Miley sat at their designated post, waiting for the store to open for half day only, so all Skyline employees could also go to their families and celebrate Christmas Eve.
She sighed. God she was beat. That small bed in the hospital wasn’t what she would call comfortable, and she had been awakened every two hours or so by nurses who came into the room to do their routine checks. Her back ached from yesterday and from the day before when she went skating with him. The memory cut through her like the blades of those skates.
And if that wasn’t enough, she felt a hole carved inside her chest that felt heavy with sorrow.
She looked up at the man who appeared to be the first in line to wrap a gift. Miley tried to hide her hurt and offered him a semi-bright smile.
“I had some last minute Christmas shopping to do before I head to my parents’ place in Jersey.” His apologetic smile told her Rick hadn’t sent him. It caused her already bruised heart to shy away from the world and curl back into its dark corner.
“He’s leaving tonight.” He added.
“I know.” They fell silent, Miley not sure she wanted to know more about Rick just yet.
“So, is this cookbook for your mom?” She changed the subject abruptly, and Jonathan thankfully went along with it.
“Absolutely. I may be gay but I, for the life of me, can’t even get one of those canned soups right without making a total disaster out of it. Luckily, Ms. Martha Stewart here is willing to teach my mother a few tricks.”
“It’s been one of our bestselling cookbooks. Your mom will love it.”
They said nothing while Miley tied a big golden bow to the wrapped book.
“There.” Miley gave Jonathan the Christmas present, as he handed her his receipt and she stamped it. “You’re all set.”
Jonathan hesitated with the book in one hand, and a look of sympathy for the dark circles under her eyes and her clearly sad demeanor.
“Miley, I know it’s none of my business. But I can see you’re going through hell and trust me, he is doing the same. What hap…” Unfortunately, Jonathan was interrupted by a sales clerk who came running to where Miley sat, her hand on her chest as she panted when she reached the wrapping stand.
“Miley, it’s Saint Agatha’s.”
The color drained from Miley’s face. She stood up, almost knocking over the work table and moved her head left and right, as if not sure what she was supposed to do.
“Miley, what’s wrong?” Jonathan reached to touch her arm. Miley stared at it for a few seconds then gave him what she thought was a brave smile and said.
“Merry Christmas, Jonathan.”
“Miley?” But she was already running to the employees’ room, her mind filled with images she tried to push away so she could get to the hospital in one piece.
Jonathan remained rooted to the spot, his forehead creased in confusion, as he caught a glimpse of Miley disappearing through a door, the distress visible from here on her vanishing face.
Rick was going over some numbers he had to have ready for his business meeting with his China office, when Jonathan stepped inside. Rick glanced down at his watch and said without looking up. “I thought you said your mother was going to kill you if you skipped helping with dinner tonight.” He said drily.
“She’ll kill me anyway, when I tell her I’ll be going solo tonight. I just wanted to confirm your car for five. I called the airline and your flight is on time. And Mr. Huan called to tell me there would be someone waiting for you at the airport in Beijing.”
“Would you leave that for one damn minute?
Rick lifted his stare to look at his personal assistant, eyebrows raised.
His first reaction was to go back to the work on his desk. Right now the last thing he wanted was to talk or think about her.
“What about her, Jonathan?”
“Something happened. She’s at St. Agatha’s.”
Rick’s heart literally stopped beating at the mention of her being in a hospital. He shot up from his desk and went to Jonathan.
“What happened? Is she hurt?”
“I think you should go see for yourself.”