Just an idea I’m playing with.
She lost everything so quickly, she thought she was on track and then it happened. A miscarriage. Poor weight being the main thought of many doctors but of course it was never that black and white with such things.
She struggles thinking there was something she could do. Blames herself. Perhaps even her significant other.
They need to overcome it but she seems to have hit the self-destruction button. The couple spirals downwards together, argues every day, everything seems to go wrong so quickly. Then.... she falls pregnant again.
This time will be different.
This time she’ll do everything, to the point of obsession almost.
Meanwhile, he feels like a sideline in his own life. He can only watch for fear of shattering already brittle glass.
All the while he wonders if perhaps he could have helped, he could have made her better the first time.
9 months stands between them and a family.
Old injuries resurface.
"That is precious," Hannah said in regards to the picture she very carefully put back into the envelope. Gary took it from her, even as his mother walked up to Ariana to give the budding mother a smothering hug. The older woman squeezed Ariana's hands in comfort, "are you happy, Ariana?" she asked gently.
A glance to the clock alerted Hannah to what they were actually there for and she caught sight of Gary already lacing up the one shoe he needed to get around. Graham was one step ahead and brought Gary his coat, more action-drive than the women were.
Graham barked out a laugh, "Graham Junior, what about that? Isn't that a much nicer name than Gary Junior?" he drawled out the latter name. Gary just rolled his eyes with a chuckle and wrestled into his coat, grabbing his crutches. He was as ready as he could be.
"Oh hun, soon enough you'll be feeling like making your own little nest," Hannah promised Ariana. It dawned on the older woman that they'd then have to undo all that'd been done for their previous child. The one that didn't make it. She recognized the shimmer of hurt in Gary, but only because she was her child. Ariana she found a little harder to read.
"They've got these lovely things for kids these days in all sorts of colours," she continued regardless. "Back when I had Gary, Graham hadn't even finished the baby-room," Hannah started.
"You changed colours on whim three times!" Graham protested and started to lead the procession back to the door. If they wanted to be on time to wherever Gary needed to be in the hospital, they better make sure they made it to the hospital well on time. Gary wasn't moving that fast, but after yesterday's rushing, he actually got a better handle on how the crutches could work in his favour.
While his mother was raking up her own experiences from when he was small, Gary followed his father to the car and took up the front passenger seat. It'd be easier to stow his crutches and stretch out his leg. No need to pretend and be uncomfortable. Hannah didn't even find it surprising, but merely sat down behind her husband.
"Are you going to need help doing up the baby room?" Graham asked Gary, who just rolled his eyes. He opened his mouth to give his dad a dismissive reply, but then reconsidered. Even though his father was minding the road, there was something else behind those words that he hadn't realized yet.
Maybe it would be easier if they asked friends and family to help them. There was no reason for them to do all that by themselves, especially with the negative connotation the room implied. Perhaps having friends and family there might change the general atmosphere of the room.
"Maybe," Gary replied after some thought.
"I'll have to find out what Ariana wants first," he told his father honestly.
Graham just let out a low hum, acknowledging what was being said.
That seemed to conclude their conversation and Gary rested back, watching the road slide by as if in a trance. He couldn't shake the memory of that time. How everything had slowed down in his perception. How the impact hadn't even made a sound.
"We're there," Hannah announced and it shook Gary from his weird state of mind. He blinked and took in a deep breath.
"Do you want us to join you?" the older woman started, but Graham just huffed. "We'll come pick you up when you're done. I'm not going to wait for nothing all that time. I've got things to do," he complained. "Give us a call when you're ready," Graham instructed.
Ariana watched Gary with an amused expression, a smile playing with her features at his response.
“That doesn’t sound as exciting, somehow.” She pointed out with the smallest of laughs but it soon faltered when he mentioned the baby room. He was right, there was no avoiding they would have to set that took up once more in readiness for a new arrival, hopefully one that made it this time. She nodded to him.
“Sure.” There was a best and she realised she was doing little for assuring Gary’s faith in her with such a short answer.
“We can do it together.” She added to him.
Ariana took a little time to respond to emails, flicking through this and that and she glanced up as Gary’s parents signalled their arrival. She closed her laptop and set it safely away as she smiled in greeting to Hannah and Graham. They were such a breath of fresh air, no judgements or scathing remarks. Ariana was quiet as she watched the exchange, watched the news spread across their faces slowly in realisation. They were going to have a grandson and the news was as warmly received by the grandparents as it had been by the parents. Ariana smiled to them and returned the hugs received as she glanced to the clock. They had a little time before they had to shuffle out. At least it wasn’t as cold anymore.
Ariana made no mention of dinner, figuring she should keep that under wraps until she knew if Gary would be up for it after his treatment or not.
“Gary Junior is the front runner for names.” Ri said with a pinch of amusement in her voice as she looked to Gary with a giggle. It felt nice, to be surrounded with such love and acceptance, a little new but it was nice. It made everything feel like nothing could go wrong in their little safe haven. Ariana shifted and figured she would need a coat or at least a scarf for the journey outdoors. She shoved her phone in the pocket of the coat and for a fleeting moment she thought about calling her father, telling him the news but she had to stand her ground this time.
Quick fingers did up the buttons on the coat and she looked to Gary and his parents.
“My sister is already talking about blue this and blue that.” Ariana said, as if needing to point out at least one member of her family was normal enough to be excited.
“Although she did mention something about green being the new blue.” She shrugged with a smile. It was as if she was over compensating for the lack of her own parents, embarrassed perhaps more than anything.
Three weeks was a long time to wait for a scan that they should've gotten a couple days from now. A scan which should've been a joyous event and not something ill-gained by fainting. Ri change topics to baby shopping. God, and they'd have a baby shower too at some point, wouldn't they? Gary cringed internally, glad he wouldn't be forced to participate in any of those activities.
"Redecorate," he dead-panned and gave Ri a bone-weary look.
"Do up the baby room and give in to every single whim of their pregnancy wife," Gary stated, as if they were plain facts. "And make sure we're nowhere to be found when stuff that women like to gather up for happen," he said with a bit of cheek in tongue. Gary reached for his mug, still awkward with the crutches, and tried to cool some of the liquid down enough to take a sip.
His leg started to complain him standing ever so eloquently by throbbing ominously in time with his heartbeat. Gary heeded its complaints by moving from his spot, setting the tea down at the table and hobbling over to sit. He used another chair to elevate his leg and just sat like that for a while, watching Ariana.
"Speaking of redecorating..." Gary broached delicately. "The uhm... the baby-room. We should probably start making plans." They'd avoided that room like the plague for the better of a year and then Ri, out of spite more than anything else, had cleared it the other day. Now that it was cleared out and there was another baby on the way however, Gary felt the time was right to look at the future. That included doing up the room properly. Even if this child too might not actually be born.
It'd be difficult.
But making plans was alright, right? They didn't actually have to do anything to the room yet. Not quite yet. He wasn't up for that yet anyway, so it'd be okay to just wait with that until Ariana's pregnancy was a little further along.
At first, Gary imagined the baby might sleep in their room anyway.
He didn't think he could bear having their child be that far away from them the first few weeks they got to have it at home by themselves. Gary sighed out and drank his tea.
It wasn't long before his parents rang at the door. Gary stood from his perch on the couch, slightly nervous for his appointment and laboriously worked his way to get the door. His mother smiled widely at the sight of her boy moving about on his own with increased strength. Hannah put her arms around Gary and he leaned in a little, the embrace made awkward by the crutches that were in the way.
Graham was different and just moved past, clapping him on the shoulder gently, "your taxi is waiting, sir," he dramatised.
Gary rolled his eyes, "thanks, dad."
"Why can't Ri take you?" he gestured.
"Now, Graham," Hannah chastised. "It's alright, Gary, we don't mind at all, do we?"
"Ri fainted yesterday. They checked her out at the hospital last night," Gary told them off the bat. Hannah gasped and Graham's teasing mood fell a little.
"The baby's alright," Gary said, before they could fear the worst. "Actually," he started and then lead the way further into the house. The envelope was already waiting for his parents.
"They took an ultrasound to check," he mentioned and handed the envelope to his mother with a mysterious smile.
A quizzical look danced around Hannah's eyes, but at her son's insistence, she carefully opened the paper envelope and extracted the tiny picture from it. A delicate smile played across her lips.
"Turn it over," Gary said with a slight grin.
Graham stared over his wife's shoulder at the words and then approached Gary to hug him.
"That's my boy," he complimented with a grand smile.
"A boy? Gary... Ari... that's..." Tears threatened in Hannah's eyes and she grabbed Graham by the arm. "That's wonderful," she breathed out.
There was a long list of things she figured she could do to keep busy while Gary was undergoing this treatment; worrying about him was the top somehow. Still, she figured she had some poor disregarding book lying around somewhere that was offended at being half read and then left for weeks. Gary didn’t seem worried about the treatment, then again he had always played off his concerns, masking them under some guise. Ariana was oddly grateful for it this time around.
“My next scan is in three weeks I think? I’ll double check.” She figured she could call them and check because her head hasn’t been screwed on right in the hospital the previous night. Everything still seemed a little foggy, overshadowed by the fact they were having a baby boy, a son. Her eyes trailed over to the boiled kettle and she went about some more tea, figuring the kettle would be hot still when Gary’s parents arrived. It had not exactly been an enjoyable ultrasound, more panicked than anything else.
Ariana watched Gary as she placed his mug on the counter, feeling oddly content. It almost felt like things were back to normal, almost. That was if everything didn’t change in the flick of a switch again and send them screaming into the abyss of depression and grief.
“Lisa will want to go baby shopping no doubt, and your mom.” She couldn’t help but give a breathy laugh at the prospect. They hadn’t gotten this far last time, save the odd gift and the nursery. It couldn’t be avoided forever. It was as exciting as it was anxiety inducing.
“Hm, what do men do while women do all that stuff?” She pondered our loud as she settled with her own mug, tapping her fingers on the edge of the warm ceramic.
She figured if things were easier, healthier perhaps, they’d go for a drink, indulge in banter or something of the like. As terrifying as the prospect of loss was, she didn’t want her sister to walk on proverbial eggshells around her. Perhaps Lisa would be the best thing for Ariana given her sister was a master at disguising her worries with excitement. She took a drink from the mug, she had even added an extra scoop of sugar, just to make sure she wouldn’t suffer the same episode as last night because that had been a little too close of a call; not that she was complaining about having something extra sweet.
Of course she would join him. Gary felt both relieved and as if he was imposing on Ariana's time. He dismissed the mildly confusing emotions and focussed on whether or not Ri was being earnest or not. Apparently he wasn't very stealthy about it, because next he knew, she was asking for his trust. Gary let out a small sigh and gave Ri a nod. It'd have to do. Either way they'd already be at the hospital by then, so care should be close by.
"I can," Gary said with a smile in regards to them having a baby-boy. "We've got proof," he said softly. Even if he hadn't been there when the picture had been made, it was proof. All the physical changes in Ariana's body, both scary and new, were evidence of their future as a family.
Gary watched as Ri stroked her stomach, as if only a touch would confirm what she knew in her heart and head to be true. A reassuring smile was his reward at last and Gary mirrored with one of his own.
Gary thought and took a deep breath.
"I take it they'll just hook up a drip and monitor my vitals or whatever," he explained dismissively. "I slept through most of it last time, to be honest." It was medicine that was supposed to make him better and help his body deal with whatever remnants of the infection lingered in the healing bones of his leg. If it had any detrimental effects, Gary was sure he was in the right hands. And he'd already proven that he didn't suffer any allergies to the drug either.
"You might want to bring something to do, just in case," Gary advised. If he did choose to sleep through it again, Gary doubted he'd make for much entertaining company. Actually, he wasn't even sure how long the treatment would last. A smaller bag of saline mixed with antibiotics? How long did that take to empty? Short enough the hospital believed he'd be home before the day was done at least.
He didn't remember much of that admission to the hospital. All Gary recalled was that it'd been cold and hot at the same time. That, and he'd been feeling ill. The drip had been there one moment and was gone the next. Gary blamed his concussion for his choppy memory and watched Ri prepare some more tea.
"After last night, will we still have the planned ultrasound?" Gary pitched. Sure, they wouldn't find out the gender a second time and they already knew the baby was alright, but Gary felt as if he'd missed out on something special. Lisa's anger could be explained more reasonably from that angle.
There'd be a new opportunity soon enough, sadly.
"Guess not, huh?" he answered his own question. The important thing was that the baby was alright anyway.
Having a child was going to be like this: fleeting moments, gone before you even realized they'd been there.
Ariana glanced over to Gary as he spoke. She didn’t press the subject of having his parents over, if he didn’t feel up to it then she wouldn’t force him. She smiled a little,
“Yes, we should.” She said to his question, Ariana wanted nothing more than to tell everyone and anyone than they would be expecting a son in the coming months.
“It’s only right they know to expect a grandson.” She pointed out and finally stilled her hands, leaning on the counter. There was nothing wrong with being excited, she had to remind herself. It wasn’t as if her emotions were going to be the deciding factor in whether the child lived or died. It wouldn’t matter, like Gary had so bluntly pointed out the day before. As harsh as reality was, it didn’t make it any easier for her to stomach. Besides, maybe other people knowing would help to make everything see more real.
“Yeah, of course.” Ariana said to him. If she was going to be entirely honest she knew it wasn’t a good idea to be home alone after yesterday, prickling anxiety be damned. But she did want to be there as best she could for Gary before swollen ankles and an aching back took over. She watched him stand with the aid of the crutches and close the distance between them. He was getting stronger, slowly but it was there. A kiss pressed to her forehead and she looked up at him. He was right.
“I will.” Ariana murmured sincerely. If she wasn’t pregnant then she would be more inclined to bury whether or not she felt sick but it wasn’t just her anymore.
Gary smelled good from the shower, she noted as she leaned up to kiss his cheek.
“Trust me, I’ll tell you.” She promised and searched his face. She wasn’t sure if he was allowed any painkillers or if he would have to wait until after the appointment. She figured better safe than sorry and abstained from offering him any.
“I still can’t believe we’re having a boy.” She knee of course it would be one gender or the other, but she supposed some small part within her hadn’t expected to get this far and she ran a hand of her stomach slowly, caught up in emotion once more but she caught herself before she could be lost to it. She looked back to Gary’s face a gave a reassuring smile.
Ariana leaned over and set the kettle to boil, glancing to the clock and then looking to Gary.
“Are the treatments boring?” She asked him, conversationally. She supposed they would all be kicked out while he underwent the lovely process, which was disappointing but she figured maybe he would sleep through it. She was doing her best to keep the mood high, light almost.
If only he'd be at full strength when the treatment was over. Gary had a sneaking suspicion that he'd still have to go through some tough physical therapy to get his leg back to the way it used to be. He didn't say as much, just gave Ri a smug little smile. Gary wouldn't deny that it wouldn't happen, but Ariana was the one who'd suggested they throw a party in the first place, so she couldn't fault him for having a drink then.
Caught, Gary looked down at his phone and turned its screen back with a tap of his finger. Last night had been unsettling. The last few weeks Ariana had been his anchor and for her to just give rise to all of their fears was confronting, to say the least.
A meek smile tugged at his lips at the prospect of Ariana just relaxing at home. Nervousness radiated from her actions, even in something as simple as folding clothes. Gary followed her hands as they worked tirelessly to neatly crease the fabric and ply them in neat little stacks.
Invite his parents?
Gary raised an eyebrow, but then let out some air. If his mother were there, he'd be less inclined to worry for Ariana, to be fair. Even if he didn't feel much for the idea right then and there. Yesterday's emotional roller-coaster was haunting him even now, in more ways than just physical. Gary leaned his arms on the table and tried to snap himself out of just gawking.
"Uhm, yeah... we'll see," Gary decided. If he really didn't feel for it, Gary was sure his parents wouldn't impose -or maybe they would, to tuck him into bed and relieve Ariana's burden for his care. Knowing his mother, she wouldn't let Ri do all the work anyway. Maybe inviting them to stay for a while would be a good thing.
Last time he'd had the antibiotics, he'd mostly felt the positive effects of them. Truly, he couldn't have felt much worse by the time he'd been given the first round. Hopefully this time would be similar.
Gary propped his chin on one hand an watched Ri.
"Should we tell them?" he asked. Maybe he'd just give the envelope to his father and have them discover it themselves. Notifying everyone at once was nice and everything, but he felt like their close loved ones ought to get the premiere. Lisa already knew, after all.
"Are you coming with me to the hospital?" Gary pitched, sitting up a little straighter. Maybe he ought to bring his laptop, just so he could do something. Even if that something was limited to watching a movie or something similarly unobtrusive. Gary rubbed his temples to try and soothe the simmering headache. At least it was nowhere near to what it'd been before. He stood from his perch at last and sighed out, gathering himself with his crutches. Gary moved close to Ariana and pressed a kiss to the top of her head.
"Just. Tell me, okay? When you're not feeling well?" he asked. They couldn't help Ri if she didn't tell them how she felt.
Ariana smiled a bit. She supposed now everyone was a little older that a party wouldn’t be too rambunctious but maybe that was wishful thinking. She nodded to Gary when he mentioned after his treatments were done.
“Oh, so when you’re treatment is over and I have you back to full strength I get to nurse you with a hangover instead?” She said with a hint of playfulness but the smile playing on her lips hinted at her joking nature. She felt a little more awake after breakfast and tea, it was a slight relief to know she didn’t have to drive as well
Ariana let Gary call his parents and his words clues away it was his mother who answered. Ariana cleared away the dishes and gave the counters a quick wipe down with a damp cloth. She glanced over to Gary when he mentioned his parents had no issue with giving them a lift. Of course they didn’t, it was Ariana’s parents that were the problem most of the time.
“Great.” She said with a smile and she looked him over. He kept looking at her, worried like she might collapse again and she sighed softly and abandoned the cloth.
“Don’t look so worried, I’m not going to disappear down the plug hole.” She said to him. If she stayed at home she would only worry, and besides she wanted to be there for her husband as any good wife should be.
“Although tonight I do plan on going for a hot bath and relaxing.” She said to Gary and folded the clothes and set it away. She was nervous about his treatment, anxious perhaps because last time had not gone so well and sometimes it felt like they were no further forwards.
Gary’s attention spans had gotten better, the headaches less violent but Ariana could tell it all still simmered when he was tired and his leg was a complete separate story. Ariana figures she could understand his frustrations, being cooped up and unable to do much else other than sit and sleep must have been desperation but hopefully they would find out more today about how the healing process was going.
A late start seemed a little more refreshing and would no doubt mean she was more rested than usual. She just hoped it was a good thing.
“Maybe we can invite your parents for dinner- I mean, depending how today goes? I don’t mind cooking.” She offered and looked to Gary, thoughtfully. It all depended on how his treatment went, he could end up exhausted and drained and if he did then she doubted he would want extra company, if any.
Of course his parents would like to know. Gary wasn't sure whether to be more concerned about Ariana accepting some additional help or to feel relieved that she finally was letting up some of her stubbornness.
"I'll give them a call after breakfast," he decided.
It went quiet as he focussed on finishing up his breakfast and Gary caught Ri staring on his way back to the table. A reminiscent smile played on her lips, eyes distant before she started to talk.
Gary sat down heavily and sipped at his tea.
He still wasn't entirely awake after yesterday's exertion. His eyes remained watchful over Ariana, even if everything seemed fine for now. Lisa hadn't seen it coming either. Gary realized that some of Lisa's response might've been birthed by her own frustration at her failure to recognize what was going on with Ariana.
"God, that night was a mess," Gary huffed into his mug. Everyone had seen fit to bestow them with liquor and after their 'supervision', also know as parents, had left the party had truly begun. Gary had to admit, his memories of that night were pretty hazy. There were definitely some people he'd had to escort outside to sober up and after the umpteenth shot of whatever, Gary himself might have been among those. He was pretty sure that reaching the bed he'd woken up in hadn't happened by his own power.
"I distinctly remember the morning though," he moaned under his breath and started to eat. He wasn't as hungry now that the food was finally in front of him, but Gary persisted.
"I can barely sit at the bar for a couple of hours without you fainting and fostering a splitting headache myself and you're suggesting a party? I commend your ambition, m'lady," Gary snorted with a shake of his head. He'd love to host a party like that and invite all of their friends around, but even he would admit that it'd be too much. New Years hadn't faired that much better, had it? Even if he was doing somewhat better now.
He finished his breakfast and pushed the plate out on the table.
Gary pushed his hair back and looked at Ariana.
"Maybe we can plan something for when that blasted treatment is finally over," he suggested. That'd give him several weeks to shake the last of the concussion and hopefully be a lot more mobile. Maybe even forego on the crutches then, though speaking of ambition. There were still bolts in there, weren't there? They'd have to be taken out at some point too.
Today they'd probably get more information on that. Or a platitude, saying that they ought to be more patient. Gary zoned out staring into his tea and slowly lifted his gaze, without them ever focussing on anything in particular.
It felt like he hadn't fully slept off yesterday. Gary put a hand underneath his chin and yawned widely, then snapped out of it.
"I'll call my parents," he said and searched about for his phone.
Once he had it, finding the right contact was easy. Some things had come easier almost unnoticed, such as reading the finicky small digits on the lit screens that marked their era.
"Mom?" Gary started once the dial ended.
"Gary, hun, are you okay?"
He chuckled softly and sat down. "Yeah, I've got an appointment at the hospital today. I was just wondering if I could get a ride?"
Hannah smiled, though Gary could only assume as it was audible in her voice, "of course dear, I'll ask your father. What time do you need to be there?"
"Two," Gary replied and waited, looking at Ri. He wanted to tell his parents, but maybe not over the phone.
"Alright dear, we'll come pick you up, you take care now," his mother filled the silence.
"Thanks, mom," Gary finished and hung up.
"It's not a problem," he told Ri. If she didn't feel up to it, she could just stay home and take it easy. That said, last time Ri had been safely at home too. Gary let out a deep sigh. There was no way he could always be there.
Ariana stirred her tea thoughtfully and watched Gary, smiling a little to him.
“Yeah. She’s happy.” She answered regarding Lisa. Her sibling seemed excited about the news and of course she could understand that.
“Two.” She said to him with a soft nod to the fridge where she had stuck the appointment card with a magnet.
“I ate, cereal.” She assured him and she could tel he was worried after last night and honestly, she couldn’t blame him. It had been a really wild rollercoaster of emotions, eclipsed by the news that they were having a son. Ariana met his gaze when he mentioned asking his parents for a lift. It wasn’t a terrible idea and as much as Ariana wanted to assure him she was fine, that she was okay and was managing everything, she also knew she had to slow down a little and allow help.
“As long as it isn’t a hassle for them, I’d hate to put them out.” She said finally after thinking a while.
“I’m sure they’ll want to know there’s going to be a Gary Junior running around.” She pointed out with a small laugh. She had to admit it was all rather exciting and new, for her and Gary especially. She watched Gary get up to finish preparing his own breakfast and leaned on the counter, taking a drink from her tea. She watched him, a twinge of anxiety simmering beneath the surface about his appointment and the next course of treatment. It was just so unknown and his injury had proven unpredictable and unforgiving.
Her eyes lingered on him for a while, how the light from the open windows filtered around him, caught up in a daydream as she watched her husband do the simplest of tasks and yet it was reassuring somehow, a solid reminder to her that he was still here and growing in his strength and recovery. She had a funny sort of smile playing on her lips, thinking back a while, lost in the moment.
“Remember when we first moved here? We had that housewarming night, which turned out with the place crammed full of friends.” She giggled a little. It was meant to be a quiet affair but by the time word had spread it had turned into a full blown party, her and Gary were freshly engaged and amidst such a positive time. It seemed so far away.
“I don’t remember actually going to bed but I do remember stepping over Ray, someone should’ve told him the stairs wasn’t a comfortable place to sleep.” Ariana pointed out and it had been funny at the time, despite her not expecting to see a few bodies lazing around the living room that morning. Gary was still the same, just marked by grief after loss the same as her.
“We should do something like that, maybe. Host something, minus the alcohol for me.” She added thoughtfully. It would be easier in the comfort of their own home, probably best to wait until they knew how Gary’s leg was holding up. They’d know more after today, she hoped.
He wasn't sure whether he was allowed to take anything for the headache today. Gary was debating it for a second before closing his eyes. There was plenty of time to rest in an attempt to shake the soreness and weariness clinging to his bones. It must've been on his face, because next thing he heard was Ariana's worried voice. Gary opened his eyes to lazily watch her.
"Nah, I'm... I'll come down in a sec," he rejected Ri's offer. After yesterday, Gary didn't want to rely on Ariana for every other thing no more. It'd been several weeks since the accident now, so he ought to start doing some chores by himself again. Even if they robbed him of his energy. Gary pushed his hair back and sighed out.
Ariana seemingly accepted his platitudes, because next he heard her putter about in the kitchen. For a second the thought occurred to him that he ought to be checking up on her. Make sure Ri ate something before they left. Actually, was she good to drive? Maybe they ought to ask his parents to give him a lift instead.
They'd want to know about the baby anyway.
Gary's lips curled into a rare smile.
It was all becoming so real now. So close. Closer than they'd ever been.
When he heard Ariana's voice drift up, Gary manned himself and grabbed his crutches close. A few seconds later he was scaling the stairs, one step at a time, only to catch the tail-end of the conversation.
"Lisa?" Gary asked conversationally.
He moved to stand next to Ariana and watched her prepare the tea. Once she had, Gary picked it up and took careful sips from the broth. It was early still.
"What time was the appointment?" He had a card here somewhere, saying at what times they were, didn't he? All of the administrative chores had drifted clear by him as of late. Ri had been the one making sure he got everywhere on time. He'd been relying on her a lot lately.
"Did you eat something?" Gary asked, but there was no harshness or accusation in his words. Just a gentle concern. After yesterday, he didn't want to upset Ri any further. Low blood-pressure mixed in with anger didn't always sit well.
"I was thinking, maybe I should ask my parents for a ride. I'm sure my father wouldn't mind?" he suggested.
"Just so... you know. You can rest?" Gary tried.
He wasn't new to worry, but it was for two now. Two fragile beings, so intertwined they could not live apart. Gary joined Ri at the table, clumsily carrying a crutch and a cup in one hand, while supporting his weight using his good leg and the other crutch.
The tea did nothing to help his headache, but his stomach definitely got the message. It declared its needs with a loud gurgle when the scent of fresh toast hit his nostrils. Abandoning the tea on the table for now, Gary went and moved over to finish making himself breakfast.
“Hmm, if I didn’t know any better I would say my husband is trying to kick me out of bed.” Ariana said, eyes still closed but a smile toying with the corners of her lips. She opened her eyes as she watched him sit on the edge of the bed. She nodded when he remarked about taking a shower as she got to her feet. She stretched and rubbed her eyes simultaneously, hearing the water of the shower flicker on and she made the bed. She figured a bath later wouldn’t be a bad idea and she decided to forsake the shower. She pulled on a baggy shirt and slowly did the buttons up, pulling on some comfortable jeans and slinging a cardigan over. She tied her hair up and glanced over when Gary emerged from the bathroom.
A twinge of guilt shifted in her somewhere, she should have assisted him. She smoothed down her outfit and went to wash her face, brush her teeth and the like. Ariana took a moment to breathe as she set back this and that into its original home. Ariana wandered back through and looked to Gary on the bed.
“Want me to bring some breakfast up?” She ventured and looked him over. What a man he was, she thought as she slipped on some socks.
She went downstairs and eyed the contents of the cupboards. Toast didn’t appeal right then and she knew she had to eat given yesterday’s events. Cereal, she finally decided as she mixed it in with the milk, looking thoughtful again. She checked her phone and saw a text from Lisa, asking if they had dared to open the envelope. She smirked a little and pressed the phone to her ear, she wasn’t sure on telling her father yet.
“Hello- Ari! Hi!” Lisa buzzed and there was some movement and bustling around.
“Sorry- I’ve got James home today, he’s not been well. Everything okay?” She asked and Ariana giggled a little.
“We’re having a son, a boy.” Ariana said and had to move the phone away from her ear as she listened to her sisters squeal of excitement.
“That’s great! Oh, Ari That’s wonderful! I’m so happy for you!” Lisa laughed.
“Gary got his appointment today?” Lisa asked and Ariana sighed softly,
“Yeah, we’ll see how it goes.” Ariana explained because it was a taxing subject. They said their farewells and Ariana figured the distraction of being on the phone had done her good given most of the cereal was gone.
She made up some tea and poured one for Gary, putting on some toast as she flipped open her laptop, returning a couple of emails, forwarding over this and that lazily. It still seemed surreal, to have a son. It was exciting and invigorating to dream of what they might be, what they might become. She buttered some toast and stirred the tea, a gentle smile fixed in place. Firstly, they would get through today.
Light filtered into their bedroom. Gary woke with the same headache in place he'd gone to bed with last night, though his leg felt mildly better. Burrowing brought him closer to wakefulness and Gary found Ri right there next to him. Brow furrowed in mild confusion, Gary reached out for the unruly mop of blond hair splayed across the pillow.
"You're still in bed?" he asked gently. Yesterday she'd said something about wanting to get back to a regular schedule. So much for that.
"Are you okay?" Gary asked and cleared his throat a little. Maybe she'd been sick again. After yesterday's events though, it seemed unlikely. He moved a little closer and stroked along Ariana's back.
His leg protested once again and Gary knew then that falling back asleep would be impossible. If he wanted to shower before his appointment that afternoon, he ought to start his day anyway. A quick glance at the clock taught him it was well past eight now and he'd been plenty lazy after yesterday's affairs.
Gary pushed himself up to sit, feeling a bit dazed still. Yesterday had proven to have been too much. By far. He really ought to stick to one thing a day. Not two. And certainly not a rushed third. At least Ri didn't seem any worse for wear.
Gary took a deep breath to wake himself up a little better and moved his legs, cautious with the injured one, which was now sore. It wasn't a bad soreness though. Not like that time before they learned he had an infection. This was more birthed from exerting himself. After such a long time of lazing around, he would dare say they might be muscle aches.
"I'll take a shower ahead of you then," Gary announced, twisting to watch Ri over his shoulder.
"I won't be long," he decided.
With a grunt he gathered his crutches and wrestled his way up to a stand. With uneven strides, Gary floundered about their wardrobe in search of something decent and comfortable to wear. He was finally wrapping his head around how to use the crutches a bit more comfortably, or he was trying anyway. They'd tried to teach him at the hospital, but the memory was faint. Gary blamed the concussion.
Despite all the preliminary struggles, the shower's rays felt good on his back. The plastic still stuck awkwardly to his leg, where it met the skin, but the rest of him appreciated the hot spray. Soap washed away the nervous sweat he'd worked up the day before and he felt a little more like himself again. Actually, maybe he was a little hungover, rather than just tired. He'd only had two drinks, but still.
He'd promised Ri to be back shortly, but everything took just a little more effort and a little more time than he liked. Drying, for example, was awkward while standing on one leg. He wasn't sure what to do with the broken one. Where to leave it. Whether to even try putting weight on it.
Gary decided he didn't need to be clean shaven where he was going and was glad once he was dressed enough to limp his way back to the bed for a breather. He lifted his leg up to stretch it out and propped it up on the mound of pillows he'd been using to sleep somewhat comfortably so far.
It was just going to be one of those days.
The kiss to her neck was enough to fill her with contentment, not wanting to move from the couch. However, sleeping on these things would do nothing for her back and she eventually got up, tidying away the cups and setting them away and she switched out the lights. She followed up behind Gary, careful steps as she finally rinsed her face. She did understand what Gary was saying and she knew it was her own insecurity playing up and thinking he wouldn’t come home or he would get drunk when he was out, in her defence it only made sense to go off his track record though. Ariana was relieved to know she hadn’t done anything wrong, she hadn’t pushed him off. It was most likely poor timing given Gary had given his blunt opinion on the baby and pregnancy before he went out.
She stepped out quietly and shed the house coat, leaving it on the edge of the bed as she got under the blankets. Thankfully it wasn’t an early appointment for Gary tomorrow. Of course she would still worry over him, even though tomorrow was a treatment. It was a relief to know she hadn’t pushed him away that night, that he had just wanted some breathing space and it was not her own wrong doings. Ariana shifted and lay on her side as she watched Gary succumb to sleep. What a curious creature he was.
Her thoughts were of a future, with a son running around with a doting father. Small twitched betrayed Gary’s sleep was not altogether restful and Ariana reached over to brush her fingers over his cheek. Her hand fell to his chest as she left it there, unable to fight the exhaustion that threatened her. Ariana was buried amongst the soft blankets and pillows, a dreamless sleep overlapping her like high tide as she drifted off.
The light woke her before anything else and Ariana’s eyes were still heavy with sleep. She fumbled as she made to read the time, one eye half shut. 8AM? Ariana grumbled as she pulled the blankets up and turned over, having no intention of getting up this early after last night. She burrowed down in the pillows and closed her eyes once more, wanting to doze lightly for another hour maybe two. It had been a long night and Ariana figured Gary’s appointment wasn’t until two so there was no reason to get up and rush around. So long as they both ate and were out the house for one, they would have plenty of time.
Ariana's words turned from merry to more serious. Gary watched her face, tried to read the emotions she was trying to convey.
"I wasn't trying- I was just... trying to give you some space. We've been locked inside together and it's... I don't know," Gary finished lamely. He couldn't even properly put words to how he'd felt. A bit of cabin fever maybe? Frustration at his meagre progress and Gary had to admit, he missed socializing with his friends.
"You didn't do anything wrong, Ri," Gary said at long last. Gooey, huh? Gary smiled gently and pressed another kiss to her neck at those words.
"I just missed the boys, that's all," he mumbled. They remained like that for a second or so, before Ri decided she'd had enough of his pretences. Her verdict was bed-time and Gary was a little relieved he could just give in like that instead.
A yawn sprouted and Gary was helpless to stop it from cracking his jaw. He blinked reality back into focus and reached for his crutches. After the day he'd had, sleep seemed like the best plan. All of the impressions and emotions left him drained. Gary got up and winced at his leg, which was still overshadowing the headache. Tomorrow's treatment was sure to be fun as well.
He hobbled for the stairs, making his way up ahead of Ri. Part of him worried whether she'd be okay, whether he shouldn't be watching her more closely, but she already said she was fine. She seemed fine.
She'd seemed fine when he left her too.
Gary made his way to the bathroom and brushed his teeth, washed his face and prepared for bed. A fresh t-shirt and some pj-bottoms finished his preparations, after which he surrendered to the covers' embrace. Gary felt a shiver of relief go through his limbs, the cool sheets quickly warming to his body.
Despite the discomfort in his broken leg and the headache, Gary was quick to lose the fight against sleep. Impressions fluttered by in what seemed to be a light doze, creating weird dreams and fearful nightmares from which he didn't quite wake. It was only several hours later that he really gave in and his sleep was more peaceful after that. Gary would've merrily continued sleeping as well, if it weren't for his hospital appointment.
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