Joined: 28 November 2010
Joined: 28 November 2010
"Nidhi, what happened? Why are you crying?"
"I am just useless. Nothing I do is ever right?"
"Oh come on now! Don't be so harsh on yourself!"
"It is the truth. I should have known better than to try this!"
"Nidhi, don't be silly!"
Nidhi stared at him with eyes full of tears!
"Did you call me silly?"
"No, actually I did not mean it quite that way!"
"You did. Even you think I am silly!"
She started sniffling and soon, it escalated to full blown sobs.
Armaan had no clue how to deal with the situation.
Jeez, the kid was not even here. She was already learning to bake a cake for its first birthday. Okay, she'd burnt this one just a bit. But, it was still delicious. And he'd told her that! But, she wanted perfect and that it was not. Enough to set off the water works.
Armaan guessed that it must have something to with the pregnancy hormones. Not that he had been around enough pregnant women to make a definitive statement. But, he couldn't think of anything else that would make his brave Nidhi cry, Yes, he thought of her as his. His sister-in-law, sister, friend, even his daughter. He felt incredibly protective of her to the point where he almost hated Ashutosh for putting her through this. Of course, he could not say a word against him in front of Nidhi. She would turn into a tigress and behave like he was attacking her cub. Armaan shuddered to think of how Ashutosh was going to react to all of this when he knew and, more importantly, of his own involvement in this.
Pushing aside his thoughts, he went ahead and held Nidhi in his arms, like he did every time she broke down. The poor baby just needed a hug, so what if there was another baby nestling with her.
He patted her back and stroked her hair alternatively, and slowly her sobs became soft sniffles.
Ashutosh did not know what he was feeling. All he knew was he was being propelled by a force. A force that disregarded any promises he may have made to her. A force that would not let him rest until he had seen her and asked her why she had done what she had! On the one hand, he felt ferocious anger and on another, there was extreme delight. For, beneath all the subterfuge and deceit, lay the one truth that he had secretly dreamt of for years. A dream that he had purposefully discarded in the pursuit of an ambitious marriage! It did not give him great comfort to know that he had once been a man who had traded his personal joys for professional growth. He did not like the man he had once been. It had taken Nidhi to show him the mirror, to expose to him what he had turned into. He had given it all up and seized the joys she had offered. And then, she had betrayed him! Yes, it was betrayal to keep the joy of her pregnancy a secret from him. It was cruel to deny him the knowledge of what he craved for from the bottom of his soul, whatever be her twisted justification. And he was not going to stop before he told her exactly what he thought of her treachery!
He thrust his key into the lock and turned it.
At least she had not changed the lock.
He pushed open the door.
The sight ahead made him freeze.
Alerted by the slight noise of the door, Armaan looked up.
The sudden stiffening of his body alerted Nidhi and she turned around.
It was like a tableau. Nobody moved and nobody spoke for a few seconds!
Armaan was the first one to break out of the trance.
He removed his arms from around Nidhi and took a step towards Ashutosh.
"Look Ashutosh, it is not...?"
Ashutosh walked up to him swiftly and pulled his fist back, aiming a punch at Armaan's face.
"Ashutosh...what are you doing?"
He turned to Nidhi with blazing eyes, and put a hand up as if indicating her to stop.
He then caught hold of Armaan by the collar and said,
"Did you not think once before betraying me?"
Armaan was shocked. Had Ashutosh misinterpreted what he had seen?
"Ashu...what crap are you saying? I was just trying to comfort?"
His words stopped In mid-flow, when he saw the tear that rolled down Ashutosh's cheek.
"Is it not betrayal to join hands with my wife to keep news of my child from me?"
Armaan knew he had no defense now.
He remained silent.
"Have you not asked me in the past if my marriage has been worth such a huge sacrifice? Don't you recall my love for kids right from the time we were children ourselves. Even if she did not, surely you knew. Why did you let her do this to me, Armaan?"
Ashutosh's voice remained steady despite everything.
"Ashutosh, I don't have anything to say. What do you say in a situation where everybody is both right and wrong? All I can say is that I am sorry. I am sorry, my friend. It was not my intention to hurt. I was trying to protect all of you, believe me!"
Ashutosh's hands fell down to his sides and his shoulders slumped in defeat.
Armaan caught him by the shoulder and made him sit on the couch.
He brought him a glass of water.
He then signalled with his eyes that it was now Nidhi's turn.
"Okay guys, I am leaving now. Fight all you want. But be sure to kiss and make up after that. You'll have ample time. I won't come back until one of you calls me!"
He walked out of the flat,
closing the door behind him.
Nidhi was at a loss for once.
How did you explain to a man why you had kept the news of his impending fatherhood from him?
How did you justify it, even assuming that you had a justification?
Was she justified even in doing what she had, whatever be her intentions and reasons?
It was not that these questions had not plagued her before. But, she had deliberately brushed them aside. She had not allowed herself to think of how Ashutosh would react when he got to know of the baby! She had not thought what he would say or, for that matter, what she would!
Now, she was bereft of words. And he was clearly not in a mood to break the silence. He had not looked up at her even once, since Armaan had left.
His face remained buried in his hands.
She did not know what she was going to do but she had to do something.
Then, she acted on pure instinct.
She went up to him and hugged his head to her swollen belly.
As if realizing that his mother needed his help, the baby responded by choosing to kick right then.
She felt the violent tremor that shook Ashutosh's frame at that first feel of the baby.
His arms went around her middle and he emitted a sound, that was part pain and part triumph, before he started kissing her belly like a mad man.
"I am sorry, baby...am sorry for not being around for so long...sorry for leaving you alone...forgive me, baby...forgive me if you can!"
Nidhi knew he was talking as much to her as to the baby.
Whatever be his anger at her betrayal, the first feel of the baby's movement had brought home to him the enormity of the miracle they had created between them. In that moment, he had realized that the baby and she had suffered his absence just as much if not more. For, they knew a truth that he did not! So, the man had let go of his anger and was apologizing instead.
Nidhi fell more in love with him at that moment, if that was even possible.
Her heart swelled out of sheer joy till she felt her chest might just burst. What a man she had chosen to fall in love with!
And yet, she had to say what she had to.
"We're sorry too, Ashutosh. We're sorry for keeping you away from us for so long. We missed you every nanosecond of every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month...we're sorry too!"
The kissing frenzy stopped and he finally raised his face to her.
"What did I do to deserve this? This joy and the punishment that preceded it? Why did you not tell me, Nidhi? Did you know even when you urged me to leave? Is that why you asked me to promise not to come by and meet you?"
She nodded her head guiltily.
"Yes...I knew there was no way in hell you would go if you knew...but it was important that you go...this little one here has his life ahead of him...but that is a life that is about to end...I wanted the ending to be peaceful...!"
He shook his head.
"What kind of a woman are you? Why are you so giving?"
"Your love taught me to be this way, Ashutosh. You have brought indescribable joy and happiness into my life. Somewhere there is a sense of guilt for having snatched all this away from Mallika. Maybe this was my way of making it up to her. To offer her mother a peaceful passing!"
He pulled her down to sit on his lap.
"Nidhi, let me be honest. Mallika and I have never shared the relationship that you and I do. We have never been the centre of each other's existence. And yet, it is not that I do not feel guilty about what has happened. I knew my happiness lay with you and yet, I felt guilty that I was hurting her in the process. Somewhere, when her mother asked me to be with her during this time, I probably sensed my opportunity for some kind of redemption. I knew I would be letting you down and so I was torn. You made it easy for me when you told me to go. But yes, I would never have gone if I had known of this!"
His hand caressed the mound that was her tummy tenderly.
"So, both of us are not exactly mahaan...Mallika's mother is a means for us to assuage some of our guilt. So much for being great souls!"
She framed his face with her hands.
"But you know what? I love you so much that I would even be willing to wear a sinner's tag all my life. I can live with that but not without you!"
Ashutosh held her face tenderly between his own hands.
"So would I, baby. So would I. For what is life if it is not lived with you?"
Their lips met tenderly in a kiss, rendered both sweet and poignant by the months of separation.
He pulled back and looked deep into her eyes.
"I want to see you!"
Her brows creased in a frown before she got his meaning.
The fiery blush that covered her face had him chuckling.
"You can blush even after this?"
He gently patted her tummy again before drawing her to her feet.
"It's time the baby was intimately acquainted with his father!"
Suddenly, as if a thought struck him,
"Why are you referring to the baby as him? I followed suit without thinking. Is it confirmed?"
She nodded her head.
"One of the privileges of being a doctor, I guess!"
"I am happy. But I want a daughter next!"
"Would you mind waiting till this one gets out?"
Her giggle was smothered by the fierce kiss he planted on her lips.
All the pent up passion of the last three months was unleashed. And yet, it was tempered by the knowledge of the need to be careful of the little one who nestled within her womb.
Ashutosh drew her into the bedroom and undressed her with trembling fingers.
These days, she wore just a caftan at home, too lethargic to bother with more.
The first sight of her belly, big with baby, had him draw in his breath.
He went down on his knees once again.
"You once had me on my knees in awe of your sheer perfection. If possible, I am awestruck by the fact that perfection has become even more perfect!"
"Surely you joke! My stomach seems to be ballooning everyday..I feel I already look like a woman who is nearing full-term!"
He got back onto his feet.
"Nidhi, that is my baby in there. How can you then not look more perfect in my eyes? And besides, as a doctor you know that the size of the baby tends to be larger than normal when the mother has gestational diabetes!"
She looked at him in surprise.
"How do you know that?"
"How else do you think I got to know?"
"Oh, I never thought of that!"
"If I had not gone to meet Dr Rathod today, I would never have known!"
His eyes darkened with emotion at the thought.
"I am sorry!"
He shook his head as if to release himself from his dark thoughts.
"Are you taking good care of yourself? Monitoring the sugar levels and taking all the necessary precautions? What about the supplements?"
"You forget, Dr Mathur , that I am a doctor myself!"
"You forget, Dr Mrs Mathur, that I speak as a father-to-be?"
"Should I get my medical file out now?"
"I will certainly get to that! But, there are other pressing needs to be met before then!"
"And what are these pressing needs?"
He pulled her up against him tight, leaving her in no doubt of what the needs were!
He looked at her swollen breasts.
"If the sight of them was a huge turn-on earlier, they drive me crazy now!"
He gently pushed her down on the bed, and after ridding himself of his clothes in a hurry, he came down next to her.
Their lips met hungrily, in a bid to assuage a hunger that had been ignored for months now.
When they had to come up for breath, he turned his attention to her breasts, tracing their swollen contours with his fingers and making Nidhi writhe in desire.
"If you drove me crazy doing that earlier, you could make me go over the edge just this way now!
"If you went over the edge with this, then what would you do if I did this?"
He bent down and began pleasuring them with his lips.
Nidhi could not stop the moan from escaping her lips.
God, how had she survived without this? They craved each other body and soul!
And yet, it was not just the physicality of the act. The knowledge that soon enough, their son would be drawing sustenance from these very breasts seemed to magnify the act's significance!
The same thought must have been going through his mind!
"Were you fantasizing about our baby that night in Agra? Was it his nip that you felt?"
It was crazy how attuned they were to each other.
"Do you think it happened that night?"
She nodded her head, overcome with emotion.
Taking his hand, she placed it on her stomach.
"I think this is God's way of placing his stamp of approval on what we did that day?"
He placed a gentle kiss on her stomach. Then, as if a sudden thought struck him,
"Is this okay now?"
"Aren't you a doctor?"
"This is hardly my field of specialization. Besides, I told you that I am now a father-to-be!"
She moved his hand back to her breast.
"This mother-to-be will die if the father-to-be decides to stop now...it's perfectly safe!"
There was no talking after that.
They reacquainted themselves with every nook and crevice of each other's body.
It was all familiar, and yet new, her contours having been reshaped by the baby.
What she lacked in agility, she made up for in intensity.
Their passion was tempered by caution and yet all the more sweet for it.
He could not help but take extra delight in her breasts, and she was glad for the same!
Her hands swept up and down his back as she floated in a sea of sensation. Her nails made dents into his skin whenever the pleasure got a little too much to bear.
He gently caressed her stomach with hands and lips, paying homage to the miracle that rested within.
When their mutual need got the better of them, he gently helped her to a sitting position across his thighs, not wanting to rest his weight on her. He gently proceeded to unite them, bringing tears to her eyes.
"Are you hurting?"
She shook her head,
"I missed you!"
"Missed you too, baby..missed you too!"
He set up a gentle rocking rhythm, supporting her back with his hands.
Soon enough, she threw her head back and let out a loud moan, indicating that she was going over.
The sight of her arching body and the feel of her baby belly tipped him over the edge too, and he followed her into the abyss of peace!
It had been four hours almost.
Armaan decided that waiting anymore would be an exercise in futility.
They had probably forgotten he existed even!
He drove back to the apartment.
As he fitted his own key into the lock and pushed open the door, he closed his eyes with another hand.
"Are you guys decent?"
He heard Ashutosh snort before he said,
"You can see for yourself!"
The duo were seated at the table, Nidhi on Ashu's lap, feeding each other the half burnt cake.
"Armaan bhaisaab...he thinks the cake is delicious!"
Armaan shook his head at the excited tone in her voice.
"And I said it was horrendous?"
She had the grace to blush.
"Yaar, she cries at the drop of a hat. Can you believe she started crying because she was worried she wouldn't be proficient at baking before the baby turned one?"
Ashutosh hugged her close to him.
"Stop pulling my poor baby's leg now!"
"You mean the baby on your lap?"
"She will remain my first baby always!"
Armaan seated himself at the table.
"So, how are you going to handle things hereon?"
"He is going back!"
"I am not going anywhere!"
They both spoke at the same time.
AShutosh glared at her.
"You think I am crazy?"
"Ashutosh, you cannot leave a job half done. What if something happens to her if she gets to know of all this? I won't have her death on my unborn child's head. Please, you have to go back!"
"Nidhi, how can I? When I know all this now?"
"You can. And you must. We will be fine. Of course, the old promise no longer binds you. You can come here during the day, under the pretext of going to the hospital!"
Ashutosh shook his head.
"And that is a huge concession? No way!"
She took his hand and put it on her stomach.
"You have to. Otherwise, these last few months would be rendered pointless. Please do it for me!"
He glared at her again.
"I can't ever refuse you anything. And with our son in there, you are doubly potent!"
Armaan clapped Ashutosh on the shoulder.
"Nidhi is right, bro! Go on and do what you have to do! I am here to take care of your wife and child in the meantime!"
Ashutosh put his free arm around Armaan.
"How will I repay you ever?"
"By making me the baby's godfather!"
"You were going to be that anyway!"
The three way hug united them, bound together by deep ties of love and friendship.
Joined: 26 May 2012
Joined: 28 November 2010
Joined: 07 May 2012
Joined: 29 June 2012
Joined: 26 May 2012
Joined: 28 November 2010
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