Chapter 57: Blooms and Blossoms
Morning followed suit and found Ishaani and Claudine in front of Dr. Louis Agnes, who had just finished examining Ishaani's sprained ankle. He walked back to his desk swiftly, Ishaani taking Claudine's support before they sat down and waited for the doctor to speak.
"As Claudine said, it's a bad sprain that you've got in your ankle. But don't worry, it isn't anything serious. However, I must advice you to stop wearing stilettos. It’s the root cause for a lot of problems, especially swelling up of feet and back aches, both of which you have been suffering from." Ishaani looked at him half-heartedly before nodded her head nonetheless.
"Louis, don't worry, I'll make sure that she takes full care of this from now on."
"I know you will, Claud. Mrs. Vaghela, I must also ask you to take good rest for some time. You look pale to me." Ishaani jerked her head in exasperation and Claudine smiled.
"Lou, I got all of her tests done just right now. Do I need to keep applying the spray for her ankle?"
"Do it for a day or two. But try to keep massaging her ankle. It should get alright soon enough." Claudine nodded her head and stood up slowly.
"Thank you, Lou." Dr. Louis gave her a warm smile before speaking sincerely.
"We miss you around here loads, Claud. When are you coming back?"
"Someday." Ishaani felt her lips twitch at Claudine's reply as she stood up, taking the support of the table. Dr. Louis stood up and kissed Claudine's cheeks affectionately.
"Take care. Give Martin my regards and the kids my love." Claudine smiled and Louis turned to look at Ishaani. "Get well soon, Mrs. Vaghela." Ishaani gave him an acknowledging smile as he courteously kissed her cheeks.
Claudine and Ishaani left the hospital, taking their respective places in the backseat of the car, as the driver turned on the engines and began driving. Both the women sat in peaceful silence before Ishaani initiated the conversation first.
"So, someday, huh?" Claudine gave her a confused look.
"What do you mean?"
"You don't want to join the hospital back." It was less of a question and more of a statement. Claudine smiled.
"It's not like that..."
"Sounded just like that to me." Claudine sighed irritably before her features softened.
"You won't understand."
"Try me." Claudine let out a deep breath before speaking truthfully.
"I miss the hospital a lot. But I also know that I want to raise my kids on my own. Not with servants and helpers. It was a very difficult choice for me but I know where my priorities lies. Freddy and George need me much more than the hospital. Besides, Martin has finally broken through the shackles that had restrained him for so long. It doesn't matter now." Ishaani gave her an understanding smile.
"I'm glad that your priorities are set right. But isn't that a very huge sacrifice on your part?"
"Ishaani, you are not a mother yet. The day you become one, you will understand that no sacrifice is greater than the wellbeing of her child. Besides, it had to be either Martin or me. Martin gave up on his career once. I didn't want him to do the same again. I've already established my career; it's about time I establish myself as the ideal mom for my kids." Ishaani looked at her and nodded her head as she now chose to address her hands rather than Claudine.
"Sometimes, I wonder whether I can be a good mother when we do have a child." Claudine smiled in understanding and caught Ishaani's hand in her own.
"That's what every woman thinks at some point of her life. Mark my words, the day you have that tyke in your arms, catching your finger with his whole hand, that day you will realize what you actually have in your arms. That day, you will know that you are ready; ready to be there for your child no matter what, ready to stand down just so that your kids can have better." Ishaani gave her an unsure look, before the words slipped from her tongue unconsciously.
"I feel that Ranveer and I are not ready to have kids, even though we say otherwise." Claudine shook her head and Ishaani gave her an embarrassed look.
"Funny, you should say that. I still remember the time when I broke the news out to Martin. It was a phase where things were changing so quickly, and Martin was still diving deeper into his shell. I was more afraid that evening than anything else. I was glad that Ranveer was at your place for the day, and the house was practically silent. Martin was preparing to leave and I must have thought of a thousand ways to break the news out to him. And what did I do? I just burst into tears. I am sure he must have thought in that moment that I was going to walk out on him. But when I told him that we were going to have a baby, God, the look on Martin's face is etched in my memory forever."
"Atleast Ranveer and I don't have to worry about this aspect right now. We have Timmy." Claudine burst into peals of laughter and Ishaani smiled sheepishly. Sobering down after a few moments, Claudine turned towards Ishaani and asked her cautiously.
"I've been meaning to ask you about something."
"What's that?" Claudine gave her an unsure look and Ishaani narrowed her eyes at her.
"Alright," Taking a deep breath, Claudine spoke hurriedly. "Have you tried taking the pregnancy test?" Ishaani let the sticky silence pass between them for a few moments before she gave her a smile and nodded her head.
"Yes." Claudine's mouth fell open as the smile on Ishaani's face broadened, her cheeks reddening simultaneously.
"And?" Ishaani shrugged her shoulders before her smile broadened.
"It was a positive." Claudine's face broke out into a triumphant smile that enhanced her features remarkably. She gave Ishaani an excited look before asking inquisitively.
"When did you find out about this?"
"Just this morning, when I took the test. I've been thinking about doing this for a few days, but it was only after last night that I made up my mind."
"Given that you got a complete check-up done, your report will be out by three days. You'll get your affirmative chit by then. Although, pregnancy kits are 99% accurate." Ishaani nodded her head at her and smiled warmly. Claudine rubbed her palms in excitement. "I can't believe it! You're pregnant! God, I'm so happy for you!" Claudine pulled Ishaani for a hug while the latter couldn't help but feel flustered. Parting from their hug, Ishaani spoke wisely.
"Claud, I want to wait for the doctor's report as well. You won't mention about this to a soul till that time. Alright?" Claudine gave her a shrewd look before nodding her head.
"You're right. It's better to wait," Ishaani now shot her a nervous smile and Claudine rubbed her palm affectionately. "I'm sure he'll be ecstatic."
"But what if he-"
"Trust me, I know. He has been ready for this a long time; you both have been. Just let things flow the way it is. It'll be alright."
"I hope so."
"I know so." Claudine gave Ishaani a reassuring smile, while the latter looked out from the window to feel the fragrance of rich blossoms floating about her in a hypnotic trance. She fidgeted with the ring on her finger, wondering how Ranveer would take the news when she broke it out to him. The reports were a separate matter, but for now, she couldn't help but feel the excitement bubble in her heart at the prospect of what was coming their way.
She felt a bizarre mixture of emotions overcome her, sometimes afraid, sometimes confident, sometimes anxious yet sometimes daring. Even though she felt unprepared, she felt as though this was something that she could navigate her way through, something that she had wanted for so long finally coming her way. She wondered about how Ranveer wanted to take one step at a time and how it would affect the dynamics of their steadily blooming relationship, but the fact that she was expecting had driven everything out from her mind.
The wait of the next ten hours was perhaps the most torturous one that Ishaani had ever faced. Even though she did not want to tell Ranveer about the possibility that she was pregnant, she could not help but feel jittery enough at the thought of him. Several times during the day, she imagined scenarios where she told him about her pregnancy, his reaction to it changing every time.
She felt like a giddy school girl, who had won a prize, a possession that was much more precious than anything else in the world. She could not wait for Ranveer to get back home, even though she could not understand why she didn't want to tell him already. Perhaps it was the mystery that she wanted to build up, she countered to herself. But either way, she couldn't let anything dampen her mood today.
If she had been in her worst spirits for the past fifteen days, then she was in her best spirits today. Everyone back at the mansion noticed her sudden change in mood and were happy to have the old Ishaani back. But the happiest of the lot was Timmy, who found the cheerful Ishaani a delight to be with. Dusk finally fell when Ishaani found her patience for the day to end wearing off and with it came Ranveer and Martin home, who were instantly affected by the jovial mood of the house.
Dinner was a jolly affair that evening, Ishaani's sprain long forgotten about, while the meal in itself was a heart-warmer. Ranveer and Martin both noticed the high colour on Ishaani's cheeks that had zero attribute of compact or blush-on, but was actually a flustered red. Ranveer threw her a puzzled look several times, but Ishaani only shrugged her shoulders in response, leaving Ranveer more bewildered. Pleasantly surprised as he was that Ishaani's cheerful spirits from earlier had returned, his curiosity only increased about the sudden change in her mood, that Ishaani surmised as well.
If Ishaani looked thrilled that night, Claudine was not far behind. Martin managed to deduce that something had passes between the two women that had made them so excited, but as to what it was, he could not fathom. Apart from their mysteriously bright moods, Martin and Ranveer noticed that the two women were particularly well-dressed for dinner, Ishaani having on a black blouse and similarly shaded pantaloons, while Claudine had on a maroon dress that complemented her perfectly curved figure even more.
But the final nail to the head went when Ishaani refused to have any form of wine that night, which only aroused Ranveer's suspicion over her behavior. Dinner was followed by desserts and a light conversation flowed through the table, laughter echoing through the room soon after, before Martin yawned hopelessly. Claudine clicked her tongue and finally withdrew herself and Martin from the table, making their way to the kids' room first to ensure that they were asleep. Ranveer and Ishaani stared at each other for several minutes, before the former spoke lovingly.
"It felt good to see you laugh like that after so long. The last I think that I remember seeing you laugh this way was during Christmas."
"Christmas was pretty special for the two of us."
"It was." Smiling at Ishaani, he asked softly. "How is your ankle?" Ishaani shrugged her shoulders and spoke truthfully.
"Better." Ranveer gave her a sympathetic look.
"Can you walk?"
"Yes, but it does hurt at times." Ranveer gave her a kiss on her forehead. However, his eyes fell over her feet in that moment, which was clad in moccasins, rather than her stilettos.
"I see that you've shed your stilettos."
"The doctor told me not to wear them anymore." Ranveer smiled at her and got up, helping Ishaani alongside. Before Ishaani could walk ahead, Ranveer slowly lifted her in his arms bridal style, while she gave out a gasp of shock, before considerably relaxing into his arms. He carried her over to their room and laid her over the bed, shutting the door behind.
"Where is Timmy?"
"He's off to his kennel. He was feeling quite sleepy today." The image of a yawning Timmy crossed his mind that caused a goofy smile to appear on his face.
"Oh alright." Remembering suddenly about the tests that Ishaani was supposed to have gotten done in the morning, Ranveer asked her quickly. "Did you get your tests done?" Ishaani chuckled at his suspicious tone before she nodded her head.
"Yes." Ranveer's featured relaxed considerably and he gave her an approving nod.
"When will the results come?"
"Most probably after three days."
"Good." Ishaani gave him a broad smile that Ranveer found wriggling its way through his veins. He smiled. "I'll just get freshened up." Ranveer gave her a smile as he entered the washroom, while Ishaani sighed, shutting her eyes briefly. Somehow between her meditative trances, she heard the door open again, and she pushed open her eyes, to find Ranveer, in the same outfit, emerge from the washroom, a stick in his hand while a look of stunned disbelief prevailed on his face.
"What's this?" Ishaani looked at the stick in his hand and gulped unconsciously. Her mind ran furiously, thinking about whether or not she should tell him the truth, before she sighed.
"It's a home pregnancy stick." Ranveer walked towards her like a zombie, before he plonked beside her, something that Ishaani suspected was more out of shock than his actually reaction. He stuttered.
"It's... its blue." Ishaani could see the comprehension of what was about to hit him dawn over his features.
"Yes." Ranveer looked at her suddenly, his eyes blazing with a fire she had never seen before.
"What does it mean?" Ishaani gave him a lovingly look before she spoke soulfully.
"I'm pregnant." Ranveer's mouth fell open as he searched for the right words, but failed miserably. He finally managed to speak after a gap of two minutes, even though he knew that he made no sense.
"You're joking." Ishaani shook her head, tears springing in her eyes, a huge smile forming it way on her face. Ranveer's face glowed suddenly, happier than she had ever seen him in her life as he pulled her face to his own gently, their lips meeting in an elation that they had never felt before, tears and smiled accompanying it alongside. Breaking apart when breath fell short, Ishaani stared at Ranveer tearfully, as he wiped the tears off her face. She did the same for him before she asked nervously.
"So... are you happy?" Ranveer gave her a broad smile, more tears flowing through his eyes before he spoke passionately
"The happiest I've ever been."