Time flew and a week later she was discharged. She didn’t have time to get bored because Sawyer visited her with the kids over to visit her every afternoon after class. They read and did the homework together.
Dylan and Lauren visited with Jasper and Julian. Mrs. Flannagan also visited her and brought her a piece of the amazing carrot cake she made. Even Aaron and Erin visited her with the twins. His family and his friends were all over her, spoiling her.
However, as much as she liked the attention, she was glad they finally let her walk by herself. She was shot, a bullet had entered her abdomen, ripping her muscles and damaging a vein and the intestines, until it exited through the left side of her back. She knew she had literally died, but she had made it and all she wanted was to have a normal life.
“I brought you this,” April told her, showing her a short sleeve, Prussian blue dress with buttons on the front.
“Did you let her look into my stuff?” Lizbeth asked Sawyer, who looked insanely hot in his black suit pants and the white shirt with the last two buttons opened.
“She threatened me, and God knows that nobody wants to see a pregnant woman angry, much less if that woman is her,” he quipped, pointing at her.
“So funny, S,” April rolled her eyes. “It’s been ages since I’ve seen you in this and it fits you like a glove. You’ll look gorgeous on it, so put it on, okay?”
“We’re not having a welcome back party or anything like that, right?” Lizbeth narrowed her eyes at April.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Yeah, right,” Lizbeth laughed. “Ouch!” she said, putting a hand over her stomach. The painkillers were doing a great job, but whenever she laughed or moved there it was again, that stinging sensation.
“Be careful, Kitten…” Sawyer told her with a warm smile playing on his lips.
A knock on the door caught their attention. “Yeah, come on in,” Lizbeth said as she looked at her reflection with the dress over her hospital gown. That color did really look good on her.
“That’s a lovely dress,” the nurse told her as she approached her.
“Thank you. Seems like we have a party and I can’t go on my hospital gown,” she grinned as she looked at April.
“Nobody said anything about a party,” she crossed her arms over her chest.
“Right,” Lizbeth chuckled.
“Well, let’s check how this is going before you leave,” the woman with warm caramel eyes said as she put on her latex gloves.
“Sure.” She nodded, pulling up the gown.
The nurse took off the pads covering her healing injuries. A few days before it was still swollen and covered with a scary shade of red. They said it was normal due to the trauma, that it was a mechanism of the body to cure itself. It was an ugly wound, but it didn’t look as bad anymore. “This is doing great, honey.”
“Yeah. You still need to take care of it and you’ll need a bit of recovery therapy when it’s completely healed, but in a few months it’ll be as if it didn’t happen,” she told her while she applied some antibiotic ointment.
Lizbeth looked at Sawyer, who was intently watching them. Every time he was there when the nurses came to do the corresponding cures, his face shadowed.
She was fine with what had happened to her. She meant every word she said the day she woke up. If the universe had taken her life to save the kids, she would be more than fine with it, but she knew Sawyer didn’t want that either.
He needed to put all that behind them. Watching his children almost drowning inside a car and her dying in his arms was traumatic, to say the least, and all he wanted was to forget about it.
“You’re good to go now,” she sweetly smiled at her. “Don’t forget to put this twice a day, and clean the wound with mild soap and tepid water. And don’t rub, but pat dry it, okay?”
“Yeah. Thanks,” Lizbet smiled back at her.
“Have a good day, guys.” She nodded her head as she took off the gloves.
“You too,” Sawyer and April said in unison.
“Let’s get started then! You put on that dress and I’ll do your hair and makeup.”
“You really don’t need to do this,” Lizbeth chuckled.
“Shut up and let me do my thing!”
“Okay, okay!” Lizbeth laughed.
After some days of watching them looking at her with pity, treating her as if she was going to break, they were finally acting normal around her. She felt blessed.
An hour later, they pulled in front of Sawyer’s parents, and as soon as they stepped in, Lizbeth couldn’t hold it in. There were balloons of different colors and a banner hanging from the fireplace, welcoming her. The house was flooded with the delicious smell of Diana’s cooking and the beautiful sound of people having a good time.
Everyone was there, all dressed up and cheerful, talking and laughing. Her whole family, her friends, and even Ryan and Jim.
“Wow!” She nervously laughed as she wiped the happy tears from her eyes. “You didn’t need to do all this!” she said as she looked around.
“You don’t deserve any less than this!” Sawyer whispered in her ear before kissing her cheek.
“Thank you, guys,” she repeated.
“We’ll throw you a party like this every year whenever you want, please, just don’t scare us again,” Lauren quipped as she hugged her. “We were all so afraid… I’m glad you’re finally back.”
“Me too,” she nodded as she tightened the arms around her friend.
“Come here, Girl,” Dylan prompted her. “This feels so unreal after watching you in that bed,” he breathed as he hugged her.
After some time greeting everyone, making some small talk and playing a little with the kids, she grabbed a coke and a bowl of chips and sat on the couch, feeling overwhelmed with all the emotions and tired of standing more than four hours —it was the longest time she had been out of bed for the past week.
She glanced at Sawyer. He was holding one of the super cute, five months old twins in his arms while talking to Aaron and Liam. She smiled, watching him enjoying himself. He seemed more relaxed than the previous days, he was finally laughing, showing the world that beautiful smile of his.
Her heart skipped a beat when his gaze landed on her for a few everlasting seconds. The intensity and depth she found in his eyes felt like floating in the middle of a calm ocean while watching at the clear blue sky.
“You almost gave him a heart attack,” Ryan’s voice snapped her back to the real world.
“What?” she asked as she turned to him.
“He came to visit me a few days after your accident and he looked like shit. I had never seen him so devastated,” he noted as he touched his beard.
“Not that you made it any easier,” she pointed to him, still in a wheelchair after his surgery.
“True,” he laughed. She smiled at him. Ryan and her didn’t get along at the beginning. He was blunt and straightforward, too much for her liking, and she felt a bit uncomfortable around him. However, after some time she finally saw through his walls and began to talk back to him with the same sarcastic tone. He liked that and soon made her his ally when it was about teasing Sawyer.
“It’s good that everything is settling down for all of us,” she said in a low voice, blankly staring at the people gathered there.
“Guess we all deserve a happy ending,” Ryan shrugged as he took a sip from his beer. His eyes somewhat sad.
“How long will it take for you to be back to the rodeo?” she asked him.
“Since it was a compound femur fracture, they said the least it would take me to start walking is from six months to a year,” he huffed. “Then I’ll have to go to therapy to recover muscle tone and all that ’cause I’m most likely losing mobility in it if I don’t do so. I honestly don’t care about it, I just hate the fact that I might not be able to go back to work, not to do what I really like.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Lizbeth said. Ryan, just like Sawyer, loved his job, and the idea of him sitting behind a desk horrified him. “But you’re tough, I’m sure you’ll make it, if you follow the rules for once,” she teased to lighten the mood.
“Can’t promise anything,” he laughed. ”But at least I’m alive, and that’s all thanks to him.” Ryan gestured his head towards Sawyer.
“Yeah… Couldn’t be prouder of him.” She smiled watching him as he talked with Sophia. She was used to their relationship after so many months together, but she couldn’t control the butterflies in her stomach or the warmth that wrapped around her heart every time she looked at him. She was crazy in love with that man.
“Good,” Ryan nodded. “Every superhero deserves a great woman by his side.” He winked at her.
“Agree,” she chuckled. “How’s Zoe doing, by the way?”
“Ugh!” He rolled his eyes. “She just started dating this guy from school…”
“How old was she?”
“What a great age!” She laughed. “Did you already have the talk with her?”
“I tried but she threw a sneaker to my face.”
“Oh my God!” Lizbeth laughed.
“Yeah… I will let that to her mother and I’ll focus on breaking the legs of the guy that dares to break her heart.” He shrugged.
“Hey… What are you talking about?” Sawyer asked as he sat beside Lizbeth.
“Your hot ass,” Ryan responded.
“Can’t help it, huh?” He raised an eyebrow and smirked.
Lizbeth laughed. “We were talking about how he’s going to break Zoe’s boyfriend’s legs.”
“Good luck with that,” Sawyer told him.
“Don’t laugh so much, sooner or later it’ll get to you too.”
“Sophia’s having no boyfriend until she’s thirty!” Sawyer spat.
“Yeah, right,” Lizbeth rolled her eyes. “Will you control who she sees when she’s in college?”
“Especially then,” Sawyer stated. “College boys can be so naughty.”
“Experience talking, huh?” Ryan teased.
“Don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Sure you don’t!” He laughed. “Anyway, I think I’m gonna get going, guys.”
“We should get going too even if it’s your party, the kids are already grumbling about everything.”
“They must feel exhausted after this week going back and forth between the hospital and school.”
“Yeah… Tomorrow we’re doing nothing but watch movies.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Lizbeth smiled at him as she intertwined her fingers with his.
“Well, I’ll see you whenever you have the decency of visiting me at home,” Ryan said, faking hurt.
“Sure. I’ll get Jim this next week and we’ll stop by with beers.”
“I like the sound of that, but bring me some hot chick too.”
“Really, Ryan?” Lizbeth snorted.
“What? I can’t walk, but this one still works.”
“Okay! We’re done here.” Sawyer stood up and started to push the wheelchair. “Don’t talk to my woman about your cock!” he protested as they walked away.
“Bye, Liz!” Ryan waved his hand to her.
“Bye, Ryan!” She chuckled.
After talking a bit more with everyone, they drove back home. It was barely ten in the evening and the kids were already fast asleep inside the car. Their soft snores and mumbling mixing with the music coming out of the radio. They couldn’t look cuter.
Lizbeth needed to focus on those small things that made her smile and calmed her down. She knew it would take her a while to go back to a normal life with no nightmares or without startling over every small noise, but she hated feeling uneasy inside that metal trap after the accident.
Sawyer must have noticed her discomfort and touched her hand, intertwining his fingers with hers before giving it a light squeeze. He didn’t have to talk to let her know he was there for her whenever she needed him.
“Thank you,” she breathed.
As soon as they entered the house, Sawyer went into the kids' room carrying Sophia in his arms, followed by Adam walking like a zombie, dragging his feet on the floor.
While Sawyer helped the kids to change into their pajamas and get into bed, Lizbeth sat on the couch with a whining Noah trying to jump on her. They hadn’t seen each other in more than ten days and that dog was nothing but a fur ball of love. “I’ve missed you too, Girl,” she giggled as she kept wagging her tail, and her whole body. That dog knew how to make her heart melt.
She patted her and hugged her for a few minutes, enjoying the innocence and pure affection she was showing her.
“She’s been kind of down since you weren’t around,” Sawyer said as he leaned on the wall, his arms crossed over his chest.
“I’m so sorry, Girl,” she told her, looking her in the eyes as she grabbed her head. “But I’m back.”
She tried jumping on her again. “Hey, hey… Noah, you have to be careful,” Sawyer said as he held her back.
“She’s just excited.”
“I know, but it’s too soon for you to get hurt again,” he noted as he put her collar. “I’m gonna take her for a quick walk. Why don’t you get comfy while you wait for me?”
“Fine,” Lizbeth pouted.
“That’s not gonna work this time,” he chuckled. “Be right back.” He softly kissed her lips before leaving the apartment.
Lizbeth stepped into his bedroom and went straight to the bathroom. She kicked her sandals off and unbuttoned her dress to let it fall onto the floor. Staring at her reflection on the mirror as she took the pad off she sighed. It looked better than the first day, but it was still gross.
She removed her makeup and washed her face with cold water. Then, she brushed her hair and put it on a messy bun before walking to the shower.
She opened the tap and felt the cold water running down her body. She took a deep breath. It was great to finally be back home.
After a few minutes of enjoying her solitude and the peace inside the room, she stepped out of the shower, grabbing a towel as she did. She wrapped it around her body and walked out to the room.
“Hey…” she said as she saw Sawyer sitting on the bed, looking down at his hands.
“Hey…” he whispered. “How are you feeling?”
“Good,” she smiled. “Your bathroom is way better than the one I had in the hospital.”
“Hope so,” he chuckled. “Come here.” He held a hand out to her, which she immediately grabbed. Then, he pulled her to him with her legs across his lap. He didn’t say anything and just stared at her as he tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “The house felt so empty without you…” he said with a hoarse voice, pain so clear in it.
She brushed his messy hair away from his eyes and looked deep into them, falling in love with him once again. “Life felt empty all these years without you.”
He caressed her cheek and gently pulled her to him. Kissing her earnestly as he caressed her leg from her knee all the way to her upper thigh, stopping right at the hem of the towel.
They had never needed the words to convey their feelings to each other, not even when they were in college. A simple smile or look said everything. She couldn’t help but feel an aching need for him.
“You’re all I’ve ever needed, Kitten,” he panted. “I never thought I could love someone so much…”
Her breath caught in her throat. “I feel the same… And I think I always did,” she brushed her lips to his, diving deep into his eyes as she did.
The room was solely illuminated by the light slipping through the blinders, washing all over his gorgeous features, but it was enough to see his beautiful hazel eyes shining with so much fondness, love, and lust. It hurt.
“I’m never letting you go again,” he whispered before kissing her again.
“You’re gonna be stuck with me until my last day,” she responded.
“Good”, he smiled against her mouth as he tightened his arms around her, deepening their kiss.