If he'd done the right thing just now, why did he feel so lousy?
Every cell in his body wanted to run inside, up the stairs to Gemma's room and tell her to reconsider her decision. To choose him. The urge to do so was so tempting, he had to grip the wicker chair to keep from standing up.
As if he needed a sign that he should stay put where he was, the sound of Gemma playing drifted from the window upstairs. Looked like she couldn't wait to start practicing for the Berklee professor. That settled it. Gemma was clearly happy with her decision and ready to move forward.
Louis had no clue how he would do the same. He would have to find a way somehow. The thought of returning to his life in Singapore without his wife by his side sent a wave of despair washing through him. There would be no joy, no light without her.
With a muttered curse, he pushed the chair away and stood. He needed to get away. Under normal circumstances, he loved listening to Gemma play. But right now, he couldn't stand to listen to one more note. He didn't recognize the piece she was playing, but it was somehow both haunting and joyful.
He needed a distraction and he needed to get away. He made his way to the paved bike trail a stone’s throw from the house. The path wound through some of the most breathtaking scenery in this part of the peninsula, with a perfect view of the ocean in some parts.
Louis hardly noticed his surroundings. He did notice the family of four that biked past him. A couple with two tykes in tow—the older child pedaled his own bicycle, while the toddler sat secured in a bike seat behind her father.
The scene tugged at him.
He and Gemma had been so close to having that. His own family, one in which he felt he truly belonged. Somehow, in one fateful instant, that dream had been snatched away from within his grasp.
He had no idea how many miles he'd walked before he finally decided to turn around. He had things to do, a flight to book, several meetings to reschedule. There was no point in putting any of it off.
A bruised heart to nurse.
By the time he reached the house, he was covered in a sheen of sweat and his pulse pounded from the excursion. He sensed her before he saw her. Gemma sat at the table on the patio. She stood when she saw him, offering him a tender smile. Once he left the Cape, when would be the next time he would see that smile?
"There you are," she said. "I've been waiting for you."
She nodded and picked up the violin sitting on the table in front of her. "I wanted to play something for you."
Listening to her play now was only going to shatter his spirit further, but he didn't have the heart to tell her that. So he simply sat, forced a fake smile on his lips and motioned for her to proceed.
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