Do Over

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Elizabeth had left her bipolar ex over his refusal to get help for his problems without ever telling him that she was pregnant.

Now, their daughter Diana's life is on the line and she finds herself reunited with a now healthy Baron Green.

Will little Diana pull through? Will Elizabeth and Baron get a do-over?

Submitted: August 23, 2016

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Submitted: August 23, 2016

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She hated her job. One-hundred percent. Not a doubt in her mind.

These were the thoughts running through Elizabeth Windsor's mind as she hung an I.V. bag full of saline for yet another alcohol poisoning victim.

She hated spring break and she really hated it while living in Sunset Beach, North Carolina.

Elizabeth was a nurse at Brunswick Medical Center and for one week every year, like clockwork, the emergency room where she worked would be overrun with idiot college kids.

They had more overdoses, cases of alcohol poisoning, and drunk driving accident victims during spring break than at any other time of the year...even Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and New Years.

That was the joy of living in a coastal town that was also a major tourist destination.

Elizabeth had moved to Sunset Beach from Charlotte almost three years earlier. She had broken up with her on-again, off again boyfriend to get away from his temper. What had started out as nothing more than a lot of yelling had escalated to the point where he had struck her across the face a couple of times, shaken her, and thrown her to the ground. Two days before she left her hometown behind for good, she had discovered that she was pregnant. Not wanting to subject her child to Baron's temper, she hadn't told him about the pregnancy...or the daughter that had been born six months later.

Diana Grace was the only light in Elizabeth's life. She was happy and healthy. She loved girly things. She was a little princess...who liked to bite people. The habit had started about two months earlier but Elizabeth knew that it was just a part of her natural development and with some gentle correction would cease before long...hopefully before her Aunt Harper, Elizabeth's younger sister who lived with her and cared for the child lost a finger.

The child looked nothing at all like her. She had fiery red curly hair and grey-blue eyes...just like her daddy. A geek at heart, Elizabeth had always said that Baron reminded her of the description of Bill Weasley from the Harry Potter series. He even kept his hair long and tied back and had an earring in his ear...although his was a diamond cross and not a dragon's fang.

Elizabeth was a natural strawberry blonde with brown eyes who was very short...Diana was already showing signs that she would be very tall. If she hadn't spent thirty-eight hours in labor with the child she wouldn't have believed that she was hers.

As much as she hated to admit it, sometimes when she looked at Diana and saw her daddy's dimples, her heart broke.

Yes, Baron had done some pretty horrible things. He had said some pretty terrible things...but Elizabeth had still loved him and to be honest, he had given her the gift of their daughter, although he would never know, and for that, she would always love him.

Baron hadn't always been bad. She had met him when she was twenty and a college student at Queens University of Charlotte. She worked part-time at a local Food Lion grocery store as a cashier and Baron had been the produce manager when she had started. Eight years older than her he was a welcome relief from her immature, self-centered first love, Jensen.

Within six months she was living with him. They were happy for almost three years before Baron had started to experience severe mood swings and become violent. Elizabeth did all that she could to get him to seek some help but he wouldn't listen. She just couldn't reach him anymore. They broke up and got back together twice. But the third break-up was the charm. She just couldn't live her life not knowing what Baron was going to do or say to her from one day to the next. When she found out about Diana she knew that she couldn't back out of her decision. It was no longer just about her safety but also about the safety of their unborn child. She knew that Baron, the real one that was buried deep inside of the mentally ill outer shell, would understand and even support her choice.

She was checking her idiot patient's vital signs when a trainee nurse working under her named Sarah rushed into the room out of breath.

"Liz," She panted. "They just brought your daughter in by ambulance."

Elizabeth's heart almost stopped.

"What happened?" She demanded as she followed Sarah out of the room and towards, God no, the main trauma room.

"Your sister says she started complaining that her stomach hurt and before she even had a chance to call you, Diana collapsed and stopped breathing," Sarah told her as delicately as possible.

Her baby had stopped breathing?

As she tried to enter the trauma room, she was blocked by another colleague, Nurse Dixon, the head emergency room nurse and her boss.

"Lizzie, you can't go in there," She shook her head.

Elizabeth knew this. It was against hospital policy to work on a friend or family member...but this was her baby!

"At least tell me what's going on?"

She noticed that the blinds to the trauma room windows were closed. That was never a good sign.

"Dr. Laurie thinks it's an intestinal blockage and her intestines ruptured. They're prepping her for surgery right now. I need you to sign the consent forms," She handed her a clipboard.

She could tell that her boss was trying to break the news to her as gently as possible but she was a nurse herself...she knew this wasn't good. She just didn't know how bad it actually was.

She signed the forms without reading them, she already knew what they said. She had made hundreds, if not thousands, of patients, sign the very same forms in the past.

"How bad is it?" Her voice finally broke.

"She's also battling a staph infection brought on by the rupture in her intestines, which were already infected." Jesus Christ, her baby could die on the table. Her little body might not be able to handle all of the stress. "You should call whoever you need to call...just in case," She reached out and patted her shoulder.

Walking out to the waiting room, she found her sister waiting with tears silently streaming down her face.

She took a seat beside her.

"Di's going in for surgery right now. They think there's a rupture in her intestines," She explained as though she were speaking to just another patient's family member.

Harper nodded.

"I called Baron," She admitted and glanced at her older sister to see how angry she was.

"That was probably a good idea," She, surprisingly wasn't angry, a little fearful of her ex, but not angry with Harper.

She hadn't told Baron that Diana existed but he at least deserved to know about this. If the worst happened, he deserved to know. He deserved to be there...if he could make it in time. He lived in Concord the last that she had heard and that was a little over six hours away.

"I mean, I called Baron two and a half years ago...the day that Di was born," Harper bit her lip nervously. "I thought if he knew about her, maybe he would get some help. He was a good guy underneath what was wrong with him. It worked," She informed her. "I've been sending him videos and pictures Diana's whole life. He stays away because even though he knows he's bipolar and it wasn't really his fault, he still thinks he doesn't deserve you or her. I called him just before you got out here. Him and Cal live in Myrtle Beach now," Cal was Baron's younger brother. "They'll be here in about thirty minutes." Myrtle Beach was just a couple of counties over, across the South Carolina state line. "I also called Jessa, Marshall, Robbie and James, they're all trying to figure out a way here now."

Jessa was their older sister who lived in Charlotte and Marshall, Robbie and James were their brothers who lived in Boston, Detroit, and Tulsa respectively.

She couldn't deal with this new information right now. The only thing she was worried about or focused on was her little girl. Everything with Baron was going to have to wait and Harper could handle their legion of siblings, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and cousins that were surely about to invade the small town of Sunset Beach. They were an Irish Catholic family after all. They bred like bunnies and were extremely close-knit, save for her father but that was a whole other story.

She got to her feet and looked down at where Harper still sat. "Call Father Michaels, ask him to come and administer last rites...just in case."

She walked away without another word.

With nothing else to do, she sat outside the operating room where her daughter was being worked on. Father Michael's had stopped by to pray with her but couldn't administer the Last Rites of the Catholic Church while Diana was in surgery so he retreated to the waiting room with the rest of the family. Not long after, Nurse Dixon had come to inform her that Diana's father had arrived. She told her boss to tell Baron that someone would come and get him when the surgery was completed.

She wanted to wait until after there was word of Diana's condition to summon him but her resolve didn't hold out.

When Dr. Laurie and Nurse Dixon had approached her to speak with her after the surgery she had held up a hand to stop them.

"Hold on," She turned to Nurse Dixon. "Could you go and get Diana's father before we talk please?"

Nurse Dixon hurried out to the surgical waiting room and returned just a few minutes later with Baron.

He actually looked good...healthy even. He simply nodded at her in greeting before coming to stand at her side.

"Well," Dr. Laurie cleared his throat. "Diana made it through the surgery beautifully. We found a large blockage that we removed and a very small fingernail size rupture that we were able to repair. We've placed her in a medically induced coma to allow her body time to rest and heal and have her on I.V. antibiotics for the staph infection. We should be able to bring her out in a day or two. She will recover but what we need to know now is what caused this in the first place. Has she ever had any stomach problems? Tummy aches?" He questioned.

Baron just looked to her for the answer.

"When she was a baby she was diagnosed with IBS." She acknowledged. "Her stomach couldn't handle my breast milk and I had to put her on a special formula but once she hit about a year old, all of her stomach problems stopped."

Dr. Laurie nodded. "Has anyone on either side of the family ever been diagnosed with Crohn's Disease?"

Elizabeth shook her head...nope, that was about the only disease besides AID's that hadn't struck the Windsor family yet.

"My mom has it," Baron spoke for the first time.

"Okay, I want to run a test for it with your permission," He requested. "It can often be misdiagnosed as IBS and it has been known to go into remission before suddenly reappearing which is what I'm suspecting is happening in Diana's case,"

"Go ahead," Elizabeth nodded.

"Yeah, sure," Baron ran a hand through his hair, which was untied but shorter than it used to be. It used to flow almost to his waist. Now it stopped at his shoulders.

"Can we see her?" Elizabeth asked hopefully.

Baron's face registered surprise at her use of the word "we".

Dr. Laurie nodded. "We normally only let one person at a time back but we can bend the rules a little...follow me."

He led the two of them to the pediatric ICU unit and stopped in front of a closed wooden door with the number 0281 on it.

"I have to warn you that what you're about to see might frighten you, even you Lizzie because this is your child," He told them seriously. "We have intubated her to assist her breathing and she's hooked up to a lot of machines."

Steeling herself, Elizabeth nodded and Dr. Laurie opened the door to allow them entrance before quietly leaving to give the family privacy.

The moment she laid eyes on her daughter Baron was forced to catch Elizabeth as her knees gave out.

The happy, seemingly healthy toddler that she had left this morning was now a delicate looking china doll surrounded by beeping medical equipment.

"You okay?" Baron asked as she got her footing and he released her.

"As I'm going to be," Was her response.

She walked to her daughter's side and took a seat beside her, holding her little hand. Baron moved to Diana's other side to hold the child's other one.

Elizabeth suddenly felt like a horrible person. This should not have been father and daughter's first meeting. She should have tried one more time to get Baron help for his manic depression by telling him she was pregnant. Apparently just knowing that Diana was alive in the world somewhere was enough to get him to change.

"You did what you had to do to protect her...I'm not mad at you, sweets, just at myself," Baron spoke quietly. "I'd like to talk but only after Diana's healthy,"

She could do that.

"Yeah," She nodded.

A loud, repeating beeping sound suddenly filled the room and they both jumped to their feet.

"Go get someone, she's going into cardiac arrest!" Elizabeth ordered but a code had already been called and medical personnel was filling the room as she and Baron were forced into the hallway.

The staff was in such a rush to save their daughter that they did not close the blinds to the room and they watched as Dr. Laurie and the nurses performed CPR on Diana.

She collapsed against a stunned Baron in hysterics. He wrapped his arms around her but said nothing.

It seemed like forever before they managed to restart Diana's heart but it wasn't even five minutes later that the door opened and the toddler was being wheeled out and steered back towards the operating room.

Nurse Dixon, out of breath, came to speak with them.

"Dr. Laurie thinks that the staph infection is spreading too rapidly for the antibiotics to keep up and it's attacking Diana's heart. He wants to go in and remove the infected part of her intestines. It should slow the virus enough to allow the antibiotics time to work,"

Fucking hell, not another surgery. Her poor baby.

"We need you to sign the consent forms,"

"You do it," She turned to Baron, not even noticing that she was still in his arms or that her face was streaked with not-yet-dry tears. Her hands were shaking too much to sign anything.

"Um, can I...you know, legally?" He raised an eyebrow at her.

"Your name's on her birth certificate," She informed him.

She might not have told him about Diana but she wasn't going to deny the fact that he was her father either.

Baron released her from his arms and took the clipboard that Nurse Dixon extended in his direction.

An odd expression came over his face as he read the documents but still he signed them.

"What's wrong?" Elizabeth asked wiping her face with one of the tissues she kept in the pocket of her pink scrubs.

"Her last name is Green?" She couldn't tell what his monotone voice meant.

"Yeah, you're her father,"

Why would she list him as the father but not give her child his name?

He wrapped his arm around her in a sort of sideways hug and kissed her temple.

"Thank you,"

Diana had pulled through surgery yet again and the antibiotics slowly started to work.

It was four days later and Diana was scheduled to be brought out of her coma the following morning.

Neither Elizabeth or Baron had left the hospital for longer than an hour or two at a time.

Harper and Cal were trying to change this.

"You guys need to go and get some real sleep," Cal crossed his arms over his chest and looked at them sternly.

"Yeah, they're bringing Di out of the coma tomorrow and I know you two aren't going to want to leave then...plus half the fucking Windsor's and most of the Green family will be here tomorrow." Harper reasoned. "Me and Cal will stay with Di," She offered and Cal nodded.

"Okay," Elizabeth finally relented.

Baron walked her out to the parking garage and to her car.

She leaned against the driver's side door to talk to him.

"Are you really better?" She asked softly.

He shrugged and put his hands in his pockets. "I guess you can say that but people with bipolar disorder are never truly better. As long as I stick with my treatment I'm fine. I'm not capable of hurting you or Diana anymore if that's what you're asking...I can't believe that I ever laid a hand on you."

That was what she was asking.

Baron had been pretty amazing, like the man she had fallen in love with when she was younger, during Diana's hospital stay. He never left her side except to change or shower and didn't mind sitting up and talking when her nerves got the better of her and she just needed to take her mind off of things. There was a couch in Diana's room and Elizabeth wasn't even sure how it had happened but they ended up sharing it at night to sleep. Him lying on his back and her on his chest.

She learned a lot about the person that he had become. He had left his job at Food Lion and was now the manager at an upscale golf course in Myrtle Beach. He lived with Cal and Cal's four-year-old son in a house that he had purchased because it was reasonably close to Sunset Beach...and her and Diana.

She found herself hoping for a do-over but she didn't know how to tell him that.

"I'm proud of you," She really was. He had saved himself.

He smiled at her. "Thank you, sweets,"

"Would you mind coming back to my place?" She asked. "Not to do anything," She rushed to add. "I've just gotten used to you being around at night and I want to be together in case anything...happens."

He nodded, "I'll follow you, baby,"

Keeping to what Elizabeth had said, they had done nothing that night except hold one another, too worried about their daughter.

It was at seven the next morning that Diana was brought out of the coma and her respirator removed. The child was pretty out of it and suffering from a sore throat when she first came to. She didn't even acknowledge Elizabeth before falling quickly to sleep which Dr. Laurie said was completely normal. Her body was still coming down from the sedatives used to keep her under.

Elizabeth was laying on the couch with her eyes closed trying to sleep and Baron was sitting in the chair beside Diana's bed when she awoke again later that night.

"Daddy?" She asked sleepily.

Elizabeth opened her eyes a peak to see her daughter staring at Baron with her eyes open.

"How do you know who I am, princess?" He was shocked as he stood and leaned down to kiss her brow.

"Mama, gived me a picture, we kiss it night-night,"

Elizabeth opened her eyes all of the way and sat up but it didn't appear that Baron noticed. He was focused completely on their little girl.

"Daddy, I's sleepy and my belly hurts," Diana whined tiredly as her eyes began to droop.

Diana looked towards the morphine pump and saw that it had just administered her scheduled dose of the heavy painkiller.

"Go back to sleep, baby," Baron ran a hand down her cheek. "Mommy and daddy will still be here when you wake up. I love you,"

Diana was already asleep.

He made no move to leave the little girl's bedside and Elizabeth walked to him and placed her hand on his back.

He turned to her and she was shocked to find tears rolling down his cheeks.

He pulled her into his arms and kissed her softly on the lips.

"I love you, sweets. Thank you so much,"

Tears were now running down her own face as she returned his embrace. "I love you, too,"

It was another three weeks before Diana was allowed to return home. Dr. Laurie had been right. She did have Crohn's Disease but with medication and the right diet, she would be able to live a normal life. Even her surgical scars would fade away in time because of how young she was.

Somehow, without ever discussing it, Elizabeth and Baron had fallen back into a relationship albeit a sexless one, given their recovering child. He stayed the night as often as he could after Diana was released, given his job, and was forming a close bond with his daughter and Diana adored him. When he was around she was attached to his side and when he wasn't she was constantly asking when he would be back. She was a daddy's girl from the word go. In fact, he was the only person the toddler wouldn't bite. The constant back and forth between North and South Carolina was starting to get a little old, though.

Elizabeth was also fairly certain that her twenty-one-year-old little sister had also fallen under the spell of a Green man. She wasn't really home unless she was looking after Diana once Elizabeth returned to work. Baron had also caught her doing the walk of shame out of Cal's bedroom on more than one occasion but they were both staying out of it. They were just greatly amused by how bad the two of them were at keeping it a secret.

One night, about two months after Diana returned home from the hospital, Baron was staying the night and Harper was out with whom they both assumed was Cal when Baron brought up their living arrangements.

They had just put Diana to bed and were snuggling in her bed watching a Yankees vs. Red Sox game when he brought it up.

"Are we back in this for good?" He asked muting the TV.

"Huh?" She was half asleep. She was just coming off of a double shift.

"This relationship? Are we staying in it this time? You know the whole happily ever after thing?" He ran his fingers through her hair.

She wanted to. She was happy again for the first time in a very long time. She felt like for the first time her family was complete and she didn't want to lose that.

"I am if you are, hon,"

"Good," He slipped something on her left hand. "Then I really want you to have this.

Picking up her hand to look she found herself wearing a ring. A ring that she recognized. It was a replica of the ring from the 2004 film The Phantom of the Opera. It was her favorite movie.

"Had it made for you...four years ago...before...everything," He explained. "I want to marry you and I want you and Diana to move in with me...Harper's welcome too seeing as I think she might already live there. I love you sweets, please marry me."

Her only real concern would be work but she could find work in the Myrtle Beach area or commute to the hospital if it meant having her family together and marrying the love of her life.

She giggled through the tears that pooled in her eyes. "Yes," She whispered.

He leaned down and kissed her.

"Can I ask you something?" He asked when he pulled away to lean his forehead against hers.

"Yeah," She stole another kiss.

"After we're married...would you think about having another baby with me? I love Diana more than life and I'd like to be able to experience everything from the beginning."

"Or, better yet, we could start trying right now," She raised an eyebrow at him in challenge.

He had her flipped on her back with his mouth on hers before she knew it.

As he sank into her for the first time in years, she was only thinking one thing...

Thank God for do-overs.

FINIS

 


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