see Armaan waiting for her. He wasted no time in crossing the room and pulling her in his arms. He hugged her tightly, pulling her closer and closer till he couldn't any longer and then buried his face in her neck, nuzzling and kissing.
"Armaan," Riddhima whispered, her voice weak due to his closeness.
Armaan pulled back and placed his lips on Riddhima's, kissing her hard. "I love you," he whispered when they broke apart.
"I love you, too," Riddhima replied.
"Tum please aisi sab utli - seedhi harkatein mat kiya karo," Armaan told her when they were sitting on her bed.
"Maine kya kiya?" Riddhima asked innocently, even though she knew that Armaan was upset because she didn't tell him where she was going when she went to meet Nikki.
"Tum mujhe batakar nahi jaa sakti thi? Upar se phone bhi nahi utha rahi thi. Pata hai main kitna darr gaya tha. Agar tumhe kuch ho jaata toh?" He asked her.
"I'm sorry," she replied cutely, holding her ears. "Kya karu? Tum duty mein busy the aur Shreya ka ekdum se phone aa gaya. Toh main chali gayi," Riddhima replied.
"Hmmm," Armaan replied, kissing her head. "Iss baar theek hai. Next time mat karna."
Riddhima nodded. "Waise, Armaan. Rahul aur Atul bhi haina tumhaare ghar, toh tum yahaan kaise?" She asked.
Armaan smiled sheepishly. "Maine bol diya ki hospital mein emergency hai."
"Armaan!" Riddhima smacked his chest. "Tum bilkul paagal ho."
Armaan shrugged. "Ab mujhe tumhaari tension ho rahi thi na," he replied.
"Haan, lekin phone pe toh baat ho gayi thi na. Toh phir itna tension lene ki kya zarurat thi?" She asked, already knowing the answer.
"Basket tum bhi jaanti ho jab tak main tumhe khud apni aankhon se nahi dekh leta toh mujhe chain nahi aata," he replied.
Riddhima smiled at him and placed a loud kiss on his cheek. "Thank you."
Armaan grinned and kissed her head.
"Waise aaj achaanak Shreya ke yahaan kaise jaana hua?" Armaan asked.
Riddhima fumbled. She didn't want to lie to Armaan any more than what was necessary and she really wanted to tell him the truth, but it was Nikki's news to give and she couldn't rain on her parade like that. So, even though she didn't want to, she lied.
"Bas, aise hi. Bohot time ho gaya tha na milke. Isliye," she told him.
Armaan nodded, seemingly satisfied with her answer.
"Aur ab akeli aayi ho?" He asked her. "Itni raat ho gayi hai."
"Nahi, baba. Akeli nahi aayi hu. Woh Abhi... I mean Rehaan abhi chodkar gaya mujhe," she replied, fumbling again.
"Theek hai," Armaan replied.
They spent some together, talking about anything and everything under the sun and cuddling together. "Armaan I think ab tumhe jaana chahiye. Tum zyada waqt waapas nahi jaoge toh Rahul ya Atul mein se koi bhi hospital phone kar lega," Riddhima said.
Armaan nodded thoughtfully. "Haan, call toh kar lenge. Mere saare dost aise hi hai. Kameene kahin ke. Bas hamesha kabab mein haddi bane pade rehte hai. Sharam bhi nahi aati. Agar aise dost ho toh dushmano ki zarurat kise hai," he muttered.
Riddhima laughed. "Armaan! Tum na, bilkul paagal ho. Jab dekho tab tum kyu sabko itna sunaate rehte ho. Humaare dost itne achche hain. Unhe hamaari itni fikr hoti hai toh humein khush hona chahiye. Aur tum hoki isse bhi tumhe problem hai."
Armaan shook his head. "Haan. Theek hai, theek hai."
"Chalo ab jaldi se jao," she said, pushing him out of the window. "Aur ghar pohonchke phone kar dena," she added.
Armaan nodded and kissed her before leaving.
"Paagal," Riddhima muttered fondly before getting ready for bed.
Armaan reached home feeling infinitely better.
"Armaan kahaan reh gaya tha? Hum bas abhi hospital phone karne hi waale the," Atul greeted Armaan when he got back.
Rahul rolled his eyes at Atul's stupidity. "Hum nahi, tu," he corrected Atul.
"Kyu tujhe tension nahi ho rahi thi kya? Agar koi badi emergency hoti aur Armaan ko humaari help chahiye hoti toh?" Atul asked as Armaan sat beside them on the sofa.
"Jis kaam ke liye gaya tha usme toh uski humaari bilkul bhi help nahi chahiye, Champ. Mastery hai uski," Rahul muttered, but he wasn't soft enough and both the boys heard him. It was obvious to Armaan even before he left that Rahul knew exactly where he was going. He was only thankful that Rahul didn't give him any shit about it.
Armaan whacked him hard. "Daddu, tu apne kaam se kaam rakhna," he replied.
"Rahul tu aisa kyu keh raha hai?" Atul asked. "Armaan ne kis baat mein mastery kari hai?"
"Arre, woh doctor haina, Champ. Tu usse pata hoga na ki emergency kaise handle karni hai. Usne emergency handle karne mein mastery kari hai," Rahul replied quickly.
Atul nodded thoughfully. "Haan, yaar. Waise baat toh teri sahi hai. Hum sabki hi usme mastery hoti hai."
"Right, Champ. Lekin yeh chod. Score kya hua hai?" Armaan asked, quickly diverting the topic.
Thankfully, it worked. It was quite late when the match was over, so Rahul and Atul slept over at Armaan's.
The next morning, everybody received a text from Abhi and Nikki inviting them over to their place for a party.
"Abhi aur Nikki ka message aaye tumhe?" Muskaan asked as she was removing stuff out of her locker.
Anjali nodded. "Haan, aaya tha. Aaj subah."
Muskaan made a noise of agreement.
"Achcha haina, Nikki bhi waapas aa gayi. Ab humaara gang complete!" Muskaan tittered.
"Baat toh sahi hai," Riddhima said. "Kitna mazaa aayega na. Hum sab phir se ek saath."
Muskaan agreed and started babbling about one thing or the other.
"Good morning, Anjali," Atul greeted her as the boys made their way in.
"Good morning, Atul," Anjali replied.
"Anjali, tum aaj bohot achchi lag rahi ho," Atul complimented her, blushing slightly.
"Kyu? Roz nahi dikhti kya?" Anjali asked him.
"Nahi, nahi. Roz bhi lagti ho. Bas woh aaj tumne mera favorite color pehna haina. Green. Isliye zyada achchi lag rahi ho," he said.
Everybody laughed on hearing him. "Atul you're so cute," Anjali said, pulling his cheek.
"Thank you, Anjali," he said, blushing even more.
"Waise, sabko Nikki ka message aaya na?" Armaan asked, pulling his lab coat on.
Everybody murmured in agreement. "Toh aaj phir sab saath hi chalte hain," Rahul suggested.
"Kahaan jaana hai?" Naina asked, stepping in the room.
"Woh Abhi aur Nikki ke ghar," Anjali told her.
"Oh, haan! Dr. Nikita ka message aaya tha. Unke ghar party haina aaj?" Yuvi asked.
Everybody nodded.
"Yaar, yeh Nikki agar sabko shaam ko ghar bula rahi hai, toh yahin aa jaati sabse milne," Armaan commented.
"Woh... woh log thak gaye honge na," Riddhima replied quickly. "Aur waise bhi, sab duties mein busy hote toh achche se baat bhi nahi ho paati." She prayed that her voice didn't give anything away.
Before Armaan could say anything, Anjali said that they should head for work because it was time otherwise Dr. Keerti would surely have their heads.
Thankful for the distraction, Riddhima rushed out.
Dr. Keerti was waiting for them at the nurse station.
"Good morning, doctors," she greeted them.
"Good morning, ma'am," everyone chorused.
"Main yahaan yeh announce karne aayi hu ki concert ki preparation ke baare mein sochkar, Dr. Shashank ne decide kiya hai ki abse lekar concert tak, aap sabki duty ek ghante pehle khatam ho jaayegi, taaki aap sab rehearse kar sake," she announced.
Everybody cheered on hearing this.
"Doctors!" She reprimanded. "Shayad aap bhul rahe hai ki aap abhi bhi hospital mein hain."
And that was the beginning of another Dr. Keerti lecture for everybody. However, in the middle, Armaan got bored and started looking around. His gaze fell on one man who was standing at a distance and looking at them. He smiled and nudged Rahul. Rahul looked over and grinned.
He nudged Anjali who nudged Muskaan who nudged Riddhima who nudged Atul. Atul looked up and smiled wide.
"Ridzy, yeh toh..." Before he could say anything further, Dr. Keerti interrupted him.
"Aap kuch kehna chahte hain, Dr. Atul?" She asked him.
"No... no ma'am," Atul stuttered.
"Toh jo main keh rahi hu uspar dhyaan dijiye," she scolded him.
"Yes ma'am."
A silent communication passed amongst everyone and in unison, they spread their arms wide, singing, "Ishq Hayye!"
This brought Dr. Shubhankar, who had been gazing at Dr. Keerti, out of his trance. Dr. Keerti looked up and blushed deeply. She turned to the gang but everyone had already turned around and were looking at each other and pretending to discuss important things.
"Back to work, everybody," Dr. Keerti instructed before leaving.
The gang laughed. The new interns looked confused but before they could ask something, Armaan ran away.
"Arre, Dr. Shubhankar! Kaise hain aap?" He asked, quickly catching up to him before he disappeared behind Dr. Keerti.
"Dr. Armaan, main toh bilkul theek hu," Dr. Shubhankar replied. "Aap kaise hain?"
"Main bhi theek hu, sir," Armaan said.
"Dr. Shubhankar!" Rahul called, throwing his arm on Shubhankar's shoulder from the other side, causing him to be sandwiched between Armaan and Rahul.
"Kya baat hai, aaj bade dino baad dikhe!" He continued.
"Haan, woh main Delhi mein tha na, isliye, Dr. Rahul," Shubhankar answered.
"Delhi? Kyu?" Rahul asked. By now the entire gang was standing around Shubhankar, listening to what he had to say.
"Tum sab ko toh pata hi hai," Shubhankar started.
"Ki aap senior doctor hain," the gang chorused.
Shubhankar blushed.
"Right. Kyuki main senior doctor hu, toh mujhe patients ko check karne ke alawa aur bhi kaam hote hain. Abhi main Delhi mein tha. Sanjeevani ke ek project par kaam kar raha tha," he replied.
"Oh, Nikki ke saath?" Muskaan asked. Dr. Shubhankar nodded.
"Haan, Dr. Abhimanyu aur Dr. Keerti... I mean Dr. Nikita ke saath hi tha main. Aur unke..." Riddhima saw this coming. Dr. Shubhankar was going to tell them about the baby in the flow of conversation. So, she took advantage of the fact that she was standing near him to pinch his arm.
"Ouch!" Dr. Shubhankar squealed and looked at Riddhima accusatorily. Riddhima started shaking her head frantically to try and make him understand that he didn't have to tell the others.
"Dr. Riddhima aap..." He started but Riddhima cut him off. "Duty pe jaa rahi hu. I think hum sabko ab jaana chahiye."
"Arre, Basket itni kya jaldi hai? Abhi Shubhankar Sir kuch bata rahe hain humein Nikki ke baare mein," Armaan interrupted.
"Dr. Armaan, Dr. Riddhima sahi keh rahi hain. Aap sabko ab duty par jaana chahiye. Waise bhi, ab aap sab senior doctors hain. You should be responsible," Dr. Shubhankar said.
Everybody scampered away before they could get another lecture about their behavior. Riddhima hung back though.
"Uh, sorry, sir," she said once the coast was clear. "Actually, Nikki ne abhi tak kisi ko bhi bataya nahi hai. Isliye hum sab aaj raat uske ghar jaa rahe hain. Toh main Nikki ka surprise nahi kharab karna chahti thi."
"Of course. It's okay, Dr. Riddhima," Dr. Shubhankar replied.
"Thank you, sir. Toh aaj shaam ko milte hain?" She asked.
Shubhankar nodded in reply before Riddhima left.
Later in the evening, everyone gathered at Nikki's. Riddhima was, understandably the first one to reach and she helped Nikki and Rachna Aunty with the dinner preparations while Abhi looked after everything else. It was just a small get together sort of thing, but Nikki wanted it to be perfect. Plus, Abhi had to look after all those presents they'd got for the gang.
Sometime later, the others started trickling in. Armaan came in second alongwith Muskaan. Riddhima was particularly unhappy about that. They'd been trying to get Muskaan and Rahul together for the past couple days but nothing seemed to be working.
Then, it was Atul, Anjali and Rahul coming in and then Dr. Keerti and Dr. Shubhankar followed by the new interns.
Once everyone had arrived, Nikki made them sit in the living room. She introduced everybody to Rachna Chachi and then asked Abhi to get the gifts.
"Gifts? Wow, Nikki! Tu hum sab ke liye gift layi hai?" Muskaan asked exuberantly.
Nikki nodded. "Haan. Laayi hu na," she replied.
Muskaan moved forward to hug her and Nikki expertly turned so that instead of a full body hug, Muskaan could only give her a side hug. "Tu hi meri sabse achchi dost hai," Muskaan announced, giving dirty looks to Riddhima and Anjali who looked on confused.
"Humne kya kiya, Muski? Tu humein kyu aise dekh rahi hai?" Riddhima asked.
"Tum dono mein se koi bhi mere liye gift hi nahi lekar aaya," Muskaan replied. "Sirf Nikki hi meri sachchi dost hai. Mere liye gifts leke aayi. Tum sabne toh mujhe Welcome Back' party bhi nahi di," she pouted.
"Hawww!" Riddhima replied. "Di toh thi. Humaare ghar."
"Kab di?" Muskaan asked haughtily.
"Arre, yaad uss din jab Armaan aur Riddhima ki food fight hui thi? Kitchen mein?" Anjali asked.
Muskaan thought back and smiled sheepishly. "Oh haan! Sorry!"
"GUYS! Tum sab do minute ke liye chup ho sakte ho?" Nikki asked, exasperated.
Everybody nodded, looking appropriately chastised.
"Good, ab thode time ke liye aise hi baithe raho," she ordered.
"Basket, yeh Nikki aaj kuch zyada hi Hitler ki tarah nahi behave kar rahi?" Armaan whispered against Riddhima's temple before placing a small kiss there.
"Shut up, Armaan! Tum thode time ke liye chup nahi ho sakte kya?" She asked him.
Armaan sighed and made an exaggerated gesture of locking his lips.
"Good," Riddhima mumbled.
"Okay! So, sab log apne - apne presents le lo!" Nikki announced, handing out a bunch of wrapped gifts to everybody.
There was a huge rustle as everybody started opening their gifts. And, then silence. Nikki stood nervously, waiting for someone to say something.
She met Riddhima's eyes, who blinked reassuringly.
"Nikki," Armaan whispered. "Seriously?" He asked, looking intently at the mug in his hand.

Nikki nodded, her eyes shining with tears.
"Oh my - " Before he could finish his sentence, the squealing ensued. Anjali and Muskaan jumped from their chairs and pulled Nikki into a huge hug.
Congratulations were passed around as everyone took turns hugging Nikki and shaking hands with Abhi and slapping him on the back.
"Dekha, maine kaha tha na. Tum bina matlab hi itna tension le rahi thi," Riddhima told Nikki once the hugging and squealing had subsided. Nikki nodded sheepishly.
"Ek minute, ek minute, ek minute," Armaan interrupted. "Riddhima tumhe pata tha?" He asked.
Riddhima bit her tongue. "Haan," she replied.
"Aur tumne kisiko nahi bataya. Mujhe bhi nahi?" He asked.
"Sorry?" Riddhima replied. But it came out more as a question than an answer.
"Ek baat batao, tumhe kabse pata hai?" Armaan questioned.
"Ummm, kal raat se," she replied.
"Kal raat? Lekin kal raat toh tum Shreya ke ghar..." Armaan trailed off when he realized what was happening.
"Matlab tumne mujhse jhooth bola?" He asked again.
"Armaan..." Riddhima started.
"Haan ya na, Riddhima," Armaan cut her off.
Before Armaan could say anything else, Nikki jumped in.
"Tu, chup reh. Maine hi Riddhima se mana kiya tha kisiko bhi batane. Samjha?" She thundered.
"Lekin tune sirf Riddhima ko kyu bataya?" Muskaan asked. "Hum sab tere friends nahi hai kya, Nikki?"
"Yaar, tum sab galat matlab kyu nikal rahe ho? Mujhe Riddhima ki thodi advice chahiye thi ki main sabko kaise batau. Yeh saare presents, party sab uska idea tha. Aur main chaahti hu ki Riddhima hi meri doctor ho, toh isliye," Nikki shrugged.
"Kyu? Riddhima kyu teri doctor? Hum kyu nahi?" Atul asked.
"Uh, guys, are you serious? Tum chaahte the ki main tum ladko main se kisi ko choose karu?" Nikki asked.
Armaan shuddered at the thought. "No thanks!" He all but screamed as Rahul nodded in vigorous agreement.
"Tum logon ko toh koi problem nahi haina?" Nikki asked Anjali and Muskaan who shook their heads. Everyone knew that Nikki was the closest to Armaan and Riddhima in their group. So, it was only natural that she wanted Riddhima to deliver her baby.
"Okay, good. Kyuki mujhe kuch aur bhi announce karna hai, toh agar tum log baith jaoge toh..." Nikki trailed off.
Once everyone was seated, she placed two more gifts in front of Armaan and Riddhima.
When they both looked at her questioningly, she gestured them to open the gifts.
"Yaar mujhe mat dekho, kholo," she told them.
Inside were the cutest glasses ever.

"Nikki..." Riddhima trailed off with tears in her eyes. Nikki was crying, as well.
"Aise ghoor - ghoorke kya dekh rahe ho? Tum dono se poochti toh aur kisse poochti?" She asked them.
"Thank you, Nikki," Riddhima replied, pulling her in for a hug.
Armaan hugged her hard, whispering to her. "I promise ki main hamesha isse protect karunga," he told her, ghosting his hand over her barely existent baby bump.
Nikki started full out bawling on hearing him as did Riddhima who was close enough to listen what he was saying. Both of them hugged Armaan tightly.
"Yaar tum logon ki paani ki tanki kabhi band nahi hoti kya?" He asked.
"Shut up, Armaan!" They scolded him in unison, smacking his arms on either side.
The rest of the evening was spent laughing and reminiscing. Armaan looked around as the laughter rang out in the room. His arm was wrapped tightly around Riddhima's waist and he kissed her head as he thought of the day that it would be them sharing such amazing news with their friends. He couldn't wait.



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