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This is the first romance story I’ve written in recent times. I submitted it to the NotionPress Website but did not win a prize. So, I submitted it to Alien Buddha Press, and Red published it.

By Aishwariya Laxmi

As usual, Aditi was on her smartphone, chatting with Anya, her bestie. Wicked, sassy, delightfully entertaining Anya! Aditi was telling her, “Babe! How long will I have to wait for this doctor?” It’s been 45 minutes, and there’s no sign of him so far!

“Let’s hope he is at least good-looking! It’s 6.30 pm, and I’m here at this hospital instead of out with friends at a coffee place. It looks like a five-star lounge, so I shouldn’t complain!”

Finally, after what seemed like aeons, a nurse asked Aditi to go in. When she first saw Dr. Deepak, her heart skipped several beats! Kind, attractive, and arresting, his face held an open expression—an expression that said, “Get to know me. You won’t regret it.” The kind she had dreamt of for years—the kind that sometimes snuck into her dreams unbidden, rustling up every romantic fantasy she had read about in books.

His crisp, white shirt made him look cool and young, and he looked straight into her eyes with a gentle smile. What brown, innocent eyes they were! She smiled right back, the butterflies in her stomach fluttering for good measure.

She introduced herself. “Hi, doctor. My name is Aditi. I’m here because I have irregular periods. I think I have polycystic ovarian syndrome. That explains why I’ve put on so much weight and must go to the parlour weekly to thread my upper lip! Anyway, here are the reports.”

The doctor had been smiling right through her rambling. He wordlessly took the prescription from her hands and scanned it.

“You seem to be quite a doctor, yourself, Aditi. Are you a medical student?”

“No. No. I’m just interested in medicine and sometimes think I should have chosen Biology in junior college—my only doctor right now is Google,” she flushed. He didn’t react, but the way he looked at her was beginning to turn her insides into mush. She struggled to keep her face impassive so he wouldn’t see how much he was affecting her. Dr Deepak looked into his notepad and scribbled out some tests. She couldn’t take her eyes off his hands and how he held his Mont Blanc pen.

Telling herself inwardly to stop being foolish, she coughed lightly and asked him whether the hospital had a lab attached. “Yes, of course! Take your right at the end of the corridor and go straight past the cash counter,” he said, not missing a beat. She just nodded, thanked him and got up to leave.

Was that another inviting expression on his face?

“Stop it, Aditi, you are just imagining all this. Why? You don’t need to see an endocrinologist; you need to see a psychiatrist!” she scolded herself.

She excused herself and booked an appointment for an ultrasound for herself for the following day.

On Saturday, she switched on the radio and listened to the top 20 songs in the country. As she did her dishes, she remembered that she had to go to the hospital to take her test. She thought she would take Anya along with her. She called Anya only to be greeted by the caller tune, “Saturday Night” by Whigfield. Anya called her back after an hour and said she would pick up Aditi from her house and accompany her to the hospital. Anya was a good-looking girl. She was svelte and sylph-like, with curly ringlets in her hair and a sharp tongue to complement it. Aditi heard a car honking outside, and she hurried downstairs to clamber in. As Anya drove to the hospital, she asked Aditi, “ So what’s up with Doctor Good-looking?” You got the hots for him?”

Aditi said, “ I don’t know what to say, Anya. I’ve known the man only for minutes, but I think he has the most handsome face I’ve ever seen, and I can’t stop thinking about him. I know it’s ridiculous because you need to know a person for at least a few months before you can start having feelings for him, don’t you? I know nothing about him. But then, I Googled him to find out more about him….”

“Haha! Nothing reveals more about you than your search history, babe,” said Anya with a chuckle, and Aditi spent the rest of the drive in deep thought.

As soon as they reached the hospital to pick up her report, Aditi was on high alert. She knew Dr Deepak could be anywhere on the premises! It’s a good thing she had worn her Zara trousers and the floral blouse she liked best! Ha!

They made their way to the lab. Aditi hated ultrasounds! Once she collected her report, she looked into the sheet and sighed. She had been right! It did say that her ovary had multiple small cysts. She made her way into Dr Deepak’s waiting room. She hated spending hours in waiting rooms. Who didn’t?

As they sat in the waiting room, they discussed some awful programme that was playing on TV. After a few minutes, Aditi was called in. There he was! Looking even more handsome than last time. After Aditi and Dr Deepak exchanged smiles, she handed him the report. He looked through it and said, “Yes, you do have polycystic ovaries. I will prescribe some medicines, and you can start taking them. You must lose at least five per cent of your body weight. Aditi flushed! She hated being reminded that she was overweight! As if reading her mind, Dr Deepak said, “That won’t be hard to do.” You can start some exercise programmes and go on a balanced diet. Trust me, it isn’t that hard!” he said. Aditi was so glad to see him again that the fact that they were discussing weight-loss measures didn’t seem to rain on her parade.

“Sure, doctor!” She said and grinned from ear to ear. Come and see me after a month, he said. A month! That was so far away. What would she do till then? Google his pictures? Hey! That didn’t sound like a bad idea. Maybe that’s just what she would do. And she joined Anya outside. The two of them got into Anya’s car and headed homeward.

When she got home, she entered her bubble of paradise again. A week passed, and she missed Dr Deepak. So, she looked up his number on Google and added him on WhatsApp. She sent him a text message even though she knew she would probably come across as some deranged stalker. She waited for a few minutes. He replied! Her joy knew no bounds. But the exchange was very polite, and she reminded herself not to get carried away.

Now, she was counting the days to her next appointment. When the day arrived, she felt a mixture of excitement and nervousness. She wasn’t sure how it would be to meet him after a month. When she entered his chamber, she felt elated. Her eyes met his, and a new vocabulary of love seemed to have sprung up from thin air. Oh! Calm down! She told her erratic heart. They went through the motions, but neither brought up the WhatsApp message. She was aching to ask him questions about himself but was too terrified to.

So they discussed her ovaries, and then she left. A million questions swam around in her head; a million delightful feelings announced themselves. She subdued her excitement willfully and carried on with her life. Some variation of this pattern continued for nine whole sessions with Dr Deepak. And she fell “deeper and deeper”, as Madonna would have said.

Finally, in the ninth session, he told her that she was cured—that she could stop coming to appointments. She should have felt happy about her health, but all she felt was a crushing sense of sorrow—No more Dr Deepak. The thought of never seeing him again was too much to bear!

She often thought about her sessions with him, although the rational part of her told her there was nothing to miss! She had just been a patient of his, that’s all. The next day, she ran into him at the coffee shop!

Her pulse was racing as their eyes met. She gingerly started a conversation with him. He seemed a lot more interested in her than during their sessions. Summoning her courage, she told him how she felt about him. The butterflies in her stomach started turning into moths. She could hardly breathe as she waited for his reply…she thought she would die of happiness when he said he felt the same way about her, but he couldn’t date her when she was his patient. Now that she was no longer his patient, a world of possibilities opened up. Suddenly, the sun shone brighter, and she had a song in her heart.

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Aishwariya Laxmi

I’m Aishwariya. I’m passionate about writing, reading, marketing communications, books, blogging, poetry and editing. I’ve donned several hats, such as freelance journalist, copywriter, blogger and editor.


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