Ch. 23 Past to Present

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When Dr. Walker came out from surgery, Kelly and I stood.

"It went great. He's in his room now and he's asking for you," he smiled.

Kelly and I followed Dr. Walker to Jake's room, where he was sitting up.

Kelly rushed to his side. "Hi, sweetie. How are you feeling?"

"Tired and kind of loopy," he smiled, looking drugged out of his mind.

She smiled, "I'm glad you're okay."

"Mom, is Britt here?" he asked, running a hand through his hair.

She looked at me as I stood by the door.

I shook my head, curious to see what he was going to say.

"No, sweetie. She's checking on other patients right now, but she'll be here soon."

He nodded and sighed, "Mom, can I tell you something?"

"Of course, sweetie."

"I love her."

She smiled, "I know you do, sweetie."

"Do you think she knows?"

She nodded and smiled, "Yes, I do."

"I know we're just starting out and I don't want to scare her, but I...never mind. It's crazy. You'll think I'm crazy."

"No, I won't. Just tell me, sweetie."

He looked at his mom and sighed. "Promise not to freak out on me?"

"Promise."

"I can see myself spending the rest of my life with her. She makes me happier than anyone else I've ever met... I always thought that rush people talk about was nonsense, but with her I get this rush and butterflies... I really think she's the one, Mom."

She smiled and wiped tears from her eyes. "Sweetie, that's not crazy at all."

"It's not?"

"No."

"She makes me want to be a better person. I go to therapy a lot and I always end up talking about her. I think my therapist wants to kill me."

She smiled, "Oh, sweetie, I haven't seen you like this since before your first deployment."

"I've never been this happy, this sure of anything in my life... Mom, stop crying," he chuckled.

She shook her head, wiping her eyes. "Sorry."

"Don't you like her?"

"I do. She's amazing, sweetie."

He nodded.

I took a breath and knocked on the door, stepping in. "Hey."

He immediately lit up. "Hey."

"How are you feeling?" I smiled, blinking back tears.

"Drugged. No crying. I'm fine. I couldn't pass a sobriety test, but I'm fine."

I laughed and looked at Kelly.

"I'm going to check on Peter," she smiled. She looked at Jake. "I'll be back in the morning."

"Okay."

She left.

Jake patted the bed beside his leg. "Come here."

"Jake-"

"Please?"

I sighed and laid beside him.

He wrapped an arm around me and sighed.

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