TO FALL IN LOVE...AGAIN

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CHAPTER 21

‘NO...No...No..No..No.’ My heart refused to believe uncertainty.

I fell to my knees, joined my palms together, looking up, and raising my voice, releasing my anger to the creator of this world if he does exist.

“You took away my father. I did not complain. You took Sam away, and I did not accuse you, but if anything happens to Aaron, I swear I’ll stop believing in YOU.” Tears were running down. I was wretched like the pappus of a dandelion seed, which disperses passively driven by wind and breaks into pieces.

“Please, I beg you to return my Aaron. Please, god, please... please... please.” Begging. Bathe in tears. I was scared.

A buzz sound broke my concentration. Somebody was calling from the doorbell intercom. I got up from the floor and walked over to a monitor to answer that call. On the indoor video monitor, I saw a huge black man holding a weak person. I couldn’t see his face, his head was dropped low, and he looked barely conscious taking the support--hung from this man’s shoulder.

“Hello,” I said through the intercom speaker.

“Hello, my name is Roger. I’m a cab driver, and I was told to bring him back here.” The man said. Roger lifted the head of the man hung on to him. I gasped and covered my mouth. Aaron, he was hanging limply by Rogers’s side. His face was beaten with punches, cut lip, and his beautiful face bruised.

“Is he okay?” I ask worriedly.

“Yes, ma’am, he’s drunk and out cold,” Roger replied. The utter relief I felt knowing Aaron was safe and home.

“Please, could you help him bring upstairs?” I used the keypad to enter the code to open the elevator door and waited patiently by the door.

“Where do you want me to put him?” Roger asked.

“For now, just put him on the sofa over there.” I pointed and ran to the kitchen and brought a frozen pack of peas and a glass full of water.

“What happened? Do you know anything?” I asked Roger. I didn’t know if he even had the answer to my questions.

“He got into a fight, saving an old man from getting robbed.” He explains.

“Here?” Roger was holding so much cash in his hand.

“He removed cash and handed me and told me to use as much as needed to pay for the fare, food, drinks, and to bring him back from where I’d picked him up yesterday.”

“So the whole day and night, he just rode with you, got drunk, and got into a fight?” I asked.

“Yes, ma’am.” He answered in his deep thick voice.

“Why don’t you keep it,” I told him. I was heartfelt of him and honest for giving back the remaining money.

“No, Ma’am, but if you need a cab anytime, you can call me.” He handed me his card with his name and phone number. “And congratulations on your baby.” He added.

“H-how do you know?”

“You’re, Jess, right?” He asks, and I nodded, looking at Roger with skepticism.

“He couldn’t shut up, talking about you the whole damn time?”

“He did.” I looked at Aaron admirably.

“Don’t worry, he may seem scared and bothered with the baby coming, but for all I know, he wanted to bring the world at your feet,” Roger said.

Even though I had to hear it from a stranger, it still brought solace to my heart, knowing Aaron would be okay.

**

After Roger left, I bought a first aid kit with a cold pack, warm water, and clean tissues. I kneeled in front of him to proceed cautiously. He was lying there quietly, being calm.

‘You and I both know that our paths are separating. Now there’s only sadness which won’t go away. Even though I try to make my heart understand the facts, it denies listening. The stubborn little fool won’t accept it.’

I wanted to be in love and loved, yet he was right here in front of me, and I was choosing to move away from him.

I reached to touch him. The last line was repeating endlessly in my mind making me sob weakly.

I glanced at the first aid kit, and the reason I’d brought it in the first place was to get him clean and sterilized. I opened the box finding all sorts of items, searching, and separating the things I could use on him.

I blotted blood with a tissue to clean his wounds. Next, I made sure his face was clean and free of dirt with a washcloth. Then I began to sterilize him with the antiseptic on a cotton ball, placing it on his wound. Not a wince, not a movement from him. He was really out cold, plus he was stinking from the smell of marijuana and alcohol. Which was strong and unpleasant to my nose, and since I was pregnant, it made me nauseous.

*

I showered and got dressed. When I stepped out of my room. I found Aaron was waiting for me outside.

“Hey.” He looked guilty. I stared at him with watery eyes filled with sadness. My lip trembles as he silently pulls me closer and pressed me into his chest.

I tenderly throw my arms around him into a tight embrace. “I’d died waiting for you.” A sob breaks free as I sink in his arms. “I was so worried. I thought something awful happened to you.” I clutched at his shirt and cried uncontrollably.

“I’m so sorry, Jess. I’m sorry.”

“You’re not going to get off easy. I’m still going to yell at you.”

“I expected that.” He said tearfully. I felt woozy.

“Aaron, I-I’m feeling dizzy, and I-I’m also starving.”

He pulls back to look at me. “Did you not eat?” He asked, and I shook my head,

“Where the fuck is Dave?”

“Aaron, can we order something, like quickly.”

“Of course, I’ll get on it.” He ran away, probably to get his phone to order food.

In the meantime, I supped tea sitting at the kitchen island. A few minutes later, Aaron came back looking fresh from the shower.

‘How does he manage to look so devastatingly handsome even with the bruised?’

I was naturally very angry with him and physically wanted to thrash him for staying out the whole fucking night. However, examining his present condition, I had nothing to say to him, except—“Are you okay?” I asked, but he maintained his dignified silences. “So, you got into a fight?”

He winced. Then I remembered he gave out a low moan as if in pain earlier when I’d hugged him.

Considerately I went to lift his shirt. “Don’t?” he held my wrist, “It’s better if you don’t see it.” He made that painful face again.

Did I listen to him? Hell no. I grabbed a fist full of his material. There was a scared look in his eyes. He knew now or later he’ll have to reveal it.

He slumps his shoulders with a sigh and dips his head down, burying his chin in his chest. He loosened his grip on me.

Gently, I lift his shirt. I gasped out loud, my one hand flying to my mouth. There were green and blue bruises on Aaron’s body, hidden below his shirt. He’d suffered a puncture welt down the side of his ribs.

“A-Aaron.” Tears rolled down my cheek as I took insight.

“You should have seen them. Those punks won’t be able to wipe their shit for weeks,” Aaron said that proudly. I wasn’t amused nor proud of his answer. I shot him a glare. He tried to avoid my eyes.

“Thank you for cleansing my face,” he said.

I run my fingers over his body, examining him. He tensed slightly at first but relaxed as I was simply feeling his skin underneath his shirt.

“Jess..” he moaned.

When I looked up at him, his now dilated eyes were looking down on my lips. I can tell by the look of his face that he wants to and badly, but I also know he’s not going to, although... ′Would he? Can he even kiss me now that he knows I’m carrying Sam’s baby?′

And to my surprise, he leaned down and took my lips. I staggered back as he came with force. The kiss had the same passion as before. Aaron cupped my face and tilted for more access. We both pulled away, breathing heavily, but our forehead remained touched.

“I told you, you wouldn’t be able to handle it,” I said and pulled myself away, but I tried not to look at him. “I’ll move out by the weekend.”

“What?” He glared. “You’re not going anywhere.” He stated.

“Aar--”

“Jess, what I did, it’s not acceptable. You’ve full right to be angry with me for my behavior, for leaving you like this, knowing your condition, making you worried like this.” He paused and inhaled. “I wasn’t thinking. I felt insecure and didn’t know how to react. I freaked out big time and ran away cowardly.” He slowly crouched down and touched my belly. “But I’m back, I’m here, and I’m ready.”

My heart welled up with the sentiment, making my knees weak, threatening to be swept by him ultimately.

I, too, bend down and hug him feeling the warmth radiating from one another. All these mixed emotions jumbled between us is becoming more complicated.

“I know you’re, but I need to do this on my own, Aaron. I can’t h-- ”

“No...” He shakes his head, eye wide in despair. “No, Jess, I’m sorry.” He said, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. D-don’t punish me, Jess. Don’t leave me.” His chest started to heave faster.

“I never had anyone in my life I could call mine, and you’re mine, Jessica. When you hold me, I feel comforted when you say you care. I feel loved. You’re my hope for happiness.” Aaron was panicking, he clutched on me as if I was his life support, and suddenly I felt myself willing to do anything he would ask of me at this moment.

“Okay... okay... I’m not going anywhere,” I told him and comforted him. He nuzzled into my chest and slowly began to calm down.

There’s a feasible explanation, as a baby, he was abandoned by his parents; all through his life, he’d lived alone, and when I came into his life, he was happy. Then with me, another small person coming, he showed a possibility of progress, and just when he thought everything was going to be alright, a threat of everything taken away from him would shatter him. The feeling of being alone petrified him into a panic.

Aaron was this strong, dominant man, but at this very moment, he looked like a child in my arms, the utter innocent face filled with deep sorrow. He looked scared.

Maybe it was the pregnancy hormones, but the feeling of protective instincts skyrockets within me. It’s strange how the smallest gestures can resonate with different emotions with so many different meanings and hold values dear to our hearts, with strong emotional ties.

We got interrupted as the food was delivered.

Aaron had ordered too much food and all kinds of different foods. Spicy, fried, sweets, and sandwiches. I wonder which one of us was craving?

**

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