My father picked up his little hand and kissed it. “It will get better now.” He ruffled his hair and Jeremy beamed a big smile back at him.
“Jeremy, we have something for you.” My mother moved over to his side as she reached into her bag. Once opened, she pulled out a pack of Twiglets. Jeremy’s face lit up and he started clapping his hands. I couldn’t help but laugh through my tears.
“Thank you!” he cheered, then coughed a little. “Mommy used to eat these when I was in her belly.”
My mother kissed Jeremy on the cheek and ran her fingers through his soft hair. “I know she did. It was the one thing she could eat.”
She looked over at me with a knowing smile and I sighed a little. Jeremy found out about my love of Twiglets when he asked me a few months ago about what it was like having him living in my belly. I told him about the Twiglets and he said he wanted to try them. I had my mum send some over, but I didn’t think Jeremy would like them. You either loved them or hated them, and I always assumed someone as little as Jeremy would hate the taste. When he first popped one into his mouth, I thought he would gag and spit it out. Instead, he ate a second, then a third, until all the contents of the packet were gone. He even licked his fingers afterwards!
“Are you going to stay here with Mommy?” Jeremy looked at my parents as he played with the pack of Twiglets.
My mother looked over at me, then scooted nearer to Jeremy on his bed. “Mummy will stay here with you tonight and then tomorrow, as long as the doctor says it’s okay, you’ll be staying with us for a little while. How would you like that?”
Jeremy smiled, but looked over at me. “Is Mommy coming, too?”
My mother shook her head. “Mummy has got something important to do, but it’s only for a few days.”
Jeremy looked back at my mother with an eager expression. “Can we get ice cream?”
Everyone laughed. “Of course we can, Jeremy. As long as your mummy is okay with it.”
All heads turned to me and I smiled. “Of course it is.”
“Yeah!” Jeremy shouted.
“Well, someone sounds better already.”
We all turned and found Evan standing at the doorway. He moved forward, closing the door behind him, and walked towards my mother. He kissed her on both cheeks. “Mrs. O’Shea, it’s nice to finally meet you.”
She smiled and looked over at me. “Mum, Dad, this is Evan.”
My dad walked over and shook his hand. “Nice to finally meet you, son.” My dad patted him on the back and my mum stood there, staring.
“I’ve heard so much about you both. I’m just so glad to finally put faces to names. Jeremy is always talking about you. Aren’t you, buddy?”
Jeremy nodded. My mother blushed and smiled in Evan’s direction. Oh dear. It seems like she’s smitten already. Nothing like the male American charm to knock my mother’s socks off.
“I’m going to stay with Nana and Grandpa tomorrow.”
Evan frowned and looked at me. “Really?” I nodded. “Well, I’m sure you’ll have a great time,” he answered, turning his attention back to Jeremy.
I had a sudden urge to change the subject. “How did surgery go?” My mum and dad looked over at Evan, waiting for his answer.
He sighed. “It went as well as could be expected. It was just a simple valve repair.” He briefly looked over at my parents, then back and me and pointed to the door. “Can I talk with you for just a second?”
I inwardly sighed. I kind of knew this was going to happen. “Sure.” I got up and followed Evan into the hallway. Once he knew the door was shut, he faced me.
“I take it Jeremy’s staying with your parents because of Dean?” I nodded and he sighed, running his fingers through his hair. “I don’t like this, Jessica. Look. I know we’ve had this discussion before, but why don’t we move in together? It could be our next big step. Maybe if Dean knows you’re in a long-term relationship, he might just leave you alone. That’s assuming he’s even here.”
I gave a little sarcastic laugh. “Oh, he’s here all right. I’d put money on it.”
“So don’t you think it’s a good idea for us to be together? I could protect you.”
I smiled, knowing it wasn’t my safety I was worried about. There was no doubt Dean would have something to say about the new man in my life.
Why the fuck did that just turn me on?!
“Evan, he would never hurt me. I know he won’t. I just ran away because he brings danger with him. Yes, he’s a dangerous man to others, but he would never physically hurt me.” Emotionally… Well, that was another story.