“Arnav…” Khushi whispered quietly, trying to wake him up. Groaning, he coughed sharply, his chest wall seizing as his breath came out in noisy wheezes. Closing her eyes, Khushi scolded herself repeatedly, demanding her heart to stop aching...pleading her tears to stop falling. Seeing him in this state made her feel helpless. The doctor in her knew it was only an infection, that the cough sounded worse than it actually was but her heart would not listen. It was a rare event for Khushi Gupta to cry. Arnav Singh Raizada however had managed to make it happen twice already.
Brushing away the tears, she put the food tray on the bedside table and climbed under the covers next to him. Sitting up against the mountain on pillows she began to stroke his hair and talk to him. "Come on tiger...it's time to get up."
Grumbling in displeasure he hid his face in her lap. "Let me sleep."
Bending down she kissed his hair. "Raizada your a big fat kid. It's one in the afternoon. You need to eat something."
Conceding defeat, he scowled as he pushed himself up. "I'm not fat."
Khushi laughed, pulling on his cheek. "You are a kid though."
"I thought I was a woman last night. Is it really one?"
She nodded. "You haven't moved since last night." Turning to the side, she reached for the large food tray and placed it on his lap. "Eat." she ordered.
Rubbing the sleep from his eyes he yawned and eyed the bowl wearily. His shoulder slumped as he picked up the spoon and began to consume the soup. "It's chicken!"he mumbled in between bites. In the excitement of his discovery, some of the liquid dribbled down his chin.
"Well done genius." Khushi laughed while rubbing the liquid from his stubbly chin. She became fascinated by the contrast of the pink of his lips against the coarse black hair of his stubble. Her thumb lingered over the area, dragging itself across his skin little by little. Gulping away her unexpected desire she realised Arnav was staring at her. The look in his eyes was so tender that she swore her heart skipped a beat. He quickly kissed her. "Raizada!" she squealed mightily unimpressed. "You taste like chicken! Gross."
And just like that the moment was gone. He resumed eating the soup as if he had been starved his whole life. In between spoonfuls he kept up the conversation.
"Why are you here? Don't you have work?"
"My shift starts at seven tonight."
"You didn't tell me you were on nights."
"I swapped." Arnav could see she was uncomfortable and trying to avoid answering the question. Putting down the bowl he frowned.
"Did you swap for me?"
She rolled her eyes and began to collect the cutlery. "It's not a big deal. You were running a fever all night and I didn't want you to wake up alone." Hopping out of the bed she picked up the tray. "I hate waking up alone when I'm sick. I didn't think you would like it either."
Taking hold of her wrist he gently pulled her down beside him. "You made the soup didn't you?"
Khushi looked at the tray of empty food and mumbled..."Well not all of us can laze around in bed all day Raizada." The conviction of her statement didn't resonate true. "Plus I had nothing to do so I thou.."
"Shutup." Cutting her off rather unceremoniously, he kissed her properly this time. Her head fell back as he drank in her essence, tasting the soft fullness of her lower lip. A few seconds later he felt small hands push against his chest.
"You'll make me sick." she complained.
Kissing her eyelids he confessed..."You, Khushi Gupta, are the most beautiful human I have ever met." Arnav watched as her eyes become glassy and her hands lay fisted in her lap. Breathing deeply she stood up with the tray. Trying to laugh it off she teased..."Did you go to school of cheeseballs or something Raizada?" Walking out of the room her voice became fainter as she shouted back to him. "Go have a shower, I'll change the linen and you can get some more rest."
Arnav fell back against the pillows and cursed God. She was the one.
Haphazardly, Khushi jogged out of the lift toward the nurses station. The bastard had made her late. Cursing her ill fate, she almost ran headlong into Meg.
She looked at her watch confused. "It's 7.02. Really?"
"I don't like being late. What if someone paged me?" she grumbled, still faffing about with her bag.
Meg giggled. "What is wrong with you today? You know nights are slow till you hit midnight. Anyway everyone's having dinner now."
Taking Khushi's bag, she handed over the designated pager. Pushing Khushi into a chair she demanded..."Sit down for two seconds and tell me what on earth possessed you to swap with Matt's night shift."
Khushi went around checking patient charts. "Arnav was sick...didn't want to leave him alone." she answered distractedly. Looking around she complained..."Where is Parker? I need the damn patient handover."
Meg's eyes widened. "You stayed back to take care of cute ass?"
Now she Khushi's full attention. "Excuse me!? What did you call him?"
"Oh come on. You have to have noticed his hot butt." Meg was enjoying Khushi's horror.
Paralysed for a second by shock she shook her head. "What the hell is wrong with all of you?! Keep your eyes off my boyfriends ass."
"Oooh jealous." she teased, giggling more and more.
"So what did you guys do?"
"He slept, he ate, we played scrabble...he slept again. Is that enough or do you need a minute by minute break down?" Spotting Matt from the corner of her eye, she ran after him, leaving behind a disappointed Meg.
"Parker...wait up!" she called out of breath as she ran down the corridor, flailing her ams, trying to catch his attention.
He turned around and looked at her in pity. "Gupta I've said it before and I'll say it again. You're really unfit."
"I just took your night shift so I wouldn't complain if I were you."
Matt smirked crossing his arms over his chest. "If you listened properly you would notice that I wasn't complaining...just criticising."
"Tomato (american accent)...tomato (english accent)" she waved him off. "Look I'm not going to able to take the case you wanted me to consult on."
"Gupta...you gave me you word."
"Don't give me that Parker. You know I didn't. I said I would see what I can do and don't play the holier than thou attitude with me. You weren't exactly upfront were you."
He looked genuinely confused. "I have no idea what you are talking about."
"The file? It seemed to be missing well....everything! I only have a partial ECHO...I have no physical copies of X-rays, blood reports, ECG'S or anything for that matter."
"You have the written reports."
"That's not the point. I need to see the actual physical copies."
"Fine!" His pitch was dangerously close to a yell. "I'll get you the physical copies but we need to go through them together..." he looked around. "....alone. There are things that you need to kn..."
Khushi stopped him before he went any further. "Look, that's not the point. I can't take up the case anyway. I have a conflict of interest."
"What are you talking about? How could you possibly..."
"The patient is the sister of the guy I'm dating."
Matt looked like he had seen a ghost. His already pale affect lost any and all colour, as he stared at her. His hands went clammy, beads of sweat lining the palms. "Are you sure?" he asked deathly quiet, almost afraid.
"Of course I'm sure."
"I need you to be sure Khushi."
"Anjali Singh Raizada...sister of Arnav Singh Raizada. I'm sure..." she trailed off, worried by his reaction, Matt very rarely called her Khushi.
"Shit!" he mumbled under his breath, running a hand through his hair.
"Why are you so worried. I won't say anything to him. I can't say..."
"No it's not that." he assured her quietly.
"Then why are you acting like this?"
Matt clenched his teeth, wanting to punch the closest thing to him. He had to find a way out of this. "She's been worried about confidentiality and privacy from the beginning. When she find's out that I gave the case to her brother's girlfriend she'll..."
Khushi put a hand on his shoulder. "Hey Matt relax. I'll talk to her. She knows I'm legally liable if I say anything. I want to talk to her about it anyway."
Matt rubbed his face tiredly. "Yeah...that might be a good idea."
Sighing Khushi disclosed..."That though would be the least of your problems Matt."
"What do you mean?"
"Did you really think that I wouldn't notice the fact the the referring doctor is her? That won't hold up anywhere. Even if she is the best cardiologist in the world. Why the hell is her maiden name on the chart anyway?"
Matt cringed. How did he get himself into this mess in the first place? "When the chart was made up, she wasn't married."
Khushi shook her head. "Why are you risking your job Matt? You don't have thing for her do you? She's married for god sakes."
"What!? No! You know Meg..."he stopped, annoyed at himself for revealing that particular piece of information.
Smiling she pat him on the back. "Look if she just got admitted to the hospital, there would be no problem getting on the recipient list. It's time she get admitted anyway. She knows that and you know that. So stop being a martyr and risking your career."
Looking at her defeatedly he said "I've given the patient handover to Meg. She'll walk you through. I've...I've got to go."
Waving her goodbye, he made his way to the lifts searching for his mobile. Making a quick call he waited for the dial tone to connect. After several rings it went to voicemail.
You have reached the voicemail of Dr. Anjali Mathur. I am unable to attend your call, please leave a message after the tone.
"Anjali, It's Matt Parker. Warn your bastard of a brother, that if I ever see him, I will not hesitate to tear him limb from limb."
This update is for MEG! Whose birthday it was yesterday. I missed out on wishing her because I fell asleep. Thanks Jahnvi for letting me know. Happy Birthday Meg! I love you very much! :)
OMG!! I love all of you so much. I can not thank you enough for all the comments. Like I said before the best way I know how to reply to all of you is by writing another update. I know you guys will hate me but here it goes.
I think that it had become obvious from this chapter that this story will have a tragic ending. Now, many of you have written to me begging me not to hurt Arnav and to make it a happy ending. Like I told another reader I will also tell you. When I started this story I had it clearly mapped out in my mind. To honour myself as a writer I can not change that. But what I will do is provide an alternate happy ending.
So you can choose to read both, or just one of them. The choice is yours.
May I say, that some of you readers are so adorable. You guys are little detectives. Some of you with Sherlock's calibre and some of you with well....not his calibre.
Also people do you know who reads my story? KRANI, ANONY_MOUS and now MEERA! Faintwa! I have to thank CravingKhanna for the recommendation. I am so humbled to have such prolific writers reading my story.
There are many people who have sent PM's. I will get back to you guys soon ASAP!
Enough Rambling from me.