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By´╝ÜJaimie Roberts

“I’m fine, Mum. Please don’t worry about me. Jeremy and I are doing okay.”

My mother sat down on the bed and looked at me, a worried expression on her face. “What are we going to do now? You must know Dean’s probably followed us here. Once he finds you, he’ll find Jeremy.”

I winced. I knew Dean would never let me go, but if he found out about Jeremy, it would be ten times worse. I had to convince Dean that a life with me wasn’t an option anymore. And I had to do that without Jeremy, no matter how much it fucking tore me apart to think about it. I had never been away from Jeremy when he was sick. Ever.

“I was going to speak with you about that. Would you be able to look after Jeremy for a few days? Just until things have settled.”

My mother huffed. “Tyler, it would be our pleasure. You never have to ask us. We would be only too happy to help.”

I looked at my father and he nodded. “Whatever it is you need from us, we’ll do it. No questions asked, pumpkin.”

I laughed a little when he called me by my nickname. It used to rattle me when I was younger, but hearing it now made me realize just how much I missed this.

“Thank you. I really don’t know what I’d do without you.”

My mother laughed. “Tyler, this was all we ever hoped would happen. We have told you time and time again that you have us whenever you need us. All you have to do is ask and we’ll be there. I’m just so glad you’ve finally accepted our offer of help. You were always so fiercely independent at times and it worried me a little. We all need someone to lean on from time to time.”

I smiled at my mother, then my father stepped in and gently held my arm. “What do you need from us?”

I sighed. “If I know Dean, either he or someone else is watching this hospital right now. If we all leave with Jeremy tomorrow, he’ll know. I can’t risk that. I’ve been thinking about it for hours now and no matter how much it breaks my heart, leaving Jeremy with you is my only option. I don’t want to leave him whilst he’s sick, but if the doctor discharges him tomorrow morning, it’s just a case of Jeremy getting better day by day. And I know I can trust you to see that he gets the best of care in my absence.”

My father nodded. “Of course, that goes without saying. But how do you want to do this?”

I looked at my father. “Where are you planning to stay?”

“We booked into the Marriott before we even flew in. We’re staying at the penthouse, so there’s plenty of room for Jeremy. We’ll spoil him rotten.”

I smiled. I had no doubt about that. Jeremy always got spoiled rotten by my parents. He would have no problem staying with them. Grandparents always ended up being children’s heroes. I suppose it’s because they only saw each other every now and then. It made the time together more precious.

“I need to pick up some of Jeremy’s things, but I can’t risk leaving the hospital.”

My father straightened. “I’ll go get anything you want. Just give me the keys.”

I smiled and pulled out a set of keys. I ran over a list of where everything was and told my father to take my car. “Tomorrow morning, I’ll leave by the front exit so that whoever is watching can see me. I’ll get Evan to lead you out of the back and he can take you to the hotel. I’m sorry to put you through this. I just wished I hadn’t panicked.”

My mother put her arm around me. “Tyler, the way you acted was totally normal. What happened today must have brought back some tough memories for you. Of course you would panic and reach out to the first person you knew you could trust. Any of us would. Stop beating yourself up about it. To be honest with you, we’ve missed you so much. It was a lovely excuse to come and see you.”

I smiled, but I still felt a little stupid. “Thanks. I’ve missed you, too.” I sighed, then remembered something else. “Oh, before I forget. You’re going to have to start calling me Jessica in front of Evan and Jeremy. If you start calling me Tyler, they’ll ask questions.”

My mother nodded. “Of course. It will be difficult, but we’ll try to remember.”

Suddenly, a little voice was heard. “Nana? Grandpa?”

Looking over, I saw Jeremy rub his eyes and then cough a little. Every time he did that, my heart went into my mouth.

“Jeremy, my precious boy. How are you feeling?” my father cooed and I couldn’t help but smile. This was the first time we had all been together and it felt good. It felt right. It felt how it should be.

“My chest hurts, and I have a boo-boo on my hand.” Jeremy lifted his little hand to show him where the butterfly needle was placed.