Disclaimer: The majority of the characters that are portrayed in this story are those that pertain to the Fifty Shades trilogy by E L James. These characters remain her sole property respectively. The author is in no way affiliated with James and/or the publishing corporation which produced the original works. Any recognisable brands, places, persons, films or music used in the story are the sole property of their respected owners and are not the property of the author. No copyright infringement is intended.
LA – Thank you so much, LA! It's a joy to see that you enjoyed it and particularly the Taylor/Ana moment. I liked that too. :) I hope the 100th Chapter is a good one! Thanks for the personal note. I am feeling a little better now. Painkillers are wonderful! Thanks again! Much Love x
SuzB – Thank you, suzB. I'm thrilled to see you liked the previous chapter. Unfortunately this story has come to an end but I've explained more in the A/N below. Thank you! x
Anu – Thank you for reading and reviewing, Anu. Your kindness is truly appreciated! The guest reviewer is still lurking in the shadows and popping up every now and then, but it's nothing a quick click of the 'delete' button doesn't solve. :) I'm a much stronger, semi-healthier person now. I hope you like Chapter 100. Much Love x
Guest (You deserve a…) – Thank you so much. I would argue that the ovation should go to you. After all, you're still here reading this and that means the world to me. Much Love x
Guest (Finally a clean…) – Yes, finally we've got some clean air circulating around! It's feels good, doesn't it? Thank you! x
Jenclaudastar – I'm thrilled that you liked the end of the Elena! I hope you like this chapter. Thank you. Much Love x
MX – Oh thank you, MX! It's amazing to see you liked it. I always have my doubts! Taylor is one of my favourites too, and I love writing him into chapters. Elliot too! They're both great additions to the mix. Honestly, it's absolutely brilliant to hear that you like the story so much. It still shocks and humbles me every time I sit down to write that there are people who want to read it. I really hope you like this chapter and the sequel! Thank you! Much Love x
Ellie – Thank you! It's such a joy to hear that you enjoyed the last chapter and have enjoyed this story! Yes, we're at the 100th chapter. Believe me, I never thought I would make it here either. I just have no idea where the last year has gone, but it's definitely been worth it. I hope you like this one! Thanks again and Much Love! x
Guest Follower – Thank you. It's great to hear you like this story! Sorry for the delay. I've explained below why this is the case. :) x
Guest (Loving it…) – Thank you, Guest. It's great to hear you're enjoying this. x
THE FINAL CHAPTER.
This is it, everyone. We've reached the end of 'Happiness Doesn't Last For Long' on the hefty number 100!
I can't begin to describe how humbled, honoured and amazed I am to have accumulated the amount of support and interest I have over the last 100 chapters.
In lieu of being super corny, I just want to say a massive, heartfelt thank you to you… Yes, you! Whether you've followed this story from day one or have only recently picked it up, thank you for giving me so much of your time. It really does mean a lot to me. You're the reason this story is still here and has grown so much, and you're the reason I have started a sequel. Thank you! You are brilliant.
So I have mentioned it multiple times in A/N's and in replies to reviews, but to clarify once more – THERE IS A SEQUEL!
The first chapter of the sequel should be up and ready by the time this chapter goes live, so there should be no delays. I know some people didn't want this story to come to an end, but hopefully when you get the end of this chapter you'll understand my motives.
There's more information on the sequel at the end of the chapter.
I hope you like number 100 and I hope to see you over on the sequel. I'd be more than honoured if you'd join me there.
Much Love and the Happiest of Readings,
Sliding into the back seat of the SUV, I instinctively lumbered into the middle of the bench. Christian joined me a few seconds later and once he had settled in next to me, checked my seatbelt was secure and took to his own, I curled into his side. I placed my head on his chest and held my hand to his waist, creeping it under his t-shirt to feel the warmth of his skin. I like touching him. I like having no barriers between us.
Christian pulled his arm around my shoulders and beckoned me to relax. It's not a particularly long ride back to Bellevue, but it's long enough. Something tells me that Taylor will be taking the scenic route back. If I'm honest, a part of me is hoping he will.
We were paused outside the hospital for only a moment longer. As soon as Sawyer stepped into the front passenger seat, we were away and driving out of the parking lot. The hum of the engine and the soft, rustic voice filtering out of the sound system filled the car peacefully. I could feel my eyes growing a little heavy, my brain thinking of lying in bed and sleeping for days at a time. But no soon as we got two minutes away from the hospital, it was back to normality and the nuisance that is Christian's BlackBerry.
With a grimace and an apology, Christian reached into his front jeans pocket and pulled out his cell. He held it low down and within my eye line. I didn't want to intrude or look without permission, so I lifted my head away from him and sought approval. His wonderfully bright eyes blinked slowly and he smiled, nodding gently. He fished his fingers into my hair, massaging them into my scalp and gave the okay to look. I settled down again and watched as he scrolled through his phone.
He checked his call log first, starting with the ones he's missed or purposively ignored until now. To no surprise, family flooded the list. Grace's name appeared the most, closely followed by Kate. The majority of the calls came late into the night, when I was probably already asleep. I don't know if he answered any of them. I only saw him make a handful of calls during our stay. I know he was constantly messaging everyone, and his inbox proves as much. He scrolled through the list and opened up personal messages only. He pushed the work related crap to one side.
At the top of the list bleeped three new texts.
*How are you both this morning? I love you, Christian. Mom x*
*When are you being released? Is everything OK with the baby and Ana? Are you OK? K x*
*I miss you. All 3 of you. Let us know when we can visit. There's no pressure. We understand. Love you. Mia xox*
Instead of replying individually, Christian opened up a blank message, adding Grace, Carrick, Mia, Kate and Elliot's numbers to the text. I was relieved to see he didn't add my Mom and Ray to the list. I begged him not to tell them. I really don't want them to worry. The less they know the better.
Christian typed out a generic response.
*We have just left the hospital. Ana and the baby are OK. We're fine. I'll keep you updated. We just need some time alone. C*
I hugged him a little harder. I know we'll more than likely see all of them later, when we get back to Bellevue, but I love that he's making it clear we want a little space. I really want to see everyone, I do, but I know that right now I just need time to absorb this – time to try to piece everything back together again. I felt him tighten his hold of me as he sent the text. He then proceeded to open another message, typing quickly.
*Need to see you. Are you free?*
He added the recipient and paused, hovering over 'send'. It was for my benefit.
I sucked in a sharp breath and lifted my head to him. I didn't hesitate. I nodded and reached up to lightly press my lips to his.
"Okay." I whispered. "Okay…"
This is a good thing. We need this.
The ride was calm and pleasant, comfortable even. I was snuggled under Christian's arm for the duration, pretty oblivious to everything around us. The music coming out of the radio seemed to flow easily, almost matching the gentle sways of Blip inside me. Usually he makes the most out of his morning exercises, kicking around like crazy and doing somersaults, but he's taking it easy today. I feel him swimming around with the occasional little jerk of movement. I love feeling him and knowing that he's alive and there… He's inside me. It's hard to fathom that my body knows how to make him.
I didn't take much notice of where we were heading, or which route Taylor had taken. I barely looked up from my bump, where both mine and Christian's hands were joined. I only really started to wane when numbness started to spread through my behind and hips. It was then that I looked out of the window - trying to work out how much longer we had to go before we got back to Grace and Carrick's home. I sat up a little straighter and my eyes widened in shock.
I gazed all around me, looking up and down the street – the street lined with familiar, soaring Oak trees. I gawped at the quiet, clapboard homes set back from the road, with their long, perfectly sustained lawns.
I jerked my head to Christian. He gave me a heart-warming smile and reached forward, bringing a soft kiss to my cheek.
My heart jumped into my throat as we took a sharp left turn and came to an abrupt halt in front of the ornate, white gates guarding our destination.
"Welcome home, baby." Christian mouthed sweetly into my ear, taking my lobe between his lips for a moment or two.
Oh my God…
After punching in the code, Taylor swung us through the gates and up the long, arcing driveway. I wanted to beg him to go slower and give me time to see everything again… The dense wooded area on the right – so inviting with its thick evergreens and the light dusting of snow canopying the tops… The meadow on the left – the grass a little darker and more rugged than before, but all the more beautiful too.
We're here. We're home...
We came to a definite stop in front of the house, the hood of the car staring straight to our dark wood doors. I shook my head in disbelief. I cast my eyes over the light pink sandstone, the large windows that give light to rooms I haven't seen in what feels like an eternity, and the four door garage on the right where, above that, Taylor and Gail reside. It's never looked more stunning or palatial.
Even though it's only early afternoon, the sky has dropped all of its colour and has morphed into a blanket of dull grey. The lights are proudly shining inside our home, welcoming us back.
Taylor and Sawyer silently exited the car and walked around us, popping the trunk and gathering our bags. They both headed inside without so much of a second glance, giving Christian and me a precious moment to ourselves.
"Please tell me we're staying here?" I begged in murmur. "Tell me we've come back for good?"
"This is our home, Ana." His tone is melodic and earnest. "We have spent too long away from here as it is. This is where we belong, and there is nowhere in the world I would rather be."
I couldn't wait any longer. I unbuckled my seatbelt and practically shoved Christian out of the car. I was prepared to climb over him if necessary. The butterflies in the pit of my stomach started whizzing around, increasing in intensity with every giddy step to our front door. My fingers shook as I pushed it open and took my first step inside.
I felt the heat as soon as I entered, even though the air still had a sharp bite to it. I didn't expect it to feel so… mine. I thought everything would feel strange and empty whenever we came back. I pictured a sad, lonely house on the Sound with no lights, love or security inside it. I couldn't have been further from the truth if I tried. It hasn't been my home for very long but it's still mine. All of this is mine. They can't take it away from me. No one can.
The light wood floors clunk and bounce under my heavy footed movements as I push into the entrance hall. I paused only to take off my jacket and shoes, dropping them to the floor without an ounce of care. My eyes are preoccupied, flickering from the ceilings to the cream coloured walls, to the doors on either side of the hallway – the cloakroom to the left and the garage to the right. My feet lead me through the high arch ahead of me, through to the main body of the house. Christian mumbled something to me but it was lost between his mouth and my ears.
The corners of my lips hitch and break into an almighty grin as I walk past the staircase leading to the upper floor, my hand running over the bottom of the iron balustrade.
I touch everything as I walk, needing to familiarise myself with the things we picked out. Everything in here is something we agreed, chose or argued over. We spent hours raking over catalogues and design plans, deciding on what should go where and whether it was us or not.
I found myself lingering in the doorway of the kitchen, peeking inside for a moment. It lacks the delicious smells it usually houses. I let out a happy sigh, smiling at the sparkling worktops, the cabinets I know are full and well stocked, and the domineering breakfast bar in the centre of the room. I can already see a highchair being pulled up to the counter, a beautiful cherub inside it, giggling back at me as I try to feed him.
"Are you hungry?"
Christian crept up on me. He pushed his hands around my sides and under my arms, bringing his palms to sit low on my bump. He dropped his chin to my shoulder, resting his cheek against mine.
"I can rustle something up if you are." He continued.
"You're going to cook?" I snorted, laughing at the idea. I remember our trip to England and the state of the kitchen when he attempted to make pancakes. I'm surprised the owners haven't sent us a bill for damages.
"I didn't say cook," He corrected me, squeezing me to his front. "But there will be something in the freezer. I'm sure even I can use the microwave without burning the place to the ground."
"When's Gail coming back?" I wonder after her. When Christian heightened security and we moved in with his parents, Taylor had Gail leave and head to Chicago, to stay with her sister until all of this blew over.
"In the morning… She's getting the red-eye flight." He hummed. "Taylor's collecting her from Sea-Tac."
"He must have missed her a lot."
"I wouldn't be able to function if you were on the other side of the country." Christian flexed his fingers on my stomach, feeling the baby wriggle around. I nodded my head. I went to see my Mom in Savannah and he couldn't stay away. "I feel like I've lost a limb when you're not around. I hate being away from you for any length of time. I don't know how he's done it for this long."
I linked my fingers with his. "Why did he bring us home from the hospital? I thought you said you had given him some time off?"
Christian told me that he was going to give Taylor some time away from us, some time to catch up with his daughter or something, just as a thank you for everything he's done for us.
"I did… I told him to get Sophie and Gail and take them to Aspen. I gave him the keys to our place there, but he declined. He said he didn't want anything from us."
"I want him to have something." I objected. I have to pay him back some way or another. "Maybe he'll change his mind when Gail's home?"
"They haven't seen each other in so long. We should do something for them. Maybe we could –"
"Book the flights and force them onto the jet?" He finished my thought, knowing exactly what I was going to suggest. "I like the way you think, Mrs Grey. Let's discuss over some lunch."
"Give me the damn plate, Christian!" I curse as I drop off my stool. Holding my empty plate in my left hand, I extended my right to take his but he's adamant and firm.
He rose to his feet and shook his head, snatching my plate and placing it on top of his. He stalked over to the sink.
"If I can't even clean up two plates and two glasses then there is seriously something wrong." I huff at him, crossing my arms around my chest. "It's not exactly strenuous."
"You have just been released from hospital." He spoke back to me as he started the hot water faucet. "I will clean up. It's nothing."
"Ana, just humour me? Please?" He cocked his head, looking over his shoulder. His eyes grew doe and sincere. I caved.
"Just one night, okay? I want normality. I don't want to be fussed over or babied."
"I liked fussing over you. It makes me happy."
"Being able to do things by myself, without having my husband take over… Yeah, that makes me happy." I mumbled under my breath as I exited the kitchen. I know he means well, and he only does it because he cares, but I still want independence, regardless of what's happened.
Just give him tonight, my subconscious told me. You can bitch at him tomorrow.
"When can I just be Ana again?" I grumbled at her as I begun to climb the stairs. "I don't want to be that girl who was held at gunpoint by a maniac."
He'll come around. They all will. They just need to see it first.
I followed the staircase around and turned off at the top, slipping straight into the second door on the left – our bedroom. The first door is the nursery. I refused to compromise on which room the baby was going to have. I already had to give into Christian's refusal to have a bassinet in our room. For weeks all I heard was, 'We need our space… The baby will have his own room.' I still roll my eyes about that discussion.
I flicked on the lights as I came into our room, shuffling across the plush carpets in sights of the closet and a big, comfy sweater. The bedroom is the same as we left it, everything crisp and perfectly straight. The light blue bed sheets and comforter are taut over the king sized bed; the white and grey pillows neatly scattered around the headboard. The whole room is mix of grey and light blue, the walls a subtle stone. Christian chose the colour scheme. I liked the white and grey of Escala, but he wanted more. He added the blue to represent me. It's a similar shade to my eyes.
I manoeuvred around the bed and pushed into the open door at the far end of the room – the walk-in, probably big enough to live in, closet. I meet with Christian's side first. I trail my fingers through the racks of his suits, shirts and jeans. His works clothes are nearer to the door and easier to grab in a hurry, which we usually are in the mornings. I follow the clothes down to the end, coming to the dressers we share. I stifle through the drawers, rummaging through his and my things, pulling out a long, oversized pink sweater. I've had it for years, reserving it for those moments when I need something soft to get through the day. They're the equivalent of Kate's flannel pyjamas.
Hauling it over my head, I make my way back through the bedroom and out into the hallway, proceeding downstairs again. As my foot hit the bottom step, my ears ringed and drew my head down the hall. My eyes snapped to the front door again and the loud banging coming from the other side.
I bit down on the inside of my mouth. I stole a moment to quell the nerves in my veins. My fingers pulled together in front of my bump, lifting the hem of my sweater and picking the threads apart.
Why am I nervous? I agreed to this. I want this to happen. Hell, I need this to happen.
In a breath, Christian joined me, striding to my side and offering his damp hand to me.
"Ready?" He quizzed. His brows lowered around his eyes. I drew in a long breath and nodded.
I am ready. I'm ready to move forward.
I placed my hand in his and allowed him to lead me through the hall. The knocking stopped before we got there.
Turning the lock and swinging the door open, revealed a tall, dark haired Englishman.
Christian pushed his out hand to Flynn and gestured him inside. I slid out of the way, creating room.
"Thank you for fitting us in." Christian expounded.
Flynn stomped inside with his head bowed and a pleasant smile on his mouth. He shook out of his jacket and passed it over to Christian. He's always wearing the same thing when I see him: an ill-fitting three-piece suit with an olive green tie knotted low around his collar.
"It's no trouble… No trouble at all." Flynn brushed it off. "Your mother told me what happened. I was hoping to see you both. I'm glad you messaged me."
Christian nodded. "I spoke with her earlier. She's coming here in the morning. I asked them to stay away for a while."
"Absolutely… It's completely understandable, considering what has happened over the last few days. It's important you're not overwhelmed."
"John, why don't you head through to the family room? I need to speak with Ana." Christian pointed through the arch. "It's next to the kitchen."
Flynn obliged and left us, his steps growing quieter all the while. Christian's hand sought mine, his fingers wrapping around my wrist. He lifted it to his mouth and trailed kisses over each of my knuckles.
"Are you sure you want to do this?" He pressed me again. His eyes gained my full attention, penetrating deep into mine. "If you're not ready, I understand. You need to tell me."
"I'm ready –"
"I won't force you to do this." He continued, his voice gaining momentum. "I made the appointment because I need it. I need to see him, but I just thought we could do this together."
"I know –"
"I don't want you to agree to do this for me."
"Shh…" I stuck my fingers out, pressing them to his lips to silence him. I smiled. "I want to do this. I'm ready… This is just a band-aid that needs ripping off and the sooner we do it, the better."
He took a step forward and raised his hands to my jaw, cupping and holding me close to him. He leaned down and brought his forehead to mine.
"If you need to stop or take a break, just do it. Okay?" He mouthed. "You can leave any time you want. There's no rush –"
"You made this appointment." I hushed him. I looked into his eyes. "If you're ready to talk then so am I."
Our session with Flynn ran for almost two hours straight, and it seemed to go smoothly on my side of things.
It took a few minutes for me to get into the swing of hearing the sound of my own voice, a bit longer to get used to saying their names over and over again. I didn't want to say their names but every time I did, I found myself a little more confident. I didn't stutter or hesitate after a while. I was talking candidly about them – all of them. Elena, Linc, Danielle, Leila, Rex, and the thugs they brought into Elliot's apartment. I talked about the gun – something that was discussed a lot between the three of us.
Christian and I both tensed up for a moment, thinking of those long seconds before we got out of the apartment. His fingers locked between mine, flexing hard every now and then. But thankfully for us, Flynn didn't hover over anything in particular. He kept things moving and kept us talking. There was only one question he repeated.
Do I feel safe?
I couldn't answer him at the start of the session. I wasn't sure of my answer. I was maybe 80% sure, but I didn't want to say that aloud. I didn't want either of them to look at me weird, especially Christian. I agreed to this for both of us, not just for my benefit. But by the end of the session, I was positive.
I do feel safe. I do.
The police wouldn't lie to me. They wouldn't tell me they're gone if they're not.
Taylor wouldn't lie to me. He wouldn't bring Gail back here if it wasn't safe.
Christian wouldn't lie to me. Not about this. I can tell when he's lying. All I see is honesty now.
When it was Christian's turn to talk, his voice was quiet and his shoulders were high around his neck. He dipped his head forward and wrung his hands together as he recounted his version of events. I saw him grow resistant and angered. I glanced over to Flynn and he gave me the go-ahead to take charge.
I pushed closer to Christian's side of the couch and dropped my head onto his shoulder. He huffed and sighed to himself. I just sat there, waiting for him lift his eyes from the floor and look at me. It took him a while.
Christian stared blankly into my eyes, his lips pulled together into a harsh line across his face. I pouted my lips and nuzzled against him, drawing him out of his bubble one second at a time.
Flynn left us around ten minutes ago, bringing the session to an abrupt end. He received an urgent call from Rhian – one of the twins is sparking a fever and she needed him home as soon as possible. We were insistent that he went home. Children come first. Christian and I know that. We're parents too, even if Blip isn't here yet. Flynn showed himself out, leaving us on the couch in the family room.
My legs are hanging over Christian's, lying in the gap of his. His hands are resting on them, tracing the inseam of my pants.
"Are you okay?" I asked quietly, reaching forward to run my fingers through the hairs at the back of his neck.
"When did the roles reverse for us?" He retorted, rolling his head against the couch. He looks sombre. "I'm supposed to be worrying about you, not the other way around… I didn't have a gun pointed at me –"
"And because of that you think you're not suffering?" I shook my head, objecting his words. "That you're not allowed to be sad about this? You had to watch it. You had to stand there and watch him do that to me, Christian."
"I would be a wreck if I had to see that." I jumped in, cutting him off. "I couldn't watch. It would kill me to see that happen to you, so don't you even think for a second that you're not allowed to be sad."
He opened his mouth.
"I mean it, Christian." I chastised. "It was horrific for both of us. We're in this together, remember… You heard Flynn. We're the only people who know what this is like. We're the only people who had to go through this."
"How are you coping?" He muttered sheepishly. He let out an exhausted breath and pulled forward, pushing his head into his hands. "How are you okay and I'm just… Fuck –"
He rose to his feet, pounding away from the couch. He shook his head several times, cursing under his breath. I clambered to my feet too, rising awkwardly.
"Christian, it's okay…" I reminded him. I tried to close the gap between us. He spun around to face me.
"How are you doing this? Please tell me, Ana…" He lolled his head to the side, his palms on his temples. "I want you to be okay, I do… I don't want you to be a mess because of this. But I can't understand how you're doing it… I just can't –"
"What don't you understand?" I implored.
"How you've switched it off." He snapped. "It's not normal, Ana… Trust me, I've been there. You're telling everyone you're okay but I can't tell anymore. I don't know if you are okay."
"You think I've switched it off?" I repeated. He nodded. "You think I'm pretending that I'm okay?"
He remained hard, staring at me with wide eyes. I charged to his front, placing my hands on his chest.
"I'm not pretending. I'm okay, I promise." I gripped his t-shirt, holding him to me. "I will never forget what happened. I can never forget what they did – how it felt to have a gun pushed into my stomach. There isn't a chance in hell I can forget that."
Christian released a sigh and made to say something. I continued, ignoring him. He needs to know this.
"I have run away from every problem we've faced, so I get why you're doubting me… Every time we've argued or something has crept between us, I ran. When things got tough, I turned away from it. I didn't stick around. I locked myself in bathrooms, I jumped in a car and headed across town because we had an argument over the most pathetic of things… For fucks sake, I left and went to Portland, almost losing you because of it. I ran away every time."
"I used to think that running away was the best thing I could do. I thought things would just go back to normal and I could come back and it would be fine, but that never happens. It doesn't work that way."
I knew he wanted to speak up and say something, but he remained silent. He nodded in agreement and let me talk.
"It doesn't work. Running away isn't the answer and I know that now. The problem doesn't disappear. It follows you everywhere you go and just gets bigger and bigger, until you can't control it." I stared up into his slate eyes. My voice didn't falter. "When we were in England, you cracked. You finally let me in and told me how scared you were about me and your birth mother… You cracked because you chose to ignore it. It consumed you."
"That's why I'm worried about you…"
"You started seeing Flynn when we got home. He's really helped you, right?"
He nodded and brought his hands down from his face, bringing them to my shoulders. He rubbed them lightly.
"When you messaged Flynn today, you did it because you know we need to address this." I speculated. "You know we can't brush this aside. But I know that too… Just because I'm not running around and arranging appointments for us, doesn't mean I'm not ready to move on. It doesn't mean I'm ignoring everything."
"You understand this isn't going to be easy, right?" He eyed me with trepidation. "This isn't going to be easy. It's a long, hard process, Ana."
"I know." I nodded. A smile stretched over my lips. "I don't know what's going to happen next week or the week after that or the week after that… I don't know if tomorrow I'm going to wake up and feel like I've been hit by a train, but I do know that I'm not going to let those bastards ruin our lives."
I reached up with my hand, lifting one of his off my shoulder. I clasped my fingers around his and brought them to my lips. I spread light kisses over his knuckles.
"Come with me…"
I lead Christian out of the family room and across the hallway, to the staircase. We climbed them slowly and when we reached the top, I took him to the left – to the door next to our bedroom. I pulled us into our little piece of heaven on Earth. Blip's room…
It still smells of fresh sheets, new carpets and polished wood. I inhale its rich smell as I enter, unable to hold off the all teeth showing grin it brings to my mouth.
I had almost forgotten how beautiful the nursery is. It's stunning, actually, just like the meadow the room overlooks.
When we finally agreed that this would be the baby's room, I decided that the nursery should be an extension of the meadow on a warm, spring afternoon. The walls have been artistically painted to reflect a light blue sky with white, cotton clouds all over. We compromised on the carpet. I initially wanted green, to really tie in the nature feel, but our architect Gia Matteo disapproved. She made us stick to a neutral, off-white to match the furniture we picked out. The crib, the changing table and the cabinets are white and intricately carved with fleur-de-lis on the corners. We decided to position the crib against the wall with the sloping ceiling, parallel to the long, French window. In lieu of a traditional mobile, we bought soft, fabric doves to hang over the crib. Though, I know if Blip is a boy, Christian will change the doves to planes.
We walked a little further into the room before I turned to face him. He was admiring the space, too.
"What are we doing in here?" He shook his head, a little bewildered.
"Well, you want to know how I'm dealing with this, don't you?" I smiled. "You said you can't understand how I'm not screaming and crying from the rooftops, so I'm showing you."
I took a step away from him and pulled my hands to my stomach. I spread my fingers over the widest part of me. Christian's eyes dropped to my bump. He still looked confused.
"I'm looking to our future." I felt tears prick in my eyes, a flutter in the pit of my stomach. It's like he's spurring me on. "I'm thinking of him… In four months he's going to be here. He's going to be a little baby and not a blip anymore."
I shuffled over to the crib, setting my hand on the smooth handrail. I looked down to the mattress and the numerous teddy bears lining the sides. It felt wrong to leave the crib empty.
"The first night after it happened… I was scared." I admitted. "You were asleep next to me and all I could do was lie there and think about them… I couldn't escape it. I heard his voice in my head, felt his breath on my skin and all I wanted to do was cry…"
Christian strode to me, taking me in his arms. He lowered his head to mine, kissing my crown. His trailed his hand up and down my arm.
"I wanted it to disappear and it did… All of it… It vanished."
"I felt the baby move and I stopped being scared." I nodded and leaned back into his hold. "I snapped out of it and realised that I can either stand still and watch this nightmare tear us apart, or I can look to our future… I can look forward to the little baby we're having."
"He's the reason?" He muttered into my hair. "He's helping you through this?"
"I'm not going to let them ruin this for us." I told him sternly. "I won't let them control me or our baby… the baby who will sleep right here, in this crib… the baby we're going to change over there and rock to sleep on the chair by the window." I pulled his hand to my stomach. I held it against my skin, making him feel Blip kick and turn. "It's all about him… Every time he moves, he gives me another reason to fight. He reminds me that everything will be okay."
Christian clung to me, squeezing me into his chest. His lips didn't leave my hair.
"Please don't snap at me for asking, but I need to know that you're genuinely okay and not feeding me a load of bullshit just because you know that's what I want to hear." He said in a low, cavernous tone. "I really need you to be honest with me, Ana –"
"And I need you to trust me enough to know I will be honest with you." I told him casually and calmly. I turned on my heel to face him properly, bringing us closer together. I wrapped my arms around his back. "I promise that I'm not going to keep anything from you. I've kept things from you in the past and it almost ruined us…"
"We're both guilty of that." Christian admitted, cupping my neck with his long, soft fingers. He dropped his height to stand level with me. "I trust you… But don't get mad if I still ask you every now and then. Okay?"
I stretched forward, merging my lips to his. His kiss is as soft as his fingers, as skilled as his touch, and nothing short of pure magic.
"So… Where do we go from here?" He breathed onto my tingling lips.
"We just live…" I answered without hesitance. "I think we should have more sessions with Flynn, though. I think he can really help us through all of this."
Christian agreed, offering another sweet, delectable, and lengthy kiss. "Just take things one day at a time?"
I felt his lips curl into a smile.
"It's going to get better for us. I know it will." I assured him. I snuck my hands under his t-shirt, palming the base of his spine. "I can feel it…"
"I felt it when we left the hospital. I was able to breathe again…" I explained gently. "It was like someone had come along and whispered in my ear, telling me that I can be happy now… All I've ever wanted is to be happy with you."
"Me too…" He agreed, treasuring my lips again. "But… I'm scared to be happy…"
Christian lingered on my mouth for a second more, before he pulled back and stood tall over me again. His doe eyes dropped, becoming watery and pained.
"Bad things happen when I'm happy." He broke. His voice cracked in half with a sigh. "I only get to enjoy it for a little while before something or someone comes along and takes it from me. Happiness just doesn't last long in my world, Ana."
"But neither does misery..." I countered. I reached up on my toes, digging my fingers into his back to keep me steady. "You're just looking at it wrong, that's all… Life is never going to be hearts and flowers all the time. We have to take the good with the bad or we'll never learn to appreciate the amazing things that will happen for us."
I caught the single tear trickling out of his eye.
"Yes, the bad has been fucking horrific for us, and it's so much more than we should ever have to deal with but look at where we are…"
He finally lifted his eyes to mine. His lips quivered.
"We're still together." I smiled sweetly. "After everything, we're still together… We will get our shot at happiness. We deserve it."
"It will get better." He sounded the words out carefully. I felt him lax a little and begin to believe the words he's saying. "It's just going to take time, right? It just takes time."
"Ray always used say that good things come to those who wait."
"Grace told me that, too."
"I think I can wait a little longer… Can you?"
Christian answered me the only way he knows how. He kissed me.
The sequel to 'Happiness Doesn't Last For Long'...
'THE GOOD WILL COME'
Good things will always come to those who wait - especially those who have waited for what feels like a very long time.
Ana and Christian have had a rough time of it recently, but things are looking brighter now the clouds have gone. They are happier and stronger than they have ever been. But will it last? Only time will tell...
I hope to see you there. 'The Good Will Come' is now active and on the website. You can find the link through my profile page. If you've followed me as an author you should have already received a notification. :)