This Man Confessed (Page 85)

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I nod through my quiet weeping, unable to form words or even say them if I could.

He brushes the back of his hand roughly across his cheeks. ‘We let these people tell us you’re going to be okay, and then we go home to be together.’

I nod again.

‘Tell me you love me.’

A loud sob spills from my mouth and my arms find his shoulders and pull him into me. ‘I need you.’

‘I need you, too.’ he whispers. His hands all over my back, despite being cool and a little shaky, give me all of the comfort I need. We will be okay. Heartbroken, but okay. ‘Let me get you into this gown.’

I’m pulled up from the bed, but he remains kneeling, and starts peeling my blood stained underwear away from my body. I can’t look. I clench my eyes shut and feel instead of see my knickers being slowly drawn down my thighs. The familiar feel on his fingertip tapping my ankle prompts me to step out, but all of the time, I keep my eyes clenched shut. For the briefest of moments, I know he has moved from in front of me, and then I hear a tap running before he’s back and gently sweeping a wet cloth up the inside on my thigh. My heart constricts painfully in my chest, and I’m gulping back tears repeatedly.

‘Arms,’ Jesse’s soft instruction encourages me to open my eyes. I find him holding the gown in front of me. My arms thread through, and I’m turned so he can fasten it. ‘Up you get.’ he orders. I shift myself back into position, just as there’s a knock on the door. Jesse calls an okay.

The same nurse has returned, but this time she has a white coated doctor with her. He shuts the door softly and nods at Jesse, who is suddenly more alert, and I know why.

The doctor has a fiddle with the machine at the side of me, and then perches on the edge of the bed. ‘How are you feeling, Ava?’ he asks.

‘Fine.’ The one word that Jesse has threatened to spank my arse with just slips right out. He sighs but doesn’t say anything. ‘I’m okay, thank you.’

‘Okay, no aches or pains, cuts or bruises?’

‘No, nothing.’

He smiles mildly and folds back the sheet that’s covering my stomach. ‘Let’s see what’s going on. Would you like to pull the gown up so I can feel you tummy?’

Even now, when we are in the darkest most desperate place, I can feel Jesse’s tenseness at the prospect of another man laying his hands on me. I glance over to him and give pleading eyes, but he just shakes his head. ‘I might step outside.’ he says quietly, stepping back towards the door.

‘Don’t you dare!’ I cry. ‘Don’t you dare leave me.’ I know he’s struggling, and I know the idea of another man touching me is unbearable for him, even if it is over-the-top and only part of his unreasonable possessiveness, but he can overcome that now. He has to overcome that now.

The Doctor looks between us, a little baffled, and waits for Jesse to take the initiative and join me at the bed. What will I do if he walks out? I don’t think I could bear it, but then he inhales what seems to be a long, controlled gathering of strength and comes to sit next to me. My hand is picked up and encased in both of his before he brings the bundle to his chest and drops his head to it. He can’t watch.

I’m flanked on both sides, one man pushing my gown up and feeling around on my stomach, the other breathing deeply and squeezing my hand. I just rest my head back and stare up at the ceiling, wishing this could be over so Jesse can take me home and we can start painfully processing what has happened. Who was in the DBS? This is sheading a whole new light on my blacking out episode in the bar. Surely Mikael isn’t so wrapped up in revenge that he would go to these lengths.

‘This will be a little chilly.’ The Doctor says as his squirts some gel on my abdomen. He starts rolling the device around while he watches the screen, and the small room is instantly filled with a wishy-washy distortion of crackling and whirring. He hums and makes odd noises as he flicks switches with his spare hand and pushes the grey contraption firmly into my stomach. It doesn’t hurt. Nothing hurts because I’m still totally numb. And then he stops moving his hand and stops flicking buttons on the huge machine. I sneak a peek at the Doctor, finding him looking intently at the screen. He eventually looks at me. ‘Everything is okay, Ava.’

‘I’m sorry?’ I whisper. My dying heart has suddenly roused and is climbing up to my throat, set on choking me with shock.

‘Everything is okay. Light bleeding in early pregnancy can be perfectly normal, but given the circumstances, it’s wise for us to be cautious.’

I can feel Jesse’s hands tightening around mine, slowly constricting until I hiss a little with pain. He eases off immediately and slowly raises his head until his eyes find mine. They are wide green pools of shock and his cheeks are drenched. I shake my head mildly, like out of all the horror today had brought; it’s this bit that I must be dreaming about. We’re both just staring at each other, neither one of us knowing how to handle this news. He goes to speak, but nothing comes out. I go to say something, too, but no words materialise.

He stands up, sits back down again, and then re-stands, letting go of my hand. ‘Ava’s still pregnant? She’s… she’s… there’s… we’re…’

The doctor laughs a little ‘Yes, Ava is still pregnant, Mr Ward. Sit down, I’ll show you.’

Jesse turns stunned eyes to me briefly before directing them at the monitor of the machine. ‘I’ll stand, if you don’t mind. I need to feel my legs.’ He leans over the bed slightly, his eyes squinting. ‘I don’t see anything.’

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