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The Penalty Box: Chapter 32


I SAT SILENTLY in the waiting room while people who loved Charlie began to show up and join me in my vigil. Krista. Andrusha. Ryan. Zoey. In silence, their presence held me together. Kept me from falling apart.

Ryan sat on one side of me, Andrusha on the other.

My worst nightmare had occurred. Only this time it didn’t matter that we had access to an ambulance, trained medical staff and one of the best hospitals in the country.

I had accepted that Charlie had begun to lose the baby. Now I was terrified of losing her.

I spoke, trying to come to terms with what had happened. “She never woke up. She passed out in my arms, and even in the ambulance she never regained consciousness.”

Andrusha put his arm on my shoulder. I put my face in my hands and took deep breaths, trying to get a handle on my emotions. If I lost her, I would not survive.

“She’s tough. She’s going to be okay.”

I looked at him. What if she doesn’t survive? What if she leaves me? How can I endure that kind of pain? All my questions were in my eyes, and he held my gaze with his own. Andrusha knew my past. He understood my pain.

His fingers squeezed my shoulder, and he repeated stubbornly, “She’s going to be fine.”

“Mica Petrov?” a voice called from the door.

I staggered to my feet and moved towards the doctor, who wore a yellow hospital gown over his scrubs.

The only words I could manage were, “My wife?”

He smiled at me. “Your wife is fine.”

I wavered on my feet as I took in that news.

“She has anemia, which is fairly common with pregnancy, but her anemia went a bit too far, which resulted in low blood pressure. The shock and adrenaline probably caused her bleeding.”

I worked to stay on my feet and take in his words. “What now?”

“We gave her a blood transfusion and an iron infusion treatment. We’d like to monitor her for a few days, but she should be ready to go home within forty-eight hours.”

“She’s going to live?” I repeated, needing the confirmation.

He smiled. “She and the baby will be fine.”

Wait, what? “The baby is okay too?”

He paused and frowned. “I thought you understood that.”

I couldn’t speak because of the enormous lump in my throat. I swallowed repeatedly.

He patted my arm. “Mom and baby are doing great. They are just transferring her to a room. The best thing for her is a lot of sleep.”

“Can I see her?” I gasped.

He smiled at me. “She’s asleep, but you can sit with her.”

SHE LOOKED SO tiny and pale in the hospital bed. She wore a hospital gown, and her hair was tangled in a riot of curls on the pillow. I pulled up a chair to her bed and watched her breathe. I studied my beautiful wife, who had completely captured my heart.

Thank God she’s alive.

I had no idea what I would have done if she hadn’t survived this. I had lived through my worst nightmare. The full impact of everything that had happened washed over me, and I put my head down on the bed, working to get my emotions under control. I felt a small hand touch my hair. In wonder, I lifted my head and looked into her beautiful brown eyes.

“Sweetheart,” I breathed.

Her eyes looked so scared. “The baby?”

My eyes filled with tears and my voice was gruff. “You’re both doing great.”

A tremulous smile crossed her face. “Are you okay?”

My heart was still hammering in my chest. I lifted her hand to my mouth, kissing her fingers. “I am now.”

Her smile remained on her lips as her eyes drifted shut. “I’m sorry, I just need to take a nap.”

She was so damn cute.

So much joy was spilling out of my chest as I smiled and kissed her hand again. “That’s okay. Just sleep. I’ll be here when you wake up.”


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