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I'm Not Letting Go

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I wake, blinded by the low sunlight streaming through the open blinds. I’m cuddled up against his right side, head resting on his chest, his right arm wrapped around me, keeping me close, & our legs entwined.


He kisses my forehead, & I instinctively push into his lips. He then nuzzles his nose into my hair.


“I’ve missed you sooo much,” he whispers into my scalp.


“I’ve missed you too,” I whisper back.


He lifts up my left hand, which had been resting on his abs, holding it in the air so he can look at my ring. I sit up slightly, resting my chin on his chest as I look at him.


“What are you thinking about?”


“Just that I seem to be cursed,” he replies. “Every time I propose, disaster always strikes straight after.”


“Okay, you’ve been engaged twice,” I reply. “And you can’t blame yourself for what happened.”


He sighs. “But Kate-”


“Hey,” I say. “She died because a guy was seeking revenge on Paul for killing his brother. You proposing just before it was just chance.”


“And what about now?”


“Also not your fault,” I reply. “You were doing your job. And you were trying to save him. You weren’t to know that the balcony would collapse.”


Tears swell in his eyes. I sit up more, cupping his face with both hands.


“You’re not to blame,” I say. I kiss him. “You’re not to blame.”


He tucks my hair behind my left ear. “What would I do without you?”


****


We remain in his bed till dusk, emerging to get food. I’m wearing my underwear & his hoodie- the exact same one I wore over a year ago, after we first slept together. He’s wearing sweat pants. I’m cutting up some fruit when the nausea hits.


I put down the knife, gripping the edge of the bench for support. I close my eyes & take slow, deep breaths- a tip Mum had told me to combat morning sickness. I actually don’t get why it’s called ‘morning sickness’, it doesn’t exclusively come in the morning.


“Paige?” Mark says, placing his hands on my hips, his concern clear in his voice. “Are you okay?”


I nod. It’s all I can handle doing.


“Are you sure?”


I nod again. It’s starting to pass.


He turns me around, places his hand under my chin & tilts my head up. “Look at me,” he whispers.


I open my eyes, met by his concerned look.


“Tell me what's going on?”


“I just… Felt dizzy.”


His frown deepens. He then lifts me up, sitting me on the bench beside the chopping board. He stands between my legs, one hand on my hip, the other cups my face. I close my eyes as I turn into his hand.


“I should get you a glass of water,” he says.


“No,” I reply.


“You need a drink. You're probably dehydrated.”


I turn further into his hand. “Stay.”


“Hey,” he says. I look at him & he smiles a little. “I’ll be gone just a moment.”


I sigh then nod. He steps away, goes across the kitchen, grabs a glass & fills it with water. He comes back to me, hands me the glass & soothingly rubs my thighs as he watches me down it in a few gulps. I set the glass down on the bench.


“Feel better?”


I nod.


“Good.” He kisses me. “What do you think caused it?”


“Like you said… I was dehydrated. Probably from…” I give him a look.


He smiles, understanding what I mean. But then the concern returns. “Are you sure that's it?”


I nod, grabbing a piece of fruit & eat it. But the concern is still there.


“What?” I ask.


“I dunno. You just seem… Sad,” he says. “Tell me what's going on.”


I sigh. “It wasn't dizziness.”


He steps closer & rubs my legs again, waiting for me to continue.


“I felt… Sick.”


“Awww, babe. Do you have a cold?”


I shake my head.


“What is it?”


“It was…” I sigh. “I dunno why I’m feeling so… I dunno why I’m having so much trouble saying this!”


I cover my face with both hands. He kisses the top of my head, gently rubbing my back. And the comfort makes it all clearer- everything holding me back is brushed aside. I drop my hand, look him in the eyes & it just comes out so effortlessly.


“I’m pregnant.”


His eyes widen & jaw drops. “That's… Fantastic!” He frowns. “Right? I mean… You want it, right?”


I nod.


“So… Why are you upset?”


I shrug. “I dunno,” I reply. “Maybe because I…” I sigh. “I found out while you were in a coma.”


Tears spill out, & he pulls me into a hug. He rubs my back, resting his chin on my head. I wrap my arms around him, holding him tight.


“I found out, & I was sooo scared that I was going to lose you… And that would mean I would be a single mum, & I… I just freaked out.”


“Awww!” He says. “That's scary. But I’m here. And even if I wasn't, you wouldn't be alone.”


I sniff. “I know, but…” I pull back to look him in the eyes. “I don't want to raise our child without you. I want them to know you, to see the hero that I see. And… I don't think I'm a good parent.”


He cups my cheek again, wiping my tears away with his thumb. “We're not born with the knowledge of being a parent. It's a learning curve, just like other aspects of life.”


I pout. “But you're a natural.”


He smiles. “With kids, yes. But… That's mainly just holding them.”


“I’ve seen you with Nell, you know.”


“It's all instincts, Paige. You just got to trust yourself. And you know Lauren, Sonya… There are mums here that will always give you advice if you need it.”


I nod. “I know. It's just…” I sniff. “It wouldn't be the same without you.”


He places his other hand on my other cheek & pulls me in, claiming my lips with his for a long, slow kiss. After our kiss, he rests his forehead against mine, & lightly rubs his nose against mine. He smiles.


“We're having a baby!” He says.


We both smile before he claims my lips with his again.