I am working on a piece of artwork for this, but in the meantime I hope you all enjoy the chapter... Comments welcome. Yes I am working on a sequel but so far haven't gotten too far with it.
Something else that's quite interesting is that I wrote this in 2006 in November, when I was just getting into a relationship with somebody at Uni. Now, typing it up onto my computer some 3 years later, I am actually engaged to that person and almost cried while writing this =D (You'll see why later!)
John returned to the bedroom five minutes later, just as Elizabeth was leaving the bathroom.
“Jeez,” he exhaled loudly, falling face-first onto the bed. “What a day.”
When he had lain for several seconds and there were no signs of a second body beside him, he turned onto his back to look at Elizabeth.
She was standing at the end of the bed, hands clasped at her stomach, looking as though something was consuming her inside. An amalgam of worry and curiosity caused John to sit up straight and move closer towards her.
She said nothing but continued to look at him, driving a horrible worry into his heart.
“Elizabeth?” he re-tried, reaching a hand out to cover hers. “What is it?”
Her response, when it finally came, resulted in a simultaneous “What?” and “Are you serious?” from John.
Whatever worries or cares John may have had of late were quickly pushed out of his mind on hearing Elizabeth’s words. The two remained perfectly still in their positions for quite some time before John’s words became sensible ones.
“You’re...pregnant?” he stammered. “I don’t get...how that’s possible...”
The corresponding look which he received from the woman in front of him made him rethink his words. “Okay, I get how it’s possible,” he corrected himself. “I just don’t get how...”
“...it’s possible?” Elizabeth suggested, with John answering instantly.
“Yes! ... I mean we were careful, weren’t we?”
Elizabeth responded in a tone which John had only heard her use on very few occasions; a tone of absolute, brutal disappointment.
“You’re not happy...”
Her words – more of a statement than a question – temporarily removed John from his state of shock.
“Oh, no! I am!” he assured her, giving her hands a tight squeeze. “Truthfully, I think it’s fantastic...” A huge grin suddenly cut through his features, from a sheer delight which he was helpless to resist. Elizabeth smiled too and he kneeled up on the bed and pulled her towards him.
Her laugh, as he did so, was like music to his ears. He hugged her tighter, feeling her rest her head on his shoulder.
“I’m glad...” she sighed into his neck. “I was worried.”
“About what?” he asked, smoothing her hair with his fingertips.
“That you wouldn’t want this,” she replied after a few moments, causing John to pull backwards and look her in the eye. She looked down as he did so, but he caught her by the chin and lifted her head.
“Why wouldn’t I want this?”
The fact that she had even voiced this worry hurt John more than he would care to admit, but he didn’t let it show; or tried not to, at least. Over the years through, the woman he wouldn’t hesitate to class as his soul mate had become extremely good at reading both anything and everything he was feeling.
“I just...” She shook her head and re-tried. “...you know how I feel about the situation between you and Megan. You are great with her, but you know I’ve always felt you take on too much responsibility.” He made to speak but she cut him off. “I just feel like it could be worse...with another child you weren’t happy about in the first place...”
The words hurt John more than she would ever know. He knew that there was always a lingering guilt at the back of her mind over the fact that he took so much participation in Megan’s upbringing. But, to him, the little girl and her mother were everything.
Maybe he didn’t tell Elizabeth that enough, but he would never want her to think otherwise. They were his world – the reason he smiled when he woke up every morning. It hit him then; the thought that having another child with Elizabeth would surpass all the happiness he ever thought he’d experience. No matter what may happen – however complicated a challenge it may prove to be – he knew this much was true.
He just didn’t know how to tell Elizabeth.
Jolted from his thoughts by her hand on his cheek, John’s upset worsened when he heard the tranquil compassion in her voice.
“Hey...” she began, in a voice so gentle it made him love her all the more. “...tell me what you’re thinking...”
“I’m thinking...a million and one things...”
She laughed softly.
“Roughly speaking,” he went on, “I feel...I’m ready for this, more ready than I’ve ever been.” Since he’d began, John realised he might as well go on. “I’ve grown up these past few years, Elizabeth. I love my job, I have great friends, I love Megan like she’s my own...and I know I don’t say it enough,” he felt his cheeks redden slightly, “but I love you, too.”
His eyes wandered in embarrassment and he missed Elizabeth’s smile. “...just...don’t tell Rodney I said he was a great friend...” John added, causing Elizabeth to kiss him lightly on the lips. When she pulled back, John lifted his eyes from her lips to her eyes, and a grin broke across her face.
“We’re going to have a baby!” she laughed. John didn’t laugh himself, instead, he pulled her into his body and held her close for a long time.
It was a few minutes before he next spoke.
“Marry me, Elizabeth.”
As the shocked woman moved backwards to look him in the eye, John stepped off of the bed onto the floor, kneeling down on one knee. While Elizabeth stared at him silently, mouth slightly agape, John remembered something.
He let go of her hand momentarily, rummaged in the drawer at his bedside and removed something before returning to his original position. By this point, all the tension in the room had disappeared and a most happy of atmospheres had fallen in its place.
“Will you marry me?” John repeated, his voice a lot stronger now. Elizabeth smiled at this, and moved down to his height. She took her face between his hands and looked into his eyes for a few seconds then rested her forehead against his. Their noses were touching and their mouths were mere inches from one another’s.
For a minute, a horrible feeling dawned upon John. What if she said no? In the heat of the moment, when he’d wanted nothing more than to make this woman his, the thought hadn’t even crossed his mind. But now, he realised, it was a likely outcome.
As he contemplated the idea, it hit him that this was possibly one of the most nerve-wracking experiences he had found himself in. Without thinking, he added, “Please?”
Elizabeth Weir bit her bottom lip ever so slightly, and then replied.
“Yes. Of course I will!”
Not even dwelling on the dangerous level of euphoria he was feeling, John expelled a previously baited breath and then placed a ring on her third finger. She looked down at the small, silver diamond-encrusted treasure and brought her hand closer for a better look.
“John, it’s beautiful,” she gasped, the sparkles from the jewels reflecting in her eyes.
A small, squeaky voice spoke then, which interrupted the couple.
They both turned to face the door, where Megan Weir stood in an Atlantis t-shirt which covered her entire body – neck to toes. Her hair was completely unkempt and her eyes looked tired. She walked slowly into the room.
“I had a bad dream,” she elaborated.
“You did?” John said, giving Elizabeth a little smile and then watching as the little girl made her way into the very centre of their bed.
“Mmm hmm, it was about snakes and spiders. They were big and coming in their ships to eat me with big guns and forks.”
Elizabeth made her own way around to her side of the bed and slipped under the covers next to Megan, who snuggled close. John noticed Elizabeth take an admiring glance at the ring on her finger as she pulled her daughter close. It made him feel proud.
Seeing Megan’s tired eyes closing over as she was comforted, John took the opportunity to head towards the bathroom to get himself ready for bed. He had just reached the door when a small voice behind him stopped him dead in his tracks.
He turned to see both his girls looking at him, Megan with her arms outstretched towards him, Elizabeth wearing the warmest smile John had seen from her yet.
“I don’t think she wants you to leave.”
On her mother’s words, Megan shook her head and wiggled her outstretched fingers, making him laugh. Her actions were both funny and adorable, though John laughed mainly to hide the overwhelming feeling inside.
In three years, Megan had never once referred to him by this title, and in those three years he had never felt quite as emotional as he did now.
Just as he had once realised for her mother, it was that precise moment which defined the true extent of his love for one Megan Weir. Though he may never have consciously realised it before, that was the point when John realised that he wouldn’t want to love without this child and her mother in his life.
Should they go, he would fight day and night to get them back, or would gladly die trying.
“Yeah,” he finally answered, “so it seems...”
So it was decided.
And without changing, without washing his face, brushing his teeth or even taking off his jacket, John Shepherd simply removed his boots and climbed into the bed at Megan’s other side.
As she snuggled into him, and as he draped his arm over his fiancé’s shoulder – fingers just reaching the tip of her stomach – John smiled and closed his eyes.
He was hot, felt dirty and was uncomfortable in his military attire, but he didn’t care. He didn’t need to change right now; there would be time for that later.
Right now, there was a pregnant woman to care for, a wedding to plan and, most importantly, a little girl to comfort.
After all, those spiders and snakes wouldn’t take care of themselves...