Chapter   Fifteen

A month later....

"This place is beautiful," Karen said, looking around.

"Italy is one of my favorite countries," said Kevin. "And not because I'm Italian."

"You're Italian?" Karen looked at him in surprise. "I didn't know you were Italian."

"I'm half-Italian, half-Cherokee," Kevin told her.

"No wonder you're so gorgeous. You can't go wrong with a mix like that."

"Did you enjoy the fashion show? Seeing all those good-looking guys in the finest clothes." Kevin always got uncomfortable talking about his looks.

"Definitely. Kind of makes me wonder what I'm doing here with you?"

Kevin put his hand over his heart and pretended to be in pain. "That hurt."

"There was one in particular," Karen went on. "He was dressed in all white. Tall, dark, and handsome with the most beautiful green eyes."

"Oh really?" Kevin looked at her interested. "Do you know his name?"

"Let me see...." Karen thought for a second. "Calvin, I think."

" 'Calvin'?" Kevin made a face. "Is that the best you could come up with? Does this look like the face of a 'Calvin'?"

"Who said I was talking about you?"

"Oh. Right through the heart." Kevin feel to the ground.

Karen laughed. Kevin looked up and smiled. He got up and walked over to her. She stood on her tiptoes and gave him a kiss.

"Come on, let's go back to the hotel," Kevin said, softly. "I want to spend some quality time with you."

"Okay. I'll race you." Then Karen took off in the direction of the hotel.

"You cheater," Kevin yelled as he took off after her.

It didn't take long for him to catch up since his legs were longer. But just for good measure, Kevin stayed behind Karen a few feet. Then all of a sudden, Karen stopped and leaned against a nearby wall. Kevin was immediately by her side.

"What's wrong?" he asked her, worriedly.

"I don't know," Karen said, breathlessly. "I was fine one minute, then I got dizzy and my stomach started feeling queasy."

"I'm gonna go get the car. You stay right here."

"No, no, I'm okay. I can walk."

"Are you sure?"

"The hotel is just a few blocks, Kevin. I'm sure I can make it."

"Okay. Come on."

Kevin put his arm around Karen's waist as she put her arm around his. Slowly, they walked back the hotel. The doorman took one look at Karen and said he'd call a doctor. While he walked to the outside phone, Kevin took Karen to a nearby bench and sat her down.

"Just sit right here," Kevin told her. "The doorman is calling a doctor."

"No, I don't need a doctor," Karen said. "See, I'm fine."

She stood up and smiled. Then the color drained out of her face and she collapsed into Kevin's arms.


Karen woke up and found herself in the hospital. She looked the her right and saw she had no roommate. Then she looked to her left and saw Kevin asleep in a chair with his head resting on her bed. Karen reached over and ran her fingers through his hair. Kevin woke up and looked at her.

"Kare Bear, you're awake," Kevin said, softly. "Thank God. You scared me to death. Not to mention Eryka, Howie, Brian, AJ, and Nick."

"I'm sorry to make you worry, Kevin." Karen gently ran her fingers down his cheek. "How long was I out?"

"Five hours," Kevin said, looking at his watch. "It's ten o'clock."

"Are the others here?"

"Yeah, they're in the waiting room. Do you want me to go get them?"

"Yes. I want to see them."

"All right. I'll be right back." Kevin left the room.

Karen turned her head and looked out the window. She knew it was just a matter of time before her condition caught up with her. The thought of leaving Kevin brought tears to her eyes. Karen forced them back as she heard her friends walking through the door. She didn't want them to see her cry.

"Hey, Kare Bear," Nick said. "How're you feelin'?"

"Hello, Nick," Karen replied. "I'm feeling better."

"Karen, we were so worried about you," Eryka said, with tears in her eyes. She went and gave Karen a hug.

"Well, as you can see, I'm fine," said Karen, hugging her back. "Everything went a little crazy for a while, but now I'm back to normal."

"We booked a flight back to the US," said AJ. "We'll be going back in a couple days."

"We called your father, too," Howie said. "He got worried and asked us to bring you back home as soon as possible."

"When can I leave?" Karen asked.

"The doctor want to keep you over night," Kevin told her. "To make sure you're stable enough to travel. They'll release you tomorrow morning."

"I'm sorry to ruin your little vacation, guys," Karen apologized.

"That's okay," said Brian. "It's not like we haven't been here before. We just want you to get better."

"Okay." Karen yawned. "I'm just feeling a little tired."

"We better leave and let you rest," Eryka said. "Come on, everyone. Let's go back to the hotel."

Everyone started to file out of the room. Brian looked back and saw Kevin still standing by the bed.

"Hey, cuz," Brian said over his shoulder. "You coming?"

"I don't know," Kevin hesitated. "I don't want to leave her...."

"Go back to the hotel, Kevin," Karen said. "You need to rest, too. I'll see you tomorrow morning."

"Are you sure?" Kevin asked. "I could stay and rest here."

"I'm sure. Kevin, I'll be fine. Now go on. They're waiting for you."

"Okay. I'll see in the morning." Kevin gently kissed her lips. "I love you, Karen."

"I love you, too, Kevin."

Kevin headed towards the door. When he reached it, he turned back and saw Karen was already asleep. He closed the door quietly and went back to the hotel with the rest of the crew.

Chapter Sixteen:
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