Torn Between Love and Pain: Elena’s Emotional Journey

Elena’s manager, Piper, followed Elena into the car and the door closed behind them. The driver quickly left the studio parking lot, leaving the excited crowd of reporters and fans behind. To the podcast studio, Piper instructed the driver. Elena leaned her head against the leather seat in exhaustion as she closed her eyes to rest briefly before her next interview. So what was all that about back there? Piper asked Elena. What do you mean, Elena asked without opening her eyes. You know what I mean? Why did you suddenly mention your marriage to the media? Your publicity team is blowing up my phone. And your sudden announcement that you’re married is causing an uproar. Elena opened her eyes and gazed at Piper coldly as she said, are you saying I should lie to the public about my marriage? But it’s not a lie. Piper pursed her lips, hesitated briefly, then quietly reminded Elena, your marriage certificate, it’s fake. Elena already knew this. She’d known this since shortly after Max first left.

Elena had gone to the county register to have her name legally changed to Elena Dexter. But when she produced her marriage certificate, she’d been shocked to learn it was invalid. She’d quickly contacted the courthouse, figuring there must have been a mistake. Instead, Elena had been told a letter had been sent informing them that their marriage hadn’t been properly recorded and that she and Max weren’t legally married. Confused, Elena had asked the courthouse to send her a PDF of the letter, and that’s when she knew it was true.

Max had signed for the certified letter the day before he’d been readmitted to the hospital for the last time. Max had known when he left that he and Elena weren’t legally married. Elena had been furious at first. Had Max done this on purpose? Had he been playing with her emotions again? If not, wouldn’t he have tried to fix the error immediately? Mia had used her reporter skills to do some digging and the error hadn’t been Max’s doing, but the clerks their late night ceremony had caused the certificate to be incorrectly recorded and endorsed.

Elena was still furious that Max had kept the news from her. However, gradually Elena began to understand Max’s intentions. He believed he was dying and must have decided it would be easier on Elena if they weren’t legally married. It wasn’t. And Elena was still furious with him for keeping it from her, but she no longer thought Max’s intentions were malicious. Of course, she would still let Max have it when he returned, which Elena still firmly believed he would.

With a sharp gaze, Elena responded to her manager, warning, Piper, if I ever hear you say my marriage isn’t real again, you’ll be looking for another job. Elena’s sudden scolding had done the trick and Piper turned away, saying nothing more.

The car stopped in front of the podcast studio. The staff quickly welcomed them before leading Elena inside her dressing room. While Elena was getting her makeup touched up, Piper took out a notebook and briefed Elena. Today’s podcast will be recorded both on audio and video. The video will be posted online as part of their behind the scenes show notes. The interview will consist of the typical food questions, but Elena sat in the makeup chair as she listened to Piper. When her manager paused, Elena looked at her and asked, but what? Piper took a deep breath, knowing her boss wouldn’t be pleased. But given your earlier announcement of your marriage, you should expect questions about it. You’re trending online. Elena nodded in resignation.

Understood. Elena sighed internally, but wasn’t surprised. No one in her family understood why Elena, who had always been so private, had suddenly sought fame, thereby exposing herself to the world. They didn’t understand that Elena hadn’t been working hard to gain the world’s acclaim and attention. She cared nothing about fame. Elena sought only one man’s attention. Elena figured the more famous she became, the more chances Max would have to see her living a good life. She couldn’t see him, but Elena desperately wanted Max to see her. If he witnessed her smiling on TV, he’d know Elena was doing well and that he could concentrate on his health.

When Elena finished recording the podcast, it was already 10 at night. She got back into her car, wearily remembering the show hosts numerous personal questions. So, Elena, I hear the news is out and hearts are breaking everywhere. You’re married. Tell us about the lucky guy. He must be amazing. And how had Elena responded? No, he’s the most shameless, arrogant man in the world. But the heart doesn’t always listen to the brain.

Elena may still love Max, but she couldn’t help feeling bitter when Elena returned to the car, Piper handed over her cell phone. Elena, your mother called numerous times while you were recording and she said to call her back when you were done. Elena quickly dialed her mother’s number. Hi, mom. What’s going on? You told the world you were married today. Ramona replied, yes, because I am married.

Ramona side Elena, it’s been two years. Why are you still so stubborn? It’s not like you don’t know the marriage certificate is fake. If everyone knows you’re married, why would another man pursue you? Mom, I’m married. I am a woman with a husband. I don’t want anyone else to pursue me.

Elena’s voice rose a few notches as she growled irritably at her mother over the phone. Elena Ramona’s voice couldn’t help but also rise. After a long pause, Ramona finally said what no one dared to speak about in front of Elena, but what if he never comes back? How long will you wait for him? I don’t think Max would want you to put your life on hold for him forever. Do you want a family of your own? Mom, I am not deceiving myself. I believe Max is still alive. I will wait for him even if I have to wait my whole life. There will never be another man for me.

After Elena said this, she hung up the phone without waiting for her mother to reply. As soon as the call ended, tears welled in Elena’s eyes. She had gotten angry with her mother, but she understood all too well that what her mother said may be true.

Max could already be lost to Elena forever. She knew when Max left that his chances of survival were low. Otherwise, why would he have left her in the first place? However, Elena would wait for Max forever. Her mind and logic said he was likely gone, but her heart said he was still alive. She believed Max was still out there because Elena thought she would feel it deep in her heart and soul if he was truly lost to her.

Depressed and lonely, Elena instructed her driver, take me to Charm. Charm was a well known bar in the area. The driver dropped Elena off and then took Piper home. Elena wanted to be alone. She used to be one of those women who rarely went to bars. She still remembered when she and some college friends had snuck into a bar and Max had caught her and dragged her home. Since Max left, however, Elena had been hanging out in this bar quite a bit. She wasn’t there to flirt or socialize, though. She was there to drown her sorrows. Her demeanor fairly screamed, leave me alone. No one ever approached her as Elena sat and sipped her wine. And that was how she wanted it.

After midnight, Elena wearily staggered out of the bar barefoot with her high heels and a small black handbag clutched in her hands. Normally, Elena just sipped at a glass of wine or two, but tonight, Elena had been feeling the need to forget and had consumed much more than that and was now feeling quite tipsy.

Elena didn’t call her driver to come and pick her up. Instead, she joined the line waiting for a taxi. Few taxis were available after midnight, but many people were at the bar waiting for one. After another, taxi came and went, Elena grumpily pulled a cigarette out of her handbag and lit it. She had just taken a long drag when the cigarette was abruptly out of her hand. Elena opened her mouth to curse when the familiar gravelly voice made Elena’s entire body stiffen. Smoking is bad for you. I think you’d be aware of this as an advocate for healthy living.

Elena’s heart froze as she stiffly lifted her eyes to look at the man opposite her. The next moment, her nose burned and her eyes blinked back tears. The night wind blew, rustling his short black hair. One of his hands was tucked into the pocket of his long black trench coat. His striking good looks caused all the women who passed to turn their heads and take a second glance. But Max only had eyes for Elena. He gazed at Elena’s rosy face, flushed red from the alcohol. A current of emotion surged hotly within Max’s dark blue eyes. As his gaze locked onto Elena’s, they stared at each other for a long time without saying a word. The breeze rustled Elena’s skirt, and she shivered.

However, Elena honestly didn’t know if the cold night air or Max’s hot gaze made her unable to stop trembling. Noticing Max immediately took off his trench coat and without a word wrapped his coat around Elena’s shoulders. Max’s coat was still warm from his body and infused with his familiar scent, overwhelmed Elena’s eyes welled up with tears. And then suddenly a resounding slap landed on Max’s face. Max was not surprised by Elena’s sudden outrage and didn’t get angry as five bright red fingertips appeared on his chiselled jaw. Hot tears rolled down Elena’s cheeks before she angrily swiped at them and began to unleash her pain and heartache on him. You left. What are you doing back here? Elena screamed at him. Her emotions were so agitated that she was unable to hold them in. She began to sob. And as if the slap hadn’t been enough, Elena fiercely threw her purse at him. Get away from me. I don’t want to see you again. She took a few steps back, grabbed her high heels and threw them at Max, shouting, leave, go away, you selfish , liar. I hate you, Max. Don’t you know how much I hate you?

Elena knew that now was not the time to be angry. She should ask Max where he had been and if he was healthy. However, she just couldn’t think straight as soon as she saw him. The pain and rage she had suppressed for two years gushed out of her like a flood. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t hold back the tide of emotion. Elena had waited two years to see Max again, but now that he stood before her, she couldn’t bear the sight of him. So she did the only thing she could think to do, she ran.