Maggie's Marriage (The Cloverleaf Series Book 2)(14)

By: Gloria Herrmann


Maggie understood, she didn’t plan on hiding the pregnancy. It was just that she was now overwhelmed with guilt for not sharing the news with her own husband first. When she discovered she was pregnant with Melanie, she and Michael had sat and stared at a home pregnancy test together. They had sat in Michael’s apartment, holding their breath, waiting to see the results. They spent the rest of the night making love, talking about their plans for the future, and reveling in the sheer joy of the moment.

“I’ll tell them before I leave, I promise.”

That seemed to please her mother. They continued to clean and organize the remnants of dinner until the kitchen was spotless.

Maggie was drying off her hands when Liam walked into the kitchen.

“Mags, you going to tell Patrick and Daniel?” He was filling up his empty glass with water.

“Yeah, Mom was just telling me the same thing. I’m kind of curious how Patrick will take the news, you know?” Maggie’s voice was quiet.

Beth’s pregnancy was the last one the O’Briens had, and Maggie knew it was bound to stir up some unpleasant memories for her brother.

“I’m sure it will be a little hard, but Mags, its been three years since Beth’s been gone. He probably figures you and Michael would have more kids, he wouldn’t fault you for that,” Liam said.

“Yeah, I just don’t want to make Patrick uncomfortable. I suppose that’s why I wasn’t in the biggest rush to tell him.”

“It’ll be okay, I promise.”

Maggie moved past her brother and headed to the living room, Daniel was stretched out on his usual place on the leather couch. Patrick could be heard talking to their father in the den.

Plopping down next to Daniel, Maggie moved her brother’s heavy legs, “Scooch over,” She commanded.

“Ah, Maggie, I was comfortable,” Daniel whined as he straightened up on the couch.

“Too bad. So, I have some news,” Maggie started to say.

“Is that why you came home this weekend?”

“Kind of.”

“So what’s the news?” Daniel’s eyes grew curious as he searched Maggie for an answer.

“I just found out that I’m pregnant,” Maggie blurted out.

“Ah, that’s great, Maggie. Oh, I bet Michael is thrilled.” Daniel’s joyful voice was loud.

Patrick was standing in the archway leading into the room, his tall figure filling the archway. His expression was a mix of things that Maggie couldn’t quite figure out.

“That’s really good news, Maggie.” Patrick’s tone was steady and even, but his emerald eyes held a wet sheen.

Maggie stood up and practically ran to Patrick. A sudden surge of emotional hormones were to blame as she wrapped her slender arms around her brother.

Patrick was stiff at first, but his resolve slowly melted away as he laid his head on top on Maggie’s. They stood quietly together, leaning on each other for support and sharing a moment of mourning.

Maggie could feel her brother’s sorrow leaking from his soul. She knew how much Patrick had loved Beth; they all had loved her. Patrick had been thrilled when Beth became pregnant after years of trying to conceive. They were overjoyed when they found out they were expecting twins. Patrick played the role of proud papa well, doting on Beth, helping decorate the nursery, even attending birthing classes. They had grand plans, charted out their course in life, only to have them dashed about eight months into the pregnancy. It had all happened so fast, Patrick never had any time to really grieve. He had suddenly become a widower and a father of two baby boys fighting for their lives in a NICU.

“I’m really happy for you,” Patrick managed to say as he released Maggie from their embrace.

Maggie’s eyes were filled with tears as she nodded. She found herself unable to speak. Liam had entered the living room and watched the interaction between his brother and sister. Daniel had fallen asleep and was starting to snore.

“I better gather my monsters and head home,” Patrick announced. He hugged Maggie again.

Liam grabbed Patrick’s shoulder as he exited the room. Patrick gave him a tight smile. The O’Brien siblings shared an immeasurable love for each other; their compassion and understanding was deeply embedded in their very souls. Maggie could feel the closeness in that room, even with Daniel sound asleep. It made her long to be back home. She now dreaded leaving Birch Valley more than ever.



***



Maggie’s fingers tapped on the steering wheel, drumming along to a song that was playing on the radio. Melanie had fallen asleep after about two hours into the drive home. She felt uneasy with all the silence in the car. Maggie had scanned the radio for something upbeat and peppy to get her motivated for the journey home. Her insides cringed as she considered what was waiting for her in Seattle.