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(Face life bravely (1)

When Lily returned to her room, she sat perched on the edge of her bed deep in thought, 'Why's Mond here? This is so bizarre! Doesn't he hate Jackson? Or did something change between them?'

The questions swirled in her mind so fast that they overwhelmed her. 'In all my years of experience, I have never seen that the grudge between Mond and Jackson has a possible resolution, let alone so fast! But, here they are, getting along well.

He's treating Joe like a treasured nephew and there was no hatred in his eyes. Add to that, Joe isn't on guard when he is with Mond, and he is smart, so he would be. Did Mond make his peace with Jackson?'

Joe was up earlier than usual the next morning and rushed to wake Mond who was in the guest room.

"Uncle Mond, Uncle Mond, wake up! Hurry! Let's go check on mom at the hospital!" cried Joe while he stood at the side of the bed grasping Mond's arm and tugging him.

Mond blinked his drowsy eyes realizing the tugging wouldn't end. He glanced at his watch. 'It's just 8:15? Why is he up so early?' he wondered groaning inwardly.

"Joe, why are you up so early?" Mond asked groggily sitting up.

"I couldn't sleep because I miss Mommy so much. I want to see her," Joe answered.

Seeing the concern for his Mommy in Joe's eyes tugged at Mond's heart, and he knew Joe was very worried about Cherry.

"Okay, okay. Let me dress and we will go," Mond responded as he reached out tousling Joe's hair.

"Alright, I'll wait downstairs, but hurry up!" shot Joe as he ducked Mond's hand and headed for the door.

Staring at Joe as he walked away, Mond thought Cherry was lucky to have such a happy life. Not only did she have a son who cared so much about her, but she also possessed Jackson's love. He realized then, Cherry could live happily even without his company.

After diligently performing the mundane morning rituals to prepare for the day, Mond left the room.

Downstairs he found Joe holding two breakfasts.

"Uncle Mond, let's eat on our way, so we can get to Mommy sooner!" stated Joe.

"Mr. Mond, the young Master doesn't want breakfast at home, so I packed it for both of you. You can eat on your way.

Later, I will prepare a breakfast and bring it to master and lady. Please, go to the hospital first," Lily said respectfully to Mond looking him in the eye as she approached him.

Mond nodded at her. 'She isn't a common maid. I can't find fault in her disposition, attitude or tone, ' he concluded.

"Fine," Mond acquiesced before he turned to Joe,"Okay Joe, let's go."

"Yes!" replied Joe a smile spreading across his face.

At the hospital, Jackson had kept Cherry company all night, and stayed awake in case she needed him. As he watched the sorrow carved into the lines on her face, he was exceedingly worried for her.

Since they met, Cherry had only broken down twice. The first was when she fell into a coma because of Emily, and now, she collapsed, this time, owing to Jean. Jackson couldn't bear her suffering this way.

Cherry's eyes fluttered slowly as she woke. She caught sight of Jackson staring at her blankly, and saw the fatigue on his face and dark circles under his eyes.

"Jackson?" Cherry called his name in her weak and hoarse voice, feeling her throat dry and uncomfortable.

"Babe!! Finally! You are awake!" exclaimed Jackson excitedly as he jumped to his feet when he heard Cherry calling to him weakly.

Cherry tried to block the wretched scene from her mind. The night before she had been plagued by a vivid dream, in which Cherry was told she needed to be strong, that she wasn't an innocent child any longer, but a wife and mother who needed to face things bravely.

Looking at Jackson's gaunt face, Cherry's voice was full of concern as she asked,"Did you sleep last night?"

Suddenly, she felt heartbroken thinking, 'Everything he has done, has been for my benefit. Seeing me like this, he must feel terrible.'

"No, I couldn't fall asleep because you hadn't regained consciousness," a sad smile spread across Jackson's face, and he stared into Cherry's eyes affectionately as he responded.

Cherry raised her hand to Jackson's face and ran it across his cheek. Although the stubble was rough and covered his face, he was a charismatic and handsome sight to her.

"Jackson, please, go and get some sleep! I promise I'll be fine!" Cherry said smiling tenderly. 'Now that I have decided to face the troubles and challenges ahead cheerfully, I will get through this. I don't want him to worry about me. He is my motivation, and if he were worn out, I would be at a loss and unable to continue, ' she thought.

"No! I have to stay with you!" Jackson refused emphatically.

Switching to a motherly pitch, Cherry smiled sweetly saying,"But, if you don't get sleep, you will be exhausted and not able to help me if I need you."

The door swung open just then, drawing the attention of both Jackson and Cherry.

In the doorway were Joe and Mond anxiously looking in their direction.

Seeing Cherry was awake, Joe beamed, rushed to her enthusiastically and seized her hand.

"Mommy! Mommy! you woke up!!" Joe called out loudly as he hurried to her side. His expression reflected his joy.

"Joe!" Cherry said weakly, yet the pure joy in her voice and on her pained face couldn't be denied. When she saw her son's sweet face, her heart felt lighter.

"Mommy, are you hungry? Lily said she would bring breakfast to you and Daddy, soon," Joe had a concerned expression when he asked.

"I'm not hungry," she replied, and turned to Jackson,"Please, tell Lily not to come. We'll go home soon."

"No, you can't!" shot Jackson firmly,"You can't leave the hospital. You need to stay for more testing."

"I'm fine, really. There's no need to worry about me, and I don't want to stay at the hospital. I can't tolerate these strong, pungent medical smells," Cherry told him softly noticing Jackson's concern.



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