Chapter Forty Five

They chose to get some lunch at a nearby food truck with some very original hot dogs.

Jamie ordered how Eddie liked it the works finding a bench to sit while they ate.

"Okay, the first thing we need to do is go down and buy twenty lottery tickets and hope we hit because that's the only way we can pay for any of this."

Jamie sighed fiddling with his hot dog. "We can look into loans or scholarships if it'll help-her."

"No loans," Eddie sighed. "We'll be under the debt and God forbid something happens to one of us health wise...we'll have to look into scholarships."

"Do you agree with this Eddie putting her in a new school," Jamie asked softly

"I know that I see my little girl wilting, Jamie. She is suffering there, and part of it is my fault, I know that, but part of it is she's not challenged, she's not understood," Eddie sighed.

Jamie sighed, he hated to here Eddie disparage herself and she was doing it more and more since Annabeth started school. It hurt him so badly to hear that. "Let's be painfully honest here Eddie, if it wasn't for you Annabeth wouldn't have been born. You are a wonderful mother and your disability does not define you. Your disability makes all our relationships stronger."

Eddie smiled gently and looked down at their linked hands. "I guess it kind of does, doesn't it? I just hate to see her unhappy at all and if I was not in this chair, if I was normal…"

"You are normal," Jamie soothed. "You love your daughter with your whole heart, and you worry about her and you want to protect her. That's normal, and that's good. I love you so much, I love how much you love our kids. This is all going to be okay, honey."

"I just worry so much…"

Jamie nodded, "I see myself in her, school was very hard for me, I was bored, I was frustrated and I had a regular family life, I didn't have the differences she has. I think we have to make this happen."

"I will look into these schools, we can go see them, talk to the principal and see where we feel the most comfortable."

Jamie and Eddie promptly picked Annabeth up from school driving to the Montessori school

She had spent the entire day daydreaming and not engaged in her work. She watched as she drove down the streets

When the school came into view Annabeth's eyes widened. "It is big," she said

"Yes, it is," Jamie replied. "Yes...but there are a lot of grades here."

He found a spot helping Annabeth and Eddie out of the car walking inside

"Well, you must be Annabeth," the principal greeted. "How are you, young lady?"

Annabeth smiled brightly, "Good, thank you," while extending her hand politely.

He was charmed by her immediately. "Let's go to my office and we'll give you some games to play, then we will look around."

Annabeth followed scanning the hallway and taking everything in.

The principal had her take two tests, she liked the way it was done, on the computer and had fun dogs and balloons marking a correct answer

Jamie and Eddie watched her, Annabeth turned smiling when she finished.

"Very good!" he praised. "You are a smart girl aren't you?"

Annabeth smiled, "Mommy and Daddy taught me."

He smiled, "Do you want to see the kindergarten?"

"Yes please," Annabeth slid off the chair.

"Mommy, can I sit on your lap while we go look?" she asked already climbing up onto Eddie's lap.

"Of course, you can," Eddie replied and wrapped her arms around her daughter, very grateful for this.

Jamie leaned down and whispered into Eddie's ear, "When Annabear needs guidance, it's Mommy all the way."

They moved slowly down the hallway, towards the kindergarten room, "At this level we emphasize the three Rs and three C's...and what she is interested in."

Annabeth excitedly stepped in immediately amazed. Kids spread out across the room doing their independent choice

"Oh, look...a house!" The hose was used in history class and showed how time changed the home.

Jamie smiled, "I see a lot of interesting new things Annabeth."

"We will be in touch in a few days with the results and her application status."

"Thank you again for your time," Jamie said

"Do I get to come here?" Annabeth asked.

"We hope so honey the principal is going to let us know."

Annabeth smiled that was good enough for her.

While Annabeth's school situation was in limbo, Jamie and Eddie we're coming up on a solemn anniversary, the anniversary of the accident

Jamie decided they needed to be together, so he took the day off to take Eddie out.

Their first stop was her favorite gyro stand for lunch and a root beer.

He ordered her favorite gyro bringing it back with a root beer

"Remember doing this in the hospital?" Jamie asked. "I would sneak you all kinds of contraband

Eddie smirked, "Yeah and I appreciated each one, the hospital food really sucked."

"I would sit in the bed and feed you bites," he murmured. "Though I can admit now that was an excuse."

"It was?" Eddie asked raising an eyebrow at him

"Holding you close and being near you," he replied. "Thought I was fooling you and Syd doing that."

Eddie smiled, "I enjoyed being close to you I was happiest around you."

Jamie kissed her lips, then wiped a little bit of sauce off her lip. ,"I'm always happiest around you."

Eddie smiled eyes twinkling up at him, "love you Jamie."

That night, they planned a nice dinner and some alone time while Frank babysat the kids with Baker.

Jamie took Eddie to her favorite restaurant requesting a corner table for them to be alone

"Do you remember when we came here first?" she asked.

Jamie's eyes twinkled, "of course I do it was our first date and you looked as incredible as you do now."

"I did," Eddie replied. "Linda helped me get ready for that date and we had oysters after the Circle Line cruise."

Jamie nodded, "that was such a special day I want today that special."

"Every day we're together is special to me," Eddie replied. "We lost so much time, sometimes I wonder what would happen if we met and you were available? Would we have gotten together right off or...still waited till this happened to find our course?"

"I would like to think we would have," Jamie replied. "But you never know. Either way we were supposed to be together."

Eddie leaned over, and Jamie captured her lips with a kiss.

Jamie smiled closing his eyes letting the kiss linger, "I love you Eddie."

"I love you," she murmured as their meal arrived. They headed home after the meal, Jamie had set up the bathroom with rose petals and candles. He wanted to make this as easy as he could for Eddie, this was always a tough anniversary.

Jamie's mind wandered back to the early days of Eddie's injury. His marriage had already hit the skids but he didn't know it yet. He used the injury and the time he had to invest in Eddie to hide...

The night before Eddie was discharged, Sydney turned up the heat pretty hard. Her reasoning was that they might be up and down with Eddie the first few nights and she wanted to "reconnect" before then. "We haven't had a lot of time together," she replied. "I'm working, and you are so busy with Eddie. Now tomorrow she'll be home and..."

"Yeah it'll be hard in case Eddie needs us," Jamie slipped his arms around her waist almost robotically

"She is going to, are you sure this is a good idea?" she asked. "Your work, my work and then Eddie is a full-time job." Sydney cuddled up closer.

"Yeah this is something that I have to do Sydney Eddie is more than a partner she's my best friend."

"I know, you have a very special bond," Sydney replied. "She's a lovely person. Very nice, very sweet, but for tonight, let's just focus on us, you and me..."

Jamie smiled quietly "just us tonight," he repeated softly.

That turned out to be easier said than done. He tried to focus on Sydney, on their intimacy, their marriage, but nothing happened, nothing made it work.

He sighed lying beside Sydney holding and brushing a hand over her back

"I'm sorry," Jamie replied and blushed. "I thought I could relax, I just..."

"I know I know I'm sure we'll get another day to be together," Sydney kissed him.

He sighed, he wasn't so sure he wanted this anymore, and nearly losing Eddie...that sealed the deal.

Jamie gently lowered Eddie into the prepared bath tub before sliding in behind her. "This is much better than the first time we did this."

"Hmm yeah," Eddie snuggled against his chest, head resting on him smiling.

"Do you remember that time?" Jamie asked. "You were still pretty out of it, tried and still healing."

"Of course I do Jamie like it was yesterday," Eddie's eyes twinkled

"You know what I was thinking about all night, the last night before you got home," Jamie replied. "I didn't realize it then, but you...were already taking over my mind, you know? Even in the state you were in, I was in love and I was wanting so much to move on."

"You were," Eddie asked smiling softly at him. "You knew even back then?"

"In my heart," Jamie replied. "When you slipped on the chair that night and our lips were just inches apart, that kiss...I know then."

Eddie locked eyes him, "And now? Do you still feel the same?" She wanted to kiss him so badly.

"No," he replied. "Now that you're mine and I'm yours. I love you even more." Jamie turned and Eddie gave him a kiss.

"Hmm," Eddie smiled melting in his arms letting the kiss last a-few minutes

Jamie cuddled her in the warm water, massaging her back and her neck, keeping his touch soft and in a place where she could feel it. Their lips moved up and over each other, kissing with intent, but remembering that first time in the apartment when their lips first brushed.

I'm not sure it counted," Eddie laughed. "I fell into your lips."

"Oh it counted to me," Jamie smiled at her.

"Our next kiss was better and these kisses that we have now, even better still."

Jamie leaned in kissing her and smiled tucking Eddie against him. When they were ready to come out of the tub, Jamie tenderly carried Eddie to bed. He already set the bed up for Eddie, wanting and needing his wife

Eddie saw this and smiled at him, "You really thought this out I'm impressed."

After they made love, Eddie told Jamie to look in the night stand. Holding her with one arm Jamie reached out to open the drawer

Inside on the top was a picture of him and Sydney at their wedding, both looking so young? Jamie stared at the picture then turned to look back at Eddie, "Where did you get that?"

"I found it in that stuff of Pop's when we went through it."

Jamie sighed, "I haven't seen it for years wonder why he kept it."

"Maybe he didn't know he did," Eddie replied. "It was buried, Nancy found it between some other stuff."

Jamie took it out showing her, "I was so young when this was taken," he sighed

"You were and so handsome..." She kissed his chin.

Jamie nuzzled her, "if only I knew back then what I know now."

"What do you think about us ever telling the kids about this?" Eddie asked. "That you were married before?"

"I don't like keeping secrets from them but I don't know about telling them."

Everyone makes mistakes," Eddie replied. "I wouldn't but jumping at the idea either, but a lot of their friends are going to be from homes where one parent or the other is divorced and they might ask."

"I guess if they ask we might tell them but they are our babies yours and mine."

"Yes they are," Eddie replied. "Our babies that we would not have if this didn't happen nine years ago.

Jamie kissed her head, "nine years ago your right Eddie our lives changed it brought us together"

"It did, you know what? This is not going to be a happy occasion from now on," Eddie said. "It will be a celebration of the day that we turned that corner..."

"And finally realized we belong together," Jamie added smiling

Eddie lifted her head and kissed his lip, I love you so much, and I mean it when I say I would not trade this for the use of my legs or arms again, we have it all...our house, ours kids and each other, we don't' need anything more."

"No we really don't. I love you Eddie, more than anything," Jamie agreed

"Ditto," she whispered and sealed it with a kiss.