Friday, 7 June 2019

part 6 : Come Back to Me


"I love you Riddhima, really love you and want to give the world to you."



Armaan whispered gently stroking her hair .Looking at her frowning slightly as he took hold of her hand as he smiled.



He had never felt so strongly for anyone before. For years he had yearned for love and the much deserving attention that he had always been denied. He later unknowingly shunned away from any feelings that he felt fearing it would be snatched away and the rejection was unbearable.




But Riddhima had managed to stir those same feelings he had shied away from and now that he saw her he knew she was the only one he could feel so for. Her persona had grown on him and besides the fact that he felt he could connect with her emotionally Armaan felt extremely protective about her and had some where at the back of his mind resolved never to allow a single tear trickle down those eyes.



Now that I know that its love I will not allow a frown even to appear on your face and will make you mine. Slightly gripping her hand he kissed it gently and whispered



 "You will be mine Riddhima, only mine"



........





As the first few light rays peeped in she opened her eyes to see him slumped on the floor with his head on the couch looking highly uncomfortable. Getting up she went up to him and gently tapped his shoulder.



Waking up he saw her standing besides looking a little embarrassed seeing his much obvious discomfort.



"Armaan its still 5.30, quite early u can just go and lie down. I am so sorry for the discomfort. You should have slept on the bed. "



"Riddhima ? Again your sorry shop has opened? Come off it. It was the most peaceful sleep I ever had."



 Armaan got up grinning at her. Rolling her eyes she walked away.



Following her to the tiny kitchen, as he noticed it was so extremely small that as he entered it seem to be filled up and crowded with just the two of them. As she handed him the steaming cup of coffee, he looked at her. She looked breathtaking even standing there just like that in a simple night gown fitting her curves perfectly.



Armaan you started early in the morning? He checked himself unbelievingly. Ok agreed she looks amazingly beautiful with the morning freshness just adorning her face even more but dude you need to take a chill-pill!



Tearing away his gaze unwillingly from her he looked around. It wasn?t the first time he was seeing her place and looking he felt guilty.



The sight of her place filled him with pity. Here he on one hand could buy another mansion at the snap of fingers and she?? You could barely call this place fit for a living. As a friend when he had seen it for the first time he was though filled with immense pity, he never had the guts to talk to her or even bring up this topic. That time was different and they didn?t even know each other. He knew he had no rights to comment on all this. She might feel humiliated or pitied upon.



Now that they had grown so close and now that the depth of his feelings had just grown with the span of time there was no way he wanted to see her living here like this?

How can I allow her to live in this place? Forget this dingy apartment, this colony, this area itself has a notorious reputation. I will have to talk to her about this.



Swallowing the cream he had just scoped up from the surface of his coffee, he put aside the cup and walked up to her, standing just behind her as the toast popped up from the toast maker.

She turned around suddenly making them both jump.



"Armaan? You scared me, what exactly are you up to?"



Grabbing the toast from her hand as she had barely just finished applying the butter.



"umm I'll have it without that extra fat mounds on it"



She looked disbelievingly at him as he put the piece in his mouth.

Looking at her stare at him in disbelief he spoke.........



"What? Dont tell me you're checking me out at this hour? Control yourself girl. I know I am smoking hot but Riddhima right now honestly!!"



"Will you shut up? Armaan how can you just keep flirting with me all day? "

"And night, correction Riddhima. Yesterday at 2am in the night also I was flirting I guess."

He winked at her as she looked at him furiously.



"Ok so sneaking up behind me like this is your style of flirting? Well done Mr Mallik, I didn't know you were so experienced in this field."



 Riddhima picked up the next piece before he could grab it and quickly walked out , her head all high up. Seeing her action, Armaan grinned and followed her out .



"Arre listen I wanted to talk about something more serious."



"You and serious? Now that's a rare combination Armaan. I am surely blessed to have the opportunity to witness it."



Armaan shook his head and spoke.........



 "Ok seriously Riddhima, listen up. Why don't you shift to a better place? I mean this place is like....and the area too...."



Riddhima looked at him a bit taken aback. Armaan saw her shocked expressions and hastily added," No no I mean that this is such place and i feel guilty that you should be staying here and...."



"Why do you feel guilty seeing me living here Armaan? I know I am not well off as you infact there can be no comparison in our status and i don't think you should feel sorry unless you are ashamed of being associated with me."



 Riddhima added with her pitch increasing. Armaan looked at her shocked by her reaction. She was actually thinking that he was ashamed of being associated with her?



"Riddhima you got me all wrong baby. I just wanted to see you living off better. I felt really concerned for you, as a friend, that's all" Armaan added quickly.



Riddhima's expressions softened a bit hearing his tone. She felt her eyes moist suddenly as tears unknowingly made their way out. Turning away she closed her eyes not knowing why she was making herself look so weak in front of him.



Lightly placing a hand on her shoulder he mumbled "I am sorry sweetheart; I didn't mean to make you feel otherwise. It's that I cant see you like this and trust me I just wanted to make you feel that I am here for you. You don't need to suffer so much when I am by your side. Look at this place. It's hardly fit enough for anybody to live here and you don't need to.........

"Armaan don't others live here? I mean in this area, in such dingy atmosphere that you call? Aren't people living? Why are you calling this incapable of a habitat? There are so many staying here?" she said with a frustrated tone.

"Riddhimaaaaa, I don't care about others ok. You are special to me. I mean as my friend, I don't go and ask everyone in this locality to change their houses and areas. I care about you, do you get that? Hence, I am saying for your betterment ,I cant see you suffering so much or?"

Armaan came closer and spoke in a furious tone trying to prove his point. "How in the world am I to explain her that, that she is all that matters to me?And she is taking it all wrong" he sighed in frustration looking away.

"I am sorry" he mumbled in a softer tone. "Cant get you to see my point Riddhima?"

Looking at his face, Riddhima felt guilty for taking his care and concern in the wrong manner. She moved forward and lightly placed her hand on his cheek. Armaan looked at her surprised and taken aback by her gesture. He stood still not moving a bit afraid she might jerk back.

"I am sorry Armaan, I thought you were saying all this out of pity, all my life I struggled not to be pitied upon. I am what I am and I am proud of whatever I have. I don't need anyone's favors or anything. You thought so much is more then enough for me. Thank you so much Armaan and I am sorry?"

She barely whispered all this looking straight in his eyes. Armaan stared back unblinkingly as he found himself sinking deeper in her magic. She looked so enchanting he thought. Unable to hold himself back he pulled her into his arms.

Riddhima crashed into him overcome with shock. She felt his hands holding her from the waist possessively as she kept her hands down awkwardly unable to fathom what to do as he still held her. Feeling her hands moving up hugging him back she closed her eyes. It was an altogether a novel feeling. As she stood there in his arms she felt a strange chill creep up along her body and felt light goosebumps along her skin. He was affecting her.

Pulling back she lowered her eyes as she felt him stare at her intensely.

"I am sorry Riddhima" he spoke. "I won't allow this topic to come or crop up between us ever ever ever again" Holding his ears he looked at her with a small smile playing along his lips.

"You don't have to be sorry Armaan. You just said it out of concern. I am truly touched by your gesture today, really."

The curve playing along his lips increased as he lightly moved forward and before she knew it, he placed a small peck on her forehead and whispered.

"I know.........now get ready while I just hop back home and grab a pair of clothes. I'll just be back" He winked at her as he left her house closing the door behind him..........She kept standing there dazed by what had just happened.

*********

Riddhima found it unusually difficult to concentrate today with him sitting beside her. No it wasn't the first time he was seated next to her.......but today, this closeness was tantalizing than ever. She felt her cheeks grow warm as she recollected the events of the morning and now even a slight brush of his fingers made her sit up straight and conscious.

She came out of her dreamy daze hearing Prof. John calling out her name. Jerking her attention back she glanced up at the professor.

"Riddhima, only for today as a change you will paired up with Kevin. His partner is absent and I want Armaan to help me instead."

Riddhima nodded smiling at Kevin. He had been their classmate and was pretty good enough. She stole a glance at Armaan and saw him looking highly disgruntled with the arrangements. As the class dispersed to the practical, he got up and strode off without a word leaving a shocked Riddhima behind.


********



Riddhima bid goodbye to Kevin as she stood at the main entrance. It had not been a very pleasant day without Armaan's presence and then whenever she saw him, he seemed in a very annoyed mood. She wondered why......

"Riddhimaa?" Kevin called her in a strong American accent. "If you don't mind I'll drop you home, its quite late you see?"

Riddhima smiled at his friendly gesture. She knew it was out of pure concern and that he wasn't hitting on her or she would made it out straight away.

"No, thanx a bunch Kevin, but I am sure Armaan must be on his way. He usually drops me off. My place is just in the way to his and soo......." Riddhima bit her lip glad to have supported the argument of Armaan dropping her home with the excuse that her place was in the way to his which wasn't true. It hadn't escaped her notice the very time he had dropped her that her place and his were in two different directions all together and that he would come all the way only to drop her off.

Not that she minded as his company was always a welcome she thought.

"Alright then I'll see you around?" She heard Kevin biding goodbye as he walked away. She barely acknowledged his parting as her eyes were looking around for Armaan.

"Glad you remembered that I come to drop you off." Riddhima breathed in sharply as she felt him whisper in her ear from behind.

"What do you mean Armaan?" She turned around to face him only to be greeted with a cold expression.

"I meant I am happy that you finally had time to recollect that I drop you off every day. Otherwise, seeing the new found friendship with Kevin I thought you might not recollect it you see."

Ridhhima looked at him dumbfolded. He was actually thinking that she and Kevin?

"Armaan do you even know what you're hinting at? He was just paired up with me today and talking casually doesn't imply anything more." Riddhima shot back getting furious.

"Where did I say there is something more? I just labeled it as new found friendship you see. Unless its something more from your side that you immediately thought and took it like that?" Armaan replied coldly as he now took hold of her hand and started moving forward.

"Where are you pulling me?" Riddhima practically hissed. She was amazed that he was the same guy she had known since so many days. The change in his behavior was drastic. She failed to understand what had gone wrong.

"I am driving you home Riddhima........whether you like it or not?"

Riddhima sat down beside him shocked to react. He had actually gripped her arm and pulled her to the car?? She looked at him as he started the car in silence.

"Armaan is there something wrong?" Riddhima looked at him feeling concerned.

"No!" Came a curt reply.

"Then Armaan why are you behaving like this? What wrong have I done?"

"No you haven't done anything Riddhima?"

Riddhima tried again "Atleast tell me what is bothering you?"

"Nothing at all."

Fed up of getting those curt replies she looked outside the fast images blurring past as he drove and felt her eyes swell up as she couldn't fathom what wrong she had done.

"So did you enjoy your day with Kevin?" Armaan asked her with a hint of sarcasm clearly visible in his voice.

Riddhima looked at him feeling a tear roll down her eye. She looked away choosing not to respond.

"So you didn't tell me Riddhima how was it hitting on a new guy?" Armaan grabbed her to face him as she winced with pain at the sudden gesture of his.

"Leave me Armaan and stop the car. Am getting off right here."

Armaan let go of her hearing the pain in her voice and looked straight.

"I said stop the car Armaan?" She ordered yet again.

Armaan just merely stepped up the gas peddle making it obvious that her plea had fallen on deaf ears.

Riddhima sat there unable to digest whatever was happening. He had actually made a grab at her. Shaking her head feeling tears rolling down she made a mental note to keep away from him.

As the car came to a halt she stepped out immediately only to be pulled back. Looking at him stonily she spoke "Armaan dare you hurt me again and I............."

He let go of her lowering his gaze and mumbled.

"Riddhima I am sorry........." He whispered.

Looking at his expression she sat back closing the door again facing him.

"I am sorry Riddhima?..I just don't know what took over me. When........when you weren't with me and I saw you with Kevin..........I........I..... Armaan muttered looking up seeing tears in her eyes.

"Sorry for being such a jerk Riddhima. I guess I got overly possessive..............its my nature I am sorry for being so harsh and making you a victim. Please forgive me?"

Riddhima's expressions softened as she saw him clearly ashamed of what had conspired. Placing her hand softly on his she spoke.

"Armaan its ok........but promise me you wont repeat this........he is just a friend and definitely not more important than you Armaan. I am sorry if I made you feel ignored..............it was just that........"

"Shhh.......... you needn't give me any explanations baby. Its all my fault, I reacted in such a brutal way. I am sorry" He mumbled.

"Its ok Armaan."

"So you have forgiven me honey?" He smiled looking hopefully at her.

"Yes"

"Are you sure?"

"Yes Armaan"

"100%"

"Yes Armaan forgiven you"

"So that means you wont be meeting that Kevin again right? Even if you're paired up with him say you're not well. I cant have any other guy being with......."

"Armaannnnn?" Riddhima smacked him playfully as he lightly took hold of her hand and held it close to him.

Riddhima instantly became conscious as she saw him holding her hand uncomfortably close. She felt the same strange unknown thrill creeping up.

Seeing her tear strained face Armaan moved his free hand towards her face to brush away the tears and gently tucked her hair beneath her ear as she lightly gasped feeling the tension build up.

"Riddhima I am really sorry for reacting the way I did. I don't know.........i am very possessive by nature which you must have noticed I believe but.........but seeing you with Kevin all day.I don't know it kind of made me mad. I know I have no right to interfere or dictate you or your life but.......i felt like just grabbing you away. Ofcourse it was natural I guess seeing another guy with the woman I love?????"

Armaan stopped biting his tongue. Riddhima looked at him shell shocked. She let go of his hand at that instant and continued to stare at him.

"What did you just say Armaan?"

"Nothing Riddhima? Its nothing? Umm.......your getting late.......I'll see you around in the morning baby?"

"Armaan don't lie? What did you just say?" She repeated emphasizing her words. Her tone was clearly high pitched.

"I said it was natural for any guy to react the way I did on seeing the woman he loves with another guy" Armaan mumbled meeting her gaze.

"The woman he loves?" Riddhima felt her insides churn as the words echoed in her ears. "That means...........that he?"

"I love you Riddhima.............its been coming since when. Trust me its not attraction that I have. I have already crossed all of that. Its only love.

"When I see you smile, I feel my eyes light up. Just seeing you itself makes my day. I just cant explain this feeling Riddhima.........Its just.........but its love I can assure you."
He looked at her awaiting her reaction.

"I am sorry but I cannot just live with the term of being just friends with you Riddhima as its much more than that......and......."

He looked at her staring at him. She blinked and lowered her eyes.

"Its ok Riddhima if you don't feel the way I do but please don't leave me. I wont allow my feelings to interfere in our relationship, I promise. I will wait till you yourself feel the same. And, even if it doesn't come, I'll still wait. I am sure the day will come soon."

Armaan added bravely now weary of her reaction.

"Armaan? I don't know what to say. I......"

"Don't say anything Riddhima" he added simply.

"You don't need to say a thing. I understand and if you don't feel the way I do still.........I understand."

"Armaan, its not that. I need time to think." She looked up meeting his gaze.

"Riddhima you have all my time in the world and......"

"Armaan thank you. I.......I need time. So sorry........" She stammered.

Abruptly opening the door she got off the car.

"Goodnight Armaan."

She waved back closing the door behind her leaving Armaan looking at her hoping he hadn't taken a wrong turn by pouring out his feelings.

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

As he held her close listening to her breathing still erratically  he closed his eyes pulling her closer still. " I need time Armaan" those words still echoed in his ears, the time he had confessed his feelings to her. She had looked so very taken aback by his words and her stunned expressions still brought a smile on his face.

Opening his eyes he looked down at her snuggled up close. Kissing her forehead lightly he whispered.

"I will bring my Riddhima ."

jia 

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