“Congratulations you two.” The Minister smiled at us as Taylor took my hand in his.
“Thank you.” He smiled at him before kissing my head. I nodded at him swallowing painfully as Conrad slowly fell asleep on my chest sucking away on his pacifier. Fin put his arms around me holding on tightly as I stroked his back soothingly.
“Sorry folks to cut things short. But Mrs. Andrews needs some sleep.” Taylor ran his hand gently down my cheek.
“God I love to hear that name.” He whispered as he leaned down to kiss me as the doctor gave me a cup of cold water for my throat. Fin laid his head down yawning at me.
“Thank you.” I smiled before taking the water sipping it. Fin took the sip as I head it to his lips too.
“I have the papers here for you two to sign quickly.” The minister said showing both of us the papers he was talking about. I lifted the pen painfully signing my now maiden name before it dropped out of my hand.
“Alright enough. Rest now.” The doctor said pulling the blanket up as I turned onto my side sleepily making Conrad wake back up looking around. Conrad curled back up on my chest falling back asleep. “We’ll see you when you wake up sweetheart.” I stroked Conrad’s hair happy that I was back and could hold my babies again. I slipped into the darkness of sleep to the sound of Taylor’s voice as he mumbled words to the doctor…..
I opened my eyes quickly as I started to feel weightless as if I weighted as much as a feather. I looked around the dark room. “Not again?” I groaned falling back from where I had sat up onto and fell back onto the soft ground. The cloud like ground. Crap. “Why can’t I just live?” I heard a laugh.
“You’re not dead sweetheart.” I sat up to look at Uncle Wyatt. I looked at him confused.
“Then what am I doing back here?” I asked taking the hand he reached out to help me up.
“Feeling better?” He asked ignoring my question. I ran a hand through my hair nervously.
“A little. What’s going on? How am I here if I’m not dead?” He smiled at me.
“You’re just visiting right now.” He held out his hand for me to take. I looked at it not sure. “I’m not going to take you after. Just a little visit. Something you need to see my sweets.” I put my hand into his. He smiled closing his hand over mine. His hands were soft as if I was holding a bigger vision of Conrad’s hands. Out of the darkness I heard footsteps of combat boots on the cloud like floor. “Sargent.” Uncle Wyatt smiled at the shadow.
“Gunny.” A rough voice said back. I looked at the voice as another marine came into view. He had a torn up look to him. A cut up face covered in dirt. His uniform was torn in different places. He had green eyes that looked almost dead to the things around him. “Ma’am.”
“You look like hell.” I whispered looking at him. He smiled.
“I feel like it.” He gave a humorless laugh.
“Bailey meet Sargent Avery James. Taylor knows him.” Uncle Wyatt smiled at me patting my hand before looking at Avery. “Knew.”
“You’re dead?” I said unsure of myself. He gave me a weak smile.
“No. Just tortured. Every day I live. All I feel is the pain of the accident.” I looked between the two of them. “A couple months ago I got into an accident in Afghanistan. An IED exploding killing two of my platoon brother and injuring me.”
“But you’re here.” He smiled.
“So are you.” I shook my head confused.
“I don’t understand.” I sighed. Uncle Wyatt looked at Avery nodding.
“Come with me Bailey.” Uncle Wyatt pulled me into the darkness before a flash of light made me shut my eyes painfully tight. “Open your eyes.” He whispered in my eye. I opened my eyes looking around the well lit room. Lying on a hospital bed was Avery. But he was cleaned up and in a coma. I looked over at him as he stared at his lifeless body on the bed. He cleared his throat shaking his head. Uncle Wyatt patted my arm soothingly.
“I have to see this every day.” Avery said looking at me. “I have to feel the pain of dying over and over. I can’t get away from it.” He smiled sadly as a young woman walked into the room in an oversized sweatshirt with red bloodshot eyes; her brown hair all messed up. She sat down need to the bed and took Avery’s hand. “That my wife.” He smiled sadly at me. “She’s my best friend. Always has been. I all was loved her. I always will. For all eternity.” The woman lad her head down on Avery’s lifeless arm and started to cry.
“She misses you.” I said quietly as the room filled with her painful, sorrowful sobs. Avery rubbed his jaw.
“She my everything. I promised her I’d be okay. But I had to save my men that day. I didn’t think I’d…” He shook his head. “I didn’t think I was going to die. I didn’t think I was going to be here. I didn’t hurt her.” He shook his head. “I didn’t ruin my life. I ruined her’s.” I turned to look at him.
“The pain will with time. It will be there. Like a scar. But pain lessens.” He turned to star at me with eyes full of tears.
“I don’t want her to forget me.” I shook my head quickly.
“She’ll never forget you. She’ll always love you. But you need to let her go. And she needs to let you go too. Her heart might be broken and in millions now. But for every broken heart there is always someone with a glue gun to fix it.” He looked at me.
“Can you do me one favor?” I looked up at him nodding. “Take care of her for me.”
“No one is going to believe me that you want her to pull the plug.” I said looking at her as she cried.
“Bailey we don’t want her to pull the plug yet.” I looked at them confused.
“Then why am I….” Avery gave me a smile.
“I knew Taylor since we were put in the same platoon 2 years before you met. I was there the day they on the sidewalk with the concussion. I was there the day he told everyone he going to marry you. He was there the day I lost everything. He was in the Humvee with me.” I bit my lip as tears formed in my eyes as Avery’s glazed over. “He’s the reason I came back whole. He saved me from staying in Afghanistan in a million pieces. He gave the closer she needed.” He looked at me. “I will always be grateful to him.” He smiled. “Tell him it wasn’t his fault. I was going to die that deployment and I knew it. He had you and Fin. I never want a kid to grow up without a father.” I looked back at the woman.
“Shannon doesn’t have any family anymore. It was just her and Avery. Her parents died when we were 18 in a car accident. I never had any parents. My father was a drunk came around for money. Mom was worker, never came home. I raised myself. But her parents were always there for me. I need to repay that favor now. But I didn’t know who to trust. Till I saw you. I remembered you.” He smiled as a tear ran down his face. “I need you to protect her now.”
“But I’m sick. I don’t know if I can. I don’t even know if I will ever get to see my baby girl.” Uncle Wyatt put his hand on mine. I looked at him.
“Your liver is falling. You won’t survive much longer. You won’t. I know you won’t.” I closed my eyes.
“I thought you said I would survive. You said I would get to live with my babies.” I cried. Uncle Wyatt tapped my cheek. I opened my eyes.
“Let me finish.” He said sternly, yet soothingly. “You need a transplant. Your Uncle has been going around asking and searching for a way to save you.”
“That’s why I’m here.” I looked at Avery as he stared at his wife. “He’s giving me life.” Uncle Wyatt nodded as I turned back to look at him.
“He’s an organ donor. We need you to now this. We just have to convince Shannon of it.” I shook my head.
“She won’t want to give him up.” I shook my head.
“She always wanted kids. Always. We were trying for a baby. Ready to start a family. But fate wasn’t there for us.” He looked at me. “Show her your kids. She knows what I want.” He looked back at her. “Just help her. Please.” I put my hand on his arm.
“I promise. I will. I won’t let her go through this alone.” I looked at her. He smiled.
“That’s all I ask. But don’t forget one thing.” I looked back at him. “You need to name the baby.” He saluted me before vanishing. He reappeared over Shannon watching her as she still cried her heart out over his lifeless body.
“Bailey look at me.” I looked at him. “It’s time to wake up and go back to life.” I looked at him.
“He’s giving me life and I’m giving him nothing.” Uncle Wyatt took his head.
“You’ve given him more than that.” He smiled. “You will see.” I looked at him.
“I will ever see you again Uncle Wyatt.” He smiled looking out as we flashed into the hospital room.
“One day you’ll see me again fully. But for now, I shall watch over you like I have your whole life.” He smiled.
“You just look after me?” He shook his head.
“I look after my family. Like all angels do.” I looked at him as he walked back over to the bed as I looked down to my sleeping body smiling at Conrad and Fin. “But someone will have a new angel. One to look after her through everything.” He smiled sitting me down.
“Who?” I asked him curiously.
“You’ll see.” He smiled laying me down into my body. “As time passes the truth will be seen.” Pulled the blanket over the boys. “I cannot tell you more. It’s for me to know, and for you to found out.” I looked at him as he pulled back. “Don’t forget to name the baby.” He gave me one of my Dad’s favorite smiles I would give him before he started to fade.
“But what do I name her?” I called as he turned into air.
“Go with your heart my niece.” The air whispered as I fell back to the sleep I felt to visit to my angel of an Uncle.
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