Chapter 23 - stitches
2010 Three months after the breakup with Javier
Bryce spotted Iris the minute she walked in;he and his teammates were enjoying the odd round of shooters when she entered the restaurant dressed in a blue floral print knee high dress black leggings , black leather jacket and boots. Her hair was tied up in a playful ponytail and she looked really pretty.
She headed straight to the corner table by the window set up her notebook and started typing.
The restaurant wasn't noisy , it was chilled and it was open for twenty four hours seven days a week.
Bryce had seen Iris almost every time he came in to get some food or have the odd beer. Iris hadn't ordered anything , she had finished doing her work and it she was just looking at the blank screen lost in her own thoughts...Mostly she was thinking about Javier and wondered how he was doing . Since she didn't even say goodbye to him or tell him the secret she had been keeping She decided only Isabella deserved to be in contact with her and she was okay with that...
Iris quickly snapped out of her trance when the waitress brought her a slice of chocolate cake and coffee. She looked up and saw no one around her she looked at the time and it was almost midnight she hadn't realized how quick time had passed by .
She had been struggling to sleep properly in her own bed since she came back home from Spain.
She either fell asleep watching a movie or a series and was woken up by her phone.
Every time she tried to go to sleep properly; she would either wake up feeling bereaved or in a panicked state of mind. She would close her eyes and all she would see was Javier holding her and then the trauma of losing someone so dear by accident would sink in. She would wake up in a cold sweat feeling nauseous, and couldn't go back to sleep...
She was never one to talk about how she felt but was always kind and focused. Closing her notebook she took a sip of her coffee and just as she was about to take a bite someone sat opposite her ...
" You know most people wait a couple of months before sharing a midnight snack together . I had to wait a couple of hours..."
" And the award for the most creative pick up line ever goes to ... The nameless dude whose sitting across me . Thank you for the snack... Sharing is caring so. Do you want some or is it not part of your eating plan ? "
" Well when it comes to you any eating plan doesn't exist. You are worth every minuet of my cardio workout."
"That doesn't sound right... ".
Iris smirked an looked mischievous. She faked a cough to conceal her laugh"
Bryce threw his head back and laughed . He then looked at Iris and smiled.
"Wow and I thought I was the one with the dirty mind... Now you got me all hot and bothered. "
Iris slouched on the chair and hid her face from embarrassment.
"Earth swallow me right now."
Iris slid up with all the dignity she had left put her hands on the table ,looked up, and saw Bryce who was grinning from ear to ear. His eyes were like emeralds reflected in light.
" I see you almost every second day I come here and it looks like you never leave . Do you ever sleep."
Iris winced at Bryce and he picked up a hint of melancholy in her eyes and instinctively reached out and held her hands.
"I need to recover from that interesting exchange of words. To answer your question ... I struggle to sleep. Nameless and funny.
" Your hands are cold. Nameless and dreamy eyed. "
"The coffee you ordered for me is helping... "
He looked at her and instantly felt a warm fuzzy feeling.
" I'm Bryce Taylor."
Irises heart skipped a beat and she smiled at him.
" Iris Baker.. . I'm not about to waste a delicious slice of cake " she held up her fork and took a bite.
" So if this was about cutting the cake..."
" Or having coffee in the morning ... which I am thankful for by the way Bryce."
She took gulp of her now almost luke warm coffee .
" Then coffee and cake with you is always a privilege."
"Okay now you have mucky mind ."
" Iris I love how your mind works... You haven't told me why and stop evading the question."
"I'm dealing with a lot right now... But just so you know . I haven't laughed so much in while ... Thank you"
" Just so you know miss Baker , I love the effect you have on my heart and I want to see more of you."
" Oh please you see me every time we have class stalker."
Iris scowled at him and they both laughed
"Always know this if we ever meet like this again... "
he takes her phone punches in his numbers an
calls his phone .
"It will be more than just cake or coffee ."
"I can't wait to see what that twisted mind of yours has planned."
Iris had a curious look on her face
"Iris curiosity killed the cat."
"The. Cat died satisfied."
Bryce took her hand and kissed it. She took her hand back and finished off what was left of her coffee.
"The weird things men do after midnight ... No wait in general. You are the captain of the rugby team; you can have any girl you want... You had a plan all along didn't you?"
"Yes . Did you think I wouldn't notice you. I've liked you for the past three months . I was just afraid to admit that to you."
"Okay now that you've got that off your chest do you feel better?"
" I understand "
" What are you doing here today? "
"Nothing ... Weekend off..."
"This right now is me declaring you are mine . Officially , exclusively in an empty restaurant ."
" I've known how you felt for a while now. People talk... What took you so long?"
"Good old fashioned fear of rejection..."
" Well captain fear not ..."
Bryce gave Iris a proper kiss and Iris kissed him back.
"Officially mine ?"
Iris cracked a smile
It had been the longest three days of Javier's life. He wouldn't leave the hospital no matter how hard everyone tried he just wouldn't . He was lucky they were on a break , but pre season was coming up soon ,training, and the the tour . In between that he had a wedding to attend ,since he was the best man; however the maid of honor was laying on a hospital bed with a cast and a head wound.
He wanted to be with Iris . There was a lot to be said and a lot to forgive. He believed she had to wake up there was no other way.
On the evening of the dinner Javier hadn't expected what happened to happen. When he whispered in Iris's ear "tree house " they both knew what it meant . Their first date, first kiss,first fight , and first make up session was in the tree house cabin .
Three nights ago when Iris got shot; she walked in on Gina straddling and kissing Javier. He couldn't get over the look of betrayal on her face; no matter how hard he tried all he remembered was the hurt he saw in Iris's eyes. He had an explanation for what she saw.
By some sort of miracle Iris started breathing on her own. Javier had gone back to the hotel to wash and change.
Javier told himself he just needed to close his eyes for a bit ,but as soon as he finished getting cleaned up and dressed he hit lights out hard for ten hours straight.
Santiago wasn't due to come back until the next day.He forgot to tell the nurse in charge to let him know if Iris woke up. Alfred and Max had already been sent home too ; which meant Iris knew no one and had no one to ask what happened if she woke up.
There had been no sign that she would come around , the memory of the night Iris and Bryce decided to be an item felt real to Iris. She actually thought they were an Item .
Until everything that had happened to her up to this point played like a movie in her head.
She felt like an
outsider looking in .
Out of nowhere her eyes shot open.
She inhaled a sharp breath and tried to breathe out calmly.
The first person she saw , wasn't the person she expected . She felt achy all over and overwhelmed, she knew something had happened to her but what...
She tried to talk but the person inside her room hushed her gently. He held her hand and kissed her knuckles and then palm .
"Don't speak hush... You are in the hospital . I came as soon as Martin told me what happened. You are going to be okay. You are awake that's all that matters right now."
The sun was still shining it was late afternoon when this guy arrived. He moved from the chair to a seated position facing Iris. Iris scanned the room again and saw lots of roses; mostly white and yellow her room smelt like roses. Then she saw them a deep pink and white bunch at the foot of her bed on the table.
She remembered every time Javier came from a game or was away on camp he would send her a bunch with a message. She also remembered the last day she saw the same bunch of flowers.
Tears started streaming down Iris's eyes . She for some sort of odd reason was missing a man who was nowhere in sight . Sounding groggy and mastering all the energy she had , the first words that came out of her mouth were;
" I want Javi he has to know what happened to our child. He has to . It was an accident... "
The guy in the room hugged her and gave her his shoulder to cry on.
"I didn't bring you all the roses ..."
"I know ... You always got me tulips or lilies. Javier must have sent them. Why isn't he here ?"
"I'm going to call the doctor okay I will be back. I promise . "
He leaned over to wipe her tears and kiss her cheek.
" Okay... "
As soon as the guy walked out Javier came in ;they missed each other by three minuets had fallen back to sleep.
Without noticing the leather jacket , Javier sat on the bed facing Iris. He was still feeling guilty for over sleeping. He held her hand and started talking .
" Hey I'm back . I need you to come back to me please. I miss you ... I forgive you and I love you "
Iris opened her eyes and for a moment she was thankful .
"yo te extrañe mas Javier."
Javier started to cry too
"Why didn't you tell me about our son it would have changed everything ..."