Tuesday, 17 April 2018

part 23: Defeated in Love (AR ff)

                              
Shashank paced the living room while Armaan stood with his head lowered feeling guilty. Andy had his arms crossed across his chest and Mollie was hoping Shashank won't burst out on Armaan. They all heard the main gate open and Abhimanyu entered the house.

"Oh Thank god Abhimanyu you are here. I don't know what we are supposed to do. I have been bombarded with calls from the press reporters, my business associates and relatives." Shashank shook his head worriedly.


"Relax Shashank I have been going through a similar situation since morning and I have a plan to correct all this." Everyone looked at Abhimanyu who smiled and spoke "Its very simple. Lets call a formal press conference and announce Riddhima and Armaan's engagement."

Shashank nodded his head in agreement.

"Ya lets do that. I'll call a press meet." Mollie spoke excitedly and left the room to arrange the press conference.

"By the way how is Riddhima now?" Abhimanyu asked anxiously.

"She is fine."

"Armaan this was highly irresponsible of you to have taken her out when it was raining….

"Exactly its all because of Armaan that she is sick…." Andy began to complain against Armaan when Armaan cut him off abruptly and spoke,

"Andy wait. Here is your camera." Andy smiled as he saw the shiny, black new camera. He grinned with all his teeth showing and than continued what he had left mid-sentence "I don't think its completely Armaan's fault. Riddhima too like to get wet in the rain. It must be her fault too." With that he continued smiling and left the room while Abhimanyu and Shashank chuckled at how the camera made him change his statement.

Armaan walked towards Shashank. "Sir!! I am really sorry about all this. I mean it was the moment and we both got carried away and I know I shouldn't have taken her out in that weather but…..there are no excuses. I am at fault and I am sorry about it."

Shashank sighed and placed his hand on Armaan's shoulder. "Its okay Armaan. Your forgiven but you will have to take care of Riddhima till she gets better. That is your punishment." Armaan smiled at his punishment since it was no punishment at all.

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

Armaan entered Riddhima's room and saw that Muskaan wasn't there.

"Where is Muskaan? How come you are alone?"

"Hey Armaan. When did you come? I hope dad didn't give you a hard time for those photographs and Muskaan is making my breakfast."

He sat down next to her on her bed but Riddhima pulled up the sheets and from beneath the sheets she spoke "Get off my bed Armaan and you are not supposed to sit so close or else you'll also catch cold. Sit somewhere else."

Armaan smiled and pulling down the sheet from her face he bent down and kissed her forehead making Riddhima cover her nose and face and push him with the other hand.

"Armaan you can't kiss me. Stay away. You'll catch the infection."

"I don't care. A cold or even a threat to life can't keep me away from you now." He whispered and catching hold of the hand with which she had tried to push him away, he again bent down and kissed her lightly on her lips and removed her hand from over her lips and nose. He noticed her nose was red and her body was still hot with fever.

He again felt guilt take over. He clutched her hand and spoke, "Riddhima I am so sorry. You caught cold because of me and I am….

She placed a hand over his mouth. "No Armaan it isn't your fault. Now I know that dad must have given you a mighty bad lecture right? Anyways, I wanted to go and that is why you took me. I had so much fun last night that this illness ceases to matter. So stop worrying but I am thinking about the photographs in the newspaper. What are we going to do about them?"

Armaan grinned at her while Riddhima frowned at his suddenly cheerful expression.

"We are going to call a press meet and announce our engagement."

"Oh!! Okay…..WHAT!!!" Riddhima was shocked and she abruptly sat up and knocked down the vase on the side table in the process. All the people rushed into the house and saw Armaan looking at Riddhima wide eyed while Riddhima had a similar expression on her face.

"What's this all about?" Shashank walked towards them and looked from one to other.

"Dad you will not announce our engagement. You Can't do that. Let me spend some more time with Armaan and than….

"Let you spend some more time with Armaan and see some more such photographs of the two of you in the newspaper. Look Riddhima you two are celebrities and the media is always hungry about such news….you both have to think about our respect in society. You maybe from New York and there it might be a normal thing but here its not. I will announce your engagement and that's it….in fact we can announce your wedding as well."

"Okay dad that's it. If you do any such thing than I'll leave Indian and go back to New York on the very first flight I get." She crossed her arms across her chest and gave him a determined look.

"Riddhima baby please. Its just an engagement announcement. Please sweetheart." Mollie pleaded with Riddhima trying to mediate b/w daughter and father who were both equally stubborn. Riddhima sighed and giving a nod she spoke "Fine. But don't announce the engagement instead just tell them that I and Armaan are already engaged. Here see…..

Riddhima took out her diamond ring from her finger and slipped into Armaan's ring finger and taking out the ring he was wearing in his pink finger she wore it on her ring finger.

…..done. We both are engaged."

They all gaped incredulously at Riddhima while Armaan was bursting with joy as he realized that Riddhima was his fiance and soon the world too will know.

"you take everything like a game Riddhima." Shashank spoke reproachfully.

"And you take everything way too seriously. You are ready to get your daughter married just because of some photographs in the newspaper….without thinking that I and Armaan need time to strengthen out relationship…or time to understand each other. Dad you don't just rush into relationships for the heck of it. But for you making and breaking relationships is so easy….all that matters to you is your self-respect and name in society. You did a similar thing with my mom. Just because of some ******* newspaper's c***** story and fake photographs you divorced my mom…

"RIDDHIMA!!!" Shashank looked angrily at her but this just inflamed Riddhima further and she got out of the sheets and jumped off her bed and though her body was shivering, she still stood facing her dad ready to vent out all the frustration she had stored inside her for all these years.

"Yes dad. You know it as well as I and mom do that those stories and photographs were all fake but just because of some nasty remarks of your absolutely ridiculous relatives and business associates you divorced my mom and tried to show it in public that you were the injured party and the woman you married was one hell of a **** and had stabbed you on your back. Dad I hated you all those moment when you were yelling at my mom for something that wasn't her fault. How could you stoop so low?"

*SLAP*

Mollie slapped Riddhima.

"Mind your language Riddhima. You are not supposed to talk to your father like that."

Shashank shook his head trying to say something but couldn't. His eyes filled with shameful, guilty tears and he rushed out of the room.

"I am never going to forgive you for hurting him like that Riddhima. It wasn't his fault." Mollie looked angrily at Riddhima and followed Shashank.

All others turned towards Riddhima and Muskaan placed her hand on Riddhima shoulder.

"Gosh!! Muskaan don't just stand here. Get me an ice-pack. My cheek hurts. Mom has a pretty rough hand." She shook her head and sat down on the bed still clutching her cheek. The all looked at her incredulously. Riddhima was behaving as if nothing had happened. Armaan wondered if the slap had shaken her and she had lost it.

He sat down next to her and wrapping his arms around her he spoke "Riddhima you okay?"

"Armaan she just said that her cheek hurts. Why don't you guys get her an ice pack for god sake?" Abhimanyu spoke exasperatedly and walked towards Riddhima and pushing Armaan away he grinned at Riddhima and giving her a thumbs up sign he spoke "You did a pretty good job. I think its time you try your hand in acting."

Riddhima and Abhimanyu hi-fived while all other looked at them and finally when Armaan felt he couldn't take any more he spoke, "Okay dad what is going on here?"

Abhimanyu and Riddhima chuckled.

"Oh!! I and Riddhima had planned all this…actually not exactly like this but we had planned that Riddhima will, finding a suitable situation, would remind Shashank of what he had done with Mollie and would somehow make him feel more guilty than he already does…..and ya I knew he has been feeling guilty since he confided in me and now Mollie and he will talk and would perhaps resolve their differences."

"WOW!!!" was all Muskaan could say.

"Ya WOW but now go get me an ice-pack." Muskaan nodded and rushed out of the room to get Riddhima the ice pack.

***********

"Shashank!!" Mollie saw Shashank sitting on the floor in his study. She walked up to him and sat down next to him. She placed her arms around him and Armaan willingly surrendered and sank into her body.

"I…am…so….sorry..Mollie." He spoke between sobs. He looked up at her face and wiping his tears and clearing his throat he bagan. "Riddhima is absolutely right. I was afraid of becoming a laughing stock or cause of pity amongst people which is why I pushed you away and believed those rumors. I was a coward. I am so sorry. Please forgive me."

"No Shashank it wasn't just your fault but mine too. I could have talked to you and should have tried to make it work instead of just walking out. Its my fault as well."

Shashank looked at her and wiping the tears on her face he spoke with a sad voice "It might be our fault but the person who suffered the most is Riddhima. Mollie I don't know how to make it up to her. Today I saw the hatred in her eyes and you shouldn't have hit her. She has full right to yell at me."

"No Shashank don't think like that. She needs to understand our point of view as well."

"Mollie I want to start all over again….for you…..for me and especially for Riddhima."

Mollie nodded her head…her heart filling with happiness. Shashank smiled at her and took her in a hug.

*********

"OUCH!!! OUCH!!! OWWWWWW!!!" Riddhima yelled as Muskaan placed the ice pack on her cheek.

"Shut up sissy. The slightest of pain and you start howling like anything. You remind me of Bruno." Muskaan scolded her and kept pressing the ice-pack on her cheek.

"Whose Bruno?"

"The dog in my vicinity. He has just one leg and whenever he walks he howls with pain."

"You comparing me to a dog with one leg." Riddhima gave Muskaan a dirty look and when Muskaan smiled she picked up the pillow and started hitting Muskaan on her head.

"Hey!!" Muskaan dropped the ice-pack and picked up another pillow and started hitting Riddhima.

"What the hell are you two up to. Stop it Riddhima you are not well." Rahul grabbed the pillow in Riddhima's hand and tried to stop her. Riddhima and Muskaan looked at each other and than before Rahul could understand anything he was hit by a pillow by Muskaan. He looked her angrily and grabbed a pillow and starting hitting both of them but mostly it was him getting beaten up. Armaan and Andy stepped inside the room and were surprised to see the chaos.

"Stop it all of you. Riddhima you are supposed to rest." Armaan tried to stop them but he heard Riddhima yell back.

"Oh shut up and don't be a bore."

Armaan frowned at her and yelled back. "Riddhima your dad gave me the responsibility to take care of you so you have to listen to my orders so stop all this and lie down on your bed."

"Oh ya grandma….giving order huh?" She stopped and looked at Armaan for a moment and than her face broke with a smile and soon Armaan found himself being attacked by a pillow mercilessly. He too grabbed a cushion and started hitting whoever he could get his hands on.

Andy looked from one to the other and than rushing into the adjacent room he got a pillow and started hitting whoever came in his way.

They all were running from one corner to another with the pillows half torn and the foam spread all over the floor when suddenly *CRASH*

They all turned towards the source of the sound and saw Andy's camera lying on the floor and looking up they saw that it was Rahul's pillow that had pushed it off the stand. Armaan broke into a grin realizing that it was Rahul's turn to be tortured and he would enjoy the show. Rahul gulped and looked at Andy who was advancing towards him….Rahul threw the pillow he was holding in the air and ran out of the room with Andy running after him screaming a number of dirty names.

Armaan, Riddhima and Muskaan fell on the floor in laughter.


Taira

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