Winning Back His Wife(7)

By: Melissa McClone

That had been his problem with Sarah. He hadn’t been thinking. She’d overwhelmed him. Too bad he couldn’t blame eloping on being drunk. Oh, he’d been intoxicated at the time—by her, not alcohol.

Cullen crossed the room to the side of her bed.

He’d been trying to forget Sarah. He wanted to forget her. But thoughts of her entered his mind at the strangest of times—on the mountain, at the hospital, in bed. But he knew what would stop that from happening—divorce.

After the divorce things will be better.

These past months the words had become his mantra when he was frustrated or lonely.

Sarah’s left hand slipped off the edge of the bed. That didn’t look comfortable. He placed her arm back on the mattress. Her skin felt cold.

Cullen didn’t want her to catch a chill. He pulled up the blanket and tucked it under her chin.

Sarah didn’t stir. So peaceful and quiet. Words he would never have used in the past to describe her. She’d been fiery and passionate, driven and always up for a challenge or adventure. Nothing, not even the flu, had slowed her down much.

The silence in the room prodded him into action. Staring at Sarah wasn’t what the doctor ordered. Her doctor, that was. Dr. Marshall hadn’t wanted her to sleep the day away—not that Sarah could with nurses coming in and out. But she hadn’t been too coherent when she woke up, and then she’d drifted back to sleep like a newborn kitten.

Might as well get on with it, Cullen thought. If she followed the same pattern, she wouldn’t be awake for long. “Rise and shine, Lavagirl.”

Saying her nickname jolted him. He used to tease her about being a volcanologist until he realized she loved the piles of molten rocks more than she loved him.

He would try again. “Wake up.”

Sarah didn’t move. Not surprising, given her medications. If he kept talking she would wake up.

“So I...” Cullen had tried hard not to miss her. After what she’d done to him, he shouldn’t miss her. He’d missed the sex, though. A lot. But he was only human—emphasis on the man part of the word. “I’ve been thinking about you.”

He’d told families that talking to patients was important. Now the advice sounded stupid. But when it came to Sarah, he’d never been very smart.

Keep talking, Doc.

He struggled for something to say. His resentment toward her ran deep. Maybe if he started at the beginning of their relationship when things had been better this wouldn’t feel so awkward. “Remember that first night in Las Vegas, you wanted our picture taken in front of the slot machines? We got the photo, but we also got thrown out of the casino.”

The two of them had stood on the sidewalk laughing, unsure of the time because of the neon lights. Her laughter had rejuvenated his soul. She was so full of light and love he couldn’t get enough of her.

“You looked up at me. Mischief gleamed in your pretty green eyes.”

He’d been enchanted, transported back to the time when freedom and fun reigned supreme, when he and Blaine had been impulsive and reckless, goading each other into daredevil challenges and stunts, believing they were untouchable.

“Then you kissed me.”

Changing all the plans he’d had for his life in an instant. He hadn’t been able to think straight from that moment on. He hadn’t cared. Being with her was a total rush. An adventure. Perfect. Nothing else mattered.

“The next night we strolled past the Happily Ever After Wedding Chapel on the strip. You joked about going inside and making things official.”

She’d said if they eloped now he couldn’t forget about her when they returned to Seattle or leave her standing at the altar after she wasted years of dating him and planning their big wedding. He’d promised he would never leave her like that.

The affection in her eyes had wiped out whatever brain cells remained in his head. For the first time since Blaine’s descent into drugs, Cullen had felt whole, as if the missing piece of him that had died with his twin brother had been found in Sarah.

“I couldn’t let you get away.”

Cullen had pulled her through the chapel’s double glass doors. Forgetting about his vow to take only calculated risks in the future, he’d dived in headfirst without doing his due diligence and performing a cost-benefit analysis. He hadn’t weighed the odds or considered the consequences of marrying a woman he knew nothing about.

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