The girls have a sleepover at the Gupta House. They make plans for a vacation. Armaan sneaks in to see Riddhima. Riddhima and Nikki talk. Riddhima tries to reason with Muskaan about Rahul.
The next morning, the girls all got dressed together, laughing and giggling. Anjali noticed that Muskaan, though was pretty quiet the entire morning. She didn't make any comments, she didn't shout, she didn't laugh in her stupid style and she didn't crib about being hungry either. Anyone who knew Muskaan, knew that she couldn't not talk. So, of course, seeing her all mum was a surprise for her. When she asked Muskaan about it, Muskaan shrugged it off saying she was very tired because of work. Anjali tried to prod, but Muskaan didn't budge. She needed to understand what was going on before she talked to anyone about it.
Muskaan knew that Riddhima meant well and all she really wanted was for Rahul and Muskaan to find peace, but she was still really scared. Last night had made her think and now Muskaan was ashamed of herself for what she'd actually put Rahul through. She needed to come to terms with her mistake before she could face Rahul and talk about everything. She just needed some time.
After breakfast, they all went to the hospital. Riddhima needed to meet Armaan and tell her about how she'd talked to Muskaan last night. They'd been thinking of various ways to get the two back together. They'd decided that they would approach Rahul with a plan only after they were sure that they wanted to implement it and they thought it would have some positive result instead of bombarding him with ideas because they didn't want to get his hopes up in case stuff didn't pan out the way they wanted it to.
She rushed to his cabin, hoping he would be there, but on the way, she was pulled into (yes you guessed it right!) the fire escape.
"Armaan! Tumhaara subah subah chalu ho gaya na? Riddhima asked before he'd even pulled her in completely.
"Kya, Basket! Kabhi toh achche se hi hello kar liya karo. Ek main, paagal deewana, tumse milne ke liye itna tadapta rehta hu aur tum ho ki mujhe bhaav hi nahi deti, Armaan replied, pushing her against the wall and covering her body with his.
"Achcha. Aur yeh achche se hi hello kaise karte hai? Riddhima asked.
"Bata du? Armaan fired back, moving his head closer to hers and rubbing their noses together.
Their breaths mingled and Riddhima quivered at the proximity as Armaan wrapped his arms around her a little tighter and pulled her body towards his. He started peppering kisses on every part of her face that he could reach. Riddhima caught hold of the collar of his shirt and held him tightly, which only encouraged him.
"Bolo na, Basket. Bata du? Armaan asked again against her ear, his voice extremely husky.
"Armaan, Riddhima whispered breathlessly.
"Riddhima, Armaan replied, his baritone making Riddhima weak in the knees.
"I love you, Basket, Armaan whispered, against her skin and he skimmed his mouth from her ear to her lips.
"I... I... Riddhima wasn't able to finish her sentence because she was so lost in the sensations running through her body.
"Bolo na, Riddhima, Armaan prodded, his lips pressed to the corner of her mouth. "Please.
Riddhima's fingers curled around his collar a tighter.
"Arm... Arm... Armaan, Riddhima said, as if she wasn't capable of saying anything else at the moment.
"Main sunn raha hu. Bolo, Armaan commanded gently. He didn't know why, but in that exact moment, it was very important for him to know that his Basket loved him.
"I... I... Riddhima still wasn't able to finish. Knowing that their proximity was causing this, Armaan moved back but kept his arms firmly around her waist.
"I love you, Riddhima whispered finally. Armaan grinned on hearing that and before Riddhima could understand what was going on, captured her lips in a passionate kiss.
They kissed for what seemed like hours, Armaan's hold on Riddhima getting tighter by the second as she pulled him even closer to herself. When it became necessary to breathe, Armaan pulled back, only to shower Riddhima's neck and collarbone in kisses as Riddhima returned the favour with kisses on Armaan's ears and hair.
"I love you, Armaan whispered against her neck, holding her tight. The two of them stood like that for a while, wrapped around each other, not exchanging any words or actions, basking in the other's presence.
After a few minutes, Armaan pulled away from Riddhima and sat on the stairs, pulling her down with him.
"Aise bolte hai achche se hi hello, Armaan instructed Riddhima. "Next time se yaad rakhna.
"Armaan! Riddhima snapped back, swatting his arm. "Tum na, poore paagal ho, she said, resting her head against his shoulder.
"Hmmm. Pata hai, Armaan replied, kissing her head as he entwined their hands together and started playing with her fingers.
"Achcha yeh sab chodo. Mujhe tumse kuch important baat karni hai, Riddhima told him.
"Kya? Armaan asked her.
Riddhima smiled and narrated the incident from last night to him, telling him that maybe now, Muskaan would at least talk to Rahul.
"Hmmm. Not bad, Basket. Mere saath rehke kaafi smart bann gayi ho, Armaan told her after she'd finished talking. "Agar Muskaan iss baare mein soch rahi hai, toh achcha hi hai. Waise bhi bechaare Rahul ki toh life hi beech raaste atak gayi hai. Muskaan na, ab thoda zyada hi bhaav kha rahi hai! Ek baar toh usse baat kar sakti haina? Armaan ranted.
"Armaan! Riddhima tried to pacify him. "Isme Muskaan ki bhi galti nahi hai. Maana ki woh Rahul se kuch zyada hi gussa hai, lekin jo Rahul ne kiya woh bohot galat tha na.
"Haan, Riddhima. Tum sahi keh rahi ho. Lekin... Armaan hesitated.
"Lekin kya? Riddhima prodded.
"Lekin jo maine tumhaare saath kiya woh bhi toh galat tha. Tumne toh Muskaan ki tarah behave nahi kiya na, Armaan finally said. He didn't want to bring up those memories, but he couldn't help but compare Riddhima and Muskaan's reactions. If Riddhima would have put him through what Muskaan was putting Rahul through, Armaan wasn't sure he would have been able to handle it.
"Armaan, Riddhima sighed. "Tum kya yeh puraani, bekaar baaton ke lekar baith gaye? Humne decide kiya tha na, ki hum iss baare mein baat nahi karenge.
"Kiya tha, Basket. Lekin phir bhi. Main bas soch raha tha. Agar tum mere saath waise behave karti jaise Muskaan Rahul ke saath kar rahi hai toh? Main toh marr... Riddhima cut Armaan's rant off by placing her palm on his mouth.
"Armaan, bas. Ab yeh baat aur nahi. Aur humaari situation Rahul Muskaan ki situation se bohot alag thi. Hum dono bhi Rahul Muskaan se bohot alag hai, humaara rishta alag hai, humaara pyaar alag hai. Fir tum compare kaise kar sakte ho? Riddhima asked him.
"Shayad yahi farak hai hum mein aur unme, Riddhima. Shayad Muskaan Rahul ko utni achchi tarah nahi samajhti jitni achchi tarah tum mujhe samajhti ho, Armaan said, kissing her head. "Thank you.
Riddhima shook her head at him. "Tumna sach mein paagal ho, she commented.
"Waise, un dono ki kahaani aage badhaane ka ek aur idea hai, Armaan told Riddhima.
"Kya? Riddhima asked.
Armaan grinned and removed an envelope from his pockets, giving it to Riddhima.
"Yeh kya hai? Riddhima asked him.
"Arre, kholke toh dekho, Armaan commented. Riddhima shook her head and opened the envelope. It was an invitation to Armaan's college reunion.
"Yeh kya naya drama hai ab? Riddhima asked him.
"Drama nahi, Basket. Invite hai. Mere college reunion ka, Armaan said.
"Toh? She asked.
"Shayad tum bhool rahi ho. Lekin Rahul aur main ek hi college mein padhte the, Basket, Armaan reminded her.
"Jaanti hu, lekin iska Rahul aur Muskaan se kya connection? She asked him.
"Dekho, reunion yahi hain, Mumbai mein. Toh, obviously hum jaayenge. Aur hum Muskaan ko bhi lekar jaayenge, Armaan told her.
"Toh? Riddhima asked again.
"Basket... Tumna poori Basket hi ho. Dekho, tumne kabhi Rahul ki college photos nahi dekhi hai, lekin woh na, poora Daddu tha. Seriously. Aur ab dekho usko. Kaisa happening, hip, dude ban gaya hai. Toh, obviously, college ki saari ladkiyaan jo usse ghaas bhi nahi daalti thi us par line maarne ki koshish karengi. Yeh sab dekhke Muskaan toh jealousy se marr hi jaayegi! Armaan explained to Riddhima.
"Hmmm. Idea toh achcha hai, Riddhima commented. "Lekin Muskaan ko Rahul ke saath jaane ke liye convince kaise karenge?
"Muskaan ko Rahul ke saath nahi, mere saath jaane ke liye convince karna hai. Aur woh toh bilkul mushkil nahi hoga! Armaan replied.
"Hawww! Armaan! Tum mujhe nahi leke jaaoge? Riddhima asked him.
"Basket! Tumna duffer ho duffer! Muskaan kabhi bhi Rahul ke saath jaane nahi maanegi. Isliye hum usse mere saath aane bolenge, Armaan replied.
"Achcha. Aur Muskaan maan jaayegi ki main tumhaare saath nahi jaa rahi! Tumne apni harkatein dekhi hai? Poora din mere aage peeche mandrate rehte ho, kaam kuch karte nahi. Aur Muskaan maanegi ki tum mere bina jaa rahe ho? She asked him.
"What do you mean by mandrate rehte ho? Tumhe achcha nahi lagta na, toh aajse nahi karunga. Yehi tumhaari dosti, yehi tumhaara pyaar? Armaan asked Riddhima melodramatically.
"Oh, hello! Nautanki. Zyada acting mat karo. Tumhe bhi pata hai aur mujhe bhi pata hai ki tum apni harkaton se baaz nahi aane waale. Yeh batao Muskaan ko kaise convince karenge? Riddhima asked.
"Uske liye bhi ek plan hai, Armaan replied. "Hum Muskaan ko bol denge ki Rahul ne tumse poocha toh tumne usse promise kar diya. Ab tum uske saath jaa rahi ho toh main akela pad gaya.
Riddhima pretended to think it over. "Not bad, Dr. Mallik. Not bad at all. Theek hai. Done. Lekin Muskaan ko convince karne ka kaam tumhaara, Riddhima wagered.
Armaan nodded. "Okay, fine. Done. Chalo fir, Rahul se baat karte hai.
Convincing Rahul was not as easy as Armaan was expecting. The stupid idiot didn't even want to go for the reunion.
"Armaan, tujhe pata haina, college mein mere itne friends nahi the. Aur upar se sab mujhe bohot pareshaan karte the, you know, because of my appearance. Ab wahaan waapas kyu jau? Rahul asked.
Armaan rubbed his hand over his face in frustration. He put his hands around Rahul's shoulders and pulled him aside.
"Abbe, Dadu. Muskaan chahiye na? Armaan asked him. Rahul nodded.
"Toh bas. Jaisa main bol raha hu, waisa kar. Zyada bhaav mat kha.
"Armaan... Rahul started.
"Zzz... Armaan cut him off, moving his hands in front of Rahul's mouth as if he was zipping it up. He then pretended to throw the key away. "Not a word, Dr. Grewal. Main jaisa bolunga, tu karega.
Rahul nodded his head miserably.
"Good boy, Armaan replied, patting Rahul's head. "Chalo ab. Time for work. Saying so, Armaan pulled Rahul out of the locker room, still telling him about his nefarious plan to get him and Muskaan together. He turned back to look at Riddhima and winked at her, puckering his lips in a kiss. She smiled at that and shook her head, causing Armaan to laugh. Rahul looked at the exchange and laughed, punching Armaan on the shoulder and dragging him away as he waved to Riddhima.
These boys were such lovable idiots, Riddhima thought fondly as she turned to the locker to get some stuff. It was times like these that she was glad that they'd convinced Dr. Keerti to let them keep their lockers in addition to their cabins. The locker room was their abode. The gang had such amazing memories in this place and all of them were reluctant to let it go. So, Armaan had fought tooth and nail to convince her that she should allow them to keep their lockers too. After a lot of begging and pleading, Dr. Keerti had agreed.
"Morning, Bhabhi, Yuvi greeted her as he came in, making Riddhima turn and smile. Yuvi had started calling her Bhabhi lately, which had been cause for a lot teasing within the gang and interns. Over the months, Armaan had gotten really close to both Sid and Yuvi and they'd started looking up at him like an elder brother. Which prompted Yuvi to start calling her Bhabhi. The first few times he'd done it, Riddhima had been so embarrassed, she'd blushed a brilliant red for hours later. Which, of course, had started the teasing. God, her friends were stupid.
"Morning, Yuvi, she replied. "Aaj badi jaldi aa gaye.
Yuvi shrugged his shoulders. "Woh Naina ko aur practice karni hai. First performance haina, isliye thodi nervous hai, he explained.
"Oh! Riddhima said. "Don't worry. Tumhaari performance bohot achchi hogi. I know. Itni mehnat ki hai sabne. Tum zyada fikar mat karo.
"Mujhe toh koi tension nahi hai. Lekin woh ladki haina! Kya karu main uska? Yuvi complained.
"Main usse baat karti hu, okay? She offered, making Yuvi smile in gratitude.
"Thank you, Bhabhi! You're the best! He exclaimed before pulling her in for a hug.
Riddhima laughed at him and hugged him back. Yuvi was such a sweetheart sometimes.
"Yeh kya ho raha hai? Mere aur Armaan ke saath itna bada dhoka?! Naina exclaimed as she entered the locker room with Su & Sid, causing Yuvi and Riddhima to pull back.
"Naina! Riddhima shrieked. "Tumna, kuch bhi bolti ho.
"Kya, Di, main toh bas mazaak kar rahi thi, Naina replied. "Aur waise, aapke paas toh Armaan jaisa itna hot aur happening hunk hai. Is Yuvi ko kyu hug kar rahi hai aap? Iski toh shakal hi itni kharab hai. Dafford kahin ka.
Riddhima, Sid & Su laughed at that while Yuvi looked at Naina incredulously.
"Excuse me? Tumne meri shakal ko kharaab kaha? He asked her.
"Haan. Kaha. Toh? She asked.
"Kabhi aaine mein shakal dekhi hai? Khud toh chudail jaisi dikhti ho. Mujhe kya bol rahi ho? Woh toh tumhaari kismat achchi hai ki tumhe mujh jaisa ladka mila, warna koi aur toh tumhe ghaas bhi nahi daalta, Yuvi replied.
"Tum... Tum samajhte kya ho apne aap ko? Gadhe dafford kahin ke! Tumhe ehsaan maan na chahiye ke maine tum jaise stupid ladke se pyaar kiya. Waise bhi kismat hi kharab hai meri. Kitne aur mil jaate lekin dekho, tumhaare saath phas gayi, Naina told Yuvi.
This sparked a huge argument between them and they started pulling at each other's hair and hitting each other. It was getting really barbaric.
While Sid & Su stood there laughing, enjoying the free show, Riddhima was trying her best to pull these two apart but they had a freakishly strong grip and weren't ready to let go.
"Arre bhai! Yeh kya ho raha hai yahaan? A voice called from the entrance of the locker room, causing Yuvi and Naina to stop fighting a look up.
"Dad?! Riddhima exclaimed, surprised as she moved ahead to greet.
"Hello, my princess, Billy greeted as he pulled Riddhima in for a hug.
"Aap yahaan kaise? She asked him after they'd parted.
"Kuch nahi, bas apni beti se milne ka mann kiya toh chala aaya. Aur baaki sab se bhi toh milna hai. Nikki, Rahul, Muskaan, Anjali aur woh Atul. Maine sunaa hai Nikki toh pregnant bhi hai, Shanky bata raha tha mujhe. Aur tumhe pata hai na, mera beta toh hai hi nikamma. Kuch hota hai nahi usse. Arre, itne din baad hum usse milne aaye hain, aur kuch nahi toh ek choti party hi rakh deta. Lekin nahi, usse toh bas saara din hospital, hospital, hospital. Bas aur kuch nahi dikhta! Toh maine socha party ko hi yahaan le aata hu, Billy ranted, making Riddhima laugh.
"Achcha. Kya party? Dad aapko pata haina, aap zyada hard drinks consume nahi kar sakte. Itni mushkil se aapki diet control mein aayi hai. Main aapko nahi karne doongi, Riddhima told him.
"Yaar, tu beti hai ya dushman? Bas jab dekho mere khaane pe hi hoti hai teri nazar. Ab main ekdum fit aur fine hu. Kuch nahi hua hai mujhe, Billy whined.
"Haan, haan. Sab pata hai mujhe. Mom ne bataya. Dr. Bajaj keh rahe the ki aapka cholesterol fir badhne laga hai. Main sachchi biryani band karwa dungi. Fir aap dekhiyega, Riddhima threatened. Billy absolutely could not live without biryani in his life. And he knew that Riddhima could actually do that. All the cooks back home listened to Riddhima over him and it would take just one phone call for her to get them to stop making him the delicacy.
"Achcha baba. Dhyaan rakhunga abse. Waise bhi teri daayan maa hamesha mujhpe nazar rakhe rehti hai. Kabhi kabhi na, mujhe lagta hai jaise ki main Indravadan Sarabhai hu aur woh Maya. Billy doodh peelo, Billy tumhe samose khaana allowed nahi hai, Billy aaj khaane mein sprout salad hi hai. My god! Billy exclaimed.
This caused everyone in the locker room to burst out laughing. Billy looked around surprised as if he was only noticing the others now. He'd gotten so involved in his conversation with Riddhima that he'd forgotten that there were other people in the locker room too.
"Yeh sab cartoon kaun hai? He asked Riddhima.
"Dad! Cartoons nahi hai. Interns hain yahaan ke, Riddhima admonished. She then took his hand in hers and pulled him forward to introduce him to them.
"Dad, this is Naina, Yuvi, Sid & Su, she introduced them, pointing at each one. They all smiled at him. Who was this man? Why was Riddhima calling him dad, they wondered.
"Guys, this is... Before Riddhima could complete her sentence, Billy cut in.
"Hi, he said, moving to Su and offering his hand.
"Hi, Su replied, smiling, as she took the proffered hand and shook it.
"I'm Billy. Armaan ka bada bhai, Billy introduced himself, smiling flirtatiously.
"I'm Suvarna, intern, Su replied, loving the attention.
"Dad, Riddhima reprimanded. She pulled his hand away from Su's.
"Uh, Su, he was just joking. Yeh Balvinder Mallik hai. Armaan ke dad, she officially introduced him to everyone in the room.
Before Billy could say anything, Muskaan entered the locker room. "Arre, Billy! She exclaimed seeing him.
Billy turned around and grinned. "Muskaan! He cried, moving ahead and taking her in a huge bear hug.
"Kya baat hai! Aaj yahaan kaise? Muskaan asked once they'd pulled back from the hug.
"Haan. Tumse milne aaya hu. I was really missing you, yaar, Billy told her.
"Itna pyaar? Kya baat hai, Billy? Kya chahiye aapko? Muskaan asked. "Aaj aapne flirt bhi nahi kiya, Tiger bolne bhi nahi kaha. Kuch toh gadbad zaroor hai. Kya hua?
Billy smiled sheepishly. "Chal, tujhe na, detail mein batata hu, he said and pulled Muskaan out of the locker room.
Riddhima smiled at the duo as she watched them leave. Billy was the best. She'd missed him so much. It was good to have him back, no matter how short the time, though she hoped they'd stay for sometime.
She turned around to see the interns looking surprised and confused at the scene in front of them. It would take them sometime to get used to Billy's boisterousness, she knew.
"Interns, report to duty. Now, she announced, leaving the locker room herself.
The next few days were going to be great.
And, there you have it! Woohoo! I am so proud of myself for churning this out especially cause I'm reading the best novel ever and it is so difficult for me tear myself away from it to do anything else! But I have managed to write this and it was awesome! So, sorry, no concert or a lot of gang interaction, but we got to see that the interns and gang share a good rapport. And some Billy! And so much AR! Last update mein zyada nahi the AR scene so people were sad, isliye iss baar toh itna saara AR hai. Khush ho jao sabke sab!
I am still writing TDBU's next chapter. But, hopefully it will be updated on Friday! Cause I'm going to a friend's house for a sleepover in an hour. Toh aaj aur kal ab bohot kam time milega. Maybe I'll write, maybe I won't but pakka, TDBU Friday tak update karne ki koshish karungi. Agar Friday nahi toh Saturday 110% done!
I hope you liked this chapter! And if you're wondering what book I'm reading, it's the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo and if you love conmen and thieves and heists and such (basically Dhoom but 10000000000000000 times better) please go read it!
Till next time,
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