Friday, 26 January 2018

part 3 : Look Closer (Arsh)


"Who the hell is this Rahul guy calling me?!" Shilpa stared at her ringing phone. "It's the guy you were stuck to all night yesterday." Armaan simply stated as he flipped through a magazine. He looked up to see Shilpa in the process of throwing a cushion from the couch at him. "You jerk! You know I can't take hard liquor! And you still gave it to me!" She reached for another one to throw at him but was intercepted by Armaan who grabbed it first. "You said earlier that you didn't remember anything!" Armaan held the two cushions in front of his face with a slight gap as she angrily made her way to him. "That's the last thing I remember! The bar tender told me and then after that nothing!" She stood in front of him trying to move his hands to see his face. "You know, I liked you better when you were drunk. At least you're a lot nicer to me." Armaan remarked from behind the cushions as he saw her red face from the gap.


   "Armaan Mallik. You're going to tell me everything that I said to you last night or else." She threatened. "Or else what?" Armaan stood up in front of her and locked his eyes with hers. "Or else, my fist and your face are going to have a talk." She glared. "You wouldn't dare." Armaan challenged back. Shilpa had hit him before, but it would usually just be a smack on his arm or a kick to his shins. After knowing her for almost 5 years now, he knew she wouldn't do anything more than that. "You sure about that?" She questioned, holding the eye contact. Armaan moved his face closer. "Damn sure." Just as Shilpa opened her mouth to answer him, she was left stunned when she felt Armaan's lips on her cheek. With her mouth wide open she just stared at him in shock. Armaan stood there with a huge grin on his face enjoying her response from the kiss. Shilpa brought her hand to her cheek not being able to comprehend what just happened.



After a few seconds of shock, she began to wipe her cheek vigorously. "What the HELL WAS THAT?" Armaan still adorned the evil grin on his lips. "You said I was cute!" Armaan spoke as he quickly backed away knowing she was ready to pounce. "You... little..." She clenched her jaw and said through gritted teeth. And the chase began, "Armaan! You are dead!" She chased him around the room and throughout the house: jumping over the couch, about the table, flying through numerous doors, walking over the bed and returning to the living room. Armaan tripped and fell onto the couch with Shilpa jumping right on top, pointing her finger at him. "Let's get two things straight! One. You are NOT cute. Two. DON'T kiss me." Armaan grabbed her by the shoulder and pushed her down so he was on top of her. "Let's make another two things clear: One. Drunken words are the truth. So therefore, you think I'm cute. Two. I will kiss you again!" He leaned down and gave her another kiss on her cheek as she scrunched up her face trying to move her head away. Armaan jumped off of her and straightened his clothes. Shilpa sat up on the couch and wiped her cheek briskly. "Ugh.. You're impossible!"



Armaan chuckled at an irritated Shilpa wiping her cheek. He leaned down to level his face with hers. Shilpa frowned at his jovial appearance. "Wiping won't help." She saw his stupid persistent grin which made her more annoyed than she was. She groaned as she stood up and pushed him back. "Jerk."

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            "Armaan! It's a school night! No way am I going!" Shilpa tried to pull her hand out of his hold as Armaan dragged her toward the door. "Shilpa, I can't deal with her alone! She gets on my case!" Armaan pleaded for her to come to dinner. "Your problem! Not my fault your mom wants you to get married!" Shilpa resisted by holding onto the edge of doorway to her room. Armaan had received a call from his mom a little earlier and she wanted to meet up with him tonight to discuss some 'important things.' "And how can you be sure that the "important thing" is your marriage?!" She managed to get her hand out of his and rubbed it. "It's always about me getting married! Ever since I graduated from undergrad she's been looking for proposals. And I'm entirely sure that this isn't anything different!" Shilpa sat down on her bed with her arms crossed. "Just because you don't have to go to class tomorrow doesn't mean I don't! Find someone else..." She turned her head away.



            He kneeled down in front of her requesting her to go with him. "Please, Shilpa!" She turned to see his earnest expression. She let out a sigh, "Okay, fine I'll go." He immediately stood up and once again, kissed her cheek. "Thank you so much Shilpa! You're the best!" He moved back and took a sigh of relief. "Ugh.. Can you stop doing that?!" She rubbed her cheek. Armaan walked out the door but then popped his head through the door, "Nope." He smirked. "Be ready by 7! I'll come pick you up."

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Shilpa showered and changed into s plain white dress with a thin, satin band around her waist. She placed her pearl earrings and necklace on and went to the mirror. Making a few minor fixes, she turned from left to right admiring herself. The doorbell disturbed her admiring session and she ran to it. Opening it, She found Armaan standing clad on dark wash jeans and a black dress shirt over his white undershirt. "Well someone looks nice." He complimented when he saw her. "Well someone is here early." Shilpa turned around and walked in with Armaan behind her after he closed the door. "I was hoping to catch you half-dressed. I guess I came too late for that though." Shilpa glared at him and paced to her room. Armaan followed behind her chuckling. He caught her putting her hair into a messy side bun with a few tendrils falling on her face. "Leave it down. It looks nicer." Armaan leaned onto the doorway with arms crossed in front of his chest.



She finished her bun and turned to him. "Don't tell me what to do." She walked over to her closet to find the perfect heels to match. When she got up, her hand had a pair of white sandals. She placed then on the ground and put her feet into them. "I'll be waiting outside." Armaan left and exited the house. Shilpa grabbed her purse and was about to walk out the door until she saw herself in the mirror. She stopped in front of it and looked at herself. She did a quick turn around and then faced the mirror again looking at her hair. Giving it a quick thought, she pulled out the two pins holding her bun in place and let her hair fall over her shoulder. Fixing it slightly with her fingers, her lips formed a smile and she left the room.



Armaan looked up and through the car window to see Shilpa locking her door and walking to the car. Armaan smiled when he saw she let her hair back down. She sat down in the car and began to buckle up. "So you took my advice?" Armaan placed his hand on her headrest and looked back while reversing out of the driveway. "I took my own advice, not yours." She busied herself with something in her purse. "You'll always be stubborn." Armaan snickered at her response. She plastered a smile on her face for a few seconds before letting it fade and she frowned again. "You better get me home early. I have class early in the morning." Armaan assured her, "Will do madam!"

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"Armaan seriously, where is she? We've been waiting for almost half an hour." Shilpa placed her elbow on the table with her head in her hand and pouted her lips. She picked up a spoon and began twirling it in her other hand. "I don't know! She won't answer her phone either." Armaan began to dial her number once again until he heard a crash from behind him. Shilpa leaned over the side of the table to see a woman rushing through the door with a small stack of what looked like small papers in her hand. Armaan turned back around and held his head in his hands exasperated. Shilpa heard him grunt behind his hands. Shilpa watched the woman asking the waitress at the entrance something. "Armaan, do you know her?" He mumbled something through his hands but Shilpa couldn't make out what he said. "What...?" Armaan banged his palms onto the table and leaned over on the table. Shilpa moved back with wide eyes at his sudden move. "She's...my...mother." He spoke through a clenched jaw.



Only Shilpa knew how she controlled her laughter. "She's your mom?" Shilpa's lips constantly went from a smile to straight face and then back to a smile as she held it in. "Armaan beta!" His mother made it to the table and held her arms wide open to embrace her son. Armaan plastered his face with a smile and got up to hug her. "Mom!" As Armaan hugged her Shilpa noticed his face change to an annoyed expression behind his mom's back. She let out a giggle as she saw his reactions. "Armaan beta! How have you been? Why don't you call me anymore? Have you been taking care of yourself? How abo-" "Mom! Calm down! Have a seat first." Shilpa shifted over in the booth to allow his mother to sit down. "Who is she?" She eyed the girl who just scooted over. "Mom, this is Shilpa my b-" Before he could finish his mom had jumped to her own conclusion. "My bahu!" Shilpa's eyes widened as she heard her. "NO! Aunty, I'm not..." Shilpa tried to explain but wasn't allowed to finish. "Oh Armaan beta! I guess all of these rishtas are of no use then! I'm so glad you're finally going to settle down!"



Shilpa began to sink down in her seat looking at Armaan pleadingly. "Mom, you have it wrong. She isn't my girl-" Once again, he was cut off by his mother. "Stop trying to hide it Armaan! I approve!! She's absolutely beautiful." She turned to Shilpa and cupped her hand on her cheek. Shilpa smiled uncomfortably at her and then looked toward Armaan for help. "Mom, will you just listen to me." Armaan's reasoning went to no avail. "Beta, are you ready to order?" She asked as the waiter waited for their order. "Oh I'll have the chicken pasta. Shilpa, what will you have?" Shilpa hid behind the menu trying to figure out a way to get Armaan's mom to understand. "Shilpa and me will have the seafood alfredo." The waiter gathered up the menus and left. "So how have you been beta?" Armaan's mother questioned. "I've been fine mom." "Beta, why don't you call? Ever since you started graduate school you've been drifting away!" "I've been busy with studies!" Armaan defended himself. "Studies? Or has it been this young lady sitting next to me?" She eyed him suspiciously.



Shilpa shifted her eyes back and forth from Armaan and his mom. The only thing running through her mind was how the heck she got stuck between these two. "Mom, stop. She's my friend not my girlfriend." "Excuses are for the weak, Armaan." Shilpa couldn't help but giggle at the line just said by Armaan's mother. Now she knew where Armaan had learned that line. "Shilpa beta, you're adorable!" Shilpa's train of thought halted as she heard his mother. She glared at Armaan since he still hasn't done anything about the situation. Armaan shrugged at her defeated because nothing he said was working.



The waiter returned with the three dishes and placed them in front of each one of them. Shilpa silently and slowly ate her meal wondering what the heck se did to deserve being in this situation. Armaan, too, was silent for the most part; only answering in nods and monosyllables to his mother's questions. His mom, on the other hand, was chattering away about how Armaan's choice was great, how happy she was and when the wedding should be.



As they finished the meal and exited the restaurant, Armaan made one more attempt to clarify with his mother. "Mom, can you please listen to me." She held Armaan's face in her hands, "Armaan, you don't need to tell me anything. I know you didn't expect me to approve of Shilpa, but I do. She will be the perfect bahu." She gently pulled his head down and kissed his forehead. Shilpa stood off to the side watching the scene in front of her. "Bye beta. I will call you later." She let go of Armaan's face and back away a little bit. "Bye, mom." He whispered and she walked away.  He turned to Shilpa with a beaten expression. "Shilpa, I'm..." "Just take me home Armaan." She interrupted him before he could finish. "I just want to go home." She staggered toward the car leaving behind her a guilty Armaan.

Sam

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