Saturday, 5 October 2019

Chapter 31 : Dangerous Desire (AR)

Don't Trust You Anymore

Riddhima was outside, sitting on the swing, absorbing the quiet tranquil night.  The light night breeze played with her hair, making her shiver.  She stared at the sky covered with clouds of darkness.  The moon was hiding behind the dark clouds, making the night look darker than usual.  She couldn't help but relate the sky to the turmoil her heart was going through.

There was a fight going on between her mind and her heart.  Her mind kept flashing the images of Armaan kissing Maya and her and the staff's conversation, which made him look wrong.  But then on the other hand, her heart kept showing those moments when he took care of her, when he was nice to her.  She wanted to believe her heart, but couldn't.  There was only one thing she knew and that was she couldn't stay here any longer.  Every time she would see him, she would be reminded of tonight's incident, which she wanted to forget so badly.  She sighed and closed her eyes wanting to get some peace and sleep.

****

It was still night time, but sleep was far away from two people-Ranvir and Anushka.  She was laying on his bare chest, drawing various shapes on him as he caressed her silky hair.

"What are you thinking about?" Ranvir asked her softly, somewhere knowing what was on her mind.


"Armaan." She answered, confirming his doubts.

"You're thinking about him when I'm with you?  Are you planning on cheating on me?" He joked while she frowned and hit him lightly.

"Shut up Ranvir!  I was thinking about our engagement.  What are we gonna do now?  How are we going to break this news to him?"

"Do you want to get married to him?"

"No."

"Then you'll have to tell him yourself.  About us."

"But how am I going to tell him this?"

"You gotta think about that now." She frowned hearing him.

"Why only me?  Aren't you gonna be there?"

"No."

"Why?"

"Because I'm not the one that's engaged to him.  It'll be better if you break this news to him."

"Hmm... you're right." He suddenly rolled over her and looked at her with mischief.

"As of now, I don't think we should talk about Armaan.  Actually, we shouldn't be talking at all.  We have other special things to do." Anushka blushed understanding what he meant.

****

The next morning wasn't really a pleasant one.  It appeared to be very gloomy.  It was drizzling slightly, making people very lazy.  The Sun was hiding behind the grayish white clouds, making the day look very sad.  Indifferent to the rest of the world, Riddhima slept on the swing, which was moving slowly and gently.  She felt someone calling her name and shaking her.

"Riddhu.  Riddhu.  Riddhu uth na.  Riddhu!" She could faintly hear Muskaan's voice and slowly opened her eyes.  She blinked a few times to adjust her eyes to the sudden brightness and saw Muskaan towering over her.

"Riddhu.  Tu yahaan terrace par kyun so rahi thi?" Riddhima thought her question and recalled the events from yesterday night.

"Woh... mujhe raat ko neend nahin aa rahi thi, iss liye yahaan aa gayi thi.  Aankh kab lag gayi, pata hi nahin chala."

"Hmm... theek hain.  Ab jaldi tayaar jo jaa.  Office jaane ka time ho gaya hain." Riddhima thought about this for a moment.  After yesterday, she really didn't feel like seeing his face.

"Muski." She turned around and looked at her.  "Yaar aaj mujhe kuch theek nahin lag raha.  I don't feel like going to work today."

"OMG!  Are you okay?"

"Yeah.  I'm just not feeling well."

"Okay, lekin main Armaan ko kya bolungi?"

"Usse keh dena meri tabiyat theek nahin hain.  Woh samajh jaayega." She said with a little anger, which surprised Muskaan, but she decided not to give it much thought.

"Okay.  You take rest haan?" Riddhima smiled seeing Muskaan's concern and nodded.

"Don't worry.  I'll take care of myself."

"Okay now I'll rush.  Or else-" Muskaan started but was cut off by Riddhima.

"Or else tujhe Rahul dekhne ko nahin milega.  Right?" Muskaan looked at her with her mouth open slightly whereas Riddhima suppressed a strong urge to laugh at her sister's flushed face.

"M-main chalti hoon.  Bye." Muskaan rushed out and Riddhima laughed at her sister's innocence.  Yes, she could beat you to death and make you be afraid of her, but if you looked at her closely, you'd know how her heart was made of pure gold.  You just had to love Muskaan.

Keeping her thoughts aside, she went down for a nice, hot shower to clear her clouded mind.  She wanted to think straight about what she wanted to do now.  There was no way she was going to work with Armaan anymore.  Not after knowing what type of guy he was, unless some miracle happens and she changes her mind about him.  But as of now, that was far from possible.

****

On the other side of the city, Armaan was in his room, getting ready to leave for work.  He was so impatient to meet Riddhima.  He wanted clear things with her as soon as possible.  It was so hard to describe in words how much it hurt him to know hatred was filling Riddhima's heart for him.  He still had no idea why it mattered to him so much but it did.  It was enough to turn his world upside down.  Suddenly, his phone rang, bringing him out of his thoughts.

"Hello?" He answered the phone and waited for the caller to speak.

"Armaan?" Armaan was surprised hearing Anushka's voice.

"Anushka?  Why did you call me right now?"

"Armaan... I need to talk to you." She spoke hesitantly.

"Right now?  But I-" He started, but was interrupted.

"Please Armaan.  It's very important." Armaan sighed hearing her.

"Okay.  Where do you want me to come?"

"Come downstairs, in your lawn.  I'm standing there." He was surprised knowing Anushka was at his house, but put that thought aside.  Telling her a quick 'okay', he went downstairs.

Armaan walked into the lawn and looked around to find Anushka. The curiosity was starting to get the better of him.


"Anushka?  Where are you?"


"I'm here Armaan." He turned around hearing Anushka's voice.  She was appearing to be very hesitant and nervous about something, but what was it?  Tucking her hair behind, she walked towards him slowly and stood in front of him.


"Why did you call me here?"


"Armaan... I don't know how to start this.  I..." She started, but her voice trailed off.  Closing her eyes, she sighed and tried starting fresh while Armaan waited patiently.  "Armaan, I know you don't love me.  I know our engagement was only a business deal for you.  I've known this for a while.  From the beginning, to be more precise." She confessed calmly whereas he was confused.  If she knew about this from the beginning, why did she get engaged to him in the first place?


"I know you must be wondering if I knew this, then why I got engaged to you.  Well... I had thought that... as time goes by... you'll probably start feeling the same way I felt for you... but that didn't happen.  Armaan, I know you'll call me childish for this, but it's true.  I used to think I was in love with you... but now I realized it was never love.  I was just infatuated towards you and I've realized that.


"Trust me, I probably would've never realized this... if I hadn't met Ranvir.  He made me realize the true meaning of love.  I realized I loved him and-and only him.  Armaan, I've realized I can't get married to you.  I know even you don't want this marriage to take place, so let's just break this up." Anushka looked at him with his eyes full of hope.


"Yeah, you're right.  We should break this up." Armaan took her hand in his and took their diamond studded engagement ring off.  Anushka smiled and exhaled in relief while he gave a small smile.


"Thank you!" She smiled widely.


"Now go.  Ranvir's gonna be waiting for you.  And... have a happy life." She smiled and nodded.  Happiness was bubbling inside her because she wasn't in this relationship anymore and nor did she have to carry a burden on her and so was Armaan.


"You too.  Bye." She smiled and walked past him but stopped abruptly.  She turned around and looked at his back.  "Armaan." He turned around and looked at her, wondering what else was left.


"Armaan... main sirf ek hi baat kehna chahti hoon.  Tumhara pyaar... tumhare bohat kareeb hain Armaan.  Usse kabhi bhi khud se door matt karna.  Usse apna lo." Armaan was confused.  What was she talking about?  Anushka just chuckled.  "Tumhe abhi kuch samajh mein nahin aayega Armaan.  Lekin meri baat yaad rakhna.  Okay?" Armaan was still confused, but nodded.  Anushka smiled and walked away.

Did people think she was blind and didn't understand what was going around her?  If yes, then they were very wrong.  She understood everything that was happening around her.  She was not a blind person who couldn't see the new feelings blossoming between Armaan and Riddhima.  After seeing the way Armaan reacted whenever Riddhima's name came up and the jealousy that was evident in Riddhima's eyes when she went closer to Armaan, she was 100% sure both were head-over-heels in love with each other, but their arrogance and ego was much greater and wouldn't let them recognize their love just yet.   But she was sure that day will come soon and just prayed for their happy life.

****

Armaan got into his car and drove off to work. His mind was still on the little showdown from last night.  He just didn't know what to do.  Riddhima wasn't wrong when she said he used girls.  He did.  She wasn't wrong when she said he wanted to use her too, but... that was a long time ago.  How was he supposed to explain that to her?  He just couldn't bear seeing the hatred in her eyes.

He somehow managed to reach ME with those thoughts on his mind.  He went inside and everyone stood up and greeted him while he just nodded.  He went to his cabin, wanting to meet Riddhima as soon as possible but was surprised seeing his office the same way he had left it last night.  Why didn't Riddhima organize everything today?  Maybe she's running late, he thought to herself.

About an hour passed by, but there was still no sign of Riddhima.  Armaan was starting to get impatient every passing second.  Various kinds of thoughts were passing his mind.  He decided to call Muskaan and ask her before his mind would burst open.

"Armaan Sir?  What happened?  Why did you call me?"

"Where is Riddhima?  She still hasn't arrived yet." He asked, voicing his thoughts.

"Oh my God!  I'm sorry sir.  Main aapko bataana bhul gayi.  Woh, Riddhima ki tabiyat kharaab hain.  Keh rahi thi usse kuch theek nahin lag raha.  Pata nahin mere dimaag se kaise nikal gaya.  I'm very sorry." Armaan was astounded.  Only one question was roaming in his head.  Was she really sick or was she just acting to ignore him?

The latter option just infuriated him.  If she thought she was going to ignore him, she was so wrong.  He hummed a quick 'hmm' and hung up.  He grabbed his keys and walked out of the office angrily.  He drove fast to Riddhima's house and quickly walked to her door.  He rung the bell furiously and heard a faint 'coming'.  The next moment, the door flew open and he saw an irritated Riddhima in front of him.  Her expressions changed into a cold, indifferent one.

"Tum yahaan kya kar rahe ho?" came her cold, sharp questions.

"Tum office kyun nahin aayi?"

"Kyunki meri tabiyat kharab hain.  Muskaan ne nahin bataya tumhe?" Her answer just made him angrier and he moved closer to her, making her move back.

"Really now?  Tum kissi bevakoof banaane ki koshish kar rahi ho?  Tumhe kya lagta hain?  Mujhe kuch samajh mein nahin aata?"

"Armaan.  Just leave.  Mujhe tumse koi baat nahin karni." He became furious and pulled her close by her shoulders making her wince in pain.

"Lekin mujhe karni hain." He spoke with gritted teeth, making his grip stronger.

Riddhima looked at him in surprise.  His angry eyes bore into hers, scaring her.  She looked at his hands which were holding her tightly and then back at him.  Armaan followed her gaze and realized he was holding her very tightly.  His anger subsided a little and he left her.  She rubbed her arm which was almost bruised because of his tight grip.  Giving him a glance, she started walking away from him.  Armaan closed his eyes, mentally reprimanding himself for losing his temper so easily.

"Riddhima." He called her and she stopped in her tracks, telling him she was listening.  "Riddhima... tumne jo kal dekha tha, waisa kuch nahin tha.  Main..." She turned around hearing him trail off.

"Tum kya Armaan?"

"Riddhima, please meri baat suno.  Tum bilkul galat samajh rahi ho." Riddhima turned around with the same cold expressions.

"Toh samjhao mujhe Armaan.  Main sun rahi hoon."

"Riddhima... kal tumhe jo bhi dekha woh sirf ek misunderstanding thi.  I... I was drunk and... and main kya kar raha tha... I-I don't know.  Mujhe toh yeh bhi nahin pata Maya vahaan kya kar rahi thi.  I swear." He spoke trying his best to make Riddhima believe him.  Her trust was just so important for him.  Riddhima did believe him.  She knew he was not lying when he said he was drunk, but she still wasn't ready to trust him.  Not after knowing some facts.

"Theek hain.  Maan liya you were drunk.  But were you also drunk when you slept around with other girls?"

"Riddhima... those girls, they meant nothing to me.  Whatever happened between us was mutual.  They knew there could be nothing between us and the only reason I sacked them was they were being immature.  That's it.  And... jahaan tak tumhari baat hain, toh main tumhare saath aisa kabhi nahin karna chahta tha."

"Really?  Toh... tumhare mann mein... kabhi bhi meri baare mein aise... aise khayaal nahin aaye?"

Armaan was speechless.  He didn't know what to say.  Riddhima was right.  He did wanted her her like that.  Hell, he still does!  But... how was he supposed to explain what he felt?  For him, it wasn't just about sex.  But what was it then?  Even he didn't know.  He did not have the answer to this question.  What was he supposed to tell her if he didn't know what he felt?  Would she even believe him?  Chances were, she wouldn't.  He couldn't give her an answer, but she got hers in his silence.

"Bolo na Armaan.  Chup kyun ho gaye?  Main sahi keh rahi hoon na?" Armaan didn't say anything and kept looking down.

"Main jaanti thi Armaan.  You know what?  Mujhe pehle lagta tha ke tum ek arrogant insaan ho jisse apne rutbe pe ghamand hain, lekin phir mujhe laga ki nahin.  Tum itne bure nahin ho.  Lekin main kitni galat thi. Tum... tum toh... ek gire hue insaan nikle.  Tum-tumhe sirf apni hi fikar hain na?  Dusre kya sochte hain, kya nahin... you just don't care!  Tumhe sirf logon ka use karna aata hain.  Aur main aise insaan ke saath kaam nahin kar sakti.  Main Mallik Empires chhod rahi hoon." Riddhima spoke with so much anger and bitterness that she didn't realize what Armaan was feeling.  He was starting to become angry with every word she said.  Anger was starting to replace his guilt as he looked at her with furiousness in his eyes.  The final blow came when she said she was leaving the company.  She turned and started to leave.

"Ruko!  Tum aise company chhod kar nahin jaa sakti!"

"Really?  Aur mujhe kaun rokega?  Tum?"

"Haan.  Tum company aise chhod kar nahin jaa sakti."

"Tum mujhe nahin rok sakte.  Iss baar, tumhare paas mujhe rokne ke liye koi contract bhi nahin hain."

"Aga tum nahin ruki toh main-"

"Toh kya?  Papa ko Rihanna ke baare mein bata doge?  Jao.  Bata do.  Waise bhi blackmailing ke alaava aur kar bhi kya sakte ho tum?  Lekin iss baar, tumhari blackmailing mujh par kaam nahin karegi.  Main Mumbai chhod kar Chandigadh jaa rahi hoon.  Agar rok sakte ho, toh rok lo.  Darvaaza uss taraf hain." Saying this, she walked back to her room, slamming the door shut.  Armaan glared at the door, and then left the house angrily.  He got into his car and drove off fastly.

****

Armaan was in his gym, punching the bag hard.  Riddhima's words kept playing in his mind, making his temper reach heights.

"Tumhe sirf logon ka use karna aata hain."

"Main Mallik Empires chhod rahi hoon."

"Waise bhi blackmailing ke alaava aur kar bhi kya sakte ho tum?"

"Agar rok sakte ho, toh rok lo."

He held the  bag right in front of him, glaring at it.  He was furious now.  All his guilt had flown out of the window.  He was no longer sorry.  Riddhima had hurt his ego very badly and Armaan was not going to tolerate that.

"Riddhima... Shashank... Gupta.  Tumne Armaan Mallik ko challenge karke bohat badi galti ki hain.  Ab tak tumne sirf meri achhaayi dekhi hain.  Lekin ab... ab tumhe woh Armaan dikhega jo tumhari zindagi nark se bhi batar bana kar rakh dega.  I will make your life a living hell.  Tumne mere baare mein jo kuch bhi kaha tha, ab main usse sach kar ke dikhaunga.  I'll make you regret every moment of your life.  Main tumhari zindagi barbaad kar ke rakh dunga.  I promise you." He spoke with so much anger, so much venom in his voice.  He was determined to destroy Riddhima and he would.  Riddhima did not have a slightest clue about the storm which was about to enter her life.  She didn't know how drastically her life was going to change in a matter of a few days.

****

Medha

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