Briefly watching the scene in front of me unfold I walk over to my nephew, " Hey buddy, why don't you come with me and Andrew." I say leading him out the front door, Andrew following quietly behind. " Do you mind taking him back to your place for the night or at least until I figure out what's going on in there." I ask Andrew as he takes the lead going towards his truck. " Only if you promise to call and let me know what's going on when you find out." He replies helping Jared up into the seat and buckling him in. " If it isn't too late I'll call you tonight if it is ill wait til morning'" I reply looking in at my nephew who is solemnly staring out the windshield. " I don't care how late it is but I'd like to know tonight." He replies making me look over at him. " alright , tonight it is. But I better get in there if we expect any answer from those three." I tell him looking back at the house. "Yeah probably. I'll let you get back then. I'll talk to you soon." He nods looking down at me. " Yeah, talk to you soon. Goodnight Andy. Goodnight Jared." I reply then yell into the truck.
Heading into the house I am hit with a sense of dread, like maybe I should've went with Andrew and Jared but I tough it out and open the door. The yelling still continues only a decibel higher than before. " Hey!" I yell non to quietly. The yelling ceases and my parents and sister turn to me. " Will someone please tell me what all the fussin and hollerin is about." I demand looking between the three. " Well?" I asks again, getting a little more irritated about being kept in the dark. " You need to talk some sense into that sister of yours before she does something she'll regret." My daddy replies giving Lexi a pointed look. "Daddy, I told you , I know what I'm doin." Lexi insists. " No. No you don't. Goin back to that man will be the death of you. You know what happened before when you were with em." He interrupts her. " Whoa, what is goin On? Who are you goin back to?" I ask more confused than ever. " That no good Billy Elbett. That boy your sister dated back in high school and he's also Jared father." My daddy spits out. " What happened with him that was so bad?" I ask already afraid of the answer. " He beat Lexi and threatened to kill her and Jared if she didn't abort him." He replies and look of anguish clear across his face. " Make her see reason. Convince her that goin back would be bad." He adds leaving the room, my mama following behind him giving me a sympathetic look. "Lex?" I start, concern lacing my voice. " Save it All I, I'm going back to him. Jared and I both. He's changed,he isn't the same as he was then. He wants us to be a family. We're moving in with him next week and we're gettin married." She replies grabbing her bag and pushing past me. Shocked , I stand there, overwhelmed by the feeling of anger, concern, and fear. Once her car is out of the driveway I head inside to get my phone and then make my way down to the barn. Dialing the number I knew by heart I listened as it continuously rings before the answering machine picks up. " Hey Andrew, it's me. Ali. I was calling to let you know about the situation. I don't want to say it over the phone so call me back and I'll come over and let you know." I say leaving a message over the machine then.
Half an hour later my phone begins to ring, looking down at the screen I see that it is Andrew returning my call so I quickly answer it. " Hey, sorry I didn't pick up before. Jared was having trouble sleeping so I sat with him until he finally drifted off. You want to come over now." Andrew says almost immediately. " yeah that would be great. I'll see you in maybe half an hour." I reply. After hanging up with him I head inside and grab my keys and bag locking up as I leave the house.
OK so maybe my idea to invite her over wasn't the best way to help keep myself from getting too involved in her life again. The looks on her and Jared's faces was enough to tear at my heart and as hurt as she had made me I still can't stand the thought of anything but a smile on her face. My plans of keeping her at arms length went down the drain just days after her arrival, I am still not sure if this affect she has on me is a good or bad thing. After sitting with Jared to get him to sleep and listening to the confusion and anguish in hers I know that whatever is going on with her family isn't good. Thinking over the list of possibilities that could be the problem, I get the tea ready for her arrival, when we were younger if something was wrong she opted for hot tea. Just as it is coming to a hard boil I hear a car pull up my driveway. Stepping out onto the front porch I can just make out Allison's car and her shadow as she steps out of the car. Walking down the steps I meet her halfway and walk back up the stairs beside her. Going inside I lead her to the kitchen where I pour us both a steaming cup of tea and take a seat across the table from her. " Alright, so what happened back there?" I ask watching her facial expressions. " Did you know that Billy Elbett is Jared's father?" She asks looking down into her cup. " I had my suspicions, why?" I ask her curious as to what he had to do with the situation. " Did you also know that he abused and threatened Lexi?" She countered looking me in the face. " That I did know. I caught him a few times and had to wrestle him off her. He put her in the hospital several times." I admit honestly. Shock crosses her face as I admit to that one the she asks, " Did you know that she and Jared are moving in with him and that she says they're getting married next month?" " That I didn't know. If i did I would've gone after him the moment I found out. I promised your parents that I wouldn't allow him to get close to either of them." I tell her, angry that I hadn't already known. " Andrew, she isn't your responsibility. How were you suppose to know? Besides you have your own things to deal with." She says reaching her hand out. " How's Jared doing?" She asks when I don't reply. " He was shaken up. Couldn't get the poor guy to rest so I went in there and sat awhile. He says he doesn't want to go back. At first I didn't know what he meant, but now I do." I tell her honestly, then push my chair back so I can get up and move around. Without thinking I turn to face her, " Do you want to stay here tonight? It's late and I don't want you driving when it's this dark out." I tell her. " Sure, that would be nice. I don't think I would get much sleep at home anyways." She says shrugging her shoulders.
" Andrew?" Allison asks as I lead her into the living room. " Yeah?" I ask moving a pillow from the corner then take a seat. " Is this the house that you bought when we were planning to get married?" She asks suddenly. " It is. I added to it after I bought it. Had big plans for the baby's room and then everything happened. I almost had it all set up. Just needed the paint and putting the furniture together." I tell her honestly. " And the room, is it still?" she starts then stops. " Is it still there? Yes. It is. I couldn't part with the room or any of the items I bought so it's all still there." I tell her looking over to the unlit fireplace. " Can I see it?" She asks quietly almost where I can't hear her. " If you want to. it's not as hard going in there now. I still think that maybe one it could come of use but hasn't happened yet." I reply standing and reaching down to pull her up. Leading her down the hall I take her almost to the end of the hallway, across from the master bedroom then I open up the door. Flipping on the switch I step inside,everything is still where it was four years ago when I got the call to rush to the ER. The crib, still in its box in the corner next to the window. The rocker across the room in the corner also. A few toys and blankets still in their boxes and plastic stacked neatly in the opened closet, and the dresser, full of all types of baby clothes up against the middle of the wall. " It's beautiful. Must have taken you a while to do all this" she replies running her hand over the dresser top. " Thanks. It did but I was as excited as you and I could bear the thought of my child coming into the world and being so unprepared. I knew we wanted to be surprised so I went neutral with everything. I was going to show you as soon as I finished but." I start unable to finish the sentence. " But we lost her." She replies slipping her hand in mine. " Yeah. Then, here I was knowing I could've had a beautiful baby girl. I kept asking myself what I could've done to make you more relaxed, how could I have helped prevent this. Maybe I could've done more to help you and she would still be here. Then I lost you too. I kept asking that same set of question over and over. Now I know there was nothing that could've prevented it. That it still would've happened even if we did everything different." I whisper lowly. " You're right. There was nothing that could be done. I asked myself that same stuff everyday, sometimes I still do. It's why I came back. I wanted to apologize to you. I wanted you to know that I finally realized that you were hurt just as much, if not more. I also wanted to ask for your forgiveness. To ask if you would give us a second chance, if not together in a relationship then as friends. I miss you.. A lot." She says looking up into my eyes. " Alli, I told you there is nothing to apologize for. If you want forgiveness,I'll forgive you. As for a second chance, I really want to. We can see how it goes and if it doesn't work out then we can be friends." I tell her pulling her towards the rocker. Taking a seat I pull her into my lap and rub my fingers through her hair, " You know, even after all that has gone on I never stopped loving you. I kept hoping you would come back and we could try again but you never did. Now you're back and I don't know if I'll be able to let you go again. Three times would be just too much." I whisper kissing her head. " I never stopped loving you either. I wanted to come home, back to you but I needed to heal first. I don't think I could leave you again. You're right that would just be too much." She replies back, her eyes slowly drifting closed.
Carrying her to bed I lay her down and stare down at her. Turning to leave I hear her stir, " Andrew? Where are you going?" She asks rubbing her eyes. " To bed, I'll see you in the morning." I tell her my hand on the knob. " Don't go.I want you to stay with me." She says her voice low. Hesitating I look to the hall then back at her then slowly close the door back and lay beside her. Easily she turns over and looks at me, " I missed you." she says her eyes slowly closing, I missed you too Alli." I whisper closing my own.