Thursday, 3 October 2019

Chapter 29 : Dangerous Desire (AR)

Rumors in M.E.

Anushka sat on her bed against the bed post, staring out of the window.  She just felt lost and drained of emotions.  The emotional turmoil her heart was in was eating her up from the inside.  Her life was such a mess.  She felt torn between Armaan and Ranvir and that's why she had been keeping herself away from everyone, to sort her feelings.

She didn't know what to do or where to go.  Armaan was her fianc.  She loved him, or at least that's what she thought.  And then there was Ranvir.  He was Armaan's friend, but she didn't know what she felt for him.  Did she love him?  But if she loved him, then what did she feel for Armaan?  Was it love or simple infatuation?  Armaan didn't love her, she knew it.  But then there was Ranvir.  His actions told her he liked her, probably even loved her, but he never said it.  Would she accept him if he said he loves her?  Maybe yes.  But what if he was just playing around with her?  What if his feelings were just infatuation and not love?  What if he left her after using her?


But why was she thinking about Ranvir more?  Maybe what she felt for Armaan was just infatuation and not love.  Not maybe, she was now sure what she felt for Armaan was infatuation.  She didn't love Armaan, she never did.  She felt much lighter as she felt one puzzle being solved, but the main question still remained.  What did she feel for Ranvir?

She tried weighing her options now.  Suppose she does love Ranvir and he loves her back.  They'll get married to each other and live happily ever after, like shown in the fairytales.  But what if he didn't love her?  What if he just liked her or worse was just playing around?  What then?  She would probably just die.  Yeah, she acted as if she was the strongest and toughest woman in the world, but she really wasn't.

She was only 5 years old when her parents had died in a car wreck.  She was with them, but she somehow survived.  Her parents had died before they reached the hospital.  After their death, her uncle became her legal guardian and she had to go with them.  She thought she'll get all the love in the world, but was wrong.  She got all the materialistic things, but didn't receive much of their love as they were always away from home because of business related work.  Later she was sent to boarding school because they realized they weren't being able to take care of her so she had to leave reluctantly.

Along with her age, she grew more independent and mature.  She made such thick and hard walls around her that no one could break through.  Knowingly or unknowingly she let Ranvir break those walls, but she feared trusting him with her heart.  But how was she supposed to find out what he felt for her?

After thinking a lot, she finally came up with a plan.  She knew how to know what he felt.  She let out a deep sigh and layed down on the bed, hoping to get some sleep tonight.

****

Riddhima stormed into her room, scaring the daylights out of Muskaan.

"Kamini chudail!  Woh khud ko samajhti kya hain!" She flopped herself down on the bed and and glared at the floor, wanting to burn it up.

"Riddhima!  Kya hua!  Aaj kiss par gaaliyon ki barsaat kar rahi hain?"

"Uss Maya ki bacchi par!"

"Ab uss chudail ne kya kiya?"

"Woh mere aur Armaan ke baare mein apne friends ko galat bata rahi thi."

"Kya bola uss ne?"

"Ussne bola ki main aur Armaan yahaan par kuch galat kar rahe the.  Aur-aur humare beech mein kuch chal raha hain."

"KYA!" Muskaan yelled hearing the new information.  Riddhima just nodded angrily.  "Woh kamini chudail khud ko samajhti kya hain!  Make up ki dukaan!  Kal toh main usski band baja dungi!"

"Matlab tu ussko maaregi?" Riddhima asked in horror.

"Nahin yaar!  Mereko ussko maarke apne haath gande nahin karne."

"Toh tu kya karne waali hain?"

"Bas dekhti jaa.  Kal main kaise uss Maya ka bharta banaati hoon."

"Achha meri baat sun.  Kal se na, tum tumhare woh jeans and all that pehen sakti ho."

"What?  Muski tu pagal hain kya?  Agar main jeans and top pehen kar jaungi toh mujhe sabke savaalon ka javaab dena padega and I'm not ready for it."

"Aur agar main yeh kahun ki sabko tere baare mein already pata hain toh?" Riddhima's eyes widened and she looked at Muskaan in shock.

"Tune sabko bata diya?"

"Haan."

"Tu pagal hain kya!  Sabko bol diya!"

"Oye!  Woh humare friends hain!  Unko nahin bataayenge toh kisko bataayenge?"

"I know what you mean yaar, but..."

"But kya Ridz?"

"Muski, I know they're our friends.  Lekin main unhe sahi time par sab batana chahti thi."

"Aur tera sahi time kabhi nahin aata.  Tu hi kehti hain na.  Kal kare so aaj kar aaj kar so ab.  Barabar na?"

"Yeah, you're right."

"I know I am." They laughed at this statement.

"Achha yeh sab chhod.  Tu mujhe ek baat bata.  Rahul kaisa hain?" She asked in a teasingly manner while Muskaan just blushed.

"Woh... woh bilkul theek hain." She tucked her lock behind her ear and looked away, smiling shyly.  Riddhima smiled widely seeing the color rise up her cheeks.

"Oye hoye!  Kya baat hain Muski.  Bada sharma rahi hain!" She teased her making her turn redder.

"Ridz.  Bas kar na." Her comment just made Riddhima laugh.  Who would have thought this is the same Muskaan that would run after you to murder you if you say just one thing wrong?  The difference was just so noticeable and great that Riddhima wondered sometimes if she was her Muskaan!

"Muski!  Tu apna chehra dekh!  Pura ka pura laal ho gaya hain!" Muskaan just blushed but quickly recovered.

"Chup kar Ridzi!  Warna bohat maar khaayegi!" She threatened her but Riddhima kept laughing.  Muskaan started to get angry and started throwing pillows at her while she gladly returned them.  Soon the room was covered with feathers and it was a mess, but the fun they had was just immeasurable.

****

The next morning, everyone sat in Armaan's cabin, talking about Riddhima.

"Oh my God, I really can't wait to see Riddhima.  I mean, woh modern dressing mein kitni hot lagegi na." Said Abhi.

"Haan yaar.  Maine toh kabhi socha bhi nahin tha ki Riddhima aisi bhi hogi."

"Lekin achha hi hain.  I mean, it's nice to know that she's got a wilder side too."

"True."

"Lekin Riddhima hain kahaan?"

"Main yahaan hoon guys." They heard her voice from the back and looked behind.  Their eyes widened and checked her from head to toe.  She wore black hip hugging jeans along with a long sky blue halter top.  In short she looked sexy.

"Woah!  Ridz!" exclaimed Abhi.  He moved towards her and looked at her in a amazement.  "You're looking sexy!" Riddhima giggled at his amazed look.

"Thank you Abhi."

"Riddhima!  I can't believe you were wearing those churidaars of yours when you look so sexy in this!" said Anjali.

"Ridz.  Agar Muskaan meri girlfriend nahin hoti na, toh phir main tumhe apni girlfriend bana leta.  Seriously." Muskaan became angry and turned to him.

"Oye!  Kya bola!"

"Yaar main mazaak kar raha tha!  I don't mean it seriously."

"Good!  Kyunki agar mere alaava kisi aur ko aankh utha kar bhi dekha toh maar dungi!"

"Kya baat hain Muski.  Jealous huh?" teased Nikki.  Muskaan blushed and backed away whereas Rahul smirked.

In all this, Armaan was the only one that was silent, but even he was mesmerized seeing Riddhima.  If there was anyone on this earth that managed to look sexy, cute and innocent at the same time then it was probably her.  He tried to look away, but couldn't.  He really didn't like the comments she was getting from his brothers, but preferred staying quiet.

"Riddhima!" They heard Ranvir shout from the back in shock and turned around.  They saw him checking her out and a smiling creeping up his face.  "Oh my God!  Babes!  You're looking smokin hot!"

"Thank you Ranvir."

"Seriously.  Mera offer abhi bhi open hain haan!" Riddhima just laughed at his flirting.

"Haan Ranvir.  I'll consider it."

"Hello everyone!" They saw Anushka enter the cabin and stiffened up seeing her.  They really weren't expecting her to be here at the moment.

"He-hey Anushka." She smiled and walked to Armaan.  She pulled up a seat next to him and sat really close to him, which Riddhima didn't like.

"Hey Armaan.  How are you?"

"I'm fine."

"Hey Riddhima!  Wow yaar.  You're looking good!" Riddhima forced a smile at the compliment.

"Thanks Anushka." She felt her heart burning at the sight of Anushka being so close to Armaan, but hid it very well.  Even Ranvir wasn't liking this and Anushka could tell this by the look on his face.  They talked for a while, catching up on a few things before going back to their work.

****

Riddhima and Muskaan were walking to the canteen to treat themselves a cup of coffee.  They were a bit tired because their work load was a bit high today.

"Yaar aaj toh main kaam karte karte marr hi jaaungi." Said Muskaan.

"I know yaar.  Aaj work load kuch zyaada hi hain."

They walked to the coffee machine and filled up their mugs.  They were about to leave after having their coffee but stopped hearing Maya's taunt filled voice.

"Wow  Sanju.  Kaha tha na maine tumhe.  Looks can be very deceiving.  I mean, look at Riddhima.  Jeans and top huh?  That's quite a makeover for a girl like Riddhima."

"I know!  And when is all this happening?  After she came back because of Armaan."

"I wonder what's going on.  If you know what I mean?" She laughed along with her friends whereas Riddhima and Muskaan's blood boiled hearing her remark.  They had never despised anyone so much the way they did for Maya.  She was such a disgusting person!  But even they were prepared for this.  If Maya thinks Riddhima'll start crying like those typical bahus in the shows, then she was in for a surprise.  A BIG surprise.  Riddhima looked at Muskaan who gave her a nod.  She turned around and looked at Maya.

You are so gonna regret messing with me.

She thought with a slight smirk on her face.  She walked to her with a straight face, not wavering her gaze even once.  Seeing Maya smirking at her, she wanted to punch that small face of hers and beat her to the pulp, but thought otherwise.  Without hesitating even once, she poured her hot coffee on her, completely ruining her pure white dress.  Maya yelped in pain and tried wiping the stain, but couldn't.  She looked at Riddhima in shock and anger.

"You bitch!  How dare you!" She shouted at her, pissed at her guts.  The others, except for Muskaan, just looked at them in shock.

"Hey!  Lower your volume!  And calling me a bitch now are ya?  Are you sure you're not talking about yourself?  Because it seems like you're describing yourself!  You really enjoy making fun of others don't you?  You always look for flaws in others, but have you ever looked at yourself?  You're the one that's actually full of flaws!  You have no sense of what you should and shouldn't do!  You think you're all hot and good looking and that everyone wants to be with you, when the truth is that no one would want to be with someone like you.  And yes.  If you don't know anything, then shut that stupid trap of yours!  No one is interested in listening to you because you are downright annoying.  Okay?  And this dress." She reached back and took out some money and slammed it on her hand.  "Keep this money and get your dress cleaned."

Saying this, she turned around and left the canteen with Muskaan whereas everyone else laughed at Maya, who fumed in anger.  No one had ever dared to insult her like that.  She hated Riddhima so much, but knew better than to mess with her.

"Shut up!" She yelled at others and stormed out of the canteen.  On the other hand, Muskaan was laughing her heart out.

"Oh God Ridz!  You burned that Maya!  Her face was worth watching!  And I really didn't expect you to spoil her dress like that."

"She deserved it.  If she's gonna bitch about me like that, then that's what she's gonna get."

"Haha!  But she's gonna remember this for the rest of her life."

"I know right!  Now come on.  Let's get back to work or else our not-so-lovely Armaan is gonna murder us." Muskaan stopped laughing and thought about something.

"What happened Muski?"

"Ridz... can I ask you something?  If you don't mind."

"Oh come on Muski.  When did you start doing the formalities?"

"Are you sure there's nothing going on between you and Armaan?" Riddhima just ran out of words.  Would she be lying if she said there was nothing between them?

"Muski!  Are you out of your mind?  Obviously there's nothing between us!"

"You sure?"

"Duh!" Riddhima said like it was the most obvious thing in the world and Muskaan believed it.

"Yeah, you're right.  Come on let's go."

****

Anushka walked to her car in the parking lot.  She opened the door to her car and was about to sit down when she was suddenly turned around and pushed against the car by Ranvir.  She became scared seeing Ranvir so angry, but then started to struggle in his arms.

"Leave me Ranvir."

"What the hell were you doing?"

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Really?  You don't know what I'm talking about?"

"No!" He twisted her arm back and brought her closer.

"What were you doing with Armaan?  What was up with the sudden PDA?"

"He's my fianc.  I can do whatever I want and that is none of you business!"

"Oh hell it is my business!  And don't you dare get started on how he's your fianc!  You didn't think about that when you kissed me the other day!"

"That was just a mistake!  I never meant any of that!"

"Really?  So you never got jealous when I flirted with Riddhima that day?  You never got angry when I said she should be my girlfriend?  You don't think about me when you're alone?  Come Anushka.  Tell me!" He spoke loudly, thinking she would say what she felt, but was wrong.  Anushka had answers to everything.

"No!  I was never jealous or angry at Riddhima and neither do I think about you!  I have a fianc that I love very much so you can stop living in delusions!" Anushka knew every single word she spoke was a straight out lie, but she also this was necessary.  Before Ranvir could say anything else, his phone rang and he left her.  He went away after giving her the look while she just stared at his retreating back.

****

Riddhima was finished working on a file that Armaan had handed her and walked to Armaan's cabin. She walked to his table, without taking notice of Armaan who walked right towards her, unaware of her presense in the cabin.  They suddenly bumped into each other and lost their balance, landing on the couch beside them with Riddhima on top of him.

Her hands were placed on his chest whereas his were around her waist pulling her closer.  Their lips were only inches apart from touching.  Her warm breath kissed his lips, creating a havoc inside him.  He tightened his grip around her tiny waist, pushing her to him.  She held his shirt in her tiny fist and hid her emerald green eyes behind those long, think black lashes.  She felt her body burning with heat and passion.  She didn't dare to look in his eyes knowing she would lose herself the moment she did.

Armaan saw her cheeks turning into a pinkish shade.  He raised his free hand and cupped her cheeks.  He rubbed his thumb against her soft skin.  She closed her eyes and he felt her shaky breath hit his face softly.  She opened her eyes and looked into his ocean blue ones.  There was desire, passion and... and something else she couldn't tell.  An emotion that overpowered everything else in the world.  The time seemed to come to a stand.  Everything ceased to existence.  If anything existed then it was the fact that they were in each other's arms.

Her mind screamed at her to get up and move away, but her heart refused to heed to her brain.  Her heart had it's own will.  His hand went into her hair and he slowly brought her face closer to his.  She saw his gaze dropping down to her parted lips and lingering there before looking back into her eyes, telling her what he wanted.  She was feeling the same.  She wanted to feel his lips on hers and be explored by him the way he did that night.  Maybe even more.  Her eyes closed by itself and so did his.

Their faces were so close, their nose touching lightly.  He brushed his nose against hers, making her heart beat wildly.  He rubbed his nose against her cheeks and jaw bone and slowly arched her head.  Lost in the moment, he slid his nose along her long neck making her shiver in his hold.  He placed a light, feathery kiss beneath her ear and she opened her eyes.  Suddenly her mind shouted at her.  She jolted back to life and realized what just happened.  She became angry at herself for losing her mind again and got off of him.  Armaan was confused at first, but then closed his eyes knowing he lost control again.  He saw Riddhima's back turned to him and got up.

Riddhima just kept cursing herself in her mind.  She lost control again.  She didn't know what to do or how to control herself when he was around her and this was frustrating her.  How can she not have control over her own self?  What was supposed to do?  She closed her eyes and took a deep breath to calm herself down.  She couldn't bear the awkwardness and decided to break it.  She turned around and spoke with anger.

"Tum dekh kar nahin chal sakte kya?" Armaan came out of his thoughts and looked at her confused.

"What?"

"What 'what?'  Bhagwaan ne itni badi badi aankhein di hain toh use karo na!"

"Hold on.  Main dekh kar nahin chal raha tha?"

"Haan!"

"Dekh kar tum nahin chal rahi thi!"

"Ay lo!  Ab saara ilzaam mere pe daal rahe ho?  Sharam nahin aati kya!"

"Agar tum dekh kar chal rahi thi toh tumne kyun nahin roka?"

"HAWWW!  Apni galti maanne ke bajaaye tum mujhse keh rahe ho ki main dekh kar nahin chal rahi thi?"

"Haan!  And by the way.  Tum mere cabin mein iss waqt kar kya rahi ho?"

"Main... main yahaan kyun aayi thi?" She moved her eyeballs in a circle to remember why she was here.  "Arre haan!  Tumne jo file di thi main usse dene aayi thi." She handed him the file that was on the floor and he took it.

"Baraabar kiya hain ya bas aise hi?"

"Oye!  Main Riddhima Gupta hoon!  Main koi bhi kaam ainvayi hi nahin karti!  Samjhe!" Armaan rolled his eyes in irritation and checked the file.

"Hmm... everything's right.  Tum jaa sakti ho." Riddhima gave him a fake smile.

"Thank you.  Meherbaani aapki." She rolled her eyes and walked out of the cabin.

****

Riddhima was working on the computer in her cabin when she heard a knock on the door.

"Come in." She said still typing on the keyboard.  The heard the door click open and saw Atul come in.  She smiled at him.

"Hey Atul!"

"Hey Ridzi." He said with a small smile.

"What happened Atul?  Is everything alright?"

"Yeah, everything's fine."

"Don't liye Atul.  I know something's wrong.  You don't have that cute little smile on your face!" Atul smiled at her friendly concern.

"Ridzi, I'm just too frustrated."

"Why?"

"Because I don't know what to do."

"Let me guess.  Is it about Anjali?" Atul looked at her for a second and nodded.  Riddhima sighed.  She got up and sat in the seat next to Atul's.

"What do you want to do?"

"I don't know.  I don't even know if she likes me in that way or not.  I mean, she's always acting like a friend, but sometimes I feel like even she feels something for me.  I'm soo confused!  I feel like my head's gonna explode!"

"Hmm... there is one solution to this."

"What?"

"You make the first move."

"What!"

"Yeah.  Look at this.  You're waiting for Anjali to make the move first and if she loves you too, then even she's thinking along the same lines.  You see, most girls are too shy when it comes to confessing their love.  You know, the fear of rejection and all that.  So maybe because of that, neither of you are saying anything and that's why nothing is progressing between you two.  Don't you think you should do something?"

"But what if she doesn't feel the same way?"

"So?  Atul.  Sometimes we'll be living in this fear and when we finally decide to tell the love of our life, it's too late.  Do you want to see Anjali falling in love with someone else?"

"Hell no!"

"Then you should make the first move.  I mean, start by giving her slight hints.  Take her out on a dinner.  Make her feel special.  Do something okay?" Atul pondered over what Riddhima said.  He knew she was right and he should make the first move.

"Yeah, you're right."

"I know I am." She said with a smile.

"Thank you soo much Ridzi!  I love you yaar!" He hugged Riddhima in a friendly manner and then left after talking for some time.

****

It was lunch time and since Riddhima finished her work early, she was the first one to reach the canteen.  She ordered her lunch and sat down to eat her food as she was very hungry.  As she ate her food, she heard some talkings around her.

"Hey Tanya!  Did you hear the new gossip?" A girl asked.

"No, what?"

"Riddhima and Armaan stayed in a house together for a few days!  That is so a news!" Riddhima closed her eyes in annoyance.  This really was the last thing on Earth she wanted to hear.  Why was it such a big deal?

"So?  Big deal yaar." Tanya said rolling her eyes.

"You're such a spoiler yaar!"

"Shut up Lavanya!"

At least someone's got some brains here.

Riddhima thought to herself and chuckled inwardly.

"I'm just surprised because Armaan hasn't kicked her out yet." This caught Riddhima's attention.  Why would Armaan want to kick her out?"

"Yeah, I know.  I mean, none of Armaan's secretary has lasted for more than a month!"

"That is shocking!  Riddhima's like the onlyl one that has been here for more than a month."

"Yeah, but that's probably because she didn't do the marriage drama." Riddhima was even more confused.  What marriage drama was she talking about?

"I know!  Otherwise most the girls that've slept with him always have done the marriage talk with him." Riddhima's head shot up at this.  Girls that have slept with him?  What the f...

"I wish I was his secretary."

"I know, but I'm just surprised hasn't, you know, spent a night with him."

"You never know.  Maybe they have, but Riddhima hasn't talked about this to Armaan.  That's probably the sole reason."

"But anyways.  That's their stuff.  We shouldn't get into it." They started to talk about other random stuff, but only one thing was stuff in Riddhima's head.

Armaan slept with other girls and kicked them out when they talked about getting married?  But how was that possible?  How could Armaan do that?  Maybe there was a misunderstanding.  But how can the entire office have a midunderstanding about that?  Did that mean he wanted to do the same with her too?  Did he want to sleep with her too?  Her heart started to sink at the mere thought.  Had she been wrong about him?  She got pulled out of her thoughts as she heard her name being called.

"Hey Ridzi!"

"Hey Nikki." She said with a forced smile.

"Wow!  Eating lunch early?"

'Yeah, I was done with my work."

"Oh, okay."

They started to talk about other things, but Riddhima still couldn't get the thoughts about Armaan out of her mind.  Was Tanya saying the truth?

****

Medha

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