Tej shook Daksh and asked, “Why did you do it? Why did you lie about Anika?” Daksh laughed a malicious laugh and said, “Because I knew Shivaay was in love with her and I knew that my saying this would hurt him a lot and block all ways of him changing his mind about marrying Tia.”
Shivaay was shocked as were the rest of the people in the room. “You tried to defame an innocent girl to hurt me?”
“I did not give a damn about that girl. But within a few hours of getting here I could see that you were completely in love with her. And it’s been my habit since childhood Shivaay to try to get what you want. I hated you always being a step ahead of me in studies, in sports, in money, everything. Everyone gave you more importance because you were an Oberoi and you treated me like a sidekick. I hated you. When I saw this girl around you and you around her, I knew that if I somehow possessed her you would not be able to bear it. So I tried to charm her but I realized that without knowing she was attached to you too. Then I had to change my strategy. And it worked!”
Shivaay was stunned to hear that what he had thought was friendship all his life was actually jealousy and hatred.
“It did not work.” he said. “The woman I married is Anika and she is and will forever be my only love and my wife. ”
Daksh looked like someone had pulled the rug from under his feet. “But the news, Tia, anullment…”
“All fake for media’s sake. Very soon the whole world will know that Anika is my wife. You did not succeed because she is my soulmate and no matter what anyone, including me, did, fate brought us together.”
Daksh was incredulous, “I don’t believe it. Where is your so called wife?Left you? And anyway, you can hit me as much as you want but I still made a mess out of your life and I also scared the hell out of your “love” by stalking her. And there is nothing you can do about it.” He laughed mockingly at Shivaay.
Everyone was stunned at his revelation about stalking Anika. Shivaay’s palms tightened into fists but he controlled himself.
Shivaay narrowed his eyes at Daksh and slowly said, “She has not left me. She is very much living with me. She is just visiting her old home and will be back.” Then looking up he saw Rudra standing upstairs with Saahil. Shivaay pointed to them, “Look , there is Anika’s brother. He is my family now.You will never be able to hurt her again, and never be able to separate me from her. I got what I wanted and you lost. Again”
All the while Shivaay said this he stared constantly at Daksh.
Daksh looked up and saw Saahil. He snapped and flew into a rage. Shivaay signalled Rudra to take Saahil away inside. Rudra understood and left.
Daksh shouted, “Never. I will not let you live in peace Shivaay. I’ll make you pay for each slap” saying that he picked up his bag and stormed out of the door. Shivaay turned around agitated and found Dadi standing right behind him.
“You believed such a horrible thing about Anika!!??And you ill treated her because of it!?” She broke down and cried. “You don’t deserve her Shivaay! Just when I think it is time for a fresh beginning I come to know of another insult she suffered at the hands of this family”
Then in a fit of anger and disappointment she slapped Shivaay and fell to the floor.Everyone looked on shocked and then rushed to pick her up.
Shivaay’s eyes filled up with tears but he had no time to cry. He had much more important things lined up. He went to Tej and said , “Bade Papa, if Anika comes here tell her what happened and keep her here. I’ll be back.”
“Where are you going Shivaay?” asked Tej.
” I took a chance Bade Papa. I have to go and see if it worked.”
Shakti came forward and said, “unless you tell me where you are going I will not let you go”
Shivaay felt exasperated, ” Papa, most likely Daksh has gone to Anika’s old house. I want to catch him in the act this time and put him away for good.”
Tej protested, “This is too dangerous Shivaay. I’ll come with you.”
But Shivaay stopped him. “No, I will handle this. Trust me”
Tej felt helpless, ” Of course I trust you Shivaay but this is so risky. That boy is psycho. He could do anything.”
Shivaay said impatiently, ” I cannot have this discussion now. Please do as I say”
Then he called his driver and asked him to pull up the car to the front entrance. As soon as the car was there he took the car keys from the driver and drove off.
Shivaay was midway when he saw Daksh calling on his cell-phone. He answered the call.
As Anika paid the taxi-fare she saw Om’s car pull up to the front main gate of Oberoi Mansion.Om stopped the car when he saw her and got down.
“You took the taxi to go somewhere?”
“Yes Om.” She replied. Shivaay and I had another talk and I needed to clear my head.
Om nodded, then asked her to sit in his car. She did. They drove up to the front entrance of the mansion. They entered the house and immediately sensed extreme tension amongst everyone sitting in the living area. Pinky was crying and Jhanvi was trying to comfort her.Tej and Shakti were pacing back and forth. They noticed Om and Anika approaching.
Tej rushed to Anika, “Are you OK beta? Is Shivaay with you?”
Om looked at the tensed faces around him and asked Shakti ” Chote Papa, what is going on here? And why is Mr. Ob…I mean , why is Papa asking Anika if Shivaay is with her?”
“Daksh came” said Shakti in a tensed voice.
Om’s eyes widened with anger while Anika started feeling panic rushing up in her chest.
“That scumbag had the nerve to come back?” said Om in a very low, livid, voice.
Tej looked at Om surprised. “You know about Daksh?”
“Of course he must have known Tej. Don’t ask ridiculous questions. He is the one person in this house who would have known!” said Jhanvi exasperated.
Om felt a sudden numbness spreading over him . “Where is Shivaay?” he asked. When he did not get an immediate answer, he thundered, “I asked WHERE IS SHIVAAY?”
Everyone was shocked at that volume and that tone from Om. Shakti looked at Tej and signalled him not to say anything but Tej said, “No Shakti. It took me a while to understand them but I have learned my lesson well. He needs to know.”
Tej narrated everything that had taken place while Daksh was there and right after he had left. Om and Anika stood there stunned. “Why didn’t you stop Shivaay?” asked Om controlling his anger.
“I tried, Om, but you know your brother .” said Tej.
Om turned around and started to go back towards his car. Shakti tried to stop him but Tej said quietly, “Let him go Shakti. He needs to do this.”
Anika ran to Om. “I am coming with you.” she said.
“No” said Om. “Stay here and wait for us.
“No” shouted Anika. ” I will not wait for him here. I love him . I will never leave him alone. I will come with you and you will take me to him Om.”
Om looked at her for a couple of seconds and realized the futility of arguing with her at that time. “OK.” he said. Let’s go.”
Tej and Shakti looked at each other as the women looked on very afraid.
Four faces from upstairs looked in absolute fear. Saahil had come out hearing Om’s voice and Soumya, Priyanka, and Rudra had rushed after him. Saahil had seen and heard the last bit of conversation and activity downstairs and he started to cry. “Is that bad Daksh going to do something to Jiju? And will Om bhaiya and my Didi also get hurt?” Rudra picked up Saahil in his arms and said, ” Saahil, my brothers are supermen and bhabhi is superwoman. Nothing will happen. You need to stay strong and make your Didi proud. ” Saying that the three of them took Saahil back inside to try and distract him.
Om drove fast but carefully. “Having an accident right now will not help Shivaay” he thought. Anika was sitting next to him in the passenger seat absolutely quiet and unmoving.
“Shivaay will be OK Anika. ”
A lone tear escaped her eyes. “I will not leave him Om. ” is all she said.
They finally reached near her old house. The lanes were narrow so they left the car on the main road and started running towards the house. As they reached it they saw a big crowd surrounding the place and two police vans and an ambulance there.
Anika’s knees buckled and Om held her to prevent her from falling down. “What’s happening here Om ” she shouted in panic. Om’s face was completely pale. He wanted to rush inside, but he could not leave her here, neither did he want to take her inside with him afraid of the sight that might meet them.He stood there grappling with his dilemma and holding Anika who clutched to his shirt front for support.
A couple minutes later two policemen walked out with a handcuffed and battered Daksh between them. He saw Anika and Om and snickered at them with spite. The policemen made him climb into one of the police vans and both the vans drove off.
Then two paramedics brought out a stretcher and Anika recognized the clothes Shivaay had been wearing that afternoon.”No” she screeched as Om shouted “Shivaay!” Both rushed to the stretcher and saw Shivaay lying on it. His white shirt was drenched in blood. He looked faint but his eyes were open. He saw them and raised one bloodied hand to show that he was OK. Anika started to sob bitterly. The paramedics asked them to move aside. They started to take Shivaay inside the ambulance. Anika and Om tried to follow but they stopped them.
One of them explained, ” He is fine. The wound is a superficial knife wound, not a bullet or something. It looks a lot worse than it is due to all that blood. We have done first aid but he is in pain nonetheless. We need to get him to the hospital quickly so that he can get stitches and stronger pain medication.You may follow us in your car or a taxi.We are taking him to the emergency care wing at Sterling Hospital.” Saying that, the paramedic got in the ambulance.
Om and Anika ran to their car so they could follow the ambulance. They saw Tej and Shakti just getting there in Tej’s car. Om informed them where he was going, got in the driving seat and as soon as Anika had sat down and closed the door, he took off.
Om got to the hospital just as Shivaay’s ambulance got there. Both he and Anika got out and stood by the ambulance door as Shivaay was taken out. The paramedics rushed him to emergency care.
Om and Anika sat outside an operating room , each quiet and tensed. Soon Tej and Shakti got there. Shakti was in tears and asked Om how Shivaay was.
“He has superficial knife wounds that need stitches. He lost some blood so they are going to replace that as well.”
“Thank God Bhai-sahab” said Shakti, “that you called the police and the hospital both on time and thank goodness Ma had Anika’s old address”
Shocked, Om looked at Tej, “you sent the police and the ambulance there?”
Tej nodded, ” Yes. As soon as both of you left. I figured that you wouldn’t be able to reach quickly enough and Shivaay was going to need some help”
Tears streamed out of Om’s eyes. He got up, went up to Tej, and hugged him tightly. “Thanks Papa. I love you for what you did today.”
Tej was taken aback. Overwhelmed with emotion he hugged his elder son after fourteen years.
Anika got up too and went and stood by Om. “Thanks Tej Uncle” she said tearfully.
Tej stretched out one hand towards her. She moved forward and Tej hugged her too. “Anika, I think it’s time you started to call me Bade Papa.” Anika nodded crying silently into his arm.Shakti looked on with a smile on his face and tears in his eyes.
The four of them had waited for another half an hour when the doctor came out of the operating room and informed them that Shivaay’s wounds had been stitched and he would be transferred to a private recovery room. The doctor also informed them that he would have to stay in the hospital overnight to avoid stress of travel but he could go home the next day. Detailed instructions would be given to change his bandages regularly or a nurse could visit to do it for him. Om and Anika nodded and acknowledged all the information given.
Soon Shivaay was brought out and taken to his room with Om, Anika, Tej and Shakti following. Once he was placed comfortably in his bed the nurses left informing that Shivaay could take visitors without restrictions but not to overdo talking to avoid added stress.
He was still under the effect of sedatives when the four of them entered the room. Shakti gently caressed his son’s forehead and kissed it. Tej smiled. Then Shakti said, ” Bhai-sahab, Shivaay is absolutely fine and these two are more than enough to take care of him. We should go home and assure everyone there.” Tej agreed. Tej gave one last loving look to Om before he left with Shakti.
Om and Anika sat on either side of Shivaay’s bed, each holding one of Shivaay’s hands, and looking at him sleeping. After about forty-five minutes, Shivaay stirred and opened his eyes to see two of the people he loved most sitting there staring at him.
“Both of you look terrifying” he said. “Stop staring at me.”
Om laughed . “Shivaay, get better soon so I can bash you up for pulling this stunt without me.”
Shivaay laughed, “Wow! How encouraging of you! Don’t ever consider becoming a motivational speaker Om.”
Om chuckled and kissed Shivaay on the forehead. “I’ll go and get some coffee” he said and left the room.
Anika stared at Shivaay.
“I said stop staring at me. It is scary.” he said.
She kept staring.
“So did you decide? Will you forgive me and stay with me forever?”
“Oh shut up Shivaay. Is this the time for such a question. You scared the hell out of me.”
“Hey” he said ” That should not be counted against me and it should not affect your decision.”
“It didn’t.” She said. “I had decided before I went back to Oberoi Mansion, I mean home, today. You are a very foolish man who cannot be trusted to make wise decisions so I am going to have to stay with you forever to help out your poor family-members in coping with your madness.”
Shivaay grinned. “Thanks Anika.I love you.”
“Shivaay Singh Oberoi! Are you laughing AT me? I am going to have to wipe that smile off your mouth.”
“My pleasure” replied Shivaay
Anika bent forward, carefully avoiding his bandages, and kissed him deeply pouring her entire soul into that kiss. Then she pulled back and whispered, “Returned with interest. Never underestimate the competitor in me.” Then she smiled at him and said ” Your Turn”
Shivaay cursed the bandages on him and said, “You just wait and see what I do to you once I get home.”
Anika laughed and said , “My pleasure!”
Hi my dear Readers. Thank you for reading this. It looks like I will need to write one more episode to wrap up this story. I will follow that with an epilogue. I hope this episode is not a disappointment for you. Thanks again for reading and do leave a comment if you can. I will really appreciate it.?