“I need to see Adele,” Nick told the receptionist at the emergency room entrance. He was breathless after rushing in from the limo.
“Are you family?” the annoyed receptionist asked.
“I’m her fiancé,” Nick said.
“I wasn’t aware Adele was engaged.” The woman crossed her arms and sat back in her chair.
“I’m not sure she’s aware either.” Nick chuckled.
The woman didn’t look amused and didn’t make a move to let him in the door.
“Could you please just call back there and let her know I’m here?” Nick asked. “Please, I’m desperate.”
She picked up the phone to make the call and then raised her eyebrow. “Whom should I say is here to see her?”
“Tell her a cocky, prideful, son-of-a-billionaire is here to see her, she’ll know exactly who you’re talking about.” He was certain his playful grin was a bit smug, but he didn’t care. He was going to see Adele in less than a minute.
“Hi, it’s Judith at the triage desk. Could you tell Adele that her fiancé is here to see her?” She paused while listening to whoever was on the other end of the call. “Yeah, I didn’t know either. Mm hm, okay, I’ll tell him to wait a while. Thank you.” Judith hung up the phone.
“Well?” Nick raised his eyebrows.
“She’ll be out after she gets done inserting an IV into the arm of some guy who has such a bad migraine that he won’t stop puking.”
“Sounds lovely.” Nick wrinkled his nose and walked over to have a seat beside his brother but kept eagle eyes on the door to the emergency room.
After what seemed like hours, Adele exited the ER, her curls slipping from her hair clip and her shoulders slumped. Nick rushed up to her but stopped short of pulling her into his arms. She crossed her arms over her chest.
Nick pulled out his brand-new cell phone and held it up for her to see. “Do you know what this is?”
“Next year’s model of the iPhone, which won’t be available to us commoners for another eight months?” She sneered.
“The make and model are not important,” Nick said, not denying her observation. “What’s important is that it’s replacing my old phone. The phone I’ve had for years. The one with all my contacts inside.”
Adele’s facial expressions softened but her eyes remained hard.
“I have been trying to figure out how to get in touch with you for weeks. I finally just hopped on a jet and flew up here. But then your dad wouldn’t let you see me, so I figured the hospital would be the next most likely place to find you.”
“So that’s why you didn’t call?” she asked, lowering her gaze. “I thought you wanted nothing to do with me.”
“I want everything to do with you. I love everything about you,” Nick said, leaning closer. “I can’t think, I can’t work, I can’t breathe without you.”
“I miss you too.” Her whisper was barely a squeak. “But Nick, I’m not sure you can change. You’re too perfect. You think everyone should follow your example and live their lives the way you do.”
“But I have changed,” Nick said, pleading with his eyes. “I took to heart what you said about my pride and I think I understand. I’ve followed my dad’s example all my life and he’s so smart and confident and such a good man that he seems cocky sometimes.
“I’m not as smart as my father is and when I try to emulate him, I become cocky and prideful. I’m trying to be more humble… and I could learn a lot from you.”
“We come from separate worlds, Nick.” Adele was grasping, still fighting to find a reason to push him away.
“We’re not so different, Adele.” Nick chuckled and shook his head. “We’re both rich kids trying to make a positive difference in the world. You’re so intelligent that you intimidate me. But… I’m almost as smart.”
“Five points less smart.” She tried to hide a grin but failed miserably. That gave Nick the little bit of confidence he needed to finish his passionate apology.
Nick knelt on one knee, right there in the waiting room of the emergency department and held out a small black box containing a simple diamond engagement ring. “Adele, I’m sorry to ask you to give up your life in order to follow the fugitive son of a billionaire, but would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
“Yes,” she said without hesitation. “Nick, I will follow you anywhere. I would be honored to be your wife.”
Nick hopped to his feet, forgetting he was supposed to put the ring on her finger first, and wrapped his arms around her. He whispered over and over. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“You have a lifetime to keep apologizing.” She laughed.
“I’ll never stop,” he said, then pressed his lips to hers, sealing his promise.
Book Club Discussion Question: what do you think's next for Nick and Adele? The wedding of the century? Another disaster or scandal like at Lyle and Miriam's wedding? A double wedding with some of their other siblings? The return of a certain prince? Answer in the comments below!