Carter's breaths become shallow the moments following his initial exam, as a result the nurse takes him into the NICU for further testing. West is finally brought back to see Larissa. While he sits anxiously holding her hand, he silently prays for her and Carter. As the minutes continue to pass and nurse after nurse come in to check Larissa's vitals, West sits replaying their last year and a half over in his head.
Remembering the night, he spotted Larissa across the lobby of Utopia. After a challenging week, the sight of her surpassed anything he could've envisioned improving his mood. Although their journey had been plagued with every obstacle they could have imagine, the thought of not having her in his life was horrifying.
Before he realizes it, Larissa is awake and trying to sit up.
Standing up, West presses the nurses' button and says
"Riss, wait. Don't try to sit up"
Finally looking up, seeing him, she relaxes slightly, then whispers
"Hey! How's Carter?"
"He's okay. They'll bring him down as soon as they can."
Finally sitting back in the bed, she exhales, just as Laurie and Dr. Smith walk in. With a bright smile, she says
"Well, I tell you what, you've certainly got a flair for the dramatic!"
Larissa and West both laugh then Dr. Smith asks
"How are you feeling dear?"
"Sore" Larissa responds
"That is to be expected, Laurie is working on getting you some pain meds now."
"A few things I want to go over with you, concerning your delivery. Once I delivered Carter you started losing a lot of blood." She pauses then continues
"After numerous attempts to control the bleed and giving you several units of blood, the only option left was to perform a cesarean hysterectomy."
"A what?" Larissa mutters
"You mean a hysterectomy?" she asks
West sits listening to the exchange but doesn't say anything
"Yes, we had to remove your uterus. It was the only option" she states then glances between Larissa and West, then continues
"I am very sorry. There was an immense amount of scar tissue and I honestly tried everything I could not to..."
"It's ok" Larissa states
"I appreciate everything you and your team have done."
"Do either of you have any questions for me?" Dr. Smith asks after a brief silence
"Can I see Carter?" Larissa mutters
"Absolutely! I know they took him into the NICU, just as a precaution to check his breathing. But I'll make sure they bring him in as soon as possible." She replies
"Any other questions?"
"How will the hysterectomy affect her recovery?" West asks
"The recovery time will still be the same, about four to six weeks. Her incision will be tender for about four weeks, there'll be some vaginal bleeding and discharge for up to six weeks. And she'll probably experience some headaches and pelvic aches for about a month." Dr. Smith states then her and West both look over at Larissa, who is just lying there with her eyes closed
"I'm gonna go see about getting the baby brought in and I'll check back in on you before they move you to the mother, baby unit"
"Thank you" West replies
At last, after what feels like eternity, the nurse walks in with baby Carter, who is swaddled tight in his hospital blanket. West stands up and walks around to the opposite side of the bed. Watching as Larissa's face instantly lights up as she opens her eyes and sees her baby boy for the first time. A smile like he'd never seen, spreads across her face and as she looks down at him, mesmerized, tears pool in her eyes.
"Oh, my goodness!" she whispers
"He is so tiny" she adds
"He's five pounds, nine and a half ounces and just over seventeen inches." the nurse states
"If you're comfortable enough, they want us to place the baby skin to skin, for about an hour. If you're planning to breast feed, maybe longer."
"Ok" she replies softly still watching Carter
"Skin to skin contact provides a number of great benefits, it calms and relaxes both mother and baby. Regulates the baby's heart rate and breathing, helping them to better adapt to life outside the womb."
"It also, stimulates digestion and an interest in feeding. And regulates temperature." the nurse states as she helps to unswaddle the baby
Once she's positioned the baby on Larissa with a warm blanket she says
"After about an hour or so, we'll try feeding him"
Larissa rests holding Carter for a while until finally they've both seemingly fallen asleep. West steps out into the hallway and calls his parents, who he'd only showed photos of Carter at this point.
Turning, then heading back into the room, he hears Larissa whispering his name
"Yes" he replies
"Where's Joe and Rita?" she asks
"They're in the waiting room."
"You can bring them in if you want" she replies then glances down at the baby
"I wanted to make sure you were ok and had sometime with him alone first" he states watching the two of them
Looking back up at West, searching his eyes, she asks
"Have you held him?"
Shaking his head yes, he steps closer to their bedside, then leaning over West gives Larissa a gentle kiss on the forehead.
"I was with him while you were in surgery"
Placing a hand on his cheek when he pulls back to look at them Larissa mutters
"I know you must have been nervous and scared"
"I'm ok" she adds
Then reaching up giving him a quick kiss she says
"I love you!"
"Now go get Carter's grandparents!" she smiles
Before leaving, West stands gently touching Carter's back then replies
"I love you too!"
Three days later West, Larissa and baby Carter arrive at Larissa's condo. Delighted to finally be out of the hospital, Larissa takes Carter on a tour of the house and his nursery while West heads back down to the parking garage to grab the rest of their things from the car.
Joe and Rita arrive and ride up in the elevator with West, as he's making his final trip.
"Has he been sleep since you left the hospital?" Rita asks
"No, he woke up right before we got here. I think she's about to nurse him." West responds as they make it upstairs. Rick is locking his door when they get off of the elevator but West just ignores him.
Inside, Larissa is walking out of the nursery and has tears running down her cheeks. Seeing, West isn't alone, she quickly walks over handing Carter to him. Not saying anything, she goes into her bedroom then closes the door. Stunned, West looks from Carter to Rita to Joe and then back to Carter.
"We'll take care of the baby, go see about her" Rita states
Once he gives his mom the baby, West says
"There's some bottles in the fridge"
"We got it, go"
Larissa is sitting at her vanity in the bathroom when West finds her.
"I'm so sorry. I..." she mutters through tears, then stands up
"You don't need to apologize." he states cutting her off
"What's wrong?" he asks
Shaking her head, then looking up at him, her eyes red and filled with tears, she whispers
"I'm really missing my parents!"
Embracing her, West says
"Aww honey, I'm so sorry!"
After standing there for a while, Larissa steps back, wiping her face then says
"Ugh, I said I wasn't gonna do this."
"Babe, it's normal to miss your parents. Especially, now. I'm so sorry you have to experience this without them"
"We'll get through this together." he adds
Searching his eyes, Larissa asks
"Do you really mean that?"
Slightly taken by her question, West says
"Of course, I do. Why would you say that?"
"A few days ago, I asked you about moving in with me."
When West doesn't respond right away, she adds
"I know you left five acres on the corner lot, by the resort, to build a house. But until then, you can stay here with us."
Finally having her exactly where he wants her, West smiles then says
"I'd love to, under one condition"
Suddenly suspicious, Larissa asks
"And what's that?"
"You help me, design and furnish the new house and move in with me when it's done"
"I'm hungry and I need to take some pain medicine." she responds moving towards the door
"Riss!" he calls out
Walking up to her, West tilts her chin up to meet his gaze, then whispers
"I'll take that as your answer!"
Giving her a quick kiss, he smirks
Still fine-tuning things at the resort, with the transition of the day-to-day operations, now being handled by Nick. West returns to work after only taking a week off. Rita checks on Larissa and Carter daily, giving her time to take a nap or just rest. Looking back, you'd never know about their unhappy reunion only over a year ago. The two of them were best friends again just like old times.
Having fallen in love with the reality of finally having everything he'd hoped for, West prepares a surprise for Larissa's return to the resort.
Five weeks post caesarean hysterectomy, against West's persistent objections, Larissa comes back to work. Rita watches baby Carter upstairs, in what used to be West's penthouse. With Larissa only working a few hours a day, it seemed perfect, giving her time to go up and pump or nurse him anytime.
When Larissa walks into her office, there's a beautiful bouquet of red roses sitting in front of her computer. When she walks around her desk, she glances at the screen and reads the screen saver
Will You Marry Me?
Then looking back at the flowers, she notices that one of the roses is a rose shaped ring box. Opening the box, she finds a platinum princess cut diamond ring. Then finally, looking up in the doorway, she sees West standing there, with that questioning look in his eyes. Taking the ring box from the bouquet and walking up to West, Larissa smiles, holds it up then asks
"After the past year and a half, you still wanna do this?"
With a bright smile, West says
"At this point, there's nothing I want more!"
Reaching him the ring box, she asks
"Do you still have the other ring?"
"I do, but..." he begins
"It's a part of our history and I'd rather have it. If you're ok with that."
Surprised, West laughs, then says
"I mean, sounds like a yes, but I'm not sure"
"Yes! Of course!" she giggles giving him a long slow, seductive kiss.
"I'm happy to give you that ring, but I also want you to have this one. Because although the other one represents our past and everything we've gotten through, this one represents a fresh start and everything to come!"
Later that night, Rita, and Joe watch Carter while West takes Larissa to dinner to celebrate their reengagement. Once they've ordered drinks, Larissa says
"So, is it me or has Nick put us both out of a job?"
"It's just you!" West laughs
"But that's actually what I wanted to talk to you about.
"Utopia has been my baby for the past few years. Now that I've handed the reins to Nick." He pauses searching her eyes
"I wanna start a new project with you." He adds
Larissa smiles then asks
"What do you mean a new project?"
"I've actually been working on a few things, but I'm open to any ideas you may have." West replies
"Let me hear it"
"Well, we could open another resort in Tampa or Miami. I've also been looking at some SMART condo ideas with Dad" he pauses then whispers
"Or anything your heart desires!"
"Anything!" she smirks with that mischievous look in her eye
And just like that, their course had been set and moving forward together was the only thing on their minds.
THANKS FOR READING
I HOPE YOU ENJOYED LOVE DESPITE REALITY!