But no sooner did I make up my mind than my cell phone rang. Reaching inside my coat pocket, I pulled it out to see it was Katy.
I swiped it and answered.
“Grey…” she began, as she gasped. “Where are you? Are you in LA?”
I felt my forehead wrinkle as her tone focused my attention.
“No, I’m in Chicago. What’s wrong? Are you okay?”
“Yes,” she replied. Still searching for a steady rhythm in her breath, she continued, “It’s Maddie!”
I shot to my feet. “Maddie? What is it?”
In the background, I heard a variety of ambient sounds. People talking, a voice over a loud speaker but I couldn’t make any sense of it. It was a jumble.
“Katy!” I exclaimed. “What is going with Maddie? Is she hurt? Where is she?”
“I don’t know,” she said. Just then I listened as Katy covered the phone speaker, muffling a discussion she was having with someone else.
Now pacing across the office, I ran a hand through my hair.
“Katy!” I yelled. “Katy!”
After what seemed like for-fucking-ever, her voice crackled over the line.
“You need to get here as soon as you can, Grey. Maddie’s at LA General. She passed out on the set and she’s still unconscious. Hurry Grey, please.”
“Grey…” I pleaded. “Why? This doesn’t make any sense. Things have been going so well. I don’t understand.”
Grey waved me off as he slipped his suit coat on and snapped his elbows, sliding it in place.
Straightening his tie, he shook his head and replied, “No that’s it, Maddie. We’re done. I can’t deal with your behavior anymore. My attorneys will be in touch with you as it relates to our business affairs. I will ensure you are treated fairly. As far as you and me, this is the end of our time together.”
Panicked, I ran down the hallway of our apartment and pressed my back against the door. The cool feel of the door against my backside sent yet another jolt into my already rattled mental state.
“Please don’t do this, Grey!” I screamed as he walked down the hall towards me. “I promise I can change. It will be better. I will be better.”
He drew close and as he did, his scent overwhelmed me. Glaring down in my direction, Grey straightened his tie.
“Maddie. Don’t make this any more difficult than it has to be.”[email protected]@@@[email protected]@@@@=======
I collapsed into him, clutching the lapels of his jacket. Wordless, Grey grabbed hold of my upper arms and forced my grip loose with a shove against the wall. As I fell into it, I looked at him in disbelief. It couldn’t be. Why?
My lip quivered as I searched my mind for any words that might convince him to stay. But before I could utter a sound, Grey yanked the front door open.
“Good luck, Maddie and goodbye.”
And just like that, the door closed and Grey Sinclair was out my life. My legs felt weak as I lurched towards the door, slamming my hands against it in grief. I slid down the length of it until I collapsed in the hall and wept.
For several minutes, I sat there, overwhelmed, broken. When I’d cried all the tears I could for the time being, another emotion swelled up inside of me. Balling my fists, I staggered back to a standing position and ran down the hall in the direction of the bedroom.
Within minutes, I’d half-packed everything I owned. I jammed the last of my things in my suitcase as I prepared to get the hell out of there, when from behind, I heard him.
I thinned my lips and spun around to face Grey, but he wasn’t there.
“Not funny, Grey!” I yelled. “If you’ve got something to say, say it. Otherwise, leave me the hell alone!”
Storming out of the bedroom, I looked around and even walked to the living room, but he was nowhere to be seen.
“You’re an asshole!” I screamed. “Fuck you, Grey!”
I went back to packing but almost as soon as I did, I heard his voice once more.
“I’m here Maddie,” he said in a whisper. “Please don’t leave me.”
“Grey!” I cried, as I turned around, my fists in wads so tight I felt my skin might burst. “Where are you, you fucking bastard!?? Show your face, now! How can you be so fucking cruel?”
I slammed my clothes down and marched down the hallway, looking in every direction possible.
“Maddie, take my hand, please…”
The hallway to the elevator!
I raced to the front door of the apartment and yanked it open. At the end of the hallway, I saw Grey standing there with his back to me, waiting for the elevator.
“Grey!” I screamed. “Why are you doing this?”
He turned back to face me and as he did the elevator door opened. Behind him, I noticed nothing but blackness. The elevator wasn’t there!
“Grey!” I cried, as I ran down the hall towards him. But as soon as I approached, he stepped into the black void and disappeared from sight.
“Oh my God!!! Jesus!! Grey!! No!!!!” I ran as fast as I could and just as I reached the blackness of the elevator door, I gasped for breath.
With Grey standing right next to me.
“Oh my God,” I moaned as I hugged him.
“Shh, Maddie. It’s okay.”
I felt dizzy, sick, lightheaded but most of all, relieved. I clutched him against my body with all the strength I had and wept. My heart beat so fast I felt like it was about to jump from my chest.
“Maddie,” he said as he stroked my hair. “Everything is all right. I’m right here. You’re going to be fine. It was just a dream.”
“What happened?” I said, as I sat up and looked around the room. Steady beeps from the monitoring devices echoed in my head. In the distance, the smell of the over-application of cleaning chemicals being used to cover up the unspeakable things that happened in hospitals wafted into my nose.
“You blacked out, Maddie,” Grey said, as he leaned over me, stroking my head. “Do you remember anything?”
“Hmm, okay,” Grey replied. He rubbed his chin and glanced around the room. “Well, the doctor thinks you came down with a nasty case of food poisoning, so they’re gonna keep you here overnight. At least.”
Weakness coursed through my body as the adrenaline from my dream faded. My skin felt clammy, cool.
“You sure you’re all right?” he asked.
My head fell back into the pillow as I closed my eyes. I swallowed hard and replied, “Yeah, I’m fine. You go ahead back to the apartment. I’ll be okay.”
“Maddie, don’t be fucking ridiculous,” Grey scoffed. I flipped my eyes open just as he pointed to a chair near the door to the room. “I’m not going anywhere until you do. Got me?”
I smiled, closed my eyes and leaned my head against the pillow once again. It was the last thing I remembered before I passed out once again.
In the days after my food poisoning episode, I had to take time off from work as well as the movie rehearsals. On doctor’s orders, I was confined to bed rest, chicken broth and Jell-O which, uh, I hate Jell-O. The texture grosses me out like you wouldn’t believe.
Pretty much everyone checked in on me in form or another. Of course Katy and Carmen stopped by to visit in person but the one who surprised me the most of all was Grey. He was about as unGreylike as I could have imagined. He hardly left my room while I was at the hospital and after I returned to the apartment, he informed me he’d be staying until I was well enough to resume my normal routine.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the time I got to spend with him. It wasn’t anything special, just quiet time together watching movies or stupid reality television. Honestly, I’m not sure Grey had ever watched a day of television in his life but considering how much he worked and his family background, I wasn’t all that surprised.
But, as much as we worked, we needed a vacation. The irony is I used to think people like Grey didn’t have to work but the truth is, that’s all he ever did. So although I wished the circumstances around out little ‘‘mini-vacation’ weren’t a result of me being violently ill, I didn’t mind the tradeoff in the end.
Anyway, a few more days passed and I eventually regained enough strength to begin a limited work schedule. The doctor wanted me to still take it easy for the first week or so after I went back. The strange thing was no one else on the set got food poisoning, so he concluded I’d eaten something bad around the apartment. Knowing me and my forgetfulness when it came to leftovers, that wasn’t hard to believe.
Grey returned to Chicago. Although he checked in on me once a day, it was nothing like having him here with me. That was especially true in the wake of the terrible dream I’d had about losing him down the elevator shaft. Although he’d wanted to know what the dream was about, I didn’t want to tell him.
This was made all the more difficult because I had the same dream a number of times and twice while he was still staying with me which, uh, was horrible. Eventually though, like my food poisoning, it went away. What didn’t was my vomiting. I was still doing it every day and it was really getting old.
I sat on the couch after work one night when Grey called to check up on me. As I mentioned, he did it every day, which was sweet, but nowhere near as good as having him here in the flesh.