Chapter 57 - Do Something Stupid

"Her ESR levels are decreasing, which means that she's responding to the treatment as she should," the female doctor said with a smile at Clara and then at Theo. The two of them looked at each other, and Theo squeezed Clara's hand a little. His eyes were blank, but he looked really happy.

Lily was awake, and though she was not exactly her usual self yet, she had babbled a little and wanted to sit up for a while. She didn't want the doctor to shine the flashlight into her eyes, and she kept turning her face away to avoid it.

"If nothing else, that's a good sign," the doctor said with a chuckle and finally managed to get a look at Lily's eyes. "Pupils are responding as they should, too."

She took out a stethoscope and listened to Lily's heartbeat before she took her temperature.

"38.2. That explains why she won't sit still," the doctor said with a broad smile. "You've got a little fighter, here."

"Thank God," Theo said, and the look in his eyes when he looked at Lily, made the tears rise into Clara's eyes again. She had stopped caring about tears a long time ago, though.

"I don't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to go home with her later today," the doctor said and put the thermometer away. "She'll have to stay on antibiotics for another six days. I'll have the nurse show you how to give it to her."

"We already saw that last night," Clara said and regretted. She didn't mean to sound rude. She was just tired.

"Okay, then you can give it to her before you leave, so we'll make sure she'll swallow it."

"Yeah, that's fine," Theo said.

"She will still need a lot of sleep, and you will probably want to wake her up to make sure that she's alright, but unless her temperature should rise again, there's no need to. And if it should, you call right away. I don't think it will, but I'd rather you'd call once too many. Not just for her sake, but also for your own. There's no need to worry if a simple phone call can prevent that."

"Okay," Clara said, and Theo nodded.

"I'll have a nurse come help you in a moment," the doctor said. "Lily also wants that IV out of her hand, I think."

Clara hadn't even noticed, but the girl was pulling on it with the other hand.

"Lily, no!" she said and stopped her, but the doctor just smiled.

"If you hold her arm still, I'll do it," she said and took some gauze and pressed it onto Lily's hand before pulling out the IV. Then she taped the gauze to the girl's hand, and Clara smiled at the thought of Lily removing it as soon as she'd get the chance.

The doctor looked at Theo for a moment, as if she was debating with herself whether to say something or not.

"The big guys outside the room...?"

"Security," Theo replied.

"I thought so. You'll need them when you go outside. I haven't seen this many photographers outside a hospital since William and Kate."

"It's that bad?"

"I wouldn't say it's that bad, but it's...bad enough."

"I hope they haven't been bothering anyone?"

"I don't think they have. They're waiting for you."

"I don't supposed there's a not-so-public back entrance or something?"

"We can sneak you out through the kitchen. Or the goods reception. We'll find a way."

"Thank you. I'd appreciate that."

#

A black SUV pulled up in front of the hospital, and Theo carried Lily to it. They hadn't dodged all the photographers, but probably most of them. It was nothing they couldn't handle, even without the bodyguards, but Clara was still glad they had them.

One of them, a tall guy with dark hair and ditto sunglasses, opened the car door for Theo so he could put Lily into the safety seat.

"Thank you, Rodriguez," Theo said, and Clara went to the other side of the car and got in. A moment later Theo joined her. The photographers were shouting his name, but he didn't seem to care.

"Where to?" the driver asked, and Theo looked at Clara.

"Your place?" he asked. "There will be people outside mine."

She nodded, and Theo gave her address to the driver.

.

Fortunately, there was no one outside Clara's house, so Theo told the bodyguards that they wouldn't be needing them anymore. Clara carried Lily inside, and a moment later Theo followed.

"You're staying, right?" she asked, afraid that he would leave her alone with Lily. She wasn't ready for that yet.

"I'm not going anywhere," he replied and put his arms around her in a hug. She was still carrying Lily, so he was careful not to crush her between them.

Tears welled up in Clara's eyes again, though she wasn't sure why.

"Hey," Theo said and caressed her hair, "she's gonna be okay. The worst part is over."

"I know. I'm just," she sobbed and felt very emotional, "tired, I guess. And I feel like I've done nothing but cry for the past 48 hours. I can't seem to stop."

"You should get some sleep. You didn't sleep much last night, did you?"

"No," she sniffled. "Did you?"

"No. But you go to bed. I'll stay up with her until she falls asleep."

"Thank you," Clara said and breathed in before she let go of him. Even after this much time without a shower he smelled nice. Safe. And for the first time since Theo had called to ask her to come over, she was suddenly aware of her own appearance. "I'll just take a quick shower first."

"You do that. Are you hungry?"

"No."

"Okay. Sleep tight."

He gave her a peck on the cheek and took Lily from her, but Clara hesitated. She didn't want to leave Lily out of her sight.

"I'll take good care of her," he added. "I promise."

He went into the living room with Lily, and Clara followed to go upstairs.

Oh, no! She had left the cards from the flowers on the table when he had called her to come over a couple of nights ago. And he had definitely noticed them.

"Are those..." he trailed off and looked puzzled, when he turned to look at her again.

"I'll just go take that shower," Clara said trying to avoid his eye. She knew that she was blushing, and he would probably notice.

"You do that," he said and flashed her a teasing smile which made her stomach do a serious somersault. Oh God. He knew.

#

Clara's first thought when she woke up was of Lily. Her heart beat a little faster until she saw the girl asleep in the crib next to the bed. She got up on her elbow and looked at her, making sure that her chest was heaving with every breath, before she lay down again. The plush hare was next to her. Hadn't she brought that one to Theo's place the other night?

"She's fine," she heard Theo's voice and turned around to look at him. He was lying on the other side of her bed, watching her. His chest was bare, but he was wearing a pair of grey jogging bottoms. Where had he found those?

"Have you been home?" she asked and tried not to look at his trousers. Nor his bare chest.

"No, I had Kevin bring me some stuff. I hope it's okay I took a shower?"

"Of course. What time is it?"

"Almost eight."

"In the evening?"

He gave a small smile at that.

"Yeah. In the evening."

"Has she..."

"She just fell asleep again ten minutes ago. She's been up for a little more than half an hour. She drinks a lot, and I let her eat all the crisps she wanted to. I found some leftovers in the fridge and heated for her, but she was more interested in the crisps."

"As long as she eats and drinks, it's fine."

"She does."

"Did you take her temperature?"

"It's 38."

"Still falling," Clara said relieved. "Did you give her the medicine?"

"Yeah. She's not too fond of it, but she did swallow it."

"So basically, there's no need for me here?" Clara said with a small smile, though she did feel a sting at the thought. It was gone in an instant, though. As long as Lily was okay nothing else mattered.

"There most certainly is," Theo said and reached over to put a strand of hair behind Clara's ear. It was such a small gesture, but the way he looked at her when he did it, was enough to spark a bubbling feeling throughout her body.

"Is that something you would care to elaborate on?" she asked quietly, her heart suddenly beating like crazy.

Theo smiled and moved closer putting his arm around her. His naked chest was very close to hers, and they were only separated by the thin fabric of her small strap top. A drop of sweat trickled down from behind his ear, and Clara reached out and put her hand on his neck. He looked her in the eye, and those blue eyes of his completely took her breath away.

"Don't you think Lily would want a brother or sister?" he asked with a small smile, and let his hand caress her hair and her cheek.

"Sorry?" Clara said in surprise. Was he suggesting that they...?

"We did a pretty perfect job with her," he said and placed a small, soft kiss on Clara's lips. "Let's make another one."

"Are you doing that thing again?" she asked, her heart beating even wilder than before. "You're trying to make me blush, so you can make fun of me?"

"No," he said, though he did have sort of an amused smile on his lips. "And just for the record, I actually meant it those other times as well, when you thought I was joking."

"You did?" she asked with a small frown. "I always thought you were just making fun of me."

He smiled, but he didn't reply, so she pulled him towards her for another kiss. He responded immediately, and she closed her eyes and gave in to the feeling of adrenaline rushing through her body, making it go all weak and wobbly. When she parted her lips a little to let his tongue find hers, he took a firmer grip of her, and even if she had wanted to, she wouldn't have been able to pull away from him. She didn't want to, though. She usually didn't like being helpless. She preferred being in control. But this sort of helplessness was acceptable. More than acceptable, actually. It felt so right.

"Could we," she said when she broke away from the kiss to get some air for a moment. "Could we, maybe, begin with a reconstruction?"

Theo gave a small laugh and kept looking into her eyes.

"Fine by me," he replied and closed her mouth with his own again.

#

Lily wanted to walk on her own all the time these days, and Theo let her down on the floor and took her hand. Clara took her other hand. There was no way they were gonna let go of her in the airport.

They had just picked up their luggage after a weekend at Clara's parents' place in Cologne. So far they had been able to keep the press in the dark, as everyone was still focused on Lily's health. Though Theo didn't want them to stick their noses into their little girl's life, he was grateful that they had no clue about her parents' newly developed relationship. It had given them time to at least tell their friends and families before the rest of the world found out.

"Theo Hemingway!" Theo heard a familiar voice and stopped. As soon as both he and Clara looked up, the photographer shot a series of photos of the three of them.

"Hello Rick," Theo said with a smile at the man. He had never really thought about it before, but he was definitely getting older. His hair was greying out on the sides, and the wrinkles around his eyes were growing deeper. But he had already been old years ago, when the band had had their breakthrough, hadn't he?

"I'm glad to see her on her feet again," he said with a look at Lily. "We were all worried for a while."

"Thanks. She gave us all a scare," Theo replied.

"Is she okay again?"

"According to the doctors she's perfectly healthy," Theo said with a fond smile at the little girl, who tried to pull her hands away from her parents to go run off on her own. They didn't let her, though.

"That's good news," Rick said and looked sincere for a moment. Then he looked at Theo with a sly smile. "Got any story for me?"

Did he know something or was he just on a fishing expedition?

"Depends if this is news to you?" Theo said and let go of his luggage to pull Clara close for a kiss. She gave a surprised laugh, but she did kiss him back. And the way she looked at him afterwards... It still took his breath away.

He let go of her again and looked at Rick with an amused smile. The photographer was completely gob-smacked, and he hadn't even raised his camera yet. He was just standing there, his mouth wide open with surprise.

Theo chuckled and picked up his suitcase again.

"Yeah, I thought so," he said to Rick and moved on, still holding on to Lily, who was still holding on to her mum as well.

"Ba-ba," the girl said and turned her head to look at Rick, and for the millionth time Theo felt extremely lucky and grateful that he got to keep both of the girls walking next to him.

THE END


A/N:

Soooooo... If you read this far, please take a minute to review as well. :) I'd love to know what you liked as well as what you didn't like. I want to learn, and I want to improve my plotting, my descriptions, and my English. I do know a few things I would do very differently, if I were to write it today (hey, in one week's time it's been exactly one year since I started writing it :D ), but not nearly enough.

If you want to be notified when I start uploading the sequel, remember to follow me. The sequel is already done, but I need to do a few more edits and proofreadings before I start posting. It's from Jack's POV, and it will be rated M for a reason (I mean - it's Jack!). The sequel to that one is also finished, but only the first draft. It's from Scooter's POV, and it needs A LOT of editing before it's anywhere near ready. I haven't written Mick's story yet, but it will be the conclusion to this little series.

I hope you want to read more. If you do, please review, fav, and follow. Thanks! :) And thank you for sticking with me to the very end! :)

EDIT (6th of July 2018): Several people have pointed out to me that the ending was very rushed. I'm sorry if you feel that way, and as I want to improve my writing, I'd be happy if you'd let me know what I did wrong and how I can make it better in future stories. Telling me that it's rushed is fine, but I need something to work with. An example of what I could've done, or just an explanation for why it's rushed. I don't want to sound as if I'm annoyed, and I hope I don't (I can take constructive criticism). I just really can't see it, because I've read this story at least 20 times by now, and at some point you just go blind. So, please, let me know what I should've done to make the ending less rushed. Thanks. :)
Some of you want to see more of Theo and Clara in a relationship, and you will. It won't be from their point of view, though, as the next one up is Jack. You'll see more of Lily as well. Jack is Uncle Jack, after all. ;) I'm around halfway through proofreading the sequel, and with a little luck I'll begin uploading by the end of July (no promises).
Okay, I just wanted to let you know, if you - like others - feel a little unhappy with the ending. Please, let me know how to do it better in the future. :)