“But Abhi…” she tried to argue, and received a glare in return.
“Listen to what I say”, he said threateningly.
When she didn’t oblige, he grabbed her hand and applied a bit of force, making her wince as he made her sit down on the chair. She pouted at him and flinched while sitting down.
“See! You’ve hurt your leg”, he explained. “And you’re too stubborn to go home anyway. So just sit here and get your work done. I’ll drop you home after you’re finished.”
“Not fair”, she mouthed and snapped a file shut with force. She couldn’t even move with his firm hand on her shoulder, which felt comfortably warm anyway. She’d rather have him standing there close to her for the whole day, but then she had decided to be angry at him.
“Stop being a child”, he chided her softly and walked away with a small smile.
She bit her lip and went about her work. It felt nice sitting on his chair. He was very possessive about it and never let her sit there, but now that she had sprained her ankle, there she was, settled on his favourite chair. Her feet didn’t even reach the ground as they dangled from the seat, and she laid back, grabbed a medical journal and went through it.
“Enjoying yourself, Dr. Nikita?” his voice interrupted her thoughts, and she dropped the journal in surprise. She had forgotten entirely about her work and had become engrossed in the journal, and that was how he found her.
She gulped as he walked up to her and lifted his hand to place it on her shoulder, or so she thought. She was quite offended when his hand rested on the headrest of the chair and not on her.
Crossing her arms over her chest, she glared up at him. A sexy smirk crossed his face, and the fingers of his other hand slowly brushed off a strand of hair from her eyes.
“You can really be such a kid at times”, he remarked before lifting the journal from her lap and placing it on the desk. He then proceeded to pick her up, sit himself on the chair instead and put her on his lap. She held on to his neck as he did so, staring suspiciously at him all the time.
It was highly unlikely of him to be so affectionate in his office. He was always the reserved kind, who behaved pretty professionally in the workplace.
“What?” he asked innocently, pulling her close and enclosing her small hand in his own, balling it softly and gazing at her fondly.
“What’re you up to?” she asked, trying hard to ignore the feelings his closeness was arousing in her.
“Nothing. What made you think I’m up to something?” he asked nonchalantly.
When she didn’t answer, he exhaled softly and said, “Actually, I was hoping we could have dinner tonight.”
Her expression softened, and she gave him a reluctant smile. “But you said my foot needs rest.”
“It does”, he nodded.
“Then? How do you expect me to wear high heels?” she observed him through the corner of her eyes.
“Ah. Good point. You won’t even reach my shoulder without your skyscraper heels”, he poked fun at her height, and received a solid punch on the chest.
“Yeah, ummm…” he winced, rubbing where she’d hit him. “How about dinner at my house then?” he offered. “You won’t have to wear heels.”
“And what about the food?”
“I’ll cook.” He provided the solution with confidence.
“You intend on poisoning me?” she raised an eyebrow.
“For your information, Doctor…I happen to be a good cook. And I’ll provide treatment for any illness whatsoever anyway…” he breathed into her hair, tickling her neck.
“So there still is a risk”, she teased.
“No, there isn’t”, he assured. “I was referring to a different kind of illness”, he grinned mischievously, and she turned pink.
“Okay, Dr. Modi. Done. Dinner it is”, she grinned back, cheeks still tinged pink.
“Great then. Let’s get going”, he declared and stood up. She let out a slight yelp and grabbed his neck again for support.
“Now? In these clothes?” she asked him, looking bewildered.
“Yeah. You’re looking sexy enough anyway”, he answered, his eyes smouldering, and she shut up immediately, her face beetroot red as he carried her out of the office and through the corridors with people staring at them.
He placed her on the seat in the car and belted himself. As he started the car, she said meekly, “You could have let me walk…I just sprained my ankle…”
“Absolutely not. I got an opportunity to carry you and see that cute blush on your cheeks”, he turned to her. “I wasn’t going to miss that, now was I?” he planted a kiss on her cheek and drove away.
Smiling secretly, she looked out of the window. She felt the glances he stole at her on occasions he thought she wasn’t looking. She loved all the attention he was showering on her tonight. It was a rare opportunity and she was going to take full advantage of it.
He pulled up in the driveway, and she waited silently as he got out and walked towards her door. Normally he didn’t bother to open door for her and be so chivalrous, but she had hurt her foot and she knew he would offer to carry her inside. She was in the mood to be pampered tonight…she didn’t mind it at all when he picked her up in his arms, planted a soft kiss on her neck making her gasp, pushed the door closed with his foot and walked off towards the house.
She giggled when he set her down on the sofa and kissed the tip of her nose before walking away again and yelling over his shoulder, “I’m getting some coffee for us!”
She settled comfortably in the couch as he walked in with two steaming mugs of coffee, and handed one to her.
“Thanks”, she muttered and took a sip. “Mmm…not bad!” she commented wryly, peeking at him through the corner of her eye and seeing him grin.
“Well what did you think about my culinary skills?” he pouted, and they both laughed.
She finished the last bite of her dinner and looked up at him, grinning, to see Abhi staring at her in amusement.
“You’re an awesome cook!” she flashed a 1000 watt smile, and he smiled back, his cheeks slightly pink.
“Why didn’t you tell me you make such good food?” she accused. “I’d never have bothered about cooking and would’ve had dinner here every day.”
He threw back his head and laughed. “Yeah right…I don’t cook every day. Just occasionally”, he quipped.
“Doesn’t matter”, she shook her head vehemently. “After we get married, you’ll be cooking every meal”, she wagged a finger at him, and he raised an eyebrow.
“That reminds me…” he stretched and stood up. “We need to go somewhere.”
“We? Need to go? Where?” she threw question after question at him which he waved away like flies.
“You wait here”, he pointed to where she was sitting and marched off before she could even open her mouth to say anything.
Nikki fiddled with the table cloth till he strode back in after 5 minutes, and tapped her on the shoulder, making her jump a few feet in the air.
“Oh it’s you…” she sighed in relief, closing her eyes.
“It’s my house”, he drawled in her ear. “Who else did you expect?” He teased, and she blushed.
Without saying another word, he lifted her up once more, and carried her upstairs to the terrace, with her giggling into his shoulder.
She was surprised to see the terrace empty, with just one tall candle burning near what looked like a sort of mattress with quite a few throw pillows and cushions.
Eyes widening by the second, she squeaked, “Abhi!”
“What?” he asked innocently as he set her down on the mattress, and her fingers closed on his wrist which she was holding.
“Ouch!” he winced, trying to free his wrist from her iron grip. “What happened?”
“Abhi…” she looked pretty uneasy, shifting uncomfortably on the mattress.
“Wha-?” he looked utterly confused, and then it dawned on him. “Nikki!” a blush crept up his cheeks and almost reached the roots of his hair.
“What’re we doing here?” she asked him quietly with her eyes still wide. “On this…” she hesitated. “…thing???”
“Uh, no…it’s not what you think”, he muttered embarrassedly. “It’s just…uh, well there’s something I want to show you…”
“You wait…just lie down there…err, I mean you lie there and I’ll just grab a chair or something…” he fidgeted.
“Uh…it’s okay, you come and sit”, she offered, and he settled himself of a far corner of the mattress, still blushing beetroot red.
“Abhi it’s okay…” she laughed. “Just that we’re on your open terrace and I sort of…forget it”, her blush deepened.
“Yeah I know, the setting is sort of…” he looked sheepish.
“Yeah, umm…let’s talk about something else”, she tried hard to control both her embarrassment and her laughter.
“Uh huh”, he bit his lip, looking everywhere but at her. “Actually Nikki you need to lie down coz otherwise you won’t be able to see properly…” he glanced at his watch and looked up at the sky.
“Abhi what is it that you’re so anxious about?” she placed her hand on his and he jumped.
“What? Oh…no, nothing…you just…lie down, okay. Or you’ll get a sore neck if you keep sitting.”
She was getting more confused by the second. “Abhi, what are you talking about? I think…”
But he cut her off. “Look up!”
“Uff ooo, look at the sky Nikki!” he grinned.
She turned her gaze to the sky and a gasp escaped her. “Wow…this is amazing Abhi!”
It was raining shooting stars…or so she thought. It was beautiful, as she saw one shooting star after another course its way across the sky, through the stars.
“Now you see why you’ll need the mattress?” he whispered into her ear.
Startled, she turned to him and her head knocked into his nose. She had never realised when he had come so close.
“Oww!” he covered his nose with his hand and winced.
“Sorry!” she tried to touch it but he grabbed her hand and looked at her. His eyes were watery and he was touching his nose lightly.
“Sorry…” she repeated once more.
“It’s okay”, he blinked a few times and then smiled.
“You like the view?” he grinned.
“It’s beautiful!” she exclaimed, turning back to the sky and trying to lie down but ending up hitting her head on Abhi’s chest, and they both laughed.
“Wait…” he adjusted his position so she could lay her head on his lap and put a pillow under her head as well.
“Comfortable?” he whispered.
“Very”, she smiled.
They watched the falling stars for a long while in silence before Abhi finally spoke.
“Yeah?” she answered, sitting up.
He opened his mouth to say something, but appeared to change his mind suddenly. “How did you like it?”
“It was beautiful…I saw something like this for the first time!” she said excitedly.
“Great”, he smiled nervously.
“What? Abhi, do you want to say something?” she squeezed his hand.
Looking utterly taken aback, he nodded a yes with a gulp, and then shook his head from left to right as well.
“Abhi?” she fought back the urge to laugh.
“Umm…can you close your eyes for a bit?” he asked.
“Why?” she laughed.
“Just…just please?” he made puppy dog eyes at her and she obliged with a grin.
“You know Abhi, if this is a silly trick then I’m going to-”
“Open your eyes”, his voice cut through her absentminded ramble.
Opening her eyes, she widened them furthermore involuntarily when she saw him holding a ring in front of her and looking more nervous than she had ever seen him before.
The solitaire diamond on the white gold band sparkled brilliantly even in the dim candlelight, and she gasped when she realised why he had done all this tonight.
“Abhi…” her voice died in her throat and she continued to stare.
He opened his mouth, shut it again, thought for a bit and opened it again. In any other situation, she would have laughed whole-heartedly at his actions but for now, she was just too emotional.
“I wrote something pretty romantic to propose with”, he started in a husky voice, turning a deeper shade of pink with every word. “But…I seem to have forgotten.”
She couldn’t stop a small giggle that escaped her at his cuteness.
“Umm…so,” he bit his lip. “Ever since I met you, you’ve been fighting with me and driving me nuts. You got me drunk and made me dance in the streets, you played the worst ever pranks on me, you robbed my clothes and embarrassed me in Paligaon, poured water on me, threw shoes at me, beat me black and blue while playing kabaddi, threw my car keys into the far horizon, and did a lot more…but even through all that, you still cared. You made me smile with your non-stop chatter and teased me till I was beetroot red…you brought me back to life when I’d given up on everything and you were my friend…and much, much more.” He cleared his throat and continued again, his eyes piercing through the darkness and boring into hers.
“You took care of me even when I didn’t ask you to, and I thank you for all the support you’ve given me. And though I’ll never admit it again, I needed you.”
She smiled softly at his words and looked at him to go on.
“Thank you for being there…for making me laugh and loving me. Today, I want to say that there’s no one more important to me than you, Nikki. You showed me that even fights can be filled with immense love, and I love you more than my own life…and I know this speech isn’t the most romantic ever written, but will you please marry me?” he finished, looking extremely nervous.
She had been watching him with teary eyes all through his speech, and she burst into laughter at the way he ended it, making him gulp tentatively.
“Well it’s not the most romantic speech ever written…but it’s definitely the cutest one!” she grinned fondly. She moved closer, wrapped her arms around him lovingly and whispered into his ear, “Yes, Abhi, I will marry you.”
She felt him relax and heard his soft sigh as well, and he enclosed her completely in his arms and breathed into her hair.
Breaking the hug after a while, he took her hand and placed the ring on her finger.
“I love you”, he planted a kiss on her forehead.
She smiled. “I love you too, Abhi”, and they sealed it with a kiss.