Tuesday, February 2, 2010

~Covenant of Love~ Part 18

Inside his room Abhimanyu paces in exasperation *Nothing to tell.....I should have never agreed to her idea of keeping this marriage to ourselves.....should have invited the whole world......especially that Armaan.....then I would have loved to see how she runs away from me*he thinks bitterly. Tired of the emotional see- saw this marriage had landed them in Abhimanyu sighs tiredly sitting on his bed.

*Armaan.....Armaan......Armaaan....obviously he means a lot to Nikki......I should ask her about him.....maybe I jump to conclusions too fast where he is concerned* Abhi thinks about his nemesis, the pool scene flashing before his eyes again. He shuts his eyes hard willing that image to go away but it refuses to leave and he hurriedly opens his eyes. Dropping his line of thought he gets up to change.

Coming out of his bathroom he hears the TV blaring in the living room and looks at the time, "10:00 pm......what is Nikki doing up watching TV" he wonders, walking out to check. He finds his wife asleep on the couch, her head on its arm and her arms wrapped around herself and legs folded. He switches off the TV and sits on the centre table moving it a little closer to Nikki. He takes in her tear stained and unhappy face. Tenderness and guilt tug at his heart. He lightly touches the tear streaked face and mumbles a sorry in his mind. *Why do I hurt you so much Nikki.....when I love you more than life* he thinks. He sits with his elbows on his legs and his face on his hands staring at his sleeping wife.

*Happy.....that is what I want you to be Nikki....I hate to be the one to bring tears in your eyes.....In spite of that you always forgive me so easily.....why can't I do the same?*he questions himself realizing how easily Nikki forgave all his anger fueled actions against her and readily helped him for Tia's sake, never worrying about how hard it would be for her. He on the other hand always threw his insecurities at her. Never letting her forget anything or forgiving her easily. "Armaan", she worried about him, kept reiterating that he mattered just because he was her only family......but he had never stopped to listen. She had gambled with marriage to help him with Tia's adoption and he not once thought of giving her the peace of mind from his side by just accepting Armaan. He kept throwing his name between them.....all the time.....never missing a chance.

"Can you forgive me once more my love? I promise to make this right" he asks her under his breath, lifting the strand of hair from her face. Nikki shifts in her sleep abruptly trapping his hand under her face. A smile lightens his face, "Never let me go.....ever" he implores to her in his mind. Slowly he frees his hand from her face so as not to awaken her but she opens her eyes a little and smiles at him sweetly calling his name, "Abhi" and goes back to sleep. He gets up and decides to put her to bed but as he bends down to pick her up, she suddenly opens her eyes.

"Hey sleepyhead, time to go to bed" he tweaks her nose and bends to lift her but she stops him with her hand on his shoulder. He turns to her, "Sorry did not want to wake you.....let me put you to bed" he apologizes as he sees her awake.

"Are you still mad?" she asks him in a childlike voice, her big beautiful eyes looking unblinking at him.

"No" he replies simply, moving again to lift her but she stops him again. "What now Nikki?" he asks her.

"I.....I ....want to talk to you" her eyes brim with tears and her hand bunches his T-shirt.

"Now? It's late Nikki......you have duty tomorrow......we'll talk in the morning, Ok?" he tells her lovingly but she turns her face in the couch and starts crying softly. "Nikki" he touches her shoulder worriedly not understanding what he said that upset her so much.

"Go away" she pushes his hand from her shoulder, he touches her again and she pushes him away again. "Nikki" he calls out softly, bewildered and questioning. She covers her ears with her hands and refuses to acknowledge him. He catches a surprised breath at her childlike behavior and decides to indulge his wife for once. He turns her over a little forcefully fighting a struggling Nikki.

"Let's talk" he tells her softly, cupping her face and wiping a few tears from her cheek, his heart going out to the woman before him. "It's late" she whispers adamantly.

"Sorry" he says and that pacifies Nikki. She sits up wiping her face and looks at him through lowered lashes. "I want to tell you about Armaan" she tackles the demon between them, tired of fighting around it. Abhimanyu smiles a little, "Yeah, about him......I know he is very important to you and I promise you Nikki.....I will work on myself and stop that getting between us" he puts into words for her what he had been thinking sometime ago, finally deciding to let go of the anger he harbored towards his wife's best friend.

Hearing his statement Nikki's mouth falls open. "You.......You would do that?" she asks him, floored by his thought. He nods his assent and she looks at him with an expression of bewilderment in her eyes. He catches her expression and a very small smile starts playing at the corner of his lips, slowly creeping into his eyes. "What are you looking at me like that for? I can be nice to him......for your sake" he says.

"For me" she whispers "Why?"

"I don't want to see you crying" he answers honestly.

"Oh" is all that comes out of her mouth.*He will make peace with Armaan so that I don't cry?......Every time I try to hate him......I fall more in love with him....oh God.....what is going on here?" she thinks about the reason Abhi provided.

"Nikki.....you are staring" he points out and she looks away hurriedly. "I .....I still want to tell you something about him....about us" she tells him and he nods.

"He and I grew up together.....we were neighbors and best friends" she starts with a fond smile on her face, recollecting the happy childhood days she had spent with Armaan. "Our parents were good friends too.......but when I turned 15 my parents divorced" her eyes filled with tears remembering all the fights she had witnessed. Seeing her eyes fill up, Abhi tenderly touches her hands which she is twisting mercilessly. She smiles through her tears and continues, "At that most difficult time, Armaan and his parents were the only sane anchors in my world.....they made sure I ate, studied and almost everything.....after my parents divorced, I was packed to a hostel but Armaan came to visit, wrote to me and we landed up in the same college.....I was so alone but Armaan was my family......he was always there for me......always" she looks into Abhimanyu's eyes and sees warmth and understanding there.

"I thought I loved him and when I saw him here with Riddhima, my heart broke because I thought that I would lose the one person who cared so much for me, to a stranger" she reminds him of the time he had caught her crying for Armaan at the Sanjeevani concert. "I was so wrong Abhi.....I was trying to hold on to him desperately......but instead of losing him , I gained a friend in Riddhima....who I think understands me more than Armaan now.....I am so happy for them" she bares her heart to him. "He......he has seen me go through the most rough time in my life and that is why he is so protective of me.....he has always been there for me......that is why he means so much to me" she explains his importance in her life.

Abhimanyu listens to Nikki open up to him and finally understands their bond. "He is like a crazy elder brother around you" he smiles and Nikki nods, "That's the sum of our relationship" she staes.

"Thank you for telling me Nikki" he pats her hand.

"I......I don't want you getting mad at me for mentioning Armaan......so I told you this" she tells him, her eyes lowered. "I am sorry for the pool incident and your accident" her voice comes out in a whisper and she watches his eyes cloud with pain.

"I am sorry about that too" he states.

"Armaan helped me there too" she confesses.

"Where?" he asks confused.

"He helped me arrange blood for you......he donated his blood for you" she tells him and looks up at his gasp of surprise.

"Dr. Malik donated blood for me?" he asks taken aback by the news.

"Yes......you share the same blood group" she tells him smiling at his shock.

"Oh" he looks down at his hands and then back at her, "I don't know what to say Nikki" he shrugs.

"Nothing.....just try not to hate him" she says.

"I will try doing that Nikki......I promise and am sorry for dragging him between us......but now I won't do it anymore" he promises.

"Thank you "she says and hides a yawn. "Time to sleep Nikki.....you have early duty tomorrow" he orders her and she bids him good night and they walk towards their respective rooms. At her door she turns to him, "I have to go to practice our dance for Armaan- Ridzi's engagement so I will be back around five" she tells him and he nods.

"Goodnight" she whispers and he wishes her the same in reply but they stand there looking at each other, both wanting to be in the other's arms desperately. Finally Nikki turns and enters her room and both are lost in their dreams about each other, where the walls of the real world don't exist between them.

The next day passes in a flurry of work and Nikki reaches Riddhima's house for practice and meets all the girls there. They decide to dance on bole chudiyaan and start practicing. After a few hours, Armaan, Atul and Rahul stop by and the group starts talking and having fun, pulling each other's leg. Nikki gets up to go to the kitchen for some water and Armaan follows her there.

"Oh Armaan....if you needed something you should have told me" Nikki smiles at him when she finds him right behind her in the kitchen.

"I wanted to talk to you Nikki" he says solemnly.

"Look Armaan if it is about Abhimanyu......then please I can handle it" she tells her friend, guessing what was playing in his mind.

"It is about him.....Nikki he has a daughter.....that changes everything.....look I don't want you hurt" he confronts her about Tia.

"Armaan......it doesn't make a difference......I still love him" Riddhima enters the kitchen and hears them arguing.

"Armaan are you bothering her again about Dr. Modi?" she tells him off.

"Did you know that Modi has a daughter?" he asks Ridzi.

"That machar has a daughter?" Muskaan who had just entered the kitchen overhears Armaan and all the three look at Nilkki.

"Guys.....look....it's just" when Anjie and Atul and Rahul enter and ask what is going on. Nikki looks at Armaan pleadingly who is in no mood to forgive but Riddhima takes pity on Nikki and tells the rest of the gang that Armaan just found out that Dr. Modi has a daughter. All of them look at each other stunned at the news.

"Armaan you should invite Dr. Modi and his daughter for our engagement" Riddhima veers the topic away from Nikki who looks at her with gratitude.

"I don't need to" Armaan states but when he looks at Nikki's crestfallen face, he changes his mind. "Ok Riddhima I will invite him.....just because he is our boss" and walks out of the kitchen and the rest follow slowly.

Nikki thanks Riddhima after everyone leaves the kitchen and decides to head home to her family.

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