He looked at her. Deep into her chestnut brown eyes as they peered into his and sparkled as the tears welled within them.
"You heard me," She shook her head and looked away, wiping her tears. She looked back down the path they had traveled through the freshly fallen autumn leaves to where they stood beside the small pond at the end of the woods. She felt like running… had she not felt like she was going to vomit at any moment, she would have run. She would have run until she couldn't run anymore.
"Alexandra," He placed a hand on her arm, nudging her to look back in his direction.
"How do you know for sure?"
She rolled her eyes, "Certain things happen to a woman's body when they are pregnant. Trust me, I know."
"You… you're…" He stammered.
"I'm pregnant. I'm pregnant with your baby." She watched carefully as suddenly his expression changed from one of shock, to awe, to a look of fierce determination.
"I'm going to take care of you."
"No… no, I don't want… I only came here to tell you because you deserve to know…" She stopped when he brushed a stray piece of hair from her face.
"I know that we don't know each other that well…" He sighed, "And I'm sorry for that. I'm so sorry that I haven't been able to see you as much as I would have liked. I swear to you… you mean more to me than one night at a bar, Alexandra… You mean so much more."
"You're being very nice but, I understand…. I understand if you just want to go on with your life."
"I do… I want to go one with my life with you in it… and our child." He watched her look away again. She was so strong. He could see it by the way she crossed her arms in front of her and the stern look she had in her eye. And yet- he knew she was scared. She was as scared as he was, he could tell. He had spent the equivalent of all of three or four days with this girl and yet, he couldn't stop thinking about her. Looking at her stand in front of him and announce she was pregnant with their child… nothing had ever been more clear to him. He loved her, "I want… I want to take care of you. I will do whatever it takes. Who else knows about this…?"
"My brother. Stefan." She wiped a lone tear as it escaped her eye, "The nurse… she insisted on calling my father but I just couldn't. I couldn't stop crying and I just begged her not to. I told her that I wanted to call him myself… but I didn't. I called Stefan and he pretended to be my father."
"You must have been so scared… I'm so sorry…" He found himself growing emotional as well. He hated that she was left in that terrifying situation by himself. He was partially responsible for this. He deserved to take the wrath as well.
"Stefan… he's going to come get me. Today…" She sniffled as her emotions took over and tears overwhelmed her cheeks, "He promised me that my father wouldn't know… he said… He said that he would find a place for us to live."
"Please, please let me help you." He pled with her, gripping her arms with his hands, "Please."
"How?" Her voice was small and riddled with fear, "How can you help me, Julian? I'm only sixteen years old and I'm preg…" She stopped when she noticed his eyes widen.
"You're… you're sixteen?" He blinked, "I thought…"
"I lied to you…" She cried, "I lied to get into the bar and I lied to you when you asked me… I lied… I lied and now I'm in a situation that I created and I can't get myself out of."
"It doesn't matter to me," Julian reassured her as he pulled her closer, "You lied before and you can lie again. You can say you're eighteen… we'll go to the courthouse and get a license."
"A marriage license."
She felt her own eyes widen, "Marriage!? I don't… I don't know… I mean…"
"It's the only way. Marry me… please, marry me. We will get your brother to help us."
"What about school?"
"I'm graduating this spring…" He paused when her face grew weary, "You will finish, too. I'll help you get through it. We will be together… with our baby."
Looking into his eyes, she couldn't help but smile. This man that she barely knew. This boy who she gave her virginity to in the backseat of his car a moment of heated passion and now she was carrying his child… he wanted to take care of her. He wanted to help her. No one had ever looked at her the way he was looking at her in that moment.
"I…" He pulled her closer, peering deeply into her eyes, "I love you."
"I do, Alexandra… I love you… I have never looked at someone and felt what I feel." He knew it was right. He did love her. And she nodded… she nodded and he could only hope that meant she loved him too.
They met eyes from across the room, drawing him from his daydream. It only lasted a moment. But it was enough… enough for him to see that what was there all those years ago was still there in spite of everything between them. She looked away, continuing to smooth their granddaughter's raven hair away from her face as she slept in her lap. It was going to be a long night. A long, quiet night.
Julian looked up at the voice and smiled as Molly handed him a cup of coffee, "Thank you."
"You're welcome." Molly took a seat beside him, they both watched as Kristina delivered the cup to their mother, setting a smaller one on the table in front of them.
"Lila's hot chocolate." Kristina smiled before brushed her hand along her niece's hair.
"She just fell asleep," Alexis spoke softly, still smoothing the young girl's hair as it rested atop her legs. She glanced at her watch, "It's almost 2… are you sure you girls don't want to go home?"
"No!" Molly spoke up from where she sat beside Julian and smiled, "We're not going to miss this… not for anything."
Alexis smiled to her youngest daughter before her eyes shifted to the man sitting beside her, legs crossed with his eyes cast upward from the warm cup in his hands on which he had been trying to keep his focus. Instead, he was looking at her… the way that he always did. To this very day there was no one else in the world that looked at her the way Julian did... with no one else could she see the love in their eyes at one glance. It was always only him.
Julian entered the room slowly and practically melted at the sight of Alexis and Sam snuggled on the bed together. He tried to be quiet as he set their coffees on the table but Alexis' eyes quickly opened as soon as she sensed him come closer.
"I'm sorry… go back to sleep." He leaned in for a kiss and she smiled.
"I wasn't sleeping," She kissed their little girls head.
"How is she now?" Julian studied Sam as she slept, brushing his hand lightly over her forehead, "She doesn't feel as warm."
"I thought the same thing," His wife replied as she rested her cheek atop Sam's head, "The doctor said it was going down and the antibiotics are working…"
"Thank God…" Julian sighed, taking a seat in the chair, "I never knew a tonsillectomy could be so complicated."
"I guess infection can be a little more common when the patients are younger… that's what the nurse said, at least. And even though she is five… she's small for her age."
"She's our peanut," Julian smirked as he took Alexis' hand, "little did we know from that first sonogram picture that we would be calling her peanut for the rest of her life."
"I don't know how she's going to feel about that when she's thirty…" Alexis rolled her eyes, "Although, you could probably say or do anything and she would still think you were the greatest man in the entire world."
"Well, I mean.. .what can I say?" He laughed when she rolled her eyes.
"I need a little mamma's boy… that's what I need…" Alexis snuggled their daughter close, "Then we can be even."
"Really?" He waited for her to look back to him, but instead she stayed focused on Sam, smoothing her blankets and fiddling with the I.V. cords.
"Now that I've finished with law school and I'm getting settled into the firm… things have calmed down."
"They have, yes…"
"I mean, that would be nice, wouldn't it?" She looked up at him again, "To have another baby…"
"Sure…" He smiled softly and grasped her hand, "But are you ready for that?"
"Well, I mean…" She shrugged, "I guess I kind of have to be, right?"
"What?" Looking into her eyes, he saw the glimmer before the smile even registered to his brain, "Alexis… are you?"
"Am I what?" She raised a brow, her smile broadening from ear to ear.
"You're pregnant…" Julian met her eyes one again and immediately his own began to sting as they filled with tears, "We're having another baby?!"
"Yeah…" She nodded excitedly, "I'm pregnant."
"Oh… Oh my God, Lexie…" He sprung from his chair pulled her into a hug as gently as his excitement would allow, as to not disturb their sleeping daughter, "We're having a baby!"
"Yes, we're having a baby!" She answered him again with excitement bubbling from her words before he covered her lips with his own for a long passionate kiss. When they broke, she simply locked her eyes with his as his hand gently grazed her cheek.
"I love you so much."
Alexis nodded, "I love you, too."
"You're the best thing that's ever happened to me, Alexis Jerome… The best thing." He couldn't break his eyes away from hers. He couldn't stop looking at her. The love of his life. The mother of his daughter… now the mother of his children. Another child. Another living breathing representation of their love. Life couldn't get any better.