Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Part 25 : Remember this (Arsh ff)

As armaan left the room shilpa sat down on the bed trying to calm her runaway heart which had gone into overdrive the moment armaan had touched her. She raised her hand and looked at her engagement ring, a smile forming on her lips: no wonder I'm crazy about him(she shook her head as she recalled that she was sitting in her towel. She thought to herself that armaan was the only one who made her forget everything: time, place and people lost their meaning)

Smiling she got up and took out a dress which she had stashed in one of the closets of armaan. As she dressed her gaze landed on the clock making her exclaim: what the *****!(the clock read 12 noon)
Shilpa couldn't remember the last time when she had slept in so late even when she was in college and on a summer break the latest she had risen was 10 in the morning. She quickly combed out  the tangles from her hair and rushed out of the room.
Shilpa came out and to her surprise found only armaan sitting in the lounge: where's everyone?
Armaan smiled: out! Why? Aren't I enough for you?(when shilpa gave him a look) maa and dad have gone over to muskaan's place, they had to discuss something. Why don't you come in the kitchen I'll cook something for you! You must be hungry now!
Both walked into the kitchen as shilpa sat down on the kitchen table armaan asked her what she would like to eat. Shilpa thought for a second: I know its close to lunch time but just scramble me some eggs. (armaan started with the eggs once done he placed them infront of her with toasted slices of bread)
Shilpa digged into the food as she was extremely hungry while armaan sat opposite to her and looked at her eat indulgently. She looked up at him: want some?
Armaan shook his head while shilpa continued eating, once finished she sat back: that were the most amazing eggs ever!(making armaan grin in response) so now what?
Armaan: maa and dad will be coming back shortly I guess! I need to talk to them then we can do whatever you want.
Shilpa looked questioningly at armaan:what do you want to talk to them about? Is something wrong?
Armaan stood up and walked over to shilpa, pulling her up from the chair he wrapped his arms around her: I have to introduce them to my future wife.
Shilpa: you're going to tell her now!
Armaan: of course! Why wait? (looking at her tense face) don't tell me you're scared?
Shilpa: not scared really! But…
Armaan cut her off with a laugh: shilpa! my mother loves you more than she loves me! I'm more scared that she'll say that I don't deserve you(looking downcast)
Shilpa laughed at his expression and twined her arms around his neck pulling him close: that's strange b'coz I deserve you ! what any one else says doesn't matter not even maa!(she kissed him on the nose, on the cheeks and the forehead)
Armaan: if you'll only aim a bit lower(bringing her mouth in sync with his and lightly kissed. Then came the sound of the front door opening)
Ananya: yohoo! Any one home?
Shilpa pulled back with a smile: come on! Lets go out! (pulled him out by the arm)
Armaan: one of these days I'm going to change the lock on the door.
Shilpa looked back: promises! Promises!
They came out in the lounge to find not only billy and Anaya there but also rahul and muskaan there, with rahul grinning like an idiot. On seeing shilpa ananya: beta! How are you feeling?
Shilpa: good as new! But whats up with you all? Rahul! You look as if you are going to burst!
Billy: well we have some excellent news! Our boy rahul and muskaan are getting married in a months time.
Shilpa exclaimed: a month!(she looked at rahul's grinning face to muskaan's shocked one)
Rahul wrapped an arm around muskaan's waist: I'm not willing to wait a single day more than a month. (pecking muskaan on the cheek) you should be thankful you got this much time.
Armaan leaned towards shilpa and whispered in her ear: I'm sorry but I can't wait more than a week. You'll just have to manage.
Shilpa looked at him with a smile: are you busy tomorrow?
Armaan: why?
Shilpa: b'coz I don't want to wait a week.(shilpa whispered back)
Before armaan could respond muskaan spoke up: but a month! Rahul! How the hell am I going to manage everything in a months' time.
Shilpa tore her gaze away from armaan: muskaan! (looking at muskaan's panicked face) we are all here and you don't have to worry about a thing.
Muskaan: shilpa! a month is too short a notice we won't even get a hall for the wedding ceremony.
Rahul: I have a solution for that! Remember my tayaji's offer last night, why don't we check it out.
Armaan: the garewal mansion! That's a brilliant idea!
Rahul: so my darling muskaan! If you've done complaining we'll go right now and check it out.
Shilpa trying to console muskaan: honestly muskaan! You don't have to worry about a thing. I'll take of everything (her voice dropped to a whisper) you can plan your honeymoon though (bringing a wicked smile on muskaan's face)
 Rahul: come on lets go then! (seeing armaan and shilpa not moving) hey you two! Do you need a formal invitation?
Armaan: what? Can't you two make the decision yourself?
Rahul: we can but I prefer if you two came along.
Armaan was about to argue but shilpa stopped him: ok! We're coming! (when armaan turned to question her shilpa in a lower tone) its their day! You can tell maa and billy uncle about us later.
They all bundled up in one car and drove up to the garewal mansion. As they neared the gate the guards looked at rahul and opened the gates. They drove in on a long winding drive with huge gardens, finally they reached the main structure of the house. House was not word for it, it could only be described as mansion. All four of them got out of the car and stood looking at the house.
Muskaan: wow!(her eyes wide and mouth open) how I never knew that you grew up here is beyond me (she looked at rahul) this is awesome!
Rahul lips twisted into a parody of a smile: it wasn't a great place to grow up in!(armaan thumped him on the shoulder breaking his reverie)
Shilpa: it looks cold! Without any feeling or emotion! Like a museum!(the moment the words were out of her mouth she realized her mistake) ****! Sorry rahul! That didn't come out right!
Rahul laughed: actually that was perfect! You nailed it shilpa! it is cold and unfeeling just like the people who live here.(then as if giving himself a mental shake) lets go in!
They walked in through the front door which opened into a huge hall with high ceiling and a sparkling chandelier. Four of them stood in the hall gawking as the butler quietly left them.
Rahul: I had actually forgotten how magnificent this place looked!
Muskaan: wow! This place is like something out of the world! I've never seen anything like this in my life.
"I'm sure you haven't!" came tayaji voice from behind them standing on the stairs. He made his way down the stairs as the four of them greeted him politely which he ignored.
Rahul stiffly: I hope we are not disturbing you?
Tayaji with a faint smile: well! Too late to ask that question now! How can I help you?
Muskaan smiling: we came to have alook at the garewal mansion. I must say you have a beautiful house!
Tayaji only response was to incline his head slightly as if bored with the conversation, his gaze landed on shilpa: what do you think of the garewal mansion? Shweta I believe it was!
Shilpa tried to rein in her temper: shilpa! as for the mansion I believe I described it very aptly a few minutes ago but I would like to add it suits its occupant perfectly. Especially you!(her voice had enough edge to make it apparent that she meant it other than a compliment. The fact that muskaan choked on her laughter, armaan had a fit of cough and rahul just grinned gave away the fact that she meant it as an insult)
For a briefest second anger flashed across tayaji face and then the usual mask was back in its place. He turned towards rahul: I'm leaving for an appointment you're welcome to look around.(with that he left)
Armaan laughing wrapped his arm around shilpa's waist: remind me never to cross you!
Shilpa frowning: he deserved it!
Muskaan beaming: rahul! If we could hold the wedding here it would be perfect! Do you think tayaji would let us?
Before rahul could respond shilpa jumped in: why wouldn't he? In case he forgets this is rahul's home too so technically rahul doesn't need to ask his permission.
Rahul: down tiger! Relax! So it is decided that we are going to have the wedding ceremony here. Come on! Lets have a look at the rest of the house.
Shilpa lagged behind lost in thought and was surprised when armaan held her hand bringing her back to the earth: what?
Armaan: I've never seen you like this before! Don't take tayaji personally!
Shilpa blew a breath out: its not that!(rubbing a hand on her forehead) its just that my head is feeling kind of heavy. I wish we could just go home.
Armaan: rahul wants to show us this house! It'll take us mazximum half an hour, then we can go back.
Shilpa forced a smile: its ok!(then smiling more genuinely) come on lets see what rahul is showing!
They quickly followed rahul and muskaan up the stairs which ended up in long corridors going both on the left and right. In each corridors the walls were covered with family pictures. As armaan and shilpa stood infront of the portrait rahul showed them his parents who were standing with tayaji. Shilpa didn't know why but there was something about the picture that bothered her. She walked behind rahul and muskaan looking at the pictures each step forward with it brought a feeling of forboding. Armaan's hand which clasped her was the anchor which stopped her from running away. She stopped with armaan infront of a picure of tyaji in his youth, he stood in the picture with his back towards a window overlooking the gardens. He was a handsome young man but his mout had a cruel set to it, shilpa looked into the eyes and felt a sharp stabbing pain in her eyes.
Shilpa winced and moved forward trying to shake off the feeling of something bad going to happen she turned to armaan: can't we leave?
Armaan looked at her in surprise as they were continuing further down the corridor towards different rooms: whats wrong?
Shilpa drew in a shuddering breath: I don' feel so good! I think the headache has returned(they had stopped as they talked)
Armaan: ok! Let me just tell rahul we are leaving(they turned around but there was no sign of rahul and muskaan) y ou just wait here!(he opene the door to the room on his right and saw that it was a bedroom) why don't you rest here and I'll be back in a minute.
He made shilpa sit on the bed and then walked out of the room in search of rahul and muskaan. Shilpa tried to relax herself as she sat in that room alone. She felt as if the rose colored walls of the room were closing in on her, she could feel her breathing becoming shallower. She opened her eyes and looked around the room to distract herself with her gaze landed on her own reflection in the mirror. She looked panicked, her eyes were too wide and her face was pale, she consciously tried to bring her breathing in control.
Once again she closed her eyes and then opened them again, she glanced at herself in the mirror and froze as the her own reflection smiled back at her: took you long enough to come here!
Shilpa bolted from the room she didn't what the hell was happening but she was not going to stay in the room. She made it out of the room looking down thw corridors on both side of her wondering which way armaan had went. She started down the corridor on her left then stopped thinking it better to wait for armaan. Her head felt as if a drummer had taken resident in it she looked around again for a sign of any person but she was alone. Her gaze landed on a mirror which was standing at the end of the corridor, she could see her reflection and an ajar door. Shilpa walked couple of steps forward and then stopped her eyes widening in horror as she saw her own reflection motioning her forward.
Shilpa took an instinctive step backwards but stopped as sweat beaded her forehead she felt pulled towards the mirror and her reflection. Slowly she took a step down the corridor, she could feel the hysteria rising within her and had an undeniable urge to scream. By the team she reached the end of the corridor she was soaked with sweat she blinked her eyes against the sting of the sweat, she opened her eyes and looked at the mirror where her reflection motioned her forward.
Shilpa had a fleeting thought of how would armaan react when she told him that she had gone mad. She stood a step forward and stopped as her reflection placed a finger on her lips telling her to stay quiet. She looked directly in her eyes and mouthed the words "listen" and then turned towards the door's reflection in the mirror. Trembling shilpa turned towards the open door and pressed against the wall to listen to what was happening inside.
Armaan: where the hell did she go? I left her here!(armaan looked around the room where he had left shilpa)
Armaan had managed to find rahul and muskaan who had gone down a different corridor, it had taken armaan some time to find them. Armaan was worried that shilpa's headache had returned which is why he had gone after rahul as he wanted to take shilpa to the hospital for tests. The three of them had returned to the room to get shilpa and leave for the hospital but she was not there.
Rahul: Armaan! Are you sure this is the room? Maybe you've confused it with other one. Lets check the other rooms.
They checked but there was no sign of shilpa.
Muskaan: was she carrying her mobile?
Armaan: I'm not sure! But I'll try!
Armaan quickly dialed her number and waited for the line to connect: it's ringing!
Shilpa pressed her fist against her mouth as she heard the voices inside the room: she's here! I'm not sure whether she remembers anything or not!(it was rahul's tayaji)
Shilpa stopped breathing as another voice replied: well I for one am not going to wait and figure it out. I say we get rid of her as she is here.
Shilpa looked around wildly and jumped out of her skin as the her mobile rang which she had clenched in her fist. She quickly looked at the cell and tried to silent the call, she looked at the name on the screen and it her breath came out in a whoosh as it was armaan calling. Before she could receive the call she was pulled by her arm in the direction of the room making her drop the cell outside.


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