He turns his keen gaze on her taking in her smallest reaction. She closes her eyes, takes in a deep breath, then gulps for more air and plunks herself in the nearest chair. He stands staring at her his arms folded on his chest and eyes narrowed. She gets up in a few seconds and starts pacing the office lost for words. "Nikki" he softly calls at her, secretly happy at her reaction. *She cares....she is shocked and agitated.....but she does care....don't smile Abhimanyu she might just be shocked....no she cares, his heart sings*
At his soft tone, Nikki stops her pacing and turns back at him. "Why....why do you need a ....a....." she asks unable to utter the word.
"Wife" Abhi completes it for her and she looks up at him irritated, her eyes demanding an answer. He shrugs his shoulders and replies, "To keep Tia.....there is a problem in her adoption process."
"B....But I thought she was yours.....how come suddenly problems.....she is living with you.....she is happy with you.....I don't understand this w...w...wife thing" questions rush out of her.
"I thought the same until he decided to step in." Abhimanyu replied.
She goes closer to him and asks, "Who is he?"
"Her Grandfather" he replies.
"Her Grandfather?" Nikki repeats after him perplexed at the revelation. "Cookie" slips out of her mouth as she remembers Tia's picture and how she told her that the dog she so loved was with Dadi. Abhimanyu looks at her questioningly, "Cookie......how do you know about that?" he asks. Dazed by what she had just heard she waves a hand at him and replies, "Tia.....she drew a picture of us and Cookie."
"Us?" Abhi questions, his tone razor sharp. At his tone, she stiffens and looks in his eyes, her irritation resurfacing. She folds her arms in front of her and mimics Abhimanyu's stance "US.....as in you, me and Tia. She drew Cookie too." She replies back, smugness creeping into her tone.
Abhimanyu shakes his head a hint of a smile gracing his face at the piece of information and unable to resist, Nikki says "Unlike you, Tia likes me."
The smile evaporates and passion and anger flare in his eyes. Nikki is taken aback by the sudden change. He takes a step closer to her, "What about you Nikki?" he asks outright. Unable to bear the heat of his gaze, Nikki tries to take a step back but falls into the chair behind her. Remembering what happened, the last time she was in this chair in his office, she turns crimson and Abhimanyu notices. She gets up abruptly and changes tracks.
"Tia....I mean Tia's grandparents.....if they are alive......then why don't they have her?" she resumes her questioning. The expression in his eyes shutters and he turns away from her. He shrugs and offers nonchalantly, "They never wanted her......didn't think she was good enough....actually HE didn't think so."
"I don't understand.....he doesn't think his own grandchild is good enough?" she asks to be explained.
"Yeah" he replies. Irked by his one word replies, Nikki starts tapping her foot and he looks up and asks, "What?" "Dr. Modi, please tell me......I still don't understand why you are upset and what the problem is?" she addresses him formally. "I told you the problem" he retorts.
Taking a deep sigh and sending up prayers for patience to deal with Abhimanyu, Nikki plasters a smile and decides to tackle the deliberately being difficult man again. "Ok....Tia is your adopted daughter, her grandfather doesn't want her.....he doesn't have her.....so why do you need a wife now?" she summarizes the information.
"He wants her now" he replies, giving out new information but not giving her anything much at the same time.
"H...he wants her now?.....Look would you tell me what happened .....I can't understand .....you are supplying bits and pieces......Abhi....what is it?" she asks giving up. Taking a deep breath and turning away from her he suddenly decides to drop the topic. "Dr. Nikita, look am sorry.....I am a little upset about some personal issues......but that does not mean I should burden you. Why don't we get the presentation done......we need it soon" he goes back to his professional self and starts looking at the files lying in front of him. Taken aback at his abrupt change in topic, Nikki's anger flares. She turns him forcefully to face her and he looks at her surprised.
"What is your problem.....You keep snapping at the drop of a hat.....when I ask you the problem, you come up with 'I need a wife'....but are not ready to explain anything.....why is it so difficult for you to trust me?" she asks him exasperated at his blow hot blow cold attitude.
"That shouldn't be too difficult to answer now.....should it?" he latches on to the last to words of her sentence.
"Then answer" she says.
"Trust you.....why should I trust you Nikki? You told everyone I was using you and when your friends were going out of their way to insult me you decided to take their side too." He answers bitterly in a soft tone. Having the pool incidence thrown in her face, Nikita decides to deal with it and put her case forward, hoping he would understand.
"I....I did misunderstand you.....with Patil and yes I agree things went out of hand but I begged you to stop the fight with Armaan but you chose not to listen" she replies accepting how she was responsible for the misunderstanding.
"Armaan" he growls softly. "Yes Armaan" she looks into his eyes "he is my best friend and my family" she explains. Abhimanyu snorts at her answer. "He knows about us Abhi" she softly tells him. "Us.....there is no us.....you made sure of it" he retorts, still hanging on to his anger.
"Abhimanyu, Armaan matters to me.....I was scared of his disapproval but I....I am sorry.....I can't take it back.....but you can......you can forgive me" she states simply looking into his eyes. They stand staring into each other's eyes when Nikki's pager buzzes. *Dr. Armaan Malik* and her face turns ashen. Abhimanyu takes a look at the name and turns away from Nikita.
"Can I use your phone Abhimanyu?" she asks and his face a polite mask he nods his assent.
"Abhimanyu.....I am not leaving......I want to finish this conversation" she replies not budging from her place and tugging at his arm. Tiredly he turn to face her, "I need to pick up Tia" he tells her. At the mention of his daughter, a smile lights up Nikki's face. "Let's go then" she says.
"Nikita....I presume you have your friends waiting and Tia is my responsibility....you don't need to do all this" he tells her, his tone neutral. Stepping closer to him within arm reach she looks up at him and tells him squarely, "Look Dr. Abhimanyu Modi.....I want to talk .....but you obviously don't want to.....so either we solve this now or I will haunt you till you agree."
"Haunt me more?" he speaks to himself and tries to move but Nikita blocks his way.
"Look Nikki.....just drop this" he tells her tiredly. She stands her ground. He tries to move again and she steps in his way again coming closer. Surprised, he looks at her and she looks right back at him with soft eyes.
Fighting a losing battle with his mind, Abhimanyu's hand rises to softly caress her cheek. She leans into his touch, her eyes flickering close. His thumb moves to her lips, gently studying its contours. His other hand snakes out to her waist and he pulls her close, closing the distance between them. She lifts her face to him and he bends his head closer to her and softly his lips touch hers and lock when the telephone in his office rings shrilly breaking the magic.
Both snap out of the whisper of a kiss at the telephone's ring. He looks at her tenderly, reluctant to let her go and she echoes his expression. "Phone" he whispers and she steps out of his embrace. He walks to pick the incessantly ringing telephone and Nikki looks at him fondly, a private smile playing on her lips.
"Dr. Modi" he answers and at the sound of the voice in his ears, a muscle starts ticking in his jaw and he listens to the caller, his eyes narrowed.
"I said talk to me through the lawyer" he snarls into the phone and keeps the receiver back gently, contrary to his emotions. Nikki looks at him with a questioning gaze and he avoids her eyes and plunks himself into his chair moving his hand through his hair restlessly.
"Abhi.....is everything ok?" she asks not fooled by his calm demeanor.
Taking a deep breath and letting it out in a whoosh he looks up with clear eyes and softly says, "Nikki.....we need to talk."