Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Part 28 : Remember this (Arsh ff)

Shilpa strode down the corridor of Sanjeevani in her three inch heels oblivious to the stares from the nurses and doctors. She headed straight to the nurse station: hi! Could you tell me if dr. armaan is in his cabin or doing rounds?
The nurse on duty looked up at the sound of her voice, her eyes widened in surprise: hi shilpa! you look different today!
Shilpa smiled at her reaction: thanks! (grinning) what about dr.armaan is he busy?
Nurse: well! He's in his cabin but with a patient!

Shilpa: what about dr. muskaan and rahul?
Nurse smiled hesitantly: sorry! Dr. rahul is in surgery while dr. muskaan is on rounds.
Shilpa was silent for a moment: ok! When they are free let them know I'm waiting for them in the children's wing or the nursery. All three of them. (as she was turning to leave a thought occurred to her)rittu!(making the nurse look up at her in surprise as she used her given name) thanks!
Nurse rittu still confused: for what?
Shilpa with a smile: for being a friend when I needed one! Don't forget to give my message to our busy doctors (shilpa added as she turned to leave)
Shilpa made it to the children's ward and visited the children there as they were friends with her. Being with them made shilpa forget about the hardships of life and the children adored her. Muskaan was the first one who came looking for her and found her standing infront of the nursery looking at the newborns. For a second muskaan had not recognized shilpa, she saw a woman standing in tailored charcoal trousers with a pale pink shirt. Standing in 3 inch heels with the cuffs of her sleeves rolled and hair pulled back in a ponytail she made a very different picture than her usual dress and loose tresses.
It was the way she tilted her head which had made muskaan stop and look again towards her. On recognizing her she exclaimed: shilpa! you went shopping without me! and got a new wardrobe! Not fair!(she pouted)
Shilpa couldn't help but laugh at her expression: I wouldn't even dream of going shopping without you!
Muskaan: then where did you get clothes from?
Shilpa: the police yesterday returned my stuff which they retrieved from the Garewal mansion. So I'm wearing my own clothes which I had for some time actually.
Muskaan: you've got to tell me where you shop from!
Before shilpa could answer rahul came over and looked shilpa over: are we going somewhere?
Shilpa grinned at him: no! coming from somewhere!
Rahul: should've known you wouldn't have duded up just for us. So whats the big plan that you had us paged here.
Shilpa shook her head: why can't I just come over to meet you guys and I didn't have you paged. (when rahul continued to look at her, shilpa smiled) ok! Fine I do need to talk to you.
Armaan: well that sounds ominous (he wrapped his arms around shilpa)
Shilpa turned in his arms and glared at him: no its not!(turning back towards rahul) rahul! We need to talk!(rahul waited for her to continue) I need you to give me a sample of your DNA. I have to prove that we are related.
Rahul: DNA?
Shilpa: a sample of your hair or your saliva would do!
Armaan: shilpa! we know that but I don't understand why do you need to prove that rahul and you are related.
Shilpa: I'm claiming my inheritance so I need to prove without a doubt that I'm Sushant Garewal's daughter.
Rahul: you are going to acknowledge the fact that you are a garewal.(smiling slowly) so you finally going to admit you are related to me.
Shilpa laughed: who wants to be related to you? I only want the money!
Armaan: when did you decide this?
Shilpa shrugged her shoulder: why does it matter?
Armaan: it matters b'coz you didn't say anything about it to me or anyone before this!
Shilpa: this was always the plan armaan! I might not have said it out loud b'coz I needed to find out the legal tangles first. (Armaan turned away but not before shilpa saw anger flash in his eyes. Shilpa huffed out a breath and turned him back so that he faced her again) you're angry !
Armaan broodingly: I'm angry b'coz I feel you are shutting me out!
Shilpa rubbed a hand on her forehead and looked directly in his eyes: I'm not shutting you out! I need to do this armaan! This was what I was planning to do before I even met you, this is why I came to India.
Armaan closed his eyes: shilpa! just talk to me ok!
Shilpa smiling: that's exactly why I came here and as we have sorted this issue its time to meet my favorite person.(she turned as the doctor waved her inside the nursery. Shilpa quickly entered the nursery where she greeted the doctor with a smile) hey nikita! Can I have her now! Please!
Armaan, muskaan and rahul had also entered the nursery and were waiting looking around. Dr. Nikita smiled at shilpa's excited face and turned towards one of the cots, when she turned she was holding a baby in her arms. She walked towards shilpa and very carefully placed the baby in shilpa's arms: here you go!
Shilpa cradled the bundle of flaying arms and legs and crooned: hey! Beautiful baby girl! How you doing?(the baby made gurgling sounds as she tried to grab on to her nose making shilpa laugh as she grabbed her hand and placed a kiss on her fist) I know I missed you too!
Shilpa turned towards armaan: come meet my baby!
Armaan: I thought I was your baby! (but he grazed the baby's cheek with his knuckle making shilpa look up at him with a dazzling smile)
Rahul looked at muskaan: I feel as if we have become a third wheel.
Muskaan: shilpa aren't you going to introduce us!
Shilpa: this is Ayesha! Two months back she was born a month premature, while the doctors were trying to keep her stabilized her mother walked out on her leaving her here at the hospital.
Muskaan: she was abandoned!(shilpa nodded)
Shilpa: now that she has become stronger and gotten bigger we are going to try and find a home for her.
Nikita: shilpa has been of great help looking after Ayesha. She has become very attached to her, do you know shilpa was the one to name her.
Rahul: so this is where you've been spending all your time.
Shilpa smiled as she continued to rock the baby in her arms: we are going to find you some lucky people who are going to love you and take care of you, well not as much as me. I wish I could keep you myself (she went silent as her eyes looked at the baby's cherubic face and were filled with longing) well! (she shook herself out of it handing back the baby to nikita) its time we get out of here(turning she grabbed armaan's hand pulling him out the door) come on!
Armaan let himself be pulled out but stopped: where are we going now?
Shilpa: home! Remember maa is waiting for us! (when armaan continued to look at her) rahul-muskaan wedding preparations! ring any bell?(looking at armaan's stern expression) armaan! I'm doing what I'm suppose to do but I need you to be there for me. (looking intently at his face)
Armaan looked into her eyes and exhaled loudly as he closed his eyes and pulled her into a hug: I'm sorry! I overreacted! Your plan just took me by surprise(pulling back with his arms still around shilpa's waist he planted a kiss on her forehead)
Muskaan clearing her throat: can we go now? Remember my wedding is suppose to be in a month and we are still at the planning stage.
Armaan groaned: ok! Lets go!
All four of them went back to armaan's place where Ananya was indeed waiting for them with plans for wedding spread out. Shilpa quickly ducked inside to change clothes and came outside wearing cream colored pants and a coral cotton shirt, her hair again pulled back in a braid. She sat back down with ananya going over the plans of the wedding. Amidst insults and threats venues for the sangeet were decided, discussion about the possible venue for the reception and wedding were still undecided. Discussion was in full flow when shilpa's cell rang, shilpa glanced at the name being displayed: excuse me! I've gotta take this (she walked out of the room)
The rest of them continued with their discussion without reaching any conclusion, after 10 minutes of arguing ananya announced: be quiet! All of you! Let shilpa come back and we'll do a final discussion and decide once for all. Meanwhile look through these albums and decide what sort of arrangements do you want.
Armaan groaned: maa! Do I have to do this? Let rahul and muskaan decide. I'm going to get something to drink! (before ananya could say anything) yes and for everyone else also.
He walked into the kitchen to get drinks for everyone, he grabbed glasses out of a cupboard placing them in a tray. As he was pouring juice into glass he heard shilpa's raised voice who was taking her call out in the corridor.
Shilpa: I thought I made myself clear
Armaan picked up the tray and walked back into the lounge where the rest of the gang was doing wedding stuff. As every one had quietened down shilpa's voice came through clear.
Shilpa: no! I don't want to negotiate! I've told you everything and anything that has garewal name on it I want it.(there was silence as she was listening to the other person talk and then she laughed harshly) that's what I'm paying you to do. We both know that all of this is legally possible. (she made an impatient sound) don't give me excuses.
Shilpa moved so that she was standing in the doorway to the lounge so that everyone could look at her as she spoke.
Shilpa: listen to me carefully! I don't want them to have a single penny to their name. Everything is going to be transferred in my name as I'm the heir to the Garewal Empire. I'm taking the tests tomorrow you'll get the results in 3 days time. Don't bother calling me if you don't have anything new to report.(she disconnected the call and walked back into the lounge)
Shilpa sat back on the couch and randomly picked up a magazine: so what have you decided?
The room kept silent as everyone was in shock, all eyes were fixed on shilpa trying to reconcile the shilpa they knew with the shilpa who was making threats on the phone. When the silence stretched shilpa looked up at everyone: what?
Armaan: whom were you talking to on the phone?
Shilpa shrugged her shoulders: my lawyer! Was confirming somethings with him!(she threw back the magazine on the table and looked up at everyone)what?
Rahul: shilpa! what are you doing?(when shilpa remained silent) you are having all the garewal assets transferred to your name. (he kept looking at shilpa's face which was set in an expressionless mask) I don't understand you would've gotten your share once the DNA results came. Then why?
Armaan: is this revenge? (when she stayed quiet armaan tried to reason with her) shilpa! they are already been jailed and are going to stand trial for murder. What are you going to get from all of this?
Muskaan: this is not the shilpa we knew and love!
Shilpa raised her eyes on muskaan's comment and stared back at her: this is who I am, muskaan! I'm not going to back down now!
Armaangrabbed her by the shoulders looking into her eyes: but why? What would this accomplish?
Shilpa looked back at him with eyes that burned with intensity: why? After everything that has happened, after everything I've told you I had been through you're still asking me why.(her chest heaved with the suppressed emotions) they took everything away from me, killed my birth parents when I was just a child. They killed my dad armaan! They killed him and then talked about it as if he had squished a bug. (her eyes were filled with pain and tears)
Armaan reached out with his hand to bring her close to him to offer comfort but before he could the new shilpa was back. The one who knew how to rein in her emotions: now it's my turn armaan!
Armaan looked at her eyes which burned with an inner fire and asked: what are you going to do?
Shilpa's lips moved in an imitation of a smile but what was worse was the look in her eyes, her beautiful green were devoid of any emotion: I'm going to take everything that ever mattered to them away. I'm going to make them live with the fact that they were all alone and people who mattered were lost to them forever.
Rahul grabbed shilpa by the arm: what are you going to do?(shilpa looked ta his hand which was holding her arm and pulled out of his grasp)
Shilpa: wait and watch! The show starts at 9 in the morning.
True to her words the show started the very next day. Shilpa filed a case against the garewals claiming her inheritance. Rahul submitted his DNA to verify shilpa's parentage and association with the garewals'. At the same time tayaji's and Akshad trial also commenced. Through out the case proceedings shilpa maintained a calm demeanor, nothing fazed her, no emotion crossed her face. The only time her face showed any emotion was when during a cros examination of Akshad he confessed to killing Professor Malhotra, Shilpa's father. Even though as evidence of the crime the police had presented the recordings of their voices accepting they had killed him, this was the first time he had accepted it in the court.
Shilpa sat there with her fists clenched a look of pure murder on her face, Akshad had turned his head to look at her giving her a mocking grin. Armaan and rahul who had sat beside shilpa in the court had been worried that shilpa might've attacked him then. For a second shilpa's eyes had taken a wild look, she looked ready to kill but with a blink of an eye her face changed into the emotionless mask again.
The court granted shilpa the whole of the garewal inheritance as she was recognized as the daughter of the late Sushant Garewal. As the property was basically in his name and due to the lack of heir it was being distributed to his brothers' and their children, with the return of shilpa in the picture she was the heir apparent.
On the same day the other court also gave its decision in the case of tayaji and Akshad. Shilpa walked down the corridor heading towards the courtroom she was flanked on both sides by armaan, rahul and muskaan followed by Billy and Ananya.
Once seated shilpa looked a picture of calm and serenity, totally unmoved by the air of tension that surrounded her friends and family. The judge entered and the proceedings got underway, the verdict was guilty for both tayaji and Akshad. The sentence was life imprisonment for tayaji and death sentence for Akshad. Shilpa was hugged and congratulated by all her friends, as tayaji and Akshad were about to be taken away from the court, shilpa turned around and smiled at tayaji.
Tayaji, who had been hugging his son stilled as he looked at shilpa smiling. She saw anger flare in his eyes and he shouted at her: its not over! We'll be out of here before you even fully enjoy this moment.
Shilpa continued to smile as she walked towards him and stopped less than a foot away from him. She leaned close to him and whispered in his ear: try! (she stood facing him with a huge grin on her face) in a little while you are going to have visit from one of your lawyers who are going to tell you that you have lost the case again to me. Meaning you have lost your chance of saving your son(she threw back her head and let out a full throated laugh, she turned back and smartly walked out of the court followed by the rest. 
Shilpa's mood was light as they went out to celebrate on her insistence. Finally when they came back home shilpa was quiet, everyone agreed to turn in early for the night as it had been eventful. It had been an hour since they had turned in when armaan thought to check up on shilpa. He had been feeling restless, unable to sleep the sight of that cold smile on shilpa's face kept coming to him.
He walked out of his room and found shilpa sitting in the lounge with her feet up on the couch. Armaan walked up to her and saw her looking down at her lap, as he neared her he saw her looking at a picture. He quietly sat beside her and waited for her to acknowledge him.
Shilpa still looking at the picture: did you get why?
Armaan looked at her: like you said, you are going to take away everything that mattered to them. Starting from the wealth and status which indirectly helps you in taking away his son from him.
Shilpa smiled crookedly: now he would understand the pain you feel when you can feel your loved one slipping away from you minute by minute and there is nothing that you can do to save him.
Armaan stayed quiet for a while: what are you looking at? (when she didn't respond he leaned over and picked up the picture to see. It was younger shilpa with her parents laughing as looked into the camera) when was it taken?
He thougt that she was not going to respond: I had started college and had come back on a weekend as I missed them so much. We had gone out for dinner and we happened across a carnival and went there. We had an amazing time there and we had this picture taken there. It is the best memory I have of my time together with my parents before everything changed. Mom died at the end of the year and life was not the same.
They sat there in silence and then shilpa whispered: he took my dad away from me, armaan!(her breath hitched) now he'll know how it feels to lose someone you love, haanive them snatched away from you for no reason.(she blinked away the moisture that gathered in her eyes but as armaan's fingers closed around her hand she felt her control slip)
Armaan closed his arms around her and held her shuddering form. 


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