Protecting Her
Author:Allie Everhart

“I was very sorry to hear about your parents.”

That was almost a year ago, so it’s odd she’d say this now, but at least she said it.

“Yes, it came as quite a shock.” I see her eyeing my outfit. I’m wearing one of my maternity dresses; a short sleeve, blue cotton dress. No matter what I wear, I always feel frumpy around Eleanor, because of the way she looks at me.

“Well, now that you’re home, I’ll go up and pack my things.” She starts for the stairs, but I stop her.

“Eleanor, you don’t have to leave. You’re welcome to stay.”

“I don’t need to. Pearce has become quite adept at caring for the baby, and now that you’re here, you two will manage just fine.”

I don’t argue with her. I would like to have time alone with just Pearce and Garret.

“Will you at least come over again? We’d love to see you more. And I know Garret would love to see his grandmother.”

She smiles, and I think it’s the first real smile I’ve ever seen on her. “Of course I will. Call and let me know when you would like me to come over.” She pauses. “He’s a beautiful baby. You two will make very good parents.”

Did she just give me a compliment? Or two?

“Thank you,” I say, smiling back. “And thank you for helping Pearce out the past couple days.”

She nods and goes up the stairs as Pearce is coming down them.

“Where’s Garret?” I ask him.

“Sleeping. I held him after the diaper change and he fell right to sleep.”

“You’re getting really good at this.”

“Yes,” he says confidently. “I think I actually am getting good at it.”

“Oh, your mother is leaving. She’s packing her things.”

“Why?” Concern crosses his face. “Did something happen?”

“No, she just decided it was time to go. But I told her to come back whenever she’d like.”

“I’ll go up and help her with her bag.”

He does, and a few minutes later, they come back down the stairs. We say goodbye and Eleanor leaves.

And at last, Pearce and I are alone with our son. Just the three of us. At our home. I’ve never been happier.





CHAPTER FIVE


5


PEARCE

It’s been a week since Rachel had the baby and things are starting to settle down. We’re getting into a routine. Feedings, diaper changes, and naps are forming somewhat of a schedule and we’re taking shifts so we can both get some sleep.

Tomorrow I have to go back to work so I won’t be able to help out as much, but I’ll take over in the evenings and give Rachel a break. She says she doesn’t need one but I know she does. I can see how tired she is. I’m tired too, but I’m used to it. Before meeting Rachel, I only slept three or four hours a night so this is like going back to my old sleep schedule.

I’ve been so busy with the baby that I haven’t had time to deal with Shelby. Last week when she came by the hospital I saw the marks on her wrists, but couldn’t get her alone to ask her who did it. I’m assuming it’s Royce, but I need to confirm that with Shelby.

I’m calling her now while Rachel’s asleep upstairs. I went in my office and shut the door.

“Hi, Rachel,” Shelby answers.

“It’s not Rachel. It’s Pearce.”

“Why are you calling? Did something happen to Rachel? Or the baby?”

“No. I’m calling to talk to you.”

“About what?”

“You know why I’m calling. Now tell me who did it.”

She’s quiet, and then says, “I can’t tell you. I’ll get in trouble.”

“You won’t get in trouble. I’ll take care of it myself. Was it Royce?”

She doesn’t answer.

“Shelby, I know it was Royce. You don’t have to cover for him.”

“Don’t do anything, Pearce. Please. Royce isn’t stable. He’s violent, and I’m afraid of what he’ll do to me if you tell him I told you this.”

“He left marks on you. I’ll just tell him I saw the marks.”

“No. Just leave it alone. Besides, I probably won’t be seeing him much anymore. He doesn’t have time now that he has a kid.”

“He doesn’t take care of the baby. He has a nanny. And the baby was born in July. Those marks on your wrists are newer than that. When did this happen?”

“Pearce, I mean it. Don’t say anything. He’ll come after me.”

“He will not come after you. I will make sure of it.”

“Why are getting involved in this?”

“Because what he’s doing is wrong. He can’t treat you that way. Do you know if he’s done this to any of the others?”

“No, but I don’t talk to the other girls. We’re not allowed to.”

I hear Rachel coming down the stairs. “I have to go. I’ll take care of Royce. He won’t bother you again.”

I leave my office and Rachel is standing there. I give her a kiss. “Why aren’t you resting?”

“Garret needs to be fed. I’m just getting his bottle.”

“I can do it.”