Chapter 13

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                                            It was past eight in the evening. As per routine, Mehek slowly turned off most of the lights in the huge house and was about to retire to her tiny room. The extra labour and shock of facing Shaurya took a toll on her. She was tired and wanted to hit the bed. She was startled when her phone rang. When she attended call, it was his familiar voice, "How are you, Mehek?". She was surprised, "Shaurya?? How did get my number?". "I took it from the agency. Anyways that's not important. You didn't answer me. How are you?", he asked again. "Fine", she wanted to end the conversation. "And how''s ...the baby?", he asked slowly. Her anger  rose, "That's none of your business, Mr Khanna". "It is my business and you very well know it", he raised his voice but immediately apologized, "Forgive me for yelling at you. But you are provoking me. I just need to talk to you. Can I come there?". "No", she refused stealthily, "Despite the rumours, I don't entertain men like you during late hours", her words irked him. "Mehek, I am trying to be amicable but you are making it difficult. I just want to make sure that you are okay", he told her. "Mr. Khanna, you are under some misconception. My well-being is none of your concern anymore. If you are interested in the house, please contact agency. Just leave me alone", she cut the call and heaved for breath. When she got call from same number again, she disconnected the call and blocked his number.

Mehek was feeling uneasy and disturbed. Slowly pain emanated from her womb. She rubbed her stomach and tried to ward it off but it increased steadily. She tried to calm herself but failed. She dialed Happy Chachi but she didn't pick. Pain was increasing minute by minute. She decided not to sit idle and to wait for help to arrive. She threw on a jacket and left the house after locking it. A few kms away from Khurana Bungalow, a petrol bunk was open for 24 hrs. She expected to find ride from there. She briskly walked although the pain was making it difficult. She clutched to the mobile phone and repeatedly tried to reach Happy Chachi. She was sweating profusely and her vision blurred. She wondered why she was unable to reach her destination despite walking so much. She took support of a nearby tree and gasped for breath. The pain was reaching its peak and she trembled. "Mehek?", a male voice startled her.

She looked up to face Shaurya, standing beside his vehicle. "Where are going at this hour ?", he was concerned, "Are you okay?", he shot at her. She crouched slightly when another wave of pain shot at her. "Holy Sh*t. Mehek, you are bleeding", he was shocked. Mehek looked down and found that her white pajamas were colored in her blood. She swayed and Shaurya dashed to her side. He caught her on time while she whispered before closing her eyes, "Help me". Although she had lost consciousness, he spoke to her, "Nothing will happene to you, Mehek"

He placed her carefully in his car and barked at the driver to take them to nearest hospital. He patted her cheeks and called out her name but she remained unconscious. Suddenly phone clutched in her hands started to ring. He attended the call in spur of a moment. "Hello Mehek. Where are you? Is everything okay?", it was Dr. Harpreet. "She is unconscious and bleeding. I am trying take her to nearest medical aid", he replied quickly. "Bring her to my clinic. I am Dr Kaur, her gynac", Harpreet gave him the address.

Mehek slowly opened her eyes and gazed at the white ceiling. She was still drowsy and was unable to see properly. She whimpered softly in pain. "Thanks God, you are awake", a male voice beamed and next thing she knew was a glass of water placed near her lips. The voice seemed familiar but she was unable to recognize. It was difficult for her to keep her eyes open and she felt like falling back to sleep. "Where am I?", she asked weakly. "At Dr. Kaur's clinic", she was informed. Suddenly she recalled her ordeal. Adrenalin kicked in and her eyes widened. She touched her stomach anxiously, "My Baby?". Someone touched her hands kept on her womb and calmed her, "Relax. Baby is fine. Luckily Dr Kaur called me when I found you. She provided me the location and I was able to bring you here on time". She was composed yet again it all began to blur. But before she was pulled into the soothing oblivion, she folded her hands to express her gratitude to the person who helped her, "Thank you, for saving us". She could feel him gathering her palms in his big hand and murmuring his protests but she was lost before she could understand him.

It was past afternoon. "Mehek, wake up dear", Mehek groaned hearing to her Happy Chachi's voice. She smiled weakly and tried to get up. Harpreet arranged pillow and tilted hospital bed so that she can sit comfortably. Mehek looked at her anxiously and she patted her shoulder, "Baby is fine. But you had a minor hemorrhage. It's not serious but you need to be careful in future". "How did I reach here?", she asked her. "A man found you near the road. When I returned your missed calls, he attended it and brought you here quickly. God bless him", Harpreet informed her. Mehek raked her tired brain cells. For a moment, in that desperate hour she felt as if it was Shaurya. Yet she wasn't sure. "Did he give a name?", she asked carefully. "I am sorry. It was chaotic when you were brought in. Once you were treated and shifted to room, I had to attend another critical patient. I believe he stayed back for some time but when I came back he was gone", Harpreet felt guilty that she couldn't thank him properly. Mehek sighed and rubbed her belly. May be it was a mirage, she told herself.

"Well, there is a good news and bad news", the asst. manger from real estate agency told her when he came to visit her. "Bad news is Khurana Bungalow is sold now. So we are terminating your services", he told faking a guilty face. Harpreet snorted with disregard, "So what's the good news?". "Well the new owner wants to hire you. They prefer to retain the same staff so that your experience can be utilized", he informed. "Who is the new owner?", Mehek was anxious. Is it Shaurya?, her mind was in turmoil. "It is going to be registered against a lady name Ms Mathur", his words put her at ease. "Actually it's a wedding gift for her from her in-laws. So they want it to be properly maintained until she arrives for her honeymoon", he told her vividly, "so what shall I tell them Mehekji?". Mehek was apprehensive. Happy Chachi had told her to take rest and avoid any strenuous job. She didn't want to risk her health but at the same time didn't want to depend on Happy Chachi to make her livelihood . Moreover, she missed the house that had become her home and wanted to stay there for a little more time. "I will give it a try", she accepted the offer.

The new owners were extremely flamboyant when compared to Khuranas. When Mehek returned after a few days of stay at hospital, she found that a maid and a gardener were already appointed. A second hand, hatchback car was available at their disposal. The elderly gardener who stayed nearby, acted as driver too. As the maid occupied the servant's room, Mehek's possessions were already shifted to the spacious guest room. Mehek felt as if she got promoted. She wondered why they needed her when the available two servants were more than enough. "Probably they want keep their standards", Harpreet eased her doubts. Her Happy Chachi was visibly impressed by the new owners. They were more considerate and Mehek's salary was also better. She insisted Mehek to stick on to the job.

"What are they doing, Shankar Chacha?", Mehek asked the gardener. "They are here for the CCTV camera installation in common areas", he replied. Mehek felt her privacy was violated but she had little say in it. "Probably they want to keep an eye on us too", Manju, the maid humoured. "Mehekji, your milk", she extended a huge glass. "Manju, you don't have to do it. I am not your boss but one of you", Mehek got vexed. Manju always treated her special and took good care of her. "May be you are right, Mehekji. But you are with child and you need to be careful with your health. I am sure your Doctor Chachi agrees with me. Will you have it or do you want me to call her and complain about you?", she humoured again. "Chachi ki chamchi (Minion of Chachi)", Mehek faked to be angey and took the milk. As she gulped the liquid, Manju made her sit on the comfortable chair and started to do her hair. Mehek knew it was in vain to protest so she sat back and relaxed. Soon she drifted off to peaceful slumber.

He gazed at the sleeping figure on his laptop screen. She was safe and sound, although miles away from him. His fingers itched to touch and comfort her but he couldn't. "Still stalking?", he shut the laptop abruptly when he heard his father. "No need to be shy. Afterall she is carrying your child", Harish mocked him slightly. "I was just checking the security cameras. It's not my fault that Mehek agreed to work there", Shaurya defended. "Ofcourse. And I am sure that maid and car with driver are also given for sake of housekeeping", his father taunted him again. Shaurya breathed in defeat, "I just wanted to make sure that she is fine". "Son, go back to her. She needs you", Harish advised. "No, she doesn't", Shaurya was truthful. "Yeah, Mehek had learned take care of herself and you can claim full credit for it. But you need her, don't you?" he asked him. Shaurya turned away, avoiding his father. "You went there with a purpose, Shaurya. And it was for sure not checking out that old house ", he was about to leave when Shaurya spoke abruptly, "I don't know what to do? I am confused. She....I......I am not sure about us". "I don't have the answers you seek, Shaurya. But I can tell for sure that sulking here will never get you anywhere", Harish told with a smirk on his face.

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