Protecting Her
Author:Allie Everhart

“No. But I think they’re going to do it in Logan’s car.”

I laugh. “I think so too. They couldn’t take their eyes off each other. Maybe they’ll make their own baby and we’ll be here visiting them in nine months. They should just get married. They’re perfect together.”

Pearce doesn’t respond.

“Pearce, don’t you think they’d be good together?”

“I don’t know. But Shelby obviously doesn’t want that so Logan needs to give up on her.”

“He’s not giving up on her. That was some serious flirting going on just now. The way he touched her wrist like that? She practically melted into his arms.”

“I didn’t notice.”

“Did you see her wrists? I agree with Logan. It didn’t look like marks from a rubber band.”

Garret cries a little and I look down and see his face scrunching up like he’s getting ready to wail. Sure enough, he does.

“I’ll get his bottle.” Pearce takes it from the diaper bag. “My mother packed the bag for me before I left.”

“Maybe he just needs a diaper change,” I say, taking the bottle.

“No, that’s his hungry face. And his hungry cry. I figured this out last night.”

I give Garret the bottle and he immediately sucks down the liquid.

“You were right.” I smile. “So does he have a way to tell us when he needs a diaper change?”

“Yes. It’s more a fussy cry, not a full out wail like he just did. And his face looks more annoyed than angry. When he’s hungry, he looks angry. He likes to eat and he doesn’t like to wait.”

I laugh. “Just like his father.”

The nurse walks in. “Rachel, the doctor will be here in a few minutes. Your husband and son will need to go.”

I nod. “Okay.”

As she leaves, Pearce says, “We’ll come back this afternoon.“

When I’m finished feeding him, Pearce takes him and they leave, but I didn’t want them to go. I missed them the second they left. I have to get out of this hospital. I can’t take being away from the baby. He needs his mom. I need to be home.

And the next day, I am. The hospital released me at nine this morning and we just arrived at the house. As I’m walking in, I smile when I see that the entire living room is filled with flowers and balloons.

“Welcome home,” Pearce says, kissing me.

“Thank you.” I hug him. “When did you have time to do all this?”

He shrugs. “I’ve given up sleeping. I don’t need it. You can get a lot done when you don’t sleep.”

I reach up and kiss him. “When did you really do it?”

“Garret and I went shopping yesterday after we left the hospital.”

I smile. “You took him shopping?”

“It was short trip. He slept through most of it.” He picks Garret up from the baby carrier and holds him. “Although while we were shopping for you, he found a few things for himself.”

“Oh, really?” I kiss Garret’s cheek. “What did your daddy buy you?”

Pearce points to a basket on the floor, which holds a mini football, baseball, and basketball. “He apparently likes sports.”

I laugh. “Yes, I’m sure his father had nothing to do with that.” I sit on the couch and take my shoes off. I’m still so tired. The doctor said it’s from the loss of blood. She said it will take a while before I have energy again.

Pearce sits next to me. “That box on the table is for you.”

It’s a small box wrapped in silver paper. I pick it up. “You got me a gift?”

“It’s from both of us,” he says, meaning him and the baby. “Go ahead and open it.”

I unwrap it and open the box. Inside is a gold necklace. It has two gold hearts hanging from it; a big one and a little one.

“The big heart is from me and the little one is from Garret,” Pearce says. “They’re lockets so you can put photos in them.”

“Pearce, that’s so sweet.” I hug him. “Thank you. I love it. I’ll wear it all the time.”

“I’m glad you like it.” He gives me a kiss. “I’m also glad you’re home. I missed you.”

“I missed you too.”

Garret fusses and squirms a little in Pearce’s arms.

“That’s his diaper change look,” he says as he stands up.

I stand up too. “I’ll do it.”

“No, you just got home. Just rest. I’ll do it and bring him back down.”

Pearce goes upstairs. He’s already much more comfortable taking care of the baby. Maybe it was good for him to have these past couple days alone with Garret. If I’d been here, I would’ve taken over and Pearce would’ve just watched. But now, he’s had a chance to practice caring for the baby and he’s getting good at it.

“Hello, Rachel.” Eleanor appears. She must’ve been in the kitchen. She’s wearing navy pants and a short-sleeve white blouse, which is a more casual look than her usual suits and dresses.

“Hello, Eleanor.” I smile, but it’s not a big smile. I admit I’m still angry at her for disowning her son. I’ve forgiven her for being rude to me. She doesn’t know me, and it’s easy to be rude to someone you don’t know. But treating your own son the way she did is inexcusable.

“How are you feeling?” she asks.

“Tired. But I’ll be fine.”