Annie and I are alone in my parents' apartment, watching the twins while they watch cartoons. Annie's mom and uncle left with my parents, along with Gil, Sabrina and Jacks' to bring Karissa to the hospital. After Jacks' had gone into the bathroom, he called for Mom and she went in. Karissa was losing blood, a lot of it. She called the doctor and she said to bring Karissa in, and they left immediately. Dad had been walking in with Ethan and Micah right then, so Annie and I volunteered to watch them here.

"She's going to be okay," Annie says as she squeezes my hand, sensing my discomfort.

"Did you see the bathroom?" I ask, lowering my voice to a whisper. "Annie . . . my brother and Karissa were so happy when they announced the baby that night . . . She shouldn't have to . . . This should not have happened."

I lean my head in my hands, blowing out my cheeks. Annie leans closer, wrapping her arms around shoulders while kissing my cheek.

"No one wishes this situation on anyone," she whispers, leaning her forehead on my shoulder. "I know that you care about her because she has become part of your family and your life . . . Think of it this way. Karissa is going to be okay. If she loses the baby . . . Karissa will need time to heal, as will everyone else, but be glad that she is not going through something worse . . ."

I turn to look at Annie through cloudy vision. Her green eyes are glistening. I pull her to me, realizing what she means. I kiss her hair, closing my eyes briefly.

"Don't think stuff like that," I whisper, cupping her face to my chest. "Either way, I would not want anything to happen to either of you . . ."

"Eric," I look up and see Micah standing in front of me.

"What's up pal?" I say, offering a small smile so he does not think something is wrong.

"Is she your girlfriend now?" he asks.

Annie laughs softly. I chuckle, shaking my head as I start to pull away from Annie.

"Would you like me to be Eric's girlfriend?" she asks, grabbing my arm to stop me.

Micah smiles, nodding his head, which makes his dark hair flop, up and down. I smile and look at Annie; she smiles back.

"You want to be my girlfriend?" I whisper, tucking her hair behind her ear. "Like, legit?"

"I legit want to be your girlfriend," she replies, nodding. "That is, if you want me to be your legit girlfriend."

I grin and wrap her in my arms, kissing her nose. Micah covers his mouth with both hands, giggling along with Annie. Ethan is disgusted, making faces and covering his eyes.

"Don't do that," I tell him, pulling away from Annie as I move to the floor. "One day, when you grow up, you're going to lay eyes on a beautiful girl and you will want to do the same thing. You'll want to kiss her, and hug her, and tell her how beautiful she is."

I look at Annie and smile when I see her blushing. I wink at her and then turn back to Ethan.

"But kissing girls is gross!" he says, shaking and wiping his mouth as if he has eaten something disgusting. "Mommy and Daddy don't make me watch them kiss! Micah is weird! He likes that stuff!"

I throw my head back, laughing because I do know that about Gil and Sabrina. They make it a game, hiding whenever they want to give each other affection. It is cute; I mean, it must be their way of keeping the fire alive, keep it interesting. Doubtful. Gil and Sabrina love each other to death. The front door opens and we all look up as Sabrina enters. She has a sad smile. I push up from the floor and stare at her.

"How is she?" Annie asks, rising from the couch.

"She has to stay there for a few days," my sister explains, sighing. "So they can monitor her recovery. As far they can tell . . ." Sabrina glances at the twins before going on. "Hope is not lost, but they just want to be sure."

"How's Jacks holding up?" I ask, stepping next to Annie. "He looked terrible when he left."

"He is going to stay with her because her parents are on a cruise. They will not be back until next week. Jacks and Karissa don't want them to know unless they are sure."

"They really wanted this."

Sabrina sighs, nodding. Annie wraps her arms around my waist, leaning into my side. I slide my arm over her shoulders. Micah suddenly realizes his mom is here and runs to hug her legs. Ethan stays with his game. It is easy to tell which parent he prefers, even though Gil is the one with giving him the "dad discipline". Sabrina picks Micah up and brings him to the kitchen.

"I'm sorry our plans got messed up," I say as Annie and I sit on the couch again.

"It's not horrible," Annie says, shaking her head as I pull her close. "I'm here, you're here. We are hanging out, among other things . . . We can always go to a movie another day."

"Yeah, but . . . you know."

"I do know, and I am telling you not to worry about it. If you still want to go, we can. Or we can wait until Karissa and Jacks' are back, and Karissa is better, and we can go to a movie together as we planned."

"Hmm, why does your hair always smell like cherries?"

I am nuzzling Annie's hair absentmindedly. She giggles and pushes me playfully.

"It's a spray," she says, smiling when I pull my head back to look at her. "I told you; cherry red is my favorite color, and the cherry is my favorite fruit. If it has got cherries, I will eat it."

"I am gonna have to get my mom to make cherry pie for you," I say, grinning. "She makes the best pie in the world."

"Sounds awesome!"

I chuckle, leaning to kiss her pink cheek, lingering longer than necessary. When I pull away, Annie's eyes are closed and she is smiling.

"Million dollar smile," I whisper, smiling. "Literally, Annie; you have a million dollar smile. When it is not there, I try to think of ways to bring it back."

"Just hearing you say that makes me want to smile," she whispers back, opening her green eyes. "I am surprised my mom did not ask if I was coming home tonight."

"That came out of left field," I chuckle, "but yeah, I wondered that too. On the bright side, I can crash in my brother's room, leaving you in my room."

"I never asked . . . Do your parents mind me staying over?"

"No, they don't mind at all. We asked if it was all right, and Karissa has been staying over at night for a long time. Even Gil has stayed over, except he stayed in Sabrina's room with her. They never did anything though."

Annie nods, her eyes never leaving mine, except for a brief moment when she looks at my mouth. I grin and kiss her once. I mere peck really. I'm glad I took Jacks' advice and kissed Annie last night. I can't get enough of her lips.

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