‹ Prequel: God Please
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Second Chance

Big Bear

Forty eight hours into their stay at a cozy little cabin they frequented several times a year, and the couple had hardly spoken a word to one another. Their time had pretty much consisted of sleep, a few meals, and copious amounts of coffee. Just to get out last evening, they had taken to the lake to fish for a bit, but that didn't last too long. In all of that, they hadn't been able to say more than a couple of words of basic communication here and there.

Some would find that heartbreaking, or odd at the very least, but this wasn't out of the ordinary for them. It seemed they could accomplish more in rough times with hugs, kisses, and holding one a other than they could with long, drawn out conversations. Everything needed in times like these were found in one another's eyes and touch.

It was inevitable that they discuss what lay before them at some point, but Brian wasn't so sure he was ready for it. He had spent so much time pouring over everything in his mind, but all it seemed to be was fragments of thoughts. He wasn't convinced that was uncommon for such stressful situations, but it did nothing to help his mindset. Two days of dead silence, and he had nothing more to go on than he did before. For that reason, he dreaded the moment of truth that finally came shortly after Emily had gotten her second cup of coffee that afternoon.

"I've been doing a lot of thinking."

"Yeah? Me too," suddenly unsure of what to do with himself, he slipped into the kitchen to make himself some hot chocolate.

"What have you come up with?" it was only the natural question to ask in response, but it was one he had pretty much been terrified of this entire trip.

"Honestly, nothing," he admitted freely. Hiding it wasn't going to gain either of them anything. "I have been over everything in my head numerous times. Nothing makes any sense to me. I'm totally lost, Em. I can't even think about what James told me. I try, I just... I don't know. It's like every time I try, I can't wrap my mind around it and I just shut down."

"I get it, baby." she paused now to nurse down some more of the heavenly steaming beverage held between petite chilled hands. She half hoped he would continue during her silence, but wasn't surprised when he didn't. He was every bit as baffled as she was. Curling her legs under her delicately, she pressed on. "I really don't know where I'm at either. I feel every bit as lost as you, but I know we have to do something. We have to make some sort of decision."

"I agree. We can't go on like this."

"No, we can't. Also like you, everytime I replay what you've told me about your meeting with James, I kind of trail off. I really can't compute all of that. I don't know that I could give a baby to Matt and Val, or Johnny and Lacey, let alone a total stranger. So for someone to say we can raise their child just doesn't register to me."

A small silence settled in between them now. Her words hung thickly in the air, and both of them took time to weigh them carefully. The guitarist finished making his drink and soon joined his bride on the small but comfortable loveseat. The quiet that draped around them like a cocoon was peaceful and did well to sooth their nerves, but both knew it couldn't stay this way.

"So what do you want to do, baby?" he prompted finally.

"I think we need to meet with them."

The totally unexpected response caught him so off guard, he narrowly avoided choking on his beverage, "What?"

"I know it sounds crazy, but I can't even wrap my head around this. I need to talk to this man myself, but more so than that, I need to speak with his wife. Part of me feels like there's no way they could be serious, but then I think, well, we have the money to raise a child with special needs." seeing the confusion riddling his face, she clarified her statement. "If what he said is true, they aren't going to have the means to give their baby the care he is going to need. Maybe they saw your fame and it assured them we could afford to."

"You're saying you want to--"
"Slow down. Don't jump to conclusions here. All I'm saying is I have to talk with them myself. I'm not really open to this idea, but I can't say I'm completely closed to it, either."

"You're not?" all he could do at this point was stare at her. He wasn't necessarily closed to it, but neither was he gung-ho, ready to sign papers, and adopt the baby tomorrow. Adoption would probably be in the cards down the road at some point, and he wasn't opposed to that idea. But now? This way? He had a heart for kids, especially those with special needs, he had just never considered he may one day be the father of one. Was he even ready to be a father to a baby other than Gray? He had wrestled with the latter pretty much the entire time since his meeting with James. Did the make him a terrible person to struggle with that?

"I don't know what I am. After all that's happened, and everything we've been through, there's still a large part of me that believes everything happens for a reason." with a swipe of a hand across the cool skin of her forehead, she tugged some stray locks back into place with a tiny sigh. "I don't understand why we're sitting here in a cabin at Big Bear alone instead of snuggling with our little boy, but I have to hold onto that belief. And I believe we meet people for a reason. There was a reason that man was on our floor in that specific waiting room, and you saw him when you got back to the guys from checking on me. We can't know why without getting to know him and his wife a little more."

Thin lips hung open, then proceeded to open and close several times before he could stutter much of anything out. "Uh, okay. I mean..." shaking his head, he added a shrug and turned up his palms at her. "Yeah, I mean. I guess I can't argue with that. I felt like I was supposed to talk to him and give him my number that day. I just... I don't know, Em. I didn't expect you to react this way."

"What did you think I was going to say?"

"No clue. Just not this." turning more towards her now, he added, "I didn't think you would have such a well put together response either way, I guess. I'm all over the place on it."

"But you're behind me meeting them?" an eyebrow raised curiously now.

"Yeah. What you said and the way you explained it makes sense to me. I couldn't even get that far with it. But that's why I'm kind of stepping back and letting you lead on this. I need to lean on you until we figure things out, and then we can make decisions from there together."

"I know we're running out of time, but if we can, I want to wait to call to set that up until we get back home."

A loud rush of air he hadn't previously been aware he was holding left him, and he was finally able to sit back. "Okay, good. Yeah, I don't know what to even say right now."

"I don't either." standing now, she extended her free hand to him. "Want to hike one of the trails?"

"Really?" her sudden decision to leave the cabin of her own accord surprised him. "I would love to, baby. "

"No discussions. Just the two of us together, away from everything for a few hours."

"Absolutely. I'll pack the snacks and drinks. You grab the backpack and blankets?"

"You? Handling snacks? How surprising," she mused with a poke to his ribs when he stood. "I'll be ready in five. "