Over Two Years Ago…
“I can’t believe you did this to me,” my fiancée screamed at me. “I can’t marry you like this. I can’t even look at you, much less have sex with you. You’re…disfigured.”
Lisette’s face was almost purple as she backed away from my hospital bed, an imperfection I knew she’d hate if she knew her face was that color.
Her words hit home, but I was fucking hurting, and it wasn’t my heart that was causing me excruciating pain. It was my messed-up body and leg that were causing me so much agony that I wished I could be put out of my damn misery.
“I can’t have this discussion with you right now, Lisette,” I said through gritted teeth.
“There’s nothing to discuss. I can’t be married to a man who is never going to be able to go to social events and dance with me. Instead of being envious of me, my friends will feel sorry for me because I’m married to somebody who’s disabled. I can’t stand being pitied. You know I want to be revered. I deserve it,” she said with a small huff of displeasure.
Jesus! How had I never noticed what a superficial woman my own fiancée was, or how petty?
Probably because I haven’t had much time for anything other than work.
Lisette and I got together for sex and parties.
Generally, I wanted the sex, so I took her wherever she wanted to go.
She hadn’t demanded anything more of me than that, and I hadn’t needed anything else. Sure, we had talked about setting a date for our wedding, but Lisette had been pretty happy about the expensive diamond I’d put on her finger, and the date hadn’t seemed all that important to either one of us. I was starting to think she loved the idea of the expensive ring more than she wanted to be married to me.
Maybe the delay had been a blessing since she was in the process of dumping me while I was still trying to recover from my last surgery.
According to my two brothers, she hadn’t been able to come see me earlier because she couldn’t tolerate sick people. But she’d run her ass up here in a hurry as soon as I was conscious to break our engagement.
Okay. Yeah. Maybe I’d known that she wasn’t exactly an intellectual, but I wondered why I’d never realized how narcissistic she was.
Maybe because I’d never done something she didn’t approve of before.
I’d never told Lisette about PRO, the volunteer organization that my best friend, Marcus Colter, headed up to rescue kidnapped victims and political prisoners in hostile countries.
Maybe the fact that I’d never trusted her enough to tell her about PRO should have been a big red flag, but I’d told myself that she didn’t need to know, and that PRO was a secret group. The team had all kept a low profile.
Honestly, I’d pretty much known that she just didn’t give a damn, but I’d never admitted it to myself. Funny what nearly dying will do to a guy. I was thinking about all kinds of shit I never had before.
Strangely, Lisette had never even asked how I’d gotten into a helicopter crash in a foreign country. Obviously, the only thing that mattered was how my injuries affected her.
“I suppose I should return the ring,” she said in a nicer tone.
“Like I said, we can discuss it later.”
“I want this over,” she said. “I don’t want to marry you.”
Yeah, I’d pretty much gotten that point, but I couldn’t say that her words didn’t still hurt. I was in a pretty vulnerable position, and the fact that my fiancée couldn’t stand to be with me was a bitter pill to swallow right now.
I looked bad. I knew that. When our helicopter had gone down, I’d been on the side that hit the ground, and my whole body was torn up from one end to the other. My leg had gotten mangled, and the doctors were still trying to put it back together.
“Keep the ring,” I rasped. All I wanted right now was to suffer in silence without her irritatingly shrill voice lamenting about how I’d ruined everything for her.
Honestly, since I’d been in the accident, I hadn’t really thought about how my injuries were going to affect the rest of my life. Hell, I’d just been trying to make it through the day.