Wednesday, 8 April 2020

part 5 : IRRESISTIBLY YOURS



After Armaan and atul left the room,anjali took riddhima to saloon.....
The salon was in the hotel lobby, just past the elevators on the right hand side. There were a half dozen white salon chairs all facing full-length mirrors, and surprisingly, only one was taken. They were seated right away, given a menu of complimentary appetizers and beverages, and soon Anjali was whisked away to another room for a facial, leaving Riddhima on her own to look through style magazines.

Riddhima rocked forward in her seat, looking through the other reading material, when a buzzing noise sounded from her purse. She instantly grinned, knowing full well who it was, and fetched her bag from the hanger on the wall.

A text.

Wild Tiger : Are you alone?

Riddhima grinned wickedly,then looked around to make sure no one was watching. Only the petite brunette sat in the corner with foils in her Hair.



Mona: Sort of. I’m in the salon waiting for my haircut. Where are you ?

Wild Tiger :Sitting in my room, thinking of you.

Her stomach tightened and riddhima crossed her legs.

Mona: I don’t like being away from you. This is harder than I thought.

Wild Tiger : You’re telling me.

She burst into laughter but quickly covered her mouth.

Mona: That’s not what I meant and you know it.

Wild Tiger : Did you hear about the party?

Riddhima grinned.

Mona:Yes

Wild Tiger :I’ll see you there.

Mona:See you.

Riddhima tucked her phone back in her bag, just as Anjali came back into the room wearing a green mask with slices of cucumbers on her lids. An helper was guiding her through the Salon, and finally plopped Anjali down in the seat beside Riddhima , and proceeded to attach a headrest to the back of her chair.

“I didn’t want to wait back there all alone,” Anjali said. “I missed you too much.”

Riddhima laughed and hung her bag back on the wall. “Good, because I was just about to pick out my own haircut, and we all know how well that turns out.”

Anjali cracked a tiny grin. “But don’t worry, I’ve already called ahead and told them exactly what to do.”

Riddhima grinned. “Thankyou.”

“So,” anjali began sleepily. “When does Sid arrive? I was worried for a minute he might get here before you and I’d have to entertain him on my own.” Anjali said.

It was meant as a joke, one she’d made regularly when they lived together, but the whole energy in the room instantly shifted.

Riddhima cleared her throat, knowing her friend had no idea what had happened. “We broke up,” riddhima said softly, hoping her voice carried to her best friend, but as soon as the words exited her lips, Anjali removed the cucumbers from her eyes.

“What?” Anjali whispered. “When?”

“On the trip. Two days ago.” Riddhima took a breath, trying to calm her nerves. “You were right. Sid put everything above me and I was sick of it. When he called to tell me he couldn’t make it to the wedding, that was the end for me.”

Anjali frowned, sending bits of green mask to fall to her shoulders.
“I’m so sorry, Ridzi.”

Riddhima shrugged. “Don’t be. I should have done it a long time ago…like you said.”

A tear slipped down Anjali cheek, leaving a streak of flesh visible through the thin mask.

Riddhima sat forward and grabbed hold of Anjali’s hands. “I thought you’d be happy. I thought—”

“I’m pissed, Ridzi . So angry he’s treated you like this again.” Anjali said.

Riddhima nodded, her chin slightly quivering, because it was obvious how much Anjali loved her, how ferociously she cared about her.

“This trip has taught me a lot about myself.” Riddhima began. “One being that Sid and I were never meant for each other....
but especially not now.”

Anjali nodded, as though she’d known this fact a long time. “How did you do it? What did you say?” Anjali ask

Riddhima winced. “I did it by text. I know it wasn’t ideal, but he was always too busy to talk. I knew he’d at least check his messages.” Riddhima said

Anjali raised her eyebrows. “How did he respond?” Anjali ask

“I don’t know. My phone got wet. I have no idea.” Riddhima said.

Anjali laughed, then turned in her seat and looked at Riddhima through the mirror. “Serves him right. Though honestly, I’m surprised he let you go that easily. I’m surprised he hasn’t tried calling me to get to you.” Anjali stated.

Riddhima sighed. “I guess he’s resigned to it being over. He’s focused on his career, and I’m honestly relieved about that. It will make things easier when I get home.”
She nodded for emphasis, then turned in her seat But a large burly man came to stand behind her at that moment.

“You must be Riddhima ,” he said in a deep, husky voice.

She nodded, then glanced over at anjali with eyes as wide as saucers.

Anjali giggled. “Tom, this is my best friend Ridz. She just broke up with her boyfriend, and needs the hottest haircut within your ability.”

Tom smiled, instantly transforming his face into something reminiscent of a teddy bear. “You got it, Anji. ,” tom said. Tom lowered Riddhima ’s seat, indicating she should follow him.

********************************

Riddhima ’s hotel Room turned out to be a mere two doors down from Anjali ’s. Two.
Convenient for borrowing deodorant, but not so convenient if she wanted to sneak a certain someone into her room in the middle of the day. It wasn’t that she wasn’t having fun either, because spending time with her best friend was exactly where she wanted to be. Riddhima craved their interaction, their easy friendship that allowed them to speak freely, or be perfectly silent without any awkwardness at all.

At one point during their appointment, Anjali was telling her about her and Atul ’s first date, and Riddhima thought she might cry, she was laughing so hard. Or at another time, when Anjali told her again the story of how he proposed, Riddhima thought she might cry, but this time because it was utter sweetness.

And then, they had a long talk about Sid, and about how Riddhima feared she’d stayed with him for so long for all the wrong reasons. Because she was scared of hurting people, of saying no. Scared of rejections, and of failure. In the end, they had a big ol’ cry fest about how much they missed each other, and made promises to visit each other whenever they could, no matter where they lived or how difficult life became.

But now, she was alone in her room, which left plenty of time to think about Armaan . Riddhima wasn’t sure if it was the fact he’d become the forbidden fruit, or if it was something else, but all her hormones were bursting. Having him at her will for two days had ruined her for life. Already, all she could think about was kissing him, touching him, and him touching her. Riddhima dangled her feet off the side of the bed and let out a deep sigh.

She’d tried to take a nap as Anjali was doing, but every time she closed her eyes, memories of Armaan’s lovemaking played through her mind, making her feel…anything but rested.

Deciding to give up on sleep, she fetched her purse from the top of her dresser, and carried her toiletries and makeup to the bathroom. She arranged everything on the countertops meticulously then she texted armaan.

Mona:Are you alone?

It was a simple message,well meaning and straight to the point… And not five seconds later, her phone rang and she slid open the call.

“Where are you?” Armaan asked with a husky flirtation.

She sat on the edge of the bathtub, smiling as she tested the temperature with her fingers.

“My room.”riddhima said..

“That’s a shame, you should be in mine.” armaan said.

Riddhima grinned, letting her bath robe slip down her shoulders then fall softly to the floor.
“I’m about to get in the bath,” she said..
Tingles traveled down her body simply from the admission. She felt naughty, sexy, and she wished she could see his face .

“Where’s your room?” Armaan asked then. “I’ll be there in two minutes.”

She only smiled and put one foot in the water. “You can’t. Anjali ’s room is just across the hall. It’s too risky.”riddhima said...

Armaan groaned. “I like risks.”

Riddhima laughed and lowered her body farther. “Well I don’t, and I’m the only one who knows my room number.”

Armaan was quiet a moment, and she could almost see him smiling.
“Touché, little one.” Armaan said..

She grinned and leaned back, resting her neck in the built-in pillow.
“Little one?” she asked, her nose wrinkling at the pet name.

“It’s only fact.” Armaan said..

Riddhima nodded, letting her body relax.

“So what did you do today? Anything for the wedding?” She asked.

“Eh, this and that. Mostly hung out with atul and his family. And thought about you in that dress.”

She grinned. “Did you like it?” Riddhima ask

“I did.” He said huskily.

“Good,” riddhima said, leaning forward to turn off the water.

“Are you in the bathtub, Riddhima ?” Armaan asked..There was a thread of humor in his voice, but she could hear it going deeper too.

Riddhima wrinkled her nose, then bit her finger as a rush of embarrassment warmed her cheeks.
“Yes,” Riddhima whispered.

He made an obvious clearing of his throat and spoke again.
“Are you naked?” Armaan ask..

Riddhima laughed, because what kind of question was that? “Of course She is naked.

What kind of baths do you take?” She asked.

Armaan laughed then, and she could almost see him throwing his head back.

“No no no… We’re not talking about me, we’re talking aboutyou.” Armaan said...

“Okay then. Yes. I’m very much naked.” Riddhima was grinning ear-to-ear, feeling giddy and silly all at the sametime.

“Are there bubbles?”armaan asked..

She laughed “Yes.” She bit her lip. “Why do you ask?”

“Because I’m trying to visualize you, and every detail helps.” Armaan said smiling..

“Oh yeah? How am I looking?”riddhima ask..

“Hot. Really hot.” Armaan said grinning..

Riddhima bit her lip, loving the playful tone of his voice. She leaned her head back, realizing she loved talking to him so much. She loved—everything about him. She sunk a little deeper in the water and whisked up a pile of bubbles with her fingers.
“And where are you, Mr. Malik ?”

“In bed,” armaan stated. There was a seductive tone to his voice, but he didn’t elaborate Which left her mind running with possibilities. With naughty thoughts of what he could be doing there.

The line went silent again, and soon she sat forward wanting to ask where he went. But before the words crossed her lips, his rich sexy baritone came through the receiver again.
“Grab the soap, Riddhima .” Armaan said

She smiled, shocked by the request, and glanced toward the small box of soap sitting on the side of the tub before leaning back again. “I’m not grabbing the soap,” riddhima said firmly, but she couldn’t quite contain her grin.

“Why? Do you not like soap?” Armaan asked..

“No.” Riddhima laughed. “I just know what you want me to do and I’m not about to do it.”

“And what’s that?” Armaan asked.

“I’m not having phone xxx with you, Armaan ,” she whispered, grinning ear to ear.

“I didn’t ask you for phone xxx. I asked you to grab the soap.” Armaan said chuckling..

“Why do I feel ‘soap’ is the code word for phone xxx ?” Riddhima ask.

Armaan laughed. “Because you’re a prude?” Armaan said

Her mouth fell open in shock. “I’m not a prude, I—”
But before she could finish her sentence, he cut her off. “Then grab the soap, Riddhima .”armaan said

She narrowed her eyes, because there was no denying the blatant

“I dare you” in his request.
Riddhima pick up the soap but at same time there was knock on the room door and riddhima instantly inform armaan and cut the call to check on the door. She found anjali on the door.

What are you doing here you was taking nap. Riddhima ask.
Yeah but now am here to help my best friend to get ready because she is single and there is so many hot guys i want to set you with them. Anjali said grinning
Riddhima sighs
Anji you know I want to be single Riddhima said.
Yaa I know but you can try, I already talk to some atul best man so i want you to try at least for me. Anjali said.
Then Anjali show her black colour romper that dress was very short till her mid thighs and backless. With cross string.
Anjali help riddhima in getting ready then she also get ready for the combine bachelorette party. Anjali get ready in short bronze colour dress and riddhima wear that romper dress which show her every curve. Her back is almost bare with two x strings.

**************************
The rooftop was already decorated when they got there. All elegance, class, and lights. Ten or so cocktail tables surrounded by dark wooden stools were arranged around the dance floor. Twinkling lights were strung along the rooftop, creating a canopy above them, and giving the illusion of stars.

Riddhima and Anjali walked down the steps to the dance floor, where atul stood waiting. He had on a tailored suit, with a white dress shirt open at the throat, and looked sexy as hell. He raked his eyes up and down his future bride, and Riddhima quickly turned around, wanting to give them some sense of privacy.

The rooftop was already packed with people, maybe forty or so, all dressed to impress . She immediately scanned the space looking for Armaan , but he was nowhere to be seen. Riddhima took her phone out of her purse and sent him atext.

Mona: Where areyou?

She waited a few seconds for a reply that never came, then tucked the phone back into her bag and began walking toward the bar. Soft music played through the loudspeakers, and people were laughing and mingling all around her. Riddhima sat down at one of the oak seats at the bar and signaled for the bartender. Riddhima felt slightly naked, having never worn something quite so revealing out in public. But she held her head high, and tried not to imagine what everyone else was thinking.

“What can I get you?” the bartender asked, bracing his arms on the counter in front of her.

She cleared her throat and resisted the urge to cross her arms at her chest.
“A martini, please. Extra olives.” Riddhima order her drink.

He nodded, and she quickly turned around to look over the patio. There was a dark haired man sitting just two seats over, and she decided it wouldn’t hurt to introduce herself.

She hooked her heeled shoe on the rung of the barstool and crossed her legs.
“Hi,” she began. “I’m Riddhima . The maid of honor.” After all, she’d be spending the next few days with these people. She might as well get to know them.

He grinned slightly, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose before nodding. “Abhimanyu malik ,” he stated.
“The bride’s cousin. We’ve met before.”

Riddhima bit her bottom lip, narrowing her eyes to get a better look. His eyes were dark, and he was very handsome, but he looked nothing like his blue eyes cousin.

“Abhi ? Oh my gosh, I haven’t seen you…in, well… Since that summer you threw dirt on my face .” Riddhima said happily..

Abhi scrunched up his nose and took a large gulp of his drink. “I was hoping you’d forgotten about that.”

Riddhima laughed. “I have a memory like an elephant. You’re pretty much screwed.”

Abhi bit his lower lip and looked down to his feet. “I was afraid of that.”

She ginned at him, then lifted her shoulders in a “Sorry to tell ya” motion, as the bartender set her drink down before her.
Abhi was older—maybe by 4 or 5 years, but the last time she’d seen him he was a scrawny teenager.

“You look…” Abhimanyu eyed her up and down. “All grown up, Riddhima .” Abhi said.

She took a long sip of her Martini and smiled.
“Do you live around here?” she asked, taking the cocktail stick and scraping an olive off with her teeth.

Abhi nodded. “Manhattan, and you?” He asked.

“No.” Riddhima shook her head. “I’m still in LA, though I’m not sure why at the moment. This city is beautiful.”

Abhi laughed heartily, sounding exactly how she remembered him. Robust and sincere… and possibly a little bit nerdy if that was possible.

She turned in her seat to take another drink, as another man came to fill the seat between them—but she barely noticed. Because Armaan appeared on the rooftop at that exact moment.

His eyes locked on hers right away. Possessive, brilliant blue, and caused a physical reaction to form in her belly. Armaan raked his eyes up and down her figure, then began walking down the steps toward her. Armaan looked as though he wanted to ravish her, though Riddhima didn’t blame him. She wanted to ravage him as well. Because for every inch Armaan Malik lacked in polish, he made up for in pure sex appeal. He wore tight faded jeans, a tight white V-neck t-shirt, and a black blazer that somehow made his shoulders look even broader.

“Where in LA do you live?” the man who’d joined them said to her.

Riddhima turned in her seat to give him her attention. “Sherman Oaks.” She swallowed. “Are you familiar?” Riddhima ask.

“No.” He shook his head. “I was just trying to steal your attention away from whoever stole it.” He grinned. “I’m rahul Grewal , by the way. One of the groomsmen.”

She glanced down to the bar, knowing she was blushing, and downed the rest of her martini. “Riddhima ,” she replied.

“Ahhhh… The maid of honor. Anjali has told me about you.” He held out his hand, and leaned back against the bar.

Suddenly, Riddhima realized Rahul was the one of the men Anjali was trying to set her up with. She could see why. He was built, good looking, and had a voice like shredded sandpaper. She shook his hand.

“You’re the artist, right?” Rahul asked then, cutting off her train of thought.

Riddhima nodded, catching a glimpse of Armaan out of the corner of her eye. He already had at least three girls around him. One a ballerina that danced in Anjali’s company, a brunette who looked harmless enough, and a redheaded hussy.

“I’m a sculptor. How about you?”Riddhima ask.

“Businesses .” Rahul said

But just then the DJ’s voice sounded through the speakers, saving her from giving any sort of reply. He was calling everyone to the dance floor, beckoning them, with his arms above his head, to come closer. Riddhima immediately rose from her seat, excusing herself from the two men, and weaved her way through the crowd.

The DJ was standing in the middle of the dance floor and waited until most everyone had moved closer. “Good evening, ladies and gentleman. As you all may know, we’re here to celebrate the last single days of both atul and Anjali . they have decided to join their parties together, and share their last night with all of you. Every one of you is special to them, and they want you to get to know one another. So look around, say hello, and find a new best friend. To help you get started, we have a game! I have a couple of assistants walking around handing out pen and paper. Take one. Walk around the room and get to know one another. You’ll need to gather both first and last names, plus the answer to one simple question: how do they know the bride or groom? Easy, right? Though if you’d noticed, there are no clipboards provided. Get creative. Backs—or fronts, make a perfectly acceptable surface.”

A roar erupted from the crowd, and a guy across the stage ripped his shirt off and pointed to his chest.

The DJ laughed and patted him on the back. “To sweeten the pot, the person with the most correct information at the end of the night will win a prize. A two week, all-expenses paid trip to Europe, graciously donated by the groom’s parents.”

Everyone began cheering and hollering and moving around the floor.

“The clock is ticking, ladies and gentleman. You have one hour to get to know each other. Have Fun.”

Riddhima glanced around all the people, hating her best friend as one of the DJ’s assistants tapped her on the shoulder. The woman handed her a pen and paper, entered her information into a tablet, then smiled and nodded thanks before leaving to pass on to others. “Goodluck.”

Riddhima clutched the paper in her hand, scanning the room, hoping to spot Armaan , but found Rahul standing right behind her instead.

He grinned and narrowed his eyes. “We have to stop meeting like this.” Rahul teased. He then took his pen and paper, stepped around the table and placed it upon her back. “May I?” He asked.

Riddhima nodded, feeling a bit wobbly after only two sips of her Martini. “Go ahead.”

“Riddhima . Is that with two A’s or justone?”

She laughed. “Just one.”

“Last name ?” Rahul ask

“Gupta .”Riddhima reply.

“And how do you know the bride?”rahul ask.
Like this riddhima give ans of questions which Rahul ask then rahul turn and riddhima place paper on his back she was feeling the answers .
Riddhima located Armaan just across the dance floor and cleared her throat.
“And how do you know the bride and groom,” she said, completely distracted.

“We all met on the set of Boogie Nights.” rahul said.

But before she could finish writing, Rahul slipped out from under her paper and stood in front of her.
“Okay, so who is he? Or she…? I’m open-minded like That.”

Riddhima blinked a few times, unsure what he was talking about. “Excuse me?”

Rahul raised one eyebrow. “I’m not Rahul Wahlberg. But I’m flattered you believed me.”

Her eyes widened and she looked down to her paper. “Sorry, I—”

But he took the pen from her hand and began filling out his information.
“Look, I told Anjali it was too soon.” He scribbled some words on the paper, handed it back to her, then draped his arm over her shoulder to turn her toward the dance floor.
“Is he here? The guy who’s captured your heart?” Rahul ask..

Riddhima shook her head, feeling heat creep up her cheeks. “No. A“ No. And I don’t know what you’re talking about. Riddhima said.

He smiled, then patted her on the backside. “Must be my imagination.” Soon rahul was lost in the crowd, gathering more names, and she began making her way back toward the bar. If Riddhima was going to get through this night, Riddhima was going to need more alcohol.

Riddhima introduced herself to as many people as she could along the way, collecting information until she saw Armaan heading for the bar as well.

Riddhima turned to order another drink.
A hand settled low on her back a second later, and she pulled in a shaky breath, knowing it was Armaan . She turned around, finding him standing right behind her. Armaan was clean shaven, smelled like heaven, and her heart picked up speed simply from being close to him again.

“You better leave,” riddhima whispered, “or someone’s going to get suspicious.”

Armaan leaned in close, so close she could feel his breath against her neck. “We just spent four days driving cross country together. If we don’t talk, people will get suspicious.” Armaan said

Her pulse quickened for the second time, and riddhima couldn’t help the smile that teased at her mouth. “You’re right.” But the alcohol had hit her harder than Riddhima thought, and she stumbled forward, requiring Armaan’s hand to catch her at her waist .

Riddhima looked up into his eyes, feeling his fingers press into her skin. “I don’t like watching girls hang on your every word. It annoys me.” Riddhima said pouting.

Armaan laughed, but glanced her over from head to toe before settling his eyes on her lips. “I don’t like watching you parade around half naked when I can’t touch you.” Armaan said.

Riddhima laughed wholeheartedly and resisted the urge to pull him against her. “You noticed.” She ask.

His eyes heated, and armaan looked her up and down again. “I’m pretty sure everyone in this dammed place noticed you.” Armaan said.

Riddhima grinned again, moving around him to place her paper on his back. “Name please?”

His muscles tightened, and he reached around to grip her upper thigh to yank her forward. “You should know it. You were screaming it last night,” armaan whispered.

Riddhima bit her bottom lip. “And how do you know the bride?”

“What bride?”armaan asked.

But riddhima fill the information and She turned around to offer him her back, and instantly felt his fingers trail down the column of her spine.
“What do you say we get out of Here?” armaan ask.

Riddhima pulled in a breath, wanting nothing more, but turned around to take his paper and place it on the bar.

Armaan frowned. “I guess that’s a no?”

Riddhima took another sip of her martini and filled out the paper. “Later,” she promised.

Armaan leaned in close to her ear, his perfectly shaved cheek like silk against her skin. “Later.” He whispered huskily.

And then he was Gone.

************************

The game passed by in a rush. By the end of it, the agenda had been completed. Everyone was laughing and talking, and much looser than before. Riddhima stood at a cocktail table by the dance floor, deliberately selecting the spot because she had a perfect view of Armaan . He was still surrounded by women, but for some reason she didn’t mind as much now. He was hers, and she knew he’d come to her the moment she curved her finger.

Rahul came to stand beside her then, holding a beer in one hand, and martini in the other.
“You look thirsty,” he stated, placing her drink in the middle of the table. “Are you still trying to pretend not to care about that dude over in the corner?”

Riddhima pulled in a breath, shaking her head, and turned to face him “I don’t know whatever you mean—” Riddhima said

But he winked at her, interrupting her words. He took a swig of his beer. “Riddhima , your secret’s safe with me. But I find it hilarious you think no one notices.”

Riddhima bit her lip and glanced over at Rahul . “Is it that obvious?” She ask.

Rahul took another swig of beer before answering. “Yeah…it kinda is. Though don’t worry, most people are too drunk to notice—plus, they’re not as perceptive as I am.” He then stepped closer, hunching down to whisper in her ear. “But my question is this, if he could have you, why is he making out with that brunette over there?”

Riddhima whipped around, her eyes found him standing in the same spot she’d left him, with a blond woman by his side. But his eyes were narrowed and focused on Riddhima .

She hit Rahul’s arm and shook her head. “You’re trying to make him jealous.”she ask.

Rahul laughed. “Or make him realize what he’s missing. There are two sides to every coin.”

“True,” she agreed, as a deep voice broke through the music again.

Atul as up on the stage this time, his arm around Anjali , and the microphone in his hand. “Now that you’ve had a chance to get to know one another, we have another game.”

The crowd erupted with laughter, and he held his finger to his mouth to shush them. “As I’m sure you’re aware, Anjali and I met at the Hamilton Ballet. We’ve since moved in other directions, but the company will forever have a special place in our hearts.”

Mumbles began coursing through the crowd, and atul motioned with his hands for them to settle down. “We’re going to play a game,” he said again. “One we learned not too long ago in an improv class and we’d like you to join us. There are only two rules.” He grinned. “One, you have to have a partner; and Two, never stop touching.”

Atul took Anjali in his arms and started swaying. “It can be only fingers.” He turned her out, letting her travel until only the tips of their fingers connected. “Or the whole body.” He yanked her forward again, slamming her body against his, her thigh between his legs. “When the song changes, so does the person you’re dancing with. Fair enough?”

Anjali grinned and took the microphone. “Couples will be eliminated as we go, so be creative and don’t let that happen.” She raised her eyebrows. “There’s a prize at the end, but you’ll have to wait to find out what it is. Have fun everyone!”
It didn’t take long before everyone was grabbing a partner and heading for the dance floor. There were different couples, some conservative, some not, yet it didn’t take long before the scene that unfolded in front of them looked like it could have come out of a Vegas nightclub. Deciding she didn’t really care about prizes, Riddhima turned to leave, but then she felt a hand rest on her lowerback.

Rahul stood just behind her, his lips close to her ear as he spoke to her. “What do you say—want to make him jealous?”He asked.

Riddhima laughed, because this was a horrible idea. She wasn’t a dancer, and she wasn’t about to start now.

But then Abhimanyu came to stand beside her and draped his arm around her shoulder.
“Who are we making jealous?” Abhi asked, his eyes narrowing as he looked over the dance floor.

Her eyes shifted downward, then she looked over at Rahul . He caught her eye and winked to let her know it would be okay, then handed her a shot glass filled with some sort of brown liquid.

“Drink,” he said to Riddhima . Then he turned to Abhi and lifted his chin. “It seems,” Rahul began, taking her glass that was now empty, “that Riddhima has an admirer—but he’s too much to come over here and get her. So we’ll have to draw him out.”

Abhimanyu choked on his bottle of Corona and glanced around the dance floor “Who?”

Rahul waved him off. “Doesn’t matter, Abhimanyu . What matters is that we make Riddhima look like the most delicious morsel in the room.” Rahul took Riddhima ’s arm, handed Abhi her clutch, and bowed to her.
“May I have this dance?” Rahul ask.

Riddhima shook her head. “I don’t think this is a good idea.” But then she saw Armaan already out there, dancing with the redheaded hussy she’d seen him with earlier. The ginger turned to face him, her legs long and elegant as she walked around him, trailing her finger along his body.

Rahul pushed her toward the dance floor, then pulled her around and gripped her fingers firmly in one hand. “Change your mind?”

Her lips curled in a playful grin and she nodded. “Do your worst.” She said ..

As though her invitation flipped on a switch, Rahul grinned and starting dancing like a Latin lover. He lifted her up at the arms—just high enough . He grinned. “Good girl.”
Then he gripped the backs of her thighs, adding enough pressure to urge them to spread. Her eyes widened, but he lifted again, causing her legs to straddle his waist. “Lean back,” rahul whispered.

Riddhima did as he said, and he used her body to form a soft sweeping motion across the floor, causing her long hair to dust the ground. The people around them squealed with approval, and Rahul pulled her up again. “I think we got his attention.” But then he placed her on her feet again and whipped her out in a turn.

Armaan was right there watching her, staring at Rahul before raking his eyes over Riddhima . But he wasn’t angry like she feared; he was actually grinning. She bit her lip, her stomach tightening with deliciousness, because the look on his face told her armaan knew exactly what game Riddhima was playing, and she was pretty sure she’d just started a war.

Armaan placed his hand on the small of the redhead’s girl back and lifted her thigh to hook it on the top of his hip.

Rahul turned her back in to his chest, and soon her body was pressed against his again.

“Looks like we have a challenger,” rahul said, placing both of her hands around his neck and gripping her waist to move them to the rhythm. Riddhima took his lead, moving when he told her to, letting her body sway with each beat, each pulse, and soon they were dancing as one. Hips together, hands laced.

The music changed a second later, and the DJ’s voice sounded from the loud speakers. “Now switch!”

Riddhima spun around, looking for her next partner, and right there behind her was Abhi. He grabbed hold of her hand and spun her into his chest. “I don’t know who this other guy is, but I still owe you for the dirt incident.” Abhi grinned.

Riddhima giggled, partly because she was having so much fun, but partly because the alcohol was starting to affect her beyond her own control. She took hold of Abhi’s hand and turned herself around again. Wiggling her bottom against Abhi ’s thighs, she glanced over at Armaan .

Armaan had the blond he’d been talking to earlier, but he was barely paying her any attention. His eyes were focused on Riddhima , eating her up with every move. Riddhima grinned again, then turned around and hooked her leg up to the top of Abhi’s hip. Abhi caught it with his hand, lifting her up to drag her foot along the floor. She had no idea how she’d gotten so lucky, but her two dance partners could have easily been finalists on Dancing show.

Soon the music changed again, Riddhima was spun out into the crowd, and her hand was yanked back behind her. She was pulled into a dark alcove over by the stairwell.

Armaan’s head was close to her neck, his voice low and textured. “If we don’t leave soon, there’s going to be a fight,” armaan promised.

Riddhima tilted her head back, allowing him better access to her throat.
“Oh yeah?” she whispered. “With who?”

Armaan laughed, because although he was partly serious, this was a game and they both knew it.
“Whoever touches you next.” Armaan said And pulled back a little, just enough to look at her eyes.
Riddhima palmed the side of his face, her legs already shaking. Because it wasn’t a look of playfulness and lust that stared back at her. It was one of passion, of a need so great it ripped her heart right out of her chest—it was one of admiration, and she wanted to be looked at like that for all eternity.

Riddhima pulled in a deep breath, not wanting this dance to end. “Take me to your room,” she whispered.

“As you wish.” Armaan said

Armaan left the party ahead of her, placing a keycard in her palm before walking away. After gathering her bag and belongings from the cocktail table, she nodded to Rahul , letting him know they’d won, and began making her way to the elevator. She thought about making up an excuse for Anjali , but her best friend was wrapped in her fiancé’s arms, and Riddhima knew she wouldn’t be missed. She slipped out of the party without anyone noticing and pressed the button for the tenth floor.

Armaan ’s room was at the end of the hall, and she opened the door without even knocking. An ache was already coursing low in her belly, and her pulse quickened as she looked into the pitch-black room .

“Armaan ?” Riddhima whispered, taking two steps into the dark room before his arms wrapped around her belly.

“Grrrrr…” Armaan growled low in her ear, lifting her off her feet and making her feel lighter than air.

Her body instinctively tensed, but riddhima melted against him, because she didn’t have a choice… When it came to Armaan , she was like water—fluid, movable, completely translucent.

Armaan whipped her around, grabbed hold of her waist and lifted her higher. He forced her legs apart and positioned them on either side of his waist.
“You’ve had a little bit to drink,” he said, walking with her over to the Bed.

Riddhima grinned, taking his face between her hands so she could look at him better. “I’ve had a lot to drink. What are you going to do about it?” Riddhima said..

Armaan only stared at her as though there was something he wanted to say, but then he placed her to her feet and turned her to face the wall.
“How do we get this off You?” He ask referring to her romper dress..

She giggled, pulling the straps down her shoulders in one motion. She turned to face him, the dress only hanging at her hips, the pasties in the shape of roses the only things covering her uper.

His eyes raked over them, taking in every inch, every curve, and he dipped down, until armaan lifted her in his arms and cradled her against his chest. Riddhima could feel his heart pounding, see him visibly struggling to breathe. He laid her down on the middle of the mattress, and followed right behind her until he was nestled between her thighs.

“I missed you,” armaan said, his voice hoarse and barely audible. Only his lips and eyes transferred the message. But it was clear. Riddhima was his. No one else’s. And he was going to make sure she never wanted her legs wrapped around another man again.

****************************

The next morning Riddhima awoke with an ache between her thighs and her head nestled by Armaan’s throat. He was still sleeping, and she gazed up at him, remembering every delicious detail of their lovemaking. The room was cast in the golden glow of morning, and although he had morning stubble on his face, he still looked incredibly vulnerable. Almost like a little boy.

Her heart pinched, and riddhima rolled to the side of the bed. For some reason whenever she looked at him she thought about bigger things, deeper things. Like forevers, like children, and mixed DNA. But last night had been magical. More than arms and limbs and passion. It was about needing one another, trusting and cherishing. She’d never experienced anything like it before in her life.

Riddhima took a deep breath and pushed off the side of the bed. Because even though she wanted to spend all morning doing it all over again, that wasn’t a possibility. Riddhima stretched her arms overhead and pulled in a deep breath. This morning was another story and she needed to get back to her room before anyone noticed.

She picked up her bag off the floor, took one last glance at the man who consumed her body, mind and soul, then walked to the bathroom. Deciding there was a two hours yet before she had to worry about anyone trying to find her, she turned on the shower and stepped in before it had a chance to warm. After washing her hair, she combed out all the tangles as best she could with her fingers, then wrapped herself in a towel and headed back to the bedroom. The moment she opened the door, she immediately froze. Her face drained of all color as Anjali stared back at her.

Her best friend’s face was puffy and streaked with tears, yet she didn’t say a word. She just stood there, silently blinking as Riddhima tried to come up with an excuse as to why she was coming out of Armaan’s bathroom. But there was none. Because whatever this was, it was out in the open now. There was no hiding it, no wishing it away, no backing up and hoping for a do-over.

Anjali had found her in her brother’s room, and the expression on her face was one of complete betrayal. Anjali closed her eyes, shutting everyone out as she tightened her fists at her sides. Riddhima could only look at her, her friend’s veins visibly pulsing at every pressure point.

Anjali parted her lips, and mouthed the word. “Why?”

Riddhima covered her lips, shaking her head as she took a step forward.

But Anjali only retreated, gasping in gulps of air that sounded like sobs. “How could you do this?” she asked. “How could you do this?”

Then she ran from the room, leaving the door open, and Riddhima fell to her knees in the middle of the doorway. She looked over at Armaan, who was sitting on the side of the bed, his body only covered by the sweats she was sure he’d put on to answer the door.

“Why was anjali here?” she whispered. “Did Rahul tell—”

But armaan shook his head, cutting her off before she could finish. “Mom showed up this morning… Dad wasn’t with her.”

Tears stung behind Riddhima’s eyes and capped her hand over her mouth.
“No. No no no.” Because after finding her mother… “Anjali came here,” Riddhima whispered, choking on the words. “And she found us.”

It wasn’t a question; it was a fact. Because her friend who thought about everyone else before she thought about herself, had just found out that her parents getting divorced. And when she’d come to talk to her brother about it, found her best friend practically naked in his room.

“I should go after her,” Riddhima whispered. “Explain.”

Armaan only pushed his hand through his hair and shook his head. “Give her a minute.”

Her throat was so tight she could barely breathe, but she nodded her head. He was right. Anjali would need time after something like this. She would need time, and Riddhima needed to be strong enough to give it to her.
“We shouldn’t have been so reckless. I shouldn’thave—” Riddhima said

But Armaan rose to his feet. He stopped in front of her, pulled her to stand, and wrapped his arms around her body. She pressed her face into his chest and held onto him. She swallowed hard, fighting back tears that threatened to choke her “You were right. I should have told her.” Riddhima said crying.

But armaan remained silent. Not saying he told her so, not yelling like riddhima knew she would have done, had the roles been reversed.

“My mom is down in the lobby,” armaan said after a pause. “She’s a mess.” His eyes met hers again, and she could see the wounded boy she met all those days ago when he told her about his father. The boy who was protective, hurt, and so vulnerable.

“Will you be okay without me?” Armaan ask..

Riddhima almost sobbed, but stepped away, already feeling guilty for keeping him this long.
“Go. I’ll catch up with you at the rehearsal.” Riddhima said.

Armaan traced the rim of her lips with his finger, then leaned in close. His mouth hovered over hers, but didn’t kiss.
“It will be okay,” armaan finally whispered, but they were words not meant for her. They were words meant for himself.

Riddhima grabbed hold of his neck, and kissed him with all her strength. As though wanting to heal all his wounds, wanting to take away his pain—but she knew she couldn’t. This was something she couldn’t take away, and she could only love him through it.

Armaan took her hands from behind his neck as he broke their kiss, then paused for a minute before he walked into the bathroom to shower. She waited for the shower to run, then gathered the rest of her things and slipped out to the hall in the romper she’d worn the night before.

“Do not disturb” signs graced almost every door as she made her way back to her room..
although the same blue sign hung on her best friend’s door, she couldn’t keep herself from knocking. Her fingers rested on the hard surface, waiting for the answer, but one never came. She dropped her forehead down to the surface, feeling a knot form in her stomach. Because she needed her friend to know the truth. She needed her to know that Armaan wasn’t just a fling to her. He was the man she’d been waiting for her entire life.
And she was falling in love with him.

*******************************
Afternoon
Riddhima go in the hall where rehearsal was going on. She opened the door and step inside.
‌Riddhima glanced around the room, finding Rahul , Abhi , and the rest of the wedding party flanking the side of the wooden arbor. She walked toward them, wanting to take her place at the head of the bridal party, but noticed they all had weird looks on their faces.

She turned around and found Armaan in the corner of the room, his ear to his phone, not looking happy. She swallowed apprehensively, noticing Mrs. Malik sitting in one of the seats, crying. Anjali was by her side, and she instantly realized Mr. Malik still wasn’t there.

The wedding coordinator was standing at the top of the stairs by the arbor, and immediately urged Riddhima forward. The woman positioned Riddhima at the top of the line and adjusted her shoulders out toward the audience before looking over at Rahul and Abhi.
“What’s going on?” the woman mouthed, but they both shook their heads as though not knowing at all what to say.

Riddhima’s heart pinched in her chest, both tense and breaking at the same time. How could Mr. Malik not be here? How could he leave his family like this?
His daughter?

The door to the ballroom opened, and everyone turned around, hopeful sighs released from their Lips.

Riddhima glanced up, saying a silent prayer that it was Mr. Malik , only to find Sid standing in the doorway. He made a face as though apologizing for interrupting, then walked into the room, wearing the pinstriped blue suit she’d picked out with him before he had interviewed .

The walls seemed to close in around her all at once, and she looked over at Armaan . He was still deep in conversation and hadn’t noticed Sid yet.

Sid continued toward her, seemingly clueless about the tension in the room as he walked up the steps. “Surprise!” he whispered, leaning over to give her a kiss on the cheek.

Riddhima stepped backward, almost crashing into one of the other bridesmaids.
“What are you doing here?” she whispered, but all the blood had left her body, and she thought she might faint. She glanced around the room to Rahul , Anjali, and Armaan, and discovered all their eyes were on her.

Sid moved in closer, narrowing his gaze just bit as he looked into her eyes

“I left work for you. I thought you’d be happy.” Sid said.

Riddhima shook her head, her throat so tight it was almost suffocating.
“Didn’t you get my Text?” Riddhima ask.

His eyes narrowed and he adjusted his stance. “What text?” he whispered back.

Armaan swore under his breath, but before she could turn around, he was already walking out of the room. Her heart constricted with pain and guilt, but she turned back to Sid.

Everyone was watching. Anjali ’s family, friends, atul . But there was so much confusion in Sid’s eyes, so much hurt and pain that Riddhima knew she was causing. She blinked a couple of times, trying to make sense of what he was telling her. Her mind flashed back to the moment he told her he wasn’t coming. To her sending the text. She had sent it right there in front of Armaan —and then she had fallen into the pool .

She covered her mouth, realizing what must’ve happened. The text didn’t go through before her phone had died. Sid had no idea she’d broken up with him.

Tears gathered behind her eyes, burning her nose and throat. Sid may not be perfect, and not be the most considerate at times, but he’d been one of her best friends for most of her Life.

“Can I talk to you privately?” Riddhima whispered, barely able to keep her voice from quivering to get out the words.

She walked down the steps, hearing whispers of disapproval as she exited the ballroom, but she had to do this. He had to be told what was going on. She found a private alcove in the garden ten yards away, where she sat down on a bench and waited for Sid to join Her.

Sid sat down a moment later, an element of confusion causing the corners of his eyes to wrinkle. She swallowed, seeing all over again the twelve-year-old boy who had opened the door for her every day of sixth grade. But now his face was pale

Sid—” She choked. Because she knew she was about to hurt him. She knew she was about to hurt him so much.

He got down to his knees in front of her, causing her stomach to clench and her eyes to open. “What is it, Riddhima ? What happened?” He ask.

She shook her head, her lashes heavy with tears. “I broke up with you, Sid. I broke up with you three days ago.”

“I don’t understand. Riddhima —” sid said.

“I sent you a text. I thought you knew. But I dropped my phone in the water, and the message must have not gone through. I thought—” Riddhima said

He pulled in a breath, and licked his lips as he searched her face.
“Because of the job? Is that Why?”sid ask.

“No.” She cut him off, needing to stop any further speculation. “This isn’t working, Sid. It hasn’t been working for a long time.” The truth was heartbreaking, something she should have said years ago, but she’d been too much of a coward.
“We’ve been friends for so long, the best of friends…” She expected him to protest, to try to stop her, but he only looked at her, his face pained but no longer confused.

“I know,” sid whispered.

She choked on a sob, muffling the sound with her hand. Because in all of her life, she would never have expected this response. In all her dreams, she should have never expected him to understand.

He closed his eyes, visibly snuffing out his own emotion.
“Expecting you to follow me in my career was like caging a wild bird.” Sid opened his eyes and looked directly into hers, as though seeing her for the first time.
“I couldn’t bear to let you go, and that was selfish. Keeping you by my side was what I always wanted, but that doesn’t mean it was right.” He said.

Her nose began to burn, but she let the tears come. Because a long time ago, her mother had told her never to apologize for being emotional. To never feel weak because of shed tear, because showing your heart was a sign of strength. For the first time, she wasn’t ashamed of them. For the first time she knew exactly what her mother meant.

A couple of people were standing outside now, gawking at them in a way that made her feel protective. She adjusted her back, blocking their view of Sid , and took his hands.
“I’m so sorry. I should’ve never broken up with you in such a careless way. I should have—” Riddhima said.

But he shook his head, stopping her. “Don’t.” Sid said.

Tears were flowing from her eyes, and she brushed them away with her fingers. For all his faults, there was so much good in him. He just wasn’t what she needed.
“I’ve always loved you; I need you to know that. Just not in the way you wanted me to.” Riddhima said looking in his eyes.

He sat down beside her again, leaning against her, offering his shoulder for her to cry on. “I think I’ve always known that. I hoped it would be different, but…” His words trailed off, and they both sat in silence for a minute before he continued.

“I held on too long, even when I knew we were both going in different directions. My only hope is that it’s not too late to be friends.”

She turned into his chest, and he wrapped his arms around her. “Of course we can. Always.” Riddhima said.

They stayed there, just like that, for a good twenty minutes. With his arm wrapped around her, them both mourning the end of their relationship, before he finally called a Taxi to head back to the airport. Because even though they were not each other’s future, they were each other’s past. A past filled with memories, laughter, and friendship. And that was hard to let go of, for anyone.

Hey everyone here goes the next part
Lots of love
Akanksha 💕💕

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