Monday, 13 January 2020

AR FF part 22 : "and then she said it"

 It had to be you

"Riddhima!! Hurry up, fast!! We are getting late." I shouted from the dining room, stuffing pieces of parathas into my mouth.

"Stop it, Armaan." Mom smacked my head. "Let her get ready in peace. And you eat in peace." She reprimanded.

"Mom, it's cloudy. If we don't start early, it might start raining." I added, to my defense.

"Aunty, what he meant is that: the earlier they start, the more he gets to spend time with her." Rahul added with a grin accompanied with a wink.

Mom smiled at us, ruffled my hair and excused herself. "In that case, I'll go and see if she needs help."

When mom left, I kicked his leg from under the table and glared at him. "What! It's written on your face!" He exclaimed.

I couldn't help it, I sighed. Ever since, a couple of hours back, Riddhima had talked to me about her past, I found this sudden urge in me to make her try to forget it. I knew it wouldn't be possible in a day or two, but I wanted to try, so desperate that I woke her up just an hour after she dozed off in my arms and ushered her to get ready to leave for Nandi Hills for I knew that's her favorite hangout spot.

We hadn't spoken after that, but the smiles on our faces when we woke up did the needful. I felt her eyes on me the whole time we were in the bedroom getting ready. I knew she was still wary of my reaction to her revelations. Infact, I myself was scared of my reaction thinking I would be uncomfortable around her when I woke up. But all I felt was this sudden feeling of tenderness that I couldn't express; the need to soothe her, to give her everything she missed upon, to make her feel wanted.

I had smiled assuring everything was going to be fine when I felt her stealing glances at me , hugged her from behind when we were brushing, kissed her when I stepped out from my shower on finding her sitting on the bed lost somewhere. And to my surprise she wasn't hesitant the way I expected her to be. Moreover I felt she was slightly relaxed around me, not that she wasn't nervous when I was close to her, but I found this ease in her muscles when I held her. That was something new and I knew she was trying hard to let go of her past. That only gave me another reason to take her to the small outing I had planned.

"Is everything fine?" Rahul asked, breaking my momentary trance. I noticed the concern in his voice.

"Awesome" I replied with a wide smile and from his face knew he was satisfied. These days I was starting to wonder whose brother he was –Riddhima's or mine!

"So when are we leaving?" Rahul asked, after a moment.

"Early morning flight." I replied, munching on my parathas. "4 am?" He nodded and smiled.

A couple of minutes later, Riddhima joined us. She wore a simple violet colour salwar, yet appearing elegant. She had her breakfast quickly, kissed mom, hugged Rahul and on the way said her byes to Padma aunty and Muski before we left.

"Thanks Armaan." She said when we were at the outskirts of the city.

When I turned to her, she smiled at me. I knew what it was for so didn't say anything. But that smile on her face –so filled with happiness and serenity gave me intense satisfaction. I took her hand in mine and squeezed it gently letting the gesture convey all I wanted to say to her.

A few minutes later, I found her sleeping peacefully hugging her dupatta. Somewhere a part of my heart wished I was in place of her dupatta, but with me driving the car it is impossible, isn't it? Nevertheless, I switched the ac off and lowered the window panel. I stopped the car when we reached the hills.

Parking the car aside at one of the scenic points, I came around the car to the passenger door. I caressed her cheek gently before waking her up. Unlike the previous times where she would wake up with a start, her eyes drifted open slowly with a smile. Unable to resist myself, I placed a lingering kiss on her cheek to find her smiling wider. But the moment her skin came in contact with my lips the familiar rush of adrenaline was back in my head and so was the throbbing in my body.

"Where are we?" She asked, her drowsiness giving her voice a husky rasping.

I took a moment to compose myself and extended my hand for her. She placed hers in mine and I pulled her gently to feet. She looked around and let out a gasp. Her eyes twinkled and a slight smiled played on her lips. We stood at a corner on the topmost hill, it providing the beautiful view of the dense valley of the Nandi Hills. I knew Riddhima liked such places, for the last time when we visited she was so lost in the sunset and the greenery around her. I also knew she needed some calmness around her now that I had triggered her bitter past.

"Its- Its beautiful." She whispered turning to me, her voice choked with emotions. "Thanks Armaan, for bringing me here."

"Anytime." I whispered back, standing beside her, wrapping my hand around her waist. "We can sit here." I said, pointing to the rock beside us."

It being a cloudy day, the weather was perfect to enjoy the scene, giving it a romantic touch. When she sat there, I brought the packets of chips, sandwiches and a bottle of coke from the car and sat beside her. I settled beside her and gave her the packet of chips.

"I bought them on the way." I answered the question when she looked at me surprised. "when you were asleep." I added.

She smiled and we sat in silence for the next half an hour or so, with me sipping the coke and her munching on the chips. She had a faraway look on her face staring at the valley.

"You know Armaan," she spoke suddenly after some time, "I attempted suicide when I was in depression four years ago."

My heart stopped beating for a couple of moments at her words. I felt difficulty in breathing at the thought of having lost her, strange isn't it taking into the fact that I didn't even know she existed at that time? Or maybe not!

"Not even once." She continued, "Twice" She added, with a chuckle as if laughing at her fate.

"Riddhima-" I tried to stop her. It pained me to even listen to it, so I kind of understood how she might be feeling recollecting it.

"I didn't know that life would be this beautiful at that time. I never even imagined." She turned to me and uttered in a broken voice. "Why didn't I meet you earlier, Armaan? Why didn't you come into my life then?" She asked, her each and every word squeezing my heart, while a tear escaped her eye.

Unable to give answers to her, I gathered her close in my arms. She hid her face in my neck and I felt warm tears on my skin. "Your life is going to be beautiful, Riddhima, from now. I'll make sure it is. Trust me on that." I whispered into her ear gently. I drew apart and wiped her tears. "Okay?" she smiled and I knew everything is going to be fine.

Going further ahead, I leaned in and placed a loving kiss on her lips. I knew she needs some sort of confirmation concerning our future and I gave her just that. Since the car shielded us from the view of the people on the road, I didn't care about anyone having a glance at our private moments.

"You are a wonderful person, Armaan." She murmured, when I caressed her cheek.

"And so are you." I replied, kissed her forehead and moved back.

An hour later, when my stomach started making grumbling sounds, we headed to a nearby restaurant. Knowing her appetite, I didn't order much except for a couple of rumali rotis, a bowl of biryani and curd rice. But she surprised me by completing more than half of it quickly that I had to place and order for one more bowl of rice. Looking at her I wondered if she skipped her food for the last two days. Or maybe the emotional turmoil had worn her out. Or maybe the tranquility of the place increased her appetite. Nevertheless I was glad to find her enjoying the food.

It was 3 pm when we were done with our lunch. So I took her directly to the lake nearby to spend sometime around the lake and in boating. But during our journey to the lake, I found Riddhima looking out of the window in awe. I followed her gaze and spotted small wooden cottages spread across the other end of the lake. She quickly averted her gaze when she noticed me looking at her. Her excitement touched the sky when we got into the lake on a small semi-automatic boat. We paddled to the center of the lake and then stopped where we had a good look of the hills around us. Even then, I found her eyes going every now and then towards those tiny cottages and smiled. It was clearly written on her face: she wanted to go there, but she wouldn't tell that to me, would she?

Soon, it started drizzling but Riddhima requested with earnest face that we stay a little longer. We continued boating until it started raining. We paddled back to the exit and by the time we got into the car we were slightly drenched and she was smiling. I drove her to the cottages. When she got out she was pleasantly surprised. Though we had only four or five hours before heading back home, I found it worth booking a small cottage for the day. I paid for the cottage, placed an order for the dinner and we ran to the cottage trying to escape the downpour. But who were we kidding; we were completely drenched by the time we reached the cottage.

The cottage was a small wooden room with a medium size bed, a small dining table, a TV and a washroom. Riddhima, as usual went and surveyed the entire room when we stepped in. My eyes followed her wherever she went and that was a mistake. With her clothes wet and hugging her body as a second skin, it's highly difficult for me to stay calm. And the ambiance of the room with a dim light added to my misery

I shifted uncomfortably on my feet when I noticed her walking to me. "I'll switch the TV on." I said awkwardly.

Right then, something struck me. My act of bringing her to the cottage might have given her false impressions of my feelings. Though it cost me all my control, I wanted her to be sure when we consummate our relationship. And right now, I didn't think she was.

"Riddhima, I just brought you here because I noticed you looking at them when we were at the lake." I spoke hurriedly.

But she only smiled. Damn that smile!

"I mean, I don't want you to think that I-" I went short of words when she removed her dupatta from around her neck and placed it on the chair "I-" I forgot what I was speaking when she stood infront of me.

I gulped when she hugged me, her hands moving dangerously across my back. I tried to look around but nothing interesting caught my eyes. Though I held her unsure of what was going in her mind, I tried to focus on something else, trying to ignore the reactions occurring in my body. Even that seemed impossible when she pressed more into me, making my senses painfully aware of our closeness.

"Riddhima?" I tried to pull apart but she held me tight. And with that hold of hers, I grew aware of what she was suggesting. "I think, we should wait for a while." I added gathering all my control.

Neither did she let go of me nor did she say anything. She just held on to me, tighter than a minute back. When I didn't respond, she drew back and looked straight into my eyes.

"Love me, Armaan." She whispered and just like that took my breath away.

My heart started thudding, body throbbing and mind spinning. Her words echoed in my brain. Love me. Love me. Love me….. I tried to string words together; to say something, but in vain. The words in my brain seemed jumbled, incoherent with her words ringing continuously.

"Please?" She added, her eyes full of hope to be loved.

My heart jumped. And at the precise moment, I made sense of what my mind had been trying to put in. The words came to me with such a force that I stood frozen.

I was strangely exhilarated at the realization that struck me. I thought that the feeling would be as complicated as universe but, now that I am into it, I felt it as simple as it could be. How could I have not fallen for her? After all she was everything I realized that I have always wanted in a woman. She was innocent yet calculative. She was vulnerable yet headstrong. She was simple yet complicated. She was willing yet excitingly hesitant. She was mysterious, a challenge that could send me spiraling with an ease. Above all she was mine –the woman of my heart.

My feelings for her made sense now. I knew I have always had a soft corner for her, I was attracted to her but they alone couldn't have been an answer to the emotions that surfaced when it concerned her. I knew now why I have always been extra cautious of her comfort; why I have strived for her acceptance; why I was hurt when she didn't share her troubles for me; why though I was angry, couldn't help but sit and miss her; why her smile lightens my day; why I couldn't spend a day without her; why I couldn't keep my eyes and hands off her. I didn't just want to be her husband; I wanted to be her lover –in every way possible.

Oh! I love her –up, front and center!

"Armaan?" She shook me gently, bringing me back to earth.

When I looked down at her, I found her brows knitted together as if worried. I smiled and rested my forehead against her.

"Anything for you, sweetheart." I whispered. She looked at me strangely.

Now, my readers, I knew you might be thinking that the line was cheesy. But I couldn't help it. After all I am a man who realized that he was in love with the woman in his arms, asking him to love her. Her intention might have been different when she uttered those, but they only helped me realize mine. I realized that for the past couple of years, I had been searching for her in every woman. She is a perfect blend of the woman I wanted and the woman in mom I always took pride in. It had to be her.

Taking a deep breath, I placed my lips on hers, kissing her tenderly pouring all my love into the gesture for I was not sure whether she would be able to take in if I told I loved her. It might only complicate things on her side. As much as I wanted to yell my heart to her, I felt it was better to wait until she realized hers.

Slowly, I guided her hands around my neck and lifted her off the ground, still our lips intact. I felt my world shake for a moment when she nibbled on my lips and it was different; way too different; way too intimate. My mind turned numb and my senses powerfully erect. Unable to take it any longer, I walked her back to the bed and before I could steady myself, we fell on the bed, she on her back with me on top of her. But I didn't let go of her lips. I didn't want to. I felt as if my life was depended on it.

But she pulled back after a moment, gasping for air, breathing heavily. I let her gulp a couple of mouthfuls and then took her lips again in mine, this time more aggressively. I let my hands roam around her body, starting from her back to her hips to her waist. She trembled in my hold when my hands moved further up from her waist. For a moment, I stopped, let go of her lips and started down at her.

She seemed to understand my hesitance for she smiled at me, opening her eyes. She took my palm in hers and raised it to her lips. Looking straight into my eyes, she kissed my fingers one at a time and then without averting her gaze, guided it down her neck, throat and further down.

"Feel me," she whispered and closed her eyes when my palm was rested against her heart.

Her heart was thudding as hard as mine. I was dazed at what she was offering. I knew it might have taken all her courage in doing so, and I felt proud of her. I diverted her mind off the obvious and let my palm fondle her. The thin barriers of her damp clothes were no hindrance, as I felt her. She moaned into my mouth, fisted my hair and arched her back up in response to my caress.

Lowering my lips down to her neck and throat, I unzipped the zip at her back and slid my hands inside. She quivered when I caressed her bare skin at her back. Drawing apart, I kneeled beside her on the bed and took the end of her salwar in my hand. When she opened her eyes, I locked our gaze and raised her salwar up to her waist and then over her head. I dropped it beside on the floor and gazed at her body. Her skin was glowing in the dim light in the cottage and I started sweating inspite of the cold weather. Her inner due to its dampness, accentuated her flesh more than it covered. I unbuttoned my shirt, tossed it aside and lowered myself on her.

"You are exquisite, Riddhima." I praised her, pressing her into the mattresses with my weight. I started caressing her all over again, right from her lips to her lower waist. I felt her hands trembling at my back. Within moments, I got her and myself rid of whatever was left of our clothing.

I cupped her bare waist and kissed her nape, behind her ear. I lowered my mouth then to her breasts and kissed her until she was breathless. She let out throaty moans when I kissed her belly while she squeezed her thighs together. She was so soft everywhere. For a moment, she seemed unsure of what to do. Logic said that she was married once and that she should be comfortable with this, but she was hesitant when I parted her legs and was so tight when I tried entering her that it left me in deep thought for a while. Her muscles were taught against that stinging stretch and she held me tight in her hold that her fingers left marks against my shoulders and if I am not wrong at my back too.

But the moment I was inside her all my thoughts abandoned me except for the pleasure and maddening sensations. She sobbed when I moved while I kissed her tears away and took her in a deep sensuous kiss. She arched her body and gave up to me while I went along with her into an earth shattering climax. We held onto each other during the tender quakes. The pleasure that was too intense that it almost made me weep apart from breathless. Then I understood what was different. It was the first time I made love with the woman I loved. I dropped my body on her, buried my face in her neck and kissed her there.

A couple of moments later when I raised my face and looked down at her I was surprised to find her eyes squeezed shut and tears leaking out of her closed ones. Her face was also contorted as if in deep pain. Pain! The word caught my attention and I recalled the reactions of her body and couple of minutes back.

"Shit!" I cursed when the realization dawned upon me. Hesitant, tight and stiff! Afraid of intimacy and men! She opened her eyes and looked at me when I pulled the bed sheet up to her body and drew apart to look at her.

"Why didn't you tell me, Riddhima, that you were-" I searched for words, my breath still ragged. But she only closed her eyes. Sighing, I moved close to her and turned her towards me. "I don't understand, you were married, right?"

"I didn't let him touch me." She whispered lowering her eyes.

 "You should have told me Riddhima." I said, quite aware of the fact that she wasn't the one who would tell something like this to me. "I would have been gentle with you." I added.

She shook her head slowly and looked at me. "I wanted you to love me with all your might." She said slowly. "I wanted to forget everything except for your touch and caress."

I hugged her closer and kissed her forehead. I wanted to ask her how she felt; because I knew that first time experience at love making makes a person better or bitter towards it. But I didn't understand how to ask her for I knew it would only embarrass her. I realized, all through she was yielding; never demanding. All I could do was love her again, giving all the pleasure that she deserves and I just did that.

As I kissed her, caressed her and took her through the journey of love, I had so many questions. Now that I realized I love her, I wanted to know what she feels about me, about us. Did she feel it the same way I did when we made love. It might have taken all her will power to overlook her ugly past and let me closer to her. So, I didn't want to impose on her anything, even be it my love. I wanted her to realize the depth of our relationship, feel what I had felt and then come up to me. Looking at her peaceful face, I decided all my questions could wait as long as she lets me soothe her.

By the time, I closed my eyes for a short nap; she was already in deep sleep, dead to the world. I chuckled realizing that I had worn her out physically.

Let me be your hero

Would you dance, if I asked you to dance?
Would you run, and never look back?
Would you cry, if you saw me crying?
And would you save my soul, tonight?

Would you tremble, if I touched your lips?
Would you laugh? Oh please tell me this
Now would you die, for the one you love?
Hold me in your arms, tonight

I can be your hero, baby
I can kiss away the pain
I will stand by you forever
You can take my breath away

Would you swear, that you'll always be mine?
Or would you lie? Would you run and hide?
Am I in too deep? Have I lost my mind?
I don't care you're here, tonight

I can be your hero, baby
I can kiss away the pain
I will stand by you forever
You can take my breath away

Oh, I just wanna hold you
I just wanna hold you, oh yeah
Am I in too deep? Have I lost my mind?
Well I don't care you're here, tonight

I can be your hero, baby
I can kiss away the pain, oh yeah
I will stand by you forever
You can take my breath away

I can be your hero, I can kiss away the pain
And I will stand by you, forever
You can take my breath away
You can take my breath away
An' I can be your hero

[Hero - Enrique Iglesias]


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