At the wedding venue, along with the other guests, Nikki is waiting for the baarat to arrive. More than anything, she was impatiently waiting to see Abhi. The venue for the wedding was a sprawling pool side lawn of a plush hotel. As the baarat arrives, everyone rush towards the entrance to greet the baaratis. Feeling uneasy with the crowd, Nikki stands way behind. After the traditional welcome, the groom and the baaratis enter the place.
Hoping to catch a glimpse of Abhi, Nikki is eagerly and carefully observing everyone who was entering the venue, but, he was not in sight. After the last of the people enter, Nikki is baffled to see Abhi had still not entered.
She stops Simran who was passing by and asks her if she saw Abhi.
"When I was at the entrance, along with the welcome party, I saw him standing with the baarat. He is looking very Hot Di," she smiles smittenly. "but, I don't know where he went after that. He doesn't seem to have come in here."
Nikki walks out of the lawn and looks around the passage, but Abhi was no where to be seen. She begins to worry.
"Has your husband ditched you?" Nikki turns to see it was Akash. He was smiling at her. She gives him an icy look.
"I don't see its any of your business," she tells him sternly.
"Hey, Come on, I am only joking,!" says Akash
"For us to share any kind of jokes, we need to be friends first," Nikki tells him coldly and walks back to lawn.
Wondering where Abhi was, she was walking distractedly towards the mandap. She did not notice someone passing her by and on recognizing her, turns back to greet her.
Nikki looks up and finds the minister who had attended their New Sanjeevani project presentation, standing there.
"Now you are Mrs. Modi right ? isn't it?" he smiles at her.
Nikki blushes and nods at him.
"Its wonderful to see you after such a long time, though I do meet your husband on and off, especially during Patil and Sonali's case."
Dumbstruck by his words, Nikki's eyes widen.
'Patil and Sonali?'
"Yes. I just met your husband in the lobby on my way in. A relative of Rohit's has fallen ill so they are attending to him in a room nearby.
That answers Abhi's disappearance. Nikki was relieved
"Abhimanyu just told me that Sonali called again?"
"What? She did ?" Nikki was startled to hear Rohit's shocked voice coming from behind her.
"Yes Abhimanyu just told me about it briefly. Said he'll talk about it later to me."
"After all that, she really does have the guts to call up." Rohit looked agitated.
Nikki was looking confused at both of them. "Why did Abhi tell the minister Sonali called and what is all this about Patil and Sonali which even Rohit knows?'
"Yes it surprised me too, but you don't worry Dr. Nikita, she won't be able to do any harm to you or your husband," the minister assures her warmly. "I will pay special attention to this since I am very fond of your husband. He is a great guy!"
"Yeah Nikki don't worry, we all are there behind Abhi," Rohit quips in.
Nikki still couldn't fathom what the two men were talking about.
"If you excuse me Sir, I have to go back to the mandap. The ceremony is about to start, but before that I need to speak to Nikki urgently. So if you could please excuse us."
"Sure, I'll catch you both later," the minister tells them and walks away.
Rohit pulls Nikki aside.
"Where has your husband disappeared Nikki? I need to speak to him desperately."
"What happened?" Nikki asks with concern, wanting to ask questions about Sonali and Patil, to him.
"Oh Sonam gifted me a watch to wear especially for this occasion and in a hurry, I walked away with Abhi's watch instead of mine," he says giving Nikki the watch.
"If she doesn't see the watch in my hand, she'll be so upset and instead of the wedding it will be my death day."
Nikki smiles at his him. "Don't say such bad stuff on such a nice occasion," she chides him.
"Yeah so for it to be really nice, please catch hold of your husband and ask him if has my watch. Oh God, I hope he picked it up or else I am gone!"
"Relax Rohit, I am sure Abhi would have picked it up." Nikki assures him.
"Rohit I know you are needed back there, but before you go, please tell me what were you and the minister talking about, I mean about Sonali." Nikki questions him apprehensively.
"Of course about the hotel incident," Rohit tells her as a matter of fact. He then sees Nikki is still looking puzzled at him.
"Didn't Abhi tell you about Sonali drugging him on Patil's instigation at Park Hotel and then took obscene pictures with him, in an attempt to blackmail him?"
The colour fades from Nikki's face.
"Oh God, he didn't tell you? I wonder why!" Rohit looks at her in astonishment. "Maybe he didn't want to distress you in your pregnancy."
"Poor guy had such a harrowing time and now she resurfaces again. You don't worry Nikki, she won't be able to do any harm to Abhi."
Nikki's feels her heart being weighted down by sadness. She is unable to speak.
"Look I have to rush, everyone is calling me. Please ask your husband to give me my watch as soon as he comes."
He turns to go but stops and turns back to look at her.
"Must say Nikki, You look gorgeous in this saree," he says looking appreciatively at her. "Abhi was so right when he was picking it up for you."
"You know about it?" Nikki is surprised.
"Yeah we were running an errand for Sonam. She wanted something picked up from her designer. That is when Abhi saw the saree there. He said you will definitely look stunning in it. And you do."
"Thank you," Nikki smiles shyly at him.
"Rohit Beta, are you planning to get married or not," a smiling Amrita interrupts them. "Everyone is waiting for the groom. And Nikki, why are you also here, come on ahead and where is your husband?"
"He'll be coming," Nikki tells her, her heart filled with sadness.
With gentle hands, Amrita propels them to move ahead. While Rohit takes quick strides towards the mandap, Nikki slowly trudges along.
"Oh My God! That was all Sonali's doing! And I misunderstood Abhi! What have I done ? I've ruined our beautiful relationship for it. Don't know how Abhi will react if comes to know about it ? He'll be so mad. He is already so hurt and upset. Oh God! What have I done ?" she is unable to contain her guilt. Having reached closer to the mandap she sinks into a chair. Filled with shame and remorse, she closes her eyes in anguish.
A gentle hand touches her shoulder.
"Di are you okay?" Nikki looks up to see Simran looking worriedly at her.
"I am fine!"
"What happened? Haven't found Jeeju as yet? Where could he be?" her eyes begins to scout all over the place.
Nikki was about to tell her where Abhi was when she hears Simran's happy squeal.
" Here comes my handsome Jeeju ," Bolted by her words, Nikki turns around and sees Abhi walking towards them. He was looking dashing in a sherwani, the lighter version of the colour Nikki was wearing. Gripped with anxiety, Nikki rises unsteadily from her chair. Abhi comes and stands beside them acknowledging Simran with a smile.
"Jeeju, where have you been, Di has been impatiently waiting for you for so long."
Abhi looks at Nikki with surprise.
This is their first meeting after Abhi's angry last words. With a strained uneasiness, they stare at each other.
"Well, I can't blame her if her husband is looking so Hot and handsome," Simran chirpily continues, oblivious to the inner turmoil the two were going through. "Today, she'll be the envy of so many girls."
Abhi's face flushes with colour. He smiles awkwardly at Simran
"And look! husband and wife are so perfectly co-ordinated today!" she exclaims.
Abhi looks at Nikki. His eyes slowly rove amorously over her, from top to toe and then moves back upwards till it lingers on her face. Flustered under his gaze, Nikki twiddles with the end of her saree.
"Once again, tell me Abhi that I am looking ravishing and enticing, like you did the last time," Nikki pleads with him inwardly "Tell me I haven't disappointed you and that you are pleased with the way I look. Tell me in words what I see in your eyes Abhi, I long to hear it from you. Please say something Abhi, please." There is yearning in her eyes.
"Now you might as well say it Jeeju," Simran teases
"What?" Abhi asks her, raising his eyebrow in puzzlement.
" Tell Di that she is looking beautiful and gorgeous. Its written deep inside your eyes."
Caught off guard, Abhi looks away in embarrassment.
"Okay, Okay, I get the message," Simran lifts her hand up resignedly. "Its time to leave you both alone. I'll catch you both later" she winks at them and walks away.
After she leaves, there is an uncomfortable silence between the two.
"Is everything alright? Why were you looking for me?" Abhi finally manages to ask.
"Yeah, that...." she starts.
"How did you get my watch?" Abhi interrupts, surprised to see the watch in her hand.
"Yeah, Rohit had it. He is hoping you have his watch. Its a gift'"
"From Sonam," Abhi finishes. "Silly Guy , the whole day he kept saying he has to wear it for the ceremony and eventually took my watch instead of his." He shakes his head in exasperation. "I'll go give it to him.
Nikki nods her head as she watches him go. After taking a few steps, he stops and turns to look at her.
"Are you feeling okay? Did you eat something?" he asks with concern.
Nikki nods her head, her heart brimming with guilt, with his concern.
Noticing Rohit making signs at them she calls out to Abhi softly. He follows her gaze to Rohit and says "Haan, Haan aa raha hoon," agitatedly making a face at him. Nikki is partly amused.
"Let me give him his watch and relieve him of his agony," he tells her walking away.
"Your watch'" she holds it out but he was already half way towards the mandap.
Clutching his watch affectionately, her eyes follow him as he walks over to Rohit and quietly hands over the watch to him. There was a visible sign of relief on Rohit's face. She then sees Abhi patting Rohit on the back as he puts on his watch, them sharing a laugh, then he being engaged in talk with one family member to another. Right through, Nikki's eyes never left him. Ocassionally he would glance over to her and then quickly turn his gaze away. What she never knew, there was a huge turbulent storm also raging inside Abhimanyu Modi.
He was a complete nervous wreck, everytime he set his eyes on her.
"I am a goner. Lord ....... She is looking so..... so........ Hot? No. Ravishing ? No. Enchanting ? Damn what is the right word? I am dying. Infact I am dead."
"Good!" his inner voice reprimands him. "Abhimanyu Modi, you really have the art of making things worse for yourself. Look how beautiful and gorgeous your wife is looking and you cannot even look at her properly for fear of succumbing. In a fit of anger you had to make that stupid promise which you know is very difficult to keep . Now die!"
"It wasn't in a fit of anger, I was too hurt. Also, it was to comfort her. She doesn't like my touch anymore. "
"Oh really? somehow it didn't look like that yesterday morning."
"But, she herself asked me to stay off. If she is so uncomfortable, I cannot force her. I have to keep a good distance from her. No matter how difficult it is going to be for me, I am just going to avoid looking at her. Its just too killing."
"Yeah continue being stubborn, you Loser. Let me tell you I have a nice song for you'
" A Tisket, A Tasket
Abhimanyu Modi is a nutcase
Made a vow
Trying to keep it somehow
By moaning and groaning in a woeful basket.
You'll have to stir
This idiot from his casket
"Will you shut up!" Abhi chides his mocking inner voice.
"Excuse me?" the middle-aged lady, standing ahead of him enquires, eyeing him suspiciously.
"Oh......Oh," he strutters, his eyes widening with the realization he was loud. "Er...... it was for someone out there," he points to the other end throwing nervous smiles at her.
Kavita pulls Nikki to the the mandap as the wedding ceremony begins.
Standing across Abhi and looking into the blazing ceremonial fire, Nikki is reminded of their marriage ceremony, how emotional and passionate they were then, as the vows, were being recited.
Her eyes begin to glisten with tears thinking how the same vows are now at stake because of her impulsiveness and stupidity.
Its time to undo all the damage she had done to their marriage. She has to get her loving husband back and no matter how painful its going to be, she is going to go all out to woo him back. I'll never hurt you again Abhi, I'll never lose my trust on you. Never again,
Over the blazing fire, their eyes meet, filled with intensity and passion.
As the bridal couple, begin to take the pheras around the fire, they are showered with soft petals by their family and friends. An excited Simran, who was carrying a big tray of petals, comes and stands near Nikki. They exchange smiles as they watch the bridal couple. Nikki then notices Akash standing a little distance to the right of them. He smiles at her. Nikki looks coldly at him. Then, to her annoyance she finds him walking towards her. She wanted to move from there, but, a few people standing behind her made it difficult for her to move.
Nikki darts a glance across to where Abhi was standing, but, finds him missing. Wondering where he went, her eyes pore over the faces of people who were standing around him.
She looks to her right. Akash has almost neared her but then, before he did, Abhi emerges in between them. Seeing him, Nikki was elated. She can see Akash squirming uncomfortably under Abhi's gaze.
Abhi then turns to look at Nikki. He sees Simran, who was chatting with her friend, turning towards them. Without her realizing it, the tray was about to hit Nikki on the stomach.
Nikki finds Abhi's expressions changing to fear and before she knew it, he moves his arm sideways and quickly pulls her towards him.
Simran gasps in fear as she comprehends the situation.
"Oh Di, I am so sorry. I hope I didn't hurt you," She apologises
"I am fine Simran. Don't worry" Nikki assures her with a smile.
"Thank God Jeeju, you saved her," There was relief in her voice.
Her hands firmly on his chest, Nikki looks up lovingly at her husband and finds him looking down possessively at her. Her heart begins to dance with joy.
PRECAP TO PART 19
Abhi I beg you please stop. Please," she begs.
However, he stubbornly continues.
Seeing his knuckles bruising badly, Nikki throws herself in front of the punching bag. Before she could stop him Abhi's fist comes, in full force, towards her face. Nikki shuts her eyes in fear as she knew there was no chance of escape.