Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Chapter thirteen : 25 With 18

  Ridhima woke up the next day alone. Armaan wasn't there, and honestly it was probably wise of him. He leaving her home in the wee hours of the morning and getting caught would be a lot worse than getting caught at night. But it was a good thing he did not get caught.
            Ridhima felt odd without clothes on under her bed sheets. It felt so free and yet so weird. Like every morning Ridhima went to her closet and picked out her clothes and like always her choice were jeans and a t-shirt.
            The morning was like every morning, of every day. But yet it was different. Armaan in one night, one moment, made her a different person. Before he came in her world she was shy she never spoke to anyone much, and in a way she was still like that but with him she could speak, she was able to be open and free with him. To ask him questions to that of which she could never ask anyone else.
            After getting dressed Ridhima walked out the house in a long journey to school. She could only seem to think of Armaan in her head. He had been with her, so close to her. He had seen her in a way that no other man had seen her. He had become one with her and only her for that one night.
            She felt complete for once. All those things the other kids in school talked about, about their boyfriends or girlfriends, she finally understood them. Ridhima finally understood why everyone out there in the world went through so much pain to find love. It was because love itself was so filling. Love was the only thing that could fill that empty space inside.

            When Ridhima entered Art class Justin was already at his seat, something very odd of him. Mark was also already there in his seat. Ridhima then noticed that Armaan wasn't in class. There was a substitute.
            Ridhima took her seat and looked over at Mark "Where is Mr. Khanna?" Ridhima asked.
            "Mr. Dinkins, called him to his office, god Ridhima do you know what has been going around town? Reporters have been knocking on every one's door asking about your relationship with Mr. Khanna" Mark said whispering so the substitute would not over hear. Usually Mark would not bother whispering, but this sub was not from their town and something told him that the district had hired the sub to find out if the accusations of Armaan and Ridhima were true.
            As Ridhima was about to ask of the substitute Justin butt into the conversation also whispering. "Ridhima, us town folks got your back, but be careful of this sub, I overheard Mr. Dinkins say that she's supposed to be some spy. I'll tell you the rest at lunch." Justin said trying to help Ridhima out. Although he had never been good friends with Ridhima he still loved her like everyone else in town.
            Mrs. Rice, the substitute was actually a trained art teacher at west field. She was supposed to come to Spring high to determine if Ridhima was in fact just a student in the classroom to study or just there making A's because a teacher was supposedly getting benefits.
            "Today class we are going to have a surprise quiz" Mrs. Rice said as she handed out a test to each of the students. Mark and Justin monde in regret while Ridhima just took the quiz with ease. The test was pretty simple and most of the stuff on the test was basics like what are complementary color? And such simple questions.
*****
            Armaan sat in Mr. Dinkins office scared to the bone. It was the same office where he had given his interview to become a teachers and it was the same room he was afraid he was going to be fired in.
            Mr. Dinkins finally walked into the office. He was a tall skinny old man with a small white beard to lengthen the years on his face. "Mr. Khanna" you are a first year teacher here and already you are causing troubled for the school." Mr. Dinkins commented.
            "I can explain…" Armaan started to say as he sat up more properly in his chair.
            "No need to explain young man. this is a small high school from a small town, you don't honestly think we did not notice they way you looked at Ridhima when she was not looking, you don't honestly think we did not notice how you dropped her off at home every morning." Mr. Dickens said moving about the room and finally taking a seat behind his small desk in his small office.
            Armaan did not know what to say so he just did not say anything and let Mr. Dickens continue to talk. "Rumors of you and Ridhima had started to fly from the second day you were teaching in her class. It wasn't the town who leaked the news to the press it was probably just a mishap where a drunken fella talked too much after a night. But I have to say, the press and jail will not make your life as miserable hell as much as the town folks of Spring could do to you." Mr. Dickens's had a smile on his facing seeing Armaan's face turn white as a ghost.
            "Mr. Khanna listen up to what I have to say. You can quit your job and we will guarantee your safety as Spring town in telling everyone that you do not have any relationship with Ridhima Gupta, a student of yours. Or you can continue your job and do the right thing, which is let the girl grow up for once. Everyone in town expects great things from Ridhima. And you will just hold her back. She isn't a person to run away from life. You need to give her a chance to go to college and have an independent life.
            "And you think I will stop her from doing so" Armaan said getting his courage back to speak this is usual grand voice. " I do not think you will stop Ridhima from going to collage but you will stop her from living it freely. Collage is about meeting new people to date around experience a different world. This does not mean that Ridhima will not love you in the end. It just means that she need her part of fun. Think about it Armaan, how many girls did you date in collage just for the fun of it. Not because you actually liked them or wanted to sleep with them, but just dated them for the heck of doing so." When Mr. Dickens said this, Armaan realized that he was right. He had dated many women in collage and it was a part of collage as a growing up experience.
            "so what are you say, you want me to break my relationship with Ridhima?" Armaan asked narrowing his eyes as the point of which Mr. Dickens was getting to.
            "I'm not saying to break your relationship, just put it on hold. If love is really between you then four years later when Ridhima graduates, she will come back to you. But until then she need a chance to grow up like everyone else around her." Mr. Dickens said. He was a wise fellow Armaan had to admit. As much as he hated every word Mr. Dickens said, every word he had said was true. Just like Armaan, Ridhima also needed her chance to experience all that was worth going to collage for.
*****
            It was lunch time and never had Ridhima be as crowded with people around her as she had today.  All the students Spring high school sat in a large circle outside for lunch for the first time ever.  Justin was the lime light of that moment as he told everyone what was going on and how to deal with it. He stood in the middle of the circle, circling around as he spoke. "The school district thinks that Ridhima had not been receiving the fair grades in art class because of a teacher 'MAYBE' receiving benefits. Now it does not matter if Ridhima is actually doing it with Mr. Khanna. We love her for her and we all know that she is a great artist who deserves the best. For this to work right we have to work together. If any one comes knocking on the door asking of Ridhima, we must tell them a LIE and that LIE is worth every sin in the book." From every word Justin spoke, all the students stared at him in shock. They did not stare that him in shock for the reasons he was speaking of, but no one had ever expected Justin of all people, the guy who could careless, to give an inspiring and very leaderish speech.
            Ridhiam felt so embarrassed of Justin's speech especially when he said doing it, it wasn't like Ridhima was sexually active with the man. she just did it once and that was it.
            Lunch was an awkward moment for Ridhima. Everyone in town had known all along and yet no one had told her. Rumors had flown around but yet no one had led on that they knew it. Ridhima blushed continuously during Justin's speech and her cheeks had turned rosy red by the end of it.
*****
            As the weeks went by the substitute Mrs. Rice left Spring high with a report of Ridhima Gupta and the finest art student she had ever met. As for the reporters, they stuck around a little bit longer. With reporters in Spring, the town profited a lot with the camera folks buying a good stock of their food and clothes.
            The reporters continued to ask town folks questions but would never get a good enough answer to be able to put it in the papers or TV. The buzz of Ridhima and Armaan few around the internet but nothing big caught on for Armaan or Ridhima to worry.
            To stay on the safe side Armaan no longer drove Ridhima home. And when they ever did meet it was usually in a group in which they really could not be alone together. Armaan hated every moment of it. He would see Ridhima but not be able to see her. He would want to kiss her lips but could not touch her. Despite the fact he had given up the world of the rich, he was still followed round like a hog twenty four hours seven days a week.
            Armaan resumed his post as a teacher but had to give up Ridhima as a student. The district had allowed Mr. Dickens to keep Armaan as a teacher as long as he was not Ridhima's teacher. So instead of Armaan being Ridhima's art teacher, she got switched to a different class with a different teacher.

Lina

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