Joined: 15 December 2010
Joined: 15 December 2010
Hello buddy! Am so happy to know that u thoroughly enjoyed the last part.
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Joined: 15 December 2010
Aww thanks Ruchu for ur such a sweet comments..
@bold: thanks for finding it a smart move.. After all it was her turn to confess and she'd to look her best
Its so nice to have ur comment and pleas do keep on commenting like this.. Thank u so much dear
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Joined: 15 December 2010
hey jabz, glad to know that u liked the part.. Thanks for ur comment.
@bold: Arey she did confess in the last update. Now how many times do u want her to confess yaar??Thanks fr commeting dear..
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Joined: 15 December 2010
Aww Honey I can't tell u how much honored I was feeling after finding ur comments in my thread. Finally, I got lucky to have ur detailed comments.. Phew.. am so so happy that I can't tell u. As I kept on saying repeatedly, I once again want to mention that it was just coz of you and Mich I'd joined the IF.. that too just to let u guys know hw much I loved ur FFs.. Itz coz of u guys I got to know wonderful people out here.. And thanks a lot for giving us AN treat with your awesome writing..
Now coming to ur comment, its such a lovely detailed comment.. I loved every bit of what u've written.. I'm so thankful to u for sparing some time for posting such detailed comment. Glad that u liked the story so far and other new characters in the FF.. Glad to know that u found it an interesting read and I wish I could keep up this standard in the next updates, as well *finger crossed*
Once again thanks a ton for ur comment.. And please do keep on commenting..
Especial thanks to Mitzi for recommending this FF to u :)
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mitzification, jsha, Khushboo_AN, DelusionalMe, ANrucha,
Joined: 15 December 2010
Firstly, a huge thanks for recommending this FF to Honey.. Thanks a lot buddy.. Secondly, a huge thanks, once again, for sparing ur quality time in editing the updates.. Ur help means a lot to me.. Thanks a ton..
Thirdly, many thanks for ur sweet comment on the last part and constant encouragement. Loved everything you had to say about it...And I hope u'l find their date quite entertaining in the next update :)
Thanks a ton for everything..
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mitzification, jsha, DelusionalMe,
Joined: 15 December 2010
Thanks Guys for commenting and clicking like button.. I heartily appreciate your efforts to spare time in posting your comments.. It helps me to know whether am on the right track and to progress with the story. Glad that you liked the parts so far and would try to maintain your interest in the next coming updates...
Am sorry for keeping you waited for the next part.. Here you go with the next part.. I know its impossibly long update, please bear with it.. I don't know where to stop when I start writing something on AN.. Hope u'll like it *Finger Crossed*
Thanks and cheers,
PS: A very huge and a special thanks to Mitzi for sparing ur quality time in editing the latest update.. Sorry for giving u a hard time in the latest update.. Thanks a ton fr ur help..
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mitzification, Khushboo_AN, mjht_one, DelusionalMe, ANrucha,
Joined: 15 December 2010
Once the door was closed she was galvanized in action. She jumped on her feet. What was she going to wear? Suddenly she was starving.
After reaching home, Nikki spent almost half hour just to decide on what to wear for the most wonderful evening of her life. Finally she put her hands on her knee length dress of red colored silk that nicely fitted on her well toned curves. Once got ready, she checked her appearance in the mirror and pated her back, "Not Bad! Dr. Nikita Malhotra! You look gorgeous!" She was too preoccupied in complimenting herself when her door bell rang. She glanced at her watch and her heart did a peculiar kind of flutter. Taking a nervous sigh, she walked towards the main door and opened it plastering a confident smile.
As she opened the door, her heart skipped a beat at the sight before her. There was Abhi standing outside her home. He was looking breathtakingly handsome in his red color polo shirt... the color that very well matched with her own dress.. How did he know what color she was going to wear? She wondered as her eyes, without her knowledge, travelled till parting of his shirt.. Oh God what the hell she was doing.. She felt embarrassed as her eyes travelled back to his face. She noticed his lips curved into a killer smile.. the smile that made him look devilishly handsome.. And she apprehended from that smile that she was caught off guard by him in checking him out thoroughly. Nikki swallowed in embarrassment and blinked her eyes to regain her composure.
On the other side, Abhi watched her solemnly for a split of second as she opened the door. As his eyes roamed over her appearance, his heart went thump. Today again she'd knocked him off with her glamorous look.. How did she manage to look incredibly gorgeous over and over again.. He wondered.. Its going to be a long long evening for you Dr. Abhimanyu Modi.. He swellowed inside and shook his head to clear all disturbing thoughts. Sighing, he wandered back his eyes to her face. He noticed glimpse of blush on her face and his heart did double time for a moment. Get hold of yourself Abhi.. Once again you are behaving like a love struck teenager. He smiled to himself. Depositing his hands in his jeans pocket, Abhi searched for some sensible words to compliment his date tonight.
"You are looking Nice!" He manages to utter.
"Hun?" Nikki looks at him in disbelief.
Just nice.. Did she look just nice? Agreed he was looking lethally handsome but she too was looking more than just nice.. Wasn't she? Nikki felt little nervous about her look. But as her eyes locked with him, she noticed glimpse of appearance in his most expressive eyes.. None of them blinked their eyes for a moment.
"If you are ready, shall we start our date?" Abhi recovers first and asks huskily towering her, making her more nervous.
"hun? Umm yes.. just one moment." Nikki stammers and nods yes. She goes inside to check her appearance for the last time.
" You look more than just nice, Nikki" She speaks to herself confidently. " Hmm.. Now you need to do just one thing to look your best." She hurriedly opens her shoe rack and wears sharp high heels shoes. ' Strangely, it boosts her ego and helps her to regain her composure. She walks out of her house and follows Abhi towards his car with high spirit and confidence.
The journey towards their destination was quite uncomfortable. Abhi tried very hard to focus on the road ahead and to not to notice how impossibly gorgeous Nikki was looking tonight. And Nikki made numerous futile attempt to not to stare mesmerized at Abhi through rearview mirror. To her great relief, the journey towards the destination wasn't that long.
As they reached to their destination, Abhi led her to the table, putting his palm on her back. The feel of his warm palm on her back sent a tingle of shiver in her spine and she found it difficult to focus her steps in her impossibly sharp high heels. Despite her high heels he still towered her small frame by a good five inches.
Why does he have to be so tall? Nikki thinks to herself as her mind still battled over where to focus. On her back where he had rested his palm or the path ahead.
"Are you okay?" Abhi's soothing voice brings her out of her grumping.
"Hun"? Nikki asks puzzled turning a little to face him.
Abhi gave her a long stare before leaning down near her ear. "I asked you are you okay? You are shivering. "Abhi asks huskily.
Nikki shivered more and made a futile attempt to hide her nervousness. "Umm yes, of course. It's a little cold out here." Nikki stammers while focusing on the path ahead. As Abhi was facing her back, he thought it safe to smile.
As they reached their table, both took their seats across each other. Nikki looked all around scanning her surroundings. She noticed that he'd chosen the table that was strategically located in a dimly lit corner of the restaurant to give them maximum amount of privacy.
"Why are we sitting here?" The words were out of her mouth even before she could think.
"W..hat?" Abhi was taken aback by her question. "Excuse me! What's wrong with this table?"
"umm it's.." Nikki tries to look everywhere but at him, trying to come up with some lousy excuse to defend her naive statement "It's in the far corner and.."
But to Abhi's horror, she stopped in mid sentence and in a swift second, she slid down under the table on her knees as if she'd seen a ghost and was trying to hide somewhere like a small frightened child.
Abhi, aghast, slides back his chair. " W..hat are you doing?" He stammers his expression all horrified.
"Out of all the places you found only this place for dining. " She asks frowning.
"W..hat?" She wasn't making any sense to him. "Oh Gosh! Nikki, are you out of your mind? Get out from there right now." He emphasized each word with gritted teeth trying hard to control his irritation.
"Just turn around and see who's there? Wait don't turn they might see you." Nikki utters hurriedly.
Abhi was losing his patience with every passing minute and he shook his head in exhilaration. He rubbed his hand over his face, trying hard to keep his anger under check.
"Nikki, please get out from there and take your seat." He speaks with gritted teeth, scanning his surroundings. To his relief, people sitting near their table were yet oblivious to the scene 'his date' was making tonight.
"Abhi its Armaan, Rahul and Atul. Please let's go from here before they find out that we are on a date." She speaks in her childlike tone.
"W..hat?" Abhi looks at her in disbelief. "Armaan!" He mutters with gritted teeth. After a smile he swallows a lump of anger and speaks emphasizing each words,"I don't care if they find out we are on a DATE and you are coming out from there right now."
To his misery, she wasn't paying any heed to his warning and was looking at the waiter who approached their table at that moment.
"Ma'am what happened? Have you lost anything" Waiter asks concernedly.
"Do you have any back exit?" She asks the waiter hurriedly.
The waiter was puzzled for a moment but replied anyway.
"Umm yes.. it's from here." He replies gesturing towards the kitchen.
"Great ! Abhi let's go out from there."
Abhi leans back in his chair, placing his hand on his thigh. "I guess you didn't hear me Nikita. I said I'm not going anywhere. And come out from there RIGHT NOW" Abhi announces in his stern voice.
The Waiter looked from Abhi to Nikki and back amusingly. The scene and conversation before him was quite entertaining and he was enjoying every bit of it.
Nikki eyes were fixed on Abhi's stubborn features and she knew that no matter how much she hated to do it but she simply had to do it right now.. that was.. pleading..
"Please Abhi,." She reaches out for his hand rested on his thigh, "Please listen to me this once."
She pleaded with an innocent girlish appeal in her glittering eyes and gestures that left him with no other option but to follow her to the exit door out from the kitchen, fumingly.
As they reached near his car, Nikki breathed in relief. She turned towards Abhi to thank him but found him marching towards the other side of his car. He unlocked the car, sat inside and shut the door with a bang. Nikki swallowed at his action and decided not to push his trigger right now. She took her seat inside the car and fastened the seat belt. Abhi drove the car in silence. Out of habit, Nikki glanced in his direction through the rear view mirror and shivered noticing grim lines on his face. After a while his posture seemed to relax a bit and she ventured to break the silence.
"Umm where are we going? Do you have any particular place in mind?"
She had the audacity to ask such a question.. Abhi wondered grimly.. He turned his face towards her and gave her a hard stare. His eyes softened as he took in the features of her face and he had to remind himself that he was still irritated and annoyed with her.
"Before I tell you the place why don't you call and find out whereabouts of your other gullible friends. It would save my time, energy and mental peace. "
Nikki opened and closed her mouth to retort back but no words came out. Making an annoyed face, she crossed her arms in a huff and sat back in her seat.
"I'm sorry Abhi." Nikki sobers after a while.
"Save it.. You will need it for the rest of the evening. " Abhi wasn't in a mood to let it go.
Nikki looks at him in disbelief, "You will never change!" Abhi shrugges his shoulders and his lips twitch into a sly smile. Nikki makes a face and pretends to concentrate on the road ahead.
After a while, Abhi drove the car inside the Parking lot of a Multi Cuisine Restaurant and got out from the car. Nikki too stepped out and her eyes lit in the excitement as she found herself standing outside her most favorite restaurant. Abhi wondered at her animated expression but didn't understand anything. He shook his head and led her inside the restaurant in complete silence.
"Good evening Sir.. Good evening Ma'am" A Waiter approaches to welcome them. Abhi just nods his head in acceptance.
"Please this way Sir." He gestures them to follow him but gets interrupted by Abhi in the next second.
"Umm wait ! Please make sure that the table is right in the centre. Where anyone can have a good view of what we are having in our dinner and can easily eavesdrop on our conversation." Abhi finishes sarcastically glaring in Nikki's direction.
Nikki looked at him open mouthed. She couldn't believe what she was hearing '.. How rude and arrogant!! This man's arrogance has no bounds'. She glared back with her huge eyes that conveyed her message. Abhi bowed his head a little in acknowledgment.
The Waiter looks from Abhi to Nikki and back to Abhi.. A typical pig headed husband and wife.. He shakes his head amusingly and clears his throat," umm okay.. Please this way Sir.."
As they made their way to the dinner table, Nikki constantly reminded herself that she would behave tonight. She didn't want to spoil her date.. yes she could do that.. And silently pleaded to God.. But tonight, God wasn't in a mood to listen to her plea.
Just two minutes after they occupied their seats, a man in his mid sixties stood by their table with a young dashing man not more than Abhi's age.
"Hello Abhimanyu, what a pleasant surprise!" Divya's uncle pats on Abhi's shoulder.
Abhi rose to his feet to welcome the new visitors.
" Oh! hello Sir. Nice to see you here!" Abhi astonishes.
" Abhi, what a coincidence. I was just discussing your New Sanjivani Project with this young man. Oh by the way, He is Sahil Sheth." He gestures towards Sahil who offers his hand to Abhi for a handshake.
" Dr. Abhimanyu Modi." Abhi shakes hand with a mock smile.
"And she is'" Divya's uncle shifts his gaze towards Nikki and the other two pair of eyes follows his gaze.
Nikki too was on her feet plastering a forcible smile on her face.
"She is umm Dr. Nikita Malhotra. My intern. Actually she is the one who is assisting me in this project." Abhi speaks reluctantly. " Nikki..ta..., um he is Mr. Sharma, Divya's uncle and our new investor for the New Sanjivani project."
Nikki shook hand with both the Gentlemen and got a nice compliment in return. As if that wasn't enough, Divya too made her way towards their table with a blissful smile on her face.
"Well well, I didn't know I was invited for a surprise dinner party." Divya greets everyone cheerfully.
That was it.. Nikki's mock smile immediately replaced by grim, jealous features as Divya halted beside Abhi. She didn't make any effort to hide annoyance from her face and glared hard at Abhi. Abhi sensed a hard stare on his face and met her gaze momentarily. She fumed and Abhi made a face shrugging his shoulder.
On the other side, the smile vanished from Divya's face as well, as her eyes fell on the man who stood beside her uncle. Everything fell into place as to why her Uncle had summoned her to join him for dinner tonight. It was her uncle's yet another futile attempt to set her up with some business tycoon's lousy son.. Hell.. it had been less than a week that she'd had a heated argument with him on this topic but yet her uncle hadn't stopped interfering in her love life.. She had to stop it now.. enough is enough..
Leaning near her uncle, Divya hisses in his ear, "Uncle, why are you doing this to me? Now don't even think about tricking me and asking me to have dinner with that Sahil alone."
Divya's Uncle clears his throat, but before he could even utter a word, Divya finds an empty chair besides Abhi and drops down on it.
"Hey why are you all standing? Let's jump on the food." Divya speaks cheerfully flashing a sly smile at her uncle.
Divy's announcement left Abhi with no choice but to ask the other two gentlemen to join them on his very well planned and pleasant date' damn with destiny..
Abhi stole a fearsome glance in Nikki's direction while taking his seat. Nikki leveled his gaze and didn't even try to hide jealousy, anger and her distaste for the entire situation'. Abhi's heart tugged.. But wait.. here he wasn't at fault.. He had indeed planned a nice date for her, if it hadn't been for her Armaan.. her Armaan?.. Phew' Damn with everyone.. Abhi's lips twitched in a rueful smile, the smile that conveyed his message for her.. it's you who's responsible for the entire situation.. Serves you right..
The smile, Nikki found somehow made him impossibly even more good looking.. But wait what did he say?.. Nikki narrowed her eyes.. Serve me right' That's impossibly rude and arrogant' Her eyes reflected her message. But Divya's words forced them to break their eye contact.
"Umm so what's on the menu tonight?" Divya asks even without looking up from the menu card.
In less than twenty minutes, the date was forgotten and Abhi found himself talking on the progress of his most ambitious project. As they placed their order, Divya's uncle turned his attention to Nikki and shot out a few questions to her as to her take on the project. Nikki answered hesitatingly first, trying to hide her nervousness with a chocked laughter. She glanced in Abhi's direction as she felt him watching her. Her hesitant gaze met with his softened one and that encouraged confidence within her. She straightened her shoulders and rested her hands on the table cloth. In less than a minute she felt calm and collected and started answering more freely, giving her frank opinion on the project, effortlessly grabbing all the attention towards herself with her intelligence, sharpness, charm and sense of humor. In an instant, she was the one who was more vocal, vastly relaxed calmer & in control than :
- Divya's uncle- a wise business tycoon, who had invested a fair amount in the project and was somehow convinced that he was going to get a good return out of it;
- Divya- an angry soul, who was trying hard to control her temper, making a strategy on how she was going to confront her uncle for setting up an unwanted date without even asking her.
- Sahil- a confused soul, who, for a while, tried to figure out what the hell was he doing on that table tonight.. After few minutes, he chided his mind to chuck everything.. And focus on the lady sitting to his left side.. Was she more enchanting than the angelic girl sitting across the table and babbling something for the past half hour. Hmm let's find out!
- And lastly, there was Abhi- A love struck soul, who was leaning back in his chair and was trying to figure out the newly discovered side of the small spitfire sitting across the table.
Though Abhi had never doubted her intelligence, sharp mind and sassy tongue, tonight he was watching her with renewed appreciation. Tonight, she was, reluctantly, exposing her dedication, enthusiasm and commitment towards the project. That made him feel incredibly proud of his own decision to chose her for this extremely important and ambitious project of his life. A reluctant smile curved on his lips as he remembered how she'd managed to trick a jerk like Patil to fix up a meeting with the minister. It was her willpower, wit and courage that had attracted him towards her. Those memorable moments, widened his smile into a grin. At the same moment, Nikki's eyes met with his for a brief second and she arched an eyebrow. Abhi's eyes gleamed with tender appreciation conveying his message and that made Nikki's lips twitch into a shy, blissful smile in acknowledgement.
The waiter appeared at their table again, breaking their eye lock and making them aware of the people around them. Indeed unforgettable first dinner date.. Abhi shook his head sighing.
It was past ten when finally their uninvited guests left them alone, biding their goodbyes in the parking lot. Abhi opened the car door for Nikki without meeting her gaze. After closing it softly, he walked back to the driver's side and took his seat. Nikki fastened her seatbelt as Abhi started the engine of his car and brought the car in the drive way. Abhi drove the car in silence for almost an hour. But unexpectedly the silence was quite comfortable, not the one that mandate the conversation to make the journey comfortable. Out of habit, Nikki stole a glance at Abhi through the rearview mirror and found a blissful smile playing on his lips. She smiled to herself but got alerted in the next moment.. Why the hell was he happy when he'd ruined her most awaited date.. She fumed inside and didn't realize when Abhi drove the car inside her building's main gate. Abhi halted the car but didn't turn off the engine, leaving the air conditioner running. He turned his face to watch her and found strains of stubbornness on her face. He sighed and massaged his wrinkled forehead. He knew that was the time for confrontation.. But who'll take the lead?? An interesting question!!.. Let the time decide..
"Nikki we have reached your home." Abhi speaks in a matter of fact tone.
"I know." Nikki replies stubbornly even without making any attempt to step out from the car.
Abhi sighs again. Resting his head on his backseat, he speaks softly, "Nikki I know you are upset but'"
"Upset?" Nikki's jeering voice cut him in the middle, "Upset? Why in the world would I be upset when I have just had the perfect first ever dinner date of my life." She finishes throwing her hands all around.
Abhi turns his face towards her and watches her ruefully. "Are you trying to say that it's me who'd ruined your date?"
"Yes it's you.. "She turns in her seat and snaps her index finger towards his face, "You and only you who..". She stops as she didn't know what to say further, to lash out her anger.
Abhi levels her tone and snaps back. "Excuse me!" Gesturing his thumb towards him, he continues, "It wasn't me who had run like a coward on finding your Armaan in that restaurant where I had ..".
Abhi stopped in mid sentence as he sensed Nikki's irked gaze on his face.
"My Armaan? There you said it again. " Nikki snorts as her eyes blaze with anger. Unable to utter anything else, Nikki hastily, opens the car door and stomps out from it making her way towards her home.
Damn.. Abhi banged his arm on the steering wheel and swore under his breath. He too stomped out from the car . In three long strides, he reached out and grabbed her by the wrists. Nikki spun around to face him, felt herself flush. Both stared at each other fuming for a very long moment. Nikki wanted to scream at him and didn't suppress the urge.. To hell with her patience, control, good behavior.. She had had enough of his nonsense..
"You wanted to hurt me again, right? And well, let me tell you that you have very much succeeded in your attempt. Now let go off my hand." She lashes out the anger that she was holding all evening.
"Don't you dare throw such words on me ! And stop yelling." Abhi meets her gaze levelly and warns her- dare to utter any other nonsense.
He was fast becoming as angry as she was. The longer he stared at her stubborn face, he too found himself becoming more and more furious. Didn't she realize that he was looking forward for spending some good time alone with her, if her gullible friends, especially Armaa, had not made their unwarranted appearance even before the start of their evening?
Both stared at each other for some more time.. None of them was ready to back off.. But as Abhi found her eyes turning slightly moist, his own eyes softened a bit. He loosened his hold on her wrist and sighed.
"Look Nikki, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it the way it came out" Abhi holds up his hand and speaks gruffly.
For an instant his eyes and voice exposed a hint of vulnerability and that was Nikki's undoing. Her anger drained away in a fraction of a second and the tenderness that she heard in his voice confused her. She held his gaze for a moment trying to figure out what was going on in his mind. Eventually, she had discovered that most of the time his eyes had failed him in masking his feelings. Her instinct forced her to say something to soothe him but she didn't know what to say. At that moment neither could she walk away from him nor could she step closer. But she had to say something to lessen the tinge of pain exposed in those chocolate brown eyes.
"Abhi, I was never in love with Armaan." Nikki blurts out.
Her revelation surprised her more than Abhi. She couldn't believe that finally she had said what she had discovered over a period of time.
Abhi's expression froze. He stared back into those huge black pools that rendered him speechless. What was she trying to say? Why now?.. Hell' He wasn't interested in her past fiction.. or reality.. Oh, whatever.. He tried to pull away his gaze so that he could do some rational thinking, but failed.
"Nikki, I.. I don't want to listen to anything relating to that topic." Abhi warns her in a softer voice. However his tone held an undeniable warning. A warning that intrigued her, but her instinct encouraged her to ignore it. She noticed his expression became more guarded and he obviously wanted her to drop the subject. But she wasn't ready to co-operate.. atleast not tonight. . She was sick and tired of having Armaan in their discussion all the time. It was past time to clear this once and for all.
"No Abhi, you'll have to." Nikki speaks softly yet her tone was adamant.
Abhi was taken aback by her transformation. One minute she was frowning at him like a spitfire and next she was looking at him, pleading him in her own stubborn way.
"Nikki NO ' I'm not interested.." Abhi makes another futile attempt to make her drop the topic.
Though, he'd already apprehended from her stubborn features that she wasn't going to let the topic go.
"I need to tell you this Abhi. And I want you to trust me." Nikki pleads. "For once." She adds in a hardly audible voice.
If he can't tear away his gaze, he surely can close his eyes.. Abhi swore under his breath and closed his eyes.. This wasn't a conversation he'd expected. With great effort he again opened his eyes and found her staring back at him, still her eyes held an undeniable mixture of hurt and pleading.. worse.... He knew that he was trapped and that left him with no choice but to give in.
"Shoot! But make it short." Abhi utters.
Nikki stared at him for a long moment as if absorbing some strength from his eyes. Finally she broke the silence and started talking about her childhood and about her brother Krunal.
"Abhi, you know my Parents were too busy in their own social and professional life that they'd hardly got the time to realize that Krunal and I even existed in their world. Krunal was three year's older to me and he was everything for me. In his presence, I never felt the absence of my parent's love. He was like a father, a friend, a mentor to me. But God hasn't been too kind to me since childhood."
Nikki hesitated for a moment and her face paled. Her heart started aching and she blinked back moistures in her eyes. This was the most difficult part and she braced herself before opening her mouth again and fixed her eyes on the ground.
"Abhi, he was just fourteen years old when he met with a horrid car accident." Nikki's voice trembles as she continues, " I was in London with my mom attending her friend's wedding when we'..."
Nikki stopped for a moment as her throat went dry. The more she tried to push back her tears the more her eyes became teary as she pictured the plight of her brother in her mind. Her heart stuttered loudly and fingers trembled. She chocked back tear and looked at Abhi, helpless. She opened her mouth but no words came out.
On the other side, Abhi's heart ached with compassion and sorrow listening to the quiver in her voice. He was finding it nearly unbearable to see how she was still grieving over her Brother's death. He took a cautious step towards her and she stepped back. It took every ounce of his willpower to hold back not taking her in his arms, to soothe away her pain. He drew back his hand suppressing an urge to reach for her, hold her, and protect her from all her past demons. Today for the first time, she was opening up to him, telling him that part of her life which he'd always wanted to know. And this time he didn't want her to withdraw from him. He wanted her to let out her pain and to open up each of her fears to him without holding back. So he neither interrupted her nor asked any questions. He simply listened and comforted her the only way he knew when he couldn't touch her' that was through his luminous expressive eyes.
Nikki was still struggling and searching for her voice. "we were in London when we were informed about my bro's accident." She somehow finds her voice but her voice sounded hoarse to her own ears as she continues," My dad was on a business tour and no one was beside my bro except our maid when he was struggling for his last breath. Why the hell weren't my parents there when Krunal was fighting for his life? Why the hell didn't they realize that Krunal needed them?"
The last three words shattered her composure and she broke off. For the first time ever she had opened up this part of her life in front of any other living soul. She did her best to hide her ever enduring grief but the efforts were overwhelming now.
That was it.. Abhi gave up his own inertness and in a single stride he reached for her but she stepped back again, struggling to voice something. "Nikki" He spoke softly and she looked up at him. Her eyes exposed loneliness, pain, despair and Abhi found it unbearable to hold her gaze. He'd seen her relentlessly cheerful all the time and had apprehended that nothing could bring her down. This sorrowful sight of her dissolved his resolution not to touch her right now. He took a cautious step forward, bracing himself for whatever might be her reaction, but right now she needed to be held. He reached for her again and encircled his arms around her, held her close. She remained stiff for a moment, but suddenly her knees felt shaky and weak and she held him for support, nestled into his embrace and cried. Her sobbing broke Abhi and he tightened his grip around her to comfort her, to let her know that she wasn't alone anymore. Abhi murmured soothing words whilst caressing her silky hair with one hand. His soothing indeed worked as solace for her, it warmed her anguish towards her parents. Abhi held her close for some time and let her cry out her grief, sorrows.
After a while her sobbing stopped completely, her heart calmed down and heartbeat got back to a normal rhythm. For the first time in her life, Nikki felt she would never be alone again. She felt safe and protected as never before. This thought made her realized that Abhi too had some bitter past and has been hiding much pain inside his heart. She wanted to hear it from his mouth. She too wanted to hold him this close and soothe away his pain. But she knew that Abhi still didn't trust her enough to pour out his grief to her. This made her realize why she'd spoken about this merciful incident in the first place. She realized that she needed to tell him something more. She wasn't finished yet. Nikki wiped her tears with the back of her hand and stepped back a little. Abhi sensed her pull away and allowed her to step out from his embrace with a heaving heart.
She looked up at him warily and Abhi's warm and tender gaze inadvertently helped her to regain her composure. She smiled back at him as she turned the topic to Armaan. She tore away her gaze and fixed her eyes on the ground. She talked about how she had hid her grief inside her heart and had locked all her emotions inside a shell until Armaan made his entrance in her dark life. How she and Armaan became best and inseparable buddies in a very short period of time. After a while her throat felt sore, her voice trailed off and she searched for her voice again. Glancing up in Abhi's direction she found her voice back.
" Abhi, After Krunal's death, I'd allowed myself to wallow in self-pity. I'd started hating my parents to the core and did everything in my reach to make them realize that I didn't want them anymore. Gradually, they understood and they too chose to write me off from their life. If it hadn't been for Armaan, I would have surely landed in some rehab centre. Armaan entered in my life during the most vulnerable period of my life. I was feeling so alone and scared to face the world outside. His charm, naughtiness, pranks and more importantly his protectiveness changed my perceptive towards life. He made me feel protected; you can rather say I had gotten used to his undivided attention. Gradually I started depending upon him and apprehended that feeling as love. I got scared of that feeling and ran away from him. But destiny made me face him again in Sanjivani."
Nikki laughed nervously as if she had cracked a joke and searched Abhi's expression. But he, with hand on hips, stood there with a blank expression and aloof gaze. At that moment Nikki wished she could read his mind when his eyes masked his thought. She swallowed nervousness and continued.
"And when I met him in Sanjivani, I felt alive again and decided to give myself a chance to live a fearless life. Hence, I did feel little heartache when I came to know about Ridhima. But, I wasn't sad because Armaan chose Ridhima over me. I was more concerned about my security. I felt scared that I was going to lose my only security.. my only friend' And then there was momentary pain... It was weird.. I thought I was deeply in love with Armaan and would never have gotten over him the second time, would have to suffer a heartache. So I choose the easy way out.. to run off again. But you stopped me from running away from him and something changed inside me"
Nikki glanced in his direction cautiously and held his gaze for a while to grab some more strength from him. On the other side Nikki's unexpected revelation rendered Abhi spellbound for a moment. Some unknown, unnamed relief swept through his entire body. He was totally intrigued by her revelation and wanted to freeze this moment right there. He held his breath, curious to know what was coming next.
Nikki sighs and continues "Gradually, I started to realize that though I could walk away easily, I didn't want to go.. Something was stopping me all the time.. It took me a while to understand that I'd started liking being around you, to annoy you, to trick you, to grab your attention all the time.. It had become more of a habit than a hobby. It gave me pleasure' Something to keep me going all day long. Eventually, I started realizing that I enjoyed being around you.. And that feeling was way too different than what I had felt for anyone in my life ,even Armaan.. Running away from Armaan was easy but running away from you had somehow become impossible for me.. The very thought started piercing my heart.. Abhi, it took me a long time to discover that I had fallen for you long back. But my mind wasn't ready to accept the fact as to how I could possibly fall in love for the second time so quickly. That thought terrified me. But after that pool incident, I had time to do a lot of thinking. The more I thought, more I got convinced that it wasn't love what I had felt for Armaan. I wasn't aware of 'true love' until you came in my life." Nikki hesitates for a moment before continuing, "Abhi, I don't know whether I'm making any sense to you. But I just want you to know and trust me when I say that you were, you are and you will be my first ever love." She halts again and gives a nervous laugh that held no humor, " Abhi, though you are sadu, stubborn and the most difficult man to deal with, I feel more safe and protected with you than anyone around me."
Nikki braced herself for a rush of embarrassment for exposing the most vulnerable side of her, for stripping her pride bare in front of the man who held all the power over her heart. But instead of embarrassment, she was feeling more relaxed and much light hearted. She took a deep breath before glancing up again in his direction. Hoping to see some sign of softening after her revelation but he stood there rigid and stared at her amazed.
On the other side, Abhi was astounded at her navet. His heart nearly stopped beating as gravity of her revelation gradually sunk inside him. This wasn't what he had expected to hear from her not even in his wildest dream.. He didn't know what to think ,how to feel ,what to say in return. She made him crazy, there was always an emotional upheaval when she was around and tonight she had made him feel the happiest man on the earth. Abhi met her innocent gaze and his eyes held all the love and compassion for her. He looked deep inside her eyes letting her read his mind and soul. Tonight his happiness had no bounds and he was feeling more content than happy. He just wanted to hold her close and never let go. He knew he needed to say something but words failed him. "Nikki, I trust you." Only four words came out from his mouth.
"Abhi, you do?" Nikki murmurs wistfully and her blissful smile could nearly blind him.
"Yes Nikki, I do !" Abhi's tone was so soothing that it made its way deep down her heart and soothed the ache inside.
"Abhi, Armaan has seen me in the worst phase of my life and that is why he is so protective about me. Since you trust me, can't you put behind the past and make some truce with Armaan?"
Abhi stared at her in speechless wonder and found his anger towards Armaan draining.. Wait, no that can't be true.. Her revelation had shaken him to the core and he didn't know what he was thinking.. Forgive Armaan.. No that can't be possible.. .Abhi shook his mind and blinked his eyes.. Damn it.. He didn't want her to play love cupid for him and Armaan right now.. He didn't care for anyone at this moment except the small frame standing in front of him. To his shock, for the first time he wanted to thank Armaan for bringing her in his life' Wait what the hell was he thinking? Thanking Armaan? No way.. That was the most horrible thought.. Damn.. Still startled by his own thought, it took a minute for Abhi to realize that Nikki was finished with her talk and was watching him with a soft look in her eyes. He rubbed his hand over his face as he searched for right words to break the silence.. He drew a long fortifying breath before lifting his eyes back to hers.
"Nikki umm I don't know whether to be glad or upset with Armaan right now. I just..." Abhi starts to break the silence. I just' what next.. Still his mind was busy in searching the right words. To his relief, that spitfire wasn't yet finished.
Nikki cuts him in middle and continues, " Abhi, I know it was me who should be blamed for creating terrible misunderstanding between the two of you. On numerous occasions, I failed to clear up things between you two when it was needed."
Abhi looked blankly at her.. He didn't want to hear that either.. Why was she blaming herself for his disliking towards Armaan.. He needed to stop her ranting.. He cleared his throat and somehow found his voice.
"Look Nikki, I don't know what to say right now to make you believe that I trust you' more than my life. But as far as Armaan is concerned, we always were at logger heads with each other. You very well know that he always tried to defy me, starting from the first day that I came to Sanjeevni. Despite warnings, he went over board on countless occasions which I can't forgive or forget." Abhi admits without hesitation.
Nikki swallows before opening her mouth again. "A..bhi, I' want you to know Armaan is and will be my best friend for the rest of my life. Abhi, I'm not asking much but I just want you to accept Armaan as my best friend." She pleads.
Nikki waited him to argue or agree. Instead he remained silent for a while as if doing lot of thinking.
After a while, Abhi gave her a hard stare as wrinkles started forming on his temple.. He couldn't believe that they were still discussing Armaan.. His first instinct was to tell her that no one could lessen his dislikes and anger towards Armaan.. And he could never think of some kind of truce with Armaan' not even in his dreams.. But he knew she won't stop this unless and until she gets some assurance from him.. But pretense wasn't in his nature..
Abhi shrugs and speaks," Nikki, I can't pretend that I'll start acting lovey dovey with Armaan after what you've.. just said to me. The fact is that we share a mutual feeling called 'Intensive Dislike" towards each other and no one can change that. Not even you." He laughs in humor as he continues, "You can say there's some karmic connection between us."
Nikki heart tugged at his statement. But since he wasn't frowning, it was safe to push him a little further.
"Abhi, I'm not asking you to befriend with him like me. I just want both of you, if not friendly, being at least less hostile with each other." She pleads and adds softly, "For my sake."
Abhi shot her a dubious look for not dropping the subject. Her eyes were warm and frightened her voice tender and soothing. Put like that, how could he refuse? He could possibly try.. it wouldn't be that difficult.. would it?.. He rubbed his temple and blew air.
" Phew Nikki.. I'll try.. just for you." His voice was thick with amusement.
Nikki's heart skipped a beat the way he said 'just for you'. Her face lit up and she gave in to her urge and stepped forward and encircled her arms around him.
"Thanks Abhi! Thanks for saying that you'll be cordial with Armaan." She murmurs blissfully.
Abhi hugges her back and rests his chin on his silky hair, "Don't thank me right now. I said 'I'll try' and that too just for your sake. Provided Dr. Mallik won't cross his limits again." He speaks softly as a reluctant smile played on his lips.
"That's more than I can ask for." Nikki smiles in his embrace. She knew that there would be more asking in the future, but at present she wanted his trust and some more time. The possibility of having two men she loved in a different way become amicable with each other was indeed heady stuff, but was not impossible.
"I don't think your list ends here. You are just like my mom. Impossible.. She.." Abhi starts and stops abruptly. He steps out from the hug and braces himself for the next question.
"Your Mom? Abhi I.."
"No Nikki.. Don't go there.. Not atleast tonight."
"You know how to end the discussion, right?"
"I wish I knew." Abhi shrugs his shoulder with a grim smile. The smile that didn't reach his eyes.
"Abhi I wanted to know all about you' about the real Abhimanyu Modi.."
"Nikki, whatever you've discovered about me in these past months is the real me, Nikki. Infact you know more about me than anyone else in this world.. yes ofcourse after my mom."
Nikki was watching him closely and noticed tenderness in his features as he spoke 'my mom'. But she knew that he wasn't going to reveal his past to her.. atleast not tonight.. but she knew how to make him speak some other time..
"I'll never ever forget your first date with me, Nikki." Abhi deliberately changes the topic.
Nikki gives him a hard stare before opening her mouth again. "What do you mean by my first date? You mean to say this wasn't our first date?" Nikki asks in alarm.
"No.. My first date with you was when I'd taken you for the dinner after spending the whole day on the new Sanjivani project. Remember? Infact you'd asked me 'date pe laye ho kya?" Abhi mimics the words that she'd spoken back then that day.
Nikki hit him on his chest lightly and blushed. But her eyes turned little moist as she remembered how she'd misunderstood his gesture then, how she'd thrown disgusting accusation on him because of that jerk Patil.
Abhi tips up her chin," What happened?"
Nikki shakes her head in negative. Curving her lips into a naughty smile she speaks " Abhi, don't you think 'your date' deserve atleast a dessert treat before you bid her goodnight."
Abhi's lips curved into his dimpled grin as he too wasn't in mood to end their date and bid her goodnight.
He sighs and offers his hand, "I'm learning Dr. Nikitaaa. So would 'my date' like to spend some more time with me?"
Nikki shook her head as a naughty smile lit up her face. She immediately grabbed his offered hand and they made their way back to his car. Indeed an unforgettable date.
To be cont
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