Feverish nightmares set the theme for that dark night. Gary surrendered midway to gently scuffle downstairs and have something to drink, even though his gut still felt rotten on the inside. Heat clung to his skin, sticky and foul, much like the pain originating from his leg upward. A fever, he was sure now.
Gary leaned against the counter and wished it was a simple cold and not something worse, but he already knew the answer. After a few moments of catching his breath and battling his pride, Gary made the trek back up the stairs and sat on the bed.
Another second later he was laying back down, tired and drained. It was cold in the house. The winter-air robbed his skin of the heat it exuded and chilled him into a shiver. Ri too didn't seem to have a restful night. Gary watched her, turning and shifting positions every now and again. He dozed off then, but woke whenever Ri shifted to blink hazily up at their ceiling. He gave in and took some of the painkillers early in the morning and slept for a while after that. They made him feel a little better, but it never felt like it was enough.
Morning came. Gary realized by the change in light and the fact that he felt a little more aware, a little more awake. Lethargy clung to his limbs and he made no effort to get up, despite of being aware that he needed to get the checkup done at the hospital today. The pain was grating, but at the same time he didn't want to move to get it seen to. All he wanted was peace and quiet, not people fussing about him. Gary could already tell his mood was a foul one well before he'd made an attempt to get out of bed.
Sleep turned to a daze and back into sleep. Thirst coaxed him from the bed at long last, but Gary was worried about the general lack of energy he had at his disposal. Everything felt like an enormous chore; sitting up, fetching the crutches, walking, getting dressed. Gary splashed some water on his face in the bathroom and worked his way into a sweater. It was all he could be bothered to do today. A shower might actually be nice, but he didn't feel like he had the strength to stand up for that long on one leg today.
He made it to the couch and decided to rest up there for the time being. His stomach felt too rotten to entertain the thought of food and keeping it down.
Gary abandoned ship and truthfully, Ariana didn’t blame him. She watched him retreat before getting up and making herself some soup with bread, figuring she had to eat. No matter how fleeting her appetite was, she was determined to make sure and do everything right. She rubbed sleep from her eyes and glanced outside, snow had been replaced by rain and she figured their snow days were over to be replaced by icy rain and general dampness. She sighed out quietly and glanced to the time. It was still early and she would be doing her sleeping pattern no favours if she succumbed to bed and sleep right then. She pattered around, cleaning up and even managed to stay awake long enough to watch the evening news before she realised the battle was lost.
Ariana climbed the stairs, using the bathroom to wash and sort herself before keeping quiet as she dared to slip into bed, tying her hair up so it wouldn’t become a completely tangled mess. She switched the light out and checked her phone before setting it aside. Tomorrow would bring more answers, or more questions. She just hoped it all stayed good news for them for a while. They’d been lucky so far with the pregnancy so it wasn’t too much to ask that the fortune continued with Gary. She shifted slightly, in a bid to get herself more comfortable and noted that finding comfort in bed had been tricky as of late and she figured it would only get worse as their infant grew. Eventually Ariana settled on her side and her brow furrowed a little as she thought in the ‘conversation’ with her father earlier. She hoped those sort of things weren’t hereditary because she couldn’t imagine treating any child like that, stuck in the middle and made to choose. Her father was trying, her naive mind reasoned because believing the best was infinitely better than accepting the worst.
Ariana couldn’t sleep. Despite the tiredness that tugged her limbs, sleep was evasive to her as she closed her eyes. She was probably overthinking everything, she tried to barter with herself. When sleep did come, it was light and barely a doze but enough for her to finally find a comfortable position and the warmth beneath the blankets, shared with her husband. Every now and then she awoke, if only to find a better way to sleep or switch for the cold side of the pillow. It wasn’t exactly a restful night ahead.
A soft voice. Gary blinked once and sluggishly met with an equally sleepy Ariana.
"Hey," he replied hoarsely. Unlike him, she struggled to get to her feet, leaving him in proverbial dust and the icy chill of solitude. Gary's sole comfort was the blanket Ri had left behind and he lazily gathered the blankets, stained with their combined body-heat and huddled underneath. The television had long since given up on displaying anything meaningful. Dazed, Gary listened to Ri's puttering about. Sleep chased his thoughts and slowed them down considerably.
Each time he wanted to come up with an incentive to get up and be active, his plans came to a gruelling halt. In the end, Gary abused Ri's abandoned spot on the couch and stretched out fully, folding the blankets around his shoulders. A general weariness clung to his limbs and sapped the energy clean out of them.
Gary closed his eyes once more, forgotten that he'd woken up only moments ago and drifted, held instead in the safe embrace of the couch. A more basic need came to the forefront of his mind however, and Gary groaned as he pushed to a sit and gathered his crutches. It was cold now, away from the blanket. He felt unsteady, picking his way through the living with both crutches, after he'd gathered the second from where he'd left it in the hallway.
When he sorted his business, Gary surmised he might as well just give up on today and head to bead, rather than the living room. All he'd done was nap on the couch, rather than the bed. Happy New Year. He sighed out and started the trek up the stairs, gratefully lowering himself on the bed when he finally did reach it. Gary even went through the effort of elevating his leg, though it did little to relieve the pain.
It wasn't until he took several more of the pills that the pain finally dwindled down to something manageable. Rather than sleep, Gary dozed. It was all he could manage after sleeping so much all day and the dreams that chased him were incomprehensible and disjointed.
He woke with a snap, the pain from the accident resonating. Gary could almost feel the hand that had pushed him back into the seat, could smell the melted plastic and metal. He could feel the pain radiating from his leg and the heaviness of his head. Slowly, he returned to feeling normal, but the process left him more than a little confused. The ill feeling in his gut had never left. It'd be too easy to blame the hangover for this one. He wasn't looking forward to tonight.
Ariana sighed at Gary’s request. As much as she played off her mothers circus acts, it did bother her sometimes. What if she really did become like her mother, preaching about a religion made of kindness but all the while being judgemental? She wasn’t sure she could ever handle becoming her mother, in fact she dreaded it and for years she had tried to reason with her or find the method behind her madness but it had become hopeless.
“I won’t. And if you did have to choose, choose them.” Ri said to him softly, and she meant it. She loved Gary with every fibre of her being but if it ever came to fruition that they had a child and the choice needed to be made, she would want Gary to choose the child every time. It only seemed logical and natural. And she had experienced first hand the damage of such circumstances.
Ariana settled cosily with Gary in her arms and his warmth pressed against her. The film had long finished on the television, replaced by newsreaders and it was difficult to keep her own eyes open. She’d barely done anything today and yet the warmth of the moment, nestled with blankets and her husband was too comfortable to stave it off. Besides, she wouldn’t risk moving anyways and disturbing Gary. Fuzzy dreams with bold images flittered from here to there, thankfully nightmares were kept at bay which was surprising given there was so much to be scared of. Ariana woke with a start and shifted slightly, pulling the blanket hem over her a little where the cold dared to creep in.
She realised she get lighter somehow and Gary was absent from her arms as she blinked blearily and wiped lingering drowsiness from her eyes.
“Hey.” She said, lethargically as sleep cling to her voice. She sat up a little and looked to Gary. Evidently a nap had conquered them both and she struggled to get to her feet, stretching a little. She set the kettle to boil and leant on the counter, feeling the chill of the air without the blankets shield. Six more months. She wondered if she would ever see a bump, then again her skinny frame wasn’t overly accommodating and she plucked at the T-shirt she was wearing experimentally, pulling tighter around her frame to see if there was any hint. Sure enough there was the tiniest protrusion where her once flat stomach was. She bummed a little as she made two hot drinks and pondered on what else to expect. Stretch marks, swollen ankles, morning sickness and probably a host of confidence issues with her looks were sure to follow as she set the drink down for Gary. She did wonder if any of that would bother Gary, not that he’d ever been a vain man with her particularly, but it was a lot to take in.
Warm arms wrapped around him, and equally warm lips pressed the gentlest of kisses to his head. Two wasn't that early, so Gary sighed out in slight relief. Surely the majority of a day would be sufficient to feel alright? Still, he couldn't shake the feeling that he was coming down with something worse than a hangover. It'd just be a check-over. Just to see how he was getting along with his leg, most likely, and see whether all his marbles had rolled back in place. Gary surmised he was going to disappoint on that aspect of the checkup.
Not all his bolts and knots were secured in place just yet, though he was getting there.
"I had some toast," Gary said in reply to how he was feeling.
It was only a small improvement with several hours ago, but a whole lot better than when he first woke that early morning. Gary wasn't sure whether he wanted to worry Ariana with the dull ache complaining away inside the cast, because neither of them was in any position to do anything about it and the checkup at the hospital was tomorrow anyway.
A buzzing noise saved him from further scrutiny and Gary didn't feel the urgency to move from his comfortable place in Ariana's arms on account of anyone.
Gary smirked at that. Of course Mr Black was going to call his beloved and favourite daughter on New Years day. Gary was surprised the call wasn't overtaken by Mrs Black, but simply cut off.
"Hmm." A deep sigh was all Gary had to say regarding her father's meek behaviour. A child ought to at the very least, be at the same level as a wife. Gary vouched to always protect their child, come storm or high water. He rested a hand on the budding stomach in which their unborn child lay protected.
"Ri? Promise you'll nice to our kids? I don't want to have to choose like your father does," Gary muttered softly. His eyes grew unfocussed and soon Gary relaxed a little more in Ariana's embrace, until all tension had left his body and sleep was upon him. He didn't dream and was only faintly aware of his surroundings on the couch.
He woke to pain shooting up his leg and realized he'd tried to shift. Gary took a deep breath in and sighed, peeling himself from his comfortable perch to drowsily explore the world around him. It felt like the first time he was taking in their living room. A sick feeling had settled in his stomach, similar to that of earlier that morning, but different. More subtle. He felt heated as well, like all the energy was sucked clear from his limbs and in particular his leg. Tomorrow was definitely going to be an interesting day.
Lazy eyes watched Gary get up, watching his movements with an equal level of worry and adoration. She shifted so he could move a bit more freely and tucked her knees up. When he returned, she passed him some blanket.
“Two o’clock. I double checked this morning.” She said to him and wrapped her arms around him as he slumped into her side, pressing a gentle kiss to his head. She took a few moments to enjoy his warmth, listening to his words and she buried her face in his hair,
“It’s alright.” She cooed softly to him, breathing in his familiar scent.
“It’ll be fine, Gary. Try not to worry about it, they’ll give you a check over and we’ll know where you’re at.” She said, an attempt to be comforting. The last thing Ariana wanted was for him to worry and let it chew him up inside, that would do himself no favours right then.
“How’re you feeling?” She asked him. All evidence pointed towards him feeling vulnerable and severely hungover but she just wanted to make sure nothing else was grating at him and he wasn’t in any pain with his leg or the punishing concussion. Before she could quite get a grip on things, her phone buzzed and she reached over to take hold of the device, eyeing the caller ID. She raised an eyebrow and sighed out a little.
“Hi dad.” She answered and listened to the usual reel of happy New Years and replied in kind before her father asked how things were going and she knew full well what he was referring to. She could tell he was speaking quietly and she sighed out. She figured he was hiding somewhere out of earshot of her mother. Really?
“Everything’s fine. We spent New Years at Lisa’s last night. Scan went well.” She kept her information to the point because she figured this would be a brief conversation.
“Who’s on the phone-“ and the click of her father hanging up. Her mother sure picked her moments. She locked the phone and put it on the table, settling back again.
“Dad sends his regards.” She said, lackadaisically to Gary. She figured one day her father would grow a spine at some point but she wasn’t sure it would be anytime soon, and yet she always answered the calls because she held out that one phone call would be what she so desired it to be. Ariana replaced an arm around Gary and turned her attention to the television, to wipe clean her thought process right then from lingering in her mind.
That appointment? Oh, a checkup. As he felt now, Gary really didn't feel like going anywhere, but hopefully he'd feel more human come tomorrow. A predicament, he reminded himself, that was quicker remedied if he actually took some time and effort to feed himself. His stomach twinged at the very thought and so Gary just sighed and slumped down the couch a little more, basking in a man-made misery. Ariana's hands reached out for his and lazily played with the digits. Gary watched her play, slightly bemused by how much smaller and delicate Ri's fingers were compared to his.
Both of them were subdued after last night's party and Gary didn't blame them. It'd been a long evening, but one surrounded by good people. He really couldn't complain; most of the time Ariana hadn't even wanted to go anywhere at all. Or perhaps she had, in his absence.
Gary closed his eyes, even though he didn't really have the desire to fall asleep. The sounds from the movie filtered through and created a nice, comfortable ambience. Gary felt warm, warmer than he should perhaps, and when the painkillers did let up a little, he only felt worse for it.
He hadn't drank much or eaten anything yet today, so Gary blamed his lack of patience for the pain on those two factors. Gary forced his eyes to unglue and took a deep breath. At the very least he ought to have some toast, to try and soak up the excess liquids floating around in there. With a groan, Gary pried himself from the couch, clumsily grabbed for his crutch and hobbled towards the kitchen.
Once there however, even toast felt like it might be too much. Gary settled on water and just stood there, giving his stomach a chance to get used to at least that much.
Once it had, Gary broke off a piece of cracker and nibbled on that for a while. It was slow going, but something had to give in the end. Eventually, his stomach settled a little; enough for him to consider the idea of having some toast and jam at the very least. It'd be easier to throw up something rather than nothing too, he convinced himself and started the process. Each little act to get the desired result felt like one too much for some reason. Gary regretted drinking, needless to say. Not enough to give up on it however.
"What time is that appointment. Ri?" Gary announced his return to the couch. Just that short walk had him knackered. "Tell me it's not in the early morning?" he pleased with Ri, slumping down against her side. Maybe he could reschedule, though the irony of that didn't escape him; cancelling a checkup because you didn't feel well defeated the point. He didn't want to worry anyone over a stupid hangover though and the doctor most likely had an opinion regarding his behaviour too.
"I don't want them to figure out how stupid I was last night," he murmured in complaint.
“Pride is one word for it.” Ariana said and shrugged. She was sure her parents would be in touch when they wanted to, no doubt they would try to shoulder in if and when Ariana held a bundle of blankets and infant. She hoped that wouldn’t be the case. Her eyes travelled to Gary and she nodded in understanding about his parents. There was rarely any drama with his parents, a refreshing change. She looked to him when he asked if she was alright and she nodded.
“I feel fine. I had a sandwich earlier.” She assured him and she figured it wouldn’t be long until morning sickness started to creep into a regular occurrence. Gary’s attention was fleeting but she didn’t blame him in the slightest, just watching him and letting him process at his speed.
“It’s alright, Gary. It’s not like I was much better after everything.” Ariana murmured and watched his attention drift back to the television and the movie that was still playing on the screen. Ariana reaches out and took hold of Gary’s digits in her own, gently. She let her eyes move to his cast up leg and she figured tomorrow would bring some more answers and at least solidify what was going on and how things were progressing. Ariana didn’t wish anything to go faster because that might mean complications, but she did want to know that Gary was on the steady path to recovery, however long it took. Her own fingers played lazily with his, losing interest in the film in favour of her husbands living and breathing form.
“You’ve got that appointment tomorrow. Just a check up I think.” She reminded him quietly. She highly doubted they would have some miracle cure for him but hopefully it was nothing too strenuous, especially when it came to the dull concussion that still lurked at the corners of his mind. She knew it crept up on him from time to time still when he was required to think. Even now with his lack of attention span.
It did hurt to see him like this. But she was right, she hadn’t been much better at appreciating Gary’s presence. She supposed if her husband was at home a puddle of frayed emotions and crying all the time she would probably want to drink all the time too. It couldn’t have been a nice atmosphere to come home to all the time. She leaned back in the comfort of the blanket and the soft couch, flickering her gaze back to the television and watching with tired eyes. It had been a long day yesterday and maybe she should have stayed in bed a bit longer this morning.
Roads were dead and he'd -his sleeping...? Oh. Gary closed his eyes, embarrassed. He'd fallen asleep on the way back, hadn't he? Left it to Ariana, his pregnant wife, to see him safely home on her own. He sighed out and shifted to look at Ri as she explained how forced abstinence had helped her maintain her sobriety.
"Rub it in, hmm?" Gary said softly, averting his eyes to the television.
"She's too proud to," he comment on Ri's mother. The older woman was never going to concede her faults, unless she stood to gain something. Even then, it wouldn't be a very valiant knee-fall, he knew already. It'd be a skimmed over apology that Ariana usually accepted easily enough for the sake of peace. Maybe not this time however.
"I'm sure they sent a message," Gary sighed out, gesturing at where he thought his phone had ended up. His memory was like a Swiss cheese these days, so maybe not. "They might, uhm... I don't know," Gary said at long last.
His stomach turned at the idea and Gary eased the air from his lungs to try and get rid of the foul sensation. "What time is it anyway?" he tried. Maybe time would sort his iffy gut enough to stomach some pizza. Or maybe he ought to actually eat something to settle or trigger a decision once and for all. For now, Gary remained seated and docilely watched the old movie play out without actually registering any of what was going on.
"Are you feeling alright?" he asked after a while, hinting at the pregnancy. Three months in was already quite a period. In that time he hadn't seen Ri feel ill, though perhaps her general lack of food was cause for a lack of symptoms.
The painkillers settled any lingering aches, though Gary noticed it didn't quite do the trick no more. His leg was uncomfortable no matter how he positioned it on the table. Yesterday had evidently been too much, too soon. Gary zoned out after a while of watching the television, not quite asleep, but not quite awake either.
Ri's legs were comfortable on top of his, nice and evenly warm. The heating in the house was making him a bit more drowsy than he'd like to, but sleep remained evasive on account of the many aches and pains plaguing his body.
"Ri, you'll be alright, won't you?" Gary started after a while of just watching the film play out. The actors in it all played their parts accordingly, slaves to the script. Like them. There was no way they could control or direct the outcome of what was to happen. Or was there?
"I know I haven't always appreciated... your presence," he tried to put into words, but it was hard finding the right ones to convey what emotion was currently flooding his system unannounced and unguided.
"...as much as I should have." The words softly died on his lips as the movie overtook his limited attention-span.
Ariana looked up when she heard her husband come shuffling in and she smiled in greeting to him.
“Hmm... I have no idea. Old film, I think?” She lifted her legs out the way and reclined a little when they were placed on his lap and she watched him with soft eyes.
“Roads were dead, we got home fine. You were tired, made me wake up that adorable sleeping face of yours.” She commented with a small smile. She really did hate waking him up like that but the car would have made for a really cold and lousy bed. She nodded,
“A few people did. I didn’t, of course. And I’m glad not just because I’m pregnant but everyone’s suffering hangovers and I got off Scot free.” She pointed out and kept her voice quiet and gentle, not wanting to encroach on his headache.
She raised an eyebrow and shot him a look when he mentioned her parents, shaking her head.
“My mom is probably still stewing. And dad’ll be too scared to pick up the phone while she’s around.” She remarked and part of her was sad because she would have loved to share the news like a normal family that she was pregnant and everything was going surprisingly well right then.
“Lisa did though, she’s suffering but the amount she drank- well, I don’t envy her today. She even did tequila at one point. Some card game.” She said to him and laughed breathily. She didn’t expect to hear from her parents for a while, at least until things cooled down enough. But that didn’t make it any less of a shame that her own parents couldn’t be happy and normal. Still, she had her sister and Gary and his parents had been understanding and sweet about the entire thing.
“What about your parents?” She said to him. They’d probably be seeing them soon enough if Hannah’s excitement had been anything to go by. And Gary had his check up tomorrow so hopefully that would bring some more good news to accompany that of their growing child.
“I was thinking pizza later? It’s not a craving I’m just too lazy to cook today.” She said to him. Then again he didn’t look like he could cook either, and even if he did risk cooking, she wasn’t sure it would go very far.
“If your stomach can handle it.” She added and knew full well his stomach was probably in tatters after last night but he would still need to eat something.
Ri returned before long in the shape of a hand threading through his hair. Gary almost felt embarrassed that she'd have to take care of him because of his own stupidity, but felt too worn out to give rise to those feelings.
"Thank you," Gary mumbled softly, closing his eyes when she pressed a kiss to his temple. Part of him wanted to pull her back in and never let her go. Tell Ariana that she ought to slow down and take care of herself and the baby more, but an attempt at merging flesh with bedding most likely wasn't the proper way to go. Gary hoisted himself up to a sit and nipped from the orange juice. He wasn't particularly hungry, though he knew eating something simple might settle his stomach more rapidly than self-loathing. For now, the orange juice did the trick of providing him a bit of sugar, but he couldn't quite shake the general feel of unease clinging to his muscles and in particular his leg.
When he heard gentle buzzing from the television, Gary decided he'd feel better in company than he would alone in bed. He gathered the one crutch he could find and hobbled about in search of a hoodie. Once sufficiently dressed against the cold he could see easing down onto the streets below, Gary scaled the stairs and momentarily regretted ever leaving the comfortable warmth of the bed-sheets.
He found Ri on the couch, relaxing in front of the television and noticed the second crutch somewhere in the hallway, abandoned. Nice going. Gary shooed Ri's legs and feet from one end of the couch and lifted them and the blanket she was under up on his lap for warmth. His heavy leg was put down on the table, a small pillow underneath for posterity.
He was a little out of breath from just that much.
Gary half-stared at the television and then at Ri.
"What are you watching?" he said softly. New Years was always funny. No one really did anything, the programming on television was rife with reruns and the streets deserted.
Gary mindlessly toyed with Ariana's legs, squeezing her calves. His hands eventually slowed down to a halt. He felt a little out of it still, but wasn't sure whether it was the pills, the lingering effects of the concussion, the alcohol or something else entirely. Gary stole a little more of Ri's blanket and inched down on the couch.
"Did we get home alright?" he started. Gary's steel blue eyes were a little hazy as they searched Ri's face for an answer. He recalled sitting down on Lisa's couch, but after that things became increasingly muddled to the point where he simply failed to remember.
"Mike was offering you champagne, huh?" Gary recalled.
It'd take some getting used to, for all of them. "Did your parents wish you a happy New Year?" Maybe not Ri's mother, but her father at least? Gary was sure his had sent a message or text and he was their bad son for not having sent a thing yet. Quite possibly, they'd choose this day or the next to stop by and see how he was doing instead.
Another hour in bed was substantial for Ariana before she slipped from the bed, careful not to wake Gary as she went for a shower to freshen up and take care of nature’s call. The hot water was relaxing and soothes tired muscles. Ariana almost dared to go back bed but figured Gary would need peace instead of a wriggling wife trying to sneak back into bed.
By the time Gary awoke the second time, Ariana was dressed in comfortable clothes and downstairs putting together something to eat. Although she was wary he might not want anything. She abandoned her food for the moment, in favour of fixing Gary some orange juice, vitamins and the like would help. Or at least she hoped so. She figured it was best to leave the food downstairs in case the smell turned his stomach. Ariana ascended the stakes with the glass of juice in hand as she swapped it out for the old water and glanced to Gary, running a hand through his hair softly, playing with the strands lazily.
“Try some juice, it might help.” She said quietly, used to dealing with the hangovers by now. It was no doubt for the best he slept most of this off and she made a mental note just to be careful to keep an eye on his state. He still had a lingering concussion and his broken leg wasn’t helpful in this.
“If you want anything to eat, now or later, then let me know alright?” She leant down and placed a soft kiss to his temple before retreating. He may well just need to sleep it off. Ariana flicked the television on downstairs, keeping it low as she sat with a sandwich and a cup of tea, of course it decided to snow today. A fresh new blanket of snow for a bold new year. Her phone buzzed from somewhere in her jeans and she plucked the device out her pocket, eyeing it over. A text from Lisa proclaiming how she was never drinking again. Ariana replies and thanked her for last night. She supposed despite the raging hangovers most of the party members were enduring, it had been a good night. Lisa would probably be in worse state given her son would be returned to her, complete with grinding headache for both her and Mike. Ariana finished the sandwich and tugged down the blanket from the back of the couch, wrapping it around her form as she snuggled down in the couch. She wasn’t really following whatever movie was buzzing away in the background.
A soft 'hey'. Some memories slotted into place -Ri trying to pry him out of the car. "Hmm," Gary managed in return and peeked at her from underneath one heavy eyelid. A motion? He shifted to find water within reach, bless her. Gary patted around for the pills and pushed himself up to carefully wash them down with a little water. It'd do absolutely nothing for his stomach, but not having the pain would likely help on that front.
"Mangled," he replied softly, voice barely above a hoarse whisper. Gary didn't feel like speaking any louder either, as the sound reverberated inside his skull like a dull hammering. He sat there for a minute, waiting for his stomach to accept the medicine and when it seemed it would, Gary shifted. The water was set back on the bedside table and Gary reached for the one crutch that'd been carelessly abandoned by the side of the bed.
Gary mentally braced himself, but finally managed to get himself to a wobbly stand, finding it hard to shuffle with a crutch and had to resort to a stomach-jarring hobble. By the time he reached the bathroom, Gary wasn't sure which was more pressing; the need to vomit or pee. With the promise of pain-relief in his gut, Gary tried to relieve his bladder first. He had to rest his shoulder against the tile wall to properly aim, but it helped make him feel better in the end. After he was done, Gary just stood there, waiting for his stomach to decide whether it was better off inside out or the proper way around.
He hadn't though that a couple of glasses would do him in this much. Usually he'd drink much more and still be fine.
So long as he kept still, it was bearable.
Gary sighed out and made the trek back to the bedroom, slower than before. He sank on the bed with some care and slowly laid back down. Without the tension of being upright, he felt decidedly better. Gary closed his eyes and let his body's weariness drag him into a shallow doze, deepened when the pills finally did take effect. Especially his leg started to feel better after taking them and Gary felt he might've fallen back asleep then.
When he woke for the second time, he felt decidedly more human, though still a bit meek. New Years. A brand new year awaited them. Lovely start. He shouldn't have drunk so much while still trying to recover from the concussion he suffered. Gary shifted to rest on his side and smacked a set of dry lips. Cotton mouth. Nothing new, unfortunately. This was more like the hangovers he'd gotten used to.
Ariana gladly enjoyed Gary’s closeness, in all honesty she was exhausted too. It had been a fun night but it had also been a late one. She draped an arm over Gary’s side. The mixture of tiredness, warmth and being back in more comfortable clothing was a welcome relief and the perfect guidelines for her to slip away to sleep. She shifted slightly and sleep claimed her. Mostly dreamless or just hazy images here and there. Nothing that would be remembered when she woke. It had been good to get out and about and not be stuck in the house or the hospital for a night and she just hoped Gary hadn’t pushed too far.
Everything was forgotten when she awoke. She must have shifted around a little in the night as she blinked blearily up at the ceiling. She stifled a yawn and didn’t move for the first few minutes until she felt Gary shifting beside her and rousing into wakefulness. She turned her head and watched him in the quiet for a while. Hungover, she figured. She pushed herself to prop up on her elbows and this time the yawn escaped her regardless of her attempts to stifle it.
“Hey.” She said quietly, softly even because she figured his head was throbbing. She turned onto her side and made a lazy motion to the water beside the bed and she remembered the painkillers that would hopefully either lull him back to sleep or stave off his pain.
“Forward planning.” She explained as she groaned quietly as she turned over and dig through the drawer, procuring the pills and switching sides again to look to Gary, leaning over and placing the bottle of pills by the water.
Ariana settles amongst the blankets again, in all honesty not ready to get up at all. She might not have drank anything but it had been a very late night for her. And it was New Years Day, they could laze around for today and Gary’s hospital check up was tomorrow and then Gary was due to visit his work sometime. Ariana had grown oddly accustomed to Gary being hungover, the past year it had been drunk Gary, working Gary or hungover Gary. Whilst she was just grateful Gary had come home most of the time, it still wasn’t the Gary she knew. She reduced her hair into a messy bun and out of her face,
“How’re you feeling?” She dared to ask, figuring she knew the answer already. Maybe being busy wasn’t such a bad thing for them, it stopped them worrying so much about the future and the ifs and the buts.
A soft voice stirred him from what felt like a thousand miles into depth. Gary blearily searched for the source of said voice and found Ri there, really close. More words went in one ear and out the other. Gary felt there was nothing in between to make any sense of what Ariana was saying and so he just waited and watched her for what felt like a long while. In the end, Ri's hands started to coax him into a stand and Gary tried to half-heartedly help her. Where were they? Home?
Confusion filtered through his intoxicated mind, but he couldn't quite find the words to protest Ri's gentle ministrations and guidance up the stairs either. He leaned in on her heavily, unwilling to admit that maybe he needed Ri's help right then and there, until he was safely released on the bed. His first instinct was to just let himself fall back onto the pillow, but he lowered the crutch he'd been nursing relatively gently, though clumsily, and started to try and undo the one shoe he wore.
The small buttons on his shirt were a cruel invention. Gary stared down and sluggishly plied the small buttons to undo themselves from the shirt and exchanged it for a more comfortable sleeping shirt. He left the sweats for what they were however and used numb hands to push and ply the blankets this way and that in poor attempts at getting comfortable.
At long last, his head connected to the pillow and finally allowed for the gentle sway of dizziness to taper down and gradually mellow out into normalcy. Gary's glistening eyes watched as Ri settled herself in bed and felt the relief when she finally turned off the lights. The headache he'd been ignoring abated only marginally without the input of light. The silence too, was deafening.
Gary reached out to Ri underneath the blankets, pulling her in closer. In the end, that desire was overcome by tiredness. Not even the aches and pains from pushing himself too much could prevent him from falling into a deep sleep. The alcohol made sure his sleep was troublesome after just a few hours, bringing forth nightmares and weird images. One moment he relived the car-crash, then the next he was with Ri in the hospital, both looking at a beautiful young child in a crib.
A dry mouth was the first clue to the hangover the next morning, soon followed by a deep, pulsing pain shooting up and down his leg. Gary furrowed his brow and tried to ignore the need to pee. It'd mean getting up and his stomach did not agree to motion at that time, never mind his leg. Light pierced his retina to awaken a blinding headache. He hadn't even drunk that much. He thought. Some of last night had gone hazy. Gary slung an arm across his eyes and rolled onto his back to try and formulate a plan.
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