Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Chapter 35 : Dangerous Desire (AR)

The War Begins

Riddhima fluttered her eyes open as a sharp ray of light fell on her eyes and she sat up on the bed without opening her eyes.  As she stretched her arms, she felt an excruciating pain rush to her wrists and she winced.  She looked at her hands and was confused seeing dried blood on it.  Her eyes fell on her attire and became alert.  She frantically looked around the room and was stunned seeing herself in an unfamiliar room.  As she looked around, her eyes suddenly landed on Armaan, who slept on his stomach peacfeully, unaware of what was happening around.  Everything came back to her.  The wedding, the farewell, the games... their first night.  She looked at her wrist and became angry remembering what he did to her.

Armaan Mallik.  Kal raat tumne jo ghatiya harqat mere saath ki, usske liye main tumhe kabhi maaf nahin karungi.  I hate you Armaan.  Tumne jo kiya, usska hisaab tumhe chukaana hi padega.

Determined to teach Armaan a lesson, Riddhima stood up and went to the bathroom to get ready for the day after getting her clothes out.  She was so glad her mom and packed jeans and top for her because there was no way she was gonna 'dress up' for Armaan.  Plus everyone knew how she was so it wasn't a problem.  After she was done having a nice shower, she wore a few red bangles in oe hand as she was supposed to, filled her hair parting with just a little powder and wore the mangalsutra.


As it was her first day as 'Mrs. Mallik', she was expected to wake up early in the morning and make food for everyone and that's exactly what she was fixing to do.  She walked down the stairs and wasn't surprised when she didn't see anyone awake.  It was only 6 in the morning!  With some thoughts about what to make, she moved to the kitchen and almost received a heart attack seeing Bi there.  She kept her hand on her heart to calm her erratic heartbeat and breathed deeply.

"Bi!  Aapne toh mujhe dara hi diya." Riddhima said with a smile and walked up to her.

"Arre Riddhima beta.  Tum j se jaldi kaise uth gayi?" Bi questioned with a smile.

"Woh kya hain na, mujhe roz jaldi uthne ki aadat hain.  So I'm awake."

"Arre wah.  Yeh toh b se bohat achhi baat hain." Riddhima smiled and questioned her.

"Aap itni subah yahaan kaise?  I mean, abhi toh sirf chhe baje hain."

"Mujhe bhi tumhari tarah j se jaldi uthne ki a se aadat hain." Riddhima smiled and watched her.  Her smile slowly faded away as she drowned into her own thoughts, which didn't go unnoticed by Bi.  "Kya hua Riddhima?  Koi p se problem hain kya?" Riddhima looked at Bi with her big green eyes and nodded.

"Woh... aaj mera yahaan par pehla din hain.  Lekin mujhe toh yeh hi nahin pata ki mujhe khaane ke liye kya banaana chahiye." Listening to Riddhima's problem, Bi bursted into peels of laughter, making Riddhima frown.  "Aap has kyun rahi ho?" Bi somehow controlled her laugh and looked at her.

"Riddhima.  Tum iss liye p se pareshaan ho rahi thi?  Yeh toh s se simple hain!"

"Matlab?"

"Arre.  Shaadi ke pehle din hum humesha kuch m se meetha banaate hain.  Toh tum kuch meetha banao aur usske saath a se aloo ke parathe bhi bana lo.  Sab ko b se bohat achha lagega." Riddhima nodded with a wide smile, but became worried again.

"Lekin Bi.  Mujhe toh kissi ka taste nahin pata."

"Oh... yeh toh problem hain.  But fikar not.  Main hoon na.  Main tumhe sabka t se taste bata dungi." Riddhima smiled widely hearing her and Bi continued.  "Abhi aur Rahul ko zyaada mirch pasand hain.  Atul ke khaane mein bas thodi si mirch daalna aur Armaan ke khaane mein mirc bilkul bhi nhain.  Usse mirch bilkul bhi pasand nahin hain." Bi explained her everything and a wicked idea popped into her devilish mind.  "Toh ab main chalti hoon.  Tumhare haath ka bana hua khaana khaane ka i se intezaar rahega." Riddhima nodded and Bi left the kitchen.  After she left, a smirk formed on her lips.

"Ohh.  Toh Armaan jee ko mirch bilkul pasand nahin hain.  Nice.  Aaj ka din sab ke liye bohat hi meetha hone waala hain.  Sivaaye... mere pyaare pati dev ka." Riddhima quickly formulated an idea in her mind and went to the counter to start the cooking.

****

It was about 7:15 in the morning now and Riddhima was almost done with the cooking.  Looking at the clock, Riddhima was surprised when she heard absolutely no noise.  Weren't they all wake by now?  With lots of questions in her mind, Rdidhima moved out of the ktichen and didn't see an single soul in the big mansion.

"Hey Krishna.  Yeh sab itne bade ghar mein reh kaise sakte hain?  Inko dar nahin lagta kya?  Meri toh idhar jaan nikli jaa rahi hain.  By God!" She almost screamed her lungs out when a hand touched her shoulder and immediately turned around, placing her hand on her racing heart.  She took a deep breath seeing Bi there and smiled.

"Bi.  Aapne toh mujhe dara hi diya."

"Kya hua?  Tum k se kya soch rahi thi?"

"Woh... sab abhi bhi so rahe hain kya?" Bi sighed and looked at their rooms sadly.

"Haan.  Yeh log a se abhi bhi so rahe hain."

"Kyun?"

"Riddhima, yeh log b se bade toh ho gaye, lekin innki b se bacchpan ki aadat abhi tak nahin gayi." Riddhima frowned, not understanding what she was trying to say and Bi saw that.  "Arre buddhu.  Iss ghar ke ladkon ko na, abhi bhi u se uthaana padta hain.  Agar hum inhe naa uthaaye na, toh yeh log kabhi uthenge hi nahin."

"Sacchi?"

"Haan.  Rahul, Atul aur Abhi ko uthaana itna mushkil kaam nahin hain, lekin Armaan ko uthaana matlab d se deewaar par apna sir phodna.  Ab baaki teen ko toh main utha dungi, lekin Armaan ko tumhe hi uthaana padega.  Theek hain?"

"Ji Bi." Riddhima answered unsurely.  Bi smiled and walked away while Riddhima walked to her room to wake Armaan up.  She opened the door and saw Armaan still sleeping on his stomach with his mouth slightly open.

"Hey Krishna.  Ab yeh kya nahin musibat hain.  Roz issko uthaana padega?  AB main iss kumbakaran ki aaulaad ko kaise uthaaun.  Mann toh kar raha hain abhi isska gala daba doon.  Lekin phir inquiry hogi toh main hi marungi.  Nai re baba nai.  Mereko chance nahin lena.  Issko uthaana itna mushkil thodi hoga.  Lekin Bi jhooth kyun bolegi.  Dekhti hoon." Slowly and carefully, she moved her feet towards him and quickly tapped his shoulder.

"Armaan.  Utho." She waited for a moment but was surprised when he didn't move an inch.  "Armaan!" She slapped his back but there was no effect on him.  "Yeh toh kumbakaran ki tarah soye hi jaa raha hain.  Hey Krishna.  Puri duniya mein mereko ek yeh hi milna tha kya?  Pahelvaan." She kept cursing him and God in her mind when suddenly an idea popped in her mind and she smirked widely.  "Ab dekhti hoon tum kaise nahin uthte." Without making any noise, she quickly walked out of the room and ran downstairs.

Unaware of all the planning going on around him, Armaan slept like there was no tomorrow.  After what seemed like forever to him, he felt a soft, delicate hand lift his loose hand up and dip it into something.  For a while he felt nothing, when suddenly he felt a strange sensation inside him.  There was something burning around him, but he couldn't figure it out.

"OH F**KK!" All of a sudden, he jumped on the bed as he realized the 'something' that was burning was his finger!

At first, Armaan was just so shocked and startled. He just couldn't understand what was going on around him when he suddenly heard a beautiful, familiar sound and turned around to see Riddhima laughing her heart out.  He was completely mesmerized seeing her and everythign around him ceased to existence.  He saw her laugh holding her stomach and an involuntary smile made its way up to his lips.  His eyes suddenly fell on the cup of tea she was holding in her hands and the smile was replaced by a frown.  He realized the delicate soft hand belonged to none other than Riddhima.  She had dipped his finger in the hot tea!

"Yeh sab tumne kiya?" He asked angrily.  Hearing him talk, Riddhima tried controlling her laugh and spoke after a moment.

"Haan.  Maine hi kiya."

"Kyun?"

"Tumhe uthaane ke liye.  Tum kitna sote ho!"

"Yeh koi tareeka hain kissi ko uthaane ka?" He questioned angrily, not really expecting an apology from her.

"Haan!  Tum itna so kaise sakte ho?  Tumhe kitna uthaane ki koshish ki lekin tum ho ki uthne ka naam hi nahin le rahe the.  Koi neend mein tumhe aake maar daalega aur tumhe pata bhi nahin chalega!  Are you sure tum pichhle janam mein Kumbkaran nahin the?" She giggled at her own statement while Armaan was stunned at her reply.  How can she even say that!  Riddhima shook her head and started to go when Armaan swiftly pulled her back.

"Aahh." Riddhima winced in pain as he tightly pressed her hand and looked at him.  He was holding the same hand he had injured last night.  The wound was still fresh so it pained a lot.

"Armaan.  Mera haath chhodo.  Mujhe neeche jaana hain." She said in a low voice, but he, instead, grabbed her other hand and twisted it behind her back, pulling her close.  "Kya kar rahe ho?  Chhodo mujhe."

"Arre.  Aise kaise chhod doon?  Tumne jo subah, subha mere saath shararat ki hain, usska badla toh lena hi padega."

The next moment, he grabbed the back of her head and kissed her hard on her lips.  Riddhima knew what he was trying to do, but she wasn't going to let him win.  Instead of protesting, she kissed him back in the same way.  Armaan was completely taken back as he felt her kiss him, but kept kissing her.  He never left her hands and held her close to his body, absorbing the warmth of her body.  She tilted her head slowly and kissed him like never before.  While Riddhima was still in her senses, Armaan was losing his mind completely and she knew that.  All of a sudden, she bit his lip hard, making him wince in pain and he immediately pushed her away.  Riddhima was surprised at the force but smirked as she realized her plan worked.  Armaan looked at her in anger and she just walked out of the room with a victorious smirk playing on her lips.

"Bitch.." He swore under his breath as the door closed.

****

Clad in a black shirt with faded jeans, Armaan walked down the stairs to the dining area for breakfast.

"Hey Bro!" Abhi greeted Armaan with a smile and he did the same.  Armaan took his usual seat and was surprised seeing no good on the table.

"Guys.  Khana kahaan hain?" Armaan asked but the boys just shrugged.

"Pata nahin.  Hum bhi kabse yeh hi osch rahe hain.  Bi ko puccha toh woh sirf muskuraati hain.  Kuch toh gadbad hain." Before they could discuss this anymore, Bi came in with plates filled with food and placed it in front of them.

"Yeh lo.  Garma-garam khana tayaar hain." She said happily as she and the other servants placed the food bowls on the table. 

"Mmm... Bi.  Iss mein se toh kitni achhi khushboo aa rahi hain!  Kya banaaya hain?" Atul asked as he smelled the delicious aroma coming from the food.

"Abhi pata chal jaayega." Bi served the food to everyone and not being able to control their hunger anymore, they attacked the food as soon as it was served on their plates.  Since Rahul was the first one to be served, he immediately put a bite of the paratha in his mouth and made a satisfied sound closing his eyes.

"Mmm... wow Bi!  Yeh toh bohat hi achha bana hain!" Listening to Rahul, Atul and Abhi also placed a bite in their mouth and nodded, agreeing with Rahul.

"Sacchi Bi.  Yeh toh bohat tasty hain.  Aapko haathon mein toh jaadoo hain!" Bi smiled at the adorable boys in front of her.  Just then Riddhima entered with another bowl and took the seat beside Armaan.

"Mere p se pyaare bacchon.  Yeh sab maine nahin, R se Riddhima ne banaaya hain." As soon as the words left her mouth, everyone's eyes went up to Riddhima and their mouths flew open.

"Kya!  Riddhima ne banaaya hain?" They asked in unison.

"Haan.  Yeh sab maine hi banaaya hain." Riddhima said proudly and smiled.

"Oh my God Riddhima.  Mujhe nahin pata tha ki tum itna achha khana bana leti ho!" said Abhi.

"Oye.  Riddhima ko sab aata hain." She said with proudness and chuckled.  Armaan, who was still waiting for his food to be served.

"Guys.  Mujhe pata hain meri Riddhima bohat achha khana banati hain.  But don't you think even I deserve to eat something made by her?" They looked at Armaan's plate and saw it was empty.  Bi bit her tongue realizing she didn't serve him while Riddhima smiled.

"Armaan.  Tum kaisi baatein kar rahe ho?  Main hoon na.  Maine tumhare liye tumhari favorite cheez banaayi hain.  I'm sure tumhe bohat achha lagega.  Kyun Bi?" Riddhima said in a very sweet voice and Armaan raised a brow in surprise.  What was going on in her mind?  Bi nodded and Riddhima served Armaan.  After she was done, she served herself and was about to start eating when Atul stopped them.

"Arre arre arre.  Itni bhi kya jaldi hain?  Aaj aap dono ka, as couple, pehla din hain.  So tum dono ko aaj ek doosre ko apne haathon se khaana khilaana padega and no excuses.  Okay?"  Riddhima and Armaan smiled at this.

"Of course Atul.  Yeh toh meri, khush kismati hain.  I'll be glad to do so." Armaan winked at Riddhima and she smirked.  He broke a piece from her plate and forwarded it to her.  Riddhima looked at the bite and took it inside her mouth.  Then, she broke a morsel from his plate and forwarded it to him.  He leaned in and took the bite from her hands but not before biting her finger a bit.  She winced feeling his sharp teeth take her delicate finger between them and took her finger back slowly.

"I'm sorry." He said in a not-so-sorry voice, making the others go 'Ohh' and 'Aah' and winked at her.  Riddhima faked a blush and looked at her finger while he kept chewing the food.

Three... two... one...

As soon as the hot, firey taste of the morsel filled his mouth, he became restless and started to shift in his place. There was this fire ignited inside his mouth that he tried to extinguish but no avail.  Not being able to handle the spicy taste of the paratha, he quickly spit it out and gulped an entire glass of cold water down his throat but no help.  Seeing Armaan getting all restless, Riddhima knew her plan worked once again.

After Bi told her about Armaan's hatred towards spice, she had quickly made the sweets and the parathas, but made Armaan's food differently.  While everyone else's food was great, she had added tons of spice in his paratha, and had clearly imagined the same scene while doing that.

Hm.  There you go Armaan.  Yeh baazi meri huyi.  Tumhe nahin pata tumne kisse panga liya hain.  Ab jab tumne mujhse shaadi kar hi li hain, toh bhukto.  Aage aage dekho.  Hota hain kya.

Riddhima smirked at her own thoughts and started to pretend to be the ideal, caring wife as she saw the others getting very worried for him.

"Bhai!  Bhai you okay?" asked Atul.  Seeing them getting worried for Armaan, Riddhima quickly moved forward to him so the others don't doubt her.

"Oh my God!  Armaan!  Tum theek toh ho na?  Tumhe kya hua?" He started to cough violently and Riddhima rubbed his back.  She was truly starting to get worried for him.  Why was he coughing so much?  "Armaan.  Tum theek toh ho na?" She started to frantically look around for something when her eyes fell on the sweets in front of her.  She took one in her hand and made him eat the sweet and as expected, his coughing came to halt.  He looked at her as his coughing stopped and he was once again captivated by those beautiful green emeralds.  Her sweet, rosy fragrance filled his nostrills and he felt light headed.  On an impulse, his gaze fell to her lucious rosy, lips and looked back into her eyes.

Riddhima was no far from Armaan.  Even she was mesmerized by his ocean blue eyes.  All the hatred and revenge plans went out the window as she stared into his beautiful eyes.  Nothing else mattered anymore now that he was so close.  She softly blinked her eyes, enjoying the new, unexplicable feeling, only to come back to the world hearing everyone's coughs, or fake coughs.

"Ahem ahem!  Guys!  Hum abhi yahin hain!" said Abhi.  Riddhima looked away from him and moved away, mentally reprimanding herself for forgetting about her aim, even though it was only for a moment.

"Bhai.  You're very lucky haan.  Aapko zara si khaasi kya aayi, Riddhima kitni worried ho gayi.  Kyun bhaiyon?"

"Baraabar." Armaan smiled and looked at Riddhima, who just rolled her eyes.  Riddhima was mad at herself for caring about Armaan, even though it was just for a moment.

Yeh kya ho gaya tha mujhe?  Mujhe usski fikar kyun hain?  Ridz.  Focus!

She thought to herself.

"Lekin Bro, tumhe hua kya tha?" asked Abhi.

"Woh khane mein mirch bohat thi." He said looking at Riddhima, knowing she had done this on purpose.

"Arre.  Lekin maine toh Riddhima ko bataaya tha ki Armaan ko mirch bilkul nahin pasand." Said Bi.

"Haan Riddhima.  Tumne mere khaane mein mirch kyun daali?" He asked, trying to get her in trouble, but Riddhima an answer ready.

"Bi.  Yeh khana darasal mere liye tha.  Woh, mujhse galti se plates exchange ho gayi." She justified herself and turned to Armaan.  "I'm so sorry Armaan.  Mujhse galti ho gayi.  I hope tum mujhe maaf kar doge." She said in a not-so-sorry voice.

"Koi baat nahin Riddhima.  Galti sab se hoti hain." Bi said with a smile which Riddhima returned.

"Main Armaan ke liye kuch le kar aati hoon." She took his plate and started moving toward the kitchen with a smirk, when she stopped hearing his voice.

"Riddhima.  Tum isse kitchen mein kyun le kar jaa rahi ho?  Tumhi toh ke rahi thi ke yeh khana tumhare liye hain.  Toh tum aaraam se baeth kar khao.  Main tumhari plate le leta hoon." Armaan said with a smirk and Riddhima turned with a worried look on her face.  With slow, steady steps, Riddhiam walked to the table and sat down in her seat.  From the corner of her eyes, she could see a smirk playing on his lips.  She looked at her plate and appeared to be all scared.

"Kya hua?  Darr gayi?  Ab tum itna teekha khaana kaise khaaogi?  Bohat jalega na?  Tch, tch, tch... Bechaari Riddhima." He whispered in her ear and moved away.

Riddhima looked up and smirked at Armaan, wiping off the smile on Armaan's face.  Breaking a small piece of the paratha, she placed it in her mouth and ate it happily, with a small victorious smirk on her face.  Armaan, who was surprised, stared at her in shock.  How could she eat that!  Even though a little of spice was too much for him, he knew he difference between 'little' spice and 'loads' of spice.

Seeing him all surprised and shocked, Riddhima slightly winked at him, making his  eyes go wider and smirked.  Making sure no one was watching them, she scooted closer to him and said in a low voice, only audible to him.

"Itna shocked kyun ho patidev?  Mujhe bacchpan se hi teekha khaane ki aadat hain.  Sorry for ruining your plan haan." She moved away and ate her food happily, participating in the conversation playing at the table.

****

Very soon, Armaan went to the office for work, even when the others told him not to since they thought Armaan should spend more time with Riddhima, but Riddhima told them it was okay.  Riddhima was walking through the empty house, finding something important to do, but didn't know what to do.  Exasperated, she sat down on the comfy, medium-sized brown couch and rested her chin on her palms.

"Kya yaar!  Iss ghar mein toh kuch bhi karne ko nahin hain!  Mtch.  Itna bada ghar hain, lekin kissi haunted house se kam nahin hain!  By God!  Kaash main ghar par hoti.  Vahaan par Muski ke saath dhaer saari baatein karti, Papa ki help karti, ya phir Mumma ko kitchen mein help karti.  Yahaan toh itne saare servants hain kaam karne ke liye, lekin mere paas kuch karne ko hi nahin hain.  Wapas ghar jaane ka bhi koi faayeda nahin.  Ab tak toh Mumma-Papa Chandigarh pohanch gaye honge.  Muski bhi office mein hogi.  Mtch.  Kya karun?" Riddhima tapped her foot on the white, marble floor impatiently, trying to think of soemthing, when a loud noise made her jump.

"Ridz!" Turning towards the door, she saw Anjali, Muskaan and Nikki standing there, with big smiles playing on their lips.  Seeing her besties standing in front of her, she smiled a beautiful smile and ran up to them, hugging them tightly.

"Oh my God!  Tum sab yahaan kaise?"

"Sweetie.  Hume pata tha tu yahaan bore ho rahi hogi, iss liye hum yahaa aa gaye." Said Muskaan.  Riddhima smiled and moved out of the way so they could come in.  She closed the door and they all sat down on the sofa.

"So batao Riddhima.  Teri suhag raat kaisi rahi?  Hmm?" Nikki nudged her shoulder, teasing her.  A flash of the previous night came before her eyes and she winced, but regained her posture soon and smiled.

"Bohat achhi thi."

"Ohhh!" They said together as an attempt to make Riddhima blush, but she was far from being shy.

"Guys.  Mujhe chidhaana band karo aur yeh batao tum log office se bahaar nikle kaise?" Riddhima voiced the thoughts in her mind.

"Arre yaar.  Office mein zyaada kaam tha nahin, toh humne socha ki kyun na yahaan aakar tujhse mill lein." Riddhima nodded hearing Anjali's explanation.

"Hmmm... achha kiya.  Waise bhi main yahaan bore ho rahi thi." She complained.

"Haan woh toh hain.  Yahaan zyaada kuch karne ko nahin hain.  Especially tab jab saare ladke office gaye ho."

"Mtch.  Isse toh achha hota agar hum office hi chale jaate." Said Riddhima.

"Waise idea bura nahin hain.  Office mein zyaada maza aayega." Said Muskaan.

"Toh office hi jaate hain.  Vahaan par chill maarte hain." Nikki suggested.  The girls nodded and decided to go to the office and have some fun.

****

As the girls entered the office the staff stood up in honor of Riddhima as along with Armaan, she was also their boss.

"Good morning ma'am!" She smiled beautifully at everyone and replied.

"Good morning everyone!  And please.  Mujhe ma'am matt bulaao.  Bohat awkward lagta hain.  Okay?"  They smiled at Riddhima and nodded, making her smile widely and she walked to her cabin.  They entered her cabin and sat down on the couch available.

"So.. aaj itne dinon ke baad yahaan aakar kaisa laga?" Anjali questioned.

"Bohat achha laga." She answered honestly with a genuine smile on her face.

"Hmm... achha toh lagega hi na.  aakhir ab tum yahaan Mrs. Riddhima Mallik, yahaan ki maalkin ban kar aayi ho.  Kyun jee?  Sahi kaha na?" Nikki joked, making them chuckle.

"Waise.  Jab main yahaan nahin thi, toh kya hua tha yahaan par?"

"Well, zyaada kuch toh nahin.  Yeh sun kar ki teri shaadi Armaan ke saath ho rahi hain, sab bohat khush the.  Lekin ek baat mujhe bohat hi ajeeb lagi." Muskaan said happily, but then frowned remembering something, confusing Riddhima.

"Kya?" Hearign her question, Muskaan just shook her head in a no.

"Nahin, kuch nahin." Riddhima was about to question further, but knew Muskaan won't utter a word so thought against it.

"Main abhi aayi." She said and stood up.

"Oye!  Tu kidhar jaa rahi hain?" asked Nikki.

"Coffee lene jaa rahi hoon.  Be back in 5." She smiled and walked out.

As she made her way to the canteen, she stopped hearing a few familiar laughs coming from the restroom.  She stepped back and saw Maya standing with her useless friends through the crack in the door and felt anger rushing through her veins.  The night where she had seen Armaan and her kissing came back to her and her fingers curved into a rock solid fist.

"Ajeeb baat hain na?  I mean, pehle Riddhima yeh kehti thi ke usske aur Armaan ke beech mein kuch nahin hain, aur yeh dekho.  Ab unn dono ki shaadi ho gayi hain!" One of the girls said and Maya chuckled.

"Maine kaha tha na.  Riddhima bohat chaalak hain.  Jiss tarah se ussne Armaan ki phasaaya hain, main toh bilkul surprised hoon.  I mean, kisne socha tha ki Riddhima aur Armaan ki shaadi ho jaayegi!"

"But Maya, what about you?  I mean, you love Armaan right?  Ab kya karogi?  You giving up?"

"No ways Sanju!  Armaan ki shaadi bhale hi uss Riddhima ke saath ho gayi ho, but I don't care.  Main usse apne bana lungi.  I'll make sure woh Riddhima ko chhod kar mere paas aayega." She said with her back turned to Riddhima and with each word she said, Riddhima became more and more furious.  Her nails dug in in soft palms and not being able to control her fury, she barged inside and turning her around, she slapped her with great force.  The sounds of the gasps went unnoticed by the two as both were too angry.  Placing her hand on her, now bleeding cheeks, she slowly looked up at Riddhima with her eyes blood shot red.

"How... dare... you... Riddhima?" She spoke with her teeth grinded.

"A bitch like you deserves much more than this.  Khush ho ki maine sirf tumhe thapad maara.  If you lay your dirty eyes on my husband again, I... will... kill... you Maya!" She spat angrily and warned her, making Maya angry.  She turned around and started to walk out, but stopped.

"Kya kar logi tum haan?  Mujhe iss office se nikaal dogi?  Tum kuch nahin kar sakti Riddhima.  Nothing!  Armaan mujhe kabhi bhi iss office se nahin nikaalega!" She said angrily but Riddhima had an answer ready.  She turned around and looked at her and scoffed.

"Tumhe iss office se nikaalne ke liye mujhe Armaan ki permission lene ki zaroorat nahin hain.  Yeh matt bhulo ki ab Armaan ke saath saath, main bhi tumhari boss hoon.  And I have all the rights to fire you, and guess what?  You are... fired!  Aur agar tum iss office ya Armaan ke aas paas bhi dikhi na... toh isska anjaam bohat hi bura hoga." Riddhima said with an evil smirk on her face and her hands crossed against her chest.  Saying so, she walked out of the restroom defiantly and then stood at a distance.  She was amazed at her own behavior.

Yeh mujhe kya ho gaya tha?  Maya pe itna gussa?  Kyun?  Sirf iss liye kyunki usski nazar Armaan pe thi?  Lekin isse mujhe kya?  Maya agar Armaan ko chahti hain, toh isse mujhe koi farak nahin padta chahiye.  Toh phir itna gussa... itni nafrat.. kyun?  Lekin achha hi hua.  Uss Maya ki iss company mein koi jaga nahin hain.  Waise bhi woh pura din apni unn good-for-nothing-make-up-ki-dukaanon ke saath ghumti rehti hain.  Biatch.

Putting on her beautiful, wide smile, she walked back to her cabin, feeling happy and ecstatic because she had just sacked Maya.

The day had gone by very fast for everyone and very soon the bright day had succumbed into the darkness of the night. Being the workoholic he was, Armaan was going to stay back in the office to finish off his work though he didn't forget the warning he received from his dear brothers before leaving home in the morning.

As he walked to his car, he heard a few people talking, which surprised him.  How were people still here?  Shouldn't they be home by now?  As the curiosity rose in him, he walked closer towards the noise and was confused seeing Sanjana, Maya's friend, and her boyfriend sitting on the car and laughing.

"Oh my God!  Did Riddhima actually sack Maya?" Armaan was shocked.  Riddhima sacked Maya from the office!

"Yeah Sameer!  I mean, you should've been there!  Riddhima ek dum gusse mein aayi and she slapped Maya and fired her!  Main toh bas dekhti hi reh gayi!"

"But why did she sack her!"

"Because she heard Maya talking about how she was going to get Armaan back and stuff.  I swear yaar.  Isse pehle maine kabhi bhi Riddhima ko itna gussa nahin dekha.  Aisa lag raha tha jaise ek ghaayal sherni abhi apne dushman par attack karne waali ho.  But I feel bad for Maya.  I mean..."

The rest of her words ceased to exist as he pondered over what Sanjana said.  Riddhima sacked Maya because she was making plans about getting him?  But why did it even matter to her?  With his mind clouded with several thoughts, Armaan walked to his car and started to drive.

Very soon, he reached home and, for a change, was pleasantly surprised seeing everyone laughing and smiling.  A smile formed on his lips seeing his brothers smiling and laugihng and enjoying themselves.  A warm, satisfactory feeling rose to his heart seeing Riddhima playing around with everyone.  He completely forgot about the questions which were bothering him a few minutes back.  For the first time in his life, he felt like he was coming 'home'.

 "Hey Bro!  Why are you standing there!  Come join us!" Abhi yelled from the table, bringing Armaan out of his thoughts.  He smiled and walked inside.  Throwing his bag and coat on the couch, he walked to the table and sat down.  Just when he was about to turn his plate over, he heard Riddhima talk.

"Armaan!  Kya kar rahe ho?" He looked up and saw Riddhima towering over him.  When she didn't get an answer from him, she spoke again.  "Tumhe sharam nahin aati kya?   Tum abhi bahaar se aaye ho.  Tumhare haath par pata nahin kitne germs honge, aur tum khana khaane baithe ho?  Jao.  Upar jaa kar fresh ho kar aao.  Tab hi khana milega." She ordered him and Armaan was surprised.

"Tum mujhe order de rahi ho?"

"Haan."

"Kyun?"

"Kyunki main tumhari patni hoon Armaan.  Ab jao!" She said sweetly and pointed upstairs, ordering him to go.  The otheres, who were thoroughly enjoying the show in front of them, whistled seeing Riddhima ordering Armaan.

"Kya baat hain Riddhima!  Lage raho!" Riddhima smiled at them and looked at Armaan, telling him to go.  The frown on his face turned into a smirk, which really was enough to wipe the smile off her face.

"Jaunga... lekin tumhe mere saath aana padega."

"Ohhh..." The others said together, as her eyes widened.

"M-main nahin aaungi.  Mujhe bohat kaam hain."

"Toh main bhi nahin jaunga." Riddhima glared at him, while he just smirked.

"Chalo." She said in a dangerous voice and walked up to their room, with Armaan following her.

"Woh sab kya tha?" She questioned angrily as she heard the door close.

"What?" He asked casually, as if nothing had happened.

"Don't try to be smart!  Tumne yeh kyun kaha ki main bhi tumhare saath aaun?"

"Kyun?  Tum meri patni ho.  Tumhe nahin kahunga toh kya Maya ko kahunga?" He asked in a dangerously calm voice while Riddhima was confused.  What was that supposed to mean?

"Tumne Maya ko kyun nikaala?" riddhima crossed her arms and smirked.  She had been totally prepared for this question.

"Meri marzi." Armaan knitted her brows together and Riddhima spoke up again.  "Maya saara din apni unn useless friends ke saath ghumti rehti hain.  Office ka koi kaam nahin karti.  Aur main nahin chahti ke ME mein aise useless log rahein.  Ok?" Saying this, she was about to leave, but he caught her hand and pulled her back.

"Really?  Tumne usse iss vajah se nikaala?"

"Koi shaq?" She asked in a challenging voice.  He stared at her.

"Tum jhoot bol rahi ho." She scrunched her brows in confusion and he clarified himself.  "Tumne Maya ko iss liye nikaala kyunki usski nazar mujh par thi.  Haina?" He asked, observing her face carefully.  Riddhima was really surprised knowing he knew, but didn't want to accept it.

"Kya bakwaas kar rahe ho tum?  Aisa kuch nahin hain." She spoke defiantly, but he could see through her lie.  She turned her face to the other side, not wanting to look at him.  Armaan placed his finger under her chin and made her face him.  Slowly, he caressed her hair as she closed her eyes, feeling his soft touch burn through her skin.  She opened her eyes slowly and looked at him, mesmerized.

"Armaan." She whispered softly.  He gently held her face in his hands and questioned.

"Really?" He asked in his deep, sexy voice.  Riddhima said nothing.  She had no idea what was happening around her.

He came closer to her and stared at her, his eyes moving from her beautiful eyes to her rosy lips.  His cool, minty breath kissed her lips, creating a havoc inside her.  His face kept moving closer to hers and both closed their eyes because of their close proximity.  Very softly, he placed his lips over hers.  He kissed her softly, yet firmly, enticing her into another world where it was only him and her, no one else.

Riddhima moved closer to him, holding him by his shoulders.  She was sure if he wasn't holding her, she would defintely collapse.  His hands slid down to her waist and he pulled her close.

"Mmm.." Riddhima moaned feeling his thumb caress her stomach and her hands went up his exposed chest and around his neck, pulling him closer.  His grip became tighter and stronger around her waist, igniting a strange fire inside her body.

"Armaan!  Riddhima!  Kahaan reh gaye tum dono!" Abhi shouted.

"Andar romance karna band karo, aur neeche aao!" Riddhima broke away from him and stood at a distance.  She turned her back to him, not wanting to face him.  She closed her eyes, cursing herself for letting her guards down and giving into his wants.  Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves, she walked out of the room.

The dinner had gone by very well.  Armaan and Riddhima had composed themselves and decided to forget about that incident, since it was a slip for both.  At the table, they had surely been the center of attention since they took too long to back out, but Riddhima being the smart one had managed the situation cleverly and had turned the tables on them by teasing Rahul and Atul about Muskaan and Anjali which worked out very well.

Soon they had retired back to their rooms, hoping for a good night sleep.  Once they were inside the room, Riddhima had walked to the bathroom to change and Armaan was on the couch, checking for any important messages.  Very soon, Riddhima came out wearing comfortable blue and black checkered PJs with a medium sized brown shirt and had her hair up in a messy bun.  Seeing Armaan sitting on the couch, she twisted her nose in all directions and looked at the bed.  A wicked idea popped in her head and she smirked evily before walking up to the bed.  She placed one pillow on top of the other in the center and sat down in the middle, which didn't go unnoticed by Armaan.

"Yeh tum kya kar rahi ho?" he asked confused.

"Bed tayaar kar rahi hoon." She replied with an overly sweet smile.

"Main andha nahin hoon.  Dikh raha hain mujhe."

"Really?  Mujhe toh laga tha tumhe dikhaayi nahin deta."

"Ha-ha-ha.  Very funny.. not." Riddhima rolled her eyes at him and spread the blanket over her.  "Tum bed ke itne center mein so rahi ho?"

"Darling.  Tum kitne bhole ho." Riddhima said mockingly, resting her chin on the back of her fingers.  "Sweetheart.  Ab yeh bed, mera hain.  Toh zaahir si baat hain ki main hi iss par soungi.  Right?"

"Whatever!  Toh phir main kahaan sounga?"

"Oye pelvaan.  Mainu ki pata?  Inna vadda kamra hain.  Kahin bhi so jao."

"Riddhima yeh kamra mera hain aur main bed par hi sounga." He got on the bed and pulled the blanket to his side, but Riddhima caught it and pulled it back.

"Oye!  Kaha na bed par main soungi!"

"No!"

"Yes!"

"No!"

"Yes!"

"Armaan!  Tum mein sharam naam ki cheez hain ya nahin?  Ek ladki ko neeche sulaaoge kya!"

"Haan!  Sulaanga!  Kya kar logi!" Riddhima became angry seeing him challenge her and quickly thought of an idea.  She looked at the door and exclaimed.

"Mamma!" She exclaimed and as she had expected, Armaan let go of the blanket and looked behind him.  That moment was enough for her to take the blanket and cover herself properly with it, which she did.  Armaan, who was just too shocked knowing Riddhima fooled him there, stared at her, completely bewildered.  Angry at being fooled like that, Armaan went to his wardrobe and took out a big blanket and a pillow and went to the sofa on the opposite side of the room.

Medha

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