Chapter 26

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That night, Arnav tiredly staggered up four flights of stairs to his mother's apartment. He generally preferred to stay put at his club until six in the morning to supervise the change of employee shift, but today neither his heart nor his brain was in the business. In fact, after his chat with Rizwan last evening, he had spent all his time devising scenarios where he could revive his interactions with Khushi. 

It was a difficult situation, he conceded after many hours of contemplation. He cannot present himself at Vaghela House without ensuing explosive violence or at the least, giving Lalaji a coronary. Khushi seldom ventured out of her house these days, the proof of which was she hadn't taken her best friend out anywhere in the city yet. The phone call and messages were clearly not getting through her anger towards him. He was at his wit's end.

He would have preferred to go to his own penthouse tonight, for the peace and quite from the never sleeping traffic blaring at all times of the day and night on the road outside this small society, to think clearly and plan his next move in regards to Khushi. 

But Lavanya had her doctor's appointment the next morning and he had not let her out of the house without himself even once. Wherever Lavanya went, he went with her. Not that she went anywhere but to the doctor's or to her parent's, but still. He had lifted Aman's security and look where it got them all. He was never going to take any such chance again and he did not trust anyone but himself for Lavanya's protection. He could not afford to let her go to her appointment with anyone else. Thus, it was more sensible to sleep here.

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Next morning at eight, he was sitting on a plush chair outside one of the most hi-tech ultrasound labs in Mumbai, while Kaki and Lavanya were inside getting Lavanya's weekly sonography done. Hers had been classified as a high-risk pregnancy from the onset and the number of blood tests and ultrasounds she had undergone in the last eight months was astounding. The doctor had been quite blunt in the recent appointments about being able to save either the baby or the mother. Of course, Kaki chose Lavanya to be saved in that event. In fact, with all her anti-depression medication, dangerous blood pressure levels, and gestational diabetes, it was almost a miracle that she hadn't miscarried yet. The little bean in there must be a fighter like its father!

Arnav closed his eyes in desolation. Lavanya was due to deliver at one of the most exclusive hospitals in a few weeks. He had chosen only the best of the best Mumbai had to offer in terms of pregnancy care for Lavanya, but how different her journey to motherhood could have been had Aman been alive? Money was the cheapest replacement for love and care Aman would have provided her in this phase of her life. The only replacement he could manage. Sadly.

Instead of him and Kaki accompanying a frail shell of a woman to her innumerable high-risk evaluation appointments, Aman would have taken a happy healthy Lavanya to the doctors for normal check-ups. While they all were fearful and braced themselves for a bad news at each appointment, Aman would have definitely bickered with her doctor in his own quirky fashion. This unborn baby would have been welcomed by its father with all the pride in the world, however, right now all of them were on their knees praying, wishing, begging to God to just deliver it safely and not let its mother die.

The ringing of his phone broke his chain of thoughts.

"Hello".

"Bhai, somebody tried to kill Lalaji," Majid started on the other side instead of his usual greeting.

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