Saturday, 25 April 2020

Part 27& 28: Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

part 27 

The school days dragged on with work pilling up and up until the gang realised that they were almost covered with paper work. They were now filling out UCAS forms and thinking of their future which everyone found a bore and they kind of ignored it carrying on with their coursework which seemed like a better choice at the moment. Riddhima always thought that this was one of the longest terms in a school year and she wished the holidays would come quickly. Soon her wish had come true and the gang was given a break as the half term had come around and they had a week off school.
During the middle of the week the Guptas' and Maliks'  got to together to celebrated Atul and Anjali's first wedding anniversary with some friends and neighbours. The small party was held at the Maliks' place with some music, food and fun. The gang had a great time together as they recalled the fun they had during the wedding time.

Muskaan: I can't believe one year is up already...congrats Anji Dii... - hugging her



Anji: Thanks Muskaan...yeah one year has really flown by...but it seems like it was all last week...

Niki: So does that mean...it's still honeymoon period... – winking at her

Anji: Niki! – shocked – Badmash... – smacking her playfully on the arm

The girls laughed and Atul and the guys joined them.

Atul: Kya chal raha hain... – putting his arm around Anjali

Ridz: Kuch nahi jeej...just teasing dii...

Atul: Kis bare mein? – smiling

The girls went silent as Anjali silenced them with her expression; they giggled silently.

Anji: Kuch nahi...bas aise hi... – turning to Atul

Armaan: Go on tell us... – putting his arm on Riddhima's shoulder

Ridz: - shrugs him off – None your business...

Atul: That's not fair Ridzi...batao na...

Muskaan: Jiju...we were just asking dii when she's giving us some good news...

Anjali blushed madly as everyone started to tease her; she turned and walked away; Atul leaned his arm on Rahul's shoulder and turned to watch her go with a big smile on his face to see her shy like this.

Niki: So guys... – turning to the boys – ...ready to lose again like last year...

Abhi: Lose what...and we didn't lose last year...you don't remember...we won the last face off...

Ridz: Yeah...but you only won one match out of how many...ten or twelve challenges... – laughing away with the girls as Armaan watched her slyly

Armaan: Challenge accepted and this time we will win...just one round...let's see if you girls still have it in you...

Muskaan: Of course we do...and you're wrong...because this one we'll win...like always...

Rahul: Let's see...

The gang walked into the main room where most of the guests were; they had decided to dance on the song Baari Barsi from the film Band Baaja Barat. The music started up and each took turns to dance to a certain part of the song.

Rahul was pushed into the middle by Muskaan; he looked around as the song came on and he started to dance; Baari barsi khatn gaya si khat ke leyandi gond…Dulhe ka taya twist kare, vibrate ho moti tond…

Muskaan joined him a moment later; Baari barsi khatn gaya si khat ke leyandi khajoor...Dulhan ki tayi bold badi, challenge kare manzoor…

Everyone clapped while they danced in the middle; Ke mehfil ta sajjdi, ke mehfil ta sajjdi…Je nacche taya-tayi, ke mehfil ta sajjdi...

Rahul and Muskaan pulled Armaan to the middle; he immediately started to dance; Baari barsi khatn gaya si khat ke leyande zevar…Paan chhupaye naughty naughty zeh dulhan ke devar…Dulhan ke devar (aaja), dulhan ke devar (come on)…

Muskaan pushed Riddhima into the middle; who stood there looking at Armaan; she stuck her tongue out at him before dancing; Baari barsi khatn gaya si khat ke leyandi daali…Dekh ke unko naak sikode jo dulhe ki saali…

Everyone clapped while they danced in the middle; Ke mehfil ta sajjdi, ke mehfil ta sajjdi…Je nacche devar-saali, ke mehfil ta sajjdi…

Armaan then brought Nikita into the circle who acted like Padma while dancing; Baari barsi khatn gaya si khat ke leyanda mango…Dulhan ki mummy bhool ke gidda ab ke chede tango…

Padma hid her face as Nikita imitated her then pulled her into the circle to dance; Dulhan ki mummy (aaja), dulhan ki mummy (come on)...

Abhi joined them a moment later; Baari barsi khatn gaya si khat ke leyandi gaddi…Two for tango karne aaye lo dulhe ke daddy…

The three of them danced as the crowed clapped; Mehfil ta sajjdi, ke mehfil ta sajjdi…Je nacche mummy-daddy, ke mehfil ta sajjdi…

The whole gang moved into the middle by the end of the song; Sab ki hogi wah bhi wah, nahin kisi ki tuk duk doo…Sab ki hogi wah bhi wah, nahin kisi ki tuk duk doo…

The crowd erupted with applause as the song came to an end. The gang stood in front of the judges once again waiting to hear who they winners were; Anjali and Atul whispered to each other then turned to the gang who stood impatiently.

Atul: And the winners are... – turning to Anjali

Anji: The...Boys!

They howled with excitement and turned to the girls who accepted silently even though they knew they were better.

Anji: Sorry girls...but we think that the guys had imitated and danced better...

Ridz: It's okay dii...

Abhi: Now who are the losers?

Niki: Whatever... – they walked away to grab something to eat while the boys celebrated their victory

The evening went on with more masti and so did the rest of the week until the gang got ready to go back to school.



The end of term dragged on like the first half did and once again Riddhima found herself counting down the days to the Christmas holidays. She woke up slightly late on a Friday morning; coming to the end of November; she groaned as she switched off her alarm and jumped out of bed. She whipped open her curtains to see a rainy morning; groaning some more she rushed into the bathroom. Sometime later when she was ready she rushed down the stairs; she was late and in a bad mood but as she entered the kitchen she saw Shashank sitting at the breakfast table looking a bit worried and Padma was rushing around.

Ridz: Good Morning papa...morning mama... – looking from one to the next hoping someone would say something

Padma: Riddhima beta... – she was about to say something but changed her mind – ...have your breakfast...

Riddhima sat down and looked from Padma to Shashank who looked up at her with a worried look.

Shashank: Riddhima beta...an emergency has come up and we need to go up north for some time...

Ridz: Papa...what's wrong?

He was about to say something when the doorbell rang; Shashank got up; looking at Padma who nodded. He left the room; and Padma walked towards her.

Padma: Riddhima, there's something but we can't say right now...we might have to stay for a week, stay at Nandani Aunty's house...when we come back we'll tell you...right now you just think about your studies and don't worry...we'll call you...but we are leaving in half an hour...

Ridz: Theek hain mama...I know something is wrong...but you can tell me when you come back...I hope everything works out...and don't worry about me...I'll be fine... – she hugs her mum as Armaan and Shashank come in

Riddhima gave Shashank a hug and said bye to her parents before leaving. They got into the car and Armaan drove while Riddhima sat beside him in silence with lots going on in her mind.

Ridz: - thinking to herself - I hope everything is okay...pata nahi kyon aaj kuch ajeeb lag raha hain...like there's a big storm up ahead...I just hope nothing bad happens...papa seemed very upset...and mama... - staring out of the window she questioned herself  - ...I know we have family there but...Papa and Mama never speak about them... something happened between them long time ago...I know Papa doesn't even like to talk about this topic and they were not even invited to dii's wedding but suddenly what has happened...I just hope everything is okay...

Her thoughts were disrupted when Armaan stretched his hand over to hold hers making her look up at him suddenly.

Armaan: Jaan...everything okay?

Ridz: - didn't know how to say what was on her mind – Hmm...yeah everything's okay... – forcing a smile

They arrived at school a few moments later and made their way up to their tutor room which was slightly empty apart from Muskaan, Nikita and two other students. Armaan and Riddhima settled down next to the girls who were already in deep discussion about their usual topic while the other two rolled their eyes.

Muskaan: Seriously Ridzi...how can you find her sweet...she's so annoying...if I hear that word again I swear I might just stuff toilet paper in her mouth...

Ridz: But Muskaan...they're in love...and nothing is wrong with that...

Niki: I just can't stand her...Ridz please don't ask her to stay with us...having both of them around is bad but her alone... – makes a face – ...I agree with Muskaan...let's stuff her with toilet paper...I bet that's what she has stuffed there anyway...

Ridz: - looked shocked by her friend's reaction – Niki! That's mean! How can you say that?

Muskaan: Ridz...don't act too innocent...you know she stuffs herself unless she wears a massive wonder bra...

Armaan who sat there quietly burst out in laughter and Nikita and Muskaan looked at him like they had now noticed he was there and laughed along with him.

Ridz: You guys are so mean...

Then they all stopped as they heard a loud hi-pitched voice and groaned.

??: Sweety Pooo...

Abhi and Suman entered the room arms around each other; Riddhima warned the girls through her eyes not to say anything then said hi to Abhi and Suman.

Abhi: Hi guys...

Ridz/Armaan: Hey...

Nikita and Muskaan ignored him and talked amongst themselves.

Suman: Guess what?

Ridz: What? – smiling sweetly

Suman: Me and Sweety Poo went to watch a movie last night...

Armaan: That's nice... – sarcastically

Suman: Guess what we watched?

Ridz: - controlling herself – What?

Suman: Thank You...

Abhi: It was a nice movie...

Armaan: We should go watch it some time...as a group...

Ridz: That's a good idea...

Sometime later Rahul and other students had turned up and so did their tutor who took the register and sent them off to class. The girls went to Textiles, the guys to Economics and Suman to History; in Textiles the girls got started with their new project as they chatted away.

Niki: Ridz...does she really not annoy you?

Ridz: Niki...she's not that bad as you guys put it...she's okay...just her voice is a bit...

Muskaan: ANNOYING! – finished off for Riddhima

Niki: Not just her voice...everything about her...

Ridz: I mean...yeah I kinda agree with you...the "guess what" game is slightly irritating...

Niki: SLIGHTLY? – shocked - ...Let me correct that...Very Annoying...

Muskaan: I don't even know why you answer to her Ridz...just ignore her and let Abhi answer her...he's the one that brought her into the group...I just can't wait for the day that he kicks her out...

Nikita silently agreed to Muskaan's comment in her thoughts; from the moment Abhi had introduced Suman to the gang she was paining; she felt heartbroken and found it hard to control herself. After a month she had got slightly use to it; she realised that she had feelings for Abhi but nothing would ever happen between them as he already had a girlfriend and he hated her. She had stopped talking to him personally and would usually stay quiet when he was around. But everyone in the group found her annoying as she was OTT with everything she did and said which also made her look like a joker.

The lesson carried on with the girls concentrating on their new project; their final piece of coursework which would be marked as their final piece; at the moment they were totally lost in research and paper work.  At the end of their double lesson they met back up in the common room for break; by the time they left the class and got up there the room was packed; they found the guys sitting around the table near the glass windows looking down onto the courtyard.

Muskaan: Hey guys... – sitting next to Rahul who kissed her cheek

Rahul: Hey baby... – smiling at her

Armaan: - pulled a chair from the table next to them for Riddhima to sit – How was your lesson?

Ridz: It was really good...new project... – smiling

Armaan: That's great...

Before anyone else could say anything Suman bounded up to the table and flung her arms around Abhi.

Su: Hi my sweety poo...

Abhi: Hey Su...sit... – moving his chair back so she could sit on his lap

Su: Aww...thank you...you're so sweet... – sitting on his leg she kissed his cheek with her arms around his neck

The rest of the gang watched her actions and silently giggled. Nikita ignored them and carried on sipping her juice as she looked out through the glass window down onto the courtyard where the younger students sat around. It was really a moody day; the dark clouds and the chilly weather made the atmosphere gloomy. Slowly the glass was pelted with tiny raindrops which became heavier as she sat and watched the water droplets run down the glass.

After ten minutes the common room had become quiet and empty as the students made their way to their lessons after a short break. The gang stuck around as they had a free lesson; Rahul and Muskaan sat by the comfy chairs just chatting away cosily. Nikita also moved away from the table to the comfy chairs a little distance away from the couple and silently read a book ignoring Abhi who sat opposite her listening to music and playing a game on his phone. Armaan and Riddhima stayed seated at the table; Armaan stretched his hand over to hold Riddhima's and they talked generally. There were a few other students sitting around the common room just relaxing.

Ridz: So have you heard from Tannu recently?

Armaan: Yeah...she gave me a call...I think two nights ago or something...

Ridz: Oh...how is she?

Armaan: She's good...all she talks about is you...

Ridz: I spoke to her last week...she said she wishes she could move down here...

Armaan: That would be a nightmare! – smirking

Ridz: - smacking his arm – Armaan...you're mean!

Armaan: I'm just kidding...

Ridz: Armaan... – seriously a few moments later

Armaan: Hmm?

Ridz: If... – stuttering – ...if we had to tell our parents about our relationship...you think they would agree?

Armaan: Yeh kaisa sawal hain...of course they will...my parents already love you...and your parents are quite fond of me...then why should they have any problem?

Ridz: But what if...

Armaan: - squeezing her hand slightly – Riddhima...don't think too much...I mean...I know what is bothering you...because you're hiding this from bhabs that's why...

Riddhima nodded her head slightly.

Armaan: Listen...don't worry about it...we've been together for what... – thinking – ...umm...almost a year...

Ridz: - smiled – In five days time it will be a year...

Armaan: - grinned; he found it sweet that she was counting the days – Haan...one year...we've been together for one year...and in this one year no one has found out...so why are you worrying...just another year...let's finish our studies, get a job then we will tell them...and first of all you have to tell bhabs that's it...

Ridz: But Armaan...

Armaan: But Armaan nothing...c'mon Ridz...we can do it...we're not doing anything wrong...we're not lying...we're just not making it public...that's all...don't worry...

Ridz: Okay... – slowly

Armaan: I love you...

Armaan squeezed her hand slightly and winked at her making her smile; he watched her cute expressions as she became shy and looked out of the window with a big smile on her face. A few seconds passed then she looked back towards Armaan's direction but her expression had changed as she saw a person walking towards Armaan with a baseball bat; he wore a hooded top and a bandana covering his face. Riddhima's expression turned to shock; she had lost her voice as the guy lifted the bat and smashed it against Armaan's shoulder with full force making Armaan fall off of the chair.

Ridz: - found her voice – Aarrrmmmaaannn!! – stood up

The others were now also up; Riddhima looked around to see there were three other guys who were fighting Abhi and Rahul while this guy punched and kicked Armaan in all directions; he was now on the floor and was bruised. Riddhima stood there in shock, not knowing what to do she watched her Armaan being beaten with tears running down her face. The guy picked Armaan up who tried to defend himself and hit back but he failed as the guy pushed him up against the glass door and punched him in the face. Armaan now looked defeated; he shielded himself as he was punched in the stomach making him double over in pain; the guy picked up the baseball bat again and smashed it against Armaan's arm for the second time. He held onto Armaan's shirt pulling him forward then with full force he pushed Armaan onto the glass which smashed into millions of pieces. Armaan was thrown onto the railings outside of the room and was hanging over it.

The others had heard the glass smashed and ran towards Armaan; who was now bleeding all over. Abhi and Rahul pulled Armaan back into the room and laid him onto the floor. The guy knew he had won; he turned and rushed out of the room with his friends; Abhi and Rahul saw them and rushed after. The other students in the room now stood around Armaan; one of them had rushed off to find a teacher when the fight had broke out and had just returned with three of them; Riddhima kneeled next to Armaan in tears.

Muskaan: Someone call an ambulance... – scared

Armaan: Rid... – whispered

Riddhima moved closer to hear what he was saying; she was trembling all over.

Armaan: Kissi ko...kissi ko mat...batana... – choking – ...mat batana...ke yeh...yeh kisne...kiya...

Riddhima cried uncontrollably as she felt Armaan's body sinking.

Armaan: I...lo...I love...love you... – passed out

Riddhima held onto him and cried while the teachers moved everyone away...
...........................................
part 28

Riddhima kneeled next to Armaan in tears.

Muskaan: Someone call an ambulance... – scared, she shouted over all the noise

Armaan: Rid... – whispered

Riddhima moved closer to hear what he was saying; she was trembling all over.

Armaan: Kissi ko...kissi ko mat...batana... – choking – ...mat batana...ke yeh...yeh kisne...kiya...

Riddhima cried uncontrollably as she felt Armaan's body sinking.

Armaan: I...lo...I love...love you... – passed out



Riddhima held onto him and cried while the teachers moved everyone away; Muskaan and Nikita held onto Riddhima as she cried uncontrollably.

Muskaan: Ridz...kuch nahi hoga... – holding onto her

Ridz: - through tears – Usne kahan...ke...ke kissi ko...mat batana...ke yeh sab...sab kisne kiya...

Niki: Ridzi...yeh sab tum mat socho...don't worry...

Riddhima watched Armaan as the teacher kneeled beside him carrying out first aid treatment while they waited for the paramedics who arrived five minutes later. She watched as they checked him and placed him on a stretcher; they made sure he was secure before carrying him out of the room and down the stairs. Riddhima rushed after them crying while Muskaan and Nikita followed; the teachers warned them to stay back but they ignored. While they took him into the ambulance the teachers stopped them.

Muskaan: Please sir...just let her go...

Teach: I can't do that I'm sorry you'll have to stay here...

Niki: Sir please...she's family...she should be with him and be there when his parents arrive...

Teach: - thought for a moment – Okay...just Riddhima...you two will stay here...

Niki: Yes sir...thanks...

At the same time Abhi and Rahul ran towards the van.

Muskaan: Did you get them?

Abhi: Lost them... – out of breath

Rahul: Ridz...don't worry...we're all here for you... - seriously

Armaan was now in the van and the gang had told Riddhima not to worry that he will be fine and they will sort everything out here. She got into the van and sat beside him tears still rolling down her cheeks, the teacher sat in the front and a paramedic sat at the back checking over Armaan. They whisked Armaan towards the hospital quickly and straight into A&E; Riddhima sat with the teacher in the waiting room.

Ridz: - thinking as tears rolled out of her eyes uncontrollably – What is happening...Armaan... – an image of Armaan flashed into her mind when he was pushed through the glass – ...Armaan... – she cried some more – ...please make my Armaan better... – she prayed silently – ...nothing should happen to him...if anything happens to him I won't ever forgive myself...yeh sab mere wajah se huwa...yeh sab Vivik... – anger filled her thoughts and more tears rushed out of her eyes

Riddhima could feel her heart beating loudly as she thought about Armaan in the emergency room. She thought about how this all happened; why it happened and who did it. She became angry at herself as she thought that Vivik did this to get her back; Armaan was in this condition because of her. Her mind was filled with a new bunch of thoughts which made her feel worst; she sat there for over half hour thinking until she could hear voices around her; she was forced out of her thoughts.

Anji: Riddhima yeh sab kya huwa?

Riddhima looked up to see Anjali looking worried and Nandani in silent tears; both wanting answers; tears ran down Riddhima's cheeks and she wasn't able to say anything.

Teach: Please calm down...I'm Armaan's teacher...please sit down... – offering his seat

Nandani sat down but looked at him wanting to know how this happened.

Teach: This was an accident...I'm extremely sorry to be giving you this news...

Anji: Could you please tell us how this happened...

Teach: There were intruders in the school...I'm sorry I was not there to witness what had happened...there were no teachers around to prevent this from happening...but from my knowledge there were four intruders who had attacked Armaan and his friends...

Nandani and Riddhima were both in tears and the teacher had stopped talking. 

Teach: I'm sorry... – then to Anjali – ...could you please step out of the room for a minute...it is not appropriate to go through in detail what has just happened...

Anji: Sure...

Anjali and the teacher walked out of the room and the teacher filled Anjali in with the details of what had happened telling her that investigations are being carried out and they will find out very soon who was behind this. After ten minutes Anjali thanked the teacher for taking care of the situation; he left and Anjali walked back into the room to see both ladies still in tears.

Anji: Ridzi...batao yeh sab kisne kiya...

Ridz: ... – not able to speak – Dii...

Riddhima was in no condition to talk and once again started to cry now with hiccups. Nandani was in a worst state as she kept looking over at the emergency room and choking slightly worried about her son. Anjali decided it was not the right time to talk about this; she got some water for Nandani and asked Riddhima to come out of the room once Nandani had calmed down.

Anji: Riddhima please behave yourself... – as they stepped outside – ...just stop crying... - angrily

Ridz: But dii...yeh sab...ach-achank... – crying – ...Ar-Arm-maan...

Riddhima hiccupped trough tears and Anjali held onto her arm.

Anji: Riddhima...listen to me...control yourself...if you cry like this what will happen to Mummy Ji...her son is in there...we should be strong for her...if she sees you crying like this what will she be thinking...

Riddhima hiccupped through tears; her eyes were blurry and her head was throbbing with pain.

Anji: I can't control both of you...she's in a really bad state... – angrily – ...if you can't control yourself just go from here...go home...

At the same time Atul and Vikram walked towards them.

Atul: Where is he...has the doctor said anything yet... – to Anjali

Anji: Nahi...they haven't said anything yet...he's still in emergency...

Vikram: Tumhari mummy ji kahan hain? – worried

Anji: Woh andhar hain... – pointing inside the waiting room

The three of them walked into the waiting room towards Nandani while Riddhima stayed outside and leaned against the wall; tears still falling from her eyes. Half an hour later the doctor walked into the waiting room towards the Malik family. Riddhima stayed by the door to listen.

Doc: It was a severe injury and if he was not brought here on time things could have been worst...we will wait for twenty four hours until he wakes up...he will have to stay for a week under observation before we can discharge him...but there's nothing to worry about at the moment...he's stable...you will be able to see him after fifteen minutes...he'll be shifted into the ward...

Riddhima's heart had finally stopped thumping so hard and was going back to its normal pace after hearing this. She walked away slowly with lots on her mind; she made her way out of the building towards the nearest bus stop and took the bus home. Her mind was buzzing as she stepped off of the bus and walked through the main road and into the estate; luckily she had her keys and phone in her jacket pocket as she had left all her belongings at school.

She made her way to her home, she walked in and closing the door behind her she switched on the light in the hall. Walking in a trance she moved through the kitchen and into the living room, glancing at the clock on the wall she read the time; twenty five minutes past four. She leaned against the wall of the dark living room and sunk to the floor; she pulled her knees up to her face and hugged them tight letting the tears roll out of her eyes uncontrollably; she wailed like a baby as the event of the day passed through her mind.

Her mind flashed with images of the day making her feel depressed and miserable.

Shashank: Riddhima beta...an emergency has come up and we need to go up north for some time...

*

Padma: Riddhima, there's something but we can't say right now...we might have to stay for a week...

*

Ridz: If... – stuttering –...If we had to tell our parents about our relationship...you think they would agree?

*

Armaan: - squeezing her hand slightly – Riddhima...don't think too much...

*

Ridz: - smiled – In five days time it will be a year...

*

Armaan: But Armaan nothing...c'mon Ridz...we can do it...we're not doing anything wrong...we're not lying...we're just not making it public...that's all...don't worry...

*

Armaan: I love you...

*

Ridz: Aaarrrmmmaaannn!!

*

Armaan: Kissi ko...kissi ko mat...batana... – choking – ...mat batana...ke yeh...yeh kisne...kiya...

*

Armaan: I...lo...I love...love you... – passed out



These thoughts repeated through her mind for over two hours as she stayed on the floor curled up into a ball. The tears had stained her cheeks and dried up; she had cried until she could cry no more. Her eyes were blood shot red and she felt extremely weak; she slowly opened her eyes but could see nothing as the room was pitch black. She shuffled her body a little but it was really stiff and she shut her eyes in pain and slowly eased out her legs. She sat up and leaned her back onto the wall still hugging her knees. Her eyes had focused on to objects in the room as the light from the nearest lamppost shone into the room, but her head was throbbing forcing her to shut her eyes again.

Riddhima stayed like this for another half an hour until she almost jumped out of her skin as the doorbell rang. Fear filled her body and mind as she had just realised that she was home alone, in a dark room late in the evening. She slowly stood up and walked towards the window to see who it was; her head felt really heavy and she felt slightly dizzy as she had nothing to eat all day. She looked through the window to see a lady standing there but she could not see her face; she wiped her face as she walked through the kitchen to the front door. The doorbell was rung a second time just as Riddhima opened the door; she was surprised to see her neighbour standing there.

Aunty: Arre...Riddhima beta tum ho...

Riddhima looked at her with a confused expression.

Aunty: Nahi mere kehne ka matlab yeh hain ke main jaanti thi ke tumhare mama papa gaye the...maine light dikhi to socha ke main ahkar dekhu ke ghar par kaun hain...tum apne dii ke ghar nahi gayi?

Riddhima was about to say no but she carried on talking.

Aunty: Tum mere ghar par akar kahlo...

Ridz: Na...nahi aunty...main yahein par kuch kahlongi...

Aunty: Nahi...bilkul nahi...chalo mere saath...

Ridz: Aunty koi baat nahi...main kahlongi...

Aunty: Mujhe kuch nahi suna...chalo...

Ridz: Theek hain aunty...main change karke aati hoon...

Aunty: Theek hain...jaldi aana...

She turned and walked away while Riddhima closed the door; she leaned against it and closed her eyes, her head felt like it was going to topple over her body. She opened her eyes slowly and made her way upstairs to her room; quickly getting dressed into something comfortable she went downstairs into the living room to get her jacket. She looked into the pocket and took out her phone; she saw the little green light blinking and she slide opened the screen to see that there were so many missed calls from each of her friends; she locked the phone and took her keys with her.

Crossing the road she stepped up to the house and pressed the bell; suddenly she realised what she had done and turned on her heel but the front door opened and her neighbour stood there and brought her into the house and showed her into the living room; she sat there hoping that she would not have to stay long. She sat with Riddhima for sometime then left the room saying that she's going to set the table for dinner leaving Riddhima to sit with her youngest daughter Simran. At the same time her husband walked into the house and into the living room.

Uncle: Oh...hi Riddhima beta...long time...

Ridz: - feeling very awkward – Hi uncle...

Uncle: How are you?

Ridz: I'm fine... – forcing a smile

Simran: Dad...Riddhima Didi's joining us for dinner today...

Uncle: That's lovely...where are your parents?

Simran: - answered before Riddhima could open her mouth – They had to go somewhere for a week...

Ridz: - forcing a smile and thinking – This family...they ask too many questions and answer for you...

Uncle: Oh okay...well excuse me...I'll just be back...

He left the room once again leaving Riddhima to sit with Simran who kept asking question after question making Riddhima boil with anger. After about half an hour Aunty came back into the room and told her to come into the dining room; she went into a room and called her husband and then settled around the table. They each placed something on Riddhima's plate telling her she had to eat everything; Riddhima once again forced a smile and slowly started to eat. She was about to put her first mouth full into her mouth when the front door slammed shut making her jump; they all turned to look at the dining room door but Riddhima; she knew who it was and all she wanted right now was to walk out of this house.

Vivik walked into the room but did not see Riddhima as her back was facing him but he did notice a change; his curiosity was soon cleared as his mother told him that they had a guest.

Aunty: Vivik...dheko Riddhima ayi hain...chalo kahna kahne bet jao hamare saath...

Vivik moved closer to the table; he walked towards the only empty chair between his sister and Riddhima. He saw her face but she deliberately ignored him. He sat down; she knew he was in shock to see her there but said a simple hi before turning to his food. Dinner went on longer than Riddhima wished with the members of this family bombarding her with questions. After dinner they sat her in the living room while they watched their favourite Indian comedy show. Riddhima frowned as they laughed; she just wanted to get out of here; she could feel Vivik's eyes burning into her and she hated this feeling. Finally she found an excuse as the commercial came on.

Ridz: Umm...mujhe chalna chahiye... – getting up – ...thank you aunty...khana bohot acha tha...

Simran: Riddhima Didi...you can't go now...come with me...I want to show you my room...

Ridz: Simran...not today...maybe next time...

Simran: No...that's not fair Didi...please...please...please... – she begged

Ridz: - annoyed she gave in – Theek hain...

Simran took Riddhima upstairs to her room; she sat her down onto her bed and went through her dolls and doll house. Simran forced Riddhima to play with her saying that she never has anyone come and play with her toys. Riddhima; as much as she just wanted to scream and leave this house she couldn't say no and decided to just play for some time. They played for ten minutes then Simran ran out of the room saying she needed to use the toilet; Riddhima saw this as a perfect opportunity to leave. She got up and walked to the door but stepped backwards as Vivik was standing in the doorway moving towards her; fear took over her and she stepped back; he closed the door behind him.

Ridz: Let...let me go...

Vivik: Riddhima...

Ridz: I don't want to hear anything just let me go...

Vivik: Riddhima...please...just hear me out once...I'm sorry...I never meant to hurt you...I just love you...

Ridz: You don't know the meaning of love...

Vivik: I said I'm sorry...

Ridz: That doesn't change anything...

Vivik: Riddhima... – moving closer he lifts his hand to touch her shoulder but she moves away

Ridz: Don't you dare touch me...I hate you...

Vivik: I only want you...

Ridz: You'll never get me...not after what you did today...

Vivik: I...

Ridz: I don't want to hear a word from you...just pray...pray for your life... – tears coming to her eyes – ...because if anything... – now crying – ...anything happens to my Armaan...I swear...

Vivik: Rid...

Ridz: I swear...if anything happens to my Armaan...you won't ever live in peace...I'll file a case on you...I'll make your life a living hell...pray for Armaan...and pray for your life...

Riddhima was fully in tears; she moved away from him and ran out of the room; she made her way down the stairs and left the house. She crossed the road and walked into her house. Slamming the door behind her she leaned against it and slowly slid to the floor tears rolling out of her eyes; she cried herself asleep at the front door thinking about Armaan...


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