Rachel hadn’t said anything yet.
Drake couldn’t figure out if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
He still held her in his arms, and the fact that she hadn’t pulled away eased some of his nerves. He’d wanted to come before now but fear had held him back. Rachel had asked him to stay away and as much as he had wanted to honour her wishes he just couldn’t stay away. He was under no illusion that this was going to be easy, he’d put her through hell, winning her trust back was going to be some feat.
“I . . .” she started then stopped, then started again, “I think . . .” she trailed off again.
“You think what, sweetheart?”
“Love conquers all, I remember my mom saying that, but . . .”
Drake felt his stomach drop.
He knew how that sentence finished.
He let his arms dropped and gave Rachel the flowers. “I hope you can find peace one day,” he told her as he turned and headed for his car.
“Drake, wait,” Rachel called after him.
He froze but didn’t turn around. He didn’t think he could look at her again and still walk away.
“I still love you, and all I’ve dreamed about since I thought you died was having you here and being in your arms, I don’t know, Drake. I don’t know how we can work this out, its going to take time, I don’t trust you anymore, but if you understand that this needs to go slowly, then . . .”
“Then?” he asked, still not turning around.
“Then we can try,” Rachel finished.
Drake spun around and ran the couple of steps between them and wrapped his hands around Rachel’s waist and picked her up, spinning her around and then finding his lips and kissing her until they were both breathless. “I love you so much, Rachel. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry my job nearly got you killed, I’m sorry you were hurt, I’m sorry I hurt you worse by not letting you know I was alive, and I’m sorry that we lost our baby.”
The small smile that had lit Rachel’s face faded at the mention of their daughter. Of all the pain he had caused her it was that she had grieved their child alone.
“Instead of dinner, I have something to show you,” he said, setting Rachel back on her feet and taking her hand, tugging her down the path to his car before she could change her mind. She didn’t resist, and he opened the passenger door for her, helped her in, then got in the driver’s seat.
Neither of them spoke as he drove but it wasn’t an uncomfortable silence. Drake knew that Rachel needed him to earn her trust back, and that was fine with him, she still loved him and that was what was important, in time they could heal.
“We’re here,” he said as he parked the car.
“Here?” Rachel echoed, her brow crinkled in confusion. “What are we doing here?”
“I have something to show you,” he said.
She still looked confused but she climbed out of the car, and her fingers curled around his when he took her hand. She let him lead her without question, through the cemetery stopping in front of a small tombstone in a quiet corner under a large oak tree.
Tears filled Rachel’s eyes and she dropped down to her knees in the grass. “My mommy carried me every day of my life,” she whispered the words engraved on the tombstone. “You did this for her? For me?”
Tears filled his own eyes. His daughter’s death was his fault. Asking Rachel to forgive him for that seemed more than was right.
He dropped down to his knees beside his wife. “Rachel, I’m so sorry. You lost her because of me.”
Rachel turned watery eyes on him. “It wasn’t your fault she died. Your job, we both knew the risks, none of that was your fault and I don’t blame you for it.”
“Rachel,” he whispered, taking her hands. “I don’t deserve you.”
A small smile but a smile just the same.
“We both lost a lot, we both almost died, and we are both grieving our baby. You hurt me so much, but I’ve missed you, I can’t live without you, this isn’t going to be easy, but I’d rather fight to get back what we had than let it slip away. I don’t want to be angry anymore, I don’t want to be sad, I don’t want to cry, I don’t want to walk around in a haze, I just want to . . . live,” Rachel finished.
This woman was so much more than he deserved, and he loved her so much that it physically hurt him that he’d hurt her.
“Hope,” Drake said softly.
“Our daughter, we should call her Hope.”
Rachel smiled again, bigger this time, a smile that reached her eyes. “I love it.”
“Dinner?” he asked, standing and holding out his hand.
She looked at it for a moment, then took it, and let him pull her to her feet. “I’d love to.”