“How have you and Violet been doing?” Spencer asks as we walk to my gram’s hospital room. He’s at least six inches taller than me, so I have to crane my neck in order to see his curious, bright blue eyes.
I shrug. “As good as we can be.” I answer, honestly. I turn my head forward and avoid his questioning stare.
“What’s going on?” He asks, quietly. “You’re still working, right?” He takes my arm and stops walking, making me stop with him.
I sigh in frustration. “Spencer, now’s not the time. I’d like to see gram, first.” I grumble and pull my arm from his grip. I continue walking, and stopping just outside her door, I turn to him. I place my hand on his bicep and look up at his furrowed eyes. “I promise to tell you everything, later.” I give him my most sincere look so he can see I’m being honest. “I promise.” I stress.
He sighs and pinches his nose. “Fine.” He nods, dropping the subject.
Together we enter the hospital room and my gram is sitting up in her bed, while my uncle is fussing over her. “Knock it off, Quentin. I’m fine.” She snaps at him in her southern drawl and swats his hand away when he tries to feed her some blue jello.
“Mother, you need to eat-” Uncle Quentin starts to say, before Spencer cuts him off.
“Hey, Grandma, look who I found at the airport!” He exclaims, happily as we make our way closer to her bed.
Gram and uncle Quentin turn their heads our way and my grandma gasps, throwing her hands over her mouth. “Brianna Lynn!” She sobs, holding her arms out to me. I move closer to her bedside and she pulls me in for a suffocating hug. “My baby girl is home.” She coos as she rocks us back and forth. “Praise the Lord, my Angel has come back.” She continues to cry for a few minutes and I just hold her, realizing just how much I have missed this lovely, spunky woman. “My baby girl.” She whispers.
Tears fill my eyes and I let them fall down my cheeks. There’s been no better woman in my life, besides my Grammy. She’s always been my Saving Grace. My mom at heart. And I miss her so damn much.
I hug her a little tighter before letting go and stepping back. I smile a wobbly smile and wipe my tears. “I’ve missed you so much, Gram.” I tell her. She brushes my hair away from my face and tucks it behind my ear. Her palm sits softly against my cheek and when our eyes collide, I can see the love and fondness she has for me. “I love you.” I whisper, leaning forward and kissing her cheek.
Her hand falls from my cheek when I step back, so I take that hand and hold it in mine. “Oh sweetie. I am so happy to see you.” She smiles and toothless smile and I see that her dentures are not in her mouth. Usually that would make me shutter, but right now all I can do is smile in sadness and relief.
Sadness at seeing her looking so frail in this big bed and relief because she is still here with us. Right where she’s supposed to be.
“I’m very happy to see you, too.” I reply. I notice her hair is getting gray, but she had it up in an elegant twist.
Even for someone of her age, she manages to still look prim and proper.
“Get over here, young lady.” Uncle Quentin beckons me and I obey. When I reach him, he pulls me into a gut crushing hug. “It’s so damn good to see you, pretty girl.” He whispers and kisses my head.
I hug him back and whisper, “You too.” When I step away, I start to laugh a little. “You’re looking a bit rough, uncle.”
He’s six feet tall, sandy blonde hair and blue eyes like Spencer. But Uncle Quentin isn’t as built as Spencer, he’s more on the leaner side.
Spencer and Gram laugh at my poke towards Quentin and he play scowls at me. “Yeah well, your hair is frizzy.” He jabs and sticks his tongue out at me.
I laugh harder. “Real mature, Old Man.” I retort, sending him my sweetest smile.
Before things can get out of hand, a nurse comes in to tell us visiting hours are over. Sighs fly around the room before we bid Grandma a goodnight. “I love you.” I repeat. “I can’t wait for you to come home.”
“Are you staying long?” She asks, her eyes hopeful.
I take a deep breath before answering. “As long as you need me.” I reply, honestly. Just a few minutes with her and seeing how frail she really is, makes me realize that this isn’t going to be a short trip. I need to spend as much time with her as I possibly can, before it’s time for her to fly high.
I didn’t get to see my Grandpa before he passed away and I regret it, every day.
Tears fall from her eyes and a beaming smile crosses her face. “I am so happy to hear that.” She rubs my hand between hers, sniffling. “I’ll be home tomorrow.” She assures me. “These two can fill you in on what the doctor said.”
“Okay. I love you, Gram. Goodnight.” I kiss her cheek one last time before moving and giving Spencer room to say goodbye.
“You two run along. I have somewhere to go before I head home.” Uncle Quentin says, after he bids Grandma goodnight.
“Okay. Love you, Uncle Quent.” I hug him goodbye, knowing that if I don’t see him at home tonight, I’ll see him tomorrow.
“Love you, Dad. See you later.” Spencer gives him a man-hug before directing me back down the hall and towards the hospital’s exit.
Truth be told, I can’t wait to get out of here. I don’t particularly care for hospitals. They don’t bring good memories, other than the birth of Violet.
Once we step outside, I inhale deeply, trying to erase the smell of cleaning products from my nose.
“So, you staying in the house tonight or do you want to stay in the cabin?” Spencer asks as we walk to his truck. He tosses his keys in the air and catches them, repeatedly, as he awaits my answer.
I check the time on my phone and see it’s already seven at night. “Ugh.” I groan. “I’ll stay in the house for tonight, but can we get something to eat before heading home, please?” I ask, pouting my lip and fluttering my lashes. “I’m starving.” I exaggerate my rubbing my stomach.
Spencer laughs and nods. “Of course.” He sighs and I almost know what’s coming, but I’m surprised when he asks about my best friend since grade school. “So, are you going to let Chelsea know that you’re in town?” He glances over at me before turning his gaze back to the road ahead of us.
“Oh. Yeah. I plan on calling her tomorrow.” I chirp, smiling at the thought of actually seeing her. Chelsea is the opposite of Amy. She’s cool, calm and collected, where Amy is flirtatious, loud and all over the place at times. But, I love them both for who they are, which is my best friends.
I’m kind of excited for them to finally meet each other.
“Good. She’s been on my ass all day about whether or not you were coming home.” He chuckles. “But I didn’t tell her you were because I wasn’t sure if you wanted anyone to know.” He smiles over at me as he stops at the drive thru of McDonald’s.
“No worries. And, thank you, Spence. For everything.” I smile, sincerely.
He nods. “What do you want to eat?” I ramble off my order, which is a Big Mac with a medium Chocolate Shake. He orders a ton of food for himself and pulls forward to pay. I dig my wallet from my purse to pay for my food, but his hand stops me. I look up and see him staring down at me, a sad smile on his face. “I’ve got it.” He says, squeezing my hand, gently. “You save your money for you and Vi.”
“Thank you.” I mumble. I replace my wallet with my phone and check to see if Amy has called me. Seeing that she hasn’t, I call her instead.
“Momma!” Violet yells into the phone and I cringe. I remove it from my ear and faintly hear Amy telling her not to yell.
“Hey, baby girl.” I smile, picturing her sitting on Amy’s couch in her pj’s, phone in front of her face with the loud spreaker on, since she can’t hold it to her ear. “Are you being good for Amy?” I ask, knowing the answer is yes, even if she’s misbehaving. Amy seriously spoils my daughter. She loves her so much and I am so grateful to have such a caring friend.
“Course.” She replies and I laugh. “Can I come to you?” She asks in her sweet voice. “I miss you, Mommy.” Her voice goes sad for a second, before she starts giggling.
I look over at Spencer, knowing he’ll be happy with my upcoming answer. “Yes, sweetie. You’ll be coming down tomorrow or the next day.” I assure her.
“Yay!” She squeals, happily.
“It’ll be the day after tomorrow, Bri.” I hear Amy say in the background. “I couldn’t get tickets for tomorrow.” She adds.
“Awe, man.” Violet pouts.
“Are you serious?!” Spencer asks loudly, a beaming smile graces his face and his pearly whites gleam in the night.
“Yes, Spence.” I answer him and smile at his giddy demeanor. “Baby girl, it’s okay. Tomorrow you will spend the day with Amy and the next day you will be with me, again, okay?” I ask her. “And Amy, thank you so much, again, for doing this.”
“Okay, Momma.” Violet replies, happily. “See you soon. Muah.” She adds, kissing me through the phone.
“Muah.” I return her kiss. “I love you, sweetie. Goodnight.”
“Night-night.” She adds.
“Night, Bri. Talk tomorrow.” Amy yells before the line goes dead.
This time, Violet hung up the phone without saying goodbye. I think Amy is rubbing off on her.
“Wow. I’m finally going to get to meet your little princess in person.” Spencer says as we pull away from McDonald’s.
“Yes, you finally are.” I smile, excited that my family can finally meet my daughter.
They’ve wanted to come to New York to meet her, but I wasn’t ready for that, because I knew I would be easily manipulated by my grandmother to come home. Now though, I wish more than ever I had just let them into my life away from home…
I’m just a little bit nervous about her coming here. It won’t be long before people connect the dots and figure out who her father is.
I better let him know before someone else does. Especially if that someone else is Jasper.