"Did we come at a wrong time?" Armaan asks
"That is an old habit of yours Armaan," Abhi tells him wryly "and old habits die hard I suppose," he grins.
"ABHI!" an embarrassed Nikki makes eyes at him.
"Do you guys like our surprise?" Riddhima asks, opening out her arms to Nikk, i as her eyes dance with excitement.
"Oh this is such a lovely surprise!" an equally excited Nikki walks towards her. The two best friends hug each other warmly.
"Hey Dude!" Armaan lifts a fist to Abhi "Congratulations for the baby. That was quick," he winks.
"Thanks!" Abhi smiles, punching his fist into Armaan's. They exchange a hug and pat each other on the back.
Armaan then turns towards Nikki and keeps staring at her.
"I can't believe this girl, who I have known since we were kids, is now carrying one herself. Come here, come here," he beckons her with his fingers, "Let me have a proper look at you!"
Nikki colours as he scrutinizes her from head to toe. She looks at Abhi who was standing next to Armaan. There was amusement on his face. Riddhima and the rest of the gang, also have smiles on their faces as they watch an embarrassed Nikki and an awestruck Armaan.
"I never expected to see this side of you Nikki," He tells her "You look beautiful. Pregnancy really seems to suit you. There is a special kind of glow on your face."
Blushing profusely, Nikki runs into his arms. Tears glisten in her eyes.
Laughing, Armaan hugs her warmly, his own eyes beginning to moisten.
"I am so happy for you Nikki." he tells her. He then looks at Abhi and winks at him. "For both of you." Abhi nods his acknowledgement.
"Didn't I say I have a surprise for you?" a smiling Rachna Modi interrupts them from behind.
"Ma you knew Armaan and Riddhima were coming?" Abhi asks her with disbelief on his face.
"Yes she did," Armaan confirms fondly putting his arm around Rachna's shoulder "and as a good friend she kept it a secret,"
Everyone stares questioningly at him. As Armaan begins to explain, Riddhima walks over to them and holds Nikki's hand.
"Riddhima has got a three day conference to attend to and me, a total wife-bhakt, decided to come and meet you guys. We told Aunty we wanted to surprise you all, so, to keep it a secret and she did!" He rubs his cheek fondly against Rachna's cheek. She pats his other cheek affectionately.
"Ma you are a chuppa rustom," Abhi tells her fondly putting his arm around her other shoulder.
Holding Abhi and Armaan on either side of her, Rachna laughs.
"Mama, you are wonderful," Nikki tells her. "I can't tell you how happy I am, to see Riddhima and Armaan," she squeezes Riddhima's hand.
"Now that calls for a sweet family picture," Jas says, camera in hand, as he takes in the beautiful sight of Rachna having Abhi and Armaan on either side of her with Nikki and Riddhima in front of them. He clicks a picture of them.
"I am family too," Sid says, trying to find place near Abhi who dragon-like, puffs heat at him.
"Even we are!" Atul, Muskaan and Anjali chime in.
"Aage jao," Armaan tells them. The three go down on their haunches in front of Riddhima and Nikki.
"And me?" asks Sid making a sad face.
Nikki giggles observing Abhi glare at Sid. She, affectionately, touches Sid's face and says "you sit here in front of me."
"Yay," Sid is jubilant. He blows a flying kiss to Nikki annoying Abhi, even more.
Stifling a giggle, Nikki looks imploringly at Abhi, pleading with him to ignore it.
After the picture was taken, Armaan says excitedly, "we are here for a week, we'll do dhamaal."
"Yes," quip in Atul and Muskaan.
"Isn't it enough you guys do dhamaal everyday?" Abhi tells them crisply
Experiencing his anger the previous day and aware of what he was hinting at, Atul, Muskaan and Anjali look jittery at him. Tenderly squeezing Abhi's hand, Nikki once again pleads with her eyes.
"Do what you guys want but don't drag my wife into it," he warns them sternly. Looking at their nervousness, he grins making them breathe in relief.
Rachna tells them that they should be going out in the lawn as the guests would have arrived. Nodding their heads, they all make their way out.
When Rohit, Sonam, Simran and their families arrive, Sid Modi loses his heart the moment he sees Simran. Everytime he wanted to be introduced to Simran, his family members were busy with the other guests.
Frustrated he decides to introduce himself. He goes to the corner and starts practicing.
"Hi I am Siddhant Modi and who are you?"
"Jeeeps!" his eyes pop wide, alerted by his error. "No, No I can't say that.
"Hi I am........" he forgets what he was supposed to say and begins to bite his nail. "Who am I ? Haan!"
Putting his hand out again, he closes his eyes and says "Hi I am Sid, Will you be my friend? "
"And I am Dr. Abhimanyu Modi, Can you get lost?" He squeezes Sid's palm tightly.
"Ouch, Ouch," Sid howls in pain, as he is also surprised to see Abhi in front of him.
"Abhi, what are you doing?" coming up from behind him, Nikki chides him, also trying to free Sid's hand from his. "Whats wrong with you? Why are you after this poor child?"
"Poor child!" Abhi exclaims, incredulity written on his face. "Can't you see he is upto some mischief"
Nikki looks questioningly at Sid. He shakes his head in the negative.
"No he is not," she tells Abhi firmly.
"Really?" Abhi raises an eyebrow, surprised at her retort "he says so and you believe him?"
"Yes I do" she tells him defiantly. "He is a sweet and nice boy." She smiles at Sid who looks smittenly at her.
Abhi looks at her in disbelief.
"Just because he called you Stunning, you take his side on everything?"
" Are you jealous ?" Nikki confronts him pushing her head up looking daringly into his eyes.
Abhi is even more startled at her sudden onslaught. "J......jealous ?" He strutters.
He then quickly composes himself. "Jealous of this chimpanzee, you must be joking!" the corner of his lips contort wryly.
"I just spoke the truth. Bhabhi is really beautiful and an amazing person."
"Thank you Sid, that's so sweet of you." Touching his cheek gently, Nikki smiles sweetly at him.
'Wow! What sweet love between bhabhi and devar! Looks like the Modi admiration society is going great guns !" Abhi's voice was laced with sarcasm. "How very touching!" He mockingly wipes the unseen tears from his eyes.
"Hi Jeeju, Hi Di," an excited Simran greets them.
"SIMRAN!" Abhi welcomes her happily as if she was God sent. "my sweetest saali, are you having fun at the party?" he asks her with the most irresistible smile on his face.
"Jeeju, I tell you this is a fantastic party," Simran tells him holding his arm. "And the best part of it all, is you are looking so handsome."
"Thank you, thank you," Abhi beams at her. With a wicked glint in his eyes, he looks at Nikki matching it with an equally wicked smile. Irritated, Nikki flashes a fake wide smile. The fact that they were greatly annoyed by the cosy exchange between jeeju and saali was written all over the faces of Nikki and Sid.
"Simran meet my brother in law Sid, your sweet Jeeju's," pausing, she darts a scowl at Abhi, "cousin."
"Hi Simran," Sid extends his hand to her.
"Hi" Simran mumbles shyly, disengaging her hand from Abhi and shaking Sid's hand.
She then tries to pull her hand away but Sid wouldn't let go off it. After a few attempts, Simran looks at Abhi for help. He slowly leans towards Sid and quietly pinches his arm.
"Ouch!" a pained Sid quickly leaves Simran's hand
Nikki was bubbling with laughter but manages to keep it inside her.
"Excuse me Di, Jeeju, I'll be back," feeling awkward, Simran leaves.
"You Idiot! What were you upto?" Abhi hisses at Sid.
"I can't help it bhai, she is so lovely! I have been waiting for such a long time to be introduced to her. Thank you Bhabhi for introducing us," Elated at finally having got what he had been waiting for, he embraces Nikki tightly. "You are wonderful!"
Nikki was not prepared for his sudden hug.
"Careful you idiot! You'll hurt her!" A worried Abhi quickly pulls Sid away from his wife.
"Ooops sorry bhabhi! I hope I didn't hurt you."
"No I am fine Sid."
"Hi Abhimanyu, Hi Nikita " someone calls out to them
Abhi turns and waves making signs he is coming over.
"I am warning you, stay away from Simran," he growls threateningly at Sid. "I don't want you to start any new trouble now."
"And you," he looks at Nikki. "don't keep supporting him for everything."
An annoyed Nikki and Sid look at each other and mouth "Khadoos,".
"Come on now," holding Nikki around the waist, Abhi leads her towards the guest who greeted them.
There was fun and merriment at the party. Happy to be together after such a long time, the gang were enjoying themselves, chatting, joking and pulling each other legs.
The DJ belted out medley of fast numbers.
"Come on Guys lets dance!" Armaan tells them. Everyone agree and stand up. Seeing Nikki and Abhi still sitting he teases Abhi.
"Your wife is pregnant, you are not! Come on and dance!"
"Yes, Jeeju, you should dance." Simran tells a reluctant Abhi "Di I hope you don't mind if I dance with your husband?"
"Sure," Nikki smiles at her.
Simran holds Abhi's hand and drags him to the dance floor.
While he was being dragged, Abhi turns to look at Nikki. He keeps staring at her. She was unable to read the expression in those eyes, but her own heart wished she could be with him. She smiles sadly at him.
"My Simran!" Sid's eyes pop up as alarm bells begin to ring in his ears. Nikki can't help but laugh at the anxiety on his face.
"Why don't you go and dance with them?" She tells him.
"Hey that's a good idea! Thanks Bhabhi, you are the best." Then he begins to bite his nails in panic. "but I don't have a partner."
"It's a group dancing, you don't need a partner, you Silly!"
"Great!" Sid stands up abruptly and runs towards the dance floor.
Nikki moves over to where Rachna, Kavita, Jas, Amrita and her husband were sitting. Sitting beside them, she was watching the group having fun, dancing. Her heart was filled with joy watching Abhi's smiling face. After such a long time, he looked so happy and relaxed.
To her amusement, she saw Sid butting in between Abhi and Simran, wanting to dance with Simran, but Abhi would not allow it. He would stand still and glare at Sid who would move away pointing his finger bhangra style. Few minutes later he would be back doing the same thing again and again. Watching the two of them, Nikki was unable to contain her laugh.
She then finds Abhi's gaze fixed on her. Watching the amusement on her face, he smiles warmly at her. Nikki smiles back at him. She sees him whispering something to Simran who looks at Nikki and smiles impishly. Abhi, then moves out of the dancing group and walks towards her.
Reaching her, he holds out his hand.
"Dance?" He asks with a charming smile.
"Abhi, Me? In that crowd ?" Nikki begins to shake her head nervously.
"Don't worry, I am there with you. Trust me!" he assures her
Nikki looks at the older people sitting around her. With smiles on their faces, they nod their approval. She blushes. Then turning to Abhi, she puts her hand into his. Gently he pulls her up and holding her hand leads her towards the dancing group.
"Abhi, the music is too fast for me, I can't be dancing there." Nikki makes an attempt to back out.
"I said don't worry!" he assures her "Its not fair that you are sitting out there while all of us are here on the dance floor. You are part of the group too!" he smiles tenderly at her
"Besides, If the father and baby is dancing how can the mother not dance!" he grins. Nikki smiles.
Everyone cheer as they join the group at the centre of the dance floor. Abhi then winks at Simran who was standing near the DJ.
Nikki looks from Abhi to Simran in puzzlement. Before she could understand anything, she feels Abhi's hand on her back as his arm had encircled her around her waist. When he pulls her closer to him, she looks questioningly into his face.
He brings his face closer to hers and smiles, watching her expression change first to surprise, then happiness when she hears her favourite song being played.
"Saason ko Saason mein dalne do zara
Dheemi si dadkan ko badne do zara.
Lamhon ki guzarish hai yeh paas aaye hum, hum tum.
Their eyes locked with each other, they then slowly sway in rythmn to the song letting its words speak their emotions from within.
His warm hands on the bareness of her back scorched up a heat of desire inside Nikki. Though he held her snug against him, she was aching for him to clasp his arm even more tightly around her.
Looking into his eyes, she can see the desire and passion building in them too, but then, there was some kind of restrain lurking at the back of those very eyes.
Intellect and desire were warring inside Abhi. Bringing Nikki to the dance floor was a wish to see her happy amongst her friends, not sitting lonely at the other end, but, he now finds himself standing on the threshold of the forbidden path. Treading it would mean, once again, leaving his heart open and unguarded.
The little voice of reason was screaming for him to stop and walk away. He needs to sort things first than complicate it more with physical intimacy. He already made the mistake earlier in the evening and he must not repeat it. He has to pull away right now. However, his effort to pull away was too feeble. One look into her desire filled eyes accompanied with an enchanting smile, threw all caution to the wind. His treacherous heart only made him pull her closer to him.
"You are too dangerous for me Nikki, You knock me out of my senses." He wanted to scream out the accusation at her, but, his voice does not support him, well aware the weakness was in him.
He always strived and prided himself for maintaining clarity on situations, for being in control of his feelings, but, when it comes to her, he has no control on himself. The only time he is safely in control, is when he distances himself from her. Yet, time and again, he finds it difficult to even maintain that distance.
"God ! How badly messed up I am!" He sighs closing his eyes in defeat, still assuring himself this closeness is only the call of the moment. This moment, that was made precious and beautiful by the fun filled atmosphere and the woman in his arms who seems to have permeated deeply into his whole system. He lacked that ruthlessness to ruin it. He looks down into her eyes and smiles tenderly making her face brighten up with happiness. Slowly, she puts her head on his chest and closes her eyes, blissful, that he finally fulfilled her desire of squeezing her tightly in his arm. The words of the song continue to echo their feelings......
Lamhon ki guzarish hai yeh paas aaye hum, hum tum.
Lost into each other, it was the loud applause from everyone, at the end of the song, that broke the spell between them.
Nikki was reluctant and sad to leave the haven of his arms.
'When I am in your arms Abhi, I forget who I am. I become yours completely, only yours" her eyes seem to tell him.
"Thank you," she whispers lovingly at him.
Her damp eyes begin to unnerve him. He smiles apprehensively at her. The gathering of the gang around them spares him from saying anything.
"Di, Jeeju that was beautiful," an enthralled Simran tells them. Almost everyone else around them, echo her words making Abhi and Nikki flush with colour. The air was once again filled with jokes and laughter.
PRECAP TO PART 27
Abhi's reaction? She recollects how Abhi felt her stomach and came to know of her pregnancy. He didn't hear it from her. How much that must have hurt him! Morever, her distrust of him, shattered him even more. How will he ever forget that! She is not able to forget or forgive herself for it, How will he? Everytime this harsh truth comes in front of him, it will only make him sore.
After such a long time, he was in one of the best moods today. Even though there is tension still between them, she can see he is trying his best to put everything behind him. Raw wounds don't heal overnight. She has to ensure he doesn't get upset