Noah’s Point of View
Riley had put me in a panic state when I saw her on the floor like that. I didn’t know what was wrong with her or why she couldn’t breathe. I didn’t ask any more questions after that though, I just scooped her up and rushed her to the hospital. I tried to talk her through the pain the entire drive over. She would scream out as the pain got stronger and sharper; causing her to gasp harder for air. We got there in a good amount of time and the doctors rushed us into the back room where they quickly ran test on her. Turns out that the baby had punctured her liver and made it swell to a point where she couldn’t breathe. The doctor had no choice but to induce labor to force the baby into position. Once he broke her water her breathing went back to a normal and steady pace- Thank GOD!
“How much longer?” Riley sighed, trying to keep her eyes open.
She had been in labor for 16 hours straight. This kid just did not want to come!
The nurse smiled cheerily at the both of us. Oh god, I just wanted to smack it off her face. Does this look like a time to be smiling? Then again she just got here and the other nurse switched out; she’s not completely exhausted like us. It was already time for bed when Riley had her attack; I’ve been up for at least 28 hours straight!
“The doctor will be in a few minutes. He’s going to tell you how much more you have to go; just hang tight.”
If one more nurse tells me to ‘hang tight’, I’m going to throw myself out the window!
“Yeah, thanks.” I grumbled.
Riley looked over at me and gave me a dirty look. What, I’m not allowed to be miserable? I’m SO tired! We’ve been in this hospital forever and our baby still doesn’t want to come out! Isn’t there a way to make this go faster so I can sleep?
“Would you stop snapping at all the nurses? I’m the one in labor, yet you’re acting worse than me.” she growled.
I let out a loud sigh, “I’m sorry, Snoot. I just get irritated when I’m tired. You could look at me the wrong way and I’d want to bite your head off.”
She shook her head, “You’re such a big baby. I hope this kid isn’t as cranky as his father when he’s tired.”
“I’m not cranky!” I argued, “I just- I want to- Oh leave me alone. Don’t you have to push out a baby or something?”
She narrowed her eyes, “I’d punch you if you weren’t so far away. Do me a favor and go run into a door or something.”
I didn’t get a chance to reply because at that moment Riley started having another contraction. The monitor was going off the charts! Didn’t she just have one of these 5 minutes ago?! They keep getting closer and closer; what’s that mean?
“AHHHHHH!!!” she screamed, clenching her stomach, “NOAH! Oh GOD, it hurts!!!”
I jumped out of my chair and rushed to her side. I had to keep her calm or she was seriously going to fall out of the bed! I held the back of her head and rubbed her stomach.
She clenched the sheets and breathed, “Noah… I want it… OUT!”
I nodded my head, “She’ll be out soon, Riley. You just have to hold tight.”
AW crap… now I said it.
It was then that the doctor decided to grace us with his presence. It’s about freaking time! The nurse said a few minutes, yeah, try a half hour!
“I’m sorry about being a little late, I got caught up with 3 other mommy’s.” he started, “Now let me just check how far along you’re dilated.”
WOAH back the truck up! He’s going to do that?! Earlier it was a woman! NO WAY, he’s not doing THAT!
I turned towards the doctor, “HECK NO! You’re not touching my girlfriends … yah know. Go get a female!”
The doctor sighed, “There isn’t any on the clock right now. It’s just me and two other men. You know, Riley is not the only woman having a baby. I have 4 I have to run around to and the other two, one is in surgery and the other is with 3 other women in labor. Now please, just let me do this. I have to know if she’s ready to push!”
I pointed to the giddy nurse, “Why can’t she just do that?!”
The doctor rubbed his temples, “She can’t do it because she’s not qualified to do it! Now please, let me do my job!”
Riley screamed, “NOAH SHUT THE HECK UP AND LET HIM CHECK!!!”
I gulped, “Uhm, o-okay…”
Okay maybe I should have just kept my mouth shut, but I really didn’t want this guy’s hand shoved up my girlfriend! I know he has to do his job, but god… it’s so awkward.
The doctor told Riley to scoot down to the end of the bed and he slipped off the hospital pants; handing them to the nurse. I kept eyeballing the doctor as he took his hand and put it in her, well, yeah… The nurse hovered over the doctor and kept casting me reassuring looks as if to say everything was fine. To me everything was NOT fine! There is nothing fine about another man touching my girlfriend!
The nurse questioned, “Are you alright?”
I narrowed my eyes, “Yeah, just peachy.”
The doctor pulled his hand from out of her and then stood straight. I looked at him and then at Riley, then back at him again. He was just standing there for a minute and then the nurse asked him if she was ready.
He nodded, “Yes, she’s 10 centimeters dilated. She’s ready to push now.”
“Alright, let’s get her into position.” the nurse replied.
The nurse helped Riley forward; propping her legs in a widened position. I just stood there watching until the doctor signaled me to come over and help Riley sit up. I placed my hand on her back and gripped her leg so she wouldn’t fall back.
“Alright.” the doctor started, “Now I want you to give me a long, hard, push Riley! We’ll count to 10 and then you can breathe again. Are you ready?”
She nodded her head whimpering. God I feel so bad for her…
“Okay, PUSH!” the doctor demanded.
Riley screamed, gripping my hand and digging her nails into it! OKAY OW!
“I CAN’T DO THIS!” Riley shouted, “I’m done, I want to stop!! It hurts like CRAZY!!”
“No Riley, you have to do this.” I stated kissing her forehead, “Come on sweetie, you got this.”
It took 4 very long pushes but finally our baby was out. There is nothing I can compare in this world to the feeling of hearing your baby cry for the first time.
The nurse handed the doctor a receiving blanket and he wrapped our tiny baby in it. Our baby squinted at the bright lights in the room and squealed and cried as the doctor held him close.
“It’s a boy!” the doctor smiled, “Congratulations.”
A boy! I have a son! I’m a father to a son! I just can’t believe it. All this waiting and he’s finally here. Riley was right in keeping him, I don’t know what I was thinking to ever say that to her. My heart is so swelled with happiness right now; I love my boy!
I turned to Riley, “Did you hear that Snoot?! We have a son! What should we call- Riley?”
She didn’t answer me. She just laid there with her eyes closed and her stomach still. Before I had the chance to say anything the heart monitor slowed down and then… flat line.
The nurse gasped at the loud ringing that was coming from the monitor.
“DOCTOR!” she screeched, “Flat line! She’s not breathing!”
The doctor quickly placed my son down in the glass case and then rushed over to Riley’s side.
“What the heck is going on!?” I yelled, “Why isn’t she breathing??”
The doctor pointed to the door, “Get him out of here, NOW!”
Oh GOD, not again!!
Tears started pouring from my eyes as I begged the doctor to let me stay. I didn’t want to just leave my girlfriend only moments after my son was born! Actually I didn’t want to leave Riley at all! What is wrong with her? Why is there a flat line?! Doesn’t that mean her heart stopped??
“NO! Let me stay, PLEASE! I want to stay with her! I can’t leave her!” I shouted, trying to push pass the nurse. She shoved me back closer and closer to the door.
“Come on, you have to leave right now!!” she demanded, “You can’t be in here!”
I had no choice but to listen to the nurse. What good would it do if I just kept begging to stay? They would have just gotten security or a bunch of other doctors to get me out of there anyways. Oh Riley… why aren’t you breathing? Is it because of the baby, is that it? Did that… thing do this to you!? I’m just so confused. I don’t know what to think anymore. I’m so tired of worrying about her; I just want her to get better. I wish there was a way to just make all her pain go away, so that she never has to suffer ever again. I guess it’s too late for that now. She’s gotten lucky countless times but I don’t think she’s going to pull through this one. That was just too much of a burden on her body. It’s those freaking doctors fault! Why didn’t they just cut that thing out of her? Why did they have to make her push it out?! So it could kill her? I can’t be a single father! I don’t even know how to be a normal one!
I slid down the other side of the door, “I don’t know what to do anymore!!” I cried out.
I was on the floor for about an hour until my back started to ache. I don’t even know how long I’ve been awake for, but once I placed myself down in the chair, I laid my head against my lap and was knocked out. I was probably there for a few hours like that, until I heard that familiar voice of the doctor standing next to me.
He cleared his throat, “Noah?”
I jumped out of the seat and faced the doctor. He didn’t even have to say anything and my eyes were already pouring tears. It’s not like I don’t know what he’s going to say to me. ‘We tried everything, but I’m sorry… she didn’t make it.’ Those words have been running through my head from the moment I saw that flat line. I’ve been anticipating it, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy to hear it…
I held up my hands, “I know what you’re going to say.” I sniffled, “That she didn’t make it, I already know.”
He took a deep breath, “Actually… she’s in critical condition. She’s still alive, but only barely. It took everything I had to bring her back. We only waited to tell you just to be sure that she was still alive.”
S-she’s still alive?! I can’t believe it… I can’t believe how strong she is. She fights so hard.
I gasped, “Is she going to pull through?”
The doctor shook his head, “I don’t know, Noah. Her liver is failing as we speak. Unless she gets a transplant… she will die. Since she choose to keep that baby, the lack of treatments caused her liver to plunge south. What was the cherry on top was your son. He penetrated Riley’s liver pretty badly, causing it to swell. All of those things added together put her liver in a fatal position. She has to get a transplant.”
A transplant? Okay that sounds pretty dangerous but I’m sure that there is someone out there who passed away that can donate it to her.
“Alright.” I sighed, “Then just give her the transplant. How long is it going to take?”
He took a step back, “Noah I can’t just give it to her like that. It’s not something you can pick up at a grocery store. There is a list and she is not at the top of it. I’m sorry but there are other people with the same issue who are above her. Unless by some miracle a liver pops up, I can only tell you to wait it through.”
WHAT?! So he’s basically telling me that she has to suffer until one pops up, or IF one pops up!? She’s going to die if she doesn’t get a transplant! How could he be SO cruel!?
“Well then shove her up to the top, you jerk! She’s going to die, give her a liver!! What the heck is wrong with you!?” I raged!
“Noah don’t you think I want to do that?! I can’t be unfair to the other people though! There are people on that list that have suffered and waited a lot longer, I can’t just pick favorites! I could get fired!”
“She just had a baby! Are you going to let that boy go without a mother?!” I rubbed my temples, “You know what? Fine, give her mine.”
“You heard me, give her my liver!” I shouted!
He shook his head, “I’m not going to do that! You’ll die if I take your liver!”
I pointed at him, “Listen here you moron, you’re going to knock me out and take the liver from me. Then you’re going to bring Riley into your operation room and put it in her. I would rather die than have to live without her.”
“Listen here pal!” the doctor growled, “I don’t know who you think you are demanding me like that. If I refuse to KILL someone, then accept what I have said! I’m not just going to take your liver from you, even if you were compatible with Riley. Don’t even expect me to check because I’m not. You’re healthy and you have a son to tend to now. Riley could still die even with the transplant. Would you want your son to be an orphan?”
I glared at him, “First of all, I’m not your pal. Second, you’re going to check to see if I match up. Riley is a strong woman and if she gets a new liver… I know she will pull through and raise our son the right way. Now take me in the back and find out if I’m a match!! I’m allowed to do this, so stop telling me otherwise!!”
The doctor turned his head, “Alright, I’ll do the test. You have to promise me though, if you’re not a match you will just drop this and let nature take its course.”
“Heck no; I won’t ever give up on Riley. The only thing I can promise you is that I’m going to be right here by her side the entire time.”
He sighed, “Fine, just… come on.”
I know I was being a complete jerk to the doctor but I really didn’t give a crap at this point. I’m going to do whatever it takes to make sure Riley lives. She needs to be with our son; I’ll never make a good enough dad for him. I don’t even want to look at him right now, how in the world am I going to love him and tend to his every need? She’ll do everything that I’ll never be able to do; a boy needs his mother.
The doctor hooked me up to the IV, “Alright, how long is this going to take? We don’t have a lot of time to waste. She could die at any time.”
The doctor stared down at me, “It’s only going to take a few minutes. I just have to get some of your blood and run a comparison to see if you are a match. If you are… then your liver will work in her body. If you’re not… then you have no choice but to wait.”
I rolled my eyes, “Yeah, but I’m going to be a match. So stop talking and run the test.”
I could see it on the doctor’s face that he really just wanted to just punch me. I tried being nice but he just gave me lip and complained about what I asked for. I had no choice but to shout back at him! I guess it also doesn’t help that I’m dead tired and now he’s draining blood out of me. God, I feel funny…
I tried to stay focused but my vision was getting really blurry and the room seemed like it was tilting. Okay, maybe that was just me that was going sideways. He honestly didn’t take that much blood from me, it’s just that I have had no sleep and nothing to eat. I’m lucky that I didn’t pass out!
I squinted at him, “Hurry up! That test is taking forever.”
The doctor groaned, “Would you just let me do my job?! I had to get Riley’s sample too, you know? Plus try to stay focused, you keep going sideways.”
Darn it, I knew it…
After another minute the computer screen blinked with these different numbers. I couldn’t really see what it was because of the state I was in.
I stared at the doctor, “So, what does it say?”
“It says that you’re going to have to wait. Your blood type is B+, while Riley has AB-. I have more bad news than you just not being a match though…”
He walked towards me, “Riley has a blood type that only about 2% of the population share. It’s going to be near impossible for us to find a liver that will be compatible with her blood type. I’m sorry there is nothing more that I can do. The only suggestion I have is for you to go home and wait for us to give you an alert if anything with Riley changes. Of course you’ll have to go back before then because you’ll need to take home your son.”
I tried to get up, but fell back down, “I’m not going nowhere! I’m staying here until she gets better.”
He shook his head, “You NEED to go home. I’ll call you a taxi; there is no way you’re driving like that. You’re about to pass out.”
I’d like to say I didn’t… but after the doctor left the room I, uh, sort of passed out.
After that spat with the doctor, he eventually did talk some sense into me and got me into a taxi somehow. I slept for almost two days straight without even trying. My body was so worn out, I could barely even move. A phone call from the hospital forced me to get out of bed though. They told me that I needed to come get my son. Yeah that’s what I want right now. I want that thing that put Riley in critical condition.
I walked into the waiting room and the nurse was standing there with the baby in her arms. She smiled at me as I approached her but it quickly vanished when she saw the scowl on my face and the dark circles under my eyes.
“Hello Noah. Your little boy is all ready to go home now. He’s healthy and happy, but he does need a name.” she stated.
I shrugged my shoulders, “I don’t know what to call it.”
She sighed, “Well you have to pick something. We have to write a name down on his birth certificate.”
I mulled it over and thought of a bunch of different names that would sound good. I kept thinking about what name Riley had wanted for a boy, but she really wanted a girl and that’s the only names she ever talked about. So I gave the nurse the first name that popped into my head.
She grinned, “That’s perfect! I’ll just give you Ryder and then go fill out the rest of his birth certificate- Which you do need to sign by the way. Since Riley is unable at the moment, I’ll need you to sign for her.” she held out Ryder, “Here. Take him.”
I just stood there with my arms at my side as she held the baby out to me. Did I really want to take him? I stared down into his bright yellow eyes. He cooed and wriggled around in his little blanket, becoming uncomfortable by being hovered like that instead of nestled against someone. Look, he’s already getting spoiled.
She bounced him a bit, “Come on, take him. He’s not going to bite… yet.” she laughed.
What other choice did I have then to do as she said? So I opened up my arms and she laid the peach haired, little Riley in my arms. God, he looks just like his mother. He has my nose though; won’t his grandpa be proud.
After the nurse filled out the rest of Ryder’s birth certificate, she wished me luck and then sent me on my way. I didn’t know a thing about taking care of a baby. I had always expected Riley to be there right by my side to help me understand how to do what. I thought that we would all come out of that hospital together. Not that she would have to stay and Ryder and I would have to go. I mean, it took me about 20 minutes just to figure out how to buckle him in his car seat! How in the world am I going to take care of him until Riley gets better?
“It’s a good thing you fell asleep on the car ride over.” I sighed, carefully placing him in his crib, “I don’t know what I would do if you were still awake.”
About a week had passed and since I was going through some tough circumstances Mr. Hemming let me take my work home; instead of having to come into the office. He may be a bit short tempered but my boss really is such a nice guy. He understands that Riley being in the hospital is hard on me; to top it off I have to take care of a newborn. He did give me some days off, but there is only so much time I can have off before I have to get started on the mountain of paperwork I have to do. So to sum it up, my living room has turned into my office. Even though I was home it didn’t make it any easier. Ryder was a big time SCREAMER, so I was in there almost every hour trying to calm him down. I’ve only had this kid for a week and I already want to rip my hair out!
I threw myself down in the chair, “Okay now that Ryder is down, maybe I can get some work done!”
Just because Ryder was being quiet it didn’t mean that I could concentrate. I just couldn’t get my mind off of Riley and the fact that I could lose her at any moment. I mean, what if they don’t get a donor for her? How will I make it trying to raise Ryder alone?
I flipped through the folder, skimming over the details. There goes another freaking case with that SAME man kidnapping again! I’ve seriously had enough of this guy. This is the 5th time I heard about his murders and kidnappings. Where is this sicko hiding them all?!
I flipped to another page and something caught my eye.
“Nathan Smith, of Pine International Network, brother to Robert Smith, says the man was seen trying to break into his building at 12:28 am on February 15th, 2012. Nathan called in the sighting of the man, but by the time the cops had arrived, the man had taken off into the darkness.”
He was trying to break into PIN? Now why in the world would this man have a reason to break into that building? They don’t keep money there, it’s a law firm. They have a special spot in their fancy shmance banks for that. Just thinking about Robert and Stacey gave me the chills. I haven’t seen Stacey in 2 years. That last time I slept with her is the last time I saw her. I guess she realized that I was never going to give into her, so she just gave up. Plus I wasn’t calling her anymore; I found Riley and everything changed.
I kept flipping through the folder until something came to me. Wait a minute… I know that I’ve seen that name pop up more than once. I grabbed the other files about that man and read through them quickly. In each and every folder one name popped up over and over- PIN, or Pine International Network. How is he connected to that company? Better yet WHO is he connected to? Something just doesn’t seem right; there is information that is missing.
I stood up and then grabbed my cellphone of out of my back pocket. I just couldn’t hold this information in; I had to have a co-worker of mine run it through for me. I wanted to know how many other matches this company had to other cases involving kidnappings and murders. I also wanted him to run a check on weapons opened by that company. I’ve read this file and looks like there has not been a check on the bullets used in this case because each victim was stripped of their bullet and the casings before they left. Yeah well guess who still has a bullet from this maniac. The doctor gave it to me after I had woken up as some sort of token. If they can just run the markings on this bullet – to see whose gun it matches- then maybe we can find the source.
The phone rung for a bit until a man’s voice picked up, “Yeah, Mike, it’s Noah. You know the Bridgeport Serial killer case?”
He sighed, “Yeah, what about it?”
I smirked, “Well I think I know how to find out where this jerk is hiding. I need you to run a few checks for me.”
He sounded a bit nervous on the phone but agreed to my terms. He told me he’d get the information as soon as possible. I don’t know what he’s scared of. I mean I know messing with this case is risky, but this jerk has to be found.
Only seconds after I had finished talking to Mike, my cell buzzed with a text warning from the hospital. It told me that I had to get down there ASAP. Oh no…
I asked my next door neighbor if she could stay with Ryder because I had to head to the hospital. I thank god my neighbor is a nice older woman; she always says if I needed her she would be there for me. After arranging that with my neighbor, I headed down to the hospital. I had no idea what they were going to tell me and honestly I was really nervous. What if she had died?
I got to the hospital about 20 minutes later and the doctor was waiting for me. He led me into Riley’s room and just stared at her.
He sighed, “She’s stable now Noah, but don’t get your hopes up. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but… Riley’s liver is getting worse. I’m not sure how much longer she can hold on, but she wanted to see you. The first thing she said when she woke up was where you were and where her baby was. We explained everything that happened, but I’m not sure how much she understood at the time. I’ll just leave you two alone. Wake her up when you’re ready…”
I only nodded my head at him, trying my very best to keep my tears back.
Once the doctor left the room I stepped closer to Riley and shook her leg. At first she didn’t respond and that got me really worried. So I shook her leg again but this time I said her name as well. She stirred awake, trying her best to look up at me. Her eyes were sagging and she was SO pale. Oh Riley…
She smiled at me, “Hi Noah.” she nearly whispered.
I smiled back, “Hello beautiful.”
She tried to sit up, but her body was just too weak. So she just kept resting her head against the pillow and barley staring up at me. Every time I looked at her my heart broke over and over. It took everything I had to force a smile on my face and hold back the tears that were threatening to pour.
“I heard we have a son.” she smiled weakly, “What’s his name?”
I averted my eyes away from her, “I named him Ryder. You never really told me a name that you wanted for a boy, so I was put on the spot.”
“I like Ryder. It defiantly sounds like a name you would pick. Such a dude…” she coughed, breathing heavily.
Oh god, I can feel the tears stinging my eyes. Crap!
She stared up at me, “Now Noah, there will be none of that. Don’t start crying, I’m okay.”
I clenched my fist, “HOW!? How are you going to be okay, Riley?? What if you don’t even get to meet Ryder? What if you die and I have to raise him on my own? I can’t do this without you!”
She sighed weakly, “Oh Noah. I’ve already met Ryder. I carried him in my belly for 9 months, that’s more than enough time for me. I got to feel him move and he tickled me every time he had hiccups. I’ve already experienced my beautiful baby. I don’t need to know what he looks like to know that I love him. Now it’s your turn Noah. You need to promise me that you’re going to help him grow up. He’s counting on you now, Noah. Just don’t forget to tell him how much I love him, okay? Can you do that for me?”
I forced back tears, “But I want you to tell him that! I want you to be around to kiss him goodnight and to hug him when he’s scared. I want you to live because I can’t without you.”
“Noah I’ve already told him how much I love him since the day I found out he was growing inside me. I just want you to remind him for me; never forget to tell him that.”
“Promise me Noah…” she sniffled.
I nodded my head, “I promise.”
As I was standing there about to break down in front of her, thee most amazing idea popped into my head. I couldn’t help but smile brightly as I thought about it.
She stared at me puzzled, “Why the sudden change in your mood? What are you thinking about?”
I smirked, “Just give me 2 hours. I have to go do something; it’s a surprise.”
“Oh Noah…” she tried to laugh, “I can only imagine what crazy scheme you have running around in your head.”
“You’ll see!” I gleamed, “I’ll be back, don’t move!”
She sighed, “Where in god’s name would I go?”
It doesn’t matter if her liver is failing, if she still has enough strength to talk, she has enough strength to say something smart. If she dies, I’m going to miss that so much…
Just as I promised I was back at the hospital in two hours flat. I wasn’t about to waste time that I didn’t have. When I stepped into her room I was wearing a tux and a strong aroma of cologne. My hair was gelled and I had an almost clean shave.
I stepped closer to her, realizing how much more pale she had gotten in that short time span. I swallowed back my fear though and smiled down at her.
“Noah?” she laughed, “What no tie?”
“Ties are over-rated.” I smirked.
She shook her head, “Noah what are you doing? And why do you smell like you took a bath in axe body spray?”
“I’m going to steal you.” I whispered, “I have to take you to your surprise. I bought you a pretty dress to put on, it’s in the car.”
Her eyes grew wide – or as wide as they could, “Noah, you can’t do that! You’re going to get in trouble.”
“Do I look like I care? I’m in a hospital with a tux on…”
I marched over to her and picked her up and into my arms. She wrapped her arms weakly around my neck and breathed heavily into my ear.
She whispered, “You’re a nut job.”
“For you? Every day.” I laughed, “Now come on my beautiful Snoot, we have somewhere to go.”
I carried her all the way out into the parking lot and then placed her in the passenger seat. I put the seat back beforehand because I knew she could barely sit up. Before taking off though I helped her into the dress I bought and put her hair in a bun and placed little flowers in it.
The entire car ride she laid there staring up at me, asking me over and over again where we were going. I told her it was a surprise and that she would find out when we got there. When I was about a mile away I told her she had to close her eyes until I told her she could open them. Once there I picked her up out of the car and carried her up the hill and over to the balcony.
“Can I open them now?” she questioned.
“Not yet, we’re almost there.” I smiled.
I helped her down gently– Still holding onto her.
“Now.” I smiled, “Now you can open up your gorgeous eyes.”
She blinked them open and her mouth just hung open. I don’t think she knew what was coming next; just that she was so memorized by the flowers and candles.
“It’s beautiful!” she cried, “Oh Noah, this is my surprise?? I never imagined it being so breath taking. I just thought you were being silly…”
I laughed, “But you haven’t even seen the best part!”
“Best part? You mean there’s more?!” she questioned.
“Yeah you didn’t see the part where I get down on one knee and asked you to be my wife.” I smiled, holding out a box with a gleaming diamond ring.
She gasped, “N-noah! You’re asking me to- But Noah what about-“
“Shhhh…” I whispered, “Just forget about that right now. What would Riley do if she weren’t sick? Think about it from that point of view.”
Her eyes filled with tears, “She would say yes and not think twice about it.”
I placed the ring on her finger and she fell into my arms. Her body was trembling with excitement and I could hear her sniffling every few seconds from the tears that were pouring.
“I love you Riley.” I breathed into her ear, “I meant it then and I mean it now.”
“Noah…” she trembled, “You just don’t realize how much this means to me. Thank you so much.”
“Don’t thank me yet, there’s more.”
She pulled back, “There is still more???”
I placed my hand on her back, leading her forward, “This way, my lady. I want to marry my beautiful fiancé.”
She looked at me with a huge smile and then started towards the abundant of flowers and candle light. I stayed behind her the entire time so she wouldn’t fall; she was having a hard time keeping her balance. Her body was just so weak, but she refused to sit down now. Not when we were about to be wed.
We stood under the arch and I handed Riley the ring I had bought for myself- I carried hers in my pocket. She looked at me for a second, before wiping her tears away. Her smile was so bright it could light up a room.
“Noah… I don’t even know where to begin with you.” she sniffled, “You’re everything a girl could want and more. I’ve treated you so badly, but you always came back to me. When I was lost you never gave up looking for me, when I was hurt you were there to heal my wounds. If I had never found you, I probably wouldn’t have made it this far. You gave me a life I never thought I could have. My time may be limited now, but I’m still grateful for the days I did get to spend with you. You gave me a home, an embrace to hold me, and a love that I never dreamed to find. The most important though, is the beautiful child you helped me create. If I love you for anything, that has to be the number one reason. Thank you so much Noah. I may have been afraid to love you at first, and I was a fool for doing that, but I just want you to know now… that I love you. I’ll always love you.”
I blinked back my tears, “Riley I love you too.” I continued, “Riley from the moment I saw this pretty little thing standing on the beach, I was done for. You stole my heart from the very beginning, there was no doubting that. I may have been too stupid to know what love was at that young age, but I soon realized it was because I adored you. You were my every thought, my every dream and my entire world. No other girl could measure up to your beauty. My heart swells when I see you smile, my smile gleams when you’re next to me and when you touch me my pants grow-“
“NOAH!” she growled.
“Hehehe, what? I thought I was supposed to be honest?”
She shook her head, “Just continue before you ruin the moment.”
“Alright, alright.” I smirked, “What I’m trying to say is that I undoubtedly love everything about you. I just can’t imagine a world that you’re not in. If I have to live even one second without you, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I love you, Snoot. Always have, always will.”
After I finished my vows I pulled Riley into a kiss. It was official now; she was my wife. If my heart could grow any larger it would have popped out of my chest.
I pulled out of the kiss and just stared into her eyes. She laughed at me but stared back. I couldn’t help this goofy grin that spread across my face as I stood there.
She smiled, “What are you grinning about?”
I laughed, “I just can’t believe that I can finally call you my wife. I’m not sure if I’m dreaming or not.”
She pinched the back of my neck and I yelped. What the heck?
“Nope, you’re not dreaming.” she laughed.
“Oh ha ha… you’re cute.”
She grinned, “I know I am.” she continued, “Noah, c-can we sit down now? I don’t feel so well.”
I nodded my head then scooped her up into my arms. We had only been standing there for 10 minutes but that was still too long for her. I couldn’t believe she lasted that long.
I carried her over to the blanket I had laid out on the balcony. I had a feeling she would want to sit down so I made sure I prepared ahead of time.
“Riley, I have to tell you something.” I sighed.
I continued, “I haven’t been the nicest person to Ryder. I-I kept blaming him for hurting you. I just thought I’d tell you this before the guilt ate away at me. I’m really sorry for treating him that way; I didn’t know what I was thinking for doing that to him.”
She gasped, “What did you do to him?!”
My eyes widened, “Oh GOD, nothing like that! I just meant I’ve been negative towards him. I’ve been taking care of him, but I’ve been treating him like a burden instead of son. I’m sorry I did that to our boy. I promise I’ll treat him differently. I know it’s not his fault, he didn’t know what he was doing.”
She sighed, “Oh Noah… I don’t blame you for being upset at him. It’s natural to blame someone when you’re upset, even if they are only 20 inches long and weigh 8lbs. Noah I just want you to love our son as much as you possibly can. Don’t ever let one day go by without you letting him know how much you love him.”
I squeezed her hand, “I promise I’ll love that boy until he hates it.” I laughed, “I know you’ll do the same thing Riley. We’ll show him so much love he won’t know what to do with it all.”
She leaned back and I followed suit. Her breathing was getting shallow and she coughed a couple of times. I tried my best not to let it affect me. If I do, I know that it’s going to ruin the moment. She would get upset if she saw me upset and then we’d both be miserable.
“Noah, even if I’m not there I need to make sure that you’re going to keep your word. Please don’t take my death out on him. Take it out on anyone besides him or you. I don’t want to die knowing that I left you blaming yourself.”
I stared up at the sky, a tear sliding down my cheek, “I promise Riley.”
She sighed, “Just as long as I know that… I can die in peace.”
I shook my head, “You’re not going to die Riley. We’re going to get you a liver. Once you’re all better we’ll take Ryder to go see my parents and spend a week at their house. Parker can meet his nephew and me and you can go out to a fancy dinner and then we’ll come home and make love all night. Does that sound good to you?”
“Mhm…” she coughed, “Sounds great.”
I turned my head to look at her, but she had lain down on the blanket.
“Riley are you okay?” I shook her shoulder, but still no response.
My heart dropped to my stomach as I leaned over top of her. “R-RILEY?!” I put my fingers to her neck, but she held no pulse. Her body had turned completely white and her skin was cold to the touch.
“NO! GOD PLEASE!!!” I cried out, “Don’t take her away from me! Riley please wake up!! Don’t die on me Riley; I can’t do this without you!”
I turned her over and leaned my head against hers as I cried. My tears landed onto her face but she didn’t make a single movement.
I picked her up into my arms, just standing there staring at her lifeless body. Her heart had stopped beating, but today… so did mine.
“Riley… don’t leave me.”
Thanks for reading!! Okay, dear god, I must have cried at least 4 or 5 times trying to get through this chapter. I cried from anticipating it and I cried when I actually had to write it. This chapter was extremely hard to write. So Riley didn’t make it, but she didn’t die being depressed. She died happy because she knew that Noah would take good care of Ryder and that he would always remember to tell him how much he loves him and how much Riley loves him. Riley tried to hold out for as long as she could but her Liver just … failed. It was almost impossible for her to get a liver. Even though Noah took her out of the hospital for that time, that didn’t even matter… she was going to die that night anyways. At least he made her last one a night to remember…