Gary just rolled his eyes at Lisa, unable to find a valid retort. His head hadn't been in the game back at the pub and all the fuss afterwards hadn't aided his situation any. Actually, he'd planned to go home after the one beer anyway. He couldn't even tell Lisa she was wrong. There would always be a next time. Why would he give up on the things he enjoyed doing? It wasn't as if he'd asked Ariana to do the same. During her depression, she just had. Gary gave Lisa a fierce glare, but reluctantly accepted Ariana's aid. Lisa didn't linger either, he noted.
Oh, yeah. Of course they'd give Ri an ultrasound. How else would they check the baby's well-being. The gender?
Her words stung, even if they were spoken without that intent. Gary looked away. Just worried, right. As if.
"Lisa hates my guts. It's fine," Gary said, a defeated sigh in his words. It wasn't anything new anyway. They tolerated one another for Ariana's sake, but nothing more than that. Gary wrestled out of his coat, hanging it up before hobbling over to where Ri was stood.
She fiddled with the envelope.
"I'm fine," he lied. He didn't want Ariana worry over him and it wasn't anything a little rest wasn't going to solve, unlike Ri's predicament.
"I wasn't the one in the hospital tonight." His eyes were small from the headache and he didn't think he could hide that much from Ri, but what good would it do them both to have her worry like that?
"What really happened, Ri?" Gary asked again. Yeah, he knew she'd gotten ill and passed out, but that didn't speak any of the events leading up to the incident. His eyes were trained on the envelope, but his cool steel blues lifted after a moment's distraction. Gary rested back against the corridor wall, reaching out to take the envelope from Ri's hands.
In the intimacy of the hallway, the question he'd pitched tapered off and all his focus came to rest on the envelope. Tired, slow hands worked the paper until it was unfolded and he took out the small picture. Black and white smudges stared back at him, slowly forming into a recognizable shape. It wasn't their first ultrasound, but it hadn't lost any of its magic either to see their child like that.
His eyes flicked up at Ri, then down. He flipped the picture.
Lisa raised an eyebrow. Now, she wasn’t married to Gary and she wasn’t going to take his sneering tone as sweetly as Ariana.
“Yeah,this time.” Lisa remarked, pulling into their street and taking it slow. Ariana wasn’t going to get involved in their too-ing and fro-ing, she was too tired for it and she was just relieved their child was alright.
“There’s always next time with you, Gary. But hey, I’m glad you scrounged up the energy to go out with your friends.” Lisa said as she parked up. Ariana sighed and thanked her sister quietly, getting out the car and shuffling to get Gary’s door. Lisa didn’t waste anytime when the two were out the car, pulling off and leaving them.
Thankfully it was warm in the house and Ariana looked to the envelope.
“Sonogram.” She mumbled, “The nurse wrote the gender, on the back. I didn’t want to know without you there.” Ariana said, realising it sounded like a jibe at him. But it still would have been wrong of her to know their baby’s sex alone.
“Sorry, Lisa’s just worried. Don’t take it to heart.” There was enough family drama right then without adding her sister and husband to the mix. Ariana fiddled with the plain white envelope in her fingers and stood in the corridor. It had been a scare, that was all. No one was hurt, fortunately and they were all fine.
“Do you want to-?” She waves the envelope a little in her hands. She wasn’t really sure how to go about this, it wasn’t like they would be popping champagne. It was much easier to just disregard the events of the night than to address them. Yes, she was a little frustrated that Gary had found the energy to go out after struggling for so long with having to precariously organise their days.
“Are you alright?” She asked him, looking her husband over a touch worried he had maybe overdone it. They’d had this fight before about going out and maybe it just wasn’t worth it anymore.
Not sure. Lisa got up to bring the car around and Gary didn't even notice when she left. His eyes were all on Ariana.
"You passed out, she said," Gary pointed out softly, filling in the blanks by combining their two stories. Gary searched Ariana's eyes and watched her rub them. He should've been there. And then what? Maybe she wouldn't have gotten sick? He couldn't always be around. Soon he'd be back to work and then what?
A nurse entered the room and Gary lowered his hand a little, keen eye on the envelope she passed to Ariana. A question was in his eyes, but Ri didn't notice and now wasn't the time to press it.
The baby was fine. Air that Gary hadn't realized was trapped in his lungs finally got released. Both of them were fine.
"Thank you," he told the nurse when Ri nodded and slowly got up. Gary plucked his crutch from the bed and followed.
Nothing serious. But it could've been. Gary wasn't sure how this made him feel. His emotions were all over the place, frankly. His head hurt. He'd exerted himself more than intended today and now that the panic subsided, Gary could feel it too. His arms trembled from the exertion, unused to carrying his weight this long in order to just walk. Rushing things hadn't made it better. Now that they moved slower, it was only a little easier.
Outside was even colder in contrast with the hospital's heating.
"Fuck, Lisa, I was out for maybe a few hours? Less?" he snarled. Just because he'd missed a phone-call or wasn't around a hundred percent of the time didn't give her the right to hound him like that.
"I can't just-..." Gary stopped, running out of steam before even getting there. His hand landed to rest on Ri's leg as the other pinched the bridge of his nose. The headache wouldn't be pushed back by such a simple act and Gary owlishly blinked back at the overly bright lights flooding the car's interior. Memories of the accident haunted him for a split-second, but Gary blinked again and the snow turned to dark, water-logged streets instead. After a few second of zoning out and gathering his wits, Gary's eyes fell on the envelope.
Ri held the envelope as if it was more precious to her than the child growing in her womb. At first he'd assumed it to contain maybe a prescription of some sort or some guide-lines, but now it dawned on his overworked brain that it might be something else instead.
There was no writing on the paper.
Their eyes met.
Gary's brow knitted in mild confusion, "what's in the envelope?"
Lisa watched as Gary limped in and she didn’t say bother to interfere.
“I’ll go bring the car round.” She stated was she got up and figured she was best out of the way before she opened her mouth and said something snappy. Ariana nodded to her and looked to Gary. Gary’s hand on her face and Ariana looked to him.
“I’m not sure.” She said honestly. “I got a little sick and my blood pressure dropped, next think I know Lisa was calling an ambulance.”
Ariana rubber at her eyes. She was tired.
“Ah, Mr Jenkins I presume?” The nurse said as she came back and handed the sealed envelope to Ariana. She sat up and tugged her pajama top down. She wrapped the hospital dressing gown they had given her around herself and sat up.
“Thanks.” Ariana said quietly as she ran a hand through her hair.
“Nothing to worry about, baby is doing fine and mom just needs to remember not to get up too quickly.” Nurse Mount said with a smile. It was still shocking to Ariana now they could smile so much. Ariana nodded and got up, slowly this time. She at least had shoes on.
The nurse showed them out and Ariana wrapped the gown around herself more.
“Sorry, honestly it wasn’t anything serious.” She said to Gary and felt stupid. She was clutching the envelope like her life depended on it. Lisa was waiting outside in the car and she helped them into the car.
“I’ll get both home, unless Gary wants dropped back off at the pub.” That comment warranted a glare from Ariana because she was in no mood to fight her sister on the matter. Ariana just didn’t want things to go back to how they had been before. Lisa rolled her eyes as she drove. Ariana looked to the envelope in her hand and then to Gary.
Lisa picked up almost immediately. Gary's breath caught in his throat, and Lisa's snarky tone conveyed everything her words did not.
"I'm not drunk," he bit back almost immediately, impatient for more information about what had happened to Ariana. She got sick and passed out. Lisa, as any concerned sister would, had called for an ambulance. He took from her story that Ri was alright, but they weren't sure about the baby yet. After what he'd said to Ri that afternoon, it seemed a cruel twist of fate.
He rolled his eyes after Lisa hung up. Honestly? After all he'd promised, they'd just assumed he'd gone out to get drunk?
Gary sighed out and put the phone in his pocket, then awkwardly waited for the taxi to arrive. It was cold outside, his coat hadn't been done up nicely because he hadn't let Ray fuss and the wait felt stupidly long. Eddy had long since run out of things to say, patiently waiting alongside him.
At long last, a car came up. Gary hobbled over. The man, keen to the needs of his clients, took the crutches from his hands and put them in the boot of the car.
"Where to mate?"
"Hospital," Gary started, noticed the raised eyebrow. "Not for myself."
A nod, and then they were off.
It was late when he finally arrived at the hospital. Traffic was fierce with the weather what it was. Gary tumbled out of the car and teetered on his one leg until he was handed his crutches. Money exchanged hands and Gary wasted no time walking into the hospital after. A wall of heat buffeted him in the face, like a sticky embrace. Last time they'd been there was for him and Gary didn't have many good memories of his last visit, other than being allowed to leave again.
The port in his leg was still uncomfortably present.
Gary scanned the signs and started navigating through the hospital. He regretted going out now. It'd pushed his boundaries and now Gary was sure he'd crossed them. Something this stupid was enough to upset Ri and right now she shouldn't be doing all those things she usually did when feeling stressed out. Honestly, he'd have expected Ariana to just take some time for herself, take a nice bath and pamper herself.
Not. Not call Lisa. Or whatever she'd been doing.
He was out of breath and clammy when he finally made it to the room. Gary took a deep breath to steel himself and pushed open the door. Lisa was going to be murder. She'd never believe he wasn't drunk with the scent of alcohol he knew was on his breath. When he caught sight of Ariana though, Gary forgot all about that.
"Ri... are you alright?" he started, already moving for the bed. "Shit, don't scare me like that," Gary breathed out as he scanned over Ariana's face and body. She seemed to be alright, colour on her face and everything. No sorrow in her eyes either. He hooked one of his crutches on the bed and put a hand to Ariana's face, searching for answers.
Lisa didn’t get a chance to call Gary, her phone buzzing the moment she stepped into the waiting room. She figured she had to be nice, he was her brother-in-law and the last thing they needed was more family feuds. She answered and glanced back to the room Ariana was in.
“Gary Jenkins, don’t come here if you’re drunk.” Lisa started because he would be no help.
“Everything’s fine. Ri got sick, hormones probably and had a dizzy spell. She’s with the nurses now, room 208. Blood pressure and to check the baby is alright.” Lisa said as she did her best not to call him every name under the sun.
“Just-“ she sighed, Lisa admittedly not as soft as Ariana.
“Just get here, alright? But seriously if you’re drunk just go home.” Lisa hung up.
Lisa headed back to the room and figured someone should at least be there with Ariana.
“Blood pressure is looking much better, Mrs Jenkins.” The nurse smiled and Ariana looked over to Lisa.
“Have you been vomiting a lot?” The nurse disturbed any questions Ariana had for her loving sister.
“No- Well, on and off.” Ariana said and the nurse gave a smile.
“Sounds like some bad luck is all. Right, let’s check on baby. I can see you were supposed to have an appointment, Hm?” The nurse chattered.
The jelly never got any warmer with the visits and Lisa glanced to her younger sibling.
“Aha.” The nurse said with a smile, “Someone’s not shy!” She beamed as she noted down a few things. Ariana however was still worried.
“Are they alright?” She asked hesitantly and Nurse Mount smiled towards her,
“Fantastic, would you like to know if you’re having a son or daughter?” Lisa looked to Ariana at those words. Ariana paused. Maybe next time, when Gary was here.
“I’ll... wait for my husband.” Ariana explained and looked a touch embarrassed. The nurse however didn’t stop smiling.
“Well, I’ll print a photo and write it on the back, pop it into an envelope for you. You can open and find out whenever you wish.” She said as she bustled off to do that, handing her a wipe for her stomach. Ariana was just relieved everything was alright.
“Is he coming?” She looked to Lisa.
“I told him not to bother if he’s drunk. But he’s probably coming. I’ll get you both home, just don’t ask me to play nicely.” Lisa commented.
"Come on, to your health, no?" Dan started, setting out a row of shots on the table. Ray grinned and nudged a beer in Gary's direction. The man himself gave them a look, conveying a stern 'oh really?' before rolling his eyes and giving in. One drink wasn't exactly going to change things, was it now? His friends had been good sports about his refusal to drink up until now, so he couldn't fault them for trying.
"Fine, fine," he sighed and reached for the shot. Once everyone had, Eddy lifted his drink high, "to our health!" he said with a sloppy grin. Gary chuckled and together they washed down the liquor, before rinsing the bitter taste down with some ale. It'd been good to hear what everyone was up to.
Gary zoned out as conversation carried on, eyes mildly locked on the beer in front of him, fingers loosely resting around the base of the glass. Eddy nudged him, "you okay?"
He snapped to and gave Eddy a grin, "yeah, I'm alright," Gary lied. Eddy crossed eyes with Dan above his head, but neither said a thing in the end. Gary savoured the beer and checked his phone for the time. A message from Lisa's?
He'd missed it. It'd been over an hour ago.
Ray nudged his shoulder, "the missus on your case about when you come home, buddy?" The others laughed.
Gary gave them a look, "oh, hah-hah," he retorted, unable to come up with anything witty. Ray shook his head and continued with the conversation he'd been having with Jones on the opposite side. Gary used the lull in attention focussed on him to listen to his voice mail. It was hard to understand while people talked around him.
His colour drained.
"Hey, you sure you're alright?" Eddy started, hand on his shoulder.
"I need a cab," Gary started. His apprehension was reflected in Eddy's eyes and they both felt uncomfortable at the sight of it. Eddy nodded and went over to the bar. Gary grabbed hold of his crutches and started to get up, awkwardly pushing into his coat. Dan and Ray looked up at him, worry in their eyes.
"I have to go -Ri..." Gary stammered.
Ray nodded, already checking where Eddy was at, but the man was already bartering for a cab to be sent to the pub. Ray handed Gary the other crutch and helped the man sort out his coat a bit better. Gary tired of the fussing before Ray could fix it up, and hobbled out of the pub. There, he fiddled with his phone, dialling Lisa.
Shit, it'd been over an hour ago.
His heart thundered in his ears, but the dial-tone was still deafening.
Eddy came up behind him, "cab's on the way," he started. Gary gave him a nod.
"I'll go alone, it's fine," Gary excused him. Eddy seemed to hesitate, but nodded in the end. They had no reason to be at the hospital.
"Is she alright -Ri I mean?"
Gary shook his head, "I don't know."
Surfaces were scrubbed, floors mopped and vacuumed, pillows adjusted in a bid to keep busy and her mind off of the thought of another car accident or her husband staggering through the door. The pasta hadn’t sat well in her stomach, Ariana could already tell or it was the movement of the cleaning or the fumes of the cleaning solutions. It was something. Ariana called Lisa, who of course came over. She felt like an idiot for being upset that Gary had gone out. But last time he had almost died and everything had been a struggle lately.
“Oh, Ri.” Lisa said as she breezed in and Ariana looked up with a small smile.
“So he did actually go out?” Lisa asked as she looked around and sighed a little, going to the kitchen to make them both some tea.
“You know- Hm, nevermind.” Lisa wasn’t going to make scathing remarks about her sister’s husband but she was cut off as Ariana farted upstairs and Lisa could hear her retching. She grimaced and headed up, abandoning the tea.
“Is it because of the baby or because of the stress?” Lisa asked as she pushed the door open, holding Ariana’s hair back from her face as her stomach contents emptied.
“Alright, come on.” Lisa said as she helped her up. Ariana saw stars as she stood up and mumbled to Lisa before everything went dark and the world shifted.
Lisa of course called an ambulance, explaining she was pregnant. She sighed as she followed behind and tried Gary’s number, unable to get through whether it was lack of signal or just that Gary was enjoying himself. The fool.
“Gary it’s Lisa. Call me when you get this. Ri had a dizzy spell, she’s fine, going to the hospital. She’s fine, nothing for [i you] to worry about.” Lisa was sharp on the phone because if Lisa hadn’t been there then God only knows what would have happened. She knew it was just dizzy spell, Ariana would likely just be checked and sent home. Lisa just prayed it hadn’t affected the baby.
Lisa glanced to the doctors as they checked her sister over, who was of course complaining.
“Alright, we think the vomiting brought on a little blood pressure drop. We’re going to take Mrs Jenkins down for a scan just to check everything is fine with baby.” The doctor said to Lisa and glanced around the waiting room before nodding she could go through.
“Well, have you had your fill of drama?” Lisa joked as she went to sit by Ariana’s side. Ariana laughed a bit as she sat up,
“I’ve called Gary, before you ask, went to voicemail. Ri- you know you’re welcome to stay with me and Mike for a while, right? Just... I worry if Gary is going to start disappearing out and such, like last time.” Lisa explained as the nurse came through.
“Mrs Jenkins, just going to check your blood pressure then we’ll do a little scan just to check baby.”
Ariana looked to her sister and knew she meant well and she only nodded.
“I’ll go and try Gary again, alright?” Lisa said as the nurse took her blood pressure. Lisa got up and headed out to the waiting room, rifling through her bag for her phone.
Eddy had sent him messages too, offering to come and pick him up with some of the boys just to catch up. The message was old. Gary knew he shouldn't, given he had the appointment the next day, but his fingers were itching to give in to the offer. Before he could, food appeared in front of him. Gary lowered the phone and took the bowl, trying to read Ri's expression. He felt guilt weigh him down momentarily, at his words, at his stupidity, but he'd already told Ariana he hadn't meant it and was confused by the sudden rush of feelings. As a result, Ri walked away to eat at the kitchen table and Gary sighed.
She was closing off again, wasn't she?
He picked at his meal, incited by the gurgling of his stomach and before long the bowl was empty. Ri came around one more time to fetch the used dishes. Gary looked at her, but couldn't find a way to connect.
She cut him off.
A shower. Or a wash. He knew Ariana liked to seclude herself like that to come to terms with things and Gary cursed under his breath. He'd fucked things up again, hadn't he? There was no point chasing her, not only because he'd just entice her wrath, but also because the act in itself would be rather troublesome. Gary looked at the crutches and sighed out. Maybe Ri just needed some space. They'd been together for a couple of days now, closer than they'd been in a long time.
Rather than give chase, Gary messaged Eddy.
The man replied almost instantly, saying they were already at the pub. Ray hadn't gotten sloshed enough to be unable to drive, whether he wanted to be picked up and spend some time together? Gary licked his lips and looked at where Ri had disappeared off to. He swallowed thickly. Why was this so difficult?
Gary breathed out and replied, saying he'd visit, but wouldn't be coerced to drink, as he had an appointment at the hospital the next day.
He put the phone down and reached for a shoe, then pulled his crutches closer and hobbled his way over to the door. Ri had hung his coat up there before.
"Ri?" Gary tried. He didn't know whether she'd hear.
"Ri? I'm going out for a bit, yeah?" he called. Before he could hear her reply, Gary could already see Ray's car pull up in their driveway.
With one last look, Gary opened the door and hobbled over to the car. Without Ri's help, it was a little difficult to actually get in. Eddy was there, using his one uninjured hand to help him out with things.
It felt good to go out then. It felt like things would go back to normal quicker if he engaged in social events again. Get caught up in things and learn the latest developments. These were things equally important to his job as actually writing the articles that he did.
Ariana watched Gary as he turned to face her, carefully unwrapping herself from him. His words were strikingly true, no matter how much she wanted to kid herself that they were in control of it this time. They weren’t and Gary’s words seem to drive that point home. He was right, it didn’t matter if they were happy, the worst could still happen. A kiss pressed to her temple and Ariana just stood there, dazed slightly as reality encroached on her fantasy. He was right.
She stood for a couple of moments longer than she should have, mulling over Gary’s words. It still didn’t feel right. She seemed to come back to reality, realising Gary had abandoned her in favour of the couch. The boiling of the pot grabbed her attention as she looked to the pasta. She sighed and turned it down, stirring the pot. Gary was probably risking cabin fever being stuck in like this, but Ariana was split. Having him around was wonderful, but at the same time it was heart wrenching to see him bored. Pasta in a rich sauce materialised in some bowls and Ariana dropped a fork in each, placing the pot in the sink to wash later.
Maybe she was still tired, or over emotional, she told herself. She handed Gary his bowl and got him some juice to match as she took a seat at the kitchen table, despondently stirring the bowl. Ariana managed dinner, barely, but she had done well at lunch and breakfast so she wasn’t concerned that she felt full and content. Admitting she was powerless again was a big leap. Ariana started to scrub the dishes, placing them away and adding Gary’s to the hot water when he finished.
“I’m just gonna wash this- off my face I mean.” She said, making an excuse to have some breathing room as she headed up to the bathroom. She tied her hair up a little nearer, changing into a vest and pajama shorts as she rinsed the makeup from her skin. She brushed her teeth and glanced to the door.
She sat cross legged on the bed and set her phone aside on the bedside table, leaning back on the pillows and pinching the bridge of her nose as she drew in a deep breath. She didn’t want to be powerless or useless, not this time.
Two more days before they might find out the gender of their child. Suddenly the reality of them having a child came stunningly close. What if it could become truth? This time for real. And at the same time, so much was at risk because of their frivolous behaviour. He couldn't even rightfully blame Margaret when he thought about their predicament for a second or two longer. She stood to lose her child, just as they had lost their first.
Arms wrapped loosely around his waist and Gary took a deep breath. A small kiss was pressed behind his ear. Ri's warmth radiated against his back in a pleasant, reassuring way. She was doing as well as could be expected, carrying the pregnancy with few symptoms of yet. Gary knew that the danger would come a few more months in. Now that it looked like she might carry it that far.
For a while they just stood like that in silence, each with their own thoughts.
At long last, Ri breathed out. Her words were soft-spoken, but did convey both of their feelings fairly accurately. They were both glad for a second chance, but fearful of saying it too loudly, fearful to express that they might be happy. All because it could be over and they didn't want to get their hopes up beyond repair.
Both in their relationship and with their unborn child.
His leg started to become uncomfortable and Gary turned in their embrace, carefully breaking the hold Ri's arms had on his waist so that he was facing her instead.
"Nothing will change. The outcome..." his eyes were turned down, staring at Ariana's belly and the small bump that would soon grow out to become so much more.
"Whether we're happy or sad, frightened or bold. Nothing will change. Either this baby will live or not. At this point, I don't think anything we do has any impact. It feels as if it's out of our control," Gary tossed out and frankly, he wasn't even sure where it came from. He still felt a little sleep-addled, but there was no headache to temper his thoughts.
A few dazed blinks tore his gaze from Ri's stomach and back to her face.
"I...'m sorry," he breathed.
"I'm...not entirely awake," Gary decided and pressed a kiss against Ariana's temple before slowly moving back to relax on the couch. There was little he could actually do, so in the end Gary just put his leg up and flipped channels on the television in search of something to hold his interest.
He found his phone, abandoned on the table and tried to reply to some of the messages that'd gone neglected for far too long. People sending him invitations, wondering when he'd be back out and about, to the pub or just in general. Gary wasn't sure what to reply. Just going out for lunch had been reason for a period of rest. Ri was sure to fight him if he suggested going out to the pub for a few hours.
Ariana busied herself with setting pasta in some boiling water, watching Gary here and there as she set it to boil and she had to admit neither of them truly thought it would be like this. It was always someone else these things happened to, never ever believing it would at their front door. Ariana rummaged around for this and that and she heard his question,
“Uh- Day after tomorrow.” She said quietly. Two long days for Gary, something she had to take into account because she wouldn’t hold it against him if he didn’t feel up to it, but the treatment for his leg was a must.
She paused and looked over to him, watching him as he looked out the window and the rather unremarkable sights. A little piece of her heart broke for him then, it wasn’t pity but more a shared sympathy. She padded up behind him and carefully wound her arms around his waist, leaning up to press a small kiss behind his ear.
“Neither of us did.” She said gently, picking her words carefully. She supposed if things had been better, if things had worked out the first time around they would be lazing around on the couch in a different way. Their child would have been a year old, no doubt settled for a nap or something of the like and they would be enjoying some alone time in the peace.
Instead everything seemed glum, like a pale shadow because they had so much to be fearful of. She rested against him for a moment, careful in case he rejected her. She wouldn’t blame him. Everything had been turned upside down, and he had always been the busy one, the one to make plans and go out and enjoy the nightlife. Once upon a time, Ri had as well. She wasn’t going to tell him not to worry, not to panic over things because he was her husband and he had every damn right to worry, the same as Ariana worried over him. But they at least had a smudge of hope on a canvas of bleak outlooks.
“I’m glad we get a second chance.” She breathed out quietly. She didn’t just mean with a child, she meant between them both because the path they had lead the past year would have only ended in turmoil and heartbreak, there was only so much both parties could take when it came to grieving and avoiding one another. Gary has been given a second chance after the near tragic ending with the car accident too. There was a lot to be grateful for and with any glimmer of luck, there would be more in the future.
Ri was right there. She was rewarded with a drowsy but fond smile. Gary watched as his wife slowly woke up. He regarded each small expression, each motion and stretch with patience. A frown stained her expression and Gary cocked his head, the words of asking her whether she was okay dying on his lips. He snorted when she mumbled something too soft to be heard and finally managed to get up.
Pasta, was it? Gary rubbed Ri's back, silently glad he wasn't expected to pick up slack.
"Don't say I didn't warn you," Gary said with a languid smirk.
He slowly wrestled to a sit, hissing when a sudden spike of disgruntled pain shot up his leg. When was the last time he'd taken anything against the pain anyway? Gary didn't recall having anything that morning. Since Ri was set on making them dinner, Gary reckoned he ought to wait until dinner to spare his stomach the grief of medicine without a buffer. He shifted to sit up as well, then glanced about the living to find his crutches and see where he'd left things before promptly passing out. It'd been a long time ago since he'd slept that deeply.
He reached for his crutches and got himself up to take care of some bodily needs at the restroom and came back around to the kitchen, just to be up. Gary wasn't sure what to do. Usually his days were filled with work and going out. Now that he wasn't really capable of either, boredom set in rather quickly. He'd always been the type to enjoy a good night out, socializing and partying.
And when he'd met Ariana, their nights were usually filled with hanging about on the couch or lately, not at all together. Gary grabbed some water in the kitchen and loitered about, staring out the window at the grey-tinted hazy day. Maybe he ought to have interjected more in the conversation they'd had with Thomas. Maybe he hadn't been clear enough.
Part of him argued that Thomas was Ri's father firstly and that even though he ought to support Ri, he shouldn't force this. In the end, it had to be Ariana's decision, since Thomas wasn't bound to make any.
"When is your scan, Ri?" Gary posed. He adjusted his hold on the crutches, but remained standing. It was time to push himself a little more, he felt. Rather than be someone who needed help, he wanted to be the husband Ri could rely on. If he could go out for lunch, then he could be doing so much more.
Like stay up for longer than a morning or afternoon. Gary hung his head and let out a deep sigh. It was hopeless.
"I never thought that this would be how we'd go through this," he said softly.
“Yes.” Ariana responded to his counter to her question about a nap. She figured a nap wouldn’t hurt because otherwise she would be in her bed ridiculously early, her mind pointed out and it seemed like the smartest idea in the world right that moment. Ariana watched him fidget, returning his lazy smile as she waited for him to get comfortable before joined him.
Naps weren’t such a bad thing, she figured as she rested against him, reassured by the steady drum of his heartbeat. A frank reminder that yes, he was still breathing and very much alive as blood coursed through his veins. Ariana might have fought it if she hadn’t been so warm, so comfortable but she couldn’t help it.
“S’catchy.” She mumbled, a little late to his comment about catching his laziness.
It was Gary’s movements that roused her from sleep, taking a little longer to wake up which wasn’t surprising in the least. She rubbed at her eyes, doing a wonderful job of smudging the mascara she had put on for going out into the bustling world earlier. She squinted at the T.V, wondering when exactly she had fallen asleep and for how long. She sat up a little and huffed at herself, so much for staying awake the entire day. She realised that sticking an arm outside the blanket was cold and there was absolutely no need for it. She frowned like a child wanting five more minutes but figured dinner wouldn’t cook itself and given her appetite had been on the up lately- thanks to the pregnancy, she should eat while it was present. Besides, anymore sleep and she’d be awake until late and lamenting her decisions.
Ariana finally managed to open her eyes properly and swiped her hair out her gaze, stretching her legs and mumbling something lost to any language.
“I’m gonna make pasta.” She said sleepily, as if it was a mission statement rather than a reality. Pasta did sound good though and she finally peeled herself up to sit, stretching her arms above her head. She looked to Gary.
“You’re infectious with laziness.”
Ariana compared her mother to a predator and Gary pondered the thought for a second. Such a negative connotation. If only Margaret's conviction could be employed for her children's benefits, then all would be different. Ri shook her head and he sighed out. Giving in to Lisa's fierce opinions wasn't going to change Ariana's standing with her mother, nor would it create a foundation of positivity to venture out from. In many ways, Lisa was exactly like Margaret, the fierceness only diminished by Thomas' conflict-avoiding nature, which was undoubtedly more present in Ariana.
No one was perfect, Gary decided.
"No, you can't," Gary agreed. People would be there when they wanted them to be there too, however. The last thing they needed or wanted, was for people to inject themselves into their budding family prematurely. When Margaret did finally want to involve herself with their child, it would be on their terms. And this time, she didn't just have Ri to contend with.
A nap? Gary raised an eyebrow, then chuckled.
"Do you?" he countered and prodded Ri's side. She'd been lazily snuggling up to his side, fully intent to get cosy and shy away from winter's grasp.
"Motherly feelings already taking root, are they?" Gary joked and shook his head. Regardless, Ri did have a point. All the while their conversation, he'd barely bothered opening his eyes. Just having his leg elevated made him feel a lot better, but it didn't really restore his energy in the way he'd hoped it would.
Gary still had a hard time accepting his body's need for rest in order to recover.
Rather than be shooed off to bed however, Gary shifted on the couch to sprawl out, Ri tucked against his side. He gave her a lazy look, smiling languidly, "try not to get caught up in my laziness," Gary joked. It wasn't exactly laziness, but Gary hoped it'd take some of her worries away. She worried far too much lately. Not everything in their lives was burning as they watched it. Hopefully.
Hopefully one thing could go alright. As long as the baby was alright, Gary didn't care what happened to him. Gary fidgeted a little to get properly comfortable, but once he was, it didn't take long for his breathing to even out and his hold on Ariana to grow slack. Today had unintentionally tired him out more than Gary thought it had. His sleep was heavy and deep, peace born from physical tiredness weighing him down.
Gary's return to reality was sluggish at best. Eyes, most with sleep, took in the living room he'd fallen asleep in, slowly coming to terms with what had happened. Everything slotted into place after a few seconds and Gary stretched out a little, not overly keen on moving, though his back complained about his choice in bedding. That afternoon seemed like a distant dream now. Like Thomas hadn't said those vague words, that never banked to one side or the other. As if Ri hadn't been hurt by Thomas' lack of resolve and perhaps, somewhere, relieved that she didn't have to be harsh either.
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