“Sam…” Urs began.
“Hmmm?” was Sam’s distracted reply as she concentrated on buttoning up her blouse.
Urs stopped and then continued when he was sure he had Sam’s full attention, “Let’s get married.”
“What?” Sam whispered incredulously.
“I said, let’s get married.”
“But Urs, are you sure?”
“Yes, I’m sure. Very sure in fact,” he said with such conviction that Sam couldn’t doubt him at all. But still she had to be sure.
“This is serious, Urs. Are you in your right mind? I mean, marriage means commitment…and what about her?”
“Jenny and I were over even before you came into my life. I told her about you, and she wished us the best,” he looked at her intensely. “And I know what marriage means, I’m not a teenager and this is no puppy love. I love you and I want to live the rest of my life with you. Seeing Seb fighting for his life has made me realise how vulnerable we all are. I’m afraid that if I wait too long I might never have the chance to show you how much I really love you. Now, unless you’re not ready to commit, I’ll understand that.” He looked away, not wanting to let her see the hurt in his eyes.
Tears welled up in her eyes as she turned his face towards her, showing him the love that consumed her. With a whispered “I’m ready” she kissed him with such tenderness and conviction that he was left with no doubt what her answer would be. They stayed locked in each other’s arms for what seemed like an eternity when suddenly, Sam felt something shook between them. It took her a while to realise it was his mobile phone vibrating in his pants pocket and she broke off laughing.
“What’s so funny?” Urs looked at her quizzically. Was it all a joke to her?
“Didn’t you feel the vibration?” she asked but all she got was a blank look so she pointed to his pants pocket, and only then did he feel the vibration of the ringing phone. As he took out the phone to answer, reality struck again and they were reminded of Sebastien’s precarious condition.
It was David on the line.
“How’s Sebastien?” Urs asked as Sam listened closely beside him.
“He hasn’t woken up yet, though he did move his eyelids a couple of times,” came David’s reply.
“We’ll be right there.” As they made way towards the building, Sam stole a look at the stone bench and smiled.
“How is he?” Sam asked immediately after stepping into the room. Ginny could only shake her head as she continued to stroke Sebastien’s hair.
“It seems like he can hear us but he just can’t wake up,” Carlos replied with a worried frown. Hearing that, Urs had an idea. He walked over to Sebastien and touched his forehead. No fever. He then proceeded to talk to him in French and somehow that seemed to work as slowly, Sebastien opened his eyes.
“Now, why didn’t I think of that?” David exclaimed in wonder, grinning as the others looked on in disbelieve.
“Ginny,” Sebastien managed in a weak voice.
“I’m here, my love,” Ginny replied as she held his hand to her face, tears rolling down her face and onto his hand.
“Did the doctor really try to ask you out?” he asked, his voice gaining some strength.
“What?” Ginny thought she heard wrong but by now Urs had begun to laugh out loud after having tried unsuccessfully to stifle his laughter. The other guys started laughing as well and soon the whole room was filled with loud, booming voices which brought the nurse in to check on the commotion.
“Thank goodness, Seb’s awake! I’ll go get the doctor,” she said as she hastily left the room.
At the mention of the doctor, the three guys broke into more laughter. Ginny and Sam could only look at each other with a puzzled expression on their faces. Sebastien smiled sheepishly when he realised he was duped. Before the girls could demand an explanation, the doctor appeared at the door.
“Well, well, I see everything’s going mighty well with Mr Izambard,” he remarked as he entered the room.
But before he could approach the bed, Sebastien put up a hand and said, “Doc, please give me a minute with my friends.” With that, he beckoned to Urs with a finger. The others all crowded around the bed to listen as Urs lowered his head to hear what Sebastien had to say.
Grabbing his shirt collar, he hissed, “You call that skinny-looking doctor a mighty handsome guy?”
“Well, if I didn’t, would you have opened your eyes?” Urs replied matter-of-factly.
This exchange brought another round of laughter from the group and the girls finally understood what Urs had told Sebastien in French. Finally, the doctor got to perform his duty after the laughter subsided.
“Looks like you have crossed the difficult hurdle, Mr Izambard. However, we still need to monitor you closely as infection might set in.” With that, he left the group, wondering what it was that they were laughing about. After the nurse had finished making sure her favourite Divo was comfortable and left, the room became quiet again.
It was a full minute before Urs broke the silence, saying he had an announcement to make. Then he walked over to Sam and took her hands in his and announced ever so tenderly, “Sam and I are getting married.”
His eyes never left hers as he said those words and Sam felt like she was melting, her legs almost giving way. It took everyone else a full minute to digest what was spoken and when the words finally sank in, there were wolf whistles and applause as each one took turns to congratulate the happy couple. Sebastien, through his pain and discomfort, managed a hearty handshake with Urs and said, “Well done, my friend!”
Ginny gave Sam a big hug, saying through her tears how happy she was and made Sam promise her that she would be the maid of honour.
“Not if you’re getting married on the same day as well,” Sam replied, the idea of a double wedding got her all excited; she didn’t have to be the only nervous bride on the big day. However, upon hearing that suggestion, Ginny suddenly went from smiling to frowning as she stole a look in Sebastien’s direction.
“What’s wrong, Gin?”
Ginny’s eyes glistened with tears as she turned to walk out of the room, muttering that she needed to go to the restroom. Sam watched her friend leave and wondered if she had missed something. Turning to Sebastien, she was about to ask him about his wedding plan with Ginny when she noticed he had turned quiet and pale. Urs followed her gaze and saw it too and quickly rushed to his side.
“What’s wrong, Seb?”
“The pain is getting worse. The drug must have worn off,” Sebastien grimaced as he replied weakly.
“I’ll go get the nurse,” Carlos volunteered.
Soon the nurse appeared and started checking Sebastien’s vital signs and administered the painkiller according to the doctor’s instruction. After making sure that he was comfortable, she shooed the others out of the room saying that he needed more rest. It took Sebastien less than five minutes to drift off to sleep.
Ginny stood in the garden, silently sobbing. She was glad she was alone as she didn’t feel like talking to anyone. She needed time to decide and though she knew deep in her heart that she would follow Sebastien through hell and back, she wasn’t sure it was the right thing to do now.
Sam found her walking aimlessly in the now darkened garden. Worried that her friend might trip and fall, she quickly made her way to Ginny’s side.
“Ginny, what’s wrong?”
“Don’t lie to me. Is it because of the wedding?”
All Ginny could do was nod her head. She was afraid that if she said something, her tears might start again.
“But I thought he proposed to you the day after the fashion show? What went wrong?”
Sam was so tired she was tempted to just shake the truth out of Ginny. Her head had started to hurt and all she wanted to do was to go home and soak in the bathtub with her soon-to-be husband. At the thought of Urs, her face turned crimson and her eyes automatically searched out the stone bench, a small smile adorning her face. It was just as well that Ginny couldn’t see her clearly in the darkened surrounding otherwise she would have a lot of explaining to do.
“He may have wanted to marry me back then but it’ll be different once he learns that the man who stabbed him was my ex,” she looked at Sam with her big blue eyes, tears threatening to fall again. Sam was momentarily at a loss for words as she looked at her friend, trying to determined if she was in the right frame of mind.
“What are you saying, Ginny? Don’t you trust Seb at all? Even the blind can see how much he loves you. How else do you explain why he risked his own life to save you?”
“But he doesn’t know about Danny. He was stabbed because of me and I feel so terrible seeing him in so much pain. I wish I was the one lying in the hospital bed right now, not him. I’ll never forgive myself if he didn’t make it through.”
Sam was so physically drained that this conversation was getting to be too much for her to take. She wanted to strangle Ginny’s beautiful neck for all her nonsense. She knew without a doubt that Sebastien would never blame Ginny for his predicament, being such a loving and understanding man that he was.
“Ok, I’ll tell Seb the wedding is off for you two,” she said in all seriousness. “I hope he survives this piece of bad news. We almost lost him just now, when you left the room suddenly,” she lied and was glad Ginny couldn’t see her face since she was a bad liar.
“What do you mean we almost lost him just now? He was fine when I left…” Ginny had a horrible image of Sebastien fighting for his life while the doctor and nurses tried to save him. “Sam, why didn’t you tell me sooner?” But before Sam could come up with an explanation, she broke into a run. It was all Sam could do to keep up with Ginny, her energy fast sapping away after the evening’s activity of chasing after the villain and, of course, that little exercise on the stone bench.
Ginny couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw how still Seb was lying in bed. She hurried over to him to feel his forehead.
“He’s going to be alright, isn’t he?” she asked fearfully, choking back her tears.
“Well, the doc did say infection might set in and that could be dangerous.” It wasn’t a total lie, Sam thought. Seeing how worried her friend was she now felt guilty for lying about Sebastien’s condition.
“Oh, what am I going to do Sam? What if he never wakes up at all? I’ll never be able to tell him how much I love him and how I’d love to be his wife.”
“Then you should never hesitate again if he asked you to marry him again, if and when he wakes up,” Sam pointed out ominously. Might as well continue with the white lie, she thought. Horrified at the thought of possibly losing the only man she truly loved, Ginny could only nod her head as she sat beside the bed and held Sebastien’s hand.
Urs had seen the girls entering the room and followed. He heard their conversation and wondered why Sam made it seem as if Sebastien was in critical condition when he was only knocked out by the painkiller. He looked at her questioningly but was ushered out of the room by Sam.
Outside the room, Sam explained the little conversation she had with Ginny in the garden. Urs agreed that Sebastien would never change his mind about marrying Ginny and that Ginny was foolish to let Danny get the better of her.
“We have to do something to help them,” Sam said.
“But what? We can’t force Ginny to do something she’s not willing to do or doesn’t think she should do,” Urs stated.
“I don’t know, but we’ll think of something.”
On their way back to Sam’s apartment, Urs voiced his concern over Sam’s plan to make Ginny agree to marry Sebastien. He felt it was a decision she alone had to make and that they shouldn’t interfere.
“What do you mean, Urs? We all know how in love they are with each other and Seb showed that by risking his own life for her. Ginny is having doubts only because she felt guilty that he was hurt because of her. We need to let Seb know so that he can convince her he doesn’t blame her at all.”
“Yes, I agree we should let Seb know what Ginny is thinking. But you said we should get Ginny to commit herself to Seb, I think that’s going too far.”
With a sigh, she replied, “Alright, we play by the ears. We’ll tell Seb what she’s thinking and go on from there. Maybe we needn’t interfere, I’m just thinking too far ahead. Anyway, I’m dead tired…” And with that, she drifted off to sleep cradled in his arms. Urs gave a little kiss on her forehead and shut his eyes, feeling drained out by all the events of the day.
Soon they reached Sam’s apartment building. Urs paid for the cab and was contemplating carrying Sam to the apartment when she woke and they headed upstairs. Inside the apartment, Sam kicked off her shoes and plonked down on the bed, not even bothering with her clothes or make-up. Urs was left shaking his head and smiling indulgently at her. He set about undressing her and tucking her in before he too, got in beside her after shedding his clothes and cradled her in his arms. He watched her as she slept peacefully until his eyes became too heavy and he too succumbed to sleep.
Back in the hospital room, Ginny rested her head beside Sebastien’s arm on the bed as she kept vigil sitting in a chair. On and off she drifted off to sleep, waking up to feel his forehead and making sure he was properly covered. When the nurse checked in on him and saw Ginny asleep in the chair, she brought a blanket and gently covered her with it. Smiling to herself, she thought they would make a wonderful couple.
Morning came and Ginny was still lying with her head on her arms on the bed when Sebastien opened his eyes. He stroked her hair and felt an ache in his heart; here was a woman whom he loved with all his life and was almost taken away from him. The thought made him want to cradle her close to him and protect her. He tried to sit up but the movement caused him so much pain that he fell back clutching his wounded side. Ginny woke up with a start and immediately started to fuss around him.
“How are you feeling, Seb? Should I get the doctor?” she asked anxiously, seeing his grimace as he clutched at his side.
“No doctor. A kiss will do,” he smiled weakly and promptly received his morning kiss. “Mmm, that’s the best medicine. How about a glass of water? I’m thirsty.” Ginny set about playing nurse maid as Sebastien looked on with great amusement. He loved being fussed about until he saw how tired she looked.
“Ginny, you haven’t slept well last night, have you? Why don’t you go home and rest? I’ll be alright here,” he held on to her hand and tried to look into her eyes. She turned away, pretending to be busy with his bed covers as she replied, “No, I’m fine…as long as you don’t hurt yourself again.”
Urs appeared and gave a little knock on the door before walking in.
“Morning,” he said, “How are you feeling, Seb?”
“Couldn’t be better,” was Sebastien’s distracted reply as he tried to read Ginny’s expression but couldn’t as she had her back turned towards him. He thought that she must be just tired and left it at that.
“You guys have a chat while I go check with the nurse about your breakfast, Seb,” she said before leaving the room, but not before she heard Sebastien asking Urs for the full account of what happened after he was stabbed and if the attacker was caught. She wanted to turn back and tell him all about Danny but somehow couldn’t pluck up the courage to face him, so with hurried footsteps she left them.
Urs filled Sebastien in on all the details including how he almost killed Danny. Then he told Sebastien about who Danny really was and how guilty Ginny felt about the whole incident. He also mentioned the conversation that Sam had with Ginny in the garden.
“You know, Urs, if I were you and I had known about that guy Danny, I would have killed him myself,” Sebastien said with fire in his eyes. “How could anyone treat a lady like that? But I’m glad though that you had only broken his arms because I certainly don’t want to have to visit you in prison. Besides, it’ll also give me a chance to break the other arm when I do see him again on the street.” He smiled a little smile and held out his hand to Urs, “Thanks, brother.” They had a shake ‘n’ hug, Urs being careful not to hurt his buddy.
“So what are you planning to do with Ginny?
“What can I do except to keep telling her I love her and hope that she believes me. But let’s not talk about us, what about Sam and you? Are you happy Urs?” Sebastien asked with such concern that Urs was touched by it.
“Yes, I’ve never been happier,” he said softly, his eyes revealing his newfound happiness.
“Then you should get married as soon as possible. You know how women like to change their mind,” he said with a bitter smile and Urs immediately knew that he was referring to Ginny.
“Did you ask her again?”
“No, but I can see she’s very troubled. I wish she would trust me enough to tell me about her past. I would love to help her get over it and start a new life but I can’t do that unless she comes to me. You know what I mean, Urs?” by now Sebastien was feeling a little helpless and his eyes betrayed his hurt.
“Give her some time to think it over. I’m sure she’ll come to the right decision soon.” Urs could feel and see how disappointed Sebastien was but there was only so much he could do for him.
In a lighter note, Sebastien suggested, “Why don’t you have a quickie wedding…whisk her off on your Harley and get married in a chapel then go on a honeymoon? You know, if I’m able to walk, I’d hold a wedding right here, maybe in the garden, so that Ginny won’t have time to even fret about it.”
At the mention of the garden, Urs was brought back to the night before and what came into his mind made his face turn red. Sebastien noticed the change and looked at him curiously, “Did I say something wrong? Why are you blushing?”
But before Urs could come up with an excuse, Sam walked in, kissed Sebastien on his forehead and then planted a smacking kiss on Urs’s lips.
“Why didn’t you wake me?” she asked Urs.
Relieved at the interruption, Urs replied, “You were so tired last night, I thought I’d let you sleep a while longer.”
“How are you feeling, Seb? Where’s Ginny?” Sam turned her attention back to Sebastien.
“I’m feeling so much better, thanks. Ginny has gone out to see about my breakfast. Come to think of it, she had been gone a long time. Wonder what’s keeping her?” Suddenly, Sebastien couldn’t help feeling a sense of panic that Ginny had left him for good. Seeing the worried frown on his forehead, Sam quickly offered to go look for Ginny.
“Don’t worry, Seb, I’ll bring her back,” she winked at him and left. Urs followed her out of the room with his eyes, a big smile on his face. All this was not lost on Sebastien and he felt happy for his friend, even though he was troubled by Ginny’s foolish thoughts.
While the men talked about postponing their world tour till Sebastien was fully recovered, Sam set about looking for Ginny by asking the nurse at the counter. She walked out to the garden and found her friend at the same spot she was the night before.
“Ginny, Seb’s worried about you. Are you ok?” Sam spoke gently, seeing that Ginny was deep in thoughts.
“I’m a mess, Sam. A part of me wants to tell Seb what I went through with Danny, the other is so afraid I’d lose him after that. What am I supposed to do?” she turned to face Sam, her eyes revealing how lost she felt.
Unlike the previous night when she thought Ginny was just being silly to worry about Sebastien’s reaction to her past, Sam now felt compassion for her best friend as memories of that terrible past came back to her. Sam hugged her and stroked her hair as she whispered, “Tell him everything. He deserves to know it. Whatever his decision, I’ll always be here for you.”
The conviction in Sam’s voice was enough to make Ginny feel relieved and as she sobbed quietly on Sam’s shoulders, she mumbled, “Thanks, Sam. I wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for you and then I’d never have met Sebastien at all. Now, you’re here for me again…I can never thank you enough.”
“Stop saying silly things, girl. We’re more than friends, remember? We’re twins!” Sam gave Ginny a playful pinch on her cheek which drew a tearful laughter from her. Drying her eyes, she took Sam’s hands and they walked back to the building.
“Have a good little chat with your lover-boy. I’ll drag mine away from him,” Sam instructed with a wink as they reached the room. “Ok, lover-boy, lets go get some breakfast, shall we? I’m starving,” and she proceeded to pull Urs away from the bedside.
“Wait, Sam!” Sebastien called out.
“Could you bring Ginny with you? She needs to eat something and get some sleep,” Sebastien replied, his eyes full of concern as he looked at Ginny.
“But Seb, I’m fine. I’ll get something to eat later. Sam can bring me some clothes to change,” Ginny insisted.
“No, sweetie, you need to sleep. Besides, I’ve just taken some medicine and I’m feeling drowsy already. Go home and get some rest. Come back here later and we’ll talk,” he looked at her tenderly with his beautiful green eyes, holding her hand and silently pleading with her to heed his advice. In truth, he wanted to do nothing else but talk with Ginny but he couldn’t bear to see her so tired and worn out.
“Come, Ginny. Seb’s right, you do look like you’ve been run over by a truck,” Sam said as she went over and held out her hand out to Ginny. With a sigh of resignation, Ginny kissed Sebastien full on his lips and tucked him in properly, whispering, “I’m be back soon” before leaving with Sam and Urs.
Not long after they had left, the nurse came in with a tray of breakfast and the morning medication. Sebastien had lied about being drowsy. It was the only way to make Ginny leave.
Ginny had kept quiet as they sat in the cafe, downing coffee and some sandwiches. Urs was worried and was about to talk to her when Sam lightly squeezed his thigh underneath the table, stopping him in time. Looking at her, he understood that she was trying to tell him to leave Ginny alone.
When they were done with breakfast, they took a cab back to the girls’ apartment. Urs, knowing that the Ginny needed to be alone, kissed Sam and told her he would be at his own apartment if she needed him and left.
Ginny walked into her bedroom without thinking, leaving Sam staring after her. In a few short seconds, Sam could hear her crying and she made her way into the room. Ginny was spread out on the bed sobbing her heart out. Sam could only sit beside her and stroked her hair, hoping that sleep would claim her soon. It didn’t take long for sleep to come. Sam carefully covered her and tiptoed out of the room.
Back in his own apartment, Urs had David and Carlos as company. They had both woke up not long ago and wanted to see if Urs would like to join them in visiting Sebastien. Urs told them his visit to the hospital and the things that he and Sebastien had chatted about.
“I’m surprised Ginny doesn’t feel secure enough to trust Seb,” David stated. Somehow he couldn’t understand Ginny’s reaction and thought that if he were Sebastien, he would have felt very hurt.
“I heard from Sam that Ginny’s time with Danny was like living with the devil so I don’t think it was because she doesn’t trust Seb. It must have been terrible for her to recall her past like that, much worse if she had to relive it by telling it to another person,” Urs explained.
“Well, there’s not much we can do here. Let’s hope they manage to work things out soon. Otherwise Seb’s heart is going to ache even more than his wound,” Carlos said as he looked out the window, trying to digest all the happenings around him.
As if in mutual consent, they changed their topic and discussed about their world tour and how far off they had to push it back. All agreed that Sebastien’s health was more important than anything else and decided to call off the tour until they were ready again. The good news was that the tour dates weren’t announced yet so the postponement would not be a messy affair. After the discussion, both Carlos and David headed to the hospital to visit Sebastien, leaving Urs to get some much-needed rest.