Angie was speechless! Hearing that her daughter had been found, alive and well and that she wasn’t far from them brought her heart up from the pits of her stomach and back into its rightful place. “Oh my god,” she kept whispering as Jesse held her and rocked her back and forth. “Oh my god.”
Clutching onto his wife as if she would fade away, Jesse buried his face into her neck and cried. Cried for what happened then and now, cried for what could have happened and cried for what was about to happen. They were about to see their daughter. The love of their life and joy of their hearts.
While the eldest Hubbard’s embraced each other and cried, the children embraced, cheered and cried. “She’s coming home,” Cass said as she and her big brother embraced for what seemed like forever.
“Yes she is,” he whispered. He had been the person to receive the call and it all still felt unbelievable to him. All too real.
“Jesse, Angie,” Brot said, carefully coming into the room so he would not startle anyone.
Jesse raised his head and looked toward the young man they adopted into their family. “What’s going on Brot?” Jesse asked, standing up but never leaving his wife’s side.
“We’re wondering about the method you want us to take concerning Ellie.”
“What do you mean?” Angie panicked. “What does he mean by method? Jesse, I thought you said she was okay? I thought she was alive and that she was waiting on us? Jesse, what’s going on?”
The family and friends looked toward Jesse and then back at Brot with a questioning look. What the hell did he mean what method they were going to take? What had happened?!
Asking the question that was going through everybody’s mind, Jesse began to rotate his neck and shoulder. “What’s going on Brot?”
Brot instantly began to shake. The look Jesse was giving him made him almost wish he wasn’t alive and he didn’t even know why. He only meant to ask a simple question and… “Well, because of the state Mrs. Hubbard is in Dr. Martin said she’s not allowed to leave and I just assumed that—“
Tad let out a shaky breath and chuckled. “Brot, we’re going to need you to choose a better way of saying what you just said,” Tad replied at the same time Angie and Jesse embraced yet again. And it was understandable.
“It’s okay baby,” Jesse whispered, holding his wife. “It’s okay.”
When it finally hit Brot the way he sounded when he first came in, he let out a shaky breath of his own and gulped. “I’m sorry… Guys, really I am. I didn’t mean it to come out that way,” he rambled before looking to Mrs. Hubbard who was visibly shaken. “Mrs. Hubbard I am so sorry. I’m sorry.”
Angie raised her hand and shook her head. “No, I shouldn’t have reacted in that way I should have… I should have asked and… I’m sorry,” she sighed. “Continue Brot,” Angie mumbled.
“Well… We know how much you guys are ready to get your baby back and we were just wondering what method we should go with to get you all back together. Seeing as Dr. Martin said you are not allowed to leave and you’re still under the weather we—“
“I’m fine,” she said once the fear wore off. “I’m fine. I can walk, I can run, baby I’m fine,” she rambled.
“Jake, said you’re not allowed to leave yet,” Frankie interjected.
“I’m a doctor and the Chief of this hospital and if I say that’s I’m fine… I’m just that. I’m fine!”
“Jesse, I need my baby. Please!” She begged. “Don’t keep me away from my child.”
“I’m not doing that,” he promised, sitting back down on the edge of the bed and taking her hands. “I wouldn’t dare do that… I just think that you should stay here. I think you should let me get her and bring her home. I don’t want you doing anything else but relaxing at this moment.”
Angie shook her head. “No, Jesse I can’t relax until I have my baby. Jesse, please don’t keep me from my baby any longer… I can’t stand it anymore!”
“Angie,” Jesse sighed, dropping his head. “Don’t be so stubborn this time. Please?”
Angie’s body jerked with emotions and her head went from side to side as tears cascaded down her face. Jesse wrapped his arms around her and sighed. He knew what this meant for Angie and without a heartbeat wouldn’t hesitate to get her in the truck and take her, but because of the condition she was in he also had to think about her health. What if when they got her out the door there was a setback? Jesse would be beside himself.
Marcus stood vigilant over Ellie as Dr. Williams checked her vitals. “Like I told you, she’s fine. She’s nearly perfect,” she reassured him for the 100th time since they ended the call with Mr. Hubbard.
“Are you sure?”
“How about you have a seat and do what she’s doing,” she hinted.
Marcus looked down at Ellie and then back up at the doctor with a raised eyebrow. “She’s sleeping,” he said.
“Exactly,” she teased. “Look, sweetie she’s fine and if anything changes, which I know it won’t, you will be the first person I call on. Okay?”
“I just don’t want anything to happen before her parents get here,” he sighed, sitting in the rocking chair in the corner of the private nursery. After having a chat with Chief of the Hospital, the guy made some arrangements and had Ellie moved to a private area. Out of sight from the press that was now circling the place due the running of the mystery guy, they soon found out was Kevin Starks.
“Nothing’s going to happen.”
Both adults looked towards the door. Marcus went to the door and carefully opened it and when his eyes connected with a pair of very familiar ones he smiled. “You made it.”
“Like anybody could keep me from my baby girl,” Angie said with a smile as Jesse stood behind the wheelchair he insisted she use. “Where is she?”
“Right this way,” he said, opening the door further and stepping to the side to allow them access.
“Who else is here?” Angie asked, seeing a shadow but not able to make it out.
After closing the door, Marcus went over the group and made introductions. “Mrs. Hubbard, Chief, this is Dr. Williams… She was placed on your daughter’s case and has been here ever since. Dr. Williams, this is Chief Hubbard and Dr. Angela Hubbard.”
“Thank you,” Angie said, squeezing the young lady’s hand. “Thank you so much. I don’t know how I can ever repay you.”
“It’s no need,” Dr. Williams assured.
“Is that my peanut?” Angie asked, leaning to the side and fixing her eyes on something else. Still being greeted with only a shadow or silhouette.
Dr. Williams looked over her shoulder and chuckled. “Yes ma’am and I believe she knows you’re here,” she replied, moving out of the way so the family could go over to her side.
The instant Jesse rolled her to where Ellie laid and locked the wheels, Angie reached out and pulled herself up. Jesse quickly grabbed her waist and held her steady. “Slow Angela,” he warned, though he too was ready to knock everything over except his wife just to see his baby girl.
Waving off her husband’s warning, she slowly reached her right hand down and over a small head that was full of hair. “Ohhhh,” she cooed. “Baby?” she asked, doing it again. “It’s me… It’s us… Mommy and daddy,” she whispered soon trailing her hand down gently and connecting with her flailing arms and then going further to discover her little legs were doing the exact same thing.
To say Ellie Hubbard was excited would have been an understatement! The girl was ecstatic! She was over the moon! She’d gone from a familiar place, to an unfamiliar and uncomfortable situation and back to a place of love, wanting. What more could anybody especially an almost eleven day old baby asks for? Guess her parents were a lot better.
“Can I pick her up?” Angie asked, already making a move to slide her hands under her.
“Angie, baby be careful,” Jesse said also sliding his hands under his wife’s and helping her.
Angie nodded and allowed Jesse to help her cuddle their baby. Ellie instantly started nuzzling her small head against her mother’s chest and making the cutest little noises ever. It took all of Angie’s strength to not double over and cry out her joy of finally getting this moment. Though she had never been the one to give up hope so quickly, it seemed that after the 5th day she had none. There had been no call asking for a ransom… To be honest there had been nothing showing signs of them ever getting their little girl back.
Jesse stood behind his wife holding her by the waist and watching the whole thing. “It’s really her,” he sighed and then chuckled, trying to hold back tears. He stared down at his daughter and just took in a huge swig of her beauty. She looked so much like her mother it was scary, but in a relieving way. She had some of his features, but there was no denying that this was definitely Angie’s child. “Our girl.”
“Yes,” Angie choked out, bringing the baby up to her lips and kissing her tenderly on the forehead, then cheeks. “It’s her… Our girl.”
Feeling that the parents needed some time with their little one, Dr. Williams and Officer Marcus quietly excused themselves from the room. The minute they stepped into the waiting room they were being bombarded with questions from the oldest Hubbard children.
“Is she okay?”
“Where was she?”
“Who found her?”
Marcus chuckled. “Relax, she’s fine. A little homesick but otherwise she’s perfect.”
“Can we go in?” Cassandra asked.
Jacob eased his arm around his daughter’s shoulder. “I think maybe we should let Angie and Jesse have some time with her first.”
Cass nodded. “Right. Right. I’m just… I’m just happy! She’s home. She’s really home!”
“Baby, we never forgot you. Never. We always loved you and prayed for you to return to us. Your daddy never stopped looking. Never,” she promised. “Even when mommy stopped feeling hope, daddy never let her forget… Daddy never let her give up. Never.”
Tears neither parent thought they had left began to unwillingly fall. Jesse buried his face into the nape of Angie’s neck while she clutched onto their baby girl and gently rested her forehead against her smaller one. Words soon escaped their minds as none of them really held a candle to what this really felt deep within their hearts.
11 days! They went 11days without their baby girl and not only that but Jesse could have lost his wife. Hell they could have lost him if he hadn’t taken the proper action when battling with Starks. Though it was among many of the things he didn’t want to cross his mind, he couldn’t stop it. “I love you,” Jesse whispered, turning his wife around and holding her shoulders. “I love you both so much and I promise I’m going to spend the rest of my days showing you, telling you. Doing whatever I have to do so you will know,” he vowed. “I’m going to make this all up to you. I swear!”
“For what?” Angie asked. “Jesse, making up for what? You did nothing wrong. Kevin did, not you!”
“But Angela I—“
“Shhh,” Angie whispered, shaking her head and closing her eyes. “You did nothing wrong and trust me… Kevin will pay. I won’t fight you on pressing charges, because that’s the exact thing I want to do. I want him to pay for this. All of this,” she fussed, still in the dark about the fact that not only did Kevin paid for his dirt, but that Jesse was the one to make it happen. “Right now let’s just… have this moment. Let’s just breathe and thank god for this miracle. This blessing!”
Jesse stared down at his wife, his heart lifted because of the scene, the feeling of wholeness of just being here with her and their little miracle. His family was whole again. But why was his heart also heavy with guilt? Because I killed, he thought, moving his gaze from Angie and to their daughter who was staring back up at him. She had the most innocent look in her eyes and yet it still it didn’t make Jesse feel any let guilty. It was for my family, he said to himself.