I know your image of me is what I hope to be, I’ve treated you unkindly
But girl can’t you see, there’s no one more important to me.
So darling can’t you please see through me, ‘cause we’re alone now.
(A Song For You by Ray Charles)
He didn’t expect her to be still around, when he entered the kitchen in the morning, fresh and showered. To his dry amusement, she was wearing a red shirt that belonged to him, over her white salwaar for lack of an apron.
He slowly walked up to her and took the cup of tea from her hand even before she could set it down on the tray to take it to his room. She looked quite surprised to see him up.
Her eyes, like last night, betrayed nothing. He held the gaze for a while, before moving away to check on the toast.
Breakfast was uneventful, as they silently ate, darting furtive glances at each other at random intervals. The hostile glances spoke nothing of their intimacy the previous day.
“I’m leaving for Sanjeevani, you call me if you need any help”, she called from outside his room, and stared shocked at him when he walked out in a neatly ironed shirt and jeans. She froze for a moment as she realised he was wearing the same red shirt she had been using as an apron a few hours ago.
“Where’re you going?” she asked with the raise of a thin eyebrow.
“To Sanjeevani”, he answered with a shrug. “We’ll go together.”
“No, you don’t need to go, you can rest”, she glared at him.
“I’m fine, and anyway I’ve work to do”, he tried to walk past but she held out her arm and stopped him.
“You’re not going to go anywhere. You’re hurt, and you need to rest. Work can wait. Your health is more important.”
“Really? I don’t see you caring too much about me or my health”, he threw at her, his hurt eyes pricking her insides.
Her mouth opened in shock at his taut reply, but she refrained from answering. She kept staring at him till he walked past her and out of the door, leaving her standing there.
It hurt to see him walk away like that. But then she realised that perhaps he was giving her the same treatment he had received from her yesterday.
He was standing outside the door, waiting for her. She came out and he locked the door, once more ignoring her and walking off to the car, but not without a cold stare.
She neared the car warily, not knowing whether she was welcome or not. As she stood outside fidgeting, she saw him take a deep breath and start the car, sliding his gaze over to her.
She stood transfixed, looking at him, contemplating whether she should go in. He seemed in no mood to invite her. And indeed, she was still wondering what to do when to her extreme shock, he pressed the accelerator and drove off.
She stared appalled after the car, her mouth slightly open in indignation. Of all the reactions she had expected of him, this certainly had not featured in the list.
Tears welled up in her eyes at the very thought of how hurt he must be to behave like this. But the pain in her heart elevated her own anger. She had no idea what she was feeling, and why she was reacting the way she was.
She hated how cheerful everyone was. Laughing, joking, teasing…and even Dr. Keerti was absent today. It made it all the more worse.
Abhi had come to distribute the duties to the respective interns, and she plainly recalled how, deliberately, he had looked into her eyes while informing her about her duty in the General Ward. He hadn’t made eye contact with any of the interns while talking, but she clearly saw how he wanted to push her to her limits, prick her at every chance he got.
His gaze had been glacial, to say the least. But she had stared right back into his eyes, a mad desire in her mind forcing her to throw the iciest of glares at him.
That had been the only communication they had shared between them since they arrived at Sanjeevani – of hostile stares and cold glares.
And here, no one seemed least bothered about the storm that raged inside her. Riddhima had been sympathetic, and Armaan suspicious as usual, but he had hidden it with all his might seeing that Nikki was ready to burst like Mt. Vesuvius any moment.
Why they were behaving like two stubborn and hormonal teenagers, she didn’t know.
But she did know that he was simply reacting to the treatment he had been subject to by her yesterday…he was simply throwing it all back at her.