A Harsh Reality Pt. 06byAshiraDatya©
"Where were you?" Miriam asked as William slid into bed later that night.
"I was talking with Malachi. Don't worry, everything is okay," William answered.
"You're going to leave me aren't you?" Miriam whispered, sitting up and rubbing the sleep out of her eyes.
"Not unless I have to," William told her honestly. "Don't," William pleaded seeing her eyes fill with tears. He gathered Miriam in his arms and held her tight. "I love you Miriam," he whispered, kissing her gently.
"I love you too. Please don't leave me," she pleaded.
"Let's not think about this now. Let's just be together," William suggested, sliding his hand under her night gown. Soon, their moans of pleasure filled the cabin and drifted in the wind.
- months later-
William swallowed hard as he watched Miriam sleep fitfully, her arms cradling her swollen abdomen and ignored the feeling that was gnawing at his stomach. He knew there was a chance that he'd never see Miriam again, let alone see his child be born. He longed to get back in the bed and to take Miriam into his arms and hold her tight, to feel their son or daughter move within Miriam's womb, but he knew, he couldn't.
His father had refused to give up his search for his only son and had publicly announced that the Jewish resistance had kidnapped his son and were using him to increase their dwindling numbers. The bands of bigots that had joined the search for William Chancey Junior and they had come dangerously close to the camp. As a result, William was leading a small group of Liam's soldiers to stop William Chancey Senior once and for all.
William looked up as the door creaked open and sighed when he saw Ari standing in the doorway. William placed a note on the desk for Miriam, kissed her forehead softly and followed his friend and commander out of the cabin where a small group of people were gathered.
"You don't have to do this Will," Malachi told him quietly.
"Yes, I do. I trusted my father and let him use my picture as a figure head while he ruled and I turned a blind eye and now, my wife and child's lives are at stake."
"Good luck," Malachi said. William looked at the ground when Lucy threw her arms around Ari's neck, her eyes full of tears.
"I'll come back, I promise. I won't leave you and to Joshua. I love you," Ari's voice was soft, but everyone could hear the love and emotion in it.
"I love you too," Lucy murmured, and was unable to contain the sniffle that escaped her as Ari bent down and kissed the top of their son's head as he slept, unaware of the pain and fear that surrounded him.
Ari kissed her once then pulled away, bent down and grabbed his bag. "Let's move out," he said to his team.
Malachi put his arm around Lucy's shoulder as they watched Ari, William and several others of the group walk up the hill that led to the parking lot. Nobody left until the group was out of sight. Lucy held Josh close as she headed back with Malachi to her cabin when they heard the sound they both were dreading. The door to Miriam's cabin opened and closed. "What's going on?" Miriam wanted to know, as she tied her robe closed. Malachi and Lucy exchanged glances, turned back towards their friend's cabin and walked slowly to her.
"Let's go inside," Malachi suggested, taking Miriam by the hand and leading her inside her cabin.
"He did what!?" Miriam exclaimed, looked at the paper Malachi slid into her hand as if it were a foreign object that she'd never seen before.
"We didn't have a choice. Chancey was getting too close to the camp. Will and Ari are leading a team to take Chancey out, he's only about ten miles from here. This is our only chance to take over and win!" Malachi told her.
"But he promised he'd be here for the baby," Miriam's voice was quiet and full of fear.
"He is. In here," Lucy's voice was equally quiet as she pointed to Miriam's heart. Josh began to whimper in his mother's arms and Miriam lowered her gaze to the now squirming child.
"Take him home Lu, I'm sure my father will be having a meeting tomorrow morning about all of this," Miriam instructed, hoping she didn't sound as bitter as she felt. She knew that this wasn't Lucy's fault and she knew Lucy was equally as afraid with Ari out in the field as Miriam was about Will. Lucy gave her friend a gentle hug and patted her on the shoulder before she allowed Malachi to help her to door.
"Miri, do you need me to come back after I walk Lucy home?" Malachi asked. Miriam nodded and was unable to hold the tears back any longer as she read finally read the letter from Will.
"I can find my own way Mal, stay with Miriam," Lucy said quietly.
"Are you sure? Ari would never forgive me if something happened to you on the way home," Malachi asked. Both of them looked up when the door opened to reveal Hannah and her boyfriend Jonah.
"We'll walk Lucy home Chai, you stay with Miri," Hannah said. Malachi nodded and watched as Lucy followed the younger people out the door before turning back to the bed where Miriam sat, her body shaking with sobs.
Malachi crossed the room in three strides, sank to the bed and pulled his long time friend into his arms.
"It's going to be okay Miri, I promise. Will is coming back to you," Malachi murmured, rubbed her back soothingly until the sobs subsided and she drifted off into a troubled sleep.
"What are you going to do when we get there?" Ari asked Will.
"I'm not sure yet. I was thinking of ..." William stopped and looked around before quietly explaining the beginning of his plan to his friend.
"Sir, your son!" a man exclaimed, running into the room that Chancey had taken over as a temporary office.
"What about him?" Chancey wanted to know, not looking up from the papers on his desk.
"We've found him. He's in the lobby of the hotel, and he's been badly beaten," the man answered. Chancey looked up sharply and followed the man to the lobby.
"Will?" Chancey asked, studying his son carefully.
"You were right father, they're horrible people that need to be exterminated," William said bitterly. Chancey's eyes widened when he saw the extensive bruises and lacerations on his son's face. William's left eye was so badly blackened that he could hardly see out of it.
"What did they do to you?" Chancey asked.
"Miriam lost the baby, and the minute she did, she turned against me, blamed it on me, on the stress you put her through before she left." William swallowed, hating that he had to say these things about Miriam and their child. "I only went with her because I wanted to be part of the baby's life, please tell me you understand that," William said.
His father nodded. "Of course I can. I am sorry I was wrong about that one, I had hoped that she loved you despite her Jewishness. I was willing to try and reform her," Chancey told his son. William accepted the ice pack one of the assistant's handed him and placed it gingerly on his swollen eye.
"I'm glad you're home Will, I've missed you, and I'm sorry about the baby," Cathy said, sitting down on the side of the bed her son was laying on.
"I've missed you too mom, and thanks," William grumbled.
"She seemed like such a nice girl," Cathy murmured.
"She changed when we got back with her father," William sighed. Cathy gave him a knowing look and hugged him gently. Cathy started to say something else, but William stopped her with a look. "Mom, this is all pretty new, please, can we drop it?" William asked. He didn't bother to try to hide the pain he was feeling, but knew his mother needed to think the pain was from the loss of his child and not from sneaking out in the middle of the night, leaving the woman he loved pregnant and alone to wonder if he was alive or dead; if his father would buy his story or if he would be killed on sight.
"Of course! Get some rest, and we'll see you in the morning," Cathy told him. She gave her son one last hug and walked out of the room.
"How is she doing?" Liam asked Malachi.
"Miriam will be okay, I think, but it will take her some time. She loves him Liam, she really loves Will and he loves her just as much. He left to keep Miri and the baby safe," Malachi answered, accepting the glass of scotch the older man was holding out for him. "I just hope he comes back," he added. Liam said nothing, he just watched Malachi slam the drink back and walk out of the cabin.
"What do you think you are doing?" Malachi demanded to know, as he came to a stop besides Miriam.
"Leading a class," Miriam answered.
"You should be resting," Malachi said.
"I'm not going to break Chai, and if I don't do something, I'm going to obsess over what's happening to Will," she murmured. "Besides, I'm not doing anything, just instructing," she added. Malachi looked over and saw their friends David and Sara leading the training exercise.
"Just be careful," Malachi instructed before walking away.
"You little bastard!" Chancey shouted as he stormed into his son's room.
"Father?" William asked.
"Don't father me! Did you think we would find your little band of Jewish rebels?" Chancey demanded to know.
"I was hoping you would," William said with a grin. Chancey looked surprised when William pulled out a gun, silencer already attached. "This is the end of your reign of terror, Adolf," William added, shooting his father three times in the heart and once between the eyes. He looked up when Ari and the others walked into the room.
"Are you ready?" Ari asked William.
William stared at his father's dead body and nodded. "Miriam needs me," William said.
Ari grinned and nodded. "I got a coded message from Malachi; Miriam's getting uncomfortable and has been confined to bed until either you return or the baby is born," Ari told Will.
"Let's get out of here then," William said, following the men out of the room.
"What is the meaning of this?!" Cathy demanded as William and Ari stormed Chancey's office.
"Just come with us mom, please. Dad's gone, murdered," Will said.
"What?" Cathy gasped.
"I killed him mom. I lied to you both, Miriam never lost the baby, but dad has been coming after her, he wanted to kill the mother of your grandchild, didn't want that grandchild to have a chance to live," Will told his mother.
"You're lying!" Cathy cried.
"No mom, I'm not." William tossed her the keys to the desk. "Dad kept personal files in the bottom drawer," he added. Cathy caught the keys and opened the drawer and skimmed the file, gasped when she saw what her husband had really been up to. "We can talk later, right now, I need to get to Miriam, she isn't handling my absence well, she knows what my father was capable of," Will told his mother.
"Please mom, just come with us," he pleaded when he saw his mother hesitate.
"Will, we need to go, or we're going to have company," Ari warned from the doorway as he added a fresh clip to his rifle.
"I'll come," Cathy said after a minute. She gave one last look at the office of what was once a Marriott hotel before following Will and Ari out into the wilderness.
"Miriam, where the fuck are you?!" Malachi shouted as he searched the camp for his friend. Despite being on bed rest and guarded, Miriam was nowhere to be found. Malachi took a deep breath and tried to figure out where Miriam would have gone, trying hard not to panic. A crisp cool breeze blew over him and the scent of apples wafted his way. "The apple trees by the river," he said to himself and made his way to the river, breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Miriam sitting on the bank.
"Miri, what the hell are you thinking?" Malachi asked as he dropped to the ground next to her.
"I needed some air and some space," Miriam answered.
"You get plenty of that here," Malachi agreed, frowned when he saw the tears on her face. "Miri, talk to me," he murmured.
"It's been two and a half months and we haven't heard anything from Will or Ari," Miriam whispered.
"I heard from Ari this morning. It's done, they're on their way home," Malachi told her.
"Really? You aren't just lying to make me feel better?" Miriam asked, her eyes widening with hope.
"I'm not lying. Scout's honor," Malachi promised. Miriam laughed and slugged her friend in the arm. "What?" Malachi asked.
"You were never a boy scout," Miriam reminded him. Malachi laughed with her but his laughter died in his throat when he saw Miriam gasp and hunch over.
"What is it? What's wrong?" Malachi asked, reaching for her.
"It's nothing Chai, just another contraction," Miriam answered.
"Just a contraction!? Wait, did you say another one?" Malachi asked.
"Yes," Miriam said with a moan.
"How long have you been having them?" Malachi wanted to know.
"A few hours," she admitted.
"C'mon, we'd better get you to the docs," Malachi said, resisting the urge to lecture her.
"I don't think I'm going to make it back to camp," Miriam said as Malachi helped her to her feet.
"Why not?" Malachi demanded.
"Because my water just broke."
"Where are we going?" Cathy asked, stopping against a tree to catch her breath.
"There's no time for that mom," Will said gently.
"I need to rest Will, I'm an old woman," Cathy reminded her son.
"We're almost to the truck, c'mon, maybe we'll get lucky and you'll get to be there before your grandson or granddaughter makes his or her appearance," William said.
They got to the truck just as shots rang out. "Ari, get my mom to camp, I'll meet you there. I'll get to the other truck. Go, keep my mother safe," Will instructed.
"I don't take orders from you Will, but I will take your mom to the truck," Ari agreed. "This way ma'am," he said, hoping he didn't strangle the woman who had been married to the enemy.
"Be careful!" Cathy shouted as Ari pushed her into the truck and sped away leaving Will to dodge bullets and fight for his life.
"Easy," Malachi murmured when Miriam screamed.
"It hurts! Lucy never said it would hurt this bad!" Miriam wailed.
"Push!" Malachi shouted. Miriam screamed again and pushed as hard as she could, and gasped for breath and tried to sit up when the baby slid into Malachi's hands, screaming loudly. "Oh God Miri, a girl, it's a girl!" Malachi exclaimed, lifting his eyes to meet hers.
"Is she okay?" Miriam asked.
"She looks perfect to me," Malachi told her. He worked quickly, tied off and cut the umbilical cord before wrapping the new baby in his jacket. "Here," he added, sliding the baby into Miriam's arms. "You stay here, I'm going to go get help," he added.
"Chai," Miriam said softly as Malachi started to stand.
"Yeah?" Malachi asked.
"Thank you," she murmured. Malachi smiled, pushed himself up, washed his hands off in the river before dropping a kiss on the top of Miriam's head.
"Don't mention it," Malachi said before he hurried to find help.
Will looked around, hoping he'd gotten all of the men that had followed them from the Marriott, seeing nobody, he hurried through the woods and just as he reached the backup car, he felt a searing pain in his shoulder. Through gritted teeth, Will turned around and fired back, shooting the lone soldier. "Hang on Miriam, I'm coming," Will murmured as he climbed in the driver's seat. He started the car and headed for the camp.
"How are you feeling?" Hannah asked her sister as she helped Miriam brush her hair.
"Better than yesterday," Miriam answered with a small laugh. She glanced over at the cradle where her tiny daughter slept. "Is there any word on Will?" she asked.
"Not yet." Miriam looked up.
"Ari!" she exclaimed, pushing herself up.
"No Miri, you rest. You had a rough day yesterday," Ari said with a smile. He crossed the room and gave his friend a gentle hug and a kiss. "She's beautiful Miri," he added, studying the baby closely.
"Maybe she and Josh will be a match some day," Hannah teased.
"Let's not rush things," Miriam suggested.
Ari laughed until Miriam gave a shout of surprise and turned around in time to see William collapse in the doorway of the cabin.
"Miriam!" William managed before the world went dark.