by Beth C.
"Dave," Lisa moaned in the middle of a pained sleep.
"I'm here," he said stoically taking her hand. He looked towards the doctor that stood bedside. "How much longer?" Dave asked.
The doctor shook his head forlornly, "An hour at the most."
"Can you please tell the others in the lobby," Dave looked down at Lisa's pale face, "I don't want to leave her side, I promised her last time I came back, we would always be together."
7 months earlier
"Phone call on line 2, Mr. Nelson," Dave's secretary's voice sounded over the intercom.
"Thank you Anna," he said before picking up the phone, "Hello, Dave Nelson speaking."
"I'm pregnant," Lisa announced abruptly.
Dave sat stunned,"Huh?"
Lisa sighed loudly, "Remember the night before my wedding to Johnny, you know, when we-"
"Yes, I do recall it," Dave said cutting her off.
"Well, I'm pregnant because of that drunken encounter.
"Are you sure it's not Johnny's?" Dave asked.
Lisa sighed loudly again, "Johnny wanted to wait until our wedding night and since he got arrested, we never 'consummated' the relationship'."
"Not to sound mean Lisa, but you haven't talked to me for at least 5 months, what do you want me to do about it? You have Johnny," said Dave, the anger obvious in his voice.
A sob escaped Lisa's mouth and Dave immediately took back the comment,
"I'm so sorry, of course I want to be involved in our child's life."
"Johnny and I aren't together anymore, I got an annulment a few months ago," Lisa said still obviously crying on the other end of the phone.
"On what grounds?" Dave asked apologetically.
"I was in love with someone else," she mumbled softly.
"Lisa, I can move to NH tomorrow, if you're talking about the person you think I'm talking about," he said hopefully.
Lisa's voice grew happy again, "I'll leave the key underneath the mat."
"I've missed you," he said softly.
"I love you," she answered back
"I've always loved you," he said before hanging up the phone.
back in the hospital room
"Dave?" Lisa asked slowly opening her eyes, "How is the baby?"
"She's beautiful and smiling," he answered, "she has your eyes."
"What's wrong?" She questioned looking at his worried face. Lisa smile dropped immediately, "I'm dying aren't I?"
Dave nodded, tears glinting in his eyes, "They were complications, they can't stop the bleeding."
"Can I see our child before I go?" Lisa whispered as tears began running fast down her cheeks.
"The nurse is getting her right now," he said softly.
"Dave!" Beth cheered running out of the office doors and into Dave's arms.
"Hi Beth," Dave said rather stunned as the rest of the staff of WNHX ran out following her holding a banner saying 'Welcome Dave, the New Newsdirector.'
"I've missed ya, you caffeinated Superfreak!" Mr. James yelled lifting Dave up in a bear hug.
"Ditto sir," he choked out while Mr. James swung him around.
Jimmy finally dropped Dave onto the ground. Dave stumble trying to get his balance before seeing Lisa standing behind the crowd of people. She mouthed a hello, and waved slightly. Dave pushed past everyone and ran towards Lisa. He stopped short in front of her and kneeled down holding up a small box.
"Make me an honest man," he said a playful grin on his face.
She kneeled down in front of him, nodding vigorously. He took her face in his hands and kissed passionately.
"Aww geez you guys," Mr. James cried behind them, "you're making me cry."
"It's okay Mr.James," Beth said, hugging Jimmy, "I heard that Dave's dad moved out, and they're having marriage troubles."
"Seriously," Jimmy said before running back inside the building.
"It's great to be home," Dave whispered, embracing Lisa tightly.
"I'm so sorry," Dave said softly, "I wish there was something I could do."
Lisa tried to smile through the tears, "It's okay Dave, it's not your fault."
"But I wish I could stop it, or we could go back in time and I could've forced you to slow down and to rest," said Dave, looking away from Lisa.
"Dave, look at me," She commanded sternly, "I wouldn't have listened and you know that."
He chuckled softly, "You never did like listening to advice, but I could've made my point this time."
"Don't feel bad Dave, I've lived a good life, had a good job, married a sweet man, and now had a child," her voice quavered, "I just wish I could be there to watch her grow up."
"I always imagined growing old with you, bickering on the porch of our little house, drinking tea and coffee," he said sweetly, "I've never even attempted to imagine life without you. I don't know if I can imagine dating ever again."
Lisa lay there trying to stay calm, "Dave, I don't want to think that my death stopped you from living life. I want you to stay strong, you need to stay strong for our daughter."
A nurse knocked lightly on the door, holding a small child in her arms. She walked over silently and put the baby in Dave's arms and left just as quietly.
"She is beautiful," Lisa said as Dave sat on the bed beside her.
"What should I name her?" Dave asked.
Lisa smiled at her child's sleeping face and held her little hand, "This might sound foolish but can we name her Pearl, like from the Scarlet Letter?"
"Pearl," Dave repeated to himself, "that sounds beautiful."
The couple coddled the little infant before the nurse returned again to take her. "Wait a second," Dave said, "Lisa, I want to take a picture of you with Pearl." The nurse handed Lisa back the baby and they posed for a few pictures.
"I really must return her to the nursery," the nurse said, "I'm really sorry but she was born slightly premature."
"Okay then," Lisa agreed as her eyes once again teared up,
"Good-bye my darling."
Mr. James's Cabin
A small tent had been set out in the center of a meadow behind Mr. James's cabin. The light flowers blew back in forth in a cool evening breeze and inside the tent the minister ordained the small ceremony.
"I now pronounce you man and wife," he announced, "You may now kiss the bride."
Dave took Lisa into his arms and kissed her as the small wedding party cheered. They exited the tent and went into Mr. James's large cabin for a dinner to celebrate the occasion. Dave and Lisa sat at the front of the table, while a few select guests stood to say a few words.
"I knew this would happen one day," Dave's mom started saying, "welcome to the Nelson family."
"Thank you Mrs. Nelson," Lisa smiled, "I always knew it would happen one day too."
"David, you'll take better care of my little girl better than her first choice," Lisa's father said raising his glass.
"I'll try my best," Dave promised.
"I was chosen to speak for everyone at WNHX," Beth announced, "Mr. James always cries at weddings, Joe always cries-"
"Hey!" Joe yelled in protest.
"You know it's true," Mr. James handed him a tissue.
"Yeah, but she doesn't need to tell everyone," Joe said, dabbing his eyes.
"Okay Ladies, I'm going to continue," Beth laughed, "I was one of the first people to know when they started doing it in his office, and I was always one of their closest confidants."
"Do you mean, you'd join them?" Max asked, a dirty grin covering his face.
"I'm trying to be sentimental Max, let's cut the sexual cracks," Beth gave him a nasty look.
"Wait, what are you talking about?" Matthew asked, "join them?"
"I'll explain to you after Lisa and I get back from our honeymoon," Dave said, "continue Beth."
"We've all watched your relationship, grow then fail, grow then fail and we have an office pool going everytime you guys start dating again," Beth joked, "but you all always knew that you guys belong with each other. To the happy couple!"
"To the happy couple!" the room cheered in agreement.
There was another knock at the door and Dave turned to see the staff standing there, all of them in tears, trying to console each other. "Um, Dave, can we all say our private good-byes?" Beth asked.
"I want Dave to stay with me, but you can all come in one at a time," Lisa said tightening her grip on Dave's hand.
"Okay, I'm going to go first," Beth shut the door behind her, "I know you don't have much time left and everybody else out there wants to say something so I'll make it quick. Lisa, you were always my best friend and basically my sister. I'm going to miss you so much." She ran over and hugged Lisa
"Oh Bethy," Lisa said stroking Beth's hair softly, "you're going to be okay."
Beth pulled away slowly, "I'll go get the next person." She walked out the door and Mr. James soon came in.
He walked over immediately and hugged Lisa tightly. "I always thought you could solve every problem by throwing money at it but I can't stop this," he cried softly, "you all are my children and I had never even thought about losing one of you. I don't know what I'm going to do without you."
"Mr. James you're like my second father," she said, "but you need to remember that everyone else looks at you like that, stay strong for them."
"I will Lisa," he said walking towards the door, "good bye sweetie."
"Good bye Jimmy," she said weakly waving.
Joe walked in holding a sobbing Max and Matthew under both arms. "They're both out of commision right now, so I'm just going to say good bye for all of us," Joe said softly, his tears matching Max's and Matthew's, "You're probably the most amazing woman we've all ever met. There's going to be a hole in our lives."
"Thank you," Lisa said, visibly moved by his comment, "my happiest moments were spent with all of you."
Lisa and Dave's house
"Lisa!" Dave yelled running out the door after her, "the doctor said to take it slow."
"The debates start in fifteen minutes, I'm going," she said definitely.
"Do you want something bad to happen? Why won't you listen to me?" he questioned, his face filled with worry.
"David, just because I'm pregnant it doesn't mean I should stop working," Lisa continued, "my mother was at her desk when she went into labor with me."
"But your mother's doctor hasn't warned you of the complications that can arise if you don't slow down, come inside, I can get Matthew to cover it," he pleaded.
"Dave, I'm going and that fin-," she stopped clutching her stomach.
"Oh my God!" he ran towards her, "What's wrong?"
"It's coming," she screamed in agony.
"Let's go then," he helped her towards the car.
Lisa face had grown pale and her breath had become more labored, "Dave, I think it's time for me to say good-bye."
"This can't be happening," he said, raising his voice, "I won't let this happen."
"Dave, I don't want to spend my last moments listening to you yell," she said softly, "please, just hold my hand."
"Lisa," Dave pushed his tear stained face into her shoulder, "please don't leave me alone."
"I'll watch over you and little Pearl and you both have one of the largest extended families out there," she said, kissing the top of his head, "I love you."
He looked up and kissed her softly on the lips, "You just need to look into my eyes to see how much I love you."
"Good bye Dave," she said softly before closing her eyes for a final time.
"Lisa," he whispered, laying his head on her lap, "I don't know what I'm going to do without you." He just sat there for what seemed like hours to him, streams of tears falling silently out of his eyes. But he stood up and after saying a final silent good-bye, turned out the light switch and left the room. He started towards the exit but instead walked towards the nursery. Dave pressed his face to the glass and stared down at Pearl's little bassinet. "I'll take good care of you little one," he said softly, before walking slowly down the hospital hallway approaching the lobby. His eyes red and his cheeks stained with tears when his staff finally caught sight of him.
Beth ran up to hug him, but Dave brushed her off continuing towards the exit. "Dave, wait!" she called out. Dave turned around before collapsing in a sobbing heap on the floor. She ran over and embraced him. "We're going to get through this, Pearl needs a family," she tried to comfort him.
"But I need my wife," he said dejectedly, "I need my soulmate."
"I know, Dave, I know," she whispered, holding him tighter.
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