Whatever It Takes

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Chapter 3 - Isabelle's point of view

The nurse walked out with my daughter, and though I wanted to go after her, I couldn’t; my body wouldn’t cooperate with me. I watched Zach stand in the doorway, his broad shoulders leaning into the doorframe. His arms were crossed over his chest, the large biceps tugging at the fabric of his shirt. His eyes were moist as he moved closer, sitting at the edge of the bed, my toes resting on the side of his hip.

I couldn’t stop the tears that flowed without my permission. I felt numb, yet I could feel the salty tears making their way down, moving to my lips. Within a second, he was at my side, caressing my back whilst I grabbed his shirt in fistfuls, sobbing uncontrollably. My chest tightened; my breathing laboured. All this was too much for me… I lost my family… my home… I relaxed into his chest, pushing all my thoughts to the back of my head.

“I’m so sorry Belle,” he murmured into my hair. I looked elsewhere, forcing myself not to cry. I moved away from him, wiping my face.

“It’s ok. It wasn’t your fault. I’m just unlucky.” His head immediately shot up; shock inscribed onto his face.

“Isabelle, hey, look at me,” he whispered, tilting my chin by about a fraction, so my eyes met his. “You are not unlucky. You’ve had a pretty rough time but that doesn’t mean that you are unlucky. Everything will be perfect, for now though, focus on getting better, and anyways, you have me. I will help as much as I can.” His words broke the premature dam around my pain, tears shamelessly rolling down, as I jumped at him, hugging him tightly around his shoulders. I felt his body tense, but he soon relaxed, returning my motion.

A few minutes later, he withdrew, attempting to help me up. Noticing my temporary paralysis, he swept me into his arms, carrying me bridal style up the stairs to one of the largest bedrooms on the landing. He carefully tucked me in, before fetching a blanket from the wardrobe and making himself comfortable on a nearby sofa. I felt strange, considering this was the first time in four years I was going to sleep alone.

“Goodnight Belle.”

“Goodnight Zach.”

Start of flashback

I was in the laundry room, ironing James’s black shirt at our Victorian style home. I was about to start on the next one, but Rachel took it, running off. I followed her, finally grabbing the shirt, much to the three – year olds disappointment. A burnt smell quickly turned my triumph to fear, my heavy breathing making it worse. I walked back to the kitchen, a hand on my five – month bump. James picked the shirt, staring through the large hole on the back. His eyes traced my hand, but his demeanour turned blank. I gulped.

“Princess, I need to speak to Mummy. Could you go to your room and close the door? Remember not to open it until I tell you to.” He spoke softly.

“Ok daddy!” She beamed, hugging him tightly and running off to her room. As I heard the door slam, I feared what would happen to my baby. Yes, whilst I did love him and vice versa, he was diagnosed with severe bipolar disease, which only worsened by every passing day. He moved from his position, standing very close to me.

“Why, do you always make one mistake or another?”

“James, trust me, I was ironing, but Rachel took off with your shirt and I c-completely forgot th-that I left the iron –”

“Oh, so you are saying that our daughter is the culprit and she made you forget? You are an interior designer, handling multiple projects but you couldn’t do your chore properly? What a load of bull –” He looked down at my stomach. “Nonsense.” He looked like he was going to move towards the kitchen, but a sharp sting on the cheek proved otherwise. I placed a hand onto my cheek, my head being dragged the other way as my hair was roughly yanked mere centimetres before his handsome face. “Try not to mess up again babe, I am being very patient with you, given your current condition.” He turned around, walking out of the room.

I heard Rachel call out to me, but I stayed quiet. I didn’t want her to see the light bruise on my left cheek, or that her mum was helpless. The front door was slammed shut, allowing me to slide down the wall, a fist in my mouth to muffle my cries. Instinctively, my arms wrapped themselves around my stomach. A few moments later, a yelp left me. Moments later, James barged in, his facial features softening as he looked at me. He lifted me carefully, taking us to our bedroom, placing me under the care of the duvet. The bed sunk, as he shuffled closer, arms wrapped around me, rubbing my back. I leaned my forehead onto the side of his damp face.

“I am so sorry I hurt you again honey. It’s getting worse. Please forgive me.” His body spasmed as we both cried freely. I moved a little more, rubbing his back and whispering soothing words.

End of flashback

I jolted upright, my heart palpitating. Tears welled in my eyes, arms wrapping around my knees. The left side of the bed dipped, a familiar scent taking over my senses.

“I’m so sorry Zach, I –”

“Shhh, it’s ok, I’ve got you. I’m here for you.” He cooed, bringing me closer to his body. I breathed out, relaxing my forehead onto his collarbone, trying to bottle my emotions, not wanting to break down. After some time, I moved away feeling slightly embarrassed from my outburst. He too moved back, and out of alarm, I called him back.

“Please, stay.” I looked down, letting go of his hand and turning to my side. However, the bed lowered, and I turned, seeing that he had climbed in, lying near the furthest side. I smiled, finally falling asleep, seeing that I had someone.

Zachariah’s point of view

I lied down near the end of the bed, watching as her eyelids gradually closed. Although she was in a deep slumber, she rolled towards me, an arm landing on my chest. Her face contorted and I placed a hand onto her head, keeping her from waking up. Gradually, she relaxed. I continued stroking her auburn tresses, hoping to keep her in a deep slumber. I closed my eyes, finally knowing that she was going to be ok.

I felt my senses slowly come to life as I wearily opened my heavy eyelids. I felt a body move to my right and tilted my face to meet Isabelle’s sleeping one. She looked so beautiful and peaceful. I gently patted her head, before walking to the wardrobe, picking my clothes for the day as happiness and pride swelled in my chest. I headed to the bathroom, brushing my teeth before climbing into the shower. I showered as fast as I could, hoping that Isabelle wouldn’t be alarmed. I dressed, looking frantically for my shirt, but it was nowhere to be found. I groaned, peeking through the door. I closed it, muttering a quick prayer, before stepping outside.

She was… awake, her eyes travelling my exposed upper body. I leaned against the doorway, a smirk playing on my lips.

“Like what you see?” I teased, noting the rapid colour saturation in her cheeks. She covered her eyes, mumbling. I moved over to the wardrobe, pulling out a grey jumper, tugging it on. I felt an intense gaze on my back, smiling, I took more time.

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