Lunch was served and as everyone was having a great time, eating, chatting and laughing. Rahul and Muskaan were standing in a corner and watching the merriment going on. Their faces were filled with sadness. Finally mustering courage, Rahul holds Muskaan’s hand telling her he wanted to talk to her, but she angrily shrugs his hand off and walks out of the house.
He follows her out. Once outside, he tells her “Why are you still upset Muskaan? You gave me an ultimatum and I took it!”
As they were arguing outside, inside the house, Abhi and Armaan walk anxiously towards the exit. Hands folded across their chest, they stand facing the door.
“What do you think? Will it work.?” Armaan questions in a low tone.
“It will don’t worry,” Abhi tells him.
“What’s going on here ?” their wives’ stern voices coming from behind, startle them , nearly makng them jump.
As they turn, Riddhima questions them
“You guys have done this?” They nod their heads. The ladies gasp in bewilderment.
“But Abhi, Muskaan will be upset, if she knows it.” Nikki tells him.
“They’ve been communicating these past few days.” He replies.
“WHAT!”stunned, both girls look at each other.
“Yeah Abhimanyu, heard you both talking about Muskaan,” Armaan explains..
Nikki looks questioningly at Abhi and he reminds her about the time they were on the terrace of Sanjeevani, talking about Muskaan.
Nikki and Riddhima recollect Muskaan was also with them. In course of their converstion, she suddenly got upset blurting out “You guys are lucky! You married the persons you love, not everyone is lucky in love!” As her eyes well up with tears, she hurriedly excuses herself and walks away, not paying heed to their calling.
“Muskaan is still so heartbroken,” Riddhima tells Nikki sadly “She still has Rahul in her heart.”
“ Yeah,” Nikki agrees. “I can understand that kind of feeling. Once love penetrates deeply inside, no anger, hatred can keep you away from that person, even if you are physically far apart. Look at me, even though I was so shocked and angry when I saw Sonali in Abhi’s room, I just couldn’t remove him from my heart. I conditioned and let myself believe I hated him, that I did not want to do anything with him, but deep inside I was always yearning for him and that’s what Muskaan is doing too.”
“ Even I feel so,” Riddhima agrees. “She tries to hide her unhappiness behind her laughs and jokes wanting to show, that nothing bothers her and that she is happy and carefree.”
Abhi had just reached the entrance of the terrace, as he was to take Nikki home. He was about to enter, when he realized the two friends were into serious discussion. As he deliberated on whether he should disturb them or not, he hears Nikki speaking.
“You can pass your day amongst friends laughing and joking, it’s the nights that are very scary. Lying alone in bed, that face keeps flashing and torturing you. Having a part of Abhi inside me with this baby, did help a bit,” she tenderly caresses her stomach “it kept some sort of connection between us inspite of being so far away from each other.”
A needling ache pierces Abhi from within. He wanted to hold her tightly in his arms and exorcise the pain of their past that keeps rearing its ugly head on and off.
“I really wish, like Abhi and me, Muskaan and Rahul get another chance.” Nikki continues sadly.
“Even I wish the same,” Riddhima quips. “Rahul is a nice guy and so is Muskaan. Why and how do things go wrong between people who are in love?”
“That’s what I keep wondering too. Why is there so much of pain in love!” Nikki sighs wistfully. “Muskaan deserves to be happy.”
Abhi understood fully, both girls were deeply upset for their friend. He begins to think hard.
“We talked it over,” Armaan’s voice bring the girls back to the present “and decided to check out what Rahul felt about her. He was equally miserable without her. His father was very ill and was emotionally blackmailing him to marry his best friend’s daughter, but Rahul refused saying he wanted to marry Muskaan. However, his father was very upset with that and it was making him even more ill. So Rahul told his father, if he didn’t want him to marry Muskaan, he wouldn’t, but, he couldn’t and wouldn’t marry anyone else either. He could still live, not marrying Muskaan, but he would rather die than marry anyone else and if his father still insisted he would do something drastic to himself. His father then didn’t pursue his marriage to that girl. Later on seeing how heartbroken and miserable he was, his father agreed to accept Muskaan, but Rahul didn’t have the courage to face her anymore.”
“Yeah and so we asked him to talk it out with her,” Abhi takes over from him. “They have been communicating through phone and emails. Muskaan told him she didn’t trust him anymore. If he really loved her, he would come back and settle down here with her, but its obvious he won’t do it. Finally, Rahul decided he had to win back her love and do it her way.”
‘Abhi made him an offer to join Sanjeevani so that they could work things out and now its upto Muskaan to accept his love or not!”
“I really hope things work out for them!” Riddhima tells them.
“Even I hope,” Nikki echoes her sentiments.
“I am confident it will,” Abhi tells them. “Any two persons who have gone through or inflicted all kinds of pain, hurt, hatred, anger at each other and still manage to retain their love, are just meant to be with each other.”
Nikki knew he was speaking of their own experience. They look at each other and share a warm understanding smile. Putting her hand in his arm, Nikki snuggles closer to him.
“And it seems you are absolutely right!” Riddhima exclaims excitedly. Following her gaze, Abhi and Armaan turn and see the couple entering. Looking at their faces lit up with joy, Riddhima and Nikki exchange smiles and move forward towards Muskaan. Shyly, she shows them the ring on her engagement finger. The girls are thrilled and together squeeze her in a tight hug her while Abhi and Armaan congratulate Rahul and share a friendly punch with him, their faces beaming with pride.
As Nikki and Riddhima move towards Rahul to wish him, Muskaan goes to Abhi and Armaan. With tears in her eyes, she tells them chokingly “Thank you both. Rahul says its because you guys initiated it, we are together today or else, we would have continued to hate each other and kept hurting all by ourselves, far far away.
They give her an affectionate hug individually and tell her they only wanted to see her happy.
Dr. Keerti comes to them and asks them to have their lunch. Atul and Anjali also join the group. Nikki tells them about Rahul and Muskaan. Excited with the news, they hug the happy and blushing couple. Atul then tells Anjali “All these guys will get married and have babies soon, one baby is nearly on the way,” he glances briefly at Nikki who smiles back at him. “What about us?”
“Atul!” Anjali snaps in irritation. “Lets make a deal! If after three years we don’t find partners to marry, we’ll marry each other.”
“Acha,” Atul scratches his head while everyone look amused at him. “I think that’s a good deal,” he finally concedes. “Now my new mission will be to see both of us don’t find other partners.” They all laugh heartily.
Sometime later after they had finished lunch, Amrita was chatting up with Abhi and Nikki. Noticing Sid and Simran chatting across, Abhi whispers something to the women and the three advance to the young couple. As they were approaching them, Sid and Simran begin to feel nervous and distance themselves a bit, which is noticed by Abhi and Nikki and they try to hide their smile.
“Hey Simran how are you doing?” Nikki asks her.
Simran gives her a faint smile.
“Aunty isn’t it next, Simran’s turn in the family to get married?” Abhi enquires making Simran blush while Sid chokes on his saliva and he ends up with a spurt of coughing. Abhi slaps him hard on the back which sends him reeling a couple of steps forward and stopped his coughing.
“Yes and I hope she gets a nice boy like you and Rohit” Amrita replies.
“She will!” Nikki says, putting a fond arm around Simran. “She is a sweet girl. Do you have anyone in mind Simran?”
“Of course not Nikki,” Abhi tells her. “Does she look as if she is in any hurry? Don’t worry Simran take your own sweet time in finding someone.”
“I don’t know about that,” Amrita says dryly. “Earlier she used to love shopping and going out with me, but, nowadays, she makes all kinds of excuses and is continuously on the phone. All I know is when a girl has no time for her mother and even avoiding her close friends then there has to be someone special in her life . But, she is not even telling us anything!”
“Mama?” an embarrassed Simran makes eyes at her mother.
“Perhaps she’ll tell you guys, she dotes on both of you” Amrita tells Abhi and Nikki. “especially her jeeju. I am sure, even if her jeeju suggests someone for her, she won’t refuse!”
“Is that so Simran?” Abhi teases her “Do you want your jeeju to select someone for you?” he asks tongue in cheek, mischief clearly glinting in his eyes.
Simran nods her head shyly
“Good, then its decided that you will select someone for her.” Amrita says in relief.
“Fine, I’ll definitely look around. The moment I find someone I’ll let you know. Right now, I can’t seem to think of anyone befitting my lovely saali.” He winks knowingly at Nikki who is trying to hide her smile.
Simran and Sid look dumbfounded at him. Sid then goes near Nikki and pleadingly nudges her. Nikki nods understandingly at him. “Abhi perhaps in this party itself, you might notice someone,” she tells him and Sid gives her a grateful smile.
“Really? let me have a look then?” He turns around and pretends to search in desperation. Sid comes in front of him and Abhi shoves him away. Nikki and Amrita were bubbling with laughter.
“Nikki are you sure there is someone here? I can’t seem to find anyone.”
“Abhi look properly” Nikki tells him, trying her best not to laugh. Sid shakes his head up and down in agreement with her.
“Oh ok, let me have one more look,” he turns around again and scans the guests. Sid again blocks his view.
“Arre Sid, move, let me have a proper look.” He pokes him to move aside.
“Acha among the men, Jas is not counted,” Sid comes in between again, Abhi pushes his face away, continuing his search. “Then Armaan, Rahul and Atul are taken,” Sid pops in front again only to be shoved away once more by Abhi. “Who else is left?” he scrubs his jaw with his fingers.
“ME” Sid blurts out in frustration.
“You?” Abhi gives him a disbelieving look. “You?” he blinks as if he was seeing an alien. Nikki felt like kicking him. She was finding it so difficult to prevent her laugh from spilling out.
“Nah! I don’t think Simran will agree. What do you say Simran?”
Simran blushes and lowers her eyes.
“See I told you. She is not answering which means she is not interested. So, my dear kid brother, you are rejected!”
“No Jeeju, I like him.” Simran hurriedly blurts out.
“Simran?” Amrita thunders sternly at her “You Do?”
“Mama,….. I…. I…..” Simran shifts uncomfortably under their gaze “Sid say something, please!” she pleads helplessly
“Yes Aunty, er… we….we…like each other.”
“Thank God, its only like,” Amrita says in relief, looking at Abhi and Nikki who also shake their head in agreement. “I thought you both seriously love each other.”
“We do love each other!” they confess in one breath..
Abhi, Nikki and Amrita roar with laughter.
“See what I told you!” Abhi tells Amrita as he puts an affectionate arm around a blushing Simran.
Amrita pulls Sid’s ears, “So you are the one, my daughter has long phone conversations with these days and no time for her mother eh? You are going to be punished for life now, Abhi do I have your permission?”
“Absolutely! You have my complete support on this!” Gleefully he waves his fist at Sid only to be rewarded with a swot on his arm from Nikki who was taken in by Sid’s puppy face looks. Soothingly, she pulls Sid’s head down on her slender shoulder and consoles him.
“Ooooh, Bhabhi-Devar bonding!” Abhi teases. Nikki digs her elbow into his rib making him wince softly.
“Enough of teasing him okay!” she sternly reprimands her husband.
Abhi raises his hand in resignation.
As Nikki continues to talk with Amrita and Simran, Sid slowly goes near his big brother and whispers in his ears.
“Didn’t I tell you, she rules over you and you know what?” his eyebrows dancing with mischief. “She’ll always fight with you for me!” Seeing Abhi’s face turning red as a scowl takes over, he chuckles heartily making the women turn and look at him with surprise.
“I’ll kill you!” snarls a fuming Abhi as Sid chortles and begins his scram.
Sometime later, noticing Nikki was looking tired, a concerned Abhi enquires if she was okay. She tells him though she was having fun, she was indeed feeling very tired and wanted to rest. They decide to leave. It was already 4 pm.
Armaan tells them. “Tomorrow we are leaving so let’s have a small celebration for Rahul and Muskaan, just amongst our gang,”
Abhi declines it with the shake of his head.
“Well Nikki has had enough of stress for the day. She won’t be able to go out. She still has to recover properly from her surgery and one outing is enough for the day.” He explains and they nod their heads understandingly even though there was disappointment in their faces. They’ve grown so close that it was difficult to enjoy any celebration if any one of them was missing.
Looking at their dejected faces, Abhi suggests, “What we could do is, we all meet at our place in the evening and perhaps order in. Meanwhile, Nikki too would have taken some rest.”
Once again , their faces brighten up and they agree.
And so there was another round of merriment and fun in the evening. After greeting the youngsters, Rachna Modi takes their leave, telling them to enjoy themselves.
Standing behind her, Armaan hugs her warmly, telling her to come back to London soon. “I’m going to miss you,” he mopes.
“What you want to do here with these people?” he tells her, “You come to London with me,”
“You wish!” Abhi tells him wryly
“You stay out of it,” Armaan snaps at him. “This is between Aunty and Me. We have our own setting,” he winks at Rachna. She raises her hand sideways, and pats him tenderly on the cheek.
“Let me see my grandchild’s face and I’ll come soon,” she assures him.
“I’ll miss you!”
“I’ll miss you too!” she tells him once again patting his cheek.
The gang had their usual fun joking, teasing, laughing and fighting with each other. Abhi receives a call from Sanjeevani. Since he wasn’t able to hear properly with all the noise in the house, he goes out into the lawn.
Seeing Muskaan and Rahul sharing a tender moment, Riddhima and Nikki share a look of happiness and contentment with each other.
“Finally Muskaan is looking so happy,” Riddhima says
Nikki shakes her head in agreement. “I am so glad for them”
“No matter how much our husbands bicker with each other, atleast they agree and work as one on a mission!” Riddhima laughs.
“I so agree!” Nikki chuckles. “I can’t believe they went through this mission on their own accord and they’ve done great!”
“Hmmm!” Riddhima shakes her head as she looks adoringly at her husband who was sitting across and chatting with Anjali.
Missing her own husband, Nikki walks out of the house and finds him on the porch. His elbows resting on the railing, he was leaning over and talking on the phone. Quietly she walks towards him and fondly hugs him from behind, resting her head on his back. He disconnects the phone just then, and Nikki enquires if everything was okay. He shrugs it off saying it was routine, just the nurse reconfirming a medicine.
Happy to have a moment alone with her, he pulls her into his arms holding her snug against him. “Thank you for bringing Muskaan and Rahul together,” Nikki tells him looking admiringly into his face. “our circle of friends feel so complete now,” Abhi smiles. “I am glad they took the right decision,” he tells her. Nikki nods her agreement.
She then places her head on his chest. “This pregnancy certainly has brought so many lovely people into our lives Abhi. Everyone is doing everything they can to make me happy. It feels so good. I feel like a Queen. Absolutely on Top of the World!” she tells him.
“You are a wonderful person Nikki, you deserve it!” he tells her cuddling her even more closer to him.
“Now I am only waiting for the birth of our baby. I want you to be relieved from all the pain and discomforts. Our circle of life will be complete with our baby’s birth.”
“As long as you are with me Abhi, as long as you love and hold me like this, I, honestly feel no pain,” she looks lovingly into his face.
“You know what? You are my pain killer! The best pain killer. Recommended by Dr. Nikita Modi and and also to be administered only to her !”
A short laugh breaks out from Abhi.
“Well said Doctor! If my treatment is so effective, I shall continue with it.” He grins and tenderly kisses her lips.
Finally, when the gang decided to end the party, every one had mixed feelings in their heart. There was sadness since Armaan and Riddhima were leaving the next day, but, they were also happy that Rahul and Muskaan were back together, Abhi and Nikki were awaiting their baby, Sid and Simran had approval from their parents for their relationship and Atul-Anjali had a deal between them.
The next day on their way to the airport, Armaan and Riddhima dropped in to say a final goodbye to Nikki since she was unable to see them off. “Even if its for two days, we’ll definitely come to see your baby when you deliver,” they promise her. Nikki is overwhelmed. Abhi leaves with the rest to see them off at the airport.
When he got back, Nikki was asleep. Seeing her sleeping on her side, her knees cuddled up while her stomach taking the support of the pillow, his chest feels warm filled with love and tenderness.
Looking at her belly, now grown bigger, he recollects the conversation he had with her on the porch the previous night. He is really impatient now for the birth of their baby. He tenderly places his hand over her abdomen.
“Hey Sweetheart,” he whispers “How are you doing there? I am dying to see you, to hold you.” He kept planting tender kisses on her stomach as he spoke. “Its just a matter of two months, you’ll be in our arms soon.” He feels fingers tenderly running into his hair and realizes Nikki has woken up.
“Dr. Abhimanyu Modi, I have been waiting for you to hold us. Please come to bed soon.” she teases. Abhi grins. “Its your fault, you’ve spoilt us,” Nikki tells him. “Now we can’t do without your arm!”
“Yeah, Yeah! I know” Abhi shakes his head. Giving one final kiss to his baby, he stands up and then, with eyes boring wickedly at her, he sits down besides Nikki.
“Missing my arm, eh? Eh?’ he teasingly pinches her nose and pokes her shoulders gently. “Or something else?” Nikki giggles as she tries to dodge his pinching and poking.
“What else can I really miss?” puckering her nose, she feigns innocence, her eyes twinkling with mischief.
“Oh really? You weren’t missing this,” he brings his lips closer to hers and stares deeply into her eyes. Nikki lifts her lips up in excitement and anticipation.
“Leave it!” he shakes his head in resignation. “You don’t seem to miss anything else right?” he attempts to stand up.
Before he could move, Nikki holds the collar of his Tshirt and pulls him closer. “Dr. Abhimanyu Modi, stop acting pricey!” she growls “You know very well I miss this from you!” she tells him angrily pressing her lips against his.
“Thank you,” he grins wickedly “I wanted you to do the honours, this time.” he tells her.
“Yooooou,” she fumes, but his lips were already on hers, channelizing her annoyance on to a different path.
By Wednesday, Nikki’s sutures were removed. She could move about much better, the pain in her abdomen almost negligible and all tests for her and the baby were absolutely clear. Kavita and Jas leave for London on Saturday, telling Nikki they needed to finish some work back home and will be back for the baby’s birth.
Three weeks later , on a Friday, Rachna and Sid go to Pune for the weekend as they both had to sign some paperwork for their property there.
And on that Friday night, Dr. Abhimanyu Modi had another scare from his wife.
“Perfect!” Nikki surveys the room.
She looks at the framed picture of Abhi, sleeping on his stomach, his body completely bare, waist upwards. It was the picture which she had clicked with her cellphone, now framed and hidden in her cupboard. Whenever, she missed Abhi, she would pull it out and keep looking at it.”
“Just you wait and watch Hubby Dear, what I have in store for you,” smiling impishily, she speaks to the picture.
Just then her phone rings and Nikki chuckles seeing it was Abhi on the line.
“What are you doing ?”
“I was busy”
“With someone special”
“Really ? and who may I ask?” Abhi smiles.
“Shhhh….its a secret….. he is sleeping right now.” Abhi was stunned..
“Are you talking about the baby or me?”
“Hmmn Na Na, of course the baby and you are special, but this one is also special.”
“Haan, haan, I know! You are teasing me.”
“No I am serious. I swear.” Abhi is jolted with her words.
“And where is he sleeping?”
“Of course on our bed!”
“I’ll surely murder him then,” Abhi growls.
“Now, don’t do that! He is so adorable, especially in his sleep. Just feel like kissing him. Muaaah Muaah,” she went.
Abhi feels slight irritation and uneasiness creeping inside him.
“Wish you could meet him, but if you are there, he cannot be around.”
“Nikki, even if it’s a joke, don’t say it. I am not liking it. Tell me, honestly, you are joking right?”
“Honestly Abhi I am not,” she tells him vehemently “I told you, I swear , I am not joking.”
Abhi begins to wonder , who could it be who has captured his wife’s fancy, making her boldly swear of his existence. He began to feel his insides consumed by the the fire of jealousy
“Just hang on, I am coming home right now,” he tells her, disconnecting the line
When he reaches home, he is surprised to find the whole house plunged in darkness. He is stunned. He spoke to Nikki just few minutes back, what could have happened? His heart begins to hammer violently with fear.
Frantically, he calls out her name as he goes about switching on the lights. At the entrance to their room his nostrils begin to fill up with whiffs of sweet smelling scents. He pushes open the door and finds the room, beautifully adorned with flowers and dimly, but warmly lit with few candles standing on either side of the bed.
“Nikki?” he calls out in surprise, as he scans the room. But, she was no where to be seen.
He checks the balcony and the bathroom but she wasn’t there either. Just as he was wondering where she was, his eyes falls on the edge of the bed.
He sees something like the wrong side of a framed picture on it. He picks it up and turns it over. As he finds himself looking down at his picture with his bare torso, he colours deeply. “Naughty wifey,” he shakes his head with his smile.
He finds a tiny note stuck on it.
“This is that someone special I deeply care for. He keeps me happy when you are not around,” he reads. Amused by her pertness, his face breaks into a wide smile.
His body is suddenly gripped with electrifying sensations as soft warm fingers play seductively on his chest.
“What happened Dr. Modi? You were jealous?” she whispers, clinging on to his back and nibbling his ears.
A broad grin spreads on his face. “Of him? No Way!” he denies. “He can’t do what I can do,” he tells her putting the frame down on the night stand in front of the bed.
Her chin was digging into his back and there was a sweet enticing smell emanating from her that was intoxicating his senses. Flushed with excitement, he holds her hand and gently pulls her in front to face him.
“What is your intention wifey?” he raises an eyebrow in amusement. “Today, you seem to be in a different mood!”
He can see her eyes were gleaming with mischief. “I thought my husband deserves a reward for being a patient and understanding husband in the most trying times,” she drawls, running her fingertips all over his face. Abhi tries to nip her finger with his lips, but she playfully dodges it.
She then moves her finger down to his shoulder and poking him, firmly backs him till they reach the side of the bed. As she gently pushes him down on to the bed, Abhi gapes at her, his face filled with astonishment.
“As a reward, you’ll get what you always wanted.” She tells him with a sultry smile.
A speechless Abhi, continues to stare at her as she looked every bit of a seductress, dressed in a slinky white silk strappy night gown with a white transparent chiffon robe over it. There was a kind of radiance emitting from her as her face glowed warmly and her eyes had an intensity which was pulling out his very soul. The bulge of her belly only added to her sex-appeal making her look even more enchanting and alluringly attractive. His eyes were aflamed from the heat of desire that had now taken over his whole system. Unable to stay put, he lunges forward to grab her hand but she dodges him again.
Resting a knee on the bed, she bends over him, taking his face in between her palms and raising it up slightly. Then bringing her face down, temptingly close to his, she looks deep into his eyes. Abhi swallows hard. He had never seen this side of her before. Inhaling deeply, he holds on to his breath. “Be patient Dr. Modi !” she whispers seductively.
“Patience!” He wanted to laugh. He felt he was on top of rollercoaster ride, tossed high by the rush of pleasurable adrenaline to the heart taking him into an unknown excitement zone and now, as he is all ready for that thrilling dip, for some scary reason, called patience, he is left dangling in the air.
Nikki then runs that enticing finger all over his face again torturing him even more. As her hands move down, his eyes warily follows her palm as it, once again, torturously, yet, delightfully plays all over his well toned torso, stirring an uncontrollable arousal within him.
“Be ready to be seduced by your pregnant wife Dr. Modi,” she warns, her voice sexily low.
“At last!” exclaims an ecstatically relieved and grateful Abhi, his eyes rolling dreamily as he surrenders himself to the thrilling pleasures of his pregnant wife’s seductions. He was certainly over the moon!
PRECAP TO PART 42
As they pass the glassed nursery, they see almost a dozen babies lying in their cribs. Most of them were asleep, while some were howling, some trying to focus their tiny eyes around as if taking stock of their new surroundings.
“Aww, so chweet!” Nikki gushes looking at Abhi who smiles back at her . There was a wood and glass partition which divided the general section and the special care section of the nursery.
As they advanced towards the special care section, Nikki notices there were three babies lying in their cribs.
The attending night nurse smiles at them and then with an approving nod from Abhi crosses over to the general section of the nursery, giving them the privacy to look at their baby. It was the centre crib and the baby lying facing her, that caught Nikki’s attention. She didn’t even have to read the placard which read Drs. Modi, to know it was their baby.