Friday, 19 July 2019

Part 6: How to Kill your Husband

Be careful what you wish for. The little warning she'd learned to listen to and followed religiously dulled to a whisper, then faded completely.

One night. Her choice. Her decision.

Stepping out of his arms, she shrugged out of her rain coat, let it fall to the floor. "You. Here. Now."

If it were possible, his eyes darkened further, but he didn't move except to let his arms drop to his sides "Are you sure? Because I don't know if I can stop if-"



"Yes I am sure" she snapped out. She had no illusions about Armaan where relationships were concerned, but now she'd made her decision she wanted to get on with it. "One night." She lifted her chin, every cell of her body shaking. "Thats how you play the game don't you? One night at a time."

He hesitated, acknowledgement written all over his face "But I am not sure that's the way you do."

No, it wasn't but the other way is destined to bring a heartbreak so why not just play it light and try something out of character for once. Knowing it all up-front meant no expectations, no disappointments and most important of all, no broken heart at the end. "Wasn't it you the other day who suggested that we do something about these sparks between us? Get it out of the way?"

"Yes but what happened, you might be-"

"I am calling you on it now. I want to forget about what happened with me in the last few hours, I want to forget all about it." Still watching him she toed off her sneakers and peeled of her socks. "I feel like I am about to explode, I still have all the pent up angry energy I need to get rid-"

Armaan cut her off with a hard mouthed kiss that echoed the wildness that he felt with her. Barely noticing her surprised eyes, he dragged her towards him crashing her in his chest and answered her request.

She didn't miss a beat; meeting him with equal passion, equal force. Her hands made its way upwards clutching his waterproof coat, then ripping open the zip. Lush lips opening up under his as their tongues collided, thrusting into each other's mouth, fighting for dominance. They both staggered backwards towards the bed as her small hands made their way inside his T-shirt to explore his firm and hard chest which he's been seeing a lot but never touched. It was like tasting a forbidden fruit, stepping in to an unknown territory but the adrenaline made her dizzy with desire, wanting, Armaan! They both fell on the bed exploring each other's body with desperate hands when suddenly the silent night shivered with an ear piercing ring of riddhima's phone which was on the bed.

For a fleeting moment they both froze and with a shaky hand riddhima's hand went to switch off her ringing phone. By mistake she pressed the accept button instead and swore under her breath as she realised that.

"Hello riddhima beta... Jaldi ghar aa jaa, buri khabar hai... tere papa-" the signal was still weak but riddhima heard enough to jerk up on bed, grabbing the phone in her hand. Armaan pressed the louder speaker on the touch screen phone so even he could hear.

"hello maasi, kya hua? Why are you crying? What papa?" riddhima asked hurridly, her heart still thudding hard but she wasn't sure whether this was because of the sudden phone call or Armaan who was sitting right next to her. A moment ago they both were tangled into eachother's arms and suddenly the moment died! What the hell is happening?

"Beta... BETA... jeeja jee... tere papa" her maasi's voice was breaking due to bad signal but riddhima was hanging on to the phone as if her life depended on it.

"MAASI KYA HUA PAPA KO? WILL ME BLOODY TELL ME?" riddhima shouted in annoyance. Bloody signal! Armaan pressed her shoulder and told her to calm down.

"He died..." Riddhima froze, she felt as if someone punched the air out of her stomach. Everything around her faded in the background, she could see dots around her, she was loosing it. Those two words pulled the ground right out of her feet. Armaan, just in time wrapped his arms around her shoulder and took the phone out of her hand.

"hello aunty, I am Armaan. Can you tell me what actually happened? The signal is awful here, please say something."

"Please bring riddhima home...Padma needs her..." hearing her mum's name riddhima caught the phone and asked while swallowing a lump.

"Where is Mum?" she could feel tears brimming in the back of her eyes.

"In the jail riddhima...mein tujhe yahi to kehne ki koshish kar-" the phone disconnected and riddhima dropped the phone. Holding back a big sob, she ran upto her bag and started stuffing in all her clothes.

"riddhima wait sweetheart. Sit down for a minute." Armaan tried to explain her while getting up from the bed but she ignored him and started running around the room packing their bags.

"Armaan pack your bag, we have to leave today. NOW" Armaan saw her packing her bag furiously as he pushed his hair back from his forehead. He went upto her and turned her around with a force big enough for her to clutch his arms for support.

"Sit. Down" he made her sit on the bed and she looked at him with incredulous eyes. "Calm down, we'll leave okay. I'll call the airport authorities and they'll send a helicopter here so that we go the nearby airport. Okay riddhima, now drink some water"

"Armaan" riddhima whispered a plea and he looked at her. "Papa mar gaye kya?"

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

They landed in India by the following morning and to armaan's amazement riddhima didn't cry a tear. What is wrong with this girl? They reached Gupta house and rushed inside. As soon as riddhima's maasi saw her, she ran upto them. Her eyes red with crying.

"Riddhima beta tu aa gayi. Dekh yeh sab kya ho gaya" Her maasi started crying in her arms.

"What happened and why is Padma aunty in the jail?" Armaan took the initiative to ask. Her maasi came out of the hug and took a loud sob.

"They both went on a holiday to a sea side two days ago and today police called and said that padma is arrested for her husband's murder"



Prison in Mumbai.

 "I've been arrested for killing my husband" were not the words anyone had ever expected to hear from the mouth of Padma Gupta. 'I've kept sola saumwaar wrat for my pati's lambi umar' or perhaps 'I am keeping a karva chauth in hope to find another husband' but definitely not this.

When riddhima could finally talk, she felt like she dubbing a film, "What?"

"Murder...those idiotic cops think I have killed shashank. I've been denied bail!"

"MURDER?" she dubbed again. And there was made-for-TV movie melodrama to it all. She was sitting bolt upright in a straight-backed chair in a prison visiting room, staring in a state of astonishment at her mum who were singing about her second honeymoon 2 days back on the phone and now she's wearing a prison suit sitting in a prison. Is this really happening? She must have shrieked the last word because the prison officer darted her eyes on riddhima, alert but neutral. The fatty remains slumped in her swivel chair, flicking her newspaper sourly.

Fright lit like flames all over riddhima, "OK mum, let's get to point" riddhima whispered while moving towards her mum a bit. "You...didn't do anything stupid did you? I mean after dad all this with you in the past days."

Padma gave her a kind of look you'd give a sewage truck which has just backed over your groom on your wedding day. "You may not have noticed in all these years riddhima, but I seem to be lacking many of the key talents necessary for success as a criminal mastermind." Her edgy voice attracts the prison officer once more. "how could you even think that?"

"Well excuse me" riddhima replies in a scalding whisper. "How many couples go on their second honeymoon after the wife's found out about her husband's adultery?"

"I just wanted to start to give our relationship a second chance, wanted to start again. Now it's not exactly my age to go have an extra marital affair is it?" Padma said indignantly

The prisoner officer snorts. "Not what the papers say, dah-ling." She tosses a pile of tatty newspaper between them and despite of the NO SMOKING sign, lights up a fag.

"OMG papers? You're in the newspaper mum?." Its eight in the morning and riddhima have baggage under her eyes. Mind it there not bags, but baggage. She scan through the paper and it says 'Indian lawyer's sudden disappearance in South Australia from a place called, Termination Beach, Cape Catastrophe.' Now that's a place to book a holiday. Maasi said mum was in a mess when dad suddenly went swimming and never came back. riddhima flicks her gaze to the headlines of the paper 'Widow Too Merry?' questions tabloid headline with an old photo of mum smiling brightly at the camera.

"That was taken ages ago" Padma sighs loudly and for a second riddhima mistake it for an asthma attack. "Truth I toldq you that me and shashank was giving our marriage a second chance so we planned this holiday, but you know what a trememdous risk taker your dad is- night scuba diving, helicopter skiing, driving too fast et cetera...One late afternoon, we were swimming in the water when I got tired and came out but shashank swam out beyond the headland. When it started to get dark, I went to go look for him and found his towel and watch on the shore where he left it. Then I knew something was really wrong." She wipes away a tear and composes herself.

"They sent help boats to look for him, I waited for hours and hours. They were kind and also kept saying "you mustn't give up." So I clung on thinking all kind of possibilities like he was working for CIA and gone undercover; an insurance scam; kidnap by submarine even! I was in a daze, completely empty inside. But the truth was staring at me in the face, shashank was swept out in the sea. Or worse. But I refuse to believe. I won't believe it" she slumps her head on the desk and weeps.

"Mum..." padma looked up at the sound of riddhima's voice. "Then why did they arrest you?"

Padma snaps back to life. "Remember that prostitute shashank had... you know who am talking about...that bitch" padma swore her breath which was so unlikely her. Riddhima noticed a slight change in padma's behaviour. Gone was the shy timid padma who used to weep silently incase her loud sobs disturbs her husband. She seemed so...free? yes she was upset but there was a feeling of independence around her...even when she was locked up in a jail! "Yes so that prostitute, her name's Cherry by the way. She testified against me that I was terribly upset with shashank over the past few days because of his dirty deeds and in rage and fury, I must have murdered him. Me?! Can you believe that? I was the quiet one, remember? I have never killed an ant and in rage and fury I've murdered my husband?! That's as about as insane as saying I had an extra marital affair with a hitman so he can murder on my behalf!"

"Oh mum. What are you going to do now?" riddhima said while slumping her head in her hands.

"Oh I don't know fake my own death, change my identity and go live in island lulu with Tarzan." Padma said sarcastically. That explains where I get my sarcasm from. Riddhima thought dryly. "What I am going to do is fight riddhima! And you're my only weapon. My good for nothing in laws also think I must have killed your dad" rage boiled in Padma.

"Meee?" riddhima screeches.

"You know me best riddhima, you know I would never do anything like that in my life. This" she point at the paper. "is character assassination and I want you to prove them people wrong and give your mother justice. Yes, shashank betrayed me and at times I did feel like killing him for doing this to me. I mean I gave my whole life to him and this is what I get in return? But he's father of my 3 daughters. How could I even think of making my daughters fatherless? What kind of women would do that?"

A betrayed, broken hearted and low in esteem women riddhima wanted to say but thought to keep her big mouth shut. What if some absurd married joke comes out of her mouth like 'Mum atleast now you can be reassured where your husband's going to be every night.' Riddhima looked at her mother's dishevelled state and felt a pang of pity. When she heard about her father's death, she didn't know how to react. From the last week she wanted to kill him herself and now when he is dead, she neither felt happy nor sad. Which is very weird. Shouldn't she feel some kind of emotion? Satisfaction atleast that her cheating old man's dead and now her mum will get all the insurance money. OMG shut up riddhima!  She just felt hollow inside. Now the best she can do is get her mum out of this place. I mean how can they even think of arresting her? She never uttered a single word even when she found out about her husband's betrayal and now they locked her up in prison for someone's murder. Are they blind?!!

"What can I do for you mum?" riddhima puts her hand on padma's hand.

"You have to get me out of here. I am being framed riddhima. I don't know why someone would do that to me but damn! You have to meet my lawyer, she's brilliant. Known for winning" she stopped for a moment. "The only thing is that...she is very expensive"

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

By the time riddhima came home, it was dark at night. First she got disturbed from her near sex experience, then they made her ran to all the way to india and she got the shock that her dad died on his honeymoon and another bang was that her mum was arrested for it! That wasn't enough that Padma's solicitor was sooo expensive. Even if she breaks thousand piggy banks, still she won't be able to afford that lawyer. She works in an office and does her usual 9 to 5 job. Where will she get so much money from? Her ego was too high to ask Armaan so that option gets eliminated. Ugh does she even have any option?

She walks in her dark room and slumps on the bed. Her eyes closing with fatigue.

Armaan sees her walking in the room in dark as she drops on the bed and just dozes off. Did she even realise he was sleeping on the bed? Her family is an out and out example of dysfunctional mentally ill people. First her dad goes around screwing prostitutes and gets a son! Then both oldies goes honeymoon after that. He still couldn't believe riddhima "forgot" to tell him about her parents second honeymoon. And now her mum is arrested for murdering her dad. OH VEY what kind of mentally retarded family his wife came from. Out of all the sane people out there, he had to find riddhima! Not that he's regretting any of it. Nope not at all, the only thing's he's regretting is how they had to put sudden halt on last night's event. He found riddhima's behaviour extremely weird. She was neither crying or seemed happy. I mean c'mon she was the one looking to for a bomb on ebay.com not him. He's not very good with emotions and has never been. He's not the kind of person who gives his shoulder to someone to cry on. If he sees a damsel in distress, he runs a mile in the opposite direction. That's why he liked riddhima's independent, outgoing personality so much. She wasn't like the typical girls who gives up their whole life for a guy and then when a guy does something wrong, she blames him or even worse goes around murdering him for revenge. *ahem ahem* no need to take names I guess.

When the sun shines in Mallik mansion, both made in hell couple stirs in their bed. Suddenly riddhima remembers her life and sits up on bed taking a long sigh.

"When will this storm pass from my life?" she moans and armaan opens his eyes.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain" he says sleepily and riddhima looks at him.

"It's very easy to say but when someone will tell you 'to dance in the rain' then you'll know how it feels."

"How did the meeting with sasuma go? Did she really kill Shashank gupta?" Armaan asks her while resting his head on his palm, elbow digging in the bed, facing her.

"NO" she snapped out. "How could you even think like that" she repeats her mum's line and convinces armaan, or was it herself?

"okay okay chill. But who told that old man of yours to go swin ahead of headband?And man who goes to Termination beach in Cape Catastrophe for holiday? The name sounds so dodgy. I mean that ocean is shark fested for goodness sake!" armaan sits bolt upright and riddhima jerks up suddenly. What if her dad is really...dead?

"Sharks don't attack unless there is a sight of blood" riddhima says after a while

"Oh let's hope they don't" armaan said with a tinge of pity. "warna sasuma to gayi, you do know that the case is very much against her. It was the worst time for your dad to die! By the way which lawyer you seeing?"

"Richa chaudhry" riddhima says quietly

"She's the top lawyer in Mumbai...and very expensive"

"You don't need to worry about my financial problems." Riddhima said proudly which her chin high.

"Chill I wasn't worrying anyways. I was just gonna ask did you arrange the money?"

"Yes thank you. It's all been sorted" Riddhima lied and got off the bed heading towards the bathroom taking her phone with her. Armaan looked at her suspiciously and she just shrugged saying "personal call"

She locked the bathroom door and armaan could hear muffled voice of her talking on the phone. Curiosity got better of him so he went a bit closer to the bathroom door. He couldn't hear much things beside that she was meeting someone at a pub at 1 o clock today. Pub? Riddhima doesn't seem like the regular visitor of a pub, but how much does he know about her anyways?

At half twelve riddhima sneaked out of the house, armaan noticed or was he just being too suspicious? Again curiosity got better of him and he followed riddhima in a taxi as he couldn't let riddhima see his car. Why is he even doing this? Has he ever followed a girl like that in his entire life? Riddhima's getting out the worse in him!

He saw riddhima stopping her car in front of a well known pub in the city. He followed her and saw the club was filled with smoke and smelled awful of fags and arm pits. Why would riddhima come and visit such a place? His head was swarming with questions. Then he spotted her talking with a man who looked familiar from far. As he headed a bit close, he stopped dead in his tracks. The man was Abhimanyu Modi! The biggest competitor of Mallik Empires. Riddhima was talking to his enemy? No armaan don't get any wrong ideas. It might just be a business meeting. But the way they were talking, didn't look like a business meeting. Her eyes were glittering and face was broken into a big smile. Abhimanyu kept a hand on riddhima's shoulder and she didn't even make any attempt to move it. Then what he saw pulled the ground out of his feet. Abhimanyu pulled out a cheque from his wallet and gave it riddhima which she happily accepted. Both gave eachother a hug and Abhimanyu bought riddhima a drink as they sat on the bar counter.

He couldn't think straight. It was like someone has thrown a bucket of cold water to wake him up from sleep. Oh his eyes are open all right! Suddenly everything came in his mind, everything started making sense the missing pieces of puzzle was falling in. Riddhima couldn't afford a rich lawyer for her mum and she didn't even ask armaan for money. Not that would've refused to help but maybe she was too proud to ask him. So instead she thought of betraying him by secretly meeting his biggest competitor and accepting money from him. Was she selling some kind of highly confidential information about Mallik empires to Abhimanyu in return of some money? She do work there after all. She could get whatever information she wants and now she sold the information to his enemy? So much for trusting riddhima!

He should have stuck to his good ol' rule about not trusting anyone beside yourself in life. They'll just use you and that's what happening! He thought riddhima was different but no everyone shows their true colour in front of money. Oh riddhima will pay for this all right. No one fools around Armaan Mallik and gets away with it. He will show riddhima her right place...but after getting what he was long denied from her. Tonight. He will make his every fantasy true with her and then he will show her what happens when you double cross Armaan Mallik!!!

saniya

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