2 years later
“Miles! Miles! Where in the hell is my wife?” Bass Monroe shouted as he marched into the sheriff's office.
He had gotten home late last night and not wanting to wake Charlie, had slept in the spare bedroom. When he woke this morning, he had discovered his breakfast on
the table and note saying she was going into town.
“Where do you think she is?” Miles answered with a frown, looking up from the drawings of the new walkway that would eventually encompass the entire town.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Bass growled, walking back out and towards the town gate, yelling at the top of his lungs, “Charlotte Monroe! Get down here right now
before I turn you over my knee!” he threatened, standing with his hands on his hips as he waited for her to appear up top and make her way down the wobbly
narrow steps that had yet to be repaired despite his constant bitching.
Stomping down the stairs as hard as possible, Charlie stalked towards her husband.
“Don’t you threaten me Sebastian Monroe!” she yelled back, shoving a finger in his chest.
A smirk hovered over Bass’ lips as he snatched his wife’s wrist, pulling her against him. “You’re cute when you’re angry,” he whispered near her ear before pressing a kiss against her cheek.
“Yeah, and you’re mean,” she grumbled, slipping an arm around his back, causing him to laugh.
“Well, then, how about we go home and I make it up to you?” he asked, eyes sparkling as he ran a hand protectively over her belly.
“Yeah?” She asked, looking up at him from under her lashes as her tongue darted out to lick her lips.
“Oh, yeah,” he nodded, running a hand up underneath her hair to keep her head still as he leaned in to kiss a spot between her jaw and ear, causing her to hum as she rubbed her thighs together.
“Come on,” he whispered hotly against her skin as he turned loose of her and turned her around to follow him only to hear Charlie yelp at the sight of the man who was standing in front of her as he frowned, wondering where the man had come from. He hadn’t been there a minute ago.
“Young lovers with a baby on the way,” the ancient man’s chest rattled as he reached out a hand ravaged by time and arthritis. “May I?” He asked.
Glancing up at Bass who had laid his hands on her shoulders protectively, Charlie looked back at the man with a polite smile and nodded her head. While it bothered her when people asked to touch her stomach, she understood the almost unconscionable urge that made them do it. There was something about an unborn baby that signified hope, and life’s ability to carry on despite the circumstances.
Reaching out, the man’s hand seemed to unknot in front of Charlie's eyes as she watched him place his palm in the center of her stomach and begin to shake.
Following his shaking arm, Charlie gasped when she saw his eyes roll back in his head. “Oh my God, Bass, I think he’s having a seizure. Someone get Doc Porter!” she yelled to the watching bystanders as Bass laid him out on the ground.
Kneeling next to him, the man's eyes flew open when Charlie took his hand in hers.
Motioning her closer, the old man began to speak again, this time in a voice much stronger and steadier. “I’ve never known two children who loved their mother so
much they would follow her through time itself.”
Charlie’s brows dipped as she looked over Bass and then back to the man. “I’m sorry. I’m not sure I know what you mean.”
The man smiled, showing off the few teeth he had managed to hang on to. “Ethan and Savannah. Can’t you feel them inside of you? They’re waiting to be reborn.”
Falling on her butt, Charlie scrambled backwards in the dirt to get away from the man, finally rolling over to her knees so that she could push herself up as Bass raged at the old man, being held back by several of the townspeople.
Not stopping to wait for him, Charlie ran towards home, her hands protectively covering the baby in her womb.
When Miles and Gene Showed up, Gene looked to the ancient man still lying on the ground as Miles grabbed a hold of Bass and drug him away from the crowd.
“What the hell happened?” Miles hissed, looking over at the man that appeared half dead.
Bass drug his hands through his hair. “He touched Charlie's stomach and then started saying this crazy shit about Ethan and Savannah! How could he have known about that Miles? How?” Bass demanded.
Miles frowned as he looked back over at the crowd. “I don’t know. Where is Charlie?” he asked, looking around and not finding her as Bass closed his eyes.
“She must of headed home,” he answered, taking off at a jog to find his wife.
Calling out her name as he burst through the door, Bass searched the house until he found her on the floor in front of their bed.
Taking a calming breath, he clamored down to the floor beside her, draping an arm over her shoulders.
“You know we're going to have to talk about it sooner or later,” he said softly, tilting his head to lean against hers.
Charlie shook her head, trying to control the trembling of her chin. “I promised. I promised that I’d never look back and I haven’t. I haven’t Bass!” she insisted, reaching for his hand.
“I know you haven’t, baby, I know,” Bass soothed, stroking her hair with his free hand, “but I’m the one that you made that promise to and it’s okay, Charlie. It’s okay if we need to talk about it to get through this,” he reasoned.
Charlie swallowed as she gripped his hand tighter, laying their joined hands against her belly, the child inside kicking to make it’s presence known. “I don’t know how he could have known, Bass. How could he have known about Ethan and Sunny? I never even told Aaron and Priscilla about them, and he just spits out their names like he knows us, like he’s a part of our family,” she cried, turning to rest her head against his chest.
Rubbing her back, Bass held her close. “I don’t know, baby. I don’t know. The Nano were doing weird things to people before the war. Maybe they did something to him. Made it possible for him to read minds. I’m certainly not upset about it, but it makes sense that your mind would turn to them now. Maybe you were unconsciously thinking about them and he picked up on it?” Bass offered in explanation even as Charlie shook her head.
“No, no, this is our baby , Bass, I wouldn’t do that, I promise ,” she breathed, looking up at him just as someone banged on the door.
“That’s probably Miles,” Bass said as he got to his feet, reaching down to help her up, only to have her cry out as she doubled over in pain.
“Charlie! Charlie what's wrong?’ Bass asked as he sat her down on the bed.
“I think I’m in labor,” she gasped, pressing a hand against her lower abdomen.
“Damnit!” Bass spit out, moving to the doorway. “Miles! Miles, get in here!” Bass yelled before moving back to Charlie’s side.
Booted footsteps could be heard coming down the hall as Miles slid into the room.
“Get Gene!” Bass demand. “Charlie thinks she’s in labor,” he explained as he began to remove his wife’s boots.
Wide-eyed as he looked at his niece, Miles nodded his head and took off back down the hallway.
“It’s going to be okay, baby, I promise,” Bass calmly reassured his wife as he got her undressed, slipping a cotton gown over her head and socks on her feet.
“You and I both know it’s too early, Bass. Something’s wrong,” she panted as he got her comfortable.
“Why don’t you let me decide that,” Gene said from the door where he stood next to Miles. “Bass why don’t you and Miles get some water heating while I do a cursory exam on my patient.”
Cupping Charlie’s cheeks, Bass kissed her forehead before meeting her eyes. With a quick nod of his head, he exited the room, letting Miles shut the door behind them.
“You okay?” Miles asked as he entered the kitchen to find Bass lighting the stove.
“No, I'm not alright! Just who the hell was that old man and how did he know about Ethan and Sunny?” he asked angrily, filling a kettle with water.
“His name is Edward Greycloud. He’s a Chickasaw Indian from Oklahoma. Ninety if he’s a day. Claims he’s a seer and he came to Willoughby before the war started because his gods told him it would be protected,” Miles explained, disbelief dripping from every word.
“You know, Miles, Charlie hasn’t talked about the kids or Philly since the night of the party on Chestnut Street. We both agreed to leave the past in the past and start over, and now this jackass comes along and drags it all back up, causing her to go into labor.” Turning his back on Miles he was barely able to choke back the sob that threatened to escape.
“I’m sorry, Bass,” Miles replied, looking down at his boots. He knew how much Shelly still haunted him.
“I can’t lose her or the baby, Miles. I can’t go through that again,” Bass rasped out harshly as he gripped the edge of the kitchen counter.
“You’re not going to lose any of them, if I have anything to say about it,” Gene announced from the doorway, watching as Bass turned to face him with red rimmed eyes.
“Any of them?”
“You’re having twins. Not sure how I didn’t pick up on it before but there’s two babies in there and they’re ready to meet their parents,” he said with a smile and tilt of his head “Charlie’s waiting for you.”
Giving a relieved smile in return, Bass rushed out of the kitchen and down the hall.
Pulling a bottle from the cabinet, Miles grabbed a couple of glasses and poured himself and Gene a drink. “Twins?”
“It’s the damnedest thing, Miles. I’ve never had any indication of a second baby, but today, out of the blue, there’s two distinct heartbeats. I don’t know how I could have missed it,” Gene sighed, taking a drink from his glass.
Miles looked at the liquid in his glass as he swirled it around. “It’s almost as if one was shielding the other. An older sibling protecting the younger. Gene, what if she were telling the truth and that’s not our Charlie?” he asked, looking up at his Father-in-law who looked as stunned as he felt.
“It’s a boy!” Gene announced as he cleaned out the baby’s air passages and tied off the umbilical cord.
Laughing and crying at the same time Bass pressed his lips against his wife’s temple, even as Charlie began to panic. “Why’s he not crying?” she asked as Rachel took the baby from her father getting a good look at her grandson.
“I don’t know,” Rachel said, looking at her father as she moved to the side of the bed so that his parents could see him.
Charlie sucked in a breath at the sight of her son, knowing that the old man had spoke the truth.
“He’s beautiful, Charlie!” Bass sobbed happily, running a hand over the boy's head, startled at a sudden groan from Charlie.
“I think that’s our cue,” Gene told Charlie as he settled back in at the end of the bed.
“It’s a girl, isn’t it,” Charlie cried with one last push. “Let me see her! Let me see her right now!” she demanded of her grandfather as her husband and mother looked on and her son began to cry in earnest.
Lifting the child up, Gene handed the slippery baby to her with Bass’ help as he once again busied himself with tying off the cord.
“Oh, Charlie, she looks just like you,” Bass whispered with a smile as they looked down at their daughter, her head filled with golden curls.
“It’s why we called her Sunny. Her hair was like sunshine itself,” Charlie whispered as she laid the child on the bed beside her. “Bring him to me,” Charlie requested of her squalling son, having Rachel lay him down close enough to his sister to touch, causing his cries to instantly cease.
“Charlie?” Rachel asked as she looked on in wonder at the now content babies.
“Can we have a minute?” Bass asked, tearing his eyes away from his family long enough to look at Gene.
“Just a minute,” Gene said softly, looking at his granddaughter. “We need to finish up this delivery and get them cleaned up.” Taking Rachel by the elbow, he guided his daughter out of the room and shut the door.
Holding Charlie close as she softly cried, Bass reached out, placing a hand on his children. “So, the old man was right. This is Ethan and Sunny.”
Charlie nodded, as she cried harder “I know you think I’m crazy, but I’m not Bass, I swear I'm not!”
“You forget that you’re talking to the king of crazy,” Bass whispered near her ear as he grasped her chin in his hand to look at her. “I love you so much, Charlie Monroe. This just proves that no matter where, no matter how and no matter when, we will always find each other. Always,” he whispered against her lips before kissing her softly.