Jake took a long drink from his beer and sat back on the couch, trying to relax from the day’s events. He closed his eyes for just a minute and then heard Gracie yelling and crying in her sleep. He ran up and picked her up, walking around her room rubbing her back. She finally calmed down and begged to sleep with him. Not being able to say no to her, he grabbed her bear and went to Sammy’s room. He got her settled and told her he was going to change and be right back.
Thank goodness he had left some things here so he had some shorts and a t-shirt he could change into. He came out of the bathroom and lay down next to his daughter. She immediately snuggled against him as he wrapped his arms around her. He turned the TV on low and flipped some channels until he found a home improvement show that he liked to watch and set the timer. Gracie had fallen back asleep and he drifted off after setting the timer.
He awoke first the next morning and got up to shower. Jake knew that rain or shine, Gracie was up at 7:30, so he had just a few minutes to get dressed before she was up. And true to form as soon as he had put his shoes on she was up and called for him. He came in and hugged her, asking what she wanted for breakfast. They ate together and then he got her dressed for school. The hair part was trickier.
He got it brushed and in a reasonable replica of a ponytail. She was going to get lunch at school today and by 8:25 they were ready to go. He dropped her off, kissing and hugging her tightly, reminding her to make her mom a picture. She went off to play as he explained to Ms. April what happened and that Kate would be picking up. He left the school and went to the florist, buying several bouquets of flowers and took them to her house, hoping to make her feel better. He packed her a bag and left.
He arrived at the hospital and found her talking with a man in a suit. He was curious about who he was but kept it to himself. He said he would wait outside until they were done and leaned on the wall for 10 minutes before the suit left. He nodded to the man and then went in.
“Hey Baby, how are you feeling?”
“Like I got hit by a truck, but not bad. I took something for the pain and am just waiting for the doctor to come in and say I can go.”
He leaned in and kissed her gently again, making her feel so loved and wanted. She asked how last night went and told her how Gracie had a nightmare, and ended up sleeping with him in her bed.
She nodded and looked at him seriously, “Jake I want to talk to you about something. After you all left last night, I called our family lawyer; that was the man that just left. He handles all the trusts and wills and I am having him make some changes to mine.”
She took a deep breath and continued while she teared up, “I just want you to know that I am having him put you in as who I want Gracie to be with if anything happens to me. You would have full custody, be in charge of all decisions and the trusts. I saw how she was with you last night and didn’t even want to go with Derek and that’s never happened. She will always go to him or even your dad. But I saw her reactions and I know she needs you,” she stopped, taking a deep breath as the tears were flowing freely at this point, “I just want you to know that I trust you with our daughter and I know that you will do right by her…” as a sob escaped at the end of her talk.
He sat on the bed and pulled her in for a hug as she cried. He held her as she cried, trying to be as careful as possible so he wouldn’t hurt her. He wiped the tears from his face as she calmed down some, He laid her back on the pillows, brushing her hair back from her face.
He looked her in the eyes and said, “Thank you Sammy. You have no idea how much this means to me! I love her and would die for her. Thank you for trusting me with her.”
He leaned in and kissed her again softly, whispering, “I love you, Baby…”
“I love you too Jake…” and his heart swelled at hearing the words again. He felt complete.
He sat on the chair next to her and held her hand, as the doctor came in. He examined her and said she could go with a few rules. No driving for the next week, go to her doctor to get the stitches out and watch for headaches that go along with the concussion, and take the pain meds as needed and REST. She nodded and thanked him. The nurse was going to come in and help her shower showing her how to care for the stitches. Jake sat in the room and watched TV while he waited. She came out with the clothes he had picked up for her and the nurse went to get the paperwork.
“I am exhausted, Jake. I just want to sleep when we get home.”
The nurse came back and had her sign the papers and she was free to go. The police had brought her phone and purse last night. Jake helped her walk to the car and got her settled. He drove carefully to the house and helped her inside. She wanted her bed and Jake picked her up and carried her up the stairs and got her settled on her bed with more pillows. She smiled a little at him as she thanked him, then closed her eyes and was immediately out. He covered her with a thin blanket, and went down stairs.
He texted everyone letting them know that she was home and sleeping. Then he called his surgeon to set up a time to meet for another check up on his knee. He said he was making great progress and the doctor agreed. He called his coach and told him the date of his appointment and he set up a time to meet with the training and coaching staff to check on mobility. He was leaving in 10 days and would be gone for two days. Man, just the thought of those two days without his girls took his breath away.
He took some things upstairs and went and sat next to Sammy on the bed while she slept. He was doing some reading when she awoke a few hours later. She saw him sitting next to her and felt her heart swell. She liked him there and didn’t want him to leave. She reached over and touched his arm. He looked and saw she was awake. He got her some water and had a little lunch ready for her. She sat up and ate a little.
She looked at him and made a decision, “Jake, will you move in here with us?”
“Are you sure? You don’t mind that Gracie will see me here in the mornings?”
“No, I don’t mind. I want you here with me, with us,” she said.
“Thank you,” he said and kissed her, ’I will go get my stuff later.”
She nodded and asked for some more ibuprofen for her head. She was starting to get another headache. He sat holding her for a little bit while they just talked, telling her about needing to go back to Texas for his knee. Soon he discovered that she had fallen back asleep and he went back downstairs to use his laptop while she slept.
She needed a new car and he did some research and found just the one he wanted for her and made some calls. The dealership would have it delivered to him by the end of the week, they promised. They had to have it shipped in from another state, but it would be there. He called his accountant to have the money wired to the dealership and then bought his plane tickets for Texas.
He played around in the front yard, watering the flower pots that Sammy and Gracie planted, while he waited for Gracie to come home. Soon Kate pulled up with Gracie and Emma in tow. The girls got out and ran to the backyard to play while Kate and Jake talked.
“She is pretty banged up, Kate. I won’t lie, she is bruised pretty badly and it is hard to see her looking like that. She has had a headache today, but was sleeping when I left her a few hours ago. Do you want to go see her?”
“I will, thanks for the update. You know, Jake, I am surprised by you. I never thought I would see the day when you came back or were being a dad to Gracie. I am really happy with how this turned out. Gracie thinks you walk on water, you know. Just like You have hung the moon for her. I am proud of you Jake,” Kate said as she kissed his cheek and went in the house to see her best friend.
Jake went out with the girls until Kate came down. She said that Sammy was awake and she wanted to see Gracie. Emma and Gracie hugged then she left with her mother. Jake took Gracie upstairs to see her mom, taking her picture she made from school. They hugged for several minutes as Gracie told her mom about her day. Sammy listened just holding her daughter in her arms. Jake left them to start dinner as they watched some cartoons.
Sammy made it down the stairs slowly to eat with them. She followed Gracie outback to watch her play as she sits and relaxes. Jake came outside after finishing the dishes, asking how she was feeling.
“I am so tired and I am starting to ache all over. I think it’s time I went back to bed. Have you got bath duty all figured out?”
“I think so, I am pretty sure I am going to be soaked, but I think I can get her off to bed in one piece.”
She laughed and she stood up to go inside. She stopped to lean down and kiss him.
“I love you Jake. Thank you for taking care of me, of us.”
“I love you too. There is no place I would rather be.”
She went up the stairs, managed to get on her pajamas and fell asleep as soon as she hit the pillows. Jake let Gracie play a little bit longer then carried her in while she was upside down and giggling. They got to the bathroom and he gave her a bath. He was right his shirt was soaked, but she was bathed, in pajamas and in bed on time. He felt like he had just won a war. He locked up downstairs, grabbed a beer and went up to bed to watch TV and be with Sammy. When he couldn’t keep his eyes open any more, he snuggled next to her and slept. It was a good way to fall asleep.