Thursday, 13 June 2019

part 12 : Come Back to Me

Stepping into her apartment Riddhima gave a deep sigh closing the door behind her and sank into the couch nearby. Her tears had all dried up now as she shed them all on Armaan and the pain he had given her.

He now wants me back?? She thought. But I can never forget the countless wounds he has given me, those times when I would just sit there waiting for him and he was never there. He promised to be there with me forever and he could not even provide a mere friendly support when I needed him the most.

And how can I forget he killed our love, he killed his own child with his own hands. The love is now lost and he can never bring it back. He can never ever reignite that trust, that love ever again.




Closing her eyes she felt reluctant tears flowing down as she recollected what happened a few hours ago. He had forced himself on her yet again but this time NO, she wasn't going to relent. Never again did she want to go back to that world ever again. She had lost everything there and her heart still ached, the wounds still stinging, fresh from the night he had given her the biggest wound of her life as she remembered the night after Muskaan had given a performance on her words…..




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


~Flashback~


Riddhima felt tears in her eyes as Muskaan had finished her performance. She wiped her tears as the driver lowered the volume of the radio. Silently thanking Rahul she whispered.



"-Mom I hope you are proud of your daughter today. Wish you were here"



Flipping out her cell she dialed his number and held it to her ear as she wiped away her tears.



"Hello Rahul?"



"Yes Riddhima, the performance was thunderous yaar. You should have been here girl. It was great!! Muskaan is over the moon and thanking you from the bottom of her heart for giving her this chance of singing your words."



"I should be the one thanking you Rahul. Its all because of you ….if you hadn't given me the opportunity I would have never……"



"That is my job Riddhima .To recognize real talent and bring it out to the world. Why do think I am running a music company for? To pick out talents like you and to give them a platform to showcase their talent and help them grow."



"Rahul still I truly thank…………"



"Then you should thank your stars, what a coincidence that you accidentally left your bio-data when you had come with Armaan and I happened to see it else such a talent would have gone waste. Ok, Muskaan is calling me, I'll catch you later and ya tomorrow morning in my office 10 am sharp sweetheart. I want to the new offer with you. Goodnight and give my regards to Armaan.-"

"Ok bye and I'll be there"



Pressing the red button she stared out as the car sped through the freeways, outside world passing past her in a blur.



She couldn't help but notice the sharp contrast between Armaan and Rahul. In a way they were similar too. Rahul loved and cared a lot for Muskaan while Armaan too used to care. Used too. She stressed on those words as she thought. Rahul was there supporting Muskaan as she took supporting Muskaan as she took her first step towards building her building her career. They both knew Muskaan was not that a great singer but Rahul was there assuring she got the right boost.

And Armaan on the hand had been loving and caring. "Had been", she smirked. He merely loved her when he wanted to as she now understood him better and more clearly after living with him past few months under the roof.



During their earlier dating days she had been his fascination, an infatuation. She was an object he adored and played with. Now that his fascination was over he longer cared. She was a mere object he had lost interest in. it was his fascination that she mistook as love she thought bitterly as the car stopped outside the gates of their house or rather his home she corrected herself as she got down.


As she entered the house the darkness engulfed her. Why was their relationship failing?? Suddenly feeling lonelier then ever she dialed his number. He had been away to Dallas past 3 days as he had got this offer to compose the back ground score of some new upcoming film.

"The number you have dialed is currently unavailable"



Hearing this she sighed .He had just called once to inform that he had reached and was fine. And there after whenever she dialed either he wouldn't pick up, or say he was currently too busy or merely cut her call. Why??

She got into bed and sank into its softness pulling the rug close to her. Moving her hand to the void space next to her where he usually slept she couldn't help but whisper.



"Miss you Armaan, why have gone away from me?"



It was quite by accident that Rahul had entered her life. Armaan had gone to his company to sign some deal and she had accompanied him by chance as his arm candy as people called her. That time almost two months had gone by and she had just been home cooking, cleaning and accompanying Armaan as her routine. She had left her credentials by chance in Rahul's office and the very next day she had received a call from him saying he wanted to meet her.



Then there was no looking back. Her first assignment was a total hit, a simple beautiful poetry describing the feeling of being in love. She had started getting a lot of offers after that and Rahul had immediately signed her on to his company.


And past one month she rose to fame tremendously. All thanks to Rahul. He supported her immensely and gave her, her own space and time. He proved to be a great friend and Riddhima felt thankful as it was much needed to get way from the misery of her failing relation with Armaan.



Armaan on the other hand too made progress greatly. Going to parties and music launches being his arm in tow was almost like a routine task to her.



The whole world knew them as a couple now and Riddhima felt the limelight had taken him away from her…far away. Closing her eyes she just wished to feel him beside her as she fell asleep.

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

"Wow Rahul, you sure I can handle this?" she asked as she sat opposite Rahul in his cabin the next morning. He had just shown her the details of her next contract and she was delighted to see that her work was being appreciated so much.


 "Yes I am sure you can handle it Riddhima, you are brilliant yaar." she smiled at his compliment she flipped the pages of the file in her hands.


"Umm Riddhima?' she glanced up to see Rahul looking uncomfortably at her.


"Yea?"

"The latest publication of Star Today, that famous high society magazine has come out and it has Armaan on its front page"


"OMG really? That's great news!!" she exclaimed.



"Umm not actually" he glanced at her.



"Why?? Isn't it that Armaan has achieved so much in such a short span of time?" she asked looking confused.


"Yes it is, ………………………..but the caption is that he is going around with that actress of the film he is composing for." Rahul gently added as he removed the magazine from his desk and handed it to her.

Seeing the news of his alleged affairs on the front page she felt the file slip from her fingers.

"Riidhima…..it's ok see this happens in our world. Much as it is glamorous these are the drawbacks. These must just be rumors to generate interest in the film " he spoke softly seeing the colour drain from her face.

"Riddhima? Are you alright?"



"Huh?? Yea…yes I am" she spoke distinctly.


"I don't feel too well, I'll just go home I guess" she added.



"You look pale Riddhima, rest here for some time and then leave you don't look alright to me"



"No I am fine" she murmured as she got up.



"Riddhimaaaaa….." he got up quickly as he saw her catching hold of the chair clutching her head.


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


"She is fine MrGrewal" the doctor informed as he finished checking her.



She sat there looking pale as Rahul had insisted on her staying back and made her lie down on the couch in his cabin.


"She is alright MrGrewal, infact you should congratulate Riddhima…….Riddhima your one month pregnant!"

~~End of flashback~~

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

Feeling numb as she looked at the cup of coffee in her hand as she got up to draw the blinds of her room as the sunrays hit the room. It was nearing afternoon now and the morning encounter with Armaan had drained her completely. She had never imagined the her relationship with him would ever take this turn…..that even an encounter with him left her  emotionally drained.



She was now living all by herself in her apartment…..not that she minded. Atleast she felt independent and able to look after herself. The sense of freedom was welcoming now. As she retraced her steps back to the couch her eyes at the date on the calendar….Yesterday would have been 9 months exactly and she would have felt part of her in her arms…her own baby…the life she created would have been playing in her arms……

Instead nothing but a hallow feeling had been eating her up for the past 8 months…yesterday also had been her mother's death anniversary…..3 whole years since her life turned upside down….it was also the anniversary of the very fateful day when she had met Armaan for the first time…..it had been just a year then since her mother had passed away and hehad turned up at her place she remembered. These two years with him had been amazing…..it was as if she had been living some one else's dream….which was not meant for her as Armaan shattered it to bits. Unable to control herself she had gone to pub to drink away her pent away sorrows. But he had to turn up there and take her back to that dratted place….his home……where she lost it all……….

Looking down at the letters on the kitchen counter she …felt robotic opening the letters from fans and as she looked over at the dark red envelop she saw the MTV logo…

"Congratulations Riddhima Gupta you have been nominated for Song writer of the year 'Hero'…"

It all felt so meaningless now… her mothers dream had come true now…she had succeeded greatly and here she was being nominated in these awards……….but at what cost? Placing the envelop on the table she remember that night which changed her life forever.

***********************************************
~~Flash back~~



"Armaan! We need to talk…" she said holding the phone. Maybe the news of the baby would change everything…she hoped holding the phone…as she finally got through to him. She had left Rahul's office and had dialed his number…only to find it switched off. Trying his number for the whole only to here the voice of the operator at the other end she felt herself getting impatient.

The whole day he hadn't called her. She knew he would not. That Armaan….her Armaan was lost somewhere and this new streak in him had taken him far away from her. It was almost midnight that he finall picked up his cell. Hearing his voice she heaved a sigh of relief.

"Yeah! Riddhima I am busy…Look I be landing in about 4am…and heading to the studio …and ….Yeah!! ….ok Charlie I am coming… Riddhima I have to go!. Meet me tomorrow night at the Hard Rock Caf….you know it's the party of the lauch of music of the film. I'll be at the studio whole day…wont be able to come back home…..ok bye….. …"

 Hearing the dead tone she closed her eyes. Dead tone was something she had gotten used to the silence…as now that was her companion…… the silence her familiar foe.

So he wasn't even coming back home??? He would meet her directly at the party tomorrow??? Picking up the magazine she stared at the news again….. of him having affairs….she couldn't help but feel uneasy as she closed her eyes feeling tired but sleep would just not come to her. Maybe tomorrow after meeting him finally….she would tell him about their love growing in her…and he would come back to her……….

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

See squinted her eyes as the camera lights flashed entering the caf with Rahul and Muskhan ………smiling…Feeling like a 3rd wheel she felt Muskhan's hand grab her as they turned and smiled fakery at the camera.

"For so long I have dreamed of walking down the red carpet and the paparazzi's are shouting out my name …." Riddhima looked at her as she smiled brightly with her hand on her shoulder.

"All possible because of you…thank you Riddhima!" Muskhan looked at her as she smiled as the camera lights went off..

"Every song you have written has been a smash…" Riddhima smiled at her as she headed inside the club.

Her eyes searched the room as she spotted him slow dancing with a model and felt her legs o weak as she looked over at Rahul expression and smiled weakly at him.

Reassuring him that it was  normal for everyone to dance as such gathering………. it was normal she assured herself too. She looked at him as he pulled the model really close to him as he danced. Feeling sick she turned looking pale and headed for the ladies washroom. Feeling tears streaming down her eyes as she washed her face and looked up to see her reflection in the mirror. It was getting unbearable now……

"I have to tell him!" she said looking in the mirror as the loud beats from outside sent vibrations through every cell in her body. Grabbing her purse she walked to see him standing near the bar engrossed in a deep conversation with the same female he had danced with. With a great effort she put up a smile and walked towards him.



Hugging him from behind she spoke.

"Hey Armaan…..finally you……" she stopped as he freed herself from her and looked at her frowning as the lady he was busy engaged in conversation with politely excused herself.



"What did you do Ridz?? She was Sara Patterson??? Do you even know who she is??? She is that Patterson's wife……that big producer….I might have bagged my next contract in their company"

"Oh I am sorry" she whispered feeling herself go cold.

"I was so happy seeing you and…."

"Yea ok….I'll just be back..why don't you help yourself a drink ad enjoy with Rahul…you must have come with him right?? Have fun….." she starred as he walked away……leaving her dumb folded with his last statement….



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

Riddhima stood there looking at him as he disappeared in the crowd again his words still echoing in her ears.



"Oh you must have come with Rahul, have fun"



Have fun?? Why was he talking like this? He was the one who hadn't even bothered to come back home when he had arrived from Dallas.



"I'll see directly at the launch part Ridz, got last minute meeting to fix the final background score so I am here in the hotel…see you then…" was what he had told her when she had called him from Rahul's office in the morning when the doctor had informed her she was pregnant.



She had momentarily forgotten about the rumors of his alleged affairs and was just too thrilled with news that she was carrying their love in her. Rahul had let her go once she felt better and all afternoon she had been planning how she would break the news to him.



Seeing him on the dance floor with a drink again in his hands her insides squirmed. What was wrong with him?? What did that stress on Rahul's name imply?? Did he think that she and Rahul…………..?????



No no Armaan would never think so low she consoled herself. Maybe this launch party and its success had got him on a high. She would wait…she would tell him once they reached home and would be alone, finally they would be alone and together…perhaps this news would resolve all their differences? Yes it would….she assured herself as a small smile played along her lips. Armaan would be thrilled…..she smiled wider as she walked towards him.

"Armaan? Am not really feeling alright, can we go home please?" she softly asked taking the glass away from his hand as he stopped dancing and looked at her.

"Come on sweetheart, why are you asking me? Go and ask the one you came with to take you home. Or wait…is he too busy that you asked me?"

Riddhima felt herself go numb as she heard his rough tone.

"Armaan?" she held on to his arm as he made his way from the dance floor and to the bar.

"I came with Rahul and Muskaan and that too because you were too busy with your meetings. I came here just for you because it was your music launch party." She whispered distinctly as he stopped and looked at her oddly.

"Wrong" he moved in close to her as his lip curled into a cold smile.

"You came here because it was celebration time for you too honey as you bagged yet another contract with Rahul's company, wonder what magic you cast on him"

"Armaannn?' she whispered horrified as she fought back her tears and turned away walking away.

"Where are you going?" he hissed pulling her back.

"Home, if you aren't coming fine….I'll just make my move as I am really not feeling well" she answered.

"Fine I'll come along as your arm candy is busy with his Muskaan" Riddhima threw him a dirty look as he chuckled at his distasteful joke.

They drove back silently with Riddhima staring listlessly outside the window feeling her world being engulfed in darkness. As they stepped on the porch he spoke.

"So what was that so important matter Riddhima that you wanted to discuss …..and called me late last night?" he asked folding his hands as he in stood in the main hall.

"Firstly I called to ask how you were and how your deal was and then…."

"Then what was so urgent about it that you called so late?? And that too three times??"

"That's because you cut my call the first two times and I was worried Armaan and….." she walked towards him and stood close to him facing him. The main door was still open and the cold wind blew in from the cloudless night. The atmosphere was chilly devoid of any warm moonlight as it was no moon night tonight.

"Worried?" he spat. He closed on her till he could feel her breath on his face and gripped her shoulder pulling her close him.

"Tell me Riddhima, you were worried about me?" he whispered in a mocking tone in her ears as she turned her face away from him feeling the alcohol stench in his breath.

"Armaan, you are drunk, we can talk later in the morning" she whispered feeling his hold on her tighten.

"No" he boomed.

"Tell me what's your problem honey .First you say you want to talk and now you say we will talk later? Why has your problem been solved by Rahul?" he asked in a sly tone as she turned to face him.

"Rahul?" she gasped.

"Yes Rahul ….your new plaything isn't he?"

"OMG Armaan how dare you? Rahul is just a business associate and for your very kind information he just proposed Muskaan tonight and is all set to get married to her"

"So?" he smirked.

"I am sure in your world its all fine…play with two at a time." He held on to her not letting her go seeing her struggle to get out.

"Armaan leave me and talking about playing with two or more then it's a common thing in your world as it is in mine" she retorted her pitch rising.

"What the hell do you mean?" he frowned.

"Well I am talking about your supposedly on-going affair with Jessica, the new heroine of the film and it's all over n the newspapers and magazines. What do you have to say about that?" she glared at him for the first time feeling her fury rise in her.

"Oh so you now want to poke your nose in my affairs? And question me?" he gripped her tighter forcing her to look up into his eyes.

"Armaan you are hurting me" she gasped as he twisted her arm to her back.

"This is hurting you?" he gave a small laugh which made her shudder with fear. The cold fury in his eyes was so unlike the Armaan she loved dearly. She felt as though she was staring into the eyes of some venomous monster. He was drunk she knew that but did that give him the right to treat her like this?

"Armaan let me go" she whispered feeling her arm aching and weakness over powering her reflexes.

"No….so where were we darling?" he spoke in a fiery cold voice.

"Ahh yes my affairs, why don't we talk about your sweetheart Rahul's new interest…his new discovery…you? But I must say you surely have that guy under your spell."

Riddhima looked at him numb with shock. How on earth could he even think like that?

"Armaan?" she cried as tears made their way down her cheeks helplessly.

"What Armaan? Truth hurts right honey? That's your trick isn't it? To get guys under your spell and get favors done ?First me and then Rahul"

"How dare you?" Riddhima suddenly freed herself violently from his grip and slapped him in the spur of the moment.

"How dare I?" I'll show you what you exactly are………" saying so Riddhima suddenly felt herself pushed hard towards the door. As her head hit the wooden frame she lost her balance and the next moment slipped and fell on the porch near the step.

"Ouch" she winced as she felt a sharp stab of pain in her stomach and felt as though her head would split into two.

"That's your place, poking in my affairs, questioning me? No sweetheart you are living in my house, on my expenses. Infact your very existence is because of me. How dare you question me? If I had not supported you, you would be somewhere in the dumps cursing your existence." He walked out and stepped down as she lay still on the floor lowering her eyes. Tears did not just come now and she felt empty, void and totally numb. The pain could not take her away from the numbness.

"Now if you are done with your questionnaires and talking am I free to go?" he asked her in a mocking tone.

"I don't know what kind of a fool I was to keep such a burden in my house" he muttered as he opened his car lock and drove off.

"Burden?" she whispered.

"I thought it was love" as she finally felt the pain creeping through every cell, the intensity so acute that she barely managed to utter a cry…….

Flashback end

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



"Ouch" she looked down to see her hand hit the coffee mug resting besides the envelope as the brown milk spilled on her fingers.

Nine months had passed and she still would relive the nightmare every night. How he had left her lying there and walked out. The memory after that incident was all a blurr as she barely recalled anything after that.

With great effort she remembered she had walked back t the house and dialed the first number she could, Muskaan. The pain had been unbearable she shuddered as she thought.

Muskaan and Rahul had quickly come over and she remembered collapsing after that.

She had opened her eyes after that to find herself on the hospital bed and the doctor informed her that the physical injury and extreme mental stress coupled with her low blood pressure had injured the fetus gravely and they couldn't keep it in her. The child was lost.

She had cried uncontrollably after that. Armaan had gone away back to dallas that night she came to know and was arriving two days later. She forbade Rahul to inform Armaan about anything and begged him to make arrangements to shift her stuff from Armaan's place to somewhere else.

She had been discharged that day itself in the evening and had stayed over with Muskaan.

I had even contemplated committing suicide she thought now looking back. but he wasn't worth it, I have to make my mother proud. Rahul has been through with me throughout. I cant disappoint them all. Armaan was never worth the heartache and he just doesn't matter anymore. She was now well-off and living in a leased flat she acquired with Rahul's help and the money she earned paid her expenses well.

Pulling out a chair she sat down looking at the invitation to the award ceremony two nights hence. Armaan was being awarded too, which meant in two days she would come face to face with him again!
********************************************


Jia 

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