My friend Sarah rushed into the break room with a note. “You need to return this call right away, Allyssa. There is some kind of emergency.”
I took the paper and dialed my cell. “Hello? This is Allyssa Reid, someone called for me?”
“Yes, I am calling to inform you that Cal Forte was in an accident and you are his designated power of attorney. We need you to come to the hospital right away.”
“When did this happen?”
“Two days ago. It took a while before we were able to locate you.”
I gave a hasty explanation to my boss, clocked out and rushed over.
Two weeks ago I had been resolute. I would not see Calvin again. I loved him. I just couldn’t bring myself to commit. I know. Isn’t that usually the man’s issue?
Cal hadn’t accepted his conge but had persevered with grace. There had been a surprise every day. Something little, sweet and thoughtful. Two days ago it had been my favorite Frappuccino. Before that there had been sweet notes, or a single flower, or my favorite candy. Every day something reminded me of how well he knew me and had paid attention.
It had stopped abruptly two days ago. Now I knew why. My mind raced through all kinds of scenarios of why my help was needed and it always kept coming back to the same question. Why me? Why would Cal make me his POA?
I arrived and Cal’s attorney, Mr. Coomes, sat me down in a small room and handed me an envelope. “This came with the POA papers. You should read it before we talk about the decisions that have to be made.” He left. I glanced at the envelope and tapped it on the table. The trembling in my body led me to rip it open, earning myself a paper cut in the process. I sucked on my finger as I unfolded the handwritten letter.
If you are reading this, that means something has happened to me. I knew from the first date that you were the only one I could entrust my life and finances to. You were never impressed with any of the flash of my family. Please don’t let them make the decisions and keep any news about what happened from the press and my family for as long as you are able. My secretary and bodyguards will assist you as will Drew. Just make the next best choice for me with regards to any treatment. And please be there. I love you and my heart will know your voice. You may be the best medicine that the world could offer.
If I haven’t made you my wife yet, I’m sorry to have thrust this on you. Please get me well so I can rectify that.
My heart is forever yours, Cal
I glanced at the documents in the folder in front of me. He signed them one day after our first date. Who did that kind of thing?
A crazy man.
I met with the doctor and then was allowed to see Cal. Any barriers that I had erected around my heart tumbled down the minute I saw his bruised and battered face. He was still handsome to me. A nurse handed me a bag of his belongings. Shoes, clothes, wallet and . . . a small stuffed kitten. It was a pretty blue with a pink tail and ears. They told me he had been struck by a car half a block from where I work.
He had been coming to deliver a gift for me.
“I am the most selfish of creatures,” I whispered as I read the brief little note with the animal. I hugged it tight. I had always wanted a cat but was allergic to them. He had remembered. Even if he couldn’t have me, he had wooed me by giving me things I liked and wanted.
And now? Now he might die.
A few days later, the doctors backed off on the medications to bring him out of a drug-induced coma to assess the extent of the damage to his brain. What if he didn’t want me anymore? He didn’t need me. He was wealthy enough to hire people to help him through whatever was ahead. I had been the one to walk away. Why would he trust me to do this?
We had dated eight intense months. He started talking about marriage and I got scared. He was wealthy, a sought after bachelor and media darling. I didn’t fit in to his world. His family despised and ridiculed me. All under a veneer of politeness, yet their words had cut deep. I struggled paycheck to paycheck, but I had my degree and I managed. Barely.
And for some reason, Cal trusted me with his health and riches.
I stayed at the hospital with him for two weeks, rarely leaving his side.
My boss tried to be understanding, but someone had to do my job. I was on a leave of absence now after using up all my vacation. That meant there would be no more paycheck. I didn’t have much savings. I had packed my meager belongings into my small coupe and tendered my notice on my apartment. A friend stored my furniture in their garage for the time being. I became homeless but hoped it would be temporary. I would have my security deposit back soon and that would tide me over for a short time. I wasn’t home anyway. I almost lived at the hospital in a room adjoined to the private suite Cal was in.
If I had known sitting in a hospital could help me lose weight I might have tried it sooner.
return for part 2 tomorrow