Charlotte and Travis were expecting their first baby soon after the wedding. Rog’s best guess was that it was conceived during their wedding night, or shortly afterward, considering the time that had passed from their wedding to the first bout of morning sickness. Her own doctor figured she was about 8 weeks along, and everything was looking great, other than the fact that she had awful morning sickness.
Jen Crawford, Bella’s longtime friend, and former talent agent, finally decided to sell her agency and retire. To celebrate, she invited Rog and Bella to dinner at The Tower.
“Does this look alright, baby?” Bella asked as she straightened her hem. She wanted to get one last wear out of that dress before she felt too old to wear it, and she was hoping that was the night.
“You look fabulous, as always, darling,” Rog said, staring at her. “You’re always going to be the most beautiful woman around.” Bella blushed.
Charlotte was by the fireplace, working on some office work, and Travis had a game that night. Bella and Rog let her know they were leaving and headed out for a night of fun with Jen.
“Well, don’t you two look amazing tonight!” Jen gushed over her favorite couple. “I’m getting to be a little old lady, and here you are looking like you’re in your twenties!”
Bella laughed. “I might feel twenty, but the body says pushing 60, Jen!”
Rog shook his head. “Nothing wrong with that body,” he admired and winked at Bella.
Jen nodded. “I’ll never look like that, ever!” Bella was flustered by all of the compliments.
They sat down at Jen’s table, and the waiter brought a bottle of their best wine to the table. “Wine for Madame et Monsieur this evening?” he said, talking to Rog and Bella.
“Just a little for me,” Bella stated, holding her fingers about an inch apart.
“No, but thank you,” said Rog.
“Sure, you two leave me to drink all by myself!” she faked insult, and they laughed.
“I’m on call, or I would join you lovely ladies,” Rog insisted. “But, if I need to leave, I can’t be tipsy.”
Jen ordered some calamari for the table and some nectar for Rog. “So you don’t feel left out,” she winked.
About halfway through dinner, Rog’s pager sounded. Bella rolled her eyes. “Just one time I want to get through a meal without that pager beeping.”
“Me too, darling,” he said, and kissed her. “Thanks, Jen. Be nice to my wife, and don’t send her home wasted!”
Jen laughed. “I won’t!”
Rog drove to the hospital and saw Charlotte’s little orange car outside the Emergency Room entrance. Oh no! he thought to himself as he checked her chart. He fell into one of the doctor’s office chairs and buried his head in his hands.
“What’s wrong, boss?” asked one of the nurses on duty.
“The girl in room 3. The miscarriage. She’s my daughter.”
“I just saw Dr. Myles in with her not long ago. She is in good hands, Doc.” The nurse put his hand on Rog’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, man. I know you were looking forward to your first grandbaby.”
He went into the restroom and splashed some cold water on his face. He knew nothing good was going to come of this, and he dreaded having to be the person to tell Bella.
He walked into Charlotte’s room, and she and Travis were locked in an embrace. “Oh no,” he said, his heart breaking in two. “Oh, princess.” They both looked at him with tears flowing freely down their faces. “I wish this wasn’t happening. You don’t deserve this.” He kissed Charlotte’s forehead. “I’m so sorry.”
He left the room and was angry. Angry that someone pulled him away from dinner for this. That he had to leave his wife and her best friend to come and get this terrible news, and he could do nothing to make it better or even help. And now… now he had to go home and tell the love of his life that same awful news. “Why did you page me for this? Her doctor has this under control!”
“I’m sorry, Dr. St John. We thought you would want to come check on her.”
He moved away from earshot of Charlotte’s room. “This was not my emergency, and it’s not a trauma, not my problem! How did you think I would be helpful here?” He started to shake. “I’m sorry,” he apologized, unable to keep his cool.
“We’re sorry doctor. We really thought you’d want to be here.”
“It should have been HER call, not yours.” Rog grabbed his phone and beeper. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
Bella had texted him while he was at the hospital, saying she was already home. He drove his old minivan to the house and parked in the driveway. How am I going to tell her? He wondered. What do I say?
Rog walked into the house to Bella calling for Charlotte. “Rog, she isn’t home!” she said, panicked, almost crying.
“She… she was my page at the hospital, darling.” There was no easy way to say it.
“What’s wrong, Rog? Is she okay? The baby…” Bella knew by the look on his face. “Oh no…” she cried, slumping to the floor. She sat and cried for a few moments, and then suddenly stopped. “My baby girl.” She stood up and grabbed her keys, heading for the garage.
“Where are you going?” Rog asked.
“To the hospital,” she said, and Rog ran after her.
“No, darling,” he said, restraining her as she tried to fight him. “Let them be, honey.” She collapsed into his arms, sobbing.
Charlotte returned home from the hospital the next day after staying the night for observation. Travis was with her when they walked through the back door, his arm around her, shielding her, protecting her.. Bella, who was in the living room, saw them walk into the house, but kept her distance against her every instinct. But, she didn’t want to be ‘that’ mother, overbearing and overprotective. She’s a grown woman now, Bella told herself. Her husband is there for her now. But when she saw Charlotte’s face, her spirit broken, she couldn’t help herself.
“Mama,” Charlotte cried, running to Bella.
“Oh, baby girl,” she cried, wrapping Charlotte in her arms. “I’m so sorry honey.” Travis stood off to the side, watching Charlotte carefully. “Travis,” she said, motioning him to her for a hug. “I’m so sorry.” She gave Charlotte a kiss on her forehead.
Cautiously he approached Bella and allowed her to hug him. “Me too,” Travis said, holding back tears. “Me too.” He pulled back and held his arms open for Charlotte, and she went to him. “She’s tired, Bella. They didn’t let her sleep all night.” He carried her upstairs and tucked her into bed, and went back downstairs.
“Would you like some coffee, Travis?” Bella offered. “You look beat up.” He nodded, and she poured a cup.
“Thanks, Bella.” He stirred some cream and a bit of sugar into it, and sat at the counter with her.
“So, what’s next?” Bella asked, curious. She’d never known anyone who had gone through a miscarriage before.
“Well, the doctor wanted to do a procedure, but it wasn’t without its risks. We decided to let the process occur naturally, so she’ll probably bleed for a few more days, and it will be over on its own. She has been poked, prodded and examined seven ways from Sunday. They really wanted to do the D&C, but she was adamant.” He opened his wallet and pulled out a prescription. “She’s supposed to take these for pain if she needs them, and I suspect she will. She’s hurting pretty badly right now. I need to go fill this while she’s asleep.”
“Why don’t you stay with her, Travis? I’ll go and fill it for her.”
He nodded. “Thank you, Bella. I’d appreciate that.” He yawned as he sipped his coffee. “This isn’t going to make up for 9 hours of lost sleep, that’s for sure.”
“No, I’d guess not,” Bella said. Taking the prescription, she grabbed her keys. “I’ll be back soon, Travis. Take good care of your girl.” He nodded.
In the car on the way out, she dialed Jen’s cell number. “Hey, girlfriend!” Jen greeted her on the other end. “What’s shakin’?”
“Jen, I have some bad news,” Bella cried. “Charlotte… she lost her baby last night.”
She heard Jen choke up and start to cry. “You’ve got to be joking me. Please say you’re pulling my leg…”
“I’m afraid it’s true, Jen.”
“Oh no!” Jen cried. “I’m so sorry, honey. This is so tragic.” She sniffled. “Is that why Rog had to leave?” After all the heartache the family had suffered, this was the last thing they needed. There was no greater pain, and she felt awful for Charlotte and Travis.
“Yes. He wasn’t very happy about being paged for it, either. He was helpless to stop anything.” She parked the car at the pharmacy. “I’m out to pick up some pain medication for her, so I thought I’d call and let you know.”
“Thank you, Bella. Let me know how I can help out.” Jen offered, and they hung up after a few more minutes.
The pharmacy only took a few minutes to fill Charlotte’s prescription, and Bella was on her way home. Rog called her from work.
“Hey, darling,” he said, “How is she?”
“I don’t know, baby. Travis is home with her. I came out to fill a prescription, but I’m on my way home now.”
“She looked pretty beat when she was discharged this morning. She declined a D&C, which I think was a smart move. Natural is better, but honestly, that isn’t my specialty.” He was just talking to fill space in the conversation. He knew that Bella knew everything he was saying.
“Yes, baby, she went right up to bed. Travis said they didn’t let her sleep all night.”
“They never do.” He felt like there was nothing left to say. “I’ll be home soon, I just wanted to check-in.”
“See you later, my love,” she said, and hung up the phone.
It was well past 6pm, and they hadn’t been downstairs all day, though the prescription she had gotten for them had been retrieved from the table by the door. Bella was worried, but Rog talked her into just leaving them alone. “When she’s hungry, darling, she’ll come downstairs. They need time to process this.”
“You seem to be handling this just fine,” she said. She searched his face for any trace of emotion, but she couldn’t find any.
“Crying won’t bring the baby back, darling,” he said very matter-of-factly. “We all just have to accept it and move on.”
“Easy for you to say, doctor.” Bella wasn’t happy with him. She felt he was being insensitive when she needed him to comfort her. She knew she couldn’t turn to Charlotte, and Rog wasn’t providing her with what she needed.
“I’m sorry, love,” he said. “It’s the doctor in me. We see loss every day. Of course, this has affected me. I didn’t sleep last night. I can’t concentrate at work.” He hugged her close. “I hate seeing you in this much emotional pain. We’ve already suffered so much…”
“I’m tired Rog,” she said. “I need to call Christopher, and I’m going to bed.”
Bella dialed Chris’ number. No answer, so she left a message. “Christopher, it’s your mama. Call me when you have a chance. I love you.”
She dragged herself upstairs, and was tempted to knock on their door, but thought the better of it. Instead, she changed into the nightie she knew Rog loved, and waited for him, needing him desperately.
“Cade is pregnant!” Chris announced on the phone. “She’s about 9 weeks along, and she’s doing great!” Chris almost felt bad, but he knew Bella needed some good news.
“Oh Chris, that is fantastic!” Bella was so happy for them.
“Yeah, we’re pretty excited!” Chris told her. “She isn’t even that sick, but the doctor said she might still have some morning sickness before her second trimester.”
“I was sick with you for months, even into the second trimester,” Bella said. “In fact, I had a difficult pregnancy with you, which is why you don’t have a little brother or sister.”
Chris laughed. “I’m sorry,” he teased. “But then again, not sorry.” Bella chuckled. They spoke for a few more minutes and then hung up.
Rog was on his way home from work and stopped to buy some flowers for Bella at a little vendor on the street near Verde Park. “Do you have lilies? White, preferably.”
“I do, Doctor,” the clerk said, noting his coat and name badge. “What are we celebrating today?”
“Just surprising my amazing wife with her favorite flowers.”
The clerk smiled. “Aww! How sweet.”
“Thank you so much,” Rog said, as he paid for the flowers and got back into his car. “I will be back!”
He parked his car in the driveway, and made sure to leave room for Charlotte to get out for work later on. Bella was dusting when he walked through the door.
“Hey darling,” he greeted her. She dropped her rag and ran to him. After all these years together, she still missed him when they were apart.
She sniffed the air around him. “Mmmm. I smell something beautiful,” she said, flirting.
Following her lead, he sniffed her. “Me too!” She blushed.
“That isn’t what I meant,” she replied, smiling.
He grinned. “Oh, I know, but I couldn’t help myself,” he said, presenting the bouquet of lilies to her.
“Oh Rog,” she exclaimed. “These are lovely! Thank you, sweetheart.”
“For you, my darling, anything.” He kissed her hand.
“Oh!” she remembered. “Christopher called this morning. Cade is expecting!” She smiled brightly, beaming at the news. She walked to the kitchen to grab a vase and fill it with water.
“You just made my day, love,” he said, wrapping his arms around her. “We should have them over for dinner soon.”
“I can do that,” she answered, arranging the lilies, breathing in their sweet aroma.
“What can you do?” Charlotte asked, as she sleepily descended the steps.
“Have Christopher and Cade over for dinner. Have you talked to your brother, Charlotte? Cade is expecting.” Bella wasn’t sure that blurting the news out was very sensitive, but she was going to find out eventually, especially when she went to have her hair done at the salon. Cade had quit her job at the coffeehouse and started doing makeovers. She loved her work and she was particularly good at it..
“No, I hadn’t heard.” Charlotte sighed. “I’m happy for them.”
“I’m sorry baby girl,” Bella apologized. “I didn’t think before I spoke.”
“Mama, it’s okay.” Six months was plenty of time to feel better, and she truly did feel better. She and Travis had made peace with her miscarriage, and they were actively trying to get pregnant.
Bella smiled. “Have you been feeling okay, princess?”
“Never better,” she replied. “But, I do need some coffee. I need to stay awake all night, and I feel like I’m up way too early.” She walked to their new coffee maker, a single cup espresso maker, and brewed a cup. “Why didn’t we buy one of these earlier? This thing is fantastic!”
“Good question,” Rog quipped. “Waited until I’m almost ready to retire, and then we got a fancy new coffee maker.” He feigned disappointment.
“Did Trav go to work already?” She missed seeing him off. That was part of her routine since her shift change five months ago.
“Yes, sweetheart,” Bella answered. “His coach called him in early for practice.” Charlotte sighed, sipped her coffee, and picked up her research notes to review before her shift.
“I forgot to tell you, love,” Rog remembered. “I’m starting to get the feeling the admin wants me to retire.”
“What makes you think so?” she asked.
“Well, it could be the email I got asking when I’m going to retire,” he laughed. “Just because they want me to, maybe I’ll stick around until the Reaper comes, just to spite them.”
Bella smiled, but suddenly felt old. Retirement. That only happens to old people, she thought. But she knew she was fooling herself with her hair color appointments. It was only a matter of time before the grey hair would outnumber the red hair. “I feel old, Rog.” Bella sighed.
“You still look like you’re twenty to me.” He hugged her and they kissed.
Charlotte rolled her eyes with a coy grin. “Get a room,” she said. Without missing a beat, they both nodded, and headed upstairs.
Christopher and Cade welcomed twin boys later that year, Nicholas and Gregory St John, Bella and Rog’s first grandchildren. Chris was there when she gave birth and nearly passed out. Bella laughed at his story-telling while he relived the event.
“Mom, there is just so much blood! They don’t come out nice and clean like they do on television.” He almost looked like he was ready to pass out, just from retelling it. But he smiled at his infant son, cradled in his father’s arm, and smiled. They were both worth it.
“No, son, they don’t!” Rog laughed. “But you and Cade made some pretty cute little boys.” He was absolutely in love with the little bundle of joy that lay sleeping in his arms.
“I concur,” Bella agreed, holding the other twin. She cooed over her grandson, while Cade got some rest. “If you ever need help, Chris, don’t be afraid to call me. I have nothing but time.”
“Thanks, Mom,” Chris replied. “I think we’re going to hire some help while they are little, just so Cady doesn’t have to do so much on her own.” Cade was planning on quitting her job and being a stay at home mom. Chris was doing so well in his job that they didn’t need the money, and Cade didn’t want to miss a moment of their growing up.
“The offer still stands, sweetheart,” Bella offered.
About a year later…
Shortly after their third wedding anniversary, when Chris’ boys were just about 15 months old, Charlotte became pregnant with their rainbow baby. Because of the trauma of the miscarriage, they decided to wait to announce it until she was past the first three months of pregnancy, when it seemed less likely something awful would happen. But at week 13, everything was going smoothly, and the doctor was pleased with Charlotte’s progress. The only thing Charlotte detested was the constant morning sickness, and it lasted well into her second trimester.
“Charlotte, if you don’t start keeping food down, honey, I’m going to suggest bed rest,” Rog told her. Obstetrics was not his forte, but he knew that the baby couldn’t grow if she couldn’t eat.
“Dr. Myles says I’m fine, Daddy,” she told him, as she nibbled on crackers and sipped ginger tea.
“I worry about you, princess,” he said, concerned. “You’re too thin as it is, and a baby needs nourishment.”
“I’m a doctor too, you know. You’re preaching to the choir.”
Travis’ footsteps made their way into the argument between Charlotte and Rog. “Travis, tell your wife she needs to gain some weight with this baby.”
Travis was no genius, but he knew enough to stay out of an argument involving his father-in-law and his wife, especially when the opposing side was suggesting his wife gain weight. “I’m staying out of this one, sorry Rog.” He walked to Charlotte and rubbed her growing belly. “How’s our little one today?”
“Growing up a storm!” Charlotte beamed. He leaned to kiss her, and the smell of his cologne made her instantly ill. “I’m sorry, honeybear,” she said, running for the bathroom. Her retching could be heard from the downstairs bath, and it was becoming a familiar, ambient noise.
“See what I mean, Travis? She needs to keep food down, or she might have problems with this baby.”
Travis nodded his head. “I’ll mention it to Dr. Myles at her appointment tomorrow.” They were getting an ultrasound done for her 20-week check.
“Thank you. I worry about her. She’s so thin already.” Rog tapped his ring on his chair, and Travis’ carpool arrived.
“Wait!” Charlotte called from the bathroom. Travis heard the water running, so he knew she would be out in a minute or two, and he waited. She waddled out to him, her breath minty fresh, but her stomach still feeling queasy. “Mmmm,” she purred as she kissed him, her arms around his neck. “Have a good night at work.”
“You still make a man want to skip, you know.” Giggling, she blew him a kiss, and he left.
“I know what you’re going to say, but it’s too late,” Rog warned Charlotte. “Travis is going to bring up the continued nausea at your appointment tomorrow.”
She rolled her eyes. “Whatever you think is good, Dr. Trauma Surgeon.” She walked to the kitchen to make another cup of tea, and then up to their bedroom to read.
Well, Rog, he thought to himself, good job. You just ticked your daughter off.
Bella’s phone rang at 3am. A sense of dread washed over her. No good phone calls come in the middle of the night. She reached for her cell as it rang.
“Hello?” she said, sleepily.
“Bella, it’s Bianca.” Her voice was trembling, and she had obviously been crying. “It’s Bree. She’s gone.”
Bella sat up in bed. “No! No no no!” She began to cry. “Oh Bee, when? How?”
“She died in her sleep. She took a nap and never woke up.” She could tell Bianca was devastated. Neither of them had married, and all they ever had was each other.
Bella forgot about the time difference. It was only midnight in Appaloosa Plains. “Oh Bee, I’m so… heartbroken.” She sniffled as the sisters cried together on the phone.
Her weeping woke Rog, and seeing her crying startled him. “Bell? Is everything okay? Charlotte?”
She nodded. “Bree died in her sleep tonight, Rog.” Saying the words didn’t make it sound any more real. She couldn’t believe her older sister was gone. “Bee, I can’t come. My daughter is expecting her first baby any day now.”
“I understand, Bella, I just knew you’d want to know.” Bianca choked back a sob on the other end. “I should go, I know it’s early where you are. I love you, Bella.”
“I love you too, Bee. Thanks for calling, and let me know if you need anything. I can wire money if you need it.”
“Thanks but I have it handled.” Bianca sniffled. “I’ll call you later, Bell.”
“Okay, Bee. We’ll talk soon.” She hung up the phone and laid her head on Rog’s chest, crying. “She can’t be gone, Rog. She can’t.” Taking a breath, she sobbed. “I never got to say goodbye.”
Rog held her as she cried herself to sleep, and thought to himself, this poor woman can’t take much more heartache.
Up Next: Chapter Twenty, Generation Three