She couldn’t do this to him, to them, she decided in that moment. ‘They don’t deserve this,’ she thought. ‘They don’t deserve some pregnant woman knocking on their door and ruining their life.’ She saw how happy he was, and she refused to destroy that because she had gotten herself in some mess. She did it; she’d fix it. Her presence was obviously noticed because she saw Philip knot his eyebrows together as he glanced out of the window. Without a second thought, she turned, trying to get back to her car as quickly as possible.
She had reached the sidewalk when she heard the door open. “Miss?” A familiar voice called, causing her to pause as she resisted the urge to turn around. She took another two steps before he spoke again.
He could recognize her anywhere. Her hair. Her frame. Her walk. He had noticed someone was at his door, and when he had stared into those green eyes again through the glass, his heart skipped a beat. Emily was hiding behind his leg, and he gently placed a hand on her head. “Theresa? Tessa, is that you?”
It was hazy as she looked over her shoulder. It wasn’t quite dark, but it wasn’t quite light either. They were in a twilight zone both figuratively and literally. The rain obstructed her view, but she could see him take a step towards her. She looked down, starting to walk again.
“Theresa, wait!” He squatted, coming eye to eye with his daughter. “Wait right here, love. Daddy will be right back.” He began sprinting towards her, no regard of getting drenched. “Theresa, I know it’s you!”
“Stop!” She managed to scream at him as she approached her car. “This was a mistake, Philip. I’m sorry that I ever came here.”
His glasses were all but useless, and he couldn’t really see her. He couldn’t really see the handprint around her neck either. “How did you...”
“Your mother told me. I...I should go.” She grabbed the car door handle, yanking it open.
“Stay! Please. Come inside and talk. I’ll make us some tea, and we can just talk. Please, Tessa.” His voice grew louder as the rain began pounding the pavement harder.
She hesitated, hearing her heartbeat thump in her ears. Bringing a hand up to her throat, she winced as she felt the bruise sting. “O...Okay,” she mumbled, walking back towards him after she closed her car door. She watched as his shoulders released the tension they had been holding and he reached out for her, resting his hand on the small of her back to guide her to the door.
He sighed as they got closer to the house. He couldn’t really see anything, and he was dying to dry his glasses and look at her. He was craving to share the same room with her again. He kneeled back down to Emily when they got to the door. “Emily, this is a friend of mine. She came to visit, and she is very nice.” His arms scooped the small girl up, bringing her to rest against his chest.
Theresa watched with a sad smile as he led her into the house. It was nice and homey and comfortable. Dolls and crayons scattered the coffee table, and her heart tightened a bit as she thought of him drawing with his daughter. “I’m getting water everywhere,” she said quietly.
“Don’t worry. I’ll get us a few towels. Just give me a minute to get her pajamas on,” he said, not looking back at her. “I’ll be right back.”
He disappeared down the hall, and she slowly turned in a circle, taking in the pictures he had on the walls. They included his family. Most of them were of him and Emily as she grew up, but as she almost completed her turn, she paused, gasping as she saw their wedding portrait. “I’ll never take that one down,” she heard him say as she spun to face him. He had changed and was sporting an Oxford sweatshirt.
He had Emily on one hip and towels resting under his free arm, and he felt his smile fade as he finally saw her with clarity. He recognized it instantly, the pregnant belly, and his heart started to speed up. He tried to keep his face straight, but the very evident bruise around her throat made him step forward. “Theresa-”
“Don’t.” She held her hand up. “Please, don’t.” Her eyes had followed his as he looked at her, and she saw the disappointment in them before the anger. Gently, she pulled the towels out from under his arm and wrapped one around him to catch the dripping water from his hair before wrapping one around herself. Her tears were coming faster now as they both stood there.
“Da-da,” Emily said clearly, arms waving as she broke the tension. “Da-da! Da-da!”
Philip shifted her on his hip. “Umm, it’s time for her bottle.” He passed her to get to the kitchen before stopping suddenly. “Do you have clothes you can change into? You shouldn’t be wearing that. You could get sick.”
She was stunned at the worry in his voice as she watched him sit the baby in her highchair. “Umm, in my car. My clothes are in my car.”
Nodding, he quickly filled an empty bottle with water before dumping two scoops of the formula in. “It’s pouring, so I don’t think that’s a good idea right now. You can borrow some of mine. Some of my pajama pants and a t-shirt should fit,” he told her as he popped the bottle in the microwave. “I’ll go get those while this warms.” He didn’t really give her chance to respond before he blew past her and down the hall.
She found herself walking closer to the baby, and when the timer went off, she reached to take the bottle out. She didn’t know he was watching her as she tested the liquid on her hand before handing it to his daughter. She smiled down at Emily as she eagerly took it. “You have your daddy’s eyes,” she said softly, hand going to smooth the jet-black curls on the girl’s head.
“I don’t know whose personality she has,” he said as he walked up beside her. He held the clothes out for her to take and smiled when she did. “There is a bathroom in there,” his head nodded to the door across from the kitchen table, “and I’ll make us some tea and attempt to get her off to sleep while you get changed.”
“No, Theresa,” he told her. “We have to talk. We just…have to.” He saw how she tensed when he raised his voice and immediately berated himself. She was bruised and obviously scared, and he had probably frightened her even more with that. He reached out, gently taking her hand before softly saying, “I’m sorry I was harsh, but we really do have to speak. Please get changed so your warm.”
“Okay,” she whispered.
He picked the baby up and began to bounce her as she sucked down the bottle. He started smiling as her eyes fluttered, and he leaned down to kiss her head. His eyes snapped up as he heard her exit the bathroom. His heart melted a bit when he saw her in his clothes. The shirt almost swallowed her, but it somehow seemed to make her stomach more pronounced. “How far along are you?” He asked without thinking.
“Oh…umm…almost six months. I’ll be twenty-four weeks next Thursday,” she mumbled.
“I’ll put her down and make that tea. You can sit in the living room if you’d like.”
The awkwardness was killing both of them. There had been so much anger and hurt between them that neither really knew what they should do. Should Philip try to comfort her? Should she have even come here? Her hand came up to rest on her belly as she watched him fuss over the now sleeping babe. “You’re such a good father.”
“Thank you. It’s hard being mummy and daddy,” he told her.
Philip sighed. “Her mother left her when she was a few months old. I’m the only parent she has.”
Theresa looked down, feeling ashamed at how she almost jumped to conclusions. “Well, that just makes you an extra good father.”
He smiled and blushed as he gently laid her down in the bassinet in the corner. “She should really be in her crib, but her pediatrician said that if she was still sleeping peacefully then she could keep sleeping in it.”
She smiled, watching the girl squirm before settling into a deep sleep. “Shall we talk?”
“I haven’t made that tea-”
“Philip, I don’t want tea.” She sighed. “Sorry.”
“What do you want, Theresa? Why did you come here?” He asked as he sat across from her. “I haven’t seen you in nearly a year and a half, and you show up randomly. You’re pregnant, and you have a giant bruise around your neck. God, you have one that’s healing on your arm, and you,” he paused as the tears came, “and you’re here…with me…wearing my clothes and talking about my daughter. So tell me, what exactly do you want?”
Tears were slipping down her cheeks as she listened to him. Her hand began rubbing her stomach as the nerves set in. “I don’t know,” she whispered. “I don’t know what I want, but I know I’m scared, and the only person I want is you.” Her hand was shaking as she came to wipe her face.
“Oh, Tessa,” he breathed out. He immediately gathered her in his arms as she sobbed. “I’m here. I’m here. You’ll be okay. I’m here, and you’ll be okay. We’ll be okay.”
“I’m so scared, Philip. What if he finds me?” She choked out.
His heart broke as he heard her. His hand rubbed up and down her back as she sobbed against his chest. “I promise that I’ll be here. I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere.”
Theresa had eventually fallen asleep against him, exhausted from the emotional toll and all the crying. He had let her sleep; it seemed like it was the first time in months she had been able to. His hands had run through her hair as her head laid in his lap, and he had slowly let out the tears he was holding in. He felt even worse when he saw the scars on her neck. He should have fought harder for her. He should have made her stay, and now, she was on his couch, covered in bruises and expecting a baby he didn’t even know if she wanted.
She felt stiff as she woke up, and she tensed when she felt the hand, then it all came flooding back and she groaned. She snuggled into him and felt as he slipped his hand down, covering her stomach. Slowly, she slipped her own hand down to cover his. “She’s usually much more active when I sleep.”
“It’s a girl?” He asked, fingers massaging her side. It seemed so natural for them to be like this, to act like this. It had been only been a year and a few months after all. He still loved her. He always would.
Theresa nodded, linking their hands together without thought. “She is. I’ve been trying pick out names.”
“I picked out Emily’s. Emily Genevieve May.”
Theresa rolled over and sat up, running a hand through her hair. “That’s beautiful. It’s after your aunt.”
“We should talk more,” he said as his hand reached out to brush her hair back.
Nodding, she slowly relaxed onto the couch. “I guess I should start from the beginning.”
“Go at your own pace.”
“Well,” she took a deep breath, “after the divorce, I hit a rough patch. I…I had made some stupid decisions, and I wanted to forget everything. I wanted to forget you. He…He picked me up in a bar, and I fell hard and fast. I thought he was going to be the one. And then he hit me…”
He squeezed her hand tightly. “It’s okay.”
“He did other things…worse things.”
Philip felt his stomach flip as she said it. “Is…Is the baby from it?”
Theresa shook her head. “Not exactly. I’m not sure. I like to think she is from before…before he started. I like to think she came out of love…not,” she lowered her voice, “not rape.”
“Then she’s from love. You love her at least.”
“I do. I love her so much,” she sobbed. “Sam wants a boy, and I’m terrified that he’s going to track me down and hurt us. I can’t lose her. I can’t lose another.”
He pulled her into his side, kissing her head. “You won’t. I promise that I won’t let that happen. I will be right here, and I’m not going anywhere.”
“You shouldn’t have to do this,” she started.
“Theresa, you’re here. You need help, and I want to help you. I,” he stopped himself from saying he loved her, “I want to do this.”
“How do we do this?”
“Well, I need to get your clothes out of your car, and I have a spare room. We will get you setup in there, and I already have all the baby stuff, so we won’t have to worry about that.”
She looked at him, tears coming to her eyes again. “You’re going to let me stay?”
“I can’t just kick you out, Tessa. You need me. We’ll get through this.”
Life had taken an interesting turn for the three of them. Theresa had been slowly opening up more about the horrors she had suffered at Sam’s hands, and Philip had persuaded her to start therapy and get a restraining order. He had even been the one to go to appointments with her. And it had been harder for him to refrain telling her he loved her. The most endearing thing had been how quickly Emily had grown accustomed to the new lady in her home, and Theresa was warming to the girl. Philip would often find Theresa in the kitchen in the mornings with Emily on her hip as she made breakfast. Which was no different this morning.
“Morning, girls,” Philip said with a smile as he came over to kiss Emily’s head. “How do you feel?”
Theresa gave him a small smile. “Very big. She’s being very active this morning.”
“Can I feel?” He watched for her nod before putting his hand on her stomach, grinning when he felt a strong kick. “She’s so strong,” he whispered.
“I’m making pancakes. Could you take her while I finish?”
“I’ll finish. You should sit and rest.” He saw her smile before sitting Emily in her highchair and sitting next to her. “You two have gotten close.”
Theresa giggled and shifted to face him. “She’s a lovely baby.” She paused and took a breath. “Philip, I think I should find a flat to move into.”
He nearly dropped the plate of pancakes he was carrying to the table. “What?”
She looked down, unable to look into his eyes. “She’s almost due, and it isn’t fair to do that to you and Emily. You’ve helped me so much, and I’ve taken your kindness for granted.”
“You’ll need help, Tess. It’s hard having a newborn on your own, and you’re just starting to get better. You should stay. You need to stay,” he argued.
“I know you’re worried about me, but I think I can handle it. I was thinking about getting one close to here, so I would still be around.”
He felt his heart speed up. He couldn’t let her leave. They were making progress with each other. They had been talking about the past, and she had told him that she forgave him. They had almost become a couple again. Platonic of course, but still a couple. “Theresa, I don’t think it’s a good idea. If you’re here, I can protect you and help you, and Mum talked about coming down when you went into labor so you would have someone there with you.”
“And I appreciate all of it, but…it’s odd, isn’t it?” She sighed as she looked at him earnestly. “We aren’t married anymore, and I got myself into this mess. I shouldn’t put even more stress on you with her arrival. Emily is just sleeping through the night, and a baby would ruin that.”
“You need to stay.”
“I’ll still be here. I can still visit and see Emily, and you can see the baby. They’ll grow up together, and I think it would be best if I-”
“I love you, Theresa,” Philip said as he put the plate down on the table. “I still love you, and I’m still in love with you.”
She looked thoroughly stunned as her wide eyes stared at him. “What?”
Sighing, he plopped himself down across from her and ran a hand through his hair. “I never stopped loving you. I think you know that too. I don’t care that you’ve taken my kindness for granted. I want you to, and I want you to stay here…with us, because I love you.”
“Philip,” she began before pausing, “I…I don’t know what to say.”
He reached over, taking her hand gently. “I think you want to say you love me back. I can see it in the way you look at me. It’s never changed from when we were married, but I think you’re afraid to say it. But that’s okay. I’m okay with waiting until you are ready to say it.”
Her eyes were full of tears as she searched for something to look at it. Anything but him really. “I’m broken,” she whispered. “I’m broken and pregnant with a baby that isn’t yours.”
“And?” He asked. “You’ve been more of a mother to Emily in the past two months than her own mother ever was, and she isn’t yours. In fact, you should probably hate her…hate her very existence, but you don’t.”
“I could never hate her. She’s just a baby.”
“Just like your daughter is just a baby. I couldn’t care less that she isn’t mine. She’s yours, and I love you, so I love her. I don’t care that your broken. I care about making sure you’re healed and happy and loved, properly loved.”
Taking a deep breath, she withdrew her hand from his. “I remember watching you with Emily at our last divorce meeting. She was sick, and I remember thinking about how good of a father you were, and how lovely she was. I think I love her too…because she’s part of you,” Theresa said gently. Her hands were shaking as she cupped her stomach and thought about it all. She did love him. She loved him more than life itself, and the thought of them being able to work things out and be together made her heart sing, but she had demons that she didn’t know if she could ever face.
He smiled when he heard her repeat him, thinking about her and Emily the past few weeks. They had been nearly inseparable when she was home from work. “We don’t have to rush anything. We could go back to therapy. We can take everything as slow as you want, but please, please stay.”
She bit her lip. “I’ll think about it. I won’t move out yet if you let me think about it.”
“Of course. Take all the time you need, love.”
Philip grinned when he saw the cake. Theresa always made the best birthday cakes, and when he walked in from work and smelled it, he couldn’t stop smiling. It was chocolate with chocolate frosting, and she had managed to find yellow candles. It was an exact replica of the first birthday cake she had ever made him. “This is lovely,” he said softly.
Theresa jumped slightly when she heard him. “What on earth are you doing home? You aren’t meant to be here for another hour,” she said while bushing furiously.
He grinned again. “They let me come home early since it’s my birthday.” He came to stand beside her as he looked at the cake. “You didn’t have to do this.”
“I know it’s your favorite, and I wanted to…as a thank you.” She looked down. She still hadn’t given him an answer about moving. She knew she should, but she couldn’t bring herself to leave him again. Even if it was only a few minutes away.
He leaned over on the counter slightly, one hand holding him up as the other rested on her lower back. He didn’t even think about it. It seemed so natural for him to do it. “Where’s Emily?”
“Napping. She wouldn’t go down earlier, but she eventually gave up the fight. Your mum called too. She’s coming down this weekend.”
Philip nodded, swiping one of his fingers through the chocolate icing on the side before licking it off. He felt her hit him on the arm. “What?! It’s my birthday!”
“You will ruin your supper like that.” Theresa told him before looking at him with a smile.
He held her gaze for a moment before leaning in. He paused before inching closer and kissing her. His heart was racing, and he was about to pull away when he felt her hand on the back of his neck, keeping him in place. He cautiously ran his tongue across her bottom lip, feeling her open her mouth up to his exploration. Slowly, he rested his hands on her hips as he backed her against the counter.
She couldn’t stop herself. She had missed him so much, and he was so close and intoxicating. He was like her own, unique kind if drug. And being immersed in him for the past few months had nearly drowned her, but she felt like she could breathe for the first time in ages. She heard herself moan as his hands slipped to her bottom. Her arms wrapped around his neck, and she wanted to squeal when she felt him pick her up to sit her on the kitchen counter. “Philip,” she said breathlessly.
His mouth had moved to her neck, and his hands were inching her dress up her thighs. “Tessa,” he said pulling back, “tell me. Tell me this is what you want before I completely lose my senses.”
She cupped his face and brought their lips back together. “Yes,” she whispered.
He nodded, helping her down before leading her by the hand to his bedroom. She blushed as she stepped on the carpet. She had only been in here long enough to drop his clothes on the bed after folding them. She fought the urge to snoop on multiple occasions. Her eyes fell to the floor as Philip approached her. She felt his hand should her hips again.
“Are you sure? We don’t-”
“I’m sure,” she told him. “I’m very sure.” She reached out to start unbuttoning his shirt and quickly pushed it off of him when she was done before pulling his vest off. She just stood, running her hands over his chest over and over again. She wanted to make sure he was real and there and all hers again.
He watched with a small smile as she traced the outline of his chest. When her hands flattened and pushed him to sit on the edge of the bed, he readily agreed and allowed her to wordlessly command him. He looked up with awestruck eyes as she pulled her dress over her head and unhooked her bra. “You’re so beautiful,” he whispered, hands reaching out to touch her. One held her hip as the other came to cup her stomach. “So, so beautiful.”
Theresa blushed and ran a hand through his thinning hair. “I’m huge.”
Philip shook his head, pulling her to stand between his legs. “Beautiful,” he mumbled against her stomach before kissing it. “Your mummy is so beautiful, little one,” he whispered.
The tears she was holding back easily trickled down her cheeks as she heard him. She felt him stand before a hand was brushing the tears away. Looking at him, she felt herself melt more as she saw the love in his eyes, and she kissed him soundly. “I’m still big as a house,” she told him as they broke apart.
“You’ll have to go on top,” he teased, hearing her giggle. He brushed her hair back. “I love you.”
She kissed him again and pushed him back on the bed before crawling up to him. It was so easy for them to fall back into each other. It always had been. They were like magnets, always drawing closer no matter the distance. Their souls had found equals among the other, and they were at peace when the other was near.
It was after dark when she woke up afterwards. It was the first time in months she had slept so peacefully, and she smiled when she felt his hand on her belly and his arm around her. She was as gentle as she could be when she slipped out of bed and put his robe on before making her way to the nursery. Emily looked up at her with a crooked smile, and she lifted her with ease to rest on her hip. “Let’s go wake Daddy up,” she whispered, kissing the baby’s head softly.
“Dada! Da!” Emily exclaimed while clapping.
Theresa laughed as they eased back into the room and slipped back in bed. Emily was resting against her chest as Theresa stroked Philip’s head. “I love you too, you know.”
Philip grinned; eyes still closed. He reached up and grabbed her wrist, bringing her hand to his mouth to kiss the back of it. “Good, because you can’t leave us.”
Early October 1994
Joy watched with happy eyes while Philip pushed Emily in the swing at the park. “She’ll be two this month. I can’t believe she’s so big now.”
Theresa giggled. “She is darling. I think I’m going to make a Victoria sponge for her birthday. She loves strawberries, and she liked the one I made a few weeks ago.”
Joy looked at her with a small smile. “You have gotten quite close with her. It’s nice.”
Blushing, she ran a hand over her stomach. “She’s started calling me mummy. Or she is trying to anyway.”
Joy felt happy for the first time since the breakdown of the marriage. Her son was happy, her granddaughter had a mother, and her adopted daughter was safe and with the love of her life again. “How do you feel about it?”
“I don’t mind.”
“I see you and Philip are sleeping in the same bed again,” Joy said softly, a hint of a smirk on her face.
Theresa blushed furiously as she heard her. She had moved into Philip’s room. Sex had only happened a few more times since her stomach and overall uncomfortableness had progressed so much. But it was nice to share a bad with him again. With him near, the nightmares were less and less common. “We are. We are going to start counseling again. We are thinking about getting a bigger house if everything works out.”
“You’ll need it once you’re little one comes. You only have a few weeks left.”
“I’m hoping that she comes early or late. I’d hate for Emily to have to share her birthday.”
Joy laughed. “Already thinking like a mother.”
Theresa slowly stood, walking over to Philip and smiling at him. “We should go home soon. It is getting late, and Emily needs her bath.”
“Mumma, swing. Swing, Mumma,” Emily nearly yelled. Philip wanted to laugh as he heard it.
“Ten more minutes,” Theresa said with a smile.
October 25, 1994
“That cake was amazing.” Philip patted his stomach, watching as Theresa slowly crawled in bed. “Emily actually managed to get most of it in her mouth.”
Laughing, she settled in the bed, groaning as she stretched. “I’m glad she liked it, and I’m happy your parents made it down. It was a good day.”
“Dad was happy to see you.”
“I think I have managed to shock the whole family at this point.”
“In a good way,” he said, kissing her head softly. “How do you feel? You were on your feet all day.”
Looking up, she gave him a sleepy smile. “I’m exhausted, and everything is swollen. I couldn’t wait to get in bed, but the look on her face made it all worth it.”
He grinned. “You looked rather cute, in my opinion.”
She smiled up at him before rubbing her stomach. “I’ve been thinking about names for her. I was thinking about naming her after you.”
“Please don’t name the poor child Philip. She will be teased,” he said dramatically, feeling her hit his chest.
“Not Philip!” She propped herself up on her elbows. “I was thinking about naming her Mae…with an ‘e’,” she said wistfully.
“That would be rather odd. Mae May? I think that would be worse than you naming her Philip.”
Theresa paused as she heard it. “Her…her last name will be Brasier,” she whispered.
Philip looked at her, realization dawning on him slowly. “Oh. Yeah, you’re right.” He watched as she looked down, fingers fiddling with the bedsheet. “It doesn’t have to be.”
“What?” She sat up, back against the headboard. “Philip-”
“List me as her father. She doesn’t have to know what happened until you’re ready to tell her. We plan on making this work, and we plan on raising the girls together. She shouldn’t have to have a different last name to her sister, Theresa. She shouldn’t have to. As far as I’m concerned, she’s mine. And if we never get remarried, she’ll still be mine. I’m her father.”
She couldn’t speak as she looked at him. “God, I love you,” she managed to get out. She reached to bring his face to hers so she could kiss him. Her mouth had just opened when she felt a sharp and swift pain in her back. “Ahh,” she said, grabbing her side.
“Theresa?!” Philip snapped back onto his side. “Love, what is it?”
“I don’t want you to be alarmed, but I think I’m in labor.”
His mind immediately went into a panic. “What?! Do we even have your go bag packed?”
Taking a deep breath, she nodded. “It’s in the coat closet. We…Emily…what do we do? Your mum isn’t meant to come until next week!”
Philip paused from frantically dressing. Theresa wasn’t due for another two weeks, and they hadn’t thought that the baby would come this early. He pulled his trousers up and looked at her. “I’ll call on the way to the hospital, but we’ll have to take her with us. Do you want to call Alicia and Damien to see if they could get there quicker?”
Theresa rolled out of bed and nodded, attempting to get dressed through the brief waves of pain. “I think we have a while. The contractions aren’t close, and it should give us time to get Alicia here.”
“Good. Good. Do you want anything? Need anything? Do you want some tea or ice?” Philip asked in rapid succession, panic overtaking his face.
She took his hands and gave a small smile. “I’m okay. Go call your mum and Alicia, and I’ll get all of Emily’s things together.”
“I’ll call you if I need you. I promise.”
He looked at her and hesitated before nodding and going to call everyone. He had a horrible feeling about all this, and he couldn’t put his finger on it, but there was an overwhelming sense of dread he had about everything. He hurriedly called everyone, and Alicia was on her way. His mum and dad were turning around and would meet them at the hospital. Rushing back to Emily’s room, he smiled when he saw Theresa sitting in the old rocking chair with Emily in her arms. “Still doing okay, love?”
She nodded. “I was getting her back off to sleep before Alicia got here. I hope the baby waits until tomorrow,” she told him.
“I don’t think Emily will resent her if she doesn’t.”
“I still don’t want her to share her birthday.”
Philip laughed and walked closer, hand going to run through the dark curls covering his daughter’s head. “It might be easier when they are older. They could have joint birthday parties.”
She grimaced. “No. Absolutely not. They deserve to have their own special days.”
Leaning down, he kissed Theresa’s head. “I’ll go get everything in the car and make sure the car seat is in working order.” He walked towards the door and gave one last backwards glance, smiling as he realized this would be the last time he only had two girls to care about.
Eight and a half hours later, a baby girl was proudly being displayed in their room with the name May on her hospital ankle bracelet. Philip had sat holding her and staring at her for nearly an hour after Theresa had fallen asleep. He was fighting back tears as he looked at her. She had dark hair too, and she was smaller than Emily had been. He had felt this way when Emily was born, and all he wanted to do for the rest of his life was sit with his girls and never let either of them go. Looking over, he grinned when he noticed Theresa watching him. “Hey, sleepyhead. How are you feeling?” He whispered.
“Sore, but very, very happy. Bring her over here.” She scooted over so he could sit next to her on the bed. She kissed the baby’s head when he had settled. “Have you put her down at all?”
He blushed and shook his head. “I didn’t want to miss anything.”
“Has she actually done anything other than sleep?”
“She’s yawned. It’s one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen in my life.” He slowly leaned over and kissed her lips gently. “Mum and Dad went to get us fish and chips.”
“Oh, thank God. I’m starving.” She reached over and stroked the baby’s head. “Is Emily okay? Have you called to check on her?”
Nodding, he slowly laid the baby in her arms. “Alicia said she’s been amazing as always. I was thinking that they could bring her by to visit in a bit.”
“That would be lovely, and they don’t share a birthday.” She was so caught up in her daughter. Her eyes couldn’t tear away for even a moment as she took in all the tiny details of her little person. She could instantly see traces of her parents on her face, and she elected to ignore the aspects that looked like Sam, because her daughter was beautiful, and she refused to let anything ruin that for her. “She still doesn’t have a name.”
“I was thinking about that. What about Eleanor? You always liked that one.”
“Emily and Eleanor…I love it,” she told him with a smile. “I was thinking about Ophelia for a middle name. What do you think Eleanor? Do you like Ophelia?” She asked with a smile as she stared down at the baby.
“Why not Samantha?” A deep voice asked. They both jerked their heads up to see a man darkening the doorway. “Hello, Theresa.”
She blanched as she saw him standing there. Her arms instinctively tightened around the squirming newborn. “What are you doing here, Sam? You aren’t supposed to be anywhere near me or her.”
Philip felt all the air leave his lungs when she said it. He felt a rage he didn’t know existed build up in his blood. It was all coursing through him, and he felt as though he could fight God, Himself, if He was in the room. “You need to leave,” he said through clenched teeth. “You have no right to be here.”
Sam eyes grew darker as he took in the shorter man. “I have every right to be here. That is my daughter.”
“You lost that right when you abused her. You lost that right when you raped her mother,” Philip spat as he stood, attempting to shield Theresa and the baby. “And that is my daughter.”
Sam stepped closer, studying his face. “Oh, she ran back to you, did she? The man who fucked the twenty-something year old to get back at her. It’s not surprising really. She always did go for the weak ones. You know, when I found her, she was screwing three different men. You breaking her heart really did bring out the slut in her. Maybe you should’ve made her put a fight…made it a bit harder for you. I have to say, hearing her beg you to stop really does do something to your stamina-”
Philip’s fist made direct contact with his nose, knocking him unconscious and to the ground with a loud thud. Theresa’s gasp was loud as she watched it, and Philip’s intense focus was broken when the baby started crying. “Are you okay?”
She shook her head, tears streaming down her face. “How did he find us?” She managed to get out.
He was about to answer when a nurse came running in. “What on earth happened?”
Philip turned to look at her. “I need you to call the police. We have a restraining order on this man. Is there anyway we could get him out of here?”
“I’ll get a few of the male nurses to get him moved, and I’ll call the police. Aside from him, is everyone else all right?” She asked, looking at Theresa.
“We’re all a bit shaken,” Philip said quietly. He quickly made his way over to her and scooped her and the baby up in his arms. “I’m so sorry, love. This should have never happened.”
“I’ll never get away from him,” she whispered. “We’ll never be safe.”
“That’s not true. I’m here,” he told her as he rocked them. “I’m here.”
Early June 1995
Sam had been arrested for violating the restraining order, and it was soon discovered that he had been stalking them. He had photos of where they lived, and it was an easy charge to pin. With the urging of Philip and her therapist, Theresa had testified against him, recalling the horrors of the abuse he had put her through. It was enough to put him away for a very, very long time. They had moved as soon as Theresa had been medically cleared to. They had found a house in Wimbledon that they had fallen in love with, and Theresa had even been able to get the dream kitchen she had always wanted.
Emily had quickly adapted to having a baby and a sister, and she had even managed to learn how to hold the bottle for Eleanor. Philip had been the one to suggest she run for the local council in the upcoming local elections, and she had hesitantly agreed before rediscovering a passion for politics she had lost. They were slowly getting their lives back to normal, and the couple’s and individual therapy helped in a way neither were expecting. They had even begun to talk about the possibility of marriage again, more of a when situation rather than an if.
“Tess, have you seen Ellie’s stuffed lamb? You know she won’t go down for the night without it,” he said, bouncing their nine-month-old in his arms. Emily had completely crashed earlier after a rather strenuous day of playing with her cousins. He looked at her when she failed to answer. “Love?”
“I think I’m pregnant,” she blurted out.
He stared at her for a long moment, mouth slightly open as Eleanor wiggled in his arms. “What?”
She turned on the bed to face him. “I’m late, my breasts are sensitive, Ellie is having a hard time latching, and the smell of milk makes me want to vomit. I think I’m pregnant,” she told him.
Philip came to sit across from her, letting the baby crawl out of his arms. “But…but how? We’ve been so careful.”
“There was that one night in April after Damien’s birthday,” she said, pulling her bottom lip between her teeth.
He looked down as he thought back. His mum had kept the girls for the weekend and there had been too much tequila consumed. He hadn’t remembered much other than waking up in the living room floor with nothing on except the blanket they usually kept on the couch. His hand rubbed his forehead as he sighed. “Have you taken a test?”
He grabbed her hand with his. “Well, it won’t be the end of the world if you are. The house is big enough, and maybe we’ll have a boy this time if you are,” he told her with a smile in an attempt to lighten the mood.
“I’m not worried because I don’t think we can handle it. I’m worried because what if I lose it?” She finally looked at him, and it broke his heart to see the tears in her eyes. She was terrified that if she was pregnant, the vicious cycle that had torn their marriage apart would start over.
“We won’t let that happen,” he said resolutely. He knew that she knew exactly what he was talking about. “We won’t go down that road again.”
“Promise?” She whispered.
“I swear it.”
A whirlwind had occurred over the next few years. Theresa was indeed pregnant, and it was indeed a boy. Baby Lucas had joined them unexpectedly early the following November. It had led to a lot of panic until he had come home from the neonatal unit. Theresa had won her seat as a councillor, and she was often noted to be the woman with snacks at meetings due to her children insisting they come along to help their mummy. Theresa and Philip had snuck away one weekend and gotten remarried near Christmas with only the children present.
They only moved once more in ’96 so Theresa could run to be an MP. Philip had proudly brought their unruly bunch up on stage after she had won. Once everything had calmed, they had finally been able to breathe for the first time since she had shown up on his doorstep that rainy day. There was finally a sense of calm. Well, as calm as one could get with three young ones running circles around you. Emily had started ballet, Ellie had preferred horseback riding like her mother, and Lucas had taken to the much beloved family sport of cricket.
They had never kept their past from the children. Once they were old enough to understand and ask questions, they would all sit down and talk about the tumultuous years that had brought them all together again. When Theresa had been made Home Secretary, a light had been thrown on what had happened to her, and she proudly embraced the role of standing up for victims of domestic abuse. Philip, of course was always right there by her side, reminding her she could do anything.
She had decided to run for prime minister after Eleanor had looked at her one day and told her she had to, because other survivors needed to see that the abuse didn’t have to be the end of your life. It had been one of the proudest moments for her, to have her lovely little family standing on the doorstep to Number 10 with her. She and Philip had talked about it at length after the day had settled down. “They really are the best things to ever happen to us,” he had whispered as they laid in bed.
When Emily had made the surprising announcement that she and her fiancé, Michael, were expecting a baby, they had all been excited. She was due at the end of October, and it was going to be a little girl. Theresa had cried, and when Philip hugged her, she whispered, “I hope none of them have to share birthdays.”