Chapter 21

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                       "How did this happen, young man?", Dr Harpreet asked Shaurya while cleansing his wound. He had a cut on his forehead which was hidden beneath his thick mane. Although not bleeding anymore, it was deep enough to cause immense pain. "I met with an accident on the way", he told her timidly. He winced when she put stitches on it. All the while Mehek stood beside him being concerned. "You should have tend to it sooner", Doctor admonished him. "I was afraid I will be late", he told sheepishly. Mehek drew a deep breath. She felt guilty. Sensing her discomfort he informed her, "I did first aid though and it was good enough". "How are feeling now?", she asked softly. "Much better", he grinned but was evidently in pain. "Why don't you rest here while we go ahead with Mehek's scan?", Dr Harpreet tested him although she knew the outcome. "No, Doctor. I won't miss it for the world", he told adamantly and stood up. Sudden movement affected him and his gait staggered. Mehek rushed to his side to support him. The aged doctor smiled at them and turned to Mehek,"Let's don't keep the poor guy waiting".

Mehek always felt excited to see images of her child. But today Shaurya surpassed her. She couldn't help but be joyful watching him like a kid in a candy shop. He troubled Happy Chachi with lot of silly question but it was worthwhile as she had a good laugh at his expense. In between unknowingly he held her palm and she squeezed it. Once the scan was over, he pulled it towards his lips and placed an affectionate kiss on her soft skin. Although she felt it inappropriate, she didn't pull back. "It's illegal to reveal gender of child so evenif Mehek is like my family, I am helpless", Harpreet informed both. "We don't want to know", Mehek said and Shaurya joined her, "I know it's a girl". Both women looked at him and burst into laughter. "Daddy is so excited", Harpreet mocked and he looked down being shy. "He already addresses our baby as princess or my girl", Mehek told her enthusiastically. Harpreet noticed that Mehek got to talk and behave like a typical pregnant woman. Fate had finally bestowed her with good moments she needed during this delicate condition. Being her Happy chachi, she prayed that it will stay for longer.

Once her routine check-ups were done, Shaurya led her to his car. "Don't even think of driving", Mehek admonished him. He knew she was right as he was in no condition to drive them safely home. Yet he didn't know how to take Mehek back home. Taxis were rare in the town and he didn't want to hire a rick or use bus. "I have asked Shankar chacha to come. He will be here soon", Mehek informed him. He felt happy that Mehek was taking care of him but as if reading his thoughts she told him, "I am not doing this for you but for our child's safety". Her words pricked him. It was hurtful to know Mehek was still bearing his presence for sake of their baby. His face fell and Mehek saw it too. She felt guilty and steered the topic, "How's your father? ", she tried normal chitchat. He tried overcome his sadness, "Dad is fine. Infact he wanted to visit you but I stalled him", he paused and looked at her, "I wasn't sure whether you will like it not". Mehek didn't befit him with a response. Although she had nothing against Shaurya's father, she was still not sure to involve his side of family in her life. The bitter words from Nehal was not something she could even forget. Her image before them was nothing more than a gold digger, "When is Nehal getting married to Vicky?", she asked him. "May be in an year. They are too busy in their respective careers to find time to agree on a suitable date", he gave a soft chuckle while telling her.

Drive to Bungalow was silent. Not because they had no topics to talk but Shaurya dozed off due to effect of pain killers. Shaurya had to take Shakar Chacha's help to reach his room as he was really weak. Once he hit the bed, he slept off again. It was not until late night he woke up. His head still hurt but his stomach was complaining more. Hunger pangs attacked him. Although still weak, he managed to pull himself out of bed, in search of food. Once he reached the kitchen, he was surprised to find Mehek hogging on icecreams "Mehek, what are you doing?", her eyes widened when she heard his voice. "Please don't tell, Manju. She will be really upset to know that I gave in to unhealthy craving again", she plead with puppy eyes. Shaurya couldn't suppress his laughter, hearing her childish excuse. "Only if you share it with me", he proposed a bargain and she halfheartedly shared her food with him. They ate, talked and laughed for long until it was just scoop left in the box. They both looked at each other cautiously and sprung on it to grab it. Purposefully Shaurya let go of it so that Mehek could relish the win. But when she boasted it and teased it by enjoying it slowly, he made sad pout. "Princess, Pappa is so hungry. Do something my girl", he whined as if addressing to their baby. Mehek laughed out loud but suddenly she kept her hand over her belly. "Oh my God, she kicked. That too so forcefully", she cried out loudly, "Shaurya talk to her again, she is responding to your voice". Needless to be asked twice, he knelt down and brought his face near her protruded stomach. "Did you miss Pappa?", he felt it as the baby kick again.

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