Hi guys, thank you for being so kind and appreciative. I cannot thank all of you enough.
Link to Chapter 4: https://www.tellyupdate.co.in/riansh-it-ends-with-us-chapter-4/
It Ends With Us – Chapter 5
Riddhima held the pillow in her hand and looked at Vansh questionably. She didn’t know why he’d ordered for a pillow – they had multiple of those at home. She looked up at him across the room and furrowed her brows in question. He’d been looking at her expectantly, but she held up the pillow, cluelessness ringing through her.
Riddhima: Why exactly have you ordered this?
She twisted her neck, trying to free herself of the strained muscles. When she looked back at him, she saw him shaking his head and looking back into his phone. She furrowed her brows further and continued staring at him, expecting him to respond.
Riddhima: Vansh! I’m asking something.
He dropped his phone on the bed and looked up at her, sighing deeply. He didn’t know if she questioned him on purpose, but there were times he didn’t appreciate it. There were times he expected her to understand him – or, at least expected her to try.
Vansh: I know you haven’t told, but I just thought that your stiff neck is a result of the pillows you’re using. I read through the product description and felt like this would help you. Try using it for a few days and tell me if it’s actually helping.
Riddhima stared at him, almost fumbling for words. She looked down at the pillow in her hand and stared at the letters printed over the plastic package. In a spontaneous moment, she ran her fingers over the letters and quietly smiled to herself.
Vansh: Riddhima, are you listening?
Riddhima (shaking her head): Sorry, I was just… What were you saying?
Vansh: A friend of mine is moving to Delhi. Do you think we could call them over to our house sometime while they’re relocating?
Riddhima: Sure. Just let me know when so I can stay prepared.
Vansh nodded his head and walked out of the room to attend a call and she stared at his retreating silhouette. As he disappeared out of her sight, she looked back at the pillow and smiled again.
She’d never seen her father care for her mother like this. Of course, she didn’t remember much of their marriage, but he’d never gone beyond to think about her. He’d always seen him hand her mother a meagre sum of money asking her to buy what she needed for herself. Perhaps, that was why the smile never quite reached her mother’s eyes. Because she expected more from the man who’d left her stranded because of Raima.
The smile faded away from her lips.
It was expectations that Riddhima was scared of. Expectations tended to crumble someone under the pressure and she feared that she was beginning to expect from Vansh. She didn’t want to. She knew she was independent and self-sufficient; she’d always fended for herself. Then, why was this marriage beginning to change the dynamism?
She sat down on the bed and placed the pillow next to herself. She’d seen her father abandon her mother and she’d grown up believing that men abandoned. She’d grown up believing in impermanency and she didn’t want her perspective to shift. She didn’t want to grow so used of him that even the thought of his absence would horrify her.
Vansh (from the doorstep): Do you want tea?
Riddhima turned around and looked at him as the thoughts continued enveloping her. She nodded her head and as he slowly began walking away, she gulped silently and followed him into the kitchen. He was still on his phone, typing and responding to texts. She saw his brows furrowed as he entered the kitchen and wished, he’d tell her what was worrying him. Although, it made her feel like an absolute hypocrite.
Riddhima: All okay?
Vansh (looking up): Why did you come? I would’ve gotten the tea there.
Riddhima: It’s okay. (sitting on the counter) You always provide me company, so I thought I’ll be the kinder one today.
Vansh placed the phone on the counter behind himself and moved toward Riddhima, flattening his palms on the granite. She looked up at him and furrowed her brows, asking him what he was doing. He leaned in closer and as she moved away from him, she pressed her palm against his shirt willing to push him away.
Seconds later, when he’d stumbled a few steps behind due to the force, he laughed at her and she shook her head at him, knowing what he was trying to do.
Vansh: I was going to take the tealeaves from the shelf, Riddhima!
Riddhima (smiling): Oh please! I very well know what you were trying to do. This is the reason you deserve cold-heartedness from me.
Vansh: But at least that got you smiling. You looked so sad in the room; is everything okay?
Riddhima (her smile wearing away): Yeah, I was just thinking something.
Vansh: Which is getting you serious again. You know I’m here to listen, right?
She nodded her head and as she handed him the tealeaves, he began whipping the tea for themselves. She stared at him from the side, wondering how her vulnerability would change things between them. Her insecurities were supposed to be her own, buried deep inside within her. It felt absolutely wrong to burden him with her insecurities. Why must he wear the brunt of her broken childhood?
Vansh: I was just texting that friend I told you about. We hadn’t been in touch since so long, but he’s relocating to Delhi the next week. We started around the same time in the Mumbai office and we’d gotten the same project as freshers. But you know how freshers are treated in the industry, right? I remember we used to spend hours at this nearby tea-stall because we had no work. (laughing) He was so surprised to hear that I was married. That’s primarily why he texted. He said, he can’t believe I can no longer flirt openly.
As Vansh continued talking, Riddhima was engulfed in her thoughts from before. She didn’t know how he let her in so easily. It felt foreign and surreal. She didn’t know how to let anyone into her life and despite how right it had always felt before, it only seemed wrong now.
Riddhima (inhaling deeply): Can I ask you something?
Vansh (looking up and nodding): Sure, go ahead.
Riddhima (pausing shortly): How do you let me in so easily, Vansh? Does it never click to you that this phase between us might just be impermanent? What if I don’t stick around? What if things go absolutely haywire at one point and the two of us can’t find a way back to each other?
Vansh looked at her and furrowed his brows, not understanding her line of thoughts. He turned off the stove and leaned against the counter edge to look at her. He’d always known Riddhima had a complex thinking, but in the past few months, he’d begun believing that things had changed. Perhaps, they hadn’t.
Vansh (clearing his throat): Where exactly is this thought coming from?
Riddhima: A friend of mine has just gotten married recently and she…
Vansh (interrupting): You’re lying. (pointing his finger toward her lap) Stop drawing those patterns. I know you do that when you’re nervous about something.
A wave of surprise coursed through her as the realization hit her deeper: He’d noticed the smallest things about her. She shut her mouth tight, not wanting to talk any further. If he’d observed her that well without her words, she didn’t know how much he’d scrutinize her if she let him in. She feared that he’d dislike her for all her flaws and insecurities.
Riddhima: Sorry I asked that. It was just something I had noticed and I really wanted to talk about it. But I don’t think it’s time for us to have conversations like these yet. It’s a newfound relation and I think it’d be better if we keep a little to ourselves at the moment.
Vansh (stiffening): Well, I certainly didn’t think about keeping to myself when I told you about my parents. Or my friend for that matter. I thought that in order for this newfound relation to grow, we should get to know each other better.
Riddhima: I didn’t stop you from sharing. I value your thoughts and I respect your feelings. But for me, this relation is still new and I can’t share all of my life suddenly with someone whom I’ve barely gotten to know since the past three or four months.
Vansh: Really, now? Because I don’t remember you’d any trouble having a physical relation with this apparent stranger. You can stay up at nights trying to look after me, but you can’t share your thoughts with me; your insecurities, and vulnerabilities with me. Is this how committed you are to this relationship and to me?
Riddhima (getting off the counter; agitated): You’re questioning my commitment to this relationship? Really? All of these things that you said also prove how committed I am to this relation. If there was a lack of commitment, do you think any of this would have happened?
Vansh: Then, you must make me believe that. I’d be very pleased to know where that question from earlier actually came. And as a husband, I think I’ve all the rights to know.
Riddhima (gulping in anger): Don’t use that tone on me. Just because you’re my husband, I’m not obliged to do anything for you. Everything I do or am doing is out of my own will. Do not force that to change. You know that this relation is important to me and…
Vansh: You should make me believe that too, then. I don’t think I understand you enough to know all of this. And I’m certainly not a mind-reader.
Riddhima: I hate the tone you’re using, Vansh. I’m telling you…
Vansh (interrupting): And I hate the way you’re making this look like. Making me look like. Just talk to me and get this sorted. I want to understand you and I want to know that I can give you support whenever you need. (indicating distance between themselves) Because this right now, is making me feel absolutely unimportant.
Riddhima (closing her eyes to control her temper): I think it is your problem then. I can’t do anything about it. Because if you can’t understand how important you’re to me, I don’t think there’s any point of having even a word here anymore. (stepping away) And don’t make that tea for me anymore.
Riddhima walked away from him and as she stepped out, he looked at her retreating figure. He couldn’t ignore the annoyance that coursed within him. He didn’t understand how difficult it could be for her to share her feelings. However, a fraction of him was ecstatic.
Of course, she hadn’t told him directly, but she’d told him he was important to her and that had ignited a hope within him. Despite their argument and her secrecy, he felt like she’d still shared with him more than she ever had in the past few months. He felt she’d confessed more than she ever would in her conscious mind and that thought clouded his mind, making a wave of ecstasy course through his blood.
The ghost of a smile fell on his lips and he turned on the stove, letting the water boil.
This is, by far, the lengthiest chapter of this story and this conversation felt very intimidating to write. I remember Nia mentioning in one of the chapters that Vansh is unusually patient and I’ve been waiting to write about this scene ever since. There’s going to be more to his character in the coming chapters, I hope y’all like it. For now though, this is it. Thanks for reading and stay safe everyone!