Don't Leave Me Chapter 4

Mary sat in silence beside Matthew gently rubbing his head. He had fallen back asleep shortly after Anna left to call for Doctor Clarkson. While Matthew had not been sick again, any noise above a whisper caused him to wince in pain. She hated to see him in pain, but was at a lost as to what she could do to help him.

She was concerned how he would about when the baby woke up crying. Right now, the baby was sleeping peacefully just a few feet from the bed, but she knew that was unlikely to continue much longer. She had briefly considered moving the baby into another room with Anna, but she did not wish to be parted with either the baby or her husband so she decided to wait until until a decision was absolutely necessary.

"I hear the patient is awake," Doctor Clarkson said as he entered the room. Mary hushed him, but a worried glance at Matthew revealed that he was still asleep. She carefully extracted herself from the bed to speak with Dr. Clarkson on the other side of the room so they would not disturb Matthew.

"He was awake for a short while, but he fell back asleep."

"That is perfectly normal. Judging by the trauma to his head, he is almost certainly suffering from a concussion. He will need as much rest as possible in the coming weeks. It is vital to the healing process. What else can you tell me about the time he was awake? Did seem aware of his surroundings?"

"Yes, very aware. He was nauseous and became sick shortly after he opened his eyes, and noise seems to be extremely painful for him."

"Nausea, headaches, and an aversion to noise are all common side affects of patient's suffering from a concussion. Those will fade in time. More concerning is when a patient experiences seizures or loss of memory."

"He did not seem to experience either of those, but as I said, he was only awake for a very short period. Should we rouse him so you can examine him?"

"No, as I said, rest is very important so let him sleep. I will be here at the hospital all day, so just have one of the nurses fetch me when he awakens."

"Thank you doctor," she said as he left. Pulling a chair next to his bed, she sat next to him as she used to years ago when he was in the hospital with his war injury. She felt an overwhelming urge to reach out and touch him, but refrained from doing so lest she wake him. She contented herself with just looking at him, watching the steady rise and fall of his chest as he slumbered.

She was not sure how long she had been watching him when she was shaken from her silent reverie by the baby's cry. She rushed to pick him up and comfort him, but it to prevent the noise from waking Matthew. Cradling the baby close to her and gently rocking him to ease his cries, she glanced back at Matthew who was cringing. Mary offered her finger to the baby who quickly quieted and began to attempt to suckle.

"He is just hungry darling," she whispered.

"Poor lad. It is not his fault," Matthew said, feeling extremely guilty for recoiling from his son's cries knowing the babe had no other way to communicate his needs.

"I will just go find a private place and feed him," she said.

"There is no need for you to go. You can feed him here," Matthew whispered back.

"Oh Matthew, you don't want to see that," she replied.

"I think you forget that I am not your father. I am merely a doctor's son. And besides, your body has no more secrets from me," he said with a grin as he pulled himself into a seated position and made room for her beside him.

"Oh very well," she agreed as she sat next to him and positioned the baby at her breast. It was not the way she was raised, and she was not sure she was entirely comfortable doing this beside him, but right now, she was willing to indulge Matthew while he was healing.

"He is a greedy little chap," Matthew whispered when he heard the soft sounds their son was making.

"I am sorry his cries caused you pain," Mary said softly.

"Don't be. It certainly isn't your fault or even his. If it is anyone's fault, it is mine. I was so happy when I was driving that I wasn't really watching the road. If I had been more careful, I would be fine now."

"You are here. That is enough," Mary said, leaning in place a soft kiss on his lips. As she did, the baby cried in protest at being jostled. "Hush darling," Mary whispered as she repositioned the baby, so he could resume nursing.

"Someone does not like to share his mother," Matthew said, as he reached his hand out to stroke his son's head.

"I think it is more that he does not like to have his meal interrupted," Mary countered.

"He needs a name you know," Matthew commented.

"Well, we had not decided between Reginald for your father or Robert for mine, and I was waiting until you….." she trailed off not wanting to mentioned her fear that he would not wake up or her thought that if he didn't, the baby would be called Matthew. She bit her lip to try to prevent the tears she felt welling up in her eyes from falling.

Matthew understood that she meant she was waiting to see if he would survive and reached up to brush away a solitary tear that was making its way slowly down her cheek. "My darling, you did all the work, so I think it only fair that you decide."

"I think you did some of the work too," she said, feeling her cheeks warm even as she smiled at him.

"Perhaps, but I am not sure you could call something so nice 'work.' You did all the hard work. If you want to name him for your father, I do not mind at all."

"In that case, as much as I had been looking forward to settling the great Reginald Robert debate, I think maybe we should table that until next time. You see I was thinking when you fell back asleep this morning of another name. I have been so lucky my love because I could have lost you twice, first during the war and then the other day by the side of the road, but both times you were saved. I will alway be grateful to those who saved you so I thought maybe we could honor them by naming our little prince for them. What would you think of calling him William Tom Crawley?"

Matthew swallowed hard as a felt a lump in his throat. Rather than answer, he leaned in to kiss her.

"I take it you approve," she said when the kiss ended.

"I think it is perfect," he assured her.

"How is your head?" Mary asked, still keeping her voice low and soft.

"Darling, my heart is so full, I can barely feel my head."

"You might be able to distract me with answers like that, but be warned, as soon as I finish feeing our little man, I will fetch Dr. Clarkson to examine you and I don't think he will be so easily distracted."

TBC

Author's Note: Sorry for the delay in getting this chapter up. I hope you enjoyed it. I am trying to decide how far to take this story. Let me know your thoughts and if you have any suggestions