Sam turned over and turned off the alarm. Was it really ten already? She rolled back into the arms of Eli and nudged him. “It’s ten.”
He held her closer to him. “Shh. Sleep.”
“Eli,” she snickered. They were exhausted from the evening activates in bed, and Eli wanted to rest before he had to leave. Sam didn’t want him to leave. She would much rather be wrapped around his arms all night. Still, this was important. He could not miss his curfew. “Eli.” This time she was louder.
He sighed. “Fine.” His pout about killed her. He rolled over and gathered his clothes. “I fucking hate this.”
“Have you tried talking to your PO again?” she sat up and stared at him putting on his clothes. It was such a shame too. She adored everything that was Elijah Ryder, including the prison tattoos he got in both his teens and when he served hard time.
He nodded. “I have to finish my two year mark, and then I can request to move out. Same answer, like always.”
“Six months isn’t that bad. We’ve been doing this for a year.”
He nodded. He leaned over after he finished dressing and kissed her. “Six more months, babe.”
“You want a ride?” she asked.
He shook his head. “You know I don’t want you driving me over there at night. I’ll take the sub.”
He gave Sam a soft glare. “Babe, no. I got this. I got to go though. If I’m late, I’ll have to report in to Janet, and pray she doesn’t call the cops for a violation.” He kissed her one more time, groaned, and pulled away. “Fuck me, but I really want to stay.”
“Go, big guy. I don’t need my boyfriend in prison.”
“Right.” He headed out and Sam groaned out her own frustration. In the last year, she had fallen so hard for Eli. She wanted a future with him, and from everything he’s said, he wanted a future with her as well. He didn’t bring up marriage, per-se, but he did talk about kids. He wanted a family, and he wanted one with her.
She sighed and glanced at their photos over on the room divider. They had photos everywhere around her house, and she was sure he had more around his place. Or at least, she hoped. He said he did. Sam was not allowed into his building. Eli wouldn’t hear of it. There were far more dangerous criminals living there, and Eli was not going to risk her by bringing her up to his place.
The only problem in her perfect little world, was that she knew it wasn’t going to last. How could it? In the year since they’ve been together she’s met his family (at least his mother, younger brother, and younger sister). She’s gone shopping with his mother a couple of times. There was just one issue…one tiny issue, that wasn’t so tiny.
She had yet brought up her father to Eli since they met. He never asked, and Sam made sure to never speak of him. Dad would surely freak out and flip his lid if and when he finally found out about Eli. Sam has spent the good portion of the year lying to her father. She came up with excuse after excuse. “Oh it’s just a date, Dad, nothing serious.” “Different guy. I’m not looking for serious.” “Not dating right now, Daddy. But I’ll let you know!” Lie after lie after lie.
Sam knew, of course, why she was lying to her father. Eli was an ex-convict, and Daddy—he was a Detective. Her stomach rolled at the thought of them meeting. Oh Dad would take one look at Eli and see red. Sam had dated some pretty seriously questionable guys in her youth, but Eli…he wasn’t like them. Eli just wanted a better, more stable life. And didn’t he deserve a second chance?
Sure, Sam didn’t know exactly why he went to prison. She figured it was probably a drug charge. He was of color, and she knew enough about the prison system to know that it would have been easy to send Eli to prison for a decade plus for a stupid charge like drug possession or intent to sell. She couldn’t see him doing anything serious like armed robbery, sexual assault, or even some form of manslaughter. Could he have done something so serious? Sam didn’t want to believe it, nor would she ever ask. The past was his past, and he did his time, and that’s all that mattered to Sam.
If only her stomach would stop rolling over at the thought of her father and Eli meeting, then she could get some sleep for once. The past week she had been tossing and turning, getting sick in the early morning hours just at the same thought that plagued her. She knew, oh she knew it was time. She knew that her Dad would eventually figure out his little princess had been lying to him, and then… oh God.
Sam rushed to the restroom and emptied her stomach once again. She cried. She didn’t want this to end. She loved Eli so much! She cleaned up and stared at herself in the mirror and cried. “He’s going to kill him.” Maybe she should start small? Talk to Daddy. Tell him she met a boy…yeah, that might work. Well, until he asks for a name, and Sam would have to lie again, because she knew he would do the sensible thing and run a freaking background check, and then it would be all over.
In the morning, with no resolve on her Eli/Daddy issue, Sam headed to the hospital after a quick shower and got some easy food down her irritable stomach. She greeted her colleagues and her stomach went into knots again. She excused herself right after she sat behind the nurses station and got sick again in the bathroom.
Dr. Dain was at the nurses station when she returned, flirting with Jen. He tilted his head at Sam. “You okay, Sammy?”
She shook her head. She was not okay. “It’s a bug, I think. I’ve been getting sick the last few days.”
“Want me to take a look?”
She stared at Jen, who only shrugged.
He motioned to an empty room. “Come on. I won’t bite. Promise.”
Sam followed. She figured if she was sick, he’d tell her to go home and give her some medication. She would then call Eli and tell him not to come over. She didn’t want to risk him more than she had. She sat on the doctor’s chair and laid back.
Dr. Dain motioned to her. “Lift up your shirt a bit.” She did and he felt up her stomach, putting pressure in the right spots. “Feel any pain or discomfort?”
She shook her head. “Not really.”
He took her vitals quickly and shook his head. “Well, you don’t have a fever. And your belly feels fine. When was your last menstrual cycle?”
When was her last period? Sam couldn’t even remember, and that was so not like her. She had that shit memorized to the day. She was always prepared too.
Without an answer, because she couldn’t give one, Dr. Dain smirked. “I think it might be safe to do a test. What do you think?”
Oh God. Oh no. No, no, no. That…that would just complicate matters even worse than they already are. She would have to tell Dad. She would have to tell Eli. And then… She could only nod, afraid she might puke again. Dr. Dain handed her a cup. “I’ll leave you to it. And Sam, it’s going to be okay.”
Oh, it was not going to be okay. She knew in her heart that her being pregnant would be the worst thing possible right now. Fuck.
The blood drained out of her when the tests finally did come back an hour later. Dr. Dain met her back in the same empty room, and he smiled. “Well, you definitely don’t have a stomach flu, but there is something there. A good something, I think.”
She kept shaking her head. “No, no, no. This can’t be happening. We were safe. We were being extra safe. He wore condoms. I’m on the pill!”
“Sam, it happens.” he patted her. “Look, it’s all up to you if you decide to keep it. If not, come to me and I can help.”
She wiped her tears. There was only one answer to her problem. She didn’t even have to think. Eli and her had discussed it over and over again. They both wanted a family. They both wanted to be parents. Her Dad, well, he would just have to accept the fact that Eli Ryder was going to be in her life, and he had zero say about it. Of course her stomach rolled again thinking about that conversation. “I’m keeping it, Dr. Dain.”
“Good. Congratulations. And listen, if you need to take the day off, take it. Enjoy it. Go, and tell that boyfriend of yours.”
“Thank you, Dr. Dain. I think I’ll take you up on that.”
Sam wasn’t sure how she was going to tell Eli, or Dad for that matter. How was she supposed to tell either of them that she was pregnant? Who did she tell first? Eli? Dad? She sat in her car and thought it over for a bit, before pulling out of the parking lot and directing the car toward Marv’s. If anyone was going to be the first to know, it was going to be Eli.
Still, this wasn’t the right time to have a baby. They wanted to be moved in. Sam wanted to be married for crying out loud! She wanted to be with him, and not have to worry about curfews every night. How were they supposed to raise a baby with Eli having a curfew?
Sam pulled up to the shop right outside the gas station attached to it. She headed for the back and entered the garage. She spotted Eli under the hood of a car. “Eli?”
He hit his head on the hood and backed out. With a rub to the back of his head, he turned and smiled at her. “Hey gorgeous…er, what are you doing here?”
“I got the day off.”
“Lucky you,” he said and came over to give her one of those kisses that made Sam curl her toes. “Too bad, I’m not that lucky.”
“What about lunch? You think, maybe…”
“I’ll go ask Marv.” Eli rushed to the door to the front of the station and quickly returned. His grin was infectious. “I’m all yours for the next half-hour. He took her hand and they headed across the street to the basketball courts where Eli ordered them both their usual burritos at the food truck.
They ate lunch in silence. Eli didn’t say anything to her, and she wondered if he was waiting for her to say something to him. Maybe he knew that she needed time. He was so caring that way to Sam. Uhg, she hated those soft eyes on her right then. Sam bit her lip after finishing lunch. She needed to tell him.
Tears sprang, and she sobbed. She couldn’t do it.
“Baby?” He wrapped his arms around her. “Sammy, what’s the matter? You’re scaring me.”
She wiped her tears and finally met his eyes. “I’m pregnant.”
His jaw dropped, and if it could it probably would have hit the floor. “Are-are you serious? I’m-I’m going to be a-a fa-father?”
His stuttering was cute, and if Sam wasn’t so emotional she might have giggled and teased him. Still, she was trying to figure out how in the world they were going to do this. How she was going to do this without Eli getting killed.
Tears slid down her cheeks. “What’re we going to do, Eli?”
His chuckle made Sam’s heart soar. Why wasn’t he worried? Oh right, he didn’t know Detective Grant Williams, and how he could easily kill Eli. “We’re going to be the best fucking parents this little one will ever know. That’s what we’re going to do.”
“But…you and I…we’re not even married. You…you can’t even move out yet.”
“So? We’ll get married if we have to. The baby isn’t going to be here for a bit, right? We’ll have time to get a place of our own. We can either get married now or wait until after the little tyke is born. It doesn’t matter, Sammy.” He kissed her tear streaked face. “What matters, baby, is that I love you, and this is the best news I’ve ever gotten.”
She couldn’t help but grin. “I love you too.” She cried though, sobbed even in her hands. “He’s going to kill us.”
“Daddy. Eli, he’s going to kill us. You, because of…well, you’re you, and me because I got knocked up. Oh God!”
Eli pulled her tight into his chest. His scent warmed her, and all she could do was grasp onto his dirty coveralls and sob. “We can deal with the old man. And he won’t kill you. No way. You’re his only daughter, and you’re about to have his only grandchild. And I’m sure you are over exaggerating. I mean, why would your old man hate me?”
“Eli, you don’t understand!” she sobbed. Did he forget? “He’s…” she held him tighter and cried. “He’s a detective, Eli. He’s the Captain of his department.”
“Okay. So, he’s a cop. I know that. So what?”
“He’ll know, Eli.” She sat up and pulled out of his arms. How much did she tell him? She figured it was time to tell the truth. “He doesn’t know about you, Eli. I never told him.”
“Why not?” Was he hurt? He didn’t look mad. But his voice, it cracked.
So, she told him. “He’s overprotective of me. Ever since I started to date, he went bonkers. He actually did some background checks on guys I dated in my early twenties. I don’t tell him, because he’s like this. Eli, if he knew you went to prison…” she shook her head.
“Fuck. I couldn’t even have a part-time job like my friends did in high school because he was too afraid I’d get hurt. I even begged for a summer job at the local SimStar, but because this asshole kept robbing a bunch of gas stations and liquor stores, he didn’t want me to be one of those victims. And then this one girl who, I guess, reminded him of me got held up at gas station, and he totally put his foot down and wouldn’t let me get a job until I was in college. Seriously Eli, he’s a very protective father…Eli?”
Eli swallowed the bile that about came up. He turned around and moved farther away from her, hating himself more and more. He and Sam never actually discussed his crimes, or what he did. Part of the reason was because he didn’t want Sam to think less of him as a person. He was a stupid punk, nothing more. The story, however, reminded him of shit he had done. He remembered there was a scared little blondie that he held up at gunpoint, and she could have easily been Sam.
“Eli, you okay?”
He shook his. “Um, wh-when did that happen?”
She shrugged. “I dunno. I was like fifteen-sixteen, something like that. So…maybe eleven, twelve years ago?”
Then everything came rushing back. The cop’s name…something Williams. Detective Grant Williams…as in Sam…Williams. But no? Williams was such a popular name. He had at least a dozen customers around town with that name. Never a Grant though, thank fuck. But still, he needed to know…
“Your Dad,” he sighed, not wanting it to be true. He was going to be sick if it was though. “Your dad wouldn’t happened to be…Detective Grant Williams of the SMPD?”
“You know him?” her whisper made it real. Of all the women in all of San Myshuno, why did she have to be related to him? Why didn’t Eli ask? Why didn’t he put the pieces together before now? Why didn’t they talk before they were both so in love…and now were about to have a baby. Fuck. Sam was right, Eli was dead.
“Eli?” her sob was anew.
Oh he knew her dad alright. He met her eyes and nodded. “Been arrested by him more times than I want to think about. My last arrest, he helped strike up a deal with the DA and my court appointed attorney. Only thing was, I had to plea out to five armed robberies. One of which I know I didn’t do. Still, I got the wrap-sheet for it. Case fucking close.”
“Armed robbery? Like…like the ones I talked about?”
Eli hated himself right then. What could he say to make it better? The possibility that he had robbed that poor girl, was probably low in the city of San Myshuno. Still…that blonde girl. “Yeah, and it was probably me that robbed that girl.”
Fuck. He should have told her. He should have disclosed everything before they got this serious. Eli’s heart started to crumble when she stood. “Babe,” his own tears pricked. “It wasn’t my finest moments. I was stupid.”
She started to walk away.
Eli grabbed her arm. “Please, Sam. I’m sorry. I should have told you. I should have told you everything. I was a stupid fucking kid, okay? I was selfish back then. Please, Sam. I’m not that kid anymore.”
She turned on him, and pushed him. “Get your fucking hands off of me!”
Eli stepped back, shocked at the sudden outburst. His heart cracked. Was this it? Was she really going to do this?
“You could have killed someone! You could have killed her!”
Yeah, he knew that. He almost did to that one guy who refused. Instead he shot out the video camera. “I know. I know. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. But baby, I did my time. I paid for those crimes.”
“Eli…I can’t…I can’t…” she turned and stormed away.
“Sam,” he yelled. “Sam, please!”
Eli wanted to follow her. He wanted her to come back to him, and tell him that his eighteen years old self didn’t matter. But it did. Of course it fucking mattered. His past was everything. It was why he could only get the job he had. It was why he could never vote. It was why he had to always check that box whenever a form asked if he “ever was convicted of a felony.” It was why, right now, he still had to check-in daily with his parole officer, have a curfew, and had to give a piss test once a month. It was why Eli couldn’t follow Sam.
Eli watched as her Galaxy Aura drove off from the shop. His heart broke, and Eli was pretty sure that his entire future with the woman he loved and cherished had ended. And with it, his child would never know him, never know the kind of man he could be…he wanted to be. Eli wiped his tears and headed back to work. The image of Sam with two kids that always put a smile on his face faded with every heavy step.