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Fall Into You: Chapter 61

Cole

“Fuck. Fuck!

“I know it hurts, but concentrate. You’re doing great. Just stay focused on putting one foot in front of the other. Go slowly.”

“All I can do is go slowly!”

“You don’t have to shout. I’m right in front of you. Right foot. Good. Left foot. Good. Keep coming.”

My legs are on fire, but my feet feel like lead. I’m gripping the rubber rail covers of the walker so hard, my knuckles are white. My arms shake. Sweat pours down my face. I could be having a heart attack.

But I’m standing. On my own two feet, I’m standing up.

It’s exhilarating.

It also hurts like a motherfucker.

When I stumble and curse, Willa moves quickly to my side to support my weight. I lean on her, panting.

“Do you want to keep going or take a rest?”

“Keep going.” An electric jolt of pain shoots down my left leg. I grit my teeth against it. “Or maybe rest for a few minutes.”

“Hands on the rails. Let me get the chair.”

I grab the walker again, using my arm strength to hold myself up. My arms were big before, but in the past few weeks, my biceps have grown noticeably bigger.

Pretty soon, I’ll give Emiliano a run for his money.

Willa positions the chair behind me and holds onto my upper arm as I lower myself into it. Then she stands there beaming at me.

I chuckle. “I’m your star pupil, aren’t I?”

“No. You’re actually pretty average.”

“I know you’re only saying that so I’ll keep trying hard.” Over on the weight bench, my cell phone starts to ring. “Let’s take five. Then I expect you to start shouting obscenities at me like a drill sergeant.”

She says drily, “That’s your thing, not mine. I’ll bring you back a water.”

As she heads to the front, I wheel over to the phone. The number on the screen shows that it’s my brother.

“Callum. How are you?”

“Good. Am I interrupting?”

“No. What’s up?”

His tone warms. “Just thought you’d like to know someone threw her hat in the ring for CFO today.”

Finally. I smile, shaking my head. “Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. And she included a cover letter as well, listing all her qualifications and a twenty-seven-point bulleted list of why she’s the best person for the job.”

“Of course she did. What did Dad say?”

“He said he had to talk to Mom.”

“So that’s a yes. Carter?”

“He said we’ve needed a female on the board since the eighties.”

“Another yes. What about you?”

There’s a pause. When he speaks again, his voice is softer than I’ve ever heard it.

“You know what I think. If she can handle you, she can handle anything. Being CFO of McCord Media will be a cinch.”

“I think there’s a compliment in there somewhere.”

“There is. For her. You coming to dinner on Sunday? Mom’s making a roast.”

“You mean Elise is making a roast, and Mom’s going to sit there and accept all the praise as if she actually knew how to operate an oven.”

“Exactly. See you at six. Oh, and Cole?”

“Yeah?”

His voice turns gruff. “I’m proud of you, brother. And I know we never say it, but…I love you. I’m sorry it took almost losing you to realize how much.”

He disconnects.

When Willa returns with my bottle of water, she finds me hunched over with my hands covering my face so she can’t see me cry.


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