Tuesday, 3 December 2019

PART 14 : Mr. & Mrs. Mallik

Ananya beamed into Raji's room and shouted hugging Raji "Happy birthday Raji." Raji hugged her back and said thanks shyly.

Riddhima, whose sleep was disturbed by the loud voice, woke instantly and watched Raji and Ananya hugging each other. She got up and said "Good Morning aunty"

Ananya smiled looking at her and replied back "Good morning beta. I guess you had a good sleep." As Riddhima nodded at her, she turned to Raji. "Raji, get ready by 10. We have-" she stopped mid sentence as she realized something and turned back to Riddhima.

"Riddhima? Why did you sleep with Raji?" Riddhima's eyes widened in horror as she heard to Ananya's words while Raji choked on her breath. Then suddenly it struck Riddhima. As she was Armaan's wife she was supposed to be in his room not here. 'Damn it! How come the thought never came to my mind?' she cursed herself as she looked at Ananya frowning at her.



"Au…nty.." Riddhima could barely speak. She noticed Ananya frowning at her expecting some explanation and gulped the lump of her throat. " uh…. I and Armaan……." she started slowly expecting her brain to work some wonders. "yes…" her eyes glittered with spark and she added "we had a fight and that's his punishment to sleep alone." She finished in one breath and tried to study Ananya's expressions.

"Fight?" Ananya spoke in a loud voice while Raji shook her head at Riddhima's not so wise answer. "Why did you both fight?" she added.

Riddhima sighed in despair. 'Shit, I shouldn't have said that.' She thought and said "No, not a fight. It's just…." She fumbled with words and added "he was irritating me and so I came to sleep here. Nothing serious." she smiled fakely.

"Yeah serves him right. He keeps on irritating her and then apologizes with the puppy face of his." Raji came to her rescue.

"Oh" Ananya said who seemed to be not satisfied fully with the answer. "Fine. Raji, you get ready. We'll go to the temple and Riddhima party begins at 7 pm in the night. So get ready by then." She said and left.

Riddhima fell back on the bed and sighed deeply. "That was very close" she whispered while Raji smiled at her and left. But Riddhima felt guilty of playing with their emotions. They all love her so much and the day they come to know about this- she shuddered thinking about it. She got up from bed and went to washroom.

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

Armaan watched Riddhima descend the steps during lunch and was again drowned in his thoughts. He still didn't understand why he was hell lot of angry at her the previous night. He did apologize but even that tactic of his was weird. He was aware that unknowingly he is being drawn towards her. His mind was not yet ready to accept the fact that he started caring for her or rather he was falling for her.

He shrugged the thoughts aside and looked at her. She smiled at him weakly and sat beside him at the dining table.  He noticed her being quite and again felt guilty for the previous night. But the lunch time was eventful. His cousins left no stone turned in teasing him along with Riddhima while his mom and Raji enjoyed it as if they were watching an old romantic movie – atleast that was what he thought they felt. By the end of lunch, Riddhima and Armaan turned red due to embarrassment.

Riddhima quickly finished her lunch and got up to get back to her room as she can't stand any of their teasing more. Following her, Armaan too got up to leave while his cousins starting oohing and aahing. He glared at them and ran to Riddhima. At the end of the steps when she was about to enter Raji's room, he stopped her by catching hold of her wrist.

"Riddhima, wait" she heard his voice and the next moment felt his hold. She turned around and frowned at him. Immediately he let go off her wrist and gave a wide smile. 'He is acting weird' she thought.

"Armaan?" she snapped at him as he was staring at her without speaking – which in a reason made her conscious. She noticed him look away for a second and then turn to her.

"Actually, I want to say…." He searched for words "I mean…." he fumbled and added taking a deep breath "I am sorry for everything yesterday. Strange it might seem, but you scared the shit out of me yesterday. I have apologized already but… " he noticed her narrowing her eyes at him and quickly added "I mean, I am ready to accept… I mean I'll do anything to cover it up."

She stared at him in disbelief. The Armaan Mallik, who never left a chance in irritating her is standing before her saying sorry, yet again. The devils in her brain woke up bringing a faint smile on her lips.

"Anything? Think once again." she asked him once again. As he nodded, she hit him slightly on his cheek and said "I'll tell you about your actual punishment later. But at present your work is to save me from the teasing from your cousins. OK?"

He looked at the grin on her face and was sure something was cooking in her brain. But the fact that she was not upset with him made him smile. He brushed his cheek where she hit him playfully and smiled widely "She is crazy" he thought aloud.

"As much as you are." He heard a voice and turned around and found his mom smiling at him. He returned a nervous smile and left quickly leaving his mom behind, staring at him.

"I miss you Armaan" he heard his mom whisper but instead ignore it with a smirk.

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

"Riddhima?" he yelled again standing by the door. "How much will you take? Raji?" he paced to and forth impatiently. Raji and Riddhima were locked in the room for the past 1 hr with Raji trying to help Riddhima wear her saree. "I'll go alone if you don't come out now. God, its already 7.30 pm." He muttered again.

Finally after what seemed like ages to him, the door fluttered open. He found Raji grinning at him as if she had won an Olympic medal. This irked him more. "What the hell Raji? If she is not comfortable with saree they why can't she-" he stopped once his eyes met Riddhima standing infront of the dressing table.

Standing at 5 foot 6 inches, with a deep purple color saree and a matching blouse, she was utterly gorgeous. He looked at her closely and noticed just a platinum necklace on her neck and matching earrings. His eyes moved down and found a watch on her left wrist and a bracelet on her right one. 'How can one look so beautiful with a minimal make up?' he stared at her in amusement that he didn't notice his mouth was slightly open and he forgot the purpose for which he was standing there.

"She'll take just five minutes. I am leaving to the garden. Come fast." Raji's words brought him out of his trance and felt her hands moving his chin up to close his open mouth. He quickly looked away and nodded his head. Raji smiled at him and went off.

Armaan took few steps towards her, still in some trance. Sensing someone's gaze on her Riddhima quickly turned around and found Armaan staring at her – the only thing different being that his gaze was different in some sense and it made her conscious of his presence. She shifted on her feet nervously.

Armaan moved to her slowly and stood a foot away from her. His pulse increased while her heart beat madly with the proximity. "Armaan, how do I look?" her words snapped him out from his world. He then noticed that Riddhima was almost pinned against the dressing desk with him standing just a foot away from her. He quickly took a step back. An awkward silence prevailed between them.

Armaan immediately came back to his senses as he remembered her question. He scanned her from head to toe and said "Not bad Basket. Worth being Mrs. Riddhima Armaan Mallik." Surprising himself more than her. Somehow he liked the sound of her being addressed as his wife.

"Shut up Armaan" Riddhima was first surprised and then shocked at his answer. "I look better than you." She added proudly.

"Is it? Let's see that in the party. I bet every girl will be drooling over me. After all they don't get to watch Armaan Mallik in suit every day." He answered adjusting his collar a bit while Riddhima smiled at his self-boasting. But she had to admit that Armaan was worth drooling in his black suit with a light blue shirt under it.

"Shall we leave?" Armaan offered his hand praying that she won't deny it. His heart jumped in joy when she placed her hand in his and gestured to move. But with one touch, Armaan sensed that she was nervous and squeezed her hand. "Don't worry. I'll always be by your side." He whispered while she smiled at him.

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

Riddhima stopped in her tracks as she noticed the garden – not because of the decorations but because of the crowd. Armaan felt her going stiff beside him and looked at her worried "Basket, are you fine?" he asked looking at her.

"Armaan, I am not good at handling people at parties." Riddhima replied nervously glancing around to find some familiar faces.

Armaan smiled at her fear. "Don't worry Basket. They won't eat you. Afterall dinner will be served right after the party" he said with a big grin while she glared at him.

Soon Ananya and Vijay took them towards the dias and then she noticed Armaan's dad for the first time in her stay at Delhi. He smiled at her and asked "How are you Riddhima? I hope Armaan is not bothering too much."

Riddhima's heart skipped a beat at his words and turned red of embarrassment while Armaan grinned at her. Before she could answer him she noticed her dad coming towards her. As he reached her she hugged him while her eyes welled up. "I missed you dad" she whispered closing her eyes.

Shashank patted her back and said "I missed you too." Riddhima moved back and smiled at him "How are you Riddhima?" he asked after a moment.

"I am fine dad." She replied with her heart full of joy at her dad's question.

"Are what is this? She didn't reply to my question but to Shashank's one. This is not fair." Vijay whined like a small child. Shashank giggled at him and put his arms around his friend's shoulder saying "That's because she is my daughter."

Riddhima felt the pride in his voice when he talked to Vijay about her and was overwhelmed. How she wished to hear such words from him.

Armaan noticed the change of expressions on her face and asked "Riddhima, anything wrong?" but she only gave him a wide smile and shook her head while he looked at her face glowing with happiness and unknowingly felt happy. Soon they were greeted by the guests.

After what felt like ages, they got down the dias and joined the guests. Where ever they went Armaan made sure that Riddhima was always by his side- lest she would feel nervous. While Riddhima was glad that Armaan stayed with her all the time.

After some time, Armaan spotted some of his friends along with Abhi waiting for him. Quickly he excused himself and Riddhima from them pulled her aside. "Riddhima, we'll go to meet my frinds. They will ask us hell lot of questions and pull our legs. So don't panic and don't get nervous." He whispered in her ear while walking towards his friends.

As they met his friends, she realized the person standing beside Armaan as Abhi and all others were his friends from Medical University. Armaan was true, his friends bombarded them with questions on how they met, how they fell in love etc etc. Riddhima felt awkward at their questions while it was Armaan who answered most of their stupid questions. But apart from that, she realized his friends were easy to talk and she felt good meeting them.

After sometime, Ananya came and excused Riddhima from them and took her to introduce to her friends. But all the while, Armaan's gaze followed her wherever she went. After being convinced himself that she was comfortable, he moved towards Abhi.

"What's up?" he asked as he met Abhi at the bar. He asked for a bottle of beer and settled beside him. Abhi looked at him and smiled a bit but Armaan was taken aback with that gesture of his.

"When did you meet Riddhima, Armaan? When did you fall in love with her?" Abhi asked looking straight into his eyes. Armaan choked on the beer and Abhi felt him stiffen at his question. Before Armaan could speak anything he added "It's OK if you don't want to tell me. But don't tell me that same lame story once again."

Armaan sighed and closed his eyes in defeat. He looked around and finding that they were alone he looked back at Abhi who was staring at him keenly. "I met her in Sanjeevani" he started and continued with the consequences that led to their marriage. Throughout his narration, Armaan noticed the display of emotions on his face sometimes surprise, sometimes shock and sometimes amusement.

"Oh" This was all Abhi could say after listening to Armaan. "So you don't love her?" Abhi asked though he was quite obvious of the answer.

"I don't think so" Armaan replied after a moment still thinking deeply.

"You don't? But I can see the opposite." Abhi replied in a calm tone.

"I do accept that I like her. Lately I am having some strange feelings when I am around her but it might also be just an attraction. But it's too early to say that I love her." Armaan said more as if to convince himself, while his eyes searched for Riddhima in the crowd.

Abhi noticed him searching around and said "So I have some chance?" He noticed Armaan frown at him and added "I can flirt with her."

"No, you won't" Armaan said on an impulse while Abhi grinned at him.

"Jealous?" Abhi probed further to help him realize his feelings.

"No way. Armaan Mallik is never jealous." He boasted and the next moment his eyes met Riddhima at the dance floor. He noticed Riddhima giggling like a teenager dancing with her dad and his which brought a smile to his lips.

Abhi noticed the dreamy smile on his lips and smiled inwardly. "I hope you realize it soon." He said.

Armaan looked at him immediately and asked "Huh? Realize what?"

"That we should be on the dance floor too." Abhi replied standing up.

"No you go. I'll join you later." Armaan said and watched Abhi move to the dance floor and then his eyes again caught Riddhima laughing and dancing with his dad's friends. He smiled looking at her. She appeared as a child. But soon his smile faded away as he noticed his friends joining her at the dance.

Armaan frowned looking at the sight of watching Riddhima dance with his friends. He noticed that they were maintaining themselves at a distance from her but still he didn't like it. He wondered why he is not liking her dancing with his friends while he didn't had any problem when she was with his dad's friends. 'Because your dad's friends are nowhere near to your age' came the answer from his innerself.

Abhi's words rand in his ears once again. "Shit, am I jealous?" he whispered loudly and shook his head. He looked at Riddhima once again and now he found her in Abhi's arms. He noticed Abhi wink at him or did he just imagine it, he mused. But whatever it might be, he didn't like the idea of Riddhima dancing with others.

"Now it's the time for the newly married couple to graze the floor." he heard DJ's voice in the mike and thanked him in his mind. He stood up proudly and walked to the floor.

"Shall we?" he offered his hand to Riddhima who took it smiling widely. Afterall she was having a great time dancing.

Soon Riddhima felt the lights getting dim and the change of song. She looked at Armaan who smiled at her assuringly. She then heard a soft romantic music and her eyes widened in horror as Armaan slipped his hand to her waist slowly pulling her close. She noticed him place her hands on his shoulder and them swaying according to the soft beats.

it's a beautiful day...tu mere paas hai
it's a beautiful day…baat yeh khaas hai
it's a beautiful day…tu mere paas hai
it's a beautiful day…baat yeh khaas hai

Riddhima gasped as she felt his grip on her waist tightening. She felt herself being pulled to him more. She brushed the thought aside thinking that she might be feeling it so as the song was romantic. Physical proximity to a man in such a situation was something new to her and she felt extremely conscious of it.



aankhen yeh aankhon se kehne lagi kuchh ishaaron mein…… ha ishaaron mein
deewane hi sirf samjhenge inki zubaan
dil kaise milte hai ab jaake hamne yeh jaana hai…… ha yeh jaana hai
ho dekho shuru ho gayi pyar ki dastaan

For some reason unknown to him, Armaan felt good with Riddhima being in his arms. His heart beat increased slowly and he tried to remember whether it felt the same when he danced with any other girl. As far as he can recall, the feeling was never the same – infact this was quite different, he comprehended looking at her eyes.



can i kiss you tonight
can i hold you so tight
can i make u all mine
can i make u smile



when i look into your eyes get the feel you love
because if u look into my eyes u will know
i wanna be ur lover… wanna be ur lover



it's a beautiful night….chaandani raat hai
it's a beautiful night….pyar ki baat hai


Armaan twirled her around and caught her back with her back rested against his chest. Still in a trance, he moved his hands on her arms sensually making goose bumps appear on her bare skin. She trembled when she felt his hot breath on her neck and closing her eyes she moved with him as he guided her with his hands on her waist, hers on his and her body rested against his chest.



yeh raat kehti hai vaada koi aaj kar le ham……. ha kar le ham
baahon mein bharke kaho kuchh bhi keh do sanam
ho ho madhosh kar do hamein aaj kehti hai khamoshi….. yeh khamishi
ho ham tumse na duur jaa paaye de do kasam



He twirled her again and made her face him. While her hands rested over his chest, she felt his hands snaking up at her back, sending shivers down her spine. Her heart beat madly and her breathing became shallow. Looking up in his eyes she noticed some strange feeling in his eyes and was scared at its intensity. She could feel the same intensity with which he was holding her and this made her feel suffocated.



can i kiss you tonight
can i hold you so tight
can i make u all mine
can i make u smile

gonna hold you, kiss you, touch you…. gal.. let me feel your body

gonna hold you, kiss you, touch you…. gal.. let me feel your body

just be mine all night

gonna hold you, kiss you, touch you…. gal.. let me feel your body



Armaan came out of the trance as he heard people applauding them at the end of the song. He then realized the closeness with which he was holding Riddhima and immediately loosened his hold. Riddhima stepped back immediately and after staying there for a couple of moments, when she couldn't take it anymore, excused herself and left the floor.

Armaan mentally kicked himself for his weird behavior. 'God, what will she be thinking of me?' he muttered to himself and ran behind her. He noticed her standing at a secluded corner in the garden and gulping down the saliva in his throat, moved towards her.

"Riddhima, are you fine?" he asked as he sensed her slightly panting. She turned to him and he noticed she was nervous.

"Yeah I am fine." She said looking everywhere but at him. She was scared to look into his eyes for some odd reason. Then awkward silence took its place between them.

He noticed her not meeting his eyes and said "Riddhima, I am sorry if you were upset because of me. It's just that music and the beer I had before. I was just carried away. I really didn't mean to-" He tried to explain but she cut him between.

"No Armaan. That's fine. But I just felt suffocated in there." She replied him. Looking into his eyes, she didn't find anything she felt she saw few minutes before. That was true, she felt suffocated but the reason behind it was still unknown to her

"Oh" Armaan relaxed listening to her. He brought a glass of water for her and after some time asked "Are you fine now?"

She smiled slightly before answering "Yes. Let's go inside. Aunty must be searching for me. I am on a kind of third scale investigation since morning." She bit her lips as soon as the words escaped her throat. But that was true. Since the time Ananya found her sleeping in Raji's room, she felt Ananya's eyes on her all the time. It seemed to her that Ananya was not quite satisfied with her stupid answer.

"Huh? What?" Armaan asked surprised at her words. 'why would mom investigate her?' he thought.

"I am sorry. I didn't mean it that way. But in the morning, she found me sleeping in Raji's room. I told her a stupid reason and well I guess she is not pleased with my answer. So I was under her scan since morning. She is worried about me and you." She said stressing on the last word and noticed the change of his expressions.

"Oh" she heard him whisper and then heard "Let's go inside." She nodded and went in leaving her thoughts aside.

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

"Armaan?" Riddhima beamed into his room shouting his name. It was almost midnight and she was tired after the eventful party. As soon as she entered, she noticed Armaan standing on his toes, on a stool searching for something above the wardrobe.

"What?" Armaan asked her quite irritated at the interruption and went back to his search.

"What are you searching for?" she asked quite surprised at his behavior.

"My play station kit. Raji said that she put it here somewhere. " He said looking at her closely. She was in her night dress – a cotton kurti and pyjama with her hair slightly messed up tied in a bun. While he was glad he wore a vest not bare. "You want something?" he added before resuming his search again.

Riddhima sighed deeply before answering. She closed her eyes and remembered Ananya's eyes scanning her once again. She can't afford being caught again. "Yes. I want to sleep with you." She said as a matter of fact.

The next moment she heard a loud thud and closed her eyes immediately. When she opened her eyes she found Armaan on the floor, rubbing his elbows with the stool beside him. She then noticed a shocked expression on his face.

Armaan's heart stopped beating when he heard her words. Not able to balance himself on his toes, he lost his balance and fell down on the floor. He got up rubbing his elbows and his butt and found her standing before him with a straight face.

"What?" he asked shell shocked at her words. Shock was an under estimate to his feeling. 'Is she out of her mind?' he thought and gulped.

"Yes. I can't bear aunty spying on me anymore. Moreover she is with Raji in her room. So I can't sleep there and-" she stopped midsentence as she realized what she had spoken earlier. The expression on his face made it quite clear for her what he thought.

"No no. I mean I want to sleep in the same room." She corrected her words immediately "Not that I want to sleep with you." She looked down immediately embarrassed as hell.

Armaan sensed her embarrassment and inorder to lighten the mood replied "Oh, thank God. I was scared as to how to protect my 'izzat' from you in the first case." He put his hands across his chest dramatically.

Riddhima's mouth fell open when she heard his words. "Shut up, you moron" she exclaimed irritatingly but thanked him inwardly for not embarrassing her more. "Ok you sleep on the couch and I'll sleep on the bed." She stated moving to the bed.

"What? No way. This is my room. If you want to sleep here it's you who have to sleep on the couch" he declared adamantly.

"No. Remember you said you would do anything for hitting me. Well, this is your punishment." She said and herd him groan. She then noticed him pulling the play station kit form the upper shelf on the wardrobe and switch on the screen.

"You want to play?" he asked hopefully.

Riddhima nodded at him and said "But I don't know how to play."

"Oh no problem. That's very easy. I'll teach you first and then we can play." She said excitingly as he made place for him beside her on the bed.

Armaan taught her how to play and then they played together- shouting, giggling and enjoying the company. Too tired to stay awake for a long time, they fell asleep unknown to themselves.

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

Armaan woke up first with something disturbing his sleep. Opening his eyes lightly, he noticed something black and thick over his face. 'This can't be my hair.' he thought pushing it aside. He pulled the sheet over him and closed his eyes. He felt 'something' near his chest and pulled it closer with his arm wrapped around 'it', before drifting off to sleep.

After a moment, he stirred slightly as he felt some movement beside him. He ignored it first but the next second, his eyes popped open and he was baffled at the 'thing' beside him.

Riddhima slept peacefully next to him with her back snuggled up into his chest. And his arm wrapped tightly around her waist with his knees bent  slightly, inwardly into hers. He noticed Riddhima pulling the sheet closer and over her head. He smiled looking her tactic of avoiding the light. The next moment, he felt her turning towards him and her arm on his waist with her breast pressed against his chest and her face at his throat.

Armaan gulped the lump that formed in his throat and wiped the sweat that formed quickly on his forehead. He could hear his erratic heartbeat in the quiet room. He then noticed the lights and PS screen still on and the remotes beside her on the bed. He assumed they would have slept while playing.

His heart asked him to stay there and savor the pleasure of her sleeping in his arms but his mind warned him. Already after the day's events, he didn't want to make it more awkward between them. So he pulled his arm back and putting her arm aside, got up from the bed carefully without disturbing her. He noticed her stirring a bit but relaxed when she turned to her other side and slept peacefully without a movement.

He collected the remotes from her side and put them on the dressing table. Then switching off the screen and the lights, he jumped onto the couch and closed his eyes. But sleep was smiles away from him as he looked at her sleeping on his bed. As much as he avoided, he remembered of the feelings he had with their close proximity throughout the day – when he saw her in the saree, then the dance and now her sleeping in his arms.

Shaking his head, he turned to the other side and shut his eyes tightly, battling with his thoughts and most imporatantly his feelings towards her.

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

SUSHMITA

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