Sid's nonstop chatting and funny jokes enabled Nikki to put the incident behind her for the moment. She was amused at his fascination for Simran. When he told her he wanted to marry Simran, she laughs aloud.
"You silly, first you should find out what she feels about you" she tells him giggling at his dreamy eyes.
"Really? how do I do that?" he asks.
"You could try asking her out?"
"Oh, Good idea, I'll take her to the disco."
"Na Na," Nikki makes a face having no fondness for such overcrowded places with people trampling on your foot all the time and blaring music, where one has to scream hoarse before the other person can really hear you. .
"Why don't you ask her casually for coffee or an ice cream?" she suggests.
" Oh Ice cream! I love Icecream," Sid's mouth was watering. Nikki giggles at his expression.
"Not you Silly," she slaps his forehead, "she should like icecream."
"Oh!" says Sid, realization dawning on him. "I know Simran likes ice-cream. Saw her gorging down few at the party the other day."
Nikki is amused.
Once they reached home, Abhi called to say he'd be late since Rohit, Armaan and he were catching up with dinner outside. He tells her she should sleep.
Lying in bed, Nikki was desperately trying to sleep. However, the bad dream and the parking lot incident kept flashing in front of her eyes. For some unknown reason, it was making her uncomfortable. She keeps telling herself she shouldn't be thinking about it. It could all be her imagination. She wonders if she should tell Abhi about it, but, then decides against it thinking it would only get him all worked up.
Turning on her side, she wraps her arms around a pillow hoping to find some comfort from it. But, the soft, lifeless ball of fluffiness, did not give her the warmth and protection she relished last night. She seems to be getting addicted to it. Her urges for a repeat tonight seem to have increased but she shakes her head against it. She needs to control her urges , not wanting to be a nuisance to him. Poor Guy, definitely needs to find some joy in expecting a baby," She chuckles as she recollects how taxing this pregnancy has been for him.
She can hear the bedroom door open softly, sending her heart racing. She quickly pulls the comforter over her and turning on her side, pretended to sleep. She is strong. She will not be demanding on the poor soul, she decides.
Abhi pads softly into the room till he comes and stands over her. Nikki can sense she is being scrutinized and her whole body tingles with thrills and apprehension. She feels his hand on her forehead and then the tender brush of his index finger over her cheek.
She was most tempted to reciprocate. 'Don't do this to me Abhi', she sends a silent prayer. 'Please, please.' She was trying her best not to succumb, her will was slowly weakening. The warmth of his hand on her belly overwhelmed her, making her realize how affectionately he was checking if she and the baby were fine. He mastered the art of connecting with them without the use of words.
To her relief, she finds him moving away. Hearing the shutting of the bathroom door softly, she exhales deeply. Few minutes later the sinking of the mattress beside her, announced his readiness to sleep.
In no time, he seemed to have been transported to the land of Nod. His breathing confirmed that.
"Great!" Nikki is irked. To her sleep wasn't even approaching. All kind of thoughts engulfed her mind. She wasn't able to understand if it was her hormones that were acting up, but right now all she wanted was to be held tight. The craving, the yearning had intensified so much that it made her heart ache. She'd give anything to have those arms around her. "Where is a your willpower Nikki?" she admonishes herself. All logic, contemplation, sanity tossed far far away, she sits up and switches the television on.
Abhi thought he sleepwalked into a discotheque. Letting out a string of expletives, he sits up
"What the ?" he barks, rubbing his eyes.
He cannot believe he was looking into a music channel so late in the night. He turns to look at Nikki.
"Whats your problem?" he groans.
She looks surprised at him.
"Why are you awake?" her tone had innocence. "You must be tired, Go, go back to sleep," she mollifies him.
Abhi gapes at her.
"Go to sleep?" he questions her after a few disbelieving blinks. "With this blasting music?"
"Oh sorry, sorry," she tells him apologetically. "I'll reduce the volume. Is that Ok? Fine?"
"And why aren't you sleeping?" he asks her finding it difficult to keep his eyes open.
"Oh you noticed?"
"You are so noiseless!" he taunts.
Nikki makes a face at him and continues watching the television.
"Shouldn't you be sleeping?" he growls at her, "morning you are not able to wake up. Come on switch it off" he reaches for the remote in Nikki's hand, but, she quickly moves it to her left hand.
"I can't sleep" she tells him as a matter of fact.
"Because........because........." she fumbles to find an answer not wanting to tell him the actual truth.
"Because.......what dammit?" he snaps
"Nothing. What is it to you?"
Abhi is exasperated. He sighs deeply.
"Nikki, for God sake. I need sleep," he pleads. "I haven't slept well the past few days and right now all that I crave is sleep."
"Ok," she tells him calmly. "When did I stop you from sleeping? You sleep. I'll use earphones if you want."
Abhi knew that no matter what he said, it would not have any impact on his obstinate wife.
Menacingly he leans forward and brings his face closer to hers. Looking at the fire in his eyes, Nikki begins to get jittery. He then moves his hand to the other side, encircling her. She begins to tilt backwards as he advances further. His eyes boring into hers, he continues to back her till his hand finds the remote. Jerking it off her, he turns and switches off the television.
"Go to Sleep!" he deliberates on every word.
Scowling at him, Nikki lies down turning on to her side, letting out a tirade of grumble.
"Nobody cares for anything. My arms are aching, my back is aching, there is no one to hold me, but who cares? The baby is restless," she puts her hand on her abdomen. "Who really cares? This stupid sleep is also not coming, but who cares? Nobody cares for anything, No one is bothered."
She was getting teary. She couldn't figure out whats gone wrong with her. She was feeling so terrible inside. She wanted to lash out at him but then she knew he was at no fault. She was feeling sorry for him. He really needed to sleep. But why is she feeling so unhappy and restless?
She continued with her ranting which were now choking into soft mumbles.
Abhi was having a hard time stifling his laughter at her nonstop whinning. " Pregnancy hormones!" he reminds himself
Nikki could hear him shift closer and curl up behind her. Slowly, his arm comes over her arm trapping it firmly, his hand slowly making way to her abdomen. His fingers seductively smoothen over her hand moving down, parting her fingers till they are properly interwined into his. Nikki's heart soars with joy.
"Sorry for breaking your misconception," he whispers seductively . "There is someone who really cares for you and the baby. Now would you please have mercy on him and go to sleep."
Nikki chuckles and closes her eyes.
From then on, Dr. Abhimanyu Modi found the perfect solution for a good night sleep. If he held wifey through the night, he was assured of a drama free night. The next few days he had a hectic time at the hospital with quiet a few emergencies reporting in. By the end of the day , his whole body was tired and tense. Yet, as much she looked forward to being held by him, he started looking forward to holding her, even more. It felt so good to have her in his arms.
On Thursday, there is a knock on the door of Nikki's cabin and a cheerful Simran enters.
"Hi Di, how are you doing?"
"Hey Sweety, thanks so much for coming."
"Don't say thanks for such a small thing Di, its my pleasure."
Nikki pulls out an album from a drawer of her desk. She points out to a picture.
"This is the picture I want enlarged. You guys have the negatives right? Please do this for me whenever you can.
"Aha, such a cute picture of Jeeju and you. Do you know, I got this photographer to specially click this picture of yours"
Nikki blushes. She recollects, at the wedding, how Abhi and she were made to stand for a family picture.
As the family members were jostling around, Abhi, who standing behind her, tenderly puts his arms around her to protect her from getting hurt. Her heart thumping with joy she looked up at him. Finding her gaze on him, he looks down, his eyes penetrating into hers. Click! Click went the camera. As everyone began to disperse, Simran tells Abhi and Nikki to stay where they were and runs across to the photographer. They look baffled at each other. His hands still around her. Before they knew it, their picture was captured again.
Nikki blushes as she looks at the picture. It was a beautiful one and she wanted it framed. She'll give Abhi a surprise by putting it up in their room.
The phone rings. Nikki answers it. "Ok I am just coming," Putting down the phone she looks at Simran.
"Sweety, can I please leave you for few minutes. I need to discuss something urgent with Dr. Keerti before she goes in for an emergency surgery. It will barely take few minutes."
"No problem Di, you carry on, I am here," Simran assures her.
When Nikki returns, she meets Abhi outside her cabin.
"Are you done for the day?" he asks her.
"Yeah almost. Why?"
"I am wrapping up too," he tells her, thankful the day was a light one. "We'll leave together."
"Yeah, okay," she nods. "In any case Simran is here. I'll just finish off with her."
"Simran is here?" Abhi smiles. "let me say Hi to her."
Nikki didn't want Abhi to know why she called Simran here and she did not find the time to warn Simran against telling Abhi about it. What if Simran blurts out the truth to him? Nikki feels jittery. She has to stop him from meeting Simran.
"Its okay, you must be busy," her hand on the knob, Nikki blocks his path by putting herself in front of the door. "I'll tell her you said Hi.
Abhi is perplexed by her action.
"But why shouldn't I tell her?"
"No!" Nikki was vehement, not budging from her place.
Abhi looks suspiciously at her. He places his hand over her hand that was holding the door knob and brings his face closer to hers.
"What are you upto now?" he murmurs softly, looking enticingly into her eyes.
Nikki gulps nervously as she finds herself being captivated by his seductive eyes. Suddenly an activity inside the cabin diverts Abhi's attention.
"Now why am I not surprised!" he exclaims. "Your favourite is here, your beloved brother in law!"
"Brother in law?" Nikki is confused. She turns and is surprised to see Sid and Simran in the cabin. They seem to be arguing with each other.
"Whats going on here?" Abhi asks, entering the cabin with Nikki standing behind him.
"Jeeju, see your brother is troubling me," Simran was almost weepy.
"What did you do to her?" Abhi asks Sid
"Nothing Bhai, I just offered to take her for ice cream, but this stuck up nose is telling me to take a hike. Arre, if she doesn't want to go, its fine, why should she insult?
"Jeeju, he said he'll make sure I will go with him, that's why I said that," Simran scowls at Sid.
"If she is not interested in going with you, how can you force her," Abhi reprimands Sid. "In any case a sweet girl like Simran will prefer going out with a decent guy, not a waster like you,"
"Excuse me, what do you mean waster?" hands on her hip, Nikki shoots at her husband. "What is wrong with Sid? Isn't he decent?"
"Ha Ha decent!" Abhi exclaims. "Whats so decent about him?"
"He decently asked her for an ice-cream. He didn't force her." Nikki tells him in support of her brother in law.
"Oh, threatening her, is not force according to you," Abhi raises an eyebrow.
"For your kind information if he dragged her then that is force."
Simran and Sid keep looking referee-like from one to another.
"Bhai, Bhabhi," Sid tries to intervene, putting himself in between them. They nudge him away and carry on with their argument.
"Whats wrong for asking a girl for an ice-cream ?" Nikki demands from her husband.
"Does he even know if she like it?
"She does, he knows it." Nikki confirms.
"Aha now the truth is out," Abhi smirks. "So you knew about this?
"Di, Jeeju, please don't fight because of us," This time Simran tries to bring peace, but the two were not paying any attention to the younger people's request.
"Yeah so what?" Nikki confronts him. "Why is it eating you?
"Eating me? Well it annoys me when you support this idiot time and again.
"Again you are calling him idiot?" Nikki scowls at him.
"He is my brother I will call him that" Abhi bends closer to her.
"Your brother and nothing to me? I won't let you say a word against him," Nikki tells him haughtily.
"Sorry Sid, I did not know that my refusing your offer will create such a big issue," Simran looks apologetically at him.
"Actually its my fault, I shouldn't have asked you in the first place after all you are from Nikki bhabhi's family," he tells her defeatedly.
"I am feeling so sad because of me, my beautiful couple are at war here," she was moved to tears.
"Don't feel sad, its not your fault. Can I do anything to help?"
" Whenever, I feel sad and depressed, I love eating ice creams."
"Can I get you one? That is if you don't mind."
"Of course I don't mind!"she tell him shyly
"Let's go," Sid tells her and they stealthily leave the room, unaware by the husband and wife who were too busy arguing.
"Oh how protective!"
"And aren't you protective of Simran?"
"She is a sweet and innocent kid."
"And Sid is also sweet and innocent. We should explain it to Simran."
"You think she'll believe that?"
"Of course. Ask her!
They turn to look at Simran and are surprised to find Sid and Simran missing.
"Arre where did these two disappear?" putting her hand on her hip, Nikki bites her finger in wonderment.
"Haan, they disappeared. Happy now?" Abhi tells her.
"Arre what did I do?"
"When I was making my brother understand who asked you to interfere?
" Calling him an idiot and you call that making him understand?
"Excuse Me! I do a much better job."
"Oh really? I can see that.!
The lights go off, there is darkness in the room.
"Abhi!" Nikki screams and runs into his arms. He protectively clasps her in them.
"Haan, Haan when the need rises, you come running into my arms,"
"I don't think I need to take permission for that'" Nikki retorts.
"WHAAT ?" Abhi was baffled.
"Why have the lights gone?" Abhi wonders loud.
He finds a chair and makes Nikki sit on it. "Sit here quietly. He goes to the other side of her desk and opening a drawer, pulls out the emergency torch. Handing it to her he says, "I'll be back. Nikki was nervous. She holds on to his hand.
"Where are you going Abhi? Please don't go, I am scared."
"Relax Nikki. You are better off here. I'll go out and check what happened to the lights, Okay?" he asks her.
Nikki nods her head.
Reaching the door, he is surprised to find it locked.
"How did the door get locked?" he wonders.
Outside, unnoticed by him, there is a shadow of a man who is tossing a key up and down.
With difficulty, Abhi goes near Nikki and resting partly on the table he dials into the phone.
The phone was dead.
"What's going on? He is confused.
"Abhi I am scared," her heart beating rapidly, Nikki stands up and buries her head in his chest."
"Don't be, I am there na," he consoles her taking her in his arms.
One arm around her, with the other, he digs out his cell phone from the pocket of his jeans.
"Damn, there is no signal here,"
"Abhi, what do we do?"
"Don't worry, I'll think of something. You just relax." He tried assuring her but he couldn't fathom what had happened.
PRECAP TO PART 31
"Dr. Modi, hasn't this Mrs Kumar gone fat,"
"That's because she is five months pregnant, Dr. Atul,"
"But then Nikki is going to be in her sixth month soon," Anjali reminds him. "Yet, she hasn't put on too much weight. Except for her cute bulge, nothing else reveals her pregnancy."
Abhi looks dumfounded at them. He cannot believe his wife's anatomy is the topic of discussion here.
"Not everyone is the same," he explains to them.
"Yeah, Nikki is different and special!" they squeal loudly startling Abhi whose eyes widen with astonishment.