The next day Abhimanyu got up late, finally able to sleep after so many days. The guilt he was harboring was beginning to go away as he was coming to terms with what had happened. He still couldn't forgive himself for his words and actions as he believed in his heart that if he had at least listened to her or hadn't been so harsh, she would not have bolted from Sanjeeveani furious and mad at him. She would have been careful and would have never landed in this situation.
He held his head in his hands closing his eyes and reliving the moment Dr. Shashank had announced to him about Nikki's condition. The mere thought of that sent shudders through his entire body. He did not want to go through this again. He had almost died at that time. He opened his eyes and shook his head to clear his thoughts. Enough. He needed to stop thinking about that and concentrate on Nikki. She was confused, no thanks to Armaan. He had to go and tell her everything. He was trying so hard to let her relax but no, Armaan Malik, he had to interfere.
"Forget it Abhimanyu….that man is not going to make it easier….his help also turns out to be a problem" he tells himself, quelling the feeling to murder Armaan. His mind shifted to the new doctor who was treating Nikki. Dr. Gaurav Khanna…..a smart doctor and he had told Armaan off. Finally things were moving in his favor. He liked the new guy already although he probed a lot. He couldn't blame him, it was his job. What had he told him yesterday? To spend time with Nikki and forget his guilt syndrome. Abhimanyu rolled his eyes. Easier said than done but he agreed with Gaurav. He needed to start spending time with Nikki if he wanted her to fall in love with him.
Smiling and with a spring in his step, Abhi gets up to freshen himself up and head to work and Nikki.
He felt better and rushed to Sanjeevani for his meetings. Nikki had been right, he had needed to rest and now it felt better. He ran over yesterday's meeting with Nikki in his mind and groaned aloud. He had fought again and on top of it he had promised not to visit her today. He really needed to stop getting angry at the drop of a hat and it was high time he got the love of his life back in his life.
Nikki got up irritated with the world in general. She hated everything. She hated that she couldn't walk. It didn't count that she didn't need support to walk or a wheelchair but she wasn't happy with her progress. She wanted to walk and run as of now.
She hated the fact that the new doctor was asking her questions she couldn't answer. She felt like a retard. The fact that he was extremely understanding or good looking didn't help. She hated that Armaan had told her who Abhimanyu was to her. She sighed. She hated Abhimanyu. For confusing her and waking such feelings in her that she was at a loss to understand; then fighting with her and disappearing. She hated him because she missed him. She fluffed her pillow and started hitting it.
"Idiot…..what does he think of himself…..all I said was go and rest" she mumbles under her breath wishing it was him and not the pillow she was hitting.
"Don't you dare show me your face you sadu or I will …aggghhhh" she screams in frustration and decides to get up and walk to avoid thinking about him. She walks slowly around the room, being careful and trying to balance. It was hard but not impossible. It felt like she was walking on a tight rope , she could slip anytime if she wasn't careful. She took a deep breath, clamped her lips together and worked against pain. "1, 2, 3…..." she counted her steps, anything to take her mind off the devil that was disturbing her day and night.
The nurse walks in with her breakfast and helps her to freshen up. All ready and feeling a bit better she moves towards the food trolley and smiles at the breakfast. Instead of the runny half- boiled eggs she had been forced to eat, there was fresh fruit and omelets and bread and butter. "Finally" she whispered to herself and dug in to eat. Her stomach full, the world brightened suddenly.
"So you liked the breakfast" his soft and husky voice broke into her thoughts and she looked up sharply. He looked like he had slept well and his white shirt and blue jeans made him look handsome and the smile curving the end of his lips was more like a smirk and his eyes were openly laughing at her.
"Oh so he decided to visit" she thinks and blinks, not able to take her eyes of his handsome face.
"Good morning" Abhimanyu wished her coming closer and she relied back to his greeting sullenly, replacing her plate and carefully avoiding his gaze. He sits next to her but she chooses to ignore him and picks up a book she is reading and acts as if concentrating on it.
"What is so interesting Nikki" he comes closer trying to look at the title of the book she was reading.
"Everything" she can't help replying.
"I see" Abhi sits back, studying her. So she was mad at him. He was not getting away so easily, but he was sure going to try.
"What are you reading?" he pesters her.
"A book" comes the reply pat.
"Which one?" he asks.
"An English one" she replies back, refusing to look at him.
"Title" he asks.
"Go to hell" she replies and turns her back to him.
"Really….should I?" he whispers in her ear and she stiffens. This man…..darn it. She closes her eyes and breathes him in. Abhimanyu doesn't move but takes the book from her limp fingers and sits back.
"Men are from mars and women are from Venus" he reads the title slowly and Nikki's eyes fly open. He was insufferable and irritating. She turned to face him and tried to snatch the book out of his hands but he was too quick for her.
He randomly opens a page and starts reading, the book held high, "101 ways to score points with a woman" he almost chokes on the words and Nikki's color starts to rise. She valiantly tries to get her book back but Abhi is having too much fun at her expense to stop.
"Abhimanyu…..give it back…now" she asks him testily but all she gets in return is him grinning at her and continuing to read, "Number one, Practice listening…ha….what a point" he shakes his head.
"Oh well…you are not listening to me….so obviously this won't make sense to you" Nikki tells him sharply and he looks at her with his eyebrows raised.
"Really…..so I get no point?" he asks suddenly serious and walks close to her. Nikki, sitting on the bed looks into his suddenly serious eyes and gulps. Why did he always have to do this? Whenever he came this close to her, sane thoughts just vanished and they were replaced by a sudden urge to be in his arms. She fists her hands at her side and counts till ten to get rid of such thoughts.
"Zero" is all she can manage, her voice trembling.
He places the book aside and drags the chair closer to her and sits, taking his fisted hands from her side in his. Nikki resists at first but when he refuses to let go and fights with her, trying to open one hand and then the other, she gives in. Holding her hands gently and rubbing his thumbs over them, he looks into her big eyes and asks, "Why?"
"Why what?" Nikki questions back, hating the fact that her voice refused to be on her side too.
"Why zero? I gave you what you wanted" he replies.
"Oh really….what?" she questions, trying to snatch her hands back but he holds them tighter.
"Breakfast….it wasn't bland…was it?" he asks earnestly and her eyes widen in amazement.
"Y…You" she stutters and he gives her a smile.
"Glad you enjoyed it" he tells her honestly and sees confusion enter her eyes.
Abhimanyu Modi never let a chance to confuse her pass by. She was mad at him for not stopping by at dinner time and was making sure that he understood that but this insufferable man had to undo everything with his thoughtful gesture. Was he even on her side? Was he trying to make sure she went mad? Coz he was succeeding at that. Her treacherous heart…..it leapt with happiness at his words but whatever he did, she was in no mood to forgive him.
"Who said I enjoyed it?" she asks him rudely and snatches her hands away.
"At least you ate all of it" he replies, looking meaningfully at the food trolley which had been wiped clean by a ravenous Nikki.
"Well if I want to get out of this place, these clothes" she makes a face at her hospital gown, "It's yellow" she complains, "and most importantly away from you, I have to eat" she tells him and watches as a sad expression settles on his face and his laughter vanishes. He sits back, creating a distance.
"Away from me" he repeats softly but before he can ask her anything, Gaurav's voice interrupts them with a "Good Morning Nikita" and he smiles in his direction and Abhi's gaze narrows when he sees Nikki's face light up like a thousand watt bulb.
"Nice to see you here Dr. Modi" Gaurav greets Abhi and extends his hand for a shake which he takes unwillingly and smiles half-heartedly.
"Chikooo" Nikki gets up alittle wobbly but determined and pulls Gaurav into a hug like a long lost friend and his mouth falls open in amazement. In his ear she implores softly, "Please help me" and smiles her brightest smile closing her eyes in contentment in his arms.
Abhimanyu's temper rises so fast that he wanted to murder Gaurav. He wanted to hit him but he had made her smile so brightly that he didn't want to take that away from her. She liked him was apparent but this much he had no idea. What had he missed? His thoughts were a jumble. His heart wanted to snatch her from Gaurav's arms and keep her safe in his but his mind kept focusing on her smile of contentment.
"Well I won't disturb you guys" he throws at them and walks out without looking back.
Gaurav gets out of the hug and looks at Nikki questioningly, "Nikita, what was that?" he asks none too pleased.
"Nothing" she answers in a mere whisper and her eyes tear up. She knew she had overdone it but she wanted to hurt him as he hurt her. She wanted him to feel what she felt when he was so close physically but far away in his thoughts. She wanted him to miss her, get angry at her, and react. He had done all that but chosen not to show it and walked away.
Gaurav sits in the chair Abhi had vacated and lets the girl before him cry her heart out. Nikki's tears started slipping one after the other and she prayed hard that they wiped her pain too but she knew that the only person who could do so had walked out furious with her.
She wiped them away but they flowed incessantly. Gaurav handed her a tissue and she crumpled it in her hands.
"Use this" he tells her gently and hands her another one.
"He h…ha…..hates…..m ….me" she hiccups and Gaurav shakes his head trying to hide a smile.
"What you just did…..wasn't too smart Nikki" he tells her honestly and she starts crying harder.
"I know that" she throws the tissue box in a fit of anger.
"But it might work" he completes grinning mischievously and Nikki looks up shocked, forgetting to cry.
"Work?" she asks unbelieving and Gaurav shakes his head and shrugs his shoulders.
"H…How?" she asks cautiously, not being able to believe what she was hearing.
"Well jealousy works pretty well sometimes and I saw your Dr. Modi go green with it…..but I don't want to rub him on the wrong side" he tells her his observation.
"Hi Dr. Khanna….Hi Nikki" Armaan enters and hugs Nikki who hugs him back and Gaurav's eyes narrow.
"Dr. Malik…I had told you" but before he can finish, Armaan sits next to Nikki, half hugging her, "Not to visit her for two days….right?" he completes the sentence for him.
"She sent me five smses since morning to come and visit her and her I am" he tells the other man and Nikki shakes her head agreeing.
"I did that" she tells Gaurav and he tells them that he is here for some scans on her and a few tests he wants to get done. He explains to her that though her memory isn't coming back, it just might be due to the simple fact that in her ward there is nothing which triggers it and though the people come and visit her maybe they are being extra careful not to repeat the actions and behavior they were generally used to.
"Now?" both Nikki and Armaan question him.
"Now….is where you help us Dr. Malik…….Dr. Modi is being pretty obstinate but you seem to be in a helpful mood….so you can help" he tells him.
"Then you think she will remember?" Armaan asks.
"Maybe…maybe not….no harm in trying" Gaurav tells him frankly.
"What should we do?" Nikki asks.
"You already do that….fight with each other" Armaan laughs and she swats him and Gaurav smiles.
"Dr. Malik…please take her for the tests I have mentioned and stop by my office with the reports and you Nikita…...practice walking and relax…..it will help" he orders Armaan and tells Nikki and gets up to leave.
"Thanks Gaurav" Nikki whispers shyly and he smiles.
"Not a problem….just be careful that he doesn't lose his temper and hit me" he teases and walks out.
Armaan takes her for her scans and tests and drops her in physiotherapy and there she tells him how she was trying to make Abhimanyu jealous so he would confront her and share his feelings. Armaan is amazed and starts laughing.
"What is so funny?" Nikki asks bewildered.
"You know" he tries to control his laughter and sits in front of her drawing deep breaths, "I was so against the two of you and I have already fought twice with him, now when he is maintaining a distance" he tells her.
"Why were you against us?" Nikki asks him, their bitter vibes not having gone unnoticed by Nikki.
"Well….I just feel no one is good enough for you" Armaan takes her face in his hands and gently kisses her forehead, "also, I know what you are scared of Nikki……so I thought I was protecting you from it" Armaan tells her and Nikki hugs her friend, who she knew was looking out for her in his own mixed up way.
"Thank you…..but now you support him?" she asks incredulously.
"No…I support you and I know he loves you…..a lot….just don't know why he has clamped up" Armaan tells her the truth he knew and Nikki's smile brightens.
"He does?" she asks, her eyes sparkling.
"Yeah…..but that's not the question…..do you? I mean…..you have forgotten him…..and forgotten whatever you shared with him……..and I rushed things, thinking it would help….but what do you feel Nikki? Maybe you don't love him or your feelings have changed….what is it?" Armaan asks her gently, realizing that he might have made a mistake and pushed her in a direction she wasn't even willing to take and understood why Abhimanyu was so mad at him for having thrown their relationship in her face so abruptly.
"I …I don't know…I like him….a lot….I mean….when he isn't around , I get upset and I miss him" she tells him, his question having brought her insecurities to the forefront. She knew there was something between them. She always missed him but whether she loved him was a question she hadn't asked herself as yet. She had just been running behind his answer to the same question.
Armaan's pager rang and he told her that Gaurav needed her reports and he would see her later. She nodded her head absently, still lost in the questions Armaan had posed.
She practiced her walking and insisted that she wanted to walk back to her ward and the nurse lets her.
"I will walk back on my own" she tells the nurse who doesn't agree to that but Nikki convinces her that if she felt weak or if there was pain she would alert somebody and finally walked out slowly on her own.
She was tired within five minutes but her determination wouldn't let her quit. She sat on the nearest bench to breathe and rest for a bit but when she got up she felt dizzy. She sat down again and then after sometime recollected her strength and started walking slowly.
Abhimanyu was on his rounds and avoided the path that led to her ward. She was happy in a strangers arms, he fumed. Let her be. He tried to block the image of her hugging Gaurav and closing her eyes in contentment. His hands fisted on his side and he closed his eyes to get a grip on his anger. He opened them to see his dream turn into reality. Nikki was walking slowly towards him, pain etched on her face.
At that moment he forgot his resolve to stay away from her and marched angrily towards her, "What the hell do you think you are doing?" he blasted and she looked up startled.
"W…W….Walking" she replied, taking a step back at the anger simmering in his eyes.
"Who told you, you could do that?" he inquires, his hands on his hips and his eyes now blazing.
"A..Abhi….I wanted to" she tries to reply but he holds her by her shoulders, shaking her, trying to shake some sense into that independent brain of hers.
"You are a not a doctor but a patient……you will do as you are told ….understand….if not then you won't be able to get away from me fast enough" he tells her roughly, his grip becoming gentle when he sees her eyes cloud with pain and her biting her lip.
"Abhi….please…..I" she starts but he releases her and turns around to order a ward boy to get a wheelchair for her.
"No need to explain……I get the fact that getting away from me is of prime importance" he tells her bitterly and she tries to talk to him but dizziness takes over and before she can utter a word, she faints but Abhi catches her in his arms, breaking her fall.
"Nikki" he whispers shocked and curses himself for his anger.
"Sweetheart" he pats her face and takes her pulse. It was so low that his heart starts beating faster.
"Stretcher…..Now" he barks his order and they take her for observation, his heart along with her.