Abhi's arms snake around her waist bringing her closer. "Surprise Wifey?" he inquires intrigued and receives a mysterious smile in return. "Yes Hubby…..you thought you were the only one who could do surprises?"
Hearing this Abhi laughs at her spunk n tweaks her nose, "I love surprises but Nikki am scared of yours…..most of the time they turn out to be shocks" he says with a straight face and receives a push and a swat by an affronted Nikki.
"Fine……drop me home…..I don't want to give you my surprise" she turns her face away and stands pouting. Controlling his laughter, Abhi goes closer, hugs her from behind and puts his face on her shoulder. She tries to shake it off but he refuses to budge and his grip on her tightens.
"My home is your home…..our home…..I would love to take you there….have been waiting to hear this…..and no one is home either" he whispers softly and meaningfully in her ear and she gasps at his audacity and wriggles herself out of his hold.
"Shameless" his blushing wife says and Abhi shrugs his shoulders. "What ….you said take me home……I was just obliging you" he retorts back and an exasperated Nikki makes a face. "Let's go" he says seriously and she looks at him a little doubtfully. "Where?" She asks.
"Dinner Wifey….am hungry too" he smiles and Nikki heaves a sigh of relief. "Yeah lets go…..there is this really nice Chaat corner I know…… we can have pav bhaaji, chaat and paani puri there" she says smacking her lips and Abhi stops in shock and stares at her open mouthed. "Chaat corner?" he says startled at her choice for dinner.
"You want to eat all that for dinner?" he can't help asking her.
"Appetizer Hubby……dinner is still a surprise for you" she winks at him and leads the way out of the house gathering all the notes and placing them in her bag.
"Appetizer? All this junk …..Were you not the one who instructed me to make healthy food for Tiu?" he argues her choice and follows her out, locking the house and pocketing the key.
"She is four and a little child…..she needs nutrition……I am a grownup" she declares and smiles triumphantly and hears Abhi snort with laughter.
"What is so funny Dr. Modi?" she inquires her hands on her waist and foot tapping impatiently, waiting for his answer.
"Grown up and you? The way you fight…..feels like you are Tiu's younger sister……and not much height difference there either" he makes fun of her height again and sees irritation creep in her eyes and then they clear suddenly and she looks up at him smiling to herself. Nikki goes closer to him and grabs his collars and pulls him down to her level.
"Dear Hubby…..best things come in small packages" she delivers and appreciation enters his eyes at her retort and then she drops a kiss on his lips and stomps his foot.
"Ouch…what was that for?" he asks.
"What….the kiss or the stomping?" she asks smiling.
"Oh I assumed the kiss was because it is hard for you to stay away from me…..but the stomping was to prove you are a child" he teases her some more and she turns, fiddling with his buttons. His hands stop her and when she looks at him, sheer desire is clouding his eyes and he shakes his head softly. "Not a good idea" he breathes and she takes her hands away a little shy at his frank gaze.
"T…the kiss was to tell you how lucky you are and the stomp to tell u that you better not mess with me " she mumbles shaken by what she had seen in his eyes and how it had stirred the feeling of longing in her too. Controlling himself and breaking their moment, Abhi urges Nikki to sit and she takes the driver's seat as she insists that they should go to get chaat first.
"Fine by me" he shrugs and enjoys the ride. Nikki and Abhi enjoy the comfortable silence which is broken by intermittent questions one remembers and the other answers. Nikki stops in front of a posh hotel and looks at Abhi, "This is my favorite place" she points with a flourish and Abhi 's mouth hangs open in surprise. He looks at the hotel which is the same where Nikki, Tiu and he had gone to celebrate after their wedding and then looks at his wife not able to comprehend what she was hinting at.
"Oh my ….looks like this surprise has turned out to be a shock too" she laughs merrily at his stunned expression.
"T….Th…This p..place" he stammers confused and finally when coherence comes back he shifts in his seat looking with love at his wife. "Why Nikki?" he asks simply.
"This is the first place you took me to after our wedding and it has some precious memories attached to it and I was just teasing you about the Chaat corner" she laughs it off and is trying to get out when Abhi holds her hand and she looks questioningly at him.
"For me too" his eyes show the depth of his feelings, "But you don't have to do this Nikki……let's go to where you want to eat" he tells her and she shakes her head. "This is where I want to eat and that was to trouble you Hubby" she says and they get out, going into their favorite place.
Nikki asks for their corner booth and they are lead to that place by the Maitre De. "I miss Tia" Nikki says and Abhi smiles. "I do too……but today is just you and me……but after dinner it will be the three of us" he says. At that precise moment Riddhima calls on Nikki's cell and she picks it up promptly.
"Nikiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" Tia shrieks in her ear and Nikki smiles hearing her daughter's voice. Even Abhi hears his daughter's voice and a happy smile spreads on his face. "Talk of the sweetheart and she calls" he modifies the saying.
Nikki puts the call on speaker so both of them could talk to their daughter. "Nikki did you give Daddy the surprise?" Tia asks and Nikki smiles at her enthusiasm.
"Not as yet Tia but soon" she replies looking at Abhi who is taken aback that even his little daughter knows about the surprise.
"When is soon Nikki?" Tia asks innocently but before Nikki can answer Tia says, "Daddy I love it…..you will too….she got me the same thing too"
"Tia…..secret" Nikki reminds her and the child stops talking immediately.
"Oh Daddy it was a secret "she says soulfully and Abhi and Nikki burst out laughing as their wedding scene repeats itself.
"Okay Tia I will give him the gift and we both miss you….we will see you soon" Nikki signs off and Abhi too says his bye. Abhi looks at Nikki curiously, "What is it?" he asks intrigued.
Nikki smiles and takes out a small jeweler's box from her handbag and places it in front of him. He takes the box and opens it to find a plain white gold wedding band. He looks at her surprised.
"Take it out" she tells him and when he does, his eyes fall on the engraving on the other side. He gets it closer and reads, "Forever Yours – Nikki" inscribed on it and his eyes fly to his wife's face.
"Thanks" he says unable for the first time to find any words.
"You like it?" she asks not sure what his sudden silence meant.
"I ….Nikki ….this is a beautiful surprise…..and this means that you want the whole world to know I am taken right?" he says, his eyes twinkling.
She takes the ring from his hand and puts it on his ring finger on the left hand. "Exactly right Dr. Modi" she responds. The waiter breaks their moment and they place their order.
"Tia said that you gave her something too?" he inquires and she nods.
"A ring of her size with the same inscription but it says Daddy and Nikki" she replies and Abhi smiles at her thoughtfulness.
"Thanks Nikki…..thank you for always being there……I couldn't have asked for anything more for Tia….you really are a great mother" he says honestly and Nikki's eyes mist.
"You both are my world Abhi" she replies.
They enjoy their dinner and their first date and drive back to the Gupta house. They enter to find everyone having a ball and getting the work done for their wedding.
"Daddy" Tia runs on spotting him and he lifts her up in the air and hugs her fiercely. She cups his face with her small hands and places kisses all over his face and Abhimanyu laughs at her but repeats her action. Everyone stops their work and looks with amusement at the Father and daughter. Armaan walks towards them and teases Tia.
"Tia…..you left me and ran?" he asks in moch anger and Tia giggles and hugs Abhi's neck laying her head on his shoulder. "He's my Daddy….I miss him" she replies.
"But I love you more" Armaan teases her and she shakes her head.
"No …..Daddy loves me more" giggling when Armaan tickles her.
"Oh you deserted me" Armaan pretends to be hurt and Tia laughs more.
"Daddy Armaan says he will marry me when I grow as big as Nikki" she tells her father who gives half a smile.
"No he won't "he reassures his daughter and Armaan raises his eyebrows.
"Oh Dr. Modi….why not?" he asks tongue in cheek.
"Dr. Malik……..she'll come to her senses by then" he smiles back.
They walk to the rest of the group who tease them and everyone sits around singing, teasing dancing and getting the work done. Nikki's gifts are admired by the girls and the night passes in fun.
The wedding day arrives soon and Nikki gets dressed happily in a pretty lehanga choli and advances to the mandap. Abhi looks spell bound at the vision she makes in her red wedding dress and everyone sniggers when he simply bows his head for Nikki to place the garland around his neck. "The great Dr. Modi has a great fall" Armaan says slyly and everyone laughs.
"Dr. malik…..you can and never should try to win from your wife" Dr. Shashank advises and everyone laughs at the piece of advice.
When the time to tie the knot comes, Abhimanyu announces that it should be Tia who should tie it as she is the reason the marriage took place in the first place and Tia happily ties her parents in a life together. All the beautiful ceremonies take place and when the priest announces the time to tie the mangalsutra, Riddhima hands him the same piece of jewellery that his mother had sent as their wedding present and he smiles to himself, thanking the powers above and the luck of the mangalsutra that his Nikki, his love was his forever.
After the ceremony is over, the girls block Abhimanyu's way asking to be given money or they would not let him pass to see his wife. The boys step in and start arguing as to how this was unfair and not done. Abhi watches for a few minutes and then hands them the money. "Fight in peace guys……I would like to go and see my wife and daughter" he throws to the bickering interns who wave him off.
"Thank god for fights…..they always have their benefits" he says under his breath and goes to take his wife and daughter to his house. After the Vidai, they reach their house, where Padma helps to do the ghrapravesh .
Tia agrees to spend another night with her masis, Nani, Nanu and Dadu in the Gupta house. Mr. Bakshi blesses the couple who had risked their happiness for his granddaughter.
Finally alone, Abhi turns to his wife who says, "This is perfect….thank you Abhi"
"Not perfect as yet Wifey….one small little thing left" he smiles and she looks at him confused.
"What is left?" she asks.
He goes in to his room and comes out with a box. He lifts to open it and brings out the piece of Nikki's bracelet, which had fallen at his feet during Armaan and Riddhima's roka, which he had gotten strung into a neck piece.
Nikki gasps, "My….My piece….it was in your office" she blurts out and he lifts his eyebrows in question.
"I ….I saw it when I was looking for Tia's files" she replies a little embarrassed at the thought. "Why did you keep it?" she asks.
"To remind me of you……I promised to keep this as a reminder of my insult….but it was always a reminder of my love" he replies. "Now I have my love with me…..so this is for you…..to remind you that I will always be looking at you with love…..however close or far I am" he puts it around her neck and seals his marriage with a kiss. Nikki responds and finally Abhi and Nikki lose themselves in each other and find themselves in the other, starting their life together ….….working on their FOREVER.
TWO YEARS LATER
"Abhi" Nikki shakes him awake and he gets up immediately and looks at her with concern.
"Its…Its….time" she says breathing hard, her water having broke. He immediately gets up and they go to the hospital, ready for another Modi to join their family. He leaves Tia with his Mother who is visiting them for Nikki's delivery and promises to call them whenever she delivers.
In the delivery room, Abhi is standing with Nikki, helping her and instructing her.
"Push sweetheart" he says gently and Nikki almost breaks his hand when the pain hits her.
"Try harder" he urges and she hits him on the chest. "Shut up" she replies breathing heavily.
"Nikki you have to push" he urges her and she grabs his collar, "Would you like to try?" she asks mad.
Finally the little baby arrives after 15 hours in labor.
"It's a boy" the doctor announces and Abhi takes his new son outside in the waiting room where all his friends and family are gathered, while Nikki falls asleep exhausted.
Congratulations flow and everyone states their opinion of who the little boy looks like.
A few days later when they take the baby home, they open their house to balloons and steamers with all the uncles and aunts, and grandparents welcoming the new parent's home.
Tia takes her little brother from Nikki and cuddles him lovingly.
"Have you thought of a name Tia?" Abhi asks his beautiful six year old daughter who is unable to take her eyes off from her little brother.
"Yes Daddy" she says.
"What do you suggest?" Nikki asks.
"Ma ….can we call him Aditya?" she smiles and everyone agrees to the beautiful name.
Aditya Modi…….At a time when Abhi had shunned love, Tia had walked into his life bringing smile on his face. Nikki had followed soon after, adding love and now he had a son who added laughter in their lives. His circle of love was complete.