Hi, sorry for the delay everyone.
I have been having a migraine since yesterday, and it has taken me all day to edit this. So if there are any major mistakes please excuse them. I hope you will like it.
Ashutosh led her to a nearby room, closed the door, and put his arms around her. Nidhi went into his arms, and clung tightly to him, and buried her face against his shoulder. She was shaking like a leaf, and He was livid. If there was some way he could have finished the job he had started back there, Ashutosh would have done so, and with great pleasure. But, he had seen how frightened Nidhi was, and did not want to scare her any more than she already was. He was just glad that Rohan had shown up when he did. Ashutosh was sure that he had taken proper care of the good doctor. He must remember to thank him for his timely arrival later. Aur jo bhi kasar Rohan se bachi reh gayi hogi, well, he would gladly make up for first thing monday morning at the hospital. Ashutosh would do a full investigation on Dr Purab, and then deal with him in terms, that he was sure the good doctor would surely understand.
Right now, though, his first priority was his wife. He tried to draw back a bit, but she refused to let him go,
--Nahin, please, don't let me go, not just yet. Right now I just want to be held by you. Please, mujhe apne se door mat kariye. Just hold me. Please!
Ashutosh tightened his arms around her, she sounded like a desperately frightened child. He felt like killing the jerk, for doing this to her!
Ashutosh picked her up in his arms, and sat down with her on his lap, and kissed her forehead. And, Nidhi burrowed into him, as if she wanted to hide herself away from everyone, almost like a child, and started sobbing. Ashutosh knew that this was a delayed reaction to the shock, and the endorphins wearing off, and it was a good thing because crying would help her get a grip on herself, but, he could still not bear it. To see his happy smiling Nidhi sobbing and shaking like this, just tore his heart out. Ashutosh ran his hands down her back and tried to sooth her,
--Sweetheart, please don't cry like this. Look I am right here with you. You are in my arms, my love, and I promise that I will not let anybody harm you. Nidhi, honey look at me, please Baby... Sweetheart you are tearing my heart out, crying this way...Come on sweetheart, its ok now... Look he did not even get a chance to hurt you. I arrived right on time. Nidhi, I know you are a brave girl, come on honey... Nidhi think what Dadi Bua, Baba, Anji and her parents, and the rest of the guests, would say, if they saw you like this. Jaan, Please, stop crying...
Nidhi tried desperately to get her self under control. When she quieted down a bit, she drew back, and brought her face out of the crook of his neck to look at him,
--M..m..mai soch r..r..r..rahi thi, ag..ag..agar aap aap nahin aate toh...
Ashutosh smiled tenderly, and brought his handkerchief out, and gently wiped her face, then leaned forward to place a gentle kiss on her lips,
--Kaise nahin aata. How can I ever be far from you? Nidhi I couldn't stay away from you for long even if I wanted to. And sweetheart nothing happened, I did not let it. I promise you, I will never let anything bad happen to you, if I can help it. You know that! Right?
Nidhi nodded, and sniffed, fresh tears still rolling down her cheeks, although she had stopped sobbing now. He wiped her tears again. She looks adorable even when she is crying, he thought, and could not resist placing another soft kiss on her quivering lips.
--So, if you know that, then why are you still crying?
--I can't help it. I just keep thinking, ke agar app nahin aate, toh main kya karti. Sangeet ke shor ki wajah se koi meri awaz ko sun bhi nahin paata. Ashutosh, woh...woh...itni gandi gandi baatein bolraha tha, and he tried to to touch me. I felt so dirty.
--Nidhi look at me, sweetheart. I came before he did anything. But, Nidhi...has he ever done something like this before?
--Nahin, aisa toh kuch nahin. But he has tried to ask me out, and make passes at me. But, since we have never met anywhere other than the hospital, I guess he never got the chance to really try and do anything. Aur aaj, aaj, he just caught me by surprise. I was just going to Anji's room to get something, and he was just there. I didn't even know...
--Sweetheart if he has bothered you before, why have you never reported him to the hospital administration, or staff union? If you had reported him on harassment, he would not have done this today. Has he behaved like this with anyone else?
--I don't know anyone personally, but I have heard rumors. And as far as I was concerned, I always thought that he was a jerk, but a harmless one. Mujhe andaaza bhi nahin tha that he could behave like this. Ashutosh how will I face him at the hospital now. How will I face anyone after this. He is my immediate senior, main kya karoongi? He is gonna make my life miserable. he...
--Whoa, Whoa, Whoa...sweetheart! Calm down Honey! Nidhi I promise that you will not have any more trouble from him. And as far as him bothering you at the hospital, Well Honey, in case you have forgotten, you are married to the chief of staff. I am sure that your husband would handle that for you. If you ask him properly, that is.
Nidhi laughed, as he had meant her too, and hearing that, Ashutosh sighed in relief. Thank God!
He was about to say something else, when there was a knock on the door.
Ashutosh quickly got Nidhi off his lap and got up, and after sitting her down on the chair, went to unlock the door. Baba, Dadi Bua, Anji and her Parents, Rangnath and Rohan, all came crowding into the room, with anxious and worried looks on their faces. Shyama Aunty and Dadi Bua came to her and put their arms around her from either side. Then Shyama turned around to Anji,
--Anji how could you invite a person like that into our house?
--Mom, I didn't! I can't stand him, he gives me the creeps. Why would I invite a sleeze like him to my sangeet? I invited my friends,and some other of the staff, but not him. I don't know how or why he came.
Rohan interrupted Anji, when she would have said something further ,
--Actually Aunty, she is right she didn't. He came as someone's date.
I guess that when he found out that he wasn't invited, he found a way.
But aap log usske baare mein phikr nahin kijiye, I have taken care of him,...PROPERLY!. I don't think that he will be bothering Nidhi, or for that matter any other girl at KGH again.
Waise, Nidhi, how are you feeling now?
Then Dadi Bua hugged her tightly,
--Meri bacchi tu theek toh hai na?
Nidhi, hugged Dadi Bua back, and then smiled at her, and said,
--Dadi Bua, main bilkul theek hoon. Dekhiye. Mujhe kuch nahin hua, sirf thoda dar gayi thi, aur kuch nahin. Ashutosh, bilkul time par aagaye the. Inke hote hue mujhe kabhi kuch kaise ho sakta hai bhala?
Then Shyama aunty also took her into a tight hug,
--Nidhi, beta, I am sorry, ke tere saath yahan aisaa hua, aur woh bhi
Anji ke sangeet ke mauke par. Beta humein pataa nahin tha woh kaisa aadmi hai, nahin toh usse hum andar bhi nahin aane dete. Sorry...
--Aunty, aap yeh kaise baatein kar rahein hain. Please don't make me feel bad by saying all of this. I am fine. See! No harm done. Ashutosh and Rohan saved the day, and got rid of that creep. Aur aapko pataa hai...Ashutosh ne usse itni zor se punch mara that he fell on the floor with a bloody lip. I wouldn't be surprised if he even has a black eye tomorrow. Inke fists ke size dekhe aapne?
Everyone laughed, hearing her go on and on about Ashutosh and his punch, and Dadi Bua and Baba looked at her indulgently, and Baba gave Ashutosh a pat on his shoulders. Once it was established that other than a scare, there had been no harm done, Baba spoke up.
--Ashutosh beta, its good that there was no big incident, by gods good graces, but, Nidhi still has had bad scare. She is still pale. Beta I think that you should take her home to rest. I think that once she has gotten a proper rest tonight, she will be fine in the morning. Don't you think so. Solankiji. Shyamaji, I know that Nidhi is staying here with you till the wedding, but if it's OK with you both, I think that She can go home with Ashutosh tonight, and be back in the morning? That way, Yahan hamari family ke ilava kissi aur ko kuch bhi bataane ki zaroorat bhi nahin padegi, aur function mein bhi koi rukavat nahin aayegi.
--Lekin Dr. Mathur, itni badi baat hone ke baad, hum sangeet kaise, chaalu rakkhein. Pora mood kharab ho gaya hai. Aur Nidhi...
--Shyamaji, Nidhi ki phikr mat kariye. Ashutosh hai na, woh khayal rakkhle ga Nidhi ka. Agar aapne sangeet rokk diya toh log tarha tarha ke sawal poochenge, kya phayada. Yeh baat kissi ko bataa ne ki kya zaroorat hai.
--Haan Shyama, Bhaisahab bilkul theek keh rahein hain. Aur phir hum dono toh yahin raheinge, poore utsav ke liye. Ghar toh sirf yeh dono hi jayenge. Mere khayal mein yeh hi theek rahega.
--Theek hai. Aap dono ko jaisa theek lage. Toh Beta tu Jamai Babu ke saath Ghar jaakar aaraam kar. Aur phir subha wapa aajaana. Aur yahan ke baare mein koi tension mat lena, hum sab mil kar sab kuch sambhal lenge. Bas tu apna khayal rakkhna.
And she came up and gave Nidhi a hug, and turned to Ashutosh,
--Jamai Babu aapki bhuaji theek keh rahin hain, Aap dono jayiye. Dekhiye, Nidhi abhi tak kaanp rahi hai. Aur hamare beti ka acche se khayal rakkhiyega.
Ashutosh came forward and put his arm around Nidhi shoulders,
--Jee, Aunty. Aap phikr mat kijiye. I will take good care of her. Ab aap log bahar Jayiye nahin toh mehmaan sochenge ke ghar ke sab log kahan gayab ho gaye. Main peeche ke darwaze ze Nidhi ko ghar le jaata hoon.
Nidhi was about to leave, when she noticed that Anji was crying and had not said a single word throughout. She pulled out of Ash's arms and went and put her arms around her best friend.
--Anji main theek hoon, Sach mein. Ab tu rona band kar, aur dekh mein subha subha wapas aa jaungi. I promise. You need to go enjoy your sangeet now.
--Nidhi, I still can't believe that you had to go through all of that. I am sorry...
--Shut up Anji. ismein sorry ki kya zaroorat hai. Tune kuch thodehi kiya hai, and besides none of us could have known that the creep we thought was harmless, would turn out to be a lech and an octopus. So, stop blaming yourself, and go and enjoy the rest of the evening.
--Tere Bina main kaise enjoy karungi.
--Ab tu phir pagalon jaisi baatein kar rahi hai. I am fine. And I will be back to my normal self 100% by tomorrow morning. Plus yaar, teri shaadi ho rahi hai. Yeh mauka zindagi mein sirf ek baar aata hai. Aur main chahti hoon ke tu isse khoob enjoy kare, Mere hisse ka bhi. Please, I want you to enjoy enough for the both of us. It would mean so much to me. and agar tu nahin karegi toh mujhe bahut bura lagega, aur hurt bhi hoga. So...Promise.
Anji smiled and wiped her tears,
--I promise. But tu mujhe promise kar, kal subha jaldi aa jayegi na?
--I promise. I will get up and rush her as soon as I wake up. Tu kahe to uthte hi, bina kuch bhi tayyar hue, night suit mein hi aajaungi. Ok?
The two friends hugged once again, while all the elders looked indulgently at the two girls, and were deeply touched, and moved by their love for each other. Then Baba, gestured for Ashutosh to take Nidhi and go.
When they got home, Ashutosh took her to her room, and told her to go and change and get comfortable, and in the mean time he would also do the same, and then come right back up, to check up on her.
Reluctantly, Nidhi nodded. She really did not want to apart from him for even a second. The whole episode, had left her feeling really shaken, and she did not feel like changing just yet. She just needed for him to hold her. To make her forget, anything had even happened. She wanted to have the feel of his arms around her, comforting her, making her feel safe and secure. But, judging attitude, he was not in the mood.
She had noticed that ever since they had gotten into the car, Ashutosh had been a bit aloof, distant. And now with his suggestion that they should both get comfortable first...Well, that kind of hurt. He had not even put his arms around her once, since they had entered the house. And no one was even home, they were all alone. Maybe all the clinging and crying had made him uncomfortable. Of course! that was probably the reason. After all, he was not used to these kinds of things, and had had enough of her for one night. That was why he was behaving like this, she thought to herself, as she tried to justify, and make same sense out of the way he was behaving with her, all of a sudden. She should give him some space, she decided. So, she quietly made her way upstairs, and took off all her jewelry and clothes, and went to take a shower.
She spent longer than she had intended to in there, because, she could not control the tears, and sobs that tore through her body once again. When Nidhi was done with her shower, she got dressed and came out of the bathroom, to find Ashutosh sitting on her bed, looking at the photos, that she kept on her bed side table. He looked up, when he heard the door open, and slowly stood up and stared at her. Nidhi, remembering his earlier aloofness, stood where where was, and looked at him uncertainly. Ashutosh, came up to her and gently enfolded her in his arms. And, Nidhi more than willingly, and with a lot of relief, sank gratefully into his comforting embrace.
--Tum theek toh ho?
Nidhi nodded, not wanting to say anything.
--I heard you crying, in there...why?
Nidhi shrugged her shoulders, and shook her head.
--Nidhi, tumhe bhook lagi hogi na? chalo kuch khaa lo?
Nidhi once again shook her head, and clung tightly to him, unwilling to let go of him.
--Nidhi, Anji ka call ayaa tha mere paas. Usne mujhe bataya ke tumne dopeher se kuch nahin khaya hai. Sweetheart, you need to eat. If you don't then how will you feel well enough or have the energy to handle
all the stuff you still have to do before the wedding. Everyone is counting on you, you know that. Ab chalo..
She shook her head once again, in refusal,
--Nidhi, yeh kya ho raha hai? Why are you not saying anything. You just keep on shaking your head. Are you upset with me and not talking to me? Is that it?
Nidhi sighed. She knew that he would not let the matter go till she explained, so she very very reluctanly drew back and looked at him,
--Ashutosh, there is nothing wrong. I just did not want to speak. I just wanted to spend a few quite minutes in your arms. Par app toh kuch samajhte hi nahin hai. I am just not in a talkative mood, that all.
--Nidhi, I understand not wanting to talk, and having quiet time, but what you were doing was...Anyway, chhodo. You can have as much quiet time as you want, but, you have to eat first. Look I have warmed up some food, and brought it here for you. Pehle Khaa lo, phir aaraam se let jaana. OK.
--Fine. But, aapne bhi toh nahin khaaya hai. You have to eat with me, nahin toh I will not eat either.
Ashutosh chuckled ,and gave her a peck on her head, and said,
--Mujhe pataa tha tum yehi bologi, issi liye, I brought up enough food for the both of us. Ab chalo, no more stalling.
After they had both eaten. And, j
ust as he was about to get up, Nidhi said,
--Agar aap bura na maane toh main aapse ek question poochna chahti hoon.
--Nidhi, aisi kya baat hai, jiske liye tumhe poochna pad raha hai. Aur mai tumhari koi bhi baat ka bura kyon maanunga. Bolo kya baat poochna chahti ho, mujhse.
--Woh, I was wondering...you know all the way home, and then even when we got here, you were so distant with me. Mere se koi baat nahin kari. And ghar aate hi mujhe akele upar mere kamre mein bhej diya aapne. Why? Meri koi Baat buri lagi thi kya aapko? Aap please mujhe bataayege. Why you were so aloof?
Ashutosh stood up and held out his hand to help her stand up also. Then he led her to her bed and sat her down, and knelt down in front of her, and looked into her eyes,
--Because I was scared.
--Hmmm. I was scared because, I realized how quickly you have become such a big part of my life. The intensity of my feeling when I saw that creep trying to paw you tonight, surprised the hell out of me.
Nidhi, I have never felt such murderous rage before in my life. I saw red literally. If you had not been there I don't know what I would have done to him. Nidhi, when you hurt, I hurt with you, and when you are happy, I smile. I want to protect you from the world, and keep you safe and happy always. Nidhi, I am scared of how essential you are becoming to me. It's so that I get restless when I don't see you for very long. I have never been a particularly possessive person, but where you are concerned, I find that I cannot stand it when any man but me, even looks at you , let alone touches you. I can't even concentrate on my work, and that has never happened to me before. Nidhi, I was quiet, because I was trying to come to terms with all of that. I needed time to sort, everything out.
--Toh kis nateeje par pahunche hain aap? Do you regret feeling like that? Are you having second thoughts about us?
Nidhi was scared to her bones, she didn't even want to think about contemplating a life without him,
--Nidhi, suppose I say, that I can't handle this. These feelings. That I would feel miserable in life if I had to feel these feelings all the time. What if I said that, I wanted to be free? What would you say to that? Would you regret whatever has happened between us in these past 2 months. Would you wish, that I had never come back into your life again? Would you wish that you did not love me?
--Ashutosh aap aisa soch bhi kaise sakte hain. I have never, will never, and can never ever regret anything between us. These past 2 months, since you have been back, have been the happiest of my life.
Ashutosh I love you so much, aap kabhi uska andaaza bhi nahin lagaa sakte hain. And I only want you to be happy. Jiss baat mein aapko khushi milti hai, meri khushi bhi ussi mein hai. And agar, aap yeh kehte hain ,that you cannot, or even that you don't want to deal with the feelings I arouse in you, and want to be free of me...Well, then I want that for you too. If that's the case, then I think that it would be best if we stay away from each other. I could always move out of this house, and go somewhere else. But please don't ask me if I regret loving you. I can never regret that. Mere liye, jitne bhi pal humne saath saath bitaye hain, wohi kaafi hai, mere baaki ki life ke liye. Loving you is as necessary to my being as my breathing is. I couldn't stop loving you, even If I wanted too, and I never want to do that.
--Toh tumne Kaise soch liya, that I am regretting anything. Have I ever given you any indication to that effect, by my actions or words? All I was saying, was that I just needed to sort everything out, and come to terms with my feelings, not that I REGRETED them. You took 2 n 2, and made 20.
--I am sorry. Its just that, I get scared sometimes also. I don't ever want to loose you.
--Sweetheart, You will never loose me. How can you loose something, that has always belonged to you anyway.
--Ashutosh, aap mere sab kuch hain. I love you. I love you very very much.
Ashutosh looked at her tenderly, and put both hands on either side of her face and brought her closer, and kissed both her eyes, then her forehead. Then he drew back ,and took both her hands in his, and bent down to place a kiss on each one, before looking up at her again, right into her eyes, and said slowly
--I love you too, Nidhi. Very very much.
Ashutosh saw the surprise on her face, followed by the most over whelming range of emotions, one after the other. Starting from, disbelief, doubt, to hope to excitement, then finally to a radiant happiness, that he had never seen, until now. Its as if her whole body was glowing with the light radiating from her eyes, as the tears, only this time of happiness, rolled down her cheeks.
--Ashutosh, aapne...Did I just hear you say...Aap mujh se..
--Main tumse pyar karta hoon Nidhi. Tumne bilkul theek suna. Thats why I was so quiet. I knew I had to tell you. I couldn't keep it from you any longer. I love you Nidhi. I have, I think almost from the first. I just wanted to give you time, and also wanted you to be sure, before I told you. But, today... I knew that I had to tell you. I could not wait any longer.
--Iska matlab, aap iss poore time, jaan boojhke mere se yeh chupate aaye hain?
--Nidhi, I never hid my feelings. All I ever said was that I could not give you the words. I have never lied to you Nidhi. And I never will.
--But, that does not excuse the fact that you did not tell me. Aap jaante the ke main taras rahi thi aapke munh se inn shabdon ko sunne ke liye. And yet you made me wait. It made me miserable, and hurt me so much to think that you did not love me. I thought that, mere mein koi kami thi. Aapko pata hai, aapne mujhe kitna hurt kiya hai? Actually aapko iss se kya phark padta hai. Aapko toh bas, woh saara getting to know each other and dating etc. yeh cheezein zyada important lagti hain. Well, I dont want to get to know you, and I will not date you. And above all, I dont Love you. Ab aap jayiye. I am tired and I need to go to sleep. Mujhe subha subha Anji ke ghar bhi jaana hai.
And she jerked away from him, got up and went to stand near the windows, to look out, up at the sky. Ashutosh got up and walked to he and put his arms around her from the back. Nidhi struggled, and tried to loosen his hold, but he only tightened his arms and brought her even closer. When she persisted, he turned her around, so that she was facing him, and both of her hands were pinned between their bodies,
--Ashutosh mujhe chodiye. I don't want to talk to you.
--Theek hai. I will let you go, and you don't have to talk to me either, but, pehle bolo ke tum mujhse pyaar karti ho.
--Nahin! Main aapse pyar nahin karti?
--Nidhi, I will not let you go till you say you love me, and I can stand here all night like this, without getting tired.
--Aap kuch bhi kar lijiye, I don't care. I don't love you, and that is final!
--Nahin Karti, are you sure?
--Pakka? Absolutely positive?
--Bol diya na. I don't love you.
--Ok then. Now this is your fault. You are making me do this. And, remember I will not relent till you tell me that you love me.
--When Pigs fly!
--I think you should turn your face towards the sky then Nidhi. Because, in a little while, I am sure you will be seeing some pigs flying by.
And with that he tightened his arms, and brought her up so close, to him that she could barely breathe. Then he backed her up against the wall, and lowered his face to look into her eyes,
He brought his face closer and skimmed her lips with his,
He kissed her lightly taking time to caress first her upper lip, then her lower lip, by taking them gently between his own. And he placed light kisses all over her face, before coming back to where he had started from,
--tell me, you love me.
Then he proceeded to place tiny kisses and love bites along her jaw, and down the side of her neck to her shoulder, where he buried his face, and his muffled voice reached her ears,
--what about now, ready to say it?
Ashutosh chuckled, and shook his head at her stubbornness, and took a fistful of her hair, and gently pulled at it, so that her head was tilted back, arching her neck. Then he proceeded to kiss his way across from one side to the other, and back up to her lips, which were slightly parted now, as he still had her head tilted back. Ashutosh bent to her lips, and then gently put his lips to hers and ran his tongue along her teeth, and along her lower lip. This brought a low involuntary groan from her throat. Then with his lips still on hers, and his breath mingling with hers,
--Tell me you love me Nidhi. I need to hear you say it.
Nidhi shook her head. and unconsciously darted her tongue out to moisten her dry lips. Then he lost all control. Ashutosh let go of his grip on her hair, and pulled her so close that they were standing flush against each other. He lowered his face, and took her mouth with a force, that had her gasping for breath, and he proceeded to plunder her mouth mercilessly, memorizing the taste and texture of that heaven with his tongue. Nidhi hesitantly at first, but then with growing boldness, also reciprocated his moves, and soon, they were so lost in each other, and their desire for one another, that both of them had forgotten, why all of this had gotten started in the first place.
He let go of her mouth and pushed her shirt slightly off of one shoulder, running his lips across the soft, smooth fragrant skin, before burying his face in the crook of her neck, and started working his magic there. And, when Nidhi moaned, again, he brought he lips back up to hers, but this time gently, and tenderly, as he slowly banked down the fires. Once they had both cooled down, he drew back, and looked into her eyes.
--Nidhi, I am sorry Sweetheart. I was wrong not to tell you. Mujhe maaf kardo please, and Tell me that you love me.
Nidhi , finally smiled, put her arms around his neck, and placed a gentle kiss on his lips,
--I love you. And you know that. Aapko bas excuse chahiye tha. Aur kuch nahin.
Ashutosh laughed softly, and brought his forehead down to touch hers.
--Accha, suno, ab bahut der ho gayi hai, and you have been through a lot today. Not to mention the fact, that the next couple of days, are going to be really busy, and tiring. So, Ma'am I think that you should rest now, hmm?
He walked her over to the bed, and gently lay her down before covering her up. Then bent down to place a gentle kiss on her forehead.
--Good Night, sweetheart. Sleep well.
He reached out and turned of the lamp, and got up. Just as he was about to move away, when she reached out and caught his hand,
--Ashutosh, can you stay with me here tonight?
--Nidhi, do you know what you are saying, Honey?
She smiled and tugged at his arm,
--Not that, Silly! I just want you to hold me while I sleep, tonight. I want to be held in your arms. I know that you tried to make me forget, and it worked. I am not feeling scared or anything like that. But, I don't think that I will be able to sleep, alone.
--How did you...
She laughed, and reached up to cup his cheek in her hand,
--Because I know that you love me. I have known for a while. Ashutosh, aapne mujhe itna buddhu samajh rakkha hai. You didnt have to tell me, it was there in all your actions, and words. Granted, that I did feel insecure from time to time, because you had not verbally acknowledged those feelings, but, deep down I knew. Although, it felt so wonderful to finally hear them. I have been waiting forever, it seems, to hear that from you.
--Toh woh sab gussa, kiss liye tha?
--Woh...Well, thoda aap mujhe distract karne ki koshish kar rahe the, aur thoda main aapko distract karne ki koshish kar rahi thi. Fark, sirf yeh tha, that I knew exactly what you were trying to do. Although, I have to say, hhearing you say I Love You. Was like a dream come true for me. It made what ever happened tonight seem almost worth it.
--So, you were playing me?
--No, I was trying to DISTRACT you. I knew that you were furious, and worried. I wanted to make you forget for a bit too. Thats all.
Ashutosh, shook his head,
--I see that I am going to have to be very careful in the future. It's going to be hard to hide anything from you. Ok. Ab go to sleep, bahut baatein ho gayi.
--Aap jaa rahein hain?
--No! I am not going anywhere.
Nidhi smiled and scooted, to make room on the bed. Ashutosh, covered her up in the blanket, and lay down on top of the covers. Then he opened his arms, and smiling, she slid into them, and laid her her head on his chest, and put one arm around him, and with a sigh closed her eyes,
--Ek baar phir boliye na...please
he chuckled, and placed a kiss on the beautiful head that lay atop his heart,
--I love you.
After that there were no more words between the two of them , for the rest of the night.
The next morning, Ashutosh woke up to an unfamiliarly heavy feeling on his chest, and his arm felt heavy too. He tried to wiggle his arm, to see if he could get rid of the pins and needles, coursing through it, but found that he could not move his arm. Ashutosh opened his eyes, and found himself in unfamiliar surroundings. He blinked his eyes several times, and looked down, and found himself looking at the beautiful, and sleeping face of the woman he loved. And, the the events of the previous evening came rushing back to him. Ashutosh smiled tenderly at he looked into Nidhi face. And, realized that his was what he wanted to wake up to every morning of his life. And this was also how he wanted to wake up. With her in his arms, and her beautiful face as the first sight to greet his eyes every morning. He did not move for fear of waking her up, but after a few minutes, she began stirring, and then opened her eyes. When she saw him, she smiled, and snuggled more closely against him. After a couple of minutes, though, she stiffened, and suddenly sat up, and looked at him in alarm,
--Aap? Aap yahan kya kar rahein hain?
--I think I preferred your first reaction, better. And as for my being here, you are responsible for that. Bhool gayi?
Nidhi suddenly remembered the events of last night. She also remembered asking him to stay with her, and blushed. Nidhi drew away the covers, and moved to get out of bed, when Ashutosh caught her arm and pulled her back down in his arms,
--Yeh, app kya kar rahein hai. Please let me go.
--I don't feel like it. It felt too good waking up with you all snuggled up in my arms. I could get used to this you know.
--Ashutosh, Baba aur Dadi Bua, dono ghar mein hain. And Dadi Bua can come here any minute, please let me go. Besides I have to get ready and go to Anji's house. Mujhe jaane dejiye.
--You are being really bad. Let me go, please.
Ashutosh, knew that he was teasing her too much, and decided to take pity on her, but, before that,
--Theek hai, I'll let you go. Par what do I get in return.
And he gave her a wicked smile.
--I see, aap sharafat se nahin maanenge. OK then.
And she tickled him on his side, and was immediately free. Nidhi scampered off the bed, and stood facing him with a huge grin on her face, which became even bigger, when she saw Ashutosh poting like a little boy,
--All's fair and all that...besides, you were using your strength too.
So... Accha, ab aap apne kamre mein jayiye. I need to get ready quickly, I have so much to do today. I can't believe the wedding is day after tomorrow. Abhi toh Anji ki wedding dress bhi nahin aayi hai. I have to call the tailor today, aur phir woh phool wale bhi toh baat karni thi...
Still muttering to herself, and making a mental list of things that needed to be done, Nidhi grabbed some clothes, and headed into the bathroom, totally forgetting about Ashutosh.
He smiled ruefully and shook his head. He didn't know whether to be amused or annoyed at the fact that he had been forgotten. He sighed and got up, and tried to moved his stiff arm this way and that, to try and get it to loosen up, then with one last glance towards, the bathroom, he went to his own room. He knew that he had a pretty hectic schedule today, and needed to get to the hospital on time.
During breakfast, he told Nidhi that he would drop her off at Anji's house on his way to work. Baba, and Dadi Bua were still concerned about the residual effects on her from last night's incident, but she assured them, that she had completely recovered, and felt absolutely fine. And, after saying bye to the both of them, promising to call them later, she got into the car with Ashutosh.
Ashutosh, took her hand in his and brought it up to his lips for a kiss,
and gave her a quick glance,
--Nidhi, tum sach mein theek ho na"? Not feeling anxious, or panic or anything like that?
--Sach mein I feel fine. I was pretty scared last night. I mean it was a frightening experience, but, as you had pointed out. Aap time par aagaye the, and nothing happened. So, Please don't worry. And Plus, I know that he will not be able to come back, so I am not scared anymore.
--Theek hai, as long as you are sure that you are alright. But agar koi bhi problem ho, call me immediately! Promise?
She laughed, and lovingly caressed his cheek,
--Yes, Doctor Sahab! I promise I will call if there is any problem. In fact, I will call anyway, even without any problems. I love hearing your voice.
Ashutosh smiled, and gave her hand, which he still held, a gentle aqueeze. After that Nidhi was quiet. She had been thinking about last night, and there was something that was still bothering her about it. There was something that she was missing, something important that she could not remember. She knew that, she had meant to say something, but it had completely slipped her min...
She suddenly snatched her hand from him and put it to her mouth in surprise, HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, she thought.
--You told Dr. Purab, that we were married, thatI was you wife!!!!!
Ashutosh looked at her face, and the look of stunned disbelief written all over it. He had thought that she had taken his announcement in front of that creep, in her stride. He had never even give it a thought that in her shock she might have overlooked, and forgotten about it.
She was some piece of work, his Nidhi. and he had to laugh,
--Nidhi, I have heard of the phrase,"tubelight effect"in conjunction with people, but sweetheart, you take the cake. I bet this is the longest delayed reaction in the history of the world. You really are priceless. You had forgotten?
--Itne hansene ki koi baat nahin hai. I just had more important stuff going on in my mind at that time. But, ab? Ab kya hoga? You know that he will spread it all over the place!
--Nidhi don't worry about it honey. I had told you before, na, that we have nothing to hide? Toh phir? It's not an issue. We will deal with it.
Besides, it had to come out sooner or later, and now its out. No big deal... Sweetheart, we have not done done anything wrong. We are husband and wife, and thats all anybody needs to know. The rest, well, thats nobody's business but our own. Theek hai.
--If you are sure. I was more concerned about you than myself. I mean you are the chief of staff, I just want anything to hurt you or your reputation. That all.
--Nidhi, you are being silly. How can being married hurt my reputation. Now if we weren't that was another thing. Anyway, it will be a five day wonder, and then life will go on as usual. So, don't worry. Now go have a good time at your friends wedding, and forget about everything else. Yes?
When she nodded,
--That's My Girl! Now say bye to your husband, like a good Wife. I have to get to the hospital my patients will be waiting. Like you I have a full busy day ahead of me today.
Nidhi, gave a quick look around, to make sure the coast was clear, then leaned over and gave him a quick kiss on his cheek, and got out of the car. She waved to him, and had a smile on her face as he drove away, and she turned to go in.
The next two days, went by in a flurry of activities. Nidhi hardly got any time time breathe. At first, Shyama Aunty, and Anji had been hesitant, and worried, but at her reassurance, that she was fine, went ahead, handed over everything to her. Nidhi could not believe that Anji was getting married. It seemed like it had been just yesterday, when they had been little. They had played together, fought, ate and slept together. Other than her father, Nidhi did not know anyone that she was this close to. And, Even though, she was very very happy for her friend, Nidhi felt a little envious also. Anji was having the kind of wedding that every girl dreamed of all her life. If, only...she thought. Then the next second she shook off these thoughts, and went back to
making sure that everything would be perfect for Anji, right down to the color of the flowers, that she had chosen.
At last the wedding day arrived, and everyone was abuzz with excitement. specially Anji. Nidhi could see that her friend could not wait to start her life with the man she loved, and she knew, better than anyone what that felt like. She helped Anji with her packing during the day. And made sure that everything she valued was either ready to go with her that night at the bidai, or was ready to be sent on ahead that evening.
That afternoon during lunch Shyama Aunty joined them in Anji's room. The three of them started talking, and Aunty started reminiscing about their childhood and their childish antics, thier fights, everything. Then she looked at Anji, and her eyes filled with tears, as she described the day Anji was born, and the day that they had broght her home from the hospital. A silent look of intense love was exchanged between mother daughter, before Anji launched herself in her mother's arms and started crying. While, Nidhi looked on affectionately at the two. She had never known her mother. And, it was at times like this that she desperately wished that she was still alive. She wished that she could have known the kind of closeness that Anji shared with her mother, and felt the bond of a mothers love, and sighed with regret. She could never have that with her mother, but, she decided, she would have that with her daughter. And, then in the next instant blushed at that thought, and implications that went along with the thoughts of having a child.
Anji had seen the blush and wanting to pull her friend back into the circle, said,
--Nidhi, shaadi toh meri ho rahi hai, toh blush tu kyon kar rahi hai?
--Anji, you are too much. I was not blushing. Mujhe bas thodi garmi lag rahi thi, that's all. After all, I have been running around all day.
--Are you sure yeh hi wajah hai. Agar mere se koi pooche toh main toh yehi kahungi e tujhe Jeejaji ki yaad aa rahi hai.
-- Anji, tu yeh bakwas band kar, aur apni soch. Abi thodi der mein tere Baraat aane wali hai, aur tune tayyar hona bhi nahin shuru kiya hai. Shaadi karni hai ke nahi?
After that everyone started running around and seeing to the final preparations. The lady from the beauty salon arrived, for Nidhi and Anji. And at Anji insistence, got Nidhi ready first. For Anji's wedding Nidhi had bought her self a beautiful light pink, and sea green sari, with heavy gold bead work all over. She was wearing a matching three fourth length sleeve blouse, with matching bangles. For jewelry along with her mangalsutra, she had chosen to wear a light gold diamond necklance, that had been a birthday gift from Dadi Bhua, and long heavy gold diamond earrings, and a delicate diamond maang teeka. Her make up consisted of gold eyeshadow base, with a pink and green blend on the eyelids, a hint of pink blush highlighted by gold on her cheeks, and a light pink lipstick. She left her hair open, as always. And a golden bindi on her forehead put the finishing touch, to her ensemble. When she put on her saree, the over head lights caught the gold of the beads, and gave Nidhi the appearance of being bathed in a golden glow from head to foot. Anji took one look at her friend, and gasped. Nidhi was absolutely stunning.
--Nidhi, tu toh aaj bachke rehna. Jeejaji tujhe ek Nazar dekhenge, toh flat ho jayenge.
--Anji, tu na bas...chal ab meri bahut tareef ho gayi, now its your turn to get ready. Nahin toh pataa challaa baraat aa gayi and you are still in your jeans.
-- Toh kya hua. Rangnath toh Kaise bhi mujhse shaadi kar lenge. He love me a lot.
--Yes yes, I know. But still I want you to knock his socks off when he gets a load of you today, all decked up as a bride. So lets hurry.
Ashutosh had not had a chance to talk to her today. And, when he had tried to call her on her cell during the day, she had not answered, and instead had sent him a text saying that she was very busy, and did not have time to talk, and that she would see him tonight at the wedding. He had been a disappointed, but had understood. Between both their schedules, they had not had much time to talk, much less even see each other, over the past two days. Which was why he was really looking forward to the evening, and was also happy and relieved about the fact that she would be coming home with him tonight. The house just did not seem right without her presence, and not to mention the fact that he was lonely without her.
When he saw her coming down the staircase, escorting Anji, he was once again left floored by her beauty. For a few seconds, all he could do was just stand there staring at her. Then he remembered the last time, and turned and looked around, and as expexted, much like the last time, he wasn't the only one mesmerized, he thought on a irritated note. And to top it all off, he had totally forgotten to talk to her about her clothing. Well, he would definitely make it a point to talk to her about it, before they attended any more social events. My god this woman was lethal, he thought on a proud note, when he looked her way again. And the thought that no matter what these other men might be thinking, the fact that he knew she belonged to him brought the smile back to his face. And, before long, he decided, the whole world would know it too. But, that didn't mean that she was off the hook as far as her clothes were concerned!
As soon as the Jai Mala ceremony had gotten over, Nidhi once again vanished. Ashutosh tried looking around to find her, and when couldn't, remembering last time, he got worried, and hurried out of the hall. On his way out he bumped into Rohan, he did not know where she was either. After 10-15 minutes, he spotted her walking down the hallway towards the ballroom where the wedding was being held. Ashutosh hurried over to her. He had been going out of his mind with worry.
When Nidhi saw him coming, she smiled, but the next instant the smile was wiped off her face, when Ashutosh grabbed, her arm, roughly, and literally dragged her into a corner, where he was sure that they were reasonably safe from prying eyes, and said
--Where the hell have you been? Do you have any idea how worried I have been? I have been looking everywhere for you.
--Par, kya hua, main toh yahin thi. I had just gone to the bridal suite, to pick up some stuff for the ceremony. Anji and Shyama Aunty both knew where I was. All you had to do was ask them.
--So, why couldn't you tell me that, before you left. At least I could have saved myself from all that worry. Do, you know what it did to me to find you had vanished again. Picchli baar ka saara qissa phir se yaad aagaya, and I just lost it.
Nidhi finally understood. She put her arms around, and brought him close for a hug.
--I am so sorry. I didn't think. Really, maine, zara bhi nahin socha iss baare mein. I am sorry.
--Nidhi, I love you. And I worry about you.
--I know and I promise that I will be more careful in the future. Theek hai. Ab toh calm down ,please.
--Ashutosh hugged her tightly, before moving back a bit,
--Have I told you how beautiful you are looking today?
--Abhi tak toh nahin. But, I don't mind if you do. Mujhe aapke munh se apni tareef sunni bahut acchi lagti hai.
--Accha. Toh I guess then I need to do it more often then, hunh? Seriously, Nidhi, jab tumhe aaj pehle bar dekha, toh I just stopped breathing for a moment. You are looking breathtaking tonight. Nobody can even come close to you.
Nidhi laughed, while a blush stole up her cheeks,
--You are biased. But thank you, anyways. Ab chaliye. Pheron ka time ho raha hai, and I have to get these things to the panditji. He is waiting for me
--Alright. I will take you back in. But, you and I, we need to have a talk, when I get you back home tonight.
--Kiss Baare mein?
--Woh baad mein bataunga. Just please remind me, though, incase I forget.
--OK. But, just so you know, I am not coming back tonight, I am coming back tomorrow night.
--Tomorrow Night! But why? Shaadi toh aaj ho jayegi.
--Yes. Shaadi toh aaj ho jayegi, par abhi kal kaafi saari rasmein baaki hain. Aur phir shyam ko reception bhi hai. Main aapke saath kal reception ke baad ghar chalungi. I thought you knew that.
--I didn't. Nobody told me anything. Why am I the last to know these things?
--But husband, Baba, and Dadi Bua dono ko toh shuru se hi maalum tha, all you had to do was ask them. Waise maine aapko bhi bataya tha. I guess aap bhool gaye honge.
--Nidhi, I do not forget such things. And you did not tell me. If you had I would have remembered.
--Accha chaliye, it was a misunderstanding, and I am really sorry. But, ab andar chaliye, already bahut der ho gayi hai.
Shyama was waiting for her, and as soon as she saw Nidhi, she directed her to go straight to where the panditji was hurrying to get all the preparations for the ceremony finished up.
Ashutosh stood on the opposite side of the mandap, from where she sat next to Anji. He wondered whether he would ever get tired of looking at her. Nidhi noticing his intense stare, gestured for him to stop. And, when Ashutosh had meerly raised his eyebrow, in answer, and shrugged his shoulders, she shook her head with exasperation. Somewhere along the way, he stopped staring at her, and started to notice her, and saw the way she glanced at what the panditji was doing, and then at Anji and Rangnath. She had a particularly, yearning look on her face, specially when the Solankis did Anji's kanyadaan. Ashutosh was sure that she was remembering her own father then. But the real revelation came when he saw her reactions to the sindoor, mangalsutra, pheras, and the seven vows part of the ceremony. That was when he realized by the look in her eyes, and expression in her face, that she was comparing their marriage, to this. He knew she would never say anything to anybody, but he had seen how she had looked at Rangnath when he had put sindoor, in Anji's parting, and the mangalsutra around her neck. Ashutosh realized that his Nidhi had been cheated out of this, by fate, and the elders, although at that time they did not have a choice. But, he thought, now he did. He could make it up to her now, he thought. And why not? She should have a proper wedding too, if that was what she wanted. And it was apparent that she did.
Ashutosh wanted to give Nidhi everything she wanted, and that was in his power to give. And he knew that this was. Besides, a second marriage ceremony, like this one, with all the pomp and show, would be good for them. It would announce to the world, much better than any words could, that they were husband and wife, and that they belonged together. He would run the idea by Baba and Dadi Bua first, but he was sure that, they would have no problems with this, either.
After the ceremony was over, and everyone was having dinner, Ashutosh walked over to where his father and B Ahua, were sitting, and sat down next to them.
--Baba, Dadi Bua, aap dono se ek baat karni thi.
--What is is Beta. Is there a problem?
--Nahin Baba, aisi koi baat nahin hai. Woh, main soch raha tha...
Actually aaj ceremony ke time par, you know...
--Oh ho! Ashutosh, tu saaf saaf bol, kya keh raha hai. Itna hich kicha kyon raha hai? Koi soche mano apni shaadi ki baat karne ki koshish kar raha ho.
--Actually Dadi Bua, yehi karne ki koshish kar raha tha.
--Kya keh raha hai. Teri shaadi toh ho chuki hai. Koi aur ladki vadki ke chakkar mein toh nahin phans gaya hai.
--Dadi Bua kaisi baatein kar rahi ho. Of course not. Mere liye Nidhi hi kaafi hai. Anyway, thats not what I was saying.
--Toh phir jaldi jaldi bol. Main yahan baithe baithe boodhi hoti ja rahi hoon.
--Dadi Bua suno toh sahi, please. Woh kya hai Dadi Bua, abhi pheron par, main Nidhi ko dekh raha tha...
--Yeh le. Yeh kya nayi baat hai. Aaj kal jab dekho tab, tu ussi ko toh dekhta rehta hai.
--Bhua, aapko sunna hai ki nahin?
--Theek hai. Toh phir jaldi bol.
--Maine notice kiye ke Nidhi kaisi baar baar Anji aur Rangnath ke poore phern ko kitne gaur se dekh rahi thi. Baba, uss ke chehre par ek kashish, ek chah dekhi maine. Baba aap dono toh Nidhi ko jaante hain, woh apne munh se kuch nahin bolne waali. Aur aap dono yeh bhi jaante hain ke hamari kin paristithiyon mein hui thi, aur kiss tarha se hui thi. Well agar Nidhi ke taraf se dekha jaye toh kitni badi naainsaafi hui hai uske saath. I am sure that every girl thinks of her wedding when growing up, and probabaly has dream, and certain wishes in regards to it. ...baba Nidhi ko toh yeh mauka kabhi milla hi nahin. Her wedding was at a registrar's office, to a reluctant and aloof man, who did not even look in her direction, and then proceeded to leave her right after, for six years. Yet, she has never complained, or said anything. She is happy, and OK with what she has. I don't think that's fair, and I want to make it up to her for that. Toh main soch raha tha ke...agar aap dono raazi ho toh,
and Dadi Bua completed his sentence for him before he could,
--Tu Nidhi ke saath phir se, band baaje ke saath, shadi karna chahta hai. Hain?
--Jee Dadi Bua. I think Nidhi ke liye , humein yeh karna chahiye.
Baba stood up and hugged Ashutosh,
--Beta, main bahut khush hoon yeh dekh kar ke tujhe Nidhi ka kitna khayal rehta hai, aur tu uski feelings ki kitni kadar karta hai. I am so proud of you. And I approve. Tera idea abhut accha hai. Aisa hi hoga.
We can talk about all the details tomorow. Kya kehti ho Saroj, theek hai na?
--Haan bhisahab. Bilkul theek. Iss bahane inn dono ki shaadi dhang se ho jayegi, aur chaar rishtedaaron ko bhi bula lenge. Aur, shaadi ke baad koi bhi in dono par anguliyan bhi nahin utha sakega. Aur, main bhi aapne saare sapne poore kar paungi, jo maine Ashutosh ki shaadi ko leke kabhi dekhe the. Beta, yeh toh tune bahut accha socha hai. Mera dil khush kar diya tune.
Ashutosh could not wait to tell Nidhi. BHe tried to get her alone, but everytime he tried, someone or the other, would come in between, or she had to run and do something. In the end he gave up and sat down. He figured that he would get his chance soon enough. And he was right. Right after Anji had left with Rangnath, he found her sitting in a corner all alone, by herself, crying. Concerned, he went and sat down next to her,
--Nidhi, kya hua? Sweetheart why are you crying?
--I can't believe that, mujhe nahin bataogi?
Nidhi leaned sideways, into him, and Ashutosh put his arm around her shoulders, to accomodate her.
--Its just that with Anji getting married, I feel sad, as if everything has changed somehow. I miss her.
--Par, Nidhi, she just left five minutes ago. And you guys are still at the hospital together, and she lives just 10-15 minutes away. You can see her whenever you want. Phir tumhari bhi toh shaadi ho chuki hai. Toh aisi kya baat hai?
--You won't understand, its a girl thing.
--Theek hai, toh phir meri ek baat ka jawab do. Do you wish that we had gotten married like this.
She hesitated, before answering him.
--Yes. But, then for me the biggest thing is that we ARE married. Ab kaise aur kyon se kya fayada. Inn sab baaton ko beete bahut ime ho gaya hai. And wanting is not everything. Aur dekha jaye toh, jo mujhe chahiye tha, woh toh mill hi gaya, the rest...well, it's really not a big deal. I know ke Baba hote toh phir bhi...khair chodiye in baaton ko. Whats the use, we cant'turn back time. Jo jis tarha hona tha waise ho gaya. And I have no complaints. I have you. I don't need anything else.
--Yes you have me. And you always will. I am not going anywhere. But wouldn't you like to have a wedding like this if you could?
--Yes, of course. But thats not possible.
--Anything is possible, if one wishes hard enough for it.
--Ashuji, I have no idea what you are saying.
--What I am saying, or rather asking is...
Ashutosh got up from his chair and knelt down in front of her. Then he took both her hands in his and turned them over and placed a kiss on each palm and he looked up into her eyes, which were beginning to fill with tears, as she finally understood what he was getting at, and what he was about to do,
--Nidhi, Will You Marry Me? Again!
Please hit the like button if you enjoyed the chapter.