Nikki never got to know who the mysterious caller was. When Abhi returned to the room it was with Kavita and Jas who were just back from shopping. Nikki's injury had them worrying and fussing over her and she was enjoying every bit of it.
At dinner, Kavita tells them that Jas and she would like to move to Nikki's place. Nikki and Abhi are taken aback.
"Oh, since we have decided to stay on for a some more time, we think we should make use of that house now, that the renovations are completed. Besides, we won't be too far away from you both," Kavita explains.
They had no choice but to nod their heads in agreement.
"Well, I forgot to mention that my cousin Sid is coming down from London tomorrow," Abhi tells them. "He'll be staying with us." Sensing Nikki's surprised questioning gaze at him, he gives her an icy glance and looks back at Kavita and Jas.
"He is my chachu, dad's younger brother's son. An extremely bright kid, but absolutely spoilt and takes everything for granted. Chachu is worried he is going to ruin his life. So, he wants me to help him in making Sid face tough situations of life. We processed his admission and he joins Sanjeevani as an intern, along with the other new interns,"
"Oh Ok," Kavita and Jas nod their heads.
"You never told me about this," Nikki cribs at him.
"We really didn't have the time to talk, did we?" he asks her, his eyes icy cold. "I mean we were so busy with the wedding and other things." There was sarcasm in his voice.
Nikki lowers her eyes at the taunt.
The next morning, when Nikki opened her eyes, she finds dark intense eyes staring down at her. They were full of passion. Abhi was bending over her. He was dressed in a blue shirt and was smelling so good and fresh. His hand lay tenderly on her stomach.
"Abhi," she smiles, happy to be the focus of those sensuous eyes
Caught off guard, he quickly blinks his eyes, masking it with aloofness. He, then, consciously pulls his hand away.
"Er, Er'." He strutters. " I was wondering if I should wake you up. How is your foot ? Does it still hurt ? Do you think you can start off with Sanjeevani today?" he asks with concern.
"My foot is fine," Nikki tells him. "I've been looking forward to this day, so, I really want to start today. I am absolutely fine" she assures him.
"You know you can't be limping, it will put pressure on your abdomen."
"I know Doctor Sahab and don't forget I am a doctor too, I know whats good for me."
"Oh Really?" he raises his eyebrows cynically. "I have been noticing that!" he taunts.
He stands up and pulls back the covers from over her, to help her climb out of the bed. "Now, go get ready. Everyone is waiting for you for breakfast."
He then offers his hand to her for support.
Nikki smiles at his gesture and puts her hand in his. She places her feet on the floor and stands up. A shooting pain on her heel makes her wince and she automatically reaches out for him, clinging on to his other arm. Sensing her discomfort, Abhi quickly puts a protective arm around her.
"Is it bad ?" he asks worriedly.
Arm around his waist, she looks up adoringly into his face and shakes her head. "Its bearable," she smiles.
"Hmmn, you smell so good !"
A smile twitches on Abhi's lips, as he sees her close her eyes and raise her nose up trying to absorb the smell of his aftershave.
When she opens them she finds herself being captivated by his mesmerizing eyes. Her senses were beginning to run wild. Looking down into her eyes, the amusement in Abhi's eyes slowly begins to fade. Desire and longing seemed to be replacing it. He slowly lifts his hand to touch her face. Suddenly, jolted by a revolting thought, his expressions freeze and he abruptly withdraws his hand. After steadying her on her feet, he pulls away and walks towards the door.
"Do hurry up," he throws nonchalantly, over his shoulder. "We need to leave soon. I've got quiet a load of work."
"Why? Hasn't Premchand come as yet?" Nikki enquires of the driver. They had decided Nikki would be driven in her own car since they would not be having the same work timings.
She deliberately kept her tone indifferent as she tries to steel herself into being brave and not showing him that his withdrawal has hurt her.
"Will you stop being a question box and get ready. I'll be your driver for today. Do you have a problem with that?"
"No problem at all Doctor Sahab," she tells him wryly.
Abhi gives her a steely look and walks out.
Tear begin to glisten in her eyes. She now realizes how hurt Abhi must have been everytime he sensed her resentment when he touched her. How insulted he must have felt when she asked him to keep his hands off. Now she craves so much for his touch while he has conditioned himself to keep distant from her.
"How we mess up our own lives !" She shuts her eyes tightly in despair.
On the way to Sanjeevani, Abhi reminded Nikki of the rules she should follow. "No extra lovey-dovey wife act in Sanjeevani. No making excuses to come to my cabin on the slightest of pretext. No running around like a kid," Grudgingly, Nikki agrees to his terms with the nod of her head.
It was celebration time at Sanjeevani as Nikki was warmly welcomed, back into the hospital. Her pregnancy and also, the fact she is the wife of the boss of Sanjeevani, had everyone going out of their way to pamper her. The most jubilant were Atul, Muskaan and Anjali as they got their partner back, while, Dr. Keerti was happy that Nikki would be assisting her with the new interns who were due to join on Thursday.
Abiding with his warning, Nikki kept away, as far as possible, from her husband. She realized he needed time to heal though, she also knew it would be quiet difficult for her to resist the impulse to rile him.
Having finished for the day, Nikki made her way to the car park. She was pleasantly surprised to find Abhi waiting for her in the car.
On reaching home, just, before they could ring the door bell, Nikki leans towards Abhi and blinks her eyes.
"My dear husband, haven't I been a good wife today and followed all your orders? Shouldn't I receive a reward for it?" she asks him cheekily. Abhi rolls his eyes in annoyance.
"Everything is a joke for you, isn't it Nikki?" surprisingly there was no anger in his voice, just a bit of irritation.
Suddenly the door opens and they are greeted by a warm smiling face.
They exclaim joyously in shocked happiness.
"Here I am!" Rachna Modi opens her arms wide in welcome. Abhi and Nikki run towards her and hug her. With a laugh she puts her arms around them.
"Oh Ma, this is a lovely surprise," Abhi tells her. "I missed you so much."
"Same here," agrees Nikki excitedly. " I am so happy to see you,"
As they walk into the house, they notice Kavita and Jas, rising from the sofa and watching them in amusement.
"Mom, Jas you knew of this?" Nikki asks, looking at them in astonishment.
"Yes, Rachna called on Friday and we decided to give you both a surprise. How did you like it ?" Kavita asks her.
"Oh its so wonderful!" Nikki says happily. "Being pregnant helps ! Everyone tries to please you with such lovely surprises." Once more, she fondly hugs her mother in law.
"I was feeling so left out there. I wanted to be with you both, especially dying to see my pregnant daughter in law," Rachna winks tenderly patting Nikki's stomach. Nikki looks at Abhi and finds him watching them in amusement. She blushes red.
"Also, when I called on Friday, Kavita insisted we should meet. So since Siddhant was coming down, I thought I will come along too. That's when we all decided to give you both a surprise. Very soon you will get another surprise " she smiles looking from Abhi to Nikki whose faces were lit up with wonderment. "Just wait and watch" she winks refusing to divulge anything further.
Smiling, the three, then walk towards the seating area to join Kavita and Jas.
"Bhaiya, Bhabhi, Watch out!" a mobile human on skates suddenly barges into the room.
"Nikki, Ma" Abhi yells out in fear, pulling them out of the way and holding them protectively on either side of him. The human on wheels, eventually crashed into a huge armchair.
Rachna Modi slaps her head and Abhi rolls his eyes in exasperation while Nikki, Kavita, Jas look startled at the young man who had toppled over into the armchair. His face was buried into the seat of the chair, his bottoms over its arm, while his legs were on the ground.
"Some idiots never change!" Abhi grits his teeth in irritation.
Releasing Nikki and his mother, Abhi goes towards the armchair. He grabs the young man by the waist of his jeans and pulls him up.
"Hi Bhai, how are you?" Siddhanth Modi grins sheepishly, scratching his head
"You idiot!" Abhi bellows. " does any one roam around wearing skates in the house?" Scowling at him, he shakes the boy hard by his shoulders.
"Beta, leave him," Rachna pleads softly.
"Oh Bhai, when I heard your voices, I was so eager to meet you and Bhabhi, so I just came out not realizing I was in my skates."
"Oh really?" Abhi grits his teeth and shakes him till his teeth begin to rattle.
"Abhi what are you doing ? Leave him." Nikki chides him putting her hand on his arm , trying to release Siddhanth from his grip.
"Nikki, meet my idiotic cousin Siddhanth Modi," Abhi tells her, not releasing his hold on Siddhanth.
"Hi Nikki Bhabhi, I am Sid and you are absolutely stunning." he winks at Nikki.
"Thanks Sid," Nikki smiles at him
He pushes himself backwards and leans closer to Nikki.
"What made you marry my khadoos brother?" he whispers into her ears.
Nikki stiffles a giggle.
Abhi pulls him back
"When I have straightened you properly, I'll give you a full recount on how, why, when we married," he glares at him.
"No, Bhai, its okay. I don't need to know the details," Sid fumbles. "For me the fact you both are husband and wife and my bhaiya and bhabhi is enough," He displays his well polished teeth to Abhi.
Everyone laugh watching him tremble in fear of Abhi.
The next day when Nikki was leaving for work she finds Sid waving out to her. She asks the driver to stop the car.
"Oh Thank God," Sid tells her panting heavily. "Nikki Bhabhi, you going to Sanjeevani, right?"
Nikki nods her head.
"Can you please drop me?" Sid pleads
"But weren't you supposed to leave earlier?"
"I was, I had to submit my papers today, but, my alarm didn't go off," he lies to her. " Bhai called and he is so so mad at me. I'll be killed for sure. Please, Please drop me to Sanjeevani," he pleads, folding his hands.
"Sid, you don't have to lie to me. Bachhu, we have used similar tricks. Alarm didn't go off ?" she mocks him. "Get into the car. I'll drop you today."
Happily Sid gets into the car and they are on their way.
"Listen Sid ," Nikki tells him softly "please don't make it a habit. You know your brother has given strict instructions that you have to go to Sanjeevani on your own and not take rides with any of us. You also know how mad he gets when he is angry, and I don't want him to be mad at me," Nikki sadly explains.
"Oh Nikki bhabhi ! I don't think Bhai can ever be mad at you,"
"But he is!" Nikki thinks to herself sadly
"And even if he gets upset with you, don't you worry," Sid's words brings Nikki out of her thoughts. "I am there! I am a magician, I'll work things out between you two. After all I am Sid," he says proudly lifting his collar. "slowly you will see my talent in these matters," he boasts.
"It will make sense Nikki bhabhi, if we both are on one side. It will be easy tackling Abhi Bhaiya." He winks at her.
Nikki raises her eyebrow and then smiles at him.
"Hmmmn, not a bad idea," her mind wanders wickedly. "Perhaps Sid can be useful to me in reducing the angst Abhi has against me."
Nikki was about to leave for the day. She was going through a few files that were lying on her desk.
"Now these need to go to Dr. Modi for his signatures," she mutters, signing the last file. Then, placing her elbow over it, she was putting back the cap of the pen. Lost in thought, she then rests her chin on her hands.
"Should I go and give him the files myself?" her eyes were dancing with mischief. "Na, I won't," she twitches her nose. "He'll think I am doing it deliberately to annoy him."
"Don't use the slightest of excuses to come into my cabin," she remembered his warning.
"Such a conceited Pig!" she puckers her nose in annoyance.
She then dials a number and tells the receptionist to send someone to take the files to Dr. Modi.
"Why don't I send him a love letter with the files and annoy him a little." There is glee on her face with the thought. "He'll be so livid, he'll yell. Yet, it is some raw personal reaction from of him! Its much better than the polite, impersonal treatment he gives me." she pouts.
"Nah Baba, never know that man's anger which way it goes. Have some patience Nikki. Give him time to come around. Don't do anything foolish or else you never know instead of things getting better, it may only worsen for the two of you,"
"But I miss you Abhi," she whispers sadly. "When will I get that loving husband of mine back? I can see him across, but there is still so much of distance to cover."
Absent mindedly she scribbles his name on the blank sheet of paper that was lying on top of the open file. Then biting her lower lip she writes "I love you. Do you love me ?" she smiles.
The phone rings. As she reaches for the phone, the file closes.
"Hey, Hello Mama," she answers cheerfully. There is knock and the office boy enters. Nikki points out to the files that were beneath her elbow and leans back, continuing her conversation with her mother in law.
"Oh I am done for the day, so I'll be on my way home soon. No, Abhi has some meeting with some senior doctors. So he'll come late," she informs her mother in law.
When she puts down the phone, she realizes that the 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.
After few minutes, Abhi enters the cabin and stops in his tracks. Nikki's heart begins to beat. "Please, Please don't let him see me," She can see his eyes narrowing in puzzlement as they wander suspiciously around the cabin.
The phone rings. He goes over to his chair and diving into it, answers the phone.
"Hey Rohit ! How is Sonam and everything in Delhi?" he reclines back into the chair and revolves in it till he is facing the other side. Seeing his back towards her, Nikki is relieved. "Oh really? that's great. Yeah Nikki is fine. What's new? that woman called again on Sunday. This time she made her friend call first. After I answered she came on line," Nikki realizes he is talking about that mysterious caller she was intrigued about it.
"Really Yaar, I don't know whats her bloody problem. She really disgusts me. Now she says, she has some intimate pictures of hers and mine before Park Hotel which is not possible because I never had anything to do with her except for work. She wants me to take back my statement for the case which going on right now, about her leaking information out of Sanjeevani. She says, she will send those pictures to Nikki. I really want to know what pictures she has. Nowadays you never know what these people circulate around."
"Yaar, I want to keep Nikki as far as possible from these issues. She gets really worked up with such stuff, so I don't want to stress her out."
He sighs deeply. "Exactly ! For no damn fault of mine, I got into this bloody mess. Yeah wondering what to do. For now I have agreed to meet her on Friday at 9pm The place is where Cafe Naaz was before. They have razed it down and there is construction work being carried out there for a mall. I have two days to think what I can do. No yaar, can't do that, she says if the police comes she has a plan B. I first need to find out on my own what exactly she wants from me.
"You coming in the morning? That will be good. Yeah we'll work out something. Thanks yaar, see you. Yeah ok, bye"
Putting the phone down, he takes a deep breath and pushing his head backwards, moves it from one side to another. Nikki was moved. She comes out of her hiding and slowly goes up behind him. Then, putting her hands on his shoulders, she slowly begins to massage it. Taken aback, Abhi looks up and seeing her smiling affectionately at him, he returns it with a fond smile. He then puts both his hands over hers and opens her palms towards his face. His eyes fixed on her, he gently kisses one palm. Nikki's stomach flips with pleasure. He then turns his face to the other palm and kisses it.
"Whether you are near me or far, you fill up every of my senses, wifey," Abhi tells her, angrily gritting his teeth.
'Why is he sounding so annoyed? Why is he speaking from so far?' Nikki is confused.
She then realizes she never left her hiding place. She was hallucinating. He was talking to her picture that was lying on the table.
"I can't believe, right now I can even smell you around me,"
Nikki clamps her hand on her mouth, stiffling a giggle. "I am warning you wifey, stop driving me crazy or else don't blame me for what I do. Then you'll cry "why are you troubling me Abhi?" Nikki is bubbling with laughter as she watches him imitating her, mockingly. "You better watch it!" He warns her picture and shaking his head in annoyance, walks out of the cabin.
Bursting into giggles, Nikki comes out of her hiding.
"So Dr. Modi, Its nice to know your wife still drives you crazy. Chalo, even though, not to me, atleast you let out your feelings to my picture. This is more than enough for me." she smiles happily.
"Now, I've got to do something about this Sonali. Got to protect my husband from that woman. She has troubled him enough. I have only made matters worse for you, Abhi, with my mistrust. Now I won't let her trouble you anymore. I won't let you worry about me trusting you. Sonali Dear, here I come!" There was determination on her face.
PRECAP TO PART 23
"Oh My God! this can't be!" Abhi mumbles, his insides curdling in fear. Rohit follows his gaze and they watch in horror Sonali holding a gun to Nikki's forehead. They can see Nikki is petrified while the others have gone deathly pale.
Cold shivers running down his spine, Abhi dashes ahead. Barely, had he taken a step, he sees Nikki slumping to the ground.
"No!" he screams aloud, stretching his hand out in fear.
There is an eerie silence as everyone stand motionless, shock frozen on their face.