Sam sat behind her desk, piling through some files. She had been put on light duty following her recovery from the fractured arm. Just as she was getting restless and bored, her phone rang. It was Urs. That lifted the corners of her lips. He had called to tell her that they were having dinner with Sebastien and Ginny that night. This gave Sam the motivation to finish what she was doing and when the time came for her to leave the office, she grabbed her bag and bid her colleagues a hasty farewell, determined not to be late for dinner. Urs wouldn’t like it if she was late; he worked like a Swiss watch.
They had dinner by the River Thames, out in the open where they could enjoy the gentle breeze blowing across the river and watch the people as they went about their business.
Ginny was a picture of calm and serenity. Gone was her girlish demeanour, which was sometimes comical to say the least. Sam attributed that transformation to Sebastien who was gazing lovingly at Ginny as she talked. Sam felt happy that her best friend had at last found her true love because she had had a difficult relationship in the past, when she was constantly abused by her then boyfriend, Danny. Sam was glad that harrowing experience didn’t take away the loving nature of Ginny and admired her courage to love so wholeheartedly again so soon.
As Sam let Ginny’s past played across her mind, Urs sat quietly and observed her. He had never met a woman who was as strong as she was, both physically and mentally. He thought about her job as a policewoman and how dangerous it could be. On many occasions he was tempted to tell her to quit her job but decided that he should believe in her capabilities and judgment. What would happen when Il Divo started touring? He pondered as he took a sip of his drink. That question remained on his mind even as their evening came to an end.
As they stood up to leave the table, Sebastien saw a man making a hasty beeline in their direction. To his horror, he saw that the man had a knife in his hand and was heading for Ginny. His instinct made him push Ginny out of the way and as a result, he ended up taking the full brunt of the knife in his abdomen. He staggered backwards, blood quickly staining his white shirt.
Ginny screamed when she saw the blood. Urs caught him in time as he fell and gently laid him down on the floor. In the background, people scurried for safety, afraid for their own lives, and someone could be heard calling the ambulance on the phone. The place had turned into mayhem in a matter of seconds.
As reality sank in, Sam scanned the area for the attacker. She saw him calmly moving away from the crowd, and with a quick glance at her friends, she ran off after him.
Ginny was by now crying inconsolably, calling out Sebastien’s name, willing him to stay alive. “Please, Seb, don’t leave me,” she sobbed helplessly as she shook him gently. He tried to tell her not to cry but the pain was too overwhelming that he finally closed his eyes, the sound of Ginny’s cries faded into the distance.
“Seb, stay with us please. Help is on the way. Seb, can you hear me?” Urs shouted, tears streaming down his face as he watched his best friend slipped away from him.
Amidst the chaos, a lady stepped forward and offered her help. She introduced herself and said she was a nurse and began giving orders to the restaurant staff who were trying to help. Urs gladly let her take over as he felt there was nothing else he could do for Sebastien. As he got up, he realised Sam was nowhere to be found. He scanned the area and saw her running after the assailant.
Urs was torn between staying with Sebastien and going after Sam and the attacker. It took him only a split second to decide as thoughts of Sam confronting an armed criminal brought a chill down his spine; memories of the shoot-out with Big Ben came flooding back in his mind. A quick look over his shoulder to make sure that Sebastien was being taken care of and he was off running after Sam.
While the nurse and Ginny tried their best to stem the loss of blood by applying pressure on the wound with towels provided by the restaurant staff, Sam was in hot pursuit of the attacker, running across the road and jumping over a railing, never letting up on her target. Urs wasn’t far behind, risking his own life as he dashed across the busy road, paying scant regards to his own safety as cars screeched to a stop in a bid to avoid hitting him.
As luck would have it, the attacker rounded a corner and came to a dead-end. Soon he was facing off with Sam, his back to the wall.
“Why did you do it, Danny?” Sam asked after the initial shock of realising who he was. Both of them were breathing heavily from the exertion of running and Danny kept wiping sweat off his brows.
“I want her to pay for walking out on me, that’s why! That slut! Did she think she could just pack up and leave? How dare she walk out on me!” Danny shouted vehemently, his eyes raging with hatred and anger. Sam was about to tell him to give himself up when Urs appeared beside her, his expression unreadable.
“He’s mine,” he said in a deadly calm.
Sam stood back, somehow knowing that nothing would stop him.
“Be careful, Urs.”
With a deadly glint in his eyes and a clench of his jaw, Urs advanced slowly, the clicking of his boots resonated off the walls of the buildings surrounding them. Danny felt trapped as he retreated while Urs continued advancing on him, his back finally touching the wall behind him. With a contemptuous twitch of his mouth and eyes never leaving his prey, Urs stood with his legs apart, biding his time. Like a trapped animal, Danny snapped and lunged, thrusting his knife at Urs’s midriff.
“Urs, watch out!” Sam could barely get the warning out when Urs grabbed his assailant’s knife-wielding arm. With a twist and turn, Danny was flung onto the floor. But it didn’t end there as Danny let out a blood-curling scream when a sickening crack could be heard. His arm lay in a twisted angle and his knife fell on the floor beside him. By now, a red mist had descended upon Urs and for a while Sam didn’t recognise him at all. Without knowing what he was doing, he picked up the knife and thrust it at his victim. It took all of Sam’s strength to prevent the knife from finding its target.
“Stop, Urs! He’s not worth it,” she pleaded with him with her eyes as she held on to his knife-wielding hand. Hearing Sam’s voice somehow snapped him out of his trance and he dropped the knife. The police had arrived at that moment and with a quick word to her fellow colleagues, Sam grabbed Urs’s hand and both of them rushed back to the restaurant just in time to see the ambulance leave the scene.
“Come, let’s head to the hospital,” she said as she waved down a cab. All throughout the journey, both of them were lost in their own thoughts. Sam stole surreptitious glances at Urs to see if he was alright. He had his fists clenched so tightly that she could see the vein at the side of his neck throb. For awhile she was worried for him because he looked ready to smash at the window. Gently, she reached for one of his hands and pried it open. Slipping her fingers between his, she brought it to her lips.
Slowly she could feel his tension fade away and he was finally calm enough to call David. He didn’t say very much over the phone, except that Sebastien was hurt and they were heading to the hospital. Ending the call, he turned to Sam and drew her to him, taking in her scent while trying to keep his emotion under control. Staring out the car window, he sent a silent prayer up for his friend.
The little piece of information Urs gave got David all worried. What really happened to Sebastien? How did he get hurt? Was he in grave danger? He wanted so much to call Urs back and demand more answers but knew he would be wasting precious time. Instead, he called Carlos and relayed the information before heading for the hospital.
When both David and Carlos arrived at the hospital, they were greeted by Urs’ grave look and Ginny’s soft sobs. Sam was busy talking to a police officer.
“My God! What happened, Urs?” Carlos bellowed.
Urs looked at them before taking a deep breath and replied, “Seb was stabbed in the stomach.”
At this information, David and Carlos started talking all at once as they demanded to know the full details of the attack. Sam tried to calm them down, telling them that Sebastien was being operated on and that the assailant had been caught. At the mentioned of the assailant, Ginny broke into fresh tears again.
“It was my fault. He was after me, not Seb. I’m so sorry,” she managed this in between sobs. The sadness and self-blame was all Urs could take and he went over and gave Ginny a hug, whispering to her to be strong and that Sebastien would be fine. Up until then he had wondered if meeting Ginny was a big mistake for Sebastien but seeing how she had readily come forward to take the blame, he realised that he was wrong to harbour any doubts about her.
Sam looked over at Urs and marvelled at his calmness. She was terrified when he took on the assailant and his ruthlessness surprised her, but it was his quiet confidence that settled her nerves during that tense moment of the fight. Though she was glad she managed to stop him from doing more harm to Danny, she wondered if she would be able to stop herself if she were the one holding the knife.
Looking across at Sam, Urs wondered if he would have really plunged the knife into the man if she hadn’t stopped him. What was he thinking? Why did he do what he did, breaking the man’s arm and then picking up the knife to finish him off? A look at both Carlos and David told him why: because of Sebastien. Four years of working closely with these three men had brought him closer to them, so close that he had come to regard them as his brothers. The thought of losing any one of them was unbearable, and right then he felt an acute pain in his heart. Was he going to lose Sebastien?
The wait was agonizing and when it ended, they were no less worried. Even though the knife had missed his vital organs, Sebastien could still succumb to his injury due to blood loss. The young, be-spectacled doctor had warned that the next twenty-four hours were very crucial and Sebastien was placed in a room nearest the nurses’ station so he could be monitored more closely.
While waiting for Sebastien to wake up from his drug-induced coma, Carlos almost wore a hole in the carpet of the room, pacing up and down the length of it, stopping occasionally at the bedside to check on his friend.
“Seb, wake up. Your lady here needs you,” he said at one point but that didn’t work.
“What’s wrong with him? Doc said he should be awake once the drug wears off.”
“Maybe the drug hasn’t worn off yet?” came David’s reply. He was getting worried too but didn’t want to add to Carlos or Ginny’s misery.
“Seb darling, if you can hear me, please open your eyes,” Ginny gently touched his forehead with her lips and was rewarded with a slight movement of his eyelids.
“Can you hear me, Seb? Please wake up. We have a wedding to plan,” Ginny continued talking and touching him, a glimmer of hope in her voice. However, there was no more response from him. She looked at David dejectedly as he walked over and placed his hand on her shoulder.
Outside the room, Urs was placing coins in a vending machine for coffee when someone called out to him.
“Urs, I’m so glad you’re alright,” Jenny cried as she ran towards him and hugged him, almost upending his drink. “I heard from a friend who is a fan of yours that you and Seb were involved in a fight or something. You are alright, aren’t you?” she searched his face and touched his arms and chest as she searched for wounds.
“I’m fine, Jenny. It was Seb. He was stabbed.”
“Is he going to be alright? How serious?” Jenny asked earnestly, genuinely concerned for Sebastien. After all, she had known the other three Divos for almost as long as Urs had known them and had come to love them and regard them as part of her family.
“He’ll pull through, I’m sure. How did you get here?”
“I was in town for a convention and was on my way back to the hotel when I heard the news. God, Urs, you don’t know how frightened I was when I heard you were involved,” she hugged him tightly and whispered, “I thought I was going to lose you forever.” And then she kissed him.
Sam had just returned from the restroom after freshening up. The scene before her stopped her in her tracks. She stood there staring, unable to believe what she saw. When Urs looked up and saw her, their eyes met for a few seconds before she turned and briskly walked away, tears streaming down her face. Was that a look of remorse on his face?
Out in the garden of the hospital, Sam found a quiet spot and sat down on the stone bench. She let her tears flow as she gave in to all her emotions of the night: the horror of seeing Sebastien covered in blood, the shock of realising who the assailant was, the fear when Urs took on Danny, and now, the ultimate fear of losing the only man she ever loved. Her heart ached so much that she could hardly breathe and she wished she could just fall asleep without ever waking up again. The realisation that she could never live without Urs in her life frightened her and she huddled up on the bench and sobbed till she was emotionally drained. Tired, she lay down and closed her eyes.
Urs found her lying on the bench. He approached her cautiously, not wanting to startle her, then kneeled down beside her and stroked her face. Her skin was as cold as the stone bench so he quickly removed his jacket and covered her with it. While he continued to stroke her face and her hair as he waited patiently for her to wake up, memories of his time with her filled his mind. How could he hurt her after what they’d been through together in such a short time?
She finally stirred and opened her eyes. As she stared at him, he smiled gently at her before kissing her but she pushed him away and sat up, “Don’t do this to me, Urs.”
“Sam, listen to me,” he pleaded. Without a word, she stood up to leave. He held on to her from behind, arms around her waist. “Please, let me explain.”
“If you’re going back to her, just leave. I won’t hold it against you but please don’t say another word.” Tears begun streaming down her face again as she struggled to be free. All she wanted at that moment was to be alone with her broken heart. She didn’t want to even see his face because she was afraid she might see the guilt in his eyes, or worse, sympathy.
“I’m sorry that I seem to be causing you so much pain ever since we met. I wish I could turn back the clock so that you would never have been hurt in any way at all,” he closed his eyes as the hurt in her voice pierced through his heart.
“Are you saying that you regret ever knowing me?” Turning around, she looked at him with pain and disappointment showing on her face. Then, very calmly she said, “If this is what you’re feeling now, I don’t think there’s anything more to say between us.” She turned to leave.
“No, Samantha, that wasn’t what I meant,” Urs felt like kicking himself for not being clear enough. For the first time in his life, he was at a loss as to how to express his feelings. “What I meant was…” he paused when words failed him. But a look at her beautiful face let him find what he wanted to say. “I love you, Sam.”
For a moment time stood still. Sam gazed at him, unable to believe what she had just heard. Did he really say “I love you” or did he say “I love her”? She couldn’t decide.
Seeing the confused look in her eyes, he cupped her face with his hands and lowered his head. He started gently as if testing her response, and when she did not resist, his kiss intensified. As he savoured the taste of her lips with his own, his hands gently caressed the small of her back and lower. Sucked in by the manly taste and scent of him, all feelings of hurt disappeared as she arched her body, wanting to feel every inch of his body against her. She ran her hands through his hair, kissing him back and giving little moans that wrecked havoc with his senses.
Emboldened by her response, he broke away from the kiss only to plant little kisses on her face and neck. With one hand still holding on to her back, he worked the other through the buttons on her blouse. Then his lips followed the trail down the exposed skin, sending shivers through her as she held his head against her. Exquisite sensations coursed through her as his lips moved lower and lower.
Sam was by now totally oblivious to the surrounding. Only the feeling of flesh upon flesh was real as she lay on the cold stone bench, with only his body shielding her from the cold draught that swept through the garden. It was an intense reunion, swift but nonetheless sweet and unforgettable as they finally reached the top. They held on to each other even as they floated back to reality, marvelling at the wonders of what love had brought them.
Slowly, the reality of what they had just done dawned on them; they looked around the garden, then at each other. Sam started to giggle and this brought on laughter from Urs and they both scrambled to look decent again.