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Chapter 39

"Seeing someone you once loved is like falling in love for the first time all over again."
~Leah Raeder


Annalise

I listened to Will’s voicemail repeatedly, unsure about what shocked me more: the fact that Will said he loved me outright or that Will said he was going to be a father. I think the second admission was an accident.

For the first time, my finger hovered over the callback button as a battle raged inside my mind.

Part of me wanted to talk to him again because I missed him. I missed our conversations and our dynamic and the way we simply were around each other. At the same time, I remembered the last time we’d spoken, of how he’d accused me of the last thing I’d ever do to him. I also told myself the dynamic we had before would never exist again. Too much had happened.

“Anna?” Mia asked hesitantly, standing in my doorway. It was a surprisingly sunny Sunday afternoon, but I’d stayed in my room all day. After hearing Will’s voicemail, and watching the news, I didn’t have much motivation to do anything. “Are you hungry?”

“No,” I said, still staring at my phone.

“You know, you’re the one who always told me I needed to eat when I was upset over things. Now, I’m going to do the same to you.” My sister crawled into bed with me, glancing down at my phone. “I don’t think he was kidding when he said he’d answer for you if you called him during a meeting or press conference.”

“I wouldn’t do that to him, even if he does deserve it…”

“You’ve been hovering over that button for ages. If you’ve been debating it that long, then I think you should.”

“On the contrary, if I’ve been hesitating this long, maybe it means I shouldn’t,” I countered.

“Or you’re just avoiding it.”

“Why would I be avoiding it?”

“Because it means talking to a person who devastated you? I know you hid things from me, but I wasn’t blind. I saw how badly he hurt you. I know you cried yourself to sleep the day it happened, and I know you’ve done more since then.”

I twirled my hair around my finger. “I can almost consider forgiving Will for what he did to me. It’s how he brought you into this mess that I can’t. He knew how much I loved you, how much I do love you, and he used that against me. Will knew exactly where to strike that would hurt me the most.”

“James said you gave him the same treatment.”

“Yeah…”

“If you don’t want to call him, maybe just text him ‘congratulations’ or something,” Mia suggested.

“I’ve considered that.”

“Whatever you choose to do, whether you respond to him or not, I’ll be here for you. I’m going to go get dressed, and I suggest you do too, because I’ve called the gang, and we’re taking you out for dinner to get your ass out of this bed.”

I smiled ruefully. “I’m sorry…”

“Don’t be. I get it. But seriously, start getting ready because they’ll be over here any minute.”

“All right, all right, I’m getting up.” I stretched, only then realizing how cramped my muscles had been from sitting curled up in bed all day.

Okay, Annalise. Get your ass in gear and get dressed. You have your life to live, I thought.

Moving over to my vanity, I began putting on makeup and doing my hair, slowly but surely feeling better the more I did. Afterward, I moved onto my closet, carefully going through my clothes to decide which ones I wanted to wear. I was so transfixed on the decision that I didn’t hear Everly enter my room.

“There you are!” She exclaimed. I jumped, nearly dropping my phone. “You almost ready?”

“Yeah, just choosing an outfit.”

“Here,” she said, handing me a pair of black jeans and a form-fitting, long sleeve white shirt. “Wear this with that red leather jacket of yours I love so much and black boots. It’ll be killer and appropriate.”

“Appropriate for what? An adventure with Captain Hook?”

“Okay, if it was Killian Jones you were seeing, I’d be having you dress in an outfit that shows a little more skin. Plus, I also wouldn’t be able to keep that a secret. No, we’re eating outside. It’s still kind of cool out, hence the jacket.”

“Right,” I said. Going into my bathroom, I threw on my clothes and checked my reflection in the mirror. All looked fine, and no one would be the wiser that I’d spent all day in bed.

Heading back out, I grabbed my phone, and after a moment of hesitation, shoved it in my pocket. I wasn’t going to answer to Will. I wasn’t going to talk to him merely because he said he loved me, even though deep down, I knew Will meant what he said. I wish I’d known he returned my feelings because maybe none of this would’ve happened…

As I entered the kitchen to grab my purse, my phone started ringing. Mia asked, “Is Will trying to call you again?”

“No, it’s Patty. Hang on,” I said. Answering, I greeted, “Hey, Patty!”

“Hi, sweetie,” she replied, her voice noticeably trembling.

Concerned, I asked, “Is everything okay?”

“No… no, Walt’s in the hospital. He suffered a massive heart attack. He’s in critical condition, and I-” Patty broke down into sobs as she managed to stutter out that she didn’t want to be alone right now. My heart shattered at the sound of her crying. I managed to keep my voice steady as I asked her what hospital they were at and told her I’d be right there with the others in tow. Hanging up, I explained to everyone what happened. In the blink of an eye, we were all racing out of my apartment to catch a cab.

Mark hailed one down, and we clambered in. We didn’t all fit in, but the driver didn’t seem to mind and took off.

All of us were on edge, terrified about Walt’s condition. I clasped my hands tightly in front of me to stop them from shaking, and while they didn’t, my body did. I couldn’t control it.

Upon arriving at the hospital, I jumped out of the cab before it’d even come to a stop. I briefly turned around to make sure the ride was being paid and saw Mark handing the driver money. I swiveled back to the front doors, running as fast as I could. I asked the front desk for Walt’s room, but Patty appeared before they could tell me. Tear stains streaked down her face, and I pulled her into a bone-crushing hug. The others gathered around us, joining in.

“How’s he doing?” James asked, gently placing his arm around Patty’s shoulders.

“Critical. The doctors aren’t letting anyone in his room but me, but I couldn’t bear the thought of being here alone. I hate to drag you away from whatever you were all doing. It looks like you were going somewhere nice.”

“We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” I assured. “Why don’t you lead us to the waiting room?”

“Follow me,” she said, leading us through a series of seemingly never-ending hallways. Eventually, we arrived at a sterile, white room. Only a couple of people sat in there. They gave us double-takes, but otherwise, did nothing else.

“Who else have you called?” I asked.

“Just you. I didn’t know the others were with you. I need to call Will, but now that you’re here-”

“Don’t worry about me being here. Right now, all that matters is everyone who Walt loves is here for him. Maybe if he knows that, it’ll help him fight this.”

At my words, Patty broke down again, and we gathered around to comfort her once more. James offered to call Will. Pulling out his phone, he waited and waited, but the prince didn’t answer. He tried again, and nothing.

“Let me try,” Everly said. She called Will, one, two, three times, and no answer. “Son of a- answer me, you idiot!”

“Why don’t I try?” I said. Everyone’s heads swiveled around to look me. “He’s always saying he’ll answer no matter the day or time for me. Might as well try it.”

“Then let me call from your phone. Then you don’t have to speak to him.” Everly held out her hand. I gave her my phone, and she hit Will’s number. I don’t think the first ring even finished before he picked up. I heard Will exclaim my name, but Everly cut him off, saying, “It’s not Annalise. It’s Everly. Walt’s in the hospital. We had to use drastic measures to get you to answer your bloody phone… he had a massive heart attack and is in critical condition… St. George’s Hospital… okay, see you soon.”

Everly hung up and handed my phone back to me. None of us had to ask whether or not Will was on his way. We all knew the answer.

Taking a seat, the six of us waited quietly for news on Walt. Only five minutes passed before Will, breathing heavily, slid into the waiting room. I wondered where his bodyguards were only to see them come skidding to a stop behind him a couple seconds later, seemingly out of breath.

“I ran as fast as I could when I heard,” Will said, holding his sides. “God, I need to start exercising more.”

“You ran?” James stated in surprise.

“Car wasn’t available, and the hospital isn’t far, so I ran. Where’s Walt? How’s he doing? What’s the-” His eyes landed on me, and all questions disappeared off his tongue. The world seemed to stop as I took in his appearance. I guess I hadn’t paid much attention as to how he’d changed. Will seemed to have let his facial hair grow out just enough to make a small bear. His eyes were bluer than I remembered, and his hair had grown out a little. He was devastatingly handsome, and I died a little on the inside.

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