Too Late

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Chapter -6: Tried to Connect

Rishika joined her brother's office after school. And it was more than fun. She would only spend three or four hours there and wasn't required to do much but notice and listen to her brother when he makes dealings with others or discusses matters with his staff. In short, he was a big time busy.

She would do her homework whenever she won't find office matters interesting enough. And Rishi was patient whenever she asked him a question. To be honest it was nothing less than heaven for her. She was with her brother all the time after school and Rishi was relaxed that she is not at home and mourning over her failed love affair.

But deep down she was missing Paul. She would play a smile for her brother but there wasn't a single night when she won't miss holding his hand and his warm gaze. He was beyond perfection.

At home, things were the same. Her parents were praising their daughter Avantika, almost all the time. Even she is doing a simple act of breathing was worth praising. She had stopped taking notice thinking her parents had some issue.

Apparently, she started ignoring this and wasn't affected by it. But subconsciously she was comparing herself with Avantika. She realized that Avantika was far better than her in many ways.

With Paul leaving her, she was once again alone. She misses him badly. But she also came to the conclusion that she is afraid of being alone. So she started spending her time with Rishi in his office more. Although, She has to tolerate Rishi talking or purchasing gifts for Avantika no matter what? But she ignored and started thinking of took Rishi's advice about trying to connect with her parents.

For her, Kashaf was the hard nut to crack. So, she approached her father first.

Sanjay was busy analyzing some important papers and was in his study. Rishika very quietly went into the study. She was standing in front of her father and observing him. She was waiting for the time when Sanjay will notice her. But to her badluck, he was tired and busy in reading those papers. She saw her father yawning a lot of times. Then an idea clicked, she went outside the study room and came back after 15 minutes with coffee. She noticed that Sanjay was lying on the couch now.

She placed the coffee on the table and start massaging his head. Sanjay with closed eyes smile and said," thank you, bachha. Why are you up so late?"

Listening to this Rishika replied, "Why are you up so late? When you are the owner of this company."

When Sanjay heard her voice he immediately gets up and shocked to find Rishika there instead of Avantika. Rishika never entered his study. It's her first time. Sanjay composed himself and made her sit beside him and very lovingly noticed Rishika. He asked her about her studies and what she is doing in the office?

Rishika was happy that he is taking an interest in her life. They both talk about random stuff. Then Rishika very hesitatingly asked Sanjay, "Do you really believe that I killed my twin brother?"

Sanjay was startled by this question. He made her understand that she is Mehra and his daughter. And he never blames her for their other child's death.

He sighed and continued, "The only thing I regret doing was making Kashaf busy when she must be by your side and connect with you. Looking at you she would recall her loss. So, I thought it was better if she joins me at the office. If I ever knew that it would drift a cliff this huge between you two I would have never taken you from her."

She listened to her father quietly and then replied," It's fine. I am alright." She said because she hated the pity her father had for her in his eyes.

"And as a matter of fact, I don't think that she is so bad." She added and received a glared from his dad.

"Oh my, you are still so smitten by her." She giggled.

Rishika was somewhat relieved talking to her father. Then she informed her about the mother-daughter cooking competition. She asked him to convince Kashaf to participate.

He was reluctant but promised her to talk to her. But first, she has to talk to her.

The next day, Rishika went to Kashaf's room. With a deep breath, she knocked and went inside. She found a very confused Kashaf. And a lot of dresses on her bed were already telling the reason. She knew Kashaf was confused about which dress she should wear for today's gala.

She took this opportunity to express her view, "You know those colors won't look good for today's gala. How about I choose for you?" Kashaf was surprised at first but then replied,

" fine help me then,"

Rishika was beyond happy. Then she opened the drawer and picked up her purse and informed her, "We are going shopping".

Kashaf thought that she will select the dress from her wardrobe. And kashaf was hell tired but looking at Rishika's excited face she decided to go with her.

After one hour they finally select the dress. And also bought some shoes. Kashaf bought her a very expensive and limited edition kurta. That really made Rishika so excited.

Kashaf and Rishika went towards the food court. They both were having pasta when Rishika informed her about cooking competition.

Kashaf was reluctant to participate because she was a very bad cook.

Kashaf informed her, "You should know I don't know cooking. Participating in this competition, we both will lose."

Rishika was shocked to know that she doesn't know cooking. But then asked her, "Experiment for me. It doesn't matter if we make it or not. Plus, it will be our thing. Everyone is participating in my class. I have already applied to it. Please do this for me. All students will make fun of me, that you don't love me. You never even attend my PTM." Kashaf cuts her and said, "Fine! I will participate. God, you are so clingy. But don't blame me if you lose."

Rishika was grinning and in excitement came to her side to kiss Kashaf on her cheek. Kashaf returned her sweet gesture with a kiss on her cheek too and said, "You are so beautiful."

"Thanks," She replied.

"you should be saying thank you. After all, it's all my genes that you are so beautiful."

Rishika already knew how her mother is so full of herself and just gave her a stupid toothy grin

From one week both mother and daughter were practicing making different dishes. Rishika was instructing her what to do. Kashaf realized that her daughter has leadership qualities. But in the end, they decided that Kashaf will only cut the vegetables and assist Rishika for making Pasta. So, Kashaf only focused on learning how to cut vegetables with perfection.

Finally, the day has come, Rishika reminded Kashaf to be on time. In school, she was boasting in front of other students that how she and her mother are going to win this competition.

Soon the bell rang and all the participants were on stage. She was looking for Kashaf but couldn't find her. She was waiting and asked her teacher to wait for a few minutes as she must be on the way. Thinking that she is Mehra even the principal decided to delay without any effort.

After waiting for 30 minutes her teacher informed her that they have to start the competition. Soon, the competition started. She went on to stage to cook on her own when the anchor stopped her and informed her that she can't participate as it's a mother-daughter competition. As her mother is not here, she is disqualified.

She hears a lot of gasps that followed this announcement and she silently came down from the stage. She could sense a lot of pity from her classmates, schoolmates, teachers and even parents and their relatives. Feeling humiliated she left the school and went to a very famous Cafe beside her school. That was quite given the time of the day. But still, she booked a very private booth and ordered all junk food and ate as she was shedding silent tears.

She came home late. When she reached home, she saw Avantika and Kashaf playing with Avantika's new dollhouse. Sanjay and Rishi were admiring them and discussing some business matters. Looking at them, she was beyond furious. She was not thinking when she went towards Avantika and start stomping on her dollhouse.

Avantika started balling her eyes out. Everyone was shocked to see her behaving like this. Then she turned towards Kashaf, "How could you do this to me? You promised to be there? I thought something happened to you. But you...are playing with this piece of shit". Before she can carry on Kashaf cuts her, "Look, I understand that you are upset with me. But I have my reasons. Today, Anil called her and said it was her mother's birthday. She wanted a cake. I couldn't leave her on her own. She was upset. So, to cheer her up we both went shopping. You know that I want her to accept me as her mother"

"What about me? Don't you want me to accept you? " Cried Rishika. "You could have taken her to school's competition but no, I am never in your priority ever."

Then she utters those words which changed her life forever. She was sobbing when said, "I hate you. You don't deserve to be a mother. Why don't you also die just like Avantika's mother died? And I promise to make the buffet for unfortunate for your peace."

Rishi got up from his place furiously and slapped Rishika. "What did you said? You are asking our mother to die. Just because of some stupid competition."

Rishika was listening to Rishi. "I hate her. And I want her to d..." Before Rishika can carry on she was cut off with his dad saying, "Enough! You are grounded for a month."

Rishi saw his father's worrisome face and feared about his high blood pressure when he said, "Leave it, dad, She will never understand." Sanjay huffed and leave from there followed by kashaf and Avantika.

Rishi looked at Rishika and said, "you always blame others for not loving you. But have you looked at yourself that maybe it's your fault? My mom is best, and you. I hate you. You always complain that everyone abandons you. But have you thought about this? That maybe being with you, makes them suffocated. Maybe that's why our Lil brother left us coz he was stuck with you... I hate you. Our brother is already dead and now you want our mom to be dead. Why don't you do one simple thing just don't come in front of me." Rishi badly wanted to hurt her but didn't realize that his words have done permanent damage on her, and on their relationship.

Rishika was shocked to see hate in his eyes. But then she got up and faced him, "Careful what you wish for..." Saying this she went towards the kitchen and again started eating like a mad girl. She wanted to cut her wrist but then she knew she will be labeled attention seeker again. The word that she hated the most.

For a few days, Rishika didn't come in front of Rishi or anyone in the family. She was missing Paul very much. She tried to find him on the internet but all in vain.

She misses Rishi also but thought it's better if she stays away from him. She was hoping that Rishi realizes his mistake because she felt so vulnerable without him. But he never came even a month passed. She started suffering from Insomnia. And Paul was the only thing she wished so dearly.

Then one day out of frustration she came into the kitchen and started preparing lunch. She looked scared but determined. After making the lunch she packed it and called for an Uber as she couldn't risk her parents knowing through the driver about where she is going.

When she reached her destination she was told to wait for half an hour before a guard came and informed her that she can meet the person she requested but have only 15 minutes.

Rishika hesitantly went inside and placed her lunch box on the table and sit in front of Paul's father.

She very quietly opened her lunchbox and offered him. Paul's father was looking at her and noticed she looked broken, just like his victims. Then he all of a started laughing, "So, Paul left you?" Rishika didn't reply. But he continued, "If you think I would give you his contact information, you are mistaken. Though I don't care about him, I don't want a piece of shit like you to be with him. He is better off without you. You only know how to destroy families. Like you did with mine.....and like you are doing with yours. You are a homewrecker."

Rishika was surprised to know that he knows about her family matters. But she didn't dare to utter a single word. She then got out of the trance when she heard him say, "What? Thinking how do I know? Oh, Lil girl trusts me, I have my sources." He humiliated her and started eating the lunch she prepared.

Rishika was content to see that he is eating what she has brought. She was imagining Paul. Paul looked a lot like his father. And this was the reason that she was here. To see a glimpse of Paul in his father.

The guard informed her that her time is up. She collected her things. Before she can leave his father said, "Next time, bring some chicken for me. I don't like your veg sandwich."

Rishika came outside the police station and was happy to see a glimpse of Paul in him. She decided to come here every weekend. And so it happened. She would make food for him and will watch Paul eating that food.

Things were the same at home. She started spending her time at the library. Reading romantic books. When she reached home and saw Avantika asking Rishi, who does he love more between Rishika and her. Rishika's curiosity made her stop in her tracks.

Eager to listen to his answer she stood there when she heard, "Avantika, it's you. It's always gonna be you."

Before he can continue she left from there heartbroken. She was hoping for her name. How stupid of her.

Rishi noticed her and knew she heard his answer. When he saw the painful look on her face, he cannot control himself and decided to ask for her forgiveness. And this was the only thing he was planning to do for the last two months but couldn't find the courage to do so.

He went behind her. And tried to call her name, but this time she ignored him. As she was on the stairs, Rishi tried to grab her hand. But she jerked from her grip which made Rishi lost his balance. He fell down from the stairs. Rishika was beyond shocked. Her eyes bulged out as she hurriedly went towards him and ask him to wake up. She cried for help. Soon, kashaf and Sanjay came outside. They took Rishi to the hospital. Rishika and kashaf were crying hysterically. Sanjay was trying to comfort them. But then, Sanjay asked her how it happened.

Before she can answer doctor came out of the ICU.

"I am so sorry to say, we tried out best. But he is in comma".

Listening to this all Mehra's were numb. But Rishika fainted listening to this news.

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