A streak of harsh fluorescent light nearly blinded me. I reluctantly blinked, close my eyes for a few seconds, and then blink again to adjust. It felt like I slept forever but I still felt exhausted. I rubbed the remnants of sleep from my eyes and then the temples of my head to ease the pain. My head was killing me and I was cramping really bad too. Then I kept hearing this annoying beeping sound.
I finally got a good look at my surroundings and realized that I was in a hospital room. I began to panic. Everything came flashing back to me. Maddie being taken, what Henry did to me, and passing out in the shower. I felt someone touch me and I just started hitting them. All I could see was Henry putting his hands on me again. I freaked out and got in fight mode.
"Don't touch me!" I screamed.
"Baby. Blaire, it's me. It's Avery. Your husband. Calm down... it's okay," Avery said calmly.
I looked at him and felt relieved that it was him. I looked around the room wondering where my children were. Then I looked down at my stomach and rubbed it wondering why it hurt so bad. Did something happen to my babies?
"Where's Maddie and Aiden? Is Maddie okay? Am I okay? Are the twins okay? Why am I here?!" I asked in a panic.
Avery tried to touch me and I flinched. He noticed it and stepped back from me.
"Maddie is fine. She's with both of our parents. She's safe with Aiden. You are here because you passed out. You were in like a coma and have been out for a few days," he said.
I felt relieved that Maddie was okay. I wanted to see my children. I noticed that Avery's eyes getting teary-eyed. I knew something wasn't right and he was keeping something from me.
"And the twins?" I asked again.
"One... one of them didn't make it. I'm sorry, baby," he said.
I touched my belly and began to sob. It was my fault. I killed my baby. I should have never agreed to do that with that monster. I let him hurt my babies. I didn't think I deserved Avery after what I did. I betrayed him. I shouldn't have gone to my office, but I don't know what would have happened to Maddie if I didn't. He came closer to me and I pulled away from him. I just couldn't be touched it was too painful. I needed to be alone right now.
"Please leave," I sobbed.
"I'm not leaving you. I know this is hard, but we'll get through this together. We still have one baby. You have to stay strong for our baby," he said.
It hurt more to hear him still be there for me after what I agreed to do. I couldn't look at him anymore. My conscience was killing me.
"I just want to be alone! Leave me alone, Avery!" I shouted.
"What's going on with you? What happened those hours you were gone?" he asked.
I turned away from him and closed my eyes. But when I did, I saw Henry. I felt my chest tightened like I was having a heart attack. The monitors were beeping like crazy.
"You have to calm down, baby," he said.
Then a nurse and doctor came in. They told Avery to step out of the room. The nurse checked the machine then left. The doctor sat on the bed next to me. She's older with skin the color of toffee, an ochre brown. Her hair was in a neat bun with a streak of gray on the right side. Her eyes were a warm deep brown. She reminded me of my mother's older sister, Bianca.
"I am Dr. Sarah Andrews. You can call me Sarah. Mrs. Rowland, you have to calm down. I know losing a baby is very difficult. But you will lose this baby too if you don't stop stressing, okay? Stress is very bad for any pregnancy," she said calmly.
"Okay," I mumbled.
"Do you mind telling me what happened? I noticed the bruises on your wrist. You scrubbed your skin raw. You've been screaming in your sleep. Those are signs of sexual assault. Did someone hurt you? Were you raped? You can tell me it will be strictly confidential. If you want I can do a rape kit. No one has to know until you are ready to talk about it," she inquired.
I started to cry again. She hugged me and I held onto her as I sobbed. She rubbed my back and that calmed me down. I didn't even know her, but I found so much comfort in her. I wasn't going to tell her or anyone else what happened. I needed to forget it and move on. I pulled away from her with a faint smile.
"Nothing happened. It's just stress. My daughter was kidnapped. I was extorted for 100 million dollars and my husband might be cheating on me. I fell in the shower so that's where the bruising came from. I just lost one of my babies. It's just... just a lot to take in one day... But I'm going to be fine. I have my daughter back and one baby is still here," I sniffled.
She looked at me like she didn't believe me, but I didn't care if she did or not. It wasn't her business.
"Okay. You do know that all that happened three days ago right?" she asked.
I knew a few days went by, but not exactly how many. I looked at the calendar on the whiteboard in the room. I realized it was Friday. Then I nodded my head.
"Good. Well, you call me for anything. Here are my office and personal numbers. And Blaire, don't let it take your power," she said, standing up.
She went to the door and in came Avery. He kept his distance and I felt terrible that I was hurting him.
"The FBI wants to talk to you. Are you up to it?" he asked.
"Yes. I just want to get it over with." I shrugged.
I recognized one of the agents. Agent Lewis and his female partner sat down. She introduced herself. Her name is Ava Mitchell.
"Why did you leave the school the day your daughter was kidnapped?" she asked.
"I'm pregnant and it was too much for me and I just needed to get away from that. So, I just went for a drive," I lied.
"Did anyone contact you about the kidnapping?" she asked.
"No," I lied again.
"So, you were overwhelmed and you just left? You were gone for three hours. No one could contact you," she said suspiciously.
"They could contact me. I just didn't want to answer the phone. I just needed time to myself."
"Your daughter said she heard you in the room with her. She said you were crying and begging the man that took her not to hurt her."
Oh, my God! Maddie remembered.
"She must be confused or imagined that," I lied yet again.
"Agent Lewis, Mr. Rowland can you step outside please?" she asked.
They both left and closed the door behind them.
"It's just us. I really need you to tell me the truth so I can help you and nail this son of a b!tch that did this to your daughter. I can't if you don't tell me the truth," she said.
"Like I said before, I don't know anything. I'm tired and I'm having a very high-risk pregnancy and I don't need any more stress. I don't want to talk about this anymore," I said dismissively.
"You do know." She sighed. "Whatever this person has on you or whatever he or she did to you, they won't get away with it. I'll protect you. So, when you are ready please talk to me... And don't shut out your husband. You need him as much as he needs you. Please talk to someone, okay?"
"Okay... Thank you."
I felt even worst for the way I treated him and lying to everyone. They didn't understand I couldn't say anything. I couldn't put my family in any more danger. Honestly, I just wanted to pretend that none of it ever happened. She left the room and a few moments later, Avery came back in the room. He stood further away from me as he rocked back and forth on his legs. A heavy silence settled over us and I tried to avoid his gaze.
"Bee... You- I can’t pretend to know how you feel. I don’t know what’s going with you, but I just wanted to let you know that I love you. I'm here for you always," he said.
"I know," I said, fumbling with my hands.
"Can I hug you?"
He came over and hugged me. His strong but gentle embrace was like fresh air and I felt like breath even with the burdening guilt. I held onto him and broke down crying in his arms.
"I'm sorry I lost our baby. I'm sorry about everything," I sobbed.
"You don't need to be sorry about anything. It's okay. It's not your fault. I love you so much. I thought I lost you," he said.
I couldn't talk anymore. I was exhausted. I pulled away from Avery and laid back down. He kissed my cheek and I flinched again. I didn't mean to, but everything reminds me of Henry and what he did.
“Get some rest, Bee.”
I agreed and went to sleep. When I woke up, I noticed one of the nurses checking the machine. Then she checked my vitals. She made me get up to change my pads. I realized I bled a lot. She helped me get back in the bed.
“Do you need anything, honey?” she said, place the blankets over me.
“I'm thirsty and a little hungry.”
“I got you. Drinks and food will be coming soon.”
“Thanks.” I smiled.
As soon as she left Dr. Andrews came in again. I like her. Something about her presence was just genuine and calming.
"Hello, Blaire. How are you feeling?" she asked.
"I'm okay, just tired. Less pain than before.”
"Well, I did your blood work and everything came back negative, but in a few weeks, I want you to get tested again. Some STDs don't show up until later," she said.
I was internally grateful that she did it, but I didn't like her prying into my situation.
"You didn't have to do that," I said.
"You mentioned that your husband might be cheating. I just wanted to make sure for the health of you and your baby," she said.
"Thanks. I don't really think he is... Is my husband here?"
"He went home to rest. He felt that you didn't want him here."
“That’s not true.”
I rubbed my face out of frustration. I was pushing him away and I didn't know how to stop that. I wish I could tell him what I did. I hate keeping things from him.
"I know... We are going to keep you here one more night. When you get home, I want you to talk to someone You went through a lot and I don't want you to develop depression that will lead to postpartum depression," she said.
"Thanks again. I'm sorry that I've been difficult. It's just- you know- it's just too much. This is the worst thing I've ever been through. I can't believe my daughter was kidnapped, I lost a baby, and he- I've been through a lot all in one day," I said.
I almost admitted what Henry did.
"It's not your fault. You went through a very stressful ordeal. I have two daughters trust me I would be devastated if anything happened to them. I'd do anything to save them. So, don't be so hard on yourself. You did what needed to be done," she said cryptically.
Her phone began to ring and she told me she was needed by another patient. She told me to call her for anything and then she left. I laid back down rubbing my stomach. The cramping had subsided a bit. I still couldn't believe that I lost my baby. They told me that extreme stress can cause miscarriages and early labor. Under my circumstances, I was lucky that even one baby survived. It didn't make me feel any better or lucky though. I felt like a failure. I couldn't save any of my children. Even though I felt like giving up, I knew I had to keep going for Madison, Aiden, and the baby growing inside of me. I knew I had to heal first for them.
The guilt sat heavily on my chest. Nothing could be undone. I wanted to tell Avery the truth, but it was out of the question. I knew he would kill Henry and go to jail. I didn't want to be without him. I feared that he would think I was stupid and blame me for killing his child. He probably wouldn't want me anymore. I was tainted and damaged. Ultimately, it was my fault for going there and allowing Henry to hurt me. I didn't know how I was going to overcome this when I felt so broken and unworthy after what I've done.