Wednesday, 5 June 2019

part 4 : Come Back to Me

 He looked at her snuggled up closely finally sleeping with all frowns slowly edging away from her forehead. He slowly put her beside him, her head now on the pillow and lay down beside her himself. pulling her close to him he placed her head on his chest holding her tight. Lightly kissing her forehead he still couldnt help but smile as he recollected her initial expressions when he came to pick her up the first time...................

************************************
FlashBack


She was stunned to see him standing there holding his Mercedes door open with a bright smile on his face.



'At your service madam' he said while stooping a little like a chauffer showing courteousness to his mistress.





Taken aback by what was happening in front of her, she pinched herself to make sure she wasn't hallucinating. 'Ouch' was the only word that came out of her mouth at that moment after her thin, long fingers grabbed a small portion of her soft delicate skin.



'Hello, I am here missy' Armaan said waving his hand. 'I've been waiting for you for the past 40 minutes you know''and all you've got to say is ouch to me?' He said sounding annoyed.



'Armaan, what are you doing here? I told you not to come to pick me up na' Riddhima said lightly with a muted shriek of frustration.



'Well honey, I told you last night that I'd come at 9 and here I am''9 sharp' he proudly smiled while pointing his Index finger to the right angle formed between the hour and minute hand of his watch.



'Please Armaan, its really sweet of you but I told you I don't need your favors. I can do things on my own and I really don't want you to take such pains for me. Thanks for that but I would catch a bus instead.'



'Oh come on Riddhima, we've become quite good friends now and I don't think there is anything wrong in picking you up. Its really not any trouble for me baby. That's what friends are for, isn't it?' his eyes sparkled.



'I know''.but''.' she dug her brain in search of words to make some sense.



'Stop thinking baby, you don't need to think for so long'..and that too for an issue as small as this.'



'Now madam, if you don't mind, would you please honor me by sitting in the car? Gosh''.you girls think so much' he said nodding his head randomly.



Seeing this, Riddhima couldn't stop herself from smiling. Noticing her smile, Armaan added 'Moreover, I don't mind picking and dropping you everyday. I can do with this as a full time job then, there's already a shortage of cabbie drivers here you know' and winked at her.



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



It was nearly 6 in the evening with the last lecture for the day almost finished. The day had been really long and tiring for both of them. Continuous lectures and practical sessions had left them feeling exhausted by the end of the day.



'So honey, you must be feeling tired by now na?' Armaan asked Riddhima.



'Oh Armaan, I am dead tired. I had never imagined that musical studies would require so much hard work. I wish someone just picks me up and lays me down on my bed without me having to catch a bus. And, on top of all that, I am so hungry. I haven't even had a chance to eat anything in the afternoon' She complained.



'Don't worry baby, I am there na. I'll drop you. Let's go' he calmly said.



'I can't Armaan, I've got work to do. Remember I told you about my job in the library, I have my duty there until 9 today' her voice trailed off with weariness.



'Oh come on, you are so tired already, how would you work at this hour? If you want, I can ask for a leave from the librarian?'



'No Armaan, thank you for your concern but I need to work there. I have my expenses to take care of and taking leave from work would increase my dues. You leave for your home na, you must be tired as well' she protested.



'Are you sure? I can wait for you if you want' Armaan asked with an expression filled with concern.



'No please, I am fine, really. Now, you go, I'll see you tomorrow' she insisted pointing to the car parking area.



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



Laying down all the returned books systematically on their respective shelves wasn't a very physically demanding job but the tiredness from the course lectures throughout the day was making Riddhima's body resign every now and then.



Juggling the final set of books on their relevant shelves with a sigh of relief, she headed towards the rear of the main counter to grab her belongings and leave for home.



'What are you doing here?' She was surprised to see Armaan standing there with his hands crossed over, taking the support of the corner of the wall and smiling with a dimple appearing on each of his cheeks.



Still not able to believe her eyes, she continued her investigation 'Didn't you go home Armaan? What are you doing here at this time? Have you been waiting here for so long, Oh my God! Why didn't you leave, why did you wait here?' She shot such questions at him like a series of bullets been released from a gun.



'Relax baby, take a deep breath before you run out of it' he said smiling.



Holding her shoulders softly, he continued 'I didn't want to leave you alone here at this time love and definitely not when you were so tired. What did you think that I'd leave you in such a condition? No ways.'



Riddhima was deeply touched by Armaan's gesture so much that she felt her eyes getting moist with tears. She had never been treated like that in her life before. After her mom's death, she had felt extremely lonely and was longing to be cared by someone. Feeling blessed to have got a friend like Armaan, she finally spoke up''



'Armaan, I really don't know how to thank you. You have been so kind towards me and look at me, I am not even able to thank you properly. I am sure I did some good deeds in my life to have got a friend as supportive and helpful as you. Thank you so much.'



'You don't need to thank me for everything Riddhima. Our friendship doesn't require formalities like these. I do all this because I feel like doing it, and I have never asked you to thank me in return. So, please stop embarrassing me and my friendship with your thankfulness and other appreciations. Now, can we leave for home madam, its late already.'



She felt so happy listening to Armaan's words that a smile automatically developed on her face 'Yeah, let's go.'



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



Balancing the car steering with his right hand, he grabbed a packet placed at the rear seat with his other hand, and passed it to Riddhima who was sitting beside him.



'There you go' he said facing her.



Riddhima was astonished to see the contents of the packet 'Armaan, this''.'



'You were feeling hungry na. So, I bought this for you' he explained with warm eyes.



Noticing the burgers and a packet of fries, she asked in a shocked as well as delighted tone 'Is this for me Armaan?'



'No, that packet of fries is for you and the burgers are for me' he smiled with dimples forming on his cheeks.



Following a chuckle, he said with an assuring smile 'Of course, its for you sweetheart.'



'Oh my God Armaan, you've done it again. How should I'..'



He immediately stopped her with his interruption 'Now, before you start your speech of thanks all over again, let me tell you that its not a big deal honey. I just grabbed these from the nearest Burger King. So, stop your favorite activity for the time being and eat it up before it turns cold.'



On listening to Armaan, she did nothing but smile. Noticing the smile on her face, he continued 'And baby, please don't swallow both the burgers. I know you are hungry, but I beg you to leave the other one for me. I am hungry too' and teased her only to be replied with a 'Shut up' from her side.



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



Stopping his Mercedes in front of Riddhima's house, Armaan got off from his car and moved to the other side to open his companion's door.



'Here is your destination madam' he bowed giving a warm smile.



Getting off the car, Riddhima softly asked 'Armaan, aren't you coming inside?'



'No Riddhima, I'll leave now. I just wanted to drop you off safely'



'You can't leave like that Armaan. First you picked me up in the morning and now, you went out of your way to drop me off. I am not that ungrateful to not even ask you to come inside' she declared.



'On top of that, you haven't even had your dinner yet. It was only me who was munching that burger all the way while you were occupied with driving. I won't let you go until you come inside and have your dinner' she grabbed his arm and pulled him in her direction.



'Okay baba, I'll come. Gosh'''.I am seeing you in a completely different avatar Riddhima' he said with an amused tone.



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



'Will you have something to drink Armaan?' Riddhima asked as he took a bite of his burger leading a small piece of lettuce to fall freely on his plate.



'No, thanks' he replied without looking at his host, giving all his attention to the two pieces of bread fixed between his fingers.



Seeing Armaan busy with his meal, Ridhhima thought of breaking the silence 'Um'..Armaan, If you don't mind, May I ask you something?'



'Of course you can honey, go ahead with your Question answer session' he smiled.



Interlocking her fingers nervously, she gained all the courage to proceed 'Armaan, why are you so caring towards me? Please don't take me wrong but I don't get why you have are so kind and helpful to me. I mean why are you always nice to me..........Uh'.how do I put this up''.You always make me feel special and'''.you do even the smallest things for me.'



Hearing such words come out of Riddhima's mouth, Armaan felt like a shiver run down his spine. He sat there motionless with the piece of burger still in his mouth as if fixed with an adhesive.



Seeing the blank expression on his face, she fished out for words to make a better sense of what she was trying to say ' I mean'''.I hope you are not doing this out of pity after knowing my history. Its just that I haven't had anyone else in my life, not even a friend apart from my mother. She was the closest soul to me and getting to have a person as caring and friendly as you''..its something I never really dreamt of. I know you value our friendship and believe me I cherish this beautiful relationship too but I just want to know why a guy like you would be so considerate and supportive towards a girl like me? I hope you don't mind me asking that.'



Finally able to make some sense out of those words, he accelerated his chewing motion to digest his food that had been sitting in his mouth for the past few minutes. Taking hold of the glass of water standing beside his plate, he said with a composed voice 'Uhh'..Riddhima, this is something I have never told you before. In fact I haven't spoken to anyone about this but since you have asked me, I'll tell you why I am like this towards you.'



Tilting the water filled glass to let its contents fall in his dry throat, he consumed all the liquid inside it without leaving even a single drop to float in it. Placing the empty object back to its original position, he continued following a deep sigh 'I come from a very rich family Riddhima. I have been provided with almost everything from the day I was born. I have been given whatever I have asked for from the smallest to the biggest and the most unimaginable things. All my demands and wishes have been fulfilled with just a single mention of it'''always'''..but'''I still am not happy. Do you know why'''..because like you I have also not got the love of my parents''..never.'



Feeling his eyes moist, he went on 'My mother died when I was 5 years old, so I hardly have any memories of her in my mind. And my dad''..he has always been busy with his work''.so much that he never realized that he had a son as well. I was always handed to the caretakers to look after me. Watching other kids in school as their parents came to pick them up used to remind me of my loneliness at all the times, leaving me with nothing but pain. Most of the time of my childhood was spent in my room with no one around me to talk to or share my feelings with.'



'So on that day, when I got to know about your past, I saw a little of myself in you. I found your life very much similar to mine. The way you longed for love and support reminded me of my youth''.and I felt so much connected to you in that way' he felt his vocal pitch lower down as he mentioned about his upbringing.



'Oh'''I am really sorry Armaan. I shouldn't have asked you that' Riddhima felt guilty for bringing such a topic.



'Oh no, its not your fault at all. In fact its good you asked me about that' he said in a cheerful tone.



'So then, how come you are living alone now'''you aren't living with your dad now'..right?' she asked with an inquisitive look.



'Yeah, I left his house a few years ago. It was when I decided to pursue my career in music. I wanted him to be the first one to know about my decision of studying music. I was so excited to tell him about my intentions of becoming a good music composer but I was so wrong. The moment I told him about my interest, he asked me to leave his house''.He wanted me to leave music and join his business instead. So, I ultimately left him and his wealth....'..and I am so glad I did that' he said with a glitter forming in both his eyes.



Riddhima felt relieved listening to Armaan's story. She was so wrong to have doubted him to pity her 'This guy has experienced the same youth as you. He has felt the same pain as you have. He has also never got the love of his parents. At least, you had your ma with you but he, he never received the affection of his mother'''.He has been so kind to you and what have you done, reminded him of the sad times of his life. You should be ashamed of yourself Riddhima' she heard her conscience voicing its opinion.



Trying to correct her mistake, she softly spoke 'I am so sorry Armaan. I feel like an Idiot to have brought this topic into discussion. Please forgive me, I won't talk about it again, I promise. Let's change the topic.'



'No baby, you don't have to apologize for something you didn't do. Its not your mistake that my mom died and you definitely aren't responsible for my dad's lack of attention towards me. I rather feel pleased to have discussed this with you. I have never told about my past to anyone, not even my other friends. I guess you are the first person I have poured my heart to and I feel really happy about that, trust me. '



While talking to Riddhima, an unintentional glancing at the minute hand coinciding with the hour hand forced him to speak in a surprised tone 'Gosh, its midnight and I am still sitting here. I better leave now. I have been such a pain for you already, let me give you a break now' and smiled.



'Not at all Armaan, I had a great time talking to you. It's the first time I have had a proper one-on-one chat with you and I must say you are the greatest friend anyone can have in their life. You are a great person and I am glad to have you in my life. Thank you so much for everything.'



'Oh no, your speech of thanks has started again. Before it turns into a full fledged one, I would take your leave as I am really really tired' he said while pretending to yawn.



Seeing off Riddhima, he drove off the lane leaving a smile on her face from the beautiful evening she had with him.



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



'Dude, what all crap was it?'



'What the hell did you say up there, why didn't you tell the actual truth to her'..huh?' He found his mirror image sitting beside him posing all these questions at him as if attacking him in an interview.



'What truth, that was the truth only. I didn't lie to her, I told her about my past and how my life was similar to hers. What are you on about, huh?' He responded to his interviewer with a frustrated look.



'You know what I am talking about Armaan, that isn't the only reason why you care about her. That's not the only explanation of your concern towards her. Ask yourself, don't you like her'''don't you feel attracted towards her'''huh?'



Hearing those words echo in his ears, he tried to fight against them 'Uhhh''..what are you saying? That's bulls***, I respect her a lot and all this is out of concern. She is a very good friend of mine and I can do anything to make her happy.'



He saw his companion coming closer to him 'That's not true Armaan and you know that', it said pointing a finger towards him.



'Since day one, you have been attracted to her; first by her beauty and then by her polite and innocent nature. You can't fool me mister, I am a part of you only. You know you like her and the sooner you realize it, the better it would be. I can't believe you are behaving like a nutcase, why don't you accept the fact'''''Anyway, I'll leave you to make the decision yourself now''..See you later' With that, he noticed the image of his conscience disappear leaving him alone in his car.



Trying hard to concentrate on his driving, he felt those words disturb him all over again leaving him with nothing but a wondering, a big big wondering 'Do I like her, do I have feelings for her????.am I in love with her..............??



He felt a wide smile automatically developing on his face as he found the reply to all his queries, 'I think he was right''''I do like her, I do have feelings for her''''..Man''have i fallen in love with her?"

Jia 

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