Chapter Sixteen

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The cab ride into Manhattan found him suddenly questioning his decision to arrive without a formal announcement. He thought about calling but feared that he'd be forced to reveal the news. Saying it over the phone was just not something he could bring himself to do. Apart from everything they'd been through, he wanted to be there beside her when she learned of her ex-husband's death.

He turned his face turned toward the window and stared out at the hustle and bustle. His mind in reverse, he silently revisited the past and the quiet nights on board his boat in a Long Island harbor, just an hour away from the city that now surrounded him. The sacred place where they'd shared their bodies for the very first time and the place where Will truly lost himself to her. Twelve days had withered away since he'd last seen his wife's face. Twelve long, lonely days. A few calls to Leland and Rosalie helped reassure him that she was safe. He'd never asked to speak directly to her though he wanted nothing more than to hear her voice. Very soon he'd have that chance...and he still wasn't quite sure what he'd say.

Forty-five minutes of bumper-to-bumper and he finally arrived at his mother-in-law's building. It was almost nine and according to the security guard in the lobby, Tessa hadn't left the building. He stashed his bag behind the main desk and grabbed coffee and pastry from a small bakery around the corner. He returned a few minutes later with breakfast in hand and climbed into the elevator, his heart pounding.

The elegantly appointed hallway on the fourth floor was quiet. He walked down the long, carpeted corridor, stopping when he reached Rosalie's door. Balancing two cups of dark roast and a bag of croissants in one hand, he sighed and knocked softly with the other.

Tessa poked her sleepy head around the corner from the kitchen and checked her watch, confused. She wasn't meeting Arthur until lunchtime...or was she? Had she misunderstood? I know he said noon! Pulling her robe around her, she cautiously approached the door and peered through the peephole. Thousands of emotions ran through her body when she caught sight of her husband, standing with his head down and looking displaced. She fumbled through a series of locks and opened the door.

Their eyes met and instantly she was immobilized. Fear, doubt, pride, anger, remorse, relief--all constricting her as she stood unable to move or speak. He didn't say a word, wanting only to study her expression. It was obvious that she was surprised, leaving him certain that she had no idea what had transpired on the other side of the globe.

"Hi," he spoke softly.

"Hi," she responded back in the same low tone.

"May I?" he asked, finally breaking the silence between them.

"Oh, of course, I-I'm sorry." She stammered, shaking her head as she stepped back away from the door.

Once inside, Will took a moment to collect himself. It'd been two years since he'd visited Rosalie's place. Nothing appeared to have changed. The massive living space was still just as warm and inviting as he remembered. He shifted his weight back and forth, looking for a place to empty his hands.

"Let me help you with that." She reached for the cardboard tray of drinks in his hand.

"Thanks."

He parked his travel bag beside the sofa, dropped the brown paper bag on the table and turned back to face her.

"I guess I should have called first. I wasn't totally sure if you'd be here or not."

"I have a business lunch with Arthur at noon."

"I, uh, stopped in at the little place around the corner." He pointed to the tray in her hands. "Have you had breakfast yet?"

"No, I was actually in the kitchen on a quest for coffee when you knocked." She walked passed him, depositing the tray on the table beside the bag.

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