If Tomorrow Never Comes

“Trixie! I’m home!” Regan called as he stepped through the front door of their home.

“There you are! We’re just about ready to go.” Trixie greeted her husband with a kiss. He had finished his work in the stables early so that he could accompany her to Dr. Ferris’s office. As Trixie grabbed her purse and the diaper bag, Regan buckled three month old Rebekah into her car seat for the ride into town.

They arrived at the doctor’s office a few minutes early. After signing in, they sat down to wait for their turn. Within minutes, the nurse called them back. Regan accompanied his wife and child into the examination room, where Dr. Ferris gave Rebekah her check-up. As they expected, there were no problems. Everything was normal, she was as healthy as could be. Trixie also had an appointment for a routine check-up. Regan took Rebekah out to the waiting room, while Dr. Ferris examined Trixie.

Sitting in the waiting room, Regan played peek-a-boo with his daughter, much to the amusement of the others in the room. After a minute or so, Rebekah tired of the game, falling asleep in her father’s arms. To his surprise, Trixie emerged from the back of the office to ask him to come back with her.

Nervously, he followed her into the small office. He still had a fear that something had gone wrong when their daughter was born. That night had been simultaneously the best and worst night of his life. Regan still wanted more children, but he wanted them to be born in a hospital, delivered by a doctor. Even having them born at home wouldn’t be that bad, as long as someone was there who knew what they were doing. Holding Rebekah to his shoulder with one freckled hand, he tightly clasped Trixie’s small hand with the other.

“Relax, Mr. Regan,” Dr. Ferris said. “They are both fine. However, I do have some news for you that I hope you will both be pleased to hear.”

Regan glanced at Trixie, hoping his sudden suspicions were right. He didn’t want to put her through it again so soon, but they had decided to take life as it came. They both wanted several children, and Regan wanted them to grow up while he was still somewhat young. He didn’t want to be thinking of retirement while he had children still in high school.

Dr. Ferris interrupted Regan’s thoughts. “Trixie, Regan, you’re going to have another baby. Judging from the examination and what you’ve told me, I’m placing your due date around the first of October.”

A smile lit up Regan’s face as he turned to embrace his wife. The doctor gave them a moment before giving Trixie instructions about gradually switching Rebekah to formula. He also advised her to begin feeding her small amounts of cooked cereal to begin the weaning process.

Before they could leave, Dr. Ferris said drily, “Mr. Regan, one of the nice things about practicing medicine in a small town is the continuity of care. I have known many of my younger patients for their entire lives. Almost nineteen years ago, I delivered a bouncing baby girl who was named Beatrix by her parents. Although I’m proud to be able to say that I am still her doctor, and that of her family, I would like to be able to say that I have delivered her children as well. You did a fine job delivering Rebekah, but would you please let me deliver this one?”

Regan smiled as he said, “Gladly! If you don’t, I’ll be the one needing a doctor before it’s over!” The two men shook hands as the Regans left the doctor’s office.

Regan and Trixie decided to share the good news with Andrew Belden immediately. They would have liked to tell Dan, but knew he would be on duty until late that evening. Andrew proved to be as excited as they were. He offered to baby-sit so that they could go out to dinner alone, reminding them that time alone would be even harder to find once they had two children. “Especially two children so close in age. What was that you always called Mart, Trixie? Your almost-twin?”

Trixie paled, realizing that she would have her own set of almost-twins. “Uncle Andrew, please don’t say that! Moms always did tell me that one day I’d know what we put her through.” A look of sadness crossed her face.

Andrew said, “Trixie, don’t think about it. Everything will work out, one day. Go, enjoy your dinner and think about your own family.”

Regan knew that it was still hard for Trixie to think about her parents. Having never known his own parents, he was glad that Andrew was there to help her deal with the situation in ways he was unable to do so. He hoped that they would decide to know their grandchildren one day, but was afraid that it would take something drastic to make them do so. After Christmas, Trixie had clung to the hope that Mr. Belden would initiate contact with them, now that he had held his granddaughter. Regan knew that she was beginning to give up on that hope as weeks had passed with no word.

As Trixie went to situate Rebekah in the crib that Andrew kept ready for his great-niece, Andrew asked Regan in a low voice, “Does she get like this very often?”

“Not usually. Just when something happens that reminds her of them, or in those moments that anyone else would share with their families. It’s not like I expect them to forgive me, but I honestly don’t see how anyone could knowingly miss out on seeing their grandchildren grow up. Not when they’re just two miles away.”

Andrew glanced around to make sure that Trixie was out of earshot. “Regan, don’t tell Trixie what I’m about to tell you, but Peter wanted to contact her, after he saw Rebekah at Christmas. He went home telling Helen how beautiful Rebekah is, but Helen became upset. He’s scared to bring it up again. He’s afraid she’s headed for a nervous breakdown. So, where are you taking my niece for dinner?” Andrew raised his voice as they heard Trixie approaching.

“Oh, I don’t know. Do you think she’d like Wimpy’s?” Regan asked just loud enough for Trixie to hear.

“Bill Regan! Can’t we do a little better than that? After all, it’s our first night out in weeks!” Trixie said. “Besides, I’m craving spaghetti for some reason. What about that Italian place we went to on our first date? Or is White Plains too far away?”

“Andrew, would that keep you up too late? We’ll try to hurry back.” Regan asked.

“No, that’s fine. Just don’t hurry! Take your time and enjoy the evening.”

With a grateful glance at the older man, Regan said, “All right, Mrs. Fidget, Italian it is. Aren’t you starting your cravings a little earlier this time?”

Trixie wrinkled her nose at her husband. “No, I’m just more vocal about them this time,” she laughed.

“Seven more months. Just seven more months,” Regan muttered under his breath. He knew Trixie knew he was teasing. No matter what she wanted, he would do everything he could to get it for her.

It was late that night when they arrived home. Rebekah was sleeping in Trixie’s arms as Regan unlocked the front door. “Sweetie, you go on to bed,” he told Trixie as he noticed that she was yawning. “I’ll put Rebekah to bed.”

“Thank you, Regan,” she replied. “I didn’t realize that I was this tired until after we left Uncle Andrew’s.”

He took his young daughter from Trixie, kissing his wife’s cheek. “I’ll be there in a few minutes.”

He re-locked the door and carried Rebekah upstairs to the nursery. He gently placed her in her crib, enthralled as she moved in her sleep. He watched her for a few minutes, marveling that she was actually real. She seemed so tiny, so perfect. Already, he could tell that she had inherited a great deal of Trixie’s personality.

After making sure that she would stay asleep, Regan went to his own bedroom. Trixie was already fast asleep. As silently as he could, he undressed. He turned out the light and slipped into bed next to his wife.

Sometimes late at night
I lie awake and watch her sleeping
She’s lost in peaceful dreams
So I turn out the lights and lay there in the dark

Unable to sleep, Regan turned and watched Trixie as she slept. She murmured in her sleep. He realized that she was dreaming. As he wondered what visions filled her head, memories of the past filled his own. He thought back to the first time he met Trixie. At thirteen, her biggest dream was to learn how to ride a horse. He recalled scolding her for riding Jupiter while grudgingly admiring her courage. He smiled in the darkness, as he thought, “I’m glad I didn’t know then how important she would become to me.” He thought about how it was that same courage mixed with her impetuous nature that had given rise to the nickname he had given her when she was fourteen. He still used it occasionally, when she did something that was classic “Trixie” as he called it. The only difference was that he had changed it to Mrs. Fidget after their marriage, instead of the Miss Fidget that it had been while she was growing up.

He remembered how one of the darkest hours of his life had been brightened by her appearance. After running to Saratoga to clear his name, he had been so surprised to look over a fence and see Trixie standing beside Honey watching him. His amazement that they had tracked him down, was tempered only by the situation with Joan.

He pushed that thought aside, thinking ahead to that Thanksgiving. Trixie was trying to solve the mystery of Lizgard House, so he told her the story going around town about Caleb Lizgard’s death. She had been so proud of herself when she told him the truth, that Caleb Lizgard had died of a bowl of mashed potatoes!

Images of Trixie at fourteen were replaced by the memory of realizing that she had grown up. He thought about how he had felt when he knew that he had fallen in love with her, then his joy at hearing her say, “I love you, too.”

Trixie stirred in her sleep, snuggling close into his side. Once again, Regan marveled at how right it felt to hold her in his arms. He remembered his nervousness when he kissed her for the first time, as they walked down the moonlit path to Crabapple Farm. He thought of how their relationship had progressed, remembering the conversations they had had before going any farther. He thought about the first time they had come together, knowing how relieved Trixie had been when he assured her that he had never been with Joan, that she was his first and only.

He recalled the afternoon that Rebekah had been conceived, then the night of her birth. As happy as he was that another child was on the way, Regan was thankful that Trixie was due in the fall, long before snowfall was likely.

Across the hall, Rebekah began to cry. He slipped out of bed to go check on her, hoping that he wouldn’t wake Trixie. After changing her soiled diaper, Regan cuddled his daughter in his arms. He sat down in the rocking chair next to the window, looking out into the night.

‘Cause I’ve lost loved ones in my life
Who never knew how much I loved them
Now I live with the regret
That my true feelings for them never were revealed

As moonlight streamed in through the window, images of his own childhood came unbidden to his mind. He thought of his sister, regretting that he had never told her how much she had meant to him. Unable to remember his parents, Elspeth had been the only mother figure he had ever known. She vanished when he was five, leaving him in the orphanage. It wasn’t until years later, when a judge contacted him about Dan, that he had learned she had left the orphanage to get married. Dan told him the story his mother had told him, about how she tried to take her young brother with her, but had been forbidden to do so.

And the thought crosses my mind
If I never wake up in the morning
Would she ever doubt the way I feel
About her in my heart

Thinking about the uncertainties of life, Regan was thankful for the assurance that his children would never have to endure what he had gone through as a child. He knew that if anything happened to him, Andrew Belden had promised to take care of Trixie and the children. He thought of the will that he had made shortly before Rebekah’s birth after his conversation with Andrew, giving custody of the children to him in the event of his and Trixie’s deaths. Suddenly, a new thought struck Regan. “I know they would be well taken care of, but would Trixie know how much I love her? Would she understand that she’s my whole world?”

Rebekah fell asleep. He gently returned her to the crib, silently returning to bed. As he slipped into his own bed once again, he realized that Trixie was awake. He took her in his arms, stroking her hair. Still focused on his earlier thoughts, he whispered, “Do you have any idea how much I love you?”

Trixie answered, “I love you, too,” before silencing him with a kiss.

So I made a promise to myself
To say each day how much she means to me
And avoid that circumstance
Where there’s no second chance to tell her how I feel

Some while later, Trixie fell asleep in Regan’s arms. He kissed her softly, making a promise to himself. He vowed to find some way to show her how much he loved her everyday. He promised himself to call her from the stables to see how she was doing, to bring her flowers for no apparent reason, to do all the little things that would mean so much to her.

Regan finally slept, still holding his wife in his arms.

If tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she’s my only one
And if my time on earth were through
And she must face the world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes
So tell that someone that you love
Just what you’re thinking of
If tomorrow never comes

Author’s Note: The song this story is based on is “If Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks. As always, the characters, other than Rebekah, are not mine, no matter how much I wish they were.