FINALLY here is part one of the final chapter!  My game has been crashing lately which is why its taken so long.  Hopefully part two and the epilogue will be out much faster! Thanks for reading!!
James:

The sound of footsteps echoes across the hallway.  

"Did you get the car?"  I don't answer her.  My head is foggy and everything seems blurry.  "James?  Did you hear me?  I asked if you got the car!"

I shake my head slowly.

"Are you - oh, never mind!  You're worthless anyways.  Now where did I put my coat?"

I faintly make out her scurrying around looking for her jacket.  

"Why are we dooing this?  I mean reeally?"  My voice is slurred and my head bobs up and down.  

"Because of what they did to us, idiot!  Are you so out of it that you forget that?  Hmm?  Now can you get off your arse and help me?!"

"Fine.  Fine.  But isn't this wrong?"  A tiny, acute pain has been nipping at my heartstrings since we put this whole plan together.  "Thhhey arren't hurting anyyone.  And theirr happy.  Theeyy haven't even turned us innn.  Can't wee jussst leave 'em?"

"No we can't.  Get up.  They ruined my, I mean our lives.  And they will pay."

I sigh.  No sense in arguing with the devil.
Eliza:

"You ready?"  

"Yes."

"Ok.  Open."

His icy eyes open up to take in his surroundings.  

"It's. . . beautiful.  Grace," He looks around him in awe. "Did you really do this all yourself?"

"Mhmm."  I nod and feel my cheeks blush a slight shade of pink in response to his praise.  "You really like it?"

"Yes.  And she's going to love it too."  He replies and and rests his hand gently on my ever-growing belly.  

"I hope so."  

"She will."  He promises me.  His hand reaches for mine and he guides me to the couch where we sit in silence for a few moments.  

"Eight months, twenty-seven days."  My voice sounds rehearsed but excitement has started to edge upon it as well.  

"We're getting close."

"I know.  Pretty soon everything's going to be different."

"Especially considering we will not only have a little girl, but you will also be my wife."  I smile contentedly and examine the ring on my finger.

"Speaking of, did you get the florist for the wedding?"

"Yep.  Roses, just like we planned."

"Mmm.  Good.  It will be perfect."

"For sure."  His fingers entwine with mine and we stare at them together.  The touch of his skin feels like electricity coursing throughout my veins.  I turn to face him.  His warmth radiates over my body and my stomach does that flip-flop thing that it only does when I look into those perfect eyes.  His gaze is intently focused on me and his lips mere centimeters from my own.  So close that I can feel his breath melt on my skin.  

As he leans in to kiss me, my phone buzzes somewhere off to my left.  Sam sighs as I get up to grab it and I give him a knowing smile. 

My bare feet feel cold against the tile floor and I shiver a bit.  It's an unknown caller so I let it go to voicemail.  

"Who was it?'

"Not sure.  It didn't say."

"Well that's ok." He gives a mischievous smile. "You know I was thinking of a name. Eliza would be kind of ironic, don't you think?"

I laugh a little. "Yeah--no. What about Cara? After my mom? And her middle name could be Noelle after yours."

"Why does your mom's name have to come first?"

"Because Noelle Cara doesn't sound right."

"Cara Noelle." He tests the name out on his tounge. "Fine. I'll cave. Just this once though. I get to choose the name for the dog."

I giggle.  "Yes because naming our child is the equivalent of naming a dog."

"You know, I think you're right.  Eliza it is."

"Sam!  That's not what I meant."

"Well it's kind of what you said."

I huff.  "I like Cara."

We spend the rest of the day out at lunch. Every now and then Sam makes his sarcastic comments about how we either name our girl Noelle first or we name her Eliza.  I have to remind him I'm the one that's carrying the baby so I get more power over the decision.  He doesn't give in.

After a tiring day I retire to the shower to wash up before heading on to bed. I dry myself off with my towel as I'm getting out. The steam from the hot water feels realxing to my aching muscles.

As I'm brushing through my hair I happen to notice a small puddle of water on the floor. 

That's funny, I think. I thought I dried off better than that. That's when it hits me. 

"Sam!" I call. "She's coming!"

"What?!" I hear his voice echo into the room and I scurry to get dressed. 
"You heard me! Will you get the car ready? Is the car seat in there?" His face appears in the doorway. 

"No. I'll go get it. Will you be ok for a few minutes?"

"I'm fine! Don't worry just hurry!"

I decide to put my hair, which is still wet from the shower, up in a bun to keep it out of my way.  I smile one last time in the mirror before heading out.

The hospital air is cool and dry. The pain coming from my stomach is unbearable. My vision is slowly becoming blurry but I ignore it. I'm not going to pass out and miss the birth of my child. Sam is sitting next to me, holding my hand. I can tell he's worried. 
"There's nothing to be afraid of."

He looks up at me. "I know. Those pills that Doctor Baer gave you are going to work.  They have to."

I look at him sadly and nod in agreement as I bite my lip while another contraction comes along.  My breathing is a little ragged but I remain conscious and at least that's something.  

"You know I love you, right?"  Sam's eyes are glossy and fearful.  

"Oh Sam!"  He reaches his arms around me and holds me.  "I'm the one that should be asking you."

The door opens with a click and a nurse comes into the room.  

"Grace?"

"Yes."  The sound of my voice takes effort to come out.

"I have a little bit of bad news for you.  Nothing terrible, I promise.  However, we are going to need to put you under and give you a C-Section.  It's best for you and the baby if we do it this way given your condition."

"Okay."  I give a shaky little nod.  "Sam will still be there though, right?"

"Unfortunately no.  We can't take any risks.  But he can be the first one to hold her after, at least until you wake up."

I look over at Sam who just smiles.  "I'm fine Grace.  I'll only be a room away."  I give him a grateful look.  This has to be hard for him but he's pretending to be ok with everything for me.

"So we're good then?" The nurse asks.  

"Yes.  Just make sure Sam is the first."

She nods and leaves us for the last few minutes of it only being Sam and I.  

Something about her visit. . . I can't explain it.  I just have a feeling.  

"If something should happen. . ."  My voice is a whisper.

"No."  He shakes his head.  "Stop. I'm not losing you ever again."

"But if something were to-"

"It's not!"  His voice raises and my eyes widen.  "I'm sorry.  I just can't."

My hand strokes his cheek.  "I'm not saying anything will happen.  But if it does you need to be strong.  You need to take care of our girl, you understand?"

He nods.  

"Alright then.  They're going to take me in soon.  Why don't you head into the lobby?"

He reluctantly goes.  When the door shuts I cradle my belly with one hand and imagine holding my daughter.  "Don't ever forget me.  I love you so much. Remember that.  Please."
Sam:

 I pace back and forth.  The lights from the ceiling are reflecting their light onto the dull tile floor.  My mind races a million miles an hour.  Impatience tugs at the back of my mind.  I have to do something other than just sitting here!  It's been an hour and fifteen minutes.  Grace has to be okay.  She has to!  And the baby... 

My phone goes off and whirl around thanking the fact I finally have something other than pacing to take my mind off of Grace.  

An unknown caller.  

Of course, I think.  Not anyone but some damn telemarketer.  

I sigh and plop myself into one of the hard-cushioned chairs.  The clock's hands ticking away are the only sounds in the lobby.    The small teddy bear I bought for our girl is sitting lop-sided on the coffee table.  I pick it up and examine it a bit.  Taking in the details of it.  Not as if there was anything more productive I could do anyways.
When the door finally opens I stand up.  "Is she ok?"

The nurse looks at me for a second. That second is all it takes.  Just one glimpse into her eyes and I know.

"Where is she?"  My voice is strained.  Barely able to utter any words.

"Follow me."
I walk down the hall feeling a pain in my chest I've never felt.  My eyes are welled up with tears an my fists are packed tightly into a ball to prevent to prevent any of the tears to leak out.  When I see Grace I want to collapse right there on the floor.  Her hair is in an array all around her head, darker than the day we first met but the color I have grown to know the past year.  Her face is pallid, and her hands lay by her side.  Delicate, even now.  I take note of her chest rising and falling at such a slow pace I wouldn't even think it humanly possible for her.  

"Why isn't she awake?!  She's. . . breathing right?"

"It's a coma."  She stammers.

"When will she wake up?"

"We don't know.  There isn't a good chance she ever will given everything she's been through."
I want to scream.  Tell everyone they're wrong.  She can't leave me!  She's mine and I hers.  I love her!

My hand reaches over to hers.  Cool to the touch and my mind flashes back to to earlier when she held mine and radiated a warmth that made my heart melt.  But now, that same hand is what's tearing my heart to shreds.

I lean my head down and bury it in my arms.  She knew.  I don't know how but she did.

A hand touches my shoulder.  "She wanted you to hold her first."  

I look up.  Wrapped in a pale pink blanket is my sleeping daughter.  Her skin tone matches mine more than Grace's and her black hair is thick on her head.  I take note of how one of her hands can barely wrap around one of my fingers.  The sight of her sends a feeling to my chest that I can't explain.  She's our little girl.  

My eyes revert their gaze to Grace and then back to our baby.  I smile a little in spite of everything.  I guess that settles it.  "You're our baby Cara." I murmur. And for some reason, despite me being against the name it feels right.  It's what Grace had wanted. And no matter how hard I wish it, for some reason I just know, with a grieving sense of pain, I will never see my Grace's eyes again. I hold Cara tighter against my chest. It's just Cara and I now.

In the corner of the room, Cara sleeps soundly.  Completely unaware of her mother laying unconscious on the bed parallel to her.  Keeping her here for an extended amount of time was necessary, according to the doctors anyways.  Either way, I didn't mind.  It might be the only time I will ever have them in the same room.  

My thoughts wandered.  I wasn't sure if how long I was going to keep Grace in this coma.  While it is very unlikely she will ever wake up, my heart wants to believe that she can still be with me. The only reason my heart seems to continue beating is because I'm so numb from everything.  As soon as I am forced to let Grace go, I'm terrified that I will go with her.  My mind will need reminding of my daughter.  She will be the only thing keeping me tethered to this world.

Midnight comes to pass and tiredness is creeping up on me.  I fade in and out before the door swings open in a rush.  

He smells like a bar and the appearance of him is much worse.  Straggly, greasy blond hair tops his head and the circles under his eyes make him seem almost ghost-like.  James.

I stand up, prepared for him to make a move towards either Grace or Cara.

"What do you want?"  I ask him forcefully.  His eyes widen.  

"She's coming.  I told her not to.  I told her!  But she won't listen!"  He starts to sob.  "She's coming!  I'm so sorry.  So sorry."

"James?!  Whose coming?  Who?!"

I shake him by his shoulders.

He looks confused.  "She is.  And she wants to. . . You need to get out of here!  I tried!  I tried! Please!  I'm so sorry!  Hurry! She's coming!  Go before it's too late!"

"Sorry to rain on the parade, but it's already too late."  An icy smile is on her lips.  Her eyes pierce my soul like venom and a gun is pointed right at my heart.  I should have known.  The only person I could trust when Grace disappeared.  The only person who I never thought could be behind this.

Bianca.
 


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