by Mary Bell
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Chapter Three

Matthew decided to take his friend, John, up on his offer of dinner that evening.  He was so tired of the depositions over the past few days that maybe a little distraction was needed.  He would rather have spent the evening in bed, but he wouldn’t have slept so the next best thing was dinner with his best friend!  He dressed in a black t-shirt and his black casual slacks and threw on his leather jacket and was off to the restaurant. Dinner was enjoyable and he and John decided to go to the newest club in town, Destiny.  He and John had been friends for a long time and talk wasn’t necessary to convey his feelings, John always knew what was going on with him.  “ You have more bothering you than just the trial, don’t you?  What else happened while you were gone?  I know you had been beaten, but what else?”  John was looking at his friend with concern in his eyes.  Matthew just shrugged his shoulders, “Let’s just say I found the love of my life and had to let her go.”

      John stopped short and stared his slightly shorter friend in the eyes, “WHAT?!  You found love, you who have always had a new woman every week, you found love?”  Matthew nodded his head.  “I never thought I’d hear the day that Matthew Sinclair had fallen in love!  I figured you for a bachelor until death!”  John laughed his most incredulously.  “I thought so too, until I saw her.  She was beautiful, on the inside and out.  I was taken with her from the beginning, even when I could not remember who I was.  She took care of me, nursed me back to health, even though she was going through her own terrible loss.  Her entire family had died in an accident earlier and she was in that cabin trying to deal with the grief.  Then I show up looking like road kill and she jumped right in and was this stranger’s Good Samaritan.”

     Matthew continued with his story as they once again walked in the direction of the club.  “The day my memory returned, I kissed her.  It was a kiss like nothing I have ever felt before.  It was like we were soul mates that had found each other after centuries.  I don’t how to explain it.  Then my memory returned and I knew I had to leave her.  I could not put her in danger.  I left her a note telling her she would never fit into my lifestyle and then I left.  I didn’t even tell her my real name.  I could not bear it if she came looking for me and was hurt by the same animals that beat me.  There, now you have the story.”  John looked at his friend and whistled.  “You did the right thing, these people are dangerous and would not stop at hurting her to get to you.  Maybe when this is over, you can find her and explain.”  Matthew shook his head, “No, she probably hates me now.  I left her feeling like a fool.  I wish it didn’t have to be this way.  She deserved better.  When this thing is over, I am going to find her and try to make things right.”

     Emily and Phoebe got off the subway and made their way to Phoebe’s club of choice, at least for this week.  “It’s fantastic!  You’ll love it!  Just you wait!”  Phoebe had a way of infecting all those around her with her bubbly personality.  Her straight black hair, cut in a short, spiky do only emphasized her wild side, she always looked for the shock appeal.  It was odd how complete opposites could be best friends, but they had been friends forever.  Emily laughed at her girl friend’s attempt to pull her into the conversation.  What Phoebs didn’t know was she hadn’t stopped long enough for Emily to get a word in.  Phoebe stopped and stared at her long time friend, “You gonna talk?  Or do I hafta tickle you?”  She knew Emily was extremely ticklish.  “Well, if you would take a breath once in a while, I would get in a word or two!”  She jabbed Phoebs in the side and laughed at the look of mock horror on her face.  “Come on, the club’s just around the corner!  You’ll just love it!”  Phoebs cast her a look that held complete mischief and dragged her as fast as she could around the corner.

     Matthew and John arrived at the club to the sound of raucous music blaring out into the streets.  Matthew raised his eyebrow as if to say, “What have you gotten me into?” As they made their way inside, it was so loud he could barely hear the words coming out of John’s mouth.  “See?  I told you!  This place is Wild!”  Knowing any response would be lost in the noise, Matthew gave him a silly grin.  John was getting into the music and had already found himself a dance partner, so Matthew went to the bar to sit down.  It was a circular bar so you could almost see everyone on the opposite side.  There was a mirror dead center so those right in front of you were obliterated from view.  He scanned the entire club and conceded it was a great place and full of energy.  He ordered himself a beer and settled in to wait for John to get thirsty.

     Emily and Phoebe sat at the bar and ordered white wine and by the time they got it, they had both been asked to dance.  Phoebs took the offer and went out onto the dance floor.  Emily graciously declined and sat in the center of the bar and nursed her wine.  She didn’t know if she was ready to find someone new yet.  As a matter of fact, she knew she wasn’t, Cade still occupied her dreams and she found herself waking up shaking each night.  It was going to take some time to get over him.  She felt stupid for falling in love with a man she only knew for a week!  Over the course of the evening, she was asked to dance at least 5 times and finally on the fifth time, she agreed.  She walked onto the dance floor and found herself dancing next to Phoebs and her twentieth partner of the night!

     “Having fun?”  Phoebs practically screamed to be heard over the music.  Emily nodded her head and continued to boogie with her rather handsome dancing partner.  He was really tall with long blond hair and blue eyes.  When he smiled, he looked rather like a big, lovable bear!  He bent down to speak into her ear, “My name is John, what’s yours?”  She stretched up to try to talk into his ear, geez, he was huge!  “I am Emily!”  She turned her head and got a glimpse of a man with the same long, wavy hair as Cade.  She thought, “What a coincidence!  I wonder where he is now?”  She looked back to John and smiled at him, poor guy, he didn’t have a chance.  He smiled and they finished the dance, shook hands and went to two different sides of the bar.

     Matthew was tired after dancing with four pretty ladies and asked John if he wanted to go.  “Sure, I think I have sampled a dance with all the eligible ladies here!”  Matthew laughed out loud, “You are incorrigible!  Are you sure you are ready?”  John grinned from ear to ear in his best imitation of a Cheshire cat and walked with Matthew out the door.  It took a long while for each of them to be able to hear properly after all the loud music in the club.  “So, you dance with anyone interesting?”  Matthew asked.  “They were all interesting, but there was one named Emily that I really liked.  I don’t think I had a chance though, she seemed preoccupied.”  Matthew looked at him incredulously, “You mean the great John Littleton has lost his touch with women?  Oh my god!  Call the paramedics!”  John gave him a playful shove as they made their way to the subway and the apartment they were sharing.  All the while, Matthew thought how odd it was that the girl’s name was Emily.

     After dancing with a few more than willing partners, Emily decided it was time to call it a night.  Getting Phoebs off the floor long enough to tell her was going to be difficult. She had danced with every available and some not so available men in the club.  Emily wished she had the ability to just throw caution to the wind and cut loose.  She had never been able to do that, not even with her new found confidence.  She finally managed to get her away from the cutest guy.  “Hey, I need to go home, are you coming?”  Phoebs looked at her like she had given her a curfew.  “Do I hafta?  I really want to stay, come on, mommy, please?”  Emily gave her the best stern look she could muster, “Alright young lady, but home before dawn!! Alone!  You hear me?”  Neither one of them could contain the giggles that overtook them.  When they were finally able to breathe, they hugged each other and Emily left to go home.

     A few months later, Matthew, relieved that the trial was finally over, began to get his life back on track.  The guilty parties were given 20 years plus for their parts in the piracy and other crimes.  The record label settled with him for a rather large sum of money and he decided to start his own label and give them a run for their money. One weekend, he traveled up to the cabin and was heartbroken to find she had sold it and left the new owners no forwarding address.  He drove back to New York with a very heavy heart.  He wished he hadn’t hurt her like he did.  If he ever saw her again, would she allow him to explain or just smack him upside his head, which he deserved.  He doubted he would ever find someone like her again.  Bachelorhood for life was what he had to look forward to now.

     Emily’s book was published!  It had come out two weeks ago and was selling like crazy.  She was going to be having a few book signings and public appearances to promote it.  Cherish Destiny had become her breakout book.  She had come into her own as an author and as a woman.  She decided to use a pen name instead of her real name.  Who would have guessed it would be Cade Night?  She thought it fitting as he had helped her to overcome her writer’s block.  He still found his way into her dreams and she now felt somewhat comforted by his presence.  She no longer woke shaking and upset, instead she woke feeling like she had just visited her best friend!  It was so strange, he had hurt her horribly and she still loved him.  None of the few dates she had time for were anything like him, so they never seemed to make it to the second date.  All in all, though, she was content with her life now.  She was on the upswing of a successful career and the rest would fall into place.  She left everything in the hands of fate.

     A few weeks later, Cade Night had a book signing at Barnes and Noble.  Matthew was walking by the bookstore and noticed a large number of people going in.  He asked one woman what was going on, as she rushed inside, she said, “Cade Night is here signing her book, Cherish Destiny!”  Matthew wondered why the red flags went up when she said the author’s name.  His curiosity got the better of him so he ventured inside to have a look.  There must have been twenty-five people in front of him in line, so he waited his turn while listening to the women gushing over the romance novel.  The story was about a woman that met a man in the forest and how they fell in love instantly. “He could not believe he was standing in line to meet the author of a romance novel!  Just as he was about to leave the line, he heard a familiar voice.  “I am so glad you enjoyed it!  I really loved writing it!”

     That voice!  Could it be?  Matthew strained to see the author sitting at the table in front of the line.  There were too many people in line for him to see. He waited his turn and was stunned to see her sitting at the table, book in hand ready to autograph it.  “How do you want me to sign it?”  She asked as she raised her head and looked into those unforgettable, gorgeous eyes.  “Cade?”  She whispered, in absolute shock at his presence.  He nodded his head, “Yes, Emily.  Can we talk after you are done here?”  She managed to close her mouth and make her brain function, “Yes, I should be done in an hour.  Is that okay?”  He nodded and moved over to allow the next person in line her turn.  He stood to the side and watched her during the rest of her session.

     He couldn’t take his eyes off her.  She was more confident than he remembered, more beautiful if there was such a thing.  His heart jumped every time she glanced his way. As he waited, he could tell she was angry.  It seemed she got angrier each time she looked at him. He wondered if he was in for a well-deserved tongue lashing, or worse!  When the last person in line left, she got up, walked over to him and slapped him across the face, hard!  He rubbed his cheek, “I guess I deserved that.”  She had fire in her eyes!  “That and a lot more!  How dare you take the hospitality and love I offered you and throw it in my face!”

     “Emily, I need to explain it to you.  Will you listen?  Please?”  Matthew pleaded with her.  She was furious, that was evident in her face, but her eyes softened and she nodded.  He took her by the arm and led her to a quiet corner in the coffee shop.  She stiffly sat down and glared at him with her beautiful blue eyes. He ordered two coffees and sat down opposite her.  Then he began his explanation of events.

     When he finished explaining all about what had happened, she looked at him with a newfound understanding.  “So, MATTHEW!  That is your name, right?”  He nodded his head.  “I read about this in the paper, but didn’t put it together until now.  Why didn’t you just tell me and we could have dealt with it together?”  He shook his head, “When my memory came back, I realized that they would have done anything to keep me from talking.  If you came back with me or if they found out about you, they would have tried to get to me through you.  I could not bear the thought of you getting hurt because of me.  I thought the less painful way was for me to just leave.  I am sorry I hurt you.  I could think of no other way to accomplish what I had to and keep you safe.”

     Matthew continued, “When it was over, I went up to the cabin, but there was a sold sign on it.  I thought I’d never see you again.  You can imagine my surprise when I see you here with the name of Cade Night.”  He looked at her with a smile on his face.  She looked back with a defiant glint in her eyes, “I gave you that name, so I can use it!  Besides I felt it was only fair, because after you left and I got over feeling sorry for myself, I wrote this novel.  So I gave myself a pen name to honor your contribution to my career!  I sold the cabin because of the memories.  I could not bear to go there and relive the memories of my family and of you, it was too painful. I came back here and started living again.”  As they finished their coffee, she asked him back to her apartment.

     When they got to her place, they were both more than a little nervous.  Matthew broke the silence; “I love you, now and then.”  There, he said it.  He looked for some kind of response and saw tears forming in her eyes.  He didn’t know what to do.  He reached over to put his hand on her shoulder.  She put out her hand to stop him.  “I can’t believe you just said that!  Do you mean it?”  She was watching him carefully waiting for his answer.  “I Love You!  If I didn’t mean it, I wouldn’t have said it! I LOVE YOU EMILY MICHAELS!”  He yelled at the top of his lungs not caring who heard.

     Emily put her hand over he mouth and tried to sort out all that had happened to her the past few hours.  She stared at this man she still loved and all the hurt melted away.  “I LOVE YOU, TOO!”  Hey grabbed her up in his arms and swung her around until they were both so dizzy they fell in a heap on the floor.  Matthew took her face in his hands and kissed her with all the love in his heart.  She knew then that this was their destiny!  They were meant to be together.


One year later…

     Matthew walked through the door of the house he and Emily had bought six months ago.  It sat in the middle of a five hundred acre ranch at the base of the mountain where they had their first fateful meeting.  “Emily, they’re here!”  He called his wife from the kitchen where she was furiously preparing the food for their guests.  He beamed with love when she waddled through the door.  “Alright, buster, not one word about my duck-like walk, or else!”  He put his arms around her and chuckled, “I like your waddle, quack, quack!”  She made to hit him with a towel, but he grabbed her arm and planted a kiss on her lips instead.  Emily pulled away and looked into his eyes, “I have memory like elephant, one day you will pay!”  He laughed as they walked out onto the porch to welcome their friends.

     Who would have thought that their best friends would fall in love?  John and Phoebe had been married for five months and were expecting their first child in six.  Of course, he and Emily were way ahead of them, their twins were due in two months and he couldn’t wait!  He glanced at his pregnant wife and thought she had never looked more beautiful than she did at that moment.  She caught him looking at her and hugged him.  “What are you staring at Mr. Sinclair?”  He just smiled and answered, “My beautiful, pregnant wife!”

     “Hi there you lovebirds!”  John yelled as he helped Phoebe out of the car.  None of them could believe the times fate had placed them in the same places and they had missed each other.  John had been in utter shock that he had danced with the woman who had stolen Matthew’s heart and didn’t even know it!  When Matthew accompanied Emily to a meeting with her publisher, he realized it was her he had seen that day so long ago in the lobby. When John and Phoebe met at Emily’s place for the first time, they realized they had danced that night at the club.  Then they realized they lived on the same block, shopped at the same grocery store and even went to the same gym!  Fate had plans for them and was waiting for them to find each other, which they did.

     They all went inside to eat, talk, laugh and contemplate their futures as parents.  The husbands were attentive and the women enjoyed every moment of the pampering.  John and Phoebe surprised them with the news that they were buying some land close by and having a house built before the baby was born.  Emily was so overcome with emotion that she cried for ten minutes.  It took John comparing their waddly walks to shake her out of it and send her into a laughing fit that made her sides hurt.  Matthew looked around the room and was amazed at the change in his life; he had a gorgeous wife, twins on the way, a working ranch with a recording studio and two of the best friends on the earth.  He was truly blessed!

Six Weeks Later….

     Emily squeezed Matthew’s hand as another contraction racked her body.  He was sure his hand would break before their first child was born. She had been pushing for over three hours and still the baby had not arrived.  Just when he thought she could not stand anymore, the baby’s head presented itself.  He was transfixed as his son made his way out of his mother’s body.  He was tiny but perfectly formed with a head of dark hair. He let loose a howl of indignation at the cold world that greeted him.  Matthew had no time to think, as it seemed his daughter was impatient to greet this new world. She was tiny as well with the same dark hair as her brother except hers was curly like Emily’s. She just puckered her mouth to show her dislike for this loud world in which she found herself.  Matthew looked down at his wondrous wife and was unashamed of the tears flowing down his face.  He kissed her and smoothed back her hair.  “Are you okay?”  She looked up at him with tear filled eyes and nodded her head, too overcome to speak.  The nurse brought both babies to them and as he held his daughter, Matthew’s heart swelled with love for his growing family.  He kissed her head and then leaned over to kiss his son as he displayed his amazing lung capacity.  He bestowed his wife with a lopsided grin, “I think he has your personality.”  Emily gave him an amused look, “Really, I think he has your nose!”

     Matthew and John stood in front of the hospital nursery gazing at two beautiful babies, neither believing that Matthew had a hand in making them. Over the bassinets were the names, Cade and Destiny Sinclair.  John patted him on the back; “Hope you enjoyed making them because after thirty hours of labor, I doubt if Emily is going to let you near her for a long time!”  Matthew eyed his long time friend, “Just you wait big man.  When Phoebe goes into labor, she’ll be cursing you all the way!  I bet that child is going to weigh fifteen pounds!”  They taunted each other for a few minutes before sobering up.  Each man wondering how he had gotten so lucky to have the woman, family and friends they had.  Each could sum it up in one word: fate.

The End

Chapter One
 Chapter Two
Chapter Three

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