Monday, 9 December 2019

PART 20 : Mr. & Mrs. Mallik

Riddhima smiled looking at Armaan fighting with Raji, at an ice cream counter. They came to a nearby beach to spend their Sunday evening. Last week had been wonderful for her. With her relationship with Armaan getting stronger and the void in her heart slowly filling up by his and Raji's love, she felt blessed to have them in her life, all of a sudden. The love she always yearned for, all through her life, is now around her all the time- be it Raji or Armaan.

As she thought about Armaan and Raji she remembered the previous day's events as they tried to reveal their love to Raji with their futile attempts. She blushed at her memory.

Riddhima was startled when Armaan wrapped his arms around her waist from behind kissing her cheek. As she turned around, he pecked her trembling lips and grinned widely at her pale face. She glared at him, although a blush crept her cheeks.



"Why do you always do stupid things?" she shoved his arms off her waist and walked out of the lab. "and mind you, we are in hospital." She added as she took off her lab coat.

"Offo, Basket. You heard the term 'romance' anytime?" he asked as he followed her. As she stopped walking and turned around glaring at him, he defended himself "What? You are my legal wife. I can romance my wife whenever I want. It is my right, you know" making a puppy face.

"Just shut up Armaan." she snapped at him and made her way towards the rest room. He smiled at her irritated face. It has now become his favourite pass time- irritating her. Now that he is done with it, he stepped into the room whistling some random tune.

As he came and sat beside her on the couch, he asked "Shall we go home? I guess you are done with your duty?"

"Hmm." She nodded her head. "But I was thinking-"

"About me?" he completed her words sitting straight. She made a face at him.

"About Raji aunty." She replied. "I was thinking we should tell her about us." She added.

Though Armaan knew that Raji is aware the development in their relationship, Riddhima is still oblivious to it. "What should we tell? She knows that you are Riddhima and I am Armaan." he acted innocent towards her obvious thought, snuggling closer to her after making sure the room is empty.

Riddhima's pulse quickened as he nuzzled his face in her neck, pulling her onto his lap. "Armaan, listen na?"she pleaded him. He tried to ignore her words but in vain. After a tiring day, all he wanted to do was embrace her tightly, and forget himself in her. But she had different plans.

"Hmm. I am listening." He spoke huskily with his chin rested on her shoulder.

"I think we should tell aunty that-" Riddhima's voice trailed off as she felt his lips on her neck. It was the first time, he took a step ahead and she didn't understand how reciprocate it, though she felt good. She closed her eyes, slowly losing her senses, as his lips lingered on her warm skin, slowly evoking her inner desires. As a reflex, she ran her trembling fingers in his hair ruffling them.

Armaan smiled against her skin, proudly, at his effect on her as he rendered her speechless. Pulling her kurta a bit aside, he left fervent kisses on her neck and shoulder blade, when she didn't resist, before making his way up to her ear. Kissing her ear ring, he pulled her closer to his body, as she shivered in his hold, and placed a gentle kiss behind her ear.

"Armaan" she breathed out as he nibbled her earlobe. She felt an unknown heat building up in her body and was not sure if she could handle it as it was entirely alien to her. She felt it slightly awkward yet blissful feeling him. Fisting his hair in her already trembling fingers she bent her face to the other side giving him a better access.

Armaan kissed her slowly, giving her enough time to respond back to his touch. "I love you Riddhima." He whispered across her cheek. He wanted to feel her warm skin under her kurta, but was not sure if she would accept it. Caressing her back softly, he kissed her quivering lips drawing her into a long passionate kiss. She was out of her senses as he drove her dumb with his gentle caress, but Armaan was still in his. As he heard some footsteps nearing them, he gently drew back and placed her beside him on the couch as she still had her eyes closed breathing heavily.

Riddhima opened her eyes when she didn't feel his lips against her skin. It took her few moments to realize where she was as dizziness was still persistent in her head. As she looked at him confused he smiled at her widely noticing her flushed face, mostly pink.

Armaan adjusted her kurta back while she was still in daze and whispered "You were speaking something?"And then she realized they were in rest room and she was talking to him about Raji, before she lost her senses. As he gazed at her intently, she looked down, not able to meet his penetrating eyes.

Before she could utter something, Armaan got himself involved in talking to his colleague, who entered the restroom, giving her sometime to gather herself before they left.

Throughout their ride back to home, Riddhima was silent, drowned in her own thoughts about their encounter in the restroom. It was a different feeling she couldn't describe. She always felt good when he touched her, kissed her but this time it was something beyond that. She felt she is a woman for the first time, in true sense.

On the other hand, Armaan panicked as she was silent. He worried whether he rushed on her. Should he apologize? He wondered how he should say that. 'I am sorry, I kissed you.?' No that was too harsh. 'I am sorry, I lost my mind when I kissed you?' no it sounds absurd. He kicked himself mentally. What is she expecting? Should he apologize at all? If yes, then why? They love each other and it was natural to feel so.

As they reached the parking area of their flat, Riddhima got down from the bike. When she was about to walk, he stopped her holding her wrist. "I am sorry Riddhima, about what happened in the restroom. I promise it won't happen again, if you are not comfortable."

Her eyes widened as she heard his words. He was feeling sorry. Why? Because she was calm after that? She smacked herself mentally. But how could she explain her feelings to him now? "Armaan, just because I am silent it doesn't mean that I regret what happened. Its just-" she  stopped and searched for the right words to explain him. "It was the most beautiful moment of my life and I will always cherish it." She said hoping he would understand what she was trying to say.

Armaan flashed his dimples at her, smiling, as he understood what she was trying to say. "Oh so you like it?" he asked trying to clear the tension between them, as he got off the bike and parked it aside. When he stood infront of her, raising his brow, she blushed and rose to her toes pecking him on his lips, startling him. "I love you." She whispered and ran towards the elevator.

"Wow!" he exclaimed walking towards the elevator. He grinned at her as she looked everywhere but at him. As the elevator was empty, he spoke again "waise Basket. No need to cherish that moment. I can do it every time you know." He then winked at her as she stared at him shocked and he was back to himself- irritating her.

"Acha you were talking about Raji." He asked her when she looked away, leaning against the wall of the elevator, beside her.

Riddhima turned back to him as she heard him. "Oh yeah. How should we tell aunty? She should know it." she asked him back.

"Tell what?" he asked acting innocent. He was amused at Riddhima's attempts to avoid her blush and talk to him and he was not ready to let go of it.

"Offoo. That we are in love." she answered absent mindedly, thinking about something.

"The same way as you told now." He told her kissing her cheek and pulling a surprised Riddhima out of the elevator as it came to a halt. But it was not that easy as he had thought.

After dinner, Riddhima pulled Armaan to the couch and sat beside him to discuss about how to disclose their love to Raji. "Armaan, plz tell to aunty na." she pleaded him as she was not sure she will be able to say it. She felt nervous as if she had to talk to her mother about her love.

"What? Why should I say to Raji? It was you who wanted to tell her, so you talk to her." Armaan was no way giving in to talk to Raji. He remembered how he stuttered when he first told him that he loves Riddhima and how she teased him after that.

"Please Armaan, you talk to aunty na." she started again pampering him.

"What do you want to talk to me?" Riddhima jumped slightly when she heard Raji's words as she sat on the chair smiling at them.

"Not me aunty. Armaan wants to tell you something." Riddhima smiled nervously nudging him by her elbow to speak. He stared at her shocked. As Raji frowned at him, he made a face and smiled weakly.

Raji kind of guessed what they wanted to talk to her as she had been noticing the difference between them for the past one week. It was obvious in their faces ' the glow of first love. But she decided to play along with them.

"What do you want to tell me Armaan?" Raji asked in a sugary tone looking at him. He gulped as he looked at her. He felt as if he was a small kid asking for some permission and it was stupid of him to feel nervous as it was Raji after all. But he couldn't help it. How should he tell? 'Riddhima and I are a couple now?' no no. 'We want to live together?' but aren't they living together? No. 'We want to get married?'

"No, we are married" he blurted out as she nudged him once again. He closed his eyes without thinking what he spoke.

"What?" he heard Riddhima's scream along with Raji and then his brain registered what he spoke. Riddhima wondered what he was speaking "Yes you are already married to her, I remember, So what?" Raji added as she struggled to refrain herself from laughing at him.

"No. I don't mean that. I mean'.." he thought for a moment. "Yes, Riddhima will tell about it." He sighed and looked at her.

"What?" Riddhima stood up in a flash. "No I mean-"

Armaan cut her words and spoke "Speak Riddhima. You want to tell that, isn't it?"

Riddhima sighed in defeat. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Aunty, we wanted to tell that'..I mean'." her voice trailed off as she looked at him desperately.

"That you are in love." Raji walked up to her and hugged her. "I knew it Riddhima. But I wanted to listen it from you. I am happy for both of you. God bless you both."Riddhima hugged her back after she heard Raji's' words. She mumbled thanks after drawing back blushing.

"And I can't believe that you are blushing like a girl today."Raji patted Armaan's cheek lovingly as he looked away. "Oh Raji, stop it now." He whined and hugged her.

"Ok now both of you go and sleep. I know you won't get up till its noon but I and Riddhima have to go to the market as it's Sunday tomorrow." She told him and made her way to her room.

Armaan followed Riddhima when she walked up to her room. As he stepped in her room, she looked at him surprised with her eyes wide as he moved closer to her. "Relax Basket. I just came to kiss you Good night." He spoke when he saw her pale face understanding what she might be thinking. She looked down embarrassed as he caught her thoughts. He then pecked her lips wishing her a pleasant night and went back to his room.

That is her life ' she sighed contently. That was more than something she could ask for. Will she be able to survive without them? She shuddered at the thought. She somehow managed it losing her mother and her sister, but now she is sure she couldn't manage it one more time. She smiled at them as they approached her with her favourite flavor of ice cream.

After spending some time at the beach, Armaan took them to a nearby restaurant where they had a good dinner and drove back home. As it was already late and having spent much time in roaming, Raji retired to her room as they entered their flat. But for Riddhima, sleep was miles away from her. For some unknown reason she was ecstatic with emotions which she couldn't understand completely. Slowly she got off the bed and made her way towards the living room with her blanket wrapped around her.

"Basket? You are awake?" Armaan asked as he saw Riddhima coming out of her room. For some reason, he wasn't able to sleep and hence sat infront of TV switching between various channels.

Riddhima was startled for a moment as she heard his voice, not expecting him to be awake. It was his usual routine to sleep early and wake up late! "Hmm. Not sleepy" she mumbled as she came and sat beside him on the couch. It being a chilly night, past midnight, she shivered though wrapped in a blanket.

Armaan smiled and pulled her closer to him, pulling the blanket around them, giving her the warmth. She snuggled closer to him and soon enough fell asleep in his arms. He kissed her forehead embracing her tightly. Life is changing, he thought. He never thought any girl would come this closer to his heart as she had. Infact , except for Raji, he was always careful not to get attached with anyone emotinally. But she just rewrote his protocols.Soon his eyes were closed with his head resting over hers, with him already on his way to meet her in their dreams.

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-Sushmita

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