Bill carried his terrified little girl from the mansion as the firefighters raced in the front door. Hope was screaming her little head off in his arms. He shielded her from seeing her cousin, Shark, bent and twisted in the snow as the paramedics attended to him. He had been finishing trimming his facial hair at the bathroom sink when he heard the fire alarm screech. He dropped everything and ran to the nursery situated directly above the kitchen, scooping up his daughter and snagging her winter coat and shoes before running from the house.
After calling emergency authorities, he waited in the yard. One of the paramedics checked his daughter to make sure she was okay after a little smoke inhalation. Once cleared to go, Bill walked down the street to DeAndre and Gala Wolfe’s home, figuring it was best to keep his baby girl from the noise and commotion. He stood in their yard, bouncing Hope up and down on his hip, cooing and soothing her as best as he could. Nothing else mattered right now. His precious daughter was safe.
“I love you so much,” he whispered, squeezing her head into his shoulder. “I don’t know what I would’ve done if I lost you.”
Bill reached into his pocket and pulled out his cellular phone, dialing the familiar number.
“Bill? Where are you?”
Rachel sounded panicked.
“I’m okay. Hope is okay. We’re fine.”
“My secretary told me our house was on fire.”
“It was. It is…” he glanced back at the manor and watched as the firefighters sprayed the kitchen with high-powered hoses. “But it won’t be for long.”
“Where are you? Are you safe?”
“I’m up at DeAndre and Gala’s.”
“Oh thank heavens. I’ll be right there.”
“Oh my daughter, I was so worried!” Rachel plucked Hope from Bill’s arms and held her up in the air. “I’m so glad you are safe.”
Hope looked over at her father, seemingly confused about her mother’s sudden appearance. Rachel continued to hug and hold her child, tears streaming down her face. Gala came out of the estate, wrapped in a thick coat, and bringing a blanket. She smiled and made her greetings and offered to carry the little girl inside. Rachel put out her hand worriedly, almost afraid to let Hope go, but Bill laid his hand on top of her arm and encouraged her to trust their friend.
Once Hope and Gala were out of earshot, Rachel threw her arms around Bill, and bawled.
“I was so scared, Bill, so scared… I heard about the house being on fire… my secretary… came to get me,” she hiccuped. “And I ran home as fast as I could. I didn’t even get my car.”
“It’s okay. It’s okay, Rae baby,” he soothed.
“I don’t know what I would’ve done if I lost our Hope,” Rachel cried.
“But we didn’t. She’s fine. I’m fine.”
“Yes, Rae… yes, I’m fine.”
“You’re all dressed up. Where… were…were you going somewhere?” Rachel asked bewildered.
“Yes, I was going to take Hope to church.”
“You were going to church?”
“Yes. I…uh… listen, Rachel, I know I’ve been a lousy husband. I know that you know that I cheated. That I’m a cheater. That I’m a bastard. That’s what I am. But I want to give our marriage another go. I… don’t want to be…with anyone else. I care about you… Rae baby… and I love our little girl. I know we can make things work… and I think with time… we could even grow to love each other again.”
He hadn’t let go of her. She stayed in his embrace.
“Rachel,” he whispered in her ear. “I’ve lost my dad and mom. We lost Silver, and we nearly lost Shark too. We might lose Dennis.”
“I don’t want to lose you,” he said, sorrowfully. “I was going to church today to talk to Shepherd Tim after service. To seek counseling for us. Would you do that? Would you come with me?”
“I don’t know,” she replied, hesitantly.
“I’ve made mistakes… big ones… I know… but I think we can make things work.”
“Why the change of heart?”
“Rachel, I’m tired. I’m tired of being on the wrong side of things. I’m tired of not… no… of chasing things that have no meaning.”
“So you got religion?”
“No, Rach, just perspective. All these deaths. All these accidents. Life is short, my darling, and I just can’t bear the thought of being shot to death or blown up or whatever without making things good with my wife…” Bill sighed, and touched her stomach. “…and kids…”
Rachel instinctively jerked, feeling the baby kick as Bill laid his hand over her abdomen. His face lit up and he had the most sincere smile she had seen from him in a long time.
“Hey, did you feel that?”
She laughed dryly. “Of course.”
“Rachel, what do you say? Will you come with me? Will you try?”
He sounded so hopeful. He cupped her head with his hand and leaned in for another embrace.
If only he knew…
Quick Author Note: Somehow a reconciliation type chapter felt like a good idea for Easter (even though it’s late Simcember a.k.a. December in the story). A Peteran minister is sometimes called a Shepherd. I’ve referenced this in other stories, but just in case, I thought I’d mention it here. If you want to know more about religion in my Simworld, you can click here. Shepherd Tim is actually Tim Burre, a townie in Twinbrook. His traits are suitable for a pastor, so I left it in. I use the Vicar Career Mod from Sims in the Woods for pastors in town. It also adds a baker and librarian career mod at City Hall. Enjoy!