A couple of weeks after Stephen's birthday, the girls had their Valentines' Day dance at school. Their father was nervous about them going with dates but he made them promise not to do anything stupid. The girls were embarrassed because they thought he was going to give them a sex talk. Their parents spent a quiet evening at home with the baby while the girls were at their party. The boys dropped the twins off on time and Stephen breathed a sigh of relief when they got home.
For St. Patrick's Day, the girls' history teacher wanted to do something special, and knew that their parents were from Ireland, so he invited Caylin and Stephen to come to the school and talk about their homeland. Caylin and Ana made some traditional Irish foods and brought pictures from growing up in Ireland. Ana even spoke to the class on Irish history and the three of them gave the students a lesson in Gaelic. The twins were very proud that their classmates were impressed with their family and it made them proud of their heritage. Stephen promised to take them on a trip to Ireland for the summer so they could see firsthand where they came from.
Caylin was completely recovered from her illness and was doing great while Aidan was growing like a weed. She teased Stephen that their son was going to be a chunky baby like the girls were and like he was as a baby. When it was time for Mothers' Day, the girls made Caylin dinner and Stephen surprised her with flowers and a mother's ring made with all of their birthstones. Caylin was grateful how calm their lives had become and how perfect Stephen fit with all of them.
While school was out for the summer, the girls were enjoying living in Tampa. Caylin took them to the beach and on the days Stephen was off, he always took them places as a family. They played soccer and went to their cheerleading classes and their dad was still teaching them to drive. Caylin was nervous about it but realized she had to let them learn and grow up. She was pleased with how they were blossoming into beautiful young women and how much happier and satisfied they seemed now.
For Fathers' Day, the twins put together a scrapbook for their dad. Caylin took some of their old movies and had clips from the girls' birthday parties, dance and piano recitals, gymnastic meets, and Judo competitions put on a DVD for Stephen. He was thrilled and couldn't hide how much it touched him. He still sometimes couldn't believe the life he had now, with a family that loves him unconditionally. He was so grateful for the time he had with his wife and kids and his priorities had changed. Caylin put together a collage of the first six months and framed it for Drew with pictures of him with Aidan for the baby to give him. Drew had taken his promise to be a good godfather to the baby seriously and tried to spend time with Aidan when he could.
It was announced that Stephen would be competing in the Money in the Bank Ladder match that July. Caylin was scared for him, but the twins were excited. They wanted to go to Philadelphia to see it, but their mom refused. That Sunday, they gathered around the TV and ordered pizza to watch the pay-per-view. Caylin sat on the couch with Aidan in her lap and the girls lay down in the floor and waited for the match. They watched Stu in the first ladder match and Alli teased Andi when she got mad at Fandango, thinking he hurt him. Caylin rolled her eyes, not amused that Andi still had a little crush on Stu.
At the end, it was finally time for Stephen's match. They cheered him on and cringed as he took shots with the ladders. They yelled at RVD when he pushed the ladder right from under him. Caylin sat covering her eyes through most of it, afraid for her husband's safety. The twins got into watching their dad in the ring, always very proud of him even when he was losing. However, they were shocked and covered their eyes when CM Punk tried to pull Stephen's trunks down. When Daniel Bryan pushed him of the top rope and it broke in half, Andi and Alli both jumped up and screamed at the television, terrified that he was really injured.
Aidan started crying and Caylin tried to console him. "Shhh baby, Daddy is going to be okay." She grabbed her phone and called Drew, needing to know for sure how Stephen was. As soon as Drew heard his phone ring, he knew it was her.
"Hi sweetheart. Sorry to bother you but how is Ste?" she asked. The girls sat beside her and listened in.
"He is with the doc right now. He walked back here on his own power, so that is a good sign."
"Oh thank God. At least nothing is broken and he is conscious. You tell him to call me as soon as he can, okay?"
"I will, love."
"How is Stu?"
"Eh, he is fine. A little banged up but it happens in these kinds of matches."
"Okay, you give him our love."
"I will. Don't worry about Ste, lassie. He is a brawler and one of the toughest blokes I know. He will be alright."
"Thanks, Drew. You be good and we will see you when you get back home." He smiled and agreed, and told her goodbye before hanging up. He went to the trainers' area to find his best friend, and make sure he didn't just lie to his wife.
She put down the phone and breathed a sigh of relief. "Mama, what did Drew say?" Andi questioned.
"He said your dad walked to the back on his own and he is getting checked out right now."
"I hope he is okay, Mama," Alli said.
"I am sure he will be."
"Um, how is Stu?" Andi bashfully asked.
"He is fine, Andrea. Why don't you girls clean this up, okay? Your father will call us when he can." They nodded and cleaned up the mess in the living room, then sat quietly with Caylin watching Food Network until Stephen called.
When he was done with the doctor, he called his family. He told Caylin that he had a bruise on his leg and his entire left side hurt from hitting the ladder. "Ah am fecking banged up, love but Ah'll be fine. Doc says probably will have to stay off TV this week, but that Ah should be okay by next week. Ah will be home in the morning instead of Wednesday though."
"I am glad you are okay, baby. We were worried about you."
"Don't worry, Caylie. Tell me girls not to worry either. Ah need to go get in the shower. Let me call yeh when Ah get out of here, yeah?"
"Sure. I love you, Ste."
"Ah love yeh too." When he hung up, Drew was staring at him. "Why didn't you tell her how bad it really is, mate?"
"Ah don't want to worry her, fella. She worries enough as it is."
"Yeah and when she sees your leg, she will freak out."
"Ah hope the swelling will go down some and maybe Ah will feel better after a hot shower. My bloody arm is killing me more than me leg."
Stephen went to take a shower and Drew caught up with Stu to drive to the next city. Stephen took care of his flight home, getting one that left early the next morning. He went and got a room at a hotel near the airport and called Caylin back as soon as he settled in. He ordered room service and iced his thigh while they talked. A couple of hours later, she made him get off the phone and go to bed. That morning, he caught his flight and was met by his wife and son at the airport. She saw him walking towards her and he was limping. After they made it home, she put the baby back to sleep. She walked into their bedroom and Stephen was getting undressed. She saw his leg and gasped, "oh my God, Ste!"
"It's fine, love. Really. Just bruised."
"Just bruised? Stephen it is twice as big as the other one!"
"Ah know. But the doc said it is just a really deep bruise. Please, just come to bed and don't worry about me." She sighed and put her arms around him. "I was scared for you."
He squeezed her tightly and kissed her head, "Ah know and Ah am sorry." He felt bad that his family saw the fall and that they were upset. They got into bed and she pulled him against her. He laid his head on her chest and they went to sleep for a few hours before the twins woke them up. When they saw that their dad was home, they couldn't stop themselves from wanting to see him. They banged on their parents door, wanting to see for themselves that their father was okay.
He decided that they didn't need to see his leg like it looked so he wore sweatpants downstairs. The girls insisted on making him breakfast and bringing him coffee. He thought it was sweet of them, but hated that they felt they had to take care of him. He stayed home for the next week, the doctor not releasing him for competition.
After he had been back in the ring, he started having more pain in his shoulder. He thought it was just strained and needed some time to heal but after one of his matches, the pain was becoming worse. He was experiencing weakness in his arm and pain when he tried to move it. He told Caylin about it, and she urged him to tell the doctors. As soon as Dr. Sampson heard what was wrong, he made Stephen go for an MRI. The radiologist called him with the results and he pulled Stephen into the office. "Stephen, you have a glenoid labrum tear. It is the ligament that is around the glenohumeral joint or in laymen's terms where the bone in your arm joins with your shoulder blade and collar bone."
"What does that mean for me?"
"It means surgery to fix it."
"Are yeh sure that Ah have to have surgery? Ah can't just rehab it?"
"Afraid not. They will have to go in with a scope and repair the tear. I am putting in a call to Dr. Dugas and see how soon he can do it. You should go home for a few days and tell your wife. I will call you when I hear back."
"Okay, yeah, cheers." He left the office feeling depressed and wondering how he was going to tell his family. He called Caylin and told him he was coming back to Tampa on the first flight he could catch. She was concerned about him, but he promised he would tell her everything when he got home. He texted Drew and went back to the hotel to pack.
Once he made it back to their house, he sat Caylin and the twins down and told them he was going to have to have surgery. He relayed to them everything the doctor had said and told them he would know more when he spoke with the surgeon. He was trying to keep up a brave front, not wanting them to see how scared he was. He reassured them that everything would be fine, but he wanted to convince himself as well.
The next day, he got a call from the orthopedic surgeon. He explained the procedure and that he would probably have to be out of the ring for five or six months at least after a month in a sling. He told him they would schedule the surgery for the next day but that he wouldn't even have to spend the night in the hospital. He hung up the phone and went to tell his girls what was going on. The twins started to cry and he hugged them both. "Don't cry girls. It is a simple operation and yer dad will be good as new afterwards, yeah?" They sniffled and buried their faces in his shirt. Caylin called her parents and asked if they would stay with the kids while she went with Stephen. She took care of booking the flight and the hotel in Birmingham, not wanting Stephen to have to bother with it. Andi and Alli were mad that she wasn't letting them come too, but she was adamant about them not going.
Early in the morning, James and Ana showed up to take Caylin and Stephen to the airport. They said a tearful goodbye and Stephen kissed them both and his son before leaving. He was quiet on the plane, his mind elsewhere. They took a cab straight to the hospital and she waited with him while they prepped him for surgery. He was trying to stay positive and make jokes, even tweeting pictures of himself to his fans. Before it was time for him to go back, Caylin told him that she knew he would be okay. She could see he was scared and didn't want him to see how afraid she was too. She said a prayer for him, holding her rosary as they wheeled him away from her.
The operation lasted a couple of hours, and when he was in recovery, the nurse came and got her. She said that Stephen was doing fine and started to wake up and ask for her. She saw him lying there with his eyes closed and she went up to him, taking his hand. She thanked God that he was alright and sat with him until he woke up again. He was groggy and his eyes were glazed over, but he was in a good humor. He took a picture and tweeted it, letting people know he made it through. They kept him a couple of more hours before giving him a prescription and letting him go. By the time they walked out, he was awake but sore. They put his arm in an immobilizer to keep him from moving it. They took a taxi to the pharmacy and then on to the hotel. Caylin ordered them food and gave him a pain pill. He didn't want to complain and seem weak to her but she could see he was hurting. She put him to bed and held his head, stroking his face as he slept. She kissed his forehead and whispered to him, "you'll always my hero, Ste."
He slept most of the night, only waking up a few times to go to the bathroom. The only time she left him was to take a bath. The next day, they flew back to Florida and her parents took them back home. The girls were home with the baby, and their eyes lit up when they saw their dad. They ran to him, but hugged him gingerly, not wanting to hurt him. Andi told him, "just sit down, Daddy. We made lunch. We will bring you some, right Al?"
"Right. Do you want something to drink? We will get you whatever you want."
He grinned at the both of them, proud they wanted to take care of him. He really didn't want them making such a fuss, but he looked in their eyes and saw their need to do it. "Cheers, girls. Ah am starving, so go ahead. And Ah would love a Mountain Dew."
They giggled and nodded, running to the kitchen. He sat back on the couch and lightly smiled at his wife. Aidan crawled over and Caylin picked him up. "See baby, Daddy is fine." She sat down beside him and he leaned over to kiss his son. She chuckled "your daughters are not going to let you lift a finger till you are well, you know that don't you?"
Stephen nodded and smiled, "Ah don't want them to, but yeah Ah see it. They seemed so happy to want to do things for me, Ah couldn't tell them Ah'm not hungry. Ah am very blessed to have all yeh in my life and that my girls love me so much too."