A/N: I just want to say thank you one more time to everybody who reviewed and supported this story. I have enjoyed writing this story as much as all you have enjoyed reading it. I hope you all will read the sequels. Now, it's been a long time, but here is the ending to Unforeseen Events.
The smell of Lysol and disinfectant filled her nose as she walked down the hospital corridor. She followed the directions the nurse at the main desk had given her. She wasn't exactly sure what she was going to say once she got to his room, but she just knew she had to see him. Suze turned one more corner, her steps noticeably slowing. She didn't know how he was going to react to seeing her, whether he was going to be his usual self or….
Suze shook her head, clearing away that thought. 318...319...320...321... She stopped outside room 322, preparing herself to go in. Suze peeked in through the window in the door. He was lying in the hospital bed, the bed sheets pulled up to his waist so that she could see that his chest was bare and he had a thick bandage taped to his chest. His blue eyes were focused on the small television mounted to the ceiling, so he didn't seem to notice her looking through the window.
She turned away from the window, feeling the start of tears build behind her eyes. It has been about a day since the hostage crisis, but everything still seemed so fresh in her mind. Suze was released just this morning with her mother and Jesse both escorting her, more like hovering. She had been stable enough when they got to the hospital that she was rushed straight into surgery. They got the bullet out of her leg, but she also had to have a blood transfusion since she lost a lot of blood.
Taking a deep breath, Suze touched the door handle and pushed the door open slowly. The door squeaked a little bit against the white tile floor, breaking his concentration from the news program on the TV. He smiled when he saw her, turned the volume down, then tossed the remote onto the food tray on the side of the bed.
"Hi," Suze greeted, softly. She limped closer, stopping at the foot of the bed.
"Hey," Paul croaked, then cleared his voice. "I wasn't expecting to see you, though I was hoping you'd stop by." He hoisted himself up further against the pillows, grunting a little from the tightening of his stitches in his chest. "Hey, you shouldn't be standing. Sit down."
As Suze looked him over, she was reminded of how everything that Paul had done and been through the other day was for her. "I'm feeling a lot better," Suze replied, sitting on the edge of the bed. She stretched her leg out. "It's just a little stiff."
"I'm sorry," Paul said, after watching her for a few minutes. "I thought I had a good aim on him, and then he moved-"
"No, this is not all your fault," Suze told him, "You kept telling me to go and I was being stubborn. I just didn't want to leave you there with him by yourself."
"It's not just that; it's the whole thing," Paul explained. He leaned his head back on the pillow. After a minute, he picked his head back up and looked at her. "The only reason that Diego took that whole lobby hostage is because I was arrogant enough to think no one would be able to get those pages from that vault. I should have just burned them."
"Don't put this all on yourself," Suze replied, "You couldn't have predicted that Diego was going to do this. You did everything you could and more to give everyone of those hostages a chance to survive. Paul, you volunteered to stay behind so that the others could go free."
"It's nice to know you think so highly of me," Paul smirked, but it was a small one.
"It's the truth," Suze told him.
They fell into silence after that. Suze fiddled with a loose thread on the blanket as she avoided Paul's gaze. She could feel him staring at her. She began to feel self-conscious, remembering how Paul had revealed his feelings for her the other day. Suze was suddenly unsure if this was a really good idea. She didn't want him to get the wrong idea about her coming here; she needed to set things straight.
"Paul, you should know-" Suze began.
Paul held his hand up to stop her. "You don't need to say anything; I already know," he told her. His throat was dry, so he had to take a drink of water from the cup on the table before he could continue. "Suze, I just had to say all of that. I wanted you to know how I felt, so that maybe you wouldn't hate me. Now, I know you love Jesse and you're going to be with him. I don't want to screw that up, so I'm going…."
"What are you-"
"No, I've thought this through," Paul interrupted her. "I'm going to Seattle after I get out of here, see my parents and my brother. I'm going to need some time to figure out what I'm going to do."
"Are you sure?" Suze asked.
Paul nodded, "I'm about 95% sure. I have to do this."
Suze nodded as well. Glancing at the clock on the wall, she stood up. "I should actually go," Suze said. As a last-minute thought, she leaned down and gave Paul a hug. It surprised him at first, but he returned the hug. "I do care about you," Suze whispered to him, "Take care."
She pulled back, and gave him one last smile. Suze turned toward the door. Paul watched as she walked away and disappeared out of sight. He leaned his head back with a sigh. It was hard to watch her go, but he knew that he had to.
"We are really happy to have Emily get into this school."
Douglas sat at his desk in his office in the Alternative High School for Gifted Students. A man wearing a pressed light blue shirt and black pants and a woman in a rose-colored sweater dress with small black high-heeled boots sat across from him. A teenage girl sat between them. She was a bit more casual in black skinny jeans, a red-and-white-striped knit top, and red ballet flats. The Pierces had just moved to town, and had heard about the school.
"Well, the semester has only just started and from her records, she should have no problem catching up in her classes," Douglas said, closing Emily's file and placing it aside. "I'll talk to her teachers and have her schedule ready for her on Monday."
"Thank you so much," Emily smiled, standing up alongside her parents. They took turns shaking Douglas' hand.
"Yes, thank you," Mrs. Pierce repeated, thanking him with deep sincerity.
Douglas escorted them to the door. "We're happy to have Emily here," Douglas told them. "AHS is a great school, and I know she'll have a great experience here. See you on Monday." He smiled at the couple and their daughter once more, and closed the door behind them as they left his office.
He walked back to his desk and fell into the chair with a sigh. Douglas had decided to come back to work to keep things normal. To put the whole hostage crisis in the past. It has helped a lot, except in times when there isn't a lot to do. It starts to creep back in, and soon he's calling Tasha to check on her. The doctors released her from the hospital with strict instructions to stay on bed rest.
Needing something to do, he busied himself with Emily's file. She was fifteen and entering the sophomore class. He placed her file in the cabinet with the rest of the sophomore students. Douglas, then, logged on to his computer, and pulled up the sophomore classes and teachers. Normally, this would be a task for the guidance counselor, but his guidance counselor was at home recuperating from a gunshot wound.
He was halfway through setting up Emily's schedule when his office phone began ringing. Douglas finished typing, and picked up the phone.
"Alternative High School, Principal Mastriani speaking," Doug said into the receiver.
"You're so formal when you're in work mode," came the reply, in the sweet, beautiful voice he recognized.
Douglas leaned back in his chair, a smile spreading upon his face. "You are supposed to be resting," he told her, "There better be a medical reason for this call."
"I am resting, I'm on the couch right now," Tasha laughed. Her laugh rang through the phone, singing to his soul. "I'm actually going through some paperwork for the school and I-"
"Hey, you're not supposed to be working," Douglas scolded her.
"Shush, you're going to be happy I am," Tasha explained, sobering up. "I found this paper that was sent to us during the…." She trailed off.
A silence fell as they both knew what she was about to say. Douglas couldn't help the horrible images that flooded his mind. Tasha being shot; her lying on that couch, bleeding. Jess provoking the ring leader at every turn. Mike getting shot.
"Anyway," Tasha continued, bringing him back to the present. "It says that we're losing money for the school. With the city splitting money between the regular schools and this one, we're not getting as much as we need. Dougie, I'm afraid we might lose the school."
Douglas had sat up straighter, his elbow leaning on the desk. "We are not going to lose the school," he assured her. "We just need to figure out a way to raise money."
"You make it sound so simple," Tasha said.
"Because it is that simple," Douglas replied, "All we need is an idea, and I'm sure we can get the students and teachers to help us with the rest of the stuff."
"You really want to do this?" Tasha asked him. She could hear his enthusiasm through the phone, and the more she thought about it, the more she thought it could work. Then, an idea came to her and it just started building from there.
"I know what we can do," Tasha said, happily. "A carnival."
The doctor's office was not that crowded. It held one other couple, the woman in her early stages of her pregnancy. There was a woman with short brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, with a five-year-old little girl, who ran to her every five minutes to wipe her nose. Lastly, there was a young woman with a baby girl in an infant carrier. Adam and CeeCee were among them, awaiting their last appointment before the babies come.
"Are you nervous?" Adam asked. He was leaning forward, with his elbows resting on his knees.
"A little," CeeCee admitted, resting her hands on top of her belly. She was about as comfortable as she could get with her belly bulging out in front of her. "Mostly, I'm just hungry."
Adam laughed. "We'll go get something for lunch after this, okay?" he suggested.
CeeCee nodded, watching as the door to the examination rooms opened. She was hoping it was her doctor, but a nurse came out and called for the five-year-old. The girl and her mother followed the nurse down the hall and the door shut with a click.
"We should be next," Adam guessed, seeing her disappointment.
"I hope so," CeeCee said, "I'm getting restless; I'm so excited."
Adam leaned close to her, his hand sliding on to her leg, to whisper in her ear. "Just a few more weeks," he said, pushing her white blond hair behind her ear
CeeCee smiled at the thought of seeing her babies in just a few weeks. It was hard to imagine that they'll be here physically as opposed to being inside her. One of the twins kicked on her left side. She rubbed the spot, thinking that that one has been active all morning while the other has been quiet.
Adam's hand brushed hers on the spot of her belly where the baby had kicked. She laced their fingers together as Adam leaned closer to kiss her. Before they could, however, they heard the squeak of a door opening and CeeCee's name called.
Adam smiled at her, and helped her to her feet. Together, they walked over to the doctor and followed her down the hall. The doctor made small talk with them as they walked. "So, how are you feeling?" Dr. Ellie Grove asked.
"Uh, excited, nervous," CeeCee answered, "Maybe a little bit anxious."
Dr. Grove smiled. They reached the room, and the doctor held the door open, ushering them inside. She instructed CeeCee to sit up on the bed. Adam sat down on the stool next to her. Dr. Grove, then, proceeded to give CeeCee a thorough check-up. She had to check to make sure CeeCee was in good health going into the birth.
"Okay, now let's take a look at the babies," Dr. Grove announced, pulling the ultrasound cart over.
Adam took CeeCee's hand, and they both smiled at each other before turning to the doctor. CeeCee pulled her shirt up, revealing her belly so that the doctor could do the procedure. The ultrasound machine was on and ready. Ellie squirted the cold goop on CeeCee's belly, then she began moving the wand around her belly.
It took several minutes for the doctor to locate one of the twins. When she did, she pointed to the screen for CeeCee and Adam. "Here is baby one, right over here," Ellie pointed out, "He looks to be in a good position. His head is facing down toward the birth canal."
Dr. Grove grew quiet again as she searched for the other twin. CeeCee tried to ignore the sudden fear that was gnawing at her. It was taking the doctor longer to find the second one than it did for the first one. What if something happened? Did something happen due to the trauma she was in two days ago that was just showing up now? She didn't want to have those thoughts, but they kept attacking her. The concern on Dr. Grove's face was scaring her the most.
CeeCee felt a pressure on her hand, and squeezed Adam's hand back. She knew he was feeling the same way, but wasn't showing it. "Is anything wrong?" she asked, though not really sure if she wanted to know the answer.
Ellie didn't look at her right away. "Maybe if I…." she trailed off, murmuring to herself. She turned the wand and moved it again. Dr. Grove soon let out a deep breath; though, CeeCee didn't know if it was relief or not. "Ok, here we go," Ellie said.
"Is everything okay?" CeeCee repeated.
"Yes, everything is fine," Dr. Grove reported, "I am sorry if I scared you. I couldn't find baby 2. She's hiding behind her brother."
CeeCee nodded, releasing the breath she didn't know she was holding.
"There is one small concern," Ellie explained, "It's nothing to really worry about, but it could become an issue during the delivery. Baby 2 is in the wrong position; she is feet first instead of head first. Now, there is still time for her to turn around so I'm not really worried."
"All you need to know is that you have two very healthy babies."
Adam and CeeCee looked at each other in relief and anticipation.
"Home sweet home," Rob said as he pulled the truck into the driveway. "It's weird, but I didn't think I would see this place again."
"I know exactly how you feel," Jess agreed, "After everything that has happened, we can come back here, away from that place and all its' bad memories. We can put it all in the past and move on."
Rob looked over at her and smiled. "We have a good reason to move on," he added. His hand came up and rested on her flat stomach. Jess put her hand on top of his.
They had just come from the doctor's office for their first appointment. It was just to confirm the pregnancy, check how far along Jess was (6 weeks), and get an estimate of when the baby will be due (September 5). The doctor gave Jess her prenatal vitamins, and also told them what to expect in the first trimester.
Rob kissed her, cupping her face between his hands. It wasn't that long, but it was still a sweet, tender moment after all the heartache they've been through in the last few days. They finally got out of the truck, and Jess began walking to the house.
"I'm just going to check on things in the barn," Rob told her, pecking her on the cheek before letting go of her hand.
"Okay, but don't take too long," Jess replied, pecking his lips. "You can start the work again tomorrow." Jess walked away after that, muttering something about being hungry.
Rob made his way to the barn that he had converted into a motorcycle repair shop. He had told Jess that he wanted to check on things, make sure the bikes were in order for when his customers came to pick them up. It was true. But, actually, he really just wanted some time alone to think about things. Opening the door, Rob walked in and wandered over to his workbench.
He had never really thought about children before. They were always just a faint, faraway thought. However, with Jess, he kind of liked the idea of a child with a little bit of each of them running around. It brought a smile to his face when he thought about it.
A son he could teach things to….
"Here, daddy." A small voice called to him. Rob looked down to see a four-year-old little boy handing him a wrench. The boy had brown hair that fell over his eyes a little bit, and he had Jess's eyes. He had a big smile on his face, like he enjoyed helping his daddy work on the bikes. "Daddy, when we done, can we go for a ride?"
Rob blinked and the image disappeared. Another image replaced it. A little girl who would look up at him with stars in her eyes….
"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" A little girl came bounding around the corner, her long dark hair flying behind her and her blue eyes shining. She stopped in front of him, a big smile on her face. "Do you like my new dress?" She spun and twirled in front of him, giggling the whole time. Rob couldn't help but laugh with her.
The daydream winked out, but Rob still had the image of the two children in his mind. He was still thinking about them as he organized his work.
Inside the house,
Jess busied herself with making herself an omelet. In her time alone, she was thinking about the baby. She may be the one carrying him or her, but it's all because of Rob that it is alive. If he hadn't had sent her out of the lobby when he did, then she would have been caught in the explosion and who knew what would have happened. Jess only wondered that if she had warned the police sooner, maybe the explosion wouldn't have happened.
She sighed, pouring the mixture into the skillet. It made a sound like gunfire when it hit the heat. Everybody stay where you are! This is a robbery, cooperate and it will all be over in five minutes! She recalled the haunting voice so clearly that it was like he was right behind her. She knew he wasn't, but it's hard to forget something as big as a hostage crisis.
When the omelet was done, Jess turned the stove off and flipped the omelet onto a plate. She cleaned the skillet off and stuck it in the dishwasher. She cleaned up the rest of the stuff before she started on her omelet.
The phone rang just as she was wiping her hands off, and about to pour herself a glass of orange juice. She picked up the phone, sitting down at the table. "Hello?" Jess said into the receiver.
"Is this Jessica Mastriani?" a deep, matter-of-fact voice asked.
"Actually, it's Wilkins, I'm mar-" Jess corrected, but she was interrupted.
"Miss Mastriani, my name is George Hannigan," the man explained to her, "As the result of Dr. Cyrus Krantz's death, I will be taking over your case. Your valiant escape from the Sterling Star Hotel in Carmel, California is all over the news, and we-"
"I'm sorry, but you've been misinformed," Jess interrupted. Her heart was pounding; she thought this part of her life was over. "I don't work-"
"Save your excuses, miss," George replied, "I will see you Monday at our municipal building at 10:00 a.m." The phone clicked and the conversation was over.
All the color drained from her face, and her blood ran cold. She stared down at her plate, not even hungry anymore. This couldn't be happening. Not now. Not ever again. The front door opened, then closed. Rob's footsteps could be heard in the entryway, but she didn't get up. She just kept replaying that phone conversation in her head over and over again.
"Jess?" Rob called. She could hear him coming closer. Her eyes were wide and she was still pale, plus she hadn't touched her food. He was instantly going to know something was wrong.
She was right. Rob came into the kitchen, stopping in the doorway. His smile vanished as he gave her a good long look. He rushed over to her, kneeling down next to her chair.
"What's wrong? Are you okay?" Rob asked her, worry evident in his voice. His hand touched her stomach as he looked up at her. Jess knew that he thought something was wrong with the baby. She put her hand on top of his, and tried to give him a reassuring smile. It didn't work out that well.
Jess finally found her voice. Though, what came out was just her confirming the truth. "The government is after me again."
Suze arrived back at her apartment late in the afternoon. Originally, she and CeeCee had been roommates, then CeeCee and Adam bought a house about a month after they were married. Now, Gina has become her unofficial roommate since the hostage crisis. It was a small two-bedroom apartment, but it was nice and cozy, though.
She slid her key into the lock, turned it, and opened the door. She'd taken to locking the door whether she was coming or going. It probably wouldn't stopped an armed man, but it made her feel safer. After the hostage crisis, well, it's understandable. Suze set her keys and stuff down on the table, and limped into the living room, where Gina was lounging on the couch flipping through the channels. Her leg felt a lot better; she didn't feel any pain, but if she walked too long, particularly up and down stairs, the stitches began to ache.
Gina set the remote down on the end table, the TV stopping on a channel with an unknown movie playing. She scooted over, making room on the couch for Suze. "How are you feeling?" Gina asked.
"I'm feeling really good," Suze replied," My leg is just a little sore."
Gina nodded. "How did your visit with Paul go?" she asked, "You don't look upset, so was everything okay?"
"Yes, actually, it went very well," Suze explained, pulling her legs up on the couch and faced her best friend. "He looked a lot better than when they first brought him in. I think he's being released tomorrow. He's going back to Seattle." She said the last part quietly.
Gina place her bottle of water on the table after taking a drink. "Really?" She glanced at the television, furrowed her brow at it, then turned back to Suze.
"I think he finally gets that I love Jesse and my feelings are not going to change," Suze said. She looked down at the couch. "I just feel bad about him leaving. He's leaving, because he doesn't want to see me with Jesse."
"Suze, he needs time to get over you. I mean, you are a hard person to get over," Gina joked, laughing so to lighten the mood.
It worked. Suze laughed along with her. "You're right. I don't seem to hate him since the whole hostage crisis. I saw a different side of him then," she mused, "I'm happy we parted on good terms, though." They both lapsed into silence. After a minute or two, Suze stood up, testing her leg for soreness.
"What do you feel like for dinner?" Suze wondered. The sun was beginning to set as she walked to the kitchen.
"Oh, I almost forgot," Gina suddenly said. "Jesse called while you were out. He wants to take you to dinner, and he said he would like you to wear that black dress with the silver belt."
Suze turned back around. "Did he say what time he was picking me up?" she asked.
"No, actually, he didn't. he was really vague about everything, except for the dress, that is," Gina responded. She turned back to the TV. "What is this?" she said, with exasperation. Suze could hear Gina begin flipping through the channels again as she walked to her bedroom.
An hour later, Suze was showered and dressed in the dress that Jesse had requested she wear. The dress was black with one strap and a ruffle going all the around the top. The whole thing fell to just about at her knees and had a silver belt cinched at the waist. She finished putting on her earrings and make-up, and had just picked up her hairbrush when there was a knock on the door. Crap, she thought, that couldn't be Jesse already.
"Gina, can you get that?" Suze called out to her best friend. She began brushing her hair, it falling in waves.
"I'm up to my elbows in pizza cheese here," Gina called back. Suze could hear her moving around in the kitchen.
"Gina, please, your frozen pizza can wait a minute while you open the door," Suze pleaded, "Please, that could be Jesse."
"Alright, alright, but if my pizza burns while I'm talking to your boyfriend," Gina threatened, but Suze heard the joking in her voice. Suze heard Gina shuffle over to the door in her Uggs and the sound of the door opening. She heard an intake of breath and a low 'wow'. "Suze! Get out here!"
"Gina, I'm still getting-" Suze stopped when she stepped out of her room and saw her friend holding a bouquet of red roses. "What is this?"
"Guess who's being all romantic," Gina teased, handing over the flowers. "There's a card in there somewhere."
Suze was smiling as she walked over and took the roses. She inhaled their sweet fragrance, and then saw the card sticking out of the top. She plucked it out and opened it.
Meet me at the place where we first met in twenty minutes. I'll be waiting.
Smiling, Suze quickly placed the roses in a vase of water and then ran off to put on her short, black heeled boots. She sprayed a little perfume on and ran the brush one more time through her hair. She said goodbye to Gina, and left the apartment.
About twenty-five minutes later, Suze was pulling into the driveway at her mother and stepfather's house. She gasped at the sight that met her eyes as she pulled in. There were candles lit up all over the porch, and, upon further inspection, rose petals were strewn all over the yard. Suze saw someone leaning up against the porch railing, who straightened up when he saw her coming.
She pulled the car to a stop and turned it off. She sat there, admiring the scene. Jesse, looking like he just stepped out of a fairytale, was watching her. He wore a crisp white shirt, tucked into a pair of pressed black pants. He smiled when he saw her.
Suze got out of the car, and started up the walkway to Jesse, smoothing her dress down. Jesse's smile got bigger as his gaze slid over her, taking all of her in. "I was starting to get worried. I didn't think you were coming," Jesse admitted. Then, he added in a whisper, "You're so beautiful."
Suze grinned, looking down as she made the final steps toward him. "You look amazing," Suze breathed, looking up into his chocolate brown eyes. "What is all this?" She gestured all around them.
"I've been planning this for a while," Jesse explained, taking her hands in his. "And, after all that has happened, I'm even more sure." Jesse paused, taking a deep breath. He continued, "Susannah, from the first moment I saw you up in that room, there was something about you that made me want to know you. Your beauty, your passion, the way you don't back down from anything, all has played a role in the way I feel about you. I love you, querida."
Suze's eyes were filling up with tears listening to Jesse. She squeezed his hands and continued to listen to Jesse speak his heart. "When I learned that you were being held hostage in that hotel lobby by a group of armed men, I have never felt that scared. I thought I was losing you," Jesse's voice broke, and he had to pause to collect himself again. "I never want to feel that way again, but I know that just shows how much in love I am with you."
Suze let out a quiet gasp as she watched what Jesse did next. Jesse slid something out of his pocket, and then he dropped down to one knee.
"Susannah, querida, I love you now and I'll love you forever," Jesse proposed, his eyes glistening and showing all of his love. "I want you by my side. I want to wake up every morning with you next to me and know that you're mine."
Jesse took a deep breath and held up a beautiful diamond ring. "Susannah, will you marry me?"
Suze smiled, a stray tear slipping down her cheek. "I had no idea," she whispered, wiping at the tear, "I love you so much." She looked down at Jesse. He had just poured out his heart and soul, and was awaiting her answer. Suze took his hands, pulling him to his feet. "Yes," she whispered, then a little louder, "Yes, I will marry you."
Jesse's face lit up like the night sky. Suze stretched out her left hand, allowing Jesse to slip the ring on her finger. After that, he pulled her against him and kissed her. Their arms slid around each other as they kissed passionately. Jesse leaned his forehead against hers, and looked into her beautiful emerald eyes.
"I love you," Suze whispered.
"Te amo, querida," Jesse whispered back, "For better or for worse."
A/N: Well, that's it. This is the end. I have loved writing this story all the way through to end, and I hope you guys have loved reading it. Now, I know some of the characters were left with a few dilemmas. To see what happens to Jess and her friends and family, look out for the sequel, Starting Over. If you'd like to see Suze and Jesse's wedding, keep an eye out for that sequel, A New Future. At last, please review this story one last time.