Authors: Natasha Thomas
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Literature & Fiction, #Contemporary Fiction
Three months later…
It never cease to amaze me the human minds capability to be resilient. That someone can be so destroyed, so broken, so unrepairable, but then it take one small thing, tiny really, to undo most of that pain replacing it with something beautiful. Something so wonderful that it takes more effort to remember the heartache anymore.
It’s not like the pain, the hurt, the cruelty of Reaper’s words has been erased from my mind I don’t think they ever will be, but the day our baby kicked inside my belly for the first time brought me a measure of peace. It gave me something no one else has been able to, hope. Hope that my situation will get better. Hope that people will stop hating me one day. Hope that I’ll be allowed to raise my child. Just hope.
In the past three months thing have been hard, more than hard, they’ve been horrible. It was clear that when I made my choice to call Boss I didn’t consider all the ramifications of that. Even though the basics had flitted in and out of my head, I hadn’t spent enough time thinking things out. And I should have, I owed the people that once cared about me that much. But what’s done is done, and even though I’ve attempted to apologise, numerous times, I’ve been met with nothing but disdain, hatred, silence, and once Lou even spat on my boot she was that disgusted by what I’d planned to do.
I don’t blame any of them though. Not Lou for hating me so openly. Not Kendall or V for ignoring me. Not Arrow, Cage, Tank, or Priest for looking at me like ‘m the devil incarnate. And I certainly don’t blame Steel or Reaper for outwardly telling anyone who will listen what a horrible bitch I am. Because it’s true, I am. What I was going to do was horrible, and I deserve every bit of their ire, their scorn.
After the confrontation at my house that morning. After I fell to the floor unable to hold myself up anymore at the weight of his words, what I’d done to him, how I’d made him feel Boss punched Reaper in the jaw so hard it knocked him out instantly. I was so pathetic at that point I couldn’t even pick myself up for long enough to check he was okay, that he was still breathing. Obviously he was, because as soon as Diesel and Fury picked him up, carrying him outside he came to, swearing up a storm, and threatening to hunt me down if I thought about leaving with his baby.
I knew then that I couldn’t outrun this. I’d made my bed with my decisions, what I’d done, and I would have to stay and face it. Put my big girl panties on and struggle through. Boss wasn’t happy with my decision to stay, in fact he was furious with me. He didn’t leave though, none of them did, and for that I’ll be forever grateful.
They stayed for a week to make sure I had everything I needed. Diesel told Reaper wouldn’t be coming back to Skin Fusion, not that there was ever a question I’d be welcome back there to begin with, but it was something that needed to be done, and again the men of Vengeance took care of it for me. They made sure I had enough money in my account that I wouldn’t need to work for the foreseeable future, something we fought over more than once, but something Boss wouldn’t hear another word about when he told me for the last time he wanted to make sure I was taken care of, Fury and Diesel readily agreeing with him. They even went as far as to make sure I found a doctor that knew my history, one that would be able to handle what may turn into a high risk pregnancy.
Vengeance’s doctor, Dr Willis, the one that did the examination on me when they found me all those years ago on the steps of the clubhouse referred me to a Gynaecologist due to the trauma he saw when he was checking me for injuries, and the source of my bleeding. I don’t remember a lot from that night, but I do remember feeling lightheaded, a wetness between my thighs, something warm and sticky covering my jeans. To be honest at the time I didn’t give it much thought, I was so tired, so very tired. I just wanted to sleep, maybe have something to eat, a hot shower, but mainly I wanted to sleep in a warm, dry, safe bed.
Later, when I came to, after the screaming, meeting Emily, and falling back into an exhausted semi-coma for three days, doctor Willis told me that I would need to see a specialist, one that dealt with women’s issues. Back then I had no idea about those sorts of doctors, I was barely given access to basic medical treatment when I was in foster care, let alone specialists. Emily explained that doctor Willis believed I’d gone through a miscarriage, and that he thought it was safer for me to be looked over by someone with more experience than he had. After all his main job was to patch the brothers up when they needed it, a bullet hole here or there, a stab wound to be stitched, a broken bone set, but he certainly wasn’t well versed in teenage runaway girls that were beaten, abused, raped, and miscarrying.
At first I fervently denied I could have been miscarrying. The thought that sick fuck had gotten me pregnant was almost too much to bear. Wasn’t the pain, the humiliation, the oxygen deprivation torture, his brutal abuse of my body enough? But no, clearly it wasn’t when days’ later doctor Abram’s, a Gynaecologist in Denver, confirmed what we already knew. I had indeed been pregnant, and it was no more. He scheduled me for a D & C, it was explained this was something they did to make sure there were no ‘Products of Conception’ left behind, and to make sure there weren’t any underlying issues for the miscarriage.
It might sound wrong, but the first thing I felt when I was told the baby was no more was relief. Part of me was glad because I honestly didn’t think I could bring myself to love a child conceived in such a brutal way, one that shared DNA with the animal that brutalised me for years, and stole my innocence. There was a tiny part of me that felt an awful sadness though, I’m not completely heartless.
I realised there had been a life growing inside me at one point, and even though he or she was born of pain and hatred it hadn’t been its choice to be conceived. It wasn’t its fault the blood that may have run through its veins would have been half me, half monster. And it wasn’t its fault, or mine that it hadn’t survived. That was another thing, I didn’t blame myself like a lot of women that miscarried might have. The way I saw it, I was lucky to be alive myself. I couldn’t have known I was pregnant, and even if I had I wouldn’t have been able to protect my unborn baby any better than I had. I was barely able to protect myself as it was.
Still, every year on the ninth of May I place a poppy flower on the grave of a randomly chosen child at the cemetery as a way to remember, and to pay my respects to the children that had been born and passed, to show them that they too are remembered.
The first time I made this trip I did it with Emily. The second with Boss. The third with Diesel. The fourth with Fury. The fifth with Sly, and so on until every last member of Vengeance had made the trip with me. Until every last brother remembered how lucky we were to still be here. From what Emily tells me the brothers still go, every year, on the ninth of May they go and lay poppies on every child’s grave lighting a candle to guide them as they leave. It’s beautiful they’ve carried on in my absence, and it only make me love them even more.
Doctor Abram’s also told me, when I woke up from the procedure, that there was a chance I would have trouble carrying to full-term if I were to conceive again. Apparently I had substantial internal uterine scarring, and given my history even conception might turn out to be an issue. I did cry then. I cried long, and hard in Emily’s arms. The thought that I may not be able to one day have my own family, one that would love me, one that I could create myself tore me apart. And in hindsight that may have been the reason I didn’t seek out sexual relationships. I didn’t want the possibility I was defective that way proven true. I didn’t want the suspicions confirmed.
Clearly I can conceive, and I’m praying I can carry our baby safely to at least thirty-seven weeks with no complications. If there’s anything I wish for when I go to be alone at night it’s that. Simply that I can give birth to a healthy, happy baby. Nothing more, nothing less, that’s all I want because months ago I gave up wishing for my baby’s father. It was pointless, a wasted wish. One that could be put to better use elsewhere. Maybe even saved for a rainy day when I really, really needed one.
With that thought it’s probably important to note at this juncture that nothing between me and Reaper has change. In fact, if anything it’s gotten much, much worse. He has permanently assigned Trig to Adelyn-disappearance-watch, not an hour goes by that I don’t see Trig walking the perimeter of my rental property, looking in windows to make sure I’m still here and haven’t given him the slip. He follows me through the grocery store, when I put gas in my car, to my doctor’s appointments, when I have blood drawn, which is often because my blood results have been all over the place lately, and my blood pressure is high.
Trig is a nice enough guy. He’s not intrusive even when he is following me everywhere like a stalker. He keeps a respectful distance, he doesn’t leer, call me names, or look at me like I’m scum. I can tell he’s not happy with his assignment, and to ease the burden a little I started making enough dinner for two, taking him his portion in a disposable container with a thermos of coffee every night. He never speaks to me, not even a thank you, but every morning I find the thermos empty and on the front porch ready for use again that night.
We’ve come to an easy understanding; I don’t talk to him, and he returns the favor, I don’t do anything to cause him more work, and he doesn’t interfere with my plans. Only once has he broken that unspoken agreement, but by that point I had beaten myself down so far that the threatening phone call I got from Reaper didn’t bother me in the slightest. And that in and of itself was sad. Sad that I couldn’t even muster the strength to defend myself. Sad that I couldn’t give the first fuck that his words were abusive and cruel. Mainly it was just sad I thought so little of myself, that I honestly believed I still deserved his scorn. The call must have been worse than I’d originally thought because it had come in on Trig’s phone, so he was standing there while I took it, and the look he gave me when I weakly returned it to him was one of pity and filled with apology.
It was the day I’d had my most recent blood work taken, a week ago to the day. I was fifteen weeks pregnant, and Doctor Shill, the Obstetrician I’m under the care of who works out of the outpatients’ clinic at Clearwater hospital had ordered another round of blood to be taken. Most of the time I just followed directions, like I said I was so beaten down, so unlike myself by this point I didn’t question why they were necessary. As long as the baby was okay what happened to me didn’t matter. That was the thing, regardless of the outcome this baby would have a loving parent, even if it was only one because there was the risk, and in my case it was substantially higher until they found out the cause of my high blood pressure and funky blood work, that I wouldn’t be around to see our baby take its first breath.
When I was told the possibility existed I immediately numbed myself to the heart wrenching sorrow I knew would overwhelm me given the opportunity. To know I might not see our baby smile, roll, crawl, walk, or talk. To know I might not know the colour of her eyes, because I had convinced myself that our baby was a girl, the colour of her hair whether she smiled like her daddy, or had my nose was soul destroying. The only thing that gave me any solace as I cried myself to sleep every night for month was that she would have a daddy that loved her more than the moon, the star, and the sun. Uncle’s that would dote on her. Aunts that would spoil her, and an older brother that would make sure she was always safe, protected, and cherished. It didn’t make up for the hole in my heart at the thought I wouldn’t be there to see any of that, but it did ease the way for me to accept it as a part of my reality.
How did I know her daddy would love her to the moon and back? It sure as hell wasn’t because he was present for my first ultrasound, or any of the doctors’ visits. It was because Trig wouldn’t be around if he wasn’t worried about her. Not that he knew I believed she was a she, why would he, Reaper hadn’t spoken to me directly once since the morning Boss arrived. Come to think of it, he hadn’t spoken to me indirectly either. I can only assume he was getting what little information he had from Trig, which was fine with me, I had nothing to say to him anyway. I had nothing to say to anyone, I don’t think other than my weekly phone calls with Emily, Boss, Diesel, and Fury that I have spoken a word to a real live in front of me person that isn’t my doctor for three months.
A week ago was the first time I’d heard Reaper’s voice in three months, and even now it was just as beautiful as it was before. There was more edge to it for sure, more venom, and the words were just as cruel, but the masochistic side of me couldn’t help but feel a sick thrill hearing it nevertheless.
Trig knocked on my door and without a word held out his phone. At first I was confused as to why he’d want me to take it, but again without question I did as I was told. Stupid Adelyn. Stupid, stupid, weak, pathetic Adelyn. And this is why I should have asked who was on the other end before I mindlessly accepted the new age torture device…