Authors: Christina Leija
Charlotte woke to find ventilators and wires attached to her bed and herself. Unable to move she panicked. “Whoa calm down love, you’re ok, I’m here.” That sweet sound she treasured so much. Why couldn’t she talk? Sensing her frustration and fear John spoke again. His voice was calming and soothing. “You gave everyone a scare; you have been slipping in and out for consciousness for almost a week now. You’re healing well and should be expected to make a full recovery. Don’t ever leave me, I couldn’t bear it. You’re my one true heart and soul mate and you and Andrew are my life.”
Charlotte closed her eyes in an attempt to digest everything. What happened? Why was she here? Charlotte could feel the tears of her frustration falling as she tried to stay calm. As she opened her eyes Dr. Jacobs came in, “Young lady sometimes I wonder if you’re more trouble than your worth. The good news is we were able to administer your cancer treatment while you were sedated. Your body is responding wonderfully and the test results are amazing. However, as a result of the attack, I’m afraid you lost a lot of blood and we had to do an emergency transfusion. I also had to sedate your boyfriend as he was more hysterical than a teenager girl at a One Direction concert.” The doctor paused to give John and backwards glance. John hung his head in shame. That motion made Charlotte smile, even though her body was in severe pain.
“I’m going to remove the tubes and ventilator now. Do not try to talk and it will feel funny to breathe for a few minutes or so, just bear with us, ok?” Charlotte nodded and braced herself for the annoyance yet to come.
Later that night, Charlotte was finally able to intake enough water to soothe her dry throat. It still hurt to talk and breathe as her throat felt scratchy and tender. John had attempted to feed her hospital special lime Jell-O. The taste was rancid but welcome as her stomach growled in agony at the hunger. She was beyond blessed with John and couldn’t believe her luck. Had John not come home when he did, surely she would have been dead.
A knock at the door startled her and Charlotte briefly flashed back to the light tapping at her apartment door, the tapping that started her attack. Without noticing Charlotte flinch John opened the door to admit to New York City detectives, whom were impeccably dressed.
“I’m Detective Jonathan Wire and this is my partner Elizabeth King. We are investigating the attack on you and would like to ask you some questions if you don’t mind.” The detectives waited with stern, unemotional looks and ridged stances.
Charlotte wasn’t sure she could answer any questions with the way her throat felt, not to mention she had patches of what happened and it was driving her crazy not knowing who or what had hit her. Reluctantly, Charlotte nodded her head and gestured her hand for the chair closest to the window, the one John had been warming for the last few days. Elizabeth King sat and thanked Charlotte for her kindness, she seemed to be the softer out of the partnership, a welcome trait Charlotte needed right now. Her partner however declined a seat and decided to stand while slightly rolling his eyes at his partner.
“Can you tell us what day it is Ms. Jackson?” Detective Wire spoke sternly and waited for Charlotte’s answer. He was surely a man to get straight down to business. Both detectives were well dressed. Mr. Wire was approximately 45 years old, with salt and pepper hair. He wore a Men’s Warehouse suit with sliver and blue cuff links, colors for the police field Charlotte assumed. He stood at an impressive 6”4” and his black dress shoes were well shined, an impressive feat for the cold rainy weather of New York City in November.
Ms. King wore dark blue pants, an eggplant purple silk dress shirt and a matching dark blue suit jacket. Her badge was seen only in certain movements that hung on her belt at her right hip, near her gun. Her hem line was starch pressed and showed off her long slender legs. She was approximately 5’ 9” with long silky brown hair that hung over her shoulders and reached approximately to her elbow. She was gorgeous to say the least. Her demeanor and aura had a don’t mess with me stance but with a soft edge that made her approachable.
“It’s Thursday, I think.” Charlotte answered, her voice low and crackled. “I don’t remember much, I’m not sure I can help you.” Charlotte’s tears began to fall at her frustration of not remembering. John jumped in standing next to Charlotte in a defensive move. “You can’t come in here and upset her, she’s only been awake for less than two days, for Christ’s sake.” John was firm and trying to control her emptions as he came to her defense.
This time it was Detective King that spoke. “Sir, I am sure you are protective of your wife, but we need to speak with her while the information is fresh in her mind. We know this is hard but it’s highly important and we need to try and catch the creep who almost killed her. Please allow us to do our job.” Charlotte noticed that John did not correct the detective when she called her his wife, Charlotte touched John’s arm and nodded softly. That made John stand down from his post and sit back by her bedside, holding her hand in sweet support. Charlotte heart swelled with his protectiveness and courage to always be by her side. In that moment Charlotte knew she wanted to marry her knight.
“I don’t remember what happened Detectives. All I remember is a light knocking at the door and when I went to answer it I saw… I saw… I.. I don’t remember, I don’t remember, God what is wrong with me.” Charlotte placed her head in her hands and sobbed. “There was so much pain, my head felt warm and was pounding, and someone touched me lightly with their nails, tormenting me, a piercing pain. Why do I remember the pain, why can’t I see them?”
Detective Wire urged Charlotte to go on, pressing with his questions. The interview lasted a horrifying 2 hours. Charlotte was exhausted by the end of it. The advancements Charlotte had made were minimal at best. She remembered two people, a man and a woman. She remembered knowing them, at least at an acquaintance, which only scared Charlotte more. Charlotte did gain a substantial headache.
Ms. Nelson brought Andrew over for a visit, he always put Charlotte in a good mood. He begged to stay at his mom’s bedside, which the hospital allowed until 9pm with the end of visiting hours when all children under the age of 12 must leave. Hospital rules could only be bent so far and Charlotte knew not to push that one. Ms. Nelson would take Andrew home and get him ready for school the remainder of the week until Alex’s visitation time this weekend. Alex, Charlotte thought, something in her gut was screaming at her at the thought of him but she couldn’t put her finger on it. Charlotte pushed the thought aside and kissed her sleeping boy in her arms and cuddled him, holding him like it was last time she would see him. In her gut she felt like he was being torn away from her and the thought of the upcoming court date weighed heavy on her soul.
Charlotte woke up and looked at the clock it was approximately 3am and John was stirring. “Honey are you okay?” John waited for Charlotte’s answer as he scooted to her bed and lay with her on the edge. Charlotte laughed at his huge body half hanging off the side; she scooted over so he could fit. Charlotte didn’t say anything she just lay with her head on his chest. No doubt sensing her contentment, John held Charlotte, running his fingers gently through her hair and enjoying her soft skin that pressed against his bare chest. Charlotte’s hand ran down John’s stomach to the swell in his pants. Gently she began to stroke him softly with more and more pressure, testing her limits with him. John grabbed her hand gently to stop her. “My dear, you’re in the hospital after a traumatic attack, now is not the time.” John gave her a sideways glance with a slight smile attached.
“Please darling, I’m ok, it will make me feel better.” Reluctantly, Charlotte waited for Johns answer as she began to stroke him again. She kissed him, her lips dry, but hungry. She knew eventually she would get her way, though she didn’t have the strength to fight for it. Hopeful that John would easily give in, Charlotte unbuttoned her top to expose her taunt breasts that made John suck in his breath at the sight.
Johns hand cupped her breasts and he leaned down to gently tease her nipples with his mouth. He kissed her breasts before taking her nipple into his mouth with gentle suction. He teased her nipple with expertise, lightly flicking her with his tongue, making Charlotte wet. Charlotte rolled over with her back to John, snuggled up against him, he fingered her increasingly wet tender folds, and she slowly began to lower her underwear and position herself so he could easily enter her. In response, John removed his lower clothes and entered Charlotte with a moan of pleasure. Slowly he allowed her wet sex to stroke his hard cock with a rhythm that matched his. Holding her in his arms he braced himself with one hand on her breast twisting her nipple in between his fingers.
Charlotte tightened as her orgasm sprang from nowhere taking her into a rolling bliss of pleasure. John followed quickly after, unable to stand the sensation. Apologetically John spoke, “sorry, it’s been a while and I couldn’t control myself.” Charlotte rolled over and put her finger to his lips in an effort to tell him to be quiet. She removed her hand and replaced her lips to him. Pulling back, she whispered; “Never apologize for being in heaven with me, I want to join you in every way possible, your pleasure is my pleasure.”
John blinked, touched by her words. Without a moments hesitance he spurted out the only thing that came to his mind; “Marry me Charlotte.
It had been a week since John’s outward proposal. Since then he had bought her a ring, told everyone he could find about how he was going to marry the woman who saved him, this of course was including the orderly that brought her daily meals and any stranger who walked in the hall next to him. To say he was excited would be an understatement. Mr. Black, who was her attorney and the closest person John had to an actual good father, was thrilled and offered to officiate ceremony and file the necessary papers with the courts. Charlotte was not going to be released from the hospital for another week or so and court was in three days. Mr. Black would go in her stead to court and represent her accordingly; Charlotte had no doubt about that but it still made the whole incident on edge.
John had begged to get married right away and Charlotte fought him, since she was still in the hospital and she wanted a small official ceremony with a dress and cake. As always John won, but only after he promised her a proper reception with close friends and family later on. Her decision was also persuaded by the fact that Mr. Black assured them that by getting married now it only strengthened her stability claim in court and that Andrew would be well taken care of should anything happened to Charlotte in the near future.
Ms. Nelson brought Andrew for the occasion, who was complaining about having to clean up in dress pants and a collared shirt that Ms. Nelson insisted he wore. Her boss and most of the nursing staff gathered in the conference room as they wheeled Charlotte in, still too weak to stand from chemo and her attack. She wore a soft cream dress that was comfortable and one of her colleagues, Greta, curled her hair and pulled it up in a mess of curls that hung around her face. It was as gorgeous as any wedding ceremony could be. Charlotte, at the moment, realized she didn’t need a gown or official ceremony, all she needed was her son, her family and friends and the man she loved. Everything else seemed silly and insignificant.
The conference room was on the second floor of the hospital. It was a large room with double mahogany doors. A large conference table stood in the center of the room towards the back. The table itself seated approx. 24 people. The chairs had been moved to four rows of six with a center aisle meant for her to walk down. The chairs were attached in the center by soft blue ribbon and hospital masks with messages of blessings written on them form her work family. She began to cry at the work they had done to make this moment special for her. John stood at the front along with Mr. Black. He wore dark dress pants and a white collared short with a blue diamond tie that matched his dreamy eyes.
Greta rolled Charlotte down the aisle and placed her next to John. In that moment Charlotte and John were the only two people in the room, love surrounded them. It took Charlotte a mere six months to go from tragedy to hope. Six months to be saved by her knight in shining armor, a knight that loved her son as he was his own, a knight that continued to surprise her every day. Six months to love.
“Who gives this woman to this man?” Mr. Black snapped Charlotte out of her daydream with a commanding start to the ceremony.
“I do, with lots of love.” Ms. Nelson was soft spoken and stood proud as she gave Charlotte away.
“Let’s be seated get started, shall we?”
It had been a mere 3 days that the two were officially husband and wife, but the time had felt like they had been married forever. Charlotte still couldn’t believe that she had gotten married again. Dread consumed her as she thought about how fast they had moved. Sure, John seemed great and perfect, but she had thought Alex had seemed that way too. Had Charlotte made a mistake? Had she just signed her doom on a certificate that bound her to John Ranger, had she sealed the fate of her child? Pushing the thoughts aside, she ran her hand down the bare chest of her husband. Man that sounded sweet; her husband. His chest was warm and she was soothed by playing with the small patch of hair that rested between his pecks.
Her hand traced the taunt muscles that lead down to his abs and down the v that rested just below the sheet. Thoughts of their marathon the night before aroused her. She has been gaining strength thanks to the B12 injections and therapy (at the request of Greta) she was enduring from both the attack and the cancer. Though her physical wounds were healing nicely and no major organs had been punctured in the attack when she was stabbed multiple times, her emotional scars were not healing and taking a toll on her. John and Andrew had been her distraction from the events she knew she would eventually have to face. Dr. Anderson, their on call psychologists had offered his services as soon as Charlotte felt like dealing with the emotional pain.
Just what she wanted, more therapy! Lately Charlotte was beginning to feel like a permanent mental patient. There was only so much she could deal with and at this point she was nearing her breaking point. Today’s court date she would miss, though John had ensured that he would go in her stead with Mr. Black and Andrew, since the judge had required his presence if a need should arise that he wished to speak with Andrew at any point. Andrew was given a guardian ad litem; Guardians are adults who are legally responsible for protecting the well-being and interests of their ward, who is usually a minor. A guardian ad litem is a unique type of guardian in a relationship that has been created by a court order only for the duration of a legal action. Courts appoint these special representatives for infants, minors, and mentally incompetent persons, all of whom generally need help protecting their rights in court. Such court-appointed guardians figure in divorces, child neglect and abuse cases, paternity suits, contested inheritances, and so forth, and are usually attorneys. Charlotte simply called them angels for all the good they do and unlike parents, though’ sad to say sometimes, have only the child’s best interest at heart. Andrew’s Angel was called Olivia Reed. She was in her 30’s with short, black hair, fair skin and at one point Andrew had asked if she was Snow White. He adored her and for that Charlotte was thankful.
Charlotte’s scan for her cancer was scheduled for today around the same time as court and since Charlotte had a fear of small places, Greta had assured that they would lightly sedate her to ease her worry. The rest would do Charlotte some good as well, with all the stress lately and the lack of sleep she had due to upcoming court.
The thought of losing her son tore Charlotte up inside and ripped out her heart. Her son was her life, her reason for living, her angel that had been given to her, a gift from God for her to protect. Now that gift was being threatened. A mother’s job was to protect their children through any means possible and at this moment Charlotte felt like a failure. A true threat had come close to harming Andrew and ruining his life and had come close to killing Charlotte.
A tear slid from Charlotte’s watery eyes as thoughts of Andrew consumed her. The tear was hot and more followed, slowly rolling down her cheeks, chilling as they dropped, leaving a salty streak to show her sadness and worry. Just once she wanted a miracle to come her way and save her son from the threat of a lifetime of abuse his father surely promised. John woke up at the feeling of a tear drop cold from the air hitting his skin. He lifted his wife’s head and kissed her. Pure comfort, was achieved through no words at all.
John pulled back to smile softly at his wife. Charlotte gazed into his baby blues, when John first woke up his eyes looked more teal, like the sea tide coming up on the shore after a rain storm. She could stare at his eyes all day, comforting and calm. She reached up her right hand and placed it on his scruffy cheek. “Hello my love, I’ve missed you.”
“Why is my wife sad? Is she not happy and loved?”
Charlotte smiled at his word play, the attempt to put her in a good mood, while well knowing her worry, made the love inside her swell. “I am always happy with you in my arms.”
There was a knock at the door and before a proper answer could be given from either John or Charlotte the door slid open to admit a nurse’s aide with a bouquet of large white and red roses. The roses were at least 3 dozen and cased in a crystal vase with matching stones at the bottom. The arrangement was beyond gorgeous and dripped wealth from it. Charlotte’s awe of the bouquet faded when she reached for the card only to find a note that made her queasy and anxious.
“Good luck, you are going to need it.”
Who would send such a hateful card? Was this referring to court? The cancer scan? What? A million questions began running through Charlotte’s mind as she grew hot and weary. John grabbed the card out of her hand, almost giving her a paper cut in the process. His anger mounted and in that moment Charlotte began to fear his reaction. In her past experience with angry men she was hit, beaten and lied to. Charlotte was blamed for every little thing that went wrong, and scared throughout each incident. Cut deeper to the point where she physically didn’t react, emotionless on the outside while her stomach screamed with the urge to heave the bile that rose in her throat.
“What is wrong?” the nurse’s aide asked innocently and with extreme confusion on her face. “Are you upset with the arrangement or maybe allergic?”
Charlotte knew it was not her fault but simply asked that the arrangement be sent outside the room and asked for her attorney to be brought in as soon as he arrived at the hospital to retrieve John and Andrew.
Mr. Black had arrived and explained that the flowers were either a sick joke or nothing more than wrong wording on someone’s part he ensured Charlotte to the best of his ability that everything would be okay and work out the way God had intended it to.
Mr. Black was a shrewd man who looked to God for a lot of answers; it honestly was a bit ironic seeing that he was a genius master mind in the court room and the man had a record for winning. He was dressed, Charlotte noticed, not in an Armani suit or a top designer but a simple dark blue tweed suit and pin striped tie that offset the fabrics nicely. His hair was snow white and parted to the side, Charlotte assumed it was to hide the thinning that was still very apparent. It made Charlotte smile. Mr. Black was tough but when he was around John he was tough in love like any father would be. This Charlotte thought, was her dysfunctional family and she wouldn’t want it any other way.
Ms. Nelson showed up with a bushy eyed little boy who immediately washed all Charlotte’s worries away. Mr. Black however was perturbed by Ms. Nelson’s tardiness and it was apparent in his gaze when he looked from his watch to her. Ms. Nelson however, didn’t back down. She simply looked right at him and boldly stated; “You’ll get over it old man.” She wished Charlotte a sweet parting as she was headed to get coffee, turned on her heels and left. Mr. Black, John and Andrew all were shocked and stood as still as could be for at least 3 minutes after Ms. Nelson left. Charlotte couldn’t help but laugh.
Ms. Nelson had planned to stay by Charlotte’s side throughout her scan and last treatment of the week. Charlotte was exhausted and this week seemed to drain her both physically and emotionally. Her breasts were sore and swollen, a side effect of the attack or treatment for her cancer she was sure. Ms. Nelson was truly the closest thing that Charlotte had to a mother, caring and sweet, tender and harsh when needed. Charlotte couldn’t imagine her life without her.
Not wanting to let Andrew go as a feeling of dread tore through her, Charlotte cried silently and held on to her precious gift, a gift she feared she would never see again. Dax, Mr. Black’s personal driver and old friend showed up to let Mr. Black and John know that the town car was ready for them. Charlotte assumed that Dax was more than a driver. He had dark and dangerous aura about him. Charlotte had noted that he was always around, lurking in the shadows not too far from Mr. Black. The comfort that John showed in Dax signaled to Charlotte that he had grown up with Dax as a regular fixture in his life. Dax was tall at 6’5”, medium built with rippling muscles that showed through his impeccable dark black suit. He had tawny skin that rivaled John’s in beauty. His eyes were as dark as his chocolate brown hair that was smoothed with gel and clean cut. He truly was danger walking. John gently took Andrew from Charlotte’s arms with an ease that made it easier to let him go. The fear still there, Charlotte sat up and forced herself to utilize the last bit of strength she could muster to stand up. She kissed them both like it was her last chance. John’s eyes welled with his own tears. “See you soon, my love. I’ll take care of our son, you can bet your sweet cheeks on that one.” They left.