Sunday, 8 December 2019

PART 19 : Mr. & Mrs. Mallik

Armaan cut her words before she could complete them. "Because I missed you." He said with his voice deep with emotions. But Riddhima didn't recognize the intensity with which he was saying as she still was deep in thought about the questions in her own brain. She struggled to get herself free from his hold as his grip on her tightened.

She was looking away twisting in his hold. "Leave me Armaan, now. Or I will surely kill you." He heard her say. Armaan tried once again to gain her attention. "and because I Love you." He replied to her previous question ignoring her words.

"But-" she started but the words were never completed. She froze in his arms as her mind registered his words in it. For few moments she couldn't understand whether he actually said the words or not. She just stared at him, with her lips slightly parted in surprise, standing completely still.



His breathing rate increased as he looked at her and his heart thudded crazily against his chest. When she didn't react for a few minutes, he wondered whether she had heard his words. He gulped looking at her wide eyes staring straight into his. However, gathering his courage once again, he let go off her arms which were twisted at her back, but held her waist gently before whispering "I do love you Riddhima."

He panicked, still not getting any response from her. She could have atleast yelled, he thought. When he felt that his dream is being shattered, there came a ray of hope. Slowly her lips curved into a faint smile. Though in confusion, he joined her in her smile, smiling widely. But his brows burrowed as she smiled senselessly staring into space.

Riddhima was in another world altogether. Everything disappeared around her as she heard his words, not once but twice. Still in a daze, she stepped back and moved to her room, smiling incessantly. She felt as if something was filled into her insides, she felt complete coming to the terms that she is loved. She fell back on the bed and after wiping the big fat tear that escaped her eye, she closed her eyes feeling blissful, conveniently forgetting the fact that someone else was waiting for her reply holding his breath.

Armaan peeped into her bedroom only to find her asleep. Scratching his head, he made his way to his room. Did she loose her mind? He wondered pacing along the length of the room. This is the most weird reply one could have got after expressing love, he thought. She didn't reject it – his heart humped in joy. She didn't accept it either – his mind snapped back the next moment. She didn't respond to it at all! Holding his head in his hands he lay on the bed. Finally with tiredness of travelling and confusion taking a toll on him, he drifted off to sleep to meet his basket in his dreams.

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

Armaan got ready for his early shift at hospital absentmindedly. After the impulsive confession of his love to Riddhima and her weird response, his mind stopped working properly altogether. Throughout the last night, though his heart was jumping crazily that she didn't yell at him or something, he kept his mind busy in analyzing her behavior.

He sighed looking at his image in the mirror. His eyes were red and heavy due to lack of sleep for the past week, especially the previous. Walking out of his room, he moved to the living room to find Raji ready with sandwiches.

"Raji, will any human eat sandwich at 6 in the morning?" he groaned looking at her. Firstly, he was irritated as he had an early shift this day as all he wanted to do was to talk to Riddhima and sort out the issues of his love life. Next, though he barely slept the whole night, he didn't want to get out of the bed before his usual 7.30 am. Inspite of all that, now he was standing in his living room at 6, impatient for God knows what!

All Raji did was to smile at his crankiness. She was sure there was some new development between Armaan and Riddhima but chose to be ignorant lest they would feel awkward in her presence.

Very reluctantly Armaan gulped the sandwich and as Raji went back to kitchen, he quickly moved towards Riddhima's room. Opening the door slowly he peeped in to find Riddhima sleeping peacefully in the center of her bed. Pushing the door open completely, he frowned at her. Who told he would sleep like a pig? Wasn't she the new kumbhakarni now? He wondered how she could sleep like that while he was at the edge of dying due to anxiety.

Inspite of everything, he couldn't refrain himself from smiling at the sight of her sleeping. God, she looked beautiful with a natural morning glow. He wondered how it would be to wake up with her every morning. All he wanted to do was to kiss her good morning. He suddenly jolted back to present at this particular thought. He remembered her reaction when he had kissed her once and quickly closed the door and left for Sanjeevani, not wanting another Tom and Jerry show at his house.

What were the chances that she would be dreaming about me? He thought as he drove to the hospital. Little did he know the reason behind her peaceful sleep!

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

Riddhima woke up lazily from the most peaceful sleep of her life. She glanced at the watch and then all her clumsiness vanished in a flash. "Its 7.00" she screamed as she ran into the wash room grabbing a towel. After a quick shower, she rushed out of her room to Armaan's. Finding it empty, she spotted Raji in the kitchen and walked up to her.

"Aunty, where is Armaan?" as soon as her words were out of her throat, she was remembered of the last night events and slowly a blush crept up to her cheeks as she recalled his words.

"Huh?" Raji turned around as she heard her words. "Armaan went to Sanjeevani. He has an early shift today." Raji told her.

"Oh." Riddhima made her way to the dining table when Raji brought breakfast for them. Raji watched her lost look and dreamy smile and smiled at Riddhima.

"Waise, I don't know why but he appeared a bit restless. He even came to wake you but then he left finding you asleep." Raji added as a matter of fact.

"But why didn't he wake me up?" Riddhima asked.

"May be he was afraid you would hit him again, if he did that." Raji teased her.

"Aunty I only hit him when he does something stupid. I hit him yesterday because he-" Riddhima realized what she was speaking and looked away immediately in embarrassment. "I am getting late. Bye aunty." She added nervously leaving Raji chuckling at her.

As she got into the auto to go to Sanjeevani, her mind drifted back to Raji's words. Why was he restless? She wondered. After a moment, her eyes widened as something struck her mind. "Shit! I should have talked to him yesterday. God, what he would be thinking as I left abruptly?" She kicked herself mentally and felt bad. But she was so overwhelmed last night that she forgot that she owes him a reply. "I had a perfect opportunity yesterday. How will I start the conversation now?" she thought.

Nervously Riddhima made her way into the hospital only to get startled. She spotted Armaan talking to a girl in a mini skirt. Her eyes widened in shock and nostrils flared up as the next moment she saw him hugging that girl and even smiling at her. 'And here I was thinking that he would be upset.' She stomped her foot and went away.

Armaan spotted Riddhima talking to her patient during the lunch time. He gulped and took few steps towards her, but he was stopped by a girl and very reluctantly left with her. He looked at Riddhima longingly dying to talk to her. As if she heard his plead, she looked up and their eyes met.

Riddhima felt his presence around her and looked up to find that pair of blue eyes gazing at her intently. Her lips were about to curve into a smile when she saw the same girl in a miniskirt with him, holding his hand and pulling him. She gave him a dreadful glare and turned her face away, leave alone a smile.

Armaan frowned as he got a glare from her. 'Now what does this mean?' his analytical skills in brain again started working overtime, but in vain.

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

Throughout the dinner, Armaan's one eye was on Riddhima trying to gauge her reactions. He was sure she was extremely pissed off at him but he didn't understand why. After dinner when Raji and Riddhima retired to their rooms, Armaan as usual peeped into Riddhima's room before entering. He found Riddhima sitting on her bed with a book.

"Basket?" He called her in a sugary tone as he stepped inside.

Riddhima closed her eyes and took a deep breath as she heard his voice. As the incident of him with that girl flashed infront of her eyes, she opened her eyes and glared at him.

"What?" she shot back as she threw her book aside and stood infront of him.

Armaan swallowed the lump in his throat as he looked at her. He sighed that she threw her book aside not at him as it had become her routine aiming things at him. He looked around and found that there were not any dangerous things around, in her room- so he was safe.

"I want to talk to you." He said softly.

"Why? Didn't that girl give you her mobile number?" she snapped at him, stepping closer with her hands on her hips.

"Ssh. Normal people sleep at this time. Don't shout." He hushed her as he closed the door, lest her words would wake the residents of the entire apartments. "And which girl and what mobile number are you talking about?" he asked walking up to her.

"Oh, so how many girls do you know? Huh?" she retorted.

'What kind of a question is that?' he scratched his head. "Basket, I am not good at solving puzzles. So please spare me and talk straight."

"Who was that girl, in mini skirt, you were talking to or rather hugging at the hospital?" she raised her brow as she asked.

"Oh she?" He sighed as he recalled, while Riddhima listened to him carefully, with her full attention. "Basket, she is granddaughter of one of my patients. She was so worried about her dadu that-" suddenly he stopped speaking and looked at her intently.

When she gave him why-did-you-stop look, he controlled his grin and asked "Is that why you were angry with me? Because I hugged that girl?"

"Thank God! You are a genius Mr. Mallik." She smirked at him and turned around walking to her bed.

"Why did it bother you, basket?" she heard his voice and stopped in her tracks. Her heart beat increased as she pondered on his words.

"Because I didn't like it." She told calmly after taking a deep breath. She knew where this argument was leading and it made her nervous.

"Why didn't you like it?" He asked as he came and stood right infront of her. His heart beat madly, as hers, as he waited for her answer.

She fidgeted with her fingers trying to gather her strength. "Because…….you are married." She spoke looking down, trying to avoid his obvious question.

For a moment he was baffled at her answer. This is turning out to be the most unique confession, he thought. "That's not an answer. Why didn't you like it?" he asked again, stepping closer to her, smiling, making it almost impossible for her to speak.

She closed her eyes as she sensed him so close to her. She felt weak and felt her knees would give up at any moment. "Because…because you said…..you…..you love me." She stuttered.

As if listening to her silent pleads, he held her waist pulling her close to him, supporting her weight. "Why didn't you like it, basket?" he asked again as he brushed her cheek with his thumb.

"Because…." She tried to speak but her words were struck at her throat.

He smiled softly at her nervousness. Bending down, he kissed her cheek, lingering his lips over her skin for a while. "Because?" he asked her to continue as he felt her slightly shiver in his hold.

"Armaan please." She said trembling as his kiss burned on her skin, though arching her face upwards for his easy access.

"Say it, basket." He whispered after placing a soft kiss on her other cheek. He then waited for her to speak.

She opened her eyes slowly when she didn't feel his lips. She looked into his eyes which were deep with emotions. Involuntarily a tear escaped from the corner of her eye. He kissed her tear away and whispered across her skin "I love you Riddhima." He assured her pouring his heart infront of her. He drew back and after a short pause "Say it. Please" he almost pleaded her.

With their hearts beating madly against their chests, synchronized, she looked straight into his eyes. "I….I love you Armaan" she finally managed those words, which he was dying to listen to. Listening to her words, he felt as if he was floating in air. He looked at her, lovingly, trying to store the memory in his heart forever.

Riddhima lowered her face as she noticed him smiling at her broadly. Wanting to hear her words once again for herself, she whispered "I love you" resting her one hand at his back and the other one on his shoulder.

Armaan held her closer, by her waist. He pulled her face up with his fore finger under her chin, while she closed her eyes anticipating the blissful moment. He then held her head gently with his fingers in her hair at her nape and felt her clutch his shirt in her fists in apprehension.

Leaning in, he felt her tremble once again as he brushed her lips with his. He kissed her gently and slowly afraid of hurting her. He kissed her conveying her, all his love. He kissed her assuring he would always be by her side. He kissed her celebrating their love.

Riddhima experienced the most blissful moment in her life. She never thought it would he so heavenly. Her hand on his shoulder rose up to his nape and then into his hair ruffling them as she responded back with equal fervor. She sighed contently feeling him. As he felt her kiss him back, he smiled across her lips.

Riddhima was the first one to back out as she went short of air. Looking down she tried to catch her breath. Meanwhile he looked at her flushed face and before she could gather herself, he jammed his lips on hers. Unlike the previous one, he kissed her passionately as if claiming his right on her – only her. Tucking her lower lip between his teeth, he prodded her to open up, deepening the kiss.

She shuddered as she felt his passion building up. She fisted his hair as she felt an unknown fire being ignited in her. But she knew, she was not ready for anything further- not yet. So she caressed his nape rubbing it, trying to calm him down.

Armaan could feel her attempts trying to calm him and he knew he had to stop. Slowing down the pace, he nibbled her lips before letting go of them very reluctantly. As he drew back, she hugged him feeling content in his arms as he rested his chin against her shoulder, both trying to soothe their paced breathings.

Staying in each other's embrace, they took their heart full of the moment to cherish it for the entire life. "Basket?" Armaan spoke after some time. One thought was bothering ever since he expressed his love to her and he needed to clear it.

"Hmm?" Riddhima mumbled, with her eyes still closed and head rested against his chest, listening t his even heart beat.

"Why didn't you say this yesterday?" he asked softly, caressing her back.

She snuggled closer into him, drawing imaginary circles at his back. "Woh…I….forgot." she replied.

He couldn't believe his ears. How can anyone forget to respond back, he wondered. He drew back a little still holding her in his arms. "You forgot?" he asked astonished. "Basket, I almost had a heart attack in anxiety." He added.

She smiled like a stupid. It was indeed an example of stupidity isn't it? She thought. "I was so overwhelmed that I forgot I have to reply back." She murmured, burying her face in the crook of his neck.

Armaan couldn't help himself from smiling at her. "Basket, you are one of your kind." He said and kissed her hair and added "and that's the reason I love you."

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

-Sushmita

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