“Penny for your thoughts,” Lexi said as she took a seat beside Alex on the ground outside.
Alex smiled over at her taking her hand “I was thinking about how lucky I am. I have a beautiful talented wife, two wonderful kids. It couldn’t get any better than this.”
Lexi blinked back tears as she remembered how close she had come to losing him. She squeezed his hand “I love you Alex,” she murmured “more than words can say. When I think about how close we came to losing you….”
He pulled her close “but you didn’t” he stroked her purple hair while she clung to him. He had vivid memories of that day. The searing pain as the bullet penetrated his left shoulder just above his heart, a few inches lower and he wouldn’t be here. He remembered gasping in pain laying on the floor while his blood soaked into the hotel carpet. His newly found half-brother trying to knock him out of the way only to be shot himself.
As the shots rang out loud in the small enclosed room Alex had been transported in time to another room where his father lay bleeding to death on the floor. He remembered wondering if this was how his dad felt as the bullets shredded his insides. He could have swore he felt his dad’s presence that day as he lay there wondering if he was going to die, telling him to hang on just a little longer and he would see Lexi and the kids again. It was hard to believe that all that had happened twelve months ago. His shoulder had healed leaving his arm weak. With determination and sheer willpower he had taught himself how to play the drums again. At times he felt like giving up but Lexi had been right there cheering him on. Looking down at her snuggled at his side he said “have I ever told you thank you for always supporting me? Never giving up on me even when I was at my lowest point?”
“Multiple times” she said putting her head on his shoulder “you don’t have to you know.”
“I know but I appreciate that you’re in my life. I want you to know how I feel just in case…” his voice faded. They both knew what he was going to say and couldn’t. Just in case he wasn’t around to tell her.
She shivered despite the warm breeze “I don’t want to think about what could have happened. When I do I…” her words were cut off by Alex’s mouth over hers.
“Don’t think about what might have been. I’m here that’s all that matters, right?” He cupped her face in his hands peering into her purple eyes “I love you so so much.” he kissed her letting his feelings fill his kiss with passion. She moaned as the kiss deepened and her fingers slipped under the edge of his shorts. “We should go inside” he murmured picking her up in his arms.
“Put me down Alex” Lexi demanded “your’re still recovering…”
“I’m as good as I ever was,” he said ignoring her pleas and carried her into the house and into their room. Laying her on the bed her mouth reached for his in an urgent desire to feel his warmth. She ran her fingers across his back.
Sometime later they lay in each others arms. Lexi lightly ran her fingers along his left shoulder tracing his scars giggling. “What?” he asked frowning down at her.
“We forgot to use protection” she giggled again at his stunned expression “after all this time of being together and being careful we forget something so basic…”
“Is that a problem?” he frowned at her “I thought you wanted another baby.”
She gave him a confused look then squealed in delight “I didn’t think you remembered.” She slapped his arm playfully forgetting it was the arm that had been weakened from being shot.
“Oh I remembered” he kissed her nose “I hope she looks just like you.” He smiled as he brought his mouth crashing down upon hers, rolling on top of her in the process.
“What are you doing?” she asked when his mouth released hers.
“Going for round two.”
“You must be back to your old self again” she giggled as his hands reached for her.
A couple months later Alex stared at the blank screen in front of him. He should be writing lyrics for the bands next hit song but his mind was blank. Not exactly blank but words to a song weren’t flowing either.
A soft knock on the door before Lexi walked in with a huge a smile upon her face. “It’s confirmed. I’m pregnant” she announced.
Alex stared at her unable to absorb what she just said. He could see her smile wobble and fade replaced with a look of disappointment and sadness. “I thought you’d be happy,” she murmured blinking back tears. She turned to leave.
“Lexi” Alex said behind her voice soft and low “I’m sorry I…” he swallowed hesitant.
She turned facing him. For the first time she saw the worry, the stress, the anxiety and the fear in his eyes. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Caleb just called,” he looked down at his hands words failing him “that man…”
“The drug boss….”
Lexi felt a cold clammy sweat break out on her forehead “Alex what’s happening? What’s wrong?”
“How?” she cried wanting to scream.
“How should I know?” he yelled back letting go of all his fears at once. Her startled hurt expression brought him back to his senses. “Lexi I’m so sorry” he pulled her close “I didn’t mean to take it out on you. I’m just so scared.”
“What will we do if he comes here?” she cried into his shoulder “what about the kids?”
“We’ll hire more guards,” he sighed “I don’t know what else to do.”
“I can’t go through this again,” she sobbed “I’m sorry I just can’t…”
“Shh it’s ok,” he soothed “I don’t think he’ll come here. His biggest concern will be to get away.”
“but he could send someone else to finish what he started…”
“He could but I think he got what he wanted,” Alex could feel her staring up at him “the bitch escaped too.”
“Oh Alex no,” she gasped in shock.
“I think it was all an elaborate plan to break her out of prison. He didn’t want the ledger he wanted her.” Alex sat down in a nearby chair as if his legs couldn’t hold his weight. He pulled Lexi into his lap “I hope that Ricky and his family were able to get away before the monsters made their escape. They’re really the ones in danger.”
“You won’t offer to take them in and hide them will you?” she asked.
“What about the kids? Me? Don’t we count?” she cried.
“You count more then you know,” he squeezed her tight “that is the only reason I wouldn’t offer them a place to stay. I’ll help any other way I can…”
“Including putting yourself in harms way again?” she asked. She knew she was right by the set of his shoulders and the thinning of his lips “you matter too Alex. The kids need you…”
“I know but don’t ask me to turn my back on my family either,” he looked at her steadily “I love you but I wouldn’t be me if did that.”
“I know,’ she murmured softly “I just don’t want to lose you.”
“I promise to tell you before I volunteer to put my head on the chopping block,” he grunted when she poked him hard in the side “sorry but I do promise to discuss anything with you before I decide to do anything. I won’t put you or our children in danger.”
“Ok I can live with that,” she snuggled into him “I want you around to see your children grow up.”
Kissing the top of her head he said “I kind of want that too.”
One afternoon several months later Alex was on the phone with Caleb putting the finishing touches on the bands newest album when Kendrick came running into the room. “Daddy come quick,” he cried.
“Kendrick can’t you see daddy is on the phone,” he told him patting his son’s head marveling at how much he had grown.
“But daddy mommy said to get you,” the boy insisted.
“Can you tell mommy I’ll be there as soon as I finish talking to Uncle Caleb,” Alex told the boy. He watched his son go out the door reluctantly.
“The way he was acting you’d think Lex had gone into….” his eyes bulged “OMG the baby’s coming,” he yelled into the phone heedless to the possible hearing damage he may have caused Caleb in the process. Frowning at whatever Caleb said before he hung up on him Alex opened the door as Kendrick was on his way back. “Daddy mommy says to come now and I’m not to take no as an answer.”
“I’m coming I’m coming,” he told his son. He found Lexi beside the grand piano panting through a contraction.
“It’s…about…time,” she snapped.
“I’m sorry,” he said putting an arm around her “did you call the babysitter?”
“Yeah” she nodded “she should be here any minute.” The doorbell rang just as soon as she finished speaking. “They’re all yours” she said letting her inside.
A few hours later Alex was staring down at his beautiful wife holding a new bundle of joy. Looking up she smiled “so what do you think of our little girl?”
“She’s beautiful,” he murmured bending to kiss Lexi’s forehead “and our daughter is too.”
“What should we name her?” Lexi asked knowing she wanted to surprise him with the name she choose.
“How about Jacqueline,” he smiled at her “that is your favorite name isn’t it?”
“It is,” she admitted touched that he had remembered that from their long ago baby name discussions before Kendrick had been born. “Would you mind if we used a different name?”
“What do you have in mind?” he asked distracted by watching his daughter wrap her tiny hands around his fingers.
Biting her lip hoping he liked her idea “I thought we could name her after someone important to you. Someone who loved you and gave you the love only a mother could give her child.” He looked up at her blinking back tears “I want to name our daughter Grace Jacqueline Bennett.”
“Hey Grace” he cooed “you would have liked your grandma. She was a beautiful woman inside and out.” He looked up with tears rolling down his cheeks “thank you.”
“I love you Alex,” she told him by way of explanation.
“I love you too,” he leaned over to give his beautiful wife and mother of his children a kiss ” more than words can say.”