Protecting Her
Author:Allie Everhart

I felt so bad watching Pearce leave yesterday. He looked scared to death when the nurse said they were sending Garret home with him. He assured me he’d be fine, but as soon as he left I started to worry. There’s so much to know about caring for an infant, and he didn’t really pay attention in the classes we went to. Luckily, his mother is helping him. She’s not my favorite person but I’m grateful she offered to help. I’m hoping it’s not a one-time thing. I hope she continues to come over. I’d like Pearce to have a relationship with his family again.

“You have some visitors.” I hear Pearce’s voice and look over and see him at the door, holding the baby.

“Pearce.” My heart leaps at the sight of them. I love them both so much.

“Good morning, sweetheart.” He hands me the baby, then kisses me.

“Good morning.” I look down at Garret. “And how’s my baby boy this morning? Did you let your daddy get some sleep?”

Garret’s up and alert, his eyes darting around. I bring him closer and smell him and kiss him.

“He slept on and off all night,” Pearce says. “My mother stayed up until midnight so I could sleep, then I took over after that.”

“That was nice of her. Is she here?”

“No. I told her to stay home and rest since she was up so late.”

“Is she staying again tonight?”

“Yes. She said she’d stay as long as we needed her to.” He pauses. “She apologized last night.”

“So does that mean this is over? Are they no longer disowning you?”

“I don’t know yet. She hasn’t talked to my father about it, but I think we’ll be seeing my mother a lot more, even if my father disapproves.”

“I’m happy she wants to be involved in his life.” I gaze down at Garret. “He needs at least one grandparent to spoil him.” Just saying the word ‘grandparent’ makes me tear up, because it reminds me that my parents are no longer here. “I wish they could’ve met him,” I say softly to myself.

Pearce sits next to me on the bed and puts his arm around me. “They would’ve loved him. And he would’ve loved them.”

I nod, as more tears fall. “They would’ve been the greatest grandparents ever. My dad would’ve taken him fishing and to baseball games and played catch with him on the farm. And my mom would’ve made him more cookies than he could ever eat.” I smile through the tears. “I miss them, Pearce. I miss them so much.”

“I know you do, sweetheart.” He hugs me tighter and kisses my head. “I miss them too.”

I lean down to kiss the baby. “They love you even though they’re no longer here. Your grandparents. Your aunt. They’re all in heaven but they love you.”

Pearce picks up the box of tissues from the side table and hands it to me. I take a tissue and dab my eyes as he leans back on the bed.

“I’m sorry, Rachel,” he says, gently rubbing my arm. “What can I do? Anything?”

“You already did.” I smile at Garret. “You gave me him.”

It’s true. Finding out I was pregnant was the greatest gift I’ve ever been given, and it came at the time I needed it the most. I was devastated when my parents died. I was consumed with grief. Those first few weeks after the accident were horrible. But Pearce was there for me through it all. Listening to me. Holding me. Sitting quietly with me. He was wonderful. The best husband I could ever ask for. And the best friend. My love for him grew exponentially during that time, and it continued to grow as he took care of me throughout my difficult pregnancy. And now, seeing him care for our son, I love him even more.

“Pearce.”

“Yes?”

“I hope you know how much I love you. I know I tell you that every day, but I hope you know that I love you more than I can even say.”

He cups my cheek and kisses me, then looks into my eyes. “I love you too. With all my heart.” He pulls me into his side and we look at our baby.

Someone taps on the door.

“Come in,” Pearce says, getting up off the bed.

Logan walks in. “Hello, Pearce. Rachel. Sorry to interrupt.”

“Logan.” Pearce goes up to him. “I didn’t know you were coming. I’ve been so busy I didn’t have a chance to call you about the baby. How’d you find out?”

“A friend I went to med school with works here and told me he saw you here yesterday. I assumed that meant Rachel had the baby.” He smiles at me. “Congratulations.”

“Thank you.”

He holds his hand out to Pearce. “Congratulations, Pearce.”

They shake hands. “Thank you.”

I check the time. Shelby’s going to be here any minute. That’s probably not good. She broke up with Logan months ago, but she’s still not over him. She broke up with him because he wanted to get more serious and she didn’t. He was ready to propose so she ended their relationship before he could. But she still talks to him and she won’t date anyone else, so I keep wondering if they’ll get back together. She’s miserable without him.

Logan has left her alone but he isn’t giving up on her. He told Pearce that Shelby just needs more time. Pearce has become good friends with Logan the past year, now that he lives closer to us. They go golfing or meet for lunch. I keep telling Pearce to tell Logan that Shelby is still interested in him, but Pearce won’t do it. He says he’s not getting involved, which is frustrating because Shelby and Logan clearly belong together.

Logan comes over to me. “How are you feeling?”