As I drove home, I was as high as I could possibly be. I had just made up with, as well as made love to, my one and only and I was completely floored by the fact that he was mine again. All mine. I was so damn lucky and even just the sight of his car driving a couple hundred feet in front of me caused my lips to curl into different variations of smirks and smiles as I replayed what had happened between Oliver and I in my office at the bar. James was right, I was being completely stupid and leaving Oliver wouldn’t do anyone any good, not me or our boys or the rest of our family, and making up with Oliver made me the happiest I had ever been.. He even wanted more children and he was the first one to bring it up.. How much luckier could I get when the one that was always so concerned about the choices we made was the first one to bring up the subject of having more children? I was almost excited enough to call Cybal right now at ten thirty at night to tell her the good news, but of course, I knew it wasn’t the right time to do such a thing and I held that thought on the back burner of my mind as I drove behind Oliver.
A street light we came up on turned yellow right after Oliver had drove through it and I caught the red, slowly coming to a stop and I watched as his car pulled off into the distance until I couldn’t see his break lights any longer. I sat there for a good minute, waiting for the car that had triggered the light to make their move and they ended up turning right, something that slightly annoyed me since the light technically didn’t have to change for a bullshit turn like that and I could still be right behind Oliver, but I sat at the red light anyhow as I waited for no one else this late at night. With my window open, the only sounds of the night that I could hear were the chirping of crickets and the waves splashing against the shore in the patch of water to my right and it was all so soothing, something that only enhanced how relaxed I felt after such a perfect night. When the light finally turned green, I gently pressed on the gas and kept going towards our house, excited to get home and I didn’t doubt that I might even catch Oliver getting out of his car and going inside as I pulled into our driveway so I could catch him and kiss him at the front door as we made our way inside the house together.. I couldn’t wait to be in his arms again.
As I pulled up to our driveway, I noticed Oliver’s car already parked, but I saw a figure that had blonde hair instead of the brunette that I adored.. I grew worried, pulling slowly into the driveway and when I saw a strange man about ten years older than me standing in shock from my headlights, raising his hand to block the blinding lights from his eyes, I then noticed a shine coming from his hand.. It was a knife and it was soaked in blood.. But, wait, what? What’s going on?! My eyes then caught sight of Oliver on the ground just outside of our front door, blood on the ground and all over his white button-up and I swear I could feel my heart stop and my entire world suddenly went silent.
Before I could even think about what to do, my foot was already on the gas peddle all the way to the floor and my car skid at first, trying hard to get traction and when it did, the man ran, but he was no match against a speeding car. He got about twenty feet down the driveway before my Mercedes slammed into him, the back of his head and his spine hitting the hood of my car first with a loud crash and he tumbled over my windshield as well as the roof and I could hear his body hit the ground before my car then slammed into the garage.
I was dazed for only about ten seconds from my airbag deploying, but I quickly pushed it out of my way and popped it to get it out of my line of sight and my eyes opened wide when I saw blood smeared all over the cracked windshield, but it didn’t phase me in the slightest as I had more important things to worry about.
“Ol-Oliver,” I said with strain as I pushed my door open hard and crawled out, my knees hurting momentarily when I had landed on them, but I quickly stumbled to my feet and ran around my car to go to where he was, jumping over the man that I assumed I had killed.. At least I hoped the fucker was dead.
I almost fell when I saw him, stumbling more as I ran as quick as I could and tears had already formed in my eyes before I reached him, my hands shaking as I touched his face.
“Oh my God.. Oliver? ..B-Baby?” My voice trembled as I looked at him and the tears in my eyes made it almost impossible to see. A few seconds went by where I had no idea what the hell to even do, but when I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, I calmed myself for him even despite seeing his white shirt thickening in blood with every second that I wasted.
I knew an ambulance wouldn’t get here in time, but thank goodness he was still breathing and I turned him over carefully so I could I scoop him up in my arms, my one arm under his back and the other under the bend of his knees and with all the strength I could muster, I picked him up and brought him to his Nissan. I put him into the passengers seat and I shut the door, running as fast as I could to the drivers side and I backed out of the driveway faster than my tears could fall from my eyes.
As I drove to the hospital at about eighty miles per hour on a street that you aren’t supposed to exceed roughly forty, I didn’t give a flying fuck as I could barely even keep my eyes on the road since I was looking over at Oliver almost every second that I drove. I still made sure to get there as safely as I possibly could to avoid any other grievances along the way, and I knew driving this fast wouldn’t help in avoiding any of that, but I couldn’t risk losing him and if driving this fast to get him help meant he’d be okay, then by all that is holy, I’d drive even faster if I knew absolutely nothing was in my way.
A large gasp suddenly came from Oliver and it scared the hell out of me, looking over at him and I watched as he clenched his abdomen while letting out a pain-filled groan. He then suddenly started waving his unoccupied hand in front of him and I thought that maybe he still thought the man that had stabbed him was in front of him and I reached over to get him to stop.
“Hey! Hey! Oliver! It’s okay, it’s okay!” I tried to calm him and he looked over, surprised to see me.
“Wha- I-Isaiah?” He questioned through his pain and his panting and I couldn’t help but smile as tears still filled my eyes.
“Yeah, baby, it’s me, it’s me! I’m right here,” I comforted.
“Wh-what.. What happe-? Ahhh, f-fuck!” He struggled to ask through his pain as he clenched his abdomen more and just as he was about to look down, I reached to catch his chin and I hold his head up.
“No no no, don’t look, just- Just stay awake, okay? You’re going to be fine, you hear me?”
“Wh-where.. Who..” I assumed he wanted to know about his assailant and I continued to look frantically between him and the road.
“Shut up, Oliver. Don’t talk, okay? Just.. Just don’t talk,” I instructed, but when I felt the weight of his head increase in my hand, I knew he was slipping out of consciousness again.
“Hey, Oliver! Stay awake, dammit!” I yelled, but he had slipped into it, anyways, “Fuck!” I yelled angrily, letting go of his chin as I continued to drive as fast as I could.
To make matters worse, or possibly better, I wasn’t sure, I pulled out my phone. I called nine-one-one and told them my situation before I got to the hospital and even through the panic that was coursing through me, I somehow managed to tell them everything that happened.. How I had pulled into the driveway and saw Oliver bleeding on the ground, how I had run over the one who had stabbed him, and now, how I was driving him to the hospital. Luckily, by the time I ended the call, a few minutes later I was pulling up to the hospital and a gurney was being wheeled out, putting my hand sternly to Oliver’s chest to hold him against his seat as I slammed on the breaks.
“Where you the one that called about the stabbing?” A nurse quickly asked me as I got out of the car and made my way to the passengers side.
“Yes! Yes, I am!” I replied, opening the door and I picked up Oliver myself, not wanting the small nurses to even bother trying to do it themselves and they cared for his head and his limbs as I placed him on the gurney. I shut the passengers door as they wheeled him into the hospital and I followed close behind them.
“What’s his name?” One of them asked as I followed close behind.
“Oliver! His name’s Oliver!”
“Oliver? Can you hear me?” The nurse asked, but his eyelids remained shut and I could see the color leaving his normally rosy cheeks, “Prep O.R. four quickly and page Dr. Avery,” the nurse told another nurse that we approached and they ran ahead of us to do as she had said.
“You’ll be okay, Oliver!” I said in a panic as I continued to follow them, but once they reached a certain set of doors, one of the nurses continued wheeling him on while the other stopped me.
“Please, sir! I know this is hard, but you can’t go any further,” she explained and I instantly grew enraged.
“That’s my fucking husband! Let me go with him right now!” I yelled, but she pressed harder against my chest to stop me and I watched as Oliver was wheeled off down a random hallway and then take a quick turn into a room.
“Sir! Sir! Please.. I know you’re immediate family, but you have to stay here! He’s in good hands now, trust me,” she expressed and I stood on the tips of my toes to see him one last time before he disappeared into the room the nurse took him to.
“You people better take care of him!” I almost threatened and she nodded strongly.
“We will! But you need to stay here!” She continued and although I wanted to argue to no world’s end, my heart sank and I gave up, letting her do her damned job.
I pulled myself away from her and she ran to where Oliver had been brought through the doors that I wasn’t allowed, seeing a bench next to where I was and I sat down heavily onto it. I brought my hands in front of my face, trying to hold my hands steady as my legs bounced restlessly from my adrenaline refusing to go away. Why.. Why the hell did something like this have to happen? It’s as if every time we were close to being perfect or even currently perfect in general, something had to go wrong and I don’t know how much more of this I could take. When would this end? When could we finally live out our lives without something like this happening?
“Doctor Avery to O.R. Four. Doctor Avery, O.R. Four.” I heard announced over the intercom.
A minute later, I heard running down a hallway and looked towards the doors that I wasn’t allowed to pass, a doctor then coming around a corner and he ran to where they had brought Oliver. I assumed it was Dr. Avery, the one nurse had paged, and I felt the slightest bit of hope calm my heart. He better be a damn good doctor.
Roughly ten agonizingly quiet minutes later as my hands continued to shake and my legs couldn’t stop bouncing, I looked left to see another gurney being wheeled in by a paramedic accompanied by two police officers and when I looked to the person lying down it in, I recognized the mans clothes instantly.
“You gotta be fucking kidding me,” I said softly, rage lifting me from my seat and I ran at the gurney, unsure of what I was going to do exactly to the man that stabbed Oliver, but by God was I going to do as much as I fucking could.
Sadly, right before I reached him, the two officers noticed and stopped me and held me back using all of their strength.
“Hey! Calm down!” One of the officers demanded, but I didn’t give a shit about what he wanted.
“You son of a bitch!” I yelled as he was wheeled passed me, “Doesn’t feel good to get impaled by things, now does it!? My husband doesn’t like it, either, you piece of shit! I hope you fucking suffer!” I continued to yell, unsure if he could even hear me, but I didn’t care as I watched as the man was wheeled into a different room through the doors I couldn’t go passed.
“Get the fuck off me!” I jerked violently and the officers seemed surprised by the strength I had put behind getting out of their grip.
“Please, try to calm down.. Are you Isaiah? The one that called nine-one-one for the stabbed victim?” He asked and I was in awe by how stupid he was.
“Wow, what gave it away?” I asked sarcastically and the officer didn’t seem to like my tone, “And stop fucking saying that! His name’s Oliver, you fucking prick. I don’t need to be reminded every goddamn minute that he’s been stabbed, all right?!”
“If you don’t calm down, sir, I’m going to have to restrain you,” he warned and I laughed.
“Calm down? You can’t be serious.. The man that just attacked my husband for whatever-the-fuck reason was just wheeled passed me to an emergency room.. An emergency room adjacent to the one Oliver’s in in the hope’s of saving his pathetic ass! Why didn’t you just let the fucker die in my fucking driveway!?” I yelled.
“Sir, if it means that I have to take you down to the station in order for you to calm down, then I will,” he threatened, but his threat hit deep when I quickly realized that if I don’t try to settle myself, and fast, I won’t be here for Oliver when he needs me the most.
I let out a heavy sigh, “Fine. I’m calm, see?” I demonstrated sarcastically and he scowled at me, though luckily he didn’t act on his threat.
The officers stood with me for a moment as I took a seat in a chair that was close, my leg bouncing uncontrollably again, my hands still shaking, my heart dancing wildly, and then like a train hitting me, tears suddenly engulfed my eyes and I broke. I removed my glasses and tucked them away as I sat there hunched over and sobbing quietly into my lap, consumed with worrying about Oliver and I was completely overwhelmed by everything that had just transpired and I couldn’t hold back how helpless I felt.. All I could think about was the night we just had together and how beautiful it had been.. How no more than twenty minutes ago, I was having a drink with him like old times, how he was telling me how much he wanted another child, how he was in my arms giving me everything he is, and it was just.. Too perfect.. Even without him here now, I could still feel the warmth from his fingertips on my cheek, I could still smell the cologne he dabs on his wrists and his neck, I could even still taste him on my lips. It was all still so fresh in my mind that it was still hard to believe I was even here.. No more than twenty minutes ago, I was the furthest away from the risk of losing him that I could possibly be.. It’s just as amazing as it is terrifying how quickly things can change.
I wasn’t sure how long I had been sitting here, I wasn’t sure when exactly the two officers had walked away from me, I hadn’t even cared enough to notice when my tears had stopped, either.. All that I knew was that I was numb and cold and I felt so alone and helpless as I sat there staring down at my knees that were soaked in tears. I reached up to wipe my cheeks and my eyes dry from crying and when I put my glasses back on, I then caught sight of my vest and jacket.. I touched the fabric then looked to the tips of my fingers, seeing Oliver’s blood stained on both of them and I was mortified at how I hadn’t noticed it sooner. I quickly stood to my feet, desperate to find a bathroom and when I found one, I stepped in, locked the door behind me and went straight to a sink.
I scrubbed my vest and my jacket as hard as I could, watching the dried blood being re-hydrated as it mixed with the water and swirled down the drain, the color slowly going from a deep red to a light pink, then finally to clear. When I had done my best to get it off, there was still a slight hue of a dark pink that stained the fabrics and I turned the faucet off, sighing heavily to myself when I realized the effort I put into getting the blood out proved to be pointless.. All that it really did was give me something to let my frustration out on and I had even scrubbed to hard that I was causing the fabric to fray.. I decided then that tossing them out in the trash was my best option at this point, not wanting anything in my possession that had Oliver’s blood on it, anyhow.. After washing my hands clean of any remaining blood, I leaned against the counter as I continued to try and calm myself down, but it was so difficult to do alone..
“Will the owner of a red Nissan please move your car from the emergency zone? Owner of a red Nissan, please move your car out of the emergency zone immediately. Thank you.”
I heard over the intercom and I knew that they were talking about Oliver’s car. After taking a long, long moment to try and compose myself, I looked back into the mirror and I gave myself a final once-over to make sure I was rid of everything the color crimson before going out into the hallway. I sighed heavily, drying my eyes as best as I could before leaving the bathroom and I unlocked the door and stepped out, making my way to the emergency entrance so I could move the car as requested.
The automatic doors opened and I stepped out into the night, a gentle breeze kissing my skin as I approached Oliver’s car and I slowly came to a stop when I caught site of the small droplets of blood on the ground.. However, before I let more tears fill my eyes, I quickly went around to the drivers side to get in and I refused to look at the seat next to me that I knew was soaked in blood as I pulled his car into a parking spot not too far off from the entrance. There was so much blood that stained the seat that I could even smell it and it made me sick all over again, quickly getting out of the car and slamming the door behind me in frustration. I wished as hard as I could that I’d soon be able to find the strength to pull myself together and be strong for Oliver, but honestly, the only thing in the entire world that could truly break me was if anything bad happened to him, and since something had, it was so, so hard to find that strength I so desperately needed.
When I made my way back into the hospital, I checked the clock on the wall and it read a little after midnight, knowing now it had been over an hour since I had brought Oliver here and there was still no word from a nurse or a doctor or anyone at all. I continued down a long hallway and eventually, I came across a large window to a room that had tiny beds spread throughout it and I stopped to take a look. A few of the beds were occupied by newborns and I focused on one that was closest to the window, a baby girl that was sleeping peacefully and I felt the edge of my lips curling into a faint smirk at the sight of her. I loved our boys, but I’ve always adored the thought of having a little girl with Oliver and I could already see us spoiling the hell out of her. Oliver seemed like the type to enjoy gender-neutral colors given the nursery he had painted and furnished for me at our old condo, but I adored the thought of giving her a pink or purple room filled with stuffed animals and a doll house and wall art that reminded her of being a princess every time she were to wake up in the mornings. She didn’t even exist yet and I already wanted to give her the world.
“Cute, huh?” I heard a feminine voice and I looked over, seeing a young blonde woman standing a few feet away from me looking at the newborns like I was.
“Yeah,” I agreed, looking back to the little girl in front of me.
“Do you have any?” She asked.
“Yeah.. Three boys,” I replied.
“How exciting. What are their ages?” She asked next and I looked over to her again, seeing her do the same with a smile on her lips and our eyes met.
“Six, three, and almost two,” I answered and she made a face as if she were already smitten.
“Aww, they’re all so young. Must be a handful, right?” She joked and I smirked.
“Sometimes, yeah, but they’re all pretty good for the most part, especially my youngest. He’s an angel,” I replied and I actually enjoyed making small talk with the stranger.. It got my mind off of stressing about Oliver.
“I’m Anastasia, but everyone calls me Ana,” she introduced herself and I looked back over to her.
“I’m Isaiah.. It’s nice meeting you,” I replied and she agreed with a nod, “Do you have any children?” I asked in return.
“No, not yet. My sister was pregnant, but she left before I ever got to meet my niece or nephew,” she answered.
“You don’t talk to her or see her?”
“Nah.. Haven’t for over six years.”
My expression grew remorseful as well as my tone, “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” I replied.
“It’s all right. We were never really close or even got along, but it still would’ve been nice to know the child,” she pointed out and I felt sorry for her, but in an attempt to change the subject, I brought up something else.
“Tonight, my husband and I talked about having another one soon,” I said and she looked back over to me, another smile running across her lips.
“That’s so sweet. Do you want a girl this time, since you already have three boys?” She asked and I nodded.
“Yeah.. Our boys are amazing and I wouldn’t mind having another, but, a girl would be a nice change,” I replied and she nodded with her sweet smile.
“Where is your husband? Is he here with you?” She asked and my lips dropped the smirk I held, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to-”
“It’s all right.. He’s in surgery,” I answered, looking back to the newborn and away from the stranger.
“Oh.. May I ask what happened..?” She wondered and it took me a moment to answer her.
“He, uh.. He was stabbed.. Right outside our front door,” I answered and I head her gasp softly.
“Oh my God.. Where was he, uhm.. Where was the puncture?” She asked next while carefully choosing her words, genuinely interested and I looked at my own abdomen.
“Around here,” I pointed and she observed where I had gestured.
“Well, from what I’ve learned and have seen, it could’ve punctured his stomach or his intestines, which actually can be an easy fix if the organs were only grazed.. But, there’s also a chance that no organs were hit, either,” she advised and I looked over to her, “Probably not very reassuring, but that spot on the lower abdomen is actually a popular spot for something like a knife to penetrate from a mugger or whoever it was that did that.. I’ve witnessed a lot of people living from being hit there, though,” she continued, knowing she was trying her best to cheer me up and a slight hope filled my heart.
“Really?” I asked and she nodded, “Do you work here?” I asked.
“Oh, uh, no. I’m attending college about twenty minutes from here. I’m trying to become a nurse, though,” she replied.
“Thank you for telling me that.. You’ve been more informative in the past minute than anyone else has been in the past hour I’ve been here,” I replied and she smiled sweetly, knowing she was happy that she could help in any way.
“So,” I began, “What brings you here so late? Do you attend a nursing program here or something?” I wondered and she lost her smile.
“No, uh.. I got a call about an hour ago.. My dad was hit by a car,” she answered and I found it rather oddly coincidental.
“Wow, I’m.. I’m sorry to hear that,” I replied, but she shook her head with an amused smirk.
“Don’t be.. I hope he doesn’t make it through,” she said bluntly and I was surprised to hear that come from her mouth. She seemed so sweet at first, but hearing her say something so cruel caught me off guard.
She noticed my reaction, “I.. I’m sorry.. That probably sounded awful..”
“A little, yeah..” I agreed, “If I ever heard one of my sons say that about me or my husband, I’d be heart broken,” I continued and she looked away from me.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to come off like that.. You have someone in here dear to you that you want to live and here I am hoping that my father dies from his injuries,” she said with slight shame in herself, “Well, he’s not exactly father-of-the-year, he never was, so.. I could care less, honestly.. I know it’s harsh, but.. So was he,” she continued and her words still surprised me, but I decided to not delve any deeper into her reasoning unless she were to continue it, herself.
But, to my surprise, she did, “I feel like I need to explain myself so you don’t think I’m some heartless witch,” she added and I shrugged.
“Well, it is none of my business, but I can understand where you’re coming from, I suppose. I mean, I don’t wish mine dead, but.. I haven’t spoken to my parents in a very long time and it’s because they don’t want to know me, so I don’t want to know them. They’re workaholics and don’t have time to even remember me. I don’t even think they know I’m married and have three children,” I tried to make her feel less guilty by explaining my own situation with my parents and she seemed rather bothered by my words.
“I’m sorry, that’s just awful.. I guess our situations are kind of similar, though, what with having crappy parents,” she said with a light chuckle, “My mom died about ten years ago and I was the closest with her out of everyone in my family. When she was gone, my dad went a little crazy.. All he cared about was our schooling and he pushed us all really hard to get good grades so we could have good lives and all that, but I don’t think it ever worked.. It was all for nothing, anyways..”
“What do you mean? You seem like you’re doing pretty good for yourself,” I added.
“Well, my dad favored my brother and my sister way more than me.. He wasn’t impressed with my career choice like he was with my brother that wanted to be a lawyer and my sister who didn’t even care to pick anything. I don’t even know why she went to college.. My sister could shit on a pedestal and my dad would think it’s gold,” she exaggerated and I cracked a slight smile at her joke, “My brother was an asshole and him and my sister always picked on me. My brother was convinced that everyone was beneath him and that everyone he met had to kiss his feet or he hated them,” she said with a slight annoyance to her tone.
“Was..? What happened to him?”
“I think his bullying caught back up to him because he wound up dead.. Got two of his stupid friends killed, too.. They still don’t know who was responsible, but I’d probably want to shake their hand if I ever met them,” she answered and it seemed that she was sweet to strangers, but when it came to talking about her family, there was an obvious hatred there that was hard to ignore. Oddly enough, too, that sounded rather similar to what had happened to Thomas, the boy who hated Oliver and attempted to beat me to death.. Remembering that time gave me slight chills.
“What about your sister?” I asked, almost needing to know so I could put this suspicion to rest.
“Well, as you know, she left, but she was worse than my brother.. Disgustingly manipulative and completely obsessive.. I felt sorry for anyone that got involved with her.”
“It’s a was for her, too? ..Did she just leave, or did she pass on?”
“Who knows.. She got knocked up and probably ran away with the guy that did it, or she could be dead, too, for all I know.. It was around the same time my brother died. My dad completely lost it after she left and he was even convinced that some guy killed her.. Wouldn’t surprise me, either, with the type of person she was.. I guess my siblings got my father’s unhealthy obsessive behavior and look what happened to them.. Thank God I take after my mom,” she added and I could feel my hands beginning to shake again. This couldn’t be happening.. What were the chances?
I grew a little nervous as I looked at her, “Do you mind if I ask their names?” I wondered and she looked to me.
“Thomas and Jody,” she answered and my eyes widened, “Why? Did you know them?” She asked, though she soon took notice of the look in my eyes, “What’s wrong..?”
“Why is it so hard for our families to stay out of each other’s lives?” I asked rhetorically and she grew confused.
“I.. I don’t understand,” she said innocently.
“Your brother and his friends tried to kill me. Your sister tried to ruin my husband’s life, and tonight, your father tried to kill him. I was the one that ran your father over with a car trying to save my husband,” I admitted and her eyes widened from shock.
“Miss Zepeda?” A man’s voice caught our attention and we both looked to see a detective standing with the same doctor I had seen running to the emergency room earlier, but that detective.. I remembered her instantly.
“May we speak with you for a moment?” The detective added towards the young blonde and we looked at one another with both of us still holding shock in our expressions and her eyes remained locked on mine, no doubt still wanting to talk to me about what I had just said, but she walked over towards them, instead.
I then looked to the detective, “What are you doing here?” I asked with a sense of frustration, knowing she was told to stay away from Oliver and our family, yet here she was.
“I’ll speak with you in a moment, Mr. Yamato,” she expressed in a parental tone and I held my tongue.
The doctor began, “Your father has experienced a lot of damage to his head and his spine. His skull was cracked and his brain hemorrhaged, and by the time we got in to take a look, I’m afraid there’s nothing we could do for him,” the doctor said, “I’m sorry, but, we lost him,” he continued with remorse and I watched the side of the young woman’s face, searching for any sign as to how she felt about the news, but she didn’t show any inkling of grief in the slightest.. She was telling the truth.. She really didn’t care what happened to him..
“What about Oliver? Is he all right?” I asked the doctor and he looked to me.
“He’s still in surgery, which I need to get back to. We’ll know more soon, I just wanted to come to Miss Zepeda and let her know about her father personally,” he replied and I nodded as my gaze then met the floor, disappointed that there was no word about Oliver yet, “I’m sorry for your loss, Miss Zepeda, but.. If you’ll please excuse me,” he continued politely, stepping away from the group of us to quickly go back to Oliver.
After the young blonde didn’t say anything in return, standing there rather lifeless, she looked over and her eyes met mine again, but before either of us could say anything to one another, the detective caught my attention.
“Mr. Yamato, I’m going to need you to come with me,” she requested and I nodded, knowing she was going to ask that and I briefly looked at the ground before looking back up to the blonde woman again. As I began to follow the detective into a common area, the blonde woman stopped me by grabbing my arm gently and I waited for the detective to continue walking so she wouldn’t hear her words.
Ana looked up at me with a smirk on her lips, “Looks like I got what I wished for, and I have you to thank for that.. I hope your husband pulls through,” she expressed quietly and I still didn’t know how to respond to her.. She was so sweet, but her words held such coldness that I didn’t understand.. Is this what Jody was like? Was she manipulating, yet sweet? Did she look like her? Was she even anything like Jody..? She then let my hand go and I ignored her words, continuing on to follow the detective as I still tried my hardest to fathom the encounter I had just had.. I hit that young woman’s father with my car and killed him for what he had done to Oliver and she was grateful..
She was grateful.
I sat in an empty lounge with the detective I had met with six years ago, the silence heavy in the air around us and I could honestly say that I had never thought I’d see her again, but when it came to something with Oliver and that dreaded family we just couldn’t seem to get away from, I don’t know why I was surprised in the end.
“I bet you didn’t expect to see me for a while, huh?” She wondered with a small smirk.
“You can bet that I didn’t expect to see you ever again, actually,” I replied and she didn’t contest my words.
“Fair enough.. However, I need to hear your side of the story, so.. What happened?” She asked.
“How did you even know Oliver was here?” I asked in return and she smirked again.
“I’ve been following anything that involves the Dubois name for quite a while now, even before we first met years ago, so it was only a matter of time before I found out. But, please, feel free to answer my question whenever you’re ready,” she replied and I decided to tell her what I had witnessed and done for myself so I could get this over with..
“I had just spoke to Oliver at my bar and we drove home separately, but together, in a way.. He drove ahead of me and I caught a red light, causing me to be behind him about a minute or so.. When I finally caught up and pulled into our driveway, I saw a blonde man about ten years older than myself holding a bloody knife and when I looked around the driveway more, I noticed Oliver lying on the ground and-” I stopped for a moment, but continued shortly after composing myself, “He was lying in the driveway covered in blood and I put two and two together.. Instead of getting out of my car to check on my husband and potentially getting attacked, myself, I floored it and hit the man that was holding the knife with my car.. After that, I got out of my car and went straight to Oliver.. I knew an ambulance wouldn’t get there in the time I could get him here myself, so I picked him up, put him into his car and I drove as fast as I possibly could to get him here.. I called nine-one-one on the way and told them everything that had happened,” I hesitated yet again for a entirely too long of a moment, but I couldn’t help it, “It was honestly the single most terrifying moment of my life, but.. I didn’t want him to hurt me and I didn’t want him to hurt Oliver anymore than he already had, so.. I hit him,” I explained and the detective nodded.
“I see.. Sounds like self defense to me,” she added and I nodded.
“It makes me wonder, though, why this man even came after Oliver in the first place. What were the reasons behind it?” She asked herself.
“It’s because he was crazy,” the voice of the young blonde came back out of nowhere and I looked to my right, seeing her approaching us, “Can I say something? ..Please?”
“Mr. Yamato?” She detective then asked me and I nodded.
“It’s okay,” I told the detective, seeing her nod and she waved Ana to come over to us.
“All right.. What do you have to say?” She asked the young woman and she stepped closer to our table, taking an empty seat and joining us.
“As I was telling Isaiah when we were talking by the nursery, when my mother died ten years ago, I noticed a change in my father and my siblings.. Everything unraveled after her death.. My dad became obsessed with our educations and making sure we went to good colleges, my brother developed this god-complex, and my sister grew manipulative and cruel.. When my brother died six years ago, my dad was at a complete loss, and then when my sister disappeared after our brother’s death, my dad got worse and there wasn’t any shred of the father I knew in him anymore.. My father went nuts after they were all gone and he became obsessed with the thought that this one man was responsible for it all.. As crazy as it sounds, he even eventually convinced himself that that man was responsible for my mother’s death, too, but it’s impossible because she had cancer.. He got worse and worse as the years went on, but he never did anything that worried me too much, until now.. He just.. He wasn’t right in the head, neither were my brother or sister, and sadly, I just learned that Isaiah’s husband has dealt with them, too.. I don’t even want to begin to imagine what they all have put him through.. None of them were good people, but, I’m glad that none of them are around anymore to where they can cause more harm to him or anyone else,” she added.
She then looked to me, “I never knew the name of the one he was constantly mumbling about, but now I know.. Honestly, I thought they were all empty words with no backbone. Had I ever known that he would’ve acted out on his stupid ramblings, I would’ve done something about it.. Had I ever known that he would take his anger out on someone who was innocent, I would’ve reported him as soon as I could.. I truly would have,” she said with a serious tone and expression and I wanted to believe her, but with this families reputation, even after already talking to her for a while, I still didn’t trust her completely.. With what this family has done to Oliver and I, it was almost impossible for me to get passed.
“So.. Now what? Is that all you needed, my side of the story?” I asked, my gaze now towards the detective.
“Well, it was obviously self defense, and with this young woman’s testimony, you’re free to go. I still need to talk to Oliver whenever he gets out of surgery and is awake enough to tell me what happened, but for now, there’s nothing more I need,” she continued, “I wish you the best, Mr. Yamato, and my condolences, Miss Zepeda. I wish we didn’t have to meet under such circumstances and hopefully we’ll never have to do it again.. Get some rest, you two, it’s been a long night,” she added and we watched her stand from her seat, leaving the lounge area and leaving Ana and I alone together.
“I’m truly sorry for what my father did.. Since he’s not here to apologize, I-”
“Don’t,” I added, stopping her from talking, “He would never have been apologetic for this, so you taking the responsibility of something that was never intended in the first place is just.. Pointless..” I added, though her expression still remained serious as well as apologetic.
“Either way, no matter how you feel, I do hope your husband pulls through and I truly am sorry for everything my family has done.. I wish you and your family the best of luck,” she added, my eyes looking over to her and I watched as she stood from her seat and walked off down a hallway that led towards the entrance.
I didn’t feel right saying ‘thank you’ or ‘I accept your apology’, I didn’t feel right saying anything to her at all other than ‘go away’ and I’m glad she had done it without me telling her to do so. She seemed genuine, she seemed nice and a really lovely girl, but I still could never get passed the thought of how Oliver had described Jody to me.. Even by how Anastasia acted, I still refused to ever believe her words. I followed Oliver’s warnings completely as well as all of his opinions of that ‘Zepeda’ name and I wasn’t about to let myself fall under any manipulative words she could’ve potentially spoken. In my mind, no matter how many times Anastasia could say she was sorry for her family’s actions or felt bad for what had happened to us due to her many relatives mental instabilities, I wasn’t going to give her even a slight taste of my gratitude. None of them deserved it.. Not a single damn member of that family.
I sat there by myself for a long while, staring at the table top and when I looked up and read the clock on the wall, it read a little after two in the morning. My body was growing tired, but my mind was still intensely active and I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep even if I tried.. Maybe some coffee would wake me up a little.. I looked around the common area, finding a coffee machine and I stood from the chair sluggishly, making my way over to it and I made a cup for myself with plenty of sugar-packets already opened and ready to be poured into my finished cup. As it brewed, I starred at the steamy stream of coffee going into the cup, spacing out and losing myself in thought and I couldn’t help but wonder if I should contact anyone.. I was Oliver’s spouse, it was my responsibility to tell our family what had happened to him and I knew I should call Katalina and James as well as call Cybal, too, but I wasn’t sure if I should call them before he got out of surgery or if I should call them afterward so I could begin each call with ‘he’s doing okay, but he’s in the hospital’.. I didn’t know what to do.
When my coffee was done, I added in the many sugar packets I had on the ready and stirred it lazily before stepping away and bringing my cup with me. I tried to take a sip too early and wound up burning the very tip of my tongue, so I set it down on a table to let it cool off and I took out my phone, going through my contacts and when I came to James’ name first, I called him. I came to the conclusion that even if I didn’t want to tell anyone yet about what happened to Oliver, I still needed someone to talk to about it.. I couldn’t stand being the only one knowing anymore and I needed help in getting through this.
James answered after roughly four rings, “Hey, I didn’t expect to get a call from you this late. What’s up? Everything okay?” He asked, always enjoying his welcoming and loving attitude. Hearing a familiar voice helped bring my spirits up a lot, too.
“You don’t sound tired at all and it’s after two in the morning,” I pointed out.
“Ah, well.. I work about three to four days at a time. I’m in an on-call room, just got up from a nap,” he answered and it made sense now, “So, what’s going on? Did you end up working late, too? I thought you usually close the bar at nine on the weekdays?” He guessed and he wasn’t wrong, though of course, that wasn’t the case.
“Yeah, I usually do, but, uh..” I tried to tell him, but it was difficult to even think about let alone tell him the whole story. It was completely different talking to the detective about what happened, but telling Oliver’s best friend was ten times harder.
“Isaiah? What’s wrong? Is one of the boys sick or something, keeping you up? Making them drink flat soda, like ginger ale, helps calm the stomach a lot and keeps them from throwing up too much.. Saltine crackers help a lot, too,” he continued, giving advice that wasn’t needed, though I couldn’t blame him for already rambling.. Him being a pediatrician helped a lot and I called him quite often whenever one of the boys was sick.
“No, the boys are fine, they’re sleeping over at Cybal’s.. Oliver and I talked tonight,” I replied.
“Oh, that’s great! How’d it go? You two finally back to normal or do I have to come over again?” He joked and I wanted to laugh, but it was difficult to find humor at the moment.
“No, no, uh.. Things went well, really well, actually, but.. That’s not exactly why I’m calling you,” I continued and I could tell that very instant that James knew it was something bad by the silence that lingered between us.
“..Is it Oliver? Where is he? What happened?” He asked and I could tell that there was a slight panic to his voice, knowing now that something far worse had happened..
After trying my hardest to fight back tears while telling James everything that had happened, I finally got it all out without too much of a struggle and I could tell James was completely blindsided.
“Jesus, Isaiah.. You haven’t heard anything yet, too? What the hell is taking them so damn long to give you a update?” He asked with annoyance in his tone.
“I-I don’t know.. A little over an hour ago, the doctor came out to tell the girl about her dad dying and when I asked about Oliver, all he said was that he was still in surgery, then he went back to it and that’s the last thing I’ve heard.. I don’t know what to do. I’m starting to get more worried the longer it takes.. Shouldn’t he be in recovery by now?” I asked.
“Well, without knowing the extent of his injuries, I can’t answer that.. But, you should go up to someone and demand answers, it’s the only way to get any information out of these people. They’re updating their charts constantly, they just don’t update the family until there is a stable enough answer to give them. They know exactly what’s going on, you just have to keep asking to find out. Be completely annoying if you have to,” he replied.
“All right, I will-”
“And I’m coming down there,” he added.
“No, James, you don’t have to.. You’re at work and-”
“With all due respect, man, save it. Can’t talk me out of this. I’m leaving now and I should be there within the hour. I’ll start calling the hospital and see if I can get any information out of them, but you should do the same so you know what the hell’s going on. I’ll call you if I’m able to get any answers before you, too.”
“All right.. Are you going to tell Katalina?” I asked and he sighed.
“No, I don’t think so, not yet. The baby is so close to it’s due date that she doesn’t need any stress like this, it would only cause harm to her or the baby and worrying about Oliver is plenty enough on my plate already.. She’s gunna hate the hell out of us for keeping it from her, but, I’ll handle it, okay? You just worry about Oliver and getting answers,” he encouraged.
“Okay.. I’ll see you soon,” I replied and we said our goodbye’s.
The first thing I did was go to the reception desk by the entrance, completely forgetting my coffee that was probably cool enough to drink by now, but the adrenaline that had returned and coursed through my veins again was enough to keep my body awake for at least a few more hours. I stood there at the desk arguing with the receptionist for at least half an hour, seeing now what James was talking about by how she was trying her hardest to avoid the subject and she told me over and over again that there was no news about Oliver yet and that I should have a seat and wait, but I was done with waiting.. I had been waiting for close to three hours now and I was sick of it. During our arguing, the phone rang a few different times and I could tell it was James calling like he said he would, but even as I stood there, she was telling him the exact same things she was telling me. No matter how hard I pressed, there was no getting through to these people and I was right back where I started.. Not knowing a goddamn thing.
I sat in the lobby alone, the time getting close to three in the morning and when the doors came flying open, I looked to see James rushing in. I stood to greet him and the moment he saw me, he rushed to my side and gave me a warm hug, something that I didn’t even know I needed until I had wrapped my arms around him, as well, and didn’t let go for a long moment.
“It’s okay, Isaiah. I’m not leaving until we hear about Oliver, I promise,” he said as we hugged and we then let go of one another, sitting back down and he sat next to me.
“So, they’re still not telling you anything?” He asked and I nodded, “Damn.. Have you told Cybal yet?”
“No, I was going to call her tomorrow sometime.. I don’t want to tell her now because if I did, I feel like she’d rush to down here to be with me and she’d bring the boys with and I don’t want them to be here.. Not yet,” I replied and he nodded in understanding.
“Well, I agree that right now isn’t the best time to call, but you really do need to call her first thing in the morning. Your boys should know their dad’s in the hospital. I know you don’t want them here, hospitals can be pretty scary for kids, but having the boys here might even help his recovery.. And yours.”
“You’re right, I’ll do it in the morning, but I don’t even want to think about it right now.. They are going to be scared and I honestly don’t think I have it in me to calm them down when I can’t even do that for myself,” I answered and I felt his hand on my shoulder, attempting to give comfort.
“I know it’s hard, man, but Oliver is a strong guy when he needs to be. After everything you two have been through and especially after finally making up and getting things back to normal, I doubt he’d let himself give up. The kids could be that extra push he needs, too, and so are you. I’m not saying Oliver doesn’t have a chance, but you’d be amazed at how many times I’ve seen people who are in bad shape come back during their recovery because their loved ones talk to them while they’re unconscious or whatever the case. It’s kind of like a miracle, in a way. Nothing medicine can even come close to,” he added and I looked over to him, seeing a smirk on his lips.
“Thank you for coming, James. I don’t know how much longer I could’ve gone without anyone with me..”
“It’s okay. This is a pretty huge deal to keep to yourself, I’m surprised you lasted as long as you did, but I’m glad you called. Sometimes it’s hard to carry the weight of something like this all by yourself and it’s a lot easier to keep yourself from going crazy if that weight is distributed,” he answered and I nodded in agreement.
James and I sat there for roughly twenty minutes together, not saying much at all and I knew James wasn’t talking on purpose because it was a little obvious that I didn’t want to talk, but just his presence and knowing I wasn’t alone helped keep me the calmest I’ve been ever since the night took a cruel turn. Every time the emergency doors opened down the hallway, both of our heads jerked quickly towards them, but every time I didn’t see doctor Avery, I let out a heavy sigh and went back to staring at the floor.
“Why is it taking so goddamn long? I feel like we’ve been sitting here for hours,” I said under my breath in annoyance and James looked over to me.
“It’s gunna be all right, Isaiah. Sometimes when they take a long time like this, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. They’re probably making sure everything is okay before they close him up, or they could be all done, but waiting for him to wake up so they can see if he remembers who he is and how he got here.. You never know. Just because it’s taking a long time doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad,” he encouraged, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly as I thought about his words and they made me feel better, but only a little.
“Mr. Yamato?” I heard my name being called and I looked immediately to my right, seeing doctor Avery standing outside of the doors that I wasn’t allowed passed and he looked around a little before finally making eye contact with me down the hallway. I was frozen where I sat, completely stuck and even though this entire time I’ve been dying to know what’s happened to my love, now that it was time to find out, I wasn’t ready.. What if he isn’t doing well? ..What if he’s gone..? I never got a chance to speak to him again and now I never will..
“Isaiah.. Isaiah?” James caught my lack of attention, seeing him standing in front of me with a worried yet comforting smirk on his lips, “Come on, you can do this.. Let’s go see if he’s all right,” he encouraged and I nodded, slowly standing to my feet and I could feel every inch of my insides rattling with nerves and fright and worry and everything in between.. James patted my shoulder, trying to loosen me up a little and to get me to not worry so much, but this was something that couldn’t be helped.. The way the doctor looked at me made things worse because he didn’t have a smile, nor did he have a frown, his expression was, well.. Expressionless.. It made everything that much more nerve-wrecking and terrifying. I wasn’t ready for this, I wasn’t ready for any of this and all I wanted was for Oliver to be okay and for this nightmare to be over with.
Eight Months Later . . .
“You guys excited for the beach?” I asked, Luca running and jumping around his room in excitement as I fastened Niko’s waterproof diaper.
“Yeah! Yeah! Let’s goooo!” Luca exclaimed and I chuckled.
“All right, we’ll leave in just a minute. I still need to grab a few things and make coffee, little man,” I replied and he groaned.
“Hurrryyyyy,” he whined as I slipped on Niko’s swim suit onesie and fastened it.
“The ocean’s not going anywhere, Luca. Be patient, okay? Just a little longer,” I answered and he sat down on the ground next to his building block table with a impatient frown on his face.
Once I was done dressing Niko, I held his hands so he wouldn’t lose his balance as he stood there. He knew how to walk now, but he was still trying to get the hang of it.
“Why don’t you go pick out a toy to bring with?” I asked him and his eyes lit up with excitement, watching him race over to the toy box and he began picking something out. Nikolai started talking, finally, a few months ago and his first word was ‘boo’, though I think he means ‘blue’, because whenever he says it, he always points to the walls in his room or the color of some of his toys. It didn’t take long for him to start trying to say other colors and things, then he started saying ‘da’ and ‘pa’ for Oliver and I.. He now knows a pretty good mixture of words and although he’s still not as talkative as Luca and he still struggles with pronunciation, he’s getting better at it every day.
When Nikolai found what he wanted, which where a few different things, he brought them over to me and made a pile in front of me and I couldn’t help but find it amusing as well as completely adorable.
“No, no, just pick one or two. You don’t want to bring a lot and then lose any, right?” I asked and he stared at his choices for a while, trying to decide which were the best ones.
Niko never spent nearly as much time in the water as his brothers did, he more so enjoyed lying on the towels with me under the beach umbrella, so I always let him bring a toy or a stuffed animal that he adored in order to make sure he was happy. He wasn’t afraid of the water by any means, I think he just really enjoyed being outside and relaxing with his toys under the shade. Besides walking and talking, another thing we’ve been able to accomplish, like we had to do for August and Luca, was to get Nikolai to ease off of the pacifier.. He still refuses to sleep without it, but at least he doesn’t cry for it like he used to every second he was awake.
Once Niko had picked out his favorites, he handed them to me and I took them, “These two? Are you sure?” I asked and he nodded, “All right. Let’s go to the kitchen and pack snacks, then we can go to the beach,” I added, putting the toy and the stuffed animal into the beach bag.
“Yay! Let’s go, let’s go!” Luca replied and he stood immediately and was already running out of their bedroom and down the hallway.
“Luca, stop!” I called out sternly and I heard his footsteps come to a halt in the hallway, picking up Nikolai in my arms as well as the bag and leaving their bedroom.
I came out of their room to see Luca standing in the hallway with an expression that showed guilt, “What have I always told you?”
“..No running around or on the stairs,” he replied.
“Always hold the railing when walking down,” he continued and I nodded.
“Good. Stop running and go slowly,” I instructed and he walked instead of ran towards the stairs, doing as I said and taking each step carefully. Luca always had so much energy and we always had to be on alert with him more than we needed to be with Niko and August. It was a little stressful at times, especially when his energy put him in situations where he could get hurt.
That boy is going to give me a heart attack one day, I just know it..
After coming downstairs and into the kitchen, August, Luca and Nikolai ate breakfast as I made coffee and packed the beach bag with snacks, water and beach towels, as well as a bottle for Nikolai and I looked over at August as I made coffee, too, before we left.
“Ready to go, big guy?” I asked and he nodded as he finished his cereal.
“Yup,” he replied, hopping off of his stool and going to the dishwasher with his empty bowl.
“I’m all done, can we go now?” Luca expressed with more impatience and he bounced in his high chair to show his eagerness.
“When Niko is done eating, we’ll go. Be patient, Luca, I’m not going to tell you again,” I disciplined and he frowned again, unhappy with how long this was taking, but I wasn’t about to rush everyone when Luca seemed to be the only one who wanted to get to the beach as if his life depended on it.
When Niko was done eating and the bag was all packed, the boys and I walked out the back door passed our pool and I watched as August and Luca went ahead of Niko and I. We owned our own little part of the beach down the hill behind the house and we all loved going down there on Sundays when no one had work or school.
“Be careful, you two. Help Luca down the hill, Augie, I don’t want either of you tumbling down and getting hurt,” I instructed towards August and he took Luca’s hand, guiding him down the hill and I held Nikolai close so I had a good grip on him.
“Are you excited to go in the water today?” I asked Niko, watching him smile and he shook his head.
“No!” He replied, though I knew he didn’t mean it.
“No?! I don’t believe yooouuuu,” I dragged out, then quickly gave him raspberries on his cheek and neck and he laughed when I had called his bluff.
When we got to the beach and before letting the boys play, I set down Niko and laid out the beach towels under the shade of the umbrella. After getting everything situated, I put plenty of sunscreen on all of the boy’s skin and once I was done with Luca, he ran off towards the ocean to play. August tended to himself as I then rubbed the sunscreen on Nikolai’s tiny arms and legs and there were some spots where he’d smile and wiggle while giggling from me tickling him on accident.. Which, in turn, made me unbelievably happy, so I then began to do it on purpose just to make him laugh more and how he laughed and kicked his legs made me smile from ear to ear.
“You ready to play in the water, little bug? Let’s go play,” I tell Niko after he was fully sun-protected, taking him into my arms before standing up. I walked over to August, seeing him playing in the sand with his toys, shovel and pale and I couldn’t help but smile.
“What are you going to make, big guy?” I asked, stopping by him for a moment as I continued to hold Nikolai.
“I wanna build a sand castle.. Maybe even dig out a moat or something all the way to the water so alligators can swim in and protect it,” he replied as he continued playing and I chuckled softly, knowing there weren’t any alligators in the ocean, but I wasn’t about to ruin his fun.
“Elaborate, I like it. I want to see it, so be sure to show me when you’re all done, okay?” I asked and he nodded.
“All right,” he replied, still focused on his building and I continued on towards the shoreline to play with Niko.
When we reached the shore, I held up Niko before lowering him down into the water, “You ready?” I asked with excitement and he was already kicking his feet in anticipation while starring down at the ocean. The moment I brought him down lower and the lukewarm water touched his toes, he started laughing as he continued to kick his legs and throw around his arms and it brought me pure happiness every second that he enjoyed himself.. I wished Oliver was here to see this, it melts his heart just as easily as it does mine whenever we hear the laughter of any of our boys.
“Whoooaaa! Papa, come look! Come see!” Luca suddenly exclaimed and I looked over to see him waving for me to come over to him as fast as I could.
“What’d you find, little man?” I asked, pulling up Niko from the water and I held him.
“Come looooook!” He continued and I made my way over to him with Nikolai.
“Look, look!” He said with excitement when we reached him and I smiled as I looked down, seeing a big blue starfish under the shallow water.
“Oh, wow.. It’s really neat looking, isn’t it?” I asked and Luca smiled wide with an enthusiastic laugh.
“Can I touch it?” He wondered, already reaching for it, but I stopped him before he could.
“No, no, don’t touch it. Some are poisonous, that’s why you need to watch where you’re stepping in the water, too,” I replied and Luca seemed upset that he couldn’t touch it, but continued to enjoy watching it move at a snail-like pace, anyways.
The moment that Nikolai caught sight of the starfish and began reaching for it, as well as humming soft sounds to signal that he wanted it, that’s when I stood back up and took him away from it because he wouldn’t give up unless I distracted him with something else. He was in the ‘I want everything’ phase and didn’t like hearing ‘no’, but I wasn’t about to let my youngest touch a potentially poisonous sea creature without knowing if it was safe or not.
“No, you can’t touch it either, cuddle bug. Sorry,” I expressed as I carried him away, yet he seemed adamant about having it and his soft ‘wanting’ hums turned more into gentle whining and I watched as his eyes teared up, “Aw, come on, don’t look at me like that. It breaks my heart,” I cooed sweetly, trying to cheer him up from this difficult phase he was in by kissing his forehead softly.
“Let’s go get your duck, okay? Will that make you happy?” I asked, walking back towards where we had laid out our blankets and I set him down, looking through the bag I had brought with us as his eyes still held tears.
When I found it and pulled it out, his watery eyes lit up, “Ah! Here we are,” I said happily and he began reaching for it immediately, chuckling softly as I handed it to him and his mood seemed to change instantly the moment he hugged it. I then pulled out the other toy he had chosen to bring with and set it next to him, knowing that he was done with the water for now and I could relax with him under the shade. He then adjusted his stuffed animal duck so he could use it as a pillow and he laid down as he played with the toy I had given him, bouncing it up and down on the ground to make it ‘walk’ and he was finally content without the need to touch the starfish lingering on his mind.
“Are you happy now, bug?” I asked and he smiled for his response as he played with his toy, “Good.”
As I sat there with my youngest, I looked out towards the calm ocean behind August and the sound of the waves and the seagulls that occasionally flew overhead made me relaxed and tranquil, though I couldn’t keep my mind from going to dark places and dark memories that I knew I’d always have to carry with me. I was weak when anything at all threatened my love and my life and I was weak to the memories of that terrifying night eight months ago. I’ll never forget it, no matter how much I try.
I knew it was idiotic to admit, but I missed Oliver.. I missed him so much every second I was without him every since that night and I wished that he was here with us.. It just isn’t the same without him.. It never would’ve been, either, had we all lost him.
Suddenly, my view went black as I felt hands cupping gently over my glasses and a warm, enticing breath touched my ear.
“Guess who,” the voice behind me whispered and I felt chills up my spine, a smile slowly spreading across my lips.
“The sexiest brunette in the world?” I wondered and I heard him chuckle behind me.
“Mmm, guess again,” he encouraged.
“Hmm.. The sexiest brunette in the world that I’m lucky enough to spend the rest of my life with?” I guessed again and I heard him sigh.
“That’s cheating,” he expressed, removing his hands from over my eyes and I chuckled as he draped himself over me.
“What? How is that cheating?” I asked with a grin as I reached up to run my fingers through his hair.
“Because, I wanted you to guess more and I couldn’t say no to that one,” he added.
“I’m glad it’s true, though,” I implied, turning my head towards him and he lifted his forehead from my shoulder to do the same.
“Me, too,” he answered and he leaned in to kiss me. Without him, I truly believed that I never would’ve been able to find such bliss like this ever again.
Before I could get any time with him, our boys demanded his attention first and I could feel Niko crawling into my lap to get to Oliver as he kissed me.
“Dah! Dah-dah!” He expressed and Oliver and I couldn’t help but smile during our kiss and we pulled away from one another to acknowledge Nikolai.
“Hey, Niko,” Oliver said as he picked up Niko from my lap and held him up, “Are you having fun at the beach?” He asked, though Niko didn’t respond and instead, he pointed towards August.
“You wanna go by Augie?” Oliver asked and Niko nodded, “Okay, let’s go see what he’s up to,” he answered, but I caught his attention before he left my side.
“Come back to me,” I expressed and he smiled warmly.
“I will,” he replied, leaning in to kiss me once more before standing up and taking Nikolai with him.
As Oliver spent time with August and Niko, helping him build the sand castle that August had been working on since we had gotten here, I simply sat and watched the photographic scene I had before me. My husband, my children, my life, everything was perfect and just how I wanted it to turn out. If I had any more than I did now, I would truly be the most spoiled man in the world.. I might even already be.
Luca then noticed that Oliver had made it down to the beach and he ran over to him, “Daddy, come here! Come here!” I heard him exclaim as he tapped on Oliver’s side and Luca then took his hand, pulling him away from the sand castle and towards the starfish that he had found that no doubt had barely moved from where Luca had spotted it. My lips curled into a smile as I watched Oliver be the center of attention, August and Niko watching as Luca dragged him off.
“Daaaad! Come back! I need help with the moat!” August called out.
“I’ll be right back, Augie! Luca wants to show me something,” he replied and I watched him and Luca investigate the blue sea star with a smile on my lips.. This family couldn’t function without Oliver, it’d never be the same without him, and if the world were truly against him like he tended to believe with what he’s been through in his past, he wouldn’t be here today, but.. Thank goodness he was wrong.
After watching them for a while, Oliver bringing Luca back to the sand castle and all four of them helping in building it, I couldn’t imagine a better scene than the one I had in front of me. The night at the hospital eight months ago was the scariest moment of my life and I wasn’t prepared for the worst, but the second the doctor told me that he was in recovery, I felt my world coming back to life and I thanked whatever or whoever was giving him this second chance. I’ve been with him through everything, the thick and thin, the best and the absolute worst, but it was all for a reason and that reason was right there in front of me.
Oliver’s recovery took a few months, but once he was back to normal, everything changed for the better and our days together after that were never taken for grated, nor did we ever spend more than an entire day without talking to one another after a stupid fight we might get into.. Then again, we hardly ever fought after that day, anyhow. We focused more on our family and each other and we still upheld to what he had talked about at my bar eight months ago. Cybal was five months pregnant with our fourth child and Oliver and I couldn’t be more excited to have another addition to our family. Oliver didn’t want to let such a potentially devastating bump in the road keep us from continuing our life together after his recovery and neither did I, so we did just that, and we continued to live out our lives.. So many people have tried to ruin such a good thing, but nothing could come between us, just like I always knew nothing could the moment I realized I was in love with him.
It was so hard to picture life without him, but, I was overwhelmingly joyous that I didn’t have to.
End of Generation 4.
Thank you to everyone that lurks, reads, likes and comments on this story! You’re continued, unconditionally amazing support for this legacy makes me so happy and I really love you all. Thank you for sticking with me this far and I hope you’ll stick around for many more generations to come!