First Comes Love(73)By: Emily Goodwin
Noah: I’m on my way.
I get checked into the labor and delivery floor and hooked up to machines. The nurse, JoAnna, does her initial assessment, then says she’ll be back in a few to check on me. She can read the monitors from the nurses’ station as well.
So now I sit in a hospital bed, belts and monitors around my belly, alone and scared. I grab my phone to call Mom then stop. I should wait until I get some answers before I make her worry and speed over.
The door to the room opens and I look up, expecting to see the nurse come back. But it’s Noah. His sky-blue eyes meet mine and everything comes rushing back.
How good it feels to have his arms around me. His lips crashing into mine. The way he makes me laugh, makes me feel beautiful.
The way he makes me feel loved.
“Lauren.” Noah crosses the room. I push up and he throws his arms around me. I bend my head, pressing my face into his neck, and break down in tears. “It’s okay,” he soothes, gently running his fingers through my hair. “It’ll be okay.”
He pulls back just enough to look at me. I don’t waste any time. My hands fly up, landing on either side of his face, feeling his beard beneath my skin, and bring his face to mine.
“I missed you,” I whisper, tears freely falling down my cheeks. Noah wipes them away.
“I missed you too. So fucking much.” He kisses me again then brings me to him. The belts slide out of position, making an alarm sound. “What’s going on? Is everything okay?” I’ve never seen him so concerned.
“Yeah.” I push the belt back up to where it used to be, but it doesn’t silence the alarm. “It moved.” I motion to the belt. “Thanks for coming.”
“Don’t thank me,” he says. “I should thank you for telling me what’s going on.”
My bottom lip trembles. “You were the first person I wanted with me. I miss you, Noah. I miss everything we had.”
His jaw tenses and emotion takes over his face. “Lauren I—”
JoAnn comes back into the room, readjusting the monitors on my belly and turning off the alarm.
“Is she okay?” Noah asks, not moving away from me.
“So far everything looks good on the monitors,” JoAnn tells us. “No contractions and baby’s heart rate looks good.” I relax a bit.
“But Lauren’s blood pressure is still high?”
“Yes, it’s elevated.”
“There could be a number of things, and once we get the results from the blood work back we’ll know more. Has the lab come in yet?” she asks me.
“They should be here soon.” She gives us a smile. “Do you want anything?”
“Some water would be nice,” I say. She gets me a cup then tells us to relax while we wait.
“Easier said than done,” Noah mumbles and pulls a chair up close to the bed and takes my hand. I close my eyes and link my fingers through his. It feels just like how it used to be, despite not speaking for over a week.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
“I’m fine, and I get my stitches out in a few days.” He rolls up the sleeve of his shirt, showing me a two-inch line on his bicep. “I thought about you, about Ella, as the bike was going down. All I wanted was another chance to see you.”
“I’m glad you got it.” I blink back tears.
“How has everything else been?” Noah asks.
“Same as before, really.”
“Is Ella moving a lot? I miss feeling her little feet.”
I smile to cover my guilt of making Noah miss out on that. “She moves all the time. What about you, well, other than the accident?”
“Same too. Just trying to stay busy and keep my mind off of you.”
I close my eyes. “I don’t want to do this,” I whisper.
He takes his hand back. “Do you want me to leave?”
“No. Not at all. I mean, I don’t want to not be together. I want things to go back to how it was before.”
“Me too. Lauren,” he says, voice heavy with longing. “I would do anything to redo things.”
I turn, looking at his handsome face. “I would too.”
“Is that your way of saying you forgive me?”
I give him a half smile. “Kind of. I want us to be together.” Ella kicks me hard, causing me to flinch.
“Then we should.”
I close my eyes, trying not to cry … and I can’t look at Noah when I say this. I don’t want to see the hurt on his face. “Sometimes what I want isn’t what I need. I can’t take care of a baby and have you getting drunk, so drunk you’re passing out and puking. And I can even forgive special occasions, like you overdo it at a New Year’s Eve party or something. But for no reason … I don’t want Ella growing up around that.”