Thursday, 2 August 2018

Chapter 67 : I'll Love You Longer Than Forever - AR FF

Armaan was hugging Riddhima close to himself, their bodies pressed close together. They were swaying gently to the music, Armaan whispering sweet nothings in Riddhima's ear, making her blush and pull herself closer to him, hiding herself in his arms.

 Armaan was constantly smiling at his baby. She was so cute. She could be shy one minute and totally bold the next, predictable one moment and totally surprising the next. It was one of the things he loved most about their relationship. Even after almost 3 years together, it still felt as if they'd only started dating yesterday. As if it was just yesterday that his Basket had first confessed her love to him. She was the best thing in his world and he hoped that nothing ever changed between them. That they continued to love each other just as much, if not more, for the rest of their days together.

 "Armaan," Riddhima whispered, bringing him out of his thoughts.

 "Hmmm?" He asked.

 "Woh dekho," she pointed a little away to Rahul & Muskaan, who were dancing closely, lost in each other's eyes.

Armaan grinned on seeing that.

"Chalo, inki baat thodi toh aage badhi," Armaan commented.

Riddhima nodded happily. "Pata hai, mujhe bohot tension ho rahi thi. Itna kuch ho gaya, lekin Muskaan toh Rahul se baat hi nahi kar rahi thi. Lekin ab, finally, in dono ko saath dekh kar, mujhe bohot achcha lag raha hai."

"Sahi keh rahi ho. Dono saath mein kitne achche lagte hai," Armaan said. "Ab I just hope, ki inki love story bhi track pe aa jaaye aur yeh dono aise hi rahe."

"Kaun aise hi rahe?" Nikki asked, coming to stand next to Armaan, arm in arm with Abhi.

"Rahul aur Muskaan," Armaan answered, pointing towards them. He didn't let his grip on Riddhima loosen even a little.

"Awww," Nikki cooed, happily watching them together. Abhi, too, looked at them with a smile on his face. These people had come to mean a lot to Abhi in the last few months and he was happy that after so many trials and tribulations, everyone was finally moving on from that dreadful day in September last year.

Taking advantage of the fact that Abhi & Nikki weren't paying attention to them, Armaan pulled Riddhima closer.

"Armaan!" Riddhima whisper shouted. "Kya kar rahe ho?"

"Tumse pyaar," he answered cheekily.

Riddhima glared at him and said, "Dekho, Armaan, chodo mujhe."

Armaan shook his head and pulled her closer.

"Armaan! Dekho, Abhi aur Nikki yahin hai. Chodo!" She pleaded.

"Toh kya hua? Nikki aur Moody hi hain. Tum toh aise sharma rahi ho jaise sasurjee yahaan hai," Armaan teased.

"Armaan! Kya bolte rehte ho poora din. Chodo mujhe," she insisted, struggling to get free of his hold, which prompted Armaan to hold her tighter.

"Armaan!" Riddhima whined. "Please chodo na."

"Rehne de, Ridzy. Yeh mushtanda toh hai hi besharam. Tu kya isse pooch rahi hai," Nikki said, finally getting fed up of their argument.

Listening to her voice, Riddhima blushed even deeper.

Armaan mumbled, "Oyye Hoyye," on seeing that.

"Dekha, Basket. Nikki ne kaha na? Koi fark nahi padta," he said.

Abhi chuckled at his unabashedness.

"Armaan, yaar, tum kitne zyada besharam ho," he commented.

"Tumhe ab samajh aaya hai?" Armaan asked sarcastically.

Nikki and Riddhima laughed at that.

"Chodo, yaar. Tumse toh baat karna hi useless hai," Abhi answered.

"Toh karte kyu ho?" Armaan questioned.

"Ugh!" Abhi exclaimed, shooting his hands up in the air. "Main nahi karta, yaar. Tum mujhe baksh do."

The trio laughed at that. "Abhi, you're so cute," Nikki said, pulling his cheeks.

Armaan & Riddhima laughed at the comical expression on Abhi's face.

"Waise, Armaan," Nikki started, "woh Neha tujhse kuch zyada hi chipak rahi hai."

Armaan glared at her for bringing it up as Riddhima pushed Armaan away.

"Kaun Neha?" Riddhima asked, glaring at Armaan. He gulped and looked murderously at Nikki who smiled cheekily at him.

"Armaan!" Riddhima commanded his attention. "Kis Neha ke baare mein bol rahi hai Nikki?" She asked again.

"Koi nahi hai, Jaan," Armaan said, trying to butter her up by hugging her close. "Bas, koi random ladki. Main toh usse jaanta bhi nahi."

"Hawww, jhoothe," Nikki intervened. "Ridzy, woh Neha na, uss Sonia ki best friend hai. Woh jo Rahul ko taad rahi thi na, jiske saath tera jhagda hua. Aur woh toh college ke dinon se hi Armaan ke peeche padi hai. Lekin thodi chipku type haina, isliye Armaan ne usse kabhi ghaas nahi daali," she explained to Riddhima.

Riddhima glared at Armaan. He hid his face behind his jacket. "Basket, tum mujhe kyu aise dekh rahi ho? I swear, maine uske saath bilkul flirt nahi kiya. Woh hi mujhse aake chipak rahi thi. Main toh usse door bhi hataa tha, Jaan."

"Dekho, Armaan, tum uss... Uss Neha se jaake kehdo ki woh tumpe line maarne ki koshish na hi kare toh achcha hoga. Aur usse zyada bhaav dene ki zaroorat nahi hai," Riddhima ranted.

Armaan laughed at her cuteness. His baby was such an adorable sweetheart.

"Basket, baby, you're so cute," he said, pulling her cheek.

"Uhm," Abhi & Nikki cleared their throats, trying to break their eye lock.

"Kya hai?" Armaan asked, irritated.

Nikki laughed. "Armaan, tera bedroom nahi hai, jo tu Ridzy ke saath aise romance kar raha hai. Aur log hain yahaan pe. Aur tujhe sharam nahi aati hogi, lekin Ridz ko toh aati hai."

Riddhima blushed a deep red when she heard that. Nikki and Abhi laughed at her as Armaan kissed her cheek.

She pushed Armaan away and ran from there, still blushing deeply.

"I love her!" He mumbled, looking at the sky and then back at her retreating back with a lovestruck expression.

"Not bad, Riddhima," Rohit commented when she rejoined the group. "In fact, you're a very good dancer."

"Thank you," Riddhima replied, ducking her head in embarrassment at the praise.

Rahul rubbed her shoulders and pulled her into his side, sensing her discomfort. Him and Muskaan had joined the others just a couple minutes ago.

"Thanks," Riddhima muttered, looking at him.

"Um, how about a dance?" Rohit asked her, seemingly oblivious of how uncomfortable she looked.

"Uh, no. Thanks, Rohit, but I'm tired. Baad mein," Riddhima replied. She sent a prayer to god, thanking him that Armaan hadn't been around to hear this, otherwise things could have gotten messy.

Remembering that she'd left Armaan alone, she turned to find him and saw that he was swamped with girls. He was smiling at them, not looking uncomfortable at all. It was like he was enjoying all the attention. She glared at him murderously.

Armaan, as if sensing her glare, looked at her and gulped. Aaj toh tu gaya beta, he thought to himself. He immediately abandoned the flock of girls and made his way back, standing next to Riddhima.

He smiled at her sheepishly, but she glared at him again, making him wince.

"You were so good, yaar!" Agastya crowed. "Noice."

Armaan grinned. "Thanks!" He replied, pulling Riddhima close by keeping his arm around her shoulder, but she glared at him and shrugged it off discreetly.

Armaan made a puppy dog face and looked at her, asking her to forgive him, but she ignored his pleas, turning to Muskaan and talking about silly, unimportant things. Well, they could have been planning a nuclear war and Armaan would have thought it's not important because Riddhima wasn't paying him any attention.

"Haan, Armaan," Neha seconded. "You were really good. Tum chaho toh, ek dance mere saath bhi ho jaaye?" She asked.

Armaan gulped on hearing this. The gentlemanly thing would be to accept the offer, but he could feel Riddhima's eyes on him, staring at him intently.

"Uhm," he cleared his throat uncomfortably, not knowing what to do.

"Come on, Armaan! Sirf ek dance hi toh hai," Neha whined. "Maine kaunsa tumhe propose kar diya hai."

Armaan started choking on air when he heard that.

Everyone laughed. "Tum abhi bhi bilkul nahi badle na, Armaan?" Sonia asked rhetorically. "Shaadi ka naam sunnte hi aaj bhi utna hi darr jaate ho."

Riddhima couldn't help the tear that fell from her eye when Sonia said that. These people didn't understand her Armaan. He was such an amazing man. So what if he wasn't ready to get married yet? He was still utterly committed and completely faithful.

"Ex... Excuse me," Riddhima muttered, running away from there. She couldn't stand there anymore.

"Riddhima!" Armaan called after her desperately. He was cursing himself for hurting her. He should have proposed already. He knew that Riddhima didn't need any grand gestures. She needed him to ask her from his heart, nothing else. But, he wanted to make it special for her, which is why he was waiting for that one special day, which was very important to both of them to propose.

He made to run after her, but Neha caught hold of his arm. "Rehne do. Hoga kuch. Why are you so worried if she ran away? Kaunsa tumhaari shaadi se usse farak padta hai?" She asked.

"Neha, leave me," he said authoritatively.

"Armaan..." She tried to reason, but Armaan shrugged off her hand harshly.

"Jin cheezon ke baare mein tumhe kuch nahi pata, unke baare mein baat karne ki koi zaroorat nahi hai," he commanded before running after Riddhima, not sparing Neha a second glance.

Rahul and Muskaan shared worried looks. They knew that marriage was a sensitive topic for AR.

"Shayad humein jaana chahiye," Muskaan said.

Rahul immediately shook his head. "Nahi. Riddhima ko sirf Armaan ki zaroorat hai. I don't think we should interfere."

"Rahul..." Muskaan said desperately, holding his hand in hers. "Sab theek hoga na? Mujhe bohot tension ho rahi hai."

Rahul smiled at her. "Tu fikar mat kar. Woh Armaan hai. Apni Basket ko kaise manana hai, aata hai usse."

Muskaan grinned at his words and nodded.

Riddhima was running, not looking where she was going. Sonia's comment had hurt her so much. She didn't even know why some nobody's impression of Armaan made her feel this way, but try as she might, she couldn't shake the words from her brain.

"Riddhima! Jaan!" Armaan called after her, running. "Jaan, ruko! Please!"

But, Riddhima didn't stop. She kept running till she reached the parking lot.

"Jaan, please!" Armaan begged. The pain in his voice finally made Riddhima stop. She turned around to see him running to her, tears streaming down his face.

He didn't waste a second, rushing to her and pulling her into a deep kiss. Riddhima responded immediately, wrapping her arms around his neck, her fingers in his hair, tugging almost harshly as Armaan's arms came around her waist, pulling her closer. They kissed for a long time with deep strokes of tongue and lips, reassuring each other of their love.

"I'm sorry!" Armaan whispered when they pulled back, kissing her forehead. He hugged her tightly, hiding his face in her neck.

"Nahi, Armaan. Tumhaari galti nahi hai," Riddhima said.

Armaan shook his head. "Of course meri galti hai, Jaan. Humaari shaadi ab tak isliye nahi hui hai kyuki... Kyuki maine..." He trailed off, not being able to finish his sentence.

"Armaan! Tumhe laga ki Sonia ka tumhe commitment phobic bulana mujhe bura laga? Yeh laga ki woh sahi hai?" She asked, surprised.

Armaan nodded.

"Nahi! Aisa... Aisa kuch nahi hai, Armaan. Woh baat nahi hai. Mujhe iss baat ka bura laga ki Sonia tumpe ya tumhaari life pe comment karne wali kaun hoti hai? Jaanti kya hai woh tumhaare baare mein jo usne aisa kaha? Bina kuch jaane, bina kuch samjhe, usne tumhaare baare mein aisa kaha, yeh baat mujhe bilkul achchi nahi lagi. Usse kya pata, ki tum mujhe apni jaan se bhi zyada pyaar karte ho? Hoti kaun hai woh? Tumhaare baare mein yeh sab kehne waali?" Riddhima ranted.

Armaan grinned on hearing that. He was so glad that Riddhima wasn't mad because she agreed that Armaan was commitment phobic. He wanted to hit himself on his head. His baby knew him better than anyone else, understood him so well, and he thought she agreed with that vile girl? Of course not! He shouldn't have even thought that way.

Seeing him deep in thought, not saying anything, Riddhima kissed his cheek, before saying, "Armaan, baby, tumhe jaanti hu main. Samajhti hu tumhaari jhijhak. Aur hum jaise hain, main khush hu, Armaan. Mujhe tumhaare saath ke alawa aur kuch nahi chahiye. Agar zindagi bhar bhi hum waise rahe, jaise hum aaj hain, toh bhi mujhe kabhi koi shikayat nahi hogi. Pyaar zaroori hai shaadi nahi."

Armaan couldn't help himself. He kissed Riddhima passionately when he heard her. She was such an angel - so sweet and understand and beautiful. He couldn't have found a better person to fall in love with.

"I love you," he mumbled against her lips.

"I love you, too," Riddhima replied, hugging him tightly.

"Tum na, yeh sab faaltu baatein sochna chod do, baby. Agar mujhe kabhi bhi tumse koi bhi problem ho, toh I promise main tumhe aake bataungi. Baaki log kya sochte hain, mujhe usse farak nahi padta," Riddhima told him. Then, biting her tongue, she added. "Nahi, nahi. Mujhe farak padta hai. Agar tumhaare baare mein koi bhi kuch bhi bura bole toh mujhe bilkul achcha nahi lagta," she whined.

Armaan just chuckled gratefully, pulling her tighter against himself. Riddhima smiled at his affection and need, and hugged him back just as tight.

"Tum poori paagal ho, Basket," he teased, still holding her tight.

"Kya karu? Tumhaari company ka nateeja hai," Riddhima replied.

Armaan chuckled at that. He kissed the side of her head, before pulling back and kissing her cheek. Riddhima smiled and gestured for him to bend down so that she could kiss his forehead, which he did happily.

"Ab waapas andar chalein?" Riddhima asked. "Sab wait kar rahe honge."

Armaan shook his head petulantly and pulled Riddhima to himself. "Hum kahin nahi jaa rahe. Ab fir hum waapas gaye toh tum Rahul ke paas chali jaogi," he whined. "Hum kahin aur chalte hain. Chalo, Marine Drive chalte hain."

Riddhima laughed at that.

"Kya, yaar, Basket. Tumhe toh meri koi chinta hi nahi hai. Main yahaan tumhaare saath time spend karne ke ideas soch raha hu aur tum has rahi ho," he pouted.

That made Riddhima laugh harder. She stood on her tiptoes and gave him a kiss on his cheek.

"Tum bohot cute ho, baby. Kya karu main?" She asked, pulling his cheek.

"Basket," he warned, "kitni baar kaha hai? Cute mat bulaya karo."

"Tum mere cute baby ho toh ho. Bas. Main kuch nahi jaanti," Riddhima replied.

Armaan sighed. "Achcha theek hai. Lekin, please, kabhi kisike saamne aisa mat karan. Yeh, cheeks pull karna wagerah. Okay?"

"Okay, Mr. Image. Nahi karungi," she laughed.

"Thank you! Badi meherbaani," he replied sarcastically.

"Ab chalein?" Riddhima asked.

Armaan made a face again.

"Achcha, ek idea bhi hai. Muskaan ko thoda jealous karne ka," Riddhima said. "Uske baad toh shayad woh Rahul ko maarne mein itni busy ho jaayegi, ki humaara raasta saaf."

"Seriously?!?!" Armaan exclaimed, excited.

Riddhima nodded, smiling at his exuberance.

"Kya? Jaldi batao!" Armaan commanded.

Riddhima laughed and told him the entire plan. Armaan listened intently. (Guys, imagine the Armaan wala naughty music in the background.)

"Oho. This is nice! Woh already Sonia ke wajah se itni zyada jealous hai. Mazaa hi aa jaayega," Armaan commented.

"Such a sadist, Dr. Mallik," Riddhima sighed, exasperated.

"Oh, hello! Should I remind you that this is your idea? And still, I'm the sadist? Wow," Armaan replied.

"Shut up, Armaan! Tum... Tum rehne do. Hum yeh kar rahe hain ya nahi?" She asked.

"Of course... Of course, yes. Tumhaara har hukum sar aankhon par," Armaan replied.

"Armaan!" Riddhima whispered, seeing the intensity of his gaze. "I love you."

"I love you, too," he replied, grinning. He gave her a quick, hard peck on her lips and then pulled back. Taking her hand in his, he intertwined their fingers before pulling her with him, back inside. Riddhima followed smiling. Her boy was the best.


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