Surprise marred Spencer’s face as his ears adjusted to hearing me. He jumped up from his resting position and practically fell off his chair
“Careful, darling,” I whispered, enjoying his smile one minute and frowning at his tears the next.
“Are you really talking to me or am I dreaming this?”
I shuffled across to one side and pulled on his hand until he got the message. I wanted him to join me.
“I’m really here. I came back like you asked.”
A sigh released from his mouth as he all but threw his arms around me, using my hand in his as a guide. He kissed my face all over and proceeded to unleash the waterworks; both of us crying for what felt like hours.
“I thought-I thought I’d lose you.”
Sobs sounded from the back of his throat, allowing his vulnerability to show through.
“You could never lose me, baby. I’ve been here the whole time. Everything you said I could hear. I just couldn’t respond. I couldn’t tell you I was okay and it killed me.”
My own cries reflected around the room, mixing with Spencer’s to create an ensemble of relief. Everything I felt for this man intensified. My devotion to him was unstoppable. I love him with every fibre of my being.
“God, don’t do that to me again, Jess. Don’t scare me like that.” He pulled back an inch, caressing my cheeks as a way of checking this conversation was really happening. Teary eyes shone back at me, prompting my lower lip to wobble.
“I was so scared, Spencer.”
Pulling me onto his chest and stroking my hair, Spencer proceeded to soothe me into a state of relaxation. Once again, he kissed my head and whispered hushed words of, “I love you” never once letting up. He made sure to caress every inch of my back, stopping briefly to rub my stomach.
“You kept that one quiet.”
I smiled. “I found out when you were in Italy. In fact, I took the test ten minutes before I received the call about Isy.”
“Relax, she’s fine,” he replied, somehow sensing my inner thoughts. “She told me everything you did for her. Bits were missing but Roger has since filled us in. I know about Alister being Delilah’s older brother.”
“Where is he? Where’s Alister?” I asked, desperate to gain perspective.
“He’s in police custody. They arrested him at the scene.”
I relaxed, knowing he was finally where he belonged.
“He didn’t push me,” I explained, feeling the need to say so. “He went to hit me and I stepped back. God, I was so stupid. I didn’t even look!”
“Jess, you’re not stupid. You were protecting yourself. You were protecting our baby.”
“But I almost got us both killed.”
“Nonsense,” he insisted, showing me that teasing smile of his. “You said it yourself. You’ll always come back to me.”
I couldn’t deny that. He was right, of course. I’d do anything for him. For our family.
“Where is everyone?” I asked, glancing around the empty room.
I wanted Dad and Sam to know I was awake and well.
“Your dad and Sam left about twenty minutes ago for some food. I should call them.”
He pulled out his phone, as if only now just thinking about them, and was moments away from telling Siri to connect the call when the man himself came waltzing in. At first, Sam just stared. Gazing at me as though I had two heads until Dad very politely told him to, “Move it along, Sammy.” He hadn’t noticed me yet and upon finally seeing that I was wide awake and sitting up right, he just about collapsed on the floor.
“Jessica!” He burst out crying on the spot, breaking my heart.
“Dad, come here!” I begged, needing his hug more than ever.
He clung to me fiercely and wept into my hair, no longer able to hold back his emotions. They were tears of relief and happiness and I couldn’t help but let a few of my own slip.
“Sammy?” I asked, needing him too.
Within moments, he was partaking in our usual three-way-hug.
“I saw her. I saw Mum.”
They both pulled away upon hearing my revelation, intrigue etched on both their faces. Even Spencer seemed interested.
“She told me to give you a kiss, Sam. And Dad, she said you have to throw out those jeans.”
We all laughed, sniffing away what was left of our tears.
“I’m not sure if it was an hallucination but it felt real. She’s happy for you. She looked great,” I told them, knowing it would help them in some way.
“Cheeky mare!” smiled Dad, pulling me in for another hug.
“Are you feeling okay”? asked Sam, evaluating my bruised up body.
“A bit sore but I’m okay,” I nodded, keen to appease him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to give you a fright,” I continued.
“You bloody better be!” he scolded, though sounded far from menacing in his telling off.
“You’re okay now and that’s all that matters,” added Dad, physically unable to let go of me.
Not that I minded. I may have been in my mid-twenties but that certainly didn’t mean I didn’t need my dad to hold me from time to time.
“How is everyone? Bethany? Is she okay?” I asked, sending silent signals to Sam in the hopes he got my hidden meaning.
“It’s okay, he knows.”
I glanced towards Dad and caught him grinning. Clearly he was happy about becoming a grandad.
“Knows what?” interfered Spencer, likely feeling out of the loop.
Sam took a seat beside him and landed a brotherly hand on his shoulder.
“I’m gonna be a daddy,” he shared, oozing excitement. “Beth’s eight weeks pregnant.”
Spencer, still holding my hand, squeezed down hard, silently sending me his thoughts.
“Congratulations, man. Just you wait. It’s the best fucking feeling in the world.”
“I agree,” smirked Dad, patting Spencer gently on the back. “I’ll no doubt have my hands full with the little one and I can’t wait. Karen has already called dibs on babysitting.”
“Really? Is there room for one more?” asked Spencer, squeezing my fingers again.
I held my breath.
“Of course! We’d love to have Leila from time to time,” replied Dad, melting my heart.
God love him!
“Spencer…” I whispered, asking for permission.
“Go ahead, sweetheart. Tell them.”
“Tell us what?”
That was Sam for you. Forever impatient.
“Well…” I began, clearing my throat. “How do you feel about two grandchildren this year, Dad?”
For the longest time, neither of them responded and it wasn’t until Spencer laughed that they finally did snap into action.
“No fucking way!” smiled Sam, addressing Spencer.
“You’re pregnant, petal?”
“Yeah,” I replied, accepting yet another hug from my dad.
“Well this is just incredible,” he said, muffled by my hair. “Sammy, Spencer…get the bloody hell in here!” he demanded, thoroughly invested in this group hug.
Tears soaked through my hospital gown and I had no idea whose they were, as all three men currently holding me were crying like absolute babies. It was certainly a sight to behold and one in which I’d never forget. The joy was incredible. Seeping from their every pore, it overpowered all the heartache from the past few days, marking the beginning of something special. Something amazing. Something worthwhile.
“You look great,” ensured Rosalie, sitting herself down at the edge of my bed.
Having promised not to cry, we’d just spent the last ten minutes sobbing into each other’s arms. Spencer had thought I’d needed girl time and invited the ladies around for brunch, insisting on seeing to all our catering needs. My guess was he was planning on ordering in.
“Thanks, the bruises are finally fading.”
I was discharged from the hospital yesterday after a forty-eight hour observation. It had been six days since the accident and as far as I knew, Alister was still in police custody, facing charges of GBH and fraud. With the help from Scott, Spencer had forwarded the emails between Alister and Malcolm to the authorities, meaning both men were well on their way to facing some serious punishment.
“I still can’t believe it,” imputed Lucy, sitting on the stool accompanying my dresser.
Bethany had received the luxury of the armchair next to my bed, seeing as she was pregnant and all. Not that you could tell just yet. In fact, both of us felt no different than before, although it seemed morning sickness had started with me.
Oh, the joys.
“That was pretty badass what you did for Isy,” she continued, winking.
I laughed in the face of her enthusiasm. “Thanks. I’m paying the price for it now though.” My eyes immediately wandered to my bandaged wrist; the small fracture certainly playing havoc. “Not that I regret doing it, mind you.”
“How is she?” enquired Rosalie, reigning in her emotions.
She was still a little dubious when it came to the matter of Spencer’s ex. I guess she struggled to accept her innocence with everything that had happened.
“She’s good, all things considered.”
“And she’s still pressing charges?” asked Bethany.
I nodded, confirming her question.
“Good, that idiot deserves punishment,” insisted Lucy, raging from the other side of the room.
I could feel her hostility from my bed and thanked my lucky stars I had friends like her looking out for me. Each of them had their own way of showing me their concern. Lucy was pissed, Rosalie, emotional and Bethany offered nothing but understanding towards the situation. All three of them offered something different, yet substantial and without them I’d be lost.
“And how’s Spencer doing?” asked Lucy. “Calvin said he was a mess when you were unconscious.”
I cringed, remembering how defeated he sounded when I was not in control of my body and unable to communicate with him. More than anything, I had hated that.
“He’s fussing over me and I’m letting him. It’s his way of coping, ya know? I think he got a fright.”
“We all did!” insisted Rosalie, lightly tapping my legs. “Don’t you dare pull a stunt like that ever again.”
“I promise. From here on out, I’m going to live a very boring life.”
“I’ll drink to that,” interrupted Spencer, entering our bedroom.
With him came the instruction to move downstairs where, and I quote, the feast would be served. He went to help me up, insisting he was capable of doing so without any help, prompting the others to walk ahead. They understood his need to be the one doting on me and left him too it. He’d admitted to feeling responsible for the accident and was making up for that in his own way by looking after me. Of course, I’d told him he was being ridiculous but still allowed him the pleasure of doing so for his own benefit.
“Are you hungry, baby?” he asked, wrapping his arm around my waist.
“Starving,” I groaned, feeling the dull aches of my injuries.
The bruises had mostly faded but my muscle pain had yet to subside.
“Good. I ordered in. My queen deserves a banquet.”
“Your queen could eat one. Hospital food is nice but there’s only so much jelly one person can take in a one week period.”
His laughter came loud and strong, filling me with my own sense of happiness. It seemed a lot of time had passed since I’d heard it last and part of me wanted to capture the sound for my own personal use.
“I love hearing you laugh,” I shared, allowing him to wrap me up in a fluffy dressing gown.
He was taking the doctor’s orders of ‘plenty of rest’ far too seriously.
“Yeah? Well it’s because of you why I’ve got something to laugh about,” he retorted, looping the belt and kissing my nose. “How’s my little man feeling today?”
“I’ve no idea. Sometimes I forget he’s even in there,” I admitted, absentmindedly caressing my stomach. “He must be the size of a peanut, right?”
“Something like that,” he replied, encouraging me to walk again. “Just you wait until we tell Leila.”
Lord, help us all!
I couldn’t wait to share the news with her. Her reaction would no doubt be one of positivity and right now, we could all use some of that.
“Do you think she’ll be happy or happy times ten?”
“Happy times a hundred,” he insisted, gracing me with that glorious laugh again.
I had to agree.
“Jeez, Spencer! You weren’t lying about the feast!” shouted Rosalie from her position in the kitchen, broadening our smiles.
“What do you expect? There are two pregnant ladies present, ya know?”
His need to tease Rosalie saw me playfully wafting his chest, whilst shooting him a knowing smirk.
“We’re not whales!” I scolded, grinning his way.
“You will be soon,” he fought back, dodging my dramatic gasps.
He proceeded to hysterically laugh at my inability to chase after him, though soon came back to offer me the aid I so desperately required.
“Don’t worry, Jess. Whale or not, I’ll always love you.”
I put my arm around his waist and cuddled into his side, happy to have such a playful man in my life. When needed, he displayed sure signs of seriousness, yet that didn’t mean there wasn’t a youthful side to him. I suspected that element of himself had long been buried but with everything firmly behind us, I noticed it coming out more and more. In retrospect, the beginning of our relationship started on the basis of unsteady foundations but none of that interfered with our love for each other. It wasn’t all smooth sailing but we made it work. We came out the other end stronger and our future together promised nothing but positivity.
“Such a charmer, Spencer,” I tutted, lightly kissing his cheek. Then, deciding to tease him, I snuggled further into his chest and brought my lips up to meet his ear. “I’ll always love you too.” I paused. “sir.”