A deafening silence enveloped the whole room. Looking at the six shocked faces staring at him, Adi grinned broadly. With his eyes, he communicated his intention which Sheetal followed and smiled in acknowledgement. An astonished yet ecstatic Sr. Puri, looked questioningly from Nikki to Abhi and then back and forth.
"Abhi is this true ? Its such great news!" He exclaimed in exhilaration.
"But....but..." Abhi stuttered. Nikki, echoed him.
“This is really fantastic news for me!" But an overjoyed Sr. Puri wasn't paying attention. He put his arm around Nikki and pulled her towards him.
Mr. Chopra and Simi were still in a state of shock and stared blankly at everyone. Darting a betrayed look at Adi, Abhi turned pleading eyes at Sheetal making signs for her to help. In the meanwhile, Adi winked at Nikki. Realising he had a plan up his sleeve, she blushed. Sr. Puri who was was still holding her in his arm, caught her blush and looked at Abhi. "Silly Boy, such good news and you dared to keep this hiding from us!" he reprimanded. Abhi darted a helpless look at Niki and then glared at Adi. "I think we have something to discuss" he told him with a fake smile and saying "Excuse us" to everyone, he dragged Adi with him. " Chal, Chal," he hissed till they were out of the room. Passing by a couple of rooms they arrive at a narrow passage. Abhi angrily shoves Adi against the wall and thrusts his arm into his throat,
"What was all that?" he growled
"Arre Yaar, I was trying to save you!" Adi managed to say, his voice coming out in muffles.
"Save me? Save me from whom ? from what ?" he hollered in disbelief
"From Simi!" Adi replied coolly.
Thrusting his arm further, he added pressure on Adi’s throat, Abhi asks, "Who asked you to? I can handle my life ! I don't care about Simi "
“Shanti (peace)! Shanti !” Adi drawled calmly and raised his palm as if giving blessings
Abhi clenched his jaw.
"See I know you don't care about Simi, but, she does and wants you back,” Adi explained. “Even if you want nothing to do with her, Chopra Uncle will somehow convince Papa for both of you and knowing you, you'll do anything that Papa says. So, before Chopra Uncle brainwashes Papa, I thought I'll give them a message you already have someone"
"Why Nikki ?" Abhi wanted to know.
"Simple. You love her and she loves you!" Adi replied calmly.
Abhi was stunned. "How do you know?" Adi’s wide grin made him realize he was revealing his feelings for Nikki.
"Er..Er.......I mean........” thrown offguard, he stuttered. Unable to meet Adi's gaze, he removed his hand from his throat. “I mean who told you that."
"Come on Abs, after so many years, does someone have to tell me about your feelings?” Adi asked “You know even you don't have to tell me, but, I know exactly what you feel."
Feeling guilty, Abhi kept mum.
"Oh yeah, I would have been much happier, if you had to tell it to me yourself." Adi pretended to be offended.
"There is nothing between Nikki and Me." Abhi meant to state it vehemently, but, it came out as a mere apology
"Oh Really? are you sure about it?" Adi raised an eyebrow questioningly. Abhi looks away. Adi's eyes narrow knowingly and with a faraway look, he taps his finger against his chin, "Hmmmm, I wonder why am I see something special between you two!”
Realising he was cornered, Abhi tried to change the topic, "And Nikki ? what are we going to tell her?"
"Don't worry, I'll talk to her,” Adi assured. “She is really sweet and she'll understand"
Abhi pounced on him again.
"You've created enough mess for me.” He had Abhi up against the wall again, with his arm thrusting into his throat. “Don't you dare mess up anymore," he warned
Nikki was passing by. She was horrified to see Abhi holding Adi against the wall and almost throttling his neck. Hurriedly, she ran and stood behind Abhi.
"Abhi what are you doing? Leave him! You'll choke him!" she pleaded, tugging at his arm. Abhi continued to glare at Adi.
A terrified Nikki held his arm firmly and nudged him.
“Abhi, please leave him! Abhi he’ll choke! Please leave him,” she implored.
Hearing her pleas, Abhi slowly loosened his grip on Adi. He then turned his face to look at her . She had one hand on Abhi’s arm and the other on his back. Their eyes lock. Seeing the fear and and plea in her eyes, he nodded his head assuringly trying to soothe her. Nikki was relieved. She then saw his eyes had now gone even more intense making her shy and nervous. As she continued to stare at him, she never knew when she was pulled like a magnet into the depth of his eyes. Spellbound, they were lost into each other for a good few moments.
“Oye, lovebirds, first save me! You can spend the rest of your life drowning into each others eyes !" Adi’s choked voice broke the spell.
Nikki’s cheeks had turned red. Slowly she pulled her hand away from Abhi’s back and arm while Abhi released his hold on Adi. Looking at their embarassemd faces, Adi grinned.
"Thanks for saving my life.” he told Nikki. “Phew ! He has such strong arms!” he massages his neck. “That is why I call him Abs," Nikki smiled at him.
"Adi what is all this ? why did you do this?" she asked softly.
"I'll explain everything to you Nikki.” Adi assured her. Do you trust me?" “Yes”, Nikki nodded her head. Abhi was watching them tenderly. He then noticed Sr. Puri walking towards them.
"You guys are here,” a surprised Sr. Puri is surprised asked “ and we are waiting there for you. That is why I came looking for you! Is everything alright?" They nod their heads and he was comforted. He then went near Abhi and affectionately put his arm around his his shoulder.
"I can't tell you how happy I am for you Abhi," he told him with tears in his eyes. "Aa Jappi Pa le Puttar!" saying that, he joyously engulfed Abhi in a warm embrace.
Over Sr. Puri's shoulder Abhi saw Nikki staring at them. Their eyes meet. Pulling away, Sr. Puri looked tenderly at Abhi. Abhi saw how the news of his relationship with Nikki, had wiped out the pain of his past from Sr. Puri's eyes. Looking at the happiness in those eyes, Abhi's own eyes began to moisten. A lump formed in his throat. Seeing the emotions going through both men, Nikki and Adi were also moved to tears. With an arm still over Abhi’s shoulder, Sr. Puri turned to Nikki and said "you are the cause for this happiness, my Girl. Come and give me a Hug." He extended his other arm towards Nikki. When she walked towards him, he hugged them both warmly. Abhi and Nikki had tears in their eyes and as they stared aat each other. Adi smiled.
"Papa, there is only one problem."
All three look questioningly at him.
"Now what is the problem?" Sr. Puri sighed.
"You see not many people in Sanjeevani know about Abs and Nikki." he replied
Sr. Puri patted them. "Don't worry it will remain a secret till you both want it!" They smile gratefully at him. Looking at his watch, Sr. Puri said "Now lets go. Its almost one , Poor Sheetal is waiting to go home." They nod and walk towards Sheetal's room.
Dr. Chopra and Simi were not around. "Someone called and Uncle Chopra had to go,” Sheetal explained to Sr. Puri
"I have to attend a meeting in an hour," Abhi informed them. "I'll drop you all home and proceed from there."
As they were leaving, the interns gather at the reception to say their goodbyes to Sheetal. She told them she was happy they were all around and made her stay a pleasant one. She then introduced them to Sr. Puri. Realising they were talking to the famous cardio surgeon Rajiv Puri, the interns were in awe of him. They were even more surprised and happy to see Dr. Puri was a jovial person. He chatted and joked with them. They expressed their happiness to have met him. He reciprocated by telling them he would be happy to meet them again.
After a thought he asked Abhi,
"Abhi, before I leave, why don't you throw a party so that we all could meet."
"Ok" Abhi nods.
"We'll have a bollywood style party!" chipped in Armaan
"Oh that will be great! Its been long since I attended one,” Sr. Puri said, smiling at Armaan. “So thats done then!" With a smile he took their leave.
When he turned, he saw Nikki. "and you my dear, we will surely meet very soon." He kissed her forehead. While Nikki blushed, the other interns look baffled at them. Abhi darted a murderous glance at Adi. Grinning broadly, Adi opened door with his left hand and holding an amused Sheetal's hand with the other, he walked out. Sr. Puri waved at the interns and followed them out. As Abhi passed Nikki, they share an awkward glance till he walks away.
The interns surround Nikki and question her about Dr. Puri’s special attention for her. Nikki fumbled “I……I….” Riddhima jumped to her defence saying "Oh that’s because Nikki has become close to Adi and Sheetal. So Dr. Puri too has become quiet fond of her.” Nikki threw a grateful glance to her friend.
Holding Nikki’s hand, Riddhima dragged her away saying "Lets go, I have some important work with you" Reaching the locker room Riddhima she asked, "what was all that?"
"More confusion in my life!" Nikki sighed deeply.
She then told Riddhima about Adi's bombastic statement to Dr. Puri that Abhi and she were a couple. Then, how his happiness made them allow him to believe it was true.
"Good this is a good opportunity, just hang on to it." Riddhima advised.
"But, this is not right,” Nikki shook her head in disagreement. “I mean all this pretence"
"Nikki, if it was not true, I wouldn't have advised you to go ahead
with it,” Riddhima tried to make her see reason “It is the truth. You and Dr. Modi love each other. You've come to terms with it completely. Its time to make Abhimanyu to realise it." Nikki found herself agreeing with Riddhima.
The whole day, Nikki's eyes kept searching for Abhi, but, he wasn't in Sanjeevani. As Nikki was about to leave for the day, she got a call from Adi. He told her he was extremely busy and since its been raining heavily the whole day, he did not get the time to meet her. However, he wanted to talk to her. He advised her to go along with the plan.
“But then thats not right!” Nikki realized she was being repetitive.
"What is not right?” Adi questioned firmly. “Is it not true that you and Abs love each other?" Recalling Riddhima saying the same thing, Nikki kept mum.
"All I told Papa was the truth." Adi told her.
"but you know there is so much of tension between us. We don't even talk to each other!" Nikki voiced her desperation.
“Don't worry, everything will be fine.” Adi assured her. “It is very important to send a message across to Simi so that she should erase any intention of wooing Abs back. Yet, believe me, she won't give up without a fight."
"I am not worried about Simi at all, Adi." Nikki declared bringing a smile on Adi's face. "Its Abhi, who I am really worried about. He doesn't like such stuff."
"My Dear, haven't you ever heard All is fair in love and war. This is your love and your fight and you have to use every opportunity you get, to turn the tables to your side." Nikki smiled.
"Adi, you are really something!” she heard him laugh
"Don't worry about Abs, believe me when I say this, he'll be the one coming to you asking you to go with my plan" Nikki was surprised at Adi’s confidence.
“How can you be so sure of that?" she asked.
"Just wait and watch! Adi’s voice was full of mischief. Then hurriedly he says, “ Okay speak to Sheetal. She has been trying to grab the phone for a long time"
"Nikki, I am so happy to hear about you and Abhi,” the happiness in Sheetal’s voice brought a smile on Nikki's face. “Don't you worry about him at all. We are with you. Everything will work out fine."
Nikki then saw Abhi walking towards her. "Abhi is here. I’ll call you back" she whispered and disconnected the call.
Abhi came near her and said "we need to talk." His tone was serious.
Nikki says "its about time !"
"Not here, lets go somewhere else" He tells her and began to walk.
"Where?" Nikki countered, as she followed him.
"I don't know. Lets go to the car and figure it out. In any case its been raining heavily and most roads are flooded."
When they reached the reception, they found Armaan, Ridz, Atul and Muskaan looking worried. Abhi asked them what happened.
" I did not get my car today and its pouring so heavily, its difficult to get any conveyance to go home.” Armaan told him. Abhi offered to drop them and they thank him.
He then asked them to wait in the lobby till he got the car. When he arrived, Nikki goes around to sit beside Abhi. However, Armaan reached there first and was about to open the door of the front seat. Abhi and Nikki look dejectedly at each other. Observing the whole thing, Riddhima, who was following Nikki, immediately said
"Armaan won't you sit behind with me?"
Armaan gave her a sweet smile and said "Of course ! is that anything to ask?"
Nikki gave a grateful look to Riddhima and sat beside Abhi. They then kept looking at each other as the rest were adjusting themselves at the back.