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Strictly Professional - Chapter 19

Alex's side of story.
Author's Note

Hi Everyone, I understand it's quite a gap between my last chapter and this, but unfortunately I can't keep up. If some of you have the patience to wait for me, please bear with me. I am trying to bring up more chapters. Thank you everyone who is reading.

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Alex's POV

A strong beep sound woke me up from my sleep and I opened my eyes, startled - what now? Alternating between the monitor and the bed, I wondered what could be happening. Why the monitor was sounding different than its ridiculously slow sound and speed. Forcing myself into action, I pressed the red CALL button repeatedly until a nurse showed up and immediately started taking the situation into account.

"What's happening?" I was frantic, but the middle-aged lady just rushed out of the room closing the door behind her. I was about to go after her when she came rushing back in with a doctor in her trail with his scrubs and mask on.

"What's going on?" I demanded again and this time the nurse looked at me.

"Mr. Fleming, Please wait outside while the doctor checks his vitals. I will inform you as soon as I have any news for you. Please don't panic, there is nothing alarming."

With that she started pushing me out of those colorless walls and out to the bright lights of the halls. I flopped down on a cold chair and gripped the iron bar. A harsh breath forced out of me in a hush, my eyes squeezed themselves preventing any vision of the world. Looking down towards my shoes, I slowly opened my eyes and tried to control my erratic heartbeat. It had been eight long days and I was stuck with no new news. How long would it go on? I was almost afraid I would get the same answer they have been giving me from last seven days and 14 hours - his condition is still critical... some medical terms.... And then we are trying our best. I was tired of the same answer.

Every time I had done my best to patiently listen to them and at the end of their speech, I would remind them calmly to keep it low profile and not let it known to anyone outside. That is why there were only two nurses involved in this to make sure they were loyal enough and word didn't spread out about my father's sudden heart attack.

My mother's words still rung out in my ears - If media knew he is struggling with life, they will make it look like he is on death bed and everything will be a mess.

I understood that. And I had been making sure that media only knew few things - he was not keeping well and got admitted in hospital and doing fast recovery. The truth was far from it though. My father had a massive heart attack in the wee hours of Sunday night last week and I had flown here the moment I got the news. From then on I had not gone home, stayed by his side, waiting for any news of recovery and praying that what we were letting media know, would be true and he would recover fast. But was that happening? Not yet. He had been critical for all this time, with a ventilator connected to make him breathe and God knew what tubes and machines were connected to multiple parts of his body.

I never knew he was so ill, he was the dynamic personality who took business world by storm. He had a very successful business and of course he stayed always busy. So busy that I had paid the price of not being able to spend time with him - or any parent for that matter - for the last sixteen years almost. The only communication sometimes we had were birthday wishes, anniversary wishes, attending some event or making some appearance somewhere. And he was handling the whole business in so many countries - all on his own. I completely stayed away from that world, that greed which left no time for family. Somewhere down the line the stress and strain of all this might have caught up with him.

And god forbid, if anything happened to him, then the whole business would go for a lot of trouble. Everyone inside and outside knew that I knew nothing about that business and I myself was pretty busy with my work. Since this was so sudden no arrangement had ever been done on who was supposed to take his position in his absence. I was kind of sure dad would have done something about it, till now nothing was known to us and so if anyone knew about this, the share value would go down like anything and also there would be big confusion and trauma between the board members.

So I understood all that, what I didn't understand is - how could my mom do this. She came two days after I came, I had to call her through the hospital authorities - damn my phone. Then all the time she stayed here, she actually was out of these halls most of the time, on phone. And then she would come here sometimes, check up on dad and go back during the night. The time she spent in the hospital, the only thing we ever discussed was how to handle the media, the business impact, what a mess it was, how she was irritated, how she could not spend one more minute in the hospital etc. I knew my parents had kind of grown apart during the last decade or so, but I didn't know they had lost all compassion for each other. Here my father was struggling to take each breath and my mother didn't really look like her husband was the one inside ICU with no news of when he would come back. And then two days before she went back to a fashion show which her production company was arranging and she left as her presence there is more important. Really?

Her parting sentence - Keep an eye on him for me and keep updating me. Will you? I just nodded and let her go, anyway I had been doing that all this time, it's not like she was doing it. I refrained from arguing with her because there was no point in stopping her, I didn't need her help and if she didn't think it was necessary to sit beside her ill husband, then I did right by freeing her from these responsibilities. Here I was, almost cut off from the real world, with no phone and hardly any news. I was not interested in doing anything else, the only thing I wanted at the moment was any good news from the doors behind me and ..... and Cat.

I had received the call just after I moved out of Cat's room and left in such a hurry that I did not inform anybody. Once in the airport I managed to call Scott and let him know why I was leaving. I intended to call Cat once I was on board and then just before I was supposed to board, I went to use the toilet and somehow in the hurry and in all the tension, I left my phone near the water tap. I only remembered it when I was in air and there was no way to retrieve it. Once I landed there was no time to do anything other than rushing in here and asking every possible person on what was going on. The initial two days were mad rush. Multiple doctors were attending my father and he was undergoing so many test, the nurses shouted from the doorway, it almost looked like he was dying. For a moment there I truly thought I would be losing him. Even though we were not close over the years, I loved him and the thought of losing him came out like my biggest fear and biggest trauma.

At that point of time, I was almost feeling broken when they came out and said he had gone to coma and it may take - God knew how long - to come out of it. Six days had passed and they have tried everything in vain to make me go and stay home. But I was adamant, I had made this hospital as my house and stayed by his side - talking to him even though he could not respond to me, taking care of him, promising him that I would put more effort in spending time with him. That was one thing I was definitely going to rectify - even if he did not have time for me, I would make time for him. Sean had brought clothes, necessary, toiletries and food for me and I refused to leave this place without a good news, hopefully a good news.

In all this, I wished Cat was here with me, I knew she would have brought me strength, she would have become my lifeline, she would have stayed by my side, and she would have helped me. But I guessed her feet injury made her stay there instead of coming here. I had little intention to think of the movie and how it was going. But I thought about Cat, we had not talked for eight days, I was yet to get a new phone and didn't even bother to ask mom for any help. I hated to admit it, but I remembered not a single number. I had requested Sean to contact Cat and he said he had conveyed my message. He didn't bother me anymore than the food and clothing and quickly left every time he delivered my things. Even though I was desperate but I still had not asked him to use his phone to talk to Cat or anybody for that matter.

The last time we had spoken, we had gotten to know each other better and I learned a big chunk of her past, but I knew a still bigger chunk was missing. I had not asked for any more, but whatever she had revealed made me want to strangle someone. I was so angry before I left and I felt sorry as that was the last feeling I shared with her. I had decided - the moment I got any progress on this, the first things I was going to do was buy a phone and call her.

The sound of the doors closing brought me back from my train of thoughts and I looked upon to find the nice nurse adorning a smile on her face which could only mean one thing - there was some good news for me.

"Your father has shown the fast sign of recovery. I don't want to get you into a number of medical terms, that's the doctor's thing, but all in all, he has opened his eyes and can understand us and respond. We are expecting his voice to be back soon and in a few days I hope he will be alright."

Taking a minute to gather my thoughts, to compose my happiness, I blinked a few times. The out of impulse, I hugged her and thanked her profusely before asking if I could meet my father.

It was a blur of events after that, me meeting my father, he being able to respond to my questions in grunts and whispers, doctors explaining me a number of medical facts and finally having a moment to myself once my father slept after the medicines. Everything seemed sorted now. The doctors said if I wanted I could take him home tomorrow and a nurse can take care of day-to-day things. I was happy, really happy after so long. Informing the nurse that I would be gone for a few hours I went out and did the first thing that I was dying to do - Bought a phone. After assembling everything, I went home and treated myself with a nice long hot bath, shower and shaved my beard and finally managed to look human while I let the phone get charged and activated.

Being a little more selfish, I searched the fridge and found out some food Sean had left in it and with a half glass of white wine, I indulged myself in the best food I had in days. I never thought I would be appreciating Sean's food, but I guess it's time to give him some raise in pay. Well may be not, he was ideally employed by my mom, no problem, I could simply treat him a vacation. Once I was satisfied, the first course of action was to call my sweet girl, well if it was not for that fact that I didn't remember her number, then I would be hearing her voice already. No issues, I searched the number of my studio in internet and called up there, got the numbers of Scott and Cat.

Switched off. Her phone was switched off. Disappointment courses through me, thinking I had to wait still more to hear her sweet voice. While I called another eight times in vain to get the same message, I thought of other ways to reach her. So I called up Scott next and he picked up almost immediately. After asking about my father and my health, he enquired when I could be back. I was not going to go back for two days at least. I would first make sure that my father is well settled at his home, with all his necessities covered.

Then casually I asked about others and mentioned Cat.

"Your personal secretary?" He almost sounded like he was making a joke of it. I was just being generous, otherwise it was my right to know about my personal secretary and I could have asked up front, but even though I had been cautious he made it look like personal secretaries are not worth asking for.

"Yes," I replied calmly even though I was anything but.

"Oh, she has taken a two week vacation and left as soon as she was able to walk, she didn't tell you?" He was mocking again and I didn't thing I needed to explain in detail all the reasons why she could not have told me. Even though I was stuck on the fact that Cat had taken a vacation, for two weeks.

"I have not contacted her." Why was I even giving him anything?

"Yeah, she informed Gary I guess and you were not available here anyway, so ... off she went."

I was reeling from that bit of information even after the call ended long time before. Maybe that explained the switched off phone. But after everything, the least she could have done is send a message through Sean. I knew I was not approachable and she really didn't need my permission for being absent or something. Technically she needed, but I didn't think of her as my assistant only. She was much more to me and after the last evening we spent together, I thought we had come closer but somehow things caught up to me. She did not try to contact me once also. Okay my phone was not available, but Sean was there, the least she could have done was send a message through him? Was I expecting too much?
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Published: 5/4/2016
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