Finally out of hibernation mode. 😗 Hehe. Break zyada hi lamba ho gaya 😅
So, some parts of this chapter were supposed to be written at the beginning, but since I’m too clumsy to publish the edited parts here, kindly don’t throw chappals at me. 🙃✌️
“Trust me, Chanchal, I swear I didn’t even know that Aryan was kidnapped. Rudra, atleast you listen to me. I am innocent, believe me. I cannot even think of harming Aryan.”, cried Anupriya, struggling to get free from the lady’s grip.
“Why not, Mrs. Anupriya? Afterall, he’s the good-for-nothing son of the Raisinghania family. In the name of achievements, he has only brought shame to our clan. Why would you leave a chance to kill him?”, Chanchal lashed out at her.
“Because he is my son, dammit!”, she blurted out, making everyone gasp in shock.
“Whatever is your relation with the victim, it doesn’t prove that you cannot be the culprit. I have even seen cases where one’s own child kills the parents, and also vice versa. Also, we consider substantial proofs, ma’am, and we have enough in order to arrest you.”
“Leave her.”, a voice boomed and all of them look towards the door, shocked to the core.
Standing in his 6 feet 1 inches of aura, was the one and only…Vansh Raisinghania.
“I don’t like repeating myself.”, he looked pointedly at the Inspector, who started sweating seeing the supposedly dead man standing in front of him, breathing and very much alive.
“But- But Mr. Raisinghania, we have evidences against Mrs. Anupriya.”
“Who filed the complaint against her?”
“Interesting, very interesting!”, he said, glancing at Riddhima, who shuddered at the intensity of his gaze. For a moment, she thought it was not Vihaan who was acting as Vansh, but the Vansh Raisinghania himself.
“May I see the proofs?”, he asked.
Nodding, the inspector gestured the constable, who brought a laptop along and played a video on it. It was the CCTV footage of a mall.
“Mrs. Anupriya was captured in this section of the mall, where one of these goons was present too. They might have talked by writing messages on small chits, by bribing the waiter. But since the waiter’s location couldn’t be traced, we are not sure of it yet.”
He then proceeded to show small clips where a lady, whose face was not clearly visible was seen walking away.
“All of these are history sheeters. And these are their call records. Two weeks back, we got a tip that they are upto something and since then, we had been tracking their movements. In the past one month, calls that lasted for a very short span of time were made from different PCOs of the city to different members of their gang. The lady which was spotted near one the PCOs was identified by a local auto-driver and the sketch that was made turned out to be identical to Mrs. Anupriya. Finally, it was yesterday that we managed to catch them and on being interrogated, they said that they were paid by Mrs. Anupriya to kill Mr. Aryan.”
“You could have easily extracted a confession from these goons forcefully to frame my mother. And about the footage, let us assume that mom went there, but do you have the footage of her talking in that very PCO at that exact time when this call was made? She could have gone there for any other work might as well. It is just a coincidence.”
“Sorry, Inspector. No proofs. No evidences. Case dismissed.”
Saying this, he averted his gaze at Angre.
“Angre, you know your work well, or do I have to remind you?”, he shot a glare at him. Angre, realizing what his boss meant to say, hurriedly escorted the police outside.
“Bhai!”, Ishani ran and pulled him in her embrace.
Uff ye family drama. Agar sach mein itna pyaar karte bechare Vanshwa se, to marrne ki naubat hi nhi aate. Tch! Par jo hota hai, achche ke liye hota hai. Ab agar Vansh nhi marta, to Vihaan entry kaise maarta.
“Do you know how much I missed you?”, she hugged him tighter and he patted her back, smirking inwardly.
“Vansh, tum kahan the ab tak?”, Anupriya asked in a concerned voice.
Breaking the hug, he answered, “Kuch dhokebaazon se nipatna tha mom. Isiliye marne ka naatak karna pada. Mere marne ki khabar milte hi kuch log jashn manane lag gaye the, aur apni jeet ke nashe mein itne choor ho gaye, ki mere waapas aane ki aahat ko sun na paye. But now, enough of their games. It’s time for a payback.”, he smirked, looking at the scared faces.
“Anyways, I’m very tired as of now, and I believe someone else needs rest too”, glancing at Aryan, he continued, “So we shall talk afterwards.”
Everybody departed to their respective rooms and Vihaan, after making sure that there was no one around, went towards the study, followed by Riddhima, who had been keeping an eye on him.
“Uff Vihaan, kya acting karta hai tu. Par talent ki to koi kadar hi nhi hai. Ek kaam kar, jo Oscar tu Riddhima ko dene wala tha, vo apne aap ko hi gift kar de. Itna to deserve karta hi hai tu.“
He started rummaging through the bookshelf to find what he wanted. He was about to open the drawer in which Vansh kept his laptop when his phone rang.
“Hello. Mila kya?”, came a voice from the other side.
“Kitni baar kaha hai ki mujhe baar baar call mat kiya karo. Especially now, when I’m in VR mansion. You know right, what I’m here for? And Vihaan knows his work well, or…are you doubting my potential?”
“No, yaar. Vo bass curiosity aa gayi thi.”
“Tujhe bhi kam khujli nhi hai. Itchguard laga, but for hell’s sake, mera sar mat kha. Ab phone rakh.”
As soon as he hung up the call, he heard a voice, startling him.
“Kya kar rahe ho?”
“I beg your pardon.”, he turned around and raised his brows at her, trying to appear as calm as possible.
“What are you doing here…and whom were you talking to?”
“Tumhara kuch gira hua hai vahaan…shayad.”, he tried diverting her.
“Haha! Bahut purana hai. Better luck next time. And that ain’t the answer to my question, Vihaan.”
“Excuse me Miss…oops, sorry. Mrs. Riddhima. Even though I’m working for you, but that doesn’t mean you have bought me or something. Meri bhi personal life hai. Now hope you don’t say guys don’t have any privacy. And the answer to your first question -there wasn’t any network, so I landed here in search of it.”
“Jis school mein tum padhai karte ho na, uske hum Principal the. So, better watch out next time.”
“Now, if your interrogation session is over, shall I leave? I’m really tired after acting all stiff, akdu Vansh Raisinghania types, you know.”
“No. It’s not over yet.”
Advancing her steps towards him, she continued, “You are just a con artist, hired to act as my husband. I’m your employer and according to the contract, you have to do whatever I say. And when I said that, I also meant that you need not poke your nose in my family’s matters. Keep your good-for-nothing brain at your home. “
“Oh, hang on there. You yourself told me that Vansh’s first priority was his family. So, how could he have stayed mum when his so called-mother was being arrested? Wouldn’t they doubt me?”
“To hell with their doubts. I had made a full proof plan to send Anupriya behind the bars, but you spilled milk on my hardwork.”
“Oh, really? Don’t you think your plan was overall quite silly? How long were you thinking she would stay there for planning an attack. Given, she also happens to have contacts with powerful people.”
“I would’ve framed her for another, bigger crime in the near future. But for the time being, my family would atleast stay protected from her. Why on earth am I even giving
explanations to a fool like you?”, she stormed outside, rolling her eyes.
“Where the hell are you? I’ve been waiting for you since the past thirty minutes.”, Kabir complained.
“I’m just five minutes away. Or maybe ten. Wait. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes, promise.”, replied the person on the other side.
“Argh! This man will surely make me lose my sanity one day.”, he kicked the bonnet of the car parked nearby in frustration.
“Oh, hello. Tere baap ki gaadi hai kya?”, a girl sitting in the car shouted.
“Sorry, behen ji.”, he said without looking at her, and walked towards his bike.
“Hey prabhu! Aaj-kal aere gaire bhi behen ji bolke chale jaate hain. Kuch to rehem karo iss baalika pe.”, the girl said dramatically and drove away.
“Kabbu…”, shouted Mishra, running towards Kabir as if he was a running train he had to catch.
“Padhariye, maharaj. Dhanya bhaag hamare jo aakhirkaar aapke darshan hue.”, he said sarcastically.
“Ho gaya tera? Ab chal, chalte hain.”
Sighing, he started his bike and Mishra sat behind him.
Reaching their usual hangout place, they both chatted about random issues, over a glass of whiskey.
Out of the blue, Kabir started talking about the past year, that had been awfully unpleasant. The pandemic,
lockdown and also a certain incident that brought havoc in their lives. Sipping the remaining liquor from his glass, Mishra recalled the incident.
It was a rainy day. The perspiration didn’t stop, not even for a minute.
It had been drizzling since morning, and by evening, it turned into a heavy downpour.
It was about 8 p.m. when the doorbell of my house rang. I looked through the peephole only to see a severely injured man, completely drenched by the rain, leaning onto the door. His shirt was blood red, and he was struggling to keep his eyes open.
I quickly opened the door and carried him inside.
His face wasn’t visible because of the scarf he was wearing.
I quickly called my neighbour, Mr. Shastri, who was a doctor and then, dialled Kabir, my senior officer-cum-best-friend.
Kabir happened to be driving past by my home when I called him, and within a minute, he was there at the doorstep.
“What happen-“, he hadn’t even completed when his eyes fell on the almost dead body lying on the sofa.
“Y…You killed someone? Wait, did you kill that Vyom, boyfriend of your ex Ragini, who left you for him? You should’ve called me, we would have sorted it out by talking, but you had to behave like a pyscho lover and-“
“For god’s sake, Kabir, will you shut up and let me speak?”
“What is left to speak? You are blo*dy murderer, and now you’ll have to rot in jail for your reckless behaviour. And don’t ever think that I’ll help you in hiding your crime, for the sake of our friendship. We ain’t friends anymore, you are just a criminal, and-“
“Mr. Kabish Chandra, you may continue with your ranting afterwards. That guy is on the verge of dying, man!”
“Vyom did a plastic surgery or what?”, Kabir muttered under his breath.
“Another word and I’m gonna punch you in the gut, Kabir. Now, help me.”
Before he could say another word, the doorbell rang.
“Mr. Shastri. I called him up.”, replied Mishra.
“C’mon, Kabir. You still think I stabbed that man? I wonder who even made you a police officer.”
“Mr. Shastri, my friend got into an accident and the roads are blocked. If you could-“
“First things first, Mishra. The talk can be done afterwards, lemme see the patient.”
As he removed the scarf, the two friends got a big jolt.
Counting his last breaths in the hall of my house was… Vansh Raisinghania.
A reputed businessman for the world, and the most feared criminal in the underworld, nabbing whom had been a pain the ass for the police, since he never left a trace of evidence.
He felt a tug at his shoulder, that broke his reverie.
“Kahaan kho gaya tha? Ye le.”, Kabir handed him a glass and then, made a drink for himself.
“Mishra thinks this started two years back. But, only if he knew the reality.”, he looked at Mishra through the corner of his eyes.
“It had started way before.”
Anupriya was walking towards Aryan’s room when Rudra blocked her way.
“You still have the guts to meet him?”, he asked.
“What’s wrong in a mother meeting her child?”, she replied.
“And where was this motherhood when you abandoned your this very child? Left him to starve on the streets or maybe get feasted upon by wild beasts?”, he spat with disgust.
“I was helpless, Rudra. Either way, he would have faced death. I was a teenager back then, and did what I felt right.”, she sighed.
“I know I was stupid but if not for me leaving him, I feared he would be smothered to death. But, wasn’t letting him go better than seeing him die in the front of my eyes? As a mother, it was the most painful thing for me, but I had to do it.”, she tried to defend herself.
“I know he would be hating his mother for doing this to him, and that is why I chose not to disclose the truth. For I couldn’t see the hatred in his eyes for me. But, maybe it’s karma hitting me back, and I’m being punished for my sins.”, she said, trying to hold back her tears.
Gulping the lump formed in her throat, she said, “Let alone forgive me, I know he wouldn’t even want to see my face. But I can atleast try to explain him and sort things out.”
“Go away, Anupriya. I’ve had enough.”, said Rudra, clenching his jaw.
“It hurts me immensely seeing him like this. Troubled, forgotten and left behind. And I’m the one responsible for it. So, ain’t I supposed to correct my mistake?
One chance, Rudra, please. If not for me, then for the sake of Aryan. Please!”, she folded her hands, breaking into sobs.
“Do whatever you want to do, woman. But if you do anything that hurts him more, I’ll straight away leave this house, along with my family.”, said he, storming away in anger.
As Anupriya entered Aryan’s room, she saw him shedding tears quietly.
Sensing someone’s presence, he immediately looked away, wiping his tears.
Turning to face her, he spat with anger, “Well played, Mrs. Anupriya. Slow claps for you.”
“Aryan, let me explain.”, she said with guilt in her eyes.
“Oh, shut up, will you? You felt I would never know? Cuz I’m dumb enough, right?”, he looked at her with bloodshot eyes.
“I came to know that I was an adopted child when I was a teenager. You don’t have the slightest idea of how much pain I went through.”
As she opened her mouth to say something, he cut her.
“I- I felt dejected. At times I used to wonder what defect I had that my own parents left me. I felt like a decaying piece of mass, dying on the inside. And it did no help that I was treated like anything but useless in this house.
The agony, the humiliation, the distress…”
Looking at her, he said, “Even death would have been better than this life of constant suffering. That was the worst phase of my phase of my life.
There was darkness in my life, darkness all around. No ray of hope, and that was when I realized that I had darkness was my friend. It helped me hide my tears.”, he gazed outside through the window.
“So, now that I’ve finally crossed that ordeal, why do you come and show your fake care and affection to rub salt on my wounds? Let me live in the dark, I’m used to it. Never did I ask for any of your help.”
A lone tear escaped his eye, which he quickly wiped, in order to not show her his vulnerable side. He did not want to be pitied upon. He did not want anyone’s sympathy, especially not her’s, who left him to survive all alone on the cruel hands of fate.
“Aryan, try to understand. I-“
“Go away, Mrs. Anupriya. I’m not dying for your apology or…should I say mercy?”, he chuckled sarcastically.
Riddhima was stabbing the spaces between her fingers when she heard a clicking sound.
“Ah…”, she shrieked as she felt a sharp pain in her hand.
“Riddhima, paagal ho gayi ho kya?”
The knife dripping with blood fell from her hand.
She groaned, while Vihaan looked at her shocked.
“First, I had doubts upon you. But now, I’m hella sure you are insane.”
“How am I supposed to shup up after seeing…a- a pshyco?”
She flinched as the stinging pain increased.
Holding her injured hand upwards, she took out the first aid kit from one of the drawers of the showcase, while Vihaan looked on as he saw a glimpse of something glittery kept beneath the files.
“What can it be?”, he thought to himself.
A gasp broke his reverie, and he saw Riddhima struggling with the bandage.
He fake coughed to gain her attention and when she looked at him with bloodshot eyes, words got stuck in his throat.
“Need help?”, he said slowly.
“To hell with your help.”, she whispered back.
“Why are we whispering?”, he asked in a nearly inaudible tone.
“You were the one who started it, stupid.”
She flinched as her fingers accidentally brushed against the wound.
“You know what? You are impossible! Tum pehli aisi insaan ho jisse samajhne mein mujhe mushkil ho rhi hai.”
“Zyada dimaag mat chalao, Vihaan. Tum apna kaam karte jao, main tumhare account mein paise transfer karte jaungi, as stated in the contract.”
“Thodi madad le logi, to pighal nhi jaogi.”
“It’s not me Vihaan, it’s you who are complex. Har roz ek naya shade. Girgit se bhi tez rang badalte ho tum. Pehle itna attitude, par phir paise ki gaddiyan dekhke fisal hi gaye na tum. Mujhpe itna reham, Vihaan baba ki tabiyat to theek hai na?”, she asked sarcastically and touched his forehead, faking to check his temperature.
In a swift movement, he pulled her towards him, resulting in her landing atop him.
“Fisal to main tum pe gaya tha.”, he said huskily, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
“What!”, she got up as soon as she registered his words and looked at him wide-eyed.
“Kya? Maine to kuch nhi kaha. Tumne kuch suna? Shayad kaan baj rahe honge, you know.”, he said casually and shrugged.
“Pervert!”, she muttered under her breath, gritting her teeth in anger.
“Dollar biwi, tum jab gussa hoti ho na. To, by god, aur hot lagti ho…”, he said in his flirtish lilt.
“Zaroorat se zyada mat bolo, Vihaan. Tumhari zubaan bhi kat sakti hai.”
She warned him and stormed outside, while he smirked to himself.
Hayee, ye qaatil adaa…jaan hi lekar maanegi.
“Not fair, bro! Aap humesha aisa karte hain. You know what? Mujhe aapse baat hi nhi karni hai.”, complained Ishani.
“Acha baba, sorry?”, said Vihaan, holding his ears.
“Ab ye to bata do ki meri galti kya hai.”
“Galti aapki nhi hai, galti meri hai jo main aapko har baar maaf kar deti hoon.”, she looked away.
“Ishani…”, he kept his hand over her shoulder.
She immediately hugged him, breaking down into sobs.
“Aapko pata hai main kitna darr gayi thi? “
“Acha. What should I do to make my little sister happy? Would a gift do?”, he asked, in an attempt to lift up her mood.
“No, I don’t need any gift. I want something else.”, she replied.
“And…what is it?”, he raised his brows at her.
“A promise.”, she said.
“Promise me that you’ll never leave me again like this.”
“Okay. Your wish is my command.”, he gave her a tight-lipped smile and finally, she too smiled.
Riddhima was lying on the bed wide-awake.
Let alone sleeping, she couldn’t even shut her eyes. For whenever she did so, his face flashed in front of her eyes.
His image flashed in front of her eyes. When she had seen the other shades of him, hidden from the world, for he feared getting hurt, even from his family. But he had opened up to her, showered love upon her, cried in front of her, did everything to tell her that she was indeed special for him.
He was not the Vansh Raisinghania he was in front of the world in the confines of their room. He was no more the password-protected business-tycoon for her. She could read his eyes, see through his soul, cloud his mind with her thoughts, and he never objected. He was a vulnerable man, carrying the burden of his ignorant family, who never cared a bit about him. All they were bothered about was his hard-earned money. So, he let her find the answers of all her questions within him, know the deepest and darkest secrets of his, and in return she healed his wounds and made the scars on his soul fade away.
“Riddhima…”, Vansh called out on not finding her on the bed.
“Hmm…”, she replied, fixing the incense stick in the holder.
“Time kya ho rha hai?”, he asked, stretching his hands out.
“Dass baj gaye hai…”
She saw his expression turn into a horrified one and a giggle escaped her lips.
“Mujhe uthana chahiye tha na.”, he pouted.
“Arrey, baba. Koshish to ki thi, par tum ghode bechke soye hue the.”
“Par maine to ghode khareede hi nahi.”, he said innocently, suppressing his smile.
To this, Riddhima burst out laughing.
“Vansh, tum kitne bade buddhu ho. Bachpan mein hindi ki class bunk ki thi kya? Ghode bechke sona ek kahaavat hai.”, she said in the middle of her laughter.
Seeing tears brim in her eyes, he got worried.
Rubbing her tears with the pad of his thumb, he asked with concern, “Kya hua Riddhu? Maine kuch galat bola? Ya ghar me kisi ne tumse-“
“Arrey, nahi. Vo na, main hasti hoon to ankhon mein aansoon aa jate hain.”, she said wiping her tears with a wide grin plastered on her face.
“Mujhe laga Ishani ya Mom ne phir se…”
He paused, looking at her with guilty eyes. No matter how hard he tried to hate his family, he couldn’t bring himself to punish them for their misdeeds.
“Shh…”, she said, placing a finger on his lips and planted a kiss on his cheek.
Cupping his face, she told him, “Family ki ahemiyat janti hun main. Anaath hun na…”
“Ho nahi. Thi.” He smiled at her.
“Ab to main bhi tumhare saath hoon na?”
He comforted her, joining his forehead with her’s.
“Tum mujhe chhodke mat jana, Riddhima. Main mar jaunga.”, he whispered.
“Itna pyaar karte ho mujhse?”, she asked, blinking her eyes open.
“Main to khudse pyaar karta hoon. Apne aap ko jeete-jee mara hua nhi dekh sakta na, isiliye keh raha hoon.”
With a heavy heart, he continued, “Agar mar bhi gaya na, to tum meri chita ko aag laga dena.”
“Please.”, he requested, with hope shining in his eyes.
“Mere gharwale to iss daulat ka batwara karke mudkar meri laash ko tak nahi dekhenge.”
Pulling her in his embrace, he cried silently.
“Siya se to unhe bachpan se hi nafrat hai. Shaayad tumhe bhi maarne ki koshish karen.” He entwined his fingers with her’s and squeezed them lightly.
“Itna mat socho.” She breathed against his nape.
Breaking the hug, she kissed his forehead.
“Main tumhe kuch nhi hone dungi.”
She had failed miserably. Not only did she let him fall down the cliff, she was the one who had given evidences against him to Inspector Kabir.
She was unable to keep her promise. Instead, she broke his trust, his belief upon her, his faith in love, his hope that she loved him too, everything. She flinched as those sour memories kept flashing one by one.
Kabir dragged him into the police van, but he didn’t protest. Instead, he had chuckled sarcastically looking at her.
With angry tears flowing down his bloodshot eyes, the last words he told her before embracing death had slashed her heart into pieces.
“Iss ishq mein Marjawan.”, he had said with a sarcastic smile playing on his lips which were dripping with blood.
She had shouted, begged him to listen to her, told him that she loved her and she was entrapped, screamed his name, but he had simply smiled at her and let himself fall down the cliff.
Her reverie was broken when she felt something, or someone move past the corridor.
“Itni raat ko kaun ho sakta hai?“, she thought to herself.
Glancing at Vihaan who was fast asleep on the sofa, she tiptoed outside.
Making sure not to make any noise, she went downstairs and saw a person going out of the mansion sneakily.
Precap- Riddhima follows the person into a building, nearly getting caught. Vihaan flirts with Riddhima, and they share…Ahem..Ahem…