"What do you mean Nikki....Initially where was I?" Armaan asks concerned not wanting to believe that his Nikki, his best friend, the girl who had helped him with Riddhima, had forgotten all the beautiful memories they had made together.
"I didn't know you worked here.....when I joined 2 weeks back, you were not here" she tells him what she remembered of her initial days in Sanjeevani when Armaan had gone for a conference to Singapore.
Armaan looks at her honestly confused face and releases his breath in a whoosh. His hands hold her small hands in his and he pats them gently. Nikki looks at his action and her heart slams against her chest. This is not good....he is going to tell me something not good.....I don't want to hear that. Her mouth goes dry and she looks at him wide-eyed. When he doesn't speak but keeps looking at her hand in his, she pulls it out of his grip.
"What.....what are you trying to hide?" she asks agitated.
"I am not trying to hide anything Nikki......why do you think that?" he asks her, trying to buy time.
"I don't know......I feel that everyone is hiding something" she says her eyes tearing up and Armaan gets up and hugs her.
"Thank you.....I am sorry I don't know why I am so cranky......tears just come so easily" she tells him when she gets out of his hug.
"Come on Nikki......it happens.....you are not feeling well......but once you get your strength back......everything will be fine....Ok" he tells her lovingly and she nods her head. "I .....had to thank you for yesterday night too....you know.....I sensed you were here and you held my hand......you know I was dreaming of those horrible fights" she shudders as she thinks about her nightmare and looks at Armaan, smiling lovingly at him.
Taken aback at her confession and remembering Abhimanyu's words, how he had sat beside her, Armaan sighs and looks at his friend who is looking at him adoringly. "It wasn't me Nikki who held your hand" he admits grudgingly.
"Oh" her eyes pop open, "Then who?" she questions herself thinking whose touch could have made her feel so safe. It was a very familiar touch and a soothing voice which had calmed her down and she had fallen back asleep. She tries to think hard, biting her lip but is unable to place anyone so familiar and loving towards her who would do that. Defeated she looks at Armaan, who turns his face away from her.
"You know" she accuses and he turns red when he looks at her. "Why won't you tell me.....I want to know Armaan.....tell me who it was" she demands her voice rising.
"Calm down Nikki.....you know getting excited is not needed" he tries to make her relax but Nikki is in no mood to relax as she is adamant to know who was with her last night.
She needed the answer. She needed to know who had sat so late in the night and held her hand for her? No one she knew had ever done this for her. Not even Armaan. She smiled bitterly. Armaan......her best friend.....she had secretly loved him in college but he had always been too busy chasing chicks to even notice her. She needed to know who it was. She had to know, her heart was restless for the answer.
"Look Armaan....I need answers .....this is a very simple question for you to answer, but the answer is necessary for me......and don't sympathize with me.....just answer" she snaps at him, not ready to give up without a fight.
"A nurse or someone Nikki" Armaan tries to lie but Nikki gets angry and looks daggers at him.
"Armaan Malik.....I know you since we were 10......so try this on someone else ok.....I know it wasn't a nurse.....It wasn't a woman....so now who?" she asks, her arms folded in front of her and her eyes narrowed, wishing desperately that she could walk and then she would have been out of the bed and strangled her best friend happily.
"Fine.....I will tell you....alright.....it was Abhimanyu" he tells her the truth about who had stroked her forehead so lovingly and held her hand through the night.
"Oh" she sits back at the mention of his name and starts thinking again why his touch felt so familiar when he was all but a stranger. "Abhimanyu" she tries out his name as if saying for the first time but it sounds like a familiar name on her tongue. "Abhimanyu Modi" she completes the name and an unknowing smile spreads on her face.
"Yeah the same......if you want I can ask him not to visit you....if he makes you uncomfortable" Armaan jumps to her defense but she shakes her head slowly.
"No.....I am comfortable.....he is nice" she replies not looking at Armaan but twisting her hands in her lap and thinking about how she had felt a shiver down her spine when he had helped her sit.
She always had a feeling that he was restraining himself around her, as if scared of hurting her. Hurting her.....that is what she saw in his eyes and something else she wasn't able to place her finger on. She liked him, he made her feel, she thinks hard for the right word.....safe......yes she could say that and she had seen him watch her intently like a hawk many a times.
Seeing a happy glow spread on Nikki's face at the mention of his nemesis, Armaan grudgingly admits that this love thing they had going between the two of them was helping rather than hampering her. So he decides to use the medicine called Abhimanyu Modi on the patient called Nikita Malhotra.
"Armaan......I wanted to ask you" Nikki starts when Armaan's pager buzzes and with a quick hug he rushes out to his duties. "About Abhimanyu" she completes her sentence to his retreating back.
"I need answers.......about Abhimanyu" she talks to herself and the nurse walks in and gets her to eat breakfast and after that Nikki feels tried, excitement having taken its toll on her and she decides to take a nap.
This is how Abhimanyu finds her when he comes around 10 am to visit her. She was sleeping in a sitting position and to him that looked uncomfortable. He shakes his head seeing her like this. She looked as innocent as a child sleeping with her head against the wall but he knew that there would be a crick in her neck and with injuries galore, she didn't need that. He rang the nurse and asked her for a few pillows and when she gave it to him, very carefully he tried to put them behind her head so at least she could sleep peacefully.
"Mmmmm" she says sleepily and opens her eyes to see Abhimanyu very close to her and her heart starts running wild.
"Feel better" Abhimanyu asks looking down at Nikki who had stiffened in his arms.
Wide-eyed she nods a yes but doesn't trust herself to speak. He straightens and creates some distance between them and she feels like pulling him back. Where did that come from? She wonders.
"Dr. Nikita......if you sleep like this you will get a crick in your neck......so sleep properly.....ok?" he tells her sweetly with a smile and she nods again, trying hard to remember when and where had she met this person and how come she had forgotten him. She looked at him from under her lashes.
He was handsome and when he smiled, as he was doing now, he looked even more appealing. She really did enjoy looking at him and it did not feel weird when he came closer, just an excitement which she could not understand. He was hard to forget......very hard to forget.....but she had managed the impossible. "Why me?" she thinks and looks heavenwards.
"Have you eaten.....taken you medicines?" he asks busy reading her chart and she mumbles a "Yes......that syrup is bitter" she makes a face and Abhimanyu can't help but laugh at her childish behavior.
"Its medicine Nikita......not dessert.....and it's good for you ......so just drink it" he reprimands her and she makes a face towards him.
"Ok....now you need to sleep as much as possible so you get your strength back and eat everything which comes on your plate......understand.....I will personally ask the nurse about that and if you trouble her then I will come and supervise personally" he keeps her chart back and instructs her and her confusion increases.
He behaved as he knew her likes and dislikes. The way he was taking charge of her made her think that he knew her well......very well......but then why could she not place him? How much had she forgotten? She tried closing her eyes and imagining him in her life......wishing to remember any incident, a flash, anything which would connect him to her.
Nothing.......all she drew was a blank. Armaan had told her that he was the one who had held her hand last night. He was always seemed to be there, it should mean something.
He watched her rocking back and forth, her brow furrowed. He knew she was trying to place him. He prayed for a flash or a small memory so she could feel him as a part of her life again. He also knew that this wasn't good for her and she needed to stop.
"Nikita" he calls out to her and she opens her eyes, still blank at where he fit in her life. "Stop stressing yourself......time will heal everything.....please rest" he instructs and starts to walk away, his heart happy about the fact that though Nikki's memory was of no help, her heart recognized him.
"Abhimanyu" she said his name softly and Abhi stopped. A feeling of relief coursed through his body. It felt so good to hear his name from her mouth. He would have preferred "Abhi" but he would take anything. It had been4 days since he had last been addressed by her. Four very long days. He turned towards her and she looked confused.
"I need your help" she says, eyes downcast and he walks back and takes the seat next to her bedside.
"Tell me...how I may help" he asks her and she looks into his eyes. Those eyes, she had seen those eyes, why was it so difficult to remember.
"How much have I forgotten?" she asked outright and saw that he did not turn away from her. He simply looked at her, all his emotions apparent in his eyes. He smiled slightly.
"Nikita.....why are you in such a hurry? It's not important right now" he starts when she takes his hand in hers and says, "Please......It is important for me.....please Abhimanyu" she implores and Abhimanyu untangles her hand and shakes his head.
"No.....what is important is you getting better.....so just rest" he says a little strictly and gets up to leave but hears a sob. He rolls his eyes and turns back to see Nikki looking at him with tears and that melts him.
"Two years" he replies and she gasps.
"Two years?" she repeats incredulously, shaking her head.
"Why?" she questions and he shrugs.
"I have the same question but Dr. Nikita, sometimes all the questions don't have an answer or maybe the answer isn't easy to understand" he tells her, unable to answer her why.
"Did I....Do I....know you?" she asked, putting her feelings in question.
"You worked with me for almost a year so.....yes" he answers.
"How well?" she asks him.
"Well enough or maybe not that well......you did forget me" he hides his pain behind a joke and she smiles at his feeble attempt at humor.
"Now Dr. Nikita.....rest......we can play the questionnaire game later... ...Ok...I have to go to a meeting" he gently touches her cheek and her eyes close reflexively, enjoying his touch. She opens her eyes to find him gone.
"He didn't tell me anything either.....Sadu" she throws the pillow down in a fit of anger.
"Sadu.....sadu" she repeats trying to remember why it felt right to call him that. She gives up and falls asleep.
The day passes swiftly at Sanjeevani and when Abhimanyu stops by before leaving, he sees that her dinner was untouched and she was reading. He goes inside and looks pointedly at the food.
"You didn't eat" he questions her a little angry.
"I was waiting for you" she smiles impishly, knowing full well that he was angry and she felt right to rile him.
"Really? Why?" he asks coming closer, his dark gaze probing and suddenly Nikki doesn't realize what she should answer. The idea to rile him had come out of nowhere and she had followed her instinct but now she had no idea how to deal with his questions.
"To.....To complain" she improvises.
"Complain.....I see....about what Nikita?" he asks her, his eyes twinkling and he stands with his arms folded across his chest and head bent a little sideways.
"He looks so cute" she thinks and then mentally slaps herself for her wayward thoughts, which seemed to crop up at an inopportune time in her head.
"You are the head of the hospital......so I wanted to complain to you that the food is aghhhh" she makes a face and shudders.
"Oh really?" he raises an eyebrow and inspects the food and gives her a questioning look, "Everything looks fine"
"It's bland and tasteless......I don't want it......I want something spicy" she says stubbornly.
"Dr. Nikita....eat up.....and stop this drama.....do you get it.....you need to eat for you to take the medicines......get out of here and eat what you want" he tells her a little harshly and she turns her face away understanding that he was right but not wanting to eat.
"Now" he says a little loudly and she picks up the plate, "Fine.....Sadu" she mumbles and Abhimanyu looks at her sharply.
"What......what did you just say?" he asks excited that maybe she remembered something. "Nothing" she replies shoving food in her mouth and Abhi sits and watches her like a hawk. After she is done he makes sure that she takes her medicine and leaves for his home.
This continues for the next few days. Abhi comes in, meets Nikki in the morning, stops by at lunch time and also pays attention to her at dinner. Nikita always waits for him to come and force her to eat, enjoying his undivided attention.
The pattern goes by unquestioned by both. Nikki looks forward to his visits to brighten her day, not understanding why he made her feel the way she felt. She knew he cared. It showed in his every action; the way he walked in like he owned the place, the way he dealt with her firmly but lovingly, the amount of time he had spent with her. All spoke as if they had shared a time together which was away from her professional life.
She wished she remembered. How could she have forgotten something so beautiful? She stops her line of thought right there. She hadn't even thanked him for holding her hand......had pretended that she hadn't remembered.....why? The answer was simple......she was shy. Shy? Now why was she so shy around him. It wasn't as if she were in love or anything.
She shakes her head to clear her thoughts. The feelings he aroused were very familiar to her and they resembled Love a lot. Love......if she was in love, she wouldn't have forgotten him and if she had, he would have reminded her. Wouldn't he? This was crazy. She needed answers.....she needed to remember the last two years to understand everything. She had tried but hadn't remembered anything. Instead her head stared paining so much that she had stopped stressing.
Abhimanyu on the other hand couldn't stay away from her. He had to limit his visits so as not to scare her away or force her to remember. He knew that wasn't good for her. She hadn't remembered him by her bedside. That made him sad but he just dealt with it. He knew that her heart recognized her. She was her former impish self with him. She didn't eat till he came and then just kept complaining how bad everything was. He could see the glimpses of old Nikki, his Nikki.
This was an improvement though. No fighting.....but he missed that.....he missed everything about her but what he missed the most was the love he had started to see in her eyes for him. The guilt hadn't gotten any less just had eased into a nagging pain. He massaged his head and stopped thinking. He needed to take care of her and that was all he allowed himself to think from now.
Few days later Riddhima walks in alone to visit her without the rest of the boisterous gang and Nikki is excited to finally ask her friend a few questions which were bothering her.
Riddhima checks her up and tells her that her physiotherapy sessions will start from tomorrow and Nikki is happy to start the exercises to get back on her feet. The girls start talking and finally Nikki asks her, "So who is the secret admirer?"
"Well you know him" Riddhima teases laughingly, "You meet him here every day and enjoy spending time with him" she gives a hint and Nikki's smile dims.
"Come on Riddhima tell me" she asks.
"Guess.....hasn't he told you as yet?" she asks incredulously.
"Who Riddhima?" Nikki asks.
"He visits you every day and you are still asking me?" Riddhima refuses to divulge and smiles at Nikki's exasperation.
"Riddhima" Nikki pleads but her pager goes off and she rushes out. She stops at the door and looks back, "Figure out Nikki .....you see him all the time and let me help you......he is very sweet and caring" and waves and runs out.
Hearing that, the smile disappears from her face. Abhimanyu. He visited her every day. So he was engaged to Riddhima.....then why was he being so nice to her? She never could understand him. He had come every morning, noon and evening to visit her. Here she was thinking maybe they had known each other,but as her luck would have it, he was engaged. This made her mad. She didn't understand why but she was angry and he would know. She didn't need anyone's pity. She could look after herself. She wasn't disabled. Tears of fury cloud her eyes but she just rubs them away.
Abhimanyu walks in at lunch time and Nikki had worked herself into a ball of fury. She silently ate her lunch, not wanting to talk to him.
"You like this?" he asks her assuming that the chirpy girl was silent because she enjoyed her lunch.
"I want you to leave ....that's why" she replies shortly.
He looks up sharply at her tone and his eyes search her face for answers. "Leave? Are you tired?" he gets up and puts his hand on her forehead to check if she was running a temperature as she was suddenly snappy. She slaps his hand away and looks away.
"What is wrong with you?" he asks her firmly, unable to understand what could result in her being so sulky.
"Me? You dare to ask what is wrong with me...... You are the one who is playing a charade and you ask me?" her voice starts to rise and he realizes that she is furious at him. His heart stops for a second. Had she remembered everything? That is why she was back to hating him. Well if that was the case then he was at least happy that she was back to her normal self again. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath before he turns to her.
"If you tell me what's wrong then maybe" he starts in calm voice but hears her snort with anger.
"I don't need your pity.......just leave me alone and go and take care of your girlfriend" She throws at him and Abhimanyu is confused.
"Excuse me? Girlfriend?" he asks at an absolute loss to understand what she was saying.
"Yeah.....girlfriend......Riddhima" she throws at him, her insane, uncontrollable jealousy, which she didn't understand or stop to understand comes to the forefront.
"Riddhima?" Abhimanyu repeats the name surprised, " Riddhimma is" but Armaan's voice interrupts him.
"Is my girlfriend" he completes the sentence and Nikki looks up shocked.
"Y....Your girlfriend?" and when everything falls in place she colors with embarrassment. She had been so jealous that she had launched at him without even trying to confirm from anyone else about the facts.
"Sorry" she mumbles without looking at Abhimanyu and Armaan watches the exchange trying hard to control his laughter. Nikki, his friend had landed with the quintessential foot in her mouth. He really wanted to see how The Boss was going to deal with his girlfriend now. So he stands in a corner, calmly watching the two.
"You thought.....Riddhima?" Abhi is unable to believe that Nikki had launched at him just because she thought that for some insane reason he was going out with Riddhima. He thought back at the time spent together and didn't remember mentioning Riddhima even once.
"I said na .....sorry" Nikki apologizes, wishing she could disappear. He shakes his head unbelieving.
"Why would you think that?" he asks still incredulous.
"I.....asked....Riddhima" she starts slowly and Armaan can't believe that the man who was legendary in Sanjeevani for his temper was dealing so patiently with his friend.
"Do they even know how to fight? Or this lion act is only for us?" he thinks looking at the two.
"Did she say that?" he asks and she shakes her head a no. "Then?"
Nikki looks at Armaan helplessly, at a loss to deal with the man standing in front of her whose gaze was turning cold by the second. She gulps and implores like a school girl to Armaan with her eyes, to help her. Armaan Raises his hands and mouths a No and signals with his hands that if he helped, Modi would kill him. Looking at Nikki stare behind him and catches Armaan in the act.
"Dr. Malik?" he questions and Armaan raises his hands in surrender.
"Dr. Modi" he replies and moves towards the couple.
Nikki looks from one man to the other, helplessly.
"Nikita......Riddhima is my girlfriend......not his" he engulfs her in a semi hug and then looking straight at Abhimanyu, he says, "His girlfriend is " and watches Abhimanyu's eyes register shock and turns slowly towards Nikki and says, "YOU" and sees the same shock reflect in her eyes.