Part 3, Chapter 45

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Vyola was still weeping, overwhelmed, as Gus sat quietly and held her hand, catching her tears on a tissue. The door opened again and Patience reappeared. She had an orange plastic tray with steaming soup and a pile of plastic wrapped crackers. Vyola waved it away but Patience ignored her and shooed Gus out of the way. She placed the tray on a cart and rolled it right under Vyola's nose. Suddenly, Vyola was ravenous.

"The nurse said you can eat anything you want, just start slow."

She could feel that her already slim body had shrunk and began sipping the soup slowly under the watchful eyes of Patience and Gus. Eating felt strangely difficult and Vyola concentrated on bringing the spoon to her mouth without spilling it, not noticing at first her two friends were communicating silently to each other. Did you? Gus mouthed. Patience shook her head and crinkled her nose. Too soon, she wordlessly replied.

Vyola slammed her palm flat against the crackers on the plastic tray, sending out a little spray of dry crumbs and a hiss as the bags broke in tiny explosions.

"What is it, you two? Patience, please tell me! Is it Kyle? Is he hurt? What is it that's too soon to tell me?"

Patience and Gus exchanged glances and Gus took a deep breath and settled back in his chair.

"Vyola, no," Patience said, "Nothing's happened to him. He's fine."

Gus let out a sharp snort.

"Vyola, Kyle moved out of your house while you were in here. He's with Joana. They left, Vy."

"Wait. Are you're saying he's with Joana or he's with Joana? He's cheating on me? How long has this been going on?"

"I don't know. I think it may be as long as since you did the No Es Bueno shoot in Florida."

Vyola thought about it. When Kyle called her from the bar that night, Joana was there. And he had moved Joana in with them right after they got back. Joana was living with them, his personal assistant. How could she have been so stupid?

"Where did they go?"

"LA."

"What? What about Kyle's radio show? His New York crew?"

"It's satellite, Vy. He can do it from anywhere." "Joana's got some big deal job at HBO out there," Gus added.

Vyola was stunned but in her gut she knew it was true, knew she should have seen it coming. Kyle had been distant, cold, had simply not been around. Their relationship had become mostly business except for when he felt like sleeping with her. Vyola had chalked it up to how busy he was but she had cooled toward him, too. Still, she was hurt.

"How could he just leave?"

"I'm sorry, Vyola," Gus said.

Vyola felt ill. It may have been the salty chicken broth but a cold sweat had broken on her forehead. She put her hand over her mouth and

Patience thrust a basin under her chin. She and Gus rubbed Vyola's back gently as she heaved. She then fell back on the pillow, exhausted.

The door to the room opened slightly and a pretty brunette with straight dark hair opened the door and popped her head in.

She gestured to Gus, pointing to the face of her large wristwatch to indicate the time. Gus stood rapidly and as he had when he entered, kissed Vyola's forehead, then briefly touched her hand.

"I have to run, Vy, but I'll be back tomorrow.

"Promise?" Vyola asked, knowing she had no right to do so. "I promise," he said.

Gus gave a little wave as he walked out the door and Vyola was able to catch another glimpse of the woman waiting for him.

"Please tell that's just his new work partner," Vyola said.

Patience let out a long sigh.

"Sorry, sweetie. She's his girlfriend. They've been dating for a few months."

"At least tell me she's a bitch."

Patience laughed. "I will of you want, but she's really nice."

Vyola pulled the sheet up over her head. "Oh my god. I'm so stupid. Is she dumb at least?" She asked hopefully peeking out from the covers.

"I don't think so. She's a prosecuting attorney. He met her while he was working on a case."

Vyola moaned and rolled herself up into a little ball.

"I can't believe I rejected this great guy, who loved me, would do anything for me, treated me like a queen, saved my life, twice, for a no-good, manipulative, scummy...."

"Well," Patience said, "when you rejected him he had only saved your life once."

"Ugh, Patience!"

"Vyola, don't be silly. Gus is a great guy but you didn't love him then and you don't now.

"No, I had to fall in love with Kyle. I wont lie to you, Patience. We had problems but I can't believe he'd leave me. I mean, he's my manager, too. What is he thinking?"

Patience had turned her face and was staring at the ground. Vyola propped herself up onto her elbows as best she could, the sheet draping her like a straight jacket.

"Patience, what is it?"

"Vy, there's more."

"Tell me."

"Maybe this isn't the best time."

"Patience, tell me now!"

"Remember the threat he made against Sangrya?"

"Well, yeah. But the shoot is long over. That's ancient history."

"Sangrya was here yesterday to visit. Kyle's taking both of you to court. There's a morality clause in your contract with him, Vyola. It allows him to sue you and any company you work with for damages. He's trying to take everything you've ever made. Everything you have."

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