Sunday, 16 June 2019

Last Part : Love Me always

"Armaan we combed every place, no news still and we cant even alert the police you know media will make such an issue….Riddhima Mallik disappearing"


Anjali sat down beside him as he sat there, his head in his palms. It was way past midnight and about six hours more then she left and yet there was no news of Riddhima at all. Her cell was switched off and now at his wits end Armaan didn't know what to do.


Tired as he was Anjali had forced him to come their place while Atul was still making calls and trying to gather some news.


"No news as yet Armaan, she sat down in the car and drove herself and the car number is being traced. We should get the information in some time"



Armaan got up seeing Atul speaking as he entered the living room.


"Anjali where is uncle?" Armaan asked turning to her.


"He umm Armaan I really don't know, either he must have locked up himself in the office or bedroom. I really don't know" Anjali bit her lip.


"It doesnt matter actually" Armaan shrugged.


"Right now I just want to find Riddhima, we don't even know how much she heard" Armaan spoke worriedly as the phone rang.

"Yes…yea…yes that's the one. Ok please check the list. Yes that's right" Armaan walked and stood beside Atul as he spoke over the phone impatiently.


"Her car has been traced" a jubilant Atul told Armaan.


"It was outside the airport and according to the departure list there was a passenger named Riddhima Mallik in the last flight to Mumbai about two hours ago."


Armaan smacked his forehead and sat down.


"I should have guessed she could have gone there….anyways I'll get going now" Armaan got up abruptly and went to the door.


"Armaan wait…I'll accompany you " Anjali stopped.


"No Anjali this is something I want you to leave it to me. I'll handle her. I know where she must be. Don't worry. I'll call as soon as I reach there and find her" Armaan reassured.


"Ok take care" Anjali whispered as Armaan disappeared closing the door.


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


"Riddhima how could you do this?" Armaan sighed closing his eyes as the flight took off.


It had been more then eight hours since she disappeared and for him these eight hours were the worst nightmare of his life. How could you just walk away Riddhima. We were doing this for you and you????


Closing his eyes he saw flashes of her images. Ever since they had gone back for Rahul's wedding how pale she been and her insecurities. The mood swings she had. How tearful she had become and how insecure she had felt about him. And the way she had been treated by her father…..been alone all her life. And the tears she had shed being so vulnerable.


His expressions softened.  She wasn't at fault. Poor thing didn't know what to do but she could have atleast waited…running away like??? Armaan frowned looking outside the window. Why she ran away is immaterial. Right now the most important criteria was to find her and get her out of the emotional turmoil.


I really hope she is there he grimed as he walked out through the gates of the airport.


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


"Riddhima?" he whispered opening the door to the house. He entered silently to see everything in its place, just as they had left when they left from Mumbai and he asked the caretaker to look after the place anyways so he had expected things to be in their place.


He looked around in the living room to see any sign of her coming but there were none. Going out in the balcony he opened the door and allowed the light sunrays of the dawn to enter. It was dawn now. I know she has to be here he breathed.Quickly climbing up the staircase he stopped outside their room. The door was open.


 He silently entered and saw her.


She sat there on the floor in the balcony hugging her knees facing the rising sun. Her face turned to the sky resting on her hands as they rested on the knees. Gently he crept in and kneeled down beside her. He had expected her to be here since he heard she had come to Mumbai.


"Riddhima?" he gently placed a hand on her shoulder.


She turned her face to see him. Cupping her face in his palms he edged closer and spoke.


"Sweetheart? What are you doing here? Riddhima why did you leave me like that? I was so worried you know……past eight hours…."


Seeing her tear strained face as she looked straight in his eyes he felt annoyed for himself for letting her go like this. She was in such a mental state and he had let her go away???


Seeing her not respond to him he held her shoulders gently and shook her.


"Riddhima?? Sweetheart talk to me atleast? Please Riddhima….." he shook her seeing a small tear roll down her eyes.


"Riddhimaaa you…"


"Why are you here Armaan? I am unwanted blood. Nobody wants me. Everybody hates me or goes away from me." She moved away from him and spoke with tears in her eyes.


"Go away Armaan, you will leave me and I don't want your pity. I am unwanted you know and you…"


"Riddhima….it's not like that. Riddhima everyone loves you. See I am here. I love the most sweetheart. I am here."


He pulled her close to him as tears unwillingly made their way down her eyes. It looked like she had come straight here as she was still in the same clothes she had in the reception. The heavy sarree and jewelry still on and the kajal meshed up as he guessed due to the tears she must have shed. But right now she would just not cry and she needed to do that he thought. Let it out for once and for all.


He tried pulling her closer to him but she didn't budge as she looked away. Forcefully turning her faceholding her chin he gently put his arm around her shoulders and spoke in a soft tone.


"Riddhima see I don't know what you heard and how much you heard. But whatever happened did you see I was always with you? So was your sister?? We both were fighting for you? I agree your father played a dirty game but does that mean you leave us? Why did you run away Riddhima? I was there for you sweetheart. I agree even I fell for your father's games but now out of it I was there to fulfill your wishes. Riddhima you should be proud of yourself .Your blood .Your mother, real mother would have proud of you darling really. And Padma aunty was and will always love you. Did she ever make you feel unwanted?"


Armaan sighed as she looked out still……looking distant and unresponsive. But she was still. She was responding but he knew she was listening and he needed to get this talk down her head for once and for all.


"Riddhima your father had his own issues. What he did……why….when and for what reasons we don't know and don't even want to know. He hurt you and kept you under illusions till now. Is it your fault? You always gave your best and listened to his wishes. Now you have to live for yourself Riddhima. You expressed a wish and I felt compelled to fulfill it. Was it wrong? Riddhima I don't know what to say except that I love you and will always love you. Speak to me Riddhima…."


He looked at her desperately as she turned to look at him.


"I love you Riddhima" he shook her again desperate for a response from her.


"Riddhimaaa" he sighed in frustration.


He saw the small tears finally making their way down her eyes as she gulped. Grabbing her close he hugged her as he felt her finally crying out. Holding her tight he allowed her to sink into him as she sobbed.
Feeling the sobs grow softer he pulled her out of the hug and cupped her face and kissed her forehead.


"Riddhima….shhh stop it sweetheart. See am always there for you and will never allow anyone to ever harm you ever again. Just forget this entire episode ok. It's not easy I know but am here with you ok. And we will forget this together and make a new start and……"

"Armaan…..he hated me?? He ….he…" Riddhima felt a lump form in her throat as she continued.


"And I was his….unwanted blood I was…………" she hid her face in her palms trying to digest the fact.


"Riddhimaaa" Armaan made removed her hands from her face and lightly kissed her wrist.


"Ok how much did you hear? How long were you standing there?" Armaan asked softly.


"Right from the start. I saw you go up with Anjali and I was about to follow you when I saw dad following you and came up behind him. And then….."


"Ok so you heard it right? You saw how much we love you? Riddhima its one person against ten people around who love you the most .Will you shatter yourself and shun away from this love just because one person left you or never loved you? What about us?"

"Armaan he is my dad…how can I??"


"Riddhima you know my mom left us when I was a kid?? And dad turned into an alcoholic?? Imagine how hard it must have been? I grew with hatred around me and see what I was? A person like father took advantage. But now you entered my life and see me? I have changed so much. Riddhima your love brought out Armaan from me. And sweetheart I am here with you to do the same. I won't allow my Riddhima to get lost in midway."


He wiped her tears as lowered her eyes. His strong constant support was having his effects on her, he could see that.


"Riddhima I don't know…what do I say which will make you see the light? I have…." Armaan stopped as she placed her finger on his lips.


"Armaan…" she looked deeply in his eyes.


He patiently waited for her to continue. When she just kept looking at him intently he kissed her fingers and held her hand close to his heart.


"Riddhima say it sweetheart. Just let this go….and we will make a fresh start darling. I am here…."


"Armaan promise me…..that you will always love me? Will always be by my side? Will you always love me?" Riddhima asked him gazing deeply in his eyes as he held her hand.


Armaan smiled deeply and kissed her forehead as he whispered
"Promise sweetheart. I am here with you forever and my love will never ever grow less I promise" gently kissing her lips he hugged her and he felt her arms around him finally watching the rising sun to a beginning.


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


"Yes Anjali she is fine, you take care"


Armaan switched off his phone as he opened the door to their room.


"Armaan what took you so long? " Armaan smiled as he saw her sitting on the bed looking irritated as he approached the bed.


"Sorry sweetheart. Your sister wont just leave nagging me. She made me give her an account of what you did every minute of today and what did you eat and whether your eating properly. Uff sisters" Armaan sighed as he got into the bed with her.


"She is my sister Armaan"he gently chuckled as he felt her fists on his chest replaced by her head.


"Hmm agreed she is your sister but I am your husband. I don't need to grilled like this Riddhima. You know you should call up once in a day and give her complete account of well I am taking care of you.  Then maybe she might excuse me from her grilling sessions."


Armaan smiled as he looked at her look up at him and pulled her close his hand around her waist as she giggled.

"Ohh so is this your way of taking care of me?" Riddhima looked at him ….her eyes twinkling.


"Well yes….this is my way" Armaan moved forward and gently kissed her. "And I love taking care of you this way." He grinned naughtily.

"Tring tring"

Armaan frowned as saw her cell ring.


"Don't tell me it's Anjali. Gosh at this time of the night too she can't leave you alone?"

Riddhima giggled again seeing the caller name.


"No its Muskaan" she got up laughing as Armaan groaned.


"Don't pick up na" Armaan pleaded.


"Shutup Armaan let me talk" Riddhima mockingly glared and went out to the balcony pressing the green button.


Armaan smiled seeing her walk out. It had been nearly two week since the incident and he was glad she had come out of it. On finding her Armaan had called Anjali right away as soon as she fell asleep and Anjali had asked him to get her back right away. But he had refused. He knew going back to that atmosphere would only take her back to that memory and he wanted to erase it completely off her mind and regain her lost faith and trust.


Hence they had stayed back and Armaan slowly worked at getting her back. It would have been very very clinched to say that he had showered her with love as that's what he had always done but he hadn't allowed her to moan and weep. To move on in life was the name of the game. He smiled as saw her talking to Muskaan.

She had matured so much since the incident.
Muskaan and Rahul had gone off to their honeymoon. Armaan had tried his best not to let much of the details to be revealed his brother as he knew it would only add to the commotion.


Riddhima had though quickly accepted the fact about her being illegimate, she would constantly slip into depressions and assuring her and weaning her out of her insecurities had become a daily job for Armaan. He didn't mind though he thought. She was slowly improving and being more positive.
Riddhima had made him promise that they won't take any share from her Dad's wealth. Not even half. They would live here and do their own thing. Armaan knew she didn't want anything to do with that power or wealth. Riddhima had requested him to give it all away to Anjali.


But it was Riddhima's too he thought. Anjali hadn't agreed to this. Hence they had quietly decided to divide it all in three parts. Riddhima wasn't pleased with it but Armaan had convinced her that they would have only a small share and why not????


Why should she be a martyr and sacrifice?? It was hers as much as it was Anjali's. Agreed she didn't want to do anything more with her father but she still remained his daughter and had all rights over everything he owned.
In the end the will was divided into three shares and Armaan and Riddhima permanently shifted to Mumbai.

Armaan smiled recollecting how thrilled she was hearing this. Shanshank had never surfaced ever again. As soon as he had Riddhima sign the papers Armaan had made sure he had made his message loud and clear to him that he was in charge now. Anjali had taken over their house back in Delhi showing no mercy on him as she considered him responsible for her mother's death and the last Armaan heard of Shanshank was that he retired in some quite place. Armaan didn't feel the need to bother more about him as there was nothing more he could do now. He had gone away from their lives and that as all they wanted at the moment.


But he had never actually asked Riddhima why she ran away from there and came here.

"Armaan this was my home. I felt so weak and was soo……..shocked and…I didn't know what to do and how to face you and I came to I was his…..I couldn't go back home as that was never my home but……"


Armaan had silenced her hugging her. He had understood what she meant. There was no point discussing it anyways.

He sat up as he saw her entering the room smiling.


"So you are done giving an account to every possible person on this earth??? " he grinned as sat down beside him frowning.


"Armaan is it my fault that they care about me?" she pouted.

"Umm nooo actually you are so adorable anyone can fall in love with you" he pulled her close as she smiled as placed a gentle kiss on his cheeks.


"What did my dear Bhabhi tell you?"

"Nothing much….they are enjoying "she looked up at him smiling.


"Hmm so don't you think we should too??" he grinned as she placed her head on his shoulders.

"Well…." She paused.


"Whatever you say….." he whispered closing on her "I really don't care as ....."

He moved forward and kissed her softly. Breaking the kiss he gazed down at her for a long moment before drawing her into a tender embrace.


"I love you Armaan" she whispered.


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


"Riddhima honey take care" Armaan frowned as he saw he walking out on the sand with bare feet.


"Armaan I fine ok" Riddhima smiled as she slipped her arm around his waist.

 He gently pulled her into him circling his arm around her shoulders supporting her firmly. He gently placed his hand on her stomach and smiled.


Nearly six months had past and Armaan felt he was living a fairytale.  Just after a month since they had shifted to Mumbai Riddhima had discovered she was pregnant and life had never been the same. Long walks along the shore on the beach adjoining their home had become a routine.


Gently he guided her through the dry patch of sand as they made their way to walk just along edge as the small waves lapped against their feet.


"Armaan" she looked up at him as they walked along the length of the beach.

"Yes?"

"So have you decided on any names as yet?" she smiled.


"Hmm well see if they aren't twins girls then…"


"Hang on who said it will be a girl?" Riddhima giggled.


"Well I know for sure it's a girl" Armaan smiled and lightly pinched her nose.


"No wait hang on…." Riddhima stopped as he looked surprised to see her stop.


"Armaan turn towards the sea" Riddhima asked him as she turned herself to face the sea.


"HUH? Riddhima….what exactly are you doing?"


"Armaan no listen…..ok now we walk five steps towards the water together and see which on which foot the next wave touches first"


"Riddhimaa what exactly are you doing?" Armaan looked at her bewildered.


"Armaan come on….I'll explain later" Riddhima pleaded.

Sighing he took five steps matching with her…..only to see the wave brush against their left foot first.

"Left….ok so I guess you win" Riddhima giggled.

"It will be a girl" she smiled at his confused expressions.


"This was just an age old game I remembered reading somewhere. Pregnant couple take five steps like this….if right foot first it will be a boy and left then a girl. "

"Oh gosh" Armaan laughed hearing the explanation.


"Ok so I get my girl right, so I thought of a name"

"That is??" Riddhima curiously asked.


"Either we name her Aravi or Rhea?"


"And if it's a boy?" Riddhima giggled.


"Hmm not fair…you played the game just now…..it will be a girl, we will name her Aravi or Rhea and if twins then we take both the names and if…"


Riddhima gently moved forward a placed a soft kiss on his lips as he stopped talking and smiled.


"I love you sweetheart and will always will" he whispered.

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

Jia

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