Mended Hearts

Charlie kept his station in a chair beside Alex's hospital bed. He held her hand. The first rays of light signaled a new day replacing a not so restful night. As a doctor, Charlie could phase out the hospital bustle. No, his own heart refused to let him sleep. It wasn't enough to know in his head that Alex was alive; Charlie needed to watch her breathe. She was lying so still. "I am so sorry, Baby," he let the tears come. For a moment Charlie allowed the guilt from the wasted time during their breakup to wash over him. "I don't deserve you," he whispered.

At the crack in his voice Alex opened her eyes. She hadn't been sleeping either. The past few nights she had woken up to hear him talking like this. "Charlie?" Alex weakly croaked.
"Hey," Charlie smiled. He wiped away the moisture on his face. Charlie instinctively grabbed the cup of ice chips off of the bed tray along with a disposable spoon. Alex opened her mouth and he fed a couple spoonful's of ice to her. There he was. Charlie had never left her side since he ran to her gurney and helped get her into the operating room. He was the first person she saw when she came to after the surgery. When her throat had been wet enough she spoke, "I'm sorry, too- I could have reacted differently when you-."
Charlie shook his head. There was no point in going there. They wouldn't be where they needed to be if it all hadn't happened, "How are you feeling?"
"Better," she managed a smile. They both made mistakes. Her stabbing put it all in perspective. The fallout also gave Alex more insight into the reason for their breakup. Charlie's abandonment issues played into it, of that she was sure. Also the orphan in him had to take the 'ghost' situation on all by himself. When she was stronger they would have a long talk about leaning on one another. Today was a day for fresh starts. "When is the Justice of the Peace getting here?" Alex asked.
"By ten," Charlie answered. Neither one of them were leaving that hospital room until they were married. Most people would tell them they were crazy for jumping back in to the relationship so quickly. Charlie knew better. Crazy was breaking up with the love of his life and nearly losing her because of his own fears.
"I am beyond ready to move your stuff back in," Alex mused, "The apartment is so empty without you."
"Are you sure you're ok with this?" he asked.
She raised a perfectly arched eyebrow, "You're not bailing on me are you?"
"No, never again," Charlie shook his head, "It's just you deserve the whole nine yards- picket fences and fairytales."
"Life is no fairytale, Charlie, all I need is you," Alex insisted.
"You won't regret not having: the flowers, the dress-?" he began.
"I had the dress remember? It still has your blood on it," she fought a shiver. Charlie drew his hand up and down Alex's forearm comfortingly.
"We better get the dressing changed so you can be rested for the ceremony," Charlie said. She used the remote to sit up the hospital bed while he got the supplies. Alex leaned forward so Charlie could untie her hospital gown. "How's it going?" he asked.
"Fine," she grimaced. Charlie heard the grimace in her voice and sped things up. With his hand on her shoulder, he guided Alex to rest into the bed. Charlie removed the bandages and inspected the incision. "All clear?" she asked.
"It's healing nicely," he applied some ointment before trimming some new bandages.
Alex allowed herself to look at her wound. "That's gonna scar," she muttered.
"It means you're alive, Baby," Charlie smiled. He taped down the first layer. When Charlie finished dressing the wound he returned the tools and materials to their places. He took the old gown away and brought her a new one. Alex put her hands through both sleeves. Charlie eased the gown up around her. She leaned forward once more. He tied the back ties quickly. Alex reclined. She smoothed down the cotton. Alex had never imagined a white hospital gown would be her wedding dress, but that's just the way life turned out. How Charlie managed to wrangle a gown that color she had no clue.
"How do I look?" Alex inquired, "Death warmed over?"
"You are the most gorgeous woman I have ever seen," he pronounced.
"Pffft," she replied, "Liar."
"Lay back and rest," Charlie instructed.
"Yes, Doctor," she complied. He kissed her forehead. She closed her eyes.

A few hours later the first people to arrive were Maggie & Gavin. "Knock, knock," they came in.
"Hey," Charlie greeted them.
The other couple brought with them marriage license Charlie had asked them to pick up and the set of wedding rings from Charlie & Alex's first aborted ceremony. Gavin sat the license on the hospital bed's tray, but kept hold of the rings.
"Thanks," Charlie said.
"They were in the safe just like you said," Gavin replied.
"Are you all right?" Alex took Maggie's hand.
"Fine, I'm fine," Maggie answered. She didn't feel like getting into her miscarriage. It was just like Alex to be concerned about someone else no matter her own circumstance. Besides this was going to be a happy day. "And you?" Maggie inquired.
Alex locked eyes with Charlie, "I'm great."
Maggie drew out a barrette from her pocket. She held it up, "Something: new, blue and borrowed." Under great strain, Alex slowly maneuvered to allow Maggie to sit behind her. Charlie jumped up to help, but Alex waved him back. She swung her legs over the side of the bed. It hurt, but she needed to get moving on her own. Three days had passed since the surgery.
Maggie brought out a hairbrush. Maggie brushed Alex's hair before taking back the top layer, including bangs, and pined it with the barrette. Alex turned to her. Maggie surveyed her work. "We need something old," she mused.
"The necklace Charlie gave me," Alex fingered her neck where the aforementioned piece of jewelry usually hung. Her green eyes widened when it could not be found.
"It's right here," Charlie picked up the bag it had been placed in after being cleaned. Maggie got out of the way so he could sit on the bed beside his fiancée. Charlie brought the necklace around Alex's neck and clasped it closed.
"Hello?" a woman in a pant suit peeked her head in, "I am looking for Dr. Harris."
"That's me," Charlie said.
"Hi, I'm Piper. We spoke on the phone yesterday."
"Yes, come on in," Charlie motioned the justice of the peace inside.
"You must be, Alex," Piper looked to the woman now holding Charlie's hands. Alex bobbed her head. "Is everyone here?" Piper scanned the small group of friends.
"I hope you don't think you're getting married without me," Melanda quipped from the
doorway. She tugged her boyfriend Zach in with her. He waved to the group.
"Hey," Alex greeted.

They all settled in as Piper prepared to begin. "Friends, we welcome you today to witness the marriage of Charlie and Alex. You have shared and contributed to their lives in the past, and by witnessing their marriage ceremony today, Charlie and Alex ask you to share in their future," she started, "Marriage is a promise, made in the hearts of two people who love each other. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life's most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other's lover, teacher, listener, critic, and best friend. It is into this state of marriage that Charlie and Alex wish to enter." Piper turned to Charlie & Alex who were still sitting together on the bed holding hands. "Charlie, do you take Alex to be your lawful wife? Will you swear to love, respect, and cherish her? Will you be faithful to her as long as both of you live?" she asked.
"I will," Charlie answered.
"Alex, do you take Charlie to be your lawful husband? Will you swear to love, respect, and cherish him? Will you be faithful to him as long as both of you live?"
"I will," Alex said.
"Do we have rings?" Piper asked.
"Here you are," Gavin and Maggie handed them over.
"Charlie, repeat after me," Piper directed, "Alex, I give you this ring as a sign of my love and commitment to you." Charlie repeated the words as he slipped the ring onto Alex's finger.
"Now, Alex," Piper cued. Alex took Charlie's ring and put it in its proper place while echoing the words back to him.
"You may now seal your marriage with a kiss," Piper concluded. Charlie cupped Alex's cheek. He tenderly brought his lips to hers. They savored the sweet kiss. Their friends cheered for them. Parting, their foreheads rested together.
"Hold it right there," Melanda ordered. She took out her phone and snapped a picture as Charlie and Alex leaned together and smiled for her. Piper went to finish filling out the necessary places on the license. Gavin signed the license as Charlie's witness. Maggie did the same for Alex.
Gavin shook Charlie's hand, "Congratulations."
"You finally did it," Zach patted Charlie on the back.
"Best wishes," Melanda gingerly hugged Alex, "If there's anything you or Charlie need I am on the floor." Alex nodded.
Maggie gave her friend's shoulder a gentle squeeze, "Best wishes."
"Thank you all for coming," Alex said.
"Yes, thank you- now my wife needs her rest," Charlie shooed their guests out. Once they were alone again, he turned back to his wife.
"Hold me?" she requested.
"Your wish is my command," Charlie replied. He helped her get fully back on the bed and laid back into the bed with her. Alex sighed. Lying there together the newlyweds drifted off into a contented sleep. They finally were able to rest knowing that no matter what the future held they had each other.