Bryan, Bella, Evan & Aria

Chapter One

A new fun idea I had is that stories that could coincide could intersect. Lol I hope you like it.

Aria and Bellas parents had been friends when they were children. They took lots of summer and spring trips together. It had been many years since the two of them had seen eachother so they decided to get together because Aria wanted Bella and Bryan to meet Evan. They agreed on a trip to a cabin where they could go hiking and white water rafting. Evan, Bella and Aria knew how but Bryan didn’t so they would have to teach him. It was a very dangerous area but that’s why Bella and Aria loved it. It made the rafting all that much more fun.

Tomorrow the four of them were supposed to meet at the cabin Bellas parents payed for and sent them each a set of keys since they wouldn’t be traveling together. Bella and Bryan were spending the night at Bryans parents house since they were keeping their two children. They had an early morning flight to catch so they went to bed early. Aria and Evan were at Arias mothers house since she was keeping their daughter. They also had a very early flight to catch in the morning.

“Come on sleepy head it’s time to get up.” Bella said as she shook Bryan. He opened his eyes and smiled up at her.

“Already? I swear we just fell asleep. I feel so utterly exhausted.” He said and sat up.

“That’s because you’ve been having nightmares again.” She wrapped him in a hug. His nightmares became more frequent with his anxiety of meeting someone new. He said it was fear over disappointing her. “Lets get ready okay.” He nodded and they got out of bed.

“Aria, get up lazy bones.” Evan brushed his finger over her nose and she opened her eyes to glare up at him.

“I’m not lazy. I always get up before you.” She stretched and grabbed his hand, tugging him down onto the bed. She kissed him and he almost forgot their flight.

“Always a distraction. We have to get dressed love.”

“Oh fine.”

They all got ready and told everyone bye. They hurried out to their cars and hurried to the airport. Once they were settled on their planes, they fell asleep. Aria and Bella couldn’t wait to see each other. Bryan was apprehensive still. It had been such a long time since his abuse and almost losing Bella to an avalanche, but he still felt scared. Evan was excited about the trip in general. It had been awhile since they had gone anywhere. Completely recovering from his accident had seemed to take ages and then after that he had wanted to spend as much time with Aria as possible.

“Do you think they’ll like me?” Bryan asked after they woke.

“Everyone likes you.” Bella said with a smile. “Why would you ask that?”

“Because I’m not exactly normal.”

“Good, I’m glad you’re not normal. I love how very not normal you are. They’ll like you I promise.”

Bryan smiled and turned Bellas head to kiss her “I’m so lucky to have you.” Soon both couples were landing and they gathered their luggage to hail a cab. Bryan held Bellas hand tightly due to how nervous he was. He hated to disappoint her. He knew that Aria and Evan were adventurous like Bella and so he just knew they’d see how scared he was of things and think he was a baby. Aria might make Bella question why she’s with him. Most the time Bryan didn’t know why Bella was his wife. He had gotten braver but still was nervous about most things.

Evan was just holding Aria as the cab drove towards the cabin. “This will be so much fun.”

“Oh I know! I hope I don’t cause you to get hurt with how much of a disaster I am. Bella and I were always getting ourselves into trouble when we were younger.”

“If I do get hurt it’ll be worth it for you. Don’t worry, I can take pain. Especially if it’s to protect you.”

“I hope our little girl has fun while we are out here.”

“She loves her grandparents. Don’t be silly. I hope Bryan has fun.”

“I do too, don’t make him feel bad about being afraid of things Evan.”

“You know I wont my love. I’m going to try and make him comfortable and have fun.” Bella and Bryan got to the cabin first and went in. They picked their room and set their stuff down. “Can i just hold you to settle my nerves until they get here?”

“Of course Bryan” Bella tackled Bryan with a hug pushing him down on the bed. Bryan smiled and Bella said “They’ll love you, please don’t be so wound up. Aria is really sweet and from what i hear so is Evan. We will have a great time.” Soon Evan and Aria pulled up and walked in. Bella jumped up and ran to the living room “Aria!”

“Bella!” They ran to eachother embracing one another in a hug. Bella walked over to Evan “It’s nice to meet you.” He shook her hand “nice to meet you Bella.” Bryan walked into the living room where they were standing. Aria walked over to Bryan “Hey there I’m Aria and that man over there is Evan.” Aria hugged him and he nervously hugged her back. Evan came over and offered his hand. Bryan shook it “Nice to meet you Evan” Evans firm grip intimidated Bryan a bit but he didn’t let it show.

“Aria tells me you’ve never been rafting.” Evan said.

“I’ve never been a lot of things. I haven’t been into water in awhile.” Bryan replied nervously.

“Aria said you and Bella were on a cruise ship when it tipped. I think I remember reading about that. The odds of that happening are pretty slim.”

“I was on it so the odds went up.” Evan slapped in on the back and laughed. He forced himself not to flinch and gave a weak smile.

“What are you boys talking about?” Bella asked as she wrapped her arms around Bryan’s waist.

“Rafting and water.” Evan said and pulled Aria into his arms.

“It’s still early, maybe we should go swimming. I think the part of the river that runs through here is pretty calm, hardly any pull.” Aria smiled, her eyes pleading with everyone.

“Swimming it is.”

Bryan and Bella changed into their swimwear in their room. She could tell he was nervous. Water wasn’t something he liked spending time in. She couldn’t blame him. She grabbed his face in her hands and kissed him softly. She pulled back and smiled at him. “I’ll be right there. It’s okay to be afraid.” She brushed her thumbs over his cheeks.

“You make me feel so strong.” He said, feeling himself relax.

Evan leaned against the door and watched Aria change into her bikini. She smiled at him and motioned for him to come over. “I need you to tie my top.” She said and lifted up her hair. His fingers brushed her skin and she got goosebumps. “And I’m the distraction. I think you are way more distracting than me.” She dropped her hair and turned to him. “Time to go swimming.”

He kissed her “time for other things tonight” Evan winked. “You are so bad”

“How can I help it when my wife is so sexy?” Aria giggled as they stepped out of their room meeting Bella and Bryan at the door. Bryan knelt down to carry Bella on his back. Evan noticed and did the same for Aria. “Your husbands a good example for mine Bella” Bella smiled. “He’s the best husband that ever was.” Bryan felt prideful at Bella saying that. Evan laughed and they walked the short distance to the river. Evan took off in a run jumping in. Bella laughed “Evan is so crazy. Aria is the same wild woman I remember. I really don’t want to let it be so long until the next time I see her”

Bryan smiled setting her down. He looked nervously at the water and Bella grabbed his hand “it’ll be ok Bryan.” He looked at her gaining confidence and they got in after the splashing Evan and Aria. They all played and horsed around until they couldn’t any longer. Thursday was ending and the start of their four day weekend would be starting in the morning. ” Evan picked up Aria and Bryan copied. “Why don’t we cook for the men tonight Aria?” Bella asked. “sure, they can bond while we cook”

“That sounds great” Evan added. Bryan was nervous to be left alone with Evan. He was already comfortable with Aria but men were a lot harder to warm up to. It didn’t help Evan was taller and better built than he was. They got inside and went into their bedrooms to get out of their swimsuits. They all put pajamas on and the girls ran off into the kitchen. Bryan had meant to stop Bella because he couldn’t find where he placed his glasses. Evan at first waited for him in the living room but when Bryan didn’t come he walked to their bedroom. He saw Bryan looking frantically. “You ok?” The question made Bryan jump. “I can’t find my glasses.” Evan noticed them in the blanket on the bed. He walked over picking them up then handing them to Bryan. “Here they are.”

Bryan was ashamed Evan found them so quickly. “Thank you”

“No problem, why don’t you wear contacts?”

“I have them I just dislike wearing them. Besides, Bella thinks I look cute with the glasses.” Evan chuckled “Come sit with me in the living room.” Bryan nodded and followed Evan. They sat down on one of the big couches together “Bellas parents sure went all out. We didn’t need a place this size.”

“They always go overboard.”

“How old are your children?” Evan asked to create conversation he was sure Bryan would be comfortable with. Evan could feel how tense he made Bryan. “Our oldest is nine and the youngest is four. How old is your little girl?”

“She’s two and ridiculously cute. I’m going to have a serious boy problem.” Bryan laughed “I think we’ll have the same problem.”

“The trouble is we married such gorgeous girls. Now we’re stuck with gorgeous daughters” Bryan found Evan very amusing and lightened up quite a bit. He hoped Evan liked him too. Bryan had never felt such ease around another man so quickly before.

“So how’s Bryan doing?” Aria asked as she chopped onions.

“Good for the most part. You remember I told he was abused. He still has nightmares, especially when he has to meet new men. Evan’s taller, more muscular. It intimidates him.” Bella said as she sliced steak for stir fry.

“Do we need to leave?”

“No, he’ll be fine. It just takes some time. He’s come a long way from the young man who was always looking over his shoulder. He saved me more than once. He’s a lot braver than he lets on. It comes in spurts.”

“It’s his instincts.” Aria put the onion aside and chopped bell peppers.

“He doesn’t understand that though. He thinks he’s a coward.” They cooked the vegetables and meat separately then dumped the vegetables into the meat.

Bryan switched on the TV and bounced his leg. He was still a little nervous. Tomorrow they were getting on the river. He was a good swimmer, but preferred to stay on land. He knew the river got really rough about a half a day from the cabin. He had a bad feeling, but he had been anxious since Bella had asked him to go rafting. “Bella says you and Aria go cave diving.” Bryan said.

“We used to before the baby. We decided to slow down with the dangerous stuff.” He replied with a smile.

“Our kids got their mother’s adventurous side. It terrifies me sometimes.”

“Time for dinner boys.” Bella said from the kitchen. They went into the dining room as Bella and Aria carried the plates out. They sat and ate, the men listening to the women chat about how their lives had been. Aria gasped when Bella told her about the mountain lion and avalanche. She was amazed Bella had survived in the freezing cold.

“How did you stay alive?” Aria asked.

“A spirit saved me. I know it sounds crazy, but something mysterious happened. It was shocking and wonderful.” Bella answered.

“I wish I could experience something like that.” Evan said.

“Whatever it was. I’m just glad it saved Bella’s life. I would be nothing without her.” Bryan said softly as he grabbed her hand. Everyone smiled at the sincerity in his voice.

They ate with the boys saying little more. Aria and Bella were talking almost non stop so they really didn’t have a chance to. When they were done Bella said “I brought Uno and I’m going to finally win” Aria scoffed playfully “Please, you’ve never beat me and you never will”

“That was when we were little girls! You and I shall play until I kick your ass little missy!”

“What about us?” Evan asked semi laughing. “This is too serious to let you boys in on it. You may watch.” Evan laughed and Bryan smiled. Aria beat Bella over and over again until finally Bella won. She jumped out of her seat and bounced excitedly “I finally beat you! Ha! There will be more butt kickings where that came from” Aria almost fell out of her chair laughing. “I’ve missed you Bella”

“Me too Aria, we better not become strangers again! You understand me?”

“Yes mam” Bella said. It was nearly eleven at night and the boys were barely awake “we better get these guys to bed” Aria said. They all went to their separate rooms to sleep for the night. Before Bella closed the door Aria called “when shall we set out tomorrow?”

“Lets not rush, just when everybodies up and has had breakfast”

“Sounds awesome! Goodnight!” Bryan got into his favorite position on Bella and said “I like Evan. He still scares me slightly but I feel more comfortable around him than I do other men”

“I’m glad to hear it. Aria tells me he’s a really sweet guy”

“I hope I don’t cause you three too much trouble since I haven’t been white water rafting.”

“It’ll be fun. We’re going to have you sit in the middle” Bryan smiled and let himself fall asleep. Evan was exhausted and almost fell asleep as soon as he hit the bed. Aria decided to tease him “I thought we were going to have sex tonight?”

“I thought so too then Uno happened”

“I’m sorry we played so long”

“No, I enjoyed watching you. I enjoy you smiling and laughing more than sex. It was a good trade off.” Aria smiled “I love you Evan”

“I love you more sweetness. I hope I’m making your friends husband comfortable. I’ve tried hard.”

“You’re doing great.” Aria kissed his cheek and he pulled her on top of him. Her head laid over his heart. “My heart only beats for you Aria” Those were the last words spoken before they went to sleep. Bryan woke up first to loud sounds in the kitchen. He searched his bag for his contacts since he couldn’t wear glasses while rafting. He found them and put them in. He felt odd without his glasses but this was necessary to make Bella happy so he’d do it.

Bryan got dressed then went to see what the noise had been. “Good morning Bryan” Evan said cheerfully. “I thought I’d cook breakfast since the girls did dinner.”

“Need help?”

“Would love it thank you.”

“What can i do?”

“Take care of the eggs while I cook the bacon and sausage.”

“Alright” Bryan got to work and soon the smell had the girls up. The both of them got dressed and came out at nearly the same time. “Something smells amazing” Aria said. “We’re cooking for you two.” Bryan said. “Awww how sweet” Bella chimed in smiling at her husband. The girls sat down and talked about how excited they were about today until the boys had breakfast ready.

Chapter Two

“That was the best breakfast ever.” Bella said as she pushed her plate away.

“Agreed.” Aria smiled. “I think you two are trying to make us fat.”

“Never in a million years.” Evan grinned then winked at Bryan who laughed. “Anyway, why don’t we all get changed then Bryan and I can carry the raft down to the water. Don’t forget the vests and helmets.”

They went to their separate rooms and pulled on their swimwear. Bryan followed Evan outside and they untied the raft and pulled it off the top of Aria’s jeep. Bella and Aria went to their vehicles and grabbed vests and helmets. Bella’s had a small camera mounted to it. They slipped on their life vests, making sure they were buckled and fit snug. Then they put their helmets on and buckled them. Next, they pulled on water shoes and then followed the guys down to the river with the rest of the equipment. They waited for Bryan and Evan to finish getting ready.

“He looks nervous.” Aria whispered.

“He is, but he knows I love the water so he’s doing it anyway. I plan on tying him to the raft and to me in case something happens.” Bella said quietly.

“He’s such a good husband. Poor guy has really been put through the ringer hasn’t he?”

“You two whispering about us?” Evan asked.

“Just trying to decide who’s hotter between Luke Goss and Gerard Butler.” Bella said.

“We can’t compete with that.” Bryan replied with a smile as he helped Bella into the raft. He climbed in behind her and she took a piece of rope and tied them together. Aria stepped in next and Evan pushed the raft into the water and jumped in. Bella switched on her camera before grabbing her paddle. She wanted to catch everything.

Aria thought Bella had a good idea so also tied herself to Evan. Evan noticed unlike Bryan. He thought it was a good idea. If something happened he didn’t want to lose his Aria. They had to be cleared to take this course, it was a very dangerous one, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Bellas parents had to pay extra so Bryan could go. One thing Bella had learned growing up in such wealth is that money can really buy anything.

Bella could feel Bryan tense as the current really starting taking them. She hoped that he would start to have fun at some point and be glad they were doing this. Bella turned her head all around to take in the sights. They were thrown hard to their right, the raft went almost completely on its side. Aria laughed and Evan whooped causing Bella to laugh. Bryan made no noise atall. Fear was gripping him. It took a lot of control not to let go of his paddle and latch on to Bella. Bryan didn’t know she was connected to him so he was terrified of it flipping and the turbulent waters ripping her away from him.

The water eased a bit and Evan spoke “Don’t get too comfortable Bry. When I tell you you need to paddle as hard as you can you understand?” Bryan could hear a loud thundering sound as they came to a fork in the water that was divided by a huge stone. Simple logic told Bryan that they’d be turning to more wild waters instead of following the steady path the other way lead to. He didn’t question Evan though since Bella didn’t. He figured she wanted more excitement. “Now Bry” Bryan obeyed and they headed towards the rough waters again.

Evan was glad he didn’t have to warn Bryan a waterfall would’ve been the other way and they would have plunged off of it if they couldn’t get the boat to land. They had kept on their course though so it now wasn’t a worry. Evan had memorized the map for this area. He spent hours preparing for this. He was all for adventure and never had worried before Aria but now he prepared more than he used to to make sure she wouldn’t get hurt.

They hit a bump in the river so hard their butts came up off their seats. Bella was thrown back into Bryan, but quickly righted herself with a laugh. She caught a quick glimpse of Bryan’s face. He was caught somewhere between mortal terror and fun. She wanted to comfort him, but they were heading toward a very narrow passage where the very fast, turbulent water could shoot them out and tip them over. She felt her paddle knock against some rocks sticking out of the water. The river started to decline, causing them to pick up speed. The passage suddenly turned and the raft bumped hard before they were thrown back into the wider part of the river. The current slowed and they suddenly found themselves drifting on calm water.

Bella turned around and smiled at everyone. “Say hello everybody.” She said and they waved, smiled and said hi. “How long until we hit rough waters again?”

“A few miles.” Evan said. “It gets worse than this. There are a couple of smaller falls, nothing we can’t navigate.”

“Sounds exciting.” Aria leaned back into Evan, knowing it was safe for now. She breathed in the fresh air and absorbed he warm sun. It felt amazing to be out in nature. She couldn’t wait until their little angel was old enough to do things like this.

Bella reached up and switched off her camera for a minute. “Are you okay babe?” She asked as she grabbed Bryan’s hand.

“Honestly, I don’t know. I’m terrified, but exhilarated. My heart is beating so fast and I’m shaking. I can’t decide if it’s fear or adrenaline or both.” He said, looking at his feet. Bella sat her oar across her lap and placed to fingers under his chin to tip his head up.

“Don’t be ashamed love. We all understand.” He smiled and it made her feel triumphant. She could see he was really trying and she had a feeling they would soon have a break through. She switched her camera back on, catching his happy face before turning back around.

“How about in a few months Bryan and I come to your house with our children so our kids can play together like we did Aria?”

“That sounds amazing. We could alternate visits” Evan was holding Aria while he had the chance. Bryan was actually looking around enjoying how beautiful it looked beside the river. He could hear wildlife now that it was calm. Bryan was glad Bella was recording everything. He wished he could shake that nagging feeling of something happening when they hit the really rough waters. He had no idea what you’d even do if the boat did tip over. He wondered how dangerous it would be if they had to walk down the river on the side. He then started to scold himself. This was precisely why he never had fun.

He decided not to worry because even if something did happen he could protect Bella and get her back safely. They wouldn’t be alone either because Evan and Aria were here. They survived being trapped deep within a cave, Bella and himself had survived pirates, a ship wreck and a avalanche. They were all tough and could definitely survive whatever life threw at them. Bryan smiled at the sudden rush of confidence he felt. It was a much better feeling than fear. He hugged Bella from behind “I love you, thanks for everything.”

“I love you too Bryan.” Aria smiled thinking how cute that was. She was glad both herself and Bella had found such wonderful men to be with. Before they knew it they could see the rough waters ahead. They all grabbed their paddles firmly and got ready. Bryan took a deep breath to keep the calmness he had found when the river was at peace. Amazingly still, even though he saw the rougher waters ahead he was confident and relaxed. Evan quickly gave Aria a kiss on the cheek while he still could.

The waters started throwing them side to side. Bellas jaw about dropped when she heard Bryan laugh. Her heart warmed, she felt so much joy he was having some fun. Evan felt happy too knowing how much Aria had wanted Bellas husband to have a good time. Anything that made Aria happy made him happy. At this point every one of them were soaked from head to toe. The wind started blowing a bit making it cold but it didn’t make them have any less fun. Evan with his dirty mind just made him think that he could warm his wife later that night if he wasn’t too tired again.

They went down two small waterfalls, landing safely at the bottom both times. The water became calm again and they paddled to shore, exhausted. They still had to hike back to the cabin. They tied the raft off, deciding to leave it and come back with the jeep the following morning. They walked slowly, each couple holding hands. “So, are you two planning on having more kids?” Bella asked.

Aria blushed and Evan cleared his throat. “I don’t know yet. We’ve been talking, but we haven’t decided.” Aria answered.

“Talking about it is always the first step toward a yes.”

Evan laughed and rubbed the bridge of his nose thoughtfully. He could see the hopeful look on Aria’s face that he would say yes. She loved being pregnant and loved babies. She had been the most devoted mother, never complaining, at least not in front of him. He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and kissed her cheek. “We’ll talk about this more later.” He whispered in her ear and then brushed his nose over her skin.

“I don’t think we’ll be doing very much talking love.” She said with a wink. “What about you Bell. You have two already. Are you planning on more babies?”

“I want at least one more. Both of our parents have been asking when we plan on baby number three. I just smile and give them a little wink so they assume it will be soon. They ask me every time they see me if I’m pregnant.” Bella said.

They walked on, all of them sighing with happiness when they spotted the cabin. Their legs were tired, their arms cramped from paddling. Bella switched off her camera and pulled off her helmet and life vest. She wanted to take a nice long soak in the hot tub with Bryan , eat something, and then have him read her to sleep.

“Tomorrow we should pack a big tent so if we decide to stay out in the woods for a night we can.” Evan said as Bella unlocked the front door.

“Sounds like a good plan. That way we won’t tire ourselves out to quickly and can relax in nature. Maybe we could make a campfire and roast marshmallows.” Bryan said excitedly and everyone smiled. Bella had been wanting to take him camping and now he was actually agreeing with the suggestion. It made her so happy that he was warming up to the great outdoors.

They all got in the cabin and Bella asked Bryan “Do you want to take a bath with me?”

“I’d love to”

“Great, you get the bath running and I’ll grab us some pajamas” Bryan kissed Bella softly for a few moments then pulled back to say “ok” He half smiled as she went to their bedroom and he went to the bathroom. Aria asked Evan “why don’t we cook while they do that? You and I can take a shower after dinner.”

“How about I cook and you relax.” Evan picked her up and layed her down on the couch. He crawled on top of her and kissed her pationatly. “I love you so much Aria”

“I love you too. I can help cook”

“No I want you to stay right here.” Aria giggled “alright” Evan got up and went into the kitchen. He quickly started preparing Italian Stuffed Chicken. Bella and Bryans bath was full so the two of them took their clothes off and got in the water. Bella laid back into Bryan and let out a relaxed sigh “I’m so happy you’re having fun Bryan. I couldn’t believe when i actually heard you laughing. Then when we get home you’re talking about camping.” Bryan hugged Bella. “I can take care of you no matter what happens. I’m going to try to quit worrying and ruining all our trips.”

“You don’t ruin our trips Bryan.”

“I make you have less fun when I’m sitting there doing nothing but worrying and getting stressed. I realized while we were rafting today that I have no reason to worry. How deeply I love you makes it so I can save you no matter what danger we are in so there’s no reason to worry all the time.”

“You only worry so much because of me?”

“Of course, you’re my world Bella. I can’t lose you.” He turned her head so he could lean down and kiss her. “we’re going to take all the trips you want Bella” They relaxed until the water was cold then got out. Bella could smell dinner so dressed quickly. Aria was setting the table when the two of them came out. “perfect timing.”

“Thanks guys”

“This was Evan. He made me relax on the couch.”

“we are too spoiled” Bella said as her and Bryan sat down. Evan came in with the food and sat down next to his wife. When everybody was done Aria said “Evan and I are going to take a shower now. Goodnight guys!”

“Goodnight” Bella and Bryan said at the same time. They grabbed their clothes and went into the bathroom. Evan turned the water on and then undressed Aria. He practically ripped his clothes off then followed Aria into the shower. He pulled her against him and kissed her like he had on the couch. Evan lifted her up starting to bite at her neck and shoulders. “aren’t you tired Evan?”

“Not too tired to make love to you. I want you so badly. Lets hurry and get clean so I can have you in our room. I can spend more of my energy making you feel good in there.” Evan said then slowly licked up Arias neck biting her ear when he got to it. They washed then briskly got their clothes on so they could hurry to their bedroom. Evan had his clothes off in what must have been a second then threw Aria on the bed. Aria laughed then stifiled herself. “I hope we can be quiet”

“Well you’ve got blankets to bite on if you’re having trouble.” Evan winked. They made love then Evan puled Aria close. “I want to have another baby with you”

“I’m glad because I really want another too.” Aria said half asleep already. Evan could hear her sleepiness and smiled “Go to sleep baby. I love you”

“I love you more” Almost as soon as the words left her mouth she was asleep. Evan was tired too but wanted to hold her a few moments. He stayed up until his body wouldn’t let him any longer.

Bryan was in the ocean again. He was drifting alone in the dark water. He felt his heart thundering loudly in his chest, his stomach clenched. He shook his head and closed his eyes. This wasn’t real, he knew that. He took a deep breath and whispered over and over again that this was just another nightmare. Bella would never leave him alone. He gasped awake, drenched in sweat. He sat up and rubbed his face. Bella stirred and turned over, opening her eyes. She sat up and wrapped her arms around him then kissed his cheek. She rested her head on his shoulder and waited for him to speak. “I was alone in the ocean again.” He said softly.

“I would never leave you alone no matter how big the body of water.” She whispered tiredly.

“I know. I made myself realize it was just a nightmare. I made myself wake up.”

“You’re doing so well. It was very brave of you to go rafting with us and to make friends with Evan. He really, really likes you. I think you made us all happy with your little breakthrough. I’m proud of you.”

He smiled and she tipped her head up so he could kiss her. He tangled his fingers in her hair and found her lips with his. He pushed her back into the bed, his hands already tugging her shorts and panties off. She smiled against his mouth and looked into her eyes as he thrust into her. She gasped louder than she meant to and he shushed her with a chuckle. She bit his shoulder to muffle her cries as he made love to her. They lay panting and covered in sweat when they were finished. Bryan cleared his throat and then kissed her forehead. “I love you so much.” He smiled and tucked her hair behind her ears.

“Ditto babe.” Was all she managed. She rested her head on his chest and they slipped peacefully back into oblivion.

Aria woke to early morning sunlight shining through the window. She stretched and got out of bed. Evan was sleeping peacefully so she would just let him. She pulled on his t-shirt and a pair of sweats. She opened the bedroom door quietly, the smell of coffee greeting her. She moved into the kitchen, smiling happily at Bella.

Chapter Three

“Looks like I’m not the only one that got some.” She said and they both blushed then laughed.

“Always so inappropriate at the perfect time.” Bella said. “Want some coffee?”

“God yes. After yesterday’s rafting trip and last nights other activities I need a pick me up.”

Bella pulled down another cup and started pouring coffee. “Blacker than a coal miners heart right?” She asked.

“Yes ma’am.” Aria took the cup from Bella and inhaled the steam before taking a sip. “So, what’s on today’s agenda? Are we still going rafting and then camping?”

“Bryan wants to so I guess so. I have him do this stuff with me so he can see fear is nothing without bravery. He’s got the heart of a lion, he just has to let it shine.” They sipped on their coffee, just enjoying the silence for a few moments. “So, his dad was pretty abusive.”

“You saw the scars yesterday right?” Aria nodded and Bella continued. “There was a time he wouldn’t let anyone see them. It took me forever to get him to walk around shirtless with just me around. The first time I saw them was when he saved me from a frozen lake. It was the day I met him. I fell through and he came out on the ice and pulled me out. He cut himself on a piece of sharp ice. I took him home and cleaned it up.” They heard footsteps and smiled when Bryan and Evan walked into the kitchen.

“good morning” the girls said in chorus. Aria asked “want some coffee?”

“Is that a real question?” Evan said pulling Aria into a hug. Bella got two more cups down pouring one for Bryan and Evan. They walked into the living room and sat down. “Do you boys still want to go rafting then camping?” Bella asked. “I’d love to” Evan said enthusiastically. Bryans dream last night had dampened his new found courage slightly but he still said “I’d love to”

“Great” Bella said unable to contain her excitement. Bryan smiled glad to see her so happy. “I guess it’s my turn to cook since Evan did all the cooking alone last night.” Bryan said standing up. “I’ll make more coffee” Bella added following him to the kitchen. Aria had been sitting on the floor with Bella but now got up to get on the couch with Evan. He held up a finger to ask her to wait then laid on his side with an arm raised. Aria smiled brightly filling his heart with warmth as he tugged her down. Evan put his arm around her holding her hand as he pressed her against him.

Bella sat on the counter as Bryan cook and the pot brewed more coffee. She just watched Bryan thinking about how handsome she was and how incredibly proud she was of him. Especially for getting along with Evan like he had been. He was still even stand offish with her father so the way he was with Evan was ethereal. Bella had high hoped the four of them could get together frequently. It would be such a wonderful thing if their children could grow up around eachother like she had with Aria.

“Are your contacts bothering you very much Bryan?” She asked wanting to hear his voice. “Not really, I still prefer my glasses but wearing these for a weekend isn’t bad. Why? Miss your nerd?” Bella laughed and a smile extended across Bryans face. “You’re handsome no matter what.”

“Would you mind setting the table?”

“Not at all” Bella said hopping down off the counter. She set the plates out then Bryan put the food on them. Evan and Aria smelled everything was ready. “I’ll refill everyones coffee.” Aria said. She went in the kitchen and grabbed the pot bring it to the table and filling everyones cup. The boys about enhaled the food. Evan got up “I’ll get a backpack filled with stuff we’ll need for camping. I know your mother made sure a tent was here for us. Where do you think she put it?”

“Probably in the attic my love” Evan was about to walk away when Bryan said “I’ll help”

“Thanks”

“The boys probably wont let us help want to go outside by the river while we wait for them to be ready? Evan tends to check everything a million times so they wont be ready to leave very soon”

“That sounds great. Lets let them know before we go.”

“Of course” Aria added. They ran to where Evan and Bryan were and let them know where they were headed to wait. “Please be careful” Bryan said. “You know I will” Bella replied with a smile and a hug. Aria hugged Evan and the two girls took off to admire the water and wildlife. They sat down and reminisced about their childhood until Bryan came running “Ok we’re ready.” Aria and Bella got up and made their way back to the cabin with Bryan.

They all climbed into Aria’s jeep and Evan drove them downriver. He had to pay close attention so as not to bypass the raft. No storm had rolled through and there had been no one else on the river so he knew it had to still be tied up. He was rewarded for his careful effort when he caught a glimpse of the bright red rope he had used to tie the raft to a tree. He pulled off the road and rolled to a stop. They all got out and pulled on their life vests and helmets. Bella turned her camera on before helping unload the tents and cooler. She was very excited to go camping in the middle of the woods and to be sharing something so amazing with Bryan. He smiled at her when he noticed her watching him and she smiled back. He handed her into the raft and then climbed in after her.

“This should be a lot of fun.” Aria said as she tied down their equipment. “Being away from civilization always feels so freeing.”

Evan climbed into the raft behind his wife then untied it from the tree. The current immediately started pulling them down river. He closed his eyes and imagined the river as he had seen it on the map. He knew exactly where they were and that there was another fork in the river two miles from where they were. On the map both had seemed safe enough. They talked as they paddled about what they were going to do once they found a good place to camp. Bella and Aria wanted to find a good trail after they set up the tents and go hiking. Evan recommended exploring a cave and Bryan looked at him like he was a little crazy. “Not a fan of dark enclosed spaces?” Evan asked Bryan.

“I’ve slept in a cave, it it wasn’t very big. There’s just something about having hundreds of pounds of earth above you just waiting to cave in. I’ve never had any really bad experiences with dark enclosed spaces or anything. It just seems odd to go venturing down into the silent darkness of a place that reminds me of a tomb.” He answered.

“Trust me, it’s really a lot of fun. We’ll have to take you to some really amazing places some time. I think you’d love ice caves.”

“I guess I won’t know if I don’t try.” That made Bella smile. She would have to teach him how to climb a rock walk so they could all go repelling into caverns with underwater lakes.

“Looks like we’re coming up on a fork.” Aria said. “Which way do we go?” Evan wasn’t sure so he chose left. They paddled on, hitting rougher waters that threatened to flip them over. He suddenly had a very bad feeling as the water got worse. He knew he had made a mistake, but there was no going back now. The map had said nothing about rapids like this.

Even Bella was a bit scared but she had to have faith they wouldn’t flip. She tried not to tense so not to alert Bryan the water was too violent here. He knew already to spite her efforts. The aura of everybody on the raft told him this was a problem. Seconds later the water slammed hard into the  right side of them flipping the raft over. The sound of the rough waters filling all their ears. This time Bella hadn’t tied herself to Bryan. Aria hadn’t attached herself to Evan either. Thanks to their life vests they came back up quickly.

Evan and Bryan tried desperately to grab onto their wives but the waters were throwing them apart. Their raft was out of sight already but they could see the girls. Bryan managed to grab Bella. Relief along with his adrenaline surged through him. Aria and Evan were still trying to grab eachother when Aria slammed into a rock. She was no longer moving. Evan went into panic which helped him fight harder against the current slamming him around. He grabbed her pulling her head up. Bryan and Bella were trying to make it to the side. It was harder for Evan with Bella limp but this was why he worked out so much. Bryan and Bella made it to the side while Evan was still fighting the current.

Soon Bryan and Bella couldn’t see the two of them any more. She looked at Bryan in horror. “We’ll find them Bella don’t worry. Lets walk along the side until we find them” Bella nodded tearfully. Bryan kissed her “Don’t worry my love everything will be ok.”

“But didn’t you see her? She hit that rock so hard” Bella was choking on her words. “Evan seems a lot like me honey. He’ll make sure she’ll survive. Don’t worry” They held hands and started walking down the side in the direction the current had taken Evan. Further along the river Evan made it to the side and layed Aria down. He started CPR on her to get the water out of her lungs. She almost instantly started coughing up what little water had slipped into her lungs while she was unconscious. He hugged her glad she was ok. He had been so worried. “are you ok?”

“Yeah my head just hurts a bit. Where’s Bella and Bryan?”

“They got to shore earlier than me. Lets walk back towards them. I’m sure they came this way.”

“Yeah, Bella wouldn’t leave me” Aria said semi weakly due to her throbbing head. “Do you think you’ll be able to walk ok?” Evans arms hurt badly from fighting the current. “As long as I can hold onto you”

“Of course” He helped her up and she wrapped an arm around his. He let Aria set the pace as they made their way to Bryan and Bella. Evan was still nervous about her head. He hoped there was nothing wrong he couldn’t see. Bella was almost in a run to get to Aria. Bryan just tried to keep pace with her. He prayed nothing had happened to Bellas friend or Evan. He really liked them and didn’t want to see his wifes heartbreak if something happened.

Bella spotted Evan and Aria across the river. She screamed at them over the roar, waved her arms until they looked at her and waved back. She guessed Evan must have become disoriented while being pitched around. They had to find a way to get them across. From where she was standing it looked like Aria was stumbling and unsteady. She pointed down river, signaling for them to walk. Bryan could tell his wife was worried. She frowned while she walked determinedly down river. He kept his eyes open, hoping maybe they would be able to find something from the raft to help them.

Evan was supporting more and more of Aria’s weight as they walked. He noticed a crack in her helmet. The impact had to have been hard for her head gear to be damaged like that. He was thankful she was wearing it. If she had not been she could have died. “Honey you have to stay awake.” He said as he shook her.

“I’m sorry, my head hurts to bad and my vision is spinning.” She answered, her speech slurred.

“Just try okay baby. Stay awake for me.”

Bryan spotted something caught on some rocks close to shore. He lifted it out of the water. It was the rope they had used to tie down their gear. He yelled for Bella and she waved at Evan to stop walking. “Maybe we can use it to get across.” He said.

“I can tie it to myself and try to cross the river.” She replied.

He shook his head. “No way, I’ll do it. I can tie one end to a tree and the other end around my waist. If I can make it to the other side I can hold my end while Evan and Aria cross and then you can all pull me back.” Bella started to open her mouth to protest. “No arguing. You stay right here.” He quickly tied one end of the rope to a tree close to the water and then the other end around his waist. Bella put a knot in it that wouldn’t come loose. He kissed her then waded into the water, the strong current threatening to knock him over.

Bryan powered through it determined he wouldn’t let the current knock him over. “Look it’s Bella and Bryan Aria.”

“Oh good.” Aria said in a drifting voice. Bryan was pushing his way across. He couldn’t fail Bella in saving their friends. He made it to their side and crawled on shore panting. When Bryan looked at them Arias eyes looked glassy. It worried him greatly as to how her condition was. “Is she ok?”

“I don’t know, her helmet is crack.” Evan said in a heavy voice. I’m ready for you two to get across when you are. “You ready Aria?” Evan askd softly. “Yes.” Evan held Arias hand firmly with one hand and the rope firmly with another. Aria grabbed the rope with her free hand too. Evans grip on her increased as it was harder for him to push through. He was worried about her getting over tired and passing out in the rough waters. They made it across much to everyones relief.

“sit down Aria” Evan said then helped Bella pull Bryan across to them. As soon as Bryan was back over Bella hugged Aria “I was so worried about you. How’re you feeling?”

“I’m ok” Aria said giving Bella a weak smile. Aria also noticed her eyes. “we need to hurry and get her back to the cabin so we can call for help.” Bella stood and Evan helped his wife to her feet. Evans face was a canvace of all his emotion. He was filled with worry and sadness. It pained Bryan to see. It reminded him of the times he had been worried about his Bella. “On this side we can walk straight up. We’ll have to cross the water at that divide before but then we will be good until we make it back to the jeep.

Bryan wrapped the rope around his shoulder to take it with him. They walked at as fast a pace they could with Aria. “Bryan” Evan said and Bryan looked at him “I’m going to pick Aria up and run with her. She needs to see a doctor. Think you can keep up with me carrying Bella?” Evan said the last bit just to tease to make the mood lighter. “Of course I can.” They lifted their wives simultaneously and ran as fast as they could.

Chapter Four

They made it to the crossing point. Bryan and Bella went across first then threw the rope to Evan to get Aria across. Evan set Aria down making her grab the rope. She was getting less responsive. They made it across and the boys ran with their wives again. They were tired, the only thing keeping them going was the adrenaline they got from the whole ordeal.

Everyone but Aria sighed with relief when they finally made it to the jeep. Bryan lowered Bella to her feet and she went to Aria while Bryan unlocked the doors. “We should get her helmet off.” Bella said and unbuckled the strap that held Aria’s helmet on. She slipped it gently off, her breath hissing out from between her teeth when she saw the blood matting Aria’s hair. The helmet had bowed in, the plastic breaking through the inner padding to cut her open.

“I think she has a fractured skull or a concussion.” Bella said.

“You mean funcussion.” Aria said with a laugh then went silent again. Evan was really worried about her. Bryan held her while Evan climbed into the back seat. Bella helped lift her into the back and rested her head on Evan’s lap. Evan talked to her, trying to keep her awake as Bryan drove faster than he ever had in his life. He gripped the steering wheel so hard his knuckles turned white. He told himself Aria was going to be alright. Bella rested a hand on his knee and he grabbed her hand, bringing it to his lips to kiss her knuckles. He was doing over eighty when they made it to town and a police officer on the side of the rode switched on his lights and siren. Bryan glared and pulled over. He rolled down the window and stuck his head out the window as the officer exited his vehicle.

“If you want to give me a ticket you’ll have to do it at the hospital we have an injured woman in here.” He snapped angrily.

“Would you like an escort?” The officer asked.

“It would be much appreciated.” They followed the officer into town and to the hospital emergency entrance. The man stayed until Aria was rushed inside with Evan following close. He didn’t give Bryan a ticket.

Evan gave the nurses and doctors a hard time until they explained all they had to do. They promised after they finished assessing the damage, cleaning the wound and fixing her up. He would be able to see her the second she was able to be seen. It was a brain injury so they’d have to keep her in the ICU over night before giving her a regular room. Especially since she was moved around so much. They had to make sure she had someone near her constantly. They explained that she wouldn’t be able to have him back there until two hours after surgery. It was protocol and they couldn’t brake it even for the husband.

Evan went to the waiting room where he saw Bryan holding Bella. “How is she?”

“Don’t know. Bryan if you will give me your cell number, the two of you can go to the cabin. I’ll call when I can see her. It will apparently be a very long time.” Evans voice sounded crushed. Like it was a strain to push any words out atall. He worried even if they saved her that she’d have permanent damage. They had no idea how bad she was at the moment. Ge should’ve thought to tie them together like Aria did yesterday. The guilt he was feeling overwhelmed him. Bellas voice broke his thoughts “There’s no way in hell I’m leaving with Aria in the hospital!”

“You sure? Even after everything they have to do it’ll be an additional two hours after she’s in ICU for anybody can see her. Then it’s only two people at a time.” Bryan chimed in “well that’s fine, you and Bella are closest to her. I’ll wait here when the time comes. The two of us are staying Evan.” Evan hugged Bryan. Bella was amazed when Bryan hugged back with no hesitation and hugged him ina  caring way. Every time her dad hugged him you could see and feel the tension but he hugged Evan with ease.

Bryan felt so bad for Evan, he understood completely how he felt. The terror of not knowing if the girl you love more than air is alright. When Evan let go Bryan said “why don’t we go to the hospital cafeteria and eat something? I doubt you feel hungry but you are.” Evan nodded giving a wordless yes. The three of them walked the way a nurse directed them too and ate somberly. All extremely worried about Aria.

“I feel so sick to my stomach right now, it’s in knots.” Evan said as he pushed his plate away and buried his face in his hands. He had to stop himself from crying. He was afraid if he broke down now then he’d never make it back to Aria.

“That’s normal. I’ve had that feeling more than once.” Bryan replied.

“How did you deal with it?”

“I focused on tomorrow, on the fight for survival. I told myself that when the sun came up everything would be alright and back to normal. I’ve seen Bella fall through ice, get manhandled by pirates, and almost lost her to an avalanche. It never got any easier, but I knew if I let myself give in to despair then I would lose her.”

Evan nodded, feeling a knot rising in his throat. “I’m trying to stay optimistic, but what if she has severe brain damage and she never wakes up? Or worse, what if she wakes up and doesn’t remember me?”

Bella squeezed his arm in reassurance. “That helmet saved her life Evan, it could have been a lot worse. She could be dead. She’s a fighter, you know that. I’ve seen people with head injuries worse than hers and come out completely normal.” She said and gave him a small smile.

“Did they forget anything?”

“Just the accident that gave them the injury. She might not remember the raft tipping and falling into the river unless you tell her.” That seemed to lighten his mood a bit. He took a deep breath and told himself his wife was going to be alright. He was so scared, his hands clenched together as he prayed she would make it. They left the cafeteria and wandered back to the waiting room. He checked the clock, sure the doctors should have been done by now.

“You need to try and relax. Just breathe.” Bryan said as Evan paced back and forth. He didn’t know why he was the one giving advice. He was the captain of stress and anxiety. He was usually the one everyone told to calm down. “Take a seat before you wear a hole in the carpet.”

“I can’t.” Evan didn’t even look at him.

“You’re afraid if you stop moving you might lose it. Then lose it, cry if you have to. There’s no shame in it.” He sighed and sat down next to Bryan. The minute he touched the seat he felt tears burning in his eyes. He covered his face and sobbed. Bella moved to set on his other side and both she and Bryan hugged him.

A few more hours went by and a doctor called Evan. He stood up fast, his eyes puffy from crying. “I’m a neurologist. If I was in a similar situation I’d want to hear from me first. Hopefully that doesnt sound too cocky.”

“No no I’m glad, is she going to be ok?”

“That helmet did it’s work thankfully. She had only a minor cut on her brain. It caused very little damage. When she wakes up she should be fine. I’d expect her not to remember the past few days since it was over the part of her brain that controls short term memory but she will have all her long term memories and I expect she’ll have no problems with new ones. Really I’m a hundred percent confident she’ll have no trouble but with brain injuries I’m not really allowed to say that.” Evan surprised the doctor with a hug “Thank you. Can I see her yet?”

“I’m afraid not sir. I came down here as soon as I had her closed up. My girl got in a bad accident and busted her skull wide open. I wish that neurologist had done this for me so I decided I’d let you know. The nurses told me how much of a panic you were in. They’ll be putting her in her room soon. Then it will be two hours. Expect a nurse to get you in about two and a half hours. “Thank you sir” Evan sat back down and sighed “See Aria is too tough to let anything get her down.” Bella said in the most comforting tone she had. “Thank you two. I’m glad you didn’t leave me alone. It’s a shame she probably wont remember meeting Bryan”

“Well we will just ahve to see you two again very soon”

“when would you like?”

“Just call us and let us know when is good for you. I know you’ll want to be alone with Aria. Have you called her parents?”

“Oh no, I guess i should. I just doubt I can yet.”

“Let me do it. Bella said standing up.”

“Thanks” Bella walked out of the hospital to call Bellas family. She came back in after about a half hour. “They want another call when she’s up. Can you do that Bryan?”

“Of course” The next two hours were long and miserable. Finally a nurse came down calling Evan again. “You coming Bella?”

“I’ll let you be alone with her at first. I’ll be up in about an hour” Evan followed the nurse into where Aria was. “She wont be awake for quite awhile. It will either be tomorrow or a few days from now. The doctor told me most likely tomorrow though ok?” Evan nodded “Can I hug her?”

“Yes just try not to move her around too much. Be careful of her IVs too.” He nodded again and the nurse left. Evan hugged her genlty even though he wanted to hold her much tighter. “I love you so much Aria. Please never scare me like this again. I’m so sorry I didn’t tie myself to you. I’m such an idiot.” He just stood there hunched over her bed enjoying being in contact with her.

Bryan pulled Bella into his arms and buried his face in her hair. Every muscle in his body was cramped with fear. “I keep thinking that it could have been you instead of Aria. I could be the one wondering what is happening in your head. I feel so selfish and ashamed when I say I’m glad it wasn’t.” He held her tight, unwilling to look into her eyes.

“It could have been any of us and you don’t have to be ashamed. I think of how lucky we really are. If Evan had been tied to Aria he could have hit his head too or become so tangled up in the rope that he was pulled under by her weight instead of being able to rescue her.” She pulled back and brushed her fingers over his cheek.

“I was so scared when the raft flipped, more for you than of the water. I wasn’t even really concerned about drowning. I just wanted to make sure you made it out safe. Poor Evan and Aria. You should go see her and then we should go back to the cabin and bathe. We can bring Evan some clean clothes.”

“Alright love, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

Bella stopped a nurse and asked for directions. She walked quickly down the hall, tugging off her helmet. She had completely forgot about it. The camera was still on so she switched it off. She decided to keep the footage in case Aria couldn’t remember anything and wanted to know what had happened. She tapped on the door and pushed it open, sticking her head in and smiling at Evan. “Hey, how’s she doing?” She asked.

“Alright I guess.” He smiled weakly and went back to watching his wife.

“We’re going to go back to the cabin for a little bit. We’ll bring you some clean clothes and real food.”

“Thank you so much.”

“Would you like me to take your helmet and vest?”

He looked at her, confused for a moment. He had forgot he was wearing them. He suddenly thought of how comical he must look in his gear. He quickly took them off and handed them to Bella. “I can’t believe we’re all still wearing out rafting gear.”

“Traumatic events tend to make you unaware of anything that doesn’t matter. Try not to worry to much. We’ll be back soon with a big thing of clam chowder. I remember Aria saying it’s your favorite.” Evan hugged her and gave her a brotherly kiss on the forehead.

“Thank you so much for everything and thank Bryan for me too. You two helped me keep it together.”

“I will” She made her way back to the waiting room where Bryan stood up going with her outside. When they arrived at the cabin sadness hit Bella again. This weekend had started so perfect and fun. They walked to the room to get undressed and grab some new clothes. Bryan grabbed Bella as soon as she was naked. He pressed her into their bed and began kissing her. He had needed the feel of her body and lips against his but didn’t want to do it in front of Evan who couldn’t even see Aria.

The skin to skin contact made the moment even better for Bryan. He pulled back “don’t look so sad ok?”

“I’m trying, Even though Aria and I went so long without hanging out she’s my best friend aside from you.”

“I know, lets bathe so we can get back to Evan.”

“Can we shower first then soak for a little bit?”

“I’ll tell you what my love. We’ll shower together then you can have a nice hot bath while I cook the soup for Evan. The tub is so small and I want you to get relaxed. You know me, I’m ok. I’ll soak when we come back again.”

“You sure?”

“Very sure” he said in a whisper then kissed her again. He wanted to make love to her but felt it would be selfish to make Evan wait any longer than he had to. They stood under the hot water for a few moments then scrubbed themselves clean. Bryan dried then exited the bathroom. Bella started the water for a bath after rinsing out the tub. When it was full it was so nice to feel the warm water engulf her body. It was amazing to feel her muscles loosen up. She could’ve fallen asleep in that tub.

Bryan got to work cooking. When it was done he filled a tupperware bowl that had a lid and then made two bowls for him and Bella. He walked into the bathroom “that water has to be cold by now?”

“It is but I can’t bring myself to get up.” Bryan chuckled then grabbed a towel. “come here” She stood up and he lifted her out of the tub and wrapped her in the towel like you’d do to a toddler. She put her clothes on then sat with Bryan to eat. “You did really good. Evan will love this”

“I’m glad.” They finished their food then went into Aria and Evans room to get clothes from Evans suitcase. First they opened Arias since the two suitcases were identical. They noticed an unopened pregnancy test in her bag “Bella does she think she’s pregnant?”

“I don’t know, maybe that was the surprise I had to wait for until the end of the weekend.”

“I wonder if they tested her at the hospital.”

‘They always do. God I hope they didn’t tell Evan if they did.”

“They probably wouldn’t think to if the baby is ok.” Bella zipped up Arias suitcase and they opened Evans  grabbing clothes and his container of soup. Bella was now full of excitement and wished Arias surprised hadn’t been ruined. Maybe it could still be intact for Evan if one of the nurses or doctors didn’t tell him not knowing he didn’t know.

When they arrived at the hospital they practically ran to Aria’s room. Evan was asleep in a chair and jerked away when they opened the door. He looked at Aria and then at them. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep. I must have been really tired.” He said.

“We brought you some clothes and the most delicious clam chowder in the world.” Bella said with a smile. “Why don’t you go shower then you can eat.”

“How did Bryan get back here without them telling you only two people?”

“We were running so no one had a chance to stop us. If anyone says anything I’ll just put on the charm.” Bryan laughed at his wife and shook his head. He handed Evan the bag with his clothes in it.

“Thanks guys. I’ll only be a few minutes. Please get me if she wakes up.” Evan left and Bella took his place next to the bed. She held Aria’s hand, watching her face for any signs of consciousness. Her eyes were moving beneath her eyelids. She was dreaming.

Aria was scared. She knew something was wrong. She was trapped in darkness trying to claw her way out. It was like being in a cave with no flashlight. She wanted Evan, she wanted his arms around her. Something had happened, something bad that had separated them. She wanted to cry, to call for her husband who she loved with every fiber of her being. She remembered falling through the air and into something icy cold and wet. Had she been ice skating? She shook her head. That was impossible since it was summer. She heard voices penetrating the darkness, muffled and worried. She listened. Evan, it was Evan and Bella. She felt joy, relief. Whatever had happened had happened to her. Everyone else was okay. She tried desperately to wake up, to open her mouth and tell them she was alright and not to worry, but her body refused to listen.

“I hope she’s pregnant. She deserves something good to come out of all this.” Bryan said hopefully.

“Me too. She looks so pale.” Bella brushed some hair away from Aria’s face. “I feel so bad for Evan. The look on his face was so sad. He blames himself.”

Evan opened the bathroom door and stepped out wearing clean clothes and looking refreshed. “How is she?” He asked.

“Still unconscious.” Bella said as she stood to let him have the chair. “You shouldn’t blame yourself for what happened. None of us knew how bad the river was.”

“I should have tied us together.”

“You should be glad you didn’t. You both could have been injured or worse killed.” Bryan squeezed his shoulder. “She’ll wake up when she can.”

“Thank you.” They all sat together, talking quietly. A nurse came in and checked Aria’s vitals. “Is everything alright?” Evan asked.

“Yes dear, it’s just routine. Visiting hours will be over in an hour. You can stay, but your friends will have to go home.” She said with a smile.

“We understand.” Bella said and smiled back.

She checked Aria and then said “The pediatrics nurse will be here in about thirty minuets to make sure the baby is still ok. That’s a lot for a child a month and a half old to deal with. Be sure to tell your wife the little ones ok when she wakes up. When we were trying to put her under she kept mumbling to us to be careful of her baby.” Bella grunted “He didn’t know.” She said trying to contain how upset she was Aria didn’t get to tell him.

“I’m so sorry sir…..but you would’ve found out anyway when Kim from Pediatrics came. She was so sure about the baby I just thought you’d know.” Evan was speechless. A bit of him was grateful he didn’t know until just then. His heart may not have been able to take the strain. The nurse walked out embarrassed she had spilt the beans to a husband who didn’t know. Evan turned to Bella “You knew she was pregnant?”

“She didn’t tell me. When I was trying to get you clothes I saw an unopened pregnancy test…She told me before we came she had a big surprise when the weekend was over. I put two and two togeher.” Evan was glad he was sitting in a chair. He began to cry again. He coudl’ve lost his wife and new baby. He hoped the baby would still be fine too when the doctor for him or her came back. Bella hugged him “It’s really a good thing you didn’t know” Evan said yeah through his sobs.

The doctor came in with a machine to do an ultrasound. “From what i understand you didn’t know sir. You ready for your first glimpse at your little bean? They are so tiny right now. If you can’t tell where he or she is I’ll point them out.” Evan nodded. Bella and Bryan watched eagerly. All three of them could tell right away. “Beautiful” The doctor said smiling. “sorry but the bay is too small for me to do this any longer than needed. I’ll print a picture.”

“Thank you” Evan said. She shut off the machine and left the room. Bryan and Bella stayed until they were told they had to leave. Evan took a deep breath and decided the time would move faster if he let himself sleep. He scooted his chair close then kissed Arias stomach. “Rest well you two.” He laid his head down and allowed sleep to take him.

Bella and Bryan went home in silence. The day had been so overwhelming, so terrifying. Bryan carried her into the cabin, needing her close. He kissed her as he carried her into their room and lay her on the bed. He climbed in and pulled her against him. She rested her head on his chest, listening to his heart beat. They didn’t say anything, they didn’t need to. Bella fell asleep clinging to his shirt. He watched her, refusing to close his eyes. She was so beautiful, her skin so soft. He inhaled her scent, letting it wash over him and calm him. He could have lost her in the river. It had been pure luck that she had survived. Maybe it had been because she was setting up front. He didn know and it didn’t matter. He kissed the top of her head.

The first moments of consciousness were the most painful. Her head felt like someone had smashed a hammer against it. Aria slowly opened her eyes. Her entire body felt like lead, weighed down and immovable. She was in a hospital. She managed to turn her head and smiled when she saw Evan passed out in the chair next to her. Early morning light lit the room and she could see the absolute anguish on his face. “Evan.” She whispered and he jerked awake. He looked at her, disbelieving she was actually awake at first.

“Aria? Please tell me I’m not dreaming.” He said as he reached out and cupped her cheek.

“I’m awake, really awake.”

“Oh baby, I was so scared.” He leaned in a kissed her gently, his fingers slipping into her hair. Tears slid down his cheeks and he pressed his forehead against hers.

“I’m okay. What happened?” She wanted to hug him, but her arms wouldn’t move. She hoped she wasn’t paralyzed.

“We were rafting and we flipped over. You hit your head really hard.”

“Was I wearing a helmet?”

“It’s the only reason you’re alive.” She willed her arms to moved and managed to lift them and wrap them around his neck. She sighed with relief. She wasn’t paralyzed.

“Lay with me please.” He moved her gently over and lay next to her. He pulled her into his arms and tipped her head up to kiss her again.

“Guess what?”

“Hmmmm.”

“I found out we’re expecting another baby.”

“Oh no. I was going to surprise you damn it.” She sounded so sad.

“I was surprised. We can celebrate when you feel better.”

“alright, how is our baby”

“They said he or she is perfect.”

“Good, I was so worried about my little one. I hadn’t taken the test yet but I knew.” Evan was so happy she was awake, she knew him and everything was fine. He couldn’t help but cry with his relief. “I love you Aria”

“I love you Evan” She sighed “I wish I didn’t feel so weak. My head hurts badly.” Bella and Bryan came into the room. “Aria!” Bella squealed. “I’m glad to see you too but my head really hurts.”

“Oh sorry. Bryan call her parents please.” He got the number from Bella and walked out. “we were all so worried. Do you remember what happened?”

“No”

“Well I got it on camera so we can watch when you feel better. When I called your mom she said she didn’t want you traveling. So my mom bought the cabin so we can stay here until youre perfect. She says she’ll bring your daughter if you miss her too much”

“ok, i want to be much better before she sees me.”

“That’s what your mom thought you’d want. It’s the only reason why she isn’t here.”

“Ok” Aria said in a sigh.”Call us when she can come to the cabin. I figure you want to be alone.” Bella said exiting like Bryan did. They decided Aria was fit to have a regular room now but told her they wanted her to stay three more days to make sure nothing was going to happen. Evan tensed at their words. He thought all the worry should be over but apparently it wasn’t. In those three days Evan only left her side when he had no choice. He was estatic when she could leave.

Bryan and Bella arrived at the hospital and picked them up.When they arrived at the cabin Bryan said “we’ll take care of lunch. You go lay down or sit down with her.”

“Thanks” Evan said then guided Aria to the sofa because she was tired of laying down. His arms didn’t leave her the whole ride and even now that they were in the cabin “I’m ok Evan, you can let me go if you want.”

“I may never be able to let go again.” Aria kissed him “You’re an amazing husband”

“You’re the best wife a man could ask for.”

~The End~

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