After returning home from their four day weekend away the newly engaged couple settled into a comfortable routine.
Every day they would have their morning coffee together, then leave for work. Together.
They had become a good team, like clockwork.
Once done at the law firm they would often go out to eat or cook together at home.
After dinner, they’d have an evening coffee with TV, curled up on the couch, before turning in together. All alcohol had been removed as a precaution.
They rarely ever deviated from their cherished routine, usually only if one or both of them visited with family or friends, or if Nick had some late night client meeting with the two name partners, his bosses.
On the weekends they would often meet up with Ethan and Amy and/or Cole and Ava, to hang out, go out to eat, catch a movie or go dancing.
Then came the weddings. Preparations and the events itself turned everybody’s life upside down for a while.
Cole and Ava tied the knot first, just weeks later Ethan and Amy.
Nick and Esmée were part of the bridal party for Ethan and Amy.
Nick and Ezzy still had not even thought about a wedding date yet. Ezzy was in no rush and Nick didn’t feel like pressing the issue. Yet.
One Friday night, Nick was in the kitchen, preparing the coffee for the young couple’s evening routine after dinner, while Ezzy took a shower and changed into her sleepwear in the bathroom.
He was about to fill both cups and walk them over to the living room when he heard a muffled panicked scream from the bathroom.
He dropped everything and in seconds was knocking on the door.
“Ezzy, you okay!?”
All he heard was muffled sounds.
“Are you hurt?! Fuck it, I am coming in!”
He burst into the room and found his fiancée by the sink, visibly fine and unharmed, but visibly distraught.
“Ez, what’s wrong? What hurts?! Do I need to take you to a hospital?”
This was when he noticed the item in her hand, looked at it as she was staring at it again and again.
It took him a minute to register, then he smiled, unable to feel a great sense of relief and excitement.
“Ez .. oh baby, shhhh .. we got this…. shhhhh. This is good news! Great even. Relax!”
He pulled her into an embrace and held her kissing her until she calmed down.
An hour or so later, sitting on the couch with a new round of fresh coffee, she had finally stopped crying.
“I cannot believe this.”
“Not now. I am not ready. We are not ready. How? We did everything to prevent this! How?! I don’t get it!”
“EZZY! Chill, baby!”
“We are NOT ready!”
“Sure we are. Relax! Shit like this happens. We totally got this.”
“How? There is not even room here… and work … how is that supposed to work out?”
“Well, my best friend and my lovely fiancée’s family happen to be architects. I am sure we can either fix this place up as needed or move.”
“You’d move out of this awesome penthouse for … that?”
“That? Yeah I would move to the moon for that, if by that you mean a baby with the love of my life!”
“OMG – don’t say it like that. Makes it too real. I need to go lay down. Will you hold me?”
They went to the bedroom, but Nick knew her too well to know sleep was still not in their immediate future.
“Nick? You won’t leave me, will you?!”
“What an idiotic question! Come on, girl, you know me better than that! Of course not, baby! I’ll be there every step of the way, as much as you’ll let me.”
“Well, studies show that within the first trimester ….hmph.”
“NONE of that. We are a young couple expecting their first child. And that is all we are going to think about. Happy thoughts. None of that worry shit. No scary statistics.”
“We are not even married.”
“That can be easily fixed. Either before or after the birth. I mean, I don’t know how far along we are but since you are still not showing, I assume we have at least 7 months or more to plan.”
“Can we keep this to ourselves for a while, please? At least until we are 100% sure this is happening and so I can fully wrap my head around it?”
“You got it, momma!”
Nick kept his word, told no one, even though it was obvious it was always on his mind. One night at work during a celebration he just took Ezzy’s glass of champagne from her.
“You’re not supposed to drink!” she whispered worried.
“Neither are you!” he whispered back as he carelessly placed her glass on some table.
One evening, by now already worried sick, Esmée hung up the phone.
This time she did not leave a voicemail on Nicholas’ phone.
She had already left three already.
Trying hard not to panic, but there was a distinct bad aftertaste in her mouth. Something wasn’t right. It was way too late, if Nick would have decided to stay somewhere else overnight, he would have called or texted.
She knew it would be later than normal for him today, as he had to join his two bosses for a guys’ night out with clients. Esmée had been home for hours now and still not a peep from him.
Looking at her phone, wondering what to do, she started dialing.
It was no surprise that none of their friends had heard from him, including Ethan.
The law firm was closed and no lights on anymore.
She had gone there looking for him wondering if the partners had stuck him with some last minute urgent project and maybe he didn’t hear the phone or the battery had died.
But even his office was unoccupied and her footsteps echoed eerily through the emptiness.
Now she was back home in his penthouse, staring at her phone for a while, then sighed
“Oh what the hell…”
Nobody picked up, so she left a voicemail for Mrs. Gray.
When even an hour later no call was returned she tried again and again, only stopping to redial.
Finally an answer.
“No, this is Mr. Gray, Esmée. Forrest has been in a terrible accident we are in the ICU at …”
Ezzy heard a struggle and a female voice that had obviously been crying a lot bark at the man
“Why are you telling her that?!”
The call was disconnected.
Ezzy was already out the door and on her way. Accident?! Hospital?! That possibility had crossed her mind but she had pushed it far away. Couldn’t be. Mustn’t be.
Not half an hour later she arrived at the large hospital complex, and was running down a sterile hallway until she saw the familiar couple outside one of the many doors.
“What are YOU doing here?” Mrs. Gray snapped at her right away, her face stained with tears.
“I need to see him!”
“NO! Go away!” she hissed at Ezzy.
“I have to! What is with him?”
“Is there a problem?”a nurse inquired, her attention piqued by the two women arguing.
“She is not supposed to be here!”
“I am his fiancée!”
“So YOU claim!”
Ezzy struggled away and ran into the room before anyone could stop her, straight to his bedside.
“Nick! Baby! Oh no!” Esmée felt as if she were to have a heart attack.
He looked more dead than alive, and felt strange to the touch as she gentle stroked his cheek.
His eyes fluttered open, while she heard his mother argue quietly in the background with some staff and her husband.
“Hey baby …” Ezzy said gently and quietly, as his eyes tried to focus on her, his gaze not reflecting the usual loving recognition but filled with unfamiliarity, the way you stare at a stranger.
“Who … are you?” he labored out.
“Even the one moment that you thought was your eternity fades out and is forgotten and dies.”