Sunday, 1 December 2019

PART 12 : Mr. & Mrs. Mallik

Armaan was stunned at her words. "Went back? Why?" he said aloud and thought 'Why wouldn't she? After all you acted like a jerk and yelled at her.' He ran to his room and took his bike keys and ran out. He heard Raji saying something but ignored it.

*********************

Armaan rang the bell and waited impatiently. 'God, why did I yell at her so badly? She said she trusted me and hence took such a decision. What she might be thinking about me now?' Battling with his thoughts, he sighed when the door was opened by an elderly woman.

"Where is Riddhima?" he said and while the woman looked at him suspiciously he added quickly "I am Armaan Mallik, Riddhima's......uh..... husband." The woman laughed at him warmly and said "I am their maid. Mam is in her room upstairs" Before she completed her sentence, he climbed the staircase and stopped abruptly and turned around. "First room on your right." He heard the woman say and rushed to her room.



Panting, he opened the door room and was stunned at the sight before him. He expected Riddhima would be crying, or atleast upset but it was more than the opposite. There she sat on her bed laughing uncontrollably talking to someone over the phone. As he stood there startled, Riddhima noticed him standing at the door and cut the call.

"Armaan? You here?" Riddhima asked surprised. Armaan jolted back from his thoughts and moved to her. "Basket, why did you leave suddenly?" he asked her curiously. But when she raised her eyebrow at him he thought 'Oh Don't I know the answer myself'. "OK, Fine. I accept that I shouldn't have shouted at you last night but that doesn't mean you should leave all of a sudden. I thought of apologizing to you morning but you left before I woke up."

Riddhima was now feeling irritated with him. 'What does he mean that I left?' she thought and said "What are you talking about Armaan? I just came to-" She stopped mid sentence as something struck her brain. 'So Mr. Mallik thinks that I left his home because he shouted at me? And he came to apologize? Well serves him right after what he did' thinking so smiled at him.

Armaan was surprised to find her smiling at him 'Did she loose her mind due to excess crying?' he thought swallowing a lump in his throat. Noticing him narrowing his eyes at her she quickly added "So what do you expect me to do?" and changed her expression to gloomy. "Basket, I was frustrated with the turn of events yesterday and I just took it out on you. I didn't mean it." He tried to make her understand.

Riddhima smiled to herself at his desperate attempt to say sorry but decided to play it along. "Why don't you say it one word?" she asked in a stern voice. He looked at her and sighed. Taking a long breath, he started slowly "Ok. I am sor-" But the ring of his mobile interrupted him and he quickly flipped it open to answer the call.

"Hello" he said not pleased with the interruption.

"Hello Armaan. Where did you disappear suddenly?" Raji asked him curiously.

"I am at......uh.... Riddhima's house." He said meekily.

Raji was surprised and added "You went there? Riddhima said she would return in the evening with her luggage. Ok now that you are there, bring Riddhima along when you return." Raji said as a matter of fact.

But he was surprised "What? She said she would return?" he asked her.

"Ofcourse. She went to get her clothes and other things. Why?" She asked.

"Huh? Nothing. Ok Bye." He said quickly and cut the call.

Armaan stared at his mobile for a few seconds and then at an innocent looking devil infront of him. 'So Mrs. Mallik, playing with your husband?' as soon as he thought, he smiled at his words and the next moment he shook his mind 'What the hell are you thinking Armaan? Stop smiling like a clown'. He looked at her and noticed her staring at him with a frown.

Riddhima, on the other hand was baffled at his change of expressions since he had taken the call. "What?" she asked him when he was looking at her with a mock smile. "Are you done with packing? Let's go then." He told her calmly. She was startled at his words for a second. "No. I am not coming with you. By the way you were saying something." She waited for him to speak eagerly.

Armaan smiled inwardly. 'Let's play it if you want basket.' He thought to himself and said "Nothing. So why don't you want to come with me?" he asked stepping towards her. She was at loss of words for a moment. "Because you shouted at me and didn't apologize yet" she said stepping back as he came closer. "What if I make you come with me without apologizing?" he said.

"In your dreams Mr. Mallik." she smirked at him and stepped back only to hit the wall behind her. With one more step, he came closer to her and stood one foot away from her. "I make my dreams come true Mrs. Mallik" he winked at her closing the distance between them. She knew that he was just teasing her, but her heart beat erratically as he put his arms on her both sides against the wall, blocking her way of escape.

"So what do you say Basket? Are you coming with me?" he bent down and whispered in her ear. She held her breath as she heard his deep voice. "No" she whispered and the next moment froze as he pulled her into a tight hug. She tried to push him away "Armaan? What are you doing? Leave me." But he only pulled her closer and her breathing became shallower as she felt his hands snaking up her back.

Armaan, on the other hand though only thought of teasing her, felt his heart somersaulting as he crushed her petite body in his arms. He knew he was acting strange but couldn't control the budding emotions within him. Coming to his senses, he replied "I said I have my own ways of making things happen. So what's your answer now?" Controlling her erratic hear beat, she said "No. Now you leave me. Or else....... I'll....... shout."

Armaan only smiled at her words and tightened his grip, breathing in her feminine perfume. Riddhima, in her desperate attempts to push him away, noticed her dad coming to their room and was mortified. "Armaan, leave me. Dad is coming to the room." She said hitting him on his back. "Not until you change your answer Basket." He replied quickly, nuzzling his face into her hair.

Riddhima, almost stopped breathing when his lips were brushed against her earlobe. She closed her eyes for a moment and gathering all her strength, she pushed him off her when she saw her dad standing at the entrance. Armaan stumbled for balancing himself and he heard Shashank say "Oh.. sorry.... I saw the door open and..... Uh....I came at wrong time I guess"

Armaan came back to his senses and stared at Shashank with his eyes wide open while she glared at him. "No dad, It's nothing of that sort." She said embarrassed, not meeting her dad's eyes. Armaan wanted to bury himself as he felt Shashank's gaze on him. "Yes uncle. No I mean.....uh..... Yes Riddhima is true. I just came to take her back home." He fumbled with his words.

Suddenly Armaan's face lit up with some idea and turned to Riddhima. "So are you coming with me Riddhima?" he asked her stressing on each word slowly. She looked at him and then at her dad and finally Armaan. Accepting defeat, she sighed deeply and said "Yes." She noticed him grinning at her and cursed him under her breath.

Soon they had lunch together with Shashank. While leaving, Shashank came to Riddhima's room where she was packing her luggage with Armaan. "Dad? You need something?" Riddhima asked noticing her dad standing at the door. He moved in and held out a box for her. "Riddhima, I didn't had the chance of giving you a present at your wedding. Take this as your wedding gift." He said calmly while Riddhima stood rooted to her spot. It was the first time Shashank gifted her something after her mother's death.

Armaan noticed a lone tear escaping her eye and held her by her shoulders. While she looked at him, he blinked his eyes and gestured her to take the gift. She stepped ahead and took the box and hugged her dad. "Thank you so much dad. I miss you." She whispered while trying to control her tears.

Armaan and Riddhima left the place in the evening on Armaan's bike while Shashank said he would send the luggage to their flat in car. Throughout the drive, Armaan noticed her being quite. She neither complained of his over speed nor urged him to drive slow. "Basket? Are you not afraid?" he asked her out of curiosity. She jolted out of her thoughts with his words and rewinded what he spoke. Once she got the sense she replied. "After travelling with you, I got used to it. Now shut up and drive safe."

After reaching the flat, Riddhima collapsed on the couch. "I am tired." She declared while Armaan came and settled on the chair. "Why are you tired Basket? My bike should be tired for carrying you till here." Armaan winked at her and as he completed the sentence a pillow came and hit his face. "Oww. Easy Basket. Many girls drool over this face." He said rubbing his nose.

"Stop irritating her Armaan." Raji hit his head gently and passed on the bottle of water to Riddhima. "Both of you go and get fresh. I'll prepare some snacks." She said and went to the kitchen. Riddhima got up to go to her room and when she reached the door of her room, Armaan called her and said "Riddhima, I am sorry. I didn't mean it." She looked at him surprised. He rarely addresses her by her name and that too when he was extremely serious.

Riddhima smiled at him and replied. "It's OK Armaan. I know you were just teasing me. By now I can understand when you joke and when you are serious." She thought he was apologizing for the afternoon's incident at her house. He was startled for a moment as he couldn't make sense out of it. When he understood what she meant he smiled mischievously and said "Oh Basket, I am not sorry for hugging you today. You know you are very lucky for getting the chance. Usually girls wait in a queue to hug the hunk Armaan Mallik."

Riddhima stared at him with her mouth open. "You are impossible. Go to hell" she mocked at him and turned to go in when he caught hold of her wrist. "No Riddhima wait." He said and when she turned around he left her wrist and he added "I am really sorry for acting like a jerk yesterday. Seriously." She looked straight into his eyes and felt his felling of guilty. She smiled at him genuinely and replied "I understand and I am sorry too."

"Friends?" he asked offering her his hand. But she folded her hands across her chest and said raising her eyebrow "But I thought we are already friends." He grinned like a fool while she smiled at him and turned to go when he called her again.

"Basket, how many times a week, you take a head bath?" he asked her pretending to be serious. She was stunned at his words. 'what kind of a question is this?' she thought and replied "Once in every two days. Why?" He scratched his chin as if analyzing something. "Acha. From now on, take a head bath daily. Your hair smells aweful." He told her and before she could react he ran to his room.

Standing behind the door, he remembered the smell of her hair when he nuzzled into them. He sighed deeply and peeked out of his room after a moment. She stood at her door glaring at him. "Just joking. You smell so good." He said and winked at her while she blushed slightly. "Armaan, stop flirting with me." She replied and closed her door. He smiled at the closed door running his hand through his hair and went in.

Raji being the lone spectator of all this, smiled and shook her head slightly.

*****************

"So what's the plan for dinner? After all it's your first day after marriage." Raji asked when all three of them settled in the living room watching TV. Riddhima shrugged her shoulders and looked at Armaan. He thought for a moment and asked "How about dinner out?" "Great!" Riddhima and Raji both squealed in delight. "Fine. " he paused and looked at his watch and added "It's 8.30 now. I give you 30 mins. Get ready fast and then we will leave."

While Raji and Riddhima rushed in to get ready, he went to his room to change his clothes and then went to the parking lot to get the car ready. By the time he drove the car out of the parking, he found Raji and Riddhima already waiting for him at the gate of their flats. He noticed Riddhima in a simple T shirt and jeans and his eyes automatically scanned her form head to toe. 'She is cute and....... sexy?' he thought and immediately shook his head to clear his thoughts.

"Wow two ladies getting ready in 20 mins! That's a world record. Anyways I can see that you both are very hungry but please spare some food for others in the restaurant." he said when they got into the car only to receive two smacks on his shoulder.

Armaan took them to a restaurant by the beach. They had their dinner leisurely, pulling each other's legs and laughing like mad people. By the time they finished it was 12 in the mid night. Raji noticed the time first and yelled "My God! It's 12. Let's go back soon." Armaan sighed and said "Raji, it's Sunday tomorrow. We don't have to go to the hospital. So chill." Raji glared at him and added quickly "Armaan, you will sleep like a devil whole day. But I have to go the vegetable market at 5."

 Riddhima's face lit up at the mention of the market. "No problem aunty. I'll come with you." She said with excitement. "Basket, you really are a blessing in disguise. Thank God I am spared on Sundays." He said bowing his head at her. Then he payed the bill and they headed back to their home.

After reaching home, before retiring to their respective rooms, Riddhima hugged Raji tight and said "Good night Raji. Wake me in the morning. I'll come with you." Armaan's face lit up immediately watching them. He expected the same kind of goodnight wish form her and stretched his hands slightly awaiting the hug.

But his face fell the next moment when she just turned to him and said "Thank you for the wonderful dinner Armaan. Good night." He sighed in disappointment and said "Good night." Raji noticed his change of expressions and smiled inwardly. "Good night Armaan." she said hugging him. He hugged her back and said "Good night Raji. And please don't wake me in the morning. Lock the door and go to the market."

Riddhima quickly changed into her nightdress and lay on the bed thinking about all the events of the day. It was one of her happiest days. Hoping everyday to be the same she drifted off to sleep the next moment hugging the other pillow.

Armaan on the other hand simply tossed in his bead as sleep was miles away from him. Every time he closed his eyes, the only thought that came to his mind was about Riddhima. He accepted defeat and sat on the bed. 'God! why is she coming into my thoughts?' he thought scratching his head. 'I accept she is beautiful but didn't I meet girls who are more beautiful than her?' he lay back on the bed 'There is something in her that strikes me every time I see her' he turned and slept on his stomach. 'Anyhow, I don't know what this feeling means, but it is beautiful.' He sighed and closed his eyes thinking about her and soon started snoring slightly.

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SUSHMITA

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