It had been two weeks since Erin came home from the hospital. She had stayed at Malcom and Brenda’s house for a week then moved to her home. The house was always a buzz of activities, her family and friends always dropped by. Brandon had to get back to work and Roy was handling Red-line full time. But there was always someone or people to keep her company. She was in her reading cocoon with a book and her mother and Don’s Mother were in the backyard with drinks and music. Hers and Don’s parents had grown into best of friends. Looking at them it looked like they had been friends for ages.
All seemed blissful except for the time bomb that was Martha.
Malcom had met Kevin and they had agreed that if he could locate Martha he would notify the police and Malcom. Kevin was beside himself with guilt about what happened to Erin. He had asked to meet her, but Malcom refused.
Martha was still at large, but the police and the private security hired were looking for her.
In the afternoon, Brandon came home to take Erin to the hospital for a scheduled checkup he followed the laughter and found Erin and the mothers in the backyard. Erin was sound asleep, but their moms seemed to be having conversations with her tummy.
He looked at them amused. “Hi” he said leaning on the door frame.
“Oh, hi Don” Ivana said, “Come see your babies react to songs” she said laughing.
Don walked over to them and watched as they sang, and the babies kicked or moved. It was heartwarming and heart wrenching at the same time. It looked like the babies were pulling in opposite directions and stretching all out, yet Erin was sleeping through it. He observed for a bit marveling and the babies’ reactions and their grandmothers’ excitement then going back to the fear her felt for Erin. He slowly walked over to them and patted Erin’s shoulder to wake her up.
“Hi,” she said smiling a him
“Hi love, we have to go to the hospital.” He said watching her. He remembered when he was day dreaming about her pregnant, he had not pictured it well, she was beautiful and the best part was that she was his, she loved him.
She heaved herself up. “I will just change my clothes and we can leave.” She said walking into the house.
“You will have security right?” Ivanna asked once she was out of ear shot.
“Yes, in two cars. Should be fine. “Brandon said though he did not feel as confident.
He walked into the house to see if she needed help. He found her seating on the bed with a pair of vans in her hands. He smiled at her frustrated face, took the shoes from her hands and knelt to help her.
They walked out of the house a short while later into his G55.
“Hi!” the doctor said cheerfully as they walked into the office. “How are you feeling today Erin?”
“Stuffed!” Erin said and they all laughed.
“Well, seeing that you are doing the last leg you are bound to be feeling a bit out of it. Let’s check you up and see how the little ones are doing.” She said.
Brandon helped her on to the examination table and held her hand as the doctor went on with the ultrasound.
“The babies look good.” She said. “But…. you see that?” she said pointing at a spot on the screen, “That is a strain on the scar that does not look good at all.” She said. “clean up dear
Let us talk.”
The doctor went back to her desk and started typing away on her computer while Don wiped the gel off Erin’s tummy and helped her into the chair at the doctor’s desk. He then sat down opposite her.
“Erin, I know you would like to give the babies as much time as possible and go to the full-term mark as close as you can, but it is a risk. They are multiples and we had already given them a boost for lung development. We need to get them out, at almost thirty-five weeks, they will need support in the NICU, but they will be fine.”
Both Erin and Don were quiet, Brandon looked at Erin intently he wanted this to be her decision but if she chose not to deliver now he would try to convince her otherwise.
“Fine,” she said searching Brandon’s eyes. “can we schedule it for tomorrow?” she asked.
Brandon released a breath he had been holding and sat back in this chair.
“Of course.” The doctor said. “I will just need your signatures on some documents. I will need you to go in for your anesthesia appointment now. I will just schedule that as you two fill out and sign these forms.” She said handing them a batch of papers and walking out.
“Love,” Brandon called and waited until her eyes, glistering with tears turned to him. “Do not cry Love, you have done well this whole time, you have been great, and you will be fine. And I will be with you through it all.” He said hugging her.
“I am scared and excited.” She said.
“We will do this together.” Don said. “Let’s finish this up, go to the anesthesia then if they let us, we will have beef stew for dinner and be back here tomorrow to meet the babies.”
“I must fast for twelve hours prior to the surgery.” She said.
“Let’s see when they will slot you in for.” He replied.
The doctor came back in and explained to them what to expect and what to do. She told them that the surgery would be done at eight in the evening, but they had to be admitted by five in the morning. They then went to meet the anesthesia doctor. The whole consultation took about half an hour and they were back in the car ready to go home and share the news with the rest of the family. They slowly eased out of the parking lot. Erin pulled down the windows because the weather was so nice, and she was felt tensed so she figured fresh air would help.
Just as they turned onto the main street out of the hospital the shots rung in the air and that was when hell broke loose.
Brandon momentarily lost control of the car but he quickly came to grips and hit the buttons to shut the windows which were bullet proof. He then swerved the car and drove against traffic back into the hospital. Once the car was parked at the hospital. He turned to Erin who had not said a word in the chaos, but he could tell she was not fine. Brandon was not shot, Erin was.
“Love?” he said panicked.
She was conscious, there was blood. He was not sure where she was shot, and he was too scared to open the doors and windows incase the shooter was still waiting. He quickly unbuckled her seat belt and tried looking her over.
“Where is the pain?” he asked.
“neck.” She said through gritted teeth.
He saw blood seeping out like a broken sprinkler, and it was scaring him. He quickly started working on applying pressure on the wound.
Suddenly there was knocking on the window and he saw one of the guards. He pulled down the window just a bit.
“It is clear, please let the doctors in.” he said.
Brandon unlocked the doors and the ER Team took over. They tried to attend to him, but he told them he was fine and stepped aside covered in blood.
Erin had been fighting to stay awake for Brandon, she also knew her water was broken. She tried telling that to the ER people, but the darkness came over her and she slipped away.
Once she was taken to the hospital. Brandon turned to the man standing next to him. “Explain”
“Martha and a hit man. they were across the street. Both were alive when I left but barely holding on.” The man said.
Brandon nodded grimly and turned to run into the hospital. A nurse approached him and asked him to get checked. He again assured her that he was fine. She then suggested that he at least cleans off the blood.
“Where is she?” he asked referring to Erin.
“The doctors are tending to her and will come and update you in a bit. Just go and clean up.” the nurse said.
He stood there dazed. Then he was brought back by people shouting his name. he turned towards the door and saw his parent’s and Erin’s parents rushing in.
Though they had spoken to the security who was waiting by the car, the sight of Don covered in blood staring blankly was scary for the parents.
Instead of asking questions, they turned to the nurse who told them to get him cleaned up and bring him in for an examination. Malcom took his son’s hand and led him to the room the nurse pointed at. Brenda walked out back to the car knowing that Brandon always had extra clothes in the car. Ivanna hugged Roy and broke down in tears for her child.
A short while later, Tony, Eva, Nate and Yvette joined the family in the waiting room. They exchanged hugs and sat quietly and tensed waiting.
It was almost an hour later that the doctor walked in.
“can I speak to the family?” she asked.
Brandon Looked at Roy who nodded. “We are all family.”
“The bullet caused a puncture in the carotid artery on the right, but it is now under control though she lost a lot of blood. We have been struggling more with her blood pressure, it went up during the surgery and it has been fluctuating. He water also broke; we need to remove the babies. I think it is better if the babies are out so that the pressure on her body is reduced and we can take care of each of them separately. I need consent to proceed with the surgery to remove the babies. “she said holding out a paper and pen.
Roy and Ivanna were still the signatories for Erin. Roy looked at Brandon in a silent question. Brandon nodded and Roy and Ivanna signed the form.
“Listen,” The doctor said. “She is doing well, and she will pull through this. We are working on that.” Looked at them then walked out.
The mood in the room was pensive, no one was talking to the other. Nate and Yvette walked out followed by Tony and Eva.
Brandon sat on a chair reeling in pain. It felt as if he was literally on fire. They will be fine, please God keep them well That was the continuous chant in his head. He couldn’t lose them,
Ivanna eased out of Roy’s arms. This was their fault. This was their battle. Yet, it was not her or her husband in pain or unconscious or in surgery. It was her child. The last time Ivanna had talked to Martha was two weeks before her wedding. Martha had showed up at her flat on a Saturday morning.
“Can we talk?” Martha asked standing at the door. Her puffy eyes showed that she had been crying.
“Sure, come in” Ivanna had let her in because she looked miserable and for once she had approached Ivanna in a civilized way. Also, Ivanna’s two roommates were in the house.
“Do you love him?” Martha asked quietly.
“I do,” Ivanna responded promptly wondering where the conversation was going.
“I don’t think you love him as much as I do. Ivanna I am sure I cannot live without him.” Martha said looking out the window.
“I do not know what you expect from me” Ivanna said sitting down
“Please leave him. I promise I will make him happy,” Martha turned back to Ivanna with pleading eyes and tears rolling down her cheeks.
“I can’t do that. I can’t walk out on the best thing that has ever happened to me. Martha, you were together, it did not work out he moved on, maybe you should try too” Ivanna said cautiously.
“I have tried to fucking move on Ivanna! No comes close to him. I made mistakes and pushed him away, but I am the best for him, he is the best for me. If you get out of the way, he can see it.” Martha shouted causing her roommates to come out of their bedrooms. Ivanna looked at them and they signaled that they were on standby.
“I can’t do that. I don’t enjoy seeing you like this, but I can’t walk out on Roy. But I think this conversation should be between you and Roy, not me.” Ivanna said.
“Why can’t you just be unselfish for once? You are a privileged white woman; you have everything you can ever ask for. Look at me! I am Latina, I must struggle for everything. I made a mistake; I can’t lose him! Why are you so hell-bent on taking him!” she shrieked angrily.
“Please go and talk to Roy. You were in a relationship with him, not me.” Ivanna said.
“I shouldn’t have expected you to see my perspective, but I can tell you this, pray it works out between me and Roy, because if it doesn’t I will make it my life’s mission to see you in pain.” Martha said and stomped out.
Ivanna sighed and looked back at her life, she had had a lot of accidents, she lost her first pregnancy after a food poisoning incident, her cars had crushed 4 times, she had almost died of carbon monoxide poisoning while on a solo getaway. Had it been Martha?
It was clear Martha had now changed her target to Erin and it was all her fault.
She buried her head in her arms and silently cried.
Roy looked at his wife crying. He wished he had never been involved with Martha. Wished he had never met her at all. The woman never let go. She always popped up randomly in his life. His answer had never changed, it had always been a resounding no. Roy knew what he had with Ivanna was out of this world. The woman inspired and pushed him, as a husband, as a father, as a business man and as a human being. Ivanna and Erin had been the driving forces in his life. His child had been through so much, and he had been so stupid not to see that Martha was behind it. He should have talked to Kevin more about the woman he left his child for, he wouldn’t have forced him to stay but had he known it was Martha’s daughter he would have watched his daughter closely. Thinking back, he wondered about the ‘accidents’ Ivanna had, Martha.
There and then he knew, as long as she was alive, they would always have to look over their shoulders.
Tony and Eva walked in with bottles of water and handed them around.
“The Hit man passed away a few minutes ago. He is Russian. What vendetta does Martha have against Erin?” Tony said.
“It is not against Erin; it is against me.” Ivanna said hoarsely.
“And me,” Roy added.
“Roy dumped her way back and married Ivanna.” Malcom dryly. “Where is she?”
“Still in surgery, Her daughters and son in law and here as well.” Tony replied.
The room fell silent again.
It seemed as if time had stilled.
Everyone was on edge.
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