A kiss was pressed against his temple and breakfast materialized next to him in accordance. Gary gave Ri a wayward smile and divided his attention between work and breakfast not entirely successfully. In the end breakfast was gone however and with it the distraction it had offered up. It wasn't even that bad, working was. While he was rested enough, Gary actually managed to get some legwork in and get things done. It was only an hour later that the tiny characters and articles started to dance in front of his eyes and he sat back with an exasperated sigh.
Ri was still settled on the couch, easily able to focus on everything and Gary heaved a deep sigh. It was time he took something to suppress the budding headache and the complaints from his legs at having sat upright for what time he had. He snapped his laptop shut and reached for his crutches.
Getting up using the crutches was clumsy as ever, but he finally managed without bumping into too many things. Finding the aspirin wasn't as difficult a chore as it had been the last couple of days. Gary washed one down and joined Ariana on the couch. He lowered himself onto the couch and tipped his head back, crutches still in his arms.
An hour was all he could do at a time?
It was progress as compared to yesterday, he figured silently, when he hadn't even been able to get started at all. Maybe he could've done more, but Gary knew they still had to meet up with Ariana's father for lunch. He tossed a few pillows onto the low table and propped up his leg. Much better.
Gary moved the crutches to one side and then propped them up against the couch before slumping down and closing his eyes.
"This concussion is really doing me in," Gary moaned. "I thought it'd be done by now," he sighed out. How long had it been now? A week? Even talking aggravated the approaching headache, so Gary just remained silent and gave in to his body's need for rest again. Or at least until the pain was numbed to the extent where by he could still think passed it.
He wasn't exactly tired, so sleep wasn't happening, but Gary dozed a little bit. The painkillers numbed the headache and Gary was low-key listening to the television without bothering looking at it. Apparently screens were still a step too far, but listening wasn't too bad. A forced unplugging. Maybe he ought to write a piece about that.
"Where are we going for lunch?" Gary started. He opened his eyes to look at Ri, but the sudden influx of light made him hesitate.
"Are you driving?" he was still nervous about that. Gary sighed and slowly opened his eyes a little more. His eyes were adjusting, but slowly. He felt okay to go, but wasn't sure whether that'd stay that way. If they were going far, there wouldn't be a swift escape, so to speak. For neither of them.
Ariana flashed her husband a small smile at his teasing well wishes about her staying up all day. She figured she would have to start somewhere. He agreed on toast and bacon and Ariana set about making it. Bacon was laid out in the frying pan Gary had graciously gotten out. She adjusted the frying pan and looked over to Gary as he made some tea, taking a wide berth when he added milk, not wanting to put him off his breakfast. She watched him with the laptop and smiled a bit to herself. She didn’t say a word and let him get on with it, not wanting an argument to disturb their relative peace.
She figured she should have chastised him about working but given his track record lately, she figured he would have to find out on his own if he could manage such a daring feat. Ariana popped some bread in the toaster, rummaging around for some juice as she poured herself a glass, taking a sip as she glanced to whatever boring spectacle was being depicted on the news now. Politics, still? She flipped some bacon and waited for the toast to pop, setting out Gary’s first as she placed it next to him and his laptop, kissing his temple and heading back to get her own. She had a little less only to test the waters with food.
Ariana settled at the other end of the counter and picked her way through breakfast thoughtfully, washing it down with some juice. Eventually, Ariana had managed all her breakfast. She pushed herself up and rinsed her dishes, leaving them to dry.
“I’m just gonna grab a shower.” No point putting it off. She figured Gary would probably want the quiet to focus on work.
The hot water was a welcome relief, as was the scented soap and shampoo. Moisturiser was applied to her skin when she exited after towelling off. Ariana wandered through in her underwear to the bedroom, donning a thick jumper and jeans, adding socks to the mix as she pulled out her hair dryer. Once her hair was dry Ariana shifted back to the bathroom and fixed up her face, mascara and a little concealer. She looked better, she noted. Her face a little fuller and she figured hormones had helped her skin. At least that was one bonus from the pregnancy.
Ariana made her way downstairs and felt somewhat more awake and refreshed after the shower, laptop in tow. She settled on the couch and rummaged for the remote, turning the volume up slightly as she set up her own work laptop and rubbed her eyes. Mostly it was just corporate emails as she scanned through and responded to a couple in turn.
Too much sleeping, yeah, he could understand that much. It'd been the same for him, honestly. That said, Gary was still surprised he'd slept as much as he had.
"And good luck to you," he snickered at Ri's attempt at staying up all day. Obviously, he was going to be zero help, because Gary was sure the lunch would wear him down already. He hoped it wouldn't. Breakfast triggered excuses. Gary gave Ariana an unimpressed look, but couldn't fault her for morning sickness while she was suffering her pregnancy.
Rather than get up, Gary sank back onto the couch again. She would make it? He'd help her in a second if she was going to then. They were in no particular rush.
"Yeah, toast and bacon sound good," he agreed at last. Wasn't meat one of those triggers? Oh, what did he know. They'd find out sooner rather than later. What he did know, was that morning sickness had a lot to do with whatever you'd had the evening before. Gary gathered his crutches and joined Ri in the kitchen. He checked the kettle and put on some more water for a cup of tea. With milk, because Ri sure wasn't going to be making it today.
Gary leaned against the kitchen counter, watching Ri rummage through the fridge in search of something to have with the toast. He shook himself a little and got out a frying pan. If they were shy on toast, he'd just have some eggs instead. And she was meant to have lunch with her father, huh? Gary caught sight of the laptop and left the actual cooking to Ariana. He hobbled over and sank in the chair. Unlike yesterday, he felt pretty good. He just hadn't decided on what to spend his limited amount of energy yet.
He let his fingers run across the laptop's top and sighed out, running a hand through his hair. It was aggravating how these were now choices. It'd come so natural to just work a few hours, go out, work some more and then have a drink at the pub or something similar.
Now, he couldn't even work a morning and have lunch out on one day. And soon he'd be up for another round of treatment that would leave him drained. Or maybe the treatment would make him feel better, actually. He'd felt a remarkable improvement after the first round of antibiotics at the hospital after all. But then, he'd been a lot worse than he'd cared to admit. Gary opened the laptop in the end. He was just going to try and do both. Maybe make sure he had an hour before they had to leave to rest up a little.
Ariana could hear the shuffling upstairs and the shower turn on. She figured her presence wouldn’t be missed greatly and Gary would call if he needed any help. She tucked under the blanket a little more and rubbed at her eyes. It wasn’t long before he joined her on the couch and watched him, shifting slightly so he had more space.
“Morning.” She murmured as she drained her black tea.
“Yeah, too much sleeping yesterday. I’m going to try and stay up most of today, get some sorta pattern back, horrible decision.” She explained away as she set her mug down, flashing a small cheeky smile to Gary at her words. Breakfast? Oh.
“Not yet, the milk betrayed me earlier.” She commented and made a face of distaste at the memory of how she had reacted.
“Made me feel sick. I’ll put something on in a minute.” She said to him assuring my because she was hungry now that Gary had brought it up. She stretched and stifled a yawn, sitting up a little more and urging her limbs to wake up, please and thank you.
“I can make anything that doesn’t involve milk.” She said to him as she glanced to the television screen once more. They were going out for lunch today, as well. She just hoped whatever reaction she had taken to the milk was a one off. Gary smelled nice, she noted, fresh from his shower and she was content enough to bundle under the blankets and enjoy his presence for now. The quiet wasn’t so bad when it was just contentment like this. It wasn’t really early anymore and she glanced to the clock. Breakfast, right.
After a while it was no good lazing around. She got up and peeled herself from the blankets, wrapping her dressing gown around her, although it left her legs bare. She looked in the fridge and cupboards, humming over her options and what sounded good and what was likely to muddle up her appetite.
“Toast? Hmm... I could do toast and bacon?” She suggested as she looked over from the kitchen, watching his reaction. Toast and bacon sounded good for her as she put some bread in the toaster, digging through the fridge. Ariana felt bad she couldn’t even make him a cup of tea right then, not wanting to risk her appetite for the sake of milk but she figured nothing could go wrong with bacon and toast. She’d shower after breakfast and make herself presentable enough to go outside. She figured a little extra effort, to quench any worries about her weight or pregnancy.
Gary woke to an empty bed. Slightly dazed, he reached out to where Ariana was meant to be and slowly let the realization trickle in that she'd already gotten up. It wasn't uncommon for Ri to be up and about earlier than he was, though her depression had often kept her bound whereas he'd forced himself to go to work. And now he was recovering, so there was no need to. Despite good intentions, the alarm-clock turned his way still clued away that morning was good and well underway. Gary pushed his hair back and shifted, careful of his leg, and sat up.
The house was dabbled in peace, which kept his headache to a minimum without the aid of medicine. It was the first day in a while where his awakening wasn't triggered by pain or some other external cause. Gary gathered his crutches and slowly hobbled towards the bathroom. Rather than ask for Ariana's aid, Gary managed to find the plastic bags needed to cover his leg and started a shower.
None of it was very efficient, but Gary resigned to taking his time. There was nothing pressing on the agenda and so long as he kept calm, the likelihood of his headache returning would become smaller and smaller. He had to believe he was recovering, slowly but surely.
Gary tried and failed to recall when exactly he was due back in the hospital. Time was still a tad fickle. He towelled himself dry and secure in the privacy of his own home, walked back to the bedroom naked as the day he was born. Even getting dressed was a slow chore. When Gary finally made his way down the stairs, it was a fair deal later than he'd woken up. Gary sank down on the couch and sighed out.
"Good morning," he announced his presence.
He needed a small break, just to gather some energy for the next item on his list: breakfast. Maybe some work before they'd go out and meet with Ri's dad.
"Did you sleep okay? You were gone when I woke," Gary ventured, numbly watching the silent television. His eyes trailed towards Ariana, concern etched on his features. Yesterday morning hadn't been the greatest of starts for Ri, but hopefully she wouldn't be plagued by morning sickness every single day of the week. It was all new territory from here on out and rather than exciting, each new symptom of Ri's pregnancy was reason for worry.
Gary rested his leg on the pillows piled on their low-end table and zoned out for a second or two. He ought to get up and do things, but after the shower, he felt a little drained. Not doing much of anything for the last few days was taking its toll. Or maybe the infection had. Or the concussion. Or the broken leg. Gary took a deep breath and tried to think of a way to turn the tide that wasn't going to trample all over his current limits.
"Did you have breakfast?" Gary started and made to get back up. Making food was going to be one of those steps. The very least he ought to be able to do was take care of himself. And maybe Ri in the process.
Garys closeness was a much missed comfort that Ariana hadn’t realised she had missed. Neither of them could know for sure what would happen in a week, a month or even a year. Ariana just wanted to be happy but it felt like such a betrayal to what they had lost, no matter how much logic told her it wasn’t. Gary’s kiss pressed to her forehead seemed to evaporate all her concerns and she settled in his arms and closed her eyes, listening to him eventually even his breathing. Perhaps if given the option, they wouldn’t have chosen for the pregnancy to happen right at that moment in time but she wasn’t abo it to give up on it simply because they were going through a really rough patch. Whatever would happen, Ariana vowed she wouldn’t let anything go back to how it had been. She had missed her husband at her side, missed him close by her and she knew they had both made terrible mistakes in the months following the miscarriage.
At some point, lost in the warmth next to Gary, Ariana must have fallen asleep. It wasn’t a particularly good test but she did feel refreshed. Ariana pauses for a while, as if mulling over if morning sickness was going to read it’s ugly head but she felt fine. Ariana shifted slightly and reached over to turn the digital alarm clock so she could squint at the red glowing numbers. Seven AM. She huffed slightly and carefully slipped from the bed, fumbling to wrap a fluffy dressing gown around her, stifling a yawn as she headed downstairs. Today she would try and stay up for a full day, kick her sleeping pattern back into a somewhat good rhythm. She shivered slightly as she set the kettle to boil, turning on the lamp in the kitchen and rubbing her eyes. So far so good.
Teabags joined hot water in a mug that was adorned with colourful daisies and she let it sit for a while, the tea diffusing slowly. Ariana switched on the news, opting for it to be quiet with subtitles as she caught up with anything she might have missed, watching it for a few minutes before turning to the fridge and uncapping some milk. Never before had Ariana realised milk had a smell and thanks to hormones, she quickly recapped it, a small retch following her action. She huffed and promptly stuffed the milk back into the fridge. Tea without milk, she supposed. Some cool water was added as she discarded the tea bag and settled on the couch, tugging down the neatly folded blanket from the back of the couch and covering her bare legs. Politics followed by sport engrossed the news and she soon lost interest, flicking through the channels lazily.
Ariana set the half full mug on the coffee table and already regretted her idea of trying to kickstart a sleeping pattern. Her father was coming over today, she remembered and she pinched the bridge of her nose. Part of her wanted to call the whole thing off but she knew she wouldn’t, guilt was a terrible affliction like that. Her curls had become somewhat unruly at some point but a shower would fix all that up and a brush.
She still wasn’t sure if Gary would be up to the adventure of lunch but it would help with the cabin fever if they could just get out for a while and listen to her father prattle on about this and that.
Slept too much. Gary understood where Ri was coming from and while he expected his body to be similarly disturbed, his rhythm simply couldn't be persuaded differently. It was night and he was about ready to fall asleep all over again. Or perhaps it was merely his sore brains giving in to the soothing darkness of their bedroom. Ri shifted to rest on her side and Gary's short attention was drawn into her motion. In the darkness, glistening specks of light were looking back at him.
To be honest, he didn't quite recall. Things after and before the accident had been a haze. Gary tried to recall some things, but all that came back up was the car-ride. That daunting peace, the silence of the snow lit up by an oncoming car's headlights. Ariana's voice carried him away from that memory and back to the present.
"I love you too," Gary replied softly, a little more vulnerable than he would be were he healthy. If he were healthy, he likely wouldn't have been resting in bed at this hour either. It wasn't a bad thing that he was now. When had being together with Ri become a chore and a burden, rather than a joy?
Now, he couldn't remember why he'd kept evading going home.
Gary shook his head ever so minutely.
"I don't know," he replied softly. If things went wrong, they'd be going down that dark road all over again. He wasn't sure whether their relationship could endure another journey like that. Especially considering they took different paths to get to the end of it. Frankly, Gary wasn't entirely sure their roads hadn't simply, accidentally crossed, rather than merged. Their first child's death hadn't magically disappeared. Enjoying a second child would come with guilt on it's heels.
"I don't know."
Gary brushed the side of Ariana's face, gently brushing some hair behind her shoulder and away from her face. Once he had, Gary pulled Ri a little closer and sighed out. So many things could go wrong. This pregnancy was ill timed, for sure.
"There's little we can do but hope, Ri," Gary soothed. They could make sure Ariana ate plenty of healthy foods, they could force her to take it easy and not worry, but none of what they could do was going to guarantee them a healthy, living and breathing baby in the end.
He kissed the top of Ariana's head and closed his eyes. The drowsiness that'd followed him ever since the end of the movie now washed over him like a blanket, easing his breathing and slowing his heartbeat. Gary sank into slumber before he could help say anything else, though it was a light, slightly restless sleep on account of already having slept all day long.
Gary’s touch seemed to rouse Ariana from whatever concerns fluttered around her. She heard his words and paused for a while before answering.
“Can’t sleep.” She said as she watched his hand fall to the mattress. She wasn’t sick, not like Gary was. He needed rest, he needed to give his body time to mend. Ariana reaches out to brush his fingers with his own, watching the outline of his features in the low light. She smiled a little to him.
“Slept too much today.” She lamented quietly. At least she didn’t feel sick and dinner seemed to have stayed firmly in place. That was probably a good sign. She just hoped it carried on because it was a rude awakening if her body decided to reject its contents.
Ariana shifted a little to her side and gave Gary’s hand a squeeze. The past year had been a mess of emotions, both of them dealing with their grief in their own ways, not necessarily wrong but just differently.
“D’you remember when you asked before the accident, if I still loved you?” She mumbled quietly, breaking the quiet. She wouldn’t forget the emotions scratched across Gary’s face when he had asked that, he had genuinely doubted that she still loved him that night.
“I meant it. What I said, I really did mean it. I do love you.” The darkness of the night had a funny way of messing around with her thoughts, like everything was over thought and scrutinised.
Ariana kept her fingers on Gary’s own. Their love couldn’t be declared physically. She knew that but it didn’t change anything. She was sorry if she ever caused him to doubt her feelings. That hasn’t been her intention in some weird way. The heat from the blankets seeped in and perhaps she hadn’t been as awake as she first thought. Her muscles relaxed into the mattress of their bed and she shifted, her eyes closing.
On the cusp of awareness and sleep, it was a funny place to be. It seemed whatever worries she had melted away into the slightly toasty air around them thanks to the heating. Her father could wait, and perhaps keeping him at arms length was a good move for them until they got through Gary’s injury the pregnancy, to keep stress at bay for now. It seemed never ending somehow and each day brought new concerns. With any luck, Gary wouldn’t have to stay in hospital again and if Ariana kept eating right and taking care of herself then she wouldn’t have to worry about any disasters taking them by surprise.
“What happens if it goes wrong?” Her voice was a whisper, easily missed but she knew they couldn’t pretend it wouldn’t go wrong. It could go wrong. Gary wasn’t out of the woods with his leg just yet, and given her track record with pregnancy, she knew they weren’t out of the woods with that one either. Maybe a second miscarriage would be too much for them both, a second loss would be the catalyst to them becoming broken down once again and this time, there would be no fix.
Gary caught Ri exiting the bathroom and took up shop in there for a while, brushing his teeth and washing his face. Thoughts came and went. Gary found it difficult to cling to any of them. Like wispy little birds, they fluttered hither and to, without anchor, without true solidity. Floating was perhaps the proper turn of phrase for how he felt, hobbling back to the bedroom. Clothes were carefully peeled from his frame, exchanged for not quite dissimilar attire. Ariana was already carefully settled underneath the blankets. Gary sat down and put down the crutches, then went about getting comfortable himself.
It was still an impractical endeavour. Pillows propped up his broken leg, the cast heavy and unyielding. Gary let himself fall back into his pillow and plied the blankets this way and that until they were covering him up satisfactorily. Especially now, when sleep had already been wasted on a lazy afternoon, the discomfort in his legs seemed overly prominent.
It seemed Ariana too was paying the price for their profound laziness earlier that day.
A soft kiss was pressed against his cheek and Gary simply watched her outlines take shape in the bare light available in the bedroom now that the lights were off. He didn't say anything. His head wasn't entirely in the right frame of mind and Gary didn't want to press his luck. Rather, he sighed out and shifted a little, trying to no avail to get comfortable.
His leg moaned out in a low complaint, sore more than hurt, aching deep within the bone. Gary wasn't sure whether that was a good thing or a sign that he was definitely supposed to keep to the doctors' recommended treatment. That would be soon as well, if he wanted to ward off another hospital stay.
It seemed every minute ache was amplified with the darkness blanketed over them. Gary reached out to Ariana at long last and brushed a few careful fingers by her arm.
"Are you alright, Ri?" he asked, considering she might be uncomfortable for the same reason he was: pain. Concern took root in an already preoccupied mind and was allowed to flourish unrestricted.
What would he do if one night he was truly woken by misfortune?
No. Gary pushed the thought aside. They would have their scan and everything would turn out fine. He had to believe that. For the both of them.
He lazily stroke some of Ri's hair, but eventually his hand sagged back onto the mattress. Weariness followed him, now that he was laid down in the dark. Gary didn't feel sleepy, but worn down nonetheless. Despite having done very little at all, his body seemed to disagree. Given a few minutes of peace, Gary knew he'd probably lose the fight to stay awake.
Gary didn’t say much and Ariana supposed she didn’t expect him to. He had been quiet lately, the only time either of them properly talked was when emotions were running high whether it be an argument or the rare glimmer of good news. The film sufficed in quietening her and distracting her from whatever worries were lurking on the outskirts of her mind. The storyline was much the same as others but still proved to be rather spooky at parts. Ariana was somewhat fixated and content to let Gary be at peace for the moment and not have to indulge in conversation.
Gary’s words brought her back to reality as the film came to the close. She rubbed at her eyes and glanced to the clock.
“Yeah, when did that happen?”
This was probably the latest they had managed to stay up. Ariana watched Gary get up and sighed as she stood, exhaling heavily as she fixed the cushions and blankets in place. Ariana switched out the lights downstairs and climbed the stairs slowly. Lunch tomorrow was going to be interesting and she wasn’t altogether sure how it would pan out. Her father was a good man, but he had grown worn down by her mothers thumb. And Ariana would prefer their future child had two sets of grandparents but it seemed so farfetched.
Ariana rinsed her face and brushed her teeth, glancing over the sink area as she spat out the fluoride and washed it away down the drain. She stuck her toothbrush on the side and headed through to the bedroom, discarding her clothes in favour for more comfortable sleeping attire. Somehow everything just felt awkward still between her and Gary. The blankets were a welcome embrace around her frame as she settled back and rubbed at her eyes for a moment, deciding that lingering on everything wasn’t worth losing sleep over. Or maybe it was. Right then it seemed like everything was happening so quickly and she was barely keeping up with it all.
Of course she would tell herself that. Perhaps her emotions were playing havoc with her but everything was getting a little too real. She shifted slightly in the bed and pushed herself up to sit. Maybe she had slept too much through the day. She leaned over and placed a soft kiss to Gary’s cheek, careful in case he was sleeping. She flopped back and placed an arm over her eyes, willing sleep to overtake everything else. Funny how things worked, sometimes. She didn’t want to sleep, so it came, and when she wanted it, it evaded her.
At their wedding. Yeah, he hadn't really taken note at the day itself, but they'd definitely given some tactical consideration about the placement of each and every individual. Gary was fairly certain his mother had made sure no awkward situations could transpire so they could have a carefree day. Or maybe for once, even Ariana's mother understood that their wedding day wasn't hers to take centre stage on. Grandparents. Yeah, he hadn't even thought about that. Would their child ever see the other grand-mother? Would his suffice? Surely it would, wouldn't it?
Gary took a deep breath.
He bet Ri's mother would insert herself again by the time the child was due, with stories about how they couldn't rob her of that experience the way Lisa had done or something similar.
Ri's murmurs trailed off, leaving Gary to watch her expectantly. Surely Ri's mother had a different opinion about him than her father had. He didn't mind Ariana's father, expect for where he almost seemed fearful for standing up to Ri's mother. Maybe he did it out of consideration. If he wasn't on his wife's side, who would be? She was very effectively estranging her daughters.
Gary took the remote and flicked through some of the selection before settling on something that looked reasonably promising. It didn't have to be anything extraordinary for now, as he didn't think paying attention for the duration of an entire film was something he could manage yet. He put the remote on the table and settled in to watch.
As expected, there was a slow start. The environment was set up slowly, with an eye to detail which mostly escaped his somewhat short attention-span. In the end, Gary just zoned out to watching the colours blot together on the screen, listened to the voices until they became somewhat grating. A headache simmered behind his eyelids, only barely held back by the painkillers he'd taken earlier.
The ending of the movie almost surprised him. Gary pushed his hair back and blinked back to reality, tired and overwhelmed, but not yet sleepy. Stiff however. His muscles had long since stopped being comfortable the way he was sat and so he carefully started to shift and sit up. A visit to the restroom was long overdue.
Gary found his crutches and carefully got up.
"It's late," he remarked. Somehow, time had passed him by again, though this time it'd been mainly voluntarily. Sleep wasn't likely to come easy, with how much he'd slept during the day, but Gary was fairly sure the bed would be more comfortable than the couch. He wished his mulched up brain would allow him to read for any period of time.
Even going about his daily business took considerable effort. Lunch tomorrow, huh? Gary had to admit, he was kind of curious as to what Ri's father would say.
“I won’t blame you. If you don’t feel up to it, I understand.” Ariana said to him. She knew Gary had been more loose lipped as of late, not that she didn’t appreciate it with her mother because it had been a real strain as of late. Ariana scrolled lazily through the options of spooky films, musing over his words. If he wasn’t up to it then she would understand. Her father was a fickle man sometimes and as much as she hated how he acted sometimes, as the youngest girl, he had always adored her in a different way. Maybe she was clutching at straws and excusing how he acted.
Ariana glanced to Gary when he mentioned if her father did the same with Lisa.
“Last I heard Lisa doesn’t see either of them. The last time she saw them was our wedding.” She murmured, which had only been because both parties had been obligated to come. Ariana has guessed it would be frosty but the offending sibling and parents had been seated away from each other, thankfully. Tactical thinking and strategy had been a bonus.
“I don’t even think James has met his grandparents. Mike’s father sure, but not my parents.” Ariana said with a shrug. She had learned a long time ago it was better to avoid getting involved in Lisa and her affairs when it came to her parents.
“I guess I see her point, it’s not exactly good what our dad is doing but…” she trailed off and just sighed. If she cut her dad off then he would be alone with a woman he was evidently miserable with. She did often wonder why he had stuck with her mother. They weren’t young anymore but surely her father was more sensible. Then again it was Ariana’s father and she didn’t want to be the one to cut that bond off. Lisa was stronger than her for doing what was right for her family and saving herself the torment of a secret relationship with her own father.
“He wasn’t always like it, you know? Neither was my mother. Maybe it’s my mom’s age nowadays. She was always strict, always protective. She never did warm up to you. Dad did. He always liked you.” She murmured, lost in a side thought. Ariana gave a sort of half smile.
“Dad said you were a good balance, a calm to my storm.” She murmured. She didn’t dare repeat what her mother had said about Gary after first meeting him, but she was glad Gary had avoided the daggers thrown his way. Ariana seemed to zap back to reality and handed the remote to Gary.
“You’re better at choosing than me.”
Trying his ass. If fear and trepidation were going to hold them back, where would the end up? Unlike Ri's pregnancy, eating food wasn't going to roll by on accident. Gary didn't feel like pushing things and let himself be coaxed back into the lounge. He arranged some pillows on the table and got his leg comfortable, glancing at what splashed by in vivid colours on the television screen.
"Spooky, I'd say," Gary decided. At least those types of films were usually a bit quieter, though no less exciting than an action movie, for example. He wasn't really keen on seeing anybody burst out in song either and a comedy right now just seemed to put pain on several sore points. It'd been obvious from Ariana's demeanour that she'd only agreed to see her father because she hadn't wanted to decline the request.
Again, she'd given him the option to just stay home and Gary honestly didn't feel up for meeting up with anyone right then. Still, he felt it was something he needed to do for Ri. Like he'd needed to tell her mother off? Gary sighed. Yeah, he'd really messed up that one. They wouldn't be in this stupid situation if he'd just endured.
"Are you sure you want me to go, Ri?" Gary offered softly.
"Just... don't blame me if I say something stupid," he sighed and tried to get comfortable on the couch. It became harder the better he felt, it seemed, to get any type of comfortable. His joints were starting to complain his sedentary life-style and he hadn't even been able to write up a simple article yet.
To say he was frustrated would be an understatement. And soon there'd be more treatments to endure. Gary glanced at Ri as they movie played. And more tests to see how their baby was doing. For now, there was every indication that things were going swimmingly, literally. Fear packed in tight. Fear that things wouldn't stay as peaceful as they were now.
With Ri eating as little as she was, there'd undoubtedly be trouble. Gary reached out and entwined his hand with Ariana's.
As the king of 'means well', Gary was sure meeting up with Ariana's father shouldn't give too much trouble. It was the whole, going behind her mother's back that was likely to give them trouble in the long run. How peculiar, that a man had to go behind his wife's back to see their child.
"Does he do that to Lisa too?" Gary piped up, and realized belatedly that maybe he shouldn't have asked that question. The inquiry was inconsiderate and thoughtless. Gary inhaled, intended to apologize and then figured he did really want to know now.
Ariana watched Gary steak some cubes of watermelon and nodded.
“My dad wants to take us for lunch, tomorrow. If you’re up to it, I’m sure he’ll understand if you aren’t.” She said to him as she sank into a chair, looking rather lost. She was torn because she loved her father of course but she knew this secretive sneaking around was getting ridiculous and they had enough stress to last them a lifetime. But her father was trying, which was more than what her mother was doing. She glanced over at Gary when he mentioned a movie.she smiled to him, somewhat relieved he had suggested a distraction. A movie did sound like a good idea, a chance to let reality melt away for a while
“A movie sounds great.” She breathed out and eyed him when he mentioned eating better. It wasn’t like she wasn’t trying but puking in the morning proved to put a dampener on eating.
“I’m trying. I just don’t wanna- well you know.” She gestured to thin air because admitting her sickness in the early hours seemed weak somehow and they were eating.
“I’m just, I’m trying.” She said again, pushing the point home because right then she felt okay, she was more worried about Gary and his constant exhaustion and the festering infection. She didn’t want to argue though, eating was a sore point.
“C’mon. Let’s see what’s on.” Ariana murmured to hopefully entice whatever gods we’re overlooking that arguments were not necessary right then. Besides, if an argument erupted then neither of them could simply leave and ignore what was going on anymore. And if she was being honest, Ariana wasn’t sure how much more of Gary’s shirking and running away she could handle. Then again they were both to blame for such things. Neither of them were innocent.
Ariana turned her eyes to the television as she successfully tangled herself in the discarded blanket and fiddled with the remote. She’d lost a lot of knowledge when it came to technology, not as adept as Gary was when it came to computers and such but after a few minutes she managed to find the movie channels, eyeing them over. No Christmas movies with shrieking Christmas songs, a small blessing for once.
“Hmm, what do you think? Something gooey, spooky or adventure-y?” She piped up from her spot and glanced over at Gary. Ariana tended to be easy with most films, although horrors did tend to leave her a little jittery. She leant back on the couch and breathed out a little, tomorrow was not going to be fun no matter how much she hoped.
A door clicked in the distance. Gary shot up, reeled and cursed himself. Taking things slow, wasn't that what they'd advised him. He put a hand to his temple and raked his hair back, then took in his current situation. A blanket had appeared at some stage and the soreness in his back clued away he'd been on the couch an exuberant amount of time already. Noise from the kitchen made him look over. They were familiar sounds of Ariana putting away shopping and it made him aware of the fact that he'd slept through her leaving, shopping and returning all in one sitting. Gary carefully sat up, dragging a heavy and unwilling leg to try and get up with the aid of his crutches.
Ri was there, as expected, but she was on the phone. Gary listened, then figured it'd be rude to listen in and finally just sat down at the kitchen-table, running his fingers by the laptop. His headache had retreated after the wonderful combination of medicine and a nap. Gary wasn't sure whether he wanted to invite misfortune back in, but wasn't sure on what else to do.
See you then?
Ri's soft-spoken voice clued away a hint or two as to who the other caller might be, but Gary didn't want to exert himself trying to play amateur detective.
"You're meeting someone?" he asked, stifling a yawn birthed from laziness more than anything. He couldn't possibly be tired no more. All this impromptu sleep was throwing his sleeping-schedule off. Gary didn't think he'd get away with it tonight as easily as he had the preceding nights.
"Who was that?" Gary ventured. Boredom demanded an intrusive stance regarding Ri's coming and goings apparently. He almost apologized for asking, then recovered and figured he had some right to know. Even if she wasn't used to him asking. Gary's eyes fell on the water melon cubes Ri was eating and stood to nab one. Everything took effort, but Gary did feel it was easier than it had been.
Not by much, but he wasn't running out of stamina as quickly. He watched Ariana, noticed some of her discomfort and furrowed his brow. "Do you want to watch a movie or something?" he decided instead, stealing another cube. They hadn't really taken the time to eat enough.
"You should eat something more substantial," Gary noted. Maybe he ought to as well. However, it felt like effort he didn't have the energy to expend. For a second he sought out Ariana's eyes and looked at her, then he sighed and slowly shook his head. His head wasn't on right and Gary knew he ought to just shut up to try and prevent himself from accidentally hurting Ariana's feelings or pressing some sore point.
He couldn't help himself, "are you okay?"
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