Tuesday, 21 January 2020

AR FF Last part : "and then she said it"

...and then she said it! 

When we returned back later that day from the hospital, no one asked me any questions. Riddhima seemed slightly dizzy due to loss of blood and mom made her sleep in our room. Her eyes sought me out throughout the day but I was too ashamed of myself to come infront of her. Rahul seemed to be communicating non-verbally with mom and uncle. I have seen them blinking their eyes and nodding their heads at each other one too many times and the fact that they didn't even try to hide it from me confused me as to what was happening around me, but I cared less.

"I booked our tickets for the flight at 7.30 in the night." Rahul announced sitting beside me on the couch, uncle and mom following him close behind.

I squirmed when they started staring at me. "I asked the doctor again. She said that it is fine for Riddhima to travel." I mumbled nothing else to say. "I talked to her HR and managed to get a leave for a month until she is fine." I added.

"Does Riddhima know?" Uncle asked me.

"I am sure she would be happy to come to Bangalore." I said, in a small voice.

"Armaan, don't you think its high time assuming what she would be happy with?" Mom said in a deathly calm voice.

I was taken aback at the harshness in mom's voice.

"Did you talk to her about it?" Uncle tried, once again.

And I lost it. "Don't you see, I am failing her in some way or the other. I am hurting her in the process of dealing with my own insecurities and complexities. Doctor told me that Riddhima mentioned having heavy morning sickness last few weeks. I didn't even know about it. I wasn't even there to share her happiness or fears. Hell, I don't even know if she wants to stay with me after all I have done." I shouted, running a hand in my hair, frustrated.

"Then talk to her Armaan, ask her what she wants." Mom said in a soothing voice, standing infront of me, running her fingers in my hair, trying to sooth me.

I leaned on her and buried my face against her waist, hugging her. "How can I mom? There she was waiting to tell me that she is expecting our baby and I accuse her of something so disgusting." I spoke and sighed. "I think, its better we take a break."

I heard some shuffling sound and turned around to find Riddhima standing at our bedroom door. I drew back and stood when she took few steps into the living room.

"We are going to take our evening walk." I heard mom say and watched as she and uncle slowly stepped out with Rahul following them. I turned back to Riddhima when I saw the door shut.

Riddhima stood infront of me in one of her night dresses. She appeared lost and confused. Silence lingered around us, as we stood staring at each other.

"You want me to go back to Bangalore?" She asked after few moments.

"Riddhim-" I took a step ahead only to halt as she took one back.

"You want a break from me?" She asked, her voice trembling slightly.

I sighed. This wasn't going as I thought. "I-" I opened my mouth but was cut short by her again.

"Answer me Armaan." She said, a quiet finality in her voice.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

"Yes." I whispered.

"Yes?" She asked, as though she couldn't believe I said that.

I nodded my head. "Yes, I want you to go back with mom. She will take good care of you." I added.

She appeared as if she was contemplating about something in her head.

"You don't want the baby?" She asked suddenly, breaking the silence.

"God, why would you think that Riddhima? I love our baby!" I exclaimed, shocked at the direction of her thoughts.

"Then what else should I think Armaan? Why do you want me to go away from you? I swear I just went to meet Sohail beca-"

"Oh God, Riddhima! Please don't say that! Please don't make me feel ashamed that I already am!" I took quick steps to her and engulfed her in my arms. "I am sorry Riddhima. So sorry about the way I spoke that day. I don't know what came over me. I never meant any of it." I whispered rubbing her back when I felt her tears on my shirt, just above my heart.

"I thought of surprising you with the news. I bought the wine for you and prepared pepper chicken for dinner." She mumbled into my shirt, but I heard it alright.

"I know Riddhima, I know. I am so sorry." I said, not knowing what else to say. "I know I hurt you. So I thought you would want to stay with mom for-"

She pushed me away and I was surprised at the way her eyes flashed with anger. This was one form of hers I have never seen. Her face became red with embarrassment many times, but never with anger. I wondered if that was due to her pregnancy or she was fed up with our silent love as I was. For some reason that brought a smile to my face. I had a feeling we would be a better couple by the end of whatever discussion we were having.

"But I don't want to go!" She almost shouted breaking my train of thoughts. I already knew that but hearing it from her relieved me. And my smile only grew more at the picture she presented – angry and a very pregnant Riddhima yelling at me. Oh, I would treasure this!

"Why?" I asked calmly.

Her face turned to beetroot red and angry tears, I supposed, formed in her eyes.

"Of all the things, you ask me why?" She cried, as big fat tears rolled down her red cheeks.

"Yes, why?"I repeated taking a step towards her.

"You said you loved me!" She whispered.

"That's right, Riddhima. But that doesn't answer my question." I wrapped my arms around her waist and puller her gently to me. "You never told me why?"

I heard her sigh. "You never asked me."

"Huh?" I drew back, confused at her words.

"The only time you asked me for anything was to marry you." She whispered, never meeting my eyes. "You never asked me why I came running to the airport to see you. You never asked me why I called you later. You never asked me why I wanted to come with you to Hyderabad after wedding. You never asked me if I wanted to go to see aunty without you. And you never asked me why I am happy to meet Sohail. So I thought you never wanted to know."

"Riddhima, I was-" I opened my mouth but she cut me off.

"I came to the airport because I wanted to tell you that I wanted you to marry me and give me a chance though I was married once. I called you later because I wanted to hear your voice and find out if you were missing me as much as I missed you. I wanted to come to Hyderabad immediately because I couldn't wait to start my journey with you." Her voice quivered and trailed off. While I stared at her dumb folded at her words, she raised her eyes to mine. "And I was happy to meet Sohail because I wanted to show him how happy I am with you. I wanted to flaunt my happiness to the people in my past Armaan and he was the only one in my past."

"But you told me that you loved him." The words left my mouth even before I realized what I meant.

"I did Armaan, in the most platonic way possible. He was the first one who respected me and admired me Armaan. Though I was uncomfortable with his physical advances I was happy because he genuinely liked me. I thought I loved him the way a woman loved her man, Armaan. But I was so wrong and I only realized it after you came into my life. I never felt the goose bumps when he touched me. I never felt my heart beat rapidly when he as much looked at me. I –" She swallowed and staring deep into my eyes uttered the next words which took my breath away. "I never felt the need to make love with him Armaan. I feel all these things with you all the time and I failed to understand why initially."

"Ssh Riddhima" I whispered when another bout of tears rolled down her ever so beautiful eyes. For some reason, I was tongue tied, unable to utter a word. Or maybe I didn't want to diffuse the aura that surrounded us with every word she was uttering. But she shook her head and continued.

"And when I did make sense of what was happening to me, I didn't know how to tell you. I didn't want to mess anything that we shared by saying something wrong. You are so confident of yourself that I failed to realize that you would be waiting for my love aswell. I didn't have anything else to give you Armaan. You had everything. And being the insecure person I was, I waited for just one hint from you that I meant something for you, that I did make your life as beautiful as you made mine."

"Oh Riddhima! I love you, so so much." I repeated again and again when I noticed her smiling at me. "All these months, I wore my heart in my sleeves and all you had to do was look into my eyes to know that."

"I didn't have the intelligence in me to understand what was in your heart by just looking into your eyes, Armaan. Atleast not when it comes to the matters of heart. All my life before you, I had seen people love each other only for something in return. Even when I met aunty, I failed to understand why she liked me so much as I didn't have anything to give her. Same is the case with Muski, Rahul, Padma aunty and Shashank uncle. And when it came to you, you gave me a new world, identity and a new life. You were talking about the hurt you think you caused me but you gave me so much happiness I never knew existed that any amount of hurt wouldn't even reach me. When I found out I was expecting your baby, I was so happy not because of the baby in itself but because I am able to give you something, Armaan. You mean the world to me Armaan and I wanted to give you every pinch of happiness that you gave me." She trailed off, hugging me burying her face in my neck.

"Oh, Riddhima! All you had to do was tell me what was in your heart." I whispered, choking on my words.

"I know that now. I didn't realize my silence was making you so unsure of yourself and me. I just didn't understand how because I was not good with words and I thought silence was always golden."

"Oh then your words are definitely platinum for me, Riddhima." I whispered and smiled amidst my tears.

She still thought she was not good with words. Oh her heartfelt words full of emotions already made me breathless. And if her words were not the most beautiful way of expressing her love for me, I didn't know what else was. I could hear my heart slamming against my heart. When I felt her struggling to free herself from my hold, I loosened my grip around her and watched as she stepped back.

Standing in just her worn out night dress, her face flushed, eyes swollen, nose running, lips quivering, eyes filled with tears and face weary, Riddhima was the most beautiful woman at that moment for me and I know it would stay the same forever.

I rested my forehead against hers and watched in slight anticipation as she directed my palm from her face to her lower abdomen. With one of my palms resting on her stomach and the other one around her waist, she raised both her hands and placed one on my heart and another around my neck. She raised her eyes to me and with a smile, opened her mouth. I realized what she was doing. And out of nowhere, something struck me.

"Armaan Mallik, I l-"

I covered her parted lips with mine swallowing her words. If there was anything that felt absolutely sure of in my life, it was that I didn't want her to contaminate her heartfelt confession with just three common words.

That way, she finally said it, without actually saying the words.

~~~~~~~and they lived happily, ever after~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'll be your dream, I'll be your wish I'll be your fantasy.
I'll be your hope, I'll be your love be everything that you need.
I love you more with every breath truly madly deeply do..
I will be strong I will be faithful 'cause I'm counting on A new beginning.
A reason for living. A deeper meaning.

I want to stand with you on a mountain.
I want to bathe with you in the sea.
I want to lay like this forever.
Until the sky falls down on me

And when the stars are shining brightly in the velvet sky,
I'll make a wish send it to heaven then make you want to cry
The tears of joy for all the pleasure and the certainty.
That we're surrounded by the comfort and protection of
The highest power. In lonely hours. The tears devour you
I want to stand with you on a mountain,
I want to bathe with you in the sea.
I want to lay like this forever,
Until the sky falls down on me

Oh can you see it baby?
You don't have to close your eyes 'cause it's standing right before you.
All that you need will surely come

I'll be your dream I'll be your wish I'll be your fantasy.
I'll be your hope I'll be your love be everything that you need.
I'll love you more with every breath truly madly deeply do

[Truly madly deeply - Savage Garden]


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