Thursday, 9 April 2020

Last part : IRRESISTIBLY YOURS



It was almost evening when Riddhima knocked on the door of Anjali’s hotel room. A mixture of sorrow, regret, and nausea rolled in her stomach as she glanced down to her phone.
She’d been trying to get hold of Armaan all afternoon, to explain what happened, but he still hadn’t answered any of her texts. Hadn’t answered her phone calls, or even his door when she’d gone there earlier.
His message was clear: he didn’t want to talk to her, and there was a part of her that didn’t blame him.

The door opened, and Riddhima quickly put her phone away as she looked up to her best friend. Anjali stood in the doorway, her eyes puffy and swollen, making Riddhima’s heart clench even harder. “Is armaan here?” Riddhima ask ...

Anjali only glanced up and down, taking in the tattered shorts Riddhima had changed back into after the rehearsal, and turned to head back into the room.
“Nope.” Anjali said..


But she left the door open, which was the only invitation Riddhima needed to walk into the room.

Riddhima twisted her fingers as she following the trail of tissues into Anjali’s bedroom, where she found her buried deep under a pile of blankets in the dark, lonely bed. and Riddhima crawled in beside her and rested her head on the top of Anjali’s shoulder.

Riddhima pulled in a shaky breath, realizing she should be the shoulder to cry on, the arms of support at a time like this. Instead, she was the bearer of deceit, the one to cause her best friend to crumble.

“I’m sorry,” riddhima whispered, her voice breaking with each word. It was a feeble effort to make things right, but it was all she could muster at the moment.

Anjali squeezed her eyes shut, struggling with her own emotions as she pulled a tissue from the box.
“My father isn’t coming. Armaan will be walking me down the aisle.” Anjali said.

Riddhima suspected as much, but it was still heartbreaking to hear it from her best friend’s lips. She handed Anjali a tissue. Because she knew the hopes and dreams Anjali had always carried. She knew about Anjali’s dream of a fairy tale wedding, which always included her father walking her down the aisle in everyone.

Riddhima blotted her eyes, turning toward Anjali to search her face. But anjali didn’t look angry, she looked heartbroken.

“Everyone thinks he’s unbreakable, but he’s not.” Anjali said.

Riddhima nodded, her chin beginning to quiver as she tried to pull herself together—because she knew Anjali was talking about Armaan . Unbreakable Malik. The Rock of West Valley high school.

“I went to his room, but armaan wasn’t there. I’ve tried calling—” But her words came out on a sob, and Riddhima couldn’t finish.

Anjali threw the covers from her body, her cheeks flushed with anger.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” she yelled. “Why is everyone keeping secrets from me?” Anjali stood at the side of the bed, her hair was an unbrushed mess, and Riddhima had no idea what to tell her.

Riddhima pulled up to her knees, trying to come up with something to say. “I don’t know.” She shook her head. “I should have said something, but it was your wedding, your big day, and I didn’t want to take anything away from you.” Riddhima said..

Anjali spun around. “That’s bullshit!” she yelled, gripping the balled-up tissue in her fist.

Riddhima turned toward the darkened window, trying without success to pull herself together. “You’re right.” She choked. “I didn’t tell you because I was scared. I didn’t tell you for a lot of reasons… Because my feelings were so big. Because it was all happening so fast.”Riddhima said..

“You think I can’t handle big? I’m a fucking adult, Ridz. Things happen. Don’t you think I know that?” Anjali yelled..

Riddhima swallowed and looked back to her friend. “I didn’t want to share it,anji. Not even with you. Because sharing things with you always makes them real.” Riddhima said

It was the honest to God truth. The completely selfish truth of a girl who didn’t trust her own heart. She took another tissue from the box, her shoulders shaking. Then she felt Anjali move beside her on the bed, smoothing the hair from her eyes and cheeks.

Riddhima looked up, tears rolling down herface.

“Do you love him?” Anjali whispered, her face just as tear-streaked as Riddhima’s.

Riddhima didn’t hesitate before answering, because she wanted the words spoken more than anything.
“Yes. I love him. I love him so much.”
I love him from the day we spend our last holiday in cabin..

Anjali is shock because riddhima always hated armaan.

You love him how , when , what am missing . anjali demands answers still in shock...

We shared kiss in cabin riddhima whispered..

What anjali yelled, and you don’t feel like sharing it with me......

I was scared and then armaan start behaving differently so I thought—-

No no you kissed him when how anjali demanded explanation..

Then riddhima tell everything to anjali about the first kiss, about her fear of losing anjali, about misunderstandings and the journey also ..

Anjali gaps that’s why you was behaving differently when ever i mention about him..

Riddhima nods......

And I thought you hate him anjali whisper..

No i never hated him ridhima said...

Anjali pulled her into her arms, and they both collapsed into each other’s embrace.

So you love my brother anjali ask..

Riddhima nodded

“Then you have to tell Him.” Anjali said.

Riddhima ’s words were barely audible as she nodded her head. “I know.”

But then anjali start smiling..
What happened Riddhima ask..
Armaan also love you, You know once in our house a girl was hitting on armaan but armaan stop her and told her that he love someone else and that his girl don’t know how to swim anjali said grinning...
Riddhima gasp......
So that’s mean he also love you from that time anjali said.
This news give riddhima more strength to get her love back then both girls get busy consoling each other and giving strength ...........

********************************************

The next morning Went by in a blur. There were hair appointments, nail appointments, and makeup from the moment riddhima opened her eyes.
And Armaan was still nowhere to be found. She was sure he was with the guys, doing all the wedding things he was supposed to, but the fact that she hadn’t seen or spoken to him since the rehearsal left her stomach in knots.

Riddhima stood on the step, waiting for her best friend to walk down the aisle, and glanced over the crowd of people, knowing they waited with bated breath, just as she did. But for a different reason. Because they were waiting for their bride, her best friend for all eternity, while she was waiting for Armaan.

The door opened at the back of the room, and the crowd turned and rose out of their chairs. Anjali stood at the open doorway, the “Bridal Chorus” playing softly from the piano in the background. Her dress was off-white, with a lace bodice and delicate sleeves that hung off her shoulders like lace ivy. Her head was high, her skirt simple, draping elegantly all the way to the floor—showing bits of her long legs as she took step after step.

But Riddhima barely noticed her, because it was Armaan that made all the air expel from her throat. He was dressed in a tan tuxedo. An off white button-up shirt fastened at his tanned throat, but it was his eyes that memorized her most. They were full of emotion, with bits of gray darkening their depths.

Armaan looked, emotional—because he was taking on the role that should have been his father’s. Taking on the role of a person who was far too selfish to be there today.

Armaan pulled in a deep breath and squeezed his sister’s hand in a transfer of strength. Riddhima’s eyes moved down to her feet, because as emotional as this was to witness, it must have been ten times more emotional for the pair.

They had fought like cats and dogs for most of their lives, but seeing them now, watching them walk side by side, nobody would ever know it. Together they were a harbor of strength, a unit of love and an example of what family was supposed to be. They were crossing the hurdle of a broken family, of a deadbeat father, with their heads held high as though no one was the wiser.

They stopped just below the stairs, where
Atul waited to fetch his future bride. He shook Armaan’s hand, and they both hugged, exchanging a few words before breaking apart.

The minister stepped forward with a soft smile as he looked from Armaan to anjali . “Who presents this woman to be married to this man?”

Armaan cleared his throat, then clasped his hands together in front of his body. “Her mother and I do.” It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Because those were words which normally came from a father—yet Armaan , barely twenty-five, said them with more pride, more emotion than anyone else ever could.

There was a hush amongst the crowd, as the minister nodded, and Anjali climbed the stairs with Atul . Armaan moved to the end of the row of groomsmen, glancing up to the wooden arbor where Anjali and Atul would say their vows, and ignored Riddhima completely.

Riddhima tried to pay attention, to stay present and listen to every word that was spoken, but it was impossible. Because inside, her heart was breaking. Inside, she was struggling to keep herself upright.

Armaan hadn’t even looked at her. Didn’t acknowledge her for the entire service, and all her fears and insecurities came bubbling to the surface. She wanted to scream. To jump up and down, just to get his attention. To have him talk to her, even if the words he said were to tell her it was over, because his silence was unbearable. His silence was like a double-edged sword, slicing through every vulnerable crevice of her body, her mind—her soul.

Riddhima somehow made it through the ceremony, a smile on her lips as she walked out toward the gardens. The guests were ushered toward the open bar, while the bridal party was whisked away by the photographer. Riddhima was hardly present for any of it. Her body was living, while her mind and heart protected themselves in a proverbial hole. When the wedding party was released from the photographer, everyone headed back toward the waiting reception.

Riddhima caught up with Armaan just before he entered the building. She pulled at the hem of his sleeve, forcing him to turn around. His eyes were distant and dark, so different from the man she’d gotten to know over the past week.

“What’s wrong with you?” Riddhima whispered. “Why haven’t you called me back? Why are you ignoringme?”

He licked his lips, seeing her, but not really looking.
“I don’t know what you mean.” Armaan said..

Riddhima stared at him, wanting to shake him out of whatever had taken him, because this was not the man she’d grown to love.

“Armaan, I’m sorry.” Riddhima said..

His eyes closed, and he gripped the bridge of his nose in an effort to control his emotion.

“I thought you broke up with him.”
Armaan said..

Riddhima shook her head, tears falling down her cheeks with the relief of finally getting through to him.

“I couldn’t just—”

But he cut her off.

“Why was he here? Why was he holding you in his fucking arms?” His words were quiet, but were spit from his mouth with all the venom she deserved.

Riddhima looked into his eyes, seeing all the hurt and hatred that lived there. Guests were walking by, looking her up and down as they entered the reception room, and all she could do was tell the truth.

“We’d been together for six years, I couldn’t—”

But he didn’t listen.

“That’s what I thought.” He turned on his heels, not allowing her to finish, and entered the reception room.

Riddhima stumbled forward, left in the doorway with her heart in her throat as she watched him walk away. There were people all around her, laughing, smiling, and celebrating—while she struggled to keep herself upright.

Riddhima walked into the ballroom dressed in a beautiful gown, her hair done up like a princess, yet feeling more alone and undesired than she’d ever felt in her entire life. Needing some sense of solitude, she shuffled through the crowd and pushed through the door to the restroom. She plucked a box of tissues from the closest table then sat down on the bench and started to cry.

She knew she’d messed up, knew he was right to be angry, but armaan wouldn’t even listen to her. He wouldn’t even allow her to finish a sentence.

The door to the restroom opened again, and she held her breath, not wanting anyone to hear her crying. The last thing she needed was to cause a big scene at her best friend’s wedding. then a moment later Anjali standing there...

“Hi,” anjali whispered.

Riddhima half sobbed, half laughed at the sight of her best friend. “What are you doing here?” she whispered, her chin wobbling. “You’re supposed to be taking pictures.”

Anjali shook her head. “We already took plenty. But I can’t go on, knowing you’re in here dying inside.” Anjali said.....

Riddhima closed her eyes, hating the fact she’d done this to her best friend. That Anjali was in the bathroom offering her comfort when she should be out there with her new husband.

“I locked the door. Will you talk to me?” Anjali pleaded.

Riddhima immediately nodded, knowing it was the least she could do. She crumpled up her soggy tissue, threw it in the trash

Anjali was sitting on a chaise lounge, fiddling with her dress, but glanced up when she saw Riddhima . She patted the spot beside her on the cushion. “Sit.”

Riddhima did as she was told, grabbing hold of Anjali’s offered hands.

The emotion of the day was etched all over Anjali’s face. Emotion about her father, her brother, the wedding.

“Remember when I left to go visit Armaan a few years ago?” Anjali began. “When you were in that awful English class and had the midterm load from hell ?”anjali said..

Riddhima nodded, but her throat tightened uncomfortably because she knew what this was about. Anjali was going to tell her about the accident, about Armaan’s shoulder. Riddhima had heard the story only days before, but for some reason she remained quiet. She’d heard it from Armaan , but now she wanted to hear it from Anjali.

“Armaan was in a bad accident. He had a concussion, his rotator cuff was torn, bone ripped from its socket…among other things. He was a mess. Armaan underwent emergency surgery to repair what they could, but he was told right away he’d never play ball again. As you can imagine, football was his life, his identity, and I can still remember the look on his face when he was given the news.”

Anjali’s eyes brimmed with unshed tears as she looked at Riddhima. “But what I remember most, was that he immediately looked to my father. Armaan idolized him, always had, and when he saw the disappointment in my father’s eyes, it crushed him. And instead of being a support to his son, my father lectured him. It hurt Armaan more than his injury, more than the loss of his favorite sport…”

Anjali turned to the box of tissues and plucked one from the box, her voice shredding. “Armaan argued with the doctors for over an hour after that, trying to convince them to do more, to give him another chance, but they couldn’t.” Anjali’s eyes bored into Riddhima’s, needing her to understand.

“Armaan hates letting people down. He can’t handle not being enough. As hard as this whole thing has been for me—it’s been harder for my brother. Because the man he’d always tried to prove himself to has shown that maybe he’s not the person to look upto.”

Anjali wiped at the corner of her eyes as though trying not to ruin her makeup.

“Armaan carries the world on his shoulders. He always has. It was unfair of my mom to give him that secret.
To make it his responsibility to handle the communication with my father…

But like always, Armaan took on the role of making everyone else happy. When my father didn’t even show up...” Anjali cleared her throat, trying to continue.

“I think Armaan feels both like a failure, and rejected at the sametime.”

Anjali sniffed softly into her tissue and looked down to their joined hands.

“I think seeing you with Sid was the last thing he could take. All his insecurities, all his fears came rushing out―” anjali said....

Riddhima plucked a tissue from the box and blew her nose. “Sid didn’t know what happened. I had to—”

But Anjali stopped her. “I know you did. And Armaan will understand, too, when you explain.”anjali said...

“But he―”

Anjali gave Riddhima’s shoulder a squeeze.

“Listen to me. When I saw Armaan walk into the lobby that first day with you, I was relieved. Because I hadn’t seen him smile like that in years. I didn’t know what had changed in him, but I realize now―it was you. You brought something out in him, Riddhima .
Something I haven’t seen since before he was injured.” Anjali said..

Riddhima frowned, trying to comprehend what her friend was trying to tell her.

“He’s pushing you away, can’t you see that? He’s pushing us all away.” Anjali said..

Riddhima shook her head, feeling a thousand bricks land on her shoulders.

“What do you want me to do? He won’t look at me; he won’t even talk to me,” riddhima said, her voice choked with emotion.

“Then make him listen. He may take his time to hear you, but he always does.” Anjali said..Tears spilled from Riddhima’s eyes, and anjali grabbed another tissue and continued to talk while anjali attempted to salvage her friend’s makeup.

“I don’t know if Armaan has ever felt loved. Really loved, aside from me and my mother… But he needs more than us.

Armaan’s been loved for his looks, loved for his body and what he can do with it, loved for so many other things, but I think it’s hard for him to see that it can be unconditional. That he can be himself and still have value. That people aren’t perfect, and that doesn’t mean love ends.” Anjali said....

Anjali rose to her feet, smoothing the silk of her skirt down her legs.

“He’s pushing you away on purpose. And if you really love him, Ridz, you won’t let him do it.” Anjali said....

And then she go back to the hall leaving Riddhima for some alone time...

********************************

It was just a half hour later when Riddhima pulled herself together enough to rejoin the reception. She had cried for a long while. Trying to process all that Anjali had told her. It was heartbreaking and awful, but still, she had no idea how to get through to someone who wouldn’t even look at her. Everyone was seated at their tables, being served their chosen meal and she took a seat next to Rahul . He immediately poured her a glass of Chardonnay and pushed it across the table.
“I was about to send out a search party. Where’d you disappear to?” Rahul said..

Riddhima took a large gulp of the offered drink. “The restroom,” she answered with a tight voice.

He glanced over to Armaan on the other side of the room. “Trouble in paradise?” Rahul asked...

She nodded and pulled in a deep breath, but only glanced up for a moment, because she was afraid if she looked longer than that the tears would come again.

“Can we talk about something else? I’m not feeling up to this right now.” Riddhima said...

His brow furrowed, but nodded and
They continued eating their meals in silence, time passing as though she was in a fog, and before she knew it, her gift was being rolled out into the middle of the dance floor.

Riddhima knew it was coming, but at the same time she wasn’t ready. Wasn’t ready to stand in front of all Anjali’s friends and family. Wasn’t ready for a thousand eyes to be watching her.
But the DJ called her out on the dance floor, and she turned to Rahul . “I don’t want to do this.” Riddhima whispered, but she rose from her seat anyway and collected the microphone from the podium.

Riddhima looked into the faces of all the guests. People she barely knew, but were about to see her at her most vulnerable. She turned around to face all of them, then glanced over to Anjali, deciding she didn’t care what any of the guests thought. She was doing it for her best friend, her salt of the earth friend whose heart was bigger than anyone else’s.

Riddhima’s chest tightened, and all the tears she’d been holding rushed up to clog in her throat. She ran her hand along the length of the microphone cord, hoping energy or strength would miraculously enter her body. She owed Anjali this. If nothing else, Anjali deserved a speech from her maid of honor.

Riddhima closed her eyes, letting out a deep breath before pulling the drape from the sculpture. The fabric fell to the ground, revealing a plethora of green, blue, and earth toned colors.

She turned back to Anjali, meeting her best friend’s eyes as she took in the sculpture for the first time. It was of a ballerina, tall and beautiful, though it’s legs were twisted, fabricated into roots stuck deep into a ball of soil. Her arms were long, held over her head and growing up to the sky like limbs, covered in tiny, intricate leaves in a myriad of colors.

Riddhima turned toward the audience and pulled in a breath.
“I still remember the day I met Anjali,” she began, staring through tear brimmed eyes to look at all the faces.
“Her hair was up in one of those tight ballerina buns she wore all throughout grade school, and A boy had just stepped on her fingers. I instantly felt a connection.” Anjali smiled softly, stretching out her hand to examine her knuckles.

“I’m pretty sure I still have the scars from when he stepped on my hand only the day before.” Anjali said...

The crowd chuckled, and Anjali’s lips curved in a soft smile. “But Anjali was always different than me. Because, instead of worrying about herself, she helped Boy up to his feet when he fell.” Her voice grew husky with emotion.
“She’s always been like that. A harbor of strength. A sheltering tree to all those lucky enough to be loved by her. But she’s kind of crazy, too.” She nodded, causing the whole crowd to mumble with shock.

She glanced over to the seat she’d seen Armaan sitting in not five minutes earlier and found it empty, which caused her stomach to drop a few inches. She took a calming breath, turning to Anjali again and straightening her shoulders.

“A few months ago, Anjali called at midnight to tell me about a guy.” She raised her brows, indicating riddhima wasn’t happy about being woken up so late.
“He was wonderful, and perfect, and she was going out on a date with him. But four weeks later, after many phone calls in between, she told me she loved him.
” The crowd began to chuckle, and Riddhima cracked a tiny grin.

“Quite frankly I was shocked, but who was I to judge?” She paused for a moment, shaking her head.
“Then she told me she was going to marry him.” Riddhima looked down, her heart so raw and open she may as well have been lying on an operating table.

“I thought she was having one of her crazy moments—like literally had lost her mind. Because I’d spent six years with a man, and my heart still wasn’t open to the idea of forever.”

She looked up then, glancing around the crowd who had suddenly gone completely quiet. “How, in such a short time, did she know that she loved him?” Riddhima said..

Everyone around her began adjusting in their seats, whispering, but she didn’t stop.

“You see, anjali and I are the same age. Born only two weeks apart. We’ve done everything together. Shared the same birthday parties, the same friends, same graduation. How could she be so frivolous with her heart to marry a man after such a short time?” Riddhima said..

Gasps could be heard throughout the hall, and she looked into Anjali’s eyes, her lips quivering with the tears she held onto so desperately.

“But six days ago, I realized that Anjali had it right the whole time. Because time isn’t a factor in matters of the heart. I can see now she’s given her whole heart to atul. That she’s shown him her flaws, and let him really see her.”

She looked toward the ground. “Because that’s how love works. That’s what I want. I don’t want perfect. I want flaws, and I want passion. I want someone to give me everything without holding back. Even the ugly pieces. Even the pieces hidden from everyone else.”

The audience hushed, and Riddhima turned back to face them again, knowing Armaan was out there amongst them. Somewhere.

“Love is about being vulnerable. It’s about doing things that scare you. Like giving your heart to someone after a few weeks, or a few days. When you find the right person, time stops.” She nodded and smiled at her best friend. “That’s what happened to Anjali and atul .” She placed the microphone back on the podium and whispered, “And that’s what happened to me.”

The crowd went silent, and she lifted her glass above her head. “To the bride and groom, and to love that is timeless.” Riddhima said....

Everyone cheered and clinked their glasses. Rahul stood up, then lowered his head in a nod of respect. She could see he was proud of her, and frankly, she was proud of herself, too. Because she would have never done this a week ago. She wasn’t strong enough then.

Rahul came toward the podium, placing his hand on her shoulder before whispering in her ear. “Good job, kid. He then relieved her from the spotlight, and had the whole room laughing before she made it to the bottom Step.

Riddhima weaved between the tables, not intending to stick around. Because every last drop of her strength had been used up on that stage, and she needed to get out of there.
First, she focused on getting to her table, then, gathering her things, putting one foot in front of the other, breathing in and out. Because if she tried to focus on more than that, it was too overwhelming. She made it to her table without anyone noticing her, took a couple sips of wine as she gathered her things...

Riddhima walked down the long hall to her room with her head held high, praying to God that Armaan had heard her, that maybe he was waiting for her at her room, but the closer she got, the more it became clear that he wasn’t.

She entered the dark room alone, where she changes to night dress. She crawled into bed with pins still in her hair and let the tears flow. Tomorrow she would go back to LA, she promised, and try to forget about the man who took her heart while she wasn’t paying attention. But tonight, she would allow herself to grieve. She would cry until her mouth went dry, until all her tears were spent, and hopefully when it was over, her heart wouldn’t hurt quite so badly.
It was surreal. To realize life could change so quickly. That love could enter, then be ripped away in the blink of an eye. That a career at rock bottom could flourish, simply by being in the right place at the right time.

*********************************
Next day
Riddhima added the last of her belongings in her overstuffed suitcase. She’d already called the front desk to check out of the room, but glanced around it one last time. The curtains were drawn open, revealing the beautiful day ahead of her, and the empty suite she had to leave behind. But she was leaving behind so much—
she was leaving Armaan , who still was nowhere to be found. And a best friend, who she wasn’t sure she’d see for a longtime.

Riddhima wanted to stop by Armaan’s door one last time to see if he was there, but pride wouldn’t allow her to chase him anymore. What she needed to say was said last night. Riddhima loved him. Unconditionally. It was up to him what armaan did with the information.

Riddhima grabbed her backpack from the top of the desk, and slung it over one shoulder before setting her keycard on the dresser and heading out of the room. She took the elevator all the way to the garage floor, where she could continue on past the valet and out into the city streets. But when she got there,

Armaan was propped against the side of his Mustang in one of the stalls. Riddhima swallowed hard, wanting to ignore his aviator shielded face, and his feet crossed at the ankles, but her eyes instantly filled with tears. Even though she told herself she wasn’t going to cry for him anymore. Even though she thought every drop of tears had been shed last night.

Riddhima tried to rush past him, not wanting him to see her in this condition, but armaan stepped in front of her, blocking her exit.

Armaan pulled his glasses from his face, revealing tired, dark circles.
“Can I talk to you?” he asked, emotion turning his voice to gravel.

Riddhima looked up at him, swallowing hard as she gripped onto her backpack for dear life.

“Now? Now you want to talk to me? I’ve called you a thousand times. I stood up there in front of all of those people—” riddhima said..

“I know—” armaan said...

She turned on her heels, feeling emotion try to consume her. Her heart was beating wildly, trampled by a thousand horses, and she needed to get away.

Armaan stepped in front of her again.
“I was scared! Dammit, will you listen to me?” Armaan yell...

Riddhima froze, because she’d never heard him yell before. Or seen him look so tortured. Tears brimmed his eyes, and he used the backs of his hands to brush them away.

“I was shitty to you; I know that. I was vulnerable, and instead of letting you in, I closed you out.” Armaan said softly....

He was visibly struggling to keep himself together, and she almost wanted to take him in her arms, but she couldn’t. She needed to hear what he was going to Say.

“To my father,” he began, “vulnerably was sign of weakness. When I cried he told me I was soft, when I fell he told me to get up. It was part of being a man. I learned at an early age to give him what he wanted, and in return he was proud of me.

I still can’t figure out if I played so hard because I loved the game or because he did, but when my football career ended, he lost interest. I couldn’t even persuade him to come to his own daughter’s wedding.” Armaan said not looking in her eyes....

Riddhima’s heart throbbed in her chest. She ached to hold him, to argue that his father had been so very wrong, but she stayed silent and allowed him to continue.

“When I gave people what they wanted, they were happy, but no matter how hard I tried, how hard I played the game, at some point I couldn’t hold the ball any longer.
When I found out about my father’s , I stopped trying. I was gruff, and I said what I wanted, and I scared people off.
I tried it with you, but for some reason you’ve always looked at me differently. You see me, even through all the walls I put up around myself.” Armaan stepped closer. “It scared the crap out of me riddhima .” Armaan said

Armaan looked into her eyes, not hiding his emotion, but struggling to continue
but struggling to control it.

“When I saw you with Sid , with his arms around you, it was the last thing I could take. All these insecurities started pouring out of me. He’d had you for six years; I’d been with you for only a few days.

Eventually I would drop the ball and you’d see me. Maybe not then, maybe not tomorrow, but some day. So I convinced myself that choosing to walk away earlier wouldn’t hurt as much as later. That you’d be better off with someone else.”

Riddhima struggled to stand, tears running down her cheeks.

“Armaan —”

He widened his stance, clenching his jaw. “Let me finish.” Armaan said....

Riddhima searched his stormy eyes, waiting for him to speak.

“Last night I left the wedding and sat in my room with a bottle of whisky. I started thinking about everything. About my father, my family. And I realized I was being a coward. That I was letting everything with my dad control me again. Because of all that happened, I was pushing you away.”

He hesitated, biting his lip as though searching for the right words.

“But time stops when I’m with you too,” armaan said, finding her eyes again.
“It stopped when I was with you all those years ago, and it did again the moment you got into my car in Los Angeles california . And I realized if I pushed you away I’d be giving up the best thing that has ever happened to me, because of fear.”

He glanced down to their joined hands, then back up again before continuing. “I’m in love with you, Riddhima . I love the way you challenge me, I love your mind,
I love the way you look at me, I love your soul. I don’t know where this road will lead us, but I’m not ready to get off.
I’ve had more fun with you in the past week than I’ve ever had in my life, and
I want a do over. Every single moment of it.”

The tiniest hopeful twinkle glittered in his eyes and he gave her hand a squeeze.

“Let’s get in my car, forget about our past, not worry about the future, and just drive. Wherever the road leads us. You and me, just us.”

Her eyes overflowed with tears, and she glanced over at the Mustang filled with luggage and pillows and a large bag filled with chips.

“Say yes,” he whispered. “Say yes, and I’ll spend the rest of my life making sure you never regret it.” Armaan said hopefully...

Riddhima walked into his embrace, where Armaan squeezed her so tight she felt her bones crack. When she threw her arms around his neck, he hoisted her up, cradling her against his chest.

Riddhima kissed his lips, sobbed against them, her whole body shaking with emotion.

“Yes,” she whispered. “Yes.”



Lots of Love
Akanksha 💕💕

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