She proceeded towards the phone and called hotel reception for a doctor. Meanwhile Shiv weakly started at her. Doctor arrived in sometime and checked Shiv.
“Seems like its normal flu but better get a blood test done for any infection”
“Tomorrow would be fine doctor?” Anandi asked
“Yeah you can get it done tomm. Meanwhile I am prescribing medicine. If fever becomes too high sponge him with cold water”.
Shiv who was already pale turned white as a sheet when he heard about blood test.
“Doctor is blood test necessary I mean its normal flu right?”
“Seems so but better be safe than sorry these days dengue and malaria are spreading like epidemic”.
“But doctor that will be through injection right? Wats the need after all?” He said
Anandi interrupted “Doctor we’ll get the blood test done don’t worry. And Shiv injections don’t hurt more than a pinprick ok? So don’t be finicky”.
Shiv made a grumpy face and Doctor laughed “Mr. Shekhar your wife is right injections are not that scary after all and better not to take any risk”
Anandi and Shiv both looked at him shocked. He started to say that they were not married but decided otherwise.
After the doctor left she came near him and said “You are really afraid of injections?”
“No I just don’t like them….It’s unnecessary” he grumbled
She burst into laughter and even he couldn’t stop from smiling. She looked so innocent while laughing he just stared at her mesmerized.He coughed again and she immediately rushed to him with a glass of water.
“Thanks Anandi but you shld not be here. It’s getting too late now. You should go back home”.
“And who will look after you??”
“I took medicines I will be fine”
“No Shiv you need someone to be with you. I will stay here”
“Anandi please, I am already feeling very guilty. I don’t want to trouble you more. I can’t face you”
“Shut up Shiv does as I say. Suppose I was ill would you have left me by myself since you can’t face me?”
“Hell No Anandi”
“Then don’t ask me to leave. I can’t see you sick and in pain and I can’t leave you alone in this condition. Don’t ask me why. My reasons are same as yours”.
He didn’t say anything just looked thoughtful while she fussed with his pillows and blanket.
“Did you eat anything Shiv?”
“I have had something in evening. I don’t remember what I ate”.
She sighed in exasperation and again called room service for soup.
“I don’t want to feed you hotel food but I came in a hurry. Tomorrow I will bring some homemade food for you”.
“Anandi you need not trouble yourself….”He stopped on seeing her stern look.
As the night darkened his fever increased. The doctor had said that this might happen. She checked his temperature it was 103!! He had started to become delirious in his sleep.She got the ice cold water and a towel.
She placed the damp towel on his head. He mumbled in his sleep “I’m sorry Anandi. Please don’t go”
She felt a lump in her throat. How could she ever go away from him?
“I missed you Anandi…..I can’t live without you….” then he mumbled “I will protect our baby. I will save him”.
She couldn’t stop her tears she broke down. He was suffering from the same pain which she went through years ago.He was engulfed with guilt. Just like her he was blaming himself for her miscarriage. She wiped off her tears and composed herself. There were other priorities right now. He looked so weak and vulnerable. It was hard to imagine a strong and controlled man like him in such a delicate condition.
She contemplated weather she should give him a cold sponge bath then decided to go ahead it was not that she was going to see his body for the first time.
Recalling the doctor’s words she unbuttoned his shirt and sponged his wide shoulders and chest. She marveled at the fact that she still remembered each n every scar of his body. All the cuts and contours of his muscles. How his hardness contrasted with her soft creamy skin. She could easily disappear into him.She had always been awed by his magnificence.
Breaking her chain of thought she concentrated on sponging him which was a difficult task right now.
He kept thrashing and turning in fever.
“Shiv please be still for a minute”
“Anandi where r u my Anandi” He mumbled again.
“I am here …leave my hands shiv.I have to sponge you” She said struggling to free her wrists from his grip.
“No Anandi don’t go anywhere. Please forgive me.I am sorry”
She stopped and looked at his face which was full of agony. She couldn’t help herself and hugged him tight.
“I have forgiven you Shiv. How can I ever hate you? I love you shiv. I won’t let anything happen to you”.
She cried hugging his bare body. He seemed content and stopped thrashing. Inspite of his fever he crushed her in a bone crushing hug. A few mins later he released her from his grip and lay back on the bed. She checked his fever it was subsiding.
After putting on a fresh shirt on him she sat near his bed. He slept peacefully now holding her hand in his.
As the morning broke Shiv opened his eyes. He was still weak but that burning feeling was gone. He looked around and saw Anandi’s frail body kneeling near his bed. She was still asleep. She looked tired but as lovely as ever.
He gently tucked a lock of hair behind her ears .She looked delicate like a porcelain doll “my beautiful precious princess” He whispered” But I don’t deserve you sweetheart still you went through all these trouble for me”.
Sensing movement she opened her eyes “Shiv is you ok? Do you need something?”
“Relax Anandi I am much better but you are looking exhausted. Go home now”.
“Shut it Shiv I will go when it’s required”. She checked his temperature and was relieved to see that it was normal.
“I will order breakfast for you. Then we shall go for the blood test. On the way back I will pick up few things from my home”.
“Anandi I am alright it’s just minor flu. What’s the need for a blood test”?
She suppressed a smile “Its doctor’s recommendation Shiv. Now don’t be a baby”.
“But I am too weak to drive. I can’t go”
“Who asked you to drive? I have my car…It’s not a Jaguar or a BMW but it will work fine”.
She turned to leave when he caught her hands. She turned round to face him “what?”
“Thanks for taking care of me”.
“I didn’t have a choice. You were burning with fever and mumbling in your sleep. I was really scared for a moment”.
“Really?? What did I say?”
She smiled “Nothing important”.
After breakfast she dragged Shiv for blood test. She doubled with laughter seeing him turn pale seeing the injection. Holding his she forced him to get the test done.
Few hours back she was back with him to his suit. She had picked up some of her clothes from her home.
Shiv was better but fever was rising and receding in phases. She stayed with him whole day. He was quite subdued and didn’t make any attempt to flirt or come close to her. She did catch him staring at her while she was combing her hair after the shower but that was all.
For someone who could barely keep his hands off her it was quite a change and the reason was not just fever. She wondered if things would ever be same again.