Tuesday, 19 May 2020

part 56 & 57 : Arman aur Riddhima ka safar

Part 56 

She let herself into the room and placed her bag carefully on the chair by the worktop table and lay on her bed looking up at the ceiling. She closed her eyes and a picture of Armaan flashed into her mind, she felt a pang in her chest once again as his voice filled her ears...

*Armaan: Mum...I'm going...I need to get back to the office...I'll see you later...*

Her eyes were closed and she pained to see him, tears rolled out of her eyes and down her cheeks as she wish he could be here with her...

Ridz: I miss you Armaan...I miss you so much... – crying silently into her pillow



 The next day Riddhima decided not to let her emotions get the better of her and thought it was best to get started with her work without any distractions. She placed her belongings at a side of the work top and took out what was necessary before walking over to the equipment cupboard. She smiled as she opened it; knowing that she was ahead and was given the opportunity to have first choice. Looking over at the reels of fabric available her smile widened as her eyes fell onto the exact colour she wanted for her first outfit, she made a grab for it but was suddenly brought back to reality realising that it was way too heavy for her to carry, she dropped it and sighed.

??: Need some help?

Ridz: - turning around she came face to face with a guy from the group who smiled sweetly at her – Oh...umm Jay...please?

Jay: Of course...

He took out the reel of metallic turquoise fabric and carried it over to Riddhima's workstation.

Ridz: Thanks a lot...

Jay: No problem... – with another sweet smile he left

Riddhima unreeled the fabric and cut out the amount she was going to need then placed it to a side before going back to the cupboard to get the rest of equipment. She came back a few moments later and took a deep breath with a huge smile as she was about to begin her production, she silently prayed as she lay her pattern pieces out over the fabric and began cutting.

She had cut out the big pieces of fabric and was about to get started on the smaller ones when she felt a hand on her shoulder making her turn sharply.

Tia: Hey...you've started already? – looking over her shoulder

Ridz: Oh hi...yeh...I came here early...thought I would get started right away...

Tia: - smiling – You're really on the fast train...

Ridz: - nodding - ...What are you doing today?

Tia: Working on my pattern pieces... – rolling her eyes - ...wish I could start making like you...

Ridz: Maybe if you had started earlier...

Tia: I know...but I just got held up in the SPA for the first week...until it hit me last night that we only have two weeks left...time has gone so fast...

Ridz: Time flies when you're having fun... – grinning

Tia: Tell me about it... – sighing loudly - ...okay then I'll see you in a while...going to get started on this now...

Ridz: Okay...all the best...

Tia: Thanks...I'm going to need it...because I'm just not in the mood...

Riddhima smiled as she watched Tia walk away from her to find a clear space to start working. She looked around the production room to see most of the group had now got started on their paper patterns. She was the only one who had started on her fabric and she felt proud of herself; she was happy that she was not mislead by the available facilities which could have distracted her intentions, instead she used her time wisely and was clear minded about her goal. She turned around and carried on cutting out her fabric carefully with a satisfying smile.



Two hours later she had completed cutting out all her fabric pieces and tidied up her work station before pinning the outfit together. Her concentration level was so high that she did not notice most of the group had left the room and others were tidying up. She snapped up as she heard a loud click next to her ear, she dropped the fabric in her hand and swivelled around in her chair to see her friends standing there laughing at her.

Ridz: Huh?

Sharon: Are you okay?

Ridz: Umm...yeah... – coming back to reality - ...I was just concentrating too hard...I didn't notice when you guys came...

Jay: That's what happens when you're a workaholic... – smiling

Tia: Exactly...

Ridz: Guys...it's not like that...I'm just...

Tia: - cutting her off - ...Just nothing...if you're not a workaholic then pack this all away and come and have some lunch with us...

Sharon: Yeah...you've been working hard all morning...it's time for you to take a break...

Ridz: Umm...you guys go ahead...I'll catch up with you in a bit...

Jay: I knew you were going to say that... – laughing

Sharon: Come on Ridz...

Ridz: Seriously I'm fine...you guys go on...

Tia: Are you really not hungry?

Jay: She's super human...

Sharon: I believe you... – laughing

Tia: Please... – pleading

Ridz: You guys won't drop this will you? – making a face

The three of them shook their heads in unison making her smile.

Ridz: Fine...

They cheered as she stood up and put her things away carefully making sure she had everything organised correctly and she didn't miss anything.

Sharon: That's more like it... – smiling

Ridz: Come on...let's go... – placing her bag over her shoulder and following them out

Tia: Right...let's have some lunch...I'm starving!

Jay: Me too...

They walked out of the workshop and made their way through the garden towards the dining room for lunch. It was already crowded as they eased their way through to grab their lunch before settling down near the window area where some of the other group members were.

Rachel: Well, well, well...if it isn't Ridz... – smiling she turned to Tia - ...I don't think I've ever seen her outside of the workshop...

Tia: Tell me about it...I only ever see her in the workshop and our room... – teasing

Ridz: - smiling at them both - ...Oh come on guys...stop exaggerating now...I do know how to have some fun...

Michael: Oh really... – laughing - ...so how far have you got with your work?

Jay: She's almost finished...

Ridz: - rolling her eyes in his direction with a smile, then turning to the guy - ...not that far...I've just started on my first outfit...

Sharon: That's far enough...all of us are working on our paper patterns...

Rachel: Yep...I just started mine today...I just couldn't get myself out of the pool last week...

Tia: But Ridz gets straight on with her work...no stopping for anyone or anything...

Michael: But...if she says she knows how to have fun then let's test her...

Ridz: Huh? – raising her eye brow - ...I mean...how?

Rachel: Don't panic... – laughing - ...actually before you guys came in we were talking about the sign that's up on the notice board for our group...

Jay: What sign?

Michael: There's going to be a camp fire night two days later...

Sharon: Wow...camp fire...that sounds like fun...

Tia: Yep...I can't wait... – excitedly

Michael: And what about you Ridz? – turning to her - ...Will you be able to make it...or will you be too busy...? – grinning

Ridz: I'll definitely be there... – smiling widely

All: We Will See...

Ridz: Yes we will... – happily



Two nights later, Riddhima was sat on her bed in her room flicking through a magazine and listening to Tia ramble on with a smile on her face.

Tia: I knew it...I knew you wouldn't come... – putting on her eye makeup while looking in the mirror - ...there's not even any work for you to do tonight...you've even finished your first outfit...but you're still going to sit here in this boring room looking through a magazine and planning to go to bed early so that you can get up early and get to work... – now putting on her lipstick - ...seriously Ridz...I've not met anyone like you... – turning around

Ridz: T...I'm just not up for it...I'm really tired... – moaning like a child

Tia: Fine...you sit here...I'm going to have some fun...

Ridz: Bye... – smiling at her

Tia: Bye... – turning on her heel and walking towards the door

Ridz: Have fun... – shouting after her with a smile

Tia left the room and made her way out to the open area near the outdoor pool. As she neared she could see the bonfire had already started up and the place was decorated with lanterns, there were tables set out with snacks and there were chairs surrounding the bonfire. She smiled and carried on towards the group where she met Annie and Billy before settling down between Jay and Sharon.

Sharon: She didn't come... – to Tia

Tia: I knew she wouldn't...

Michael: We should've placed a bet...

They all laughed and carried on talking generally waiting for the others to turn up so they could get started on the fun. Ten minutes later the bon fire was surrounded with the members from the group, there were a few empty chairs as they waited a while longer. The laughter died down a moment later as Jay silenced them all and they gave him curious looks.

Sharon: What's wrong?

Jay: Look over there...is that...?

They all turned to look at the direction he was pointing in and squinted their eyes through the darkness to see a female figure walking towards them, as she came closer they could see that she was wearing beige coloured uggs over her skinny jeans, a long white t shirt which came just above her knees and a matching beige coloured shawl over her shoulders to keep her warm. They looked up to see Riddhima's smiling face as she stood in front of them, their mouths were left hanging open as they could not believe she would actually come to join in the fun.

Ridz: You can all close your mouths now... – smirking

She settled down in between Jay and Tia who both pulled themselves together and closed their mouths.

Rachel: But Ridz...what are you doing here?

Michael: Tia said you were getting ready for bed...

Ridz: Did you guys think I would let you have all the fun without me...

Sharon: Yeah but we thought...it was not your kind of thing...

Ridz: I love this kind of thing...I may not show it because when it comes to work, designing and making dresses I'm very serious... - then looking around at their faces - ...but I do know how to have fun... – as a matter of fact

Jay: Well at least you're here... – with a smile

Tia: Yep...now let's have some fun...

Ridz: Yes...when I got here and saw you guys was sitting here like a bunch of lemons...I was going to turn around and go back to my room... – teasing

Michael: The party hasn't started yet...

Jay: Yeh we were waiting for you...I knew you would come...

Ridz: Well...now I'm here what are we waiting for?

Billy: Absolutely nothing... – coming up behind them - ...it's time to get this party started...

Annie: And our first game tonight is...

Billy: Tell a Tale...

Annie: There's two pieces of paper on your chairs...and I'm passing around a pen...you need to write one topic on the first sheet of paper...and on the second a key word...

Billy: Then fold the papers and place it in the hat that will be passed around...

Everyone scribbled onto the piece of paper excitedly and conversations started up instantly as they waited for the games to begin. A few minutes later they were all set, everyone had written their words and placed it in the hat eagerly waiting to hear what was going to happen next.

Annie: Okay...now that we're all ready...here are the rules of the game...

Billy: You must include the two things which you've drawn from the hat during your story...

Annie: And that's all...you can freely tell your story and interest us all...

Michael: That sounds good...

Sharon: Yes...let's begin...

Billy: And we will start with... – walks around the circle and places it into someone's hands

Rachel: Oh no...not me...

They all begin to cheer her on as she started to tell the story. As the hat was passed around the story became more and more exciting. Sometime later Jay placed the hat into Riddhima's hands and using her English subject experience and her creativity she began to narrate a long love story which ends tragically hooking all her listeners to her each and every word until the very end where she found almost everyone sitting at the edge of their chairs waiting to hear the rest but she stopped at a cliff hanger making them all moan loudly as she handed the hat over to Sharon who had tears in her eyes.

Tia: Ridz...that's not fair...

Jay: You have to finish that...I want to know what happened...

Michael: We all want to know what happened...

Girl 1: Go on Ridz...tell us...

Ridz: - smiling – Sorry guys...I've passed on the hat...it's Sharon's turn...

Rachel: You've left it at such a point no one can even carry on...

Boy 1: At least not Sharon...she's in tears... – everyone laughed

Sharon: Ridz...please carry on... – wiping her eyes with a smile - ...that was going really well...

Annie: Definitely Ridz...you're such a good story teller...

Billy: You really are very creative...and I think... – correcting himself - ...we all think you should carry on...

Ridz: - blushing – But...I can't...I mean...it was just a...

Jay: Go on Ridz please...

Ridz: But I don't even know...

Tia: - cutting her off - Yeah please Ridz...I really was enjoying that...

Rachel: Ridzi...Ridzi...Ridzi... – chanting

Ridz: - holding her head in her hands as they all start chanting – Oh nooo...

Everyone started cheering her on and she had no other choice but to give in and carry on the story from the top of her head as she also did not have any idea what was going to happen. Twenty minutes later she came to a close on a happy note making everyone cheer her on.

Annie and Billy then drew their attention to the snack tables and they settled down munching on marshmallows, crackers, crisps and chocolates. They toasted their marshmallows over the bon fire while chatting away about the awesome events of the night. Sometime later when they had finished munching Annie and Billy got them ready for the second game of the night. They made a circular barrier around the bon fire for health and safety before announcing to the group that they were going to play Blind man's Bluff. They all looked around at each other excitedly as almost all of them had not played this game since they had left primary school eight to ten years ago.

Annie chose the first person and placed a red cloth over his eyes spinning him around twice she let him free and he moved around the open area trying to catch someone. Five minutes later the unlucky person was caught and it was Sharon, she moaned as the red cloth was placed over her eyes and everyone cheered as they teased her while she walked around like a zombie. But no longer than three minutes she had caught Jay who looked around with a confused look to see who had pushed him into her arms.

A moment later he was walking around like a zombie with the red cloth over his eyes using all his other senses to catch his prey but for some reason he was unable to touch anyone even after eight minutes. He stopped for a moment as his senses pricked up feeling a figure close to him; they were surrounded by lots of giggles and shouts as he made an instant grab for the closest person holding them tight in his arms. He smiled breathing in the scent of her almond shampoo from her hair, with one hand still around her he took off the blindfold with the other and came face to face with the most beautiful sight.

Riddhima stood in his arms, extremely close to him, their noses were almost touching and they were both lost in the moment. An image of Armaan flashed into Riddhima's mind as she longed for him, she imagined him standing right in front of her, being so close to him, their noses touching each other, he bent his head about to kiss her, she closed her eyes for a moment until the loud giggles and shouts disrupted them and they were brought back to reality. Jay carried on looking at her as someone took the blind fold from his hand and placed it over Riddhima's who was still in shock.

The game carried on for a longer while then the party came to an end, they all realised it was too late and they dragged their sleepy feet off to their rooms and heading straight to bed. Riddhima stayed awake for sometime thinking of the small encounter which happened with Jay, but her mind was focused on Armaan...thinking of him she fell asleep wishing silently that he could be here with her.



The next morning Riddhima got up early; she got dressed quickly and left the room even before Tia had woken up. She made her way down the corridor and through the lounge to the dining hall, she was the first one there and just in time to have breakfast. She ate up quickly and headed to the workshop where she knew she would be alone and would be able to clear her mind. Walking in to the production room she made her way to her workstation and got right on with her work.

An hour later she looked up with a bright smile and sighed happily as she looked down at her outfit; she had finished all the small details and even ironed it down to the seam. She placed it on the mannequin and admired her work until she felt a hand on her shoulder almost making her jump out of her skin.

Tia: Calm down...it's only me...

Ridz: - holding onto her chest - ...You didn't have to scare me like that...

Tia: Sorry... – apologetically - ...but you scared me this morning as well...

Ridz: How? – looking curiously at her - ...What did I do?

Tia: You were gone by the time I woke up...but then I knew I would find you here... – placing her bag down and turning to face Riddhima seriously - ...but forget all that...I need to speak to you...

Ridz: What's wrong? – looking closely at her - ...Is everything okay?

Tia: Not with me...but I think something is up with you... – Riddhima gave her a curious look and waited for her to carry on - ...what happened last night?

Ridz: What happened last night? – curiously

Tia: Oh come on Ridz...stop repeating what I'm saying and tell me what's going on between you and Jay...everyone saw what happened last night...it's so obvious that something is going on between the two of you...so just tell me...

Ridz: WHAT??? – loudly then controlling herself – ...What? ME? And Jay? Tia are you serious?

But before either of them could say another word they turned their head towards the door where they could see through the glass that the other members of the group were coming in and they decided to talk about this later.

Tia: - changing the subject altogether – Ridz this outfit is beautiful...can't believe you worked so fast and you've finished one of your outfits already...

Ridz: Thanks...

Rachel: Wow Ridz...you've finished...this is really gorgeous...

Annie: Well done Ridz...you really are very talented...

Michael: Last night you blew us all away with your story telling talent and now with this creativity of yours...

Sharon: Ridz...you truly are amazing... – giving her a side hug

Billy: Well done... – smiling at her then turning to everyone else - ...looks like everyone else needs to get a move on...

They all agreed and started moving to their work stations talking about last night and the projects and deadlines. While Riddhima took her outfit off of the mannequin she heard a low cough behind her which made her turn, she came face to face with Jay making her back away a little as she noticed the closeness.

Ridz: Oh umm...Jay...hi... – awkwardly

Jay: This is really beautiful...

Ridz: Umm...thanks...

Jay: You're going to win this competition...mark my words... – coming close to her

Ridz: - moving further away – Uh-umm thanks Jay...  – then looking away – ...excuse me...

Riddhima moved carefully around him and made her way back to her work station feeling very awkward. She tried to get on with her other project thinking it was best to get started on the second and get it out of the way quickly. But as much as she tried she just couldn't seem to concentrate, as the images of last night and Tia's words flashed into her mind she felt awkward and without thinking twice she packed away her things and headed out of the room and out of the block until her feet carried her to the garden where she settled down on the bench and let her mind run wild.

Flash Back

Jay: Well at least you're here... – with a smile

     *

Jay: Yeh we were waiting for you...I knew you would come...

    *

Jay made an instant grab for the closest person holding them tight in his arms. He smiled breathing in the scent of her almond shampoo from her hair, with one hand still around her he took off the blindfold with the other and came face to face with the most beautiful sight. Riddhima stood in his arms, extremely close to him, their noses were almost touching and they were both lost in the moment.

     *

Tia: what's going on between you and Jay...everyone saw what happened last night...it's so obvious that something is going on between the two of you...so just tell me...

    *

Jay: You're going to win this competition...mark my words... – coming close to her

End of Flash Back

She opened her eyes which instantly landed on a figure sitting in the lounge area. She then sighed as she pictured Armaan sitting there; she looked up at the sky and wished that he could be with her; she missed him so much. Suddenly she felt a hand on her shoulder making her turn...

Tia: Are you okay?

Ridz: - nodded – I'm fine...I've just got lots on my mind right now... – still staring into the distance

Tia: I'm sorry about before...

Ridz: It's okay...

Tia: Seriously...it really isn't any of my business what's happening in your life...sorry if I was rude...

Ridz: Tia...it's okay really...but there's just one thing...there really is nothing between me and Jay and there never will be...

Tia: I believe you...

They stayed silent for a while until Tia noticed something fishy and turned to Riddhima.

Tia: Ridz I don't want to alarm you or anything but...why is that guy over there staring at you?

Ridz: Huh? – looking in the same direction – ...Who?

Tia: Don't make it obvious...but the guy in the lounge...

Riddhima looked further and noticed the guy was looking at her then he turned away. Riddhima sat upright in shock to take a closer look as her mind was filled with curiosity...

Ridz: - thinking – Armaan?
.........................................
part 57

They stayed silent for a while until Tia noticed something fishy and turned to Riddhima.

Tia: Ridz I don't want to alarm you or anything but...why is that guy over there staring at you?

Ridz: Huh? – looking in the same direction – ...Who?

Tia: Don't make it obvious...but the guy in the lounge...

Riddhima looked further and noticed the guy was looking at her then he turned away. Riddhima sat upright in shock to take a closer look as her mind was filled with curiosity...

Ridz: - thinking – Armaan?



A few seconds later Tia shook her head and turned to Riddhima with a smile.

Tia: Maybe not...I thought he was looking...anyways let's get back to work...I've got so much still to do and the time is ticking away already...

Ridz: - still confused – Umm...uh why don't you go ahead...I'll meet up with you later...

Tia: Okay fine...anyways you don't need to rush...you've already finished one outfit... – getting up smiling at her - ...I'll see you later...

Tia walked away while Riddhima stood up; her mind was still stuck on the figure that looked just like Armaan. She watched closely for a moment then decided that she would go to him as she just couldn't work out what was happening. She rushed through the garden and made her way inside towards the lounge but just as she got there the person stood up and followed two other people out of the area. They were heading outside and Riddhima made a rush to catch up with them. Now she was certain it was Armaan, he looked just like him, his posture, his style, his behaviour, everything.

Riddhima watched on as he exited from the other side out towards the pool and outdoor area. She caught up with them, they were a few a feet away but he completely ignored her while she just stood there watching him from the back. They carried on walking around outside while Riddhima stood transfixed by the glass door. Her mind was working more than over time and she found herself in shock.

Ridz: What the hell is this...this can't be... – murmuring to herself - ...looks like you're losing it Riddhima...I think you need to get back to work and stop thinking so much...

She nodded to herself and made her way back through the lounge, through the garden and back into the workshop. She made her way to her work station in a trance as everyone else shuffled around moving from here to there as they got on with their work. She cleared her area and decided to begin her second outfit making a decision in her mind.

Ridz: - thinking - ...I have no idea what just happened...maybe I'm just missing him too much that I keep seeing him everywhere...and I can't let that bother me...because I can't afford to mess up my work...this is just too important and I need to get it done without any disruptions...one's finished...and it's time to start the other with a clear mind...

Taking a deep breath she took out her paper pieces and her useful notes before walking over to the resource cupboard. She took out a reel of aqua coloured fabric and carried it back to her work station then went back for a large piece of emerald green sequin material and a few other items before walking back to her work station. She lay out the fabric and like before she prayed silently before beginning to cut out her outfit pieces.



Forty five minutes later she noticed the room was slightly quiet and as she looked around she saw that many people had left; she turned to Sharon who was by her side with a curious look.

Ridz: Where's everyone gone?

Sharon: Seriously Ridz? – with a bemused look - ...It's lunch time...they've all gone to have lunch... – smiling - ...you're right...when it comes to work you really don't have a clue what's going on around you...

Ridz: Yeah...I was just so caught up in cutting out my fabric I didn't realise that it was already lunch time...

Sharon: You know what...that might not be a good thing...if it was something serious like a fire or something you would put yourself in trouble...

Ridz: I know...but it's just a childhood habit...

Tia: Are you guys finished? – walking up behind them

Ridz: Yep...just finished cutting out my fabric...

Tia: That's cool...so let's go have some lunch...

Sharon: - cutting her off - ...Let me guess...you're starving...right? – grinning

Tia nodded and they all laughed; Riddhima and Sharon packed away their stuff and they made their way out of the work shop. Tia and Sharon carried on talking but the moment Riddhima stepped out into the garden she remembered what had happened earlier and suddenly became confused again. Her mind began to wonder again as they entered the crowded dining room and stood in a queue for their lunch.

Tia took her lunch and went to sit with the others while Sharon waited for her meal. Riddhima looked around the dining room and once again she was in shock as she noticed the same Armaan look alike walking towards her, she controlled herself for a moment and tried to ignore him, instead she asked for her meal and did not look in that direction again as her mind was having a conversation of its own.

Ridz: No Rid-dhim-ma...it can't be...once again you're dreaming...and it needs to stop... – sternly to herself - ...control yourself and concentrate... – taking a deep breath

She took her lunch from the lady over the counter and stepped away, moving towards the table where the rest of the group sat. But as she neared the table she noticed everyone looking in her direction and before she could say a word she stopped in her tracks as she heard...

...: Riddhima... – sweetly

Riddhima lay her lunch down on the table and slowly turned around to witness the sweetest motion ever. Armaan kneeled on the floor in front of her; he wore a black suit with a white shirt and a light blue tie. His hair was as usual neatly combed and he had a sweet twinkle in his eyes as he looked up at her holding a bunch of red roses out to her in one hand and holding his left ear with the other.

She stood there for moments on end taking in this image first with anger at him for teasing her all morning and at herself for ignoring him. Then with happiness to see him after ten long days and finally with tears in her eyes as she realised her wishes had come true and he was actually here in front of her.

Armaan: Riddhima... – waking her from her thoughts - ...my knees are hurting...

Riddhima smiled through tears and took the roses from him gesturing for him to stand up. Before he could straighten up she flung herself into his arms, tears rolled out of her eyes and down her cheeks soaking his coat but he didn't care, instead he wrapped his arms around her holding her tight and taking in the moment as he had also missed her a lot.

They stayed like this for what seemed like a lifetime to them but in reality just a few moments. They were disrupted by a few loud intentional coughs which made them move apart and looked down slightly embarrassed. Riddhima turned to look at the table where the members of the group were, some still had their mouths hanging open in shock and some wore curious looks.

Jay: Ridz?

Rachel: Uh...what's all this about?

Sharon: Explanation...?

Tia: Please...

Michael: Because I'm way confused... – making a face

Ridz: Umm guys...this is Armaan... – looking around at everyone's faces - ...my boyfriend...

Jay: WHAT?

Tia: Huh?

Ridz: - then turning to Armaan - ...And these are my friends who are taking part in the competition... – pointing to each of them calling their names

Jay: That's all fine...but what is he doing here?

Ridz: - ignoring Jay she was about to say something else then suddenly turned to Armaan - ...Armaan...tum yahan kya kar rahe ho...? Tum kam par kyun nahi gaye...? Aur tumne sab se kya keh kar yahan pe aye...?



A few minutes later Riddhima found herself sitting by the edge of the pool very close to Armaan, both of their legs were dangling in the water and they looked at each other and smiled silently. Armaan had promised to explain everything to her but decided to change the setting a little so he apologised to her friends and took her outside to his favourite spot.

Ridz: Now will you explain please? – sweetly

Armaan: Can I not just sit and stare at your face for the next hour...I've missed you so much...

Ridz: No... – sternly then with a smile - ...please tell me...

Armaan: Okay fine...but first I have something else to say...

Ridz: Kya?

Armaan: - holding her hand gently and giving it a slight squeeze – Riddhima I've missed you so much...please don't leave me ever again...and if you do don't ever give such stupid conditions about not keeping in contact...because you have no idea what I've been going through these ten days...these two hundred and forty hours...fourteen thousand four hundred minutes and eight hundred and sixty four thousand seconds of my life...I've been going crazy without you...so don't ever leave me again...ever...do you get that...

Ridz: - looking down at her lap apologetically – I'm sorry Armaan... - she felt really guilty and knew exactly how Armaan was feeling as she felt the same way - ...I'm really very sorry...

Armaan: - giving her a side hug - ...It's okay...ab woh sab choro and listen to how and why I'm here...

Ridz: - looking up at him – Go on...

Armaan: Well... – grinning mischievously - ...you may have set that condition but my sasur ji understood my pain...and knowing that my mind was far away from work he decided to help me out... - dramatically

Ridz: Armaan...yeh tum kya keh rahe ho...I have no idea what you're saying...saaf saaf batao na... – moving away a little

Armaan: Okay fine baba...I'm sorry...the truth is that my mind was really not working when I was in the office...all day I was thinking about you...then suddenly out of the blue your dad called me in the office with one of the other guys and I was like...oh great to top off my misery I'm going to be fired...but then the unexpected happened and your dad handed me a new project...

Ridz: I still don't understand... – confused

Armaan: Just listen...he handed me the file and when I read it I just couldn't believe it...he gave me the responsibility of organising this fashion show...here at this country club...in other words he sent me here to be with you...

Ridz: WHAT? – in shock – ...Are you serious? – her jaw dropped - ...You're going to be staying here...with me...for the next week...just the two of us...together... – getting extremely excited - ...tum jhoot nahi bol rahe ho na?

Armaan: I'm serious... – slowly but happily as he saw her expression - ...we'll be together...

Ridz: Armaan... – hugging him tightly - ...I'm so happy...you don't understand...I can't believe it...

Armaan: Believe it jaan... – moving away slowly and looking at her smile

Ridz: Armaan...I'm really happy...because you're here with me...and also you've been given such a great opportunity...this fashion show is like... – lost for words - ...wow I'm really very happy for you...I know you can do it...and I promise I'll be there for you...I'm happy to help whenever you need me...but I also promise not to bother you...

Armaan: You've taken all my lines... – with a smile - ...I should be saying all of this...I'm the one who's come here and interrupted you...I bet if I wasn't here now you would be working on your outfits...but I've got you sitting here by this pool...

Ridz: - laughed at his expression – What...? – shaking her head – ...You haven't disturbed me at all...actually I needed a break...and I've already finished one dress and started on my second when everyone's just getting started on their first...so I'm well ahead of my schedule so I can spare some time...

Armaan: That's great news...well done...I'm also up to date with my work...all the paper work was done in the office...just working on the site, props and extras for the next week and a half...

Ridz: I'm sure you will make this a great event...

Armaan: - shaking his head to which she gave a curious look - ...WE will make this a great event...

Riddhima smiled and leaned her head onto his shoulder and they stayed like this throughout the evening making up for the past ten days they spent without each other. They were still sat by the pool till late just indulging in general talk about events which happened in each other's lives while they were separate but were soon disturbed by a few loud coughs which made them look up to see Tia and Sharon who were both grinning cheekily. Riddhima quickly stood up pulling Armaan along with her.

Ridz: Umm...uh guys...

Tia: It's cool...you don't need to say anything...

Sharon: Yep...we completely understand... – smiling widely then turning to Armaan - ...I don't know you very well but there's something about you that's truly amazing...

Armaan: - raising and eyebrow - ...And what's that? – curious

Tia: You're a miracle worker... – Riddhima and Armaan looked on in confusion for her to carry on - ...you've done something which we did not have the capability to do...

Sharon: Neither did this place...

Ridz: What are you two on about?

Tia: - to Armaan - ...For the past ten days that we've been here I've not seen Ridz outside of the workshop or our room...and you've just come here out of the blue and since she's seen you I bet the last thing on her mind is the workshop...

Sharon: None of us could get her in the SPA, the pool, the gym, the games room...anywhere...and I'm shocked to see her here sitting by the pool...

Armaan: - smiling he placed his arm around Riddhima's shoulder - ...You're right...I have that effect on her... – winking at Riddhima making her blush

Ridz: Whatever guys... – moving away from Armaan shyly - ...it's getting dark we should go inside...

Tia: Oh...you noticed... – teasing

Ridz: Oh stop it now... – walking away - ...you guys are not going to let me live this down are you?

Sharon: Never...

They all laughed and went inside to the lounge to chill. Sometime later Riddhima decided to go to her room and freshen up a bit before dinner while Armaan went to his room to sort out his stuff and relax for a bit. In the girls room Tia teased Riddhima continuously as Riddhima made some effort to dress up nicely for the evening as she was going to be spending time with Armaan. They went down to the dining hall for dinner where Armaan met the rest of the group and Riddhima met Armaan's partner, together they had fun throughout the night.



Over the next few days things went back to being normal for Riddhima, she made sure she did not spend her entire time with Armaan which would disrupt both of their intentions. Instead they would spend most of their day concentrating on their work until five when they would both retire to their rooms for a quick fresh up session before meeting up and spending the rest of the evening together.

Riddhima was now busy on her third outfit; she had placed her first and second outfits in her room neatly and securely in plastic covers at the side of her cupboard and was well on her way through her third. This one was the last and she made sure to give it full attention and wanted it to look the best as she had given this one a lot of thought during the initial stages of design; she spent an entire night on this design and now all her time in creating it that she had even forgot to have lunch one day. She was busy working away on the fine surface decoration on the boarder of the dress in full concentration when the rest of the group walked into the workshop but she carried on. She was seated in the planning room working away silently as the main production room was packed because everyone was now working on their final pieces and it was very noisy as the sewing machines worked away.

Jay: - walking into the planning room – Hi...

Ridz: - looking up quickly she jammed the needle in her finger – OUCH! – wincing in pain

Jay: - rushing to her and holding her hand – Are you okay...I'm so sorry...

Ridz: - still in pain – I'm okay...

Before either of them could say anything Billy walked into the room in conversation with someone which made them both look up. Riddhima instantly pulled her hand away from Jay's and stood up looking at Billy and Armaan who were still standing there.

Billy: Is everything okay?

Jay silently walked out of the room giving Armaan an angry look as he walked pass while Billy and Armaan walked further in.

Billy: Is everything okay Ridz?

Ridz: Umm...yeh everything is fine...

Armaan: Nothing is fine... – walking towards her angrily - ...Ridz...you're bleeding...

Billy: - taking a quick look at her wound - ...I'll get the first aid box...

Armaan held her hand up while looking into her eyes, slowly moving his face towards her finger he placed in it his mouth to stop it from bleeding but Riddhima pulled it away looking at him in concern.

Ridz: Armaan...yeh tum kya kar rahe ho...it's unhygienic...

Armaan: Nothing is unhygienic between us...I can't see you bleed... – staring lovingly into her eyes

A moment later Billy was back with the first aid box, he cleared the wound and placed a band-aid on her finger.

Ridz: Thanks Billy...

Billy: It's fine...but I'm sorry...I'm going to have to ask you to move to another room...actually Mr. Malik is here to discuss the event as they are going to be organising it and we need to use this room...so if you could please...I'm sorry...

Ridz: It's okay...no problem...

Riddhima gathered her things and decided to move into the IT suite which was still quieter than the main production room and it was empty.

Armaan: Thanks... – as she walked pass him with a smile

She nodded and walked out of the room and into the IT suite but was followed by Tia who had witness the entire scene from the other room. Just as Riddhima had settled down and was about to begin on her stitching Tia entered.

Tia: Ridz...are you okay?

Ridz: - looking up - ...Yeh I'm fine...

Tia: How did this happen... – pointing to her finger

Ridz: Oh umm... – thinking back to the actual scene and frowned - ...it was just...

Tia: Jay? – ending her sentence

Ridz: - looked up suddenly – Umm...

Tia: Chill...I know...I can see that he's being a bit of a bother to you since the camp fire party...

Ridz: - sighing – So I'm not the only one...thank god for that... – then looking closely at Tia - ...but what am I going to do...it's really getting to me now...

Tia: Don't worry...I'll think of something...

Ridz: Thanks...

Tia: It's cool...you don't worry about it...just finish this and get it out of the way and by then I'll have a plan...

She went back to her work making Riddhima feel slightly more comfortable and she carried on with her detailed embroidery design throughout the afternoon until her watch ticked to five and she started packing away her belongings and making her way up to her room.

Riddhima opened her room and door and was about to make her way inside when she felt her foot on something making her stop in her tracks and looked down to see a red envelop which had been slipped under the door. She picked it up and looked closely at it to read her name. She smiled and opened it to reveal a heart shaped card, opening it slowly and excitedly she read the note:

Hey my love...dinner tonight?  ...meet me in the country club restaurant at eight...a small change from the boring dining hall...want to spend the rest of the evening with you...I love you xxx

She closed it happily and nodded, she quickly put her things away safely into her cupboard and began going through her outfits deciding what to wear for this special evening. After about ten minutes of debating with her mind she picked out and beautiful purple coloured evening dress and lay it on the bed before grabbing her stuff and heading into the washroom to have a long warm bath to relax and ease her tensions of the day getting herself ready for a lovely evening.



About an hour later she clambered out of the bathtub and wrapped her robe around her and a towel around her hair before walking back into the room to get dressed. She found matching jewellery and accessories then started to get ready, doing her makeup and hair as if she was going to a party but inside she knew she wanted this to be the best evening she had ever had. Another hour had passed by when finally Riddhima was ready, she stood in front of the mirror inspecting her makeup which was done immaculately and her hair which was brushed to perfection, she checked out her outfit and shoes and smiled at her reflection.

Ridz: Why am I having butterflies in my stomach... – grinning excitedly like a teenager

She turned around and picked up her silver purse from her bed, checking that she had the room card and her mobile phone before deciding to leave, taking a deep breath taking one last look in the mirror then walked towards the door. The moment she let herself out and closed the door behind her a sudden thought struck her making her stop suddenly in her tracks. She could feel her heart banging furiously against her chest and she felt as though she would break out into a cold sweat any moment; she walked a few paces with her mind wandering frantically.

Ridz: Wait...am I doing the right thing...I hope this is not a joke...I hope this is not a plan...if the card was from Jay... – stopping again as she had thought of the most outrageous thing but she still carried on the debate in her mind as she walked on - ...nahi...if Armaan wanted to take me on a date then...he would have called me...or left me a message...or he would have told me in the workshop when we met...why would he leave me a card...?

Her feet had now brought her to the lounge where she stopped for a minute thinking if to go ahead or go back to her room.

Ridz: Ab main kya karoon? – thinking to herself - ...If Jay is there...what should I do...? – worried - ...Nahi...maybe I should just go back to my room...this just looks like a set up...Armaan would not just drop me a surprise like this... – she turned around but did not move - ...lekin...if it's Armaan...and I don't go...he'll think I stood him up...maybe he did want to surprise me... – making a face - ...what should I do...?

Her mind was still very confused but her legs knew exactly what to do and started moving her to her destination. She slowly walked towards the door and pushed it open gently peering inside to see a few couples having dinner; she stepped further in and scanned the room until she found a male figure sitting alone at a table with a bunch of red roses in front of him. Riddhima walked towards the table but was still unsure of who was sitting there as she tried to make out from the back, her heart beat was faster than she could ever imagine as she neared the table. The figure stood up as she was two steps away and turned to face her with a smile.

??: You took your time...

Ridz: - breathing a sigh of relief – Armaan... – happily

Armaan: Of course...aur kaun hoga? – then stopped and fully checked her out – ...WOW...! – could not find any other word to describe her

Riddhima smiled happily and waited for him to get over the shock of her beauty then they hugged for a few seconds. Riddhima moved back a little while Armaan took the roses from the table and handed it to her which she accepted happily and he helped her to her seat before sitting down himself. They carried on staring at each other for a while longer until the waiter brought over the menu which drew their attention away from each other.

They enjoyed a lovely dinner, it was the very first time that they had been to a posh restaurant as a couple without a gang of people and they made the most of it as it was a calm and serene atmosphere making them both feel very romantic. Once they had finished their dessert Armaan paid the bill like a gentleman, leaving a generous tip, they walked out arm in arm and out towards the pool, their favourite place. They sat dangling their feet in the water and enjoying each moment of togetherness, Riddhima leaned her head on his shoulder and he breathed in her sweet scent as they stayed like this for a while longer until Riddhima started to shiver slightly.

Armaan: - standing up – Come on get up now...

Ridz: Kyun? – giving him a weird look – ...I'm enjoying it... – in a childish tone

Armaan: Riddhima... – sweetly

Riddhima stood up and Armaan took off his jacket placing it around her shoulder to which she gave him a very cute smile and they walked hand in hand inside and made their way towards her room. Armaan opened the door for her and they stood there for a few minutes with no need of words as their eyes were doing all the talking. Armaan did not want to leave and Riddhima did not want him to go, she peered inside turning on the lights but the room was empty, she turned back to him and gestured for him to come inside for a while. He didn't need to be told twice as he followed her in and closed the door behind him. Riddhima handed him back the jacket and asked him to make himself comfortable while she went into the washroom to change into something a little warm and cosy.

She came out a few minutes later to see him sitting on her bed and watching television, he looked up as she came back into the room in her night suit looking very cute. She settled down next to him with a small smile as he cuddled her.

Armaan: You got a message... – handing her the phone

Ridz: From? – looking down at the phone and reading out loud – ...Hey Ridz...the girls are having a sleep over in Sharon and Rachel's room...if you feel like it come over...I'm going to spend the night there...night ;) Tia xxx

Riddhima smiled and placed the phone over on the bedside table then turned to Armaan who wore a cheeky grin, Riddhima already knew what was on his mind, she stood up and walked over to Tia's bed grabbing all the pillows then she made a line of pillows next to Armaan and sat on the other side. He smiled at this action of hers and cuddled her over the pillows making her yelp. They carried on watching television in each other's arms then when nothing was showing they turned it off and chatted generally, Riddhima pitched in ideas for Armaan project which he thought were really interesting and decided that he would use them.

They spoke throughout the night about any and everything they could until they found themselves both yawning away with tears forming in their eyes. Armaan made Riddhima lay comfortably on the bed which was quite spacey promising to her in a serious tone that she had nothing to worry about.

Ridz: - sleepy but seriously - ...I trust you Armaan...

Armaan: I love you...

Ridz: I love you too...

Armaan made himself comfortable on the other side of the pillowed boarder before entwining his fingers with hers. They faced each other lovingly wishing each other goodnight before drifting off to a peaceful and romantic sleep.



The following morning had arrived with a ray of sunshine beaming through the curtains and onto the love birds who were still fast asleep, their fingers still entwined as they had done last night and both smiled soundly as they slept until a few moments later when there were several knocks on the door making them both frown and shuffle.

*KNOCK KNOCK*

Shashank: Riddhima?

Armaan and Riddhima both shot up as they heard her name and looked at each other in shock at the sound of Shashank's voice...




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