A humble heart, p.17
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       A Humble Heart, p.17

         Part #1 of Hollywood Hearts series by R. L. Mathewson
 

  his head.

  “I have to get ready for Grandma,” Cole said. He jumped out of his chair and made his way to his room. She had to cover her mouth with her hand to stop from laughing.

  Cole took over Edward’s fashion sense weeks ago, probably because he missed him so much. Now Cole refused to wear a shirt inside the house. It was cute to see Cole walking around like Edward. He really loved him.

  “Hello!” Eleanor said, walking inside the house followed by James and Amy.

  “Hey, guys,” Dana said. She hugged them both.

  Elizabeth ran to James. He picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. “How are you today, squirt?”

  “Good, Grandpa, only one more week until Papa Bear comes home!”

  “Yeah, I know. You know what that means?”

  “No. What?” she asked, looking serious.

  “That means we only have one more week to spoil you before he gets home!”

  Her face lit up. “Oh yeah!”

  James chuckled.

  “Okay, I’m taking the little lady out to the car so we can discuss what junk food we plan on having behind your back,” he said to the women.

  “Where’s my little man?” Eleanor asked, looking around for Cole. She was securely wrapped around his little finger and he knew and loved it.

  “Here I am, Grandma!” Cole ran down the hall naked.

  The burns on his body were completely gone now.

  Thankfully he didn’t have any scarring. He was a very fortunate little boy. They all were.

  “You remind me so much of Edward sometimes it’s scary,” she said to Cole. That made his day.

  “That’s ‘cause we’re weal men,” Cole said, puffing out his chest.

  “Come on, little man, let’s get you dressed and grab your overnight bags,” Eleanor said before turning her attention to Dana. “Good luck, sweetie. I’m sorry we can’t go tonight, but you know how much we love to see the kids.”

  “I know and I really appreciate it, so much. You guys have been so helpful,” Dana said.

  She waved it off. “These are our babies, too.” Cole took her hand and walked with her to his room. Amy and Dana watched Cole’s little butt dimple with each step and broke out into giggles.

  Deana burst into the house. “Okay, please tell me you are at least prepped to go.” She stopped in front of Dana and gasped. “You look tired, pale and sick. What the hell?”

  She put her hand over her mouth and looked around to make sure the kids didn’t hear her.

  “I’m so nervous. I haven’t been able to sleep or eat.”

  “You haven’t eaten?” Amy asked.

  “No, my stomach keeps turning every time I think about it. I know everyone did a great job on the movie, but this is my baby. And it’s about to come alive in less than two hours.” With that her stomach turned sharply. “Excuse me.”

  She made her way to the bathroom and dry heaved.

  “Dana, are you okay?” Amy asked.

  “No, I am so damn nervous. What if I pass out or vomit on the red carpet?”

  “Aim away from me okay,” Amy teased.

  “Ha ha, very funny.”

  “I was completely serious. If you vomit so will I.”

  “Take a shower so we can get you dressed, Dana,”

  Deana said, gently prompting her towards the shower.

  “Okay.” She looked in the mirror. She wondered if they could do anything about the bags under her eyes or her pale complexion. Damn she missed her tan. She sighed, giving up and jumped in the shower. They had her dressed and dolled up within a half hour.

  Lucas was on time. He greeted her in his usual way, with teasing. “Wow, you look awful!”

  She rolled her eyes. “Thanks, you’re so sweet.” She playfully slapped his arm.

  “Well, since I’m doing you this great favor of escorting you when your man is out of the country I expect a favor in return.”

  “What?” Dana asked cautiously.

  “I need someone for waltz lessons. It’s for a movie

  Please.” He gave her a pathetic expression that made her laugh.

  “Jill’s unavailable?” she asked.

  He sighed warily as he rubbed the back of his neck.

  “She skipped town again yesterday morning with my credit card. When I get my hands on her I’m going to wring her neck,” he said, only half joking.

  Dana met his sister a few times over the past two months and although she liked the girl she thought she had a lot growing up to do. She was twenty-five, immature, and hell bent on living up her famous down to earth brother’s status since he refused to. Several times she thought of suggesting that he cut her off and force her to grow up, but it wasn’t her place. He was her friend and she wouldn’t hurt him for anything.

  “So will you spend a few hours a week with me and a bunch of senior citizens in a poorly ventilated building with stale coffee?” he asked, wagging his eyebrows playfully.

  “Sounds fun,” she said wryly.

  “That a girl,” he said, taking her hand and placing it on his arm.

  ********

  “Dana Mathews! Lucas James!” fans screamed as they made their way down the red carpet.

  She smiled and waved even though she felt like passing out. Lucas held onto her tightly. “You look like you’re going to pass out on me any second now.”

  “Well, for once I look exactly how I feel,” she mumbled.

  “Ah damn, let’s get you inside,” Lucas said. He started to walk her quickly, but casually, inside. He found their seats and left to get her a soda.

  Dana closed her eyes and leaned forward trying to fight off the dizziness. A strong arm went around her back and pulled her close. “Lucas, I’m okay. Just give me a few minutes please,” she whispered softly.

  She felt warm lips press a kiss to the top of her head and she froze. “You don’t look good, baby. I was hoping to surprise you outside, but you damn near ran inside.”

  Dana raised her head to see that Edward was really there. He was wearing an expensive black suit that made him look incredibly handsome. She threw her arms around his neck and kissed his forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, and lips. He chuckled happily as he returned her kisses. “I’m guessing you’re happy to see me.”

  “Very!” She kissed his mouth again.

  “I missed you so much and the kids. We finished ahead of schedule and I wanted to surprise you,” Edward whispered into the crook of her neck.

  “I am surprised, believe me,” she said, hugging him again.

  “Here you go,” Lucas said. She opened her eyes to see Lucas holding a cup out to her. Edward took it and handed it to Dana. “Thanks, Lucas.”

  “No problem. I just didn’t want her passing out on me.

  You know she did that during every one of our love scenes.

  They were pretty steamy,” he said, grinning hugely.

  Edward laughed. “That’s what I heard.”

  Dana took a small sip and was relieved to discover that it was ginger ale. “Thank you, Lucas.”

  “No problem. Just remember our deal,” he said as he leaned back in his seat and scoped out the women in the theatre.

  “What deal?” Edward asked.

  “Dance lessons,” Dana said, rolling her eyes.

  “Sounds fun,” Edward said dryly, making them both laugh.

  “How are my babies?” Edward asked, taking her hand into his.

  “Edward, you talked to them last night,” she said, shaking her head in disbelief. Even in another country he was more attentive than Jeff ever was. It was shocking and she still had a hard time getting used to this. Truth was she was getting spoiled.

  “Yeah, it’s been a whole day since I talked to them,” he argued.

  “Shh, it’s starting, you two,” Lucas mumbled, earning dirty looks. He just chuckled at them as he opened a small box of candy and began snacking away.

  Edward relaxed and put an arm around Dana’s shoulders. She leaned into him
and laid an arm across his chest. They watched the entire movie snuggling and ignoring the speculative glances around them. He constantly kissed the top of her head and whispered how much he loved her and missed her.

  ********

  “Oh my god, Edward,” Dana said, crying.

  “What’s wrong, baby?”

  “You guys did such a wonderful job,” she sobbed softly.

  Her book, her life, her salvation had been transformed onto the big screen, giving it life, and it was perfect. It was exactly the way she pictured everything in her head two years ago during those lonely nights.

  He smiled. “I’m glad you approve.”

  “I could have done better,” Lucas muttered, earning an elbow in the ribs from Dana. He just laughed it off.

  “I suspect you’re taking Dana to the party,” Lucas said.

  “Yes, thank you for bringing her here safely.”

  “Not a problem. I’ll see you guys there.” Lucas leaned over and kissed her cheek before he followed everyone out.

  Dana stood up and grabbed the back of the seat in front of her as a wave of dizziness shot through her. “Whoa, head rush,” she mumbled.

  “Are you okay?” Edward asked. He put an arm around her waist to help her.

  She waved him off. “I’m okay I just need to eat something. Now that the nerves are gone that should be easy.”

  “Okay then let’s go. I’m getting you something to eat before we hit the party.” He urged her forward. They walked through the lobby, receiving applause and congratulations.

  “Hell of a job,” Eric said to Edward. He kept an arm around Dana while he spoke to Eric.

  Pain ripped through Dana’s stomach. She bent over, gasping.

  “Dana?” Edward asked concerned.

  “I’m fine

  just

  .” She fell to the floor as everything went black.

  *********

  “Dana!” He tried to shake her gently. She didn’t wake up. “Someone, call an ambulance!” he yelled.

  Amy ran to her side. “What happened?”

  “I don’t know. She grabbed her stomach and fell over,”

  Edward said anxiously. He pulled her into his lap as a crowd formed around them. “Baby, wake up please!”

  “Let me through! I’m a doctor,” a man said. A moment later a short man with grey hair knelt down next to Dana. He reached out and took her pulse.

  “Her pulse is weak, she’s clammy, and burning up. Her breathing is shallow and irregular.”

  Amy was crying now. “She hasn’t been feeling good, not eating, throwing up, and she hasn’t been able to sleep. We all thought it was stress.”

  Edward held her tighter against him. “Where’s the ambulance? I saw two stationed outside.”

  “Move aside!” a police officer said, pushing through the crowd. He was followed by two EMT’s pushing a stretcher.

  The doctor reached over and grabbed a stethoscope from one of the EMT’s leg pockets as he said, “I’m Dr.

  Brown. I want this woman brought to Mercy hospital. I’ll be riding along.” The EMT’s nodded as they looked her over.

  “Thank you,” Edward murmured. He picked Dana up and noticed that she was lighter than before. He placed her on the stretcher and pushed her hair back as she was strapped in. He kissed her lips before a face mask was placed over her mouth. He ignored the clicks and flashes of cameras focusing on them.

  They moved fast over the red carper to an awaiting ambulance. Edward jogged by her side holding her hand.

  Fans were screaming and crying. They tried to push past the barrier. Police quickly lined up and pushed them back.

  In seconds screams erupted as the crowd broke loose.

  “Shit!” one of the EMT’s yelled as they quickly loaded the stretcher into the ambulance and jumped in with Edward and Dr. Brown in tow before the frantic crowd surrounded the ambulance.

  Edward held Dana’s hand as Dr. Brown worked on her.

  He watched as the doctor inserted an IV and hung a bag.

  Then he tested her blood sugar. The doctor frowned and shook his head. “She hasn’t eaten for days, has she?”

  “I don’t know I’ve been in England,” he mumbled, feeling like an asshole. He should have known.

  Dr. Brown reached over and picked up the heart monitor. He pulled down Dana’s dress and applied electrodes. He turned the monitor on and watched. “Shit.”

  Edward felt real fear for the first time since Cole’s accident. “Get us the hell out of here before her heart crashes!” Dr. Brown yelled. He picked up a microphone and turned on the CB radio. “C-med, this is Dr. Richard Brown requesting Mercy hospital with a priority one patient, female age,” he looked at Edward.

  “Thirty.”

  “Age thirty, blood pressure is eighty over thirty, pulse is forty, blood sugar is twenty-five, sick for unknown amount of time, complaints of nausea, dizziness, patient complained of stomach pain before collapsing, patient is unconscious and unable to regain consciousness at this time, IV and oxygen are in place. ETA.” He looked around. The EMT in back answered him.

  “Ten minutes.”

  “Mercy received.”

  Dr. Brown replaced the microphone. “What’s wrong with her?” Edward asked, fighting back tears.

  “I don’t know. We won’t know without more tests,” he said gently.

  A group of doctors and nurses met them at the entrance. It seemed Dr. Brown’s name carried some clout here. They moved Dana quickly inside. They asked Edward dozens of questions, but he could hardly focus.

  In the end they gave her more saline, medicine to stabilize her heart and breathing, as well as some nutrients to help settle her starving body as they ran their tests.

  Edward sat by her side after they drew her blood. He gently pushed her hair out of her face. “I love you so much, Dana,”

  he said over and over again.

  “Baby, please don’t leave me.” He broke down after two hours when she still hadn’t woken up. He climbed onto the bed and laid his head on her chest and sobbed. “Please come back to me. I need you.”

  His sobs died down after a half hour, but he didn’t move away from her. He snuggled against her, willing her to be okay.

  ********

  Dr. Brown walked in smiling as he pushed a machine inside. “I figured it out.”

  “What is it? Is she going to be okay?” he asked as he climbed off the bed.

  “I believe so, now. If it had gone any longer I wouldn’t have much hope,” he said. He moved to Dana and pulled down the sheet and pushed up her hospital gown, revealing her stomach.

  “Do you think it’s cancer?” Edward asked nervously.

  He shook his head and turned on the machine. After a minute he squeezed clear gel onto Dana’s stomach and pressed a handheld
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