Thursday, 25 July 2019

Part 12: How to Kill your Husband

Her love slave. She couldn't help but smile and sunk deeper in the bubbles as he came in the tub. "Well in that case..."

Afterwards riddhima reclined against his body as they both relaxed in the tub. "This is pure bliss."

Armaan sipped his champagne. "We're going London sight see tour this evening. You'll like it." She felt him move as he placed the glass on the tiles with a chink. She thought he was hesitant for a second. "And dad's really pleased with how our relation's going. He decided to make me the CEO of the company after all."


Her pulse skipped a beat. She felt her heart sinking and she couldn't deny the stab of disappointment. So it's coming to an end. It? She doesn't even know how to name their relationship. A fling? But when did they...

No, she couldn't think both of them as a couple; he'd made it quite clear from the beginning that contract marriage is just a business deal but somewhere in the journey they started seeking pleasure within eachother, started relying on eachother for support be it directly or indirectly. Accept it! You'll miss him riddhima. You started relying on him, you started enjoying his company, rather you started looking forward to his company.

This is not good. She slightly shivered as it suddenly dawned upon her how much importance armaan started having in her life. She actually made breakfast for him, she came all the way to England with him and never once in all this time she thought about their contract marriage. It was like...like she started taking armaan as her real husband. There was this undeniable possessiveness about each other. She couldn't do this herself, she can't let heart rule her head. She and armaan can never be together. Period!

But her heart squeezed. Oh how easy it was to step in those glass slippers and play the princess. Again. Armaan truely made her feel like a princess in the past couple of days. It was like she was the only one in his life who mattered and everyone else was just background... But the magic wouldn't last and no prince would come searching for her in the cold of the morning, least of all Armaan. Apart from great sex, the man might just be from another planet for all they had in common.

"Riddhima?" his scratchy jaw rasped at her neck; his fingers playing with her belly button. "You're thinking too hard. Just say yes."

"Thanks but I don't think so."

His fingers stilled. Obviously he wasn't accustomed to being turned down. "But it's our honeymoon riddhima. I've organised everything. Thames boat ride, a peek in the museum, ride in the London eye. It will be fun."

"Thanks but no." Riddhima the 'weirdo' will not be played anymore. She was a fool to even come here with armaan. What the hell was he thinking? That he will make her feel like the most special person in the world in one minute and the next, he'll drop a bomb on her hinting that their time together is nearly over. "I am feeling home sick. I am going back."

Armaan turned her around. "What?!" his gaze was suddenly accusing. "Why are you acting like a kid for?" he asked frowning.

Riddhima stepped out of the bathtub and wore a robe. "Another reason why this contract marriage with me was a very bad idea."

Even armaan followed her suit and slipped into a robe. "Look at me riddhima." He turned her around to face him. "What's wrong? Did I do something which hurt your feelings?"

She looked at him and answered honestly. "No." It was all her fault. She just shouldn't have let her heart rule her head for so long.

She continued watching him as the last ray of the sunshine gilded over his bronze face. A big mistake- Huge- because suddenly the heart that she'd closed to him for so long started thumping in strange rhythms, ribbons of warmth spiralling around it, pulling tight. Love...

No no, Not that four letter word. She has no place for it in her life. Ever again. "When is your dad transferring the company to your name?"

"Tommorow."

That hit her like a sharp blow. She only has one day with him. To savour all their memories together. And she won't be a cry baby and miss this last opportunity with armaan. She can't change the future but atleast she can enjoy the present...

"So?" armaan urged her while pulling her closer, his eyes expectant.

"I think we should go sight see then. We'll have to leave for india tomorrow as well." She tried to be cheerful as she kissed armaan who was standing still with his brows furrowed. "Ignore what I said before. I was just being immature."

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

 "You own a motorbike?" riddhima's eyes widened at the stylish red monster.

"Yup. It's wicked isn't it?" armaan patted the seat behind him and passed riddhima a helmet. "I don't take risks you know."

"Kamine gira to nahi doge na? Mere paas travel insurance bhi nahi hai." She reluctantly climed the seat and held him tight by his waist.

"You know normally the guy tells the girl to hold tight and then he passionately pulls her towards him. But in my case, if I tell you to hold any tighter, swear to god I'll pop due to pressure." Armaan chuckled and instantly felt riddhima's grip loosening as she moved back a bit.

Armaan gave her a naughty smile through his rear view mirror and caught her hands.

"What are you doi-" before riddhima could even finish the sentence armaan pulled her passionately towards him until her cheek came in contact with his shoulder and her hands were tightly wrapped against him.

"Did I tell you that pulling you against me like that on my bike was also one of my all time fantasies." Armaan winked and her jaw opened. "Tumne to sara plan hi bigaad diya tha" he turned around and gave riddhima a lingering kiss.

"kutta kamina." She murmured under her breath and armaan chuckled roaring the monster into life.

Riddhima felt cool wind caressing her face as armaan zoomed off into London streets showing her some monuments from far but she just nodded her head vaguely enjoying the feel of armaan's warm body so close to hers. He stopped his bike with a jerk and riddhima realised that they've reached the gigantic London eye. Oh my...it was bigger than she thought. Each capsule was transperantly see through and could atleast fit 25 people in it easily. Next to the London eye was Thames flowing proudly through the heart of the London.

"It's beautiful armaan." Riddhima took a awe struck sigh. "I can never get over this overwhelming feeling whenever I see London eye from so close."

They both boarded the capsule and riddhima giggled excitedly as the capsule started shooting upwards and she could see the most fantastic view of London from up here. Armaan kept showing her monuments and places like a good tour guide. Riddhima took lots of pictures for her ever lasting memories. She'll never forget this time of her life.

Then they hired a boat and zoomed off at a mad speed in Thames. Screams and shouts were evaporated from the boat as armaan and riddhima held tight on to the railing. "BEST-DAY-OF-MY-LIFEEE" riddhima shouted over the river but her voice got muffled in the roaring engine's sound. Armaan pulled riddhima towards him and placed his lips on hers giving her a heart searing hot kiss which was the perfect contrast with the exhilarating cold wind sweeping through her hair. Her whole body was on fire.

They walked hand on the public bridge next the thames talking about anything and everything. Both posed and took silly pictures with each other. Suddenly armaan's face lit up.

"Riddhima let's go. I'll have to take you somewhere." Armaan ran towards his motorbike with riddhima in tow.

"Where?"

"My place." He showed his gleaming white teeth.

"You mean the one in west London?" armaan nodded excitedly while starting his bike. "But that's hours away from here."

"I know, we'll stay a night there." Suddenly armaan's face lit up with mischief. "Also I'll make you meet my live-in girlfriend. We both used to live there together before I came to india."

The smile vanished from riddhima's face in the matter of seconds. "G..girlfriend? and that too live-in. Does she still live there." A stab of disappointment was felt in riddhima's chest.

"Offcourse, she is the longest girlfriend I've ever had." He stifled his laugh and tried his best to keep his voice straight. Riddhima shifted around in her seat.

"Muje nahi milna kisi se." Jealousy burned through her and armaan grinned. Good thing she couldn't see his face as he was driving his motorbike cutting through sharp wind.

"But she'd dying to meet you. Ever since she saw your hot and sexy photo in the magazine, she wanted to meet the Pink haired bomb shell who I cheated her with."

"Arey par muje kisi se milna hi nahi hai to force kyo kar rahe ho?" riddhima tried to explain but armaan kept driving with an amused expression. "Kamine ko sharam bhi nahi aati apni wife ko apni live-in girlfriend se milwate hue."

"Her name's julliet by the way." Armaan said at the petrol station as they stopped for a refill.

"Ugh I hate the name. It's so cheesy. I bet she calls you romeo." Riddhima said between gritting teeth.

"Why are getting so jealous for?" armaan bit his lip to stop smiling.

Riddhima's head snapped towards him. "MEEE? AND JEALOUS? Hahaha very funny!" she laughed or atleast tried to. "Why should I be jealous of that that...julliet! huh bechari ko tum jo mile ho. I totally sympathise with her instead."

Armaan laughed and shook his head. "Then I guess you both will have a good time bitching about me."

After an hour and dozens of cursing later, armaan stopped his bike front of a wrought iron massive gate and pressed in the security code. As if by magic the gates swung opened making riddhima look around in daze. His bike zoomed off on leaf littered pathway which was in the middle of two neatly manicured gardens.  He slowed and her gaze stopped at the old unicorn statue in the middle of the lawn. But next thing she saw a very large house with a big panelled door at the front.

"C'mon let's meet julliet." Armaan took off his helmet and climbed down his bike. But riddhima dug her heels in the pathway refusing to meet any julliet phulliet!

"But you'll love her. Trust me she's a sweetheart and did I tell you what an awesome cook she is?"

"She's like a total package isn't she? To phir ussi se hi shadi kyo nahi karli?" riddhima asked sourly while standing adamantly on her spot and not moving.

"Kar leta but you see she's already married." Armaan said winking at her. "And you said once that the law only allows one husband."

Riddhima gave him a disgusted look. "Now she's an adulterer as well. Chi you make me so sick sometimes. Forget it I am not com-"

Before she finish her sentence, armaan swept her off the ground and carried in to his front door, climbing the steps and ringing the bell somehow.

"Armaan put me down. I am not kidding. I have no intention-"

"I think she's coming. I heard footsteps."

"Wah kya Jodi hai nahi? Heart to heart connection eh?" riddhima taunted with a disappointed stab. She's nothing in front of this julliet lady, neither she can cook nor she and armaan has this heart to heart connection. What a fail!

The door swung open and armaan quickly put riddhima down. She looked at him with accusing eyes. 'Acha to ab girlfriend ke saamne biwi ko utha bhi nahi sakta!'

But what she saw made her eyes come out of its socket. An old lady in mid fifties wearing a knee length skirt and white blouse with hair swept away in a neat tidy bun.

"ARMAAAN" that old lady swung her hands around armaan and gave him a kiss on his cheeks. Armaan hugged her back.

"JULLIET"

If it was possible riddhima's eyes widened even more. "She's Juliet? But she's so...old"

"Yup she's my Juliet." Armaan said proudly while waiting for riddhima to faint out of confusion.

"Armaan I didn't know you like older women." Riddhima gave a confused smile. She didn't know what's happening. What a paedophile the buddhi is.

"What?!" now it was julliet's turn to be shocked and armaan burst out laughing.

After a good fifteen of flying objects around the room, an embarrassed and fuming riddhima, injured and complaining armaan and laughing julliet sat down on the dining table.

"That's not fair, riddhima always goes jungli and start throwing things around. You nearly cracked open my head this time wifey. That vase was expensive as well." Armaan rubbed his head and riddhima threatened to attack him with a fork with he doesn't shut up.

"Shut up. You're so immature, the whole way to kept telling me that julliet's your girlfriend and falana dhikna." Riddhima whined.

Julliet brought food in two plates and sat with the fighting couple. "Oh dear you both are too cute. And riddhima love." Riddhima looked at julliet with ashamed eyes. "Very pleased to finally meet you. First I was very worried about the girl who armaan married but after seeing you myself I am assured. No wonder armaan fell in love with you."

The atmosphere suddenly changed between the couple. Only them both knew the truth about their relationship and despite of everything being up front, there were still buried feelings in her heart. She don't about armaan, but she has definitely fallen in love with him.

"Julliet." armaan called suddenly lightening up the mood. Too much tension. "Riddhima doesn't like your name you know."

riddhima opened her mouth to protest giving her most evil looks to armaan.

"Is that true riddhima darling?"

riddhima shook her head quickly from side to side. "Nahi bilkul nahi." she smiled sweetly. "Rather I love your name. Such a romantic name. I bet you call your husband romeo. awww that's so sweet man."

"Kitna jhoot bolti hai" armaan laughed and shook his head as riddhima gave him a kick from under the table.

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

"You're almost too beautiful to touch." He murmured and saw her eyes fill with a poignancy that caught at his heart. Has he ever seen anything more beautiful that riddhima rumpled with loving on his sheets. He rolled out a condom and bent his head to kiss her lush lips. "Almost..."

He moved inside her in a slow sinuous dance and she matched his rhythm with equal heat and passion. He lived in a world of day-to-day demand in a cut throat business world. In her arms, that world didn't exist. He wrapped around her, she around him and felt himself drowning, drowning in the deepening well of her heart.

Sated and satisfied and blissfully lazy they lay together in the darkness. He noticed something different tonight while making love to riddhima. She surrendered in such a complete manner as if she's doing it for the last time. There was finality in her touch, as if she's touching him like this for the last time. Giving herself to him for the last time.

Riddhima's even breathing told him that she was asleep, but he didn't move, couldn't move, couldn't bear the separation. He'd never felt connected to someone at this level. There was a sense of completeness, oneness.

Riddhima was so different to anyone he'd known. She was proud yet vulnerable. With a strength of will and generosity towards others. He was really proud how she single handily released her mum from prison despite of going through financial crisis. Not once she misused the power that goes with his name. If she wanted she could have arranged money in the matter of minutes but she didn't rather she worked hard and on her own, she not only hired the best lawyer for her mum, but also was there for her whenever she called. She wasn't pretending to be anything other than who she was.

Unlike him.

A sharp chill of realisation sliced through him. He didn't tell her about his past. Perhaps he should have. But it's not like that had anything permanent.

And yet...as he watched her sleep, her glowing face in the dimness of the light, he could no more deny that he wanted riddhima, wanted her more than his next breath, needed her more than his next heartbeat.

But he knew all too well that desires, needs and wants couldn't cut it with riddhima. He wasn't being fair to her. With the spectres of lost family love in the past, if there is anyone in this world who needs love and constancy in their life was riddhima. She'd tried to be so hard to hide it but he knew that. No matter what she says, he knew she needed security, a home, a family.

And he couldn't give her that.

He needed a ride.

Careful not to disturb her, he slip out of the bed and mourned about the loss of warmth from his wife's body. He got dressed quietly and left the room, grabbing his helmet and gloves by the back door, and strode in to the cold winter's night. He had to let her go. Tomorrow. Yes, she knew their contract is coming to an end- he'd always been upfront about that- about other emotions he didn't knew about also came in the equation.

"Damn it!" his voice cut through sharply in the silent air. Knowing riddhima- caring, vulnerable, love starved girl she was- he should have known that he will end badly.

He sighed...fiercely independent, living life as it come riddhima. She wasn't as single, carefree and liberated as she let other people see.

But from the past couple of days he'd seen glimpses of something else. Something he could have never allowed to happen.

She was falling for him. The greedy, self-indulgent bas***d that he was has seen it. Seen it and still continued their affair with selfish and reckless abandon.

Somehow he'll have to convince riddhima that he wasn't the right man for her.

Riddhima woke up with an aching heart and a cold bed. When she reached for him in the morning, she didn't expect herself to be alone. She ignored the uneasy feeling thinking he's probably making breakfast or something. But he was nowhere to be found. Maybe he did that to all his lovers. Just disappear without as much as a note. But end of the day she'd known him for such short time.

Yes, such short time and despite all the self talk and warning bells, she'd fallen in love.

After drinking coffee she was about to get up from the breakfast table, alone, when she heard the bang of the front door and saw a grim looking armaan standing in the hall way. As still as her breathing.

"Hi." She stood slowly and walked towards him. Her stomach doing crazy things at the sight of him. She stopped in front of him, his eyes blood shot probably because of lack of sleep but...she couldn't read them. "What's wrong?"

No response, no show of emotions, just a blank look.

Then he reached out, curled his fingers around her upper arms. For an instant riddhima thought she saw regret or remorse in this eyes or probably both. But next instant he hauled her to him and crashed his lips with hers. Heat, passion, anger- and more poured through his kiss, leaving her weak and shaken. Then he lifted his head and dropped his hands to his sides, taking a step away- physically and emotionally.

"Why are you angry?" her voice came out in a hoarse whisper. She felt the distance like a chill. She stared at him, not understanding. Rather not wanting to understand. So finally it is time to say good bye, the thought struck her heart like a hammer. It was devastatingly obvious where this was heading.

"I am not angry, just frustrated." He said. "You're flying back to India today." Just her? It was delivered with a cool statement making her slightly shiver. No regret in his tone.

"So you finally got the company then." she's been rejected so often in life that she thought she got used to it, so why was her heart bleeding right now? She felt it's life seeping out. Drop by drop. Why? Their relationship was always based on a contract. They weren't even supposed to be friends! But look where they ended up, or rather where she ended up. "I thought you-" we "-had a few more days."

"Dad had to go somewhere out of India so he signed the paper this morning and faxed me." he said with a stony face. "Our contract's over."

"I know." She gulped and tried her best to pull out a normal voice. "It was nice. I had a good time."

His expressions never changed. "I booked your tickets for this afternoon's flight. I am staying here for a couple more days."

Booked tickets! Bet he couldn't wait to get rid of her. But she was going to leave him anyways, so why did it felt so gut wrenching? Why it took her every ounce of her body to not break down in his arms and plead him not to leave her. That wasn't her! She's always been in control. Yes be in control.

Turning around on her heels, she headed back to her room and picked her handbag. She met him on the doorway. "If you can call a taxi, I'll have to go pick up my stuff from your apartment."

"I drop you there-"

"That's not negotiable!" she said with an eerie finality and he winced. "If you can't be bothered to do that then I'll go catch a taxi myself."

"You're not going all the way to central London in a taxi." He said adamantly and she pushed her way out of the house. "RIDDHIMA STOP!"

"JAHANNUM MEIN JAO"

Finally armaan called his driver and riddhima went away in the car, but not with him. And that hurt for some reason. But whatever he did, it was for her own benefit. He couldn't give her that happily ever after which she deserves and yet...he felt as if he's done the biggest mistake of his life.

saniya

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