Always. Занятие 28

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I feel Ryan’s gaze on me. “Congratulations.”


“Will you two come back here for your…actual honeymoon?”


“I don’t know,” I say. “We haven’t really decided that yet.”


“Really?” Allie looks shocked. “We booked this place a year and a half ago,” she says, gazing affectionately at her husband. “Anyway, it’s nice to have the wedding behind us. I just love referring to Dalton as my husband. There’s nothing like it.” She turns to me, eager to share a confidence. “But I did love planning my wedding. I had twelve bridesmaids.”


“Wow,” I say. “That sounds…big.”


“Six hundred people, yes,” she says.


I feel a little woozy suddenly, and I rub my clammy palms together. Did the bartender make my margarita a double?


“I had roses and freesias in my bouquet,” Allie chirps. “And the cake! Five tiers of white chocolate with fondant. Dalton and I saved a section to have on our first anniversary.”


My heart is beating fast. I feel strange, like I’m in a confined space with locked windows and doors.


“It was all so beautiful,” Allie continues. “I loved my dress. Would you like to see a photo?”


No. I don’t want to see a photo of her wedding dress. No, I don’t want to talk about her wedding, or mine, or any shade of happily ever after.


I stand up suddenly. “I’m sorry. I, I…I think I’ve had too much sun, or too many drinks, or both. I don’t feel well. I’m going to go lie down in the room for a while.”


My head is spinning. Beads of sweat dot my brow.


“I’ll go with you,” Ryan says, concerned, grabbing my bag.


“Feel better,” Allie says, her voice tinged with equal parts confusion and concern.


In the room, two maids are making the bed. Ryan politely asks them to leave, and I sink onto the bed.


“Here,” Ryan says, sitting beside me. “Drink some water. The sun is hot. You’re dehydrated.”


I take the glass and gulp it down. If only water could cure what ails me.


At dinner that night, Ryan orders a bottle of wine from one of our favorite vineyards in Napa. “Caymus,” I say, trying to cheer up.


“How perfect that they have it, right?”


I smile, remembering how he surprised me with a trip to Napa five months after we began dating. We both became instantly smitten with that little winery. The windy road was lined with wildflowers, and I asked Ryan to stop so I could pick a red poppy. I long for those days now.


As the waiter pours us each a glass, I notice the couple from the pool. They’re seated at a table on the other side of the dining room, leaning so close to each other that it looks as if their noses are touching.


“My brother’s going to fly in for the engagement party,” Ryan says, swirling his wineglass, then taking a long sip.


“That’s great,” I say, realizing that until this moment I’ve forgotten about our party. Ryan reserved the event space at Serafina, a restaurant in Seattle’s Eastlake neighborhood that we both love. But it was a favorite of mine long before Ryan. And the truth is, every inch of the city holds a memory for me. Memories of another time.


“I saw on the Evite RSVP list that Gregory and Katie will be coming, too,” he continues. “I didn’t think they’d drive up all the way from Portland.”


I think of all the people who will be there. Gregory and Katie. Mike and Lisa. Evie and Jonathan. Jan. Tracy. Ryan’s boss. That cute couple on the corner of our street who are expecting their first baby before the end of the year. All of them coming to celebrate our love. I feel the buzz of my phone in my purse and I pause to dig for it. I gave Dr. Branson my number and told her to call or text if Cade had any problems.


“Kailey,” Ryan says softly.


I look up from my phone. Just a text from Tracy.


“Is it too much to ask to just have you all to myself tonight?” he says. “I don’t want to share you with anyone. Not your phone. Not your past. And definitely not that ex-boyfriend who may or may not still be tugging at your heart.”


I force a smile and reach across the table for his hand. “Of course,” I say, blinking back tears. “Ryan, you have me.”


“Do I?” he asks. His voice is tender, vulnerable.


“Yes,” I say, squeezing his hand. “Yes.”


It’s after nine when I open my eyes the next morning. I’m wrapped in Ryan’s arms, and I don’t want to break from his embrace. I love the warmth of his skin, and the way he’s holding me. I feel safe and sound, cocooned from the world. But my phone is ringing across the room. Ryan stirs as I extricate myself to answer it.


I don’t recognize the number. “Hello?”


“Kailey, this is Dr. Branson. I’m sorry to bother you. I know you’re out of the country. But it’s Cade.”


“What happened?”


Ryan sits up in bed.


Dr. Branson clears her throat. “He left, and we’ve been unable to find him.”


“What do you mean, he left?”


“We do have staff here at all hours,” she explains, “but our front desk attendant must have stepped out to use the bathroom when he walked out. The security camera shows him exiting this morning around four A.M.”


“This is terrible,” I say.


“It is,” she continues. “But I don’t think we should panic. It’s possible he’ll return later. I’ve notified hospital security to keep an eye out for him nearby.”


I look out the open doors that lead to the balcony. Waves ripple onto the sugar-sand beach below. Everything about the scene is peaceful and placid, but inside all I feel is terror. Cade is on the streets again. And I am thousands of miles away.


“I’ll catch an early flight back,” I say. “I can find him. I know where he goes.”


“I hate for you to have to do that,” she says. “But I”


“He’d do it for me,” I say.


Ryan doesn’t say anything when I set my phone down. “Cade’s missing,” I say. “You probably heard.”


He nods and leans back against the pillows propped up behind him. I can’t tell if he’s upset or annoyed or both.


“I’m so sorry,” I say. “But I have to go. I can’t be here knowing that he’s on the streets again. He’s lost, Ryan. He needs my help. And I know that it may be hard for you to understand, but I have to help him.”


Ryan sighs. “Of course I don’t want you to go,” he says. “But you have to do what you have to do. Our relationship has always been about that sort of trust, and freedom to do what we need to do.”


“Thanks,” I say as I frantically pack, then call the airline to change my flight. If I can get a cab immediately, I’ll be able to catch the eleven A.M. flight home to Seattle.


I slip on a pair of jeans and put my hair into a ponytail. Before I wheel my suitcase to the door, I walk back to the bed, where Ryan is still lying shirtless beneath a sheet.


“I hate to go,” I say. “But I have to.”


He looks at me for a long time, then pulls me to him. “I wish you didn’t have to,” he says. “But do what you need to do, baby.”


My eyes well up with tears as I kiss him goodbye. “Thank you. You don’t know how much that means to me, Ryan.”


The pain is excruciating.


“Keep breathing,” Tracy says as she drives her Volvo up James Street to Swedish Hospital. “We’re almost there.”


I nod and take a deep breath, then exhale before crying out in pain again. Towels are wadded up beneath me on the seat. I’ve never seen so much blood.


“Hold on,” she says. “Just a few more minutes.”


I’m dizzy and weak. I know what’s happening to me. I’m aware the baby Cade and I conceived may be leaving my body, just as Cade left me. Left the planet, really. I turn to Tracy and cry out. “It hurts so much.” And I think then that physical pain is nothing compared to the anguish my heart feels. Bearing this alone. Can I do it?


“I’m here,” she says, swerving into the hospital parking lot. “You’re going to be okay, I promise.”


“I hate him,” I scream through the pain ripping through my abdomen. “I hate him for not being here.”


“Breathe, honey,” Tracy says as she drives up to the hospital.


Tears stream down my cheeks as she rolls down the window and shouts at a hospital employee in blue scrubs near the elevator. “We need a wheelchair!”


Moments later I’m rushed in a dizzy blur to the fifth floor. Medical staff hover around me.


“My God, she’s bleeding out!”


“Get the doctor!”


“Where’s the father?”


“Hurry, get the IV in!”


“Her blood pressure is falling!”


It’s like a nightmare where you want to scream, but you can’t. I am alone with my pain, both physical and emotional. I moan and weep; Tracy speaks for me. She squeezes my hand and wipes the sweat from my brow. I feel pain shooting like daggers from my back to my stomach.


I feel everything when I so desperately want to feel nothing.


“Tracy?” I cry.


“I’m right here.”


“I lost the baby, didn’t I?”


She squeezes my arm. “I’m so sorry, Kailey.”


I roll to my side and moan as a doctor with a soft voice and dark-rimmed glasses approaches holding a syringe. “This will take care of the pain,” he says.


The needle pricks my skin, and moments later I’m enveloped in a blanket of calm. Nurses and doctors buzz around my outstretched legs, carving out the remnants of a life that will never be.


When it’s over, I stare out the window despondently. The cherry trees that line James Street are starting to lose their leaves. Two years ago, Cade and I walked hand in hand along that street when they were in full bloom. He stopped to shake a branch and let the pink blossoms flutter down. “Snow, for my beloved.”


“Excuse me, Kailey,” the doctor says, approaching me cautiously. “I thought you might like to know”he swallows hard“that it was a girl.”


My heart surges. My daughter. Cade’s daughther. We are a family now, joined together forever by this little life we created. But he’s gone. They’re both gone. And the world is dark.


Tracy reaches for my hand. “Oh, Kailey. I’m so sorry. I’m so very sorry.” She places her hand on my arm. I close my eyes and weep.


I am restless on the plane home to Seattle. I shift into a million positions, lose interest in the in-flight movie, try to sleep but can’t, and am basically miserable. Flying has always fascinated me: the concept of being thirty thousand feet high, suspended between here and there. In no place, really. While it used to give me comfort, this middle placethis idea of being neither here nor there but in betweenit doesn’t now. The pilot can’t fly this thing fast enough, and as I watch the clouds out the window I’m plagued with worry. Cade, I’m coming. I’m coming.


I speed-walk through baggage claim to customs, then outside to flag down a cab. I call Harborview, but when they transfer me to Cade’s building there’s no answer, so I instruct the driver to take me to Cade’s apartment. I ask him to wait while I rush to the reception desk. He’s still gone.


We drive downtown next, past Le Marche, past his old Pioneer Square apartment, up and down Fourth and Fifth six times.


“Miss, you want me to take you somewhere else?” the driver says, turning to me at a stoplight.


It’s the most expensive cab ride of my life, but I don’t care. I tell him to circle downtown once more. We do, but Cade is…nowhere.


“I guess you can take me home now,” I say, dejectedly giving him my address.


Ten minutes later, we’re parked on the street in front of my house. I pay the fare, and the driver lifts my suitcase out of the trunk. I stand on the sidewalk as he drives away, then turn to the house. My eyes widen when I notice a figure sitting on the second step of my porch in the shadow of the wisteria vine.


I drop my bag when I see him, hands at his sides, knees propped up slightly on the steps. “Cade!”


His face brightens when he sees me. “Hi,” he says.


“Cade, what happened? Why are you here?”


He rubs his forehead. “I don’t know. I, I…I missed you.”


I feel a burst inside, sort of like the first taste of a lemon. It’s intense and all-consuming. “You did?”


“You were gone for so long,” he says.


“Just three days,” I assure him, reaching for his hands. “I came home as soon as Dr. Branson called and said you were missing.”


“I’m sorry,” he says. “I just…”


“I won’t leave again, not for a while. Not until you get more settled. You’re making such good progress. The new medication seems to be working.”


We walk inside the house, and when he reaches for my suitcase, at first I shake my head. But he insists, so I let him carry it.


Cade nods. “I’m remembering. More and more.”


“Like what? Tell me something.”


He smiles. “Like…you. And boats.”




He nods. “We took a ferry ride, didn’t we? To an island.”


“We did,” I say. I pull my cellphone out of my pocket and scroll through my photos, old and new, that I scanned and saved, to find the one Cade took of me on the ferry so many years ago. “Do you remember this?”


He blinks hard, reaching out for my phone. He takes it and stares at the image longingly. “I do.”


He smiles. “It’s like a blurry dream.”


“You saved my life that day,” I continue. “Do you remember?”


He nods.


“Funny that when I asked you what you remember, you said boats.”


A cloud falls over his face then. I sit down on the couch and he sits beside me.


“What is it?”


“There’s something else I remember,” he continues.




His face is strained, as if he’s recalling a horror he’d just as well let slip back into the cobwebbed corners of his mind. And I’d like him to, but I have a feeling this memory is significant somehow.


“Cade,” I say, placing my hand on his arm. “Tell me.”


He stares straight ahead. “It was dark. There was water.” His hand trembles in mine. “I felt something hit my head.”


“Something? What?”


“I don’t know,” he says. “It was cold. Waves crashing all around. I could taste blood in my mouth.”


“Cade, are you sure? Dr. Branson said your memories would return, but that sometimes they’d be jumbled.”


“I don’t know,” he says. “Maybe.”


“Is there anything else? Anything more specific?”


He’s quiet for a long moment, and I don’t try to fill the air with chatter. I want to give him space to remember.


“Princess,” he says.




“That word was on the side of the boat.”


“Are you sure?”


He nods. “I think so. It was painted in navy-blue letters.”


I pull up my phone and open a browser window. “Maybe it’s a type of yacht.” I Google “princess yachts” and sure enough, there’s a company of the same name.

About the Author

Диана Семёнычева

Диана Семёнычева