Howie emerged from the bedroom wearing a pair of boxers. Finding that Candy and Rho were gone, he sighed with relief and looked at the clock…12:10. Sarah would be there shortly. His fever was climbing again so he went to the table where he’d set the medicine down the night before and got the Tylenol. That’s when he spotted the envelope. Picking it up, he looked through it quickly to see the pictures…but no negatives. They were real!
Behind him, he heard someone at the door and as he turned around, he saw the door open and Sarah coming through, her hands full of bags and one of the infant carriers. Rushing to help her, he smiled, “Hey, Angel,” and he tried to give her a kiss.
Sarah ducked him as she said, “MOVE and let me get in the damned room….and stay away from the children.”
Howie stepped back to let Sarah, Ilse, and the bell hop into the room. Realizing that Sarah was mad about something and not knowing she’d called, he asked, “Did Caroline and Dwaine give you hard time on the flight?”
“NO!” was the curt response. Then to Ilse, she said, “Take them to their room and try to get them back down.”
Ilse looked to Howie and he pointed to a room across the living area from their room. “There should be two bassinets set up for them.”
“I’ll order lunch for us in a few minutes, after I put my stuff down,” said Sarah as she tipped the bell hop.
Howie followed Sarah to the room setting the envelope on the dresser as Sarah stopped at the bed to drop her bags. He moved behind her and put his arms around her waist placing a kiss on her neck. “I’ve missed you, ‘Angel’.”
Sarah closed her eyes as she felt his body against hers. God, she’d missed him but she was pissed and wanted to know who had answered the phone. She had done a quick scan of the bedroom when she’d entered and hadn’t seen any female clothes. She could also tell that he’d just gotten out of the shower. Her anger started to dissipate but she wanted to know exactly what was going on.
“How much did you miss me, Howie? Enough to get some fan to satisfy you?” she asked angrily but she couldn’t disguise the hurt she was feeling too. “I thought you were sick.”
Howie stepped away. Had Candy already gotten to her?
Turning around to actually look at her husband for the first time, she was surprised by what she saw. He was pale and his eyes were weak with dark circles underneath. His body had been warm…warmer than normal and she knew it was because of the fever. His eyes…there was more there than just the fever. He was scared but of what?
Reaching out, she touched his forehead tenderly. “Howie, you’re burning up.”
“I know. I was just about to take something for the fever when you walked in. Sarah, we need to talk.”
“Yeah, we do. Go take whatever you were going to take. I’ll wait for you here.”
While Howie was gone, Sarah looked around the room again and spotted the envelope of pictures. Picking it up, she saw her name on it and figured it was something Howie had gotten from a fan but as she started flipping through them, she realized that wasn’t the case. A wave of nausea washed over her and tears began to fall seeing Howie being ‘pleasured’ by these women….women who looked vaguely familiar to her. As she continued looking at them, she quickly realized exactly who those women were.
He slipped his arms around her and pulled her close placing a kiss on her cheek. “I wasn’t trying to hide them from you.”
“Why do they want to hurt me like this?” sobbed Sarah as she turned to him.
Howie took the pictures from her and then held her, rubbing her back as he did. “They’re jealous. You’ve got what they can only imagine. Come on, let’s go sit down so we can talk.”
Howie led her out onto the balcony where he pulled her into his lap holding her close.
“’D’, you’re sick. We shouldn’t….”
Placing a finger on her lips, “I’m not going to feel better until I explain all this. I love you, Sarah…with every breath I take.”
“I love you too, Howie,” she whispered as she played with his fingers. “What happened? How did Candy and Rho get in here?”
“The last thing I clearly remember is talking to you. I know I went into the drugstore to get something so I could sleep but from there, it all becomes fuzzy until this morning.”
“They were here this morning?”
“The front desk called about 11:30 to tell me that you’d be in town by noon. After I got off the phone, I lay back and a noise out in the living room caught my attention.”
“What did they hope to gain?”
“Candy is trying to break us up. She said if I didn’t leave you and announce to the world that Rho was the love of my life, she’d send the pictures to you and the press.”
Shaking her head at the absurdity of the demand, she asked, “What did you tell her?”
“That I wasn’t going to leave you…now or ever. I’m going to call Steve and let him deal with this.”
Sarah rested her head on Howie’s shoulder as she silently played with his ring. This was the last thing she wanted to deal with but here it was. “Howie, just let it go. What’s it going to hurt if those pictures get printed?”
“You,” whispered Howie as he squeezed her hand.
“Not really. I can see that you weren’t an active participant and any editor worth anything is going to see it too. They’re going to see it for exactly what it is….blackmail. We have the pictures….”
“But not the negatives.”
“So? Howie, the best way, I think, to deal with Candy is NOT to deal with her. I’m more worried about you. When are you supposed to start working on the show with Melissa?”
“Day after tomorrow.”
Getting up, Sarah pulled him with her. “Come on. I’m putting you to bed.”
Howie grinned as he took her by the waist. “Oh…sounds good to me.”
“You goof,” laughed Sarah. “You’re sick and you need your rest!!”
Howie stopped her and pulled her back to him. With one hand on her waist and the other hand on the side of her face, his fingers tangling in her hair, he said, “I’m really glad you’re here, Angel. I’ve missed you and the babies so much.”
Giving him a soft smile, “I’ve missed you too, Howie.”
“We need to thank Becca.”
“Already done. I sent her a bouquet of wildflowers in a basket from both of us with ‘Thank you’ on the card. Now, what kind of medicine do you have?”
“Just the Nyquil and Tylenol.”
“I’m going to go out and order some lunch for Ilse and me and then I’m going to call the hotel doctor to come check you out. I don’t like the way you sound. I want you to go back to bed for now.”
“Yes ma’am,” and he gave her a kiss on the forehead.
Chapter 85 Index