This Man Confessed (Page 84)

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Reaching forward, he runs his finger up the inside of my calf. ‘Baby, you’re cut.’

I glance down. ‘Where?’ I can’t feel anything. I pull at my dress, hitching it higher, but there is no sign of any cut. Higher it goes; still more blood but no cut. I look at Jesse in confusion, but he’s frozen as he watches me searching for the source of the blood. His eyes lift to mine. They are wide and uneasy. It doesn’t sit well. I start shaking my head as he moves forward, taking my dress up as far as it can go.

There is no cut.

The blood is coming from my knickers.

‘No!’ I cry out, realisation crashing into me like a tornado.

‘Oh Jesus,’ He yanks the hem of my dress back down and jumps up to the ambulance, engulfing me in his arms. ‘F*****g hell, no.’

‘Sir?’

‘Hospital. NOW!’

I’m placed on gurney gently and hear the slamming of metal doors, making me jump. I turn into his chest, clutching at his t-shirt and hiding my face from him. ‘I’m sorry.’

‘Shut up, Ava.’ He grabs the back of my hair and pulls me out. His eyes are a cloud of green. ‘Please, just shut up.’ His thumb drags under my eye, collecting some tears. ‘I love you.’

This is my punishment. This is my penance for having such toxic thoughts. I deserve it, but Jesse doesn’t. He deserves the happiness I know this baby would’ve given him. It’s an extension of me, and I know that he can’t get enough me. I’ve destroyed his dream. I should have seen things clearer sooner. I should have changed my address at the surgery. I should have let John take me to work. I shouldn’t have gone to Matt’s office. There are so many things I have and haven’t done that could have changed how things are playing out.

My shame is eating away at me and it will do for the rest of my life. It hasn’t happened how I had stupidly first thought, but the end result is the same. I’ve killed our baby.

Chapter 19

The silence surrounding us is painful. The whole way in the ambulance, I sobbed and Jesse constantly told me how much he loves me. I can’t help but think it’s simply because he doesn’t know what else to say. There’s no comfort or reassurance coming from those three words. He hasn’t said it doesn’t matter because I know it does. He hasn’t said it’s not my fault because I know it is. He hasn’t said that we will be fine either, and I don’t know if we will. Just when I was beginning to see light at the end of the never-ending tunnel of issues, we’re hit with the worst kind of devastation—a damage that can’t be fixed. Our love for each other will be tested to the absolute limit now, but the dwelling ache deep inside of me is not filling me with hope. I’m not sure if we can survive this. He’ll resent me forever.

He carries me from the ambulance, rejecting the wheelchair that’s brought out by a nurse. He silently follows the doctor down the busy corridor, all of the time looking straight ahead and flipping one word answers to anyone who asks him questions. I can’t feel anything except Jesse’s thundering heartbeat under my hand, which is resting on his chest. All of my nerve endings seem to have died. I can’t sense a thing.

After what seems like an eternity of gently bobbing up and down in Jesse’s arms, I’m lowered onto a huge hospital bed in a private room. He’s gentle and all of his actions are tender and loving as he strokes my hair, props my head up slightly and covers my legs with the thin sheet that’s lying at the foot of the bed. But there are still no comforting or reassuring words.

We’re closed in from every direction by machines and medical equipment. A nurse stays, but the ambulance men leave after giving a brief rundown on me, what has happened and the observations they have already performed on the way to the hospital. The nurse takes notes, sticks things in my ear and holds thing to my chest. She asks questions, and I answers quietly, but the whole time, I keep my eyes on Jesse, who’s sitting in a chair with his face in his palms.

The nurse pulls my reluctant eyes away from my grieving husband when she hands me a gown. She smiles. It’s a sympathetic smile. Then she leaves the room. I just hold it for a while, until so much time has passed, I think it could be next week, or even next year. I want it to be next year. Will this crippling pain and guilt be gone by next year?

I finally slide myself to the side of the bed, my back to Jesse, and reach around to unzip my dress. In the quiet, I hear him stand, like my movements have suddenly snapped him from his nightmare and his obligatory duties have kicked in.

He comes and stands in front of me, but my stinging eyes remain on the floor. ‘Let me.’ he says softly, taking over the removal of my dress.

‘It’s okay. I can manage.’ I counter softy. I don’t want him to do anything that he doesn’t want to.

‘You probably can,’ He pulls my dress up over my head, ‘but it’s my job and I’d like to keep it.’

My chin starts to tremble as I fight to restrain the persistent tears, not wanting to enflame any guilt he might be feeling himself. ‘Thank you,’ I whisper, still keeping my welling eyes from his line of sight.

It’s an impossible task, especially when he bends and pushes his face up into my neck, forcing my face up to his. ‘Don’t thank me for looking after you, Ava. It’s what I’ve been put on this earth to do. It’s what keeps me here. Don’t ever thank me for that.’

‘I’ve ruined everything. I’ve lost your dream.’

He pushes me down onto the bed and kneels in front of me. ‘My dream is you, Ava. Day and night, just you.’ My vision is hazy and blurred, but I can clearly see the tears trickling from his green eyes. ‘I can manage without anything, but never you. Not ever. Don’t look like this, please. Don’t look like you think it’s the end. It’s never the end for us. Nothing will break us, Ava. Do you understand me?’

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