Chapter Eighteen

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Lindsey’s head snapped up and their eyes locked with an electrifying intensity.

The longer he stayed silent, the more nervous Stevie became. Her eyes searched his for an answer, silently pleading with him to find the words and give her the answer that she had wanted to hear for so long.

“Stevie…” he breathed in astonishment. “Stevie, I – I…”

The breath caught in her throat as he stammered over his words nervously, and she instantly regretted having been so forward with him. His words had lulled her into a false sense of security that had made her feel as though she could ask anything of him, convinced that he would always be there for her no matter what it was. Or at least that is the way it had sounded to her. However, as the seconds ticked by, her delusions began to unravel before her eyes and she withdrew into herself dejectedly.

Before all hope was lost, Lindsey finally found the words he had been looking for.

“What happened that night…” he began, and Stevie instantly knew which night in particular he was referring to. “It still haunts me.”

Ever since it had happened, fifteen years before, Stevie and Lindsey had not once dared to speak about it with one another, petrified of the emotions that it would conjure up all over again. But this time was somehow different.

As painful as the memory still was for the both of them, to have this perfect little baby cradled in between them seemed to heal a lot of old wounds and it was finally time to put the demons of that night to rest once and for all.

“Me too,” she whispered sadly.

“Whenever I thought about what our life together could be like, there was only ever so much that I could let myself imagine. I’ve always wanted a family with you, Steph… always,” Lindsey admitted shyly, keeping his eyes fixed on the baby.

“When I thought we were finally going to have that, it was the happiest I had ever been… I knew then that no matter what, I would always have that – with you.”

Stevie raised her eyes to the ceiling and tried to hold back her tears as she felt her heart torturously being ripped from her chest.

“I lost a part of me that night too,” Lindsey’s voice cracked under the weight of the words and it sent Stevie into a spiral of grief.

Her head fell into her hands and she convulsed as sobs racked through her tiny frame. Lindsey suddenly panicked as he desperately wanted to comfort Stevie, but also noticed the baby begin to stir in his arms and he had no idea what to do.

Lily’s face contorted, distressed by the sound of Stevie’s sobs, and she broke out into an almighty cry as she kicked her legs out and squirmed in Lindsey’s arms.

Stevie took a few deep breaths and wiped her face before turning to comfort Lily, but paused when she saw that Lindsey already had the baby propped up against his shoulder and was rubbing soothing circles over her back. Just like that, all of the heartache was long forgotten and she smiled as Lindsey’s soft shushing and comforting embrace had worked a charm. Lily’s crying slowly faded out and Lindsey looked up at Stevie with pride and excitement written all across his face.

“You’re a natural,” she echoed his earlier sentiment and Lindsey smiled brightly.

She wiped the tears from her eyes and stroked the baby’s head as he lowered her back into his arms.

“I think I’ve found it,” he said softly.

“You’ve found what?”

“The piece of me that I lost.”

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