Tuesday, 4 June 2019

part 3 : Come Back to Me

Armaan looked at Riddhima sleeping soundly with her head on his lap, her hands clutching his waist tightly. He gently stroked her hair. How could I be so mean to you Riddhima? I love you so very much and you were always such an angel. Look at me? I almost ruined your life. How could I just forget our love''.our''..time'..everything?

Silently crying Armaan looked at her sleeping. Gosh you still look the same. The same innocence, purity and freshness written all over your face. Nothing has changed, it's the same charm your carrying still which had blown me away on our very first unofficial date.



'Will go out on a coffee with me?'

Armaan looked at her waiting for a reaction. Looking at her blank face he spoke hurriedly.

'no no Riddhima I meant just as friends like we bonded so well today and the project was also quite a success to a little celebration lets say? For our new friendship and success?. We don't have much to do for tomorrow so if you're not in any hurry as such lets go '.what's say?'

Looking at his outstretched hand Riddhima smiled. His frankness had her impressed by him. Liking the sound of going out with him she agreed. It will atleast help me get away from my miserable thoughts for sometime she thought.

'Of course Armaan, definitely why not?'
She smiled graciously as he led her to parking area. As he opened held open the door of his Mercedes her smile faltered a little looking at the lavish car.

They drove in silence occasionally conversing politely. Riddhima felt uneasy again as he drove up to a plush looking caf'. After settling down he looked at her grinning.

'So what will your highness prefer??? Mind you I am not going to order any scotch for you?' He looked at grinning.

Expecting her to laugh out at the joke he looked at her shocked as a tear rolled down her eye.

'Ridz? What's wrong baby? Why are you crying? Did I hurt you or anything? Ridz?'

Riddhima looked at him in tears hearing the concern in his voice.

'Armaan I don't know what you must be thinking about me. After last night I mean. The state in which you found me I mean, I feel so embarrassed now.'

'Riddhima' Armaan addressed her softly. Taking hold of her hand over the table he continued.
'I am not thinking anything wrong about you baby. Look whatever happened you weren't in your senses and proper state of mind. And plus am glad you atleast let it out as you needed a friend last night. Trust me I feel glad to be sharing your burden. If you have to say anything more do tell me, am always there for you baby.'

'Armaan, I feel so indebted to you. Believe me I don't drink. I am not such a type of a gal. Its just that it was Mom's death anniversary and I felt so lonely and depressed and didn't have anyone. And saw the drink there'''..' Riddhima's voice trailed off.

'So you got on a high trying to get off your depression Riddhima?' Armaan looked at her sternly but with a gentle expression continued.

'Riddhima I agree that you were alone that time and went weak but now no more and never again. Promise me you wont even touch alcohol again? Whenever u need me I will be there for you. And even if is at the dead of the night I don't mind but you will not be going into depressions and finding solace in drinking ever again'

Riddhima looked at him stunned as he continued in a dominating manner. Never had anyone spoken with so much authority over her as he did.

'Riddhima imagine your mother would be so unhappy if she were to find you in that state. She isn't physically present but deep down you know she will always be there with you. You cant put her pride in you, her confidence you to shame by doing what you did right?'

Feeling fresh tears brewing in her eyes Riddhima nodded as Armaan got up and pulled the chair close to her.

'shhh sweetheart. Now stop crying. Lets make a fresh start ok. And this time you aren't alone. Am there with you right? '
Still gripping her hand he softly and gently kissed her palm and continued.

'When Armaan is here have no fear'

He pompously looked at her smiling as she giggled slowly.

'Ok now seriously what will you have Ridz? No vodkas, whiskies or beers   ok! 'Armaan added pinching her nose.

As they talked over their cup of coffee Riddhima found her self slowly relaxing. Not because of the environment but the company she was in.
He didn't allow a single dull moment to lapse between them. She didn't feel that she was talking to a stranger whom she had just met two days ago. He made her feel so completely at ease. She found herself willingly opening up to him. Within ah hour she thought she knew him since ages. They talked about everything. From the number of girlfriends Armaan had till now to Riddhima's childhood memories. And above all their common love for music.

As they winded their short little date Armaan called for the bill. As the waiter brought the bill Armaan saw Riddhima taking it before him and glancing at the amount. Putting it aside she swiftly opened her purse ad started to dig through it.

'What do you think your doing Ridz?' Armaan looked at her questioningly

'Armaan paying you half the amount obviously. We will dutch the bill right?'

'Keep quite Ridz, as if I will I am going to allow you to pay half. You really think I am not a gentleman enough?'

'no Armaan, your getting me wrong there, we are friends right then how can I allow you to you know'''..' she grabbed his hands and put a few dollars saying 'there you go, I wont allow you to pay the entire expense and its such a posh place. The bill is much more then what it would have been normally'

Annoyed Armaan gave his card and got up quickly as soon as the waiter came back the change. Indicating Riddhima to follow him he swiftly went out looking greatly annoyed. Looking at his sudden mood change Riddhima meekly followed him.

As he opened the car door Riddhima softly spoke.

'Armaan you need not drop me off, I will go by myself. It's really ok'

Looking at her rather fiercely he pushed her lightly into the car. As he steered the car along the roadway Riddhima glanced at him.

'Armaan? I am really sorry, I didn't mean to offend you, I just wanted us to  share it equally and I am sorry not being able to do that too'

'Meaning?' Armaan looked at her confused

'Meaning Armaan I didn't give exact half, the thing is''.' Riddhima looked down fidgeting with her fingers

'Actually I didn't have that much cash and if I had given you everything then the remaining entire month ''..I will definitely pay you off once my next pay comes I promise, I work in the library in the university so whenever I get my dues I will''''

Listening to her Armaan stopped the car pulling it on the side.

Looking at her intensely he asked ' Do I mean nothing to you Riddhima? How can you even think I will ask you to give me or pay me half of any bill or something? I took you out at my expense and will continue doing so in future. So kindly keep your halves with you.'

'Armaan please don't take this pity on me. I don't want your sympathy. I know you must have guessed I cannot afford much hence this gesture but please Armaan I can afford for myself. If we ever go out we ought to dutch the expense I don't want you to be bearing my expenses. If I cannot afford I will not accompany you as its not the place I should be'

'Will you stop embarrassing me Riddhima?' Riddhima looked at him shocked.
'I mean how much more will you insult me and my friendship. I mean how much more will you mock at everything?'

Riddhima sat there stunned ' Armaan insult you? Not even in my dreams. Armaan what are you saying? How can you even say such a thing?'

'Then what do you expect me to say huh? Seriously tell me Riddhima don't I mean anything to you? One hand your calling me a friend and treating me as if I have been in your life forever and next minute you completely treat me as a stranger?'

'Armaan what are you saying? I am just asking you not to pity me ok. Where's the question of treating you as a stranger?'

Armaan looked at her rather fiercely and started the engine again. Driving rather at a high speed he didn't glance once at her face which clearly showed her worrying. She kept glancing at him every now and then.

As he stopped outside her lane she looked at him starring at the driveway purposely not even glancing at her.

'Armaan thankyou for everything. I am sorry Armaan. Please forgive me.' Riddhima muttered feeling her eyes swelling up.

'Riddhima' Looking at her glistening with tears Armaan's expression softened. Sighing he slowly wiped away the small tears and looked deeply at her.

'You don't have to be sorry Ridz. You did nothing wrong. I guess I am jerk to take it wrongly and not putting up myself before you properly. You took my friendly gesture as a pity and sympathy from my side? No Ridz I don't have any sympathy for you at all. I am very proud of you honey. I respect you and your opinion a lot. Trust me no pity or anything. Those things don't exist in our friendship. And I must not have given the fact even a thought that your not well off. Ofcourse I know you aren't. Does not mean I will pity you and make you feel inferior. I would hate the fact that you pay when your out with me and it's the same even if you were a millionaire's princess.'

Stunned by his words Riddhima looked at him in complete new light. Never had anyone been so caring, so frank and made her feel so special.

'Armaan I am sorry' She mumbled.

'No honey I will not forgive you'

Looking at him confused, as he smiled at her he continued 'you promise me there will be no more halves between us? Wherever we go and infact whenever we are together there will be no question of money ok?'

Looking at him smiling she nodded her head and opened the door only to find him pulling her back.

'There' Armaan put a few dollars in her hand and looked at her sternly.
'Don't you dare try giving me again or I you had it.' He said winking at her.

Giggling she got out to hear him call

'Be ready I will come to pick you up'

shocked Riddhima turned back
'No Armaan please no more favors, you are not coming to pick me up, no ways. I will come on my own'

Looking at her with a twinkle in his eye he spoke

' Dream on honey, I will do exactly as I please'

Saying so he drove off leaving her blushing a little she didn't know why.

As she locked the door of her house the next morning setting off to the university she stood there surprised as she saw him standing there holding the his Mercedes door open for her.


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