Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Part 32 & 33: Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

Part 32 

Riddhima was in her living room with her mum and dad; together they had sat there for three and half hours watching their favourite family film Khabi Khushi Khabi Gham which was showing on television. It had just come to an end and Shashank turned around to see both ladies in tears.

Shashank: - laughing – You ladies... – shaking his head - ...it's only a movie...you don't need to cry...

Ridz: Papa... – as he teased them

Padma: - wiping her cheeks with a smile – It just makes you cry...no matter how many times you watch it...

Shashank: Seriously...I bet they're so happy when the director says final pack up and here's the rest of the world crying as it says the end... – laughing at them



Padma: Okay...chalo...let's go to sleep now...it's too late... – getting up

Ridz: Haan...I'm so sleepy too...good night... – hugging her dad then her mum before going up

She entered her room and switched on her light, stretching her arms out wide and yawning. She just wanted to jump into bed right away but being Miss. Perfect she tidied up some of her clothes that had been left lying around then grabbed her night clothes and went into the washroom. Coming out a few moments later she switched on her bedside lamp and turned off the room light before snuggling up in bed with her cuddle pillow and her phone. She quickly flicked through it to what she wanted to see and smiled; she stared at his photo for what seemed like a long time as her mind was floating with thoughts about him. She kissed his photo and smiled; sending him a text saying goodnight and love you she put her phone away and switched off her light before pulling her duvet over her and closed her eyes as she thought of him.

Suddenly she was disturbed as she heard her phone vibrate against her bedside table. She wondered who was texting her at this time of the night; she opened her eyes in curiosity to looked at her clock to see it was now twelve o'clock and her phone vibrated again. She sat up to see it buzz for the third time. She grabbed it and it vibrated in her hand. She looked at it curiously until it had finally stopped and opened the first message.

Armaan: Hi Jaan...wishing u a very happy 18th birthday...c u 2morow...g'night...sweet dreams...love u...xxx

Riddhima smiled widely; she did not remember that it was her birthday; even though that was all she had talked about all week; after watching the film she had been so tired that she had forgotten; she smacked the side of her head at her stupidity before reading the other messages from Muskaan, Nikita, Abhi, Rahul, Atul and Anjali. She smiled happily and sent them each a message saying thank you before drifting off to a peaceful sleep with sweet dreams.



It was the best sleep she had had in a very long time; she slept till quite late and woke up with a massive grin on her face as she thought about the beautiful dream she had. She sat up replaying what had happened then smiled thinking that she was in a fairy tale world; where dreams came true and her prince would come to her.

Ridz: Wake up Ridzi...this is reality...and you're not Cinderella... – shaking her head she got out of bed

She had a shower and got dressed; a bit over dressed with jewellery and make up before fixing up her room and bed; opening her curtains she smiled to see sunshine; it was the middle of February and was very rear to see any sign of the sun; her smile widened as she thought of the day ahead. Finally she was ready by eleven and made her way downstairs; there was no one in the living room surprisingly, she raised her eye brows and walked into the kitchen but no one was there.

Ridz: Mama...papa...kahan hain? – questioning herself

She was about to walk back into the living room when the doorbell rang; she walked to the front door; she opened it to see no one there. Wondering what was going on she looked around to see who could've rung the bell but the estate was empty, turning to go back inside she looked down at the doorstep to find a single rose. She smiled curiously and picked it; looking closely at it she saw her name engraved on the stem.

Ridz: That's so sweet...I wonder who its form?

She walked back into the kitchen and placed the rose into a glass vase with a bit of water. She decided to go back into the living room to see if her dad would be there. As she left the kitchen and stepped into the living room she was startled to see her family all standing near the stairs.

All: Happy Birthday!!!

Riddhima stood transfixed; she saw her mum and dad and the Malik family all standing there with flowers and gifts. They moved towards her each taking turns to hug and wish her while she was still in shock. Armaan stood back and watched her with a big smile on his face.

Anji: Happy Birthday Ridzi... – hugging her

Ridz: Dii... – slowly she smiled

Padma: Surprise...

Nandani: Sorry beta...did we scare you?

Ridz: - smiling as she came back to her senses – Nahi aunty...just a bit shocked...I came down earlier and no one was here then suddenly seeing you all like this...just a bit...

Atul: Sorry about that Ridzi...we just thought of surprising you...we all know how much you like surprises...here... – handing her a small gift box – ...these is for you...Happy Birthday... – giving her a side hug

Ridz: Thanks Jiju...it's so nice of you all...

They all settled down and Riddhima went into the kitchen to have her late breakfast with Anjali. Padma set out the flowers in the conservatory with Nandani and Armaan joined the ladies in the kitchen. Riddhima was sat at the table sipping her tea when he walked in.

Armaan: Good morning sleepy head... – ruffling his hand in her hair messing up slightly

Ridz: Armaan! – annoyed moving her head away from him

Armaan: How much can someone sleep...? – Anjali smiled at him – ...We were waiting to surprise you for ages...right bhabs?

Ridz: Shut up Armaan...I slept late last night that's why...I don't always wake up that late...

Armaan: Right...sure you don't...

Anji: Armaan...at least stop teasing her today...it's her birthday...

Armaan: So what...special treatment for birthday girl?

Ridz: Yes!

Anji: - rolling her eyes at them – I'm not ready to stand here and listen to you guy's banter...carry on...I'm going... – walking out of the kitchen

Ridzi: Dii... – turning after her sister who had walked into the living room

But before she could say anything she felt his soft lips on her cheek; she was shocked and blushed madly then turned to him speechless.

Armaan: Happy Birthday baby... – whispered into her ear – ...sorry for arguing with you so early in the morning...I just wanted bhabi to leave the kitchen that's why...I wanted to wish you specially...

Riddhima looked at him sweetly and mouthed "I love you"; he replied then as they heard voices coming their way he got up and moved away as she finished her tea. He walked around the kitchen to see the single rose in the vase; he picked it up and twirled it in his hand.

Armaan: What's this?

Ridz: Armaan...it's a rose... – obviously

Armaan: I can see that...but a single rose... – looking closely at it - ...and what's this... – reading – ...Riddhima...

Padma and Nandani walked into the kitchen.

Padma: What's that Armaan?

Armaan: Pata nahi aunty...this rose was here...and it has Riddhima's name on it...tum batao Ridz...

Ridz: - shot him an evil look – Kuch nahi mama...when I came down someone rang the doorbell and left this...I didn't see who it was...

Armaan: Looks like you have an admirer... – winking at her when no one was looking

Nandani: That's cute...

Armaan: Kaun hai woh Ridz? - teasing

Ridz: I don't know...

Riddhima left the kitchen and went into the living room; everyone had now started to tease her about this admirer and she was slightly getting annoyed but smiled inwards. A second rose was left at the doorstep an hour later; now she was curious, Armaan was in front of her then who could it be. Later on both families decided to have lunch at Chaudhry's TKC restaurant in Southall; it was Vikram's and Nandani's treat to Riddhima for her birthday; they had a lovely time and enjoyed the food and the ambience. When they had finished they did some shopping in the high street then made their way home.

They reached home to find a few more roses left on the doorstep for Riddhima. Now she was getting very curious; she brought them in and placed them in the vase; there were now eight red roses; each with her name writing on the stem. She looked at the curiously once more before walking away and going to her room. The others settled down in the living room while Anjali and Riddhima were up in the room.

Anji: You've got no clue who's sending these roses?  - going through Riddhima's clothes in her cupboard

Ridz: No idea dii... – annoyed

Anji: - handing her a red and black top – Here this one...

Ridz: Thanks dii...I'll just go and change...

By the time she came back into the room five minutes later Muskaan and Nikita were there.

Muskaan: Happy Birthday Ridzi... – hugging her

Ridz: Thank you...

Niki: Happy Birthday... – taking her turn to hug Riddhima

Ridz: You look nice... – to Nikita - ...when did you guys get here?

Muskaan: About five minutes ago...

Riddhima got ready while they chatted away generally and Anjali filled them in with the mysterious roses. When she was finished they made their way downstairs; Abhi and Rahul were there, they wished her and then the gang left saying bye to the others; as they were leaving Riddhima received another rose. They crammed into Armaan's car on their way to Acton to watch a movie; Abhi sat at the front with Armaan leaving the girls to squash behind with Rahul.

They scrambled out finally as they reached there; the girls walked ahead to see which films were on while Armaan paid for parking and the guys waited with him. The girls made it into the building and was looking through the list of films when Riddhima felt a slight poke in her hip; turning around suddenly she saw a young boy, around the age of six standing there with a single rose in his hand; he held it out to her. Muskaan and Nikita found this very sweet but Riddhima looked around to see who could have given this to him.

Boy: Happy Valentine's Day...

Ridz: - taking the rose – Thank you... – smiling

He ran off to his mum and dad who were standing further away; Riddhima looked closely at the stem but her name was not written on it.

Armaan: Another one? – as they joined the girls

Ridz: I really don't know who's behind this...Armaan are you sure it's not you...

Armaan: C'mon Ridz...even I'm getting suspicious... – seriously

Rahul: So what are we watching?

They decided on a romantic film as there were two couples there and it was Valentine's Day. Abhi was the only one against it but his view was not heard by anyone as they bought the tickets and munchies before walking into the hall. They settled down in couples; Abhi and Nikita sat on opposite ends; the film started and the couples became cosy with each other making Abhi feel like puking as usual. During the middle of the film someone walked up to Abhi and handed him a rose telling him to pass it on. Riddhima was now holding three roses as they stepped out of the hall at the end of the film.

Abhi: Well thank God that's over...

Niki: It was not that bad...

Abhi: You would say that...

Muskaan: Now what? – seeing an argument coming up

Rahul: Hmm...what should we do now?

Abhi: I feel like having a game of pool...

The girls moaned and the guys didn't wait for an answer instead they walked ahead towards the pool rooms with the girls following behind.

Muskaan: I wished we didn't come here...I knew they would go and play pool...of all days today?

Ridz: I know...it would've been nice if we just had a movie and dinner...now they'll be here for another two hours...

When they had finally caught up with the guys they had already started their game; leaving the girls to walk towards the lounge chairs; as they neared them they saw a single rose waiting for Riddhima. She rolled her eyes and ignored it; Muskaan picked it up and sat down.

Muskaan: Don't you think it's sweet...

Niki: Yeah...like your secret admirer... – grinning

Ridz: It was cute at first...but now it's just getting annoying...

Muskaan: Niki do you remember her secret admirer back in year eight...

Niki: Oh yeah... – excitedly as Riddhima moaned loudly

Ridz: Don't remind me...that was the worst experience ever... – hiding her face

Niki: That was really funny...how many cards did you get that year...

Muskaan: Twelve? – guessing - ...No wait...fifteen right...? – laughing

Niki: Yeah and each one had a poem written in different languages...

Muskaan: Spanish, French, English... – laughing - ...Hindi...German...Hebrew...

Niki: Arabic...Russian... – laughing

Ridz: Guys please...let's not talk about this...it was so embarrassing...

Armaan looked over at the girls laughing a lot and came over to join them leaving Rahul and Abhi to carry on.

Armaan: Hey girls...what's up...? – sitting between Nikita and Riddhima, putting his arm around her

Ridz: Nothing... – seriously, shooting evil looks at the girls

Armaan: Go on... – to Nikita

Niki: - laughing – No...nothing...

Armaan: Oh come on...tell me what's so funny?

Muskaan: We're just talking about Ridzi's old admirers... – laughing

Armaan: So you've had others as well... – smiling at her

Ridz: That was ages ago...can we not talk about this now...

Niki: C'mon Ridzi...it's only Armaan...there's nothing to hide...

Muskaan: Yeah... – turning to him - ...you know what Armaan...she's had admirers since she was in year seven...every year she got Valentine cards from secret admirers but year eight was the best... – laughing all over again

Niki: She got fifteen cards from some guy and... – laughing – ...and each had a poem written in different languages...

Armaan: - laughing along with them – You've always been very popular...

Ridz: Guys that's not funny... – getting up

Armaan:  - holding her hand – Sorry... – pulling her to sit back down

Muskaan and Nikita also apologised then they chatted away until Abhi and Rahul came to them. They decided to grab something to eat as it was quiet late and they were hungry; they walked around till they got to Nando's. On the way Riddhima was given another two roses and they teased her as they settled down at the table for six and were given menus. After ordering they messed around and took loads of photos; as usual Abhi and Nikita argued and teased each other. Abhi had said something mean and Nikita kicked him from under the table making him wince in pain.

Armaan: You guys are like an old married couple...you know that?

Abhi/Niki: WHAT???? – turning to Armaan

Niki: How could you even pair us together?

Abhi: Exactly...me and her? NO WAY!

The others laughed at them as they started arguing again until Muskaan silenced them.

Muskaan: Hey guys listen to this... – now they were silent – ...Rahul got a joke this morning...it's so funny...go on Rahul...

Rahul: Muskaan it's not that funny... – looking sharply at her

Armaan: Go on Rahul...

Rahul: Leave it... – changing the subject

Niki: C'mon Rahul...

Rahul: - giving up he rolled his eyes and asked them the question - ...What's the truth behind Valentine's Day?

Ridz: What kind of question is that...it's the day of love...

Rahul: - reads from his phone – The truth about Valentine's Day came from Gujarat hundreds of years back... – they all look at him oddly – ...there was a village in Gujarat where the guys would beat their wives...then one day the wives decided that enough was enough and when their husbands came home that night they got out their velans (rolling pins) and beat them...and every year when this day comes around the guys moan as they think its "Velan Times Day"...

Everyone found it really funny until the guys realised the joke was on them making the girls find it even funnier. Sometime later their food arrived and they had a good time chatting away; when they had finished they ordered some delicious dessert which the couples shared; just before they left the girls went to use the washroom leaving the guys to talk about them. On their way back to the table one of the waiters walked towards them and handed Riddhima a rose.

Muskaan: Shouldn't you be working... – angrily

Waiter: Sorry ma'am...this is not from me but an admirer...

Ridz: It's okay... – to Muskaan then took the rose – ...thank you...

They walked back to the table; Riddhima settled down next to Armaan with her roses; Abhi and Nikita sat quietly for the first time and Rahul stood up.

Muskaan: What's wrong Rahul?

He held her hand gently as the others watched on; he stood in the middle of the restaurant; some people had turned to watch as he silently kneeled down in front of her. He took out a ring from his pocket and held it out to her; he now had the attention of the entire restaurant.

Rahul: Muskaan Chadda... will you marry me?

Muskaan stood there in utter shock; she had not expected this; some people had shouted out from the crowd telling her to say yes. She smiled through tears...

Armaan: Go on Muskaan...! – cheering her on

The gang were now all standing and watching them; Muskaan looked around; at her friends then back at Rahul and whispered yes. Someone from the crowd yelled "What was that?" "We didn't hear"

Muskaan: - giggled – YESS!!

Rahul slipped the ring on her finger then stood up and hugged her; the crowd erupted with a loud cheer and the gang gave them a group hug; letting go after a few minutes they were both smiling widely. Then they left the restaurant and people congratulated them on their way out. They made their way to the car and scrambled in; Muskaan sat in Rahul's lap at the back with the two other girls. Armaan had given everyone a lift home and the car was silent with just the two of them left.

Riddhima looked down at the roses in her hands thinking about her day when suddenly Armaan stopped the car. She looked up to see that they were by the park and turned to Armaan who was already looking at her with a smile.

Ridz: What's wrong Armaan? – looking curiously at him - ...Why did you stop here?

Armaan: I haven't given you your gift yet... – smiling widely

Ridz: - blushing she looks down – Armaan... – she looked up a few seconds later to see Armaan holding a single rose, she looked up at him suddenly in shock

Armaan: Happy Valentine's Day baby...

Ridz: Armaan tumne??  - shocked – Yeh sab? – looking down at her roses then back up at him, he nodded and she playfully punched him a few times until he held her hand to stop her – Armaan...

Armaan: Sorry jaan...sorry for irritating you all day...all these roses were from me... – she looked at him in disbelief – ...I know you was annoyed but...I love to see your annoyed expression...you just look so cute... – touching her cheek - ...I wanted to see that expression all day and this was the only way...but this is also my gift...roses for valentines and eighteen of them for your birthday... – smiling at her

Riddhima thought about the roses and realised that there were eighteen; she smiled happily and was surprised to see this cute gesture by Armaan. She leaned over and gave him a quick kiss on his lips whispering Happy Valentine's Day against it making him feel warm inside.

Armaan: - taking out a slim black case from his pocket – This is for you...

Ridz: Armaan...ab yeh kya hain?

Armaan: Open it... – as she took it

Riddhima opened it to see a beautiful bracelet; it was matching the necklace and earrings that Armaan had gifted her on her last birthday and on New Years. She smiled excitedly and hugged him.

Ridz: I love you Armaan!

Armaan: Love you too...

After sometime of cuddling Armaan drove her home; on the way Riddhima had asked him how he done the roses surprise but he wouldn't say telling her it was done Armaan's way and he could not give out his secret. They arrived at home at the same time as Atul and Anjali who had gone out for dinner as a couple; they sat for some time then the Malik's left. Riddhima got ready for bed after going through all of her gifts; the one she had loved the most was placed in a beautiful vase next to her bed; her roses. She looked at them closely to see that each one had her name written on it, the ones that were given in the morning had her name written on the stem and the ones that were given in the evening her name was written on the petals very finely. She smiled as she stroked them, her phone vibrated and she picked it up quickly and read his text.

Armaan: Sorry again jaan...but I only did it because I Love You...

Ridz: I love you too Armaan...don't worry about it...this was the best gift I've got till date...

Armaan: Really...even better than the jewellery I gave you?

Ridz: Yeah...because you put more effort in this...more love in this...anyone can buy me jewellery...but what you did today...was the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me...I love you...

Armaan: I love you too...Happy Birthday once again...sweet dreams...xxx

Riddhima fell asleep once again dreaming of Armaan...
.........................................
part 33

One week later, after having a very chilled out half term, Riddhima woke up early and got ready for her first day back at school. She had breakfast and waited for Armaan; as they made their way to school they chatted away about how they had spent their holiday and Riddhima had became a little serious as it had just hit her that they didn't have much time left in school. It would soon be time to set exams then that was the end. Her school life would be over; as she thought about it she became slightly depressed, she became silent as they made their way to their tutor room for registration.

They were one of the last ones to walk into the class before the teacher; Armaan chatted away with the others while Riddhima sat back going though her planner with frown lines appearing on her forehead.

Muskaan: What's up Ridzi?

Ridz: Guys... – looking up at them - ...have you lot not realised that we've got very little time left in school...

Abhi: So why are you looking so worried...that's good news... – excitedly

Ridz: But...we'll be having exams soon...then...

Rahul: Then it's over...we'll finally be out of this crappy place...

Ridz: Does it not bother you guys?

Niki: Ridz chill...we've still got lots of time...don't worry about it...

She was about to say something but their tutor walked in to their class and took the register; her mind was flooded with thoughts as the others carried on chatting generally. Their tutor dismissed them and the girls went off to Textiles and they began with their work. Riddhima was half way through the making of her outfit and also coming to the end of her folder work; she concentrated on her work trying to work out a way of having her design the way she wanted but something was not right. She frowned as she tried from another angle but she was distracted as the tutor had an announcement, she called them all to sit around the table in the middle of the room and they all shared curious glances.

Teach: I'm sorry that I will need to give you all some bad news...

Everyone started chatting away immediately wondering what was wrong and she silenced them.

Teach: This is also bad news for me as it is for you... – looking around at everyone - ...I'm just going to come straight out with it...the Fashion Show has been pre-pone...it will be in three weeks...

Everyone: What? Are you serious? How is this possible? We haven't even made our outfits yet? How are we going to organise a show in three weeks?

Riddhima looked on in shock as the teacher carried on looking worried herself.

Teach: I have tried my best to change this date but...they have said it will not happen in July like it has been happening for the past few years...they say that exams are being disturbed by the show and it will need to take place before the exams...the fashion show will be in three weeks time...now I suggest that you all get on with your work and make sure that your outfits are completed within three weeks...

They scuttled away to their work stations and got started with their outfits and the chatter started up straight away but Riddhima was now put into a big mess and she thought of how this would all work out.

Ridz: - thinking – This is not possible...I can't finish my outfit and organise a show in three weeks time...this can't happen... – dropping her head in her hands

Half an hour later it was the end of the lesson and everyone left the room chatting away angrily; Muskaan turned to Riddhima as she noticed that she was in no hurry to go.

Muskaan: Ridz...you not coming?

Ridz: I can't Muskaan...I need to finish my dress...the sooner the better then I can concentrate on the show...

Niki: At least have a break...

Ridz: It's okay Niki you guys go on...I'll see you later...

Niki: Okay...we'll come back here...we need to get on with our outfits too...

Muskaan: Yeah...just going to clear our head...this news has really got to me...see you...

Ridz: Bye...

Muskaan and Nikita walked out of the lift and towards the common room, both in discussion about the bad news which they had just received. They walked towards the guys who were already seated by the comfy chairs still chatting away.

Niki: This is really wrong...they can't do this... – angrily

Muskaan: I agree but nothing can be changed now...we just have to get on with it... – sitting down next to Rahul

Rahul: What's wrong? – sensing some tension in his girlfriend's voice

Muskaan: We just... – she was cut off by Armaan

Armaan: Where's Riddhima?

Muskaan and Nikita shared a nervous look and then Nikita turned to him.

Niki: She's still in Textiles...

Armaan: Why? – looking at them curiously - ...I mean...why didn't she come up...lesson is over...

Muskaan: Yeah but...

Rahul: But what? – looking at Muskaan – ...Is everything okay?

Muskaan: Actually we just got some bad news...

Abhi: What?

Niki: Fashion Show has been pre pone...

Abhi: When is it? - seriously

Muskaan: In three weeks...

Rahul: What?? - shocked

Niki: Yeah...can you believe it...they just told us now...we have to finish our outfit and organise a show in three weeks... – angrily

Armaan: How can they do that? – annoyed - ...And at such short notice?

Muskaan: They said that it disrupts the exams so they had to move it forward...

Abhi: I bet Ridz didn't take that news well...

Niki: She's working on her dress...

Armaan: - standing up – I'm going to go to her...I'll see you guys later...

Muskaan: Try not to disturb her...she's in a real bad mood...

Armaan: Don't worry...she'll be okay...

Niki: See you in a bit...we're just going to take a break...we'll be back soon...we have a free period...

Armaan: Okay...bye...

He left the gang and went to the Textiles class room where Riddhima was. He walked into the class, Riddhima's back was facing the door and she didn't see him come in. He decided not to bother her; instead he stood just inside the class and leaned against the table watching her as she worked away on her outfit. He had stood there looking at her moving around, running her fingers through her hair in frustration, grabbing the measuring tape and working on her fabric, he smiled silently but soon he realised that he was not the only one standing there. One of the other girls from her class walked in and stood there with him smiling knowingly.

Girl: Hey Armaan what are you doing here?

Armaan: Huh? - turning away like he had been caught doing something wrong – Oh umm...just...uhh nothing...

Riddhima turned around as she heard voices; she wondered what Armaan was doing there.

Girl: It's okay...chill... – laughing, then turning to Riddhima – ...Ridz you have a really sweet boyfriend...you two are just made for each other...

Armaan: Thanks... – smiling he straightened up

The girls walked in and started their work and Armaan walked over to Riddhima.

Armaan: Hey babes...I heard about the show...

Ridz: Armaan...what am I going to do? – looking very worried - ...I was really looking forward to organising this show...it was suppose to be my last show in school and I wanted to do so much...but now how can I do anything in three weeks...I haven't even made my dress yet...how can I do both at once...how will I do it...there's so much to... – very upset

Armaan cut her off by putting his arm around her and giving her a hug which she replied to by putting her arms around him and resting her head on his shoulder.

Armaan: Shush...calm down... – whispering into her ear – ...listen to me...just concentrate on your outfit...you're right this is your last chance...last show...so make it worth while...you just make your outfit and leave the rest to me...

Ridz: - moving back – But Armaan...

Armaan: Shush...but Armaan nothing...just listen...you make your outfit first and we'll decide what will happen with the show later...okay...? – Riddhima did not understand and made a face but he continued – ...Ridz...what's more important to you...your outfit or this show? – looking closely at her

Ridz: - became silent and thought for a moment about what was more important to her then slowly spoke up – My dress...

Armaan: That's settled then... – smiling – ...now you carry on with your dress and just watch everything else will be sorted...

At the same time Nikita and Muskaan walked back into the class and got on with their work. The gang was supposed to have a free period but the girls decided to use this time wisely and get their outfits completed. Armaan had said bye and left the girls to carry on not wanting to disturb them; he met up with the guys in the library and the girls got down to work quickly.



Throughout the week the gang spent almost all their time in the Textiles room working on their outfits, during free periods and even staying hours after school and also working at home. The boys had also realised how important this was for them and use to come up to their classroom to help out and support them; they use to sit around after school with the girls and encourage them that they could do it. Muskaan and Nikita were not as stressed as Riddhima was, they were more annoyed at the whole situation rather than worry what will happen; they kind of had fun with the guys after school and during free periods. Other students from the class use to enjoy having the guys around as well as they cracked jokes and made the atmosphere lighter.

But the gang did not get away from their usual lessons; they had to go to all their other lessons, not that they could concentrate while they were there; all they could chat about was the show, outfits, tension and what will happen. It was now the end of the week and the tension had eased a little as they sat in the Textiles room on a warm Friday afternoon. It was five o'clock and the double room was packed with all of the Textiles students who moved around working on their outfits, the gang sat in one corner of the room working away, the guys sat as far away as possible from the teacher who was annoyed of them being there but could not tell them to leave as it was not a lesson and were not disturbing any one. They all looked up suddenly as they heard a loud sigh of relief from Riddhima; she had just finished stitching on the final bit of surface decoration as a final touch.

Ridz: FINISH! – smiling with a loud sigh

Muskaan: Wow Ridz... – looking up from her sewing machine to Riddhima's outfit – ...that looks gorgeous...

Ridz: - holding it up – At least it's finished...

She held up the dress, it was an elegant off white, crme evening gown. It was full length with a trail; it had surface decoration of metallic blue, pink and green beads and sequins in the middle of the dress and on the trail, the thin spaghetti straps had sequins sewed onto it which glittered in all directions.

Abhi: That looks really nice Ridz...

Rahul: You did a great job...

Armaan: - mouthed – Beautiful...

Niki: Try it on Ridz...

They all cheered her on but she refused; then they carried on with their work; Riddhima tidied up then helped the girls with theirs. They left quite late that night and went straight to their homes after a long and tired week. Riddhima used the weekend to her full advantage preparing her designs for the show, it was a bit of a hassle as she thought about how her ideas could be practical and after eighty different ideas she had finally come up with the perfect plan.



By the third week things had become extremely stressful, the girls struggled were now struggling with their outfits trying to finish it on time and Riddhima and the guys had began to organise the show, they shared out the duties as they had last year, Armaan handled the tickets, Abhi did the lighting and helped Rahul out with the stage. Riddhima had left the guys in the hall and rushed up to the Design and Technology building to grab some things, she got there almost out of breath and looked around for a sign of any teacher who would have the keys to the store room, she rolled her eyes in irritation when the place was empty, she walked down the corridor to the staff room but as she neared the room she heard voices which made her stop.

Teach 1: I just hope everything goes perfect...

Teach 2: I know but we have such less time...how can we put up a show in just three days...

Teach 1: I'm not worried about the show...I'm thinking about the students...it was not fair on them to do it in such less time...but that's not the only thing that's the worry...

Teach 2: Then what's wrong?

Teach 1: This is going to be the biggest event...TFI is judging this year...and half of the students haven't even finished their outfits and there's just three days to go...

Teach 2: They'll do it...everything will work out...

Riddhima stood there in shock to hear the conversation that had just occurred; the words echoed in her mind as she moved forward and knocked on the door.

Teach 1: Yes Riddhima?

Ridz: Umm...can I...can I have the keys to the store room...

The teacher handed over the keys and Riddhima went to the store room, her mind was buzzing as she found the things she needed, she handed back the keys and went back into the hall where the guys were. She carried on with her work silently, now her mind working overtime both in anxiety and excitement; she had now started to worry more hoping that everything would be perfect. It was now lunch time and the gang had gone to have their lunch, Armaan and Rahul were selling the tickets and the girls had gone to have lunch with Abhi. Riddhima was back up in the Textiles room going through the paper work; she was deeply concentrating when she heard someone call her name; looking up from her work she saw three girls who she had recognised from the year below her.

Ridz: Hey...

Girl 1: Umm...hi...

Ridz: Everything okay? – curious at their expressions

Girl 2: Actually we've just come to tell you to... – stopped not knowing what to say next

Girl 1: Could you please take our names off of the modelling list...

Ridz: Oh...umm why... – shocked but did not show it

Girl 3: Because they moved the show forward we didn't have time to finish our outfits...it won't be ready to be modelled in the show...

Ridz: - in shock that things were not turning out right – Oh umm...

Girl 2: We're sorry...but we can't model our outfits in this year's show...

They walked away after they had given their names and she crossed them off of the list, thinking what to do now. When she had finished going through the rest of the modelling list she packed her stuff and walked downstairs to the foyer where the guys were selling the tickets, there was a long queue waiting to buy tickets, she made her way to the front to see the others were also there.

Muskaan: Ridz...you okay?

Ridz: I'm fine... – forcing a smile

Muskaan: Guess what...I finished my outfit...finally!

Ridz: That's great...and Niki? – turning to her

Niki: It'll be finished by tomorrow...don't worry...

Ridz: I hope so...

Riddhima went through the list with the girls of what else needed to be done and Muskaan had taken up her duty of doing up the stage with Rahul leaving Abhi to sort out the lights. While they sat there another student from their class came to Riddhima and asked her to take her name off of the list as her outfit could not be modelled in the show. Riddhima crossed her name off of the list without asking any questions, she was close to giving up as she had the thought of TFI guest at the back of her head. She did not mention this to any of her friends; they chatted away until they heard a loud moan from the queue; they turned to see what was going on.

Ridz: What's wrong? – to Armaan

Armaan: Sold out!

Niki: Oh no...

Suddenly the bell rang and all the students were whisked off to their lessons leaving the gang to stand there alone.

Muskaan: How many did we sell?

Rahul: Two hundred and fifty...

Abhi: Is that it? – making a face - ...We need more...

Ridz: I don't think we're allowed to sell any more...

Armaan: Why not?

Ridz: That's all we have space for in the hall with the cat walk...and health and safety reasons we can't have any more...

Muskaan: Oh that's such a shame...now what are we going to do?

Ridz: I don't know... – dropping her head in her hand as she had given up

Niki: Umm guys I got to go...I need to finish off my dress...I'll see you guys later...

All: Bye...see you later...

Armaan: Okay guys you know what...there is no point sitting around here like this...we need to do something...but first we need to clear our minds...let's go to the common room...Ridz you need to eat...

Ridz: But Armaan...

Armaan: Armaan nothing...okay...get up... – standing up he held his hand out to her and pulled her up

The others got up and they made their way to the common room; Armaan and Rahul got some food just in time before the canteen closed; they ate and Armaan forced Riddhima to have something. When they had finished they sat around the comfy chairs and thought, Riddhima went through her show planner thinking of other ideas of how everything could work out, the others pitched in ideas trying to help her. Half an hour later they all sat in silence as they had all given up; then Riddhima sat up suddenly making the others look at her as she smiled secretly.

Muskaan: I know that look...you've got something right?

Riddhima nodded but was a little hesitant.


Abhi: Go on... – excitedly

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