Monday, 17 June 2019

part 16 : Come Back to Me

Riddhima opened her eyes to see him no where in sight. The rug he had slept on was folded neatly in a corner. She glanced up rubbing her eyes and saw that he wasn't there in the bathroom either. Panicking she got and rushed out. It was very unlike Armaan to get up so early without any reason.


"Good morning darling"



Riddhima stopped right there in her steps and narrowed her eyes. He stood near the dinning table holding the plates and placing them carefully. As she took a few steps further she saw the table laden breakfast ………she assumed looking at the plates. Toast, fruits, cornflakes, empty cups, every thing was set perfectly and in order.


Armaan grinned at her as she walked towards him eying him cautiously.





"Armaan…….." She started as he came forward. Feeling him take hold of her hands and kissing them gently she closed her eyes. Composing her self she withdrew her hands and opened her eyes.



"Armaan did you do all this?" she asked folding her hands knowing the obvious.



"Well it does seem that I did…." He grinned further.



"Yes,……for whom may I ask?"



"For us who else?" he simply answered.



"Armaan there wasn't any need to do this…..I can manage very well….you should have rested…" Riddhima paused not wanting to continue further. She didn't want to show him that she was concerned for him.



"No, Riddhima I am fine. It is you who isn't well right? And plus I saw you have an appointment with Rahul this morning…..so I thought might as well help you out….least I can do…" he mumbled.



"How do you know I have to meet Rahul today?" Riddhima looked at him shocked.



"Well…." He smiled sheepishly.



"Riddhima I ……I happened to notice your to-do list put up here…" he indicated the refrigerator.



"Oh…." She gave him a small smile. It was her habit to note the important meetings and to-do stuff for the week and put them up on her fridge door so that she wouldn't forget.



"So like……Riddhima shall we start, I don't want you to get late…." He indicated the table and smiled.



"Oh sure…." She couldn't help but smile as he pulled out the chair for her.



"Armaan did you have to lay out so much food? I mean this is too much…" Riddhima muttered eyeing the table.



"It isn't……you aren't well Ridz, you have to eat well…" he answered in a gentle tone.



Riddhima lowered her eyes as she picked up her spoon. Hating Armaan was out of question, she knew it deep down always….she could never hate him but she was now slowly finding it difficult of holding herself from getting drawn to him all over again….and it hadn't even been a day. It was absurdly ridiculous she thought.



"Umm Armaan what will you do while am gone?" she asked trying to lock up ridiculous thoughts swimming freely around her head.



"Why don't you come with me….you will get bored here all alone…" she smiled politely.



"Naah Ridz, its your meeting, you go ahead. I'll stay back here and take care of this place" he gave a shy smile.




"No Armaan, you rather come with me" Riddhima objected. How could she allow him to stay alone in this place? That too with his delicate mental state?



"Ridz seriously go ahead……I'll be fine. I'll do some gardening, you lawn needs to be sheared, trust me I'll be fine and plus if I stay back you will come back sooner…." He winked cheekily.


Riddhima coughed and looked away.  His flirtatious remarks were making her feel nauseated. It was this very charm she had fallen for….only to be shattered.



"Ok fine, I'll go get ready and make a move…" she got up abruptly from the table and walked away. He got up scratching his head. Now what wrong did he do?




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



"Armaan I am on my way home, be there in a few minutes ok"



"Honey I was so worried, hence I called….."



"Armaan I had told you this morning itself, I'll be a late. Rahul wants everything to go as planned"



"Yea I know but still……"



"Fine Armaan I have almost reached. And now don't call again for the nth time" she smiled hearing him laugh slightly.



"Love you Riddhima….."



"Lo……bye Armaan" Riddhima sighed after pressing the red button as she bite her tongue. This had become a routine now. He would practically call her up 10 times in a day if she was out asking her how she was, if she had her lunch and what time would she return……he would pack her lunch, prepare dinner by the time she returned, keep her house in order. He would do anything she would be pleased with and a slight praise from him would led him to ecstasy.




It had almost been more then a week and a half since she brought him to her place. And the changes in him were unfathomable. He would still have his mood swings, the depression surfacing every now and then….but Riddhima found him merrier and happy then he had ever been in his life. Having her around him she knew he wouldn't get those hallucinations. Rahul had signed her on again for a new music album. And the discussions were keeping her busy. Riddhima had firmly decided that having Armaan with her wouldn't imply she was going to remain handicapped with him and not continue her routine work schedule.




He would mumble sometimes while asleep and only two days later after she brought him to her place he did have his attack again. She shuddered as she recalled the incident…………she had returned home early in the evening only to find the main door open……………….



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

~Flashback….2 days after Armaan shifted to her place~



"Armaan?" she called out panicking opening the door.


"Armaaaan?" seeing no one in the main hall she quickly walked upstairs. Seeing her bedroom door ajar she walked in controlling her nerves.



There he sat on the floor. Sitting like a statue, curled up against the wall holding something, no hugging something protectively.



"Armaan?" she gently walked upto and sat down beside him.



"Riddhima………my Riddhima….I killed it…I am sorry" he mumbled not looking up.



"Armaan?" Riddhima shook him violently and made him look up into her eyes. She panicked seeing his dazed look.



"Armaan are you alright…." She asked softly.



"Riddhima…….." she saw him look at her confused.



"Yes Armaan I am here…..are you ok" she asked as he looked down and stared at what he was holding.



"Me……yea…yes, I am…..ok" he muttered putting aside what he had been holding.



It was now that she noticed. It was her dress, the same piece she had worn on the fateful night. The night he ended it all, the night he pushed her, the night her child……………………………



"Armaan what are doing with my…." She indicated the dress lying on the floor.



"Oh I was….." he looked at her confused trying to recall….



"I was….." he looked at her panicking; Riddhima saw his eyes reflecting a wild lost look.



"You were……." She gently urged him to continue placing her hand softly on his cheek.



"I was doing the laundry…..and I saw this dress and…." He mumbled lightly lowering his eyes. Riddhima realized what might have occurred. The dress might have triggered those hurtful memories in his mind, unleashed them in his mind, the very moments he had been trying to run away from, the very memory he had tried to block away from his mind and obviously the pain must have resulted the attack.


"That's ok Armaan, come on get up. I'll get dinner ready" she smiled brightly trying to distract him and held out her hand.



He held it and after a second he hugged her. Riddhima was taken aback but didn't snap out. Deep down she knew he needed her; her presence alone could cure him. She knew she couldn't give him the love he gave her, the love he wanted to feel but if by merely being with him could make him better she was ready to do it. For his sake,…..for her own sake.



She couldn't hug him back, her arms just couldn't go around him and reciprocate the passion he held and gave her but if this simply physical contact could snap him back to the present, clear his mind and bring him back she didn't want to object.



"Riddhima I am sorry…" she heard him whisper in her ears.



"Forgive me…."



Riddhima felt her throat dry as she heard him plead. No she could never say "yes I forgive you….." she pulled out of the hug and got up swiftly.



"Armaan  come on get up…..I'll get dinner ready….or wait how about we both preparing it together?" she asked helping him up.


"Sure" he beamed and trotted out beside her as though nothing had happened.



~End of Flashback~


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


Riddhima jerked up hearing the car stop outside her gate. As she stepped down she saw lights on as usual. That was a good sign. It meant atleast he was safe and had been fine through out the day. As she walked up through the driveway Riddhima felt her head heavy. She had been feeling off since morning. There was news of viral infection doing rounds in the town and as she sneezed Riddhima felt sure she had caught it. The constant tension of Armaan's health had taken a toll on her.




As she rang the bell she couldn't help but smile, she knew Armaan would be ready with dinner as usual. Feeling her another loud thump in her head she rang the bell impatiently. She was sure she would catch fever by tonight.



"Coming…." She heard Armaan cheerfully replying as he approached the door.



"Riddhima….Missed you darling" he welcomed her and blew her a flying kiss. Ideally he would always kiss her directly on her lips but things had changed a lot and he maintained his distance cautiously.



"Riddhima are you alright?" he asked with a new edge in his voice seeing her walk in holding her head.



"No Armaan I got this headache……and my throat aches…" she croaked.


"Ridz are you ok, hang on I'll call on the doc....Ridz" he called out seeing her hold the sofa edge clutching her head.



"OMG Riddhimaaaaaaa….." he cried out moving forward as she gently collapsed into his arms holding him tight as he supported her.
.............

jia

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