Well, I guess I have an apology to make guys.
I'm SO sorry for leaving this for so long before updating. I wasn't expecting to get so deeply drawn down the Seven Billion rabbit hole. But, now that's done and I'm off work until July 12th, I'm back... YAY!
Let's pick up where we left off last time, shall we?
PS: Thanks for your reviews.
Chapter Sixteen: Shattered Dreams
"Rachel!" Eddie called upon his return.
His timing was impeccable, for he returned minutes after Rachel and Melissa's latest row concluded. No response came forth and Eddie's blood to run cold, his worst fears being realised. He bounded upstairs, almost reeling backwards upon seeing Rachel in a heap some three-quarters of the way up. "Melissa!" he bellowed, "what the Hell happened?"
Melissa didn't respond. It was as if she'd never heard Eddie speak. She remained rooted to the spot, unable to comprehend what had transpired. "Melissa!" he bellowed again, "what happened?"
At last, Melissa shook herself out of her trance, "I don't know," she lied, "one minute we were talking and the next… she just fell."
Eddie scoffed, "she can't have 'just fallen'. Did she faint, fall, or what?"
"I don't know," she repeated the lie once more.
Eddie sighed, "have you at least called an ambulance?" he asked. Melissa's silence spoke volumes, "fucking Hell."
At that, Eddie reached for his phone and called an ambulance, "did Rachel not tell you she's pregnant too?" he questioned after making the call.
"If she loses this baby, I'll never forgive you."
"I did nothing wrong."
"So you reckon. You should have called an ambulance as soon as Rachel fell. If your stupidity in delaying has consequences…"
"Have you thought about how this might affect our baby?"
Eddie rolled his eyes. Typical Melissa. Seizing upon the awful situation and twisting it, so the focus was on her. "At this present moment, my priority is Rachel and our baby, not you and yours."
"Spare me, I'm not falling for that."
"It's the truth."
"You couldn't tell the truth if your life depended on it," Eddie spat, "just go, Melissa."
For once, Melissa obeyed. She passed Eddie and descended the remaining stairs, leaving without a backward glance.
Eddie sunk to his knees, then leant over to press a firm kiss to her temple. "Please don't leave me, darling. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. How can I do that without you?"
Before Rachel, he'd not classed himself a hugely emotional man. An avalanche of emotions washed over him upon realising this would be the third time in just over a year that Rachel's life sat in the balance. The sudden swell of emotions made Eddie realise how dependant he was on her for his happiness. Rachel pulled through the previous two incidents; with her fighting spirit, he hoped this third one wouldn't finish her.
Relief flooded Eddie as the paramedics arrived, bringing respite from an unpleasant daydream.
"What have we got?"
"Rachel Mason, thirty-nine years old. I think she fell down the stairs, I didn't see what happened, hasn't regained consciousness since," Eddie explained. At that point, a surge of anger pulsed through his veins. If Melissa hadn't been so cagey, he'd have a clearer idea of what had happened. That was his big guess, "and she's pregnant."
"How far along?"
"About ten weeks."
"OK, let's get her to A&E, we'll be able to run the necessary tests and carry out an ultrasound scan on the baby."
"They'll be OK, won't they?"
An understanding look crossed the paramedic's face. She wished she could promise that; however, it wasn't in her power to say either way. "We'll do our best for both of them, they're in safe hands."
Eddie exhaled a breath, reassured by the paramedic's words. Her colleague brought the spinal board and lifted Rachel onto it together, strapping her into place. An immense sense of relief overcame Eddie as he thought about Phillip, relief that the lad hadn't witnessed the incident. With everything he'd been through since Melissa abandoned him, he didn't need this burden too. Eddie decided he'd call Phillip from the hospital once they had the facts. There was no sense in bothering the lad while Rachel's condition remained unknown. "Are you coming with us?" the male paramedic asked.
Eddie nodded before following as they transported Rachel down the stairs and out onto the driveway. He locked the front door and watched as they loaded her in. Eddie climbed in after sprinting down the drive. The vehicle soon sped away.
A&E staff and doctors took over Rachel's care upon arrival. The doctor in charge told Eddie they'd come and find him when they had news. Afterwards, they took Rachel away to complete the tests and an ultrasound on the baby. Eddie could do nothing for them now. He wished otherwise. All he could do was wait, worry and hope that they'd both be OK.
Eddie dropped into the nearest chair, holding his head in his hands, wondering how and why Rachel had ended up in this state. He questioned absent-mindedly whether Melissa was to blame. He didn't think she had it in her, but would surprise him. Having her turn up on their doorstep several months pregnant was not in his plan for his and Rachel's future. If the baby was his, as she claimed, then he'd have to step up and take responsibility. However, doing so would jeopardise his relationship with Rachel. She wouldn't want to carry on their relationship once her niece or nephew arrived. That wasn't a matter Eddie dare dwell on, Rachel needed him now more than ever.
After tiring of sitting still, Eddie rose and paced the hospital corridors, getting himself more and more worked up at the lack of updates. He presumed that a lack of updates meant terrible news, but now Eddie had entered the vicious circle of negative thoughts, there was no escaping. Not knowing what was happening to his partner and their unborn child broke Eddie's heart. He couldn't imagine living the rest of his life without Rachel. Aside from Michael and now Phillip, she was the most important person in it. As the love of his life, she meant everything to him. Life without her seemed meaningless. Rachel Mason was one of a kind.
A while later, a female doctor came out to speak to Eddie. Her name badge read Dr Janine Glaister, "how is she? What's happened?" he asked, firing off questions in order of priority.
"Miss Mason was fortunate," Jasmine explained, "her CT scan came back clear, so we're confident there'll be no lasting damage from her fall. She'll be sore for a few days, and she's sustained mild concussion, so we'd like to keep her in at least overnight to monitor that."
Eddie found it worrying that as yet, Janine had not mentioned their unborn child. He sensed terrible news was afoot, "what about the baby?" he questioned.
When Janine didn't answer straight away, he realised where this conversation was heading, "Miss Mason's suffered a miscarriage, we couldn't find a heartbeat when we did the ultrasound."
Eddie's stomach dropped as he took in the doctor's words. He dropped into the nearest seat and put his head in his hands. Janine stood back, allowing him a few moments to take in the shattering news. "Miss Mason's asking for you," she added.
Eddie raised his head and rose, following the doctor along the corridor until she stopped outside the room where Rachel was being looked after. "I'll give you two some space for now, but I'll be back later to discuss where we go from here," Janine informed him.
"Thanks," Eddie murmured in response.
He quietly pushed open the door as Janine left. The sight that greeted him upon entering broke his heart. Rachel sat up in her hospital bed, dressed in the uncomfortable gown. Her head rested against her knees, one hand upon her stomach; Eddie heard her sobs of anguish from the doorway. He crossed the room to join her, sitting upon the edge of the bed. Rachel glanced up from her hunched position as the mattress dipped. Her gaze met his, eyes red raw from all the tears she'd shed since Janine told her she'd lost their baby. "Eddie, I'm so sorry," Rachel cried as he enfolded her in an embrace.
Eddie's emotions were already on shaky ground, but Rachel's words took them closer to the brink. "Sweetheart, what have you got to be sorry for?" he queried, pressing a firm kiss to the top of her head.
"For insisting you left Melissa and I to talk, I didn't know she'd be so hostile. This is all my fault, I provoked her. One minute we were arguing and the next…"
Eddie's hold tightened, deciding there and then to ensure no more harm came to Rachel. Their unborn child had already paid the ultimate price for Melissa's selfishness and hostility. He had to protect Rachel from the same fate. Again, Eddie pressed a kiss into her hair as she cried against him; her tears soaked his t-shirt, but he didn't care. He wanted to ensure Rachel had, for the time being, cried herself out before releasing her. Neither knew how long they stayed that way, wrapped in the other's embrace, but Eddie didn't release Rachel until her tears had subsided. "Eddie," she murmured.
"Please tell me we'll be OK."
Eddie's body stiffened, and he realised Rachel felt it, her own hold tightening at the same time. "I can't promise that everything will be OK immediately, sweetheart. What I can promise though is that we'll be OK eventually, we're a partnership Rachel, an unstoppable force when we're together. This whole situation… it's just another obstacle, we'll get there, we always do."
Eddie sensed that his words had alleviated Rachel's apparent concerns. Her hold loosened as she tucked herself into his side.
At that moment, Eddie didn't know how they'd overcome the most significant test to their relationship, he just knew they had to. Losing Rachel because of all this wasn't an option.
Please keep the reviews coming guys, I really appreciate reading them.
I think I'll go hide away and edit the next chapter :p