Neapolitan City

Chapter 56: Mystery of Blackouts

The next few days passed pleasantly with Timothy blending in with the family soon enough. There were times when Timmy suddenly went into a shell and would sleep within his basket for several hours before someone would manage to cheer him up. But Timmy had found two new companions, apart from the four grown-ups in the house.

Even though Fred and George remained in their prams for the majority of the time, Timmy would find an innate comfort by sitting beside the pram, looking at the babies with an agreeable interest, and would paw at their pram when the children were awake. The children liked the new member of the family as well, for they kept giggling and clapping their hands every time they saw Timmy, and would burst into fits and tantrums and tears when he wasn't around.

Martin and Claudine eased up considerably as the former's apprehensions about his job had now nearly faded away, along with the return of a newly-discovered confidence. The new Martin made for a brilliant change with Claudine certainly basking much more along his side, but all of them were mentally grateful that his nature was still the same - trusting and ever-smiling.

Along with Martin's new aspirations, Claudine couldn't help but grow steadily efficient in handling the kids, even though she missed the hospital dearly. She, however, found a new friend in little Timmy, who would follow her around the house, when not with Fred and George, and Claudine did not mind spoiling the dog by giving him treats every now and then.

Timothy's presence, however, had its most profound impact over Ranveer, who had reverted to his old, smiling self. Timothy was Ranveer's pet and would burst into fit of booming barks the moment Ranveer would set foot in the house. Timmy would enjoy the most amount of pampering from Ranveer, with Martin being a strong contender for the same. But Timmy kept shuttling constantly between him and Martin whenever the two of them were in the same room.

The only person whose mood kept declining everyday was Ishaani. She left no stone unturned in nurturing and caring for Timmy and the latter slept on her lap whenever she was around. Ishaani had now overtaken the burden of the home's responsibility from Claudine's shoulders and had now started managing both her work and home meticulously, but the fact didn't go amiss by anyone that it was taking a severe toll on her health.

There were several days in the next three weeks when Ishaani looked exhausted and looked close to collapsing. Some days, she would elapse into prolonged and moody silences for hours, during which she would only have Timmy with her, and some days, she looked lost. Martha had called in twice in the next three weeks that Ishaani had almost fainted in the library due to be over-exerted.

Today followed the same suit. Ishaani was sent back home by Martha at two in the afternoon. Claudine and Timmy were in the garden playing catch when the latter galloped away towards the back door swiftly, barking happily. Claudine ran behind him confused, before she saw Ishaani on the couch, stroking Timmy's back lovingly.

Claudine looked at Ishaani questioningly, only to get a disgruntled look in return, as Ishaani lifted Timmy up onto her lap. Claudine shook her head dejectedly and was about to speak when Ishaani spoke irritably.

"I can't believe Martha! She actually sent me back home! And I had such an important meeting with the Board!" Claudine ignored her childish rant and spoke firmly.

"Ishaani, you need to get yourself shown to a doctor." Ishaani gave her a terrified look before she spoke hurriedly.

"Claud, I'm fine! There is nothing wrong with me. It was just a blackout." Claudine gave her a stern look with the latter refused to meet. Claudine narrowed her eyes at Ishaani before speaking irritably.

"Well, what about your headaches?" Ishaani frowned at gave her a bewildered look.

"What about them?"

"You've been complaining of a headache practically since the past fifteen days." Ishaani still had the same look plastered over her face.

"So?" Claudine gave her an annoyed look before she spoke with a finality.

"So, you are going to the doctor. If you refuse to do so, I'll personally make sure to drag you along by the ear." Ishaani shook her head reproachfully as Claudine gave her an authoritative look.

"Must you be this harsh? I promise that I'll take more care of myself now, alright?" Claudine huffed airily as she crossed her arms.

"No, it's not alright. You are coming to the doctor with me and that's that. No arguments on this." Ishaani clicked her tongue, now thoroughly annoyed.

"But why are you being so insistent?"

"Because you don't look well to me at all. And it's not because of the over-exertion," Claudine added hurriedly as she saw that Ishaani was about to speak. The latter glared at her angrily before huffing in resignation.

"Alright, alright. But on one condition - we'll wait for a week and see. If there is no improvement, then we'll go to the doctor. Fine?" Claudine shook her head, knowing that there was no point arguing further.

"Not really, but do I have a choice?"

Ishaani sat in her room with Timmy on the rug, a copy of The Abduction in her hand. Ranveer entered the room, a look of concern of his face. Ishaani kept the book aside and looked at his worried features.

"What's wrong?"

"Martha just got off the line." Ishaani gave him a quizzical look.

"Didn't she call you like an hour back?"

"Yes, she kept the line just now." Ishaani now looked curious as Ranveer gave her a half-smile.

"What were you discussing for so long?"

"Your health." Ranveer gave her a glare and Ishaani cowered under it. He spoke firmly. "You are going to the doctor tomorrow and I don't want to hear any excuses."

"But I promised Claudine that I'd wait for a week and if there was no sign of improvement, then I'd go to the doctor." Ranveer gave Ishaani a hopeless look before speaking half-heartedly.

"Sometimes, I just don't understand you. You practically made sure to have me home for a week before I started work again post my accident. And yet you can't even show yourself to a doctor when it's most crucial."

"Ranveer, I'm fine. Really." Ranveer knew that there was no point arguing in her. Instead, he clapped his hands together and Timmy propped up, quickly making his way towards him. Ranveer ruffling the dog's hair before Timmy ran outside, the aroma of the roast turkey too much for him to control.

Ranveer looked at the excited puppy and smiled fondly.

"I'm glad we could give this little chap a home."

"We are pretty good with him. At first, I didn't know whether we would be able to care for him that well, given that neither of us have any experience of the sort, but we did it. I found it quite simple actually."

"That's the case with everything. It takes some tinkering before you get the hang of it." Ishaani smiled at him fondly before getting out of bed slowly. She walked up to him and Ranveer gave her a hug. She hugged him back tiredly and flashed him a smile that only made Ranveer frown more in worry.

Both of them made their way out of the room and began descending the staircase slowly. The two of them were halfway through when Ranveer suddenly felt Ishaani yank his hand hard and before he knew it, he felt her fall fully over him, losing his own balance as well. He felt his back hit the wall behind as his breath got knocked out of him, his heart racing rapidly at the sudden shock. Exhaling out shakily, he looked to see Ishaani wrapped in his arms securely, her head slightly drooping.

"Ishaani? You there?" Ishaani raised her head up and Ranveer could see that her eyes were blank before she suddenly nodded her head and moaned.

"My ankle. It hurts." Ranveer steadied his breath before he asked her softly.

"Can you walk?" Ishaani tried to take a step forward before she lost her balance again, her stiletto bending awkwardly. Ranveer clicked his tongue sadly before lifting her up in his arms and carrying her back to her room. Martin and Claudine, who saw the entire proceeding, quickly walked upstairs.

Ranveer slowly laid Ishaani on the bed while the latter winced slightly as her ankle made contact with the mattress. Claudine quickly entered the room with Martin behind her, the former taking a seat near Ishaani and freeing her of her stilettos.

"God, look at your leg. The stilettos have swollen it up pretty bad. You mustn’t wear such tight ones."

"I- Ouch!" Claudine gave her an apologetic look as she massaged her ankle for a minute. Ranveer and Martin stared at Ishaani's painfully tear-stained face before Claudine spoke sadly.

"I'll bandage your leg now, but it's badly sprained. You will have to show the doctor tomorrow." Ishaani gave her a beseeching look.

"Can't you do something?"

"I can apply a spray, but you need to get your ankle shown to the doctor. It’s pretty puffed up, which shouldn't be the case. I'll call Louis up at the hospital and get you an appointment. I'll come along. Then I need to take you for your regular check-up as well." Ishaani looked speechless for a few minutes before she spoke painfully.

"Fine. Fine. I'll come with you tomorrow." Ranveer and Martin gave each other a knowing look and smiled at Ishaani's dejected face while Claudine gave her a sympathetic look.

"Don't fret. Just think that God is giving you a sign." Ishaani threw her hands up in the air in mock outrage.

"It was not God! It was Timmy's ball on the staircase!" Claudine couldn't help but hide the smile that appeared on her face before she gave Ishaani a reprimanding look.

"Well, I don't really understand why you wear such high stilettos in the first place. It's not healthy anyway."

"I know, but it's just..." Claudine looked at her hesitancy and smiled.

"I know why you wear them. I'm just talking about its effects from the anatomical point of view."

"Claud, I know." Claudine quickly applied some spray and bandaged her leg perfectly. Ishaani nodded her head in thanks while Claudine got up slowly.

"Do one thing, rest here. I'll have one of the helpers send the food up."

"Alright. On second thought, let’s all of us dine here. Wait, where is Timmy?" Ranveer looked towards the door to see a bit of white fur popping out from the side of the wall. Ranveer walked out to see Timmy give him a sad look and the former smiled at him lovingly.

"Don't be so sad, Tim. She's alright. It's not your fault." Timmy whined morosely and Ranveer lifted him up in his arms. Ishaani looked at the puppy and smiled, as Ranveer lowered him into her arms.

"Tim, I am fine. See? Don't be so upset. We all hate it when you are not cheerful self." Ishaani scratched his ear affectionately and Timmy barked in a welcome tone.

The rest of the evening went of peacefully as the four of them dined, light banter in the air. Claudine kept giving Timmy treats from her plate that the latter had without making a mess, impressing all the four of them.

Martin and Claudine called it a night soon after and Timmy made his way to his kennel in the garden. Ranveer and Ishaani sat silently, reading a file and a book respectively, before Ranveer spoke, amused.

"This just isn't your day now, is it?"

"Tell me about it." Ranveer gave her a sympathetic look and smiled.

"You know, I figured it out." Ishaani have him a confused look.

"Figured out what?"

"Why you wear the stilettos." Ishaani gave him a sweet smile as she asked curiously.

"Really? And why is that?"

"It’s because you want people to look up to you. You want to become an idol for people, someone who people can trust and rely upon. Who when people look up to, can only see a messiah and a guide for them. You strive to be perfect. It's what you want to be." Ishaani smiled at him sheepishly.

"I'm not perfect."

"No one is. But you are good enough to me. It's all that matters to me."

Ishaani gave him a dazzling look before he kissed her forehead lovingly. Ranveer covered the blanket over Ishaani and she smiled at him sleepily. Ranveer shut off the blankets and covered the blanket over himself, his aching back hitting the soft bed beneath.

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