Steam rose from the crushed car, now sitting crippled in the intersection. Frantically people ran about trying to figure out what to do. Finally someone located a cell phone and called an ambulance.
The driver from the other vehicle involved raced up to the driver’s side of the totaled car. He gasped in horror when he saw the woman leaning against the steering wheel; a gash on the side of her head was bleeding heavily.
Frantic, he yanked open the door, thanking God that it wasn’t stuck, and pressed a handkerchief to her wound. Immediately he threw it away and took off his shirt, pressing it against her head, while he tried to wake her up.
The emotion in his voice was uncontrollable. He stroked her hair, crying, fearing the worst.
When the paramedics arrived, they had to wrestle the man away from the victim. Naked and bloody from the waist up, he tried to wipe his tears away, smearing her blood on his face.
“Mister,” a police officer tried to console him, “are you all right?”
He looked at the officer blankly. “I don’t think I’ll ever be all right again. If she dies, my life will be over.”
“Hey,” the officer said, touching his shoulder, “you managed to stop the bleeding, and the paramedics have her stabilized. She is unconscious, but I think she is going to survive. I have seen much worse than this, and they have survived.”
Watching the ambulance drive away, he looked at the officer and said nothing, the pain too great in his heart to speak.
The officer decided to wait for the man to calm down before questioning him. Sitting down on the curb next to him, he watched the road crew and fellow officers try to figure out what happened, as the man sat with his head in his hands, clearly inconsolable.
Finally, after sitting there for fifteen minutes, the officer offered to drive the distraught man to the hospital. “You can see for yourself that she is going to be OK. Besides, the doctors need to check you out as well.”
The man nodded gratefully and followed him to the police cruiser.
20 years earlier...
The rain poured hard as Eve Johnson buckled her son, J.T., into his car seat, and then quickly jumped into the car and headed to work. The bleak rainy day reminded her of the day she left Boston.
Eve let herself float back to the day she had left, three years and one month ago. Alistair Crane had forced her to leave, even going so far as to threaten her life. Eve had decided that the only thing for her to do was to get as far away as she could. The very idea tore her heart into pieces.
The night before she left, just as she had finished putting her packed bags back into the closet, just in case someone spotted them, there was a knock and Eve opened the door to see who it was.
Julian stood there, dressed in a black suit that made him look so devilishly handsome. Lord, how she loved him! Grinning at her, he asked to come in for a minute. Against her better judgment, Eve let him in.
As he entered the room, it suddenly seemed smaller to Eve. His size and presence seemed to fill not just the room, but her senses as well. Eve’s eyes met his and they stared at each other for a long time. Her heart started to pound as he stepped close to her.
He touched her face lightly and pushed back a strand of hair. Eve caught her breath at his touch. He smiled at the effect he was having on her - not to mention how crazy he was for her. He placed a finger under her chin and raised her face to his.
The gentle smile on his face, the love in his eyes, the warmth of his breath, and the intoxicating scent of his cologne caused Eve’s head to spin. “W...w...why are you here?” she stammered weakly.
“Shhhhh,” he whispered. “I’m here because I love you.”
Tears filled her eyes; the thought of leaving him was almost unbearable. “I love you too,” she choked out.
Mistaking her tears for happiness, Julian pulled her into his arms and gently lowered his lips to hers.
Eve clung to him and welcomed his kiss in a desperate attempt to ease the pain in her heart.
Their kiss quickly became passionate. He pressed her body closer to his, thrilled that she wanted him like he wanted her. He backed closer to the bed, pulling her with him, and kissing her still.
Reaching out, he turned off the lights, leaving the bedside lamp on, giving the room a soft romantic glow.
Eve pulled off his jacket and then started to unbutton his shirt. Her heart was pounding with love.
Julian needed no more encouragement. He unbuttoned her blouse, pulled it off her shoulders, and then tossed it to the floor.
His shirt soon followed, as did the rest of their clothes. Julian admired her beautiful body, and then proceeded to kiss her passionately.
Eve clung to him, savoring every moment of making love with him, giving herself to him, her whole being...heart, body, mind, and soul. It was as if she had been made just for him, and he for her.
They spent the night together, wrapped in each other’s; arms, and then later, made love again. Neither she nor Julian had even thought about protection. And it never came up.
The following morning, while Julian still slept, Eve sat and watched him, his face etched in her brain. With tears in her eyes, Eve scribbled him a note and explained to him that even though she loved him, she could not stay with him, and how their relationship would not work out - that he would be better off without her. All in all, she did not give Julian a satisfactory explanation for why she was leaving.
Placing the note on the table, Eve took one last look at Julian and quickly left the room, fearing partly that he would awaken, and partly that she would change her mind and stay.
Eve moved quickly and quietly down the hall to the front desk. She told the desk attendant that she would not return, and paid her bill. As she got into her car, the tears were streaming down her face as she sobbed uncontrollably. “Julian, my love, maybe someday you will understand and forgive why I had to do this,” Eve thought, trying to reassure herself that she was doing the right thing.
A rut in the road caused Eve to snap back to reality. The car swerved slightly and then straightened out. Her heart pounding, she gripped the steering wheel tightly and drove a little slower.
As the rain continued to pour, Eve’s thoughts once again drifted back in time. To prevent being found, Eve had left her phone number unlisted and requested that her name at her employment be kept as discrete as possible.
And as good as Julian’s resources were, it appeared that he was not bothering to pursue her. It grieved her heart to think that he wasn't even going to try to find her. But then she thought that maybe her note had convinced him enough to leave her alone.
Eve looked into the rearview mirror. J.T., now two years and four months, was playing with a book. Julian’s son! They had not used protection that night. One month later, Eve had realized that she was pregnant, and it was confirmed by her doctor.
Going through the birth on her own was very difficult for her. She had wanted to call Julian so many times, but she was determined to keep her end of the bargain. She was thrilled though to have a son, Julian’s son. At least she had part of him with her, even though her heart still longed for him.
Eve finally arrived at work. She parked her car, grabbed the umbrella and unbuckled J.T. Then she lifted him from his car seat.
“Mommy.” He reached out happily and hugged her neck.
“Oh, honey, Mommy loves you very much.” She held his small body close.
“Kiss?” he offered as he planted a noisy one on her cheek.
Eve laughed and kissed him back.
Dropping J.T. off at the nursery, Eve rode the elevator to the third floor of the hospital. She considered herself very fortunate to have gotten into medical school. Eve realized being a doctor was her calling in life, but wouldn’t disclose how she was paying for it. She worked hard, and it was starting to pay off for her.
Joel Ward, the chief of staff, took a keen interest in her and encouraged her work. They had hit it off right away. Though he was 45, he still looked youthful and very handsome. They even dated sometimes, but though Eve tried, her heart was just not in it.
Feeling that she needed to see other men to get over Julian, Eve went along with dating Joel, and never let him see what her true feelings were. She felt bad for using him like that because he was a true gentleman and a wonderful friend.
When Eve reached her desk, Joel’s head popped out of his office. “Eve, can you come in here for a minute?”
Eve smiled and said, “Sure, I’ll be right there.”
Joel grinned. “Thanks.”
Joel sat behind his large oak desk and waved her in. Eve entered the spacious office and glanced around. Floor to ceiling windows covered the wall behind his desk. A leather couch and chair with coffee tables complemented another wall. Joel Ward was a rich man; he had it all, but what he didn’t have was Eve Johnson.
Eve smiled and approached the desk. “You called, sir,”.; She saluted him jokingly.
He laughed and stood to greet her. Walking around the desk, he drew her into his arms and kissed her. Eve responded and then pushed him back. “Why did you call me in here?” she asked.
“Well, I love to kiss you,” he teased and tried to steal another.
“Be serious, Joel.”
“Oh, all right,” he gave in and straightened his tie. “We are hosting a party here tonight. Some very important people will be there, including the richest men in the state. And I...well, I thought that maybe you would consider being my date.” He smiled at her hopefully.
“Well, I would have to find a baby-sitter...” she started.
“Done; you can leave J.T. in daycare downstairs. Some of the doctors do have children, so care for them has been provided. It’s hard to find decent care these day, so we feel that is the least we can do. We even hired designated drivers if there is the need for any.” He smiled.
“Well, since you put it that way, I guess it might be fun.” Eve grinned.
“Great, shall I pick you and J.T. up at eight then?” he asked.
“That would be fine.”
“OK then, since that’s settled, let’s get back to work before we create the latest gossip.” He quickly kissed her on the lips and then opened the door and let her get back to her work.
After supper, Eve dressed J.T. and then got dressed herself. She put on a knee-length black evening dress and wore her long dark hair down.
Eve peeked into the living room and smiled as she watched J.T. play with a tractor. What a precious boy he was. She jumped slightly when the doorbell rang. J.T. scrambled to his feet and yelled, “I get it!”
As he tried to slip past his mother, Eve stopped him and forced him to walk with her to get their coats and shoes. As she had expected, it was Joel.
Dressed in a black tux, he stood and grinned at her. “Ready?”
Eve smiled. “Yes, let me just get J.T. dressed.” She turned and grabbed the boy’s coat.
While she was helping her son on with his coat, Joel stepped inside and closed the door. He watched her and her son quietly. “It just occurred to me that all this time that I have known you, I have never bothered to ask what J.T. stands for,” he remarked suddenly.
“Julian Trey,” Eve informed him. “I named him after his father,” she volunteered, knowing that Joel would just press for the information.
“Your relationship didn’t work out then?” he asked.
Quickly Eve buttoned J.T.’s jacket and nodded her head. “Something like that.”
When she stood, Joel noticed that she was trembling slightly. “Are you OK, Eve? Do you want to talk about it?”
Eve shook her head. “No, there is nothing to talk about. It’s over; it was a long time ago.”
“Then why did you name him after his father?” Joel asked, realizing that he had hit a nerve.
“Even though it didn’t work out back then, I still loved him. I...I guess I just wanted him to be a part of his son’s life, even if in name only.”
“But you’re over him, right?”
“Right...” Eve tried her best to be convincing. "Can we just forget about this and get to the party, Joel? I really don’t want to drag myself through an evening of bad memories.”
“Sure.” Joel smiled gently. “I’m sorry I started it; I didn’t mean to upset you.” He opened the door and held it while she and J.T walked to his limousine.
Sitting comfortably in the car, Eve placed her hand on Joel’s arm and said, “You didn’t upset me, Joel. I’m just trying to make a new life here with J.T.” She smiled.
Joel took her hand and squeezed it. “Maybe the party will do you some good then.”
“I think so.” She smiled.
Arriving at the party, they were escorted inside. After taking J.T. to the daycare room, Eve and Joel joined the party. A collection of what was considered to be the richest men in the state were all drinking champagne and engaging in conversations.
Music started to play; Joel turned to Eve and said, “Would you like to dance?”
Smiling, she said, “Yes?”
While they were dancing, Joel said, “You look so beautiful tonight.”
Eve smiled. “You look pretty terrific yourself.”
“There is someone that I would like you to meet. I think you will find him fascinating. In my book, one of the richest men this state has to offer. I bragged about you and offered him a dance with you if...he would consider giving a donation to the new wing the hospital wants to build.” Joel grinned.
“Great way to win him over,” Eve laughed. “Where is this 'fascinating' man?” She mimicked with a smile.
“Talk about the devil; here he comes now.” Joel waved at someone behind Eve’s back.
Smiling, Eve turned to meet the man Joel was ranting about. Her smile disappeared, and her heart jumped into her throat as she stood, frozen, staring into the familiar face of Julian Crane.