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 was there, in the fog of panic and Ariana gave him an apologetic look.
“It’s viable, yes.” The good doctor said and looked between the couple.
“The child’s heart rate is raised, slightly. Nothing too concerning but we are concerned that another drop in blood pressure might have more complicated ramifications.” He said as he tried to simplify everything so they would understand, or at least Gary.
“We can hold off as long as possible but we need to be wary of eclampsia.” The doctor said knowingly and calmly. He gave a small smile,
“Let me go and speak with some consultants and get back to you both with a set plan, we can hold off delivery but we have to weigh out what is more beneficial for mother and child.” He said before exiting and closing the door behind him.
Ariana was listening, albeit rather lazily and all that was going through her head was that it was too early. She shifted slightly, limbs a little like jelly and not quite doing what she wanted as she tried to push herself to sit up.
“I don’t want him to come early.” She knew what that meant, it meant him being in a little incubator and her and Gary wouldn’t be able to even hold him. She hadn’t come this far for that. She wanted to go home, she wanted to be in her own bed and doing everything right like before. She had eaten today, she had drank plenty and it had been a normal day aside from the dull headache and dizziness.
“They can’t bring him early.” She protested from the fluff of pillows and blankets. She finally seemed to focus on Gary’s face, he was scared and she was too. What if it was like last time? A premature baby had so many risks and she would rather be holed up and unable to move if it meant just a few more weeks of safety for their son.
“Can’t we stop it? Just tell them no?” Ariana said meekly and she knew that probably wasn’t an option. Doctors and surgeons were the sort of people who did what they believed was medically best and morals and opinion didn’t really come into it. Lisa watched and at some point had snuck out. This wasn’t something for the big sister to be privy to and Ariana and Gary would need to make their own decisions without prying eyes although her heart did break for them. Ariana didn’t even notice her departure, instead her attention on Gary. The medication she was on seemed to suppress her agitation and if she could have, she would have gotten up and demanded a say in all of this but it wasn’t going to happen.
“I ate Gary, I took the pills and I did everything they told me to.” Her voice cracked and she knew even after all of that it just wasn’t good enough.
Gary glanced at his phone. Lisa. The first few times he'd been stressed out picking up calls from Ariana's sister, but lately they'd called willy-nilly for the pettiest things; cravings, mostly. Or to console Ariana because she was being hormonal and crying. So when he answered, Gary didn't expect the rushed panic in Lisa's voice.
He immediately knew something was wrong.
Ray walked by, "the wife again? Tell her you're at work, she can fetch her own food," he said a little loudly. Gary motioned for Ray to tone it down and the man caught on well enough that this time was no joke.
In hospital because she just 'wasn't right'.
"What do you mean, just wasn't right? Lisa?" Gary snapped, trying to force some sense out of the woman's mouth. The baby was fine, but they'd had to medicate Ri. Nerves rushed through his gut. His mouth went dry.
"Is it bad?" Ray asked.
Gary stuffed some of his things in a bag, but wasn't really paying attention as to what.
"I'll give you a ride," his friend said before Gary could even utter a single word. "Hospital, no?" Ray said with a grim expression. Gary nodded. "Yeah," he said, grabbing his crutches. Gary sent a text to Robert in the car, but he couldn't sit still. It didn't feel right. It was too early still. Ri had several weeks to go yet. What if Lisa hadn't been there? Would Ri have called someone? Would she have been able to?
The hospital loomed up and reignited the nerves in his stomach.
"Thanks, Ray," Gary said, tumbling out of the car before they good and well even held still.
"Call, okay?" his colleage said as he watched Gary rush into the hospital. With his bum leg, he wasn't that quick yet, but Gary had gotten pretty versatile with his crutches.
The woman at the desk couldn't have spit the room number any quicker and Gary impatiently waited in the elevator.
It was like a repeat of the first time. Ri was paler than she ought to be. Gary didn't even acknowledge Lisa or the doctor and went straight to her bedside.
"You have got to stop scaring me, missus," he whispered. Gary pressed a kiss to Ariana's forehead. They definitely had her on a depressant. She seemed out of it.
A drop in blood-pressure. The doctor's voice resonated in the sterile room.
Gary looked down at Ariana when she drowsily protested and stroked her hand.
"Will the baby be viable this early?" Gary asked. It was too soon, way too soon. "Can we delay the delivery?"
Most of her time was spent at home, given Gary had gone back to work and Ariana was so proud of him, seeing take steps without the crutches was a milestone she never quite believed she would see. The routine had set in, she would have dinner for Gary ready for when he got home and if he did spend some time with friends then it would be in the microwave for him. Lisa has taken to visiting daily, just to check in while Gary was at work. This time, she had stopped long enough for a coffee and it was a good thing too. The past few weeks hadn’t been easy and Ariana felt like everything aches, but today was different. She felt as if she just couldn’t get comfortable, like her skin itched and everything didn’t just ache, it hurt.
“Ari, you look pale, maybe we should call a doctor?” Lisa murmured as she watched her younger sister insist everything was fine.
“Honestly, I barely slept last night is all.” Ariana said before managing to find a seat. Lisa remained unconvinced and knew something was off. She had her own son and she was pretty sure she never looked like this, and Gary wouldn’t have gone to work if Ariana has looked this bad.
Ariana just concentrated on breathing, her heart felt like it was dancing a quick jig and she didn’t want a panic over nothing.
“Hey, Lisa?” Ariana said, awfully out of breath. “Maybe you could call the doctor, his number is on the fridge- somewhere.” Her vision was going a little fuzzy and Ariana knew she couldn’t wait for this pass, not when their son was at stake. Lisa didn’t waste time as she dialled up the doctor and explained what was going on, panicked. Zero time was wasted and an ambulance sent out. Ariana didn’t quite recall what had happened, everything a blur of colour and voices. Next thing she knew, she was in a clean white hospital bed with Lisa watching over.
“They’re going to keep you in, Ari. Don’t worry, they’re doing tests and everything, they said your boy still has his heartbeat.” She assured quietly to ease any distress but Ariana didn’t quite feel it, looking herself over. They had a line of something going into the back of her wrist and she supposed it was to keep her calm.
“Let me call Gary, alright? The doctor won’t tell me much.” Lisa said and excused herself from the private room off of one of the corridors.
“Gary, it’s Lisa.” She said, “Ari’s in hospital. I’m sorry, I’m not sure what happened she just wasn’t right. The doctor won’t tell me much, but the baby is fine, still a heartbeat and they’ve calmed Ari down with some medication.” She explained on the phone, babbling for try and get everything out without panicking the man.
“Mrs Islay?” A doctor approached and Lisa hung up,
“Look, I’m her sister and her husband is on the way, we just want to know what’s happening.” Lisa said, impatiently.
“Please, have a seat and we’ll wait for Mrs Jenkin’s husband to arrive before I explain anything.” The doctor said as he lead Lisa back into the room and set about checking a few things on Ariana who seemed rather out of it.
When Gary arrived, the doctor allowed a moment but knew time was of the essence.
“Mrs Jenkins suffered a rather nasty drop in blood pressure. It’s not uncommon and we want to keep her here. We are monitoring her and baby, but it’s possible we may have to organise for baby to be delivered prematurely.” He knew this sounded daunting. Ariana squinted and furrowed her brow,
“I was taken the medication, you can’t take him out early.” She objected, pointedly.
Sweat beaded on his forehead. Gary stretched his leg, pushed against the instructor's hands and let out a huff of air.
"Once more," came the man's instructions and Gary looked at him imploringly. For the last few weeks they had him do these gruelling exercises. Stretches, pushes, walking. Anything and everything to regain the muscle tension he'd lost in his bad leg. Once doctor Sterling had cleared him, Gary had hoped for things to move along quicker, but he still suffered the occasional stab of pain and the break was still mending. A break as serious as his had been, the doctor said, could take months to properly mend. He was on track for what was to be expected, but Gary wanted more. That desire was the only reason he indulged the physical therapist's trying to push him beyond his limits. Just enough to cross them again the next time and visibly improve.
"That's it for today," Ben said and gave his good leg a pat.
Gary let himself fall back on the mat and just laid there, catching his breath. While Ben went around to clean some of the equipment they'd used, Gary just rested for a while and slowly made to sit up again after he'd caught his breath. Any improvement was good. He shouldn't expect more than what his body was giving him, but sometimes Gary just wanted to rush ahead. Or at least finally be freed of the crutches.
He missed being unable to get around as easily or even drive his car anywhere. Dan had moved his car in the end. Gary had asked the man to, knowing Dan liked to cycle. Not that it'd do him much good.
"Alright, up with you," Ben announced and offered him a hand up. Gary sighed and took the boost. Crutches were handed to him and Gary trotted off in the direction of the showers. A quick wash and then on to the office. It was tiring for sure, but he was almost back to full-time now. He didn't stay out too often though. Not with Ri at home, pregnant and everything. That and Gary simply didn't have the energy to after physical therapy stacked by a whole day of work. Things were slowly getting better though. Each day he dared to rest a little more weight on his leg without the crutches to support him.
Ariana glanced to the stairs and set the dishes to soak before gathering the plates and balancing them artfully as she headed up to the bedroom. She set down each plate before motioning for another second and bringing up the juice in glasses, partnered with painkillers for Gary and blood-pressure medication for herself. She set them down in turn before perching on the edge of the bed and pushing her food around for a while, stimulating her appetite as she chewed thoughtfully on some chicken. She figured once their son arrived he would be in their room for the first year, maybe more or maybe less. She looked over to Gary, unsure if he would be fit to go into work for a few hours the day after tomorrow but only time would tell.
He knew his limits, she told herself, the same as she knew her own. She shifted positions and listened to the music Gary had put on instead.
"I'm gonna get that chinese tomorrow." She pointed out with a small smile, the ramblings before the nap forgotten about thanks to sleep. She was wary of Gary's eating, knowing full well that sometimes sleep was more important than eating but he still had to keep his strength up somehow but if his mother was coming across tomorrow then she would no doubt do a better job at convincing him to eat than Ariana. Mothers had certain skills with their sons that no woman could ever replace.
Ariana fiddled with the last few noodles, thoughtfully. This was nice, just relaxing and having some food without a myriad of problems weighing them down. The news so far for both of them had been widely positive and reassuring, there was no looming and definite danger, it was all just left up to fate.
It was almost magical to watch Ariana wake up; to see how her consciousness slowly slotted into place and her eyes glisten with awareness. Gary stretched a little, sighing out at what was on his laptop's screen. While Ri slept, he'd written more than a few pages. The short nap had been all he needed to regain his focus, it seemed. Officially still on bed-rest, Gary watched Ri pad out of the room, tracking her gait until she was out of view. His eyes turned back to the laptop, but it was getting late and he'd worked plenty for the day. Rather than work, Gary put some music on and listened to Ri puttering about downstairs.
He tried to imagine what it would be like, to have a family. A completed family, with child. The boy would be loud, that much was for sure. Gone were the days where he aspired to have a home-office. Gary was sure his son would have plenty of friends tracking in dirt from playing outside, demanding drinks and snacks and whatever else he could think of. Gary realized their boy was going to be spoiled to death if they could help it.
He held tight reins on his floundering hope.
Gary shifted a little, somewhat stiff. And the painkillers were starting to wear too. All in all it wasn't that bad, but he didn't think sleep would happen tonight without them. He resolved to ask the doctor about it tomorrow. Much as they made the pain go away, Gary couldn't really think straight with the painkillers and after recovering from the concussion, a clear mind had come to mean so much more to him.
He sought distraction in his phone, sending a few texts. To his mom, saying he'd need a ride to the appointment the next day and then to Eddy, who asked how he was doing and when he'd be back. A picture of the man's cast coming off was attached. Gary sent one of his foot in return, because why not.
Though. It'd really bothered Ri, that he'd continued going out and see friends. Their friends. What used to be their friends before Ariana closed herself off from everyone and anyone. Maybe that would change too.
Gary rested the phone on his chest and stared at the bedroom wall. There was a thing like too much hope.
It was a few hours before Ariana woke in the confines of the safety of their bed, huddled up close to her husband and she squinted against what little light was left in the day. Her eyes moved around the room as she slowly sat up, running a hand through her hair. She closed her laptop and knew that both of them going to bed on an empty stomach was a bad idea. She shifted to her feet and checked the time, it was still early enough to have dinner and she found a cardigan to slip around herself, one that wasn't too tight given her pregnancy. She shuffled downstairs and looked through the cupboards, finding something easy to put on. They should've just ordered something out but she figured she wasn't overly in the mood for anything specific.
A stir-fry seemed the best option as she sliced up some chicken and found some vegetables tucked away. Ariana put some music on in the background, nothing lyrical, mostly just for some form of ambience as she listened to a movie soundtrack. She looked around their home, trying to imagine the summers they would spend with a son running rings around them no doubt, toys littering the place. There would be a whole host of normal worries if their son made it that far, first days of school, first heartbreak and Ariana would endure all of them alongside their child because he would never understand how precious he was to them. Her gaze shifted when the sizzling got a bit much and she stirred around the ingredients slowly.
A soft smile played on her lips, standing there above the cooker, wooden spoon in hand as she shifted around the noodles and meat with some cut vegetables in an oversized cardigan with whatever calming music droned in the background. Ariana filled two cups with cool juice and plated up some of the hot dinner, cutlery soon following as she hummed away to herself.
"Yeah, Alex for short," Gary readily agreed. Like a calling name. A kiss was pressed to his cheek and Gary just hummed in acknowledgment of Ri's apology. She hadn't meant to, he got that. Still didn't take away the far too vivid memory of that day.
"Dinner can wait, can't it?" he offered. His hand was still close to Ariana's growing belly, as if he could maybe catch the odd sensation of the living boy inside there trying to reach out to his parents. Fingers reached out and lingered. Gary's eyes were focussed on his hand, but Ri's touch slowly got him to look her in the eyes. Stay and rest.
He wasn't planning on going anywhere. Not this time.
For a moment they just existed, silence blanketing them. Ariana's sleep-drowsy words roused him from the dazed state Gary had zoned out into. Brave? He snorted.
"I wasn't brave. I was scared shitless," Gary confessed. There'd been so much blood. He knew it was bad news. The second he'd seen just how much blood stained the floor, Gary knew it was bad news. He knew right then that they'd lost their baby and Gary felt then that he would lose Ariana too. In a sense, he had, though slowly but surely, Ariana seemed to regain her footing.
All sleep was dissipating. Gary sighed and kissed Ariana's forehead. If she hadn't asked him to stay and rest, he might've gone downstairs. He was tired of just being laid up in bed. Hopefully the doctor would tell him he could start walking tomorrow. It'd be slow, obviously, but Gary didn't care about that.
Slow progress was still progress.
Ri was fading into sleep and Gary did nothing to stop her from getting the rest she needed. Here, next to him, Gary felt like he could watch over her at least. Gary worried about what it would be like when he went back to work. He wouldn't be around to take care of her. Back when it'd gone wrong, she'd been feeling a little unwell before too. Would he catch it? Would the check-ups Ri get catch whatever could go wrong on time? And they hadn't even done any checks on the baby either. Not that he cared. Gary felt like he could be happy with any child at this point.
He watched his wife sleep, a soft smile on his face. They really ought to enjoy these milestones a little more.
She’d scared him, Ariana realised as she watched Gary. Perhaps the wake up had been too close to that night. Ariana didn’t remember anything but sobbing and blood, it had all happened so quickly that night, but thinking now she remembered Gary on the phone, playing it strong for her sake no doubt. She watched him as realisation blossomed across his face and she smiled, nodding when he asked for some sort of confirmation of what he was feeling. It was an odd sensation but it was overshadowed with sheer relief and delight that everything was okay.
“Aaron? Alex?” She thought for a while, nodding,
“Alexander, Alex for short?” She bargained with a gentle smile. Gary was right, their son was doing good, right that very moment he was in there and raising all sorts of ruckus.
Ariana places a kiss to Gary’s cheek as he nuzzled her and got close to him in the bed.
“Didn’t mean to. I got excited.” She said to him quietly and glanced to the time. Was it late? She bummed a little, they’d need something for dinner and Ariana had to take her pills before sleeping. She hadn’t meant to startle Gary like that and she watched him as he sleepily murmured about a book.
“It’s not a bad idea, photos and dates and all that.” She murmured, they could keep a lot in there, dates and photographs, little trinkets.
“I should start dinner.” She said to him quietly, guilty of wanting to stay tucked away in this moment forever. She brushed some of Gary’s hair away from his face, fingers lingering on his warm skin.
“Stay and rest.” She said gently to him, lips pressing another doting kiss to his shoulder.
Another hour wouldn’t hurt, if they just lay together like this. Their son seemed to have quietened and stilled. Ariana figured as the weeks wore on she’d be kicked all hours of the night and unable to rest for even a moment. Ariana closed her eyes, ignoring the faint background noise of the laptop skipping onto another episode from the bedside table behind her, lazily draping an arm over Gary, effectively stopping him from leaving although there was no strength behind it. She’d tell everyone tomorrow, about their son finally moving and she knew it wasn’t big news for them but for Ariana and Gary it was the world handing them a small and precious moment that was to be cherished forevermore.
“You were really brave that night.” Ariana said, sleepily and not really thinking about what was coming from her loose lips, “Really, you were so strong.” She continued, rambling away quietly.
A flashback took him. Ri's face, pale as anything and blood. So much blood. Far too much blood. Gary recalled fumbling for his phone, one arm around her and dialling for help. Trembling fingers had punched in the numbers and it'd seemed long, so long before someone picked up. His voice held a tremor Gary forced confidence on for Ariana's sake. Wild eyes looked to Ri now, reality overlapping with the disturbing images of several years back and found they didn't match. Nothing matched.
She hushed him and Gary let Ri guide his hand. The painkillers made it harder to come to grips with reality. His hand pressed up against Ariana's belly and Gary relaxed a little then. She was there, everything was fine. Unlike before, there was no fear or panic in Ariana's voice. There was no sense of urgency, only delight.
And then he felt it.
"Is that-?" His voice caught. Gary cleared his throat and tried again, but lost his words. He felt it; a weird movement underneath Ariana's skin.
The bath? Oh. Yeah, he'd forgotten.
"Yeah, maybe," Gary agreed.
A smile made its way across his lips, even though Gary himself wasn't entirely aware of it. Their little man was fighting in there, alive and kicking. They'd get to see this miracle yet, wouldn't they?
"Maybe we should call him Aaron," Gary suggested. "Or Alex," he offered next. The movement calmed and Gary stroked Ri's belly. All of this was so precious. Just one thing to upset the balance would have all of it collapse and be destroyed. He shifted a little to rest closer to Ariana and nuzzled her.
"He's doing good," he whispered, soothing both their fears from that morning. It was no longer a question, though the main question would be 'for how much longer' now.
"Hmm, you startled me," Gary sighed out softly. His heart was still floundering to return to a normal pace, though his heartbeat was slowing down as they spoke. It'd likely be one of a multitude of heart-attacks his son was going to deliver during his life. Gary caught himself. They still weren't sure whether this would all happen, afraid they might still be surprised if they let themselves hope.
"I remember my mom kept a book, you could fill in the baby's firsts in it." Gary started. Now that the panic had receded, so did his wakefulness. If Ri let him, he'd probably chatter all sorts of nonsense.
There was a definite fear of an argument arising, hurt feelings bubbling to the surface and Ariana held her breath slightly. Gary’s fingers nimble pushed her hair back and she finally moved her eyes to settle on him. He was right, they were still together. Both of them had said cutting things in the heat of arguments, the mixture of alcohol and grief doing nothing but feeding the flames. Ariana gave a gentle smile, accepting his words because he was right. She watched as Gary was lulled to sleep and figured his painkillers were to blame for that. She would start dinner soon, but for now she was comfortable and warm with him. She turned down the volume on her laptop and watched her show in peace for a while. On the brink of sleep, something happened.
It was an odd sensation, akin to wiggling or something and Ariana sat upright, a little frightened for a moment as she placed a hand on the bump, for a split second she thought she had imagined it but it came again, it was faint but it was there. Amidst the relief and excitement, Ariana reached over and took Gary’s shoulder,
“Gary! Gary, wake up.” She said, anxiously so that he wouldn’t miss this. It was hardly strong kicks or anything massive.
“Shh, look.” She said as she guided his hand to exactly where her’s had been, the faintest of movements evidence of their child’s existence and the reason for the relieved smile on her lips. Once upon a time she had woken Gary in a similar away room a much more grisly and horrific event, but this time there was nothing but smiles and positivity.
“Maybe the bath worked?” She buzzed excitedly although the bath had been some time ago and she figured it couldn’t have been but she relaxed in the pillows, hand atop Gary’s. Maybe Gary had been right and the simple sounds of his parents voice had roused their son into sporting some action. It was a nice thought and she knew that no matter what Gary and Ariana went through, their child would be loved unconditionally throughout his life, it was just a case of whether he got a chance at life. There was no room for such thoughts right then, there was only this blessing of a moment.
She thought- what exactly? Again the careful phrasing. Gary raised an eyebrow. Was he really that bad that she had to pussy-foot around everything she thought of him? Lost two. Oh. Gary knew he'd been less available. Not at first, but Ri hadn't let anyone in and after a while it got tiring to deal with her depression while also trying to deal with his own grief. Maybe he'd given up too soon. When they married, Gary knew his vows contained the words 'for better and worse' in them somewhere.
No blame, huh?
But she did, even if she didn't feel that way. Every time he was having fun, Gary knew Ri felt betrayed somehow. Every night he went to the pub and continued life, she felt left behind and alone. Gary watched Ri, but her eyes were averted. He stopped his stare and sighed out, then gently stroked Ariana's hair back.
Maybe they weren't as okay as he thought them to be after the accident. Naturally, nothing had been solved with its occurance. They hadn't really talked about what had happened. Sure, they'd started argument after argument, accusation after accusation had flown to and from, but never a resolution.
Gary shifted to lie down, staring at the same ceiling Ri was.
He moved to speak, but found his words missing. Gary knew now was the time to speak, but was left with just a bundle of confusing emotions, all tumbling over one another haphazardly. He'd never left, but Ri had been too depressed to care for any of it back then. Until her current pregnancy, things hadn't changed. It'd felt like Ariana was stuck in that dark past for a long time.
"We're still together," Gary pointed out at last, shifting so he could watch Ariana's profile. They hadn't split up, like so many couples. They'd weathered the storm, whether this was merely the eye and it'd pick back up again in a few months or not. After all that'd happened, they were still in it together. Gary sighed out. That nap started to sound like a pretty sweet deal right about now. Today's news was still ringing in his head and the baby hadn't moved yet either. Gary closed his eyes and just let the gentle sway of weariness lure him in, which was surprisingly easy to do.
Ariana watched her husband as he explained his actions. She wasn’t angry at him, perhaps taken off guard a little but definitely held no malice towards him. Neither of them had coped the right way with everything the past year and maybe this would help other couples understand that it wasn’t a lonely thing to go through. They couldn’t be the only ones dealing with such misfortune as of late and Ariana knew how devastating it had all been. She had shown it more than Gary but he was reserved for the most part, not daring to let his emotions get the better of him if he could help it.
“I know.” She answered after a few beats when he explained how he didn’t want to worry her about anything. She could understand it but it didn’t sting any less.
“I just-“ She sighed softly. What did she want? To see that he was going through just as much pain and anguish as she was? She understood that meant nothing and would only serve for more hurt and blame.
“I wasn’t any better, probably shut everyone out more than I intended. I think somewhere along the lines I just thought that you, well...” She was being careful again, her words weren’t meant to cause hurt. “I just wanted to know you were still there and I only lost one person that night, not two.” She said finally as managed to chew out the words in lot some semblance of care and patience. That night in the hospital had been the worst of her life and something no one should ever go through, but life wasn’t ever simple that way. Blessings came and went and so did curses.
Ariana has felt like she had lost Gary that night too, as if a miscarriage could claim more than one person but she had forgotten to speak to him, she had forgotten that he had gone through the loss just as much as she had and she wasn’t alone. The cold nights spent crying alone, avoiding Gary when he was around and burying her emotions in some shrine of a nursery that wouldn’t ever be filled in her mind hadn’t helped and she was just as guilty, if not more so, for shutting everyone out.
“I don’t blame you, for how you reacted. I think that’s the kicker.” She averted her gaze to the ceiling, unable to meet his gaze. She didn’t blame him, she knew anyone else would have been long gone and moved on if she had tested them in this way. Gary has turned to drink and late nights and work, but always come home at the end of a bender.
A small nod. He had been writing about what's been happening. Finally Ri seemed to wrap around what he'd said and the 'alright' came to deliver relief. Gary wasn't sure whether he wanted Ariana to read it yet, but perhaps after all had been said and done, things would be different. And if the conclusion was that they'd lose this child too, Gary felt he might be even more eager to publish. Just to get it out there. To show that not all was happy fairytales. To make people understand their sadness and grief.
"Oh, ha-hah. I'm sorry..." Gary said with a sigh. He really hadn't been thinking baby-names. Surgery had kept him pretty preoccupied and now that it was done, he was anxiously awaiting the next literal steps.
Ariana was right though. She was along so far now, they couldn't deny all the things regular parents did go through.
Gary pushed his hair back and looked at Ri from where he was sat. She shifted a little closer and he could see she was putting thought in what she said next. Gary let out some air. Had he? He'd always been so used to just writing. About other people, events and himself. Maybe it'd replaced the need to talk about it. Written words made it easier to wraps his head around everything that was happening. Especially the weeks after the accident; they'd been confusing and disjointed before he put everything he remembered down. That way, he could see where his thinking was wrong or misplaced and change the order.
Rephrase what he thought to feel.
"Not intentionally," Gary said at last.
"I guess. First it was just to put everything after the accident in order and then... it kind of just. Grew?" Gary said with a slight shrug. The painkillers helped him voice what he felt, even if he didn't want them to interfere right then. It was a subtle aid anyway, not like the first day after the surgery. Eating had helped.
"It's uncharted territory, isn't it? Every step we take is unknown, as it would be for any parent but I feel more so for us. Sometimes I don't even know what to feel or think until I put it down and can reread it." Gary's eyes were softer as they regarded Ariana. Had she wanted to talk about it? Was he as unapproachable as Ri thought she was?
He just didn't want to show his doubts, his reservations. They weren't helpful and Ri was already going through enough as it was.
"I just... you have enough to deal with without worrying for me."
Ariana figured he was right, some sort of skin cream would probably help. Another month and she would be waddling around and stretch marks would be the last of her concerns. She listened as he spoke about what he was doing, his own little project. She wasn’t sure how she felt about it, a little invaded maybe.
“Oh-“ She cut off and tried to work through things in her mind. How personal had he gotten and had he really put down his wife as some horrible, grief twisted monster? He wouldn’t be wrong, but it would still hurt her. She chewed her lip for a while as she tried to mull it over, it wasn’t the answer she expected but was it the worst thing in the world? Maybe there would be some relief in knowing they weren’t the only ones going through such an awful twist of events.
Ariana swallowed whatever discomfort there was, what was the use in arguing with him? Maybe it would help him cope and understand everything going on.
“You’ve been writing everything that’s been happening?” She asked him quietly, as if confirming what he’d already said and she just wasn’t sure how she felt.
“Alright, well, I’d like to read it sometime. Maybe after everything.” She said quietly, at least that way she would know the ending and she would know if it was a happy ending or some tragedy twist. Her eyes surveyed Gary’s face, half curious was to what had made him do such a thing and the other part just bewildered.
“And maybe you could sneak a few ideas for baby names in there, okay?” She said softly to him, they had a due date and a nursery all set up, the last few pieces of the jigsaw coming together. Once they had a name, it would just be getting their son in their arms. Maybe they could wait until they were in that hospital room with a son, before naming him. Was it a big deal? Yes and no. She didn’t want to lose another nameless child.
Ariana shifted closer to Gary, by a couple inches, her shoe utterly forgotten about.
“Did you-“ She cut off again, not wanting her words to come off as a jibe or cheap insult.
“Did you start writing this because you couldn’t talk to me?” She said after wording it carefully so it didn’t come off as the start of an argument. She would understand if Gary felt he couldn’t have spoken to her because she had felt the same about him.
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