“Reconsider what? Where my head has been for the past 25 years? Why I let you bully me into focusing on the business instead of raising my daughter?” She frowned at the man who had been her husband but now seemed to be a stranger. “I want a divorce.”
“It wasn’t all my fault,” Arnold yelled back at her. “You didn’t have to focus on your career. You can’t lay all this at my feet. You could have said no.”
“You’re right I could have,” Amelia said sadly looking at her husband “but it was you who choose to close his eyes to the pain and suffering his daughter was in. Refusing to help her when she was crying out for help. We’re her parents! She should have been able to turn to us and she couldn’t. We took everything from her and for what? Money?” Shaking her head she moved away from him “no more I can’t do it anymore.”
“Isn’t it?” she asked stepping towards him “what about you being willing to let Gene go to prison for a crime he didn’t commit? You knew what Wallace was doing and you still backed him up and for what? Money.” She felt nothing but contempt for the man standing in front of her “what you did was unforgivable.”
“He tried to kill you. Nothing I say now can help him,” he mumbled.
“Do you think that makes it any better?” she swallowed hard to force the bile that rose in her throat. “You didn’t even try to save me. If it weren’t for Gene I’d be dead.”
“I knew somewhere that little fact had a hand in your immobility.” She smiled at him before turning and walking away.
“Now you’ll never gain access to my money. The prenup my father had you sign stipulated we had to be married for thirty years.”
“Amelia you can’t do this me,” he yelled after her.
“My lawyer will be in touch,” she tossed over her shoulder as she slammed the door behind her. Skipping down the sidewalk light-hearted over a decision that needed to be made. Getting into the car she turned towards the hospital.
Walking into the waiting room she heard angry shouts coming from inside. The voices sounded young and were mixed with the sounds of babies crying. As she neared the voices two little blond toddlers wrapped their arms around her legs crying “where’s daddy?” “We want our daddy.” Her composure broke as she recognized Gene’s daughters. Looking around she found Gene’s brother, Michael was the one doing all of the shouting.
“You shouldn’t even be here,” Michael shouted at someone “haven’t you done enough harm?” Amelia heard him ask someone to his left. As she approached was able to see the tear streaked face of daughter.
“I’m sorry,” she cried “I didn’t know he was even there.”
“It’ll be your fault if Gene dies,” he spat her.
“I know I’m sorry,” she dropped her face into her hands and wept.
“Enough,” Amelia shouted at both of them “It’s nobody’s fault. Gene was there because I asked him to help. He went because that’s the kind of person he is. He wanted to help. ” Turning towards Michael “you know your brother. You know he couldn’t stand back and not do anything once he knew what Wallace was doing. I’m sorry this happened. If anyone is to be blamed its me. No one could have predicted what Wallace would do. Gene saved my life. He didn’t second guess his actions. He just did it.” Looking at Aimee she added “the least we can do is appreciate what he sacrificed for the people he cared about” looking at Michael she added “stop pointing fingers and assigning blame. Gene wouldn’t want you fighting with each other. He loves both of you.”
When she finished speaking their young faces stared at her in shocked silence. “Don’t look so shocked dear. Gene gave me a second chance and I mean to make the most of it. Wipe your eyes.” She looked at Aimee then at Michael “have you called your family yet?” Shaking his head Amelia asked “don’t you think you should?” Amelia sighed Michael looked so young and vulnerable “if you need help let me know,” she offered. He nodded as he walked away.
Looking at her daughter Amelia shook her head “should you even be out of bed?”
“I couldn’t stay in my room without knowing,” Aimee protested. “It’s only bruised and broken ribs. Nothing life threatening.”
“That’s good,” Amelia glanced down at the two little girls that were clinging to her. “Have you met Jazzy and Stephy?” Aimee shook her head slightly jealous that her mother knew more about Gene’s life then she did. “Well here’s your chance. Take them back to your room. Tell them a story or something.” Amelia stooped down to talk to the girls. Pointing towards Aimee she said “this is my daughter Aimee. She’s going to tell you a story.” She gently guided the little girls over to Aimee.
“Mom I don’t want to go to my room. I want to know ….” Aimee protested.
“I know dear but think of the babies. You may need to know but they don’t,” Amelia said overriding her daughters protests.
Sighing Aimee gave in and gently took the girls hands and left. Amelia watched the girls leave her thoughts in turmoil realizing for the first time the scope of the damage she and her husband had made. If Gene dies it would be their fault. How could she live with that? Knowing he gave his life for her. He had so much to live for and would miss so much. Her thoughts were jolted back to the room when she noticed a doctor approach Michael.
That poor kid. He was shouldering way too much responsibility for someone so young. She approached them. The looked up and smiled at her, no doubt recognizing her from the many charities that she had attended for the hospital. “Are you related to the family?” he asked breaking off his conversation with Michael.
Without thinking too much about the lie she was uttering she said “Gene is my daughter’s fiance.” It didn’t feel too off from the truth, if it weren’t for their meddling it would be true. She put a hand on Michael’s shoulder willing him not to contradict her. He looked at her in confusion but kept his mouth shut.
“Good maybe you can help this young man here,” the doctor smiled as he continued to outline the surgical procedure that needed to be done.
Michael looked overwhelmed and little lost. Amelia felt sorry that someone so young had so much being thrown at him. She smiled at him as she asked “what are the risks?”
“If we don’t perform the surgery and repair he damage to his lungs he will die,” the doctor offered Michael a sympathetic look before continuing. “I’m sorry but your brother’s condition is worsening. If we don’t do this he will die.”
“If you do he still might die?” Michael said his tone flat and lifeless.
“He has a better chance of survival with the surgery. We have the best neurosurgeon being flown in to perform the surgery. He’ll be in the best hands.”
Nodding Michael came to a decision “let’s do it. Gene’s a fighter. He’ll make it through. He just has too.”
Amelia was a bit overwhelmed with the entire Bennett family descended upon the hospital. The media frenzy intensified, she was impressed that the family was so close and not easily upset over the heartless insults that were hurtled at them from the most callous of the paparazzi. They maintained an overall optimistic attitude over Gene’s condition. They were all anxiously waiting for word on his condition. Amelia frowned as the familiar figure of her husband entered the room. She approached him not wanting him to add anymore stress to Gene’s family. She had him follow her out into the corridor “what do you want?”
“Contracts for what?” she asked trying to figure out what scheme he was up to. She was distracted from pursing it with a scrawny man approached them. Turning to her husband she asked “who is he?”
“I’m Mr. Herschel Honey,” the man introduced himself. “I’m a movie producer. Your husband approached me with an idea of using the unfortunate events surrounding your family for a movie. I believe it would make a sensational drama that would have monetary benefits for all of us.”
“No absolutely not,” she firmly declined the man’s offer. “Do you seriously think I would consent to cash on our daughters tragedy?” Pointing towards the Bennett family “don’t you think they’ve been through enough?”
With a sneaky smile the movie producer moved away from the bickering couple and towards the Bennett’s. “Excuse me Mr. Bennett I’m Mr. Herschel Honey and I have an opportunity to offer you and your family. Your families’ tragedy could be turned into ….”
As the man spoke William’s eyes narrowed in distaste “how could my son’s death be turned into an opportunity?”
“Oh has he passed on?” the producer asked practically licking his lips in anticipation.
“No but that’s what all of you vultures are waiting for isn’t?” William said fighting hard to keep from ramming his fist into the man’s face.
Putting his hands up Herschel attempted to calm the situation he ignited. “All I meant was that the extra money would come in handy to pay for your’s son’s medical expenses. It must be difficult for him being a single parent. Think about his welfare and what the extra cash would do for him.”
“I am thinking of him when I say this. Absolutely not.” William crossed his arms and strode away from the man refusing to listen to anything else the man had to say.
Watching William walk away Herschel refused to give up. He only needed one to go along with him and once that happened the others would follow. He approached the others handing out his business cards confident that he would be producing a new movie by years end.
“He made it through,” she told him with a small smile. “I think with the right care he’ll live.”
Sighing in relief Adam turned to give Beverly a thumbs up. She nodded and walked over to join them. “That’s the best news I’ve heard all day,” she said giving Doloris a hug. “Thank you so much for be willing to drop everything and come her to perform the surgery.”
“How could I refuse a special request from my big brother,” Doloris said while her attention was drawn to the sleazy man standing nearby. “Adam I hope no one is considering letting that scumbag producer make a movie about this.”
“Why? What do you know about him?” Adam asked.
“He’s been hanging around the courthouse trying to get Elliot or Kyle to agree to movie deal.” She smiled at him “I don’t trust him. He’s everywhere where there’s misery.” William approached them followed closely by Aimee’s parents who had all over heard her comments.
“Who do you think you are young lady?” Mr Vera asked looking down his nose at her.
“I’m just the neurosurgeon who was flown in to perform the surgery on Gene,” she explained with the bare minimum of politeness.
“So your fees should be exorbitant,” he said with a smile.
Doloris eye him in distaste “for your information Mr Vera I did this at my own expense as a favor to my brother. He’ll be marrying into the Bennett family soon. It was the least I could do for the family.”
Adam gave him a tight-lipped smile “maybe the name Van Winkle will ring a bell?”
Mr Vera’s eyes lit up “any connection to Henry or Peter Van Winkle?”
Adam nodded “grandfather and father.”
Mr Vera’s eyes darted to his face then to the rest of the room “well it seems I may have been wrong about Gene. If I had known of his connection to your family ….”
“You would have welcomed him with open arms?” Doloris asked sarcastically. Turning to Adam “brother I’ve had it up to here with this pompous jackass. Take me someplace where I can get something good to eat.”
“It’s be my pleasure, ” Adam said with smile.
“Oh my father would understand. Trust me he won’t miss the loss.” Adam said as he put his arm’s around his sister and Beverly and turned to walk away. “My father taught us that integrity to our ideals was more important than money.” He looked at Beverly winking he continued “he also told us if a deal smells bad we should just walk away.”
“And this deal smells like shit,” Doloris added laughing as she let Adam escort her from the room.
“No problem,” Doloris smiled and impulsively ran over to William and gave him a hug. “Dad considers you one of his best and dearest friends.”
“Dad would have put that guy in his place if he were here,” Adam said hugging William as well. “He wanted you to know he would have been here but with the ongoing trial he felt he had to stay and show his support for Elliot. Also he wanted you know he’s looking for a way to break the bond between you and the alien. You know he has all the knowledge the alien had in his brain. He’s hoping he’ll find something to help.”
“Knowing your dad, he’ll come up with something,” William said feeling as if a weight was being lifted from this shoulders. He needed to know someone else felt this bond was unnatural too. He was so tired of being told he needed to just accept it and move on with his life. “One more question before you go. When can we go in to see Gene?”
Doloris smiled at him “he’ll be asleep for at least a couple of hours. If you want to go and sit with him you can. I do have to warn you that he’ll have a lot of tubes and things running in and out of him helping him to breathe. He’ll look pretty bad but I’m confident he’ll get better. Just don’t let him get too excited once he’s awake.” She hugged him again “don’t hesitate to call me if you have any concerns. The hospital has instructions to call me if his condition changes.” Biting her lip before she continued unsure whether she should mention it or not. “I’d suggest you have Aimee talk to him once he’s awake. She was the last thing on his mind before we put him under and it may help him rest if he knows that she’s ok.”
“Thank you I’ll arrange that,” William smiled at her feeling hope swelling up inside him.
“I know baby girl,” William held her as she cried on his shoulder.
“I’m sorry. We didn’t listen to Adam when he said we didn’t know enough about this alien bonding thing.”
“It’s ok sweetheart,” William looked into her eyes and smiled “with Peter working on a solution I’m confident that some day this will all be a bad memory.”
A couple of hours later William went to Aimee’s room to tell her Gene was awake. She was sitting quietly on the bed staring out the window. “Aimee?” William asked softly moving towards her “I thought you might like to know Gene’s awake and asking for you.”
Shaking her head wiping tears from her eyes “I … I can’t.”
“Of course you can,” William told her lifting her chin up. “He want’s to see you. You were his last thought before surgery and his first thought when he woke up. That should tell you something.”
“What makes you think that?” William asked her.
“I left him. Ran away. Gave myself to another,” she cried “I’m a terrible person and I caused him so much pain.”
“You made mistakes,” William sat down beside her “all of which could have been avoided if you had just talked to him. If you refuse to see him now. You’re proving you haven’t learned a thing and then you would be right. If you run away now, after what he did for you, you’ll be showing you aren’t good enough for him.” William got up and moved to towards the door “do you love him?”
Aimee stood and turned to face him “yes.”
“Then prove it,” William challenged “walk out of this room and talk to him. Prove to him that his sacrifice and pain was worth it If you don’t you’ll regret it the rest of your life.”