Welcome back to Austen Promises!
Here is the end of Chapter 8.
For those who missed the first post, you can find it here.
The second post is here.
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Liz grinned. “True. He’s won a whole lot of championships and done a lot for the sport, in general.”
“He has.” Will put the vehicle in reverse and then checked his mirrors before looking out the back window, his arm across the seat, and backing out of his parking spot. He looked forward again, shifted the transmission to drive, and glanced at Liz as he slowly accelerated. He opened his mouth to speak again when his wife’s phone dinged. “Is that Jane? Didn’t she and Bingley go to Ohio again this weekend?”
Liz was pulling her phone out of the pocket on the outside of her purse. “They did, or should have. They were supposed to fly up this morning.” She pressed the button on the side of her phone to wake it up and swiped it to see the home screen. “I have a couple emails and … yes, a text from Jane. I hope they made it okay.” Liz opened the text message and read the few words her sister had sent. “Yup, they’re in Ohio already. She sent an angry face emoji, so Mom must be on a tear.”
“Uhoh, that can’t be good.” Will kept his opinion about her mother to himself. Liz shared his opinion, but it would not be in anyone’s best interest to keep rehashing it, so he let it drop.
Liz glanced at her email list, and, seeing there was nothing there that needed immediate attention, pressed the button to put the device back to sleep. Just as she did, she received another text message. Thinking it was probably from her sister again, she opened it. What she saw made her eyes widen and her jaw fall.
Let him go. He’s mine.
Liz cried out as her heart began to race. “What?” She hit reply and typed out a response.
Who is this?
Within seconds, her phone dinged again.
Your worst nightmare.
“What’s going on, Darlin’?” Will tried to get Liz’s attention. “Liz!”
Liz’s head jerked up and toward Will when he yelled her name. She turned her pale face toward him, her brain still clicking through the possible meanings of the text messages. Suddenly, she felt the urge to lose the contents of her stomach. “Pull over!” She pressed her hand over her mouth.
Will saw Liz’s face go from pale white to almost green and had taken his foot off the accelerator before she even told him to. He stopped the truck as quickly as he could, slamming it into park and vaulting out the door. He reached Liz’s side just as she slid out and began to throw up into the ditch. He held onto her, afraid she’d either fall or collapse and get hurt. Everyone once in a while, her hair would fall forward and Will would push it back behind her ear. Finally, after what seemed like an hour but was probably only about fifteen minutes, her stomach appeared to be empty and the puking and dry heaves stopped.
Liz leaned against her husband, eyes closed, feeling weaker than she could ever remember. She was grateful for his presence and the care he took of her.
“Come on, Sweetheart, let’s get you in the truck. You need to rinse your mouth out.” Will gently turned his wife, settling her into the passenger seat and reaching across her for the water in the center console. He took the top off and pressed the bottle to her lips, urging her to drink. When she had swished some around her mouth, he stood back so she could spit it out. He remembered some napkins she had stashed in the glove compartment and pulled some out so she could wipe her mouth and the tears that had begun to flow.
“I’m sorry,” Liz sobbed.
“It’s okay,” Will whispered, pulling her as close as he could with her seated in the truck. He rubbed her back and let her cry a few minutes. When the tears slowed down, he pulled back a bit to peer into her eyes. “Are you sure you want to go out for lunch? I can take you home so you can nap, if you’d rather? That might even be the best thing.”
Liz wiped her eyes with a wadded-up napkin and reached for another with which to blow her nose. “I don’t feel much like eating, to be honest. Would you mind if we went home?”
Will kissed Liz’s forehead. “Of course not. You come first. I can pull into a drive-through for now and we can eat together later, if you feel like it. How does that sound?”
Liz smiled. She loved how he always made her a priority. “Thank you,” she replied, running her hand down Will’s cheek. “I love you.”
Will’s cocky grin appeared, showing off his dimples. “I love you, too, Sweetheart.” He brushed his lips against hers, then leaned in to fasten her seatbelt. He shut the door and within moments was back in the driver’s seat and pulling back onto the road.
That evening, Will’s phone rang. He glanced at the screen and, seeing it was his father calling, picked up immediately. “Hey, Coach.”
“Hello, Son. How were things at the shop?”
“Running like a fine Swiss watch. I went over the books this morning and everything balanced, and Liz and I went around and spoke to everyone. No one brought any concerns up, but they did seem happy to hear you were coming back.”
“Good, good!” Coach and Will spent a few minutes discussing the next race, which was in Alabama the following weekend. Having exhausted that topic and given Will a short list of items that needed his attention in the coming week, Coach changed the subject. “How’s my daughter-in-law?”
Will hesitated. “She’s ok. She threw up today, just out of the blue. I brought her home and she’s been sleeping off and on ever since.”
“Is she sick?”
“She doesn’t seem to be. She doesn’t have a fever, no aches and pains or anything. She’s been really tired lately. I can’t imagine what is wrong. I wonder if it’s something to do with her mother. She had been texting her sister just before she got sick, and she made some weird exclamations that I didn’t quite catch just before she asked me to pull over.”
“Maybe Mrs. Bennet is up to her old tricks?”
Will bit his lip for a second before he replied. “Maybe.” He sighed. “Whatever it is, I hope she feels better soon.”
“You should ask her about it, Son. She might be trying to handle something on her own that is too much for her. You know she’d do that. She wants to pull her own weight and between Georgie and me, she knows you’ve had your plate full the last few months.”
“You might be right.” Will paused as he thought about his father’s words. “If she doesn’t bring it up soon, I will. Thanks for the advice.” He grinned. His father had a knack for making everything feel like it was going to work out.
Hanging up the phone, Will went into the master bedroom and quietly sat on the bed beside Liz. She had fallen to sleep again, but he knew she wanted to try to eat something. He hesitated before waking her up, though. Instead, he observed her, thanking God for bringing such a beautiful, faithful, and loving girl into his life. Will watched as her eyelids twitched, her long, dark lashes resting softly on her pale cheeks. His gaze moved down to her full cheeks and plump lips that tempted him to kiss her. His heart filling with the love he felt, Will followed that temptation, whispering, “I love you,” to her before brushing his lips over her forehead, then her eyes, then her cheeks, and finally her lips.
With a sigh, Liz opened her eyes. She smiled sleepily and lifted her arms to wrap around Will’s neck and refused to allow him to back away. Instead, she took the initiative and deepened the kiss, leaving them both breathless.
“I’d have to say you’re feeling better.” Will winked and grinned.
“I am, surprisingly.” Liz let go of Will’s neck and stretched. “I needed the extra sleep, I guess.”
“I guess,” Will agreed. “Hungry?”
“I am!” Liz’s eyes widened in surprise as she realized that she was, for the first time all day, truly hungry.
“Well, then, let’s get you up and fed.” Will pulled the blanket off of Liz’s lower body, laughing when she giggled.
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