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Aankhon Mein Teri
A Maaneet Fan Fic
A week after Dadima left, when Maan came home late from the office, the only person who greeted him was Nakul. The servant took his things and indicated that food would be ready for him shortly. After having had Dadima and Nani with them for so long, Maan missed the family interaction as he ate alone. He knew that Geet was somewhere in the house, but she was probably either studying or sleeping. As much as he might want to see both her and David, he didn't want to be any kind of bother. He had been noticing lately that she was looking a bit more tired than usual, ever since David's birthday party.
He imagined that as it was her last semester of school, things were getting pretty hectic. His trying to claim some of her time for useless talk wouldn't help, so better that he just stick to his own work, and help take care of David on the weekends. That would probably be the best thing he could do for her, since she didn't seem to need anything else from him. Though Maan told himself this over and over, it wasn't enough to stop his longing to just see and spend time with the young Mrs. Khurana. He had to literally force himself to walk into his own room and get ready for bed, rather than going to check and see if her light was still on.
"Great..t idea, M..maan. What excu..s..s..se would you...use if her light was..s..s on? 'I just w..w..wanted t..t..t..to talk for a few minutes..s..s. I...though..t maybe you w..w..would be feeling l..l..lonely with Dadima and Nani gone.' Sh..she would be won..dering how sh..she ever came in contact with such a...uh...looser."
Continuing to curse himself for being a fool, Maan tried to settle down for the night. For a while he tossed and turned, sure that he would fall asleep eventually. After about an hour, he tried another plan of reading something that would put him to sleep. That didn't work either, for instead of getting sleepy during the boring parts, he found his mind wandering to thoughts of chestnut hair and hazel eyes. Putting the book aside, Maan reached for a glass of water, only to realize that the bottle was empty. Deciding that he might as well go to the kitchen to get some more, Maan got out of bed and went out the door, into the hall.
He only took a few steps down the corridor before his mind registered a constant wailing coming from the other end. Surprised to hear David crying like that, Maan quickly turned around and walked into the room that Geet and his son shared. He didn't even think about the potential awkwardness of him just showing up as he questioned Geet about what was wrong with the baby. A very tired looking Geet didn't respond to his question, instead apologizing that David's crying had woken him, even as she continued to try and sooth the wailing infant.
"He didn't w..wake me up and y..y..you didn't answer my question. What's..s..s wrong w..w..with him?"
"I don't know," answered Geet wearily. "He's been fussy and crying for hours. He has fever, but no other symptoms that I can tell. I think he's teething, but none of the usual remedies are giving him relief. I don't know what else to do."
"Did y..you call the doc..tor?"
"Well," prompted Maan, when Geet didn't say any more. "What did he s..s..say?"
"To give David some medicine to bring down the fever, and if it persists, to bring him in in the morning."
"What? That's..s.. all?"
"What else is a doctor going to say?"
"But, I m..mean, David's..s..s a preemie. Sh..shouldn't we take him t..to the ho..spital, or s..something?"
"He might be a preemie, but he's been doing well and meeting the milestones for his gestational age. What the doctor recommended is what they would say for any infant who has symptoms like David's."
"S..s..so, what are y..you go..ing to do?"
"Do what the doctor says and hope that David will tire out enough that he can get to sleep," replied Geet, yawning as she repositioned David, giving his back soothing pats.
"And when are you going t..t..to s..s..sleep? Look at y..you! Y..you're al..most falling over, y..you're so t..tired. You can't..t..t p..possibly keep this..s..s up all...night. Here, g..give him t..to me. I'll take c..care of him and y..you can go s..some...where else t..t..to get s..s..some s..sleep," suggested Maan as he reached out his arms, ready to take the baby.
"No, I can't do that. Anyway, you can't stay up with him. You have to go to the office. Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. You just go..."
"Just go back to s..sleep while my w..w..wife s..s..stays uh...up all n..night with my crying s..son, as if it's..s..s none of my pro..blem?" Geet was too exhausted from lack of sleep and David's crying to react either to Maan's words or his taking their son into his arms.
"Go s..sleep in Dadi's room," said Maan firmly, though that had Geet shaking her head no.
"The servants have been cleaning Dadi's room since she is gone. Nani's too."
Maan thought for a moment, then said, "S..s..stay here then. I'll t..take David t..t..to my room."
"But all his things are here. Look, there is no reason for both of us to be up. I'll just take him..."
"Y..you will do no s..such thing. Look, don't ar..gue, but I...think I have an idea of where y..y..you can s..s..sleep."
Shifting David to one arm, Maan used his free had to grab Geet's, pulling her out of the room. He took her down the hall and into his room. Geet stood in amazement as Maan let go of her hand, going over to the bed and pulling the covers up quickly. Then he went to one of the large cupboards, opened it and took out another blanket, which he set on top of the bedspread. Then, even as he rocked David back and forth, he looked at her with expectation.
"You c..can s..s..sleep here," he finally said, when she continued to stare, confusion evident on her face.
"What? No, I can't," protested Geet, his declaration shocking her enough to temporarily banish the tiredness.
"Y..yes, y..y..you c..can. Look, I..uh..uh..got out..t another blanket s..so that you can ju..st s..s..sleep on top..p..p of the covers..s..s. Then y..you won't have to w..worry about the...sh..sheets not being clean or any...thing."
Maan frowned at Geet's continued resistance, stating somewhat brusquely, "I'm his...fa..ther, right? Don't y..you tru..st me w..w..with him?"
"Of course I trust you with him. That's not it at all. I just..."
"Chup!" exclaimed Maan softly, placing his finger on her lips, stopping her words cold. "I don't w..want t..t..to hear anything else. Ju..st lie d..down now and get s..some s..s..sleep."
Geet did as he said, to sleepy and confused to do anything else. Maan watched while she spread the extra blanket out, then crawled in underneath it. Seeing that she was settled, he turned to leave with the baby cradled in his arms, turning off the light and closing the door as he left the room. Looking at the recently closed door, Geet thought that her anxiety for her son would not allow her to go to sleep, even knowing that he was with Maan. Yet, as soon as she laid down on the pillows, his manly smell comfortably washing over her, she felt peace and slipped away into a deep slumber.
The next thing Geet knew, she was being shaken awake by a coffee cup holding Maan, who said briskly, "We have a 9:00 appointment for David. Hurry and get dressed."
Geet, blinking to get the sleep out of her eyes, questioned, "How is he?"
"W..w..well, he's not..t any..uh..w..worse, but he still has..s a fever..uh..and is crying quite a b..bit. Gopal's w..wife is trying...to get him...t..to take s..some breakfast right now."
"And how are you?" she asked him, throwing of the blanket, shivering a little at the loss of warmth.
Maan helped up his coffee like a trophy, saying, "This s..s..solves all pro..blems. It's what g..g..got me through late nights..s before...exams, and it w..w..will get me through to...day, also."
Geet didn't want to waste any more time when her baby was sick, so she left to get ready quickly. Taking only enough time to get dressed and drink a cup of tea, since Maan insisted that she had to have something, Geet was ready to go within 15 minutes. David, who was still pretty upset and clearly tired from his sleepless night, only wanted to be in Geet's arms. He didn't want to be in his carseat, he didn't want the nurse to take his temperature, and he didn't want the doctor to examine him.
Despite the youngest Khurana's uncooperative attitude, the doctor was able to diagnose an ear infection. Reassuring the anxious parents that the prescribed medication should see their son feeling better within a day, the doctor soon sent them on their way. Maan quickly arranged for the medicine before taking them home and getting ready for the office.
"Um..." said Geet, just as Maan was about to walk out of the front door.
"What is..s..s it, Geet?
"You should come home early tonight," she said in a rush, not quite looking him in the eye. "You will be tired from staying up all night. You might get sick too, if you're not careful."
"Oh, really?" Maan put down his briefcase and crossed his arms as he contemplated her lowered head. "What if I..uh...have a lot of w..w..work to do?"
"You always have a lot of work to do," complained Geet, finally looking up at him. "How will you do your work if you tire yourself out so much that you get sick, uh? And don't tell me anything about drinking coffee to stay awake. You shouldn't drink so much coffee, because it's not good for you."
Maan didn't know exactly how to react to such concerned words for him coming from Geet. He gave a kind of generic grunt, before picking up his briefcase once more and heading out to the office. He tried to concentrate on his work, but his mind kept wandering back to that morning. Geet had never said one thing to him before about how much time he spent at work, nor had she ever complained about him being gone too much, or coming home too late. He didn't know what it meant, or even if it meant anything at all.
"Maan, I need to talk to you about something," stated Adi as he walked into Maan's office, interrupting his boss's musings. "It's not about work, it's personal."
"What is..s it Adi?" questioned Maan, giving his right hand man his full attention.
"I wanted to let you know that Pinky and I are engaged and we are getting married at the end of this month."
"That's great," said Maan, genuinely happy for the man. Then he frowned, asking, "Aren't y..you happy? I know you've been w..waiting a long time for her parents t..to agree, s..so how...come y..you look upset?"
"I'm not upset, I just...Look, Maan, I want you to come to the wedding."
"No w..way. Y..y..you know that..t..t...uh...I don't g..go to s..s...s..social fun..ctions."
"Yaar, this isn't a 'social function', it's my wedding. You have to come, Maan. You're my best friend, but not only that, Pinky specifically asked me to invite you, and then of course, there's Geet bhabhi."
"What do y..you mean, 'there's Geet bha..bhi'?"
At the same time that Adi was talking with Maan, Geet received a call from Pinky. She was really happy to get Pinky's call. She was the only friend that she really kept in contact with, but even that had diminished lately. Pinky had never been that good at calling people, so Geet had always been the one to keep the communication going between them. Unfortunately, with her busy schedule, it had been over two months since the two friends talked.
Geet expected that Pinky would update her on the various happenings in the Manchanda family. She was not expecting her friend to give her the news that she was engaged and that the wedding was taking place in less than three weeks. Even more shocking than that, was the location for the wedding venue. Geet wasn't sure she had heard correctly, making Pinky repeat what she said.
"Yes, Geet, you heard me correctly. We're having the wedding in Delhi."
"But why? Both of your families live in Chandigarh."
"It's Adi's work. I don't know if I explained it to you or not, but he isn't just the CFO of Khurana Constructions, but the second highest ranking executive after Maan Khurana himself. Apparently there is no way he can get two weeks off from work, even for his own wedding. But there is a plus side to this. I made him promise that Maan Khurana would attend the wedding. They're best friends, but what makes it so great, is that MSK is so reclusive. He never attends parties, so to have him at my wedding, that will just be incredible."
Before Geet could even register fully that Pinky was talking about her husband, the bubbly young woman continued, "Geet, I know that you're probably really busy, but I need you to tell me what your schedule is. The wedding date it set, but I want to plan all the other functions so that my best friend will be there. Oh, and we totally have to go shopping once I get there. After almost two years, you must know what all the best shops are. Honestly, Geet, I'm just so excited, I can hardly contain it."
Geet really didn't know what to say to Pinky. She hadn't yet told her friend anything about her marriage, as stupid as that now seemed. By keeping such a thing a secret for so long, she was now in quite a mess. How could she reveal the truth without making Pinky hate her for keeping such a big thing hidden. How was she even supposed to explain that she was Geet Maan Singh Khurana, but that name didn't mean what people thought it meant. As if this worry wasn't enough, Maan actually did come home from work early. For the first time since Geet had known him, he came home early, and it was only to tell her about the conversation he had had earlier with Adi.
"Adi tells..s..s me that y..you met...his fiance in Chandigarh while y..you w..w..were go..ing to school, and that y..y..you two be..came good friends..s..s. He s..seems t..to think that this means I w..w..will have no choice b..but to...come to their wed...ding."
"Uh...um..." stuttered Geet, wondering how she could possibly explain to Maan that her best friend had no idea that they were husband and wife.
"Look, Adi is..s.. my friend, s..s..so I want t..t..to be there for...him. But this g..girl bet..ter..uh...uh..understand that I w..w..won't be c..coming to jump..p..p around, s..singing and ma..king a fool of...my..self. If sh..she ex..pects otherwise, than y..y..y..you c..c..can ju..st tell her to for..get my coming at all."
Laxmi's Lafz:So, it seems like most of you didn't understand the part1/part2 thing. Chapters 1-15 were part one, showing the first part of Maaneet's journey. This thread starts part two, the second part of their journey, which will be told over several chapters. You may notice that there is a lot more conversation in this chapter. That was done deliberately, and you will likely notice a few other differences from the first part of the story, which will also be deliberate.
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