Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chapter 64

For the next week and a half, Lindsay was kept very busy. Her cases at work had picked up so she was putting in longer days, and spent what was left of her evenings trying to sort through her apartment and begin packing. She’d given her landlord notice, but she still had no clue what she was going to do with all of her furniture. She’d spent a lot of time searching for the right pieces that fit the theme and mood she was striving for. She was very proud of what she’d put together, but it wouldn’t suit Jon’s house.

She was sitting looking around her living room when her phone rang. Looking at the window she smiled.

“Hi, handsome.”

“Hi, beautiful.” He chuckled. “How are you?”

“Honestly? Tired, frustrated, did I mention tired? And I miss you.” She answered.

“Still not sleeping well?” He asked.

She sighed. “It’s better. I would never have believed it could take so long to get used to sleeping alone again. Of course if I was able to spend a little more time in bed it might help.”

“I know, I keep reaching for you in the middle of the night. What’s keeping you so busy that you’re not getting enough rest?” The frown was evident in his voice.

“Well, trying to figure out what I’m going to do with all of my furniture and stuff for one thing.” She replied.

“Bring it with you.” Was his solution.

“It doesn’t go with your house.” She argued.

“So change the house. Besides it’s our house now. I want you to be comfortable there. I’m not particularly attached to anything there. It’s mostly Dorothea’s style not mine. I’m not sure I have a style. I just like things that are comfortable and don’t look ratty.” He paused. “But furniture placement can’t be what’s keeping you awake at night. What else is going on?”

“Oh, it’s just work. We’ve been really busy lately with a multiple that we haven’t been able to catch. It’s driving us all nuts.” She tried to keep her voice light. She didn’t want to have to explain what the case was – she knew how he’d react.

He wasn’t fooled by her tone. “Multiple what? What’s the story?”

“You don’t really want to hear all the grisly details. What did you guys do today?” It was an off day for them and they were in San Francisco.

“Hung out at the Wharf, went for a cruise around the bay, ate too much seafood. But let’s get back to the original subject. Yes I do want to know all the grisly details. I want to know about everything that affects you. I know that your job is stressful and often emotionally disturbing. You need to talk about it if you’re going to maintain your sanity. I want you to be able to talk to me about anything and everything. Let me be your rock. Now spill!” He urged.

When he put it like that she couldn’t not tell him. “It’s a multiple rapist. He preys on women who live alone and holds them at gun point. They come home from work to find him already inside. The last two he’s beaten up pretty good. But he’s smart. He wears gloves and a condom. We’re getting no DNA evidence and very little trace. His attacks are getting closer together and more violent. It’s very frustrating.” Closing her eyes she waited for his reaction. It wasn’t long in coming and exactly what she expected.

“I’m calling Kevin to see who we can send to stay with you. I want you to stay at the estate from now on. We’ll move your stuff when I get home.” He started issuing instructions.

“Jon stop.” She interrupted him. “This is why I didn’t want to tell you the specifics. I don’t need a bodyguard. I’m not in any danger. He can’t come with me to crime scenes anyway. I’m at the estate more than I’m not already, but I need to get this stuff packed up. The landlord would like to show the apartment, and he can’t if I’ve got half packed boxes all over the place. I appreciate your concern, really, but I’ll be fine.”

“Are you saying that I don’t have the right to be concerned?” He asked. She could hear the anger in his voice.

“Not at all. I’m just trying to reassure you that you don’t need to be. I don’t go to any scene alone, and the police always clear everything before we get there. My apartment building is secure. There’s no reason for any criminal to connect me with their case anyway. By the time they know I’m involved, they’ve already been arrested. So, while I understand why you might be worried, there’s really no reason for you to be.” She explained.

He sighed and she could almost see him raking his hand through his hair. “Ok, no bodyguard – for now, but I don’t like it. You can give me all the assurances in the world, but I’m still going to worry. I feel an overwhelming need to protect you.”

“I understand that. If the situation were reversed, I’d feel the same way. I promise not to take any unnecessary risks and to always have someone with me. Ok?” She coaxed.

“I guess. Just promise me you’ll be careful.” He pleaded.

“I will. I promise.” She assured him.

The next afternoon she was sitting at her desk going over the reports again – they had to be missing something, when Brian stuck his head in.

“We got another call Lindsay.” He informed her.

“Same guy?” She asked.

“Looks like.” He replied grimly. “Mark and Sheila are heading to the hospital to collect trace and talk to the victim – if she can. You and I will take the crime scene.”

Nodding, she rose to join him. As they headed to the scene she slapped her knees in frustration. “We’ve got to get this guy!”

“We will.” He assured her. “Sooner or later he’s going to make a mistake, and we’ll get him.”

Greeting the police officer standing at the front door, they entered the house. The living room showed obvious signs of a struggle. There was blood spattered over one wall and puddled on the floor by the sofa.

“I’ll start here.” Brian stated. “Why don’t you check upstairs to see if there’s more there?”

Lindsay nodded, pulled out her flashlight and carefully walked up the stairs. Checking rooms as she went, everything looked undisturbed. Ending her circuit at the master bedroom, she walked through to check the ensuite bathroom. Seeing nothing out of place she turned to head back downstairs to help Brian.

Re-entering the bedroom she was suddenly shoved from behind. Sprawling on the bed she rolled over to see a man standing in front of her with a gun in his hand pointed at her.

“Bitch! You should have stayed downstairs. Now you’re going to have to pay, just like those other whores. You all think you’re too good for a man. You need to be put in your place. You should be home raising babies and making a home for your husband. But no, you’re too good for that! You have to go out and take jobs away from the men that deserve them! I bet you have to be on top too, don’t you! Well, not today bitch! Today you’re going to beg me for it, and then I’m going to teach you how to properly treat a man.”

Fighting the panic rising inside her she frantically tried to think of some way to alert Brian.

“Oooh, so you like it rough do you? I’m up for that. Where do you want it? Here, on the bed? On the floor? Maybe up against the wall?” Standing up her heart pounding she started slowly removing items of clothing, starting with her boots.

“What are you doing?” he growled.

“I thought you wanted to teach me a lesson. This is how you do it, isn’t it? Through sexual dominance? Well, I like to play too.” She threw first one boot, then the other against the hallway wall – hard.

“Stop!” He shouted. He was obviously shocked by her behaviour and unsure how to proceed.

“Oh, so you want to undress me then? Well, let me just get my kit out of the way.” Picking up the aluminum case she pitched it through the open doorway where it hit the opposite wall with a loud crash.

Realizing the noise she was making he raised the gun and pointed it at her. “Shut up or I’ll kill you now.”

“Lindsay? Are you okay?” Brian’s voiced drifted up the stairs.

She opened her mouth. The man raised the gun higher and yelled. “Don’t!”

Her scream was drowned out by the blast of the gun.

Chapter 65

Jon and the guys had just come off the stage and hit the showers. It had been another great show. As much as he loved it, he was grateful for another off day the next day before the final show of this leg in Vegas. He was looking forward to being home for awhile – or more accurately, he was looking forward to being with Lindsay. The ring Richie had helped him pick out a few days ago was packed safely in his suitcase and he could hardly wait to see her face when she saw it.

They were getting ready to head out when his phone rang. Looking at the window he smiled – a little in relief. Regardless of what she said he worried about her in her chosen profession. Granted, most of the crime in their area was fairly minor – robberies, B&E’s, that kind of thing, but this current case had his protective instincts screaming.

“Hi honey, how are you?” He answered.

“Mr. Bongiovi?” A man’s voice asked.

Jon froze. “Yes, who’s this?”

“This is Brian – Lindsay’s boss.” He answered.

“Where is she? Has something happened to her? Why are you calling on her phone?” He could feel panic rising. The guys stopped and looked at him.

“I’m calling on her phone because I didn’t have your number, but I figured she’d have it programmed in. I calling because I thought you would want to know. Lindsay’s in the hospital. She’s been shot.” Brian didn’t know how else to tell him.

Jon’s knees buckled. Richie and David caught him, and lowered him into a chair Hugh moved over. “WHAT! Is she okay? How badly is she hurt? How did it happen?”

Exchanging glances the guys all grabbed chairs and sat to wait to hear what was going on.

“She’s alive.” Brian assured him quickly. “She took the bullet in her shoulder. She’ll be in the hospital for a few days, but she’ll be alright.” He hesitated. “I don’t know if she told you about the case we’ve been working on.”

“The serial rapist? Yes, she did….oh God no.” Jon covered his face with his free hand.

“No, no she wasn’t raped.” Brian said. Jon released a relieved breath. “We were at the home of his latest victim. I was processing evidence downstairs and Lindsay went upstairs to take a look around. The police had assured us they’d cleared the house, but apparently he’d been hiding somewhere upstairs. He confronted Lindsay and threatened her with rape. She managed to hold him off long enough to gain my attention. When he heard me coming, I think he panicked. That’s when he shot her. When I entered the room he turned on me, but I got a shot off first. He’s dead.”

“Thank God.” Jon replied, then his anger broke through. “Dammit! I told her I had a bad feeling about this case. She promised me no unnecessary risks! She promised me she’d be careful!” He took a deep breath. “What hospital is she in?”

Hanging up with Brian, he quickly filled the guys in as he hollered for Paul and started dialing the phone.

Paul stuck his head in the door. “You bellowed?”

“I need to fly home – tonight, immediately.” Jon bit out. “Hi Mom, hang on a minute.” He turned back to Paul. “Lindsay’s been shot. I’ll be ready to take off in half an hour.”

“I’m going with you” Richie stated.

“Me too.” David spoke up. Tico and Hugh nodded.

Paul nodded. “Ok, I’m on it. Is she ok?” He asked.

“She will be.” Jon answered. He spoke into the phone. “Mom? Lindsay’s been shot. She’s in the hospital.” He explained as much as he knew about what happened. “Her boss said she’ll be ok, but I don’t think she should be alone. We’re on our way back, but it’s going to be a few hours.”

“Say no more.” Carol interrupted him. “I’m on my way. I’ll call you when I get there and get an update from her doctor. What hospital is she in?”

Lindsay lay in a hospital bed in a drug induced haze. The pain killers they had given her had reduced the agony to a dull ache, but also dulled her mind. Her memory of what happened up until she heard Brian calling her was clear, but then everything became very fuzzy. She did know that she came very close to dying. If the shooter had been even a little bit less panicked, his arm wouldn’t have been shaking so bad and his aim would have been straighter.

And she would be dead. Just when she was finally finding some happiness. It made her start to seriously reassess her life. But first she needed to get some sleep and clear her head.

When she opened her eyes again, she saw Carol sitting in a chair beside her bed.

“What..? How?....” She was confused.

Carol smiled reassuringly. “Jon called me. He didn’t want you to be alone. He’s on his way. How are you feeling? Can I get you anything?”

Lindsay shook her head. “My shoulder hurts, but the drugs keep it to a dull roar. Other than that I’m fine. I am a little confused though. How did Jon find out?”

“Your boss called him. Have you talked to your parents? Do you want me to call them?” She offered.

“Thanks. Would you mind? I’m not sure I’m up to trying to convince my mother that I’m not at death’s door and she doesn’t need to come flying down here to take care of me.” She didn’t have the energy. Besides she wanted some time alone. She needed to think.

“No problem. And don’t begrudge her her concern. She’s a mother, she’s entitled. But I think I can assure her that we will take good care of you.” Writing down the number Lindsay gave her she headed out of the room to find a phone.

Alone again, at least for a few minutes, Lindsay reflected on her life, her goals, her priorities. She had started making changes a year ago. Maybe it was time to make some more. Maybe it was time to grab for that brass ring.

Chapter 66

She must have dozed off again, because when next she opened her eyes, the sun was shining through her window.

Turning her head she smiled a greeting at Carol, who was once again sitting beside her bed. She opened her mouth to speak when they heard a commotion in the hallway.

Carol listened for a moment then grinned and patted Lindsay’s hand. “Sounds like the boys have arrived.”

She was right. Within minutes, Lindsay’s room was overrun by five very tired, but relieved looking men.

While the others approached Lindsay, Carol held Jon back. “Don’t you go taking out your anxiety on her. She’s been through enough without having to deal with your temper.”

“Hey darlin’. How are you feeling?” Richie asked as he bent down and kissed her forehead.

“Like I’ve got a fire burning in my shoulder, but other than that I’m fine.” She answered with a smile.

“Does it hurt really bad, do you want me to get a nurse to get you something for it?” David asked with concern.

She smiled and motioned him closer so that she could kiss his cheek. “No, it’s okay for right now. The drugs are great for the pain, but they make my mind fuzzy and a little disoriented. I really don’t know why people would pay to feel like that.” She shook her head.

“You gave us quite a scare nina.” Tico told her sternly, kissing her cheek. “Don’t do that again.”

“I didn’t exactly plan on doing it this time!” She retorted. “Believe me I don’t intend on doing it again.”

“Didn’t you know that wearing the superman symbol doesn’t make you bulletproof?” Hugh joked and kissed her as well.

“NOW you tell me!” She said in an exasperated tone.

They all laughed – except Jon. He was the last to approach her. The others moved to give him room. She watched him warily. He stood there for a long moment just looking at her, taking in her bandaged right shoulder and pale face. The muscle in his cheek twitched.

“Are you going to yell at me?” She asked cautiously.

He didn’t answer.

Reaching out with her uninjured arm she grabbed his hand and squeezed it. “Hey, I’m ok.” She assured him softly.

Sitting on the edge of the bed he leaned down to carefully wrap his arms around her. “Oh God Lindsay, I thought I’d lost you! I don’t know what I’d do if you were taken from me!”

The movement hurt her, but she ignored the pain. She had come so close to never feeling his arms around her again, that she just wanted to stay like that forever. She bit back her protest when he finally released her and sat up. They both had tears in their eyes. Neither one noticed that the others had left to give them time alone.

“What happened to ‘no unnecessary risks’? What happened to being careful?” He asked in a deceptively calm voice.

“I was careful. The police had assured us they’d cleared the house. I don’t know where he was hiding that they didn’t find him.” She defended herself. “I’ve never been so scared in my life. I was afraid that Brian wouldn’t hear me, that I was going to be raped and killed….that I would never see you again….” Her voice trailed off into a sob.

Her tears and obvious fear dispelled his anger, and tore at his heart. Lying down beside her, careful not to jar her shoulder, he smoothed the hair back from her forehead and kissed the tears from her face.

“Ssssh, sweetheart. I’m here. Nobody’s going to hurt you.” Stroking her hair and her cheek he waited for her to calm enough to talk. “Tell me everything.”

He held her and comforted her while she got it all out. When she finished he fought to control his temper.

“I’m glad the bastard’s dead.” He ground out.

“Me too.” She let out a hiccupping sigh, and fought to keep her eyes open.

Noticing, he kissed her gently. “Get some rest honey.” She gripped his arm. “I’ll be right here, I’m not going anywhere.” He assured.

When she woke again he was still there, holding her gently, dozing himself. Smiling, watched him sleep. He must have felt her stare, because he opened his eyes and smiled back at her.

“Hey there.” She whispered.

“Hey.” He whispered back.

A nurse came in then interrupting them. Stopping when she saw Jon lying on the bed with Lindsay she frowned at him. “Now don’t you be going and jostling that shoulder around. She’s in enough pain. You’ll have her back again hale, hearty and good as new in no time if you just leave her alone and let her heal.”

“Yes ma’am.” He said meekly, sitting up and trading the bed for a chair.

Lindsay’s chuckle was cut off by a gasp as she tried to sit up straighter. Immediately, both Jon and the nurse were at her side to help her.

“Thanks, I’m ok now.” She leaned back against her pillow.

When the nurse had finished checking her over and left, she turned to Jon. “So how was the show last night?” They talked about the tour, the guys, her moving in, the kids, all kinds of things. When the candy striper brought in her dinner, she brought one for Jon too.

“Thanks Jenny.” He said reading her name tag. The young girl blushed and rushed out the door.

Lindsay laughed. “And yet another female heart falls to the Bon Jovi charm.”

He laughed. “The kids wanted to come see you, but I told them to wait until you got home. They agreed to delay my birthday celebration until you’re home.”

She nodded. “That’s probably a good idea. By then I’ll be off the heavy painkillers and my head won’t be so fuzzy. I’ll be able to enjoy it more.”

“I thought you were supposed to enjoy fuzzy.” David stated from the doorway, a bouquet of flowers in his hand.

“Is that why you keep your hair looking like that?” Jon inquired with a grin. David flipped him off.

Lindsay laughed. “Don’t listen to him, I know for a fact there’s a lot of fans out there who love your curls. The flowers are beautiful. Thank you.”

He sat the flowers on a cabinet, walked over and kissed her cheek. “You’re looking better already.”

Minutes later they were joined by Tico and Hugh. The four men set out to entertain her and keep her mind occupied and off her pain. She fleeting wondered where Richie was, but figured he must be sleeping, or maybe visiting his mother.

Finally, the nurse came in to shoo them all out. “Don’t you be getting her all worked up now! It’s nice that you came to keep her company, but she needs to rest and to heal now. You can come see her tomorrow, but for now….shoo!”

Lindsay struggled to hold back her laughter as she said goodnight to David, Tico and Hugh and watched the three men walk meekly out of the room. “I wish the public could see this!” She chortled. When Jon raised a questioning brow at her she explained. “Four rockstars meekly obeying orders without a word.

He grinned. “Well, she’s a little scary!”

“Who’s scary?” Richie asked from the doorway.

“The nurse. Watch out for her. She likes to give orders.” Jon warned him.

“It’s okay, I just talked to her and told her the night shift had arrived. She said she’d bring me a blanket and a pillow.” Richie replied.

Jon frowned. He opened his mouth, but Lindsay beat him to it. “What are you talking about?”

“I’m here to stay with you tonight so that Jon can go and get some sleep.” Richie explained.

“Yeah man, about that. I know that’s what we agreed to, but I think I’ll just stay here. I slept a bit earlier, so I’m good.” Jon began.

“No.” Lindsay said, her voice firm. “You need to go get some sleep. You have to do a show tomorrow in Vegas. And you may have dozed earlier, but you didn’t really sleep.” She looked at Richie. “And you don’t need to stay here either.”

“I don’t want you left alone tonight.” Jon frowned. She was right about him only dozing earlier, but what she didn’t seem to remember was the number of times she woke him, crying in her sleep or clutching at him and calling his name. He didn’t want her waking from a nightmare and finding herself alone.

“Jon, they’re going to give me a sedative anyway. I’ll be out until morning.” She explained patiently. “There’s no reason for either one of you missing out on sleep. I’ll be fine.”

“And I’ll be fine right here with you.” Richie replied, holding up a hand when she would have argued. “Give it up Lindsay, I’m not leaving. Now, say goodnight to Jon and tell me if you want to watch some T.V., or read or talk or just sit quietly.”

Realizing that for all of his easy going, joking ways, this big man could be quite stubborn and immovable when it came to what he thought was best for those he loved, she gave in gracefully, kissed Jon goodnight, and selected a movie to watch.

Chapter 67

The day that Lindsay was released from the hospital she was up and dressed early. She couldn’t wait to get out. If she had to stay there another day she was sure she’d lose her mind. Her shoulder still hurt, but if she sat perfectly still, she could actually get some relief from the pain. She was off the heavy drugs, but still needed painkillers regularly.

When Jon showed up to get her she wanted to walk out herself, but the nurse insisted that she had to be taken to the door in a wheelchair. “Hospital policy” She was told. Grumbling she sat in the chair and kept telling Jon to go faster.

“Relax, honey, if I go any faster we might have an accident and then you’d have to stay here.” He warned her. She stopped grumbling.

Arriving at the estate, Jon rushed around to her door to help her out and into the house and settled on the couch in the den, before heading out to bring in her bag.

“Lindsay!” She looked up as the kids came running into the room.

“Hi guys!” She hugged Steph and Jesse.

“Hey watch her shoulder!” Jon reminded them. Lifting Romeo up, he sat him on her left side. “Stay on this side ok buddy?” The toddler nodded and snuggled in close to her.

Jake knelt on the cushion on her right side and very carefully leaned in to kiss her under Jon’s watchful eye. Then he sat back and looked hopeful. “Can we give Daddy his birthday presents now?”

She smiled. “Sure,” Motioning Stephanie to her she whispered where she had hidden her present for Jon and asked the teenager to get it for her.

Sitting back, she quietly watched Jon and his children. When Romeo climbed up on the couch next to her again, she wrapped her arm around him and hugged him close. She loved these family times, but they were hard for her. His children had welcomed her with open arms and she loved them, but she was painfully aware that she would always be ‘Lindsay’, never ‘Mom’. She thought she’d accepted that she’d never have children years ago, but sometimes – like now with Romeo cuddled close – she felt a pang of longing.

The little boy squirmed around until he could pluck at her sling. “Owie?”

“Yes sweetie, that’s my owie.” She answered and showed him her bandage. She had to blink back tears when he leaned forward and kissed it. “Better?” He asked. Hugging him with her good arm she kissed him. “Yes, it feels much better, thank you sweetie?”

Looking up she saw Jon watching them with a gentle smile and eyes full of love.

Later that day she was sitting watching the kids. Steph was flipping through a magazine, Jesse was playing a video game, and Jake and Romeo were building a Lego tower to the moon – if it didn’t fall over first, which it had twice already. She didn’t notice Jon watching her.

Sitting down beside her, he picked up her hand and laced their fingers together. “You ok? Do you need a pill, or a rest?”

“No thanks, I’m fine.” She smiled and laid her head on his shoulder.

When he entered their bedroom that night he found her standing by the balcony doors, staring at the stars, lost in thought. Walking up behind her, he slid his arms around her waist and pulled her gently back against him.

“Penny for your thoughts.” He murmured in her ear.

“Oh, they’re worth a whole lot more than that.” She replied. “They’re worth the whole word.”

“Tell me.” He urged.

She struggled to put her thoughts into words. “Coming that close to dying made me re-evaluate my goals in life and my priorities. I had finally found some happiness, and it was almost taken away. My focus has always been my career and my family – or to be more exact, my brothers’ families.” She paused, and took a deep breath, coming to a decision. “I think I need to make some changes.” She felt him stiffen slightly and patted his arm and leaned back further against him.

“I’m going to talk to Brian about getting out of the field and working in the lab full time. I’ve got all the qualifications, the hours are better, and there is less chance of contact with the bad guys, but I can still help people. The pay is less, but I can live with that.”

He snorted. “Yeah, I think we can manage. I have to tell you honey, that this makes me feel a whole lot better. I know you love your job, and I wanted to be supportive, but frankly, it scares the hell out of me.” He paused. “Any other changes you want to make?”

“Actually, yes.” She hesitated, opening and closing her mouth several times, unsure how to broach the subject with him.

“Come on honey, it can’t be that bad.” He could sense her anxiety.

“You know that I love the kids, right?” She began. He nodded. “For so many years, family to me has been my parents, my brothers, their wives and their children. I’ve never had a family of my own. I never had the chance, and I thought I had accepted that I never would.” She paused and grabbed her courage with both hands. She had no idea what his reaction would be. “I’d like to have a child of my own. I wouldn’t try to displace the other four. I… I just… I’d like to know what it feels like to nurture a child within my body. To feel it kick and grow. I’d just like to know that there would be some part of me – of us - left behind when my time comes. It may be too late for me anyway, but I’d like to try. But I understand if you don’t want to have anymore ……”

Turning her to face him he shushed her with a finger to her lips. “Hold that thought. Wait just one minute.”

She watched him walk to his dresser and take something out of the top drawer, but she couldn’t see what it was.

“First of all, you can have as many children as you want. Thirty-nine isn’t too old any more. There’s still time. I’ll do my best to keep up my end. But…I think…maybe…” He stopped, suddenly nervous. He laughed softly. “This isn’t how I’d planned to do this, but this seems like the right time.” He blew out a breath and dropped to one knee. Holding out the box he’d been holding in his hand he flipped it open. She gasped. “Lindsay, I love you with all my heart and soul. You brought light and love back into my life when everything was dark and cold. You restored my faith in love and in myself. You bring me joy and happiness. I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I want to make you happy and keep you safe for the rest of your life. Will you marry me? Will you share my house, my children, my life? Will you let me share yours? Will you let me help make all of your dreams come true? Will you be my wife, my partner, my rock? Will you let me be yours?”

She could hardly speak for the tears clogging her throat and running down her cheeks. It was the most beautiful ring she’d ever seen. The huge marquise cut diamond had two sapphires on either side and was set in yellow gold. It was perfect.

“Oh Jon, it’s beautiful! And the sapphires! You remembered.” She whispered in awe.

“Honey? You’re killing me here!” He pleaded.

She smiled through her tears. “My answer is yes. Yes, I’ll marry you. Yes I’ll let you share my life. Yes I want to share yours. Yes, I want you for my husband, my partner, my rock. I can’t imagine my life without you either. You made me believe in me, that I was worthy of being loved. When I thought I would spend the rest of my life alone, you pushed your way in and wouldn’t leave. You made me a part of your family. I love you with everything that I am.”

Rising, he slid the ring on her finger, gathered her carefully in his arms and kissed her with all the emotion he was feeling. She accepted it, absorbed it, and returned it.

She’d left her home, her family and her country to start a new life. She found love and a family of her own. I guess I did the right thing!

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