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After two more days in the hospital, I was given permission to go home. When I stepped through the front door there was a massive Welcome Home sign hanging above the stairs. Homemade and easily Angus’ handwriting in big bubble letters. Lots of colour and smiley faces as well as love-hearts.

I couldn’t hide my smile as I felt a fresh vibe of family love wave through me like never before.

I sure did miss the outside world of the hospital.

Jasper, Leo and the twins had come to see me again yesterday. I made the boys force Julian home and he returned looking pretty again and smelling a lot better.

Three days ago, I woke up from my coma and it already felt like forever since I’d been in my own home. Other than the lost feeling of home, I had my friends and family to entertain me. Make me forget about what I'd been told of what had happened. I’d died four times but I’m okay now.

What really got me was my child. Julian’s child.

A baby. I was having a baby and I didn’t even know. Last night was the first night alone in my room and it was sleepless. A whole night of tears and bad thoughts. I debated all night if I should have called Julian to come so I could tell him but I didn’t. It’s over and he’s been through too much. This would just put the cherry on top before he crumbles down even more.

“Welcome home!” Mum exclaimed, coming in from behind me to hug her arms around my neck. I laughed softly, returning my arms around her stomach.

“I’m glad to finally be here,” I smirked and kissed her cheek, “lovely work too, Angus,” I said and he just chuckled. I smiled as I moved over and hugged him as dad and Julian were the last ones in.

The door closed and I was taking in the sign again while still hugging my big brother. He was hugging me back with loose arms, his chin on my head and slightly rocking us side to side. It felt so good to have one of his big bro bear hugs again. It’s definitely been a while, even before I left the world of the conscious.

“Special for dinner. What do you want?” Mum asked and I looked back to her for a moment. I want to have tonight with Julian. After a reckless night of debating, I didn’t want to tell him because I know it could do damage. But it’ll only be worse if he found out before I told him. He’d be thinking about what I would’ve been going through. He's been in too much to have secrets kept from him too.

Especially from me and something this big.

“Um,” I said while I moved towards her and took her hand, pulled her into the kitchen where it was a little more private.

“Curry? Meatballs?”

“I was actually thinking of spending some time with Julian tonight,” I whispered when I turned back to her, leaned against the bench softly.

Her face turned to surprise before her eyes became dark.

She shook her head. “No. You can have dinner with us. Stay here. It’s your first-.”

“Mum,” I cut her off desperately, “there’s something I need to tell him.”

“You remember?” She asked but I shook my head, “honey, what is it?” She came closer and moved her hands around my arms as she looked me over softly.

“I know you know already,” I whispered and looked down when her hands left, “but he doesn’t and I need to tell him and just cry with him.”

“Oh, bubby,” she whispered too and came to me, hugged me as I tried to hold myself together but tears escaped and I had to sniff. “You have no idea how sorry I am that you’ve had to go through this. Sometimes I think it’s my fault,” she confessed and I looked back at her, “that night, I felt so helpless and so sad. I thought I was the only one who didn’t know why you were a target. I thought that maybe I didn’t notice that maybe you were in trouble-.”

“I’ve never done anything to anyone, I promise, mum.”

“I know, sweetheart,” she nodded as she caressed my cheeks softly, wiped away my tears, “when I realised that everyone else was as clueless as me to why you were hurt or why you were a target, I knew you weren’t what I was thinking.” She kissed my forehead and I felt tears drop from her cheeks onto mine. “I love you so much. I’m sorry for what happened. And of course, you can take Julian out,” she whispered while she nodded, “just go easy tonight. And go to bed early. Eat a lot-.”

“I know, mum,” I nodded and leaned up to kiss her cheek, “I love you too. So much,” I said when I hugged her tightly. She returned it before we let go. I paused before I moved passed her and then out, found Julian and Angus sitting in the lounge in silence.

I wiped my eyes and cheeks as I moved onto the couch next to Julian.

“So, what did you choose?” Angus asked as Julian moved his arm around me.

“Nothing here,” I replied softly and looked to Julian, “I need a quiet night with you.”

“With him? Are you serious?” Angus scoffed and I just ignored him as Julian looked from me to him and then back.

“I’m going to go shower and change. Maybe you can take me to see Grace and Sebastian?” I asked and he nodded.

“Of course I can. They’re dying to see you again,” he smiled softly and I smiled back before I kissed his lips and stood, made my way out again but upstairs.


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