“Evidently you drove her away! You clearly don’t know how to treat a special woman like Sharlee!”
“This ape hit her!” In fairness Kristian added that Noah had been trying to hit him and Sharlee got in the way.
“Babe, I love you with all of my heart. I never meant to hurt you. I am so sorry for everything. I never cheated on you, and I never will. Please Sharlee, you have to be okay. You’re my life. Nothing matters without you!”
Sharlee was fading in and out, but she heard most of what he was saying. She was in too much pain to respond.
Dale heard him though and wondered again what had happened between them in Bridgeport. He believed that Noah was sincere in what he was telling Sharlee, but decided to have his PI friend Trent check things out in Bridgeport. That way Sharlee wouldn’t know he’d meddled.
When they arrived at the hospital, Noah laid Sharlee down on a stretcher. He held her hand tightly. She looked at him for a few moments and then was rushed to the operating room for surgery. Dale went with her to brief the surgical team on what had happened.
“They’re going to do everything they can to save her and the baby.”
“Yes, she’s almost three months along.”
Noah dropped to the floor, stunned. What had he done! That is what Sharlee had wanted to tell him. Because of his own actions, he might lose the person who meant the most to him in the world as well as his own child! He felt completely devastated. Tears slid down his cheeks. He hadn’t cried since he was a very small child, but this time he was overcome with grief and self loathing.
He said to Dale, “Please keep me posted on Sharlee’s condition.” Then he left the waiting room.
All of Alissa’s anger towards Noah evaporated, and she sat down on the floor beside him. She put her arm around him and tried to comfort him. She didn’t say anything though, because she knew they would be empty words.
After several hours, the doctor came and told them that the surgery was over. Sharlee would be okay. However, he wasn’t as definite about the baby’s survival. He said that the next twenty-four hours would be crucial. She would remain in the intensive care unit. Noah was taken to see her.
He felt tears in his eyes as he leaned over and kissed her gently. She was still unconscious, but Noah was so relieved that she had made it through. However, if their baby didn’t survive, he knew that he would never be able to forgive himself, and he didn’t know if Sharlee would ever forgive him either.
Noah insisted on staying with her. At one point, Sharlee stirred and called for Noah. He leaned over to her and answered her just as he had years before, “I’m right here Sharlee. I’m never going to leave you.” She had settled back down.
“Everything is okay for now. The baby is still fighting to survive.”
She just looked at him for a few moments as he slept. Sharlee instantly relaxed. Tears came into her eyes as she looked at him. Then she remembered what had happened the night before and was suddenly afraid.
“Noah is the baby okay?”
Noah awakened and his eyes locked with hers. “Yes, you both are. Sharlee it doesn’t seem like enough to just say this, but I am so sorry for everything! I never meant to hurt you in any way. I love you Sharlee.”
“I’ve never felt any desire to be with any other woman since the very first night that I saw you, and I never will! I’m sorry for driving you away. There was no excuse for my behavior that night. I was angry with myself, and I took it out on you!”
Sharlee nodded her head. His reaction caught at her heart. It was just what she had hoped for.
“You’d better get some more rest.”
“I love you too, Babe.”
Sharlee smiled softly. “I know.”
Noah smiled too as she drifted back off to sleep.
Her parents came to see her later that day. Everyone was relieved after the twenty-four hours was up and both Sharlee and the baby were okay.
“We’ve repaired the damage, but it will be a long time before Sharlee completely heals.”
“Because the damaged areas will have to remain in use as they heal. The muscles of your uterus were torn Sharlee, and your uterus has to carry the baby and expand as the baby grows. You will have to be very careful in order to carry this baby to full term and to bear future children.”
There was panic in Sharlee’s voice. Dr. Cofield looked at Noah concerned about Sharlee’s reaction.
“Calm down, Sharlee. Stress isn’t good for you or for the baby. I’m sorry but if you want to deliver a healthy baby, that’s out. You cannot remain on your feet for long periods of time during the remainder of your pregnancy. You’ll have to take frequent rest periods throughout the day. I suggest waiting at least a full year after this baby is born before attempting another pregnancy.”
“I trust you Noah. I always have.”
After Sharlee was released from the hospital, Noah sat at the dining table deep in thought. He was determined to take care of his family even if it meant that he had to beg for a job. He’d work two jobs if it came to that. However, there was Sharlee’s current condition. She had to stay off of her feet for the next two weeks. Even after that she would have to be careful. He couldn’t leave her alone yet while he went to work.
Maybe he should leave her there with her parents until the two weeks was past. He could return to Bridgeport alone and find a job. Then he could come back for Sharlee. He didn’t want to do that though. It wasn’t just that he would miss her, but he also didn’t want her around Kristian. Kristian was still coming to visit her. He’d been there to see her several times since Sharlee had been released from the hospital. Kristian didn’t seem to care that Sharlee was Noah’s wife and pregnant with their first child.
Of course, Sharlee wasn’t encouraging his visits. Noah knew that she was completely committed to him, but there was something about Kristian that rubbed Noah the wrong way. Maybe it was because deep down he felt that in some ways, Kristian would be better for Sharlee than he was. Kristian could provide more for her financially, but Noah didn’t believe that there was anyone who could love her more than he did.
“Noah I’ve made no secret of my feelings about the relationship between you and my daughter. However you are married now and expecting a child together. I have to admit that I am looking forward to being a grandfather.”
Noah was amazed to see a smile on Dale’s face.
Dale’s next words irritated Noah. “I know about the difficulty you’ve had with keeping a job.”
Noah started to rise from his seat.
Dale said firmly, “I’m not finished yet, Noah.”
Dale told him, “I have a proposition for you. It will call for you swallowing your pride and putting the needs of your family first.”
“Believe me this isn’t easy for me either because I don’t know if you’ll stick it out. Sharlee has mentioned before that your goal is to open up your own repair shop. Maybe that is what will be best for you. Then you will be your own boss. I’ve spoken with my financial manager and decided to back you with opening a shop. He said it would be a good investment depending on where the business is located and how it is run.”
Noah was looking at him with his mouth open. He was completely stunned.
Dale resumed explaining. “Here is where the hard work comes in for you. I’m not about to just hand over the keys of a business in which I’ve invested my money to a twenty year old with your track record. There are several things which I expect you do before that happens. You will have to go to therapy sessions to manage your anger and find out its cause.”
He also told him, “I expect you to take business courses, so that you can manage every aspect of the shop. I expect you to prepare a professional business proposal to present to myself and my business manager. I also expect you to take courses on engine and automotive repair so that you can learn the latest techniques. I figure that it will take you at least a year to do all of that. I will be a silent partner at first, and then eventually, I expect you to buy me out. It’s a lot to think over. Take as much time as you need.”
Noah was still shocked. He hadn’t expected anything like this. “I don’t know what to say, Mr. Stallworth. Thank you for giving me this opportunity. I’ll talk with Sharlee and then tell you my decision.”
“Oh, one more thing. You and Sharlee are welcome to stay with us during that time. Sharlee’s pregnancy is going to be very difficult. You’re going to be very busy trying to accomplish everything. This way we can help you take care of her.”
Even more so now, Noah saw what Dale meant about having to swallow his pride. Living in Dale’s house for the next year would not be easy!
“Have you decided yet if you want a girl or a boy?”
“I’m fine, honey.”
He told her about Dale’s proposal and saw how hopeful she looked as he described Dale’s plan.
“Noah, I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I’ve always been proud of you! What you said that night at home made me feel that you didn’t know that. I’m proud to be your wife. Whether you are working or not. Whether you accept my Dad’s proposal or not.”
Noah wrapped his arm around her, and they shared a passionate, loving kiss. Sharlee was so happy just to be back with him again. Whatever he decided, she knew they would be okay. He helped her stretch out.
“Noah, if it weren’t for the baby, I’d never have left you. I never want to do that again. If it were just you and me, I’d live under a bridge just to be with you. Now that you know the baby is coming, I know that you’ll make sure we’re okay.”
“I have an idea, and I’m going to do some research. Then I’ll decide about your Dad’s proposal. It took a lot for him to offer this to us, and I want to give it the proper consideration.”
Noah went downstairs to the computer room. Alissa had told him that he was family and to make himself completely at home. Noah went to the Harley Davidson website and read everything he could find on becoming a franchise owner. If he could get a franchise, that would guarantee that his shop would become a success!
I just want to again thank all of the creators of the wonderful custom content and poses that I use! Thanks for sharing them with us!