Jar of Hearts
Christmas is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas – Dale Evans
Chloe sat in the family room sipping her mint tea, watching the lights on the Christmas tree as they danced to there own tune while lost in her thoughts.
She was now eight weeks pregnant and the euphoria of finding out that they were expecting again had been marred by the fact she hadn't been able to share the news with Oliver yet.
The day the pregnancy test had turned positive, Oliver had been due back from a merger meeting in New York. She knew he would be more than thrilled with the news as they had decided almost a year ago that an addition to the family would be most welcome.
And even though they had gone through the whole "we're pregnant" thing once before, that had been more than 6 years ago and she was just bursting to tell Oliver. She had to stop herself from sending a text, knowing it would mean much more if she told him in person.
She could, she could, she told herself, wait for twelve hours until he was home and she wanted him to be the first one to know this time.
The twins however had noticed something different about her behavior that morning cause she overheard Ava asking her brother "why is mom glowing." That bought a smile to her face.
That had happened six days ago, and while she had been watching Mia, Bart and the twins play Super Mario she had received the phone call that had almost made her heart stop.
"Mrs Chloe Queen"
"My name is, Office Haley, SCPD". Phone calls that started with that were never good. "I'm sorry to tell you that Mr Queen was involved in an accident on the freeway and is being airlifted to Star City General in a critical but stable condition." Chloe let out a sob at the last bit of information. They had come so close, so many times to losing him.
A small hand on her knee bought her back to reality. She looked down at their five and half year old twins, Robbie and Ava who were looking back at her in all seriousness.
"You okay mommy?" Ava asked climbing up on the couch to snuggle beside her.
"Yeah sweetie, just thinking about daddy."
"He's not coming home for Christmas is he?" asked Robbie.
"I don't thinks so honey, daddy's pretty hurt and he's going to be in the hospital for a little while."
Oliver had been in and out of surgeries for the last few days and he wasn't really coherent. She really hadn't wanted the twins to see him like that and Emil had thought it would at least be another two days before he would be able to have any lucid conversations.
"But when daddy's feeling better I can take you to see him" she tried to say a little brighter. "And in the mean time, maybe you can think of something to do for him that shows how much you love him."
They both nodded their heads. They could do that. They kissed their mom goodnight.
Oliver could hear the very faint sounds of Joy to the World , people talking, the IV machine beeping and the faint tap of a keyboard. The keyboard meant Chloe was with him.
His eyelids were heavy and he was struggling to open his eyes so that he could see her. He'd missed her and he'd worried her and he knew she had something to tell him. If his muscles would co-operate he would love to give her a big smile.
It had been during a break in his meetings he'd read an SOS IM from the twins that had clued him into the news from home.
Robbie: Ava asked me if I did stuff to mom's coffee
Ava: 'cept I found out mom didn't have any coffee this morning she had tea
Robbie: What's wrong with her she's like walking around with a silly smile
Ava: And since when does she not drink coffee?
He'd read the messages and knew right away, there was only one other time when Chloe willing didn't drink coffee and that's when she had been pregnant. He was going to be a dad again. He had wanted to skip down the hall of the New York office.
#1Dad: Shhh don't let your mom know you messaged me. I think she has some big news but you have to wait for her to tell you…see you when I get home.
"Hey, Sidekick" he rasped, leading him to wonder exactly how long he had been in hospital so far.
"Hey, hero" she respond, gently caressing his face.
A straw was by his lips and he gratefully drank the water offered. He was becoming aware of an incredible burning in his lungs and the fact that his legs seemed really heavy. His arms hurt but he could wiggle his fingers a little and small head movements seemed to be okay, and he was breathing, kinda.
"Asks the man lying in the hospital" she snarked back. In his current condition he did the only thing he could do. He looked at her in earnest, chocolate brown eyes filled with love and concern.
She melted into the look and went to say something and quickly closed her mouth.
"I had this whole presentation planned….but that doesn't matter now." Holding a small item of clothing for him to see. He let out a small chuckle reading the words before he discovered that hurt.
This is NOT a bib it's my super hero costume
"We're going to parents again."
Even though he had known it, and he was lying in a hospital bed with a myriad of things wrong with his body, he felt an overwhelming sense of joy at hearing her tell him they were expecting again.
"I love you" they said in unison.
"How are the twins" he asked and at that she broke out her million watt smile and her eyes twinkled.
"They're up to something. I hear a lot of shuffling anytime I'm near their room. I think they hijacked one of the properties motion sensors to let them know when I am approaching" she said somewhat proudly.
"Now that you're more lucid, it should be okay to bring them by tomorrow."
"I'd like that" he said before closing his eyes and drifting back off to sleep.
They hadn't seen dad for almost two weeks, which since they could walk was almost the longest time he hadn't been around. And while mom had asked them to think of something to do that showed they loved him, they had decided to do something for both of them. They worked quiet well like that.
"Hi daddy" they chorused trying hard not to screw up there faces at how badly he looked. Dr Emil had very patiently told them that he wouldn't look much like daddy for a while because of all his bumps and scrapes and that they could probably only stay for 10 minutes cause he got tired quick.
"We bought you some things" Robbie said unzipping his backpack pulling out a small tinsel tree and some decorations handing them to his mom.
Sensing that his mom an dad were going to feel bad because this wasn't going to be there normal Christmas he went on "we don't want you to feel bad, Ava and I we're okay with this being a Christmas of a different kind."
Ava had hung up a stocking and produced a digital frame that had loads of different pictures from Christmas's past and put it on the stand by the bed. She then pulled out a jar covered in different multi-colored hearts.
"This is to both of you from the two of us" she said blowing kisses to her dad.
Chloe took the jar and looking at her two cherubs and read the tag aloud "To Mom and Dad, this is a Jar of Hearts filled with the times we knew we loved you and you loved us. " She made a little O with her mouth and tried hard not to cry.
"Open it please". Chloe did as she was asked and pulled out a brightly colored heart and read;
"I know that daddy loves me when he tucks me into bed at night" - Ava
"I loved daddy when he showed me how to shot a bow and arrow" - Robbie
"I know that mommy loves me when she gives me a hug" - Ava
"I know that mommy loves me when she reads me a story" - Robbie
"I love daddy when he sits with me during a thunderstorm" - Ava
" I love mommy when she shows me how to re-wire a computer "- Robbie
"We love that daddy taught us the secret of monopoly and teasing Uncle Brucy" - Twins
And there were at least 4 dozen other hearts still in the jar.
They watched their parent's faces and were happy that they were happy with their gift, but there was some other wordless communication going on. After mom had grabbed a couple of tissues. She spoke.
"Thank you, this is better than anything money could of bought. And we have a surprise for you too. In about 7 months time you will be a big brother and big sister cause were having another baby!"
Eyes wide, looking for confirmation from their dad and hugging their mom, then squeals... "Best Christmas Present Ever" as they both did a little dance.
Oliver hadn't been able to say much, everything had hurt a lot more this morning, but he had still wanted to see his children and they were right.
Having a Family was the Best Christmas Present Ever