When I woke up, James was gone. I sat up and frantically searched the room for him; I was drenched in sweat.

Someone touched my arm and it made me jump. "It's alright, Em. It's me." Aidan said, "Geez, you're burning up." He was sitting on the edge of the chair by me. I ran a hand through my matted hair, "I'm fine. Where's James?" "James left at about five o'clock this morning. His father had tracked him down and he demanded that he come home. Then James got a hold of me and asked me to come sit with you." Aidan replied, "And you are most certainly not fine. I'm calling the nurse." He pressed the button by the bed and my nurse appeared less than a minute later.

"What can I help you with, ?" The nurse asked. "I think Emily has a fever." Aidan answered for me. The nurse pulled a forehead thermometer out of her pocket and pressed it to my head. The thermometer beeped and she looked at the little screen. "One-o-three." She announced, "Let me take a look at your hand."

I held up my hand and the nurse peeked under the bandages. "It looks a little redder than it should." She commented, "This is probably just a mild infection. Let me go speak with your doctor and I'll be right back."

She walked away and I glanced over at Aidan. "She's good-looking." I said to him. "Who?" He questioned. "The nurse." I replied, "Especially with the French accent and all that blonde hair." Aidan shrugged, "Yeah, I guess." "Oh, is she not your type?" I asked him. He snorted, "Every woman is my type." I grinned, "So, then you should talk to her. You keep looking at her." "Yes, but she keeps looking at your doctor. I bet their practicing mouth-to-mouth in his office at this very moment. Oh well, I've seen the French landscape plenty of times." Aidan winked at me. "Um, ok. A little too much information there." I commented.

Just then the nurse came in. I noticed her hair was a bit messed up and had to bite my tongue. "Your doctor thinks it would be best if you stayed another night. I'm going to hook you up to this new IV bag that has some different medication in it that will help clear up the infection." She switched out the bags and turned on her heel to leave, "If you need anything, just call."

Once the nurse's footsteps could no longer be heard in the hallway, Aidan spoke, "I don't really go for that any more though. Right now, I'm focused on the bar and having a great time doing it. I don't want to brag but I have already planted my flag on every continent."

"You travel?" My mom asked from the doorway. Aidan stood up, "Um, yeah, sure. I should probably be heading out to my uh job. Get well, Em." I smiled and shook my head, "Bye Aidan. Hey, sorry I called you an assoholic." "It's ok. Not the first time." He answered from outside the room.

Mom sat on the edge of my bed, "How are you, hun?" "I have a little infection; just need to stay another night." I explained, "They already put me on some meds. How are you?" She patted my leg, "Now you don't worry about me. You just focus on getting better." We sat there in silence for a while until mom asked quietly, "So, um, what all happened with Tyler? I understand if you don't want to talk about it yet." I lend back a little in the pillow, "No. It's ok. I think I can explain. Near the beginning of the school year you know I had that journal you got me for Christmas. I really enjoyed writing in it over the summer but at school it seemed to make me a target. This guy threw it in a puddle and I had to get a new one. I bought one at this little shop. I saw it was used but I just didn't really pay any mind, that is until I ended up reading the first entry. The writer just sort of spoke to me and how I was feeling. Slowly, I read all his entries and wrote back to them. It helped with some things; some things with Dad. You know, Alyssa Craig, our social worker? Well, turns out she was Tyler's girlfriend. Mr. Hawkins, Dad's boss, is Tyler's father. Aidan, who I met totally at random, was Tyler's best friend. The better I got to know Aidan and Ally, everything started to fall into place. The last piece of the puzzle came when I saw photos of Aidan and Ally in Mr. Hawkins office when I went to see Dad. He talked to me about his family and I realized his son Tyler was the person I had been writing to. His son was exactly what I had needed at this time. It was a hurtful shock to me to find out that he had died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. I had always felt that someday I would meet him. Mom, I honestly believe all this was meant to happen. I really don't think these people's coming into my life at this point was an accident. They are something I needed." Mom looked down at her hands, "I'm sorry I wasn't there for your more. I'm sorry I got thrown in jail." I sat up and took her hand in mine, "You've been great, Mom. You have always cared about me and only had my best interest in mind. You just hit a rough patch. Sometimes, when you're dealing with stuff, you just need a little outside help." Mom sighed, "I just wish I hadn't let my emotions get the better of me." "You were upset at Dad for what he did. I'm not mad at you for anything. We all do things we aren't particularly proud of." I explained, squeezing her hand gently. "When did you become so grown up?" She asked. I shrugged, "I guess it just was bound to happen. Was it better riding with Capt. Craig than taking a cab?" "Oh it was nice." Mom replied, "Neil is a very nice man." I raised an eyebrow, "Neil?" "Yes." She nodded, "That's what he told me to call him. He thought Capt. Craig was just too formal. Did you know there's this great little place just a block from the home that has some great herbal tea?" "Oh? When did you discover that?" I inquired. "Last night." My mother responded, "Neil offered to get me some." I tried to hide a grin as I attempted to confirm, "So was it a date?" "No." Mom's face turned a light pink, "It was just some friendly chit chat. I'm in my late forties and I live in a home for recovering alcoholics. I'm not exactly a 'dream girl'." I sighed, "Mom, you're great. You're outgoing and funny and caring. Good qualities any guy would go for. And you look great." She rolled her eyes, "Oh, Emily. I'm not sure we are the two best experts on this subject. Me, with a divorce and you being single." I nervously pushed a strand of hair behind my ear. I really needed to tell her about him. "Mom, there's someone you need-." But, at this point, there was no need to explain.

James was standing in the doorway with yet another bouquet of roses. Worst. Timing. Ever.

"Are you looking for someone?" My mother asked my boyfriend. He looked confused, "I'm here to see Emily." I waved, "Um…come on in." Mom looked at me, "Emily, what- who is this?" James came to stand next to me as I explained, "Mom, this is James Watson. He's my…..boyfriend." Her whole face lit up and she winked at me, "Oh! Well, it's certainly nice to meet you James. James? James. I've heard that name…Ah! You were in Emily's class at school." He nodded, "Yes, ma'am. You have a very special daughter." "Well, thank you." She was beaming, "Did you put up all these flowers? I thought maybe Aidan got them but then I saw you with those." James nodded, "Yes. I brought them in late last night." Mom stood up, still smiling at James, "Well it was nice meeting you. Sorry I have to rush of like this but I need to be on my way. I want to grab some breakfast before I head back to the house. The director has a day trip planned for us today." "Have a good time." He said, "It was nice to meet you too." She left then but mouthed "Talk to him!" from the hallway.

James put the flowers in the windowsill then sat on my bed, taking hold of my uninjured hand. "How are you holding up?" He asked. I played with his fingers, "They want to keep me another night. The cuts got infected, but don't worry, I got some medicine for it. I should get out tomorrow." "Tomorrow….." I could tell James was going over a calendar in his head, "Tomorrow Dad, Mom, and I are heading out to spend some time at the house in the Hamptons. They have friends out there. Maybe I can convince them to let me stay behind to help you." "It's not necessary; go spend time with your family. Aiden or Mom can come get me. We can spend time together when you get back." I suggested. "I also would like you to spend time with me and my family." He added, "I want them to know who you are. Not that they do not already know that you are mine since I left the dinner party so abruptly." I felt my face grow warm; I was 'his'. "James, last night was…..very nice." I commented. "Really?" He remarked, "I thought it was almost perfect." "Almost?" I asked. "There are a few things I would change." James explained, "For example, I would change the bed; It could be a bit bigger. I picture a different location, maybe a nice hotel room. I also see you in something else, a lovely lacey nightgown perhaps?" "James!" I exclaimed; I had never seen him this forward before but I smiled at him. He smiled back, "Too soon? Don't worry; I know full well that good things come to those who wait." Just then, James's phone buzzed. He pulled it out of his pocket and looked at the screen, "My mother wants me home to pack. Will you be ok here?" I nodded, "Yeah, I think I might get some more reset. This new medicine is making me sleepy." "Well then sweet dreams, love." He said, "But before I go, do you remember the first time we kissed?" "Of course." I replied. James lend in close, "I pictured it going just a little differently. Do you mind if I show you?" I inhaled sharply, "No." "Close your eyes." He instructed. I did and I felt his hands hold my face, "Now just imagine, for our first date I take you to a movie and then afterwards we have dinner to discuss it. After we eat, I walk you back to Aiden's apartment. We're standing outside his building and the evening weather is perfect. I tell you I had a great time and that you looking absolutely stunning. You do that cute blush that I adore and then I pull you in close; you act shy but I know what you want. I hesitate, but only for a moment before slowly leaning in." James closed in on me and gently pressed his lips to mine. It was soft and sweet, but filled with a passion I hadn't felt before; it took my breath away. After about a minute, he pulled away. "Now keep your eyes closed." James said, "You will have good dreams." I heard him leave as I laid back down.

I've never slept so well.

First off, let me apologize for making you all wait a completely unacceptable amount of time. I really wish I could sent you a cookie or maybe a whole batch. I cannot let this happen again. I am really really sorry.

The Real Reason I Was Gone So Long: No computer access in the wing of the hospital I have been in. There is a slight chance I might have to go back but it is very slight and I will do my best so as that does not happen but I can't make any promises.

The Reason I Wish I Was Gone So Long: I married Eli Roth and we have been on our honeymoon. *wink wink*