Authors: Lexy Timms
“What is this?” she asked.
“My mom brought me some homemade donuts.”
“Yes, they have very little salt,” said Amanda, “if that’s what you are worried about.”
“Here, try some,” said Emily, pulling out the next donut in the bag.
“That’s okay,” said Evelyn. “I’m sure they’re delicious.”
“Yes, they are,” said Amanda with a lift of her chin. “And you can see they’ve done my Emily a world of good. They’re downright medicinal.”
a life-saver,” Emily told Luke as he handed her the cell phone. She flipped through messages and emails and her Facebook page.
“Anything for you, sweetie,” said Luke. Emily’s mother had left. She saw that Luke was ready to hang in for the long haul and promised to be back later “with a proper dinner.” Emily was grateful for this. For a short space, except for the fact that Emily was in a hospital bed, they were back to their normal roles as husband and wife.
“What on earth did you tell people?” said Emily, alarmed. “People seem to think I’m on the verge of death.”
Luke held up his hands. “It wasn’t me, I swear. I crashed when I got home last night.”
“Must be Angela,” Emily huffed. “Look, here it is. It’s on her page. ‘Just to let you know Emily is doing fine. She’s in the hospital overnight but should be home shortly. My big sister will DEFINITELY help me with the wedding.’”
“Just that? No explanation? No wonder people are blowing up your Facebook page.”
“I love my sister, but …”
“Yeah,” said Luke. Then he got an idea.
“Give me your phone.”
“I want to check something.” Emily gave Luke her phone and he scrolled through Angela’s extensive friend list.
“What are you doing?”
His gut clenched when he saw what he suspected. “There. Evan’s on her friend list. That’s how he knew.”
“Seriously? I’ll have words with her. She should have unfriended him months ago.”
“Maybe, but she has over a thousand friends here. With a list like that, how can you keep up?”
A knock on the door interrupted their conversation, and a young doctor entered.
“Hi, Emily. I’m Doctor Emerson, the resident for maternity.”
“Hi!” Emily waved and pointed. “This is my husband, Luke.”
“Nice to meet you. Emily, I talked with your OBGYN, Doctor Shoo, this morning and we talked about your case. How’re you feeling?”
“I’m better.” At this point, Emily would say anything to get out of here.
“The nurse reported you had a headache.”
“It’s better now.”
He scrunched his face as he examined her chart. “Still, we don’t want to take any chances, so I’m ordering an ultrasound today, and some blood tests. When did you take the blood pressure medicine?”
“An hour ago.”
“Well, it takes a while to start working. I’m sure we’ll see results by the end of the day. In any case, I expect we’ll send you home later and get you set up with some monitoring at home.”
“What kind of monitoring?” asked Luke. He stood with his arms crossed, looking over this doctor who couldn’t be older than him.
“We have a service where we can weigh Emily, and check her oxygen levels and her blood pressure though equipment we set up in your home. It’s just an added precaution and gives us baseline numbers to treat her condition. At twenty-seven weeks, it’s just too early to induce labor. We need to get you through another seven weeks at least before we can do that for the baby to be healthy. We’ll have to watch you carefully.”
“Thirty-four weeks, isn’t that too early?” said Emily.
“It’s going to depend on how you do, Emily. While we want to keep the baby in you for as long as possible, sometimes it’s just better to deliver the baby rather than stress the child and you. Every week longer we can keep the baby in you is better for the baby. But if your health is endangered, that’s not good either.”
Emily took a deep breath and Luke put his arms around her shoulders. “Is this going to happen again if I have another baby?” asked Emily.
“The odds are against it. Many women who have this condition with their first baby never see it in other pregnancies.
“That’s good to know,” said Luke. He was trying to keep his tone positive for Emily’s sake but his insides churned with worry. “Another baby, eh?” He grinned at her.
“So,” said Doctor Emerson, “let’s get these tests done, and we’ll go from there.”
and Luke returned from the ultrasound. Luke had heard the baby’s heartbeat. He’d heard it before, but somehow, after everything the past few days, it only made the child that much more real. When the nurse asked if they wanted to know what they were having, he and Emily had both said yes without hesitation. It was then, looking at the fuzzy shapes on the screen that was their baby, that it hit Luke hard.
He was responsible for a new human being.
And then another thought.
“A boy. We’re going to have a boy.”
The thought thrilled and terrified him.
One part of his brain thought of all the things he’d do with his son, teaching him to ride a bike, baseball games, teaching him how to repair motorcycles. In his mind, he saw the boy growing up. He had Luke’s dark hair, but Emily’s blue eyes, and maybe he was a little rebellious, like his old man, but he respected his father too. He would love his mother passionately, but complain that she fussed over him too much. He wouldn’t keep his room clean, which would annoy his mother, but Luke would understand. When he was a teenager, he’d play his music too loud, which would annoy Luke. But Emily would tell Luke to lighten up on the boy, that Luke had played his music loud too when he was that age. Luke would be terrified the first time his son rode a motorcycle on his own, but proud of him too. When he went to college, Emily would cry, and so would Luke, but not so his wife would see him and tease him about it.
The part the terrified Luke was that he didn’t know if he’d measure up as a father. He barely remembered his, and much of that was wrapped around the terror of losing his parents. He didn’t stay with any one foster family long enough to know what a father did, and some of them were barely human beings, let alone parents. How could he do this? How could he be a father?
As he walked beside his wife’s gurney, he held her hand tightly. Despite his fear that he wouldn’t measure up, he felt so much love for her right now he thought his heart would burst. When they got back to her room, when they were alone, he bent over and gave her a kiss. He melted into it just as much as she did, and for a few seconds he felt as if he and she were merged into one being.
“Baby,” he breathed when they broke the kiss, “you’re so amazing.”
She smiled at him with hope and love in her eyes. Luke thought he was the luckiest man on earth to have those eyes shining at him. He had to figure out how to handle all of this quickly, because he couldn’t bear it if that beautiful woman looked at him with disappointment in those beautiful blue eyes.
A knock at the door interrupted their sweet moment.
“Hello,” said Emily’s mother. “Can I come in?”
“Sure, Mom,” said Emily. “We just got back from the ultrasound.”
“What did you find out?”
At that moment Luke’s phone vibrated in his pocket. Taking it out, he saw it was Saks calling. “Yeah,” said Luke, turning his back to the women.”
“Luke, I’m sorry. I have to close the shop early.”
“What’s going on?”
“Something came up. Do you want to come by, or should I just lock up?”
Luke’s mouth formed a thin line. What was he going to say? He wasn’t going to leave Emily, especially not with that jerk, Evan, skulking around. Saks was one argument away from taking off to Florida on his own.
“Anything going on in the shop?”
“I fixed that Suzuki. Otherwise, all I’ve been doing is playing solitaire on the computer.”
“Well, lock it up then. I can’t leave Emily.”
“Sure, Luke. Sorry, man.”
“You can tell me about it later. And you
tell me about it later.”
Saks sounded hesitant when he spoke. “Sure, Luke. Whatever you say.”
Emily watched him with raised eyebrows. “Is there trouble at the shop?”
“Yeah. I have an employee who wants to go to Florida and is looking to provoke me into an argument.” He smiled to keep his tone light, his mind still trying to figure out what was going on with Saks.
“Maybe you should lay him off.”
“Well, I’m going to have to find a new mechanic anyway to replace Gibs. I’ll do that first and break him in over the winter months.”
“That sounds like a good plan.”
“Luke,” said Emily’s mother, “I mentioned to Emily that maybe she should come and stay with us a while. You’re busy with the shop, and she obviously needs care.”
“Mom!” said Emily, exasperated.
“That’s very sweet of you, Mrs. D, but I’ll take care of Emily. It’s my job and I intend to do it.”
Amanda Dougherty looked Luke over as if inspecting him for some chink in his armor.
, thought Luke.
Let her look. Let her see I’m not letting Emily go anywhere but home
Emily’s mother sighed. “Well, I suppose I can look in on her from time to time. I’ll call Angela and see if she can check her on her way to work.”
“That won’t be necessary, Mom.”
“Actually,” said Luke, “that sounds like a good idea. I’ll have keys made for you and Angela.”
“Luke!” protested Emily.
“Em, I found you passed out on the living room floor. I’m not going to take a chance that I’m not there to make sure you’re all right.”
Luke shook his head. “Sweetie, the most important thing is making sure you’re safe. And we’re going to do that with all hands on deck.”
, just before dinner time, the doctor released Emily. All the tests had come back good and her blood pressure seemed to be managed with the prescription. He wrote out a prescription for the blood pressure medicine and instructions that she do no heavy work around the house. Her mother drove home with them and Luke opened the door to let the ladies in. The apartment was filled with the smell of slightly burnt meat, and her mother walked quickly into the kitchen.
“No real harm done. It’s good you have one of those crock pots with an automatic shutoff. The food has to be trashed, though.” When they got into the apartment, Luke, remembering the impromptu visit from his uncle, called a locksmith to get the locks replaced.
“Is there something wrong?” asked Emily when he got off the phone.
“No. It’s just that while we get keys for your sister and mother I thought we’d get some better locks.”
Emily gave him a look that said she didn’t believe his explanation. “And how much is that going to cost?”
“Don’t worry about the cost, baby. You’re more important than any amount of money.”
Emily opened her mouth as if to argue with him, but the noise of cabinets opening and closing reminded them that Emily’s mother was in the house.
“Luke,” called her mother, “you definitely need some things here if I’m going to make a decent dinner for you.”
“Mom,” said Emily. “You don’t have to do that. Aren’t you and Dad going out for his birthday today?”
“We postponed it till the weekend. You’re more important. Besides, he’s going to drop by for dinner anyway.”
Emily leaned her head back on the couch and mouthed,
shoot me now
Luke sat next to her and gave her a hug. “What do you want from the store, Mrs. D? I have to get Emily’s medicine from the drugstore.”
“I’ll make a list.”
Luke drew Emily close to him and kissed her hair. She laid his head on his shoulder and sighed.
“It’s all so crazy. Luke, how’re we going to make it for the next two months?”
Luke didn’t know. His stomach clenched with all the things that were going wrong in their life, and he didn’t have a clue on how to fix any of it. Maybe he should get that money of his father’s tucked away in that off-shore bank and take Emily away somewhere where no one knew them. It was a thought that comforted him briefly, but he knew his wife. As much as she complained about her family, she’d miss them terribly. It would be a stain on their relationship and their marriage if he dragged her away from them. “We’re going to make it the way we always do: one step at a time. Hey, ten years apart couldn’t tear us down. I doubt anything else will.”
Emily kissed his cheek but said nothing. Her blue eyes were filled with worry and he didn’t blame her. He was worried too, but he wouldn’t add to his wife’s upset by showing his own.
“Luke,” said Emily’s mother as she came into the living room. “Here’s that list.”
Luke stood and pulled out his wallet. “Use this credit card for the locksmith if he comes before I get home.” He put it on the coffee table. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Giving Emily one last kiss on the cheek, he was out to the door to do his errands.