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Buck’s nerves were more rattled than he expected as he drove to the hospital. His mind jumped between this drive and the one so many years ago. Would the outcomes be the same? Would he arrive to find his wife dying and his son motherless?
He slowed the truck to a stop in the parking lot, trying to sort out his confusion. Marilyn was not his wife, nor had he been aware of seeking to put her in that role. How had his heart placed her there? Was he simply hoping that this time would be different? That the woman he was going to visit would leave the hospital alive?
Buck climbed out of the truck and made his way to the hospital entrance, trying to keep his focus on the woman he was visiting and not on the memories of Annette and the accident. His brain told him the situations weren’t remotely similar. Marilyn was someone he barely knew where Annette was the love of his life, the mother of his child, and his one and only.
Yet, despite his belief that true love only came once in a lifetime, there were connections between what he felt for Annette and what he now experienced with Marilyn. Never wanting to leave her alone, never wanting to see her hurt, never wanting her to bear her burdens by herself. Those were all things he had attributed to his marriage with Annette.
But he couldn’t be in love with Marilyn. It had taken years to fall in love with his wife. They had been married for a whole year before he really, truly, completely, no doubt in his mind had been sure he loved Annette.
He had hardly known Marilyn for more than a week.
Buck dodged around hospital personnel as he made his way to the intensive care unit, a place he had spent a few days himself in the not-so-distant past. If he didn’t take care of himself and follow Marilyn’s coaching, he could be here again all too soon.
When he arrived at the unit, a nurse informed him that the doctors were checking on Marilyn, so he dropped onto a wooden bench outside her door to wait.
His phone chirped with a text message. When he checked it, he saw it was from Penny reminding him she had to leave the studio at eight tomorrow. He had to find more people to cover shifts if he wanted to keep Marilyn’s studio open while she recovered.
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