Author's Note: Thanks for sticking with this. Also, thanks go out to ididitjustforthis for letting me bounce some ideas off her when I was figuring out how to handle the memory scenes.


Pulling into their driveway, Emma thought she hadn't been this happy to see their house since the day they bought it.

After turning off the ignition, Clay came around to her side, opened the door, and helped her down. "Jason should be here soon with your prescription from the pharmacy. He was also going to stop at that café you like and pick up some food for us. I thought some of their soup would be good for you."

"Hmm, yeah… I'm not very hungry." She held Clay's arm as they slowly walked together to the side door.

"Maybe once you rest, you'll want to eat something. You shouldn't take the pain pills on an empty stomach." Unlocking the door, Clay opened it and escorted her inside. "Couch or bed?"

She looked at the staircase and sighed. "I really want our bed, but I really don't want to go up the stairs."

Cerberus hopped up from his sleeping pad and came to join them. He woofed a greeting, and Clay rubbed the dog's head while considering the situation. "I can help you with that." He moved to her left side. "Put your arms around my neck."

Emma did, and he carefully lifted her, keeping his right arm higher around her shoulders to avoid bumping her sore side. Resting her head on Clay's shoulder, Emma relaxed into him. He climbed the stairs, holding his gait steady to minimize any bouncing that might jar her. Cerberus followed them up to the second floor.

Once in their bedroom, Clay set her on her feet. "Let me help you change into something more comfortable."

"That sounds good." Opening a drawer of her bureau, she took out a short, cotton nightdress with a tank style top. "Help me pull this over my head, please?"

"Sure. Let's unbutton my shirt first though." He grinned as he emphasized the my. Together they undid the fastenings and slid the material off her arms. Clay tugged down her leggings, and Emma kicked them off her feet.

"Hold your arms in front of you, and we'll put your hands through the straps. Then I can pull it up and over your head without you having to lift your arms too high."

Once Emma was changed, he pulled back the covers on the bed. "Why don't we swap sides, so when I lie down, I'm on the opposite side from your stitches?"

"Okay." She fluffed the pillows and settled on the mattress. "Oh, I left my phone in my purse in the kitchen."

He tugged the covers up over her. "I'll bring it up to you along with something to drink. When your dad arrives, I'll get you some pain killers and soup."

Snuggling down into the covers, she yawned. "Thanks, Babe. I appreciate it." Her eyes were already closing as he left the room.

Cerberus hopped on the bed and stretched out along her legs, resting his head on her stomach.

When Clay returned a few minutes later, Emma was sound asleep. Cerb lifted his head and gave a quiet bark. Clay placed Emma's phone and a glass of water on the bedside table and gave Cerb a scratch behind the ears. "Thanks for watching over her, boy."

Emma slept for a couple hours. When she awoke, she lay there quietly, taking stock of how she felt. Her side throbbed a little. Picking up her phone, she checked for any missed calls or messages from her doctor. Seeing none, she frowned and let her head fall back to the pillow. Some ibuprofen would be great right about now. Maybe she could text Clay downstairs or send Cerb for him.

Before she could decide, Clay came into the room carrying a tray with soup and the prescription bottle. "Hey, you're awake. I brought you some food. After you eat, you can take some painkillers."

"I could definitely eat." She began squirming in an effort to sit up.

Clay placed the tray on the floor. "Hold on, I'll help you." He put an arm around her back to slide her up and propped the pillows behind her. Picking up the tray table, he set it across her lap.

Emma stirred the soup and ate a spoonful. "This is good. Will you stay while I eat?"

"Sure." He stretched out on the other side of the bed.

Cerberus made grumbling noises in his throat as he moved over to make room for Clay.

"Sorry, Cerb, but she's my girl too."

Emma let out a snicker, but then sighed. "I hope Dr. Bradley is in touch today."

"Me too."

They were both quiet as she ate. Finishing, she dropped the spoon in the dish and leaned back against the pillows again. Clay took the prescription bottle, shook out two pills, and handed them to her. While she swallowed them with water, he moved the tray to the floor beside the bed.

When Clay lay back down, Emma rolled on her left side to cuddle against him. His arm curled around her, and he began stroking her hair.

A buzzing sound penetrated their silence.

"My phone." Without thinking, Emma rolled back to grab the phone from the table, and a sharp pain shot up her side. "Ah. Damnit!" She stopped moving, resting again on her back while she breathed through the pain.

"I'll get it." Clay leaned across her and grabbed the still vibrating phone. He glanced at the screen. "It's Dr. Bradley." He handed the phone to Emma.

Quickly, Emma accepted the call, not wanting it to go to voice mail. "Hi, Dr. Bradley."

"Hi, Emma. How are you feeling?"

"Okay. I slept for a few hours and I'm a little sore. I just ate some soup and took some pain pills." Holding the phone to her ear, Emma carefully rolled back over to lie against Clay.

"The sleep was probably the best thing for you." Clicking noises came through the phone as the doctor typed on her computer. "I have the results from your biopsy."

"Hold on, doctor. I'm going to put you on speakerphone so my fiancé, Clay, can hear you as well." Emma tapped on the screen and rested her hand with the phone on Clay's stomach. "Okay, all set."

"Hey, Dr. Bradley."

"Hi Clay." Background noises from the doctor's office filtered through to them. "I'm pulling up the file on my computer. It's good news. You don't have cancer."

Emma turned her head and pressed her face into Clay's chest. Letting out a long exhale, Clay kissed the top of Emma's head. Relief overwhelmed them both.

Eventually Dr. Bradley's voice penetrated their haze of emotion. "What you had was a fibroadenoma."

Emma's eyebrows wrinkled as she lifted her head to speak. "A what?"

"A fibroadenoma, a benign tumor women in their twenties and thirties sometimes develop. Often, we recommend removing them in someone your age as they can grow during pregnancy and breastfeeding. But we removed the entire thing during today's procedure, so other than your incision there's no follow-up necessary."

"Could I get more?"

"Possibly, but we didn't see anything else on your mammogram. Keep doing your breast self-exams, but don't worry too much about it. Even if you did have another, they're not serious."

"Good to know. Thank you, Dr. Bradley."

"You're welcome, Emma. I'm always happy to give good news to my patients."

A wide grin broke out on Emma's face. "I'm definitely pleased to hear it."

"I'm sure. I'll let you go now. Take it easy, and call if you have any concerns about your incision site."

"I will. Thank you, doctor. Bye."

"Goodbye, Emma."

Emma ended the call and tossed the phone down on the bed. "What a relief!" She hugged Clay and he held her close.

"No kidding." He rubbed her back as she pressed against him.

They lay quietly, and Emma's voice whispered. "I was so scared."

"So was I."

She lifted her head to see his face. "But you were still so supportive, it made me feel better and not go crazy while we waited."

"The same way you've supported me when I've been hurt or needed help with things for the Navy." He smoothed back a piece of her hair. "We're a team, Em. That's the kind of marriage I want."

She nodded. "That's what I want too."

"I don't want to be like my parents, only together for superficial reasons. My mom was attracted to my dad because he was a SEAL, and he thought she had family connections to help him get ahead. Basically, sex and career advancement brought them together." He ran a finger down the side of her face. "You mean more to me than that."

Emma leaned in and pressed her lips to his. "I'm glad because you mean a lot to me." Then she giggled. "But, you know, the sex part is pretty good."

Laughing, Clay returned her kiss. "More than good."

"But I understand what you're saying." Her gaze dropped as she considered how to explain her next thoughts. "I don't want to be like my parents either. They did love each other, but they stopped sharing things. My dad kept my mom, and me and Mikey, separate from his job. I know there are things SEALs can't say, but he just put up a wall and shut us out. And my mom let him, until she finally couldn't anymore, but it was too late for them to get back what they had."

He tilted her face back up to his with his finger under her chin. "I promise to share what I can with you. I don't want us to grow apart."

"Good, because I want to know when you're scared or having problems." Her tone grew firm. "You don't need to protect me from your job. I'm not saying I won't be afraid or sometimes worried, but I need to know what's going on in your life, otherwise, we won't be living a life together."

"That's what we're going to do, live a life together." Clay kissed her and grinned. "In this house, with our six boys—"

Emma's mouth dropped open. "Six! All boys!"

"What? Not enough? You want more?" He chuckled. "We could have our own SEAL team."

"More! Are you crazy, Spenser?! I am not pushing six watermelons out of my body, never mind more. Two, maybe three kids, that's it. And at least one girl." She poked his chest. "Tell your sperm."

He snorted. "I'll let them know. But our kids might not all have big heads."

"They will if they take after you." Emma snickered.

"Hey!"

Cerb barked from the end of the bed, and Emma started laughing. "See, Cerberus agrees."

"Hmph, the two of you better remember who's in charge of the food today." Clay paused and picked up his train of thought from earlier. "Alright, we'll make a life together in this house, with our two, maybe three, kids, at least one girl, while you write hit songs and I lead the greatest SEAL team in history."

"That all sounds perfect." She rested her chin on his chest.

As he continued to speak, he absentmindedly stroked her back. "Then when we're old, I'll still chase you around the bedroom, when we're not sitting in our matching rocking chairs on the porch at the home for old SEALs and their wives."

Emma rolled her eyes. "You made that up. There's no home for old SEALs and their wives."

"If there isn't, there should be."

"I'll give you the home for old SEALs, but we need to fit in some traveling before the rocking chairs."

"Definitely some traveling, but…"

Together, as the sun sunk low filling their bedroom with golden light, they continued to throw out ideas for their future. Some were far-fetched, but others formed the beginnings of a blueprint for how they wanted their life and their marriage to grow.