Chapter 37: The Real Picture
Ranveer felts his eyes open again, this time easily, given that the room was dark. He looked outside the window and was surprised to see that night had already fallen. He turned his head slowly to the other side to see Martin sitting on the chair, lost in thought. The moment Martin saw Ranveer awake, he gave him a small smile and patted his knuckle.
"It's good to see you awake, Monsieur." Ranveer smiled at Martin, while he yawned softly.
"It's good to see you too, Martin." Martin nodded his head in an acknowledging smile and Ranveer stared out of the window. "What time is it?"
"It's 3 in the morning." Ranveer turned to Martin and the latter chuckled at Ranveer's reaction.
"Good Lord! The nurse didn't end up giving me any morphine now, did she?"
"Oh no. The doctor was happy that you fell asleep naturally. He says that you're vitals are steadily improving and with sufficient rest, you should be up and about by 15 days."
"But why didn't you go home, Martin? You didn't have to stay up all night."
"Monsieur, you are my friend and guide. I cannot forget that you had stayed with me the whole night in the hospital when I was nobody for you." Ranveer smiled at him and sighed.
"It's funny how times change now, isn't it?" Martin smiled and adjusted the bed for him so that he was at ease. Ranveer looked about the room and asked Martin. "Claudine and Ishaani are home now, aren't they?"
"Yeah. I sent them both home. Madame has had her food and is resting. Claudine needed some rest as well and the doctor was pretty surprised to see her taking this much stress given that it's almost the end of her second trimester now." Ranveer nodded his head and Martin continued. "Madame Brandt had come to visit you yesterday as well as today, but you were asleep, so she is now lodging with Madame and Claudine for the night."
Ranveer nodded his head and remained silent for several minutes, before he realized that Martin wanted to say something. He had a shrewd understanding of what was coming his way and sighed.
"Do you want to tell me something, Martin?" Martin looked afraid to voice his thoughts yet there was a decisive look on his face. Ranveer let out an impatient huff. "Oh, don't be shy. Just say it."
"I'm disappointed in you, Monsieur."
"Welcome to the club." Martin looked abashed and Ranveer chuckled for some time. Sobering down, he looked at Martin and gave him a deep, meaningful look. "I thought you would understand."
"From what I've understood, you handled the situation most poorly."
"And how is that so?"
"I told you to take the car with you. Yet you decided to go walking." Ranveer gave him a bewildered look.
"How is that handling the situation poorly? Besides, I told you I needed time to think."
"And kneeling in the middle of the road was the best way?" Ranveer gave him an outraged look and Martin recoiled under his gaze.
"You all have got to stop using this question with me!" Martin took a deep breath and calmed himself.
"Monsieur, you don't understand. These four days have been harsh on all of us. But it has been the most on Madame." Ranveer spoke defensively and Martin shook his head hopelessly.
"It's not like I did it on purpose."
"You didn't." Martin let out a frustrated sigh and continued, regretting bringing the point out. "Monsieur, you died in front of Madame. Again." Ranveer looked at Martin stunned for a few minutes before he whispered.
"Yeah. When you were brought here, you were hallucinating because of a fever. The doctors called Madame inside the ER to calm you down. You flat-lined at that time. The doctors managed to revive you back but the next three days were a roller-coaster ride for all of us until the doctor finally said that you were finally beginning to stabilize."
"But the doctor didn't mention anything about flat-lining!"
"That's because you weren't still quite stable when you first regained consciousness." Ranveer looked aghast and Martin gave him an apologetic look.
"But I still don't understand how it is my fault."
"Monsieur, the moment you flat-lined and Madame left the ER, she... she collapsed in my arms. It took the doctors ten minutes to finally find a pulse." Ranveer understood the implied meaning of Martin's statement and felt his heart stop for a minute. Martin looked at him cautiously, hoping that nothing too bad happened to him.
"But... but... I... I don't-"
"Monsieur, had the doctors not revived Madame on time, we could have lost her as well. It wasn't pleasant for me and Claudine to be grieving over the deaths of both of you mentally for those few minutes before the doctors told us otherwise."
"Madame is taking it well so far, but I can see her restrain cracking now."
"What do you mean?"
"Once Madame overcame her shock, she has been like a pillar of support for all of us. If I must be honest with you, Monsieur, it wouldn't be wrong for me to say that in those four days, Claudine, Madame Brandt and myself had all lost hope on you after some time. But Madame was optimistic and never lost hope. Not even once. She maintained the fact that she had fought death and tethered you back to life once, she would do it again. She continuously kept tabs with the doctors on your conditions and prayed day and night for your life. None of us wanted to be realistic with her and we all found a bit of hope when we saw how hard she tried to win back your life. And I'm happy to see that she succeeded. Again."
Ranveer let the facts wash over him and shut his eyes in despair.
"I never meant for her to suffer this much. Not at my cost."
"Monsieur, the circumstances are to be blamed here. You tried to your best to make her world a better place. That's life. But coming back to what I was saying, I realized that Madame had used too much of her strength in keeping you alive that it robbed her of her life as well."
"But I still don't-"
"Don't you see, Monsieur? You created the same deja vu for her that happened two years ago, with the two most painful memories of her life - one was lose her father and his company and the other was see you die, a memory that you know caused a huge amount of rash decisions to be made in the future."
"But I didn't intend it to be this harsh for the two of us."
"Monsieur, I know I have no right to say this as your butler," Ranveer glared at Martin at the mention of the word 'butler' and the latter continued hastily, "but I did warn you not to leave the house."
"And I kept thinking why you were so insistent."
"Monsieur, I have been with you for the past three years. In those three years, I knew that several nights you were halfway over the path of death, unable to handle the isolation and the assumption of Madame being dead. Those nights, you had a very manic glint about your eyes and I would always be afraid that you would do something reckless. Five nights ago, you had the same glint in your eye and I was only hoping that you wouldn't do something reckless. Unfortunately, you did."
"You make it sound as though I got myself hit up on purpose."
"You know I didn't mean that, Monsieur. But I think you know what I'm trying to say." Ranveer sighed and spoke with a resignation in his voice.
"I know I have to make a lot of amends right now. And I know I have to rectify a lot of mistakes that have happened in these past fifteen days. And I know Ishaani is going to take a lot of handling and caring for to be done before things go back or rather, move ahead between us. And I do have it thought out. All I need now is to get out from this place." Martin smiled and patted Ranveer's hand again.
"I'm glad to see that you have given this a thought." Ranveer smiled and Martin continued. "I'm sorry to be so harsh with you, Monsieur. I most sincerely apologize." Ranveer chuckled and Martin look flustered.
"Martin, the only thing you need to apologize is for knowing me too well. I still stick to the fact that you remember too much sometimes." Martin gave Ranveer an embarrassed look and the latter smiled. "But enough talk, you need to sleep. You look just as terrible as all the others." Martin nodded and walked over to the couch. He laid himself over it and sighed.
"Goodnight, Martin." The room remained silent for some time before Ranveer spoke once again. "Martin?"
"Thank you having my back and looking out for me."
"Toujours. Until my last breath." Ranveer smiled to himself as he heard Martin snore lightly after some time and he shut his eyes once again, sleep claiming him almost instantly.
The next day, Martin and Ranveer were discussing random things when Martha entered the room, a smile on her face. Ranveer looked up and gave Martha a huge smile and the latter took a seat by his side. Martin made to get up but Martin spoke gently.
"Son, sit down." Martin gave Martha an awkward look and sat down. She smiled and turned her attention towards Ranveer.
"How are you doing?" Ranveer shrugged his shoulders simply and smiled.
"Alright. I don't feel that sore anymore. How are you holding up?" Martha smiled plainly and replied, tiredness evident in her voice.
"I'm just fine. Went to the court and got a date." Ranveer eyes brightened up at the mention of the date and smiled happily.
"So the judge is ready then?"
"Oh yes." Ranveer smiled triumphantly and Martha spoke softly.
"You were really stupid to take my mistake on your head and you shouldn't have done it."
"Martha, what's done is done. Ishaani and I have sorted our issues out. So there is no point in bringing that up."
"Martha, drop it. And where are the girls, anywhere?"
"At home. Ishaani has a high temperature and can't get out of bed, so Claudine is taking care of her. Ishaani put up a good fight with me to come here and both of us wouldn't take no for an answer." Ranveer’s smile from before faltered and was now replaced with a worried look.
"So how did you get her to agree with you?”
"I... uh... never mind. You aren't going to like this. But in my defense, Ishaani forced me to play my hand." Ranveer rolled his eyes and spoke out impatiently.
"Oh Martha, out with it."
"I told Ishaani as a last resort that if she wouldn't listen to me, she would have to prove it to me by walking till the door of her room. She didn't listen. She barely made it halfway through the door before she fainted." Ranveer stared at her aghast.
"She regained consciousness fifteen minutes later." Ranveer felt the breath get knocked out of him and asked hoarsely.
"Good Lord, what happened then?"
"She put up an even bigger tantrum, but Claudine handled her then."
"God, look at what poor Claudine has to go through." Ranveer shut his eyes in remorse and Martha looked apologetic.
"Ranveer, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do this to her but..."
"That's alright. I know why you did it anyway so no point trying to fool me." Martha gave him a smile and spoke gently.
"You are indeed an extraordinary man, Mr. Vaghela. I have never met a man of finesse and with a heart as giving as yours." Ranveer gave her a flustered look but it quickly turned into one of grave seriousness.
"Don't flatter me, Martha. I have made some of the most horrid mistakes of my life and Martin let me know one of them just last night." Martin and Martha shared a look of common understanding and Martha spoke again.
"Son, you can't go about blaming yourself for this. You haven't earned any brownie points with your stint, mind you. But what's done is done, as you said. So let that be and concentrate over healing Ishaani. And one more thing. I handed over her termination letter to her last night. It was standard procedure, you see. I was supposed to do it five days back, but given your accident and all the things that happened, I delayed it until last night. I hope it's alright with you."
"It's fine Martha. Besides, apart from me, she requires equal amount of bed rest for the stress and trauma I've given her." Martha nodded her head in approval and stroked Ranveer's cheek in a motherly fashion.
"I want you to utilize the leave I gave her in just the way it should be."
"Aye, aye, capitaine. Just let me get out of here so that I can heal the two of us properly."
Before Martha could reply back, the doctor entered the room and both Martha and Martin got up. The doctor smiled and walked up to Ranveer while the other two took their seats on the couch. The doctor carried out his routine check-up and smiled after 15 minutes.
"Your progress is astounding, Mr. Vaghela. Your shoulder wound have been healing wonderfully and I think we'll take off the stitches in another five days. We'll be keeping you over here for another day, just to keep you under observation. If things look good, we'll discharge you tomorrow. But I still stick to the point that you will need fifteen days of complete rest. No strenuous work."
Ranveer gave the doctor an innocent nod and the doctor smiled back.
"It doesn't look like you're going to stay put though. But still, I'd prefer if you do really take some rest. Your wounds have been mostly healed, but the skin tissues are pretty raw still."
"Don't worry, doctor. I'll take full care of myself." The doctor nodded his head satisfactorily and spoke.
"Then I think you should be discharged by tomorrow."