Nikki was crying helplessly, not only for the love she couldn't remember but also because being brave and keeping a smiling face for so many days had taken its toll on her. Her thoughts and emotions were muddled and she did not understand what to believe, who to believe and how much to believe. There were only two people she knew who she thought understood her like her family.
Armaan, she had not forgotten him and he was a cloak of familiarity for her. He was her link to her past, who knew everything about her and understood her and had always taken care of her. He also knew about those 2 years she had seemingly forgotten.
Abhimanyu, she couldn't remember anything about him but her heart seeked him. He was her pillar of strength and had been by her side constantly. She loved it when he showered attention on her, told her off firmly or simply sat by her side busy working.
She also knew that the two people so dear to her were also at loggerheads with each other. They did try to hide it from her but she could see it clearly when either one of it let it slip unconsciously. Her past two years were a mystery to her but now she really wanted to remember those days as everyday was a reminder of how much she had forgotten.
"Nikki …..Please don't cry" Abhimanyu's soothing voice broke her thoughts and his hand on her back, which was trying to calm her felt good. She suddenly became conscious of her position and pushed him away gently, wiping her tears and looking for a tissue. Abhi hands her a box of tissues and while sniffling she wipes her tears and her nose while he looks on lovingly.
"I am sorry….I…it's all so confusing" she tells him hiccupping a bit and he can't take his eyes of her red nose which she was twitching constantly. Unable to stop himself he gently tweaks her nose and she looks at him in surprise.
"What?" she asks touching her nose.
"Nothing….just looks cute …all red" he smiles back at her and she gapes.
"Cute……I look cute to you? I am a mess….look at me….all red eyes and nose" she points out to him and he bursts out laughing.
"That is funny….how?" she asks getting offended at him laughing at her and when he doesn't answer but keeps laughing, she takes a pillow and starts hitting him.
"Nikki….stop it" he pleads but she refuses to listen and continues hitting him. He tries to grapple the pillow out of her grasp and throws it aside but Nikki starts hitting him with her hands. "Stop it" he warns but when she doesn't listen, he catches her hands in his and pushes her back on her bed, leaning close to her.
"Stop …I said" his voice turns husky at her closeness and awareness of him replaces laughter in Nikki's eyes. Her eyes open wide unblinking and she looks steadily at him with trepidation and he stares at her trying to control his urge to kiss her. He closes his eyes to control his feelings and with a sigh moves away from her, leaving her hands. In a hurry she snatches her hands back and the stone of her ring scratches his arm.
"Ouch" he takes his hand back and looks at the scratch and grimaces.
"Sorry….show me" Nikki tries to make a grab for it while pushing herself in a sitting position and Abhimanyu tries to snatch it away. She misbalances herself and falls back on the bed but grabs Abhi by his collar and he falls on top of her and hits his head on the head of the bed.
"Are you trying to kill me?" he lifts himself on his arms and starts rubbing his head and Nikki gets conscious of his closeness trying to turn her face away. Abhimanyu notices it and gets up abruptly creating a distance between them.
His eyes fall on the food tray and he looks at Nikki and she makes a face.
"Fine I will eat…this bland food" she says asking for the tray and he gladly hands it over. "You know…..you should have dinner with me every day here…..then you will realize how boring and tasteless this food is" she complains and he smiles at that thanking his stars that the complaining, fighting Nikki was back in action.
"So…..where was our first date?" she asks between her bite and his head shoots up in surprise. "What?" he asks a little agitated.
"First date?" she repeats shrugging.
"D…Date? "He repeats like a parrot and Nikki rolls her eyes.
"Dr. Abhimanyu…….Armaan told me you are my boyfriend" and when she sees him blush a deep red at her use of the word, her mouth falls open in shock. She shuts her mouth and thinks of a better word to substitute, "Ok sorry….wrong word…..Ok maybe you just asked me out….so how did it happen? I mean you and me…..we "she trails, hoping he understood what she was asking as she couldn't put it more simply.
"Nikki….is this important?" he shifts uncomfortably on his feet at a loss where to start.
"Of course…..wait a minute….was Armaan bluffing? Was he trying to put you in a spot?" she asks getting embarrassed, realizing that she had simply chosen to believe Armaan whereas the man standing uncomfortably in front of her eyes hadn't once accepted or reinforced what Armaan had said. She slapped her forehead, chiding herself for believing her prankster friend.
"Oh god" her hand goes to her mouth and she closes her eyes not able to meet his dark ones.
"What now Nikki?" he asks confused at her sudden shift in conversation.
"I ….I am sorry….just forget what I asked" she says without looking up and hastily finishes her dinner so that he would leave and she wouldn't blurt out more stupid stuff in front of him.
She would kill Armaan. That idiot had made her land in such an embarrassing position and she had been happy about Abhimanyu and her. She surely had lost her brains in the accident. She was happily taking his kindness for love. She needed to get a grip on herself and concentrate on getting better. If they had been a couple he would have mentioned it. He wouldn't be trying to avoid the topic. She knew he was trying not to break her heart. He was so careful around her and nice to her and she thought he was in love. She was the biggest idiot ever born.
Seeing her gulping her food, Abhimanyu stares in confusion. She hated it but she was eating like she was starved and suddenly she had dropped the topic of their relationship like a hot potato. What was going on with this girl? He was trying to figure out a way to tell her the truth about their relationship. He did not want to tell her that she meant the world to him and he couldn't fathom living without her and scare her away. He needed to be gentle and go step by step. How he was supposed to do that was beyond his imagination.
Nikki coughed abruptly, the food she had been shoving fast getting stuck. He got up and patted her on the back and gave her some water.
"Thanks" she choked out.
"Nikita…..what is wrong with you…..just eat slowly….you aren't going anywhere" he tells her and she nods her head silently.
She finishes her food and hands him the plate. "Look Nikki…..we should talk about what Armaan said" Abhi starts when Nikki looks away in embarrassment.
"I …..Can we…talk later…..I have a headache and want to sleep" she makes an excuse, not ready to hear how she had been mistaken and how he was just being kind to her. They might not be together but his closeness affected her. She did want him to stop by and spend time with her. She liked him as a friend, if she could call him that.
"Oh God" she muttered holding her head. She needed her memory back or she would go insane thinking about what to think. Abhimanyu thinks she is in pain and goes near her, gently touching her forehead, checking for fever but is relieved to find that she is fine.
"Ok….you rest Nikita……I will leave now" he says, deciding not to bother her right now. They could always talk later. He bid her goodbye and walked out leaving a very angry and embarrassed Nikki.
The next few days were really busy for Abhimanyu with delegates of the New Sanjeevani project arriving and a million meetings back to back. His time spent with Nikki shortens due to his commitments but he tries his best to drop in to see her progress as much as possible. All he can manage is a few rushed moments but he still makes time to see her.
Nikki on the other hand put her full concentration on getting well and spent as much time as her body allowed, trying to get back on her feet. Abhimanyu's visits had decreased sharply and if she had any doubt that that they were a couple, it had vanished. She felt sad but then she did not want to read much into a relationship which was plain friendship and be heartbroken about it. Her heart refused to believe that he wasn't hers but her mind kept putting forth the proofs before her. The struggle between her heart and mind was exhausting and she gave up on it.
A few days later, Abhimanyu walked in her ward to see her walking slowly around her room. Joy overtook him and he rushed and hugged Nikki, stunning her in the process. His Nikki was back on her feet. He was thrilled and just couldn't help but take her in his arms. He didn't ever want to let go of her. He had missed spending time with her in the past week and now he had walked into the happiest hour of his life.
She was back in his arms. The hug was a surprise but a pleasant one. He was hugging her tightly and she couldn't fathom why. "Abhimanyu" she softly called out his name, reminding him that he was imprisoning her in his arms.
He stepped back but did not release her, holding her around her waist. "Hmmm" he asked looking down at her smiling. She blushed at his caressing gaze.
"Why….why are you….happy" she asks, trying to say the right word.
Abhi places a kiss on her forehead and Nikki's mouth falls open in shock. "I am so glad to see you walk….you have made my day" he tells her happily.
This man was an enigma, she concluded. She would never understand him….EVER. What was he to her? The question came back to haunt her and this time she needed her answers. If they were friends, he wouldn't hold her like she was a fragile doll and look at her like she was his whole world. Come what may, now Nikita Malhotra would find her answer to the puzzle in her life called Abhimanyu Modi.
"Ahem…..excuse me" they hear a deep baritone from the door of her ward and Abhimanyu turns to look at who was interrupting them. His hand remains at her waist and he turns to find a tall, handsome man, with twinkling eyes, about his age, standing there with a half smile gracing his lips.
"Yes?" Abhi asks looking at the smiling stranger who strode in confidently inside and was looking at Nikki with a smile. He saw his Nikki smile back at him and did not like it at all.
"Dr. Nikita Malhotra?" he asked looking at Nikki and when she nodded he turned towards Abhi and smiled at him too. "You…I am sorry I was told that I would find her here" he asks Abhi.
"Dr. Abhimanyu Modi…..Head of Sanjeevani" he introduces himself.
"Oh I have heard a lot about you Dr. Modi……a pleasure to meet you….I am Dr. Gaurav Khanna…..head of Neurosurgery at Breach Candy" he smiles and shakes Abhimanyu's hand.
"And this beautiful lady here would be my patient ….Dr. Nikita…..right?" he asks extending his hand and Nikita shakes it, a beautiful smile on her face and Abhimanyu's eyes narrow, taking in the new doctor's attitude. He hated him already.
"May I call you Nikita or would you prefer Dr. Nikita" Gaurav asks trying to put her at ease.
"Nikita would be fine" she replies, stepping out of Abhimanyu's arms, trying to stand on her own.
"Nikita it is then……Dr. Modi, I will be here for a few days, trying to figure out why such a lovely lady can't remember her beautiful memories" he turns towards Abhi "If it wouldn't be a problem can you tell me where I could set up my office?" he asks politely.
"Sure…..follow me…..let's see what Dr. Shashank has figured out for you" he leads the way outside. He turns to see Gaurav smiling at Nikki and giving her a quick hug and that sets his teeth on edge.
"Pretty lady" Gaurav remarks offhandedly to Abhi while following him outside.
"She is taken" Abhi replies and Gaurav lifts an eyebrow.
"Lucky Man" he smiles at him and they walk into Shashank's office to study Nikki's case.