Phil was shocked and relieved to find Janet fast asleep on his sofa, curled up, snoring softly. He wondered if Eddie knew she was home, hoping he did. His freak out over her being gone was good for no one. Pizza Girl bounded down the stairs, full of vim and vigor ready to start the day, calling out Phil's name. He tried to shush her, but her voice echoed through the house. Janet was already stirring.
"Hey guys." She grumbled, stretching slightly, pulling down her tee-shirt the rose up over her growing belly. Phil could help but look and smile. After listening to Eddie talking about Janet and the baby all night, Phil began to wonder what it would be like to have a baby with Emily.
"Sorry Janet, I didn't know you were sleeping here. Hell we didn't even know you were back did we Philly?" He nodded no, and put his arm over Pizza Girls shoulder.
"No problem. I needed to get up anyway" Janet sat up and pulled the blanket around her rubbing the sleep from her eyes. "This sofa is comfortable I see why you guys always end up sleeping down here."
"Are you hungry?" Phil asked wanting to be useful. Janet thought for a second, waiting to see if the morning sickness came. Pleased when it didn't.
"Actually Phil I am starving, I think the last thing I ate was ice cream."
"I can make some Eggs and toast."
"That sounds perfect thank you." Phil shuffled off to the kitchen and Pizza Girl sat on the sofa next to Janet pulling on her covers. Janet laughed and threw them over Pizza Girls legs.
"I hate the a/c but you know Phil he hates to be hot... So I am glad you came back. Eddie he kinda flipped out last night."
"Yeah, I wasn't sure if i should come back , but here I am."
"What happened? I mean everything was fine and then BAM!"
"Since everything went down with Matt, Eddie has just been pushing me away. I bet you knew about the house on Jefferson before I did right?" Pizza Girl couldn't hide the look in her eye and nodded solemnly "See, he talks to everyone but me. He is unbelievable."
"I think he is just watching out for you, he loves you and he wants to keep you safe. Safe from pain, disappointment..."
"Yeah well in his efforts to avoid it he actually causes it. I worry that he will realize that his life was way easier before we got together. That all I have managed to do in these few short months is ruin his life."
"Janet that is crazy..."
"Really think about it. Before me, he had a new girl every week, no muss no fuss, he had his freedom, now he has to deal with me, and all my baggage and then a baby, a baby that isn't even h..." Janet caught herself, for the first time since the lie began Janet almost slipped "here yet, but is coming before we know it. And then if all of that wasn't enough Matt."
"Janet he loves you, when you love someone all the bull shit and trials don't matter. Look at me and Phil, i have had to over look a ton of his crap to be with him but I love him. You have had to put up with your fair share of crap with Eddie, despite general consensus he is not perfect. And Eddie loves you and is so happy about the baby, god he kept talking about it yesterday. He is going to give us all baby fever. And Matt is so not your fault." Janet opened her mouth to object.
"She's right." Eddie called out from the hallway, startling them both.
"Emily would you give us a minute please." She nodded and quickly scurried off to the kitchen to find Phil.
"We can't keep having this same fight over and over Janet. I am not going anywhere, I am not going to wake up one day and think Jeeze what a pain in the ass Meadows and our kid are, maybe I should just leave."
"Eddie I know you think that now but things change, people change and what happened with Matt. Look at everything that has happed in a few months."
"Yeah ok lets do that. I had a miserable sad life. I loved you from a distance, pretending that I didn't. I used women and allowed myself to be used over and over again, looking for something that I already had. And now I have you, you are mine finally and all I want to keep you safe and make you Happy and I am failing at both."
"You are not failing Eddie, we are failing."
"I mean you drove all the way to Rhode Island Janet, that can't happen again, we cant keep running away from each other when things get hard."
"That's why I came back... That's why I am here now... because i guess if I am being honest the reason I was so freaked...in the hospital you asked me to uh..."
"Marry me..." Eddie said softly.
"Yeah, and then not a word, you didn't tell anyone so I didn't tell anyone...I thought maybe you just got caught up in the moment, and then you regretted it. You know when the drugs wore off."
"Janet, I would not have asked you if I didn't mean it. I wasn't sure if you meant it when you said yes, you have been so anti-marriage."
"Well I did... mean it." He smiled at her broadly.
"Ok, so how about this for a new plan... We tell everyone we are engaged ASAP and we both stay here at Gelson until I am well enough to go home."
"I like that idea much better."
"Good as long as you don't mind sleeping in the couch." Eddie teased
"Hey!" Eddie wrapped his arms around her, ignoring the pain and he kissed her gently.
"Hey Janet you're back?" Ikey grumbled, walking into the living room, in only his boxers plopping on the sofa, interrupting their kiss.
"Morning Ike." Eddie grumbled. He grabbed the remote and started flipping the channels.
"Is Phys making breakfast, I am starving. I could eat like an entire person."
"Imagine that." Eddie said sarcastically. Ikey looked at him and let out a loud, earth quaking belch. "Jesus Ikey!"
"How long did the doctor say it would take for you to heal?" Janet asked him only half joking.
"Breakfast is ready!" Emily called out from the kitchen. Janet helped ease Eddie off the sofa as best she could, but his sheer size was a deterrent. Ikey laughed at her, motioning that she should step back as he guided his friend off the sofa and into the dining room.
"Pizza Girl where do you want him?" Ikey asked trying to figure out where to deposit Eddie. She pointed at the nearest chair and Janet sat beside him.
"Looks great Phil." The table was full of platters of Eggs, bacon, potatoes and toast. Janet's stomach grumbled, loudly.
"Hungry huh?" Eddie laughed in her ear. Janet blushed embarrassed.
"Knock Knock." Nick Called in from the front door, Hannah and Sam right behind him. "A little bird told me breakfast was being served here"
"Come in come in, fix yourselves a plate. Owen and Allison will be here in a minute." Hannah sat next to Janet and wrapped her arm around her shoulder.
"I am soooooo happy you came back. I was prepared to drive to Providence today."
"It was what you said that made me come back so..." Hannah smiled, glad that she was able to get thru to her friend. "God you can be a bitch when you are right."
"You know it."
Nick had left in a hurry, some drama with Eddie and Hannah was left alone a ball of nerves, tomorrow was the day she and Nick were going to tell Sam the truth. That Gavin was not his father. They had talked about it over and over, tried a million different ways to say the same exact thing. The more they thought about it the harder it became, all the what if's out there lingering. What if Sam was angry or hurt, would he feel betrayed, lied to. Would he ever trust her again. Hour after hour, playing the moment she would tell him over in hear head it was maddening, she wish she could just tell him know and get it over with. Her cell phone rang, Ice Ice Baby, she knew is was Janet.
"Hey you, where have you been all day?" She needed her friend, Janet was always the voice of reason.
"Um, I am in Providence."
"Uh, why are you in Providence?"
"Eddie and I got into a fight."
"So you ran to providence, wow. Nice. Wait he got home from the hospital today." Janet filled Hannah in on what had happened, she listened intently.
"Well you are just a fucking idiot Janet!"
"Um excuse me?"
"You heard me a fucking idiot. Eddie is a scared little boy right now, and you running is not going to help the situation."
"No, Janet no, listen to me that man loves you, and he is Mr. Take Care of Everyone. He is that guy. And now guess what he cant take care of you and he is bugging out. You need to be there for him, not fighting with him."
"Its more complicated then that Hannah, I think he might be changing his mind."
"Changing his mind about what exactly?"
"About me and the baby and the house and everything..."
"He wouldn't do that, I mean he couldn't. You guys are having a baby..."
"Hannah, the baby...its isn't Eddie's" Janet finally said the words and felt like a weight had been lifted. Hannah caught her breath, deep down she had known the truth, but she wasn't going to push Janet until she was ready.
"I know, Janet. I know. But it is his, in the way that it matters. You need to trust in that and get out of your head. He is not pushing you away because he does not love it its because he does not want you to see him as weak. You know how hard it must of been for him to admit he couldn't fix the house. To say it out loud, Eddie Latekka, saying there was something he couldn't do. Come on Janet. Listen you need to get your ass back to the ridge and fix this, I mean it. Don't make me come there and drag you back."
"I'll think about it Hannah, but right now I just feel like I need some space, I am tried of being scared and watching my back, I am tired of worrying and wondering. I just need to be alone for a little while and be.
"That sounds like running to me Janet."
"Well, yeah… it's what I do."
"What goes on?" Owen bellowed, a pink box of pastry in hand.
"Big O!" Eddie shouted out.
"I come bearing sweet deliciousness." He said kissing Allison "Oh and I brought donuts too."
"Well, I am glad you are all here actually. Uh Janet and I have a little news."
"Let me guess you're getting married?" Ikey yelled out.
"Well thanks Ikey, but yes I asked and she finally said yes!" Hannah and Allison both let out a loud squeal.
"Ok, guys I am two for two... Pay up bitches!" Ikey stood up hand extended. Everyone at the table groaned but reached into their wallets.
"Wait you guys had another bet?" Janet asked in shock.
"Sorry babe, but yeah." Eddie looked at he before handing Ikey a twenty. " Ikey said before the end of your first trimester. I thought I would wear you down by Christmas. Matt fucking Lauche cost me twenty bucks."
"Hannah you too?" Janet asked embarrassed.
"Uh yeah, I went with after the baby was born. You're not a stubborn as I though you were."
"So that was my ma." Eddie grumbled a few days later, throwing the phone on the table.
"Yeah I kinda figured that." Janet sat beside him on the sofa, running her hand on his thigh.
"She is coming here for a visit, I told her about the baby and the engagement and the beating, like YOU told me too and now she wants to see me."
"Eddie, you needed to tell her, I mean come on." Janet understood his resistance, she even agreed with him, but at the end of the day she was still his mother and she knew that Eddie needed to resolve their issues.
"Babe the last time I saw here was a month after my dad died, she came for like two days and went back to Maine."
"Hey Ma." Eddie managed to get out. He stood on the porch at Gelson, slightly hung over, hands shoved in his pockets.
"Johnny boy, I have missed you." She was the only one who called him John, it always made him crazy. She wrapped her arms around him, and he was unresponsive, he could bring himself to hug her back. It broke her heart that he son could never forgive her for leaving. She had waited until he graduated, waited until he was old enough to understand but he never really did.
"Ma, Call me Eddie please. You know I hate that John shit." She nodded, a pained look on her face and for a second Eddie felt bad. She had been there for less then a minute and he was already being a dick.
" So...Did you eat we could go to Ridge Pizza and get a slice." She smiled at the olive branch, he remembered how much she loved the ridge pizza.
"I would like that."
They drove in silence, Eddie not able to think of what to say. His mother almost afraid to say the wrong thing, so she said nothing. After placing their order they made there way thru the crowded restaurant and took a small table in the back. Eddie cracked open their cans of soda.
"So, how are you doing Eddie. I know this must be hard for you."
"Hard, yeah that's one word for it." He took a long sip from his soda, in an effort to stop himself from saying what was on the tip of his tongue.
"So tell me about your life your friends." She was desperate to keep the conversation light, wanting a window into his life. "I cant wait to meet this Janet person your dad told me about."
"Uh, dad told you about Janet?" Eddie was shocked. He had missed Janet the last few weeks, and hearing her name come from his mother mouth was jarring. "You and dad talked?"
"Yes we did, not a lot. A few times a year, he would fill me in about what you were up to. We were working towards being friends he and I." Her voice was sad and wistful.
"Wow mom Just wow. I mean had you have come to the funeral you could have met Janet live and in person, you could have seen all of my friends because they were actually THERE for me."
"Eddie, I am sorry that I couldn't be here for the funeral. I was thousands of miles away."
"Yeah I know. But they have these things called planes, you get on them and they take you places in a hurry."
" Eddie I just couldn't... It was just too hard.
"There is that word again. Hard. My father died, the man you were married to for twenty years and it took you a month to come. A MONTH!"
"Eddie I didn't come to fight."
"So why did you come here?"
"I wanted to see you, make sure you were ok. I also have some papers to sign for the house, the lawyer told you right."
"Yeah he did. So you came for the will then." Eddie said disgusted.
"No Eddie, I came for you. I want to try and fix this. I have missed you."
"Yeah, well dad missed you..."
"That's not fair Eddie, your dad and I..."
"I really don't want to hear your excuses. I really don't. If you wanted to "fix this" then you would have been here a month ago." Eddie stood abruptly,
leaving his car key on the table. "Enjoy your pizza."
"Eddie wait..." She called out to him, but he just walked away faster. He started to walk to Sully's, he wanted to see Janet to talk to her. But then he remember they weren't speaking and he got on his cell and called Ellen instead.
"Eddie, you need to work things out with her. I mean you don't plan on telling her the truth about the baby." Eddie nodded no. "So this is going to be her grandchild, my parents are gone, you dad is gone. She is it."
"We have friends Janet, and Sully, Gram and Gramps. Even the Commander. I just don't trust her."
"I know, but maybe that can change. Look she is coming so... wait where is she staying?"
"Well she cant stay here, there is no room at the inn, your place is empty. She will be here Saturday. And she is bringing the new husband, Gary. What kind of name is Gary." Eddie shuddered, he had managed to avoid meeting Gary after all these years and now he had no choice in the matter.
"Shit Eddie, I have to go clean the place and hide some stuff..." Eddie smiled broadly.
"What kind of stuff..." He asked cocking his head.
"Eddie you know damn well what I am talking about, so wipe that shit eating grin off your face."
She walked into her house the next day alone and felt uneasy. She felt like she was being watched and was trying to convince herself that it was paranoia. Nearly two weeks since the attack and Matt had yet to be found. She kept looking over her shoulder, jumping at every creaking floor board and wind that blew and finally called Steve who sent a car over to watch the house while she was there. Janet cleaned her house from top to bottom and stocked it with food and drinks. Fresh towels in the bathroom and fresh sheets on the bed. She hid what needed to be hidden, locked it actually in her office. She finally picked up the weeks worth of mail and headed back to Eddie. She found him laid out on the sofa, with a beer in one hand and the remote in the other.
"Hey you!" He sat up slightly, the pain still there but not as bad, but the pain still showed on his face.
"You ok?" Janet stomach turned everyone he winced, Janet kissed him gently, tasting the beer on his lips and she sat on the coffee table in front of him.
"Its fine, really. Where have you been?"
"I went by my house and cleaned up."
"Janet... you didn't go alone did you."
"Yeah I did, but then I felt kinda spooked, so I called Steve he sent a car over."
"Good." Eddie was relieved that Janet wasn't taking any chances,
"Here this is all of you." She handed him a large stack of mail and magazines. Eddie started rummaging thru the envelopes. "So there is something I wanted to talk to you about actually..."Then Janet realized that he was not paying any attention to her. Eddie tore into a yellow manila envelope, anxiety plastered across his face. He looked over the letter intently, and finally a smile spread across his face and he handed the letter to Janet.
"My test results, all negative... No cooties for me! Slam freaking dunk." Janet laughed at how he could always incorporate some kind of sports analogy into every conversation.
"Well, well Mr. Latekka, you dodged about a hundred bullets. If only you were, what did you call it 100%."
"I don't have to be 100% to give a 100%." Eddie looked at her with raised eyebrows and his lets fuck expression.
"Eddie, you cannot be serious, no freaking way..." Janet shook her head no and meant it.
"It has been weeks, 2 long weeks to be exact." Eddie said like a child wanting a cookie.
"Who are you telling. I know how long its been. But you aren't healed enough for that, and you know it."
"Janet… Come on… we can be careful…"
"Eddie, when you are like 75% , we can tear each other apart but until then… no. Its too soon, you still have stitches for crying out loud."
"Fine, fine." Janet sat there looking at him, and a sly smile spread across her face.
"Eddie, come on. I have an idea."
"An idea huh?"
"Yes, an idea. Do you think I can get you in to the bedroom without the boys help."
"Hell yes you can."