Bharti:Hiii Mom..I missed you so much too..But...(paused for a long while and Sudha's instant maternal instinct provoked her to think as she withdrew from the hug and looked at her daughter)
Bharti:But i didn't get you anything while coming here...(Mayank breathed normally after hearing those words from her)Itz been a long time na,Mom??
Sudha:Of course Bharti but what took you so long to miss me,hmm??And are you thinking of getting away from me,hmm??
Bharti:What??(Mayank was equally confused)
Sudha:What??You are talking to me outside home..Come in,both of you..
Mayank:Aunty,sure...I was just thinking the same...
Bharti:Mayank,isn't Niharika waiting??At home,hmm??
Mayank:Oh yeah,i..I missed that point...
Sudha:Give me your phone,Mayank..I'll give her a call and let her know that you're here..Don't think that i'll let both of you go off so easily..Come in!!
Mayank:(Sudha went in and Bharti glared at him)What?I tried..
Bharti:Sure,you tried to intervene...
Mayank:Thatz cuz you were going bonkers..
Bharti:Don't cross my path,Mayank..Trust me,i'm not doing anything wrong!!(went inside and a skeptical Mayank followed suit)
Bharti was shocked to see Armaan and Shreya playing with Naina together with Jiya,Bhaskar and Payal.Naina turned around and saw her mama and ran towards her gleefully.Naina brought an already irked Bharti back to her senses.
Naina:Mama,aap aa gayi...Chaliye na mama,hum sab khel rahein hain..
Bharti:(knelt down towards Naina)Nahin Naina,bohat raat ho chuki hain,ab humein ghar jaana chaahiye..
Bharti:Pehli baat toh yeh hain ki aapne mama se kuch bhi naa kehke yahaa par aa gayi...Aur..Ab yahaa sabko sona hain na,toh hum unhe kyun disturb kare,hmm??
Naina:Mama,main Armaan dada se milna chahthi thi..Aur Bhaskar mamu aur Payal aunty bhi maan gayi...
Bharti:Toh iska matlab aapke iss mama aapke liye kuch bhi nahin hain na??Aap ek baar mama se kuch bhi nahin poochoge,hmm??
Payal:Bharti,yeh kya pooch rahi ho tum?Bachi hain woh...
Bharti:Toh phir main tum se hi pooch leti hoon..Tumhaari iraada kya hain,huh??
Payal:Bharti,main bas Naina ko..
Bharti:Bas,Payal...(murmured)Main ab iss baarein mein kuch bhi sunna nahin chahthi..You've crossed the limit,today!!
Payal:Excuse me??Bharti,i have been looking after her whenever you are busy and during your last minute emergencies and now you're pointing fingers at me??Are you making me count the number of times i've looked after her??
Mayank:Payal,Bharti's doing nothing of the sort..She's just..
Payal:Mayank,ek minute...Answer me,Bharti...
Bharti:Mayank,bring Naina outside and both of you,wait for me outside..
Mayank:Naina,mama will come..Come!!(both went out)
Naina:Ok Mayank uncle,chaliye....
Payal:(felt exasperated,getting no reply of any kind from Bharti)What has gone into you,Bharti??
Bharti:You should have asked!!!!
Payal:Ask you what,Bharti??Naina is a small kid and if you have not forgotten,she has gelled so well with Armaan and Sudha aunty...Just because you do not share any sort of a relationship with Armaan,you can't stop Naina or me and Bhaskar from coming here out of your compulsion..
Bharti:Yes,you are so freakin' right,Payal..I might be forcing my decision on Naina but i'm doing this for benefit,be it Naina's or anyone else in that matter..But if you can't even understand this simply,then i don't really give a damn about it..(turned to go)
Payal:What the hell do you think of yourself,Bharti,huh??That you have the authority to rule me or even Naina??I totally get the fact that you are her guardian but don't you ever misuse your rights on her..
Bhaskar:What is going on between you two??(both Payal and Bharti stopped and looked at Bhaskar)
Payal:(echoed with Bharti)It's nothing..
Bhaskar:Seriously,you two are up to something..You could have come over there,have a chat with me,Armaan and Shreya as well instead of harbouring some secretive girl stuff..
Shreya:Absolutely right,Bhaskar..Is everything alright??
Bharti:(interrupted as Payal was about to say something)Shreya,some things are better left unsaid as there is no use of spending your remaining energy on people who can't even understand you..(Bhaskar was now absolutely confident that something was wrong between the two besties)Now i believe itz pretty late and i should get going..Good night,Shreya..
Shreya:Heyy,wait..Won't you bid goodbye to Armaan??(Armaan stood beside Shreya and Bharti looked at him)
Bharti:It's too late for that,Shreya..And there's no point,either..Cuz we both know how much it hurts in times of farewell..(Sudha heard everything and was stunned at Bharti's nature but kept silent)Good night,Shreya!!(turned to go)
Payal:What is wrong with her all of a sudden??(Sudha went back to the kitchen after Shreya told her that Bharti had left)
Bhaskar:Paayu,nothing's going right,hm??
Bhaskar:Give her some time..She might be going through some troubles of her own and she vented her frustration on you...
Payal:Seriously Bhaskar,grow up..She's not like that..She's not Armaan,for your info..
Bhaskar:Sshh..What are you saying??
Jiya:Sure,she's not Armaan...But Payal,you should realize one thing..That Naina's her adopted child,not your's and she's just taking advantage of your free time,just like any freeloader..(Payal was shocked)Why are you looking as such??Think about it..You have always been there for her whenever she's busy and you take care of her child just like your own..Has she shown her gratitude towards you in any way??
Armaan:Jiya!!What rubbish are you uttering??Are you in your senses??
Jiya:Why,Armaan??What have i said now to hurt you?
Armaan:Payal,Bharti could have been busy with work and you should know that she's such a workaholic,a dedicated worker..You know her over the months and you should know how she never takes advantage of her friends..
Jiya:Why are you supporting her so much,even after all the hurt she has given you,Armaan??(Shreya was surprised)If she has ever come into your life,surely it is for reason..A reason for you to regret for she can never be the source of happiness a friend can provide..You wasted so much of your time on her but don't repeat that mistake again in your life ever!!(Armaan slapped Jiya,who felt her cheek redden)
Armaan:Don't you ever say anything against Bharti or else i will forget that we are friends,Jiya...
Shreya:Armaan..What have you done??
Bhaskar:Payal,i think we ought to leave now..(bid goodbye to Sudha who was too shocked to react, and Armaan who quickly went outside to see Payal and Bhaskar off,hoping to see a glimpse of Bharti but she had already gone with Mayank and hence he returned with much despair)
Shreya:I better get going since itz late..Armaan,can you drop me home??
Shreya:Armaan,ek baat pooch sakti hoon tumse??
Armaan:Jiya ne jo kuch bhi kaha woh theekh nahin tha aur iss liye maine usse..
Shreya:Main maanthi hoon ki woh baatein sahi nahin the par agar main uski jagah par hoti,toh kya tum bhi mujhe aise hi...
Shreya:Kya tum bhi mujhe maaroge??Woh tumhaari dost hain..
Armaan:Haan..Kyunki Bharti mere bohat kareebi doston mein se ek hain..Aur agar koi bhi kuch bhi ulta seedha kahe Bharti ke khilaaf,toh main usse sabak zaroor sikhaaonga!!
Shreya:Chaahe woh main bhi kyun na hoon,hain na?
Armaan:Chaahe woh koi bhi ho..Shreya,tumhaare ghar..
Shreya:Jaate jaate main tumse kuch kehna chahthi hoon,Armaan...Agar Bharti tumhaare itne hi maaine rakthi hain,toh tum dono ke beech aisa kya ho gaya tha ki ab tum dono theekh tarha se baat bhi nahin kar rahe ho??Tum dono ki dosti ko kiski aankh lag gayi,Armaan??
Armaan:Shreya,ghar jaaoo..Main tumse kal milunga..Good night!!
Shreya:Hmm ok,good night!!(Armaan drove off)Bata nahin kyun mujhe aisa lag rahi hain jaise inn dono ke beech bohat adhoorapann baaki hain...Kahin aisa toh nahin jaise sab sochthe hain Trends mein??(recollected the gossip she had heard about Bharti from Ash as well as from Vinita and Gyaan from Men's Universe)Mujhe sach ka pata lagaana padega!!
~Few Days Later~
Bhaskar was very much lost at Men's Universe.Armaan too was no less tensed,as he and Raj joined him at the staff lounge during their lunch break.It seemed as though three heartbroken bachelors were sharing their space,silently mourning over their loss.
Bhaskar:Ok,what crap is this??(broke the silence after much mourning)I have reason to be deeply worried about Payal and Bharti for both of them wouldn't open their mouths to talk to me about what's been going on..But what about you two??Armaan,you've got good news..Sudha aunty is bringing awesome lunch today..And you,Raj...You've gotten back to MU now and that too with your name cleared..Rare case,dude and don't forget the big party we threw for you...
Raj:Technically speaking,it was Bharti's and Khushi's party..
Armaan:Still,you enjoyed,didn't you???
Raj:Well,i can't deny that for most of the night though...
Armaan:Ohh,give me a break..Don't tell me you are going to deny the tiny bit that you didn't enjoy and that you had something to grieve about..You sneaked out,you sly idiot..
Raj:Yeahh i did...Only i wished i hadn't spoiled Bharti's two surprises for me...Argghh i just feel like cursing myself..And you...You were so lost in Shreya,as though you couldn't see anything beyond her..
Armaan:You thought so??(murmured)That means she must have thought so too...
Raj:(caught the hint)Don't leap into conclusions...She so didn't notice you..
Raj:Bhaskar,we have all something to grieve about..For me,well...
Armaan:Raj sneaked out with Niharika..
Bhaskar:Mayank's sis??So it's official between you two??Awesome..But wait,how did Mayank agree to this?
Armaan:Well,he wouldn't need to,since he obviously has no idea of it!!!
Bhaskar:Seriously???Dude,holy crap..What have you gotten yourself into??
Raj:That's my major issue...And your's is about Bharti and Payal's friendship issues...But Armaan is super happy since everything is going well for him..
Armaan:Yeahh right..Have you even noticed Jiya at all,lately Raj??
Raj:Why??What's wrong with her??(all of them looked at her across,seeing her absorbed in work)She's just become another workaholic like Bharti..
Bhaskar:Sure you can say that...But it isn't her,Raj..I mean she is a diligent worker but not to this extent,nope..
Armaan:I had slapped her,Bhaskar..So that basically has hit her real hard...
Armaan:Don't tell me you didn't notice her cheek..
Raj:I guess i was lost in thinking about other stuff other than her cheek..But i don't really think that it's that obvious..But why??
Bhaskar:Yeah,i kinda missed that Armaan..She called Bharti a freeloader..Itz kinda true though..I mean i can't deny that at times cuz it happens several times when i get my free time with Payal..Nothing against Bharti but still yeah,i do feel crappy and i feel annoyed when my quality time with Payal gets further disrupted...
Armaan:Ok,am i the only sane guy here??Bhaskar,Bharti's your friend..For God's sake,you don't think she's a freeloader,do you??(saw him become silent)What???You think Jiya's right,in this situation?
Raj:Armu,chill..(Armaan glared at Raj)Yeah,your mum and Jiya call you that so you better chill,yaar..
Jenny:Sorry guyz to interrupt..Bhaskar,Payal's here to meet ya..
Jenny:There,she's waitint by the reception..I've kept her seated..She just came..
Bhaskar:Ok,let her know i'll be right there..(Jenny left and Bhaskar stood up and looked at Armaan)Ok,listen Armaan..She's my friend,in fact one of the best but i can't deny the truth either that Bharti can be a freeloader..In fact,everyone is,at some point or the other cuz we all take each other for granted..
Armaan:(held Bhaskar's collar)Stop,right now,ok??Bharti is never a freeloader..Freeloaders are a whole lot of crappish idiots who are bent on taking advantage of the others just to attain their selfish motives and i know for certainty that Bharti isn't one of them. Bharti trusts you her precioud daughter and that's why she doesn't think twice before asking you two to take care of Naina..
Bhaskar:(looked at Armaan's hands on his collar and Armaan soon withdrew his hands)Armaan,Bharti being a freeloader or not isn't an issue here...There is something else,BIG, that's going on here...And i'm heading out to figure it out from my wife..(left from there)
Raj:(stood up and pondered)"Is Armaan still hung up on Bharti??I thought he has moved on but clearly,he's making a big mistake here...(Armaan turned and looked at a confused Raj)
Armaan:I'll make a move as well..Can you just go and check up on Jiya later??I'm heading out for a photo-shoot,ok?(turned to go)
Raj:Sure,dude but answer me first...
Armaan:(turned around and asked)What is it,Raj??
Raj:(thought of asking directly but twisted his question,knowing Armaan's nature)Should I give up...on Niharika??(Armaan was stunned)