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"Come in", Pari said as I knocked on her office door two hours later. I gave her a warm smile as she glanced up at me giving me a faint smile. I placed the takeout bag from her favorite Chinese place on the desk.
"Hey you.", I said sitting down.
"Hey", she said back but she looked upset and preoccupied. I got up to walk around to her chair leaning down to look at her.
"What's wrong Pari?", I asked and she looked at me as unshed tears swam in her eyes. Saying nothing, I gathered her in my arms as she wrapped her arms around me. "Pari, is everything okay?", I asked as I wiped her tears away.
"Maan, that girl has been through too much in her short life.", she said as tears filled up again.
"What happened? Did she tell you anything?"
Pari shook her head sadly, "She didn't say a word. Imagine what she may have been through that she won't break her silence to tell us."
So when they teach all this nonsense about how we shouldn't emotionally connect with our patients, it's all bullshit. Even doctors are humans with feelings and emotions. My heart silently broke into pieces but I tried my best to be positive, especially when Pari was losing hope. "But you know she is traumatized right now, it will take a while for us to get some information."
"No Maan, you should have seen her eyes.", she said.
I have, I added silently.
"They were filled with so much sorrow and pain. Her silence speaks it's own story. She either stared blankly or cried nonstop. I just, I just don't know what to do, I don't know how to help her.", she said with a defeated expression.
"You need to rest.", I said and continued even as I saw the protest in her eyes. "Don't even try Maltorta, you are no good to a patient if you are falling on your feet. Go to a on-call room and get some sleep."
"Dr.Khurana, you are well aware that this is my case.", she said with a hint of annoyance.
"The case I gave you Dr.Maltorta.", I reminded her calmly.
"That's beside the point. This case is now mine and I can't sleep when I have a patient who refuses to open up."
"Look, I will carry you out of this hospital if I have to, and you know I will do it. So might as well spare us the drama.", I said with a laugh as she glared.
"But Maan, what are we going to do for her?", she asked in a serious tone.
"Well, I think the best solution would be a social worker or a trauma counselor, someone she can talk to."
"I don't think she is going to talk.", she said quietly.
I held her hands giving them a gentle squeeze so that she looked at me again, "We are going to try, we are just going have to try."
Pari sighed as she laid her head on my shoulder.
"Oh ya, I meant to ask you if you found an anklet when- umm- when you were treating her?", I managed to ask.
Pari moved her head from my shoulder to look at me, "As a matter of fact, I did. But how did you know she was wearing one?
"Umm, I heard it when I was picking her up.", I said as a heat flooded my cheeks.
Pari walked to her desk and opened a drawer pulling a sliver anklet out. "I meant to give it to her when she woke up but then I completely forgot. I will just give it to her when I see her next.", she said slipping it into her lab coat.
"Umm, can I have it instead ?", I asked timidly.
Pari stared at me in shock, " Oh my god, you are in love with this girl, aren't you ?"
I looked up with evident shock in my eyes, "Of course not Pari, don't be so absurd.", I said.
"Then why do you want her anklet?", she asked but I gave no answer and turned around to leave.
"I know you better than you know yourself Dr.Maan Singh Khurana.", she said softly causing me to stop dead in my tracks. "You may not know it but I finally figured it out.", she said as she walked up to me and dropped the anklet in my palm. "You are in love with your dreamgirl."
I completely ignored her words refusing to believe that I had lost my heart to a girl I didn't even know. Like that was the most absurd thing I heard. I wasn't in love with her, I repeated to myself as Pari looked at me intently. "Go get some rest Dr.Maltorta, I am going to request Dr. Shergill to take over for the time being."
'Fine, ignore me if you want but you are going to face this truth sooner than later.", she said as she walked out.
Arghhh. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs as Pari's words ran in my mind over and over again, "You are in love with your dreamgirl." She was my dreamgirl, the one I had dreamt about. The one who told me she loved me. Could it be that I was in love with a girl I knew nothing about ?
Pari pressed the elevator button shoving her hands in her pockets. What a idiot her best friend was. First he falls in love with a girl he doesn't know a thing about. A girl who clearly has had a disturbing past but he doesn't even admit to himself that he is in love with her. God, men were so stupid sometimes. They don't understand the simplest things in life. Just as she was mentally cursing the males of the world, the elevator door opened to show her another even stupider man: Dr. Yash Shergill. She had been in love with him for two years but the man didn't have a clue. Her heart skipped a beat even when she didn't want it to as she stepped in and he smiled at her. Well, wasn't her day going perfectly dandy?
"Good afternoon Dr.Maltorta. How is it going ?, he asked with a toothy smile she so loved on him.
"Very well Dr.Shergill. And yourself?", she asked as her heart fluttered to a new tune.
"Just dandy as always. I was just going to visit your room 206 patient. Dr.Khurana asked me to take over for the day.", he said as they stepped out of the elevator as the door opened.
"That jackass--", she started to say but broke off when she realized what she was about to yell in the middle of the hallway. Yash chuckled softly at her anger face. She looked so cute even when she was angry. Hayyyeee, he could watch her all day if he could.
"Don't worry Pari, he just wants you to get some rest.", Yash explained gently as he touched her hand and quickly withdrew it when Pari's eyes stared at his. "Umm, sorry about that."
"It's okay Yash."
"So what can you tell me about this case?", he asked as they walked down the hall.
While Pari and Yash were discussing the medical details of the patient of room 206, another doctor was standing outside that room staring at the woman through the window while she was oblivious to it. The doctor who wasn't connected to the medically but his heart was tied to hers in a way he was yet to understand. Maan watched as the woman stared blankly towards the window.
"Good morning Payal.", I said with cheer as I opened her room door. She whipped her head around to stare at me with her captivating hazel eyes, but the sorrow and pain in them was so evident. "Actually, I don't know your real name and you won't tell me, so I am going to call you Payal until you do.", I said with a grin as I went to sit on the stool moving it further away from her bed incase she was uncomfortable. She looked at me for a few moments saying nothing before she turned her gaze at the window. So she wasn't going to say anything. I looked at her at her face as she stared elsewhere, she was so beautiful but whomever she was with didn't know the value of the gem they had.
"You are in love with your dreamgirl.", Pari's words ran through my mind again breaking me out of her trance. Pushing my thoughts aside I pulled out her anklet from my pocket gently shaking it. She turned her head to stare at the anklet.
"This is your anklet that you had on when I found in the jungle last night. Do you want it back ?", I asked walking up to her bed. She looked at me as tears gathered in her eyes and I fought the urge to wipe them away gently. I wanted to take away all the sorrow away from her eyes. But would that mean that I have fallen in love with my dreamgirl? "Don't you want it back?", I asked again inching towards her hand but she closed into the fist as she turned her attention to the window. I knew there was a barely a chance she would break her silence but I couldn't stop myself from trying.
"Ummm, so you are probably wondering what the hell I am doing here.", I started to say as I glanced down at the silver anklet in my hand but I could see from my corner of my eye that she was looking at me again listening. "My name is Maan Singh Khurana or Dr.Khurana if you want to call me that. I was the one who found you wounded in the jungle of Delhi's Hilltop.", I paused as she took a sharp intake of breath. This reaction was more than what she had done before so I continued. "I can understand if you don't want to talk to me about it or to tell us who did this. But you should know that you are safe here and we are going to protect you." I stopped as there was a knock at the door before Dr.Shergill walked in with a ear-to-ear grin on his grin.
"Well well, if it's isn't Dr.Khurana. I must say I am quite surprised to see you here.", Yash commented as he looked at the chart. I glared at him before he gave me a wink. "By the way, I am Dr.Shergill. I am going to looking after you today."
She raised her questioning eyes to look at me and I figured she was wondering where Pari was, "Oh, Dr.Maltorta needed some rest today so that's why Dr.Shergill is taking over.", I explained but she turned fearful as she gripped my hand moving away from Yash. I was surprised at the sudden contact because she had never touched me willingly before.
Yash caught my eyes and I could see the worry he had in them. She was afraid because she didn't want Yash to examine her. Was there some comfort she found in being treated by a female doctor, who had seen her wounds, scars and bruises already.
"Don't worry Payal, Dr.Shergill won't examine you right now. He's just going to check your chart and then get one of the nurses to redress your wounds.", I explained gently as I gave her hand a soft squeeze.
Yash nodded with a smile, "Of course, I will get one of the nurses to check in on you."
Saying that, he nodded at me before he walked out.
"Okay Payal, you take care. I will drop by later.", I said as I moved my hand away from hers. She blinked once as if even she was nodding at me. I was surprised at her method of communication but decided not to question it. I figured it was better than no communication. Giving her one final smile, I walked out just as a nurse entered greeting me.
Days turned in to weeks but my dreamgirl refused to break her silence. We considered the possibility of her being mute but that couldn't be because she had screamed the first night she was here. The social worker wasn't able to do anything and the Dr.Verma the trauma counselor had no luck either.
She didn't like strangers very much. She was used to my presence as well as Pari talking to us with her eyes at times but we were yet to hear a word from her mouth. Physically she was fine but we couldn't discharge even if we wanted to. There was no one we could hand over her responsibility to.
"Hey Payal.", I said with a smile as I walked in taking my doctor's coat off as I entered. For some weird reason she didn't like me seeing me in my white coat. I figured that out once I was back to work and I would drop in to talk to her. She would be frowning at me as she stared at my coat. So one day, I tried taking it off and she stopped frowning. She didn't smile but at least she didn't frown either. Since that day, I made it a point to not to wear my lab coat in front of her.
"So how are you today ? Good?", I asked as I sat down on the stool next to her bed. She looked at me and blinked once to answer my question. One blink meant yes and two blinks meant no. This was the weird system that we had worked out.
So I sat there having a one-way conversation going off on how my day was, and what I did, basically talking about things that didn't even matter. She always listened to me even when she was not looking at me; I knew she was still listening to my yapping. Just as I finished the story on how Pari and I became best friends, I saw her eyes closed as she had fallen asleep listening to me. I sighed as I saw the peace on her face and a faint smile she had. She never smiled while she was awake, even if I told her the funniest thing ever. But there was a few times I had seen a faint smile on her lips while she was unaware of it. Getting up, I gathered her into my arms as I straightened her posture to lay her down drawing her blanket to her neck. Running a gentle hand along her cheek, I bided her good night, "Good night my dreamgirl. Sweet dreams". Saying that I turned to leave.
Just as I reached the door, she screamed and she screamed loud as she bolted upright. I raced back to her as holding her as she jerked away from me with madness in her eyes, fists clenched until she finally came to her senses as she saw me hovering over her.
"It's okay Payal, you were just having a nightmare.", I said calmly as even though my heart was beating faster than usual. "It's okay Payal.", I said again as I brushed her sweat drenched hair strands from her brow as I tried to get to lay down. Her rapid breathing started to level out as I held her hand. "It was just a nightmare Payal. You are safe now, no one can harm you now.", I whispered as her eyelids started to close away. Just as I thought she had fallen asleep, she opened her eyes to look at me.
"Go to sleep Payal, I will stay here with you.", I assured her.
She sat back up and looked at me as her eyes filled with tears, "My name is not Payal, it's Geet.", she whispered in the same honey sweet voice I had heard in my dream. I stared at dumb-founded.
Okay my lovelies...over to you all...let me know how it was...
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