"What?!", I literally yelled out in shock.
"I'll explain Rika...", said my dad in a weary tone. " There was a pact signed between your great grandfather and Mahath's great grandfather. During their time, both of their companies were in crisis and downfall. So they created a pact which may serve as the solution for the problem. The pact stated that a wedding can take place between the two families, so that both of the companies can be merged. But, by the time your grandfather was of wedding age, both the companies were stable. So, both the parties decided to extend the pact for 2 more generations. After that, the pact becomes void. Since, the company was stable and I already married your mother, I escaped the pact. But, now, the Sharma's company is at the merge of dissolving.... So, they want you to marry their son to save their company..."
His face clearly showed his fatigue, deeply affected by the situation. His usually enthusiastic self, now held helplessness.
"So, I'm like a collateral property now?! Why can't we just offer some deal instead of wedding??! ", I asked calmly, hoping that this proposition of mine will help me out of this situation.
"No Rika... Don't you think we would have tried that option?! We tried that... But they leant no ears... That pact is very strong with its clauses... It clearly states that when there is a unmarried female and a male from the families, then they can be married without any objections...", said my mom, weeping into my father's arms.
Hearing her tell that made me realize that my fate is, indeed sealed. My little hope was crushed. How much ever did I tried to control myself, I was not able to. Tears started rolling out of my eyes and onto my cheeks nonstop.
"That's not the worst darling... They are very money hungry... And what's more worse is the fact that, Mahath is not a respectable men... There are several sexual assault cases on him filed by his employees and other women... This is indeed, what paved the way to their company's downfall.... So, the only way to rectify this situation for them is to marry you... ", mom wept more. "I don't want her life to be spoiled Varun... I don't want to throw my daughter's life in that pit... I didn't not rear her up like a princess to throw her into that bottomless pit, by myself... I don't want her to marry that horrible man...", mom cried out, shaking in dad's arms. Dad was tearing up himself. My tears only increased realizing I had no way out. I'm going to be force married to someone. The thought constricted my heart, making me place my hand on my aching heart. I felt as though my heart was pierced by a stake and ripped out of my body.
As if the fact that you are forced into an arranged marriage is not enough, the man turns out to be a horrible one. Why is my life so messed up?! Just when everything was turning out good, this happens. Surely, fate does hate me. Just, minutes before, I was happily kissing Adhvik...
Adhvik's name only brought more pain and tears. My knees buckled, making me falls to the ground. Clenching my chest where my breaking heart is present, I let out an involuntary low scream, followed by my tears. Tears for my broken dreams. Tears for my misfortune. Tears for my hopeless future ahead. Tears for my impossible future with Adhvik. Tears for my most yearned family with Adhvik. Tears for myself.
All I can do was weep hard and cry in sorrow.
All of a sudden, I felt comforting hands of Adhvik on my shoulders, which only made me cry more. He circled to come in front me and held my shaking shoulders. I threw my arms around his neck and cried into his chest. His arms slid down to encircle around me with one hand patting and stroking my back comfortingly.
"They are going to marry me Dhvi...", I cried and shook hard on his arms.
"No...", came put his reply in a angry tone, cutting me abruptly. "I'll never let that happen Sweetheart! Never! I'll find a way out... Trust me, Rika... I'll never let it happen...", he promised.
The promise in his words instantly made me feel better. I lifted my head from his chest to look into his eyes that held promise, sadness and anger.
"You promise?", I asked for assurance in a very low tone, feeling very tired, looking into his eyes.
He gave me a small smile, promised me while wiping my tears and kissed my forehead.
Suddenly, his twitched lips thinned as if he was in deep thought. Then, out of blue, he stood up, taking me up with him. He turned to the webcam and asked "Do they know that Rika knows this matter?"
"No... We told them that we would inform Rika when she comes back from New York... That's why we are calling from Sanvi's Facetime ID to yours...", dad answered Adhvik seriously.
"Hmm... So, the pact was off in your time because you were already married to aunty... Isn't it, uncle?!", he interrogated further with a serious business-like tone.
"Yeah, that's one of the reasons... ", dad said furrowing his brows, trying to get what's running in Adhvik's master mind.
"So, yeah... The problem is solved", Adhvik stated with a million dollar smile, bringing all of our attention to him. Everyone of us intrigued by what he said.
Instead of explaining us further, his composure turned serious and he turned aside. He took my shoulders and turned me to the side to face him too.
He looked deep into my eyes with sincerity, care and compassion and spoke those heart stopping words, with his hands still holding my shoulders.
"Rika Shrinikith, will you marry me?!"
That's all it took for my heartbeat to soar and for my breath to be caught. His words shocked me to the core. But before I can think of it any further, his words about marriage from our previous conversation struck my mind. Instantly, my mood went to hopelessness.
Even though marrying Adhvik would bring me out of this situation, I would and could never trap him into a wedding that he is not interested in. I would never let him be my collateral. He deserves better. I will spoil my own life instead of spoiling his. I can dig a pit for all my dreams if it ensures that Adhvik will be happy and leads his life as he desires.
"No Adhvik... I'll never trap you into a wedding... This is not what you want... You said yourself that you will never marry this soon... And I'll not force you to or let you do something that you are not interested in, for me...", i said seriously. Even though, that feeling of hopelessness sneaked in, I know that I can never be happy by trapping Adhvik into this.
"No... You got it wrong sweetheart! I didn't realize what I was saying then... But the news of you marrying someone else made me realize something... I can never ever think of you with anyone else... It kills me to do so... I'm telling you now Rika... Even if you don't accept my proposal now, I'm going to marry you somehow... You only belong with me and I belong with you... No one else...", he said sincerely, his blue orbs arresting my brown ones.
His words warmed my heart, made my insides flutter with happiness. My joy knew no bounds. My lips lifted itself into a wide, involuntary smile, revealing my dimples.
His own face showcased happiness and his lips twisted into a simper. He lifted his hands and stroked my dimple with his finger lovingly, looking into my eyes. That's all it took for me to throw myself over him, with my arms around his neck. Instinctively, his hands circled around my waist.
"Yes! I'll marry you Adhvik Rish...", I whispered, my eyes tearing up in joy.
His hold tightened and he withdrew back a little to look at me, with a full-on smile. He released me from his hold only to cup my face and kiss me deeply and passionately, forgetting our parents all together. This kiss was completely different from all our other kisses. This one was filled with happiness and care we had for each other. After we parted, Adhvik whispered still cupping my face.
"I want a proper wedding life... A life with you till my last breath... Not a contract wedding or such stuff... We will be together forever... Are you in, Rika?!"
"Yes!", I breathed with immense happiness.
All my dreams of a family with Adhvik is going to be fulfilled. We are going to be bonded together forever. What more can I ask for?!
Series of coughs through the laptop made us turn towards it. Both the set of parents were tearing up in joy.
"We are going to be family officially...", said Sanvi aunty and hugged my mom and dad. Everyone one of them shared hugs and broad smiles plastered on their faces.
Finally, after all this, Rahul uncle asked the question that I wanna ask.
"So, what's the plan, Dhvi?!"
"Its going to be like this. According to the Sharmas, Rika don't know anything about this pact thing... Aunty and uncle are only going to announce it to her when she comes back to India... Since they can't do anything if we come home married, that's what is going to happen... We are marrying tomorrow at Vegas... No calls guys... We don't want our plan to backfire... Need no evidences... So, this is my double benefit plan... One being, Rika getting out of this trap and second being, me getting my girl...", finished Dhvi enthusiastically with slight mischief.
His plan satisfied everyone of us.
"You can never understand our gratefulness to you Dhvi.... Thank you so much...", said my mom, tearing up.
"Aunty please... Don't... No need to be grateful... I'm too selfish to give Rika to someone else... That's the main reason... And besides, don't thank me and make me a stranger... Being your godson and future son in law, I want something from you instead... When we come home, gimme a box those chocolate cookies that you used to give me when I was young... That's all I need...", he said cheekily, earning a laugh from all.
Before bidding bye, Sanvi aunty made us promise to record the wedding for them to see later.
Later, Adhvik told me to go pack for pur trip to Vegas and took care of all the preparations for the flight and the wedding. Our wedding. Telling it makes my heart flutter every time. With a contented smile, I saw to all the packing, of both of ours.
After a short flight in Adhvik's private plane, we landed in Vegas and was brought to Adhvik's penthouse. As soon as we entered, we were greeted by a famous designer. She pulled out a catalogue full of wedding dress designs and held it out to me to choose from. They were already ready, only waiting to be resized.
After she left, I turned to face Adhvik.
"Dhvi, what about the rings?!"
"All ready sweetheart... Long back, when I went to a vacation with my parents to Hawaii for their 25th wedding anniversary, they renewed their vows in the same place as years ago with new rings... The main reason for the new rings is that I can have their rings... They want me to marry with those rings... Since we vacationed in New York after Hawaii, I had the rings in the safe in NY... So, that explains, I guess...", he explained, smiling and reliving that day.
Late into night, we both went to sleep happily.
Next morning, before I can even fully open my eyes, I was shooed into the bathroom to clean up by the beautician. After coming out, I was urged into the chair, with people doing my toes, fingers, hair and make up.
To keep it simple, I bordered on straightened hair, swept sideways and make up to natural. Then, I was helped into my wedding dress. It was a long while gown whose bodice hugs me till my waist and then flows free.
The upper part consist of white leaves and flower like designs on it with a netted high neck. The skirt had intricate lace in top and a satin underskirt. All over, it screamed elegance. After placing the long trail veil, I saw myself once in the mirror. I looked simple yet elegant.
After mere minutes, a limousine arrived to take me to the church where the wedding is to be held. As I got out of the car, I was led closer to the doors of the church.
I heard about brides who get cold feet or about their nervousness during their wedding. But, all I can feel is happiness. Immense happiness. On the other side of the door awaits the love of my life. Yes! I finally accepted to myself that I love him. In few minutes, we are going to be bonded officially.
When thousand years sounded, the door was opened and automatically, my legs carried me forward in anticipation. My gaze met that wonderful man's, who was dressed in a tailored black Armani suit with white undershirt. He was clean shaved, further emphasizing his perfect jawline and his dimpled chin. With his hair swept sideways and gelled, he looked like a Greek-God come to life.
Holding his gaze, I walked down the aisle in joy. When I reached him, he stepped forward and took my hands.
"You look too beautiful, sweetheart!", he whispered in my ears.
"Thank you... You look handsome too...", I complemented back while blushing to which he gave me a breath taking smile.
On hearing the clearing of throat, we turned towards the pastor. Soon, it was time for the vows.
"Rika! I know that we had a rough past... But that's not what matters... Our future is what we need to think about... I promise to be all you want in a man... I promise to treat you with respect and will respect your wishes... I promise you that I'll make you feel like you have the world when you are with me, when I hold you... I promise to be a faithful husband to you... I promise to be only for you sweetheart! I, Adhvik Rish , take you, Rika Shrinikith, to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part....", Adhvik vowed me with his eyes holding promise.
His every word made me feel giddy. It felt surreal. These are the words that I dreamt of and yearned to hear from Adhvik for a major part of my life and now it's happened.
"Adhvik, past doesn't matter... We have our future ahead! Let's only think about our 'together forever'... I have no doubt that you will live upto your promises... And I promise you the same... I promise you to be the wife you can hold with pride... I promise you to be as supportive as I can... There has never been any man in my life other than you and will never be... You will be my one and I'll be yours... I, Rika Shrinikith, take you, Adhvik Rish, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part...", I finished my vows with tears of happiness.
I seriously wanted to tell more, but words were caught in my throat. But I will fulfill all my spoken and unspoken vows.
Soon it was time for our 'I dos'.
After his 'I do', he put a infinity shaped platinum wedding band in my ring finger symbolizing the number of years ahead for us to be together. His mom's wedding ring.
After I declared my 'I do', I slid a plain platinum wedding band with a gold infinity symbol on his ring finger. His father's wedding ring.
"With the power invested on me, I , now pronounce this couple as Man and wife. You may now kiss the bride...", said the pastor.
His words made me even more happy as if it's possible. More happy tears flowed its way onto my cheeks. Adhvik's reaction was the same. He was smiling ear to ear. His eyes gleamed with happiness and content.
Adhvik reached a step forward, opened my veil, wiped my tears and took me into a deep, joyful kiss.
Our first kiss as husband and wife.
After pulling back, he grinned widely at me, pulled me closer to his side and leaned closer to whisper into my ears.
"So, its time for us to take our leave... After all, our honeymoon suit is waiting for us...", Adhvik said huskily, making my breathing harbor and blush deep red.
"What did I tell you about your blush, Mrs.Rish?!", he asked with a mischievous smirk, though his voice is still husky.
"Hmm... Mrs.Rish! I like the sound of it... And about the blush... We were rudely interrupted by someone before you can tell...", I replied bitterly at the thought of Haritha. But the words 'Mrs. Rish' made me float on cloud nine.
"Oh, don't worry... I can tell you tonight... Better yet, demonstrate to you ... After all, what's better than live demo...", he countered cheekily, with his mischievous smirk. His reply made me blush more.
After taking photos, finally, we took off to the penthouse in the limo.
"Don't you think it's time to tell the world about this happy news?!", Adhvik asked me in a teasing tone.
As I replied with a nod and laughter, he took his phone and posted a wedding pic of us with the caption 'Introducing Mrs. Rika Adhvik Rish' to his twitter account.
When the limo reached his pent house, he got out of the car and carried me to the penthouse in bridal style.