Protecting Her
Author:Allie Everhart

Protecting Her by Allie Everhart



CHAPTER ONE


1


PEARCE

I’ve been waiting all day to see her and the nurse finally gave me the okay. I walk in her room and see Rachel lying there resting, her eyes closed. She’s hooked up to an IV and monitors.

I hate seeing her this way. They said she’ll be okay, but still. I feel guilty, thinking maybe I should’ve told her no. I knew the risks involved with her having a child, and yet I let her do it anyway. And then she almost died giving birth. If she had, I would’ve blamed myself. I’d always blame myself if anything ever happened to her.

I sit on the side of her bed and gently take her hand in mine.

“Pearce.” Her eyes open and she looks at me.

“I’m here, sweetheart.” I lean down and kiss her forehead. “How are you feeling?”

“Tired,” she says, struggling to keep her eyes open.

“Go ahead and rest. I’ll be right here.”

“I’m okay. I’ll sleep later.” She smiles weakly. “Did you hold him yet?”

“Yes.” I smile, which seems to happen every time I think of him. “I’ve held him several times now.”

Her face lights up, like she got a sudden burst of energy. “Tell me about him.”

“He has your eyes. Beautiful blue eyes.”

“Maybe they’re your eyes. You have blue eyes too.”

“Yes, but mine are a silvery blue. His are bright blue, like yours. Like a bright blue sky on a sunny day.”

She smiles even wider. “When can I see him?”

“Whenever you’re ready. The nurse was just waiting for you to wake up. I’ll go tell her you’re awake.”

Just then, the door swings open and the nurse wheels the baby in. “Are you ready to meet your son?”

“Yes,” Rachel says, smiling as she watches the nurse pick him up.

Rachel sits up straighter and the nurse hands her the baby.

“I’ll give you some time with him,” the nurse says.

When she’s gone, I look over at Rachel and see tears running down her cheeks.

I lightly rub her arm. “Rachel, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong,” she says, gazing down at the baby. “Everything’s perfect. Absolutely perfect. We have a baby, Pearce. A beautiful baby boy.” She lifts him up and kisses him. “I love you so much,” she says to him. “I loved you before you were even born.”

She skims her finger over his cheek. His eyes are open, watching her. “Garret Evans Kensington,” she says to him. “That’s your name. Did your daddy already tell you that?”

I smile at him. “Yes. We went over that. We’ve already had several father-son talks while you were resting.”

Garret’s eyes moved over to me as I spoke, and are still on me now.

“Look at how he responds to you,” Rachel says. “He knows your voice, Pearce. He knows you’re his father.”

“Yes. I noticed that earlier. He responds to you as well.”

She speaks to the baby again. “You are so precious. And so sweet. And handsome like your daddy.”

She talks to him some more, and kisses him, and looks at him. I just watch them interact. Rachel’s so happy. Happier than I’ve ever seen her.

After a while, she looks up at me, “Would you like to hold him?”

“You should. You haven’t had any time with him. I’ll have plenty of time with him when I take him home.”

“Will you be okay? Taking him home by yourself?”

“Yes. Of course.” It’s a lie. I’m terrified of taking him home. I don’t know how to care for an infant. I was counting on Rachel to do that, and I’d just be there to help. But they’re keeping her in the hospital for a few more days and sending the baby home with me sometime tomorrow.

“Pearce, it’s a lot of work. He’ll be up all night. You have to feed him, change him, get him to sleep.”

“I know. I can handle it.”

“Maybe one of the neighbors could help. Mrs. Landow had three children.”

Rachel’s referring to the woman who lives next door to us. She’s a very nice woman, but she’s elderly and has numerous health problems.

“Mrs. Landow can barely care for herself. And I don’t like asking our neighbors for assistance. I can take care of him. It’s just for a few days.”

“Still, I think you might need some help. What about Martha?”

“Martha and Jack are still in Europe on vacation.”

“That’s right. I forgot.” She pauses. “What about your mother?”

“No,” I answer quickly. “That’s not an option. Besides, she hired a nanny to care for me. She wouldn’t know what to do with a baby.”

“Pearce, I’m sure she took care of you at least some of the time. You should call her.”

“My parents aren’t even aware that we had the baby. And given that they haven’t spoken to us in almost two years, I doubt my mother would even answer my call.”

Rachel’s eyes are on Garret. “Maybe it’s time to end this. Maybe it’s time to reach out to them and try to be a family again. I’m sure they’d like to meet their grandson.”