It was just over 10 months on since she had left him, gone off to clean herself up. But the hurt was still real, he still missed her every hour of every day.
He still though he saw her sometimes in the ward or in the corridors out of the corner of his eye but when he'd look around, she'd be gone. His imagination playing tricks on him. The others in the ward had tried to cheer him up, Sacha and Michael had started organizing frequent poker nights at one of their houses. He'd gone along to be sociable and had actually found himself having a good time on occasion but he still felt empty most of the time.
Today had been a particularly draining shift, a busy day with car crashes, stabbings, and the usual mix of accidents and flu cases, the usual mixed bag for the end of September. He was really looking forward to just lying down and going to sleep. He unlocked the campervan door and turned on the lights. He threw his bag down on the sofa and all at once this loud wailing noise erupted, wahwahwah!
He looked up to see a baby in a car seat sitting on top of his kitchen table. He stood there for a few seconds thinking he was seeing things again. He strectched out his hand to feel a warm fleece blanket. Yes, there is a baby sitting on my kitchen table he told himself. "Ok, ok stop crying" he said as he picked up the baby. As he picked it up a note fell to the floor. Balancing the baby in one arm he picked up the note and laid it down on the table, it read " Luc, I'm sorry for so much that has happended. I'm sorry I didnt tell you about our son Lucas until now. It was all so complicated and confusing. Please help him, he's sick and I dont know why. I think I'm making him worse. This is all my fault. Please look after him and tell him his mummy loves him every day. I cant help him anymore. Love him as much as you loved me once. Eddie."
He read the note over and over. Oh, my god, i have a son. The noise of Lucas' wailing jerked him back to reality. He laid the baby back in the seat and stared at him. He looked at the rest of the pieces of paper with the letter. There were some medical notes from a hospital in London and a copy of Lucas' birth cert. He looked at the names, mother -Eddie Mc Kee, father - Luc Hemingway. Even seeing the names in black and white still didnt make it real. He looked back at Lucas who was still crying. He touched his forehead and realised he was burning up.
Panic washed over him. He grabbed Lucas up in his arms, bundled the blanket around him and ran back to AAU. He burst in the doors and headed straight for Sacha who was still working. "Sacha, Sacha, you have to help me, he's burning up!". Sacha directed Luc to a spare bed and Luc lay the baby down on it. " I found him in the campervan, he's not good".
Sacha soon started checking the baby and ordering a barrage of blood tests from the nurses. After about half an hour of frenzied activities, the baby's condition started to improve. Sacha went over to Luc who as by the bedside. "How's he doing now?" "He seems to be cooling down, his temperature has dropped. What is it an infection?" asked Luc. "Looks like it, we'll know more when we get the lab results back but he's responding well". "We'll have to contact social services, get them to send down a social worker to look after him, where did you find him again?"
asked Sacha. "What? He doesnt need a social worker" said Luc. Luc, you said you found him abandoned?" said Sacha. "No, i didn't. I said i found him in my campervan, she left him there for me where he'd be safe."
"Who did?" asked Sacha. " Eddie did. He's our son. She left me a note. Lucas has been sick and she cant look after him so she left him for me." whispered Luc sadly. "What you didnt know? You didnt even know she was pregnant?" asked Sacha. "No, I just found out this evening. There must be something else wrong with him other than the infection, she left some notes from a hospital in London" said Luc. "You can have a look at the other results when they come back, you're the medical genius, I'm sure you'll figure out what it is. Oh, and by the way, welcome to fatherhood!" said Sacha giving Luc a clap on the back.
Lucas' condition steadily improved over the next 24 hours and word had spread around the ward that he was Luc's son. Chrissie had been particularly helpful to Luc, showing him how to change nappies, dress Lucas and hold him. She had also promised to give Luc some of Daniel's old baby clothes and baby accessories that she still had at home.
Luc's main worry was that Lucas wasnt eating much, well he was eating the baby milk but wasnt keeping it down. He asked Sacha to have the lab perform a few more tests on Lucas' blood. He would have to wait about 24 hours for the results of these blood tests but he hoped that they would show something that would explain Lucas' dislike for the baby formula.
In the meantime, Luc was finding it a challenge learning about how to look after a baby. "You'd think over 7 years in medical school and working in hospitals would prepare you for looking after a baby wouldn't you?" he said to Sacha. "Luc, Daniel is nearly 5 years old and I'm still learning how to be a parent! Wait until he starts answering you back, that's when the fun starts!" he replied laughing. "I guess I have all that to look forward to!" replied Luc while cradling Lucas in his arms. With that, a nurse came in and handed Sacha a sheet of lab results. Sacha had a look at them. "These dont make much sense to me, you have a look", he said handing them to Luc. Luc read them a number of times and the shouted "Eureka! My boy, I know what's wrong!". "So what is it?" asked Sacha. "It's all my fault, not Eddie's!" he said to a confused looking Sacha. "Luc, enlighten the rest of us!" pleaded Sacha. "Eddie said in her note that she though it was her fault that Lucas was sick but it's not, it's mine. He has an enzyme deficiency that is preventing him from digesting the baby formula properly but it's my fault not hers because it runs in my family." "It's actually quite rare. I only know about it because I have it and so do a few other members of my family. I can't drink cow's milk, just goats milk. Once we switch Lucas over to a different formula he should start to thrive" he said relieved. "Ah, that's excellent news", said Sacha. "I only wish i could let Eddie know, she probably thinks it was something to do with the drugs that's causing this instead of just my dodgy genetic material!" replied Luc.
"Maybe i'll try leaving her a message on her phone if she still has the same number and I'll call Liam to let him know that Lucas will be ok" said Luc.
"I wonder does Liam even know about Lucas' existence, after all, Eddie didnt tell you about him, maybe she didnt tell her family either?" said Sacha. "I guess we'll soon find out" said Luc.
Luc called Liam who was reluctant to speak to him at first but changed when Luc mentioned the baby. Liam told him that Eddie had gotten cleaned up but suddenly left Leeds about 6 months after her drug rehab had started. She was clean by then but hadnt told them she was pregnant much less that it was Luc's baby she was carrying. Liam hadn't heard from her since then but he thought she might have gone to London as she had some friends from nursing college there. He eventually admitted that Eddie had had a row with their mother about her drinking and had left after it. Luc told Liam that he could come see his nephew anytime and promised to send him some photos of Lucas. They both promised to keep in touch. Luc was still none the wiser about where Eddie might be, maybe London still but who knows. He knew that being separated from Lucas was probably torture to her and hoped she wouldn't fall back on her old habits to try to drown out the pain of being separated from her baby.
Lucas was soon out of hospital and taking up so much space in the campervan that Luc realised they needed to move somewhere bigger and with proper heating now that the winter was drawing in. Luc was lucky, he managed to find a furnished 2 bedroom apartment about 5 mins from the hospital that was perfect for them. He decided to keep the campervan just in case he'd need it some day. They settled into a routine of looking after baby and working. Luc tried to look after Lucas as much as he could by himself, he figured that the 2 of them were a family now and that they needed to look after each other. He was able to put Lucas in the hospital creche most of the time while he worked or if not, some of the nurses from AAU would look after Lucas for him when they weren't working. Chrissie even minded Lucas on a few occasions for him when he went to play poker with the lads. Most nights Lucas would fall asleep on top of Luc's chest while Luc read him stories from children's books or from whatever book he was reading himself. Lucas falling asleep on his chest always reminded him of Eddie and they way she would curl up against him while they watched television. He missed her every day but did as she had asked and told Lucas that his mother loved him every night as he was putting Lucas into his cot.
It had been 2 months since Lucas' unexpected arrival and it had been a normal work day. Luc had picked up Lucas from the creche after work and was calling into the shops on his way home from work to buy nappies yet again. He still couldn't believe one little small boy could use so many of them in the space of 24 hours but they always seemed to be running out of them. He bumped into Jac in the shop. "Hey Jac!"
"Hi Luc. This must be your little lord and master!" said Jac pulling down Lucas' blanket from his face to have a better look. "Cute" she said. "How are you?" Luc asked. "I'm fine" replied Jac. "Just picking up the lastest issue of The Lancet to read while I wait for Johnny to finish shift so we can go to dinner."
"We're just heading home up the road there if you want to join us for a drink while you wait, I think i might have a bottle of that beer you were drinking at Sacha's stag do left if you fancy one" replied Luc. "I wouldnt mind a bit of adult company for a while, there's only so much baby talk one person can put up with!" added Luc. "Well, if it will save your sanity, I accept!" Jac replied with a laugh. They went back to Luc's flat after making their purchases. However, Luc kept getting this feeling like they were being watched all the way back to the flat. Jac kept her promise to Luc and discussed hospital politics and medicine with him while enjoying her beer. She left after about an hour to meet Johnny for dinner. Luc settled down to a usual night of eating, reading, putting Lucas to bed and then getting to bed himself.
The next morning Luc as starting work at 8 am, so he got up, got himself ready and got Lucas ready for his day at the creche. He made sure to pack all the nappies, changes of clothes and bottles of special baby formula he needed for Lucas. He even remembered to make up some extra formula for him as the nursery nurse said she would start feeding him more as Lucas seemed to be a hungry baby at the moment. Luc had been relieved to hear this, it finally meant that they have found the right food for Lucas. Luc had thought that Lucas had gotten heavier over the last few days. Luc made his way to the hospital and dropped Lucas off at the creche before starting his shift. He walked into AAU to see Sacha already there up to his eyes in patients. Sacha told Luc there had been a huge fight outside one of the local pubs last night and they were still getting casualties from it coming in via the ED. "Hey Luc, they are bring in an unconscious female with a laceration to her leg from the ED in a few seconds, can you look after her?" asked Sacha. "Sure, no problem" said Luc. "Nurse, can you clear bed 8 please?" said Luc to a nearby nurse.
With that, the doors of AAU burst open and the trolley containing the unconscious female came hurtling towards Luc. He directed the porter towards bed 8 and started making his assessments of the female's injuries. He looked at her leg, "that laceration's very deep, we'll have to bring her into theatre later to sort that out". "In the meantime, can I get all of the usual blood tests. Now let me have a look at the rest of her". He looked up at the young female's face but couldnt see anything as her long dark brown hair was covering it. He gently pushed her hair away, and gasped in shock. "Oh, my god, Eddie!" he exclaimed. "Eddie, can you hear me" he almost shouted at the top of his voice. She started to stir, opening her eyes for a second and then closing them again. "Eddie, wake up, come on!" he exclaimed. She opened her eyes again, looked at him and slurred the words "Luc, where am i?". "Eddie, your in AAU, you were found unconscious and you've an injury to your leg". "What happened?" he asked as he grabbed her hand. She pushed his hand away, "dont touch me!" she said. "But your injured, i have to treat you", Luc replied. Eddie eventually calmed down after one of the nurses she used to work with spoke to her. Luc had walked away to try and get his head around what had just happened. He eventually came back over to her with the results of some of the tests they had run. "How are you feeling now?" he asked. "A bit better now, sorry about earlier, I guess I just freaked out. I was just confused about where i was and what had happened." she said. "All of your tests have come back clear so far, we'll just need to bring you into theatre to clean up your leg and stitch it up, no skinny dipping for you for a while though!" he said trying to make light of her injury to cheer her up. A sad look passed over her face and Luc knew what was coming next. "How's Lucas? Is he still sick?" she asked. "Eddie, he's getting bigger by the day!" "None of that was your fault or anything to do with the drugs" Luc replied. "Lucas' health problems were down to me, he has the same genetic fault as me that doesnt allow him to digest cows milk properly, once we got him onto the right type of baby formula he started piling on the pounds!", he said grabbing her hand to reassure her. "You'll be able to see how big he's gotten later when I bring him up to see you" he said.
Eddie started crying uncontrollably. Luc wrapped his arms around her. "Shush, he'll be fine" he said. "I'm so sorry for not telling you about him, I didnt know how you'd react or if you'd even want either of us in your life again. It was so hard looking after him by myself because he just wouldn't stop crying all the time and the doctors and nurses in London couldn't find anything wrong with him. I was just so exhausted and scared that's when I left him with you. It tore me apart every day not being with him" she said. "I know it did" replied Luc pulling her closer to him. When Eddie felt better Luc told her to have a something to eat and a rest and he'd be back later. He had a few patients to check up on. About an hour later he came back to Eddie's bed with Lucas in his arms. "Hey little man, there's someone who wants to see you" he said to Lucas as he brought him over to Eddie. Tears started streaming down her face. "Oh my god, I cant believe how much he's grown in 2 months!" Luc placed Lucas into Eddie's arms and she gave him the biggest hug she could. Luc just sat there smiling, glad to see Lucas back in the arms of his mother where he belonged. "You've obviously taken to fatherhood" she said to Luc. "Yes, its been a bit of a learning curve, but i wouldn't change it for the world" laughed Luc.
Luc had to turn serious now. "Eddie, you'll have to go in for your surgery soon, Michael will be along in a minute to go through it with you. I thought it best that he do it seeing as how he's the plastics guy and there wouldn't be as bad of a scar". "Dont worry, we'll both be waiting for you when you get out. It's about time for Lucas' afternoon nap time anyway, you can see he's getting tired". "Yes, ok" Eddie replied sadly. "Micheal said that if your surgery goes ok he'll discharge you into my care this evening once the anaesthetic wears off. You can come stay with the two of us while you get better" said Luc. "I wouldn't want to intrude on you" protested Eddie. "What about Jac?" asked Eddie. "Jac? What do you mean?" asked Luc. "I wouldn't want to intrude on you two" said Eddie. "Eddie, there's nothing between me and Jac. Where did you get that impression?" implored Luc. "But I saw her with you last night, she went back to your house..." replied Eddie. "Yes,she was waiting for Johnny to finish up in work so she came around for a drink while she waited. She only stayed about an hour" he said. "Eddie, there hasnt been anyone since you" he went on. "Oh, ok" she replied. "Listen, we'll talk about all this later, right now we need to get this little man back to the creche for his nap and his mummy needs her rest too" Luc said with a big smile. Eddie gave them both a kiss on the forehead and Luc brought Lucas back to the creche. Luc couldnt help but smile, it felt like things were finally starting to work out for him.
Eddie's surgery went without a hitch and Micheal kept his promise by discharging her later that evening. She was waiting for Luc to finish up when Michael came over. "Are you still here? I though you couldn't wait to escape this joint?" he joked. "Just waiting on Luc to finish up so we can collect Lucas and go home" she replied. "Congratulations, you're a mommy now!" he joked. "I'm not sure I deserve to be one though, dumping him on Luc like that, I shouldn't have done that, run away at the first sign of trouble" she replied sadly. "Eddie from what Luc tells me you did the best you could for Lucas at the time, leaving him with his medical genius of a dad. Who else but Luc would have moved heaven and earth to find out why Lucas was sick and find a cure for him? In the end, Luc got lucky that he recognised the symptoms from his own family having the illness too, dumb luck as I always say" replied Michael. "Yes, I suppose. I'm just worried that Luc wont forgive me" she replied. "Forgive you, are you joking? Luc's been smiling like a maniac all afternoon ever since he got you back, he loves you to bits, both of them do!" Michael retorted. "If you say so" replied Eddie. "Just dont screw it up this time kiddo!" he exclaimed pulling her into a hug. "By the way, there's always a job for you here in AAU when you're feeling better" he stated. "I'll think about it" she replied. With that Luc came in with his coat and bag all ready to go. "Ready?" he asked. "Yes, take me home" she replied with a smile.
They collected Lucas from the creche and were making their way out of the hospital when they ran into Chantelle heading into the hospital. She gave Eddie a massive hug hello and cooed over Lucas before she made her excuses and ran off, she was late for her shift. They got back to Luc's appartment slowly as Eddie was now on crutches with her leg but insisted on walking the short distance instead of getting a taxi as Luc had requested. They all needed the fresh air she insisted. Luc settled Lucas in his bouncy chair while Eddie looked around admiring the flat. She was amazed at how homely Luc had made it. Of course, Lucas' stuff took over a good proportion of every room. She smiled at the wall decorations in Lucas' room, Luc had put up some of his photos from his travels on the walls to bringten it up along with some animal stickers. Luc set about making them some dinner and making up some of Lucas' bottles. "Do you want to give him his bottle? He's due one about now" asked Luc. "Oh, ok. Are you sure he'll take it from me?" she asked. "He's probably starving, he'll bite your hand off for it don't worry! We've had to increase the amount we're giving him now he's growing so much at the moment" laughed Luc. "Ok, but you dont have to rub it in" she said slightly annoyed. "What, oh i'm sorry, i didnt think" Luc replied appologetically. "Eddie, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said it like that, it wasnt any of your fault what happened before. I'm just so happy that he's putting on weight now and growing like he should be, i was being insensitive, i'm sorry." Luc walked over to her with a hurt feeling on his face. She pulled him over to her and hugged him. "I'm sorry, maybe I'm being oversensitive. I am happy that Lucas is ok now" she replied. Luc kissed her on the forhead. "Lets forget all about it now and look to the future" he said. "Yes, i like that idea. What's for dinner?" she asked. "Would madam like baby milk or spaghetti bolognaise?" he asked in a french waiter accent. "I think i'll go for the spaghetti but the young man here would like his milk please" she beamed. Luc went off to the kitchen and brought back Lucas' bottle so that Eddie could feed him. He was so hungry that he finished the whole bottle in one sitting. He gurlged away happily until Luc brought him for his bath. He got Lucas dressed after and put him to bed. As Luc was putting him in the cot he said his usual ritual "Daddy loves you" and kissed him and then "Mummy loves you" and another kiss. Eddie stood at the door to Lucas' room and said "I think mummy can do that herself now". Luc said, "sorry i forgot, force of habit i guess". Eddie walked over to the cot, bent down and kissed him goodnight herself.
They stood there arms wrapped around each other as Lucas drifted off to sleep. Neither of them wanting to be the one that broke the spell but eventually Eddie gave in and said "Can we eat now, I'm starving?".