There he was being selfish again. Gemma was the one who'd survived a harrowing accident. Yet here he was unburdening himself to her about his family dynamics. As if she needed that right now.
Louis leaned his forearms over the railing and studied the water in the distance. Fat clouds dotted the crystal-blue sky.
Gemma immediately shook her head. "Please don't apologize. I may not know the specifics about you anymore. But I do understand the burden of family pressure. I've always loved to play the violin and from a very young age knew that's what I wanted to do with my life. But Ma's strong encouragement and the way she pushed me to excel definitely played a role in how hard I worked."
Louis's parents had been good at pushing their sons as well. It just felt so futile the older Louis got. No matter what he did or how much he accomplished, his older brother always managed to outshine him.
"I'm guessing that's part of what drew us together, huh?" Gemma asked. "Our respective parents' high expectations for us."
Maybe, but it was such a small part of a much bigger picture. How could he explain all the ways he was drawn to her from the moment their eyes had met? There weren't any words adequate enough.
"I guess I was lucky in one sense," she added.
"At least my ambitions for myself meshed with my parents'. Ma in particular. We all wanted the same thing for me."
The statement gave him pause. Of course. Her decision to step back from performing had been swiped from her mind along with the rest of her life right before the accident.
A wave of sadness washed over him. In the back of his mind, Louis had considered one rather impactful result of her amnesia. Gemma was back to being the woman he'd met three years ago, the one whose primary focus in life was her career as a musician. The way things were now, he didn't have a chance of competing with that. He didn't even have a right to.
"You know, I've been too afraid to pick up the violin for fear I've lost any proficiency as a player. But I've decided not to wait anymore. I’m ready to play again as soon as we get back to the beach house." She nudged him playfully, shoulder to shoulder. "Thanks, Louis."
"For bringing me sailing, then up here. This trip has done wonders for my mood and kick-started my motivation to move on with my life."
He was happy for her—he really was. Even if it meant even more uncertainty about how exactly they might return to their future as husband and wife.
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