Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Part 8 : Love Me always

Seeing him hold her hand she lightly interlocked her fingers with his….he didn't seem to notice it as she felt his body tense up as Muskaan opened the door…….

 Smiling lightly at the nervous couple in front of her Muskaan moved forward ........"Bhai-Bhabhi just wait here for a minute"

 Confused and surprised at her gesture both waited at the threshold , releasing  his hand still in her Armaan abruptly removed his hand away,not looking at her. Riddhima looked at him a little surprised, before she could think any further Muskaan returned with a plate in her hand, containing a diya. Armaan looked at her shocked…..

 "Muski bhabhi wat r u doing?"



"Armaan a newly wedded bride has to be welcomed in the house right? I am just carrying out the rituals…..though I am not officially a part of your family I will be very soon…….and being the to-be wife of your elder brother I have to carry out the ritual…….after all Riddhima will soon be like my younger sister…….." Muskaan moved the plate with diya in front of them as per tradition while saying this……..



Moistened by her words Riddhima smiled warmly at Muskaan only to be greeted back with a same loving smile. As they entered Riddhima looked over at Armaan even more nervous than ever, only to find him looking here and there, searching ,she knew for whom………



"Muskaan where is bhai?" asked Armaan in a soft tone



"Armaan I know very well how keen u are to meet him, see whatever happened today came as a shock to him, he will take some time to come around right? Give him some space, don't worry he will get back, I can assure u from my side"



"Bhabhi of course I trust u….u r my sole hope. Please I want to see Rahul now" Armaan looked at her pleadingly……

Muskaan looked at him helplessly. She knew the deep strong bond between the two brothers. Whatever Armaan may do……Rahul can never stay away from him for long she thought. Composing herself she patted gently on his shoulder and said…….



"Armaan ……..Rahul will see u in the morning, let be as he is right now please…….dont worry I am telling u everything will be alright"



Armaan nodded listening to her. This had to happen he thought. Sighing he thought………wish Rahul would understand it is ultimately for my dream, our dream Bhai, we are finally getting there, the dream we both wanted to achieve, after father went astray all we wanted was to fight off that sitgma of being the sons of an unsuccessful man…..who ruined his life and  almost destroyed his own children…..No Bhai he will ward off this social stigma, tell the world what the Maillkis are capable off…….at that moment the tornedo of driving amibition gripped Armaan so hard that he closed his eyes gripping his fist only to open them to find Muskaan looking at him……….



"Armaan why don't u guys call it off for today? Both of you have had a very long day, take Riddhima up" Muskaan added looking at Riddhima smilingly.



Giving a faint smile Armaan silently moved forward to the staircase hinting Riddhima to follow him up. As Riddhima moved up ……..



"Armaan one second please"



Armaan looked over surprised at Muskaan,  climbind down again he saw her approaching him.



"Armaan she's a delicate soul, treat her well please." Armaan gazed at Muskaan surprised. Giving a reassuring nod he went up to find Riddhima waiting on the last step nervously. Taking the lead he opened the door to his room…….



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Riddhima walked in feeling her body tighten up with nervousness. She had never felt so scared and nervous all her life. What a life she thought. All her life she was lonely with an over-bearing father and a sister who always seemed so distant and today she had been tossed away in an entire new environment with all new people and worst married to a man who barely knew her. It was true she did have a unconscious trust in him, knowing he will not cross any limits but still her one month encounter with his aggression, anger and coldness made her sweat. Hearing him snap his fingers on her face she came out from her thoughts……



"Riddhima this is my room. I mean OUR room" He corrected himself biting his tongue.



"Its very manish as you can see, I mean you will have to make your space in here" He added politely not knowing what to tell her. It seemed a very awkward situation to him. He never had felt the need to think of ways to talk to women, it came naturally to him, but with her it seemed different.



"Why don't u freshen up while I'll try to sort things out a bit" He finally added not knowing what to talk more.



Riddhima moved to the washroom quietly. As the cold water ran down her face she tried to calm down her feelings, you don't need to be scared she tried convincing herself, he cannot be a totally foul guy she thought, no she reasoned she shouldn't  be so scared and try talking to him. Feeling a little more confident she came out to find him moving things here and there in the cupboard. She moved about the room towards the bed and picking up one of the pillows and took them to the couch by the window.



"You don't need to do that" Turning around she found him standing behind her. Looking at him surprised….



"Actually Armaan we errm…..i mean ……" Trying to find words to explain herself she struggled to continue…….



"I very well understand what you mean Riddhima, you don't need to offer any explanations. I just meant that you can sleep on the bed while I will sleep here."



"No no Armaan please don't embarrass me, as it is its been so awkward for both of us, please don't worsen the situation for me. " Riddhima fumbled glad to have finally found her tongue.



' Well I agree you are feeling very awkward but lets  say just plain courtesy on my behalf you will sleep on the bed. I would have arranged for a separate room all together but considering the haste I found it difficult. You don't need to worry I mean ………trust" Armaan left his sentence lingering half way not knowing how to continue .



Feeling it the best not to argue any further Riddhima made her way to the bed. Sitting down she felt her mind filled up with a thousand questions she was dying to ask him. Not knowing from where to start she sighed quietly looking up. Finally unable to control herself she decided to ask him directly. She had to know the answers she felt. Afterall it was the question of her life.



"Armaan can I ask you something? If you don't mind?"

Looking at him not interrupting her thread cautiously.



"Were you forced to marry me?" she asked quietly.



Arman looked at her pale face. He knew this was to come ultimately. After all she had been married on an entirely falsely constructed base. Standing up he went over to her and sat beside her. Looking up into her eyes to find nothing but questioning innocence he calmly answered…….



"No I was not forced, I had given my consent" As he paused Riddhima  found herself probing further.



"Then why did you marry me? At such  a short notice and of all the girls me?"



"I will be frank Riddhima. See you agreed because it was your mother's last wish right? Well your father told me about it. Had it been anyone else I would have refused. But I am indebted to your father. We both are indebted Rahul and me. So I agreed to his wish. And since he wanted the will issue to be sorted immediately I even agreed to marry in such a haste. Riddhima we both have given our consent to this relationship due to our own valid reasons. I know it will be a long way for us to actually commit ourselves into this marriage. Legally we are but otherwise I dont know when we both will actually believe in this marriage perhaps in some time or perhaps never." He added with a slight pause.



' Whatever happens in due course let it…….but right now we should just live as we have been, give each other space, from my side you have all the freedom to live as you want, as long you don't get in my way" Armaan spoke a little aggressively.



Riddhima looked at him hearing the sudden change of tone. Speaking softly…….." I will never get in your way "



Hearing her Armaan immediately felt a bit guilty for letting his aggression go over him.



"So was it just debt that drove you to marry me?" Riddhima asked a bit scared.



'Well yes….we are indebted to your father. If he asked me to get married to you I cannot refuse. I hope this clears up all your doubts. I don't intend to force you in any way and I expect you to be the same. So now just relax and go to sleep as I will not eat you up." He added smiling at her.



"One last question please…..in what manner are you indeted?"

Looking at his hardened expression Riddhima kicked herself for asking this, but she had to know this she thought.



"Your father has been taking care of our father past  7 years…..in sanjeevni itself………as he has been in coma. Got an attack after he crashed into a car while high on alcohol"



Riddhima felt the earth beneath her move. The fact that his father was in coma moved her.



"I am sorry "She muttered



"No you don't need to be. As I am not even sorry for myself."



Sighed Armaan has he moved towards the couch. Lying down he closed his eyes to find a solution to this new set of equations. He was shocked with himself. Unknowingly he had been so very polite to her. He had stopped himself from giving her the very main reason for their marriage. It was true he was paying off a debt but that alone couldn't have driven him to marry her. Women was the last thing he wanted in his life. But he just couldn't get himself tell her the truth, the real truth, this was just a preview he thought. But why? He couldn't understand why couldn't he tell her. Maybe deep down he knew shewould be completely shattered, if she came to know he had married her for Sanjeevni and the gain control he knew her heart would fail her. His recent being with her had made him release how tender she was. Each of their patients adored her from the old people to the children. But why was he thinking about her so much? Moving his fingers through his hair in frustration , he couldn't just understand what was happening. He remembered their dance from the ball. The way er eyes had bored into his. Then as she had lightly lowered her gaze. Never had he lost himself in any women at his very first meet. Much as he denied it deep down he knew how he was just mesmerized by her, making him forget everything else. Enough Armaan. He gritted. You better get some sleep, you have to answer Rahul tomorrow morning. Enough of Riddhima now. He had been nice to her because she was his trump card. He had got her with him back because he didn't want sasurji to control him along with her. Were they to stay there then sasurji would have butt in every second matter which I cannot stand argued Armaan. With a few more rebelling thoughts he turned over.



Turning over he saw her back facing him. Unknowingly a smile formed on his lips to see her there. Softly he whispered " Good nite Mrs Riddhima Armaan Mallik"



Riddhima felt her pillow wet with the stream of tears that had been falling from quite some time now. I don't know where my life is goingshe thought. All her life she had just been used and played with. What evil have I done that life played such a joke on her. Her only dream was atleast she would find a soul mate with whom she could happily share her life with Who would shower her with only love and nothing else. But this dream also was shattered. She turned over to look at him asleep on the couch. She had been attracted to him ever since he first touched her hand in that ball. But her recent encounters had given rise to new thoughts. It was his aggression, his anger she feared. She recollected how in those two days that papa had given her , she had fought so much with herself. Much as she wanted to complete her mother's last wish she couldn't get herself to accept him as her husband so soon. It was true she was really attracted to him but from inside she hardly knew what he was like. He had an impish charm about him and extremely captivating looks. Had he been charming like he was in the ball she wouldn't have thought so much but the way he had behaved with her when she was only trying to help was nagging her .Maybe because he has suffered personally she reasoned. As she recollected how he had told her about his father. Ultimately she knew whatever be her decision her father would have his way. So eventually she landed saying yes after much hesitation. Whatever it was he hadn't forced her at all into anything and infact answered her and also been with her. She was greatful to him for all this. Maybe if nothing then atleast she had an understanding guy who will never boss on her she thought. Consoling herself to make the best of what she had Riddhima finally drifted off to sleep.



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



As the sun rays peeped in through the curtains Armaan opened his eyes only to be confused to find himself on the couch. As he got up the entire previous days event came flooding back. Looking at her still asleep he walked over to the bed. Seeing her eyes closed he stared at her face. She looked so innocent and sweet. Sitting at the edge of the bed he unknowingly placed his hand on her face and gently tucked her hair behind. Then he released she was sleeping rather funnily with her hand under head. Smiling he turned her slowly removing her hand and softly placing it beside her. 



She opened her eyes feeling the movement suddenly to see him starring at her. She lowered her gaze and looked away consciously. Releasing what he was doing he stood up abruptly.



"Sorry Riddhima to wake you wake you. Actually I saw your hand tucked underneath you rather awkwardly so like………." Muttered Armaan embarrassed to be caught red handed and cursing himself to give such a silly excuse.



"No no please don't say sorry. I should begetting up now" She said hastily getting up.



"Take your time I'll just freshen up"



Saying so Armaan closed the washroom door. As he splashed the cool water on his face he remembered the scene that happened just a few minutes ago. What is wrong with me he thought. This is too much he thought. From past three days she has been all over your mind. You cant let her do this to you. Yes I will ignore her he thought. I will be rude to her. Glancing up in the mirror as he saw his reflection laugh at him and say. No Armaan try as hard as you want but you cannot ignore her. Nor can you hurt her. Moving his head vigorously he put her thoughts outside his mind and    suddenly thought how will he face Rahul. Gosh Armaan dude he is gonna fry you for sure Armaan muttered.



As he came out of the bath he saw her arranging clothes in the closet. As he moved towards her wiping his hair he saw a pair of his.

clothes lying on the bed. Feeling him behind her she turned around to see him looking at her. Breaking the glance she spoke nervously



"Actually I was just arranging my clothes so thought of removing yours, but if you don't like it I'll ……..I'll …………I'll get you something else."



Picking up the black shirt with red collar he smiled.



"No this is perfect thank you "



Saying so he gently placed his hand on her arm.



"You get ready and come down."



Squeezing it slightly he went out smiling.



 Riddhima stood there rooted. Touching her arm she smiled.



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

 Armaan saw him on the breakfast table sitting quietly. As Muskaan laid out the plates the door bell rang. Opening the door Armaan surprisingly  said…….



"Anjali-Atul you guys here? So early?"

"I have invited them here Armaan" Armaan turned back to see Rahul getting up from the table to face him.     

 jia

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