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My Darling Bride: Chapter 31


My eyes flutter open, adjusting to the light overhead as I take in the room. I woke up a couple of times earlier, but only for a few moments before I drifted back asleep. The room has a small table in the far corner next to the window, with a bouquet of pink-and-white peonies. From the light coming in through the window, it looks to be late afternoon. Wilbur the pig is next to my leg. Jane is asleep on a cot, and on the other side of me Graham sits, his eyes wide as he stares at me. His face is unshaven, his hair sticking up and clothes rumpled. I remember him from the last time I woke up but thought it was a dream.

He leans forward. “Hey. I’ve been waiting for you to wake up. Everything went great. How are you feeling? Are you in any pain?” His gaze goes to the area on my side where my bandages are under my gown.

“Hey, um, I-I didn’t expect to see you.”

“Jane called me. I flew home as soon as I heard.”

“Your game? How was it?”

Before he can reply, the nurse comes in to check my vitals and record them on her computer. She checks the incisions around my body with practiced hands. I suppress a wince as her fingers brush against one of the stitches. She asks me my pain level, which is moderate, and gives me pills in a cup to take.

Graham hands me a Sprite. “You asked for one earlier when you woke up. I got you several.”

I barely recall. I lean back to the pillows, careful to keep my eyes off him directly, not wanting to get lost in his gaze. I take another sip of the Sprite, the cool liquid wonderful to my throat. “You didn’t have to come. I’m fine.”

“I’m not fine, Emmy,” he says a few moments later as he turns my chin, making me meet his gray eyes. I note the haggardness of his face, the shadows under his eyes. “I didn’t know what was going on. I thought something horrible might have gone wrong with your heart.”

I play with my covers, threading them through my hand. “I left the divorce papers at your place. I’m not taking any of your money. Things are working out for the Darling family. Jane is working at the store full time, and Andrew is going to take a gap year and work at the store. It wasn’t my idea, but it’s his decision, and he wants to contribute.”

He rubs his face. “David shouldn’t have come to you without speaking to me first. He only did it because that was the plan from the start, to do divorce proceedings after the inheritance, but now that—”

“I’m really tired,” I say, interrupting. “I need to rest.”

He puts his hand on mine. “Will you at least look at me, Emmy?”

I hold his eyes, and his face is so tender that it almost hurts more than any physical pain could ever do.

A tear slides down my cheek unbidden, and he quickly wipes it away with his thumb before pressing my palm to his heart. He holds it there. “I’m sorry. For everything,” he says quietly. “Let me be the one who takes care of you.”

Emotion tugs at me like a weight. Seeing him like this only makes things worse.

I manage a smile. “There’s no need to feel obligated. I’m exhausted. Can you go?”

“You want me to go? Truly?”

I nod.

He inhales a deep breath. “I’ll be back when you’re feeling better.”

“Don’t. I mean, I have Jane and Babs and Andrew. Besides, you have a life you need to get back to.”

A vulnerable look flashes over his face, a brief moment, before he tucks it away, his throat moving.

“Call Jane,” I say. “She’ll tell you how I’m doing.”


“Will you just give me some space?”

I stare at the TV on the wall, watching from the corner of my eye as he exhales, then walks out the door.

Jane, whom I suspect has been listening to us, sits up from her cot, her hair ruffled around her head. An exaggerated yawn comes from her. “These five a.m. surgeries are crazy. How are you feeling?” she asks as she checks me over like a mother hen. “Everything all right?”

I wince as I try to sit up more. “I told you not to tell him, and you did.”

She shrugs. “Technically he’s still your husband, Emmy. And I’ve witnessed for myself how he looks at you. He needed to know.” She pauses. “And he dropped everything and came. He seems genuinely scared and rather pathetic.”

My fingers touch Wilbur. “Graham feels sorry for me. It’s who he is.”

Jane watches me intently, her gaze softening as she takes in my expression. She reaches out and places a hand on my shoulder. “I’m not so sure I agree with you, but you are the one who just had surgery, so whatever you say, goes.”


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