One Secret Night, One Secret Baby

By: Charlene Sands


She wasn’t a one-night stand sort of girl.

Emma Rae Bloom was predictable, hardworking, ambitious and least of all, adventurous. Boring. She never did anything out of the ordinary. She was measured and sure and patient. Double boring. The one time she’d crushed that mold, breaking it to bits, was at her neighbor Eddie’s blowout bash at Havens on Sunset Boulevard in celebration of his thirtieth birthday last month. She’d partied hard, lost her inhibitions as well as her mind during the now infamous Los Angeles blackout and wound up in bed with her best friend’s brother, Hollywood heartthrob in the flesh, Dylan McKay.

She’d had secret dibs on Brooke’s brother since the age of twelve. He was the older boy with sea-blue eyes and stubble on his face who’d treated her kindly and given her a measuring stick to compare all men against.

There was no going back to reclaim their night together, although her memory of her time with Dylan was almost nonexistent. Just her luck, she had her first ever one-night stand with the hottest guy on earth and her mind had gone as foggy as a London winter day. Too many mango mojitos could do that, she’d been told.

She stood at the port-side railing of Dylan’s yacht now. As he approached her, his head wrapped with gauze bandages, a haunted look on his face spoke of sadness and grief. It was a somber day, but beaming rays of sunshine and stunning marshmallow fluff clouds didn’t seem to know that. She pushed her sunglasses farther up her nose, grateful to hide her true emotions.

Roy Benjamin was gone, killed in the freakish stunt accident on the set of Dylan’s Navy SEAL movie. The tragedy had rocked Hollywood insiders and made a big splash on the news, even eclipsing the story of how the lights went out in the city just the day before. It wasn’t just Roy’s death that had rocked the entertainment world and hit the headlines with a bang, but Dylan’s amnesia resulting from the same blast that had killed his friend.

“Here, have a soda.” Brooke walked up beside her brother and offered Emma a glass. “You look like you could use one.”

“Thanks.” She accepted the benign drink. No more alcohol for her, thank you very much. “It’s a hard day for everyone.” She sipped her cola.

Standing between her and Brooke, Dylan wrapped his arms around them. “I’m glad you both are here with me today.”

Emma’s nerves squeezed tight. She hadn’t seen Dylan since the night of the blackout. The supportive arm around her shoulders shouldn’t elicit any of the sensations she was having. It shouldn’t. She sighed. His hand caressed her upper arm lightly, sending shock waves through her system. As the yacht backed out of its slip, his body lurched, two hundred pounds of solid granite shoulder to shoulder with her. She stopped breathing for a second and gripped the railing.

“Of course we’d be here,” Brooke said. “Roy was a friend of ours, too. Right, Emma?”

She gave Dylan a quick smile. It was such a tragedy that a man so vital and strong as Roy had died at such a young age. He was a Dylan look-alike, his stunt double and a close friend to the McKays. Emma only knew Roy through them and he’d always been nice to her.

Dylan’s lips curled up a little, the subdued smile of a man in mourning. “I miss him already.”

He tightened his hold, bringing their bodies close. He was the consummate movie star, sunglasses shading his face, blond hair blowing in the breeze and a body carved from hard gym workouts and daily runs. He was Hollywood royalty, a man who’d managed to steer clear of lasting relationships his entire adult life. Darkly tanned, as talented and smart as he was good-looking, he had it all.

Emma should be concentrating on Roy’s death instead of her dilemma. Yet as she’d dressed this morning readying for Roy’s memorial, she’d rehearsed what she would say if Dylan remembered anything that happened between them during the blackout.

I wasn’t myself that night. The blackout freaked me out. I’ve been afraid of the dark since I was a kid and I begged you to stay with me. Can we just go on being friends?

Now it looked as if she could dodge that confession. Soul-melting blue eyes, dimmed now from grief, settled upon her as they always had. He saw her as his sister Brooke’s friend, nothing more. He had no memory of their night together. The doctors termed it dissociative amnesia. He was blocked and might never remember the hours or days leading up to the blast that took his friend’s life and sent a hunk of shrapnel tunneling into his head. He’d been knocked unconscious and had woken up hours later, in the hospital.