~ Chapter Thirty-Four ~
They pulled up at a popular shopping center a little while later. Excitement zinged through his nerve-endings. It wasn’t normal, and he knew it, but he’d never been shopping for a baby before.
He turned off the engine and got out. On the other side, he opened Arianna’s door and smiled down at her. “I’ll get the baby.”
“She nodded. “Okay.”
Her excitement was almost as palpable as his.
Mary Jo and his mom had made fast friends and rushed ahead together.
“Is it exciting to go shopping because you never imagined you would, or just because it’s shopping?”
She stood behind him as he pulled the car seat from its base and shoved the plastic handle over one arm.
“I’m excited because I’m going to get things for Chance I thought he’d never have. You’re such a wonderful husband, Justin. Thank you so much.” She leaned into him and squeezed his unused arm.
Her warm words oozed through his body as surely as the heat from her hand on his arm. Affirmation of his decision to marry her spread through him anew. She was the one.
He stopped and pecked her on the cheek. “No, thank you for giving me the honor.”
Her face turned red and he smiled.
They walked into the store, her hand still on his arm.
He had trouble adjusting the car seat onto the cart, but got the job done once he moved aside and let her small hands fasten the safety belt around the proper part of the car seat.
She smiled up at him. “That was a little difficult, but we’re ready.”
They walked into the main part of the store and she stopped him by squeezing bony fingers around his arm. “How much can I spend, Justin?”
Her voice was full of excitement and he laughed. “Just start picking stuff out and I’ll tell you when we get close to our budget.”
She let out a squeal and Chance responded in kind. Justin reached down and pushed a tiny pacier into his mouth. He quieted immediately. Tenderness rose within him, almost choking his next words. “He is so precious.”
She nodded. “Yes he is. I just hope he doesn’t turn out like ‘the Monster.’”
And the mood was broken.
“He won’t, Arianna. You have to believe that.”
She turned and began walking down the baby aisle, throwing over her shoulder, “I hope not.”
Justin watched her go. “Me too.”
Two hours later and three hundred dollars shorter, they headed to the car with their purchases.
Mary Jo and Justin’s mom settled into the back seat.
“Are we stopping for dinner, Justin?” His mom asked.
He nodded. “We can. Where do you want to go?”
His mom shrugged. “That’s up to you and Arianna. We’re just along for the ride.”
“Let’s go to the steakhouse then,” He suggested.
“I love steak,” Arianna chimed. “It’s been so long since I had it.”
“It’s settled then. You’ll have it today.”
The taste of blood was metallic in Adam’s mouth, but he made himself swallow. There wasn’t much time.
He sat up on the gurney, rubbing his ankles. He’d forced the good doctor to release him. He was so brilliant. He laughed at the horrified scream he’d head-butted away…after he bit her nose off, that is. In his mind’s eye he remembered how he’d spit it across the floor.
But now, there was something most important to attend to.
He hopped down, stepping over the motionless body of his former therapist.
He moved with stealth through the outer door of the hospital, keys in hand.
He was pretty sure she drove a nice car. Probably a Beemer.
In the parking lot, he turned in a circle while pressing the red button on the key fob in his hand.
Noise blared and headlights went crazy.
His laugh was triumphant. A black Beemer, of course.
He smiled and whistled as he got in and started the car. It purred like a kitten.
He drove away, Justin’s apartment on his mind.