"So will you spend a few hours a week with me and a bunch of senior citizens in a poorly ventilated building with stale coffee?" he asked, wagging his eyebrows playfully.
“Sounds fun,” she said wryly.
“That a girl,” he said, taking her hand and placing it on his arm.
“Dana Mathews! Lucas James!” fans screamed as they made their way down the red carpet.
She smiled and waved even though she felt like passing out. Lucas held onto her tightly. “You look like you’re going to pass out on me any second now.”
“Well, for once I look exactly how I feel,” she mumbled.
“Ah damn, let’s get you inside,” Lucas said. He started to walk her quickly, but casually, inside. He found their seats and left to get her a soda.
Dana closed her eyes and leaned forward trying to fight off the dizziness. A strong arm went around her back and pulled her close. “Lucas, I’m okay. Just give me a few minutes please,” she whispered softly.
She felt warm lips press a kiss to the top of her head and she froze. “You don’t look good, baby. I was hoping to surprise you outside, but you damn near ran inside.”
Dana raised her head to see that Edward was really there. He was wearing an expensive black suit that made him look incredibly handsome. She threw her arms around his neck and kissed his forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, and lips. He chuckled happily as he returned her kisses. “I’m guessing you’re happy to see me.”
“Very!” She kissed his mouth again.
“I missed you so much and the kids. We finished ahead of schedule and I wanted to surprise you,” Edward whispered into the crook of her neck.
“I am surprised, believe me,” she said, hugging him again.
“Here you go,” Lucas said. She opened her eyes to see Lucas holding a cup out to her. Edward took it and handed it to Dana. “Thanks, Lucas.”
“No problem. I just didn’t want her passing out on me. You know she did that during every one of our love scenes. They were pretty steamy,” he said, grinning hugely.
Edward laughed. “That’s what I heard.”
Dana took a small sip and was relieved to discover that it was ginger ale. “Thank you, Lucas.”
“No problem. Just remember our deal,” he said as he leaned back in his seat and scoped out the women in the theatre.
“What deal?” Edward asked.
“Dance lessons,” Dana said, rolling her eyes.
“Sounds fun,” Edward said dryly, making them both laugh.
“How are my babies?” Edward asked, taking her hand into his.
“Edward, you talked to them last night,” she said, shaking her head in disbelief. Even in another country he was more attentive than Jeff ever was. It was shocking and she still had a hard time getting used to this. Truth was she was getting spoiled.
“Yeah, it’s been a whole day since I talked to them,” he argued.
“Shh, it’s starting, you two,” Lucas mumbled, earning dirty looks. He just chuckled at them as he opened a small box of candy and began snacking away.
Edward relaxed and put an arm around Dana’s shoulders. She leaned into him and laid an arm across his chest. They watched the entire movie snuggling and ignoring the speculative glances around them. He constantly kissed the top of her head and whispered how much he loved her and missed her.
“Oh my god, Edward,” Dana said, crying.
“What’s wrong, baby?”
“You guys did such a wonderful job,” she sobbed softly. Her book, her life, her salvation had been transformed onto the big screen, giving it life, and it was perfect. It was exactly the way she pictured everything in her head two years ago during those lonely nights.
He smiled. “I’m glad you approve.”
“I could have done better,” Lucas muttered, earning an elbow in the ribs from Dana. He just laughed it off.
“I suspect you’re taking Dana to the party,” Lucas said.
“Yes, thank you for bringing her here safely.”
“Not a problem. I’ll see you guys there.” Lucas leaned over and kissed her cheek before he followed everyone out.
Dana stood up and grabbed the back of the seat in front of her as a wave of dizziness shot through her. “Whoa, head rush,” she mumbled.
“Are you okay?” Edward asked. He put an arm around her waist to help her.
She waved him off. “I’m okay I just need to eat something. Now that the nerves are gone that should be easy.”
“Okay then let’s go. I’m getting you something to eat before we hit the party.” He urged her forward. They walked through the lobby, receiving applause and congratulations.
“Hell of a job,” Eric said to Edward. He kept an arm around Dana while he spoke to Eric.
Pain ripped through Dana’s stomach. She bent over, gasping.
“Dana?” Edward asked concerned.
“I’m fine…just….” She fell to the floor as everything went black.
“Dana!” He tried to shake her gently. She didn’t wake up. “Someone, call an ambulance!” he yelled.
Amy ran to her side. “What happened?”
“I don’t know. She grabbed her stomach and fell over,” Edward said anxiously. He pulled her into his lap as a crowd formed around them. “Baby, wake up please!”
“Let me through! I’m a doctor,” a man said. A moment later a short man with grey hair knelt down next to Dana. He reached out and took her pulse.
“Her pulse is weak, she’s clammy, and burning up. Her breathing is shallow and irregular.”
Amy was crying now. “She hasn’t been feeling good, not eating, throwing up, and she hasn’t been able to sleep. We all thought it was stress.”
Edward held her tighter against him. “Where’s the ambulance? I saw two stationed outside.”
“Move aside!” a police officer said, pushing through the crowd. He was followed by two EMT’s pushing a stretcher.
The doctor reached over and grabbed a stethoscope from one of the EMT’s leg pockets as he said, “I’m Dr. Brown. I want this woman brought to Mercy hospital. I’ll be riding along.” The EMT’s nodded as they looked her over.
“Thank you,” Edward murmured. He picked Dana up and noticed that she was lighter than before. He placed her on the stretcher and pushed her hair back as she was strapped in. He kissed her lips before a face mask was placed over her mouth. He ignored the clicks and flashes of cameras focusing on them.