With a river of sweat between my breasts and a pool of moisture along my hairline, I sat up, gasping and shaking. The white, cotton sheets were heavy and tangled around my legs. It was morning. I was alone in my beautiful Art Deco bedroom and Florida’s sherbet-colored sunrise poured past the half-open curtain. My skin was aflame, as if on the verge of sunburn.
I was eight and a half months pregnant and dreaming of a ménage with my husband—who had been missing for weeks—and his brother. To say I was going insane was an understatement.
I sobbed, hard, my chest heaving. At one point, I almost retched, I was crying with such force. Sitting up, I gulped in a few breaths, trying to calm myself. It was nothing but a crazy, hormone-and-stress-fueled dream. One of many tormenting nightmares I’d had in recent weeks, ever since I’d been put on bed rest due to precariously high blood pressure.
After a minute or two, I stopped wailing. A thick fog had settled into my brain, and I shook my head, trying to chase away both the haze and the memory of the intensity of the subconscious sex scene. The recurring dreams—or were they erotic nightmares?—always made me simultaneously wet, needy, and ashamed.
Also profoundly, horribly sad.
I was grieving, but still hopeful, that Caleb would be found. But each day without news brought only more anguish and more ambiguity. So I was constantly in a state of suspended animation, never quite sure what was real. Was Caleb alive? Hurt? Did he miss me or had he just vanished because he hadn’t wanted to be a father? We’d hired private investigators, his parents were back and forth to Brazil helping with the search, and I was not only on a first-name basis with the detectives of the Sao Paulo police force, I’d sent one of their kids a birthday present the previous week.
And still, nothing. No clues, no leads, no Caleb.
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