At the tail end of Chapter 23, this little scene tipped my hand. It took the SHOCK out of Phil's death (although I figured it was obvious anyway). However, it was a non-Chuck/Bobbi scene, so it didn't make it through editing. As a result, the reader is as stunned as the characters are by Phil's massive stroke.
Phil thanked God that Donna was waiting for him when he got home. Her smile, her touch was worth the world to him.
“How’d it go?” she asked after greeting him with a kiss.
“Not so good.” He slipped into an easy chair. “I feel like we’re back to square one. It was like the first night when she told him she hated him.”
“Oh no. What happened?”
“We got to the ‘why’ today. It was ugly.” He rubbed his temples. “Maybe I should get them another counselor.”
“You can’t send them to someone else when you’re so close to a resolution.”
“I’ve told them all I know,” he said. “Bobbi is still so hurt and angry, maybe more so now after all these months. I feel like a failure.”
Donna knelt down and took his hands in hers. “You’re not a failure. You’re on the brink of great success with Chuck and Bobbi. I’m sure of it.”
Phil shook his head and smiled at his wife. “Thanks.” He looked over and noticed the blinking light on the answering machine. “Who called?”
“Your doctor.” Donna’s smile faded. “The clots haven’t changed. He still thinks surgery is too risky, but he’ll refer you if that’s what you want. He said to have you call him when you got home.”