The next morning Nikki opens her eyes and finds her cheeks pressing against her husband's bare chest, her hand tightly wrapped around him. An impish smile erupts on her face. She lifts up her head and looks lovingly into his face. A tenderness nudges her heart as she watches the blissfulness on his handsome face
"Abhi," she whispers, playing her fingers seductively on his chest. He doesn't stir.
"Abhi, I love you," she tells him softly.
"Liar," he drawls, eyes still shut.
"Eh?" Nikki's eyebrows narrow in puzzlement. Staring confused at him, she begins to rain tender slaps on his face.
"Abhi are you talking in your sleep? Abhi, answer me."
"Nikki what goondaism is this ?" he groans, trying to hold her hand, his eyes still closed.
"Goondaism? Here I am telling you I love you with so much love and you are calling me a Liar," she shakes his shoulder.
"That's the problem," he grins opening his eyes. "You are not saying it lovingly," the corner of his lips contort wryly.
"Really Now!" Nikki frowns "and what construes lovingly?" she asks
"when it is sweetly accompanied by a kiss," Abhi replies with a wicked smile. Seeing the mischief on his face, Nikki tries to hide a smile.
"Sorry, I don't know what that is!" she tells him with a haughty raise of her head.
"Oh!" Abhi mouths, raising an eyebrow in amusement. "We've reached a stage where we made a baby and you don't know what a loving kiss is? Nice Try!" his eyes were dancing with mischief.
Colour creeps into Nikki's face
"Come on I am waiting!" he flashes an irresistible smile.
Puckering up her nose, Nikki decides not to succumb to his charms.
"Isn't it enough I said I love you! I can't do both." She smirks.
"You can't?" Abhi teases.
"No I can't" she tells him vehemently. Finding it extremely difficult to hide her smile, she turns and lies down on her back.
Following her, Abhi turns on his side and looks down at her.
"You'll always do nautanki for everything. You won't give anything easily?" he asks her, a teasing smile on his face. Nikki confirms it with a smug shake of her head.
"Your goal is to make me work hard for everything. Right?"
Nikki shakes her head again, this time, confirmation coming with a firm shutting of her eyes and naughty smile on her lips.
Abhi sighs deeply.
"Well! No problem at all!" he grins "I'll show you how to say I love you with a kiss. Believe me I am a good teacher."
Gently taking her hands, he stretches them on either side of her face imprisioning them firmly. Then bending over her, ensuring there is no pressure on her stomach, he begins to nuzzle his nose at the groove of her throat. Feeling ticklish Nikki bursts into peals of laughter
"Abhi Stop it !" She gurgles laughingly.
"How can I?" he tells her, continuing with his merciless agenda "you are in need of proper training!"
"Abhi Stop! Okay, Okay, I give up," she surrenders, unable to handle the onslaught. "I've understood and learnt everything. I'll show you what I learnt!" she babbles with delight.
Abhi loosens his hold on her hands and looks at her with amusement.
"Go On, Show Me!" he demands with a grin.
It took Nikki a good few moments to control her excitement. She lifts mirth-filled eyes at him. Both stare at each other , amusement bubbling on their faces. As she stares at him, her eyes begin to turn moist brimming with love for him. Abhi finds himself drowning in their depths
Scooping her arms around his neck, she pulls him closer . "I love you Abhi," she tells him, her voice laced with emotion. Lifting her face she brushes her lips against his. Pleasured by the delectable feel of her lips, Abhi responds with fervent urgency.
Moments later, he lifts his head and looking into her face, he grins. "You pass with flying colours wifey," he tells her kissing the edge of her mouth. "You are a good student. If this be always the end result, I don't mind giving extra tuitions too!"
Nikki laughs and tries to stop him.
"Dr. Abhimanyu Modi, don't you have work today," she prods.
"Can't you see, I am working so hard?"
"I mean don't you have to go to Sanjeevani?"
"No, I'll spend the whole day with my wife, today."
"Oh how sweet! Dr. Abhimanyu Modi taking an off just to be with his wife, now that's really surprisingly sweet!"
"Actually........." Abhi tries to butt in
"What will we do ?" an excited Nikki doesn't allow him to continue further.
"What will we do?" Abhi's eyes begin to gleam with mischief, forgetting what he was supposed to say. "Today, we'll spend the entire day, right here."
"Here?" Nikki's eyes widen with shock. "In bed? Have you gone mad? Don't forget Mama is around."
"Oh don't worry, we'll tell her we are not coming out today. In any case, you need a good bed rest and I will stay by your side to ensure you get it," he grins mischievously.
"Abhi, you are nuts!" an amused Nikki tells him with the shake of her head. "Move," she nudges him on the shoulder "lets get out of bed."
He doesn't budge. "Sssshhhhh......I want no interference from anyone. I am busy," he warns
Once again, he continues to rain kisses all over her neck. The phone begins to ring.
"Abhi pick up the phone."
"No, let it ring." He protests.
Nikki punches him lightly on the shoulder and reaches for the phone. Noticing she was finding it difficult to stretch, Abhi grudgingly picks up the phone and hands its to her whilst he continues with his important task.
"Abhi you are really too much!" she mutters in amusement and answers "Hello" into the phone.
She was surprised to hear her mother in law's voice.
"Good morning Mama, Where you calling from?"
"Mama?" Abhi lifts his head and looks at her in puzzlement.
"From the house," Rachna tells her. "Just wanted to check if you are up and ready for breakfast. Your mother is here too."
"Yes we are up and I am starving." Nikki replies.
"Nikki Beta, I also want you to come with me to the jewellers after breakfast," Rachna tells her.
"Jewellers? After breakfast?" A surprised Nikki parrots her mother in law, looking confused at Abhi.
Abhi mouths a "No" and frantically gestures with his hands.
"Yes, it is important," Rachna tells her. "The jeweller insisted we go today and so without asking you I agreed. I hope you don't mind. Please don't say No."
"Yeah, Okay fine." Nikki consents.
She puts the phone down.
"Why did you do agree?" Abhi demands unhappily.
"What could I do Abhi? You know Mama normally never insists on anything and the fact she is doing it today, it means something to her. How could I refuse?"
"Oh No!" He shuts his eyes in frustration.
While they were having breakfast, to Nikki's amusement, Abhi was trying his best to convince his mother to go to the jewellers on some other day, especially when he was not around, but, to his amazement, his normally relenting mother was adamant they would go immediately.
"Okay then, I am coming along." He insists.
"What is it Dr. Abhimanyu Modi?" she admonishes "why can't we girls have some time with each other or you don't trust your mother and mother in law to take care of your wife?" Kavita, Nikki and Sid look amusedly at a red-faced Abhi.
"Ma, you know that's not true." He tells her sheepishly. Nikki puts her hand on his thigh and with her eyes implores him to stop. A disappointed Abhi knew he wasn't going to get his say in the matter.
Rachna tells Nikki and Kavita they should be leaving. After they say their goodbyes to the men, the older women walk out. Looking at Abhi's crestfallen face, Nikki consolingly pats his thigh and smiles understandingly at him.
"Bhai, this public holiday we got, is of no use!" Sid tells him glumly. "Even Simran has some ceremony to attend to."
"Public holiday?" Nikki's eyes widen with surprise.
"Haan, today is a public holiday!" Sid confirms and was rewarded a murderous glance from Abhi.
"Public Holiday Dr. Modi ! Eh?" Nikki glares at him. The hand that was patting his thigh, now pinches it tightly making Abhi wince with pain.
"What happened?" she blinks pretending innocence. "It hurts? It hurts me too, when I am being made a fool into believing my husband was staying back only for me."
"Nikki, I didn't say anything like that. I only said I want to spend the whole day with you," a distressed looking Abhi explains. "You believed I took an off."
"And you let me believe it? You didn't correct my thinking?"
"I was going to, but its all your fault, you distracted me."
"Oh really? So sorry!" she flashes a fake sugary smile "Now, I'll definitely won't be distracting you for the whole day."
"C'mon Nikki, don't get upset Please stay back, Please?" he pleads. "What will I do without you!" he laments.
"The same thing I keep doing when you are not around. Waiting for you!" she scowls at him.
"Nikki Beta are you coming?" They hear Rachna's calling.
"Yes Mama," Nikki replies, walking towards the door followed by Abhi and Sid.
Making a puppy face, Abhi holds on to her hand and looks pleadingly at her.
"You really work too hard, Hubby Dear. You need to chill. Stay at home and take good rest, your wife won't be disturbing you." she tells him, unrelentingly, as she tries to pull her hand away from his grip, but, he clings tightly on to it. She makes eyes at him, signalling him to leave her hand but he still doesn't heed. It was Sid's loud chuckling which made him reluctantly release her hand.
"Bye Hubby Dear! Have Fun!" Nikki teases.
Seeing them drive off, a disheartened Abhi groans, "Damn" .
Nikki was surprised when the car stopped at Dr. Keerti's place. She enquires with Kavita and Rachna why were they there and they tell her she would know soon.
When they enter the house, she finds the house beautifully decorated in pink and blue transparent curtains and ribbons. Everyone cheers as she enters. Dr. Keerti, Riddhma, Muskaan and Anjali greet her at the door. Simran, Amrita and Padma too enter at the same time. There were other women too, some friends and staff of Sanjeevani.
"What is all this?" an astounded Nikki questions them as she stands stupefied, scanning the beautifully decorated house..
"I will not be around for the birth of your baby, so I wanted to have your baby shower before I left." Riddhima tells her fondly.
"Aww," Nikki was moved to tears. "This is such a beautiful surprise. Thanks so much!" She hugs Riddhima fondly.
"Sorry for lying Beta," Rachna apologises "but I had to do it! Everyone wanted to see this surprise and happy look on your face."
Tears of joy glistening in her eyes, Nikki fondly her mother in law.
"Here is something for you," Riddhima hands her a gift wrapped box. "You'll need to change," she tells her.
Nikki opens the box and sees a blue kurti with gold studs and magenta churidar with a matching magenta and gold dupatta.
"Hope it fits you," Muskaan teases, indicating to her belly, raising laughter from everyone.
"Yeah, we also ensured to have spaghetti straps as you are very fond of them,"Anjali tells her.
Nikki laughs. "You guys are wonderful," she tells them giving them a joint hug.
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 with 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. "And Nikki is out with my mother." 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. Both, don't seem to pick up. Abhi tries his mother and mother in law's phones too, but even they were not answering. The two worried men pace around the lawn wondering what was happening. 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
"Can you explain in simply language?" Abhi asks him.
"Well in simple language, your wives have managed to make fools of you They are at a place where you are not invited, infact no men at all," Jas informs coolly.
"What?" Abhi and Armaan thunder at him.
"Yes! They are having a surprise baby shower for Nikki at Dr. Keerti's place and have made sure men don't know about it. Its fortunate for you I overheard Kavita talking to Amrita about this.
Abhi, Armaan and Sid look stunned at each other. Armaan's phone rings. He thinks its Riddhima, but, sees Atul's number flashing. Atul tells him he called to check what was their programme for the day. A smiling Armaan tells him they would pick him up as they've got to go somewhere very special.
"Chalein?" he asks the guys after disconnecting the line.
"Of course," replies Abhi. "We didn't just get married for the heck of it. Wherever our wives go, we will always follow!" He winks. Grinning they share a punch.
At the baby shower, the women were enjoying themselves, singing and dancing. Some were sharing their experiences about their pregnancy. As Nikki came out, having changed into her new dress, everyone gushed how pretty she was looking.
"Ah, Ah! You are looking lovely darling!" Kavita compliments. "Absolutely!" Rachna agrees and everyone echo their sentiments.
Nikki is made to sit on a sofa and she is showered with gifts from everyone. She is completely overwhelmed by the love that was showered on her.
"Shall we cut the cake?" Keerti asks and the women agree.. Anjali and Muskaan, wheel in a trolley on which was a beautiful three tier pink and blue icing cake. The top of the cake, had a couple holding a baby in their arms.
"It became very difficult to stick to one color since we still don't know if you are having a boy or a girl, Nikki." Keerti tells her.
"Can you imagine with morden science, technology and sitting amongst doctors, the sex of the baby is still unkown," Kavita tells Rachna with a laugh.
"Yeah sometimes ultrasound are done on those wrong days," Dr. Keerti agrees "and Nikki chose those wrong days for her ultrasound." She laughs and was joined by Nikki, Riddhima, Muskaan and Anjali and the other women.
As they were joking about it, Nikki is enamoured by the beautiful figure of the couple and the baby on the cake. Her thoughts go to Abhi. Although she was thoroughly enjoying herself, she was missing him real bad. Caressing her stomach, she wished he was there too. It was as if a part of her was missing.
"Where are you lost Nikki? Aren't you going to cut the cake?" Anjali asks her.
"Nothing," Nikki comes out of her musing. "I just wish Abhi was here too after all the baby is also a part of him." She mumbles dispiritedly.
"Yeah, why are men kept away from baby showers?" Muskaan asks
"Traditionally, it was started off by women to make a pregnant lady feel special, but, as a baby is created by two people its only fair that both share and enjoy every little celebration related to it." Rachna tells them.
"And, if Nikki wants Abhi to be part of this celebration then I think Abhi should be here. What do you all have to say ?" she looks around at the others.
"I was thinking the same," Kavita agrees.
"Oh that would be lovely!" Riddhima exclaims looking at Nikki whose eyes begin to sparkle with excitement.
The other women also voice their agreement.
"So its decided then, we'll cut the cake when Abhi comes," Kavita confirms and "also do invite Armaan and the other goondas to give Nikki's goonda company or he'll feel out of place amongst so many women," She adds with a wink. The women laugh heartedly.
The cake is taken back inside the kitchen. Nikki moves aside to dial Abhi's number. Riddhima tells her "I'll call Armaan from my cellphone. Its in my bag which is in the room upstairs."
"Use mine," Nikki tells her.
"No its okay, I also need to use the washroom," she tells her making her way upstairs.
Her thoughts once again going to Abhi, Nikki smiles imagining how upset he must be right now sitting at home. She was only teasing him. She wasn't really upset with him. Putting her hand to her stomach, she dials his number. 'Mama is right! This is his baby too and its only fair he is also part of the baby shower!' Her face brightens up with excitement.
PRECAP TO PART 40
Abhi's phone rings "Its Nikki" he tells them. "Keep quiet!" Just as he answered "hello", Armaan turns the car stereo to full volume. Abhi looks bewildered at him. Armaan puts his finger on his lips.
"Abhi where are you?" Nikki questions him. "What is this music?" she demands
"Nikki, I can't hear properly." Abhi tells her and reaches for the stereo to turn the volume down, but Armaan stops him by shoving his hand off. Abhi slaps his hand. "Ouch!" Armaan fakes a girlish voice. Abhi looks perplexed at him.
"Abhi who are you with? Where are you and who is that lady with you?" Nikki's voice was laced with jealousy. Abhi couldn't' believe what he was hearing. Disbelief on his face, he stares at Armaan for few moments and then realizes Nikki was reacting exactly how Armaan wanted her to. He grins. "Nikki, I'll call you back. I can't speak now!" He disconnects leaving Nikki completely dumbfounded.