Jake woke early, covered Sammy back up and went on a search for strong coffee. He bought the largest cups he could and went back to the room and found Sammy starting to stir. He pulled the chair close to her side, took her hand in his and kissed it. She opened her eyes and looked at him.
“Hey Baby…How are you feeling? Any pain?”
“No…” she hoarsely whispered, “I’m sorry…”
“Sorry? Sorry for what?”
“For losing the-“
“STOP. Don’t do that. This isn’t your fault! The doctor told me that this actually is more common than people hear about. This is just something that happens. I’m sad that it happened to us, but we can have more kids and have a very normal life. I love you Sammy and we will get through this together. I promise,” He spoke earnestly, looking deep in her eyes.
She teared up again at his words and he kissed her gently. He handed her some Kleenex and she wiped her face as the nurse came in to check on her. The doctor would be in to see if she could be discharged that morning. She had Sammy order some breakfast and relax while they waited. An hour and a half later Sammy had eaten, been cleared and was getting dressed to go home with instructions on what to do next. Jake texted everyone and told them the update.
Jake called a cab and took her home to shower and get some rest. Kevin and Ashley were out getting things ready for their new house and giving them some privacy. Jake lay in bed with her, talking and crying about everything had happened. It was a really deep and meaningful moment for them both, but Sammy knew they would be ok. As painful as the whole thing was, they were going through it together.
Jake went downstairs to make her some soup and get something together for dinner. Kevin and Ashely came back with some lasagna, salad and breadsticks that they could heat up for dinner when they were ready. Derek and Lynn were bringing Gracie back, telling her that her mom was sick and her Daddy was going to take care of her.
Jake sat on the couch with a beer next to his best friend and sighed, “This adulting shit is really getting old. Can’t we just have a normal year without drama?”
“I don’t really think so. Next year is going to be crazy too,” Kevin conceded.
They sat in silence and just relaxed before the little whirlwind named Grace arrived. Two hours later, Gracie was running circles around the backyard with Fish and Kevin while Jake was getting the table set for dinner. Ashley was helping Sammy shower and get dressed. They came downstairs and sat at the table, watching Jake work in the kitchen.
“I don’t know about you Sammy, but it never gets old seeing the Super Bowl MVP doing housework,” She said with a cheeky grin.
Sammy snickered at her remark and Jake turned and stuck his tongue out at them as he put the bowl of salad on the table.
“You should see him change the sheets on the bed! It’s truly an art form, I mean the way he bends over just sends chills up and down my spine!” Sammy added as her partner in crime giggled uncontrollably.
“You know, I’m really starting to regret introducing you two! It was bad enough in high school and college with Sammy and Kate, but with Ashley AND Abby joining in…I’m really screwed!”
Kevin and Gracie came in for dinner and the girls snickered and giggled the whole meal. Kevin and Jake just rolled their eyes and ignored them as best they could. The night ended quietly getting Gracie in bed early for the start of school.
Sammy was up and moving around the next day, getting everything ready for Gracie’s first day of school the next day. Plus Jake had a flight back late the following night. He had to get back for the first regular season game the next weekend. Sammy was exhausted by seven that night and was so grateful that Jake had her covered for bedtime. Sammy climbed into bed and could hardly keep her eyes opened as she waited for Jake to come to bed. Once he made it to bed, she lay on his chest and was instantly asleep.
Gracie was up much earlier than everyone else and running around like crazy with excitement for her first day. Sammy put her hair up in twin braids down her back and dressed in the plaid uniform jumper and white shirt with matching socks and new black buckle shoes. Jake and Kevin were taking pictures of basically every move she made. Being hormonal, Ashley cried when they got in the car to leave waving madly as they left. Sammy had no idea how she was holding it together, but she did. They pulled up to a sea of children, cars and parents everywhere they looked. Jake, Sammy and Gracie got out and Gracie grabbed Jake’s leg and Sammy’s hand and her lip quivered just a little.
“Sweetie, are you ok?” Jake asked, pulling her off his leg and kneeling down in front of her.
She shook her head, “No! I don’t have any friends here Daddy! It’s so big!”
Jake looked at Sammy for help and she bent over to where her daughter was, “Gracie honey, it’s ok! I know it’s a little scary, but let’s go to your classroom. Let’s show Daddy where it is and where your desk is. We will be there with you every step and I bet there is someone right by your desk that is looking for a new best friend too!”
Gracie looked at her skeptically, but nodded her head, “Daddy please carry me
Jake picked her up and kissed her cheek, took Sammy’s hand and they walked across the lot. Sammy seemed to notice the looks they received as they walked. Jake tended to make men and women notice him. The women looked because of his looks and the way he carried himself and the men looked because they recognized him from football. She hoped that kids didn’t harass Gracie because of it.
They walked to the front doors and Sammy introduced Jake to the principal, Mark Nixon, and they shook hands. The older boys were starting to notice Jake and the older man ushered them along.
“Gentlemen, let’s get to our lockers and stop ogling Mr. Doogan and his family ok?”
Jake was grateful for his help and told him as much. Mr. Nixon brushed it off as no big deal, but blushed a little at Jake’s words. Sammy led them down the hall to the kindergarten classrooms and stepped in. Jake whispered something in Gracie’s ear and she nodded as he set her down. She walked to her desk and the teacher Mrs. Michaels came over and greeted her again.
“Hello Grace, How are you today? Are you excited for your first day?”
Grace nodded her head a little, “I’m fine. I’m nervous to be here…”
“And that is totally normal! I would be worried if you weren’t Grace. Would you like to put your pencil box in your desk?”
Grace nodded and unpacked, placing her snacks in her desk too. She went over to the coat hooks and quickly found her name, hung it up and almost ran back to them. Jake took her by the hand and explored the room with her and looked at the other kids whispering things to her, making her smile. They were coming back to Gracie’s desk when the warning bell rang, signaling that it was time for parents to leave. Gracie’s lip started to droop, signaling that she could start crying. Jake whispered in her ear and she nodded, took a deep breath with him and hugged him.
Sammy kneeled next to her and kissed her cheek, “I love you Gracie! You have a wonderful day and learn a lot!”
“Remember what I said Sweetie and have a great day! I will pick up later ok?” Jake said, kissing her forehead.
“Ok Daddy. I love you too Mommy and you Daddy,” She said, looking longingly at them.
Sammy waved and they walked out of the room as she sat in her desk when the teacher started talking and the bell rang.