Nikki walked with Abhi to Tia's room. Abhimanyu walked to her bed while Nikki stopped at the door of the room observing the father and daughter. He sat on her bed and lovingly touched the little girl's face, whose eyes flickered open at his touch. "Good morning Tiu" he wished her softly. Tia got up and flung herself into his arms her face still flushed with the remnants of sleep. He kissed her lightly on the forehead and lifted her in his arms and came n stood next to Nikki. She lovingly stroked Tia's hair and Tia looked up at her touch and a small smile played on her lips.
"Daddy I can see Nikki" she informed her father, imagining Nikki as a dream, unused to having her in her room at this hour. "Yes Tiu, Nikki is here to see you" he informed the girl in his arms. Slowly Tia lifted her hand and touched Nikki's face and Nikki returned her smile. "Hi Tia" Nikki greeted her softly and extended her arms to receive her. Tia giggled and hid her face in Abhimanyu's neck. Tia awake, the three walked out of her room into the kitchen.
Abhimanyu places Tia on the chair and leaves to get milk for her. Tia motions Nikki to sit beside her. Nikki takes a seat next to the now fully awake and smiling happily girl. "Nikki you came to play with Winnie?" she asks her. "I came to visit your Daddy and play with Winnie and Tia" Nikki answers.
"Daddy can play too" Tia nods. "Daddy has to work" Abhimanyu answers and place a glass of milk in front of Tia. "No talking till you finish drinking your milk. OK" he orders his little girl who nods and starts drinking her milk. "Would you like something Nikki?" Abhimanyu offers. "Nikki drink milk" Tia chirps in.
Nikki tweaks Tia's nose and says, "You drink". Tia too tweaks Nikki's nose and says "No, you drink". "You drink" Nikki teases her again. "You" Tia replies back and the "you" game goes on for a minute, with Abhimanyu watching with a smile on his face.
"Tia Milk" Abhi reminds the tot who is busy playing the game with Nikki ignoring her milk. Nikki looks up at Abhimanyu and grins and mouths a "sorry" and pushes the milk in front of Tia who gets busy with it. After Tia is done drinking the milk, she asks Abhimanyu to switch on cartoons for her and he refuses. "Tia, I want to ask you something" he says and sits on her right opposite Nikki. Tia looks at him with her big brown eyes with a solemn expression. "Do you like Nikki?" he asks to which Tia nods a yes vigorously. "Would you like it if she stays here with us?" he asks.
"Forever" Tia asks with wonder in her voice. At this question a pained look crosses both their faces and Tia looks from one to the other. They compose themselves and smile at the little girl. "For a long time" Abhi offers not sure if he could promise a forever to his little daughter from Nikki's side. Tia looks at Nikki and says, "Stay forever Nikki, I will share Winnie and Daddy" she offers. Nikki and Abhi can't help themselves from laughing at Tia's proposition. Nikki hugs Tia who happily climbs into her lap and hugs her back. "I will stay Tia" she says and then whispers very softly into her ear "Forever".
"Tia" Abhimanyu tries to garner the little one's attention. She turns to look at her Dad and Nikki shifts her so she can face him sitting in her lap. "Nikki and I are getting married. Ok" he shares the news with Tia. "OK" Tia nods.
"Nikki will be your new Mommy then" he tries to explain the implication of the step to her.
"No" Tia replies. "Nikki is friend" she tells him.
"Of course I am your friend" Nikki tells her "We can play together now" she tells the child, reassuring her in her own way that she doesn't want to change anything for her.
"Tia, Nikki can be Mommy and play with you too" Abhimanyu explains "Like your mommy used to."
"Nikki is friend" Tia insists and Abhi looks apologetically at Nikki who smiles at him.
"Yes, Nikki is friend'..but Tia can I be your best friend?" she asks Tia understanding and accepting the little girl's reluctance.
"Yes'..Daddy and Nikki best friends" Tia nods and then hurries to get off her lap. She stands in front of her father and wiggles. "Nikki, I'll be right back. She just needs to use the restroom" he informs Nikki and walks off with Tia.
Nikki sits at the table musing to herself *This is what I will have.....a husband and a daughter.....she is a joy....husband.....Abhimanyu Modi....Nikita Modi.....weird....well I guess I won't have to use that name ever....no one will know that I am even married....you are just helping him Nikki....I don't know how I am going to do this....a husband and daughter.....where have you landed yourself now Nikki.....you should have left.....resigned....run....this Modi stopped you...now look where you are....how will you live under the same roof with him.....he gets angry at the drop of a hat.....live under.....what....what....I have to live here....oh my god....same house....no way....I can't do this....this is not happening* At that thought Nikki shoots out of her chair and takes a couple of steps forward and bangs into a hard body and slips.
Abhimanyu gathers Nikki in his arms and stands her upright. "Where were you running to Nikki?" he jokes.
"I....I can't....I can't" she raises alarmed eyes at him.
"Can't what?" he asks.
"Look I just figured out that you expect me to stay with you....I mean here in the same house" her words come rushing out.
"Well doesn't everybody who marry do that?" he asks baffled at her line of thought.
"B....but...but....I ....I have my house.....I like it there" Nikki wails almost in tears.
"Ok fine.....sit down Nikki" he sits her in a chair and crouches in front of her.
"Nikki" he says softly his tone urging.
When Nikki doesn't look at him, he sighs and lifts her face and makes her meet his eyes. "I understand that this is difficult for you. You never thought that this is the way you will have to marry. I am really sorry." He apologizes and reflects his understanding of her predicament.
At his apology Nikki blinks and shakes her head. "I am scared" she confesses at last.
"Don't be'..I'll always be there Nikki" he reassures her.
"I....I have no idea how to be a mother" she continues "What if I ...If I fail" her fear comes out in words.
"You can never fail Nikki.....and you are wonderful with Tia....also Tia thinks you are her friend" he calms her lovingly trying to make light of the situation.
"Daddy" his little princess asks for him.
"Coming" Abhi replies and looks at Nikki. "I'll be back in a minute.....you won't run away will you?" he asks the flustered girl.
"No" she replies.
"Promise" he asks and she nods. "Good....I'll just be back" and leaves her sitting and goes to help Tia.
"He will be there.....and Tia likes me....I will be fine" Nikki talks to herself trying to believe desperately in her actions and on his words.
Tia rushes out and hugs Nikki. "Nikki lets watch SpongeBob" she tells her and looks at her father.
"Sorry young lady no TV.....you can draw something for Nikki.....she is coming to stay with you now" he offers Tia an alternative.
"Ok" Tia agrees and runs into her room to get her stuff. Abhimanyu takes this opportunity to talk to Nikki.
"You Ok?" he asks. "I am trying" she states.
"You will be fine Nikki.....just be yourself and don't let anything worry you.....and forget about it ok....it won't be as bad as you think.....I'll see to it.....I'll take care of you." He explains lovingly.
"I ....I can take care of myself......you don't have to be so nice" she tells him.
"So nice?" he laughs "Didn't you tell me I get angry too much......and now you don't want me to be nice either?" he asks joking.
"Well I don't know how to deal with a nice you" she replies back.
"Good......mystery is good.....keeps the marriage alive" he makes light of the situation and at last a laugh escapes Nikki.
"Thank you Abhi" she thanks him for his understanding. "I will go now I guess" she shrugs.
"Well you can stay for breakfast and we can go together" he offers.
"What will you make?" she asks with a twinkle in her eye.
"Dr. Nikita'.don't underestimate me.....I make a mean omelet" he provides.
"I won't get food poisoning?" she laughs at him.
"I am a doctor.....remember.....I will treat you." He answers back and Nikki sticks out her tongue at him.
"Am sure you didn't eat properly yesterday either.....so omelet? He asks.
"If you insist" she laughs.
At her answer he places his hand on his heart and says "Please Madame, I will be obliged"
Laughing they make their way to the kitchen stopping to gather Tia with them, a happy family in the making.