Friday, 24 April 2020

Part 25& 26 : Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

It was now the summer holidays; the gang had decided to spend most of their time just chilling out and soaking up the sun. The girls got together and spent almost every other day at each other's house just getting up to mischief, learning some new recipes from their mum's and just finding time to gossip, or watch a movie. For the very first time they had actually spent more time alone without the guys; they had suddenly just felt like having quality girl time and forgotten about being with the guys. Riddhima and Muskaan didn't talk much about Rahul and Armaan that much when they were with the girls and unlike the other holidays and half terms where they would spend every moment as a gang this holiday was different, it was a change, the girls would be together and the guys would hang out together.



The couples would just meet up once a week and talked to each other every night on the phone. It was now making the guys feel a bit weird; who really would not have cared much but now they were beginning to think what was wrong with their girlfriends; why they didn't want to spend time with the guys. But the girls on the other hand was having so much fun just being together and experimenting on lots of girly stuff like, cooking, shopping, designing and gossiping; they were more like sisters than anything else and they had the company of Tannu; who being Armaan's best friend had became a traitor to him and had swapped sides.

From the moment they met at the Fashion show Riddhima and Tannu had become best of friends; they spent almost all their time together. Tannu had come down to London to spend the summer holidays with her neighbours who were more of family to her. Riddhima had kept a sleep over for her girl friends and invited Tannu who was introduced to Nikita and Muskaan; the four girls got up to lots of mischief and played pranks on the guys.

It was three weeks into the holidays and the gang had enjoyed it so much they wished that this holiday would not come to an end; the weather actually felt great; it was going through a heat wave which everyone loved as it didn't happen very often. The girls decided to go and do some shopping one morning; they wondered around the high street popping into every other shop as they saw an attractive outfit. They carried on for another few hours until Riddhima and Muskaan started to moan that they were feeling hungry and their stomachs rumbled at them begging for some food. They made their way into Mc. Donald's and ordered their food. Once they were settled down munching on their chips and burgers they chatted about the guys.

Niki: You know what...it's just such a great feeling to shop without the guys...

Muskaan: Yeah you're right Niks...remember that time we went to the mall to actually do some shopping...they kept nagging us to hurry up...I mean...we hadn't even walked out of the first shop and they had started bothering us...

Tannu: - laughing – I can never shop with guys...I don't know how you lot do it...

Niki: You're lucky...

Tannu: Yeah...I guess but one thing I really miss when they're not around...

Ridz: What's that? – munching on her chip

Tannu: Playing pranks...

They all laughed and talked about the time they had called the guys at two am in the morning when they had their sleep over at Riddhima's place. Tannu had put on a fake accent and was flirting with Abhi who fell for it instantly and really thought he had a date; he had turned up at the mall the next day all dressed up to meet this girl until the girls turned up and made him look like a fool.

Niki: That was hilarious... – laughing madly - ...I'll never be able to forget the expression on his face when he saw us...

When the laughter had died down some time later Muskaan looked over at Riddhima who was a bit silent.

Muskaan: What's up Ridzi?

They all turned to look at her; she was quietly eating her chips, but her mind was buzzing with thoughts.

Ridz: Huh... – looking at Muskaan as she was jerked out of her thoughts – ...umm...nothing...

Tannu: Ridz...are you okay? – turning to her – You seem lost...something wrong?

Ridz: No...nothing...I mean...I'm fine... – covering up

They all looked at her curiously waiting for her to say more; when she knew they were not going to leave her she finally spoke up.

Ridz: You guys are really going to think I'm a hypocrite... – looking down

Niki: Why would you think that Ridzi...go on...we won't say anything...

Ridz: I'm... – slowly – ...I'm missing the guys... – they looked at her in surprise but didn't say anything – ...I mean...I miss Armaan... – looking around at them who were smiling at her – ...we haven't spent time with each other in ages...I kind of miss him... – pulling a sad face

Tannu: Awww...that's so sweet! – giving her a side hug

Before anyone could say anything else Muskaan's phone rang and they all turned to her as she looked at her phone then back at them.

Muskaan: Talk of the devils... – showing them the name flashing on her screen, they laughed as she answered the call – ...Hi Rahul...//I'm fine...just shopping with the girls...//What are you lot up to?...//Oh wow that's great...I forgot about that...//Sorry...//... - smiling – ...Yes of course...definitely...//We'll be there...what time?...//Okay...bye...// Love you too... – cuts the phone

The girls were staring at her waiting for her to spill the beans as she looked really excited.

Muskaan: Guys...how did we forget? – to Nikita and Riddhima – ...Pool party!!

Riddhima and Nikita squealed in excitement and Tannu looked on curiously.

Ridz: OMG! How did we forget? – asking herself then turned to Tannu – ...Rahul holds a pool party at his house every summer...well...for as long as I've known him... – laughing – ...since we were five his parents held a pool party...when we were small they were so much fun...and when he turned fifteen his parents let him have the house for himself and his friends...it was awesome...

Muskaan: Yeah that was so cool...that was when we became a couple... – smiling shyly – ...OMG it's been two years! – suddenly to herself

The girls teased her. Rahul and Riddhima had been childhood friends and their families knew each other really well. When they started secondary school they had become a gang with Muskaan, Nikita and Abhi. And at Rahul's fifteenth birthday he had a pool party and had asked Muskaan to be his girlfriend. They had been dating for the past two years and loved each other to bits. Last year they announced it to their parents who agreed after sometime when the couple had explained that they had each brought a change into each other's life for the better rather than the worst. Muskaan was brought back to earth as Nikita clicked her finger in front of her eyes.

Muskaan: Huh? – looking around

Niki: Kahan koh gayi? – smiling

Muskaan blushed and looked down.

Ridz: So what time does the party start?

Muskaan: At four...

Niki: So? More shopping? Or let's go? – looking around at the others

Muskaan: I need to find a dress...tonight should be special...and oh yeah... – smacking her head with her palm – ...thank goodness he called and reminded me...I need to get him a gift...

The girls laughed at her then they left; each of them brought something new to wear to the party and Muskaan brought Rahul a gift. Then they all went home to get dressed and said they would meet at Rahul's place at four.



Later on that afternoon Riddhima was looking into the mirror checking herself out, making sure she looked extra nice just for that once special person, she wore pink flip flops on her feet, a pink knee high summery flowered dress showing off her legs, it was sleeveless but she left her hair open so that it would cover her shoulders. She was applying a little bit of gloss to her lips as the bell rang. She looked up at the time; 3:50; he was early she thought. She smiled and grabbed her bag from her bed and made her way downstairs to see Tannu by the door talking to Padma.

Ridz: Hi...you're looking very nice... – smiling she gave her a hug

Tannu: Thanks...you too... – moving back – ...let's go...

Ridz: Yeah...bye mama... – hugging her

Tannu: Bye Aunty...

Padma: Bye...have fun...

The girls got into the back of the car as Padma waved bye to them and went back into the house. Armaan turned to look at the back; he was about to say something but looking at Riddhima he stopped; his mouth hung open as he stared at her; he had not seen her in this kind of dress since her birthday and once again he was blown away. Tannu disrupted his thoughts by shaking his shoulder.

Tannu: If you want to stay here all night its fine with me...but will you please give me a lift to the party...

Armaan: Huh? – Riddhima smiled as he came back to his senses – What...? – turning to Tannu

Tannu: Let's go...

Armaan had forgotten what he was going to say; he turned around with a big smile and drove on as the girls chatted excitedly at the back. He kept sneaking glances at her all the way to the party through the mirror but she was too busy chatting away with Tannu to notice him; he was a little hurt but he decided to talk to her at the party when they would be alone.

They arrived at Rahul's place five minutes later; the girls got out of the car and walked towards the house leaving Armaan behind. They walked through the side gate and into the garden to see lots of people were already there; the rest of the gang as well of some of Rahul's other friends from school and the neighbourhood. The girls met up and were complimenting each other as they grabbed soft drinks from the counter. It was an indoor pool area but as it was summer the sun glass and the side doors were open allowing access into the garden. The girls settled down by the pool side dipping their feet into the pool and chatted away; sometime later Rahul came over and took Muskaan away; they both disappeared into the house grinning mischievously.

Armaan and Abhi were in the pool with a lot of other familiar people; Nikita and Tannu also decided to dip in after going into the house and getting changed into their swimming suits. They persuaded Riddhima to come as well but she refused; even though she did bring her swim suit along with her she didn't feel comfortable. They got into the pool leaving Riddhima to sit on her own; she looked around the pool; her eyes landed on Armaan who was already watching her, she smiled shyly as they talked through their eyes; Riddhima signalled to Armaan that she was going inside; he nodded and she left and made her way into the house towards the washroom.

When she came out a few seconds later she began to walk towards the kitchen when suddenly she felt a strong hand on her arm pulling her to a secluded area under the stairs, she closed her eyes as she was taken into his arms; her back was touching his chest and she could feel his breath on her neck; his arms began to move around her waist and he kissed her shoulder. She felt a strong pull as she was twisted around to face him; she opened her eyes...



Back outside Armaan jumped out of the pool and wiped himself with his towel; he pulled on his three quarters and made his way inside the house with a big smile playing on his lips.

Armaan: - thinking – Sorry Riddhima...I made you wait a bit long...but you also made me wait longer...and spending all these days with the girls and not me...I think you deserved to wait a bit...

He smiled as he walked around downstairs looking for her; a few moments later his mind began to wander again; thinking that she was once again playing around with him until he neared the stairs and heard voices. He moved closer to hear someone struggling;

??: Leave me...let go...you shouldn't even be here...

??: Why are you doing this to me...I love you...

??: Let go of me Vivik...ouch...

Hearing this name Armaan rushed towards the voices to see Vivik holding tightly on to Riddhima's wrist and his arm around her waist. His back was towards Armaan and Riddhima was being pushed against the wall, Armaan boiled with anger; he grabbed Vivik by his shirt and pulled him away from Riddhima; who was in tears. Without saying a word Armaan lashed out on Vivik hitting him in his stomach; he doubled over in pain as Armaan had used his full strength. A full on fight had started up now and both guys were hitting each other at every chance they got, Armaan had the upper hand as he had hit Vivik where it really hurt and he was howling in pain.

Hearing all this noise Rahul and Muskaan came running down the stairs; Rahul pulled the guys away from each other and rounded on Vivik as Muskaan walked towards Riddhima who was now fully in tears.

Rahul: What the hell are you doing here... – to Vivik

Vivik stayed quiet and turned to Riddhima; Armaan moved forward and punched him in the face again making Rahul pull him away.

Armaan: Get out of here... – shouted at Vivik – ...and don't ever look at her again...

Vivik: She's mine...you took her from me...

Armaan: She never was yours...and never will be... – moving forward again making Rahul stand in front of him

Vivik: - ignoring Armaan he moved towards Riddhima – ...I love you Riddhima...Riddhima please listen to me...I love you...

Rahul: - before Armaan could do anything he grabbed onto Vivik and pushed him towards the door – Get out...you were not invited...and I don't want to see you near her again...do you get that... – he opened the door and pushed him out slamming the door behind him

Armaan had not yet calmed down but looking over at Riddhima in this state he cooled his anger and walked towards her; she sat on the floor in a huddle crying her eyes out as Muskaan held her from her shoulders; she got up as Armaan crouched down next to Riddhima and put his arm around her; Riddhima held onto Armaan and cried. Armaan stood up a few moments later and pulled her to stand up.

Rahul: Armaan...take her upstairs...

Armaan nodded and took her upstairs as Rahul and Muskaan made their way outside. Walking into the room Armaan closed the door and walked Riddhima over to the bed, they sat down and Riddhima cried on his shoulder holding him tight. He let her cry for a few minutes then stopped her and made her look at him.

Armaan: Riddhima...shush... – wiping her cheeks – ...it's okay now...he's gone...

A few moments later she controlled herself and looked into his eyes to see that he was also hurt but before she could say anything he spoke up making her watch him closely.

Armaan: I'm sorry... – she looked at him waiting for him to carry on – ...if I had come in earlier this wouldn't have happened...I'm sorry Riddhima...but I promise I will never let him get near you again...I promise... – he held her hand and she squeezed it telling him that she understood

They hugged and stayed like that for some time then Riddhima broke away making a small decision in her mind.

Ridz: I'm sorry too... – he looked at her curiously – ...I'm sorry I spent too much time with the girls and not you...I wanted to but...

Armaan: - silencing her – Riddhima...its okay...really don't worry about it...

Ridz: - nodded – Armaan...let's not spoil our mood...let's go have fun... – smiling; she had not yet forgotten the past events but did not want to ruin the rest of hers or Armaan's evening

Armaan looked up suddenly; if there was anything he thought he would hear it wasn't this; he smiled at her and nodded then held her hand and kissed her forehead; they got up and hugged.

Ridz: I love you Armaan...

Armaan: I love you too Riddhima... – kissing her hair

They walked down the stairs and into the garden; some of the guest had left and others had arrived late, the gang was sitting together by the pool on deck chairs and others dipping their feet in the pool. As they walked towards the gang they all looked up to see two smiling faces; they smiled back glad that Riddhima was okay. They carried on partying till late that night; then decided to leave for their homes after eleven. Armaan and Riddhima had spent the rest of the evening together as a couple making up for the entire three weeks that they had missed out on and enjoyed every moment. On the way home Armaan and Riddhima sat in the front seat sneaking cheeky glances at each other as they had recently been very secretive in an empty room. Armaan dropped Riddhima home and gave her a long kiss on her cheek not letting her get away; she finally pulled away from him and got out of the car and ran to her house waving bye to Tannu and blushing madly.



Two weeks passed by quickly; during that time the gang had reunited and spent their time together. It was the final week of the holidays; the gang had gone into school at nine o'clock that morning to collect their exam results and sort out their lessons for next year. Riddhima had passed all her exams with flying colours; Muskaan and Nikita had passed all their exams but photography; Armaan had passed by one mark in his English test and Rahul and Abhi had failed business which they decided to drop for next year. The gang had just passed IT by a few marks luckily but what had surprised everyone was Abhi's IT marks; he had topped the class with a high grade of ninety. 

The gang went home just in time for lunch; on their way they whispered to each other behind one of the gang member's backs not making it obvious. Rahul; Muskaan; Nikita and Abhi went to their own homes while Armaan came to the Gupta's place with Riddhima as the Malik's were spending the day there. They walked in and went into the kitchen.

Anji: So??? How are your results? – looking at both of them

Ridz: Dii...I passed! – hugging her and spinning her around

Armaan: It's not that big of a deal! – laughing at her

Anji: Armaan...you know how much this means to her...congrats Ridzi...

Ridz: Thanks dii... – smiling at her then turning to Armaan she stuck her tongue out – ...just because you failed...

Tannu: - walking in from the living room – You failed?

Armaan: I didn't fail...I passed actually!

Ridz: By one mark...

Armaan: It's still a pass... – he slapped her playfully across her head

This was their usual behaviour at home, they didn't put on an act purposely but by now they had got into the habit of acting normal when the family was around. Riddhima was not yet ready to tell anyone; she felt that if they made their relationship public Anjali would be hurt; as she had promised her sister that she would only concentrate on her studies and not mess around. She made herself a promise never to lie to her sister but also she couldn't tell anyone about their relationship until their studies were over.

The rest of the day was normal; they had lunch in the garden like a picnic; Armaan was the only guy there as Atul, Shashank and Vikram where at the office. He sat in the garden along with Riddhima, Tannu, Anjali, Padma and Nandani; they were all pestering him to go and help out at the office instead of lazing around. He gave up after some time and went inside to watch some television leaving the girls alone.

Later on the evening; Riddhima, Armaan and Tannu were chilling upstairs in Riddhima's room when the gang had arrived; they settled around the room chatting nonsense and the guys were being immature. Riddhima was now annoyed at the guys and decided to leave them alone as they were in a crazy mood; the girls came downstairs leaving the three guys on their own. It was now early evening and downstairs was a bit crowded as Shashank and the men had come home and started up the barbeque. The Gupta's had invited a few friends and neighbours for a barbeque at their home; the gang's parents were all invited. The garden was looking and smelling great as the girls walked out to see a few plastic chairs set out on the patio and the tables were being laid with salad bowls and drinks. The guests were arriving now and dinner was being cooked.

The girls settled down on the grass enjoying the evening sunshine when the guys came down and moved directly to the table laid with food. Sometime later the food was ready and everyone was helping themselves; it was a beautiful evening and everyone had enjoyed themselves. It was getting dark and the neighbours had left, it was a warm night and Shashank had decided to put up his new artificial camp fire; it was cosy as everyone sat around it on mats and chatted away into the night.

It was nearing twelve when Anjali and Atul left the group and went into the house; they came back a few moments later with a cake in their hand; it was a white fresh creamed cake, bordered with fruits and had eighteen candles; on the side was written "Happy Birthday Armaan". Everyone looked up as the cake was brought into the circle and Armaan stood there in complete shock; he had completely forgotten it was his birthday. It was now exactly twelve o'clock when everyone started singing Happy Birthday; at the end of the song he looked around at everyone;

Abhi: You going to stand there till your next birthday to cut the cake? –shouted from the side

Armaan: Shut up... – smiling he cut the cake and fed his mum then himself not looking at the others

Atul: That's not fair Ammy...what about us?

Armaan: Help yourselves... – he hugged his mum

Everyone helped themselves to a piece of cake then settled down again.

Armaan: Thanks everyone...really this was a wonderful surprise...

Vikram: You need to thank your bhabi...it was her idea...

Armaan: - turning to Anjali – Thanks bhabs...this was really sweet of you...

Anji: It's nothing Armaan...

Riddhima watched him all along as everyone wished him as they left. Only the Malik's were left and they made their way into the house; everyone was now yawning away and the Malik's decided to leave after sometime. They were about to leave when Armaan suddenly remembered that he had left his results upstairs and Tannu's bag was also there; they went back upstairs with Riddhima as an excuse; the moment they got into the room Armaan gave Riddhima a rib crushing hug making Tannu laugh at them.

Armaan: Thank you, thank you, thank you... – letting go of her

Ridz: For what... – getting her breath back

Armaan: I know this was your idea... – smiling knowingly

Riddhima blushed and they hugged slowly again.

Ridz: Happy Birthday Armaan...

Armaan: Thank you...I love you... – whispering into her ear making her blush

Tannu: We should go...

Armaan: - letting go of Riddhima – You can't give us two minutes of peace...

Riddhima and Tannu both smacked him on his arm.

Armaan: What was that for? – rubbing his arm

Ridz/Tannu: Birthday beats... – laughing

Tannu and Riddhima hugged then they walked out but Armaan turned and hugged Riddhima one more time before leaving.



The next day the gang met up at the park to enjoy the sun. In the evening they met up at a club to enjoy and celebrate Armaan's birthday; it was great fun and they stayed out till late. After eleven decided to go home; before leaving they bade farewell to Tannu who was going home the next day as she had to go back to school in three days. The gang had enjoyed her company so much it was weird to see her leaving after spending six weeks with them. When Tannu had gone back home the gang had also started to prepare for the new school year.
.......................................
part 26


Armaan and Riddhima sat in the car on their way to school. It was a Thursday; the first day back but neither of them looked at all bothered. They were both in silent thought about how they had passed the summer holidays and wished they were not over.

Armaan: I don't even know why we start school on a Thursday...it's so pointless of coming here for two days...

Riddhima sat there unusually very quiet; she didn't answer to Armaan or it was more like she hadn't heard him. Armaan turned to face her and she wore a worried look; he stretched his hand over to touch hers.

Armaan: Are you okay... – concerned

Ridz: - jumping out of her thoughts – Huh... – looking at him – ...umm yeah I'm fine... – smiling at him

Armaan: Sure?

Ridz: Yes Armaan...just feeling a bit low today...

Armaan: Any reason?

Ridz: Uh...huh... – thinking of what to say, in her mind she wanted to shout at him – ..."can you not understand what a girl goes through when she's in this mood"... – but instead she was given a chance to change the subject as she saw Muskaan and Nikita walking up ahead – ...Armaan...it's the girls...give them a lift...

Unwillingly; as he wanted time alone with her; he stopped the car next to them and they turned with a smile and jumped in.

Ridz: Hi girls... – smiling at them as they were life savers

Muskaan: Hi Ridzi...hey Armaan thanks...

Niki: Thanks Armaan...

Armaan: No prob... – he drove on to school

As they reached, the girls walked ahead leaving Armaan behind; Riddhima knew if she stayed with him he would ask the question again and she really didn't want to explain the life and certain things which occurred in a girl's life with him; even though he should already know.  They walked into the foyer towards the notice board to see where their class was; Muskaan checked and they made their way to the English block where their new tutor room was; by now the other two boys had met up with them and the gang walked into the class settling down waiting for the other students and the tutor to turn up.

When the rest of the group had settled down their tutor walked in and welcomed them back asking how their holidays were.

Abhi: It was to good sir...wish they didn't end...

Some of the class agreed and others laughed; there were two new students in the class; a girl and a guy; Abhi had caught sight of the girl who was laughing at his joke and smiled at her but his thoughts were soon disrupted as the tutor spoke up.

Teach: Sorry to burst your bubble Abhi...but life is not a holiday...actually life is hard work... – looking around at the class; some started to moan as he carried on – ...and talking of hard work...let me tell you this year is not going to be as easy as it was last year...this is your final year and to kick it off for the next week...starting next Monday to Saturday you will be on work experience...and some of you may have to work on Sunday as well depending on your placements...

Some of the class groaned and some looked excited; the chatter started up immediately but was quietened down suddenly as the tutor gave details out.

Teach: Looking at your exam and coursework results we have already found your places not wasting your time of going out and finding your own places...I hope that you will not find a problem and just go to your work places without any issues...

Rahul: What kinds of places are available?

Teach: I have a list of your places and will be giving you that in a minute after I take the register and hand out your new timetables...there's one more thing which will be happening this year...you will all need to fill in UCAS forms and think of your university choices...this will start when you return from your work experience placements...

He took the register then handed out their work experience sheets with the details of their placements along with their new timetables. Then he left the room telling them to get to their lessons; the gang had a free period and they made their way to the common room all in discussion about their places.

Abhi: WHAT?? How is this even possible??

Everyone sat down but Abhi who stayed standing wondering how they had even thought of giving him such a placement.

Rahul: What? What's wrong? – leaning back in the comfy chair and putting his arm around Muskaan

Abhi: PRIMARY SCHOOL?????????

Everyone burst out with laughter as he fumed; they were the noisiest in the room; there were a few other students who looked over at the group; the new students watched as Abhi made a scene.

Ridz: C'mon Abhi...it won't be that bad... – still giggling

Abhi: You can say that...how the hell am I suppose to deal with KIDS??

Niki: Look on the bright side dafore...at least you'll be there Monday to Friday and not the weekend... – laughing at him

Abhi: Haha you're funny... – sarcastically

Armaan: I feel it for you dude...I think I have the best placement...

Muskaan: What's your placement? – curious

Armaan: Khushi Events... – smiling widely

Ridz: No Way! Are you serious... – pulling the sheet from his hand – ...OMG!

Niki: That's not work...that's relaxation for you...

Armaan: You're right Niks... – smiling even wider – ...after all it's my sasur's place...then mine... – quickly adding – ...shaadi ke baad...

Riddhima smacked him on the arm and everyone laughed.

Rahul: You're really lucky Armaan...I'm working in some smelly office building... – pulling a face

Niki: Poor you...at least I'll be working around scents... – smiling – ...The Mall...Perfume Shop...

Abhi: I wish I could swap with any of you guys...really...I can't do kids...I can do paper work, perfume even relaxing in my dad's place but KIDS...please swap...what have you two got... – to Muskaan and Riddhima

Muskaan: Photography workshop somewhere in the city...what about you Ridz...you're very quiet...

Ridz: - sitting silently with a massive grin, then slowly – TFI...

Muskaan/Niki: What?...WOW...that's brilliant...OMG that's great!

The guys looked on curiously and Nikita explained.

Niki: Guys this is Ridzi's dream...The Fashion Institute...TFI... – turning to Ridz – ...I think you are the luckiest...and I know you will make the most of this...I'm so happy for you... – giving her a hug

Ridz: Thanks Niki...thanks guys...

They sat there for another hour until break; it was now crowded as the gang moved to the counter to grab something to eat. Later they went to their lessons; girls to Textiles and guys to Economics. They met up for lunch and assembly later; after assembly they went to The Mall to chill before going home while Abhi moaned throughout the day.



One week later; the gang had not met up at all during the week as they were too busy with their work placements; some of them really enjoyed it and some wished they were back in school; anything would have been better than their assigned jobs. Riddhima got ready early on Monday morning with a bright smile and made her way downstairs to kitchen to meet her parents.

Ridz: Good morning mama...morning papa... – hugging both then sat down to drink her already made tea

Shashank: Good Morning my princess...you look very happy this morning...

Ridz: Haan papa...even though I wish work experience wasn't over...I really enjoyed it there and I learnt so much... – sipping her tea

Padma: Why don't you sign up for next year...what do you think Ji? – turning to Shashank

Shashank: Of course...that's a great idea...kyun Riddhima...after school you can do a fashion course for a year or two...

Ridz: - sneakily smiling – Papa...mama...when I was there I picked up an application form...I was hoping you would say yes...and... – smiling she got up and went to Padma – ...I love you mama...thank you so much...I was thinking how I will tell you this...

Shashank: Well that's good news... – as Riddhima hugged him again – ...when do you have to apply?

Ridz: Not till April...deadline is in July...

Before she could say anything else the door bell rang; they all knew who it was and Riddhima grabbed her stuff; once again hugging and thanking her parents as she left. On the way to school she spoke to Armaan about her week not giving him a chance to say a word but he loved to see her all excited; he smiled as she spoke about everything in detail and how much she had learnt. They entered the school gates and Armaan found a parking spot; he turned off the car and sat there; Riddhima was about to get out but he stopped her by holding her hand; she turned to him with a curious look.

Ridz: Kya huwa Armaan?

Armaan: I love you... – suddenly

Ridz: Kya? – taken by surprise – Umm I mean...I love you too Armaan...but why suddenly like this...you okay?

Armaan: I've missed you so much...

Ridz: - smiling sweetly – I've missed you too Armaan...really...not seeing each other at all for one whole week was weird...but now we're together again... – she leaned forward and kissed him on his cheek

This was the very first time Riddhima made the first move and this made Armaan extremely happy to see her like this. She became shy and got out of the car; Armaan followed and held her hand all the way to class. As they entered there were only a few people there; Rahul, Muskaan, Nikita and the two new students. Armaan and Riddhima settled down with the gang near the window while the new students sat in the middle of the room. Students were coming in late and the chatter started up as they waited for their tutor.

Muskaan: I've missed you guys yaar...

Niki: I know...can you believe we actually spent one whole week apart...not even speaking or seeing each other...that's like a record for us... – they all laughed

Rahul: But you know what I actually liked it...even though I was just filing papers...but it was a good experience...you know like preparation for the future...

Muskaan: Yeah and I even learnt quiet a lot in the workshop...working with professionals and all...it was fun...not like I was expecting it...

Ridz: Yeah even I thought so...before going I was thinking that they would treat me as a student and just ask me to do stupid stuff like photocopying or filling or worst making coffee... – they laughed – ...but it was not like that...I actually got to design an outfit with one of the professionals...it was great!

Niki: You're so lucky...my job was good...a bit boring at times...and being around so much perfume I use to go home with a head ache every day but still I kinda enjoyed it...better than being here anyway...

They all agreed but one person stayed quiet.

Armaan: I wonder where Abhi is...

Rahul: Haha...I bet the kids tired him out soo much that he slept through the whole of Saturday and Sunday...

Everyone laughed but suddenly shut up as Abhi walked in the room looking very fresh and happy; he walked into the room and towards the middle where the new student sat and hugged her.

Abhi: Hey sweety...

She hugged him back with a smile and the gang was left in shock. Abhi held her hand making her stand up and walked her towards the gang whose mouths were all hanging open; one person had felt as if she was stabbed in the heart.

Abhi: Hey guys...meet Su...my girlfriend...

Everyone was dumbfounded; but caught themselves with their mouths hanging open and quickly closed them but no one said a word; all were still in shock until Abhi clicked his fingers three times to wake them up.

Abhi: Wake up guys...this is my girlfriend Su...

Ridz: Hi... – meekly with a smile

Muskaan: Hey... – shaking her hand but still in shock

Su: Hi...I'm Suman Lata...Suman... – with a smile

Abhi: So guys...how was your work experience...Armaan...I bet you had a blast...

Rahul: And it looks as if you didn't even turn up to yours...

Abhi: That's where you're wrong Rahul...if I didn't go I would never have found Su...

Everyone looked around curiously at him as he settled on a table and Suman stood next to him.

Abhi: I did go...and you know what...it was awesome...I had such a good time...Su was working in the same school...so we were together all week...it was really cool...

Ridz: You had fun...with KIDS? - shocked

Abhi: Not exactly with the kids...Su was with the kids and I was working on the school's computer system... – laughing – ...there I was thinking I had to be with kids all week but because my marks in IT was so high they gave me a job working on the basics of the computer system...I actually learnt a lot...

Their tutor came in and took the register; Abhi was being cosy with Suman while the gang looked on in shock of how did this happen they whispered to each other.

Muskaan: What is this all about?

Armaan: I don't believe this...

Ridz: Guys...c'mon I know this has come as a shock but Abhi likes her...I think we should all give her a chance...what say?

Rahul: You're right Ridz but...

The gang went out into the courtyard when their tutor had dismissed them as they had a free period and the weather was still quite nice. They sat on the grass area in pairs apart from Nikita who seemed extremely upset and stayed quiet. The gang had decided to act normal with Abhi and Suman until Abhi was alone and they could get the whole story.

Abhi: So Armaan...tell us...how was your work experience...or shall I say your relaxing experience... – they laughed

Ridz: Yeah Armaan...you haven't told us about your work experience...

Armaan: It was okay...you lot's placement sounds really cool...I think Niki must've had a great time in the mall...

Nikita forced a smile as she heard her name.

Rahul: Armaan...are you trying to change the subject?

Armaan: C'mon Rahul why would I ev...

He was cut off by Muskaan, they all realised something was up.

Muskaan: Come On Armaan...just tell us now...

Armaan: - giving up – It was HORRIBLE...alright...that's what you lot want to hear right?

Abhi: What? But you were in Khushi Events right?

Armaan: Yeah I was...but I think they should rename it to Ghum Events...seriously it was horrible...

They all laughed and started to tease him.

Ridz: Armaan...I bet it was not that bad...you're just exaggerating...

Armaan: Exaggerating...you know what I had to do?

Rahul: What...sit back and order... – laughing

Armaan: I was the peon!

They all laughed louder and teased him till he shouted out loud.

Armaan: Bhai and Dad made me work so hard..."Armaan file this"..."Armaan photocopy that"..."Armaan take this file to that desk"..."Armaan two coffees"...it was a nightmare...you don't know how much I wished I was back in school...

Ridz: Armaan... – laughing – ...I bet you have not even worked that much at home for them...

Muskaan: Poor you...but the funny thing is how much you was looking forward to it and Abhi was dreading it...

Rahul: And now look...Armaan wanted to be back in school and Abhi wished he was still at placement...

They all turned to Abhi and Suman who were lost in each other. Sometime later the gang separated and went to their lessons; Armaan and Riddhima to English; Muskaan and Nikita to Photography and Abhi and Rahul had a free period as they had dropped Business. Suman said bye and went to her History lesson.

Armaan and Riddhima sat at the back of their English class; Armaan was bored five minutes into the lesson and started to doodle on his papers while Riddhima paid full attention as they were starting a new topic and she made sure she wouldn't miss anything. Armaan thought that the lesson was dragging and he kept looking at the clock every five minutes hoping for the end of the lesson. Finally it was the end and Armaan dragged Riddhima out of the room not letting her pack her things away properly.

Ridz: Armaan...what are you doing...one second... – dropping her book into her bag and running out after Armaan

Armaan: That lesson was soo long...I don't even want to stay in that room for one more second...I need to breath...let's go...

Ridz: Armaan... – annoyed at him as he pulled her into the lift; she bumped into his chest

They looked at each other as the lift doors closed; but were soon brought back to earth as they heard a group of people being immature. Armaan and Riddhima looked up to see Vivik and two friends messing around with the lift doors; Riddhima moved closer to Armaan as Vivik looked at her. Suddenly there was a sharp jerk as the lift stopped; the two boys had tried to open the door while the lift was moving and the lift had jammed; they were now stuck between the second and third floor; Riddhima let out a scream and held onto Armaan tightly.

Armaan: What the hell... – angrily

Vivik stepped closer to them; he pushed Armaan roughly onto the side of the lift.

Ridz: Vivik stop this nonsense and press the bell...

Vivik's friend: You scared... – teasing

Armaan: Shut up and get us out of here...

Vivik: You showed a lot of strength the other day...what happen now...huh... – lifting his fist to punch Armaan but he blocked it

Armaan: Don't even think about it... – seriously with anger

Armaan stretched his other hand over and pressed the bell still holding onto Vivik's fist; he threw it down and looked at him angrily.

Armaan: I've warned you before...don't make me warn you again...

Vivik: What warning you gona give me...your luck is up for now but it won't always be...wait till my time comes around...I ain't gona spare you...

Armaan moved forward to hit him but Riddhima held onto him.

Ridz: Armaan please...get us out of here...I don't like this...

Armaan rang the bell again and they could feel the lift jerk again then it moved upwards; Vivik and his friends got out first as the doors opened. Armaan and Riddhima walked out pushing past Vivik they went into the common room; Armaan got Riddhima some water which calmed her down until the rest of the gang had arrived. The rest of the day went smoothly and they ended the day by chilling in the park before going home...

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