A Soft Place to Land: Chapter Twenty-Five

With his head in his hands, Tony sat on the couch.  He had already texted Reva to let her know Marah was home safe, as well as sending off a text to Danny to let him know he wouldn’t be coming into the office tomorrow.  And now in the calm stillness of the night the only thing Tony could do is think.   Think about what he should have done differently.  Think about how he should have listened to Danny and told Marah everything.  Think about how he might have ruined the relationship Marah and him had been rebuilding.

Frustrated with himself and the entire situation Tony groaned and fisted his hair in his hands.  He wanted to throw something.  To rage until he destroyed everything in sight.  Instead he focused all his anger on himself.  And the two people who had been hell-bent on destroying the best thing in his life.  There was no way he would be getting much sleep tonight, not with his mind going a mile a minute.

He needed to clear his head.  To prepare himself for the fight of his life when the sun came up.  He went out to his car and pulled out his gym bag and five minutes later, and with Toby trotting faithfully by his side, Tony took off jogging down the street.

***

Upstairs Marah heard the door close and let out the breath she had been holding.  A part of her was surprised Tony had let the matter drop.  She had expected him to storm into their room and plead his case.  The other part of her was glad he didn’t.  Her thoughts were so jumbled right now she didn’t know whether she would stay firm or crumble like dust when they finally did hash it out.

Rolling over Marah punched her pillow into submission and tried to get comfortable.  But it was as if the door to her memories had been left wide open and every time she closed her eyes she was flooded with snippets of her life.

She remembered the disillusionment she felt living in Paris, and how her unhappiness had her yearning for Springfield.  She remembered her brothers, even sweet little Collin.  She even chuckled slightly as she remembered clobbering Jonathan over the head when she thought he was in intruder.

Knowing Tony would be gone for a while she got out of bed and wandered into the nursery.  Guiding her hands lovingly along the wall she remembered in vivid detail the love Tony and her had put into these four walls.

Marah sat on the floor of the bedroom they planned to use as a nursery and watched as her sexy husband rolled dark pink paint on the walls. “Looks good. I think they finally got the color right.”

Tony laughed but kept on painting, “Yes it was the guy at the paint department’s fault. Couldn’t be that you changed the color three times.” He paused to reapply paint to his roller before continuing, “I think I actually saw him cringe the last time we were in there.”

Pausing beside Lanie’s crib she remembered when the huge box had been delivered.  “A bed fit for a princess” Tony had called it.  Rubbing her hand along her stomach she remembered the anticipation, the pure joy, she felt at being pregnant.  For months she had kept Lanie at arm’s length and now that she wasn’t here Marah longed to hold her daughter in her arms.

Frustrated with herself she stalked back to the bedroom and once again tried to get some sleep.  But even as she felt her body grow heavy with sleep the memories continued to flood her brain…

***

Eden held Marah with her arm tight around her neck, “I asked, are you going somewhere?”

Mustering up all her energy she had clawed her way free from Eden’s grasp and unsteadily tried to make her escape.  The darkness surrounding her she had fear unlike she had ever known.  She wasn’t just fighting for her life but for the baby inside.  Then the impact from behind that sent her forward, her body colliding with the edge of a table.  The pain that radiated through her midsection and the fear for her unborn child.  Eden standing over her with an evil smirk upon her face…

***

Lying in a room full of pregnant women Marah listened as Michelle explained the importance of breathing.  Behind her Tony sat, listening intently at Michelle’s instructions.  Unlike all the ladies relaxed in their partner’s arms Marah sat ramrod straight, unsure if she could handle being in such close proximity to Tony.  Then Tony leaned forward, his chin moving her downy hair away from her ear.  His lips whispered along her skin as she whispered. “Breathe baby.”

***

“Knit one, pearl two” Marah repeated to herself as she tried for the fourteenth time to make a dent in the pathetic attempt at knitting.  Soothing my ass.  This was the most maddening and frustrating thing she had ever tried.  And sure enough, the stitch looked wonky.  Aggravated she put the yarn down and looked at her husband.  Engrossed in the game on television Tony absently rubbed her swollen feet.  Before she could stop herself a small giggle emerged from her mouth.

Tony turned and lifted an eyebrow in question but Marah couldn’t help it, the giggle turned into a full laugh.  “We look like an old married couple.  Here it is, a Saturday night and I am attempting to knit…something and you are watching a game I doubt you care about.”

“Yeah I don’t know much about football so this announcer is basically talking Greek to me,” Tony smiled as he turned off the TV, “But I like being an old married couple with you.”

***

Curled up together on Danny and Michelle’s back porch, the autumn chill causing their breath to cloud in the air.  Tony trying to convince Marah to stay longer. …”Michelle has you on cleanup duty for teaching Hope about hooker boots.”

Tony growled, “I didn’t ‘teach her’ I just said the word and she stuck it in her memory bank.  Who knew it was like a steel trap!”

Marah laughed.  He was never going to live that one down. “Doesn’t matter stud because it’s in Michelle’s memory bank as well.  And on that note I’m going to take my hooker boots and go on home.”

“Honey you know those boots put any and all hooker boots to shame. ”

***

Marah bundled herself up in a thick robe against the autumn chill and descended the stairs. Toby was wanting outside and had started barking loud enough to wake the dead. He had certainly woken her from the first decent night’s sleep she’d had in weeks. In the kitchen he stood pawing at the door looking almost desperate to get outside. “What is it boy?”

Beside her leg Toby simply vibrated with the need to get beyond the door. Flipping on the back porch light didn’t alleviate much of the shadows beyond the doorway but at least it was clear. She reached for the doorknob and turned. When she opened the door Toby shot out like a light heading straight for the pool. Following to see what had caused his commotion Marah felt pure terror run down her spine when she felt a large body come up behind her. Turning slowly all she could see was the bulky figure of a man, the light made it impossible to distinguish his identity. Fear and adrenaline took over and she opened her mouth to scream when the man lifted one of his large hands and covered her mouth, effectively trapping her scream…

***

By the time Tony made it home the sun was beginning to peak over the horizon.  Exhausted and no closer to clearing his head than when he left, Tony let Toby and him in the house before collapsing on the couch.  Gathering the strength to take off his shoes Tony rested his head against the back of the couch.  He knew Marah would yell at him for sitting on her couch all sweaty but they had bigger things to talk about than a sweaty couch…

The scream jolted him awake.  Rubbing his bleary eyes Tony looked around before realizing he had fallen asleep.  Then Tony’s foggy mind cleared and he remembered the scream.  Hurrying from the couch he sprinted up the stairs and stopped at their bedroom door.  There was Marah, trashing wildly on the bed, the sheets tangled around her sleeping form.

Without hesitation Tony joined his wife on the bed and took her in his arms, “Shh Marah I have you.” He kissed her head softly, “I have you and I won’t let you go.”

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