Nobody wakes up one morning and decides that today is the day they are going to cheat on their spouse. When the opportunity presents itself however, it ultimately becomes a choice-and that choice, whether good or bad, can have irrevocable consequences.
Ethan and Jessica Harrington are doctors who work alongside fellow doctors Gavin and Sarah Williams. After Jessica has an affair with Gavin, their lives are thrown into turmoil as they deal with the aftermath and subsequent fallout. For the better part of a year the four of them have been working to piece their marriages back together. Sarah and Gavin are still reeling from a devastating miscarriage, while Jessica and Ethan are hesitantly looking forward to the birth of their first child.
Sarah’s hopes are immediately shattered however, when she learns just how far Gavin’s infidelity has gone. Suddenly thrown into an unwanted independence she fights to find her way.
Jessica struggles to repair her marriage to Ethan even as they become parents. But when Ethan, a borderline alcoholic, learns a dark secret, his world steadily begins to crumble. His drinking, fueled by this discovery, slowly engulfs him leaving him without the ability to control his temper.
With his marriage now in pieces and his sanity questionable, Ethan struggles to come to terms with his alcoholism and face a past that he has spent a lifetime trying to forget.
After All Is Said And Done is a powerful and gripping novel about infidelity, healing, & forgiveness.
Book Rated: PG
e x c e r p t
Sarah Williams leaned against the wall, letting Gavin’s lips roam along her neck and throat. The excitement in her started to build as he moved against her in long, even strides. His hands, strong, sure, and familiar, slid down her backside, touching her in all the places she liked. She suddenly stiffened and let out a low moan as her body began to throb. This launched Gavin into action, and the harder he thrust, the more intense it became, making her breaths come out in gasps.
She laid her head upon his shoulder and shuddered until the last bit of pleasure inside of her was gone.
Gavin tenderly brushed his cheek against hers before turning away to get dressed.
Wishing to hold on to him just a little longer, she slipped her arms around his chest and hugged him tightly.
“You know,” he said, looking over his shoulder at her, “I’ve got surgery in twenty minutes.”
“I know,” she answered with a sigh. “Will you be very late?”
“Shouldn’t be. I’ll probably be home sometime around eight.”
After giving him a lingering kiss, Sarah left his office and blissfully made her way down the corridor towards the elevator. With a hiss, its doors opened, inviting her in.
Taking the rare opportunity to be alone in a hospital elevator, she smiled and closed her eyes, wanting to remember every single second of what had just happened. She breathed in deeply, catching the last lingering remnants of Gavin’s aftershave. Things had not been this exciting for a long time between them, and she felt encouraged that this was a new beginning.
The elevator stopped and chimed, making Sarah reluctantly open her eyes. Her mood, and her smile, quickly dissolved when she saw Jessica Harrington step on.
Neither acknowledged the other as the doors roughly slid closed and began its downward descent.
Sarah folded her arms, intent on ignoring her as she watched the light jump from floor to floor, but a sudden jolt caught her off-guard. She gripped the rails behind her as the elevator jerked, and then screeched to a halt.
Jessica straightened up and pushed the button for seven. Nothing happened. “Great,” she muttered, reaching for the red phone next to the panel. “Yes, this is Dr. Harrington. We’re stuck in elevator B on the south side.” She looked up at the number that remained lit above the door. “We’re somewhere between ten and twelve.” Her eyes flicked towards Sarah as she listened. “They’ll get somebody on it right away.”
She groaned inwardly. That meant they could be stuck in here for a few minutes, or a few hours.
Twenty minutes later, they were still waiting.
Sarah sullenly leaned against the back wall, disliking the thought of having to make polite conversation with her for the next hour or so. She looked up at the light, trying to move the elevator with sheer will until she gave herself a headache.
She turned slightly, surprised that Jessica had spoken first. “Fine.” Tension began to swirl inside the tiny box, making her realize that she was going to have to say something in return. “So are you hoping for a boy or girl?” she asked, trying to sound genuine.
Jessica tenderly caressed the bump protruding from her stomach and shook her head. “It really doesn’t matter to me, as long as it’s healthy.” She paused a moment to smile. “But I think Ethan’s secretly hoping for a boy.”
“I think all men wish that,” Sarah mused. “Do you have any names picked out?”
“Olivia Grace if it’s a girl, and Ryan Michael if it’s a boy.”
The elevator shuddered and made a loud whining noise, but remained motionless.
Jessica suddenly doubled over and took in her breath.
Her lips pursed together as she held her side. “That was a really strong kick.”
Sarah nodded, remembering how excruciating little feet could be.
Jessica’s breath seemed to catch in her throat as she turned towards her. “I think my water just broke.”
Sarah felt her chest begin to tighten. “It’s not water,” she whispered.
Jessica glanced down and saw the bright red blood seeping through her scrubs. A guttural cry fell from her as she held her stomach and sank to her knees.
Sarah grabbed her cell phone from her pocket and knelt beside her.
“Fourth floor Labor and Delivery.”
“Listen carefully,” she spoke into the phone. “This is Dr. Williams. I am stuck in the south elevator somewhere between ten and twelve with Dr. Harrington. She is hemorrhaging. I want you to tell that maintenance crew to get us out of here right now!” She stopped and took a deep breath, trying to regain control of her voice. “Then I need for you to page Dr. Ethan Harrington and tell him what’s happened. I’ll stay on the line.” She pushed the speaker button and laid the phone on the floor next to her.
Jessica was sitting rigidly on her knees, clutching her abdomen.
Sarah helped her sit back. “I need to see what’s going on, all right?”
She nodded, her face turning paler by the second.
A pool of blood spilled out as Sarah slipped Jessica’s pants down. Thinking quickly, she took off her lab coat and pushed it between her legs, trying to stop as much of the bleeding as she could.
“I’m here, Ethan,” she said, loud enough for him to hear her.
She hesitated, hating to tell him this over the phone.
“She’s hemorrhaging, and I believe she’s having contractions.”
There was a long pause.
“Can I talk to her?” he asked in an unsteady voice.
She held the phone to Jessica’s ear. “It’s Ethan,” she said, urging her to speak.
Jessica blinked, unleashing a swath of tears. “Ethan? I’m so scared.”
Sarah had never felt more helpless in her life. The only thing she had with her was her stethoscope; a useless instrument in this situation. The lab coat, along with her hand, were both drenched in blood.
Jessica tilted her head back, exposing the veins in her neck as she cried out.
Realizing that she had to do something, Sarah removed the coat, only to have her fear confirmed; the baby’s head was beginning to crown. Panic quickly spread through her, knowing that the baby would die within minutes if it weren’t delivered soon.
Upon hearing Ethan shouting, she saw that Jessica’s eyes had closed. She dropped the phone and tapped the side of her cheek. “Jessica? Jessica, stay with me. I need you to try and push. Do you hear me?”
The elevator suddenly dropped, knocking her off balance. It then caught itself and slowly began moving downwards, eventually groaning to a halt.
Before the doors had fully opened, Ethan Harrington was stepping through them. Without speaking, he scooped up his wife’s lifeless body and put her on a waiting gurney.
The nurses draped a blanket over her and whisked her down the corridor towards labor.
Gavin stood at the other end of the hall, his eyes fixated upon Jessica as they wheeled her past him.
Sarah picked up her phone and stumbled into the nearest bathroom. She leaned heavily against the sink, watching the blood from her hands swirl down the drain. She pressed the soap dispenser several times until she had a large glop of the white liquid in her palm. As a doctor, she was used to seeing blood, but she had never gotten over its smell.
By the time she walked out, the crowd of onlookers had vanished. The aroma of bleach hung thick in the doorway of the elevator she had just been in; an orderly stood inside, silently mopping up the blood.
She spun around to find Gavin.
“I was looking for you.”
“I needed to wash up.”
“What happened?” His tone was accusing.
“I don’t know,” she replied, trying to stop the shaking in her voice. “She just started hemorrhaging and then went into labor.”
A strange look crossed his face as he pressed the button for the other elevator. “Why don’t we go grab some coffee?”
Sarah poured the small container of cream into her coffee and stirred until it turned a milky brown. She could feel the heat from the liquid as she brought it near her lips.
Gavin sat across from her scrolling through the numbers on his cell phone.
“What happened to your surgery?”
“Postponed until tomorrow,” he answered, pressing the phone to his ear. “This is Dr. Williams. Is Jessica Harrington still in surgery? … What’s her condition?”
Sarah took another sip of her coffee trying to ignore the concern she heard in his voice.
He hung up and lay the phone on the table.
“What’d they say?”
“They don’t know anything.” His eyes suddenly flooded with emotion, causing him to look away.
Sarah took a final sip from her cup and pushed her chair back. “I’m going to make my rounds and then head on home.”
He nodded. “I’ll be there in a little while.”
She stood by the table for a moment, hoping he might react to the curtness in her voice, but the only thing he did was look back down at his cell.
Sarah tilted her head back, letting the hot water spray down upon her face and mouth. She breathed in deeply trying to put the day’s events behind her, but the lingering scent of Jessica’s blood made it impossible for her to do so. She began to scrub vigorously as her mind replayed what had happened. Several minutes and three raw fingers later, she realized that the incident itself wasn’t bothering her nearly as much as the way Gavin had behaved afterwards.
The feeling of warmth left behind by their rendezvous in his office this afternoon was quickly trampled by the memory of his affair with Jessica last year. It was an affair that had left nothing but carnage in its wake, causing separations in both their marriages.
Forgiveness had not come easy for her, but she had swallowed her hurt and let him come home, making a promise to herself that she was going to be everything to him that she hadn’t been before.
The steam that was now circling the ceiling told her that she’d been in the shower long enough, yet it was with great reluctance that she shut off the water.
Gavin was sitting on the bed with his back to her when she came out of the bathroom. “Please let me know if there are any changes,” he said, hanging up the phone.
“The baby was delivered by cesarean. He’s in NICU.”
He didn’t say anything for a long time. When he finally spoke, his voice was uneven. “She’s in ICU…still unconscious.”
“What’s bothering you, Gavin?”
He bowed his head and ran his fingers through his hair.
His silence only confirmed her suspicions that he still had feelings for this woman. “What is it?” she pushed, feeling compelled to hear him say it.
He stood up and turned around, his face wracked with guilt. “If she dies…it’s all my fault.”
Sarah blinked, and then began to shake as the reality of what he had just said sank in.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I’m so sorr—”
She slapped him across the face. “You son-of-a-bitch!” Her anger immediately turned to tears, making her chin tremble as she fought to speak. “Goddamn you,” she whispered.
“I never meant for this to happen,” he said miserably.
“Get out!” She put her hands over her ears not wanting to hear anymore.
He reached out to hold her, but she shoved him away. “Get out!” she screamed.