Sunday, 15 September 2019

Chapter 12 : Dangerous Desire (AR)

The Love Talk

 Riddhima entered Armaan's cabin and started to do the routine work.

"Hey Krishna!  Aaj toh meri band bajne waali hain.  Super late ho gayi hoon.  Armaan maar daalega mujhe!" Just then, Armaan came in.  He was in his own thoughts and took absolutely no notice of her.  Riddhima, who was arranging the files, suddenly turned around and bumped into Armaan.  Armaan was jerked out of his thoughts as he felt himself colliding with someone.  His arms went around Riddhima's waist on an impulse and hers went around his neck, bringing him closer.

 He looked at her.  Her eyes were tightly shut due to the fear of falling.  She was looking uber cute at the moment.  He wanted to kiss her so bad.  Her shaky breath hit his bare chest, sending unknown sensations through his body.  His grip tightened around her tiny waist, pulling her closer.  Riddhima slowly opened her eyes, looking in his ocean blue ones, her fear completely forgotten.  She was mesmerized by the amount of emotions his eyes held.  But there was one emotion that was overpowering every other one- his desire for her.  She could tell he was struggling to keep himself in control, which made it harder for her to breathe.



 "Ar- Armaan... mujhe... jaane do." He said nothing but kept staring into the green seas.  He was loving the display of emotions on her face.  "Armaan... chh-chhodo mujhe." Her hands travelled down to his chest, wanting to push him away, but she just didn't have the strength to do so.  She was liking the closeness.



A sudden knock brought them out of their trance and she pushed him away from her.  She moved away from him as Niki and Anjali entered his cabin.



"Hey Riddhima!  Hey Armaan!" Quickly composing herself, she turned around.



"Hey!"



"Riddhima.  Tum aaj late kaise aayi?  Usually toh bohat early aa jaati ho."  This was enough to divert her attention.



"Haan yaar.  Aaj na, meri scooty achaanak band pad gayi thi.  Bohat dhaka lagaana pada tha.  Aur petrol bhi khatam ho gaya tha toh petrol pump par bhi jaana pada.  Iss liye aaj bohat late ho gaya."



"That's bad!"



"I know yaar!  Aur upar se Muskaan bhi mujhe ek lamba chauda lecture suna ke chali gayi.  Aaj ka toh din hi kharaab hain, by God!" She pouted, knowing her day was really bad.



"Arre yaar, don't worry.  Dekh.  Subha kharaab jaaye, toh isska yeh matlab nahin ki saara din kharaab jaaye.  I'm sure aaj kuch na kuch toh achha hoga hi."



"Yea, I hope so."



"Tujhe koi kaam hain kya aaj?"



"Um, nahin toh.  Kyun?"



"Great!  Toh tum humare saath aao na.  Bohat saari baatein karenge."



"Haan, waise bhi bohat din ho gaye hain gossip kare hue.  Aaj yeh bhi kar lenge.  Kyun Ridzi?"



"Haan, chalo!" Just then she remembered that she had to make coffee for Armaan and she stopped.



"Tum log jao.  Main aati hoon."



"Tum kahaan jaa rahi ho?"



"Sir ke liye coffee banaani hain na?" Armaan, who had been the silent witness of their conversation, spoke up.



'It's alright.  Mujhe aaj coffee nahin peeni.  Tum jao."



"Ok Sir!" She said with a wide smile and girls went to Anjali's cabin whereas Armaan was angry at himself.



He, again, had lost control over himself.  He had managed to let his heart win over his brain.  He had been wrong.  He thought he had full control over his heart and brain, but he was wrong.  Completely wrong.  He had no control over himself.  Riddhima was taking over his mind completely and the worst part was he could do absolutely nothing about it.  Hadn't he promised himself to keep himself away from her just last night?  But he knew this promise would do nothing.  He was becoming frustrated at himself, at his heart.  Running his hand through his hair, he sat down in his chair and started to do his work.



                                                                 ****



The girls entered Anjali's cabin and found Muskaan already seated there.



"Hey Muski!  What's up!"



"Kuch nahin yaar.  Kab se tum teeno ka wait kar rahi thi."



"Haan, hum Riddhima ko dhoondte dhoondte Armaan ke cabin tak jaa pohanche.  Lekin..." Anjali paused and looked at Riddhima.  "vahaan toh koi aur hi scene chal raha tha." Riddhima's eyes widened at this.



"Matlab?"



"Riddhima Armaan ki baahon mein thi.  Like, ek dum close-close.  Armaan ne usse bilkul tight pakda tha.  Agar hum bas paanch minute late aate na, toh dono ek doosre ko kiss kar dete." Riddhima looked at Niki totally shocked.



"Ooohh!  Riddhima and Armaan huh?" Muskaan teased her.



"Hey!  Jaisa tum samajh rahi ho, waisa kuch nahin hain."



"Toh kaisa hain?"



"Arre yaar.  Main files arrange kar rahi thi and I suddenly bumped into him.  Woh toh sirf mujhe baccha raha tha."



"Iss liye tum dono ek doosre ki aankhon mein kho gaye the?"



"Muski!" She gave her a hard glare and the trio giggled.



"But seriously Ridz.  Kya tujhe Armaan pasand hain?" Anjali asked with hopeful eyes.  Riddhima looked at her as if she was mad.  "Matlab.  Do you like him as a friend?"



"Um... yea.  He's alright."



"Alright?"



"Ok fine.  He's nice.  Haan.  Thoda sadu hain, lekin dill ka bura nahin hain.  He's very nice."  She with a small smile on her lips.  Niki and Anjali exchanged smiles with each other.



"Tumhe... usski kaunsi baat achhi lagti hain?" Niki inquired.  The night Riddhima spent at Armaan's house flashed before her eyes.



"Woh... bohat hard working hain.  Apne kaam ko bohat seriously leta hain." Abhi and Armaan's conversation came to her mind.  "Haan, woh dikhaata nahin hain... lekin woh sab se bohat pyaar karta hain.  Sab ka achha chahta hain." Their fights came to her mind.  "Mujhe tang zaroor karta hain lekin, kabhi mujhe chott nahin pohanchaata.  He never tries to hurt me.  That's why I..." She realized what she was saying and trailed off.



"That's why you, what?" Riddhima looked at Muskaan.



"That's why I think he's a really good friend." She smiled and Niki and Anjali returned it.  They were happy that the decision they had made for Armaan and Riddhima was perfect.  They knew Riddhima was perfect for Armaan.  They were sure the two had feelings for each other and their little moment in the cabin was a perfect proof for it.  All they had to do now was make them realize their feelings.  They weren't worrying about Riddhima much because they knew Riddhima was a very sweet girl and that she probably would realize it herself, but Armaan?  It was going to take lots of work for him, but they were willing to do it.  After all, it was for their friends' happiness.



"Oh, ok!"



"So guys, aaj kis topic par discuss karna hain?" asked Muskaan.



"Pyaar... ishq... mohabbat!" Muskaan said in a very dramatic way which made the girls giggle.



"Hmm... interesting topic!"



"I know!"



"So tell me.  Yahaan par kiss, kiss ko pyaar hua hain?" Muskaan inquired.  Riddhima looked at Anjali and Niki.  They looked down, not wanting to answer the question.  Riddhima had gotten the answer to the question that had been wandering in her mind.  She had been wondering whether or not Niki loved Abhi and now she knew she did.  All she had to do was make her accept it.



"Tum dono chup kyun ho gaye?"



"Ku-Kuch nahin.  Kuch bhi toh nahin." Niki stammered.



"Toh phir bolo.  Tumhe kabhi kissi se pyaar hua hain ya nahin?"



"Um... nahin toh."



"Muski, tu usse toh savaal kar rahi hain, lekin ab main tujhse savaal karti hoon.  Ready?"



"Always."



"Ok.  Then tell me, tujhe kaise ladke pasand hain?" Muskaan immediately thought of Rahul and smile formed on her lips.



"Mujhe aise ladke pasand hain jo... badon ki izzat karein, bacchon ke saath baccha bann kar unnke saath khele.  Sab se pyaar karein.  Usski aankhein aisi ho... jiss mein main kho jaoon.  Koi aisa, jisske upar main apne aap se bhi zyaada bharosa kar sakoon.  Woh mujhe itna pyaar de, ki baaki sab kuch usske saamne pheenka pad jaaye.  Woh hard working hona chahiye, lamba ho, handsome ho na ho chalega.  Lekin usska dill bilkul saaf hona chahiye." She had a dreamy smile on her face.



"Tu... Rahul ki baat kar rahi hain?" Muskaan jerked her head towards Riddhima.  She was shocked at her comment.



"Kya?"



"Haan.  Tu jaisa description de rahi hain, usse toh mujhe Rahul ki hi yaad aa rahi hain.  He's hard working, lamba hain, handsome bhi hain, aur dill ka bhi saaf hain.  Tere description ko perfectly fit karta hain." Muskaan was bewildered as she realized she said everything keeping Rahul in mind.



"Toh... i-isse kya farak padta hain.  Aise toh kitne saare log hoge na."



"Toh tu itna ghabra kyun rahi hain?" asked Anjali.



"M-Main.  Nahin toh.  Main k-kyun ghabraungi?"



"Lag toh yeh hi raha hain."



"Ai-aisa kuch nahin hain.  Aur ab question karne ki baari meri hain."



"Ok then.  Go ahead."



"Anji... do you like someone?" Anjali was startled at this question.  What was she supposed to say?  That she loves Atul?



"Um... nahin toh."



"Are you sure Anj?" Anjali looked at Riddhima who was looking at her challengingly.



"Yea, I'm sure." She pleaded her through her eyes not to tell anyone, to which Riddhima blinked assuringly.



"Ok.  Waise guys, I had a question about Armaan."



"Haan, puchho."



"Armaan sab ke saath aise kyun behave karta hain?  I mean.  Itna rude aur sukha bartaw kyun?" Niki and Muskaan exchanged glances.  They knew this question was coming, but they hadn't expected it to come so soon.



"Woh... woh... woh... Armaan..."



"Bolo na Anj.  Armaan kya?"



"Riddhima... usske saath hua tha kuch."



"Haan, aur main jaanna chahti hoon ki usske saath kya hua tha." Niki sighed.



"Riddhima.  Kuch cheezein aisi hoti hain jo... jo hume bohat dard deti hain.  Aur unhe yaad na karna hi achha rehta hain.  Jab waqt aayega, hum tumhe sab kuch bata denge.  Ok." Riddhima became suspicious of this.  How come they simply refuse to talk about Armaan's past?  Something had to be fishy.



Aisi toh kya baat hain ki koi bhi Armaan ke past ke baare mein baat hi nahin karna chahta?  Lekin jo bhi ho, hain toh woh Armaan ke baare mein na.  Aur, mujhe isske baare mein jaanne ka koi haq nahin hain.  Agar inhe mujhe batana hoga, toh khud hi bata denge.  I shouldn't force them to tell me anything.  Right?



She smiled and nodded, but a part of her was still curious about Armaan's past.



                                                                  ****

The gang was sitting in the cafeteria along with Rocky and Nivi and were having a debate on what they should order for lunch.



"SANDWICH!"



"DAAL MAKHNI!"



"MAINE BOLA NA SANDWICH!"



"DAAL MAKHNI!"



Muskaan and Rahul were shouting over the top of their lungs.  Muskaan wanted daal makhni whereas Rahul wanted sandwich.  Pretty much the entire office had gathered together and were watching the duo fight like 5 year olds.  The gang was loving this as they had never seen Rahul shout.  Riddhima couldn't hold her laughter anymore so she laughed her heart out.  Rahul and Muskaan stopped fighting and looked at Riddhima.  She was laughing crazily!  They all looked at her if she was mad.



"Oye!  Tu pagalon ki tarah hehe kya kar rahi hain?" Riddhima controlled her laughter and looked at Muskaan.



"Muski... haha... tu ladte hue na... haha... bohat funny lagti hain."



"Tujhe toh na main..." She went to Riddhima and started to hit her which made Riddhima laugh even more.



Armaan was mesmerized seeing Riddhima.  He felt like he could keep staring at her like there is no tomorrow.  She looked angelic... beautiful.  Her babyish laughter would melt anyone's heart and bring a smile on their face.  His lips curved into a small smile as he admired Riddhima.  He blinked softly.  A little at a distance, he saw Rohail leaning against one of the pillars, staring at Riddhima.  Anger immediately filled his veins, but he fisted his fingers to stop himself from doing anything wrong.



No Armaan.  Stop it.  Just stop it.  Iss waqt kuch bhi matt karna.  And why the hell do you care if Rohail stares at Riddhima?  So just stop it, and concentrate on the plan.



Armaan was unaware of the fact that Abhi had been noticing him.  He had seen Armaan admiring Riddhima and he had also seen the anger.  He knew Armaan was starting to like her, if not love.  But he was sure love wasn't further away.  It was right around the corner.  Armaan just had to open his heart and let the feeling enter, but he knew this was gonna be hard.



Rahul and Atul separated Muskaan from Riddhima and tried to calm her down.



"Ok guys.  No sandwich no daal makhni.  Hum lunch ke liye chinese khaayenge.  Ok?" The gang looked at each other and they nodded.



"Alright."



"Anj, tum jaa kar order de aao na.  Please." Anjali nodded and went to bring the food.  In about 5 minutes, she came back and  Riddhima winked at Armaan, signalling him to go on with what they had decided.  Armaan gave her a nod and stuck his leg out slightly.  Anjali, who wasn't paying attention, tripped over his leg and fell in Atul's lap.  Riddhima smiled widely as she saw her plan working.



Atul and Anjali stared at each other.  Neither of them blinked, making it obvious they were least interested with the rest of the world.  The gang exchanged glances and looked back at the duo.  Muskaan faked a cough and Niki tried clearing her throat, but it didn't work.



"Guys." Niki called out, but again, no effect.  Riddhima, who was sitting right beside Armaan, gestured him to do something.  He tapped Atul on his shoulder and both jerked out of their trance.  Anjali gasped as she became aware about the position they were in.  She immediately got up, her face totally flushed.



"I-I'm sorry."



"It's ok." Riddhima smiled widely and saw a slight smile on Armaan's face.  Step 1 of their plan was working!  They all started to talk about random things.  Nivi tapped Riddhima on the shoulder and gestured her to come close and she did.



"Tum roz Armaan ko khana serve karti ho?" Riddhima knew something was cooking in Nivi's mind.



"Um, nahin."



"Kyun?"



"Kyunki usse achha nahin lagta jab main usse khana serve karun."



"Woh tumse jhooth bol raha hain.  Harr aadmi ko achha lagta hain agar usski patni usse apne haathon se khana serve karein.  Toh tum ek kaam karo.  Jab..." She explained her everything and Riddhima's eyes widened in shock.



Oh no!  Yeh kya nayi musibat hain?


"Nahin Nivi.  Isski kya zaroorat hain?"



"No excuses dear.  You have to do it." Riddhima stared at her in shock and then gave her a nervous smile.  Nivi gestured her to go on and had a smile on her face.  Riddhima sat back and waited for the food to come.  As soon as it came, her eyes widened.



Oh no!



The waiter kept the food on the table and Riddhima just stared at it.  Nivi nudged her and Riddhima, again, gives her the nervous smile and then closes her eyes.  Taking a deep breath she looks up to see Armaan trying to serve himself and acts immediately.



"Arre chhodiye.  Aap yeh sab kyun kar rahe hain?  Main hoon na." Armaan gives her the weird look as she takes the spoon away from his hand and starts serving him.



What the f***?



Riddhima serves him and then pulls back with a wide smile, only to see Armaan's 'Are you out of your mind' face.



"Arre.  Aap mujhe aise kyun dekh rahe ho?  Khana khaye na jee." Armaan just stared at her.  Did she just talk like one of those Saas-Bahu shows' 'aagya-kari' bahu?



"Ajee sunte ho?  Khana khaye na."



"H-Haan.  Khata hoon." He started to eat and looked at Riddhima who had even covered her head with her dupatta.  His eyes popped out of his sockets seeing that.  What on earth was wrong with her?



On the other hand, Riddhima was fully enjoying the scene.  Armaan's face made her want to laugh, but she somehow stopped herself.  She looked at the gang who had their mouths hanging open.  She giggled seeing their condition.  She looked at Armaan and winked at him.  Armaan realized it was Nivi's idea to do that.  He breathed out of relief.  They continued this for a while, when Nivi's phone rang.  After talking on the phone, she stood up along with Rocky.



"Hume jaana padega.  Meri friend ki tabiyat kharaab ho gayi hain.  I'm sorry.  Hum kal zaroor aayenge."



"Koi baat nahin Nivi.  You go." The couple left and Riddhima broke into fits of laughter.



"Ridz.  What was that?"



"Nivi ne Riddhima se aise behave karne ke liye kaha tha."



"Oh!  Main toh darr hi gayi thi." Exclaimed Muskaan.



"Haha!  Lekin tum logo ka chehra dekhne laayak tha.  Haha!"



"Lekin Riddhima.  Tum yeh bahu ki acting bohat achhe se karti ho."



"I know right!" They all laughed at this and had their lunch.

                                   

                                                                     ****



Armaan was working on his laptop when suddenly his phone rang.



"Hello?"



"Armaan Mallik?"



"Yes.  Who's this?"



"Mera naam jaanne ki koi zaroorat nahin hain.  Tumhare liye bas itna hi jaanna kaafi hain ki main tumhari madat karna chahti hoon.  Meri baat dhyaan se suno.  Lonavla waale tender ka jo tumne quotient rakha hain, usse kam kar do."



"Are you mad?  Who the hell are you?  Mujhe apna naam batao."



"Mera naam jaan kar kya karoge?  Just do as I say.  Maine tumhari madat karne ke liye phone kiya hain.  Please meri baat sun lo.  Main tumhari aur Mallik Empire ki bhalaayi ke liye tumse baat kar rahi hoon." Armaan could tell the person had disguised his voice through cloth.



"Lekin-" Before he could speak further, the caller had hung up, leaving Armaan completely confused.



Who was she?  Woh mujhse meri company ki bhalaayi ke baare mein baat kar rahi thi?  But does she really want the good of this company?  I think she does.  My instincts are telling me to trust her.  Main Riddhima ko phone kar ke abhi bulaata hoon.

                                                                              ****



Riddhima entered Armaan's cabin with the tender file he had asked for.



"Here's your file." He looked up from his laptop and took the file.



"Jaate jaate darwaaza band karke jaana." Riddhima jaws dropped down to her knees listening to him.  Instead of leaving, she crossed her arms and just stood there.  Armaan felt her not moving an inch and looked up.  She was looking back at him.



"What?  Leave." She simply rolled her eyes, ignoring his comment.  "Raasta bhul gayi ho?  Darwaaza udhar hain." He pointed at the door.



"I'm waiting for something." She said with full attitude which made Armaan confused.  He got up and stood in front of her.



"Care to share?"



"Thanks." He was even more confused now.



"Huh?"



"Thanks kaho."



"For what?"



"Main tumhare liye itni mehnat karke yeh file leke aayi aur tum mujhe thanks kehne ke bajaaye attitude dikha rahe ho?"



"Hold on.  You want me to say 'thanks' because you brought this file?"



"Main file le ke aaun ya Kutumb Minar.  It's called basic manner.  Agar koi tumhare liye kuch laaye, toh usse thanks kehna chahiye.  God!  Itne bade business man ho kar itna nahin pata?  Tch, tch, tch, tch, tch.  That's so sad na?"



"Listen.  Tum meri secretary ho.  You don't tell me what to do and what not.  And just stay away from me." He turned his back to her.



"Tum khud ko kya koi maharaja samajhte ho?  Boss ho toh employees ki izzat karna seekho.  Unse tameez se baat karo, samjhe?  Aur tum..." Armaan started to lose his cool.



He had been trying so hard to stay away from Riddhima and not let her thoughts haunt him, but he was failing every freakin time.  She was arousing those feelings inside him that he had been running away from, trying to bury them in such a way that no one could dig them.  Her one touch and all the hard work would go down the drain.  His fingers slowly curved into a fist.  Riddhima was so engrossed in her talks that she didn't realize how angry Armaan was.  He abruptly turned around and pushed her against the wall.  Riddhima was appalled by his action.  His hands tightly held her by her shoulder.  Riddhima was scared by the amount of fire his eyes withheld.  She feared the fire would burn her into ashes any moment.



"Tumhe ek baar mein koi baat samajh mein nahin aati kya?  Maine kaha na mujhse door raho.  Toh phir kyun baar baar mere paas aane ki koshish karti ho?  Stay away from me!" He shouted.  Riddhima was trembling due to fear.  She had her eyes tightly shut.  Never in her life had anyone ever yelled at her, not even her parents, and here was Armaan who was shouting at her for something only God knew.  Tears made their way down her cheeks and Armaan realized what he was doing.



Seeing her in tears twisted his heart in pain.  He felt as if someone had clenched his heart.  He loosened his grip on her arms and gently cupped her face, wiping those tears off with his thumbs.  He placed soft kisses on her eye lids, but Riddhima still didn't open her eyes.  He slowly bent down and pecked her soft cheeks.  He was surprised at how soft her milky skin was.  Riddhima slowly opened her eyes.  She felt secure when he was so close to her.



Words weren't needed.  Their eyes did all the talking.  Riddhima was just surprised.  One moment he hurts her like she has given him the biggest pain on earth, but the next moment he cares for her as if his life depends on her.  Why does he act like this with her?  Why does he do this to her? Why do his eyes send her to a different world?  Why does he affect her so bad?  Just why?



                                                                         ****

 Medha

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