Ariana followed along, quietly watching the exchange. She didn’t understand all the medical jargon but she did know Gary was very keen to get that cast off. She wasn’t sure what a brace meant for him, it wasn’t freedom though and then there was the whole inability to walk. That was a little worrisome and Ariana figured she’d been fooling herself by thinking Gary would be alright overnight. What if he couldn’t walk by the time the baby was due? She cringed slightly, what if something happened to her? Gary wouldn’t cope with a baby and an inability to walk.
Ariana swallowed down the thoughts as she averted her gaze. They couldn’t think like that, she had to be hopeful and upbeat for Gary. He didn’t readily show his emotions, so reserved. He’d been like that since day one and she didn’t expect anything to change. The first time he confessed feelings for her had been a real surprise and not something she had expected, she had known they loved each other but seeing him confess it was always entirely different. Then again, when was the last time they did simple things together? It had always been those small moments that Ariana had caught a glimpse of genuine emotion. Cooking together, going out places, fooling around on the couch like teenagers and arguing over what to watch or where to eat.
Ariana watched as the nurse flicked the switch for the antibiotics. It was probably going to be a long time before they could do any of that. She rummaged through her bag for a moment and tugged our the book, in truth she didn’t even recall where she had gotten to or what had happened so she figured restarting would be easier. She glanced over to Gary from where she sat,
“Two or three weeks isn’t bad.” She said, hesitantly, trying to read his face for a clue of what he was thinking. Screws and bolts, was that more surgery?
“Will they need to operate to take everything out?” She asked, delicately. In three more weeks a lot could happen and she wanted to be prepared, maybe have Lisa come over that day to help her out around the house or maybe go for lunch. Anything but worrying about the ifs and buts. They would get through it, regardless. They’d come this far. Ariana figured it wasn’t worth testing Gary’s patience with quizzes over his health, it usually was met with disdain.
“It’ll be fine. You’ll be back on your feet when the time is right. Then it’ll be alright.”
Gary didn't recall whether Sterling had told him anything about when the cast could come off. That didn't mean the man hadn't told him or anything, just that he hadn't remembered when the man had. Not that it mattered much. Gary knew he wouldn't be able to walk on the leg until months after the cast finally came off. He appreciated the need to see progress in that regard however.
"I hope so," Gary agreed with Ri on the cast and followed Ariana out the door. They'd found a routine with how much help he needed getting into the car and Gary didn't want to point out that he could be a little more self-sufficient nowadays. That discussion had gone poorly yesterday and he didn't want to ruin his chances with Ri this early in the day.
Before he knew it the familiar roads turned into the road leading up to the hospital and Gary breathed through some nerves cropping up. He knew the whole visit wasn't supposed to be very exciting, he still didn't like what the medicine did to him. Gary wandered into the hospital and picked his way through the familiar halls to the floor they needed to be at. This time, he felt a lot more alert. His progress was so gradual sometimes that it was difficult to appreciate just how far he'd come.
Gary told the nurse behind the station that he was there for his appointment and she acknowledged him with a smile.
"Dr Sterling will be with you shortly, please take a seat," she said after everything was checked to be in order. Gary sank down in one of the plastic chairs and sighed out.
So many thoughts swirled through his head that he was stumped into silence. He'd have to ring his mother to ask her for some help around the house as Ri's pregnancy progressed. Would Lisa and Mike help with the baby-room? His father? And that all this weekend? It seemed far away but far too close at the same time. Gary didn't think he'd be up for it, but then he wouldn't be the one doing the painting, now would he?
Mentally though, he did have to admit there was some resistance there too. It'd be like washing away the last of the evidence. The last vestige proving their child had existed at some point, even if it was gone.
It was the doctor himself for a change and Gary raised an eyebrow at that. Regardless, he got up to greet the man and shook his hand.
"Good to see you," Sterling greeted, "this way."
Much like last time they were taken into a shared room. A nurse was already there, setting some things up around the bed.
"How have you been feeling?" the doctor ventured gently.
Gary set himself down and the nurse gestured for him to tip his head so she could take his temperature. The ear-thermometer beeped and the nurse seemed content with the results this time.
"Uhm, I'm alright. Other than the occasional headache," Gary replied.
"Unfortunately that's quite common after a concussion," Sterling soothed Gary's nerves. "Let me know if they persist though."
"I need to take your blood-pressure," the nurse said softly and started to help Gary roll up his sleeve. He followed her instructions under the watchful eye of doctor Sterling, who seemed satisfied with the results. When she was finished, Gary was asked to get comfortable and the doctor checked the tap in his leg and ran his fingers by the cast while the nurse prepared his treatment.
Gary just let them do as they needed, resting back.
"When can it come off?" Gary wondered out loud.
Sterling looked up, "the cast? Hmm." The man's face turned serious. "I'd say maybe two, three more weeks? Mind you, after that we will be removing the surgical screws and bolts. It'll be a while before you could start walking again."
Gary cursed under his breath, but then sighed. It could've been worse. He could've died.
"At that point you'll be able to move around with a brace. It's lighter and you'll be more mobile," Sterling said as a spark of hope.
"All set," the nurse announced. "Just relax," she suggested and opened the valve on the antibiotics.
“Better than yesterday morning.” Ariana said, in all honesty she felt fine but she felt like she had been using the term ‘I’m fine’ too often these days. She fixed up toast and watched him. She wasn’t sure what else she would do if she wasn’t going to stay with him at hospital,
“I won’t forget my book this time.” She assured him and gave a small smile, half amused at herself and the situation as a whole. It wasn’t fun for him, she got that. It was likely dull and boring and a reminder that he was vulnerable physically. She was sure she could sneak off if he did fall asleep, get some lunch or something. Ariana watched him go off to get ready, watching for a while until he vanished up the stairs and then she day dreamed for a few minutes, hearing the water switch on.
Dishes conquered, Ariana gave everything a quick clean up. She’d be fine driving and she had eaten. She was forgetting something and she drummed her fingertips on the countertop as she tried to remember exactly what it was. Vitamins, right, she said in her lightbulb moment. She got herself a glass cup of water and eyed the little tablets. She’d need to get some more eventually, maybe it was worth mentioning next week to the nurse. She washed them down and set the half full cup on the side. She could check her blood pressure when she was back, she certainly felt well enough right then.
Gary reappeared and she nodded to him,
“Hopefully not many more of these.” She said, thoughtfully as she found her own shoes, tying up the laces.
“Hopefully the cast will be off soon too.” She figures if the infection hadn’t happened then he’d maybe have the case off already. Then again, Ariana wasn’t sure she was ready to see what was under the cast.
“C’mon then.” She said as she wrapped the cardigan around herself. It was cold outside but the hospital was always warm. Ariana helped with Gary and arranging the crutches before starting up the car and fiddling with the radio stations for a while before finding something a little more upbeat. The car moved into action and Ariana took a glance to the cloudy skies. It could rain all it liked, just no more snow.
Ariana parked up and picked up the handbag she had plucked up on route, her book and phone nestled inside so she wouldn’t get too bored if Gary did go for a sleep. She didn’t mention anything about the baby room for now, there were bigger issues to get past.
Despite having woken up sooner than Ri, she still managed to look more together than he did. Dressed in just his shorts and a t-shirt, rumpled because of a restless night sleeping off a ferocious headache, Gary didn't actually depict a sparkling image of perfect health. He wasn't aided by the crutches either. Gary looked up from his phone at the sound of Ariana's voice and sighed out.
"Morning." Breakfast, obviously. At least Ri wasn't trying for anything milk this morning. "Sure," he decided. After, he'd go grab a shower and make sure he was ready to be laid up in hospital all day long. After this, there'd be just one more treatment, hopefully. Gary sat down at the kitchen-table and rubbed at his face.
"You feeling alright?" Gary asked, looking Ri up and down to see whether she might be lying, but she looked nowhere near as sickly as she had the other day. That could flip with just a whiff, he knew now. It'd only take one second of unpleasant aroma to flip Ri's stomach at this point and it was anybody's guess which they might be. She seemed to have forgotten about yesterday's fiasco, fortunately, so Gary decided to just let sleeping dogs lie.
"You don't have to stay the whole visit," he offered Ri an 'out'. Most of it would be him, bored in bed, waiting for the drip to finish anyway. Last time he'd slept through most of it, but Gary didn't think he was exhausted enough for a repeat performance. Maybe he ought to bring some things with him to bide his time.
Unlike dinner, toast disappeared in its entirety and Gary even toyed with the leftover crumbs, pressing them onto a fingertip and licking them off.
"I better get ready," Gary decided after a while and he got up to have a shower. Might as well try and pretend he got his act together a little more than he had and everything. The hot water against his back was soothing, though his leg was uncomfortably wrapped in plastic and heavy to keep from touching the tiles. Gary took the opportunity to really scrub clean thoroughly and stepped out feeling a little more awake for having done so. Comfortable, loose clothes were pulled from the dresser and soon Gary was making his way downstairs again in search of a shoe to wear for the occasion.
This time he even went ahead and bundled a book into his coat-pocket.
"Well, I'm ready," he announced. Ready as he would ever be anyway.
Surprisingly, Ariana slept a touch later. Gary’s alarm didn’t make her shift and attempt to burrow under the blankets a little more, huffing slightly as she realised he had his appointment today and she had totally forgotten until right that second. She grumbled away to herself as she sat up, hesitantly. Did she feel sick? Ariana tested the waters, sitting for a while, too afraid to go downstairs and risk the run back up stairs if her body did betray her. She felt okay.
Used pillows indicates Gary had come to bed at some point last night and the silencing of the alarm meant history in finding the object. Ariana wipes sleep from her eyes, gathering her wits about her as she eyed the room. She couldn’t go to Gary’s appointment looking like she had been pulled from the nearest bushes. Ariana picked her way through some clothes and found some loose jeans, still adamant about getting as much use from normal clothes as possible. She slipped on a vest and bundled to the bathroom, taking care of business and brushing her teeth, running a brush through her unruly mop. Eventually she knew the only way to tame it was to tie her hair up and she eyed her reflection, hand moving over her stomach as she shifted to look at herself from the side. The side angle definitely was flying away a bump and she smiled a little to herself.
The blonde slipped on a cardigan for now, something comfortable and she figured she would put a jumper on once they were ready to go out. She glanced to the time and thought about breakfast. Toast was the safe option, she knew that. She headed down and looked to Gary,
“Morning.” She murmured as she put the kettle on and popped some bread in the toaster.
“Want some?” She offered as she fumbled around for jam. Toast wasn’t exactly a substantial breakfast but the sugars in the jam would help.
Obviously Ri was in a mood with the way he'd responded to her suggestion. Gary had half a mind to just shout at her that she could do it all without him again, but held his tongue. Neither of them was in a particularly good mood right then, especially after the little fall-out they had earlier. With the excuse of being tired, Ariana retreated to their bedroom, which made his decision a lot easier. Gary stretched out on the couch and closed his eyes. Finally, he started to feel some relief from the headache. Without anything to distract his over-stimulated brain, Gary finally felt the ebb and tide of pain-relief and headache wash away into a pleasant numbness. Sleep remained out of reach, though it wasn't for lack of trying on his part.
Boredom eventually had Gary flip on the television, if only to drive off the infernal silence which marched his thoughts into spirals Gary didn't care for right then. With the volume at a whisper, he curled up with a blanket on the couch and listened to the news. Half-lidded eyes eventually joined the numb watch, until he finally managed to feel drowsy. Part of him didn't want to exchange couch for bed, but the other night's tumble from the couch made Gary reconsider facing the awkwardness that was Ariana when she wanted to be alone. He moved slow, but deliberately to get his drowsy butt up the stairs, forgotten about the television and the state he left the couch in. None of that seemed important to him right then. Gary moved with purpose to wash up and brush his teeth, expending the last of his willpower to change into something more comfortable before surrendering to the bed. Within minutes after getting comfortable, sleep whisked his consciousness away.
It didn't return until early that morning, when a set of bleary eyes tried to hone in on what had disturbed his rest. A phone's shrill cry came from downstairs, the familiar jingle of his alarm echoing through the living-room. There was still a sliver of the migraine he'd suffered yesterday, a dazed sort of fog, but all in all Gary couldn't complain. He stretched out slowly and sat up, gathering his wit about himself in order to trace down the phone and silence it. Memories of last night filtered in as well. Gary winced as he recalled they'd fought again. And he was supposed to make sure Ri didn't get too worked up and everything too.
Ariana looked a little disheartened at Gary’s lack of enthusiasm but she wasn’t sure what she had expected as a reaction. She was trying to look on the positive side, reach little milestones that would at least keep them somewhat happy but she figured that wouldn’t suit everyone. She shifted a little, as she finished the washing up and added Gary’s plate to the drying rack after a scrub.
“I can drive.” She murmured quietly, driving wasn’t a problem for her. It didn’t take a lot of effort for the most part at least. Ariana dried her hands and glanced to Gary as he took painkillers. His appointment was in the morning, she figured at an early night might repress morning sickness and save her the grief. She also just wanted to be alone, seeing as her suggestion had gone down like a brick in a lake with Gary.
“M’tired.” She excused herself with a half hearted wave of her hand as she headed up the stairs. She got it, she understood the reservations he had but it hardly did much for her mood and maybe it was the hormones causing there to be more disappointment. Ariana got into bed and reached over to shut the curtains and block out whatever dwindling light invaded the took as she got comfortable. It was definitely cooler tonight and she added a blanket to the bed. She wasn’t really tired, she just felt a little embarrassed and foolish for even bringing the subject up.
It was still early but she wouldn’t risk another argument. Why was it so difficult for people to see she was trying and yet when she was knocked back like that, it just dampened the mood and she wasn’t sure what the point was? She huffed out as she turned over under the blankets and nestled down further to block the heat out. It was stupid to get annoyed by it all. Gary had gone to the bar the other day and she hadn’t complained, but suddenly painting the nursery with a couple of people was too far? Ariana eventually settled on watching the ceiling, wondering if she was being too harsh about the entire thing.
Paint? Gary paused shovelling food into his mouth for a second to let what Ariana was saying seep in. His eyes caught her motion to the nursery and automatically directed his eyes at the stairs before recovering and nudging some of his food around on his plate. Gary wasn't sure how tomorrow would go. Last time he'd been feeling a little lousy and a whole lot drained, but then he didn't think he was feverish this time around. Hopefully that would make a difference.
"I guess ..." Gary said, voice trailing off into quiet. His head wasn't in the game and he'd been the one suggesting they do something about the baby-room in the first place. He wasn't opposed to the idea. Ri's pregnancy wouldn't wait around for them to get their act together. It was only natural they got on with things.
"A party?" he asked, narrowing his eyes in mild confusion. "How many people would it take to paint that room exactly?" Gary posed, eyes small because of the headache he suffered. Maybe his father, then Lisa and Mike? Maybe he could ask some of the boys, but frankly, it'd be fine with just the three of them too most likely. The first time around it'd been just the two of them over the course of a single weekend and Gary knew his father was pretty handy. His mother might help too, if she could be persuaded to do so. Gary realized he'd rather it remained a family affair.
"Let's just see how things go first. Should I get my dad to drive me to the hospital tomorrow morning?" Gary derailed their conversation. He wasn't up for that conversation yet and he'd have to see whether his parents were willing to lend a hand this weekend.
Gary took another few bites waiting for Ariana's reply, but his appetite had vanished the second Ri mentioned the baby-room. Actually, he should've called his parents sooner if he'd wanted to orchestrate a ride, though Ray or Dan would likely be more than willing to skip work for a little while. Maybe Ri would be fine tomorrow morning and he shouldn't have worried in the first place. Gary toyed with his food a little bit longer, but surrendered eating more after it'd gone cold.
He sat back and watched Ariana instead, hands on his lap. How long would it be still before their child would be viable to live without Ri's body to protect it? Another month? Two? How long would it be before Ri's body decided enough was enough? Gary rubbed at his eyes and sighed out. His headache hadn't budged since that morning and it was grating. Just two more visits to the hospital and then hopefully he'd be scot-free until they took the stupid cast off. Gary couldn't wait to get rid of the bulky weight. He got up and hobbled back to the kitchen, discarding the food he hadn't managed to put down. Instead, Gary chose to take something against the headache and pondered whether the couch or bed would be the better option.
Ariana watched him for a few moments before retreating for a moment to tie up her hair so it wasn’t wild and she figured at least she was comfortable. Green eyes glanced up when he made an announcement as she shifted to the table, eyeing the rice. It smelled good and she dug in, gratefully. She hadn’t eaten much today and the worries of tomorrow morning were drowned out by food as she ate in silence. Instead of worrying on the here and the now and whatever could go wrong in the next few months, she found herself thinking about what they had accomplished together.
They had a beautiful home, they were married, they had even experienced a beautiful honeymoon. Back then they didn’t have any worries, no concerns about the future. They had been younger, though and Ariana still swore blind that to this day she had no idea how it had happened from a chance encounter. But life took over somewhere, working and the loss of their child had caused gaps to form. Ariana thought for a while,
“If everything goes well tomorrow,” She started, “Maybe at the weekend we could get some paint in?” She suggested and motioned to the nursery. It was a taxing subject but maybe it would be more cleansing than she initially thought.
“If you’re up to it, I mean.” Going through boxes had been a little emotional for them both, for her certainly and Gary still held his emotions inside.
‘Jenkins’ Hannah’s words echoed in her mind and she took another forkful of rice. They could always invite some people over for help, it wouldn’t be too strenuous, many hands made light work. She figured it might even bring some joy to that room. Ariana finished her plate, a few measly forkfuls left as she got to her feet and ran some hot water. Gary cooked, so she could do the dishes as she fixed herself some juice from the fridge. She was almost five months along now, in another month the bump would be much more apparent and it would be more real but not quite definite.
“Not a party exactly but a sort of...” She trailed off, unsure of the word. Her parents didn’t even know they could have a grandson in some months. That could wait.
At Ri's words, Gary simply raised his eyebrows, as if to say 'yeah, I know you would've and you shouldn't have'. Gary wasn't sure how he would've react if it wasn't for Ariana's next words. They threw him off a little and he glanced away, "It's fine," he mumbled softly. Ri's absence had given him time to simmer down too and Gary realized that his anger wasn't at Ri, but more directed to the situation as a whole.
"Dinner will be ready soon," Gary changed the subject. He still didn't feel much for talking. After dinner, he'd most likely just retreat and maybe follow Ri's example at taking a bath before trying to sleep. If he wanted to be remotely present for the whole hospital-affair tomorrow morning, Gary knew he'd have to retire early.
The oven's beeping took him from whatever space his mind had regressed into and he picked himself up to tend to dinner with a little more attention. He adjusted the temperature on the oven and started on the vegetables. When was the last time he'd made dinner? It felt like ages ago. Back when they'd just met, they'd done so together, especially after just getting the house, but somewhere along the line it'd become Ariana's chore. Like most house-hold chores, to be honest. It'd just turned out that way, considering he made more hours than she did. Now that there was a child on the way, he ought to consider working less.
Gary zoned out watching the vegetables simmer.
If the baby-boy got to make it at all.
He snapped himself out of the depressing rabbit-hole of thoughts and took out two plates, waiting patiently for the food to be just right before plating it. Him a little more than Ariana, but he didn't exactly give Ariana a small portion. She hadn't eaten enough today and it was only rice. He'd like to see her try a little more, even if she was sick in the morning.
Or maybe especially because she got sick in the morning.
Gary carried off Ri's plate to the table and put it down, before hobbling back and fetching his own.
"Dinner's ready, Ri," he announced. Maybe he'd be calling his parents regardless. Ri wasn't very likely to feel well in the morning. Hit or miss, honestly. Gary sat down in front of his meal and rubbed at the bridge of his nose. If only his infernal headache would give it a rest, he'd be able to actually think for a length of time.
At least eating didn't require much thought. Gary hadn't even realized he was hungry until after the first few bites.
Ariana took some time to let the hot, scented water drown out whatever worries were swimming around. It didn’t help in the long run but for the here and now, it helped them ease off a little. She knew she couldn’t do everything but she also couldn’t ask Gary to do everything and risk putting himself back to square one. It was like balancing on a knife edge because too much pain or pull would be catastrophic and the cost too high. Ariana figured in her own logic, that if she picked up the slack and did as much as she could then Gary would recover well and then he could help more but evidently, thank you her blood pressure, that wasn’t working out either.
Ariana eventually got out the bath, she couldn’t hide forever as she raked back her hair and dried off. She sighed out a little, changing into some comfortable clothing and drying off her hair as she found a comfortable robe to tuck into. She was putting off going downstairs, she didn’t want the arguing or the awkward atmosphere. She understood Gary’s point and that’s where it stung. Had she been stunting his recovery by doing too much for him? Maybe. But if he overdid it again then he would end up in hospital again. She spent a little time tidying and setting everything away before stepping out of the room. She hovered for a moment, half tempted to shy away again but she knew she had to eat. She stepped down the steps slowly.
She had all intentions of starting dinner but a glance to the oven brought to her attention that Gary had seen to that and she looked a little lost for a moment. Ariana looked in on Gary, unsure of what to say.
“I would’ve-“ She cut off and looked to Gary, “Thank you.” She said finally. She realised it was easier to thank him than admonish his attempts at help. She wasn’t ‘fine’ and neither was he, but they both had to accept the others help where they could.
“Sorry. I’ll be more careful.” She said after a beat. He was right, and she had to bite the proverbial bullet and accept he was right and she had to start being more careful.
Rather than shout back that that was exactly the issue, Gary just sank onto the couch and let his head tip back. His head pounded behind his eyes and he hated to admit that he had needed Ariana's aid the last few weeks. And probably still did, to some extent. But it shouldn't have to be that way. Ri ought to just care for herself and the baby just a little more selfishly. She couldn't balance it all and she shouldn't have to.
It went quiet then. Water ran, upstairs. Ariana liked escaping under the shower or bath. Maybe so he wouldn't see her tears? Gary covered his eyes with his hands just to block out the light and found it actually brought some relief. Migraines; he'd be having those more often if he pushed himself like he had the other day. Drinking was definitely off the charts for the next few weeks, maybe months. He just couldn't handle it.
Gary could only hope the infection wasn't making a return appearance, though his leg had been pretty good, pain-wise. Not comfortable nor overly aching, just present. On the background. Like a constant grey noise. And this time he wasn't even tired enough to sleep through it. Gary sat like that for a few hours, before he surrendered and laid down, gave up and decided to make dinner in Ariana's stead. How hard could it be to put some things in the oven anyway? Gary got up, tersely grinding his teeth and rummaged through their fridge in search of things to make for dinner. In the end, he settled on a rice-dish with some chicken. Easy enough to make, which was good, because any type of cognizant thought made his headache flare back up.
Part of him still felt too much pride to just ring his mom and ask her to come by every now and again to help around the house. Chores he ought to be doing with Ri being pregnant, honestly, but chores he wasn't ready to pick up. Or maybe he was. If he tried a little harder, maybe he could be doing more. Gary squinted at the oven to set the time and punched in a few minutes; enough for him to sit back for a bit and come back for the next few steps in the meal's preparation. He needed those breaks to sit down and take the weight off his leg. Everything was just that much more difficult after the accident.
“I do.” Ariana rebuked as Gary made his way to the lounge and she shifted so she could see him. He could be angry, that was fine. But she wasn’t going to let him think that she just wasn’t trying.
“I’m trying. And I’m desperately trying to balance carrying a child, looking after myself and looking after you.” Whether he cared to admit it or not, he needed just as much looking after sometimes. It was hard to prioritise one over the other, Gary and her child. Gary was in the here and the now, she could see the roll everything had on him.
“I can’t do everything.” Ariana admitted, for the first time. She could pretend all she wanted, she could put on a facade that she could somehow please everyone and every situation but it wouldn’t work. And this was just a stark reminder that she couldn’t do everything by herself and if she was struggling now then she wasn’t sure what she would be like in the next few months as pregnancy took more from her.
Ariana hovered for a moment, tea forgotten about and realising that it wasn’t worth pressing this further. Gary has effectively moved on from the subject and didn’t want to discuss it any further. One more thing under the carpet. Ariana was angry too, well maybe not angry as much as she was just fed up with everything right then. Nothing she seemed to do worked, nothing she seemed to say seemed to convince anyone that this was all worth it. Ariana picked up her tea and ran a hand over her face, sighing out in exasperation. Pregnant and married, and yet somehow she felt choked with loneliness.
Ariana headed upstairs, giving Gary the peace he evidently so desired as she ran a bath and added some liquid bubbles, taking a moment to just breathe in the coconut scented air. This was stupid and she still struggled because this wasn’t a normal pregnancy. They weren’t celebrating and getting excited about this new arrival, they were both scared and hesitant as if getting happy would somehow jinx their chances.
Next Friday already. So there was something to the whole raised blood-pressure after all, why else would the nurse schedule Ri in again so soon when Deborah told them every other week? She rushed to a stop and was out the car before Gary could even react. He cursed himself and sighed, running his hair back. Gary knew he'd just slow Ariana down anyway, so what was the point? He slumped down in his seat, dreamily staring at the people entering and exiting the shop, willing his mind to stop racing and give his headache a break. None of that was happening, however. Ri was back before he realized and off they went again. What anger and frustration he'd felt earlier regarding Ariana's lack of self-care had already simmered to the background with the mundane habits of every day life passing him by.
Gary was glad to be back home. It'd been crowded at the hospital and the refuge their car provided wasn't as comfortable as their living room was. He entered at a slower pace, performing a sluggish balancing-act to get rid of his one shoe. At ten? That early? Gary swallowed a terse reply. At least he'd be able to rest up today.
"I can make something myself," Gary protested Ariana's offer of making lunch for the both of them. He held still at the kitchen counter, watching Ri. Her question was an invitation he'd otherwise have taken, but he didn't feel up for it just then.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm angry. What did you expect, Ariana?" Gary watched her with defiance in his eyes he didn't really feel. Did she really want to have this discussion then and there?
"Of all the little things you could be doing to increase the odds of this pregnancy succeeding, you've barely done any of it," he tossed out there, part disappointment, part frustration. "And again you're off doing all sorts. Will you just slow down and think for a second? This is our baby we're talking about and I don't think you're realizing just how fragile this whole thing is." He kept his voice level, more so to prevent his headache from spiking than anything else, but Gary didn't want to needlessly upset Ariana by turning their discussion into a shouting match either. Besides, unlike before, Gary really didn't feel like fleeing from their house this time. All he wanted was a drink and then maybe sleep. Just a while of nothing to allow his mushed up brains to catch up to it all.
Gary huffed and grabbed some juice from the fridge, pouring himself a glass.
"I'm not in the mood for this," he announced and took his drink into the lounge.
Ariana wasn’t even remotely prepared for any sort of argument, worry eating away at her already frayed nerves. Had she used the monitor at home? She figured it must have slipped her mind but she stayed silent because Gary already knew she hadn’t used it, his question was rhetorical and probably came from a place of worry. That’s what she told herself because she didn’t want to think he was angry at her, although he probably was. Ariana kept her eyes on the road, eyes focused and mind half wandering. It took a while for his question to register,
“Next Friday.” She murmured, just over a week away.
“I gotta stop, we need milk and bread. I can run in.” She said as she pulled into a parking space outside a small convenience store. Thankfully it wasn’t busy and she figured they didn’t need that much, just some essentials as she paid up and left, ducking back into the car and tucking the bag on the back seat. Off they went again and Ariana just wanted to be home, comfortable and she figured some food wouldn’t go amiss.
Ariana freed herself from the car and helped Gary out, the carrier bag limo in her fingers as she headed in and unbundled from her coat and layers, looking to Gary.
“Your appointment is tomorrow, I think it’s like ten in the morning.” She mumbled, distractedly. Ariana wasn’t sure if it was her hormones or the constant grinding down that everything could go wrong and she was powerless to stop most of it. She kept busy though, not wanting the pot to overspill.
“What do you fancy for lunch?” She asked, peeping in at the cupboards and then figuring it would be closer to dinner time in an hour or so.
“Are you mad at me?” She asked finally, avoiding looking at him because she didn’t want to fuel anymore tempers and instead decided to make up some tea for them both.
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