“Oh, Terese I am so sorry. We had no idea.” Karl said as Terese caught him up to speed on the events of the past week.
“That’s ok.” she answered as she turned to look at Paul “I just wish he could’ve had someone by his side. With the kids away I thought he would’ve turned to you or Jane.”
“Susan saw that something wasn't right last night, after dinner, but I wanted to give him a chance before I interfered. I figured he was just missing you. I should’ve listened to Susan”
Terese turned to look at Karl
“That was last night, it wouldn’t have made much of a difference.” she turned her attention back to Paul” I just wish he could see that he doesn’t have to fight every battle on his own.”
“We all know how in control he likes to be Terese. If he thought that finding you was his battle and only his, I doubt anyone could’ve changed his mind”
“Anyway, I’ll leave you to it. Make sure he eats that before he leaves, please. If I can do one thing right is make sure he’s looked after now”
“Thanks Karl” Terese answered as he turned and left.
Just as he walked out the door Paul opened his eyes.
“I thought he was never going to leave” he said cheekily
“Oi, he was worried about you”
“Well, he needn’t be because I have all I need right here.” he said placing his hand on hers.
She looked at him. She smiled.
“So, you kept it all a secret?”
“Me, not coming home. You kept it a secret?”
“I played the conference card. It wasn’t too hard convincing everyone you were staying on over there”
“Why didn’t you ask the Kennedys for help? Why not call the kids to come home? Was Karl right, was it because you thought this was on you, somehow?”
“It usually is” he muttered “Listen, I didn’t feel like sharing, because they didn’t need that. They didn’t need to be dragged away from their own lives to come and fix mine.”
“But the kids would’ve been there in a heartbeat.”
“Yes, worrying, blaming themselves for the drama they caused and suffering every time they hit a brick wall.”
“I did it so the others didn’t have to. That's just the way it was”
“Oh Paul” Terese said as she interlocked her fingers in his.
Suddenly his attention turned towards the door. Terese followed his gaze and looked as a tall figure stood in the doorway.”
“Hey Mr Robinson” a familiar voice echoed in
“Alex. What are you doing here?“ Paul answered as he lifted himself up in the bed.
“Billy said an Ambulance came to the Penthouse. I wanted to make sure you were OK.” He turned his attention to Terese “I guess he found you then?”
“Did you help him?"
“Well, unintentionally maybe. But I think we made a pretty good team.”
“Team? You left me. Left me to deal with him on my own.”
“Yeah, because of this?” Alex replied showing Paul and Terese a phone
“Wait a minute, that’s mine.” Paul said pointing towards the phone
“So, you left because of Paul’s phone?” Terse said with a confused look on her face “I think we need a bit more to go on”
“I’m sorry.” Alex said as he turned his attention to Paul “Remember, you told me to call the cops when we arrived at the penthouse.”
“Yeah, but you held off. You decided to give that waste of space a chance.”
“Exactly. No matter what you think of him, Sammy’s human. Prone to any human characteristics as anyone. It’s like what we were talking about in the lift. I can talk and I’m good at getting others to talk about their lives, their families, their futures.”
“I don’t....” Terese interrupted
“All he needed was someone to listen. All I needed were the right questions, in all the right order.” he shook the phone “and a little red button called record” he said as he smiled.
“You recorded his confession” Paul asked
“He was looking for help to find Ms Willis. Who was I to refuse such an opportunity”
“So, everything is on that.” Terese asked
“Yeah, but I haven’t listened to it again. That’s up to you two.”
Paul looked at Terese and back at Alex. He smiled.
“Thank You. Thank You so much.”
“It’s my pleasure.” Alex turned to look at Terese as he placed the phone on the bed “I really am glad you’re ok. Anyway, I better get off. Mini me is out there with Doctor Kennedy and if nothing else he can talk like me so...”
Just as he was ready to turn to leave the patter of footsteps came running towards the door. Between the door and Alex’s leg, his son stood looking into the room.
“And here he is” Alex said “You ok mate”
Llew nodded his head.
“So, your young Llew.” Paul said “Nice to meet you”
Not quite sure who the stranger was he turned to look at his dad.
“This is Mr Robinson. He lives with Uncle Ned and works with daddy at the hotel.”
“A little birdy tells me you like superheroes?” Paul asked him
“Well, your dad was just like Spiderman today. Saving all his friends.”
“Uncle Ned says you’re just like Loki”
“Well, that’s nice of him isn’t it” Paul said with a big smile on his face
Terese and Alex looked at each other and smiled.
“Well, we best be off. Gotta get this one home, we’ve got an early start tomorrow. I guess I’ll see you guys in a couple of days”
“Why? You off on leave?” Terese asked
“Nope. I just thought you two would have enough to catch up on without setting foot in the hotel. But don’t worry, me and my super spider senses will keep the place ticking over till then.” he said with a cheeky smile as he turned on his heel and headed out the door hand in hand with Llew.
As they both watched him leave Terese leant forward and picked up the phone.
“Two weeks of hell, all in one, two second, confession”
“I know it doesn’t seem much darling, but this will help the both of us.”
Terese looked at Paul. Her eyes were sad. Lost between the happiness of freedom and the angriness of the situation. She turned to look at the rush that surrounded them in the ED. The confession on the phone was everything they wanted, but how could something so small justify the time he stole from her, from them? She felt Paul’s hand hold hers just a little tighter. As she turned around a tear rolled down her cheeky. He moved his thumb up and down her hand and with a sad smile said the five words she'd been longing to hear.
“Let me take you home”
“Here we are, home sweet home” Paul said as he guided Terese through the door. “Now you sit down, relax and I’ll go put the kettle on”
Terese made her way towards the couch. Took her shoes off and placed them on the floor. She sat down and turned toward the kitchen. She watched Paul as he made his way around the kitchen. She missed this. Just watching him.
He lifted his head and caught her gaze.
“What?” he questioned as he saw her smile.
“Nothing. There’s nothing, and that ok” she said
He put the kettle on and walked towards the couch. He sat down next to her and took her hands.
“Terese, I am so sorry that you had to go through these past two weeks alone.”
“No, let me finish. I hated that we parted on a sour note that night but to think that could’ve been our final moment together scared me. But I hope you know that I would never give up on you. No matter how long it would’ve taken, I would’ve always found you”
“When did you figure out something was wrong?”
“I called Lucy.”
“I bet she wasn’t happy that I didn’t turn up?”
“You've been kidnapped and held in a hotel room for two weeks and all you can worry about is Lucy and work”
Paul shook his head
“I knew where I was, knew where you would be. I had company and three meals a day.”
“You didn’t have any of that. No clue where I was, no company. You hardly ate or slept and chose to fight this alone rather than lean on our friends.”
“Why worry them, I was handling it”
“And what if you hadn’t been so lucky today, what if today had been another dead end.”
“I would’ve kept going”
“But for how long? We spent the best part of today at the hospital because of your carelessness”
“I was worried about you. I think missing a few nights sleep and a couple of meals is understandable, don’t you?”
Paul got to his feet. Took a few steps forward and turned around.
“Why is this so important to you anyway? You're home, I’m home, everything else doesn’t matter”
“It all matters, Paul.”
“Because what would’ve been the point otherwise”
Terese got to her feet
“When I left that morning to the conference, I asked him to bring me back home. I was angry with you, but it was only here I wanted to be. For two weeks I sat there waiting for you. Waiting for you to come through that door.”
“I knew you would be fighting, pulling out all the stops. But I also hoped that you were never alone in doing so. I was lost but not alone. I hoped you would’ve been the same”
“Darling” he said taking a few steps forward and taking her hands.
“Without you, I will always be lost. But I was never alone.”
“Dinner at the Kennedys one night doesn’t count. Why didn’t you tell them what was going on? Tell anyone?”
“Like I said, I was handlining it”
Terese let go of his hands.
“The only thing that kept me going in there was the fact that you were coming. That our conversations would lead you to me. But a couple of days more and that might not have been the case”
“Terese, where’s all this coming from” Paul asked
“I was fighting for you Paul, for us. But what would’ve been the point if you weren’t on the other side waiting for me?”
“I don’t...” he answered
“Your fight lead you down a road that saw you forget about yourself. The one thing I truly needed; was the one thing you forgot. What if everything had taken that little bit longer. How long would you have managed to carry on? What would’ve been the point to all the games if I couldn’t hold you again and tell you I love you?”
“Oh Terese” he said as he stepped forward. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. They stood in silence for a while. “The point to the games was this. You stood your ground so we could have tonight. My fight was long but I would never have given up. Yes, everything caught up with me today but that was because I knew you were safe.” he let go and placed his hand on her cheek. “I will always be here waiting for you, no matter how long. Days, weeks, months even years. This is where I’ll always be”
As tears rolled down her face, he wiped them away with his thumb and smiled.
“Now how about you sit down and let me take care of you.
As she sat down, she looked at him.
“Sit with me?”
“Sure, I’ll just go make the teas first” he said pointing towards the kitchen
“Forget the teas. Just sit with me.”
Paul nodded. He sat down next to her and leaned back. She lifted her legs onto the couch and rested her head on his shoulder. As she placed her hand on his chest, he wrapped his around her shoulder. He took a deep breath and slowly rested his head on hers.
“Thank you for not giving up on me.” Terese whispered
“I’ve always fought for us and I always will. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, we have something special here and no Sammy or Sheila is going to ruin that”
“Sheila?” Terese questioned
“Doesn’t matter” he quickly answered as he turned his head slightly to look at her “The point is, it me and you. It’s always been me and you.”
She looked up and smiled.
“And that will never change” she answered.
As both sat quietly, Paul sighed.
“I’m glad you’re finally home”
“My home is wherever we are. I just wish we could stay in this bubble for just a little while longer. When did you say the kids were coming home?”
“So, the night is ours?” Terese said
“What are you thinking?” Paul asked
“That this is perfect.” She said as she looked at him
He looked at her and smiled.
“Promise you’ll stay with me all night”
“I’ll be here when the stars shine and stay till the sun rises.” Paul answered.
Finally feeling safe for the first night in a long while Terese closed her eyes. Paul leaned forward and kissed her on the head. His arm still wrapped around her he leaned back and rested his head on the couch.
“Welcome home darling.”