Tuesday, 16 January 2018

one shot : Stuck With You (AR )

Armaan and Riddhima fell in love, but never had the chance to express their feelings to one another. Years later they meet again because of some strange circumstances like being stuck in an elevator together for several hours! Will they take their second chance at love?

A dark haired beauty with forest green eyes walked into the renowned hospital, Sanjeevani Medical Center. She strolled through the hospital looking for the receptionist desk to make sure the hospital had all her transfer paperwork. Tomorrow would be her first day working at this Sanjeevani branch and boy was she excited! She had always dreamed to work at this prestigious hospital since her medical school days. Her parents had sent her to a medical school in Mumbai while they remained in Punjab. She did not want to leave her aging parents alone any longer so when she graduated she took up an internship at the small Sanjeevani Medical Center in Punjab. However, five years later she realized things had changed. There was nothing left for her in Punjab.

Her parents had passed away four months ago and left her all alone. She lost them both at once in a tragic car accident, which was a heartbreaking loss. She felt too overwhelmed with their memories to continue living in Punjab anymore. Her parents were one of a kind. They were completely selfless and only lived to fulfill their daughter's wishes. Her parents had never once tried to compel her to get married even as their health was deteriorating. They wanted their daughter to find her own soul mate and not compromise her own desires for the sake of her parents.

Nevertheless, her relatives started to pressurize her to settle down a month after her parents' death. At the time, she claimed she did not want to get married so shortly after her parents' death, but there was also another reason. She knew she could never love another. Recently her relatives were becoming unbearable and she craved for her freedom. She loved her relatives to death for caring about her well being, but she couldn't surrender herself into a loveless marriage. Therefore, she decided to transfer to Sanjeevani Medical Center in Mumbai in hopes to have a start fresh. It's also what her parents would have wanted for their only daughter.

She looked around the hospital completely awestruck at the modern environment. It was much more advanced than the hospital she worked at for five years in Punjab. It was definitely a good change. She smiled at the receptionist, "Hi, my name is Riddhima Gupta. Could you please check to see if all my information has been transferred to this hospital from Punjab?" She receptionist nodded and left to check the paperwork. Just then Riddhima heard something that made her heart skip a beat. It was the name of a doctor that is being paged on the speaker system, one by the name of Dr. Armaan. Sadness overwhelmed her as she becomes flooded with the memories of her past'

Five Years Ago'

             It was the beginning of her last year of medical school in Mumbai. For four strenuous years she had put up with him, Armaan Malik that is. They despised each other. No wait, despise was not a strong enough word. They hated each other! They couldn't stand being on the same planet as the other let alone the same room. Ironically enough, Armaan's best friend, Angad, and Riddhima's best friend, Kripa, decided to make their friends' lives miserable by dating one another. This not only shocked Armaan and Riddhima, but also infuriated them. If they didn't love their best friends so much they would have never started to tolerate one another, not that they had a choice anyways. Angad and Kripa were completely inseparable, which meant if Armaan and Riddhima wanted to spend any time with their best friends they would have to learn to put up with each other.

             Riddhima started to intrigue Armaan. He just couldn't understand why she would always be found with her head buried inside a book. He concluded she was not only a bookworm, but also a geek. He didn't believe in the concept of reading for pleasure. It seemed absurd to him. She was also the only girl that seemed unaffected by his enthralling charm. He seemed slightly bothered by that fact, but he knew she was wired differently from the rest of the girls. He always knew how to push her buttons in order to make her angry like constantly pulling on her ponytail.

Normally, as Kripa and Angad would romance on a park bench, Armaan would sit next to Riddhima, who was always busy reading, and pass comments on the girls that jogged by them. He always enjoyed seeing her eyes glower in anger. She wasn't a feminist or anything, but she always got offended by his ill-mannered comments. This always made him ecstatic because he was able to rip her attention away from her useless books.  She would try to ignore his remarks and chalk it up to the fact that Armaan flirts with anything that had legs. To an extent she was right because he just never knew when to stop flirting. What infuriated her the most was the fact that he thought he could get anyone he wanted with the snap of a finger.

Then things between them got a little more personal, meaning they started to invade each other's privacy. When Angad came to visit Kripa in her dorm room, Armaan snuck into Riddhima's room and read her diary while she was gone. He was actually surprised to find out that she was such a romantic at heart. She had written about her fantasies about love and the qualities she hoped to find in her soul mate. His reading session was cut short by the shrilling sound of her voice as she screamed bloody murder. He quickly ran out Kripa and Riddhima's dorm room before Riddhima could get her hands on him. However, she did get her revenge the next day. She stole his phone and told all three of the girls he was planning to take to dinner tonight of his plans with about twenty other girls he had lunch and dinner dates planned with in the weeks to come. He came back the next day with a black eye and a strange, but amusing limp.  He seemed to bring out the worst in her, but their pranks seemed to have everyone else in splits.

Then finally one day their idiotic friends, Angad and Kripa, decided to get engaged. Riddhima wanted to beg her best friend not to marry the best friend of her enemy, but she couldn't. Kripa was happy and Riddhima was happy for her. After all, one of them should have their dreams come true. Riddhima came dressed to the engagement party in a beautifully embroidered blue sari and just one glance at her had stopped Armaan's heart. With her silky black hair softly blowing in the wind, he nearly tripped over his feet. For the first time he saw her with her hair down and she looked magnificent, just like heaven on earth. Armaan consciously walked toward her and could not form a coherent sentence to save his life. Her breathtakingly beautiful form had rendered him speechless. Riddhima cocked an eyebrow as she realized he was trying to compliment her. His stuttering was definitely new to her. It wasn't normal for Armaan not to act all suave when a lady was present. After Riddhima thoroughly mocked him for his speech impediment, he was able to snap out of his daze.

The day after the engagement, they started talking to each other like human beings. Soon enough they were able to have actual conversations without it ending up in a brawl. In fact sounds of laughter could be heard on both sides. It was a remarkable improvement from evil glares and plotting revenge. They didn't even realize when hanging out together became a daily ritual. Soon they reached a point where they made excuses to call one another before going to sleep and in time the need for silly excuses vanished as well. They grew so close to each other that they eventually became inseparable.

Riddhima had finally found someone to share her whole life story with. She didn't know why it was so easy to tell him every little detail about her, especially after she spent years hating his mere existence. She found that not only was he trustworthy, but he was also a loyal friend. Armaan had finally found someone who actually wanted to get to know the real Armaan. All the other girls had only associated with him so that they could boast about it to their friends to make them feel envious. No one had ever tried to get close to him without any ulterior motives before, but then again Riddhima was wired different from other girls. She was simply amazing to him.

They were slowly realizing that every moment of every day was spent thinking, talking, or being with the other. They knew that this could only be one thing' love. They never dared to believe that the other could also be in love. They were happy with their friendship and they didn't want to lose it. It was too important to them. Soon their graduation day came and Riddhima had finally decided she would tell him how she feels about him. As soon as the ceremony was over, she approached him and was immediately engulfed in a bear hug. They parted from the embrace and before she could say a word, he told her of his acceptance in an internship program in London.

The three simple words "I love you" were forced back down her throat and buried in her heart. She congratulated him with big smile as he searched the deeps of her forest green eyes. She felt her eyes begin to moisten so she looked away from him. He had been hoping the news of his leaving would cause her to be saddened and force her to tell him of her love. Sadly, he never saw the tears of her heartfelt proclamation streaming down her face. She hugged him once more and whispered, "I'll miss you" in his ear before running out the room. And then she was gone.  She went back to Punjab and kept telling herself that it never would have worked because their dreams were too different' too bad she was never able to truly believe it herself.

Back to the Present

She wiped the tear forming in the corner of her eye and plastered a smile across her face in attempts to be happy. It all happened so long ago, five years was a long time. She doubted that he would even remember her now, but even today she still loved him. Suddenly the frantic hand movements of the receptionist brought Riddhima out of her memories. She vaguely heard the receptionist telling her everything was in order, but Riddhima's mind kept focusing on the one that got away'Armaan. Riddhima just smiled at the receptionist and turned to leave the hospital. She drove back to her apartment, which was full of unopened boxes and untouched furniture. She still had to unpack most of her belongings and decorate her new apartment. Moving to Mumbai had been a big step for Riddhima, but she welcomed the new change in her life.

             Riddhima relaxed and closed her eyes as she threw her head back against the sofa. A familiar image flashed in front of her eyes. She quickly opened them, hoping it would disappear. It always did. Oh, how she wished his memories would leave her. It had been five years and still he was trapped in her soul. She tried many times to move on, but she found that she would unconsciously compare every man to him. Surprisingly, she hadn't thought about him for a while and then suddenly today, just by hearing his name'Armaan. It was enough to bring those memories, those feelings all back to her. She wished she had gotten her happily ever after, but this was reality and in reality there was no happily ever after. This wasn't the fairytale life Riddhima had planned out her herself. She sighed at her pathetic state as tears continued to roll down her cheek and soon enough she fell asleep on the sofa.

The following morning she woke up to the sunlight shining through her window. She lazily opened her eyes and glanced around the room in search of a clock. She quickly sat up noticing the clock flashing "7:10" on the display screen. She was supposed to be at the hospital by 8 o'clock and now she was bound to be late on her first day! She rushed to her room and changed into a light blue and pink churidaar. She applied some light makeup and stared at her reflection. She brushed her hair and remembered how Armaan used to admire her hair when it was let down just so that he could annoy her while he played with the beautiful tresses. She shook her head and tied up her hair in a high ponytail. She grabbed her keys and purse as she walked out the door.

She approached the elevator at the end of the hall and pushed the button to go down. She glanced at her wrist watch, which showed that it was "7:35". Riddhima wasn't sure if she would make it to the hospital on time. She tapped her feet impatiently and then heard the elevator door ding as it reached the 23rd floor. Riddhima walked into the elevator and noticed a muscular man staring at a bunch notes inside a folder. The folder read "Sanjeevani Medical Center." Riddhima mused about the stranger, who was ironically headed to the same location she was. She peered over at him and noticed his steely grey eyes which were slightly hidden by the dark brown hair that was falling over them. There was a certain familiarity to those grey eyes. She glanced at his attire and noticed he was wearing a black stylish button up collared shirt. He seemed like a handsome man, now if only she could see his face. Something about him just made her curious.

She glanced at the display to see what floor they were on and it showed the 17th floor. She noticed the display now showed a blank screen and then the lights in the elevator started to flicker. Riddhima noticed the stranger was taking his face away from the files and was starting to look up at the wavering light source. Before Riddhima could see his face, the lights went out completely and the elevator started to shake. She lost her balance and ended up falling into a pair of strong muscular arms. The stranger held onto Riddhima closely as if trying to shield her from the troubles of the world. The elevator shook again and they both lost their balance and Riddhima ended up on his lap. She tightly shut her eyes and bit her lip to prevent herself from screaming. Then she heard a sweet voice ask, "Are you alright?" in a very compassionate and worried tone. She couldn't help, but feel she had heard his voice before. He brought her out of her thoughts as he repeated the question, "Are you okay? Did you get hurt?" Riddhima smiled into the darkness at the stranger. Then the lights started to flicker back on as she said, "Yes, I'm fine'." Her heart stopped as she saw his face at last and this was something she could never have foreseen.

    Today she would have to face her past because it was staring at her dead in the face. The shock was evident on both their faces. The man she loved so dearly and she never had the courage to tell him was now gazing at her with such intent. It was Armaan Malik, the love of her life, and she was stuck in an elevator with him! There was no escape now and nowhere to run since this elevator was surely jammed. She came out of her thoughts as she saw Armaan narrowing his eyes to see if Riddhima was a figment of his imagination. As soon as he realized it was in fact his Riddhima, his facial features significantly harden. He scoffed, "Just my luck' I get stuck in the elevator with you."

Armaan's rudeness had caught her off guard. Riddhima had been expecting a hug or some kind of an excited response and that was definitely not it. His attitude resembled that of the Armaan she used to hate and not of the Armaan she fell in love with. Riddhima looked into his stormy grey orbs and stated, "You've changed." Armaan looked back at her and replied bitterly, "Losing loved ones does that to people." Riddhima placed a hand on his shoulder sympathetically and replied, "I know how that feels. I'm sorry Armaan." He sneered, "Don't pretend to care now." Hurt by his icy response, she moved out of his lap and to the other side of the elevator.

There was five minutes of awkward silence as Riddhima continued to stare at him while he refused to acknowledge her gaze. She pressed her lips together and softly replied, "I do care about you Armaan." His head snapped towards hers immediately as he said, "Then why did you leave without saying good-bye? Obviously our friendship didn't mean as much to you as I thought!" Riddhima felt insulted that he would even think that. She got up off the ground and yelled, "DON'T YOU DARE SIT THERE AND TELL ME THAT OUR FRIENDSHIP DIDN'T MEAN ANYTHING TO ME ARMAAN! IT MEANT THE WORLD TO ME!" Armaan stood up angrily and shouted back, "THEN HOW COULD YOU JUST LEAVE WITHOUT SAYING ANYTHING RIDDHIMA?!"

He stared at her innocent face and slowly approached her. This time in a soft whisper he asked again, "How could you just leave without saying anything?" She looked away, but Armaan came closer and placed his hands on either side of her. He whispered against her cheek, "You have nowhere to run now... why didn't you say good-bye?" Riddhima shouted, "IT WAS TOO HARD, OKAY?" Riddhima looked away so Armaan grabbed hold of her chin and turned her to face him. His hot breath against her lips was wreaking havoc with her emotions. He murmured, "Why was it hard Riddhima?" She closed her eyes tightly and let a tear roll down her cheek. Armaan pressed his lips against her cheek, kissing the tear away. As soon as Armaan's lips touched her skin, it forced her to take a sharp intake of break. He repeated his question and this time he got a response. She whispered out, "Because you were leaving me' and' because I love you."

She slowly opened her eyes and felt his thumb rubbing against her bottom lip. He stared at her lips and then looked deeply into her eyes. He moved his head to the side and tucked a few strands of her hair behind her ear. She closed her eyes as he whispered softly into her ear, "I love you too Riddhima Shahshank Gupta." Riddhima looked shocked, but recovered quickly and launched herself into his arms. She started to sob violently against his chest mumbling, "Why didn't you say anything?" Armaan gave her a tight squeeze before saying, "For the same reason you didn't say anything. I was scared. I'm sorry." He held her tightly and let her know that he wasn't going anywhere. She whispered, "I'm sorry too." Her crying stopped due to the incessant shaking of the elevator. The lights started to flicker again and Armaan and Riddhima fell to the ground. Riddhima clutched Armaan's hand tightly and hid herself in his chest. She silently prayed that they make it out alive because now she had too much to live for.

Moments later, the lights came back on again and she looked up at Armaan's serene face in shock. Riddhima curiously asked, "Armaan how can you be so calm?" Armaan played with her hair and kissed her temple saying, "Because everything I've ever wanted is right here in my arms. We were given a second chance Riddhima so that's how I know that everything will be okay." Riddhima's heart fluttered as she heard the honesty in Armaan's voice. Armaan brushed his knuckles against her cheek and tipped her head backward forcing their lips to meet in a sweet kiss. He kissed her slowly and passionately, which caused Riddhima to let out a soft moan. Riddhima started to melt against him as his lips moved strategically over hers.  He started smiling into the kiss at the thought of being with Riddhima, his one true love.

They slowly parted and Riddhima pressed her face against his chest, just taking in the masculine scent of his cologne. Riddhima looked into his dazed eyes and blissfully threw her arms around his neck. They slowly pressed their foreheads against each other and both let out a sigh of content. The elevator dinged and the doors flew open, which broke Armaan and Riddhima's heavenly moment. They didn't even realize when the elevator had stopped shaking and when they had safely reached the first floor. As long as they were together, nothing could hurt them.

Armaan turned to Riddhima as they walked out the elevator hand in hand. He asked curiously, "So I never got a chance to ask you' where are you going right now?" Riddhima laughed and replied, "Sanjeevani, it's supposed to be my first day working there." Armaan looked flabbergasted and exclaimed, "I WORK THERE TOO!" Riddhima smiled sweetly, "I know Armaan." Armaan narrowed his eyes and grinned, "Riddhima have you been stalking me?" Riddhima wrapped her arms around his neck and asked, "You'd love that wouldn't you?" Armaan's grin significantly widened, but Riddhima laughs, "Sorry to disappoint, but I'm not stalking you. It's not my fault we happen to think alike. We're not only living in the same apartment building, but we're also working at the same hospital' I think I'm going to become sick of you Armaan." He threw an arm around Riddhima's shoulder and exclaimed, "No one ever gets sick of Armaan. Hmm... so it looks like you'll be stuck with me forever!" They both grinned at the thought... forever. Somehow being stuck with the love of your life forever didn't seem that horrific, in fact it seemed pretty great.


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