Nikki finally arrived home where she was given a rousing welcome by family and friends. With Riddhima and Anjali's help, she slowly settles down on the sofa in the living room. After spending some time with her, they all decide to leave so that she could take some rest. Rohit and Sonam inform her that they were leaving for their honeymoon the next day. Hugging her they tell her to take good care of herself and her baby. A visibly moved Nikki embraces them warmly and thanks them for everything. Riddhima and Armaan also tell her that they managed to get an extension till Monday, so they would be going back on Sunday.
When everyone left, Rachna tells Abhi to take Nikki to the room while she would organize for dinner to be sent to their room. Noticing the sadness on a normally cheerful Sid, Nikki couldn't help but enquire what was the matter.
"The house loses its charm without you," he tells her sadly "Everything is so very dull. Infact, even Bhai is not the same without you."
Nikki affectionately ruffles his hair. "Don't worry, I am back now," She tells him with a smile. "And soon you'll see the return of the growling and roaring Bhai." Rachna laughs while Nikki exchanges a high five with Sid.
"Oye you two! Let her recover properly and then you play your kiddish games." An amused Abhi roars at them.
"See, what did I tell you?" Nikki winks at Sid and they both giggle with Abhi trying his best to hide his amusement. Putting an arm around her, he gently leads her into their room. Nikki is surprised to see the headboard covered with a tiny transparent curtain. Drawing them aside she is amazed to see the picture on it.
"Abhi, this is so beautiful" she gasps in astonishment. "How did you get the picture?"
"Rohit!" he replies with a smile seating her gently on the bed. Nikki tells him to go to her wardrobe. When he opens it she points out to an almost 3 feet, beautifully wrapped gift lying in between the hanging clothes. Abhi pulls it out and reads the card on it.
"Dear Hubby, this is to let you know that we are meant only for each other. Love. Nikki."
Darting a smile at her he unties the ribbon on the gift and finds a framed picture of theirs. He laughs out aloud as he finds himself looking at the picture which was the same that was on the headboard.
"This is wonderful!" he exclaims. "Nice to know we can also think alike at times!" he grins. "Who did it for you?"
"Simran" she replies with a laugh. "I had planned to give it to you that horrible night," the smile then vanishes from her face.
Putting the picture back in the wardrobe, a concerned Abhi quickly goes to her side. "Nikki don't think about that night. I know its difficult, but do try to forget it," he consoles her taking her in his arms.
"As long as you are with me Abhi, I won't let that night upset me, even if I recollect it"
After dinner when they settle down in bed, Nikki rests her head against Abhi's chest as he wraps his arms around her.
"Ah! This bed feels so comfortable now that you are back in it!" he exclaims with joy.
"Yeah, it feels great to be back home!" a contented Nikki agrees. "So nice to sleep on your own comfortable bed!"
Mischief playing on his mind, Abhi quietly unwraps his arms from around her and putting them behind cradles his head in them. A surprised Nikki looks up questioningly into his face.
"What?" Abhi asks, with the shrug of his shoulders, pretending ignorance, the mischief still lurking in his eyes.
"Why did you remove your arms?" she demands.
"Oh? I didn't know you needed them," he feigns innocence. "I thought you only missed your home, your bed, your....."
Before he could continue further, an annoyed Nikki tugs his arm down and pulls it, possessively, around her. Abhi chuckles.
"These arms belong here and will stay here!" she tells him vehemently "I haven't slept properly all these days because they were not around me and tonight I intend getting a good sleep," There was a naughty smile on her lips.
Abhi laughs. "Oh, I missed you so much!" he tightens his arms around her. "Welcome home Sweetheart"
"I missed you too!" she tells him, closing her eyes as exhaustion sends her to the sleep world while strong, protective arms made her blissfully comfortable.
Over the next few days, Nikki was amazed and thrilled to know there were so many people around her, who loved and cared for her. Basking in the love and attention she got from everyone as they visited her, she began to recover steadily. She was able to walk comfortably to the lawn by herself. A long emotional video conversation with her father and Shyla made her even more happy and contented.
At home, Abhi, Rachna, Kavita and Sid did all they could to make her comfortable and happy. Yet, inspite of all the attention Abhi gave her, something made her feel dissatisfied. She craved for more and more attention from him.
Friday morning she asked him to stay back home, but, he apologetically refused telling her he'll try his best to come home early in the evening. However, when evening came, he called to say he was stuck in Sanjeevani and would be home late. He asked her not to wait for him and to go to sleep.
Nikki was disheartened. Annoyance wasn't letting her sleep and instead, it set her mind thinking overtime. 'Was Abhi finding an excuse to keep away from her. Was he drifting away from her?' With the shake of her head she banishes the thought. Whenever he was with her he would cuddle her in his arms, shower intimate kisses every now and then and tell her how much he loved her. Yet, she felt he was withholding a part of himself. Every time, they got deeply intimate, he would withdraw and tell her she should rest. She did understand he did not want to ruin the progress of her recovery, considering the seriousness of her surgery and well being of the baby, but, was it the real reason for it? Or did he not find her attractive or desire her anymore? Is that why, he maintained a distance between them? Damn ! perhaps her pregnancy hormones have gone completely haywire and making her see an imaginary growing distance between them. She chides herself to stop thinking, but, then as she waited for him to come home, she began to loose her patience.
When Abhi finally entered the room, he was surprised to see Nikki sitting up.
"Hey Hi, You still up?" he greets her going over to the bed and fondly kissing her forehead.
"I couldn't sleep" she tells him glumly
"Is everything alright?" he touches her face gently.
"Hmmmm" she nods.
"Did you have dinner and take your medicines?"
She nods her head again.
"Okay, I'll be back with you soon. Let me shower and change,"
Nikki just stares at him. Her expressions were unreadable.
"Something upsetting you?" Abhi asks his eyes narrowing, sensing something amiss. "How was your day?"
"How will it be? Great as always. Resting and eating! Thankfully I have some sweet friends and family who atleast have time for me, otherwise, my husband is too busy these days, to spend some time with his wife."
"Oh!' Abhi smiles "so you are upset because I came home late. I am really sorry, I just couldn't help it."
"Yeah, why would you?" Nikki mumbles.
"Okay tomorrow I'll spend the whole day with you. Now that you are able to move better, we'll go out tomorrow. Promise!" he tries to mollify her.
"No need, I can take care of myself," she tells him sulkily.
Abhi tries his best to hide a smile.
"I think I'll shower and come. Perhaps you would have cooled down by then and in a better mood to talk" Nikki glares at him. Abhi walks to the wardrobe and is surprised to find his clothes missing.
"Where are my clothes?" he asks her "Did someone remove them?"
"I did, I sorted your wardrobe." She tells him continuing to sulk.
"Nikki in this condition?" Abhi looks at her in disbelief. "You should take it easy! Atleast till you recover fully."
"Stop dictating to me!" Nikki snaps "I am also a doctor and I know what has to be done,"
Abhi strides towards her and sits besides her. "Nikki being a doctor and being aware of things, hasn't stopped situations from going out of control. I just don't want you getting hurt. It worries me."
"Is it me you are really worried about or only the baby?" Nikki herself couldn't believe she actually said it.
"NIKKI!" Abhi bellows angrily. "Where the hell is that coming from? After all that we've gone through how can you even talk like that?" Then exhaling deeply he calms himself down.
"Look Nikki, I guess you are tired ," he tells her soothingly. "Even I've had a pretty rough day, so lets sort this out when we are much calmer." He rises and walks towards the washroom.
"There he goes ignoring me again" Nikki thinks
" Don't treat me like a child.," she calls out from behind. "Stop bothering me! I can take care of myself."
An exasperated Abhi rolls his eyes. "Okay, fine . have it your way," he retorts wearily over his shoulders.
Irritated, Nikki makes a face at his back.
When he came out of the shower, he was wearing only a knee length white toweling bathrobe.
"Nikki, Can you please tell me where my clothes are ? my vests, my Tshirts?" he implores.. "They are not even in the inner wardrobe. What have you done to my clothes?"
"I don't know" she tells him stubbornly, her hands folded in front of her chest.
Abhi again rolls his eyes in frustration
"For god's sake, Nikki stop playing games! Can you tell me where my Tshirts are?"
"I gave them for charity," she tells him lifting her head up loftily.
Taking a couple of angry strides, Abhi walks over to the bed and looming over, he scowls at her. Few drops of water from his damp hair sprinkle on to her face. Realising he needed to control himself, he helplessly clenches his fist by his side. After staring at her angrily for few moments, he turns and walks towards the door.
"Where are you going ?" Nikki asks him.
"I think my presence is somehow annoying you, so I won't bother you anymore. Sleep Well. Goodnight"
"You can't leave like this!" Nikki calls out.
"Why? You can take care of yourself right? Go head!"
"Get Lost!" Nikki flings the cushion towards him but it fell on the edge of the bed and rolled over. Abhi dives and catches it. "Thank you for this! Do you want to oblige with the comforter too?"
Nikki scowls at him. Abhi walks out of the room.
Once he left, Nikki was even more upset. "What has gone wrong with her? Why was she behaving like a jerk with him? She couldn't figure out what exactly she wanted from him. All she knew she was agitated from within. Something was bothering her. She definitely wanted something from him. But what? He gave her everything!"
Outside Abhi is plagued by the same question "What exactly she wanted from him? Where was he lacking?" He was unable to find an answer for it. Perhaps the medication and the trauma she just went through, is working her up. Its best to leave her alone for a while to cool down.
On his way to the kitchen, Sid was passing the living room when he saw Abhi, clad only in a bathrobe lying, on the couch.
He begins to laugh heartily.
Abhi glares "What the hell are you laughing for you Idiot!"
"Bhai you sleeping in a bathrobe?"
"Whats with you? I am not sleeping in the nude na?" an annoyed Abhi roars at him.
Sid continued chuckling loudly looking every bit like a clucking hen. It irritated Abhi more and more.
"Will you shut up you idiot or should I give you a good thrashing?"
"Bhai, you got thrown out of your room?"
Abhi looks daggers at him.
"The fact is you scare and rule over everyone but she rules over you! Right? Right?" he instigates.
A scowling Abhi gets up from the couch ready to chase him, but, Sid manages to quickly run to his room.
The phone rings. Abhi quickly picks it up and answers it.
There is complete silence at the other end. He continues to say "Hello, Hello," but there is no answer. After a thought, he speaks.
"Now what happened Nikki? Did you forget to tell me something more?"
He could hear her gasp. "How do you know its me?"
"I know your every breath," he replies
"Are you planning to be out the whole night?" she asks him. "Only in that bathrobe? What if Pushpa sees you?"
"What is your worry? Me being out of the room or Pushpa seeing me in the bathrobe?" he asks wickedly.
"Will you shut up and come here?"
"Has the room cooled down or is it still a burning inferno?" he enquires
"I said Shut up and come here," hotly comes her answer.
"Its okay, I really don't intend to bother you and I have no wish to be roasting in a smouldering room. You have a good sleep. Goodnight."
"Abhi, listen," Nikki calls hurriedly in a low voice fearing he was going to disconnect. "Stop troubling me and please come back"
"Ah! Ah! Now it looks like the room has cooled down," Abhi grins. "Your wish is my command, M'aam" he tells her in a meek voice, disconnecting the phone.
Entering their room, he finds Nikki trying her best not to smile. Noticing his slack and Tshirt now lying neatly on his side of the bed, he walks towards it. Grinning at her, he picks up his slack and puts it on. Holding her gaze, he then works the bathrobe off his shoulder dropping it on to the floor. Noticing her eyes roving amorously over his body, a seductive smile appears on his lips. Nikki blushes as she realizes he caught her eyes feasting on him. Shyly she lowers her eyes and shifts her body sideways, trying to make her self comfortable against the pillows. A sharp pain jabs from the sutures on her abdomen.
"Ouch," she winces with the pain, making a worried Abhi flop down on the bed beside her and put an concerned arm around her
"I am fine," she tells him before he could ask her. "it was just a pull,"
"Phew, you really scare me Nikki!" he exhales in relief.
She looks at his face and can see his forehead wrinkled with worry. Once again his bare chest grabs her attention. Enticingly, she runs her flat palm over the bare skin.
"Abhi," she whispers softly "don't you find me as attractive as before?"
Like a lightning bolt, it then struck Abhi the reason for her agitation. Not wanting his desire to blow out of control and impede hers and the baby's recovery, especially with the discomfort she was going through because of her surgery, he did withdraw whenever the intimacy deepened between them. However, he never imagined it would make her feel insecure! Right Now, he felt like kicking himself for it, even though he didn't do it intentionally.
"Abhi aren't you going to answer," Nikki's prodding brings him back to her question.
"Hmmm," he mumbles.
"Don't you find me as attractive as before ?" Nikki repeats.
"No!" he confirms coolly, lying down on his back and gently pulling her down over him. .
"What?" Nikki stares at him in dismay. She definitely didn't expect this answer. "You don't?"
"No," Abhi confirms again, his expressions shuttered.
A hurt Nikki tries to move away but he pulls her back into his arms.
"You are no more just attractive Nikki, like you were before" he grins at her poutiness. "You've turned many many more times attractive, sexy and desirous than before. You make this celibacy that is forced upon us, one big hell for me to maintain! I have to keep running from you and even that I find difficult to do!"
Nikki's cheeks were aching with the flushing of colour into them. She drums her hand into his chest "You scared me!" she chides.
Abhi holds on to her hand and taking it closer to his lips, kisses it, his eyes not leaving her face.
"You scare me every moment," he teases.
As Nikki looks down into his eyes, she is ecstatic to see the intense desire and passion in them as he runs his thumb tantalizing and provocatively over her lips.
"Its only a matter of few weeks Sweetheart," he drawls, his voice sultrily sensuous. "I still haven't given up the idea of being seduced by my sexily irresistible wife, atleast once, while she is pregnant.
A giggle bursts forth from Nikki.
"I promise when it happens, you won't regret it," she whispers seductively with a tempting smile whilst running her finger on his cheek. "I am sure of it!" Abhi replies dreamily. Impulsively, Nikki moves her face closer and places her lips over his lips. Abhi hungrily devours her lips receiving an equally hungry response from her.
"See how uncontrollable we are!" he teases, when he did manage to break their passionate kiss. A blushing Nikki playfully pats his cheek.
His expressions then changes to tenderness as he caresses her face with his finger. "I'll be damned before I let any danger come over you or the baby, Nikki." he tells her, his voice emotionally heavy.
"You are wonderful," she tells him with moist eyes, happy and content with confirmation it was for her and the baby's wellbeing, her husband put his desires aside and not because he didn't want her. She plants a kiss on his chest and putting her head over it, she falls asleep in his arms.
PRECAP TO PART 39
Sitting in the lawn Abhi is surprised to find Armaan getting off his car
"Where are our wives?" Armaan asks him.
"I know where my wife is, I don't know about yours," Abhi tells him wryly.
"My wife is with your wife inside" Armaan tells him.
"Wrong, my wife is with my mother outside." Abhi replies.
"Arre I am telling you she is here with your wife."
" I am telling you my wife is not in the house."
Sid was watching the two in amusement, his eyes moving ping pong from one to another
"Then where is my wife?" Armaan asks him agitatedly.
"Arre how do I know where your wife is?" Abhi snaps back.
"Yaar don't eat up my head," Armaan tells him wearily. "Nikki wanted to speak to Riddhima so she called her here and she didn't want me to come. Now Riddhima isn't even picking her phone. So I thought I'll fetch her and also say Hi to you guys."
"But Riddhima didn't come here!" Abhi tells him. Armaan looks from him to Sid, who also confirms it with the shake of his head.
"Why did Riddhima lie to me?" Armaan is flabbergasted. The two men dial their wives phones and both were not answering. Abhi tries his mother and mother in law's phones too, but even they did not answer. They keep pacing around .
A car stops and they see Jas step out.
"Oh oh, my brave tigers are so lost without their tigresses!" he teases. "You guys have really let me down!"
"What do you mean?" Abhi and Armaan question him.
"I thought you guys would be attacking by now, not sitting like puppies in the house!."
Abhi and Armaan look perplexed at each other