Compromise

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A country singer running from her past. A man who knew that she was his future. This is the story of Elizabeth and Cal.

Submitted: August 20, 2016

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Submitted: August 20, 2016

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Author's Note: This story contains my original characters, Elizabeth Windsor and Cal Green from my story, The Wrong Brother. This is another way their story could have gone. You don't have to read The Wrong Brother to understand this story. This can be read as a standalone story.

Disclaimer: The song Down Came a Blackbird is copyright © Lila McCann. The song Whatever Comes First is copyright © Sons of the Desert. I make no claims of ownership

 

 

Elizabeth took a deep breath as she peaked around the curtain to see the size of the crowd. Every seat in Lowes Motor Speedway was filled. Fuck. Word must have gotten out that she would be performing before the Coca-Cola 500. Her agent had sworn that it would be kept a secret until the last minute.

She hadn't performed in her hometown since starting her career six years earlier. This was to be her homecoming show...and she was terrified. She hadn't been back to North Carolina since she had broken up with her ex-fiancé, Baron and estranged herself from her drama-filled, emotionally abusive family. There were thousands of fans in the stands and any number of people from her past could be among them.

The music to her first song started to play and the curtain rose. Swallowing her fear, she made her way to the microphone and started to sing.

"Down came a blackbird,

Sat on a fence,

Talking in riddles,

Making no sense.

Cause she's gone.

Your baby's gone.

Down came a blackbird,

Perched on a phone pole,

Took out a mirror,

And said, "Son, Behold,"

Cause she's gone.

Your baby's gone.

Gone like a dollar spent on a drink,

Head hanging over the kitchen sink.

Gone like the wind through a cabin door,

Never gonna blow that way no more.

Gone like the song of a mockingbird,

Laughing at every little thing he heard.

Gone like a dream in a puff of smoke,

She ain't coming back and it ain't no joke.

She's gone.

Your baby's gone.

Down came a blackbird.

Sat by the fire.

Said the future's coming at you like a freight train.

And you're walking the wire.

Cause she's gone,

Your baby's gone.

Gone like a dollar spent on a drink,

Head hanging over the kitchen sink.

Gone like a dream in a puff of smoke,

She ain't coming back and it ain't no joke.

She's gone.

Your baby's gone.

She says she doesn't want a man who hangs around the house,

Who doesn't say a word unless he's shooting off his mouth.

There's got to be a better way to be a loving wife.

If she stays here she'll end up his waitress for life."

It was as she was singing the final verse of her signature song that she spotted him. He was in the V.I.P. crowd that was allowed to gather at the foot of the stage.

When his gray eyes locked with her brown ones he smiled at her and gave her the okay hand signal to show her that he was impressed with the show.

Elizabeth's bravery was slowly starting to seep away. Her next song was about him.

As the music started she was glad that there was no way for him to know that. For all he knew, she didn't write all of her own songs.

"Everyone says that's it no big deal,

Nothing that a little more time won't heal.

Sooner or later the way I feel will change.

But they've never hurt the way I do,

Cause they never had to get over you.

They've never shared my point of view of pain.

I've either gotta leave the past behind,

Or find myself a way to lose my mind.

I'm ready for a change of any kind,

For better or worse,

I'll take whatever comes first.

There's only so much a girl can take,

Before her reality starts to break.

Especially holding an old heartache like you.

Oh, somebody's leaving,

I don't care who.

There's not enough room in my mind for two.

It's finally come down to me or you.

I've either gotta leave the past behind,

Or find myself a way to lose my mind.

I'm ready for a change of any kind.

For better or worse,

I'll take whatever comes first.

I've either gotta leave the past behind,

Or find myself a way to lose my mind.

I'm ready for a change of any kind,

For better or worse,

I'll do anything,

Go anywhere,

Show me somewhere to go,

I'm there,

It's gotten to the point where I don't care,

Blessing or curse,

I'll take whatever comes first."

She chanced a glance in his direction. He had an odd expression on his face. He raised an eyebrow at her curiously but she turned away.

Elizabeth finished her set and was driven to her suite at the Charlotte Hilton Center City. She would be leaving first thing in the morning. She had silenced her critics and performed in her hometown...and it had brought back ghosts from a past that she was trying like hell to forget.

She hadn't seen Cal Green in over six years. One didn't normally stay in touch with their ex's brother. Especially when they had secretly been in love with said brother.

When Baron had relapsed into the heroin addiction that he had battled prior to the two of them meeting and had dragged her down with him she had lost all love for him. But at the exact same time she had fallen in love with Caledon or Cal as everyone called him, Baron's younger brother. He had been newly released from prison. He had taken the rap for Baron, who already had two strikes on his record, when the two had been pulled over with more than a pound of heroin in the trunk of Baron's car. Cal had been sentenced to sixteen months in prison even though he had been clean of heroin since his son's birth. A single father, his son's mother wasn't in the picture, he had gone to prison while his baby boy went to stay with his parents.

When Baron would take out his opiate induced rage on her, Cal, who lived with them, would step in to protect her and when he wasn't around to prevent the violence he would nurse her back to health and urge her to leave his brother..

The one time she had overdosed on too many snorted Vicodin it had been Cal who had saved her life. He had wisely injected her with the EpiPen that she carried in her purse in case of bee stings and placed her, fully clothed into a cold shower before calling 911.

Later, as she recovered in the hospital the doctor told her that Cal's actions were the only things that had saved her from going into full cardiac arrest.

That was the day she knew that she had to leave Baron. She had to get sober. This meant that she also had to leave Cal and his son, two-year-old Greyson behind too. She had been given no choice. She had to save herself.

She had written both Down Came a Black Bird and Whatever Comes First while in rehab in California. She had taken a chance and sent out a few demo C.D.'s and had been shocked when she had been signed to Shady Records – the first country artist ever signed to the label. The rest was history.

A knock came on her suite door and she opened it to discover the bellhop holding a piece of folded-up paper in his hand.

"Ma'am, this was delivered for you down at the desk," He handed her the paper and she slipped him a five-dollar bill.

Unfolding the paper, she was shocked to find loopy handwriting that she recognized.

***You were wonderful tonight, Elizabeth. I've missed you, pretty girl. 704-555-8388. Call or text me!***

It was from Cal.

She knew that she shouldn't text him. It was opening a can of worms that was best left sealed.

But, like was always the case with Cal, she just couldn't bring herself to say no. Lord knows that she had missed him too.

Grabbing her iPhone out of her purse she sent him a quick text.

***Well, hello there, stranger,***

He didn't text back right away so she went and took a quick shower. It was as she was pulling on a pair of pink sleep shorts and tank top with a bunch of tiny Minnie Mouse heads printed on it that she heard her phone go off.

Picking it up off of the bed, she smiled when she read it.

***Well, hello there, pretty girl.***

She climbed into bed and pulled the comforter over herself before answering.

***So, I hear that you've missed me.***

She grabbed the remote and turned on the flat screen television that hung from the wall.

***You know it, beautiful. What are you up to? Hanging with your family?***

Obviously, Cal hadn't heard about the rift in her family which let her know that he wasn't in contact with them. This made her feel a little bit better. Her younger sister, Harper, had a crush on Cal and was always flirting with him when she was around. It made Elizabeth uncomfortable and truth be told, pissed her the hell off.

She found a station playing reruns of Roseanne and settled into watch before responding.

***Haven't spoken to any of my family in years, Cal. I'm hanging out in my hotel room watching TV. What are you doing?***

He responded quickly this time.

***Wishing I was with you...***

Whoa, wait a minute, hold the phone, be kind, rewind...WAS HE FLIRTING WITH HER?!

***Now, why ever would you be wishing for such a horrible thing?***

His response again arrived at an unusually quick speed.

***Because I haven't been able to get you off of my mind in years, sweetheart. I really want to see you, and I don't mean from the crowd. I want to be able to touch you if you'll allow me to.***

Crap on a cracker. This was not going anything AT ALL like she had been expecting. Never in a million years did she think that Cal would ever be attracted to her.

***Cal, I used to be with your brother, you know it ain't right,***

She reminded him of the major roadblock that stood in between the two of them ever having any sort of relationship.

***Like you, I haven't spoken to my family in years so who gives a shit what they think?***

Okay, so that excuse wouldn't keep him away.

***I'm only in town for tonight and I don't do one-night stands.***

Her phone dinged again just a tick or two later.

***I don't do one-night stands either, pretty girl. How about we compromise?***

Compromise? This could be interesting at the very least.

***I'm listening...or reading...or whatever...***

Well, that was eloquent.

***We don't have to see each other this time around. But, you have to keep texting with me and maybe call me a time or two. Maybe you'll want to meet face to face once you're more comfortable with me. I know it's been a long time and you probably weren't expecting this from me.***

That was the understatement of the freaking century but she liked his compromise. She could have him in her life but without the stress and expectations of a face to face relationship...at least for the time being.

They had kept to their compromise and were constantly in touch with one another from that night on. Elizabeth's day wasn't complete until she heard from Cal.

Her summer tour was coming to an end and her manager was pressuring her to add a last minute show at Panthers Stadium in Charlotte. Her show in Concord in May had been such a success that her record label wanted to do a full concert asap. Time was money in their eyes.

She was still debating if she was going to do it or not while on a short visit home to her adopted Detroit when she called Cal for the first time since they had started communicating again.

She was having a hard time. It was the beginning of July and the thirteenth anniversary of her mother's death was that day. She missed the days of her childhood when she was too innocent to know how messed up her family really was and she had a mother around to shield her from the things she did understand. She missed having sisters, even though they constantly bullied her and slut shamed her because she was thinner than both of them. She missed having two big brothers to protect her but one was a born again Christian who was nothing like the brother she had loved growing up and the other was a full-blown opiate addict and with her past, she couldn't be around him for fear of relapsing herself. She would never speak with her father again and the reasons for that were numerous but suffice it to say that he wasn't very good at the whole parenting and marriage thing.

Long story short, she was feeling completely alone in the world. She wanted someone to talk to and the only person that she could think of to call was Cal.

He answered on the second ring.

"Hello, there, pretty girl," His voice sounded concerned. "How are you holding up? I know today's probably not a very good day for you."

He knew what day it was? How?

"How did you know?" She asked in wonder.

"I used to live with you and Baron. You used to get really sad this day every year. I asked Baron once and he told me that today is the anniversary of your mom's death. You okay, Elizabeth?"

She let the tears that she always tried so hard to hide from other people fall. Her step-mother had once said that her habit of crying over everything was just her way of getting what she wanted. In all actuality, it was a symptom of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It caused the person affected to panic over every little thing that went wrong. If she was five minutes late for work, she panicked as though the world was ending. She cried all of the time because she always had built up anxiety and badly hidden stress bottled up inside of her and it had to escape somehow. She had been diagnosed when she had finally escaped the clutches of her father's manipulation. Ever since she had started treatment, she had made a point to never cry in front of anyone. She refused to let anyone ever again think that she was weak.

But right now, she just couldn't stop the tears from falling if she tried.

"I'm lonely, Cal," She wept. She sounded pathetic even to her own ears. "I don't have anyone,"

She heard him sigh on the other end of the line.

"You're not alone, sweetheart," He assured her.

She scoffed. "Name one person in my life that I don't pay to be here?" She demanded to know.

"Me," Cal replied bluntly.

Now it was her turn to sigh. "You don't count. You're just someone on the other end of the phone."

She had no idea why she was downplaying his role in her life. Probably because if she didn't acknowledge how much he had come to mean to her it wouldn't hurt nearly as badly when he left. Everyone always left. It was the story of her life.

"You know I'm more than just someone on the other side of the phone," He sounded angry. "I could be way more if you would just stop being a coward and come home to me. You could have had me that night after your show if you had been brave enough to actually let me come to your room."

She knew that he was right but she still wasn't sure if she could bring herself to go back to North Carolina again so soon. She was curious...she knew that Cal ran his own very successful IT company and could probably take vacations at will. She knew that eight-year-old Greyson was out of school for the summer and wouldn't be returning until the middle of August.

"Would you come to me?" She asked so softly that she was honestly surprised that he heard her.

"Where are you right now, pretty girl?" The anger was now gone from Cal's voice.

"At my place in Detroit," She answered. "I'm on a tour break for the next week and a half and then I have three more weeks of the tour left...I don't want to be alone for the rest of it. Will you and Greyson come to me?"

"Text me your address," He ordered. "I'll be up there just as soon as I can get things squared away at work and me and Greyson packed."

She couldn't believe that he was actually coming.

"I'll pay for your plane tickets if you want," She offered. After all, he was willing to travel a long way to be with her.

"Nah, pretty girl, I'm going to take the company plane. Don't worry about it...but there are a few things that I want you to do for me." He informed her.

"Sure," She waited to hear what he had to say.

"Are you in bed?"

"Yeah," She was confused.

"Good, now reach over onto the nightstand and put the top on that bottle of Kraken Rum that I know you are drinking right now."

He knew her too well. While she had stayed away from heroin and pills once she got out of rehab, she still enjoyed a drink every now and then. Drinking had never been her problem. She did as he asked.

"Done," She confirmed.

"Now, I want you to lay down and pull the covers up to your chin,"

She giggled but did as she was told.

"Done," She said again.

"Finally, I want you to close those pretty brown eyes and get some sleep. Dream of me because I know that I'm going to be dreaming about you. I'll be with you soon, baby." He told her before he disconnected the call.

Setting her phone on the nightstand, she cuddled further into the bed and fell into the land of dreams faster than she had in years.

Cal arrived on her doorstep two days later. Now that she had calmed down and pulled herself out of her depression she was terrified of seeing him but the knock on her door couldn't be ignored.

She opened it to find a travel weary Cal and a hyperactive Greyson.

She smiled at them. "Hey, guys,"

Cal set his duffel bag down and pulled her into his arms.

"Hey, sweetheart," He dropped a kiss onto her forehead.

"Hey, Soft Kitty Lady!" Greyson waved up at her.

What the hell? Why was he calling her that? She looked to Cal for an explanation.

"Yeah, he's been calling you that since he found out I was talking to you again," He didn't release her from his arms, he just pulled back to look at her. "Apparently, when he was really little he remembers you singing him a song called Soft Kitty,"

Elizabeth started laughing. Now she knew what he was talking about. When Cal and Greyson had lived with her and Baron following his release from prison, she would babysit while Cal took night classes. Soft Kitty is the song that she would use to put Greyson to sleep when he was a toddler.

"Um, The Big Bang Theory had just come out and that's the song that Penny sings to Sheldon when he's sick...it also used to work wonders to put him to sleep when he was a baby," She stepped out of Cal's embrace.

"Well, come on in you two," She led them into the house after stopping to help Cal carry a few bags.

She took them upstairs and stopped in front of the guest room that sat directly across from her bedroom suite.

She pushed the door open. "I figured Greyson wouldn't mind sleeping in here, I'm right across the hall" She explained.

The minute the little boy spotted the flat screen and the Wii system he was sold.

Leaving the boy to settle in, she decided to go ahead and show Cal what she wanted from their relationship in a way that she was not yet able to vocalize.

She took his hand and led him into her room and set his backpack at the foot of her bed.

He smiled at her and let his duffel bag join the backpack before pulling her gently into his arms. He leaned down and gently kissed her lips for the first time.

"You're not alone anymore, baby," He knew that she wouldn't want to discuss their relationship so he gave her the only promise that she was willing to accept from him at that moment. "You've got me, I promise,"

This time, she was able to hold back her tears but just barely.

Later that night, after Cal had threatened to take the Wii out of the guest room in order to get Greyson to fall asleep, the two of them found themselves with the first extended bit of privacy that they had had since he had arrived.

The problem was, she didn't know what to say. There were so many things that she wanted to say to him but she couldn't. Her mouth just would not form the words.

They were cuddled together on the sofa in her living room with the lights dimmed and music from his cell phone playing in the background.

"So, when did you first know?" He asked her breaking the silence.

"Huh?" She had no idea what they were talking about.

"That you had feelings for me," He clarified. "I figured out your feelings the first time I listened to Whatever Comes First. You couldn't wait to get away from Baron towards the end. That song couldn't be about him. It's about me. I was the only other man beside your father and brothers, that Baron allowed in your life."

She didn't answer him, embarrassed at being caught. She just traced imaginary music notes onto his chest over the fabric of his wifebeater.

"I'm asking because I'm curious if you've wanted me as long as I've wanted you." He continued as though there had not been a large pause in the conversation. "February 9, 2009. That's when I knew that I wanted you."

She gasped. "That's the day that you got out of prison. That's the day that we met."

He kissed the top of her head. "I know. When I got out and was waiting on you and Baron to pick me up outside the prison, I thought my life was going to suck living with the two of you. I thought that you would treat me like some kind of punk because I'd done time. You didn't. You offered me a sweet smile and a hug before diving into the backseat to get Greyson out of his car seat so I could hold him. We got to North Carolina and you had a room all ready for me and one all ready for my baby boy. You were and still are the most beautiful woman that I have ever met. Your short, I love how I can tuck your head under my chin when I hold you. You've got curves. Shit, the first time I saw your ass in a bikini I had to go and take a cold shower to avoid jumping you in front of my brother."

Since he was being honest, she decided to return the favor.

"I don't know the exact date but it was the day that I had gotten into a huge fight with Baron right before Christmas and he had stormed off," Her voice was monotone when she spoke of her ex. "You wouldn't let me sit in the apartment crying so we packed Greyson into the car and you drove the three of us all around Cabarrus County looking at Christmas lights. At one point we stopped at McDonalds for peppermint hot chocolate." A happy smile came to her face as she remembered a happy time from the not so distant past. "It kind of felt like we were...a family," She blushed. "I was shocked to discover that I really liked that idea. In fact, I wanted a family with you and Greyson more than I wanted a family with your brother,"

The arms that were wrapped around her tightened. "That's one of my favorite Christmas memories. Just me, my son, and my woman spending time together."

"Your woman? Is that what I am?" She was as timid as a field mouse as she asked her question.

Before she had a chance to register what was going on, Cal had gently flipped her to lie on her back beneath him on the sofa.

"You've been my woman since the moment I first saw you, I just had to wait for you to see that," He rubbed his nose against hers. "Please tell me that I can keep you, Elizabeth?"

"You live in North Carolina and I live in Michigan," She pointed out. If she was going to be with him she wanted to actually be with him. She couldn't handle a long-distance relationship.

"Baby, I can live wherever I want and so can you," He reminded her. "We've both been blessed when it comes to money and success. I can run my company from anywhere...even a tour bus if I need to."

"You'd really do that for me? What about Greyson?" She bit her lip.

"I'd do anything for you," He let his lips ghost over hers. "And Greyson adores you, sweetheart, he has since he was a baby. He hadn't seen you since he was two but he remembered you, that says a lot. He knows that you're the one that took care of him when he was a baby. Do you know what he asked me when I told him we were coming to visit you?"

"What?"

"He asked me if you were going to be his mom now, he really hopes you want that job" He kissed the tip of her nose.

A lump developed in her throat and she tried as hard as she could not to cry. She loved Greyson with all of her heart and had missed him so much over the years. To hear that he remembered her and wanted her to be his mom was like having a giant squeeze her heart in his mighty hand.

Noticing her struggle, Cal leaned down to whisper in her ear. "It's okay to cry, pretty girl. I'm not going to judge you. You are the strongest woman that I have ever met. Let it out, baby,"

That did the trick. The dam broke and tears came cascading down her cheeks. Reaching up and wrapping her arms around his shoulders, she buried her face in his neck and started to weep.

Wrapping his arms around her, he pulled her up until he was seated upright and she was straddling his lap with her face still hidden in his neck. He rubbed her back and scattered kisses between her forehead and temple as she calmed down.

"I love you, Caledon, I have for a long time." She admitted when she had finally gotten control of herself. "And I never want you to leave me."

Her face was still in his neck so she didn't see the blinding smile that covered his face.

"I love you too, Elizabeth...and I'm not going anywhere, baby," He made her look at him so that he could seal his promise with a kiss.

Elizabeth, Cal, and Greyson had spent the next few days exploring all that Michigan had to offer. They visited the Henry Ford Museum, which the men were more interested in than her, and had rented a pontoon boat and taken it out on Lake Superior. When Elizabeth had told them the story of the legend of the Three Sisters, a feared trio of random superwaves that were rumored to have taken down the Edmund Fitzgerald, both Cal and Greyson were ready to head back to shore.

When the time had come to head back on the road, Cal and Greyson had joined her on her tour bus. Greyson slept in the bunks and the couple shared the only bedroom that was located in the very back of the bus.

There were only three days left on her tour. She and Cal still hadn't discussed a lot of things, like how they were going to make their relationship work while living in different states and Greyson was due to start school in North Carolina in a little under three weeks.

They had also yet to make love. Elizabeth found this odd. All of her previous lovers couldn't wait to get her into bed...Cal seemed content just to hold her in his arms at night.

It was two in the morning and the bus was rolling through some backwoods town in Georgia on its way to a show in Texas that was taking place the following night.

Greyson was in his bunk asleep and Cal was passed out on the bed beside her but Elizabeth couldn't sleep.

She didn't want to let Cal and Greyson go. Having them with her made her life more fun, more complete. She loved having someone to go to bed with at night and wake up to in the morning. She adored how excited Greyson got every time they rolled into a new town that he had never been to before. She loved that he was so comfortable with her that he couldn't go to sleep at night unless she had given him a hug. She didn't want to give any of it up. She had come up with a few plans in her head but she was scared of bringing them up to Cal. What if he thought that she was nuts and moving too fast?

"I can hear you thinking over there, pretty girl," Cal wasn't nearly as asleep as she thought he was.

"I don't want to lose you or Greyson," She blurted out as she sat up in bed.

He sat up to join her and turned to look at her.

"I've told you that is not going to happen." He shook his head. "Me and Greyson belong to you just as surely as you belong to us, baby,"

"But what about after the tour?" She chewed on her bottom lip.

He reached out and gently pulled her lip from her teeth. "Stop that, you're going to make yourself bleed...and we're not going anywhere after the tour," He informed her. "Either you come home to North Carolina or we move to Michigan with you, there are no other options. I've waited way too long to be with you to let something like distance come between us."

She was reassured some but she still had her doubts.

"Are you sure it's that simple? You really wouldn't mind moving from beautiful North Carolina to rundown Detroit?" She challenged.

He pulled her into his arms. "Truthfully, I would prefer it if you came home with me and Greyson. I left Port Jervis to get away from slums but I'd go anywhere to be with you. I understand that there is a lot of pain for you in North Carolina,"

"Only in Charlotte and Concord," She responded thoughtfully. "I love the Carolinas and I miss it there." She admitted.

"What are you trying to say?" There was a hopeful edge to his question.

"What if we compromised?" She suggested. "I've always loved the Outer Banks...maybe we could look for a place together somewhere in the state that neither of us has ties to...and I have an idea about Greyson's education if you want to hear it,"

He smiled and kissed her forehead. "I like that compromise. It would be nice to live on the ocean. What about Greyson's education?"

She took a deep breath. She really hoped that she wasn't overstepping her bounds.

"I was homeschooled by my mom and I was thinking that maybe you would let me homeschool Greyson," She didn't look up to gauge his reaction. "I'm on the road a lot. I usually tour twice a year and that's not including all of the traveling that I have to do for promotions. I don't want to leave Greyson behind so I was thinking homeschooling might be the best option."

Cal nodded. "I actually like that idea. Imagine the education that he would get spending his childhood traveling the world."

"Really?" She perked up.

"Really, I love it, we'll talk to Greyson tomorrow," He assured her. "I know we are going to look for a place in the Outer Banks but where are we going to stay before we find one?"

She couldn't believe what she was about to say.

"I was thinking that we could stay at your place in Concord for a while,"

It was well past time for her to go home. She wasn't going to let her family keep her away anymore. She may never want to live there on a permanent basis again but she would like to be able to visit from time to time.

He pulled her mouth to his for a kiss. "I love you so much, Elizabeth, and I am so fucking proud of you." He told her huskily.

"Will you make love to me?" She asked nervously.

She didn't want to wait to be with him anymore.

He gave her a wolfish grin. "All you had to do was ask, baby,"

They arrived at his three-bedroom ranch in Concord four days later. Elizabeth had thought that the anxiety would be too much to handle but it wasn't. After the first few days with no visit from any relatives, on either side of the family she had allowed herself to relax.

They had contacted a real estate agent and were in the process of house hunting along the coast but they weren't going to settle for anything less than their dream home. They had both decided that the house that they bought together would be the home that they shared for the rest of their lives.

Greyson hadn't been enrolled in school. Cal had filed the necessary paperwork with the state of North Carolina and Elizabeth now homeschooled him.

She had given into her record label and performed the concert at Panthers Stadium but the acceptance had come with a price. She owed Shady Records two more albums but she was to be given a year and a half off. She wanted to adjust to life with Cal and Greyson. She was still writing music in her spare time but otherwise she was on an extended vacation...oddly enough she was getting more work done now than ever.

It was Halloween night, her favorite time of the year, and Greyson had just departed with a group of friends and a parent chaperone to go trick or treating.

Elizabeth and Cal had decided to stay in and hand out candy. Elizabeth hadn't really been feeling well the past couple of weeks.

She was dressed as Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series and he was dressed as Draco Malfoy. Elizabeth had always thought that they would make a good fictional couple. With her and Cal's history, it was probably the forbidden romance aspect.

Her candy bowl empty, she turned off the porch light and that is when the pain hit. It was sharp and stabbing in the lower part of her stomach. She dropped the candy bowl causing it to shatter on the hardwood and clutched at her stomach.

Cal came rushing to her side. "What's wrong, baby?"

"I don't...know," The pain was intense. "I think we should go...to the...hospital. Something's...wrong," She gasped out.

Rushing her out to his pickup truck, he sped towards University Hospital while dialing their neighbor to look after Greyson.

They made quite a sight in the emergency room, Hermione Granger being wheeled in the door by Draco Malfoy...well, you know what they say about Halloween.

The doctor examined Elizabeth and the first things he ordered were a pregnancy test and an ultrasound.

The minute the ultrasound technician rubbed his wand against her stomach, he ordered a fetal heart monitor attached to her stomach.

"What's going on?" She demanded in pain as she clutched Cal's hand.

"It appears that you're pregnant...with multiples," The technician told her as delicately as she could. "And I think you're in the process of miscarrying one of them,"

"Can't you do anything to stop it?" Cal asked in shock.

She was pregnant and losing one of her babies. What had she done to deserve this? Why couldn't God just let her be happy?

"That's your doctor's department, I'm going to go and get him," The technician exited the room.

Once they were alone she turned to Cal. "Please, tell me this isn't happening," She begged.

He leaned down and kissed her brow. "It's happening, baby but we'll get through it. Remember we still have Greyson and at least one healthy baby still in there. We have to be strong for them."

He was right. He always was. She couldn't give into her fear and hopelessness.

When the doctor came in, he took the ultrasound wand to her stomach himself.

"How are you feeling, Miss Windsor?" He asked as he focused his attention on the screen.

"The pain's letting up a little bit...what's going on?" She looked towards the screen.

"You're pregnant, Miss Windsor," She was informed once again. "And from what I can see, you're expecting quintuplets...that's rare without the aid of fertility treatments."

She was completely numb. Things like this didn't really happen to people.

"Quintuplets...how many babies is that?" Cal asked a bit faintly.

"Five," The doctor replied matter of factly. "All five are healthy as far as I can tell. It appears the pregnancy started with sextuplets but the sixth fetus didn't fully develop. The pain you're feeling is your body expelling that tissue to make more room for the healthy babies," He explained.

"Can we have a moment?" Elizabeth asked, sitting up a bit in the bed.

The doctor nodded and left them to it.

She turned to Cal. "I am so sorry; I didn't know that I was a freak of nature."

He laughed and rubbed a hand over his face. "What are you sorry for, pretty girl? We've both already said that we wanted a houseful of children...your body's just decided to give them to us all at once."

"You're okay with this?" She wasn't sure that she was okay with this.

He nodded. "As long as we have each other, we can get through anything...you know this means that you have no choice but to marry me now? I mean, I knocked you up, it's only right,"

She laughed. She knew that his offer of marriage had nothing to do with the babies. He really did love her.

"I guess, I have no choice," She sighed as he kissed her.

They didn't have an over the top, million-dollar celebrity wedding. They got married at the courthouse a week after she got out of the hospital with only Greyson and her manager and agent present as witnesses.

By the fourth month of her pregnancy, she was confined to bed. A month later, she was moved to the hospital. The babies were taking a toll on her tiny body.

She had been told early on that it was very unlikely that she would make it to forty weeks in her pregnancy carrying multiples but she tried to make it as far as she could.

She and Cal had abandoned their plans to move to the coast, Elizabeth having once again fallen in love with her hometown. They had bought a seven-bedroom house not far from Concord in Lexington and her poor husband was forced to get it put in order all on his own.

The saint of a man would stop in at the hospital in the mornings, drop Greyson off to spend time with the woman he now called, mom, and complete his schoolwork, and then go out to the new house and put together rooms and furniture before coming to retrieve Greyson.

She was thirty-seven weeks into her pregnancy when her water had broken at three in the morning. The hospital had called Cal who had left Greyson with their trusty neighbor and sped to the hospital.

They were blessed with five little miracles that morning. She had undergone a c-section and would always remember the order in which they left her body.

Kathleen "Kick", Katie, Kristina, Gabriel "Gabe", and Grant.

It was one year later as they were surrounded by babies in highchairs, wearing paper hats with the number one of them and celebrating the fact that they had made it through a year as the parents of multiples that Elizabeth really stopped to consider how blessed her life was.

She had a husband who adored her and treated her like a queen. An oldest son who had given her the honor of being his mother and five little cake covered monsters that she couldn't believe that she had actually made.

Her childhood, teen years, and even parts of her early twenties had been horrible but maybe the old saying was true. Good things come to those who wait.

FINIS

 


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