Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Chapter 63 : I'll Love You Longer Than Forever - AR FF

Previously On...

Everybody arrives at the reunion.

Some moments with Rahul & his friends and some with Armaan & his.

AR fluff and some Muski Nikki fun.

 Chapter 63

Riddhima smiled as she felt Armaan's gaze on her while she moved. He was so cute! Really.


She didn't like the fact that she wasn't near him at all times, especially with so many girls eyeing him like a piece of meat, but she knew that Armaan would never do anything to break the trust she'd placed in him and their relationship. He loved her. Only her. None of these girls mattered.




Rahul smiled at her when she joined the group.


"Hey! He greeted.


"Hey, she replied, smiling at him.


"Good conversation? He asked, gesturing to the bar. He'd observed Armaan and Riddhima talk. They looked so happy just to share those few moments together and immediately, Rahul had felt guilty for keeping them apart for the night. But, he knew that more than anything else, Armaan & Riddhima were the two greatest friends he'd had and they genuinely wanted to help him sort his issues out with Muskaan. So, he'd resolved to talk to her tonight, no matter what.


And, he was going to get the couple a very nice gift as a thank you for all they'd done for him since they'd come back, especially Armaan.

Yes, he'd made up with Armaan and somewhere, he knew he'd been justified in his anger towards his best friend for treating Riddhima the way he had, but Rahul still felt wretched for the being so cold towards Armaan the first few days after he'd gotten to Mumbai.


Armaan had understood his reasons for doing so and he'd forgiven Rahul for being so rude, but at times, the guilt he felt for those few days overwhelmed him. Armaan had repeatedly told Rahul to forget about what had happened and move on - they were best friends after all, and it wasn't like they'd never fought before that - but it still weighed on his mind. Heavily at times. So, yes. He needed to do something big for them. As a thank you and apology present.


"Yep, Riddhima replied, blushing a little, pulling Rahul out of his thoughts.


"Awww. Tu blush kar rahi hai, he teased.


"Shut up, Rahul! She warned, smacking him.


"What? He asked. "I'm just saying. Waise, tum dono saath mein bade cute lagte ho.


"Rahul, please! No more teasing, she ordered.


"Okay, okay! I'm sorry! He replied. "I was just saying.


"Don't, she replied sternly.


"Fine, Rahul agreed.


"Um, Rahul, Disha started, hesitantly. "Are you sure you're okay with her spending time with Armaan?


"Excuse me? Riddhima snapped, looking angry. "Why does it matter what Rahul thinks? She asked.


"Look, Riddhima, Disha pacified, "don't take this the wrong way. Main yeh nahi kehna chaahti ki Rahul tumhe kisi bhi tarah control kar raha hai. It's just ki, tumhe nahi pata ki Armaan kaisa ladka hai. And, main nahi chaahti ki woh tumhe hurt kare.


Riddhima tried to smile at Disha's words, but it came off as a grimace. She liked that Disha was being so thoughtful for her, even though they'd met only hours ago, but still, hearing someone say something bad about Armaan made her blood boil. She very well knew what kind a boy' Armaan was. The very best. Still, she didn't want to create a scene here, so she replied to Disha, "Don't worry. I'm a big girl. Itna toh khud handle kar hi sakti hu. But, I appreciate the sentiment.


Rahul squeezed Riddhima's hand as a show of thanks. He knew Riddhima didn't like it when someone thought ill of Armaan. He was sure it stemmed from the fact that all of them, including her, had believed the worst of him after the shootout. Finding out that Armaan hadn't been the deadbeat they thought him to be, had been a huge shock to Riddhima, mostly because she couldn't believe that she hadn't questioned the truth in her father's story and blindly agreed to whatever he said.


Here, girls were constantly approaching Armaan, trying to engage him in conversation, but he politely rebuffed them all. He could constantly feel Riddhima's eyes on him and he prayed that seeing all this wouldn't cause any issues between them. Riddhima had always been insecure about his exes, and seeing them today for real, throwing themselves at him couldn't have been easy for her.


He knew that if a boy even thought about approaching her in the manner these girls were, he'd have killed the boy on the spot.


"Arre, Armaan, Rohit said, after he'd turned away another girl, "kya baat hai? Aaj tu sabko mana kyu kar raha hai? Waise toh tu bada chipakta tha inn sab ladkiyon se.


Armaan smiled sheepishly and shrugged. "Yaar, ab woh baat nahi rahi. Ab main bada ho gaya hu. In sab girls ka koi asar nahi hota.


"Awww, Muskaan cooed, pulling his cheeks. "Toh fir kiska hota hai? She looked at Nikki and both of them laughed. Armaan made a face ag them.


"Haan, haan. Haslo, haslo. Waise bhi, tum dono ko aur kaam hi kya hai? Meri life toh tum dono ka entertainment channel hi hai, haina? He asked sarcastically.


"Obviously, Armaan, Nikki replied, looping her arm through his. "Ab, teri life hai hi itni filmy aur entertaining, toh hum kya kare? Kyu Muski? Muskaan nodded in agreement. Armaan just shook his head at them.


"Pata hai, main hamesha sochta tha ki sirf woh do, mere bhai, woh hi kameene hai. Meri problems se unhe mazaa aata hai. Lekin actually toh kameene tum dono ho. Woh log, kamse kam meri help toh karte hain. Tum dono ko toh bas baithke gappe lagva lo, Armaan cribbed.


"Oyye, kameene, sand, fitte mooh, gadhe, suar ki aulad, Muskaan ranted, hitting Armaan. "Tune mujhe aur Nikki ko kameena kaha?


"Haan, kaha, Armaan replied, fixing his shirt.


"Teri himmat kaise hui? She asked.


Armaan just shrugged in a what the hell gesture. "Bhadak mat, Muskaan. Sach hamesha kadwa hota hai.


"Jooti maaru tujhe? Fir sab samajh aayega, ki sach kadwa hota hai ya nahi, Muskaan said, hitting Armaan again. This time, Nikki joined in as well.


Armaan tried to free himself from both of them, but Muskaan's grip on him was too tight. The other people standing there, were just looking at the scene unfolding in front of them with shock, while Abhi was thinking about bringing some popcorn to enjoy the show.


Finally, Muskaan's hand was ripped away from Armaan's body and he shrugged Nikki off, who fell, but was saved by Abhi. Armaan looked up to see Rahul standing there.


"Thank you, yaar! Aaj tu nahi hota toh yeh dono meri jaan hi le leti, Armaan told Rahul, pulling him in for a light hug.


"Saale nautanki. Tune hi kuch kiya hoga, Rahul replied, smirking.


"Abbe! Tujhe toh hamesha yehi lagta haina ki sab maine kiya hai? Aur kisiki galti toh kabhi dikhti hi nahi hai, Armaan grimaced.


"Haan, you're right. Mujhe toh hamesha teri hi galti dikhti hai. Kyuki hamesha galti karta toh tu hi hai. Toh aur kisiki kaise dikhegi? Rahul asked rhetorically.


Armaan tried to hit him on his shoulder, but was stopped by Abhi.


"Kya, yaar? Abhi toh usne tujhe Muskaan aur Nikki se bachaaya. Usse kyu maar raha hai? Abhi asked.


"Right! Rahul agreed immediately. "Seekh kuch isse. Maar mat.


Armaan just made a face before nodding.


"Aapne mujhe bachaya, uske liye bohot bohot dhanyawad, Armaan said sarcastically.


"You're welcome! Rahul replied smugly.


"Um, hi, Sonia greeted Rahul, smiling flirtatiously at him. He was really good looking. (Remember guys, Sonia was the girl who liked Rahul in college, but she chose to go out with Armaan instead.)


                                 

(He'd look so hot in this!)


"Hi, Rahul replied, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. On the one hand, he'd dreamed of this day for so long in college and a very small part of him, that 18 year old boy who had been rejected one too many times because of his appearance, rejoiced at her attention. But, he wasn't 18 anymore. He was almost 28. And he was in love with a girl who he thought the world of. A girl who was standing right there as Sonia tried to put the moves on him.

"Um, sorry, but maine tumhe pehle kabhi nahi dekha, Sonia told him. "Kiske saath aaye ho? She asked.


Rahul laughed at the question. Everybody looked at him like he was crazy, but Armaan grinned at him.


"Uh, tum aise has kyu rahe ho? Sonia asked.


Rahul shook his head, still laughing. He leaned into Armaan for support, who expertly caught him, like they'd done countless times before.


"I'm... I'm sorry, Rahul wheezed after sometime when he was finally able to get his laughter in check.


"I'm sorry, he said once again. "I didn't mean to laugh. It's just that kisi ne mujhe pehchaana nahi, toh isliye.


"Oh, tum humaare batch ke ho? Jai asked, confused. "Lekin, yaar, tumhe kabhi dekha hi nahi. Jai had been the one who'd harassed Rahul the most during college. Yes, he hadn't liked Armaan much, but it was mostly because Armaan had Sonia and Rahul was completely infatuated with her.


"Uh, Rahul Grewal, Rahul introduced himself. "Ring any bells?


"No way! Jai exclaimed. "Daddu! You're kidding, right?


"Nope, Rahul replied, popping the p. "Nice to see you, Jai, he added sarcastically.


"Wow, Sonia interrupted. She sauntered over to Rahul and wrapped her arms around his waist. "You look really good, Rahul.


Armaan turned to look at Muskaan and was pleased to see her silently fuming, glaring at Rahul's waist. He inconspicuously caught Rahul's eye and gestured him to look at her. Rahul was mighty pleased to see the reaction Sonia illicited in Muskaan and pulled her closer.


"Thank you, Sonia, he replied. "You look gorgeous, as always.


"Gorgeous enough to be your date this evening? She asked, lightly placing her lips on his cheek for a feather light kiss.


"Uh... Uh... Rahul stuttered. He hadn't been expecting that. At all.


"I'm sorry, but he already has a date, Riddhima came to his rescue, looping her arm through his on the other side.


Sonia looked at her, surprised that the girl Armaan was so mesmerized by was Rahul's date. She couldn't form proper words.


Riddhima smirked at her speechlessness and turned to Rahul. "Kahaan tha tu? She asked. "Kabse tujhe dhoond rahi hu! Main 2 minute phone receive karne gayi toh tu idhar udhar mandraara hai?


"What do you mean by mandraare ho? Rahul asked in a silly accent, sounding eerily similar to Armaan. Gods, Riddhima thought. These boys spent a lot of time together. Maybe it was finally turning them into one person instead of three.


"Uhm, Armaan cleared his throat, trying to gain Riddhima's attention.

When she looked at him, he smiled stupidly. "Hi, he waved, still grinning.


"Armaan, was Riddhima's short reply with a curt nod.


"Guys, this is Riddhima, Rahul tried to introduce her.


A few "heys rung around the place. Riddhima smiled politely at all of them.


"Hi, Jai grinned salaciously, moving towards Riddhima. "I'm Jai. He forwarded his hand to her, but she didn't return the gesture, opting to smile at him politely.


"Yaar, haath toh mila hi sakti ho. Tumhe kuch karunga nahi, he joked, though he didn't like that she didn't.


Riddhima looked at Armaan, to find him seething. Jai was still the Playboy he'd been in college and Armaan didn't like the fact that he was anywhere near Riddhima. If he could have, he'd have punched the guy then and there, but he stopped when he felt Abhi place a restricting hand on his shoulder and Riddhima shake her head at him.


"I'm sure, Riddhima replied confidently. "Lekin, main har kisi insaan se jaan pehchaan nahi badhaati.


Nikki and Muskaan outright guffawed on hearing Riddhima say that.


"I like you, Nikki declared through her chuckles.


Riddhima grinned. "Why, thank you!


Nikki smiled at Riddhima and took her wrist. "Come with me, she said, pulling her away. Muskaan laughed and followed. Here, Armaan, Rahul & Abhi were looking at them, used to these girls just randomly walking away, and shook their heads in exasperation.


"Ridzy! Nikki exclaimed when they had walked a little away. "Waah, waah. I'm so proud of you! She hugged Riddhima tightly.


Riddhima grinned.


"Seriously, Nikki continued. "Woh Jai haina, apne aap ko bohot zyada smart samajhta hai. Like he's God's gift to women, Nikki said, rolling her eyes.


"I mean, I get it. Woh good looking hai, successful bhi hai. Pehli nazar mein, koi bhi ladki usse pasand kar le, lekin woh bohot hi zyada arrogant hai. College ke dino se hi tha. Raees baap ki bigdi aulad. Mujhe laga ki itne saal beet gaye hain, usme akal aa gayi hogi, but nahi. Actually, meri hi galti hai. Mujhe usse kuch expect hi nahi karna chahiye tha, she ranted.


"Bas... Bas... Bas Nikki. Humein samajh aa gaya. Tujhe Jai pasand nahi hai, Muskaan said, trying to calm Nikki down. "Tu itna load mat le. Baby ke liye achcha nahi hai. Waise bhi, tu kyu itna soch rahi hai? Kaunsa toh humein uss Jai se roz roz milna hai? Bas aaj ki baat hai.


Riddhima nodded in agreement. "Muski sahi keh rahi hai, Nikki. Tu in sab cheezon ke baare mein itna mat soch. Bas relax kar. Party enjoy kar. Itne saalon baad apne friends se mili hai. Achcha lag raha hoga na? She asked, trying to distract Nikki.


Nikki nodded, grinning. "Haan. I mean, mere zyada friends nahi the. Lekin Rakesh aur Tara se milke mujhe bohot achcha laga. Aur Nisha bhi.


Riddhima smiled at her. "Haina. Toh bas. Uspe concentrate kar. Yeh sab faltu cheezon mein mat pad.


"You're right, Nikki agreed. "Kisi aur ke wajah se main apna mood kyu kharab karu?


"Bilkul mat kar, Muskaan said. "Chal. Kuch peete hai.


They ordered themselves something to drink at the bar and were gossipping, when the waiter placed a drink in front of them.


It was a Strawberry Daiquiri, Riddhima's favourite. But, she hadn't ordered it, cause Nikki wanted them to try those non alcoholic shots together.


"Humne yeh order nahi kiya, she told the bartender.


"Yes, ma'am. Yeh, unhone aapke liye order kiya hai, he replied, pointing to Armaan.


When Riddhima looked at him, he smiled and waved at her, blowing her a kiss.


Riddhima blushed and shook her head at his cute antics, before raising her hand for a wave in return. She saw Armaan do a small victory dance when she did that and laughed at his adorableness.


"Yaar, Ridzy, tera yeh Armaan na, bohot hi cute hai, Muskaan commented, observing their interaction.


Riddhima blushed deeper.


"Oho. Cho cute! Nikki teased, pulling Riddhima's cheek.


"Nikki! Riddhima whined. "Mat karna.


"Kyu? Muskaan jumped in. "Tu lag hi rahi hai itni cute. Hayye blush toh dekho. Main mar jawaan.


"Muskiii! Tu bhi? Riddhima asked.

"Main bhi kya? Muskaan asked.


"Tu zyada bholi mat bann, Riddhima answered. "Tujhe pata hai kya.


Muskaan grinned and shrugged.


"Yaar, Atul aur Anjy ki date pe sab theek ho raha hoga na? Nikki asked aloud, worried about her friends.


"Achanak Anjy aur Champ ki baat kahaan se aa gayi? Muskaan asked. "Hum Ridzy ko chidhaa rahe the na?


Nikki sighed. "Main bas soch rahi thi. I mean, har baar unki date pe kuxh gadbad ho jaati hai, right?


Riddhima nodded. "Haan. Pata nahi kyu? Har baar sab galat ho jaata hai, jabki Atul toh har date ke liye itni planning karta hai. Mujhe bilkul achcha nahi lagta.


"Mujhe bhi, Muskaan and Nikki chorussed, hugging Riddhima on each side.


"Call karke pooche kya? Riddhima wondered.


"Disturb karna chahiye kya? Nikki asked.


"Chalna. Karte hai. Bohot mazaa aayega, Muskaan laughed.


"Muskaan! Riddhima & Nikki reprimanded in unison.


"Kya? Tum logon ne suna nahi hai kya kabhi? Har ek friend kameena hota hai, she replied.


Nikki looked skeptical, but Muskaan cribbed and cribbed till Nikki finally agreed.


"Main call kar rahi hu, Riddhima announced. She whipped her phone out of her clutch and dialled Anjali's number, putting the phone on speaker so that the other two could listen in. After many, many, many rings, Anjali finally picked up.


"Di! Riddhima fired off immediately, not giving Anjali a chance to speak. "Aap theek ho na? Aur Atul? Kuch hua hai kya? Aap phone kyu nahi utha rahi thi? Mujhe kitni tension ho gayi!


"Ridzy! Relax, Anjali finally spoke. "Kuch gadbad nahi hui hai. In fact, sab bohot achcha hai. Atul ne bohot achchi date plan ki hai.


"Really? Nikki and Muskaan asked in unison, their voices disbelieving.


"Yes. Really. Kyu? Tum dono itni shock kyu ho rahi ho? Anjali asked, defensive.


"Oho. Dekho toh. Madam kitni protective ho rahi hai, Nikki teased.


"Nikki! Anjali whined.


"What Nikki? Sach toh bol rahi hu! Humne Atul ka thoda mazaak udaya toh tu kitni defensive ho gayi, Nikki answered. Muskaan nodded frantically in agreement.


"Tum dono please Di ko pareshaan karna band karo. Samjhi? Riddhima asked, causing Nikki and Muskaan to laugh. They nodded casually when Riddhima glared at them.


"Thank you, Ridzy. Tu hi hai jo mera itna khayal rakhti hai, Anjali said happily.


Riddhima smiled. "Di, ab main rakh rahi hu. Aapki date toh bohot achchi jaa rahi hai. Hum ghar pe baat karenge. Okay?


"Okay! Bye, girls! Anjali replied excitedly before disconnecting the call.


Riddhima looked at Nikki & Muskaan and the three of them smirked.


"Chalo. Lagta hai Champ ki bhi gaafi thodi toh aage badh hi gayi, Muskaan commented.


"Haan, Nikki and Riddhima replied, nodding along.


"Bas ab teri aur Rahul ki bhi... Riddhima muttered under her breath.


"Tune kuch kaha? Muskaan asked Riddhima, having heard her murmur softly.


"Main? Riddhima asked, caught off guard. "Na... Nahi... Maine... Maine kuch... Kuch nahi kaha. Main... Main kyu kuch kahungi?


"Mujhe laga maine kuch sunaa, Muskaan said.


"Tere kaan baj rahe honge, Muski. Riddhima ne kuch nahi kaha, Nikki jumped to Riddhima's defense.


"Pakka? Muskaan asked.


"Haan. Pakka, they replied together, nodding vehemently.


"Theek hai. Shayad maine hi galat sunaa. Waise bhi yahaan bohot bheed hai, Muskaan said, shrugging it off.


Nikki and Riddhima sighed in relief.

"Chalo, ab. Waapas chale? Riddhima asked.


Nikki and Muskaan agreed and then they walked back to the group.


Rahul was trying to ward Sonia off him as Armaan and Abhi laughed silently, standing beside him.


Muskaan fumed on seeing that girl throw herself at Rahul. "Yaar, yeh ladki kitni shameless hai. Isko dikh nahi raha ki woh Rahul, kameena, usko interest nahi hai usse baat karne mein?


Nikki and Riddhima shared a smug look. They both put an arm around her shoulder from either side.


"Muski, tujhe kuch zyada hi fikar nahi ho rahi Rahul ki? Riddhima asked.


Muskaan looked taken aback at the comment.


"Um... Nahi... Nahi... Mujhe kya hona hai. Woh bas woh saala Rahul aise scene create kar raha haina, isliye, Muskaan replied.


"Ohhh, like that, Nikki teased.


"Tum dono se na, baat karna hi bekar hai, Muskaan cribbed before hurrying away.


"Asar toh ho raha hai, Riddhima stated.


"Thank god, ho raha hai, Nikki replied. They shared a laugh before joining the others.


"Uh, excuse me, please, Riddhima told Sonia, asking her to move away as she stood beside Rahul.


Rahul sighed in relief and squeezed Riddhima's hand as thank you.


"Waise, Sonia made a face and turned to Riddhima, "main wahaan khadi thi.


"I know, Riddhima replied, smugly. "Lekin ab main khadi hu.


"Excuse me, Neha interrupted. "Tumhe Sonia se aise baat karne ka koi right nahi hai.


"Oh, Sonia! Riddhima exclaimed. "Toh tum ho woh. She apprised her from head to toe and shrugged.


Turning to Rahul, she said, "Rahul, tere taste ko kya ho gaya hai, yaar? Tujhe yeh pasand thi college mein?


"Riddhima, Rahul warned lowly, not wanting her to say anything in front of Muskaan.


"Kya? Sahi toh keh rahi hu, Riddhima continued. "She's not even your type!


"Uh, Rahul, Sonia butted in. "Tum mujhe college mein like karte the? She asked him coyly.


Rahul glared at Riddhima who just smiled innocently.


Rahul turned to Sonia and said, "Nahi.


Muskaan, who had been desperately waiting for Rahul to answer, heaved a sigh of relief at his words.


"Hawww, liar, Armaan disagreed. "Sabko pata tha, ki tujhe Sonia pasand hai.


"Ar... Armaan tu kya baat kar raha hai? Aisa... Aisa kuch nahi hai, Rahul insisted, his gaze directed at Muskaan.


"Daddu, ab tu jhooth bhi bolne lag gaya? I swear, isko na Sonia bohot pasand thi, Armaan badgered. "Every year, Valentine's Day pe, Sonia ke aage peeche ghoomta rehta tha, usse rose dene ke liye. Lekin himmat toh teri kabhi hui nahi.


"Really, Rahul? Sonia asked, her grin flirtatious.


"Okay, fine! So, I liked her, Rahul agreed. Looking at Sonia, right in the eyes, he finished, "Lekin ab nahi karta. His voice was firm, leaving no place for an argument.


Looking at Armaan and Riddhima, who were grinning at him, Rahul huffed and walked away.



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