A/N: Thanks for the awesome reviews! I am sooooo sorry for the super massive time span between updates, especially after that cliffhanger! PLEASE FORGIVE ME!
"I'm fine, I'm fine," she said and ran her hand through her hair. She has bags under her eyes and her skin was so pale. I grabbed her hand, careful of the IV that was in her wrist, and twisted my fingers with hers. She sighed and squeezed my hand.
"Here, drink more," I told her and handed her a cup of water.
"I'm not thirsty," she said quietly.
"I don't care, drink it," I told her. She looked at me with an angry and frustrated look, but took a few sips of the water anyway.
I stood up when the doctor came back into the room.
"So, I ran a couple of blood tests, and your iron level seems to be okay, so you're not anemic. Your blood pressure on the other hand is very high, which is probably the reason you fainted," the doctor said to Melissa.
"I don't understand, I've never had blood pressure problems before," Melissa said.
"Yes, but your body undergoes a lot changes when you're pregnant, blood pressure is just one of many of them," the doctor said. "The good news is that I tested the protein levels in your urine and you don't have preeclampsia," he added.
Melissa just nodded to herself.
"You also seemed to be a little dehydrated, so make sure you're drinking enough,"
"Why do you think this happened?" Melissa asked.
"Well, in my opinion, you may have gestational hypertension, which means this will only last for the remainder of your pregnancy. Most women who develop this during pregnancy do not have symptoms until after 20 weeks though which makes this a strange situation. What were you doing right before you fainted?" the doctor asked.
Melissa looked at me and back at the doctor.
"Uh, well, we had sex, and I took a shower," Melissa said shyly.
"Well, that's more than likely the culprit. Intercourse increases your heart rate and blood pressure as well as other things. Also, if you took a hot shower that could raise your blood pressure as well. I would avoid further intercourse until you see your OBGYN and get further instructions. As for the shower, keep them quick and on the cooler side," he said. "I would schedule an appointment with your OBGYN soon and discuss the situation, and stay off your feet for a few days. It's very important to do that, because if this is gestational hypertension and you don't lower your blood pressure, I'm sure your regular doctor will put you on bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy," the doctor said.
"Okay, we absolutely will," I said to the doctor. "Thank you so much,"
"Of course. Come back and see me if there's an emergency, ok?" he said.
"Yes, definitely," I said.
"Ok, have a nice day folks," he said, grabbing Melissa's chart and leaving the room.
Melissa sighed and closed her eyes. I sat back down and grabbed her hand.
"I told you it wasn't a good idea," I said to her and rubbed her hand with my thumb.
"I know, I know," she mumbled. "This is fucking great," she said. "How am supposed to stay off my feet with my final exam in 4 days?" she asked almost to herself, annoyed.
"It's okay honey, just relax for a few days, take your test, and get back to bed," I said and stroked her cheek.
She just closed her eyes in frustration. When she fell back to sleep, I left the room quickly to grab a cup of coffee. When I heard a familiar voice behind me, I turned around and walked to the nurses' station.
"She was admitted a few hours ago," he said to the nurse, annoyed and impatient.
"Ok sir, let me check," the nurse said back to him.
He sighed, folded, and unfolded his hands.
"Hey, Rob," I said to him as I got to the station.
"Oh hey man, how is Melissa?" he asked.
"She's fine, she's fine. What are you doing here?" I asked him.
He sighed with relief.
"I was just worried. Allie called me and said Melissa was in the hospital and I just got in my car and drove here,"
"Oh wow, you didn't have to. She'll be happy to see you though," I said. "She's sleeping now, but she might have woken up," I told him as we walked back to her room.
I opened the door and we walked into the cool, sterile room. Melissa was awake, and did not notice us walk in because she was on the phone, facing away from the door.
She was crying, talking to her mom.
"Okay," she said quietly to her mother over the phone. "I know," she said.
I walked up to her, put my hand on her shoulder, and rubbed it lightly.
She flinched for a second, not realizing I had been there, and sighed.
"Oh god, you scared me," she said. "I'll call you later mom – bye," she said and hung up.
"What's wrong?" I asked her.
"It's nothing, we'll talk later," I said to him and kissed him quickly. When she saw Rob, her eyebrows lifted and she stood up to hug him.
"Hey! What are you doing here?" she said and put her arms around him.
"Just worried," she said and hugged her back.
She pulled back and kissed his check.
"I missed you," she said.
"I missed you too," he said. "You need to rest," he told her, nodding his head to the bed.
"I've been in that bed for hours," she said.
"I don't care, get back over there," he said, half kidding, as she went back to sit on the bed.
I sat on the foot of her bed and Rob sat in the chair next to it.
"So what did the doctor say?" Rob asked.
"Just to stay off my feet, drink a lot of water, and see the OBGYN," she told him. "And to stop having sex," she added, taking a sip of water.
I laughed to myself, forgetting just how close Rob and Melissa were.
"Well, you have to listen to him, Meliss. No goofing off anymore," he said to her.
"I know," she said and pulled her knees to her chest.
There were a few moments of silence, so quiet you could hear a pin hit the floor.
"What are you doing for Christmas?" Melissa asked Rob.
"Same as every year, we're having the family over, making a big dinner. What about you guys? You shouldn't be traveling," he said.
"I'm not even sure," Melissa said looking at me.
"Well, I had told your family and my family to both come here, but I'm not sure if that's such a good idea anymore," I said.
She had a confused look on her face.
"You told my family to come?"
"Yeah, I wanted to surprise you," I told her and grabbed her hand.
"I love you," she said and kissed my lips quickly. "I would love nothing more than for our families to finally meet, baby," she said.
"I know, it's just going to be hard with you off your feet, and the minimal space in the apartment," I said and laughed. "I mean, if both my parents, Danny, Rachel, Andrew, Mike, Brooke, both your parents, Brian, Jeremy, Nicole, and Caitlyn all come, it will definitely be a tight squeeze," I said to her.
She bit her lip, thought for a moment, and sighed.
"Yeah, I guess you're right," she said.
"Listen, we'll figure something out," I told her and she smiled up at me.
The three of us continued talking for another hour or so until about nine. That's when the nurse told us that visiting hours were over, and as much as I argued with her, she would not let me stay overnight.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 24, 4PM
"Oh my goodness, I'm freaking out," Melissa said, and fanned herself with her hands. She was wearing a bright green dress that flattered her bump very well. To contrast, I was wearing a black pair of slacks and a red button down shirt.
"Why are you freaking out? Everything is going to great. You're lucky I let you out of bed, so just stay calm and relaxed, stressing out will just raise your blood pressure," I told her.
"I know, I'm just nervous something is going to go wrong,"
"What could possibly go wrong? It's Christmas Eve and our families are coming and everyone is going to meet each other, and we're going to have a great time, right?" I asked.
"Yeah, right," she agreed quietly. "My family should be here any minute now," Melissa said looking up at the clock.
"Mine should be here in about a half hour, they ran into traffic," I told her.
Melissa took a deep breath and released it slowly. "Okay, everything's fine. The table is set, the turkey is cooking, the side dishes are done, and we're both dressed. So, all we need to do is stay calm," she said, almost to herself.
"Exactly," I whispered in her ear. She smiled back at me.
She paced around the kitchen for a few minutes, trying to figure out what to do, and finally went into the bedroom to lie down before company got here. I joined her a few minutes later and cuddled up close to her.
We didn't say anything, just lay there with each other. Finally, thoughts of my parents, or my siblings starting seeping into my thoughts.
I realized when Melissa mentioned her on Thanksgiving how much I missed my sister. We haven't spoken in over 3 years now, but things were bad before that. She left the house the day she turned 18, dropped out of highschool, and moved to Hollywood with her boyfriend. I couldn't stop thinking about it for the past few weeks, so I decided to try to contact her. I finally found a phone number for her. After calling and hanging up a few times, I finally reached her voicemail. I left a very short, awkward message, telling her that the whole family was getting together and that we'd all love to see her again. How the family wasn't whole without her, how I missed her especially because of that twin bond we had. I left the message two weeks ago, and never heard back from her. Maybe it was a wrong number. Maybe it was for the best. Maybe she just didn't want anything to do with me, or the rest of the family. Maybe. Who knows?
"Penny for your thoughts?" Melissa asked. I hadn't realized in my daze that she'd been looking at me for a while.
"It's nothing, just random thoughts," I assured her and smiled.
She was going to question me more when we heard a knock on the door. Melissa shot up, fixed her dress around her bump, and straightened her hair out.
"I'll get that," she said, biting her lip and going to the door. I got up also, brushed my shirt down, and went to great Melissa's family in the living/dining room.
"Hello Mrs. Anderson," I said, greeting Melissa's mother first. The last time I had seen her was the day after Thanksgiving, and she almost strangled me that day, so I was cautious to be friendly with her.
"Hi honey," she said, kissing my cheek and hugging me. I hugged her back, surprised by her actions.
"How have you been?" I asked casually.
"I've been okay, how about you?" she asked.
"Pretty good, getting by," I said.
"Oh good," she said. I could tell she was still uncomfortable with the situation, so I didn't bring it up.
I greeted Melissa's father, her brothers, and Nicole.
"Hi Uncle Kevin!" Caitlyn said holding out her arms.
"Hey Kid-O!" I said and lifted her up, resting her weight on my hip.
"Do you like my dress?" she asked.
She was wearing a red velvet dress with white lacing and elegant green flowers.
"You look very beautiful. You should be a model one day," I told her. She giggled, and I put her back down on the floor.
"You look great Meliss," Jeremy said, hugging Melissa and kissing her cheek.
"Thanks, you too," she said and fiddled with a strand of hair.
"How far along are you now?" he asked.
"About 18 weeks, 4 ½ months," she told him.
"Oh wow," he said. "That went fast," he added.
"Yeah, it doesn't feel that way for me. I feel likes it's been forever," she said.
"Why is that?"
"Well, I don't know. I've been told to stay off my feet for a couple of weeks, I had some blood pressure issues last week," she told him.
"Oh my god, are you okay?" he asked.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. I just have to take it easy, and stop stressing out,"
Jeremy laughed. "You not stress out? That's going to be a challenge," he joked.
Melissa laughed also and hit him lightly.
"Oh shut up," she smiled.
Caitlyn was tugging on Melissa's dress, so she picked her up carefully.
"What's wrong sweetheart?" she asked her.
Caitlyn whispered something in her ear, and she blushed and laughed.
"You know honey, I think that is a good question for your mommy and daddy to answer," Melissa said. Jeremy looked at her, confused for a moment.
"I already asked my daddy and he told me that I was too little" she said and made a pouty face.
"Well you have to listen to your daddy, he knows best," Melissa said. The pout on her bottom lip got bigger.
Melissa put her down, as her weight was too much for her to hold anymore. She placed her gently on the floor and pressed her fingers into her lower back, massaging her muscles softly.
"You okay?" I asked her quietly.
"Yeah, just sore," she answered.
We continued to mingle until about 5:30 when we heard another knock on the door. I saw Melissa tense up a little, obviously nervous about our family's meeting.
I opened the door to the whole family, and they walked in with tons and tons of food.
"Oh man, you guys have enough food here to feed an army," I said to them as the filed in.
"Hello Mr. and Mrs. Lucas," Melissa said, greeting my father and mother.
"Hey, I thought we talked about this already, Mrs. Lucas is my mother-in-law, call me Melanie," my mother said. Melissa laughed and hugged her.
"You look great," Melissa told my mother.
"Thank you honey, so do you!" my mother said back to her. "How's my grandbaby doing?" she said leaning down to Melissa's stomach. Melissa blushed and smiled.
"Great," she said and laughed. I smiled at the fact Melissa and my mother were on good terms and getting closer.
"Hey man," Mike said, giving me a one-arm hug.
"Hey, what's up?" I asked him.
"Not much, just exhausted," he said. "I think I told you, I got that job at the law firm, and my boss has got me working crazy long hours every day," he said, rubbing his tired eyes.
"Ah geez, that totally sucks. I'm killing myself looking for a job, the fucking market is so bad that I can't even get a job at the Target down the block," I told him.
"Does Melissa have a job?" Mike asked.
"No, she doesn't. Even if she did, I don't want her working, it's too much stress on her with school and everything else," I told him.
"Good luck with the job hunt, I know how much it sucks," he said.
I went to say something back to him, when my father came behind me a put a hand on my shoulder.
"Hey dad," I said and hugged him.
"How've you been?" he asked.
"Pretty good," I said, answering the question for what seemed like the hundredth time that day.
"That's good, that's good," he said and smiled.
"I uh- couldn't help but overhear your conversation with your brother just now. Son, if you need money, you're mother and I can help you out," he said.
I sighed and shook my head.
"No dad, it's okay. We'll figure something out," I told him.
"Kev, a baby costs a lot more money than you think and with both of you unemployed and owing student loans, I don't know how smoothly you're going to get through it," my father told me.
I looked up at him, then down at the floor.
"We'll see when the time comes," I told him.
"Alright, alright," he said a patted me on the shoulder.
Laughter filled the air after one of my father's famous stories. Everyone had stuffed themselves to capacity, before desert was even on the table. I got up to stretch my legs and start clearing the dishes from the table. I gathered some dishes and silverware and put them in the kitchen sink.
I wasn't really in the Christmas spirit for some reason. In fact, I just felt like going to sleep for the next week. I just wanted it all to be over and done with. I don't know why I couldn't get into it. Today went terrific. Melissa's family and mine mingled fantastically, like they'd known each other for years already. I should be happy. It doesn't make sense. I just can't seem to get Elizabeth off my mind for some reason. I guess I thought that she would just fly all the way to New York from California to freezing-cold Binghamton to have Christmas Eve dinner with the family she hasn't associated with in 3 years. It was absolutely crazy of me to think she would come, but I guess I'd been hoping all night, just to be disappointed.
I leaned over the sink and just tried to shake this funk I was in. A few minutes later, I felt Melissa put her arms around me and lean her head against my back.
"What's wrong baby?" she asked softly.
I turned around to face her and put my arms around her.
"Nothing, just tired," I told her.
She gave me a look, and I knew she was going to keep it on until I told her something.
"Well, I didn't tell you, but I invited Elizabeth tonight, but she obviously didn't come," I said to her solemnly. After a moment of confusion, she realized who I was talking about.
"Oh honey, I'm sorry. Are you sure she got the message?" she asked.
I shrugged. "No, I'm not. She probably deleted as soon as she saw it was me," I said. I had never felt like this before. At that moment talking to Melissa, I felt my throat get tighter, like a big lump just landed in it, and before I knew it, I was squeezing my eyes shut.
Melissa didn't say anything, she just held me tighter and didn't let go.
"Is it normal to feel like this? I mean, she's my sister, my twin sister. I got over missing her years ago. Why are these feelings coming back now?" I asked Melissa, almost to myself.
"Kevin, stop it. It is perfectly normal to be feeling what you're feeling. She's you family, and you miss and love her. And even if you don't believe it, she misses and loves you too," Melissa told me and stroked my cheek with her thumb. I smiled and kissed her.
"I don't know," I said. "Let's go back out," I grabbed her hand and we walked back into the living room.
I just hoped and wished so badly she would walk through those doors and everything would be just like it used to be.
The kids were all opening their Christmas gifts from Melissa and I and playing with the various toys. Melissa sat on my lap on the couch as we watched the kids from both our families playing together.
She leaned her head on my shoulder and sighed.
"This was great," she whispered softly in my ear.
I rubbed her arm gently.
We sat there for a few more minutes before Mike came up to me and tapped my shoulder.
"Can I talk to you for a second?" he said.
"Yeah, sure," I said. Melissa scotched over to the middle of the couch and I got up and walked to the corner of the room with Mike.
"What's up man?" I asked him.
"Well, I don't know," he said.
He pulled out his phone and shuffled through his texts.
"I just got this, do you know who's number this is?"
I took his phone and looked at the text:
Is this Kevin? What's the appt number?
I didn't recognize the number, and I handed Mike his phone back.
"That is really weird, I don't know who that is," I told him.
"Well it's obviously someone who knows you, and my number,"
I thought for a moment.
"Well, whoever it is must be in the building at least, because they only asked for the apartment number,"
"Yeah, that's true,"
"Come check it out with me," I told him.
We walked to the front door and put on our jackets.
"Where are you guys going?" our mother asked.
"Just out to talk for a minute," Mike told her.
She eyed us suspiciously.
"Okay," she said slowly. "Don't stay outside to long, it's freezing!" she yelled after us as we left the apartment.
We got into the elevator and pressed the lobby button and we descended from the 4th floor.
"I wonder who this is, maybe Alex?" I said. It was one of the few mutual friends we had back in Rochester.
"Hmm, maybe. Why would he want to know where you live though? We haven't talked him since you're graduation party from highschool,"
I just shrugged as the elevator doors opened for the lobby.
We heard Nathan, the lobbyist, talking to someone.
"I'm sorry ma'am, I'm not allowed to give out that information to you," he was telling a woman.
"You don't understand, he's my brother," the woman replied. I stopped dead in my tracks, and looked at the woman from where I was. I could only see her back. She was wearing a heavy black pea coat, a black hat and was holding several big shopping bags.
"Even if he is, I can't tell you. I'm very sorry," Nathan said.
"Holy shit," I mumbled.
"What?" Mike asked, and looked at her. "You know her?"
"Dude, it's Liz," I told him. His eyebrows raised and he looked back at her.
"Holy shit," I said to myself again as I ran to her.
"Liz?" I asked as I ran up to the counter. She turned around, and her bright blue eyes just like mine stared me in the face. He light brown hair was messy and windblown, and her face was bright and red.
"Oh my god, Kevin," she said, dropped her bags, and threw her arms around me. I hugged her back tightly and sighed with relief.
"I can't believe you're here," Mike said, walking over to us.
"Oh Mike," Liz said and hugged him.
"Jeez, Liz, how did you find the building?" I asked her.
"I've been looking for it for hours. I found your dorm at the University, and your roommates told me you moved out a while ago to this building, I just didn't know the number," she said and wiped away fresh tears.
The three of us hugged each other for the first time in years, and for the first time in a while, I felt complete again. Melissa had filled a huge hole in my heart, but now it was gone completely.
I didn't care how ridiculous we looked standing there, it felt so right and it was my Christmas miracle.
A/N: REVIEW PLEASE, AND MERRY CHRISTMAS/HAPPY CHANNUKAH/HAPPY QUANZA TO ALL! AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!