Sunday, 26 April 2020

Part 29 : Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

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 guy walked forward and pushed Armaan from his shoulder making him fall over the railing and off of the building. Armaan fell...down and down until he hit the floor with a loud thud...blood poured from beneath Armaan soaking his clothes and his body was lifeless...

 Ridz: Aaarrrmmmaaannn!!!!



Riddhima woke up screaming Armaan's name as loud as she could; she sat up sweating madly, she looked around to find Armaan but as her eyes came into focus she saw that she was seated by her front door; the hall light was still turned on and she had cried herself to sleep as she walked in last night from Vivik's house; she controlled herself even though she was now trembling from the cold as well as from freight. She stood up and walked into the kitchen; pouring herself a glass of water she sat at the table slowly sipping from the glass; her eyes fell onto the time on the microwave; 4:40. It was still very early; she walked from the kitchen to the living room and sat down on the sofa staring into space letting her mind run wild making her feel worst all over again. After forty five minutes she had fallen asleep again on the sofa with tears slowly falling from her eyes.



A few hours later she was woken by a distant sound of the doorbell; she opened her eyes to the familiar setting of her living room; she looked around to see what had woke her up; the bell was rung again and she jumped slightly then stood up and walked through the kitchen to the main door. She opened it to see her friends standing there.

Muskaan: Ridzi... – stepping in and hugging her – ...are you okay...we've been trying to contact you for so long...you were not even answering your phone...that's why we came to see if you were okay...

The others came in but Riddhima stayed quiet; she was happy to see her friends but the images of yesterday's events flashed into her mind again and tears welled up in her eyes. They thought it was best not to say anything for the moment; Muskaan and Nikita walked Riddhima into the living room while the guys followed. They stayed quiet for some time until Riddhima looked a little calm.

Abhi: Where are uncle and aunty?

Ridz: They... – clearing her throat - ...they had to go...go up north for some time...it was an emergency...

Niki: When did they go?

Ridz: ...Yesterday...morning...

Muskaan: - putting her arm around Riddhima – It's okay...we're here for you...but you should have told us...we wouldn't have left you alone...

Rahul: Have you eaten anything? – looking worried for her

Riddhima looked terrible; she had cried so much that her friends could see a change in her features; they were really worried for her and felt worst that she had spent the night alone after yesterday's horrid event. Listening to Rahul's concern she began to cry as she remember what had happened last night at Vivik's house; Rahul hugged her and gave her time before she answered; he didn't want to pressurise her; they all felt really bad to see her like this.

Ridz: Kal raat... – through tears – ...I had dinner at his place...aunty forced me...just...just looking at him...I...I...Ar-armaan... – breaking down

Abhi: Ridzi... – moving closer, Muskaan got up and he sat next to her giving her a hug – ...don't worry about him...don't even think about him...we'll sort him out...he's not getting away with this...no way...

Niki: I don't know why Armaan said that...if he didn't right now that...that kamina would be in jail...but don't worry Ridzi...we're all in this together...you're not alone...

Rahul: Haan Ridz...you just don't think about him...he's not getting away with this...you just take care of yourself...

Muskaan: Ridz...come with me... – getting up

Ridz: ...Kahan? – wiping her tears

Muskaan: Come...we'll pack some of your stuff and you're going to stay with me until uncle and aunty come back...

Ridz: Nahi Muskaan...I can't...I'll be fine...

Niki: Ridz...Muskaan is right...

Rahul: Riddhima...you can't stay here on your own...jao...go and pack your stuff...

Riddhima got up and went upstairs with Muskaan; Nikita made some breakfast for her while the guys sat in the living room thinking of what to do next. Riddhima and Muskaan come down half an hour later; after Riddhima had a cool shower and felt slightly fresh and glad that her friends were here for her. Nikita and Rahul had forced her to have something to eat then they left the house; they dropped her stuff at Muskaan's place and stayed till lunch. After two pm they decided to go to the hospital to visit Armaan.



The gang took a bus to the hospital; when they got there Abhi called Atul to find out which room Armaan was in. They got in the lift and made their way upstairs; when they got to his ward they saw his mum and dad sitting in the waiting room. Nandani looked like she hadn't eaten or slept all night; Riddhima felt really bad as Anjali's words from yesterday floated in her mind. She controlled herself as they walked into the waiting room towards Armaan's parents.

Ridz: - thinking – Aunty is really not well...I can't cry today...I need to be strong for her...she must be so worried for Armaan...and thinking about Sachi at the same time...I won't cry in front of her today...

Vikram saw them come in and greeted them as they settled down. Riddhima sat next to Nandani and put her hand over hers squeezing them a little to see if she would respond; but only tears fell from her eyes. Vikram turned to the boys.

Rahul: How is he now?

Vikram: He woke up this morning...he was fine for an hour but because his body is very weak and he's in pain they gave him strong pain killers...he was feeling drowsy and now he's asleep...but they say that he should be fine within a day or two...

Abhi: That's good...don't worry uncle...he'll be fine... – as he saw Vikram's expression changed while talking about his son's condition

Vikram: You all are his friends...you know him really well...how he is outside of his home...and you know the people he knows...do you have any idea who did this...an why they did this...

They all became silent; each of them wanted to say that one name, that one name that made this whole mess. The reason this family and his friends were crying their eyes out but one promise...one promise had silenced them. Riddhima looked down in her lap as tears welled up in her eyes.

Rahul: No uncle...we don't know who it was...

Abhi: There were four of them...but they were wearing hoods and their faces were covered...we couldn't see...

Vikram: Did he have any enemies...did anyone have something against him...any clue of who it could have been? – desperate

Abhi: No...there was no one...we really don't know... – looking sorry

Vikram: It's okay...the school are carrying out investigations...we'll find out sooner or later...but if you know anything please let us know...

Rahul: Don't worry uncle...we'll find out soon and we'll let you know...

At the same time Atul and Anjali walked into the waiting room; Riddhima looked at them to see that they were all worn out and tired.

Atul: He's still asleep...

Rahul: Atul Bhaiya...you guys have been here a long time...why don't you all go home...

Abhi: Yeah...we'll stay here for another two hours...you all go home and have something to eat and relax...

Vikram: Haan...Atul tum log ghar jao...main yahan rukta hoon...

Ridz: Uncle...aap bhi jaiye...we'll stay here...you all have stayed here all night...aur aunty ko apki zaroorat hain... – they both look at Nandani and Riddhima walks over to her – ...Aunty...aap ghar jaiye...jab aap wapas aati hain to Armaan jaag jaye ga... – smiling

For the first time Nandani turned her head to look at Riddhima; tears roll down her cheeks and Riddhima wiped them away; she gave her a hug and made her stand up. Anjali held onto her and helped her out of the room with Vikram; Atul walked towards the gang.

Atul: Thanks guys...

Ridz: Jiju don't worry about it...you also go home and have something to eat...

Atul: Riddhima call me if... – he was cut off as Riddhima held his hand

Ridz: Jiju...don't worry about anything...just go and I will call you if anything happens here...we won't leave until you all come back...just go and take care of aunty...

Atul: Okay...we'll be back in an hour...

Rahul: It's okay bhaiya...take your time...we'll stay here...don't rush...

Atul: Thanks again...I'll go now...Armaan is on the last bed on the right...

Ridz: Okay...bye Jiju...

Atul: Bye...

He left and the guys decided who would go in first as only two people could go in the room together; they chose Riddhima and Rahul to go in first even though Riddhima was reluctant to see him. As they entered the ward Riddhima's feet become weak and she held onto the door frame; Rahul watched her and put his arm around her shoulder to support her, walking her towards Armaan's bed.

They neared the bed; Riddhima popped her head around the curtain to see a lifeless body lying there. Her eyes welled up with tears as Rahul placed her to sit on the chair next to the bed; she watched him with his eyes closed; his right cheek was badly bruised; a tear trickled down her cheek as she longed to see him wake up and smile, she wanted to see his cute dimple dent his cheek like it usually does but now looking at his dark cheek she sobbed silently. His shoulder was bruised in various places and his right arm was bandaged, the sling was tied around his neck. He was wearing a hospital gown but from the side of his neck she could see he had stitches on his shoulder and maybe on his back from where the glass had gone into his body. She squinted her eyes through tears; Rahul stood behind her and placed his hand on her shoulder.

She moved slightly closer to Armaan and placed her hand on his left cheek, then bringing her head forward slowly she kissed his right cheek where it was bruised; then suddenly she moved back and walked quickly out of the ward in tears. The others saw her walking into the waiting room and made her sit down; Muskaan hugged her letting her cry and let out her feelings while Abhi went in with Rahul. She calmed down after about half an hour when the guys swapped with the girls; Nikita and Muskaan.

While in the waiting room the guys tried their best to cheer up Riddhima and were almost successful bring a small smile to her face at the same time as the Malik family had returned. The gang said bye and promised that they would come again tomorrow to see Armaan; they told Atul to keep them informed of Armaan's recovery as Nandani and Anjali went into the ward. Riddhima suddenly felt really hurt once again as she saw her sister completely ignoring her but she kept quiet and walked away with her friends.



The gang went home as it was quite late in the evening by the time they reached their own homes; Riddhima stayed the night at Muskaan's place and tried to be normal around Muskaan's family but the moment she went into her room she had started to cry once again remembering Armaan in that position and Anjali's behaviour towards her. Muskaan had calmed her down and made sure she had proper sleep. The next day they visited Armaan but once again he had been given strong pain killers making him sleep as he complained about immense pain in his body.



On Monday Muskaan and Riddhima walked to school, Muskaan chatted away trying to make Riddhima feel better but she would not say a word with the thought on her mind of going to school when Armaan was not there. They walked into the class and settled down; on the way they could hear almost every group of students and friends talking about Friday's incident. They echoed through Riddhima's thoughts as she stared out of the window. Rahul and Nikita walked into the class together and sat down next to them.

Niki: Hi Ridzi...hi Muskaan...

Muskaan: Hey Niki...

Rahul: Hey girls...

Riddhima stayed quiet as they talked generally and other students walked in; her thoughts were disrupted as Abhi and Suman walked in arguing loudly.

Abhi: Su...that was not important...

Su: Our relationship is not important to you anymore?

Abhi: I didn't say that...I meant I was busy and I could not make it...

Su: You could have called me...

Abhi: I called you but you were not ready to listen to a word I had to say...just forget it now...

Su: You can forget it but I can't...

Rahul: What's wrong guys?

Su: Mind your own business Rahul...this is our problem...not yours... – angrily

Abhi: How dare you? – rounding on her - ...You've got no right to talk to my friends like this...

Su: Don't talk to me like that...

Abhi: You know what...you're just a waste of time...

Su: - shocked at his behaviour and close to tears – I hate you... – she walked away and sat at the other end of the room

Abhi: Feelings mutual... – shouted across the room

Everyone was watching them as their tutor came in and sensed tension.

Teach: Okay calm down everyone...let's take the register...

He quickly took the register then informed them about school notices.

Teach: Firstly we all know about the incident which took place last week and let me inform you that the 6th form common room is out of bounds for the next two days... – he mumbled on

Riddhima ignored him by staring out of the window but the images of last Friday flooded her thoughts and her eyes welled up with tears once again. Sometime later Muskaan nudged her and she jumped out of her thoughts looking around.

Muskaan: Ridz...let's go...registration is over...we have a free period let's go to the library...

Riddhima got up and followed the others to the library in a trance. They settled down in their usual cubical and chatted generally as Riddhima took out a book and had started to read but was not able to take in a word that was written on the page; instead she folded her arms on the book and laid her head down. The others watched her but decided to leave her for some time like this while they whispered to each other.

Rahul: What was all that about with Suman? – to Abhi

Abhi: Oh forget that man...waste of time...that's all...

Nikita bent over to pick up her bag from the floor giving herself the opportunity to smile fully to know that they had an argument. She straightened up and pulled a book out, pretending to read she covered her face with the book but her ears were like antennas picking up the anger in his voice about Suman.

Rahul: Yeah I can see that but what happened?

Abhi: Nothing big but she's making a mountain of it...something stupid I can't even remember what it was about... – thinking then looking at Rahul – ...something about going ice skating...yeah...we made a plan sometime last week that we would go ice skating this weekend...but suddenly this happened...when we got home from the hospital on Saturday I remembered and called her saying I won't be able to make it...she didn't even give me a chance to speak...

Muskaan stifled laughter and Abhi gave her a weird look then carried on.

Abhi: I called her again yesterday to tell her why but she was not interested in hearing anything...she just likes taking everything to the extreme...I swear I hate girls... - annoyed

Muskaan: Hey that's not fair...just because of her don't mean all girls are like that...

Abhi: Alright whatever...but I've had enough of her anyway...I mean...every day she wants to go somewhere or the other...like I have that much money to waste on her...thank God it's over...

Muskaan: Yeah...thank God it's over... – laughing she looks over at Nikita who also starts laughing

Abhi: What? – looking from Muskaan to Nikita – ...What's so funny?

Muskaan: Because we couldn't stand her...at least we don't have to hear... – putting on an accent – "Sweety Poo" anymore...

Rahul, Muskaan and Nikita laughed out loud. They carried on talking generally for another forty five minutes until Rahul saw that it was time for lesson.

Muskaan: - putting her hand on Riddhima's shoulder – Ridzi... – slowly

Riddhima lifted her head, she was not crying but her facial expression was really sad.

Muskaan: Let's go...we have Textiles...

Ridz: Mera maan nahi hain Muskaan...

The others exchange worried glances as Riddhima never missed her Textiles lessons.

Muskaan: C'mon you'll feel better once you get there...

Ridz: Theek hain... – she put the book in her bag and stood up following the others out

Muskaan and Riddhima walked at the back; while walking down the stairs Riddhima stopped to use the washroom and the others waited outside.

Niki: Poor thing...I can't see her like this...

Rahul: I know...we can't leave her alone...someone has to be with her at all times...

Muskaan went in to see if she was okay; they came out a moment later and went to their lesson. Half way through the week they decided to go to the hospital as they were free after lunch; Armaan was now shifted to the General Ward. They got the bus to the hospital and as they arrived Riddhima brought a bunch of flowers from the flower shop just outside of the hospital. They went in and made their way upstairs; they waited in the waiting room until it was visiting hours. Rahul and Muskaan went in first; leaving Abhi and Nikita to wait with Riddhima who was not ready to go in yet.

Armaan: Hey guys... – smiling and looking much better since they last saw him

Rahul: Hey dude...how you feeling now?

Armaan: Better...at least I keep getting visitors...mum and dad were here earlier and now you lot...I'm bored out of my brains here...just want to get out of here now...

Muskaan: Bad luck...you still got to wait a few more days...

Armaan: I know...I hate this place...apart from the hot nurses... – winking at Muskaan as she looked shocked

Muskaan: Armaan! – about to hit his arm but saw his cast and smacked him playfully on his leg

Armaan: OWW! – pretending it hurt – ...What was that for...I was talking about the hot nurses... – pointing to the ladies in their mid forties

They all laughed and were silenced by the nearest nurse.

Armaan: So where's Riddhima... – eagerly

Rahul: She's outside... – sharing a look with Muskaan

Armaan: Everything's okay right... – looking from one to another

Rahul: Everything's fine...you're lucky... – changing the subject - ...at least you don't need to be in school...

Armaan: Yeah...that's about the only good thing of being in this place... – smiling then stopped and became serious – ...can I see Riddhima... – slowly

Muskaan: - looking at Rahul with a simple look then back at Armaan – I'll get her...

Rahul and Muskaan left the room and walked into the waiting room.

Muskaan: Ridzi... – sitting next to her – ...please go in...he wants to see you...

Ridz: - looking scared – Muskaan...I can't...I can't go in...

Rahul: Ridz...just for a few minutes...

Ridz: Guys...I can't see him like this... – her eyes welled up – ...please...

They all looked at each other; they really didn't want to force her knowing that she would break down once again and now that she had slight control of her feelings they didn't want to make things worse for her all over again.

Abhi: It's okay Ridzi...I'll talk to him...

Ridz: Thanks Abhi...

Abhi and Nikita started walking out of the room but Riddhima called them back.

Ridz: Niki... – walking to them – ...please give this to him... – handing her the flowers

Niki: Ridz you sure you don't... – was cut off

Ridz: I'm sure...just give this to him...

Nikita and Abhi walked into the ward and Riddhima stood near the door to get a glimpse of him; she saw him sitting up in bed and looked much better; she smiled through tears as she saw his small smile dent his cheek. Armaan was expecting to see Riddhima but smiled when he saw his two other friends.

Armaan: Hey guys...Riddhima... – looking sadly at them

Niki: She doesn't want to come... – sadly - ...but...she sent these for you... – handing him the flowers

Armaan gave a small but sad smile and accepted the flowers wishing he could just see her once.

Armaan: She's okay right?

Abhi: She's fine...she just can't bear to see you like this...don't worry about it...once you get out of here she won't be able to stay away from you... – smiling

Armaan: - smiling he looks at the flowers and thinks – I'll be out of here soon Riddhima...just for you...my eyes are paining to see you...I love you... – sadly...

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