"Hmmm. So this is the problem!" Muskaan says, tapping her cheek with her finger and her eyes narrowing suspiciously as she paces around.
"This woman is creating trouble for Abhimanyu and ruining your marriage" Atul chips in emulating Muskaan's actions.
"Good Nikki, I am proud of you. Fighting for your husband. Very good." Anjali proudly pats her on the back.
"If only they knew how I ran away the first time and let that woman ruin our marriage!" Nikki lowers her eyes guiltily.
The four were on the terrace of Sanjeevani.
"I've got to do something!" Nikki tells the others. "I don't want that woman to blackmail my husband and trouble him."
"But what can you do ? We can't take any kind of risk in your condition. With your husband's kind of temper, if he knows we let you risk yours and the baby's life, he will kill all of us." Anjali tells her, her face filled with fear.
"No he won't come to know, not if you guys tell him." Nikki tells her hotly. "Look, if you people don't want to help. Its fine. I'll still go ahead and do something, but, you dare not say anything to Abhi. I'll never talk to you anyone of you ever."
"Arre Nikki, why are you getting upset? Of course we are with you." Atul consoles her.
"Haan Nikki, we are with you! Don't worry. " Muskaan puts her arm around her shoulder. "But what do we do ?"
Excluding Nikki, the other three begin to pace around, deep in thought hoping for some enlightenment
"Idea," Muskaan snaps her fingers. "Lets kidnap her and torture her into speaking out the truth."
"But where do we keep her?" Anjali asks.
"Haan yaar, that will be a big problem," Muskaan says " Chalo this idea is cancelled"
"I have a great plan," Atul's eyes are gleaming with the idea.
He sits down beside Nikki, while the others do the same.
"Lets call her earlier than the time she called Abhimanyu. What time did she say?"
"9 pm," Nikki informs him.
"Here is the plan, we'll send her a sms from Abhimanyu's cell saying I have something urgent at 9 pm and the other days I am busy. So lets meet at 7.30 pm. Then we'll catch her and threaten her with guns."
"Guns?" The three ladies holler at him, in shock.
"Arre yaar, don't be afraid, its not real but fake guns. Toy guys, which look real." He tells them "She won't even know. She is just a simple blackmailer who wants Abhimanyu to take back the case. She cannot do anything much."
"Then we'll ask her to give everything she has against Abhimanyu," he continues. " By the time Abhimanyu comes, we would have gotten all the pictures from her. He'll be so proud of us." He smiles at them, raising his eyebrow questioningly.
The three ladies are mentally revising his plan, which, can be seen by the movement of their eyes.
"Yeah that seems like a good idea." Nikki tells him.
"Yes!" the others agree.
"Okay, so tomorrow night you send the sms and also see that she confirms or if she is asking for another timing or day," Atul tells Nikki. "I'll arrange for the guns."
"Remember Abhi shouldn't know anything of it," Nikki warns them.
"Don't worry Yaar, It will be top secret," Muskaan tells her and the others agree. There is excitement on their faces because of their secret mission.
The next two days, everytime Abhi passed any of the four, whether they were together or even alone, he could sense they had something up their sleeves. Their dancing eyes, the sudden silence when he came upon them, their stifling giggles, avoidance of his eyes, made him highly suspicious of them. He was convinced that something was brewing.
Finally, unable to handle it anymore, he storms into his wife's cabin.
"Out with it!" he demands of her.
"Out With what?" Nikki asks him innocently.
"This shroud of secrecy the four of you have donned."
"Who four.......? What secrecy......?" Nikki strutters, avoiding his suspecting eyes. "There is nothing going on Abhi. We are just having our own little fun,"
"Fun? then why do you all stop when I come."
"that.......that......." she gulps, "that's because you don't like us fooling around in the hospital while on duty."
"Oh?" Abhi raises an eyebrow. "you mean to say, after so many years, some sense has finally got into your head?" he asks sarcastically, clearly not convinced with her reply. "Look, I hope you people are not upto some trouble. You better come out with it now or else......"
There is a knock on the door. An office boy enters.
"Dr. Modi, Dr. Nikita everyone is waiting for both of you," he informs them. The induction program for the new interns is about to start"
"We are coming," Abhi nods.
Giving her a distrustful glance, he goes to the door and opening it, makes way for her to precede him. With difficulty Nikki passes him, her legs wobbling under his eyes that were fixed on her right through.
That night when Abhi was asleep, Nikki quietly takes his phone and sends the sms to Sonali. After getting an okay from her, she deletes the message from the sent box.
"Sonali, I'll teach you what messing with my husband means," there is smugness on her face.
She looks fondly at her husband who was fast asleep.
"I love you husband and you are only mine. No one can ever take you away from me."
Reaching the second floor of the under-construction building, Sonali looks around.
"I will somehow beg Dr. Modi to withdraw my case. If he doesn't listen I'll show those morphed pictures of his and mine and blackmail him. I will tell him that someone is watching us. With one sign from me, that person will dial my friend who is near his house and hand the pictures to his wife. I am sure he wouldn't want that. How will he know I am alone and I have no one watching me nor any friend near his house. But, I am sure Dr. Modi will fall for it because he knows his wife will surely believe it." She smiles maliciously.
Suddenly she finds her self surrounded by three people. She begins to panic and takes a closer look at them. She recognizes them as Dr. Atul, Dr. Anjali and Dr. Muskaan.
"Yes We!" they confirm to her.
"What are you all doing here?" Sonali asks, irritation in her voice.
"Weren't you expecting us, Sonali?"
Sonali is alarmed by the voice. She knew it was Nikki.
"What are you doing here ?" she asks her
"Why?" Nikki jeers at her. "You invited my husband and conveniently forgot his wife. Why?"
"I..........I....... invited Dr. Modi who said so?" Sonali stammers.
"Don't play games with us Sonali," Muskaan threatens her, in a Don like fashion. "Your game is up?" She points the fake gun at Sonali. Following her, Atul and Anjali pull out their guns and aim it at her.
"Look Sonali, you are properly cornered," Nikki stands face to face with her. " Now you better tell me why you called my husband here and what pictures you have against him?"
The other three stand behind her, still aiming their guns at Sonali.
"I didn't call him here," Sonali denies it angrily.
"Really Now?" Nikki glares at her. "Atul!" she orders.
"Sonali, you better speak the truth." Atul warns her faking his voice like a goon. "or else we will shoot you. We don't want to do it, but we will if you don't listen to us."
"Really?" Sonali asks him calmly. "With Toy guns?" she laughs, mirthlessly. "You should have atleast taught your associates how to hold the gun properly. I mean without trembling."
"Hold the gun?" Atul looks puzzled.
"Ooui Ma," Atul exclaims, seeing both Muskaan and Anjali have started trembling with fear.
"Pssst........ What are you two doing? Disco dandiya?" Atul whispers at them "Arre, we don't have to dance, we've got to make her dance to our tunes," he explains.
Nikki turns to see the commotion behind her.
"How about me showing you guys what a real gun looks like?" Hearing her speak, they all turn towards Sonali. She points the gun at Nikki and moves till the muzzle touches Nikki's forehead.
"Don't worry!" she tells them calmly. "This gun is not fake like yours. Its absolutely real."
Terrorized, Nikki breaks into cold sweat, her lips begin to quiver in fear.
The other three stand rooted to the spot, the colour draining out from their faces.
"You know something," Sonali tells Nikki, "You are Dr. Modi's world and because of you, he has treated me badly. I have landed into a lot of trouble because of him. How about me making him pay for his sins, by wiping out his entire world. You and the baby?" there was venom in her voice and her eyes were filled with spite.
Nikki's senses begin to reel in fear, her hands felt clammy. She is unable to speak. Her throat has gone dry.
"No, please don't do anything to her," Atul, Muskaan and Anjali plead. "Please, Please, we beg you."
An evil smile spreads on Sonali's lips. With a click sound, she unlocks the gun.
The four of them are numbed into stillness.
"Dr. Modi, Mr. Rohit, this is Constable Sawant," Inspector Jhadav introduces. "We have come in plainclothes and not in uniform, so that Sonali or any of her associates are not alerted with our uniform. We have already done a check on the place according to what you have told us and drawn out a plan accordingly. We have identified a room on that floor where we can hide. It is at the other end of the corridor from the room she has asked you to meet her. It's a very long corridor so we will be at safe distance, where she won't be able to see us. You talk to her and see what she says. If she tries anything hanky panky, you make signs to us and we will nab her. Otherwise, you hear her out, agree to her deal and then after she leaves, we will follow her. We will know then what she is upto."
With help of light coming from the streetlights and the torch Constable Sawant was holding, they walk up two floors of the building.
"Look we will be hiding here," Inspector Jhadav shows them an unplastered room which was underconstruction.
However, Abhi is not listening. He is distracted by the action happening at the other end of the corridor.
"Oh My God! this can't be!" he mumbles, his insides curdling in fear. Rohit follows his gaze and they watch in horror as Sonali was 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.
Abhi, Rohit and the cops run towards the group.
"Nikki," Abhi yells, going down on his knees and pulling her motionless body up. "Nikki, Nikki, open your eyes."
The cops have nabbed Sonali who is yelling out "I did not do anything, I did not even press the trigger. I only wanted to scare her. I did not press the trigger, I did not do anything,"
"Nikki," Abhi calls out, frantically searching her body for her injuries. "Please open your eyes," he pleads his eyes brimming with tears, his heart sinking with fear. "Where is her injury?" he was baffled.
"You missed me Doctor Sahab ?" Nikki opens her eyes , smiling at him.
Abhi is speechless. There is astonishment and confusion on his face. Suddenly his eyes open wide with happiness as realization takes over.
"Oh Nikki, thank God you are okay, you killed me today." he clasps her tightly in his arms. Fear made him hold her so tight that Nikki felt smothered and lets out a cough.
"Are you are okay?" he loosens his grip on her. "Are you hurt? How did you fall?"
"I fell down on purpose just to scare that Sonali." She tells him, beaming with pride. Abhi stares at her in disbelief.
The others gather around them.
"Nikki are you okay?" Rohit asks her.
"Nikki you are not injured?" Anjali asks her
"No, I am fine" replies Nikki.
Abhi is still in a state of shock. He releases her from his hold and slowly standing up, he staggers over to the open balcony, in a daze. As the truth of the incident begins to dawn into him, his eyes begin to moisten. Digging his hands into the pocket of his trousers he stares into the dark emptiness.
"Inspector Sahab, please leave me. See Mrs. Modi is fine. I did not do anything to her," Sonali begs them.
"Leave you? What about the trouble you have put Dr. Modi in? Blackmailing him?"
Me? I did not blackmail him.
The Inspector lets out a barrage of questions to Sonali
Why did you call him here?
"I wanted to plead with him to take back my case. I want to lead a normal life."
"Then what pictures you were talking about?
"I have no pictures of his at all"
"Show us your bag," The inspector checks her bag and pulls out few pictures.
"Where did you get these pictures. Answer us." he thunders at her.
"Its just morphed together, they are not real. Please Inspector let me go, I promise not to trouble Dr. Modi ever again."
"Don't worry, we won't even give you another chance for it," Inspector Jhadav tells her. "Constable Sawaant take her away,"
"Wait Inspector !" Nikki tells him. She goes over to Sonali and gives her a tight slap across her face. She lifts her hand again and cross slaps her once more.
"Don't you dare trouble my husband again! I warn you!" her eyes were blazing with anger.
Rohit tells the cops to take her away. Inspector Jhadav goes upto Abhi whose back is still towards them. He extends his hand to him.
"Dr. Modi, don't worry, we will ensure that Sonali doesn't get even the slightest opportunity to trouble you again. I'll keep you posted on the developments of this case. We may need you to sign some papers."
"Thank you Inspector," Abhi smiles at him. There was sadness on his face.
The Inspector pats him on the back and goes back to Rohit and Nikki.
"I'll just be with you Inspector," Rohit tells him. With a smile to Nikki, the Inspector and constable leave taking Sonali with them..
"Nikki, what have you done?" Rohit chides her whispering into her ears. "That too in in this condition? You could have hurt yourself badly or something fatal could have happened. If we were all so shaken and scared, can you imagine what Abhi must have gone through seeing you fallen to the ground like that? I am sure it must have killed him completely."
Nikki lowers her eyes in guilt.
He then puts a fond arm around her. They watch Abhi's back, taut like a statue . "I have to go, I'll catch you guys later. You go talk to him,"
He dashes off.
With butterflies in her stomach and shaking knees, Nikki slowly makes her way towards Abhi. Atul, Muskaan, Anjali watch her with equal nervousness.
Her hand was trembling as she lifts it up to touch his back.
"Don't you dare touch me Nikki," an infuriated Abhi snaps at her. "Don't you dare," he warns, his eyes, balls of fire.
"Abhi, listen, I just wanted to help you," Nikki mumbles softly.
"Help me ?" he flares. "How? By getting yourself killed?"
"Dr. Modi, please calm down," Atul pleads.
"Dr. Modi, this is not what we thought would happen." Anjali tells him softly
"Really? what did you guys think would happen?"
"We just thought we will get the pictures out from Sonali by threatening her with toy guns," Atul nervously explains.
"Toy Guns?" Abhi mocks him. "What you thought Sonali is a kid like you people? . What you thought you were having a play date, where you would exchange toys and chocolates with each other? She is a bloody seasoned con woman. That is why I took help of the cops and look at these Nuts out here, playing cops and robbers with her." He looks daggers at all four of them. Unable to meet his eyes, they all hang their heads down in shame.
"Whose idea was it?" Abhi asks. "and how do you know about my meeting with Sonali ?"
Struttering with nervousness, Nikki tells him about overhearing his telecon with Rohit regarding Sonali and she wanted to do something to prove to him that Sonali doesn't bother her and she trusts him.
"So I was right, this is what you guys were cooking up!" He looks at Nikki. If eyes could kill, Nikki knew that she would have been dead at that very spot. "You lied to me Nikki," he growls at her.
She looks down at the floor.
"And you three, are you her friends or her enemies?"
"Don't shout at them Abhi," Nikki pleads for her friends "it was all my idea,"
"Only you can come up with such foolish ideas," he tells her disgustedly.
"And, even if it is her idea, couldn't you people stop her. You are her friends right? Instead of stopping her, you went ahead with her foolish idea?"
Annoyed with his jibes, Nikki looks indignantly at him.
"Acha I am foolish Right? If I am so foolish, then why did you marry a foolish person like me?"
"That's because I am the biggest Fool this planet has ever produced," he bellows angrily at her.
"A Fool like me marries another Fool and then, thinking that they would take care of my foolish wife, keeps on collecting more and more Fools," he darts angry glances to Atul, Anjali and Muskaan.
"SO," he emphasizes, with an angry but comical looking twist of his lips
"WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF FOOLS !" His roaring reverberates the whole place. Terrified, they put their hands to their ears.
"Dr. Modi, we are sorry," Anjali apologises softly.
"Yes Dr. Modi," the other two quip in.
"Can'.. we'..do'' anything?" Atul stammers nervously.
"Yes you can," Abhi tells him, his expressions unreadable.
"What ? they ask him," eager to please their angry Boss.
"SCRAAAAAAAAM" he rumbles.
Nikki is astonished to see Muskaan, Anjali and Atul vanish with the blink of the eye.
PRECAP TO PART 24
Abhi is unable to believe his eyes. He gapes at them open mouthed. He then shuts and opens his eyes in disbelief. Slowly he turns to look at his brother standing near him and is even more shocked with his expressions. Tears were trickling down Sid's cheek. His eyes were full of admiration as he kept staring at the two beautiful ladies in front of him.
"What happened to you?" Abhi asks him.