He wasn't sure whether he was allowed to take anything for the headache today. Gary was debating it for a second before closing his eyes. There was plenty of time to rest in an attempt to shake the soreness and weariness clinging to his bones. It must've been on his face, because next thing he heard was Ariana's worried voice. Gary opened his eyes to lazily watch her.
"Nah, I'm... I'll come down in a sec," he rejected Ri's offer. After yesterday, Gary didn't want to rely on Ariana for every other thing no more. It'd been several weeks since the accident now, so he ought to start doing some chores by himself again. Even if they robbed him of his energy. Gary pushed his hair back and sighed out.
Ariana seemingly accepted his platitudes, because next he heard her putter about in the kitchen. For a second the thought occurred to him that he ought to be checking up on her. Make sure Ri ate something before they left. Actually, was she good to drive? Maybe they ought to ask his parents to give him a lift instead.
They'd want to know about the baby anyway.
Gary's lips curled into a rare smile.
It was all becoming so real now. So close. Closer than they'd ever been.
When he heard Ariana's voice drift up, Gary manned himself and grabbed his crutches close. A few seconds later he was scaling the stairs, one step at a time, only to catch the tail-end of the conversation.
"Lisa?" Gary asked conversationally.
He moved to stand next to Ariana and watched her prepare the tea. Once she had, Gary picked it up and took careful sips from the broth. It was early still.
"What time was the appointment?" He had a card here somewhere, saying at what times they were, didn't he? All of the administrative chores had drifted clear by him as of late. Ri had been the one making sure he got everywhere on time. He'd been relying on her a lot lately.
"Did you eat something?" Gary asked, but there was no harshness or accusation in his words. Just a gentle concern. After yesterday, he didn't want to upset Ri any further. Low blood-pressure mixed in with anger didn't always sit well.
"I was thinking, maybe I should ask my parents for a ride. I'm sure my father wouldn't mind?" he suggested.
"Just so... you know. You can rest?" Gary tried.
He wasn't new to worry, but it was for two now. Two fragile beings, so intertwined they could not live apart. Gary joined Ri at the table, clumsily carrying a crutch and a cup in one hand, while supporting his weight using his good leg and the other crutch.
The tea did nothing to help his headache, but his stomach definitely got the message. It declared its needs with a loud gurgle when the scent of fresh toast hit his nostrils. Abandoning the tea on the table for now, Gary went and moved over to finish making himself breakfast.
“Hmm, if I didn’t know any better I would say my husband is trying to kick me out of bed.” Ariana said, eyes still closed but a smile toying with the corners of her lips. She opened her eyes as she watched him sit on the edge of the bed. She nodded when he remarked about taking a shower as she got to her feet. She stretched and rubbed her eyes simultaneously, hearing the water of the shower flicker on and she made the bed. She figured a bath later wouldn’t be a bad idea and she decided to forsake the shower. She pulled on a baggy shirt and slowly did the buttons up, pulling on some comfortable jeans and slinging a cardigan over. She tied her hair up and glanced over when Gary emerged from the bathroom.
A twinge of guilt shifted in her somewhere, she should have assisted him. She smoothed down her outfit and went to wash her face, brush her teeth and the like. Ariana took a moment to breathe as she set back this and that into its original home. Ariana wandered back through and looked to Gary on the bed.
“Want me to bring some breakfast up?” She ventured and looked him over. What a man he was, she thought as she slipped on some socks.
She went downstairs and eyed the contents of the cupboards. Toast didn’t appeal right then and she knew she had to eat given yesterday’s events. Cereal, she finally decided as she mixed it in with the milk, looking thoughtful again. She checked her phone and saw a text from Lisa, asking if they had dared to open the envelope. She smirked a little and pressed the phone to her ear, she wasn’t sure on telling her father yet.
“Hello- Ari! Hi!” Lisa buzzed and there was some movement and bustling around.
“Sorry- I’ve got James home today, he’s not been well. Everything okay?” She asked and Ariana giggled a little.
“We’re having a son, a boy.” Ariana said and had to move the phone away from her ear as she listened to her sisters squeal of excitement.
“That’s great! Oh, Ari That’s wonderful! I’m so happy for you!” Lisa laughed.
“Gary got his appointment today?” Lisa asked and Ariana sighed softly,
“Yeah, we’ll see how it goes.” Ariana explained because it was a taxing subject. They said their farewells and Ariana figured the distraction of being on the phone had done her good given most of the cereal was gone.
She made up some tea and poured one for Gary, putting on some toast as she flipped open her laptop, returning a couple of emails, forwarding over this and that lazily. It still seemed surreal, to have a son. It was exciting and invigorating to dream of what they might be, what they might become. She buttered some toast and stirred the tea, a gentle smile fixed in place. Firstly, they would get through today.
Light filtered into their bedroom. Gary woke with the same headache in place he'd gone to bed with last night, though his leg felt mildly better. Burrowing brought him closer to wakefulness and Gary found Ri right there next to him. Brow furrowed in mild confusion, Gary reached out for the unruly mop of blond hair splayed across the pillow.
"You're still in bed?" he asked gently. Yesterday she'd said something about wanting to get back to a regular schedule. So much for that.
"Are you okay?" Gary asked and cleared his throat a little. Maybe she'd been sick again. After yesterday's events though, it seemed unlikely. He moved a little closer and stroked along Ariana's back.
His leg protested once again and Gary knew then that falling back asleep would be impossible. If he wanted to shower before his appointment that afternoon, he ought to start his day anyway. A quick glance at the clock taught him it was well past eight now and he'd been plenty lazy after yesterday's affairs.
Gary pushed himself up to sit, feeling a bit dazed still. Yesterday had proven to have been too much. By far. He really ought to stick to one thing a day. Not two. And certainly not a rushed third. At least Ri didn't seem any worse for wear.
Gary took a deep breath to wake himself up a little better and moved his legs, cautious with the injured one, which was now sore. It wasn't a bad soreness though. Not like that time before they learned he had an infection. This was more birthed from exerting himself. After such a long time of lazing around, he would dare say they might be muscle aches.
"I'll take a shower ahead of you then," Gary announced, twisting to watch Ri over his shoulder.
"I won't be long," he decided.
With a grunt he gathered his crutches and wrestled his way up to a stand. With uneven strides, Gary floundered about their wardrobe in search of something decent and comfortable to wear. He was finally wrapping his head around how to use the crutches a bit more comfortably, or he was trying anyway. They'd tried to teach him at the hospital, but the memory was faint. Gary blamed the concussion.
Despite all the preliminary struggles, the shower's rays felt good on his back. The plastic still stuck awkwardly to his leg, where it met the skin, but the rest of him appreciated the hot spray. Soap washed away the nervous sweat he'd worked up the day before and he felt a little more like himself again. Actually, maybe he was a little hungover, rather than just tired. He'd only had two drinks, but still.
He'd promised Ri to be back shortly, but everything took just a little more effort and a little more time than he liked. Drying, for example, was awkward while standing on one leg. He wasn't sure what to do with the broken one. Where to leave it. Whether to even try putting weight on it.
Gary decided he didn't need to be clean shaven where he was going and was glad once he was dressed enough to limp his way back to the bed for a breather. He lifted his leg up to stretch it out and propped it up on the mound of pillows he'd been using to sleep somewhat comfortably so far.
It was just going to be one of those days.
The kiss to her neck was enough to fill her with contentment, not wanting to move from the couch. However, sleeping on these things would do nothing for her back and she eventually got up, tidying away the cups and setting them away and she switched out the lights. She followed up behind Gary, careful steps as she finally rinsed her face. She did understand what Gary was saying and she knew it was her own insecurity playing up and thinking he wouldn’t come home or he would get drunk when he was out, in her defence it only made sense to go off his track record though. Ariana was relieved to know she hadn’t done anything wrong, she hadn’t pushed him off. It was most likely poor timing given Gary had given his blunt opinion on the baby and pregnancy before he went out.
She stepped out quietly and shed the house coat, leaving it on the edge of the bed as she got under the blankets. Thankfully it wasn’t an early appointment for Gary tomorrow. Of course she would still worry over him, even though tomorrow was a treatment. It was a relief to know she hadn’t pushed him away that night, that he had just wanted some breathing space and it was not her own wrong doings. Ariana shifted and lay on her side as she watched Gary succumb to sleep. What a curious creature he was.
Her thoughts were of a future, with a son running around with a doting father. Small twitched betrayed Gary’s sleep was not altogether restful and Ariana reached over to brush her fingers over his cheek. Her hand fell to his chest as she left it there, unable to fight the exhaustion that threatened her. Ariana was buried amongst the soft blankets and pillows, a dreamless sleep overlapping her like high tide as she drifted off.
The light woke her before anything else and Ariana’s eyes were still heavy with sleep. She fumbled as she made to read the time, one eye half shut. 8AM? Ariana grumbled as she pulled the blankets up and turned over, having no intention of getting up this early after last night. She burrowed down in the pillows and closed her eyes once more, wanting to doze lightly for another hour maybe two. It had been a long night and Ariana figured Gary’s appointment wasn’t until two so there was no reason to get up and rush around. So long as they both ate and were out the house for one, they would have plenty of time.
Ariana's words turned from merry to more serious. Gary watched her face, tried to read the emotions she was trying to convey.
"I wasn't trying- I was just... trying to give you some space. We've been locked inside together and it's... I don't know," Gary finished lamely. He couldn't even properly put words to how he'd felt. A bit of cabin fever maybe? Frustration at his meagre progress and Gary had to admit, he missed socializing with his friends.
"You didn't do anything wrong, Ri," Gary said at long last. Gooey, huh? Gary smiled gently and pressed another kiss to her neck at those words.
"I just missed the boys, that's all," he mumbled. They remained like that for a second or so, before Ri decided she'd had enough of his pretences. Her verdict was bed-time and Gary was a little relieved he could just give in like that instead.
A yawn sprouted and Gary was helpless to stop it from cracking his jaw. He blinked reality back into focus and reached for his crutches. After the day he'd had, sleep seemed like the best plan. All of the impressions and emotions left him drained. Gary got up and winced at his leg, which was still overshadowing the headache. Tomorrow's treatment was sure to be fun as well.
He hobbled for the stairs, making his way up ahead of Ri. Part of him worried whether she'd be okay, whether he shouldn't be watching her more closely, but she already said she was fine. She seemed fine.
She'd seemed fine when he left her too.
Gary made his way to the bathroom and brushed his teeth, washed his face and prepared for bed. A fresh t-shirt and some pj-bottoms finished his preparations, after which he surrendered to the covers' embrace. Gary felt a shiver of relief go through his limbs, the cool sheets quickly warming to his body.
Despite the discomfort in his broken leg and the headache, Gary was quick to lose the fight against sleep. Impressions fluttered by in what seemed to be a light doze, creating weird dreams and fearful nightmares from which he didn't quite wake. It was only several hours later that he really gave in and his sleep was more peaceful after that. Gary would've merrily continued sleeping as well, if it weren't for his hospital appointment.
Ariana shifted down she was tucked against his side, carefully as she settled free the kiss. A Jenkins, that was for sure. He would their child, their very own little boy no doubt tearing up the place and causing all sorts of mischief.
“I’m fine, really. It was nothing.” She assured him as she placed her hand atop his, running her thumb over the back of his hand. How strange it was to go through a thousand different emotions in a day. Ariana furrowed her brow at him as she tilted her head back, scrutinising him.
“Gary Junior?” She giggled a little at that, “Hmm. Easiest way to call everyone in for dinner I suppose.” She jokes and couldn’t help but laugh a little at the image of standing by the door and calling to people, her husband and son, in for dinner. Although she was sure it would get confusing after a time.
His previous words however had caused some sort of minor distress.
“I know you won’t be around twenty four hours a day but I just thought when you went out-“ She cut off because she had to put this in as nice a way as possible so he didn’t feel attacked or beat down.
“I worried about the accident, then I just overthought everything like I’d done something wrong to make you want to leave.” She knew how ridiculous it sounded.
“Like before.” She stated finally. “I know why you went out before, I get that. I just thought tonight it was because of me and maybe you wanted to just leave.” She explained quietly. She knew it didn’t make much sense out loud but it did in her head. She knew Gary had taken up the early starts and late nights because she had been so unbearable to be around, she wasn’t stupid to that.
“Sorry, this whole thing has me a bit... gooey.” She giggled a bit at that.
“C’mon. We should go to bed, I know you said you’re fine but it is late.” She said to him as she stretched a little. She rubbed her eyes and still the smile was firmly in place.
Where did they start? Gary let himself fall back into the couch and put his crutches to the side before slumping down. He'd pushed himself too much by also going out to meet the boys. Going out once a day was the current limit, wasn't it? Gary put his leg up and winced at its protest. His eyes closed as if on their own, images dancing on the inside of his eyelids. Ri came up with tea and Gary opened a set of bleary eyes to look at her.
Arrange a day for it? Gary took the mug from her hands and tried to sit up a little, but his body wasn't having it no more. Now that he'd relaxed, it wasn't giving up the rest it decided to have earned.
"Maybe," Gary sighed out.
A family meal or something? Usually people made a bigger deal out of announcing the pregnancy, but everyone that was close to them already knew about that. It felt good to see Ri this excited. He smiled up at her, enjoying her bright mood.
"It'll be a Jenkins alright," Gary confirmed.
Ariana was babbling and Gary didn't feel the need to interject. Names and decorating, huh? His headache had taken to become an intrusive pounding now and Gary just leaned into Ri's kiss. He couldn't think straight and his headache told him that he shouldn't even be trying right now. Gary took a tentative sip from the tea and found he was actually pretty thirsty after running around the whole hospital to find Ariana's room.
Gary finished his mug and put it down, resting back. He was looking at nothing in particular, zoning out at the thought of having a boy. They'd have him play soccer and he'd be as rumbustious as he'd been as a child, undoubtedly. Gary could already predict his mother would come up with a thousand and one anecdotes when she did finally find out the baby's gender. Not that she wouldn't have if it were a girl.
Gary turned his thousand-yard stare in Ariana's direction and gave her a weary smile.
"I'm glad you're alright," he told Ariana. "I was scared..."
Scared something might've happened to her or the baby. Scared that he'd be forced to play his hand or that nature would've done so in his stead. "I won't always be around and..." Gary sighed out and put a hand to Ariana's stomach. A baby boy. It was real now. Even more so than when they'd received that first picture.
She was already so far. If something happened now, because of him, Gary wasn't sure he'd forgive himself. He pressed a kiss to Ariana's temple.
"So Gary Junior, right?" Gary joked gently.
A kiss press to her cheek and emotions were running rampant. A million thoughts rampaged through her mind, people to call, names, decorating. She could barely process any of it as she released Gary, peering at him and she was hardly in any better an emotional state but she knew it was from sheer excitement and happiness that her cheeks were wet. All that was going through her mind was that they were going to have a son.
People would want to know, Ariana wanted everyone to know. She wanted the entire world to know they were having a son! She eyed Gary and he looked like he might faint himself for a moment and she figured whilst champagne was probably off the table, juice and tea wasn’t. She clutched the photo and she went through to the front room, setting the kettle to boil.
“What do we do? Where do we start?” She asked Gary, ecstatic. She poured out some tea into mugs and brought them to the couch, finally sitting down as she sighed out.
She took a drink if only because the hospital had mentioned she should try and get some sugars before bed. She didn’t even seem to care it was late.
“Maybe we could arrange a day for it? Get everyone over and tell everyone?” She buzzed as she looked to Gary. As much as she tried, she wouldn’t be able to hide her excitement, and she didn’t want to. Why should she? Everything else was forgotten about, all she cared about was that she had a healthy boy growing within her.
“A boy.” She said and leant back amongst the cushions.
“Wow.” She breathed and laughed once more.
“Maybe he’ll be like you? Smart - oh but then he’d be pretty messy too...” She giggled and it was the happiest she had truly felt in a long time. It suppressed happiness.
“Oh, then there’s names and decorating.” She said, knowing honestly she was babbling and she paused to look at Gary. She had overlooked the fact he had a really long day. She smiled apologetically and leaned up to kiss him, it went without saying that she loved him completely unconditionally in that moment.
Just hormones, better safe than sorry. Gary still hadn't gotten to the bottom of the situation, but figured next time they'd have a row it'd surface with a vengeance. Ariana held her breath and Gary caught himself doing the same. He squinted at the black letters, written with a flourish. It's a boy.
Ariana moved next to him and peered at the writing.
"It's a boy," Gary repeated, at a loss for words.
They were going to have a baby boy. He'd be father to a son. If Lisa and Ariana had trouble with how he behaved, it was going to be twofold by the time their son started to hit his teens. Gary chuckled, softly, "yeah." They were going to have a son.
Tears threatened to fall from his eyes and Gary was helpless to stop them from flowing. His heart had been tugged to both ends of the scale in the short span of a single night and his brain had given up on how to deal with it all. If it hadn't been for the corridor's wall at his back, Gary wasn't sure he would've been paying enough mind to keep standing.
They'd have to have baby-cards made now. Decorate the baby-room properly. Arms wrapped around him and Gary was thankful for the embrace. He returned the embrace and a choked laugh escaped his throat.
They'd have to think up names now. Gary brushed his sleeve by his eyes, clearing them up enough to look at the blurry ultrasound picture over Ariana's shoulder. A baby boy. There was so much to arrange before it would be born. His parents would want to know. Hell, he'd tell anyone who cared to know right now.
He let go a little and brought the picture down so he could have a better look, but the nurse's writing hadn't changed. It still read that they were going to have a baby boy.
"It feels so unreal," Gary managed.
He kissed Ariana's cheek then, pressing his lips against her cheek with the same intensity as the emotions that were overflowing in his chest. Unable to regulate them as he used to, Gary just brushed by his eyes again to wipe away the tears. He wasn't even sure whether they were from relief or happiness no more. Or exhaustion, there was that to consider as well.
With utter care, Gary put the small picture back into the envelope and returned it to Ri.
"We should tell people -my parents... Lisa will want to know," he breathed, thoughts and words tumbling over one another in his head. Each and every single one wanted to be first out. It was dizzying. Gary took a deep breath and grabbed his crutches tight before he could make them tumble down.
"Let's get out of this hallway," he started. He needed to sit down for a moment and take some time to gather himself.
“She doesn’t-“ Okay so maybe right then Lisa wasn’t exactly Gary’s top fan. It would pass, everyone just on edge. It was a delicate situation that was for sure.
“I don’t know. Nurse mentioned hormones. I did some cleaning, didn’t feel right and then I guess I went to the bathroom, I stood up and must have passed out. Got up too quick after being sick.” She said to Gary quietly as she looked at him in the small space of the corridor. He was fine, of course. He wasn’t going to tell her if he wasn’t, she knew that.
“Lisa just figured better safe than sorry.” Ariana figured, meaning the ambulance call and such. Probably for the best given her history with pregnancy. Ariana watched him open the envelope, holding her breath. She didn’t care what gender, she just cared they were healthy with all fingers and toes attached. She didn’t press Gary about his health, or how he was feeling because it had been a bit of a wild night.
On the back of the picture, Nurse Mount has written in black ink;
[i “Congratulations! It’s a boy! - Nurse Mount.’] Ariana moves beside Gary and peered at the writing. She squinted to make sure she was reading it right. A boy? A son? A breath escaped her, processing the information as she forgot about the hospital, forgot about Gary going out, forgot the pregnancy could in utter disaster.
“A boy?” There it was, through the middle of everything there was excitement and relief.
“We’re going to have a son?” It was as if she didn’t quite believe it.
Ariana leant again the wall with her hand over her mouth, unable to encapsulate every emotion going through her mind right then.
“We’re going to have a son.” She said through the gaps in her fingertips, finally looking to Gary as she broke off from the back of the photograph to look at Gary’s reaction as a smile slowly spread over her features.
“A boy!” She exclaimed with a giggle finally lacing her voice, the excitement bubbling to the top, eclipsing everything else. She wrapped her arms around Gary embracing him finally. They hadn’t gotten this far last time, it felt truly more real now. Yes that encompassed the risks too but Ariana just wanted this moment.
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.
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