A humble heart, p.37
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       A Humble Heart, p.37

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

  open so the kids could be together. He took Dana’s hand and led her outside the curtain. He pulled her into a hug. “I’m so sorry, sweetheart. I would never put the kids in jeopardy.”

  “I know,” she said against his chest.

  “They attacked me in the donut shop. I left and got in the car. I pulled out and they peeled out and chased us. We got through the light and they decided to speed through the red light and the crossing traffic. They lost control and slammed into us. I tried to grab the kids, but I couldn’t in time. There wasn’t even any space in front to get away from the cars. I am so sorry!”

  “Stop that!” she said fiercely. “You didn’t do this! It’s not your fault!”

  “Dana-“

  She took his face firmly in her hands and looked him in the eyes. “You did not do this! You didn’t ask for this! They had no right touching you or plowing through that intersection. They killed Brett, not you! And it’s because of them that two of our children are here, not you!”

  He nodded weakly. “You’re going to leave me now

  ..

  I’m so afraid of losing you and the kids. How can you stay with me when I put us all in danger?”

  She kissed him gently. “I am never going to leave you, Edward. I love you. There is nothing in the world that would make me want to leave you. You aren’t putting anyone in danger. It’s not your fault if people think they own you, do you understand me?”

  “Yes. I just

  ..I feel like you and the kids would have been better off if you had never met me,” Edward said.

  She laughed softly against him. “That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. Edward, you are our family. You’re what makes us happy and whole. You need to realize we had nothing before you, you are everything to us.”

  He kissed the top of her head. “You really don’t regret marrying me?”

  “No, and I never will. I love you, Edward, and the kids love you.” Dana pulled back to look in his eyes. He kissed her softly.

  “I’m sorry, Mr. Pierce, but I really need to get you stitched up,” a young doctor said. Edward reluctantly nodded.

  “Do you want me to go with you?” Dana asked.

  He chuckled softly. “No, sweetheart, you’ll only pass out.”

  “Okay, I’m going to check on the kids one more time then I’m going out to the waiting room. I’m sure Amy and your parents are beside themselves right now.”

  “Good idea,” Edward agreed and walked back to his bed with the doctor beside him.

  Dana looked over her sleeping children for a few minutes, noting all the cuts and bruises that were now visible on their little bodies. Even asleep they looked very uncomfortable. Elizabeth had bruises up the left side of her body as well as several long cuts that were now stitched up.

  The left side of her face was swollen and bruised as well.

  Dana guessed this was where the car was impacted. She was beyond lucky that her children and husband survived.

  She looked over Cole. The casts looked bigger and heavier than the rest of his body. His right side received most of the damage. They’d been so lucky today. She only wished Brett had been as lucky. The doctor said he’d died instantly. He was such a good man, fun, loving and honest.

  She was going to miss him. He was leaving behind a teenage son who he’d absolutely adored. This was going to be hard on him. They would help him in any way he needed.

  John was a great kid. He didn’t deserve to have his father taken away like this, for something this stupid and reckless, no one did.

  ***********

  “Oh, my God! Edward, I love you!” a woman screamed.

  His grip on Dana’s hand tightened. They’d just been kicked out of their children’s hospital room ten minutes ago, but not before they insisted a guard stand outside the room at all times.

  Now they were making their way to the limo Amy hired for them. The hospital grounds were now tightly covered by media and fans. People from the media were throwing questions at them while fans were demanding autographs, trying to hug him, and pull on him. He felt anger bubble up in him. A man was dead and they wanted his goddamn autograph, were they kidding?

  He couldn’t get the image of John crying on Dana’s shoulder out of his head. Fifteen years old and now he was fatherless. Dana held onto him for more than an hour while the boy broke down. The doctor’s finally had to sedate him when he began flipping out. Dana couldn’t calm him down then. Edward grabbed John and hugged him tightly while the doctor’s injected him with the sedative. He felt John’s body relax in his arms.

  Now they were walking through people who were laughing and crying just because they got a glance of him and Dana. They only saw what they wanted, two stars.

  These fans refused to see what was in front of them, a husband and wife who were almost torn apart, a mother and father who came close to losing their children and now had two seriously injured kids to take care of, and friends who just lost someone very special to them.

  They made their way to the limousine, slowly. People were pulling on him, making his stitches sting. He pulled away from them. Tyler was having a hell of a time clearing the way for them. There were dozens of police trying to control the crowd. The hospital already demanded the police clear everyone off the property, but the people kept coming back.

  Mark was leaning against the limousine when they arrived. His cameraman was standing next to him with the camera down by his side. “Mark, I’m supposed to film this.

  We’re going to get in trouble.”

  “We are not recording this,” Mark said through clenched teeth. He pushed off the limo and walked to Edward. He hugged Edward tightly.

  “Man, am I am glad to see you. I’m glad the kids are alright. I’m so sorry about Brett. He was a great guy,” Mark said in Edward’s ear. Edward returned the hug and then released him so Mark could hug Dana.

  “This is unbelievable. They’re acting like it’s a concert,”

  he said, shaking his head in disbelief, looking Edward and Dana over. “How are the kids?”

  “They’re

  they’re in a lot of pain. The doctors want to keep them sleeping for a little while. John has been sedated and admitted overnight to make sure he doesn’t do anything rash.” Dana wiped the tears off her face.

  “Edward, can we have an interview?” a man from channel seven news asked.

  “It might be the best thing if you said something now, while everything is fresh, Edward. It will have more of an impact,” Mark said softly.

  “What if what I have to say is something people don’t want to hear?” he snapped.

  “Then I think you should say it,” Mark said somberly.

  Edward nodded. “Okay, but only if you pick up that camera and take part of it.” After a long pause Mark sighed and gestured to his cameraman to start rolling.

  “I’ll wait for you by the car,” Dana said and stepped away. Edward grabbed her hand and brought her closer.

  He put his arm around her shoulders.

  “We stand together,” Edward said. He kissed the top of her head which earned several “Boo’s”

  He ignored the crowd. “Are we ready?” Edward asked Mark nodded.

  “This isn’t going to be interview. I have something I want to say.” He looked down at the ground for a minute, drew in a steadying breath before looked into the cameras. “Today I was attacked, chased, grabbed, and groped by teenage girls. I wish I could say this was a new experience, but it wasn’t.”

  “This was a typical day in my life and in the lives of my family. I appreciate all of the people who enjoy our films and the books my wife writes, you have no idea how much you all mean to us. You’re in our daily prayers, but this” he gestured to the crowd surrounding them, “is too much.”

  “A man, a very good man and friend died today because some fans went beyond appreciating our work to obsession. A young man’s life has been violently altered because three fans decided they had a right to attack
and pursue me in very dangerous situation with two of our children in the car, a three year old and a six year old.” He shook his head in disgust.

  “I understand the excitement behind meeting someone you admire, believe me I do,” he looked down at Dana and smiled fondly. “But there needs to be an understanding. I am a very happily married man with four small children. I am not, now nor will I ever be interested in another woman. I am done. I’m sorry if this upsets anyone, but this is the reality.

  Please respect that when you approach me, respect my wife by not crossing the line and laying your hands on me or her. Especially stop doing it in front of my children. It upsets and confuses them.”

  “We don’t mind signing autographs and we especially enjoy getting to know you. All we ask is that some consideration be shown for everyone’s safety so something like this,” he gestured to the hospital, “doesn’t happen again. Now, I’m taking my wife home and making preparations to bring home our two children. We need to plan the funeral for our beloved friend and right now I need to hold my two youngest sons more than anything else in this world. So please, if you are going to stay here make it out of respect for that boy who is suffering in there because he lost his father. If you’re here for any other reason, please leave.” Edward turned with Dana and climbed into the limo with Tyler close behind them.

  Dana snuggled into Edward’s shoulder. “Do you think that got through to anyone?” Edward asked as he absently played with a strand of her hair.

  “Maybe a few people listened,” she sighed.

  “What do we do now?” Edward asked.

  “We go home, hold our sons, and prepare for tomorrow.

  I want nothing more right now than to enjoy our family and friends.” Dana pulled his hand to her mouth and kissed it.

  “I don’t want us hiding out. I refuse to let them take anything else from us,” Edward said firmly.

  “No, we’re not going to hide out. I have no plans on giving up any more freedom. We’ll live and deal with all of this nonsense as it comes. You’ll continue to act, I’ll write and sometimes maybe I’ll take a role. The kids will grow up in a happy loving home with two parents. That’s all I care about.”

  “I love you, Dana.”

  “I love you too, Edward.” He leaned over and kissed her softly.

  Epilogue

  Ten years later

  .

  “Come on, Dad! One more time.” Cole’s voice cracked.

  He ran a hand through his damp hair.

  “Yeah, Dad!” Tristan begged.

  “Please, Daddy!” Caleb joined in.

  Edward stopped kissing Dana long enough to answer his very demanding sons. “Can’t you guys see I’m busy trying to convince your mother to take tomorrow off so we can go to Busch Gardens?”

  “Busch Gardens?” Caleb and Tristan repeated in unison.

  “Yes, now go away so I can convince your mother properly.” Edward grinned. He didn’t wait for his sons to respond. He leaned back down and continued to kiss Dana. His hands gently rubbed her back as hers gripped his shoulders tightly.

  “Guys, leave them alone. Tyler already said he’d take you on Splash Mountain, again,” Elizabeth said. She had grown into a very pretty young woman and Edward thanked god every day that she seemed to have her mother’s good sense. He never had to worry about her bringing home some loser. All her boyfriends treated her with respect or she dumped them without hesitation. It eased a great deal of tension off his shoulders over her dating.

  “Yeah, but wait, Mom?” Cole asked. He was fourteen, but still her mama’s boy, when no one was around of course. In front of his friends he was more like Edward, laid back, relaxed and a guy’s guy. But when it came to his mother he didn’t play around. She was his best friend.

  Dana playfully pushed Edward away when he wouldn’t give her up. “What’s wrong, Cole?” she asked. Even though Cole and Edward were not biologically related her oldest son was almost his carbon copy. It was eerie. He already had girls calling at all hours of the night for him. Not that he cared. He liked girls, but he just wasn’t interested in spending his free time pining for them, well not yet anyway.

  The twins were hanging off their older brother. They looked exactly like Cole and Edward. All of her men were funny, relaxed, considerate and sweet, in her mind they were each the perfect man. They all had their own personalities and tastes, but she was beyond happy her boys took after their father in the way they treated people with kindness.

  “Mom, you guys aren’t going to get in trouble, are you?”

  Cole asked. He was very protective of his family. His family was the most important thing in his life. No one messed with or badmouthed them without Cole jumping in to take care of it.

  She smiled warmly at Cole. “No sweetie, I told you we planned this so we could have a family vacation. We’ll be leaving you guys with Tyler and Connor in an hour so we can make our interview. Then we have a small book signing and a meet and greet for the studio at four, then I believe your father promised to take me out tonight.”

  Edward smiled and kissed her lips quickly. “Yes, I did.”

  “Then we have to shoot a scene early tomorrow morning. We’ll meet you guys at Busch Gardens then we will have the rest of the night and next two days together.”

  “That is if everything goes according to plan tomorrow.”

  Edward added. “Then the film should be done and we’ll be off to Europe for a month. We have a few book signings scheduled, but other than that we’re all yours, guys.”

  “Why do you guys do everything together?” Tristan asked suddenly.

  “Yeah, this is mom’s twentieth book and your fourth with her,” Caleb added.

  “Yeah, and this is the third movie you’ve done with Mom.” Tristan pointed out.

  “Also, you guys are always together when you’re not working on separate things, with friends or with us. You don’t act like a normal married couple at all. Aunt Amy and Uncle Tyler aren’t like this and Aunt Deana and Uncle Chris aren’t either. Well, Uncle Nick and Aunt Jamie are exactly like you. You’re always happy and kissing. Has it always been like this?” Caleb asked Cole.

  Elizabeth answered. “It’s because they’re madly in love, Shorty.” She reached over and messed up his hair.

  “Yeah, but why? Why hasn’t Dad written a book by himself? Mom isn’t like that she does other films without Dad. So why doesn’t he write by himself?” Tristan asked while he tried to smooth out his short hair.

  Edward stepped behind Dana and wrapped his arms around her waist. “That’s because I enjoy writing with your mother. I don’t have as much fun when I write by myself.

  Your mother does films on her own because she is a very talented actress and I enjoy watching her movies and we do movies together because we love working with each other.

  And, my young sons, I am absolutely head over heels in love with your mother, which is why I can never get enough of her. Now have I answered your questions? You need to hurry because Deana is going to be joining you soon and taking you out to eat and a movie tonight. So move your butts if you want to squeeze a few more rides in.”

  “You don’t have to tell me twice,” Cole said. His kissed his mother and father goodbye and took off with the twins and bodyguards on his tail towards Splash Mountain.

  Elizabeth followed after them at a leisurely pace. She wasn’t in a hurry to wait in line for an hour. Her brothers would save her a place.

  “Now, where were we?” Edward asked, pulling Dana against him.

  “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m confused,” Zack, their newest bodyguard said. He was a retired New York Police officer and came highly recommended. He was a nice guy and in a lot of ways reminded them of Brett.

  “What is it?” Edward asked while he kissed the tip of Dana’s nose.

  “I wasn’t aware you had any engagements booked this evening. I need the information so I can coordinate with Tyler. Actually, I didn’t know about any of the book signings.<
br />
  Is there a list I can see?”

  Dana pulled away from Edward. “I’m sorry, Zack. I didn’t get a chance to tell you. We finished the book tour when we stopped in California a week ago. We tell the kids we have a book signing when we want to have a night to ourselves.

  Elizabeth is old enough to understand. She doesn’t have a problem with us having time to ourselves, but the boys don’t. This
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