Grace is adamant, even with a bullet wound just below her left shoulder, that there is no need for her to go away. When she wakes the morning after the charity dinner, wound neatly stitched and bandaged, she agrees with Tommy’s assertion that Charles needs to be protected, especially when he shows her the card that had been left under their sleeping son’s pillow. She agrees, but she sees no reason for her to be sent away as well. The Italians pose no serious threat, not now that Tommy’s aware they’re seeking vengeance for Angel. And Grace can protect herself, she knows how to handle a gun. They’ll hire extra security for the house, she says, and she’ll have one of the boys accompany her if and when she wants to go out. The institute cannot be abandoned when it is only just beginning to flourish, and Grace is determined to see it succeed. She will not be cowed into hiding, she declares, and Tommy thinks – Grace I love you, but please. Listen to me.
For the four days Grace is in hospital, Tommy is by her bed night and day, business be damned. Charles is safe with Polly, Arthur and John disposing of the Italian hitman quickly and quietly. For four days and nights, Grace slipping in and out of sleep, he sits and watches her, her form pale against the stark white sheets of the hospital bed and her fingers bare. Her wedding ring is safe in Tommy’s coat, close to his heart. He is silent as he watches her sleep, her breathing steady. The doctors told him as soon as they finished operating that the wound isn’t serious and she’ll most likely live, if the wound does not become infected, but her chest will be marred by a scar matching his own. Ada brings him food every night after her shift at the library ends, food he hardly touches but is appreciative of nonetheless. Arthur comes by, Linda droning on about praying for Grace, a sentiment Tommy merely arches an eyebrow at. John is absent from the hospital entirely, but Tommy does not feel anything at all towards his brother’s absence, too preoccupied with ensuring Grace lives. And John may have started this violence against the Italians, but Tommy is the one whom let it escalate to the point where those bastards thought they could rob him of Grace.
He isn’t going to let them have a second chance. The Italians, the Russians, the Economic League, they can all do whatever the hell they like to him, but they will never again be able to threaten his wife and son, his family. Grace may be adamant to stay, to refute his well-founded fears with a mere wave of her hand, but even if he has to force her he will make sure she is safe. They have been through too much, had so little time together. He needs her, needs her to be more than just the shell of a man France created, and if making sure she’s safe means sending her away he’ll do it. He’d do just about anything to make them safe.
When he wakes up the morning after Grace is released from hospital to the sight of his wife packing her clothes into a bag, he’s more than a little surprised. His most recent attempt at persuading her to accompany Charles to Wales had been met with silence, so he lies still in their bed for a moment or two, watching her. Grace’s sigh is what shatters the silence. “I’ll go,” she says quietly, folding away her warmest coat. “Wherever it is you’re sending Charlie. I’ll go.”
Tommy remains silent as he takes in her words, thinking. But Grace apparently does not have time for silence, for she murmurs, “Tommy, I know you’re awake.”
At that, he sits up out of bed, placing a hand on Grace’s waist to turn her around. The dawn has just broken, Charles is still asleep and the look on Grace’s face tells him everything he needs to know. Whilst he slept more soundly than he has for the last four nights, his wife has been awake, worrying about something. It has to be something serious, for her to have changed her mind when she was so adamantly against leaving mere hours before. “What is it, Grace?” he asks, running a thumb gently over her hip. “Why’ve you changed your mind?”
Grace looks down at him, tilting his chin up. “I’m pregnant, Tommy.” He looks up at her, blue eyes unblinking. Pregnant. “I suspected something, but I thought I was tired because of the wedding and then organising the institute. I haven’t been hungry, just like I was with Charles. Mary can attest to that. So I asked the doctor yesterday before they let me go, and he confirmed it. It’s only early, but….” She trails off, inhaling sharply as a hand comes to rest on her stomach. “I’m pregnant.”
“Grace,” is all he can say, hand coming to join hers. The best news, at the worst possible timing. His heart beats quickly in his chest. There is no way he’s letting her stay now, not with so much at stake.
“I know.” She nods, somewhat to herself. “I know I have to go away. I thought it would be fine if we just sent Charles away and hired extra security, but this changes everything. I know it does.”
“You’ll go?” he asks, pulling her down onto the bed. She curls into his side, sighing.
“I’ll go. I don’t want to, but I’ll go. For Charles...and for the baby. ”
He breathes deeply for the first time in days, pressing a kiss on the top of her head. “Thank you,” he murmurs, holding her close. “It won’t be for long, I promise. I’ll sort everything out, I just need to know that you’ll be safe.” His hand comes to rest on her stomach. “All of you.”
“It better not be for long,” Grace retorts, arching a brow at him. She smiles, softly, sadly, her hand joining his, before telling him, “I’m not having this baby in Wales, Tommy.”
He laughs, caressing her cheek gently, Grace leaning into his touch.
“A girl, I think,” Grace murmurs a moment later, looking down at their joined hands. “Wouldn’t that be lovely, Tommy?”
A daughter. He’d never, before Grace came to him at Epsom and told him her news, really ever imagined himself as a father, content enough to let John and Ada provide the family with another generation of Shelbys. It hadn’t seemed like a worthwhile pursuit, having children with anyone but Grace, even when two years had passed since she left and Polly was urging him to forget about her. But then she’d returned, and given him the chance to become someone more close to whole than he’d been in years, a husband, a father. He’d been so terrified of hurting Charles in the days after he was born, until Grace, sleep-deprived and unwilling to accept his aloofness towards their son, had silently positioned his arms in the correct manner and deposited their son into them, demanding that he give her at least an hour of solitude. Charles is well over a year old now, happy and thriving, and his son reminds Tommy every day of what exactly he is striving towards. And now, they’re to have another baby.
Grace pulls him out of his thoughts with a squeeze of his hand. He looks down at her, eyes searching hers. “Yes, Grace,” he tells her quietly.
He is going to make it safe for them. For Grace, for Charles, and for their daughter, whom he hopes inherits her mother’s blonde waves. In the early morning light he promises himself, as he holds Grace in his arms and they listen to their son waking up, that he will make it safe for them. He’ll accept nothing less.