"Good evening Dr. Modi!"
Abhi shuts his eyes and clenches his jaw in annoyance fully aware who were behind him.
He had been talking to Dr. Keerti and few nurses in the corridor . Slowly he turns and faces the unwanted visitors.
"What are you all doing here?" he asks them curtly.
"Abhi" looking adoringly at him, Nikki goes closer to him and wraps her arm around his. "Abhi, today is sunday and you've been out the whole day. I missed you so much," she pouts. Piqued by her overplay of affections, Abhi rolls his eyes.
"Yes," quip in Muskaan, Anjali and Atul.
"That is why we brought her to you. You must thank us," Atul tells him, beaming with pride.
Abhi darts a murderous look at him.
The nurses look smittenly at the two of them, while Dr. Keerti smiles in amusement, making Abhi flush with embarrassment.
"Nikki, er........er...... Sweetheart, I have work right," he tells her nodding his head, throwing in half smiles as he glances around to the others. "why don't you wait in my cabin?"
"I'll deal," he glares at her for a brief two seconds, and then changes it to a half-smile. "I mean I'll be with you soon," he finishes.
"Really?" Nikki asks sweetly, dramatically blinking her eyes lovingly at him.
Abhi was fuming from inside.
"Really Sweetheart" he confirms with a smile that doesn't reach his eyes.
"Dr. Modi, Dr. Nikita you are such a lovely pair," One of the nurses tell them
"Hai Na?" Atul asks.
Abhi is itching to strangle him, while Nikki smiles with another overt display of shyness.
"Thank you so much you three for doing such a, not really needed, big service to me," gritting his teeth as he deliberates on every word. "if you have no other work, why don't you all leave?"
"Actually we don't mind taking care of your wife for you, till you can be with her," Muskaan tells him. "We'll hang out in the canteen."
"Good idea!" the others tell her excitedly
Abhi looks at them crabbily, but, reluctantly nods his head.
"Abhi please come fast," Nikki tells him in a sugary tone. "I am really missing you so much.
Clenching his jaws tightly, Abhi fakes a smile while his eyes are clouded with irritation.
There was no one in the canteen except for Shiva, the person on the counter. Anjali excuses herself to go to the washroom, while the others sit down around a table.
"What will you guys have? Nikki ?" Atul asks.
"I'll have a milkshake, thanks." Nikki tells him
And you Muskaan?"
"Chalo lets go to the counter and see what he has?" she gets up.
The two go to the counter. Watching them argue over something, Nikki smiles with the shake of her head.
Toying with her cellphone, she opens the picture gallery. Browsing through, she stops at a picture and smiles. It was a picture of Abhi, sleeping on his stomach, his back was bare. Glimpses of grey sweat pants peeped from under a red sheet that was casually draped over him waist downwards.
With a blush heightening her cheeks, Nikki recollects how enamoured she was watching him sleep like that. It was the next day after he bought the saree for her. His right hand encircled his head, while the other lay under his chest with his face facing towards her. He looked so breathtakingly alluring and yet adorable like a little baby. "It will be wonderful to see our baby sleeping like this," Nikki smiles. Picking up her cellphone she captured her enticing charmer with it.
"Show me who are you smiling at?" Muskaan pulls off the phone from her hand.
"Muskaan, give it back to me," caught unawares, Nikki yells at her attempting to stand up.
"Arre Baba, I am not going to eat it, let me see," Muskaan was trying her best to have a peep, but then, seeing Nikki trying to pull the phone off her, she thwarts her attempt by running away.
"Oh No!" Nikki flusters at the thought of Muskaan seeing Abhi in that state.
"Muskaan, just give me back my phone," she tells her firmly.
Muskaan laughs. "Wait Yaar, I can't see the picture properly. Stop chasing me! Hey Anjali, you have a look too." She runs towards Anjali. Nikki hastens her step. Her tiny heel skids and she is propelled forward.
"Nikki look out" Atul yells in fear.
Abhi was entering the canteen and was just in time to see Nikki skidding and about to fall on the corner of the table in front of her.
"Nikki," he screams out in horror. Lunging forward, he jumps in front of the table catching her just in time. Everyone breathe in relief seeing that she landed in safe arms.
"Oh my God, Nikki," Abhi clasps her tightly in his arms, cold shivers running down his spine. "Are you okay?" he asks her, his body still trembling in fear.
"Hmmm" Nikki mumbles clinging on to him.
"Thank God!," he tightens his grip around her, clamping his eyes tight in relief. Then pulling apart, he looks at her. " Are you hurt anywhere? Did you feel any pull or jerk?" he asks worriedly putting his hand on her stomach.
"No I am fine Abhi, just a bit shaken up." She assures him.
"Nikki are you okay?" Muskaan asks as she and the rest gather around them. "I am sorry yaar, I shouldn't have allowed you to chase me"
Her words rankle Abhi giving rise to anger within him.
"Have you guys gone mad?" he yells "All the time playing around like kids!"
"Abhi, it isn't their fault," Nikki tells him, putting a tender hand to his face. "It was my mistake, I shouldn't have run. My heel.........."
"Exactly Nikki, Whats wrong with you ?" peeved with her defence, he turns his wrath on her. "How can you run around in this condition and that too with high heels?"
"Abhi these are not really high. Its just about an inch," Nikki tries to explain,"
"I don't want any explanation," he tells her crossly. "What if something happened to you today? You almost fell on that damn table corner. Do you realize how dangerous it would have been for you and the baby?"
"Dr. Modi, we are very sorry," Muskaan tells them, handing Nikki's phone to her.
Anjali and Atul also apologise.
"Look you three, I think its enough for the day. You better leave or I will ban you all of from entering Sanjeevani again."
"OUT!" he hisses. Realising how incensed he was, Atul, Muskaan and Anjali fearfully scamper out
'And you! When will you ever grow up?" he tells her scathingly. "You are carrying a child and yet behaving like one?"
Nikki was upset with his acid tone.
"Yeah everything is my fault," she retorts. "I was being nice enough to come and see you and all you can do is only yell,"
At that moment, some staff enter the canteen and greet them.
Abhi then pulls Nikki outside, till they find a corner. "I am warning you Nikki, cut this loving wife act in front of people. Its not going to work with me. I am trying my best to come to terms with the issues between us. I may forgive you for anything Nikki, but, if anything happens to this baby, I'll never ever forgive you for it. Never. Today, I managed to save you, but it need not always be the case. So take extra care. Don't make things even worse, than what it is now, between us. Be warned."
Tears of hurt sting in Nikki's eyes.
"Now go to my cabin and wait for me. I'll be there in few minutes." Shaking his head irately, he walks away.
Smarting from his insults, tears flow down Nikki's cheeks. Wiping them angrily she walks to the terrace.
"What does he think of himself ? Whenever he wants he can insult me. Just yells, yells at everything and find problems with everything I do. Dr. Modi, you have a problem with my heels, here, see, I am throwing them away," she removes one and flings it far on the terrace.
"Here's take this one too," Off it went to the other end. "Happy? What other problem you have tell me. Just because I give you so much importance you are showing off. You meanie, you arrogant brute!" she yells, choking as her tears continue to flow.
Walking towards his cabin, Abhi is chiding himself, "What is wrong with you Abhimanyu? How can you be so rude and harsh to her. She is your wife Dammit! And also carrying your child. How can you talk to her like that?" He shuts his eyes ashamed of his behavour.
"Damn," he shakes his head. "Why are my feelings, my emotions constantly in conflict with each other?"
Entering the cabin he does not find Nikki there. He went around asking about her. One ward boy tells him he saw her going towards the terrace.
On the terrace, he finds her muttering to herself.
"What are you doing here?" he asks her gently. "I told you to wait in the cabin."
"Why should I always do what you want." Nikki asks him haughtily. "I felt like some fresh breeze so I came here. Now you have a problem with that too? You think, you can just dictate everything and I should just follow them meekly ?"
"Ok, I guess I was quiet harsh," he admits humbly. "I am sorry for it. Now relax and don't stress yourself. Lets go home." He moves closer to her but Nikki, moves backwards, very upset with him.
"why should it bother you?" she tells him sulkily
"Nikki you should know what's good for you. You are not a kid anymore. You shouldn't be running around like that," tenderly he tries to explain.
"Yeah, I am a kid, I am bad, anything else?" she asks him giving him a dirty look.
A sudden jab under her left foot, makes her shriek out in pain. Abhi looks startled. Unable to bear the pain, she slumps forward into Abhi's arms.
"What happened ?" he asks fearfully.
She lifts her left foot and they are horrified to see it bleeding. A broken piece of glass was embedded in the ball of her heel.
"Good Lord, what have you done," Quickly kneeling down on one knee and stretching the other leg forward, Abhi pulls her down. Nikki sits on his stretched leg, putting her arm across his neck seeking support. He then gently pulls out the piece of glass, which was quiet long and cut right across the heel. Blood starts spurting out. Nikki howls in pain and clings on to him, burying her head in his chest.
Then lifting her head she looks peevishly at him.
"There is no need for you to worry, nothing has happened to your baby," she tells him hotly. "its your wife, who doesn't matter to you, that is injured."
Abhi rolls his eyes. Ignoring her grumbling, he checks the cut and was relieved to see it hadn't gone too deep, nor, were there anymore pieces of glass inside. He puts pressure on it and looks around him. Seeing Nikki's blue scarf draped over her matching sleeveless top, he pulls it off her neck. He was about to tie the wound, when Nikki pulls her foot away.
"Don't give me the loving husband act," she hits back at him.
The sharp and hard angry glint in his eyes, intimidated her into lowering her eyes with submission.
He ties the scarf around the cut, to stop the blood and lifting her up walks out of the terrace.
Carrying here in his arms he was walking in the corridor when he spots a nurse. "First Aid to my cabin and find out who the bloody hell broke a glass and did not bother to clear it up." He snarls.
While the nurse was dressing her wound, Nikki keeps darting angry glances at Abhi.
"Dr. Abhimanyu Modi, you were troubling me so much right? Now I'll make you pay for it. As a punishment you'll have to carry your pregnant wife everywhere." She looks smugly at him.
Looking at her eyes, Abhi knew she was conjuring up something for him.
When they were ready to leave, Nikki tells him.
"Abhi, I am unable to walk," she tells him in a sweet tone. "I am sorry, but, I think you will have to carry me to the car. She gives him the sweetest smile she could.
He returns it with the most honeyed one he could manage.
"Yeah, Ok fine, give me few minutes. I have something to complete before we leave." He leaves the room.
Few minutes later two nurses and a ward boy walk in with a wheel chair.
"Mrs. Modi, Dr. Modi has asked us to wheel you down. He has gone to get the car to the main entrance."
"How Dare he!" Nikki seethes inwardly.
Few minutes later an amused Abhi watches Nikki's gloomy face as she is helped into the car.
Once she is seated proper, He looks at her.
"Are you okay? Comfortable?" he asks her politely.
Nikki gives him a frigid look.
"You really don't know how to treat your wife do you?" she asks him indignantly
"Well I am learning slowly," Abhi tells her wryly. "I am trying not to use my hands when they are not needed." There was steely hardness in his eyes.
Nikki lowers her eyes, realizing his wound is still very raw.
When they reach home, Nikki is opening the car door.
"Wait" Abhi tells her. "I'll help you!"
"Its okay, I'll manage," Nikki tells him trying to open the door. Abhi stretches out and holds her hand.
"Sit quietly, I said," he orders firmly.
Nikki makes a face at him. He goes over to her side and opens the door . Then bending closer to her, he looks into her eyes and lifts her gently out of the car.
The steady captivation of her eyes with his, the warmth of his hands and his heady smell, took not much time for Nikki to succumb to his charm.
Happily she wraps her arms around his neck and looks lovingly into his face, blinking her eyes coyly. Abhi rolls his eyes at her pertiness.
Entering their room he goes to the bed and gently seats her on it, letting her back rest against the headrest of the bed. Placing one knee on the bed and hands firmly on either side of her, he looms over her. In a slow seductive move, he brings his face closer to hers, making Nikki's heart beat rapidly. She looks shyly at him and lifts up her face ecstatically in expectance of his kiss.
"Dr. Mrs. Nikita Modi," he drawls saucily. "You'll be rejoining Sanjeevani tomorrow right?"
Nikki nods her head.
"Welcome back." he smiles charmingly at her
"Thank you," Nikki tells him happily, basking in his sudden irresistible sweetness.
"And, everyone in the hospital know we are married and that you are my wife," he moves his face even more closer to her, his eyes bewitchingly, fixed on the fullness of her lips.
Nikki gulps, nodding her head in agreement.
"SO!" his voice rises. "I don't want you to play, the over the top, lovey-dovey wife, in front of everyone and embarrass me like you did today." He growls fiercely.
Nikki is taken aback. She gapes at him with open mouth.
"Is that clear?" he bellows, his eyes still glowering at her.
Nikki's eyes narrow with irritation.
"YooooooU," she scowls at him
An impish smile begins to play on his lips. Slowly he pulls back.
"Hungry? Want something to eat?" he asks her tenderly.
"Huh?" Nikki is surprised at the change in his attitude.
"Go get lost," she tells him in annoyance. He sighs.
"As you wish M'aam," he shrugs and walks into the bathroom
"God this man will drive me mad!" Nikki puts both her hands on her head in frustration. " One time he is angry and insulting and then suddenly tender and caring. And then he, also, has to be irrestibly charming drawing you towards him and then he himself will run far away. Uffff!" She slaps her forehead.
"One time he behaves as if he is going to kiss you, but, No," she makes a face, "he ends up scolding you instead. God, what do I do with him?" she lifts up her hand in exasperation.
She looks perturbed towards the bathroom. "For all that scolding you gave Dr. Modi, you should have atleast followed it up with that kiss. Atleast it would work as a soothing balm!"
Hassled, she leans against the headrest and plays with the phone. She then goes back to the picture of him sleeping.
"Atleast he is so adorable when he sleeps, like an angel, but, when he is awake he is a complete Devil," she scowls at the bathroom door.
"Oh My God!" she blinks with realization. "This was the picture that created all that hungama today. See, See you are the cause of it all Dr. Modi! You! " she glares at the picture. "Really! how much you trouble me!"
She mentally goes through the incident in the canteen. She remembers how scared Abhi was when she almost fell on the table. She looks back at the picture and smiles.
"Let me see Dr. Modi, how much more can you trouble me. Let me tell you, its not going to effect me much, because deep inside I know you love me. For all your stubbornness and attitude, your trembling body told me how much you love me Dr. Modi,"
"This love of yours keeps me from feeling any pain. The only pain I feel is the hurt I inflicted on you," her face turns sad. "I know your wound is raw. If by troubling me, it will heal your pain, I am willing to be troubled by you." She continues to ponder.
"Actually, I am beginning to like your troubling me," she smiles happily "It shows you are aware you have this right over me. You won't tease and trouble anyone else, like this, would you?" she asks, coquettishly biting her lip "Its only my right! and I love you!" she blushes, continuing feasting her eyes on his picture.
A vibrating sound on the bed brings her out of her revelment. She finds Abhi's phone lying next to her. It must have fallen off from his pocket, she thinks and ignores it thinking whoever is the caller, it will show as a missed call. However, the caller seemed to be in desperation, the phone was constantly ringing. Nikki picks it up and a sweet female voice ask for Dr. Abhimanyu Modi.
Nikki tells her he is not around and asks if it was urgent.
The lady replies "No its nothing urgent. I need to speak to him only." She refuses to give her name, when Nikki asks for it and disconnects the phone.
Confused at the caller, Nikki puts the phone down.
After few minutes, Abhi returns having showered and changed into a fresh set clothes.
Before they could speak to each other the phone rings and Nikki gives him his phone. Sitting down on the chair, he talks into the phone. As he disconnects he receives another call. The calls seemed to have been from Sanjeevani as Nikki hears him discussing cases of different patients. After he finishes the call, he leans back and stares at her.
"Nikki are you feeling okay? Has the pain lessened?" Genuine concern showed on his face.
Before Nikki could answer. His phone rings again. Continuing to look at her, he mechanically answers it. There is a sudden freezing of his expression and then he looks sharply at her.
"Er, Hold on," he fumbles into the phone. " I'll speak to you in few minutes."
Then averting her gaze, he hurriedly walks out of the room.
Nikki is surprised by his behaviour. Why did Abhi go out to speak to the third caller and not continue talking here like he did with the other two. Why did he look so shocked? Who could it be?"
PRECAP TO PART 22
While she was talking on the phone, there is knock and the office boy enters. Nikki points out to the files that were beneath her elbow and leans back, continuing with the call.
When she finished the call, she realizes that all important piece of paper went along with the files.
"Oh No!" she shudders at the thought of Abhi seeing it.
She quickly dashes off to his cabin and was relieved to see he wasn't there. Just as she was about to open the files, she hears the door knob being turned in. Nervously she picks up the top two files and squeezes herself between the wall and the bookshelf lying in the corner. Thankfully that part of the cabin was dark. She can see that the door was slightly pushed open, yet, being held as Abhi was talking to someone outside his cabin.