Tuesday, 22 June 2021

part 11 : Forbidden Love

Riddhima woke up with a heavy heart and was confused as to why. It took her sometime to remember that she had fought with Armaan the night before. ughh..Why did she fight with him? True he was being a pain, but maybe there was something behind his reasons. Did he know something about Rahul that she did not? No, that's not possible. Armaan did not have any previous connection with Rahul. They met for the first time last night. Then why would he act in such a unexpected way. She would've thought Armaan would've been happy for her. He was the one always talking about love and marriage to her and if she was finally getting those, then why would he mind? uggh..that guy would drive her crazy!!!...Just then the phone rang, bringing her out of her thoughts.

"Hello?"

"Riddhima, how was your meeting with Rahul last night?"

"Momma?? Are you calling me this early only to ask how my date went?"

"I know it's early beta. But I couldn't wait." Padma said and Riddhima could hear the excitement. She really hated to hurt her mother. But she had no choice in this.


"It was ok Momma. But I don't think Rahul is the one for me."

"WHAT!!! WHY NOT???! He's the nicest and sweetest boy I have ever met. He's good looking, well educated and from a good family. You two even have common interests! How could you possibly not like him Riddhima?" Padma yelled into the phone. Riddhima could hear her father calming her mother on the background.

"Momma. You told me to meet Rahul and I did. And it's not my fault if the chemistry wasn't there."

"CHEMISTRY! what does chemistry have to do with marriage??"

"Momma, how could you even ask that. You had a love marriage. Di and Atul jeej fell in love the moment they saw each other. So why can't I have a marriage like that? And you promised that I don't need to marry the first guy I see. Right?" Riddhima pointed out. Other side was silent as Padma understood what her daughter was saying.

"You are right Riddhima. I'm sorry. It's just, I thought Rahul was the perfect guy for you. It would've been lovely if two could've gotten married. But now I guess, I'll tell Kavita that its not gonna happen."

"Thank you momma, I love you. Bye." After she hung up, Riddhima gazed at the wall reflecting on what had happend. She hurt her mother. But it was for the best of everyone, wasn't it?. hmm..she was worn out. She needed a long and soothing shower at the moment. Maybe it will drive away all the confusions taking over her mind.
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Armaan knocked on Riddhima's door and waited for her answer. It's still pretty early but he knew that Riddhima was an early riser. He had woken up early as he had a restless night. Armaan had thought deep into the night about how he could pacify her. Towards dawn, he had come up with an idea. He would try to make her day very special and keep doing little things for her along with his apologies and see whether she forgives him or not. Therefore, for the first part of the day, he had decided to give her breakfast in bed. Riddhima's mornings are pretty busy. She made breakfast for everyone, got Sunny ready and attended to other chores before she left for work. But for today, he'd make her take it easy, starting with breakfast..ok, where is this girl??

He knocked a couple more times and since there was no answer, he turned the knob. Maybe she was in deep sleep. He'd just wake her up. Armaan went into Riddhima's room and looked around. He hasn't been to her bedroom before. It smelled like her, a sweet feminine scent that was soothing and peaceful. He looked at the bed. Nope, she wasn't on it. Maybe she's in the bath room. Armaan kept the tray on the bedside table and went to knock on the bathroom door. Just then Riddhima opened the door and it hit Armaan.

"ouch!!"

"OMG Armaan are you ok?" saying so she rushed towards Armaan who was rubbing his shoulder. In the process, she slipped and lost her balance. Riddhima closed her eyes as she was falling expecting to hit the gound. But her fall was halted midway by a pair of strong hard arms. Relieved, she opened her eyes only to drown in the deep blue waters of his gorgeous eyes. The world stopped around them as they kept staring at each other. After a while, Riddhima blinked away from his eyes not being able to look into the dark intensity of his. Then they both realized the precarious situation they are in. Armaan noticed suddenly he held a Riddhima only dressed in a towel with her wet hair falling around clinging to her face. His heartbeat increased in  attempt to control all the feelings rising in him. Unable to help himself, he brushed away a tendril that covered Riddhima's eyes. As his fingers touched her face, Riddhima's whole body shivered and she closed her eyes to hide her desire. Her reaction gave rise to a deep longing within him. Armaan cupped her face with his free hand while the other tightening around her waist and pulled her face up to his.

"Riddhima!!"

The call from Sunita broke the moment. Armaan suddenly let go of Riddhima as he realized what he had been about to do. Riddhima fell to the floor with a thud.

"owww!" Riddhima cried out at the contact with the floor.

"OMG!..im soo sorry Riddhima..im soo sorry. Are you ok?" Armaan asked ashamed. God, what is wrong with him these days!

"Armaan, idiot, instead of being sorry, help me up! If you didn't notice, I'm only wearing a towel here!" Then Riddhima blushed as she realized what she had just said.

Armaan as embarassed as Riddhima was, helped her up trying not to look at her. Of course he realized that she was in a TOWEL!..That's what led to the whole idiocy a few moments ago. Armaan could not believe what had just happened. Had he really been that close to Riddhima? He did not understand how he had lost all his senses. It was not like he hadn't seen beautiful women in towels before. But this effect Riddhima had on him was unexplainable. But that did not excuse his behaviour. How could he treat her like that? She was his best friend and he had been on the verge of ravishing her well and good. And now he'll never be able to face her again! What would she think? Armaan you are so perverse, not being able to control yourself. Thanks dude, last night you had been afraid that Rahul might break your friendship. No need for that, you have done that very well yourself. Idiot! Moron! ullu ka patta! Now how would you make everything alright??? His conscience was screaming at him! Armaan closed his eyes in an attempt to shut the sounds ringing in his mind. He slowly walked towards the bedroom door after Riddhima stood up.

"Armaan" he stopped at the door.

"umm..why did you come to my room?" Riddhima asked hesitantly. Her body was shaking uncontrollably in reaction to what had happened.

umm..ugghh..why did he come? He couldn't remember anymore. God Armaan, you really have lost all your senses, his conscience admonished.  Well, it's your fault! Armaan retorted. Oh plz, don't blame me. You weren't thinking with me, you were thinkin with the little brain down there. Whatever happend, its all his fault, his mind answered back. Ok ok,fine..shut up, lemme answer her question. Why did he come here? oh yes! breakfast in bed!

"umm..I wanted to say sorry for last night. I brought breakfast for you as a token and wanted you to take the rest of the morning easy. I will get Sunny ready as well. Bye." Armaan said and hastily walked out the door.

Riddhima, going behind him, closed the door after he exited, and stood against the door with her back touching it. As she replayed the moments that had occurred, she slipped down against the door, folding her around around her knees as she sat on the floor. OMG did that really happen? Armaan touching her. She could not make herself believe that it was real. Their intense eye lock and his passionate caress. He had been about to kiss her. Gosh, if he hadn't been holding on to her, she would've melted to a pool near his feet. Her body still shivered as she remembered the effects his touch had on her. Never in a million years had she thought that Armaan would touch her like that. She had been resigned to the fate of being his best friend forever. But this changed everything. She could not even remember why he was saying sorry for last night. Her senses were filled with his memories, his touch, his scent. Then she looked at the tray he had brought her. A grilled cheese sandwich with orange juice. Her favourite breakfast. And there was a long stemmed pink rose too, again her favourite. She smiled ecstatically as she ran towards the table that held the tray. There was a note on it. She picked it up quickly and read it.

"Riddhima I am really Sorry about last night. I didn't mean to make you upset. You are my BEST FRIEND and I would never willingly give you any pain. I promise from now on, I will be more supportive when it comes to guys in your life. You mean a lot to me and I would not want to jeopardize our friendship at any cost. Please accept my apologies."

Riddhima's heart sank as she read the apology note. He still thought of her as his friend and he never wanted to lose that friendship. That explained the changing emotions on his face after their intimate moment. He would probably blame himself over what had happened. She had just known that moment was too good to be true, Riddhima thought with a heavy heart. She was not destined to receive his love. It was all her fault, why did she get her hopes up? From now
on, no matter what happens, she wouldn't let her expectatioins rise. Because the fall from the top really hurts, she thought unhappily as her eyes brimmed with tears.

"Riddhima!!" again, Sunita called.

"Coming Mommiji! Just one sec!" she called out and wiped her tears. Armaan had wanted her to take the morning easy, but if she doesn't get busy and focus her mind on work, she'll go crazy. She quickly went to change her clothes.
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As Riddhima entered the kitchen, Sunita greeted her trying to clean up the mess in the kitchen with the servants.

"Good morning beta. Were you in the kitchen before?"

"No mommiji. I just came down. What happened?"

"Someone messed up the whole kitchen! There's burnt toast all over the place and little spots that are soo sticky, like melted cheese!" Sunita exclaimed as she called the servants to quickly finish the cleaning as breakfast needed to be made.

"Actually mommiji, Armaan was making breakfast for me," Riddhima said looking down embarassed. Sunita smiled at this revealation. Her Armaan in the kitchen? since when? She quickly hid her smile and gave a questioning look when Riddhima looked up again. Riddhima seeing the question on her face answered.

"Actually, we had a little fight last night and so he wanted to say sorry to me I guess. So he brought me breakfast in bed."

Armaan made breafast for Riddhima because she was upset with him? Sunita thought wonderingly. Armaan had never even done that for Nikita. Whenever they had a fight, which wasn't very often, he'd buy her something really beautiful, or take Nikita out somewhere. Never had he done something this simple and wonderful. Please God, Sunita begged, please make my wish come true. Please make Armaan and Riddhima fall in love with each other. Then my family will be complete again. After her prayer, Sunita looked at Riddhima who was waiting for her answer.

"ah..that's very sweet of him. So, is he forgiven?" she winked.

Riddhima, blushing red, said "Yea."

"Riddhi!!!! Riddhi!!! I can't find my colouring book!" they heard Sunny calling.

"Go beta see to Sunny. I'll take care of breakfast for today." Sunita waved Riddima away and walked towards Sunny's room.

Would Armaan be there? Her heart skipped a beat. He had said he'd get Sunny ready. But if he was there, then Sunny wouldn't be screaming for her to come. She knocked on her Sunny's door before entering. She's teaching him good manners of entering a room after knocking. Just to get him used to it, she always knocked on his door.

"Hey big guy, good morning." she said with a smile.

"Riddhi! You're here!" he ran and gave her a big hug. "I missed you so very much last night. You know, I almost had a nighmare because you didn't tuck me in. I love you Riddhi!" he said pressing his face to her side.

"Oh my darling Sunny. You know I love you very very much too," Riddhima said returning the hug her emotions overwhelmed. Chalo, even if the father never loved her, the son would always love her from the bottom of his heart.

 "Ok, now did you say you couldn't find your colouring book? let's look for it together." She held hands with Sunny as they explored the room in search for the book. Finally having found it under the bed covers, Riddhima put it in his backpack and together they went downstairs for breakfast.

"Good morning dadi!"

"morning beta!"

"Sunny darling, what would you like for breakfast today?"

"hmm..Riddhi, I want cereal.."

"Okie dokie." Riddhima went to get milk and coco puffs for Sunny, they were his favourite. She handed the bowl and the spoon to Sunny and sat down next to him watching him eat.

"Riddhima, Armaan didn't come down yet. It never takes this long for him. I wonder why?" Sunita said looking at the door as she bustled around the kitchen.

Riddhima knew exactly why he hasn't come downstairs. He probably didn't want to face her. He was feeling guilty about what had happened, she could bet. Riddhima realized it was upto her to make everything normal again. Armaan would never talk to her again if left to his own devices. And since she couldn't get his love, his friendship meant everything to her.

"Mommiji, I'll go and call him."

"Ok beta."
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"Where is it!!" Armaan asked frustrated as he ransacked the whole closet again. Nothing was going right today. First that incident with Riddhima, then he had slipped on the bathroom floor and hit his back. It still ached when he moved. And now this stupid shirt! He had been looking for it for the past 10 mins and his search was a failure. But being the stubborn man he was, he wouldn't give up until he found it. Normally, by now, he would've yelled for Riddhima. But now thanks to his stupidity, he couldn't even do that anymore. Great going, Armaan, u stupid idiot, moron!!..No, he could do this by himself. He didn't need her. He turned his closet around once more.

"Looking for this?" he heard and looked around to see Riddhima holding out a baby blue dress shirt. Riddhima, she looked even more beautiful than before in the towel. Then he shook his head to get the image of towel-clad Riddhima out of his head. Armaan, snap out of it!

"How'd you know?" Armaan said walking towards her to take the shirt from her. For the whole time, he kept his eyes away from her face.

"Well, I guess I've become pretty used to your needs by now," Riddhima said nonchalantly. It was true, she had come to know him pretty well, which is why his behaviour the night before had perplexed her. And she has guessed right about his reaction to their moment too, he still hasn't looked at her face. She watched him as she put on his shirt, checking him out. In the beginning, she would be blushing red seeing Armaan getting dressed. But the past year had made her more comfortable in his presence. Which means that she had learnt to better hide her reactions to his proximity. As she was doing now. OK. He still wasn't looking at her. stubborn man!!! She needed to clear the air between them before it drives even a bigger wedge between them.

"Armaan about what happened before.." Riddhima started hesitantly and she could see his fingers stopped at the button they were trying to close.

"Armaan, please it was just momentary insanity. Just like you, I too value our friendship very much. I don't want something little like that to change our friendship. Please forget all about it" she continued more confidently.

As Armaan listened to her, conflicting emotions rose in his heart. Is he happy that she's willing to overlook that little moment of weakness, or is he upset that she dismissed that intense moment as 'something little'? It certainly hadn't felt like 'something little' to him. Indeed, it had been the biggest thing in his life since Nikki's death. What should he say? If he doesn't agree with her and forget everything, she might not remain friends with him. Hello?? why are you even doubting yourself. I thought this was what you wanted. Just be friends with Riddhima! Right, Friends. Riddhima + Armaan = Friends. his conscience told him.

His decision was made. "You are right Riddhima. Our friendship is everything to me. But I am sorry about it. I dunno what came over me. So friends?" he held out his hand.

"Friends!" Riddhima replied back shaking his hand with a smile. "Thank god now everything is back to normal. Come down for breakfast. Your mom is calling."

She gave a bigger smile as she walked towards the door. Armaan stared at her walking away. They  were both thinking the same thing. Riddhima and Armaan both knew it was a lie. Everything will never be normal now. Friends they may be, but what happened that morning will always be between them.

Hiranya

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