I walk through the doors of the operating room and see Aria prepped and ready for the baby. Her head tilts to the side and she looks at me through wide eyes. All the fear gone from them in its place, excitement is all that remains. The heart monitor beeps healthily, and with that encouragement, I close the space between us, taking her hand in mine, and smiling at her. She smiles back and closes her eyes. We wait for a few moments together and then the doctors begin. The chatter around us doesn’t really connect with me. I focus all my attention on keeping Aria awake, responsive, and filling her in on how things are going. She asks very few questions, but her eyes ask enough of them. I know the most important things. She whispers as much herself. I’ll know what to say if something goes wrong.

But it won’t. It can’t.

A few minutes pass and then a small cry sounds in the room. I turn my head and tears well in my eyes. The baby. Looking tiny, the baby is whisked away. At least the baby is alive, alive, and breathing. Two things that are positive signs in all of this. Aria starts sobbing happy tears as they usher me out of the room. I manage one kiss before I’m yanked away. She’ll have to have a hysterectomy now. But she has her baby. A healthy baby at that. So she will be fine. Aria only wanted her baby to be happy, healthy, and alive. The rest of it was never something she talked about. I know her dreams for the baby. I know what she wants. They’re the same things I want.

Everyone is waiting in the small waiting area when I return. None of them hear my approach. All lost in their own small conversations or thoughts. As I turn the corner, Caden looks up, a smile plastered across his face. He looks really beautiful when he smiles like that. My breath catches at the love shining in his eyes. So pure, so beautiful, it makes me feel like the worlds luckiest guy. And, for today, I think I am, again. My sister is alive, her baby is safe, and I have the best boyfriend a guy could ask for. Never mind the fact he’s hotter than hell and he loves me as much as I love him. I’m just happy to have my family, and him, here with me. The new family is an added bonus that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I find it hard to not smile as people start to realise I’m in the room with them.

Mamma and Dante are the first to rush over.

“Is she okay? Is the baby okay? Are you okay? Did everything go alright? Am I a grandmother yet? Is there anything I need to do?”

I huff a laugh. Trying to figure out where to answer first. “Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. And, no. Everything went okay. The baby is tiny, but there was a cry and everything, so I know everything will be okay. Aria’s getting stitched up and then we can go see her.”

Mamma screams and hugs me. Her tears make wet patches in my clothing, but I don’t care at the minute. Everything has turned out okay. So, for the moment, we can be happy and not worry about all the bad things in the world. For the moment, we can be perfectly happy. Nothing can ruin this moment for us. For me. For Aria. She has her baby. She’s alive. And I have my sister back. The lump in my chest deflates at the thought. I notice the look of relief on everyone’s faces. Even Leah’s face. Although, I know she and Aria became friends because they’re a lot alike. It’s nice to know we have friends here. People to keep us in New York, unlike Texas where we never really had people who cared. Even Dante admitted it wasn’t hard to leave there. It was not home. This, right here with these people, is home.

“You doing okay, angel?” Caden’s arms snake around my waist and he kisses my temple gently. The soft brush of lips gives me so much comfort.

I peck his lips gently and smile. “Yeah,” I reply softly. My face lifting in a grin as I look into his loving eyes. There’s something about looking into his eyes at this moment. I snuggle into his embrace and rest my head on his shoulder. Taking everything he’s offering me and hoping I can give it back in some way in the future. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I can do the same thing for him if he ever needs me the way I really need him.

Ending Innocence (boyxboy)Where stories live. Discover now