Lost and Found: A Tale of Love, Healing, and Second Chances

Max chased after Elena as she bolted barefoot down the street. He quickly caught up to her, wrapping his long arm around her waist and spinning her to face him. He cupped her cheeks, forcing Elena to meet his eyes. Max stared at her and his gaze softened. He lowered his head, wanting to kiss her. Elena turned her face away, unexpectedly avoiding his kiss. Sensing her resistance, Max slightly raised his eyebrow. He grabbed her chin, forced her to face him, and then passionately kissed her. Elena was no longer able to resist and returned his fierce kiss. The two of them fell deep into the kiss, intoxicated by the feeling of holding each other again. Neither was willing to let go of the other for a long time. Finally, Max pulled back but continued to hold Elena tightly. It’s been two long years. Let me get a good look at you, he whispered. Max’s eyes darkened slightly as he studied Elena before muttering, and heartache. Why? If you’ve lost a lot of weight, don’t call me your wife, Elena spat. She was like a prickly hedgehog, spikes up and uneasily soothed, forgetting for a moment that we aren’t actually married. What kind of husband leaves his wife for two years without a word? Even if our marriage was real, we’ve been separated for two years. This is hardly a marriage. So stop calling me your wife. I’m not your wife. Max understood why she was furious and tried to soothe her.

Sorry, Elena, why don’t we go to the courthouse right now and get married again? Max, do you think I’ll fall for this routine twice? Elena scoffed. Look at the time. It’s 1 o’clock in the morning. Do you think I’m going down that rabbit hole again with you? Exactly how many times are you planning on fake marrying me?

Helena found that the longer they spoke, the more trouble she was having for giving Max he wouldn’t be asking to get married again if he were still sick. If he was still ill, Elena might have been soft hearted. But now that he was clearly alive and well, she felt the need to punish him for the pain of the past two years. Max obviously wasn’t dead, so where the hell had he been the last two years? Elena struggled in his embrace.

Why don’t you make yourself useful and drive me home? I need to sleep and I have to get up early tomorrow for an important date. A blind date, Max asked as his eyes emitted a dangerous cold light. No, but what if I did have a blind date? Elena Spat? Do I have to repeat myself, Max? I’m a single, unmarried woman. Surely, you know I have risen to the top of the food world and I’m on TV. I have legions of fans, many of whom are attractive young men who would die to date me.

Max was enjoying this arrogant, confident version of Elena, and he couldn’t help chuckling. Elena glared at him. What are you laughing at? Do you think I’m lying? Oh, no, I know you’re the cooking hottie.

Max smirked. But aren’t millions of your male fans crying into their pillows tonight after your announcement to the world that you’re a married woman? You did you see that Elena stammered? Elena, everyone saw that. It’s all over the internet. Well, obviously, it’s just a publicity stunt since our marriage is fake.

Elena insisted stubbornly. Max raised his eyebrows and smiled. I would be happy for a do over right now, if you’re ready. Elena hated this arrogant smile and snorted, are you going to drive me home or not? If not, I’ll take a taxi back myself. Max released Elena and motioned toward the parking lot. By all means, Ms Ramirez, your carriage awaits. He chuckled affectionately as Elena scowled at him before marching off. Well, then, come on. I haven’t got all night.

Elena pretended not to notice Max’s burning gaze, constantly glancing at her. As he drove her home. She turned her back on him and leaned against the car door, closing her eyes, her face purposely facing towards the window. The corner of Max’s mouth unconsciously curled up into a faint smile. This was the first time he had felt relaxed in two years, even after he’d been given the all clear on his health, his heart was still uneasy. But now he was home with Elena and he could finally breathe again.

As for Elena, while she was still furious, for the first time in years, she had no problem falling asleep. She immediately fell into a deep slumber in the passenger seat of Max’s car. Max stopped the car outside of her house. It was the home Max had given to Elena and where she had been living since he’d left.

Elena was sleeping soundly. He could hear the faint sound of her breathing, and her innocent appearance was filled with alluring charm. Her beautiful eyelashes fluttered as she slept, and her pretty face was suffused with a rosy color.

Max was unable to help himself. He lowered his head and kissed her lightly on the cheek. It had been so long since he had tasted her, he couldn’t get enough. And as soon as his lips met her silky skin, he greedily wanted more. Elena’s intoxicating scent made Max lightheaded as he slowly kissed her cheeks, nose and eyes before capturing her pillowy lips.

Elena shifted in her seat and let out a whimper before her hazy eyes opened when she saw Max, she was immediately wide awake. Her breathing quickened, but she reached out to push him away. You, what are you doing? What does it look like I’m doing? Max’s voice was rough. I’ve missed my wife. Max captured Elena’s lips again and his kiss grew fiercer as he lifted her out of his car and carried her into the house. They left a trail of shoes, clothes and accessories from the front door, up the stairs and into their bedroom. Before Max kicked the door shut behind them, locking out the world so that they could make up for the lost time.

The next day, Elena awoke to the autumn sunshine pouring onto her bed. She lifted her arm to block the bright light and then frowned uncomfortably as she shifted her sore body. In the next moment, Elena’s eyes popped open all the way, and the previous night’s events came rushing back to her as she stared at the familiar man in her bed. Elena almost thought she was living in a dream, but it wasn’t a dream. Just like that, Max was back and lying beside her, the imprint of the slap she had given him last night was still faintly visible on his cheek. Elena suddenly felt guilty. If she could still see it today, she must have slapped him hard and it must have been painful. Elena reached out to slightly stroke his cheek as if he could feel her stare. Max’s eyes opened and immediately found hers when he saw Elena the most beautiful smile she had ever seen appeared on his face. Elena tried to withdraw her hand, but he stopped her. He wrapped his fingers around hers and pulled her into his embrace. Max greedily buried his head into her soft hair, absorbing the unique scent that belonged solely to Elena. His heart, which had felt so lonely, was immediately overflowing. He had finally returned to the side of this beautiful woman.

Did you sleep well last night, Max asks her, his voice still husky from sleep. Elena didn’t reply. She just let him hug her. The waves in her heart surged. And when she heard Max’s familiar voice, she had the urge to cry. Everything seemed like a dream and it was so surreal. Are you really back? Elena whispered, still barely able to believe it. Yes, I’m home safe and sound. I’m back for good. Max hugged her tightly. And you’re leukemia. Are you better? Elena barely dared to ask this question, fearing what she might hear. But it was also the question she most wanted to ask. Max reached out and pushed Elena’s wayward curls off her forehead. Yes, my doctor said I’m in full remission. And as long as there is no recurrence, my body should be more or less healed. Elena grabbed his big hand, bit her lower lip tightly and looked at him with watery eyes. Where have you been the past two years? How did you get better? Didn’t you almost die, Max? Sighed Elena, if it weren’t for you, perhaps I wouldn’t be in this world anymore. Many times when I was once again staring down death, the doctors would put a video of you on so I could see your smiling face and hear your happy voice, seeing you supporting me by living such a good life gave me the strength to keep fighting. It’s like what you say about food. It’s not just medicine that helps you get better. It’s your mindset, your emotions, the food you eat, everything. He suddenly laughed.

I believe my doctors are publishing an article about my case for a research journal. I’m considered something of a medical miracle. You see, six months ago, I was lying in the hospital and completely unconscious. The doctors thought I wouldn’t last another 24 hours. Then the next day, I suddenly started improving, although they hadn’t tried anything new. And after that, I just kept getting better.

Elena’s eyes whitened as she stared at him in disbelief. She nervously asked, really? Is this really true? Are you sure that you’re healthy? There’s no problem for now. My red blood cell count is normal and my body is no longer rejecting the transplant. No one can ever predict the future, but I’m doing very well now. With no signs of that changing. This is such amazing news.

Elena sighed in her heart and then reached out to hug him tightly. She felt very emotional, but didn’t want to show it. This feeling was too good, too unreal. She buried her face in Max’s chest. Whatever the reason was, she was thankful he was better.

Elena was so caught up in her emotions that the sound of her phone ringing startled her. She hesitated briefly before withdrawing from Max’s embrace and reaching for her phone. It was Piper. Elena paused for a moment before finally connecting the call. Elena, hurry up. Where are you? You have an appointment with your agent. You didn’t forget, did you? Elena sighed lazily. I forgot.

She looked at the man beside her and leaned her head on his shoulder. She then began idly drawing circles on Max’s chest with her finger. Max tickled her and grabbed her restless little hand. Elena stifled a yelp and then continued to be mischievous. Max simply rolled over, pushing her under him, not allowing her to move. Elena patted his chest in protest. But then Piper’s voice called out from the phone. How can you forget such an important matter? Elena, this contract is to establish your appearance and speaking fees. Alright, hurry up and get dressed. I’ll come over to pick you up right now. There’s no need for that. Elena quickly refused her offer.

Don’t come over. She didn’t want anyone to interrupt this beautiful moment. At this moment, Max was nuzzling into Elena’s neck, rubbing his morning stubble against her soft skin, purposely teasing her before nipping at her earlobe. Elena stifled a moan.

However, she still managed to reply to Piper, I’m not signing this contract. Why? Piper was startled and a little anxious. Elena, what’s happened to you? The discussions have gone very well. Aren’t you satisfied with the negotiated rates? Piper help me to reject this contract also in the future, whether it’s a television appearance, an interview or a speaking engagement, whatever comes up, I’m no longer available. I refuse to participate in any more public engagements. I’ll continue posting to my social media accounts and the cookbook deal can continue. Otherwise, I’m out. Elena could hear Piper sputtering with disbelief on the other end of the phone, but she no longer cared.

Elena had never been a person who liked to show her face and being a public figure had never been her wish. She had achieved fame, but had found it more annoying than noteworthy. Her true goal had been to help Max. Now that her goal had been achieved, she no longer wished to have her private life invaded. She was still passionate about food and health, but she would pursue her goals in a way that more aligned with who she truly was. As far as Elena was concerned, this cooking hottie was officially putting her fame on the back burner.