Authors: Tali Alexander
Tags: #Adult, #Love, #Romance
She was calling my name, 'Louis' … Shit, where did she go? I think I lost her. 'Louis…' Emily, I can't see you. Where are you baby? The light was getting really bright. I needed to go get my sunglasses. What was that sound? Fuck, the sound was getting louder … I was very tired. I wanted to take a nap on the beach with Emily.
Where is Emily? The light is so fucking bright. I can't even open my eyes. It's so fucking blinding. I need some water. My throat feels weird. Shit Emily, where are you?
I'm cold. Dad, why am I freezing? My hands feel numb. How do I make this sound go away? I need to just go to sleep.
"Louis … Louis. If you can hear us open your eyes. Louis, we need you to wake up."
I can't open my eyes. I'm too tired.
"Louis, it's time for you to wake up. Open your eyes."
I open my eyes. Where am I? Where is Emily? She was just with me. Who are all these fucking people here?
"Louis, welcome back, I'm Doctor Monroe. You are in Mount Sinai hospital. Can you hear me?"
Why am I in the hospital? How did I get here? Where is Emily? Is she okay?
"Louis, if you understand me nod."
I'm nodding but nothing is happening.
, why can't I nod?
"You suffered a heart attack two days ago. You have been in and out of consciousness for the last thirty-six hours. Your friends and family are all here. The nurse will let them know you're conscious again. Please nod if you understand me Mr. Bruel."
I want to nod so fucking bad but I can't move. I start looking around.
"Your brother brought you to the hospital. It was lucky for you he was with you. He said you were a few blocks away from the hospital when you collapsed. He started CPR on you. He saved your life, you know. Do you remember any of what happened?"
What is this man talking about? Where is my wife? I try shaking my head from side to side. The last thing I remember is driving around to find Emily. I need to ask him if Emily was there. I just can't keep my eyes open or urge my voice to come out. It goes black again…
I open my eyes to see my mom holding my hand.
Mom, where is Emily?
I ask her in my head. She doesn't hear me. I try to squeeze her hand, but I'm too weak. She lifts her tear-filled eyes to me.
"Louis baby, thank God. Don't lose consciousness again; we need you to stay with us." She is sobbing. "I'm worried about you. The doctor said for you to not try and over exert yourself once you wake up … I'll go get the nurse."
Mom wait, don't go, is Emily okay?
I ask inaudibly. She is already gone. A few minutes later I have a team of six checking out all my vitals. I just want to know if my wife is okay.
. I have to find my wife. If she were here she would've been by my side. Where is she? I want my wife, somebody please get me my wife. It's all too much again and then darkness…
It was fate...
Two days earlier in St. Lucia
ill, thank you for charging my phone. I'm a little scared to turn it back on. I'm sure I have like eighty messages from my parents ordering me to come back home."
Will smiled his now familiar sexy smile at me. We were lying on the beach watching the beautiful ocean and sipping our cocktails.
"Just tell them you're lost on an island with me. I can't believe your soon to be ex hasn't found you yet. One more day, doll, and you are all mine."
I wasn't surprised at all. Louis must be making up for lost times partying it up with
He could go back to being the most eligible bachelor. I left Will on the beach and went back up to my room to deal with my messages. I wanted desperately to talk to my kids and to make sure they knew everything was fine. I powered the phone up to find 159 missed calls, 35 voice messages, and 211 texts.
I didn't even listen to the voicemails or read any texts; I just called my mom. If I dealt with her I'd save myself lots of time. She picked up before the phone even rang.
"Emmy, is that you? Where are you? Are you okay?" She sounded tired and nervous.
"Mommy, I'm fine. What's wrong? Are the kids okay?"
I heard her take a shaky breath before she continued, "Thank God you're okay. Oh, thank God. There's a car, a helicopter, and a jet on standby to bring you back home from wherever you are. Where are you?"
"Mom I'm not ready to come home. I'm not ready to face what's waiting for me."
She was crying. My mom was usually strong. "Mom, why are you crying? Please tell me Eric and Rose are okay."
"Emmy, you need to come back now. The kids are fine, but you need to be here."
Did she already know Louis was leaving me? Maybe he announced to my family he has a new young girlfriend. Maybe the tabloids broke the news of his affair. He was probably been parading around town with his new toy for all to see. How could I come back and face everybody?
"Emmy, please tell me where you are. I will send your father to come get you. We have something to tell you but it has to be in person."
My heart started beating rapidly.
"Is this about Louis?"
"Yes baby, it's about your husband. You need to be here for your kids."
I knew it. He left me. Once I was gone, he stopped pretending and went public with his mistress. The reporters must have been all over the story. The kids, Rose, must've heard at camp from other kids. I took a deep breath. My mom was right. I couldn't hide away while my family dealt with this public humiliation.
"I'll be home by tomorrow. I don't need the jet. I'll fly commercially. I love you, Mom. I'll be home soon." I hung up. I fell to my bed and cried myself to sleep. I went to find Will three hours later. I found him in the clubhouse, the only place in Le Spa with a TV. He looked up as soon as I entered. No smile; just a worried look on his sweet face.
"Emmalay Bruel. I need to bring you back to New York."
How did he know my last name? Did I mention it to him in my drunken state?
"Why would you need to bring me home?" I asked, waiting for one of his funny lighthearted remarks.
"Listen luv, something happened while you were gone. Once you get home you'll deal with it. But I can't keep you here, as much as I want to. You're not mine to keep."
I nodded. Maybe it was all over the gossip shows—how a playboy billionaire was cheating on his wife of ten years. I looked at his melancholy expression, which seemed displaced on his normally cheery face.
"I know Will, I just spoke to my mom. I'm flying out tomorrow. I just came to thank you for being a gentleman and a friend. I won't forget what you did for me." He walked over to me and embraced me in a warm hug. I melted into his arms, longing for the arms of another. I couldn't quite believe my love story with Louis had come to a screeching halt.
Will kissed the top of my head and said, "I have a helicopter waiting to take us to the airport. I've arranged for my parents' plane to bring us back to your home in the states."
I smiled up at him thinking he would make some lucky girl very happy one day.
"You didn't need to do that. I already called Delta and got myself a flight to New York for tomorrow morning. I don't need you to come with me. I'm a big girl. I'm almost thirty," I said, trying desperately to make him smile.
He pulled away from me and held me at arm's length. "Emmalay, I won't bloody let you face this alone. I need to make sure you get to your kids safe." He wasn't negotiating. I knew that tone from Louis. I nodded. He took my hand and led the way.
It was a little past six o'clock in the evening when we landed at JFK. I hadn't seen my kids in over seventy-two hours. Will was giving me looks of encouragement throughout the plane ride. I could tell he was feeling sorry for me. He was probably thinking that I was the biggest idiot for believing I would be enough for a man like Louis Bruel. The whole world must know what a fool I'd been.
The seats on the plane fully reclined. I dozed off at one point. I woke up a few hours later with my head and hand resting on Will's chest. Both our seats were reclined into a flat bed. We were lying on pillows with a white down comforter covering us both. I looked up momentarily expecting to look into my husband's caramel colored eyes. Will smiled his sad, defeated smile at me. He brushed a few stray locks from my face. He looked like he was in pain. We were both frozen just looking at one another. I broke our staring marathon by pulling myself off him.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to use you as my pillow." I straightened up.
"I enjoyed being used as a pillow. God, Emmalay, why are you this beautiful? I want to be your pillow or anything you'll let me be. I can't believe I'm bringing you back to him. I'm a bloody fool." Will straightened his seat and leaned in to cup my face. "Promise me if you need me you'll call. I want to know that if something happens I can be by your side. I can't believe how lucky I was to be there for you. Out of all the resorts in St. Lucia, you walked into mine. If that's not fate I don't know what is."
I could see he was struggling with himself. He let go of my face and closed his eyes. I was glad he didn't try to kiss me again. I knew I had a shit storm waiting for me at home. I needed to have a clear head to deal with the unavoidable disaster awaiting my family and me. Since waking up together yesterday he'd been very respectful. The sexual tension between us was undeniable but I would never entangle him in my mess of a life. This young eligible man deserved a nice girl. One who wouldn't lead him on while still madly in love with her philandering husband. I was hoping the look in his eyes was more compassion for a friend than longing for a lover.
Home is where Louis is...
black Maybach brought us to my townhouse on the Upper East Side. This was incredibly awkward. Should I invite him in? Where would he go?
"Emmalay, go in. I'm sure your family is anxiously awaiting your return. I'm staying at a hotel a few blocks from here on Fifth Avenue. I'm here if you need me to talk or anything. Call me, day or night." He handed me a piece of paper with his cell number and the hotel information. He took my hand and kissed my fingers. I was sad letting him go. I'd really grown fond of William Knight. If Sara saw him she'd jump his bones.
. I'd have to call her; she was probably trying to contact me. I had my phone shut off; I still wasn't prepared to talk to anybody.
"Thank you Will for bringing me back home safely."
He gave me that sad smile that didn't reach his eyes. "I wish you luck with whatever news is waiting on the other side of that door. You're an amazing woman. I hope to one day find someone who'll love me the way you love your husband."
I nodded silently at him, content that he understood me, and got out of the car.
My front door opened before I even got a chance to get my keys out. My sister looked frantic. Jenna looked like she hadn't bathed in three days—not an ounce of makeup on her pale face, hair pulled back into a low ponytail. She didn't say a word. She gripped me into a hug and started wailing.
"Jen, what's wrong? Why are you crying?" I had never seen or heard my sister this distraught.
"Thank … God … Emmy … That … You're … Okay … It's Louis … Emmy … He had a heart attack."
My world dissipated into ashes. Her words were floating around me like smoke. I wanted to wake up out of this perpetual nightmare that kept getting worse. I just wanted to be home with my family. My life felt surreal. I snapped out of my state of dismal consciousness. My heart was bleeding. I pictured the love of my life all alone and suffering. A sob escaped my throat. I was screaming before I crumpled to my knees. My lament was for what Jenna would tell me next. If Louis was not of this world, if he died and I wasn't here, if my kids would grow up fatherless … please, God, make this ordeal melt away. This must have been my subconscious dreaming up horrible things because I was mad at him. He was young and healthy. My beautiful husband couldn't be gone. I felt strong hands lift me from my doorstep. But it all must've been a dream. I succumbed to the darkness and it was finally quiet.
I opened my eyes. My parents' best friend and my childhood pediatrician was there, hovering over me with a flashlight and smelling salts, I suspect. My parents were sitting at the edge of my bed.
"Oh thank God, she's up," my mom said to my doctor as she came to my side.
I needed to know what was happening. "Mom, where is Louis?" I begged her, "Please don't tell me I lost him again."
She looked much older than when I last saw her. My well-groomed mom looked exhausted and sad.
"Honey, Louis had a heart attack three days ago. Mike was with him, thank God. They were out looking for you all night. It was morning when Louis had the attack. He's in Mount Sinai in intensive care. He's been in and out of consciousness."
I took a deep breath that provided me no oxygen. My husband was alive. He would live. He had to live. He wouldn't leave me. He wouldn't leave us. I had to get to him.
"Mommy, I have to go to him. I need to be there when he wakes up."
She got off my bed and started pacing the room. "Emmy, you just fainted a few moments ago. Your friend William carried you inside. You need to rest and be strong enough for you the kids and Louis."
"I want to talk to Jenna or Mike. I need to know Louis is okay."
My mom walked out of my room to get my sister. While Dr. Brennan took my pulse and blood pressure, Jenna came into my room. She got in bed beside me.
"Where have you been?" she asked without an ounce of anger or accusation in her voice.
"St. Lucia," I said with a snort, feeling disgust at my trivial departure.
"He didn't sleep with her. Her name is Alexandra Ivanov; she's the daughter of some very wealthy Russian businessman. He was closing an important deal that day." She kissed my forehead like I was four years old and continued. "Mike told me a few months ago. I thought you knew, but didn't want to discuss it with me. Bruel Industries had some very serious financial problems. Louis was trying to save the company from bankruptcy. He closed a huge deal and just gave her a ride uptown to some restaurant. Emmy, he loves you so much. He was freaking out and driving around the city with Mike all night looking for you. Why didn't you pick up your phone?"