Friday, 22 May 2020

part 61 & 62 : Arman aur Riddhima ka safar

part 61

Riddhima settled down in the car silently while Armaan drove off, a while later he turned to look at her but unexpectedly she had a small smile as she looked out of the window. He smiled knowing that she was okay while she carried on looking out of the window as her mind wandered down its own path of thought.

Ridz: Well...that's another chapter closed in my life...time to go back to reality...taking small steps at a time...

 Two hours later they arrived in London and Riddhima smiled as she looked out to the familiar settings of her home town. They drove silently around the well known roads until they finally made it to the Gupta house. Armaan parked the car and turned to look at her as she stayed seated smiling happily in her own world of thoughts, he moved his hand over to touch hers gently making her look around suddenly.



Armaan: Wake up...we're home... – smiling sweetly at her

Ridz: - sitting up and looking around - ...I didn't even realise... – smiling as Armaan signalled her to come out

Riddhima got out of the car and made her way towards the front door as Armaan went to collect her suitcase and bag from the boot of the car. She rang the doorbell and waited patiently and by the time Armaan made it to her side Padma opened the door with a happy smile.

Padma: Welcome home... – letting them in and hugging Riddhima

Ridz: Hi mama... – moving back

Armaan: Hey Aunty... – hugging her

Padma: Come in...

Armaan left Riddhima's suitcase at the bottom of the stairs and followed Padma and Riddhima through a quiet kitchen towards the living room.

Armaan: Kahan hain sab log?

Padma: - turning with a happy smile – Everyone's waiting for you both...

Ridz: Kahan? – sharing curious looks with Armaan

Then she looked over at Padma who was taking them towards the conservatory; Armaan shrugged as Riddhima looked at him and then back to Padma.

Padma: Yahan... – walking out of the conservatory door with the two of them at her heels

Everyone: CONGRATULATIONS AND WELCOME HOME!!!!

Riddhima and Armaan looked around the garden to see a crowd of people; Shashank, Vikram and Nandani stood up front and as they looked around they saw Atul and Anjali, Rahul, Muskaan, Sid and Nikita. A little further they noticed Rahul, Muskaan and Nikita's parents amongst neighbours. Armaan also noticed a lot of his work mates including Sunny and some of the Khushi Event team members who worked with him on this project.

Riddhima stood there in shock to see so many people in her back garden but Armaan got over it quickly and went to his parents, he hugged his mum and chatted with them for a while as Shashank joined Padma and Riddhima.

Shashank: Welcome home beta...

Ridz: - stuck for words - ...Thanks papa...

Padma: Ab jao...aur sab ke saat enjoy karo...you deserve it...

Riddhima hugged her parents and walked off of the patio and down to the garden where the first people she met were Anjali and Rahul's parents.

Anji: - giving her a side hug - ...It's so nice to have you back home...I've missed you so much...

Ridz: I've missed you too dii... – moving back

Gayatri Aunty: Anjali was just telling me about the show...I'm so happy for you...congratulations...

Ridz: Thank you aunty...

Anji: Ridzi why don't you go and have fun with your friends...they've been waiting for ages to have you back...you guys took so long...

Ridz: Haan dii...actually your brother-in-law drives so slow... – laughing at her own joke while Anji grinned

Riddhima walked along the garden path towards her friends but was stopped at every step as many people approached her to praise her for her hard work and success. She met her friends' parents as well as her neighbours and other family friends who all said the same thing which made her smile happily to think that they were all here to celebrate her success and happiness; she thanked them all and carried on walking towards her friends who stood in a huddle waiting for her.

Muskaan: Finally Ridzi...you took your time... – giving her a side hug

Ridz: Sorry guys...it's just that everyone stopped me on the way...I couldn't come quickly...

Niki: - laughing - ...Ridz...Muski isn't talking about now...she meant...you and Armaan took your time coming home...

Sid: Yeah...everyone was starting to get ideas... – teasing her

Rahul: What were you lot up to? – winking at her as she stood there with her mouth hanging open

Ridz: What?? – in shock at her friends questions - ...I don't believe you guys...

Muskaan: Come on Ridzi...what don't you believe...we all saw that place last night...it was just amazing...and you both spent two weeks there...

Sid: Alone...without any preying eyes...

Niki: You must've got up to lots of mischief...I mean fun... – correcting herself with a giggle

Ridz: - happy to see her friend back to normal but still in shock she smacked Nikita's arm – Niki!! How could you say that? – turning to all of them - ...You guys are impossible...where's Armaan... – turning around to scan the garden - ...wait till he hears what you guys have to say...

Rahul: Ohhh...looking for your lover boy... - teasing

Ridz: Shut up Rahul... – blushing

Muskaan: He's too busy with his work mates...why don't you tell us how you guys spent your two weeks...alone...

Ridz: - smacking her arm – Muski...that's enough... – but smiling

Sid: Go on Ridz...tell us...

Ridz: That's more than enough... – completely changing the topic - ...why don't you guys tell me what you've been up to for these three weeks...Muskaan how was it at the Institute...?

Muskaan: It was okay...when you left we had the annual fashion show which I took part in...it was fun...but apart from that the rest was normal...I've almost finished all the projects...just another three weeks to go then the course will be over...and then... – smiling widely - ...wedding preparations... – looking at Rahul

Ridz: That's great...I can't wait...but I also can't believe that this one year has gone so quick...this time last year we had finished secondary...and so much has happened in one year...

Rahul: Yeah...you're right...even I can't believe it...time really does fly when you start working...but I'm enjoying my work so it's okay...

Ridz: And Sid? – turning to him - ...How are you finding it at Khushi Events?

Sid: It's okay...nothing exciting... – making a face

Niki: That's only because you're doing paper work...

Rahul: She's right...I remember when Armaan started...he also hated it because he was buried in paper work...it'll take some time but you'll love it when you get your first project...trust me...

Sid: I hope...

Ridz: And Niki? – turning to her - ...What you been up to?

Niki: Umm not much...

Before she could say anything else Armaan walked towards them smiling happily.

Armaan: Hey guys...

Rahul/Muskaan: So you finally found time for us...

Armaan: Yeah...had to meet all my work mates and family...all they did was praise me and I was enjoying it...I knew you guys would wait for me...

Rahul: You're still so big headed...

Armaan: That's me... – lifting his shirt

Muskaan: Come let's have something to eat...dinner is being served...

They all made their way to the table laid with food and helped themselves, from across the table Riddhima noticed Nikita serving Sid and he did the same, she smiled silently as she watched them in their own world. The evening went on with food, music and dance as everyone celebrated and had fun. It was quite late when the guests began to leave once again congratulating Armaan and Riddhima on their success for their different projects. A while later the Malik family and Riddhima's friends left making promises to meet up again soon and Riddhima thanked them all for coming.

Riddhima then tried to help Padma tidy up but Padma noticed how tired she was and sent her up to her room to sleep. She smiled and dragged her feet up the stairs, walking into her room and switching the lights on she smiled widely as she felt great to be back home, to her own room and her most comfortable bed. She quickly got dressed and jumped into bed falling asleep the moment her head touched her pillow.



Three weeks later Riddhima found herself walking alongside Muskaan out of the tube station and on their way to the Institute for their final day. Riddhima was excused from finishing off her projects as she had worked extremely hard for the Fashion Show competition and her three outfits had been counted as part of the course but she insisted that she would work on two projects before the end of the course which was today. She smiled as she entered the building talking happily to Muskaan about how she had worked hard on her final two projects and how happy she was that they had made it to the end of the course.

Muskaan: I know what you mean...I feel a bit sad that the course is finish but we both made it to the end...just hope I pass...

Ridz: Of course you will...we both will...with flying colours... – giving her a sweet smile as they walk into their room

Muskaan and Riddhima settled down and carried on talking until their mentor Laura walked into the room and asked for everyone's attention.

Laura: As you all know...today is your last day here as a group...most of you will still be around finishing off your projects but for some of you...this is the last day here at the Institute...but before any of that...let's get on with our work...

Riddhima and Muskaan had completed their projects and were having a last look through it before handing it in. After about an hour they made their way towards Laura just as Tom walked into the room and stood next to them.

Muskaan: Laura? – getting her attention - ...Here's our final projects... – handing her a huge file

Laura: All completed? Checked, dated and signed?

Muskaan: Yes...

Ridz: And this is mine... – placing her file down next to Muskaan's – ...all done...

Laura: Well...congrats to both of you...and it's been a pleasure knowing you both...

Tom: Of course...you'll be missed...

Muskaan/Ridz: We'll miss you too...it's been a great opportunity being here at the Institute and working with you both...

Laura/Tom: All the best for the future...and hope you both get good news on your results...

Muskaan/Ridz: Thanks...bye...

They both walked out of the room happily and made their way to the lifts chatting excitedly until they met Jia and her friend as they walked out of the lift. Jia completely ignored them but Muskaan smiled evilly and nudged Riddhima to say something.

Muskaan: Go on Ridzi...after all she's put you through...now show her who's the best...we're out of here...but she's nowhere near finished...she has failure written all over her work...

Ridz: Muskaan... – seriously

Muskaan: Go on Ridz...

Riddhima turned and called out to Jia who didn't stop. Riddhima walked after them and called out her name again, her friend stopped her and made her turn and Riddhima walked up to them.

Ridz: Jia...

Jia: What do you want? – rudely – ...Come to rub salt on my wounds?

Ridz: Umm...actually I'm here to say sorry...

Muskaan/Jia's friend: What???

Ridz: I'm here to say sorry...we started off on the wrong foot...I'm not even sure why...but what's happened has happened...and neither of us can go back and change time...I just want to say sorry if I've hurt you unintentionally...I didn't mean to...let's just forget about everything and move on...

The three of them stood there in shock unable to take in any of Riddhima's words; Jia stood there with a blank expression staring at Riddhima like this was some kind of joke.

Ridz: I'm sorry...I hope you will forgive me...

Jia nodded her head ever so slowly; if anyone had passed by they wouldn't even notice. Riddhima smiled and walked away with Muskaan at her heel in shock.

Muskaan: Are you going to explain what that was all about?

Ridz: - getting into the lift – Come on Muskaan...there's nothing to explain...

Muskaan: Ridz...she was in the wrong from beginning so why on earth were you apologising?

Ridz: Muskaan...whatever the problem was I just thought of being the bigger person and do what I thought was right...

Muskaan: You are unbelievable... – walking out of the lift and towards the exit

Ridz: I know... – smiling

Muskaan: Come let's meet up with Niki at the mall...I feel like shopping...

Ridz: - laughing – Now Rahul's working you want to finish all of his money before it reaches his account...

Muskaan: Hmm...yeah...something like that...

They both laughed as they walked towards the tube station, Muskaan called Nikita asking her to meet them in the mall to which she agreed and they met her there within half an hour. The girls had a great time shopping and talking about the upcoming wedding, Muskaan made a plan with the girls to meet up at her place the following weekend to finally get down to the wedding preparations which they just couldn't wait for.



As planned the girls made their way to Muskaan's house that weekend; Riddhima and Nikita waited patiently outside after ringing the doorbell. A moment later the door was opened by Yuvi, Muskaan's brother who let them in and gave them a small warning.

Yuvi: I wish you all the best girls...

Niki: For what?

Yuvi: She's going to load you down with heaps of work... – whispering - ...it's finally beginning to hit her that she's getting married...she's in the ordering around mood...and when nothing is going right...she starts to throw a tantrum like a two year old...I'd stay away if I was you...

Ridz: Yuvi... – laughing - ...you're mad...

Yuvi: I'm just warning you...then don't tell me I didn't...

Muskaan appeared at the top of the stairs and noticed the three of them whispering at the bottom.

Muskaan: Oi...what are you whispering to my friends? – shouting from the top

Yuvi: Nothing... – walking back into the living room but as they passed him he whispered - ...all the best...

Niki: - laughing as she walked up the stairs – Pagal...

Muskaan: Tell me about it...I have to live with him...

Ridz: Don't worry...not for long now... – as they walk into her room and close the door behind them

Niki: Haan after all... – in a sing song voice – ...tujhe saajan ke ghar jana hain...

Ridz: - joining in – Haan tuhje saajan ke ghar jana hain... – laughing as she flopped down onto the bed

Muskaan blushed and settled down next to Nikita at the top of the bed but Riddhima carried on making her blush even more.

Ridz: Seriously though Muskaan...have you given it any thought?

Muskaan: What?

Ridz: I mean...you're going to go and live at his house...everything is going to change...a whole new household...new rules...new room...living with Rahul...

Niki: Ridzi you're scaring her...

Muskaan: Yeah...I have thought about it...but it shouldn't be that bad...

Ridz: Matlab?

Muskaan: I mean...I know his parents really well...within this one year I've spent a lot of time at his house with his mum...and they are really nice...

Ridz: Yeah I know...they are really nice...I've known them since I was a child...

Muskaan: Exactly...and the other thing is...he's not a stranger...we've been together for almost three years...

Niki: Woh sab to theek hain...but I get what Ridz is trying to say now...you've been on your own but having to live with a guy...in his room...just imagine having to share everything...I can't do that...

Ridz: Me either...I can just imagine having to live in Armaan's messy room... – making a face

Muskaan: - laughing – Come on guys...Rahul is different...I'm not saying he's not like all guys...but I've lived with Yuvi all my life...and if I can tolerate him...then I can live with any guy...

They all laughed and joked around for a while imagining having to share everything with a guy, especially if you didn't have any experience. After a while they calmed down and took a breather.

Niki: So you really have thought about it...

Muskaan: Yep...I'm ready to move in with Rahul and his family and live with him...because I really love him...

Rahul: I love you too...

The girls looked up suddenly to see Rahul standing there with the door open; Muskaan blushed as he walked in and sat down next to her as Nikita moved up giving them space.

Ridz: You could've knocked...you do know its bad manners to walk into a room without knocking...

Rahul: I know...but it's my fianc's room and I bet she doesn't mind...right Muskaan... – turning to her and she nodded

Niki: You guys are so cute...

Rahul: Thanks Niks... – putting his arm around Muskaan's shoulder - ...so have you guys started any planning or have you just been sitting here gossiping?

Muskaan: We have spoken a bit...but we were waiting for you guys...

Ridz: Talking of the guys...where are they...where are Armaan and Sid?

Rahul: They were supposed to come with me but they decided to stay at the office so they could concentrate better...

Ridz: Concentrate on what? – confused

Rahul: They've been given a new project... – looking at Muskaan - ...our wedding and our events...mehendi, sangeet and reception...so now that's sorted you guys don't need to worry about that bit...

Niki: So uncle and aunty have finalised Khushi Events... – Muskaan nodded

Muskaan: We're sorting out between the two families...we're doing the mehendi and wedding and Rahul's parents are doing the sangeet and reception...all four events are going to be organised by Khushi Events...

Niki: That's nice...

Ridz: - lost in her thoughts - ...But...I thought we would meet today at least... – sadly - ...he's just so busy with work...if he was here right now it would be so nice...I miss you Armaan...

Muskaan: - nudging her – Ridz are you okay?

Ridz: Huh?? – looking around – ...Umm...nothing...what were you saying?

Rahul: What's up with you? – smiling at her - ...Missing your lover boy? – teasing

Niki: Aww...she's thinking of Armaan...

Muskaan: You guys spent so much time together...it'll take some time for you to get use to him being away from you again...

Niki: Haan Ridzi...you never told us what you guys got up to when you were there... – nudging her in her side while she blushed

Rahul: Come on Ridz...tell us...

Ridz: Guys please... – getting up and walking to the window as she blushed madly - ...can we drop this and get back to the main topic...

Rahul: This is the main topic...

Ridz: I meant...wedding plans...

Muskaan: Yours and Armaan's wedding plans already...he hasn't even proposed...or has he? – teasing

Ridz: - turning around with a straight face – That's enough...stop this topic right now...or I'm leaving...

Niki: Okay...okay we're sorry... – noticing the small smile on Riddhima's face

Muskaan: Fine we won't say anything else...theek hain?

Ridz: Good...

Muskaan: Okay then...if everything else is going to be organised by Khushi Events then all we need to think about is...our outfits and accessories...

Ridz: Have you thought of colours and themes?

Muskaan: Umm...sort of but I haven't decided on anything yet...I've been looking through magazines but there all so good I can make up my mind...

Niki: And what have you thought about hair and makeup?

Muskaan: That's sorted...I've already asked my cousin...you remember the professional beautician who did my hair and makeup for the engagement... – they nodded - ...she'll be doing it for all four occasions...but I have two requests...

Niki: Kya...?

Muskaan: Would you please do my mehendi? – to Nikita

Niki: - thought for a second – Of course... – with a smile

Muskaan: Thanks...

Ridz: And the second?

Muskaan: Would you please design my outfit... – to Riddhima

Ridz: Anything for you...

Muskaan: Thanks a lot guys...

Ridz: Well...let's do one thing...I'll search up on some bridal outfits this week and Niki can work on some mehendi patterns then we'll meet up at one of our houses by the end of the week and come to a final decision...what do you say?

Muskaan: That sounds great...

Niki: Okay...we'll meet up next Saturday at my place and you guys can have dinner at mine...done?

Ridz: Sound perfect...Muskaan?

Muskaan: I'm so excited already...I just hope everything goes to plan and perfectly...

Rahul: It will...don't worry...we have such great friends who are ready to do anything for us then we don't have to worry about anything...

Ridz: Hundred percent correct Rahul...

Muskaan: Thanks guys...

Niki: Please Muskaan...that's why we're you're friends...not just to hear a thanks...

Ridz: Exactly...and I can't wait to get started...

Niki: Me too...so we'll see each other next Saturday...

The girls left after a while and Riddhima made her way home after saying bye to Nikita; even as excited as she was her mind somehow kept wondering back to Armaan...

Ridz: I miss you Armaan...it's nice to know that you're working hard for your friends' wedding...I hope you'll be planning ours very soon as well... – blushing to herself as this thought entered her mind...
....................
part 62

Riddhima sat quietly in Muskaan's living room with her grandmother sharing a sweet smile as she wished she could hold up her hands to her ears or better yet place some ear plugs in her ears as she heard shouting coming from up upstairs and on the stairs. She carried on smiling as she heard Muskaan coming down the stairs still carrying on her argument with her brother. A moment later she appeared at the living room door and almost pulled Riddhima out of her seat.

Muskaan: Let's get out of here... – shouting as she walked to the main door - ...mummy we're leaving...and you get a life... – to Yuvi who stood with a furious look at the foot of the stairs

Riddhima was happy to be out of the place and so was Muskaan; she suddenly changed her mood and turned to Riddhima who wore an ever-so-curious look but changed her mind as Muskaan was about to open her mouth.

Ridz: Leave it...I don't want to know...

They both looked at each other seriously for a moment then on cue they burst out with laughter.

Muskaan: I'm so glad I won't have to live with him any longer...

Ridz: And if Rahul turns out to be worst than him...

Muskaan: He won't... – certainly - ...but if he does...I have a plan for that also... – smiling evilly

Ridz: You're mad...

Muskaan: I know...I've been living with Yuvi for nineteen years of my life...

They laughed again and carried on to Nikita's house where they had made plans to meet up and discuss the wedding outfits and other stuff. They arrived about five minutes later and stood patiently at the doorstep after ringing the bell; a moment later they were greeted by Nikita's mum who stood there inviting them in with a smile.

Nikita's Mum: Hi girls...come in...

Ridz: Hi aunty...

Nikita's Mum: Niki's in the kitchen...go on...

They walked through to the kitchen to find Nikita in a peach coloured top and blue jeans covered with an apron, her hair was tied up with a clip and she worked like a professional, she turned around as they came in and gestured them to have a seat at the counter top as she carried on working.

Niki: Sorry guys...I'll be with you in a minute...just have to finish this off...

Riddhima and Muskaan settled themselves down on the high chairs next to the counter top with their mouths hanging open as they looked on at Nikita's work. She had made two cakes, one was completely made and had been put to a side and she worked away on the second cake. She was now adding fresh cream to cover it and decorate it with coloured cream and fruits. The girls were stuck for words at such a beautiful cake, it was just like one you would find in a bakery, they were unaware of this talent of Nikita's and had absolutely no words to say as they carried on watching her closely as used her decorating equipment to make the cake look even lovelier.

About ten minutes later she finished decorating the cake and was tidying up the area; she quickly took one look at her friends and had now noticed that they were sitting there silently with their mouths hanging open. She was surprised as she had never seen either of them sitting silently for over ten minutes without uttering a word.

Niki: Are you guys okay? – waving her hand in front of their faces

Muskaan: Huh?? – jerking out of her thoughts – ...What?

Niki: What's wrong with you two? – turning around to go and wash up the equipment

Ridz: Niki this is beautiful...if we had walked in when you had finished I would've thought that you brought them from a bakery...

Muskaan: Exactly...I was thinking the same thing...this looks really delicious...

Niki: Thanks guys...but it's not that big of a deal...I mean...you guys are making it sound like such a huge project when it's just a cake... – giggling at her own joke

Ridz: But...when did you start doing cake decorating?

Niki: It's just a hobby...when I had absolutely nothing to do...I mean when I was at home I would either bake or do mehendi patterns...

Muskaan: This is like really professional work...to do something like this I would have to do a course in cake decorating...and you did it just like that...

Niki: Guys...again...it's not anything big... – finished washing up - ...I just started on something small...like sponge cakes and cupcakes...then desserts...and through time and experience I tried bigger things...I've just started doing icing cakes but I haven't mastered that yet...so I'm just sticking to these cakes... – drying her hands on a tea towel

Ridz: Niki...you have amazing talent...

Muskaan: You really do...I'm still stunned by how quickly and neatly you did that...it looks so delicious I want some now...

Niki: Sorry... – picking up the cake and placing one in a box then in the fridge - ...not now...that's for dessert...

Muskaan: I can't wait... – licking her lips

Ridz: But...who's the other one for?

Niki: - walking out of the kitchen not hearing what Riddhima had said  - Why don't we go upstairs... – they followed her out and upstairs - ...I've designed a few patterns Muskaan...you can have a look and decide which one you like...

Muskaan: I already know that I'll love all of them... – following her into the room and settling down at the edge of the bed

Niki: Have a look first... – smiling as she handed her the scrap book

Riddhima and Muskaan looked through the designs and instantly fell in love with one of the designs which they chose immediately and Nikita agreed.

Niki: Well...that was easy...

Muskaan: Ridz...let's see the dress designs...

Riddhima looked into her bag and pulled out a file with loose papers which she had designed a few bridal outfits. She handed it to Muskaan and they looked through it together discussing the details. After about half an hour they decided on an outfit, Muskaan kept the design and decided she would get an outfit made to that design for her big day.

Ridz: Okay...now that's been sorted what's next...?

Muskaan: Hair and makeup sorted...mehendi patterns and designer sorted... – with a smile to Nikita - ...bridal outfit design sorted...now we need to go shopping...

Ridz: We need to buy a suit each for the mehendi, sangeet and the reception...

Niki: And matching jewellery and accessories...

Muskaan: That's going to take a few days... – beginning to look depressed - ...and there's so much more to do...

Ridz: Don't worry Muskaan...everything will be sorted...you just don't take any tension...

Niki: Ridz is right Muskaan...if you begin to panic then you'll think that everything's going wrong...

Muskaan: Okay...so what should we do?

Niki: We can go shopping for the mehendi and sangeet on one day...and once you get your bridal outfit then we can shop for the reception outfit and accessories for the wedding...

Ridz: Yeah...that sounds good...in that way we can spread it over two days...and we won't get confused with it all at once...what do you say Muskaan?

Muskaan: Umm...yeah that sounds fine... – not too certain

Niki: Muski...don't worry...you still have two months and everything will be sorted before that...

Ridz: Right...so calm down and enjoy every moment...because this is going to be very special for you...if you panic you'll miss all the fun...

Niki: Now smile...

Muskaan smiled slowly and they began talking about married life making her blush furiously. A while later the conversation changed as they talked about other preparations and the entire wedding atmosphere, fun and games, rituals and other stuff. After a long time Nikita's mum came upstairs and knocked on the door telling them that dinner was ready. They came down and the three of them sat around the dinner table eating away as they carried on their previous conversation. Once they had eaten Nikita took the cake out of the fridge and gave them each a slice.

Muskaan: As much as I praised it earlier...I can't...

Niki: Why not?

Muskaan: One...I'm too full from this delicious food...two I have to start watching my weight...and three...- looking down at the cake - ...it just looks too nice to eat...

Ridz: - laughing – Oh Muskaan...you're too much...

Niki: Exactly...just eat it...it's a one off...after this you can start thinking about your weight...not that you need to lose anything...

Ridz: Yeah Niki is right...you don't need to lose anything...

Muskaan: But I have to make sure I don't put on anything... – still looking at the cake

Ridz: - having a spoonful - ...Oh go on Muskaan...it's delicious... – they watched as Muskaan tried some - ...I told you it was delicious... – as she saw the look on Muskaan's face then she turned to Nikita - ...Niki...who's the other cake for?

Niki: Umm... – not sure what to say - ...woh...

At the same time the doorbell rang and Nikita stood up quickly, Muskaan and Riddhima looked at her curiously as she made her way to the dining room door but before she could go any further her mum walked followed by their guest.

Nikita's Mum: Niki...Sid is here...

Sid entered the room and Nikita's mum left; Riddhima and Muskaan were shocked to see him there but he walked in casually as if the situation didn't bother him.

Sid: Hey Niki... – then looking around - ...oh hi girls...

Muskaan: Hi... – slowly looking from Sid to Nikita who was looking down

Sid:  – turning to Nikita - ...I'm hoping that's not my cake that their eating... – pointing to Riddhima's and Muskaan's dessert

Ridz: Your cake?

Sid: Yes...I asked Niki to make me a cake...what's wrong with that? – looking at her expression

Ridz: Nothing... – changing her expression - ...I was just asking Niki who the other cake was for but before she could answer you came...

Sid: So I guess you guys don't mind if I join you... – sitting down as if he was in his own home - ...come Niki...

Nikita sat down slowly and they carried on with their desserts, Riddhima and Muskaan; even though they had a million questions on their mind they carried on as if everything was normal. Sometime later the girls helped Nikita tidy up then they sat for a while longer before deciding to leave. Nikita was slightly back to normal now as she showed them to the door.

Muskaan: Thanks for the design Niki and thanks for the lovely dinner... – giving her a hug

Niki: No problem...I'm glad you liked them... – then giving Riddhima a hug

Ridz: Thanks again Niki...loved the dessert... – then whispering in her ear - ...and thanks for his one too...I'll finish it tonight when he's asleep... – giggling

Sid: What's all the giggling about?

Ridz: Nothing...I was just telling Niki now that you're here we'll get a lift home...

Sid: Sure... – then to Niki - ...thanks for the cake...

Niki: No problem...bye guys...thanks for coming round...

They waved as they got into the car; Sid placed his cake safely in the front seat making the girls sit in the back. Once they drove off Riddhima turned to Muskaan and they smiled evilly before turning to Sid.

Ridz: So Mr. Siddhart Gupta...tell us what's going on...

Muskaan: Haan...hume bhi batao na...yeh sab kya chal raha hain?

Sid: What are you two on about? – confused

Ridz: Oh stop messing around and come straight to the point will you...

Sid: I don't even know what you guys are talking about...

Muskaan: Be serious Sid...we're not blind...we can see something's going on...

Ridz: Exactly...so just come out with it now...

Sid: Whatever you two have to say just say it clearly...because I haven't got a clue what you are trying to say...

Ridz: Oh come on Sid...we can see that something is going on between you and Niki...and if there is just tell us...nothing's wrong with it...

Sid: - suddenly jerking the car – WHAT??? – turning around to look at them

Ridz: Sid??? – shocked – ...What the hell was that...and you're in the middle of the road...

Sid drove ahead and found a clear spot before parking the car and turning around to face the girls with a shocked expression.

Sid: What did you say? Me? And Nikita? – Riddhima shook her head slowly – ...Are you serious Ridz...

Muskaan: Come on Sid...we've noticed the closeness between the two of you since you got here...and it's not only one sided...being in your company Niki has really changed...before you came she was different...she use to lock herself in her room and not come out...she had almost given up on life after she got her results...and when you came she's changed...

Ridz: Exactly...she's back to normal now...she's laughing again...having fun...going out...meeting people...and only you've brought this change in her...she seems comfortable with you...anyone would think that you two have a relationship going...

Sid: I don't believe this...- now completely facing them - ...you two are actually serious about this...

Ridz: Then why don't you explain to us what is going on...? – looking closely at him - ...Why are you getting so worked up?

Sid: Ridz...Muskaan...it's not about what's going on...that's not the reason I'm getting worked up...I'm actually shocked because I thought you two of all people would know about this...but I don't believe that either of you have no idea what has happened...this is unbelievable...

Muskaan: I'm confused Sid...what are you talking about?

Ridz: Sid...what do you know that we don't? – curious

Sid: You two are supposed to be her friends...her best friends...and you have no idea at all... – running his fingers through his hair and fully looking at them - ...from the moment I met her in the park...the very first time we came here and I saw her I understood her feelings and you two have been with her for almost ten years and you don't know...

Ridz: Know what Sid? – curiously - ... Just tell us...

Sid: Ridz...you think there's a relationship between me and Niki...but that's not possible...and never will be...because she loves Abhi...

Ridz/Muskaan: WHAT??? Abhi?

Sid: Yes...Abhi...Niki is in love with Abhi... – the girls sat in shock as he unveiled the story - ...I still don't believe you two don't know this but I found out on the very same day I met her...they had an argument when we were playing football...she was close to tears and ready to leave and I can't see anyone in tears as it is...I asked her to come for a walk...we sat by the lake and she told me her entire story...



Flashback

They settled down and carried on chatting away, Nikita stayed quiet but Sid tried to cheer her up.

Sid: Hey... – making her look up with his whisper - ...you wanna go for a walk... – she shook her head to say no - ...c'mon you'll feel better...

Sid stood up and held his hand out to her; everyone looked on as Nikita took his hand and stood up.

Sid: We'll be back... – Riddhima nodded as to say thanks

They walked away leaving Riddhima and Muskaan smiling mysteriously at each other. They walked silently for a while until they came to the lake side; Sid gestured for her to sit on a nearby bench and she did. They sat in silence both looking out onto the calm lake until Sid broke the silence...

Sid: I'm all ears...just say whatever is on your mind...you'll feel a million times better...just spill...and don't worry...my left ear is open...I'll take it in through this ear and let it out through this ear... – using hand gestures - ...I won't tell anything to anyone...you can trust me...

Nikita actually smiled at his sweetness then immediately tears formed in her eyes but she controlled herself and began talking.

Niki: I don't know why he hates me so much...I just refused him when he proposed to me...but we we're still young and immature...at the time I didn't even know about these kind of feelings...but now he hates me...I don't know what to do...I want to apologise...I want him to accept me...because...I love him...if ever I've loved anyone more than my parents its him...but he just doesn't understand...I love him...but the most painful thing is...I know he'll never want me...we can never be together...because he hates me...he hates me...

End of Flashback



Ridz: But how is this possible? – confused

Muskaan: Exactly...they were always fighting...I didn't even have in inkling that Niki would even love someone who had such bitter thoughts for her...

Sid: You guys thought that she was broken because of her bad results...? – shaking his head to which they looked confused - ...Actually you guys are wrong...she was actually happy with those results because Abhi was proved right...she was happy to know that he was right...but the main reason she was broken to such a state...was because he left...

Ridz: Because he left to go New York...? - slowly

Sid: Exactly...she would rather have him taunt and insult her while he was in front of her for the rest of his life...rather than have him go away from her and not have any contact...

Muskaan: I don't believe this...

Sid: Her life was a mess because he was not around...and it still is...but you know what...she's very strong...all she needed was to have someone to let out her feelings to... – turning to Muskaan - ...and that is what I did...when I came back I instantly noticed that she had changed and had met up with her...I didn't have to say a word...just let my ears do the work...I gave her a shoulder to cry on...and that was all she needed...and now you say she's back to normal because of my company...she didn't have to wait for me...any of you two could've done it...but I'm still in shock that you two being her best friends didn't have a clue about her true feelings...I'm shocked...

Riddhima sat there in silence taking it all in, she felt devastated to hear her friend's story like this. All this time she had known Nikita, but from the time Armaan had come into her life she had forgotten everything around her to such an extent that she didn't even realise her friend's feelings for someone, not just someone but Abhi. The two of them were always in front of her eyes but she never realised.

Sid: Anyways...why don't you two just forget I said anything...I mean...I wasn't even suppose to tell you this...it just slipped out and it shouldn't have...I'm sorry...whatever has happened has happened...and there's nothing we can do about it now...so let's just forget about it and go home...

Muskaan: Sid...I'm sorry...we're sorry...for teasing you about Niki...we didn't realise you would be hurt by this...

Sid: It's okay Muskaan...forget it...

Sid started up the car and drove to Muskaan's house, she waved bye to them and went into her home leaving the two of them sitting silently in the car. As they reached their home Sid turned off the car and looked around at Riddhima.

Sid: Sorry Ridz...if I said anything wrong...but now that you both know...let's just keep this between us...

Riddhima nodded and whispered sorry before walking out of the car and into the house; Sid followed with his cake in his hand. Riddhima made an excuse and went up to her room while Sid was back to normal; he shared his cake with Shashank and Padma and joined them in the living room to watch an old Indian movie.



Upstairs; Riddhima walked into her room in a daze, she switched on the light and dropped her bag onto the bottom of her bed, and she automatically walked towards the window and shut the curtains before moving towards the washroom. About ten minutes later she walked out looking slightly fresh as she had changed into her night clothes and had a face wash which made her feel slightly better. She switched on her bedside lamp and sat down in her bed with lots on her mind.

She replayed the entire story which Sid had narrated and had thought about her friends.



Flashback:

*

Abhi: And they're off again... – rolling his eyes in their direction - …don't you guys ever take a break??

Niki: It's cute…you're just jealous…

Abhi: Me??... Jealous??... Yeah right…of what??

*

Niki: Oi Modhi...I wasn't talking to you…so shut up!

Abhi: I can't believe you didn't know that…why don't you just quit...it's better than failing…

Niki: - threw a book at him – SHUT UP!!!

Abhi: – ducking – Shut don't go up…prices do!

*

Abhi:  Please Armaan...just a minute...I'm not finished yet...I still have a lot more to say... – turning back to Nikita who was sobbing - ...actually I'm just getting started...never mess with me...like I said...all my words came true...and yours? – smirking - ...Empty and hollow...just like you...useless...I told you to quit...it's better than failing...but of course...Miss Nikita Malhotra...listens to no one and thinks she's the best...it's all been cleared up for you today...now you know exactly what you are...A FAILURE!

*

Niki: And... – slowly - ...Abhi?

Ridz: Umm...woh...Ab...Abhi is...Abhi is going to America tomorrow...

Niki: - her head snapped up and looked at Riddhima – Kya?

Ridz: Uh...umm his uncle got him a job in New York as an IT Assistant in a big company...he's leaving tomorrow...

Niki: - the tears which were welled in her eyes spilled out and ran down her cheeks - ...I'm happy for him... – sadly

*

End of Flashback



Riddhima shook her head, disappointed in herself for not understanding her friend's feelings. Before tears could well up in her eyes she thought of calling Armaan so that she would feel better. She hadn't spoken to him for ages or neither had she seen him as he was keeping himself very busy at work. Even Nandani Aunty and Anjali didn't see him around the house much. She picked up her phone from the bedside table and pressed the familiar name then held it up to her ear waiting to hear his voice which would definitely put a smile on her face.

VM: I'm sorry the person you are trying to call is unavai... – she cut the call and frowned

She looked at her phone and put on her alarm then laid down further in her bed pulling the duvet up to her neck, she was about to turn on her side and close her eyes but thought of calling once again. She picked up her phone and pressed his name before holding it up to her ear again.

VM: I'm sorry the person... – she cut the call and placed the phone onto the bedside table sighing loudly

Riddhima closed her eyes and tried to sleep but a while later her phone rang and she eagerly picked up.

Ridz: Hello...Armaan...

Armaan: Hi what's up...why did you call?

Ridz: Kya? – confused - ...Armaan...we haven't spoken in a while so I thought I would see how you were...where are you?

Armaan: Ridz...why are you getting so worked up...you know I've been busy at the office...and why are you asking where I am...I mean...you're not my mum or dad...then why should it bother you were I am...

Ridz: But Armaan...I'm just as...

Armaan: - cutting her off – Ridz please...ease off a bit...you need to calm down...

Ridz: I'm sorry Armaan but you need to calm down...what is wrong with you?


Armaan: Please Ridz enough is enough...just because we spent two weeks together doesn't mean you need to know my every whereabouts and what I do...just go back to normal...you're not my wife so just leave me alone...

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