Sorry it has been a while since I last updated. This is my last prewritten update so it could, again, be quite a while until I update again. But I'll try to keep the time between shorter than last time! Enjoy and thank you to everyone who has read and commented so far :)
"Rachel, this isn't the first time I've lost a child."
Eddie's vision was now blinded with moisture. He was cracking; his voice, his strength, his posture. But he knew he couldn't keep this in for much longer.
Within those few words, Rachel felt her heart drop. She'd feared this all along from the second he'd told her he had children he was unable to see. How much heartbreak could one man take? It disbelieved her how he could think this was his fault in the first place.
"Two boys I had," he went onto say, causing Rachel to curve her mouth up slightly at the thought of two mini Eddie Lawson roaming about the place. "Stephen and Michael... they were twins."
Harshly wiping the tears that had now fell from his tear ducts, Eddie took a deep breath and carried on reliving the part of his life he secretly wished and secretly feared he could forget.
"I was married at the time. Everything was great if I'm being perfectly honest..." trailing off slightly, Eddie looked up to find Rachel still listening tentatively. This seemed like a comfort to her - knowing that he was once happy with children, knowing that she hadn't starved him of the only chance he could've ever had of becoming a father. "But then one night when they were about six months old, we put them to bed - just like we always did - and in the morning, Stephen... he was... he was gone."
"Gone?" asked Rachel quietly, hanging onto his ever word, her heart sinking down further into her chest at the possibilities of what his sentence could mean.
"He'd died, Rachel," Eddie admitted. "He went to sleep, and he never woke up."
Silence fell, as did the tears. What was there to say to that? Nothing. Rachel could hold him no comfort; this was already over before she knew it had even began. All she could do was listen, and reassure. Wrapping her arms around his now sobbing frame - quite like how he had done to her in the hospital hours earlier - Rachel found herself welling up at the thought.
This wasn't the first time Eddie had been through all this. She just had to pray that this was the last.
After a moment of just clinging onto each other in an effort to console one another from the grief they now shared, both pulled away from the embrace and smiled weakly, wiping away the tears from their faces.
"Sorry," Eddie chocked; his voice strangled, powerless to any sense of happiness hidden within it.
"Don't be," replied Rachel, though her meaning was meant in more ways than one. He didn't have to be sorry for anything in her books.
Shuffling away from him slightly on the bed, Rachel tightened the cord of her dressing gown around her body and studied the broken man sat in front of her. Her grief felt like a scratch on the one he must be holding, yet it didn't mean it didn't hurt all the same.
"You've still got Michael though," Rachel reminded him in the hope that this could at least give him some sense of hope to hold onto. "He's still here. He still loves you."
All Rachel received was a disbelieving scoff. Creasing her brow in confusion, she nudged Eddie in the arm.
"I doubt I'll ever see Michael, again."
"What do you mean?"
Something in the pit of Rachel's stomach was telling her that things weren't quite how they seemed.
"When Stephen died... Alison, my wife... she couldn't cope. She wouldn't eat, she wouldn't sleep, she wouldn't even look after Michael..." Pausing, Eddie sighed with defeat. Telling someone something so personal to him would feel wrong if it was to anyone else other than Rachel Mason. "I think she just needed someone to blame... our little boy was gone. We were given no explanation. Not really... it was as though we were being punished for something we'd done wrong in the past... So, she did the natural thing and blamed me..."
Seeing how much this was killing him, Rachel reached out and placed a hand over Eddie's. Without words, he knew what she was trying to say. This wasn't his fault; if only he could see it that way.
"Alison kicked me out... I was barred from my own home, kept away from my own son..." Breathing heavily, Eddie covered his face in the palm of his free hand. If more tears fell, they were hidden. "I wasn't even allowed to attend my own son's funeral. I mean... that's the kind of monster she thought I was..."
"Eddie!" Rachel warned, squeezing his hand forcefully. "You're not a monster..."
"You try telling Alison that!" Eddie spat, removing his hand from his face before softening down his tone. This wasn't Rachel's fault; he'd do well to remember that. "Anyway, to cut a long story short, Alison sent me through a divorce and got herself a new boyfriend... He was called Steve, ironically. Six months after the divorce came through, she told me they were moving, talking Michael with them... I'd seen him all of three times since his brother died... He probably recognised Steve as his dad more than he did me..."
"Eddie, I doubt that very much. He's your son," Rachel interrupted.
"He was a year old, Rachel. Do you think you recognised your father at that age?"
Shaking her head sadly, Rachel closed her eyes for a second before beginning to speak again.
"Where did they move to?"
"America," said Eddie simply, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. But the pangs in his chest were suggesting to him otherwise. "They took my one year old son to America, and I haven't spoken to them since... Michael would be six by now."
Taking a moment to let the truth wash over her, Rachel removed her hand from Eddie's and began to run it through her hair nervously.
"America's not that far away, Eddie," she tried hopelessly. "You could hop on a plane over there easy... Easy, Eddie. Visiting your son isn't as hard as you think."
"Isn't it?" he questioned rhetorically. "I'd love to do nothing more than to just 'hop on a plane over there' and visit my son, but I can't do that Rach. Alison left me no address. She just went and took my son. She changed her mobile number and everything."
"You have rights, don't you? Father's rights?"
Rachel was becoming desperate. There was always a solution to everything in her mind. It felt as though this time things were a little different. And she didn't like it.
"There'd be no point trying to track them down. Why should I? Michael must be happy wherever he is. He's got a mummy and a daddy who love him to pieces. Why should I get involved with that after 5 whole years of nothing?"
Cradling her face in her hands, Rachel scowled with disbelief.
"You've got to at least try, Eddie!"
"I said no, Rachel!" he yelled firmly. No was all he could take.
"But Eddie - "
"No!" Eddie cut Rachel off before she even got the chance to explain herself. "Can we just leave it, please? It's none of your business anyway..."
That last remark left Rachel wounded, yet more determined than ever. Eddie Lawson was a puzzling man at the best of times but now, she was completely and utterly lost. The son he obviously loved more than anything else in the world was within his reach if he wanted him to be. Why give up? Why let a child go unloved by a parent? The thought made her head go dizzy.
"Ok," Rachel replied weakly. "I'm sorry for... interfering."
All dusted under the carpet, right? Not if Rachel Mason had anything to do with it it wouldn't.