Saturday, 19 October 2019

Chapter 45 : Dangerous Desire (AR)

It was almost three at night when Armaan went to the kitchen to drink some water. When he was walking back, he heard soft tunes of guitar playing in the balcony.  Intrigued, he walked to the balcony and saw Vishal playing the guitar with a soft smile on his face as he stared at the sky.  Since Armaan wasn't that sleepy, he thought to have a little talk with him.  He quietly went and sat down on the couch in front him.

"Not sleepy Vishal?" Armaan asked with a slight smile, which brought Vishal out of his thoughts.

"Oh hey.  When did you get here?"

"When you were staring off in space and thinking about something." Vishal smiled sheepishly.

"Sorry man.  I just become oblivious when I play my guitar."


"It's fine.  I understand." Vishal smiled and played some more notes lazily. "So.. Who were you thinking about?" Vishal looked up and smiled.

"Someone very special." Vishal said with a dazed smile.

"And who is this someone special?" Armaan asked, almost praying to hear a name other than Riddhima's.  Vishal chuckled softly.

"Don't worry Armaan.  It's not Riddhima." Armaan was embarrassed knowing Vishal knew about his jealousy.  Vishal chuckled seeing his face.  "Don't forget I'm a guy too.  I can tell when another guy is jealous.  And you see Armaan, I'm just so hot and sexy that all the husbands and boyfriends in the world get a complex.  But just to let you know, me and Riddhima are great friends.  Yeah, I had a crush on her in school and college, but that was years ago.  So no need to get worried.  'Kay?" Armaan  chuckled and nodded.

"Sorry man.  I just-"

"Hey hey, no need to be sorry.  It's okay, I understand." Armaan smiled.  He felt so much better after talking to him but he also felt guilty.  Vishal is such a nice guy and he was hating on him for no reason.  But now that he knew he didn't have feelings for Riddhima, he thought to be friends with him.

"Anyways.  Who is this person you're thinking about?" Vishal smiled softly.

"Priya." Armaan smiled.

"And.. I'm guessing you're in love with her." Armaan said it as more of a statement than a question.

"Yep.  I'm madly and insanely in love with her.  Whoever sees will instantly fall in love with her.  She's so beautiful.  Her blue eyes are like a magnet, always pulling someone towards her.  Her rosy lips... you can stare at them for eternity.  Her smile is like the Sun.  When she smiles, everything in the world becomes beautiful.  When she walks, the world comes to a standstill.  I just don't have words to describe her beauty man.  She's gorgeous." Armaan listened to him with a smile as Vishal's description of Priya reminded him of Riddhima.

"I know.  She's beautiful." Vishal looked at him as he heard him.

"Yo, you don't even know Priya." Armaan realized Vishal was talking about Priya and he chuckled softly.

"Sorry man, I started thinking about Riddhima."

"Haha!  This is amazing right.  I mean, the feeling of love.  It's beautiful.  You know?  Before Priya came into my life, I was a playboy.  Like, a big one.  I always flirted with girls, partied, etc., etc.  But after Priya came in my life, everything changed.  When I'm around her, it's like I wanna be a better person."

"I know.  Before Riddhima... my life was nothing.  Seriously.  It was pointless.  But after she came in, everything changed.  I fell in love with her the moment I saw her but.. I was so stupid, not to realize it.  Riddhima just totally changed my world the moment she stepped in my life.  I don't know what I would do without her."

"You see, that's love.  It changes you totally.  Love has the power to change a human to devil and a devil to an angel."

"Yeah.. And I've surprisingly experienced both."

"What do you mean?"

"Long story bro.  I'll tell you sometime later."

"Good deal.  So anyways.  How did you two meet?" Armaan thought about the first time they met and he laughed. "What?"

"Just remembering our first meeting.  It was epic.  I'm telling you."

"Why?  I'm curious now." He said putting his guitar to the side. "Tell me."

"The first time we met was on the road.  I was going to my office and I almost ran over a little kid but thankfully Riddhima saved him, but she came in front of my car so I kinda bumped into her.  She wasn't really hurt though, thank God.  It was my fault but I was a douche.  I, instead, yelled at her for coming in front of my car and we had a HUGE fight.  We so hated each other." He laughed remembering their fights and everything that happened afterwards. "It was crazy man.  But that day changed everything.  It was one of the best days of my life." Vishal smiled.

"I can understand." Armaan nodded.

"Anyways, we should go to bed now.  It's too late.  Come on let's go." Vishal agreed and both went to bed to get some good sleep.

****

It was lunch time and everyone was sitting at the table, having their lunch while Riddhima was in the kitchen, fixing other things.

"Hey wifey." She jumped as she heard Armaan whisper in her ear.

"What the hell Armaan!  What are you doing!"

"Arre.  Apni biwi se romance kar raha hoon.  Aur kya?"

"Armaan, dekho.  Mujhe abhi bohat kaam hain.  So yeh sab band karo.  Okay?"

"Jaanu, abhi toh gussa chhodo.  Ab toh tumne maan bhi liye hain."

"Kya maan liya hain?"

"Yeh hi, ke tum mujhse pyaar karti ho."

"Maine yeh kab kaha?"

"Arre.  Kal raat ko hi toh sab ke saamne kaha tha tumne." Riddhima rolled her eyes.

"Dekho Armaan.  Maine tumse woh iss liye kaha kyunki mujhe kehna pada.  It was nothing but a dare.  Don't take it so seriously."

"Really?  Toh jab tumne mujhse woh kaha, toh tumhari aankhon mein woh sacchaayi kyun thi?  Bolo?  Aur woh letter?  Jiss mein tumne apne dill ki baat likhi thi?  Usska kya Riddhima?"

"Dekho Armaan.  Tumhe meri aankhon mein kya dikhta hain, kya nahin, I don't care.  But this is the truth.  Tum jo samajhna chahte ho, samajh sakte ho.  Lekin please.  Ab mujhe pareshaan karna band karo.  Aur jahaan tak uss letter ki baat hain, let me tell you one thing Armaan.  Main tumse pyaar karti thi.  Lekin jiss din tumne mujhe apni zindagi se dur jaane ko kaha, woh pyaar ussi din khatam ho gaya tha.  Mujhe tumhare saath nahin rehna.  Ab main tumhare saamne haath jod kar binti karti hoon.  Please meri zindagi se chale jao." Riddhima left the kitchen with the tray, leaving a hurt Armaan behind.

****

Armaan was sitting on the swings on the terrace, thinking about Riddhima's words.  Why was Riddhima being so adamant?  He knew she loved him but why wasn't she accepting it?  Did she really stop loving him?  Did he really not mean anything to her?  Thoughts like those kept wandering around his mind.  He was slowly losing all hope he had.  What if she didn't love him anymore?  He would die without her!  The mere thought of living a life without her killed him!  He felt like killing himself for saying all that to her.  If he hadn't said all that, maybe she would've been with him.  He looked up at the sky with tears in his eyes.

"I miss you Dad.  Kaash aap yahaan hote." He wished silently as tears fell from his eyes.

"Armaan Mallik aur rona?  Quite unusual." Armaan opened his eyes and saw Vishal sitting in front of him.  He slowly wiped his tears as he heard him.

"Tum yahaan kya kar rahe ho?"

"Tumse baat karne aaya hoon."

"About what?"

"Maine tumhari aur Riddhima ki baat suni." Armaan looked at him, surprised. "So.. what's up?" Armaan looked away, not sure if he could tell him anything. "Dude, I know this is your personal thing but c'mon.  Riddhima meri bohat achhi dost hain.  I have the right to know what's going on.  And think about it this way.  Maybe I can help you out." Armaan looked at him skeptically.  Maybe he should tell him.  He took a deep breath and started with his story from the start and Vishal listened to him.

"Wow.  Yeh toh bohat bada problem hain.  And honestly, I'm not surprised with Riddhima's behavior.  I mean, you hurt her real bad.  Aur yeh Riddhima hain.  I mean, THE Riddhima.  Woh itni asaani se tumhe maaf nahin karegi.  I know it."

"I know Vishal lekin-lekin main kya karun?  I love her so much.. And I seriously regret saying all that to her.  But I don't know how to get her back in my life.  I don't know what to do.  Agar woh meri life mein nahin hogi toh.. main marr jaaunga.  Please tell me Vishal.  What should I do?"

"Hmm... I have an idea.  Agar sab sahi gaya, toh Riddhima tumhari."

"Kaisa plan?"

"Dekho.  Hum ek..." Vishal explained everything to him and Armaan found hope again.  He prayed the plan would work and she would come back to him.  This was his last hope.

****

Riddhima was in the kitchen, giving orders to the chefs and regulating all the work.  After all, tomorrow was the 'D' day so she had to make sure everything was going good.  She was giving orders to the chef when Dhruv came running to her.

"Didi Didi!"

"Dhruv?  Kya hua?"

"Didi, woh Armaan Bhaiya ne aapko yeh letter dene ko kaha hain." He handed her a letter and ran out of the kitchen, confusing Riddhima.  What was he doing now?  She went out of the kitchen and started reading the letter.

Riddhima, jab tak tumhe yeh letter milega, main pata nahin kahaan hoon ga.  Lekin tumse aakhri baar apni dill ki baat karna chahta tha, iss liye yeh letter likh raha hoon.  Riddhima I love you... I love you a lot.  Main tumhare bina nahin jee sakta.  I know maine bohat galtiyaan ki hain, lekin-lekin mera vishwaas karo.  Maine kabhi tumhe hurt karne ki koshish nahin ki.  You're my life Riddhima.  Lekin jab tum meri zindagi mein rehna hi nahin chahti toh mere jeene ka kya matlab?  Iss liye main jaa raha hoon.  Tumhari zindagi se dur.  Lekin kahin na kahin main jaanta hoon ke tum bhi mujhse pyaar karti ho.  Lekin shaayad main kuch zyaada hi soch raha hoon.  Anyways.  Goodbye Riddhima.  Have a better life.  Aur ho sake toh... please mujhe yaad rakhna.

                                                                                                                                           I love you,
Tumhara Armaan.

The letter slipped from her hands as tears fell from her eyes.  She felt like someone had just ripped her heart out of her chest and crushed it into pieces.  She was numb.  No, he couldn't leave her.  He couldn't do this to her.  She immediately ran to Dhruv and asked him.

"Dhruv, Ar-Armaan kahaan hain?"

"Didi aap ro kyun rahe ho?"

"Dhruv mujhse savaal matt karo.  Kahaan hain Armaan?!"

"Woh-woh Divya Road par jo khay hain, woh vahaan gaye hain." Riddhima immediately ran out of the of the house and stopped rickshaw.

"Bhai, Divya Road, jaldi." She got in and made the driver fly through the road.  She had to get to Armaan ASAP.  He couldn't do this to her.  He couldn't leave her like that!  All she could do was pray to God that Armaan was safe.

****

"Armaan! Armaan!" Riddhima yelled.  Where was he!  All kinds of thoughts were roaming in her mind.  Was he okay?  Did he hurt himself?  Was all this a joke?  A dream?  She really wished it was.  She would rather hurt herself than him.  She wanted to scream her lungs out and punch something.  Where the hell was Armaan!  All of a sudden she heard a moan from the back and turned to see Armaan sitting agaisnt a big rock with blood oozing from his hand.

"Armaan!" She screamed his name and ran to him. "Armaan.." She mumbled his name and observed his hand with tears as he looked at her intently.

"Riddhima tum yahaan kya kar rahi ho?"

"Tum pagal ho gaye ho kya!" She yelled at him, totally ignoring his question. "Yeh kya karne jaa rahe the?" She started cleaning the blood from his hand, trying her best not to hurt him.

"Kyun?  Tum toh yeh hi chahti thi na?" She looked up shocked. "Tum chahti thi na ke main tumhari zindagi se dur chala jaun?  Woh hi toh karne jaa raha hoon.  Tumse dur reh kar jeene se achha hain main marr-" Riddhima immediately held her hand up against his lips.  She didn't want to hear those cruel words.

"Main yeh kabhi nahin chahti thi." She said as she slowly wiped her tears with the back of her hand.  Armaan saw tears flowing from her eyes and slowly wiped her tears as she closed her eyes feeling his big and warm hand caress her cheek.

"I love you." He whispered softly.  She opened her eyes to see him looking at her with all the love in the world.  She slowly drifted her eyes down cleaned his wound as she slowly pushed a hair strand away.  Riddhima, who was busy cleaning his wound, suddenly stopped as she saw something which totally blew her mind.  There was no cut!  Not even a scratch!  The blood was fake!  It was plain ketchup!  Armaan looked at her confused.  Why did she stop?  He followed her gaze to see her staring at the 'cut' and knew his plan was ruined.  He looked at her and saw a lone tear fall from her eyes.

"Riddhima-"

"You lied." She whispered. "All of this was a plan, wasn't it?" She looked at him with pain and hurt.  Now all of it made sense.  Everything was a plan.  Armaan knew she would come running to him as soon as she would hear the news of him hurting himself.  She just felt betrayed.

"Riddhima please listen to me once.  I-"

"I don't wanna hear anything!" She yelled and move away from him. "Abhi bhi kuch kehna hain tumhe?  Tum aisa..." She started but stopped. "Just forget it!: She got up and started walking away from him while he kept yelling her name.  Riddhima just ignored him and kept walking but then stopped as she heard the sound of a glass shattering and turned around immediately.  She was shocked seeing Armaan holding a shattered glass in his hand, which was piercing through his skin.  She felt like her heart was being ripped out of her chest and she ran up to him and held his hand.

"Armaan!  What the hell do you think you're doing!  Leave this!" Riddhima struggled.  She screamed and yelled at him with tears rolling down her cheeks but he refused to give into her demands.  Armaan just stood there like a statue with his eyes wet and bloodshot red, boring his eyes into hers as his grip over the glass tightened.  He saw her close her eyes and sob even more as he slowly whispered with a shaky voice.

"I-love-you." Riddhima opened her eyes and stared into his blue oceans.  She knew he was saying the truth.  His love for her was oozing from his words, eyes and every part of him and she loved him too!  But how could he do this to her?  How could he hurt her like that?  Anger took over her and she pushed him.  She was shaking with fury and he knew now it was time for her confession.

"Tum kya samajhte ho khud ko haan?" She yelled at him. "Jo dill mein aaya woh hi karoge kya tum!  Kya meri koi feelings nahin hain?  Kya mujhe takleef nahin hoti?" Armaan watched her with pain and need.  He felt horrible seeing her so vulnerable and broken.  He walked up to her as he dropped the glass and held her close to him as she cried bitterly.

"Why Armaan?  Why?  Tum kyun humesha mere saath aisa karte ho?  Ek pal mein itni khushi dete ho toh dusre hi pal mein itna dard de dete ho." Armaan held her close to him as both cried.  She held his collar tightly, trying to stop her tears. "Jab chaaha mujhe apne paas bula liya.  Jab chaaha khud se dur kar diya.  Kya-kya tumhe ek baar bhi mera khayaal nahin aaya?  Ek baar bhi nahin socha ki mujh par kya beethti hain?  Kya dard sirf tumhe hota hain?  Haan?"

"I'm sorry Riddhima.  I'm very sorry." He kept whispering sorry in her ears as she closed her eyes.

"I know I'm a douchebag.  I know maine tumhare saath galat kiya hain.  But please Riddhima.  Bas ek mauka de do mujhe.  Main kabhi tumhe hurt nahin karunga.  I promise.  Please give me one chance.  Just one chance.  Tumhare bina main kuch bhi nahin hoon.  I'll die if you're not in my life.  I need you.  I love you.  Please tell me you love.  Please?" Riddhima didn't say anything for a moment, but just stared at him.

She knew he loved her and nothing in the world could change that one fact.  She knew he wasn't going to leave her and that was more than enough for her.  What else did she want anyways?  He was everything she dreamt of and she knew there was no point of lying because she would just be cheating herself.  She slowly raised her hands to his face to comfort him as he kissed her palm and she spoke while wiping his tears.

"I love you... Armaan." She whispered softly as he closed his eyes.

"Say it again."

"I love you." She said with a small smile.

"Say it again."

"I love you."

"Say it again."

"I love you."

"Say it again and again."

"I love you... I love you... I love you... I love you... I love you!" She kept repeating herself happily as he smiled through his tears and pulled her in his arms.

They were so happy to be in each other's arms.  They were content with each other and all they wanted was to stay there for eternity and beyond.  All the distance between them had now faded away.  Now it was time for there to be happy and to be with each other.  All those horrible memories didn't mean anything as they were soon going to be replaced with happy and beautiful ones.  After a long wait, they had finally waited and no power in the universe could separate them.  They stayed in each other's arms for what seemed like eternity before they finally parted with this beautiful smile playing on their lips.  Armaan lifted her chin with his finger, making her look at him.  He smiled as he saw her blush and look down again.

"Oye hoye." He said teasingly making her giggle. "Sharmaate hue tum aur bhi zyaada khubsurat lagti ho." She laughed a little and hit him as she sniffed a few times.

"Tum na, bohat bure ho." She pouted.

"Kyun?"

"Itna pyaar karte ho, lekin itna rulaate ho mujhe." She fiddled with his shirt buttons.  Armaan smiled a little as he cupped her face and made her look up.

"I promise you.  Aaj ke baad, main tumhe kabhi bhi hurt nahin karunga.  Never." He said wiping the remains of her tears.

"Sach?" She questioned like a little baby which brought a smile to his face.

"Much." Riddhima smiled big and rested her head against his chest as he wrapped his arms around, silently promising her to protect her from everything and fill her life with his love.

****

Riddhima was sitting in between Armaan's legs, resting her head against his chest while he leaned back against the big rock.  Both stared at the mesmerizing view in front of them.  They had left the cliff a while ago and walked to the beach nearby.  Luckily it was almost empty because they wanted to stay away from the crowd and share some sweet moments.  They watched silently as the light blue waves of the water rose mightly and gracefully fell back.  The wind whispered in their ears and brought a calm feeling along.  Armaan felt her shiver in his arms and slowly wrapped his arms around her small body, protecting her from the cold and she smiled contently.  She loved how he was so protective of her.  It made her feel very special.

"You know Armaan?" She started. " When I was very young, I used to watch all these romantic movies and thought my prince charming will come and swipe me off my feet.  Then as I got older and saw the reality of life, I started doubting that.  I didn't know if it was real.  Seeing everyone getting in and out of relationships as if they were changing clothes made me think love didn't exist and that I'll probably end up with someone that doesn't love me.  But I was so wrong." She turned a little and looked him in the eye. "Thank you so much for proving me wrong Armaan.  I don't know what I would've done without you." Armaan smiled and placed a soft, loving kiss on her forehead.

"I love you Riddhima."

"I love you too Armaan." He smiled and slowly bent and kissed her lovingly before parting away.  They leaned their heads against each others and giggled like high school teenagers.

"God, I missed this so much." Riddhima turned scarlet red but stayed there and looked at him instead of running away from him.  Now it was time to show him her naughty side.

"I did too." Armaan opened his eyes, shocked.

"Oh my God.  Was that you?  I can't believe it!  Mrs. Riddhima Armaan Mallik is becoming shameless like me?  Nice.  I like it." Riddhima blushed and hit his chest playfully as he held her tiny hands.

"Don't even try Mrs. Mallik.  If you try to hit me, you'll hurt yourself." He said smugly and she chuckled.

"Filmy!" He laughed.

"That I sure am baby." Riddhima laughed.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever Armaan.  Don't you think we should leave now?  Everyone's probably waiting for us." Armaan made a face and whined.

"Ridddhimaaa!  I don't wanna go back!"

"Why?"

"Because!  As soon as we go back, EVERYONE is going to be surrounding you!  Especially Naani!  She's gonna be calling you 24/7!  And I wanna spend time with you!  You confessed like after a month and I really don't wanna stay away from you.  You know?  Every second without you is like a lifetime for me.  It's miserable man!" Armaan said honestly and Riddhima smiled.  God he loved her so much!

"Yeah, I know what you mean, but still.  We have to go home.  We have so much to do!  Shubhankar Jeeju and Kirti Di's marriage is tomorrow.  We have to go and help them, right?"

"But... everyone is there!  Atul.. Rahul... Abhi, Nikki, Anji, Muski.  Everyone's there to help them!  Why do WE have to be there?"

"Because I am Kirti Di's closest cousin and I have to be there.  And since you're my beloved husband, you have to be there too!" Armaan pouted and turned away from her like a little kid and crossed his hands.  Riddhima put her hand over her mouth to prevent herself from laughing out loud and composed herself.  She moved closer to him and wrapped her arms around his waist, resting her chin on his shoulder.

"Armaan." She said lovingly, trying to placate him, but he was stubborn too.  "Armaan, come on.  Please?" She saw him roll her eyes so she spoke softly in his ears. "I love you.. baby." She emphasized baby and saw him smile a bit but then he masked it.  Riddhima knew he was faking it now but even she loved it so she decided to make him happy.  She slowly placed a lingering kiss behind his ear and felt a shiver pass through his body and smiled.  She took his earlobe in her mouth and slowly licked it, arousing his desires.  As much as he wanted to stop her, he just gave in and let her do what she wanted.  "Please Armaan?" She whispered softly with mischief in her voice.

"Fine," He managed to speak. "Let's go." Riddhima smiled victoriously and moved away from him.  She knew how to pacify Armaan.  After all, she was a girl.  Of course she knew what she had to do.

****

It was the wedding day and the house was filled with guests.  There were golden colored lights and ribbons everywhere which gave the house a rich look.  All the guests were praising the gang for arranging the house so nicely in such less time.

While the others were happy with the compliments they were getting from the guests, Armaan was getting frustrated, second by second.  He really didn't care if the guests liked the decorations or not.  All he wanted was to spend time with his lovely wife.  Was that too much to ask for?  He was so ready to kidnap her and fly some place where it was just him and her and no aunties or uncles.  But first he needed to find her.  Where was Riddhima!

He walked around the house as he looked for Riddhima when he heard her soft, melodious laugh and turned.  A smile automatically formed on his lips as he saw Riddhima play with some kids with a happy smile in a small corner.  He looked at her closely and admired the way she looked.



She was wearing a dark colored silk lehenga choli with dark maroon viscose dupatta decorated with decorated with beads and sparkling sequins which was pinned on her shoulder.  Her choli was kind of small so it exposed her midriff, which was enough to make his mind go crazy.  Her hair was loosely, but neatly pinned back with a few loose strands kissing her rosy cheeks.  She looked beautiful... heavenly... gorgeous... angelic and what not!  How did he get so lucky man?

He leaned against the pillar beside him and watched her with a smile.  She was playing with some toddlers and was making them dance to the songs that were playing.  He felt as if he was falling in love with her all over again.  He mentally pictured a small family with her.  Him, her, and small little baby.  Just the thought of his own family widened his smile.  As Riddhima sent the kids to their moms, he slowly walked up to her from the back and hugged her, making her gasp.

"Armaan, what are you doing?  You scared the hell outta me!"

"That's exactly why I did it.  You look sooo sexy when you're scared!" He said naughtily, making her jaw drop.

"Armaan, you're mad.  'You look soo sexy when you're scared.'  Who says that?"

"Me!"

"Obviously you!  Now come on, let me go.  I need to go see if everything's going good in the kitchen."

"Mtch.. go later.  I wanna spend some time with you.  Alone!  Even yesterday you were surrounded by all those fat aunties.  I missed you so much!" Riddhima smiled as she heard him.  She cupped his face from the side and said lovingly.

"Armaan, you know you're worse than a little baby."

"Yep.  And you're gonna have to deal with me for the rest of your life."

"Not that I really mind doing so, Mr. Mallik.  Now come on.  Let me go.  I have tons of work to do.  And if you don't let me go then... then I won't talk to you for... a while." He immediately let her go and she laughed as she turned to face him.  "You're crazy." He pouted as he watched her laugh and pulled her in his arms again.

"Very smart Mrs. Mallik.  Okay fine.  If you wanna go, you can.  But you're coming back.  There's a surprise waiting for you."

"Surprise?" He nodded with a smirk.  Wow.  This was easy. "What surprise?"

"Well, you're gonna have to wait for it now."

"No, tell me!  I wanna know!  What surprise!  Tell me Armaan!"

"Sorry.  You have to wait now."

"That's not fair Armaan!"

"Everything is fair in love and war sweetheart."

"But Armaan-"

"Nope!  Sorry.  You have to wait now.  And if you say anything else, the surprise will be cancelled." Riddhima gave him an adorable look.  He wanted to give in and tell her, but then the surprise wouldn't be a surprise.  He winked at her and walked away, leaving her confused.  What could the surprise be?

"Armaan is just... Ugh!  How can he do this to me?  He knows I can't wait for surprises!  Mtch.  What is the surprise going to be?  Forget it Ridz.  The more you think about it, the more confusion.  Just... don't think about it!" She said to herself and walked back inside.

****

"Baraat aa gayi, baraat aa gayi!" Dhruv ran across the house, announcing the arrival of the groom. The girls were up in Kirti's room, teasing her about her wedding night, when they heard Dhruv's yelling and they smiled happily.

"Oh wow Di.  Look who's here." Riddhima said with a wink, making Kirti blush and she laughed. "Come on, let's go.  I'm sure Jeeju's dying to see you." Kirti blushed and stood up as the girls escorted her down to the alter.  As expected, Shubhankar was left speechless when he saw Kirti dressed up as his bride.  Once they left Kirti there, Dhruv came running up to Riddhima and pulled her away from the crowd.

"Dhruv, kya hua?  Mujhe kahaan le kar jaa rahe ho?" Riddhima asked him but he said nothing and dragged her to some place.  Once they were finally away from the crowd, Dhruv stopped and pointed to something.  Riddhima followed his finger and saw a note on the wall which pointed toward the empty corridor.  "Dhruv, yeh kya hain?" Riddhima asked him but instead of saying anything, he ran away from there, confusing her.

Riddhima looked at the note.  Why would anyone want her through the empty corridor?  All kinds of thoughts were going through her mind.  Armaan was talking about a surprise, wasn't he?  Was this his surprise?  But why was he calling her there?  With all these questions in her mind, she slowly walked through the corridor,  which was more like a maze.  She went straight ahead and then stopped at a 2-way.

"Ab kahaan jaun main?  Iss taraf ya uss taraf?" She asked herself and looked around for a sign, but couldn't find one and looked down.  She was standing on something.  Something was written there.  She stepped back and read what it said.

Impatient much?  I know you're dying to get some answers but patience jaan.  Okay.  Let's do this.  I will answer three questions on your way to your surprise.  Let's start with the First one: Go Right.

What the hell, she thought to herself and went to the right.  As she went forward, she saw a little note on the wall which had a rose attached to it.

'Roses are red, violets are blue, something is beautiful, and so are you.'
Question # 2; Yes jaan e man, it's your dear husband.  Armaan. ;)  Now go to the room in front of you.  A surprise is waiting for you.  Love you. <3

Riddhima smiled reading the note.  Of course it was him.  Who else could it be?  But whatever it was.  She was loving this.  Even waiting for the surprise was exciting her.  She admired the rose and went to the room in front of her, as directed in the note.  When she went in, she thought she was going to find him, but instead the room was vacant.  Disappointed,  she turned to walk out when her eyes fell on the bed.  A small packet was on the bed, most probably for her.  She immediately walked to it and opened it.  In front of her, was a pair of gold bangles.  They were so familiar.  Where had she seen them before?  As the question whirled in her mind, her gaze fell on a piece of paper.

Remember these?  These are the bangles Bi gave you and they are yours.  They were really upset because you left them, but now they are very happy because they finally got to you.  I love you.  And now... go out of this room and turn left.  You'll get the answer to your last question there. ;)
-Armaan

Riddhima smiled wide and put the bangles on and walked out.  She took the route Armaan told her to and reached the terrace of the house and opened the door, just to be mesmerized by the view in front of her.

Golden colored lights were sparkling in the dark night.  As she took a step forward, she felt something soft and delicate under her feet and saw a trail of red rose petals in front of her.  She knew all of this was Armaan's plan.  He was the only one that could do this for her!  She walked ahead and suddenly saw soft petals falling on her, bringing a big smile to her face.  Spreading her arms apart, she slowly spinned, feeling out of this world.

"You like it?" She heard a deep, velvet voice and saw Armaan standing there with a soft smile.

"No." He frowned as he heard her. "I love it." He smiled big and kneeled in front of her and pulled out a ring.

"Armaan yeh sab kya-"

"I know," Armaan said, interrupting her. "Tum soch rahi hogi ke yeh sab kiss liye hain.  Haina?  Woh... actually... main tumhare liye kuch karna chahta tha.  Something special.  I know we're married, but.. main yeh bhi jaanta hoon ke jab humari shaadi hui toh tum khush nahin thi.  I ing forced you.  Issi liye maine yeh kiya.  Mrs. Riddhima Armaan Mallik.  Will you marry me?  Again?" Riddhima smiled through her tears and nodded happily.

"Yes, yes, yes!" He got up and immediately picked her up in his arms.

"God I love you so much!" He whispered in her ears and she smiled.  He finally put her down and she sniffed, blushing profusely.

"Yaar tum ladkiyon ki aankhon mein water tank hota hain kya?  Kabhi bhi leak hona shuru ho jaata hain." Riddhima hit his chest playfully and sniffed.

"Maine toh haan kardi Mr. Mallik, lekin tum bohat si baatein bhool rahe ho."

"Jaise?"

"Armaan, shaadi karne ke liye pandit ki zaroorat hoti hain.  Kahaan hain pandit ji?"

"Usski zaroorat nahin hain.  Intezaam ho gaya hain.  Doosri baat bolo."

"Mandap?" Armaan smiled and clapped 3 times.  Riddhima saw a curtain rise from the back, revealing a beautifully decorated mandap, which left her speechless.  Armaan observed her expressions closely and smiled.

"Pasand aaya?" Riddhima looked at him and nodded. "Kuch aur bhi baaki hain kya?" She thought for a moment and nodded. "Kya?"

"Mujhe dekho.  Mujhe dekh kar kaun kahega ki main 'dulhan' hoon?" Armaan thought for a moment.  Then he reached back and slowly covered her head with her pallu.  Riddhima looked at him in surprise and blushed, lowering her gaze, while he admired her.

"Perfect."  He slowly placed his finger under her chin and made her look up. "Ab lag rahi ho tum meri dulhan." Riddhima smiled and lowered her gaze again.  "Chalein?" She looked at him and nodded and he held her hand as he led her to the mandap.  As per the rituals, he took her hand and started walking around the fire as he said his vows.

"Main tumse vaada karta hoon, ke main tumhe, aur humare hone waale bacchon ko duniya ki saari khushi dunga.  Kabhi kissi bhi cheez ki kami nahin hone dunga."

"Aur main bhi vaada karti hoon, ke main humesha tumhara khayaal rakhungi.  Tumhe kabhi bhi niraash nahin karungi."

"Hum dono mill kar humare chhote se parivaar ko sambhaalenge.  Kabhi bhi ek doosre ko akela nahin chhodenge."

"Aur main humesha tumhare paas, tumhari ardhaangini ban kar rahungi.  Khushi ho ya gum, humesha tumhara saath dungi."

"Main humesha sirf tumhe hi apni patni maanunga.  Kabhi kissi aur ko aankh uttha kar bhi nahin dekhunga."

"Main bhi umra-bhar sirf tumhari ban kar rahungi.  Sirf tum hi ko chahungi.  Tum mere pati ho.  Meri zindagi mein, sirf tum maayine rakhte ho.  Koi aur nahin."

"Tumne meri zindagi mein aake mujhe poora kiya.  Aur main dua karta hoon ke bhagwaan humesha hume saath rakhenge."

"Main duniya bhar ki khushiyaan tum par nirchaavar kar dungi.  Tumhe humesha khush rakhungi.  Tumhe humesha khush rakhne ki koshish karungi."

"Tum meri dost, patni, jeevansaathi, sab tum hi ho."

"Jab tak jeeungi, sirf tumhe chahungi.  Tumhari khushi, meri khushi hain.  Aur tumhara gum, mera.  Main humesha tum par vishwaas karungi, humesha tumhara sammaan karungi aur tumhari harr ichha ko poori karungi."

"Main dua karta hoon ke tum par kabhi koi aanch naa aaye."

"Tum jab bhi dekhoge, mujhe apne paas, apne saath paaoge."

"Ab hum pati patni hain.  Hum ek hain.  Tum meri ho, aur main sirf tumhara humesha ke liye."

"Aur bhagwaan iss baat ka gava hain.  Main tumhari patni hoon.  Hum humesha ek doosre se pyaar karenge.  Kabhi alag nahin honge.  Yeh vaada raha."

They stood in front of the holy fire and Armaan picked up the small bottle beside him.  He opened the top and took out a small portion of the sindoor and filled her hair parting with it, as some of it fell on her nose, making her smile.  They say if the sindoor falls on a brides nose, it means that her husband loves her a lot.  Next he picked up the mangalsutra and tied it around her neck.

"Congratulations, Mrs. Mallik.  We're married.  Again." He said with a smirkish-smile and she chuckled.

"Same to you, Mr. Mallik." They giggled and hugged each other contently.  They were so happy to be in each other's arms.  Riddhima had to commend him for this surprise.  This was one of the best moments of her life.  But every moment with him is the best so she wasn't surprised at all.  She was really looking forward to her life with him and so was he.  They completed each other, made each other feel happy and content.  What else did they want?  Well, other than cute little children, nothing else. Wink

****

Laying on the cot beneath the sparking shine of the Moon, Armaan and Riddhima stared at each other with love, admiration, and passion. They didn't pay any attention to the loud and obnoxious shouts and cheers of everyone downstairs.  It was just him and her, her and him.  They were silent, yet their eyes said everything.  They were laying down, but it felt like they were flying.  They were sober, yet they felt so high.  Maybe that's why they called it love.

Riddhima and Armaan were making abstract signs and shapes with their hands.  It amazed him how perfectly her hands fit in his.  Maybe it was because she was made for him.  One by one he pointed his fingers in her direction and she mirrored his actions perfectly.  What resulted, was their hands holding up against each others.  They thought for a moment.  What could they do now?  This time Riddhima took the initiative as she moved her hand slightly so that her fingers were in between his and she slowly bent them so their hands were entangled now.  Armaan quickly thought of his move and distangled their hands as he moved his hand back to his original position so they were up against each other now.  He bent the top half of his fingers and waited for her to mirror him, which she did, and then he extended his thumb.  Riddhima slowly understood what he was doing and repeated what he did.  They smiled as they saw what they made.  It was a heart.  A small, imperfect, yet beautiful heart.  Armaan took her hand and gently placed over his heart as he looked at her in admiration.

"Armaan.  Tum na, bohat filmy ho gaye ho." She said lovingly.

"Hoonga hi na.  After all, meri biwi itni filmy jo hain." They softly chuckled.  After all, it was true.

"So toh hain." He carefully observed her face and frowned as her fringe bothered his view so he slowly pushed it behind her ear.

"Tum aaj bohat khoobsurat lag rahi ho Riddhima." Riddhima blushed and looked down.

"Armaan, tumne yeh pichhle aadhe ghante mein sau baar kaha hain."

"Yeah, lekin mujhe jo sunna hain, woh tumne ab tak nahin kaha."

"Kya?"

"Yeh hi.  Ke main aaj bohat handsome lag raha hoon." Riddhima gave him the 'really' look.

"Armaan, really?"

"Yeah!  I mean, come on!  Kissi bhi ladki se puchho.  Aaj main super hot aur dashing lag raha hoon.  Moholle ki saari ladkiyon ne aaj mujhe compliment di hain, sivaaye tumhare.  C'mon man!  You're my wife!  You should compliment me!"

"Armaan, mujhe kuch nahin kehna."

"Kyun bhai?  Maine itni taareefein ki hain tumhari, toh tum kya meri ek baar bhi taareef nahin kar sakti?" He said in a mockingly offended tone.

"Armaan, mujhe tumhari taareef karne ki zaroorat hi nahin hain.  Mostly because you know how sexily handsome you are." She added a wink at the end, shocking him.

"Ohhh... sexy huh?"

"Any doubts?" They laughed at what she said and then stared at each other lovingly.

"Armaan, ab mujhe chalna chahiye." She said as she started to get up, but he held her hand tighter.

"Jaane ki kya jaldi hain?"

"Armaan.  Mujhe unnki Suhaag Raat ke liye sej sajaane jaana hain."

"Unnka sej toh mohalle ki saare ladkiyaan saja sakti hain.  Humaari suhaag raat ka kya?" Riddhima turned beet red at his question.

"Humaari suhaag raat toh kaafi mahino pehle hi ho gayi thi.  Remember?" Riddhima said jokingly but he went off to think about something else.  Riddhima noticed that and snapped her fingers in front of his eyes.  "Kya hua Armaan?" He took her hand and kissed her wrist softly.

"I'm sorry."

"For what Armaan?"

"Maine tumhe uss din chot pohanchaayi thi na.  Iss liye."

"Armaan, main toh uss baare mein kabka bhul chuki hoon.  Tumhe maafi maangne ki koi zaroorat nahin hain."

"Lekin Riddhima-"

"Shhh." She covered his mouth with her hand. "Ab kuch bolne ki zaroorat nahin hain.  Armaan main-main chahti hoon ke hum sab kuch bhul kar ek naye sire se apni zindagi ki shuruvaat karein.  No more bad memories Armaan.  Ab sirf tum aur main honge.  No one else.  Vaada karo ke tum kabhi bhi unn buri yaadon ke baare mein baat nahin karoge.  Promise me." Armaan smiled and nodded.

"I promise." Riddhima smiled and Armaan thought to lighten the mood a little.

"Toh tell me.  Ab jabke humaari doosri baar shaadi hui hain, toh suhaag raat toh banti hain."

"Armaan, tum na, bohat besharam ho gaye ho."

"What?  I'm saying the truth!"

"Tumhe iss sab ke alaava kuch aur nahin soojta kya?"

"Arre!  Biwi ho meri!  Aur uttha kar nahin laaya hoon tumhe!  Shaadi ki hain sab ke saamne.  Ab toh mere paas umra-bhar ka license hain baby."

"Oh yeah?"

"Mmhmmm."

"Achha?  Toh... ek baat batao.  Duniya ke baaki saare husbands apni patni ko shaadi ke baad honeymoon pe le jaate hain kyunki unnke paas 'license hain'.  Tumhare paas bhi 'license' hain.  Tum toh mujhe kabhi le nahin gaye.  Aisa kyun?" Armaan felt like an idiot.  Why didn't he think about this before?  They had been married for months, but he never thought about going on a honeymoon.  If there was a world's-stupidest-person's tag, it would definitely be given to him!

"Oh shit!  I'm an idiot man!  Main usske baare mein kaise bhul gaya."

"Exactly Mr. Mallik.  Idiot toh tum ho hi.  Itni badi baat jo bhul gaye." She said jokingly and giggled.  She suddenly thought about something and smiled as she rested her head on her palm.  Let's see how well he knew her. "Ab isski tumhe saza bhi milegi."

"Saza?" She nodded. "Kya?"

"Jab tak tum mujhe kahin par le nahin jaate, main tumse bilkul baat nahin karungi." She said with a naughty smile.

"What the heck!  Riddhima itni si baat ke liye tum mujhse baat nahin karogi?" Riddhima shook her head with a smile.  "That's torture!"

"Torture toh torture.  That's your punishment Mr. Mallik." She got up and started walking to the door.

"Riddhima!  Okay chalo.  At least tell me where you wanna go!" She stopped and turned to look at him.

"You're my husband, Mr. Mallik.  So now you have to decide where you wanna take me, keeping my likes and dislikes in mind.  We've been married for such a long time.  So you should know what I like.  Right?  Best of luck Armaan!" She said naughtily and walked out, giggling.  Armaan was in a fix now.  Where was he supposed to take her for their honeymoon!  He spent a long time thinking about some good places when he finally came up with a best idea.  He knew what she wanted and where he should take her.  And now, he couldn't wait till the Sun rose. 

Medha

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