Friday, 19 January 2018

part 5 : It all Depends on Love(AR)



At ten next morning, Riddhima reached her office and signed the deal. After signing the deal Atul asked Riddhima for a favour…

'Hey Ridzi will you help me select a ring for Muskaan?" Atul asked

"Don't tell me you are going to propose her" Riddhima asked with excitement. "Are you?"

"Well, yes I am…."


"O my God Atul! I am so happy for you both."

"When are you guys getting married?"

"Chill Ridzi…. Let her accept my proposal first… then we will decide and let you know. Now will you come with me to select the ring?"

"Of course I will… Let's go"

An hour later they were standing outside the Jewelry shop….

"Hey Atul you like the Ring? Riddhima asked delightedly

"I love it Riddhima… I really hope she says yes..."

"Oh Atul! Don't worry… she'll say yes"

"Ok Ridzi you wait here I'll just go and get the car from parking"

Within a minute Atul came back but got really worried when he looked at Riddhima….

"Are you ok Riddhima? Are you ill?" Atul asked

"No I am fine"

"No you are not; you are white as a ghost." Atul put his arm around her in concern

"I am ok Atul, you are imagining it."

But he wasn't nor had she imagined Armaan and Anjali stepping out from the building opposite jewelry shop. How awful it would be if he came over to her and Atul gave away her identity. There wasn't even time to tell Atul about her charade …

She glanced over her shoulder, breathing a sigh of relief as she saw Armaan and Anjali move off in opposite direction.

"What the hell is wrong?" Atul asked "You are shaking."

"From hunger" she regretted the lie when Atul insisted her to a nearby Italian restaurant and stuffing her full of pasta.

Only as they were sipping their coffee did she come clean as to the real reason for her pallor, and Atul laughed till he cried.

"You a teenager in a mini skirt?" he said when he could finally speak, "I don't believe it."

"It suits me" she informed him airily

"This Armaan of yours will blow his top when he finds out the truth. When are you going to tell him?"

"Soon. I am not sure exactly when."

"You haven't fallen for him, have you?

"What a silly question."

"I am waiting for a silly answer."

"Of course I haven't." she said " he is brilliant at his work….."

"Like you."

"And he cant stand career women."

"Like you!"

"Exactly." Riddhima said

"Then come clean with him and return to London. Jokes have a nasty habit of back firing."

"I know what you are saying is you are right Atul, I will end this soon."

As she drove away from London, Riddhima thought over everything Atul said. He was right of course. She was getting too involved with Patrick and it could lead her to worst situation of her life.

She was thinking on this when she entered the kitchen and found Mrs. Malhotra baking bread

"Hey aunty." Riddhima asked, smiling with an effort

The housekeeper grunted, her usual smile missing and Riddhima knew instantly something was wrong.

"What's wrong Aunty?"

"Your Bracelet" she replied "I forgot to keep it in the locker when you gave me that night."

"Its ok aunty, doesn't matter"

"No its not ok Riddhima, I left your bracelet on the bed side table and now.."

"Now?" confused Riddhima asked

"And now its missing"

"Oh God aunty! You are talking about this bracelet right?" she showed her hand to Mrs. Malhotra "see I am wearing it"

"Thank God! I was feeling so guilty… we need to inform police that the bracelet is not missing"

"You reported missing bracelet to police?"

"Yes, as soon as I couldn't find the bracelet."

"What did you tell them?"

"That we'd been burgled. But I was in such a state I… I …" she shook her head " it was a good thing Mr. Mallik arrived at that time."

"What's Mr. Mallik got to do with it?" Riddhima asked sharply.

"He and his secretary saw the police car turn in here as they were leaving this morning for london, and he came in to find out what was wrong."

"all right then, I'll just call the police to inform them that my bracelet is safe."

"I think we should tell Mr. Mallik too." Mrs. Malhotra suggested, and Riddhima reluctant to go to see him, called him instead.

"He went to London with Miss Anjali." Maria informed her, " and we are not expecting her till tomorrow."

So he and Anjali were spending the night in London… in one bed, no doubt… it was hard to imagine Anjali's missing such an opportunity.


*************



Riddhima was halfway through her morning's work at the Mallik mansion, helping Maria arrange plates on the dinning table, when she heard the purr of Armaan's sports car.

She was at the Kitchen door when he strode in, handsomer than ever in a grey formal suit.

"I want to talk to you, Riddhima." He bit out

"Same here." She said eagerly.

"Come to my study in ten minutes."

Riddhima set off for the study, her excitement vanished as she saw Anjali in the main hall.

"Where do you think you are going?" Anjali demanded, suddenly appearing in front of her.

"To your Boss!"

"He is your Boss as well… how often do I have to warn you not to bother him? If there is anything you wish to know about, ask me."

"I always do," Riddhima said without inflection, "but he ordered me to go to him."

Anjali's lips tightened. "In future I'll make sure he let's me deal with you"

"Have you ever thought he might enjoy talking to me?" Riddhima laughed and walked away leaving Anjali fuming with anger.

Arriving at the study, she drew a deep breath and knocked on the door.

"What were you doing in the jewelry shop yesterday?" he demanded the instant she entered

So he had seen her. "I went to buy a ring for…"

"I'd have thought a street market more your scene." Armaan interrupted

"Shows how little you know me." She said

"Enough to know you stole Miss. Gupta's diamond bracelet."

"What?" Riddhima stared at him in horror. Did he really think her a thief?

"Well… Aren't you going to defend your self?"

"I have nothing to defend." She snapped. "As it happens, Miss Gupta's bracelet was… "

"Didn't you go to sell the bracelet with that man you were making eyes at yesterday?"

"I wasn't making eyes at him."

"you were practically in his arms outside the jewelry shop… and don't bother denying it, because I was only few steps away from you."

Realizing he had seen Atul put his arm around her when she had turned pale, she understood his misinterpretation of the gesture.

"I am waiting for an answer." Armaan said harshly " what have you done with that Bracelet? There is no point lying to me. I know you took it and I'll give you a chance to return it. I'll drive you to London myself if necessary and wait while you collect it.

"If you are sure I stole the bracelet, why haven't you told the police?"

"I have asked myself the same question since I saw you at the jewelry shop yesterday." He continues "You are intelligent girl Riddhima why the hell are you wasting your life in all this."

Riddhima thought it is the right time to disclose her identity. "There is something I have to tell you." She said huskily. " I am not the person you think I am. I …"

"Sorry to disturb you Armaan." Anjali interrupted, coming in without knocking. "But there is a very important call for you from US."

Muttering beneath his breath, Armaan strode out and Riddhima waited for Anjali to say something nasty.

"What have you done to upset him this time?"

"If you are anxious to know, ask him"

"If you are anxious to keep the job, you will tell me."

"I may not wish to stay." Riddhima gave Anjali a sarcastic smile.

"If you have doubts about staying on, you'd be better off leaving. You won't have trouble finding another job. I'll be happy to give you a reference."

"You are really keen to be rid of me, aren't you?" Riddhima retorted " I suppose you are scared of me."

"Scared of you? That's ridiculous."

"Is it? I think you are worried in case Mr. Mallik is interested in me."

"If Mr. Mallik is interested in a stupid girl like you, he wouldn't be the man I know." Anjali pale skin warmed to red.

"Maybe you don't know him."

"It's what you think… What Mr. Mallik and I feel for one another is…" Anjali stopped. "But why am I wasting my energy talking to you? You are nothing in our lives and it will be better if you go."

"I'll only take that kind of order from the boss," Riddhima said, wondering exactly how deep a relationship Anjali and Armaan had.

"What kind of order?" Armaan asked from the doorway.

Riddhima swung around to him. "Anjali is suggesting that I should leave."

"Why?" He questioned Anjali

"Because there is not enough for her to do here and it is not good for young people to get bored."

He said lightly " That's not a problem, we will find Riddhima more work to do… now if you'll excuse us, I'd like to talk to Riddhima alone," Armaan murmured, guiding Anjali to the door and did not speak again until he had closed the door. "Well I am waiting."

"What for?" Riddhima asked

"Before Anjali interrupt us again, you said there was something you wished to tell me."

"I have forgotten what It was." She replied.

"I don't believe you. Before Anjali interrupted us, you were saying you were not the person I thought you were, and I would be obliged if you explained yourself."

"Oh! That, I meant I am not a thief and I didn't take that bracelet."

"Then why were you at the jewelry shop? You know something… I was passing by the kitchen when I over heard you conversation… you were planning a day in London with someone on the phone… but I never knew you were planning to sale that bracelet…"

Riddhima almost stamped her foot. "I have told you I didn't take it, why can't you believe me?"

Armaan bent towards her and caught her by the shoulders, "I really wish I could but logic warns me not to."

"Forget logic and trust your feelings."

"They are too jumbled when I am with you and when you stare at me like that…"

"like what?"

"You know very well what." He groaned and pulled her into his arms. She stood on tiptoe and he swung her off her feet, cradling her without effort as their mouths met and merged, simultaneously parting for tongues to entwine.

As she succumbed to the heat and warmth of him, Riddhima marveled at her lack of inhibition. It was incredible that she, who considered herself emotionally reserved, should feel such abandonment at his touch…

Trembling, she nestled closer, curving her body into his, he murmured deep in his throat and sank with her on to the nearby sofa. With his hands no longer holding her, they were free to roam her body, lightly skimming the delicate line of neck to rest upon the gentle swell of her breasts.

At the touch of his fingers a burning flame engulfed her. Her stomach was pierced with sweet shafts of desire that were echoed by the movements of his body.

"Armaan..." she whispered upon his mouth

With a suddenness that shocked her, he pushed her away and stood up. "This is madness." His face dark with anger as well as passion. "Don't use your sex on me, Riddhima; I won't be fooled that way."

Riddhima was lost for words. Did he think she had deliberately set out to entice him in order to make him believe in her innocence? My God! How low his opinion was of her.
"You should be ashamed of yourself, taking advantage of me."

"I didn't hear you complaining."

"Only because I respond to you doesn't mean I am using my sex on you to fool you, I thought you fancy me and I …"

He laughed "You must be kidding; I have no intentions of having a love-affair, that too with a girl from different generation."

"Then stay away from me."

"I will, if you don't bat those soulful eyes at me."

"I didn't realize how poor your resistance was. You are not a teenager, Mr. Mallik. Where is your control?"

This time the blow was too hard for him to fight back and he gave a deep sigh… " I am sorry, Riddhima. It won't happen again."

"You said this once before but I think you don't know how to control , Its better you stay away." She was by the door when he called her name and she half turned, "Yes?"

"Remember my advice about the bracelet. Hide it away and then ensure Mrs. Malhotra finds it."

Without replying, Riddhima went out, slamming the door hard.

When she returned home later that day, Mrs. Malhotra remarked on her miserable expression. "I thought working at Mallik mansion was fun for you."

"But today it wasn't."

"Did you tell Mr. Mallik we found the bracelet?"

"I was on the verge of doing so when he accused me of stealing it."

"You are joking!"

"Unfortunately not."

After hearing the full story Mrs. Malhotra stood up, "I am going to put that Mr. Mallik of yours straight." Riddhima had a very hard job persuading her not to go.

"I won't carry it much longer. I'll give him a bit longer to think things over. Once he has, I am hoping he will realize I couldn't be a thief. So promise me you won't tell him the truth."

Mrs. Malhotra nodded "I won't but I really want you to go and tell him now that you are Riddhima Gupta."

Annu

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