“Everything looks good. The wound is healing nicely, and your stats are all as they should be. If you think you’re okay with it, I’m happy to let you go home.” The doctor exclaimed placing the bandage back onto my shoulder. A rush of excitement washed over me. I’d only been awake 12 hours, but the hospital was already smothering me. I had never liked them, although I was thankful for what the doctors inside of them were capable of doing. I nodded and looked at a concerned Tobias.
“Is she really at that point already?” He exclaimed.
THe doctor turned to Tobias and smiled.
“As long as she takes it easy, rests up and keeps up her fluids I don’t see why not. We’ll schedule in appointments at the outpatient clinic to check and dress the wound daily until such a time it’s not required.” he turned back toward me and smiled. “What do you think Ruby?”
I knew part of Tobias wanted me to stay right here, in this bed where I was safe until god knows when. I had put him through the ringer, he’d feared for losing me again, when I’d promised him he wouldn’t. We couldn’t continue to live our lives scared of the next hurdle. It was coming whether or not we wanted to jump.
“Yeah, I’d like to go home.”
He nodded and turned to the nurse who was writing on my chart. “Judy, can you redress the wound while I go sort the discharge papers.” Judy nodded and placed the chart at the foot of the bed. Once the nurse had finished putting a clean dressing Tobias frowned at me and shook his head.
“You were in a coma yesterday.” He exclaimed. “Are you sure this isn’t a bit rushed.”
“Medically induced.” I reminded him. “They were keeping me asleep to allow me to heal. Tobias. I’m going to be alright.”
His eyes softened before his head fell forward and hung down. I watched as his shoulders began to shake… He was crying. Tears sprung to my own eyes. I hated seeing him so broken.
“Come here.” I whispered, my voice wavering under the strain of the emotion in the room. Tobias leaned in, embracing me while being careful not to put pressure on my shoulder. His lips pressed against my jawline. I felt his tears fall from his face onto my collar bone, tickling the skin in a way that made me get goosebumps all over my body.
“You really are going to be alright aren’t you.” He managed to whisper.
He pulled back and sat back down. His eyes were red and slightly puffy, it wasn’t a sight I was at all used to seeing but given the circumstances, it wasn’t a sight that bothered me either. Once upon a time Tobias had run from his emotions, shutting everyone and everything out. He seemed almost comfortable with them now, like he was evolving, changing but still staying the same.
“I’ll grab your things then.” He smiled standing up.
Because I hadn’t packed to come into hospital ‘my things’ consisted of the shoes I’d been wearing that day as well as cards and flowers from various people from work. He placed the last card into a small paper patient bag at the end of my bed as a wide eyed Jimmy walked into my room.
“I don’t know whether I should thank you or berate you.” He exclaimed, staring at me.
“You don’t need to do either. I’m okay… I’m just glad you’re free.” I smiled.
Jimmy walked over to the side of the bed and placed his hand in mine. He shook his head and bit his lip. “I’m going to thank you anyway. You put yourself through hell to save me from prison.” He stopped and closed his eyes. “Thank you.” He said as he opened them again. “Thank you.” he repeated, his voice quiet yet strong.
“Ruby’s going home.” Tobias exclaimed. Jimmy’s attention was pulled away and he looked confused.
“Doc gave me the all clear.”
“Whoa. That’s awesome.”
“Yeah. So I guess a celebration is in order. You want to come over for breakfast tomorrow? I’ll make pancakes?” Tobias asked Jimmy.
“Oh, you guys probably want space.” Jimmy exclaimed.
“Nonsense.” I mused. “Please. Come over.”
“Alright, how’s 9am sound?”
“Perfect.” I exclaimed.
I looked between Tobias and Jimmy and grinned. With so much still confusing my mind, I was glad that things between us all were seemingly back to normal.
Once we were back in the apartment I let out a sigh and walked over to the couch.
“Happy to be home.” Tobias exclaimed.
“You have no idea.” I mumbled.
His hands snaked around my waist from behind. “I think I do. This place has felt so empty without you here…” His voice broke. I bit my lip and turned to face him, lifting my good arm up until my hand brushed against his cheek.
“I’m here now.”
He nodded. “I’m never letting you go.”
“You won’t have to.” I replied.
“Take a seat I’ll make us a tea.”
“I had a better idea.” I mused, pulling on his hand, bringing him back to me.He raised his eyebrows and bit back a knowing smile.
“But your shoulder.”
“My shoulder will be fine. I want you.” I murmured.
“I want you too.” Tobias replied. He lifted me off the ground with his arm around my waist, kissing me with a fervor I hadn’t realised I’d missed. I set to work, attempting to undo the buttons of his shirt using only my good arm, I quickly realised the task was out of my current skill level, but it didn’t matter. Tobias set me down again and pulled at his shirt until the buttons popped open.
“This isn’t important to you is it?” Tobias murmured, tugging on the fabric of my white singlet. I shook my head, and he tore it, leaving me exposed. His hands cupped my breasts, while still making sure to avoid causing me any pain.
“I’m afraid I won’t have the willpower to hold off.” Tobias said, as he leaned down and brought a hardened nipple to his mouth.
“Neither will I.” I admitted. “Tonight I just want to be with you.”
Tobias stood up straight and nodded, wrapping his hand around mine. He led me, through the living room, down the hall and into our bedroom.
“Tell me if I hurt you.” He said, his voice full of concern as he lay me down.
“Okay.” I murmured back.
Tobias took the lead, undressing himself first, and then me. His touch was like velvet, soft and encapsulating. It was almost too much to bear, he was being too careful…
I grasped at him, as he removed my panties, a soft moan exiting my lips and that was it. Neither one of us could hold back. We became one, moving in sync as we fell into an abyss of pleasure. I felt no pain, just love and in that moment nothing could change it.
Tobias collapsed beside me in a heap, his breathing ragged and broken.
I smiled, he’d been living in purgatory for a week while I’d basically slept. In some ways his body had needed the release more than I had.
I leaned across the bed and placed a kiss on his cheek, before closing my eyes and falling asleep.
The next morning when Tobias was showering I walked into the closet and pulled a small box off the shelf with my good arm. I’d had the box since Mom had passed away. It had been labeled as private so I’d never opened it. I guess a part of me had been too afraid to lose myself in grief. Now I just wanted answers.
I walked back to the bed and sat down, with a ball of fear in my throat I opened the box to find at least 8 stacks of letters and a few leather bound journals. I could tell right away that most of them were love letters, The small hand drawn hearts and flowers being more than a giveaway. As I sat there reading them, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in the middle of an epic romance novel. Star crossed lovers, forced to pick between one another and everyone else.
Mom had a few journals all bound together in the box too, and it quickly became apparent she had written in them constantly. She told their lives with such detail, that I could feel them around me, I could see their memories. With no money, neither could afford college which meant low paying jobs. Mom mentioned wanting children in her twenties… but it had never happened, and a part of her was grateful. They couldn’t afford to give their child the best life.
Then there it was, in black in white, written on the pages of a book I’d had in my possession for years. The truth.
Ryan was my brother.
But he was wrong about one thing. They had wanted him. She wrote every day throughout her pregnancy. She called him her angel, and spoke of the life she hoped he’d have. One she couldn’t give him.
The days after his birth were bleak. They had tried to change their minds, but had been told it was too late. Her angel was gone.
I knew Ryan needed to know. Despite everything he had done. Despite the pain and misery he had subjected us too he’d lived a life thinking he wasn’t wanted. He had been tormented too.
I placed the books back into the box and sighed. Tobias wasn’t going like it, but I had to visit Ryan.
“Everything alright.” Tobias murmured as he walked into the room, wrapped in a towel from the waist down. I glanced up at him, momentarily sidetracked by him. He grinned at his achievement, but the grin quickly faded to a frown.
“It’s not is it, you’re in pain. I’ll get dressed. We’ll go back to the hospital.” Tobias stalked into the wardrobe and began to rifle through his clothes.
“I’m fine.” I managed to choke out. “No pain.”
“Talk to me Ruby.” Tobias said, sitting down on the bed beside me. He looked at the box and placed his hand on it. “This is from your parents right. You’ve not looked in it before.”
I nodded and placed my hand over his. “I was afraid. Losing them changed me and I was scared if I looked inside it would be like losing them all over again.”
“And now?” He murmured.
“Ryan was telling the truth. He’s my brother.”
I felt Tobias’ hand tense beneath mine. I made sure to keep my eyes on his, knowing it was the only way I was going to be able to keep him calm. I could see the embers of fire burning in the back of his eyes. He was frowned and shook his head.
“It’s in there?”
I nodded and bit my lip. “I have to see him.”
Only then did I look away, knowing Tobias wouldn’t like it one bit, knowing he’d try to talk me out of it. I needed to do it though, I needed to talk to Ryan. Despite everything, he was family and that meant something. He deserved to know the truth.
“Okay.” Tobias murmured.
His lack of resistance surprised me, I looked back up at him and smiled.
“You’re okay with it?”
“I wouldn’t say I’m okay with it Ruby.” He replied. “But I get why you need to do it.”
“Thank you.” I murmured. “Thank you for being you.”
Tobias let out a chuckle and stood up. “I should be the one thanking you.” He pulled a t-shirt out of his drawer and chucked it on over his head. “Before I met you Ruby, I wasn’t being me. You brought me to life… you woke me up. I’m me, because of you.”
“You did the same for me too you know.” I admitted.
Tobias walked back to me and leaned down, placing a kiss on my forehead. “I know.” He lifted my good arm up and pulled me to my feet. “Now, let me put on some pants and I’ll make pancakes.”
“You don’t need pants for pancakes Mr Clarke.” I teased.
Tobias let out a low grunt before kissing me on the lips. “But I do.” he groaned. “We’re going to have company.”
“You invited Jimmy over?” I mused.
“If I’d known you were going to have an insatiable sexual appetite right after coming out of a coma… maybe I’d have invited him for lunch instead.”
I smiled and shook my head. “Nothing like a bit of delayed gratification. Hurry up with the pants. I’m famished.”
I giggled as I walked out of the bedroom. I walked down the hall and into the living room, wrapped in the warmth of Tobias’ love and understanding.