Finding a Hart

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Chapter 63

Jared

I ended up losing the battle and Chris and I spent the night at home after Alyssa promised she would stay with Stephanie and keep me updated. I didn’t want to go but I knew it wasn’t fair to Chris to have to stay in that room and I wasn’t ready to have him away from me. Not yet.

Getting out of the hospital was hard, though. Reporters and members of the media were everywhere and I had to sneak Chris out through a delivery dock and into Kevin’s waiting sedan. He and Valerie dropped us off at my car and I took the baby home to get a real bath and sleep in his own bed. My own bed was incredibly cold, though. I hadn’t spent a night away from Steph in months and I hated it.

The next morning, he and I walked into the hospital room to find the two women staring at the TV and laughing. Stephanie’s face had color in it again and she didn’t look quite so small in that bed. Her blue eyes met mine and her smile widened.

“There are my favorite boys.”

“You look good, sweetheart,” I told her as I leaned in and brushed my lips against hers. “How do you feel?”

She grinned at me before looking at Chris, who was kicking his legs happily and holding his arms out to her. “A little sore but okay otherwise. Come here, baby boy.”

I lowered Chris into her lap and he immediately reached up to grab Stephanie’s cheek. She peppered his little face with kisses while I took a seat next to Alyssa. When I handed the redhead a cup of coffee from Java Express, she sighed happily.

“Oh, bless you.”

I chuckled and looked up at my girlfriend. “Sorry, Steph. I asked but they said you were another twenty-four hours away from being cleared for the good stuff.”

“Rub it in, you two.” She looked down at Chris, who was staring back up at her and happily chewing on the stuffed frog I had given him when we left the condo. “We’ll probably survive without coffee, won’t we, Christopher?”

His only response was a huge, toothless grin, and Steph laughed quietly and used the sleeve of her gown to wipe some drool from his chin.

“Has anyone been by yet today?”

She nodded and winced when she tried to adjust the baby in her lap. I moved to my feet to help her but she gave me a look before I could. “I’ve got him. The doctor was in about an hour ago and he says everything seems okay. The nurse changed the dressing on my wound and I guess it’s healing well. The goal is to discharge me tomorrow.”

Alyssa’s phone vibrated and she silenced it with a groan. “I hate him.”

“If it’s going to help you, I’ll do the interview,” Stephanie told her with a concerned expression on her face. “It would get your boss off your back.”

“No. I’m not letting him exploit the fact that we’re friends.” Alyssa stood abruptly. “He can go to hell. I’m going to run home and shower so I can head into the station for a bit. I’ll be back tonight, though. Let me know if you need anything.”

She left quickly and I looked at Stephanie for clarification because I was absolutely confused. She reclined her bed a bit to give her some more room with the baby and sighed.

“The media has been sniffing around for an exclusive interview and Alyssa’s boss somehow found out that we were friends. He’s giving her a ton of shit and trying to pressure her into using our friendship to get the interview.”

From the stories I’d heard, Alyssa’s producer was a total slime ball. He was one of those chauvinistic people who believed that women had one place and it wasn’t in the workforce. I knew she was trying her hardest to be taken seriously but it didn’t sound like it would happen where she currently was.

“How did he sleep last night?” Stephanie asked as Chris inspected her hospital bracelet seriously. I smiled and reached out to grip her sock-covered foot.

“Didn’t wake up once. How did you sleep?”

“Terrible. Is there some unspoken rule that patients can’t sleep more than two hours without being woken up? I can’t wait to go home.” She paused and a slow smile crept along her face. “You asked me to move in with you when I was high on painkillers.”

I nodded, feeling a grin hit my own lips. “I did and you said yes. High or not, you can’t take that back, Steph.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it. I’ve already picked out new curtains for the balcony in my mind.” The sassy look on her face was stunning and I had to lean in to give her a quick kiss.

Chris and I stayed in that little hospital room all day. He ended up taking a nap against her chest while she slept, too, and I sat next to the bed just watching them.

Richard and Elaine came by at one point with lunch and stayed for a few hours. It was almost dinnertime when I was alone with my girlfriend and son again, and we were waiting for Bri and Marco to come by with the takeout they’d promised.

A knock sounded on the door and Stephanie called for whoever it was to come in. I looked away from her and the baby just in time to see an older couple enter the room with a doctor. I stood from my seat quickly and shook my head.

“Jay. Maureen. Is there a reason you’re here?” Stephanie grabbed my hand and when I looked down to meet her confused expression, I gripped hers tight. “They’re Angela’s parents.”

Maureen was staring at Chris when I looked back up but she quickly met my eyes.

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