It felt like only a moment later that I was opening my eyes again. But my body felt impossibly heavy with exhaustion and now somehow, walls surrounded me. Where ever I was, it wasn’t the street anymore. Before I could move or speak the brightness of the room was became too much. I was too exhausted, my eyes closed and I began to doze.
Voices kept me balanced between conscious and unconscious, familiar voices, voices that filled me with warmth.
“She saved me.” Jimmy said. “Without her… I’d still be in jail but it shouldn’t be at this cost, she shouldn’t be here.”
I could hear the guilt in his voice and I wanted to absolve him… But I couldn’t move. Jimmy had only ever been an amazing friend, he hadn’t deserved to be tormented too.
“Ruby is her own person and she knew something wasn’t right. She’d have figured this out even if killed her.” Tobias replied, in a knowing tone. If I could have smiled, I would have.
“It damn near did.” Jimmy whispered, the voices were beginning to quieten in my mind. I could barely hear Jimmy. I strained to listen, desperate not to slip away.
“I know.” Tobias said back, his voice barely audible. “But she’s going to be okay… They both are. We have to focus on that.”
Both? Too tired to comprehend anything, my confusion finally took the remaining nodes of consciousness from me. My world fell silent again
When I finally opened my eyes again the room was dimmer, I gazed out the window and noted the darkness of the night sky. A hand held mine, I turned my head and looked down beside me. Tobias was asleep on a chair, his head on my legs, his hand around mine. He looked peaceful just lying there and although it didn’t look like the most comfortable position it was still the most perfect sight I’d seen in what seemed like forever. His presence washed away the confusion and unanswered questions swimming through my mind, at least momentarily.
Like he sensed me watching him he began to stir. His eyes slowly flickered open, gazing back up at me. He frowned at first then sat up straight, his eyes wide and worried. His hand squeezed mine hard, so hard that I winced in pain as the nerves in my shoulder twinged in response.
“Baby, you’re awake.” His voice wavered and he moved forward, closer to me. “You’re okay.”
I nodded, aside from the weakness I felt, and the dull gnawing pain in my left shoulder I seemed to be okay. For someone who’d be shot anyway.
“I’m sorry.” I whispered. “I never should have left…”
“None of that matters now. You’re safe.”
“I heard Jimmy earlier.” I whispered. “Does that mean…”
Tobias nodded and lifted one of his hands to my face, he cupped my cheek and leaned in to kiss my forehead.
“Ryan was caught.”
Ryan’s name sent a shiver down my spine, the thought of him following me over half my life, hating me for something I never knew about, filled me a nausea I didn’t know what to do with and yet I still felt empathy for him. He had been a confused and lost young man who had noone. If he had just given me a chance…
“Try not to think about it, the stress isn’t good for you.” Tobias soothed.
I swallowed hard, ignoring the rawness of my throat. “And Jimmy’s free?”
“Yeah. I’m sorry I was so quick to blame him.” His head hung down and he shook it.
“I understand how it was easy Tobias. I’m sure Jimmy does too.”
Tobias lifted his head, tears lined his eyes and he bit his lip. “He does… Which is why I should have known… But if I had just been on your side.” He stopped and looked down
“It’s over now though right?”
Tobias nodded and smiled drawing his eyes back up to mine. “It’s over.”
“How long have I been here?” I murmured. “It feels like only moments ago I was on the street… yet at the same time it feels like it was forever ago.”
Tobias tilted his head and stroked my hand softly.
“Almost two weeks. They kept you in a medically induced coma for the first week. A bullet fragment travelled and punctured your lung. They thought it best to let you recover before bringing you around.”
Two weeks? It had been longer than I expected. Guilt filtered through me. My poor Tobias. I’d left him to worry for two weeks. I lifted my right hand and brushed it over my bandaged left shoulder.
“That’s not all.” He whispered. “They found something… once you were here. Something they hadn’t been expecting.”
I frowned as my entire being filled with worry. Memories of my father’s diagnosis surfaced. I didn’t want to live only to find out I was dying. I tensed, which in turn, hurt my shoulder. Tobias’ eyes filled with worry at first as he shook his head and cupped my cheek. I watched as his eyes softened and he smiled. “Don’t worry. It’s nothing bad... “
“What? What did they find?” I replied, my voice desperate.
“A heartbeat.” He whispered.
“Isn’t that a good thing, it means I’m alive and not a zombie.” I grinned. Tobias let out a chuckle before dropping his hand from my face to my stomach.
“Not your heartbeat.” He said gently rubbing my belly
It took me a second to register what he was saying, and then another to accept it as truth. I looked down at my stomach and tilted my head. But there had been no baby, the sac had been empty… a blighted ovum. A failure of growth.
“I don’t understand.”
I looked back up at Tobias, and watched as a lone tear rolled down his cheeks. “You were misdiagnosed. We’re going to have a baby after all.”
His words pierced my heart with love and caused an explosion of happiness to course through me. A part of me that I hadn’t realised was missing had suddenly made itself known to me, and finally I felt whole again. I gasped, which hurt but I didn’t care and placed my right hand over Tobias’ on my stomach.
“I’m pregnant?” I asked confirming once more. Tobias nodded and smiled, leaning in for a kiss. His mouth on mine was like heaven. I had missed it, even though I couldn’t remember being without it.
“How are you feeling about it?” I said as I pulled back from his kiss. Tobias grinned and rest his head against mine.
“You would worry about me, when you’re the one in the hospital bed wounded wouldn’t you.” He teased. His hand slid over mine and he squeezed. “Baby, When the doctor told me… I started to cry. I imagined a life I’d never thought possible and I imagined it with you. I feel shit scared and worried I’ll fuck it all up but I’ve learnt just from having you in my life that being scared of something doesn’t mean you should run away from it.”
The vision I’d had before I passed out resurfaced in my mind. I smiled and wondered if perhaps my body had been telling me something. Giving me something to hold on to, so that I fought to recover. Thoughts of Ryan and his news moved through my mind too, railroading the happy warm feelings. I was scared of what it mean to be related to him, I needed to understand, I couldn’t run away and being pregnant somehow made that need more profound.
“No. It doesn’t.” I replied. “Which is why when I’m feeling better I need to figure out if what Ryan said was true.”
I looked up and instantly I could tell by Tobias’ reaction he didn’t want to talk about Ryan, and I didn’t blame him. I smiled and shifted on the bed, although not breaking eye contact with Tobias.
“We can talk about it later.” He managed to whisper.
I just nodded and looked down at my stomach. “I think maybe this all needed to be over before this little one made her presence known.”
“Her?” Tobias murmured as an amused smile crossed his face. “You sound very sure.”
“Intuition.” I teased. “Apparently it’s a woman thing.”
Tobias frowned, though the smile was still there. “I’m in trouble then. I’ll be outnumbered.”
“We’ll be a family.”
“Family.” Tobias repeated. “I like the sound of that.”
“Me too.” I replied.
He leaned in and pressed a kiss against my lips, it was soft and undemanding. A kiss of hope and new beginnings. He lifted his hand from my stomach to my chin and held it softly between his thumb and forefinger.
“I love you Ruby Clarke.” He whispered as he pulled his mouth away from mine, seemingly with the same amount of reluctance as I felt. “And I’m going to tell you that everyday for the rest of my life.”
“I love you too.” I whispered, swallowing back the ball of emotion stuck in my throat.
The sound of Tobias’ ringtone interrupted our moment. He frowned and reached down to turn the phone off but took a second look and glanced up at me.
“It’s Echo.” He said, his words thick.
“You should answer it.” I said.
“Baby.” He warned.
“Tobias. Talk to them.”
He sat back and swiped the screen of his phone. His eyes darkened at the same time he clenched his jaw. Once upon a time this opportunity had been Tobias’ chance to make his late father proud. He had poured countless hours into his proposals for business and all the while Ryan had been toying with him. I struggled with the misappropriated guilt as I sat here and watched the man I loved still affected by the remnants of Ryan’s actions, Ryan had only come after Tobias because of me.
“Tobias Clarke.” Tobias said, his voice as steady and professional as ever.
I watched him as the conversation continued, zoning out to the words being said as I tuned into his icy blue eyes as the darkness slowly melted away.
His ever expressive eyes, the ones that had always been capable of affecting me in ways I never expected, enveloped me, paralysing me in the moment mind body and soul.
I knew now, more than ever that no matter what trials we were put through. We’d make it out the otherside. Me, Tobias and our little miracle.