Hudson (Page 86)

Hudson (Fixed #4)(86)
Author: Laurelin Paige

How do I only seem to dig myself deeper? Of course, that’s why she wants to talk to me. I should explain. The deal is so close to coming to fruition, maybe that’s one thing I can share with Alayna. But if Celia has Alayna tapped or bugged…I can’t risk Celia finding out about this before it happens.

So I’ll have to keep this silent too.

My phone starts ringing again, and it takes everything I have not to pick it up and chuck it across the room. Possibly the thing that stops me is realizing that the screen isn’t flashing Alayna’s name; it’s flashing Adam’s.

My heart is in my throat when I answer. “Adam?” I don’t wait for him to answer. “What’s wrong? Is it Mirabelle?”

“She’s having contractions,” he says. “We’re at Lennox Hill.”

“The baby?” It’s too familiar—this unknowing ache. A fragile being that I’ve yet to meet but already care so much for. And that it’s Mirabelle…this can’t happen. I can’t bear it if this happens. Not to her.

Adam’s voice is tight. “We don’t know yet. God, we don’t know anything yet.”

“I’ll be right there.” I hang up and don’t give it a second thought before texting Jordan. Then I push the top number on my speed dial list. “Alayna. I need you.”

“What is it?” Three short words, but her love and care are evident.

“Mira. At the hospital. The baby…” I choke up, unable to say more.

“I’ll be right there.”

“Jordan’s already on his way to get you.” I hold the phone to my chest for several minutes after she hangs up. This may be as close to holding her as I get tonight, and I cherish it.

At the hospital, Adam texts that Mirabelle’s been moved to the obstetrics ward, but I wait for Alayna before going up there. I can’t see my sister like this. I’m weak. I’m a mess. I need my strength.

Then, there it is—my strength. Alayna walks in wearing yoga pants and a T-shirt, and she’s more beautiful than anyone I’ve ever seen. My pulse slows ever so slightly, and air seems to finally move through my lungs better than it had just a moment before. She does this for me. She gives and gives, without knowing, even when I distance myself from her. Even when I’ve wounded her, she’s here to repair me.

The truth of my situation is beginning to take root inside me. Everything about her is light. I cannot continue to keep her in darkness forever.

When she reaches me, we fall into step together. We head to the elevator, and I catch her up on what I know. When she reaches her hand out to me, I take it. I shouldn’t. The last thing I want to do is complicate things for her. But I can’t not touch her any longer. I hold it as long as I can before the feel of her skin against mine makes me want more of her, all of her. Then I let it go, and forbid myself the comfort of her touch again.

Before we’ve reached Mirabelle’s floor, I’ve already broken that deal. I brush my thumb across her cheek. It’s a habit, I realize, to hold and caress her. I have to try harder.

We find the rest of the family rather quickly. My parents, Chandler, and Adam are all waiting outside Mirabelle’s room. I tense. It’s too reminiscent of the last time I came to the hospital to see a woman in the maternity ward. Fortunately, the story I receive this time is very different. Adam insures us that Mirabelle—and the baby—are fine. For now. She’d gotten dehydrated, that’s all.

I want to f**king kill her. Rushing to the hospital out of dead fear because she didn’t bother to carry around a water bottle?

But of course I don’t really want to kill her. I’m relieved. I’m so very relieved. And I have to believe that there is some sort of justice in this world, some sort of higher power that recognizes the goodness of the woman that I’m fortunate enough to call my sister. While many of the women in my life seem to be cursed for loving me, Mirabelle seems to have remained unscathed. I spend a silent moment in gratitude, thanking whoever or whatever for sparing her.

My eyes flicker to Alayna. Now, whom do I have to pray to in order to save her?

Chapter Twenty-Three

I’ve called Adam to check up on Mirabelle five times in the last two days, and I’ve texted even more frequently. Of course, I’d always worry about her, but the separation from Alayna makes me even more anxious in general. Since I still can’t find the words she needs to hear, I attempt to avoid all thought of her. It’s impossible, but I try anyway, throwing my energy into preparing for my trip this afternoon to finish the deal with GlamPlay and worrying about Mirabelle.

I’ve just settled in at my desk after lunch with a cup of black coffee when Patricia intercoms me. “Mirabelle Sitkin on the line for you.” Seems my sister’s beat me to the call today.

“Send it back.” I take a large swallow from my coffee, letting the phone ring three times before picking it up. I’m not sleeping well, and my morning caffeine has seemed to have worn off. “Mirabelle, aren’t I supposed to be the one checking up on you?”

“That’s exactly why I’m calling.” Her voice is light and bubbly. “Adam says you’ve been harassing him.”

“Harassing? That’s a fine description for brotherly concern.”

“And I adore the concern. I really do.” She lets out a sigh. “But between you and Mom and Dad and Adam…I think a once-a-day friendly text will do just fine.”

I sit back in my chair and swivel back and forth as I speak. “You know, if you’d let me hire a nurse to follow you around like I suggested, I wouldn’t need to check in.”

“Hudson, I don’t need a nurse. I’m married to a doctor. Remember?”

I shrug even though she can’t see it. “And you were married to a doctor when you were admitted to the hospital three nights ago. It’s obviously not enough.”

“Oh, my God. Are you serious?”

“Very.” I stop my swiveling and lean on the desk in front of me. “But if you say you’re fine and promise me that you’re drinking and resting—”

“—I am!”

“Then I’ll agree to one call and one text a day.” This is a hard concession for me to make. I pinch the bridge of my nose as I force myself to accept it. Besides, I reason with myself, I have to fly to Los Angeles for the weekend, and I’ll likely not have time for anything more.