Thursday, 22 February 2018

Part 21 :It all Depends on Love(AR)




She swept out of the room, trembling with anger. She went downstairs to her room… Riddhima's heart was pounding… she clamped her throat shut to stifle the sobs that shook her shoulders… She would not give way to tears… she would not… Her sister's triumph was great enough without letting her see that she was being torn apart by the proof of her husband's infidelity.



She lifted her head and turned as Niki came into the room.

"I thought you'd have gone straight out of the front door." she tried to sound cool and in charge of herself but she could feel she was shaking with the force of her anger.

Her sister hunched her slender shoulders "there are some things that need to be said."

"I don't wish to hear them."

Ignoring her, niki said. "I warned you that you wouldn't keep Armaan happy for five minutes. You refused to listen. Well, now maybe you believe me."

"You were determined this would happen." Riddhima accused, her eyes blazing with anger

Her sister laughed spitefully. "Yes I was. You shouldn't have come between us."

Flinching inwardly, Riddhima swung away. With her back to her sister and her hands tightly clenched, she whispered furiously. "Get out of here."

She closed her eyes for an instant, fighting for self control but Niki was enjoying her moment. Coming to stand beside her she taunted. "How does it feel to know that I am the one your husband loves, that your infatuation merely amuses him and that even in bed you fail to satisfy him? He told me himself last night. Not that he needed to. I knew from the starving way we'd made love how much he'd missed me."

"Get out" Riddhima hissed "Get out of here this minute. I never want to set eyes on you again. As far as I am concerned after today you don't exist."

Niki laughed "But I certainly exist as far as Armaan is concerned, your marriage, my darling sis is over and why should I go… you are the one who should leave this place."

Niki walked arrogantly to her room. It wasn't until she had gone that Riddhima began to weep. Her sobs were painful, desperate as she sat on the sofa, her hands covering her face her head bent to her knees.

It had never entered her mind to question what Armaan had told her on the evening of the dinner party concerning his relationship with Niki. Blindly, trustingly, she had accepted his word.
From out of memory her sister spoke "I could take him away from you like that." Niki had known all along that what she and Armaan shared was strong enough for it to be rekindled at the first opportunity. When she'd said she and Armaan had been lovers she'd been telling the truth.

Raw with pain and furry, Riddhima moved towards the bed and tore the rumpled sheets from the bed. But nothing could ease the agony inside her, only more tears, which when they were spent left her feeling numbed and still.

As Niki had said her marriage was over, yet she was too dazed to think of a course of action. Besides, before she walked out on Armaan, she wanted to confront him. It was shattering to discover that mingled with her rage and hurt was the desperate desire to have him give her some kind of explanation, some lie that would mean she could still go on living with him as his wife. That was the measure of how much she loved him.

Her weakness and her lack of pride made fury well up inside her anew. How could Armaan have betrayed her so cruelly? Why had he taken her love and then ripped it into shreds? Why had he chased her, when all along it has been Niki he wanted?

She dropped her head in her hands, and suddenly the phone began to ring. Automatically she picked up the receiver, her hand tightening on it as she wondered suddenly if it might be Armaan.

"Hello?" she began tersely

"I am sorry to disturb you ma'am but I just called to inform you that Atul is not here and the client is waiting for the meeting."

The tension in her heart melted as she heard her assistant's voice. It flashed into her thoughts that the business was the only thing she had left. Everything else, everything that mattered was in ruins. And torture though it would be to talk with her client when her heart was breaking, it would be a hundred times worse to stay alone in the house when every thought brought with it another stab of pain.

He assistant rang off and Riddhima went into the bathroom to splash cold water on her eyes. She reapplied her make-up and gazed at her reflection. She was still very pale but no one would have known to look at her that she felt as tough she had been kicked repeatedly and resulting ache beneath her ribs was almost more than she could bear.

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


It was raining when she left her office. Her anguish had hardened now into a tight fierce knot of anger. More than that, she had come to a decision.

Confronting Armaan with what had happened was pointless. She must have been out of her mind to think they had anything left to talk about. He wanted her sister. Well, he could have her, because she was going to drive home, pack her things and leave.

To let herself into the house and walk into her bedroom to fetch her belongings was to realize that inside she was an unexploded bomb of anger and pain. Sarah had tidied the bedroom while she had been out and the bed was now made. Her suitcase had been unpacked and put away.

Riddhima felt her temperature rise as she stared at the smooth coverlet. Had she not stopped off home that morning, she wouldn't have learned of Armaan's betrayal. She would have slept with him tonight, let him make love to her in the very same bed where he had enjoyed her sister.

In a blaze of cold rage she crossed over to the wardrobe. Her suitcase was open on the bed and she was flinging her things into it when she heard Armaan and Rahul's voices coming from downstairs. They were happy about something and planning to go somewhere after half an hour. Her mouth tightened and her heart began to beat unevenly. She had hoped to be gone before he came home.

She did not glance up from what she was doing, yet she knew the moment he came into the bedroom. There was an instant's silence as he observed her. Then he demanded in perplexity. "What exactly is going on here?"

"What does it look like?" her voice was cold and expressionless "I am packing."

"I can see that." He retorted, his voice showing irritation "What I want to know is why."

She turned then to face him. She had thought she had her temper tightly in check but at the sight of him, a tempest of hurt rose up inside her.

"You want to know why… well, I want to know why, too." She hissed "I want to know how you could do this to me."

"Do what?" he snapped. She didn't answer and pushed to the limit of his tolerance, he snatched hold of her wrist. "Stop flinging things into that case and tell me what this is about."

He forced her to face him and acting instinctively; she raised her free hand and pushed him away with all the force.

"Don't you touch me…"

She backed away from the stunned look of anger on his face, the glittering fury in his eyes… she gave a tiny cry of fright as he caught hold of her by the shoulders.

He pushed her so that she sat down abruptly beside her suitcase.

"My God, this has gone far enough." He said in a voice that bit. "You'd better start explaining yourself, Riddhima because my patience is exhausted."

She would have scrambled to her feet, but he remained towering over her.

"Oh, you are good." She said sarcastically "You are very good… behaving as an innocent husband when you have been cheating on me, when you and Niki are lovers."

Armaan's dark eyebrows came together in a scowl.

"How many times do I have to tell you there's nothing between me and your sister? Now what the hell's stirred this up again?"

"I'll tell you what's stirred it up… I came home this morning to find you'd spent the night with her."

"Are you out of your mind?" he asked coldly

Riddhima was on her feet, her eyes blazing, and anger so fierce in her she was trembling with its force.

"You miserable liar... I know the truth now… Niki was here in our bed, naked when I came home this morning." Armaan clenched his jaw and she rushed on bitterly "Surprised I found out? I bet you are… you both thought I was so nave."

His glittering gaze pinned her. A nerve jumped in his tightly clenched jaw.

"What are you planning to do now? End our marriage?"

His stinging tone prompted her to flash. "End it? It's over already. That's why I am going back to my place."

"This is your place."

"No, its not."

As she spoke she slammed her suitcase shut and picked up her hand bag.

"You are not walking out on me." He ordered her

"You try and stop me! I'd sleep in the gutter before I'd spend another night here."

His mouth tightened into a harsh line. Angrily he snatched her bag out of her hand.

"Give me that." She demanded, but it was too late.

Armaan was already tipping the contents of her bag out on the bed. Snatching up her car keys, he said, his tone revealing the tight hold he had over his temper. "You are not driving anywhere tonight till you've calmed down and I have got my answers out of you."

"You can't keep me prisoner here." She said her heart racing in panic

"Can't I?" he ground back

"Give me my car ke……" she stooped as Rahul entered in the room

"Jeej… Atul called to say…" he stopped mid sentence as he saw Riddhima's clothes scattered on the bed "Woah! That's quite an unusual way of unpacking." He smiled but his expression soon changed as he glanced at Armaan and Riddhima's tensed face. "What's wrong Jeej?" he asked in a concerned voice

"Ask your sister." Armaan answered glaring at Riddhima

"What's wrong, sis" Rahul waited for her to say something but when she didn't answer he continued "I hope it has nothing to do with Niki."

Riddhima looked at her brother with surprise "You know everything?"

"No… I know nothing… I just guessed… and now I know I guessed right… So what our wicked sister did this time."

"Our sister slept with your beloved jeej last night." Riddhima repeated her accusation

"You are seriously out of your mind, Sis" Rahul snapped

"I am not… Niki was here in our bed, naked when I came home this morning." Riddhima tried to explain he pain to Rahul but he was surely on Armaan's side "How could you trust him over me Rahul… He cheated on me last night… and you are still supporting him."

"Yes I am supporting him… because I know how he spent his last night… because I know how difficult our last night was… because I know how worried he was last night about her sister's health."

"Muskaan" Riddhima asked with shock "What's wrong with her?

"You really want to know? Don't you want to accuse him for any other disgusting reason?"

"Rahul please tell me how is she?"

"She gave birth to a baby girl… but she is still unconscious and instable... we called home and Sarah told us you are back… we just came to pick you up… but you are so damn selfish that you are not concerned about anybody else."

"I am sorry Rahul." Riddhima whispered

"You should apologise to jeej for this… seriously sis… you don't deserve him… he is just too good for you."

"Rahul enough." Armaan warned him

Rahul gave Riddhima a glare and said "I am going to throw that witch out of here."

"Rahul" Armaan started to say something but stopped by Rahul's angry glare

"Do you want to stop me?" Rahul demanded harshly

"No, I just wanted to say I'll be waiting for you outside… you are coming with me to the hospital… Right?"

"Of course… I am… but give me some time to show Niki her place… I'll be there in ten minutes."

Armaan nodded and Rahul left

Riddhima turned towards Armaan as Rahul left the room "Armaan I am really……"

"I don't need your apologies Riddhima… I am sick and tired of your accusations… I can't tolerate this anymore…"

"Armaan listen……"

"I don't want to." He cut in angrily before she could finish "When we got married you put up scuh barriers against m, I understood because I knew you'd been hurt. When you accused me of loving Niki, of wanting to marry her not you, I sought to reassure you. I didn't realize then, there just is no reassuring you. Well, you know something… I have had it… I have had waiting for you to show you have some kind of faith in me. I thought you'd trust me one day. But I was wrong. You can never trust me... and I can't take these accusations anymore."

He strode to the door… numbed by his enraged and frustrated outburst, she took an instant to find her voice and say "Armaan…"

She was too late and the door slammed shut.

Anita

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