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.
Gary’s smile looked like it might break if something pushed too hard. Ariana returned it as best she could and watched him pull some ingredients out the fridge and she learn on the counter and watched him. He really didn’t have to do this, he could only imagine how difficult it was making something was with those crutches weighing him down. She smiled a bit brighter then for a split second, how many times had they cooked together? Ariana trying to shoo him out the kitchen and Gary insistent on helping. It seemed like far gone memories now. But this was still nice and Gary was trying.
“Yeah, it will be.” She solidified his own words and sighed out, as if exhaling any pressure right then.
When Gary was done working his magic in making a couple of sandwiches for them. She stole away half a sandwich and picked at it, thoughtfully, fixing them both some juice and placing a fresh glass down for Gary.
“You don’t have to do all this, you know? I don’t want you to overdo anything.” She did her best not to sound condescending as she watched him, she supposed making a sandwich wasn’t exactly doing cartwheels but she did want to gently remind him that it was okay for him to heal right now and to rest. Of course she worried for him, it was her out-with her control to worry for him. It wasn’t pleasant seeing him like this, she supposed even without the cast on his leg it would still be uncomfortable but he had such a long road ahead of him.
“At least that cast won’t be on long.” She said, distracting herself and setting her emeralds on him. The cast might not be on long but she supposed the physio and strengthening up his muscles that had been wasted whilst he was healing. She didn’t even want to think of how the stitches. Ariana finished her sandwich and was glad she hadn’t cooked anything more, the sandwich had been enough for her. Nimble fingers fixed the dishes in the sink and placed them back in their home in the cupboards. She looked to the clock and was somewhat glad the two of them had managed to stay up a little later than usual. Ariana stifled a yawn and looked to the stairs and shifted her form up there, changing in the bedroom into a loose shirt and washing her face in the bathroom.
The bed was a welcome sensation under her as she settled under the blankets and looked at the ceiling. Ariana glanced down at herself and noticed the very faintest bump beginning to form, more noticeable when she lay flat and she couldn’t stop the smallest ghost of a smile on her lips appearing.
Tomorrow already. It was pretty real already. Gary watched Ariana's stomach and searched for a bump that wasn't quite visible yet. His steel eyes flicked up at Ri when she pushed up and moved her hair from her face.
Dinner. Gary had to admit food wasn't at the forefront of his mind, but it had to be -for Ariana. She needed to gain weight to reach a healthy or even viable weight at which the risk of delivering the baby wouldn't be too great a burden.
"Yeah, that's alright," Gary confirmed Ri's choice for dinner. He didn't think he could stomach much at this point. Nerves rushed through his gut. What if the scan they'd do tomorrow came back a herald to bad news? A soft kiss to his cheek was all Ri gifted him as a distraction and off she went. The pain finally dulled down to something Gary could think around, but his emotions were still a giant ball, twisting and churning inside his chest uncomfortable. Unfortunately the doctor hadn't prescribed him anything for that.
Gary wiped down his face and tried to compose himself, tried to breathe through all the sensations his brain failed to deal with in a coherent and structured manner. His thoughts flitted about like a kid on a sugar-high, darting back and forth without reason or rhyme. At least there was nothing for a moment to distract him, other than the dull pain that was now gracefully pushed to the background.
After a moment's peace, Gary tried the phone again and replied to several messages, but quickly gave up. The medicine was making him hazy, as if the lingering concussion wasn't bad enough, though he did get the feeling things were clearing up when compared to those first few days back in the hospital. He wasn't as confused no more, just easily overwhelmed. It seemed Ariana wasn't entirely with things either, probably having her attention-span eaten away by nerves as well. Gary watched her, drowsy now that the pain wasn't bothering him as much and after a while he just gave in and closed his eyes. Tuesday was already so soon. Sure, he was recovering steadily, but maybe Ri was right and it was too soon.
They'd find out. He wouldn't know if he didn't try.
He wanted to try. Needed to try, because he needed to be there for Ariana and he couldn't be if he was still debilitated.
Gary took a deep breath and forced himself to get up and hobbled his way into the kitchen.
"Want me to help?" he asked Ri and inspected their fridge from over her shoulder. Without pause, he reached in and got out some cheese and butter.
It was awkward with the crutches, so he put one aside and got out a knife and some bread. It had to have been ages ago since last he made any sort of food for Ri and himself.
"I'm sure tomorrow will be fine," Gary said with a brittle smile.
Feeling vulnerable was not something the blonde did well and she sighed out softly as Gary bushed away her tears. She settled beside him, not really minding that the man didn't speak much. She played absently with the ends of her hair, thinking about his question and she didn't know how to answer it. Why did he always have to ask the hard questions, who did he think he was rendering her speechless? She flitted her gaze to him as best she could from her position and mapped out his gaze, trying to wittle her way into his thoughts but she couldn't quite delve that deep.
"I don't know. The world is cruel sometimes." Her eyes flickered to the cast on his leg, why had the car hit him? Why not someone else? She didn't have the answers and she shifted a little to get comfortable. She could have stayed like that all night, just present at his side.
"Let's just get through tomorrow, alright? We'll no more and- maybe it'll make it all a bit more real." It was difficult to be happy when it all seemed like just a wish and a dream. Maybe a beating heart on a black and white screen would over some sort of reality and give birth to the happiness they had set adrift all that time ago. It seemed so faraway still and Ariana would be lying if she said she wasn't nervous. She pushed herself to sit properly and moved her hair out her face,
"Do you want dinner? I could do us paninis or toasties or soup?" She offered, watching him. She figured all the stress of the day and the anticipation for what tomorrow would bring was weighing her down and Gary had all of that plus his injuries. Perhaps both of them should have pulled off the acceleration a long time ago and stopped to think about each other. All Ariana had done was wallow, and Gary had been right about that.
Ariana leaned in and kissed his cheek softly before getting up and refilling his juice for him, setting it down as she looked through the fridge. She was glad she had done a shop before Gary had been discharged from hospital. She would need to get bread and milk at some point as they were running low but they had enough for the night. Food and falling into bed sounded ideal to her right then because the quicker she slept, the quicker she could face tomorrow. Nerves ate away at her slowly, like sludge engrossing her slowly with sticky black tar and a million questions flew through her mind that something might go wrong, or maybe everything was just a false alarm and she'd dreamt all of this up. What if there was no heartbeat on that monitor? What if all of this was for nothing?
Bumping back to reality and realising she had zoned out staring at the contents of the fridge, Ariana shook herself awake and looked to Gary with a smile in place, almost apologetic.
Without the sound oozing from the television like a constant drone, Gary felt like he could focus again, to some extent. He hadn't realized just how much interference originated from something so nonintrusive. Ariana's voice cut clear through the confusion, demanding his attention by uttering his name. Gary's steel blue eyes searched Ariana's face, blinking and trying to shake the lingering confusion, all the while his chest felt as if it was overrun by emotion.
She loved him, yes. And things had been crazy. Scared her? Had he scared her? By escaping the dreary environment she'd enveloped herself in? By refusing to drown in a sorrowful hell of her own device? But there was some truth in what Ariana was saying -no; they were her feelings, her emotions. He had no right to just cast them aside as if they were meaningless, but god, what was he to do with the depression? What was he to do with that amount of sorrow? If he could take it away from Ri, he would, in an instant.
As if caught going off on a mental tangent, Ariana called him back. Gary could do nothing but obey.
A small smile crawled onto his face. That moment they'd met, that shy, short moment in the rain where the spark passed between the two of them; those were the moments to cherish. They hadn't had any of those lately.
Their relationship shouldn't just be a fond memory whilst they were trapped in something else. Gary swallowed the dryness from his throat and made a frustrated noise. His head was pounding and he couldn't find the words he wanted to shout.
"We'll need more of those," Gary finally managed.
Tears. He reached out and gently brushed the liquid from Ariana's cheek. In her time of need, he'd abandoned her. Gary didn't hope to right those facts, but she'd left him alone in turn. Both had struggled alone and now they were supposed to be happy, together, with this new child. Neither of them still knew how to do that. It'd be awkward at first, but surely if they could rediscover the joy they'd felt in the time before the miscarriage, it wouldn't be impossible. Not for the first time since the news, Gary decided he wasn't going to let Ariana walk this path alone.
He sighed out and pulled Ri close. For a long while he just sat there like that.
They hadn't even done anything today and he was already spent. Pain tore away at his reserves. Gary kissed the top of Ariana's head and shifted again. Not only was he incapable of taking in any type of entertainment, he wasn't even fit enough to keep up an ordinary conversation. New Years was definitely going to be a blast.
Gary let go and took the pills from where Ariana had left them out for him. Paired with some of the juice he had left, Gary swallowed down two and rested back, waiting for them to kick in. He felt like an emotional wreck.
Gary rested in close to Ri and closed his eyes.
"This just has to work, Ri, it has to. I-... why else would we have been given a second shot at this?"
Gary’s anger was not misplaced for the first time in a while. They had been stupid. But it hasn’t been intentional.
“We didn’t know.” She said, almost meekly in response because how could they have? She let him speak and watched him. It wasn’t wrong to want it, Ariana wanted this more than anything else. She was completely lost on how it had all gotten so bad but she did want this. However, she was stunned into silence at his last question. Did she still love him? Her eyes mapped out his face, tracing each line she had come to know so well. Did he doubt her? Did she doubt him?
Ariana reaches over and clicked a button on the remote to turn the TV off, no distractions from the current conversation. Given Gary’s flighty responses, she wanted to address this as properly as she could.
“Gary,” she began and adjusted so she was facing him as best she could and she reached out, hesitantly taking hold of his hand in her own.
“I do love you, and I know things have been a bit crazy.” Well that was an understatement.
“And honestly? Who you are now- were, or are, after everything… it scared me.” She was doing her best to explain but it was so difficult.
“What we turned out to be like, that scared me too and it still does.” Confessions we’re never her strong point and she wasn’t good with words, Gary always had been.
“I never pictured us like this.” And she hadn’t. Neither of them had. But she wasn’t ready to give up. She wanted happiness, she wanted to relive so many memories and make new ones with Gary.
“Gary listen.” She took a deep breath and sobered herself for just a moment.
“The night we met, by chance. I was ready to get in the taxi in that rain and call it a night and if I had done that… then we wouldn’t be here right now. I’d be lying if I said that when I was angry, I hadn’t thought how different things would’ve been. But every time I think like that, I remember you putting that umbrella over me and that look on your face.” She said as her hand trailed to his face, touching his skin beneath her soft fingertips. Emotions welled in her eyes but it wasn’t quite sadness, like the echo of memories long gone. All the christmases spent together fooling around, their wedding, their first chance encounter outside that bar which had led to the rest of their lives and every whimsical night spent laughing. And then everything had gone from blissful happiness to complete chaos overnight. One night they had been discussing names and colours, and by morning Ariana had been in hospital, the two of them grieving a miscarriage. Emotion fell from eyes and to her cheeks as she watched him. Maybe he didn’t cope the same as her and drink had been all he could turn to because God only knew, she had been a terrible wife and partner.
Ariana's voice pierced through the fog of tears. Gary tried to temper the emotions, tried to push them back down, but he lacked the energy or ability to do so. Instead, they rose back up twofold, especially as Ri asked him whether he was alright. Gary tried to clear his throat, tried to find words, but was unable to find what he was looking for to say. Whatever wanted to come out died on his lips. He looked at Ariana with tears in his eyes, unable to express what was going through him and unable to stop it. Helpless, Gary just closed his eyes again and tried to control his breathing instead. That was a little easier than the convoluted mess in his head.
"I-..." He managed at last, swallowing down his feelings. His steel blue eyes searched Ariana's face. "It's all so mixed up," Gary managed at last. Now wasn't the time to be weak. Ri was just as worried as he was, maybe even more. They didn't know whether Ri was even going to survive this. Now more than ever, they needed to talk, needed to support one another -no. He needed to support Ariana. But he couldn't.
His head hurt and his leg throbbed like a maddening reminder of just how weak he was exactly.
"How the fuck could we've been so stupid, Ri?" Gary managed to splutter out. He didn't know why that emotion of anger was the one that won out amongst all the others vying for attention inside of his head and heart. Perhaps because it was strongest, the guilt. The anger he felt at himself, at being this stupid while they knew Ri wasn't ready for any of this, not physically and maybe never mentally. Not after the loss of their first.
"I never wanted to- but now, I want it," he said, softer now. "Is it okay to want this?" They barely saw eye to eye sometimes. Their discussions had turned bitter and sour, without any sweet moments to counter-act them lately. And now they had to form this unified front to brace themselves for whatever was to come. Gary wasn't sure whether he could do that. Whether they could.
"Do you even still love me?" Gary said and felt his chest tighten.
He didn't know where all this was coming from. A place of pain and exhaustion, most likely. Gary tried to sit up a little, and winced as his leg loudly complained the briskness of his movements and he had to pause half-way just to let it simmer back down. Gary swallowed down again, the pain taxing as well as sobering now that it was this over-powering. For a moment that was all there was, before reality came crashing down on him again. The colours around them were too bright, the gentle patter of the television too loud and the position he was in utterly uncomfortable. Gary breathed out, slowly, trying and failing to deal with all the impressions.
The water soothed her skin and her mind as it cascaded over her, pulling straight her thick curls. It was a marvel to her how a simple shower could calm her. The doctor had guessed she was perhaps two months and tomorrow they would find out for sure just how far along she was, even she couldn't tell given her weight. There had been times before when Gary had been drunk and wanted intimate embrace and she had too. She sighed out a little and finally shut the water off, stepping out. A fluffy towel wrapped around her as she sought out her clothes. Neither her nor Gary had expected this untimely surprise and of course, there was fear for herself and a fear for Gary. He wasn't properly healed, in a short time he would have that cast off and have to learn to walk again and there was no telling when his mind would heal up properly.
A long t-shirt and underwear were her final choice as she pulled each item on and brushed through the stubborn waves, blasting her hair with a hair dryer before grabbing a blanket and finally making her way back downstairs. She looked to Gary as she got herself some juice and finally surrendered to the softness of the couch. Her eyes flickered to the television, not much caring what was on. She rested her head back and her fingers went unconsciously to the bridge of her nose,alleviating the niggling sensation of stress within her as she did her best to relax.
"Did 'ya think about anything to do?" She finally found her voice as she peeked to Gary. Her suggestions to alleviate his boredom hadn't exactly been exciting or flamboyant. Her eyes searched Gary's face in the quiet, looking at the small cuts, mere horrid reminders of what he had gone through that fateful night. Most were gone, or healing nicely but the image of Gary in that hospital bed when she had first gotten to the hospital flashed vividly in her mind for a split second and cringed slightly.
She wanted to be happy, she wanted them both to be happy and excited like the last time. A faint bump growing on her was enough to remind her that maybe there still was hope, for a perfect little infant in some months time. Somehow though, it just seemed too far away. Perhaps seeing the image on the screen would be a good jolt to reality for them both.
"You alright?" She didn't really recognise the emotions on Gary's face right that moment. Ariana tucked her bare legs up under the blanket, passing some over to Gary. She knew his willingness to talk to her had been shattered, previous arguments and distance between them had made sure of that, so there was an odd tentativeness that Ariana didn't ultimately like, but it would time to regain the trust and closeness.
Juice and painkillers materialized within reach. Gary watched Ariana with a slightly puzzled, but mostly deflated expression. Even though he'd only just taken a couple of pain-relievers, it was tempting to take another, just to do away with the headache he'd just given himself. The hand holding the phone was resting limply on the couch. Apparently Ariana was feeling the particular sluggishness of the day as well, because she decided to combat it with a shower.
Gary nodded gently, watching Ri climb the stairs. A few minutes later the shower turned on the and the dull patter of water running down the drain could be heard in the apartment. It was comforting to know he wasn't quite alone. And he was going to be a father.
Did he dare dream? Dare hope?
Would it be a boy or girl? Or would it be too soon to find out before everything came crashing down on them again? The odds of a miscarriage were greater after already having suffered through one. Gary wasn't entirely up to date with the statistics, but he knew nothing had changed about Ariana's situation. The doctors had even suggested that she greatly change her current condition if she wanted to improve her chances. And he, with his stupid drunk head, had impregnated Ri before any of that could've happened.
Gary turned on the television at long last and lowered the volume to a mere whisper. He stretched out on the couch, much like he had the other night, and closed his eyes. He wasn't tired or anything, is what he told himself. It was just draining. Even though he'd slept this much, Gary felt like he could give in and sleep more still.
He reached over for the juice and drained half of it before resting back again. Dull eyes stared at the screen, barely taking in what was going on. Not even the noise from the television made much sense. Or if it did, the meanings and impressions didn't linger long enough for him to commit them to memory.
He tried the messages on his phone again. Gary managed to reply to Eddy, saying him he was recovering fine and he'd show his face at work sooner rather than later. Another message was sent to his mother, reassuring her that Ri was taking good care of him. It reminded him of the appointment they had at the hospital. For an echo? To see how far along Ri actually was?
A tickle of excitement burst through the confusion and pains ailing him.
Gary reached up and wiped at his eyes. His fingers came back wet. Tears? Was he crying? He didn't understand it. He pushed a hand to his forehead and rested an arm across his eyes. Everything was just so confusing and overwhelming. Was he even allowed to have these feelings? What was he supposed to do?
Just sit around doing nothing and wait for Ri to get hurt?
Concerned eyes flickered over her husband at the conversation going on. Honestly, what would be the use in telling him to take it easy and try to relax. He had his mind set on it and even though she didn’t think him going to work was a remotely smart idea, she couldn’t stop him. Gary knee himself, he knew his limits most of the time. She gave him a small smile when he hung up and looked to the clock. It felt like a long day already and she ran a hand through her hair. She didn’t feel that much awake, not that there was anything wrong with her, she just wanted to rest a lot. Maybe pregnancy was taking it out of her but that seemed silly, somehow. She got to her feet and fixed Gary some juice and placed his painkillers where he could reach.
“I’m gonna shower. Try and wake up.” She said to him. She rubbed her eyes as she sauntered off and up the stairs.
She closed the bathroom door and if she was being truthful, she was glad Lisa hasn’t stayed for hours on end to chat and gossip about this and that. She loved her sister, and she was envious of her. She breathed confidence and fire, she was stunning and she could have children. She knew no marriage was perfect and her and Mike probably didn’t live a fairytale life. Then there was guilt, because it wasn’t that she ever would trade her life or her marriage away but sometimes an escape didn’t seem such a bad idea. Gary has escaped with his alcohol and late night ventures with his friends and work colleagues. Ariana had never been like that, more of the cautious cat type.
The water sprung into action and she removed her clothing methodically. The hot water was a welcome cleanse for her. Shampoo, conditioner and soap seemed to wash away whatever petty thoughts she had because her and Gary had a chance now. A child wouldn’t save the needles that pricked into their marriage and sucked the blood from it. They had wanted this for such a long time and now it was there, just below their fingertips, and yet so far away. Her mind cast back as she rinsed shampoo from her blond locks, leaving a sweet smell in its absence, to the day she had told Gary they were going to be parents. There had been hope and elation, so much joy as they phoned everyone to explain. It wasn’t like that this time. Ariana wiped the soap from her eyes and ran soap over her body. Although she wasn’t quite up to the doctors desired weight, she was getting there slowly. The meals helped significantly and had aided her in getting her appetite back. It was a small step to a big journey though.
Lisa came in like a flight of birds and hovered just the same. Gary rolled his eyes and wasn't even sure who she was addressing saying they looked 'better', because he was pretty sure it wasn't him and Ri didn't look any different. Perhaps the perspective was addling his judgement, though Gary was sure it was his concussion which was doing in proper judgement. Gary cringed when Lisa said her mother had called -he didn't think the two still spoke. He could perfectly imagine what that conversation had been like: filled with accusations at Lisa's address. When Ariana's eyes landed on him, he winced and looked away. She made a simple excuse, not bothering blaming anyone, but Gary felt uncomfortable nevertheless. He shifted a little in his seat, bit his tongue when pain shot up his broken leg and sighed out. It wasn't actually that bad, just grating.
Tomorrow night, right. New Years. They'd agreed to get together, hadn't they? Gary ran his hair back and sank down on the couch a little. It felt like too much effort to stay up a whole night like that. At least Lisa didn't stay long. She'd made a poor excuse because she knew exactly what kind of atmosphere surrounded Ri and him. He gave a half-hearted wave to send Lisa off and then languidly watched Ariana gather his SIM from wherever she'd tucked it for safe-keeping.
He took the offered phone and pressed it on. After a few long seconds it popped on with a bright light and Gary squinted at the screen. Reading the small characters and numbers was still an arduous chore he couldn't perform for a great length of time. That boded well for when he wanted to return to work.
"It's okay," Gary replied stoically and watched as messages started to roll in. Several colleagues had expressed their concern when he hadn't shown up to work the day after the accident, his boss had called several times as well. Eddy's reassurances had taken on a digital note and his parents left some messages and well-wishes.
Gary sighed out and watched Ri for a second. The amount of messages and e-mails were dazzling. He didn't even know where to start answering them all. Probably should give his boss a call, to make sure everything with work was arranges and if that was the case he could ignore half the messages. Hopefully they'd explained what'd happened already so he wouldn't have to. Maybe he could drop by some time after his hospital visit, just to finish up some work and talk to people. Make sure they didn't leave any important details out. Just thinking about it was punishable by headache, it seemed, because Gary found himself closing his eyes trying to stave one off.
He took in a deep breath and dialled Robert's number.
"Hey, Robert," he said softly.
"Gary! Hold on," the older man started. There were some muffled voices on the other side of the line and some shifting.
"There, how've you been? Recovery going alright?" Robert started. "You thinking of coming in already?"
"Well, I-... I don't know. I thought maybe I'd drop by next week somewhere, just to catch up," Gary surmised.
"Yeah, that sounds good. Company doctor will want to see you, we'll schedule you in for an appointment then. How about Tuesday?" he said, and Gary could hear the rustling of Robert's paper agenda.
"Yeah, that's fine. Does everyone know?" Gary asked.
"Eddy's been telling the story, yeah," Robert chuckled. "Just... take your time."
"Thanks," Gary sighed out. His headache was growing exponentially and there wasn't much he could do to stop it. "I've got to go," he excused himself.
"You take care, see you Tuesday, Jenkins."
The silence after hanging up was a welcome embrace.
“Tomorrow for the scan and then after New Year for them to check your leg and concussion.” Ariana said and placed her hand atop his, softly. What could they do? It was difficult, she figured, to do anything with a broken limb especially a leg. She wasn’t blind to Gary’s frustrations either, cabin fever would do that to anyone. And Gary has always been so able. It did hurt her to see him so unable.
“I’m sure we can find something in the house, one of your old consoles, maybe a few dusty old board games?” She suggested. It wasn’t exactly exciting but they could make the most of the situation at hand and it wasn’t the worst suggestion. It could have been worse.
A knock at the door roused her from his side and she trudged to the door, hoping Lisa wouldn’t stay too long because given Gary’s snap at her mother, she wasn’t sure how much patience he had. Or how much she had left to entertain guests.
“Hey! You look good- well, better.” Loss said as she bustled in.
“Can’t be long, the other half has the little one.” She said and smiled to Gary in greeting as she placed a phone, complete with charger on the table.
“Didn’t bother with a SIM card. Figured you’d have one. Oh- and mom called.” Ariana’s heart plummeted slightly and she looked to Gary.
“Oh don’t look so guilty! About time, if you ask me.” She said to them both with a smile. Ariana swallowed a little,
“Yeah- it was just not a great day. It’ll sort itself out.” She excused and Lisa shrugged a little.
“Right well, call me tomorrow, after your scan. And I’ll see you tomorrow night.” Lisa said, guessing they didn’t want to linger on what had happened yesterday judging by Ariana’s short and vague replies. She gave a wave and plucked her keys into her other hand and breezed out the door. Ariana closed the door and sighed out. That was easier than expected. Ariana passed the phone and charger to Gary, rummaging out his SIM card. She passed that over before sorting out two cups of tea and taking her own and setting Gary’s down for him. She tucked her legs up on the couch and looked thoughtful as she flicked through television channels. Not much seemed to take her interest as she tapped the remote with her delicate fingertips. She sighed out and looked to Gary.
“Sorry, at least she didn’t stay long.” She knew having people in and out probably wasn’t a good idea or way to do things. But she couldn’t put off visitors and for the next while, they would have to deal with it.
Toast materialized at Ariana's whim and Gary took the plate, sinking his teeth in the crispy buttered bread. What did he want to do? Go back to work. Hold a healthy first-born in his arms with Ri right there, smiling at them both. Go to the pub and talk to his friends, finish writing those pieces he'd been working on, listen to music without also growing a headache the size of Jupiter and watch television without losing the plot every ten seconds. He took another bite and thought about Ariana's question as he chewed. Even that hurt his head.
"There's not a lot I can do, is there?" he said sourly.
Hopefully attending to Ri's scan was going to be less of a hassle than visiting her doctor's had been. Gary winced at the memory of how fogged up his thinking had been then and probably still was even now. At least there was a little progress each day. He tired of sitting at home all day, but going out was pushing it, maybe. Never mind that he couldn't actually walk anywhere far.
Gary finished his breakfast and tipped the plate next to his leg, nudging it further onto the table. Oh, right. Lisa would drop by. As much as he disliked Ri's sister, she was a hundred times better than her parents. As if only just reminded of their lovely interaction the other day, Gary winced. Yeah, going out would mean setting himself up for several more social failures as his brain failed to behave itself according to conduct. The anger, the strong emotions; they were all things he felt ill-equipped to deal with. Once he had his phone, things might improve. Ri wasn't sure and neither was he.
He put a hand to her leg as she settled next to him and simply watched her. Having Lisa around was likely going to push his limits already. Especially if he'd then try to work his way around a new phone and ring some people to explain and reply. He hadn't been able to with his own device out of commission.
"Were we due to visit the hospital at some point?" Gary questioned. His brow furrowed as he tried to recall what'd been said at the hospital when he got wheeled out, but other than some impressions of the doors and lobby, there was remarkably little. He'd slept a lot those first few days at home too, until finally some energy was spared to actually use for things.
"What about you, what would you like to do?" he posed.
"Do we need to get groceries or something?" Usually he didn't put thought to chores like that, but now they were both home, he started to consider these little things he hadn't yet seen Ri do. Lisa might've helped her there. Or maybe she'd done a lot in advance, knowing when he'd be discharged from hospital.
“After New Years, so a few days left.” Ariana answered his question about work as she put some bread in the toaster.
“Two days. So not tomorrow, but the day after.” If all went well then New Year would at least be worth celebrating. If it didn’t then it would be just another commiseration for them to argue and fight about what ifs and such. It was exhausting really. Although his expression of being bored and frustrated seemed to strike her slightly. She supposed he had always been a busy man, what with working and going out, being cooped up probably wasn’t helping and she wasn’t sure he was up to actually going out yet. They could both be doing with something to keep their minds off of their demons. Sitting around worrying about a scan tomorrow certainly didn’t seem exciting for Ariana and Gary had readily admitted his frustrations.
“I’m sorry.” She murmured to him as she scraped some butter across the toast. She handed him the plate and thought for a while. She wasn’t sure how she could help his boredom right then.
“Is there anything you want to do?” She asked him, he had a broken leg, he wasn’t utterly crippled so she was sure if there was anything in particular he wanted to do and was able, then they could at least try to make things more bearable for him. Drinking probably wasn’t a good idea with the painkillers in the mix. Gary was probably sick of watching television so finding a film seemed a dull plan. Board games? Ariana smirked a little, were they getting that old already? Ariana faintly tutted at herself, as charming as the idea was, she wasn’t sure Gary would appreciate it. They had a deck of cards in a drawer somewhere, then again she was never really good at cards but if it stifled his boredom for an hour or so, it was worth it. She had a lot to make up for given recent behaviours. Her mind immediately flashed to Gary in the hospital and she cringed slightly, how his body had shook with emotion in his moment of weakness and how she could do nothing but hold him in that moment as he wept himself to sleep. Ariana pulled herself back to reality. He wasn’t that broken man, she knew that.
“I mean, if you think of anything then maybe we can do something this evening. If you’re up to it after Lisa’s gone. I’m not sure.” She didn’t want to push it because she was hardly barrels of fun right then but she wouldn’t turn down some sort of activity. Hell, it might even help them both rekindle some bonds. Ariana eventually sank into the seat beside Gary, careful and slow so she didn’t knock his plate or cause discomfort to his leg. She shifted her gaze slightly as she tucked her legs up and chewed her bottom lip, thinking carefully. She knew it was difficult for Gary to be stuck indoors with nothing to do so if she could make it any better for him then she would. Maybe one of their old gaming consoles? She was sure it was still floating around in a cupboard somewhere if she dared look through some boxes stashed away.
Tired. Of course she'd be tired. Her body was going through a myriad of changes in preparation of carrying the pregnancy to term. Gary snorted. Typical. She was already having cravings, wasn't she? Gary wouldn't be surprised if those would make her regret giving in to them at some point. He carefully peeled himself from the bed and got his crutches underneath him, sluggishly following in Ariana's wake. Walking was awkward as ever, but he slowly started to make sense of how to move best and things didn't require as much conscious thought as they had thus far. The changes and progress were subtle, if anything, but it was there. Gary knew he'd recover in the end, though he couldn't say the same for his leg with the same sort of certainty.
Ri just put some pills next to a glass of juice when Gary finally managed to join her. He stopped and rested on one crutch, slowly taking in the pills. Two. He probably needed two as well. Without thinking about it twice, Gary washed them away and flushed the bitter taste with the sweet and sour orange juice.
One look at Ariana's choice of breakfast and Gary recoiled. "Some toast, please," he mumbled softly. His resolve to do more things himself melted under Ri's offer without resistance. He carefully shifted, moving towards the couch and propping up his leg. Gary rested back. His leg didn't relent.
"When is New Years?" Gary posed. His awareness of time had all but shattered. Ever since the accident, days just seemed to blend into weeks, into months, hours and none of it made sense. All Gary knew is that he was, nothing more and nothing less. The knowledge that he ought to adhere to a schedule and get back on track with things loomed, ever present, but he couldn't really pay heed to the sensation. It was as if his brains wouldn't cooperate to help him comprehend what ought to be commonplace.
"I couldn't wear jeans if I wanted to," he snorted, relaxing a little as the painkillers slowly took the edge off the pain. It still hurt, but the bite was out of it. Lisa would be by today. And they had the scan soon. Before the New Year? He ought to call work before New Years. They'd want to know when he'd be back, but frankly, Gary didn't know when he'd be able to. Getting around was tiring and troublesome still. He slumped down the couch a little, deflated. Gary brushed his hair back and looked up at Ariana. None of that mattered either. Even if he wasn't benched, Ri's situation preoccupied their every waking moment.
"Are you working today?" he posed, trying to sit up a little. Now that the pain was manageable though, sleep seemed a lot closer than it had been back in bed. He was bored already of sitting at home, unable to do anything though. He was tired of always sleeping, though his concussed brain seemed to demand it.
Gary shifted a little, restless and wanting to get up, but his leg called him back to his impaired reality. "This is boring," he pointed out. "Boring and frustrating."
Processing Gary’s questions proved harder than she first imagined as Ariana’s sluggish limbs protested against her sitting up and coming back to life.
“Cornflakes, I think. Oh- maybe I have some of that chocolate cereal.” The thought of chocolate cereal seemed to perk her up. Was she feeling alright?
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just tired.” Her statement was punctuated with a yawn, as if for effect as she stretched and fumbled around for clothes. If it wasn’t for Lisa coming around, she would have surrendered to wearing a dressing gown for the day. Lisa wouldn’t mind either way but Ariana at least wanted to make the effort. Pulling on some comfortable leggings and a long jumper before rinsing her face, throwing up her hair and heading downstairs, Ariana leant on the counter. He deserved a good nights sleep, after all. And the more sleep he got the better. Ariana set the kettle to boil up some water in case Gary wanted tea or coffee. The least she could do was look after him, even though she couldn’t take his pain away or fix his broken leg, she could try to reassure him he wasn’t alone in all this.
Chocolate cereal, right? She rummaged in the cupboard, a frown pulling at her features as she huffed. Darn… or maybe… she got on her tiptoes to search a higher up cabinet and it was a small victory when she procured an unopened box. She set it down before pouring Gary some juice and setting two of his tablets on the table.
“We should probably put them next to the bed.” She mused, thoughtfully to herself. It wouldn’t cause any harm to have them close to hand if the discomfort was waking her husband.
Milk mixed with the cereal, turning the milk sweet and chocolately.
“What do you fancy for breakfast? I can make you toast or cereal or whatever you fancy.” Ariana offered when Gary made it downstairs. She mixed her spoon in the contents of the bowl as she sat at the counter and took a spoonful. She had to admit the mix was good and she had missed such sweet pleasures. She tucked some hair behind her ear, why didn’t people live off this stuff? She pondered as she soon cleared the bowl. Diabetes, right? She set the bowl in the sink and looked to Gary. It still hurt to see him with his broken leg, perhaps it was pity but truthfully, Ariana didn’t think it was. Gary has been her rock for such a long time, it seemed impossible to her that he would ever need pity.
She poured herself some juice and opened the curtains to let in some light.
“Remember Lisa and Mike infinite’s is over for New Years,” she murmured. The day after tomorrow, it seemed like such a long time away somehow. She set her glass down and smiled a little,
“Think they’d mind if we just went in our Pajamas?”
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