Gabriels redemption, p.48
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       Gabriels Redemption, p.48
 

         Part #3 of Gabriels Inferno series by Sylvain Reynard  
Page 48

 

  “Cancer?” Julia could barely pronounce the word.

  “That’s a possibility. It could be a benign growth or a cyst. We’ll know more soon. ” Dr. Rubio returned to her writing. “But don’t miss your ultrasound appointment. It’s imperative that we have you looked at right away. ”

  Julia sat very, very still.

  All she could think about was Grace.

  “Darling, I’m in the middle of my seminar. Can I call you back?” Gabriel’s voice was low as he answered his cell phone.

  “I’m so sorry. I forgot. I’ll just see you at home. ” Julia was flustered and fighting back tears. She could hear footsteps on the other end of the line and the closing of the door.

  “I’m in the hallway now. What’s going on?”

  “I’m on my way home. I’ll see you soon. Please apologize to your students for me. ” Julia disconnected before she began sobbing. Somehow the sound of his voice, patient and sweet, made everything worse.

  She buried her face in her hands just as her cell phone rang. She didn’t have to look at it to know who was calling.

  “H-hello?”

  “What happened?”

  “I’ll tell you at dinner. ” She hiccuped.

  “No, you’ll tell me now, or I’ll cancel my seminar and come and find you. You’re worrying me. ”

  “The doctor found something during my exam. ”

  Silence emerged from the other end of the line.

  She could hear Gabriel inhale sharply.

  “Found what?”

  “The doctor doesn’t know. I’m supposed to go for an ultrasound at Mount Auburn Hospital as soon as possible. ”

  “Are you all right?”

  “Yes. ” Julia did her best to lie convincingly.

  “Where are you?”

  “I’m walking home from the doctor’s office. ”

  “Stay where you are. I’ll come and get you. ”

  “You’ll have to cancel your seminar. ”

  “I can’t teach a class knowing that you’re alone and crying. Stay there and I’ll call you back in a minute. ”

  “I’ll be fine. I’m just in shock. ”

  “You aren’t fine. Just give me a minute. ”

  “I’m almost home. I’ll see you soon. ”

  She disconnected the phone.

  Gabriel cursed, then opened the door to his seminar room to cancel his class.

  In the days between Julia’s appointment with her doctor and her ultrasound, Gabriel received a call from his urologist indicating that his sperm production was normal. Professor Emerson was gloriously fertile.

  (Parenthetically, it should be noted that he never doubted his fertility. )

  His relief was overshadowed by the anxiety he felt over Julia. He put on a brave face, not wanting to upset her, but inwardly, he was afraid.

  She was young. She was healthy. Of course, Grace had been young and healthy prior to her diagnosis. She’d had breast cancer for some time before it was discovered.

  Gabriel’s virility and strength was such that he rarely, if ever, felt helpless. But gazing at his beloved wife while she tossed and turned night after night made him feel impotent. She was light and life and love and goodness. And it was possible she was very, very sick.

  Gabriel closed his eyes and prayed.

  “Sweetie?” Her voice came out of the darkness.

  “Yes?”

  “I want you to promise me something. ”

  He rolled to his side so he could see her better.

  “Anything. ”

  “Promise that if anything happens to me, you’ll take care of yourself. ”

  “Don’t say such things. ” His tone was unnecessarily sharp.

  “I mean it, Gabriel. Whether my time is soon or when I’m old and gray. I want you to promise that you’ll continue on the path that you’re on. That you’ll be a good man, that you’ll live a good life and that you’ll try to find happiness. ”

  Gabriel felt as if he were choking as a myriad of emotions bubbled up into his throat.

  “I won’t find happiness without you. ”

  “You found peace without me,” she whispered. “You found peace in Assisi. You can live without me. We both know that you can. ”

  He placed his palm on top of her stomach, his fingers stroking her naked skin.

  “How can a man live without his heart?”

  She pressed her hand over his.

  “Richard does. ”

  “Richard is a shell of his former self. ”

  “I want you to promise me. I worry that you’ve made so much of me that if something were to happen, you’d . . . ” She trailed off.

  “I will always struggle with addiction, Julianne, but I don’t think I could go back to my old life. ” His voice dropped. “Then I truly would be alone. ”

  “I promise that wherever I am, I’ll do all that I can to help you. I swear. ” Her voice was a desperate whisper.

  “If you were Francis to my Guido da Montefeltro, you’d come for my soul, wouldn’t you?”

  “I swear it. But I don’t believe your soul is in mortal danger. ”

  He lifted his hand and traced the curve of her cheekbone with his thumb. “No more morbid talk. If it’s necessary to your peace of mind to make this promise, then I promise. But don’t you dare leave me. ”

  Julia nodded against his hand, her body relaxing.

  Chapter Forty-seven

  On the day of Julia’s ultrasound, Gabriel canceled his classes in order to accompany her.

  “I’m sorry, sir, but you aren’t allowed inside the ultrasound suite. ”

  Gabriel stood to his full height, a scowl distorting his handsome features. He looked down at the much shorter technician. “Excuse me?”

  The technician pointed at a notice board that was affixed to the wall. “Only the patient is allowed. Family must wait out here. ”

  Gabriel placed his hands on his hips, fanning his jacket out angrily. “She’s my wife. I’m not leaving her. ”

  “The average ultrasound only takes thirty minutes. She’ll be with you soon. ” The technician nodded at Julia. “Mrs. Emerson, if you’ll follow me. ”

  Gabriel tugged on Julia’s arm, stopping her. “We’ll go to another hospital. ”

  Julia shifted her weight from foot to foot, practically dancing in the hallway. “They made me drink five cups of water. I have to pee like crazy. Don’t make me go through this again. ”

  “I’m not letting you go in there alone. ” His eyes, flashing blue fire, rested on hers.

  “This can’t wait. ” Her tone pierced him.

  He blinked a few times.

  “What if there’s a problem?”

  The technician cleared her throat and nodded toward the same sign. “I’m not allowed to discuss what I find. Only the radiologist can write up an official report, and that will be sent directly to your doctor. ”

  Gabriel muttered a few choice expletives and gave the technician a glare that nearly knocked her over.

  “I’ll be fine, sweetie. But if you don’t want to see my bladder explode right in front of you, you have to let me go. ” Julia crossed her legs.

  Gabriel watched her walk away, feeling furious and helpless simultaneously.

  Two days later, Julia was summoned to Dr. Rubio’s office to discuss the radiologist’s report. Gabriel accompanied her.

  “Fibroids,” the doctor announced triumphantly. “I read the report and I saw the ultrasound. I concur with her findings. ”

  “What’s a fibroid?” Julia clutched Gabriel’s hand.

  “A fibroid is a benign growth on or in the uterus. They’re very common. According to the report, you have two of them. ”

  “Two?” Julia sounded panicked. “But I thought you only found one. ”

  “I found the bigger one during your pelvic exam. Because it’s attached to the exterior of your uterus, I thought it was part of your ova
ry. There’s also a small one lower down on the front of your uterus. ” Doctor Rubio quickly sketched Julia’s insides while Gabriel tried valiantly not to faint.

  (One must remember that his vast knowledge of uteri was primarily experiential rather than visual. )

  “The larger one is about five centimeters. The smaller one is about three centimeters. ” She pointed to her drawing with a pen.

  Julia felt queasy and looked away.

  “Will she need surgery?” Gabriel ignored the sketch and made eye contact with the doctor.

  “Not necessarily. ” Dr. Rubio turned to her patient. “If they aren’t bothering you, we’re inclined to leave them. We’ll put you on birth control pills. The hormones in the pill slow the growth of the fibroid. ”

  “What about fertility?”

  Doctor Rubio glanced at the chart. “Ah, yes. You want to try to start a family in a few years. We’ll monitor your fibroids, but since they’re located on the outside of the uterus, I don’t think fertility will be a problem. However, once you’re pregnant we’ll have to keep an eye on them. Fibroids tend to grow during pregnancy because of the rise in hormone levels. They can crowd the uterus and cause premature delivery. We’ll monitor all of that when the time comes. But for now, I take this to be good news. I’m going to ask that we schedule you for another ultrasound in about six months, simply to check the fibroids. I’ll write up a prescription for you to go on the pill. And we’ll go from there. ”

  Julia and Gabriel exchanged a look, then thanked the doctor and exited the office.

  Later that night, Gabriel lay awake, staring at the ceiling, an inexplicable feeling of dread hanging over him.

  Careful not to wake Julia, he crept out of bed and walked down the hall to the study. He switched on the light, closed the door, and went to his desk.

  Within a few minutes, his laptop was on and he was Googling “fibroids. ” He clicked on a page that looked promising and began viewing a few photographs of fibroids being removed during surgery.

  Then he promptly passed out.

  Chapter Forty-eight

  Gabriel was fortunate enough to have his vasectomy reversal scheduled for the first week in October. Now it was Julia’s turn to miss a class and accompany him to the hospital.

  The morning of his surgery, she awoke to the sound of Peggy Lee singing “Fever. ” It wasn’t Gabriel’s normal choice of morning music, but it sounded promising. She pulled on her robe and walked to the bathroom.

  Gabriel was standing in front of the vanity, shaving. His dark hair was damp from the shower, its edges curling. He was naked to the waist, a dark blue towel slung low on his hips. Julia wanted to trace the top of the V that extended below the towel.

  As was his custom, he used a shaving brush to mix soap into a lather, spreading it over his face. His sapphire eyes were focused behind his glasses as he lifted the safety razor and began.

  “Lurking about in doorways, Mrs. Emerson?” He spoke without turning his head.

  “I came to see what was giving you a fever. ”

  He paused and gave her a searing look. “I think you know the answer to that. ”

  “I know what raises my temperature. There’s nothing sexier than watching the man you love shave. ”

 
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