Monday, 1 March 2021

Part 2 : I LOVE YOU

"shilpa hurry up. Get ready quickly. Your performance is in 20 minutes." The manager of the show told her behind backstage.


"I'm just coming" she spoke dryly and looked at herself in the mirror. A whole day had passed and she had come away from everything. She knew how to put away everything in the back of her mind and pretend as if nothing happened and even now she did the same. She had pushed everything back and decided never to go back again.


    She didn't need to rehearse for dance. Dance was in her soul. Just give her a stage and music and she would dance on any kind of music and that too superbly, which was why the manager had quickly given her a song and costume for it with a random partner who would just follow her steps and lead her in steps where a partner was needed.


   Shilpa got up with a sigh remembering the last time he had kissed her and fallen asleep. Would he be wondering where she is?... she stopped any more questions from her mind and went out to go on stage.


 The music started with 'Ranjha Ranjha' song played from the movie 'Raavan'. Shilpa didn't see her partner beside her but she couldn't bother about him so she started her own steps and knew very well how to improvise where the partner was needed.


    Just when she was about to improvise the step where a lift was supposed to be, she felt two hands around her waist, who lifted her up from the back and she suddenly felt nostalgic at the touch. When she slid back down along the man's length, she could feel her insides shouting the name but she couldn't turn because she was on stage. Just then he flipped her around, as if hearing her, to face him and she held her breath in at the face that held her captivated. The last time she remembered when she saw that face was when she had kissed him in the morning and left him, ironically, forever.


    In shock, she had forgotten that she was on stage but he hadn't. He flipped her around and led her in steps of his own. When she turned around and held her hands on his shoulders, his head was bent slightly and he wasn't looking at her face. She frowned as a thought came in her mind. Was he so disgusted with her that he didn't even want to see her face? But… then why did he come here? She realized in a moment that the bow wasn't in disgust… it was of … respect? She was confused… and frozen. It was totally him who led her towards all the rest of the dance. As he turned her back towards him he placed his lips on her neck and she shivered but couldn't come out of her frozen state and when he flipped her back in front of him and her back faced the audience, he kissed her lips gently and yet again she couldn't react. Soon the dance ended with him looking up and staring in her eyes. She saw longing, and… regret.


    That was what made her furious and she pushed him away after the curtain fell and went back behind the back stage and sat there quietly taking off her jewellery and shoes when she heard the door click open and then lock. She wasn't scared but her heart was sinking.


"hi" he spoke and his voice showed his nervousness or whatever it was.


"hi" she replied casually and … coldly.


"how… how did the show went?"


"come to the point" she asked taking off her bracelet and keeping her face and voice expressionless.


"fine. Why did you leave?" he asked curtly.


"why do you care?" she replied without looking up.


"what are you doing here?" he asked again coming close to her chair but when she didn't replied, he asked another question.


"why didn't you tell me you were leaving?" she stopped undoing her accessories and laid her arms on the table and closed her eyes. He saw her gestures and realized that she was upset,


"I'm sorry shilpa" he whispered standing just behind her chair.


"don't you dare to disrespect me armaan malik and if that's what you are here for then please leave" she snapped at him like a wild tigress spinning around at him and her hair fell spinning with her and fell on her shoulders.


"you… didn't came here… because you think what happened was wrong?" he was taken aback because her confession was totally opposite to what he had expected.


"no." she looked away crossing her arms across her chest.


"then…why?" he was confused slightly fearing that what he had been thinking all along might be right.


"because of you. You would think that what happened was wrong." she snapped back with her teeth clenched.


"but I didn't…" he started but was interrupted by her sarcasm,


"oh yes you did. That's why you are feeling sorry for me. FYI armaan malik I don't give a damn about my reputation and what the society would think because I never got the idea about 'social norms' but you do. So just go and fulfill those norms and please don't follow me again."


"shilpa listen to me…" armaan started towards her pleadingly.


"no I don't want to listen to you" she stepped back with a totally unapproachable attitude which was now getting on armaan's nerves. This wasn't shilpa and she was just shielding what she was hiding from him.


"I didn't came here just to go away" he told her calmly.


"then why did you come here?"


"to take you back where you belong"


"I don't belong anywhere" she spoke emotionlessly but armaan heard the emptiness behind it which was similar to his own empty life which held some meaning now. Unknowingly, shilpa had invaded in his life and now he wanted her to stay there.


"yes you do." He told her and she just sighed to show him that she was least bothered. He had the urge to shake her so much that her senses came back to her.


"I just want to ask you one question. Why did you stay with me that night?" he asked for strength in his heart from God.


"I don't feel obliged to answer you" she told him coldly.


"and why did you leave after that?" he asked again controlling himself from bursting out but she was leaving no stone unturned to try his patience.


"I don't care for your queries. Now please" she walked towards the door and opened the lock.


"I'm not going until you answer me." He spoke with finality and walked towards her in a lazy pace.


"fine I'll call the security" she was about to open the door when he grabbed her arm nad pushed her back with the wall,


"I didn't come here all the way just to go back unanswered. I'll go only when you'll come back with me"


"and I won't go back with 'you'." She spoke barely in a whisper just as he had done.


"if you hate me so much then why did you made love to me? Why do you care about my reputation and not yours? Why did you shouted at me when you found me drunk?" she looked away and didn't replied but he saw her coldness flickering.


"you were scared. You feared of my loneliness and you tried to sweep it away but I want to know why?" she started to get away but he placed his hand on the wall blocking her way,


"give me one answer shilpa or I'll…"


"because I love you," she pushed him away and all the coldness shattered into pieces as he saw tears glistening in her eyes and she tried hard not to let them fall out of her eyes, " I love you dammit that's why I did everything now stop trying to threaten me and go away." She opened the door and stood with her face away while the tears fell over unstoppable.


    Both of them stayed quiet. He didn't know what to say. What he had feared was the truth. Somewhere in his mind he knew that she loved him but he hadn't admitted it but now she had said it and he didn't know how to react.


"i… I don't… have any place to stay" he spoke not knowing what to say and in his mind he thought she would take him to her place again and he would have time to talk to her and think about what to say to her.


"raju! Raju!" she went outside and called someone without looking at him.


"yes shilpa!" a voice came.


"come up here quickly"


"yes" a man of early twenties came to her with a smile on his face.


"ye dr.armaan malik hain. Inko aj raat k liye kaheen rehne ki jaga chahiye. Tum inhain apne ghar le jao" shilpa spoke pointing towards armaan as if he wasn't even listening to her. He got angry and came close to her and whispered in her ear angrily through clenched teeth and his jaw set rigidly,


"mujhe kisi k ehsaan ki zarurat nahi"


"mujhe bhi"  she smirked at him and whispered back looking straight in his eyes and he realized what were her feelings.


     Of course she was feeling that he was doing her a favor when he told her to come back with him. Obviously she thought that he felt she was helpless and she had nowhere to go but he knew better. She could go anywhere she wanted just as she came to goa proving that she could go away from him anytime. But right now he had to prove it to her that he didn't feel sorry for her and he wasn't doing her a favor. In fact he was doing a favor for…himself. He needed her. He needed someone who could stake her own life for him and that was just what shilpa did. A woman has her virginity as life and she gave it to him freely only because she loved him and now she was going away from him because she thought he didn't love her and she didn't wanted him to feel obliged to return her love that's why she was retaliating to him so that he would go back. She was creating a shield around herself of hatred which repelled against him and he had to break it.


     He had tried to talk to her but she wouldn't listen. He couldn't imagine how he had spent these two days thinking about her. Asking himself where she was and how she was? A time had came where he had even feared that what if she had attempted suicide in guilt but then he had consoled himself that she was strong unlike ridhima… why was he comparing her to riddhima? Shilpa is different in many ways from her. Shilpa didn't cry on every little thing. She always tried to solve her problems and she was doing it even now but just that she sought the wrong way this time.


      Armaan malik couldn't be ignored or shooed away. If she was determined on something, he was determined too. He wanted to take her back with him and he will.


   The question that still bothered him was 'why?' why did he wanted shilpa to go back with him? Why was he so desperate to find her? Maybe because for the first time someone had done something 'just' for him without caring for herself because she loved him. He had given her nothing. Not even friendship and she had always been there for him after riddhima left him. Maybe shilpa had taken riddhima's place in just one day or 'night'. Not just because she had spent it with him but because it was pure. She was pure. It wasn't just sex, it was something beyond that. Love. Pure love. True love. Unblemished. That's what it was where no society, no fear , nothing stopped her. Innocence, that was untouched. She was so sure that what she had done wasn't wrong because she loved him but she feared that he might think that it was wrong that's why she had left him.


    Riddhima had always feared family, society. 'log kiya kahenge?' that's what she always said. Even now her decision had been based on society, family and culture. She had to stick by her husband and fortunately she had gotten a fine husband- so be it. Why should he look back and she wasn't? shilpa was someone who would never leave him for just something that people would say and he wouldn't leave just because she told him.


   Why? Why did he have to make everything so much difficult? Why did he come here? What did he want? He had apologized to her for what happened that night which proved that he thought it shouldn't have happened and proved her decision to leave right then why was he still here? Why didn't he just leave then and there? Whatsoever, he would definitely leave by tomorrow and would never come back. She thought with a sinking feeling as she poured coffee in her mug.


     It was midnight and she couldn't sleep. Her mind and heart wouldn't let her be at peace. Unconsciously her mind traveled to the thought that where would he be right now? What was he doing? Was he gone back to Mumbai by now? Or was he waiting for the morning in some hotel? What was he thinking right now? Had he eaten something? Was he upset?


   The door bell interrupted her trail of thoughts and she frowned with her heart beat fast that who was it at this ungodly hour? She put the coffee mug on the table and picked up her club that she kept just for safe side in a corner. She went towards the door tiptoeing and looked out from the window but she only saw a shadow near the door but couldn't make out the figure.


"who is it?" she asked but nobody replied. She gulped down and decided to beat the hell out of whomever it was. She stepped back and unlocked the door quietly and opened it while stepping behind it. The idea was to make the person unconscious and then call the police because if she left him outside, he might come through the window or might harm someone else out there.


    Just as the person took a step inside, she leaped on him with the club but stopped it in mid air realizing from the back of him that who he was and shock took place of her fear. Before she could do anything he turned and saw her with the club raised above her head. He looked at her face and up to the club and his brows raised while he crossed his arms across his chest eyeing her challengingly. She gulped and lowered the club to the floor but still in her hands.


"what are you doing here at this hour?"


"I want to talk to you"


"uurrgghh about what?" she raised her hand in air and dropped it at her side.


"everything"


"listen to me armaan malik. Since the very first day you stepped into my life I haven't been able to sleep in peace. All the time you are on my mind making me angry, irritated or…God knows what else and now when I have told you very clearly to just get the hell out of here and to make it more easy for you 'I' left the place where you live then why can't you just mind your business and let me be at peace for the rest of my life?" she said it in a way wives fought with their husbands in movies with her hands on her hips and the club in her right hand and the idea somehow amused armaan with imagining shilpa fighting with him.


"you really think you'll be at peace without me?" he asked and shilpa missed the amusement in his eyes.


"don't act smart with me. I can beat the sh*** out of you right now and nobody would ever know" she fired bullets through her eyes and pointed the club at him while he tilted his head.


"great. Atleast I get to stay where you are" he spoke casually and walked inside.


"I'm exasperated armaan. I'm sick of fighting with you all the time. Why don't you get sick of it right now and just leave?" she sighed and nodded.


"fine then. Come with me"


"no. for once and for all my answer is 'no'" he thought she might burst into flames any moment with that anger of hers.


"then I'm not leaving" he told her simply because he had to.


"you…" she started to raise that club at him in anger but he was quick and he caught that club and pulled her close to him with it, taking it away from her hands and threw it away towards the wall with which it banged and fell and he twisted her arms behind her back and spoke in a whisper,


"don't make me do this shilpa. if force is what you would apply then I can force you too and I don't want that"


"why would you force me? You have no right" she held her face back from his.


"don't talk about rights or I can give you the list of the 'rights' I have on you" he spoke in a threatening tone. It was high time that he should start blackmailing with her because she wouldn't listen to him otherwise. He left her arms and she stepped back quickly.


"what do you want armaan?" she asked, her voice had the sinking feeling that showed him that she had fallen for that slight blackmail.


"for the last time I'm telling you this that I want you to come with me"


"and for the last time I'm telling you that I will not" she imitated his voice and that was one of the last few steps that she was treading upon his patience.


"you are trying my patience" he spoke through clenched teeth.


"and you have passed my level of patience so just…"


"if you tell me to leave once more I swear I'm going to do something that you'll regret" he took one dangerous stride towards her and closed the distance between them but she didn't even budge from where she stood and looked straight in his eyes.


"kiya karoge? Marogay mujhe? Tell me armaan, you'll beat me or what?" he knew just what would take away this courage of hers. She wasn't scared of fight. After all she was a tigress. Soon to be his-tigress. But even a tigress has some weakness.


"I'll simply kiss you" the simple word made her shudder and left her mouth dry. She looked in his eyes numbly and realized that he was in fact not joking. She saw his eyes traveling to her lips and she knew that this was just what he would do. She stepped away from him and he smirked,


"what happened shilpa? You weren't scared of me last night? Or you thought I was so drunk that I wouldn't even realize that you kissed me after I slept?" he taunted while stepping closer to her.


"is that what you want, another night?" she retorted with doubt in her eyes which stopped armaan on his tracks and his eyes glared at her quietly for a moment and then she realized that he was fuming with anger when his voice broke in her ears in deadly calm,


"That was a wrong move"d my level of patience so just...d apply then i "make it more easy for you 's chest eyeing her challengingly.  He spoke one word at a time and before she knew anything he grabbed her arm pulling her closer and twisted his hand in her hair. She gasped at the sudden move and tried to get free only to hurt her own self because his hand was clenched in her hair tightly,


"You think that's what I want? I came here all the way just to have 'one more night'?" he spoke with his teeth clenched but she wouldn't look at his face. He shook her angrily to make her look at him but instead she closed her eyes tightly because of the pain he caused her.


    He suddenly realized what he was doing and let go of her. He couldn't imagine he lost his temper on her so wildly. He spoiled it all. Now she would never agree to come back with him. But she had also spoken wrong. In her own insecurity she was speaking what she herself didn't believed was the truth. He could tell that she didn't believe it by just the look in her eyes.


   She stood quietly with a frown, her eyes on the ground and her hand in her hair and she rubbed it lightly from where he had held her.


"I'm…I'm sorry shilpa" he spoke disoriented.


"if that's what you intend to do to make me go with you then try as you want, I won't go." She spoke with her head lowered but her voice firm.


"shilpa. you said you love me" he spoke in a requesting tone.


"don't use my words against me" she looked up and her eyes held fire and passion.


"I'm not using them against you. If what you said was truth then please come back with me"


"whatever I said was the truth but that's not a reason that I should go with you" she looked away tilting her head.


"shilpa i…" he started but he didn't know what to say so she cut him off,


"enough armaan. I never asked for a reason from you. If that's enough then you should go now" she told him flatly.


"I can't go without you dammit. Why don't you understand?" he raised his hands in his hair and pushed them back from his forehead and when she didn't speak he shouted at her,


"don't stand there as if I don't exist"


"I know very well that you exist. I am quiet because your shouting is not going to work"


"then what will?" shilpa sighed in frustration and whirled around to go away but in just two long strides, he caught up to the distance and grabbed her arm swirling her about in his arms. Ignoring her protests, he pulled her from her waist closer to his body and crushed his lips with hers.


       She was shocked at first but his kiss was bruising and he was angry. She struggled against his body but he caught her wrists and twisted them behind her back and pushed her towards the wall pinning her with his body. She tried to rise up to his length with her toes while struggling against his strength but she couldn't because his body was totally pinned with hers.


      He didn't know what came upon him when he kissed her. He hadn't planned this but he couldn't stop himself and with intensity that she acted negatively upon his kiss, he wanted it to turn positive just as she had been that night. He wanted desperately for her to kiss him back and he didn't realize when that 'want' became a need.


    Soon she knew her struggles were a waste but she couldn't stop the thumping of her heart and how she started melting against his kiss. He started sucking her lips and as she started to calm down a little from her struggles he slowed his kiss to sooth the bruises he had caused on her lips. But still she wouldn't respond to him. He left her wrists realizing that she wouldn't try to run away and his hands came up to her shoulders and he slipped her shirt from her shoulders down to her arms and lowered his lips to her throat and traveled to her shoulders.


"armaan" she moaned his name and it seemed as if that was all he needed. He hugged her in his arms as if he would lose her anytime.


"please. Please say you love me" he spoke, his breath in her hair as he inhaled her intoxicating fragrance.


"I do… but you don't" she spoke in a whisper hesitatingly and still breathless from his kiss. She could feel his heartbeat loud. He raised his head and cupped her face in his hands,


"that's not true shilpa. I love you too. I just couldn't say it. I didn't know it. All this time I have loved you. I just couldn't believe that someone…anyone could love me so much as you did." God she was so innocent and she felt insecure. All her life she hadn't been protected and that was why she couldn't accept the fact that he loved her.


"are you… are you sure?" she frowned and looked in his eyes and he kissed her lower lip again. This time more gently to assure her that he loved her,


"yes. Yes dammit. Yes I am sure" he smiled through his own tears and kissed her cheeks.


"but…" she was stopped by his lips again as he pressed them on hers gently and when she got senseless again by his kiss, he spoke looking in her eyes,


"ssshhh no more ifs and buts. I love you and you love me, that's all what matters. Nothing else" he kept looking in her eyes and after a few moments her doubts vanished from her eyes and she finally smiled. He had been yearning for that smile, he realized and his heart leaped with joy and he sealed that smile with another kiss promising her a life time of such kisses.


"I never thought someone would go away from me 'for' me because you thought I didn't love you." He spoke more to himself then to her. He still couldn't believe his own fate that was being so generous to him.


"I didn't want to force you" she spoke with her cheek rested on his shoulder while he stroked her hair and played with them.


"And you didn't. Thank God. Oh thank God I found you." He couldn't thank enough to God for giving him an angel like hers and closed his eyes in bliss when he finally felt as if he was home and just when he wanted to hear the words again from her, she tightened her arms around his neck and sighed contentedly making him smile because that simple gesture of hers was more than mere words.

.................


Asmara

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