Sunday, 23 February 2020

Part 23 : I See You!

Shilpa stood infront of the mirror as she draped the saree, turning on her side she checked herself in the full length mirror. She smiled at herself as admired the way the emerald green saree looked against her skin, glancing at the watch on her wrist she picked up her earing as the phone rang. She grabbed the phone with one hand as with the other she tried to put on her earing: hello!

"Where are you," hearing the voice shilpa stilled as her heart did a slow somersault in her chest. Smiling she put the earing down : home!

Armaan frowned as he balanced his cell between his shoulder and ear as he continued to sign his way through a file: you haven't left yet?

Shilpa smiling: I'm just finishing getting ready, stop worrying!



Armaan gestured with his hand for atul to place the other file infront of him: I've sent the driver to you, use the car.

Shilpa turned to the mirror and saw a dreamy smile on her face: I will! When are you coming?

Armaan frowning as he read through a contract: it is going to take some time but I'll be home before dinner. Will you be ok?

Shilpa heard the concern behind the question: stop worrying armaan! I'll be fine its dinner with your  and Muskaan's family. No one is going to eat me.(trying to lighten his mood)

Armaan after a pause: I'll be there soon.(he disconnected the call)

Shilpa couldn't help but smile as hse put the phone down and the picked up her earing to put it on. She glanced at her watch and picked up as she was getting late, she hurriedly slipped on her heels and grabbed her sleek clutch in the same color as her saree. She gave herself a once over to check her makeup and hair and then walked out the apartment.

Shilpa reached the Mallik mansion in the car armaan had sent for her, even though she had put up a brave front infront of armaan she was a bit nervous going in alone. She stepped out of the car taking a few minutes to compose herself as she shook out the folds of her saree. Then calling herself a coward she straightened her shoulders and walked upto the door and rang the bell immediately the door opened.

Ananya beamed at her: finally! I've been waiting for you, come on!

Shilpa confused glanced at her watch: am I late? (looking at the time she looked back Ananya who took her arm and was walking towards the dinning room) ummm! Aunty ji is something wrong?

Ananya stood staring at the dinning room: look at this! This is a disaster, do something.

Shilpa peaked into the room from behind her taking in the flowers lying on the sideboard waiting to adorn the vases.

Ananya walked in and turned to look at shilpa: well don't just stand there, come help me with these flowers.

Alittle bemused shilpa started with the flower arrangements, all her nerves somehow dissolved as she got engrossed in arranging the flowers. Ananya glanced at shilpa and smiled as she saw shilpa loking confident as she picked a vase and positioned it on the sideboard and place another as a center piece on the dinning table. Ananya had seen the nerves reflected on her face when she had opened the door and had purposely got her working to help her relax.

Shilpa turning towards Ananya: where do you want this one?

Ananya beamed at her: let it be, one of the servants will get it! Come lets sit and have a chat.

Once situated in the lounge Ananya turned to shilpa: so tell me? Whom do you have at home? Do you live here alone?

Billy found them together sharing stories and laughing, he knew his son loved that girl but he needed to make sure that she derved him. Just as he moved forward Ananya looked in his direction and smiled: there you are, I was wondering where you had disappeared.

Billy: Rahul is freaking out!  I think you should go and calm him down before muskaan and her parents arrive.

Ananya got up laughing: I better go and check (she glanced at her watch) I wonder whats taking armaan so long.

Billy: Armaan isn't here yet? (he looked questioningly at Ananya)

Shilpa: umm! Armaan is going to be late, he had some work to take care of.(she blushed as both Billy and Ananya looked at her) Armaan had called before I left for here.

Ananya smiled at shilpa: well then he'll be here when he is finished, now let me go and check on my other son.(as she walked passed Billy she whispered to him) behave yourself!

Billy frowned at his wife's parting words as he turned towards shilpa and inclined his head in acknowledgement: Shilpa!(he gestured with his hand towards the sofa) please sit!

Shilpa smiled politely as she took a seat opposite him: how do you do Mr. Malik?(she knew she did not have leave to call him uncle as he was far from sold on her)

Billy raised a brow at her use of his name: very well! Why don't we get to know each other a bit better.

Shilpa took a breath bracing herself: what do you want to know?

Billy: how long have you known armaan?

Shilpa: its almost been an year and a half

Billy: year and a half(clearly surprised) why haven't we heard about you in all this time.

Shilpa sighed: because we were not together (seeing Billy's skeptical look) maybe you need to ask armaan this question

Billy shrugged: maybe but I'm asking you.

Shilpa looked thoughtfully at him: ok! When I met armaan, I had never imagined this is where we would end up.(smiling at the memory) I had not even known who he was, armaan had purposely left out any information relating to his family background or what he actually did for a living.

Billy: and you never asked him or recognized him

Shilpa: you are forgetting I was blind at that time, all I knew was that here was a guy who was rude and arrogant, and thought entirely too much about himself. Despite all his flaws I found him interesting because of the way he talked to me, the way he saw me. To him I was not flawed or someone who needed looking after.

Billy was skeptical but curious: what did you have in common?

Shilpa smiled at the memory: initially nothing! Like you he did not believe me either but somehow he always came back. So we talked about everything our opinions varied so did our likes. We became friends which came as a surprise to both of us, he was there for me when I needed a friend. Browbeating me out of bed when I would have preferred hiding with covers up to my head.(She shook her as she laughed at the memory)

Billy took in her shining eyes and the faraway look: you make armaan sound like he is perfect

Shilpa looked directly at Billy: he's your son but sorry to break it to you armaan is not perfect. He can be rude and arrogant, pushy, suspicious minded are only at the top of the list.

Billy didn't know whether to be insulted or amused: there is a list!

Shilpa: oh yes! But then at the same time he'll be extraordinarily sensitive and a good friend. He actually listens when you talk to him(shilpa stopped herself from recounting armaan's virtues, grinning) well there is a list.

Billy couldn't resist the grin and smiled back: I thought there might be (turning serious) lets be serious shilpa do you love my son?

Shilpa equally serious: yes!

Billy: you just told me that you two have different likes n opinions, you gave me a list of things that you don't like about him. According to you he is not perfect then, I want to know why?

Shilpa: you want to know why he isn't perfect or why I love him? (laughing) no one is perfect, not armaan not me but yes I love him.

Armaan had just entered the house as he undid the button of his collar and loosened his tie asking the servant at the door: is shilpa here?(as the servant directed him to the lounge armaan threw his jacked n briefcase that he was carrying on the chair at the base of the stairs)

He had just about reached the arched doorways when he heard his father all serious ask: do you love my son?

Armaan wanted to step in and stop his dad from questioning but shilpa's response stopped him. The simplicity and sincerity of her answer made him stop and realize maybe his dad needed this from shilpa. So he turned and quickly retraced his steps retrieving his jacket and briefcase he made his way up to his room.

Billy looked at the girl standing infront of him and couldn't deny that he found shilpa fascinating. She was charming, intelligent, didn't pretend to be coy and had been forthcoming about her feelings about armaan. To make her more interesting and endearing was the fact that she did not think armaan was perfect.

Smiling Billy spoke out aloud: well I'll be damned.

Shilpa looked a bit wary: excuse me!

Billy grinning now: well I should've known that Armaan Mallik wouldn't have fallen for you for no reason. Well I believe he hasn't lost his midas touch.

Shilpa has started to blush at his words but the credence that he was giving armaan made her ask in a little annoyance: just like that

Billy enjoying it now: well he hasn't been wrong yet

Shilpa quirked a brow at him: well he isn't perfect

Billy enjoying her irritation and her spirit retorted: but you love him anyway.

Shilpa opened her mouth to respond and then stopped as she realized what he had said. She looked at him and felt her face go red again as he gave her a knowing look.

The best she could manage was: umm!

Billy laughed: young lady I believe its time for us to go out and receive our guests (as at the same time the bell chimed and announced the arrival of the guests)

Shilpa: umm! Sure go ahead! (thanking her stars for getting some time to herself for recovering her composure)

Billy stepped towards her and gently turned her towards the door: you too! After all you are the future of Mallik's (shilpa looked at Billy shocked at his words making him smile) come on beta! Its time we go out and welcome muskaan and her family.

Shilpa managed a shaky nod and started to walk with him out to the hall when Billy spoke in a very matter of fact tone: oh and call me uncle till we get everything official.

Shilpa stopped stunned making Billy turn to her and add: you're everything I had ever hoped for armaan, shilpa. You love him despite his many faults(he added with a twinkle in his eye) and I love you because my son is mad about you. Ananya and I always use to wonder if there would be someone who'll make armaan forget business and the world, you do shilpa. So welcome to the family.(before the sentence was even finished shilpa threw her arms around him making Billy laugh as he closed his arms around her) come lets meet our guests.

Shilpa pulled back and smiled sheepishly as they made their way to the guests. Armaan stood on the landing upstairs looking down as his parents and shilpa greeted muskaan and her parents. He took in the graceful way shilpa met everyone the way his parents introduced her.

Sensing someone behind him he turned to see Rahul come up behind him and ask: are they here?

Armaan smiled at his brothers' nervous face: yes! Lets take the show on road

Shilpa was answering a question when she looked up to see armaan walk in wearing a dark colored suit with a crme shirt but without a tie. She saw him meet with everyone as their gazes met he winked at her making her gasp in surprise but they didn't get any opportunity to talk as dinner was served. Throughout dinner they kept exchanging glances from across the table amidst conversation that centered around Rahul-Muskaan wedding.

Finally the dinner was over once again the family was settled in the lounge with coffee and tea while shilpa stood at the open terrace doors enjoying the cool evening breeze. Armaan placed his cup on the table beside his seat and walked upto shilpa and whispered in her ear: you're a witch!

Shilpa turned around and looked into his eyes which twinkled with mischief, leaning back against the balustrade: why? What did I do?

Armaan leaned in close trapping her between his body and balustrade: you've bewitched my family and muskaan's, everyone is in love with you.

Shilpa got breathless as armaan pressed in closer making her whisper: armaan we are not alone here.

Armaan moved in a little closer making their faces come closer his gaze dropped to her mouth and then moved back to her eyes: so you don't feel shy telling my dad that you love me but when I come near you(he lowered his head so that he brushed his lips near the corner of her mouth)

Shilpa clutched at his forearms to keep herself straight, armaan changed angles and brushed another kiss on the other corner making shilpa sigh out his name: Armaan!

Armaan slowly pulled back pressing his forehead to shilpa's: you make me crazy!

"Get a room!" came rahul's voice making armaan grin as he tirned back to look at him while others laughed.

Shilpa pushed at armaan's chest: armaan! Let go everyone is watching us!

Armaan without letting go of shilpa spoke to Rahul: I know where the room is

Rahul trying to sound innocent: well I'm only saying…

Ananya intervened: stop it you two, come shilpa sit by me.

Shilpa tried moving but armaan held on making shilpa push him: let go

Armaan let go and then turned to look at her departing back

Dil ye mera bas mein nahi
Pehla kabhi aisa hota tha nahi
hmm..(everyone in the room turned to look at armaan stunned  at his initiative)
Dil ye mera bas mein nahi(Armaan started to walk casually towards everyone with his hands in his pockets)
Pehla kabhi aisa hota tha nahi
Tu hi bata.. iss dil ka main..(reaching shilpa who was standing near ananya he grabbed her hand and pulled her towards him)
Ab kya karoon(shilpa stood in the circle of his arms mesmerized by the love she saw in his eyes)
hmm..

Ananya suppressed a smile as she looked at Billy then acting stern: Armaan mind yourself

Armaan turned so that he stood behind shilpa with his arms around her, his chin propped on her shoulder and looked directly at his parents

Kehne pe chalta nahi
Kuch dinon se meri bhi sunta nahi
Tu hi bata iss dil ka main

 ooh (Armaan  turned shilpa around whose face had become red but couldn't help laughing and hid her face in his chest)

uff main kya karoon(armaan looked at his family and shrugged)

Main kya karoon.. (keeps repeating)

The following days days went by in a blur of Rahul-muskaan wedding preparations in which shilpa was  also involved in. Shilpa sat with Ananya surrounded with wedding invitation samples armaan walked in seeing shilpa went directly to her. Shilpa got up to check something when armaan got hold of shilpa's duppatta tugging her towards him. She tumbled towards him

Karta.. aawaargi
Iss pe toh dhun chadhi, hai pyar ki
Naa jaane, gum hai kahaan?
Baaton mein hai pada, bekaar ki

Armaan continued to kiss shilpa as she squirmed in his arms, ananya laughingly called out: armaan let the girl be she's helping me.

Armaan let go of shilpa who went back to working with Ananya, armaan plopped down infront of them and continued to look at shilpa

Karta hai awaargi
Iss pe toh dhun chadhi, hai pyar ki
Naa jaane gum hai kahaan?
Baaton mein hai pada, bekaar ki(Ananya asked for armaan's opinion but armaan was totally lost in shilpa)
Ulti ye baat hai
Aise haalaat hai
Ghalati kare ye, main bharu!(after waiting for some time for armaan to pay attention attention ananya threw a cushion at him which hit him on the face)

Armaan rubbed his face and pouting kept singing

Uff dil ka kya karoon
Main kya karoon
Main kya karoon... (keeps repeating)

Dil pe mera, kaabu nahi
Fitrat kabhi iss ki aisi thi nahi
Tu hi bata.. iss dil ka main ab kya karoon
hmm.. Kehne pe, chalta nahi
Kuch dinon se, meri bhi sunta nahi
Tu hi bata iss dil ka main ooh uff main kya karoon

Main kya karoon.. (keeps repeating)

Amani

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