Thursday, 17 October 2019

Chapter 43 : Dangerous Desire (AR)


Riddhima sat on the window ceil of her room and stared out the window.  She heard the cool winds sing in her ears and the rustle of the leaves along with the faint sound of the kids running around in the courtyard.  The day seemed very gloomy, just like her life which was now colorless.  Two days had passed since she left Mumbai and came to her mom's maternal house ' Surat ' to stay with her parents and Naani for a few days, since that was the only place she knew she could go.



Even though she acted like she was happy and content with her marriage life in front of everyone, only she knew how she was trying to save her broken self.  Ever since he said those painful words to her, Riddhima completely fell apart.  She lost the desire, the reason to live.  The days were nothing but a drag for her now.  What was life without Armaan?  Nothing.  Absolutely nothing.  When she wrote the letter that letter, she meant it.  Every single word that she had written came straight from her heart.  But it didn't even matter anymore.  She was sure Armaan was very happy that she left and life was no different for him.  But now she was determined to forget about him.  To take him out of her heart and start her life afresh, that is if it was possible.  She sighed dejectedly.




"Riddhi!  Oh Riddhi!  Jaraak uye aav ni (Come here)!" Riddhima was pulled out of her thoughts as she heard her name being yelled.



"Aavi Naavi (I'm coming Naani)!" She yelled back and ran down the stairs of her house to her Naani's room.  "Haan Naani?  Shu thiyu (What happened)?" she asked politely, slightly panting for breath and Naani turned and faced her.  Naani was an old, yet healthy looking woman in her mid-70s.  Her hair was slowly turning gray and she wore medium-sized glasses with a plain white saari with purple borders.



"Maare taari haathe vaat karvi chhe (I want to talk to you).  Yahaan aao." Riddhima nodded and walked to her and Naani hugged her with a smile.



"Riddhu.  Main bohat khush hoon ke tum yahaan aayi ho.  Lekin aise achaanak kaise?  Baddhu saaru chhe ne (Everything is okay, right)?" Naani asked lovingly and Riddhima smiled.



"Haan Naani.  Baddhu saaru chhe (Everything is fine).  Aur kya main yahaan achaanak se nahin aa sakti kya?  Kya yeh ghar ab mera nahin hain?"



"Haan haan, aa sakti ho, lekin tu apni haalat toh dekh.  Kya haal banaake rakha hain.  Aise kapre... dupatta aise... baal... sach bol Riddhima.  Sab theek hain na?" Riddhima looked at herself in the mirror behind her.



She was wearing a dull green salwar kameez with her dupatta covering her upper body.  Her hair was pulled back and she looked so pale and tired.  She couldn't blame Naani for asking her those questions.  The way she looked would make anyone think something was wrong.  But what was she supposed to do?  Ever since he told her all that, it felt like the old Riddhima just died.  Even dressing up was like a pretense to her.  Like she was doing it just for the sake of it.  This wasn't her, but she didn't want to become the old Riddhima again.  Putting on a fake, but convincing smile, Riddhima turned.



"Naani.  Woh kya hain na.  I'm thinking about changing my dressing style.  Like you know?  Thoda experiment karna chahti hoon.  Issi liye aise tayaar hui hoon.  Kyun?  Un kharaab laagun chhu (Do I look bad)?" Naani smiled.



"Nahin maari maa.  Tu bo sundar laage chhe (You look very beautiful).  Lekin ek baat bata.  Armaan kahaan hain?" As soon as she said that, the smile on Riddhima's face disappeared, but she forced it on her face again.



"Woh Armaan ko bohat kaam hain.  Iss liye woh abhi nahin aa sakta.  Woh baad mein aayega." Riddhima lied and Naani believed it.



"Oh.  Saaru chhe (Okay).  Ab chal.  Bohat kaam hain.  Shubhankar aur Kirti ki shaadi ko bas kuch hi din bache hain.  Bohat saara kaam baaki hain.  Ave chal (Let's go)!" Riddhima smiled lightly at her and followed her after a moment.  Kirti was Riddhima's cousin and now she was getting married to Shubhankar in a week which meant lots of work had to be done and there was no time for her to waste.



****



"Haaye main maar gayi.  Yeh airplane mein chhe ghante baethna is torture!" said Muskaan.



"I agree yaar.  Lekin khana bada achha tha."



"Oye bhukaad.  Tereko khaane ke alaava kuch aur sujta hain kya?" Armaan said jokingly to Nikki, but she got mad.



"Toh marr jaane tera kya jaata hain?  Ek toh teri vajah se Riddhima idhar Surat aaye hain aur tu hain ki aise mereko bol raha hain teri toh.." Nikki advanced to him with the intention of beating him up but Abhi picked her up with hand and put her back where she was.



"Oye chaar foot chaar inch.  Yahin pe raho.  Airport pe jhagda karogi na, toh pagal khaane waale aake mental assylum mein bitha denge.  Phir saari life deevaaron se ladti rehna." Nikki gave him a fake smile and rolled her eyes, muttering some curses under her breath as she turned her face away.



"Oye Muskaan.  Riddhima ka address kya hain?" Armaan asked her and she took out a small notebook from her bag and flipped through some pages.  She looked up and saw a taxi standing there and went up to drivers.



"Oh bhai.  Jai Ambe Society chaalho (Will you take us to the Jai Ambe Society)?" Muskaan asked in a typical Gujarati accent, surprising everyone.



"Haan chaalo (Yeah, let's go)." The driver replied.



"Ketla paysa leho tame (How much money will you take)?"



"Jata pandar minute thahe toh un pachaas rupiya leva (It'll take us 15 minutes so I'll take Rs. 50)."



"Haay haay!  Aatla ma pachaas rupiya?  Taxi chhe ke airoplane? (Oh my God.  Rs. 50 for this?  Is this a taxi or an airplane)?"



"Jo ben.  Fixed rate chhe (Look.  The rate is fixed)."



"Em?  Police ni paahe jau?  Ej kehe fixed rate hu chhe (Oh really?  Should I go to the police?  They'll tell me what the fixed rate is)."



"Ek minute.  Chaalo... tamaare haaru pachaas ni, pachi rupiya.  Enthi vadhaare ochhu ni tahe (Ok... for you it'll be Rs. 25, not 50.  Nothing less)." Muskaan smiled.



"Hmm.  Saaru." Muskaan turned to the rest with a victorious smile and was confused seeing them staring at her with their mouths dropped open.  "What?"



"Muski.  Tujhe Gujarati kaise aati hain?" asked Anjali.



"Tu toh Punjabi hain na?" said Atul.



"Arre dabbo.  Jab main chhoti thi, toh yahaan aksar aaya karti thi.  Tab hi Ridz ne mereko Gujarati sikhaayi.  Iss liye mereko aati hain.  Ab meri shakal ko taakte rahoge, ya chalo ge bhi?" They all came out of their shocked mode and they sat in the taxi.  Since they didn't have enough room, they took two taxis and soon they reached the society.



When they got there, they were surprised seeing the society being decorated.  They obviously didn't have an idea about Riddhima's cousin's wedding, so they decided to ask.



"Oh Kaaki.  Aa hu thatu chhe (What's going on)?"



"Arre Kirti chhe ne?  Tena lagan thavaana (You know Kirti right?  It's her marriage)."



"Hey bhagwaan!  Kirti didi na lagan thavaana?  Koni haathe (It's Kirti didi's marriage?  With who)?" The lady looked at her suspiciously.



"Tu kaun chhe (Who are you)?"



"Mtch.  Arre Kaaki.  Un Muskaan chhu.  Riddhima ni ben.  Un yaad chhu ke ni (I'm Muskaan.  Riddhima's sister?  Don't you remember me)?" As the lady thought through, she realized she did know her and smiled widely.



"Hey Krishna!  Muskaan!  Tu ketli motti thay gay (You've grown up)!" Muskaan smiled.



"Haan Kaaki, un bo motti thay gay.  Ave mane keu.  Kirti Didi na koni haathe lagan thavaana (Yeah Kaaki, I've grown up.  Now tell me.  Who is Kirti Didi getting married to)?"



"Arre Shubhankar yaad chhe ne tane (You remember Shubhankar right)?"



"Haan."



"Teni haathe (With him)."



"Oh my God!  Shubhu ni haathe (With Shubhu)!" The lady nodded with a smile and Muskaan slowly smiled.  Wow.  This was not expected, but yeah.  It was happening.



"Ave chaal.  Un chaali.  Bo kaam chhe (Now.  I'm going.  I have lots of work to do)." Muskaan nodded and she left.



"So.. what's going on?" Armaan asked.



"Kirti Didi is getting married to Shubhu!"



"Who?"



"Arre Riddhima ki cousin, Kirti.  She's getting married to Shubhu!  Like, oh my God!"



"Woh sab chhodo.  Ab yeh socho ke andar kaise ghusna hain.  I mean, hum yahaan aa toh gaye, but we have no plans at all!  What should we do?" asked Rahul.



"Guys.  Yahaan paas hi mein ek restaurant hain.  Vahaan chalke sab discuss karte hain?"



"Nice idea." With that, they left to go to the restaurant where they planned out some things.



****



Riddhima was in the courtyard, grinding red chilli pepper silently for the dishes for the wedding when all of a sudden she heard her name being whispered.



"Riddhima." She stopped and raised her gaze.  Muskaan?  She slowly turned around and saw Muskaan standing there with tears in her eyes.  Seeing her, Riddhima stood up as her eyes filled her tears.



"Muskaan." She whispered happily and Muskaan ran up to her and embraced her tightly as both weeped in each other's arms.  They couldn't explain how happy they were seeing each other.  They were like sisters and staying away from each other just killed them.



"Oye.  Teri himmat kaise hui iss tarah hum sab ko bina bataaye yahaan aane ki?  Haan?"



"I'm sorry Muski.  I-"



"Tera sorry gaya bhaad mein!  Tune itni badi baat mujhse kyun chhupaayi Riddhu?  Why?  Kya main teri apni nahin hoon?  Tu mujhe apni behen maanti hain na?  Toh phir kyun?  Why didn't you tell me Armaan forced you into this marriage?"



"Kyunki main teri bhalaayi chahti thi Muski.  I.. I'm sorry."



"Really now?" She looked apst Muskaan and saw everyone else standing there together.  More tears filled her eyes seeing all her friends standing at the doorstep.  Admist all this, she had totally become distant from them, which she regretted more than anything.  She sobbed more seeing them and they ran up to her and embraced her tightly, as they all cried.



"How could you Riddhima?  Tum hum sab ko chhod kar yahaan kaise aa sakti ho?" Anjali asked angrily.



"Ek baar bhi humaara khayaal nahin aaya tumhe?" asked Nikki.  "Bas sab chhod kar yahaan aa gayi?"



"Nikki I-"



"Just shut up Riddhima!  Armaan forced you into this marriage?  Okay.  Fine.  That's understandable because he's Armaan, he's mental.  But you?" Abhi stormed on her.  "You're a fighter Riddhima!  Tum toh galat ke khilaaf ladti ho, right?  Toh phir tumne aisa kyun kiya?"



"Abhi," Riddhima started. "Mere paas aur koi rasta nahin tha.  Agar main aisa nahin karta toh woh Mumma 'Papa ko nuksaan pohanchaata and I didn't want that."



"Riddhima agar aisi baat thi toh tumhe yahaan aana chahiye tha, yahaan humaare paas." Said Atul.



"Haan.  Agar tumhe usse darr lag raha tha, toh tumhe hume kehna chahiye tha.  Lekin... tumne aisa nahin kiya. Kyunki tumhe Armaan se pyaar ho gaya tha." Riddhima raised her eyes and looked at Rahul.  "Haina?" She lowered her eyes as she didn't know what else to say.  Everyone exchanged glances.



"Okay look.  Let's forget about all this Riddhima.  Okay?  We want the best for you.  Now c'mon.  Smile." Riddhima smiled through her tears and hugged Anjali as she patted her head.  Riddhima smiled, but her eyes involuntarily went to the doorstep.  Somewhere in her heart, she was hoping that out of nowhere Armaan would walk in with a smile and spread his arms apart but alas.  She knew this wasn't going to happen so hoping would just be pointless.  As she was lost in her thoughts, she didn't realize that everyone's eyes were on her.



"Abhi," Nikki said in a soft voice "mujhse Riddhima ki haalat dekhi nahin jaa rahi.  Kuch karo na yaar."



"Don't worry jaan.  Bas kuch hi daer.  Usske baad Riddhima aur Armaan waise bhi mill jaayenge." He ended with a wink and she smiled.



****



As of now, everyone was sitting in the courtyard, laughing and giggling about things to cheer Riddhima up.  Luckily, Riddhima was slowly forgetting about her pain and was enjoying this time with her friends.  She was laughing, smiling and giggling at some jokes Atul said.  In short ' even though for a short time ' she was happy.  Since Naani had returned a while back, Riddhima and Muskaan introduced everyone to Naani and she was more than happy to welcome them into her house.



As she watched Nikki do something totally crazy, she laughed insanely when all of a sudden, her gaze fell on one of the pillars in front of her and she was shocked seeing Armaan staring at her with a smirk and mischief in his eyes.  He started playing the guitar in his hands as he walked around.  Her eyes followed him everywhere he went in amazement.  Was he actually here?  Or was she just imagining him?  How could he be here?  It was really hard to believe.  All of a sudden, she saw him wink at her and Muskaan tapped her shoulders.



"Oye.  Kya hua?  Kya dekh rahi hain?" Riddhima was surprised.  She looked at Armaan.  He was still  there.  Could they not see him?  Was she just imagining him?  Quite possible.  Wouldn't be the first time, right?



"Nahin, kuch nahin." She said with a fake smile and slowly looked in his direction again, thinking he'll disappear, but he was still there, looking directly into her eyes.  Her heart was pounding against her ribs, almost threatening to pop out any minute.  Why was this happening?  Why to her?  This looked too real to be a figment of her imagination.  It felt like he was actually there!  She looked to the other side and thought to herself.  He was not there and he was never going to be there.



On the other hand, everyone else exchanged glances as they saw Riddhima staring at Armaan.  Yup.  Armaan was actually there.  She wasn't imagining it.  This was their plan and they were sure it was going to work.  They secretly gave thumbs up to Armaan who winked in retun and moved away.  When she opened her eyes, he wasn't there.  Though she convinced herself saying it was her imagination, somewhere inside she was really upset because she wanted him to be there but alas.  She wasn't going to see him again.



Time flew by once again and now the girls were moving to Riddhima's room as they talked.



"Waise tum sab yahaan kyun aaye?"



"Well.. you see.  First of all, hum sab tumhe bohat miss kar rahe the so we're here.  Second of all, hum shaadi ke baare mein ek baat toh bhul hi gaye." Said Anjali.



"Kya?"



"Duffer.  Mumma-Papa ko mere aur Rahul ke baare mein kaun bataayega?"



"Ohhh!  Now I get it!"



"Yeah.  Plus mujhe Mumma-Papa ki yaad aa rahi toh Rahul ne socha ki mujhe yahaan le aaye."



"Haan, aur Abhi toh by God itna impatient hain na!  Ussko shaadi karne ki badi jaldi hain!" Riddhima smiled at this.



"Tum sab kitne lucky ho.  Atul, Rahul aur Abhi tum sab se kitna pyaar karte hain.  Tumhari ek wish ke liye tumhe yahaan le aaya." Riddhima said sadly, as she thought about Armaan.  As they neared the corner, Riddhima's gaze fell on Armaan's figure and her heart just stopped.  He was leaning against the pillar as he moved his hands through the strings, making beautiful music.



Armaan?



She thought to herself as she breathed heavily.  Anjali, Muskaan and Nikki slowly hi-fived each other because they saw Riddhima's expressions change as she saw Armaan.



"Waise Riddhima." Anjali started.  "Maine ek baat notice ki hain.  Jab se hum yahaan aaye hain, aisa lagta hain jaise tum kuch dhoond rahi ho.  Like you're missing someone?" Riddhima was surprised.



Yeh Armaan sirf mujhe kyun dikh raha hain?  Why can't the others see him?  Oh God I'm going crazy!



"Kahin tum Armaan ko toh-"



"No!  Ai-aisa kuch nahin hain.  Main.. kissi ko miss nahin kar rahi.  Main theek hoon." She smiled fakely and they nodded, knowing she was lying.  Armaan, who was listening to everything, smiled knowing what she was really missing him.



As everyone else talked, Riddhima walked silently with her eyes fixed on Armaan's back.  She was debating with herself.  Was he here or was he just an illusion?  She wondered as he turned his head and looked at her.  As their eyes met, Riddhima's heart skipped a beat once again and she turned her gaze away.  As they walked past him, Armaan slowly blew air to her hair and she gasped feeling his hot breath kiss her.  She didn't say anything but walked away silently, still debating with herself.  As she walked away in her thoughts, the girls stepped back and smiled at Armaan.



"Dude!  Plan work kar raha hain!  Riddhu tujhe bohat miss kar rahi hain!" Muskaan said happily.



"She loves you man."



"I know she does.  After all, I'm Armaan Mallik.  How can she resist my charms?" he said conceitedly.



"Oye hero.  Chill maar.  Tu Armaan hain, toh woh Riddhima.  You know how stubborn she is!  Abhi kuch nahin bol rahi.  Lekin jab ussko pata chalega na humaare plan ke baare mein toh she'll kill all of us!"



"Usski naubat nahin aayegi.  Riddhima ko control karna aata hain mujhe."



"Oh yeah?  Well sweetie, you haven't seen anything yet.  And.. best of luck.  You seriously need it!" Armaan looked at Anjali and winked at her and left with his guitar.  Enough with the hide and seek games.  Now it was time for real action.



****



"Arre Bhai, tame aa hu karo chho?  Aa phool badha taa jaay, uye ni (What are you doing?  Those flowers go over there, not here)!" Muskaan reprimanded a guy for putting the flowers in the middle of the courtyard instead on the stairs.  Everyone was busy telling the people where everything went and almost everyone but Riddhima and Muskaan were struggling to explain things to people since they didn't know Gujarati.  Kirti and Shubhankar's wedding was in about four days and they still had to do the sangeet, haldi and mehendi ceremony.  So here was the schedule.  They were going to do the Sangeet tomorrow and mehendi and haldi in the morning of the wedding day.  Long story put short?  They were busy today.



Riddhima was walking around, trying to see if anyone needed help when some little kids suddenly started circling around her as they played tag, making it difficult for Riddhima to move around.



"Aa tame badha hu karta chho?  Taa jay ne ramo ni.  Uye tamne vaag he (What are you all doing here?  Go play over there.  You'll get hurt here)." She said, but no one heard her and they kept running around like crazy.  Tired of this, Riddhima yelled at them.



"Maine kaha na bas!" Hearing Riddhima yell like that, the kids immediately stopped playing and everyone present there looked at Riddhima.  As she saw fear in the childrens' eyes, Riddhima's heart melted and she kneeled.  "I'm sorry bacchon.  Please meri baat ka bura matt manna, lekin bohat kaam hain na?  Tum log jaa ke udhar khelo.  Okay?" She said sweetly and the kids nodded.



"Didi." One of the boys spoke up.



"Bolo Dhruv."



"Vahaan pe flowers hain.  Woh humme do na." She looked up and saw a basket of flowers laying on top of the ladder.  How did that get up there?  Shaking her head, she carefully held the ladder with both of hands and stepped each ladder at a time as she tried to reach the basket.  When she still couldn't reach it, she decided to take the risk and stepped up another one.



She reached the basket after she stepped up but lost her balance and fell.  Almost ready to hit the floor, Riddhima tightly squeezed her eyes shut and breathed heavily but was surprised when she felt someone's hot breath kiss her ear instead of pain.  She slowly opened her eyes and saw herself clinging onto someone's broad shoulders and she felt the cold wall behind her body.  As she parted her face away, she raised her eyes to see her favorite blue orbs staring into her green ones.



Armaan, she whispered softly, almost unexpectedly as he smiled hearing her whisper his name in shock.  Her eyes bounced from his one eye to another and to and from his lips as the flowers showered over them because of the fan which blew the flowers almost everywhere.  He was here.  Like, actually here.  This was not a dream.  Her Armaan was here, right in front of her!



Riddhima studied his features carefully.  He was the same, but here was something different about him.  The smirk on his face told her he was there for a rerason and his eyes... What was so different about them?  There was this strange mischief... this naughtiness in them that she had never seen before.  Like she was seeing a totally different person.  She couldn't exactly pin-point the difference, but she could tell he had changed.  Totally.



Armaan, on the other hand, was pleased seeing the effect he had on her.  Like he had expected, Riddhima was spellbound seeing him.  But there was something that was bothering him.  Riddhima wasn't the Riddhima he knew.  Her eyes no longer held the sparkle and mischief.  She smiled, but it didn't reach her eyes.  She was pale and looked totally devoid of emotions.  And it killed him because he knew he was the sole reason Riddhima changed.  He wished he never said alll that to her.  He wished he could take his words back but alas.  That wasn't possible.  But now he was determined.  Determined to bring her back in his life and fill hers with the happiness she deserves.  Reaching back, Armaan released the clip that was holding her hair intact.  As a result, her long and curly hair flew everywhere.  She looked breath takingly ethereal.



"Tumhare baal khulle hue zyaada achhe lagta hain." He said huskily as his fingers caressed her cheeks, maknig her close her eyes.  She opened her eyes in a trance.  She missed his touch so much and now that she was in his arms, she couldn't help but ask for more.  A sudden clash of glasses brought her out of her trance and all her anger came back.  She looked at him with all the anger in the world and moved his hand away from her waist.



"Tum yahaan kya kar rahe ho?"



"Tumhe lene aaya hoon."



"Main kahin nahin jaane waali.  Iss liye keh rahi hoon yahaan se chale jao."



"Main bhi kahin nahin jaane waala." Riddhima was about to say something but stopped when she heard Atul.



"Armaan!" Both turned their heads to see Atul looking at them with a smile. "Armaan mere Bhai tum yahaan kya kar rahe ho?" He walked up to them and Riddhima gently pushed him away from her.



"Champ, mere Bhai!" Armaan said dramatically and hugged Atul. "Kaise hain tu yaar?  Maine tujhe kitna miss kiya!"



"Tune bhi mujhe miss kiya, maine bhi tujhe miss kiya, aaja mere bhai, gale lag jaa!" They hugged each other again and Riddhima was just shocked this Armaan.  What was up with him?  Armaan and his childish behavior?  Unbelievable.



"Hey Armaan!" She saw Rahul come up to Armaan with a smile and they hugged.



"Sahi jaa rahe ho Armaan.  Lage raho." Rahul said in a voice only audible to Armaan, making him smile and he thanked him.



"Tum kaun ho?" They heard Naani and Armaan broke away from Rahul and faced her.



"Naani, main Armaan hoon.  Riddhima ka pati."



"Oh, toh tum ho Armaan?  Waah.  Kya baat hain Riddhi.  Ek dum sahi ladka pasand kiya hain tune." Armaan grinned at Riddhima as he saw her glare at him.



"Thank you Naani."



"Lekin beta tumhe toh bohat kaam tha na?"



"Haan Naani, lekin koi bhi kaam Riddhima se zyaada important nahin hain." Naani smiled happily while Riddhima scoffed.



"Whatever."



"Achha Armaan.  Tum thak gaye hoge.  Jao.  Riddhu, Armaan ko apne kamre mein le jao." Riddhima's mouth fell open as she heard Naani.  Tere was no way Armaan was going to stay in her room.  No way in hell was this going to happen!



"Lekin Naani, aap hi ne toh kaha tha ki Kirti Didi aur Shubhankar Jeeju ki shaadi se pehle koi ladka kissi ladki ke kamre mein nahin reh sakta?"



"Haan, lekin Armaan tera pati hain.  Woh tere kamre mein reh sakta hain."



"Lekin Naani-"



"Riddhima.  Main kidhu ne?  Armaan taari haathe rehe (Didn't I just tell you?  Armaan will stay with you)." Riddhima looked at Armaan with murder in her eyes while he shrugged his shoulders.  Riddhima started going upstairs angrily, while Armaan smiled softly to himself.



Riddhima, I know tum bohat gussa ho.  Main tumhara dill bohat dukhaaya hain, I know it.  Lekin main tumse bohat pyaar karta hoon.  And I promise you.  Aaj ke baad, tumhari zindagi khushiyon se bhar jaayegi.  Just give me a chance.  I love you baby.



He thought to himself and followed her.



****



"Hmm.. nice taste wifey." Armaan complimented her as he walked in the room.  The room was seriously amazing.  It wasn't that big or small.  It was cozy.  The walls were painted pure white with slowers such white orchids and red roses filling the room with their beautiful fragrances.  In short, the room the classy.



"You know when someone compliments you, you're supposed to say thanks." Armaan said cheekily as Riddhima didn't say anything.



"Sorry.  Thanks."



"Huh?" Riddhima stopped and faced him with her arms crossed.



"I am sorry.  Thank you for the compliment."



"You know?  If you remove everything after 'I' and 'You', you'll only have 'I' and 'You' and I think it'll be better if we add something between them." Armaan stepped forward with his hands in his pocket and smiled.



"Yeah.  You're right.  How about we put 'don't like?'  Much better right?" She said sarcastically, making him smile and he watched as she threw his clothes into the closet and walked up to her.



"I'm sorry." Riddhima stopped as she heard him.  "I know I'm a jerk.  A big one.  Forget jerk, I'm an asshole!  But the truth is that I love you.  I love you a lot.  Whatever I said to you that day was nothing but a lie.  I didn't mean a word a said.  Trust me.  I love you." Armaan spoke ernestly but she remained silent.  "Riddhima say something please.  I love you-"



"But I don't." She interrupted him and resumed her work while his heart sank.  Not that he could really expect another answer from her.  He knew how stubborn she was.  He shattered her heart and it wasn't going to heal any time soon.  He had to be patient with her.  After all, he knew how hard it was to deal with a broken heart.  He sighed and stepped back.



"Fine.  If that's what you say.  But guess what.  I know you.  And it's not hard to recognize your lies.  Say whatever you wanna but trust me.  I'm here to take you back.  And I will." Riddhima scoffed as she heard him and turned.



"You can try whatever you want but I'm not coming back.  Never." Armaan chuckled as he heard her.



"Never say never baby."



"Stop calling me that.  I'm not your baby." Armaan chuckled again.  She was just so adorable.



"Really now wifey?  Remember that day when you called me all these things?  Baby, jaan, darling, etc., etc.  So why not let me have this pleasure?"



"Look Armaan.  You can do whatever you want, I don't care.  But I'm not coming with you.  You didn't want me in your life and now I don't want you in mine.  So stay here till you want but don't think you're going to make me change my decision."



"We'll see about that very soon.  As of now, get ready.  Spending a night with me.  Same room, same bed.. us.  I hope you get the point."



"Oh you're not touching me Mrs. Mallik.  Touch me and I'm filing rape charges." The boom of Armaan's laughter echoed in the room as he heard her.



"Technically it won't be rape cuz first of all, I'm your husband and the second and the most important thing is that it's not rape if you like it." He ended with a wink making her roll her eyes but he saw her cheeks turn a deep shade of pink.



"Whatever." She said and walked past him but he grabbed her arm and pulled her into his arms.



"Really now?"



"Leave me or I'll scream and call everyone and tell them about you.  I mean it."



"And?  You think I'm scared?  Go call everyone.  You're legally my wife.  I can do whatever I want.  And if they come, how long will it take to come up with a lie?  And guess what?  Since I'm such a loving and caring husband, no one's gonna believe you."



"But that's not fair!"



"Everything is fair in love and war sweetheart.  And this is both.  When I say I'm gonna take you back, I mean it.  So just wait and watch ok?" Riddhima was pissed now.  How dare he challenge her?  When she said she wasn't going to go with him, she meant it.  Riddhima glared hard at him while he smirked.  This was just the beginning.  The game was going to be very interesting.



****



"Khana, khana, khana, khana!" The boys yelled and banged their spoons against the dishes making the girls grunt with anger.  What the hell had gotten into them!



"Oye marr jaane!  Agar ek aur baar chilaaya na, toh khane mein ek kilo mirch daal dungi!  Chalega?" Nikki stomped out of the kitchen and stormed at them.  They knew Nikki wasn't lying because she did that before too but what could they do?  They were  f a m i s h e d ! 



"Nikki.  Baby.  Jaldi khana lao na yaar.  Mere paet me chuhe, machhar, haathi, sab type ke jungli jaanvar uchhal rahe hain, bhangra kar rahe hain.  Please jaan?" Abhi tried flattering her by hugging her but Nikki was Nikki.  She smiled fakely took the spatula in her hand and smacked his butt making him jump away from her.



"Ouch!" All the boys said together as they heard Abhi scream in pain and looked at Nikki with horrified expressions.



"Mere pyaare bacchon.  Agar maine agle pandra minute mein ek lavz bhi suna na, toh tum sab ka haal bhi mere pyaar fiance ki tarah hoga.  Samjhe ki nahin!" They all nodded like good children and Nikki went back into the kitchen cursing the boys for ruining her mood.



"Idiots, morons, ghadhe, kameene, duffers!"



"Oye!  Kya hua Nikki?  Kisko itni gaaliyaan de rahi hain?"



"Unn stupid boys ko!  Dimaag kharaab kar ke rakh diya hain yaar!"



"Abhi inn boys ka kya kar sakte hain yaar?  Just nothing.  Forget it.  Khane pe dhyaan de."



"Dude.  I swear.  Agar Jennifer yahaan hoti na, toh it would've been amazing.  Chutki baja ke inn sab ko theek kar deti." Riddhima ' who had been chopping some vegetables ' suddenly stopped at the mention of her name.  She wasn't exactly happy now.  All of this happened because of her anyways.  Well, not directly her fault, but if she hadn't been jealous because of her, things would've been a lot better.  But they really couldn't change anything now, could they?



"I wish she was still here yaar.  Why did she have to leave man?"



"Woh... wapas chali gayi?" Riddhima asked, trying not to sound happy and delighted.



"Yeah.  She moved back to USA.  But it's good that she did.  Karan was missing her a lot.  And even she looked super depressed without him.  But I'm pretty sure she'll be jumping with happiness when she sees him.  Haina?" This caught Riddhima's attention.



"Karan?"



"Yeah, Karan!" Anjali said happily.



"Who's he?" Everyone stopped and looked at her, totally shocked.



"Riddhu.  You don't know who Karan is?"



"Like, you  a c t u a l l y  don't know who he is?"



"No.. Who is he?"



"Wait.  Armaan ne tujhe kuch nahin bataaya?"



"Nahin.."



"Oh my God Riddhima!  Karan's Jennifer's husband!"



"WHAT?!" Riddhima yelled with her mouth wide open.  Jennifer was married?!



"Tu aise chilla kyun rahi hain?"



"Jennifer's married?!"



"Yeah!"



"Lekin mujhe toh laga tha ki woh Armaan..." She said quickly but stopped as she realized what she was going to say, but too late.  The girls had already figured it out.



"Riddhima.  Did you think Jenny Armaan ko chaahti thi?" Riddhima remained quiet and went back to her work while the girls exchanged knowing glances.



"So you were jealous of Jenny?" asked Muskaan.



"What, no.  I wasn't jealous of Jennifer.  I mean, I had no reason to be jealous of her." Riddhima stuttered.  God!  What had happened to her brilliant lying skills?  That was her thing!



"You liar!  You know you were jealous of Jennifer!  That's why you always looked irked by her presense!  And the look on your face when they would hug each other.. OMG!  It all makes sense now!" Nikki said happily.  This was turning out to be interesting.  Very interesting.



"What nonsense yaar!  I was not jealous of her!" she said, totally irritated now.



"Oh please!  We all saw the way you acted when they were together.  Sacchi sacchi bolna.  You hated it na?" Riddhima looked at Anjali for a moment and then nodded.  She was right.  She seriously hated it but she couldn't do anything about it.  But now that she went through all those days, she realized how dumb she was for being jealous of Jennifer.  She was happily married with Karan!  She turned red with embarrassment as the girls laughed at her.



"Oh God Riddhu, you're so cute!" Anjali pulled her cheeks and she pouted seeing everyone make fun of her.



"Ab guys.  Yeh sab chhodo.  Pehle unn nikamon ko khana de aate hain.  Warna phirse sir pe tandav karne lagenge." Everyone laughed at Muskaan's words and they took the food out of the kitchen.



The dining table was huge.  On one end, there was Naani ' who sat on the 'boss' seat ' two lines of five seats ' the boys were sitting on one side and the girls were supposed to sit on the other ' and Dhruv ' Riddhima's cousin ' was sitting in front of Naani.  As of now, the girls were busy serving the food to everyone while they were just sitting there, staring at them, especially Armaan.  He had his cheek resting on his hand as he stared at her with a smile which was irritating her now.



"Will you stop staring and eat already?  It's embarrassing okay?" Riddhima said in a voice only audible to him, keeping her eyes down to his plate.



"Nah.  Don't wanna.  I don't feel like tearing my gaze away from you." He replied in the same tone, making her glare at him.  She rolled her eyes and walked to her seat.  As she sat down, all of them started to eat.



"So.. how's it going so far?" Atul asked in a low voice as everyone chit-chatted.



"Not too good.  She is stubborn.  Totally.  But no biggie.  I know her."



"Beta, zyaada over confident matt hona.  Ok?  Woh Riddhima hain.  What if she turns you down?" said Abhi.  Armaan stopped eating and put a fake, sugar coated smile on his face.



"Mere pyaare bhai.  Tu mera bhai hain ke dushman?"



"Kya lagta hoon bade bhaiya?"



"Mere sir ka dard." He said in a low voice.



"Oye.  Chill maaro dono.  Shanti se khana khao." Rahul scolded them for being so childish and they went back to their food.  This was the downfall of having Armaan back.  He was soo kiddish!  But that's what they all loved.  The kiddish Armaan.  Armaan, on the other, kept looking at Riddhima from time to time.  What could he do now?  Something that would affect her... An evil plan formed in his mind and he smirked hideously.



He kept his eyes glued to his plate while he slowly and carefully removed his foot from his shoes.  Since Riddhima was right in front of him, he didn't have to do much work.  He slowly moved his foot towards her and rubbed his foot against her leg.  As soon as his foot made contact with her skin, a 440 watt shock passed through her body and she jumped in her seat and coughed violently as the food went down the wrong pipe, but she was fine.



"Kya hua Riddhima?  Are you okay?" Muskaan asked worriedly and Riddhima glared at Armaan, who was trying to bite his smile back.  She knew he was doing this on purpose to irritate her, but she wasn't going to give up so easily.



"Nothing Muski." She said with a smile but then turned to Armaan and glared.  "Bas ek machhar bohat pareshaan kar raha hain." Muskaan followed her gaze and saw Armaan and knew he did something again.



"Oye.  Armaan ko machhar bulaana band kar.  Pyaar karta hain tere se." Muskaan said in a low voice and Riddhima looked at her.  So she knew why he came here?  Riddhima didn't say anything but turned her gaze away from her because she didn't know what else to say.



Riddhima tried concentrating on her plate but the fact that he kept rubbing his foot against her bothered her.  A lot.  As much as she wanted to give in and smile, she refrained herself from doing so because she wanted to show him she was still angry, which she actually was.  There was no way she was going to forgive him for doing this to her.



Armaan Mallik.  Tumne mujhe bohat tang kiya hain.  By God yaar.  Meri life mein aake sab tehas nehas kar diya.  Ab tumhari baari hain Mr. Mallik.  Mujhe pareshaan kiya tha na?  Now it's your turn.  You love me right?  You're gonna have to prove it.  Mujhe paana itna aasaan nahin hain Mr. Mallik.  Abhi tak tumne dekha hi kya hain?  Tum mujhe lene ke liye Gujarat tak aaye ho na?  Ave jo aa Gujarati chhokri taari haathe hu kare (Now see what this Gujarati girl does with you).



Riddhima thought evily and bit her smile back.  As of now, she had to do something about this foot rubbing thing.  It was really irritating her.



"Armaan!  Yeh tum kya kar rahe ho!" Riddhima yelled across the table, making everyone jump in their seats.  Armaan, who was least expecting Riddhima to yell at him, stared at her with wide eyes as he moved his foot away from her leg.  What the... Was she going to tell everyone about his mischief?  Oh God he would be dead!  Naani was nice and loving, but she was very strict about some things and no way in hell was she going to let this go.



"K-kya?  M-m-m-maine.. kya.. kiya?" Armaan stammered.



"Kya kiya?  Kya kiya?  Armaan.  Zidh karna band karo!"



"Riddhima.  Yeh kya tareeka hain apne pati se baat karne ka!" Naani scolded her.



"Naani.  Aa joh ni (Look at this).  Armaan toh kuch kha hi nahin raha!  Kabse fork ko aise plate mein ghuma raha hain!  Ab aap hi bolo.  Aapko gussa aayega ki nahin?  Maine itne pyaar se Armaan ke liye khana banaaya hain lekin woh hain ki kuch kha hi nahin raha.  Kuch kahiye na usse!" Riddhima said and Armaan breathed in relief.  Poor guy was holding his breath for a long time.  But he was surprised.  Why was Riddhima saying all this?  That was so weird and.. strange.  Something was cooking in her mind.  But what?



"Armaan beta.  Yeh kya hain?  Riddhu ne tumhare liye itne pyaar se khaana banaaya hain aur tum ho ke kuch kha hi nahin rahe?  Koi samasya hain kya?"



"Nahin Naani.  Woh.. main... woh.." Armaan stammered, not knowing what to say.



"Bolo Armaan.  Tum kya?" Riddhima asked with a small, victorious smirk playing on her lips.



"Woh.. main chahta tha ki Riddhima khud mujhe apne haathon se khilaaye.  Woh mujhe roz apne haath se khaana khilaati hain.  Iss liye..." Armaan said with an innocent face and Riddhima's jaws dropped to her knees.  When did she ever feed him?  Well, she did once, but that was months ago!



"Armaan.  Aisa nahin ho sakta.  Iss ghar ke kuch neeyam hain, kuch rules hain jinhe tumhe follow karne honge.  Tum-" Riddhima spoke up immediately but was interrupted by Naani.



"Toh theek hain na Riddhu.  Iss mein kaunsi badi baat hain?  Kabhi kabhi chalta hain.  Agar damaadji ko tumhare haath se khana khaana hain, toh khila do."



"Lekin Naani-"



"Bas!" She held up her hand.  "Main kay didu toh kay didu.  Tu jamaayji ne taara haath thi khavraavhe.  Hamaj padi gay (I've said it, so that's what's gonna happen.  You're going to feed my son in law.  Understood)?" Riddhima looked at Armaan and then nodded.



"Haan Naani." She said and reluctantly walked over to Armaan's side as Rahul offered his seat and she sat down.  She glared at him as she saw him smirk.



"Wow Riddhima.  Amazing idea sweetheart.  Vahaan se yahaan, mere paas aane ka bohat achha idea tha.  Very impressive." He said in a low voice while Riddhima glared at the plate in her hands.



"Bakwaas band karo aur chup chaap khana khaa lo.  Mujhe yahaan par koi tamaasha nahin chahiye." Riddhima spoke through her teeth making him chuckle.



"Haaye... tumhara gussa.  Gusse mein tum aur bhi khoobsurat lagti ho."



"Shut.  Up."



"Make me baby." Riddhima rolled her eyes and looked at the plate.  Time for some real action.  She made a morsel and gave it to Armaan who took it happily, not knowing what was going to happen in a few moments.



As soon as he chewed the morsel, his mouth was set on fire.  He felt like smoke was blowing from every part of his body.  His eyes started watering and he coughed a little, but violently.



"Armaan?  Kya hua?  Are you okay?" Riddhima said loudly and rubbed his back to show everyone that she cared about him but once she got closer to him she started talking in a low voice. "Kyun?  Kya hua Mr. Mallik?  Zara si mirchi bhi sehen nahin hui tumse?  Hmm?  Agar tumse itni mirch sehen nahin hui, toh mere saath apni baaki ki zindagi kaise kaatoge?  Bolo?  Pyaar karte ho na mujhse?  Mere saath apni baaki ki zindagi bitaana chahte ho na?  Toh bolo.  Kya tum mere liye itni si mirch khaa sakte ho?  Haan?  Bolo?" Riddhima asked him, knowing he can't do what she was asking him to.  Armaan smiled a little and looked at her with watery eyes.



"Tumhe lagta hain main yeh nahin khaa sakta?" He asked softly.



"Lagta nahin, mujhe maalum hain tum yeh sab nahin khaa sakte." Riddhima said confidently.  Armaan scoffed and started eating everything on the plate.



Riddhima watched in shock as he slowly finished everything on the plate.  He was eating all this?  Why?!  She had filled the food with spices and she knew how much he hated spices.  He couldn't stand eating them!  Why was he eating them now?  For her?  Why?  She could see the pain and torture in his eyes.  Why was he doing this?  Why couldn't he just move on from her?  Why was he hurting himself like this?  She didn't like doing this.  Hurting him was the last thing she wanted to do.  If she hurted him, she was the one that trembled with pain.  It killed her to see him like this.  But this was the best for them.  Armaan would never stay happy with her.  Both of them just weren't meant for each other.  They never were and never will be.  Armaan coughed as he finally finished every bite on the plate and quickly gulped down the water laying on the table.



"Armaan?  Tum theek ho na?"



"Main.. theek hoon.  Main-" He coughed a couple of times and everyone became worried.



"Armaan, tum kitchen mein jao.  Jaake thodi si shakar khaa lo.  Tumhe achha lagega.  Riddhima, jao.  Armaan ko kitchen mein se thodi si shakar de do." Naani told her.



"Jee Naani." Riddhima nodded once and walked to the kitchen as he followed her.



Riddhima searched the kitchen cabinet for the sugar jar and took it out.  She heard him step in and knew he was standing right behind her.  She took out the jar and poured a little bit in a bowl and handed it to Armaan and turned back.



"Yeh sab karne ki kya zaroorat thi Armaan?  What was the point of doing all this?  Sab ke saamne aise tamaasha karne ki kya zaroorat thi?" Riddhima said angrily with her back facing him.



"Tamaasha?"



"Haan.  Tamaasha.  Agar itna teekha sehen nahin hota toh khaane ki kya zaroorat thi?  Tum koi hero nahin ho jo aise strong banne ki koshish kar rahe the." Armaan smiled as he realized what she was trying to say.



She was hurt.  Not because of the scene he made at the dining table, but because he hurt himself.  He knew she loved him, but she was stubborn.  She wasn't going to admit that she cared for him but she had to get her point across one way or another so now she was trying to hurt him by her words but he knew better than to fall for her words.



"Maine hero banne ki koshish nahin kar raha tha.  Main hero hoon."



"Oh shut up Armaan!  Aise sab ke saamne scene create karne ki kya zaroorat thi?"



"Tum hi ne toh kaha tha.  Khaa lo isse.  Toh maine khaa liya."



"Oh really?  Agar main tumhe sau maale se girne ko kahungi, toh kya tum gir jaoge?  Haan?  Nahin na?  Toh phir kyun aise pareshaan kar rahe ho mujhe?" Armaan smiled and stepped closer to her as she moved back till her back hit the wall.  He scooted closer to her and rested his hand up against the wall.



"Mrs. Riddhima Armaan Mallik.  Main tumse pyaar karta hoon.  Apni jaan se bhi zyaada.  Iss liye agar apna pyaar saabit karne ke liye mujhe mirch khaani pade na, toh bhi main tayaar hoon.  I love you.  And you know it.  Main jaanta hoon tum iss baat ko jaanti ho aur tum bhi mujhse pyaar karti ho lekin tum apni zidh par adi rahogi.  I know it.  Tumhari rag rag se vaakif hoon main.  Iss liye keh raha hoon.  Tum jitna mujhe khud se dur karne ki koshish karogi, main utna hi tumhare paas aata rahunga.  Tum chaho, ya na chaho.  Main tumhara zindagi bhar tak intezaar karne ko tayaar hoon.  Lekin main tumhe paa kar rahunga.  Usske liye agar mujhe aise hazaar mirchiyaan khaani padi toh woh bhi main khushi khushi khaa lunga.  Tum yahaan Shubhankar aur Keerti ki shaadi ke liye aayi ho na?  I promise you.  Unn dono ki shaadi ke baad tum khud mere saath aaogi.  Humaare ghar." He said determinedly and stared into her eyes as she stared back, totally spell bound.  He cupped her neck gently and kissed her softly, letting his lips linger and exhaled deeply.



"Mmm.. you still taste amazing." He said huskily and she opened her eyes in a trance to see him staring back at her with a smirk.  He winked at her and her eyes widened slightly as she realized what just happened.  He smiled widely and walked out of the kitchen, making Riddhima come out of her trance.  As he went out she growled in anger and placed her hands on her hips.



"No way Armaan.  You're not going to do this.  Main tumhe jeetne nahin dungi.  Never."



****



"Are you serious?" Rahul exclaimed.



"Damn serious!"



"You mean Riddhima was jealous of Jennifer?" Atul asked startled.



"Yes!"



"But Jennifer's married!" said Abhi.



"Yeah, but Riddhima didn't know that!"



"If only you useless boys told her." Anjali said coldly making Abhi stand up.



"Who did you call useless?"



"You!"



"If we're useless you-"



"Shut up guys!  We're so not starting this today!" Armaan yelled at the two and they sat down like good kids.



"Sorry."



"Riddhima was jealous of Jennifer because she didn't like how me and her were so close.  Her jealousy made her realize how much she loved me.  And now that's going to bring her close to me." Armaan spoke as he mentally made an outline of what he had to do.



"But how are you going to make her jealous?  I mean, you're gonna need a girl here.  Us three aren't going to work.  Jenny's gone.  Who are you going to use now?" Nikki wondered.  Armaan was about to answer when Dhruv came in.



"Armaan Bhaiya, Armaan Bhaiya!" Dhruv called his name and ran to him and sat in his lap.



                                                               "Kya hua chhotu?"



"Bhaiya, abhi bahaar bohat badi ladaayi honi waali hain."



"Kya?  Kyun?  Kaun ladne waala hain?"



"Riddhima Didi." Everyone became alert as they heard him.



"Kya?  Kisske saath?"



"Maithli Didi ke saath."



"Lekin kyun?" asked Muskaan.



"Woh.. tum chalo na mere saath!" Dhruv got up and dragged Armaan outside the house, raising his curiosity.  As they walked out, they were surprised seeing Riddhima and some kids standing on one side of the field and another girl ' Maithli, they assumed ' was standing in front of them.  Riddhima was glaring at Maithli while she was smirking at her.



"So Ms. Riddhima, oops.  Rihanna.  Very nice to meet you again." Everyone gasped as they heard her.  That's why Riddhima hated her!  Maithli knew about her secret!



"What do you want Maithli?  Get to the point!" Riddhima spat angrily.



"Nothing.  I don't want anything.  Main toh sirf tumse dosti ka haath badhaane aayi hoon Rih... Riddhima." Riddhima scoffed.



"Tum?  Mujhe dosti karna chahti ho?  I don't think so Maithli.  I know you.  Very well.  Tum koi bhi kaam bina kissi maksad ke nahin karti.  So get to the point or get lost." Armaan watched as Maithli's expressions changed.



"Wow.  Nice to know you know me very well." Riddhima rolled her eyes.  "Waise," She paused and looked at Armaan. "Your husband is very sexy.  He looks delicious.  Achha ladka dhunda hain tumne.  Rich, sexy, handsome, etc., etc." She looked back at her and smirked as she slowly whispered.  "Better watch out.  There are many predators out."



Riddhima felt like grabbing her head and smashing it on the road.  She hated her so much.  How dare she eye her husband!



"Maithli.  I'm warning you.  Stay.  Away.  From my.  Husband.  Armaan mera hain.  Aur agar tumne usski taraf aankh utha kar bhi dekha na, toh main tumhari aankhein noch lungi." She spoke through gritted teeth and Maithli scoffed.



"We'll see.  I don't see what he saw in you anyways.  I mean, you're nothing compared to most of the girls.  He hasn't seen anyone like me.  Maybe that's why."



"Yeah.  You're right.  He loves me because he hasn't seen a s**t like you." Riddhima said with a smirk while Maithli became angry and glared.



"You bloody-"



"Oh shut up.  Stop screaching like a hawk.  No one takes you seriously anyways.  Agar apni salaamati chahti ho, toh chali jao yahaan se." Riddhima threatened her.



"Abhi ke liye jaa rahi hoon.  But you know I'll come back.  After all, main tumhare ek chhote se raaz ko bohat achhe se jaanti hoon."



"What do you think Maithli?  I'm scared of you?  I'm going to beg you to keep your mouth shut?  No.  If you wanna go tell them about my secret be my guest 'cause I don't care.  But don't try to mess with me.  Now will you leave or should I give you some special treatment?" She said raising her bat and Maithli got scared.



"Fine.  I'm going now, but I'll come back again.  You know it." Maithli said angrily and stomped out of the field.  Riddhima scoffed and cursed her under her breath and turned back to the kids as they resumed their cricket game.



"Wow.  Riddhima is a bomb yaar.  I've never seen her so angry and vicious before.  She really hates Maithli, doesn't she?" Rahul stated, totally surprised seeing her so angry.



"Seriously man.  But I wouldn't really be so surprised.  It's Riddhima we're talking about.  Totally unpredictable.



"I know.  But the angry Riddhima is so cute.  Not to forget, dangerous too."



"Yep.  And this anger of Mrs. Mallik is going to be very useful for me." Armaan said with a smirk as he leaned against the wall with his hand in his pocket.



"What do you mean?" asked Muskaan.



"Maithli seems to be very interested in me." As everyone finally understood what he meant to say, they immediately started to protest.



"You mad or what?  You're gonna use Maithli to make Riddhima jealous?!" Atul exclaimed.



"Yep."



"Dude!  This is Riddhima!  And that is Maithli!  If she sees you flirting with her enemy, you are going to be her enemy."



"I know.  But don't worry.  This is going to be fun."  Armaan  turned and looked at Dhruv, who was staring at them with a smirk.  "Oye.  Kya dekh raha hain?"



"Tum ko." Armaan raised his brows and kneeled.



"Kyun be chaar foot chaar inch.  Baccha hoke merese aise kyun baat kar raha hain be?"



"Oye.  Baccha nahin hoon.  Sab samajh mein aata hain mujhe." Dhruv said proudly.



"Oh really?"



"Haan."



"Toh bol.  Abhi hum kya baat kar rahe the?"



"Tum Maithli Didi ko leke Riddhima Didi ko jealous karne ki koshish kar rahe ho. Tumhaare aur Riddhima Didi ke beech jhagda hua, aur ab tum unnko manaane ki koshish kar rahe ho." Everyone gasped as they heard Dhruv.  How old was he again?



"Beta.  Tu kitne saal ka hain?"



"Dus saal ka." Armaan cocked his brow up.



"Dus ka hoke itna sab kaise pata re tujhe?"



"Smart hoon.  Sab pata hain mujhe.  Mujhe kya dabba samajh ke rakha hain?  Jaa ke Riddhima Didi ko bol doon kya?" Armaan stared at him big eyes and a dangerous-angry smile as he held Dhruv's face.



"Mere laal, mere hare, mere neele, mere peele, mera kaale.  Tu dabba nahin hain, tu bomb hain bomb.  Teri smartness se tu bohat aage badega.  Lekin mere pyaare, please.  Abhi ke liye apni smartness apne paas hi rakh."



"Kyun rakhun?  Tum meri Riddhima Didi ko hurt karoge.  Main kyun chup rahun?" Armaan continued to look at him the way he was and controlled his urge to throw him out the window.



"Beta.  Tum chahte ho na ki tumhari Didi khush rahein?" he nodded.  "Toh bas.  Abhi ke liye yeh raaz apne paas hi rakh.  Warna meri band baj jaayegi aur teri Didi kabhi mere paas nahin aayegi."



"Lekin aisa karne se mujhe kya milega?"



"Kya chahiye tujhe?  Chocolate chahiye?  Video games?  Abhi laake-"



"Paanch saal ka baccha hoon kya?  Jo aise chocolate aur video games ki laalaj de rahe ho?"



"Toh kya chahiye tereko?!"



"Hazaar rupe do."



"Kya?!"



"Kya kya?  Mereko hazaar rupe chahiye.  Dena hain toh do, warna main chala Riddhima Didi ke paas.  Riddhima Didi!"



"Abe chup!" He said grabbing him and shutting his mouth.  "Marvaayega kya!"



"Maine toh bol diya mujhe kya chahiye.  Dena na dena aapki marzi."



"Theek hain, chhotu, theek hain.  Deta hoon.  Lekin apne mun ki peti band rakhna." He said handing him 1,000 rupees and he smirked.



"Oye.  Zabaan ka pakka hoon.  I keep my promise.  Ab main chalta hoon." Saying this, Dhruv left in style, leaving everyone astonished.



"Waah.  Saala dus saal ka hoke aise baat kar raha hain." Said Muskaan.



"Humaare zamaane mein chocolate se kaam ho jaata tha.  Hazaar ki note toh bacchpan mein ek baar hi dekhi hain.  Idhar toh..." Nikki said in daze.



"Chhodo na yaar.  Jo ho gaya so ho gaya.  Lets concentrate on our task." They nodded and went inside.



****



It was evening time and the kids were playing cricket with Riddhima.  She didn't even want to play but when she saw the sad and upset faces of those children, she could help but give in and started playing with them.  When the three brothers came out after dinner, even they wanted to play so Riddhima told the reluctant kids to let them play and they said okay.



Riddhima was batting when she felt someone's intense gaze on her.  She didn't have to have supernatural powers to guess who it was.  It was Armaan, obviously.  Who else could it be?  She turned around to see him smiling at her with a strange passion in his eyes.  His eyes were acting like magnet again.  She could tear her gaze away from him!



Riddhima.  Yeh kya kar rahi hain?  LOOK AWAY FROM HIM DAMN IT!



But I can't man.  He's looking so sexy in his vest and even yummier with-



STFU!  Kya soch rahi hain tu?  Look.  Away.  From.  Him.



But I can't!



Look.  Away.  From.  Him.



Lekin-



Will you look away from him already!



I don't want too...



Riddhima.  You're supposed to hate him.  You're supposed to despise him.  Remember?  He ruined your life by marrying you!  And when you fell in love with him, he brutally broke your heart!  How can you forget that?!



But he says he loves me too!



Just because he says it, doesn't mean he means it!  If he really loves you, why doesn't he prove it?



How is he supposed to prove it?



If he loves you, he'll wait.



But-



Listen to me.  If he loves you, he won't leave you.  After all, that's what love is.



After a long debate with her inner self, Riddhima finally looked away and resumed her game with the kids.  Armaan sighed and nodded at Rahul who did the same.



Armaan walked down the stairs and across the field, keeping his eyes on Riddhima.  She kept herself focused on the game but she kept looking at him through the corner of her eyes and he knew it.  She felt conscious of herself as she saw him look at her while walking slowly to the shop beside her house.



As he walked to the shop with a smirk, he 'accidently' bumped into Maithli and she turned around.  At first she was angry because this person bumped into her but when she saw Armaan's face, a sexy smile formed on her face and she stood attractively.



"I'm sorry.  Main dekh kar nahin chal raha tha." Armaan said sexily and she smiled.



"Oh it's fine.  I seriously didn't mind it.  Aakhir roz roz thodi na tumhare jaise handsome ladke dekhne ko milte hain?" she flirted.



"Really?  So I'm handsome?"



"Without a doubt.  I don't think any girl on this planet will disagree with me."



"Sweet.  So, what's your name?"



"Maithli.  Maithli Shah."



"Nice to meet you Maithli.  I am-"



"Armaan Mallik.  I know.  In fact, yahaan par sab tumhe jaante hain.  Aakhir sab ki zubaan par sirf tumhara hi toh naam hain."



"Aur yeh achhi baat hain?"



"Of course." She said stepping closer to Armaan, which did nothing but anger Riddhima who had been watching them from the same place.



She did not like the closeness between Armaan and Maithli.  It was just too much.  Forget that, she hated the fact that they were even talking to each other!  She watched them as they talked to each other with a smile and she clenched her fists.  Why were they talking to each other?  God!  Did he have to talk to her with a smile?  Goodness gracious!  She kept muttering innumerable curses, unaware of the three brothers who were celebrating her jealousy.



"Wow.  Armaan ka plan sach mein kaam kar raha hain." Rahul said happily.



"Of course kaam karega.  It's my brother you're talking about." Abhi said proudly.



"Now lets wait and watch.  Asli maza toh raat ko hi aayega.  Jab bro aur Riddhima room mein honge."



"Oh yeah!" They high-fived and went back inside.



Riddhima on the other hand was dying to separate the two from each other but she didn't want to create a scene in front of everyone but she couldn't see the two together either.  Helpless, she stormed inside the house as she muttered millions of curses for both of them.



Armaan, who had been watching all her moves from a small mirror in front of him, saw her go inside and smiled.  He loved seeing her jealous.  She just looked adorable with her nose flaring and her eyes which screamed murder always pulled him to her.  He barely payed attention to what Maithli said.  Not wanting to sound rude, Armaan politely excused himself and went inside.



When he entered the room, he saw Riddhima – who changed into shorts and a tank - angrily cleaning up while muttering some curses and he laughed mentally.



"Saala kameena.  Khud ko samajhta kya hain?  Usske saath baat karna zaroori hain kya?  Lekin nahin.  Woh toh usse hass hass kar baat kar raha tha.  Bada aaya 'I love you Riddhima' waala.  Humph!" she said and turned around to move but instead she bumped into his hard and manly chest but Armaan pulled her close so she didn't fall.  Riddhima gasped as she felt her front collide with his chest.  She felt her mind go in a frenzy again but she looked away before she lost her mind again and moved back.



"Thanks." She said coldly and went back to her work.



"Tum gussa ho kya?" Armaan said, playing innocent.



"Main kyun gussa hongi?"



"I don't know.  Tum bas gussa lag rahi ho."



"Main gussa nahin hoon."



"Pakka?"



"Haan."



"Pakka pakka?" Riddhima turned around angrily.



"Maine kaha na main gussa nahin hoon!"



"Dekha.  Tum gussa ho."



"Armaan Mallik!  I'm not angry!"



"Why are you yelling then?"



"Main chila rahi hoon?" She asked with gritted teeth and Armaan nodded.  "Main chila nahin rahi hoon!  This is how I talk!  Aur itni hi problem hain mujhse toh-toh jaake uss-uss Maithli ke paas kyun nahin rehte?" Bullseye.



"Maithli?" Riddhima nodded with a tight smile. "How do you know about her?"



"Uh, lets see.  Me and her have been proper enemies since school times so it's obvious that I know her.  Very well."



"Ohh... I get it.  You two are enemies and... you are jealous because I was talking to her."



"Huh?  I'm jealous?" Armaan nodded, angering her even more. "Main-main jealous nahin hoon!"



"Oh really?"



"Haan!"



"Toh," he started moving closer to her. "agar main usse baat karun... usse chhuun, toh tumhe koi farak nahin padega?" Riddhima stepped back as she shook her head.  "Really?" She nodded hesitantly.



Suddenly she hit the bed post and fell and Armaan fell on top of her with his face buried in the crook of her neck.  Riddhima breathed heavily as she felt his lips touch her neck.  He rose and she turned her head to see him staring intently at her.  All her resolves and anger flew out the window as she drowned in his eyes.  His hand went around her waist and he pulled her close, making her close her eyes in pleasure and arch her head back.  He dove in and started kissing her neck passionately, making her melt.  Her hands went around his back and she massaged his back which aroused him even more.  He was getting high by her fragrance.  It had been ages since he touched and caressed her body and felt her so close to him.  Only he knew how much he craved for her, how much he yearned for her.  Her body felt so delicate and fragile that he thought he'll crush it with his.  The way she responded to his touch made him want more.



Riddhima bit her lower lip as she felt his big hands claim every inch of her body.  She just loved the way he touched her.  It brought her a feeling of satisfaction and completeness.  The way his hands roamed around her body made her feel like she was on fire.  It was like she was in a totally different world where no one could separate them from each other and it was just love everywhere.  It would be wrong to say she thought she was in heaven.  After all, heaven lied where he was.



Minute by minute, second by second their thirst kept rising.  It was becoming harder and harder for them to keep their hormones in control.  Just when he squeezed her sides, a knock on the door brought them out of their moment and she immediately opened her eyes and looked at him.  She was surprised when she heard his soft chuckle.



"Kyun?  Tum toh mujhse pyaar nahin karti na?  Mujhe toh laga tha tum mujhse nafrat karti ho.  Ab kya hua?" He spoke with his eyes closed and she stared at him, trying to find a way to get out of this mess.  He opened his eyes and looked at her.  He kissed her forehead and rolled over to his side of the bed as she sat up, trying to fix her look.  If the first night went like this, how are the rest of the nights going to go?



****

Medha

No comments:

Post a Comment

dilmilgayearblog.blogspot.com