Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Part 34 & 35: Armaan aur Riddhima ka safar

part 34

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

 Ridz: Okay...this was my dream for a very long time...it's always been at the back of my mind since I started this school and saw the first Fashion Show...

Muskaan: You mean... – suddenly

Ridz: Yeah... – to Muskaan – ...I was thinking about it this weekend but then I thought that maybe it wouldn't work...but now I just can't see any other way we can save this show...

Armaan: What is it...?


Rahul: Yeah tell us...

They listened to her as she gave her idea and they all smiled in return as they loved it. Immediately they went to the Textiles and Design and Technology teachers who could help them; they gave their idea, going through every detail about the show thinking of all areas and it was also loved by them but they needed to take permission from the head teacher which they wasted no time and went straight to him about this proposal.

The gang waited outside of his office while Riddhima and the two teachers were in there. They paced around outside waiting for Riddhima and his decision; Nikita caught up with them and Muskaan filled her in with the new plan, she was really excited and joined them as they waited for Riddhima impatiently. Twenty minutes later they walked out of the office and Riddhima wore the biggest smile ever; the gang cheered excitedly and Armaan hugged her, then the teachers calmed them down after sometime.

Teach: Okay...it has been finalised but we have very less time and we need to get a move on...we'll get started first thing tomorrow morning...

Text Teach: We'll get some of the technicians to help you out...we have two days...and you know the plan...it will be a very tight schedule and things need to be done speedily...

Abhi: Don't worry about it miss...we'll get it done...

Teach: Armaan we need the newsletters first thing tomorrow morning...

Armaan: Yes sir...

Teach: There's a lot to do...and we've got to have all preparations done by tomorrow...because we only have five hours on the day to get it up...

All: Yes sir...

Text Teach: Right...why don't you all go home now...we'll see you tomorrow...

The gang had just realised it was four thirty, school was over and most of the students had left the building; they also went home, all excited about the upcoming event.



The next day came around quickly and it was the first day in the whole seven years of school life that each member of the gang was excited to actually go to school. They got to work immediately, Armaan made more tickets and by break he was ready to sell them to eager students; he made up newsletters to go out to the students which was approved by the teachers and looked over by the head teacher then he handed them to the students in each class giving them the latest updates of the school hours being cut short for a day, school was to end by lunch time, one pm, for the show to be organised. Armaan also made backstage passes for all models, technicians', workers and designers, things were working out exceptionally professional.

Abhi and Rahul got to work with the technicians working on the lighting and platform boards. The girls were up in the Textiles room with the other technicians working on the fabrics and decorations for the stage; and before the gang knew it the school day had come to an end and they all wondered how time could fly by so fast. Nikita had finished her outfit and Riddhima had put together the final modelling list and also found last minute entertainment and Muskaan put together some tunes and music for the models to walk to. They decided on having refreshments half way through the show which was going to be organised by the girls the next day.



Early the next morning Riddhima and Armaan went to Birthdayz to pick up floral decorations for the show. They arrived at school slightly late but were surprise to see everyone at work already; everyone was working really hard to make this a grand show. They got to work, all waiting for it to be one o'clock when the students would leave the building and they could get on with the main job of putting the setting together. They had done all that they could and sat around in the courtyard by the pond waiting for it to be one.

Niki: I'm so excited...Ridz I think I was wrong last year when I said that would be the best show this school has seen...this year will be the BEST OF THE BEST...

Ridz: I hope this works out...I really do... – nervous

Armaan: - putting his arm around her – It will...don't worry...

Rahul: Yeah Ridz...it will be fine... – smiling at her

Muskaan: Armaan did you go around to all the models telling them to be here one hour before the show...

Armaan: Yeah I did...they'll all be here...they know we have a rehearsal...and they're all so excited...

Rahul: I think they were just excited because you went to them personally...

Ridz: - smacking his arm – Shut up Rahul...

Abhi: Come let's get something to eat now...when they leave we've got to start right away...we won't have anything to eat till after the show...

Muskaan: Yeah Abhi's right...let's go...

They got up and went to the common room, the canteen was just opening up and they all got the warm food, they ate up quickly and as they looked down through the window from the top of the building on to the courtyard they could see the teachers showing the students the way out of the building.

Abhi: It's show time... – smiling

They got up excitedly and made their way downstairs, as they reached there they could see the technicians beginning to work and they all got on with theirs, not asking any questions as they all knew what they had to do and got on with it.

Riddhima had shared her idea of having an outdoor show with her teachers and friends who loved it; the head teacher had agreed after they had been through the full health and safety procedures and risk assessments. The school courtyard was massive and also had a lawn platform, it was the best place to hold the show, it was great for the catwalk, it was outdoors, there was fresh air, plants and a wide area for the audience to sit and enjoy. It was perfect as the weather was quite warm and as it got dark the lights would make the place look amazing, there were lights in the trees, along the stage and massive spot lights from each direction shinning onto the stage. The only slight problem that they had was that the changing rooms were quite far from the stage so they had to make the nearest classroom the dressing room for the models and designers; apart from that everything was perfect.

The gang and technicians had worked continuously for four hours making sure everything was set out properly, there was one hour left for the show and the models, designers and entertainers were turning up, Armaan stood by the gates checking everyone's back stage passes making sure no one tried to intrude before the show. They did a quick run through rehearsal which took at least forty minutes then the girls left the rest for the guys and also went to get dressed, apart from Riddhima who went through the checklist to make sure everything was set; the stage looked perfect, lights were coming on, chairs were set out, entertainment was fixed, refreshments were being sorted by the technicians, models had arrived, backstage was sorted and notices were put up letting everyone know where they needed to be.

Armaan: What are you doing here? – coming up behind her - ...Don't you need to get ready...there's only fifteen minutes left before the guests start arriving...

Ridz: Yeah Armaan I know...I just need to go through everything once more... – looking around and then back at the checklist

Armaan: Riddhima! – turning her around to face him – ...Everything is sorted...you need to go and get ready...

Ridz: Okay...I'm going...but?

Armaan: What now?

Ridz: I love you...

Armaan: - taken back – Huh?

Ridz: Thanks for everything...really this all wouldn't have been possible without you guys...all of you...I really love you... – hugging him

Armaan: I love you too... – then pulling away – ...now go...I can't wait to see you in that dress... – smiling

Riddhima smiled for the very first time in a long time and went to get ready; she did her hair and makeup, while the others girls got dressed. She was meant to be one of the last to go on stage as she was in year thirteen, and the younger students would go first, when she had fixed herself up she went back stage to see if everything was okay. As she neared the stage she could see people rushing around doing the final touches and she bumped into Abhi.

Abhi: Ridz...it's packed out there...this show is a hit...you did it girl...

Ridz: - peeping from behind the curtain she could not see a single chair empty – Wow... – then turning to him – ...it wasn't only me...we did it... – slapped him hi5

At the same time her phone rang, and she answered it excitedly.

Ridz: Hello...//Hi Dii...I know...//I won't be on till last but enjoy the show...//Yeah and make sure you video the whole thing...//Okay...okay bye...Thank you...//Bye...

She turned off the phone and Armaan came to her.

Armaan: What are you still doing here?

Ridz: Armaan...I need to make sure everything is going smoothly...

He was about to say something but he could hear the host starting the show, the crowd had gone silent and the first group of models had made a line next to them ready to go on. Riddhima wished them luck as they nervously waited, they went on as they were introduced and the crowd erupted in loud cheers as they went on one after the next. They came back off and there was a small section of entertainment. Armaan and Riddhima went to the dressing room to get dressed while the younger students, Minnie and the fan club modelled their hats and bags which they made for their textiles projects. Then there was refreshment break for five minutes and they were welcomed back with a dance performance by a group of year tens who took the crowd by storm as they enjoyed it so much.

The gang were back stage, finally ready they stood around excitedly as they waited to be called out for their turn.

Ridz: I can't believe this is actually happening...

Muskaan: Believe it girl...this is your dream come true...and you're looking beautiful...

Armaan: You really are... – looking at her

They complemented each other until they were called out; they walked in pairs towards the stage and waited in a line both excited and nervous. Nikita and Abhi went out first, Abhi held out his hand to her but she looked at it then ignoring him making the crowd laugh at them, she walked down the platform modelling her dress and getting a loud cheer from the audience, when she got back he offered her his hand once more and she took it walking off the stage.

Next were Muskaan and Rahul, they paraded around the platform in front of the audience who hooted and cheered for them and then the other students had their turn. Riddhima and Armaan were the last to go on the stage; and as they walked out the crowd erupted with applause and cheers making them smile widely; they walked along the platform, Riddhima modelling her dress in front of the audience. They walked back off the stage after a few moments and waited patiently at the back for the host to bring the show to a close. They chatted away excitedly until the host quietened down the audience and people backstage.

Host: Well this brings us to the end of the show but before we leave we still have two announcements to make...tonight we have raised 2500 for charity... – the crowd applause – ...thank you all very much...and for our final announcement I would like to call on stage...Mr. Tom Smith...the representative of TFI...The Fashion Institute...

The crowd applauded once again but backstage the gang was wearing shocked looks, they did not know that there was a representative from TFI, they all turned to look at Riddhima who should've been mostly shocked but she wore a nervous smile.

Armaan: Ridz?

Muskaan: You...

Niki: Knew...

Abhi: About...

Rahul: This?

Riddhima nodded slightly; but before anyone could say anything else they heard Riddhima's name being called out, she looked around nervously and they nodded to her to go but she was very nervous. Armaan gave her hand a small squeeze and smiled at her, they all told her to go.

Riddhima walked carefully onto the stage, a few people were already standing there, the head teacher, textiles teacher, the host and the representative; she gave them a small smile and waited to find out what was going on. The host handed the mike to the representative and stepped back giving him a chance to speak.

Rep: Good evening ladies and gentlemen...I have heard a lot about the Fashion Shows at this school for over many years and I have also had the pleasure to see the work that has been put into making these shows a success...and I have come to know that for the past two years they have been put together by this lovely young lady here...I am extremely glad to have attended this show today because it has been brilliant...the outfits which I have seen today were really beautiful...and the atmosphere...the setting...all just absolutely brilliant...but the reason I am here tonight...is to award this lovely lady Miss. Riddhima Gupta...

Riddhima looked up in shock as this was the last thing she was expecting to hear but he carried on, turning to her.

Rep: We at TFI have seen your work...through work experience as well as references and I will like to award you on behalf of everyone at TFI with a special trophy... – the host handed him a small trophy - ...for The Young Upcoming Talent of the Fashion Industry...Miss. Riddhima Gupta...

The crowd erupted in applause and some stood up to give her a standing ovation; she accepted the trophy in shock but happiness.

Rep: We would also like to offer you a place at TFI for next year to further your education and skills in Fashion...

Riddhima could not believe what she was hearing; she smiled with happiness and nodded excitedly. The host then handed the mike over to her asking her to say a few words; she held the mike and stared over at the audience but was unable to say anything. The host told her to take her time, the audience laughed and she giggled slightly before trying to speak.

Ridz: Umm...I don't know what to say... – smiling widely – ...I'm speechless... – after a few moments – ...I would really like to thank my friends first of all...because this really would not have been possible without them... – turning backstage - ...guys please come on stage...

The gang came out from behind and walked towards her, the six of them stood in a line and faced the audience and she looked at each one of them before speaking ahead.

Ridz: You all knew that this was one of my dreams...and each one of you...forgot about all your worries and your work...just to put together this show with me...to make our last show in this school such a grand success...I thank each one of you from the bottom of my heart...

They had a group hug to which the audience gave a standing ovation; they were each handed a bouquet of flowers and the host closed the show on a happy note. The gang walked down from the stage to meet their family and friends; Riddhima went straight to her mum and dad, who both gave her a hug together.

Shashank: I'm so proud of you my princess... – moving back, beaming

Ridz: Thank you papa... – smiling widely

Padma: - hugging her again – Riddhima...you've made us all so proud...I love you beta...

Ridz: I love you too mama... – hugging her tight very excitedly

Anji: Congrats Ridzi... – taking her turn to hug Riddhima – ...I'm so happy for you...

Ridz: Thanks so much dii... –moving back

Nandani: You're looking so beautiful...and we're all very happy for you...

Atul: Yeah Ridz...you are looking very beautiful...

Ridz: Thanks Jiju... – all smiles

Vikram: You really put together a great show Riddhima...I'm stunned...

Before Riddhima could say another word Armaan but in making them all turn to him just realising he was there.

Armaan: Hey...she was not the only star of the show...even I put together the show and modelled...and all those cheers...was not for her...actually it was for me... – they all laughed - ...it's not funny...I really do have a huge fan following...

At the same time his fan club walked by and went straight to Riddhima, ignoring him.

Minnie: Riddhima you were brilliant...and you look amazing...

Ridz: Aww thanks Minnie...

They walked away and Armaan was left standing there like an idiot.

Ridz: Armaan...you were saying?

Everyone laughed at him and he made a face. Suddenly the technician came to them and called them backstage for the photo shoot; they left their parents and went behind to see others already taking photos. They waited at the side until the younger ones had taken their photos and went to get dressed then they had their turn, they took a group photo with all six of them, then couples, then singles. They had a good laugh while making funny poses and serious ones; then they got dressed and made it backstage to meet the teachers.

Head Teach: Congratulations to all of you...the show was great and I would really like to thank Riddhima specially...this outdoor idea was really brilliant...but I'm very proud of you all...you made this show happen in two days...something as grand as this would have taken a professional company at least a month's preparation but you all...teachers and technician...and you six made it happen in just two days...so really Congratulations...

All: Thanks sir... – as he left

Text Teach: You all did a fantastic job...I'm really going to miss you all next year...what's going to happen without you guys...I really don't know...but go ahead...go and celebrate...you guys deserve it...

Ridz: We're going to miss this too ma'am...but we're actually here to help pack away...I mean...we set it up so we should also pack up right...

Text Teach: I think you lot have done enough...leave the rest to us and go have fun...

Ridz: Thanks...bye...

The gang left and went back to their families, which were the only ones left, the site was cleared and the technicians had started to pack up, all congratulated the gang while they walked by. Shashank had announced that the next day there would be a party at his place to celebrate the success of the show and the hard work of the gang. They all said their byes as they departed with their families and the Maliks' made their way to the Guptas' house for dinner. They arrived at home and settled down in the living room chatting away while Shashank ordered Riddhima's favourite take away dinner.

Anji: Ridzi this really was your day...such a grand show and now entry into TFI...that's what you always wanted...

Nandani: TFI? Where is that? - confused

Ridz: Aunty...it's The Fashion Institute...it's in the city...it's the biggest Fashion College in England, not just a college but the Fashion Museum is attached and lots of famous designers work there...

Atul: That's interesting...you're so lucky...

Shashank: Yeah...your hard work really has paid off...

Ridz: Yes papa...but only if you and mama permit me then I will go...if you think...

Shashank: And why would you think we would refuse? – cutting her off – ...This is your dream and you earned it through your hard work...

Vikram: Haan Riddhima beta...not everyone gets a chance to enter such a well known high college just sitting at home...you deserve this...just go for it...

Ridz: Thanks papa...thanks uncle... – smiling almost on the verge of tears

Padma: - hugging her – Now don't start crying...this is your happiest moment...don't ruin it by crying... – wiping her cheeks

Anji: Yes Ridzi...don't cry...just be happy...

Riddhima looked over at Armaan who sat quietly at the side of the sofa watching her with a big smile, he was really very happy for her and he wished that everyone would just disappear and they could be alone but his thoughts were disturbed when he heard everyone laughing out loud, he looked around to see that they were laughing at him.

Armaan: What? – coming back to reality

Atul: Why are you sulking...because you're not getting the attention?

Vikram: Do something with your life and you will also get the attention...

Armaan: Dad... – annoyed

Atul: It's true Armaan...you need to get good marks and get a good job...

Shashank: Don't worry Armaan Khushi Events is waiting for you...if you want that is... – looking closely at him

Armaan: Thank you uncle...I would love that but under one condition...

Shashank: What's that?

Armaan: Please don't make me work under bhaiya...

They all laughed as they retold the story of Armaan's work experience. Sometime later the food arrived and they enjoyed themselves; the Maliks' left late that night after congratulating Riddhima once again. She went up to her room and got ready for bed; she laid there looking up at the ceiling, closing her eyes slowly, the events of the day ran through her mind making her smile.

Ridz: Dreams do come true... – she whispered into the dark, smiling

Her phone vibrated shaking her out of her thoughts. She picked it up to see Armaan's name flashing on the screen, her smile widened and she pressed the green button...

Ridz: Hi... – sensuously

Armaan: Hayee... – sighing – ...I love hearing your voice...

Ridz: Armaan...

Armaan: Yes Riddhima...

Ridz: Huh...you called...

Armaan: Oh...yeah...

Ridz: What's up?

Armaan: Nothing...I just wanted to say...I love you...

Ridz: I know...aur kuch?

Armaan: Yeah...

Ridz: What?

Armaan: I'm really happy for you Riddhima...I know you must be extremely tired of hearing the same thing...but...there's no other way to put it...not everyone has their dreams come true...this was really big...and you did it...you made the impossible possible...seriously...I'm so proud of you...

Ridz: Armaan...yes this was my dream but like I said before this wouldn't have been possible without you guys...so I didn't make it happen...we did...

Armaan: But whose idea was it...who had the guts to go to the head teacher and speak up... – Riddhima stayed quiet – ...not everyone can pull up that much courage Ridz...but you did...and that's really something... – she was still quiet – ...you knew that Rep was going to be there...and you didn't tell us...Ridz...this is the best opportunity that anyone can get...don't let it go...because you deserve it... - seriously

Ridz: Thanks Armaan...I love you...

Armaan: I love you too...now go to sleep...I can see you haven't slept in weeks...you look horrible! - joking

Ridz: WHAT?? Armaan you'r...

Armaan: - cutting her off – I'm just kidding Ridz...but seriously...go to sleep...you need to rest after such a hectic week...

Ridz: Yeah...I know...

Armaan: Bye see you tomorrow...can't wait for the party...sasur ji will throw a grand party for his daughter's success...

Ridz: ARMAAN... – angrily but smiling

Armaan: Just joking...bye goodnight...

Ridz: Good night...love you...

Armaan: Love you too jaan...sweet dreams...

She cut the phone and drifted off into peaceful sleep thinking of tomorrow's party...
.............................................

part 35

The next day arrived quite soon; Riddhima was in her room early that afternoon getting ready for the party; she had worn a new blue salwar suit which she was gifted on her birthday and matching jewellery. She sat at her dressing table doing her make up as her mind wondered wildly thinking about the events of the past few weeks.

Ridz: - thinking – Life really does fly by...so much has happened in such short amount of time...is this even possible...sometimes I feel scared that this is just too good to be true...everything is just perfect...I hope I don't wake up one day to find this was all a dream...a fairy tale...like this all never happened...

She shook that thought out of her mind quickly and applied kohl to her eyes as the final touch; again her mind started buzzing.

Ridz: TFI...is this really happening...? – getting up

She walked over to her cupboard and opened it, taking out a pink hard back book she smiled; closing the cupboard she walked towards the balcony with the book. She stepped out onto it and sat in her favourite swing chair; she opened it slowly and looked over the pages. It was her diary, a journal of her early days of school life; she skimmed through the pages until she found what she was looking for. Back in year eight she had found out about TFI and had wrote about how she wished she could go there, what she would do if she was there and who she would meet there. She skimmed through the pages widening her smile as she thought of her childishness that she had wrote in there years back.

She flicked through some more pages feeling a little nostalgic, going over the past five years of her life she saw the difference in herself today; the little Riddhima had changed, in many ways which she now understood. The once upon a time Riddhima who would think of a fairy tale life where her life was simple with a little tension of home work and itty bitty arguments with other girls in her class over whose dress was better, who use to think of her small but sweet family of which she was centre of attention, with dreams of becoming a fashion designer, dreams of her prince riding towards her on a white horse. But now after flicking through the pages of her life she could see the difference in herself.

Ridz: - writing her thoughts into her journal –...Life changes so quickly...looking back to when I was young...how naive and childish I was...but time makes everyone change...I know it and I can feel it...looking back through these pages of my past really makes me think...how I was and how I am...now I know when to control my myself...my emotions...now things are different...I have different likes...and dislikes...I'm getting to know life better...seeing things through a different light...before it was all about me...and now...now I look around me...my parents...my family...my love...my life...my future...I can feel the change...and I think I like it...but I think it's best to take it easy...small steps entering a big world... – a small tear dropped from her eye onto the page as she signed off

Riddhima's thoughts were disturbed as she felt a hand on her shoulder; she snapped her book shut and looked up to see Anjali standing there.

Ridz: Dii... – wiping her cheek

Anji: Ridzi...why are you crying... – crouching down next to her – ...what's wrong...?

Ridz: Dii... – smiling – ...kuch nahi...just like that... – stands up from the chair

Anji: Ridzi you can tell me if something is bothering you... – straightens up

Ridz: It's nothing dii...I was just thinking...I can't believe this is all happening...suddenly like this...

Anji: Aww... – hugging Riddhima - ...you're really still a little baby...

Ridz: Dii... – making a face as she moved back – ...ab main bari ho gayi...I'm not a baby...

Anji: You'll always be our baby...even when you have your own... – giving her a side hug, then moving back – ...c'mon let's go down...most of the guests have arrived and you're still up here...

Ridz: Okay dii...let me just put this away... – they walk back into the room

Anji: Haan aur...I don't want to see any more tears...okay? – sternly

Ridz: Theek hain dii... – smiling as she closed her cupboard door and looking at herself one more time in the mirror – ...chale?

Anji: Chalo...

They walked out of the room and went downstairs; as they got to the bottom Atul stood there looking a bit serious and Anjali's behaviour had slightly changed. Riddhima noticed something immediately and looked from Anjali to Atul and back.

Ridz: Jiju...kya huwa?

Atul: Kuch nahi Ridzi... – seriously

Ridz: Dii...? – waiting for her to say something but she walked away to the kitchen leaving them alone – ...Jiju...what's wrong...

Atul: Nothing Ridzi...don't worry... – forcing a smile

Riddhima was about to say something but she stopped as Nikita and Muskaan walked towards her from the kitchen.

Niki: There you are Ridz...we've been here for five minutes...all the guests are here...

Muskaan: And madam... – carrying on from Nikita - ...nowhere to be seen...

Atul excused himself and walked away leaving Riddhima to look at him in concern; Muskaan nudged Riddhima making her forget the thought.

Ridz: Huh? – turning to them

Muskaan: What's wrong Ridz?

Ridz: Nothing... – putting it aside – ...you guys look nice...

Niki: Thanks...so do you...

Muskaan: We can do this outside...c'mon our party is going on and we're standing here like idiots...let's go...

They laughed and walked through the living room towards the conservatory door leading to the garden. They walked out to see the place very crowded, Riddhima smiled and greeted the guest who congratulated her in return. They grabbed themselves a drink and settled down on the plastic chairs which were set out on the patio. Riddhima looked around the garden to see many familiar people enjoying themselves, she saw Muskaan and Nikita's mothers sitting with Nandani, Rahul's mother and Padma were chatting away happily. Abhi's parents' were standing near the food table with Shashank and Rahul's dad and she could see some of her neighbours enjoying themselves. She smiled seeing this but suddenly her mind thought of Armaan and she scanned the garden area for him, he was nowhere in sight and she decided to ring him.

Riddhima dialled his number excited to hear his voice, she hadn't heard from him since last night when they spoke and she wanted to know where he was. She placed the phone near her ear and waited for him to answer but she pulled a confused look, moving the phone away from her ear and looking at it as his voicemail came on. She tried again but once more it went to voicemail.

Ridz: I wonder where he is...

Turning to the girls she saw that they are not really bothered where the guys were, she excused herself from them and looked around the place, meeting guests on the way.

Nandani: Riddhima beta... – calling her over

Ridz: Ji Aunty? – walking towards her and Muskaan and Nikita's mum

Nandani: Come sit with us for sometime... – as she sat down – ...what's wrong...you seem a bit lost...

Muskaan's Mum: Are you looking for someone?

Ridz: Nahi Aunty...just... – forgetting for some time about what she was doing – ...I'm just checking if you all are enjoying yourself...shall I get something for you to drink?

Niki's Mum: No Riddhima beta it's okay...this is your party...you don't need to be serving...

Nandani: That's my Riddhima... – putting her hand on Riddhima's head - ...always thinking of others first...

Niki's Mum: Bohot pyaari bachi hain...

Ridz: Thank you Aunty...

Muskaan's Mum: Go on...enjoy yourself...you don't have to sit here with us oldies...

Ridz: Nahi Aunty... – as they laugh - ...it's okay...

Nandani: Go on Riddhima...

Ridz: Theek hain...

She got up and remembered that she was looking for Armaan; she decided to have a look inside, her mind really thinking of all kind of ideas of where he could be and why his phone was off, suddenly her heart started beating rapidly hoping he was okay. She walked through the empty living room towards the kitchen to find a guy standing there with his back towards her making her frown.

Ridz: Where have you been? – walking towards him

She placed her hand on his shoulder turning him around but was suddenly shocked to see it was Vivik and not Armaan.

Ridz: Tum? What are you doing here?

Vivik: Hi...I was invited to celebrate your success...

Ridz: - her heart beat raced as he came close to her – But...but what are you doing here...the...the guests are all outside...you...

Vivik: Calm down babes...I was waiting for you... – moving towards her

Ridz: Please go from here...

Vivik: Riddhima... – sensuously - ...we can still be together...

Ridz: - looking at him in shock and anger – Are you mad...after what you did to Armaan...I don't even want to see your face...

Vivik: I did that to get you...and it failed but don't you worry...one day you will be mine... – inches away from her

He was about to touch her but they were distracted as someone entered the kitchen, he moved back quickly and Riddhima thanked God silently. They turned to see who it was, Anjali stood there watching them suspiciously.

Anji: Is everything okay? – moving towards Riddhima

Vivik: Hi Anji Dii...everything's fine... – faking a smile and being nice - ...how are you...I don't think I've met you since your wedding...

Anji: I'm fine... – smiling

Vivik: You've really disappeared from the estate...

Anji: No it's not like that... – laughing it off as Riddhima watched his act – ...I've been around...but I don't see you...

They carried on talking as Riddhima saw Atul walked by the door; she called his name disrupting the other two who turned to look at Riddhima.

Ridz: Jiju...please come here for a second... – then to Anjali – ...dii...come with me... – ignoring Vivik all together

Anji: Ridzi... – but she was cut off

Ridz: Dii...just come with me...

Anji: - turning to Vivik – Excuse us...

Vivik: No prob...it was nice seeing you...

Riddhima held Anjali's hand and dragged her away from Vivik into the living room where Atul was waiting; she made them stand together and looked at them like a school teacher.

Ridz: Will one of you tell me what is going on... – they stayed quiet, Atul sneaked a glance at her then turned away – ...I'm waiting...

Anji: Ridzi let's not talk about this now...we have guests...

Ridz: I don't care...you two are more important to me right now...I don't care guest or no guest... - seriously

They were quiet again while Riddhima waited; she was beginning to get annoyed after five minutes of silence, as she watched them standing there she saw their expressions had changed, she could see that they both were feeling stupid and without doing anything she knew she had got what she wanted and her tone softened.

Ridz: Jiju...Dii... – getting their attention – ...I know you guys have had an argument...I'm not going to ask why or what about...because that's not my business...but what I do care about is both of you...I don't like seeing you guys like this...I can't see both of you like this...and I know you guys are both feeling stupid for behaving like this right now...so forget about whatever it was that you guys were arguing and please make up...please... - begging

Atul: Ridz...

Ridz: Not Ridz Jiju...Anjali... – turning Anjali to face him

Atul: - smiling at her act – Anjali...I'm sorry...

Anjali didn't say anything but moved closer to him, he automatically put his arms around her giving her a hug making Riddhima smile, Anjali whispered sorry and Riddhima watched on happily but they were disturbed by Riddhima's phone. Suddenly she remembered about Armaan, hoping it was him.

Ridz: You guys carry on...I won't disturb you...

Anji: - laughing – Thanks Ridzi...

Ridz: You should've solved it yourself... – to both of them - ...what would you have done without me... - sighing melodramatically then turning to her phone and moving away - ...Hello... – eagerly

?? – Hi Ridzi...

Riddhima moved the phone away from her ear to look at the screen, she hoped it was Armaan but hearing a lady's voice on the other end she looked at the screen to see who it was, smiling widely she turned back to the phone call.

Ridz: Hey Tannu...how are you... – walking back into the kitchen leaving the love birds alone, she sat at the table

Tannu: Hey...I'm fine...Congratulations! I heard about your show...

Ridz: Thank you... – smiling

Tannu: I wish I was there to see this one...I can't believe I missed it...

Ridz: Yeah it was a shame they pre-pone it...if it was in July like last year you could have seen it...

Tannu: I know...but I hear this one was a huge success and I also heard that you got a place in TFI...that's really great news...

Ridz: Yeah...thanks...

Tannu: So where is everyone...where's Armaan?

Ridz: Talking about him... – just remembering that she was searching for him - ...I don't know...I called him earlier but his phone was off...I really wonder where he is... – sounding worried

Tannu: Don't worry about him...he's probably around somewhere...

Ridz: Yeah but he hasn't called me all day...

Tannu: Aww...missing him?

Ridz: Hmm... – sadly

Tannu: - laughing – You guys are too cute...but don't let him ruin your party...go and enjoy yourself...

Ridz: But I can't enjoy without him...

Tannu: Aww...go on...go join the party...I'll speak to you later...

Ridz: Okay...and all the best for your exams...

Tannu: Same to you...say hi to the others from me...take care...

Ridz: Take care...bye...

She ended the call and decided to go back outside to the girls. As she walked out onto the patio she saw the gang sitting together at the end of the garden, she could see Armaan with them, breathing a sigh of relief that he was okay then suddenly she looked at him in ager as she neared them. All day he had not called her, she was worried out of her brains for him, and he had arrived and didn't think of her at all. As she walked up to them they turned to look at her.

Armaan: Hi Ridz...

Ignoring him she sat next to Nikita and said hi to the other guys; Muskaan and Nikita smiled while Armaan looked on in curiosity.

Rahul: Hey Ridz...where were you?

Ridz: Just here and there...was meeting the guest...

Abhi: How boring... – they laugh - ...you should be here with the young gang and instead you're sitting with the oldies...

Ridz: That's not very nice Abhi... – smiling – ...oh by the way guys...I was just chatting to Tannu...she says hi to you guys...

Niki: Aww...she's okay?

Ridz: Yeah...she was a bit annoyed that she couldn't make it to the show...

Muskaan: Ohh...you know what guys...I think we deserve each and every bit of this glory...

Abhi: Definitely...we did an awesome job...

Armaan: Credit goes to Riddhima...

Ridz: - still ignoring him – Credit goes to US...well done guys...

Armaan: Ridz...what's wrong... – looking sadly at her

Ridz: - getting up – Guys let's get something to eat...I think dinner is being served...

The girls stood up and went to get something to eat, Abhi and Rahul told him about girls' mood swings before standing up and following them; Armaan sat there looking confused wondering what was wrong with her. Muskaan and Rahul were the first one's back with their food, they told Armaan to get some food, he left them alone and walked towards the dining table, he grabbed a plate and watched Riddhima who stood on the other side of the table taking out her food. Abhi and Nikita went back to their spot leaving Armaan and Riddhima there and some other guests. Armaan walked around the table and stood next to her.

Armaan: Ridz... – whispered – ...please talk to me...

Ridz: I don't want to talk to you...

She began to walk away and Armaan followed her, she moved through the kitchen and was about to go back outside but Armaan held her hand and pulled her into the empty living room.

Ridz: Armaan what are you... – whispered – ...someone will see us... – angrily

Armaan: Riddhima... – moving close to her - ...why are you ignoring me?

Ridz: Like you don't know... – looking here and there making sure no one was watching them

Armaan: I don't know...that's why I'm asking... – sadly

Ridz: Really? – fuming

Armaan: Have I done something? – sadly - ...Did I say something?

Ridz: No...you haven't done anything... – through gritted teeth

Armaan: Then what's wrong?

Ridz: Do you know how worried I have been all day...thinking about you...where were you? – looking closely at him - ...you didn't even answer my calls...everyone was here but you...I called you so many times...and you didn't answer...I was so worried...and you didn't even think of calling me once? – angrily

Armaan: - moving back slightly thinking – She cares so much...I'm such an idiot...I should've called... – then to her – ...Riddhima...I'm so sorry...I really should've called you...I was...

Ridz: - cutting him off – Where were you?

Armaan: Ridz...I was...I was at home...you won't believe me when I say... – watching her expression – ...I was...I was studying...I knew everyone would be out today so I thought that I would use this time to study...exams are not far away and I haven't revised anything...sorry my phone was off...I really should've called you but once I got started I didn't realise...I didn't even see the time until mum called on the landline telling me to come over...I'm really sorry Riddhima...

Riddhima's expression changed immediately, he had been honest and now she was feeling like the idiot.

Ridz: I'm sorry Armaan...I just got angry for no reason...I should've found out where you were first...

Armaan: No Ridz it was not your fault...I should've called...

They both became silent and looked into each other's eyes but before their eye lock session could start they were brought back to reality by the noise coming from the kitchen, they realised that they were close and this was not the right time. They decided that they would make up properly later; Armaan went out into the garden through the conservatory door while Riddhima went through the kitchen, they met back outside at the same time and smiled, and they walked towards the gang. As they walked around the garden they could see Rahul and Muskaan sitting with their parents, Muskaan had already started acting like a daughter-in-law, Riddhima smiled seeing this and they carried on to where they were sitting before. As the neared the area they could see Abhi and Nikita shouting at each other; they settled down next to them wondering what was going on.

Abhi: Yeah we all know how clever you are... – teasing

Niki: Shut up Abhi... – angrily

Abhi: You started it and now you are telling me to stop...because you know you're wrong...

Armaan: What's wrong guys...?

Niki: I'm right... – ignoring Armaan she continued arguing - ...and I'll prove it...

Abhi: Really? – sniggering - ...And how are you going to do that?

Niki: Wait till we get our results...I'll show you...

Abhi: - laughing – You'll show me...with your results...we've already seen your results...and we know it's a fail...

Niki: What results have you seen? – loudly - ...You haven't seen anything...you loser...

Abhi: We all saw your so called outfit yesterday...the worst out of the whole show...even the year nines were better than yours...you're going to fail...come on you know it yourself...no one needs to tell you that you are a waste of space...

Nikita was about to say something back but instantly tears sprung to her eyes, she got up and walked away as tears fell from her eyes. Riddhima and Armaan looked on in shock, no matter how many times they had seen Abhi and Nikita arguing but it had never gone this far, Nikita had never cried or let any of his words get to her but suddenly seeing her like this they became serious.

Ridz: Abhi you shouldn't have said that... – getting up she went behind Nikita

Abhi: What? – angrily as Armaan looked at him

Riddhima followed her into the house and took her up to her room to calm her down. After fifteen minutes they came back down to see many of the guests had left and only the gang and their families were around. It had gone quite dark as it was nearing nine o'clock, the garden lights had come on and everyone was sitting around on plastic chairs. Riddhima and Nikita settled down at the side in two empty chairs, Armaan looked over to see if Nikita was okay, her eyes were quite red but she seemed a little better than before; Abhi ignored her and carried on talking to Rahul. After sometime, Shashank spoke up to the group.

Shashank: We all know that this party was held in order to celebrate our children's successful show yesterday and we really are very proud of each and every one of you...

Vikram: Yes...what you all put together yesterday was amazing but... – turning to the six of them - ...you all know that wasn't all of it...that is not the end...

Abhi's Dad: - carrying on – You're right Vikram...that is not the end...for the next few weeks we want you to study properly... – directly to Abhi – ...we want good results...

Rahul's Dad: Not just good results...excellent results...

Rahul's Mum: - to his dad – Why are you scaring them...this is not the right way... – turning to the six of them – ...just do your best...no pressure...

Rahul: Thanks mum... – they all laugh

The rest of the evening went on with more fun and jokes before they all decide it was quite late, they said bye and thanks for the party then left. The Maliks' stayed for a while, they settled down in the living room chatting away. Riddhima looked around to see everything was back to normal with Atul and Anjali she smiled widely then turned to Armaan who was already watching her. He raised an eyebrow at her wondering why she was smiling away but she blinked slowly telling him that she will fill him in later. The Maliks' left after sometime and Riddhima got ready for bed thinking of the next few weeks ahead. It was their final weeks of secondary school; she thought of revision and exams. She closed her eyes praying that they would go as perfect as the last few days had been before going to sleep...


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