Part Twenty Nine - the end
Alexis was always being rushed, what happened to taking your time, savouring life? She finally found her shoes, tucked under some boxes in the bottom of her wardrobe. Sliding them on, she felt a little easier. But not much.
As she made for the bathroom to double check her makeup, the phone rang. Groaning she returned to the bedroom and located her mobile, still in the pocket of the jeans she’d taken off half an hour before.
“You ok?” It was Peter, it was always Peter, and his voice still had the power to turn her insides to mush.
“I’m fine! I’d be better if people didn’t rush me, and then didn’t keep disturbing me getting ready!” She snapped a little more aggressive than was necessary.
He laughed though, he wasn’t perturbed, “It’s YOUR birthday. If you want to cancel all this then we can!”
He was taking her out to dinner, a night on the town to celebrate her thirtieth birthday. The past seven years had flown by in a whirlwind, and the day that she turned thirty had seemed a long way off. But it had come around far quicker than she was ready for. Sighing she replied, “I’ll be there in fifteen minutes. There’s a taxi booked. My mother was late getting here...”
He laughed, “I’m not going to dine without you. I’ll wait in the Lounge for you. There’ll be a martini waiting, come when you’re ready.” He paused, “are you sure you don’t want me to come collect you?”
He’d flown in from Geneva that afternoon, and had intended to come home before the evening, but there was a problem at his new London office so he’d had to go straight there. She’d sent his clothes around an hour earlier so that he could change there. Yet another thing she’d had to do before having time for herself.
“I’m sure you’re shattered, stay where you are. By the time you get here I’ll be gone...honest, as long as you give me time to finish getting ready!”
He chuckled again, “are you hating that they’re away?”
“No! Now go!”
With that she hung up.
Was it the fact that their children were spending their first night away from them with her parents that made her so tense? She sighed as she thought about Amelia and Elijah. After three miscarriages she’d got pregnant with twins, and the thirty two weeks that she managed to carry them had been hell. She’d been ill, bled, every complication known to man...or woman. They were born early, spent time in hospital, trauma from day one. Since Oscar her sister had had three more children, all without a problem, and she fought not to feel resentful.
Saying that her two toddlers were amazing, beautiful, healthy and so happy, despite their terrible start. No it wasn’t the fact that the two year olds were spending their first night out of the house that stressed her, it was the hint that she might...just might...be pregnant again.
She slumped onto the stool at her dressing table. Peter would be furious, he’d told her in no uncertain terms that there was no way he’d see her go through it all again, two children were enough. But she didn’t agree, she’d always wanted more. And now she had her wish. She was late, and this morning the smell of coffee had made her nauseous. She could pretend, but she was lying to herself.
She stood and looked at herself in the mirror, age had been kind, she still had the curves of ten years ago. Her waistline had changed after her pregnancy, but she could still turn heads. In her red dress, clinging to her in all the right places, yet floating around her thighs, and her black spiky heels, she felt good. Reaching for her jewellery box, she found the locket Peter had bought her for her wedding day and secured it at her throat.
As she grabbed a wrap to cover her shoulders, she thought about her husband and what a wonderful man he’d turned out to be. Since the moment he’d arrived at her sisters seven years earlier with that beautiful ring, she’d been in awe of him. On the way from the airport he’d detoured via her parent’s house to ask her father permission to marry her. A traditional thing and something her father had been overwhelmed by. As soon as she’d accepted he’d wasted no time in buying them this house, a perfect home for their modest lifestyle, and he’d transferred his business with more ease than she’d ever imagined. He sold the house in Geneva, but kept the cabin in the mountains, that was their retreat.
She had trained as a junior doctor in a huge London teaching hospital, a traumatic and hectic time, but Peter had been infinitely patient with her, supporting her every move. She now had a part time position working with the poorest people in London, helping vaccination programs to refugee and asylum seeking populations, introducing healthcare to those who had no understanding. She found it so rewarding.
Yes her life was complete, since the arrival of their troublesome twins. Or so everyone thought.
With a groan she grabbed her bag and made for the taxi.
The hotel that Peter had chosen was the same place they’d had their wedding reception, so it was special to them. As she entered the reception she was greeted genially by the staff there, who gestured her towards the lounge.
Peter stood at the bar, a whisky in his hand, looking immaculate and completely unruffled in a dinner suit. Her heart lurched at the sight; he was such a stunning man. He’d fought all his life to control his unruly dark hair, and tonight it was sleeked back, the telling hint of grey at his temples the only real indication that he was approaching forty.
“You look amazing!” he breathed, as she moved towards him.
“You too.” She smiled, looking him up and down.
Peter couldn’t resist, he slid his arms around her and pulled her into an embrace, “how did I ever get this lucky?” he asked against her lips. And it was met with a giggle as a reply.
Eventually he had to pull back from her drugging kiss, the last thing he needed was to let things get out of hand, here in the middle of the hotel bar. “I’ve booked us a room here...for a treat!”
Alexis smiled appreciatively, “and you want to order room service?”
He laughed, “no, we’re going to have dinner!”
Reaching for the two drinks that rested on the bar, he led her into the restaurant.
Alexis picked at her food, she could barely touch her martini - obviously, and now Peter was looking at her suspiciously.
She offered an awkward smile, but he placed his cutlery elegantly across his plate and leaned back studying her.
Alexis felt her heart race, how could he know? What would he say? All she could muster was a swallow of anxiety.
“You’ve not touched your drink, and Martini’s are the fuel of your life, you’ve barely touched what has to be the best steak I’ve ever tasted, and your boobs are about to fall out of your dress. Got anything to tell me?”
Despite his words, his eyes were kind, and she couldn’t believe that he could be so observant, so clued in.
“How...” Words failed her, and tears threatened to fall such was her emotion fragility.
She shrugged, “not sure.”
Peter laughed, reaching out to take her hands, “you? A doctor? Don’t know!”
“Don’t want to know more like.”
He laughed again, “isn’t this something we should be happy about?”
He was actually smiling, and that shocked Alexis, “you said we couldn’t have any more. After...”
Sighing he reached out to touch her cheek, “you have scared me senseless SO many times, none more so than each time you’ve got pregnant, but if it’s happened, then it’s a gift. It’s meant to be...and I love the twins. They are amazing. If there’s meant to be another one, then I’m pleased, I’m scared...worried, but happier than pleased. I promise.”
“Really?” her face lit up for the first time that evening, and it was the greatest relief to Peter.
“Lex, I love you, and I love the twins, more than life. If our family is about to grow then how can I be anything other than happy? Once I didn’t think I was worthy of you, didn’t think I could love you as you deserved, but now I know that my love is like a bottomless put when it comes to Elijah’s laugh or Amelia’s smile, and then there’s your boobs!” he added the last hoping to gain a laugh. It worked.
Looking down at her chest for a moment her face was quizzical when she looked back at him, “are they really bigger?”
He nodded, “but then I’m an expert!”
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