Finally AR talked after a long time and i am sooo much surprised that armaan behaved so coolly like seriously dunya ka 8 ajooba mature armaan
The aftermath of Billy's visit.
Track 40 You're My Best Friend, Queen
The one thing that Nikita Modi, nee Malhotra, prided herself in, was being the best, the most supportive friend anyone could ever have. Ever since she was a kid, she'd always felt that she was a good friend, and she had been. There weren't many people who had the privilege of saying that they were friends with her, but the few that did, had always sung praises, never shutting up about how good a friend she was. Now though, she was doubting all herself. Was she a good friend?
She hadn't been there for Riddhima when she should have been, she'd been so curt with Anjali, and now she was finding out that she didn't know anything about what Jaanhavi and Armaan, who had inarguably been her best friends for almost a decade, had gone through, especially Jaanhavi.
How could this have been possible? How? These thoughts haunted her the entire night and her sleep was littered with nightmares where all her friends took great pleasure in telling her what a shitty friend she was.
So, she decided the first thing she'd do the next morning would be talking to Armaan. She knew that it wouldn't be a particularly happy conversation, but she thought it was about time they had one. Sure, Armaan was her best friend, and she never doubted that, but this friendship had been through too many lows and both of them had swept things under the rug countless times when in fact they should have talked about all of it. They never talked about how Armaan's changed behaviour after Jaanhavi leaving had affected Nikki, or how Nikki leaving overnight had affected Armaan. Since she'd come to New York, they hadn't even talked about how the other coped all these years. Only now was she realizing that Armaan may have been her best friend for 25 years, but they hadn't even been in touch with each other for almost 14 years of those 25. That sent her into a tailspin and she really needed to speak to Armaan about it.
At 5 in the morning, she gave up on trying to sleep and made her way downstairs. She was surprised to see Armaan in the living room, sprawled on the couch, holding a photograph close to his chest, but she shouldn't have been. Of course he wouldn't have gotten any sleep the previous night either.
She walked over to him to check if he was awake or not and Armaan sprung up when he felt someone's presence in the room. As he sat up, completely startled, the frame fell from his hands and onto the sofa. Nikki smiled when she saw a picture of Shalini Aunty smiling up at her.
"Oh! It's you!" Armaan mumbled, rubbing his eyes.
"Were you expecting someone else?" Nikki joked.
Armaan rolled his eyes at her, which made Nikki chuckle. She sat beside him and picked the frame up.
"She was so gorgeous," Nikki whispered, caressing the picture.
"The most," Armaan replied, taking the frame from Nikki. "Gods, I miss her!"
Nikki rubbed his arm in a comforting gesture. "I miss her, too," she said. "But, she's looking out for us, wherever she is, and I'm sure she's absolutely happy to see how far you've come."
"Thanks, Nik," Armaan replied, smiling at her. "I like to think so as well."
"I don't think," Nikki countered. "I know. I know she's happy. I know she's proud of you. And of Jaanhavi. Maybe she's proud of me also. She's making the most beautiful music and wowing everyone with her voice, wherever she is."
"She really was the best musician ever, wasn't she?" Armaan asked.
"She was," Nikki agreed. "I've never heard someone sing like that."
The two of them sat quietly for a few minutes, lost in memories.
"Are you okay?" Nikki asked, breaking the silence.
"I'm fine," Armaan replied.
"Seriously?" Nikki questioned. "That's what you're going with? I'm fine'?"
"What do you want me to say?" Armaan countered. "I am fine, Nikki."
"You're fine? Of course you are! My whole world shifted last night... But you're just f**king fine, even after you threw your father and uncle, who abused your sister, by the way, out of the house and called cops on them! Yes. Of course. Fine! Nothing happened, did it? Just another day in the life of Armaan Mallik!" Nikki ranted.
Armaan sighed and got up to leave. "Exactly. Just another day in my life," he said sarcastically.
"Armaan!" Nikki exclaimed, holding his arm. "You can't just behave as if everything is dandy when we both know it's not."
"Watch me," Armaan replied, jerking her hand away. He started walking, but Nikki stopped him again.
"I just want to help, Armaan," Nikki insisted.
"I don't need your help, Nikita. Or your sympathy. I said I'm fine. And I am," Armaan said brusquely. "Now please, let me get on with my day."
"Maani!" Nikki cried. "I want to be there for you! For Jaanhavi. Please! You're my best friend, my family. And I want to share your pain. Why are you behaving like this?"
"Of course. Now you want to help? Now we're family. So, what? I'm only your best friend when it's convenient to you? We're only family when it doesn't come in the way of your real family, yes? That's... that's not how this works, Nikki. I'm not some toy that you can play with and then discard and then pick up again, as and when you please. And... We both know you've made your choice years ago, so just stick to that and leave me alone," Armaan told her.
"What... what are you talking about? What decision? What choice?" Nikki asked, confused. "You've always been my best friend, Maani! That's never changed. Not for one second. And... of course you're my family, my real family! You always have been."
Armaan scoffed in disgust. "Really? You're just... this is how you're gonna behave? Don't act so confused, Nik. You know exactly well what I'm talking about. You cut me out back then, and now you're just... you're behaving as if that never happened."
"Cut you out? You? Are you drunk, Armaan? What the f**k are you talking about?" Nikki questioned. "You know I'd never do that to you!"
"You know, I thought so, too, Dr. Nikita Modi. But... I've come to realize, that what we think isn't always correct. Assuming does make an ass out of you and me," Armaan told her.
"Can you please stop talking in riddles and just tell me what I've done that has offended you so much?" Nikki asked him, exasperated.
"Fine!" Armaan conceded. "If you want me to say it out loud, I'll do it."
"Finally! Yes. Tell me," Nikki demanded.
"I think you made that choice when you never replied to any of the letters I sent you. For months, might I add. Letter after letter after letter. All unanswered, unacknowledged," Armaan replied.
"You... You... you wrote to me?" Nikki asked, extremely flabbergasted.
"Okay, Nikki. Please, drop the act now. I've said it. You don't need to look so shocked!" Armaan said.
"Armaan... I... I never... I never got any letters!" Nikki told him.
Armaan looked at her disbelievingly. "Come on, now! I mailed them to Abhi's address! And I kept a return to sender' address, just in case you'd moved. It's been years and I've never gotten any of the letters back, nor have I gotten any intimation that they've been marked for return. But, I did receive acknowledgements stating that the letters had been delivered! In fact, I even added an email address on them, in case it was cumbersome to use snail mail, especially if some random stranger got the letter and couldn't be bothered to mail it back. But, I have not received any. Which, of course, leads me to believe that you were the one who got the letters, but didn't have the time to, or didn't want to, reply to them.
You chose, very clearly, Nikki. You chose your new life over your old. You chose to be Nikita Modi, sister - in - law to Siddhanth Modi & Riddhima Modi instead of being Nikita Malhotra, best friend to Armaan Mallik. You chose your family then, Nikki. And I wasn't a part of it. I don't need you to suddenly wake up and realize I'm a part of your family now. So, please, don't."
All the while, Nikki stood there, absolutely gobsmacked, not knowing what to say, to do. She hadn't received any letters, she was sure. She would have wasted no time in replying had she gotten one. She'd have moved heaven and earth to get back to him. But, how could she, when she hadn't gotten a letter?
She'd lived the past 7 years of her life, not knowing where Armaan was. Not knowing if he was okay or not. She had tried to make herself believe that he was fine, that he was doing great, and had convinced herself that he wouldn't want her in his life. She was a Modi afterall. And Modi's had only ever brought him pain. Be it Abhi or Sid or even Riddhima. So, why would he want her to be a part of his life when she was constantly surrounded by people who had hurt him? That had been her excuse to never look for him, when in reality, it had been her guilt that had stopped her from seeking him out. Guilt for leaving him, again, when he needed her. Guilt for not being able to stop Riddhima's marriage when she should have. Guilt for being so wrapped up in her new life that she didn't even know what kind of hell he was going through. That guilt had stopped her from reaching out to him, too. It wasn't that she hadn't tried to do it, she just wasn't able to. How many times had she punched his numbers into her phone and pressed send, only to disconnect the call before even one ring? How many times had she sat in front of her computer, typing out an email to him, but then had never sent it because she was afraid? She still had those drafts saved in her gmail account - all 84 of them, one for each month Armaan had been away (Oct 2010 to Oct 2017, aka exactly 7 years). Yes, she hadn't started writing those emails immediately, but she still wrote all of those 84 emails, hoping one day to have the courage to send them to him. And, she had planned to continue writing them after she got back home from the wedding.
"You always were the braver one of the both of us," Nikki commented. And, he had been. He'd always been brave. He was the one who was alway convincing Nikki to try new things and get out of her comfort zone. Geeky, nerdy, not having many friends Maani Mallik had actually always been an adventurous boy. He was such a walking contradiction, Nikki remembered fondly. Shy, soft spoken, and somewhat nervous in front of the world, but when it was just them, when he was with the few people he trusted, he was boisterously loud.
Armaan looked at her disbelievingly. "What does that mean?" he asked her, confused. A flick of hope arose in his chest, but he quashed it. He couldn't think that way. He didn't want to. He didn't want to think that maybe Nikki had made an effort too, because if she hadn't, it would crush him.
"I... I wrote emails to you," Nikki admitted. "Lots of them. Monthly emails. But... well... I never had the courage to actually send them to you, because I didn't know if you'd want me in your life after everything that had happened... and because... um... because... I... Uh... I felt guilty. For... um... For everything that had happened."
"You... You wrote to me?" Armaan asked, delirious. He couldn't believe it. His best friend hadn't just forgotten him and moved on. She'd missed him. Just like he'd missed her.
"Every month," Nikki replied. "I swear."
Armaan pulled her into a tight hug, not knowing what else to say or do after she said that. He'd missed her, and he'd been dying to hug her like this - tight and cozy - like he always did before. Not like the couple hugs they'd shared in the past few days that had been more of those formal hugs between old acquaintances than between two best friends basking in the happiness of meeting after years and celebrating the happiness of someone very important in both their lives.
As the two friends tried to make sense of it all, finally coming together after years of missing each other, the warmth that this embrace provided both of them was something they would never be able to put into words for the rest of their lives. It was most certainly overwhelming and neither of them could stop the tears from spilling.
They hugged for a few minutes, muffled sobs echoing across the room before pulling back. Armaan wiped Nikki's tears before wiping his own, and said, "You really do look a like a witch after you cry! Look at all that mascara on your cheeks!"
"Maani!" Nikki cried, swatting his arm. "Shut up!"
"Okay, okay. No more teasing. Come with me," he instructed. Without waiting for a reply, he took Nikki's hand in his own and pulled her along with him towards the garden. He walked towards the back of the house, where there was a cozy, small sitting area, obviously not meant for many people.
"What is this?" Nikki asked. She didn't remember him showing them this place when they'd toured the house.
"This is... well, this is my lone spot," Armaan told her.
"Lone?" Nikki questioned, confused.
"Yes," Armaan replied. "I come here when I want to be alone, when I don't want anyone to disturb me."
"Ohhh," Nikki nodded in understanding. Old habits die hard, she supposed. Armaan always had been particularly good at finding such secluded, quiet places for when he wanted to be alone, for as long as she could remember. Be it school, or college, or even Sanjeevani. He always found a place to get away from it all.
"What are we doing here?" She asked.
"We're here because I want to talk to you, and I absolutely do not want to get interrupted by anyone," he told her, matter of factly.
The two of them sat down on the ledge, with Armaan sitting sideways and resting his back on one end of the ledge while Nikki sat straight with her back to the walls.
"So..." Nikki started. "These letters that you wrote."
"What about them?" He asked.
"When did you start sending them? Do you remember?" She countered.
"Of course, I do!" Armaan told her. "You think I'd forget that?"
"So? Batane ke liye alag se invitation dena padega?" Nikki questioned sarcastically.
Armaan barked out a laugh. "Same old, haan? You haven't changed."
"Never," Nikki replied. "But that is not the answer to my question."
"Hmmm... Letters. I remember vividly. The first ever letter that I posted to you was on 25th May, 2012," Armaan told her.
Of - freaking - course! Nikki thought. Of course, Armaan sent her a letter for the first time the day Riddhima's annulment was finalized. Could she have expected anything else from these two? Even when they weren't together, they still were.
"Nikki," Armaan called, shaking her shoulders gently. "Kya hua?" he asked.
"Ku... kuch... kuch nahi," she said, shrugging off the memories of that day. The annulment had been rough on both Riddhima and Sid, for hugely different reasons. While Sid had mourning a love lost (or so he thought), Riddhima had been mourning the loss of a friendship and her family, while also regretting letting Armaan go. At the time, Nikki's solidarity had lain with Sid, not only because he was family, but Nikki understood what he was going through. She had gone through similar motions with Armaan before. There had been a time when she was disillusioned enough to think she had been in love with him, and it had hurt her to see that he didn't love her back. It was because of this that she understood Sid on a deeper level than his other friends, and also why he had turned to her for support during that time.
"Ek baat bata... Why did you resort to snail mail? Email nahi kar sakta tha kya? Ya phone?" She asked.
"Of course, Nikki. I could have called you," Armaan replied sarcastically, "but the issue is that someone else was using that number!"
"Oh!" Nikki said, biting her tongue. "Haan. Woh, when Abhi & I had to move to Delhi for that project, I changed my number. Then on coming back to Mumbai, I didn't activate the old one again."
Armaan moved his hands in a see, that's why I couldn't' gesture. Then, he continued, "And, don't even get me started on emails. All the email IDs of yours that I had were from school and college. Those embarrassing ones like princessnikki, nikkirox, nikkiisthebest etc that I know for a fact you deactivated ages ago!"
"You're such an idiot, Armaan! When we were working together at Sanjeevani, couldn't you have asked for my new email?" She questioned, exasperatedly.
"Arre... I never needed it, so didn't think about it!" Armaan whined. "Mujhe kya sapna aata ki someday I'll need your email to contact you?"
"Yeh baat bhi sahi hai," Nikki agreed.
"Aur kya! And you had my email na?" Armaan questioned. "I never changed it! You could have emailed!"
"I told you na!" Nikki complained.
"Haan, haan. Theek hai!" Armaan replied.
"25th May, 2012?" Nikki confirmed. Armaan nodded.
"Why did you wait so long?" Nikki asked, genuinely curious.
Armaan sighed. "I didn't want to drag you down again, Nik," he told her.
"What do you mean, drag me down again?" She asked him.
"Woh... woh... woh..." Armaan trailed off, not saying anything.
"Kya woh?" Nikki questioned. "Seedhe seedhe bolna!"
"Nik... I... I wasn't in the best place when I left Mumbai, okay? It was... It was like when Bua Maa passed away," Armaan told her.
"Toh?" Nikki asked, confused.
"Nik, it was exactly like how it was back then. The nightmares, anxiety attacks, the depression. I lost my appetite, rarely ate. Some days I didn't even get out of bed. Showers had become a luxury and not a necessity. And... I... I didn't want you to see me like that. Again," he said.
"Maani!" Nikki cried, hugging him. "You're an idiot."
"Nahi, Nik. It's true. Pehle bhi... you gave up almost everything to look after me, make me feel better. I saw how it affected you. I know that I kept you from doing lots of things you wanted to - be it studying or hanging out with friends or participating in some extracurricular activity. Your social life turned into i have to make sure armaan is doing okay' and I hated that. I couldn't... I didn't want you to go through that again. So, I didn't reach out before.
It took me sometime to find semblance and control and happiness in this life. And only when I was sure that I could see you without breaking down into a million pieces did I try to get back in touch," Armaan told her.
"How could you do that, Maani?" Nikki blubbered, hitting his chest. "You're my best friend! I would have been there for you!"
"I know," Armaan replied. "Which is exactly why I couldn't. You've already given up a lot for me, Nik. I couldn't let you sacrifice anything else for me, especially not when you were just settling down in your new marriage. Abhi deserve to have all of your free time so that the two of you could understand each other better, so that you could get to know each other more intimately. I know ki teri love marriage hui thi, and Abhi is a very understanding guy, and had I called you then, he would have definitely supported you if you decided to come be with me, but I didn't want that for either of you. I know that you knew Abhi pretty well. I mean, you guys did date for almost a year before getting married, but that doesn't mean you knew everything about him na. Aur waise bhi, things change when you start living together. It must have been a difficult transition anyway. I did not want to add to your complications with my troubles, especially when most of them stemmed from your new sister - in - law. That would have put all of you in a very difficult position and I didn't want my issues to colour your married life."
[PSA! There was no Jiya debacle in this story. Abhi was never married and he never lied to Nikki. They dated and got engaged around the same time they did on the show, when Riddhima came back, and then moved to Delhi to handle a project. They came back a couple months after Armaan left and were married in a quiet ceremony with only the gang present as witnesses. (Hope this pleases you, Your Highness. You know who you are.)]
"f**king idiot, Armaan Mallik!" Nikki scolded, hitting him again.
"Forget about that," Armaan instructed. "Why did you not get my letters?" He thought.
"You said that you mailed the first one in May 2012, haina?" Nikki confirmed. Armaan nodded.
"So, because, of course, it was travelling all the way from the US to India, and given just how fast these postal services are, I should have gotten the letter by mid - July at the latest, right?" Nikki thought out loud.
Armaan nodded in agreement. "Yeah. Mid July. That was around the time I got an acknowledgement of receipt too," he told her.
July 2012. That's when it hit Nikki. She hadn't been living at Abhi's house then. The one Armaan had the address to anyway. Her and Abhi had moved to another, more spacious flat because they were planning on starting a family. And then... instead of selling the old flat, they'd given it to Sid. He had been complaining about how his old house had been haunting him with memories of Riddhima. He had been looking for a new flat anyway, and when the couple had officially moved into their new by the 3rd week of June, they'd given the keys to their old house to Sid.
But... could Sid have been so petty to hide the fact that Armaan had been trying to reach her from Nikki? Nikki knew that Sid had still been carrying a torch for Riddhima, despite the annulment being a mutual decision, but she didn't think he would stoop so low as to keep Armaan out of anyone's life because he was afraid that maybe it would mean that Armaan would come back in Riddhima's life as well.
"Nik! Kya hua?" Armaan asked, noticing the change in her expressions. "Is everything okay?"
"No. No, it's not. But it will be. Soon," Nikki vowed to herself.
"What? Kya bol rahi hai? Is this about the letters? Chod woh sab! It was just a big misunderstanding. Important baat yeh hai ki things are fine between us and that is all that matters, okay?" Armaan told her, pulling her into hug. He was curious about what had happened with the letters and who had them, but he did not want to get into it if this was the reaction he got from Nikki about the whole thing. What was important was that he knew that Nikki hadn't unceremoniously cut him out of his life, despite his efforts to reach out to her. That was enough for him. He had his best friend back. He didn't need anything else, not even those letters that had been the cause of this rift between him and Nikki.
When she didn't respond, Armaan repeated, "Everything is okay and that's what matters. Okay, Jaani?"
Nikki pushed him away instantly and looked at him, wide eyed. "Say it again," she demanded.
Armaan grinned. Really. Same old Nikki. His best friend. The Jaani to his Maani. He'd given her that silly nickname in school. They couldn't have been older than 11 when he'd done it. Nikki had been a very special person in his life, and he wanted her to have a special nickname, to tell her just how important she was to him. He had his Bua Maa & his Jaan and he wanted something equally as special for Nikki to tell her that he loved her just as much as he loved them. Thus, Jaani was born. And, it was even more special than any other name in the world, because no one, absolutely no one, was allowed to call Nikki that except for Armaan. And, he did. Religiously. For 9 years. But, things changed after Nikki left college. When they met at Sanjeevani, Armaan didn't feel comfortable calling her that, not only because he didn't want to give anyone the wrong impression, especially Riddhima who was already a little insecure about his friendship with Nikki in the first few days that they'd been introduced, but mostly because he didn't have the heart to call her that when she didn't call him Maani. So, they went from Maani & Jaani to Ammy & Nik and then Armaan & Nikki and made their peace with that. But, things had changed now.
Nikki was calling him Maani again. He was feeling like Maani again. The cute, nerdy boy who did not talk much, who preferred to play the piano instead of playing basketball, even though he was so good at it. It wasn't like he had completely reverted to his old ways, but he had found a way to imbibe his old self in the person he had become and he loved it.
Ever since he'd first heard Nikki call him Maani, outside Jaan's hospital room, he had been dying to call her Jaani, too, but had held off, thinking she wouldn't like it, especially after the whole letter fiasco. But now, finding that it had been a huge miscommunication, he couldn't help himself. He had to call her that.
"Maani!" Nikki whined. "I'm getting impatient here!"
She'd waited for this for almost 16 years. She did not want to wait any longer. Earlier, they seemed to have an unspoken understanding to not call these names out, but since coming to New York, she had been hoping Armaan would call her Jaani, especially when she had started referring to him as Maani, but he hadn't, not before now. She had been hurt by his reluctance, but hadn't said anything because she didn't want to put him on the spot, but now she was realizing that Armaan's refusal to refer to her with that name may have stemmed from the fact that he thought that she had ignored his letters. Now, with that hurdle out of the way, and having heard it once, she wanted to hear it again.
"Jaani!" Armaan repeated, a huge smile on his face, which was rivalled by Nikki's.
A delirious laugh escaped Nikki as she hugged Armaan tight, promising herself that she would talk to Sid, and if she found out that he was behind this mess, nothing in the world would be able to save him from her wrath.
It had been a couple hours since her talk with Armaan, but all Nikki could think about was their conversation. He'd written to her! He'd written to her. That made all the difference in the world. He hadn't moved on. He hadn't forget them, he hadn't forgotten her.
But, she hadn't gotten to read them. Any of them. And, it wad because of Sid. She'd supported him, understood him, been there for him in anyway she could, and this was how he repayed her? By stealing her mail? Did have not have any feelings of affection, much less gratitude towards her for all that she'd done for him? Did he ever think about what he was keeping from her? Of course, he did! She realized.
Sid knew exactly how important Armaan was to her, to all of her friends. They all loved him, they all cared about him. They'd all been immensely worried about him when he'd just took off without telling anyone, but mostly, her. She'd spent so much time praying that he was okay, that he was doing better, that he was happy. And, Sid knew that. He knew that Armaan was Nikki's best friend, that she loved him. And yet, he didn't think twice before intercepting her letters. Letters that her best friend had sent her.
She could only imagine what Armaan had written in them. Had he told her about Jaanhavi? About Sona? Did he talk about Rahul and his family? Did he ever say something about Tamanna, seeking Nikki's support to help her? Had he written about Sanjeevani? Had he ever mentioned how happy he was?
She wanted to know all of it. And so much more. She wanted to know about everything that had happened during their time apart. She deserved to know.
Determined, she set out in search of Sid, and found him on the terrace, goofing around with Riddhima and Abhi. The three of them had a bond that Nikki wouldn't ever understand. But then, she shared something similar with Atul. Maybe, some friendships could never be named. Or understood.
Normally, seeing the three of them together made her somewhat happy and content. But today, all she could think about were her missing letters and how Sid might be responsible.
"Hey, Nikki," Abhi was the first one to greet her. He hugged her and kissed the side of her head, making Nikki smile despite herself. Abhi really was such an amazing husband. She'd never imagined he'd be so good. But, he was. They had their differences, like any other normal couple, but when it mattered, Abhi always had her back, no questions asked. He supported her in everything she did, he understood her when she didn't understand herself, he was always full of life around her - laughing, talking, playing. Having him around made her days a thousand times better. She really couldn't have asked for a better life partner.
"Before you ask," Abhi continued, "tumhaara beta theek hai. He's downstairs, playing in the garden with Samrat. Aaj baby-sitting duty Dr. Shubhankar ki hai."
Nikumbh and Samrat were really good friends, being so close in age and such. Ever since they were toddlers, Dr. Keerti and Nikki had been organizing little play dates for them that had grown into full babysitting jobs for the other, to help both couples out as they all had such busy schedules. It worked flawlessly for the 4 of them and both the boys had someone to look after them at any given point. It seemed, today was Shubhankar's turn.
"Good," Nikki replied, kissing his cheek.
Riddhima watched them interact with a wistful smile. In another life, this could have been her and Armaan. Just casually talking about their kid, being affectionate with the other, and just enjoying each other's company. If only she hadn't been such an idiot.
"Bhabhi!" Sid cried playfully. "Control! There are others present here, too, in case you hadn't noticed."
On hearing Sid's voice, whatever fleeting pleasantness that Nikki was feeling due to Abhi's presence vanished. She glared at Sid, confusing Riddhima and Abhi. Nikki always took Sid's teasing in complete stride, giving back as much to Sid. She rarely ever lost her temper at him. Especially for such mild teasing.
"Riddhima," Nikki said, not even deeming it proper to address Sid directly. "Can you please ask your best friend why he thought it was okay to not give me the letters that my best friend sent to me at my old house where he was living?"
All the colour drained from Sid's face as he looked at Nikki, completely taken aback. How had she found out?
When Armaan had not uttered a word about those blasted letters in the few weeks they'd been here, Sid thought that that chapter was closed and Armaan wasn't going to bring it up again. But, he had been wrong. He'd just gotten too hopeful, too soon. He should have known that this would come back to bite him in the ass, one day or another.
It had been a moment of desperate longing. That was all. Him and Riddhima had officially separated only a few weeks ago, and he had moved into Abhi & Nikki's old house to escape the demons of his past. Though he had been the one to suggest the separation, and even though everything had been decided on mutually, it didn't negate the fact that at the time, Sid believed he was in love with Riddhima. And, parting ways from her hurt him. Deeply. He missed Riddhima so much. Granted, theirs had been a very tumultuous relationship, but he still missed having her around. He missed seeing her clothes racked neatly beside his haphazard pile in their closet, he missed seeing her toothbrush sitting next to his at the bathroom sink. He missed hearing her shout at him when threw his wet towel on the floor and left his shoes anywhere he pleased in the house. He missed the indistinct chatter as he heard her talking to her sister and her mother, and he missed the silly movies she'd make him watch. What he really missed was having her company. The loneliness was getting to him.
He had somewhat started regretting his suggestion of the annulment, and he had even started blaming Armaan for the whole thing, though it was subconsciously and he didn't actively seek reasons to think that way. But, he couldn't deny that he had. And, in the middle of all this upheavel in his life, Armaan's first letter had arrived.
The letter was addressed to Nikki and even though the only sender information was a PO Box number and a zip code, Sid recognized Armaan's neat cursive adorning the envelope. It had been instinctual.
He just knew that if he let Nikki read the letter, Armaan would come back in Nikki's life, in all their lives, but most importantly, his and Riddhima's life. And, he couldn't let that happen. He wasn't Riddhima's husband anymore, but Sid couldn't deny that he hoped that one day, Riddhima would give their relationship another chance, and that would never happen if Armaan was back. He knew that if Riddhima found Armaan again, she would never let him go, never let that relationship go.
He couldn't have that. He was biding his time, waiting for the opportune moment to become Riddhima's knight in shining armour again and prove to her that they could have something more than friendship. So, he his the letter, and the ones that came after that. He never opened any of them, didn't read a single word of what they said. At one point, he tried to burn the letters but he couldn't bring himself to do so. So, he hid them all in the back of his closet, hoping no one would ever find them.
He didn't do anything with the letters, because he was afraid that if he sent them back, Armaan would think that Nikki had moved and maybe he'd try to look for her in some other way. There were several times that he toyed with the idea of impersonating Nikki and sending back a note saying that she didn't want Armaan to be a part of her life anymore, and demand that the letters stop, but then decided against it. He didn't want to stoop any lower than he had.
So, he just kept collecting the letters, hoping that a lack of response would be enough for Armaan to stop writing. And, it was. As the months passed, the frequency of Armaan's letters decreased till one fine day, Sid realized that there had not been a letter in almost a year. There hadn't been one in all these years still.
"What?" Riddhima asked, completely shocked. "What did you just say, Nikki?"
"Why don't you ask him yourself?" Nikki countered.
Riddhima turned her gaze to Sid and looked at him quizzically, demanding answers. "What is Nikki saying, Sid?"
Ashamed, Sid just lowered his head, not knowing what to say. He realized now, having completely moved on from Riddhima, that he shouldn't have done what he had. But, what was done was done and he couldn't undo it.
It had taken Sid sometime, but by the time he'd understood that what he felt for Riddhima hadn't been love, that he didn't want her to be in his life as anything other than a friend, it had been too late. Armaan's letters had stopped. He'd toyed with the idea of giving the old letters to Nikki, but didn't have the courage to own up to his mistake. It did make him feel guilty, because he was keeping Armaan from so many people who loved him, but he couldn't do it. He knew that if he gave the letters back, he'd have to come clean about everything, and he couldn't have his friends and family loath him for what he'd done, what he'd destroyed. It killed him, but Sid decided to keep his mouth shut and not say anything.
"I'm sorry," he mumbled, not knowing what else to say. "I'm sorry, Bhabhi!"
"Sorry doesn't make it okay, Sid!" Nikki blasted. "You ruined everything!"
She fell to the ground, sobbing. Riddhima immediately rushed to her and wrapped her arms around her. Abhi was so gobsmacked that he couldn't even process what was happening around him. Nikki hadn't wanted to believe it. But, it was true. Sid had intercepted the letters. He'd kept her from Armaan.
"Didn't you... didn't you think about me for even a second?" She asked him. "Did you ever think how I'd feel? What... what did I ever do to you, Sid? Why did you think doing this to me, to Armaan, to all of us was okay? You... you knew. You knew everything. You knew how worried we all were, how worried I was. You knew just how much I missed him. And yet, you kept this from me! For more than 5 years! Didn't you feel the least bit guilty?"
"I... I... I..." Sid fumbled, not knowing what to say.
"I loved you like my brother, Siddhant Modi. I was there for you when your life fell apart. I helped you pick yourself up. I was there for you when your own mother wasn't. I was there... Every step of the way. I supported you, helped you, loved you. You were my family, Sid. And you... you didn't even think before you did this to me. Before you thought that keeping this from me was okay! Armaan is my best friend, Siddhant. He's been my family for as long as I can remember. And you took that from me!" Nikki told him.
"Bhabhi..." Sid started.
"Don't!" Nikki intervened. "Don't call me that. You lost the right to call me that the day you hid that first letter from me."
"I..." Sid tried again. "I'm sorry. I know... I know what I did was wrong. I shouldn't have. I'm sorry!"
"Why?" Riddhima asked him, shaken to the core, as Nikki cried on her shoulder. "Why did you do it?"
Sid didn't say anything. He didn't have an answer to this question. No, that was incorrect. He did have an answer. It just wasn't something he had the guts to say out loud. He was so ashamed of himself.
When he didn't utter a single word, Abhi stepped up. "Riddhima asked you something, Sid. Why did you do it?"
"Main... I... I'm sorry... I..." Sid hicupped.
"Sid... jab tumne karte waqt nahi socha toh ab bolne se kyu hichkicha rahe ho?" Riddhima asked snidely. "Tell us!"
"I didn't... I didn't want Armaan to... I didn't... He... I didn't want him to come back into your life, Riddhima," Sid finally admitted.
"What? What did you just say?" Riddhima asked, hoping to all the almighty powers that she'd heard incorrectly. Sid couldn't have done that for her. No way.
"I didn't want Armaan to come back into your life, Riddhima," Sid repeated, looking away.
At this, Riddhima couldn't stop herself. She walked over to Sid and slapped him right across his face as both Nikki and Abhi looked at her in shock.
"How dare you?" She spat venomously. "Tumhe zara si bhi sharam nahi aayi, Sid?"
"I'm sorry!" Sid repeated. "I... I thought I was in love with you, Riddhima. I thought... agar Armaan waapas aa gaya... you'd be with him, and then I'd never have a chance with you. I just... I was holding on to the hope that someday you'd realize that we could be a good couple and you'd come back to me."
Riddhima's face turned ashen at Sid's words. Her fault. It was all her fault. She was the reason Nikki and the others had had to stay away from Armaan for so long. If not for her, they could've all found Armaan years ago. Maybe by now, everything would have been back to the way it had been before.
Not only was she a hindrance in Armaan's life when she was actually in it, but also when she was obliviously thousands of miles away. How would she ever forgive herself for this?
Her knees gave out as these thoughts encompassed her mind and she fell to the ground, her hands on her head. She started sobbing in earnest as she processed Sid's words, as she heard them echo in her mind, again and again and again.
Nikki, though, had just about heard enough when Sid said that. She walked up to Sid and slapped his other cheek.
"I never thought you'd ever stoop so low, Siddhant!" Nikki told him. "Tum... yeh sab... tum aisa bhi kar sakte ho? Chee! I... mujhe ghinn aa rahi hai tumpe."
"Main... I'm sorry!" Sid said, yet again.
"It's too late for apologies now, Sid. Too f**king late," Nikki told him. "You're a shitty asshole and I never expected this from you. Today, you've broken my trust. I won't ever forgive you for this. Ever, ever, ever."
"Bhabhi!" Sid exclaimed.
Nikki pulled his collar. "I told you! I told you, Siddhant. Don't call me that. Mera tumse koi rishta nahi raha ab. You've hurt me, you've hurt my family, you've hurt my friends. You've hurt everyone I care about, only because of your selfishness. I can't... I can't ever let this go, Sid. I can't ever forget. I won't. Never. I hate you, Siddhant Modi. I hate you so much, I've never thought I could hate someone so much. Get out of my sight. Right the f**k now."
Saying so, Nikki pushed him away. Sid stood there, as if made of stone, not moving an inch. Nikki glared at him and repeated, "What are you waiting for? Get out, right now, Sid! I don't want to look at you. Not now."
Defeated, Sid turned around and walked away. Once she was sure that Sid wasn't around, Nikki turned to Riddhima, who was still sitting on the floor in a daze as she sobbed loudly.
"Abhi, please leave us alone for sometime," she told her husband softly.
"But... Nikki..." Abhi protested.
"Nahi, Abhi. Abhi nahi. Riddhima and I need some time alone. Please," she insisted.
Abhi sighed defeatedly and left them alone.
Nikki walked to Riddhima, a storm brewing in her own being, similar to Riddhima's. They'd both trusted Sid so implicitly, and he'd broken both their trust in the worst way possible. It would take them a long time to come to terms with this betrayal.
She sat down beside Riddhima and kept a hand on her shoulder. "Ridzy?" she called softly.
Riddhima looked up, still crying, and wrapped herself around Nikki, hugging her tight. "I'm sorry, Nikki! This is all my fault!" Riddhima kept repeating in between sobs.
Nikki didn't say anything, just hugged Riddhima tightly, letting her own sobs loose. There were no words that could decrease the pain they felt right now, nothing that could make them feel better. So, Nikki didn't even try. She just sat there, hugging the woman who had, once upon a time, been her closest friend, and sobbed her heart out, knowing that no one would understand her pain better than Riddhima.
Another heavy chapter! Aisa lagta hai khatam hi nahi ho rahe, right? I know, I'm sorry! But, we're nearing the end of the heavy stuff. Ab lots of exciting stuff is gonna happen. Shaadi hai bhai, ab mazze bhi toh karenge. :p
So, stay tuned for that!
I'm a little skeptical about how you guys will react to this, but it felt like something Sid would do, and I wanted so more drama, so here we have it. :p
This update is brought to you on occasion of K's birthday, and because Sheena bet me to update it ASAP. I did it! So, yay! :D
Ooh, you make me live
Whatever this world can give to me
It's you you're all I see
Ooh, you make me live now honey
Ooh, you make me live
Oh, you're the best friend that I ever had
I've been with you such a long time
You're my sunshine and I want you to know
That my feelings are true
I really love you
Oh, you're my best friend
Ooh, you make me live
Ooh, I've been wandering 'round
But I still come back to you
In rain or shine
You've stood by me girl
I'm happy at home
You're my best friend
Ooh, you make me live
Whenever this world is cruel to me
I got you to help me forgive
Ooh, you make me live now honey
Ooh, you make me live
You're the first one
When things turn out bad
You know I'll never be lonely
You're my only one
And I love the things
I really love the things that you do
Oh, you're my best friend
Ooh, you make me live
I'm happy at home
You're my best friend
Oh, you're my best friend
Ooh, you make me live
You're my best friend
- You're My Best Friend, Queen
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