Saturday, October 31, 2009


On Wednesday afternoon, Armaan bumped into Abhi and while he was briefing him about the arrangements of the party, he noticed Nikki passing by.

"Nikki don't forget tomorrow is the party,” he called out to her.

Nikki stopped and not looking at Abhi, said "I am sorry Armaan, I can't make it to the party as I have something else to do" She then walked away leaving Armaan baffled. Abhi felt a tightening in his chest. He told Armaan he would talk to him later and without glancing at him walked towards his cabin, leaving Armaan wondering why everyone was behaving weird that day!

In the evening, Adi and Sheetal visited Nikki at home and pleaded with her to come to the party but she politely declined. She told them that she was very fond of them and respected them a lot but she just can't bring herself to come. She implored with them not to force her and they reluctantly agreed.

“This is so sad Jaan, I love both of them," Sheetal told Adi sadly as they were seated in the car. "Just can’t bear to see them like this.”

Adi nodded his agreement. “No matter what they decide or tell themselves, these two nuts always follow their heart. Don’t worry I am sure Nikki will be there at the party” Adi assured her with a smile.

“I really hope so!”

The party was in full swing. Everyone were having fun as true to his reputation Armaan proved to be the best organiser and kept everyone entertained.

Abhi was standing in a corner, looking sad and morose. He gave a faint smile to whoever greeted him.

"There is my handsome boy" Sr. Puri came up from behind and slapped him on the back. "Where is your partner and my sweetie pie?" Abhi's lips twitched in a weak smile.

"Missing her are you?” Sr. Puri asked having noticed sadness on his face. "Why hasn't she come as yet ? You should have gone and brought her yourself!"

How do I tell him Nikki won't be coming.’ Abhi wondered .

"Nikki isn't coming," he told him finally after mustering courage and finding his voice.

“Naughty Boy!” Sr. Puri tweaked his ear. “Pulling my leg aren't you ?”

“No, Really!" Abhi shook his head as he tried to convince him

"Then who is that behind you ?"

Abhi swirled and his heart stopped beating for a moment. He saw Nikki walking towards them. She was looking gorgeous in a red, indian suit. When she reached them, she stood near Abhi, but, ignored him. A delighted Sr. Puri stretched his arms towards her and hugged her tightly.

"You are looking even more beautiful today!" he told her. Nikki gave him a shy smile. "See this Naughty Boy was pulling my leg. He said you were not coming,” he thumped Abhi on the back .

"She is my girl!” he told Abhi with pride “She never breaks her promise, Right sweetheart?"

Nikki nodded her head. "Yes,” she gave him a fond smile. “I came only for you,"

Ouch ! Abhi winced inwardly, knowing the jibe was for him.

“You both playing games with an old man, aren’t you,” Sr. Puri teased. “Don’t I know how much you want to be with each other?“

Seeing them fluster, he laughed aloud.

“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll leave you both alone now and go find Maya. Have a nice time and don’t leave each other okay?,” he warned tenderly.

After he left Nikki and Abhi kept mum and avoided looking at each other.

"You finally made it,Nikki" Adi came up from behind them and embraced Nikki warmly.

"I did not want to come,” Nikki told him “but then I thought of your parents. I want them to leave this place, happy and satisfied, Adi"

"Thank you," Adi said with deep gratitude in his eyes.

"Hey Nikki, you've finally come!” An excited Armaan came to them and hugged Nikki “where were you ? Come on the others are waiting for you" Excusing himself from Adi and Abhi, he dragged Nikki away. Adi and Abhi looked sadly at each other.

Sometime later, while Nikki was with her intern group, her eyes kept searching for Abhi. He was standing across with Simi, behind a couple of people. Simi was gesticulating while talking to him and Abhi kept smiling at her. Jealousy begain to flit inside her giving rise to resentment.

"How does it matter to me what he does?” she told herself mentally “why should I care ? Let him do what he wants"

Try as much as she could, she could not keep her eyes away from him. So caught up was she in watching Abhi, she did not realize that Armaan and Riddhima got into an argument. Annoyed with him, Riddhima walked away.

Sr. Puri addresses the group "Come on all you youngsters. Get on to the dance floor See how this old man leads! You all follow" He tells the DJ to start playing the music

The song Rock and Roll Soniye from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna started playing.

Sr. Puri pulled his wife on to the floor and to everyone's amusement he sang
Hey what's with you baby
I never never never never never felt this way before
Hey come a little closer
Baby, baby baby wanna steal your heart away

(Embarassed, Maya slapped him playfully on his cheek)

Adi joined his father and pulled Sheetal on the dance floor. He and his father began singing to their wives :

Are gore gore mukhde (be my love), chand ke tukde (be my love)
Kaali kaali zulfein (be my love), neeli neeli aankhen (be my love)
Khwaab dikhaade raah bhula de, hosh uda de sab ke
Chain mita de, tan sulga de, mann mein de masti ghol

Embarrassed with her big belly, Sheetal shyly ran away with Adi following behind her.

Armaan tried to pull Ridz in to dance but she refused. He joined everyone else as they danced to the chorus. Abhi, Nikki and Riddhima watched in silence as everyone swayed to

Rock and roll soniye, dole yeh man tere liye
Rock and roll soniye, kabhi tu bhi toh mere sang dol

Armaan finally managed to pull Ridz on the floor and sang

Yeh lachkile se tan, yeh balkhate badan
Pehle dil hai maangte, phir maangte hain jaan

Atul pulled Anjali, singing

Yeh rangeen bijliyaan, yeh jaadu karniyan
Dekhein hai sau baar par hoon aaj bhi hairan

As Riddhima and Anjali tried to escape Armaan-Atul block their way and sing

Oh dekho aaye, oh dekho jaaye
Kis naaz se nakhre se jhoom ke
Apsaraayen,haseenayen ek pal ko jo dekhle ghoom ke

Armaan then cornered an annoyed Riddhima and sang

Oh saare zamana ho diwana duniya gire kadmon pe
Phir bhi yeh pariyan, husn ki kaliyan samjhe na pyar ke bol

The whole group, except Abhi and Nikki, continued dancing

Rock and roll soniye, dole yeh ban tere liye
Rock and roll soniye, kabhi tu bhi toh mere sang dol

Much to everyone's amusement,Adi and Sr. Puri then swing to

"Oh sar pe topi laal, haath mein resham ka rumaal ho tera kya kehna
Sexy Sam, sexy Sam,wham bam wham bam thank you Sam oh shava, oh shava
Gore gore gaal, gaal par uljhe uljhe baal ho tera kya kehna
Sexy Sam, sexy Sam, oh balle balle balle

Sr. Puri noticed Abhi and Nikki were not dancing and were standing away from each other. Going near them, he invited them to dance.

Abhi glanced at Nikki and tauntingly sang

Yeh dilbar yeh haseen, yeh toh jaane nahin
Pyar hai kya cheez aur hoti wafa hai kya

Nikki icily returned,

"Yeh pal bar ke sanam, inko kis ka hai gham
Hum pe kya guzri bhala inko pata hai kya"

Armaan pulled Nikki on the dance floor. Deliberately ignoring Abhi and Riddhima who were standing on either side of them, they sang

"Yeh anjaane, yeh begaane behka hai kya jazbaat se
Na yeh jaane, na yeh maane dil toote hain inke haathon se "

Once again going nearer to Riddhima, Armaan sang

"Oh aag se thandak barf se garmi maang ke hum pachtaaye
Kya na bhulayein, humne gavaayen din kitne anmol "

Sr. Puri pulled Abhi and Nikki on either side of him and they join in dancing with the others

"Rock and roll soniye, dole yeh man tere liye
Rock and roll soniye, kabhi tu bhi toh mere sang dol

When the song finished, a happy Sr. Puri, once again, pulled Abhi and Nikki on either side of him and hugged them warmly. As Abhi and Nikki put their arms around him, their hands meet and their touch sent electrifying sensations into their system. Awkwardly, they then pulled their hands away.

The party continued to rock. Nikki stuck to her friends for most of the evening. At times when she saw Abhi was not around Sheetal, Maya and Sr. Puri, she chatted with them.

Towards the end of the evening, Sr. Puri asked the DJ to end the evening with a nice romantic number and requested all couples to come on to the dance floor.
The DJ plays Baahon ki Darmiyaan.

"Why aren’t the two of you dancing ?” Sr. Puri demanded of Abhi and Nikki. He took Nikki’s hand and put it in Abhi’s. “Come on, Go and dance!” he shoved them gently to the dance floor.

Abhi and Nikki walked siffly, hand in hand on to the dance floor.

The lights were dimmed. Realising they were being watched by the Puris, they glanced diffidently at each other.

Abhi put one hand around Nikki’s waist and gently pulled her closer towards him while he held her hand with his other hand. They stared at each other and with eyes rapt in a hypnotic spell, they slowly began to sway to the beat of the music.

Unspoken pain, awareness, yearning, passion, a whole gamut of emotions slowly swept over them.

Every word of the song also echoed their sentiments.

Khulte Khulte Band Honth, labhon ki ye ankahi,
Mujshe keh Rahi hai ke badne de bekhudi,
Mile yun ki Daud jaayein nas nas mein bijliyaan

Captivated by her alluring face, Abhi found himself moving even more closer to her. The warmth of his breath on her face, the smell of his aftershave sent Nikki to heady heights. His caressing finger on her back sent tingling sensations into her electrifying her whole body. She ached for him to take her into his arms and closing her eyes, fervently hoped this enchanting moment between them didn't end. .

‘Nikki” She detected passion in his whisper and opening her eyes, looked at him. She saw stark desire in his eyes and coloured deeply. She wanted to throw her ear around him and sink deep into him, but, the reality of their relationship suddenly hit hard into her.

‘No, No’ she mentally reminded herself. ‘This cannot be. I must not fall weak.

Abhi saw the distress on her face and anxiously asked if she was okay. The deep concern in his voice, brought a lump in her throat. Her eyes began to well up with tears and she quickly withdrew her hand from him and dashed out of the room towards the open lawn.

Why can't I control my feelings where he is concerned. Why do these feelings keep stirring whenever he is near me!" she cried tearfully

Someone hovered over her shoulder and handed a tissue to her. Her eyes misty with tears, Nikki took it and after wiping them she looked up at the person and saw it was Simi.

"Are you crying because you finally realised that there is no future, for you and Abhi?" Nikki was not surprised hearing the contempt in Simi’s voice.

"if you haven't realised this then you better do, because, as long as I am around, Abhi will not care about anyone else. He is only mine"

"So I was right, you haven't changed at all!" Nikki told her with disgust on her face. "Well, what Simi wants she gets!” she said smugly

" Do you really think that my car broke down that day on the cliff ?” she smiled evilly

“No it was my plan. I saw you both drop Adi and Sheetal off. So I got the elders dropped off and followed you" Nikki was appalled.

“See I am going to try my best and win back Abhi.” Simi informed her casually. "He has already started melting. Its only a matter of time, I'll get him to love me again, soon."

"Love is never manipulated,” Nikki retorted confidently “Love just happens. When you have to try so hard to achieve love, then it can't really be love! These are only cheap games"

Simi seethed hearing Nikki’s words. "What are you ? You are a big schemer yourself,” she spewed venom at Nikki. “and you accuse me of scheming? You, yourself are trying to take my Abhi away from me.”

“I warn you,” she pointed a finger at Nikki. “If you try to get close to Abhi, I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you, you Bloody Bitch!”

"SIMI!" Abhi’s thunderous voice made both women quiver with fear.

With quick angry strides he reached them.

"How dare you ?” incensed with fury, he shook Simi by the shoulder “How dare you talk to Nikki like that?” Nikki and Simi were both taken aback.

"Abhi, its not what you are thinking," Simi tried to sweet talk him.

"I knew you were upto something.” Abhi snapped angrily. “That is why I went soft on you and not because I care about you. I wanted to see how much lower could you stoop."

Standing behind him, Nikki is in a state of confusion. “Abhi was blasting Simi for her! This was too good to be true!”

Simi wanted to say something but cowered under Abhi’s blazing gaze.

"Look Simi, let me make it clear to you, for the last time!” He had raised a warning finger at her “I repeat once again, for the last time, whether I have anyone in my life or not, I definitely have nothing for you. I have no feelings for you at all. Do you get that ? Infact I don't even feel any hatred for you. I tolerate you being around just because of your father and Uncle, otherwise you cease to exist for me." Simi turned deathly pale as he razed her aspiratons to the ground. .

Nikki was about to touch his arm in a bid to calm him down. but stopped herself from doing so.

Looking at the hatred in Abhi’s eyes, Simi’s eyes began to well up with tears. Glancing at Nikki over Abhi’s shoulder and then back at Abhi, she ran away.

"Why are you so angry with her ?” Nikki asked him softly. Taking a deep breath, Abhi turned around to face her.

“She said the same things what you accused me of ."

Abhi wished he could wipe away the hurt that was glistened in her eyes.

"Atleast she is nobody to me,” Nikki's tone was laden with sadness. “ so it doesn't hurt at all. But You ?" choked beyond control, she turned around and walked away. Realising he had no right to stop her, Abhi agonizingly watched her go .

People began to leave the party. Nikki went up to Armaan and asked him if he would drop her home.

"Of course, I’ll drop you" Armaan told her.

Hugging Sheetal, Maya and Sr. Puri, Nikki wished them goodbye. They tell her that they are really happy to have met her.

“Nikki we are leaving on Sunday and hope to see you before that.” Maya told her as she embraced her warmly. Nikki gave her a faint smile.

"Abhi is dropping you right?” Sr. Puri asked Nikki.

Armaan and Riddhima had come to wish goodbye to the Puris. "its okay Sir, I'll drop Nikki,” Armaan told him. "Her house is on the way."

Sr. Puri says "Oh, ok, I guess its late too and Abhi seems to have an early morning flight."

"Anyways, Armaan thank you,” He extended his hand to Armaan “you've done a great job in organising the party. After such a long time, we all had fun."

“Thank you sir,” replied Armaan shaking his hand.

Smiling at the Puris, Riddhima thanked them and said “Goodbye”

"You better take care Armaan, you've got two pretty ladies with you!" Sr. Puri teased.

"Oh Sir, now you know why I feel so secure tonight," Armaan said winking at him.

As the ladies chuckled , Sr. Puri laughed out aloud. They then take their leave and walk away.

Just ast they reached the door, Abhi and Adi were walking in. Seeing Nikki leaving with Armaan and Riddhima, Abhi froze.

"Dr. Modi, I hope you liked the party?" Armaan asked him.

Extending his hand to Armaan, Abhi says, "It was great! Thank you ! You've done a great job!" he smilesd at him.

"Its my pleasure,” Armaan shook his hand. “We've had fun too."

Try as much they could, Abhi and Nikki couldn’t help stealing glances at each other which was well noticed by Adi and Riddhima.

"Nikki we'll drop you" Adi offered

"Its okay I am dropping Nikki,” Armaan informed him. “her house is on the way.” Abhi and Nikki looked despondently at each other. “Ladies, shall we leave?” Armaan asked Riddhima and Nikki and when they nodded their head, he walked out.

“Thank you Dr. Modi,” Riddhima said to Abhi who reciprocated the same to her. With a smile at Adi, Riddhima followed Armaan out.

"Thanks for coming Nikki.” Adi told her as he hugged her. “Whether anyone is happy or not, atleast Mom and Dad will go back with happiness. Thanks so much," his voice was emotionally heavy.

Nikki was close to tears. She smiled faintly at him.

When she stepped ahead, she found Abhi in front.

The pangs of parting is reflected in both their eyes.

She tore her gaze away and without uttering a word, she walked away. Once outside, the tears which she had latched on to for so long, poured like rain all over her face. As she neared Armaan's car, she quickly wiped them away.

Adi was observing Abhi who is rooted to the spot as if he as shell shocked. Few seconds later, his eyes moist and swallowing a lump in his throat, he quietly walked away.

"Why God ? Why is this happening ?” Adi implored looking heavenwards. “Can't you do something ?" He was filled with despair.

Nikki angrily pulled the pillow over her face. Why can’t she get some sleep. Her body is exhausted, her emotions overwrought, then why is sleep being so harsh to her, she wondered She realised it was all because of Abhi and scowled at his picture that was lying on her bedside table. She picked it up and quickly put it in the drawer below. She couldn't trust herself to look at him! She would be stuck the whole night just looking at his picture!

Lying on the bed Abhi was thinking about Nikki. Sleep was also playing truant with him. In a couple of hours he had to leave for the airport. He shut his eyes tightly hoping to get some sleep, but, it was all in vain.

Nikki’s face kept haunting him. He was reminded of their moments over the past week. The good and the bad. The kiss after the ice-cream, the beautiful moments in the cloud on the cliff, them dancing to baahon ki darmiyaan, the angst in his office, the final break up at Nikki’s place all keep flashing before his face.

Thoughts of Abhi had still not allowed Nikki to sleep. She was reminiscing how protective his arms were, it felt like heaven being in them. Those eyes, full of intensity and passion, unknowingly they draw her closer to him. His touch on her face was so excitingly sensuous, she always found it difficult to resist. She sighed deeply Those cherishable moments were now all things of the past. It could never be hers anymore.

Abhi was remembering Nikki's smile, her eyes. They were so mesmerizingly beautiful! Everytime he looked at them, they pulled out his soul from within. That luscious hair, those quivering, kissable lips, the glow of her cheek, all the time, make him want to reach out and touch them. He was fortunate to touch them. They could have been his forever, but now he has lost it all somehow

The ringing of the alarm clock told him, he had to leave for the airport. Stretching his arms, he climbed out of bed.


Nikki was woken up by the incessant ring of the telephone. Groggily she sat up. She remembered being awake till dawn. With difficulty she reached for the phone and mumbled “Hello”

“Nikki, seems like bad news,” Adi's frantic voice sent a chill into her spine. "the flight which Abhi took to Delhi has gone missing"

Nikki felt her whole world spinning dizzily.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Abhi kept staring at Nikki whose head was on his shoulder, her eyes shut and a happy and blissful smile on her lips. She was looking sensuously gorgeous and he was overcome with the urge to kiss her. Tenderly he ran his index finger over her face and smiled as she moved her face delighting in the rhythm of his caress

He then put his fingers under her chin and gently pushed it up towards him. Nikki opened her eyes and smiled at him.

"Nikki there is a reason I brought you,“ he told her. “After today we either go to heaven or back to hell!"

A confused Nikki looked questioningly at him.

"Nikki we've both made a lot of mistakes and suffered for it too,” He said in a soft tone. “These past few days made me realise no matter what hurdles we face, no matter the anger we experience, in our hearts we will always have a special place for each other.”

Nikki shook her head and looked at him with eyes brimming with love. His hand was warm against her jaw as he lowered his face and kissed her on the forehead. He then looked into her eyes and Nikki saw desire burning in them.

“Nikki.....” he whispered, his voice was passionately heavy. “Nikki, I.....”

A knock on the window startled them and away from each other. When Abhi rolled down his window, they were shocked to see a shivering Simi standing there.

“Oh my God Abhi! I saw your car pass by when I was standing at the last stop," she was panting heavily. There eyes filled with disappointment and puzzlement, Abhi and Nikki stared at her, both, too stunned to speak.

"Can I get into the car? I am shivering.” Simi pleaded.

"Of course," Abhi said. He turned behind and opened the door of the car for her. He looked dismayed at Nikki

"I wanted to see the different points, but, Dad, Uncle, Aunty were tired," Simi said, oblivious to the despair of the couple. "So, they got dropped off at the house while, I got the driver to drive me up here,” she paused to catch a breath and then said, “However, the car broke down just before the last stop point. While I was there I saw your car pass by and tried waving to you, but you did not see me. So I walked all the way here, hoping to catch you.”

Abhi and Nikki were unhappy and miserable.

“I am really sorry to disturb you both,” Simi said.

"No its okay," Abhi told her weakly. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah I am fine now!"

Simi was the only one doing the talking on the drive back to the house. The other two were too upset to say anything. When they reached the house, the others were happy to see them. However, seeing Simi enter along with Abhi and Nikki, Adi’s eyes narrowed in suspicion. He looked at Sheetal and saw the annoyance on her face too. After Simi related how she got stuck and found Abhi and Nikki, Adi doubted it was an innocent intrusion as she was making it out to be. He glanced at Abhi and Nikki and seeing their upset faces, he realized their plan had failed.

The rest of the evening was spent with the group. While Simi, Maya and Sr. Puri retired to bed, Dr. Chopra and the rest decided to watch a movie.

As Adi, Sheetal and Nikki sat down on the wider settee, Abhi put the DVD into the player. When he stood and looked for a place to sit, Adi pulled Sheetal closer towards him and after asking Nikki to shift closer to Sheetal, he invited Abhi to sit with them. Sitting beside Nikki, he stretched his hand over the headrest. Nikki hid her smile as she was enjoying the warmth of his nearness.

Sometime during the movie, Adi and Abhi were surprised to find their respective lady love had snuggled into them. They looked closely at them and saw they were in deep sleep, exhaustion having overtaken them. They noitced Dr. Chopra had also fallen asleep on the lounger. They exchanged amused smiles and then carried their ladies to their rooms.

Putting Nikki down on the bed, Abhi leaned closer to her and brushed the strand of hair falling over her face. Watching her sleeping peacefully, his heart melted and he smiled tenderly.

“Sweet Dreams My Sleeping Beauty” he whispered

“Hmmm” murmured Nikki in her sleep.

Abhi shook his head in amusement and then kissed her forehead tenderly. He then switched of the light and left the room, shutting it behind him.

In the morning, Nikki was surprised to find herself in her room. The last she remembered she was watching a movie with the rest. When did she come into her room?" she wondered. She then shook her head and reminsced on the sweet dream she had

Abhi kissing her on her forehead, whispering ‘Goodnight, my Sleeping Beauty’ Hmmm, how romantic! Will she ever get to see this side of his! she sighed

If only she knew it wasn’t a dream!

Next day, after lunch they decide to head back home to Mumbai. Having Simi in their car this time, made things pretty prickly for them. The flow of conversation and jokes wasn’t as easy as it was on their way to Lonavla.

They arrived at Nikki’s place. This time, to Nikki’s surprise, this time along with Adi, even Abhi got off. Seeing Abhi had gotten off, Adi grinned and standing at his side of the door, watched the two.

“Bye” they say together again. They smile. Blurting out the same thing together seemed to be becoming a habit with them.

When Nikki passed him, Abhi's soft whisper of her name made her stop and look questioningly at him.

“Can we do dinner tomorrow? Just you and Me?” he asked in a low tone.

Nikki tried not to show her surprise “Yeah, that should be fine,” She confirmed with a smile. He looked happy and smiled back. “Okay then, we’ll co-ordinate on this tomorrow, Bye”


The whole of Monday, Abhi was busy in various meetings. He sent a sms to Nikki apologising for his inability to keep their date in the evening as something serious had cropped up and asked her if they could meet the next day instead. Nikki was disheartened but understandingly, sent him an okay.

Next day, finding her alone in the locker room, Abhi said "I am so sorry about yesterday"

“You seem to be really very busy," she asked with concern in her voice.

Abhi ran his fingers through his hair.

"Yeah there are lots of things happening. All at the same time. The Sanjeevani project and Uncle-Aunty being here for a short time. I so want to spend some time with them and then I am also trying to make time for....... he stops. He was about to say "the precious person in my life"

He looked love struck at her. The approaching footsteps of the interns alerted them.

"Lets leave together in the evening," he said hurriedly and after Nikki nodded, he managed to make his exit before the gang entered.

Towards the evening, having completed her work, Nikki was walking in the corridor and came face to face with Simi.

"Do you know if Abhi is in his cabin?" she asked .

“Oh, I really don’t know” Nikki replied. She was surprised to see Simi holding a button in her hand. "Last night we were together and he dropped this shirt button in my room" Nikki was dumbfounded. She felt the ground shake beneath her feet.

"Never mind, I'll go and give it to him myself.” Simi said slyly, having achieved the desired reaction from Nikki. She walked towards Abhi's cabin.

Nikki felt a piercing in her chest. “No, this can’t be true. Abhi said he was busy. That is why he cancelled our date. How did he land up in Simi’s room? What were they doing that the button of his shirt was in her room ? She had a proof of it." She felt betrayed infusing pain and anger into her.

Seething with rage, she made her way towards Abhi's cabin. Before she could enter, the door opened and Simi walked out. Seeing Nikki she gave her a sacchrine sweet smile and said "Bye Nikki, catch you later .”

Nikki deliberately knocked on the cabin door and entered. Happy to see Nikki, Abhi’s face brightened up and a wide smile spread on it.

"Ready to leave?" he asked

Lying on the table was the button Simi had in her hand. Nikki got even more jealous and angry.

"Aren't you busy today ?" she taunted

"No, today I won't cancel our dinner," He assured her with a smile.

Picking up the button, she asked , "What is this button doing here ?"

“Oh that.....that ....” Abhi stuttered, fumbling for words. “it fell on ......."

“Simi's room?" she finished in calm anger.

Abhi’s head jerked up abruptly. Colour began to leave his face.

"Who told you ? Simi ?" he asked suspiciously.

"How does it matter?” Nikki snapped. “You first invite me to dinner and then you cancel it saying you are busy and then you end up with Simi in her room!"

Shaking his head in the negative, Abhi went closer to her and held her arms

"Will you please listen to me first?” he implored “Thats not true at all"

"Oh really ?” Nikki’s eyes were flashing with anger. “ Then what is the truth Abhi? that you were not in Simi's room last night ?"

“Yes, Yes I was in Simi's room last night but its not like what you think !"

She wasn't expecting a confirmation but when he did, it tore her heart. She refused to allow him to complete as jealousy sent her emotions overboard.

"After all that Simi has done to you, after the way she ruined your whole career, you still give so much of importance to her!" She spat venomously at him.

Abhi was stunned. She then realised she blurted out something she shouldn’t have and bit her lower lip.

Abhi grasped both her shoulders angrily and menacingly pulled her closer to him. "How do you know about my past ?" he demanded, his tone was calm but she knew there was lava hidden in it. Fear had paralysed her tongue and she was unable to utter a word.

"Adi?" he asked, eyes narrowing in disbelief. Nikki lowered her eyes unable to meet his angry eyes.

"Is that is why you suddenly softened towards me ?" He asked and then shut his eyes tightly as if he was tormented by the thought.

"I thought your feelings for me changed because you began to care for me,” he continued. “But no, your feelings changed because you felt sorry for me, for my wretched past," he sneered.

"No Abhi thats not true," She shook her head. However, he was not listening.

"Don't know why am I such a fool! I keep falling for the same things over and over again." Pain and anger erased all the joy and enchantment he had been experiencing the past few days. Before Nikki could say anything, there was a knock on the door.

“Hey, so the lovebirds are here together!" Adi’s cheerful voice cut into the grinding tension in the room. He then noticed Abhi's face flushed with anger and a flustered Nikki had lowered her eyes.

"What happened guys? You both fighting again?" he asked softly. Abhi swirled at him.

"Never expected you would be the one to stab me from behind" Abhi blasted pointing an accusing finger at him. His eyes reflected the anguish and hurt the betrayal brought him.

"What are you saying Abs?" Adi was stung by his accusation

"You had no business to tell her about my past," Abhi roared, his nostrils flaring angrily. Adi darted a questioning glance at Nikki and she returned a look that carried helplessness, apology and pleading. He blinked at her understandingly.

"Abs she has every right to know.” He tried to pacify his friend. “I don't feel I did anything wrong"

"Really ? What was so right about telling her?” Abhi scoffed “wanted to garner sympathy for me?”

Nikki and Abhi exchanged sad looks.

“The last thing I want in my life is sympathy from anyone" Abhi was raging fire.

“Abs, listen." Adi put his arm on him but he angrily shrug it away.

"Its no use Adi.” Nikki said, wanting to stop him from pleading for their sake. “He won't understand anything we say. No matter what we say, he'll always comprehend things the way he wants to."

Adi still looked pleadingly at Abhi who turned his face away from his close bud.

"Its okay Adi,” Nikki told him. “I don't have to explain my feelings to anyone especially to someone who won't understand it. So please, lets just leave this here,” her voice was firm. Abhi glared at her and then with another glare at Adi, he stormed out of his cabin, slamming the door behind him.

A tearful Nikki flopped down on the chair.

“I am so sorry Adi. I blurted about his past without realizing it”

“That’s okay Nikki,” Adi soothed, tenderly patting her head. “But, how did his past come up”

"I was very upset with him. He cancelled our dinner and ended up with Simi in her room"

Adi looked at her in surprise.

“Now who told you that Nikki! I was with Abs last night, when we dropped Simi to her room" Nikki’s eyes widened in shock.

"Abs had finished late last night and since he wasn't meeting you, we decided to have a drink. At the pub, we saw Simi in a complete drunken state. We took her to her room and put her on her bed. That's all. We left after that."

Nikki told Adi how Simi told her that she and Abhi spent the evening together and showed her a button of Abhi's shirt which she found in in her room.

"I knew that woman was up to no good,” Adi was disgusted disgusted “All that sweetness she puts on is just a farce"

“How does it matter now?" Nikki said woefully "Abhi and I are not destined to be together. Things can never get better between us”

Tears flowing down her cheeks, she dashed out of the room before Adi could stop her.

An upset Abhi was sitting on a bench in the lawn. Adi came and sat down beside him. An uncomfortable silence hung in the air for a good few minutes.

"Do you really think I mean anything bad for you Abs? that I can cheat you?” The hurt in Adi’s voice tugged at his heart. He shook his head unhappily and placed a comforting arm around Adi’s shoulder.

“Why? Why did you have to tell Nikki about my past?"

“Dammit, you Fool! I told her because she loves you. I felt she would understand you much better. She really loves you Abs"

Abhi keeps mum.

"why don't you understand her? why don't you understand your own heart, your own feelings Abs?” Adi prodded “ It keeps clearly telling you that you love her a lot, then why are you fighting it?" Abhi was listening intently to him.

"I guess you understand everything Abs, but its your ego which is stopping you You'll ruin any chance of happiness Abs if you allow your ego to overtake your love," Adi warned softly. His words began to seep deep into Abhi and he realised that “Come what may, he will always love Nikki.”

"I did my best for you Brother,” Adi told him sadly “but I am not God. You decide what you want whether you want her in your life or not and if you do, go and tell it to her!"

After a deep thought, Abhi stood up and walked towards his car. A happy smile curved on Adi's lips.

"Do say Hi to her from me!" he called from behind. Abhi nodded and droves off.

Nikki opened the door and was surprised to find Abhi standing there. They stared at each other, both, uneasiness making speech difficult. Still smarting from their quarrel earlier in the day, Nikki raised her head high and haughtily walked away from the door and ambled further into the room. She turned her back to him and folded her hand across her chest. Abhi followed her and stood closer to her.

"Nikki.....I.......I" he stuttered.

"Enough Abhi, Enough!” a peeved Nikki swirled and lashed at him. “ I don't think there is anything left to be said between us"

Abhi was taken aback by her outburst.

"Nikki please listen to what I have to say,” he pleaded .

"What do want to say Abhi? You think I don’t know why you have come?”

Abhi looked at her in puzzlement.

“You are scared I won't come for the party on thursday ? aren’t you? That is why you have come to apologise!”

Abhi shook his head in the negative

"Well, you are right!” Nikki confirmed "I can't carry on with this pretence anymore, so I won't be coming to the party" Abhi was stunned by her words.

"We can never ever be good to each other,” Nikki told him, her face red with anger. “We can't even manage to be civil with each other. Everytime we come closer, we end up hurting and getting angry with each other. I am really tired of it all. I have thought a lot about it and I really think its best we stay far away from each other as much as we can"

"Nikki....but....." Abhi interjected but, she raised her hand preventing him from saying anything further.

"Instead of the heart being ripped apart every now and then, lets just keep away from each other for good.” She told him, choking back on her tears. “One fatal blow in any case is much better than dying a slow death everyday.”

Abhi was dying from inside. He exhaled deeply and said "Fine ! If thats what you really want, then thats what you will get!" His voice was calm and composed

“I will not trouble you anymore or have anything to do with you!" he declared vehemently, his voice laden with bitterness.

They were both hurting to the core yet obstinately, they didn't want the other to see and glared at each other. Abhi then tore his gaze away and walked to the door, slamming it shut after he let himself out.

A heartbroken Nikki slumped down on the couch and sobbed bitterly.

Abhi sat in the car and stared into the darkness. Tears stung and clouded his eyes. He swallowed the painful lumps that were pricking his throat.

Throwing his head back he squeezed his eyes shut. ITS ALL OVER NOW. he declared in a broken voice.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Lying in their respective bed, Abhi and Nikki were just unable to sleep. They kept tossing and turning as the heat and passion of their kiss was still burning within them.

Even though they were at different places, far away from each other, they were on in thoughts. "The evening went off so beautifully but why is there a feeling of incompleteness," they wondered

Abhi reached for his cell wondering if he should call her.

What should he say? what if she's asleep?’

Dying to hear her voice but apprehensive about calling her so late, made him pull the pillow over his face in frustration.

Nikki, on the other hand, kept staring at her cell phone, hoping he would call. ‘Has he gone to sleep?’ she wondered ‘ Can’t he even call ?’ She scowled at the innocent phone.

Unable to bear the nagging thoughts, Abhi finally sent her a text

Are you asleep? Just remembered, I meant to say thanks for making it to dinner’

Ah! Finally some communication from him! Nikki smiled as she read his message.

‘Was about to sleep. Thanks for the invitation. I had a nice time’ she replied.

‘Yeah, Yeah, Sleeping Beauty!’ Abhi shook his head as he read her message.

"Hope all that chocolate doesn't deprive the beauty of her sleep. Goodnight and Sleep Well!" was his reply to her.

Colour crept into Nikki's cheek as she read it. “Not the chocolate Dr. Modi, its You!” she mumbled to herself.

"Some sins are worth committing. Will try to live with it. Goodnight to you too." she bit her lower lip coyly as she sent her reply.

A wide grin spread on Abhi's face. He always knew there was something different and special about her. Happy and satisfied, they shut their eyes and drifted off to sleep dreamily taking the passion of their kiss along with them.

The next day in Sanjeevani, the very same kiss made them feel awkward and nervous to face each other. So, they avoided meeting each other. However, sometime in the after, Nikki was missing Abhi and during her break time, went in search of him. She hoped for a glimpse of him but was told he had gone out for a meeting.

Clutching her favourite diary close to her heart, she sadly made her way to the canteen. Armaan and the gang were having fun. Lost in thoughts of Abhi, she was did not participate in their jokes. Riddhima noticed her friend's lack of interest and excusing herself from the gang, pulled Nikki outside the canteen.

“What is the matter Nikki? Why are you so sad and lost?” she asked

"Nothing !" replied morose Nikki.

"What's the matter, why are you both here ?” Armaan’s voice from behind startled them and they realized he had followed them. “ Is there some secret ?'

They exchange a worried glance and then look at Armaan.

"Nothing, Nothing at all!" they blurted in unison.

"Look you better tell me or else I know how to get it out from both of you,” warned a suspicious Armaan.

Hands on their hips, they look defiantly at him. "Really ? what could you do ?" they challenged.

Armaan teasingly took his face closer to Riddhima surprising the two girls. Seeing Nikki watching them with faint amusement, he tugged at the diary she was holding catching her unawares. Taken aback, she clung tightly to the diary and hollered, "Armaan, leave this, "

"First tell me what you both are upto and then I'll leave it," Armaan teased

"Leave it Armaan!" Riddhima angrily yelled at Armaan unable to watch them do a tug-of-war with the diary and knowing it was personal and important to Nikki

Armaan abruptly, let go off the diary at Riddhima's angry outburst and with his sudden release, Nikki reeled backwards into a pair of strong arms that held her firmly from behind and preventing her from falling. The arms were so easily recognisable as she dreamed often of burying herself into them and never leaving their have. After he had steadied her, Abhi looked down at Nikki. Happy to see him and mesmerised, she began to drown into his eyes. Abhi cleared his throat as he saw the others staring at them.

"Dr. Nikita, Dr. Armaan, when will you both stop playing around like kids in the hospital corridor" he reprimanded sternly

Dr. Modi its our free time now" Armaan retorts while Nikki and Riddhima, exchange anxious looks.

"Well Dr. Armaan you are given a place to be during your free time,” Abhi told him calmly. “You can do whatever you like there. Do spare the hospital corridors!"

"OK Boss, point taken" says reply with a saccharine smile.

Abhi looked wryly at him and then at Nikki. He turned to leave but after a thought swirled back and said ot Armaan. "whenever you are free, I need to talk to you !"

The other three look at him with surprise

“Well, why don't we do it right away ?" Armaan replied

"Then, let's go to my cabin"

Standing outside Abhi's cabin, Nikki, Riddhima, Muskaan and Atul eavesdrop on their conversation.

"I need to throw a party,” Abhi told Armaan. “and I would like you to organise it"

"Woah ! Woah !” Armaan was taken by surprise. “ Dr. Abhimanyu Modi and asking me to organise a party!"

"Some things should be handled only by experts! Since you are good at this kind of stuff I would like you to handle it" He told him with a wry smile.

Armaan was stunned to receive a compliment from ‘The Dr. Modi’ The peeping interns are stunned too. They look at each other.

“However, if this thing comes in between your duties in Sanjeevani or you are unable to handle it, Please do let me know!" Abhi told them. "I don't want your work to suffer. "

"No problem at all Boss ! when should we have it?"

"Next Friday is a holiday, so we can have it on Thursday night,” replied Abhi. “You can get the guest list from my assistant"

"Ok Boss !" Armaan agreed

"Thank you !" Abhi told him extending his hand towards Armaan. Nikki was happy to see them having a warm handshake.

Nikki had almost finished for the day. All she needed to do was to get Dr. Keerti to sign her patient's file and she would be done fully. A nurse informed her that Dr. Keerti left for the day so she'll have to take Dr. Modi's signature. Nikki knocked on Abhi's cabin door and entered.

Being by themselves, they were reminded of the previous night’s kiss and stare awkwardly at each other. Summoning courage, Nikki told him he needs to sign on the papers. Abhi went through the file and questioned her on why a certain pill was mentioned on it. Nikki went blank for a brief moment. She went around to Abhi’s side and leaning closer to him, pored over the file. Abhi was finding it difficult to take his eyes off her lovely face and kept staring mesmerised at her. Feeling the heat of his gaze on her, Nikki looked shyly at him and they ended up staring at each other for a long time. Abhi finally averted his gaze and looked back into the file.

Straightening up Nikki explains to him that the pill is prescribed as an alternative. Acknowledging it with the shake of his head, he signs the papers and hands over the file to Nikki. Nikki thanks him and turns to leave, when he stands up and softly calls her name. She swirled and looked questioningly at him.

"You know we have to leave for Lonavla tomorrow," he informed.

Nikki first went blank again and then her eyes began to gleam mischievously.

"Oh, I'm sorry but no one asked me,” she said with a straight face.

Abhi's brows furrowed in puzzlement, "You know Uncle mentioned yesterday about we all going to Lonavla"

"Yeah thats because you all are family,” Nikki agrees “However, you haven't asked me as yet ! You know I could be busy too!" he replied and then realised she was teasing him.

"Nikki, I am so sorry. I forget how busy you are" He said with mock pleading and clasping his hand together in front of his chest

Nikki was enjoying the pleading in his tone. It sounded like music to her!
‘Go On Dr. Modi, you can beg a little more!’ she mentally told him.

"I wish you could come with us to the beautiful scenic Lonavla,” Abhi continued to implore

“But if you can't,” he paused long and deliberately,

"It is absolutely okay!" There was a sudden cool nonchalance in his voice making a dumfounded Nikki's eyes pop wide.

"I'll make some excuse to Uncle and Aunty for your not coming," He told her wryly. They stare indignantly at each other

A knock made them turn towards the door and were surprised to see Simi enter.

"Abhi, I was passing by and thought I'll check if you are around,” Simi informed.

She noticed Nikki in the room and the two of them standing close to each other. "Oh so romance in the office ! Can't you both wait for tomorrow. I hear Lonavla is beautiful and romantic in the rains"

Colour seeped into their faces as they looked at each other.

"Nikki you coming, aren't you ?" Simi asked with a smile

“Yes” Nikki hollered in quick desperation ‘Simi and Abhi in romantic Lonavla! No way!’ she shuddered at the thought.

Abhi and Simi’s startled expressions told her, her reply was way too loud than needed.

“Well, Of course I am coming!” possessively, she wrapped her hand around Abhi's arm and smiled sweetly at the other two. "After all I am part of the family now"

Abhi was finding it difficult to suppress his amusemnet. Nikki frowned at him knowing he was enjoying her discomfort.

"Why don't you lovebirds show me around Mumbai,” Simi interrupted. “You both are done right ?" Nikki and Abhi nod their head in confirmation.

"Let's go !" she said.

In the corridor they met Armaan who pulled her aside telling her he needed to speak urgently to her on something important. Nikki glanced helplessly to Abhi.

Armaan saw Abhi and Simi waiting and said. "Its okay Dr. Modi you carry on"

“Armaan......” Nikki interjected but Armaan continued to talk to Abhi.

"I only needed to speak to Nikki, you can carry on !"

Nikki and Abhi exchanged unhappy and dejected looks.

"Then shall we go Nikki?" Simi asked

Nikki was in a dilemma. She wanted to be with Abhi but Armaan may have something important to tell her. Reluctantly she nodded her head and saw the hopeful look in Abhi's eyes turn to dejection.

"Let's go Abhi" Simi said. He darted a cold, angry glance at Nikki and followed Simi. With eyes filled with sadness, Nikki watched him walk away.

"Is this Modi's girlfriend ?" Armaan asked and the question irritated Nikki.

"What is it Armaan?” she snapped in irritation “What did you want to speak to me about ?"

"Oh about the party! You know Modi has asked me to organise it?” he told her happily. “He seems to have changed a lot!"

"Couldn't this wait?" Nikki interjected unhappily, upset that Simi was with Abhi instead of her.

"Woah ! whats the matter with you ?" Armaan asked puzzled at her sudden ill-temper. “Why are you looking so upset ?"

"Nothing !” she murmured “I just have a bad headache ! I want to go home now"

"Oh I am sorry, didn't know that,” Armaan consoled “ You go home, we'll talk some other time"

Disillusioned and disheartened, Nikki went home. That night she didn’t hear anything from Abhi.

Next morning 7 am, she is woken up by the ring of the phone.

"Is the beauty up or should I send her Prince to wake her up?" Adi’s cheerful voice, brought a smile on Nikki’s face.

"Good morning !" she greeted him. “Raring to go!

"Good ! Well we'll pick you up at 8.30. Will you be ready by then ?” Adi asked.

“Yes Sir!” Nikki confirmed .

She quickly tossed a few things into her overnight bag and went to shower.

At 8.30 am, when Abhi drove in, she was waiting on the porch. Alighting from the front seat, Adi took the bag from Nikki and invites her to sit in the front beside Abhi. While Nikki and Sheetal greeted each other, Adi put the bag in the boot and sat beside Sheetal. After exchanging a casual "hi" with her, Abhi started the car and they were soon on the way to Lonavla

Inspite of the strain between Abhi and Nikki, the four enjoyed themselves. Adi entertained them by cracking jokes and they would soon in splits. On and off he would embarrass Abhi and Nikki by teasing them. The drive to Lonavla was breath-stoppingly scenic with beautiful waterfalls gushing down from tiny cliffs along the way. They stopped at a couple of places to get themselves photographed. With the fun and excitement, the strain between Abhi and Nikki eased out.

Finally, they reached the house that they were to stay for the night. The house was huge. After the group freshened up, they set off again in two cars for lunch and sightseeing.

On their way back to the house, the narrow cliff was filled with lots of tourists. The vehicles were moving at a snail pace and then after some time there was a traffic jam, the vehicles completely at a halt.

Frustrated with the non-movement of the vehicles ahead, Abhi got off the car and walked to the front of it his bottoms leaning against the bonnet. Soon Adi joined him, while Sheetal and Nikki chatted inside the car.

Every now and then Abhi would turn and look at Nikki. Sensing him looking at her, she too would look at him and exchange smiles.

"Khullam Khulla !" Adi teased A red faced Abhi dug his elbow into Adi's stomach.

"If you love her so much why don't you tell her ?" Adi told him.

Abhi blushed. After a deep thought he asked "Should I?"

"Its about time !"

"Ok. Once we get out of this traffic and after dropping you, I'll take Nikki up there?" he smiled as he pointed towards the other cliff. He was now a Man with a mission.

Adi gave a short wolf whistle. "That would be great !"

"But the others ?" Abhi asked

"don't worry about them I'll handle them,” he assured turning and after darting a smile at Nikki, turned back and winked at Abhi. “You handle the one you need to handle"

They exchange mischievous smiles.

The traffic began to clear up and they went back to their seats. Belting himself, Abhi smiled at Nikki who returned him a shy smile.

As they neared the house Abhi looked at Adi through the driving mirror and winked.

"Shall we go up to Lion's point ?" he asked.

"Er, Sheetal seemed tired,” says Adi, taking the cue and sent a signal to Sheetal by pressing her hand. “she needs rest, you both go ahead.”

"Yeah Abhi” Sheetal confirmed having understood her husband's message. “I am feeling drained out"

"Then shouldn't we go later?" Nikki said worriedly.

"No No” Adi replied. “it will get too dark . You'll miss the beautiful view."

"Yeah, yeah go ahead, I am absolutely fine," Sheetal assured her.

When Sheetal and Adi alighted at the house, Adi winked at Abhi bringing a curve on Abhi's lips as he smiled.

Nikki was amazed at the ease which Abhi drove up the hill.

“How do know the place so well?” she asked him.

“My maternal grandmother used to live in Mumbai. Whenever we came down to visit her, we would often drive off to Lonavla and nearby hill stations”

Nikki was amazed by the panoramic view of the valley as they drove up. At some places there were stop points where people would get off and enjoy the waterfalls.

"Oh God, this is heaven!" she exclaimed taking in breathtaking view as they drove higher.

"The best is yet to come!" Abhi told her with a smile. Nikki looked at him with curiousity but he doesn't clear it.

“Wait and watch!” his eyes dance mischievously.

A few minutes into the drive, they passed another stop point where there was a crowd of tourist enjoying the view along with tea and snacks from the local stalls. The whole place was misty and cold. Nikki wrapped the end of her cardigan around her as she began to shiver.

“Thank god she wore her cardigan over her strappy top and jeans.’she thought. She knew it would get cold in Lonavla.

She was surprised to see their car being engulfed in clouds. The road got lonely. There were no cars or people around. There was absolutely no visibility of the road ahead.

"What is this ? Where are we ?" she asked Abhi, anxiety making her shiver even more.

"Now, This is what I call heaven!" Abhi said with a smile

"Why aren't there any cars or people ?" she asked.

"That was the last stop point, Whoever carries on beyond that point does so at their own risk. We are thousands of feet high in the clouds on an unprotected cliff. We don't know the road ahead. One wrong move and we may just fall down in the valley" He spoke so casually as if he was talking of something else and no them being in midst of it. Nikki was amazed at his composure while she had butterflies in her stomach.

"Abhi don't scare me. I'll kill you. You can't do this!"

"Afraid to die with me?" He asked with an impish smile.

Nervous yet thrilled, Nikki put her hand on his arm. Intimidated by the lack of visibility outside, she shut her eyes and put her head on his shoulder.

Abhi stopped the car. He looked down at Nikki who was clinging on to his arm and digging her face into his shoulder blade. Putting his finger under her chin, he gently pushed her face up.

"Are you frightened?"

Nikki was soothed and drawn by his bewitching eyes. "No, Now I am not"

"Inspite of knowing that one slip and we both could fall into the valley?" he teased.

"No I am not scared!” she replied firmly. Abhi grinned.

A cloud passed by. Just before another cloud could engulf them, Nikki noticed they were on the top most point of the hill. Adrenaline punched inot her as she took in the spectacular grandeur of nature.

She was in the clouds, at thousands of feet high, in one of the most beautiful valleys of Western India, with the Man she Loved! What else could she ask for!. ‘ She closed her eyes in bliss and contenment.

Monday, October 26, 2009


After Armaan and the gang left her place, Nikki started to leave for Sanjeevani. She called up Sanjeevani and told the receptionist to inform Dr. Keerti she would be coming in late. The receptionist told her since a lot of people had problem reaching home the previous night, Dr. Keerti said it was fine if the staff came in a little late.

When she reached the hospital, she noticed Abhi wasn't in the hospital. She enquired with the receptionist about his whereabouts and was told that he has gone to check the site, that was alloted to them for the New Sanjeevan Project. He would be back only late in the evening.

A dejected Nikki carried on with her duties throughout the day, but, still kept a hopeful watch for Abhi. She was already upset that Abhi left early in the morning without even meeting her. Now he isn’t even around! Just, as she was about to finish for the day, her cellphone beeped a message from him.

"Need to talk to you. I am in a meeting, will try to be there by 7pm, can you wait for me?"

Happy to see his message Nikki replied with a "Yes.”

Her phone rang Thinking it was Abhi, she answered excitedly.

"See, not only we, even the Gods are with you!” It was Adi in a teasing tone. “I heard you both had a romantic date in the rain?" Nikki smiles.

“Oh Yes, It was very romantic indeed !" she replied, sadness and despondency mingled in her voice "with everyone around !" She heard Adi's loud laugh.

"Yeah Abs told me briefly about it. He was in a hurry"

“He left in the morning without even meeting me!" she rued

"That's one complex man you've fallen in love with!" Adi teased. He tone was then soft and comforting as he said, "Don't worry, he'll definitely meet you," After assuring her, he disconnected the call.

Nikki was waiting impatiently for Abhi in the hospital. At 8pm she got another text from him saying he was still unable to leave the meeting and didn't think he would be free any sooner. So, she should carry leave for home, they would talk tomorrow. Nikki was even more upset. She left for home with a heavy heart.

Next morning, as Nikki was getting ready to leave for Sanjeevani, her phone rang. It was Abhi asking if she was ready to leave for Sanjeevani and when Nikki told him she was, he said he would pick her up as he was on his way to her place. Nikki agreed. Ten minutes, she heard the door bell and taking him in, asked him if he wanted to have anything. He politely declined the offer.

"I wanted to apologise to you for Adi's outburst to Uncle regarding us. He shouldn't have dragged you into this"

Nikki kept mum and sat down on the arm-rest of a chair. She needed to keep her nerves calm.

"Uncle is very happy about us." Abhi continued. "He is so happy that he has even extended his trip by a week. I did not know about it but, in his excitement, he has asked Maya Aunty to come down. Now she is arriving this afternoon."

“Oh!” Nikki acknowledged, with surprise on his face.

Abhi shook his head in confirmation.

"I really don't know how to say it to you but they are all so excited about us that I am unable to tell them the truth" there was hesitancy and nervousness in his voice

"what exactly is the truth Abhi? You don't love me ?" Nikki was tempted to ask him. Their eyes meet. Abhi could see her lips part as if she wanted to say something. His brows furrowed. .

"Did you say something?" He asked and Nikki shook her head in the negative.

'You see Uncle , Aunty, Adi-Sheetal, have always been there for me in both my good and bad times." Abhi explained. There was a faraway look on his face.
"They have been my strength and gone through a lot of pain." He wanted to add "because of me," but, refrained from doing so.

"Now that I see how happy this news has made them, I just don't have the heart to tell them otherwise. They would be heartbroken" there was pleading in his voice. He glanced at her and then tearing his gaze away quickly. He then shut his eyes tightly as if gathering all the strength he could. Never the one to speak much of himself, Nikki knew this was extremely difficult for him. He then opened his eyes and looked at Nikki once again. She could see the uneasiness in his them.

"This is why I ask , will you be able to keep up the pretence of us being a couple, for a few days, till they are here?"

Nikki gave him a wry look.

"Dr. Abhimanyu Modi ! You never like pretence and playing games do you?" she challenged. Feeling guilty Abhi looked shame-faced at her.

"Don't worry ! I do understand how difficult it is for you to even suggest it,” She paused briefly before saying further. “If it was only for you, I wouldn't have even considered it. However, now I have grown very fond of Adi, Sheetal and Dr. Puri. They are wonderful people and have given me so much of warmth. I would not not like to see them in pain."

There was partial relief and part gratitude on Abhi's face.

"For someone like me who lives in this big cold world, its rare to get such warmth and love" Her eyes were brimming with tears. Abhi felt his own eyes beginning to moisten as he empathised with her.

"I'll do it for their sake." She said, struggling to keep her tears from flowing. Abhi thanked her softly. For the longest moment, they stared at each other, their eyes glistening with tears. A little later Abhi took a deep breath and asked "Shall we go?" Nikki nodded her head.

Sitting in the car,on their way to Sanjeevani, Nikki braced herself and asked Abhi about Simi. "Do I need to know about your relationship with Simi or not?"

She saw him stiffen and tighten his hand on the steering wheel. Eyes glued on the road ahead, he said, "Simi and I were together once but it didn't work out and I really don't want to go into details about that right now.”

He then darted a brief glance at her. “Sometimes we have no choice but keep meeting people we don't want to keep in touch with. I can't help Simi being around. All that matters now is there is nothing between us and definitely nothing from my side."

The uncomfortabel silence glared in the car and continued till they reached Sanjeevani.

In the hospital, they stopped at the reception. While Nikki was signing the Roster, Abhi asked for a file from the receptionist.

A lady, carrying a little boy in her arms, greeted them. The one year old boy Aarav was Nikki's patient. With a broad smile, she took Aarav from his mother and started playing and cooing with him. Abhi watched them as he took the file from the receptionist. A tiny smile erupted on his face.

"Dr. Nikita, he is fine now." the mother told her. "Thanks for signing the discharge papers last evening. Now we can leave early." She darted a searching glance around her and realised she left her bag in her room. She asked Nikki if she would hold Aarav for few minutes while she would go get her bag. "No Problem," Nikki told her as she continued to play with Aarav.

"So you going today? will you miss me?" she asked him playfully after his mother left.

Distracted by them, Abhi glanced up from his file. His heart was melting as he watched her with the kid. Aarav was suddenly attracted by the tattoo under the sleeve of Abhi's shirt. He tried to reach for it. Seeing him doing that, an amused Abhi held his little finger and playfully shook it.

A lady standing near the reception was observing them playing with the kid. "You both make a lovely pair. That’s a sweet little kid you have there."
Abhi and Nikki were stunned. They flustered in embarrassment. Abhi then gave a hard stare at Nikki and walked away as if he was irked by the remark. Nikki watched him with sad eyes while the lady looked baffled at the two ofthem.

Sometime towards the evening, Abhi left his cabin in search of Nikki. Finding her alone in the locker room he told her that Aunty would like to meet her. He asked her if she is okay to have dinner out with the family tonight. Nikki agreed. Abhi told her he'll pick her up at 8 pm.

Nikki managed to leave Sanjeevani early. At home she was tearing her hair wondering what to wear.

"Don't get nervous Nikki. Its not like you are meeting your in-laws" she soothed her frazzled nerves. She finally settled for a simple off shoulder black dress from her wardrobe and went for a shower. Once she was fully dressed, she gave herself a good look in the mirror. The off shoulder knee length straight fit dress accessorised by small diamond studs in the ears, a silver cuff bracelet and black & silver stilettos made her look gorgeous. Yet Nikki was feeling uneasy, wondering if something was missing or had she overdone it! She twirled and swirled in front of the mirror till the doorbell rang.

When Nikki opened the door the her heart almost popped out from her chest. at sight of Abhi standing in looking so hot in a full sleeved short black shirt, unbuttoned to the point where it revealed the black pendant and dark blue jeans.

They gulped hard as they stared at each other. The flicker of intense passion in his eyes, brought a deep colour on Nikki's face.

"Is something wrong ? am I not okay?" she asked, trying to divert his attention and succeed as he snapped out of his ogling.

"NO !" he muttered.

"No?" Nikki was taken aback.

" Oh, Oh, I meant.......I meant nothing is wrong,” He stuttered “ You are perfect ! In fact you are looking absolutely stunning!"

Nikki blushed. There was a brief awkward silence, till Abhi hurriedly asked "Shall we go ?"

Nikki picked up her silver clutch and walked towards the car. She saw Abhi has held the door open for her, his eyes transfixd on her. Flashing a shy smile at him, she sat in the car.

Abhi shut the car door and exhaled deeply. He gave himself a mental shake as he strode across to the driver's side. ‘Concentrate, don't get diverted. he told himself.'

Once he was seated, he willed himself not to look at her, but, as if in a trance, he turned to look at her, immediately regretting it as his heart pumped violently threatening to come out of his chest. "Shut up!" he h bellowed at his treachorous heart. He never realised he was loud.

"Excuse me?" Nikki was taken aback.

"What ?" he asked, in perplexment.

"You were saying something, I didn't hear properly!"

"Oh no, no, its nothing" Unable to look her into the eye, he quickly belted himself and started the car.

"How is Adi's mom ? is she sweet like them ?" Nikki asked lightly trying to slacken the heated tension in the car."

"Oh, she is a warm and lovely person. You'll love her!" he told her with a tender smile. She could see the fondness for the lady in his eyes.

Seeing Nikki fidgeting with her purse, he said softly, "Nikki you don't have to prove anything. You just be yourself. And you are wonderful the way you are!"

They were both stunned with his sudden blurting. Abhi had turned red with embarassment and turned his gaze to the road.

‘What is happening to him ? He doesn't know what he was saying and what he was doing? "Focus Abhimanyu, don't get diverted I said !" he reprimanded himself. This was only the start. If he was in this state now, he was sure to be a wreck by the end of the evening! He had to control his emotions!

"Second compliment from Dr. Abhimanyu Modi ! Looks like he isn't feeling well today !" Nikki was thinking, her heart beating in excitement. They exchanged a tiny awkward glance and nervous smile before turning to the road ahead again.

The Puris were already waiting when they reached the table. Adi and Sr. Puri rose from their chairs to greet them. Nikki then saw a woman with short, salt-peppered hair coming towards them.

Maya Puri was one sophisticated chic looking woman who was dressed in a complete black, black low necklined top over black trousers. A simple string of pearls was around her neck. With a broad and warm tender smile, she outstretched her arms wide to Abhi. "There you are my son ! I am seeing you after ages!" she exclaimed.

Abhi embraced her tightly and she patted his back fondly, saying "how much I missed you!" She then pulled back and scanned him from head to toe.

"I doesn't look like you missed me" she said poutily.

Abhi pulled her into his arms and clasped her tightly. "You don't know how much I missed you!" There was emotion in his voice. Maya smiled. Looking over Abhi's shoulder she saw Nikki.

"And you are Nikita!" she stated flashing a tender smile at her. Nikki nodded her head. Abhi pulled away from here and turned to look at her.

"Yes this is Nikki,” he confirmed “ and Nikki this is Maya Aunty".

Maya enveloped Nikki in a warm embrace too. Then pulling away, her eyes scanned Nikki from head to toe as she did to Abhi.

"My My you are really very pretty" she declared

Nikki smiled "Thank you, but look at you! You could give any young model a run for their money!" Maya chuckled and so did the rest.

"I have heard so much about you from everyone that I had to cross the oceans to come and see you,” she told Nikki, “after all its regarding my Abhi"

She glanced lovingly at him and he returned her a fond smile. "but yes, I am upset that I was not the first one to know about you.”

She then noticed anxiety flit on her face. “Oh Don't worry I am not blaming you." She smiled and turning to Abhi, tweaked his ears. "He is the one to be punished for it" Nikki smiled.

"I guess some people have problems admitting their feelings even to themselves!" she replied, looking defiantly at Abhi who was clearly peeved by her remark. The others were enjoying the exchanged between the three.

"Hear! Hear!" a delighted Maya cheered slapping him on the back. "Abhi puttar you've got the right match, I love her spunk." She teased darting an approving glance at her.

Sr. Puri then embraced Nikki and kissed her on the forehead.

"You are looking beautiful," he told her warmly. Nikki shyly mumbled her thanks. She then embraced Sheetal who also complimented her looks.

"Going for the kill Girl?" Adi whispered in her ear as they embraced. "Poor Abs, he is a sure goner today!" He pulled back and seeing his wicked grin, Nikki blushed.

It was then that Simi and her father entered. There wasa another exchange of hugs and greeting.

When Simi came to Nikki, she gave her a sweet smile which surprised Nikki. "Nikita, I am sorry, we didn't get a chance to talk after Adi told us about you and Abhi. I am so glad for you guys!" She said hugging her and air kissed her. Sheetal, Adi and Abhi exchange surprised looks, but Nikki felt a certain coldness in her hug.

Simi then went to Abhi and said. "I am really glad for you Abhi. At last you found someone who loves you"

"Yeah someone who Abs loves," Adi interjected.

"Yes of course” Simi acknowledged with a faint smile and then embracing Abhi she planted a kiss on his cheek. Abhi and Nikki looked suspiciously at her.

"Can we start the dinner?" Maya asked and nodding their heads, they took their seats. Nikki was seated between Adi and Abhi, while Sheetal and Simi were seated on the other side of them.

The dinner was a pleasant affair as everyone were in a good mood. Everytime some unknown name or event came up in the discussions, Abhi would lean over to Nikki and explain it to her. Everytime he would do that her heart would start racing and her insides would tingle excitedly. And everytime Simi would lean closer to Abhi and try to monopolise his attention, a twinge of jealousy would stab into her, but, she tried her best not to show it.

"Nice to see we are all together after such a long time!" Sr. Puri said with a satisfied smile. "Lets go for a picnic, somewhere out of the city.”

"Yes, lets do that!" Adi ageeed. "But since Sheetal won't be able to do a very long journey, lets go somewhere closer"

"The closest we can do is Lonavla which is approximately a hour and half drive" Abhi said.

So it was decided that they would go to Lonavla on Saturday and be back by Sunday afternoon. Sr. Puri also asked Abhi about the party he was to arrange.

"Oh I forgot about it!" Abhi slapped his head.

He turned to Nikki. "Remind me tomorrow to tell Armaan to organise it." Nikki stared dumbfoundedly at him. "Abhi taking help from Armaan!"

"Good thing Raj, you and Simi decided to stay back for another week. Now, you can attend the party too" Senior Puri told his friend.

The group were ready to leave and rose from their seats. Adi had been watching Abhi and Nikki intently. He saw how Abhi was unable to keep his eyes away from Nikki right through the dinner making her shy and flustered.

"Time for some fun my friend!" he mentally declared, mischief bubbling inside him.

Going near Abhi, he put his arm around his shoulder. They were the last in the group walking out. A couple of steps ahead of them, Sheetal and Nikki were giggling, having just shared a joke.

"Abs I know you are tired. I can drop Nikki home if you want." He said aloud. Everyone turned around and looked at him in puzzlement. Abhi was bewildered and to thrust his elbow hard into Adi's stomach.

"Ouch!" Adi grimaced in pain.

'You ..........! if it weren't for Sheetal and you being a father, I would have throttled you," Abhi hissed under his breath.

Adi smiled. "Yaar I am only helping you"

"Yeah its all because of your help, this is happening. Thank you very much. I don't need any more help from you.” Abhi retorted hotly.

He then noticed everyone was staring at the two of them, confusion on their faces. He gave them an assuring smile.

"Its okay Adi, you take care of your wife, she needs you. I'll drop Nikki," he told him. Being nearer to them, Sheetal and Nikki noticed Adi's mischievous gleam and knew he was teasing Abhi. They exchanged knowing looks with each other and shaking their heads they followed the others out.

"Soch lo, today the stars are not right!" Adi teased Abhi, his tone was low.

"If you don't shut up, your stars will definitely not be right ever !" Abhi grated wryly.

Adi chuckled. "Teek hai don't blame me later, if anything happens" he shrugged his shoulders. Giving him a wry look, Abhi thumped him hard on his back. When their reached the lobby, Sr. Puri turned and looked at them.

"Is everything okay boys?" They shook their heads in confirmation and innnocent smiles on their faces.

On their way home, Abhi asked Nikki if she was fine with the dinner. Nikki smiled and told him she did have a great time.

“I noticed you did not eat well,” he said. You were picking on the food. Didn't you like it?”

"Actually, I was a bit nervous,” Nikki replies. “ so I couldn't eat."

By the time they reached Nikki's place it started raining. When Abhi stopped the car, they looked at each other and smiled. They realised it was time to part and were feeling unhappy about it. Tension was grinding in the car as they struggled to find the right words to say.

“Thanks” they finally muttered in unison and then exchanged an awkward smile.

Mumbling a bye, Nikki then turned to open the car door.

“Nikki!” she heard Abhi call hurriedly. She quickly swirled and eyed him in anticipation.

"Since you did not eat well, are you feeling hungry ? We could get you something to eat !" he said hesitantly.

"Oh No, I am fine. Thank you."

"Oh Ok", He shrugged trying his best to hide his disappointment. Nikki thought for a moment and said, “Actually I wouldn't mind a nice chocolate ice-cream with lots of chocolate sauce on it," She smacked her lips bringing a grin on Abhi's face.

"Ok Lets go find one for you."

The rain was coming down a bit heavy. They managed to find an ice-cream parlour. The service boy came to their window and gives Abhi the menu list. He handed it to Nikki and asked her to choose.

Nikki chose a double scoop of chooclate fudge ice-cream on a cone topped with chocolate sauce. Abhi smiled.

“Why are you smiling?” she asked.

"No. nothing!" He shook his head, stiffling his amusement and ordere her ice-cream.

"Aren't you going to eat ?" she asked surprise he didn't order anything for himself.

" Didn't you order two scoops? I thought one was for me !" he teased.

"No way!” Nikki looked horrified at him. “You better order your own!"

Looking at her expression, Abhi threw his head back and gave a short laugh "Its okay, I am not too fond of ice-cream!"

She stared at him as if he committed sacrilege. He laughed again.

Her ice-cream arrived and Abhi paid the boy. He requested Abhi to move his car ahead to the corner. As Nikki started eating her ice-cream. Abhi drove the car a little ahead and parked it on the side of the road under a tree.

"Ummmmmm! This is so delicious," she exclaimed. "Heaven!" She took another lick. “Ummm....An ice-cream in this weather and that too such yummy one ! Absolutely Divine!"

Wiping her face with a tissue lying in a box in the dashboard, she looked at Abhi and extending the cone towards him, said "You can try a bite." Even before he could react, she pulled it back to her lips and took another bite. Abhi grinned.

" No, you have it!" he mumbled wryly. He was enjoying her child-like exuberance on eating an ice-cream. When she was done with the last bit, she thanked him.

Noticing a bit of chocolate sauce on her nose, he indicated it to her with his eyes. Nikki touched her nose but missed the spot. “Where?” she mouthed.

He leaned closer to her and with his thumb wiped it away. Her senses were stirred and she looked shyly at him. Desire smouldered in his eyes as he pored deep into hers. He lifted his thumb and ran it on her cheek. Nikki closed her eyes and dreamily moved her face in rhythmn to his sensuous caress. His thumb then slowly moved seductively on her lips making them throb and burn. Her chest was heaving heavily from the pounding that was going inside her. He cupped her face with both his palms and after a long look at her, lowered his mouth and captured her lips. Passion bursting into them they exchanged kiss for kiss as their mouths crushingly fused together. Abhi's lips then slowly moved away from her lips to the edge of her mouth. Nikki’s insides were churning with excitement. Rapturously, she wrapped her arms tightly around his neck while he move his lips down to her neck, planting soft kisses on it, his hands gently caressing her back. The heat from his warm hands on the bareness of Nikki's back, burnt into her skin sending her body on fire. .

"God you are so beautiful,” he drawled “ you drive me crazy " '

His words sent a exciting chill down Nikki's spine. She regained her senses.

“Abhi" she whispered shyly.

"Hmmmm" he mumbled, his lips still passionately burning on her neck

Nikki nudged him gently. "Abhi!"

He loosened his hold and released her. He exhaled deeply and glanced at her. Flushed with shyness, she lowered her eyes. He straightened himself and sitting upright in his seat, he squeezed his eyes tightly. He then opened them and running his fingers through his hair , be blew a soft "phew".

"Are you okay?" he asked hesitantly, not looking at her.

When she mumbled a yes, he started the car. They drove in absolute silence. The only sound that was loud and clear was the sound of the lashing rain. When they reached Nikki's place, Abhi drove up to the porch so that Nikki did not get wet. After opening the door, she gave him one last look and entered her house. Abhi then drove away and after going a little further from Nikki’s place, he parked the car on the side.

"Great Going Abhimanyu !” he reprimanded himself. “ Just could not control yourself could you! How do you manage to fall so weak when it comes to her !" Knowing he was not going to get any answers, he shook his head and started driving again.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Rain was lashing down amid thunder and lightning. Roads were flooded everywhere.

"Wow, what weather!” exclaimd an excited Muskaan “ why don't we start singing rain songs from the movies?"

"Yeah yeah, lets order some pizza too and have a picnic right here in the car in middle of the floods!" Abhi’s sarcasm made Nikki smile.

"Good idea Dr. Modi!" retorted Atul. He asks Armaan what for the number of the pizza place. Abhi rolled his eyes in exasperation while Nikki and the rest burst out laughing.

Finding something amiss, Armaan said "Dr. Modi why are you taking that road? Nikki's place comes first and its on the left side." Abhi and Nikki exchanged knowing looks. They couldnt' tell Armaan that they had planned to talk and so he needed to drop them first.

“Oh, that road is flooded and there is heavy traffic,” Abhi lied. “so can't take it."

"Oh! Ok." Says Armaan

However, they the traffic on this road was jammed too and they were unable to move much. Abhi switched on the radio to hear the traffic news. They were shocked to hear that the traffic on their route, has been stalled completely since there was heavy flooding. No movement at all.

"Oh God, now how do we get home?" asked Muskaan worriedly

Abhi shook his head in desperation "I don't know".

In an attempt to find a way out, he leaned towards Nikki to look at the road on her side. Nikki's senses stirred excitedly and her heart raced at the top most speed, but, he had no clue of the effect he was having on her.

He then straightened up in his seat and said, "Somehow, if I manage to get on to that line of vehicles, then, we can take the left diversion and reach Nikita's place.”

With a bit of manoeuvring, he squeezed his way past a couple of cars and managed to take the left. Driving a little further, they found even that road was jammed with vehicles.

“inspite of your house being just one lane away on that side,” Abhi said to Nikki, motioning to the left of her, “it will be difficult to reach it. Looks like we are stuck.”

Everyone in the car were terribly dejected. Abhi then noticed a small roadside stall on Nikki's side and rolled down Nikki's window. Once again he leaned closer to her and called out to the shopkeeper telling him Nikki's address and asking if there was any other route they could take to go to the other side. The man shook his head, telling them this was the only route.

Looking at their disappointed faces, he then pointed to an inner road on the left, saying “you enter this 5 storey car park. Park your car on the top floor. There is a a building under construction next to it. You will have to walk on the edge of the terrace of that building and cross over to the other side of it till you come to the stairs. Take the stairs down and you will find your way to the road. However, I have to warn you. Its very risky !”

“It is better than wading through the filthy water,” replied Armaan. “we must attempt to take that route" The others agreed with him. Abhi then drove towards the car park.

They park the car on the top floor as directed by the shopkeeper. When they got off the car, they find a big hole in the wall connecting to the terrace of the building which was under construction. They were shocked to see the debilitated condition of the building. The floor was a mass of concrete and iron rods. Walking over it was just impossible. Besides the side overlooking the road had no wall. In place of a wall there was only a slight elevated platform which was approximately 2 feet in breadth and 7-8 feet long. The place was very dimly lit from the street light that flickered through.

"Oh god, now why did that guy send us here ?" Abhi was irritated.

"We have no choice !" Armaan said, over his shoulder. "We cannot even go back nor can we stay in this carpark. We will have to somehow go across by walking on that elevated platform of that building."

"Are you mad? its raining so heavily. We could slip!” Muskaan yelled at Armaan, gripped with fear and anger. “I am not walking on that edge. Its so risky! You guys go if you want to. I'll stay here."

Atul supported her. "You are right, if anything happens to me what will happen to my Anjali"

"Look if we do this sensibly we can still manage it. Its not very long." Abhi implored.

Armaan nodded his head in agreement. "Yeah and its not too narrow! Besides, if anyone falls there is a parapet down, you can hang on to it!"

He was rewarded with dirty glares from the rest. "Stop joking Armaan!" Riddhima chided.

"So shall we do it?" Abhi asked looking at each one of them. Nervously, they all agree. The rest look questioningly at Muskaan and Atul and they nod their agreement.

Abhi asked the girls to remove their shoes and then slipped himself through the gap in the wall. Armaan asked Nikki to follow him and helps her to get through the gap. On the other side, Abhi gave her his hand and helped her climb out. She then straightened herself and holding Abhi’s hand, stood beside him on the elevated platform. She glanced down at the road below and a cold shiver ran down her spine. She screamed in fear and clinged to Abhi.

"What happened?" the others call from the other end.

"Nothing!" Abhi replied. He then held her hand firmly but soothingly and asked her not to look down.

One by one the others climbed out of the window and stood beside them in line. It was Atul followed by Muskaan then Ridz and then Armaan.

Sensing Nikki’s nervousness, Abhi tenderly kept caressing her palm sending tingling sensations into her system. "Are you nervous?" his voice was low and sounded so seductive. She shook her head in confirmation. "Don't be! I am here with you!" he comforted. "Just hold on tightly to my hand!"

He then looked at the rest of the group and asked if everyone was okay. After they confirmed they were, he told them not to get nervous and instructd them to hold the person in front and not to shake too much. Then, clasping Nikki's hand, he started walking and the others nervously followed him. The rain was still lashing down, making it difficult for them to walk properly. Slowly but steadily, Abhi managed to reach to the other end. He then saw that the floor was quiet low and they would have to jump a bit to get off. Telling Nikki to stay still, he jumped down. He, then, helped Nikki, Atul and Muskaan to climb down.

As Riddhima was about to reach the end , her shoe slipped from her hands. With sudden reflexes, she managed to stop it from falling but she lost her balance with her movements. Armaan quickly leaned forward and steadied her but in doing so, his jerky movements caused him to lose his balance and he fell off the terrace. Everyone watched in horror as he disappeared from the terrace.

“Armaan!” Riddhima let out a terrifying scream which was echoed by the others.

Abhi quickly grabbed Riddhima and after pulling her off the platform, jumped on to it. When he looked down, he saw Armaan hanging on to the tiny parapet below. His hands were slipping because of the rain and he had difficulty to hold on. Abhi got down to the floor and his stomach lying on the platform, he stretched out his hand. "Armaan, try to reach my hand!" he yelled out to him. Inspite of stretching fully there was a gap between their hands. The others were worried and nervous and they started praying as they watched the two.

An helpless Abhi darted a searching glance around. Finding nothing, he then placed his feet in between the mesh of iron rods as a support and lowered himself as much as he could. He was almost waist up lowered to the other side. Looking at him, panic and worry thumped into Nikki. Fervently, she prayed that both Abhi and Armaan would come up safely..

Armaan tried his best to lift himself up and after a few attempts, he managed to grab Abhi's hand. Their hands were slipping away from each other because of the rain. Abhi gathered all the strengthened he possessed and held on to Armaan's hand tightly. He then quickly started pulling him up. Armaan managed to get his foot on the parapet and it was easier for Abhi to drag him up. Having reached the platform, a panting Armaan sat over it. He looked at Riddhima and the others and waved at them, indicating he was safe. Abhi exhaled and sat down beside him. Both, he and Armaan were breathing heavily as htey looked down at the road below and then at each other.

"Thanks Dude". Armaan said, with a tender box on Abhi's arm. Abhi smiled and nodded his head in acknowledgement.

"Good you noticed the parapet!" He muttered wryly and they grinned broadly.

Having got their breath back, they stood up and walked to where the others were. The moment Armaan climbed down, a tearful Riddhima ran to him and hugged him tightly. Moist-eyed, Atul and Muskaan gather around them.

As Abhi climbed down, he looked at Nikki and saw tears in her eyes. He wondered if her tears were for him. They keep staring at each other, their eyes, emotionally moist. Nikki also wanted to run to him and hug him. Swallowing hard at her helplessness, she slowly ambled towards him. Softly, she asks him if he was alright. He nodded his head, his eyes still glued to hers.

"Dr. Modi are you okay?" Atul enquired. Dusting away the grime on his shirt, Abhi told him he was fine. Riddhima thanked Abhi for saving Armaan and he gave her an understanding smile. "Shall we take the stairs now ?" he asked looking at the others. "I guess the worst is over!" Everyone nodded in agreement.

He started down the stairs, followed by, Nikki, Atul, Muskaan, Riddhima and Armaan. It was very dark and they were holding each other for support. His fingers entwined into Nikki's, Abhi gently and protectively led her down. With his comforting presence, Nikki did not fear of the dark. Her heart was thrumming with happiness. They then managed to get out of the building and reach the road to Nikki’s house

Drenched and tired, they decided to take a shower. They wondered what clothes would the men wear, since theirs were soiled and drenched. The girls did have the option of Nikki's clothes. Nikki told them they had no choice but to wrap themselves in towels till their clothes were washed and dry. The girls decide to share Nikki's room while the three men take each of the other three bedrooms. Looking around the house, Muskaan asked Nikki whether she ever felt lonely living in such a big house. Nikki told her she has no choice since its her family home. She did have a help who stayed wiht her, but, right now she had gone to the village for her festival.

In the shower, Nikki's worried and tearful face kept flashing in front of Abhi. He wondered what was happening to him? After all that had transpired between them does Nikki really care for him? Does he really care for her? The more he tried his best to keep away from Nikki, the more he was drawn towards her. He felt the urge to protect her all the time. Why does he fall so weak whenever he is with her?" The questions baffled him and continued to nag at him as he wrapped the towel around his waist and walked out of the shower. He walked to the window and stared into space.

Few minutes later, he heard a knock of the door and when he turned, he saw Nikki standing on the door. The sight of him standing bare chest, clad only in a towel, brought a deep blush into her cheek. He looked questioningly at her and then slowly strode towards her. He was standing so close, Nikki felt her senses being stirred by the pleasing smell that accompanied him.

"I.....I've come to take your clothes for wash." she stammered under awkwardness. Unable to trust her feelings, she quickly turned and walked towards the bathroom. Her legs were still wobbly when she came out with the clothes basket. Abhi kept staring at her.

Gathering courage, she said to him, "Everyone has gathered out in the living room, why don't you join in?" Abhi shook his head in acknowledgement. Her nerves threatening to give way, Nikki quickly walked out of the room.

After putting the clothes in the washer, Riddhima and she walk into the living room. The sight of three bare chested men with only towels wrapped around their middle made the girls giggle.

Hearing their giggles, Armaan smiled wryly. "Yeah Yeah I know it looks as if we are on the beach!" Everyone chortled aloud.

"I am feeling very hungry." Atul announced.

"Right now, all that I have are some instant noodle packets. We could also prepare some sandwiches quickly.” Nikki told them. She glanced at Riddhima who nodded her head. "Till then you guys can help yourself to some fruits." They agree.

Riddhima and Nikki went into the kitchen. "Oh now I remember," Riddhima suddenly exclaimed. "I was looking out for you earlier as I needed your medical kit. Armaan has got some bruises because of the fall so wanted to apply an ointment on him." Nikki pointed to the place where the kit is kept and taking the kit said "I'll be back in few minutes. We'll prepare the food then" Nikki nodded.

Rummaging through the kitchen shelves, Nikki was looking for the noodles. After a desperate search, she saw they were on the top most self of the larder.

"This Radha is nuts!” she grumbled, at her missing help. “She has kept the noodles so high, now how do I reach it ?"

She stretched up a couple of times but was unable to reach the shelf.

Suddenly, she sensed someone looming over her and reaching for the shelf. She turned quickly and was facing Abhi. Her heart started pounding.

His eyes were glued to her as he stretched up and pulled down the packet of noodles and handed it to her. She swallowed nervously and took the packet from him. He then raised an eyebrow wordlessly checking if she needed more. She shook her head in confirmation.

His eyes still fixed on her, he brought down a few more packets. He was standing so close, Nikki could feel the brush of his bare skin against hers. She was unable to breathe. She felt an ache to lean into him. She tore her gaze away from him and concentrated on the packets he was giving her. She then noticed a few bruises on his arms. Quickly putting down the packets on the kitchen counter, she held his arm.

"Abhi you are bruised!" There was concern in her voice.

He shrugged it off. "Oh those are just small bruises, it will be fine!" he said in a flippant tone

"we need to put an antiseptic ointment on it" Nikki tells him with concern.

"Later" he told her softly.

Nikki saw passion slowly smouldering in his eyes as he continued to stare at her. She felt herself drowning in them. Her heart was thrumming so loudly Nikki was afraid he would hear it. As he lowered his face bringing it closer to hers, she could feel the warmth of his breath on her and her senses were completely stirred from the smell of freshness that emanated from him. When his lips were just a brush away, Nikki felt a throbbing on her lips and knowing there was no escape, she closed her eyes in meek surrender.

"Ahem! Ahem!" the clearing of throat behind them, made their heads snap up and they quickly pulled away from each other.

They turned and saw it was Riddhima standing at the entrance. "Sorry to disturb you both," she said, with a blush on her cheeks. "The guys are demanding for food and they could be here any moment!"

Abhi and Nikki flushed in embarassment and look awkwardly at her. Hurriedly, Abhi went to the door and walked out of the kitchen. Seeing Nikki blushing profusely, Riddhima nudged her and winked . Nikki’s cheeks turned even more red.

By the time they finished eating, the clothes were washed and dried up. After changing into vests and jeans, Abhi and Armaan walked into the living room where the others were sitting. Armaan went near Riddhima and they start whispering sweet somethings to each other. Stretching himself, Atul announced he was tired and was off to bed. Abhi, too, excused himself and went into his room.

Nikki was sad he was leaving but, was unable to stop him from leaving. She pulled out the medical kit from the cabinet and taking the ointment from it, she went to Abhi's room and found the door open. She saw he was lying on the bed, his hand lying across his forehead, partly covering his shut eyes. Hearing her knock, he sat up as he watched her walk towards him. She told him she had come to apply ointment on his bruises.

Sitting on the bed, next to him, he took his arm and started applying the ointment. He was watching her intensely and Nikki was feeling nervous under his gaze. With trembling hands she managed to apply the ointment on his bruises and was putting back the cork on the tube.

"Do you really care for me Nikki?" He asked.

Nikki held his gaze for few moments, unable to answer him. Then pain and annoyance filled into her eyes "Would anything I say really matter to you ?" she asked softly. They stared at each other their eyes filled with longing and pain.

"Come on Nikki, lets go off to sleep!” Muskaan burst into the room.

Abhi and Nikki reluctantly tore their gaze away. Dragging Nikki by the hand, she said, “I want to chat with you before sleeping. Goodnight Dr. Modi” she smiled at Abhi. With a nod of his head Abhi acknowledged her. He then glanced at Nikki who continued to look at him, as she was dragged out by Muskaan. Afer she was gone, Abhi squeezed his eyes shut in despair.

Tossing and turning through the night, Nikki finally slept in the wee hours of the morning. Waking up with a start, she looked at the bedside clock and saw its 9 am. Muskaan and Riddhima were still fast asleep.

“Abhi!” she whispered his name recalling he stayed at her place.

She quickly dashed out of her room and into his. She found the bed empty and after a searching glance, she noticed a note lying on the bedside table. Picking it up, she sees the note was from Abhi.

"Need to go now. Will talk to you later. Thanks for everything.”

Her chest tightened to see he was gone. Disheartened, she slumped down on the bed with the note in her hand. Her eyes filled with tears as she yearned for him to be beside her.