Saturday, 23 May 2020

part 63 & 64: Arman aur Riddhima ka safar

Part 63

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... – ending the call



Ridz: - in shock and anger – Armaan?

Riddhima sat up suddenly in bed thinking of what had just happened but as she looked down at her hand it was empty, there was no phone in sight. She switched on the bedside lamp to see her phone sitting soundly on the bedside table where she had left it before she fell asleep. She picked it up and searched through it to see that the last call was made by her and Armaan did not call back.

Ridz: Yeh ek sapna tha? – thinking to herself then out loud after minute – ...Thank God...if Armaan really had became angry like that what would I do... – sweat beads forming on her forehead - ...from now on I won't bother him...I can't afford to lose him...I love him so much... – panting slightly - ...if he's busy I won't pester him...I'll just have to meet him whenever he's ready... – holding on to her chest feeling her heart beat rapidly - ...at least that was just a dream...

Taking a slow breath she lay back down in bed and stared up at the ceiling as the dream replayed in her mind not allowing her to go back to sleep. She sighed as it repeated for the fifth time and as much as she tried to get rid of the thought she just couldn't; instead she pulled out a novel from her bedside drawer and began to read even though she never had a habit of reading before bed but she had no choice. She read late into the night until she finally fell asleep after four in the morning.



The next week Riddhima and Sid were sitting in the conservatory taking a breather after a long day of spring cleaning as Shubhankar and the rest of the family were coming down to spend the summer holidays with them. The two of them had worked together to get the rooms ready like Riddhima had done the last time they came round. It was just after four when they finally finished up and were resting in the conservatory when Riddhima decided to bring up a certain topic now that everything was back to normal with them.

Ridz: Sid...I'm going to ask you a question and I'm hoping I get an honest answer...

Sid: - grinning mischievously – What is this...KBC? – then laughing at his own joke - ...How much am I winning for this question?

Ridz: Shut up Sid...I'm serious...

Sid: Okay...go on...

Ridz: Please don't get offended I just need to know the truth...

Sid: Okay...okay just go on...

Ridz: I'm sorry for bringing up this topic again but it's been bothering me all week...and I just want to know what are your feelings for Niki... – looking closely at his expression then carrying on - ...I mean...I know about her feelings but I also know that you two are very close...but what do you feel for her...

Sid: Ridz...

Ridz: Please Sid...all I want is an honest answer...be it in a sentence or one word...but please tell me...

Sid: Theek hain...because I know you're not going to let this go like that... – watching her smile - ...haan I like her...because we're close...we're friends...I like her company and she's a nice person...and...

Ridz: Aur kya... – smiling widely now

Sid: Aur kya? – looking at her knowing she wanted to hear more - ...She's pretty...friendly...has a lovely personality...very talented...but...

Ridz: But? – with a slight frown - ...You've said all the good stuff what's left?

Sid: Ridz...woh sab toh theek hain but you're forgetting the main point...she loves someone else...

Ridz: Haan par woh... – quickly shutting up

Sid: Woh kya? – sitting up suddenly – ...Don't go getting any ideas...okay? – looking closely at her - ...You know it's never going to happen...and please don't make her upset by even mentioning this to her...

Ridz: C'mon Sid...she's my friend...I would never do that...I just wanted to know you're feelings for her and that's it...

Sid: And now you know you've got to keep this shut... – making a gesture of her zipping her lips - ...got it? - strictly

Ridz: Theek hain...but one thing...

Sid: Ab kya?

Ridz: One more honest answer...

Sid: What?

Ridz: If she does like you as well then what would you say?

Sid: Ridz please...enough questions...

He got up and walked away but she noticed the smile on his face as he left and knew what he was thinking. And being a master mind herself she smiled secretly already having a plan cooking in her mind. She got up and went upstairs to get dressed before the guests arrived. After half an hour, while putting on her jewellery she heard the doorbell ring and she smiled rushing to get ready quickly then just as she lifted her dupatta off of her bed and put it round her neck her room door opened and in ran her favourite little boy.

Dhruv: Riddhi...! – running to her and giving her a hug

Ridz: Dhruv... – happily - ...how are you?

Dhruv: I'm fine...and how are you...did you miss me...I missed you so much...but you didn't call me...you forgot me... – turning away from her and walking to the balcony

Ridz: Aww...that's not true... – walking towards him with something in her hand which she picked up from her table - ...how can I forget my favourite person...?

Dhruv: - turning around happily - ...I'm your favourite person?

Ridz: Of course...and I have something just for you...

Dhruv: Kya? – excitedly

Ridz: - holding out the surprise towards him - ...Your favourite...

Dhruv: Chocolates... – taking them happily and hugging her again - ...I love you Riddhi...

Ridz: Love you too Dhruv... – hugging him close as she had missed him - ...you've grown so much... – moving him back and having a look at him, he was now up to her shoulder

Sid: Wow...there's lot of love sharing up here...I knew we were missing something Naina... – looking at her

Ridz: Shut up Sid... – walking towards them with a smile - ...hey Naina... – giving her a hug

Naina: Hey how are you?

Ridz: I'm good...I'm so happy you guys are here...

Dhruv: I know...you must be very bored of him now... – pointing to Sid

Sid: Oi... – chasing after him making the girls laugh

Ridz: - turning to Naina - ...So how's 6th form going?

Naina: It's okay...but glad the holidays are here...I need a break...come...let's go down...everyone is waiting to see you downstairs...

Ridz: Yeah...let's go...

They reached the living room and Riddhima was very happy to meet Ba, Keerti Chachi and Shubhankar Chachu. They were also happy to see her and they sat and talked for a long time until dinner which was full of fun and laughter after a long time.



The next day Riddhima and Naina met up with Muskaan and Nikita at the mall to hang out, the girls had to sneak out of the house while Sid kept Dhruv occupied with a game so that he wouldn't want to tag along. They looked around some of the familiar shops picking out some attractive stuff and Riddhima looked around for something special; the reason why she came to the mall but was still in two minds if she wanted to buy it but she finally made up her mind and picked it up hiding it at the bottom of her hand bag while the girls looked around.

A while later they bought themselves ice creams and cold drinks before settling down at the fountain; their usual spot and the general conversation started up.

Naina: So what's the latest over here?

Niki: Well...Muskaan's shaadi is the next big thing...we're all looking forward to it...

Muskaan: Yep...and Armaan and Sid are working really hard on it...everyone is working on it I just hope everything goes well...

Ridz: Oh Muski...stop panicking...it'll be fine...

Naina: Of course it will Muskaan...I wish you all the best...

Muskaan: Thanks...

Naina: I hope Sid's not being a pain...he likes everything his way...

Ridz: - thinking – Thanks Naina...at least you brought up the topic now leave it to me...

Muskaan: He's fi...

Ridz: - cutting her off - ...Sid is Sid after all...he's so fussy... – nudging Muskaan's feet under the table asking her to play along

Muskaan: Yeah...he's a little annoying... – making a face

Naina: I guessed...I know my brother really well...

Niki: You guys are mean...he's actually a really nice person...you only find him annoying because you don't see his point of view...

Ridz: Oh come on Niki...he's so selfish...that day he finished the entire cake on his own...he hates sharing...

Muskaan: Are you serious? – fully in role now - ...How greedy...

Niki: Muskaan...he's not greedy...after all it was his cake...

Naina: But Niki he is very greedy...he doesn't share anything...

Ridz: I know...and he's such a messy person... – now smiling widely on the inside thinking - ...Oh ho Niki...Sid ki itni tarafdari...wah!

Niki: Oh that's not fair Ridz...don't you remember Armaan's room the first time you walked into it...you guys are picking on Sid for no reason...

Muskaan: Oh wow Niki...why are you sticking up for him so much...his sister and cousin are saying this and you're favouring him... – smiling at her

Niki: - biting her lower lip - ...It's  nothing like that...I was just thinking that you guys are being really mean to him...that's all...

Ridz: Koi baat nahi Niki...hum samaj gaye... – winking at her

Niki: - blushing but now in shock at what the girls were trying to say – Oh guys please...

Naina: What is going on? – looking from Riddhima to Muskaan then to Nikita who was blushing madly

Ridz: Naina...you're looking at your bhabi-to-be... – teasing

Niki: Mujhe ghar jaana hain... – getting up and the others followed

Muskaan: Niki...bolo na...you like Sid isn't it...

Niki: - turning in shock at Muskaan - ...How can you guys say that...just because I was supporting him...I mean...we're just friends...

Ridz: Niki...there's nothing wrong with it... – holding her shoulder and talking calmly - ...listen to me... I'm not forcing anything on to you...but I know that Sid is a really nice person...you guys are very close friends...you also look very, very nice together...we can see that you guys get on really well...and he enjoys your company a lot as well...I'm not saying to rush into anything...just think about it...because he can keep you very happy...and you deserve the best...

Nikita was now in deep thought and Riddhima silently cursed herself hoping that she had not brought up ill thoughts of Abhi in Nikita's mind but as she gave Nikita's shoulder a slight squeeze she turned to look at Riddhima with a sweet smile as if she was still blushing. Riddhima smiled and gave her a side hug then Muskaan started teasing her again.

Muskaan: Aww...Niki...I think you guys look adorable together...

Naina: And you look so cute when you blush...

Niki: Please stop it girls... – blushing madly

Ridz: That's enough guys...if not she'll complain to Sid about us... – nudging her

Niki: Ridz...tum bhi... – turning to her in shock

Ridz: Sorry bhabi... – before Nikita could slap her she changed her words - ...I mean...Niki... – holding her ears

Niki: You guys are too much... – walking quickly away from them with a wide smile

The girls walked behind her with smiles on their faces and Riddhima felt that her mission was accomplished, all she needed to do was to make Sid propose to Nikita which seemed quite difficult at the moment but she would think of something.

Riddhima and Naina said bye to Muskaan and Nikita then made their way home, as they entered everyone rounded up on them making them double take and wondered what had happened suddenly.

Padma: How could you girls do this? – frowning at them - ...It was not nice...

Keerti: Exactly...what you did was very wrong...

Naina: Mum? – shocked - ...What did we do?

Ba: Tum dono ko saza milna chahiye...

Ridz: Ba? – confused – ...Kaisi saza...aur kis liye?

Padma: Now stop asking questions...go and apologise...

Naina: Apologise? – making a face - ...To who? – turning to Riddhima

Sid: - walking into the kitchen - ...Oh you're back... – smiling evilly

Ridz: What is going on? – looking closely at him - ...Who do we need to apologise to?

Naina: And for what...what have we done wrong?

Sid: You two went out without the baby of the family...and he's sulking...you need to go and apologise to him right now...or you'll be punished...

Naina: - breathing a sigh of relief - ...Is that it?

Sid: Not is that it...go to him right now...he's really upset...

Ridz: - smiling – It's okay...I'll go... – to Naina - ...he'll be fine in a minute...

Riddhima walked out of the kitchen into the living room and towards the conservatory where she found Dhruv sitting there with his knees up and his head resting on them. Riddhima felt bad but knew how to fix this situation; she kneeled in front of him and put her hand on his head but he didn't look up.

Ridz: I'm sorry Dhruv...

Dhruv: - not looking up – Go away...

Ridz: Dhruv...please look at me once...I'm really sorry... – holding her ears, he peaked through a gap in his arm - ...please forgive me...

Dhruv: It's okay... – slowly but not looking up

Ridz: If you forgive me please look at me...

Slowly Dhruv raised his head and looked at her to see her holding out a box in her hands; he smiled slowly as the picture on it caught his eye and he grabbed the box.

Ridz: I went to get this for you...I wanted this to be a surprise...

Dhruv: - happy now – It's okay Riddhi...thank you... – giving her a hug - ...I forgot to bring my own water gun...and you brought me a new one...thank you...I love you...

Ridz: Love you too... – ruffling his hair

She left him to it and went back into the kitchen with a smile and they all knew she had fixed the problem, she settled down next to Ba at the dining table.

Ridz: So...what's cooking for dinner?

Padma: Kuch nahi...

Ridz: Kyun...are we going to a restaurant tonight?

Keerti: Nahi...we've been invited to dinner...

Ridz: Where? – curiously

Padma: Nandani Aunty called this morning...we're having dinner there tonight...it's a small party...

Ridz: That's nice... – with other thoughts on her mind

A while later Riddhima went upstairs and later on in the evening she began to get dressed with lots of thoughts running through her mind.

Ridz: - thinking – After three and a half long weeks I'm going to see Armaan...why am I so nervous...I want to see him... – dream flashed into her mind - ...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... – jumping out of the dream - ...but does he want to see me... – suddenly rubbing her arms - ...why have I got goose bumps...what is happening to me...

Naina: - putting a hand on Riddhima's shoulder – Ridz?

Ridz: - jumping out of her thoughts – Huh? What? – looking around

Naina: Are you okay?

Ridz: I'm...I'm fine...

Naina: Okay...get ready quickly...we're leaving soon...

Ridz: Just two minutes...

Naina left the room and Riddhima got dressed quickly as her thoughts carried on running through her mind. She thought of meeting Armaan but was afraid of how he would react to her; she put on her dupatta and looked into the mirror fixing her hair before grabbing her bag and phone and leaving the room. She walked into the living room and sat down silently in her own thoughts as they waited for everyone to be ready.

Ridz: - thinking – What if he doesn't talk to me...I won't be able to control myself there in front of everyone...maybe I should just make an excuse and not go...that would be better... – debating with her mind - ...are you mad Ridzi...if you don't go everyone will be asking question after question and anyway...what stupid excuse are you going to come up with...you're health is absolutely perfect...it's going to look completely foolish if you suddenly fake a faint spell or upset stomach...get a grip and just face reality...whatever happens will be dealt with there and then... – she was suddenly nudged in the side

Dhruv: Hey Riddhi...wake up...we're leaving...

Ridz: - looking around - Huh?

Shubhankar: Lost in your own world... – laughing along with everyone else

Ridz: No-nothing like that Chachu...I was just...

Sid: We know...

Ba: Okay stop teasing my gudia now...

Shashank: - smiling – Chale...

They all walked out of the living room, through the kitchen and outside to the cars, Dhruv insisted on sitting with Riddhima so Sid drove one car with the youngsters and Shashank with the elders then Dhruv insisted on having a race to see who would get there first. He talked all the way through the journey not giving Riddhima's mind a chance to be filled with sad thoughts and she carried on smiling along to his jokes but the moment Sid turned off the car and they stepped out she suddenly became frightened of the thought of coming face to face with Armaan.

They stood at the doorstep after Shashank had rung the bell. Everyone was excited as they had not yet met the Malik family, as the last time they had come down the Malik family had gone back home, this was the first time that the two families would meet. A moment later the front door was opened by Vikram who gave them a warm welcome; Nandani, Atul and Anjali had joined them standing in the foyer where Shashank introduced the two families to each other.

Vikram: It's nice to have finally met you all...

Nandani: Haan...please come in...

They walked into the living room where they introduced each other further while the youngsters were slightly quiet and whispered amongst themselves. Anjali was very happy to meet her family after many years; she sat next to Ba and had become slightly emotional but controlled herself and smiled away happily engaging in conversation with Keerti and Ba.

Ba: My daughter has grown so big...

Keerti: And you're looking very beautiful...

Anji: Thanks Chachi...

Keerti: - pointing out to her kids – You know Sid...and that's Naina and Dhruv...

Dhruv: Riddhi's best friend...

Anji: Oh really...only Riddhi's friend? – to him

Dhruv: Umm...everyone's friend...but Riddhi's best friend...

Atul: Wow Ridzi...you have a really cute admirer...

Ridz: - ruffling Dhruv's hair – Yep...he's very cute...

Sid: - to Atul - ...Where's Armaan?

Atul: He's been extremely busy with this new project...he's at Rahul's place discussing plans with his parents...

Sid: I know...he's working really hard on this one...and he's really quite good...I've learnt so much working with him...

Atul: Honestly though...I think he's taking it a little too far...he doesn't even come home till late...

Riddhima's mind was filled with mixed thoughts on Armaan, about his work and their relationship that she was now staring into thin air as her mind began another conversation with itself.

Ridz: What has happened to Armaan suddenly...he's never taken so much interest in his work like this...and to think that we haven't met for three and a half weeks...what is going on...what if...

Too caught up in her thoughts she tried to take a deep breath but instead she choked and excused herself from the room, Nandani followed her into the kitchen and helped her to a glass of water and a seat making sure she was okay.

Nandani: Riddhima beta...are you okay now? – rubbing her back gently

Ridz: - taking a slow breath - ...Ji aunty...ab main theek hoon...

Nandani: Have some more water...

Ridz: - taking a sip then another slow breath - ...Thank you aunty...

Nandani: You okay?

Ridz: I'm fine now...can I use to washroom?

Nandani: Sure go ahead...

Riddhima walked out of the kitchen and made her way upstairs to the bathroom. She freshened up and took several deep breaths to ease her nerves. She looked into her bag and took out the small item she had bought earlier in the day; she turned it over in her hand looking closely at it and sighed.

Ridz: - in a small whisper to herself - ...I don't know what's happening between us Armaan...but I just want you to know that I love you lots... – her eyes filled with tears but she refused to let them fall

Making up her mind she walked out of the washroom and turned to her right, she took small steps towards his room, slowly pushing the door open she switched on the light and walked further into the room. She looked around the room and felt a rush of emotions flow through her as she missed him immensely; she closed her eyes as tears welled up in them again.

Ridz: - thinking – I miss you Armaan...I miss you so much...why can't things be normal again...I love you...

Armaan: How dare you walk into my room?

Suddenly Riddhima froze as she heard his voice, her eyes snapped open but she didn't turn to face him, her heart thumped against her chest loudly she could almost hear it.

Armaan: What are you doing in here?...
.............................
part 64

Making up her mind she walked out of the washroom and turned to her right, she took small steps towards his room, slowly pushing the door open she switched on the light and walked further into the room. She looked around the room and felt a rush of emotions flow through her as she missed him immensely; she closed her eyes as tears welled up in them again.

Ridz: - thinking – I miss you Armaan...I miss you so much...why can't things be normal again...I love you...

Armaan: How dare you walk into my room?

Suddenly Riddhima froze as she heard his voice, her eyes snapped open but she didn't turn to face him, her heart thumped against her chest loudly she could almost hear it.

Armaan: What are you doing in here? – loudly

Ridz: Arm...Armaan... – in a whisper

Armaan: I asked you a question...what are you doing in my room?

Riddhima slowly turned around but kept her head bent low scared to see the expression on his face, she whispered slowly with tears in her eyes but he didn't hear.

Ridz: Woh main...I...I brought you s-something... – slowly stuttering - ...I was...I was going to leave it here for you... – almost shaking - ...I wanted to w-wish you...Ha-happy Bi-birthday...

Armaan: - walking towards her – Really... – now standing in front of her - ...thanks... – suddenly pulling her towards him in a rib crushing hug - ...Riddhima...you're so sweet...I love you...thanks so much... – then moving her back and looking down at her

But Riddhima was still looking down, she was shocked at his sudden action but also full of emotions; she wondered what had happened to him and also stupid at herself for doubting him. Once again Armaan gave her a comforting hug while he whispered into her hair.

Armaan: Riddhima...I've missed you so much...it's been three weeks and four days since we last met like this...and I've been counting each and every moment I've spent without you...I will admit that I have been working a lot more these days and by the time I come home and rest for a bit, have something to eat and come up to my room I think that you must already be asleep...I don't like to bother you...but you don't understand how much I've missed you... – kissing her hair - ...I'm so happy to see you here... – moving back and looking at her - ...kya huwa Ridz...? – putting his finger under her chin and making her look up

Riddhima's face was tear-stained as she listened to his feelings; she felt horrible for thinking about him like she had. She cursed herself silently for thinking ill of Armaan and she felt like slapping herself for letting her dreams get the better of her.

Armaan: Ridz...bolo na...what's wrong...are you okay... has someone said something to you...did I say something wrong...? - looking at her full of concern - ...I'm sorry if I scared you when I came in...I was just joking...I didn't mean to...I'm so sorry...– wiping the tears from her cheeks - ...Riddhima...?

Ridz: It's okay... – slowly

Armaan: But what's wrong? – worried - ...Why are you crying?

Ridz: I've missed you so much...

Armaan: - smiling at her and pulling her into a warm hug - ...I've missed you too...

They stayed like this for a few minutes then on cue they moved away a little. Riddhima was still unable to meet his eye but he carried on staring at the beauty in front of him.

Armaan: So...where's my gift?

Riddhima moved her hand from behind her back and brought it up to Armaan, in it laid a slim box wrapped in blue wrapping paper with a red bow in the middle. Armaan smiled and took it but as he was about to open it Riddhima stopped him.

Ridz: Abhi nahi...after twelve...

Armaan: - smiling sweetly - ...Okay...but...where's my other gift?

Riddhima raised an eyebrow and he pointed to his cheek making her blush. He carried on pointing to it until Riddhima moved forward and kissed his cheek slowly then as she tried to move back he pulled her into another long hug.

Armaan: I love you...

Ridz: I love you too... – a few moments later she moved back - ...I should go down now...

Armaan nodded and she walked away from him but stopped at the door, she turned and looked back at him and he mouthed "you look beautiful"; Riddhima blushed and walked out of the room making her way back downstairs. As she reached the bottom of the stairs she heard lots of voices and wondered what was going on, she looked into the main living room to see all the elders engaging in general conversation; Nandani Aunty met her at the door.

Nandani: How are you feeling now?

Ridz: Main theek hoon aunty...

Nandani: Why don't you go and sit with the youngsters in the other room...I've invited your friends over for dinner as well...actually Armaan said he didn't want to have a party or anything big as he said he wasn't getting any younger so I thought of calling everyone over for dinner...

Ridz: Oh...okay that sounds nice...let me know if I can help with anything...

Nandani: Its okay beta...Anjali is there and your mama is also here...so it's okay...you go ahead and enjoy yourself...

Riddhima walked into the other room and settled down next to Dhruv saying hi to everyone, she was pleased to see her friends and cousins having a great time together. But she also felt as if a huge weight had being lifted off of her chest as she remembered her small reunion with Armaan, making her smile within.

Dhruv: Riddhi where did you go... – nudging her out of her thoughts - ...you took so long...

Ridz: Sorry Dhruv...I was using the washroom...

Muskaan: - nudging her from the other side and whispering - ...Sure you were using the washroom? – with a small wink

Ridz: Shut up Muskaan...

Muskaan: Okay...but woh dheko...Niki is blushing madly ever since she saw Sid today...and he can't keep his eyes off of her...

Ridz: Are you serious?

Muskaan: I've been watching them since I came in...and even though he's chatting away about work to Rahul his eyes have been on her...

Ridz: Cool...leave it to me...

Dhruv: What are you two whispering about...tell me as well... – loudly making everyone's attention shift to them

Ridz: Kuch nahi Dhruv...we were talking about weddings...

Dhruv: Who's wedding?

Rahul: Did no one tell you Dhruv...me and Muskaan are getting married...

Dhruv: Oh wow...that's nice...

Naina: - looking at Riddhima and waiting for her cue then blurted out - ...I wonder who'll be next after Muskaan and Rahul...

Rahul: Sid and Niki...

Everyone suddenly turned to face him, Sid and Nikita looked at him in shock, so did Riddhima and Naina as they had no idea he was also in on the plan and Muskaan smiled at him. At the same time Armaan walked in and joined them happily as he was also new to this.

Armaan: Kya...Sid and Niki...wow congrats guys...looks like I've been so busy that I've missed out on quite a bit... – slapping Sid on the shoulder - ...now I know why your mind is not on the project...

Sid: Armaan...it's nothing like that...there's nothing...

Armaan: - cutting him off - ...You don't have to hide it any more...everyone's just heard... – then moving to Nikita - ...congrats Niki...I'm really happy for you...looks like I've got a new project to start on soon...when's the wedding...?

Niki: Armaan...it's really nothing like that...- serious but her cheeks were red - ...we're not together...

Muskaan: Haan Armaan...they're not together...but they both really like each other and are afraid to say anything...

Dhruv: Wow...bhai she's very pretty...I think you two should get together...

Sid: You stay out of this...you're too young for this anyway...

Dhruv: - turning to Riddhima - ...Riddhi tell him I'm not young...

Ridz: Sid come on...everyone is saying the same thing...and maybe we're all wrong...why don't you guys just clear it up here in front of all of us...

Rahul: Haan...Ridz is right...

Muskaan/Naina: I agree...

Armaan: Yeah...someone please explain to me what is going on because I'm quite confused now as well...

Ridz: Sid the truth...do you like Nikita...?

Sid: - silent for a long time as he looked over at Nikita then slowly - ...Yes...

Everyone cheered but Nikita had been in silent thought for a long time as she knew the question was going to come to her next.

Niki: - thinking - ...I knew this would come out sooner rather than later and I really have given this a lot of thought...Sid really is a nice guy...he's always been there for me...through thick and thin...he's brought me back to life...he's been the real sunshine of my life and I do enjoy being around him...I really should give him a chance...

Ridz: Aur Niki...do you like Sid?

Niki: - blushing slightly, unable to look at anyone she whispered ever so slightly - ...Haan...

Naina: - who's sitting next to her - ...That's a yes... – loudly for everyone to hear

Ridz: Congrats guys...

Riddhima got up and gave Nikita a hug while Rahul and Armaan both slapped Sid on the shoulders congratulating him. The girls chatted in a huddle while the guys stood by Sid talking about relationship do's and don'ts until a few moments when they were brought back to reality by a few loud claps, they all turned to see Dhruv standing in the middle of the room looking sad.

Dhruv: Everyone has forgotten me... – sadly

Everyone laughed at him and his cuteness while Riddhima went to him and gave him a hug while Armaan watched on.

Ridz: I'm sorry...

Dhruv: It's okay...I know only you care for me...and I love you...

Ridz: I love you too... – ruffling his hair as Armaan looked at them with a raised eyebrow to which Riddhima smiled - ...come Dhruv I want to introduce you to someone...

Dhruv: Who?

Ridz: Dhruv...this is Armaan...my friend and Armaan...this is Dhruv...my...

Dhruv: - cutting her off – Boyfriend...

Armaan: Oh really... – raising his eyebrows further

Dhruv: Yes...she's my best friend, my cousin and my girlfriend...right Riddhi?

Ridz: - smiling down at Dhruv then looked up at Armaan with a wide smile – Right...

By now the gang had got Sid and Nikita sitting next to each other and were teasing them just as Padma walked into the room.

Padma: Come and help yourselves to dinner...

Armaan: Okay Aunty... – putting his arm around her - ...looks like you've found your new son-in-law...

Padma: Matlab?

Ridz: Mama...don't listen to him...he's talking about Dhruv...

Padma: Oh okay... – laughing

The gang walked into the kitchen and helped themselves to dinner then settled down and ate away while chatting and having lots of fun. They were teasing Sid and Nikita openly and soon it was quite obvious to the elders, Padma instantly noticed and whispered to Keerti, as old ladies do. Late into the night they decided to leave after having lots of fun and enjoying themselves fully. Armaan had a great time and had received many unexpected gifts as he did not think of this as his birthday party.

The Gupta's reached home a while later and settled down in the living room going over the events of the party when Dhruv almost blurted out about the new couple but Riddhima concealed it really well and decided that they would go upstairs. Once they were in Riddhima's room Sid and Dhruv had a pillow fight until Riddhima stopped them and asked Dhruv to keep it a secret. A while later everyone got ready for bed, Riddhima closed her eyes and snuggled up deeper into her duvet to make herself comfortable when her phone buzzed against her bedside table, she reached out for it and pressed the button to read the message:

Armaan: Hey jaan...thanks for the lovely gift and a superb evening...it was great to see you after a long time...I love you so much...good night...sweet dreams...xxx



The next morning Sid sneaked into the girls' room once he knew they were awake to talk to Riddhima.

Sid: Okay listen to me...whatever happened last night was not supposed to have happened...

Naina: But Sid...

Sid: Just listen to me first... – cutting her off - ...yes I like her...and its nice to know that she also likes me...but the way it happened was not right...I don't know what she's thinking of me right now and Ridz I think we need to apologise to her...

Ridz: Okay Sid...I understand what you're trying to say...last night we just went about it the wrong way...and maybe it should've been a private matter...just between the two of you...but honestly Sid...if we had left it to you two...next year would come and you would still be stealing glances at her... - smiling

Sid: Whatever...but you know what I mean...

Naina: We understand...but now what...what are you trying to say?

Sid: I was thinking...umm... – fumbling and scratching his head - ...maybe...umm...

Ridz: Looks like I have to spell out everything... – smiling at Naina then turning to him - ...in other words...you want to go out on a date with her...just the two of you...so that you can apologise...and go about proposing to her the right way...am I right?

Sid: In a roundabout way...yeah...

Ridz: Done...I'll talk to her and set a date for tonight...what say?

Sid: Perfect...thanks...

Sid left the room and Riddhima made a phone call to Nikita explaining and apologising about last night. She then asked Nikita if she wanted to go out to a restaurant that night with Sid to sort things out to which she agreed and thanked Riddhima.



That evening Riddhima, Sid, Naina and Dhruv made plans to go to the cinema, they picked up Nikita on the way who looked beautiful and blushed madly throughout the evening. Sid shuffled the girls and Dhruv off to the cinema to watch a two hour long animated film just to keep Dhruv happy and quiet before walking away in the opposite direction to the restaurant with Nikita.

Sid helped Nikita into her seat like a gentleman before sitting down himself; she carried on blushing madly as her thoughts ran widely through her mind while they both looked through the menu card.

Niki: Calm down Niks...what is he going to think if you look like a tomato throughout the evening...control yourself... – debating with her mind - ...but this is the first time I'm alone with a guy...and he's so nice...I mean...he's so gentle and friendly...down to earth and caring...I don't think I would be happy with anyone else but him...but maybe I'm just taking this too serious...I really need to think this through properly...

Sid: Niki? – bringing her back to reality – ...Are you okay?

Niki: Umm I'm fine... – smiling sweetly at him

They ordered their food and waited silently for a while until Sid thought of bringing up the subject.

Sid: Umm...actually Niki...the reason I brought you here tonight...was firstly...I mean...I just wanted to apologise for what happened yesterday...it shouldn't have happened like that and I'm really sorry if you're hurt or embarrassed...

Niki: Come on Sid...it's okay...and why are you apologising...you didn't start it up or neither did you have any part in it...and at least now I know your true feelings...

Sid: I'm apologising on behalf of everyone because I did not like the way things were done yesterday...I wanted to let you know my feelings but not like that... – stretching his hand over the table to hold hers - ...this is how it should've been...just me and you...in a calm and romantic environment...where I could tell you my true feelings...

Niki: - smiling at his sweetness - ...Go on...

Sid: Niki...I really like you...and I'm happy to know that you have the same feelings for me...if ever I have thought of my partner it's been very similar to you...your sweet personality, your amazing talents, your beautiful features, your perfect upbringing...exactly like you and I'm surprised that in this entire universe I have actually found the person I've been waiting for...but still I don't want to pressure you into anything...the choice is entirely yours...and I'm ready to give you all the time you need before making any decision about me and our future...

Niki: - lost in her thoughts - ...How can anyone be so nice...no one is lucky enough to find their exact dream girl or guy and his dream girl is sitting right in front of him and he still wants it to be her decision...if I say no he'll happily accept... – then looking up at him - ...Sid...you're the nicest person I have ever met...and you're words have got my speechless...

Sid: Like I said...you have all the time you need to make up your mind...I don't want to rush you into anything...

Before either of them could say another word the food had arrived and they smiled sweetly at each other and to the food which gave them a break, they ate away going back to general conversation like they would before this situation occurred. They were best friends and they liked it that way, they could talk about anything, share opinions and just be normal.

After they had eaten and had dessert they left the restaurant and went to check if the film had finished but it was still going on. Nikita asked if they could sit in the car to wait for them and Sid agreed, they went back to the car and made themselves comfortable until this time Nikita brought up the subject.

Niki: Sid...you're my best male friend...and I really enjoy your company...you we're there when I needed someone to understand me...and to be honest...you've always been there for me when I need someone close...this whole situation has come on suddenly and I've started to look at things differently...but somewhere deep inside...I...I like what is happening...I don't know if we're rushing things or we're taking it too slow...but I have a right feeling about this... – looking up into his eyes - ...Sid...I really like you...

Sid didn't need to hear any more or neither did Nikita have to say any more; they smiled silently at each other. Sid turned on the radio which was playing love songs which made them smile even wider and carried on enjoying the moment until half an hour later when Sid's phone rang.

Ridz: Where are you guys?

Sid: We're in the car...if you guys want to grab something to eat go ahead...if not come to the car...we'll wait for you...

Ridz: Okay...we'll give you a little more time together... – smiling - ...we'll go and have something to eat and I'll call you when we're finished...

Sid: Okay fine...

The girls and Dhruv made their way to the car another twenty minutes later and they drove home. Sid dropped Nikita off first who left with all smiles saying bye to everyone then they headed home. Before leaving the car Sid warned Dhruv not to open his mouth and Riddhima made him understand the nice way before they got out and walked into the house. Sid went straight up to his room while the others joined the rest for a family movie.



A few days later Riddhima walked into the living room to see Padma, Keerti and Ba in serious conversation and they suddenly stopped as she sat down with them.

Ridz: Is everything okay mama? – looking closely at her - ...Why've you all gone quiet?

Padma: Kuch nahi... – getting up – ...I'll just go and get something for everyone to drink...

Riddhima watched as Keerti and Ba exchanged looks with each other then Ba turned to Riddhima suddenly.

Ba: Gudia...what does your friend Nikita do?

Ridz: - gulped hard – Umm...woh uh...Ba...umm...she works from home...she decorates cakes and does mehendi...

Keerti: And...who does she live with?

Ridz: Chachi...she's umm...an only child...she lives with her mum and dad...

Ba: She's very pretty...

Keerti: She's very smart also...Riddhima...what do you think about her and Sid...as a couple?

Ridz: - gulped even harder - ...Main umm...Chachi...woh...I think...maybe you should talk to Sid first...

Ba: We'll talk to him also...but I think they look very nice together that day at Nandani's house party...kyon Keerti...

Keerti: Ji Ba...I was thinking the same thing...that's why I asked bhabi...right away she said that Nikita is a nice girl...and her family is nice too...

Ba: She'll fit into this family perfectly...and she's Riddhima's friend...

Riddhima slowly got up and was about to walk upstairs when Padma called her into the kitchen.

Padma: Ridzi...we were thinking...Ba and Keerti Chachi...that we'll go and talk to Nikita's parents tomorrow...what do you think?

Ridz: - shocked - ...Mama...what should I say...I mean...I think first things you all need to speak to Sid...

Padma: Theek hain...we'll talk to him tonight when he gets back from the office...

That night the elders of the family spoke to Sid and after overcoming the shock of his family planning to run his life, he smiled within as he already knew Nikita's answer and that his family had at least asked him first before making any decision themselves. Riddhima also decided to let Nikita in on this as it would come as a huge shock if she saw her friend's mum and chachi on her doorstep tomorrow. From the sound of it Riddhima understood that Nikita was happy with this after she had got over the shock. Riddhima smiled happily as things were going perfect until her phone rang which disturbed her thoughts, looking down at it curiously her expression changed within a split second as she read the name on phone and she answered quickly...



The next evening she found herself sitting in the front seat of Armaan's car; along with Muskaan and Rahul in the back who were both wearing the same expression as her.

Ridz: Armaan...will you please tell us where we're going?

Armaan: Patience Ridz...and guys please... – looking in the mirror at the other two - ...don't you guys ask the same question...it's a surprise and that's all I'm going to say...

Rahul: Fine...

Muskaan: I can't remember the last time we went out like this...

Ridz: - thinking to herself - ...I know...and at least I'm happy to see Armaan outside of the office for a change...so wherever he's taking us I'm sure it'll be a nice surprise...

Half an hour later they arrived at their destination and Armaan parked the car; now their curiosity levels rose even higher as they all shared the same look but didn't dare ask Armaan what was going on. They walked in pairs, Armaan had his arm around Riddhima and she felt happy after a long time even though her mind was asking a lot of questions to which she had no answers. Now that they had stopped and stood there silently Riddhima looked up at Armaan and smiled sweetly.

Ridz: Armaan...now that we're here could you please tell us why you've brought us here?

Armaan: Just five minutes babes...you'll find out very soon...

Rahul, Muskaan and Riddhima shared confused looks wondering what was going on but before either of them could say anything Armaan tapped Riddhima's shoulder getting hers, Rahul and Muskaan's attention then he pointed out to someone in the crowd who was waving and coming towards them. The three of them stood there in shock and happiness all wearing smiles as the person came and stood in front of them.

??: Did you miss me...?

Muskaan: Oh my gosh...Abhi...

Armaan: Welcome home dude... – giving him a manly hug

Abhi: Thanks Armaan...looks like you did manage to keep it a surprise... – smiling widely - ...look at their faces...

Rahul: Saale... – angrily but with a smile he hugged Abhi - ...you could've told me...

Abhi: If I told everyone it wouldn't be a surprise would it...how are you doing guys... – turning to the girls

Muskaan: I'm fine...and it's so nice to see you back...just in time for our wedding...

Abhi: Oh yeah congrats...when is it?

Rahul: In less than three weeks...

Abhi: That's great...hey Ridz... – giving her a side hug to which Armaan had to move her away - ...and you're still the same... – to Armaan, then looking around - ...and where's Niki...didn't she come?

Ridz: Woh kyun ayegi... – suddenly - ...aaj ladke wale usse dikhne ah rahe hain...

Abhi: What?????


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