Crushed (Breaking the Rules Series Book 5)

By: K. Webster

My wife is dying.

With every breath she takes, every second that passes, she dies a little more. I can hardly stand to watch it. I’m not callous and unloving—quite the opposite, actually. I love her so much that I want to kick the fucking machine the doctor is using to assess her because I can’t stand seeing her this way. I want to storm from this room and punch anyone who even looks at me the wrong way in the teeth because they don’t understand how it feels to slowly lose the one they love.

And I am losing her.

Little by little.

Life just isn’t fair.

As if clued in to my melancholy thoughts, she squeezes my hand from the bed. I briefly glance at the monitor and then my eyes land on hers. They’re the saddest fucking eyes on the planet. They gut me.

I can’t fucking do this anymore.

“I need a drink of water,” I grumble under my breath to her. I’ll do anything to get out of this room.

“Jackson, don’t be nervous. Just sit tight. Everything will be okay, babe.” Her words are soft and reassuring.

Why the fuck is she reassuring me? What kind of asshole am I? I’m the one who needs to take my fucking panties off and be a man—to reassure my wife—not the other way around.

I lean down and kiss her forehead. I can’t lose her. I just can’t.

“I’m sorry.” My voice is nearly inaudible.

But my Andi hears. She always hears.

The doctor clears his throat and smiles at me—fucking smiles. Maybe I should throttle his ass. After all, he’s an accomplice in this slow death of hers. My free hand clenches into a fist.

I dip down and press a kiss to her soft lips. Why can’t I just fix it? All of it?

“You see it? Right there?” the doctor asks with a gentle smile.

Andi’s eyes fill with tears. Her hand is shaking in mine. When she turns to look at me, I’m almost torn in two by her expression.

The hope in her eyes fucking shreds me to my core.

“Three?” she chokes out through a sob.

Does God really answer prayers? Right now, he’s taunting me, ignoring my pleas.

“Yep, three. Congratulations, Mrs. Compton. You’re pregnant.”

The excited chatter of my wife is muted as the room spins around me. Where Andi has hope, dread fills every ounce of my being. In that single moment in the doctor’s office, I know.

I know without a shadow of a doubt.

This pregnancy will kill my wife.

Eighteen Weeks Pregnant

“I’m quitting,” I tell him with a quiver of my chin.

He’s standing behind me in our bathroom. I can feel his eyes searching for mine in the mirror, but I take the easy way out and stare down at the faucet. His heat envelopes me and warms me like usual whenever he is close, but today, an inner chill causes me to shiver.

He sweeps a long, damp, blond strand of hair away from my shoulder and presses a soft kiss to my neck. I want to sink back against his chest and have him hug me tight, but I need to be strong. Quitting is the best thing for us right now.

“You can’t quit, Andi. This is what you love. You’d be so bored otherwise.” His voice is knowing and firm.

I’m instantly angry. “Jackson,” I huff out and lift my eyes to his in the mirror. They bore right into me like always. Again, the shiver threatens to course through my body, but I fight it away. “I’m quitting and that is the end of it. I need to rest and take care of the baby.”

His eyes darken as he scowls. I know he’s disappointed, but I can’t lose this one. I just can’t. When two of the embryos suddenly vanished several weeks ago, I became borderline obsessed with the one left.

I need this baby.

I whimper when his large hand snakes around to the front of my swollen belly and he strokes it lovingly.

I need this baby for him.

For us.

For me.

I can’t take any more loss. Even Dr. Sweeney is having a hard time helping me hang on to the barely there thread I’m desperately clutching. My last thread of sanity. Of hope.

“Babe, what about part time? You still need to get out of the house. What if you do your work in my office? I’ll have a couch put in and you can work from there.” His pleading tone tears a hole in my heart.

I’m already bleeding for him. Lately, things just haven’t been the same. We aren’t us. This will be one more wedge between us. Being separated eight hours a day will be tough on our already fractured relationship.

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