Nikki was attending to a new patient. He was a young guy, in mid-twenties and was completely enamoured with Nikki. He was complimenting her, telling her what a pretty doctor she is and was rewarded with a smile from Nikki. Then, through the corner of her eye, she noticed Abhi watching them from the window.
The youth continued with his praises saying she had the most prettiest eyes.
"Really?” she said. “Thank you !” Normally she would have ignored him, but since she knew Abhi was watching and listening to their conversation, she deliberately gave the youth her most charming smile.
"I am so happy that you are my doctor,” the youth carried on “ You have such a pleasant face that even if one is sick, one doesn't feel ill at all"
"Thank you" Nikki smiled at him again.
The youth still continued singing Nikki's praises which rankled Abhi.“What is wrong with Nikki?” he wondered. “Why is she allowing the patient to continue his praises?” His fists were balled in annoyance.
“Dr. Nikita,” he sternly called from behind. “I would like to see you aside for few minutes.”
"Oh Please Dr. Modi, I'll finish with this patient and then be with you," Nikki told him coolly.
"Yes Doctor please don't disturb us,” the patient said to Abhi. “Let Dr. Nikita check me up properly"
Abhi felt like wringing his neck. How dare he flirt with Nikki! He glared at the youth.
"Dr. Nikita are you not done as yet !" he hissed, his voice was low and threatening. Nikki knew it could be dangerous to rile him any further.
"Yes, yes Dr. Modi I am done!" she told him sweetly. She then flashed her sweetest smile at the youth, making Abhi seethe inwardly.
"I'll see you later,” she said. “You will be fine soon."
She was partly nervous, partly amused as she followed the annoyed Dr. Modi, out of the ward.
Once outside, Abhi grabbed her arms angrily
"What exactly were you doing inside there ?"
“Me, Dr. Modi ?” she blinked feigning innocence. “What was I doing ? Abhi exhaled in irritation.
"Don't play games with me Nikki,” he growled warningly. “That guy was flirting with you and were playing along."
"What are you saying Dr. Modi?” Nikki was enjoying the jealousy which was starkly visible on his face. “He wasn’t flirting,” she continued. “He just complimented my looks and I thanked him"
"Use your head Nikki.” He shook her firmly “don’t you know you should not encourage such stuff from patients? You’ll surely get into trouble !"
Once again Nikki blinked at him.
"Leave my arm Dr. Modi,” she told him calmly. She swept a searching glance around them “if anyone sees us like this what will they say ? A Senior doctor and an Intern!" she threw back his own words at him. She hid her smile with much difficulty.
Abhi was even more annoyed by her unwillingness to listen to reason.
"I've got bigger problems on my head Nikki than to participate in your kiddish jokes,” he said crisply. Then flashing an angry glare, he released her fiercely and walked away in a huff.
“If someone looks at your girl, it pinches you , doesn’t it Dr. Modi ?" she whispered. "I am loving this side of you!" With joy in her heart and a happy smile on her face, she watched him walk away.
Walking down the corridor, she met a disturbed Dr. Keerti.
“Is everything okay, Dr. Keerti?” she asked her out of concern.
"No, not everything is not okay," Dr. Keerti replied sadly. Nikki looked anxiously at her.
"You know I may be strict,” Dr Keerti said to her. “ but, I have grown fond of all you interns and I do care about you a lot. However, sometimes in the line of duty, we are caught in situations beyond our control"
“What exactly is the problem?” Nikki asked, thoroughly confused with what she was saying..
"I don't know how to say this but three interns would be shifted to Sanjeevani, Delhi on grounds of low scoring" Nikki was stunned
"Who are they ?" she asked with apprehension
“You, Dr. Atul and Dr. Muskaan." Nikki was horrified “Why?” she asked.
“On basis of the low scores in your interim reports you all would need an additional six months of internship. Since the next set of interns are ready and slot for this Sanjeevani is full, you all have to be transferred.” Dr. Keerti explained. Nikki felt a sinking feeling in her chest.
"Does Dr. Modi knows about it?" she asked in soft tones.
Dr. Keerti nodded her head in confirmation. "Infact the letter for your transfer is lying on his desk for his signature. I had a discussion with him. He......"
However, Nikki was too upset and wasn't listening to her anymore. Trance like she quietly walked away.
‘Why didn’t Abhi tell me about this,” she wondered “ How can he agree for it?
She reached Abhi's cabin. Her hand on the knob on his cabin door, she paused for a moment and exhaled deeply. Just as she was about to turn the knob, the door was pulled open and she was flung into Abhi who was walking out at the same time.
The file from his hand, fell to the floor, outside the cabin. His arms had automatically protectively encircled her. They were both still in a daze as they stared at each other. Nikki then remembered the purpose of her visit and with a great deal of effort, Nikki stopped herself from drowning into those magnetic eyes. She pulled away from him in annoyance.
Seeing the papers scattered on the ground they begin to collect them. Nikki's eyes then fell on s the letter of her transfer and picked it up. It was still unsigned by Abhi.
"When did you propose to tell me about this ?” she asked sarcastically, thrusting the paper at him. “after getting me transferred ?"
"You know about this ?" Abhi looked surprised
"Thats not the point!” Nikki told him hotly as she stood up.
Her eyes were flashing with anger as she continued. “The point is such a big thing is happening in my career and inspite of knowing it all you did not think it even fit to tell me about it"
Having collected all the paper, Abhi also stood up.
"That is because its not done as yet,” he told her in a calm, soothing voice. “ there is ...."
"Yes thats it,” Nikki doesn’t allow him to complete. “You were waiting for it to be done and then tell me when it was time for me to leave?"
Abhi was taken aback by the harshness in her tone. Holding her arm firmly, he says "Atleast listen to what I am saying. I came to know only today morning that you, Dr. Atul and Dr. Muskaan are chosen to be transferred to Sanjeevani Delhi"
"WHAT ?" A yell from behind made Abhi and Nikki turn towards the voice and found Armaan looking shocked at them. Abhi releases Nikki's arm as Armaan walked up to them.
"What did you just say?” He asked Abhi. “How can you transfer them?”
"Armaan you know nothing, so stay out of this," Abhi warned
"This is not fair Dr. Modi,” Armaan protested . “ You are taking out some personal grudge on all of us. We will not let you do this."
"I am warning you stay out of this" Abhi’s voice was calm but it carried a ferocious threat. Armaan glared at him.
"Your threats won't work on us Dr Modi.” He defied. Realising a war was about break out between the two men, Nikki was anxious and agitated.
"Stop it both of you !" She yelled at them. "Oh never mind !" she shook her head in disgust and walked way.
Armaan looked at Abhi and said threateningly, "I am warning you Dr. Modi, we will take action against you for your high-handedness"
"Be my guest" Abhi replied coolly and walked away.
The interns were then called to the briefing room. Dr. Keerti told them that as part of cost cutting strategy the management decided to shift three interns on grounds of low grades to Sanjeevani Delhi on an extension of additional six months internship. They are Dr. Atul, Dr. Muskaan and Dr. Nikita. The interns look sadly at each other.
Dr. Keerti continued. "However, on Dr. Modi's recommendation the management has agreed to cancel this transfer if the interns are able to excel in a written test which is scheduled one week from today" The group were surprised and began to murmur amongst each other. Riddhima and Nikki exchanged knowing looks.
"Quiet !" Dr. Keerti’s firm voice brought silence in the room.
"So Dr. Atul, Dr. Muskaan and Dr. Nikita,” she addressed them “start preparing for this test from today itself and don't let me down. All the best !" They nodded their heads and thanked her.
Nikki was upset and lost in thoughts as she sat on the bench in the locker room.
"What have I done? I misunderstood Abhi again!"
She felt a tender hand on her shoulder and looked up to see it was Riddhima.
“Are you okay?” She asked with concern. Nikki kept mum.
"This Modi is a funny guy,” Armaan said as he entered the locker room. “creates problems himself and then finds solution himself"
Nikki sighed and shut her eyes.
"Why are you so afraid of him?” he asked Nikki. Riddhima tried to stop Armaan, but he continued “There is no need for you to be afraid of him. What can he do ? and why is he all the time after you ? Just because he is the Boss he thinks he can boss over you ?" As he continued to rant against Abhi, Nikki was getting agitated.
"Stop it Armaan, Abhi is not like that at all" she hollered at him, unable to bear it anymore. Armaan was taken aback and he gaped dumfounded at her. Riddhima bit her lower lip in anxiety.
"Abhi?" Armaan asked, disbelief on his face.
Nikki shifted uncomfortably and looked at Riddhima in despair. She then shut her eyes tightly for a brief moment and opened it again.
"Whats going on Nikki?” Armaan demanded. “Why does it sound as if you are in love with the guy?" he looked searchingly into her face. "Are you?"
Unable to meet his gaze, Nikki lowered her eyes and shook her head in confirmation. Armaan was bewildered.
"and he ? does he love you ?" he asked, but felt he already knew the answer.
Nikki nodded her head again, in confirmation.
Armaan was still unable to believe her and looked at Riddhima and found her shaking her head in confirmation.
"Are you mad ?” he then yelled at Nikki “He is not the right one for you ! How sure are you, that he loves you ?"
Nikki tried to say something, but saw, Armaan was already shaking his head in disbelief. She tenderly put her hand on his arm.
"Look Armaan, You are my best friend and I know you mean the best for me. However, you need to accept the fact that Abhi is my life now.” She saw his face cringe with the unpalatable thought.
“I love him Armaan and I cannot see life without him.” Nikki told him. The love and passion she felt for Abhi reflected in her voice. “We love each other. Please do understand Armaan. I need you to understand me. I love him" she reiterated firmly.
"This can't be ! This just cannot be !" Armaan shook his head, still unable to digest the truth.
“Armaan, atleast listen to what Nikki is saying," Riddhima pleaded with him, but, Armaan was not listening any more. He walked towards the door while Nikki and Riddhima watch him helplessly.
As he reached the door, he came face to face with Abhi who was entering the locker room at the same time. Armaan looked daggers at him and he returned the look. Nikki and Riddhima darted anxious glances at each other. Abhi's gaze swept from Armaan to Nikki and then back at Armaan. The room was filled with an awkward silence.
"Dr. Modi, do you love Nikki ?" Armaan asked sternly.
"Armaan!" Riddhima interjected nervously
Abhi glanced at Nikki and realised she told Armaan about them.
"That's my personal life, Dr. Armaan,” he told him vehemently “Why should I answer you?"
Nikki was even more worried.
"Nikki is my best friend.” Armaan replied “She is very sweet and innocent"
"I know that,” Abhi retorted with the shake of his head “So what?" he defied.
"Well, I am warning you, Dr. Modi, If you ever hurt Nikki,” he paused, taking a deep breath before he continued. “as her good friend, I will kill you.” He warned Abhi icily.
"Armaan," Nikki interjected anxiously.
Abhi raised his hand towards her, indicating for her to stop saying anything further.
"if Nikki is ever hurt because of me," he paused for a moment and darted a glance at Nikki, before continuing. “As her good friend, if you do not do what a good friend is supposed to do, then I will kill you," He replied calmly.
Nikki and Riddhima look at each other in confusion. Armaan takes a deep breath as Abhi’s words sink in.
"DEAL ?" he asked extending his hand towards Abhi.
"DEAL!" Abhi shook his hand firmly. Even though their jaws were taut their eyes were smiling.
Riddhima and Nikki sighed in relief Even though grudgingly, atleast the two men have accepted the other’s importance in Nikki’s life. They exchange happy smiles.
"Now, aren't you all supposed to be at work?” Abhi asked sternly. “Get back to work right now."
Saying "Yes. Dr. Modi" Armaan and Riddhima leave the room.
Overcome with guilt over the accusations she hurled at him, Nikki looked sheepishly at him. His expressions were shuttered as he stared hard at her. Is he still upset with me?” Nikki wonderd as she lowered her eyes. Thinking she should apologise to him. When she looked up at him, she met with his frosty eyes and before she could say anything further, he walked away leaving her watching him in despair.
Sometime later, she came to know Abhi had left for the day.
“He must still be angry with me,” she thought as she left for her house. When she reached home, she tried to call him but he does not pick up the phone. After pondering for a long time she sent him a sms saying 'SORRY'. However, she received no reply from him.
Sad and unhappy, she looked out of the window. The stillness of the night, echoed the longing in her heart. Where could Abhi be now? At home? Should she go to him? She did owe him an apology. She finally decided that come what may, she had to talk to him. Having made up her mind, she walked towards the door.
As she opened the door, her heart leapt joyously seeing Abhi standing there. The exhilartion she felt inside reflected in the broad welcoming smile she gave him.
But, he continued to stare at her with steely eyes. He still seemed miffed with her. Nikki didn’t seem to be worried about it. All that matter he was standing in front of her.
"You've come!" she told him, her voice filled with exuberance. Abhi did not reply. Giving her a wry look, he entered the house.
As she shut the door, Nikki was grinning to herself. She went up behind him and said, "I knew you would come,"
"I got these for you,” he said nonchalantly, handing over a file and some books to her. “They will help you in your test "
As the took the file and books from him, she was unable to contain her happiness and stared lovestruck at him. Abhi found himself being drawn by the love in her eyes.
"I only came to give you these,” he said hesitantly “I have to go." He then turned and walked towards the door.
"Abhi please wait !" she called out to him.
She hurriedly put down the file and books on a nearby table and rushed towards him. He stood motionless. Nikki gently touched his arm.
"Abhi I am so sorry,” she whispered “I know I shouldn't have yelled at you like that but I was upset."
"That is because you don't trust me right?” he asked turning to look at her.
"No its not like that Abhi,” Nikki shook her head. “Please, I am sorry"
Abhi walked over to the window and looked out.
"This morning, I was shocked to hear this news,” he said to her “Apparently, there was a secret check on the hospital a few weeks back which even I wasn't aware of. The findings reached the management who took the decision without even consulting us. I know all this is done on instigation by one vested party. The moment I came to know about it, I made calls back and forth to sort out this issue."
He turned to look at her.
"Its not only about you Nikki or our relationship. We have some sort of responsiblity towards the career of the interns. If the senior doctors are being firm and strict with you people, its for your own benefit. We are doing are best for you guys. Don't make it a personal issue," he told her unhappily. He turned back to the window again.
Nikki realized how upset she had made him. She slowly went up to him and put her arms around him.
"I am sorry, Abhi, I am really sorry. please don't be upset," she told him resting her head on his back.
Abhi stood still. For a long time there was still no reaction from him.
Nikki leaned closer into his back. "Ok I said sorry na ? now stop being so stubborn and forgive me" she said poutily her lips touching his ears. A wide smile curved on his face and he shook his head in defeat. Putting his hand over hers which was lying on his chest, he slowly pulled her in front of him.
"You really are one hell of a girl!” he exclaimed with appreciation in his eyes. “You know exactly how to break me"
Nikki opened her eyes wide in an mischievous attempt to look innocent.
" Don't ! Don't even try that !" he warned, amusement on his face.
"What exactly were you trying with that patient in the morning ?" his lips contorted in mock anger, advancing threateningly towards her. Nikki moved backwards till her back touched the wall. He had close the little space between them and knowing there was no escape, she bit the corner of her lips.
“So, tell me Dr. Nikita Malhotra, what exactly were you trying to do?” Abhi drawled on every word as he took his face closer and closer towards her.
"Nothing ! He was being sweet with compliments, I just thanked him.” she told him innocently. “You are too stingy with compliments. Atleast he was nice."
Abhi raised an amused eyebrow at her cheekiness. "Really? How sweet and innocent you are, aren’t you?" Nikki batted her eyelids and with a grin Abhi pulled her towards him. Her heart zoomed at breakneck speed when he looked deep into her eyes.
"These innocent big eyes are so so mesmerisng. When they flash at me with anger, glint with mischief or soften with love, I am completely dead !"
Deep colour spread on her cheeks.
"Are you complimenting me Dr. Modi?" she asked, blinking her eyes.
Abhi shrugged and shook his head in the negative. “Now, Now, I really don’t know how to do that, right ?” he teased. “But, I rather prefer to demonstrate my feelings." His eyes were gleaming wickedly.
Nikki's cheeks were hurting from the uncontainable blushing his words, his eyes, his nearness brought over her. Abhi, on the other hand, was enjoying her flushed expressions and a naughty smile played on his lips. As he lowered his face, she could feel his heat over her face. Her insides were dancing in excitement. She closed her eyes and then felt his lips burning over her eyelids as he kissed each one of them. He then slowly moved his lips down to her cheek making a pathway till they finally settled on her lips. Nikki broke into raptures and wrapping her hands around his neck, intensely met his fiercely hungry lips as they passionately crushed over hers. .
The next day after work, Abhi went to Nikki’s place to help her prepare for the exams. Nikki was unable to concentrate properly with his magnetic presence and oblvious he was the real reason for her distraction, he kept chiding her for her lack of concentration. “What can I do?” Nikki grumbled. “you keep distracting me”
“Look who is talking!” He said wryly. “have you seen yourself? How distracting you are? Yet, inspite of all your temptations, I still manage to concentrate on my work.”
“Oh so you are saying I am to be blamed for everything!" she retorted. "You are just impossible!"
“And you?” Abhi rolled his eyes. “ you are a handful!”
“You!” Nikki replied pointing a finger at him
“You!” Abhi responded vehemenly.
They were then stumped by their sudden bickering and stared at each other in puzzlement. Looking at their fingers pointing at each other they burst into laughing.
Shaking her head in amusememt, Nikki said “Okay, let me make us something to eat.”
“No, No,” Abhi interjected, holding her hand and dragging her towards the pile of books. “Don't think you can escape. You continue with your studies while I cook up something.”
Nikki looked at him in surprise. “You? Are you sure? Its no big deal. I can cook quickly.”
“No, I don’t want you to waste time. Tell me what you want to eat.”
"Pasta?” They had said it together and smiled. Nikki was thrilled that Abhi remembered what she liked.
Nikki pulled out an apron from the kitchen drawer and handed it to him. Taking it from her, he removed his shirt and handed it to her. It needed a great deal of tolerance on Nikki’s part not to succumb to the urge of clinging to him. Realising she was weakening, she quickly walked out of the kitchen, leaving him to carry on with his work.
Sometime later as she was jotting down notes from the pile of books and files in front of her, she wondered what Abhi is doing in the kitchen.
"Should I check on him ?" she asked herself.
Then shaking her head she echoed his words "No No Nikki concentrate on studying"
After a some time she heard the drop of a pot and ran to the kitchen. "Abhi what happened ? Is everything alright ?" He was bending down to pick up the lid of a pot that had fallen to the ground.
"Haan, Haan everything is fine and in order. Not to worry." Je said having picked up the lid.
"Your pasta is almost ready," he informed her stirring the sauce.
Nikki was staring dreamily at him. How irresistible he looks even in the kitchen.”
A tiny smile playing on her lips, she slowly crept up behind him put her arms around, her fingers settling on his chest
"Thank you, My Dear Chef!" she murmured seductively into his ear and then planted a soft kiss on the nape of his neck.
"Now, Now, that is asking for trouble!” He grinned. “I think I should cancel dinner plans and have you for dinner instead”
Nikki tenderly tweaked his cheek. The phone rang and Abhi gave her a dejected look with the intrusion. Smiling understandingly at him, Nikki answered the phone. It was Muskaan checking to see if Nikki had a particular book.
After dinner Abhi does a mock test with Nikki.
He was impressed with her answers. "When you are so good, why are you lagging behind in your grades?"
"What can I do ? Ever since you came into my life, there has been so much of chaos, I am unable to concentrate on anything else properly"
“Yeah, Yeah,” Abhi sighed “put the blame on me" He then smiled warmly at her.
After a thought, he said " Nikki you need to learn not to mix your professional and personal life"
"Yes Boss!" She raised her hand in a salute.
Abhi gave a short laught
“I think I should leave now.” He told her.
"Please, Don't go" Nikki said , holding on to his hand.
“Sweetheart, I forgot to mention, tomorrow I am off to Delhi for 3 days. I have a flight to catch in the morning.” Nikki looked surprised at him.
"When will you be back?"
"Perhaps on Sunday or Monday!" he replied .
“So won’t you be around when I do my test on Saturday?"
"I really want to Nikki, but, thats not going to be possible.” he looked apologetic at her.
Nikki's face fell. “Please come back before my test," she implored.
Abhi felt bad looking at her crestfallen face.
"Look Sweetheart, I don't want to promise for something I may not be able to do.” He told her softly. “However, I'll definitely try my best"
Nikki was not willing to buy it. She pouted at him. He held her shoulders with both her hands and said "See I'll definitely try my best. Now be a sweet girl and give me a nice smile. I have to survive for three days without you, So give me a memorable dazzling smile.”
Nikki looked at him with tears in her eyes.
"Will you atleast sms me when you reach." resignedly she asked in soft tones. Abhi smiled
"I'll definitely do that,” he assured her. Then after a thought, he added, “ Infact I'll sms you every moment. Actually, why don’t I tie up with the mobile company to repeat my messages for next three days?" Nikki burst into giggles and playfully punched him on the chest
She then buried her head in his chest and hugged him tightly, not wanting to leave him.
"I'll miss you Abhi" she said sadly .
"I'll miss you too!" Abhi replied, clasping her tightly in his arms
For the longest moment, they stood like that lost in each other's arms. Finally, Abhi took Nikki's hand and dragged her gently with him to the door. With a soft "Goodnight" he kissed her.
Nikki held on to his hand. "I'll be waiting for you Abhi" she said softly, tears glistening in her eyes.
"I promise to do my best!" He replied gently pulling his hand away from her grasp. With a heavy heart Nikki watched him drive away.
TO BE CONTINUED.