Friday, 16 February 2018

part 19 A : It all Depends on Love(AR)



By the time she awoke next morning, feeling fresh after the best sleep she'd had in last few days. Riddhima was once more alone in the big, warm double bed.

With a twinge of disappointment to discover Armaan already gone, she sat up and stretched, then suddenly caught sight of the wrapped package on the end of the bed. She paused and blinked. It was the package that contained night dress he had brought in Paris and which she had believed was destined for Anjali.



One peep inside confirmed that she was right. A little uneasily she laid it aside. "What was this gesture supposed to mean?"

*********


Armaan was on the point of leaving as Riddhima walked into the dinning room " hi wifey… Good morning… I trust you slept well?"

"Yes, thanks… extremely well." Riddhima answered formally. Abruptly she turned her eyes to Rahul, who was enjoying his breakfast. "Good morning kiddo."

"Morning sis, you are looking well today." He responded, causing the pink in her cheeks to deepen.

She sat down on the table opposite Rahul, just as Armaan rose to his feet "I'd better be off… getting late." Then he bent down to plant a kiss on Riddhima's cheek "I'll see you this evening." He murmured against her ear… Then he straightened and reached out to tousle Rahul's hair. "have a nice day and give me a call if you need anything… I'll be back soon."

Rahul rose to his feet "thanks jeej" gleam of affection and respect in his wide, bright, youthful eyes. "Thanks for every thing… Thank you so much for spending so much time with me I know how busy……"

"Hey!" Armaan interrupted "My pleasure Kid."

"Listen jeej" Rahul came closer and whispered "I know you guys are having dinner party tonight… I'll go to pick Niki di from airport… and you can spend some time with sis… ALONE…"

"But Rahul…" Armaan tried to protest but Rahul interrupted

"I am not blind jeej… I can see there is some thing wrong… I am giving you the golden opportunity to sought things out"

"Thanks" Armaan hugged Rahul

"You are welcome jeej" Rahul winked at him
"What's going on here?" Riddhima asked

"It's something personal." Rahul answered grinning

Armaan was about to leave when Sarah came in with the phone "Call for you Mr. Mallik."

"Who is it Sarah? I am getting late."

"It's Mrs. Joshi Sir."

"Who is Mrs. Joshi?" Asked Armaan and Sarah's mouth fell open

"It's Muskaan, Armaan… you are Impossible." Riddhima said snatching the phone from Sarah's hand

After few minutes Riddhima disconnected the call and glared at Armaan "How could you forget your own sister's name."

Armaan was about to answer when his gaze fell on Rahul's shocked face "What's wrong Rahul? Are you all right? What are you so shocked about?"

"How do you know Muskaan?" he asked in a shocked voice

"She is my sister" Armaan answered

"No she is not" Rahul protested

"Rahul?" Armaan looked at Riddhima for help

"She is Armaan's sister Rahul… What's wrong with you?" Riddhima tried to convince him

"But it's not possible… her sir name is Chaddha and Armaan is a Mallik."

"Listen Rahul… I am really getting late... will you please tell me clearly… what your exact problem is?"

"She is my girl friend" Rahul said bowing his head

"WHAT?" Armaan and Riddhima said at the same time

"Yes she was my girlfriend when I came here… But she is jeej's sister and Married? How can she be married sis… she is just 18… two years younger than me… she can't ditch me like this."

Armaan and Riddhima both exchanged glances and burst out laughing and Rahul gave them a deadly glare

"Listen Rahul." Riddhima said trying to control her laughter "She is not the ONLY MUSKAAN in this world."

"Yeah right." Armaan assured him "Your Muskaan is a different person... Our Muskaan is married and pregnant with Atul's child… remember Atul? Riddhima best friend?"

"Yes I do" Rahul heaved a sigh of relied " I thought she cheated me."

"You are surely Riddhima's brother" he said winking at Riddhima "You Gupta's love jumping to conclusions… Don't you?"

Riddhima and Rahul glared at him and he left laughing


*********


It was Sunday and she was laying the table for the dinner party they were giving when the phone rang. She glanced up, when Armaan answered it.

"That was Niki to say she and Rahul will be late." Armaan told her

"Niki?" she exclaimed in surprise, staggered by her sister's nerve. It had never struck her that Niki would come to her dinner party after what had passed between them. Her mouth tightened as she turned back to the table.

Armaan's keen gaze narrowed on her "you were expecting your sister, weren't you?

"No, as a matter of fact, I wasn't." she said "Not after what happened that day."

"Which day?" Armaan asked "What happened"

"We had a fight?"

"When was this?" he asked. She didn't answer and he took hold of her arm, forcing her to face him. "I said, when was this?"

"Monday afternoon."

"So she was the one who made that story about us being lovers."

"It was a story, wasn't it?" said Riddhima coldly

"Will you stop behaving like this for an instant and listen to what I have to say?"

Her eyes filled with tears "I don't want to know about you and my sister, Now will you please let me complete the arrangements for dinner?"

"Damn the dinner party… You and I are going to talk." His grip on her arm tightened as he propelled her into their bedroom

"You are hurting me" she protested. Pulling away from him, she rubbed her arm.

He snapped "Be thankful I am not hitting you to knock sense……."

"And you be thankful" she interrupted "I don't walk out on you." She flashed back

"Over what?" he demanded "some senseless tale your sister invented."

"It sounded very convincing to me."

"Sit down." He ordered

The snap of his voice made her obey him, but her mouth remained stubborn.

"Before you say anything I want to know, what does this night gown you left for me this morning suppose to mean?"

"I bought this for you… I realized this morning that I forgot to give it to you… so I…"

"I thought you bought it for Anjali.'

"Anjali? For God's sake Riddhima… I told you everything about Anjali… how many time do I have to proof myself…?"

"I am sorry" Riddhima bowed her head as she realised her mistake

"You should be."

"But I don't need anything from you… My moving into your room was merely a temporary arrangement, for the sake of appearances while Rahul is here. Surely you know I'd move out again as soon as he'd gone?"

Blue eyes flashed unforgivingly "Not after last night, I didn't." he snapped

"Last night?" Riddhima narrowed her eyes… A memory brought the flush to her cheeks. For a moment she could feel again the delicious warmth of his flesh against hers, the sweet softness of his breath in her hair and the safe, sensuous strength of those powerful arms locking their bodies together. "That didn't mean a thing." She protested "You know very well why we spent the night together… because I was scared… That was all."

"To begin with, I'll grant you… but it wasn't just out of fear that you invited me to stay. I got an impression that you quite enjoyed sharing a bed with me."

"If you are just interested in sharing the bed with a woman… You can go and share it with Niki… I don't have any objections with that..."

She rose to her feet and Armaan gripped her shoulders tightly "Sit down… you are not going anywhere…"

She sat down "I don't want to know anything about you and Niki."

"Armaan sat beside her and held his head in his hand, feeling helpless "Why are you doing this Riddhima? Why are you behaving like this? What can't you trust me for once?"

"Like you trusted me when you saw me with abhi." She snapped

"What do you expect me to do Riddhima… you were in his arms." Memory of that moment made him furious and he clenched his fists "He touched you Riddhima." Tears of anger glistening in his eyes "Why did you let him kiss you?"

"You have no right to ask me any question when you are cheating on me." Riddhima said trying to control her tears

Anita (Annu)

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