Safe & Sound

its new, hope u guys like it!!
​I remember you said,
"Don't leave me here alone."
But all that's dead and gone and passed tonight.

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3. It's so quiet in the world tonight. part 1

The rain falling on the hood of the taxi cab drowns out too much of the lullaby Kennedy's singing. Tucked in the crook in her mother's neck, Addison tries not to be upset over barely getting to hear the song, but it's hard. She wishes the rain would stop.

Once the cab stops outside the flat building, Kennedy sticks a leg out of the open door and unravels an umbrella. The driver leaves immediately once she's out, not bothering to help her carry the half dozen bags on her arm with a small child balanced on the other. She learns not to think much of it. She's managed this far without anyone.

After she unsteadily reaches the door, too much time is spent in search of the keys buried somewhere in one of the bags. Addison is getting restless, bursting into tears the moment she's set down on the ground. She begs to be back in her mother's arms.

''Just a second, sweetheart,'' Kennedy pleads, upset by the sound of her daughter's innocent cries.

She searches through the bags hurriedly before settling on just dumping out each one. The keys are found and, quickly, she scoops up Addison and takes her inside, leaving the groceries in front of her door. They're unimportant right now.

''I know, I know,'' she tries to soothe the tired toddler, ''Come on, I'll fix it.''

She takes her into the bedroom and gently strips her of her uncomfortable outerwear. The lullaby she tried to sing in the taxi is working now that Addison can hear it, and her crying has simmered down.

After changing her into a pair of warm pajamas, Kennedy holds the child close, rocking her back and forth.

''It's okay, love,'' she coos, smoothing the back of her wavy hair, ''Don't cry.''

It doesn't take long to get her to sleep. Kennedy keeps humming the song just to be safe as she lays her down in the crib. After kissing her forehead, she turns on the night lights and departs, leaving the door open just a crack.

Still fully dressed in her trench coat and rain boots, Kennedy goes back outside the door and begins shoving the groceries back into the bags left on the ground. Her back aches bending over, but she tries to ignore it. Once each item is tucked away, she hooks her fingers around each handle and lifts.

Before turning the doorknob, she spots a piece of paper stuck beside it. It reads:

Stopped by earlier to check on you. Call me when you get home. -H

If she wasn't so overwhelmed by her busy day, she'd smile at his concern.

Inside, she's forced to put the groceries away as quietly as possible, and once she's finished, she steps out to call him like he asked.

''Hello?'' he answers.

''It's me.''

''Oh, hey, Kenn. Why do you sound breathless?''

She bites down on her lip. ''Uh, I couldn't find my keys, so I toppled the---It's actually an unnecessarily long story. I'm fine, don't worry.''

''Okay,'' he laughs, ''Listen, I'm making spaghetti for dinner tonight. Addie told me it was her favorite. Do you want to come over?''

She wants to tell him yes. She would love to. Addison would love to. But the reality of the situation is telling her not to do it.

''That's really sweet of you to offer, Harry, but I'm, um, coming down with a cold, so it's probably not a good idea.''

She throws in a shallow cough at the end of her excuse, hoping it will seem convincing.

''Oh,'' he clearly sounds disappointed, ''Are you alright?''

''Yeah, fine. Nothing a bit of DayQuil can't fix, but I'd hate to get you ill. Or Miranda.''

''Miranda's not coming,'' he tells her, ''But okay, you rest. Tell Addie I said hello?''

''Of course. See you.''

He bids her goodbye and once the line cuts, she sighs. She hates lying to him, but she hates how easily he trusts her even more.

 




Between tending to Addison every time she prematurely wakes up from her nap and rocking her back to sleep with more lullabies, Kennedy spends her evening busily preparing pasta dishes in bulk to store in the freezer for throughout the week. On her budget, it's the easiest way to make sure there's always food on the table.

At around eight o'clock, there's a knock at the door, which is unusual as most people ring the bell. She turns the burner off that's cooking a pot of penne and wipes her hands on a towel.

She opens the door to find him standing before her. The large brown paper bag in his arms has tiny water stains from the remaining drizzle outside.

''Surprise.''

His damp hair is falling a bit over his eyes, but it doesn't hide his smile.

''Hey,'' she greets him nervously, ''What are you doing here?''

''Since you couldn't make it to dinner, I brought dinner to you,'' he tells her, ''And a few others things.''

She almost tells him to leave because it's not a good time, but his shivering from the cold and the genuine grin he's flashing her make her change her mind.

He's invited inside and goes into the living room, setting the bag on the table. She walks up beside him as he opens it and starts emptying its contents.

''Spaghetti,'' he says, motioning to two large containers covered in aluminum foil and then to each consecutive item he proudly pulls out, ''Cough medicine, peppermint tea, andBend It Like Beckham.''

She can't hold back her smile.

''Oh, and one more thing.''

He unzips his jacket and from inside it pulls out a fluffy pink rabbit, undoubtedly for Addison.

''Kept it safe in there so it wouldn't get wet,'' he explains.

''You're sweet,'' Kennedy tells him honestly, ''Very sweet. Thank you. She'll love it.''

He offers to serve the spaghetti and start on the tea, but her conscience is weighing her down. Before he has the chance to make it to the kitchen, she stops him, taking his arm.

''What's wrong?'' he asks.

''Harry,'' she begins, still debating whether she should tell him but knowing deep down that she has to. He'll find out eventually. ''I'm not sick.''

His eyebrows crease together, silently asking why she would tell him that then.

''Addie and I couldn't come over for dinner,'' she says, ''But it's not because of that.''

''Was it because of Miranda?'' he asks, ''Because like I told you, she wasn't going to be there. She doesn't even know---''

''No, that's not why.''

He frowns, trying to think of what else it could be. ''Am I trying too hard?''

She shakes her head swiftly. ''No, Harry, you're doing perfectly.''

He's not understanding the situation no matter how hard he tries. When Kennedy became so cryptic to him, he doesn't know. But he doesn't like it.

''Then what's going on?''

She feels guilty because the worry lines on his face didn't exist when she saw him in the coffee shop. She's aging him with all of this and after tonight it's only going to get worse.

''Before I tell you, you have to promise to stay calm,'' she warns, ''And quiet.''

Apprehensively, he nods.

''And don't rush to conclusions because the first thing that comes to your mind won't help any of us.''

His first instinct is that she's about to tell him she's married. It would explain why Edith the babysitter called her Mrs. Ellis, but it wouldn't explain the lack of a ring on her left hand.

He's at a loss of a second guess, but he keeps thinking as she guides him past the living room and toward the bedroom. His heart is pounding the entire time.

Gently, Kennedy pushes open the door and lets him take in the scene.

From over her head, Harry can see Kennedy's room. It's dark, but there are small lights illuminated here and there. A crib sits in the middle of the room and Harry sees little Addison sleeping in it.

But that's not what makes his stomach fall.

The tiny space looks more like a makeshift hospital room than anything else. Hooked up to the crib is an intricate looking machine with a digital screen. It's making sounds and it takes Harry a while to realize that its soft beeps occur in sync with what must be a heartbeat.

''I...I don't understand,'' he murmurs.

Kennedy turns to him and reaches for his hand, her own tears threatening to surface already.

''You asked me why I needed to tell you now,'' she begins, ''This is why.''

He's praying that it's not what it looks like, that the words he thinks she's about to say aren't going to be spoken.

''Addison's sick, Harry.''

His voice barely makes a sound when he speaks. ''What do you mean sick?''

''She has leukemia.''

In the back of his mind, he realizes this is what people must mean when they say they felt their whole world crashing down on them. His back finds the wall and slowly he sinks down, taking her with him. He blinks to put his vision in focus but it doesn't work.

Kennedy does nothing but tighten her grip on his hand, bringing the other to the side of his face. She remembers what it was like when she was first told, and this is a similar reaction with the exception of her blood-curdling screams at the doctors.

The warnings he was told before make a bit of sense now. He remembers to stay quiet in order to let the child sleep in peace. Staying calm is more of a struggle, but he's trying. Having Kennedy here makes it a bit easier. The last part about not jumping to conclusions takes some thinking but he finally understands.

He can't assume she's going to die. It won't do any of them good.

''How bad is it?'' he asks after some time.

Her voice breaks when she says it. ''It's bad.''

''How bad, Kennedy?'' he repeats, firmer this time, wanting the real answer no matter how painful.

''She hasn't responded to anything yet.''

His eyes shut tight and his fingers hold on to the pink stuffed animal he didn't realize he was still carrying.

''How long have you known?''

''Harry,'' Kennedy pleads with him, ''Listen to me.''

He forces his eyes open and along with the movement comes streams of tears down his cheeks.

''Come here.'' She rises and ushers him to follow her, knowing that only one thing can mend him at this moment.

Standing over the crib and watching Addison sleep below him is peaceful. He expected to feel overwhelmed with sadness at seeing the monitor attached to her tiny chest and the rows of medications on the changing table. But he looks less at those things and more at her face. More at her long eyelashes batted over her cheeks as she sleeps. More at the gentle rise and fall of her chest.

He reaches down to set his gift for her in the crib and hold her hand. Even in her sleep, she grips his fingers.

There is no hesitation in him as he bends down and kisses the soft skin of her forehead, feeling the cruelest form of sadness that comes along with having a child.



Kennedy sits Harry down on the couch once he's stable enough to make sense of what she needs to tell him. His eyes remain painfully distant and he seems to constantly want to check on Addison, but Kennedy knows those things will never go away. They're part of him now.

''I've known for two months, one week, and six days,'' she tells him accurately. It doesn't surprise him that she remembers how long it's been down to the day. ''I'll never forget when they told me. They had to look after her until my vitals went back to normal.''

She's learned to block the specific details of her reaction out of her memory, but the pain lives on.

''The machine records things like her heart rate and blood cell counts, then it sends the information to the oncology unit at the hospital. They told me it's the best way to help her live a normal life at home. For now. It helps. She sleeps better in her own bed. But I take her for treatment every other day,'' she goes on, ''Radiation. It's exhausting for her. By the time it's over, all she wants to do is sleep.''

 

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