Calvin couldn’t fight his concern for his fiancée. He had waited long enough to make her his. He dialed his attorney and friend, Drew Coomes.
“Yeah, hey, I need to talk to you about Allyssa.”
“Great gal. You picked well when you made her your POA. I take back all the mean things I said about her.”
Cal smiled. “Thanks. I’m glad you approve. She’s getting cold feet. Said she’s taking advantage of me by marrying me. Any idea why?”
Silence hung in the air. “I don’t think it’s my place to tell you.”
“Do you trust her, Drew? Do I need to be worried?”
“I do trust her and I don’t think there’s a reason to worry. Listen, I know what happened to her, Cal, when she took you on after the accident.”
“She lost everything. Her job. Her apartment. She’s homeless and out of work. She didn’t, and wouldn’t, take a penny of your money to support herself while she cared for you. I told her she could and tried to insist on it. The gal has a stubborn streak a mile long.”
“Can we fix this? Can we get her apartment back and her job for her?”
“Are you asking me to do this or being hypothetical.”
“I’m asking you to do this. If you can.”
“Allyssa will be so ticked she may walk away again. And if she gets her job back, she won’t be by your side. Is that what you want?”
“No. I want her here. I need her.”
“She’s good for you.”
“I’m glad you finally see it.”
“Something else to be aware of Cal. Your family is making waves. We’ve tried to stave them off. They’ve slandered Ally to the press even. The police have kept things private and the hospital has been great in protecting you as have your staff and bodyguards. They are going after her and have filed charges.”
“So I need to come clean to protect her.”
“I’m sorry. It’s a danger to her either way. Either she is sued or your family comes to make your life more painful to you than her. Are you well enough to draw their fire?”
“Get me those marriage certificates.”
“What are you thinking?”
“Trust me on this? Draw up those papers we talked about a month ago.”
“They were done. Are you serious?”
“Allyssa saved my life and took nothing for herself. Yes. I’m serious. Make it happen Drew.”
“Oh, and Drew?”
“Be my best man, will you?”
If a smile could be heard over the phone, Cal heard it in his friend’s voice. “I would be honored.”
* * *
Allyssa had tried to go back to work early on shortly after her leave of absence. She was let go after two days due to the constant barrage of phone calls from Cal’s family. She thought they probably put an investigator on her too. She drove weird and crazy to throw off the tail she thought they had on her. She switched her cell phone so they couldn’t track her, trading in the previous one and changed her number so the harassment calls would stop. She was worried. Her checking account was getting low and there wasn’t much in her savings. Just paying for parking at the hospital was sucking up more money than she had bargained for.
The newspapers had her face plastered on them with all kinds of accusations. She couldn’t get another job. She spent her days looking for work while her evenings were spent by Cal’s bedside, keeping him company but mostly watching him sleep after the exhaustion of therapy he would undergo.
* * *
Cal noticed her exhaustion. He knew she was trying to protect him from the harsh reality she dealt with. He was due to be discharged in a few days. Where would she go if she were not his wife? He wanted her by his side. He needed her to keep his family at bay and he winced at the thought of all that he had already cost her.
Drew had been faithful to his word. He showed up with their pastor and Allyssa’s best friend, Sarah.
Allyssa had walked in to find them all there. He thought she looked adorable in her t-shirt, blue jeans and sandals.
She looked at him and everyone else as she stood in the doorway. “What’s going on?”
Cal held out his hand and she crept forward before placing hers in his. “Will you marry me, Allyssa?”
“I don’t know if I can, Cal. It’s not that I don’t want to.” She wiped away a tear and Sarah came to put her arm around her friend and led her to sit in an overstuffed chair. Sarah crouched down beside her.
“I think you need to listen to what Drew has to say.”
The attorney outlined the provisions Cal had made for Allyssa. “You have a choice. You can take this. It’s yours. You don’t have to sign anything. Consider it compensation for your caregiving if you want. Or, you can marry him and have the protection of his name as well as all his material goods.”
“I don’t care about the money. I would take Cal if he were poor.”
“Without you, all I own is nothing.” Cal whispered as he grabbed for her hand.
Cal watched as his beloved’s forehead furrowed and she tilted her head to one side.
“I don’t understand.” Allyssa shook her head.
Cal cleared his throat. “Allyssa, please, marry me. I want you. I need you. I love you.”
She bent her head and he saw her shoulders shake.
“Besides. I’m about to go home soon. I need you to care for me but can’t have you stay with me without being your husband. So please, marry me?”
* * *
A storm brewed in Allyssa’s soul. God, what am I to do here?
Moby, the bodyguard, knocked and entered. “I got warning from below. Police are here with a warrant to arrest Allyssa.”
Drew came to stand by her. “Come. Marriage to him will protect you. It might cause a firestorm of publicity and I can’t guarantee I can get you out of jail immediately, but Calvin will have all the rights to protect you from his family and these trumped up charges.”
Allyssa rose and came to stand by his side. She clasped his hand. “Pastor, let’s get this done.”
stay tuned for part 4 tomorrow!