Please read the pre-requisite (mentioned in the first post of this thread before starting on this FF)
"Dr. Mallika. Aapne mujhe bulaya?"
"Yes Dr. Nidhi. Socha saath mein coffee pi jaye."
"Achchha!" Nidhi knew that wasn't her motive.
"Waise zara apna haath to dikhaiye Dr. Nidhi. Aapki luck line zaroor bahut strong hogi. Kabhi lottery lagi hai aapki?"
"Nahin," Nidhi said dryly and walked towards the coffee machine.
"Dr. Ashutosh ki personality bahut hi charming hai, magnetic hai," Mallika came to the point, "Unki taraf attract hote logon ko der nahin lagti."
Nidhi got the coffee and sat across her on a chair. She did not react to what Mallika had said. So, Mallika continued, "Aur phir woh ameer bhi to bahut hain?"
"Anyway. Ye to aap jaanti hain."
"Ye aap mujhse zyada jaanti hain shayad."
"Haan. Ashutosh ko mujhse zyada koi nahin jaanta. Isliye tumhein samjhaane ki koshish kar rahi hoon. Don't waste your time Nidhi. Warna ek din pachhtaogi."
"I don't understand."
"Samajh jaogi. Lekin tab tak bahut der ho chuki hogi. Tum kabhi bhi is age-gap ko khatam nahin kar sakti Nidhi. And if you tried, which I think you will, then..."
"Aap ye sab kyon suna rahi hain mujhe?"
"Agar tum galat raaste par chalo, to mera haq hai ki main tumhein rokoon."
"Ji nahin. Maine ye haq aapko kabhi nahin diya hai. And you don't have to worry about me Dr. Mallika. Lekin achchha kiya ki aapne ye baat seedhe seedhe kar li. You are right. I like Dr. Ashutosh. And I don't care ki woh mujhse pyaar karte hain ya nahin, kabhi bhi karenege ya nahin, ya phir woh mujhse kitne bade hain. Kyonki pyaar koi business nahin hota. Len den nahin hota. Aapne apni life mein pyaar ke badle hamehsa kuchh paane ki koshish ki hai. Shayad isliye itni disappoint hui hain."
Nidhi walked out of the room and did not notice Ashutosh standing just outside the room. Ashutosh had tried to avoid her finding him anyway.
Ashutosh was sitting in his office and her words were ringing in his mind.
"I like Dr. Ashutosh. And I don't care ki woh mujhse pyaar karte hain ya nahin, kabhi bhi karenege ya nahin, ya phir woh mujhse kitne bade hain."
Hearing those words from her mouth had given him a jolt. He was rudely woken up from a dream he was living. What was he doing? To himself and more importantly to her? He was being too obvious about his feelings and was foolish enough to think that she wouldn't understand or respond? He had assumed that she would not be interested in someone as old as himself. But did he think even for a moment that if he could fall for someone as young as her, why wouldn't she... And she was so young. She would be immature enough to think that her crush or attraction was love. It was no fault of hers that she was immature. It was her age. She pretty much had a right to her immaturity. It was his fault that despite the maturity he should have possessed, he had let himself go and also led her on in the process. She had told Mallika that she didn't care if he did not love her back. But the problem was that he did love her. He loved her madly, beyond any reason or rationality. And probably she knew that.
No! It won't do. He had to wake up to the reality and stop her from going down this path as well. He had to keep away from her. But how? He could start by not being around her in the hospital.
Nidhi had hardly met Ashutosh in last three days. He was not around in the hospital during her duty hours. She felt his absence acutely. She realized just how often he used to be there with her and how she had gotten used to it. Was it a conincidence that he used to be around her so often? Or did he do it on purpose? And was his not being around for last three days a coincidence? Or was it also on purpose?
And then an idea struck her, which was scary. She realized that she hadn't seen him in the ward after her last confrontation with Mallika. And after that he almost never came to the hospital during her duty hours. Oh God! Had Mallika told him something? Was he angry with her? Disgusted? The thought was mortifying. She had been an idiot saying all that in front of Mallika. God knows what had come upon her and why had she lost her cool like that. It was a blunder and would she have to pay for that in the form of Ashutosh' hatred for life? Will he keep ignoring her like this? Tears welled up in her eyes, but she controlled them. Her duty was about to get over. She went to the notice board to check when she had to come back and for which ward. What she saw there surprised her.
She went to look for Dr. Mallika to clarify. But could not find her. Of course! She would come when Dr. Ashutosh was around. She located Dr. Rangnath though.
"Dr. Rangnath. Ye meri duty agle teen dinon ke liye..."
"Record room mein hai Dr. Nidhi."
"Lekin iska kya matlab hai? Why do you need a doctor in the record room? Ye to clerical kaam hai. Koi bhi staff kar sakta hai."
"I know Dr. Nidhi. Maine Dr. Mallika se kaha bhi tha, lekin woh nahin maani."
"Aur woh abhi hain bhi nahin yahan."
"Yeah. I think aap kal to aa hi jaiye. Phir woh aas paas hon to unse baat kar lijiye."