Tuesday, February 2, 2010

~Covenant of Love~ Part 15

After breakfast, Nikki gets up to leave. "Abhimanyu, I should leave.....I will get the project presentation completed....we have it on Friday and I want to be fully prepared" She reminds him of the work she has to catch up on. Nikki says bye to Tia who is peacefully working through her breakfast and Abhi walks Nikki to the door.

"Sure.....go ahead.....wait a minute....we have the presentation on Friday?" he scratches his head and she nods. "It totally slipped my mind.....I....look I will try to shift it for Saturday.....don't know how successful I will be but I will try......I am sorry about this" he shakes his head at his stupidity.

"It's Ok......I mean we can still give it" she states.

"It's not OK Nikita.....it's our wedding day" he reminds her and a soft blush creeps up her cheek at the reminder. "It's ....not....as......if....you know" she stammers a bit.

Abhimanyu comes closer and softly remarks, "I don't know". Nikki steels herself and looks into his dark eyes and delivers," It's not as if this whole thing is real....so we can give the presentation if we have to." A flash of anger passes through him but Abhimanyu controls himself and in a neutral tone tells her, "Well, nice to know Nikki but it is real for me......so I refuse to work that day.....don't worry....You go and complete it.....I'll take care of the rest" and he shows her out.

Nikki is astonished at Abhimanyu's answer and does not understand what to make of it. "Now what does he mean it's real....forget it Nikki.....you just concentrate on Tia.....after all it's all for her sake" she tells herself. Satisfied with her reasoning she gets into her car and heads to Sanjeevani.

The day is busy for both Abhimanyu and Nikki and they have no time to see each other, busy as they are taking care of work. Nikki quickly stops in to see Tia and then decides to have lunch with the gang to take her mind off her impending marriage as the mere thought of it gives her the jitters. She walks into the cafe and sees all the girls clustered together and talking excitedly. A smile appears on Nikki's face when she looks at her friends and goes to join them. "Hi girls......what are you talking about?" she greets her friends and pulls a chair alongside Ridhhima and takes a seat.

"Hi Nikki" all three greet her in unison.

"So.....what are you talking about?" she asks

"Well we were discussing dresses for my engagement" Ridhhima tells her a bit shyly.

"I am thinking of a sari" Anjie supplies to which Muskaan nudges her and in her trademark style tells her, "You always wear a sari.....wear something else this time"

"Why?....I love sari's....and I want to wear one for my sweet sister's engagement....I have selected the color also....It's blue." She tells excitedly. Muskaan rolls her eyes and mimics "Blue......Anjie we know it's your favorite color but you know you should at least think about a different color" she suggests.

"But Muskaan.....I want to" Anjie starts when Ridzi n Nikki cut in. "Di, you should wear some different color" Ridzi states and Nikki nods her head in agreement, "Yes, Anjie.......think about a different color."

"Fine.....but what else suits me....help me girls....suggest." Anjie agrees to give it a try.

"Golden" Muskaan

"Yellow" Nikki

"Orange" Riddhima

All the four girls burst out laughing. "Fine fine....I will think about it....Ok Muskaan what are you wearing?" Anjie asks.

"A sari" she replies and Anjie swats her arm, "That's why you were asking me not to wear a sari" she complains. Muskaan and Anjie get into an argument and Nikki and Ridzi smile at each other shaking their head at the arguing girls. Nikki turns to Ridzi and asks, "So, you are excited?" to which Ridhimma laughs and nods her head.

"Nikki .....I wanted to ask you something.....do you think that Dr. Modi will accept the invitation....I mean after what all happened" Ridhimma asks her friend.

"I....I am not sure Ridhimma....I don't know if he has forgiven Armaan or not.....I don't think he has forgiven me as yet" she tells her friend who looks concerned at her.

"But Nikki.....I thought things were getting better.....you were talking to each other and he does not seem so angry anymore" Ridhima asks Nikki.

"Well......things are much better.....I mean.....he talks but.....well.....leave that Riddhima......we just need time .....we'll be fine...you tell me....what are you wearing?" Nikki reassures her friend, though unable to believe her own words.

"Well I hope so Nikki.....anyways ....I am thinking about a lehanga.....am looking at colors....can't make up my mind....what about you what have you thought?" Ridzi asked Nikki.

"I.....I don't know.....Ridzi.....I just wanted to ask.....if you don't.....you know want to wear red to the wedding.....what else can you wear?" Nikki asked Riddhima unknowingly asking her help to decide her wedding dress.

"Wedding?......It's just an engagement Nikki" Riddhima corrected her.

"No....wedding....you know.....we are getting" and Nikki stops suddenly when she realizes what she was about to blurt out.

"Wedding?.....we?....what do you mean Nikki?" Riddhima asked a little taken aback.

"Oh Riddhima.....am sorry......I just meant engagement.....I am sorry wedding slipped out of my mouth" Nikki hastily tries to cover up her slip.

"Whose wedding are you thinking about?.....Is there something you want to say Nikki?" Riddhima squeezes Nikki's hand.

"No No Riddhima......I just meant engagement.....I was thinking I don't want to wear red......so what else could I wear?" she squeezes her friend's hand back and gives a bright smile to heart the same time praying that she does not question her further.

"OK......you have so many choices Nikki......anything looks good on you....or you can ask Di and Muskaan to help you" Riddhima teases and the moment passes in lightness.

After lunch Nikki gets busy with her duties. Riddhima is walking in the corridor when she happens to see her father talking to Abhimanyu and she goes closer to the two and hears him inviting the younger man to her engagement. Abhimanyu's mouth tightens but he just nods and thankshim for the invite and Dr. Shashank leaves. Abhimanyu too turns to leave but Riddhima calls him and he stops and turns a questioning gaze at her.

"Hi Dr. Modi" Riddhima comes closer and gives a tentative smile.

"Hello Dr. Riddhima" he returns her greeting and waits for her to continue.

"I .....erm.....actually .....I just heard Papa inviting you for our engagement ceremony" she tells him and sees a serious look enter his eyes and he nods his affirmation.

"Well you see....I know you are still angry with us interns and especially Armaan......but I would just like to say that if you can forgive us and move forward......I would be really happy if you come to the engagement" Riddhima apologizes on the others behalf.

"Look Dr. Riddhima......I am not angry with you at all......and thank you for the invite.....I will try my best" he tells her, a little surprised at her conversation.

"Well I hope it's a little more than try Dr. Modi......I hope you come......ummm.....this is all I wanted to say......bye Dr. Modi" Riddhima gives him a smile and turns to leave.

"Dr. Riddhima" Abhimanyu calls and Ridzi stops and turns back to him.

"Yes, Dr. Modi?" she inquires.

"I .....ummm....just was thinking......l if you could help me?" he asks her squirming a little and moving his hand through his hair.

"Sure'....what can I do Dr. Modi?" Riddhima asks a little puzzled at his request to be helped and his squirming.

"Do you know......a reputable.....a ...jeweler?" he asks not really meeting her eye.

"A Jeweler? What do you need that for?" asks Riddhima taken aback at his question and cannot believe her eyes when she sees him color.

"Nothing really.....ummm.....just need to get some stuff......but it's OK ....I'll do some research" he turns to move away but Riddhima lightly touches his arm to indicate him to stop.

"I am sorry Dr. Modi......I was just taken aback......I know my mother and Nani go to a jeweler in Bandra......I will get the details from them and give it to you" she replies back softly.

"Thank you Dr. Riddhima" he thanks her and walks away leaving a puzzled Riddhima in his wake.

*Jeweller'..what does he need a jeweler for......well it's none of my business.....maybe Nikki and him have patched up and he wants to get something for her.....well I hope that is what it is....these two really need to make up....Dr. Modi.....you are on the right track * Muses Riddhima but her buzzer gets her back to reality and she rushes to complete her duties.

The next day too the morning passes in a flurry of work for Abhi and Nikki but during lunch time Nikita stops by to meet Tia. Both are laughing and playing when Abhimanyu reaches the day care center. On seeing him there Tia flies out of Nikki's lap into her father's outstretched arms and plants a sloppy kiss on his cheek. "Daddy Nikki said that she will stay with me tomorrow" Tia breaks the news to him.

He smiles at her enthusiasm but before he can utter a word, Tia puts her hand on his cheek and asks, "Can she stay with me Daddy....we can play with my dolls." His gaze wanders to Nikki who is blushing and looks ready to run from there. "Well Tia if you and Nikki want that I have no problem" he tells his daughter which makes her happy and she gives him a hug and wiggles out of his arms to get back to her friends.

Nikki says bye to Tia and starts to leave when Abhimanyu calls her and she stops. "Can we talk Nikki?" he asks softly to which Nikki nods a yes. "Would you stop by my office at 3 O'clock.....we can go over the presentation and also a few things" he suggests.

"Sure "she replies and walks away without giving him a second look and Abhimanyu stands there pondering about the woman he was going to marry.

Exactly at 3 O'clock, Nikki walks into Abhimanyu's office and finds him busy on the phone but he motions for her to sit. Nikki sits and opens her laptop and starts going through the presentation when she hears Abhimanyu arguing with Patil. "No it can't be Friday.....so we can do it on Saturday" she hears him telling Patil firmly.

"Mr. Patil none of my interns are coming without me and I told you that I am busy and after all we did keep both the days open" he calmly tells the man arguing over the line. She smiles at his bossy tone and shakes her head. "Sure.....yes.....oh I already spoke to the minister....I was just informing you......am glad you understand" he smiles and finishes the call and looks at Nikki who turns her face away so as not to appear that she was listening in.

"Well our presentation is scheduled for Saturday.....as you heard "he informs her and gets up to come on her side of the table. Nikki nods and asks softly, "What did you tell the minister?"

Abhimanyu smiles at her and looks into her eyes, "Nothing you would like to hear but I told him I was getting married" and Nikki gasps. "You....you told him you were getting married?" she asks shocked. "We decided not to tell anyone" she reminds him.

"Nikki you decided not to tell anyone......I never said that ......But don't worry I didn't tell him who I was marrying so your name is safe and a secret" he reassures her.

"But ....but.....what if.....I mean.....Abhi if someone finds out?" she asks him a little worried.

"So?" he questions her.

"But this is just a facade......what will I say .....how will I explain......I don't know why you are doing this" she wails.

"Nikki....this is not a facade.....it is for Tia's sake but it is real...you will be my wife.....you won't have to explain....OK......if anyone questions you I will answer them......can you please stop worrying about it?" he speaks to her softly. Nikki looks into his eyes and then turns her face away from him. He sighs and takes the seat next to her. He lets out his breath in a whoosh. "Nikki" he calls at her softly and when she slowly looks at him he takes her hand in his, "It's not easy for me either......just necessary.....I would never put you through this if I had a choice......but seeing you so worried troubles me.....if you don't want to do this.....you don't have to......we can forget it" he gives her a way out not being able to see her in agony.

"Tia?" she asks in a whisper.

"I don't know about that Nikki.....but I will figure something out......that still doesn't mean that you have to do this" he tells her gently. Nikki bows her head in consideration and takes time to think for the last time about a decision which had the potential to change her life forever. When she looks up at him her gaze is determined. "No Abhimanyu....I will help you.....If you lose Tia because I was scared of something foolish like people finding out.....I will never be able to forgive myself.....I will marry you" she delivers choosing to seal her fate with his.

"Are you sure Nikki?" he asks her one last time. "Yes Dr. Abhimanyu Modi I am sure" she gives him a shy smile and receives a grateful smile in return. "Thanks a lot Nikki" he squeezes the hand which he had been holding all the while. "I love Tia Abhi....I could never see her hurt and I would never hurt her.....so you don't have to thank me" she tells him and he nods his understanding. An awkward silence follows which Abhi breaks by telling her, "Nikki we have our appointment at 10:30 am tomorrow"

"Ok....I will be ready.....do you want me to meet you there?" she asks him.

"No ......I will drop Tia to the daycare and pick you up at 9:45am .....can't have my bride standing me up" he teases to which Nikki laughs. "I won't stand you up Abhi......not this time" she tells him the last part almost a whisper and Abhimanyu's eyes reflect surprise on hearing this.

"No Tia......she won't be there to attend her father's marriage?" Nikki asks a little surprised.

"Do you want her to? I thought it would be better if she stays in the daycare and we can take her out with us later for lunch......but if you want your best friend to be there who am I to say No" he shrugs, his eyes twinkling with mischief. "Ummm....OK.....you are right and she will get restless during the process.....we will pick her up later" she agrees smilingly slightly.

"Ummm presentation Abhimanyu" Nikki reminds he soon to be husband about the work they still had pending and they get down to completing it coming back to their professional self, both trying to calm their furiously beating hearts which were scared as well as thrilled for tomorrow. After taking care of all the loose ends of the presentation, Nikki bids goodbye to her boss for the last time because tomorrow would bring a change in their relationship.

Friday dawns a beautiful day with perfect weather and Nikki gets up at 8 O' clock having slept late because of her restlessness. "Oh my god......it's 8 already.....I better get ready....or I'll get late for duty" she rushes to the bathroom when she remembers that it's not work she has to get ready for and stops midway chewing her lip. *Is this right....I don't know....I love Tia and Abhi.....I want them together...but marriage ...well if we don't there is high chance he might lose her.....no not again....I will not see you lose again Abhi*and walks to her closet to decide what to wear for her wedding.

*It is my wedding....even if it is a court marriage...well real or not this is what it is....at least I can knock his socks off.....Abhimanyu Modi watch out* and she selects her dress to get married in.

Abhimanyu rings the doorbell at 9:45 and when Nikki opens the door he is stunned at the vision standing before his eyes. First shock, then surprise and then pure joy reflect in his dark eyes. Her beautiful dark hair is loose and she is wearing a beautiful three toned Pink saree with silver kundan work at the border and silver thread work all over the sari. A small round silver bindi graces her forehead and long diamond chandelier type earrings dangle at her ears. Her wrists are encased in a diamond bracelet.

"I am ready to go Abhi if you are "she tells him softly snapping him out of his reverie.

"You look beautiful.....you dressed up" he compliments her not being able to draw his eyes away from her.

"Thank you....and yes....just to remind you it's my wedding day and that's what brides do" and with the fitting retort turns on her heels to get her purse and keys. Abhimanyu stands on her porch smiling to himself. She locks the door behind her and turns to him, "You don't looks bad yourself" Taking in his semi- formal look which consists of dark blue jeans a light blue striped shirt with a navy sports coat. "Well it's my wedding too and that's what grooms do" he replies back at her and they head to the car.

They reach the court on time, are ushered into the judge's chambers with witnesses arranged by his lawyer and are asked to sign the certificate. Abhimanyu signs his name and offers the pen to Nikki whose hands tremble while taking it. Color drains from her face and she looks up a little scared at Abhimanyu who smiles reassuringly at her. Closing her eyes she takes a deep breath and signs on her side of the certificate. The judge and looks at both smilingly and congratulates Abhi and Nikki and wishes them a happy married life.

Somehow Nikki goes through the motions of accepting the congratulations unable to believe that with a stroke of a signature Abhimanyu and she were married. Outside the court, Abhimanyu turns to her, "Nikki" he calls her and she turns automatically to the sound of his voice. He cups her cheek and she closes her eyes and leans into the touch. "Thank you and Congrats" he says softly at which her eyes snap open. She retreats from his touch, "Same to you Abhi.....I think we should get Tia" she reminds the man standing in front of her who was her husband now. Abhimanyu nods and they both walk towards the car lost in their thoughts.

Abhimanyu gets Tia from the daycare and she comes rushing to Nikki and stops abruptly in front of her. "Nikki you look very pretty" the little girl looks up at Nikki, having never seen her dressed like this. "Thank you Tia" she hugs the little girl. "I said that too" Abhi reminds Nikki and she looks up at him surprised. "I said thank you" she replies. "Not like this" he points to her hugging his daughter. Nikki blushes and turns away from him seating Tia in the car.

"Daddy....are we going to ceberate?" Tia squeals happily from the back seat.

"Yes Tiu....we are" he replies to her and she claps in joy.

They reach a sea facing hotel and the new family walks in and is seated in the corner table with a lot of privacy as requested by Abhimanyu. Tia sits on her father's lap filling the silence between her parents.

"Daddy.....when will we give her present?" Tia asks her father in a stage whisper.

"Tia soon" he tells the excited little girl who is jumping in his lap.

"What present?" Nikki asks Tia smiling at her.

"Nikki ......Daddy got present......Daddy when is soon?" the little girl shares the news and big brown eyes and big black eyes look at Abhimanyu. "Tia it was a secret" he playfully admonishes his daughter.

"Nikki.....it's a secret.....Daddy when?" she asks him again. "Fine now......I guess" he answers the little girl and Nikki looks at him confused. He catches her eyes and tells her, "It's nothing Nikki....you may not like it but I just thought you should have it" he tells her calmly.

"Have what?" Nikki asks curiosity appearing on her face. He takes out a small velvet box from his pocket and opens it and turns it towards Nikki. Nikki gasps in astonishment and stares at the beautiful rubies and diamond ring twinkling at her from its cushion and tears well up in her eyes. Abhimanyu notices her surprise and her emotion and a smile of satisfaction crosses his face. "I take it you like it" he asks her.

"It....It is beautiful" she tries to blink back her tears and looks up at him. He places Tia beside him and holds out his hand for Nikki who slowly lifts and places her left hand in his and he slips the ring on her finger. "Why?" she asks softly trying hard to control her tears.

"Simply because every bride needs a beautiful piece of jewellery to tell her she looks even more exquisite and Nikki it is our wedding" he replies and tears slip down her face.

"Nikki....do you like it?" Tia chirps in. Nikki stretches her arms out for her and Abhi places the little girl in his wife's arms. "I love it Tia....thank you.....I am sure you chose it" she kisses the little girl and tickles her.

"Noooo.....Daddy and I chose it" she tells Nikki who looks at Abhimanyu and mouths a "thanks". Tia tugs her saree and she looks at the little girl. "You have to thank Daddy too" she reminds her.

"Thank you Tia's Daddy" Nikki says to Abhi who smiles. "No....No...not like this" Tia admonishes. "Then?" Nikki asks her at which Tia climbs out of her lap and goes to Abhi and places a smacking kiss on his cheek. Nikki colors a little but tells Tia, "You give him a kiss on the other cheek and that will be from me OK" she tries to get out of the situation created unknowingly by the innocent girl.

Tia does so for her and looks at Nikki, "Now your turn Nikki" and smiles up at her waiting expectantly. Nikki looks at Abhimanyu helplessly. "No Tia...Nikki is scared" he tells his daughter tongue in cheek and Nikki looks at him surprised and then angry and his eyes laugh at her.

"No...No....no scare" Tia reassures Nikki who tries to rein her temper at Abhimanyu's words but he is laughing openly at her. "Fine" she says and gets up and walks a step towards Abhimanyu's side. "Stand up" she orders. A surprised Abhimanyu stands up, "You don't have to do this Nikki.....I was just joking" he says laughing.

"I am not scared of you Ok" she tells him and holds his collar and brings him to her height and turns his face to the side none too gently and moves to place a kiss on his cheek but at the nick of time Abhimanyu turns his face and she places the kiss on his lips.She pushes him away her face a deep red and goes to take her seat. "You are welcome Nikki" Abhi speaks softly looking at her intently.

"Hungry" Tia's chirps in and they get back to the business of eating. After eating, Abhi suggests that they collect her stuff so she can move in with them. She nods and the head to Nikki's house. She takes a suitcase she had packed the night before and they head back to Abhimanyu's house, their house she corrects herself, her heart hammering.

Tia is asleep by the time they reach back home and he places her in her bed and comes out in the living room to find Nikki pacing. "Let me show you the house Nikki" he offers and she nods. He leads her to the inner part of his house. "You have seen Tia's room.....the room opposite is a guest room or office as I mostly use it and the one straight ahead is the master bedroom "he opens the door to a masculine room. She takes in the decor and turns to him, "I can take the guest bedroom" she tells him. "Are you sure? I don't mind shifting.....the master bedroom is bigger and you will have much more space" he offers her.

"It's Ok.....thank you though.....I am fine with the guest room and turns to get her suitcase and walks into the guest room to settle herself in. She takes her time arranging her stuff when a soft knock makes her look up at Abhi standing in the doorway. "May I?" he asks and she waves him in.

"All settled?" he asks. She nods. "If you need anything Nikki please let me know or rather get it......this is your house and here are your set of keys" he hands them to her. "Ok" she says taking them and he turns to leave. "Abhi" she calls softly and he turns. "Thank you" she says.

"For what Nikki.....I should be the one saying that" he smiles.

"For this" she points to her ring "It's beautiful but you didn't have to."

He walks close towards her, "I had to.....but thank you Nikki for all your help" and pulls her towards him and bends to place a kiss on her lips and kisses her properly. He steps back and Nikki looks up at him a mixture of surprise and shock in her gaze. He moves a finger feeling her cheek. "That is how you thank your bride" he tells her and Nikki finds it difficult to utter a word.

"If you need my help Nikki.....just let me know ok" and turns and leaves a stunned Nikki in his wake.

Her knees give away and she sits on the bed *If you thought this was going to be easy Nikki......you have another think coming*and stares at her beautiful ring and thinks about Abhimanyu Modi, the man who was now her husband.

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