Thursday, February 18, 2010

~Love Me Tender~ Part 11

Abhimanyu followed the doctor on duty to Nikki's ward where she was being evaluated for her fainting spell. He tried to calm himself down by telling himself that it might be something minor. This girl was going to be the death of him. She did what she felt like and was now flaunting doctor's orders.

When would she learn to listen? He let a breath out and asked the attending doctor what was wrong with her.

"Dr. Modi, nothing to worry about. Low blood pressure is all it is….she simply needs to eat well and take care of herself…..nothing a little rest can't fix" the doctor explains and leaves her to rest. The nurse hooks her on IV and leaves.

Nikki stirs a little and slowly opens her eyes and when she looks into Abhimanyu's dark ones he turns away from her, controlling his anger and fixing a sardonic smile on his face.

"Welcome back Dr. Nikita" he greets her coldly and her heart skips a beat. He was mad at her and was trying to be polite. It did not bode well. She tried to sit up but his frigid tone stopped her.

"Don't bother to sit up… are hooked to IV….it would be better if you just lay down" he advised, "but of course it depends on whether you want to listen or not" he concludes, not missing a beat.

"Oh" Nikki looks around and notices the IV and lays down again, "What happened? I felt a little dizzy" she asks.

"Nikki…how are you….I heard you fainted" Muskaan barges into the ward and Abhimanyu rolls his eyes.

"I fainted?" Nikki questions Abhi and Muskaan notices him in the room too.

"Yeah….low blood pressure" he replies shortly.

"Nikki…..not good….you don't eat properly?" Muski admonishes her lovingly.

"I do" Nikki replies a little hesitantly.

"If you did Dr. Nikita, we wouldn't be having this conversation" Abhimanyu tells her off and she makes a face at him. Exasperated at her childish behavior he simply walks out of the ward.

"Nikki….he is right….you need to take care of yourself" Muskaan explains to her and Nikki mutters softly, "He is always right….that Sadu"

"He cares" Muski lets on and then simply changes the topic and spends time with Nikki chatting and asking about her progress.

After Muskaan leaves, Nikki rings for the nurse and begs her to take her outside for some fresh air. The nurse refuses and tells her that it were Abhimanyu's strict orders not to let her do anything but rest. She requests again but the nurse simply refuses and walks out. Irritated and helpless Nikki dozes off to sleep.

An hour later Armaan shakes her awake and she smiles up at him. "Sleepy head….what happened?" he asks her lovingly and Nikki notices Riddhima smiling at her too.

"Hi Riddhima" she greets her and tries to sit up. Armaan helps her and she tells them what happened and they scold her lovingly too asking her to take care of her health.

"I am bored doing that guys……I promise I do it….but that Sadu….he never believes me and nor do you all….I want to get out of here" she replies a little irritated, pointing to her room, "These walls feel like jail" she tells them.

"I understand Nikki…..but we can't take you out of here……you need to get well and we don't want more episodes like this…..Dr. Modi will fire all of us if we try to slip you out of the ward even" Armaan tells her patting her hand.

"Oh come on Armaan….please….not out of the hospital but somewhere outside this prison….please" she begs and Armaan tries to talk sense with her.

"Nikki… are not well….you need the rest….please listen to us" Riddhima jumps in trying to convince her.

"I am fine guys…..all I do is rest and I tried to walk but all I get is a lecture…..please just 15 minutes….not more promise…..I just want to breathe the fresh air outside…please" she tries to convince them and finally Armaan and Riddhima give in to her incessant pleading.

"Fine…..just till the basket ball court ok…..and only 15 minutes" Riddhima tells Nikki and gets a bright smile in return.

They take her out on a wheelchair and when the nurse in charge questions them they tell her that they are taking her for some tests on Dr. Khanna's orders. The three of them quietly slip out towards the court and Nikki gulps in the fresh air and stands up from the wheelchair a little wobbly but determined.

"Oh I missed this" she says to herself softly.

"You be careful Nikki" Armaan tells her and she asks him not to worry. With Armaan and Riddhima's help she sits on the bench on the side of the court and the three of them get talking. In the background they hear the radio blaring and suddenly Nikki's attention shifts to the song playing on it.

"Tumse hi" from the movie jab we met is playing on the radio and Nikki starts humming it under her breath and closes her eyes and the scene where she and Armaan danced for the Save Sanjeevani concert flashes in front of her and she grasps Armaan and Ridzi's hands in excitement.

"What happened?" Armaan and Ridzi chorus together.

"The song…..I….we….Armaan we danced on it…..I just saw it" Nikki opens her eyes and looks at the two excited.

"What? The concert… remember?" Armaan asks incredulously and Nikki shakes her head excited.

"Yes….I just saw it….Armaan I remembered" she hugs him and then hugs Ridzi who are thrilled to hear positive news after so many days. Nikki is so happy but Armaan reminds them that their fifteen minutes are over and they head inside all excited.

"I should tell Abhi" Nikki remembers and asks Armaan to take her to his office.

"Are you crazy…..if you tell him, he will have Riddhima and me for dinner…..lets hold on to this" Armaan cautions her.

"Hold on to what doctors?" Gaurav asks the three who in their excitement hadn't noticed him walking in front of them and had almost banged into him. All three look in different directions and Gaurav raises his eyebrows.

"Oh so we are hiding something now" he observes and then notices Nikki's flushed face. "So someone looks as if they went outside" and Nikki looks at him guilty.

"It's not their fault….I insisted" she tries to protect her friends and Gaurav laughs.

"Come on…..follow me to my cabin" he orders the three and they do as they are told.

Once inside, he asks them what exactly happened and Nikki tells him that she remembered an incident. This makes Gaurav happy too and the three interns look at him expectantly.

"So when do you think will I remember everything?" Nikki asks.

"Nikita…..this is the first step….a big one but it doesn't imply anything….I will encourage you to relax and not stress yourself behind this…..let's see when you remember anything next…Ok" he advises her and then tells her off on her fainting spell.

"I take care of myself…'s just that I am bored and I" Nikki rambles on not making sense and when Riddhima tries to jump in to defend her, Gaurav motions her to stop."Please, no more excuses……Riddhi….you need to be a doctor more than a friend right now….I don't like what you and Dr. Malik did but just to save you three from Dr. Modi…...I will let it go this time…..but I am sorry to say if you repeat this….then he can deal with you as he wants" he tells both Riddhima and Armaan off firmly.

"As for you Dr. Nikita….you have no excuse….if you are bored…then study your medical books or do something which interests you…..doing what you please is not going to help you….you are a patient" he tells her firmly too and all three look down a little ashamed of their action.

"Bhia …sorry" Riddhima apologizes and Armaan's head shoots up in surprise.

"Bhai?" he questions Ridzi and she nods her head and Armaan's excitement knows no bounds. Suddenly he likes the guy sitting in front of him a lot better than he liked him a few seconds ago.

There is a knock on the cabin door and the three interns start to pray for their life when they see Abhimanyu walk in.

"Dr. Khanna…..what do Nikita's latest reports" he stops mid- sentence when he sees the three interns looking at him with stricken faces.

"What did you guys do now?" he asks tiredly not ready to deal with another crisis brought on by their childish pranks.

"Nothing" Armaan, Riddhima and Nikki reply together and Abhimanyu raises his eyebrows and Gaurav raises his hands.

"Dr. Nikita….I had given specific orders for you not to be able to leave your room….what are you doing here?" He asks Nikki, zeroing on her flushed face and her inability to meet his eyes.

"I …we…I"Nikki is unable to come up with an excuse and mutters incoherently, twisting her hands in her lap.

"Dr. Modi actually she" Armaan tries to come to her rescue but Abhimanyu's sharp, "Are you Nikita?" stops him from completing the excuse he was offering and he shakes his head in the negative.

"Good then….stay out of this" he rebukes Armaan who turns his face away thinking of a way of saving his friend, as he knew that she was in big trouble.

"Nikita?" he questions the pretty girl who was chewing her bottom lip and refusing to look at him.

"I….I…came to meet Gaurav" Nikki says softly, using the first excuse which came to mind and sending a pleading look at Gaurav who shakes his head at the situation, which he knew her single sentence was about to create. Riddhima and Armaan stare in shock at Nikki.

"I see" Abhimanyu's face takes on a shuttered expression and he looks towards Gaurav who shrugs in answer, his mind running a million miles to find a way out of the situation.

"Ahem….Dr. Modi ….just discussing her reports and the fact that she remembered an incident" Gaurav gives a cool reply to the man standing in front of him with questions in his eyes.

"Incident…..which incident?" Abhimanyu questions looking at Gaurav and ignoring Nikki.

"Dancing with Armaan at the Save Sanjeevani concert" Riddhima replies softly and Abhimanyu nods his head reflecting on the news he had received.

"What triggered it?" his eyes pierce Nikki's and she looks down, knowing that she was caught. She tries to open her mouth to answer but no words come out. She rapidly blinks her eyes trying to fight the tears which were threatening to fall out. She was trying hard to salvage the situation between them but every word she uttered seemed to make it worse.

He had asked her what she was doing here and she had used the excuse of visiting Gaurav. She knew from his expression that it hadn't gone down well with him. He was furious but there was no way he was going to listen to her. She gulped, looking for an answer to his question, without landing her friends in trouble. They had taken her out at her insistence and she didn't want them to bear the brunt for her stupid idea.

Abhimanyu's keen gaze catches Nikki trying to blink her tears away and her lower lip trembling and sighs. "Drs. Are you done for today?" he asks Armaan and Riddhima pointedly and they shake their head a No.

"Then I think you will be required for your duties….right?" and they nod their heads, "so….leave" he orders them.

"Nikki….I will take Nikki" Armaan sees their opportunity to escape but Abhimanyu shakes his head.

"I will take care of that….you two have done enough….leave" he tells them and Nikki's heart sinks. She was going to be put through an inquisition. She closes her eyes and curses herself. Armaan and Riddhima leave and Abhimanyu takes a chair in front of Gaurav and discuss Nikki's memory and her latest reports, telling her her condition. Nikki absorbs everything but her eyes refuse to leave Abhimanyu, who was trying his level best to ignore her.

Done with the discussion, Abhimanyu gets up to leave and Nikki looks up at him shyly. "W…will you take me to my room" she asks slowly not daring to hope he would agree and he nods absently, "Sure". She thanks Gaurav and Abhimanyu wheels her outside the cabin, taking her to her room.

"Can we talk?" she says softly, midway to her room.

"What about?" he asks curtly and Nikki doesn't reply.

He wheels her to her room and she abruptly gets up from the wheel chair, misbalancing herself as a result. Abhimanyu catches her as a reflex but she pushes him away angrily.

"I don't need your help" she throws at him and stands on her own. Gingerly, placing one foot in front of the other she makes her way to her bed and sits down panting by the effort.

"Does it pain?" he asks gently and his gentle tone is her undoing. Tears rush to her eyes but she refuses to shed them over him.

"Why… you have a lecture on that too?" she asks in a tear strained voice and the next moment he is on his knees in front of her, her face in his hands.

"Nikki... I care" his anguish and care reflected in his eyes and a sob escapes her and a lone tear falls from her eyes. Abhimanyu wipes it with his thumb and she tries to get out of his hold.

"I know….you care…..that is why all you do is shout at me, get angry on everything.…..why?" she chokes out and he takes her in his arms, unable to see her sad.

"You do such stupid things and refuse to listen to anything sensible…I want you to get well soon Nikki but your antics worry me" he tells her, his hands making lazy circles on her back. It felt good to hold her in his arms. His heart calmed at her presence.

"If I get well soon….you won't worry about me?" she asks looking up at him but refusing to get out of his embrace. It felt safe in his arms. Laughter rumbles through his body and a smile escapes her. She wished she could remain like this. All pain and trouble seemed to vanish in his arms.

"Oh Nikki…..not worry about you….that doesn't even seem possible" he tells her pushing her away a little, to look at her.

"You should laugh often….you look good" she tells him, tracing his smile with her thumb reflexively. When she looks into his eyes, she notices awareness creeping in them. He tries to push her away but Nikki holds on to his collar.

"Why do you run….away from me Abhi?" she asks cupping his face.

"Nikki…..please...stop…..I ..…I have a meeting" he gently tries to push her hands away.

"Lame try Dr. Modi" Nikki tells him playing with the buttons of his shirt, enjoying the effect she was having on him.

"Nikki…..I…..stop" he pleads with her but discovering that her closeness unnerved him, Nikki is bent upon exacting as much revenge possible for all his spiteful words.

"Answer me Abhi" she asks, entwining her fingers in his and suddenly finds his hands in her hair and his face close to hers. She looks wide eyed at him and him and unconsciously her lips part.

"Is it a game?" he asks his voice husky and his grip stronger, pulling her closer, "You might not like where it leads Nikki" he tells her tracing her lips with his thumb. She closes her eyes in subservience, melting in his arms.

"Nikki" he asks her one last time and then places his lips on hers, kissing her, unable to control himself. Nikki's arms go around his neck as she responds to his kiss but he pulls himself away.

"Abhi" she questions confused.

"Nikki…..I need you to get well" he cups her face lovingly while her eyes search his face for answers.

"I remembered……I am getting better" she tells him and a slight smile flits across his face.

"Not me… haven't remembered me as yet…..I don't want to confuse you" he explains to her.

"But you do……you always do Abhi" Nikki tells him. Closing his eyes he leans his forehead against hers. She was temptation. He wanted to give her what she wanted but he knew that her accident had made their situation complex. He desperately needed her in his arms to feel that his world was alright but he wasn't going to cheat her by doing that. He wanted her to remember. Everything. Especially the hurt he had given her. If she chose to forgive him and comeback in his arms, he would consider himself the luckiest man alive.

"Nikki….rest" he tells her trying to create a distance between them.

"Don't go" she tells him simply.

"I have to…..I….don't …..Please..…I don't want to hurt you more" he tells her and she is unable to understand his fear.

"Abhi" she calls to his retreating back but he walks out leaving Nikki more confused.

"How did he hurt me?" she wonders but her mind shifts to the kiss they had shared and she smiles blissfully. He made her feel safe. The way his eyes followed her, she knew that she was precious to him. The way her heart gladdened at hearing his voice, she knew he meant the world to her.

"I think I love you Dr. Modi……now I have to find out if you love me?" she smiles hugging herself.

~Love Me Tender~ Part 10

The next day Abhimanyu got up late, finally able to sleep after so many days. The guilt he was harboring was beginning to go away as he was coming to terms with what had happened. He still couldn't forgive himself for his words and actions as he believed in his heart that if he had at least listened to her or hadn't been so harsh, she would not have bolted from Sanjeeveani furious and mad at him. She would have been careful and would have never landed in this situation.

He held his head in his hands closing his eyes and reliving the moment Dr. Shashank had announced to him about Nikki's condition. The mere thought of that sent shudders through his entire body. He did not want to go through this again. He had almost died at that time. He opened his eyes and shook his head to clear his thoughts. Enough. He needed to stop thinking about that and concentrate on Nikki. She was confused, no thanks to Armaan. He had to go and tell her everything. He was trying so hard to let her relax but no, Armaan Malik, he had to interfere.

"Forget it Abhimanyu….that man is not going to make it easier….his help also turns out to be a problem" he tells himself, quelling the feeling to murder Armaan. His mind shifted to the new doctor who was treating Nikki. Dr. Gaurav Khanna…..a smart doctor and he had told Armaan off. Finally things were moving in his favor. He liked the new guy already although he probed a lot. He couldn't blame him, it was his job. What had he told him yesterday? To spend time with Nikki and forget his guilt syndrome. Abhimanyu rolled his eyes. Easier said than done but he agreed with Gaurav. He needed to start spending time with Nikki if he wanted her to fall in love with him.

Smiling and with a spring in his step, Abhi gets up to freshen himself up and head to work and Nikki.

He felt better and rushed to Sanjeevani for his meetings. Nikki had been right, he had needed to rest and now it felt better. He ran over yesterday's meeting with Nikki in his mind and groaned aloud. He had fought again and on top of it he had promised not to visit her today. He really needed to stop getting angry at the drop of a hat and it was high time he got the love of his life back in his life.

Nikki got up irritated with the world in general. She hated everything. She hated that she couldn't walk. It didn't count that she didn't need support to walk or a wheelchair but she wasn't happy with her progress. She wanted to walk and run as of now.

She hated the fact that the new doctor was asking her questions she couldn't answer. She felt like a retard. The fact that he was extremely understanding or good looking didn't help. She hated that Armaan had told her who Abhimanyu was to her. She sighed. She hated Abhimanyu. For confusing her and waking such feelings in her that she was at a loss to understand; then fighting with her and disappearing. She hated him because she missed him. She fluffed her pillow and started hitting it.

"Idiot…..what does he think of himself…..all I said was go and rest" she mumbles under her breath wishing it was him and not the pillow she was hitting.

"Don't you dare show me your face you sadu or I will …aggghhhh" she screams in frustration and decides to get up and walk to avoid thinking about him. She walks slowly around the room, being careful and trying to balance. It was hard but not impossible. It felt like she was walking on a tight rope , she could slip anytime if she wasn't careful. She took a deep breath, clamped her lips together and worked against pain. "1, 2, 3…..." she counted her steps, anything to take her mind off the devil that was disturbing her day and night.

The nurse walks in with her breakfast and helps her to freshen up. All ready and feeling a bit better she moves towards the food trolley and smiles at the breakfast. Instead of the runny half- boiled eggs she had been forced to eat, there was fresh fruit and omelets and bread and butter. "Finally" she whispered to herself and dug in to eat. Her stomach full, the world brightened suddenly.

"So you liked the breakfast" his soft and husky voice broke into her thoughts and she looked up sharply. He looked like he had slept well and his white shirt and blue jeans made him look handsome and the smile curving the end of his lips was more like a smirk and his eyes were openly laughing at her.

"Oh so he decided to visit" she thinks and blinks, not able to take her eyes of his handsome face.

"Good morning" Abhimanyu wished her coming closer and she relied back to his greeting sullenly, replacing her plate and carefully avoiding his gaze. He sits next to her but she chooses to ignore him and picks up a book she is reading and acts as if concentrating on it.

"What is so interesting Nikki" he comes closer trying to look at the title of the book she was reading.

"Everything" she can't help replying.

"I see" Abhi sits back, studying her. So she was mad at him. He was not getting away so easily, but he was sure going to try.

"What are you reading?" he pesters her.

"A book" comes the reply pat.

"Which one?" he asks.

"An English one" she replies back, refusing to look at him.

"Title" he asks.

"Go to hell" she replies and turns her back to him.

"Really….should I?" he whispers in her ear and she stiffens. This man…..darn it. She closes her eyes and breathes him in. Abhimanyu doesn't move but takes the book from her limp fingers and sits back.

"Men are from mars and women are from Venus" he reads the title slowly and Nikki's eyes fly open. He was insufferable and irritating. She turned to face him and tried to snatch the book out of his hands but he was too quick for her.

He randomly opens a page and starts reading, the book held high, "101 ways to score points with a woman" he almost chokes on the words and Nikki's color starts to rise. She valiantly tries to get her book back but Abhi is having too much fun at her expense to stop.

"Abhimanyu…..give it back…now" she asks him testily but all she gets in return is him grinning at her and continuing to read, "Number one, Practice listening…ha….what a point" he shakes his head.

"Oh well…you are not listening to me….so obviously this won't make sense to you" Nikki tells him sharply and he looks at her with his eyebrows raised.

"Really… I get no point?" he asks suddenly serious and walks close to her. Nikki, sitting on the bed looks into his suddenly serious eyes and gulps. Why did he always have to do this? Whenever he came this close to her, sane thoughts just vanished and they were replaced by a sudden urge to be in his arms. She fists her hands at her side and counts till ten to get rid of such thoughts.

"Zero" is all she can manage, her voice trembling.

He places the book aside and drags the chair closer to her and sits, taking his fisted hands from her side in his. Nikki resists at first but when he refuses to let go and fights with her, trying to open one hand and then the other, she gives in. Holding her hands gently and rubbing his thumbs over them, he looks into her big eyes and asks, "Why?"

"Why what?" Nikki questions back, hating the fact that her voice refused to be on her side too.

"Why zero? I gave you what you wanted" he replies.

"Oh really….what?" she questions, trying to snatch her hands back but he holds them tighter.

"Breakfast….it wasn't bland…was it?" he asks earnestly and her eyes widen in amazement.

"Y…You" she stutters and he gives her a smile.

"Glad you enjoyed it" he tells her honestly and sees confusion enter her eyes.

Abhimanyu Modi never let a chance to confuse her pass by. She was mad at him for not stopping by at dinner time and was making sure that he understood that but this insufferable man had to undo everything with his thoughtful gesture. Was he even on her side? Was he trying to make sure she went mad? Coz he was succeeding at that. Her treacherous heart… leapt with happiness at his words but whatever he did, she was in no mood to forgive him.

"Who said I enjoyed it?" she asks him rudely and snatches her hands away.

"At least you ate all of it" he replies, looking meaningfully at the food trolley which had been wiped clean by a ravenous Nikki.

"Well if I want to get out of this place, these clothes" she makes a face at her hospital gown, "It's yellow" she complains, "and most importantly away from you, I have to eat" she tells him and watches as a sad expression settles on his face and his laughter vanishes. He sits back, creating a distance.

"Away from me" he repeats softly but before he can ask her anything, Gaurav's voice interrupts them with a "Good Morning Nikita" and he smiles in his direction and Abhi's gaze narrows when he sees Nikki's face light up like a thousand watt bulb.

"Nice to see you here Dr. Modi" Gaurav greets Abhi and extends his hand for a shake which he takes unwillingly and smiles half-heartedly.

"Chikooo" Nikki gets up alittle wobbly but determined and pulls Gaurav into a hug like a long lost friend and his mouth falls open in amazement. In his ear she implores softly, "Please help me" and smiles her brightest smile closing her eyes in contentment in his arms.

Abhimanyu's temper rises so fast that he wanted to murder Gaurav. He wanted to hit him but he had made her smile so brightly that he didn't want to take that away from her. She liked him was apparent but this much he had no idea. What had he missed? His thoughts were a jumble. His heart wanted to snatch her from Gaurav's arms and keep her safe in his but his mind kept focusing on her smile of contentment.

"Well I won't disturb you guys" he throws at them and walks out without looking back.

Gaurav gets out of the hug and looks at Nikki questioningly, "Nikita, what was that?" he asks none too pleased.

"Nothing" she answers in a mere whisper and her eyes tear up. She knew she had overdone it but she wanted to hurt him as he hurt her. She wanted him to feel what she felt when he was so close physically but far away in his thoughts. She wanted him to miss her, get angry at her, and react. He had done all that but chosen not to show it and walked away.

Gaurav sits in the chair Abhi had vacated and lets the girl before him cry her heart out. Nikki's tears started slipping one after the other and she prayed hard that they wiped her pain too but she knew that the only person who could do so had walked out furious with her.

She wiped them away but they flowed incessantly. Gaurav handed her a tissue and she crumpled it in her hands.

"Use this" he tells her gently and hands her another one.

"He h…ha…..hates…..m ….me" she hiccups and Gaurav shakes his head trying to hide a smile.

"What you just did…..wasn't too smart Nikki" he tells her honestly and she starts crying harder.

"I know that" she throws the tissue box in a fit of anger.

"But it might work" he completes grinning mischievously and Nikki looks up shocked, forgetting to cry.

"Work?" she asks unbelieving and Gaurav shakes his head and shrugs his shoulders.

"H…How?" she asks cautiously, not being able to believe what she was hearing.

"Well jealousy works pretty well sometimes and I saw your Dr. Modi go green with it…..but I don't want to rub him on the wrong side" he tells her his observation.

"Hi Dr. Khanna….Hi Nikki" Armaan enters and hugs Nikki who hugs him back and Gaurav's eyes narrow.

"Dr. Malik…I had told you" but before he can finish, Armaan sits next to Nikki, half hugging her, "Not to visit her for two days….right?" he completes the sentence for him.

"She sent me five smses since morning to come and visit her and her I am" he tells the other man and Nikki shakes her head agreeing.

"I did that" she tells Gaurav and he tells them that he is here for some scans on her and a few tests he wants to get done. He explains to her that though her memory isn't coming back, it just might be due to the simple fact that in her ward there is nothing which triggers it and though the people come and visit her maybe they are being extra careful not to repeat the actions and behavior they were generally used to.

"Now?" both Nikki and Armaan question him.

"Now….is where you help us Dr. Malik…….Dr. Modi is being pretty obstinate but you seem to be in a helpful mood….so you can help" he tells him.

"Then you think she will remember?" Armaan asks.

"Maybe…maybe not….no harm in trying" Gaurav tells him frankly.

"What should we do?" Nikki asks.

"You already do that….fight with each other" Armaan laughs and she swats him and Gaurav smiles.

"Dr. Malik…please take her for the tests I have mentioned and stop by my office with the reports and you Nikita…...practice walking and relax… will help" he orders Armaan and tells Nikki and gets up to leave.

"Thanks Gaurav" Nikki whispers shyly and he smiles.

"Not a problem….just be careful that he doesn't lose his temper and hit me" he teases and walks out.

Armaan takes her for her scans and tests and drops her in physiotherapy and there she tells him how she was trying to make Abhimanyu jealous so he would confront her and share his feelings. Armaan is amazed and starts laughing.

"What is so funny?" Nikki asks bewildered.

"You know" he tries to control his laughter and sits in front of her drawing deep breaths, "I was so against the two of you and I have already fought twice with him, now when he is maintaining a distance" he tells her.

"Why were you against us?" Nikki asks him, their bitter vibes not having gone unnoticed by Nikki.

"Well….I just feel no one is good enough for you" Armaan takes her face in his hands and gently kisses her forehead, "also, I know what you are scared of Nikki……so I thought I was protecting you from it" Armaan tells her and Nikki hugs her friend, who she knew was looking out for her in his own mixed up way.

"Thank you…..but now you support him?" she asks incredulously.

"No…I support you and I know he loves you…..a lot….just don't know why he has clamped up" Armaan tells her the truth he knew and Nikki's smile brightens.

"He does?" she asks, her eyes sparkling.

"Yeah…..but that's not the question… you? I mean… have forgotten him…..and forgotten whatever you shared with him……..and I rushed things, thinking it would help….but what do you feel Nikki? Maybe you don't love him or your feelings have changed….what is it?" Armaan asks her gently, realizing that he might have made a mistake and pushed her in a direction she wasn't even willing to take and understood why Abhimanyu was so mad at him for having thrown their relationship in her face so abruptly.

"I …I don't know…I like him….a lot….I mean….when he isn't around , I get upset and I miss him" she tells him, his question having brought her insecurities to the forefront. She knew there was something between them. She always missed him but whether she loved him was a question she hadn't asked herself as yet. She had just been running behind his answer to the same question.

Armaan's pager rang and he told her that Gaurav needed her reports and he would see her later. She nodded her head absently, still lost in the questions Armaan had posed.

She practiced her walking and insisted that she wanted to walk back to her ward and the nurse lets her.

"I will walk back on my own" she tells the nurse who doesn't agree to that but Nikki convinces her that if she felt weak or if there was pain she would alert somebody and finally walked out slowly on her own.

She was tired within five minutes but her determination wouldn't let her quit. She sat on the nearest bench to breathe and rest for a bit but when she got up she felt dizzy. She sat down again and then after sometime recollected her strength and started walking slowly.

Abhimanyu was on his rounds and avoided the path that led to her ward. She was happy in a strangers arms, he fumed. Let her be. He tried to block the image of her hugging Gaurav and closing her eyes in contentment. His hands fisted on his side and he closed his eyes to get a grip on his anger. He opened them to see his dream turn into reality. Nikki was walking slowly towards him, pain etched on her face.

At that moment he forgot his resolve to stay away from her and marched angrily towards her, "What the hell do you think you are doing?" he blasted and she looked up startled.

"W…W….Walking" she replied, taking a step back at the anger simmering in his eyes.

"Who told you, you could do that?" he inquires, his hands on his hips and his eyes now blazing.

"A..Abhi….I wanted to" she tries to reply but he holds her by her shoulders, shaking her, trying to shake some sense into that independent brain of hers.

"You are a not a doctor but a patient……you will do as you are told ….understand….if not then you won't be able to get away from me fast enough" he tells her roughly, his grip becoming gentle when he sees her eyes cloud with pain and her biting her lip.

"Abhi….please…..I" she starts but he releases her and turns around to order a ward boy to get a wheelchair for her.

"No need to explain……I get the fact that getting away from me is of prime importance" he tells her bitterly and she tries to talk to him but dizziness takes over and before she can utter a word, she faints but Abhi catches her in his arms, breaking her fall.

"Nikki" he whispers shocked and curses himself for his anger.

"Sweetheart" he pats her face and takes her pulse. It was so low that his heart starts beating faster.

"Stretcher…..Now" he barks his order and they take her for observation, his heart along with her.

~Love Me Tender~ Part 9

Catching Nikki smiling to herself, Abhimanyu can't resist asking, "What are you smiling about Nikita?"

"Nikki would be fine…..why are you so formal with me…..calling me Nikki wouldn't hurt me" she reprimands him with love and his mouth falls open in shock at her perceptiveness. Sometimes it felt like she could read his mind.

"Ok Nikki….happy….so what is so funny….share the joke" he asks playfully, his tiredness disappearing seeing her so happy.

"Nothing Abhi… know what ….you look so tired….I think you should rest, take care of yourself….please…..I don't want you getting sick" she tells him her observation. She knew he didn't sleep well and the tiredness had started creeping on his face. He worried her.

"I am fine….don't worry about me….you concentrate on getting better" he waves off her concern but Nikki isn't having any of it.

"Please…..for my sake….to make a sick person like me happy" she emotionally blackmails him, making a cute face and Abhi simply melts.

"You are not sick are you?" he asks worried immediately getting up to check her. She starts laughing and he stops looking at her sharply. "No baba….I am not sick and will you stop worrying?" she tells him sweetly. "Ok you promise….you will take a day off and rest…..come on promise" she asks him, taking his hand in hers and looking up at him with a request in her eyes.

"I don't need a day off" he replies shortly, knowing for sure that the day wouldn't pass if he didn't talk to her or see her and how could he tell her that. He fidgeted and got up abruptly to leave; knowing full well that if he stayed longer she would coerce him into taking a day off and he wouldn't be able to utter even a single reason against it as it was impossible for him to deny anything to her.

"Abhi….wait" her lilting voice stops him in mid-stride. "I still want to talk to you" she tells him firmly and sighing he turns back and goes and sits next to her.

"I will be fine…..please….for my sake….please" she pleads with the stubborn man knowing full well that he was escaping the discussion as he was in no mood to comply.

He looked into her beautiful eyes and was touched to see them brimming with concern for him. This woman made him want to take her in his arms and keep her safe for ever and kiss her happy. Stop it Abhimanyu…..your LOVE is what brought her here in the first place, his mind chides him.

"Nikki I am fine….I have to go now" his fingers brush her face and she captures them there with her hand.

"Please" she implores for the last time and his wall of resistance falls. "Fine….you won't see me tomorrow here….I won't come to visit you….happy" he tells her getting a little angry at her being so insistent that he take a day off.

"I don't want you in Sanjeevani" she fights back, not ready to give up on her request.

"What is your problem? I said you won't see me….but I have work which cannot be postponed on your whims and fancies" he replies back moodily.

"Fine ….do what you want to….and don't visit me….for sure" she makes a face and refuses to look at him.

"Stop behaving like a child Nikki" he admonishes her but she simply climbs on her bed and lays down turning her back to him.

"Nikki" she shakes her slightly and she swats his hand angrily.

"Stop this" he says tiredly.

"Go away………I don't want to see your face" she mumbles in her pillow tightly shutting her eyes.

"Fine" Abhimanyu replies and strides out mad at her childish behavior; he almost walks into Dr. Gaurav who is walking inside her room his head buried in a file.

"Opps sorry Dr. Modi" he says taking a step back and Abhimanyu nods his head and walks away without bothering to talk.

Gaurav raises his eyebrows and looks at his retreating back and then his attention shifts to Nikki, who he sees looking daggers at Abhimanyu's retreating back and mumbling to herself.

"The boyfriend made an appearance and seems to have lost brownie points" Gaurav mutters to himself and heads in.

"Hi Nikita" he smiles and she gives him a half-hearted smile in response and he makes himself comfortable on the chair next to her.

"How are you?" he asks casually and she huffs in anger, "Fine" she replies shortly.

"Well there is nothing which can't be solved with a little thought" Gaurav tells her smartly not wanting to step out of bounds.

She looks at him as he had answered all her questions and gives him her brilliant smile, "I agree" she says and he gets down to the business of examining her.

After his examination is over, he asks her a few questions about her general health and when all her answers are to his satisfaction, he sits back, pondering on how to move further.

"Dr. Khanna" she addresses him shyly," When do you think I will remember everything….I really need some answers" her voice takes a tinge of sadness.

"Nikita…please call me Gaurav" he instructs her and she happily agrees.

"As to you remembering…..honestly it's a little puzzling…ok tell me have you had any flashes or anything remotely similar to that in which you have seen or remembered….a feeling , a touch….anything?" he asks her and she starts thinking.

"Ummm no really but about Abhi…it's a little difficult to explain but I "she stops a little consciously, not sure how much to divulge.

"Nikita…..please go on…..he seems to be the only person you have absolutely forgotten… still remember a lot of people who came around a little later than your last memory……which makes me think that your brain is repressing certain memories related to him….so most probably this whole memory loss thing has a lot to do with your and Dr. Modi's relationship" he tells her his analysis and she looks at him astounded.

"Re....Relationship?" she questions him, curious to find out if he knew anything, she did not.

"Nikita…..that was going to be my question to you" he tells her and she looks confused.

"I have no idea" she answers.

"Really…..I see….that's why you were so mad at him and looking daggers at him?" he questions her laughingly and Nikki blushes.

"What's with the two of you? Both not ready to accept each other….what changed?" Armaan's voice interrupts and he enters her room smiling happily.

"You keep quiet….you love to spoil everything" Nikki turns on him and throws her pillow at him, which he deftly catches and throws back at her, which Gaurav catches.

"Dr. Malik…..what are you doing here?" Gaurav asks a little tersely not liking the interruption while he was with his patient.

"Visiting" Armaan answers carelessly, not having forgotten how Riddhima had kissed him.

"I see….it's not visiting hours…yet" Gaurav gives him a hint about being disturbed but Armaan is not the one to be deterred easily.

"Doctors don't need visiting hours Dr. Khanna" he tells him off.

"I know that but when a Doctor is with their patient, interruption doesn't help" Gaurav tells him flatly and Armaan though irritated at being told off understands his wish.

"Sorry about that…..just thought I could help" He shrugs it off lightly.

"You definitely can and for that I will see you later….thanks for understanding" he gets a polite reply and Armaan waves to Nikki and walks off.

Gaurav looks back at the pretty girl sitting chewing her bottom lip and decides to talk to her a little more gently as he knew that his questions had provoked her to think.

"Nikita…..what did he spoil?" he asks her referring to Armaan.

"Dr. Khanna" at this Gaurav looks up at her questioningly and she shakes her head, "Sorry Gaurav…..I am so confused…especially Abhi and Armaan confuse me more and more. I try to unravel my past but as they visit me it gets more and more confusing" she lifts helpless eyes at him.

"I see" he nods at her to continue.

"I…see when I….got up from my coma….I remembered everyone in the room but when Abhi came towards me I couldn't place him….the hurt in his eyes made me feel guilty of forgetting him….since that day he has clammed up and refuses to divulge anything…..and a few days ago Armaan told me that Abhi is ….is …is my..Is my" she tries to get the word out but her insecurities come swimming back.

"Boyfriend" Gaurav supplies and she nods unhappily looking down and playing with the end of the bed sheet.

"Well I think this time you should believe Armaan" he tells her confidently and she looks at him agape.

"I should" she asks in almost a whisper.

"Yeah but your Dr. Modi is a very hard nut to crack……don't know when he is going to agree to that but his actions definitely belie his words" Gaurav tells her and her eyes sparkle with happiness.

"I know how to deal with him" Nikki says confidently and Gaurav notes that. "How do you know that?" he asks, the doctor in him coming to the forefront.

"I …I don't know….when it comes to him….I have these strong urges and I have tried to follow them and they work" she tells him happily.

"I see….no incident as yet….right?" he confirms again and she shakes her head in the negative. They talk more for a while and get to know each other better when Ridzi comes in to visit Nikki.

"Chikkooooooo" she hugs Gaurav and Nikki looks at them with interest.

"Hi Nikki….how are you……Doctor Khanna treating you well?" she asks mischievously, putting her arm through the young doctor's.

"Yeah….he is very nice….thank you" Nikki replies formally trying to figure out how these two knew each other. She had never seen Riddhima pally with any guy before and as she had been told and seen for the last few days, she was in love with Armaan.

"Arre don't be formal….bhai will take care of you well….he is a fabulous doctor" she tells her proudly and Nikki's eyes open in amazement.

"Bhai?" she asks and they both nod together.

"Papa's best friend's son… bhai but Di's boyfriend" she shares laughing.

"What? Atul?" Nikki asks confused.

"Arre I tied him Rakhi but Di had a huge crush on him and refused to tie him Rakhi, so we tease her" she tells slyly and Nikki watches color rising on his face slowly and Nikki laughs heartily not able to accept the fact that when it came to the matters of the heart, all men were the same.

"Fatso….stop Ok" he tells her and Riddhima high fives Nikki.

"Aww Bhai….you look so cute" she pinches his cheeks and he pinches hers back.

"Stop Ok…..and by the way I know Anjie was just kidding….also I" he stops short and Riddhima and Nikki raise their eyebrows.

"I am busy….meeting" he tells them and tries to pry his arm out of Riddhima's grasp who refuses to let go.

"Tell us….promise….it will be a secret" Riddhima teases and Nikki joins in.

"You know about me too…..I want to know too" she tells him and he starts laughing.

"You Nikita are my patient….and you Riddhima are nosy and I ….am busy….bye" he says and walks out, shaking his head at the pair.

"We need to find out who he likes" Riddhima thinks aloud rubbing her hands together and after talking to Nikki a while she goes back to work.

Abhimanyu is sitting in his office trying to concentrate on the file in front of him but the pounding in his head refuses to go away. He massages his forehead slowly closing his eyes. Nikki was right, he needed a day off but staying away or not seeing her for 24 hours what not a pleasant option. Since her accident he had become touchy at any topic concerning her, even if it was she who was initiating it.

He rests his head on the back of the chair feeling tiredness take over. Taking a day off would actually be sensible he concluded. Nikki was getting better and it was only about a day, what would change so much in that? He pondered. He had again fought with Nikki over a silly request. He sighed and wished the headache would go away. He hears someone pound on his cabin door and says a curt, "Come in".

He opens his eyes to see Armaan Malik standing in front of him and shuts his eyes again. This was the last thing he needed; another lecture from Armaan. Why wasn't there a magic wand he could use on him to make him shut up. He sighed and opened his eyes know that this intern would not disappear without sharing what he had come to say.

"This better be important Dr. Malik" Abhimanyu tells him shortly.

"Fine…I will come to the point….what is your problem?" Armaan asks without any nicety.

"What is yours?" Abhimanyu retorts back.

"Dr. Modi… said you loved her now you are confusing her…what's got into you?" Armaan asks Abhimanyu a little agitated.

Gaurav knocks on the door and enters amidst their argument. "Answer me" Armaan asks authoritatively and Abhimanyu loses his cool.

"Are you are father or mother….why do you keep irritating me?" Abhimanyu launches on him and Gaurav notices the agitation between the two men.

As soon as Nikki's parent's talk comes up, Armaan's face assumes a shuttered expression and he looks away. Abhimanyu closes his eyes and prays hard for patience and opens it again, "Please for god's sake don't tell me that you are her adopted father" he tells Armaan stingingly and Armaan looks at him with fire in his eyes.

"I wish I was…..I would have taken her away from you for sure……you have no value of her" he tells him rudely and Abhimanyu's hands itch to hit him.

Observing the tension between the two men Gaurav steps in. "Now I know what she is repressing….you are supposed to be her friend and you behave like her father" he tells off Armaan and when he opens his mouth to argue, Gaurav lifts his hand to stop him, "Stay away from her…'s orders… will not visit her for the next two days….you understand?" he asks Armaan who throws a dirty look at him but agrees.

"And you Dr. Modi……get out of your guilt and help her and stop pushing her away…..there may be many other people who are ready to lend her a shoulder….I am sure if you lose out this time, you won't be able to take it lightly" he tells Abhimanyu , whose eyes reflect irritation.

"Yes Doctor" he replies making fun of him and Gaurav rolls his eyes.

"You guys really love her? Unbelievable" he says sarcastically and both Armaan and Abhi look away when the truth of his words ring in their ears.

"Anyways I was here to ask you about her parents" Gaurav addresses both of them.

"She doesn't live with them" Armaan replies not bothering to go into the details and walks out in a huff.

Gaurav looks at Abhi who is in no mood to talk and walks out of the cabin too. Abhi, who has had enough and whose body is screaming in exhaustion, leaves for his house and once there, obeys Nikki's orders for once and falls into an exhausted sleep.

Nikki waits for him during dinner but when he doesn't come, she cries herself to sleep. That obstinate man, she would give him a dose of his own medicine and for that she would need Gaurav and Armaan's help. He had this coming. Now was the time to execute step one of her plan to get Abhimanyu Modi back.

~Love Me Tender~ Part 8

Drs. Khanna and Modi walk into Dr. Shashank's office and he warmly welcomes the new man.

"Dr. Modi….I know Gaurav since the day he was born….a very nice person and an excellent doctor" Shashank proudly tells Abhimanyu. Before the three can chat more, Abhimanyu's cell phone rings and he excuses himself, telling them that he would catch up with Dr. Khanna after he was done with the conference call and Dr. Shashank takes the responsibility of settling Dr. Khanna in Sanjeevani.

"This is an interesting case sir" Gaurav shares with Shashank after hearing his analysis on Nikki.

"I know beta…..I thought it would pique your interest and so I thought of you" Shashank smiles.

"Thank you….now Dr. Modi tells me she is taken… didn't tell me about her husband, fianc or boyfriend" he asks Shashank who frowns at that.

"Taken? Really….Dr. Modi said that? Well I suggest you clear that with him….as far as I know, she really isn't engaged to anyone as such" Dr. Shashank shrugs not understanding why the head of Sanjeevani had told the new doctor that. As far as he could think, ok amend that, he knew that Dr. Modi had feelings for Nikita, as he had seen the tension and worry on his face but whether they were engaged in a relationship, he had yet to find.

He shook his head in a paternal way. These young guns of today seriously needed to clear things out. Dr. Modi was a very successful man but he also understood that still waters ran deep. He kept to himself and minded his own business but as a father Dr. Shashank knew that Abhimanyu, however hard he tried to hide his feelings, was in love with Dr. Khanna's new patient. He would talk to the younger man as Nikita's doctor and maybe that angle could help her out.

"I think apart from medical reasons Gaurav, you should look into her background too. Dr. Malik, an intern here, is her best friend…..also Riddhima and Anjali were her friends too. Dr. Modi worked with her in close quarters….maybe that might help" he relays the information to the young man who takes down notes. They discuss some more about the case and then Gaurav gets up to leave.

"Sir….Riddhi and Anjs are here too…..I would love to meet them… if you could tell me where to find them, I'll meet them and then head for my cabin" he asks Shashank who calls a peon and instructs him to take Gaurav to the caf where he knew the gang collected during lunch.

The handsome doctor walks into the caf, thanks the peon and heads towards the boisterous group of interns. He stands behind Riddhima, who is sitting next to Anjie and places his hands on both their shoulders.

"Hey Beauties" he greets the sisters sweetly and when both look up to see who addressed them, they shriek with joy and jump to hug him together. Watching this, Armaan and Atul's mouth falls open.

"Gaurav" they both scream and the three hug each other like long lost friends.

"Riddhi… fatso…..when did you turn into a swan?" he holds Riddhima at arm's length and looks at her lovingly.

"They day you turned into this handsome hunk yourself you Chikoo" she replies cupping his face and placing a kiss on his cheek. Armaan chokes on his sandwich and Rahul pats his back and passes him some water.

"I don't think she has ever looked at you so lovingly….gotten a kiss as yet?" Rahul passes a snide remark at Armaan.

"Shut up or I will kill you" Armaan takes his anger out on him at the same time rolling his sleeves to fight with the ridiculously good looking man who had his Riddhima in his arms and had no intention of letting her go.

"Anjs….how many more hearts have you broken" he turns to the other sister and gives her the benefit of his beautiful smile.

"Oh Chikoo" she pinches his cheeks and her tries to push her away, "not as many as you have broken" she laughs and places a resounding kiss on his cheek. This time Atul starts to cough hard.

Rahul passes him water too and remarks, "Oh ho…..this might help" and starts giggling.

"Ahem" Armaan clears his throat and calls out, "Riddhima…..we would love to meet your friend too" trying hard not to get up and punch the living daylights out of the guy standing with his arms around the girl's waists.

"Oh sorry guys" Riddhima apologizes and Gaurav moves forward introducing himself to everyone. When he reaches Muskaan, he smiles and takes her hand in both of his, "Muskaan…..if I had to guess your name on my own, this is what I would have called you too" he tells her and Muskaan blushes at the compliment.

"Aha….water to douse the fire in your heart Dr. Grewal" Armaan nudges him and asks and Rahul gives the evil eye to him.

"Dr. Malik" Gaurav turns towards Armaan who looks up innocently at him, "I would like to talk to you as soon as possible about Dr. Nikita's case" he comes to the point.

"What?" all of them ask in unison.

"Yeah, am visiting Sanjeevani as a consultant on her case….Riddhi, Anjs, Muskaan….you three too….but want to start with you Dr. Malik…..coz you have known her the longest" he tells them.

They talk some more and Gaurav bids goodbye to the gang and heads towards Modi's office to start his work on his patient. He knocks and walks into his cabin. Abhimanyu greets him and asks politely if he is settled in and finds everything Ok and thanks him for taking time out of his busy schedule and consult for them.

"My pleasure Dr. Modi….I am glad Dr. Gupta thought about me" he replies back.

"How may I help you then?" Abhi asks him, motioning to sit.

"Dr. Shashank mentioned that you worked closely with her…..whenever you have some time I would like to talk to you about her" he tells him, declining to sit.

"Sure…not a problem….anything for Nikki" Abhimanyu replies and this doesn't go unnoticed by the other man.

"Dr. Modi….you mentioned that she is taken" Gaurav looks into his eyes and asks, "By who?"

"What exactly are you asking Dr. Khanna?" Abhimanyu asks his voice suddenly cold and his eyes turning glacial.

"What I mean is, is there a husband, fianc or boyfriend who is in picture?" Gaurav notices the change in the other man's behavior and pushes it to the back of his mind, deciding to go over it later.

"No husband or fianc" Abhi replies shortly.

"I see… no abuse….good….boyfriend?" he asks emphasizing the last word and Abhimanyu looks at him sharply.

"Dr. Khanna how is that going to help?" Abhimanyu asks him, "Trying to make her remember that is going to add stress isn't it?" he tells the other man, voicing his concern.

Gaurav takes a deep breath and motions Abhi to sit and he sits opposite to him and explains, "Dr. Modi….I understand that you are worried about her. You are right, in some cases it can add a lot of stress on the patient but as discussed with Dr. Gupta , reading her reports and taking her general recovery in consideration, she is doing well….rather very well…..If you ask me it is more like selective amnesia" he explains to Abhi who is listening intently, having already checked into the credentials of the handsome man sitting in front of him to his satisfaction.

"Selective Amnesia… mean she is deliberately repressing her memory?" he asks, his tone taking on a hurt edge.

Gaurav nods slowly, noticing the hurt in the eyes of the other man and comes to the conclusion that Nikita's boyfriend was sitting right in front of him. He understands that there was more to it than met the eye.

"Well Dr. Modi…..not deliberately repressing but yes repressing all the same. I am sure before the accident she wasn't in a happy frame of mind and was trying to run away from some recent developments as her mind chose not to come back to those very troublesome thoughts" he explains and a look of pain passes Abhimanyu's face.

Gaurav gently pats Abhimanyu's hands and when the head of Sanjeevani looks at him in shock, he receives a smile in return, "It is sometimes best to forget your own guilt and move ahead to someone who needs you…..a lot" he advises and gets up to take his leave.

"Ok Dr. Modi….I have a meeting with the interns so I will talk with you later….maybe her boyfriend will make an appearance" he shakes hand and leaves.

Abhimanyu sits back in the chair heavily, letting out a breath he didn't even know he was holding. What a life, it was all a complete mess. He didn't understand what would help Nikki and what would hurt her anymore. The new doctor had read him like a book. He felt guilty for landing Nikki in this position and he wasn't going to forgive himself so easily. He didn't deserve to be forgiven. On the other hand, Nikki had been thrilled to discover that he was special to her. The look of jubilation in her eyes had made his heart warm. He was at crossroads. He wanted to hug her, love her and never let her go but his mind refused to let him. It kept telling him that if he went close to her, he would hurt her again.

He was tired. His eyes and head ached. This tussle between his heart and mind would kill him. He got up and started pacing his office. He needed to put an end to this tussle. Irritated and at a loss he walked out of his office to do his rounds. His first stop was Nikki's ward. Unwilling, his feet had dragged him there. He needed to see her. He stopped at the door and saw her practicing to walk. She was slow but with every step she took, his heart overflowed with happiness.

Nikki wanted to walk, run, and fly. The faculty she had taken for granted for so many years was such a boon she understood now. She took one slow step and then the other. She was so proud of herself. She smiled through her pain but stopped abruptly and slipped. She made a grab for something but there was nothing to hold onto. She closed her eyes knowing that she would hit the ground but it never happened. Strong arms grabbed her and lifted her up and turned her around.

She slowly opened her eyes to look into the beautiful black ones which held so much concern in them.

"Th….Thanks" she mumbled, his nearness affecting her. She could smell his perfume and took a deep breath of it. His presence calmed her down and the safe haven of his arms made her feel loved.

Here she went again. She was mad. Hadn't she concluded that it was kindness on his part? No it's not…..his presence around her was much more than coincidence and kindness. Fine she needed answers. If this uptight Dr. Abhimanyu Modi wasn't going to talk then she knew how to get him to spill. He hated being riled….she knew. She stopped the track of her thinking. She knew….that meant she remembered how to deal with him. A big smile graces her face and she is happy that at last she could remember something about HIM.

"Nikki…..careful….what if you had fell?" he tells her off lovingly, too happy to see her walk to be able to be angry with her.

"You didn't let me" she states looking into his eyes and he is taken aback. "You never let me" she continues softly and he is not amused.

"Nikki" he warns her gently and takes her to her bed. She sits on it but catches his hand when he lets her go. He looks at her questioningly.

"Sit….please" she says softly and he takes a chair and makes himself comfortable.

"Why do you worry about me so much?" she asks him, letting go of his hand. He looks down trying to think of an answer, but all comes to his mind is as I love you so much. He knew that was the wrong answer.

"Nikki" he looks at her with pain in his eyes and she gasps at the raw emotion he had let her see.

"You mean a lot to me" he finally tells her and she closes her eyes in happiness.

"Thank you" she says and he asks her why she thanked him.

"For sharing that Abhi…..can I call you Abhi……Abhimanyu is too formal" she asks shyly and his eyes fill with happiness. She had called him ABHI… as he knew it was coming back…..things were falling in place.

"S…sorry…if you don't" before she could apologize, he hugged her.

"Abhi" she asked surprised. He cupped her face gently like she was a porcelain doll, "Always….always call me Abhi….you have no idea how much I missed that" slips out of his mouth.

OK….so she did mean a lot to him. This man's feelings ran deep. Then it clicked to Nikki that he wasn't hiding his love for her cause he was ashamed…..he was hiding it coz he was afraid of hurting her.

"Dr. Modi……I want you back as my Abhi….these glimpses aren't enough" she tells herself and resolves to fight for her Abhi, understanding that the key to her getting well was right in front of her. She needed to unlock his heart to unlock her memories and by hook or crrok she was going to do it.

"Beware Abhi….here I come" she smiles her bright smile at him and he smiles back, not knowing what was being planned for him.