Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Chapter 15 : Dangerous Desire (AR)

What's Happening To Me?


Riddhima ran out of the house as fast as her legs could carry her.   She wanted to forget what happened between them in Armaan's room, but it wasn't easy.  She could smell his strong cologne... she could still feel his manly lips on hers.  It was getting difficult for her to breathe.  That moment kept playing before her eyes.


She stopped a taxi and sat inside.  She shivered.  Not because of the fierce wind that was slapping her, but because she wanted to know what was happening to her.  She wanted to know why she was affected by him, why his touch melted her.


Yeh kya ho raha hain mujhe?  Main... maine usse roka kyun nahin?  Why did I... why did I reciprocate to his kiss?  I should've pushed him away right?  But I didn't.  Why?  Usske chhoote hi main kaap kyun uthti hoon?  It feels as if electric shocks are running through my entire body.  Why is he affecting me so much?




When he kissed me... it felt so right.  As if... as if only he has the right to kiss me.  When he danced holding me so close to him... I forgot everything else around me.  As if nothing else existed.  I feel these weird sensations inside me when he touches me.  Even a slight brush sets my body on fire.  But... is it only me that feels this way?  Does Armaan also feel this way?  Why is this so confusing?  Why does this have to be so complicated?


"Mem saab.  Aapka ghar aa gaya." Her trail of thoughts broke as she heard the driver speak.  She payed him and went inside her house.


She was about to call Padma to bring her a glass of water, but she realized they had already left Mumbai.  She knew Muskaan hadn't arrived yet because Rahul was supposed to drop her off.  She went up to her room and dropped on the bed.  She closed her eyes, trying to calm herself down, but their moment flashed before her eyes.  She jerked her eyes open and held her head.


"I need a shower.  Now."


She stepped out of the bathroom in her pink sleepwear and sat on her bed.  While drying her hair with a towel, she thought about what was happening to her.  Taking a cold shower had helped her take her mind off of the moment they shared, but she was pushed deeper into another thought.  What did she feel for him?  Did she just like him?  But in her life, she has liked many boys, but she never felt like she would lose herself in their eyes.  Was it infatuation?  But how could it be just infatuation?  Yes, she also has been infatuated by many, but she never got so affected by them.  Simply attraction?  Possible.  But their touch never created a havoc inside her.


"Yeh itna complicated kyun hain?  Hey Krishna!  Aapko na, humare dimaag ke andar tubelights lagaana chahiye.  Woh kya hain na?  Jab aisi koi feeling aaye na, toh woh tubelight aise jal jaani chahiye.  Aakhir pata toh chale ki kya ho raha hain.  Yahaan toh kuch samajh nahin aa raha.  Please kuch toh karo!" Riddhima said looking up at the ceiling.


The door opened and she saw Muskaan coming in with shy smile on her lips.  Riddhima immediately knew something had happened between Rahul and Muskaan.  Her thoughts completely forgotten, a secretative smile formed on her lips as she saw Muskaan sitting on the bed, blushing.  She slowly and quietly walked to her and sat down without making any noise and rested her chin on her hand.


She saw the pool of emotions playing on her face.  One moment she would turn the deepest shade of red and in the other she would smile one of her widest smiles.  She was sure something happened.  Stiffling her giggle, she moved closer to Muskaan and whispered in her ear.


"Rahul ke baare mein soch rahi ho?" She blushed and Riddhima got her answer.


"Bohat achha hain na woh?"


"Haan.  Woh... bohat achha hain." She said absent-mindedly.


"Tum... usse pasand karti ho na?" She could tell Muskaan was thinking about Rahul.


"Haan." Riddhima smiled widely and jumped on the bed.


"Kya!  Sachi?  Tumhe Rahul pasand hain!" Muskaan realized what she had blurted out and immediately stood up and looked at Riddhima mortified.


"K-k-kya?  N-nahin!  Ai-aisa k-kuch nahin hain!" Riddhima stepped down and put her hand on her hip and pointed at her.


"Jhooth matt bol!  Mujhe pata hain tumhe Rahul bohat achha lagta lekin main sirf tere mun se sunna chahti thi.  Ab chal bata." Her face broke out into a wide smile and she placed both of her hands on her hips.  "Tujhe woh bohat pasand hain na?"


"N-nah..." She was about to say no, but didn't finish it as she saw Riddhima's glare.  "Haan."


"Mainu pata tha by God!  Ab bata.  Tune ab tak mujhe kyun kuch nahin bataaya?"


"Main kya karti?  Main khud apni feelings ko le kar sure nahin thi toh tujhe kya bataati."


"Oh... woh toh hain.  Lekin Muski.  Tu itna sharma kyun rahi hain?"


"Woh... main aur Rahul... woh..."


"Tum aur Rahul kya?  Saaf saaf bol na!"  Muskaan looked at Riddhima and blushed remembering what happened between them.


Rahul reached Muskaan's house and he stepped down and opened Muskaan's door.  She stepped down and looked at him.


"Thanks Rahul."


"For what?"


"Mujhe ghar tak drop karne ke liye."


"Formalities ki koi zaroorat nahin hain.  We're friends right?" Muskaan smiled and nodded.  She turned to go when she felt Rahul's hand on her wrist.  She gasped and turned around.  He brought her closer to him and stared at her beautiful face.


"You're... beautiful." He whispered softly.  He saw a few strands of hair bothering his view and slowly moved them away.  "Ek baat kahun?"


"Kaho."


"I... I really like you.  Aaj se nahin, balki pehle din se.  I've never seen anyone like you.  Mujhe toh tum pehli nazar mein hi bha gayi thi." He cupped her face and bent down.  She closed her eyes feeling his breath on her face.  He gently captured her lips and kissed her slowly.  Muskaan gasped but then moved her hand into his hair, bringing him closer.  Rahul smiled through the kiss and pulled her closer, deepening the kiss.  They ran out of breath and broke apart.


He looked at her.  She had her eyes closed.  Her face was flushed and she had turned the deepest shade of red.


"Kya kal tum mere saath date par chalogi?" The words were out even before he knew it and he immediately regretted them.  He didn't know what Muskaan's answer would be.  She opened her eyes and looked at him.


"Haan." She whispered lowering her gaze and he smiled.


"Main tumhe aanth baje pick karne aa jaunga.  Ok?"  She nodded.


"Ab mujhe chalna chahiye.  Ridz aa chuki hogi."


"Ok.  Bye."


"Bye." She slowly walked to the door and looked back.  He was standing in the same position and was staring at her.  She waved at him and he waved back.  Smiling to herself, she moved inside.


Muskaan finished telling Riddhima everything and looked at her.  Riddhima was staring at her with her mouth hanging open and eyes widened.


"Ridz?" She called out but Riddhima didn't move.  She slightly shook her which brought her back.


"You... KISSED... Rahul?"


"Are you deaf?  Didn't I just say that!"


"Yeah, but I'm just confirming.  And you're going on a date with him?"


"Yes."


"OH MY GOSH!  I'm sooo happy for you Muski!" Riddhima hugged Muskaan, while she just smiled.


"You know what?  I want details tomorrow!  From top to bottom!"


"Ok baba, saari details milengi lekin abhi so jaa.  Kal office bhi toh jaana hain na?"


"Haan yaar, chal."


****


Armaan woke up and immediately held his head, feeling a pang of pain.


"Shit!" He looked around and found himself on the couch.  He was surprised.  He looked at his clothes and recalled that he was at Rocky's birthday party.  He remembered admiring Riddhima, talking to her, dancing with her, and then getting drunk, but that was about it.


"Damn.  I got drunk yesterday, but what happened after that?  How did I reach home?  And what the hell was I doing on this couch?" He saw a few flashes of two people kissing, but he couldn't see anything else due to the throbbing headache.


"I need a cold shower.  Otherwise I can't think straight."


He finally stepped out of the bathroom after having a cold, long shower and changed into black jeans and white shirt.  He opened the mini fridge in his room and emptied pretty much all fluids there and took a pain killer to reduce the hangover.  He sat down on the couch and tried to remember what happened yesterday.  He got a few more flashes where Rahul puts him in the car, Riddhima drives, they reach his house... he acts like a kid... and the last one where he calls Riddhima to the couch, but he didn't know what happened next.


"Oh God!  I acted like a freakin kid in front of her!  Woh kya sochegi mere baare mein?  Lekin usske baad kya hua?  Oh God mujhe toh kuch bhi yaad nahin aa raha!" His eyes fell on a silver dangly earring and he frowned.  He picked it up and brought it closer.


Yeh earring toh... Riddhima...


He saw himself pulling Riddhima down on the couch and kissing her.  As realization dawned on him, his eyes widened in shock.  He had KISSED Riddhima!!


"F***in hell!  I had kissed Riddhima!  Pata nahin ab kya hoga?  Damn it!" He held his head in his hands, cursing himself.  "Lekin Riddhima toh hosh mein thi na?  Phir ussne mujhe kyun nahin roka?" He remembered how she had reciprocated to his kiss and how she was equally lost in the moment.  He made up his mind to talk to her in the office and quickly went down to have his breakfast.


He saw the other three already seated at the table, having their breakfast.  They stopped talking as they saw Armaan coming down.


"Bhai, tumhara sir dard kar raha hoga.  Have some orange juice." Armaan nodded at Atul and took a sip out of the glass and read the newspaper in front of him.  He heard some noises and looked up to see the trio fighting over something in a hushed tone.


"Tum puchho."


"Main kyun puchhoon, tum puchho na Bhai se."


"Oye!  Marna hain kya?  Tu puchh." Armaan had enough of this and he finally raised his voice.


"Kya puchhna hain mujhse?" They were startled hearing Armaan's sudden voice and suddenly became nervous.  "Bolo."


"Woh... woh... Bhai... hum yeh puchhna chahte the ke... woh... um..."


"Bolo Abhi."


"Woh, kal jab tum ghar aaye, toh tum Dhinka Chika kyun gaa rahe the?" Rahul tried to stiffle his laugh, but it did no help whereas Armaan was mortified.


Innko kaise pata chala?  Yeh toh ghar par the hi nahin.


"Tu-tum sab ko kisne kaha ki main gaana gaa raha tha?" They all pointed at Bi, who was struggling to stiffle her laugh.


"Bi?  Aapne mujhe kab dekha?"


"Woh... jab Riddhima tumhe raat ko ghar le kar aayi, toh tum zor, zor se gaana gaa rahe the aur naachne ki koshish kar rahe the." The boys laughed while Armaan was utterly embarrassed.


"Wow Bhai!  Mujhe nahin pata tha ki tum drunk state mein itne entertaining hote ho." Armaan's face was completely flushed by now and he found it difficult to look them in the eye whereas they just laughed at this.


"Main office jaa raha hoon."


"Itni jaldi?  It's only 7:30."


"Haan, mujhe bohat kaam hain." He quickly went out of the house and quickly drove out.


****


Clad in a dark blue churidaar, Riddhima was standing in front of the dresser, brushing her hair absent-mindedly.


Office toh jaa rahi hoon, lekin Armaan ko face kaise karungi?  Agar usse sab yaad hoga toh aaj ka din toh bohat awkward beetega.  Kya karun?


She came out of her thoughts hearing Muskaan's voice.


"Kya kar rahi hain Ridz?  Kabse baar comb kar rahi hain.  Chal jaldi kar warna bohat daant padegi."


"Yeh kyun nahin kehti ki tu Rahul ko jald se jald dekhna chahti hain." Muskaan looked at Riddhima in shock but recovered quickly and retorted.


"Aisa kuch nahin hain.  Chal tu jaldi apni scooty nikaal!" Riddhima giggled and went out of the room.  Muskaan remembered the kiss they shared and blushed.


"Rahul." She whispered.  She heard a whistle and looked up to see Riddhima giggling at her.


"Oye hoye!"


"RIDDHIMA!" Muskaan yelled and ran after her.


****


Riddhima was seated in her cabin, thinking about how to face Armaan.  She still wasn't sure about how to face him.  Heck, she didn't even know if Armaan remembered everything or not!  If he didn't remember anything, then it was alright because she wouldn't have to worry about what he would say and all that.  But what if he did remember everything?  She was freakin screwed!  What if he asked her why she didn't stop him?  What was she supposed to say?  That she was mesmerized by him and intoxicated by his cologne?!  That would be insane!


"Hey Krishna.  Yeh main kahaan phas gayi?  Armaan ko kya bolungi?  This is so complicated!" She held her head in her hands and closed her eyes.  She thought about last night and smiled.


The way he had held her during the dance had made her feel so safe and secure.  As if her heart knew nothing would happen to her as long as Armaan's there.  She just knew it.  She thought about how he said he was feeling ticklish and chuckled.  He was looking so cute!  And when he sang the 'Dhinka Chika' song, she just wanted to pull his cheeks.  He was adorable, especially when he flashed his dimples.  Dimples?  She realized he never smiled from his heart!  But why so?


She jumped out of her skin as she heard the phone ring.  She started to panick again as it was time for her to go tell Armaan his schedule for the day.  But what was she supposed to do now?


"Calm down Riddhima.  Calm down." Taking a few deep breaths, she picked up the phone.


"He-hello?"


"Cabin mein aao."


"Ye-yes Sir." She quickly put down the phone and looked up.


"Hey Krishna.  Baccha lena haan." She gathered the file and went to his cabin.


On the other hand, Armaan was noticing each and every move of Riddhima through the window.  He had seen Riddhima talking to herself, then smiling, laughing, and panicking when he had called.  He was sure Riddhima was worried about what's gonna happen next as much as he was.


Seeing her gathering the file, he quickly closed the blinds and sat down in his seat.  The door opened and she entered, not looking in his eyes.  Armaan could tell she wasn't comfortable in confronting him.  This brought a slight smile on his face.  Whenever he's been drunk, he has kissed someone and has even gone physical with them, but none of them have been so uncomfortable facing him the next morning unlike Riddhima, who wasn't even looking him in the eye.


Riddhima quickly told him the schedule for the day and then tried to leave the cabin, but his voice stopped her.


"Riddhima." She closed her eyes shut, not knowing what was gonna happen.  She could feel her heart beating extremely fast.  She could almost hear it!


"J-ji Sir?"


"Woh... mujhe tumse... kal raat ke baare mein baat karni thi."She bit her lower lip, pressing her brows together.  She waited for Armaan to say something, but didn't turn around.


"Woh... kal raat ko jo bhi hua, usske liye I'm sorry." She opened her eyes shocked.  So he did remember!  "Haan, mujhe yaad hain ki kal kya hua tha.  Dekho, jo bhi hua, woh maine jaan mujh kar nahin kiya.  I was drunk.  I know it was wrong, but agar ho sake toh, please mujhe maaf kar dena." Riddhima was surprised at this.  She hadn't expected Armaan to apologize for this.  She slowly turned around and looked at him.


"It's okay.  Galti meri bhi thi.  Mujhe tumhe rok lena chahiye tha.  Lekin... pata nahin mujhe kya ho gaya tha.  I'm sorry." Armaan nodded once.  No one spoke for a while.  It was getting awkward for both of them.


"Umm... toh main jaun?"


"Haan." Riddhima smiled once and left the cabin.


Both were glad there were no misunderstandings between the two and thought everything would become normal now, but less did they know that nothing could be normal between them now.


****


Anjali entered Riddhima's cabin and saw her working on the laptop.


"Hey Ridzi!"


"Hey Anjali!  Kya hua?  Koi kaam hain?  Aur aaj badi khush lag rahi ho?  Kya baat hain?"


"Haan Ridzi.  Tujhe pata hain kal kya hua?"


"Nahin toh.  Kahin Atul ne tumhe propose toh nahin kiya?" She said in a teasing manner.


"Nahin yaar.  Lekin shayad woh din bhi door nahin hain."


"Matlab?" Anjali told her about her and Atul's conversation at the party and Riddhima was ecstatic at this.


"Wow!  Atul ne sach mein tumse aisa kaha?"


"Haan!"


"That's great!  So do you have anything planned?"


"Woh hi toh problem hain yaar.  Mujhe yeh hi samajh nahin aa raha ki mujhe aage kya karna hain.  Mujhe toh yeh hi nahin pata ki Atul mere baare mein kya feel karta hain.  Tu meri help kar na yaar." Riddhima thought for a while and an idea popped up in her mind.


"Chalo mere saath."


"Kahaan?"


"Armaan ke paas."


"Lekin kyun?"


"Woh tumhe abhi pata chalega." She winked at her and took to Armaan's cabin.


****


Armaan heard a knock on the door and muttered a 'Come in'.  He looked up to see Riddhima and Anjali coming in.


"Kya hua?" He asked as the two took a seat.


"I think it's time to tell Anjali about our plan."


"Matlab?" Riddhima told Armaan what Anjali told her and he was surprised.


"Kya!"


"Haan.  Aur ab mujhe lagta hain ki hume Anjali ko humare plan ke baare mein sab kuch bata dena chahiye."


"Guys.  Tum log yeh kya baat kar rahe ho?  Kaunsa plan?"


"Anjali... woh..." Armaan told Anjali about their plan and Anjali was bewildered.


"What?  Matlab... Atul bhi mujhse pyaar karta hain?" Shock and happiness were evident in Anjali's voice.


"Haan.  He loves you a lot."


"Toh phir tum log mujhe aaj kyun bata rahe ho?"


"Kyunki tab hum tumhari feelings ke baare mein sure nahin the.  We didn't know what you felt.  So iss liye humne tumhe kuch nahin bataaya.  Aur Atul ne bhi hume mana kiya tha."


"Oh.  Lekin tum dono ne mujhe aur Atul ko milaane ka plan kab banaaya?"


"Kuch din pehle.  Hum yeh toh jaante the ki tum dono ek doosre se pyaar karte ho aur yeh bhi ke tum dono apne pyaar ka izhaar kabhi nahin karoge.  Iss liye humne yeh plan banaaya."


"Sach mein guys.  Main bohat lucky hoon ke tum log mere dost ho.  Thanks a lot."


"Oye!  Thanks kyun bol rahi ho?  Dosti ka rule nahin pata kya?  Dosti mein no sorry, no thank you.  Samjhi?"


"Ji madam." They giggled at this and Armaan looked at Riddhima in surprise.  That day when he didn't say thank you to her for bringing the file, she had told him so many things and now she was telling Anjali not to say thank you?  "Ab bolo.  Plan kya hain?"


"Well..." Riddhima told them the plan that was cooking in her mind.  They were really impressed with her plan.


"Hmm... idea toh bohat achha hain."


"Lekin kya yeh work karega?"


"Zaroor work karega.  I'll make sure it does." She said with a huge smile on her face.


"Thanks a lot Ridzi." Riddhima glared at her for the thanks and Anjali bit her tongue.


"Um... no thank you."


"Better."


"Okay ab main chalti hoon.  Kuch files par work karna hain."


"Okay." Anjali left the cabin and Armaan stood beside Riddhima.


"I hope Atul aur Anjali jald se jald mill jaaye."


"Same here." Armaan looked at Riddhima as he remembered the 'thank you' topic again.


"Waise Riddhima.  Agar main tumse thank you nahin kehta toh tum bhadak jaati ho, aur abhi Anjali ne kaha, toh tumne usse kaha ki thanks matt kaho.  Aisa kyun?" Riddhima rolled her eyes and looked at Armaan with a fake smile.


"Point to be noted.  I said dosti mein no sorry and thank you.  And as far as I know, hum dost nahin hain.  Okay?" She sulked and walked out of the cabin.  Armaan was amused.  Never in his life had he ever met a person like her.  Slightly smiling to himself, he resumed his work.


****


During lunch, everyone had gathered up in the canteen.  Rocky and Nivi were suppose to leave for Delhi today and they wanted to see the gang before leaving.


"Hum tum sab ko bohat miss karenge." Said Nivi.


"Hum aap dono ko bohat miss karenge."


"Honestly, jitna maza hume tum sab ke saath aaya, utna kissi aur ke saath nahin aaya.  Thank you so much."


"No problem!" They all smiled.


"Aur hum tum sab ke liye ek gift laaye hain."


"Wow!  Gift!" Rocky took out gifts from the shopping bag and gave them to everyone.


"Ab khol ke dekho na!"


Niki opened her gift and found a beautiful diamond bracelet which had a 'N' hanging from it.  Abhi had gotten a new bike, which perfectly matched his style and taste.  Muskaan had gotten her favorite perfume set.  Rahul and Atul had gotten a very cool t-shirt.  Anjali had gotten a gold necklace, which had 'A & A' engraved on it, which meant 'Atul & Anjali'.  Yes, Rocky and Nivi knew about their love.  Wasn't it kinda obvious?  And finally, Riddhima had gotten a beautiful anarkali suit.


"Wow!  Gifts toh bohat hi achhe hain!  Thank you!"


"You're most welcome.  Lekin ek khaas gift hain jo main Armaan aur Riddhima ko dena chahungi." Armaan and Riddhima looked at each other and then at Nivi in confusion.


"Kaisa gift?" Nivi smiled.  She picked up a big gift which was wrapped in a pink wrapper and gave it to them.


"Arre bhai khol ke toh dekho!" Riddhima carefully opened the gift and both were shocked to see the content.  It was a picture of Armaan and Riddhima from the party where Riddhima was in the air and his lips were touching her ear.  Both were embarrassed because of the picture because they were really close.


"Kaisa laga humara surprise?"


"Bohat achha hain." Riddhima said with a light smile and both looked at each other.  The dance played before their eyes and they felt unknown sensations going through their bodies.  It was as if they were living the moment once again.  They looked away before they would lose themselves once again.


While the two were busy staring into each others eyes, Rocky and Nivi looked at the gang and winked at them, which they gladly returned.  They mouthed a thank you and Rocky and Nivi just blinked in assurance.  Yes.  They knew Armaan and Riddhima weren't married and this was their plan to bring them closer.


That day when they had arrived and saw Armaan and Riddhima in each others arms, they had thought that they were married, but when Anjali was showing them around the office, according to Niki's plan, she told them everything and the couple had even agreed to help the gang.  After that day, the couple deliberately did things to bring Armaan and Riddhima closer whether it was making them sit together during lunch or the romantic dance at the party.  They were even more happy to see the developing feelings the two had.  Now that they had done their part of the work, they had decided to leave Mumbai.


"Ok guys, ab hume nikalna chahiye.  Humari flight ka time ho gaya hain.  Please do stay in touch and we'll try to come here again.  Bye guys." They hugged everyone and soon left for their flight.


****

Medha

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