Too Late

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Chapter -4 Her Crush

Rishika came out of her deep slumber and saw Rishi sleeping at her side holding her hand. She saw her brother's disheveled hair and felt sorry for the stunt she pulled by jumping from the storeroom.

She said to the sleeping Rishi, "Sorry Bhai... I know you are disturbed now and must be feeling guilty...but trust me if putting you in your guilt trip I can get you back. I'll jump a thousand times." She said, running her hand to set his hair. "Why can't you see I don't have anyone else but you?" She slowly released her hand from Rishi's grip and walk outside. Her heart was at ease. She knew she still had her brother.

Wandering here and there in the hospital she saw a boy looking aimlessly towards the wall. That boy looks very familiar to her, but she couldn't pinpoint. She went to him thinking she would say hi, maybe she could recall who is this boy? "Hi, what you are doing? Why are you here? "

The boy tried to ignore her and replied, "You are blocking my view, Lil girl."

"Rishika, my name is Rishika. What view you are getting by only staring at the blank wall? Like you are trying to scare it. And, I'm not Lil girl, look at yourself." She gauged his height with her hand and tried to tell how short he is and then asked, "What is your name?"

She didn't get the answer from him again so she sat beside him and started telling him about herself and Rishi. She saw he was trying to ignore her, but she needs to talk to anyone and it wasn't like he was going to tell on her.

When she didn't have anything left to share, she looked at that boy again who somehow looks lonely. Then out of nowhere she suddenly hugged him tightly and said, "Just for a second, let me hug you. I know you don't want to talk to me. But I need to hug you." The boy huffed and finally decided to sit beside her. He informed her that he is here for his sister, who is hurt. He also informed her that he is scared of her. "I don't know why, but something bad is gonna happen. I can feel it. " Rishika looked at him and again hugged him and said, "Nothing will happen to your sister. Just remember my name, Rishika Mehra. You can come to Mehra's if you ever need assistance." And though she didn't want to she had to leave to check on her own brother.

When she entered her room, she saw Rishi was still sleeping. She went to wake him up, but suddenly she heard a voice, "Don't wake him up. He hardly slept since you are in the hospital. Let him rest." She turned to find a man she never saw before. His stare was enough to send a chill to her spine and this made her hold on Rishi's hand tightly. Feeling the pressure on his hand Rishi woke up. And the moment he took his surroundings he didn't waste a second to hug her. He asked her to forgive him. But then he found Rishika looking at something and following her sight he found his Uncle Anil.

He considers his uncle his lucky charm. When he called his uncle and asked for his help, he immediately came and donated his blood to Rishika.

Rishi looked at Rishika and informed her that he is their uncle Anil. He also informed that he gave her the blood and saved her life. When Rishika heard this her mood lightened. She says her greetings to Uncle.

Oh Lord, I am so happy he is here. Avantika will leave with her dad. She gave extra attention to anything that Uncle Anil talk about in their drive back home. He was funny at times but sometimes his jokes were lame. But who cares? This person is here to take Avantika away.

Rishika informed Rishi about how she met a lonely boy and he was scared for his sister. She told Rishi "I have told him that if he ever wants help he should come to Mehra's mansion."

"You are just like Sanjay. He has to help everyone in college. Even if it was not his matter."

This made Rishika smile. No one ever talks about their parents' college life before.

When they reached home she saw Avantika is playing with Sanjay. This made her mad but she masked her feelings with a bitter smile. Rishi and Rishika greeted uncle in the evening again and planned to watch the movie "Hachikoo" because it was Rishika's favorite movie. Anil Uncle bought them dinner in a famous restaurant afterward. They came home to find Sanjay, Kashaf, and Avantika having dinner. And this is when Rishika decided to asked Uncle "When are you going to take Avantika back?"

Her question made everyone startled. Rishi replied, "Avantika will stay here. Always. And Uncle Anil will leave tomorrow." Listening to her brother, Rishika go red with embarrassment and left the dining room.

She didn't eat food that day. And Rishi didn't check on her thinking she needs some time to adjust to this truth.

He couldn't see her sad, but accepting Avantika was also important. Rishi also knew that Rishika jumped from the storeroom intentionally to get his attention. When he heard the confession she made in the hospital to him. Though he was angry at first but realized that she is just jealous of Avantika. He wants her to understand that she can not be replaced but didn't know how to do it. His high school was so much work too.

Time went by and Rishika cut her thirteenth cake. Avantika didn't leave and Rishika could never accept her. Avantika was always the reason behind every fit between Rishi and Rishika.

Soon, Rishika started bullying Avantika at school. Telling everyone that she is not really Mehra and being adopted didn't work much. It never mattered to Avantika. She always knew that she was Anil's daughter.

Rishi knew all of this. The driver who used to pick Rishika and Avantika used to inform Rishi about every detail. But then he thought that Avantika doesn't need to listen to her tantrums he arranged two different rides for them.

His life was divided between his high school and protecting Avantika from Rishika.

Somewhere seeing Avantika in their home becomes a routine for her. She stopped attempting to push her away but the reason was she was out of tricks. Until one day she heard her parents say accidentally.

"....don't forget Anil was my competition too. I have worked really hard." She heard her father say. And this was followed by her mother's laugh.

The next day, Avantika came home and demands Rishi to send her home to her own father. He tried to make her understand and ask for the reason. He knew Rishika was behind this somehow but he tried not to doubt Rishika. So, he decided to patiently wait for her instead of reaching any wrong conclusion.

When Rishika reached home, her lightened mood didn't go unnoticed by Rishi. He knew that if he wanted to know the reason, he has to tactfully handle Rishika. So, he went to her and asked her "You look very happy today. Any special reason?"

She replied, "Yes, today I'm very happy. Soon, my all problems will be solved." Rishi knew which problem she was referring to. Soon, he changed his demeanor and informed her that Avantika wants to go home.

As soon as she heard this, she became happy and asked, "Really when?" Rishi asked her, "Are you behind this? "As expected she declined.

Soon, Rishi starts observing both the girls and then came to know that Rishika has made Avantika believed that kashaf, Sanjay and Rishi doesn't love her, they are keeping her because her dying mother begged their parents to take Avantika away. So, she could live in a huge mansion. She also told her how Anil uncle used to love Kashaf. But Kashaf chooses Sanjay over him. So, Sanjay took Avantika to leave Avantika's father alone. And now he is all alone drinking and will soon die.

When Rishi came to know all about this he was infuriated because this time Rishika has dragged everyone along with her parents and Uncle Anil. He now wants to teach the lesson to Rishika. So, this time he didn't hide her actions and revealed everything to his parents.

Kashaf went to Rishika's room. She was listening to music and completing her Maths assignment. All of a sudden she saw Kashaf who never comes into her room ever. Like ever. She could saw that she was angry and huffed in frustration. Mentally preparing herself for some lecture that she may or may not deserve.

But she saw her mom grabbing her arm and got startled when she jerked.

"Ahh, Mom! Stop it." She cried arrogantly. Trying hard not to let her tears come out. She can never show herself weak in front of this woman.

Kashaf didn't stop but drag her to the living room and asked her to apologize to Avantika.

"I won't," Rishika replied curtly.

Kashaf then lost her control and slapped her. And shouted, "What do you think of yourself? I can't believe you did this? Didn't even think about your father? You are just an attention seeker. Because of you, I lost my child. It would be better if you were the one who was under the ground."

With her hand on her cheek, she saw her mother with horrid shock.

"Lower your eyes!" Kashaf yelled and Rishika followed. "From now on, you will only address me as ma'am and your father as Sir! You are no child of ours."

After that, all family members started leaving the hall. Rishika noticed how everyone stopped talking to her. Even her brother, Rishi. Her family thought until and unless she apologizes to Avantika, she will be ignored. Getting ignored by her parents wasn't new to her but when Rishi started ignoring her, she thought he also never loved her. Never in her life, she thought that her teenage will be this cruel to her. She stopped thinking about Avantika. Rishika learned she wasn't worthy of her time that she would always think about her.

A few days later, Sanjay organized a party at home after such a long time. All famous businessmen in India were invited. When the party started he introduced his whole family to media. He informed them that soon Rishi is also going to join the family business whereas Avantika is doing very well in school.

When they were asked to pose for a family photograph, they all started posing. Rishi was holding Avantika's hand so she won't feel nervous. When the final shot was taken he saw Rishika who looked at him and gave him a sad smile before leaving the party.

It was then he realizes what had happened, they forget to involve Rishika in the family photograph and didn't even introduce her.

Rishika started feeling left out. She would stay out of the house more hoping someone would notice. But no one did as Rishi was busier in his office and sometimes only came after midnight. And didn't have time to see who spent how much time out of the house.

Rishika's grades start getting affected. But she would always rip off the reports or notices coming from school.

She would spend her time clicking pictures of other families. It was her favorite hobby. In fact, she had her favorite pics. One of them was a family of four. A mother, a father, a big brother, and a sister. But in her collection, there was not a single picture of her own family. Until one day she found a picture on the internet where she was six years old. It was before Avantika and Rishika and her brother accompanied their parents for a famous charity gala.

One day her school announced for all the students to gather in the hall. Even the students from the kindergarten were here from their campus. And it showed how important the announcement was. They were informed about a flood in Kerala. And all the students were asked to make donations. She was too in the line. And once she reached the end of it she dumped her whole pocket money in the box for the whole month she still had to pass. She started passing the rows to get out of the hall.

She noticed little Avantika who was busy talking to her friends and was also waiting in her own line. She saw her donating only Rs100

Little dumb bitch. She muttered, walking to her in three long strides and snatching her whole wallet she dumped all the money in the box and then glare at her. "We get it that you are not Mehra but it won't hurt you to properly act like the adopted one."

At night, she was listening to music and casually sketching something when Rishi came to her room. "Hey," He asked sitting at the edge of her bed.

The moment she saw Rishi her eyes shined. Getting out of her blanket, she jumped over his shoulder.

"I missed you." She replied. "How are you?" He asked.

"Not fine," She replied honestly.

Rishi rolled his eyes and turned to look at her. "Saying that you are doing great for once won't hurt you." He replied.

"But, I am really not fine. You hardly show up." She complained.

"And you little girl have to have a life of your own." He told her.

She pouted her lips and asked, "I don't have any money from the last two days. I was looking for you everywhere."

He let out a laugh. "This month is only ten days past and,..." She cut him off saying,

"It was to help someone."

"Take this, for now, I will give the rest to your driver in the morning." He said giving her some money out of his wallet. And leave staying after only five minutes more.

He decided to visit Avantika's room too because he didn't know when he will be free next time.

"Rishi Bhaiya!" Avantika warmly greets him.

"How are you, princess?" He asked. "I am great." She said with a cute smile and started playing with her doll.

She is very cute for a six-year-old. He thought to pinch her cheek.

"Rishi, Bhaiya! Rishika didi (big sister) took my all money. I was looking for you or papa for the last two days." She said, still busy playing with her doll.

This made Rishi so furious as he walks to Rishika's room. "How dare you?" He yelled. "I thought you are changed. I thought you are mature enough to know how to act. How far you need to go with a little girl?"

"What are you talking about?" Rishika replied. "From this day on Rishika Mehra, you will not have a single penny over your pocket money." He roared. "And, I dare you to involve Avantika this time."

"You can't do this. I am Mehra, too. It's not like you are giving me your money." She protested as a sob left her mouth.

"You don't have any idea how much father and I work to make this money. I have every right to strip you off from this luxurious life of yours. And, you know what? I think this is what you deserve now." He left her room.

In the morning, the driver didn't give her any money and even informed her that she had to take the bus. Never in her life, she felt such humiliation. She walked off hurriedly to avoid being seen with teary eyes and decided to walk leisurely to her school. She was very late when she makes it to school. No one was out as every classroom was busy.

This is when she heard violin playing. She tried to find the source of the sound but couldn't. But she was adamant and finally ends up in the music room. It was quiet there. She saw a boy playing the violin. It was melodious. She didn't saw his face but sunshine on his back make him look so magical.

She sat behind him taking a chair and avoid making any noise. She didn't know for how long she was sitting there but when that boy stopped playing she said desperately, "Please, don't stop."

This made that boy look at her. And her heart skipped a beat. His face was enough to take her breath away.

I wish I could marry him. She thought. Omg, how good it would be to spend your life with him. But then she noticed he was a foreigner. His features were enough to tell her that he was a white man. This is when she noticed a bruise on his neck. She frowned and all of a sudden asked, "What happened to your neck? Who hit you? Tell me?" At that moment she was ready to kill the person who destroyed such beautiful skin.

Her unexpected questions got him off guard. But then seeing she is just a little girl he smiled and asked, "What's your name?"

Rishika introduced her and again asked him about his neck. But he very tactfully ignored the question and introduces himself as Paul.

Paul found her very sweet and lovely. He was enjoying her company besides the fact she was eight years younger than him.

Then he said, "You know you are just like my sister. She also talks a lot. But she is very quiet in front of others. I would really like you to meet her. She hardly has any friends"

When Rishika heard the word sister, she started making faces. Then she very cutely replied, "Please, don't say that am like your sister. I don't want to be your sister. I can be,....uh," she knew she can't say girlfriend but on a little brainstorming she said, "...your friend and a very very good listener."

When he heard this he started laughing. Rishika likes the sound of his laughter. She knew she can listen to him for years.

They soon became good friends. Rishika came to know that he is doing an internship in their library and will leave in a year. He has a small family, loving parents and a Lil sister.

What an ideal family? She thought.

He always talks about his sister. Rishika also told him about her brother. And that he is angry at her. And how her parents only love Avantika.

Paul noticed that she is always jealous of her adopted sister. He thought to intervene but decided not to. It was her personal matter

Paul, actually makes her understand to connect to her family. But she knew she can't make him understand. So, she starts sitting in the library until his shifts end at six in the evening.

He also started teaching her Germany. But her focus was always on his moving lips and never on learning German. I mean who wants to learn German?

But Rishika, couldn't stop noticing the bruises on his body. Whenever she asks him about this he always ignored her questions. Until one day, he forgot his diary and Rishika decided to walk after him. But he was far and never really listen to her calling his name. She ends up following him to his house.

And realized he was well off too. It confuses her because it was not the case when someone looks at his clothes. She lightly knocked on the door twice but didn't get any reply. Walking to the backside of the house she found the fence to be not too high and jumped over it easily. She knew her friend won't mind. He was just too kind, like always kind and never snaps. So, she had already decided to live her whole life with him.

She was still figuring out where to go as she passed the swimming pool. But then decided to take the right turn. But what she saw across the large windowpane made her too shocked for her own good.

She saw someone beating Paul with his belt. With her trembling hands, she tried to dial the police. But even switching on the phone was taking so much effort. She doesn't know who that person was. Maybe a thief or a killer. She gives her location to the police and sinks to the floor with her hand on her mouth as her tears keep flowing. She was too scared to help him out. She couldn't hear them as the walls were soundproof but she could feel his misery. But then she saw that man choking Paul as he was gong into darkness. She couldn't stand anymore and look for a door she shouted.

"Stop!" Her face was already ruined with tears. Her lips were trembling and chest heaving in fear. But she knew this is where she needs to buy some time until the police come. As soon as, Paul heard her he was beyond shocked.

Because he doesn't know how to save his little cute friend from him. The man looked scary. He said "Oh! So my son has a little girlfriend. Paul? Don't you think that she is very young for you."

"Dad! please ... She is not my girlfriend. She is no one. Please don't hurt her. She won't say anything. I promise."

"So, she is not your girlfriend, but the way she looks at you ...or maybe you don't love her but she surely does. Right? Lil girl!."

"By the way what is your name?" He calmly asked throwing his belt away.

When Rishika came to know that this man is Paul's father she got confused because Paul always says that he has loving parents. She went to Paul and cried even harder looking at his split lip.

But soon, she came out of her trance when Paul's father yanked her hair, making her scream at the top of her voice and asked Paul to help her.

But she saw Paul all still. He was just begging his father to let her go. And she knew that begging won't help. This is when she looked at him,

the man who had herself caged to find his lustful eyes on her mouth.

"So, Lil girl what do you know? And how much do you know?" Asked his father. Rishika was very smart she knew if she wants the answers all she has to do is to provoke him.

"Everything, you monster!" She sneered.

"Good, then if you know everything. Then tell me how you want to die? Like you said you know my all secret. Do you know I am a killer and you could be my 50th victim? So, tell me how do I butcher you? "

When Rishika heard this she gave Paul her pleading eyes to help her. When Paul again tried to intervene his father punched him again.

"For this girl, you are ready to backstab me. Now, you will hear her scream." Turning towards Rishika he snarled, "And you b****, you are trying to to make him against me? you will die very painfully."

He punched Rishika and kicked her many times. She was wailing in pain. Paul again tried to get to his father and held his leg firmly. This made his father stomp on his head three times. He saw darkness everywhere and when he gets a hold his father was done tying him.

"You know what, you are a disgrace as a son. You should also die with her."

Soon, he brought a butcher knife to stab Paul and Rishika screamed, "No, please no," She cried holding her injured arm. "... Don't hurt him...hurt me ... He is your son. How could you do this to him?"

He turned towards her, "Wow, you are ready to die for him now? What can I do? He is not at all like me. He is weak like her mother and sister." He dramatically said but then turned to Paul and added, "Don't worry Paul, I will send them to you after I kill you."

And then again turned to Rishika who was sitting on the floor now and sobbing. Sitting near her he took a strand of her hair away from her eyes and asked, "And you little girl, before killing you I want to enjoy you. You look fresh. Tell me are you a virgin?"

Hearing this she sobbed loudly and tried to crawl away from him.

She saw he has started unbuttoning his shirt. And when he came towards her.

There was a loud knock on the door. Before she can shout, he threatened her, "One word and Paul will die. He stuffed his socks in her mouth and went outside.

"I know what you are thinking. My father is a serial killer. You must be thinking why I am here?" He stopped to wince in pain. "He has my mum and my sister. To protect them I am with him. I love my sister very much, Rishika. I am so sorry to drag you here. I cannot let him hurt her. I'm so scared of him. If I ever raised my voice, my mother will lose a finger. Oh God, she has already lost two."

Rishika who couldn't say anything just nod and say with her eyes that she is fine.

"The moment I saw you I feel calm. A thing that has always been foreign to me. You keep my monsters away. Technically, you scared my monsters. They don't come in front of you. I am so sorry. "

He was crying profusely and knew his father will kill Rishika.

The girl who was nothing but a beautiful bird. She doesn't deserve to die and if anything happened to her he will kill his father and then himself.

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