Note: As there are two sides to a coin, there are two sides to every story… to learn Cal's side, you will have to wait for the next chapter… but in the meanwhile...


Part 68

POV – Ria

Crossing the parking lot, I notice familiar faces exiting the hospital building. They must have finished all the paperwork for Gill's release earlier than expected.

I can't help but smile upon seeing pouting expression on her face. Apparently, she was seated in the wheelchair against her will, probably to respect some nonsense hospital rules. Cal, actively gesturing, tries to convince her to stay put. Seeing that his arguments are falling flat, he changes his tactics to never failing sweet-talk and kisses.

My intention to approach them falters. The moment they share is so intimate that I feel like a perpetrator.

I'm glad that Gill is getting better, but her memory loss has created a moral conundrum. I'm no longer sure what is right and what is wrong.

Cal has been by Gill's side, loving and caring, every step of the way. I don't know what served as a catalyst, Gill's kidnapping or losing the baby, but he is a changed man.

If I didn't know the truth, I would have accused him of being selfish and irresponsible by proposing to Gill while still living with Zoe. But having all the facts, I cannot judge the man. He is miserable, caught between a rock and a hard place.

I still remember the overwhelming guilt in his eyes upon learning about Gill's financial problems. He moved heavens and earth to repurchase Gill's old house. From what I gather, the new owner was quite a character, demanding twice of what he paid. To get the required amount of money, Cal not only took a loan on the firm but also put a second mortgage on his own house.

Yesterday, Cal asked me to collect some of Gill's clothing from the apartment she rented and bring it today to the hospital. Lord! Some refugee camps happen to be better than that shithole! She was going through some seriously rough times before her kidnapping and no one was the wiser, no one except for Jack…

Jack! Another piece of the unsolvable puzzle. After our late-night chat, I see him in a new light. I don't know how, but without trying Gill has managed to shatter his carefully designed image of the easy-going, mischievous playboy. Jack cares for her deeper than he is willing to admit.

With Cal being busy, Jack took over the firm. Who would have thought that he would drill us harder than an army sergeant? We are handling more cases than ever before, not to mention the two corporate accounts he recently landed. Pulling his own, Gill's and Cal's weight, the man is on a verge of a burnout, but adamantly refuses to admit it. At first, I thought it is one of his dick-measuring contests with Cal, but now I know better.

I was collecting some files from Jack's office a week ago, when I accidentally stumbled upon a paperwork proving that he is transferring extra earnings of the firm together with his share of the profits to Foster's account. By using intermediates, he ensures that the transactions are not easily traceable back to him. It is a risk, because Jack doesn't have the authority to make unilateral decisions on how to split the profits. Cal would never give his consent just because he doesn't trust Jack. But why would Jack risk everything for Foster? Suddenly the answer seemed obvious.

On more than one occasion I wanted to tell Foster that Jack loves her, that he fought for her life when no one else believed that she would survive, that he is hurting, but the words die on my lips every time I see her and Cal together. Her eyes are so full of hope, affection… and pure, unconditional love… she loves Cal, loves him with all her being. Who am I to interfere?

"Playing a peeping tom?" I almost jump hearing Eli's good-natured tease just above my ear.

Indecisively nodding, I brush unexpectedly perspired palm over my face.

"Stop worrying," he tries to assure me, "she will be vulnerable for a while, but it will pass."

My lips twitch sadly, irritated by Eli's cluelessness, "she has always been vulnerable… she's just extremely good at hiding it…"

I halt seeing his enquiring look. Off course, he doesn't understand my remark or my frustration, completely clueless of all the drama boiling just below the surface. Having no desire to explain myself, I opt for the most obvious, "it doesn't feel right, she is making an uninformed decision."

"And you want to break it to her?" Eli raises an eyebrow, openly challenging me.

I look away unable to hold his gaze.

"I thought so," he concludes without an enthusiasm.

We observe the pair as they reach the car. Cal helps Gill to get in the passenger seat, loads her bag in the trunk and they drive away. In some unvoiced agreement, we both do not attempt to catch up with them.

In his book, Cal wrote about 'untranslatable' emotions.

Until now, I never truly understood what he meant.

POV – Kate

With mixed feelings I observe as Lightman fella wheels that woman down the lobby until the entrance doors close behind them.

From strictly medical perspective we did everything right. There was no reason to keep her at the hospital any longer. She needs a rehabilitation - physical therapy, psychologist, walks in fresh air... anything but the four walls we can offer.

Although I would never admit it aloud, I do share Jack's fears where her mental state is concerned.

Last night he charged into my office, unceremoniously interrupting an important meeting with Mr. Tindell who happens to be one of the nastiest board members. To say I was pissed would be enormous understatement.

"You can't just barge in my office," I snarl at Jack as soon as the doors close behind my stunned visitor. A headache starts to build at the base of my skull when I imagine how much ass kissing will be required to amend the situation.

"What if it is an emergency?" Jack counters pacing erratically back and forth within the limited space between the doors and my desk.

"Then you go to the emergency room," I frown as his whiskey filled breath reaches my nostrils.

"They don't have psychiatric emergency rooms," he deadpans.

"They should," I counter, arching an eyebrow meaningfully, "you're a darned good reason why! Now tell me, what was so urgent that it couldn't wait another second?!"

Only now I notice his split lip and slightly bent stance. It seems that his ribs are bothering him. Irrational anger raises within me. I'm sick of fixing him!

"They're signing her out tomorrow…" he stops mid-way suddenly unsure how to finish the sentence.

"I see…" I sigh, should have guessed where the wind blows from, "but it does not explain why you are acting as if we're about to handle ten years' old over to a child molester. She is a grown woman and he is her next of kin and none the less - also her fiancée," deliberately ignoring dark expression crossing Jack's face upon hearing the last word I continue, "I do not see any immediate danger to her health..."

"What about her mental state?" he argues, unhealthy fire burning in his dark eyes.

I understand his frustration. The situation is indeed unorthodox. We are releasing a patient with a memory loss to a guy who is bluntly lying about their relationship. Morally, it is wrong on many levels, but legally our hands are tied. Some things are beyond our control. One day Jack will have to learn to accept it.

Pushing these thoughts aside, I parry, "What about it?"

"He will continue to use her memory loss in his favor…" his emotions are threatening to spill over, "she has a right to know!"

"Sure, she does… Are you ready to break it to her?" I look at him with an open challenge in my eyes, my tone steady and unemotional, "Then do it, go to her room right now and tell her that the man she so selflessly loves is not the person she thinks he is! I dare you!"

I know I'm taking a risk by playing a chicken with Jack when he is in such emotional state.

The standstill lasts several minutes. Not without a relief I observe as his expression changes.

I got through to him!

As much as he would love to expose Lightman, he would never do that at her expense.

"I just… I cannot lie to her," he sighs suddenly losing all the righteous anger burning brightly just seconds ago.

"Then you know what you have to do," I conclude gathering my documents, "Move on, leave the Lightman group and your sweetheart behind."

"She is not my sweetheart," he corrects, but the statement lacks fierceness to be even remotely convincing.

Only when I'm at the doors he finally realizes that I'm about to leave,"Where are you going?"

"Despite what you see on TV, hospital life does not revolve around one patient," my voice drips with sarcasm. I just want his affection for this woman to be over so we can return to our normal lives.

No one knows, whether she will regain her memory. From what I learned, maybe it is better that she doesn't. I'm not sure, if her (or anyone's) psyche would withstand such a blow. I mean, her mother and unborn child died. She lost her house. No one knows what horrors she endured while she was kidnapped, not to mention the betrayal of her partner slash fiancée.

I've been observing the pair on daily basis. From what I can judge, Lightman seems to genuinely care for her and in his own way does have her best interests at heart. She clearly adores him. When together, they are lost in their own little bubble where the rest of the world ceases to exist.

Lightman guy reminds me of Jack in many ways. They both are intelligent, witty, overconfident, have egos larger than life and they both are fighters. However, they both lack the necessary delicacy and decorum to cope with sensitive, difficult situations, such as helping the woman to overcome emotional trauma, if her memories resurface.

With this thought in mind I turn around and head upstairs.

After all, I didn't lie to Jack – the hospital life really does not revolve around one patient.

tbc