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Page 64


“I never said that I was.”

“No,” his father said softly, “you didn’t, but in my eyes you were. You were a smart kid, a great brother, a wonderful son, a cocky little bastard, but to me you were perfect. When you proved me wrong, I lost it. I’ve never been so scared in my life as I was that morning, Danny. I thought I was going to lose you and when you pulled through and I thought about how easily I could have lost you over something so stupid,” he paused, shaking his head, “I just lost it.”

“Things worked out,” he said, surprised by just how much it hurt him to hear his father admit that he’d fucked up. For years he’d imagined this moment, imagined his father taking the blame, but right now, for the first time since he’d come out of that coma, he wished that his father would stop talking.

His father nodded. “For the most part, they did. The Marines did for you what I never could, but at a cost.”

“Why did you stop talking to me?” he forced himself to ask.

“Because I didn’t know what to say to you without pushing you away again, Danny. I just…..,” he shook his head, looking away, “I just didn’t know what to say that would make what I did to you okay.”

“You didn’t do anything to me,” he said, sighing, because his father wasn’t to blame for how his life had turned out. “You were right. I was cocky and when I fucked up I acted like a spoiled brat and ran off, thinking that I was taking the easy way out with the Marines. They taught me a great deal and helped me grow up.”

“I still pushed you away,” his father said, looking tormented. “I never should have done that. I never should have done that…”

“Yes, you did, but so did I. We both fucked this up.”

His father raised his hand and laid it over his where it rested on Jodi’s hip. “I won’t make that mistake again,” his father promised, giving his hand a squeeze.

He opened his mouth to promise his father the same when the small woman in his arms cut him off.

“If you girls are done talking, I could really use a double chocolate donut.”

He looked up at his father just in time to catch the panicked expression on his face. “Oh, shit…….,” his father mumbled, swallowing nervously as he released his hand and stumbled back away from the bed as Danny sighed, resigning himself to the next twelve hours of hell with the woman that he loved.


Five Months Later………

“Do you need anything else?” she asked, absently rubbing her large belly.

Danny rolled his eyes playfully as he placed his hands on the wheels of his wheelchair and rolled away from the table. “I’m fine, Tinkerbelle.”

“Are you sure?” she asked, walking over to the refrigerator so that she could make sure that everything was within his reach. Once she’d made sure that he could reach the beer and soda to watch his game, she moved onto the counters and double-checked that he could reach all his favorite snacks.

“Tinkerbelle…..,” he said in a chiding tone with a touch of exasperation. “I’m fine. Go take your shower.”

She glanced around the large country kitchen of their new house and sighed at the stacks of boxes that she still needed to go through and nearly groaned. She should go through a few more of these boxes before she even thought about taking a shower, but she was just so tired. All she wanted to do was take a shower and curl up in bed and sleep for the next two days, but there was just too much to do.

They’d been back for almost two months, but it felt like only two days. It seemed like she’d been going non-stop since the moment that she came out of her drug induced haze. Danny had broken his back in three places and had needed around the clock care and two additional surgeries to fix everything. A week after her surgery to fix her hand, she’d made the choice to stay with him in Florida while he recovered.

She’d taken a leave of absence from work and prepared herself to be fired, but instead her boss had found a way for her to run the library from Florida and save her job. When she wasn’t sitting with Danny, holding his hand and trying to distract him from the pain, she was working and trying to fit in a few hours of sleep.

Thanks to her father and Danny’s father, she hadn’t had the additional stress of worrying about her bills, car or anything else. They’d even rented her a house down in Florida so that she could have a place to rest when she wasn’t at the hospital with Danny. They’d moved all of her things into Danny’s apartment, boxed up their stuff, taken care of their cars, made sure that all their bills were paid and even found an old colonial farmhouse that needed a lot of work. His father and Trevor bought the house and all the men in their family, including their cousins up in New Hampshire, had spent the next two and half months repairing the house, making it livable and handicap accessible for them.

When they’d discovered that she was pregnant a month into their stay down in Florida, they’d tripled their efforts. They’d made sure that there was always at least two people staying in the house with her at all times to help with Danny and to make sure that she was taken care of. Unfortunately, they hadn’t been able to do anything about the morning sickness.

Or the exhaustion…

The raging hormones………

The insatiable appetite……

The spontaneous crying…..

And about a hundred other problems that went along with pregnancy that managed to turn the men in his family into mother hens. They’d done their best to take care of her even those times when it was obvious that they wanted to run away screaming. They’d been great, but even with all of their help and babying, she’d still been exhausted and that hadn’t changed since Danny was released from the hospital.

If anything, she was even more exhausted now. It seemed like one minute she’d been helping Danny into his wheelchair and waiting for his discharge papers and the next he’d been kidnapping her with the help of his family, whisking her off to Nevada, sneaking her into Vegas and marrying her. From there he’d whisked her off for a honeymoon that had drained every last ounce of energy she’d had left, but it had been amazing.

After they’d finally come home, things had only become more hectic. They had a new house that needed to be organized and set up so that Danny could get around with his wheelchair. On top of that she was running the library, making sure that Danny made all of his appointments, running back and forth all day between the library and home to make sure that he was okay and trying to set things up for the babies.

She was just so tired.

“Go take a shower. I’m fine,” he told her with a reassuring smile.

“I’ll only be a few minutes,” she promised him, leaning down so that she could kiss his cheek. He shot her a wink as he pushed away with his wheelchair and rolled towards the living room, leaving her standing there, wondering if she should follow him to make sure that he had everything that he needed.

With a shake of her head, she forced herself to walk to their bedroom and strip her clothes off while she ignored the incredibly comfortable bed only a few feet away. A shower, she needed a shower and more importantly, a shower would help her wake up so that she could make a run to the store, pick up Danny’s medication, come home, make dinner, do the laundry and make something decent for Danny to have for lunch tomorrow before she helped him with his shower.

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