Andrew Marshall

Tess said she didn't blame Drew, but Drew blamed himself.

It was his idea.

Well, it was Hicks's idea, but Drew made Tessa go along with it, and for that, he blamed himself.

He blamed himself for letting Vernon even look at her funny, never mind getting his fingers around her throat. He regretted everything about what had happened tonight, and he wished he could turn back the clock.

But he couldn't.

….But at least things were okay now. Going forward. He would take what he could.

Drew wasn't surprised that, through all of this, his mother still retained some normalcy. She came in to check on them, with dinner too, though Drew was doubtful Tessa would be eating much, even if she should. Drew assured his mother that everything was okay, and she bustled off to feed Elise, who was surely still awake herself.

"...I'm not hungry," Tess murmured against Drew's chest once Maw had left the room.

"I know," he responded, rubbing her arm. "It's okay."

She took in a deep breath, only to let it all out, likely glad that she still could given what had happened. After a few moments of silence, she ended up mumbling, "...What's gonna happen?"

Drew frowned softly. "What d'you mean, darlin'?" he asked.

Tess shrugged. "...You….You killed Mr. Vernon," she reminded him, her breaths quickening again as some seed of panic returned to her mind.

He shushed her gently, leaning back in the bed and continuing to hold her against his chest and over his lap. "...I did," he ended up admitting. "But it'll be okay."

"How? They're—They're gonna want revenge or somethin', Drew, and what if you go t'j–jail? I can't—I can't—"

"Hey, hey," Drew spoke squeezing his wife and pressing his lips against her head, rubbing her arm and side in an attempt to soothe her. "I ain't goin' nowhere, Tess. Okay? Nothin's happenin' t'me. I ain't goin' t'jail."

"But you killed—"

"I killed somebody that was tryna kill my wife," he interjected. "I did what I did to save you. That makes it okay."

Disbelief crashed over her expression as she jerked back to stare at his face. "You're serious," she said, like she'd done so many times before, and he couldn't help but laugh at her.

"Yes," he insisted, pulling her back into his chest. "The sheriff said so. I was only protectin' my family. I ain't goin' nowhere."

Tessa was silent for a few moments before beginning to sniffle again, though this time Drew reckoned it was out of relief. He chortled softly, sadly, at the fact that she had thought she was still going to lose him, and merely continued to cuddle her. "I know," he murmured, nuzzling her hair. "I know."

After getting another grip on herself, a thought seemed to occur to her as she scrubbed at her face some, with his assistance. "...Poor Mrs. Vernon," she mumbled, and honestly Drew wasn't surprised that her heart would go out to the wife of a son of a bitch.

She was the daughter of one, after all. Almost the wife of one too.

Or, maybe she still was.

Depended on who you asked, he supposed.

"I'd say you could send her flowers, but I think that'd be in poor taste," Drew responded softly, frowning somewhat.

"I know," she agreed. "I just…." Then she gave him a look. "You killed her son and her husband."


"...That wasn't the plan," Drew muttered, glancing away somewhat. "He was hurtin' you…."

Tess rubbed her fingers in light circles over his chest. "...I'm glad you saved me," she assured him. "It's just...sad for her. Y'know?"

He was feeling enough guilt, thanks. Drew merely shut his eyes and hid his face in her temple again with a sigh. He ended up moving his hand from her side to her baby bump, somewhat concerned over it considering the ordeal Tessa had just been through. She rested her hand over his and kissed his cheek, which managed to make him feel better. Not by much, but...somewhat. "He didn't hurt you anywhere else, did he?" he asked, rubbing her bump with worry.

"My arms, a bit," Tess admitted, but she shook her head. "But no. I didn't let 'em touch the baby. We're okay."

Drew didn't think he'd ever been more relieved to hear the words "we're okay" in his life. "Good," he mumbled. He'd be blaming himself even more if something had happened and the baby was hurt, or they lost it or….

God, listen to his ass.

He was really getting into this father business, huh.

And even though today had been...horrible….Granted, Tess's whole life up until their marriage had been horrible, but even despite all of that, Drew knew it'd get better. Tomorrow would be better. And so would the next day.

They just...had to get there first. And they would.

"...I love you," Tess spoke up quietly, nosing herself under his chin somewhat, taking a breath and likely trying to comfort herself not just with his embrace, but his smell. His everything.

"I love you too," Drew responded sincerely, kissing her temple lovingly. He hadn't expected to be sitting here, loving someone like this, but...he liked it.

He liked it a lot.

Loved it, even.

Thank you for spending your time reading Unlikely Arrangement!

The sequel to Unlikely Arrangement has been in the talks - however, it has yet to be written. When it does get written, Alexis and I will be certain to give updates! Alexis and I write quite a bit and we currently have over eight dozen books that we have completed and we are still currently writing together. If you enjoy any of our novels, reviews of support and following only encourage us to post and share the stories that we write together. Little feedback diminishes our motivation. Therefore, anything is welcome! Please let us know if there is an interest in the sequel, Unlikely Arrangement. Otherwise, feel free to enjoy other novels that we have posted on Alice's account, ChemistryOfLife.

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